Sunday, November 30, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving Analysis


I have to tell you, Rachel Ray, Giada DeLaurentis, and yes, even Paula Deen can eat their hearts out. I had a Thanksgiving, to quote Arlo Guthrie, "that couldn't be beat".

The family all arrived within the same hour on Wednesday, and we had a terrific time. My father looks great, feels healthy. Mom is excited to be a grandmother. Laura and Tom, though probably a little sleep deprived, are doing a great job as parents, and Henry - well, let me tell you, I'm in love.

I don't have a lot of experience with babies, and for the most part, I find them scary, and/or a nuisance. Henry is a whole new ballgame. As it turns out, I'm actually not bad with babies, and once they can hold their head up, it's much easier. Henry rarely cried - basically, only if he was hungry. I'm told that he wasn't too keen on sleeping Wednesday night, but otherwise, what a great little guy - and such fun!

Thanksgiving dinner was, if I may say so, excellent -and this year, we didn't make waaay too much food. Yeah, I'll be thinking of fun things to do with ham for awhile (tonight, ham gumbo), but really, we didn't go too nuts.
Matt took lots of pictures - it pays to marry a photographer.

All in all - a terrific long weekend. Going back to the five-day grind tomorrow is going to hurt a little.


Oh well - only a few weeks til Christmas.

Speaking of...what the hell am I going to wear to the company Christmas Party? Or, another way to put it -where can I find enough sequins to camouflage my obvious love of gravy?






Black Friday, Indeed

So, while I like to believe that people are basically good and decent, I hear about a 34 year-old WalMart employee trampled to death on Friday in Long Island, NY

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/11/29/black.friday.death/index.html

And I have to wonder that age-old question:

WTF?

I especially shudder at the part where the people trying to give him first aid were also jostled by the crowds.

Matt and I are going to the recycling center today, and I'd like to pick up some Christmas lights at Target, but I'm not going to knock anyone over to get them. Sheesh!

In lighter and happier news - Thanksgiving 2008 was a complete success. A wrap-up to follow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First National Bank of Lola

I was jolted awake at 3:30 this morning to the sound of Lola throwing up. This isn't entirely common, but common enough that I knew exactly what was happening. By the time I reached her, she had regurgitated an entire $1 bill, completely intact.

What the hell?

Where did she get a dollar from? How did she manage to ingest then purge it with no damage to either herself or the currency?

And most importantly, has she got any more money tucked away? Momma needs a new pair of shoes!

Bless her fuzzy little heart.

Suffice it to say, if I owe you a dollar, you may want to wait a bit before you collect.

Monday, November 24, 2008

...some other day...

So, I love rain. I always have. As a kid, it meant not going out at recess, and therefore not have to play kickball, which meant no dreaded kickball performance anxiety. Instead, we got a nice cerebral game of Heads Up/Seven Up - the rules and purpose of the game, I've long since forgotten.

These days, rain means I don't have to water my flora. Although, my fauna, lacking opposable thumbs to provide for herself, gets a fresh bowl of water every day, on the house, whether she needs it or not. I'm so benevolent.

Rain also means a good hair day for me. Being a big-haired gal, I require plenty of humidity to keep my hair ridin' high. And in the winter, when everything is so dry and static clingy, I have to settle for a lot of bad hair days. But today, it's looking as good as hair can look, given that the last cut I had was exactly four months ago today. I know, I know - but who has the time? I figure if I can keep it up, I'll be giving to Locks of Love in no time. If I don't get frustrated and get out Matt's electric clippers. Tempting.

So rain, and rain often!

The best laid plans...

So, I got to the Red Cross on Saturday morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed - and guess what? Deferred! Low iron, again. This isn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last - but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

I waited for Matt to give, then took him to breakfast.

Spent most of Saturday and Sunday in a flurry of activity. Matt was feeling a little under the weather yesterday, I suspect from inhaling leaf dust and pollen all day Saturday, so he spent much of the day recovering on the couch. Nothing like old movies and hot tea!

I think we're in a good position to pull everything off. I surely hope so. I am mostly feeling sad for putting Lola in the kennel while we're partying hard, but these things happen.

The weather is supposed to be tolerable. It's raining at the moment, but that should clear out shortly, leaving us with mild temps and I believe, a little sun.

That's the latest from here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Feel-good Friday

You may find this hard to believe, but sometimes, I get sassy. No, no – it’s true!

