Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Aaaaaaaaaaaghhhhh

You know how you get a new computer, and you're trying to figure out what some of the software does, and it's forcing you to make some choices about the default settings, and you're all "I don't know, I don't know! Don't pressure me!" and you have to make some choices anyway so you hope you're not screwing yourself royally by doing something wrong that will come back to bite you waaaaaaaaaay down the road?

Yeah. That would be me, right now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What can Brown do for me?

...pretty much anything he wants to.... I just got MY PRINTER (can I make that text blink neon pink?) from my friendly UPS man, and damn! he was cute. (A little forward, he rang my doorbell and walked right in with the box. Hello!)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A little joke from my Easter Bunny, Dan

Q. What did Martha Stewart do for Easter?

A. She made Cinnamon Bunnies


thank you..... I see late night talk show host as a career path.... the funniest thing he did today was eat pork tenderloin thinking it was turkey...

Easter is over and now after all that singing I am very tired (so why am I not sleeping? Family drama. Nothing like a holiday and all of that TOGETHERNESS....I can't quite wind down yet over the latest Can You Believe She Said That.....)

Bonus... a new Desperate Housewives... does anyone else think the wierdo pharmacist switched Bree's husband's pills??

I hope to be posting from my NEW PC soooooon, as it arrived on Friday, but until the Tax Man Go-eth...or at least until Mr. Carly does about 3 more tax returns, Mr. Dell is going to stay under a layer or two of styrofoam. (I did open the keyboard, type my favorite password, and lovingly whisper "I promise I'll never drop crumbs on you".....)

Be good, my dear readers, and as I always say, "if you can't be good, be careful"....

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Requiem

No matter how you feel about court cases, living wills, and feeding tubes, I think it is clear that Terri Schiavo will die soon. That in itself is an immense sadness for anyone who loved her. The debate swirling around this woman only serves to magnify everyone's pain.

Jessica Lunsford surely did not deserve to see the face of a monster as she lay dying. Bobbie Jo Stinnett and Laci Peterson should be holding their babies at this moment. Where does it all end? Someday, somehow.

There Will Come A Day performed by Faith Hill

It's not easy trying to understand
How the world can be so cold, stealing the souls of man
Cloudy skies rain down on all your dreams
You wrestle with the fear and doubt
Sometimes it's hard but you gotta believe

Chorus:
There's a better place, where our Father waits
And every tear He'll wipe away
The darkness will be gone,the weak shall be strong
Hold on to your faith

There will come a day, there will come a day
Wars are raging, lives are scattered
Innocence is lost, and hopes are shattered
The old are forgotten, the children are forsaken
In this world we're living in
Is there anything sacred?

There will come a day, there will come a day
The song will ring out, down those golden streets
The voices of earth with the angels will sing
Every knee will bow, sin will have no trace
In the glory of His amazing grace
Every knee will bow, sin will have no trace
In the glory of His amazing grace
There will come a day, there will come a day
Oooh there will come a day
I know there's coming a day, coming a day

Thursday, March 24, 2005

See you in a few days

Many of you know that I'm in my church's choir. This is the week that we have been rehearsing for since January. We sang this past Sunday morning (Palm Sunday service with the 10,000 word Gospel reading of the Passion) and evening (We have a service called Tenebrae that involves reading passages, extinguishing candles, and us singing things like this which is Italian opera and is something like "the chorus of the enslaved Jews". It was great to sing but even better to hear Stan play the beginning. )

Tonight I sing because it's Holy Thursday. Maybe
this, which is not four but EIGHT part harmony, will be tonight (I have a two page typed list from Bette to keep the songs straight....)

Tomorrow night I sing because it's Good Friday. (Hey EriK , that means NO MEAT, remember? FISH!!)


Saturday evening is the peak - two hour Easter vigil (I'm just glad they don't start it at midnight anymore) and somewhere along the line we sing this and we even throw in Mozart's Gloria for a little fun.

Sunday morning, we sing (for all the Hatched-matched-dispatched parishioners who don't usually show up other than on Easter and Christmas. They sit up in the front and don't know when to kneel or stand or do inappropriate PDA.) By then we will be sick of each seeing each other -- but not as much as we dislike
Icky Dick -- and a little hoarse.


All of this singing doesn't leave me time for important things like updating my blog. No really, all kidding aside, I wanted to wish those of you who observe these days as holidays a very Happy Easter!!

I'll close this post with one of my favorite hymns (we sing this in total darkness near the end of Tenebrae, and then one candle is lighted, and another, and the light spreads through the church as we sing.)

God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten son
that whoso believeth in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

This, that and the Oprah

Well, this looks like a good book. This is intriguing (wonder who he will be?) and I've not much to say about this other than, "Hmmm, how curious and perhaps unfortunate...",

but I have plenty to say about this:

American TV chat-show queen Oprah Winfrey is ditching the high life to star in a poverty-stricken reality TV series, reports IMDB.com.

The 51-year-old media mogul, who is one of the world's richest women with an annual income of more than $300 million, has agreed to live a life of poverty in the hard-hitting documentary. Winfrey will live in a notoriously tough Chicago neighborhood for a month.

