Friday, November 30
As mentioned here before, I listen to a CD of rainfall every night as I fall asleep. I live in So. Cal, which is almost always in the middle of a drought, so the sound of rain is a rare event. Well, this morning I woke to rainfall. I can not express how difficult it was to climb out of bed to get ready for work. I had called in sick yesterday and it would have been SO easy to call in sick again today, sit in my pjs and crochet/read all day in my super comfy chair. It would have been heaven. Of course the rain will be long gone tomorrow so today was my one and only chance to enjoy a lazy rainy day for God knows how long. I was feeling better so I decided to suck it up and go to work. I had lots to catch up on and missed seeing my friends (who I've hardly seen since before Thanksgiving due to my ridiculous schedule). But still, I can't remember my bed ever feeling better.
Also, there was the traffic to consider. Yuck!! I mean, it's always annoying but being the first rain in a long time... it was gonna be ugly. We Southern Californians have a bad reputation when it comes to driving on wet roads. I'd like to explain this trouble. It's not that we're terribly lame drivers in the rain. The problem is that so many months pass without any rainfall that when it does hit it slicks up the roads that have months of grease and grime built up on them. That's why we have grooves in our freeways. It helps with traction. The first rain is always the worst. Today was no different. There were SigAlerts all over the place.
Which brings me to another bit of So Cal trivia. For years I assumed a SigAlert was short for Signal/Alert or some such variation. Most people are so accustomed to hearing about SigAlerts that they don't question the origin of the word. A few years ago I looked up the history of the SigAlert and learned it's actually named after a guy named Sigmond (aka "Sig") who used to alert Angelinos to terrible traffic problems in the 40's as more and more folks were buying cars resulting on more and more traffic. In the 50's Sig developed an electronic traffic alert system and these snarl-ups have been called SigAlerts ever since. For those interested, a SigAlert is defined as any "traffic incident" that will result in two or more closed lanes of traffic for more than two hours. This morning, not only did we have some terrible accidents but some yahoo decided to threatened to jump off an overpass into oncoming traffic on the Pasadena freeway which made things even worse. All I could think was "Dude! She's not worth it!!"
So there is your bit of So Cal trivia for the day.
That also makes for 30 days of posting. Yea!! I did it!!!! Unless something terrible interesting happens tomorrow I will likely take a few days off from the blogging.
Thanks for stoppin' by.
Thursday, November 29
Just when I thought the rather bizarre exchange with Stalker Paul was over, it wasn't.
I wasn't going to mention it here because Paul was always a sneaky person and I have little doubt he's lurking here. Fortunately, I don't really care about a what a guy I dated a decade ago thinks. I, on the other hand, think it's bizarre that he continues to get in touch in one way or another every few years. I always resist and he always tries again. Franky, it's a bit sad at this point. He's apparently got a wife and baby, why on earth would he want to contact me? I don't really get it except that he must, assuming he has managed to not evolve, still prefer to look back in a melancholy, wistful sort of way... ALL THE TIME. That, or he's going through one 12-step program or another. Far be it from me to get between a guy and his 30-day chip but I frankly don't care to get into it.
He wrote, in part " ... I would really like to know how you're doing outside of these recaps. If you're up for it let me know. Ten years is a long time". I'm not sure what I was supposed to be "up for" but it didn't matter. I wasn't interested. The very best part about this email was Heidi's reaction to it. Yes, I forwarded it to the two people on earth who understood how annoying it was, Heidi and Kb. I sent it with "What do I say?". (For those interested I replied "I'd rather not... I don't see the point...blah, blah, blah.") Heidi has a wonderful way of inventing the perfect curse word for any occasion. She never fails to crack me up. To Paul's "Ten years is a long time" she said "Not long enough Fucktard!!!" When he later wrote "I do not wish to belabor this issue but I believe I may have done more harm than good in contacting you in such a flip manner." and I sent it to my girls, Kb also assumed that a 12-step program was in the works while Heidi wrote "Oh, Christ on a crutch. What does he want now?!"
To help illustrate why I'm not interested in reacquainting myself with this person, allow me to share a couple of memories. Paul once told me that my love of baseball "isn't very feminine". Can you imagine?! Apparently girls aren't supposed to enjoy cute boys in tight pants playing a game they learned to love from their Daddies and Vin Scully. Why I didn't reply "Sort of like your not liking baseball (football, basketball, hockey... you pick a sport) isn't very masculine?" I'll never know. In the end, more than anything, I resented the fact that throughout much of our relationship I mistook his occasional indifference to me to be due to my weight. I can only assume that because he was incredibly vain and insecure, he allowed me to feel inadequate when, in fact, his aloof nature was actually due to his lifelong denial of his attraction to men. I learned of this interesting development about a year after our breakup when he admitted his new fondness of receiving blow jobs from nameless men in darkened bookstore parking lots. This news was a surprise blessing in disguise. Any lingering feelings I may have had for Paul were immediately erased in that moment of confession. There was no anger, no sadness, just a complete and utter absence of feeling for the guy. It was all gone in an instant. It may have been the sudden realization that one of my best friends was actually a complete stranger. God knows I love the gay boys, I just don't enjoy dating them. Especially the promiscuous ones. Now, to be fair, I learned a lot from that relationship. I now steer clear of men who don't like sports and/or some sort of quality masculine music (Springsteen, Zappa, Clapton, Zeppelin... you get the picture) and prefer jazzercise and Donna Summer. I certainly don't enjoy men who begrudge my enjoyment of spectator sports and man bands from time to time.
