Death of the Chain Restaurant – No, I’m not a “Hipster”

I grew up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, where typical big name chain restaurants are in abundance. These days (and for the last six years), I live less than two miles from the center of downtown St. Paul, where it’s pretty difficult to find a national chain other than fast food. I’d have to drive back into the suburbs to eat at a TGI Fridays, Chili’s or Olive Garden.

I LOVE to eat out. In fact, it’s probably what I spend more money on than anything else (well, other than cigarettes, but don’t worry. There’s an “I Quit” post not too far in the future. *sigh*). I don’t try new places often, probably because I am a creature of habit, and once I’ve found something I love it’s comfortable to keep going back. There’s a small ring of three or four places I frequent because of the good food, comfort factor and decent service… but none of them are chains. I realize that ragging on chain restaurants will make a few of you think I’m some sort of “hipster.” I assure you, that could not be further from the truth. I don’t drink PBR, own a pair of aviator glasses, or smoke American Spirits.

This weekend, I was willing to accept some adventure when my husband suggested a place he had recently checked out called Ward 6. What really caught my attention was his mention of “adult milkshakes.” Haha… no. Your dessert doesn’t come with sex toys, but this little gem on St. Paul’s east side crafts an excellent combination of ice cream and alcohol. The menu was small, but I’m ok with that when your offerings include poutine, lemon parmesan risotto, and a burger delicately placed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. In addition, they had a list of fun cocktails (not all of them were “girly”) and the service was great. If the waitress can’t give a menu recommendation, you’re in the wrong place.

And this is why I rarely find myself a patron of the following establishments:


Nope. I don’t ever recall entering this establishment sober either. In fact, it would seem there is a prerequisite of either being drunk or elderly in order to enter the building. God forbid you end up here on a Tuesday, when kids eat free. Nothing makes an already questionable dining decision more enjoyable than having a random four-year old crawl under your table. Everything on the menu is one Grand Slam after another, or the latest gimmick advertised. Seriously, WTF is a Hobbit Meal? The last time I went in here I remember being seated, but having to wait for menus because they had run out. That was at least ten years ago. I can’t imagine a situation in which I’d find myself in a Denny’s again. Even after six beers, I know the result will be a toilet full of regret a few hours later.


Buffets are a hit or miss. OCB is ALWAYS a disaster. Last time I found myself here was during an epic hang-over midway through my college years. I recall picking over the selections, wondering if perhaps I could concoct a bloody mary out of the pickles and olives in the salad bar and the fifth of vodka in my trunk. Maybe that’s what they need to bring to the table. If OCB stayed open late and served booze, I guarantee a bunch of college kids would pack this all-you-can-eat dumpster and consume mass amounts of gelatinous mac & cheese. Instead, I keep seeing advertisements as to how they’ve “improved” their menu in an effort to bring in new clientele. I’m sure if I walked into OCB again, I’d still be confused as to whether it’s a buffet or a diabetic support group.

Ruby TuesdayApplebee'sTGI-Friday-Logo

Is there a difference between these three places? They all have the same shitty burger/salad/pasta selections. They try to revamp their menus by adding something they consider “exotic”… like putting pineapple on a burger, or strawberries in a salad. Then, they advertise the hell out of their “original” creation like it’s never been done before. The number of Applebee’s have drastically diminished in recent years, and I only know of one Ruby Tuesday within driving distance. There still seems to be a large quantity of TGI Friday’s in my area, but I’m still leery every time I order a drink… after that debacle in which they were busted for passing off low-end booze as top shelf liquor (you can read that story here).


Here is where everyone makes the Cheddar Bay Biscuit argument. Did you know that you can buy those in the grocery store and make them at home? Now you don’t have to eat sub-par seafood to get your biscuit fix. I must admit, the “Endless Shrimp” promotion is a guilty pleasure of mine. What really grinds my gears is getting your check and realizing that the shitty margarita you ordered was $9, yet you somehow managed to drink three of them. The service is always slow here too (at least at the location near me). The last time I was in here, it wasn’t at all busy, yet I only saw my waitress once after someone else brought our food. Maybe she was trying to help me avoid ordering another shitty margarita.


