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Showing posts from December, 2011

Thoughts On A "New" Year

As I was getting dressed today in my New Year's Eve garb (think lots of sparkly jewelry) I was pondering how we think of tomorrow as a brand new start. We use the day as an excuse to end the year eating and drinking and carousing and promise ourselves we'll behave differently come January 1.

January 1 is the day we'll start dieting and exercising. It's the day we say we'll stop using our credit cards. It's the day that we promise ourselves that we'll be kinder and gentler to others and ourselves.

It's almost like magic. One tick of the clock and we're all new! In reality, it's the day we say we're going to do all of those things but probably won't. At least not for long. Then, we kind of give up until the next year when we make the same resolutions again.

In fact, it's just another day. There's no magic inherently in it.

The magic is in us. We can make any day the beginning of a new year.

Maybe it's April 15 when you pay your…

My Proper Crusade

My aversion to the discussion and display of bodily functions is well known. Burping, farting, peeing and pooping are all things that should be done discreetly and never discussed. I don’t even like to say or hear the words. Ick.

The exception is when you warn people to stay out of the Goat Gas Zone but that’s it.

On my first trip to Calgary, I noticed that the public signs say Washroom instead of Bathroom or Restroom. (Don’t get me started on the horrid signs that say Toilet. That’s a picture you don’t want in your head.)

It’s not like you actually take a bath while you’re using public facilities. Nor, should you be resting. In, do your business, wash your hands then get out. That’s the ticket.

The key is washing so Washroom is perfectly named. Regardless of what you do in there, you should always wash afterwards.

I’ve gone on a personal crusade to get everyone to say Washroom. I figure if I start with my friends who are spread about the country, they can then influence their friends and …

Kathy - Zero, Sauce - Two

Here’s to hoping I’m less of a loser in 2012...

So, I improvised dinner last night. I had some organic sunburst squash to use and researched recipes online. One person had some recipes but said they pretty much hated the taste of the squash because it’s bitter. I decided what better way to hide that then by cooking it up with hot Italian sausage (my new fave food item).

I browned the sausage with some onions then tossed in the squash. It looked a little dry so I poured in about a third of a jar of organic Marinara sauce. It actually tasted pretty dang good.

The trouble started when I decided to eat in front of the TV. I was sitting in my chair with the plate on my lap when I tried to cut one of the squash pieces in half with my fork.

The piece of squash, several pieces of sausage and a lot of sauce went flinging off my plate and splattered all over my leg, my chair and the carpet. Godsdammit.

Yeah, I had flashbacks to the ruination of my favorite white tee-shirt when that batch of spaghet…

Book Review - A Short History of Private Life

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At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this as our book club selection and chose poorly. It's not a book club book at all. (I've since picked a different one.)

What this book is, is a rather dense history lesson mostly centered in the 1800s. Bryson uses his home, a former parsonage built in England in 1851, as the way to tie in a ton of research. The book is a little over 400 pages long and the references are 20 pages long. That's an incredible amount of detail and research.

It was actually quite interesting and I learned a lot. I don't know how much I'll retain, though, because so much was covered.

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Fantasy Football - Champion Game

To recap, I was playing for 3rd versus 4th in both of my leagues. Steven was last place in our club league but playing for the Championship in his other league.

It was a very stressful Christmas Eve. We were constantly checking our scores and, well, let's just say that I was coming out much better than Steven was. He finally removed himself to his room to watch and mope and we would periodically hear profanity coming down the hall.

It didn't help that he and his buddy had a side bet on their game. The loser had to pay the winner a dollar for the point difference in their scores. They capped it at $50 which was good because I think he may have lost by more than that.

My two games were much more competitive. The club game came down to a win for my by a score of 71-68. I swear we decided to pay out a pittance to third and fourth but apparently, not so. We're paying out first, second, last and high total season points. I must have missed all of that while I was playing bartend…

Wrapping Up The Holidays

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I just put away the wrapping paper, bows, tissue paper, gift tags and bags, boxes and ribbons from my Christmas present wrapping. Dang, I feel like there's more now then when I started. Probably because there was.

