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!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Best Thanksgiving Recipes EVER

I promise.

I know I can't cook.

But these are the recipes I contribute to Thanksgiving EVERY year and no one fact, they are usually a hit. The apple bread goes very quickly. The spiced cranberry relish is to die for. And if you're looking for an alternative to the Yam and marshmallow dish - the Sweet Potato Casserole is yummy.

Spiced Cranberry Relish
1 package (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar)
1 2-inch piece stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

In medium-sized saucepan, combine berries, raisins, sugar, orange juice, vinegar, stick cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Bring quickly to a boil; lower heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally; until berries pop and mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Chill. Just before serving, remove stick cinnamon and stir in walnuts. Makes 2-1/2 cups.


Senator Russell Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients (Casserole)
3-1/2 cups sweet potatoes (usually 6-7)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter (softened)

Ingredients (Topping)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 cup chopped pecans

Bake sweet potatoes in skin at 450 degrees for one hour. (Or do them in the microwave following your manufacturer's instructions.) When done, scoop potatoes from shell and mash. Combine with sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, and butter. Mix until smooth. Place in casserole dish.

In separate bowl combine topping ingredients. Place on top of casserole. Cover and bake at 275 for 40 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for 10 more minutes.

Recipe serves 10-12 people. (not at my house...but we're sweet potato fiends)


Apple Bread
Note: can make in loaf pan, but I also have put into a bundt pan and served as cake.
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon (I often add extra)
3 cups flour
3 cups diced apples (with or without skin - granny smith are best)

Mix together eggs and oil. Add sugar and spices. Slowly stir in flour. Then add diced apples.
Bake at 300 degrees in greased loaf pan or bundt pan for 90 minutes or until fork comes out clean. Remove immediately from pan and sprinkle top with sugar. Wrap in foil.

Excellent sliced as sweet bread option on table, or served as warmed slices with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 10-12.

Give it up. Your mouth is watering right? Mine too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fashion Faux Pas

Today I wore all brown...and I looked like shit.

Dressing all in one solid color is not unusual for me. But the classy monochromatic look I was going for was seriously hampered by my bad execution.
  • Faux Pas #1: I couldn't find any stockings or brown tights. So I wore brown socks. Hubby's brown socks to be precise. Um. Yeah.
  • Faux Pas #2: Brown socks don't really go well with heels. So I wore these scuffed up brown flats that look like men's loafers. Can you say Fashion Don't?
  • Faux Pas #3: My brown pants don't fit. I mean seriously DO NOT fit. I didn't realize this until I was already late for work and had no other options without starting over. So I wore them. With the top button undone, and the zipper open for the top inch. I comforted myself by eating a package of ding dongs this afternoon. But it's ok - I drank Diet Pepsi to counter the Ding Dong calories.
  • Faux Pas #4: My brown turtleneck sweater worked. Except for all the fuzz and pills that typically accompany any sweater I've had for more than 5 minutes. Sigh.
  • Faux Pas #5: My brown blazer is just plain old ugly. It seemed like a good buy when I got it. And like most "good buys" its cheapness of style and cut really comes out when you have to actually wear it.
So the best I can say about my outfit today is - it kept me warm on a blustery fall day and luckily the pants didn't explode or fall to my ankles.

I'll live to accessorize another day.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Have You Thanked a Veteran Today?

While I don't have the day off, I recognize Veteran's Day as an important holiday. Also known as a day of remembrance...this is a day for reflecting on the service that so many men and women give to our country.

My Dad was a veteran of WWII and although he was stateside his entire duty, when he VOLUNTEERED he never made that assumption. He could have just as easily been sent to the front lines.
On a recent visit, my sister Jude passed along the flag that adorned his coffin. It is in a display case in my dining room. Today I paused in front of it and said a quiet thank you. To my Dad, to my nephew (currently in the service, having served in Bosnia and Iraq), to all those countless men and women who have stood on the line, so that liberals like me can live in a country that allows us to protest against it.
Thank You All.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend, I hardly knew ye.

Damn. Weekends go by way too fast. I'm increasingly frustrated by the rapid flow of time. How is it possible that it nearing midnight Sunday - and the weekend is gone?

And what did I accomplish this weekend?