The series plans to highlight America's urban housing crisis. A spokesperson for Winfrey's Harpo Productions company says, ``She has interviewed just about every major celebrity and done shows on almost every subject imaginable. But now she intends to tackle really tough, serious issues, putting herself right in the front line.''

However, to ensure Winfrey's safety, she will shadowed by security guards during her stay. But the spokesperson adds, ``In every other respect she will have to fend for herself, just like the many people who have to live in these substandard conditions.''

Oh, where do I start? Where?

I'll just shave my head so that I know how it feels to have cancer. No, wait. I'll misplace my calendar and say that I know how it feels like to have Altzheimer's.

Is Oprah serious?

She's going to go play Ghetto, er, house, for a month while WITH HER BODYGUARDS, and that will let her experience "the front line"? Yeah, she'll be fending for herself. Right.

Does she have children that will be crying in the supermarket, wanting sweets and toys she can't afford? Crying themselves to sleep at night because they're hungry, and frightened of the noises rats make, and afraid that a bullet will come in through their window? Will she have to humiliate them by using electrical tape to hold their shoes together so that they have something to wear to school? Will she ever know the despair of knowing that your child has been bitten by a rat, or has serious asthma because you live surrounded by cockroach feces?

Life of poverty, my ass. Give away all of your money, you sanctimonious publicity whore. Then we'll talk about you even remotely understanding a life of poverty. Even though it still won't really be valid, because you can just ink another deal to earn yourself some money.

It's insulting. It's obscenely offensive to people who don't have the option of going back home to "the high life."

I am in such disbelief, that can't sum it up any better than this excerpt from the song "Common People" (William Shatner, with guests I can't recall right now)


You'll never live like common people. You'll never do whatever common people do. You'll never fail like common people. You'll never watch your life slide out of view, and dance and drink and screw because there's nothing else to do.

Sing along with the common people. Sing along, and it might just get you thru.' Laugh along with the common people. Laugh along, even though they're laughing at you and the stupid things that you do 'cause you think that poor is cool.

Like a dog lying in a corner, they'll bite you and never warn you. Look out. They'll tear your insides out 'cause everybody hates a tourist. 'Cause Everybody hates a tourist, especially one who thinks it's all such a laugh.

You will never understand how it feels to live your life with no meaning or control and with nowhere left to go. You're amazed that they exist and they burn so bright, while you can only wonder why.


Monday, March 21, 2005

I'd get tangled somehow

Mr. C and I are making reservations for the big anniversary (15 years this summer)... this picture just made me laugh... how much hot grizzlybear lovin' do you think has taken place on THIS?

Game On

The time has come. My opponent has returned.

I caught a glimpse of the enemy last night, lurking in the shadows where he thought he would remain unseen.

I saw.

I thought to reach for my digital camera, but what good would it do to have a photo, until the crime is done? Then, it will be too late. The loss will be irreplaceable.

I heard - or did I imagine? - the soft chuckle. "I know they are there, and I will take them from you. I will have them, soon." The familiar chill went down my spine. No, not again. Not this time. No!

I must try harder to outwit him. I must surpass the pathetic attempts I have made in the past to protect what is mine. This time, it's personal.

Every - and by that I mean, for at least the past five years, EVERY spring, I wait anxiously. I look for signs. I take whatever meager precautions I have at my disposal. I am on guard. My opponent waits until I am momentarily distracted, pulled away from my vigil, then makes his sudden crushing attack. I am devastated.

If that damn rabbit eats my tulips again this year, JUST before they bloom, I'm making rabbit stew. So help me.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Spies in Sunglasses

Author's note: edited.... this item was originally posted without proofreading. I really should mention to my husband that I have this blog. It's not like I trash him in it, for pete's sake, so why don't I want him reading it? The only reason I have come up with so far is that he might say "Don't you have housework to be doing?"

Right now my kids are outside playing "Spy". They are wearing hats and sunglasses, even though it's 41 degrees out and slightly raining. Oh, they have mittens on too.

The "gear" apparently protects them from some sort of "rays" that the bad guys have, which otherwise are apparently able to knock them out. Their weapons right now seem to consist of water guns and little bottles of bubble-blowing solution. Apparently this game required a notebook of some sort (an old spiral notebook I willingly handed over, received as though it was The Coolest Spy Notebook Ever.) Big drama broke out when the two way radios couldn't be found. Mom to the rescue -- one was in the backpack.

Cost of amusement for today... batteries for the radios. No lessons, uniforms, or fast-food-dinner-because-we're-late will be required. Smug? Perhaps. Twenty years ago a college classmate was reading "The Hurried Child", warning of overscheduling your child in all manner of team sports, music lessons, et cetera. No one listened, apparently, except me.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ping!

I saw a funny commercial tonight. It's a commercial for AARP (something about not doing it all on your own...?). Like any truly funny commercial, the catch is that I didn't notice what they were advertising.

