Wednesday, October 31


The older I get, the more I enjoy Halloween. Lots of people at work dressed up and it was a lot of fun. I was amazed at the creativity and time spent on some of their costumes. One friend dressed as America's Next Dead Model and looked amazing with a makeup brush stabbed through her chest. Another came as Britney Spears and pushed a stroller around with a tattooed doll strapped in backwards. She had empty Red Bull cans and Red Hots littering the baby's seat along with a baby bottle filled with soda. It was great!

After work I went to my brother's family's house. They got lots of trick or treaters and it's fun to sit on the porch and hand out candy. We lavish lots of praise on the little ones and do the wave when the older kids do something really spectacular. This year we gave out full sized candy bars for the really good costumes.

Really, the only trouble is when somebody does it wrong. Some people just don't seem to grasp the basic concept of Halloween. For instance, we don't like the lame teenagers who don't bother to dress up or even say "trick or treat". These kids just walk up and shove their bag under your nose and expect a bunch of candy. The other annoying type is the parent with a 2 month old baby in a stroller who is clearly pimping their child for candy. These types bug us. The other day my brother told me he had a great solution to the lame asses to come. He decided that, in addition to the candy bowl, he would keep a bowl of condiments on hand to pass out to the morons in the crowd. In preparation, I raided the commissary and collected some packets of mayonnaise, relish, mustard and soy sauce for his condiments bowl. We only had to resort to the condiments bowl a couple of times. It was a slow year, we only got 705 trick or treaters (I realize that sounds like a lot, but we've had up to 1,110 visitors in the past... I know!), so we were feeling generous. One girl walked up in sweats and a tee shirt. I handed candy to her friends, wished them a happy Halloween then asked what she was. She hesitated then said "Umm, a housewife?" My brother snatched something out of the loser bowl and said "Mustard for you!" I cracked up.

Later another girl walked up wearing jeans and a tee shirt. When I asked what she was, she pointed to her braided hair and said "An Indian?" *sigh* She got mayo. Another young man walked on to the porch while texting. I said "Oh no, you are not texting and expecting candy are you?" He immediately shoved his phone in his pocket, pulled his mask down and walked like a zombie towards me and ghoulishly said "Trick or Treat!" I said "Now we're talkin'. Stay in character, ok!?" He got candy.

My favorite moment of the evening came when one little boy (maybe 7 years old) walked up to my brother who was holding the candy bowl. My brother started to drop candy into the kid's bag when the kid grabbed a handful of candy from the bowl. I was surprised when my brother, rather kindly, said "Whoa, buddy. I already dropped candy in your bag." and wrestled the candy from his grubby little fist. The kid walked off and my brother slyly looked up at me and said "He got the relish." God, I love my brother. He just cracks me up.

Oh, and in case you're wondering how we know we had 705 trick or treaters, we used one of those palm, clicker, counter thingys. Which brings me to my second favorite moment of the night. My niece had wrapped up her trick or treating and was handing out candy with us. She asked "Daddy, how many kids came tonight?" Meanwhile my brother was carefully doing the robot (that lame "dance"). My niece repeated "Daaad-dy! How many?" He replied "I'll tell you if you do the robot with me." She did. It was great.

Tuesday, October 30


Lots has gone on since my last post but I've been too busy to blog about it.

First of all, I went to Shandon's Halloween party and had a great time. I was sorry that Kb and Heidi missed it, maybe next time. I was happy with my costume (corpse/zombie crawling out of a grave) and knew I must have done something right when my mother took one look at me, in that get up, and started to cry. She said it looked like I'd been terribly beaten. Cool!

I've had more inappropriate conversations at work but what else is new? Today's went something like this:

Lucy: So, how's the interviewing going for the new position?
Herr Boss: We liked him. I consider it a done deal. He's sold his house and he and his partner...
Lucy: (way too excitedly) He's gay?!
Herr Boss: Well, err, yes, um, I think so.
Lucy: Oh goodie! I love the gay boys.
Herr Boss: ...
My Boss: ... (rolling her head back laughing hysterically.)
Lucy: Really! If you ever want to know if a man is gay or not, sit him down next to me at a meal and I'll pull the gay right out of him.
Herr Boss: (Uprouriously laughing)
Lucy: It's a gift... and a curse.
Herr Boss: Well, you know, I errr, really don't think about these things, blah, blah, blah.
Lucy: (Losing interest quickly.) Yeah, whatever.