Blogger Heaven. I spent about 4-5 hours on the internet this weekend - reading blogs, surfing NaBloPoMo, generally getting lost in the web.

A Gathering of Friends. We were greeted at the door by Mr. B. He captured the last several months since we have seen or talked to them this way: "Let's get through this quickly, my surgery went fine, work is crazy, and my birthday last month was great." Ugh. Glad we showed up with his favorite - a bottle of SoCo - to make up for our "un"friendly behavior.

Making the Move. Today, I met these same friends at a house they are considering buying (Hubby was a little the worse for wear due to the SoCo). Other than the fact that the current owners seem to think that their 4 bedroom colonial is actually a villa in tuscany - complete with pillars, corbels, golden sponge paint, and brass/glass pocket doors, it should be the perfect home for them. I can't wait to see Mrs. B's stamp on it.

Starbucks - Oh the Joy! I stopped at Starbucks on the way back home and got the VENTI mocha frappacino (not the light one!) While waiting, I saw that they have the box gift set of the Listening is An Act of Love book/audio book/bonus book. Score! A direct source for great holiday gift. Plus, they were playing my charlie brown holiday music - gotta love the messages I'm being given about getting into the holiday spirit.

VPNs - the Beauty and the Bane. The wonder of home hookup to work networks. I was firmly ensconced on one laptop, hubby on another, and his nextel went off about 50 times. Much of today was lost to company business.

Holiday, What Holiday? Maybe this is the real story of weekends. They aren't really weekends anymore. They are week-recovery and work-catchup days. Tomorrow is veteran's day. A national holiday. Hubby and I will both be working, our companies don't recognize the holiday.

So Long (Short) Weekend. The clock keeps ticking, getting closer to facing that alarm bell in the morning. So I best get to sleep. Unless of course, hubby (much smarter and already in bed) is snoring.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"I didn't know him, but I loved him"

I am a huge fan of NPR. I wish I could follow it more closely, but I have a hard time with reception in my home. But now with podcasts and webcasts (yeah, I know they've been around a while, but I'm just catching up) I'm finding a way to add more of it in my life.

One of my favorite features is the Story Corps Project excerpts they play every Friday morning while I'm getting ready for work. They almost always make me cry, and they ALWAYS make me think.

This past week, NPR reported that there is a book (and audio book) coming out called, Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life.

One of the featured stories is one of many that touched me when I first heard it.
Take a listen, go ahead, I'll wait.

I hope that in 20 years, we've gotten farther along than this. I hope that we have more sympathy, more empathy, and more human kindness towards people of any background or sexual orientation who are suffering with AIDS.

I have purchased multiple copies of this audio book. I'll be giving some away for Christmas. Anything that makes us all stop, listen, and hopefully love a little more is certainly worth $10.97 to me.

Spotlight on My Favorites

I've been growing my favorites list through NaBloPoMo. If you are on the list, please do not fear my stalker-ish behavior. I'm NOT a stalker.


I guess a stalker would probably say that too.

But really. I'm not.

I'm an avid reader and I've turned my book habit into a blog habit which means I must read a blog end to end like a book. I mean I wouldn't read the last chapter of a book first, would I? Hell no.

So, what happens is - you'll suddenly see lots of comments appearing in your blog in batches...starting earliest post to latest...and you may open your mailbox and be like, "Whoa, who's this crazy stalker chick Wenderina???" Well, if I'm still commenting I'm your newest fan and I'm trying to catch up on your chapters.

Hope those of you who have stumbled on me from NaBloPoMo or elsewhere will enjoy this brief "blog review" on my latest favorites.

My Favorite Blogs
60 Piggies: I was first captured by her incredible photography. Then her poetry. And finally by the beautiful simplicity of her stories. She has an elegance combined with an earthiness that is hard to find.

Catch Her in the Wry: Ah, Prairie Gourmet helps ground me in the world of workaholics. She gets the career drive but also teaches me about balance. She has interesting world views and gives great insights into topics of today.

CrazyManJones: My little sister stolen from my home at birth. There is definitely some serious cosmic connection here. Wish I had been in her life when she lost Jadon Riley, but so honored that she shared him with me in her own time.