It's an Asian guy who says his name is Ping and he's talking about how he never could get everything done until he cloned himself. Then as the commercial proceeds, you realize that there are Ping clones all around him, dressed exactly like he is, doing volunteering and so on.

The part that cracked me up is where Ping walks into the bedroom and hands his wife a flower in a vase, just as she wakes up . She looks at him, looks at the Ping clone lying next to her, and starts screaming.

So is the clone of Ping a better Big Daddy than the original Ping? How could that be? Wouldn't that little boots-knocking the prior night have been his first time? Where did he learn his moves? Why do I care so much about Ping's sex life?

Is the first Ping the "real" Ping, or do they all think that they're the real one?

Am I the Real Ping?

Bliss

This is the best stuff ever.... Katcas. You microwave one of these suckers and it will stay warm for about 45 minutes. I have the shoulder wrap and it was worth every penny. (I got whiplash on my honeymoon -from a car accident thank you very much - and to this day my neck still aches sometimes, even though 15 years have passed)

Tell 'em the old lady sent ya.

Bacon, bits, & bytes

Did you know I am only two degrees away from Kevin Bacon? My sister had coffee with him (with wife & kid) in '92 when she was a skater. I know that doesn't really count for the game, but whatever... I'm just finding this out NOW.... can't wait to find out what other little things I missed.

I love the new song by Rob Thomas.

I am going to buy a new PC with some of the consulting mooolah Mr. Carly has been making. Wheeeee! (Now I'll be able to watch blogger crash on a flat panel. Sweet.) I'm thinking Dell.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Frontega Chicken with a Brat on the side

So, Shamus and I take off to go to Panera's now & again since we don't work together anymore. It's a good chance to have this amazing Frontega ChickenPanini they make, and fill him in on who is "moving on to pursue other opportunities", which happens all too often at my employer. (B.Y. is one of the best managers I ever had and I have great respect for him. My company is so stupid. Do you hear me? :::shakes fist:::: STUPID!!)

Today we lunched and as we were chatting I'm watching this three or four year old girl squirming around on a high barstool sort of chair, sort of half standing on the chair and then scootching her foot around under her fanny to sit down again. I was getting queasy wondering what sound her noggin will make when she tips the chair over and her head hits the floor. Problem one - her mother wasn't even sitting at the table with her; she was at the next one over, with Friend/Sister, Little Boy in HighChair, and Friend's child.

The mother seemed sort of flustered and I didn't really understand how she was eating her own meal. She was more or less standing up frequently to help the little girl, but almost immediately the LBIHC would demand that she sit down again. He looked to be about two. She would plead with him that "Honey I have to help (Little Girl) eat her lunch." Problem two. Do not whimper to your child that you need to do something, just because he doesn't want you to do it. I do not want to hear you whining and begging your two year old to allow you to do something. Who is the parent here?

Problem three started when Mom had to go back to the ladies' room (for a good cry, probably) and left everyone else behind. LBIHC started a "Oh no, you can't leave meeeeeeeeeeee" sort of tantrum. He accelerated pretty quickly, so I'm sure this is something he's experienced in.

Friend picked him up and was cuddling him and basically kissing his butt to try to convince him to stop the floor show. I looked at Shamus and said "If that were EITHER one of my kids and I left them with my sister, she would not tolerate that crap for a millisecond. She would look them square in the eyes, and point her finger at them and say "Knock that off, I don't want to listen to it, your mother will be right back. Give her a minute's peace to go to the bathroom and be quiet."


So he of course started laughing at me and said "You're going to blog this, aren't you?" and you're damn right I am! Why are so many people afraid to see their children cry? Learn that you won't get what you want all of the time, kiddo, because YOU WON'T. Now, understand that I don't want to see a child crying in pain or fear. I will be the first to comfort them if that's the cause, but if they are just torqued about not getting their own way, that's too bad. Shaddup!!

My son tried the "throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum to get what I want" once and I laughed at him and walked out of the room. Rinse, repeat, ...he caught on pretty quickly that he would be getting NOWHERE with that tactic.

Let them know who's in charge!! Don't interrupt my lunch!!!

PS. Shamus, I have no idea what that note means - how can you run a process against an empty file? You doofus.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Purple Haze

so,

Purple Haze is a really good glass of beer.

Allow me to review my day.

06:00 Awaken after an unprecedented (recently anyway) 8 hours of sleep, still feeling completely exhausted. I am woman, I am invincible, I am TIRED.

08:04 Arrive, slightly late as usual, to my office, just ahead of the woman who has sat next to me for (hey Shammy how long ago did you leave? ) - um, let's call it almost two years, and yet never spoke to me until today (more on that later)

08:29 Realize that I put 2004 on a work request and THAT's why everyone is calling with ten thousand questions on it. D'oh!

09:00 Copy of the playoff brackets slapped on my desk by teammate, with invitation to give five dollars to the building bookie. (Doesn't every company have The Guy Who Runs the Pools ?) Thanks, no thanks. I really don't give a rat's posterior who is going to the dance.

