Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas

I didn't tell you about Christmas at all.
We had a very nice (but short) Christmas weekend.
We spend all day Saturday with the Grandmas at the farm, then Sunday evening with Richard's family, and Monday with my family and then Richard's immediate family joined us at our house for dinner and "Deal or No Deal."
One of the highlights of my Christmas had to be the "Camp-Stove Coffee Cookoff." Dad gave Lauren a camp stove and a coffee pot for Christmas and challenged her to a duel. The participants were graded on three criteria. 1. Taste--whose coffee tastes the best? 2. Speed--who could make coffee the fastest? 3. Style and Cleanliness--who looked the best while cooking? Who could make coffee with the least amount of mess? It was a very close race, but Lauren pulled through in the end despite a HUGE boil-over. Simply put, her coffee tasted the best. (Sorry, Dad)

Dad and Lauren before the competition.

Dad setting his watch.

Dad adjusting the flame (yes flame) on his camp stove.

Lauren watching intently for her coffee to perk.

Both pots had overflowed by this point.

Who says we don't know how to have fun in the Duffert family?

We are heading out of town for my cousin's wedding this afternoon--have a safe and Happy New Year!

Rich gave me a digital camera for Christmas. Can you tell?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Worry Wart

My husband just turned over and said, "Why are you still awake?"
I said, "I don't know."
"Are you worried about something?"
"I don't know. I'm always worried about something."
"That's true," he said. And as he turned over to go back to sleep he said, "Can you turn the heater off?"
Sure, babe.
So what am I worried about?
Here's a list in no particular order:
-I haven't been to spinning in almost two weeks. Am I getting pudgy again?
-I don't know how to locate the vendor numbers I need for the end of the year accounting tomorrow.
-I'm really hungry, but is it ok to eat chips and guacamole this late at night?
-Did Christmas really go well, or is everybody just being nice?
-What on earth am I going to do with this much leftover meat?
-I think I might have gingivitis.
-Would lasagna be ok for mom's grad party?
-My fingernails grow very fast while my hair grows slow--why?
-Who am I? Or better yet, who is Erin?
-And how do other people actually see me?
-What do I want to do with my life?
-Do I actually have a career ahead of me?
-And what about this publishing thing?
So, gingivitis and hair care aside, what about this publishing thing? Dad is making a big push for me to send out something--anything--to a publisher. But what to send? And where? And why, oh why, would anyone want to read what I have to say, let alone pay me to say it?
Why don't I send something?
One word: FEAR.
Can you imagine it? My smarmy writing friends banging their heads against their well-worn over-loved and dying typewriters purchased at thrift stores in despair to learn that Erin has been published anywhere. Erin--remember her? The one who gave up a life of pain and suffering for her art to get married and live in the suburbs somehere. Didn't she have a baby? Or two? Remember Erin? The one with no discernable talent other than the uncanny and often irritating, though effortless ability to find the punch-line every single time? She was fun.
I'm afraid of what those smarmy friends would say. I'm also afraid of getting turned down. It's not like I can keep a secret--you know I'd be on here the next day saying, "The New Yorker" turned me down. My smarmy friends would feign sympathy but secretly scoff at my arrogance. "'The New Yorker?' Yeah right!"
So what if I aim low? Shoot for Reader's Digest or Cosmo?
It wouldn't hurt so much to get turned down by magazines designed for elderly potty-goers or desperate twenty-somethings.
I think I'll aim low.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Let's Talk

I need to get some things off my chest. Two things actually.
1. Stop sending me Christmas Cards.
I announced at the beginning of the Christmas season that I would NOT be sending Christmas Cards, and you people keep sending them! This, of course, makes me feel like I need to respond, and I have sent out more than 25 cards so far. I'm writing now to say, enough is enough. Don't send anymore. I love you all, and I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but I don't want to do it $.39 at a time. I have better things to do--as do you.
Spread yule some other way.
2. I'd like to phase out the hugging.
I know Christmastime is a time for spreading the aforementioned yule, which often comes with a hug. Well, now I'm sick. Actually sick from all your virus-spreading hugs. My nose and ears are plugged and my throat hurts. Merry frickin Christmas, folks. Thanks a lot.
It's not just the viruses. I really just don't like hugging. Do I have to physically affirm that I love you every time I see you? Rest assured when I feel like giving a hug, I will give one. If I'm not in the mood, though, I really will let you stand there with your arms out feeling foolish. When I want to hug you, I will. I just don't see how it's necessary to hug all the time.
Now in regard to hugging, here's something funny. You may know the Nourse family and their affinity for the hugs. Jared, Naomi's husband, knows how I feel about hugging and when it comes time to leave their house, I can see on his face that he wants to hug me but doesn't want to make me uncomfortable. This always melts my heart so lately I have been the one who initiates the goodbye hugs when we leave their house.
See how it works? You can't hug-attack. You have to wait for me to choose the hug. Let the hug come to you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

