Saturday, January 31


Ok, this is getting ridiculous. Now Domino Magazine is no more? All of my subscriptions are toast.

Since when is this country frugal? Ladies, I don't think a subscription or two will hurt you. Cut back on the Starbucks before the magazines. Pretty soon there won't be any left and that would break my heart. Is it only the ladies who are tightening their belts these days? I haven't heard of Sports Illustrated or Popular Mechanics having any trouble. What the hell is this country coming to?

Friday, January 30

Guess who's a stress eater?!


I got to work this morning to find dozens of homemade cookies and tons of fudge in the kitchen. One of our co-workers enjoys baking and seemed to think that fresh baked goods would go over well following yesterday's events. He was right. The goods were gone in a matter of minutes. As you can see from the above photo I indulged as well. Did I mention that this photo was taken at 9:15 am? Yup... I've been stressed out.

Thursday, January 29

I'm just so sad

Today was a very bad day. Today dozens of my friends & co-workers lost their jobs. I'm still employed but had a terrible time witnessing the lay offs.

I was in back-to-back meetings all day. I couldn't find a free conference room so my meetings were in the commissary. Friends would walk by and whisper in my ear what was going on. Eventually, it was lunch time and that's when I really started hearing the awful details. I couldn't believe half it.

I have to say that I was impressed with the fact that our VP gave the news personally. I know lots of lesser people would hide behind HR but he chose to do it himself and I thought that was the right thing to do.

On the way home there were 6 messages from friends, some of whom had lost their jobs. They were leaving kind messages and making sure I had their home contact info. One friend made me cry by saying such nice things about me through her tears. It was terrible.

I popped on over to Facebook and talked to more friends there. Another friend still has her job but is so upset about her co-workers losing theirs that she can't even go to work tomorrow.

The cuts were deep and those who are left are grateful to still have jobs but so incredibly sad.

When will this terrible downtrend stop? Enough already.

Tuesday, January 27

Times is hard

For the second time in two weeks I received a postcard notification that a beloved magazine had bit the dust.

My work life, as has been excessively documented in this blog, leans towards the stressful. I respond to this stress by subscribing to pretty, hyper-feminine and sometimes crafty gal magazines. I like nothing better than to climb into bed with a stack of brand new magazines on a week night. It calms me.

A couple of weeks ago an unwelcome postcard informed me that Cottage Living was no longer being published but that I would be receiving a subscription to Sunset Magazine instead. I like Sunset. My parents subscribed to Sunset for most of my childhood. Sunset is a So Cal staple but it's not my dreamy Cottage Living. Some people fantasize about European Villas or giant homes in Vail. I dream of modest little cottages. Cottage Living was my fantasy in print form and I adored it. It will be missed.

Today I came home to another mean postcard. This one stated the Mary Elgelbreit's Home Companion magazine was now six feet under. (Just look at this wasteland of a website. It's about as warm as the postcard.) I will now be getting Martha Stewart Living in it's place. Damn it! I really liked Home Companion. It was nothing but pretty pictures and some cute bordering-on-the-edge-of-tacky craft project ideas. I enjoyed it. I'll miss it as well.

I suppose my poor little Victoria is next on the chopping block. It only relaunched recently but times are hard so God knows how it will survive.

I have always loved magazines. I've subscribed to dozens and dozens of magazines through the years. In addition to the chick magazines I also indulge in Newsweek, Business Week and Entertainment Weekly. I also enjoy The New Yorker but find that the occasional one year subscription is enough to intimidate me well beyond that year. I've just never been able to keep up with weekly editions of that magazine. They just keep comin' at you. Who's got that kind of time?! There is also Vanity Fair but I've found that the home delivery on that one is too slow. It's on the newsstand at least a week before I get it in the mail. I'm sorry but it's my reading material of choice on planes and I can't wait a week for that kind of fix.

It's all such a bummer. Why do I have the sick feeling that when the dusts settles there will be nothing but Time and Oprah left standing. What is this world coming to?

Saturday, January 17

600th Post?!

Sheesh! I just realized that this is my 600th post. I sure can ramble on, can't I?

I don't have much to even blog about these days. I've just been working and trying to de-stress as much as possible.

I did watch one of my favorite musicals this evening, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It's not exactly politically correct but I've always loved it. Besides, some of those brothers are adorable. Mom dropped by to watch a bit with me.

Lucy: It is a little crazy.
Mom: What is?
Lucy: You know, meeting a man and marrying him later that same day.
Mom: Well it IS Howard Keel.

Mom's got a point.

