Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Normally Hubby requires at least a party of 8 to make this yummy stuff up. But I'm not quite sure if it is an effort issue, a quantity issue, or just a fear that should he make it for just us we will gorge ourselves on these fattening fried scrumptious treats every week.
So here is a step-by-step for you to enjoy.
You start with our well-worn recipe book.
And you do a lot of shopping and chopping - the Asian food aisle was my friend tonight. The cutting board and good knives were hubby's.
Then you stir-fry it all together just right.
Tomorrow I'll show you the finished product. And you will SO wish you were here.
iPod touch myself
In Touch with my iPod
Don't iPod touch
So I'm joining the iPod generation...but Hubby did not just get me a little Nano or some older model iPod. No, I have the new iPod touch, which near as I can tell does everything but wash windows. I really just wanted something to play my music that was more portable than my laptop, but hey, I'm not complaining.
I have had iTunes on my laptop for a while - all the songs burned from CDs I already owned, so no licensing or purchasing needed. But now I have the itch...because not only can my new iPod touch play music, it can play TV shows! Movies! books! I need some free access to these kinds of files. I'll be checking out (no pun intended) my local library website later tonight...but I know there is more out there.
I've already raided my favorite NPR website for podcasts - another new one for me (I'm so behind) - but I'm looking for some ideas on other people's favorite podcast sites....any topic, any type will do...as long as it is FREE.
I'm not looking for licensing infringement, just honest sources of free content. If you have any ideas, let me know!
I have a 6.5 hour flight (each way) coming up in 2 weeks...I'm looking for some free and portable entertainment folks. Help me out.
Monday, December 29, 2008
This year's holiday seemed quieter than usual. The gatherings were smaller, the presents were fewer, the decorations were less. With family spread far and wide, and most of the kids in the family well grown, we found ourselves alone with my mom and uncle this Christmas Day, with a few cousin visits scattered around to fill in the week.
When I was growing up, there always seemed to be lots of family and noise and activity at Christmastime. This may just be a child's view however - like when you remember your childhood home as huge and yet through your adult eyes it is much smaller than your memory. Because, truly, when I think about it I realize that we rarely, if ever, spent that holiday with my own grandparents, and my siblings were forbidden to attend by their mother (Dad's first wife) due to an acrimonious divorce, and 75% of my cousins were elsewhere as well...so where all the bustle came from I have no idea.
But it was never just four of us before...so, we will either continue to adjust to very small and quiet gatherings - or change up the equation to include different family and friends to gather a critical mass together next year.
I'm already conspiring with a favorite cousin for Thanksgiving 2009 at her house. Her home is bustling with family - and will definitely provide us with the opportunity for more socializing than a group of four surrounding a huge turkey. For Christmas 2009, I started floating the idea of switching our usual plans around. Since it takes some people longer than other (yes you Mom) to consider new plans, it's important to start NOW.
Next, I'll start to tackle the family gift giving activities. We got some awesome gifts this year...but our house is beginning to bust at the seams. And every time I go home, my mom has more and more heirlooms she wants me to have. I love having items of nostalgic value, but I have to make space for these items all the time. I'm hoping to institute some new ideas for next year - like giving people (and receiving) event gift certificates (services, theater, movies, dinner, hotel, B&B) rather than another thing to store or display.
Because really, we have everything we need...and more...and nearly everything we could want too.
So - in 2009, new traditions! new ideas! new budgets! new everything.
Happy New Year (almost)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
What. The. Hell.
Being the polite type, I kept my mouth shut. She did a horrible job of drying and styling - it looked like Sally Field from Steel Magnolias - you know the movie where her daughter references her hair as a brown football helmet?
When I finally told her I thought it was really dark she offered to spend another hour (which I did not have) adding more highlights. Instead I paid my $100 (ugh) and headed out for last minute Christmas shopping.
Let me just make a note here. Heading into the hell that is shopping the weekend before Christmas should NEVER follow a bad hair appointment. It was a disaster. No parking, icy parking lots, too many crazy people, long long long long cashier lines, etc. And every time I passed a mirror, my cinnamon hair gave me a jolt. Finally escaping the madness 5 hours later (2.5 of which were in line or looking for parking spaces), I stopped to pick up a sandwich and soda knowing Hubby was due to be out for his lodge dinner. I was looking forward to a few hours of total isolation.
But when I pulled into the driveway Hubby's car was there. My blood began to boil. I was totally out of patience and not fit for human consumption. I bundled up my packages and made my way into the house. Poor Hubby then became the target of all of my pent up frustration for the day. After stomping up to the bedroom with my takeout bag, I closed myself in for the evening.
Meanwhile back on Mars, Hubby was left scratching his head and reeling from the storm that just blew through the house. He retreated to the living room in horror.
