Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Anglophile or Anglophobe?

My hubby and I are self-proclaimed Anglophiles {people who love English culture and England in general} and yet we've never been to England. It is a very sad and shameful thing. We are very sure we would love it there - from the cold and rainy north to the palm trees in the south, from the metropolitan London to the country farmlands. In fact, I think I'm going to order this shirt to prove my love of all things under the Union Jack.
When I was growing up we often had visitors from England. My father was employed at Eastman Kodak Company (also known as "Big Yellow"). Between 1940 and 1942, 156 British children were brought to the Rochester area by Kodak to safeguard them from the war in their home country. These “Kodakids,” as they were called, were placed with the families of local Kodak employees or in foster homes for the duration of the war. My father's family hosted two sisters - Joan and Ruby. They left their family and their lives behind and lived with my father's family for 6 years. Can you imagine? Interrupting your childhood and leaving your country, your family, your friends, everything behind and adopting a whole new life? I can't imagine what was harder. Coming to the U.S. or returning to England as a relative stranger to your family and your country.

Anyway, they were lovely people and my love affair with British accents, authors, and culture began there. They gave me their strange money to keep in a jewelry box at home and tried to teach me about exchange rates, they talked about nights out at the pub, they had rosy cheeks and bright eyes, they referred to beers as pints. They introduced me to Jane Austin, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, and the Royal Family. I fell in love with Wimbeldon - and the tradition of white on the courts, the Duke and Dutchess of Kent in the stands, the starched reserved properness of it all.
And when I was older, they introduced me to Benny Hill.
And I found the seedy underside of British life.
And I was well and truly hooked.

The balance to all that proper behavior was this incredibly funny foul man. Can you hear the music playing now?

I've continued to spend my Friday evenings watching the local PBS station's BritCom nights with wonderful and quirky shows from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Some favorites - check them out.

The Young Ones
[The anarchic flatshare from hell]

Are You Being Served?
[Set in the antiquated Grace Brothers department store, the show followed the antics of its staff]

[3 guys, 3 girls, not your average "Friends" episodes]

Black Adder
[Follow the tawdry and yet inexorable progress of the Blackadder dynasty]

As Time Goes By
[a gentle, well-scripted sitcom about the rekindling of long-lost love]

The Vicar of Dibley
[Not your run of the mill grey-haired cleric]

Fawlty Towers
[Farce run amok]

My Hero
[Thermo-man adjusts to life on earth]

God Bless the BBC.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hot Potatoes

Welcome to Hot Potato day.

One Potato: Thinking I was meeting with a colleague to align her tasks with mine, I quickly became aware that it was actually a meeting where she was trying to PASS her tasks to me. Oh.No.Sister. I don't play that way. You must cook and eat your own potato. Your potato is too hot for me.

Two Potato: Having inherited a task that does not belong on my desk, my staff's desks, or even my group's desks, I tried to meet with others who shared the "grey area" around this job. It became quickly evident that this project has been orphaned and while critical for the company, no group and no person will adopt it. Poor orphan. This hot potato is still jumping until it finds a home.

Three Potato: Quick deadline request. This was my OLD job. But I still get the potato. Today's potato could get us a $500k job for only 1.5 hours work. Think I can get commission on a well-cooked potato?

Four Potato: New task came to me - how to sort out a multi-national project report on revenues, costs, profits, and sales. Every question I asked to get clarification (keeping in mind I failed out of accounting in college and am going by my years of experience in checkbook management here) yielded this response: "Hmmmm, good question...I haven't really thought that one out yet." Have you ever noticed how hard it is to bake an unripened potato?

Five Potato: Received an email from my professors today with suggestions on how to structure my final report and presentation which is due this weekend. Hello. I already planted, harvested, and am just finalizing the cooking of my potato now...why are you sending me back to the planting stage?

Enough already. Keep your hands off my potatoes and I'll keep mine off yours.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Miss America Reality Check.....NOT!

I admit it. I got hooked by the great ad campaign for the Miss America Reality show and tuned in to most of the episodes. I not so secretly took pleasure in watching these women being mocked for their pageant...well...nonsense and 1950's sensibilities.

