Tuesday, August 30, 2005

charles foster kane

I would just like to mention here that Peggy and I saw Citizen Kane for the first time ever last night.

I would also just like to mention that I guessed who Rosebud was within the first 30 minutes of the movie.

I would also ALSO just like to mention that I am a smart girl.

I would also ALSO ALSO just like to mention that I have a foot fungus.

But Citizen Kane was awesome, dude.

Monday, August 29, 2005

state your name for the record

You know, some people use blogs for a punching bag, getting out the really mean things to say without suffering the consequence of owning up.

Read THIS and tell me what you think. Do you think my friend was overly harsh? Do think the anonymous commenters are?

This is my personal opinion. Whether my friend was right to say what she said is irrelevant. You can disagree with her, but you can do it civilly and without the venom. You can disagree, but SIGN YOUR NAME TO IT for heaven's sake.

This stuff makes me cranky. Rule of thumb. Never write what you wouldn't say in person. Secondly, if this stuff is what you would say in person, you need to check yourself, man. Cuz that ain't healthy.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

staff appreciation luncheon

If you haven’t been to a staff appreciation luncheon, brother - - you are missing out. Let me give you a slice of S.A.L. goodness, particularly if it’s your first time and you know LIKE THREE PEOPLE because you just started three months ago.

First, you follow the crowd to what you hope is the big room with all the food. At the hall’s entrance, the crowd splits in several directions as they look around for friends and a seat at the table, where 10 fennel salads with stinky cheese sprinkled on top form a circle. You stand at the door and look lost. You think things like...mmm! The tables look nice! That salad looks good! Centerpieces aren’t too shabby! Where should I sit?! I don’t really want to be here right now!

Then, you find a seat next to the woman on your left who doesn’t talk, just eats. Furiously. Or looks at the centerpiece. You introduce yourself warmly, but not warmly enough. Please remember that to the woman on your left, the salad is more important than you or anything else. She hasn't eaten for 15 months. So don’t expect an instant BFF when there's a free salad in front of her. Just who do you think you are?

The woman on your right (because you apparently work with a lot of women) is completely engaged in conversation with the woman on her right, barely making an effort to say hello as you sit down.

You feel grateful that the salad is there waiting for you to dig into, because it gives you something to do besides stare at no one in particular for too long and think about the dorkiness that is you right now. You take your time eating it, because you’re not sure how long it will be until they bring out the chicken. Yes, of course it’s going to be chicken.

While eating your stinky fennel salad, you overhear little bits of conversation on a vast array of curiously fascinating subjects: the contest of Who’s Got the Crappiest Commute Into the City, and Which Zoo Did You Take Your Kids To Last Weekend? Jon Benet Ramsey. Jon Benet Ramsey?! That kid died like a million years ago?!

At one point, when they are on the Zoo topic, someone suggests that if you want to see the greatest zoo in the world, visit the country of Africa! There’s a lull after this comment. Now you will finish chewing the lettuce in your mouth, put your life in your hands and contribute something to the conversation. You say, “where the people are in cages, and the animals can roam free, right?”

You immediately fork another bite of salad, put it in your mouth, and look up. This is the part where you notice silence. They just stare at you eating your salad and you just stare back because your mouth is full, and you can’t say anything without something foreign flying out of your mouth, so nobody talks for like three minutes. Suffice it to say, they don’t know what you mean, and you never should talk again.

Once you’ve swallowed, you attempt to clarify by saying that the car you’re in serves as a roaming “cage” if you will...but then you just forget it because they’ve moved on to another subject.

By the way, this episode will make you self-conscious, which will bring about the more rapid consumption of what's left of your stinky salad. The man takes your plate away, and your nightmare has come true. You now have nothing to distract you. The chicken isn’t coming. The chicken isn’t coming. So you stare at no one in particular for too long and think about the dorkiness that is you right now.

