Saturday, November 29

Blue as a Bronte (but without the cool real estate or talent)

I've been in what Mom and I call a "blue funk" lately. It's not severe, I'm just sort of bummed out lately. It's likely work related. I usually feel this way after the holidays, when it's back to the grind, but I've been on vacation all week and the feeling has sort of lingered over me like an annoying cloud. This whole week has felt like one long Sunday night. Do you know what I mean?

I've got nothing to complain about. I'm blessed with wonderful family and friends. I've pulled myself out of debt, I'm employed, I mostly like my job and I enjoy those I work with. Still, I've just been sort of in the dumps lately.

Contributing to my funk is the fact that I learned, in the first couple of days of my vacation, that I have to go to Bentonville this Monday. I can be spontaneous with my work travel but the thought of being out of the office an additional week makes me hyperventilate. It's not as though the work is going to slow down while I'm away. Lately, it's coming down to having to be brutally cut throat. I have to spend time on the absolute top priorities and pawn off everything/everyone else. It's the only way to get things done. Trouble is, it's not my nature. I tend to try to be helpful but being helpful slows me down. This dilemma has become a bummer. There is also so much work to do that I could literally work 24 hours a day and never catch up. The good news is that each workday flies by however I'm working late hours and that really gets to me after a while. Down time is critical and this vacation was fraught with worries about work. I used to be so good at separating work and me time but I need to be better.

When I get like this I typically reject all things sad or dark and only allow positive influences around me. What are positive influences? Well, they include good friends, happy tv, homey magazines and classic books. Of course it's not easy to completely control everything entering your world but I find the effort is worth it.

Looking back, the blue funk may have started with a random viewing of Jaws followed by Burnt Offerings. It freaked me out. I also happen to be reading, and enjoying, The Witching Hour. I've been drawn to dark things lately, I don't know why, but I think it's time to back off. Seriously, anything with Karen Black in it is officially off limits. I'm not sure why I keep watching things like Interview with a Vampire (It's not only dark, but Tom Cruise is just dreadful! No wonder Anne Rice was so angry about his being cast.) and The Departed. Such downers! It's time to retreat to Jane Austen flicks, The Vicar of Dibley and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In fact, I should probably just make a pot of tea, wash my face, put on my pjs and get into bed.

Sometimes, just throwing in the towel is best.

Thursday, November 27

Was it good for you?

I just got back from my brother's house where we spend Thanksgiving afternoon every year. He makes a fantastic turkey on the outdoor grill and it's good time.

There were only about 15 of us there today but it gets loud. There are four kids ranging in age from 9 - 3. The girls got a doll double stroller out and took turns racing laps down the hall, through the kitchen and around the living room again and again all accompanied but tremendous screaming. I was raised in a household of only four but it too was loud. As a result I can be in the middle of terrific noise and manage to block much of it out. Thank God.

This is typically what happen after dinner and sometime during dessert. It's annoying but I figure they will outgrow it eventually.

One of my favorite kids was there. He's three and his name is Evan. Evan is a passionate chap, Evan enjoys plugs. As in power strips and extension cords. He asks for them upon entering a house. He then calmly gathers them and links them together. I asked his mother if he had any other interests and she sighed and said "No." What can I say, I enjoy the quirky kids. During dinner Even was a bit upset about the cut up green beans his dad had cruelly placed on his plate. He explained to me that he only likes turkey and that he doesn't eat beans. I tried pushing some yams and mashed potatoes on him but he wasn't having any of it. He told me he preferred corn or carrots. I nodded in agreement. Finally his Mom asked the hostess if she had any corn. She quickly returned with a large bag of frozen corn and poured some kernels on to Evan's plate. "Yea!" he clapped. "Um, is that frozen?" I asked. "Yeah, it's the only way he'll eat corn." Ok. It just made me love the kid more. He's gonna be a fun one to watch grow up.

