My (former) life as the crab

Musings about life after Crabby Office Lady

4th of July July 4, 2012

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas,General musings — Annik @ 5:26 pm
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Whew — been a while since I posted. Been busy detoxing from MSFT (after more than 13 years, it takes a while) and in Mexico getting pickled in tequila. Both things delightful. I haven’t felt so good since July 2010 when I was forced onto another team with a rotten manager. (By the way, anyone read the Vanity Fair article about Microsoft’s “lost decade” and “cannibalistic culture?”  I certainly felt all hollowed out the past 18 months, barely a bag of bones and stuffing.) I think it’s really true–it’s beaurocratic BS and management pitfalls that are preventing the company from reaching its fullest potential. We truly spend 1/3 of each year writing about what we did or didn’t do in perf. previews.

(And in the wise words of Forest Gump: That is all I have to say about that.”)

No fireworks in ALL counties in Colorado this year due to the wildfire danger, the wildfires themselves, and the general heat and dryness of the area. I can’t remember a summer this hot and I also haven’t heard a single rogue firecracker go off. That is unusual but maybe people are getting the message and also, here in Denver, showing some respect.

Bamboo (our hairy white Great Pyrenees/Akita/Yorkie mix) has had to be inside all day and night, getting her walks in the early mornings. Can’t even walk her at night–the temp doesn’t seem to drop until after 9 or 10.

Job hunt slowly entering the consciousness…resemu ready…search engines joined…getting ideas….getting hits…gotta start actively working on it next week when B is at camp.

Entire clan at the Zejuatanejo airportMexico was great fun and it took a while to come down from it. My folks celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by taking all the kids and grandkids (14 of us in all) to Club Med Ixtapa for a week. Although this is not the normal crew I’d want to spend a week at the beach with, everyone had a good time and was pretty civil to each other, (A couple of minor scuffles at the airport but we were all tired and and wanting to be home so I don’t count that.)

But I have to say: I do get awfully tired of the grandma’s blatant favoritism toward the grandkids. It’s so ingrained in her that I know doesn’t realize it. But what is odd is that she wasn’t the fave in her family and so she knows how much it hurts. It’s started to affect my daughter’s feelings about her (though I haven’t chimed in at all. I’ve just watched and listened.) Just so much doting and helicoptering and constant chattering about how this one is “her prince” and this one “never complains” and this one is just “just like her mother–loves everything, is happy with everything.”  The thing is, I adore these children–they are great kids and you can’t help but love them. They’re beautiful kids who are smart, affectionate, funny. I love them so much. But the constant hovering of Granny is driving me mad and making my daughter feel very left out. I’d tell B to approach her grandma but Mom acts always so very irritated with me as a general rule (and has since I was a teenager) and in our family, we NEVER “talk things out” so I can’t exactly tell my kid to try that approach with her grandma whom she loves so much. B knows she’s loved; she just feels second (or fourth) best.

So I’m not sure what to do. I’d talk to my sister but I have a feeling it would put some sort of bad blood between us and I don’t want that. We communicate but not on a particularly deep level. I love and admire her too, even though I wonder about her choices sometimes. But she’s a great mom and daughter and seems happy with her life. And it is HER life; not mine–her choices not mine.

B told me as we were buying mattresses earlier this week and  trying them all out, one by one and then hopping back and forth between our favorites: “I’m so glad I have a happy mother.” That is the best compliment someone could give me. That when they’re with me, I seem happy. And I AM happy when I’m with B. The world is better through her eyes.


Meeting the voice of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me March 12, 2012

Filed under: Daily dramas,General musings,Uncategorized — Annik @ 5:53 pm

We just met Carl Kasell today (& Ryan Warner whom I used to not like so much on the air but took a u-turn on that a couple of years ago). If you don’t know who Ryan is, well, okay—I’ve a feeling that maybe one day you will. That boy is going places. He makes what seems to be, at first listen, boring topics–fracking, beetles, Hickenlooper’s budget–and makes them interesting and accessible. That is some feat, Ryan. And we have friends in common– the “Frannas”–and he was as cute and professional and amazing as can be. He is someone I’d like to know.