Later my boss told everyone in our staff meeting about how fun it was to watch me and Herr Boss have that conversation. She then noted it was "An HR person's nightmare!" As Feral Mom would say, tits! (Oh, and if you're reading this, it was great meeting you!)

Perhaps the most recent of tragic events came last night when my good nights sleep was rudely interrupted by a litany of bizarre squeaks. I woke to the weird noise and vaguely remember being annoyed but not terribly concerned. Another fighting animal... whatever. I rolled over to go back to sleep. Then it hit me, I knew exactly what that sound was coming from... then the smell came. Yup, it was a freaked out skunk and it was fighting with another animal right under my bedroom window. I went from barely conscious to leaping out of bed with an audible "OH SHIT!" and slammed the window shut. It was too late, the stench was already overwhelming my bedroom. Goddammit!!!!!!! I turned the fan on and opened my bedroom door so the smell had some place to go. I then noticed my Dad's office light was one. Apparently the noise had woken him up too. I said "Jesus! Can you smell that?" He got up and walked toward me saying "Yes, it woke me up too... JEE-SUS! You got it bad!!!" He then rushed towards his and Mom's bedroom door. I thought 'Oh how sweet, he's going to get me a candle or something.' I then watched him quickly shut his bedroom door to keep the smell out. It made me laugh, he wasn't going to help me, he was saving himself. I told mom about this in the morning. She laughed at Dad's reaction then said "Yeah, it's pretty much every-man-for-himself around here, huh?" Truth!

*Shut up!* It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown in on... gotta run.

Saturday, October 27


Between making great salsa and working on my Halloween costume, for Shandon's party, I watched Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. I'm not much of a horror fan but this show was a damn good time. I stumbled upon it at about #45 so I missed a lot but, lucky us, it's re-airing tonight at 9:00 pm. It's actually 3 one hour episodes but they're all repeating tonight. Catch them if you can. They definitely get you in a Halloween mood.

I couldn't figure out what the heck the number one film moment might be. Once Psycho, The Exorcist and The Shining were checked off the list, what else is there? Let's just say I was fine with the #1 film listed. Well, more precisely, I agree that it's the best, but for my money, The Exorcist is my all time scariest movie. Nothing scares me more. If you miss the airing of this fun countdown, here is the list. What do you think?

And speaking of spooky, have you seen Lisa Williams Life Among the Dead? I happen to like the idea of spirits watching over us so I think this show is a blast. I was a big skeptic the first time I saw it, but by the second or third episode I started to believe this lady. I think the moment I started to buy it was when Ms. Williams stopped a stranger on the street. This woman is seemingly just walking down the street when Ms. Williams stops her and says she'd like to talk to her because she's got a "very strong energy" around her. The woman looks cautious but goes for it anyway. Lisa Williams begins to describe the death of a young woman to the woman on the street. She describes the tragedy, right down to the type of injury that killed her. The look of shock on the passerby is so authentic. When Ms. Williams motions towards her neck and head and says "It was something through here. She broke her neck, right?" The stranger whispers, in shock "What did you just say?" She then goes on to tell the tale of the death of her best friend when they were sixteen. Her friend fell 150 feet to her death. She landed on the right side of her head and broke her neck. Creepy!!! At the end of the show there is a disclaimer stating that Ms. Williams has no prior knowledge of the identity of the people she is 'reading". Hmm, I'm still skeptical but it's a good time nevertheless. (I just wish we cold get this diva to come to Shandon's Halloween party.) Check it out and let me know what you think. Oh! And maybe my favorite trivia is that Lisa Williams grandmother was a clairvoyant to British Royalty, but not in that nasty Rasputin sort of way. So cool!

Thursday, October 25

A few of my favorite things

So, I celebrated my 41st birthday this week. Looking back, I can now say that turning 40 wasn't so bad but, somehow, turning 41 seemed worse. I guess it's because I'm no longer just dipping my toe in my forties, I'm officially wading through them and it feels damn strange. How on earth did I get to be 41 years old? *shudder* On the other hand, I suppose I prefer this to having no 41st birthday at all. That would suck.