My favorite moments in the reality show were equaled by my disappointment in the actual pageant.
  1. When "controversy" was the special guest at dinner. This session took the normal beauty pageant questions and turned them on their ear. Imagine their surprise when they were asked to discuss gay marriage, gun control, teenage sex/pregnancy, etc.? Not one of them could hide behind the "world peace" standard response.

    Actual pageant questions. LAME. LAME. LAME. They took "man on the street" questions. And I'm sorry America - but you people who actually stop and talk to microphones when they are stuck in your faces are just plain stupid. Those of us who are smart, see a microphone and WALK THE OTHER WAY! While there were a few moments where controversy might have been a possibility (discussion of STDs seems a little risque for Miss America) everyone did the usual dance around the issue.

  2. Makeovers. HYS-TER-I-CAL. These women were astounded when they were told, you're beautiful BUT... cut your hair, too much makeup, dress better, less aqua net, smile less, walk better, get modern!!

    Actual pageant looks. Unbelievably they all came back with the big hair, heavy duty makeup, and silly struts that they had tried to lose in the reality show. In particular - one contestant who had a really radical look with super straight and funky bangs came out with that hideous camel hump roll in her bangs making her look like a throw-back from 30 years ago. Oh - and had to love the HUGE earrings that so go with tank tops and jeans.

  3. Competitions. Similar to Survivor they had competitions to win them extra bonuses and to test their abilities. Some women were reduced to tears with the idea of having to (gasp) jump in a pool with their pageant swim suits. Gloryanna what the hell is with these women?

    Actual pageant competitions. Help me please. Who the hell told any of these women they have talent? The ballet dances were PAINFUL. The singing - a pretty close second. The batons, thankfully, were eliminated before they got a chance to twirl.

  4. Evening Gowns. The show stressed modern looks. Simple lines. Hip. Trendy. Anything but the princess gowns dripping in sequins. At one point they were each given a turtleneck long sleeved gown they had to modify and accessorize to suit the feedback they got on what worked for their body type and current trends. Wow. These women demonstrated some serious lack of taste in that episode. But at least they weren't glaring sequins.

    Actual pageant gowns. Most were the same old same old. The winner actually wore an illusion gown that was pretty revealing, but the parts that weren't transparent were (you guessed it) dripping in sequins.

  5. Hosts & Patter. I loved the host of the reality show - Michael Urie. He was funny without being mean (I was mean enough for both of us as I rudely snickered away), and he had some camera presence and some charm.

    Actual pageant hosts. LAME LAME LAME LAME LAME. Mark Steines seemed to be qualified purely by the fact that he married Miss USA 1993 or something. Clinton Kelly (What Not to Wear host)...had no qualifications. So, can I just say again...LAME?

I really have to say that between the lousy judge's panel and the bad overall production, Miss USA was pretty much as bad as ever as an entertainment show - possibly worse. If they were expecting to turn this into America's Next Top Model...well they failed. If they were expecting to turn this into a true scholarship program...they failed. If they were expecting to turn this into Cinderella...they still failed.

And as far as going modern? Well, bringing contestants out in jeans, making the losing contestants sit on the stage for the entire show and eat CARBS with Clinton Kelly, bringing parents up on stage to sit on bleachers, and using the Arnold Horschack (ooh oooh pick me pick me) mode for the Q&A just didn't spell modern to me.

Every contestant who seemed even remotely different/modern was chopped in the very first cutoff. I did like Miss Washington. She seemed quite intelligent, had a fair talent and at least sang a modern song vs. Over the Rainbow (ugh!), and was really up on today's issues. For a few moments, I also had hopes when Miss Utah made it into the top 16 by a popular vote from reality show viewers, but she missed out on the next cut from the judges.

At least she dropped to the stage and "gave us 10" (push-ups that is) before exiting. And several of her competitors joined her as well. Now THAT's a modern take.

Sadly, the crown yet again went to a blonde barbie doll cutout with a history of eating disorders and aspirations to become a broadway actress. How inspiring.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


When you are dieting and feel hungry, why aren't you immediately thinner?

You know what I mean, right? When you are really full, your normally snug fitting clothes become like a noose around your waist.

