Friday, February 27, 2009


Today was to be my professional day in the sun. I had long planned the first meeting I was to host all by myself, no co-workers, no boss to look over my shoulder. I was to welcome 30 highly respected dental professionals into the ADA Boardroom, a state of the art and imposing facility. I was to proctor the meeting, and even give a 45-minute presentation on our department procedures and program tools. I had spent weeks preparing and collating agenda materials, ordering a fine continental breakfast for the attendees. I was nervous but confident as I woke up with the alarm this morning and headed into work early.

Many of you may have figured out by now that I am a walking sitcom, complete with internal laugh track. So this rather mundane professional situation predictably unraveled into a"Bridget Jones" style farce rather quickly. Seriously, I should have seen it coming.

I reached downtown about 7:30, and went to catch the bus, the 125 Water Tower Express. As I exited the train station, I saw it pull up out of the corner of my eye and congratulated myself on my good timing. I was running to grab it, and the driver started to pull away without me as I was knocking on the door. The bastard (not sure if it was a he or she) never did stop - typical. I am not a quiet knocker. I was frustrated and in my rush, I did not notice the curb of the street. Naturally, in addition to the obvious humiliation of being ignored by a City bus driver in front of hundreds, I had to trip and fall on my hands and knees, hurtling myself into the middle of the road. And before any of you even ask, no, there was no alcohol involved. Again naturally, not one soul in this crowd of hundreds so much as asked I were alright. Now angry, hurt and mortified, I picked myself up and willed my body not to hobble back to the curb, but to return to the sidewalk with my head held high. Giggling gawkers be damned. I dragged myself into the nearest Bank of America ATM vestibule under the guise of withdrawing money, but really so I could injury check, look for my damage to my wardrobe, and let out an animal-like howl as I rubbed my already purple left knee. Gratefully, my shiny black pants were none the worse for wear, so I hopped another bus, popped a Motrin for my sore joints and decided to rise above.

But old Mr. Murphy, he of the famous Law, would not have it so. My ego was to continue its battering and downward descent. I arrived to setup the meeting, only to discover that the
"fine continental breakfast" I had asked our admin. to order was nowhere to be found. As she wasn't in the office yet (of course!), I had to run down the cafeteria and implore the kind staff there to put a rush on a quickie meal for 30. This they did with grace and without going out of their way to impose any additional shame upon me. Thank you Aramark! This was handled seamlessly before the appearance of my first guest, so I moved onto the next crisis - technical problems with my presentation.

The Chairman of the group called the meeting to order, and my part of the proceedings was to take place about an hour in. I discreetly called IT support and sat sweating bullets that I should not be called upon and have to confess my lack of preparedness to present. The wonderful Jay came into the boardroom, equally discreetly and fixed my problem within seconds. Yeah! Celebrating the aversion of another disaster, I headed down the hall to relieve my tea filled bladder, only to encounter one of my meeting attendees just as he was flushing a urinal and zipping up his fly. All too late, I realized I had entered the men's room. Kill me.

Somehow rather than castigating my incompetence, the dentists thanked me for one of the liveliest meetings they had ever attended. I'll bet. A small group of them even took me to lunch. I guess old men enjoy the Lucille Ball in me. Fortunately, I am so accustomed to humilating myself, I didn't feel the shame I probably should have. Lesson learned: whenever I get too high on my professional horse and feel invincible, I am reminded that I am just a girl who can be leveled by a bus (literally and metaphorically) at any moment.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My end or Yours?


Jen of All Trades: Yes

First off, let me say I grew up Cubby blue and its still runs quite heavily through my veins. Yes, even in spite of the endless amout of misery they have put me through over the years. Wait til next year....

BUT - I married a Sox fan. That's right, opposites really do attract. And when you get married you agree to for better (post season!!!) or for worse (2005 World Series) and all that comes with it. In 2005 - the year otherwise known as the year he won bragging rights - I had to support Hubby as his team tried to make it all the way. Frankly, the house just wouldn't have been pleasant if I didn't. So once the Cubs were safely out of the race, I put on my good wife (sox)hat and cheered with him for every home run, every win. Really, what's the point in being a grouch? It would only make me feel worse that my guys didn't make it and either way it was still a Chicago win.