And speaking of sucking, as many of you know, I'm currently hoarding money for a condo. It's a monster goal for a single gal in Southern California, but I'm doing my best. I was once in terrible debt but I've since pulled myself out of that hole and am now building a nice nest egg to put down on a place of my own. (Yea me!) I'm getting so good at saving that I really don't splurge on much except fun dinners with friends, crafting supplies and movies. What can I say? I'm a simple girl. I do, however, allow myself an extra frivolous treat when I am gifted cash or when a bonus comes through from work. Even then, I only spend a small portion of the money and tuck the rest away or buy tires for my greedy car. Here is what I bought for myself with some of my birthday money:

Yes, that's right, I bought a pile of comfort films and a couple of books. I heart Bette Davis and Now Voyager is one of my all time favorites. I love to watch Bette Davis go from a dowdy, depressed, spinster to glamorous, world traveler by simply shaping her eyebrows. *sigh* It's pure heaven. I saw that Now Voyager was bundled with four other super-fun Bette Davis films and I was sold. I also happen to love Baby Boom and Working Girl. Hmm, I'm just realizing that all three of these films happen to tell the tale of a single women kicking ass. I think I'm beginning to see a trend here. Well, anyway, you can bet that this weekend, between baking this cake and working on my Halloween costume, I'll be watching these single ladies kick some butt all over my Sony Triniton. Wooooo dog-gay. I can't wait!!!

Monday, October 22

Meet Your Neighborhood Jackass

When it comes to disaster news coverage, I've noticed a disturbing trend. Lately, it seems reporters like to wear special gear and rely on certain bad behaviour depending on the news they are covering. The first time I noticed what I now call "The Jackass Shot" was during hurricane reporting. You know what I mean, the inevitable shot of some pathetic rookie clutching a street lamp in their pointless slicker while enduring one hell of a pelting from the driving rain and winds that are blowing them off their feet. This my friends is the classic Jackass Shot. We've all seen it and we've all shook our heads at those fools. Do we really need to see some reporter get worked over to believe it's really bad out there? Here is a perfect example: behold dipshit (Note: it gets especially amusing at the 50 second mark.)

In the past couple of days, during these awful So Cal wildfires, I noticed that the reporters are donning fireman coats "from the scene". Um, why are they wearing fire gear? They are in NO danger of being swept up into a fire. Check out what I mean in this "teaser clip". (I won't even go into how inappropriately excited our local news is about the situation.) Goggles and face masks have also become popular accessories on the news these days. Yes, it's a new and improved breaking news cast, folks. They've invested in wardrobe, it must be dangerous!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new and improved Jackass Shot:

What the hell is that all about?!

I've experienced California wildfires from an up-close-and-personal POV and while the air gets extraordinarily smoky and ash flies everywhere I don't recall ever having any great need for heavy fire gear. Shouldn't that kind of outerwear be reserved for somebody who is actually fighting a fire and not the moron talking about it? Oh, and did I mention it's about 90 degrees out today? There is no reason on earth for reporters to wear those damn coats!!!!!

On the other hand I'm oddly fascinated by the reporters in the studio who can talk for hours and hours with NO new news to report. They're like QVC hosts. I mean really, they can talk your ear off and never provide a sliver of real information. It's incredible.

I also love the universal eschewing of makeup during these trying times. The local reporters reek of an artificial sense that things are so tough out here I wouldn't dream of stopping for hair and makeup. As if lack of makeup means you're a real reporter. Whatever. You jerks stop people in the streets, who've just lost their homes, for their comments. Leave that sobbing family alone! It all makes me sick. While I hate to see people in peril, I look forward to watching those same reporters get worked during the next hurricane.

Sunday, October 21

More Fresh Hell

The Santa Ana winds are blowing in So Cal today. It's warm and clear out, which is nice, but the house can heat up quickly. Mom and I ran some errands this morning. When we got back I immediately opened the shuttered doors to circulate some fresh air around the house. Now, I've done this about 8,000 times in my life so I don't think much about it. Unfortunately, I glanced forward too late and saw this bastard on the inside of the screen about 5 inches from my nose. I literally staggered back a couple of steps and moaned "Oh God." I don't care how cool you are about critters but unexpectedly finding a praying mantis mere inches from your face can freak just about anyone out. Here he is staring me down after I brushed him of the screen. Did I mention he was about 4 inches long? *shudder*

I pride myself on not being a wimpy girl. I was raised with a set of outdoor friendly family and friends. My Dad is a life long birder and my favorite uncle raised reptiles. I grew up camping, bird watching and holding snakes and lizards regularly. When a swarm of bees fell in love with a shrub in the back yard, Dad and I would have bee fights. That is, we'd flick them at each other. I was a favorite room mate in the dorms because I had no problem catching and releasing the spiders and bugs at all hours of night and day. Generally, I only freak out about critters when surprised.