Today I was in that kind of mood, and at the beginning of our weekly staff meeting, I actually hijacked things from my boss.

I started the meeting by declaring “TGIF”, and then making a plea on behalf of the Red Cross Blood Donation Centers, explaining that it’s always appreciated, and you get free cookies.

Thankfully, the bossman has a sense of humor and an abiding respect for the Red Cross, so I got a bemused expression, then we moved into the meat of the meet. So to speak.

So my message today is this. If you’re an eligible donor, and one who isn’t going to be more trouble than you’re worth (passing out, freaking out, etc.) then get your butt down to the Red Cross. They need you.

Matt and I have an appointment for 8:15 AM tomorrow, followed by breakfast – on me, since I’m the one dragging my sweet potato out of bed at such an ungodly hour.

I strongly believe there is no easier way to make a difference than to give a pint of blood. So, if you’re reading this, and you can stand a needle, you know what to do.

O Positively,

ae

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Behold, the Apple


So, in addition to being my favorite time of year weatherwise, a lot of my favorite fruits are available and in peak season.


Last year, my parents turned me on to a new variety of apple - the Ambrosia.


If you like apples, you need to seek this bad boy out.


They're crisp, they're sweet with a nice tart note to them, and they're huge. I cut one up for my office mates, and there was plenty for everyone.


They're also incredibly pretty- they come from Canada, as do so many great things and wonderful people.


You can only find them in fall and winter, and don't let the price tag put you off - they're worth every penny.

Good News/Bad News

First, the bad news. Which isn't really even bad - it's just not that good.

Work is just a little frustrating at the moment - nothing unfixable, just a temporary hitch in my giddyup, you might say. Although, I was indulging that fantasy briefly yesterday where I go and work in management at Whole Foods. Sigh.

As for causes to my "opportunity" (euphemism for problem or issue), I'd say that I'm stressed about so many things, and the fact that I am overtired, scrambling to prep for Thanksgiving and that catch-all - PMS are making things seem worse than they are.

Basically, I have an isolated crummy incident that seems to be coloring my whole outlook. I need to take a deep breath, or six, and remember that yesterday, a customer told me that I was a "wonderful" trainer. I should remember that one of my favorite trusted colleagues took a minute to ask if I was OK, and to assure me that I needed to stick around, thus tabling my Whole Foods fantasy. And anyway - work there during the holidays? No thanks!

And to that point, the good news - we have a client in house today for training - which means I definitely need to wear make-up, but more importantly, all those awesome involuntary hand gestures I make when I train via phone/web won't be lost on this gentleman.

Onward and upward. The family arrives one week from today for Thanksgiving. I should probably start scoping out my bird.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Confidential To...

Crossing Guard at St. Edwards School,

I get that you really love wearing your uniform and directing cars in and out of the school. I know that every tweet of your whistle and every gesture you make with your handheld stop sign makes you feel like the grandest tiger in the jungle.

But here's a reality check. You are a crossing guard who has never helped a single person cross the street. None of your students walk to school.

All you do is back up traffic, which then allows you to feel important as you then manage that back up that wouldn't have happened if not for you.
..............................................................................................

Women Everywhere,

If the smell you leave behind in a public restroom is enough to make me gag repeatedly, you might want to consider seeing a healthcare specialist... or, just stop eating rotten roadkill.
..............................................................................................


Retailers,

Yes, there's a recession on, but most people don't seem to have gotten the message. Please, in the name of all that is holy, open more than one register. There's nothing more irritating than standing in line with five people ahead of me, a dozen behind me, and watching one of your employees non-chalantly straightening displays while the one cashier is busting her ass to get people out the door.

.............................................................................................


Dollar Tree,

Have I told you lately that I love you? I had a great time yesterday, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I can't wait to see you again.

XOXOXOXO

............................................................................................

Teenagers,

If I am sitting right next to you in a car, I can read what you're texting to your girlfriend who is sitting in the front seat. Do I want to know what you did last night at her house that you both enjoyed so very much? No. I'll assume you played Scrabble. If that's an incorrect assumption, then my advice to you is this - Walgreen's is always nearby. Follow that old scouting motto - "be prepared".

...........................................................................................