Deadpan: New blog - found through NaBloPoMo. Wanda captured me as soon as I hit her site. Her subtitle is One woman’s struggle to find life’s meaning and Orlando Bloom’s phone number. If that didn't make you laugh you're not human. And...she calls me SOUL SISTER. Love it!

Derfwadmanor: Another NaBloPoMo. I joined Mrs. G's KickAss Forty and Beyond Blogging Group. Mrs. G shares my love of NPR - which hasn't come out in my blog yet...strangely enough..., has a secret crush on a pirate, and gives good advice on women's health issues.

Flagged for Follow Up: Also new...found on a surfing expedition. This has a much different flavor than most of my blogs, but had some topical info and great video posts, and gave me a view of a bigger world out there that I'd like to see more of.

Glam Granola: Her husband goes by Pedro. She can poke fun at herself. She likes glitter for girls night out. She shared a killer recipe for molasses cookies that I am totally making for the holidays.

Greeblemonkey: New too! Another find on NaBloPoMo. CREATIVE woman. Painting, photography, it all. AND she shares cool German recipes that are easy enough for a non-chef like me to consider making. Last but not least - she's a U2 fan...oh know I'm listening to them right now.

Haley's Random Thoughts: My OTHER lost baby sister. Living a part of her life (graduating from college, embarking on career, looking for love) that I remember so well. Her spirit and humor captures my imagination...and my nostalgic soul.

Jason..for the Love of: That Chick needs no promotion from me. But nonetheless - READ HER BLOG. She is astounding. And she regularly gets like 30+ comments a post. She is "Big" on the Net.

Pacing the Cage: Sheila is an author and is blogging by the order, mind you...and she's up to "V". I wonder if she'll start over again at A when she finishes?

Stephanie's Place: A mom, step-mom, wife with real parenting challenges. I connect with Stephanie because of growing up myself in the 2nd household of a man who had divorced his first wife and had parenting challenges with his 4 kids from that union. Unfortunately those kids - my (half) siblings - suffered a lot because of the acrimonious relationship. I'm thinking Stephanie's story is turning out better.

Temporary?Insanity: Sweet, mother, writer, bibliofile. I bought a book she recommended and can't wait to start it so we can share reviews.

Urban Pedestrian: A little edgier than my usual fare. A good balance to all the sweet family tales and connections I've made. She captured my interest with some blogging Q&A and I totally love her viewpoint on tv, fidelity, and all things Canada.

View From the Passenger Seat: Personal friend and colleague. She instigated my blogging - damn her - like I needed something else to keep me up all night. And I love her. She's a gift in my life.


These are my current bbf's...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pinballs in My Brain

So I've got all kinds of thoughts rolling around in my head today...none of them related. Get ready for some very random thoughts.

Blog Editing. Why do some people show editing in their final blog??? I've noticed some people show word cross outs and changes in their final version. Is it supposed to be some cute effect to show the original thought as well as the better-thought out final wording? I don't really get that. What's the purpose of editing, if people see both the before and after?

Adding Music to Site. NaBloPoMo has a really easy tool to add a playlist of my music from i-tunes. I've seen at least a few blogs out there with a little player embedded on their site. How do you build that?

Sharing Your Blog. I know that a lot of people out there use aliases (as do I) and don't share their site with anyone they know in real life. I have a personal connection with one person who has a blog and shared it with me, but only me...otherwise it is locked down tight. Me? I'm a hybrid. I carefully select people to share with and I try to keep it locked up tight by controlling how people I know cross-link me. For example, before I listed Amybow's site on my site, I told her who we knew in common I'd be sharing with. Didn't want to expose her if she wanted to keep it private.

Writing for Me or You? Many blogs get so personal. That Chick is a personal hero of mine (as I've said repeatedly) for her honesty, integrity, and strength. I've gotten a little personal here or there, but haven't really done a lot of inner turmoil stuff...yet. I so admire how some people put it out there. And I'm impressed that most comments I read are pure support and care in response. I know there are some crazy people out there...but I've been lucky not to be exposed to them yet. I like to be fun and entertaining too. But sometimes it's all about what's big in my world that day and it's not always fun and not always interesting...but it's my life.

Contoversy & Offense. I've noticed that many of the blogs I read have some element of faith in them. I created two posts {Fossils, Holy Holy Holy} not long ago that kind of trashed organized religion. I can get pretty heavy handed on this topic and want to be sure those of you out there who have a true and abiding faith, and a warm and welcoming church, know I envy you.