Right about the time the chicken comes, the speeches start. The director of human resources, with the really tacky tie, gets up to the podium and proceeds to read from his paper with the eloquence and skill of a 7 year-old. Then, he introduces the President who gives an inspiring (read: tired) speech about the past, the present, and the future of your company. But hey, at least you’ve got chicken. You notice they left the skins on, and that’s a little gross.

After the speech, you come to the Raffle, or in other words, the open bribery segment. The reason why people go to these dang things at all. It is here when you watch fashionably challenged staff stand up and receive gift certificates as their raffle numbers are read from the microphone. You pretend to not care that your name wasn’t called for any of the prizes, especially when the other girl with the orange sweater wins THE FREAKIN’ IPOD YOU’VE BEEN WANTING FOR LIKE SIX MONTHS NOW AND ARE TOO STINKIN’ POOR TO BUY BECAUSE THIS NON-PROFIT SALARY STINKS! You are very, very happy for orange sweater girl. Very happy. She deserves it. Even though you've never met her. Everything goes into slow motion as the beautiful unopened Ipod box moves from the President’s hand to the orange sweater. You seriously think about crying just a little bit.

You eat your freakin’ piece of chocolate cake as a consolation prize, at which time the torture is over. You are free to leave. You gave your gratuitous applause to all the hard-working people there, and now you can go back to your desk and feel like poop because you ate too much, and no one got the one comment you dared to make about stinkin’ Africa, and you were literally inches from a free Ipod.

And there’s only 11 more months before you get to do it all over again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


For those that never check out Times & Seasons (an LDS group blog) I encourage you to read THIS

This the way God intends it to be.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

a memory followed by a missive

In an attempt to steer the focus off my last (and rather pointless) post, let me share a little slice of a memory.

Back in high school, I had a penchant for the boys who went against the grain. (read: messed up, brooding, anti-authority potheads who could only express emotions if it had to do with him, himself, his life, his anger, his, he, him, himself or Jim Morrison.) I was the only one who understood him, you see.

After a brief tryst (brief tryst = one makeout session in his car which, of course to my 16 year-old mind, means the beginning of a beautiful and lasting commitment based on values such as trust, communication and openness) Prince Morrison never bothered to speak to me again. Even though we hung out in the same crowd of friends every day.

Awkward. Feeling cheap. Also stupid. Blaming self.

Over the summer immediately after this little experience, I saw him at a party. And with uncharacteristic-like assertion, I made my way over to him to ask a very important question.

Me: (after a brief amount of “hi, how are you” banter) You know, you could’ve been a little more honest with me.

Him: About what?

Me: Well…about your intentions.

Him: (half a smirk) I never had any intentions.

WOW. I could actually taste the adrenaline in my mouth after that. My whole body went numb with humiliation. Do you believe this guy? (well, maybe you do cuz you’ve met a few just like him.)

What I still wonder to this day is where I got the idea that these guys were actually the ones to be paying attention to. What is it? I mean yeah, he was a great kisser, but wasI really that easily won? Hi, I'm Mary. You don’t have to be nice to me, you just have to have to treat me bad and then I’ll devote months of wasted energy crushing on you.

I think of all the truly great ones - - those guy friends I could trust, who actually graduated from high school, some with honors. They were funny, they were smart, they were uncomplicated, and on top of it all, they were decent. They were kind, they were thoughtful. So where was I?!

To the Good Guy I May Have Missed Out On, or May Yet Fall in Love With:

I am so sorry that I was such an idiot. I’m sorry I didn’t see you standing there the whole time. I was such a fool.

You knew what was up, what was real. I didn’t. I made a mess. I traded a good heart for a lead-singing emotional vacuum with great hair and a cruel smirk. And about 3 or 4 more like him followed after.

The worst bit of it is that even though I’m better now, and I’ve wised up some, you’re still going to have to deal with the baggage I’m lugging around. And none of it is your doing. But believe me, love, I’m whittling it down as much as I can before you get here. My goal is to reduce it to the carry-on: an adequate burden, but more lightweight and equipped with a trusty handle for greater manageability. I’m working on it.

