Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's About Time

At last the lying can cease. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The big 'ol secret we have been keeping for months was Tarzan's mother's SURPRISE 60th birthday party. And the dear woman reads our blogs, so neither I nor Rocketgirl nor Pfiddle could mention anything about it. Last year about this time, Tarzan needed his birth certificate for some work thing when I pulled it out I realized it had his mother's birth date on it. This is the first time in nearly ten years that I had any inclination of when her birthday was or how old she was. She is SO closemouthed about it. And as luck would have it, this year, that is 2008, would be her 60th birthday. What better reason to have a party? And as long as we were at it, why not make it a surprise party? That way she couldn't push the focus off on someone else and escape the attention, as she is wont to do. (Tarzan says she never let them celebrate her birthday when they were kids.) I asked MusicMan - Tarzan's father - what he thought of the idea and she said "oh, be careful, she doesn't do well with surprises." Taking that as a warning, when all the siblings came for the ASKR in June, I broached the subject to them and we formed a plan. It was evil in both its genius and its simplicity. We would come to The Rockies while they were in Paradise and surprise her on their return.
As the planning progressed - and when their plane tickets were finalized - we decided to come to The Rockies early, spend Thanksgiving with QC and prepare for the surprise. This turned out to be a good idea. Especially when we decided to expand the party to all of Gamma's friends from the community. But if my post on Thanksgiving was a little vague or brief, it was because we were all here, in The Rockies, but I couldn't SAY so and chance her reading about us being together, as we had gone to great lengths to tell her we were elsewhere for the holiday.
What the whole production became was actually two surprises. One, first thing this morning, was only the family. They were fresh off a plane, not dressed for a party and been up all night, flying across half the ocean. So we met her with flowers and let her absorb the shock. This afternoon, since everyone was here, MusicMan had scheduled a family picture session and with the help of the sweet neighbor across the way, we let in the friends and other neighbors, set up the food and cake and surprised her again when we came home from the photo shoot. Visiting, eating, a gorgeous memeory book from the same dear friend across the road and Rocketgirl made a movie of her mother's life. There wasn't a dry eye in the place.
AND I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO BLOG ABOUT ANY OF THE PLANS FOR MONTHS! It was SOOO frustrating, not just the trying to remember what lies we've told and misdirection we've planted, and I think it nearly killed Rocketgirl. This is her mother after all. But in the end, when all of the grandchildren came running with the flowers as she walked in the door, and we whispered "SURPRISE" it was worth it. You be the judge:There are a ton more pictures which I may post another day - we're flying back to The Jungle tomorrow - and I am sure Rocketgirl will post her groovy montage for us to view, but for now, that is the money shot.

This is me, glad to not be holding it in anymore.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


The brain is a weird organ. The connections it does or does not make, depending.
Tarzan is the king of random associations I think. (Let me know if you can find someone with a weirder connection than hearing the economic news on the radio and feeling sorry for his phrasing from a conversation that happened before he left grade school.) That man has a mind that jumps five grooves at a time.
My brain on the other hand seems to get stuck in a groove and never gets out again. For example, I always think of Roxie and Jared when I hear "Come On Eileen," even though it was years ago that I saw them dance to it, they both have moved on, married other people, kids, blah blah blah. That memory sticks.
Likewise, when I was in the shower this evening - and this happens nearly every time I take a shower - I was reminded of Paul Reiser. I read an article, years ago in a waiting room or something such that it was hard to go back and find the blurb again, about showering and his take on how we tend to wash our stomachs and chests and arms a lot because they're close to us, but our feet, which do so much of the work during our days are far away and we say 'eh, they get dripped on.' I'm sure this was from a comedy routine he did, but I've never heard it and I've never seen it written anywhere else. Yet every time I get in the shower I think of him when I bend over to wash my feet.

This is me, this remembering stuff is a tricky business.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Something Is Happening

...Shifting ground, it's just begun...
Aww yeah, it's a holiday miracle! The marvelous event we've (well, I've) been waiting for, for so long, is finally, finally happening. Stephanie J. Block, my all-time favorite theater actress, who's accolades I have sung on this blog and in many other arenas, sweetest celebrity on the planet, is putting out her first solo album! She's been promising FOREVER but since I don't actually know her, I can only guess what's going on in her life while I try to make do with the scraps they throw on the news page of her official website. (Which if I say is not very often. Isn't that what publicists are for, to make sure crazy obsessed fans like me are appeased with random information from the star's life?) But, this month she updated and in it was the news of the upcoming album. Say it with me; sweet! It probably will be some time still before it's released but the fact they are talking about working on it is amazing. You know that it's going on my Christmas List.

This is me, so excited!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

GivingThanks 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
I don't know about you, but I am exhausted. Thankfully - heh - we traveled last night - to where I can not divulge at this moment, but I will soon - because once we woke this morning the fun never ceased. Also thankfully, I did not have to pull out the raw, goopy insides of a turkey, stuff it and then hope I didn't give everyone salmonella poisoning. One of the co-planners decided to spare me the ordeal and brought a smoked turkey. It was not bad. Heck, it was glorious! If it isn't obvious yet, I have never made an entire thanksgiving dinner by myself before. And today I did. (That's not fair to say, I did have help. But the directing of it was all me, and as one of the guests said, I kept waiting for the grown-ups to come and take over.) Perhaps it was the new environment but it took forever to get the pies going. And then people started showing up and they were hungry and getting all the dishes ready at once is not one of my talents. But. It got done. We ate. And no one is sick. I consider that an excellent meal.
Despite my whining, it really was a wonderful day. I feel stressed in the middle but coming out the other side I feel good. And I am thankful. Here are my three kernals - not necessarily the same ones I shared at the table:
  • Tarzan - that one is the same - he really is the greatest thing in my life. So good to me, so accepting of me, a good example to the neighborhood, a good teacher at his school. He's awesome.
  • Family. So thankful for the family that birthed and raised me, that loves me unconditionally, and also for the family that accepted me and my ideals and attitudes when I married their son and brother.
  • For the assurance I have that this life is not all that there is. Don't ask me to explain how I know, but be sure, I DO know. This life is a part of the journey, but it's not the whole thing. I am SO, SO thankful to know that there is more for me to see and do once I have finished this portion.
This is me, full, tired and thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who Thought This Would Ever End?

