spring training!

Any of you crazy kids heading down to Texas this spring for Hell Week? C'mon, everybody's doin' it......


dang, i got nothin'

Yeah, so, merry belated Christmas. Or whatever. The blogosphere in general has been relatively quiet this week because people are busy stuffing themselves with cookies and playing with their new toys and don't really have much to say, other than the occasional gloating about how much better their new toys are than everybody else's, but I guess Andy doesn't appreciate the lack of entertainment over here. So here is some entertainment for Andy.

Christmas was okay. I didn't get any new bike toys to talk about, but I did go swimming two more times and I still haven't drowned. For those who read me only for athletic-type news (if there are any of those left), there ya go. (The half marathon "training" is a joke -- I went on one 8-miler with Sascha and that was lovely, but that was also several weeks ago. I may try again this weekend. One of the mugs from two years ago is pretty badly chipped now, so I guess I have to go earn a new one.) I also found one more reason I'm glad I'm not pregnant, not that I'm counting: one of Nate's sisters is due in about six weeks, and the entire time she was over she refused to sit down because she was afraid she might accidentally pee! Seriously, who wants babies? Are they really great enough to be worth all the misery?

On the subject of stuffing myself with Christmas cookies, here is an overshare for you: I'm almost back up to a B cup! Wheee! Unfortunately, I finally made peace with the miniboobs in June and threw away all the old B bras. Even more unfortunate is that the B-cup is part of a package deal including size 8 pants. Which I have not hauled out of the back of the closet YET, but I'm thinking about it. Maybe I should try this South Beach thing. It seems to have worked for Bill Clinton.


Oh yeah, and I've decided to try and resurrect my old yellow bike for winter riding. If it's going to keep being 35 degrees I have no excuse. But I could use some tire recommendations....... (and presto, the blog becomes interactive!)



I have been tagged, albeit pretty half-assedly, by Gilby. Now I have to come up with five interesting things about myself, and they all have to be interesting in a way that my parents can read. Hmmmm.

1. When I was in college I spent a semester in Madagascar. 9/11 was five days after we got there. We thought we would never get to go home. After the situation had settled down enough that the local people felt able to stop tiptoeing around us, they instead began to tell us how glad they were that real Americans were not warmongering cowboys like our president was.

2. Later in that same semester I became "involved" with a Malagasy boy. I was on the rebound from Stupidhead, I was on the complete other side of the world, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. When I left he asked for my phone number, and I gave it to him. What harm could it do, I figured. He doesn't have a phone or money anyway, but it's a nice gesture. FAMOUS LAST WORDS. Somehow he figured out how to hack into the payphones so that he could call overseas without paying for it, and began to call me several times a week, wanting to know when I was going to come back to Madagascar and marry him. The best part was that he had no concept of time zones, so all these calls were at four in the morning. The last time I heard from him was about a year ago, I think. Three week fling, three years of stalking. A word to the wise: before embarking on dalliances in foreign countries, find out first if the local culture embraces the concept of the "casual fling."

3. While Gilby may have been the seventh and eighth grade spelling bee champion, I had my budding career as a speller cut short in fourth grade, when I was unable to spell ECCLESIASTICAL. My parents maintain that it was my fault for not studying my spelling list, but I distinctly recall that my opponent only had to spell SURPRISE. I'm still bitter about it.

4. My first bike was a red and silver Huffy. I was very upset because it was a boy's bike and I wanted a pink one with streamers, but Dad laid the smack down and I went home with my manly bike. My first major crash was when I forgot how my brakes worked and ran smack into a chainlink fence at full speed. And my first long ride was when my best friend and I decided to run away; we packed a backpack full of crackers and baloney and made it probably 15 miles before we got tired and hungry (we stopped to eat the baloney after 3 or 4 miles) and called collect for a ride. 15 miles took a lot longer back then than it does now and there was a swarm of cops waiting to hear our story when we got home. Whoops.

5. I don't know how to swim. Well, I kind of do, but it's what they call "dog paddling." Which I do better than my dog, by the way. But tonight I am going to start learning how to swim for real, courtesy of Teammate Paula, who does not have a blog but who was featured in the Strib yesterday. Here is what I think about swimming:

To hell with it, I'm going to do the half-assed tagging thing too. If yer in my blogroll, yer tagged. Yeah, there's a lot of overlap with Gilby's blogroll, but if you've been tagged twice you really have no excuse. Time's a-wastin'!

the stereotypes about drunken attorneys are ALL TRUE.