So if you are eating less food and feeling hungry, why don't those clothes get loose by a similar degree?

This is just patently unfair.

But, despite the unfairness of it all, I will persevere.

Understanding My Options

In a quest to be a little more aware of the political environment and my choices in the upcoming presidential election, I discovered a helpful tool. The Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz. It takes top issues, simplifies them into multiple choice position options, and then aligns them with the various candidates.

Not surprisingly, although I am not registered with any party affiliation,I come out strongly democractic. Also not surprising, there are only 3% points difference between the four running dems.

89% Barack Obama
86% Chris Dodd
86% John Edwards
86% Hillary Clinton
83% Bill Richardson
79% Joe Biden
74% Dennis Kucinich
72% Mike Gravel

51% Rudy Giuliani
44% John McCain
33% Mike Huckabee
33% Mitt Romney
27% Tom Tancredo
22% Fred Thompson
14% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Thus, my quandry continues. And I'm not alone. The January 21st issue of Newsweek has a feature article on Hillary Clinton. One of the interesting points brought out in the article is after hoping for years for a viable minority or female candidate for president - we have both in one year. "Some women are nursing guilt over supporting Obama; some African-Americans worry they are doing the wrong thing by voting for Clinton."

So I am returning to the issues, trying to be educated in my choice, trying not to let emotion sway me, and trying not to get caught up in how "cool" it would be to have a black or a female president and be sure we get the RIGHT president.

But damn, it would be cool if the RIGHT president also turned out to be Hillary or Barack.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Welcome Fans of Derfwadness!

I'm happy to welcome anyone today who is coming by way of Mrs. G. at Derfwad Manor. She was kind enough to host me today on her guest spot - Slow Cook Thursday.

I met Mrs. G. through my journey through NaBloPoMo in the Women Over 40 group she created. We've been fast friends ever since.

My other post today is my one and only solicitation I just wanted to insert this little disclaimer here. I'm not into blogging to make connections to fund my own little pet projects, it just so happened that my favorite sister was looking for help for her class on the very day I was expecting an influx of links because of "The Power of Derfwadness".

So, if you're interested in checking out a good cause, read my next post. If not, that's okay too. Skip on through my earlier ramblings. Hopefully you'll find something that connects with you.

Because that IS the reason I blog. To wrench crap out of my overly crowded brain, share my observations and feelings (aka crap) with people who enjoy my quirky sense of humor, my abundant sentimentality, and my occasional bitchy remarks. And then I get to find others like you and enjoy your nuttiness, joys, sorrows, and hopefully some equally bitchy remarks.

Cuz I hate to be the only bitch in the room.

Robots Must be Built! Students Must Learn!

My sister is a teacher in the San Diego area who has been given an opportunity to help her kids with a life changing experience. They are trying to raise money to build a robot for the US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competition. They need your help! They have entered a contest to raise money through PARADE Magazine and Network for Good.

If you would like to help, please continue to read, visit the link below and donate atleast $10. They are also competing for the most donations, so if you would like to donate more than $10 then do it in $10 increments. If they succeed, they could go on to the national competition in Atlanta, GA. Visit her blog at Hey Jude to read more. Thanks!

"Dear Family, Friends, and Colleagues,

Do you want to be a part of a life-changing program that inspires young people to pursue opportunities in science and technology?

Lend a hand to help our students follow their dream. Sweetwater Union High School District has three high schools (Eastlake High, Hilltop High, and Alternative Education) building robots to compete in the San Diego Regional, March 6-8, 2008. To get to the competition, it is essential to raise money to pay for the robotic kit, transportation and various other expenses.

We have entered a contest to raise money through PARADE Magazine and Network for Good. They will give $50,000 to the top 10 charity groups who bring in the most $10+ donations.
Read more about the contest

Click on or copy and paste the site below. You will be linked to our “badge” and can donate to rally around our students!

When completing the form, use the following information:
Designation: Robotics

Remember we are looking for numbers of donations, not amounts! If you want to donate more than $10, please donate in multiples of $10 from everyone in your households. The more names we get, the more chances we will have to win!!