10:00 Attend project meeting via conference call that I should be running but for some reason can't focus well enough to contribute to. Literally phone it in, very lamely.

11:00 Recieve flowers from Irish hubby as per annual tradition. High point of day, probably. Uh oh, it's all downhill from here. Woman who sits next to me breaks code of silence to compliment flowers (did I mention she walks by 10,000 times a day and is always staring at my screen to check what I'm doing, like I'm looking at porn or something?)

11:30 Go out for lunch with team to celebrate L's birthday. Look around at group and wonder if it will be the last time we all go out to lunch together. Note that the despair is back in all of our voices after a 3 month reprieve. Will people in a VERY different time zone be doing our work next spring?

2:02 Escape, knowing I haven't completed my to-do list, nor have I "logged my time".

2:45 Realize that it might actually be (oh my God don't say it too loud or I'll jinx it) SPRING soon and that I can take the kids out for a walk.

2:53 The little buggers have worn me down from "you need a warm coat and a hat" to "yes you can wear sweatshirts and take your scooters but you have to wear your gear." (Mr. Foreshadowing will be joining us on our walk.)

3:12 At top of hill, point out that "no, you can't ride the scooter down, you'll end up going too fast, then you'll fall and you'll get hurt."

3:14 Approximately 67% of the way down the hill, daughter begs, is allowed on scooter, and immediately goes too fast, falls and gets hurt.

3:15 Mr. Foreshadowing waves and whistles as he walks away - his work here is done.

3:16 Daughter finally stops crying while looking at digital pictures. I am silently cursing the fact that I didn't get a video clip of her falling, because Johnny V would have spit Mountain Dew out his nose if he saw it. Trip, forward, roll thunka thunka roll. (My poor baby. No blood but her ass is going to hurt tomorrow.)

4:00 return to kitchen, gag while I open a corned beef (why is the blood so SLIMY in those things?)

4:05 Realize I have neither buttermilk NOR those seeds one adds to Irish Soda Bread when one makes it once a year.

4:20 talk to UnHelpful Help Desk Man at Roadrunner who has me change my inbound mail server name even though I *CAN* receive, but I *CAN'T* send. Hmm.

4:40 Hang up on UHHDM, ignore his suggestion to re-create my id. Unplug modem completely.

4:42 Plug modem back in, recieve and send mail. "Turn it all off and then turn it all back on" works again!

5:01 Realize daughter has 30 math problems to do and never mentioned it.

5:05 Speak to Mr. Carly, who calls before he leaves work. My contribution to the conversation is "Buy. Beer. For. Me." Help with a math problem.

5:10 Beg Irish Mother In Law to arrive at 6 pm, not 5:30

5:20 Help with a math problem.

5:30 Corned beef should be done, is not even close. Open Purple Haze. Help with a math problem.

6:00 Corned beef should be done, is not even close. Finish Purple Haze. Help with a math problem.

6:30 Corned beef should be done, is close.

7:00 Corned beef is done. Irish soda bread doesn't suck. Yay!

8:00 Help with a math problem.

8:10 Help with a math problem. (you get the idea...)

9:03 Help with last math problem.

9:15 Open another beer and watch lamer than usual Apprentice.

It's just a thrill a minute here..... but it really is good beer!

Spinning around the dial

American Idol - is everyone watching but me? I have absolutely zero interest this year and I don't know why. Good thing my DVR automatically deletes. Do you think the guy who quit really DOES have "movies" floating around on the internet? What will tomorrow's rumor be? WHOOOOO CARES?

Amazing Race -I know some people hate Romber but I am still laughing at how he convinced other players to sit and wait for four hours. Know the rules and cut your opponents off at the knees while you smile at them. Pure evil genius. What I really love is that Amber's reaction was "Yeah, good work" instead of "Oh Rob, you're so smart, that was brilliant, blah blah blah..." Do not fawn over a man like that. If HE had won Survivor I don't know if they'd still be together. (Because, you know, men are stupid tramps when they get too much fame and/or money....)

Survivor - Tatoo went home! Yaaaaaaaaaay! I bet the digital editor who had to put in all of the fuzzy blobs around her ill-fitting garments got a few days off - I'm sure he was relieved.

Apprentice - hmm. Isn't my favorite person on BOTH Burnett shows named Stephanie right now? How odd.


Gotta get to work! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Table for One

The kids and I met Mr. Carly at Salty's for dinner (... what was I thinking? it was so bad the last time....)

When I go out to dinner to a "real" restaurant (or even a wannabe Bistro) with my kids, it's out of sheer desperation. There is nothing in the refridgerator to provide raw materials fora nice home cooked meal, or even a boring meal, and/or there's something we need to do that evening which necessitates dining out because the only other alternative is We Will Not Eat Dinner.

It's not fun, it's WORK. I am pretty much pinging one offspring, then the next, to keep tabs on them and try to head off any socially unacceptable behavior that other diners will go home to kvetch about. Don't bang that, put this down, speak quietly, tell the lady what you want to eat, (following up every remark they make to the server with ".... please"...) etc. Constantly trying to prevent the glasses from being knocked over.