I watched Elephant Walk last night. That was weird. Have you seen it? Elizabeth Taylor looks amazing but I was in it for Dana Andrews. I always liked him in Laura. I was disappointed that he was sort of annoying in Elephant Walk. Also, the film had a bass-ackwards Rebecca vibe to it. I referred to the head "servant" as Mr. Danvers because of the way he glared at poor Liz throughout the movie. It was the same way Mrs. Danvers glared at Joan Fontaine in Rebecca. There was even dead guy he kept mooning over. I liked Liz's wardrobe though. Edith Head was credited but, of course, that doesn't necessarily mean she designed them. Turns out Miss Head was famous for making others do her dirty work. Aside from the clothes the house was pretty fabulous. Good houses in film are important to me. I love them.

Anyway, it's been a decent weekend in terms of movie selections. I always like to watch TCM films I've never heard of. Through the years I've discovered some good flicks by way of TCM. Come to think of it, I tend to discover lots of politically incorrect films on TCM, films like The Tender Trap, How to Marry a Millionaire and The Long Hot Summer. (*sigh* I especially love that one.) I think I have a thing for all things fifties. The cool wardrobes and those ridiculous pre-feminism era expectations put upon all women. What does that say about me? Oh dear, I won't sleep all night now. I blame my mother. She turned me on to Pillow Talk and I've just never gotten over my love for it. Oh well, I stand by The Long Hot Summer. That's a damn good film and Paul Newman never looked dreamier.

Saturday, January 3

Ignorance is not bliss

My favorite thing to do Christmas morning is to pore over a big new book. The tradition began when I was a kid. I was really into Norman Rockwell for a while so there were a few years where I would sit for hours hunched over a new Rockwell book fix on Christmas morning. One of my all time favorites was a book of antique doll houses. To this day I can easily kill an hour looking over that one. I remember the book Gnomes was a big hit. As I grew older I received books on architecture and photography and even Lady Cottington's Book of Pressed Fairies. Man, I would have LOVED that one as a kid. I still have them all, even those old Rockwell books.

This year I received The New York Times Complete First Pages. OMG. It is more fun than I can express. Well, maybe "fun" isn't the right word. "Fascinating" might be a better word for it. All I know is that I love it. The book features front pages that cover key moments in history. Not all of the front pages are in the book, of course, but they are available on three included CDs and the Internet. Any cover story can be accessed and read to completion online. It's amazing.

I love it for a variety of reasons. Flipping through the covers offers a quick glimpse at the evolution of journalism. The style of writing and layout changes slowly over the years. The overly dramatic writing style of the turn of the century is surprisingly difficult to follow.

The big events are, of course, featured: Custer's Last Stand, The Civil War begins/ends, WWI begins/end, The Triangle Waist Company fire, the stock market crash, King Tut's Tomb discovered, Lindberg's crossing of the Atlantic then the kidnapping of his son, the Hindenburg crash, Amelia Earhart goes missing and Pearl Harbor to name a few.

Those are all fascinating to read about in the language of the day but it's not the big stories that grab me. It's the small stories at the bottom of the pages that haunt me. Like the former slave who somehow managed to saved $500 to buy the freedom of her husband and son. Or the one about a prominent banker's son, and newlywed, found slumped over across the street from a brothel. The police assumed he was drunk when he was actually suffering from a gun shot wound. He was thrown in a prison cell where he died. His widow gave birth to a child months later but never recovered from the loss of her young husband and died, presumably from a broken heart. There are stories of tragedy that still happen today like the stalker who followed a mother around from town to town for years until he walked up and shot her before turning the gun on himself in front of the woman's son. There is the story of the little boy playing hide-and-go-seek who, while climbing into a box of coal in the cellar, lost his footing with his head between the slats of the box and slowly hung himself before his playmates found him dead.

It's not all depressing though. There are some stories that, while quite serious, are sometimes hilarious in the retelling. My favorite headline is "Maniac in Milwaukee Shoots Col. Roosevelt; He Ignores Wound, Speaks an Hour, Goes to Hospital". Now THAT'S a bad-ass.

Another reason I love the book is that it reveals facts I never knew about. For instance, I never knew FDR and Hitler died within a few weeks of each other. I'm not sure how that escaped my attention but there it is. I didn't know that there were protesters at screenings of Birth of a Nation back when it was released. I thought the outrage over the film came years later. Being a big fan of protest I'm always happy to hear about folks protesting before their time. Don't even get me started on the Suffragettes.

Mostly the front pages illustrate how little human nature changes over time. There are still strikes, wars, robberies, murders, advances in technology and, everyone's favorite, run away brides (and grooms). Check out the similarities between these two stories.

The New York Time Complete Front Pages is a great way to spend an afternoon. It comes with a little plastic magnifying strip but I recommend you bring your own high powered magnifying glass. What? You don't have one? Well get one! I promise it will take you back to Christmas mornings past.