President-Elect and Mrs. Obama,

I have a huge crush on you. Your interview Sunday on 60 Minutes was adorable! You're great parents, great role models and we're lucky to have you moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Also, nice work on the Mother-In-Law and dog questions. And Mrs. Obama, you're just so beautiful, and I think you're going to be an awesome Mom-In-Chief.

.........................................................................................

Myself,

Stay your same awesome, cheerful self. You're doing a good job of maintaining a balance, but seriously, would it kill you to get up and hour earlier and take the dog for a long walk? If you went to bed earlier, you wouldn't miss the sleep.

............................................................................................
I'm starting to sound like Mary Worth. I'd better stop.

Friday, November 14, 2008

either crazy or brilliant

So, I came up with a plan for setting the table for Thanksgiving - it's either going to look amazing, or like Pee Wee's Playhouse. Or both.

I'm going to talk it over with Matt, who usually has a good eye for these things.

But I'm starting to get excited. Once I can dig out from under the rigors of the boring part - housework, then I can do the creative bits, which is where I start to shine.

Matt got the greatest note on our door yesterday, from a neighbor down the street - a man of whom I am growing increasingly fond. He's looking for work, and wanted to let us know he rakes leaves. This neighbor is a good guy - I'll be glad to find some things for him to do, but at the moment, I'd be embarrassed to have him see the inside of the house. So leaves it very well may be.

His son is in the Air Force and is coming home from Germany for Christmas. I may very well send a cake their way for the holidays.

We are incredibly lucky - we have the nicest neighbors.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Like riding une bicyclette, only way easier!

So, every now and again, I get to pull something out of my old bag of tricks that reminds me that I'm actually not a total idiot after all.

In this case, we're talking about my mad skills as a linguist.

So, we got an e mail from a customer needing help - only, he's in France (and presumably French). And he asked if we could call him. Since I'm the department's one Francophone, I got tapped to contact him.

I sent an e mail which I wrote, then checked in Babelfish, and what do you know? I can still write a letter in French!

He replied, and we set a call time for today - 3PM France Time, 8AM Nashville Time.

I got his voicemail, but what's great is, I left the message in French, without creating it beforehand, and totally off the cuff. Now, I am sure that like David Sedaris once wrote, I sounded like an "Evil Hillbilly Baby" - but I did apologize for my bad French, and you have to figure, they're probably not expecting an American company to provide support in French. Spanish, sure - and I have a colleague who does quite nicely.

What made me really happy, though, is that when the automated voice mail came on, I understood everything the operator asked me to do. So, I can write it, I can speak it, and hells yeah, I can understand it. Go, me!

I've said it before - if I ever got to be a Super Hero, I'd want my super power to be that I was omni-lingual.

Of course, actually supporting a French version of IE 7 - that's going to be a challenge.

Bring it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Getting There

So, I put a good dent into the work that needs to get done before Thanksgiving over the weekend, and that included moving a few pieces of furniture, which, given the layout of the house, can be a challenge. In this case, though, it worked out well.


I also went to the aforementioned Sorority Brunch at Mere Bulles. It was enjoyable, but imagine being the one UGA grad in a room of UT grads. I had to invoke the score of this year's football game to keep them in check. Ha!


That said, it was a good time, and the Crème Brûlée French Toast was incroyable!


I went to the fabric store on Sunday to pick up a few things for a project I'm working on - and again, I was overwhelmed with that wish that I could actually sew. I watch Project Runway for two reasons - one, I love the drama, but two, there's something amazing about starting out with an idea and raw materials and producing something useful and beautiful.


But with sewing, as with chemistry, algebra and all those other things I did poorly at in school, there's little room to improvise, and there's plenty of opportunity for error. I wonder if I have the patience.


Although, it's not like I want to whip out dozens of couture garments (which coming from me might look, to quote Michael Kors, "Becky Home-Ecky"), really, I'd just like to be able to hem pants, make napkins and tablecloths, and maybe create simple Halloween costumes. Capes, tails, ears - nothing elaborate.


As it stands, I can hand sew, I can use fusible webbing (aka Stitch Witch), and I can wield a hot glue gun with the best of them. And I'm crafty, after a fashion - you need only look at my Scarecrow costume to see that I have a vision.


Still, I want MORE!



Maybe I'll ask Santa for a sewing machine this Christmas. They're not terribly expensive for a decent model, and I could make Matt some throw pillows for the couch, I could sew Lola a prom dress - the possibilities are limitless.