On the outer border of my radar screen I noticed a woman sitting alone at the next table. She was plain, with glasses and no makeup, uneventful hair, unremarkable clothing. She drank a soda of some sort, and played Gameboy while she waited for her food. I could almost feel her being lonely.

Maybe I'm projecting. My husband said to me once that he knows there was a time when we didn't have kids, but he doesn't really remember what it felt like. I can't imagine not having them in my life. I can't imagine being single and sitting at a table in a nice restaurant eating dinner alone. At least, not for any reason other than business travel, and that didn't seem to be the case here. It seemed like more of a "I have nothing else to do so I'll take myself out to dinner" evening.

I am ever mindful of the thought that I am lucky. Lucky to have the spilled soda, and the ketchup on my sleeve, and the mental drain that comes from tracking the movements of two small Tazmanians.

My sister is single, and she doesn't go out to eat alone. Single doesn't have to mean lonely. So it's not really the case that I felt sorry for the woman because she seems to be single. I just felt sadness to see her eating all alone.


I'm forced to fake, a smile, a laugh,
every day of my life
My heart can't possibly break
when it wasn't even whole to start with.....
- Kelly Clarkson / David Hodges / Ben Moody

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Pilgrimage of Litany: FAQ - Give Me Your Huddled Masses

The Pilgrimage of Litany: FAQ - Give Me Your Huddled Masses

Dammit Blogger, wil lyou post just ONE Thing For Me Without Giving Me a Hard Time?

I frickken love this blog. Go to the bottom of the post and Jump to Start.

So....

I just realized that I've posted over 100 entries to this blog... hey, thanks for reading!

How 'bout that?

I wrote this Friday evening, never quite finished it...so just pretend you didn't check my blog all weekend...if you read nothing else, skim the bold text!

How about that delicious tool belt who judged the reward challenge on Survivor? ( I've got a project for you!) How about my bch Stephenie knocking the crap out of her opponents in that pillow fight? How about we throw the tatoo girl into a deeeeep well? Get that fuzzy blob off my screen once and for all.

How about Trump almost firing Erin the way he did - "I'll fire you if you don't stop talking... Keep talking..." (her reaction: eyes wide in fear, shaking head no...she's not as dumb as I thought.) I loved Carolyn laughing at Tana... I had to replay it even though Mr. Carly rolled his eyes.

How about sending me a pledge to support me in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica? (April 24) I'm not proud, I'll beg... please? ... five bucks? Those of you who work at K--, flip me a note so I know you really love moi. Just consider it a bribe, or else I'll squeal, and tell CIS to block the entire Blogger universe. Pony up!! Seriously, remember that March of Dimes provides a wide range of education and support - one small example is the scrapbooking projects underway in some NICU's. I have already found this project to be very meaningful and hope to see it continue.

How about another cooking class at the Glen Sanders Mansion... Angelo the chef/owner cooked for us. No purple-suited ladies with red hats! Awesome! We got a great table as a result. Appetizer - stuffed artichokes which I have never had but loved once I figured out how to bite off the bottom of the leaves. Onion pie/ pastry that was to die for. Lasagna, but of course. Dessert was ricotta pie that one Italian woman at my table said was The Best She Ever Had. Well complimented by Italian wines... WWW.BonelloWines.com - 2003 Pinot Grigio/Chardonnay blend, and 2003 Merlot / Nero D'avola blend. Blends are apparently where it's at, peeps.

How about the bead room the little girl on Extreme Makeover Home Edition ended up with? It had more beads than the store I go to. I was literally gnashing my teeth and saying "Oh, man!!" Mr. Carly was saying "Don't look... don't get any ideas..." Should be here when they get the pictures posted....

How about the B-E-S-T St. Paddy's party in this area, and we get invited every year. Two of our oldest friends invite everyone they know to their beee-u-tiful home just south of the big city. (The finished basement is so nice the guests were jockeying to put in bids to rent it as a timeshare. Very Adirondack lodge with an amazingly huge hi-def tv which, of course, was turned to the basketball games). This party always has plenty of food and grog, wonderful people (a fun reunion from year to year, we're all friends now) and the highlight for me is the toast Kevin gives every year. He speaks of his main reason for having the party every year - to remember, celebrate, and honor the courage that our ancestors had, to get on a boat alone, to sail to a world unknown, and make a new life, in hopes that the lives of their children's children would be better in this new land. If Kevin's toast doesn't make you cry, you're not invited to next year's party. Just kidding.

I am the proud granddaughter of immigrants. I remember the stories my grandmother told about coming to this great country as a small girl (nine years old), not knowing a word of English and being teased for it, and I remember her story about sailing into NY harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty. I remember the cake my mother made to celebrate her 50th anniversary in this country. With a little luck, I'll get my hands on a photo of that. I vividly remember Grandma bringing me to see Lady Liberty when I was about 6. I stood up in the very top, and looked out the little holes in the crown. It was amazing. I can only imagine the emotions she must have felt, seeing me, and remembering herself at that age. My grandmother, Gertraude, came to America on March 25,1925. God Bless, Grandma, wherever you are in this crazy universe.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Walker

At my children's school, if you are not riding a bus home, you are a "Walker". Since it is a parochial school there are a number of buses that come and go from the various school districts. It's easier to get the buses off on their way, and then allow parents to pick up the other kids.

