Tuesday, July 31

Still here

I'm still here. I'm just spending all spare time reading the last few Harry Potter books. The hype finally got to me. Last time I picked up a Potter book it was book 5. I got to about page 250 then somehow got distracted and never finished it. Well, I picked it back up and started all over again about a week ago and have since finished books 5 & 6. I started book 7 late last night. I'm officially obsessed. (It's amazing how much reading one can pack in when she turns off the tv and turns on her "Spring Showers" sound effects CD.)

For the life of me I can't imagine what on earth made me not finish book 5 in the first place. I vaguely recall not being "in the mood" for Potter. Now I can't think of any more valuable way to spend my spare time. It's such fun! Mostly I marvel at the folks who had to wait so long for book 7 after finishing book 6. That would have driven me mad! A week ago I was kicking myself for not finishing the books in time to start book 7 before spoilers erupted. Now, I'm so happy I inadvertently left the last 3 books to read back to back. It's such a treat.

I don't have many ideas on what to read next. While I decide, I've got all kinds of spoiler filled Harry Potter readings and tv programs ready to go when I finish the last book.

For those of you not caught up in Pottermania, you just don't know what you're missing. Come on, give it a try. You won't be sorry.

Friday, July 27

New Favorite Thing

For some reason flies attacked our house last night. I don't know if a door was left open or what, but every room with a light on had flies buzzing around. One big, fat fly was flying around my bedroom but I figured I'd let him wear himself out then I'd go in for the kill.

Later, in the kitchen, I could hear the distinct sound of bug zapping. Only then did I remember my Dad's Christmas present from last year. The kids got him this Electric Fly Swatter. I called Pops in and he quickly zapped the big bastard flying around my room. You can't imagine the sound they make and the blue sparks they produce when bugs hit that swatter. I think it may be the best invention of this century. Forget the dumb iPhone, I've got an Electronic Fly Swatter! Just wave this thing around and you're bound to hit something... hopefully not a loved one.

This fun toy first came to my attention one night while at my brother's house. He had pulled one out to get a bug and my niece promptly ran away. I asked what her problem was and he explained that she had picked it up and accidentally zapped herself a few days before. Little Miss made a big effort to steer clear of the gadget after the zapping. While explaining this to me, my brother commented "How bad could it be?" I could see the look in his eyes and knew what would come next. Sure enough, he touched his finger to the paddle and quickly pulled it away with a yelp. "Shit! That really hurts." Ya think? My favorite part was watching the prominent blue spark arch between the paddle and his finger. My sister-in-law was so worried after seeing this that the swatter was almost banned from the house but we talked her into keeping it. I felt bad for my niece but she's a smart kid. I doubt she'll be touching the thing any time soon. Live and learn, right?

I implore you all to run out and get the Electric Fly Swatter ASAP. It's oh so much more satisfying than those boring bug zappers. Run, don't walk, to the nearest Electronic Fly Swatter store now!

Thursday, July 26

Thank God!

I recently learned that I'd been selected to participate in an intensive week-long program for work. It's a program designed for "Emerging Leaders". (Yeah, I know... weird, huh?) I know a few friends who have gone through the program but honestly didn't know much about it. We joke that it's a cult because the folks that go through it tend to remain friends yet reveal little to others about the experience.

I got an email from the head of HR telling me I was invited to attend the program. I knew it was an honor but had no idea how I'd been selected. I didn't even know who threw my name in the ring. Yesterday, after running my boss through some ideas I was working on, the program came up in conversation. I asked her how I'd been invited. She said "You were nominated! It's a very big deal. Only three other people in our division, worldwide, are going and you're one of them!" I was dumbstruck. She told me that when she did reviews last year, management asked her to think about somebody for the program. She named me. I'm still sort of shocked. I'm not being artificially humble here... I REALLY am shocked. So many people I work with have decades of experience in our field while I'm fairly new to it. It feels as though I'm always learning new aspects of our business that others take for granted. I grow more comfortable in my role each day but still feel like a rookie quite often.