It think the surprise factor became an issue when I was about 7 years old. I was taking a shower when Dad decided it would be hilarious to drop a live frog over the top of the shower door and to my feet. (Dad is the oldest of ten kids so tormenting children has been a hobby of his since about the age of four.) I danced around and screamed and told him off before grabbing a towel and running out of the shower. He still laughs about that one but it's the reason I always lock the bathroom door, to this day, if anyone is in the house while I shower. Dad is the oldest of ten kids so tormenting children has been a hobby of his since about the age of four.

Another famous freak out happened when I was cutting back the vines on a wall by the pool. I was working on about four feet of pavement with the pool behind me. I had cut a lot of brush and stood between two large piles of vines and leaves when I made a cut and saw a big rat run away. Ok gross, but I kept cutting. I then found what the rat was running from. I found a nest of baby rats. They were a disgusting, writhing pink mass. There eyes weren't even open yet. To this day it's one of the most vile things I've ever seen. I just stood there trapped between the piles of brush and the pool. I screamed and Dad ran out. His immediately reaction was to laugh his ass off then he quickly ran over to clear away the piles that had me pinned in. Looking back I think he laughed then realized I might have been screaming because of a rattle snake. A snake is about the only find we take seriously around here. Dad's faced down many rattle snakes in the yard of this house. He once stood in the yard calling out for us for about 15 minutes before anyone came to his rescue. It was about 7:00 in the morning and it took a while for us to wake up. I eventually got out there because I realized the dog was barking his head off. Dad was sort of pinned against the fence. Dad calmly asked me to get a shovel for him. I ran back with it and he swiftly cut the snakes head off.

Living in Southern California means taking a few preventative measures in every day life. For instance, we never hang anything heavy over our beds and we pack our book cases tightly so nothing can fly off at us during an earthquake. When walking down outdoor steps we keep an eye out for rattle snakes because they love to settle in the crook of steps. It sounds more frightening than it is but these little tips are good to keep in mind. Of course, there is little one can do about dying from a heart attack because a gross winged insect decides to kick it at eye level.

Saturday, October 20

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot!

Heidi and I saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age this afternoon. Most who know me, know that I love British history. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are a couple of my favorite rulers. I don't think they were necessarily kind folks but they are certainly fascinating folks. I love a crazy family and those British royals have crazy in spades. I have been looking forward to seeing Elizabeth since I first heard about out. Once I learned that Clive Owen was featured I was even more excited to see it.

Now, let's be clear, this is an over the top portrayal of Elizabeth's life during the attempted invasion of England by the Spanish Armada. We're talking Catholics gone wild. It's an incredibly interesting time in history but, not surprisingly, I'm not sure how much the film makers worried about historical accuracy. It's a great spectacle despite the off dialog. For instance, I don't believe Elizabeth was as vulnerable and boy crazy as she is often portrayed. I believe someone in her position probably didn't feel any man was worthy of her. More importantly, she was smart enough to know that by not marrying she could maintain power as she certainly did. Like her or not, she was no fool.

As for the film, I must say the costumes are some of the best I've ever seen, they were pure eye candy. I have no idea how realistic they are but they are marvelous to look at. The set design is equally magnificent. The film smells of money. Best of all Clive is unbelievably beautiful to behold He ranks up there with George Clooney as far as I'm concerned. If he ever played Mr. Darcy I might just die of a heart attack. *sigh*

My only real complaint with the movie was discussed as follows:

Lucy: I know the Spanish could be pretty nasty back then but I can't believe they were all so ugly. I mean really! There wasn't a cute Spaniard in the whole movie. It's a well documented fact that Spanish men are some of the most beautiful in the world. I mean come on... even some of those inquisitors must have been hot.
Heidi: Diva! (That's her nickname for me. I'm still not sure why it was just given to me when we met.)
Lucy: Well...?!
Heidi: Well, I don't think any of the inquisitors could have been hot.
Lucy: I'm not saying they were kind but I bet there were some hotties in the mix. Spanish men couldn't have gotten ugly for a couple of centuries then suddenly recovered.
Heidi: Well, yeah, I suppose.
Lucy: ...
Heidi: ...
Lucy: Also, I don't think Elizabeth wandered out on a cliff in her nightgown to watch the Spanish Armada go down in the English Channel at dawn. Not when she had that super cool armor to pull on.
Heidi: Yeah, that was a bit much.

