Monday, December 31, 2007

Santa, How Could You?!

My on-line "Secret Santa" evidently decided to opt out. Sheesh!

Recently Read

1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I loved this one! (And no, I'd never read it before. Evidently my education was sorely lacking in some respects.) I just finished it a few days ago, and I keep wondering what happened to the Joads after the end of the book (Yes, I know it was fiction. But still.) I 've started doing a little reading about the Dust Bowl since I started this one.

2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Cameron Crowe. Itt was a book before it was a movie! Who knew?! I was a little surprised that this one was in the Young Adult section of the library, as some of the content was pretty explicit. Enjoyable, but if you've seen the movie, there's not a whole lot more in the book.

3. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan. This novella is a quick, enjoyable read.

4. Perishable by Dirk Jamison. This is a memoir about a guy whose entire family was basically bonkers. It was OK, but not a "must-read-again".

5. Sister Mine by Tawni O'Dell. I read "Back Roads" by her and liked it, but I couldn't get into this one. Never even finished it, actually.

6. Dishwasher by Pete Jordan. The memoir of a guy who set out to wash dishes in all fifty states. I liked it, but this guy is such a major slacker, he was really getting on my nerves by the end.

7. Right now, I'm reading "Peace Like A River" by Leif Enger, and it's very good. I'll be sad when I'm finished reading it.

So! That's what I've been reading! Does anyone have any suggestions for good books to read?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Score!! At the Thrift Store

Last night after work, I stopped at one of the local thrift stores. I picked up two pairs of pinstriped dress slacks for seven bucks (that's seven bucks for both pairs, not seven bucks each), and a pair of gold-colored, 9" decorative sconces (which will look great over a couple of my doorframes), with the JC Penney $17.99 price stickers still on them, for a buck.

I know some people turn up their noses at the whole "thrift store" thing, and yeah, sometimes you've gotta wade through a ton of crap to find anything good, and yes, you are buying clothes that someone else has worn (admittedly kind of skeevy, but hey, that's what washing machines are for), and yes, you are shopping where the poor people shop, but damn, I love a bargain! And there is no way I could afford my wardrobe if I was buying it retail.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bringin' the Snark

Just give me a minute, while I grow several inches and put on about a hundred pounds so the Size Large holiday-themed (shudder) sweatshirt I got for Christmas will fit. Large? Seriously? WTF?

Oh, and would anyone like a Jeff Foxworthy "You Might Be A Redneck" page-a-day calendar? No? I didn't think so. I'm still on August 28 of this year's "Bad Cat" page-a-day calendar.

Maybe it's intentional. Is there such a thing as passive-aggressive gift-giving?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Am Legend

I decided to go to the movies yesterday, and I had it narrowed down to "Sweeney Todd" or "I Am Legend". I had heard that Sweeney Todd was pretty violent and bloody, so I decided to .... go see Will Smith Versus The Zombies! Yay! Probably not the best choice for Christmas day, as it was violent and zombie-ful!

I spent a good chunk of the movie with my hands over my face, peering out between my fingers like a little kid, because, well, ZOMBIES! But it was ok, because there were only about six other people in the theater, and I don't think any of them saw me. I also may have yelped out "Yikes!" once or twice.

The whole "Bob Marley love-is-a-virus" speech was kind of a dud, and I couldn't figure out why they brought in the God factor, but overall I enjoyed it. The computer-generated zombies weren't particularly scary, other than the fact that, Hello, they're ZOMBIES! Zombies=scary, but there were some nifty special effects, and loud explosions (REALLY loud, the volume was cranked), and I was glad I went. And I only got teary-eyed twice (once with the dog, and once with the grenade, for those who have seen it).

Although, afterwards, when I was getting ready to take a walk by the creek, and I had to think it over, because there might be ZOMBIES by the creek, I realized that I may have taken the movie a bit too seriously.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I Swore I'd Never Do This .........

funny pictures

Sorry about that, Rocky. Merry Christmas!

Not Scrooge-y Enough ......

...... to leave a political rant at the top of the blog on Christmas Eve. So, Merry Christmas, everybody!

I Don't Even Know How To Put This

NOTE: This post has had most of the swearing edited out, in honor of it being Christmas Eve and all.

It scares the pants off of me that people might actually vote for Barack Obama just because Oprah endorsed him. Oprah. Effing. Winfrey.

Now, I have nothing against Barack Obama. Heck, I might even vote for him. Might. To be honest, I have not really researched the presidential candidates yet. I figure, I've got almost a year, right? Plenty of time. And you know that there are plenty of candidates currently in the race who are going to disappear off the radar screen completely between now and next November.

But it scares me to think that there are people out there who are not going to do any research at all. Who are too effing lazy or ignorant or who just don't care enough to get off their hind ends and go pick up a reputable newspaper or newsmagazine (NOT the National Enquirer, thankyouverymuch) and find out what these candidates believe and what they stand for (or against). Heck, you don't even have to pick up a paper. Just go on line. Again, to reputable sites. Check your sources.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will not make the effort. But will go vote anyway, because, heck, if Oprah says he's a great guy, that's good enough for me! And that's a shame. Do me a favor: If you are not willing to take the time to be an informed voter, stay away from the voting booth. Just stay home. There are enough jerks out there who will vote for someone just because Oprah (or Chuck Norris, or Curt Schilling, or whoever) said to.

Sidebar: According to a column by Chuck Raasch (who I don't normally read, so don't get all up in my butt if the guy's a tool), the following appears on a Chuck Norris fan club web site: "There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of animals Chuck Norris allows to live". That cracks me up.

Anyhow, here is my point (and I do have one): Your vote is YOUR VOTE. No one else's. Use it wisely. Or just stay home. Seriously. There'll be enough uninformed voters out there as it is. Just look who's in the White House right now. A few more voters doing a little more research could've stopped that rat bastard right in his tracks.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Little Advice for the Gents

Every year, in addition to my Christmas bonus, my boss gets me a small gift. It's usually a brooch or a bracelet from the local, WAAAY too expensive snooty jewelry store. And the brooch or bracelet is always silver.

Here's the problem. I don't wear silver jewelry. Never have. I do not like silver jewelry. While I wear jewelry to the office every day, it is always gold. (Ok, ok, gold-PLATED. Because I am cheap.) While I am grateful for the gifts from the boss, I always wonder where he got the idea that I like silver jewelry, seeing as how I never wear it.

So! Guys! I know you have not started your Christmas shopping yet, and will not start until Monday evening. And that's ok. But here's the thing: Find out what your significant other would actually LIKE to receive as a gift before you head to the mall. Because those salespeople are pushy this time of year, and you will get confused.

It's ok to ask. Really! A simple, "Honey, what would you like for Christmas?" is just fine. Believe me, she knows how much you earn, and unless she is a total gold-digger, she's not gonna ask for something completely out of your price range. Oh, and if there's advertisements for a certain pair of earrings taped to the fridge, that's a pretty safe bet. Also: You can ask her mother. Moms always know what their daughters like. Although, if your significant other does not get along with her mom, you probably want to avoid this route.

Also: If you have never seen her wear, say, purple, DO NOT BUY HER A PURPLE SWEATER. If she never wears purple, she does NOT LIKE PURPLE. There, that was easy, wasn't it? If she wears a lot of, say, blue and green, a subtly-patterned blue and green sweater is probably a pretty safe bet. But keep the receipt. Just in case.

Finally: That "Lane Bryant" store in the mall? Is for plus-sized women. If your woman is plus-sized, this is a fine store to shop in. If your woman is not plus-sized, she will not appreciate a gift from Lane Bryant. Trust me on this one.

That is all! Hope I helped.

Clash of the Choirs, THE END

You know, I was really just watching this last one out of an odd sense of obligation (you STARTED watching this mess, now you FINISH watching it). So when it got to be, oh, 8:50 or so, I was all, like, "Thank God, just ten more minutes!" But then it got to be like, 8:55, and they still had not announced a winner, and the hostess was all, "Coming up - Michael Bolton performs!", and I was all like, "WTF?", and oh my GOD, they expanded it to two hours. My heart sank. Another HOUR?! Oh, crap.

The hostess's dress was very nice. Classy. And she could breathe, raise her arms, and walk in this one.

Country-singer guy said that he wasn't looking for voices that blend, he was looking for lead singers. For the millionth time, it's a CHOIR competition. Gah. Also, he talked about how he still knew nothing about choirs. Really? After five weeks? That's a slow learning curve. He was probably sitting in a bar doing shots and trying to picking up women while the choir was rehearsing. Oh, and he "lip-synced" his guitar part during the first song.

Team LaBelle did "No More Drama". Basically a solo, but a good solo.

Team Lachey did "What a Wonderful World". Actual vocal harmony - holy shit! (Yeah, bridgett, you're right; let's just cede the solos to the ones who can actually sing - i.e., the black people). I enjoyed this one.

Oh, no, then came another "death story". After which the hostess (talking about the performance), said, "You guys killed it! killed it! killed it!" Oops. Hahahahahahaha.