But really, the reason I bring it up at all is that a) I stayed home sick today and don't have a lot of material and we're cruising into the last stretch of NaBloPoMo and b) it reinforces something I've known for a very long time. If a relationship is all drama I simply don't care to participate. I've carefully pruned the friendship branch of my life to include only those that are very high quality. I have friends I've known since middle school. I reconnected with some great people at my reunion and I make new friends at work all the time. I do have one friend I happily got custody of after Paul and I split. He warned me of the evils of Heidi and he couldn't have been more wrong. Come to think of it though, Heidi was critical to our breakup. Well, she didn't know it. I recall Paul wanting me to drive down to Dana Point to see him (again) for the weekend. Instead, I decided to go to Heidi's birthday party. He really freaked out on me. I could have done the same old thing that weekend: gone down to Dana Point, bought Paul some groceries (again) and been bored out of my mind watching him do laundry while listening to him lament one of his life's decisions or another (again). Instead, I did the difficult thing. I went to a party where I only knew one person. One person who was thrilled to see me and graciously introduced me to several of her friends. Friends that I would get to know much better in the next few years. I'm actually a closet shy person. Walking into a room of strangers is not my idea of a good time but forcing myself to do so was a turning point for me. It was one of the first independent, confident diva things I'd done in a long time. I was thrilled while, judging from his reaction, Paul seemed angry by this turn of events.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying my friends have to be perfect. I'm not saying they have to always agree with me and do and say what I want. That would be not only impossible but down right dull. I keep the friends that are supportive, have loads of integrity, who make me laugh, who are grown ups, who share common interests and who I trust.
I swear, if I called from Tijuana desperate for help, Tony would jump in his car at 3:00 am to pick me up. Kathleen would claw somebodies eyes out if they so much as looked at me wrong. Stacey would pull me into her clan as if I were a sister, and has. Shandon (and probably her protective posse) would provide a warm cup of tea and a comfy couch if ever I needed a place to have a nervous breakdown. Heidi would sit at my hospital bed for days if I, God forbid, were ever in that position. I'm not saying I expect all of these scenarios to play out, but it's nice to know I've got a good crew to back me up if ever needed.
So there you have it. That's why I'm in no way interested in cobbling together a friendship with somebody I never respected in the first place. That's the bottom line isn't it? Respect. You've got to respect your true friends and I do.
I'd now like to thank all of my friends for being mature and wonderful. I love you all! And thank you for being on my side, not matter what.
Wednesday, November 28
I sometimes wish I could share full disclosure about my job here, but I can't. (Weirdos, ya know.) Today was one of those days. Today made me think "I wish everyone could experience this some time." I was in a conference about a movie, we were updated on new iterations and artwork and then brainstormed ideas. It's one thing to brainstorm with a bunch of executives but where I work, they throw in a few film creators, films you've most certainly enjoyed, to help with the process. I love it when animators are thrown into the mix. You just can't imagine the drawings on napkins that come out of these meetings. By the end of the day there are always dozens of drawings on product ideas and promotional events. Some end up happening while others remain big ideas that, due to some practicality, simply never get made. You should see the robotic sweatshirt concept I have tacked to my wall. Most of the drawings are jaw droppingly good. They're just sketches but they're drawn by the best animators in the world. I can't imagine being that talented. It must be great.
The only down side of these meetings is when you get seated next to an artist who loves to do caricatures. I work with one very talented but curmudgeonly artist who I flat out refuse to sit across from. If seated across from him he will certainly sketch you and you just don't want to know how he sees you. I'm serious. A caricature by him would make you cry, they're that upsetting. Luckily, I seem to be one of the few "suits" he can stand to sit by so I've thus far avoided being drawn by him. He tells me it would be an honor to be drawn by him but I insist it would be my horror. Like everything, I guess you have to take the good with the bad.
Tuesday, November 27
This morning, I was talking to Mom and The Today Show was on. Mom and I both really dislike Ann Curry. I can't stand the way she tries to make here interviewees cry and is so incredibly insincere. Mom hates the way Ms. Curry constantly interrupts her interviewees. I muscle through the Ann Curry segments because I refuse to watch Good Morning America. GMA is the more tabloid-y of the two. The last straw came when OJ Simpson was recently arrested (again). The Today show mentioned it then went on to the presidential candidates and some International news. GMA, on the other hand, spent 20 breathless minutes on it in fond remembrance of ratings form the OJ trial. It made me sick.
So, this morning The Today Show announced this weeks theme"Today Gets Extreme". Meredith Viera's stab at extreme was to take a roll in one of those terrible Zorbs. They look like the worst idea in the world and I wouldn't be caught dead in one. Drop me in a Tower of Terror? No problem. Throw me in a Zorb? I'll hurt you. When the "Today Gets Extreme" idea was mentioned, Mom mumbled "What's Ann gonna do? Be quiet for five minutes?"
Ya just gotta love that kind of sarcasm that early in the morning. I recommend laughing that hard before work each day.
Monday, November 26
Ok, this is not becoming a vintage television blog, but I have a couple of updates.
I did a little research for our girls craft day. Kb, I totally remember that tv movie about the poor bedwetter but I learned it was not an After School Special. They must have aired it as a Saturday night special or something. It was called The Loneliest Runner. It was an autobiographical account written by Michael Landon. (Who knew?!) I remember really liking that movie but it was so sad. I tried to Netflix it but it's not available on DVD. Bummer!! I also, tried to Netflix Like Normal People (you know, "Rah-jaw, I want a baby Rah-jaw!"). Sadly, it too is not available on DVD. Curses!
I've officially Netflixed 2 After School Special discs instead. I can't wait! We'll be dining on Campbell's Tomato Soup and Grilled cheese sandwiches.
And here's a hint to what else I've got on tap for our screening. I'm a little freaked out that somebody took the time to make that little montage... Of course, I'm one to talk, I'm hosting a Cheesy 70's Made for Television/ Craft Day. *shrug* Next up: Ice Castles!
In case you're wonder what ever happened to Lance Kerwin, star of The Loneliest Runner and so many other shows from the 70's, check this out. Poor Lance!
This account is more upbeat.
And speaking of "Where Are They Now", who's up for seeing this?
Sunday, November 25
I was just reading Shandon's blog. She was kind enough to invite me see Lawrence of Arabia with her and Norman but I passed. I admit, it was tempting though. I've never seen LOA on the big screen and I'm sure it makes for a much better experience. Still, I find the film to be a bit of a snoozefest. It's pretty, as is Peter O'Toole, and I'm almost always in favor of seeing Omar Sharif, but even good looking men and sweeping cinematography couldn't lure me away from my crafting this weekend.