For the last game of the 2005 World Series, I bought tix for me, hubby and KK to go watch the game at the United Center. Even though the game was away, we were in an environment where we felt like we were a part of the action. We also created some memories. To this day, we still talk about KK falling asleep in her chair and we stuffed her wide open mouth full of popcorn and took a picture. So you see, even in dispair that can be good. An added benefit is that hubby now knows how he is supposed to behave WHEN my guys break the curse.

I would NEVER choose to support the Sox over my beloved Cubbies. I always say that IF the day ever comes when our two teams meet in the post season, Hubby will have to take residence at the Motel 6. There are just some times when its better to go with the flow. And now I (im)patiently await my turn....

Becky Boop: No

I consider myself a logical person, and most definitely respectful and open to others opinions, their likes and dislikes. Hey, I am a liberal girl, and to my thinking, almost anything goes as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone (Notice, I do not use that weak crutch of blessing anything “legal” as OK. I find the very word “legal” to be arbitrary, but that is another post for another time). Anyway, with that said, there is nothing at all logical, tolerant or remotely open-minded when it comes to being a Chicago Cubs fan. And with full awareness of how unfair this is, I nonetheless embrace it wholeheartedly as a time honored tradition, a sort of creed which we members of Cubs Nation live by. There IS no other baseball team. It cannot be tolerated. And the most extreme instances of this intra-team denial are upheld by Cubs fans who must loathe by birth right the following organizations: The New York Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals, and last but not least, the Chicago White Sox.

Now I love my brother-in-law. In almost any area of life, we are, as Forrest Gump might say, “peas and carrots.” However, I cannot forgive him his poor taste in baseball teams. This is especially so, as unlike Jen and myself, bro-in-law did not grow up in the City. Using a childhood raised in the South SUBURBS as an excuse to prefer Comiskey Park (U.S. Cellular Field? Meh!) over the Friendly Confines? I also find Jen’s tolerance-leads-to-a-happy-home argument to be utter nonsense. When it comes to religious differences, which side of the bed one sleeps on, who takes out the trash – these things can be negotiated. But when confronted with the unfortunate situation of falling in love with a Sox fan (still trying to wrap my head around how this is even possible), we ladies must take a stand. I choose to lead by example. My husband has an affinity for Southern California. I am a Bears fan through and through, but patiently tolerate his love of the San Diego Chargers. This is made somewhat easier by the fact that the two teams almost never meet. However, when it comes to baseball, I made myself clear before nary a wedding vow was spoken: Love me, love the Cubs. No exceptions.

I am not a complete hater. I gave the South Side a nice golf clap for their 2005 World Series victory, difficult as their obnoxious fans made high road travelling. I personally congratulated brother-in-law on his achievement and even resisted the temptation to make snide remarks on the continuing disparity between North and South Side ticket sales. Even when wearing World Series rings, the Sox can’t achieve the regular game day attendance of a last place Cubs team, but I thought “No, let the brother-in-law have this one. I would want the same.”

However, every time I have to listen to the Sox’s whack job manger Ozzie Guillen, whine about the lack of White Stocking media attention compared with the Cubbies, I find myself wishing for a time machine so I could zoom back to 2005 and withdraw my kudos. Do you REALLY want to know Ozzie why you can’t fill the park? Let’s see: your “ball park” is hardly more than a glorified mall with food courts, the neighborhood in which you play has all the charm of moldy cheese, and nothing about the Sox screams fun the way that mere seconds inside Wrigley Field can get one shirtless and drunk without putting much thought into it.

I may get hate mail for this post. I welcome it. In general, I am 100% against partisan politics. In this case however, when one team and its accoutrements are so obviously lame (Sox) and one team, while not exactly boasting the greatest winning record, still makes every experience feel like Mardi Gras (Cubs), I must throw attempts to be diplomatic out the window.