No matter what you think, good guys do finish first. But they’re usually the last to be recognized for it. And I will always know you’re Numero Uno in the real record book. You’ll always be my personal Number One.

Thank you.

Love, Your Once-Lost-Now-Good Girl

me, me and more me...it's disgusting

Periodically, I will go through one of these phases where I really begin to wonder what people really think when they listen to me, or see me. Just what impression are people getting exactly? Is it good? Do people walk away thinking good things? Or is it a mixed bag? Like...wow, Mary. She’s a little special, huh? And then the other guy says..."yeah, but she's been like that as long as I've known her. You'll get used to it. She really is a good girl."

No one really sees herself as she really is. No one can be totally self-aware. If we were, we’d recognize immediately the bad stuff we do, or the lunacy in what we say, or the faults we show to others unwittingly.

Sometimes I’ll throw a comment out that seems perfectly appropriate, reasonable, non-strange, or otherwise perfectly orthodox. But then I witness the REACTION to what I’ve said. And based on that reaction, I can tell either that my comments were indeed rational, appropriate, etc. – or – not.

Fairly often, my friends will do that little inward-chuckle thing, as if to say “oh, mary…” or maybe their eyes widen and shift focus, after I’ve merely expressed an inner thought. That’s when I know…I just said something abnormal.

Here, let me give you an example…

On Sunday, I approached a good friend because I wanted to apologize for a thoughtless remark I had made at a party the night before. Not a big deal, but still something I shouldn’t have said. So I walk up to her, and this is what I say…

“[Friend by name], can I talk to you for two seconds? I need to say something, and I know you may not think there’s any reason for me to say it. But this is more for my benefit than for yours, so I hope you’ll indulge me here.”

And then my friend began to laugh. Which greatly surprised me. Now is that a strange thing to say? What’s your take? Would you have laughed at that statement?

YOU KNOW WHAT? Maybe it’s not WHAT I say, but HOW I say it. I wonder what my face looked like as I said it. Maybe it was the speed with which the words were uttered. Not sure.

I guess I just feel really sheepish when I don’t understand why what I’ve just said merits a surprised or diverted reaction. I feel like I should be in better tune with just how I’m coming across.

Other days, I just think to hell with all ya’s.

You guys would tell me if I’m being ridiculous or ignorant, right? Oh, I am so neurotic. They need to invent some kind of shunt for the brain for peeps like me.

M’kay. Just forget everything I said. Bye.

Friday, August 19, 2005

boston realty

Here's a nice one right on the water. Well, it was floating on the water at least, until the landlord fished it out of the Charles. Spruced it up with some paint, it's quite cozy. Only $1500. Utils.(& front door) not included.

Perfect for the non-stander-upper.

blog help desk

Can anyone tell me how to set up links so that they open in another window?

I'm new to this mangey HTML hogwash.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

in other chews...

this made me do the silent laugh thing...


he/she even took out all the "chews" so you could see how many you'd be getting. And thanks for throwing in the news about switching to the multivitamins. Good on you. What is with people today?

Am I the only one who thinks this person has GOT to be not a little bit scary?!?!

Hey, lady... I'll give you 50 bucks if you throw in the stapler.

um, ew.

Last night I had a dream that I was talking to Harley tattoo neighbor man. He informed me, in the dream, that he was my mom's first husband. (um, ew.) I told him I hadn't heard that. He said it was true. I wondered if my Dad knew that Mom had been married before. I woke up wondering if I should be the one to tell Dad.

Then I realized that Harley tattoo neighbor man was pulling into the driveway after his night shift.

The mind is such a crazy thing - - how it can blend the conscious with the sub-conscious.

So here I am typing away wearing my reading glasses. (um, ew.) Has everyone seen the family photo on my sister's blog? You can see it here.

I mean, really. Do you see Mom with a Harley man? So not a love connection, Chuck. Try again.