But back to dreamy Carl. That almost-78-year-old has skin like a 25-year-old…and I told him so. (I hope he didn’t think I was flirting with him. That’s kinda skeezie.) But if you don’t know who CARL KASELL is, well, I think y’all need some educatin’ (he’s originally from North Carolina). He was charming and adorable and took a photo with us and  told ME PERSONALLY a story about how his dad told him to keep working into old age. AND I wrote a limerick for him . (Those of you who DO know who Carl is will understand this limerick):

Limerick for Carl Kasell:

For 5 years I have been my most scheming,
I’ve been clever, yet humble, not screaming,
Is it just not my fate
To get on Wait Wait
Must I go to my grave still teeming?

Yet perhaps you can offer a tip…
Just a whisper, a slip of the lip…
No one need know,
How I got on the show,
Or why the Kasell I continue to worship.

Then again I suppose this is crass,
And illustrates my chutzpah and sass,
But hey, it can’t hurt
To try to subvert
The rules from the very top brass.

With utmost respect and regard,

Annik Stahl, Denver, Colorado

—   Avid NPR and “Wait Wait” listener (and of course, Carl Kasell fan) and personal trainer of a budding NPR fan.

Denver, Colorado

— 720.352.7639 (just in case—from these words to God’s ears— a producer from Wait Wait wanted to call…)

I wonder if he liked it. I wonder if I’ll get on the show. I wonder if I’m Pollyanna. AND in case you’re a fan of the show, Carl told us that he individualizes each and every winner’s message that he makes on his or her home answering machine. My God! The possibilities! Limericaks! Singing! Yiddish! Cursing! The people who don’t win on that show sound so blase about it; I’d frankly die if I didn’t win  and threaten to …

Well never mind. This is the web and I’d better be, uh, nice. I mean, it’s not North Korea, but still. Did you read this story about a guy on Facebook who wrote some nasty things about his wife–he called her “evil and vindictive”– on Facebook and was ordered by the judge to APOLOGIZE or go to jail??! Has anyone heard of First Amendment Rights? WTF?

(I’d call my blog WTF? if there weren’t already a show called that. )


P.S. Neither Carl nor Ryan asked me what I did for a living. I cold have told them I hada Master’s in Journalism and that I was the former- (said with clenched teeth) Microsoft Crabby Offfice Lady. I guess I just let my limerick speak for itself.


Mid-life or just general hotness? December 14, 2011

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas,General musings — Annik @ 11:39 am
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Having curly, fuzzy, course and just plain nutty hair can be a real problem. I don’t like it short and it takes a long time to manage in the morning (and again, in the evening, if I have somewhere nice to be).

And so I had an idea, spent a few bucks (and 10 hours) and feel like a million bucks (even if others may think I’m a freak…)

125+ braids


My life now October 5, 2011

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas,General musings,Working for a living — Annik @ 3:40 pm

This is me now: Outlook Help monkey. So if you’re having trouble with the NEXT verison of Outlook? Blame me if you can’t figure out my dispassionate topics. (The passion was sucked out of me last spring.)


Back in the saddle again September 22, 2011

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas — Annik @ 10:11 am
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Sizure fall bruise

There’s nothing like a good fall to rediscover your saddlebags.


Camping, rain and vaccinations (oh yeah: related) August 28, 2011

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas — Annik @ 10:57 pm

Camping in the Colorado Pike National Forest near the nearly perfectly pristine Jefferson Lake. Suba, the Portuguese Water Dog wanted NOTHING to do with the water while Bamboo, the Great Pyrenees/Akita (neither breed particularly water- friendly) couldn’t get enough. Hmmm. And you you shoulda seen that Pyrenean dog with her back & in tact dew claws in tact and working their way through the rocks…

And if you know me, I’m not really a “Yeah! Lets go camping anytime, anywhere!” But our friends, Jan & Jodie actually had 24 hours free over a weekend and so we literally PINNED them down/forced them to spend one night camping with us. (Plus, the promise of a yummy over-the -fire pannini- type fired-cooked dinner under one of Colorado’s famous clear starry nights was too much to turn down.)