Go Cubs Go! 2009 may or may not be their year, but I will be in the stands for as many games as possible, either way.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Politics of Fear

I have heard this term bandied about a lot recently on CNN, blogs, and out of the mouths of other talking heads. "The politics of fear," alludes to Obama's supposed strategy of scaring us into taking the wrecked economy seriously. The theory put forth by the cynical is that President Obama takes advantage of the current climate of panic to push forward his left wing, Democratic agenda. Although I first heard the phrase from the nonpartisan, but always cranky Lou Dobbs, I smell the influence of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk in selling this concept to the people of America. So there we have it, "the politics of fear" takes its place as a catch phrase for 2009, much like "Main St./Wall St.," "Joe the Plumber," and "Yes, We Can" reflected the political atmosphere of 2008.

But here's my problem with the accusations by some that the Obama adminstration is somehow working the paranoia of the average American to its advantage: if anything I don't know if Obama's message has been dire enough. Agreed that he definitely used forceful rhetoric to get the always inept Congress (and I lay the blame in a bipartisan manner) to act on a stimulus package. But what part of Obama's address was untrue I'd like to know? The following are actual headlines encountered while perusing the New York Times in the last two days. Now, the Times may lean to the left, but I doubt there are a lot of sane folks on the planet who would accuse it of yellow journalism:
  • Newly Poor Swell Lines at Food Banks Nationwide - As the recession continues, more people who are unused to asking for help are picking up free groceries.

  • Stocks Slip on Bank Uncertainty And Economic Woes

  • $275 Billion Plan Seeks to Address Housing Crisis

  • Wall Street Quietly Searches for Direction

  • Fed Offers Bleak Economic Outlook - The Federal Reserve cut its economic outlook for 2009 on Wednesday and warned that the United States economy would face an "unusually gradual and prolonged" period of recovery as the country struggles to climb out of a deep global downturn.

Now my dear readers, I must ask, since I am no economist, which of these stories are in any way fraudulent or based on opinion, rather than fact? Do those who assert a "politics of fear" honestly believe that there is some great conspiracy between Obama, the Fed and the media designed to convince us all that Doomsday is approaching, just so the Democrats can foist their agenda on us? This seems disinegnuous and self-protecting at best, delusional and dangerous at worst. We are a nation suffering in part because of our collective unwillingness to look toward the future, confront reality and address systemic problems. It seems to me that buying into the "politics of fear" is just another way to hang onto the status quo and avoid doing any real work. That was the Bush legacy, not the Obama motivation. Our new Prez is certainly not afraid to tackle issues, issues that in many cases should have been dealt with before I was born. I am grateful to Obama for taking these lame duck accusations on the chin and pushing forward.

I considered this topic because of what's going on in my own home. My husband has been out of a job for almost two months. After weeks of sending out resumes, working his inside connections and lowering his expectations on what he's willing to do for money, he finally got a hit from a small company in the Chicago suburbs. However this lead, like so many during these times, turned into a painful near miss this week, actually the day of his birthday (Tuesday). He got all the way to the offer round, and then was not selected. We are starting to eat into our savings, and all economic indicators point to no relief on the job market any time soon. This is taking a major toll on my hubby, a man who perhaps more than most, ties his self-worth to his career and earning power. When he hears Lou Dobbs, or any other pundit, accusing Obama of playing the "politics of fear" with his sobering messages about the State of our Union, it is all I can do to restrain him. In our experience, and those of our friends and acquaintances, the economic reports are usually lagging behind what we see and hear on the front lines. If anything, the situation is much worse than the wags are saying.

I am about to give up on 2009 entirely. We are approaching the end of the first quarter, and I (and Bill Clinton) do not believe we've hit bottom yet. It is only then we can begin to rise again. This puts me in the unique position of praying for a faster, rather than a slower crash.