I really hate when I wake up from such a vivid, and usually disturbing, dream that seems so real I have to take a few minutes and re-orient myself. I have to establish what's real and what isn't. That no, I don't have to pull my sister out of the jaws of a Great White. No, I don't have to call an apologize for cursing at my grandmother. I really don't have a broken leg. I'm not pregnant at my high school graduation, and my water didn't break the second my name was announced over the speakers. No, Elmo doesn't eat children, he's a nice monster who teaches us to read.

Perhaps I've shared a little too much without knowing it. So all yous guys out there...what's one of your favorite bizarre dreams? Please share.

Monday, August 15, 2005

how bout this?

Here's What Was Said:

Co-worker: Have you seen how the only parking spaces in this area are for handicapped people only?

Me: Oh, really?

Co-worker: You can't park anywhere near this building unless you're handicapped!

Me: Huh. Well, I imagine they need the spots more than I would, right?

Co-worker: (long pause while she just stares at me.) You can't tell me there's more handicapped people around here than normal people!

Me: (nervous laugh.)

Moral: Angry people are often blind. Blindness is a handicap. Handicapped people get to have a parking space. The rest of us take the T because we're normal.

2nd Moral: The first moral makes about as much sense as my co-worker.

Friday, August 12, 2005

the exotic and mysterious creature that i am

I’m sorry...I have to throw this in, because it’s just too funny.

A few moments ago, I was picking a scab on the outer edge of my right nostril (I sometimes get sores in my nose, it’s very sexy.) And at just about that time, this secretary friend, Linda, passes by my doorway. She startles me, and I did that jump thing, the way you do when someone catches you in any undignified position. For one moment we made eye contact - - with my finger still in my nose. She quickly broke eye contact, and kept moving. I had to chuckle to myself at how stupid that was.

You think that’s bad?

THEN...no sooner had I pulled my finger out of my nose when my right armpit needed to be scratched. Wouldn’t you know it? Right as I’m scratching...SAME SECRETARY LADY COMES WALKING BACK THE OTHER WAY!!

In a matter of 46 seconds, Secretary Lady has seen me both pick my nose and scratch my pit. For all she knows, this is what I do with my time, sit here pickin’ and scratchin’. She is sharing office space with Ape Woman. Do you think she’ll want to sit next to me at the Staff Appreciation Luncheon next week? Perhaps not. She’s too afraid I’ll pick the bugs out of her hair and nibble on them for an appetizer.

kay this is a little personal...i'm scared

Out the window of the bus this morning, I saw a woman crossing the street wearing a shirt that read, “JERKS (heart) ME”. Totally loved that. Wanted to throw down the window and yell, “Yeeahhh, sistah!”

The shirt got me thinking.

I don’t know how it is for other women, but I’ll just share this little observation from my experience with this, and here it is: The more confident I am, the fewer the jerks for which I fall.

This is not to say that I cease to find jerks alluring. Certain jerks will always intrigue me, play on my emotions, even tantalize the senses a bit. But we’re talking about an emotional commitment, an investment of time, effort, heart and soul - - even if it’s a little one, even if you say to yourself, “this is just a short-term type thing”. My desire to invest in a jerk, long-term or short, is just not what it used to be, and I think that’s a good sign.

It reminds me of something my brother’s friend, Scott, once shared with me. I think he meant it as comfort, or advice...it’s hard to tell. “Guys are jerks. Girls are stupid.” I don’t care much for the ‘girls are stupid’ part. (I don’t care much for any of it, really.) Let’s just say “Girls are too nice” instead.

There are so many nice, nice girls out there. But as a well-known musical composer once put it: “nice is different than good.” I think I’ve always been a "nice girl," and I’m still a "nice girl." Except now I’m a "nice girl with reasonable expectations for the reciprocal behavior of others to whom I will emotionally commit." That's not as easily screened on a t-shirt, is it?!