A few days later, the storm was long gone, but I was talking on the phone to my Mom, preparing her for her first sighting of me as a brunette and Hubby overheard. He shouted up the stairway, "It's only a shade darker....Jeez."
We truly are from different planets.
Monday, December 22, 2008
"I've always been really, deeply interested in faith, because I think I can understand the solace that's available in the whole construct of religion," says the 59-year old actress [author's note - what the hell difference does it make how old she is?] who grew up Presbyterian. But despite being consumed with what she calls a "yearning for the ineffable, for real true certainty," Streeps has found little of that solace herself. "I really don't believe in the power of prayer, or things would have been avoided that have happened, that are awful. So it's a horrible position as an intelligent, emotional, yearning human being to sit outside of the available comfort there. But I just can't go there." So where does she find consolation in the face of aging and death? "Consolation? I'm not sure I have it. I have a belief, I guess, in the power of the aggregate human attempt. In love and hope and optimism - you know, the magic things that seem inexplicable."
The Week, Dec 26, 2008-Jan.9, 2009
As excerpted originally from article by Mick Brown in the London Daily Telegraph.
As a woman who really loves great words and phrases I'm struck dumb by her ability to express herself here. I really hope these are her true words and not a publicists well-crafted message. I find the sentence I kept returning to the most was "So it's a horrible position as an intelligent, emotional, yearning human being to sit outside the available comfort there." Those words captured my feelings exactly. And I just adore the phrase, "the power of the aggregate human attempt", which gave me a way to position my faith and hope in the human experience rather than the divine.
All that being said, I will return to church on December 24 for my annual pilgrimage and I will find I cannot contain the tears when my dear friend Cheri sings her solos of O Holy Night, Mary Did You Know, and the congregation and choir combine for the singing of Silent Night by candle light. And for just a few moments I will once again seek that solace and experience the "yearning for the ineffable".
Thank you Ms. Streep for your thoughtful words.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
1. to flow or fall by drops, or in a small, gentle stream.
2. to come, go, or pass bit by bit, slowly, or irregularly
3. to cause to trickle.
4. a trickling flow or stream.
5. a small, slow, or irregular quantity of anything coming, going, or proceeding.
Trickle Down became a common term when paired with economics. In reviewing the definition above, I'd have to say I can see why that term came to be. I can certainly say that positive economic booms have had a small, slow, or irregular trend of coming, going, or proceeding in most of our lives.
However, current economic conditions need a new term.
1. A great flood.
2. Something that overwhelms as if by a great flood.
3. To overrun with water; inundate.
4. To overwhelm with a large number or amount; swamp.
That's the way it feels today.
As I learned of yet another friend who has lost his job, I wonder when the flood will stop? Until then, I'll just keep treading water, and praying that the economy begins to trickle UP soon.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Yes there is a Santa Claus, but he took a beating on the Stock Market this fall so toys and gifts will be discontinued for this year and next.
He is also suffering from a lack of no universal healthcare. Therefore, he will not be risking his cholesterol with eating those cookies and whole milk as it could contribute to a health condition for which he has no coverage.
Also, since your parents are defaulting on their mortgage and also their homeowner's insurance, he feels it is unwise to climb on your roof or come down your chimney for a visit as he is not covered by workman's comp, and he can't afford to be out of work with an injury they cannot compensate him for.
For your little cousin George who is on his naughty list, Santa can't quite get his head around this clean coal idea and how that is supposed to affect his stocking contents, so don't count on George getting his just desserts.
Santa wishes he could appoint more of his elves to help in these times of need, but Santa has had a hard time getting the elves to work this year because they are spending an inordinant amount of time watching that hit series, "Little People Big World", which Santa admits is a heartwarming and fascinating reality tv series about a Little People couple and their Little and Big children and the challenges they face in the everyday world.
That pesky Rudolph is giving him trouble too, since the developing world has been paying him more money to power their internet connections and light their streets than he can pay for leading his sleigh. This has resulted in some dangerous flying in foggy weather.
And don't get Santa started on those other eight reindeer. They're eating him out of house and home and the price of corn and switchgrass since this whole biofuel movement has taken root is draining the last of his liquid assets.
Lately Santa has been trying to supplement his income with extra mall portrait sittings. It is not improving Santa's mood one bit...nor the moods of the children he meets.
Mrs. Claus sends her best to you, and hopes that your holidays are fine. She has recently completed her 9th elective plastic surgery and now looks like a cross between Joan Rivers and Nicole Kidman with a touch of Liza Minnelli for variety sake.