This place has electronic devices secured to all of it’s tables. While these things allow you to play games on them (I think you have to pay, although I’m not sure), I happened to notice that the device allows you to pay your bill as well. This is probably a good thing for a place like Chili’s, since their service is almost as lacking as their boring menu. In fact, I read an article recently that focused on Chili’s and other similar establishments using tablet computers to essentially replace the wait staff. I’m sure this is in an effort to streamline their operation, but it won’t be long before a Cylon is mixing your watered down six-ounce margarita and spilling it in your lap instead of a pregnant seventeen year old. At least the margaritas are 2-for-1.

It’s not like I’m saying I hate these places (well, except for Denny’s and OCB), but I only end up at any of the above mentioned when I’m out with my suburban living family members. It won’t be long before at least one of these chains end up going the way of other failures like Don Pablo’s, Bennigan’s, and Ground Round. And when was the last time you saw one of those?


The Customer is (almost) Always a Frittata

This is completely out of character for me, as I am a fairly non-confrontational person.

Today, I couldn’t handle it.

I went into Target this morning to pick up a couple necessities. Due to the rain it was a ghost town, which was awesome cause I’m thinking, “I’ll be able to get in and out of here in no time!” Shopping in an empty Target is equivalent to running up and down my own private beach on a tropical island.

But no.

I get in line behind a woman who is clearly at the point of paying for her merchandise, and start putting my few selections on the belt. As I’m unloading my basket, I overhear the woman arguing with the cashier in front of me,

Cashier: “Yeah, but these are the same coupon. You can’t use both of them.”

Woman: “Yes I can, I’ve done it before. Sometimes they have to get a manager to do it though.” (For those of you who have never worked in retail, this is customer speak for, “I know I’m wrong, but I’m gonna keep bitching until somebody caves, and I get my way.”)

Cashier: “Well… yes, you can use more than one coupon, but not the same one for the same thing.”

Woman: “I don’t understand. I’ve used them before when I’ve bought laundry detergent and paper towels…” she proceeds to tell the cashier how to do her job.

Cashier: “Yes, I understand that. But, these coupons are for five dollars off thirty dollars of women’s clothing. If you want to use the other coupon, you would need to purchase an additional $30 worth of clothing.”

I finish unloading my items and look up, unsure of whether the woman is just stupid or trying REALLY hard to save five more dollars.

Oh, GOOD GRIEF! I recognize the lady. She is this B of a soccer mom who regularly pulled this same shit on me and my cashiers when I was working at Sears. Nothing infuriates me more than when a customer gives an entry-level employee a hard time, especially when the customer is so obviously wrong. I can’t count the number of regular assholes that would come into my store and act like complete shit-shows for no apparent reason.

Woman: “But I have two coupons, so I want to use both of them.”

Cashier: “But this is a web coupon, you can only use it for five dollars off thirty dollars of clothing. You would need to purchase another thirty dollars of clothing to use the second five dollar off coupon. Basically, if you want to use both, you need to purchase sixty dollars worth of clothing.”

At this point, I’m still not sure if she truly doesn’t get it, or if she’s just continuing to fight because she’s already balls deep in this battle. This continues between the two of them for another two or three minutes. In the meantime, the cashier has requested the presence of a manager who has yet to arrive…. and I can’t take it anymore…

Me: “If you really believe you should be able to use both of those coupons, why didn’t you print six of them? Then you could use all six and everything would be free.”

I see, for a brief moment, the lightbulb go on in her head… although I’m not sure if it was because she realized the flaw in her logic, or if she was pissed that she didn’t print six coupons. She gives me her best “stink-eye” and says,

“Well, I guess we’ll just see what the manager says,” in the snottiest, snobbiest voice she can muster. Her frustration is mounting, and I’ve clearly provoked her. I pray, and pray, and cross my fingers, hoping the manager will stick it to her.

The manager arrives. She does not appear much more intelligent than the idiot customer. The cashier and manager go back and forth discussing the situation, all while the woman interjects her worthless concerns. As per usual, the manager caves and gives her another five dollars off as a “shut-up” credit. What happens next is the kicker…

She gives me this smug look that says, “I told you so!” and THEN SHE WINKS AT ME! As if to say, “I win!”

It took every ounce of will power I had to not put my clenched fist straight into her throat. Clearly she doesn’t realize I’m capable of pulling off a homicide.

