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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Day #195: Old Man Zombie

The Story:

The minute his eyes fluttered open, Dan knew it was going to be a rotten day. Running through every type of excuse he could potentially use to stay in bed for the day and out of the workplace, Dan almost smiled when he realized he actually felt legitimately ill. Shuffling into the adjoining bathroom, Dan peered at his disheveled appearance in the vanity. He looked like crap. Well, at least something is going my way, he thought as he examined his sunken eyes and pale skin. Making a quick call to his supervisor informing him he wouldn’t be coming in that day, Dan downed half a bottle of cherry cough syrup, whipped up a bowl of instant oatmeal and headed back to bed. With any luck, he would sleep straight through to tomorrow, when life would return to some normalcy- November 1st could not come quick enough. Gingerly crawling back into bed, he promptly fell asleep before he was able to eat even one spoonful of his oatmeal.

Waking up with a start, Dan looked around in confusion. Something had disturbed his slumber, sitting up slowly- God his head was pounding, Dan listened for anything that might have been the cause of his abrupt departure from la-la land. And then he heard it. Looking around in a panic, Dan leaned over to read the display on his bedside alarm clock; it was 7pm. “Crap,” Dan hissed as he tried to ‘unhear’ the unmistakable mirth of at least half a dozen children, “trick-or-treaters”.


The doorbell sounded through the house like artillery fire. “Double crap,” Dan mumbled remembering too late that his porch light was on a timer and was practically a homing beacon for the neighborhood brats looking for candy. The doorbell rang again, with more urgency, if that was possible. Knowing all too well what happened to people who ignored trick-or-treaters (a strategically placed exploding soda can will do that) Dan threw on his old bathrobe and grabbed a few of the pocket dictionaries he wasn’t able to hock on his last sales trip and went to answer the front door.

““Trick or treat!” the sugary voices of a princess, ninja and Spiderman threatened in unison before thrusting their plastic pumpkins towards Dan. Depositing a dictionary in each of their pumpkins, Dan grumbled to the obviously disgruntled children, “Candy rots your teeth- but these! These will help your brains get nice and big”. Sulking, the kids said the obligatory “thank you” and began their onward march to the next home of suckers. Bringing up the rear were the kids’ parents, a group of four who waved at Dan and one of the fathers even called out, “Great costume, by the way! Super believable zombie, dude. Love it!”.

Wondering what the idiot might be on about, Dan wasn’t able to give the comment much thought for the next round of extortionists were already banging down his door, this time in the guise of a Mr. Potatohead, a pirate, a headless horseman and a what appeared to be a wad of tinfoil. “Trick or treat, Mr. Zombie!” the little pirate screeched, his stuffed parrot pitching forward on his shoulder and landing beak-first in the little boy’s armpit. Tossing a few pocket dictionaries at them, Dan wondered again where the zombie thing was coming from but decided he was too sick and too annoyed to care.

The next two hours proceeded in much the same fashion- a seemingly endless parade of costumed children and their semi-costumed parents hit him up for every last pocket dictionary Dan had. From almost every group Dan heard the zombie reference, and eventually just shrugged it off as some new Halloween slang he was obviously not familiar with, maybe ‘great zombie’ meant ‘thanks for the awesome dictionaries’ or something similar.

Around 8:45pm, Dan finally shut his front door for the final time. Taking the porch light off of the timer, Dan walked to the bathroom to blow his nose. Flicking on the lights, he almost let out a scream before realizing the horrific figure he was staring at was his reflection. Terror quickly mellowed to amusement as Dan leaned closer to the mirror and tentatively touched his face. Dripping down his chin and encompassing his entire mouth like a gory goatee was congealed cherry couch syrup. Additionally, there were ‘pockmarks’ and what appeared to be festering wounds all over his face, head and torso, thanks to his falling asleep before thinking to set the bowl of peaches and cream oatmeal safely out of the bed. Picking a glob of the stuff from his cheekbone, Dan almost laughed as he thought about all the reactions he received from trick-or-treaters. With the impromptu ‘make up’ his shabby slippers, holey pajama pants and bathrobe haphazardly thrown on, Dan made an impressively realistic zombie. “Well, I feel like the walking dead, so I guess if the shoe fits…” he chuckled to himself as he turned on the water for a hot shower.