I experienced that as a child. I was once in the church choir (jr and senior) and I loved being up at the front of the church - knowing all the hymns really well because we practiced in advance, harmonizing with a group of people on gorgeous music, listening to a wonderful sermon, enjoying the minister's "children's moments" when he gathered all the kids to the steps beneath the alter to teach them a lesson before they adjourned to the nursery for sunday school. (Kids do say the darndest things).

It all turned sour when our beloved minister retired and a new man came to town. He promptly dismissed our similarly beloved choir master because she wrote romance novels. Not pornography, romance novels. That was only the first of many changes where I started to notice how religion and power and hypocrisy could turn beautiful things ugly.

As I got older, my distrust of religion was fueled by seeing how many cultures and countries use religion as a reason to kill and overthrow governments and generally wreak havoc.

So, if you are one of my blogging friends and you have peace in religion, I DO envy you. Honestly. And I hope you won't stop reading because I occasionally vent on this topic. I do have faith in God. It's faith in the men who say they speak for God that is missing.

Holiday Season. You'll see me talk about this a few times as the month of November and December progress. I kind of dread holiday season. As I've aged, these holidays have lost a lot of luster. I am now totally plugged into the undercurrents of stress that accompany these days.

Yesterday, in the local Hallmark store, they were playing christmas music. Some of my favorites - from the Charlie Brown christmas album. And I started to get in the mood. I started to feel the urge for brighly colored packages and warm spiced cider, lights and greens decorating the neighborhood, and animated christmas specials on tv.

Christmas is with my in-laws this year. I have a wonderful relationship with my in-laws, but it's kind of a lonely day with just the 4 of us. No kids, no extended family. I miss my childhood days where my mom and my aunt used to take turns hosting the christmas day event and it would be a whole gang of us together with lots of chaos, food, and fun. My solace is Christmas Eve. Usually hubby and I do something just for ourselves on the Eve. Something with friends, or just us. Exchange gifts. Have a special meal. Light a fire. Enjoy some music, etc. That? is something I really love and look forward to.

When it is my mom's turn for us to share christmas, the Eve remains my favorite. We go to a church where my friend sings and then to my best friend C's house for a post church evening with her and her family. We grew up like sisters - best friends living across the street from one another - and I totally love her. I probably get to see her maybe once or twice a year...and I treasure the time.

I'm going to try and finish my holiday chores early. Decorate my house (I only do that about once every 5 years) and get INTO it this year. I'll keep the blog up to date with my progress on turning the holidays around this year.

To Learn or Not To Learn. I'm totally torn about signing up for my next semester. I have been TOTALLY exhausted and feeling overwhelmed with work lately. Adding another class in the midst of holiday season seems overwhelming. This weekend is the test. I have to really look at the syllabus, my schedule, and evaluate my commitment. If I bail on only my second semester, will I ever go back??

I warned you that I had lots of pinballs bouncing around my brain tonight. Should be interesting to see if anyone comments here, or if I've put you all to sleep.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bravery in a Bottle

I was a serious young person. Good student. Quiet. Small group of friends - although I got along with people from any group or clique. But I feared striving for popularity and never wanted to put myself out there at risk of rejection. I did once. I had a HUMONGOUS crush on the star basketball player in junior year of high school. We had been friends for a while before he became the STAR athlete, and I plucked up all my courage and asked him to take me to the junior prom. His response?

"'m not actually going to the prom."

I was crushed when he refused, but it got worse. I found out that the very next day he asked one of my friends. She was not a close friend, by we were friend-ly. She was actually cool enough to come to me and say, "I think its awful that he told you he wasn't going and then asked someone else. If you don't want me to go, I won't. "

Can you feel my pain and embarrassment?

Of course I wasn't going to say - "Don't go. Make him feel the way I felt." But I wanted to. It was bad enough that she knew I had asked and been rejected. of my few vivid memories of high school. And one of the few times I really stuck my neck out and man it did NOT pay off for me.

Then...I found alcohol. I was a late bloomer to the party scene. But my very first night of college my new roommate poured me my first drink. About 1 splash of Sprite to a glass of vodka.