Way back when, I was a nice girl who’d get sent to the cleaners apologizing all the way through the spin cycle. And that cycle got repeated several times until I finally got off the conveyor belt. I benched myself for two and half years. And for a while there I thought Bench and I would have a beautiful life together forever. Now I realize that Bench was a place to rest, to think, and a place to start over.

Which brings us to the present. I got real fond of Bench, but it’s time to stand up and stretch the legs. It’s not easy. I’m taking it slow. But I’m also truly excited to see what’s waiting for me, now that my jerk-repelling talisman is securely fastened over my once broken heart. To do without confidence in the knowledge of who and whose I am would be a tragedy and not just for me. If for no other reason, I will learn to stand up for myself so that my future children won’t have to do it for me. Theirs will be the right to just be kids, while steady Mom is safely cared for by Dad.

I know it may not happen this way, no matter what measures I take. There is just no predicting how things are going to end up. But like I said, with more confidence in me, the weaker the chances of ending up with a jerk.

I was just thinking about the time when my Dad said he wanted to sell bumper stickers that said: I (heart) My Great Dane: But Fluffy Isn’t Ready for a Relationship. Kind of random. But that’s my Dad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

today's word...dastardly

Less than a month into my 32nd year of mortal existence and I’ve started to wear reading glasses.

I’m in CVS looking for an anniversary card for my parents, and I stopped by the magazine rack. I’m trying to read, but frankly it’s just hurting my head a little too much. These headaches I get almost every day, this dull ache that starts usually around lunchtime and ends sometime after dinner or later. I’ve been blaming it on the glare from my computer screen, or the lack of adequate lighting. But standing there, in front of the magazine rack at CVS, a dastardly thought popped into my head.

As casually as I could, pretending that this was just a joke, I saunter over to the cheapy reading glasses rack. I pick out a pair, hold them in my hands for a minute, and quietly put them on my face. I look up.

And a concourse of angels began to sing.

I walk back to the magazine rack and randomly grab something to read, this time with dastardly cheap reading glasses on. Yep. They help. Print bigger and clearer. Headache subsiding. Crap.

I wish I had a digital camera, because then I could show you what I look like in my REAL glasses. It’s not much better than the photo you see above, let’s put it that way. Time marches on like a dastardly drum signaling impending death and destruction.

Oh, on a totally separate note...
Harley tattoo neighbor man, Mark got a hair cut last night. How do I know? Because Harley tattoo neighbor man’s friend (hereafter called Scary Barber Man: large scary guy with long pointy goatee, sunglasses, black wife beater, chains, tatts, American flag kerchief covering his head) came over with his electric shears and set up “man spa” on the driveway in front of the garage of our house. Mark was seated in a folding chair in front of his motorcycles like he was about to deliver a speech. I guess he wanted “the boys” to witness the event.

“Are you adding highlights, Mark?” I yell out to him as I’m getting in my car.

“Huh. Yeah…and a pedicure type deal!” he jokes back with his Bostonian slur.

“Atta boy, Mark. Embrace your feminine side.” Both Mark and Scary Barber Man thought that one was pretty funny. I sure do like making the Harley men laugh.

Monday, August 08, 2005

weekend recap

On Saturday, after witnessing a really fantastic person and friend of mine get baptized, my friend Renee and I went to a fireside up in New Hampshire.

What I really love about New England in the summer is, it may be sweltering, and the air may be more like a thin layer of wetness you maneuver through than actual air, but dagnabbit, New England stays green. All summer long. Green. Capital G.

We had this gorgeous drive through southern New Hampshire, where at the Exeter, NH stake center, we listened to music and the spoken word live by Steven Kapp Perry. Very fun.

After the meeting, and on the way back to Boston, Renee and I decided to stop in Newburyport (a little seaport town with lots of shops, red brick, fishing boats and lampposts) for a spot of din-din. We didn’t realize that last Saturday, in Newburyport, was the annual Yankee Homecoming Celebration.