While feeling very flattered about this whole thing I was also a little nervous. I work for a very large international company so participants are from all over the world. It's not like you show up knowing anyone. The first evening is a cocktail mixer. Spanx may be involved since I'll probably have to dress professionally and that never makes me happy. (We dress pretty casually at work.) Now, I tend to be pretty outgoing but walking into a bar full of strangers is not my idea of a good time. Well, today I learned that a woman I really enjoy is also attending. Thank God!!! I've worked with her for about a year but not day-to-day. She's somebody I have a lot in common with and have actually tried to get to know better by setting up lunches but our schedules just never seem to coordinate. I called her today to congratulate her on being selected and to tell her I'd be there too. We literally screamed together on the phone. It was a very 13 year-old-girl moment for me. We were relieved to know we'd have a friendly face to look for in that crowd of about 30 strangers. The program is all about breaking out of your comfort zone and getting to know ourselves better. Yeah, yeah, yeah... I'm just so damn happy I'll be able to finally get to know her better. We agreed that if we had to be sequestered with anyone we were happy to be going through this together. I'm actually looking forward to the program now.

Here's the bad news: I have homework! Can you imagine?! I haven't had homework in 15 years. I wasn't even good at it when I was in the thick of college. I'm hoping the novelty of it will carry me through. This will definately interfere with my Harry Potter reading. And it's not as though I'll have time to read while at the hotel either. We have to show up at the hotel on a Sunday and will not be released until the following Thursday. I hear we're booked from about 8:30 am - 10:00 pm each night. Good Lord! I'm out of the office for much of August. About half of it is for vacation days while the other half will be spent traveling for work. I try not to look at my calendar too much these days because it's making me hyperventilate a bit. (Breathe... breathe.) I'll be sure to keep ya "posted"!

Tuesday, July 24

Be sensible

Last summer I fell in love with some adorable Dr. Scholl flats. They were not the original wood plank Dr. Scholl shoes. These were super cute black flats with the famous Dr. Scholl across-the- foot strap but with a bedazzled buckle. Very simple and very cute. They were about this flat (but not quite as bedazzled):

I wore them all Summer. After about 3 months of wearing the sandals I started having foot problems. I now have a condition called Plantar Fasciitis and it hurts like hell. If I wear flats now, my heels pay the price. Especially my right heel. It hurts most in the morning after being off my feet for hours. You'd think resting my feet would help but it doesn't. My first steps out of bed are excruciating. You know how it feels when you accidentally step on a rock square on your heel with all of your weight? That's what it feels like every morning. I hate it. I've done some research and learned that flats are now out of the question and shoes with arch support and a modest heel are necessary. Trouble is all of the shoes that offer support are hideously ugly. If I had several million dollars to burn, I swear, I'd start designing comfortable shoes that were good for feet but also cute. I'd make a killing.

So, on my way home I decided to drag my aching feet into the Nordstrom shoe department for some sensible shoes. I picked up these:
I wore them out and my feet were thanking me by the time I got to the car. I need to get my dogs to a podiatrist pronto but the thought of facing the whole ordeal of getting a referral from my HMO is less than appealing. Of course, that's what the "Health Care" providers count on and I'm playing right into their criminal system. I need to do it if for no other reason than to make them pay up.

I can't believe I'll be likely facing orthopedics soon. And sensible shoes?! Good Lordy forty sucks. First, the sensible bras, now this... My 20 year old self would never forgive me!

Sunday, July 22

Bi-polar Broadway Selections

So, New York wasn't all doom and gloom. I did have a chance to catch a couple of shows. First, I saw Xanadu. I know, I know... it sounds like a terrible idea but I gotta tell ya it was a blast. You know it's gonna be fun when the poster reads "Xanadu on Broadway... Seriously". Well sign me up! I had never seen Xanadu (the movie) until some time last year when a friend insisted. It's a terrible film but the music is fun enough to keep it going. Of course, now it's so kitsch it's great. Well, maybe not classically great, but definately good time great. Anyway, a co-worker and I had a free night in NY and decided to see a show. My friend wanted to see Mary Poppins but I thought Xanadu sounded silly enough to be fun. Luckily she agreed to give it a shot. It was a hoot! The show is a complete goof on the film. If you haven't seen the movie the non-stop references will fly over your head but if, like me, you've seen the movie lately it's just hysterical. We had a great time.