If all of this mess was just a distorted view brought on by the "politics of fear," I would think I would have woken up from this nightmare by now to find a gainfully employed husband, my 401k portfolio having recovered the 38% value I lost in 2008, and my sister able to sell her house and move her expanding family to a place with enough space for their kids to grow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

For better or worse

With all of the challenges my hubby and I had to deal with this past week (F-ing lice infestation and a sick Rosebud) its hard to see the upside of things. Especially when you can't really see much of anything past the mountain of laundry. But my '09 Jen-olution (the term 'resuloution' is overused and has no meaning, ok?) is to have better stress management. Oh, and to cut the bullsh!t and b!tches out of my life. That one I have been good at. The former, did okay until last week. But I digress....

This Sunday I will celebrate 6 years of marriage with the hubby and, for better or worse, we are best friends. We have been through it, trust me. And thinking of the fact that I have him in my life to get me through these louse-y times (get it?) makes it all bearable. I wish I could have kept that in mind when I had one of my multiple meltdowns this week over the buggers/sickies. Hey, sometimes it all gets the best of you. No one is perfect. He truely is the greatest person I have ever met, and lucky me for being able to call him mine. I wanted you all to know that he is amazing. Anyone who knows him is well aware of that fact. But for those of you who don't, eat your heart out!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Reading Jen's post this week made me realize again how not ready I am for children. I have enough trouble getting myself (and my impish husband) out of bed in the morning, washed dressed and fed, without adding actual dependents into the mix. I think I have mentioned before that the Husband Unit is presently without a job, and has been for 6 weeks now. We are OK, far luckier than many people for certain, but hubby spends enough time agonizing over his failure to provide as it is without the additional stress of having little mouths to feed. Beyond the economic stressors of parenthood, there are random and sudden bouts of illness or infestation (such as Jen is coping with), the constant lack of sleep or time for oneself. I already have to remind myself on a near daily basis that I am 30, no longer 20 (see Atlanta posts from last week). But as I round the corner toward 31, in-laws foaming at the mouth for the next generation of Boops, I often find myself wondering if I will ever feel "ready" or at least capable. I tip my hat to Jen and all the other multi-tasking super parents out there.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, for some a Hallmark holiday, for others, perhaps the one time a year that they stop and to use a well-worn phrase, smell the roses. The next few days are packed with personal significance for me, so I thought I'd use the occasion to send a couple of blog Valentine's to my loved ones.

  • To my sister, Jen, who turned 28 1/2 this week: I know you know this already, but it bears repeating. The day you were born was one of the happiest days of my life. Though I was only 2 years old myself, I can recall the day you came into this world with clarity. And that is because there has never been anyone happier to be a new big sister than I was. You may be a career woman, mother of two and all around capable force, but you have and always will be my baby.

  • To my best friend of 17 years, Gary, who is enduring a trying family crisis at this time: you are a rock of good sense and maturity, while still remaining a beacon of good times and belly laughs, the kind that make you feel like you might pee your pants. I don't know what my life would be like without that.

  • To my husband, who turns 28 years old this coming Tuesday, coincidentally, the very same day we shared our first kiss and I knew I was really in for it. You alternately infuriate, shock, entertain and love me like I have never been loved. You are a maelstrom of chaos and contentment, all in one. I thought I was pretty complex until you and your rock star attitude turned my world on its ear. I have never looked back.

  • To my nieces, undoubtedly the two cutest and sweetest little ladies to ever grace this planet: KK, may you always be the character that has brought sunshine into all of our lives. "Aunt Bucky" felt connected to you from the moment you rained explosive diarrhea on her good jeans at the tender age of three days. Rosebud, thank you for reminding me that if a 20-month old can do 50 squats in a row without fatigue, a full grown woman ought to be able to do 10 pushups without tears. I never imagined a baby could motivate me to get to the gym, but there you go. A big shout out to their father as well, who has more than a small hand in affecting the good natured sweetness of these gals.

  • To all my girls, you know who you are: C, JTho, TWebb, the ghetto fabulous Yee, Di, Jane and the Roux sisters. Holla!

  • To my A.D., who is boy crazy and giggles like a school girl though she is well into her fifth decade. I am without a mother figure and have been some time. Thanks for reminding me to lighten up, and that you will always be there.