The Neighborhood

Today, while driving home, I saw some kids playing basketball in their driveway. I thought to myself 'Those kids have no idea there once was an old lady who lived there who refused to leave it even as it fell apart around her.' I know this because I've been driving up that street for over 25 years. There really was an old lady who lived there in her dilapidated house. It was the eyesore of the neighborhood but the woman clearly could no longer care for herself much less her house. Neighbors complained and her family tried to place her in another home but she would always bust out and return to her old house. This went on for a few years before she finally stopped coming back. I don't know if she died or just got accustomed to her new digs. The house was eventually sold and refurbished and now looks great. I doubt the current owners know anything about that old lady or the once terrible state of the house.

There is another house where an old lady lives now. There used to be a big tree growing in the front yard but it died and was removed. It's not been the same since. The woman of the house seems to have been a widow for a few decades. I never saw an older man there. She does, however, have a son who visits. He has some sort of disability. His limbs are too long for his short torso. He wears his hair long and curly and although I'd know him anywhere, we've never spoken. Lately, I've been worried about the woman because newspapers were piling up on her driveway, a sure sign she was away. Was she on vacation? Was she in the hospital... or worse? I asked Mom about her and we both admitted that we were tempted to stop and move her papers at the back door, out fo sight, for her. I'd hate for someone to rob the poor old thing because the papers indicated she was away. Mom said that somebody was removing the papers about every other day. Mom had been keeping an eye on them. A few days ago Mom reported that she had seen the woman standing at the door talking to somebody. I was relieved to hear she was ok.

Up the street is another old woman who celebrates Christmas like no other. She tricks out her yard in a light display that shames the rest of us. She sets up a giant nativity then a bunch of faux palm trees with lights. There are giant candy canes, a huge Santa and tons of other lights. I've been wanting to take a picture for years but never get around to it. Also, I don't want to scare the poor woman.

A few houses up for the light lady is the house where Dick used to live. Dick had Down Syndrome and would sit on the curb all day long, except for a lunch time break, waving to each car that passed. (Kaw, do you remember Dick?) One day a moving van arrived and Dick left. His parents had died and I presume he went to live woth family or in a group home somewhere. I often think about Dick and wonder what ever became of him. He was one of those sweet souls that even embittered teens would smile and wave to. I hope he did well when he moved. I hope he found another nice curb to sit on.

Of course, we still have Commando (my nickname for him, not his). He built a barricade around his house when he was robbed. He wears fatigues and trains all the time. When a power line burst into flames one night setting a nearby palm tree on fire Commando was there. Dad and I stood in the driveway watching the commotion as Commando jogged up the street towards the fire with a stuffed pack on his back.

Commando's neighbor set her beautiful house on fire one night. He rushed in to save some of her antiques but the house was a complete loss. It seems she emptied ash from her fireplace in a paper bag and set it next to the house. The hot embers inside lit the bag on fire which set the side of the house on fire. It took a few years but the place was rebuilt as an exact replica of it's former self.

I like my neighborhood. I don't want to leave but I can't afford to buy a house here so I'll have to leave. I hope to be in my next neighborhood long enough to get to know it as well as I know this one. Maybe I'll even grow to be one of the eccentric old ladies who over decorate for the holidays or refuse to leave even when my house starts to fall in around me. I hope so.

Friday, January 2

Slowly but Surely

I'm definitely a gal into chick flicks. I like to think that most of the films I own are a reasonably literary group but chick flicks they remain. How do I know this? I know they are chick flicks because my brother would pretty much rather die than watch any one of them. I mean honestly, do you now of many men who would watch The Elizabeth Gaskell set much less own it? Not many. But I love it. North and South alone made it worthy of my collection.

Of course, this does not diminish my enjoyment of them. I love these films. Some were given as gifts and all are enjoyed and watched over and over again.

Today I added to my small "boy film" stack. It may be a petite stack but it's a respectable one as seen here:

I have The Godfather, The Godfather II, The Big Lebowski and now Band of Brothers. All films my brother would gladly sit through. (Well, maybe not GFIII. I'm not a fan of that one. I just pretend it didn't happen.) In fact The Godfather films are family favorites. My bro has taught his 7 year old daughter most of Marlon Brando's opening monologue. She is a great little mimic. Inappropriate? Yes. Funny? Absolutely!

(On second inspection I realize Sunset Blvd. is one of those greats that should not be labeled a chick flick. It can only be labeled as just plain great.)

I've been on vacation this week and have watched lots of movies, started a new crafty project, tried to forget about work and generally relaxed.

I watched The Forsyte Saga over the past few days and finished last night. That may be why I wanted to see Band of Brothers. That Damien Lewis plays such a tremendous A-hole in The Forsyte Saga. I almost felt sorry for him until he raped his wife. The creep made my skin crawl. I think I wanted to see him as a hero again... enter Band of Brothers. I far prefer David Schwimmer as the insecure dick-weed over the rather dreamy Mr. Lewis.

So, I'm now going to settle in for some Band of Brothers and more crafting. Do you think watching a really good WWII film and crafting is somehow disrespectful? It seems strange but I just can't help myself... all due respect to Easy Company.