The following night, after running for my life, we met for dinner and saw Grey Gardens. Do you know about the film? It's a documentary from the 70's that is bizarre and sad and amazing. Honestly, it's like a car accident you can't look away from. I heard about a Broadway show being based on it and really that's all I needed to know. Christine Ebersole won the Tony this year for her remarkable work in Grey Gardens. Sadly, the show closes at the end of this month. It's really a shame because more folks should have the opportunity to see it. Ms. Ebersole is spot-on as both Edith and Little Edie. Her performance blew me away. (Here's a taste. To understand how dead-on Ms. Ebersole is just watch the first 30 seconds of this clip from the film.) I also loved the staging with images form the film drifting by in the background. It's just such a good show. It was the first time I saw a Broadway show and was certain I was witnessing an historic performer in her legendary role. Ms. Ebersole will be remembered for years as being simply divine in this show.

After what seemed like the longest flight EVER I arrived safely home. I was so relieved to be back at home. I had a half day on Friday (yea!) so I saw Hairspray after work. I wasn't feeling well, with a sore throat I seem to have picked up on my trip, but at the last minute decided sitting alone in a dark theater sounded just right. I liked the movie but it's so far removed from the Broadway show. I'm not sure why they decided to change such a wonderful show but... whatever. Among the biggest disappointments are the vocals. When you see something performed live in LA or NYC you can pretty much count on powerhouse talents. Queen Latifah is ok but she's nothing compared to those women I saw live. The part requires a great, big, gospel, belting type of voice and Ms. Latifah just doesn't have it. Oh well, I'm hoping the kids like it. That kid from High School Musical is in it which explains why half the audience was kids. It's a shame most will never see the stage production much less the original movie. John Waters makes a cameo as the flasher Tracy mentions in the opening song. Too bad I was the only one in the theater who recognized him. You just know he LOVED doing that bit.

Since then I've been frantically reading book 5 of Harry Potter. I know. I'm WAY behind but Potter-mania got to me and I'm now trying to catch up. I'm just terrified that some jackhole will blurt out a huge spoiler and ruin the whole thing for me. Shandon cleared the docket so she could dedicate her weekend to read book 7. I can't wait to hear what she thinks of it (without the details, of course).

I'm off to finish HP5. Catch ya later.

Wednesday, July 18

Taste of Terror

Lucy: What's that noise?
Christina: What noise? ... Oh, I don't know.
Lucy: Must be the Subway.
Christina: ...
Lucy: ...
Man RUNNING down the street toward us: Look! (Pointing over his shoulder.)
Christina: (looking up from under the hotel awning) ... Run!
Lucy: What? What is it?!
Christina: RUN!!!!!!! (Running away.)

I started to run, and let's be clear, I make it a habit to NEVER run. After a block or so I stopped to turn and look. I don't want to be melodramatic but, God as my witness, it was like every bit of footage you've ever seen of 9/11. I saw huge, brownish, grey plumes of smoke billowing up over buildings and New Yorkers running away from it. I ran a bit more and kept thinking 'I've got to get away from the smoke. I've got to find a door to duck in to.' I kept stopping to look because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. How could this be happening? Isn't Grand Central right over there? What's happened? God damn it!!! Every once in a while heard Christina shouting at me to run. She later told me she was certain a building was going to blow up and she wanted to be as far away from it as possible. I kept watching the smoke and waiting for it to start blowing out towards us but mostly it blew upward. I think that's what kept me from just curling up in a fetal position right there on Park Avenue. It was the one detail that was unfamiliar and that was somewhat comforting.

