Monday, December 31, 2007

The Final Sighs of 2007

Why the change of the year should bring more partying, more reflection, more promises/resolutions than any other date is a puzzlement, but it seems to be hard wired into all of us. 

Because of the change of one little number being written into our checkbooks, the gyms will all be more crowded this week, Weight Watchers will see a surge in business, some people will try again to quit smoking or maybe drinking, others will try to force out some bad habits and force in some good.  

I think it is a positive step to always attempt to look at our lives and look for honest and realistic ways to improve them.  So in that spirit, my 2008 resolution is singular in focus.  

To try a little harder.  Just a little harder.  

To do what I already know is right.  To be kinder.  To be more generous.  To use my time better.  To love a little more and hate a little less.  To be more tolerant.  To be more patient. To be more positive.  To eat a little better.  To exercise a little more.  To consider the environment a little more. To be a little less quick to anger.  To make better decisions.  

Essentially, to pause before instinct or habit takes over and consider whatever I'm doing. 

This singular resolution is both big in its scope and minute in its application.

Wish me luck.  I wish you all luck with your resolutions.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Officer...Can You Define Irony?

My sister has a complicated life. I love her and her life...but it is...complicated. This past week, after she arrived at our home (as a stopover on the way from Rochester NY to Woodbridge VA) with her husband and oldest son, there

Jude Complication #1: They had jammed three grown adults, luggage, and christmas paraphernalia into a Toyota Scion sportscar for the 6 hour drive to us, and then the 5 hour drive beyond us to Woodbridge.

Needless to say, there were sore muscles, sore joints, sore kneecaps, and sore moods as they peeled themselves out of the car.

She immediately jumped onto the computer hoping against hope she could get a great (priceline) deal on a rental car big enough for them to continue on their journey.

Jude Complication #2: Did I mention that they also had to add their youngest son (6 foot 2 inch tall) and his luggage and christmas load to the vehicle as well?

Of course, being that it was Christmas weekend and this is the tri-state area, there were no deals, and probably no cars either. Hubby came to the rescue though and figured out we could loan them one of our cars and we could use one of my in-laws cars since it is rarely driven these days and they would be flying off to California this week anyway.

Jude Complication #3: The 6-foot kid (ok, so he's like 26) is working the day/evening they are here and can't get the last train out of NYC to meet them.

And, well, he's a kid and can't face the idea of getting up at 5AM to catch the first train out, so my sister kindly (sucker!) gets up at 5AM and drives in to Brooklyn (opposite direction from VA) and picks him up.

Okay - complications are now over and my sister (in my car) and my brother-in-law (in the Scion) departed, each with one son in tow, and made it to a lovely christmas at A's house.


I think the complications are catching.

Wenderina Complication #1: I got lost (again).

Well not really, but in my typical can't find my way out of my driveway mode, I headed west on Route 17 instead of east (after dropping off hubby to pick up my mother-in-law's car) and went about 4 exits before I caught my mistake. This made me late for a conference call, but otherwise didn't complicate my life too greatly. But it was a portent....and omen...(as hubby likes to say)

Wenderina Complication #2: In riding home in my husband's car I noted that the inspection was due to run out at the end of this month - yeah right in the middle of the holiday rush.

We considered our options and decided we should get it inspected tomorrow - the 29th of the month - and cross our fingers that nothing would stop it from earning a pass. With 120k miles and a failing exhaust system, you never know. But the last thing we wanted was to get partway home from Woodbridge VA on Jan 2nd (you know to pick up our OTHER car...oh...and celebrate New Years with our favorite sister, niece, and family) and get stopped for inspection violation.

The Final Complication (we hope)...
and the Punchline to My Story (you hope)...

Hubby got out early from work (miracle) specifically to get the car inspected one day earlier than planned. This was a lovely surprise as it would allow us to start out earlier on Saturday for Woodbridge. On the way home (in mother in law car) he came upon a routine cop stop (where they set up a place on well-travelled road to ticket cars out of compliance).

You guessed it.

He was pulled over.

Officer: Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?

Hubby: No clue, actually.

Officer: Your inspection sticker expired in July of 2007.

Hubby: Officer...can you define irony?


Postscript: MIL car has been successfully inspected and we have the paperwork to get out of the ticket. Hubby has just departed with the other car - fingers crossed - this is the last of our complications this week.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cape House FOUND!

While all of you were NO HELP whatsoever in my search for the perfect beach house...I found it...yes I did! This is where we are going in August...aren't you jealous????

Yup...these lounge chairs with a beach view are just waiting for me and my book.

And speaking of books...I don't even have to bring my own!

Ocean view bedroom anyone? Oh...and access to a problem!

Cool summer evening? Cozy up to the lovely fireplace!

Last, but not least..."You must be ON the Ocean, dahling"! or else, why bother?