Did you ever read the book/see the after school special, "The Late Great Me"? All about teenage alcoholism. Well, that was me, kind of. I wouldn't classify myself as an alcoholic. But I definitely used alcohol as a social lubricant for the first couple years of college.

Suddenly it was viable to take risks, be center of attention, act like a complete fool, and not worry about it. In fact, it was the source of great legends in our dormitory: the antics of our gang.

Once, we had an epic water fight that involved spray bottles, cups, and eventually buckets of water. We dumped so much water on one another that it dripped through to the floor below. When we were "called to the office" for our reprimand we couldn't stop giggling. I still smile when I remember this - we were so silly. And so drunk.

Once, I danced and made out with a total stranger on the dance floor on "hell night" (when the frats finish their hazing) and all I know about him to this day was he was wearing a football jersey with "THUMPER" written on the back.

Once, we got so drunk at a pre-dance party that my roommate ate shrimp (including the tail) and threw up under the table at the restaurant. (I at least waited to hurl until I got back to the dorm). Oh. My. God.

People who know me today totally think I'm lying about my crazy drinking days. But I have the grades to prove it folks. I was out of control. Now I had many a roommate crazier than me, which is why even though I was miles nuttier than I had been growing up, my nickname was still "Mom" to my college buds.

Probably because I would always say things like:

"But we just got back from Spring Break, what do you mean you're taking off for Myrtle Beach?I know you had to work during break, but we have CLASSES now."

"You ran up a $400 phone bill? Did you not realize how much it costs to be on the phone long distance every night for 2-3 hours?"

"Do you really want to drink that 21st shot?"

"Are you EVER going to wash your sheets?"

"Are those rug burns on your ass??"

"Mary - there are 12 pairs of shoes under your covers in bed. Do you have to go to bed with your shoes on?"

"Mary - that is not a toilet it's a magazine rack."

And remember...I was usually drunk and crazy too while all this was going on.

In my sophomore year, it was during a marathon game of quarters where we were consuming pitchers of seagrams and cherry kool-aid (ugh...I know...) that I met my hubby. The alcohol gave me enough courage to talk to him and do a little "snogging". But I credit him with all the courage to come find me the next day - sober and hungover as hell - and ask me out.

So, today, I'll down the occasional cocktail, but given that there is usually driving to be done, or work the next day, or some such grown-up responsibility, (not to mention I have a much lower tolerance for the 2-3 day hangover!) I don't get much bottle time any more. So I have to seek my bravery elsewhere.

Maybe hubby can give me a hint as to what he had that got him to come to my room on that February afternoon in 1986 and ask me out without the benefit of beer goggles.

Thank goodness he did.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Public Displays of Affection (P-D-A)

A couple weeks ago, Haley put up a funny post on PDA. I was totally amused and create a rather inspired (if I do say so myself) comment. I told her one day when I needed a topic, I'd come back to steal it, so here we go.

In my opinion (and whose else really matters?) PDA is all about the fine line between sweet and sickening.

Acceptable PDA.
My husband's hand at the small of my back when we walk in a room.

Unacceptable PDA.
Hand on ass. Not cool.

Acceptable PDA.
A lingering glance - eye contact.

Unacceptable PDA.
A leer at my boobs.

Acceptable PDA.
Helping me with my coat and brushing my hair to the side of my face.

Unacceptable PDA.
Catching boobage on the coat change and then exclaiming "Woo Hoo!".

Acceptable PDA.
A sweet quick kiss.

Unacceptable PDA.
Tonsil hockey.

Men (and women) - do yourselves (and the rest of us) a favor and keep it subtle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Is Reality Over-rated?

So I was struggling for a topic today and then I read That Chick and as usual I was inspired. Chick's topic was about being afraid of being real. Making the transition between blogger/internet friendships and connections into the real world. I'm similarly terrified of this - I mean what if this connection is all a product of the magical world of web and there is no true chemistry when you meet in person?

A Cautionary Tale.

My husband and I had an "e-relationship" with a performer that we began following in college. We were huge fans of this relatively small-time star/performer Mark Rust. He did the college circuit and played folk music (all original) on guitar and piano and hammer dulcimer in the campus pubs and coffee houses and really gave his audiences a great show of good music, great stories (he could never get through a whole song without interrupting himself with some great related tale), and lots of laughs. We never tried to breach the celebrity zone to meet him during those performance, but preferred to stay part of his anonymous fan group. (We're kind of shy like that...)