And then, when I cruised the aisle at JoAnn, I could look at the chenilles, the flannel quilting fabric, the chiffons and brocades, the calicos and the broadcloth, and I could actually stop dreaming and start doing.


That said, I'm strongly considering a new idea for the Thanksgiving table this year.


I'm kind of excited.


ae





Friday, November 7, 2008

TGIF


I don't generally believe that "everybody's workin' for the weekend', but I am glad today is Friday.

Because...I have to do housework. Blaaaah!

Also, I've decided to go to a Founders' Day Brunch being held by my sorority's local alumni (alumnae? alumniae? alumnus? alum?) chapter. Good times. I've never met any of these women, but it's being held at Mere Bulles, and it's really more about the brunch than the people. That's Sunday. I did some recon work on that event - and good news - there's a chocolate fountain. Note to self - either dark colors or loud prints.

I slept 10 hours last night, and I'd do it again. It has helped my disposition considerably.

And yet, I still find myself yawning wildly this afternoon. Just how sleep deprived am I?

No big plans this weekend, and that's AOK with me. I have plenty to do at the house. Thanksgiving is mere weeks away. WEEKS!

I made a quick hit list of things I want to do tomorrow and Sunday. There aren't enough hours in the day. Especially when I want to spend 10 of the 24 horizontal and with my eyes closed.

As I annoyingly like to point out sometimes, though...we all get the same number of hours per day.

Poetry Corner

Here's one of these poems I like to pull out every November because it makes me smile, and today, when it's kind of raining and blah, it's suitable:


November


by Thomas Hood


No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--

No road--no street--
No "t'other side the way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--

No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!

No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No park--no ring--no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

November!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

So, uh...now what?

I've been incredibly out of sorts for the past two days - and that's not like me at all.

Sure, I get into bad moods, but I'm usually pretty even-keeled, and right now, something is just not right.

The election was, of course, amazing, and I'm happy, but even the Obama picture I've set as my computer background isn't really doing it for me.

It would probably help to pry Avenue Q out of my CD player in the car. Listening repeatedly to "It Sucks to Be Me" and "For Now" are not helping, I think.

Plus, I've had killer heartburn for much of the past 48 hours.

I don't know. I don't think a hot bath would help, and that's a cure for so many things. I don't even really just want a boatload of sweets - which often helps my sour moods.

One thing that does sound appealing is a massage, but who has money for that? Another thing that would probably put some bounce in my step would be a haircut, but like a massage, that's money that could go to something more permanent.

Plus, I was looking at my hair tonight, and really, it looks pretty OK.

I could just go to bed early, try to make a dent in my deficit.

One of my colleagues today was trying to convince me that exercise is the best cure. I wish I could be more open to that, but at the moment, it sounds exhausting.

For now, I think I'll settle on doing laundry, maybe getting a warm bath and using some of my goat milk body butter afterwards, then hitting the hay.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

It's got to be - I'm starting to worry that my reputation of being a pleasant worker-bee is falterng.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-Election Elation Letdown

So, my man won, and I'm overjoyed.

But I am also sleep-deprived, and as you know, that makes bad things seem worse.

I came in to a frustrating situation at the office, and that last bit of energy left my body, and I sat limp, too proud to crawl under my desk and burst into tears.

Crying makes you look weak, and I decided some time ago that no job is worth that much of me.

But, on the up side, Barack Obama, his wife, kids and their new puppy will be the newest residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thoughts for Election Day

Here’s my life:

I have more food than I need, more clothes than I can wear.

I have a nice roof over my head, and enough money to pay my bills. My husband and I have plenty of toys, we can get in our (gas efficient) cars and get from Point A to Point B without worry.

We are in good health, and have access to the service we need to stay that way. We both had great education, and access to more, should we so desire.

We both have jobs that fulfill us, and I can leave work every day feeling that someone, somewhere is better off for what I do.

I can worship or *not* worship whomever, whenever.

I have access to information from the world over, without censorship.

I don’t have to cover my head to go to outside - and if I wanted to wear my pajamas to the grocery, I could (I don’t, but lots of folks do).

I can say pretty much whatever I want, I don’t worry for my safety, and I have never feared for my life.

No matter my petty gripes and bitchings, I am one of the luckiest people I know. I have a life that’s better than 99% of the world population, and on top of all that - I get a vote.

That’s my take.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I want it all!