Several days later, upon arriving home, Dan noticed a small object sitting on the doormat in front of his front door. Walking up from the driveway, Dan picked up what he saw to be a trophy and read the inscription, “Dan Upton, Tall Oaks Neighborhood Best Adult Costume- 2011”. Looking up from the inscription, Dan noticed the figure atop the marble base was a small, brass zombie.


The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      So of course, number one inspiration come from the fact that today is Halloween. Boo! I scare you!

TWO:    Today, on the way to a meeting I figured I would grab a can of Coke Zero for a caffeine pick-me-up. Depositing my $0.75 I pressed the button and- nothing happened. So I pressed the button again, and was relieved to hear the machine deposit a can, that is until I bent over to retrieve my purchase and got a face-full of Coke zero. The can was punctured and was hissing and spraying everywhere like a pissed-off rattlesnake. Grabbing the can and placing my thumb over the hole, I held out the soda and looked around trying to figure out what to do with the darned thing. I really wanted to try and salvage it, I was pretty thirsty and that was a whole $0.75 down the tube. Common sense eventually won out and I eventually dropped the offending soda into the trash, listening sadly as it sprayed all of its carbonated goodness on Oreo wrappers and discarded wads of gum.

THREE:  OK, so usually I try to be a good sport about the whole “Trick or Treat” thing. If my Halloween entails hanging with kids, or even another adult, I’m all about it. Bring on the little buggers. But can I be honest with you for a sec? I kinda hate it otherwise. If I’m home alone, the entire idea of having to answer the door to a bunch of strangers so that I can give them candy really doesn’t sit well with me. First, I love candy, why would I give it away? Second, I’m a total misanthrope; I don’t like being disturbed when I’m at home. Third, the constant knocking and doorbell ringing? It drives my dachshund bonkers- he loses it when I come home, let alone a parade of bizarrely dressed strangers, the fact that they are children only intensifies the barking. So tonight, despite the fact that I bought a bag of candy and set it in a bowl by the front door, I kept the porch light off and hid in my house like a jerk. Yeah, I’m kind of an old fart. Sorry.

Love & Squirrels.





Day #194: Dude, That’s Not My Car

The Story:

Running from the store, Celeste struggled to see through her tears. Seeing the white outline of their SUV, Celeste yanked open the passenger side door and climbed in slamming the door dramatically after her. How could he be so insensitive? She wondered, closing her eyes and trying to calm herself down. Not normally one for dramatic scenes, especially in public, Celeste began to feel a little ridiculous about her emotional outburst a few minutes ago. In fact, alone and in the encapsulated quiet of the SUV, screaming at her husband for wanting to switch to the bargain brand of toilet paper so they could save a few bucks suddenly didn’t seem like the personal attack she had believed it to be less than five minutes ago. “Stupid hormones, sometimes being a chick can really be a drag,” she said to herself before a huge yawn escaped from her lips.

Celeste jolted awake. Momentarily disoriented, it took a few moments to realize she had fallen asleep in the SUV. Checking her watch she was startled to discover over a half an hour had passed and her husband, Steve, had still not come out of the store. Peering through the car window towards the storefront, Celeste tried to make out her husband through the store’s large plate glass windows. Not seeing him, she wondered if this was his way of punishing her for embarrassing him in the store. Feeling immediately guilty, Celeste decided she had better call him and apologize so they could finish up their errands and head home.

Reaching towards the center console, where she always left her phone, Celeste froze- her hand still hovering in midair. Her phone was not there. Not only that. In its usual place was a pink and yellow Sippy cup with butterflies half full of what appeared to be apple juice. Celeste had no children. Panicked, she quickly looked around the car- a baby’s seat in the back seat (again, Celeste was not a mother), rosary beads around the rearview mirror (she was a born and raised Presbyterian), and a stick of peppermint Burt’s Bees lip balm in the driver’s side door console (Steve was deathly allergic to peppermint). This was not her car.

“Holy frankfurter!” Celeste screamed as she fumbled with the door handle and tore out of the strange car. Backing away from the car in a state of surreal confusion, Celeste didn’t hear her name being called until Steve was right next to her. “Celeste! Oh thank God! Where on earth have you been? I’ve been freaking out!” Steve said in a rush of obvious relief before he smothered his wife in a bear hug.

Released from her husband’s arms, Celeste attempted to explain what had happened. By the time she finished relaying the story, Celeste was barely able to contain her laughter. How the heck had she not noticed she was in someone else’s car?!? And she had fallen asleep! The humor of the entire situation, especially in light of her blow-up was just too much- Celeste was able to go about two seconds before she was belly-laughing and she continued to laugh all the way to their car.