All in all, Virginia, you probably want to write to someone else this Christmas. Santa has heard that Mr. Warren Buffett has only lost $16 billion and has a few billion left. Santa says there is a rumor Mr. Buffett is hearing proposals from enterprising youngsters like yourself at the local Dairy Queen.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Today as I surfed the internet and read blogs, and generally enjoyed some nonsense time with the computer I had my i-Tunes playing with volume on HIGH.
Editor's Note: I must be one of the last people in the world not to have an i-Pod, so the i-tunes are strictly a computer-host entertainment. I'm kind of locked to my desk.
Today, I had it on random play and it played these songs in sequence:
Styx: Mr. Roboto
Across the Universe Soundtrack: Blue Jay Way
U2: Original of the Species
Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney: Something
Elton John: Honky Cat
Ringo Starr: Honey Don't
Edwin McCain: See Off This Mountain
The Rolling Stones: Miss You
Billy Joel: Big Man on Mulberry Street
Billy Joel: I Go To Extremes
Dean Martin: I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter
Norah Jones: Lonestar
Styx: Grand Illusion
The Cranberries: Waltzing Back
Sting: Englishman in New York
Edwin McCain: I Could Not Ask for More
Sting: Shape of My Heart
Harry Connick Jr: Where or When
Carly Simon: Give Me All Night
Frank Sinatra: Blue Skies
The Eagles: Peaceful Easy Feeling
Like I said...Complicated.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Number 9. If you are a working woman like me, take a weekday off. The crowds are HALF what they are at night and on weekend. And the stores are usually much more organized and staffed with the full-timers who know about the sales and merchandise.
Number 8. Love thy neighbor...at the store that is. You'd be amazed what a shared smile or joke does to lighten the agony of waiting in the 10th line of the day. I gave out about 10 smiles today - and got one back in return for each effort.
Number 7. Books I say, Books! Since most bloggers I know are avid readers (and obviously writers) and surround themselves with others of that ilk, I recommend bookstores. There are so many deals to be had, and accessories are always a treat if the books don't appeal.
Number 6. STUFF TO DO! Most Americans today have too much stuff. And while I want to do my part to support the economy with my mad holiday shopping, I'm looking for restaurants, theaters, and activity spots as much, if not more, than regular stores. Why add clutter to someone's life? Add fun instead!
Number 5. God Bless the Internet. On-line shopping is such a dream...robust searchable databases for the most obscure items you can think of...what did we do without it?
Number 4. Pay Attention to that Junk Mail. I'm never good at this. But on two purchases today I got extra off because I actually read the sales flyers I normally just recycle that come to my house. $10 off any purchase over $100 at Target, Extra % off at Macy's before 12 Noon,
Number 3. COUPON CODES! I was about to press the "Purchase" button on Snapfish for my holiday cards, when I noticed a field at the bottom asking for a coupon code. On a whim, I went out to Google and searched for snapfish coupon codes. FOUND ONE! I inserted the code and Voila! 20% off! Sweet.
Number 2. Mid-Day Regroup. Go early and shop like a mad-woman. Then at mid-day, find a place to cop a squat, grab a bite, and review that list and your purchases. Take a breather. Appreciate your accomplishments. Rest your aching feet and back...maybe even drop off your bags in your car. Editor note: I take no responsibility for any potential theft from your vehicle. I had a smash and grab one holiday - not on a shopping day - and they got my gym bag and my briefcase. I was not a happy camper.
And the Number 1 Shopping Tip??? Always buy stuff that you covet.
Why? Because then as you go home and consult your list and find you have a few extras...you can pick some stuff out to keep. It makes the shopping much more fun!
I always pick up some extra gift cards too - for those EVERYONE stores, like Barnes & Noble, Target, Macy's etc. Then you've got them in your pocket for those times you run into an unexpected cousin or friend. And if the unexpected does not occur, it's like cash in your pocket for your next shopping trip. I actually had a few left from LAST CHRISTMAS that just helped fund THIS CHRISTMAS.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Don't you think this man is the greatest character actor of his (and perhaps any) generation? Most recently, I saw PSH in "Charlie Wilson's War", and very soon I hope to see him in "Doubt".
He stole every scene in "Charlie Wilson's War"...which is saying something since he was most often sharing the screen with actors like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.
If you look at his resume, you will see his range - from slimey prep school kid in "Scent of a Woman" to crazy storm chaser in "Twister" to singing teacher/drag queen/neighbor in "Flawless" to the porn star-wanna be in "Boogie Nights" to tight-ass medical student in "Patch" to a haunting portrayal of the title character in "Capote".
But more importantly - he comes from my hometown (well one of the other suburbs of my home city), born just 6 short months after me. We could have shared a nursery school!
What I love most about PSH is he is the latest to prove the rare truth that there IS room for non-hunks in Hollywood.
And also, with enough talent and humor, you can even beat out the hunks and win the girls (and little gold men).