I'm sure the mice and the ants (and the smells) will miss us...but me...not so much.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Whoring My Gifts

At a request from That Chick Over There, I'm here to "Whore My Gifts". I actually prefer to give gifts than to receive them nowadays - I must be getting old - but it is always lovely to get gifts that are really special because of (a) who gave them, (b) the thought they put in to it, regardless of what they spent, and (c) let's be honest, how great the gift is!

I'd also like to remind everyone this is a great time of year for giving back to the less fortunate. Listing all the wonderful things I received was great, but I also enjoy the fact that as usual, my hubby and I picked a couple of charities to share our good fortune.

That being said, on with the Whoring!

My top 10 gifts for this year:

  1. Diamond earrings from my hubby. Very delicate and pretty - I love them.

  2. A fleece wrap/cape. This came from my in laws. She thought of my extensive travel and thought it was perfect for those cold flights...I love it!

  3. Books - lovely books, and more books! Some used, some new, all full of wonderful new stories for me to read. People who give me books are my favorites in the world! My mom and my aunt added to our leatherbound collection and found us Robinson Crusoe and Wuthering Heights. They look so elegant on a bookshelf and I love to read (or re-read) the classics.
  4. CDs. My hubby sometimes despairs at my "uncool" music collection, which has included such diverse and uncool artists as George Michael, Barry Manilow, the Commidores, and N'Sync. He continues my musical education with Janis Joplin's greatest hits but he also allowed me my little guilty pleasure of some pop music with the Five for Fighting live album.

  5. Broadway! My sister and brother-in-law spent way too much and got us a gift certificate from for 2 tickets to a show. As if that wasn't enough, it came in a basket with gourmet chocolates, a book on home brewing (for hubby), and two bottles of wine too! Spamalot here we come!

  6. Digital Photo Frame. This also came from the in-laws - something we've been eyeing for a while, and now we're hooked up!

  7. Candles and Giftware. I love scented and pretty candles/candleholders and got a couple of these. We also received a pressed wine bottle cheese tray, some ornaments, and pretty photo frames. All of these things continue to enhance (and my hubby says crowd) our little cottage home. I love them.

  8. A Fossil Watch. I am notorious about cheating myself in the watch area -- I cheap out and get the $7 watches at Target all the time. My staff thought I deserved something special so they got me a lovely Fossil watch from Macy's. The gift was appreciated even more because they all got together to pick it out. Sweet!

  9. Greeting Cards (with Photos!). One of my favorite things to receive are greeting cards with family and kid photos included. It allows me to see the smiling faces of so many people I love. More than anything, I enjoy hearing from (and seeing!) my favorite people at this time of year.

  10. The Christmas Bonus! Each year I count my blessings that I work for a company that still gives out bonuses each year. As a manager I get a percentage in December and the remainder after the books are closed in April. This is never something I take for granted and is always much appreciated. {Photo representational only - don't think this was the actual amount!}

That's about it - hope you all received as many lovely things as I did this year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Attitude Adjustment

I am typically that really grouchy lady at the grocery store who rolls her eyes at slowpokes, gets irritated that the store has moved her needed item to the "special display" area that she cannot find, and is clearly angry when someone dares to take 12 items into the express lane.

But yesterday, I decided to go to the grocery store with a new attitude. I slowly cruised the parking lot, not worrying that I had to park 50 spots away from the door. I didn't even blink when I got the cart missing the lower rack and with the one wheel that keeps spinning around. I patiently waited for the little old man who stood in the middle of the produce aisle eating his free starbucks giveaway, and I leisurely strolled the aisles smiling at everyone and laughing over mishaps with carts and merging in the aisles. When I got to the front of the store, and saw the mob scene at the registers, I selected a nearby line without even trying to calculate which one might be the shortest, and did not even blink when the woman in front of me had to review at least 50 coupons before she was done. In fact, while in the line, someone passed me with a ton of items precariousy balanced in her arms and when she dropped one, I immediately stepped up to grab the item before she bent over and lost more. She was so grateful you would think I'd given her $100 for a shopping spree.

When I left the store, I reflected on why this trip to the store had taken longer than usual, and yet I wasn't impatient or irritated, or put in a foul mood. People around me had been much the same, but by adjusting my attitude, it was just a little more pleasant overall.

I thought about all the people I had smiled at in the store and wondered if they left with a little better attitude as well. I hope so. Whether it was any kind of little Christmas Spirit, or just a needed attitude adjustment, I'm going to try this in more aspects of my life.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Proud Purple Stork Customer

After seeing positive comments from That Chick and A's Mom about Purple Stork, I became a proud customer today as well. This was the easiest transaction with a design/print house I have ever experienced!

After struggling with my annual holiday newsletter - I realized it was SOOOOO BOOORRRRIIINNNGGGG! So I sent a desperate note to Purple Stork and less than 24 hours later I had 4 designs to choose from.

These were the two finalists...I picked #2, but I liked them both.