Camping with J&J August 2011

Camping with J&J August 2011

After a 90 minuted hike above then lake and then Bamboo IN the lake, we actually found a campsite and began to set up then tent (J&J have their own van, “The Pleasure Dome—something like that and…’nuff said).

And then of course, it started raining @ 5, pouring by 6. Dinner and games were good (inside the van) but GODDAMNIT! Can I just have one perfect night outside???

But here’s the thing: To top it off: Bian had a horribly high fever and was freezing/ boiling freezing/ about to vomit night ALL NIGHT. She had HER sleeping bag and pad, MY bag and pad, and all the blankets.I slept in the corner of the tent where the wine had spilled. And you know, that’s just part of being a parent and it doesn’t really bother you much. (At that point I was PRAYING for bears, serial killers, anything dryer and warmer.)

But this is what got me: Bian had just had THREE vaccinations that Friday: Hep A, Hep B, Polio. I DO believe that the disease is a bazillions times worse than the shot, but I do wish THIS doc had listened, really listened to me about how SENSITIVE Bian had been in the past to vaccinations. I felt rushed into it, unheard… I’m going to tell our doc that. Hives, high fever, & all less then 24 hours after the shots. Something smells fishy (or maybe eggy) here…

It’s just…HARD to know what the right choice is.


Ry: May 16, 1996 – July 26, 2010 July 26, 2011

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas — Annik @ 6:58 pm

Ry at 12Can’t believe it’s been a year since that deep part of my heart, the place where only dogs can find—turn their circles then settle into—was taken away by a kind woman in the back of a Subaru and a day later, turned to ash. I think about Ry every single day, and as we prepare to make our (nearly) yearly trek to the Schoolhouse Rendezvous near Old Snowmass, it seems more than strange to go without him; it feels terrible wrong. So wrong I do not want to go. It it weren’t for Bian and one of the only ways to get 3 days in a row of at least seeing our closest friends, I wouldn’t go. I despise the camping part of it anyway for these reasons (exactly).





I’m just anxious about this weekend’s trip, & not just because of the camping/claustrophobia part—that I’ve never EVER spoken to anyone of—but because of this anniversary of Ry’s death. Last year I drove Bian the 3-and-some hours up there and left her in the care of the Darts and drove back home, weeping all the way, because it was 3 days after Ry died and Bamboo was a WRECK and I didn’t want to leave her alone. (She isn’t Rendezvous material but the story of Bamboo is another blog post for another day.) So 2 or 3 days later, I drove back up, and Cath & I took a walk with the kids. I’d brought some of Ry’s ashes and we took a walk and spread some of them on the mountain. And then Bian & I drove home to a house with one dog and two dog beds.

Bamboo ate just enough to survive for a month. She has a love/hate relationship with her species; reminds me of someone…

And in a few days, the people who remember that Ry died will offer their condolences and I’ll wish they hadn’t because I can’t hear his name without welling up.

But a story for a bit of a lift (I think—not sure): While walking Bamboo today, I was listening to a shuffled playlist on my iPhone, when a lone cranky goose waddled across the path in front of us. Just as I was trying to hold Bamboo back, I was thinking of how Ry chased—AND caught AND ran for his life when she hissed at him—a goose at a Seattle lake. Just at that very moment today,

Ry Cooder’s mournful “Paris, Texas” started murmuring in my ears and I knew Mister Ry “Poodleman” Bread was with me.

Two Aussies, gone too soon
One Aussie cleaning the ears of another

I like to imagine him with Bella, Lalo, MacDuff, Juno, Solie, Tongo, Elmo— all the dogs I’ve known and loved—playing on the Rainbow Bridge and running through the fields. Bella will be cleaning Ry’s ears; she was the only one he let do that. She was the first dog I ever really loved and I think he knew it.

Ry was my first dog. My forever dog. I’ll miss him forever.

Ry- 3 months old