Damn Costco. One would think I would learn by now but one would be wrong. It's hard to get rid of habits that are years in the making.

Here's what started it all. Sugar Daddy and I would go to Costco early in December and buy industrial size packages of tissue paper, wrapping paper, bows and gift cards. Sometimes, we even agreed to split some of it up. Because, who really needs 500 sheets of tissue paper?

We ended up with beautifully wrapped gifts which was good. We also ended up with a lot of leftover wrapping material which was bad.

Bad, because we would go to Costco the next year and buy almost all the same stuff again. Were we smart enough to pull the leftovers out and evaluate them before going to Costco? Of course not. So, it turned into a "I think I n…

Not Your "Normal" Holiday Person

When it comes around to this time of the year, people often survey about favorite Christmas things. Well, Christians survey about your favorite Christmas things. Others will ask about your favorite holiday things but that's only because they're sensitive to the fact that not everyone is a Christian. Yes, that's a horse I will continue to beat.
I think my answers to the surveys put me in a small minority.

My favorite Christmas movie? Die Hard. Because nothing says the holidays like murder, mayhem and someone saying "Yippee ki-yay, motherfucka." I truly love that movie. Willis at his finest. Alan Rickman at his sleaziest and, oh, how I love him in everything he's ever done. The sequels will never match up to the original. I was once asked what movie I would take to a desert island (assuming it could be endlessly played) and that was my choice.
My favorite Christmas song? Baby, It's Cold Outside. In its time, it was about some sly seduction. Now, we can'…

Phred's Phabulous Sweater

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I've told the story about our club mascot, Phred, being kidnapped while we were in Florida and kept in Iowa. While he was treated royally, we're glad his captivity is soon to be over. Thom headed back to visit his family in Iowa for the holidays and made a trip to Ankeny to retrieve Phred.

Oh, and to go to Dawnie's fab Festivus party, too.

It's pretty traditional (if Festivus can count as a tradition). Airing of the grievances, feats of strength and an ugly sweater contest are all standard. I suspect a lot of alcohol is consumed as well.

Since Phred has a pretty cushy life and has no actual muscles or bones to help in the strength department, his only chance to participate was in the sweater category. He actually has several outfits already but none are ugly.

Until I stepped in and decided to make him a sweater. I used an old vest as a model and headed off to Michael's to buy supplies. I let the materials that I found design the final product.

Of course, I had help…

Ugh, Holiday Stress

I had two presents left to get for Christmas. Both were available at Tempe Market Place. I pulled out of my complex on the McClintock and promptly got stuck behind a bus. That was stuck behind a gazillion cars going in to the shopping center.

It was insane!

I decided to go in one the entrances off of Rio Salado. The first one was backed up to McClintock, the second wasn't much better and, by the time I got to the third, I had no stomach for it. I decided to head up to Best Buy at Pavilions instead for the one gift. Yes, it was several miles away but I knew I could get in there without any worries.

One slight problem with that plan, though. The Best Buy at Pavilions is closed.

Sonova...at least I enjoyed the spin in my bitching new car but it was a bad day to forget to take my high blood pressure meds. (Which I'm now swallowing with wine. That works, right?)

I ended up at Wal-Mart where I really try not to shop but I knew they would have the gift I wanted. Sometimes, you have t…

Book Review - Heat Rises

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Heat Rises by Richard Castle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nikki is intent on finding the killer of a Priest when things go all to hell. Her Captain Montrose is acting strangely and blocking her investigation. There are numerous attempts on her life. To top it off, she get suspended. It's up to Nikki and Rook (with a little help from their friends) to find the killer and wrap up an ever expanding conspiracy.

These are really fun books that fictionalize the already fictional characters from Castle. Very entertaining!

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Book Pressure

I love reading. And, I like all sorts of stuff which makes it easy to find something to read.

Until it's time for me to host book club and pick something for the group. Then, I have no clue what to choose.