Watch out, you B. I'm coming for you.

Watch out, you B. I’m coming for you.

The B pushes her cart away, as I fantasize about tackling her to the ground, or following her outside and making a different use of the eggs I was purchasing. Instead, I look at the poor cashier and say,

“She owes me five bucks for wasting my time.”

So glad I will never have to deal with this retail bull-shit again.

Happy Humpday… WITHOUT a dryer fire, but potentially with mom jeans

Being it’s Wednesday, I have my weekly date-night/happy hour with “she who shall not be named.” (I’ve been having difficulty coming up with a character name for her that fits as well as Wizard of Oz characters did for my sisters. Any suggestions of high-maintenance, judgemental, bossy females would be appreciated. I’ve considered calling her “The Earl of Sandwich,” as she may become as historic a gambler as he (I have watched her eat at a slot machine before), but I don’t think she’ll want me referring to her as such, as I know she reads this blog).

I had these grand plans of getting up this morning and getting shit done. Shower, vacuum, a few other chores, and intended on posting last night’s dinner recipe (oh boy, is it a good one).

But once I was motivated to get moving (gotta hook the coffee drip up to my veins early so I can meet my caffeine overdose commitment by 10:00 am), I realized I had never moved my laundry from the washer (which had most of my jeans in it, including the pair I intended on wearing today) to the dryer the night before (probably because we all know how I feel about the basement after dark).

So I make my way down the stairs, thinking “I can blog while I wait for this to dry. Just gotta re-prioritize the list of tasks.”

Upon starting the dryer, it makes a “noise.”

I know you’re thinking, “Of course it makes a noise, you frittata. It’s an appliance. WTF?”

But no.

It sounded like I had added a bunch of rock salt or pennies into the thing.

I panic and stop the dryer.

Um. Ok. No pennies. No rock salt. Should I try starting it again? I mean, I really want to wear one of these pairs of jeans. My only other option would be the one pair of “mom” jeans I own, and I certainly can’t wear those tonight.

I start the dryer again. Same noise. I proceed to stand there for a moment and listen. I consider the possibility (because I ALWAYS assume the worst) that if I don’t stick around for a few minutes and make sure things are proceeding normally, the house will burn down due to a dryer fire, and I only have one carrier for two cats, and how am I going to get the animals out of the house and keep them safe? Seriously, this is the shit that goes through my head.

This is my dryer. Yes, it has a gigantic lint pile on top of it. Yes, I realize this would assist in the quick progression of a dryer fire. No, I don't know why neither myself nor my husband have addressed this situation (he says he's going to mold it into a lint bunny rabbit someday).

This is my dryer. Yes, it has a gigantic lint pile on top of it. Yes, I realize this would assist in the quick progression of a dryer fire. No, I don’t know why neither myself nor my husband have addressed this situation (he says he’s going to mold it into a lint bunny rabbit someday).

Then I hear it.

Something different.

What the f*** was that?

A strange “popping” sound comes from across the other end of the basement, in the direction of the Detective Stabler Room (this concept is explained in a previous post).


Dilemma. Dryer fire or white walkers? Which would you choose? Because in my head, at that moment, those were the only two timelines my mind was willing to explore… because there’s obviously something wrong with me.

Just as in a nightmare, I freeze, paralyzed by the insane shit my brain conjures up.

And after about six seconds, the dryer is sounding slightly more normal, which is enough convincing for me to BOLT up the stairs without looking back. Not sure how I’m gonna get my laundry once it’s dry.

To top it off, the local media is doing nothing today other than covering the American Idol auditions taking place a few miles from where I live. Clearly, they don’t screen any of the folks they choose to sing on the morning news. I should have been in the shower and avoided this, but alas I am blogging and hearing the Twin Cities’ finest renditions of whale songs. I can’t believe Idol is still a thing.

So, Hermione (this seems like a better choice than Earl of Sandwich), if I show up wearing my mom jeans tonight, you’ll know why.

How to Successfully Pull Off a Homicide

Like most human beings, I am a creature of habit. We all have routines we follow, and wake up each morning with a certain expectation of how each day will progress.

Except I bring this to an entirely new level.

I am ridiculously methodical about how I plan even the simplest of tasks. Take a trip to the grocery store, for example:

  • Make a list of what I intend to purchase.
Thai Peanut Pork is on the menu tonight.