My niece made seating cards this year and she seemed to have had some say in who sat where. I was supposed to sit next to my brother. We rarely have opportunities to sit and talk so I was looking forward to it. Of course, my brother's brother-in-law panicked when he realized that he or his wife would not be sitting next to Evan. The kid would have been fine but noooooo. Evan's dad felt the need to move seating cards around so that he could sit between me and the poor kid. I later saw my brother standing and eating his dinner in the kitchen.

I eventually got to spend some time with my brother and nephew when I found them cleaning up the BBQ area and loudly listening to their new favorite Wing. Have you heard this woman? Unbelievable. My nephew sat and enthusiastically banged his head to the AC/DC covers. When I asked "Are your neighbors home?" My bro turned up the volume in reply. We spent about 10 quality minutes rocking out to Wing and then moved into a superb Yacht Rock mix. (You'd have to see this to know what I'm talking about. There is a whole series of these things on Youtube. They actually have some funny moments if you have the time to investigate.) I call them sappy 70's songs but these guys have turned them in to something so much better. My brother and I laughed while "She's Gone" wailed. My poor nephew covered his ears, looked up and said 'Well, that doesn't feel good." and left.

Later someone handed a Black Friday sale flyer to my Mom and I noticed her hand was shaking. I loudly asked if she had Parkinson's. She seemed concerned then I saw that she was sort of white knuckling the flyer. I asked her to loosing up her grip and the shaking stopped. "Cured!! She's cured! I cured Mom!!" I shouted. Nobody heard me. Mom seemed relieved. Apparently if you grip something tightly it may shake, loosen up you grip and it's fine. Lesson learned.

So that was my Thanksgiving. How was yours?

Wednesday, November 26


(How's that for a Gone With the Wind inspired shot?! Ya gotta hand it to Baz, he's never subtle.)

Today I treated myself to a matinee of Baz Luhrmann's new film Australia. It wasn't great but I liked it. Baz makes such pretty films. I like the the rose colored fantasy glasses he sees the world through.

Many claim the film is a love letter to Australia but I'd say it's more of a love letter to Hugh Jackman. Ladies, trust me, this is a good thing. Baz is gay, right? Well, regardless, I raise a glass to Baz and say "Thank you Mr. Luhrmann for shooting that hunka man in such an over-the-top and yummy light."

Baz and his Cinematographer shoot Mr. Jackman in such a gorgeous way as to make your knees buckle while you're seated. I'm serious. I think I may have let out an audible gasp at least once. Now, I've always thought Hugh was dreamy and when he sang and danced through his hosting duties of the Tony's I was done. This film only reinforces what I already knew about him and what People Magazine is now making tons of money from.

As for the story of Australia, it's good but like most Baz films it's exaggerated. I will say that that beautiful Aboriginal boy you've seen in the trailers carries the entire film on his little shoulders. He's a remarkable little man. I also was impressed with, once again, how little I know of other country's history and thier experience of WWII. I knew only the smallest details of the Lost Generations of Australia but this movie made me want to know more. I also really liked the mysticism of the Aboriginal people portrayed in the film. I've no idea how loyal/accurate it is to their culture, it's a film after all, but it seemed to be sincere in trying to get it right. The young boy and his grandfather are unforgettable.

Oh yeah, Nicole Kidman is in Australia as well but I'm not a huge Nicole fan and, frankly, I wasn't really paying much attention to her. It was all about Hugh. Well, not even all of Hugh. I don't think I spent much time looking at his face. Thanks again Baz! And yeah, I'd like to visit Australia now.

Monday, November 24

Time Well Spent

So, after many weeks of almost non-stop stress I'm finally on vacation.

I kicked off my time off by seeing Twilight (as mentioned in my last post). On Sunday I got together with my crafting group for whats now known as The Feast. A couple of months ago we decided to get together for a potluck Thanksgiving tasting. We each decided on a dish to bring and agreed to make a dozen recipe cards on how to make our dish. We then made a cute recipe book with all of our collected recipes. It was a lot of fun and one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I've ever enjoyed. Here is a list of the 12 dishes we enjoyed:

Blue Cheese Pecan Bites
Butternut Squash Soup
Sausage Soup
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cornbread Stuffing
Cranberry-Orange Chutney
Creamed Corn
Cranberry Salad
Praline Yams (OMG!)
Bread Pudding
Pumpkin Trifle

It was all so good! The company was excellent as well. We did this a couple of years ago for a cookie exchange/recipe book making and it too was a big hit.