We now know the smoke was actually debris and steam from a pipe that blew up the street, but at the time it looked like a bomb. It was terrifying. We were about 2 1/2 blocks from the explosion when it blew. I still can't quite get the images of today straight in my head. It was probably the most surreal evening of my life. After about a few minutes we started seeing people with smoke and debris all over their hair, faces and clothes. That didn't exactly help my state of mind. We had been on our way to dinner and show so we headed in that direction since it was away from our hotel and the smoke. The phone lines were all busy (again, not helping my state of mind) so we couldn't phone home to hear what was going on. Christina and I had both left our annoying Blackberry's in our rooms so we couldn't look anything up. We had no idea what had happened. It was amazing how quickly rumors on the streets started. In just about 10 minutes we heard it was a fire in a building and that Grand Central was hit. It took CNN an hour to mention it.

I have an annoying foot problem lately and running in flip flops doesn't exactly help. The friends who took us out tonight were kind enough to offer me a ride back to the hotel while my co-workers decided to walk. Well, all of the streets around my hotels are blocked off. I had to hop out of the car and probably wound up walking more than my friends. It was about 11:00 at night and there I was ducking through alleys looking for open streets. Lexington was completely blocked off even to pedestrians. I thought of calling home but knew my parents would have heart attacks if they knew I was wandering through the streets of NYC alone at that hour. I, on the other hand, figured it was probably one of the safest place on earth considering NYPD and NYFD were swarming the area.

I'm supposed to leave tomorrow evening. I hope the weather holds. I'm ready to go home.

Monday, July 16

Back in NYC


I had another long travel day today. Not a bad flight though. Managed to get a good deed in too. The woman sitting next to me was on the flight to help her brother get his wife home. She apparently has Alzheimer's and gets restless on flights. Our row was the closest seat she could get to her brother and sister-in-law. I felt terrible for my seatmate but noticed my co-worker was sitting across the aisle from her brother so I told her if things went "haywire" I was sure my friend could trade seats with her. About 45 minutes into the flight it became apparent that they should switch seats. All involved seemed relieved.

Later in baggage claim I noticed a monk calmly waiting for his bag. Well of course he would be calm but I wondered, what does a monk pack to NYC? More robes, underwear a toothbrush? I mean, there can't be an iPod and a Harry Potter book in there, right? I'm still curious. I know that monks are people too but still I'm so curious. What was in that big duffle bag? Seeing that monk in JFK was just like those movie scenes where one person stands still and everything around them rushes by in fast forward. I swear, it was just like that. It reminded me of a Bill Moyers interview with Pema Chodra. She was talking about flights and how she watches with fascination as people frantically get their stuff organized before settling into their seats. She watches folks pulling magazines, books, mints, iPods, pillows and so on out of bags and into seatback pockets. People just killing themselves to avoid quiet time. Nobody seems able to stand the thought of quiet introspection on a flight. She, naturally, looks at flights as a great opportunity to meditate. It's not a bad idea, but not one I've considered trying. I do slow down now though. If I feel like sleeping I'll give it a go. Mostly I'm just so excited to have uninterrupted reading time. But I always think of Ms. Chodra now. Seeing that monk at baggage claim was like a reminder at the beginning of this trip. I need to remember to not get too stressed and try to get work done while slowing down and enjoying myself.

Christina and I went to Rosa Margarita for dinner. That Pomegranate margarita was great way to slow down and relax. I don't think it's what Pema has in mind when she recommends slowing down but it'll do for now.

Saturday, July 14

Hotel California

I spent the day with Tony today. He's been in Montana and Oregon for vacation so we haven't seen each other in a while. It was a great day. I love that Tony is such a positive person. He immediately noticed that I was "low energy" today. I explained that my computer and iPod had both flipped out late last night. I was up until 3:00 correcting technical difficulties. What a nightmare. I got everything running but I'm still tired from it all.

