Sunday, November 30, 2008

How lovely are your branches...

So, it's not a fabulous photo since I took it with my cell phone, but here is l'arbre de Noël ~ 2008.

Of course, I completely forgot how much the cats love love love the ribbon and ornaments. I've had to redo the ribbon at the bottom twice already.

Well, cats have to enjoy the holiday season too, right?

I'm usually very particular about how the tree gets done, certain colors first, then specific decorative ornaments go on -- I have it all down to a science. However...

One of the best things of having children is that they almost force you to leave that kind of neuroticism out of doing things like this; by their mere exuberance and excitement you have no choice but to have fun and not make it a project of perfection.

Sure, I was caught saying "no, put that down!", "no - not that one yet!", "wait! wait until I put the hook through..please listen!." but the truth of the matter is that we ended up putting the ornaments on completely in no particular fashion or order -- and I didn't even really notice until I was done. I said to my aunt "hmmm. I almost forgot about these ornaments, and they're my favorite!". They're the ones I generally put on first, but this year....they were added last.

There were only two bulb casualties -- and they were my fault -- the kids were surprisingly gentle without even giving much though to it.

It was a great day.... I made beef stew, pumpkin bread, reese's brownies (which sound better than they actually were, I didn't love them); and my aunt brought over turkey salad and chocolate chip cookies, and we just sort of hung out - listened to music and ate by the glow of the tree.

Of course, with two kids all sorts of excited and running around....and of course, the curious cats.

The beginning of the holiday season has officially begun in this girl's house....

Friday, November 28, 2008

China & Platinum

Tonight is my 20th year high school reunion.
Again, I reiterate -- I'm so not old enough to be having a 20 year mark of anything!
But, the truth of the matter is -- I am.

China and Platinum are the elements that are representative of what you would give to someone who's having their 20th anniversary.

Sure, we aren't married to our classmates in the literal sense; but we are bonded with them in the pages of our lives. We will forever be known as the "graduating class of 1988". We have a history of memories that while was for only a short moment in time -- it was an important one.

I haven't really changed all that much from high school; I don't think anyone who I haven't seen or run into is going to say "wow, you look so different!" or anything like that. I was always pretty driven and ambitious, and I was really friendly with everyone so it's not like I was shy or didn't socialize. I was drama club/cheerleader/rocker chick. I was also sports girl -- not in the playing aspect, but in the stats aspect. I used to have a group of guy friends that would wait in homeroom for me to come in so they could quiz me on stats and standings of teams in the NHL and NBA.

Truthfully, I think the biggest thing is that people may have expected me to have left and gone to LA. A few years after high school someone said to me (and I can't remember who they are, how sad is that? ) "I'm glad you're doing well, I'm just surprised you're still here. I really thought you were going to be on Broadway or television by now...".

In the class will, (which it would be really fun if they read tonight!) I was left "my own television show", "my name in lights", "a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame", and fun things like that.

Which just goes to show that the career aspirations we had when we were 16, 17, 18 and even into our 20s often don't get to come to fruition; whether we held ourselves back and didnt pursue what we could have -- or luck just didn't go the way some needed it to. And then there are some who went to school and got degrees in what they thought they wanted, only to opt to do something entirely different.

Life is a funny thing. While I'm not where I may have thought I'd be 20 years ago -- I am happy with where I am today. Life is good.

I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the people I was friends with so long ago, and see what kind of grown ups they've turned out to be as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A moment to give thanks....

Today is for me - the official beginning of the holiday season. From now unil New Year's, I often reflect and look back on the past year, as well as my life in general. It's a time to take stock in who we are, where we are -- and think about what we want to change or maintain for the following years to come.

It's a time to appreciate our family and friends, and realize that life is too short and too precious to waste time on anger, hostility or resentment.

"Peace is not to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work; It means to be in the midst of those things, and be calm in your heart."

I wish Peace for you this Thanksgiving, and always.

And without further adieu, here is my abbreviated list of what I'm thankful for this holiday season...

1. My children and my family. My life would be empty without them....

2. The health and well being of those I love and care about. In the end, nothing is ever as important as that.

3. I'm thankful for being born with a positive outlook on life. It's not having rose colored glasses on, it's being pragmatic yet optimistic. I'd much rather be that way, than pragmatic and cynical.

4. I'm thankful to be in a situation financially that I am not in panic mode during this economic crisis. Though that's not really a luck situation as much as it is an orchestrated life style that we to stick with and maintain.

4a. I'm thankful to be gainfully employed, despite my lack of enthusiasm for the position at this time. Better to be employed than not!

5. I'm thankful the second store fell through a few months ago. The adage of "everything happens for a reason, even if you don't see the reason right away..." is so true. To be building a store and carrying a lease during renovations right now would not allow me to have the above mentioned #4 on my list. Retail ready is the way the second location needs to go...and thankfully, "someone else was watching over" and agreed.