The pressure is incredible. You really don't want to be the one who picks a bad book. We don't forget and we don't let the book chooser forget. Just ask Anna about how many times we've thrown The Mystic Masseur back at her. And, I can't even count how many times I've slammed that stupid telepathic gorilla from Ishmael.

I volunteered at the beginning of this month to host the January book club and promised to send out my book selection ASAP. I completely forgot for a week or so then put it on my mental to-do list every day once I remembered. I think it was fear that kept me from actually following through and picking one, though.

Jen sent a polite email today saying, in effect, "Did I miss the email about our next book?" I immediately confessed t…

Kitten Days Revisited

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When I first got George, her birth Mommy's owner sent her home with what I call a crackle ball. It looked like a tin foil ball and it made a cracking sound when you squished it.

We used to play fetch with it every day. I would throw it, she would bat it around then carry it back to me. Repeat, repeat. When I woke up in the morning, she would bring it up on the bed and we started our day by playing fetch.

At some point, all of the crackle balls disappeared and the fetch game stopped. Until tonight.

I bought her a cat stocking at PetSmart this past weekend. 25 toys for something like $3.99. Cheap! As she bugged the crap out of me while I was trying to address my holiday cards on Sunday, I doled out a few toys. She paid a minimal amount of attention to them until tonight when one struck her fancy. (I was still working on cards and not paying attention to her. Coincidence? I think not.)

It was another ball, this one with glittery threads on it. She carried it over and dropped it at my…

Fantasy Football - Playoffs Week 2

Of all the weeks to go up against Drew Brees (5 TDs) and Reggie Bush (career high day of 203 yards), my opponents in both of my leagues had them starting. Needless to say, I did not come out on top. Dang. (I actually said much worse than dang at the time but I've calmed down. A lot.)

Oh, well. Time to play for 3rd and 4th. I’m consoling myself that I’m in the money so I can at least get back some of my entry fees. And, in case you were wondering, I very much want to end up in 3rd rather than 4th, especially in my work league.

Pick ‘Em was bad for everyone with all of the upsets. I’m still in 3rd in the club group and 4th in the work one but too far behind in the latter to get to 3rd and in the money. That’s a bummer since I was in the top two through the middle of the season.

Oh, well. One week to go then I can move on to the stress of following the Packers through the playoffs. We picked a bad time to start falling apart. I was really confident of our return to the Super Bowl all se…

Doubled Up - Twice

It was a good night at Chick Poker for me. I turned my $20 into $41 and change. Always a good feeling.

The better feeling came from our annual holiday donation. We've collected money in December each year  for a while now and collectively donate it to an agreed upon charity. This year, we decided to give it to Season for Sharing which is run by The Arizona Republic and 12 News (a local radio station). The double up is that Gannett matches all donations up to $400,000.

If you're looking for an organization to donate to this holiday season, I suggest checking it out.

Here's the scoop on Season for Sharing from azcentral.com:

We'll Increase Your Donation.
You Increase Their Potential.


Season for Sharing is The Arizona Republic and 12 News' annual holiday fund-raising campaign. Through an eight-week news, editorial, direct mail and ad campaign, readers and viewers are encouraged to donate to the Season for Sharing fund to help human service agencies in Arizona.

Donations a…

Statement Of The Obvious

I had crack for lunch today. Which everyone should know is Panda Express Orange Chicken. Man, that stuff is good and when you have a craving for it, there's no satisfying it except to get that completely unhealthy but yummy food.

Here was my fortune cookie:  A LONG TIME ADMIRER THINKS HIGHLY OF YOU.

Well, that was insightful. I mean, I worry that my long time admirers don't think well of me. Well, wait, no, I don't worry about that. They're admirers, of course they think highly of me.

Update: THINKS, not THINGS. Doh!

A Holiday Tradition

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My Chick Poker group formed out of a few of us working at Bookstar many years ago. I have so many fond memories of that time and feel fortunate to still be in touch with several co-workers.

One tradition that has carried on, and changed as the members of Chick Poker have, is our annual ornament exchange. Everyone buys an ornament and it's a random assignment of which one you get (they're all wrapped).