I highly recommend this company for all your greeting card needs!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Seeking That Christmas Spirit

I'm notorious for being out of sync with the Christmas spirit. I usually get in the mood for Christmas It seems I've been in a battle with the calendar for most of my life. I hate prescribed days of celebration. I want to celebrate, when I WANT to celebrate. Not because some president declared it a national holiday, or because someone decided that Jesus was born on December 25 (highly doubtful FYI), or a Hallmark exec wanted a reason to sell cards and stupid candy gifts on February 14. I even hate my birthday - although I do allow my mom to celebrate it cuz, hey, she went through the labor and all that.

So this year, for the first time in several, I gathered up my energy, heaved a deep sigh, and dug out the christmas decorations. We even bought a tree (which by the way, was an environmental battle in my head, but since the damn trees are already cut down it's not like I could save it or anything). Sorry Al (Gore), but you know, since your mansion is still burning the fuel oil etc., I guess you can give me a pass on the Christmas tree.

Although my photos cannot rival the extraordinary beauty of those on 60 piggies (really you have to stop right now and go see some of her recent photos!) this is the result of my dogged determination to get some Christmas spirit BEFORE December 24/25.

A little winter wonderland on my windowsill.

Some fresh greens and holly branches on my mantle.
(note to self, when trimming greens and lights are in place,
don't cut the wire with the branch...can result in small electrical surge...)

O Christmas Tree...O Christmas Tree...You're A Little Short This Year
(but better than years where we went a little too tall!)

A pretty ornament...or 2 or 3....

My Aunt made this one for me - from an actual chicken egg!

Another Aunt gave us this crafty thing last year...I actually love it. Brings a little Cape Cod to our home in the Hudson Valley.

Hubby's favorite decoration is our snow globe (other than his "Herbie the Dentist" ornament)

C.K. Dexter Haven enjoying my "Wonderful Life" village scene and looking for Jimmy Stewart.

This litle figure was one of the few decorations my Nana was able to keep in her little room at the adult care facility. I gave it to her years ago. Something in my non-Christmas spirit, non-religious soul was always touched by the scene of Santa visiting the baby in the manger. When she passed away, I took it from her room and I do enjoy seeing it every few years when I get the notion to decorate.

So for all of you, like me, who are looking for the Christmas spirit - hope this put you in the mood. For those of you who do not celebrate Christmas...hopefully these pretty pictures brighten up the shortest day of the year and give you a good winter solstice.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seeking the Perfect Beach House

After 7 years of returning to the same little beach shack I'm so totally done. I love Cape Cod, but last year escalated our issues with the little shack from ant infestation to mice infestation. And while the couple who owns the house is lovely and sometimes takes us sailing, it is no longer enough for me to overlook the bathrooms that stink to high heaven, the millions of ants on every surface of the kitchen, the mice and the mousetrap tasks (when I'm paying over $2000/week to be there). There must be other options.

I spent most of my evening on filtering through properties that suit all of our needs - must be waterfront (we've been spoiled by that), preferably on Cape Cod Bay side (Nantucket Sound is too rough), and have at least 4 bedrooms that can suit the needs of 5 adults and 2 kids. I found some decent options...but I'm just throwing it out to the blogosphere in case anyone has a rich widow aunt who would love us to stay at her mansion on the beach and just isn't advertising it. If you've got a tip, jot me a comment and I'll get in touch.

In the meantime, Christmas and work are monopolizing my blogging pace has slowed. I'll try to pick it up better next week.

To entice you to keep reading, I'm announcing some future topics that have been rolling around my brain.

A Face Made for Radio
Penguin Craziness
Least Favorite Christmas Gifts - the In-Law Series
Winter Reading List
G'Day Brisbane
New Years Resolutions I Will Attempt...Again
Best Post Titles EVER

...not necessarily in that order.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Orange You Glad We're Friends?

I have two very good friends (where I tend to be the glue) to keep us all together. I met them both when we lived in an apartment complex in Nyack NY. Ter was just starting a new business - her own floral design shop, specializing in dried floral arrangements and displays. Lula was, like me, in a corporate position and had been with her company for a long time. We were all married and the six of us made quite the crew.
As often happens, life takes turns, and we all moved to new locations. Ter and Lula divorced their husbands so the six of us were no more. But happily, the three of us remained the best of friends. Lula moved to greater Chicago area, and somehow Ter and I ended up in the same town of Suffern - almost walking distance from one another.

We've been through a lot together. Childbirth, marriage woes, divorce struggles, job stresses, family deaths, and all the myriad of joys and sorrows of life. I love these two women to death. While we no longer get to spend every weekend together, we try to see one another for a girl's weekend at least once a year, and we try to be there for one another for those important moments in life.

One of the quirks of our friendship is our greeting card habit. We all search high and low for those cards about friendship that actually have 3 girls on them. We buy two and send them to both of the other women with little notes of friendship, love, support, and humor. The picture below was inspired by one of those greeting cards. It had 3 young girls on the cover, each with an orange slice in their mouth, and the inside said, "Orange You Glad We're Friends?"
You can imagine the look on the bartender's face at Ter's wedding (hurrah for 2nd husbands!) when we asked for 3 wedges of oranges and then posed for this picture! Even though Lula looks a little purple (the price of laughing while not being able to breathe with a large orange slice in your airway!), it's one of our greatest memories.