Following the film I had lots of questions:
  • Did Cate Blanchett get to keep any of those costumes?
  • I wonder how accurate Elizabeth I's battle maps were?
  • I know everyone says Elizabeth had a big crush on Robert Dudley but Sir Walter Raleigh? Really?!
  • Did Elizabeth really feel guilty about ordering Mary Queen of Scots' execution? Every film shows her wailing and regretting Mary's beheading but really? Would she have seriously felt bad about offing the cousin who had been claiming England's throne as her own for so many years? I doubt it.
I'm sure others read about Elizabeth and see these films about her and have much more interesting questions but those are mine.

*GASP* Gotta go... Brigadoon is on!!! God, no wonder I'm still single.

Wednesday, October 17

Professional Road Rage

A co-worker/friend claims she hates New Yorkers because they're so rude and mean. I've never had a bad experience with a New Yorker. I find them to be occasionally gruff but generally very kind and helpful. Certainly more so than most Californians I've encountered.

Today I got a taste of her bad luck. After an appointment we shared a cab back to the hotel before heading back out this evening. It was about 3:00 pm and traffic was thick. We were chatting in the back seat when a town car cut off our cab. The town car then stopped in front of us and waved a rude gesture at our cabbie. I sort of dismissively waved at the other driver to move forward while our cabbie shouted at him. Our cabbie then tore around to the side of the guilty town car, slowed down to yell at the driver in closer proximity and swerved while my friend answered her phone and told her boss she couldn't talk. We sort of clung to the cab doors and held on for dear life as the cabbie jerked into the other driver's lane. I urged him to calm down and to please not kill us. My friend and I then got the giggles and couldn't stop laughing at the whole stupid turn of events.

We eventually got to our hotel. While heading up to our rooms my friend said"See! I told you! These people are crazy!!" She went on the tell me about the time she and another co-worker were in a town car going to the air port. Some how, their driver got in a fight with a drunk guy on the sidewalk. The drunk ended up punching a hole through the car door, the driver pulled over and started fighting with the drunk. My friend and her co-worker had to get out of the cab and had to assertively get their luggage out of the cab and figure out another way to the airport. Unbelievable. The woman has some serious bad driver karma following her around.

Tonight we're going to dinner and a show. Wish us luck!

Where have you been?

Shandon tagged me for this fun exercise. As mentioned, I'd like to visit every state in the nation before I kick it. Looks like I better get busy.

Bold the states you've been to, CAPITALIZE the states you've lived in, italicize the state you're in now, and color the state(s) you'd like to visit.

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / CALIFORNIA / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / INDIANA / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey* / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / Washington, D.C. / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming

*Technically I was in New Jersey for only about 5 minutes but I'm counting it anyway. Some friends and I decided to try a NYC subway to the Meat Packing district and accidentally took the express. I knew we were in trouble when I looked out the window and noticed we were leaving the island of Manhattan. We got off in New Jersey and took the next express back into the city. Oops!

Tuesday, October 16

Buy, Buy, Love

I'm in NYC again for work. My Mom hates it when I'm here because she worries I'll get mugged or whatever the kids are now doing to out-of-towners in NYC these days. The funny thing is that I'm far more likely to run into a friend on the streets of New York than I am at home.

I come here to work with companies in the apparel industry. The folks I visit are in a very small area, just a few blocks, around the Empire State Building and Herald's Square. I run into work friends every day I'm in New York. I go shopping in Macy's and run into friends. It's weird but a lot of fun. Once I was, I wouldn't call it lost but, wandering around outside the Empire State Building trying to figure out which direction to head in when I ran into the owner of a company I've worked with for over 6 years. It was like running into a favorite uncle. He gave me a big hug and walked me to my next appointment. That's what I love about spending time here. It's finally starting to become familiar to me and I'm comfortable when I'm here. I never thought I'd get to that point but here I am and it feels good.

It was a beautiful day in the city today. Almost too great. I was all set for some fall weather but I walked out of the hotel at 8:45 am and it was already at least 70 degrees. Oh well, it seems to make my New York friends happy.