The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Total blonde moment today (I can say that as a natural blonde). After exiting Big Lots after a long event-filled day, Andy and I were chatting as we walked towards the car. I waited on the passenger side for him to unlock to car for us, and was just kind of spaced out. A minute or so passed and he had still not opened the car. Growing a little annoyed, the bags were getting heavy and I really needed to pee, I bent down and looked through the car to see what he could possibly be doing on the other side. He wasn’t there. Although I found this a bit peculiar, I stood back up and just waited some more. Then I started looking at the interior of the car and while the details didn’t jump out at me immediately, I did notice a wrongness to what I saw. Then it hit me. I was standing at the wrong car. Walking around the back of the car, I looked at it again in complete confusion- it wasn’t even the same type of car that we had exited less than twenty minutes prior. The whole things really rocked my sense of reality for a moment, and then as I was telling Andy what had happened (he thought I fell in a huge pothole or something) I started cracking up. I’m still laughing a little. Time for this gal to get some shuteye me thinks.

These guys know what I'm talking about...

Love & Squirrels.

Day #193: CUREious

The Story:

The stench of failure filled her nostrils and she threw the saucepan into the sink, its still-steaming gelatinous contents slopping out and spattering the stainless steel. It had been six weeks and Fiona was no closer to finding the solution than she had been at the start of all this. For years she had pondered the concept of finding a natural way to battle procrastination, an affliction she especially suffered from. After years of feeling like she had put life on hold Fiona had had enough. She would find a way to kick her nasty habit and science would be her answer. It had all seemed so simple then but over the weeks the complexity of finding a ‘cure’ had grown exponentially. As had her frustrations. Her last attempt, a combination of ginger root and Peruvian purple potatoes boiled to a slimy gel, had produced the same result as her last 23 tries- a mess.

“If chocolate can counteract the body’s reaction to fear, then there has to be a similar substance out there for procrastination,” Fiona said to herself for probably the fiftieth time. Leaving the mess in the kitchen, Fiona went into the living room and booted up her laptop. “Back to the drawing board,” she said as she began yet another search for medicinal, homeopathic, nutritional or ancient ideas for curing procrastination. She read into the wee hours of the night before finally falling asleep curled up on the couch, her face lit by an obscure forum conversation referencing the benefits of something called bartlenut.

“Fiona. Fiona wake up. Fiona!

Fiona started awake and looked around in a moment of confusion before her sleep-blurred eyes focused on her friend Tara leaning over her. “What, What’s going on,” she managed to say before slumping back on the couch, a sizable crick in her neck causing her to wince as she did.

Tara folder her arms in obvious annoyance. “You were supposed to pick me up this morning to go see that movie we were talking about. What the heck happened here last night?” Tara said as she looked at the upside down laptop on the floor and the disaster in the kitchen Fiona hadn’t bothered to clean up the previous night.

“Oh, I was eh… I was working on that project I was telling you about. Sorry Tara, we can still make the matinee, just give me 10 minutes and I’ll get dressed and we’ll go,” Fiona jumped up off the couch and ran to her bedroom to throw on some fresh clothes and brush her teeth.

On the way to the theater, Fiona absently rubbed her neck, still quite stiff thanks to her night spent on the couch, and considered where she might find bartlenut locally.

“You’re doing it again,” Tara said matter-of-factly.

“What?” Fiona looked over to Tara in the passenger seat and wondered what she was referring to.

“You’re thinking about that damned science experiment. You’re thinking about your crazy cure for procrastination, aren’t you?” Tara took Fiona’s silence as confirmation and continued. “I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, since you started on the obsession and can I give you my perspective?”

Fiona wasn’t sure what Tara could possibly have to say on the subject but her curiosity was perked. “Sure, I’d love to hear it” she said before returning her attention to the road.

“So the whole point of your experiments has been to find a ‘cure’ for procrastination, right?” Fiona nodded and Tara continued, “Well, it seems to me that you’ve found it”.

Fiona almost swerved into a curb. “What?!? What do you mean, I’ve found it? I’m no closer to an answer now as I was two months ago!” she almost shouted in exacerbation.

“Hear me out before you drive us into a ditch, will ya?” Tara almost laughed at poor Fiona’s histrionic reaction. She always did love a bit of drama. “So you want to cure procrastination, so you’ve been slaving away at finding this ‘cure’. Since you’re started on your ‘search’ have you put it off, even once?”