  • To Perez Hilton, Barack Obama, Entertainment Weekly, David Sedaris and CNN: I gave up a lot of my spare time and brain power to you folks in 2008, and it was well worth it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I need a vacation! Anyone else?

The last 24 - 48 hours have gone as such:

Monday 7:59 am - Rosebud refuses to swallow her last bit of oatmeal. Its time to drop KK at school. I say "screw it!" and tell KK to take Rosebud out of her eating chair. Rosebud deposits said mouthful of food all over KK's shirt and pants. Need to leave for school in one minute. WARDROBE CHANGE!

Monday 8:25 am - School nurse calls. KK has been handed down head lice from one of her lovely classmates.

Monday 8:26 am - I have a panic attack. Do I have it? Does Rosebud? Do the cats? How am I going to wash everything before I catch the 1:08 to work?

Monday 8:40 am - buy out the entire lice section at Walgreens.

Monday 9:30 am - get the okay to have the day off of work and then spend the next 1o hours delousing my children and my house.

Monday 9:30 pm - get to bed thinking all bugs are gone and house has never been cleaner.

Tuesday 7:15 am - Rosebud wakes up with a fever and vomit. Awesome.

Tuesday 10:30 am - KK's school calls to inform me KK is scratching again...they have found "a few more".

Tuesday 10:40 am - apply mayonaise to KK's scalp, wrap her head in plastic wrap and cover with head scarf. She is now wearing a mayonaise turbin. Double awesome. Oh yeah, leave on for 5 hours was the recommendation. Triple awesome.

Tuesday 5:35 pm (right now) - Though I have been checked and cleared of all buggers, still constantly thinking my scalp, skin, and eyebrows are itching because of buggers. HELP ME!

How do I make sure these damn things are gone? How do I stop feeling itchy even though I am not!?

Have a better "I need a vacation" story? I am all ears....

Friday, February 6, 2009

My End or Yours?

Question: Can kids be kids anymore in a modern world?

Becky Boop: Not likely

I am a sponge for news of all kinds: local, national, international. Those of us who regularly watch the cable channels, surf the web, etc. have become accustomed to encountering the gruesome, the unimaginable, the depraved of all varieties. And yet, now and then, a story pops up on our radar that really and truly rattles. One such instance occurred for me this week when I read the following:

Boy's death ruled a suicide
Friends, relatives search for answers after 10-year-old hangs self,0,5168386.story

After the first obvious question floated through my mind, “Why on earth would a child do such a thing?,” my second thought was that someone, or a group of someones, failed this boy miserably. If you read the article above, it claims that the child made a threat to harm himself subsequent to a scolding from a teacher. But I think we can all agree that there had to be more to it than that, flighty though the 10 year-old mind can be at times. I recall many instances inside my own broken childhood home where I felt helpless, and often hopeless, as chaos surrounded me. I felt angry enough at such a young age to want to destroy, but I never turned that anger on myself. The article states “It was unclear whether the teacher relayed the boy's reported suicide threat to other school personnel.” How can that be?

This story stayed with me for a couple of days and as I pondered the tragedy of it all, I started to wonder what this young man’s home life was like. Were his parents still together? Had they lost their home, or one or both of their jobs recently? The most recent jobs report released today announced a loss of 585,000 positions across all sectors, in January 2009 alone. Many of us grown folks have been walking the streets with troubled, worried and hungry faces for months. How much of this is being passed down to our children? How many of them are forced to become mini, world weary people long before they should ever have to?

Now I admit, this story hits especially close to home because I have a 9 year-old niece, just a teeny bit younger than this unfortunate young man. She is a character, but also one of the most quiet and sensitive observers I have encountered. She keeps a journal to record her thoughts and takes the highs and lows of everyone in her life completely to her heart. This both makes me proud and worried for her. Can a kid connect to their environment in these times without suffering some damage? Now Jen and her hubby are the best and most watchful parents in the world, but how do we know exactly how blurry the line has become between our own lives and our children’s? My fear is that the new millennium has brought great progress, technology and globalization, but at what cost to our young people? Are we able to insulate them from anything anymore?