This contest ends January 31, 2008, so PLEASE donate now! 1200 donations of $10 each will put us in very competitive status! After you donate, forward this link to everyone! Time and numbers are of the essence!


Hilltop High School Team
EastLake High School Team
Alternative Education Team

About FIRST:
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester NH, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support of many of the world’s most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high school students, the FIRST LEGO League for children 9-14 years old, and the junior FIRST LEGO League for 6-9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Remembering My Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 82 years old. He passed away 5 years ago due to complications from the treatments he was receiving for lung cancer.

My Dad had been a smoker much of my life. He beat it for a while, but after several years began sneaking the cigarettes again. In February of 2003 he was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer - the most deadly and rapidly spreading kind. The doctors gave him the option of just treating his pain, or trying to beat the cancer. Either way, they were pretty sure he was terminal. We were all together at the hospital that day. It was probably the first time in 10 years we were all in the same room together - Mom, Dad, and all five kids. My Dad looked around at us, and didn't hesitate. He just said, "Let's do it! Let's try to beat this."

At first I thought he was in denial. But then I watched his actions. When packing up from their winter Florida home to return to Rochester NY for the treatments to begin, he insisted on walking to the rental office. When we asked him why, he said, "To Say Goodbye". There was something in the way he said it that told me it was to say a final goodbye. He knew he would never be back.

He made a list of things he wanted to do. Simple things. Places he wanted to go one more time. People he wanted to see. He was facing the end with grace and honor as he had his entire life.

At the airport we all flew off in our various directions home. One brother and one sister to southern California, another brother and sister to Rochester with my folks, me back to Suffern. Expecting the Doctor's prediction of 6 months we were all gearing up. Who could take a leave of absence from work first? How were we going to tag-team so Mom and Dad had our support?

But I sat in the airport after everyone else had left and wrote the eulogy I would find myself delivering much too soon.

A couple of weeks into Dad's treatment we were still debating how to make it all work, and I was on my way home from a conference I had attended in California. While waiting for a delayed connection, I received a call from my husband. He had driven to Rochester to meet me there. The plan was to spend the weekend in Rochester with my folks and try to make some plans for the coming months and then to drive home to Suffern. But everything changed with that call. My father had spiked a fever and was hallucinating and semi-responsive. They were calling an ambulance. They would send someone to get me at the airport when I landed.

That was the longest flight of my life. I remember thinking some angel had been watching me because someone had left the book The Love Letter in the seat pocket and it was the only thing that got me through that flight.

In the emergency room, my father apologized to me. He had been looking forward to the weekend, to seeing us, and he was sorry we were inconvenienced to be in the hospital. That was my Dad. He always wanted the best for all his kids.

To test him and keep him alert, we asked him, "What do you think Dad?" and he kept answering, "Save your Money" and making us all laugh through our tears.

The doctors took us to a private room to tell us they could do nothing for him but make him comfortable. His immune system was wiped out by the chemotherapy and the infection was ravaging his body. They didn't think he would last 24 hours. We called my sister and brother in California and told them the news. We called relatives and encouraged them to come and say good-bye. We tried to find moments of lucidity in my Dad's last hours to tell him we loved him and it was okay for him to go.

Then we waited.

We took turns sitting by his bedside. At one point my husband leaned over and kissed my Dad's forehead and told him, "You've always been my hero." In the wee hours of the morning, while others were sleeping in the waiting room, I was there holding his hand while my husband stood nearby. Then something changed.

None of the monitors registered a difference, but there was something new in his aspect. I told my husband to go down the hall and wake everyone. I asked the nurse to come into the room. As I watched, I still couldn't pinpoint it, but something was happening. Quietly, I said, "Dad?" and watched as a single tear streamed down his cheek. I squeezed his hand and he was gone.

One week later I delivered a eulogy at my father's memorial service. There were bagpipes playing Amazing Grace (he would have loved that) and despite an extreme ice storm that had surprised upstate NY that week, over 100 people came to pay their respects.

Because my Dad? he touched people. He lived a simple life. But in its simplicity was its power.

Happy Birthday Pop. I miss you every day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can you hear my heart breaking?

The news came over the radio this evening. Heath Ledger, actor, age 28, found dead.