Fiona thought for a second but she knew the answer, she had lived and breathed for this project since starting it. “I guess not,” she admitted.

“Right, so in this humble ‘lay person’s’ opinion, the cure to procrastination seems to be passion. Pure and simple,” Tara said, quite pleased with herself.

Fiona gave this some thought. Could it really be that simple, and that complicated? The next few minutes were heady with contemplation. Tara was just beginning to feel a bit nervous, perhaps she had hurt Fiona’s feelings with her bold statement, when Fiona cracked a wide smile said fancifully, “If only I could figure out a way to capsulate this ‘passion’ thing you speak of. Now that would be something!”


The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      I broke one of my most sacred rules tonight. DON’T WATCH SCARY MOVIES WHEN YOU ARE HOME ALONE. After watching a show all about hauntings and things that live under beds, I was legitimately creeped out. To make matters worse, our wolfdog Zorro was holed up somewhere in the dark backyard and I needed to close the back door so the demon-zombie-alien that was lurking just beyond the porch light could not come in. So, armed only with a leash I launched into the darkness in search for Zorro. Several things all happened at once in that next moment- a distant scream from somewhere in the darkness, the wind kicked up and menacingly rustled the treetops and the lights flickered in my neighbor’s house for a split second. I freaked. Running back towards the house I screamed for Zorro to come and bolted inside. Thankfully he followed a few seconds later and I promptly dead-bolted the door. Heart hammering in my throat, I could barely swallow thanks to the choking effect of full-on the fear. Without thinking, I mechanically began to make hot chocolate. Two minutes later as I was sipping the velvety goodness from my bright red ‘Sam’ mug and I was revived. I learned later tonight that chocolate is a natural combatant of the chemicals our body releases when we sense fear and is one of the best ways to alleviate that sense of dread. I thought that was pretty neat, especially since I had just experienced it’s calming effects only minutes ago. Wonder what else chocolate cures?

Love & Squirrels.

Day #192: Texting Terror

The Story:

“You’re out of your mind, Ashley. I’m sure it’s just a wrong number or something, chill out,” Robin said and shrugged her shoulders, hoping her best friend would believe she was as nonplussed as she appeared. Truth was Robin was freaked out. What had started as something benignly bizarre had deescalated to flat out alarming over the course of a few short hours.

Ashley tore her eyes away from the backlit screen of her Iphone and pierced Robin with a haunted expression. “Robbi, come on. Something is very wrong here. Someone is doing this on purpose,” Ashley replied in a hushed tone, her eyes darting sporadically around the darkened interior of Izzy’s Bar where the girls had been holed up for the last four hours.

“Let me look at them again, maybe it’s just Trevor messing with you or something,” Robin said as she reached out her hand for Ashley’s phone. Scrolling through to the last five photos sent via text, Robin prayed it was just Ashley’s waste of space ex-boyfriend and some ridiculous prank that somehow got out of hand… the alternative was too disturbing to consider.

Finding the first picture, Robin maximized the image and tried to find anything that might clue her in to its sender’s intention. All she could see was a set of old-fashioned hair curlers sitting on an old bedspread. Bizarre? Yes. But bizarre could be laughed off between the friends as the next round was ordered. Robin could handle bizarre. In the next picture, things started to get weird. Placed on a black backdrop, were five locks of pale blonde hair- the exact shade of Ashley’s, bound with sections of barbed wire. The third photo began the descent into the truly disturbing and Robin shuddered as she reexamined the pair of barber shears, the sharpened edges caked in clotted blood and viscera. It only got worse- the fourth picture was what appeared to be a newborn bird, not more than a few hours old, beheaded and positioned like a miniature thanksgiving turkey atop a set of playing cards, it’s head discarded nearby. As she stared into the poor thing’s pixelated blind eyes, Robin wondered again if the tiny bird was a robin and she couldn’t help but feel this macabre display was a personal attack. The final photo was the most unsettling. Sitting outside of the apartment Robin shared with Ashley, the apartment number clearly visible in the upper right corner of the photo, were two disrobed mannequins- one blonde, one raven-haired, and in their laps sat the remains of some slaughtered animal- its recently spilled blood cascading down the legs of its two silent spectators.