Friday night was the office Christmas party, which I believe I warned you about in a list of blog previews. It went well, I think. A number of people had to get hotel rooms because they could barely walk, let alone drive, and I have cell-phone video footage of my boss (Attorney B) drunkenly attempting to swing dance with a fluffy white teddy bear which I am DYING to post here but probably shouldn't. And Nate somehow wound up playing Big Buck Hunter -- you know, the arcade game with the giant plastic rifles -- with the other partner (Attorney P), and beating him by a wide, wide margin due to Attorney P's inability to shoot anything even with the muzzle of his plastic rifle pressed up against the screen. Nate was DD'ing that night, so this was a blatantly unfair match. But still.

Now on to the important stuff: the Embarrassing Stories About Annie, which I know is the whole reason you come here. I began the evening by deciding to throw all the Office Party Rules out the window and wear the shortest skirt I could find. Naturally, I then got trapped at the front of the room for a long long time, picking Christmas presents up off the floor. Coincidence? You decide. Anyway, the highlight of the evening was the gag gift swap, a weird ritual in which everyone drew a number and then, one at a time, went to the front of the room and chose a wrapped gift from the pile. After #1 unwrapped a gift, #2 had the opportunity to either unwrap a new one or steal the one #1 had unwrapped, and so on. I was #2. After that everyone who came after me wanted to steal whatever I had, so I ended up unwrapping at least four different presents.

Of course, I just had to wind up with the Mistletoe To Go, a sprig of plastic mistletoe on a stick with a suction cup at the end for affixing the mistletoe to your forehead. Nate was a good sport and came to the front of the room to kiss me amidst hoots and catcalls (thanks honey!), and then I pulled the suction cup off and went back to my chair.

A minute later, Co-worker M took one look at me and burst out laughing. "Look at your HEAD!" she snorted.

Uh oh.

I found a mirror. Sure enough, there was a huge round purple hickey in the middle of my forehead. Folks, there is a trick to removing suction cups from your face, and it is a delicate procedure in which you carefully slide the suction cup upward until it slips off. I knew this when I was a kid, but it had been a rather long time since I stuck a suction cup on my own face, so I'd forgotten. I grabbed the thing and yanked. Whoops. Nate, ever the Boy Scout, was fully prepared with his camera phone:

It's still there now, Monday morning, clearly visible for all to point and laugh at. Damn, I'm cool.

And for further pointing and laughing, here is another picture of me. As you can tell by my bleary face, forehead hickey, and the fact that I have to lean on the wall, this is after we got home.

p.s. If any of you see me in person in the near future, I will be very happy to play the Dancing Boss video for you. It's pretty good.

p.p.s. Last week sometime I surfed across some chick's blog that was peppered with overtly sexy pictures of her, all of them clearly taken with the intent of making her look good no matter what the supposed subject of the photo was - "me passed out on the couch with a hangover," yeah right. Because we all wear short pink shorts and drape our arms across our hips like that when we feel like throwing up. Anyway, I was entertained by this, because I don't think I've consciously posted a single flattering picture of myself on here. This might be because there ARE no flattering pictures of me, because whenever a camera appears I am compelled to be as goofy as possible, but I think it's probably a good thing that I don't take myself quite as seriously as that girl. Life would be so sad.


glamour shots


sometimes i'm glad i don't have an advice column (yes, this is real. link in title)

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old boy with a problem. My mother won't stop using my underwear. If that's not bad enough, she only uses my NEW underwear. I constantly ask her to stop, but she won't. What should I do? -- ANGRY IN HARTFORD, CONN.

DEAR ANGRY: At 13, you are old enough to have things of your own. Your mother shouldn't be using your underwear without your permission. The next time it happens, try this: Say you'd like to borrow some of hers.


pepsi bike update

See, I sucked you all in with the title, and now you're thinking I've actually done something with the Pepsi bike other than leave it sitting in my living room with two flat tires and a disconnected handlebar. Wrong! The update is this: on Sunday, I had a conversation with Andy, and it went like this.