Looking towards the rest of my week off, I'm particularly excited that we are expecting rain over the next couple of days. Being home on a rainy day is one of my very favorite days but very rare. How will I spend my time on a perfect rainy day? Well, I've (re-)started reading The Witching Hour. It's a fun, spooky book that I seem to get about 150 pages into then set down and lose interest in. I'm not sure why that is because I like those first 150 pages. I guess it's just that short attention span of mine.

As for fun viewing, I picked up a great DVD set at Target for $14. It's a Rodgers & Hammerstein set that includes The Sound of Music, The King and I and Oklahoma! Wheeeeeee! I also have my Mary Tyler Moore, Northern Exposure, The Bob Newhart Show and Netflix discs in a stack and ready to go.

My only commitment for Thanksgiving day is go to my brother's house with the homemade Cranberry-Orange Chutney mentioned above. Otherwise, I'm footloose and fancy free and ready to spend time reading and watching some feel good tv.

Here are some highlights for you to enjoy on Thanksgiving day:
  • Fiddler on the Roof - TCM
  • I Love Lucy Marathon- TV Land
  • House Marathon- USA
Here are some marathons for those determined to stay in shut-in mode on Black Friday (join me, won't you?):
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus Marathon- BBC America
  • Diner's Drive-ins and Dives Marathon- Food Network
  • Cities of the Underworld Marathon- History Channel (and one of my new favorite shows)
  • What Not to Wear Marathon- TLC (I recommend Tivoing a few of these and speeding through the boring shopping parts)

Saturday, November 22

Twilight review

In four words:

I blame the director.

Ok, four more:

Many ridiculous weeping guitars.

Wednesday, November 19

That was weird

Today I was in a class for the entire day. It was all about corporate culture/politics and how to maneuver through it all. It was a good class that anyone in a corporate environment should take.

About half way through the day, while in the middle of an intense dialogue, an HR person left the room then quickly returned. She sheepish pointed behind her, then to a door in the corner, and said "Um, she has to dust for finger prints on the door. It might be a little distracting but don't let it disrupt the class."

Umm, what?!

Everyone just sat silently with a giant WTF look on their faces. The instructor kept going even when the woman, with the shirt that read FORENSICS across her back, passed behind the instructor to dust the door he had been opening and closing all day. She soon left and we went on with the class.

It wasn't until about 15 minutes later that the instructor stopped, shook his head and said "In all my years I've never had a more surreal experience in a class." I took the opportunity to ask "What the hell is behind that door?"

Turns out there had been some theft in the building. Phew! I thought there was a body behind that door.

Later, we all decided we too should wear cool shirts, like the nice forensics lady, with our department written in large block letters across our backs.

Tuesday, November 18


Needless to say, I've been neglecting my poor little blog. This is primarily due to my hectic work schedule. I'm working at a pace I've never before endured. The workload and pressure are almost overwhelming. The saving grace is that everyone I work with feels the same way. Just when I think its just me, and I'm losing my mojo, some poor co-worker stumbles into my cubicle, and slumps over in a chair and tells me a familiar story of barely feeling able to tread water.

I've not been getting very much down time and that's not helping matters. For instance, I chose to leave for NYC on a Sunday and return on the following Friday. Why wold I volunteer to skip one whole day of my precious weekend? Last night I got home around 6:45, ate a quick dinner, then sorted through my work email inbox until past 11:00. The bottom line is that I'm not giving myself enough time to recharge and it's taking a toll on my state of mind. By the way, I DO NOT recommend sorting though hundreds of emails right before bed. Your brain can not stop churning and it leads to a distracting night of tossing and turning.

Believe me, I understand these are enviable problems. I have a good job at a seemingly solid company. I work with wonderful people and genuinely enjoy my work. Considering these times, I'm a lucky girl. Still, it's been challenging.