Thai Peanut Pork is on the menu tonight.

  • Re-write the list in order of my regular path through the store, ensuring there will be no double backing due to a produce item being at the end of the list.
How did donuts end up on the list?

How did donuts end up on here?

  • Plan to leave the house sometime between 9:00 am and noon. Outside of this window I have to compete with morning rush hour traffic and soccer moms who have either just dropped their kids off at school or are running their errands before picking their kids up from school. There’s also the potential for a long line of “Lottery Ticket Ladies”, “Money Order Monsters” (seriously, why don’t you have a checking account?), or “Rug Doctor Renters” at the Service Center. All I want to do is buy a pack of cigarettes before I do my shopping so I don’t have to make a second stop at the gas station and be heckled for money by the riff-raff of St. Paul’s North End. While I realize this time window puts me at the mercy of elderly shoppers who block entire aisles with their carts and don’t hear you saying “excuse me” eight times in a progressively louder and more irritated tone… I have to pick my battles. I’d rather deal with that than being run over in aisle 12 by a soccer mom pushing her cart full speed because she’s already late to pick up the kids and doesn’t have my impeccable planning skills.
  • Make minor adjustments to the previous step if it’s summer and school is not in session. This usually results in an early grocery run to avoid the addition of kids bee-bopping around the store and J-walking across Rice Street.
  • Check to make sure the blow dryer and/or hair straightener are unplugged.
  • Check to make sure the cats have water (I mean, what if I’m in a car accident and no one is home for a few hours?)
  • Check to make sure lights/TV/etc. are off.
  • Check the blow dryer/hair straightener situation a second and potentially third time.
  • Do I have everything I need? (looks in purse, says to self, “phone, smokes, lighter, wallet, keys”).
  • Check the blow dryer again.
  • Leave the house. Make sure no cats are near the door (I have this strange fear of slamming one of their tails in the door).
  • Give the door knob a jiggle and push against the back door to ensure it’s locked.
  • Get in the car, only to immediately get out and check the back door again.
  • Arrive at the grocery store. Fuck. All three of my “usual” spots are occupied by other vehicles. I park one row closer to the store than typical.
  • Consider laying down on the floor and dying, but know that someone has to feed your husband, and muster up the courage press on.
  • Manage to find everything you need in the store without incident.
  • Upon exiting, experience a short panic attack when you do not immediately see your car, silently curse about the punk kids that stole your car, then remember that some bastards parked in your spaces, forcing you to adapt to the circumstances.
  • Arrive home and meticulously put groceries away according to temperature (frozen, refrigerated, pantry… in that order).

Can you imagine what I was like when I was planning a wedding?

In conclusion, don’t cross me. If I can spend this inordinate amount of time planning and adapting for a simple grocery store trip, imagine what I could do if I didn’t like you?

Worm Hat, Denim Chicken

Being yesterday was Father’s Day, Neil and I ventured out to visit both sets of parents.

You never know what to expect with my family. It’s so dysfunctional, conversations can turn on a dime.

During dinner last night, the Tin Man (going forward, to avoid actual names and potential embarrassment, my sisters will be known as The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion) mentions a discovery she made shortly after arriving back in the States..

Me: “The Dentist-Waiter?”

My mom: “Stop. Just stop. Don’t ask. Don’t get him going.”

Tin Man: “Yeah, I found his notes.”

Me: “What do you mean, notes?

Tin Man: “Well, they weren’t exactly full sentences, but I was able to get the idea.” I imagine the Scarecrow and Tin Man snooping around and discovering something like this:

Charlie Kelly's Dream Book from "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia."

Charlie Kelly’s Dream Book from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”

My mom: “Oh my god. Just stop. You don’t want to ask questions.”

Me: “So you’re telling me dad wrote a play called, The Dentist-Waiter?”

My dad finally decides to interject (keep in mind he’s about 8 beers in, as per usual).

Dad: “Have you ever watched Seinfeld?”

I think to myself, “No. Don’t you remember when you put me in cryostasis for all of the 1990’s?”

Me: “Of course I know Seinfeld. Situational comedy. I get it. Did you start watching Curb Your Enthusiasm reruns or something?”