Eat your heart out Patrick Dempsey, you little hunk. This guy runs circles around you.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- Total quiet
Except for the little reassuring hum of the few machines and systems that run all night
- No phone ringing.
- No email buzzing.
Glory Be to the Goddess
- No IM popping
Can it be I'm really alone??
- Time to GET SHIT DONE!
When you are of the "meeting crowd" like I am - honestly, there are rarely meetings held that I'm NOT invited to - the day fills too quickly
- Guilt-free internet browsing
Did you know West Side Story opens on Broadway on Feb 23? Gotta go!
- Guilt-free blogging
Like, Right Now Dude.
- Did I mention quiet?
You don't even realize how much you are bombarded with noise until it is suddenly gone.
- Vending machine food
And the ability to justify eating it because it's late and the only source of food.
- No (less?) traffic for the ride home.
If only they didn't close the bridge to one lane for overnight construction...sigh.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
So...I captured a little on my own this week. And I even tried out some of my PhotoShop techniques to get a little extra pizzazz.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
The Struggle, Part 2
There was an interesting feature in NPR's TakeAway program this week about underemployment. The term I learned about that was my takeaway was "the slash". This is referring to the fact that more people than ever before are working several part-time jobs...you know, you meet them and ask, "And what do you do?" and the answer is, "I'm an actor/waiter/store clerk....or lawyer/teacher/athlete, or writer/consultant/dogwalker, etc.
There is a theory that there are a lot of benefits and opportunities to this style of making a living. (a) If one part-time job falls through you can usually use other part-time jobs to fill in. (b) It keeps life interesting and varied. (c) You make a wider range of contacts and networks. (d) It suits the shorter attention span of today's lifestyles.
It sounds like an awful lot of hustle to me.
I mean I can't imagine changing gears from one job to another and making it all come together. And how do you make sure every month that you have enough to pay all the bills? And how do you get health insurance if you're only a part-time employee anywhere? Am I old-fashioned?
Is this a potential life makeover pathway for me? Will I remain a Marketing Executive? or should I be a marketing executive/something/something? And if so - what the hell are the somethings?
Where is my damn bliss?
[stay-tuned...unless your bored...then piss off]
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I think I'm struggling most with the fact that I'm so totally busy, but not all that interested in it all. There's a certain element of automatic pilot in many of my days. They aren't restful, they are in fact usually hectic and stressful, but they aren't really, well, interesting. Then when I do have downtime...I find myself limited in what I'm willing to do. I'd rather lay around and watch a movie or read a book than take on a project or get out and do anything.
The economy doesn't help. Feeling that it is most prudent for us (maybe not the economy at large, but our little financial world) to restrict our spending makes that a convenient excuse to stay at home under the covers rather than go out and do something. Half the time when I do decide to do something, it involves a book store, a library, a movie theater...all the stuff I'm already doing at home.
If I were to make a list of what I'm willing to change and what I'm not...I'd stay pretty much how I am...but that is pure laziness.
NOT Willing to Change
House (not in this economy)
Job (unless forced)
Willing to Consider Change
Hobby (need one besides the static "on my butt at home" type)
Exercise (well...I did enjoy yoga for a short period in 2004?)
Diet (grumble grumble grumble...)
Aspiration (GET ONE! this is what I really need to focus on)
When the phrase first came into fashion - Follow Your Bliss - I was like - WHAT? What the hell is "my bliss"? If I had all the resources and freedom in the world, what would I do with myself?
Do all of you know? If you won the lottery and it all worked out well (no IRS or poor relative lawsuits, your health is still intact, your marriage is still going strong) what would your life be like? My imagination fails me right there. I'm a total blank. I don't know if it's because I'm a realist or because I'm just so out of touch with my own deepest desires (or sadly, don't have any) that I can't answer the question.
[Stay tuned...but don't expect a smart and witty resolution...
this is stream of consciousness stuff people]
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Primarily, over the last few days, I've been wondering where the hell I'm going with this blog.
I continue to suffer from feelings of inadequacy when I read the blogs of others. Ian and his inexhaustible columns on interesting topics, Chick and her heartfelt and entertaining everyday family life, Stephanie (no link cuz she password protects) and her spellbinding Law & Order in the custody courts tales, Amybow and A's Mom with their young mother trials and joys. Mrs. G. and her 100+ comment-worthy photojournalism posts. Hubby and his photos and paintings and artist's ruminations. Jenn and her totally FUNCTIONAL family that is so endearing despite all their cheerfulness and normalness (you'd think you would hate them, but you don't).
I know. I know. Before you even say it. Everyone feels that way. Everyone is always more critical of their own "talent" than they are of others.
Maybe it isn't really the blog. Maybe I need a life makeover.
[Stay tuned...the Struggle will likely be a multi-part series...]