Parking was an adventure. The people were everywhere. The smell of fried dough, kids with painted faces and glowsticks wandering around, a big band playing big band on the outdoor amphitheater by the water, fireworks at 9:15, and let’s not forget - - the random street performers performing their specific performances. It was fantastic!

But I have to tell you about Mr. Contortionist Boy. My favorite.

This kid must have been about 16 years old. I think his Australian accent was fake, which makes him a marketing genius. (See, if you’ve got an accent, you’re exotic, you’ve traveled far to share your trade with the world. It’s legitimizing and intriguing all at the same time. Genius.) Mr. Contortionist Boy (hereafter MCB) wore a head mike and turned into various pretzel shapes to the beat whilst onlookers winced. But the best part about MCB was…any guesses? Yes, his female assistants.

I really want to be an MCB female assistant. Here’s the job description:

1. Stand by a platform, which MCB occasionally uses during his act;
2. Wear profoundly unflattering unitard with horizontal stripes and jazz shoes;
3. Don a side-ponytail circa 1984.
4. Look bored;
5. Clap fatigue-ishly after each new body pretzel;
6. Raise one arm in Barker-Beauty fashion after a particularly difficult pretzel shape, then clap;
7. Start and stop obnoxious noise emanating from small boombox when signaled to do so;
8. Hold hula hoop;
9. Smiling is optional
10. Must be willing to travel and have no fundamental use or purpose whatsoever.

Well, where the heck do I sign?

Friday, August 05, 2005

blah blog

why oh why is it not 5:00 o'clock?

i have no work
i have no energy
i have no motivation
i have no heart
i have no soul
i have no satisfaction
i have no bread
i have no money
i have no patience
i have no makeup on
i have no sense of style whatsoever
i have no tan
i have no pretty toenails
i have no talent for certainty (any guesses where that's from?)
i have no chocolate handy
i have no pillow


i have no shoes on.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Today I am really missing California. I miss CA sometimes, but today…I miss it a lot.

California is over-crowded in most places, governmentally gridlocked, crime-ridden, environmentally messy, earthquakey, brush-firy, mud-slidey, and houses some of the most materially corrupt with their white teeth gleaming on the dashboards of their BMW’s. I forgot to mention their public educational system is abysmal, and the state university system is turning into a joke.

Let’s just put all that aside for a second…

I ache for Yosemite and the Central Coast, the Redwoods, Jamba Juice, In-N-Out, and 6-lane stretches of highway. Monterey Bay Aquarium, La Jolla San Diego, San Luis Obisps, Santa Babs, clam chowder from the Pismo Beach boardwalk, the elegant lines of the Golden Gate and the sexiest smells floating like sheer silk from Ghiradelli Square.

I ache for my little home in the land of Clovis, in the heart of the San Joaquin (aka Satan’s Lair) where temperatures rival the Mojave. The Sierras to the east are so close, when the smog and heat aren’t hiding them from view. Where your summer weekend plans can include a movie, bowling, or watching heat rise off the pavement. But it’s mainly the people there - - Mom and Dad, my sisters, my brother, my new nephew whom I haven’t even met yet, the devoted members of the Nice Girls Club (Mary and Terri, I miss you!)

This week I finally found a decent airfare. I call up Mom.

“Mom. I found a ticket. $350 round trip direct into Fresno.”

“Let me get the credit card.”

Mom aches for me too.

Monday, August 01, 2005

here's one

Several years ago now, when I was living in Chicago, I was going through a self-improvement book whore (hereafter SIBW) phase.

I was recuperating from the break-up of a four and half-year relationship, and I needed me some “cradle the inner child” followed by “serenity now” and finishing up with “can’t touch this goddess” literature. I could not get enough of it. It naturally follows, then, that when you’re in SIBW phase, and you happen to live in Chicago, you get on over to the Oprah show for a taping. That’s just what you do. And so I did.