Shandon went on the mention trying to tackle AFI's Top 100 Films of all time list. I too have considered this. I was curious to learn how many of those films I'd seen. I dutifully downloded the list and learned that I too need to see exactly 27 films to complete the list. Amazing! I bet we have a lot of overlapping "To See" films. I've placed some on that list deliberately. For instance, I have no desire to see Spartacus. I've seen most of North by Northwest but I can't confidently say I've seen the whole thing so it remains on the "To See" list. One I've never heard of, what the hell is The General? (I just looked it up. At least it's got Buster Keaton going for it.) Most of the films on my "To See" list are what I consider to be "Boy Films". I've never seen The Unforgiven and always meant to, so I look forward to that one. The Deer Hunter and Ben Hur are not so intriguing to me. Except the part about a rival playing mega-gay to a clueless Chuck Heston. The Director, William Wyler, apparenlty informed the actor of the gay undertones but warned "Don't tell Chuck." (Here is part of the back story that I couldn't love more if it were about my own lame grandfather.) I love that kind of behind the scenes drama! It could make viewing Ben Hur so much more palatable.
I just might join Shandon in her resolution. Who knows, I might enjoy The Wild Bunch.
Shandon, let's compare lists. Maybe we could knock a few off our lists over some crafts and tea. Maybe chicking the movies up a bit could help.
Saturday, November 24
This morning, when I woke at 7:00, instead of the alarm, I reached for the remote and flipped on the tv and watched some old sit-coms. I can tell you Cheers holds up fairly well but other sitcoms from the 70's suffer with time.
All of that old tv got me to thinking about daytime television when I was a kid. Now a days, I've noticed day time tv is geared towards seniors. Back when I was a kid it was directed at homemakers.
Of course, I was at school most of the time, but remember sick days? Ah, sick days. My Mom was a teacher and both of my parents had strict work ethics. As a result, sick days were few and far between for me and my brother. They definitely required a fever or evidence of chicken pox. When I was sick I must have watched a lot of tv because the first things I think of, when I think of childhood sick days, besides flat ginger ale and crackers, are The Price is Right and I Love Lucy reruns. I remember going to the home of a neighbor with a blanket and a tube of Doodle Art on some sick days (I actually had that jungle poster shown above). I loved Doodle Art but I hated those sick days. I would have preferred to stay in my own bed but I suppose Mom had to work, and I couldn't stay at home alone, so off to a sitter I went. I recall lots of commercials from the 70's. Remember that KTTV jingle (Eleven, eleven, eleven...)?
Here are a few of the commercials I recall:
K-Tel (Um, I think I actually had this one.)
Keep America Beautiful
Mercifully, I don't recall this one:
Tab (Thank God women got into advertising.)
My brother and I were "latchkey" kids for about 30 minutes each week day. Instead of going straight home, and accidentally burning the place down, we were sent to a neighbors house until Mom got home. Really this meant Ginger Snaps and milk. (I know I should have been grateful but, Ginger Snaps?! Gross! Ginger Snaps are probably the weakest excuse of a cookie in existence. I hate them to this day.) Once home, I remember watching Match Game followed by Tattletales. Next up was The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show. Now those sitcoms hold up just fine. In fact I've got the first two seasons of Mary Tyler Moore on DVD and I'm bucking for some Bob Newhart for Christmas this year. For me, these are comfort shows at their best. I have to have them on DVD because cable television has retired them and replaced them with Fresh Prince and Full House episodes. A sure sign that the world is coming to an end. Well that and the lack of After School Specials (I'm still laughing at that clip!) I'm tellin' you, that's what's wrong with these kids today. It's just plain mean to expect today's youth to handle life's difficulties without so much as an After School Special to help them out. What's a kid to do?
One of these days I'm going to host a Craft Day/ After School Special Marathon!
HOLY CRAP! Look what I just found. God bless the internet!!! I'm not kidding. I hope all of my crafty friends are up for a marathon!! Who's in? After all, this can't be done alone. As Afternoon Specials taught us, it takes a village!
Friday, November 23
Turns out I made the right choice. While Americans were out spending $20B I was home finishing this cross stitch project:
I'm so glad I did. My sister-in-law, who has shopped Black Friday with her mom for at least the past 15 years, called from Ontario Mills Mall. Ack!! She called from the chaos and I had to sit down. The horror was almost overwhelming. I could hear the crowds and hustle and bustle and it freaked me out. She was calling to tell me she couldn't find the Crop-a-Dile I'd asked her to pick up for me. (I can't find one anywhere!) We discussed a few gift options for my nephew and she asked what he'd written on the list we worked on together yesterday. I've never been so happy to be at home in my life.
Being a part time shut-in has many advantages. For one, I can act as protester by not participating in today's buy-fest. It also means lounging in sweats and socks. Best of all it means no makeup application. It can also mean about 6 hours of Law & Order (yes, I got sucked in). How is it that no matter how many reruns I see of L&O, I never seem to see the same episode twice. Amazing!
By being a shut-in today meant I was available to receive the emergency phone call asking that I please Tivo High School Musical 2. My niece is having a HSM2 themed b-day party right before it comes out on DVD. She wanted to "screen" it at the party but the evil geniuses at the Disney Channel have apparently stopped the 24-hour marathons of the movie so parents will be amped to run out and pick up the DVD right before Christmas. I promised I'd record it for her. Unfortunately, this means I'll miss my beloved Men in Trees and even Lisa Williams: Life among the Dead. Oh well, you only turn 6 once. I'd hate to have to explain why I didn't record her party movie. That would make me a mean shut-in. I prefer to remain the fun-loving variety shut-it. A fun-loving variety shut-in who happens to be so dang crafty! (Even without a Crop-a-Dile.)
Thursday, November 22
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I'm, thankful for my family and friends. I'm thankful for a good job that I (mostly) enjoy. I'm thankful to live in a loving environment no matter where my day takes me. I'm' thankful for having a great place to visit for a fun-filled Thanksgiving dinner/celebration.
I wouldn't say I'm not thankful for this next bit, but I'm afraid I may be disappointed. There is a member of the extended family who, for some reason, always gets assigned dessert duties. The problem is that she consistently brings a rather small offering of desserts that I don't particularly care for. I have a feeling today will be no different. :( I recently learned there won't even be any pumpkin pie to fall back on this year. I know, I know... I can't even talk about it. Another relative is at least bringing a pumpkin type dessert that I hope will ease the pain.