Not me.
But hey! This week hosted the finals for Dancing With The Stars. While this season seemed to go on and on (and on and on) it really was the usual ten weeks. So. Many. Celebrities. They should go back to ten. Ten was a good number of famous personalities to deal with. I get that they are trying new things and that's okay - mixing it up with the new dances this season, for example, was good - but trying to cram more people in there is not as good an idea as it sounds like it would be.
In this final competition night I did like seeing the dances that the celebrities thought were their best ones. Mostly because of the amusing moments I had forgotten. For example:
  • Brooke's paso doble was danced to the De Beers diamond commerical music.
  • Lance and Lacey both had wild purple hair for their tango.
  • Warren's pleather Matrix outfit

Of course the kids were adorable. The jive, the dress, the faces, the minature nature of them, all adorable. The trash talking video was highly entertaining since you can tell they want to bust out laughing saying such things. I sure do and I just have to listen. And all I can figure is people have commented - A LOT - about how it's hard to compare different dances because of character (these are not dancing people after all) so why don't they have the contestants dance the same dance; because that is just what they did. And it wasn't bad. Of course this is the finals and they are the best of the crop. But it was a fun dance - yay Harold Wheeler and the studio band! - and all the couples kept to their own style but didn't sacrifice the dance either. Not bad.
Then it was on to the freestyle round which has been getting more hip-hoppy in recent seasons. My favorite is still Cheryl and Drew of Season 2. My comments on this, season 7 freestyle round:

  • I like that Broooke and Derek did an actual ballroom dance. There were a lot of lifts, some looked hard and awkward. BUT. It was fun, it was cute, it had a lot of content and it was actual dancing so if she wins, it won't be without merit.
  • Um. Well. Lance and Lacey did NOT choose to do anything based on ballroom dancing. I don't think those three bars of cha-cha timing count. It was amusing and well done and it was probably the best one I have seen. But it wasn't showing anything that he learned this season.
  • The stripping in the middle of the dance sure was popular this time around. Kym and Warren definitely have the crowd factor. Everyone knew the song, the tribute to Ike and Tina was there, it was good. Kym's costume sure was shedding little silver pieces everywhere and I was a little scared Warren was gonna drop her, some of the lifts looked a little shaky.

And the last episode - until the spring season starts at least - went down like this:

  • Ted McGinley was better than I remembered him being.
  • I forgot that Mark Ballas likes to sing when he dances. So funny.
  • It's kind of a shame that Misty-May didn't get to keep going, and not just because Maksim is so hot. I liked her more than I thought I would.
  • Carrie-Ann sure loves to touch the male celebrities.
  • EVERY one danced better than they did when they were really trying.
  • The emotional moments were a little much. Yeah, yeah, three months together, but come on people.
  • Warren's hustle was great, Lance's jitterbug was fun, but Brooke's waltz (it was NOT a Viennese Waltz, don't even get me started) was gorgeous. It really was the essence of what the show ought to be. Pretty and soft and...ballroom.
  • Given the last few weeks I had not expected Lance to place third.
  • No big surprise there, Brooke really has been the most consistant and the best dancer of the show.

This is me, done with Season Seven.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weird Dream #26

Remind me to not eat ice cream and watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit RIGHT before bed ever again okay? Makes for some freaky dreams. Or at least it did last night. I was groggily awake when Tarzan left for work at 7:00 this morning but drifted off into one of those light dozes you do when you've had to be awake but not really.
Some really important political matter had been decided contrary to what was expected and a shock to the community. (Do you like how specific I dream?) One of the guys I dated in high school was the president - I guess that's what he was - but I was amazed at how small the office he ran things from was. I was taken to see him because I was opposed to the new "whatever" and was speaking out against it, even though he and I had been on the same side during the campaign. While in his office he showed me the gift packages that were going out to all the other world leader. Apparently these were very significant to the new position the administration was taking. What was in the packages? A USC horse blanket and raisins. Brand name raisins that - hold onto your hat - became a horse when water was added. I know. Apparently this convinced me of the fallacy of my arguments and made me a devoted supporter of the cause, helping to revise signs and do the loads of paperwork in his office. We were involved with this change for weeks.
I woke up at 8:01am thinking the world as I knew it was completely changed. Took me several moments to recognize my ceiling and light fixture, and then the fact that the world hadn't changed dawned on me and I was okay, albeit a little exhausted.

This is me, tired before I woke up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

People Who Meet People

I got a jury summons in the mail today. I know most people are annoyed when that happens - the ones at the old office certainly whined about it - but I still don't understood why. Maybe my first experience was SO good that I relive it every time I'm there? It really was fun - just one of the advantages of living in The Jungle. (I do know that it wasn't typical.)
But I really don't mind jury duty. I suspect I might have had a career in the spy business had my life taken a left turn at Albuquerque way back when. I love to watch people and listen to their conversations. There is a lot of that going on when you wait to be called for a jury panel. The young, hip kids complain loudly, as if that will somehow convince the registration desk to let them go. The older crowd, usually retired or government employees, are calmer, more relaxed and usually quite enjoyable to converse with. Some suits bring their laptops and try to work. Others spend all their time on their phone trying to make us all believe they are important. Still others, like myself, bring a book and pretend to read it while following the interactions around them. It was highly amusing to watch this guy hit on another potential juror; you know he was making stuff up, trying to sound like he understood her job and had similar connections. She left with him at the end of the day though. I wonder if she didn't know he was schmoozing her or if she thought he was cute enough it didn't matter?
I guess with the holidays coming and everything they sent the letters out early. I don't have to report until January, which is kind of good. The end of a year is so crazy busy. Have I mentioned I have four big activities on the first Saturday of December? Yeah. I do. Oy.
But when the new year begins, I will be downtown at the courthouse maybe doing my civic duty and sitting on a case. As long as it doesn't interfere with eavesdropping on the guy next to me...