The normal routine at dismissal is that Barb, the office secretary, announces the number of whatever bus has pulled up, and those kids scramble out and get on their bus under the watchful eye of Mary Kate and whoever happens to be helping her. (No, no Ashley at our school.) Once all of the buses have come and gone, Barb (who I have known well for many years) will announce "Walkers" and a flood of children bursts out of the building. Colorful snow pants and jackets, abundant noise. A pleasant sort of chaos takes place, and we parents smile at one another, take our kids, and wander on back to our cars.

Yesterday my kids were supposed to be walkers, so I wrote the required note. It's all very organized. Barb types up the list of walkers/ absentee, etc and every teacher gets a copy by lunchtime. It sounds like a great plan, doesn't it?

When I got to school and found parking the last few buses were pulling away and walkers were already spilling out of the building. I saw my daughter, no less than 10 feet from Mary Kate, standing still and just generally behaving like she usually does. But where was Daniel? Ah, my little wild card, he was probably inside talking. I went into the lobby, looked around, and asked Barb where he was. She paged him to come down to the office.

Then a friend of Dan's said, "He got on the bus."

Houston, we have a problem, no one is at the house. I looked at Barb, she looked at me, and she picked up the phone to the bus company. She's good - her brain was clicking away and as she was dialing she was saying to me "I'll tell them to let him off at the F. family's house because then he'll be with D and H." I was impressed because it was a good plan - H babysits for us sometimes.

Barb spoke with the bus company and then gave me a face - "He got off at the house." Rut-oh. To them "Noone's home."

I looked in my cellphone for my neighbor's number, the ones we call "Aunt B and Uncle B" because they have grandchildren the same age as my kids and we have a wonderful friendship with them. I realized I didn't have it so we looked him up quickly, and called - no one home.

I realized that I had the cell number of the teenager who lives two houses down, because SHE babysits for me too. I dug it out of my purse, called her up, and said "Nik, Dan got off the bus and I'm not home, do you see him?" She looked out and said "I think he's sitting on the front steps. Let me go down there, I'll stay on the phone with you." God, I love cell phones. I may pay her bill from now on.

I could hear from her breath that she was hurrying and then she said "It's just his backpack. He's not there."

As I've indicated previously, I live in a nice quite neighborhood, tucked off the beaten path. However, at this point I think my brain switched partially off. There was a little thread spinning in the back of my mind about a car, taking him away, that I specifically closed down. Nuh-uh. I just started repeating everything Barb and Nik said.

"It's just his backpack - he's not there."
"Maybe he walked around to the deck - call his name"

I heard her screaming his name, which is what I wanted to be doing. Then - "He's ok - he was at Mrs. P's house."

He did what he was supposed to do. We had talked about which houses to go to if Mom isn't home when the bus drops you off. I just never figured he'd have to do it alone.

It may be hard for some people to understand the instant swing from "Oh my god where is he" to "I'm going to kill him." Walker to Dead Man Walking in less than 10 minutes.

Teachers and Barb apologized profusely, which I waved away because I completely understood, he forgot, he got on the usual bus. I bought flowers for Nikita. He cried, a lot. I write. That's how I let things out.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Who's the bum?

I actually managed to get out of the house early today, without the aid of any sort of hostage negotiations. Go figure.

I wasn't having a good morning mood-wise, for reasons I won't get into at this time. So I swung by Burger King for my "I know I shouldn't eat this for breakfast but I am stressing out so I am going to" croissant with egg & cheese, OJ, and Coke. Mmm, yeah, that would be I put on weight over the past year! I went through the drive-through, then pulled around the front of the restaurant, and opened it up to make sure they didn't put anything stupid like sausage on it.

So there I was in my car in the middle of the (freezing cold covered with icy ruts) parking lot unwrapping my sandwich and I realized a homeless man was pushing a shopping cart along the narrow lane that I would need to use to get out of the parking lot.

He looked to be about my father's age, around 65. I can't really describe him other than to say, he was bundled up for winter in a knit hat and warm coat, pushing a shopping cart containing what I imagined were his meager belongings. I was almost confused, in a way, because I normally don't really see anyone around the immediate area where I live who appears to be homeless. It's a low to middle income quiet sort of little town, a 20 minute ride on the highway to "the city". While I was looking at him, he pushed the cart through the deep snow and icy ruts, and then waved at me.


I guess he thought I was waiting to let him get through that area. Great -- then I felt guilty, because I had only paused in the lot so that I could shove (14 million weightwatchers points, but who's counting, worth of) food into my mouth while I drove in my nice warm car to my cushy little office job. If I hadn't been in a hurry to get at that sandwich I probably would have almost accidentally run him over.