On the bright side, if I can catch up enough to feel comfortable, I can take next week off. Woo hoo!!! So far I've managed to get a lot of items checked off of my To Do list. I am seriously looking forward to and in need of some time off. When I'm off work I'm very good at separating and leaving it all behind. I just hope I'm able to do it.

What will I do with a whole week off? Here are a few genius ideas:
  • Get a pedicure
  • Read something... anything
  • Make my Christmas cards
  • See some movies
  • Eat some turkey
  • Sleep in as much as possible
  • Spend my b-day gift card at my favorite independent bookstore
  • Watch some Netflix'd movies
  • Write something... anything
  • Be a shut-in for at least one day
  • Pray for rain
  • Start a new cross-stitch project
  • Determine my Christmas shopping list and maybe do something about it
  • Sit up in bed with magazines and see what my friend Tivo has to share
  • Sip tea
  • Dine with friends (who's in?!)
  • Lay down
I know, I know, these are lofty goals but a girl's gotta start somewhere.

Friday, November 14

Home again, home again

I flew in from NYC this afternoon. I still love Manhattan but I also love So Cal. Every time I stand at the shuttle stop, waiting for the Wally Park Shuttle to pick me up, after a biz trip, I marvel at how pretty LA can be and how happy I am to be home.

I saw lots of things in NY that would have made for some great posts but I'm just not that quick with my phone camera. Also, my days, an nights were seriously packed. Some days began at 7:30 am in the hotel lobby and ended at 10:30 pm.

I knew it would be raining on some days so I looked into the subway. I used the F train throughout the week and found that it's my new best friend. There was a subway station on the corner near our hotel and had a straight shot to where we had to be all week. It was great!

I ate at Buddakan which was really nice. They told me it's the restaurant they filmed Carrie's engagement party in the Sex and the City movie. I also got to visit Serendipity 3 again which is every bit as good as I remembered.

I heard lots of talk about our President Elect in the streets. New Yorkers tend to be very loud, passionate and animated when speaking. You can't help but hear snippets of lively conversations all around you. The shopping, the walking, the meetings, dining all make for a pretty good time and I always feel fortunate to be able to do them. That being said, one of my favorite things about NY is getting the New York Times delivered to my door each morning. I know... I'm a nerd. I always read such cool stuff in that paper. I pick it up every morning, throw it on the nightstand and save it for the end of the day. I read it in bed while watching the news or David Letterman. I just plain love it.

My favorite article of the week was this one. I saved the piece because I was afraid to forget to do a search on "mind control" and "gang stalking". (I didn't have the energy to get out of bed to reboot my computer when I read it.) I know it's mean but dang... some things ya just gotta check out. This is one of those things.

Another pretty regular part of my travel routine is reading Vanity Fair on those long plane rides. I realize VF is technically no different than the average gossip rag. However, in it's defense, it does feature intelligently written, lengthy articles with fewer pictures and some $10 vocabulary words. I read a really good piece on the NY Times Baghdad bureau (I think it's safe to say that's a job I wouldn't like). I also read all about Patty Hearst's lame-o step mom who has managed to get herself into about $45M in debt. What a moron.

Ok, I admit it, I really enjoy those scandalous stories about the uber-rich socialites and their falls from glory. I don't know why but I only read VF on planes. I'm not sure when this tradition began but it's now deeply entrenched in my travel routine. I'm now off to finish the article on Rupert Murdoch and the fate of his family fortune. Cool!

Sunday, November 9

What to do?

I flew to NYC today. The flight was uneventful except for some pretty intense turbulence over California. Oh! And remember the crazy McCain Rally lady? The lady in the seat in front of me had that same hair. It was very distracting. Which reminds me. I am still so sad that I didn't think to dress up as Crazy McCain Lady for Halloween. I could have spent the whole day lurching around with a white fright wig, a red McCain/Palin tee shirt and a mic insisting that "Hobama is an A-raab." Doh!