This is me, with a jury summons notice.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Easy Listening

Does anyone else find that commenting on other people's blogs leads you to ideas for your own posts? That has frequently been the case this month, what with NaBloPoMo and all. But I do try not to post the same subject over here right away; I like to give it a few days so the plagiarism isn't as obvious. Aren't I the considerate one?
So, I think I have a mental block in the music department. Maybe because I don't have any musical talent - and it's sweet of you to protest in the comments, but this is not a fishing for compliments thing, I really do not have any - instrumental or vocal, but I am reticent to broaden my scope of listening music. It really takes a significant event for me to admit I like an artist I am not already very familiar with. Circular logic I know.
Perhaps my phobia developed when I was young; my parents listened to music of their youth and we didn't use the radio except for news and this was barely the advent of MTV (shocking, there was a time before MTV?!) so I grew up listening to Neil Diamond (say what you will, that man is a genius AND the highest paid living composer), Elvis Presley (can't go wrong with the King), The Beatles and The Irish Rovers (that was The Frozen North influence but they definitely added to my desire to be Irish). So I missed the 80's music when it was hot the first time and came to love Def Leppard, ABBA and Chicago when I went to college in the late 90's. I was late on the Yanni, Barenaked Ladies and Josh Groban bandwagons too. I suppose in an odd sort of way I am just delayed in the audio development, and it makes sense that I should like Dashboard Confessional and Polyphonic Spree now, yes?

This is me, with my eclectic music choices.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Neighbors

I don't know if it's because I've been home more this year or what - well I'm pretty sure it's because I've been home more this year - but I have become very aware of our neighbors. Far more than in the five years previous that we've lived in this house. And they are a fascinating group. Fascinating in the way a train wreck is fascinating. You don't want to look, but you kind of have to. Just a little bit. And it really is as horrible as you knew it was going to be, but you still look. Yes, our neighbors are exactly like train wrecks. And I suppose we shouldn't be amused by their sorry situations; most of the time we aren't, really we aren't. We try and be neighborly, saying hi, learning their names, trading mail, taking cake and/or cookies over, the usual. It's not suburbia but we make do. But there are times when it's like another planet next door. With the screaming and the expletives - it's like they only know twelve words and nine of them aren't allowed on television - and the anger, and the dire threats. And then just as suddenly...nothing. Or the weirder times are when they go from calling the police to calling each other "Pumpkin" and "Baby" inside of fifteen minutes. Let me take this moment to assure you we do not eavesdrop, or attempt to meddle with their interactions, we don't want to know what is going on over there most of the time, but they are just so dang loud! It's easier in the winter when we can close the windows. Summer, there's no escaping it. And when football season comes watch out! College, professional, it matters not. We never know if they are happy or upset since the profanity is the same volume and intensity either way.
And yet, when we talk to them there is no indicator that they lead this other life. They're polite, they don't profane or curse, though we have never mentioned it, they act happy though two minutes ago they were ready to press assault charges. It's never dull.

This is me, with a flavorful neighborhood.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Milk Does A Body Good

If I had to chose one thing I could not live without ingesting - other than water - it would have to be milk. This may seem an unusual choice but consider the versatility of milk. What can be made from milk; cheese, butter, ice cream. And it's compatibility qualities. All the classic foods need milk. Cereal. Nachos. Peanut butter sandwiches. Cookies. And chocolate; I love it, I do, but without some milk to wash the velvety richness down, I might be sick.
Plus it's got nearly everything you need to live, except iron, and I figure, in a pinch, I could lick a rusty pipe for that, so milk's got it all in the vitamin and mineral categories. Protein, amino acids, all that good stuff. And while it might have taken a strong stomach for the first person to consider drinking what what coming out of a cow's underside, in these days of pasteurization and homogenization and what have you, it's a glorious thing.
Why am I waxing poetic on milk I hear you asking? Tarzan drank the last of it this morning so there was none for my cereal. And when there's none for my cereal my day just doesn't feel right. I had to eat toast today - which would have been considerably better with milk - and it wasn't all that I wanted it to be. I've spent all the time since then craving some cold frothy milk. I had errands to run first thing this morning, went to help a girl with her family tree - long story, another post - and then finally, finally I got to go to the store and almost opened the jug while waiting in line BUT I managed to restrain myself until I was home and then, it was all that I expected it to be. Wonderful.

This is me, lovin' on some milk.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reflections On The Second Year

Happy blog anniversary to me!
Two years I've been spouting random information - and not really information - and they haven't nicely asked that I shut up. What is the world coming to?
And while we're on the subject, WHAT HAPPENED TO 2008? Next week is Thanksgiving, four weeks after that is Christmas and one week after THAT is 2009. I'm not ready. I'm excited, but I'm not ready.
But back to the review.
I'm beginning to think my writing is like a fine wine - the longer it sits the better it tastes (sounds). Some of my entries from last year seem a lot funnier than I remember them being when I wrote them. Does that happen to anyone else?
On the plus side, I posted more this year. My average is up. I think there have been more pictures too. And really, the pictures are the best part of any blog. Of course one could question the validity of a lot of my ramblings. Still, it's been interesting. I like to think I have been more observant because ooh! that would make a good post! I've been more proactive in my commenting on other's blogs too. I don't know if that makes them feel better - though a few always respond to my comment and I have to wonder if I should do that - but I feel all important and stuff.
And if I wasn't vain enough, I get to keep going! Watch out Internet-land.

This is me, keeping it up.
This time last year in The Jungle: Reflections on the First Year. Does anyone else sense a pattern here?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One More Week Left

It is getting near the end of this season of Dancing With The Stars, so the "trash talk" is getting more cliche and fake sounding. "Eye on the prize," "step it up a notch," "up the game." Oy. Get original. I hate the editing that does or does not get done. Eh. This week's dancing in my opinion:
  • Don't know about that jive, Brooke. She missed some steps, that was TOTALLY a lift, and their costumes did not match.
  • That was a funny little paso doble that Cody did. Cute, but not so bold and manly. They took a lot of time to put his coat on too, in the middle of the dance.
  • The judges were all mean Monday night too. They score very relatively which kind of annoys me.
  • I didn't hate Lance's mambo. Well orchestrated to play up his strengths and downplayed Lacey's...bossiness. There could have been a shimmy or two, and his feet are, eh. But he is improving. And so is she.
  • Len's Master Class always cracks me up. So funny.
  • Cody is a little too enamored of Julianne.
  • Uhh...what was Brooke wearing for the salsa? I know, but WHAT? That whole routine was weird. And interestingly, I have since learned it was pilfered, costume and all from a professional pair.
  • What happened to Lance's shoe? And Bruno, Gene Kelly and Ann Miller did not ever do the jitterbug as far as I know.
  • But the professionals, all of them, are AWESOME!

