Friday, December 30, 2005

The Room Monitor

Sounds like something Sally would write about in her daughter's school, but it's not. The room monitor I'm talking about is a previously unknown feature on my answering machine.

Now that I'm working again, I occasionally check my answering machine throughout the day. The other day I listened to the prompts all the way to the end and I heard "For room monitor, press 9 - 1." So I did. And listened to the sound of the kitchen clock ticking. And I could tell it was raining. I got such a kick out of it that I called again yesterday, and I could hear a truck backing up in the street - "beep! beep! beep!"

It's the little things that make me giggle.

Doing a rare post On Company Time here while I upload the inventory list to the web. I am now officially responsible for this on a daily basis. w00t! Meant to do an audio post of one of Brian's poems earlier in the week, but I haven't gotten around to it - I'll try from home later tonight, 'k? I need to do some last minute shopping for a New Year's Eve party tomorrow. I'm all ready (what with the multiple tiaras and long white gloves and such) but The Man needs a new pair of pants.

Personally, I prefer him without pants, but it kinda freaks the neighbors out.

Monday, December 26, 2005

It's The Thought That Counts

And here I thought I'd done so well.

I'm clearing off my desk and I came across a scrap of paper with The Man's shoe size written on it. He had specifically asked for a certain type of boot for Christmas, and I made a specific effort to get said boot when I went outlet shopping before Thanksgiving. I looked at the size and I was almost certain that I had purchased the wrong size. Called The Man and yes, in fact, I did get a size 10 when he is a size 10 1/2. Of course he didn't mention this when he opened the gift.

"Don't worry," he says, "sometimes a 10 will fit."

"Well, have you tried them on?"

"No, not yet."

"Could you try them on, because if they don't fit, we'll need to exchange them."

"Yeah, I will - really it's no big deal, don't worry about it."

It is a big deal. I bought them over a month ago at the friggin' outlets - I will have to drive 2 1/2 hours each way to exchange these boots. Mostly I'm just upset at myself because it was an avoidable error. I don't know why I'm so sloppy lately ... I'm just so scattered and I have bits and pieces of my life all over the place. It's not like me. I'm usually so organized and collected. I've lost my edge.

Update: The Man just called back. I didn't fuck up after all - I bought size 10 1/2 and they fit perfectly. Phew. But I still feel discombobulated.

Friday, December 23, 2005

This Has Got To Stop!

I just got my credit card bill, and once again it's four digits - this has got to stop!

Of course, it does have the charges from the cruise ($400) and a few Christmas gifts (including one particularly large one for The Man) and even the charges for Thanksgiving dinner (thanks again, Boston Market!) so all things considered, it's actually a reasonable bill.

But still.

Even though I'm now gainfully employed, I'll be lucky if I bring home $1,700/month. Just my rent, car payment, cable, phone, utilities and gas for Trucklet will run me $1,500/month and I haven't even bought food yet. I am going to be like everyone else - living paycheck to paycheck.

I'll make it. It will be fine. It's just ... different. It's been a long time since I've had to watch my expenses. But as they say, the best things in life are free, so Merry Christmas to all - I wish you much health, happiness and success.

Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sounds of the Season

I'm a little bit behind the times.

I was on vacation Nov 26 - Dec 8, so I didn't get to do as much decorating as I usually do. I just started addressing my Christmas cards last night. And I haven't done any baking.

But I'm not totally without Christmas spirit. Last night, carolers came to my door, and this morning I heard "Dominick the Christmas Donkey" on the radio (you can download it and other songs here).

And how is your day going?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

No Deal

What's the deal with Howie Mandel and this new prime-time game show, "Deal or No Deal?" Since when is Howie stark naked bald? And what's that little patch of hair under his bottom lip? What do they call that - crumb catcher?

I 'watched' for an hour last night and the verdict is ... No Deal.

I mean, the highlight of the show is the 26 or so identically clad women who stand around waiting for their number to be called. Will she have a high number or a low number? Will she be asked to speak? Even though she supposedly doesn't know the amount that is in her briefcase, will her facial expression give away the fact that of course she knows the amount that's hidden inside? [Ed. note: I would say that 75% of the time you could tell by the expression whether she had a high or low number in her briefcase.]

Yeah, a ratings winner this is not.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Eight Pound Lasagna

Oh my God, it was huge!

I made a lasagna yesterday that was a freakin' monster. Three pounds of sauce. Two pounds of ricotta cheese. One pound of mozzarella cheese. A pound and a half of ground beef. A pound of lasagna noodles. Two onions and two portobello mushrooms. My stomach hurts just reading the ingredients.

Guess what I'm going to be eating for lunch every day this week?