So - the answer to the question? Damn straight. I'm wicked glad we're friends. Even if you will tease me for days about using the word wicked in that statement.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

100 Things

Following tradition - here's my 100 things on my 100th post.
(If you have time - click on image at right to view in real size)
  1. I'm 40...

  2. for another month

  3. I've lived in NY state my whole life

  4. early years - Rochester

  5. college years - Geneseo;

  6. post college years - Rochester, Wappingers Falls, Monsey, Nyack, Monroe, Suffern.

  7. I used to play piano

  8. I guess I still could if my life depended on it

  9. but not well

  10. I used to go to church

  11. I used to sing in the choir

  12. I don't like church anymore

  13. actually I don't like religion anymore

  14. I still have faith


  16. was that really the 15th thing? It should have been #1!

  17. He met me when I was 19 - he was 20

  18. I totally did NOT want to get serious

  19. He totally DID

  20. We totally fell in love

  21. Crazy and engaged at 21

  22. Crazier and married at 22

  23. Still crazy and still married at 40

  24. I'm the baby of the family

  25. I have 4 older brothers and sisters

  26. They are actually half-brothers and sisters

  27. Dad was married before

  28. Two of them are awesome

  29. One is a bit nutty

  30. One is .... I have no words

  31. My father passed away in 2003

  32. I miss him every day

  33. My mom is still very much alive

  34. We have a deep and abiding love/angst relationship

  35. I have no kids

  36. by choice

  37. I love my friends' kids

  38. I love the kids in my family

  39. I don't want them full time

  40. Luckily Hubby feels the same

  41. I seduced hubby in a drunken haze

  42. Thank God

  43. I rarely drink now

  44. But when I do - it's some form of cosmo-martini thing

  45. mostly cuz they are pretty

  46. and they taste yummy

  47. I'm a diet pepsi addict

  48. I also love all things junk food

  49. I was an English major in college

  50. I love to read

  51. I had to change majors because my average in my accounting classes was about 40%

  52. My roommates liked to grade my tests because we would laugh hysterically

  53. We could go for multiple pages before I got a single right answer

  54. It was so sad, it was funny

  55. I still keep in touch with most of my roommates

  56. They are cool chicks

  57. I am glue

  58. by this I mean - I tend to keep various people connected

  59. I bring them together for reunions, weekends, dinners, etc.

  60. Otherwise they'd never see each other again

  61. I think (hope?) they like that about me

  62. I often feel like a scatter brain

  63. I have very little memory capacity

  64. My mom says its because of Aspartame poisoning

  65. I'm currently enrolled in college again

  66. This time for my masters

  67. I love/hate it - but as of today (one class in) I have a 4.0!

  68. One of my favorite books is Prince of Tides

  69. Pat Conroy can write, my friends

  70. My current favorite movie is Love Actually

  71. Feel good, sweet, great accents, terrific score

  72. I am a procrastinator...

  73. That's why I work well under pressure

  74. I try to make my co-workers put me under pressure early

  75. I'd love to write a book someday

  76. I'm not convinced I have the drive to start and/or finish

  77. I'm still waiting for my 15 minutes of fame

  78. I fear it will be in a "fashion don't" feature in the local news

  79. My anxieties are many (hence the blog name)

  80. But I cover them up pretty well

  81. My friends get to hear them though

  82. My husband knows them all intimately

  83. He still loves me

  84. Thank God

  85. I can be pretty tough to take sometimes

  86. Bitchy, whiney, difficult

  87. I save all that up for the people who love me most

  88. I love chocolate layer cake

  89. But in a pinch a ding dong will do

  90. I'm a night person

  91. I feel like going to sleep early is like giving up...something

  92. which is why I can never get up in the morning and get a late start every day

  93. its a vicious circle

  94. I like my job

  95. mostly

  96. I love the people I work with

  97. mostly

  98. Did I mention I love my husband?

  99. and he loves me?

  100. Thank God

Whew! Glad that only comes once every 100 posts.

The 'One Week Job' Project

I learned about this from a member of my blog roll (Flagged for Follow Up). This guy has an interesting approach to the job market. Wish I'd thought of it before I was married and had a mortgage! Watch the video, and visit his website/blog at

In the Airline Industry, Time is Relative

Once again, I'm in airport hell. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to fly if it's dangerous. I just wish there was a way to get a definitive answer on WHAT TIME???? I love the - "A friendly announcement: We have a 2 hour delay, but DON'T LEAVE THE GATE because we could change it at any moment, load the plane and take off without you. "


I've been getting automated calls/emails from Continental that keeps conflicting with info I'm getting at gate...which one do you trust? I think it is a concerted effort to keep us all unbalanced so we don't rush the desk. All I really want to rush is the airport bar or cafe, but I CAN'T LEAVE THE GATE!