And the results, which was a little extreme in my opinion. Maybe they have to fill the time?

  • Sam needs to rein it in just a tad - Aretha Franklin is awesome, but we still need to hear the introduction.
  • Karina was a busy little dancer getting into all the numbers.
  • I can't believe I'm about to say this but; Julianne should stick to dancing
  • Brooke's had four kids with her FIANCE?
  • That was a little surprising - Cody and Julianne got eliminated...

This is me, almost done with the season.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Not Exactly A Vine

We have got to have kids in a hurry so I have something interesting to blog about. Goodness knows you only want to hear so much about my TV habits and the cats.
Is it sad that the biggest deal in our life right now is that Tarzan bought a bicycle and is biking to work? He's been on it for a little over a week now and comes home all full of time spent on the trek, telling me all about what muscle does or does not hurt anymore. It's actually quite adorable. I mean manly. Sweaty and tough and strong and very, very manly.
I read an article recently that said men like to be told they are manly, not sweet, or cute or that they clean up good. So they are more likely to wear the suit/shirt/tie whatever you want them to if you tell them they look strong enough to knock out any punk who tries to hit on you.
Different logic but it makes a weird sort of sense.

This is me, with the manliest man around.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Lake House

Laugh if you want, I like The Lake House. It's a sweet movie, sort of classic in it's way. Not trying to be overly different, not crude or weird. Not dumb or silly. It's a...good movie. Totally a chick flick and I like it. It does amuse me to see how architects are portrayed in that - and other - movies though. It's almost right, but just not quite. There's are drawings in the architect's office, nice, elegantly framed stuff on the walls, but they never indicate the amount of paper that exists. Sketches that look like scribbles, mistakes on the floor or corner of the desk, files, rolls of drawings all over. I've never been in an office without them lying on desks and tables and on the floor. And I realize that drafting tables are much more romantic than computers, but almost no one uses them anymore. Then there's the actual working. Simon (Christopher Plummer) could not possibly hope to get a usable sketch holding his pencil like that on a piece of paper that isn't even taped down, and why is it folded in half if he's tracing? When Alex (Keanu Reeves) is drawing the lake house, one can not draw, nor sketch from that position and hope to get a straight line, let alone any sort of perspective right. AND we do not get to go to the construction site nearly as much as Alex does. He's there like a general contractor would be there, not like an architect would be there, which is to say, every day as opposed to once a week.
And another thing, though this isn't really an architect comment, there is NO way a tree would grow that much in two years. I'm sorry. I get the necessity of it, and the dramatic effect, but trees do not go from saplings to thirty feet tall in only twenty-four months. They just don't.
I don't mean to pick the movie apart. (Tarzan gets after me frequently for being too literal.) I really do like it. It is romantic and mushy and cute and fun. I get that's it's artistic license and only a movie. I'm sure the doctors and nurses out there have a lot to say about ER or House but it amuses me to see what the layman thinks about the profession I know.

This is me, glad to be out of that crazy life.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Holidays Are Coming

The holidays, they are indeed a coming. And this year I am...not more prepared for them, goodness knows I am never prepared for the parties and the programs and the shopping and the cards and the wrapping and the decorating and the crafts and the baking...but this year, this year is going to be awesome. First thing is the thing I can't tell you about until later. But trust me it's going to kick off the holidays like nothing that has ever happened.
Trust me.
Then my sister who lives on The Other Side of The World and PIT and Squishy and Rosy are coming for Christmas. Not an in and out quicky trip either - they are here for three weeks! Yay! We talked on the phone tonight for almost two hours which was awesome. I can NOT wait to see them all. AND since I'm not working this year I will have time to see them. And go places. And talk. And take pictures. It's going to be gr-r-r-r-r-r-reat!

This is me, ready to burst about the plans that are in the works!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where Did That Memory Come From?

This post reminds me of a fiction short story I wrote when in junior high school - middle school to you weirdos out there. I was in what they called the Extended Achievement program (fancy term for gifted and I mention this not to brag but to note that not all seventh graders in The Frozen North were subjected to such arduous assignments) and our English teacher was a hoot. He bears no resemblance to Tom Clancey the writer, but that is who he reminds me of now - I didn't know who Tom Clancey was when I was thirteen. Shame on me, I know.
He was the teacher who taught me to love Shakespeare and how to read poetry as all one piece and not get interrupted by line breaks. And he taught me to be true to my own style of writing and analysis. It sounds absurd for the age level, but I remember him and his class as one of my most grown-up class experiences.
During the short story part of the curriculum we had to write a short story of no less than ten pages a week. (I think those were the requirements, it was a long time ago, and remember this was just at the advent of computers, so these were handwritten pages) Some of my stories were good. Some were not. As we neared the end of the section, I was wiped mentally. I could not come up with any more ideas for a story. I tried and tried, I did other homework, I reread previous assignments, I tried to revise stuff from previous years.
I had nothing.
And it was getting down to the end of the week. We had to turn the stories in on Friday. Then I remembered about "writing what you know." So Thursday night I wrote about writing a story. I included all the snippets I had tried to write that went no where and when I wrote the conclusion, the story ended with the beginning paragraph. I felt all proud of myself at the time for the idea, not knowing that "stream of consciousness" had already been invented. And, shockingly, I was not the first one to write a circular plot line. Who knew?
Still it filled the assignment and it made Mr. C laugh which was the highest praise a student could achieve.