We had lunch, did some shopping then saw 1408. I'm not sure if you know the premise but, in a nutshell, it's about a man trapped in an evil hotel room. Is he crazy, is it haunted, is he hallucinating? You'll have to see it and decide for yourself but trust me when I say it's a tense ride. Immediately following the movie I visited the ladies room. As usual, I walked in and was faced with crowded restroom with a line. By the time I got to wash my hands the frenzy was over and the restroom was near empty. I headed for the door, shook the handle and realized it was stuck. I shrugged, headed for the other exit and found it too was locked or stuck or whatever. I wasn't amused. I decided to try the first door again and passed the one other woman left in the restroom. I asked "Are we locked in here?" She replied "I hope not!" I said "I just saw that 1408 and this is freaking me out." She just stood there and said "Me too!!" I grabbed the door handle, pulled it down and pushed. Nothing. I pushed the handle up and pushed... nothing. The door wouldn't budge. What the hell?! I knocked on the door but nobody heard me. I then started kicking the door, rather aggressively, hoping somebody would hear us. Finally a startled looking woman tentatively opened the door and peered in. She then let us out. As I rushed past her I told her we'd been locked in. My new friend hurriedly followed me out to the lobby. I found Tony and told him we'd been locked in the restroom. He said "Yeah, I thought I heard pounding." Good grief! I didn't see a lock or key hole in that handle. My question is: Why would a theater restroom have locks on the doors anyway? Seems like a fire hazard or something. I'm still not exactly sure what happened but damn, it sure did rattle me.

Go see 1408 and let me know what you think. Just check all the doors afterwards.

Friday, July 13

My new favorite show

A friend recently introduced me to a great show on VH1 Classics. I've never been much of a music video channel kinda gal but this show is worth watching, it's called Classic Albums. It features one great album and spends a hour highlighting how it was made by interviewing the performers, sound engineers and producers. It's fascinating. Last night I watched Classic Albums - Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon... twice.

Dark Side of the Moon is one of those albums I've long loved but rarely listen to. I think it's because I can't really listen to just a song, I have to listen to the whole album and who has time to listen to entire records anymore? This episode of Classic Albums featured Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Alan Parsons to name a few. They show old footage of performances then, by contrast, show David Gilmour standing there grey haired, in a perfectly conservative crew neck sweater, playing guitar today. It's so bizarre! He was really quite lovely in the 70's and here he is nearing his 70's and still rocking. With bifocals in hand, nonchalantly pecking seemingly random notes out on an ancient synthesizer, he twists a knob and conjures up the beginning of On the Run. Later, he stands casually strumming a guitar then he opens his mouth and there it is... that great vocal. The man sings Breathe as if it were 1973. David Gilmour now looks like my favorite uncle Richard for God's sake. It sort of blew my mind. Watching Roger Waters play the trippy beginning of Money is also super cool. You even get to hear an early demo recording of the song. I guess I just couldn't get over the fact that these guys are all so normal looking now. And there's not a bong in sight. It just goes to show that no matter cool or rebellious you may be, you still get old. Still, all of their Money sure seems to keep them well preserved.

The very best part of the show is getting the opportunity to hear completely familiar songs dissected. It's amazing. They get the original sound engineer (in this case Alan Parsons) to essentially "play" the mixing board with the master recordings. (I also saw Daniel Lanois "play" the board on the Classic Albums - U2: The Joshua Tree. Loved it!) It's such a good time. They occasionally mention band drama but mostly it's about building music. So great!

I loved seeing photos of those women singers featured on the album. I've always wondered who they were. The band also explains all of those strange ramblings heard throughout the record. You learn what the heck is being said and were it comes from. You also come to realize what a miracle those old albums are. They shouldn't even exist considering the limited technology.

It all got me thinking about my favorite albums. You know, those records that are so great you don't have to skip any tracks? There aren't many but here are my "desert island" picks:

Abbey Road - The Beatles
Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Hotel California - The Eagles

I hate that they are so predictable but I just love them. I'm also sorry that I can't think of more modern albums for my list but I just can't think of any. I'm sure I have plenty of modern faves but I don't think I cold stomach putting them in the company of these classics.