It sort of started out with a mixture of funny and nice. And, if you could get a combination of the two, it was a bonus. One year, Chris got this sparkly pear that had a face, arms and legs attached. It was hideous. She actually had it on her tree (in the back) for years until one of her dogs ate it. I also recall a snowman made out of a toilet tissue cardboard that was surprisingly nice. Oh, and there was also the sock monkey, the pickle and the elephant that blew bubbles.

This year found us with the absolutely creepiest, most disturbing ornament ever. Angela bought it and finag…

Holiday Happiness

I finally had the time to go through all of my mail that's been overflowing my dining room table. The bills I could have done without but the holiday cards were awesome.

I'm all about the cards and newsletters (I wish everyone did one) and the photos. I put the latter up on my fridge but it's getting so crowded (and I don't have enough magnets) that I've had to replace pictures from last year with the new ones from this year.

Hey, your kids are really getting big!

Holiday (yeah, I know, I'm not saying Christmas because not everyone is a Christian but I think everyone likes cards and we do have New Year's which I think most people can get behind as a holiday) cards are great fun to me. I love seeing all the different styles and sentiments. And, their arrival really helps to get me in the holiday spirit.

I'm a freak about my own cards as I buy four or five different types each year then match them to the people I'm sending them to. My recipient list h…

One Of Those Days

If it’s not one thing, it’s another...

I tried to get in to work a little early today. Tried being the operative word. There was an accident somewhere on the 202 and it took me nearly a half hour to get to Priest from McClintock so I could jump on to Washington and take the surface streets to the office. My usual 11-15 minute commute took me 45.

Then, I stopped by the ATM at lunch to get cash for tonight. I opened my wallet and, motherbitches, realized that my debit card was in the back pocket of the jeans I wore last night. I filled my gas tank before going home and didn’t put the card away.

My 1 PM meeting was across the street and I needed my badge to get in to the gate. At least I realized that I didn’t have the badge with me before I crossed the street but I had to hike back to get my purse so I could get my badge out of my car. I’ve already gotten used to the remote entry so it didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t work without the key at least in my pocket. By the time I got there, …

Saint Lucia Day

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Our Croatian friends invited us over to celebrate Saint Lucia's Feast Day today. I confess that, really horrible former Catholic that I am, I had no idea who Saint Lucia was.
Reading Wikipedia's story about her, I have to say "Poor thing!"
What our friends told us was that today was the planting of the wheat. Apparently, you take some wheat seed, put it in a bowl and keep it lightly watered until Christmas day where it becomes your centerpiece for the table. If your wheat grows thick and strong, you're going to have a good year. 

They gave us each a bowl, some cotton balls and a bag of wheat seed. I tasted one of the seeds, BTW, and you wouldn't want to eat those. You shred up the cotton bowls so they'll store the water and put them at the bottom of the bowl, spread the seed on top then wet all of it.

I've got mine safely at home and will do my best to water it. I fear that if it does grow, George will eat it so I will lack a decent centerpiece.

The …

Fantasy Football - Playoff Week One

Whoohoo! I'm a big winner!

Thanks to a 37 point week from Maurice Jones-Drew (I love that little guy so much), I bested my opponent in the club league by a score of 117-92. I was playing Crash's son Matt who drafted Aaron Rodgers with the first pick. Fortunately for me, the Packers scored a boatload of points this week but Aaron's points were only so-so.

I haven't heard Matt's reaction to the game yet but he's got to be bummed that his 10-3 team lost to my 7-5-1 team. It's just like the NFL, on any given day any team can beat another.

I'm on to play my friend Eileen in the next round. She's got a stellar team and finished first in our division.  I have to hope that Drew Brees takes it easy next week or I can get in a deep hole, fast.

I was talking to two of my buddies in the work league last week and I wasn't very optimistic with my chances. My opponent was projected to score over 150 points and I think I was somewhere less than 110. I think the…

Yes, This Is One Of My Best Friends...

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...so I got that going for me.

I'm thinking of starting a new blog called "Crash Stories" where we can all post tales about our friend who just does stuff that makes you shake your head. Her friend, Patti, calls her FTW for Frakking Train Wreck and it fits. As Crash and I have discussed, it's a good thing she's so likable.