This is me, telling you a story about a story.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Right Equipment

Have I mentioned my vacuum cleaner before? I feel like I have, but I can't find it...well, it bears repeating even if that is the case. Last Christmas we bought my sister a vacuum cleaner - at her request - and in the process of researching the best one for the money, thank you Consumer Reports, Tarzan decided we needed a new one too. Bless the boy for his optimism considering the number of times I had pulled out our vacuum numbered in the single digits. I am not a vacuumer. (I am a sweeper, if that dilutes the gasps of horror across the nation.) I believe it is the type of vacuums in my past that created this problem. It seemed like such an effort to pull out these heavy things, the parts flying every which way, the cord to trip over or tangle up, the necessity of stopping every few minutes to unclog hair or toys from the hose. SUCH a bother. So I didn't. And then I met the Kenmore Progressive with DirectDrive. (And I promise they are not giving me money to say this. In fact I spent money to say this - we bought the vacuum.) It is ALL about the right equipment to make a job effortless and downright enjoyable. And this little baby is the right equipment. It still has parts, but they fit together EVERY TIME and nothing has clogged or broken yet. There's a cord, but the hose is really long, reaching far, so there's less moving and having to unplug and plug in again. And the IntelliClean indicator is highly amusing with it's sparkly lights changing from red to green when an area is sufficiently clean. It's really a nice piece of plastic when you come down to it. I have vacuumed more in this last year than in the seven year previous. I don't say that with any sort of pride but as an indicator of how awesome this vacuum cleaner is. If you are looking to upgrade I can give this one a seal of approval.

This is me, with the right equipment.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Melting Pot

I have been warned that publishing this post will cause some of my readers to hate me, but I feel it may be of service to others and plus, it is AWESOME!
I refer, of course, to The Melting Pot. Tarzan and I have been there twice in the last year - I know, he spoils me - and I think it is the nicest restaurant ever. Not just because of the food, though that is spectacular, but it's the little touches that make you feel like you are special to the staff. I am not usually affected - I don't think - by ambiance at an eating establishment. I am there to eat, and as long as the food is good and timely I'm down with it. The Melting Pot is a whole 'nother level beyond any fancy restaurant I have ever been in. It might be that I'm uncultured and/or sheltered, OR it might be that this really is the best place to eat, ever.
The first thing I noticed was the quiet when we entered. A lot of restaurants are noisy, with waiting customers, with the host(ess) talking to people, the kitchen clinking, the patrons talking and eating. Not so at The Melting Pot. The whole place was quiet. There was a kitchen and there were patrons and a hostess. Two in fact, but it wasn't loud. Even the bar, with the televisions was quiet. I don't know if there are acoustic tiles somewhere, or sound suppression wallpaper, but it's really impressive. The decor is elegant, subtle but not dated, nor trying too hard. Some of it may be that the tables are not crowded cheek-by-jowl to each other. There's ample room to navigate between tables, you can't overhear other people's conversations, the staff don't yell. The staff, oh the staff. There could be a whole chapter about the staff. Even though they are serving several tables at once, they really make you feel like you are the only one there that night. Helpful, knowledgeable, funny but not annoying, familiar but not intrusive, attentive but not hovering over you every second. If it's a special event they offer flowers or balloons, and they give you a card signed by the staff serving you that night. It's quite the experience.
The menu is a little different from the mainstream in that they have three-ish choices for each course. (On Valentine's Day there is just one.) And it is simply awesome; there's a cheese fondue first, with all the dippers, then salad, the main fondue course - cooked and seasoned exactly how you ask, and ALL the sauces are superb - and then dessert, also fondue - it's chocolate, you can't go wrong - all for the one price - which can be a tad more than you would spend elsewhere - but it is SO worth it.
If there is one in your area, I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you try it out.

This is me, referring you to a great place.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here We Are Again

Who knew it would ever happen, but we are down to a very managable number of celebrities on Dancing With The Stars. I used to think the recap at the end of the performance night was dumb - we just saw them dance, why do we need to be reminded - but this season with the excessive number of dances in a night I actually needed the reminder of who went first. So my opinions this week:
  • First round dresses were all pretty nasty: Brooke's belt? Edyta's dip in the back? Cheryl's tassles? (what is with the tassles this season? EW) and Lacey had weird cut outs in her dress
  • and speaking of costumes, you know there's a problem if your outfit sheds when you dance
  • Cheryl DID have a great dress in the paso doble though - excellent color too
  • Edyta's mambo dress was icky
  • does it seem like I have a lot of comments on the outfits?
  • mambo to "raise the dead" Bruno?
  • Maurice's quickstep did not seem too quick
  • Warren just had weird music all night long
  • frankly, the mambo seems to be a spasmodic dance all around
  • Lance's feet are just sad

And the results show:

  • Aww, Len had a poppy in his lapel, that's nice
  • Dang, Brad Paisley is CUTE - listening to the radio all the time I forget they have faces and are a lot younger than their smokey voices indicate. Do they drink a lot to acheive those voices? Joe Nichols is another one WAY cuter and/or younger than his voice would suggest.
  • Dr. Drew was a little too much touchy-feely for a dance show - they're dance partners not soulmates...tears?! Way too much drama.
  • Derek was a good choice for the jive - he's really very controlled but lively, loose - but I think his and Julianne's outfits could have matched a little better
  • Alec has a tattoo! Nice.

This is me, with the weekly criticism.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Remembrance

This is me, remembering with gratitude 11:11, 11/11

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Life Adventures - Part III

I've nearly forgotten what this meme was about to begin with...and the guy from who I stole it, has since moved far, far away so we can't even go protest at his house. The smart thing to do would be to just forget the rest of it but I hate to leave things unfinished. In case you forgot, if you even care and it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if you didn't since apparently neither do I, here's where you can find Part I and Part II. I'm thinking I should have made each of those a little longer so this isn't such a pile to wade through, but yay for this being the last part of the pile!
Our previous score: 12
Level 7
( ) Had a Tea Party
(X) Flown a Kite
(X) Built a Sand Castle
( ) Gone Muddin’ / Cow Tippin’/ or Dumpster Divin’ [You Might Be a Redneck If…]
(X) Played Dress Up

Level 8
(X) Jumped Into a Pile Of Leaves You Didn’t Gather
(X) Gone Sledding
( ) Cheated While Playing a Game
(X) Been Lonely
(X) Fallen Asleep At Work / School - are you kidding? Some of my best sleep was in the dark during slide lectures at 8pm. What were they thinking scheduling that?