Dad: “No. You know… you always have an appointment when you go to the dentist, but have to wait. It’s like being in a restaurant and having reservations, but you don’t get seated until 20 minutes after the time your reservation was for.”

He then proceeds to quote “one-liners” from his “play,” and describes the receptionist’s dissatisfaction with the unruly patients.

Me: “So the dentist and the waiter are two different people?”

Neil: “Yeah, there was an implied hyphen in there.”

Me: “Exactly, the title gave me the impression this was going to be about a dentist down on his luck who was forced to moonlight as a waiter in the evening to make ends meet.”

Dad: “No, no no…”

Mom: “I told you not to ask.”

Me: “Who’s starring as the lead role? Leonardo DiCaprio?” It’s a known fact that my dad has an unhealthy obsession with Leo. If Titanic, Catch Me If You Can, or Blood Diamond are on TV, you can bet that’s where he’s changed the channel.

Dad (a bit sheepishly): “Maybe.”

Me: “What if he’s not available?”

Dad: “Tom Hanks.”

Neil: “What about Martin Short as The Dentist Waiter”

Me: “Or Danny DeVito?”

Laughter ensues.

We then proceed to discuss the lack of activity my dad’s Facebook account which the Tin Man created a couple years ago on his behalf. At the time, this infuriated my father, who has no idea how technology works and refuses to learn. When he discovered what the Tin Man had done, he threatened to throw her laptop into the bathtub, assuming that if he were able to destroy it, his “SpaceBook***” account would be gone forever.

I hope someday I get to see an episode of The Dentist Waiter.

***SpaceBook: What my dad thinks Facebook is called.

Caillou – Contributing to North American suicide one episode at a time

I left the TV on when I got in the shower yesterday morning. As I’m getting dressed and drying my hair, I overhear this incessant whining coming from the television. One of the cats must have stepped on the remote and changed the channel while I was getting clean; it’s not often I find myself watching PBS.

I emerged from the bathroom to investigate the sounds coming from the living room, and to my horror…


Before my nephew was born, I didn’t even know Caillou existed. I just always assumed Nickleback would be the most loathable product to come out of Canada.

I was wrong.

Oh, I know there are some folks who will argue with me on this one. There is plenty of toddler programming that makes me want to dunk my fingers in my coffee and stick them into an electrical socket. Care to know what it’s like to trip acid on Sesame Street? Go watch Yo Gabba Gabba. Ever wonder what prompts an individual to drive their car off a cliff? You try getting through an entire episode of Teletubbies.

Somebody needs to find an explanation as to why Dora the Explorer is a fluent bi-lingual five-year old, yet she still needs help figuring out which shape is a rectangle.

But Caillou is the only television show that has ever had me considering the purchase of a firearm.

The theme song. I can’t help it. The tune is catchy, regardless of how awful it is. I’ve even caught co-workers with kids humming the annoying melody at times. It gets stuck in your head, and you can’t run from it. Depending on how long this lasts, you may consider checking yourself into an asylum. In addition, the stupid lyrics are something that could only have been created by a group of college kids taking bong hits while eating frosting out of a can.

Let’s not forget his pitifully neglected little sister.

But the whining. The constant whining! I can’t believe parents even let their kids watch this show! I feel as though the message being sent is, if you throw enough tantrums, whine and cry, and give up on life’s simplest tasks, you get by. I once caught an episode in which Caillou loses his shit because his friends aren’t making pizzas the way he wants them made. In another, he attempts learning to play catch with a baseball and a glove. Of course, he misses the first toss and proceeds to contemplate suicide. I bet his parents consider the same when recalling the night the condom broke.

Every episode he says he’s going to “try” or “practice.” But he never actually tries anything. He just pouts and whines until his parents get involved, give him what he wants, and then he’s all happy. There’s usually a lesson at the end of the episode, but it’s overshadowed by everything else going on.

I can’t keep going. I’ve spent way too much time thinking about Caillou already this morning, and now the damn theme song is in my head. “He’s just a kid who’s four, each day he grows some more…”

Excuse me while I take the blow dryer into the bathtub with me…

Late Night Leaky Head

Remember Malcolm in the Middle?

Oh, come on.

You know, that show Bryan Cranston was on before he started cooking up his signature blue crystals?

Yeah, that’s the one.