Then the real anxiety set in. Did he eat today? Yesterday? Should I give him money? How much? Should I give him the sandwich (no bites out of it yet) so that he would eat and not buy booze? I claim to be religious, shouldn't I be feeding the poor and the hungry? What about all of those bible passages about "when you see the poor and needy I am there," etc?? If I offered him something would he be grateful? Angry? What if the guy was unhinged and clocked me for trying to give him a handout? What to do?

While I was paralyzed by indecision, he went on his way past me.

There are times when I wish I were a man. Not for sexual reasons, but to avoid fear. A man has less to fear in this world from the opposite sex ~ men don't live with the need to consider every female they meet a potential threat to their physical well being until proven otherwise. Men I don't know make me nervous if I am alone. Chalk it up to various life experiences, my own and those of ones near and dear to me. Now, maybe this is not the typical attitude of all women, I will grant you that. Most men probably would not have been nervous giving him something. Of course, some men wouldn't BOTHER giving him something, but others at least would not be afraid.

If I were a man, I could have - I WOULD have - parked the car, taken him inside, and bought eggs, coffee, fries, whatever he wanted. I wish I were a man.

There was another issue, off to the side, that I don't really deal with on a day to day basis. Someday my brother may be that man. He works in random bluecollar jobs from time to time, quits when it suits him, and cultivates the reputation of "loner." He isolates himself from people, and refuses to make plans for the future, set goals, or look to the day when he is older and not able to work. When the money is almost gone, he looks for another job. After a while, the pattern repeats itself.

So I sat there, paralyzed by indecision and anxiety, and the guilt. This is someone's brother, perhaps, and it was RIGHT in front of me to be able to help this person in just a small way. I could have made him so happy for a few moments. But I was afraid.

Finally, fear won. While I sat there trying to figure out what to do, he just continued on his way, and then I went to work. The entire day, I felt the sadness of an opportunity that had slipped away.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Only in the U S of A

Pardon me, my phone is moaning...


What next, Blackberrys that vi ...oh, never mind.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Snow-Spangled Carly




Oh say can you see
By the last of the light
All the snow coming down
On my driveway and sidewalk

It's a fight to the end
I will shovel the snow
I will curse the white stuff
you will find me in the drifts

And the snot streams down my face
My toes all freeze into place
And the zipper of my coat
Just gave up the ghost....

Please, would you give me a plane ticket
to a warm sunny beach
so I can lay in the sun
and drink margaritas?


Monday, March 07, 2005

Chocolate

If you know me, this is kind of funny.

I went to a fundraiser this weekend where the main point of the evening, other than raising money for the Epilepsy foundation in our area, was the chocolate dessert buffet (these pictures show about a third of it):





I hate chocolate.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Who is Lou Garcia?

Last night at dinner my daughter was telling us about a book she read at school. It was about this guy Lou Garcia and apparently he really loved the Yankees. Yammer, yammer, wore the number four, yammer yammer (she does go on quite a bit, she gets that from ME) and now no one wears the number four. At this point my husband put down his fork and said "Lou Gherig? Lou Gherig. They retired Lou Gherig's number, he was number four."

My daughter blinked and replied "Well then, who is Lou Garcia?"

She is doomed to be Just. Like. Me.

Tick tock, splish splash?

My sister is a nurse and works in a NICU, caring for preemies. She had a dream last night that some of the babies were sitting on the edge of a pool, dipping their feet in the water, laughing, chit-chatting and generally doing what people do at a pool.

We decided this is a novel variation on Ally Mc Beal's dancing baby.

Only, my sister is not crazy, she weighs more than 85 pounds, and this happened while she was sleeping.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Dragonfly

I made a new necklace... click here for a larger view




I'm very happy with how it came out, especially since I love dragonflies. The larger pink beads are somtimes referred to as "fiberoptics" and the smaller ones are swarovski crystals which are very sparkly in person.

To celebrate my accomplishment and to get me through a "fun" meeting this afternoon I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of crystals and silver beads and so on. More to come!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Veni, Vidi, Vino

-- I Came, I Saw, I Drank Some Good Wine

Two weeks ago, at my previous wine class I tried the following wines (all red)

  • 2001 Malbec - Pedro del Castillo (Argentia, very nice, and Ian, I hope you are getting well soon)
  • 2000 Domaine Duloquet Anjou (a French cabernet)
  • 2003 Georges Dubceuf Beaujolais (gamay noir grape)*

*spelling is optional, right?

I did not like the cabernet, but the others were great.

I bought a bottle of Louis Jadot 2002 Beaujolais and had it that weekend with the brother and sister in law who hooked us up with the wine classes. We had it with some big fat hamburgers and homemade pasta salad. It was somewhat tart and had a sort of blackberry taste to me and we all enjoyed it

****************************

Last night, we went for our final class in the introductory series, which covered sparkling wine. Note that ONLY sparkling wine made in a very specific part of France can be called Champagne. Oh, those French people.

Ted started off with The Paris 1976 testing. Oh, Google it. It bored me.