But from this disappointment comes a thankful thought: I'm thankful that the friends in my life can all be trusted to throw down a great dessert. I mean it. Kb, Shandon, Heidi, Tony and Stacey know that, if given a choice, throwing in a layer of Symphony Bars in a pan of brownies, instead of raspberry jam, is always the way to go. They know that no matter how many times I'm offered mud pie, I won't eat it because I loathe the flavor of coffee (unless used in tiny quantities to enhance the flavor of chocolate, not compete with it). They understand that butter is essential to any truly delicious dessert. They understand that fruit is great as an added bonus to a yummy dessert but not the starring attraction (like that delightful Blueberry Bomb cupcake Shandon and I had not too long ago). They understand that strawberry shortcake is only good if the shortcake is just right. They understand the thrill of a good butter cream frosting. I've decided that all of this knowledge is essential to being a truly good friend of mine.
For these reasons, I'm thankful to all of my family and friends who understand what a good dessert is. If your eyes don't roll to the back of your head when you bite into a great cupcake, I'm afraid we can't be true friends because I don't think you know how to enjoy life. I'm thankful that my friends and I do.
Wednesday, November 21
Although I'm sad about the paltry Twilight Zone marathon the SciFi Channel is doling out today, I decided to let my nephew know that there would be a Ghost Hunters marathon in it's place. J (my nephew) LOVES Ghost Hunters so I was glad at least one person in America would be happy to hear about the programming change.
I caught my brother in the car:
Lucy: Hey, are the kids in school today?
Bro: No, they're in the car with me.
Lucy: What are you doing?
Bro: Oh, we went to breakfast, then we went to Barbecues Galore then...
Lucy: Let me guess... Hooters for lunch? You're having a dream dude day! Let me talk to J.
Bro: It's for you... (handing the phone to J)
Lucy: SO! Did you hear about the marathon all day tomorrow on tv?
Lucy: They're showing Ghost Hunters from 8:00 am- 5:00 am tomorrow!
Lucy: No Twilight Zone this year, it's Ghost Hunters instead. My loss is your gain.
Lucy: Dude, did you hear me?
J: Cool! I bet the scariest ones are in the middle of the night! A (my niece) wants to talk now.
A: I've got 6 pennies!
Lucy: Cool! I'll see you tomorrow.
Lucy: It's Thanksgiving! You know, Daddy makes a big turkey. It's a party at your house.
A: Oh yeah!!!
Lucy: I'll see you tomorrow. Can you hand the phone back to Daddy?
Bro: Hey guys, what band are we listening to?!
Kids in perfect unison in background: BLACK FLAG!!!
Lucy: *sigh* & laughing
My brother is a fantastic dad but is a definitely unconventional. His kids know more about music then I do. He'll swing from Johnny Cash, to the Sex Pistols to Miles Davis in 5 minutes. J's favorite song is Layla. When I asked what A's favorite song is, bro said "Anything loud". The kids love my bros music. So much so that J was Elvis for Halloween this year. I didn't see any other Elvi and was proud that he was WAY into it. I'm guessing he got a great reaction from the grown ups and that helped encourage him to ham it up. I was so happy about it. I don't think I ever showed him on the blog so here he is in all his glory. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... The King:
His wig looks funny here. He's got it on crooked but it's a Danny Zucko wig from Grease. Turns out the Danny wig is WAY better than the Elvis wig. Trust me. When J walked out on the front porch to show us his costume, my brother blasted the famous Elvis entrance music and the neighborhood applauded for him. It was great!
Here's to being thankful for those fun little moments in life.
Tuesday, November 20
Here are some of the television marathons going on over the long weekend:
But first, there's bad news folks, the meanies at SciFi Channel have moved the Twilight Zone marathon to tomorrow, Wednesday November 21st. Yeah, you heard me. And as a final insult their Thanksgiving marathon will instead be Ghost Hunters this year. My nephew will be thrilled but I'm in mourning. Why, why, why?! First they hi-jack The Twilight Zone from LA's Channel 5 (who first started the heavenly tradition of Twilight Zone marathons in the first place) and now they move it all together?! Did I mention it's only airing from 9:00 am to 3:00pm? That barely qualifies as a marathon. That damn Ghost Hunters marathon will air from 8:00 am to 5:00 am. I'm so blue. I know they've heard it but I've already emailed them to officially tell them that they suck. (You can too by emailing them at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I had been counting on TCM to come up with something good but it looks like they're doing a big, gross Andy Hardy marathon. Here's the trouble, I heart Judy Garland but I hate Mickey Rooney. I know he must have had something going on if Eva Gardner dug him but I just don't get it. Blechh! Still, I may have to give one of these movies a try. They made millions of people happy. I suppose they may be worth checking out. I don't know. *shrug*
Oooo! But look here. I know it's wrong but I just love watching those To Catch a Predator shows. I know, I know, it's just terrible but I LOVE watching each and every guy crumble into the same set of excuses. It's great! Now, I don't know if I can stomach five hours of them, but we'll see.
AMC is featuring a Hitchcock marathon. That might be fun. Meanwhile, USA has thrown in the towel and will air 39 straight hours of Law & Order and L&O spinoffs. I've mentioned my Pavlovian response to that show but I will have to resist. The last thing I need to do is get caught up in a 39 hour L&O bender.
Looks like it will be I Love Lucy for this girl. Yeah, that's it. I'll be thankful for my family, my friends and I Love Lucy this Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 19
Today, Amazon.com unveiled their new digital reading device. It's a digital book. They've been working on it for over three years and God knows how much money they've spent on the thing.
It's called a Kindle. I'm sure they've explained the name but I haven't bothered to learn about it. I heard Jeff Bezos explain the whole thing on NPR and he swears that you can curl up with the Kindle just like you would a book. I'm not convinced. I'm just not interested in giving up my books. Frankly, I don't want to live in a world that has gotten rid of books. I simply haven't seen any way books can be improved upon. Mr. Bezos can spend as much money as he wants but I'm not giving up my books. It seems to me it's all about the money. With all due respect, Mr. Bezos is attempting to cut out the publishers. I understand the impulse to cut out the middle man but i don't think it's what the consumer wants.