Every time I have a night like last, it reminds me of this scene (watch the 18 second video. I’m going for impact here, folks):

I have long coveted this ability.

Some nights, sleep just does not come easy. Concerns, worries and anxiety float to the surface, like a hot lava lake bubbling away in the volcano’s cone.

But the volcano never explodes. It just festers, continually threatening the villages below. It never spills over, just presents a constant reminder that it’s here to torture me.

Thanks, volcano brain. Thanks for "brightening" my nights!

Thanks, volcano brain. Thanks for “brightening” my nights!

When I was still working, the worries were generally work related. “Gotta get orientation folders put together first thing in the morning,” or, “I forgot to look up The Dumpster’s vacation balance,” or maybe, “Better respond to The Cylon’s unemployment claim.”

I kept a pad of post-it notes on the night stand so when these things ran through my head, I could write them down. Then, I’d bring the post-its to work the following morning and address my sleepless concerns.

These days, the magma sputters and spits for different reasons.

No, I wasn’t thinking about the demons and White Walkers waiting for me In the Basement, In the Night.

I can’t even remember all of the crap running that ran through my mind. For the first hour of insomnia I dwelled the fact that I love cigarettes need to quit smoking.

Duh. I mean, I’m 31 years old, and have been smoking for almost 13 years. Every smoker knows they should quit. I know the money is costs me (seriously, I’ve done the calculations, and I’m so embarrassed that I won’t even put a dollar figure in this post). I know what it does to my body. I don’t need any more reminders. My volcano takes care of that, thanks.

Then I moved onto my health. After finding out two years ago that I’m BRCA2 positive, I’ve been doing all of the necessary screenings. MRI’s, mammograms, ultra sounds, biopsies, blah blah blah. Reason number 487 that I want to light up need to kick the tobacco. My family history combined with BRCA2+ statistics gives me a 70-80% chance of developing breast cancer in my life (the average woman has a 12% chance of developing the disease in their life time). Clearly I’ve already invited enough shit to this luau.

I’m not trying to elicit sympathy here… just trying to pry open the curtains a bit so you understand what goes on in my head.

These thoughts, this type of thinking, doesn’t go anywhere. Unlike tasks and details that can be addressed the following morning at work, these are issues I can’t just write down and deal with at dawn. And of course, thanks to the distractions provided by “Annaswasteoftimemachine,” I hardly dabble in these thoughts during normal waking hours.

Eventually, I got out of bed. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t. I grabbed a drink of water, went outside and had a smoke, in an effort to get my mind out of the infinite loop it was stuck in. If I have to get up, it’s because the volcano has transformed into a hamster. He (yeah, it’s a dude hamster I guess) keeps picking up speed until he loses his footing…

This is my brain once I've passed "volcano" stage.

This is my brain once I’ve passed “volcano” stage.

And when he falls off his wheel, I can finally get some sleep.

My conclusion? While I realize there are many folks who already have one, I propose the next step in human evolution be an “off-switch” for brains.

I Googled myself, and apparently I’m dating Khan?

One of the tasks I’ve been encouraged to complete during my job search/career change is to Google myself. This book I’ve been reading stresses that “Google is your new resume.”

So this morning, I did just that.

I Googled myself.

I too, was interested in what potential employers may discover about me. It’s not as though I believe there’s an inordinate amount of embarrassing or detrimental material on the internet regarding me… but most people have a couple of college nights they don’t remember, a Facebook photo that they probably shouldn’t have allowed to be uploaded, or a poorly worded Tweet that makes them sound like a complete frittata.

Well, I dodged all of those bullets. Whew. But I did turn up ONE interesting result… initially.

  • There’s a furniture and jewelry designer in London named Anna James as well. (Boring)
  • A woman in Texas who shares my designation is part of the USA diving team. (Meh, but better than the designer)
  • There’s also a journalist in Sydney, Australia, that I could possibly be confused with. (Still boring)

There were a slew of other ladies out there bearing my title, with equally boring facts to list as those above.



Ignore the woman in this image.

Ignore the woman in this image.


Do you know who this is?! No, not the pretty lady… the gentleman posing with her!


Please read this in your head so loudly that it echoes in space.

Or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the original Star Trek movies,

It's not the same, but Star Trek does love to dabble in alternate reality scenarios.