I first discovered him on the short-lived tv series Roar. (Think Xena Warrior Princess but replace macho dark-haired, dark-eyed woman with sweet 17-year old blonde, deep-voiced boy).

The show was awful, just awful. But there was something totally riveting about the young star. He had a velvet voice and a smile a mile wide, and he ate the lens of the camera.

After the show ended he began to pop up in a variety of movies - some fun, some entertaining, and then it all broke wide open (pun not intended) with that little movie - Brokeback Mountain.

Today, that life and talent ended with a young man, found naked in bed, surrounded by pills, in an apartment in SoHo. I'm making no assumptions, no judgments, no second guesses.

I'm just sad this sweet boy is gone.

On My Own...The Story of Eponine

One of my favorite Broadway hits is the musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel, Les Miserables. Who would have thought that you could set a revolution to music and find it entertaining?

Last night I had the most vivid dream that I arrived backstage at a broadway theater thinking I had a small chorus role to play. I didn't even know what show it was. Suddenly, I'm thrust into a costume and given a cocky little hat and some rags to wear, my hair is lengthened by extensions and made all raggedy, and my face is rubbed with more grime than makeup.

The role? Eponine - the sympathetic waif daughter of the Thenardiers.

Suddenly I'm on stage belting out "On My Own" - Eponine's signature song - and astonished to hear the sounds coming from my mouth.

I awoke this morning with the song reverberating around my brain and haven't been able to get it out of my head. If anyone has any ideas on what this dream means let me know. I am not a singer, never dreamed of starring on Broadway, didn't even participate in drama club in high this one has me puzzled.

Regardless - it was a good dream. Think I'll play the soundtrack tonight when I get home.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Don't Worry Be Happy

Yesterday we braved the mall. I hate the mall. Essentially I hate people who crowd the mall. So a mall on a Saturday. Not. My. Scene. But we wanted to see a movie and it was the convenient location, so off we went.

When we left the movie, I was traumatized by the aftereffects of the plot. ("I Am Legend" is not for the faint of heart my friends. ) Also, the crowds had increased tenfold. I guess Saturday night the mall is the place to be. For. Everyone. But. Me.

Then. We hit the parking lot.

And found our car had been spray-painted with a smiley face. We stared at one another astonished. The universe was obviously sending us a message. Don't worry. Be happy.

We giggled most of the way home.

I mean, what can you do, right? I can't hate the mall any more than I already did. And all we could think of was some wacko vandals giggling their way around the parking lot spraying their cheerful paint on car windows.

And luckily - it came off easily today.

Although I was almost sad to see it go.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feeling Reflective...and 41.

Today I am 41. (Say it proud)

I'm not big on celebrating my birthday. It's not that I'm depressed. I got over that at age 29. It's that it's yet another day where the world expects you (pressures you?) to celebrate and party. I like to party when I FEEL like partying, not because it is a specific date on the calendar. And to be truthful, I'm never quite comfortable being the center of attention. I much prefer partying at someone else's birthday party.

So, in the spirit of facing my anxiety on this and making myself the center of attention in my own way, I decided to dig up some of the responses from friends to a recent email questionnaire... about me!

Where Did We Meet?

Natalie: At my job interview with you.

Laura: Bradford Mews Apartments

Eileen: {Company}

Cin: In the neighborhood

{Note to self: I love that I have people that I have known from 15-35 years who responded}

What Was Your First Impression of Me When We Met?

Natalie: I imagine I was terrified - since I was interviewing. And awed. Still am!

Laura: Wow, she is tall like me!!!!

Eileen: Do you think I can remember 15 years ago???? Helpful?

Cin: {No answer...can't blame her - it was 35 years ago!}

{Note to self: Can I really AWE someone? How cool is that?}

Do You Remember One of the First Things I Said to You?

Natalie: I remember one of the funniest (and maybe first because it was early on) things you ever said to me was that your name should be "Hey Wendy" because I always burst into your office and addressed you that way.

Laura: no clue.

Eileen: Probably “shut-up”

Cin: Do you want to play? (yup - met Cin when I was 6!)