Here are some of the sites I took in from the morning cab ride to my first appointment (Please excuse the poor picture quality. These were taken through the window of my cab as I whizzed by):

St. Patrick's Cathedral. I went inside the first time I visited NYC but got mad when they wanted $2 to light a candle. I gave them the 2 bucks because my favorite uncle was dying of a brain tumor and it just seemed wrong to be in that miraculous building and not send a little prayer out for him. I must have gotten over the annoyance quickly because I then went to the gift store and bought a St. Patrick's Cathedral key chain that's been hanging with my keys ever since. Maybe that Catholic batism I received as a baby seeped in after all.
This one is of the store front for Saks Fifth Avenue. I heard they now have an entire floor dedicated to shoes. That's an entire city block in square footage. It's so big it got it's own zip code. It's a publicity stunt but still, an entire city block of fabulous shoes is enough to turn even my head. It's difficult to see but the windows are huge envelopes addressed to the shoe department with small snippets of letters written on paper above each envelope. I think it's a clever way to cover the windows while they start dressing them for the holidays. I love it!

Ok, I took this one because I'm endlessly impressed with the attention this city pays to details. I know it's hard to see but that basket on the sign post is overflowing with beautiful flowers. Those baskets were all up and down Fifth Avenue. I've only seen that kind of thoughtful detail in small cities like Sierra Madre. It's incredible in a city of this size.

What can I say... It's Cartier getting ready to build up their holiday displays. They are so spectacular that , sorry to say, the blood diamond trade fades from your mind. I wonder how they address that issue or if they've even bothered. I guess I should just be grateful I don't work in the diamond industry. OH! But that reminds me, have I ever mentioned the jewelry around here? Maybe it's that everyone has a relative in the diamond industry, but seriously, the women around here have the biggest diamonds I've ever seen. Nobody in LA can compare. My boss, who lived here for ages, has a ring so big it took me about 2 months to stop staring at it. I'm not talking just big diamonds, these things are the coveted variety with incredible clarity and quality. I don't drool over jewelry much but these diamonds are knock outs.

This mornings cab driver kept locking the doors every time we stopped. He'd then unlock them when we were driving. As I paid him, I asked "Why do you lock the doors at each stop? Do people jump in or something?" He explained that it was a feature of his mini-van. It's a safety feature to keeps kids from jumping out. Hmm. Who knew? Maybe I'm not as comfy in NYC as I was beginning to think.

Thursday, October 11

Welcome Back Old Friend

I'm not known as daydreaming girly girl, but there is a reunion in my future that brings the frilly girl out of me. A former love is back: Victoria Magazine returns to newsstands at the end of the month and I can't wait. Victoria folded several years ago and I was crestfallen. I subscribed for many years and I looked forward to the arrival of my new issue each and every month. I used to spend at least an hour slowly going through it from cover to cover the day it arrived. I would then look through it again and again until the next precious issue arrived. I think I loved Victoria so much because other magazines, with a female demographic, spend a lot of time telling us how terrible we are and look. It can be an evil industry that I'm not interested in supporting. Victoria, on the other hand, did nothing but make me feel good. She never told me I was fat or that my skin was hideously dry or that I wasn't aging well or doing enough to save the planet, instead she gently put her arm around my shoulders every month and said "Let's take a walk. Let me show you what I've found that I think you'll love." All the while pointing out lush gardens and dreamy treasures. It's like deciding between a weekend with a gang of supermodels in a club or a weekend in the Hamptons with Ina Garten. Who would you rather hang with? The boring bitch rag that tells you you're awful or the nice lady that bakes for you and treats you like a special friend?

My idea of heaven looks like an issue of Victoria. Imagine my excitement when a few months ago I learned Victoria would be back! Yes, I subscribed without even seeing the new format. I'm an optimist after all.


She's so dreamy. I sincerely hope the editors have enough sense to stick to her fabulous formula. Yes, she struggled and folded but it was also a tough time for the magazine industry so I don't hold it against her.

In the past, the issues were packed with beautiful homes and the work of incredibly talented artists and designers. Victoria tends to focus on women entrepreneurs who make a living from natural talent doing what they love. It's all about tea and European gardens and enchanted cottages and cakes and flowers and everything I can't get enough of. It's the one magazine I can keep and look back on a year later and enjoy as much as the first time I saw it. I used to have a rather large stack of back issues but I finally had to toss them because space was limited. Since she's been gone there is a swift market on Ebay for Victoria back issues. It's good to know others loved her as much as I did. I'm glad somebody finally figured out there was still a market for her. I've missed my back issues but I'm thrilled that I have the chance to build a new stack to enjoy for years to come. Welcome back Victoria!!!

Wednesday, October 10


It is a truth universally known that I am slowly becoming a shut in. Really. Pretty much every day, my goal in life is to be in my pjs and watching tv or reading in bed by 9:00 pm every night. I never make this goal. However, last night I managed to have my lunch packed, pjs on, face washed and moisturized and teeth brushed by 9:00 pm last night. Tonight, I managed to do the same by 8:30 pm. WOO HOO!! I'm now tucked in and ready to enjoy my Tivo'd Pushing Daisies episode.