This week my friends, I have more questions than answers. I am not sure Jen and I are going to have a good argument at this one, because I am betting this hits her where it hurts as well. But I would like to hear the perspective of someone doing the tough job of raising children in this mean, crazy world. It is not for nothing that I question my own desire for motherhood, especially when I encounter heartbreakers like this.

Jen Of All Trades: Yes?

This is a really tough one. I almost don't know what to say because my thoughts are all over the road. When I heard this story I didn't even think it was possible for a 10 year-old brain to go there (and maybe it isn't because I am not completely convinced that is what happened in this story). But if it was suicide, there were most definitely signs. How could there not be? Someone that deeply tourtured inside, someone that would not only think about but ACT on taking their own life had to display severe unhappiness at some point....right?

I have never known anyone who felt that was their only option and for that I am grateful, but it leaves me uneducated. I just can't imagine a child displaying normal behavior one day and then hanging themself on a hook the next. Anyone who has knowledge on this topic one way or the other PLEASE feel free to share your thoughts.

The point of this discussion is how and what to tell your kids about sensitive issues. I have no idea. I firmly believe that no parent is an expert in parenting. Well all make mistakes as we go. I answer the questions as they come from KK and do my best to be honest but delicate. Am I doing it right? Only time will tell. In KK's case, she seems to process things quite maturely and by all accounts she makes sound decisions when it comes to the things that really matter. Unfortunately, she is aware that some people in our family have lost their jobs, that there are people who don't have a home or food to eat. But I use those harsh realities as a tool for reminding her how good she has it. She is oblivious to the fact that my husband and I have discussions (disagreements) about money, raising the kids, yadda yadda yadda. You can't let your kids feel the burden of your own worries.

What's important in the way I choose to handle things with my children is that there is most definitely a line of communication. KK may only be nine, but she has opinions, thoughts, feelings, etc. in the same way that I do. I HAVE to give her the opportunity to say things out loud without fear of judgement even if I don't agree with her.

The world scares me, that is for sure. It may sounds pagaent-y but I want it to be a place where my kids can feel safe and thrive. But the reality is right now its not. There are things that are just plain out of my hands. All I can do is guide my girls toward the path that is best for them. Even that changes day to day. You have to be there every single day. Not as a helicopter, but as a parachute to soften the blow if they crash land. They have to know you are there for them. I believe (hope) that if they truly know that, they will never feel alone.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hotlanta mess part deux

After a not-so tough day at the office, I was sitting on the train thinking about dinner and how delish it would be when I received the text that turned me into "that crazy woman on the train". Boop was on her way home from the business trip and the following is exactly what I read (and wrote):

BOOP: Fell at baggage claim carousel in front of a million peeps. Am drunken 1st class rock star - again!

JEN: Let me blog about that one! You are nuts

BOOP: All yours. Am too drunk and fab to write. Doing my part to entertain in recession. Two people picked me up when I fell. Too sloshed to feel shame.

Now, I have a few questions:

One - How was she too drunk to walk but made absolutely NO typos in the entire thread of texts? I suppose it a testament to her writing prowess.

Two - How hard were the security guards lauging behind the one way mirrors?

Three - How do I get the video footage that HAS to exist to be leaked to the media?

The only sounds on my train car up until that point were the occasional cough, sniffle, and zipping/unzipping of coats. As I read Boop's text and developed the accompanying mental picture, some new sounds could be heard: snorting, gasping for breath, wiping of tears of laughter, and apologies to those around me for disrupting their peaceful ride home.

Then it occured to me. Why the hell am I apologizing? Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor anymore? If I witnessed someone burst into sudden laughter it would be my instinct to laugh with them without even knowing what happened. Isn't laughter supposed to be contagious? Geez. I should be known as girl-who-has-way-too-much-fun-on-Metra. But alas, I think I am crazy-girl-who-can't-control-herself-in-front-of-a-bunch-of-uptight-assholes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Live from Hotlanta! It's Becky Boop!