{Note to self: Give Natalie and Eileen props for funniest answers, give Cin extra points for a sweet answer that made me think of pigtails, jump-ropes, roller skates, and slumber parties, make a greater impression on Laura!}

What is the Best Feature About Me?

Natalie: You have always been an incredibly supportive person - at work, with your friends, and I know with your family. You were one of the best managers I ever worked for. Oh, and you have a kickbutt sense of humor and wit.

Laura: Your friendship.

Eileen: Caring, loving, supportive, full of advice- all wrapped up into one great person!

Cin: Your smile!

{Note to self - When you need an ego boost, read this!}

Am I shy or outgoing?

Natalie: More outgoing than shy. I don't think you ever liked things like public speaking, but got really good at it with practice.

Laura: You are not really shy, but just hate SFP.

Eileen: You think you are shy, but really are very outgoing. Why else would I be friends with you?

Cin: Outgoing

{Note to self: I have these girls so FOOLED!
People terrify me. I just act like I can handle it
.... AFTER I pop my Prilosec}

Am I a Rebel or Do I Follow the Rules?

Natalie: Rules

Laura: Rule follower

Eileen: RULES

Cin: Follow rules

{Note to it time to start bending some rules? or accept that I'm not a rebel?}

What's your favorite memory of me?

Natalie: I always thought I was a determined person, but I will never forget this one night where we were all working on a client proposal, and I was ready to throw in the towel, but you just wouldn't give up on it and did such amazing, creative, work. You showed the most incredible leadership in the trenches. I was always inspired to learn and achieve more by your example.

Laura: Lots of times. Especially at the cape or Hilton head.

Eileen: There are so many but I will have to say our weekend in Nantucket.

Cin: Camping at Woodstream, Summers in the screened in garage, Sharing my boyfriend/husband, Seeing the little girl stars in your eyes when you saw my brother, Sharing our weddings

{Note to self: When you need nostalgia prompt read this!}

Any special talents?

Natalie: WRITING - you are an amazing writer.

Laura: Great writer. I can't wait to read your book.

Eileen: Hidden interior decorating talents.

Cin: Playing piano, doing laps in your “Kayak” pool and the best under water tea party host, being a forever friend

{Note to self: Start outlining that book, while drapery shopping, and get a tea set for the pool}

If there was one good nickname for me, what would it be?

Natalie: Powerhouse? I think you can do anything you set your mind to.

Eileen: {No answer - I think because it might be unprintable nasty words}

Laura: Wenderina

Cin: Mouse

{Note to self: I've had many nicknames, and they each seem to be tied to the person who gave them to me...not one for all occasions. They include: Wenderina, Bean, Green Eyes, Ween, Nylednew, etc.}

If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing that I would bring?

Natalie: Books, but add a good bottle of wine and there you have paradise (yes, I know that's two things).

Laura: A good book or DVD.

Eileen: Hostess snack cake. (okay probably a tv)

Cin: A big book.

{Note to self: Yup, yup, and yup.}



I asked my hubby to answer it too, just to see what he would say.

Can I hear a big "awwwwww"?? with his answers?

Where did we meet?

Nassau Hall, SUNY Geneseo

Take a stab at my middle name.


How long have you known me?

7651 Days

Do I smoke: Never! Never! Never!

What was your first impression of me upon meeting?

Is she flirting with me??? She is way too cool to be flirting with me.

Color of my eyes: Green

Do I have any siblings: Yes

What's one of my favorite things to do:

Garden... Kidding! Bowling.... Still Kidding!..... Reading

Do you remember one of the first things I said to you: Hey! What is my room-mate doing on your lap?

What's my favorite type of music: varied.... Much better than when i met you.

What is the best feature about me: How you take care of all the people around you

Am I shy or outgoing: Shy

Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules: You are a "rules" girl

What's your favorite memory of me: Just about any time we spend together.

Any special talents: You make a mean meatloaf

Would you consider me a friend: My Best Friend!

If there was one good nickname for me, what would it be: Sweetie

If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing that I would bring: books


I recommend this quiz/exercise for your next birthday. It reminded me of some great memories, reinforced how great the people who surround me are, and gave me a sense that if I accomplish nothing else in this world...I've made some amazing friends and married an amazing guy.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Six Hours I Will NEVER Get Back

Yesterday was one of the most wasteful days of my life. Not a good wasteful day - you know, those lovely days where you lounge and do nothing? But one where some SFPs decided it was their job, nay their mission, to waste my time.