6. I do not care what any one says, but Leonard Padilla is literally the only person who refuses to give up on ensuring that Caylee Anthony's mother pays dearly for her deeds. Thanks to him, I do believe that Caylee Anthony - or some aspect of identifying material relating to her - will be found. It seems as if that poor little girl's family has thrown her to the wayside and all have done nothing but interfere with the possibilities of bringing her home. Though I don't blog about it often, she is on my mind many times a day. Little innocent baby, I just want her story to end with justice. And I assure you, when that happens I will be entirely thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And it's hard to hold a candle, in the cold November rain....

Today is most definitely a day to be in warm comfy clothes, eating all the wrong foods -- and watching movies -- as aptly put by one of my friends today.

Funny thing. Here at the base, our buildings are maintained by a contract that I believe is facilitated by Good Will. So there are some wonderfully nice people who are in the building from time to time, as well as some...special folks. Who are still nice, but they're just more colorful.

We have a guy here today, who I refer to as "Snoop Dogg". I love the real Snoop - and clearly so does this gentleman. Truthfully he does resemble him a little bit, despite being probably about 8 inches shorter. ( He also tends to wear so much cologne that you can smell him coming down the hall a mile away. I wouldn't mind if it was a soft, powdery cologne but it's like Drakkar on Overdrive! I literally have to hold my breath when he's in our immediate area. Poor guy...clearly hygiene is high on his list, but someone should really let him know he doesn't need to bathe in the spray. But I digress....) This morning as I walk up to the building, he's outside rapping loudly to himself. Violent, angry rap. So I smile and say "Good Morning" and he snaps into submissive mode and whispers "Good Morning" in this mousy little voice that is striking contrast to the voice he was just rapping in. Think Mike Tyson suddenly turning into Rob Zombie. Ah yes, these are the little tidbits that make life at work interesting...

So I am a guest at this upcoming Thanksgiving Day dinner. Candied sweet potatoes and Colorful Cauliflower are my items. Well, hopefully colorful cauliflower. Sometimes you can find cauliflower in purples and oranges -- and while they taste the same as plain old white -- it's more fun to eat and definitely prettier on the dish. I steam it and season with a hint of salt and honey. The kids love it -- but my kids are pretty cool about vegetables in general. I can't think of a vegetable outside of cooked carrots that they don't like.

I'm also bringing a dessert, which I will not mention here because if anyone I will be dining with is reading this, I don't want to let the cat out of the bag. It's not going to be home made, but it looked so delicious I can resist buying it. I just hope I can still get one tomorrow....though given the weather, I'm thinking it's not going to be high on everyone's list this year.

And if that isn't too big of a clue, then clearly you and I just aren't tracking!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Mash Up!

1. Yesterday's Patriot's game was unflipping believable. I couldn't pull myself away - and literally, you almost weren't able to because at one point it almost seemed as if whomever had possession was scoring. The defense clearly needs more work -- as do the safeties. Seriously, I think I hit harder than Brendan Merriweather -- which is disappointing because I'd really hoped he'd be a good follow on for when and if the time came for Rodney Harrison to retire. Not sure he's developing to be "that guy". And I'm sorry, I get that John Lynch is "old" but I'm thinking that experience and tenacity is needed in that position.

Matt Cassell -- wow. I (like many others) certainly am needing to be eating my words of the last few months. Clearly, players improve when given the ability to play -- but I don't know that anyone expected this. Is he Brady-like? No, I don't think so - but he is definitely coming into his own. See what happens when the expectations are low -- often you get surprised. It really shows you a person's character and fortitude when they are perceived as the underdog, are aware of that fact -- and then exceed all expectations. And on a chick note: he's cuter than Tom was in the beginning. Just think of the supermodels he's going to be getting once he gets his makeover...!

Final Patriots thought: Bill Belichick is an amazing coach. All you naysayers and cynics from last season who had nothing but negativity and jeers towards this team, that man and all their accomplishments -- hmmm. You think they're cheating now? Stick that in your pipe and smoke it! (As Alex & Rob like to say....!)

2. Sometimes, you just like what you like. Last week, I mentioned a song I love by Alter Bridge titled "Metalingus". Well today, I heard a song that is entirely in a different vein -- it's soft, acoustic and really melodic. I had no idea who it was performed by, but I felt as if I knew who was singing it - there was something familiar about the voice. Get this: it's called "Watch Over You" by none other than................ my boys Alter Bridge! Must. Buy. The CD.

3. Last night, the nicest thing happened. My daughter and I were having our sushi date and sitting behind us was a man eating dinner alone. I only know this because when his food came over, it smelled so good that I had to turn around to see what he got. That was when I noticed he was eating alone. Anyway, at the end of our dinner - my daughter was laughing and noticeably looking at this man. So I asked what she was laughing at and she came across the table and whispered into my ear "that man is making funny faces at me and making me laugh". So I turned around and he said "she's adorable, she's been entertaining me". So I thanked him and said that she can certainly be quite funny. So she and I finish eating...and he must've left. The waitresses came over to give me my bill and told me that my "friend" paid the tab. I said, "friend? I don't have any friends here.....?" when they told me the man behind me paid. I saw him up at the counter and said "oh, he shouldn't have done that!"....but he left before I could thank him and I wasn't about to leave my daughter at the table. But I know he heard my reaction because he looked back at us.