I hope you're all as happy as I am at this moment.

Monday, October 8

More TV Talk

I forgot to mention this earlier, I LOVE Pushing Daisies. It's a wonderful combination of dark, sweet, quirky, over-the-top fun that I haven't seen in ages on network television. If you missed it, you can watch it here. I'm telling you, it's definitely worth a look. I haven't watched a ton of new shows this season (mostly because I was watching The War) but this one is a stand out. It's already at the top of my Tivo Season Pass list. And don't even get me started on the fact that Kristin Chenoweth is in it.

How was the Bionic Woman? I missed it. :( I'm a recent convert to Brothers & Sisters. A co-worker insisted I give it a try so I did. I liked it. I watched the first episode of Big Shots and even those hot guys couldn't keep my attention. Bummer.

Oh! And I've found yet another BBC America favorite. It's called You Are What you Eat. Much like How Clean is your House? they find people in a terrible state and turn them around. The participant(s) apparently keep a food journal before they start then a Doctor/nutritionist shows them all they've eaten in the past week. Imagine a table holding everything you've put in your mouth in the last seven days. It's mostly horrifying and often brings people to tears. The Doctor then runs several tests and puts the culprits on a detox diet based on the nutrients they are most deficient in. She then comes back in 8 weeks and the results are amazing.

Sunday, October 7

Home cookin'

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of my life is that fact that my mom is one of the best Southern cooks out there but, God help me, the woman hates to cook. On second thought, it's probably a damn good thing she hates to cook because if she loved it I'd weigh 500 pounds. My all time favorite Mom specialty is her Chicken Fried Steak. I'm also terribly fond of her Chicken in Rice but she hasn't made that in about 25 years so it's but a loving yet distant memory. Still, I'll have to force her to make it for me some day so I can learn how it's done.

Ordinarily my family gets together for a Sunday dinner at least once a month but not tonight. Dad is in Mexico on a big birding adventure and my brother and his family were at one of my nephew's baseball tournaments all day. This afternoon I announced to Mom that I'd be making meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner. Nothing perks up mom's mood like dodging that bullet called dinner preparation. She spent the rest of the afternoon singing and dancing around the house in anticipation of her cooking free evening.

My brother called to update us on the tournament progress and to ask what we were having for dinner. When Mom said I was making meatloaf his response was "Oh God! I'm so happy I'm not there." Meatloaf is like a brother repellent in these parts. My theory is that he has an aversion to the word play. I'm the first to admit that "Meat" and "Loaf" have no business playing together but I make a damn good one. Another family favorite that he hates is Mom's Beirox. Mmmm. Mom makes this one about once a year and Dad and I will trample old ladies to get our hands on them. For those not in the know, Beirox are like a German hot pocket (for lack of a better analogy). They are delightful. I've never know anyone in the world who'd enjoyed Beirox so imagine my surprise when I discovered they were traditional German delight. I heart the internet!

Mom is in perpetual "clear out" mode. I've tried to point out that people live in this house and that food will always be in the frig and clothes will always be in the closets. Still, no cabinet is ever tidy enough for her. Lately she has been clearing out her cookbook cabinet and even her recipe box. (My brother would have a heart attack. He's got his eye on her cookbook collection "when she doesn't need them anymore". ) She did both while I as away so I'm certain some jems have been discarded. Mom can be endlessly sentimental when it comes to her family but things don't hold the same status. I suppose I should be glad but I'm certain this is how my beloved Baby Tender Love was lost. I KNOW she tossed her in one of her clearing out kicks. She swears that she'd never do such a thing but I know. She was once caught tossing my brother's beloved stuffed dog, Puppy, out. You'd think she was trying to sell his child by the way he reacted. She's lucky he didn't pack her up and send her off to the loony bin for that one.