Anyway, that all changed with the advent of email systems and shortly after we left college and were planning our wedding, we reached out to Mark via email because we wanted to use one of his songs in our wedding. Thus began our e-relationship. Every once in a while hubby would email Mark - and be like "Hey, what's up?...are you gonna be in our area anytime soon?...we'd love to catch a show. How are you? How's the family? This is what's new with us...."

One day the answer came back that he would be performing at a park within 2 miles of our home. We suggested a meet for dinner. Of course he didn't want to come to our house...I mean really...we could be like wacko stalkers. Then we suggested bringing a picnic to the park. Well, of course, he was setting up a ton of things and was busy, but he was gracious and we tried to make it easygoing. But we totally STRUGGLED for conversation.

It was kind of surprising to us. Because in our little minds he was like this great friend. I mean he had been with us on one of our first dates. We knew all the words to all his songs. We totally got his stories and his sense of humor - we were SYMPATICO!

But what we forgot was the performer factor. That intimacy that people feel when following a really great actor. Thinking we KNOW them because we've seen their act, listened to their talk show stories, read their magazine interviews. None of these things have anything to do with a true relationship of getting to know someone. And yet, we couldn't even have the ease of strangers since we had established a certain intimacy and had expectations for how we could relate.

All in all, it was a disappointing experience. I almost felt like I had lost a good friend. But what I had really lost was the ILLUSION of a friend.

What's the Verdict?

So, my question is this -- is reality over-rated? Would I go back and not have a meeting with Mark to resume my pretend friendship with him?

Would you want to take the chance to meet a best blogging friend knowing it could be awkward? or worse...that you really don't have any true connection at all?

Would I take that chance?

To be honest, I feel that if given the chance to meet That Chick, Shari, Haley, Kim, Nic, or any of the other really amazing people that I've been connecting with on line, I'd give it a shot. I may shake in my boots for a week leading up to meeting you. I may bring a cheat sheet of topics in case my mind goes blank when we meet. Or maybe I'll bring my laptop so we can "chat" if the conversation dies. And there's always alcohol.

So what the hell. Life is short. Friends are scarce.
Chick - I dare you to go for it!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Omens and Portents

Email from Hubby Early AM:
Subject: Omens
Text: Is it an omen for a bad week when your blackberry falls off your belt and into the toilet?

My Response:
Subject: Omens
Text: Could be an omen for a good week if it still works!


Email from Hubby Late PM:
Subject: Portents Never Lie
Text: Such a day.


Uh. Oh.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Defining Marriage

My thoughts on this movie clip below.

Two Posts on Sunday totally catches me up...right?

I'm falling down all over this NaBloPoMo. Good think I didn't sign up for the 50,000 word novel thing...geez....

Anyway - for the last several days I've been thinking about that good-bad movie, "Shall We Dance". I have no idea why, except for the one haunting thing that I remember from that movie...the Susan Sarandon speech about why people get married.

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."

(Glad I found the clip - posted above - Susan Sarandon's delivery of this speech is incredible.)

I've always thought this was one of the best representations of what marriage really is. Think about it, your relationship begins with attraction - physical, spiritual, intellectual - whatever turns you on. Passion joins it and falling in love - the greatest drug on earth. But what sustains a marriage? A deep and abiding caring for the other person. A commitment to share your life with them and theirs with you.

Why this topic on this day? I found myself rummaging through a box of old family photos today and I came up with several of weddings and married couples in my family. Not all of my family has been lucky in love...and several of my friends have hit some rough patches as well. But those magical WORKING marriages (and I do mean work) that I've seen inspire me every day to appreciate my own, and to remember that quote.

I like the idea that I am witnessing my love's life. I like the idea that he is witnessing mine. We don't have children. When we are gone, there will be little physical evidence that we were here. But our lives did not go unnoticed, because we have been here for one another.

Je Suis Finis!

That's "I am finished!" for all you non-frenchies out there. I finished my final term paper of my first graduate studies course. Hurrah for me! I honestly didn't think I was going to make it last night when I was struggling through the MLA standards for footnotes and you KNOW how many years it has been since I had to annotate my writing????