I just don't understand why everyone is so hot and bothered to create an electronic book. I maybe understand the appeal of carrying your entire library around, like an iPod can carry your music library, and I do like the dictionary feature in this Kindle thing (you can look up words with an electronic dictionary feature and that's pretty cool). Otherwise, I don't get it. Our culture has such an epidemic A.D.D. problem that, it seems to me, being able to carry only one or two books around at a time isn't such a bad idea. What's so bad about the book as we know it, anyway? Maybe I hang with an old fashioned group of folks but I've never heard anybody say "Man, I just wish I had a stiff flat screen to read from all day." Don't we get enough of that at work. I spend half of my working day staring into a monitor. When I want to relax with a good book, cradling a mini monitor does not appeal to me.
Am I wrong here? Am I being a granny? What do you think? If nothing else it will be interesting to see how this flies and how long it will take for that price to drop.
Sunday, November 18
Today I went to a cookie exchange. It was hosted by one of my dearest friends, Stacey. I met Stacey through my brother when I was about 18. We were fast friends and eventually became roommates in collage. She's what I call a "lifer". A "lifer" is a friend so great you'll be with them 'til you die.
Anyway, Stacey asked 12 of her friends to meet at her house. She asked us to each bring 2 dozen home baked cookies along with 12 recipe cards for our cookies. Then it got interesting. She and a fun neighbor pulled a bunch of craft supplies together and we made a recipe books for our new collections of cookie recipes. This is what mine looks like:
Even the recipe cards were ridiculously cute. Check it out:
Stacey is a teacher so she's on the super organized side. Today's production was no different. When I walked in, I set my platter of cookies and cards on the counter and walked straight to the crafting table. It's an illness I suppose. I see a folding table with glue, ribbon, beads and paper and I'm drawn to it. Today was no different. I was especially fond of this craft because I didn't have to be particularly creative. There was an example book already assembled so all I had to do was copy it. There's something very comforting and relaxing about making something so cute and easy.
While the Mod Podge was drying, we were invited to take a cute plate and fill it it with 2 of each type of cookie. There was coffee, tea, hot chocolate and hot apple cider to go along with our cookie plates. After about 4 cookies, most of us got sick. I chose to drink water and I think that may have helped. Aside from the inevitable sugar high it was a wonderful afternoon.
Thanks Stace! I hope we can do it again soon.
BTW, I'm currently watching Red Dust. If you haven't seen it you should. Clark Gable is absolutely scandalous!!!
Saturday, November 17
I've long been annoyed with those soliciting signatures and/or money. I choose to give to a different charity once a month. I therefore do not give money to those who ask for money during my day. I don't give my signature because I don't think I can truly learn the ins and outs of an issue in 3 minutes in front of a Target store. I prefer to do a little homework and act accordingly. When a stranger asks something of me, I brightly reply "No, but good luck!" It disarms them. The solicitor can't really grumble or curse me out because I've been genuinely kind. It sort of drives them crazy and naturally cracks me up.
Solicitors have grown more and more aggressive with their tactics so my reply has been forced up a notch lately. The other day Tony and I were shopping when a cashier asked something like "Would you like to add a dollar to your purchase to help..." some poor kid. I said "No, tell that kid to suck it!" Tony burst out laughing after which the cashier slowly smiled then began giggling. I said "Well, when you phrase it like that, what am I supposed to say? If I don't give you a dollar it's like telling a kid to suck it, so I may as well just say it." He continued to laugh while nodding in agreement. I hate the way the questions are phrased these days. It's hard to say "No I don't want to save the forests." or "No, I'd rather not help a dying child." I don't think I should have to explain my charitable philosophy to every person asking something of me. I probably give more than the jackass asking but I'm not about to explain myself to them.
Today, another cashier asked "Would you like to blah, blah, blah... for kids with cancer?" I smiled and firmly said "No." Again, I was treated to a rather shocked expression followed by a smirk. The kid seemed a little freaked out by my response. I loved it!
I think I've found a new hobby.
Friday, November 16
Forgive me if I've posted on this topic before, but I'm getting old and I just don't recall if this is a new topic or not. Besides, I'm triple booked for much of the day so I thought I'd write an easy post about something I know well, my favorite childhood books. These are some of the books that taught me to love reading. I read these in elementary school or they were read to me before I could read on my own. Here are some of stand outs:
James and the Giant Peach - (But with the original illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. Any other illustrations pale comparison.) Still great!
The Big Tidy Up - I used to check this out of the library regularly. I was obsessed with it. It's about a little girl forced to clean up her room one day. As a child I could relate completely.
One Morning in Maine - I have a signed copy from my Mom. She gave it to me the day I lost my first tooth. I still read it once in a blue moon and it still makes me happy. The illustrations are oh so familiar and I love that too.
The Little House on the Prairie series - I've mentioned the importance of this series many times. It's simply one of the most influential set of books I've ever read. I think about life on the prairie almost every day. Mostly I love these books because my Dad read the entire series to me.
Winnie the Pooh stories - My Dad used to read to me from a thick hardback book of Winnie the Pooh adventures. There were only a handful of colored plates in the book and I used to look forward to those illustrations while dad read aloud. My little twin bed was nestled in the corner of the master bedroom that I shared with my little brother. Dad and I used to sit with our backs against the wall while he read from that book. I can still feel the cold of the wall against my pajamaed (I just made up a word!) back. For this reason Pooh is still important to me.
Horton Hears a Who - Certainly the first book that made me think of worlds apart from ours. Still profound, in my opinion.
The Very Little Girl - This one takes me waaaay back. The handwritten date in my copy indicates that I received it on my second birthday. I used to love it. I can find no evidence of it online.
Mrs. Tibbet's Typewriter - All about writing and loving books.. *heaven* This one has great illustrations to boot. Again, I can't find evidence of this book online. :(
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books - When we moved, and I had to start at a new elementary school, I was so shy that I spent many a recess in the library with the librarian. She let me help her put those crinkly, clear book covers on the new books. She also introduced me to Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. These books were a great comfort to me in that time between being the new girl and finding my little group of friends.
The Monster at the End of This Book - As much as I loved having it read to me as a kid, I found it to be even more fun to read to my niece and nephew.
Are You There God? It's Me Margaret - (Or most anything by Judy Blume in the early 70's) Ahh, Judy Blume. Her books were read by pretty much every girl in my class. We had great taste. I loved everything Ms. Blume wrote.I'll stop with Judy Blume because after her books I graduated to Young Adult books and that's a list for another day.