Level 9
(X) Watched the Sun Set
(X) Felt an Earthquake
( ) Killed a Snake
(X) Forgot Where You Parked Your Car
( ) Woke Early to Listen to the Radio Report a Possible Snow Day

Level 10
(X) Been Tickled
( ) Been Robbed / Vandalized / Mugged
( ) Been Cheated On / Cheated on Someone
( ) Been the Subject of School Gossip
( ) Received Acupuncture

Level 11
(X) Won a Contest - in second grade.
( ) Been Suspended From School
( ) Had Detention
( ) Had to Transfer Schools to Avoid Scandal
( ) Been In a Jet Ski / Boat Accident

Level 12
( ) Had / Have Braces
( ) Trespassed a Backyard to Swim in a Pool
(X) Eaten a Whole Pint of Ice Cream in One Sitting
( ) Had Sex With Someone and Never Knew Their Name
(X) Danced in the Moonlight

Level 13
(X) Hate(d) the Way You Look
( ) Witnessed A Crime
(X) Been in Court [Excluding Jury Duty]
( ) Pole Danced
(X) Questioned Your Heart

Level 14
(X) Squished Barefoot Through The Mud - does it matter that I didn't want to but I lost my shoe in the mud at the site of the highest/lowest tide in North America?
(X) Been Lost in Another State
(X) Been So Cold that It Burned - that's why I live here now
( ) Swam In Flood Water
( ) Convinced You Were Dying

Level 15
(X) Cried Yourself To Sleep
( ) Played Cops And Robbers
(X) Recently Colored With Crayons / Colored Pencils / Markers - last Thursday.
(X) Sang Karaoke [Rap/Hip Hop don’t count]
( ) Paid For A Meal / Cigarettes / Beer With Only Coins

Level 16
( ) Done Something You Told Yourself You Would Never… EVER Do
( ) Made Prank Phone Calls
(X) Laughed Until Some Kind Of Beverage Came Out Of Your Nose
( ) Laughed So Hard You Farted
( ) Sneezed So Hard You Poo'd Yourself

Level 17
(X) Kissed In The Rain
(X) Written a Letter To Santa Claus
(X) Watched The Sun Set / Sun Rise With Someone You Cared About
(X) Blown Bubbles
(X) Made a Bonfire On The Beach

Level 18 - how many levels are there anyway?
(X) Crashed A Party - we were excorted out by the nice security people
( ) Traveled More Than 5 Days In a Car Full of People
(X) Gone Rollerskating / Blading
( ) Crashed a Wedding
( ) Eaten Lunch / Dinner on Free Samples at a Grocery Store

Level 19
( ) Worn Jewelry You Could Never Afford
( ) Jumped Off A Bridge
( ) Crashed a Funeral
( ) Screamed naughty words
( ) Vandalized Property or Spray-Painted Graffiti

SCORE SO FAR: still 43
Level 20
( ) Got Your Tongue Stuck To A Pole / Freezer / Ice Cube
( ) Kissed A Fish
(X) Worn The Opposite Sex’s Clothing - like for a game? or costume? or for about sixty seconds?
( ) Sat On A Roof Top
(X) Had a Wish Come True

Level 21
(X) Screamed At The Top Of Your Lungs
( ) Completed / Attempted a One-Handed Cartwheel
( ) Talked On The Phone For More Than 6 Hours
( ) Stolen a Friend’s Boyfriend / Girlfriend
( ) Purchased Illegal Drugs

Level 22
( ) Picked and Ate an Apple / Orange / Mystery Fruit Off the Tree
(X) Climbed a Tree in the Past 10 Years
( ) Made or Been in a Tree House
( ) Chopped Down a Tree
( ) Fallen from a Tree

Level 23
( ) Believed In Ghosts
( ) Been Too Scared to Watch Scary Movies Alone
( ) Have had More Then 30 Pairs Of Shoes
( ) Gone Streaking / Skinny Dipping - no, but it's on my wish list.
( ) Visited a Jail / Prison

SCORE SO FAR: still 47
Level 24
( ) Played Chicken in a Car / Bike / Grocery Cart
( ) Been Pushed into a Pool with All Your Clothes On
(X) Been Told You’re Hot By a Complete Stranger
( ) Broken a Bone
( ) Voted for a Candidate to Please a Girl / Guy

Level 25
( ) Caught A Fish Then Ate It Later
( ) Recorded Yourself Performing a Sexual Act
( ) Caught A Butterfly
(X) Laughed So Hard You Cried
( ) Cried So Hard You Laughed

Level 26
(X) Mooned/Flashed Someone - other than my husband?
(X) Had Someone Moon/Flash You - other than my husband?
( ) Cheated On A Test
(X) Forgotten Someone’s Name
(X) Cut Your Own Hair - it wasn't pretty

Level 27
(X) Rode A Roller Coaster
(X) Went Scuba-Diving / Snorkeling
( ) Had Sex with More Than One Person in One Night
( ) Black-Mailed Someone / Been Black-Mailed By Someone
( ) Woke Up Somewhere Not Knowing Where You Were

Level 28
( ) Been Used By a Best Friend
(X) Fell Going Up The Stairs
( ) Licked A Cat / Dog / Iguana
(X) Bitten Someone
( ) Kissed a Stranger at Midnight on New Years Eve

Level 29
( ) Been Shot At / Held at Gunpoint
( ) Had Sex in the Rain - also on my wish list, it doesn't rain here very often...
( ) Flattened Someones Tires
(X) Rode Your Car / Truck Until the Gas Light Came On
( ) Asked and Paid for Two Dollars or Less of Gas

Total Score: 58 (Out of a possible 145)

0 - 29: Check Your Pulse. Seriously. You Might Be Dead.
30 - 58: You’re on Your Death Bed. You Still Live With Your Mother, Don’t You?
60 - 87: You Need to Get Out More. But You’ve Done Some Things. Cheers!
88 - 116: Lee Harvey! You Are a Madman! I Want To Party With You, Cowboy!
117 - 145: You Scare Me. Really. You Do. But I Like It… Can I Touch the Hem of Your Garment?