I was sorely tempted to blog last night INSTEAD of doing my paper, but for once I put the right priority first. The trick was going straight to my office from school at 5PM. I worked there until almost 9PM to complete it. I knew if I went home there'd be all kinds of rationalizations and distractions and I'd be up all night procrastinating (which I could not afford since I was dead tired already). I worked by the reward system - a pizza and my bed awaited me when done. It would be guilt free since I would be done. I swear I was almost in tears trying to get the bibliography and footnotes done. There is supposed to be an automated function on the college library website, but I couldn't login or get it to work and although the college was only a few miles away, I was just too tired to deal with going over. Thank God for Google. I found an on-line guide and did it the old-fashioned way.

My reward system went a little askew because the pizza joint actually closed before we could put in an order. Bummer. So it was a can of soup and some crackers for dinner. But the bed was still warm and cozy and ready for me as soon as I had eaten. Then the extra bonus!!!!

No, not that....I don't blog about my sex life....

Daylight Savings Fall Back!! One glorious extra hour of sleep. I cannot even express how much I needed those extra 60 minutes this week. We have been full throttle for about a month now and we were both at the end of our ropes. The pizza thing almost broke us....truly...a pizza...

This work week looks like another crazy one. And the paperwork for my next semester now lies in my bookbag. Ugh.

Wouldn't you love to be a full-time student again, floating by on your parent's dime? (or even on the bank didn't realize then the pain you'd have after school). My biggest challenge in college was how to get my next 4 pack of Bartles & James wine coolers. As I walked through campus this afternoon I saw so many students lounging around outside, taking in a soccer game, sharing a boyfriend-girlfriend moment on a bench, laughing their way to the college pub for lunch. Ah, those were the days.

I can't complain. I have a good life, and my hubby is a true partner. We struggle sometimes to fit it all in and still have the downtime we need (I am a true couch potato at heart!), but we manage.

And that Fall Back thing...saved my sanity this week.
Thanks Ben (Franklin)!
Excellent Idea.

I'm headed to the couch with hubby. We have DVR viewing to do, fresh-baked cookies to eat, and a sweet couch to stretch out on. Ahhhhhh.......

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Technically it's still Friday (sort of)

I can't be failing NaBloPoMo on the 2nd day, can I? I have been a nearly flawless poster when not under a "POST EVERY DAY" mandate, but I already f-ed this up? Not technically in my mind.

Yesterday was insanely busy. I totally flaked on helping my big sister with a resume review because my job went nutso all day. I finally got out at 8PM after making my good friend SDS wait next to my desk for a full hour while I scrambled a script together for a video production piece, and it wasn't until midway through a much desired drink (love those raspberry cosmos at Sam's!) and a few bites of a lovely rare kobe beef burger (TREAT!) that I realized I never got back to my sis. Duh. Head bonk. I called and of course she was cool with it. But I digress.

I only arrived home (half comatose after a week of very little sleep) at about 11PM and after catching up with hubby fell into bed without posting. Now it is still dark out (hate this time of year) and I am up getting ready for my full day of Saturday grad school (ugh) so technically in my mind and heart it is still Friday.

No I won't adjust my time and date and try to flub my way through this, but I trust my buds out there will give me a pass on this one and keep me in the NaBloPoMo community. If I'm inelegible for any stupid prize, no sweat...I've got enough toys as it is.

Off to school...more tonight - anxiety post expected since I have to finish my term paper TONIGHT before class tomorrow. Double Ugh.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Senior Moment

Okay - so this morning I had all these great ideas of what to post today on this first day of NaBloPoMo (another fun acronym for me!) and as of this moment, this SENIOR moment, I can't think of one of them. Seriously. I had some MAD ideas about controversial things to say, intelligent thought-provoking, comment-stimulating, "you so wish you were me" ideas.

Doesn't that drive you completely I-N-S-A-N-E???? I hate when my memory totally flakes out on me that way. More of that damn Diet Pepsi effect, I'm sure.

I could talk about how in less than the 24 hours between meeting with my financial person and committing to the mortgage refi the rates went up. Not a lot, but still... Can someone explain to me (although my eyes will probably glaze over in about 30 seconds flat if you try) why when the fed DROPS interest rates, my mortgage rate goes up??? WHAT. THE. HELL.