Basically, I keep re-learning this lesson:
When it comes to air travel and the air industry as a whole,
time is relative.

Good News: There are actually timepieces out there
for the people who live on relative time.

Watch #1: Time is Relative Watch

On line ad promotion: "This watch spits in the face of convention. It grabs hold of the norm and flushes it down the toilet of conformity. And it tells time, too. Unlike every other timepiece ever made, this watch has numbers that are in constant motion. The hands of the watch reflect the actual time of day, but the numbers march to their own drummer. (We haven't opened a watch yet, but we're pretty sure a miniature drummer is inside there.)

The Relativity Watch comes in an attractively normal gift box. It has a genuine leather band and an accurate Japanese quartz movement. (If you ever held a piece of Japanese quartz, you know how accurate it is.)

Surely, by this time, we've convinced you to purchase a Relativity Watch. You don't even realize it, but this is the 29th time you have read this page. You're caught in an endless time warp that loops you back to the moment you pressed the button that took you to this page.

The only way to break the cycle is to purchase a Relativity Watch. If you don't you're doomed to read this ridiculous page for the rest of eternity. Sure, you laugh. Just like you did the previous 28 times you read this."

Watch #2: The NOW Watch.

Signals Catalog item description: "Look no hands. A watch for those who live in the moment, this is a manifesto, not a timepiece. Wheels, pins, pivots, and jewels have been replaced with sand and a stone etched "NOW." The battery never needs replacing because there isn't one."

Watch #3: Einstein Time Is Relative Watch

I have no photo of no longer seems to be available. But I purchased it once for a friend who was notorious about time management. He would leave for a quick errand to the corner store and come home 4 hours later. No calls, no apologies, no clue. We bought this watch because we laughed hysterically when we saw the face which said 1ish, 2ish, 3ish and thought immediately of this friend. He opened the gift on Christmas Eve...and was totally puzzled, "I don't get it." We laughed even harder.

So, gentle readers, if you know of any road warriors in your life, you might want to consider one of these watches as a timely holiday gift. It may help them decipher the airline schedule a little better.

But just so you know. The Relative Time Watch is out of stock. They anticipate getting it back in on the 25th...or maybe the 29th...or maybe after first of year...(I think we need a relative calendar too).

Flakes on a Plane

Tonight I flew to Dallas. There were Flakes on the Plane. The title was easy to come up with because one of them kept yelling, "I'm Samuel L. Jackson!! I talk Real Loud!! There are Snakes on This Plane!!" Ugh. Long. Freakin. Flight.

And the meal? Stellar as always. Nuked Cheese Pizza Circle. Ruffles Potato Chips. Snickers Bar. Diet Coke. They must have gotten this menu from the local school cafeteria.

Out the window. Nothing but clouds and blackness. Except this wierd section where there was this bizarre multi-colored glowing below us. UFOs? Probably not. Probably just a massive city burning up the ozone layer. It was diverting know...from the Flakes.

My reward? The Westin. Ah. The Westin. My favorite hotel chain. Best beds in the world (and according to the in-room brochure, you too can have this quality sleep experience at home for only $3645!) quick and easy internet access, beautiful artwork, SWEET bathrooms, flat screen tvs, Starbucks coffee in room, king size bed, NON-smoking hotel, M.I.N.I.B.A.R.!!!!! AND? mini-Haagan Dazs ice creams - cuz I obviously didn't get my daily recommended quantity of fat with the in-flight meal service.

I may actually enter the meeting tomorrow morning with a smile. Thank you Westin.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

8 Things....I say often

Thanks to Prairie Gourmet for the assignment to get me through the uninspired patch!

Eight Things...I'm known to say often:

  1. "Does that make sense?"
    I feel that I explain...a lot...and sometimes the blank looks or lack of response I get from people causes me to require an affirmative response. It's not just that I am checking on them, it's that I need confirmation that I am making sense.
  2. "I'll be right up."
    My husband tends to go to bed at a reasonable time. I am loathe to give up (for whatever reason I see it as a battle - a battle for time, a battle for FREE time) and go to bed. Hubby must, by habit, doubt my word as he too often finds me asleep on the couch later that same night.
  3. "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
    Hubby is Charlie Brown...I've mentioned that before. He does kind things, good things, for people - especially me and our family - so many a day I quote this phrase to him, to let him know that I notice.
  4. "FU$*!"
    I say this A LOT. I picked up the bad habit in early years and now it is a common part of my every day language. No other word tends to bring the same emphasis - good, bad, ugly, sad, happy, humorous...the word has so many iterations.
  5. "Have You Seen X, Y, Z?"
    I constantly lose things. Little things, big things. Keys. Papers. Shoes. Gloves. Whatever was last in my hands as I walked from room to room. Lost. All. Lost. Found only when no longer needed. (This is also I time when I refer back to quote Number 4).
  6. "This morning on NPR..."
    I am continuously informed and entertained by NPR. It is a regular part of my morning diet. I awake to it at 6AM, and listen to it until I get to work at 9AM. After 3 hours I have lots of information to share.
  7. "I Give Up"
    I never actually do, but I say this often. Usually in response to utter frustration in dealing with SFPs. (Stupid F-ing People). When people clearly don't get it (see quote in Number 1) after repeated explanations and what I think is clear logical thinking...I get very frustrated. I sometimes resort to Item 4, then Item 7, then Item 4 again...before I count to 10 and start over.
  8. "Do You Love Me?"
    Hubby is not a typical stoic male. He is very free with telling me how he loves me. So my asking this is not a starvation for affection and affirmation, rather it is a phrase that often precedes..."will you get me a drink?", "will you go down and bring up the laundry", "will you go to the store and pick up...", etc. Shameless I know. Hubby has actually given up responding with a "Yes" to this question. Instead he responds with, "What do you need?". I guess my ploy is a little played.