I'd now like to tag Shandon, Trooperdog and Norman and see what they're favorite albums are. Their lists are bound to be much more interesting than mine.

Thursday, July 12

Seen around the office

Somebody was having a bad day:

It's difficult to read but the bottom image says "Change = Rich" then "Homeless" and "New target demographic". Somebody was feeling a bit cynical about their happy shiny job... hmm? I find bizarre images and messages like this all the time. It's usually one of the artists. They often feel repressed and I think this is their way of branching, well really lashing, out. I try not to judge. We all have those days.

Wednesday, July 11

Heard around the office

First I heard this:
"I feel like cookies and cake but I'm having water instead. Life is so unfulfilling."
Then this happened:

Somebody must have been swapping out light tubes at work last night. Unfortunately they didn't finish the job and left parts of the overhead light all over my table. When a co-worker asked about it and I explained I said, typically overreacting "What kind of maniac just stops working and wanders off? Was there a fire drill or something? What the hell?" My co-worker looked at me and deadpanned "I wish you were a comic strip." I wasn't sure how to respond to that. I just hope I'm not a Cathy.

Monday, July 9

Workin' for the Pod

Over my very nice long weekend I tackled my CD collection. I ran down to Target and picked up a few CD binders. I got home and started the surprisingly trying process of ditching the jewel cases. The weekend was uncharacteristically humid. We typically turn off the air conditioning in the evening so I was sweatin' bullets as I lifted, sorted loaded and de-jewel boxed my CDs. I carried 8 Trader Joe's bags of empty jewel cases out to the recycling bin. Sheesh! It seems I have around 650 CDs. Of course, it helps to have worked for Rolling Stone for most of the 90's but still that's a stupid amount of CDs. It was nice to see some of them again. After years of just skimming through the spines of the CDs it was refreshing to see each and every cover. It was like visiting with old friends.

I recently got a little bonus and have been planning to save most but wanted to splurge on something I wouldn't ordinarily buy for myself. After my CD exercise it became apparent that my sweet Mini iPod just couldn't hold my music anymore. My parents gave me the Mini as a Christmas gift the year they were released. It was the most surprised I'd been with a gift since childhood. I was stunned and so excited. I've loved my Mini dearly but it was time to invest in the big guns. I went to Best Buy and picked up the 80G. She's a beauty. I'm now obsessed with keeping her pristine so I'm looking into sleeves and skins. I still can't decide what will work best to keep her clean for travel. (How weird are these?!)

I called my nephew and told him it was his lucky day. He's getting my Mini. I told him to get his dad working on a Playlist for him pronto. He was thrilled.

I spent a lot of time yesterday uploading my CDs to the Pod. I tell ya it could quickly become a full time job if I let it, but I will say the resulting shuffle is quite lovely. I fell asleep and woke to it.

Rest assured, the rest of my money is going straight to the condo fund.

Friday, July 6

Devil Music

When my brother and I went our separate ways in collage we broke up one of the best CD collections EVER. He would buy some Led Zepplen while I'd buy the rest. He was going through a pretty hard core punk phase while Springsteen, U2, REM and the Replacements were my faves. It was a perfectly wonderful and eclectic collection of music. We were also on call to settle lots of music related bets while living in the dorms. One moron actually thought Candle in the Wind was some new hit by Elton John (and this was the late eighties, people). I was called in to back up a friend who insisted it was an old song. I confirmed that it was in fact an old tune and could even tell them which side of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road it originally appeared. I may not be an authority on music anymore but I still seem to know more than the average Joe (or is that Joette?).