It’s not the same, but it’ll do.

If you still need further explanation (and shame on you if you do), Benedict Cumberbatch is the actor who played Khan in the most recent addition to the Star Trek franchise.

“Cool.” I think to myself. Some chick with my name dated Khan. The bona fide nerd in me is secretly jumping up and down like an eight year old who actually got a pony for her birthday.

But then I discovered, as per usual, you can’t believe everything you read on the web. A bunch of frittatas out there incorrectly named his now ex-girlfriend Anna James, when in fact, her name is Anna Jones. No more Star Trek ex-boyfriend for me. I am now the eight year old who asked for a pony, but whose parents instead rented a donkey for birthday party rides assuming that would equally suffice.

Back to boring.

So then I Googled my maiden name.

At least this time it turned up my Facebook page. Other than that, nothing incriminating or interesting. Just my Macy’s wedding registry from two years ago and a page indicating where and when I graduated high school. Most links after the first page turned up results on Nietzche, and I ceased browsing beyond that.

The whole point of this exercise was to determine what might be out there that could deter employers from hiring you. Basically, find it before they do so you have an adequate response prepared, should they ask.

Guess I don’t have to worry too much, or hope “The Right to be Forgotten” becomes law in the United States.


I know what waits for me in the basement… in the night.

Everyone has a skill in which they’re particularly savvy. Some talents are more impressive than others.

Take this guy, for example:



Or this gentleman, who clearly has a lot of time on his hands,

If this dude has this steady a hand, he shoulda put it to good use and become a surgeon.

If this dude has this steady a hand, he shoulda put it to good use and become a surgeon.

Based on many happy hour conversations, my girlfriend, Beau, is a master mouse clicker,


Some skills aren’t as useful as others. So what is this girl’s contribution to the world during her time on planet Earth?

You might think cooking or baking based on previous posts, “master of wasting time” may have crossed your mind…

But no.

In my 31 years of life, I’ve become proficient in the art of worry/paranoia/OCD.


  • I will check AT LEAST three times to ensure I’ve unplugged the blow dryer and/or hair straightener prior to leaving the house.
  • I will jiggle the door knob and push on the door multiple times to ensure it is locked. In addition, if my husband and I leave the house together, and he is the one locking the door, I will watch to make sure he does a knob jiggle and push before we get in the car.
  • I run up the basement stairs after dark to ensure any zombies, spirits, demons or white walkers don’t have a chance to “get me.”
  • My feet can’t hang off the end or edge of the bed at night. Ever since I watched Paranormal Activity, I think about an invisible presence grabbing my ankles and dragging me down the basement stairs into the “Detective Stabler Room.**”

Last night, B-Bones woke me up at 3:00 am. You can’t just shoo this cat away. He is a persistent little monster, and if he wants to be snuggled and petted at odd hours of the night, he will give up at nothing.




He then grabs my hair with his teeth and starts pulling. If that doesn’t work, he’ll start nibbling on my arms or face, and progress to full on biting if I’m in a really deep sleep.

I get up, use the bathroom, go outside to have a smoke, then crawl back in bed.

3:15 am: “meow.” “Meow….” (hair pulling begins). I start to pet B-Bones and he lays down on the bed . I begin to doze back off.

3:25 am: “meow” (arm biting begins). I roll over onto my back, and let him crawl up on my chest. He lays down, and acts all extra adorable.

3:30 am: Now I’m almost fully awake. My brain starts leaking, as it often does if I’m having trouble falling asleep. It’s like my mind gets stuck on “infinite loop,” and I start sifting through all of items on my to-do list, like a revolving door that goes nowhere,

This went on for over an hour last night.

This went on for over an hour last night.


3:45am: I’m not sure why I never do this sooner, but I finally throw B-Bones out of the bedroom and shut the door. Like most nights, he opens a chapter of The Sad Cat Diary and proceeds to spend the next fifteen minutes singing the song of his people, as per protocol.

4:05am: OMG. What was that? I hear a noise outside of the bedroom. B-Bones has ceased body slamming the door and howling.

Should I get up?

Maybe I should go check.

But what if it’s an intruder? Or worse, what if it’s one of those things that I’m afraid of in the basement? I reconsider thoughts from previous nights like this, and tell myself that this time I will put a knife in the nightstand come morning. Well, that OR I’ll get my hands on some dragon glass.