You know what I'd like to see? A competition between already-existing choirs. "Real" choirs. Doing "real" choral music. Then again, I watch the Drum Corps finals on PBS every year.

And then it was the big moment. And the winner is ......... Team Lachey. The End. Thank God.

bridgett, feel free to chime in!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry .......

.... you better not pout, I'm tellin' you why ......... Santa Claus is comin' to town!

The boss went to the bank this afternoon to get the cash for the Christmas bonuses. Heh heh.

Clash of the Choirs, Continued

OK, I have to confess, I missed big chunks of last night's show, due to getting all caught up in a vengeance craft project. And basically the only rule in my house is, when doing any craft projects involving glue/mod podge/paint - Kitchen Only!! No messy craft crap in the living room! Because something WILL end up getting tipped over, involving much carpet cleaning solution and swearing.

SO! As far as the hostess's dress is concerned, all I can say is, Domo Origato, Mr. Roboto! Too bad she couldn't lift her arms. Or walk. I'm beginning to think Bai Ling may have had a hand in this.

First up was Team Rowland, singing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". They seemed to be having a little trouble dancing and singing at the same time, although they soldiered on admirably. I got to wondering how much rehearsal time they actually had, which was answered later in the show, when someone mentioned something about "five weeks". I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I mean, are they really good for only working on this stuff for five weeks, or should they be a whole lot better after FIVE WEEKS of practice?

Which leads me to a later performance, Team Shelton doing "Home". Singing, dancing, and ..... stomping? What's next, patting their tummies and rubbing their heads? But you had to love Lurch in the striped shirt. He was working so hard, you could just tell he was thinking, "onetwothreeSTOMPonetwothreeSTOMPdon'tfuckitupdon'tfuckitup......."

Oh, and this show was just filled with DRAMA! People whipping out their Cancer Cards left and right, which annoys the shit out of me. I wonder if they had to show their Cancer Cards to get into the auditions.

Team LaBelle did "Jesus Take the Wheel". That song just cracks me right up. Yep, that's what they teach you in Driver's Ed - If you spin out, just throw your arms up in the air and wait for God to take over. (Oops, sorry, it was Cancer Girl #1 singing that one. Uh-oh, then she started crying. Then sobbing. Folks, it's only a matter of time before A Very Special Performance of "Amazing Grace".)

I just caught a little bit of the end of "Flight of the Bumblebee" - Now that's what I'm talking about! Finally! Good stuff! Too bad I missed most of it (sniff).

Oops, team Bolton got sent packing. Once again I call it wrong.

Did Patti LaBelle say she was 63?!!? Paging Dorian Gray! Holy shit, she looks great!

Oh, and at some point country-music guy made some vaguely homoerotic comment about Nick Lachey - WTF?

Team Shelton decided to mash the carol "Joy to the World" with that "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog" song - I can see what they were going for, but, yuck, no. And all of the teams were just flinging the melismas around like loose change. Don't hurt yourself here, gals.

Patti LaBelle soloed on "Over the Rainbow" - Beautiful.

Was it my imagination, or at the end of Nick Lachey's solo, was the hostess interviewing The Lollipop Guild?

OK, so I know this veered wildly from choir critique to song selection critique to choice-of-striped-shirt critique, etc. Like I said, I only caught parts of the show, due to a reluctance to cover my living room carpet with glue/mod podge/paint. Oh, and while I was working in the kitchen, NPR had on a choir concert with a real choir! How refreshing.

bridgett, I'm exhausted. Feel free to jump on in here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The World Is Against Me

For anyone looking for bridgett's amazing comments on Clash of the Choirs, please scroll down!

Right now, the world hates me. In addition to the roaming gnome kicking my butt, I showed up for a scheduled doctor's appointment Monday at 9 a.m. only to be told ....... I had no appointment! Nope, not on the computer! Not at all! Even though I had written down this particular appointment on all three of my calendars! So .......... did I dream it? WTF?

And then I got this nasty email from someone I ordered a used CD from via Amazon. You see, I had ordered "Streetlife Serenade" by Billy Joel (lame, I know, but the song "The Entertainer" still rocks), and what showed up was "Streetlight Serenade" by someone named Lon Williamson. So I emailed the seller, explaining the situation and asking what to do, and they emailed me back that I had ordered the wrong product. Obviously I am a simpleton who does not know the difference between Billy Joel and Lon Williamson (whoever the hell he is. Amazon has NOTHING by him on their music web site, including the CD that I mysteriouly received). Even though when I checked my order, it clearly said "Billy Joel". But, the seller is graciously refunding my money, even though it was OBVIOUSLY my mistake. Oh really?

Oh, and last Friday, a local department store (hello, Boscov's!) had a coupon in the paper for ten dollars off any purchase of ten dollars or more. Suh-weet! So Saturday morning, I grabbed the coupon, headed for Boscov's, and found a pretty pretty bracelet for twenty dollars that was marked 50% off. That makes ten bucks, right? Less the coupon equals free. Now, I knew they would try to screw me out of "totally free", but I figured I'd give it a try. Sure enough, when I got to the register, the bracelet rang up as $9.99. The cashier explained that I would have to buy something else to get the total up to at least ten dollars in order to use the coupon. I explained that twenty dollars times 50% off equals ten dollars, not $9.99, but no dice. Other customers in the store were complaining about this same situation, but the cashiers were having none of it, and one cashier in particular was being a real bitch. (Not to me, fortunately. I would have raised holy hell.) Thanks for the Christmas cheer, Boscov's!

And I have STILL not heard back from Travelocity with an email confirming my (unwanted) change of plans. And my trip is not showing up on the web site. UPDATE: After emailing customer service at Travelocity, they informed me that once changes are made to an original itinerary, the reservations are no longer viewable on line. Gee, Travelocity, that's really helpful! I can no longer look up my booked flights on line! Way to run a web site! And I'm still stuck flying out of Dallas at six-freaking-thirty in the morning! (Although this does appear to be US Airway's eff-up, not Travelocity's. US Air arbritrarily cancelled the connecting flight I had scheduled. Which worries me: If they are screwing with their schedule SIX WEEKS in advance, what the hell's gonna happen on the day of the flight?)

Oh, and I called the vet's office a day and a half ago about changing Rocky's arthritis meds, and they have yet to get back to me. Although they did, apparently, call here at work last night at 6:30 p.m. (Huh? I asked them to call my home number after 5), but they declined to leave a message. (I know this because we have super-secret spyware James Bond tracking on our phones. If someone calls and lets the phone ring long enough for the voice mail to pick up, even if they promptly hang up without even listening to the voice mail message all the way through, their call shows up. Heh heh.)

The leaky tire that I had repaired a while back is leaking again. Out of the set of four tires Kost Tire & Muffler sold me, all four have developed leaks. Thanks, Kost!

World, please give it a rest. Just a little?

Clash of the Choirs, Night Deux

Since bridgett gave me a shout-out on her blog, I feel compelled to continue with the choir critique. (Ooooooh! Alliteration!) Although there is no way I can review this thing as well as bridgett does it in my comments, here goes.

Once again, the hostess was forced to wear an odd dress, this time involving a napkin ring. And did anyone catch the part where she was all, "and we're SO SORRY one of these fine choirs has to go home", and she actually started to laugh? You go, girl!

First up was team country-guy. Good soloists, but again, I WANT CHOIR! And they should've sped up the tempo. When Michael McDonald did this song (Takin' it to the Streets) on Austin City Limits, he did it about twice as fast, and it really rocked.

Next was team LaBelle. Again with an amazing soloist, but I'm starting to feel like I'm watching American Idol with back-up singers. The song (I'll Stand by You) was ok, and there were good choral vocals at the end. (By "good", I mean "some", at this point.)

Ooh! Commercial Break! "The Celebrity Apprentice". Um, no. Anything involving that gross guy from KISS, I am not watching. Ever.

Now it's the Lachey (sp?) group. "Friends in Low Places"? Really? As a choral arrangement? Bleccchhh. Just no. And the ass-wiggling is getting really tiresome. I think these guys might be the next to go.

Big announcement time! Sent packing is ........ Team Rowland! WTF? Looks like ol' Bolton gets to fight another day. I sure called that one wrong.

So! Here comes team Bolton! And they do this big dramatic segment about how the lead singer lost his voice. Drama! But, um, "lead singer"? IT'S A CHOIR CONTEST, DAMMIT! Oh, my. This is really starting to get on my nerves. But the performance, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", is pretty good.

Well, that about wraps it up. As I said about five million times in this post, I wish it was less about the soloists and more about the choirs. But then again, I'm picky.

I just hope that folks out there who may have been mulling over joining their local community choir don't think that they have to dress up in skin-tight miniskirts, shake their asses, and sing like Mariah Carey in order to do so. And I hope that all the lovely community choirs out there do not get any big ideas from watching this show.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Clash of the Choirs

As I wrote earlier, I was oddly looking forward to this one. Here's my thoughts:

1. These are really more "show choirs" than traditional choirs. Which is ok, because I understand that they're going for ratings, and a bunch of people with white tops and dark pants standing in tiers? Not so much. But all the jumping around and arm-waving and booty-shaking was distracting from the music.