This is me, so glad to be done with this extremely long meme!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Crazy Cat Lady

I fully expect to be the old lady living alone with forty-five cats when I grow up. (And frankly, so does everyone who knows me) I'm not even looking for things to adopt and they find me. One of the guys next door and his girlfriend got a kitten, kept it inside for a week like you're supposed to and guess where she likes to eat? Our doorstep, naturally. Tarzan put his foot down and said since she has a home we are not adopting her and I said the thought had never crossed my mind and he gave me a look that said "Yeah, right woman."
But I promise, I wasn't.
We are not adopting the cat but she has been hanging out with our cats and the size differential between them is pretty significant, especially when compared to Speck who we've only had for four months (we think he's about seven or eight months old) and he's HUGE already. He's almost as big as Ice:And speaking of Ice, there is a cat who likes his home so much, he will endure any amount of abuse to stay and sleep and eat whenever he likes:
In fact, none of the cats have much compunction about where they sleep:
Belle in the laundry basket:
Mikey likes to be on top of things so no one can sneak up on her:
Lantern is also very watchful. I swear she sleeps with one eye open all the time. Just so we know she can see us:
Train Wreck likes to be warm:
Ocelot just feels very overwhelmed with the responsibility of watching over so many:
So amusing to me how each one has their own personality, likes and dislikes, methods of madness and cuteness. I totally am the Crazy Cat Lady. That's right, with a capitol C.

This is me, sharing pictures of my kitties.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Art Museum

So this art museum is one of two financed by some old dude who had A LOT of money. And by a lot I mean A. LOT. So much so that admission to either of the museums is free because there is so much money in the accounts for each. I don't quite understand the logistics, but it's free to go. And we did.
This is the piece my sister had to write her paper on:
Something about the judgement of Paris and Athena and Hermes. (I love that name) This particular branch of the museum is all about the ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, statues and pottery and whatever. I quickly got bored with the one urn she had to describe in technical detail and wandered through some of the other rooms. There's nothing relevant to any of these images. Just things I looked at, or was amused by. Like this old dead guy's coffin. The relief work is pretty intense:
Hercules cracks me up because he has no hands. Not just this one statue, but a lot of them are missing parts and it makes me wonder if someone dropped the statue moving it or if they ran out of marble or the sculptor didn't like the way they came out:
The architect in me makes it impossible to not notice colonnades and gardens and really, this wasn't the worst place for fake antiquity I have ever seen:
And this was our bug chaperone. Not too creepy as bugs go and he liked the urns:

This is me, with our day at the museum.

Friday, November 07, 2008

There Should Be A Note Or Something

The Back Porch peeps have got to stop this skipping of weeks without notifying me. Really puts a crimp in a girl's blogging plans, thinking there will be a meme to post and then suddenly...nothing. Very irksome.
Especially on days like today. Do you ever have a day where you just can't get anything done? Not from lack of trying, believe me, but like you're running in water, no mud. Yeah, running in waist high mud. Exhausting and incredibly time consuming with no visible results. I spent the last four hours driving across town. FOUR HOURS to go 20 miles. I hate that. Driving and driving and getting nowhere. Traffic sucks and traffic on THAT side of town really sucks, so I will never go there again. Never, never, never. Until the next time I have to.
The part before that was okay. I took my sister to one of the local art museums; she has a report on some Greek vase, or oil container or whatever. It's a really nice place. And amazingly clean. I mean there's no dust or anything, even outside. A little weird but cool. Pictures will come later. I am too exhausted right now to contemplate which end of the funny shaped cord fits into which of the many slots available on my camera.

This is me, apologizing for the whiney post.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It Goes On And On

Dude, November is starting off with a bang - all these posts to keep track of and trying to stay current. Wouldn't do to post last weeks dances this week you know. So my review for the Dancing With The Stars competition night looks like this:

  • Bruno should wear a boa more often
  • I always want more out of Susan's dancing. Can the woman even stamp her foot?
  • People, stop hurting yourselves!
  • I was a little distracted by Lance and Lacey's costumes, a bit weird these hobos in the park - and barefoot?
    the team dances were amusing - well the cha-cha team was amusing, the paso doble team was AWESOME! Warren was amazing, Brooke was smokin' and even Maurice was just rocking the dance.
  • It might be a coincidence but if the music choice matches the dance the dancers get better scores and comments - I wonder if the producers (or whoever chooses the music) realize that just because the time signature is the same does not mean it will suit a dance style.

And my thoughts on the results show:

  • Lionel Richie again? His "Dancing On The Ceiling" was better than either of the songs he performed when I saw him. (Have I mentioned that Tarzan got us tickets to see a results show two years ago? He did, and it was awesome.)
  • Edyta's dress was not ugly.
  • DanceCenter is hilarious, but I think Kenny Mayne is taking his bitterness a leetle too far.
  • Warren has size 15 shoes?!
  • The magic dance was not as good as it sounded like it could have been.
  • What happened to Maxim's hair?
  • Thank goodness it was Susan who went home. The world my end with my saying this, but though he is Julianne's partner, I don't hate Cody, so of the two choices...

This is me, with the week's dancing critique.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election 2008