We learned words like riddling (turning and tilting a bottle to work the yeast toward the top so that it can be removed) and that wine that says "in THIS bottle" on the label is different from wine fermented "in THE bottle". The latter is a subtle hint that your sparkling wine was fermented in a huuuuuuuuuge bottle. AKA, a vat with a cover.

One or more of the following grapes is used:

  • chardonnay
  • pinot noir
  • pinot meunier

Most sparkling wine is "nonvintage" which means you won't see a year on the bottle. But enough of the dry stuff (haha), I have to tell you about Ted.

Ted, as you may recall, teaches the classes and last time he had a brand new haircut. This time Ted was sporting a bit of razor stubble, perhaps 3 days worth, and I have to say it worked for me. He gave us little bits of advice such as the fact that you don't want to leave the bottle unattended once you pull the cage off because the carbonation inside could pop the cork, and of course be careful where you point that thang, "do not let it encounter someone's face". (My brother in law quietly proposed a 30 second cork rule to me. Deal.)

By the way, if you pop the cork carefully (hold a towel over it and ease it out) and the champagne still slops all over out of the bottle you probably didn't chill it enough, according to Ted. He went on to say that his favorite wine to drink is sparkling wine because it is fizzy and gets you "tiddlier" faster. I don't think you can use that word on a Scrabble board. Ted was pretty much lit up like a Christmas tree by the end of class but it worked on him.

One woman (the friend of a woman who always takes off her damn shoes, which drives me crazy, I can't stand either one of them) asked how you "should" make mimosas (I hate people who fawn over people and want to know the "right" way to make something as easy as a damn mimosa. Put the OJ in a glass and add champagne. A little, a lot, suit yourself. Sheesh!) Ted's reply ("In big batches") was rather funny and didn't comment on what a stupid question she had asked. He's a good guy.

Here's something to keep in mind. Wines tend to be dry or sweet, and sparkling wines are no exception. There are words used to indicate the relative sweetness of a wine... Naturel, Brut, and Extra Dry. Just to mess with the minds of people like me, Extra Dry actually means it is sweet. Go figure. Another hint from Ted is that the cheaper the sparkling wine is, the sweeter it probably is.

Here are the wines we tried:

  • Gruet Winery, Brut, from Albuquerque New Mexico. How about that? It was very "classic" and dry and crisp. Exactly what you think of when you think of "champagne"
  • L'Hereu de Raventos i Blanc, Cava .... a spanish wine. Sort of fuzzy-ish like a peach texture. Different. I liked it, my brother in law, not so much.
  • Henkell ... a riesling.. very sweet...so of course it said Trocken on the label which means Dry, which means sweet. Got it? Me neither, but Ted said to tell people to try this if you don't think you like sparkling wine.

I also learned that you really CAN eat the nasty rind on a piece of Brie. As if. It's the mold, peeps. But we did have a nice Brie from the Champagne area of France. It was called Chaource. The goat's milk cheese for the evening was called Unie Kaas, and it was from Holland. Both were great.

Don't forget, always use the tall skinny flutes if you can. Champagne that is all bubbled out is not your friend. But I am. Ex-specially if you share a bottle of wine with me.

PS. More about ICE WINE... holy crap... it is so expensive. Ted showed me one that was $100, for a bottle smaller than the bottles of Pepsi in the average vending machines. There was a $20 one but I'm not sure it would be worthwhile to try.

Cheers!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

We're pushing forward...

I am a bit of a news hound... I check CNN and MSNBC here and there during the day so that I know what's going on. So let me say Ahah! I told you Robin Williams was the funniest man alive. He still is ! My man was Censored!!

I came across that link while browsing around to find out what the buzz was on last night's disastrous Bachelorette finale'. The funny thing is, there is hardly an article to be had. It's strange, but there is a ghostly silence over the internet, as though all of the ABC publicists are simply hiding under their desks saying "Nuh uh, nothing happened." There is this.

Who's watching Romber tonight on the Amazing Race? I am torn. The DVR, it is a wonderful toy. It can record two-two-two shows in one!! But what do I watch, and what do I relegate to that special place on my to-do list we call "probably never?" I decided that I simply MUST watch NYPD Blue tonight. I need to see Jimmy Smits. It's that simple. He is hosting the penultimate hour, the "this is all the stuff you missed if you're a loser who never watched this show" episode begining at 9 pm. Jimmy is on my "celebrities I'd love to kidnap to an exotic locale if given the chance" list. Yeah, there would be handcuffs involved. What of it? He's a COP.

At any rate, I am going to refrain from doing any housecleaning today, because it's WINE CLASS NIGHT, kiddies! Tonight - champagne. We are in the midst of a snow globe scene here so I just called to make sure it's still on. A man answered and replied to my inquiry that "Ted's going to go ahead and do it, the snow is tapering out so we're pushing forward." I repeated that to Mr. C, who pointed out that Ted may very well refer to himself in the second person, but it still makes a heck of a title, huh?


PS: Honorary mention on my list of Fabulous 40's goes to Mrs. TNO, the lovely wife of Erik with a K.

Happy Birthday DK !!!