I'm sure there are more original books to list here, some of these being quite famous, but these are the books that touched me most. These are the book that I vividly remember.
I'd like to tag Shandon, Trooperdog and AbNorman to list the books they loved in and before elementary school.
Thursday, November 15
Shandon tagged me to describe 8 random things about myself. Anyone who's stopped by this blog knows that I love books, crafts, movies, tv, showtunes, road trips and other travel. I'm also prone to the occasional rant. Here are a few things you may not know about me:
- Let's start with fantasy. I don't dream of romance, I dream of real estate. I've always been this way. My dad always thought I had something in common with Lucy, from the Peanuts gang, because in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, when asked what she wants for Christmas, Lucy firmly states "Real Estate!" I understand her completely. I don't dream of big houses or plots of land, I dream of cozy cottages, secret gardens and log cabins. I know I'll find one for myself eventually. Last night, while at a financial seminar about investing, the speaker mentioned the tremendous rise in foreclosures. He said it was announced that California foreclosures are up about 120%. I leaned over to my friend and whispered "Sweet!" I'm not heartless, honestly, I've just been biding my time. Two years ago, when everyone was telling me to run out and get a shiny new 0interest loan I resisted. I kept saying "I'm waiting for the inevitable foreclosures. That's when I swoop in." Hey, when I'm right, I'm right.
- I hate to shop. I simply do not understand the impulse to go to a mall and throw money around. It's ironic that only a few years ago, I was in pretty big debt. Part of it was a car but the rest was probably books and entertainment (dinners with friends, movies, shows etc). I can spend hours in books stores or perusing books online but most other spending is a complete mystery to me. (Oh, and for the record, I'm now debt free. Yea!)
- Richard Simmons once licked me. You heard me. It all started when a friend talked me into going to Richard Simmons' studio for an exercise class. At one point he wandered over, looked me in the eye, then inexplicably licked my neck from collarbone to cheekbone. What the hell?! People, I'd been working out. I was sweaty. *shudder* I'm still traumatized.
- My first concert was Van Halen. I was about 15 years old. My Dad promised to take me and three friends to a concert. Since he was going to have to attend the concert with us he said I could choose between Van Halen and Styx. I guess those were two bands he thought he could stomach. I think I made a good choice.
- I don't drink. Well, I drink, but VERY occasionally. I'll have maybe one cocktail while on business in New York because a) I don't have to pay for it and b) I won't have to drive home. I simply hate the taste of alcohol. When I order drinks I have to tell the bartender to "make it wimpy or I won't drink it". They love me.
- I have a ridiculous memory for 70's music. Very rarely do I hear something from that era for the first time. I don't know what others were doing during the 70's but I, apparently, had a top 40 radio station on during all waking hours. Most of my friends love the 80's but I still heart the tunes from the 70's.
- I majored in Magazine Journalism partly because I figured it was a major that might come in handy no matter where my career took me. Mostly, it had the easiest math requirement available.
- I still have a portable 8-track player with a few choice 8-track tapes because it they make me laugh.
Wednesday, November 14
I'm sorry but I must get this off my chest:
It is officially too early for Christmas!! It's too early to be hearing Christmas music, seeing lights on houses and decorations in stores. People, you're killin' me. I love the holiday season as much as much as the next girl, but honestly!
I knew it was going to be bad this year when the first holiday commercial I saw on television was on Halloween night! What's the deal?! The reason the holiday season is so special is because it's supposed to be only one month out of the year. (Maybe 6-7 weeks if you must start the day after Thanksgiving.)
I understand the retailers out there who want to stretch the holiday (cash cow of a season) out as long as possible, but that house I pass, on my way home from work, is over the top not to mention jumping the gun. Some maniac has his house lights up along with an enormous blow- up Santa in a hot rod on his roof. He put it up last weekend. I appreciate the enthusiasm but come on! I can't remember the holidays ever starting so early.
Please, I'm begging you, try to restrain yourselves. Christmas decorations should be forbidden until after Thanksgiving. Poor Thanksgiving gets skipped completely these days. We seem to jump directly from Halloween to Christmas. Have a heart, enjoy Thanksgiving! It's the one holiday that everyone can enjoy. The all inclusive nature of Thanksgiving is one of the reason I like it so much. Well, that and I get to enjoy my once-a-year viewing of Home for the Holidays.
It seems I'm not the only one who feels this way about early Christmas exploitation. What do you think?
*Getting off soapbox.*
Tuesday, November 13
I know it's a silly thing, considering all that's going on in the world, but The Boat has been a simple pleasure for decades and I really miss it. On their site, they claim it's making a come back in Fall 2007. I drove by this evening and it didn't look like much progress has been made. Mostly, I'd like to know if the original boat will be returning or if they plan to use some lame pseudo boat instead.
The fun thing about The Boat was that you got in line next to the bar and actually walked through a boat and around to the other side of the bar to place your order. The poor chefs had to work in the guts of the old boat. They made great burgers but I always felt a little sorry for them because it looked so damn hot in there. Once you had your burger, fries and beverage in hand you sat on benches at long tables and enjoyed whatever sporting event happened to be on the (first generation, projector variety) large screen TVs. I miss those dumb TVs. The Packers are having a good year and it would have been fun to watch them win on one of those TVs. I suppose they'll reopen with snazzy new plasma TVs. Trouble is, plasma is a little too high falutin' for The Boat. I don't mind a place getting a nice scrub down, but I'd hate to see The Boat change much more than that.
Man, I really miss those burgers. Honestly, I couldn't even tell you what else is on their menu because it's all about the burger, fries and maybe the delightful blue cheese salad that is more blue cheese than salad. The Boat is low brow at it's very best and I miss it so.
So I ask you, does anyone know when The Boat will reopen? It would be perfect for my nights out with my high school friends. (Thank God Moffett's is still around.) And to my high school friends who read this blog, next time we have our August reunion, assuming The Boat is open, LET'S GO!
I found this loving photo of The Boat on Flickr. *wiping a tear away* It's so nice to know others love it too!
Monday, November 12
Sunday, November 11
I know, I know. It's a disgusting subject and what redeeming qualities could it possibly have? Well, I'm telling you it's a wonderful show. It's a crime show on par with Law & Order if that gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. Honestly, I think I prefer it to Law & Order. I know those are fightin' words but I'm dead serious (pardon the pun).