And while I was preparing the lasagna, I watched an old movie on Lifetime. Heather Locklear playing a big-haired Texas floozie whose millionaire husband resorts to murder rather than give in to her divorce demands. In it Dennis Franz had a full head of hair and everyone smoked openly in the courtroom and a witness even asked for and was given a cigarette on the witness stand. Quite the way to pass a Saturday.

Quite an enjoyable day, really. I still haven't finished decorating my tree, but I'm not too stressed out about it. The routine is starting to settle in around me. It's a good thing.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Man, I’ve been swamped.

I’m back at work full-time and it’s crazy. Still learning my way around the job, so in some respects I haven’t been that busy. I’ve been doing some research to see where we might want to place some banner ads, and tomorrow I’ll be working on preparing some EBay auctions. I’m working in an open cube farm, and it’s not easy for me to blog. Plus, I have no idea how closely my internet activity is being monitored, so I want to play it cool.

But I couldn’t resist this post.

Just tried checking some of my other email accounts and discovered that my former employer has finally killed my email account. Not a big deal, really, since I haven’t been checking it regularly anyway. Couldn’t seem to log into my service provider account. I’ve been letting stuff accumulate in there. Mostly it’s just junk mail and I’m trying to get away from using it at all.

Funny, now that I’m getting paid to sit in front of the computer, I can’t stand it. A lot of it has to do with my work station. I found myself slouching, so I adjusted the chair so I can’t do that, but something still isn’t right. My back and shoulders hurt, and I know that my keyboard isn’t set at the right height. And if I didn’t have eye problems before, I will soon. Working under fluorescent lights and the monitor isn’t at eye level either.

I’m just full of complaints, aren’t I?

Monday, December 12, 2005

A 15 Hour Day

Up at 6:00 a.m.
To work by 8:00 a.m.
Lunch at noon.
More work in the afternoon.
Yoga at 5:30 p.m.
Dinner with yoga class at 7:15 p.m.
Home by 9:00 p.m.

A 15 hour day.

I know that none of you have sympathy for me. But let me tell you - I'm exhausted! The sink is full of dirty dishes, the garbage smells, I still haven't finished unpacking from my cruise, and I've barely begun to decorate.

Oh well - one thing at a time. And right now it's time for bed.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Reality Bites

There are some who say that if you listen carefully, the universe will speak to you.

Me, I just got a memo:

TO: Kenna
FROM: The Powers That Be
RE: From This Day Forward

This is to inform you that, for lack of a better phrase, the party is over.

You've been resting and relaxing for seven months now; it's time to get back to work. Please be advised that we have lined up a job for you and you are to report at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 12. You've just come back from an amazing vacation wherein you ate, drank, and slept at will. This was a well-deserved trip, and we are delighted that you were in good health and able to enjoy it.

It is because you are in good health that we must require you to return to work. You have been spending beyond your means, and it is time for you to earn an honest living once again. We took the liberty of examining your personal finances while you were gone. Would it surprise you to know that you have bills totalling over $2,000 due by the end of the month? And your unemployment benefits will only net you $729. We do concede, however, that continuing to claim unemployment benefits while you were aboard the Queen Mary 2 was sheer brilliance.

As your reward, we now command you to shovel by hand the 8" of snow that fell overnight. Don't think of it as a punishment - think of it as an opportunity to work off the extra weight you put on during the past two weeks. Seriously, did you think you could have ice cream after lunch every day and not gain a pound or two?

And while you're at it, you need to straighten out your social calendar. Between yoga, your women's group, and the monthly Chamber mixer, you will be gone almost every night next week. We hereby give you permission to say "no" to any request to volunteer for or donate to a charity. Frankly, you have neither the time nor the resources to do so. Instead, you will spend your spare time finishing that lovely series of children's books that you started reading - Harry Potter, isn't it?

Pull out your sweaters and turn down the thermostat. You can't afford such high heating bills, especially since you don't have a housemate this winter. And whatever you do, don't agree to let Michael rent a room from you - he couldn't possibly pay you enough to put up with his bullshit.

One final reminder - only sixteen shopping days until Christmas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Buddha Belly

I’ve grown one over the last 10 days. Amazingly enough, though, the slinky purple gown still fit and I wore it for the final formal last night. They saved the best for last … our entrĂ©e choices last night included lobster and chateau briand, followed by baked Alaska.

The Christmas decorations continue to go up, and every day we see more. The tree went up in the lobby the other day, and this morning gifts had materialized at the base. We’ve been packing and running errands this afternoon; returning our library books (I plowed through the first three Harry Potter books; I would have made it through the fourth if it had been available) and picking up last minute mementos.

It’s downhill from here, although we still have one final night of karaoke to look forward to. We’re far enough north now that practically no one is out on deck. It’s too breezy and cool, and the surf has started to kick up. It will probably be a bumpy ride tonight, and when we wake up in the morning, we’ll be back in New York City.