Lately I've been in a 60's/70's kick but when I went digging for some Creedence, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac and even the Beatles, they were all missing. My brother admitted having them all but they were in storage from their recent home improvement project. OH NO! He promised to spring them out of storage today. I happened to be in his neighborhood all day visiting a friend. On my way home, I called bro and asked if he had pulled the CDs out of storage. He hadn't, but he offered dinner and said he'd pick them up. I didn't want to pressure him and told him any time in the next week or so would be fine but he seemed to want to go. Cool! Left over BBQ from the 4th AND my CDs? Sign me up. He showed up with 6 flat bins of CDs. (Yes, Shandon, we're still talking jewel cases and it's got to change.). Anyway, we spent about an hour going through the CDs. I found everything I'd been looking for. Yea! Well, Fleetwood Mac Rumours is still MIA but I'll live. (Except, hold the phones, it's not available on iTunes! What's the deal? Love it or hate it, that album takes you back and I just gotta find it.)

Here is a typical exchange from the CD search:

Lucy: Do you have Pat Benetar?
Bro: (Incredulously) Do you think I'd defile my iPod with Pat Benetar?
Lucy: You're the one who spent all last weekend quoting Hell is For Children.
Bro: Oh yeah. Well, no, I don't have any Benetar.

He loves to quote something until I get it. It can drive me crazy because he refuses to reveal the source, no matter how much I ask, until I correctly call it. He just keeps repeating and repeating. Last weekend it was Hell is for Children. We were cracking up at how brutal the lyrics are. Oh how I loved that album in the 8th grade.

On the bright side I did score this little number. iPod upload here I come! I also found some Flying Burrito Brothers, Love and a few other jems. Bro was pushing jazz but it's jut not my scene today, baby.

I was listening to the killer boxed set and just when Wanda Jackson was really swingin' I heard some very strange panting and footsteps outside my bedroom window. There was some whispered chatter and more running around. Who ever it was was obviously too clueless to shut the hell up so it had to be kids. Rather than feeling scared I was completely annoyed. I rushed to the front door, swung it open and saw two teenaged boys crouched behind our oak tree. There was a car doing a u-turn and peeling out on the street. I stood there and shouted "Can I help you?!" (with no intention of offering assistance). One young man hurriedly replied "Oh, sorry!" and they both ran away. Now, looking back, I could have been walking into a drive-by shooting but it would have been the first in our neighborhood. Still, as I shut the door I said "Well, it's official. I'm an old lady." I remember marveling at how my parents could tell off teens back in the day. Now I understand that adults don't just see teenagers we actually see the word "Jackass!" or "Idiot!" before our eyes when we see youngsters. Maybe it was Wanda Jackson, she always riles me up and can bring the Annie Oakley outta any red-blooded woman, but good grief. What the heck were those fools doing out there anyway? I'll never know. I'd seen a huge raccoon waddle by my car as I parked earlier. What I wouldn't give to have seen that thing brush against those two kids tonight. What a hoot that would have been! All's quiet on the Western front now... sort of like The Shining night. Teenagers in the front yard after 10:00pm? No problem. Jack Nicholson losin' it in an empty hotel? Oh, the chills just keep coming.

Wednesday, July 4

Happy (HOT) Fourth of July!

I went to my brother's house for the Fourth of July Parade/Party this morning. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures.) It's become quite the event. We showed up at 9:00 and there were several tent tops shading tables. There were some incredibly yummy breakfast casseroles, donuts, fruit and bagels. There was also the biggest bouncy house I've ever seen. It had a basketball hoop and a slide inside. Unbelievable! My brother and sis0in-law's 4th of July party has grown to a 150+ person affair with approximately 80 kids in attendance. Yikes! These people HAVE GOT to stop procreating. I don't know the names of most of the kids except for those belonging the the people closest to me. Now there are Little League families thrown in the mix and, frankly, I can't keep track. I give up.

My nephew was in the parade this year for playing on the Championship Little League team. Folks in the parade traditionally throw candy out to the crowds. My brother recently commented "Why do they always throw candy? Why can't someone throw something useful? Something like... Top Ramon!" Well, you guessed it, Little Man threw Top Ramon out to team admirers. You should have seen the looks on some people's faces. It was priceless.