2. Each choir had one or more soloists, and the rest of the choir was basically singing backup. Which is not really the point of a choir, where, except for rare solo opportunities, everyone is trying to blend in together.

3. Could that hostess's dress have been ANY TIGHTER?!! Poor dear. I wonder how on earth she even got into that thing. Maybe there wasn't even any fabric involved. Maybe they just painted it on. I mean, she did look stunning, but how did she breathe?

4. They auditioned choir members individually, but at no time did I see group auditions. Most choir directors want to audition members both individually and in groups, to see how well they harmonize with others. Being able to sing an alto part while the person next to you is singing soprano is a big part of being in a choir.

5. Speaking of auditions, how big of a tool is that country-music-singer guy? An actual CHOIR DIRECTOR came to audition, and the country-music guy picked his brain and then told him he didn't make the cut. Oh, and country-music guy? LEARN HOW TO READ MUSIC. Jeez.

Sorry for all the ranting. Once a choir nerd, always a choir nerd. Oh, and I predict that Michael Bolton's crew will be first to get the cut.

Isn't It Ironic

According to The Associated Press, "Because of rising demand for ethanol, American farmers are growing more corn that at any time since World War II. And sea life in the Gulf of Mexico is paying the price. The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" - a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate."

So much for "eco-friendly" ethanol.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Kick Into Drive

Christmas is almost here! And I somehow find myself stuck in neutral. A couple of weeks ago, I picked out a tree, got it home, got it in the stand (I was going to write "got it up", but saner instincts prevailed), and decorated it. And I bought/made all the presents that had to travel, wrapped them, and got them in the mail. And the cards are done. I was on a roll back then.

But the rest of it? Not so much. I still have to frame a couple of photos for office gifts, wrap my Mom's stocking stuffers, etc., and yet, somehow, mysteriously, none of it is getting done. I've lost my Christmas mojo.

But! I did make Christmas cookies yesterday. Homemade sugar cookies with homemade colored frosting! And sprinkles! I plead temporary insanity. I couldn't find my Mom's recipe for sugar cookies, and calling her and asking is pretty much out of the question, although I probably would have ended up with a reaalllllly interesting recipe. (Mom has Alzheimer's. And no, I'm not being cruel. If you know someone with Alzheimer's, you know what I'm talking about here.)

SO! I hauled out the Betty Crocker cookbook someone gave me for a wedding gift twenty-plus years ago and looked up the sugar cookie recipe, to make sure I had all the ingredients. Almond extract? In sugar cookies? Really? Well, if you say so, Betty!

So I went to the store (that was the day before, actually; this whole cookie mess was inspired by an impending snowstorm), got all the crap, started blending ingredients, and got to the part where it said, "chill at least two hours". Ooooops!

So, out on the porch the dough went, for almost (ok, not really) two hours, and much flour-adding was needed to get that dough roll-able. But cookies were cut out, baked, frosted (the frosting never really "set up", and is really, really gooey) and decorated. And hauled into the office this morning.

Well, even if the rest of the stuff ends up getting done at midnight some night this week (a distinct possibility, given my odd lack of motivation), at least there's cookies.

The Roaming Gnome Can Kiss My Butt

I booked a trip to Dallas in February through Travelocity. Today I got an e-mail informing me that my return trip had been changed. I would now be landing in Philly at 5:30 p.m., with my connecting flight leaving at 3:30 p.m. Huh?

So, I called Travelocity, and my call was answered somewhere in India by someone with limited English-speaking capacities. After half an hour on the phone, I now have to leave Dallas at the ungodly hour of 6:20 a.m., instead of the much more civilized (and originally booked) 1:15 p.m.

Shove it, roaming gnome!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: Part Holy Mary Mother of God, I Don't Even Care Anymore.

I mean, COME ON, she's up to Part MCMLXIV, and they haven't even had sex yet. Oh, and speaking of sex, I feel like puking every time she talks about her "hiney tingles".

Honey, you met, you fell in love, you got married, you had kids. The End. Jesus Christ!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And It's Not Even Officially "Winter" Yet ......

It started snowing about a half an hour ago. We are supposed to get 6 to 10 inches today, followed by a Nor'easter* this weekend, followed by temps in the single digits next week.

Does anyone have some sunshine they could spare?

*I really hate that word, "Nor'easter". It's just so .... corny. With that little apostrophe in the middle and all. So .... Yankee. Oh! And has anybody read "Yankee" magazine lately? It used to be this really cute little magazine full of all kinds of quirky articles. And now ... it's like a miniaturized "Town and Country". With splashy layouts of kabillion dollar "cottages". Bleccch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How Screwed Am I?

Tucked in among some personal stuff at work, I just found a credit card bill with a due date of 12/10/07. Today is the 12th. I don't know how this bill ended up where it did, instead of with my "bill pile", and I wrote the check and will mail it today, but here is my question:

Am I in big trouble? I have never, ever made a late payment before, and I don't know what to expect. Is this going to screw my credit rating? Is the interest rate on the card going to skyrocket (although since I pay my balance in full every month, that's not really a critical issue)?

Advice, please.


Number of hand-addressed company Christmas cards I have sent out so far.

Ho Ho Ho! At least I'm getting paid for it.

Oddly Looking Forward To This One

"Clash of the Choirs", that is. I was in choir all the way through school (nerdnerdNERD), and I'm still a sucker for good vocal harmony.

Hey, if other peeps can watch "Dancing with the Stars" without shame, surely I can watch televised choir practice, no?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Possibly the Worst Christmas Song Ever

Now, "The Christmas Shoes", or whatever the hell the name of that song is about the kid whose Mom DIES ON CHRISTMAS EVE, is pretty cringe-inducing. But I'd like to make a case for "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot". I first heard this little gem several years ago, and I still crack up every time I hear it. Because I am strange, and evidently heartless. Here's the lyrics, with acknowledgment going to whoever needs to be acknowledged:

"Christmas comes but once a year for ev'ry girl and boy,
The laughter and the joy they find in each toy
I'll tell you of a little boy who lives across the way;
This little feller's Christmas is just another day.

He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot,
And goodness knows he didn't want a lot.
He sent a note to Santa for some soldiers and a drum;
It broke his little heart when he found Santa hadn't come.

In the street, he envies all those lucky boys,
Then wanders home to last year's broken toys.
I'm so sorry for that laddie;
He hasn't got a daddy,
He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot."

I believe that Nat King Cole maybe sang this one. Thanks, Nat, for recording possibly the most depressing Christmas song ever! Oh, yeah, and thanks too for the not-so-subtle inference that kids without Dads GET NO CHRISTMAS. Suck it up, kiddo! Daddy split? Then you're SOL with Santa! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2007


Because I am evidently illiterate, I discovered this weekend that I had not been feeding Rocky anchovies. Instead, I had bought him a can (tin?) of sardines. It even says so right on the box, "SARDINES".

Which begs two questions:

1. Just exactly how stupid am I?

2. If sardines are not the little end-to-end fish, what are? Anchovies?

I am an idiot. And also sorely in need of some remedial reading lessons.

I Cheated

I assembled and used my Christmas present to myself this weekend. I wanted to wait until Christmas, I really did, but we're talking about a Bissell Powersteamer!* I am in love. This sucka steam cleans your carpets like magic! Oh, and the best part is when you dump out the (unbelievably) dirty water. I could not believe the amount of dirt that came out of my (clean-looking) carpets.

So, looks like I'll have to buy myself something else for Christmas. I mean, there's gotta be something under the tree, right?

*Not a paid advertisement. They can't pay me unless they find me, and that's not happening any time soon.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Oh dear Lord, the cat likes anchovies.

Last week, I gave him some of the fish I was having for dinner (NOT anchovies, other fish), and he really liked it. SO, in my continuing effort to put some weight on him, I thought I'd pick up some fresh fish at the store for him.

Eight bucks a pound? Not so much. Now, Rocky will (for some inexplicable reason) not eat tuna. Tuna juice? Oh hell yes. The actual tuna? Nope. And I am not willing to eat tuna sandwiches for the rest of my life so that he can have his tuna juice fix. So after nixing the fresh stuff, I thought, wait, they selled canned fish other than tuna, right? So I headed for the tuna aisle, and sure enough, there was canned salmon, sardines, and anchovies. The anchovies were the cheapest, so guess which I bought?

I got home and cracked open the tin of anchovies, and OH MY GOD it was gross. For some reason, I thought that anchovies were those little teeny fish that came all packed in the tin head-to-tail. Maybe that's sardines? Cause it sure ain't anchovies, or at least the (cheap cheap cheap) anchovies I bought, which were probably canned in China and contain high amounts of lead and plutonium.

These anchovies? Are gross. Big chunks of grayish-pinkish fishy material, with SCALES, and lots of stinky juuuiiiiccccce. (Shiver) And Rocky? LOVES THEM. Loves loves loves.

Me? I do not know if I can get past the visual. Also the stink factor. The fact that people voluntarily put this stuff on pizza floors me. There oughta be a law.