Anyway, I flew in to JFK with a co-worker who has never been to Manhattan. I wanted her to go to sleep tonight really feeling like she was in NYC. I couldn't figure out where to take her at 9:00 pm on a Sunday night. I thought of Serendipity 3 but the only sites along the way are the stores on Fifth Ave. which are all closed early on a Sunday night. A view of Lady Liberty would have been nice but I didn't know how to get a view without walking through Battery Park and that just didn't seem like a safe idea. Then I figured we should just go ahead and get Times Square out of the way. It's not my favorite but you definitely know you're in New York when you're there. Also, Times Square now has a special place in my heart because last Tuesday night, while watching elections results, I cried when I saw that people had stopped traffic in Times Square with crowds cheering and dancing people in the streets when word of Barack Obama being our President Elect hit.

Times Square it was. My co-worker is a very enthusiastic person who is usually up for anything. I told her I'd want to be back at the hotel around 11:00-11:30 (I know, I'm a party pooper) and she was fine with it. We are here to work after all. Being up all night is something others seem able to pull off but not me. I need my sleep.

We met in the lobby where I ran into co-worker #2. She said that if we didn't have plans she's going ice skating at Bryant Park Thursday night and wondered if we'd like to join her. Now, I have a tendency to fall down wearing my Converse sneakers. Strapping on a pair of ice skates just does not seem like a good idea for me. The first works that come to mind are compromised tail bone and concussion. I'm out. My new-to-New-York friend, however, is very into the idea. I think it's safe to say you can expect a blog entry from me that night while I relax with some room service and cable tv in my room.

We got to Times Square and co-worker #1 was immediately drawn to the ferris wheel in the Toys r Us store. It is pretty cool. Besides, I needed to pick up some of the Club Penguin stuff I knew my niece and nephew had been wanting.

We barely looked around then decided to look for a place to eat. First we spotted Carmine's. Unfortunately so did every other out-of-towner. There was a 45 minute wait. It smelled so good that we decided Italian was a must. Eventually we found a nice little place off Broadway and enjoyed a nice dinner of shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad and a fantastic seafood pasta. The biggest plus was that we were West of Broadway shows that were ending so we stepped out of the restaurant and immediately caught a cab.

It was a nice way to ease into our week in New York.

My co-worker heard that the hotel restaurant has amazing pancakes so we decided to eat downstairs together tomorrow morning. Our first appointment isn't until 2:30 in the afternoon so we're meeting at 9:30 for breakfast then some shopping. I'm going to show her Herald Square. It's so close to Thanksgiving I'm hoping to see some of the Holiday set up. I'll try to take some pix.

Friday, November 7


I know, I know, I sick of politics too but...

Today a friend sent me this link and I was very impressed. The President Elect is asking for ideas from us. I know, shocking isn't it? The guy actually wants to know what we think. You mean he understands that he works for us and not oil companies? What the... ? Poke around to see what I mean. I remain so damn happy about my vote.

On a silly front, guess what I got for myself with some b-day money. I'll give you a hint, it's a gadget that has been heavily advertised to lure ladies like me to join it's legions of young fans. Give up? I bought a Nintendo DS Lite and I love it.

Yup, I've even decorated it too. Before you judge, please keep in mind that it's my job to think like a girl anywhere from the age of 3-12 so that might help explain the color choice and customization. Also, it all helps cement my status as World's Best Auntie.

So far my favorite games are Mystery Case Files and Mario Kart. MCF reminds me of that hidden pictures game in Highlights magazine. I loved that puzzle when I was a kid! You know you loved it too. Here is a link to remind you of what you used to do while waiting for the dentist when you were 7. I like Mario Kart for several reasons but mostly because you can ram other karts off the course. Legal road rage! Hooray!!! I think I'll like the other games as soon as I invest a little more time in them. A girl's got to have goals.

I'm flying to New York on Sunday and this will be a fun way to waste time on the plane. A girl can not live by iPod alone, after all.