The people have spoken.
In some cases with a resounding voice and some with a little more ambiguous. I was really glad to see long lines at the polling places yesterday. Nearly 82% in our district, which is just phenomenal. The polling stations were running out of ballots. And so many people were voting for the first time. Young and old. I have never understood, in a world where people crave power, why so many choose to not exercise the power they have. Witness this election. Your vote does count. Each and every one. I've watched elections where only 24% of the registered population voted and I had to wonder about the majority choosing our leaders. While not my ideal choice for President - and really, who is anymore? - at least Barack Obama was elected by the majority. An actual majority. And for that I am pleased.
We were listening to the results on the radio coming home from dinner last night. (He took me to The Melting Pot! Ack! Sooooo good.) Tarzan has turned me on to NPR, and I like it, I do. Funny, interesting, varied, local and national, they have a lot
of great editorial pieces, and report the news usually. But they are so obviously liberal. Did the host really ask if the poor white trash of America voted for Obama? That was highly amusing.
I think John McCain gave a gracious concession speech. His call to unify the country, and his pledge to do all in his power to help the new president AND taking all the responsibility for the loss upon his own shoulder was really very selfless. (I think we all know it wasn't totally his fault.) His audience was a bunch of losers though. Boo-ing the President of the United States? What the heck was that all about? Why do they put stupid people on the air? We got home in time to watch Barack Obama's acceptance speech on the television so maybe the microphone placement was different in the crowd, because I didn't hear any boos there. If the Republicans are going to be sore losers, there is no hope for this nation. And on the flip side, I hope the Democrats will be good winners and behave as the idealistic people that Barack Obama believes us all to be.
In a far more emotional and personal arena, Proposition 8 passed. By a lesser majority than the last time this issue was on the ballot, by a tiny percentage really, but still it passed. During these "on the street" interviews why can't they talk to people who actually have a coherent thing to say? Not everyone is a great orator, I get that, but you're on national television! Talk about how our children can be taught issues we don't believe in with no notification if the proposition doesn't pass. Parents have to be told when sex education is being taught, this should be the same. Talk about how you feel tolerance has to cut both ways. Don't hem and haw with vague generalities of "doing something I believe in." Expound upon what you believe in. WHY do you believe it? Of course the other side wasn't any more eloquent so maybe we're all just goggle-eyed when we have a camera in our face?
One thing that bugs me about the media reporting is the whole projected winner thing - when only 12% of the votes are in, how can they call a winner? I seem to remember something like that happening once before and a very famous picture of a guy holding a newspaper with his name as the winner, but he didn't win. Let's take it one step at a time people - I realize you have to make up small talk for six hours in a row but let's not make stuff up. Several of the propositions switched the leader throughout the night.

Leaving you on a note of levity, I love this comic from yesterday's paper. It's so deep:

This is me, with my two cents - or five - on the election.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

An Ode To Us

Is it vain to post an ode to yourself? I suppose, maybe a little, but really this one is for Tarzan, without whom there would be no us.
And that would suck.
I am so happy to be married to this smart, funny, crazy, wonderful man:
Eight years sounds like a long time, and I suppose it is. A number of people have commented that we are so young to have been married for so long. (So long? Jeepers. What do you get for 20 years?) But it doesn't feel like a long time. In fact, I can barely believe it's been eight years. Cliche, but it seems like only yesterday we were trying to figure out how to get everyone across town at two different times in three cars with the only four people who could drive having to be early and together. Good times. Two families about to be joined, albeit distantly, with the only common denominator being their oldest child was getting married. There have been tough times, familial and personal. There have been a lot of good times, familial and personal and collectively. And we have survived, thrived even.
It's been a good year for us. I've really noticed how we have grown as a couple. Grown closer, grown able to depend on each other more, less of us working separately but side by side and more of us working together. It's a small but subtle difference and we can feel it. I suspect it has to do with my not going to work every day, but we've had time. Time to talk; about our day, or current events, or church, or our families; time to blog, to volunteer, time to go out and see a movie, to stay in and watch a movie, to stay home and not see anything. (I don't talk about our sex life, but yay for quitting work!) It's been awesome. An overused word, but when it fits...
We're good together and I am happy. Happy to be able to work some more, to talk some more, to grow some more, with no one more perfect for me than Tarzan. Happy Anniversary honey:
A direct quote from the man himself: "Pleased as punch to have made it this far."

This is me, and Tarzan, celebrating 8 years.
(Tomorrow I will post all the election voting stuff.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Catching Up

Besides losing my mind, I also have neglected a whole lotta chores while I was sick. Something about the headaches, the sniffling, the sneezing, the coughing just did not lend itself to leaving my bed. Especially the coughing. So when I arose this morning, feeling MAJORLY better than I had all last week, I looked around at the shambles our house had become and determined it was time to catch up. So. This morning I:
  • made the bed - this is a bigger deal than you might think
  • went to the bank
  • got cat food - they like it when I feed them
  • bought groceries - so does Tarzan

And this afternoon I need to:

  • make bread
  • iron nearly all of Tarzan's dress shirts - poor boy will have to go naked tomorrow if I don't
  • clean the kitchen
  • file the entire desk
  • pay the bills
  • make dinner

This is likely not the entire list, but it's the major items. If I time the bread right it will be smelling up the house when Tarzan gets home AND we can have some with dinner. Check me out - all planning ahead and whatever.

This is me, with plans for the day.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Turn Back Time

Oh baby, oh baby, I do love when we turn the clocks back and forget this business called Daylight Savings Time. People complain about how it means it's darker so much earlier, but really, it's been getting darker earlier since June. Somehow, it makes it fall for me, changing the clocks. Even The Jungle seems to have realized that we're in a new season. It has been in the 80s and 90s, hotter than the summer, ever since the summer. But yesterday, while doing the last walk for Proposition 8 before the election, it began to rain. Really rain. Even over my house. There's what could be called a wind blowing outside, and the temperature is now where October - I know it's November, shut up - suggests it should be. I can wear long sleeves and not melt. We put the comforter back on the bed last night. I feel like we should have warm food again, not just smoothies and watermelon. It's not like in other states, but we have some trees that have some leaves that change color. Fall is in.
Plus there was the glorious feeling of waking up this morning, rolling over to look at the clock and it said 8:32. Ahhhh. It bugs me a little that it gets later and later in the year when we turn the clocks back but whatever. As long as I get that extra hour of sleep, I am a happy camper.

This is me, a happy camper.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Auspicious Start

Apparently, my cold has rebooted my brain. I forgot yesterday was Halloween, I forgot that today was Saturday - for some reason I thought it was Wednesday - go figure, I forgot that it was November 1st, I forgot that today was the start of NaBloPoMo!
I was all ready to go too. As a friend pointed out, November is a good month for me, what with our wedding anniversary, my blog anniversary, the election this year, football, Thanksgiving, all the birthdays, my overbooking of activities. (I just discovered that I have a baby shower on the same night I promised to set up for the Veteran's Honorary Luncheon.) There's some fodder for a blog there. Just my brain stands in the way.
And speaking of football, what is the deal with our penalty average? I love our team, I do, and National Champions or not we play well every year, we have good sportsman conduct. But seriously? How many years have we been the conference leader in penalties? The penalty leader for the entire NCAA? This is not the sort of thing one usually aspires to. And yet, here we are. Oy.
The subject matter will get better, I promise.

This is me, swearing I did not back date this entry. Even though it wasn't up, I DID write it on time!

From Whence You Cometh