Robin tucked a strand of her bluish-black hair behind her ear nervously. Her façade of calm control was quickly unraveling as she forced herself to breathe normally. Turning the phone off, Robin turned to her terrified friend and decided it was time to stop acting so brave- and start being smart. “Come on, we’re going to the police,” Robin said and tossing back one last gulp of her hard cider, she helped Ashley out of the booth and they walked arm-in-arm to Ashley’s car.

An hour later, a very kind Officer Tate had offered them terrible coffee and made several copies of the disturbing images. Having received a brief synopsis of the events of their night, the officer looked at Ashley and asked, “Ms. Douglas, this may seem silly but bear with me. Did you ever contact the number to see who it might be or to ask what the pictures meant?”

The two girls stared unblinking at the officer before turning to each other wide-eyed, why hadn’t they thought of that?!? Admitting that they had not thought to reply to the morbid texts, the officer asked if he could have permission to text the sender from Ashley’s phone. Ashley nodded her agreement and after she unlocked her phone and opened the log of texts Officer Tate began to type a message. “I asked who this was and what the pictures were supposed to mean,” Tate said as he hit SEND. The three of them waited in anxious anticipation for what seemed like hours before Ashley’s phone chirped- indicating a new text message.

Looking at the girls, Officer Tate slowly reached for the phone and read the message and without looking up. “Do either of you know a Donald Russo?”

“Oh my God,” Ashley said as if the wind had just been knocked out of her. “That’s one of my co-workers’ husband,” she explained, now looking a little embarrassed, her cheeks beginning to flush. “He works for that TV show American Slashers, you know, the one about that family that’s haunted by a serial killers ghost?” Seeing that neither Robin or Officer Tate had heard of the show, Ashley continued, “Well anyway, he is the props guy for the show, I got to go on set once it was pretty cool… he’s responsible for creating all the crazy stuff for the show- I bet those are just props for an upcoming episode or something!”

Wanting to make sure that was all this was, Officer Tate called the number, and sure enough Donald answered and by the end of the conversation was profusely apologetic for the mix up, explaining the pictures were intended for his director. Sighing in relief, the girls thanked Officer Tate for his time and made their way out of the station. Hopping in the car, the girls were drained from the emotional toll of the night and were each secretly thankful the other didn’t feel like talking. With the exception of the radio quietly humming, the drive home was peacefully silent.

Just as they turned down the darkened street of their apartment complex, Robin broke the silence, “You know… there’s just one thing that still kinda bothers me about those pictures. Nah… never mind, I’m sure it’s nothing…”.

Ashley glanced at her friend, “What? What is it?” her voice betraying her exhaustion.

Hesitantly, Robin went on, a tremor working its way into her voice, “It’s just that… well, those manequinns… in the last picture, they were sitting in front of our apartment. I saw our unit number in the picture and I swore I could almost make out the potted mums your mom gave you last week sitting by the door. So, if those were just for props and Donald was just sending pictures to the director for approval, then why were those dummies sitting in front of our house?”


The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Man, that took a spooky turn, eh? So this whole thing was inspired by two mystery texts I received today. Around 5:15pm I receive two back-to-back pictures from an unknown number. When I opened the texts, this is what I saw:

Weird right? I didn’t know what to make of them, so in true Sam style, I made up a bunch of stories of what they might mean. Eventually, I did text the sender back, asking who they were and what the pics were all about. Ends up it was just a wrong number- oh well.

TWO:    Another spooky tidbit- before texting the unfamiliar number for an explanation I had already started writing the first two sentences of this story and had decided on the name Ashley for one of the girls’. Turns out my mystery texter just so happens to be called, you guessed it, Ashley. Crazy.

THREE:  I don’t know if it’s thanks to the season (only a few more days till Halloween!) or the fact that Andy has been working on back to back slasher/horror movies, but the genre has really worked its way into my repertoire. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit more cheery.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #191: Fear of Sam

The Story:

“No that can’t be it, come on William, think!” William tapped the chewed-up end of his pen absently against the side of his head. Things were not going well in the land of William, and if he didn’t pass Dr. Tisdale’s exam with flying colors it could very well mean the end of his graduate education career. And, as these things tend to do, it all seemed to balance on his ability to answer this final question- Please define tinaphobia.

“What the hairy armpit is tinaphobia?!?!” William almost blurted out when he first read the question. Fifteen minutes passed. Fists buried in his temples, William could not, for the life of him, recall the slightest inkling as to what the term might mean. His classmates slowly began to finish their own exams and with a metal to Formica scrape, one by one they pushed back their chairs and left the class having safely depositing their completed exams with the fearsome exam proctor- Tina Diaz.