Oh, and as for the hat debut, it went very well. My brother wore it proudly all morning. He even wore a matching Pabst t-shirt. He was fully committed to the theme. The kids were wearing their hats around as well. My brother was telling everyone I had made the hats and that "she can make more!" Perfect strangers were walking up to me saying "That hat is amazing!" while others teased "I had no idea you had such hidden talents." Of course, most were younger than me and had never laid eyes on the beer can hats from the 70's. I think some of them thought I'd invented the damn things. Great. Now I'm known as the beer can hat lady. Oh well. Here are shots of the hats I crafted for the kids:

Soon enough, it was getting exceedingly hot (and I wasn't even wearing a hat) and Mom's knee was acting up so we left a little after noon. I came home with an incredibly annoying case of sun rash. I've suffered with this problem for ages but somehow I'm always surprised when it strikes. I'm sitting here typing with arms a-flame. The itch is terrible. I stayed in the shade for the parade and there was even a nice breeze but that wasn't enough. It's so depressing. Mom says that from the time I was a toddler she could just set me out on the lawn and watch me turn a beautiful brown. It stayed that way until about high school when we all started understanding sun damage. Around that time I started avoiding the rays but developed an allergy to the sun. Heat is also a problem. I tend to get headaches the beginning of each Summer from the heat. I remember how easy it was as a kid. I would get up in the morning, brush my teeth and hair and be ready for the Summer day. I showered at night and life was easy. As for skin care, I don't recall ever putting on sunscreen except for camping and beach trips. I hate to think I can't tolerate an afternoon in a lawn chair. What's a girl to do? I wonder what the 4th of July parade folks would think if I showed up in a burkha? Hmmm...?

Tuesday, July 3

Damn you!

I may be certifiably insane.

As mentioned, in the last couple of posts, I’ve been wanting to watch The Shining. It’s been a while. Well, after a Diet Coke soaked dinner I was amped and apparently unable to make rational decisions. So, when 10:30 rolled around and I was wide eyed and ready to stay up all night, what did I decide to watch? You guessed it. I started watching The Shining, at 10:30 pm last night. Me and a thousand crickets and that moon. The rest of the world was completely quiet and still. It was perfectly creepy. I sat in my comfy chair working on Little Man’s hat and watched the (IMHO) scariest movie EVER. Could I be a bigger moron?! As expected, it scared the crap out of me. I was up until 2:00 am. When I finally tried to get some sleep I saw those terrible twins every time I closed my weary eyes. “Come and play with us Lucy, forever and ever and ever…” Aghhhhhhhhhhh!

The only "good" to come of the experience was that I realized I can finally put my finger on why exactly I hate Stanley Kubrick. Well, I don’t really hate him... I resent him. If his film are any indication, he was a deeply disturbed man. Or maybe he was simply in posession of a deeply disturbed mind. With the exception of Dr. Strangelove (begrudgingly one of my favorites) all of his films have an isolated, desperate tone that really upsets me. Come to think of it, even Dr. Strangelove is full of themes of desparation and an ever present there's-nothing-we-can-do-about-it-now mentality. Lolita too is desparate, lonely and sad. That poor Shelley Winters. (Although, to be fair, I always think 'that poor Shelley Winters').
So, after some careful consideration I decided Mr. Kubrick is in fact a Death Eater. He makes me feel as if nothing happy will ever happen again, that the world is a terrible and lonely place and there is nowhere to turn for comfort and that there's nothing any of us can do about it. Isn’t that the very definition of a Death Eater? Don’t get me wrong, having a Death Eater POV is probably very helpful when crafting the scariest movie ever. It was my own fault for watching a the damn thing alone at night. Now I know better. I shouldn’t have put myself in the position of watching it at midnight.

Thank God tomorrow is a fun day of bright colors and BBQs and family. I may not have survived my Death Eater attack otherwise. Damn you Mr. Kubrick, DAMN YOU (said with dramatic Charlton-Heston-falling-to-his-knees flair)!