Oprah’s website had posted their scheduling of new-agey spiritual guru Iyanla Vanzant as an upcoming guest to discuss her book, “In the Meantime.” Of course I’d read it. I’d read every book sold out of the Self-Help section of Brentano’s in Oak Park. On the site, there was a place to write in questions for Iyanla. I was bored, so I came up with one and sent it in.

To my great excitement, the producers called me at work, and asked if I’d like to ask Iyanla my question in person at the show? Yippity! You bet I did!!

The day of the show arrives. I’m seated especially in the second row, right up front, so the camera will have a clear shot of me when I ask my amazing and profound question which will knock Iyanla on her gauzey-skirted bum, and she’ll later ask to be my best friend forever. The show goes on and on, until finally we’re getting near the end. Other women, NOT scheduled to ask questions I will add, began asking their questions out of turn. During one of the breaks, a rinky-dink producer chick crouches by my chair and coaches me on how to ask Iyanla my question. I’m ready to go, and we’re back on the air. More talking, more talking…then more non-scheduled question-askers butt in!! Excuse me, do you not see that I am in the second row? I didn’t see a rinky-dink producer chick crouched in front of YOUR chair at any time. Dude!

Long story short, the show ends and I never got to ask my question. Hm. Slightly disappointing, but ah well. At least I didn’t stand up and make a fool of myself by getting all nervous and jittery and stupid. No chance of that now, so count it as a blessing.

OR NOT. This is not the end of the story, my friends. The story takes a nose dive from here. (And for those who have already heard this, feel free to stop reading.)

You may not know that Oprah likes to do this informal post-taping Q&A with her audiences. After Iyanla left the set, Oprah starts her informal chit-chat with her followers (oops) subjects (oops) audience members.

She starts telling us about how she can sometimes be overcharged for simple things, simply because she’s like the richest woman in the world and people think they can. She told us a story of when she and Stedman were staying at the Ritz in NYC, and decided to order some tea.

pause the story here...

You know how sometimes when someone is sharing a story to a large group they’ll scan over the whole crowd to whom they’re speaking? Well, Ms. Winfrey started out that way, but by the time she got to this story about the tea, she was no longer scanning…she had shifted her focus entirely to just one person....you guessed it….Moi. In the second row. Oprah is looking at me. Oprah is LOOKING at me! She’s telling ME this story. The same eyes that have looked on Tom Cruise, Nelson Mandela, and Bono are now completely focused on ME. This is totally cool.

Back to the story of the tea...

I must confess the details are fuzzy over this next part. I don’t remember what exactly she was saying because my mind was occupied with other things, among which are the following: Oprah is looking at me. How do I look right now? Do I look okay? What is the expression on my face? I want to look interested, but not too interested. I want to look like I’m listening, but not like I’m trying too hard. I want to be pleasing, but not beaming. Oprah is looking at me.

Finally, we get to the climax of the story, where Oprah tells us just how much the Ritz wanted to charge Stedman and her for two cups of tea. She milks it a little: “So do you wanna know what the bill for this tea was?” I immediately shift my countenance to a look of “yes! What did it say? Tell us! Tell us!” Oprah pauses…

“Fifty dollars!” Oprah answered.

It is at this moment where I abandon all coolness, throw my head back with a violent Linda Blair impersonation, and with eyes as big as bicycle tires I scream at Oprah,


Congratulations, Mary. You have just clinched the Most Embarrassing Overreaction To a Tea Story” since 1906. (The previous winner is Bertha Bathwater from Shropshire UK after learning her butler had ordered Lipton instead of Earl Grey.)

The funniest part about it was, Oprah stood there in utter amazement. Her jaw even dropped an inch, and she didn’t say anything for a few seconds. She just stared at me waiting for my head to turn back around. Finally, gaining her composure, she gave me an awkward nod like “no, it’s true…freak” and quickly shifted her focus to someone non-psychotic.

So much for being best friends with Oprah. Ah well…these things keep me humble.

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