Whew. I feel like I just passed a kidney stone. Hopefully I can continue to work my way through this writer's block with the help of these little assignments.

Stay tuned!

Feeling Uninspired

My husband is an artist (by desire) and an IT manager (by necessity). He's excellent at both. Sometimes he talks about how he is uninspired and that painting when he feels that way is sometimes necessary, but often a disaster.

I've been feeling that way about blogging this week. Not feeling depressed, sick, angry, or in any other way down and out. Just not inspired.

In an attempt to get inspired, I started searching for a topic. I read other blogs, I listened to the radio, I searched my soul. Yeah. You guessed it. EMPTY. (mostly the soul - not my favorite blogs!) At least empty of topics that I felt I could own for myself. Also, I noticed a few of my favorites had deserted their sites, so I updated my blog roll. Do you think they were feeling uninspired as well?

So, be patient with me, I'll keep searching.

In the meantime, maybe you have a question for me that can at least get my fingers clicking on the keyboard again in some forward momentum. Ask away.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Team? Teaching

I began my 2nd semester (2nd class) this weekend, pursuing my master's degree. When I arrived I learned that we had been assigned "Team Teachers". This meant two teachers in the room conducting the class, giving assignments and basically splitting the work. Hmmmm.

No problem right?


Teacher #1: On schedule, on point, structured, focused.
Teacher #2: Um...not so much. She interrupted a lot and wanted to go on tangents.

Teacher #1: Has taught grad program courses and multiple universities.
Teacher #2: Has never taught.

Teacher #1: Provided instruction with case study examples and expected student participation. Guided and corrected as discussions unfolded.
Teacher #2: Had incredibly long pauses where she couldn't figure out what she had planned to say, then took one student's personal example/homework and spent 45 minutes quizzing him about details on class time.

Teacher #2: Is totally clueless - I just know it.
Teacher #1: Is struggling not to roll her eyes at Teacher #2 - I know that too.

Friday, November 30, 2007

And A Beer!

(okay, let me try this one more time)

In the heyday of SNL, there were wonderful characters like those crazy canadians Bob and Doug Mackenzie. I was thinking of them as I drove to work this week, being driven nearly insane by the constant barage of Christmas music. (Damn people, it's not even December yet.)

Anyway, if you must have Christmas music this early, at least make it funny. (Eileenie - this one's for you!)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Punishment for Freddie

So, I'm being punished. It must have been the Freddie post.

Blogger is not allowing me to post my totally funny and inspired message connected with a youtube vid. I've tried 10 times - no luck.

And I've got some kind of "error on page" message. (Kiki - help! it's code!!!)

Plus it looks like half of my header is cut off.

In Addition (or rather not in addition) - my counter has dropped from 140+ to 16 - WTF????


I'll try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Mysterious Appeal of Freddie Prinze Jr.

Sometimes my hubby groans when I pick up the remote. Somehow I am inexplicably drawn to the most ridiculous teen romance comedy flicks.

This seems to be Freddie Prinze Jr. month.

This boy (actually now he's 31, so technically a man) has mysterious appeal. Most of his movies...well...they suck. He...well....he has no real dramatic range. But he's got this quirky smile and a strange and hypnotic charm.

I've been reading some blog posts recently that centered on secret crushes. I don't think I have one on Freddy. I mean he's simply too pretty and not enough depth. I need depth.

But there's something about him - maybe it's the eye candy thing...maybe its remembering his Dad and how sad his suicide was...

...maybe it's just me reliving my fantasy of being a blonde vampire slayer with a cheerleader body.

Whatever it is, I'm caught in it.

I've watched two of his movies in the last week, and I can't seem to look away. These car wreck movies that have no plot, no redeeming value, not even great co-stars can save them.
But this guy...he eats up the screen and captures my imagination. Wierd.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


For the past week I've been battling with the college on-line library research system trying desperately to access the reams of required reading for my first class this semester. I was challenged at every turn, and (having already been doubtful of my ability to continue on this quest for higher learning) I was beginning to get VERY discouraged. In fact, I was beginning to really feel my age.