Dexter is about a sociopath who was adopted by a police officer when he was very young after a traumatic event that is revealed throughout the first season. Dexter's adoptive father knows that he has killer tendencies, due to this terrible experience, and tries to help him channel his tendencies by giving him a normal life, teaching him how to fake emotions and hunting. He eventually realizes that Dexter will likely kill anyway so he teaches him to choose his victims carefully and to only kill those who have killed innocent people. He teaches Dexter his "code" to "work" by. Dexter does not understand emotions but he understands these rules his fathers has taught him and strictly adheres to them . Dexter's father teaches him to a) Be certain of guilt, b) Kill only those who really deserve it c) how to never get caught and d) never let emotions drive your actions (as if Dexter had any).
Really, Dexter is not very different from Batman. He lacks the costume and ride but otherwise the main characters are very similar. Don't get me wrong, this is no super hero series. It's SO much better than that. The dark humor often comes from Dexter's inability to understand emotions and read people. He works in forensics and has a sister (the girl he was raised with) who works on Homicide. Dexter knows how a killer's mind works and tends to solve crimes before the police can. Once Dexter is certain he's got a ridiculously guilty criminal on his hands he "takes care of" them in the same systematic manner. Believe it or not, the viewer is almost immediately on Dexter's side. Each episode features another scum bag but the most interesting story line is that of another serial killer playing a cat and mouse game with Dexter. I'm not proud of it but I've watched the entire first season this weekend. I dare you to watch the first couple of episodes and not be hooked.
Oh, and don't worry, you don't have to watch any killings. Much is left to the imagination. To be clear, I'm not a fan of gore. I prefer suspense and that's exactly what this show delivers. The last episode of the season is particularly great. Don't skip ahead though. It's important to watch this one in order. The show is now in it's second season. I can't wait to get my hands on those episodes. I heart Dexter!
(Shandon, don't worry, I'll be returning the discs to you tomorrow, if you're around. I think you should check it out ASAP and I'd hate to be the one to trip you up. I think you and Norman would love it.)
Saturday, November 10
Today Mom and I went to my cousin's baby shower. Now, it should be noted that I am NOT a shower kind of girl. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy for the shower recipient but, damn, how many showers does a girl have to endure in a lifetime? I love my cousin but I was not looking forward to another shower. I was, however, looking forward to seeing my family. My Dad is the oldest of ten kids. (I know.) His sisters are more and more endearing as the years pass. I also adore Dad's Aunt and two cousins. They are hilarious and really know how to live. Dad's aunt was widowed in the early 70's and his uncle left her fairly well off. California real estate, the gift that keeps giving. Anyway, when we all get together there is ALWAYS some fun family gossip to be had. I know it's unsavory but, come on, if you're going to enjoy some juicy gossip it may as well be about your own family.
Today was no different. Today I learned that everyones least favorite family member asked our favorite family member for $500k to pay off his mortgage. What the hell?! I still can't imagine the nerve. This guy is a notorious jerk. I can't imagine anyone wanting to help him out. Can you imagine asking anyone for half a million dollars? Unbelievable.
On a lighter note, a fantastic second cousin is going to Prague to study for six months. I'm incredibly jealous. Her little sister threw up on a plane when she ate a duty free sized bag of m&ms and chased is with two frappuccinos. *gross*
Another wonderfully sweet aunt recently had a long overdue breast reduction. I gave her a hug, looked down and said "So, how are the girls?" She said they were great. The surgery went well and she said she never had any pain. Recovery was a snap. They took "a pound out of each". Good grief! She said she would have liked them to have taken more but that's all they could safely take. *shudder*
Another aunt, the mother of the shower recipient, always knocks herself out to create an amazing spread at family gatherings. She had an amazing kitchen constructed just to handle these celebrations. There were about 40 women at this get together so she had tons of food out. She made about 8 quiches as the main course. I've never been much of a quiche gal but these were amazing. I chose the cheddar and ham option and it was delicious. I've got to get the recipe because it was by far the best quiches I've ever had. We decided the spread was by far the best shower food we'd ever had.
Perhaps my favorite part of the shower was the fact that the games were optional. I really dislike shower games. They're generally boring and take too much time. I'd rather be socializing. These games, on the other hand, were for those who chose to participate. It was great. For one game there were 8 the baby sonogram pictures up on a wall. The game was to identify the body parts. They had an elbow, the bottom of a foot (that I never would have guessed), a nose and so on. The play or don't play thing really worked for me. I didn't play.
My other cousin's wife made the adorable invitations and some impressive paper embellishments for the games and door prizes. When I asked if she was a scrapper she was mortified. "No! Never! I'm no soccer mom. You'll never see puffed paint on my sweatshirts!" she said. She cracked me up. Whenever someone said her name I said "Oh, you mean the scrapper?" She kept on denying it but I told her she had tendencies. I explained that while scrapping was certainly a cult to avoid, but that there are ways to avoid the goofy, annoying scrapbooks. I told her I'd show her some of my pages sometime. When we left the shower we saw her standing at the side of the house smoking and talking on her cell phone. She's a rebel and I like it.
After the shower, I couldn't wait to get mom in the car to tell her about the family gossip. She couldn't believe what I had to tell her. Especially the bit about the money request cloaked in a sappy letter. She didn't have much to report. Christmas should be fun this year.
(Disclaimer: No, I have not personally seen the picture featured above. I just plain love it and thought it did a great job of describing most families I know.)
Friday, November 9
After this stupid week, Shandon and Abnorman were kind enough to let me pick the movie tonight. I wanted something fun and ironically chose Wristcutters: A Love Story. Shandon mentioned that she had heard it was pretty good. I looked it up and decided it indeed looked interesting but mostly it seemed a better option than Darfur Now and No Country for Old Men. I'm sure those are perfectly fine films but not after this week. Shandon and Abnorman didn't like Wristcutters much, but Heidi and I thought it was very funny. I'm not sure that I'll ever see it again, but if you have a particularly dark sense of humor, you may want to check it out.
Thursday, November 8
So, today was my first day back in the office after The Meltdown of 2007. It was also the first day back to doing my real job. I got lots done, had a fantastic meeting and overall had a wonderful day. I thanked those who had been so supportive and moved on.