William allowed his mind to wander as he scrutinized Tina, and wondered what had caused the waifish woman to be so vile. Dressed in dowdy blacks and greys, Tina always looked as if someone had just run over her puppy and presented the broken carcass to her as a birthday gift. Her voice was more of a growl than anything and she could cause a grown man to cry with a single look from her piercing and bottomless slate grey eyes. As the accountant for the department it was rare to see Tina out from her cavernesque office but, from time to time, a faculty member would need a proctor for their exam and poof! Tina would appear from behind her stacks of projections and graph analysis eager for the job. No one was really sure why she so enthusiastically volunteered but then again, no one really cared.

The students all loathed Tina- some even feared her. William chuckled a little as he thought back to how terrified of the woman he had been as a first year grad student. During his first exam Tina accused him of trying to use his notes to cheat, which he was not, but the grilling he got left such a lasting impression he thought he’d never recover from it. Now, at the cusp of graduation (if he could only thing of the definition of tinaphobia!) he realized Tina just got a kick out of scaring students half to death and picked her victims at random.

Don't trust that smile... whatever you do, don't. trust. that. smile.

As he continued to stare at the woman, she swiveled in her seat and while itching her scalp with the gold letter opener she always seemed to carry, scanned the classroom, her eyes like laser beams. Quickly hunching over his exam before Tina’s stare could bore into his brain, William knew, if he was being honest with himself, he was still a little afraid of the deceivingly frail-looking terror.

“That’s it!” he thought to himself excitedly. Scribbling in his definition for the tinaphobia, William sat back and reread what he wrote. Content, he gathered his belongings and with eyes still averted from Tina’s stare, turned in his exam and briskly exited the room.

Two days later, William was patiently waiting outside of Dr. Tisdale’s office, he had been summoned for a meeting regarding the exam. Sweat was beginning to accumulate around William’s collar and by the time Dr. Tisdale invited him inside he was a nervous wreck.

“So William, overall you did very well on the final. I just had one question regarding an answer you submitted for one of the exam questions,” Dr. Tisdale said calmly as he looked over the exam William had submitted to Tina.

William tired not to panic as he quickly inventoried all the answers he had provided on the exam. Unable to come up with anything he thought would warrant a meeting with the professor, William could do nothing but sit quietly and wait.

“I just have to ask,” Dr. Tisdale said as he laid the exam down and with a smile looked over at William, “where on earth did you come up with your definition for tinaphobia?  I mean putting down the definition as the debilitating fear of Tina; I practically fell out of my chair laughing when I read that!

William breathed a sigh of relief and laughed. Shrugging his shoulders he replied a bit coyly, “Oh, nowhere in particular,” knowing full well the entire faculty was acutely aware of Tina’s reputation with the students.

“I gotta say William, I needed that laugh after a day of grading. In fact, I’m tempted to give you extra credit just for creativity alone,” Dr. Tisdale said still smiling.


The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      So apparently every fall one of the instructors puts a question on their exam that asks students to define some medical term called Samaoshoehrokphobia (ok, so that’s not actually the term but the take away here is that it starts with Sam and ends with phobia) for extra credit. And every year (at least for the past three years) this question seems to prompt at least one student to define the term as- “the fear of Sam”. The instructor of the exam thinks this is quite humorous (and I tend to agree) and she makes it a point to tell me each time someone decides to include me in their answer… like today. Glad to see I’m making an impression on young minds (the joke is that I’m probably the last person they would be afraid of, I’m kind of a softy).

Then again, who WOULDN'T be intimidated by this?!? Sigh...

Love & Squirrels.

Day #190: A Day of Sayings

The Story:

“Stuffed in here like sardines”

That's me, second from the right.

“About as successful as making caramels in the Florida summer”

Yeah, mine don't look like this.

“As stubborn as day-old pasta sauce”

Glad we're not busy tonight, this pasta sauce just won't come off...

“Here, let me help you pat yourself on the back”

“Nothing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a spoon can’t cure”

I mean, LOOK at these guys.

“Now that’s one spicy chick!”

“As cute as a baby carrot!”

First you make me eat them, and then you dress me up like one? Too far mom, too far.

“You know what they say about a clean house… mother must be in town”

Just kiddin Mom... can't wait to see you!

“All dressed up and nowhere to go”

I put on my GOOD wig and everything...