School has changed SO MUCH. No one has heard of a card catalog system. No one has heard of microfilm/microfiche. There are umpteen databases of reference systems and each one has its own login and password that you have to remember. I'm feeling ancient. I need to either go back in time to a simpler world (which was actually harder, but I knew how to do it!) or jump forward to the Star Trek era so I can simply say, "Computer: show me all of the case studies printed in the 2007 Harvard Business Review pertaining to the Mattel Toy-China fiasco." And have them all appear on a wall screen for easy viewing.

Why oh why aren't we there yet?

Small Aside: When I was a kid I totally expected to be in a hovercraft by the time I was 40. I mean at 40 I would be ancient right? By that time, they should have figured out hovercrafts and laser guns and peace in the Middle East, right? What's up with the slow pokeness of life?

Anyway, I finally gave up trying to figure out the research on my own and used the 24/7 librarian chat feature. Ok, this is one technology that is pretty cool. Someone answered me immediately. She asked what I needed. I told her - AND I told her I didn't just want her to find it and send it to me, I wanted her to TEACH me how to get it myself. Cuz I? am just an independent woman like that.

I fell in love with this woman. Not because she helped me, but because she couldn't find them either!!!! She kept apologizing and with every failure on her part to get the files I was THRILLED! I'm sure she thought I was crazy. And I can live with that. What I can't live with is stupidity. And it turns out:


What a freakin' relief.

Today, AFTER I had figured out at midnight last night that I was just going to purchase the damn articles from the Harvard site I found 2 weeks ago I got the following email:

This email is for students who are registering for the above course. The ONLY way you will be able to obtain the case studies that are listed on the syllabus is to go to the Harvard Business School Publishing Website. Case studies NEED to be purchased. You can pay HBS directly and download the readings. They are not available through our library system.


Dean of Business School

Um. Yeah.

Is anyone else thinking, "These are the people who are supposed to be teaching me Strategic Communications??"

Monday, November 26, 2007

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

I'm married to Charlie Brown.

But it's only fair.

He's married to Lucy Van Pelt.

I'm sitting in my living room listening to him upstairs S N O R I N G like a fiend. He has a horrible cold. He? is sleeping in the guest room.

BECAUSE??? He is Charlie Brown. And I am Lucy Van Pelt.

I rule his world. I want no germs. I kicked him to the curb. I pulled the football.

And yet...

All he has to do is look at me with those Charlie Brown eyes. I give the football back. I kiss him good night.

I? will probably get a damn cold.

Good grief.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving: Ah...Home for the Holidays!

Dear Blogger Friends:
Face it - every family is dysfuntional in its own way. Love them, hate them, enjoy them, don't speak to them. It's a gene pool folks, it's meant to be messy.
So once you've filled yourselves with turkey, stuffing, and all the regular holiday fixings. And once you've had your fill of the football and family. Do yourselves a favor. Watch this movie.
Holly Hunter's face says it all.
It will make you feel that you are not alone if you experience the "mixed blessings" of holiday family gatherings.

Pre Thanksgiving Traffic

My friends and colleagues in commuting noted that Thanksgiving traffic no longer seems to be a Wednesday phenomenon. Now it begins at least on Tuesday. I received at least 3 calls from co-workers who left work before I did warning me of the parking lot that used by called Route 287.

I delayed departure hoping for an early die-off, but no luck. So, my blackberry came to my rescue. I did my favorite thing when I'm confronting found time and have no access to my usual vices (food, internet, books) - I called my big sister Jude. This works out well for those evening traffic situations since she is on the west coast, 3 hours earlier, AND she loves talking to me... SWEET!

We talked about the usual things - family, holidays, schedules, her frustration in searching for the right job, living far away from people she loves, and her recent success in securing a $6,000 grant from NASA for her class (she teaches school in CA) to compete in a robot building contest. Have I told you lately how amazing my sister is? Have I mentioned how she cares for everyone else first and herself last? Have I mentioned I got her to START A BLOG???

So everyone, quick, go on over and visit and meet my awesome sister. And while you're at it, go on over and meet Jude's daughter They are two of the best things that ever came from our gene pool and I love them both to death.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pain and Reflection

Now by this title you probably think my post today will be deep. If you are looking for deep, sign off now. Today's post is about the the morning visit to the dentist.

Now, as medical issues go. This one is minor. Very minor. But it was painful, annoying, and expensive, and generally pissed me off.

I arrived at the "Dental Arts" office where they have key lighting, an aquarium, wireless internet, a fountain, piped in symphonies, and cable tv. They have warm cloths for your face, headphones, and other spa-like options. They offer you tea or coffee (doesn't that stain your teeth?) and generally pamper you in the receiving lobby.