When I get home I’ll be able to upload more photos – you’re going to love the shots from Tortola, and Susan took an amazing photo of me in St. Thomas that I will share with those nearest and dearest to me. It’s a shame that we never got around to doing an audio post – I had cell phone signals in Grenada and St. Thomas, but it just didn’t occur to me. We totally lost track of time, never knowing what day it was or what time it was.

It’s back to reality now …

Hugs & Kisses,
Kenna and Susan

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up

Well, what has happened since St. Maarten?

We stopped in Martinique next, and it was there that I planted my letterbox. I haven’t had a chance to post my clues yet, but I will upon my return. The other interesting bit about Martinique was that Susan spotted a sign indicating that the international women’s group I belong to had beautified the east entry to Fort de France. Other than that, we were unimpressed with that particular port of call.

Barbados was next and we had a bit of an adventure there. There were two letterboxes planted on the island, and we set off in search of them. Being the smart, economical gals that we are, Susan and I hopped aboard the local bus - $0.75 each way to Holetown. Don’t let the name fool you, Holetown was quite lovely. Lots of resorts and restaurants. We went all the way to Barbados to have Thai food for lunch. We found the spot where the letterbox was supposed to be, but could not find the box.

Life aboard the ship is great – lots of sun, food, and plenty of time for afternoon naps. They’ve begun decorating for Christmas, and every day we see more and more decorations.

Yesterday we stopped in Grenada, and St. Georges harbor was picturesque, but it was bloody hot. We wandered around town for just a bit and even standing still in the shade we could feel the sweat just dripping off. Leaving Grenada was a treat – there was a school of dolphins playing in the surf, and a gorgeous rainbow to send us on our way.

We’ve docked in St. Kitts for the day. Susan is off on her first snorkeling adventure, and I’m lolling about the ship. Going to get some early morning sun and then venture into town for some shopping.

Hugs & Kisses,
Kenna, Susan and Nils

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Who Is Nils Karlsson?

And why is he in our room?

At least, the ship’s computer thinks he’s in here with us. They have this interactive television system where you can check your account, see what movie is playing at what time, check out the dinner menu, view the photos from the evening before etc. So when we go in to check our accounts, there he is – Nils Karlsson.

Nils hasn’t been around much, which is too bad – still haven’t located any single eligible men. We really need someone to buy us a drink. At least he doesn’t take up closet space.

There are over 2,000 passengers on this ship, but we seem to keep running into the same people. And since we don’t know their names, we just make up nicknames for them. Like Bathrobe Boy – the man who wandered into the food court area wearing his bathrobe. Just a bit too casual for our taste. And apparently for the staff – he disappeared and then came back wearing clothes. And Danny Zuko – the guy who performed in the karaoke lounge and struck a classic “Greased Lightening” pose throughout his performance.

We were on a roll at dinner last night. Our dinner companions, Mary Ann and Jay, seemed to find us extremely humorous. The dining room manager, Simon, comes over every night to say hello and make sure everything was to our liking. Last night I wondered aloud how he’d come to be the F & B manager. They thought I’d called him a name – the “f’in B” manager. I believe F & B stands for food and beverage.

We’ve taken a few food photos – last night Susan had the sea bass and I had the lamb. Mary Ann said her camera actually has a food setting – can you believe it? After our kayaking adventure in St. Maarten, we were both tired and went right to bed after dinner. Tried to sleep in this morning, but I was awake with the sun around 6:00 a.m.

Martinique presented us with a completely different landscape. After the sharp, steep mountains of Tortola, and the white sand beaches of St. Maarten, Martinique seemed … boring. It was much more modern. Smoothly paved roads. Burger King and McDonald’s. Cell phones. Pay phones that actually work (I knew you wouldn’t be home, Rich, but I wanted to call and leave a message anyway).

We walked to centre ville (downtown) in search of postcards and a place to plant my letterbox. Having accomplished that, we came back to the ship and Susan promptly took a nap. I sat out on deck and finished “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Yes, it’s true – I’ve never read the Harry Potter books. Saw the movie, but have never read the books. I’m now on to Book 2 “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” We met up in the theatre and watched “Monster In Law” before heading back out to the deck where Susan took another nap and I started my second book.

Susan is resting up for a late night out tonight – she missed out on a snorkeling excursion for tomorrow, so she’s going to take advantage of the night life – Rock @ the Opera. Looks like we’ll just bum around Barbados tomorrow and do some shopping. Save our energy for the river tubing in Grenada on Saturday.

Today’s photo is actually from yesterday – the beach before it was overrun with the 15,000 cruise ship tourists that went ashore in St. Maarten. Can you believe it – there were six cruise ships docked in St. Maarten yesterday. Two Carnival ships and one each from Royal Caribbean, Princess, Costa and our ship, the Queen Mary 2.

Hugs & Kisses,
Kenna, Susan, and Nils