Thursday, November 6

Today while siting in the commissary at work, waiting for a friend, I had such a sad moment. I looked around the room and saw lots of cool fun people that I work with. I then glance over and watched as Brian grabbed utensils and made his way over to some friends and I thought "Brian can't get married because too many people in this state don't consider him a citizen worthy of full rights." I looked over and saw Lisa sitting with a newspaper quietly eating and thought "she can't get married either because too many Californians are bigots." Looking around I thought the same thing about another Brian, Max, Colleen, Kevin, Jim, David and Rex. These are only a few of the wonderfully talented, caring and kind people I genuinely enjoy working with who happen to be gay. It pains me to know that so many people feel so free to openly hate these wonderful people.

I know it's a generational prejudice and that eventually the old-fart-bigots will die off but it's a shame that we can't just get on with it. These are the same people who love to wave the American flag and boast of freedom and are so afraid of diversity and difference that they actively strip rights from perfect strangers. It's as if they think that if they cross their arms and hate gays long and hard enough they will stop being gay. It's so arrogant.

The only thing that makes me smile about the whole issue is this video that a straight co-worker, along with his wife and friends made to make a great point. I hope it makes you smile too.

(I told you I worked with funny, talented people.)

Wednesday, November 5


You know how you get a song stuck in your head and it's pretty annoying? Well, today I had a song stuck in my head and it didn't bother me one bit.

Know what I mean? If not, don't bother telling me, I'm just too plain happy and relieved to care.

Tuesday, November 4

Keep the tamales hot

Well, I've happily done my duty. I voted. I said my little silent thank you to the suffragettes and gleefully punched my little ink-a-stamp in a way that would certainly have pissed off every conservative voter out there.

I did cause a small dust-up at my polling place when I tried to surrender my absentee ballot. I was supposed to be in NYC today for a meeting but plans changed (thank God!). At first the polling workers didn't seem to know what to do with me or my blank absentee ballot but soon a knowing poll worker swept in and told us what to do. I was thrilled to see a poll worker who appeared to be around 20 years old. It's usually the retiree set running the show at my polling place. I regard that kids presence as an excellent sign of the way things will hopefully go from here on out. I keep hearing about the young American vote, this was the first real evidence of it.

Last night , while signing off at the end of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart looked into the camera and implored the new young voters to get out and vote by saying: "To all the youth voters out there, DO NOT BLOW THIS FOR US!!! Every four years we hear about your vote rocking powers and every four years you stay home and play Super Mario. Not this time!" It's so true. So to my little poll working friend I say thank you! Thank you for giving a crap and making your generation look so much smarter than those of late.

After voting, I spoke with Heidi to check in on her on this nerve-wracking day. I then spoke with my cousin who called to remind me to "rock the vote". Admittedly, when I picked up his message, my first thought was "Al's dead". Al (aka Al-Hole) is my ultra conservative, abusive, grandfather. My second thought was "I hope he went before he could vote." When I admitted these wrong and dark thoughts to my cousin he laughed until he cried. I then said "I'm sorry but I can't always control what rushes through my mind. I know I'll burn in hell." He agreed then said "Keep the tamales hot for me until I get there!"

Monday, November 3


Being election eve I'm avoiding all political coverage... again. What's the point? Unless someone key to one of the campaigns runs naked through a field with a kite I won't be tuning in.

I want to kick off a proposition that outlaws all campaigning until one month before election day. That's apparently how the Brits do it and I think they're on to something.

I also like Mom's idea for a proposition. Her idea was hatched while driving past all of the "Yes on 8" lawn signs in our neighborhood.

Lucy: "For the record, every time I see one of those signs I think 'thanks for letting the world know you're a bigot'. How are those fools more married if a nice gay couple isn't? What exactly are they trying to "Protect Marriage" from?"

Mom: "I know."

Lucy: ...

Mom: ... (thoughtfully)

Mom: "I want to launch a proposition that outlaws all divorce. Retroactively! I'd just love to watch all of those straight, family values, people FREAK OUT with a proposition like that. *chuckling to herself* No on divorce!!! Now that would be great."

I think she's right. That would be hilarious. After all, the same folks who love to quote the Bible and claim God forbids homosexuality seem to conveniently forget that the same Bible forbids divorce. Idiots.