The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Ever catch yourself narrating your own life? I do it quite often (yeah, I totally talk to myself too). Today the narration deviated from its normal rhetoric and chopped up my day into pocket-sized expressions (most of which I made up, although some are borrowed). I feel it gives a bit of a sparkle to an otherwise boring and tedious day in adulthood. So I decided to list a few of my saying above and will attempt to explain them a bit:

“Stuffed in here like sardines” = I attended, along with the rest of my college (so about 100+ people) a two-hour meeting. This alone would not be significant except the chairs were all placed very tightly together with no center aisle. Just about every seat was taken and we all felt as if we had boarded a plane due to the lack of arm and leg room. I’m actually going to be a little sore tomorrow from hunching in order to minimize contact with the two people sitting next to me (I really don’t like to be touched).

“About as successful as making caramels in the Florida summer” = I attempted (and failed) to make my first batch of homemade caramels today. Everything was going fine, until it wasn’t. Then the bottom burnt, the sticky goo boiled out of the pot and scaled my hand and I seriously doubt the gelatinous confection will ever harden to its proper consistency thanks in part to the loverly Florida humidity (yes, it was about 80 degrees when I was slaving away at the stove).

“As stubborn as day-old pasta sauce” = As if making caramels were not enough of a challenge, I decided to do the dishes too. I know, I’m outta control!! Spaghetti sauce, you’ve met your match.

“Here, let me help you pat yourself on the back” = The aforementioned meeting today was a whole lot of “look how great we are! Our program, department, college rocks! Let’s talk about it for two hours! YEAH!!!” Holy cow… I mean I’m proud to be a part of such a great college and surrounded by so many acclaimed faculty and staff, but sheesh… couldn’t we just have gotten a newsletter or something? (man, I’m antisocial, hehe)

“Nothing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a spoon can’t cure” = We have a hard and fast rule in this house- ice cream is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Today, I was pining for a pint and luckily, my awesome boyfriend bought me the new flavor I’ve been wanting to try- Red Velvet Cake. Um… nn;;lkn;;;kklllllkmllllllll ….whoa sorry, just had to wipe the drool off the keyboard.

“Now that’s one spicy chick!” = Simple, I made buffalo chicken strips for dinner tonight, a Sam specialty.

“As cute as a baby carrot!” = And to accompany my spicy chick? Baby carrots and blue cheese of course.

“You know what they say about a clean house… someone’s mother must be in town” = I am trying desperately to keep my house is somewhat of an orderly fashion having just found out a few days ago my mom will be coming home to visit over the next week. Time to break out the Clorox and Swiffer spray jet!

“All dressed up and nowhere to go” = Tomorrow night is one of several events for my program, an awards ceremony and dinner. So, as per my usual ‘pregame’ routine, I’m trying on all my wardrobe options, think I’ll go with the green dress.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #189: Like Talking To Myself

The Story:

Nothing’s simple

It’s all the same.

Nothing’s forthright

It’s a digging game.


Everything’s upside-down

It’s the optimist’s ‘something new to know’.

Everything’s a jumbled mess

It’s the pessimist’s ‘I told you so’.


No one reading from the same page

Strangers, they whirl past in friendly costumes.

No one to commiserate wit

Sympathetic, they can only nod like wind-bent blooms.


Everyone knows this feeling

We all experience it at different times, in our own way.

Everyone waits, desperate for it to pass

How long it will linger or where will it lead, not a one can say.


The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Ever have one of those days where you feel like you must be speaking a different language than the rest of the world? And not like Spanish or French, but a language in which you alone are fluent and somehow it’s escaped you that no one can understand what you are jabbering on about? I hate those days. Today was one of those days, I’m sure you’ve gathered as much. I just kept hitting one wall after another at work, one question would lead to five more being unearthed; it was like canoeing up a molasses river… with a bendy straw for a paddle. Without going into explicit detail (again, keeping my job that I usually love being the priority here) there are just some days that I wish I had someone to commiserate with. Being the sole staff member for my program and being surrounded by academia it would be oh-so lovely to have just one person who knew the same frustrations, who knew what I was up against and could lend a helping hand, or ear. Well, until I meet this person (please let it be soon) I’ll just have to soldier on alone (and yes, I’m being completely melodramatic, this is a blog, after all). Here’s hoping tomorrow has more answers than questions (that I can’t answer).

Now here's a guy who loves a bendy straw... how nice

Love & Squirrels.