So, now that we're closing in on the election, and all I really have to worry about is watching the results tomorrow night, I'm starting to zero in on the next big thing: Thanksgiving.

In 23 days, my family arrives. No word yet on whether Matt's family is going to join - his best guess is no. Either way, it should be fun.

But of course, I'm getting a case of the "want-itis" - for example:




I want these.

Now, there's no real reason I need to order these. Swiss Colony is not known for hautes confiseries, and further more, six people do not need a box of these sitting around the house for the weekend. No matter how adorable they are. And, that's $21.95 + S&H that could go somewhere else. Like, Second Harvest Food Bank, for example - and feed some legitmately hungry people.

Yeah, reality. There's nothing like it.

I did actually do a little selfish shopping this weekend - got some new pants, a few new shirts - watched as one again, the Avenue at Cool Springs delivered grossly subpar customer service. Here's the deal - if you have two sets of dressing rooms, why not open the ones that offer the most comfort and privacy to your customers? I watched them chase a woman out of the dressing room at the back of the store, basically citing the need to be able to "keep an eye on people" - the woman handed the coat she was trying on to the employee and said, "Sorry, you just lost a sale" and marched out of the store. At which point, the employee went to bitch to another employee within earshot of myself and some other customers. At which point, they lost my sale as well. First of all, you basically just accused this woman of being a shoplifter, and you kicked her out of a dressing room that was not locked or blocked off from being used. So, yeah, you fucked up.

Part two, never, and I mean never talk bad about clientele in front of other clientele. It's Customer Service 101. Right up there with not bagging my slimy chicken with a bunch of dry goods.

From now on, if I shop at the Avenue, it'll be the one at Nolensville Road. Sorry ladies. Only, not really.

The time change has me craving a nap. You know, or maybe a sick day.

I could definitely spend a little time on the couch just cold chillin', maybe starting my own game of Fallout 3 (awesome, well worth every penny).

ae




Saturday, November 1, 2008

Like Flash Cards for Your Brain

Tonight, we set the clocks back one hour to end Daylight Savings Time for one more year.

To remember this, I use the old gem, "Spring Forward, Fall Back". This is known as a mnemonic device. Or basically, a memory aid.

Over the years, I've learned many - like, the Great Lakes can be remembered using the word HOMES - Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. And before Pluto got delisted from Planethood, The phrase "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" was the way to remember the planets in order of distance from the Sun.

I had phrases for remembering the notes on the treble clef, a song that listed the 50 states in alphabetical order, and that poem that tells you whether a month has 30 or 31 days.

Even in French Class, we had Mrs. RD Vandertramp - who helped you remember which verbs used être instead of aller in the past tense. I'd have to guess what some of the letters stood for today, but it would be a good start.

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. I couldn't work a quadratic equation to save my life, but at least I remember the order of operations.

When you think about it, it's kind of amazing how much data we have stored in our gray matter. I remember songs from Elementary School - both words and tunes. I could probably still ring up a pretty basic order of produce from Harry's - we had Product Look Up Codes (PLUs) for all the fruits and veggies. Bananas were 57. Eggplant was 976, Woodear Mushrooms were 666. My employee number at Harry's was 1092.

There was a point in my life that I could have told you what I wore on the first day of school from 5th grade on. I've dumped that data for other info. My SSN, pin numbers, passwords, which keys fit what locks. Where I left my cell phone. Did I pay the cell bill?

I've more or less made a point of not memorizing phone numbers -that's what my cell is for, but a few are still lodged in there. I recently pulled out of thin air the number of a neighbor of my parents' (whose daughter was my classmate) for Dad. So, apparently, my hard drive is doing pretty well. One number I wouldn't mind deleting from memory is our local Domino's Pizza - that doesn't speak well of my abilities to provide nutritious nourishment for our family unit.

One major fail in my memory abilities is the Homing Pigeon skill - Matt has this - he can drive somewhere once and it's locked in. How many times have I come home from the airport? A dozen? And yet, on my last trip from Denver, I had a critical data failure - I got home, but I took the scenic route.

Still, you're never too old to add data. On that same trip to Denver, I was able to sensibly determine what side of the street our destination would be on, and how many blocks we'd have to walk to get there. This, using navigational skills given to me by Matt. He was so proud.

I'm still working on left and right - the mnemonic device of making an L with your left thumb and index finger works pretty well. Maybe by the time I'm 35, I'll be ready.