Oh, and we're not even gonna talk about the post-anchovy litterbox.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Dad

Me and my Dad:

My Dad was born in 1923. His Dad was a farmer, and his Mom was the Postmistress (do they use that word anymore?) of their small community, and they made it through the Depression ok. He had one brother and two sisters.

At the age of 18, Dad married my Mom, who was 17 at the time (can we say "shotgun wedding", anyone?). He worked for a couple of local companies, then started his own business, and ended up a successful man. He did all this with only a high school diploma.

Dad served in the Merchant Marine and then in the Navy during World War II. He volunteered for the service right after he and Mom were married, and she was pregnant with my brother. My Mom's family was furious, convinced that he had signed up so that he could get out of the marriage. Dad was never sent overseas. He spent most of his service stationed around the Great Lakes area, and returned to Mom when his service was over. They were married for 58 years, until he died.

My Dad always wanted sons. And when his firstborn was a boy, he was elated. Then came a girl. Then another girl, and another, and another. Then, finally, me (also a girl). Legend has it, that when Mom went into labor with me, Dad took her to the hospital, then came home later that night, walked in the door, said, "It's another girl, dammit!", and went upstairs to bed.

Nonetheless, Dad treated all of us girls (and his son, of course), fairly. He was a pretty stern guy, which I did not come to appreciate until later in life, when I learned that sometimes it helps to have a backbone. I do remember one time when I was very small. I was terrified of thunderstorms, and on one particularly stormy evening was pitching a pint-sized fit. Dad took me out to the covered stoop behind the garage, sat down with me, and we watched the storm together. I was never afraid of another thunderstorm.

Even though I swear like a sailor on this blog, in real life, I very rarely swear out loud. Because when I was young, Dad never swore (at least around us kids), and he made it very clear that he did not want to hear swear words. I was terrified of slipping up and swearing in front of him, so I never developed the swearing habit. (At least out loud; I swear on this blog and I swear when I talk to myself.)

Dad loved to tinker with car engines. He developed a love of boating, which eventually led to him buying a marina, which he ran for many years after he sold his first business. (We'll save the story about how he came to be called "Captain Bligh" for another time.) During this period, Dad and Mom spent summers at the lake and winters in Florida.

Dad died of cancer in 1999. He passed away one night, six weeks after his diagnosis. In a way, I think it's good that he passed away before Mom's Alzheimer's became obvious - I think it would have broken his heart to watch her deteriorate. I miss him.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Holy Shit Is It SHORT!

I got my hair cut on Saturday. I had decided that I was ready for a pretty drastic change, and I got one. Now I can't decide if I like it or not. I mean, I like the cut very much, it's just that when I look in the mirror .... I don't look like me! I look like someone else. I look like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl (The after haircut, not the before haircut.)

It's very strange.

Back to The Spec That Would Not Die. Yes, we're one week in and counting.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Per Fightagainstredtape's Request .......

Pretty, no? Sorry the picture's not that great - I did the best I could.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

(Na Na Na Na Na Na) ....

..... They say it's your birthday!
(Na Na Na Na Na Na) ....
..... It's my birthday too, yeah!

Whew! Here we go - the big 4-5. I was going to do a big long post, but The Spec That Would Not Die is kicking my butt right now. Hard.

And indeed, while in an earlier entry I said that my birthday was the day after Thanksgiving, that was in 2000. Because Thanksgiving orbits around my birthday like the earth around the sun, this year Thanksgiving was last week, and my birthday is today!

Gotta get back to TSTWND. See ya soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thank you!

A big "thank you" to Amy at Charming Sam Studio! The bracelet is beautiful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

Ok, a quick break from The Spec That Would Not Die to tell the story about how I found The Best Christmas Present Ever!

My sister Texas is a golfer. She has been golfing for years, and since she retired, she golfs A LOT. And she is very good. Everyone wants to partner with her in tournaments because she has a habit of winning.

She also collects golfing memorabilia. Especially vintage figurines and statuettes of women golfers from different eras. Unfortunately, that kind of stuff is not easy to find. Even on E-Bay. (Well, there's plenty of tacky crap, but not much good stuff.)

SO, a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday, I was poking around in a local antique(s?) store, and there tucked in a corner was a woman golfer statue. She was about wooden, about two feet high, in Victorian-era (painted-on) clothing, swinging a golf club.

Well, I knew that this would be perfect for Texas. BUT, it was more money than I usually spend on a gift, and I knew that the shipping would cost a fortune, and, most importantly, I didn't know if Texas already had one like it.

So I called Texas that night, described the statue, and she almost had a heart attack. She was all, "Oh, please, buy it buy it buy it, I'll reimburse you for the money, YOU HAVE GOT TO BUY THAT STATUE".

Of course, I went and bought the statue (oh thank God it had not sold), and I am not going to ask for reimbursement, and Texas is going to be very, very happy on Christmas morning.

The Best Christmas Present Ever as Presented by Mastercard:
Woman golfer statue: $97.00
Shipping: $60.00 (gasp)
The satisfaction of finding the perfect present: Priceless

The End.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Is This Even Possible?

My boss finally decided that today was the day to start the huge project he's been procrastinating about for months. And he's dragging me along for the ride, even though this is something he could just as easily complete on his own. Judging at the rate he's going (four pages of specs in two hours), this is going to take eight hours a day for ...... oh, the rest of the year. I am not kidding. My misery is intense.

The reason this sucks so badly is that while my boss may very well have marked off the entire month of December on his calendar to work on this project, I did not. Which means that in addition to all my regular work stuff, he expects me to sit with him on the computer (not literally! Grrroossss! (shiver)) for hour after hour and go through hundreds of pages of (incredibly boring) specs, word by word.

So ........ see ya soon! I hope!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Worst Thanksgiving, Conclusion

So! After the flight from hell, we finally arrived in California. At this point, we had been travelling for fifteen hours (drive to Syracuse, flight to JFK, several-hour layover, flight to California) and still had an hour-and-a-half drive to my sister's house. Her two sons graciously drove to the airport to pick us up. And we got to my sister's house, and much grieving ensued. By the time we got ready for bed, it was like 5 a.m. east coast time. And we had started traveling at 10:30 that morning. Whew! On Thanksgiving Day, no less.

We all got up the next morning, more grieving ensued, and we had breakfast. And someone mentioned what I had totally forgotten, namely, that it was my fortieth birthday. Oh yeah. The big 4-0, spent far from home with grieving family members. Good times! One of my sister's friends actually BAKED A CAKE for me, which was so cool, seeing as how we were there for a funeral and all. And some of her friends made us a Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and everything. My sister has some very nice friends.

The weekend was spent doing funeral-type stuff. The memorial service and reception afterward were held in Redondo Beach, right on the ocean, which would have been really neat, except for someone dying and all. (Sorry, I DO NOT mean to make light of my sister's loss. Her companion was a great guy, and they were very much in love.) And my sister lived in Palm Desert, so I got to see a little bit of California driving back and forth. (That's my first and only visit to California, so far. Lovely state. But THE TRAFFIC? Oh dear Mary Mother of God. You would not believe the traffic. ) And it was kind of weird, because there doesn't seem to be much open space. I mean, I know there must be, it's just that I didn't see any. Just city after city after city. Where I live, if you drive five minutes, you're out in the sticks. Oh, and Palm Desert is seriously strange. I mean, you're there, in the middle of the desert, but everything is green and beautiful because they water the holy hell out of it. (Poor use of resources, if you ask me.) And it's hot out. And then you look up, and RIGHT THERE are big old snow-capped mountains. It's kind of freaky, like they took nature and put it in a blender and then dumped it out all mixed up.

Sunday night we had to catch the red-eye back East. Yay! Five hours on a plane that left at 11 p.m.! Packed, again, to the gills, although this time not with Hasidic Jews with screaming children and odd bathroom habits. And thank God for Jet Blue! I cannot sleep on planes, so those little seat-back TVs really come in handy. And I LOVE the channel where they show the little plane on the map, so you can see where you are. Very cool. (I don't get out much - can you tell?)

So we got to JFK, and we had a little layover, and we were all basically zombies at this point, and then it was on to Syracuse. And as the plane lowered for our approach, we could see white. Lots of white. It had snowed while we were gone. Was still snowing. So we had to drive an hour and a half on snow-covered, shitty roads back home. The end. I have never been so glad to be home in my life.

That's my Worst Thanksgiving story. Along with the added bonus of turning 40 during the whole saga. So this Thanksgiving will be very, very enjoyable. I know I'm looking forward to it. Bring on those appetizers! I hope everybody has the Thanksgiving they are hoping for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Worst Thanksgiving

I will be spending this Thanksgiving alone. Which is just fine with me. You see, our family's Thanksgiving dinner is held at TIB's house, and seeing as how TIB is not currently speaking to me, and will apparently spontaneously burst into flames at the very sight of me, I am not invited. And TIB is such a raging bitch that no one else in the family (that is, my sister Ditzy, the only other local family member) is willing to stand up to her.