I could talk about how I managed to lock myself out of the house this morning and it took me about 5 minutes of aiming THE WRONG KEYLESS LOCK "THINGY" at my car before it occurred to me I had the spare car set in my hand instead of my truck keys and the house key. Seriously. What kind of moron am I? Then, I realized...I left my blackberry/cell in my room. No way to call anyone for help. Luckily, I'm a moron who doesn't lock her house very well. I quickly identified the open sliding door into the patio and got back in to get cell and keys. Duh.

I could talk about how it took me 25 minutes to get to work yesterday and how I left 10 minutes earlier today and got to work an hour later. Sigh.

I could talk about my adorable great-nephew and ooh and aah over his Halloween costume (He's Roo from Winnie the Pooh...isn't that the cutest???).

I could talk about how annoying it is to be sitting at work when the cleaning crew comes through and having to listen to the vacuum cleaner while you are trying to complete your work (or do your blog)...whatever...

I could talk about how totally unbelievable it is that it is NOVEMBER!!!! Where has the year gone? I haven't even started my christmas shopping list, much less the actual shopping.

I could talk about how this weekend I complete my first semester of graduate studies (ok so it's only 1 class, but semester sounds more impressive) and I only have 12 more to go! Woo hoo. At my current rate of study (and considering I want summer semesters off) I will be done in like 8 years.

I could talk about the "helpless" desk here at work who completely cracked me and my boss up with their TOTAL ineptitude tonight. EUREKA - THAT is what I'll talk about (ignore my previous ramblings, although you can still think my nephew is TOO CUTE!)

SCENE 1, Act 1: Cheap Labor - You Get What You Pay For.

Boss on speaker phone, Me at her side (aka US): Hello. We need some help with our FTP site. I have uploaded some large files and our partner in Australia is having difficulty accessing it.

HELPLESS: {silence}

US: Hello??

HELPLESS: um, yeah.

US: Do you know how to work with our FTP site?

HELPLESS:, but I'm not the only one here.

US: Okay, so we're going to email you the link and maybe you and whoever else is there can check it out okay?


Me: Are you seeing the page not found message?

HELPLESS: Um..I'm not actually AT my computer.

Boss: Okay, we'll wait.

HELPLESS: I'm not AT my computer.

Boss: Yeah, I got that. I figured you could go to your computer now and I'll wait.


Boss{beginning to get irritated, I'm starting to smother giggles}: This IS the HELPDESK right?


Boss: So...???

HELPLESS: Well, you see, when I'm here at night I share a desk with HELPLESS 2 and it is across the room and I can't reach the keyboard and be on the phone at the same time, so...blah blah blah blah blah blah

Boss (totally exasperated, I'm now bent over snorting with laughter): Okay, I really don't need to know anymore. I've sent you the link can you get someone who IS at a computer and can reach a phone to help me?

HELPLESS: Um...yeah. {hold music}

Meanwhile...back at the ranch...boss and I figure out the link is wrong, send the email back to Australia and get a response back from them {hold music still playing}... response from Australia - have access - strange it didn't ask for a login or password. (That's just scary - talk about a security gap)

We hang up and call back, since hold music has continued entire time.

HELPLESS 2: Helpdesk.

Boss: Nevermind - we figured it out.

HELPLESS 1 {In background}: - oh...I just tried to get to site and it was down.

Boss: No, actually, we just had the wrong link address.

HELPLESS 1: could have been it too.

Boss {crossing her eyes at me, me with tears on my cheeks from suppressed giggles}: may want to think about getting a cordless phone or making sure you're at a computer when people call. Just a thought.


Boss {Still exasperated, but starting to giggle to}: Okay is it just me? Like - do we NOT have the technology to handle this? {giggle} Press speaker phone and go to computer. {laugh} Bring laptop to phone. {full out belly laugh} Offer to call us back from phone BY a computer. Holy Cow. {approaching hysterical giggles} I mean, really, is it me?? {wipes tears away} I'm so DONE tonight. I'm outta here.

Have I told you how much I LOVE my boss? She's the bomb.

So - not sure if this was the stimulating post I had in my mind this morning. But it filled up some space...and I was amused, even if you weren't. And in MY world, that's all that matters.