I did, however, mention the meltdown to a few people and one emailed me: "Do I need to do a beat down? I know people...". That cracked me up. She later stopped by and said "No really. I know some butch lesbians who would love to help you out." I laughed and assured her I was ok. But I must admit that that having access to a gang of protective butch lesbians is good to know.
I'd like to thank my tiny readership for their kind words. I learned that some of you were concerned for me. It's so nice to know that I have such wonderful people in both my professional and personal life. Well, I've always known that, but to hear it is amazing. Thanks guys!
Ok, now I'm in my pjs and deciding what upbeat movie to see. Happy days are here again.
P.S. I think it's time to finally break down and order that war time poster I've been obsessed with for so long. Maybe I'll get one for the office too!
Wednesday, November 7
Today was the opposite of yesterday. It was sort of hectic but there was no crying, not even when I was supposed to cry.
Allow me to explain. I'm lucky enough to have a job that allows me to see very cool movies years in advance of their release dates. Today I saw a movie, in storyboard form, that won't be released for a long time. After screening the movie we got to sit with the artists, designers and writers. Let's just say SO much more goes into those movies than you could ever imagine. It's also very cool to be able to ask a writer about character motivation and other details that I' d never otherwise notice. It was impressive.
As for the crying, well right before the movie started I saw a friend look over her shoulder and ask "Do you have tissue?". Panicked, I said "Wait, what? We need tissue?!" About 6 people nodded in unison. *sigh* Sheesh! As if I hadn't cried enough lately. Well, for what ever reason, I managed to hold it together and didn't cry. (I'd tell you more about the film but then I'd have to kill you and I'd really rather not. I know, I know. "Mustard for you!". But really, I can't!)
OH! But the one thing I finally noticed about the place is that their guest badges say "A stranger from the outside!" right under your name. Sorry, but that's just plain funny. I mean think about it, that's what visitor badges are really saying anyway. I love that someone is having fun with the stranger danger concept in a grown up environment. It's just funny to me.
If you read my last post about visiting this studio then you may recall that I thought it resembled heaven and smelled of cinnamon rolls. This time, when we stepped of the shuttle, someone took a deep breath and said "Apples!! It's hot apple cobbler. Ohhhhhh." He was right. On the way out I took a whiff and said "Oh no! Now it's hot buttered bread." Another said "For God's sake! We have GOT to remember to carve out time to visit that damn bakery. It's killing me!" She's right. "Visit Bakery" is definitely going on the To Do list.
SO that was my day. I'm tired and going to bed early and keeping in mind that, after all, tomorrow is another day.
Tuesday, November 6
Well, it finally happened. I hit the wall today. I had a melt down in a meeting. I could feel the tears coming and all I could do was stare at my VP and nod and try to maintain control. I eventually made it to my desk when a friend immediately came over to talk about some show tickets she's just gotten hold of. I lost it. She felt terrible. I tried to explain that I'd just hit my limit. I've just got too much on my plate and I can't take it anymore. She tried hard to calm me and make me feel better. She did but I was definitely a woman on the verge.
I then had to visit the ladies room. I looked for the route with least resistance (aka: the fewest people). I rushed past the big boss' office. I didn't even look in her office because, frankly, I didn't want eye contact. She somehow knew something was wrong and called me back. I stood in her door, again in tears. She had her back to me and said "How are you?". Her Assistant was looking at me with a panicked look and not knowing what to do. I just looked at her shaking my head, unable to respond. The boss finally turned around and I lost it. (Bummer!) Luckily, she's a fantastic lady and immediately jumped into action. "What is it? Was it forecasting?" (We did our quarterly finacial forecasting and some of my numbers sucked.) I cried/laughed and said "That was the highlight of my day." She quickly shut her door, patted her couch for me to sit down and said "Are you not getting support?!" I tried to be politically correct while explaining and listing all of my responsibilities. She gasped and said "Oh, God... that's right..." as the list grew. She immediately took one biggie off my plate. I admit I was somewhat relieved but knew others might not be so happy about that turn of events. We sat and chatted for a while and she helped me feel better. I told her I didn't want to be the lame girl who they can't give projects to. She said "No! I'd never think that. It takes a much stronger person to admit they're overwhelmed than one who just sits and takes." She then instructed me to go home immediately (it was getting late). She said to avoid eye contact on the way out or it would get me going again. She told me she knew this from first hand experience and it all made me feel better.
I then called my new boss on the way home, caught her in her car, and told her what had happened. She too was surprised but incredibly supportive. As I explained all I was doing she realised I was the "go to girl" for way too many people and we discussed how to change that in a positive way.
I'm now exhausted. I rarely cry but when I do it really knocks me out. The good news is that I tend to sleep well after a good cry. I'm glad I spoke to some people about it. I trust them and think it can get better soon.
As mentioned yesterday, I'll be out of the office tomorrow. I'm thinking that's probably a good thing. I should have known the stress was getting to me. I had a terrible stress dream last night (which never happens). Also, I can't really remember the last time I cried because of work. In fact I'm the one who's always joking "There's no crying in (fill in your department name)!". I hope it stops soon. I don't like being the crybaby!
Monday, November 5
Today was especially intense. As a result, when I got home, I ate a quick dinner, washed my face then jumped into my pjs. Next up, more cross-stitching! It's been the one thing that really calms me lately. This is what I'm working on now:
I'm doing the pattern on the top, in red. It's almost finished!
Next, I plan to start this one:
This pattern is one of four seasonal patterns I'm currently obsessed with. Shandon had Spring and Summer so I bought Winter and Autumn. Now we're sharing our patterns. I think this one (Winter aka L'Hiver) is my favorite. I figure I'll eventually do all four patterns then hang them and swap them out as the seasons change. Of course I'll probably be 90 before I'm finished with all four. Still, it's a nice goal.
Here are the other seasons I plan to tackle:
Today I received this one. I'd almost forgotten I'd ordered it:
I think it's safe to assume I'll never need another cross stitch pattern again. These should help keep me "calm" for the rest of my life.
(In case anyone is interested, these patterns are available on 123 Stitch. The first is designed by Carriage House Samplings. The rest are by Birds of a Feather.)