4:10am: Ok. THAT was a noise. It sounded like glass breaking. A parade of fire trucks and marching bands could come through our bedroom, and my husband still wouldn’t stir from his slumber.

I get up.

Of course it’s B-Bones. He’s hovering over a case of beer bottles waiting to be recycled. And then I see it. I see what all of the commotion is about.

THERE, AMONGST THE BEER BOTTLES, IS A SPIDER… THE SIZE OF A PANCAKE. He and B-Bones are playing a little game in the maze of bottles.

I put on my brave face, grab a magazine off the table, and go postal on this thing.

B-Bones is displeased. I, however, have just conquered the Godzilla of spiders.

4:30 am: “Zzzzzzz.”


**The “Detective Stabler Room” is an area of my basement cut outside of the foundation. It’s about 4x4x5 feet, and has dirt walls, floor and ceiling. I think it’s supposed to be a root cellar, but who knows? I wouldn’t go in there… even if a tornado were coming straight for me. Pretty sure that’s where the stuff I’m afraid of in the basement waits for me.


Smashed car mirrors and how to NOT make croissants, because I’m lazy-ish.

So on Sunday morning, Neil discovered that the driver’s side mirror on his ambulance dented Camry (yeah, he hit an ambulance once. That’s a story for another day) was busted. My immediate response,

“Punk kids.”

He was convinced otherwise, as no other vehicles parked on the street appeared to have suffered any damage. I guess it was pretty stormy on Saturday night, so it’s possible that it wasn’t the scum of the North End, but I’m still not so sure. I quickly remind him that driving without a driver’s side mirror is technically illegal. Good thing he drives up to the park & ride and then takes the express bus into downtown Minneapolis. Less chance for the donut monsters cops to discover his crimes.

As I’m making coffee this morning…

Neil: “I think I’m gonna try to fix the mirror myself. I looked online and the part I need is only $20 bucks, but the dealership is gonna charge me $200 plus labor.”

In my head I’m thinking, “Sure. Whatevs.” I was super tired still and the coffee was still brewing.

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

Neil: “But it’s going to require me to take the trim off the door, and buy a couple of specialized tools.”


Now, my husband is arguably the smartest person I know… and I’m not saying that because I’m an awesome wife who has no job and doesn’t do shit all day. He’s actually a highly intelligent individual.

But he is not a “handy man.”

I’ll give credit where credit is due. The last time we had a car issue was this past January. I neglected to heed any warnings the meteorologists were preaching, and when the temperature dropped to -23 degrees (no, that’s not a typo, that’s a “negative” sign in front of that number), and my battery was 7+ years old…

Guess what?

My car wouldn’t start.

I had also parked in such a fashion that trying to jump start it wasn’t an option.

So I got a ride to work, bought a new battery, and after work Neil came home to help me swap it out.

Except it gets dark at 5:00pm in the Twin Cities in mid January. And it was about -17 degrees when Neil got home from work at 6:30.

It ultimately took us an hour and a half to complete this task. We’d never done this before, and it was difficult to maneuver little nuts and bolts with heavy gloves on in the middle of winter-pocalypse. Plus, we had to go inside and warm up every 10 minutes or so because it was so unbelievably cold out (I think the wind chill made it feel like -45 that day) my toes were tingling.

I just can’t see this going well. I did express my concerns about him attempting this task,

“Please don’t fuck up your car worse than it already is.”

But I’m still not sure if he’s going to do this himself, or let a professional handle it.


As for yesterday’s croissant debacle….

Do you realize how many steps there are in preparing these? I kept taking pictures as I was making them, but it became frustrating, and the thought of adding all of these photos to a blog post in the morning with descriptions of how to made something that takes a minimum of ten hours…. it just seemed too daunting. So I kinda gave up 3/4 of the way through. They turned out alright, but the room temperature was definitely a factor. I don’t think I’ll be making these again in the summer time. I never did take a photo of the final product, but here’s a couple shots of them being made,

20140602_074618 20140602_110913 20140602_111019 20140602_111108 20140602_120615 20140602_121257 20140602_121529 20140602_181809

Maybe I’ll eventually post the recipe, but don’t hold your breath.