But! Really, it's just fine. Thanksgiving at TIB's house is always pretty dismal. As her kids moved away and/or started having Thanksgiving at their in-laws', and seeing as how my family is spread out all over the country, the last few years it's just been TIB, her husband, my Mom, and me. Oh, and Ditzy would show up (usually with a boyfriend in tow) long enough to eat, and then leave. TIB and her husband would get looped, TIB's psychotic daughter L. would show up long enough to pitch a fit, and just ....... blech. You get the picture. And Mom doesn't know it's Thanksgiving, anyway. Last year she thought it was Easter.

So! I will spend Thanksgiving out in the woods on a nice long walk, trying not to get shot at by drunken deer hunters (LOTS of blaze orange!) and then I will enjoy my favorite foods (none of which are turkey, and almost all of which are technically appetizers), and I will surely have a beer or two. Maybe even a (gasp) mixed drink! Because it's Thanksgiving! Woo-hoo! (Shaky sob) (KIDDING!!)

My worst Thanksgiving was in 2002. My sister Alabama's long-time companion had passed away completely unexpectedly shortly before, and the funeral/memorial services were scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend. On the west coast. And I live on the east coast. So, some of us locals started looking for last-minute plane tickets, and the only way we could do it and fly out together was to fly on Thanksgiving Day, and catch the red-eye back that Sunday night.

Oh, don't ever do that. The plane from Syracuse to JFK was almost empty, and we were all excited, like, "Yippee! We've got the plane to ourselves!" But then we had a several hour layover in JFK before the flight to Ontario (California, not Canada), and let me tell you, airports are grim places on Thanksgiving Day. Steam table turkey, anyone? (Trust me, just say no.)

And the flight to California? Was packed. To the gills. With (I shit you not) Hasidic Jews on their way to a diamond-dealers convention. I swear I am not kidding. Now, I had never really been around many Hasidic Jews before, so I really had no pre-conceived notions, but, the people on this plane? Were assholes. Lots of them were bringing along the wife and kids, and those kids would scream, and scream, and SCREAM, and the parents would just ignore them. Until a flight attendant would politely ask them to maybe, um, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KID, and they would. And then the next kid would start up. I swear, they could probably hear those kids screaming on the space shuttle.

And? They all had to go to the bathroom. All the time. Kids, adults, everybody, there was a line for the bathrooms all the way down the plane THE ENTIRE FIVE HOUR FLIGHT. I swear, they would go to the bathroom, walk down the aisle, and get right back in line.

OK, gotta go, this is way too long. Sorry if any Hasidic Jews are taking offense. I do not mean to cause offense. I am not posting here about Hasidic Jews in general. I am only saying that the Hasidic Jews on that particular flight WERE ASSHOLES.

I'll try to wrap this up tomorrow.

Heh heh.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Driving 101

I was out shopping on Saturday, and the only parking option available was a parallel-park, so I said "Oh, go for it", and I nailed it! Ha ha! I am the parallel-parking champeen! Remember how nervous you were for the Driver's Test Parallel Park? I was, anyway. I knew if I could just nail that damn parallel-park I'd pass the test, and I did.

I remember when I was taking Driver's Ed in high school, and some of the kids seemed totally mystified by the K-turn. I think it never quite sunk in for some that the basic principle is: Make the car do a letter K in the road.

The boy toy drunk-dialled me Saturday at 2 a.m. I have an extra-loud ringer-thing on my phone, because when I bought my latest phone, even with the ringer turned up to high, I could not hear the phone ringing until the answering machine was picking up. SO, I bought an extra-loud ringer thing, which I am sure my neighbors really appreciate! (Take that, Jabba, you m-f! Although, seriously, I doubt he can hear it over his own special loudness.) So, when the phone rang at 2 a.m., it woke me right up, and for a second I almost had a heart attack, because it is never a good thing when your phone rings in the middle of the night. Especially when your mother has Alzheimer's and will probably start to wander at some point. I started to get out of bed, and then remembered, "oh, the boy toy", waited to hear the answering machine message so I was sure it was him and not some (other) disaster, and went right back to sleep.

And the next morning, when I played the message back, I had to laugh, because he was so drunk/stoned that I could hardly understand what he was saying. That's one phone call I am NOT returning. Not.

Sunday, I left another "free painting" box at another local park. I have now successfully off-loaded (almost) all of my unwanted paintings. Now they can be unwanted in other people's houses. Thanks, folks! Enjoy the paintings!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Poor Sad Sock Monkey

I was looking through the Target flyer and saw this sock monkey for sale:

Look at the eyebrows! And the grim mouth! This poor monkey looks like he's just been told his Mom is dead!

Why on earth would anyone buy a sad toy for their child? "Here, kid, here's a heartbroken monkey! Happy Birthday!"

I just don't get it. Sad toys, that is. That being said, I am currently working on a stuffed monster toy. But I'm not planning on giving it to a little kid. "Here, kid! Happy nightmares!"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Multi-Tasking At Its Finest

So, I was taking dictation from my boss, and he was all like, "Dear so-and-so, blah-blah-blah, specific directives in place, blah-blah-blah, based upon the fact, blah-blah-blah........."

And he was talking and talking, and I was writing and writing, and then he paused, and asked me to read it back.

And then I paused, because I realized that the entire time that he had been talking, and I had been writing, I had also been re-ordering my Netflix queue in my head. And wondering about what to have for dinner. And thinking about myriad other .... stuff.

But! I was able to read back the entire letter. Flawlessly.

(Hmmm.... Brother's Keeper first? or Quincenara?)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Is Gonna Be Great ....

So, I was watching some movie trailers last night. (Why do they call them trailers? (as in, trail along behind.) When they come before the movie? I am sure I am the last person on earth who does not know this, so could someone explain it to me?)

ANYWAY, I was watching this trailer, not paying much attention, when the announcer, in his best "IN A WORLD ...." voice, says, "Get ready for ............. THE VIOLENCE OF THE LAMBS".

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha ha ha ha ha ha

Oh my dear God. So! I think I am going to start with a photo collage. I'm thinking a Barbie, from the Toys-R-Us catalog, being dismembered by a flock of Google Image sheep. And if that goes well, I'm definitely doing a shoebox diorama.

The weirdness, it never stops.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Product Review - Fake Pertaters

I like mashed potatoes as much as the next person, but I seldom have the time or inclination to make them from scratch. Because I am lazy. So I buy fake mashed potatoes.

Idahoan brand mashed potatoes - both the garlic and redskin kinds - are pretty good. But I had a coupon (yes, I do clip coupons. Sigh.) to try Shedd's Country Crock Deluxe Loaded Mashed Potatoes (world's longest product name) and I am now in love.

I am aware that these potatoes probably have more artificial ingredients than a twinkie, but I can forgive them that, because they taste good. 'Nuff said.

Monday, November 12, 2007

And Then My Head Exploded

The boss just handed me a huge software package which I have to install, learn, and get productive with, pronto. Because he's procrastinated for months on this thing.

Gotta go. Grrrrr.......

*Updated to add: ARRGGHH! The software is not even REMOTELY user-friendly! NOT! NOT! NOT! Why, oh why, does everything even remotely technical have to be written in the Language of Geek??!!

Random Weekend Blah-de-blah

1. They are using backing tracks on America's Next Great Band. WTF? These are (supposedly) musicians, for God's sake - they should be able to play it themselves. Oh, and the lead singer from Sixwire looks just like Sawyer on "Lost".

2. Schmutzie mentioned peanut butter hot dogs in one of her posts, so I gave it a try. Better than it sounds.

3. I am going to kill that fat bastard downstairs if he doesn't stop cranking up his TV volume at five o'clock in the morning. I wish he was (were?) dead. Seriously. I wish he would just. drop. dead.

4. I did three weeks' worth of laundry on Saturday morning. There was a guy at the laundromat who had brought his laundry on his bicycle. Seriously. He had this contraption rigged up to hold a laundry basket on the back of his bike. I felt sorry for him, like, you don't have one friend who would give you (and your laundry) a ride to the laundromat? He was making several trips.

5. I dumped a quart of Engine Oil Stop-Leak into the Saturn's crankcase. Hey, it can't hurt, right? Right?

6. I scored five Better Homes & Gardens magazines from the 1930s for two bucks a pop at the Salvation Army. The ads are hysterical. "Somebody's been helping himself to my lovely Crisco pie .. Thank goodness it's digestible!" Crisco pie? Please tell me it's just the crust she's talking about.

7. I checked in on the great painting giveaway - I left about twenty in the box, and as of Saturday morning, all but three were gone. At least I can GIVE them away. I'm definitely gonna continue this little experiment.

8. I think I had an ex-wedding anniversary sometime this weekend. I know I got married in the early part of November, I think the tenth or eleventh, but possibly the ninth.

9. I paraffin-waxed some leaves this weekend. I haven't done that since I was a kid. Then I did some flowers, too, just to see what would happen. I was going to do the cat, but he wouldn't hold still. (Joke. It's just a joke).

10. While brushing my teeth on Saturday night, I looked down, noticed that I had spilled some food on my shirt (because I am a slob), and used my electric toothbrush to clean off the stain. Oh yes I did! I disgust even myself sometimes.