BUSTING with Pride, part 2 (Hootie-Hoo)

What a great weekend. Lauren, Richard, and I drove down to Wausau on Friday night, stayed up way too late giving mom her graduation gifts and goofing around, and then, bright and early the next morning, we were off to UWSP for the best graduation ever. The speaker was a stand-up comic. Honestly, it was the least painful graduation I've ever been to, including mine.
The best part was watching my mom come out with all the graduates with the biggest smile I've ever seen. I had texted her so that she would know where we were sitting and she spotted us immediately. She kept leaning back to wave at us through the whole ceremony. When it was her turn to walk across the stage, Lauren shouted, "That's my mom!!" While I gave her the customary Duffert-Family-Graduation, "Hootie-Hoo!"
She still has finals this week, but the end is near, and I honestly couldn't be more pleased. I can't describe what it felt like to watch her graduate--she beat the odds and went back to school, and I am so proud.

This is when I started to cry.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Angst

You know what I hate more than the Little Drummer Boy?
Giving a gift, having someone open it, and the look on their face says, "Oh."
I hate that! I never want that to happen. I love giving gifts, and I want the receiver to he as excited about their gift as I am, you know?
It's this fear that drives me.
For some reason, however, this year is different than any other. For the past two years I have freaked out about the M-I-L, and ended up doing something lame-o. But this year is different because I have really great presents for the in-laws, and just mediocre gifts for my own family. I had the perfect gift for my mom, then discovered it wasn't quite right, went back for another, and still, it's not quite right. Lauren and McClain are easy--we always make Christmas Agreements. "I'll buy you this if you'll buy me this..." But I have yet to have a moment of glorious inspiration for my dad. I have purchased several gifts for him, but none of them are quite right.
I am feeling very discouraged, friends and brethren. The in-laws were easy this year, and I feel like my whole world is upside down!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Short, Imagined Dialogues

This morning as I was getting ready for work (late), I imagined my boss saying something to me about my perpetual tardiness. He has never yet noticed that I am late, to my knowledge. Or rather, he has never said anything to me about it.
Our imaginary conversation went like this:
Him: Erin, you really need to work harder at being on time. Why are you always so late?
Me: Well, it all boils down to one thing, sir.
Him: What's that?
Me: Pantyhose.
Him: Pantyhose?
Me: Yes.
Him: Please explain.
Me: Well, every single morning, I stand in front of my closet and try to figure out what to wear. Every day I ask myself, 'Will today be a pantyhose day?' Then I have to go through a small check list. 1. Do I have anything clean that does NOT necessitate pantyhose? 2. When was the last time I shaved my legs (pertaining to skirts only, obviously)? 3. What's going on today--how nice do I need to look? So on and so forth.
This whole thing probably takes about five minutes, which, when you only give yourself fifteen to get out the door, is a lot. Then, if I decide today is indeed a pantyhose day, I can automatically add at least 15 minutes of hopping around the bedroom, half-naked, on one foot while I try to squeeze into "Nude, Control Top, Large." It's at this point that I have to wonder--am I buying the right size? If I paid more than $1.99 for my pantyhose, would the whole ordeal go more smoothly? Am I sure I don't have any clean pants?
Sir, I just don't know what else to do.
Him: Perhaps you could get out of bed earlier?
Me: Oh. I guess I could do that.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Come here, Drummer Boy...

Does anybody else hate the Little Drummer Boy?
Is he actually in the Christmas Story, in the Bible? No.
I'd like to kick him. And pinch him. The drummer boy takes away any happy feelings I might be feeling about Christmas--family, memories, finding that perfect gift...and replaces them with pure unadulterated irritation. To me, the drummer boy encompasses everything that is annoying, frustrating, and just plain BAD about Christmas. Put yourself in my shoes. I'm out, running the many, many errands that are necessary at this time of year, I'm enjoying myself, humming along with the radio when suddenly, I hear a vaguely familiar melody. I shake my head, trying to rid myself of the melody as I change the station, but it's too late. It's stuck with me.
And it won't leave. For the rest of the day, "Par-um-pa-pum-pum..."
Come here, drummer. I'll pru-um you.
Since the offending percussionist is not actually the real Christmas story, and is part of a song made up in 1958, I nominate that we vote him off the island. I want him out of Christmas alltogether.
What do you think, friends and brethren? Can we send him away to live in a gingerbread house somewhere in Siberia, along with all the other Christmas irritations? You know, Rudolph, cell phone salesmen, and every mall-hired Santa in the world?
Who else should we vote off Christmas Island? I want to know what irritates you in this season. Don't hold back, folks. What bugs you that takes away from the real joy of this season?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Good Luck, Scott