Wanna hear all about it? Of course you do.

I'm all for the Green movement these days. I'm recycling better than ever, turning off the water when I brush my teeth, trying to keep the lights to a minimum, etc. etc. etc. But some of the people I work with have a "Green Team" and they are like eco-terrorists. They attacked my boss for (gasp) printing a brochure to mail to our client list. One brochure per year, mind you. And they did it after I encouraged her to send a message out to staff about the greener printing and distribution we did this year. Obviously, the only GREEN they understand is the total removal of all paper, ink, postage, and mailtrucks from our client communication process.

Imagine my delight, then, when their campaign to supply every person in the company with a mug so we can get rid of those pesky disposable coffee cups backfired in a big way. The mugs were made in China. Being that we are an environmental consulting firm and that we live in America where Mattel has been in the news daily since summer guess what everyone thought?

That's right. And one industrious person hopped right on out to their local grocery store and picked up the handy dandy test kit and swabbed the mug.

Surprisingly the mug (made in China) was just fine. The imprint of our company logo (did I mention we are an environmental consulting firm?) however - came up positive for lead. Now this handy dandy little $6 kit does not tell you how much lead, just that it is present. In fact, the FDA allows a certain amount of lead in the process stating in small amounts it is not harmful to human health - but the people I work with...yeah, they're not gonna go for that.

My delight quickly turned to dread however, since in typical manner - hysteria arose - and since my boss was away in a meeting, and the head of the GREEN ECO TERRORISTS was also out, somehow I got the lovely job of communicating this error to all staff and heading up the "Great Mug Recall of 2008".

Fast forward 6 hours, 22 phone calls, 4 conference calls, umpteen drafts and reviews, making the VP of HR get out of her sick bed to approve, and one stellar career-making and memorable moment when I told our firm's VP/General Counsel to "bite me" (yes, I really did) and you get an idea of the great day I had.

The first draft? was 3 concise but well-spun paragraphs (if I do say so myself) that took about 10 minutes to write and had the input and approval of the rest of our communications group.

At the end of the 6 hours, 22 phone calls, 4 conference calls, umpteen drafts and reviews, VP of HR and General Counsel fiasco -- the final version? was 4 sentences long.

"Last week we announced the distribution of mugs from the Green Team that would help us reduce waste of paper cup products. Partial shipments have begun to arrive and we have discovered some quality issues with the imprinting on the mugs. We are returning the mugs to the manufacturer as unsatisfactory to {Company}.

If you have a mug at your desk or see one in your office, please return it to a central collection point in your office so it can be returned to the vendor."

On a scale of 1 to 10 this day was a minus 1,434,526.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Politically Incorrect

This is always the time when I grow weary of the politics that come with our lovely democracy. It's not the candidates, or even the rhetoric (although that can be wearing), it's the media.

The media coverage yesterday (let me clarify it was mostly TV and Radio- Print media as always seems much more balanced) of Hillary Clinton's "emotional breakdown" was just unbearable. I have no party affiliation, nor will I discuss my leanings toward or against any candidate here. I'm just not up for the political upheaval on my private blog space. This is my commentary PURELY about the election period media.

Why, oh why must the spin always be so damned dramatic? And why, I wonder, do they make the choices they do? Since Clinton has been described as wooden, hard-nosed, overly analytical, etc. why is is a sign of a potential breakdown that she shows a moment of emotion? Is it the Female-hormone thing? Is it just the desire of the media to always tear things down? Why can't this moment be described as a "passionate speech where Clinton demonstrated her total personal and professional commitment to pursuing a better America"?

And even if you buy-in to the idea that a breakdown and exhaustion is playing into this, why was the next story in CBS Radio today about popularity contests? I listened to the story in absolute astonishment when the commentator actually criticized Hillary Clinton for being "the valedictorian who cried because she lost the election for class president to the quarterback of the football team."