11. Four eggs makes a lot more egg salad than I thought it would.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Free Stuff! On The Internet!

Two memes in one day! I got this one from bridgett:

"There’s a gifting meme going on (I saw it at Patti’s place and she got it from Green Duckies), who got it from Udge, so here’s the deal:

1. The first three commenters to sign up for the meme here and post the same promise on their blogs will receive a smallish present (aka a “thingy”) from me at some point during the next year.

2. I make no promises about what exactly you’ll get or when you’ll get it. Other bloggers have made specific offers of useful and beautiful objects at a date certain; I am not nearly that together. I can promise you that it won’t be anything alive (no starts of sourdough!), it won’t be anything that is too geeky (Hey! Look! Mint condition reissued Stormtrooper figurines from 2003’s Star Wars Mania at my house!)…but beyond that, I can’t narrow it down.

To send this gift, I’ll have to have an address, so those who really really want to blog anonymously should not play."

Free gifts! I will probably send out enlarged photos, but possibly it could be a painting (a halfway-decent painting, I promise!), or something else. As bridgett says above, you will need to be willing to send me your address to play. I promise not to stalk you.

Meme City!

Where's Mommy's Prozac tagged me for this meme!

Here are the rules: once tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you, then post the rules before your list, and list eight random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to eight other people.

Here we go:

1. I am a stenographer. The last one on earth, apparently.

2. I am also a Notary Public. I once spent an entire cold, rainy weekend going door-to-door notarizing signatures on a petition. All I can say is, if the inside of most people's houses look like their front porches, most people are absolute slobs!

3. I used to play drums in my high school jazz band. I do not know how to play drums anymore. I just ......... forgot how. If ya don't use it, ya lose it.

4. I cannot eat mint ice cream - it tastes too much like toothpaste.

5. I almost drowned when I was little - my Dad's best friend saved my life.

6. I forgot to have any kids. Oops!

7. Last weekend, I took a box of my paintings to a local park and left it on a covered table with a sign saying "Free paintings! Take one!" I have not been back to see if anyone took me up on it.

8. I make a mean spaghetti sauce.

Now, I am embarrassed to admit that there are not eight bloggers whom I know well enough to tag with this. So, I'm gonna have to break the rules (I'm so sorry!), and anybody who wants to play, you're in!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This One's For The Gents

Occasionally, I like to wear a necktie to work. Because I am strange. And invariably, at some point in the day, some guy will look at me, pretend like he's choking, grab his neck, and say something along the lines of "God! How can you wear a tie! I can't stand to wear a tie! They choke me! I can't breathe!"

Guys, it's not the tie. It's your shirt.

You see, in order to wear a necktie, you have to button the top button of your shirt. A novel concept for some of you, I know. Bear with me here. If, when you button the top button of your shirt, you get that choking sensation, you need to buy shirts with a bigger neck size.

As hard as it may be for you to believe, you've gained weight over the years. Oh yes you have. You've put on a few pounds. And - ready for this? - your neck has gained weight too. It's time to get rid of those dress shirts you've had since the Reagan administration and buy some that actually fit.

So. Go to wherever it is that you buy your shirts, go up a neck size or two, and give the tie another try. You'll be amazed. Trust me on this one.

This public service announcement brought to you by RockyCat.

Beauty and the Geek

Ok, ok, I admit that I have been known to occasionally tune in to "Beauty and the Geek". And every time I do, I find myself staring at Sam, the "beauty" guy. He just looks .... odd.

Is it just me? He looks like he was in a car accident, and his face hit the windshield, and after many, many reconstructive surgeries, the doctors are very pleased with the results. He looks ...... plastic. Like a Ken doll.*

Of course, maybe the casting people were just trying to get a "guy beauty" match for the "girl beauties", most of whom also look like they've made the acquaintance of a plastic surgeon or two.

Here's a confession: I try not to leave the house without makeup on. Because I have Rosacea, my skin complexion is .... not the best. Trust me - I look much, much better with some foundation on my face. And honestly, my nose is ...... not small. I mean, it's not HUGE, it's just not a pretty little petite nose like some of my friends have. I got my Dad's nose. Thanks, Dad!
But to let a doctor knock me out and carve me up so I can look better? I don't know about that. And it just amazes me when people who are already pretty "have some work done". It seems like it's cheating, somehow. Cheating at what, I'm not exactly sure.

*(Oh, and he looks crazy, too. When he widens his eyes? Absolutely batshit crazy. Or high on crystal meth.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Just So You Don't Get The Wrong Impression ....

As I wrote about earlier, I was the devil's cheerleader for Halloween. I was not, however, a "slutty" cheerleader.

I was looking at the Party City flyers in October, and almost all of the women's costumes were, shall we say, sleazy. And I read on some blogs that even pre-teens are now going for the slutty look. I say, if the highlight of your Halloween is going out in public dressed like a sex-industry worker, maybe you've got some issues to work on. Just sayin'. (Of course, what you wear in the privacy of your own home is completely up to you. As far as that goes, what you wear in public is completely up to you.)

So! While I was a cheerleader, my outfit was modest. Granted, the skirt was above-the-knee, but just barely. And my top, while red, was not low-cut or see-through. And I wore not stilettos (although I do have some), but flat shoes. Amish devil's cheerleader!

I'm not really sure why I wanted to clear that up, but I feel better now.


I was sitting in the office the other day, working at my computer, minding my own business. My desk is right by the front door, as I am, among other things, The Receptionist.

A man walked in the door, so I got up from my chair and asked if I could help him. He smiled and handed me something. While I was looking at what he had handed me, he walked toward the back cubicles. Here is what he gave me:

WTF, people? I don't even know what to make of this. And neither did my co-workers. I mean, was this guy truly deaf and trying to make a living (which I HIGHLY DOUBT), or was this just another scam?

My office building is situated in what might be called a sketchy neighborhood. Not terrible, but definitely low income. And boy, do we have some characters around here.

There's Colorado Bob, a drunk who wanders the neighborhood all day collecting cans for the nickel refunds. When he gets enough for a bottle of beer, he heads for the grocery store, gets his beer, drinks it, then starts all over again. It is not unusual for Bob to be three sheets to the wind by eight in the morning, so I am assuming he also imbibes something other than beer. And he's filthy. And smelly. And if you greet him, he will TALK YOUR EAR OFF, slurring his words and weaving back and forth.

Elvis is often sighted in this neighborhood. Elvis is this tiny little man who dresses like a cowboy, right down to the (toy, I hope) six-shooters. He is always color-coordinated, and he has several different-colored cowboy getups. I have no idea whether his name is really Elvis, or whether they call him that because (maybe) he used to dress like Elvis, or what. Elvis gets around - he can be spotted all over the city - and everybody knows of him.

Our office is in a mixed-use building, and there are two apartments on one end. A few times over the years, drug dealers moved in, and it was interesting watching their clientele, until the landlord kicked them out. Oh yeah, there was a hooker living there once too, and she always took a bedpillow with her when she went out. All the comforts of home, I guess. And a drunk guy lived there once; he used to stagger out into the parking lot in the middle of the afternoon and rant and rave until the cops came and took him away.

So I have no idea if this flag-distributing guy is for real, or just more of the "local color". Hard to tell. I mean, I know that the vets selling the poppies are legit (they are legit, aren't they?), but I've never seen them going door to door. Or maybe they do, and they've just never come to my door.


The 48 Hours Mystery that I wrote about last week has been rescheduled. It's now going to air this Saturday, November 10, at 10 p.m. on CBS. Supposedly.

Last Friday, a judge ordered Cal Harris, the alleged killer, out of jail, due to new evidence in the case. Interesting. The local community is pretty much divided in their opinion of whether he actually committed the crime or not.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Movie Review - "The Descent"

Oh, please. I mean, really now.

If I am not mistaken, at one point, one woman actually duct-taped another woman's head back on - and the operation was a success!

Spare me.

Friday, November 02, 2007

When I Go Off the Rails ......

........ the train not only jumps the tracks, it also skids across four lanes of interstate and ends up crashing into the local nuclear reactor.

Last night, I created most of the Denny's breakfast menu in my kitchen. Here's what happened:

I decided that I wanted breakfast for dinner. And I could not decide between an omelet and pancakes. So I made, and ate:

A three-egg, ham, cheese and onion omelet.
An english muffin with enough butter on it to drown someone.
Pancakes (again with the butter. And syrup. Lots of syrup).
Oh, and ice cream! For dessert!

And then I sat around for the rest of the evening like a beached whale, in a sugar stupor from the syrup, wondering, "why did I just do that?" I am a fairly small person, and by my calculations, I will not require any more caloric intake until sometime on Sunday afternoon.

Don't try this at home.

48 Hours Mystery!

This Saturday night at 10 p.m., CBS will broadcast an episode of 48 Hours Mystery about the Michelle Harris case. This case unfolded in the next town over from where I live, so you can bet I'll be watching (or sleeping and taping it for later viewing, as the case may be). Plus, I went to school with her hairdresser (how's that for a tenuous connection?).

Click on the title above if you'd like more info about the case. Personally, I am not sure whether the hubby did it or not.