Andy: So, have you started working on the Pepsi bike yet?

Annie: Uh, no.

[miscellaneous bike-nerd talk that I've forgotten]

Annie:........so if anybody is looking for a big box of ancient Suntour crap, I've got it.

Andy: Does it have [mumbo jumbo, blah blah, something about BMX]?

Annie: The what huh?

Andy: Does the chainring have a big thick protector thing on it? ["big thick protector thing" is a paraphrase]

Annie: Uh, yeah.


Now, I could turn this post into a whole post titled Andy Is Mean, but then he could be like Lance and sue me for libel, so I won't. But I would like to point out for the record that the number of times I typed "HA" up there was not a true representation of how long Andy laughed at me, I just got tired of typing "HA." It actually went on for a pretty long time. Anyway, a minute ago I thought I could Google this quickly and find a definitive answer so that I wouldn't have to paraphrase Andy as saying "big thick protector thing" (see how nice I am to him?), but I failed. The closest thing I did find was a link to some guy's conversion that he'd posted on Fixed Gear Gallery, which includes the following: "[Suntour] crank with 40t chainring and a nifty integrated 52t large ring/bash guard - all one solid piece with the cranks, so they're staying! Plus, they keep the pants out of the chain!"

I'm all for keeping the pants out of the chain, who isn't, but that thing kind of looks like a pie plate that somebody glued to my big ring, and I was hoping to get rid of it. But dang, you guys, I don't really even know what a bottom bracket IS, precisely. I mean, I know WHERE it is. But I'm not going to change my crankset. It is looking more and more like the friendly folks at Freewheel will be seeing me soon (but not until my bank balance is positive again, whoops, did I say that or just think it?), or the Pepsi bike will never see the light of day. Except for what comes in my living room windows.



One thing you may not know is that any time one doctor refers you to another doctor, the two doctors then write letters back and forth to each other about you, especially if the second doctor continues to treat you over an extended period of time. Doctor X, the one giving the referral, writes a letter to Doctor Y that is designed to arrive before Doctor Y ever sets his eyes on you. This letter contains a summary of your problem, treatment, and reason for referral, and concludes with "I appreciate your willingness to see this very pleasant woman." Doctor Y then sees you, sends you packing, and writes back to Doctor X: "Dear Doctor X, Thank you for the referral. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah, blah blah. Thank you for allowing me to assist in the care of this very pleasant woman."

"Pleasant" is the most common word they use in this sentence, for some reason. I never use the word "pleasant," except in January when I can't fit into my favorite jeans and have to refer to myself as "pleasantly plump." I certainly do not know any PERSON that I would describe as "pleasant." It's just a weird word. But doctors seem to have this unspoken scale of pleasantness, ranging from "pleasant" to "very pleasant." Some patients don't get any word at all, just "Thank you for allowing me to assist in the care of this patient." Some patients, who are obviously extremely pleasant, get even better words. I was inspired to write this post because I just came across a record in which one of our clients was described as "delightful." Delightful! Yet I have never seen a letter from Doctor X saying "Thanks for helping out, but I gotta warn you, she's a real pill."

My interest is piqued by this. I'm not sure what the code of conduct is here, or why the rule even exists -- the patients themselves never see the letters between doctors, or at least I've never seen any correspondence between my doctors, so offending the patients can't be the reason. I guess the fact that lawyers and insurance adjusters and all kinds of icky people (ultimately including a jury in some cases) get their hands on these records from time to time might be a consideration. HOWEVER, the files at our office are filled with memos referencing "assholes" and "crotchety old men who I'd NEVER pick for a jury" and (in one particularly lovely case) "a real peach." Quite frankly, most of our clients are one step away from the room with the padded walls, and I know the doctors think so too. How could they not? From time to time I do pick up hints of those feelings from the medical records, but always in very professionally-worded sentences that never contain the word asshole.