Last weekend, Crash and I hatched a plan for the Arizona Parrot Head Club Holiday party that was last night. She was going to work during the day and I was going to meet her at her house at 4 PM so we could drive together to the BOD meeting before the party and she would be my DD as I would then stay the night at her house.

I got to her house right at 4, unloaded all of my crap and walked to her front door. Where, I knocked. And, knocked again. And, once more for the hell of it. I pulled out my phone and called her and it went to voice mail. I then sent her a text asking where she was. One more call to her phone for good measure went unanswered…

Merry Christmas To Me!

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I just spent more money on a car than I ever have in my life. And, I'm not even sad about it. But, I will be poor.
My 2004 Sonata was at 98,000 miles and needed new tires and some front squeaky stuff fixed. The squeaky stuff was going to be several hundred dollars, the tires the same and I was going to have to do several 100,000 mile services soon.
It all came to a head when I was getting the oil changed two weeks ago. As the tech was showing me the upcoming services, I started thinking it was time for a new car. Then, one of the guys said I had a piece of metal in one of my tires so I headed off to Discount Tire in the hopes they could repair it.
They could, and did, repair it but they said I needed all new tires and showed me how low the treads were. I said, "How long will they last because I just decided to trade this in and I'm going to do it this month." The dude looked at me like I was crazy because one of the tires was totally cracked on the sidewall and you …

Book Review - Spell Bound

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Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gosh, we're really up to 12 books in this series? They've been fun reading.

This one, like the last, focuses on the young witch, Savannah. Her unspoken thought to give up her powers if a family could be reunited is heard and acted on by another. Without her magic, she's left to investigating a group of supernaturals that want to come out of hiding and look to have nefarious plans in doing so.

We've seen Savannah grow up in these books and she's a fun, tough but annoyingly stubborn character. She and Adam (the guy she's been in love with since she was 12) are a great team with their constant teasing, drinking and adventures. Those two crazy kids should get together.

The ending is set up to lead right to the next book as there's a battle of supernaturals brewing. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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New Dish For The Rotation

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I get a box of organic fruits and vegetables delivered to my house every two weeks. There's always some sort of green (chard, kale, collard, etc.). I discovered early on that whatever green you get, it tastes good cooked with bacon, onion and garlic so that's what I always do. The exception is mustard greens. I have no idea how to make those taste good. They taste like dirty weeds to me.

As I was watching Chopped's Lunch Ladies episode, I saw a new way to prepare greens. One of the ladies does Pasta Monday at her school because pasta is an inexpensive way to provide a very filling dish and some of her students don't get a lot to eat over the weekend. She had collard greens to work with and she sliced them into thin strips, added a bunch of other stuff and tossed in pasta. It looked delicious and the judges really liked it.

So, I picked up some penne at the store and waited for my next delivery. It came yesterday and included was green chard. I was good to go.

I cooked …

The Fictional Donald Story

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This is a story about Fictional Donald. Yes, that's his official name because I declared it to be so.

We have to start the story many years ago. My friend Russ would tell me how I needed to meet his old college buddy, Donald, because we would totally hit it off. My response was always, "So, when is Donald coming out to visit?" Because, allegedly, Donald lived in Texas. I say allegedly because Russ would say, "Oh, he's coming this year." And, the year would pass with no signs of Donald.

I began to have my doubts about this Donald dude so I started referring to him as Fictional Donald. Russ did his best to convince me he was real. He showed me old school pictures, tried to call Fictional Donald from Mexico one year (alcohol was involved) and finally got a hold of him one New Year's Eve.

We were at Crime Dog and Vivian's house when Russ handed me the phone and said, "This is Donald." I said into the phone, "So, you're some guy that R…

Do We Look Like Singers?

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A few of us went up to Lake Havasu for the weekend to see the boat parade (lighted boats going down the river - pretty!).

Everyone but me brought their Santa hats to wear for the weekend. Crash loaned me hers on Friday and she wore her Buckeye hat instead so we were all decked out.