From time to time, my job as a Manager of Dental Material Standards at the ADA (is everyone still awake?) affords me a travel opportunity. To say that my work is Dullsville is an insult to the residents of that fictional town, but I do try and make the most out of these mini-excursions. Once I went to New York City for a two-day training session on American National Standards: Administration, Publication and Accreditation. I did my best not to stab myself right through the retina with a pen during the course of meetings, and this work was made easier by what I have come to refer to as my favorite solo date: a walk to Times Square where I treated little old me to dinner at one of many local diners, a cocktail or three at a sexy lounge, and a showing of Hairspray featuring enough gay 80s and 90s icons to make one's head explode - Jim J. Bullock, Lance Bass and Tevin Campbell in one shot? I waited only for a walk-on by RuPaul to make my fantasy complete.

Today I find myself in Atlanta. Or not so much Atlanta as a suburb. Or not so much a suburb as an industrial park in the middle of nowhere, where I am esconced in a Courtyard Marriott until 9:15 AM tomorrow morning. That's when my shuttle bus will pick me up and whisk me away to the glamorous ANSI ISO Member Forum! (shouted like Rod Roddy unveiling a pop-up camper to a Showcase Showdown contestant). At this point, it appears that my dinner options consist of the bags of peanuts I swiped from the first class cabin of my American Airlines flight, or something called Order Inn Hospitality Services. In addition to loathing this vendor for the cutesiness of their name, I resent any attempt to sell me bar food and call it cuisine. But that's the South for you (as well as the Courtyard Marriott).

It would seem I am in for a dull night, but at least I am consoled my own state of Tears on the way here (a term originally coined by my sister, but in 2000, carrying a negative connotation). A state of Tears is achieved when one is so taken aback by their own fabulousness that the shock can only be expressed through the release of a good crying fit. Without a violent outburst of emotion, when one is in a state of Tears, there is liable to be some form of tectonic shift, resulting in a tsunamni or hurricane situation heaped upon an unsuspecting villager. Therefore, one must pause to recognize these little situations where one's own chutzpah and personality transcends the genric nature of a situation. Such a moment occurred for me today as I reached O'Hare airport in Yellow Cab.

It is a sign of these troubling economic times that I left for the aiport at 9:00 AM and had the highway to myself. The airport had the foot traffic level of a Sunday afternoon, and my 11:40 AM flight had plenty of room. I was so early for my flight that I was offerred the chance to upgrade to first class for a mere $90. Score! They were going to charge me $15 to check my bag anyway, so I looked at the additional $75 as an investment in a better nap, the possibility of real food and best of all....liquor. I believe at this point it is a well-known fact that the generally accepted "blue law" of not drinking before noon is comfortably waived in the following circumstances: St. Patty's Day, one's birthday, a bikini wax appointment, and all activities related to air travel.

My seat was now 6F, a window in the back of the first class cabin. I was snuggled under a fluffly red blankie and waited for the free swag! To my utter disappointment, my fellow first class travelers appeared unaware of the waiving of the blue law. When offerred pre-flight beverages, they chose the mundane coffee, soda, etc. Not wanting to boldly advertise my own shameless air drunkeness, I compromised with a mimosa (Hey! There's orange juice right?). I resented the inclusion of any liquid I could have gotten in coach for free, but I was not about to let a little bit of teetotaling by my seatmates ruin my party. Once we were safely in air, the air hostess brought me my first huge glass of red wine, and thankfully, kept them coming.

I passed out, er fell asleep, about 30 minutes before we landed. I woke up right around the time we touched the runway in Atlanta, nearly sleeping through an opportunity to wipe a small amount of red colored drool from my cheek. I called my husband, as promised, the moment I landed and deplaned. As I raced around for the nearest hole in the ground where I could vacate my wine soaked bladder, I dialed with the free hand that wasn't clutching futilely at my lower abdomen. My husband listened to the first few syllables of out of breath slurring before correctly concluding, "You got first class? Oh baby!"
Is it any wonder I married this man?