My writing friend, Scott, has a blog, Nehring The Edge, that has been nominated for The Weblog Awards. If you go to You can vote for his site.
If you're so inclined, you can vote once a day/per computer you have access to until December 15th.
Good luck, Scott! I'll vote every day!

I'm an Imp-O-tent part of the team!

Do you remember that joke about the man who goes to get his vasectomy wearing a tuxedo?
Keep it in mind.
Since the "reorganization" of our division (i.e. swallowing up a smaller department, firing 50+ people, and getting a new name), my manager has taken on a lot more responsibility than before. He does not hesitate to remind me how important he is. As a result, I have been working very hard on some things. The first of which is to not be stupid. That one is a work in progress. The second is that I've been working a lot harder to look more professional and at my job. I bought a lot of new clothes with my birthday money, and so far I feel like I've been pretty successful. I've also been receiving a lot of compliments, which, if I let my neurosis get really out of control, makes me think that I really did look like crap for the last few months. Oh well.
Yesterday even our VP noticed my transformation. I wore a black skirt and tights with a red sweater. Very sharp, friends. He said, "Well don't you and red today!" (Anyone who can tell me what this means wins the prize.)
Anyway, since I'm working for someone important, I think I should look important.
Which brings us back to the man getting a vasectomy in a tuxedo.
When asked why he was wearing a tuxedo, he said, "If I'm gonna be imp-o-tent, I'm gonna look imp-o-tent."
There's a joke in there somewhere. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

That's My Sister!!

Where's the worst place in the world to get hit on?
Besides prison, I'd have to say at the doctor's office.
I had lunch with Mandi yesterday after her doctor's appointment, when she told me this story.
She was sitting in the empty waiting room for her name to be called when a man in his mid-30's sat down on the double seat right next to her, despite ALL the empty seats in the whole waiting room.
She's that magnetic, friends. ; )
He, of course, very casually started a conversation.
"How are you doin today?"
"Been better," Mandi said briefly, wanting to avoid further conversation. They were, after all, at the clinic.
"I'm sorry to hear that. What are you in for?"
Mandi looked at him, "I can't stop peeing."
End of conversation.

That's my sister, shooting a man down with only four words. Classic--I love it!

In other sisterly news, Mandi was featured in the Stillwater Gazzette. Check it out.
Way to go, Noonie!

(Big Tooooooooe!)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I woke up this morning thinking, "It's Wednesday...half way through."
I then woke up and hour later and thought, "It's EIGHT O'CLOCK!"
Which is the official story.
I really did think it was Wednesday today until just a few minutes ago. Whether or not I "overslept" on accident is still up in the air.
When I told Arnie I woke up at 8, he said (teasing me), "How can you even do that?"
Like it's hard.
Needless to say, it's NOT Wednesday, and I still have NINE THOUSAND days to go until the weekend.
Awesome. I'M. SO. HAPPY.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cheatin' Heart

I have to tell you something, and I don't know how to say it.
I'm just going to come right out and say it.
I've been cheating.
Over my lunch break, on the way home from work, even over dinner, if I can get away with it.
Yes, it's with my ex.
I tried to realign my loyalties, but I can't fool myself anymore--or you. It's just not fair.
Sure, things were going great for a while, but when the pressure is on, and we get down to the basics--the nitty, gritty details--my needs and desires, on a molecular level, you just don't cut it. I need something better, more Real. I really think I deserve it, too. You deserve to be with someone who isn't longing for another.
I know this is hard, but you'll find someone--soon. Someone better, who cares about you and loves you for who you are.
It's not you. Really. It's me.
I will always hold a special place for you in my heard, Diet Coke, but it's time we parted ways. Please don't cry. I'll keep you in the fridge for my diet-drinking friends, but I have to be true to myself, and I'm just not happy with you. I feel like I can't be me.
I'll miss you, but I've got to stick with the Real Thing--I'm a Classic kind of girl, you know?