Um...hello...I would personally prefer a high school valedictorian (or better yet a Yale Law Graduate?) over the high school football quarterback any day. I mean haven't we seen enough of the dumb jock syndrome for the last 8 years? Since when is it a bad idea for the smartest person in the room to be the one elected president? When did dumb and popular become what we want in a president? (I know there have been a lot of them, but please...can't we raise the expectation?)

So, Hillary - whether or not you are the right person for the job...and whether or not you convince me to vote for you...stay passionate and keep pushing us to look at ALL of the candidates for their smarts, their experience, their records, their ideas, and their passion for the job.

And for those of you out there - like me - who were not engaged in the process and didn't vote (my first vote was cast in the last presidential election at the age of 36), please re-think that position. Yes, I know it is often the choice of the lesser of two evils, rather than the greater of two virtues, but the greater of the two evils seems to be getting much much worse. So let's make sure the best choice takes us through the next 4 years. Get out and vote!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Celebrity Look-Alike

I decided to try that Celebrity Look-Alike face recognition software out since it's free and I'm easily amused. Plus, I had school this weekend, and my brain is fried with boring strategic business communications and cold medicine.

Results Photo 1:

Results Photo 2:

Results Photo 3:

Results Photo 4:

I think the photos of me all look very similar - although they've been taken over a 3 year period. Yet there are very few overlaps in lookalikes. All I can say is I hope that the DHS is using more sophisticated face recognition software than this.

I Admit It, I've Been Cheating on You

Don't get excited. I just mean that I've been posting to another blog.

I joined a community blog called Winter Reading Challenge. Anyone who has spent time on my blog knows my love of books. They are my constant companion, my partners in the crime of procrastination, my refuge from life, my imagination sparkers. Hubby and I are often found curled at opposite ends of the couch, legs entwined, with a book each on our laps, interrupting one another now and again to share an amusing or thought provoking passage.

During the winter, when darkness falls early, and cold weather drives us indoors, we enjoy a good book and a good fire in the fireplace. During the summer, we enjoy our patio and yard and are often found outside on a lounge chair or a hammock with more books!

So if you are a book lover like us, you can join the Winter Reading Challenge too! Just send an email to if you are interested.

If you don't want to join, you can still visit the site and get some great book recommendations! Here are my two reviews posted to date:

The New & (Not) Improved Harry Potter
(Review of The Hound of Rowan)
(Review of Bet Me, First Lady, and Listening is An Act of Love)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Face Made for Radio

When Channel 12 launched a news station focused on our immediate tri-county area (normally we only get NYC news), we were thrilled. Their slogan - "as local as local gets". They cover high school sports, regional colleges, community activities, small town crime, and all news of interest you can't usually get when NYC crowds out all but the biggest stories in the area.

I'm also all for people being hired for their qualifications rather than their appearance. But I guess I'm so conditioned to seeing t.v. journalists who are...well...attractive...that these people were really shocking to my system.

I do, however, want the name and phone number of their portrait photographer (or touch up artist) who made each of them look SO good on their website portraits.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Years at "Home"

After returning from a great new years at home with Little Man A and his family...

(ain't he the cutest?)

(I'm thinking it's the genes from his pretty Mom)

(Okay, Dad's not so bad either.)

...where we enjoyed some treats...

(compliments of our favorite brother-in-law/A's Grandad!)

....and played some games...

(I was getting a little out of focus by this hand...)

(So we moved on to a rowdier game where both hands could be free to drink)

...and spent quality time with family...

...we spent today de-christmasing our home.

Once again the mantle is just simple white with a few candles. The sofa table no longer hosts the town of Bedford Falls but just a few friendly faces from picture frames. The living room corner is empty of our holiday pine and I can see my favorite watercolor study again. The stockings are emptied and stored; the holly and pine boughs are composting.

The bay window is free of my little lit blue and white tree and the plants can once again steal some sun during the short winter days. The wrapping and extra boxes are back in their storage. And all of the various statues, ornaments, lights, and snow globes have returned to their resting place. Even the snow has melted.

But don't despair. Revel in the changing of the seasons. Spring will soon be here...

...And, don't forget, there's only 354 shopping days until Christmas. Cheers!