Some of the few things she is sentimental about are, ironically, two of her cooking tools. Number one is her precious dutch oven. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you NOBODY but Mom is allowed to touch it. She is certain we will do something ridiculous and cause flash rusting. She gets squirmy if one of us even thinks of washing the thing. She makes her delectable beef stew in there and sometimes a cheddar cheese, jalapeno corn bread but that's on a very lucky day. Whenever she and Dad go off on a trip I always threaten to catch rainwater with her dutch oven. She nervously laughs at that one. If there's a way to have it permanently sealed and if her titanium knee fits, I swear I'll bury her ashes in the thing. Aside from her dutch over she has a unique attachment to her pressure cooker. I'm sure they have safe and sane pressure cookers available these days but no, Mom prefers the pressure cooker she got as a wedding present back in '64. Unlike the dutch oven you won't find me within a mile of this thing, especially when it's rattling away and ready to blow. It scares the hell out of me. I don't know what a pressure cooker is designed for but Mom tends to make corn on the cob with it. I prefer to hit the "vegetable" setting on the microwave to make my corn on the cob. Nobody is in danger of losing a limb or getting third degree burns so it takes some of the thrill out of cooking but it's what I like to do.

Here's a pic:

The horror, the horror.

One recipe I scored from Mom today was the one for her Snickerdoodles. Again, I'd never heard anyone use the word Snickerdoodle until Mom discovered Nordstrom occasionally offers them in their coffee bar. They're good but, naturally, I prefer my Mom's. You should see the original Snickerdoodles recipe card. It's in Mom's writing and she has no idea where she got it but the card is fading terribly. We were concerned that it might be lost forever so she wrote out 2 copies today, one for her and one for me. I don't think I've ever made these in my life but God knows I've had my fill.

Despite Mom's aversion to cooking she has a couple of optimistic cook books in her collection with titles like My Golden Recipes and Our Family Favorites. The Golden cookbook is chock full of recipes clipped for magazines and papers. Needless to say she got this one when she was a newlywed and still, sort of, liked cooking. Dad says he almost became an alcoholic and gained 20 pounds their first year of marriage, not so much because of Mom's cooking but because society had told her it was customary for a bride to greet her husband at the door with a martini. Problem was, she only knew how to make martini's by the pitcher. Ah, the good old days.

Once at an estate sale I found a beat up old recipe collection and bought it for a buck. The home was obviously one that the last resident had lived in for decades. The recipe book is titled The Sucefsful Housekeeper (No typo, it's spelled "Succefsful".) It's suffers from water damage but someone took the time to clip out lots of recipes and household tips and carefully paste them into the front and back of the book. It broke my heart that someone hadn't inherited The Succefsful Housekeeper so I decided to give it a home. Plus it's just plain fascinating. The book has an 1882 copyright. Lots of recipes are copied on to very old, odd bits of paper. I'm assuming paper was hard to come by for this home maker. In the glossary I found the following definition "Boudin- A delicate compound made of quenelle forcemeat." Well, that clears things up. Elsewhere I discovered "How any Boy or Girl can make a Japanese Shuttle Cock" and a "Cure for Smallpox" as well as a clipping titled "Onions a Nerve Tonic". I can't find the name of the owner in the book but, Shandon and Kb, we may need to get together to make her Cream Cake in honor of her efforts.

Thursday, October 4

Just call me The Instigator

This is why I love my workplace:

We all work with one particularly intense woman who spends a lot of time telling us what she does not do, outlining what is not part of her job responsibilities. It wouldn't be so bad except she does this on an almost daily basis. We all have times when we need to clarify that a request does not fall within our job descriptions but saying "that's not my job" every day both verbally and in emails is a bit much.

Last week a group of us got at least three emails from her (that we had not started) stating things like "I'm not responsible for this project. I don't know why I'm on this email. Please remove me from this and all future emails on this subject." Sometimes her emails are in all caps. *sigh* Too much email is always annoying but most of us quietly hit delete and go on with our day.

Today an email had gone back and forth about three times when this woman "replied all" (to 15 people) and said "Please take me off these emails now." I think it was the "now" that got to everyone. Although I wasn't on the email, my neighbors were, and told me about it. I told them if it were me, I'd reply with an annoying "No problem" then ask everyone else to respond with similarly useless and aggravating replies. They loved the idea and spent the rest of the day promising to take the woman off the email. Here is a sample of the email chain:

Reply #1: Consider it done!
Reply #2: Thanks Lynn!
Reply #3: Oops! Sorry. I hadn't realized Allison had handled this
Reply #4: Oops! I meant "Thanks Allison".
Reply #5: Thanks Lynn AND Allison
Reply #6: No worries, we'll handle this.

... and so on.

Now, I realize this is immature and annoying behaviour but I'm telling you, we were in fits of giggles all day. As expected, we received no response from the victim. We have no way of knowing if she understood that she was being teased. It will be interesting to see if she changes her behaviour.