I can't tell you how many times someone asked us to either sing a song or asked if we were caroling. It was a bunch.

In my gang, it's not unusual for people to wear their Santa hats frequently in December. I think Goat and Queen wear their hats every time they go out. And, they seemed very appropriate for the holiday boat parade.




Come on, doesn't everyone dress this way?

But, Bacon Is Always Supposed To Be Good!

I never thought I’d say this but it appears some things are better without bacon. I know, it’s near blasphemy.

The Rocket Scientist and I went to D&B for Monday Night Football last night. It was bitterly cold (for us Phoenicians) and I didn’t have a jacket on. My heavy sweater wasn’t enough to combat the elements so I was pretty chilled by the time I got inside.

Since they took my favorite item off the menu (pulled pork sliders), I always have to peruse the entire menu since I can’t find a new favorite. (#firstworldproblems) The Mac and Cheese seemed like a great choice in both warming and comfort food.

Here’s the official description:

Grilled seasoned chicken breast and applewood smoked bacon tossed with Cavatappi pasta and a creamy aged sharp cheddar cheese sauce. Topped with a garlic breadcrumb crust and baked until brown and bubbly.

Sounds yummy, no?

I got it and started eating but was soon more picking at it. The cheese sauce was good but I lost interest about half way through. Of…

You Can't Let Down Your Guard With a Demon

Brrr, it’s really cold here. Last week was much nicer. So much so that I left the front door open in the morning while I was eating breakfast to get some fresh air in the house.

On Wednesday morning, I was calmly eating my cereal at the dining room table when some people had the absolute nerve to hang out in the common area across my sidewalk and talk to each other. George was in an uproar! That’s clearly not appropriate behavior in her world.

She jumped up on the table (I’ve given up trying to keep her off, yes, she’s the owner and I’m the slave) so she could peer out the door and growl. Not very loudly, of course. They might have a chance of hearing her then.

I got up to get something out of my bedroom and, when I came back, she was whisker deep into the cereal bowl and enjoying every lap of milk.

I just had to laugh. What a dope! She was sitting right there and I just left my breakfast unprotected. I deserved to lose some of it for stupidity alone.

For the record, she did get shooed off…

Fantasy Football - Week 13

This was the last week of the regular season in both of my fantasy leagues.

I was ahead by 2 points in the club league going into last night's game. I just needed Maurice Jones-Drew to not lose any points. I shouldn't have worried. The dude was on fire and ended up with 24 points. I also got Chris Johnson to give me 27 points. I guess he's decided to play now.

Now, it's on to the playoffs! I squeaked in to the last playoff spot and I'm up against the number three seed who happens to be Crash's son. And, who has Aaron Rodgers. That will be an ulcer inducing matchup.

In the work league, I went into last night's game with a 20+ point lead and my opponent only had Rivers going. Based on his inconsistency, I thought I had a chance. It turned out to be no chance at all. He lit it up and had me beat at the beginning of the third quarter.

I finished in 3rd place and go up against the 6th place team in the first round of the playoffs. While I would love to win out i…

Always Keep Them Guessing

Our dress code at work is very relaxed. I spend the warm months in capri pants, sandals and somewhat nice blouses or shirts. I do sneak in the occasional t-shirt but not one with writing. Winter finds me in jeans, leather shoes or Sketchers and sweaters.

Today, I came in wearing a nice sweater, a wool herringbone skirt, tights and dress shoes. Eyebrows were raised.

I ran into our VP in the hallway and he was wearing dress slacks and shoes and a long sleeved button down shirt. Since he’s usually a casual dresser like me, it warranted a “Hey, we’re both dressed up today.” comment from me.

His response was, “I’ll tell you why I’m dressed if you tell me why you’re dressed up.” I gave him a non-verbal go ahead and he told me that he and a couple others were going to a local hospital to try to get a sales deal from them.

I didn’t tell him why I was dressed up.

Most of my co-workers commented on my attire and the comments ranged from “you like nice” to “I’ve never seen you in a skirt.” But, you c…