Are doctors just that much more professional than lawyers? Is it just my office? My boss does occasionally wear sweatpants to work, even to client meetings. Of course, our notes and intra-office memos are protected by this thing called the "work product privelege," which means that the defense will never see our potty words, nor will the jury. Maybe doctors have a work-product privelege as well, and therefore a separate file of memos that don't get copied and sent out..... doctors? Do I have any doctor readers that can answer this? Do I have any readers left at this point in the post, or is this the sort of thing that's only interesting when you've been sitting at your desk for a very very long time? I don't know, but I'm glad it's Friday.

Have a very pleasant day.

pet peeve o' the day

You know what I hate? Pink blogs. No offense to any of you who HAVE pink blogs, pink is a lovely color, but for the love of God, people, there is NO WAY anyone seeing my computer from across the room is going to mistake a Pepto-hued webpage with a Day-Glo pink sidebar for anything work-related. Blue, sure; black, fine; white, even better -- occasionally I do have to look things up online for work, but I guarantee you that NO chiropractor, EVER, NONE of them will have a pink website. EVER.


hot wheels

Sorry dudes. I've probably lost whatever readers I used to have, but sometimes you just don't have anything to say for entire months at a time. This past couple weeks it's been because of the ongoing quest for a new car, which I am pleased to say is completed. Whoopee, eh? The good news is that Sascha can no longer look down her nose at my gas mileage; the bad news is that I don't have an excuse not to drive on the Friday lunch hour field trips any more, since I have four doors and four seats now. And if any of y'all want an old ('97) Ford Ranger, $3500 takes it. It even comes with a bike rack and a pre-faded USCF sticker.

I've never gone car shopping before. The Ranger was my college graduation present and my dad did all the shopping, and before that it was when my parents got that teal-colored station wagon. I was in 7th grade and mortified at the notion of replacing our hideous old green station wagon with another hideous green station wagon, but I didn't get to pick. Anyway, I went into this without knowing anything about looking for cars, especially used ones.

Things I learned:

1. You know how people always say to check the title history before agreeing to buy a car? I laughed, thinking whatever, most cars will be perfectly fine, it's just a formality. But Dad was adamant about it, so after I made an appointment to go see some guy's Civic I got myself 30 days of unlimited Carfax reports and ran a check on it. Turns out the thing was totaled in '02 and resurrected with a salvage title, yet the guy was attempting to sell it ABOVE the blue book value. Funny, fella. Nice try but no cigar. The next one I wanted to look at, I decided to run the check before calling about it, since I'd paid for unlimited reports. At the top of the report it said CONGRATULATIONS! THIS CAR QUALIFIES FOR THE CARFAX BUYBACK GUARANTEE! meaning that Carfax thought it was clean enough to certify. Good so far, right? So I scrolled down through the report. No major accidents, no flood damage, etcetera etcetera. I was getting ready to call the guy who had it when I saw, at the very bottom of the page, in teensy-weensy print, reported stolen. Last month. In Texas. Personally, I'd think Carfax would put that at the TOP of the page, and that they wouldn't GUARANTEE it. But what do I know....

2. Man, do cars disappear fast. 95% of the cars I called about had already been sold by the time I called about them, a day or two after they were listed. Except the ones that require questionable advertising such as "THIS CAR WILL KICK WINTER'S ASS!!!!!!" That one is still available. See craigslist for details.

3. Tell people at the office that you just got a new car, and then tell them what it looks like, and the next time you see your shiny new car it will be plastered with bumper stickers reading I MASTURBATE and THIS VEHICLE STOPS AT ALL ADULT BOOKSTORES. (They turned out to be magnets, don't worry.)

4. Eastern Europeans have cornered the market on used cars around here. Every person I talked to had a name ending in -ov or -sky and had a thick accent. When I called about the car I ended up getting, I spoke to a person with no foreign accent.... for about five seconds, just long enough for her to transfer me to a guy named Boris. Yeah, Boris. Boris was actually very nice, a mild-mannered Russian guy with white hair, but man, did I take a lot of shit from my coworkers when I talked to him on my office phone. "Did you just say BORIS? You're talking to a guy named BORIS?" Yeah, Boris the used car salesman. Yuk it up, guys.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging, which (yes, Tim) will include the long-awaited experimental dismantling of the Pepsi bike. Oh yeah, and if anybody wants a Carfax check done between now and January 3, hit me. I've got 'em free until then. But I am NOT taking any of you for rides. My coworkers already tried that one.