BUT IT'S ALL A BIG RUSE! They are just trying to get you all relaxed so you can pour yourself into that extra padded reclining chair and pretend its a lazy-boy and you're settling in for a nice nap before the Chief Torture Master arrives with all her nasty tools.

This really isn't fair. She's a nice lady and I know she is just doing her job, but MOTHER OF GOD is it really necessary for you to lean in and use five different tools in my mouth to get a little tartar out???


At one point, I was pulling back from her and thinking, "live and let live on the tartar need to get out the nukes..." Everytime I winced and whimpered she flatly replied, "sorry"...and kept right on at it.

When she finally gave me a break to rinse I was exhausted. Then she says (sweetly), "You may have a little tenderness in that one area today."


So, is this post the most boring, most whining, most overstated misery post you ever read? I mean many of you have probably had root canals, major surgery (dental or otherwise), suffered disease, painful treatments, etc. and here I am complaining about a few metal tools digging out a little tartar in my mouth.

But such is my world. Made up of small dramas and equally small moments of joys. Little blips on the radar of life.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Difference A Day Makes

This morning I awoke to the first real sign of winter. Just yesterday I had photographed my geraniums - unable to believe they were still green and lush. Today, they were covered in a wet snowfall that will surely speed up the seasonal change in my garden and yard. What a difference a day makes when mother nature begins her work.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Visiting Family

This weekend we took a drive down to the D.C. area to visit family. My niece, her husband, and my one and only great-nephew.
Despite the headaches that came with mucho-traffic and an unintended detour on the return trip, it was worth it. We loved seeing their home and hanging out with them. Normally when we see them there are tons of relatives and we get little time to just hang out. This was a treat and we'll definitely do it again sometime soon.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Thanks to Mrs. G. for starting "Favorite Things Friday".
I was going to build a long list...and then I decided to try a Top 10 pictorial. What I learned as I built this list was how easy it was to blur between my favorite things, and the blessings I have in my life. Narrowing it to 10 was so hard and I know someday, somewhere, there must be a part two. I also feel an "unfavorite thing" list deep in my dark soul. So read on....and stay tuned.

Number 1: Love of My Life - My Hubby - aka The Talented One.
This picture was taken at his gallery showing. He is a photographer and watercolorist. We are fed by his day job as an IT Manager. His heart and soul is fed by art.

Number 2: Family - in all their shapes, sizes, and various levels of (in)sanity.
This is just a quick sampling of our family. I'm sure there are many missing people. I'm sure I captured all who read this though, so that should help lessen the nasty phone calls.

Number 3: Boxes, Containers, Precious Things - general tchotchkes.
My hubby jokes with me that I've never seen a box or container I didn't need. I have filled our 1930's home with many containers and my excuse is 1930s homes HAVE NO STORAGE. But it IS just an excuse. Some of the other items are inherited antiques or things I've bought on antique hunts with my Mom. They all hold a memory. So they're like containers too. The lamp in the center is one of my all time favorite things. It lights a corner of our living room and shines out all my favorite colors - gold, green, red, lavender. It's truly a work of art. It contains JOY for me.

Number 4: My Crackberry. It's a Love-Hate Relationship.
O.K. The Crackberry. I resisted getting this for a LONG time. Then my "BIG" boss - who rarely gives direct feedback during reviews, added only one thing to my list of goals for the year. "Get Blackberry." Check. One step closer to that raise and promotion. Plus...yeah...I actually like having a handheld device that gives me my phone, my schedule, my email, my to-do list, my address book, my phone list, an alarm clock, a watch, AND I can read blogs on it too!

Number 5: Top Blog-Dog
Speaking of blogs...My FAVORITE Blogs have all been listed earlier in the week...but I have to give a special shout out to That Chick Over There and her blog. Because IT? is a must read EVERY DAY.

Number 6. What I Want, When I Want It.
I'm all about that statement. DVR is my friend because it gives me What I Want, When I Want It.

Number 7. Cue the Theme Music
Digital cable not only brought our home the DVR, but also 50 channels of music, organized by theme. I'm all into the "Adult Alternative"...although it sucks that the "Alternative" station is a little too radical for my 40-year old ass.

Number 8: The Written Word
Lest you think I'm all about the technology. One of my favorite things is still curling up with a book. An old-fashioned, words on paper, book. My house is filled with them in nooks and crannies. I give about 3 boxes a year to the library. But I hoard my favorites. Or give them to people I love. To me there is no greater gift than to receive a book that has touched someone, or to give one for the same reason.

Number 9: My friends.
(No time to build a full pictorial here...but these are some of the dearest...)
“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.”
—Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), Roman statesman, orator, philosopher

Number 10: The Cape.
Cape Cod is our annual vacation. We could go somewhere different every year, but the truth is, our hearts are soothed by the cold water, the warm sand, and the unique nature of a New England shore.

Hope you enjoyed this post - it was fun putting it together. Tell me YOUR favorite things!