Oh, and no, I am not getting reimbursed in any way for plugging this show. At the rate I am going, it will take several years and an Act of God before advertisers notice this site. And that's a good thing!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Last Effin' One

I just mailed off my last car payment. Finally! Four years of paying on that piece of crap, and it's finally done! Don't ever buy a Saturn.

That being said, the car has been behaving itself lately. Back in the spring, I was seriously thinking about trading it in (even though I was still paying on it; that's how big a piece of crap this car is), and ever since then it's been running just fine. Well, except for the oil leak. And the squeaky brakes. And the heat shield that fell off. And ...... oh, never mind.

Anyhow, now that it's paid off, I can take that extra money every month and sock it away for my next car's downpayment. Funny how that works, isn't it? It seems I'm always paying on a car, one way or another.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Julie has some Halloween stories up over at her blog.

Here is my true ghost story:

I grew up in a haunted house in upstate New York. My family moved into the house in 1963 when I was 10 months old. They bought the house from the original owners, who had built the house a few years before, so the house wasn’t very old. It was a two story house built on a sloping lot, so the finished basement was partially below ground. There was a storage room off the basement that was maybe 10’ x 15’; there was something very, very wrong about that room. When you walked in there, the hair would stand up on the back of your neck. None of us ever actually saw a “ghost”, but there was a bad bad vibe in that basement.

There was a bedroom next to the storage room that was traditionally the room of the oldest sibling in the house at the time. (In a family of six kids, having your own room was a huge privilege!) Staying in that bedroom could be a scary experience. Sometimes I would be in that bedroom and just have the strongest feeling that I had to get out right that second; the worst part was; you had to pass the door of the storage room to get from the bedroom into the main part of the basement and up the stairs to the main living area. We always kept the door to the storage room closed, but it would often be open when someone would walk by.

Lots of times I would leave my stereo on a particular radio station before I went to bed; when I got up in the morning, the radio would be on a totally different station at the other end of the dial. The living room was upstairs, and many, many nights we would be sitting up there watching TV while we listened to the furniture re-arranging itself downstairs. The floor downstairs was linoleum and the furniture was wooden “camp-style”, so it would make a very distinctive sound scraping across that floor. But when we would go down to check, the furniture would always be where it was supposed to be. Other times the downstairs stereo would come blasting on in the middle of the night; as soon as you got to the top of the basement stairs, it would stop. If we were in the basement, we could hear people walking around upstairs, even when no one was up there.

After I grew up and moved out, I would house-sit for my parents when they went out of town; I always stayed upstairs and made sure the door to the basement was shut and locked; when I got up in the morning, that door would be standing wide open. That happened a lot and almost gave me a heart attack every time.

It wasn’t just our family who experienced this; in-laws and friends were privy to these experiences as well.

It has been over twenty years since I lived there, and I still have nightmares about it. Especially the door to the storage room.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Wish She Hadn't Used The Nail Gun

I am feeling all virtuous inside, because I got my flu shot a couple of hours ago. I get a flu shot every year, because even though I am not in any of the high-risk groups, the last time I came down with the flu I thought I was going to die. Seriously. I missed an entire week of work, and most of that week I do not even remember, and the part that I do remember was not pleasant. Being seriously ill (as in, I-can't-walk-to-the-bathroom-so-I-guess-I'll-have-to-crawl) is kind of scary when you live alone. What if I die, and by the time someone finds me, the cat has eaten my fingers off? Gruesome, huh? So I get a flu shot every year. Unless, of course, it is a year with a flu shot shortage, and then I give up my turn. Because I'm generous like that. Snort.

Anyway, right now my arm is hurting like hell from the shot. And I have a theory: That the person administering the shot is able to control how much it is going to hurt. So, if the nurse is having a bad day, or just doesn't like your looks, you're in for it. Maybe this nurse did not like my fake fur coat.

Nurse? I SWEAR that coat is fake fur! NOT REAL FUR! I mean, just look at it! No animal in nature has fur patterned like that! I DO NOT WEAR FUR! Owwwwww.....

Similarly, because I am on Depo, I have to get a Depo shot every three months. And usually, there's just a little residual soreness. But one time? I ended up with a bruise the size of a softball. I'm not kidding.

So, what do you think? Do the nurses do it on purpose? By the way, if they do, I think it's kind of awesome.

All I Want for Halloween .....

.... is a bag of plagues! Who knew these things even existed? Well, okay, maybe Jewish people, but I'm not Jewish, so I was clueless as to the awesomeness that is a plagues bag! I want one ....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dog the Bounty Hunter Captures the Krazy Klown Killer!

Last week, I read in the paper that a bar right down the street from where I live (Exador, you might remember this place) was having a Halloween party on Saturday. And the entertainment was to be a guy I went out with a few times more than 20 years ago and had not seen since.
1. Party!
2. Right down the street from me! (Huge plus, as I could walk home if I got too, um, tipsy to drive.)
3. Chance to see how a guy I dated looks 20 years later! Back when I went out with this guy, he was very good looking (think Peter Frampton back in the day (hey! Peter Frampton was good looking! To me, anyway)). And he was a musician! I was always a sucker for musicians.
1. There was no way I was going to walk into a bar full of strangers all by myself.

So, I kind of hemmed and hawed and finally, on Saturday afternoon, I asked one of my downstairs neighbors if he would like to go to the party with me. Folks, this was huge. I DO NOT make a habit of asking neighbors out on dates! But I really, really wanted to go to this party. And my neighbor said yes, he'd like to go to the party. Yay me!
So! It is now 5:00 on Saturday, the party starts at eight, and I have to come up with a costume. Yeah. I had a pair of dollar-store devil horns from a past Halloween, and I had just bought a short pleated black skirt, so I paired the horns and the skirt with a red top and, voila! The devil's cheerleader! I know, kind of lame, right. And at about seven, I realized that I had no pom-poms. What the heck is a cheerleader without pom-poms? I decided to dive into my box of crafty-stuff to see if I could somehow come up with something to make pom-poms with. In order to get to the box of crafty-stuff, I had to move my industrial-size roll of caution tape. You know, the stuff they use to mark off crime scenes?
Ta-da! Caution tape pom-poms!
So! We went to the party, and had a really good time. My neighbor/date went as Kurt Cobain - layered flannel shirts, scruffy jeans, and - instant grunge! And the guy I used to date now looks totally different - I never would have recognized him in a million years. And we did a little catching up between sets, so that was cool. And! Because I am a billion years old, by 11:30 I was tired and tipsy and ready to go home.
Oh, and Dog the Bounty Hunter won first prize in the costume contest! He deserved it.

Losing Our Words

I was talking to my Mom this weekend, and she said something about ".... those big orange things that are all over the place this time of year."

She's lost the word "pumpkin". It is very, very scary to watch your mother moving in reverse. I know how this is all going to turn out, and I only hope that I can handle it well.

Here's the thing about Alzheimer's: Once the person who has it reaches a certain stage, they no longer have the mental capacity to understand what is happening to them. And in my Mom's case, at least, she isn't worried about what is happening to her, because she doesn't understand that she used to be different. For example, she knows that she used to drive a car and that she doesn't anymore, but she doesn't understand that it is because she is literally losing her mind and is no longer capable of driving (by a long shot). It's just something she used to do that she doesn't do anymore. But (she thinks) she could if she wanted to.

I don't know where I'm going with this. Maybe I just wish she would rail against the dying of the light instead of not even understanding that the light is dying.... I guess it's me who has the problem with Alzheimer's, not her.

But my God, this whole situation sucks.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trigger! And other unrelated stuff

I've been thinking about Trigger since I did the Meme the other day. So here is a picture of him:

Unfortunately, I did not grow up on a farm (sob), so we boarded Trigger with a family who gave riding lessons a little way out of town. Gosh, that pic brings back memories. One year, a bunch of us who boarded our horses there went out into the nearby woods, cut down Christmas trees, and brought them back on horseback. Good times! When I got my (admittedly scraggly, small, and nearly branch-less) tree back home, Dad put the kibosh on actually using it for our family Christmas tree, and I threw a screaming, sobbing, throw-myself-down-on-the-floor tantrum. At the age of 12. Ah, memories. But Trigger was a beautiful horse, no?

Speaking of Christmas (shudder), I was watching the news last night, and the graphic for Sunday's weather showed the evil snowflake symbols. Noooooooooo! Here is what I have to look forward to:

Why, yes, that is a picture of me! With snow! I remember building snow forts and snow tunnels as a kid. A few years back, I read a news item about some kids who built a snow tunnel which collapsed, and one of the kids died. So I guess parents probably don't let their kids build snow tunnels anymore. We'll put down snow tunnel building as yet another of those Insanely Dangerous Things I Did As A Kid Which Parents Do Not Let Their Children Do Anymore. Of course, most of the time, my Mom had no idea of what I was up to, lest you think I was raised by wolves. Then again, I don't know if kids are even allowed off by themselves to get into mischief anymore. I used to hop on my bike on summer mornings and not show up back home until lunchtime. No "playdates" for me. Just totally unstructured wandering around the neighborhood and nearby woods. Oh, and I also rode my bike to school. (Ten miles! Each way! In the snow! Ha ha.)

So! Snow! Which means it's time to turn OFF the traction control on the Saturn. In the manual, it says do not EVER turn off the traction control unless you are trying to tow the car out of a ditch. Unfortunately, if I leave the traction control ON, every time I am driving on snowy roads and need to (oh-so-gently!) apply the brakes, the car goes insane, and alternately (a) lurches and bucks across the entire breadth of the roadway, totally out of control, with the brakes going THUNK-THUNK-THUNK the entire time, or (b) goes into a several-blocks-long sideways slide. Traction control? Um, no thanks. So from now until spring, every time I get in the car, I turn off the traction control. I'd rather live to drive another day, thankyouverymuch.
Don't ever buy a Saturn.

Coming soon: Boredom, thy name is craft show.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tell Me Why

Fuck you, George Bush.

Remember back on May 1, 2003, when you declared "Mission Accomplished"?

It wasn't accomplished then, and now, over four years later, it still isn't accomplished. I don't even know if you know what you are trying to accomplish anymore.

The blood's on your hands, George. Your hands and the hands of all of your minions.

Fuck you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When I Get Bored .......

...... weird stuff happens. And seeing as how the fall TV season pretty much blows, and I can't get interested in any of the books I am trying to read, and the craft show/photography thing pretty much tanked (more on that later), and I have the attention span of a gnat, I am fighting ennui much of the time. BUT! I am very good at distracting myself. In strange ways.

Here is Cowboy Tango:

This is Rapture (be pure):

And Gator Duck:

I'm like a third grader they let loose in art class.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I've Been Memed!

Jennifer over at Where's Mommy's Prozac? has chosen me to participate in a Meme! I am so excited - my very first Meme! If I screw up, please forgive me, as I've never done this before, and please let me know in the comments.

This is the ABC's Meme. Here are the instructions: Each player starts with some random facts/habits about himself/herself. As you are tagged you need to post the rules and your responses on your own blog. At the end of your post, you need to choose some people to tag, list their names and, of course, leave them a comment, telling they have been tagged and they need to read your blog for more information.

A - Apples. I cannot eat raw apples. Or pears. Or bananas. They make my stomach hurt.

B - Birthday. I have one coming up next month. I will be 45. My OCD deems both 4 and 5 to be good numbers, so hopefully it will be a good year.

C - Cat, of course. By the way, Rocky weighed eleven pounds at last night's weigh-in. I almost didn't go through with the weigh-in, because I was so worried that he might have lost more weight. Instead, he gained 1.2 pounds. Go, Rocky! And thanks for everyone's suggestions about how to fatten up a cat.

D - Dogs. I do not like them. As a general rule, I do not like anything that eats its own poop and rolls in dead fish. (And yes, I KNOW that cats lick their own butts. We're not even going there.)

E - Easy-going. Which I used to be. Unfortunately, I have gotten more rigid and uptight as I get older, which I am trying to correct.

F - F-word. I use it here, but almost never in real life, unless I am talking to myself.

G - Gross-out movies. I do not like them. At all. Yuck.

H - Horse. I had one when I was a kid. His name was Trigger. He was a palomino. He once kicked the farrier (horse-shoer) in the head and gave him a concussion.

I - Independent. Fiercely so.

J - Juice. I cannot drink fruit juice of any kind. Again with the whole fruit thing. I tried some apple juice over the weekend and it grossed me out. Plus, apple juice looks disconcertingly like pee, which does not help matters any.

K - K-Mart. When I was a preteen, I was with two so-called friends when they shoplifted from
K-Mart. And got caught. And I got dragged into the security office with them. I have never been so terrified before or since. I thought I was going to wet my pants.

L - Love. I've been in it before. Maybe someday I'll be in it again.

M - Marching band. I was in the marching band in high school. Way in.

N - Noise. I do not like loud noise of any kind, especially loud bass. It makes my ears hurt.

O - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I have it.

P - Panic. I sometimes panic over stupid stuff and literally forget to breathe. I'll be all, like, "Why do I feel so funny?" And then I'm like, "Oh yeah! Try breathing!" Idiot.

Q - Captain Quake? I don't know - I'm drawing a blank here.

R - What else but Rocky?

S - Swimming. I love to swim in the lake, but only on really hot days. And I try really, really hard not to think about the giant lake monster that may swim up in the murky water and kill me. Because I am six.

T - Teeth. After refraining from dental care for twenty years, I spent a shit-ton to get my teeth in shape and am now sticking with the plan.

U - Underwear. Oh my God, I can't believe I'm going to tell you this. I wear men's briefs. Because they are made of better material and don't ride up my butt the way women's undies do. Please forget you just read that.

V - I had a very dear friend whose name starts with V. And then she went totally off the rails and became a barfly and a cokehead and I can't even call her anymore, because every time I do, she is drunk off her ass. So sad.

W - My "real name" starts with W. Oh, and watercolors! I took a watercolor painting class, and I paint all the time for fun, and the totality of my suckiness at painting amazes me. I've been painting for a couple of years now, and the fact that I still suck at it so bad is truly stunning. Almost unbelievable, actually.

X - X-ray. Several years ago, someone broke my arm for me. I remember looking at the x-ray in the emergency room and being totally amazed that a bone that big could actually snap in half.

Y - Sorry, drawing a blank here.

Z - Mr. Z is a kids' ride-on bouncy horse that I painted to look like a zebra and put in my garden. Mr. Z is very cool.

Phew, made it! That was fun! Hopefully I did not forget any letters. That would be embarrassing.

Now, would anyone like to join in? How about Pauline? Or Kerri? Oh-uh, I'm having trouble linking to Kerri in this post. To check her out, you can link up in the sidebar at left. How about Listie? Let me know! And Jennifer, thanks again. You rock.

When Dora the Explorer Goes Medieval On Your Ass

Check it out! You say you've been trying to get your kid interested in hunting, but she'd rather not? Just buy her a pink shotgun! With a free matching pink hat! What little girl could resist pink, after all? And then tell her that if she's good enough with the pretty pink shotgun, you'll buy her the Dora the Explorer Bazooka! Good times.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Unbelievably Tasteless Joke

You've been warned.

Last chance.

Here we go:

So, a pedophile and a little kid are walking into the woods at night. And the little kid says, "Mister, I don't like it here! It's dark! I'm scared!" And the pedophile says, "You're scared? I've gotta walk outta here alone!"

Dear Grocery Store ....

Please stop selling stuff whose "use by" date expired seven months ago.

Thank you.


Jennifer has given me a "You Make Me Smile" blog award! Whooohoooo!! Thank you, Jennifer!
My very first blog award! Your blog, Where's Mommy's Prozac?, is one of my very favorites.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rolling Stone Style

Rolling Stone, the favored magazine of infidels everywhere, now has a "Style" section.

Some blurbs:

"Add a hint of spring to your fall with this delicate skirt".

"This organic-cotton sweater is a sweet alternative to a blazer".

"Bend the rules and wear these sleek cream heels year-round".

WTF, Rolling Stone? I'll tell you what: I won't tell you how to play guitar, if you don't tell me how to dress. Mkay?


Thursday, October 18, 2007


Rocky is losing weight. Again.

I only weigh him once a week, so as not to make myself insane with worry. So on Monday, our last weigh-in day, my heart sank when I saw he had lost 2/10ths of pound. Which may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind he only weighs 10 pounds total. Now, the vet said not to panic if he lost a little, that what we are looking for is a weight gain trend over time, blah blah blah. All I know is that you are not supposed to be able to feel your cat's spine and hip bones when you pet him. Again, the vet said that this is normal with aging, that cats lose muscle as they grow older, blah blah blah. Whatevs. It's just not right. And the weird thing? When I feed him, he goes right for the bowl, and eats and eats and eats and eats. But when I check the bowl after, not that much food is gone. It's like when a little kid pushes the food around on his plate to make it look like more is missing. Oh, and I'm the food fluffer. Because both his (canine? incisor?) big teeth on top are now gone, once the food gets pushed down into the bowl he is unable to scarf it up. So I fluff it for him. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. And in the meantime, I have decided to stop freaking the fuck out over the whole situation. It's not doing either of us any good.
Did you know they make prescription cat food? I wonder if it's considered a controlled substance.

Oh, and vitamin gravy? Just for cats?

Do you believe that I am actually buying this stuff? Oh, and Fancy Feast! Those twee little cans of cat food that I have always despised? I now have a cupboard full, folks. I have turned into one of those middle-aged single women in the grocery store with a cart half full of *shiver* Fancy Feast.
In my defense, the rest of the cart is usually full of beer.
As you can see in the picture above, his front end looks pretty good, but that back half needs some help. So, if anybody has any ideas of how to fatten up a cat, or has any suggestions for foods that their cats really love, I'm all ears. Amazing discovery: Rocky loves Sweet Chili Lime tortilla chips. Loves them. Crunches them up and scarfs them down. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that tortilla chips do not meet all of his nutritional requirements. On the other hand, if he will eat them, who cares?