What's interesting is that my first thought was "Wow, how unbelievably thoughtful and kind". My second thought was "is he some crazy guy who'd be waiting for us in the parking lot". See how society has changed us from taking random acts of kindness at face value and reading into some sort of underlying bad motive?

But I brushed that secondary reaction away and stuck with my original gut feeling of "What a really nice guy. Such a kind thing to do...."

So where ever you are...whomever you are....thank you.
It was appreciated!

4. Jason, Jason -- where for art thou Jason..... please don't make me wait until Christmas Eve to determine whether I'll be happy or in mourning this upcoming season. "Rumor" has it a one year deal was offered, which rather surprises me considering I think we all thought that he's looking for better longevity, and probably not wanting to have to continually renegotiate as a one year deal would imply he'd need to do. All I can say is this, if our good Captain is in need of some career counseling advice, this girl is more than willing to lend an ear and offer kind words of advice!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My daughter's holiday dress...

I love Burlington Coat Factory.

Love, love, LOVE it.

This dress: $30 at Dillards.

Which, is not a bad price at all.

$14.99 at Burlington Coat Factory.

Unfortunately, there weren't any sweaters or shirts for boys in red or green; but there was a button down in the perfect shade of gold that matches the gold circles! There also was a sage one that matched the sage circles as well - but he picked, and gold it was. With a nice pair of brown courdoroys -- they will match each other and look beautiful on Christmas Eve.

We do visiting on the Eve -- but we stay home on the day -- so I dont make them get dressed up in anything other than maybe sweats that are red and green so as to be festive. Besides, I'm cooking all day and don't get to be dressed up either so I'd feel hypocritical making them get dressed up.

I have to say, I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving being over so that I can focus on Christmas.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sometimes the best laid plans...

Often end up with a kink.
So, no sitter available for tonight, and while G would normally be home by 6:30 - he has to work tonight and tomorrow day. And my sitter options are otherwise booked. So clearly - unless something changes, no Trifecta Dinner tonight. I'm holding off on cancelling, just incase...

What I find so frustrating, is that whenever I want or need to go somewhere - I need to have a sitter. G, on the other hand - can come and go as he pleases without ever giving it a second thought. Of course when I mention this, he says "well we have a store - so that comes with the territory." (Excuse of convenience if you ask me.) Yeah, I get that. But every time?!? If you have staff that you cant rely on if someone suddenly takes the weekend off (like this weekend) then you need to get better help. Or if they stand around and watch you lift boxes when you clearly are suffering with a bad back -- they're a waste of time and money. Nuff said.

This led me to think of how else I am to spend the night since I will be home alone. Maybe, I'll bake cookies. I got a great email that has like 100 different cookie recipies, and me with my Kitchen Aid all alone..?

So here's a fun cookie survey I thought I'd post for my Saturday Survey.
If you use it - let me know!

01. What is your favorite store bought cookie? I'd have to say probably Oreos. Mint Oreos are really addictive.
02. What is your favorite home made cookie? Those shortbread thumbprint cookies with jelly in the middle. I remember in Home Ec we made two dozen of them. I ate them all. I LOVE those.
03. What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Tagalongs!
04. What is your favorite mini cookie (like animal crackers, teddy grahams, etc.)? Eh, I'm all set with those. Frosted Animal crackers hold my attention for a second and that's about it.
05. Do you consider Fig Newtons a cookie? Absolutely. I love how they get all muddy and stick to the roof of my mouth. It's a cookie you have to work at and you can't rush them.
06. Do you bake cookies often? Not as often as I should.. but pretty regularly.
07. Do you give cookies as gifts? No. I'm not much of a baker...
08. Do you buy cookies at the Mall? No. That never appeals to me. G can't resist them though.
09. Do you dip Oreos in milk? Eww. No. I remember being little and my parents trying to teach me to do it but I never really cared for it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sunday always comes too late..But Friday never hesitates...!

For a short week -- it felt really long. Today I met Susan for a sushi lunch which was such a great way to end the week! And I'm openly envious because she's going to Wrentham tomorrow, and I can't wait to go myself and get a jump on my holiday shopping. Thinking of taking one day during the week in the next week or so.... (but not the day after Thanksgiving, unfortunately.) if anyone of you girlfriends who read along are game, let me know.

The plan for tomorrow was initially about getting the kiddies pictures taken for the holiday cards. But since the week was a little skewed, I didn't get the chance to buy them their holiday outfits yet -- and so I'm not going to have them take their pictures at the studio. Fluidity and flexibility are key in a Mom's world. I'm going to try something different this year. Tomorrow, the kids are going to get their hair cuts, and then I'm going to pick out their outfits -- and we're going to take their photos at home. I've got some pretty decorations I think I can use for backgrounds and props -- and so Mom is going to be photographer extraordinaire. "Le Studio du Supergoddess", if you will.

I can order all my prints through Snapfish that way -- and oh by the way -- photo card orders placed by 23 November are only one cent for the first 20 ordered. I am so all over that!

Saturday night is going to be the "Trifecta Reunion". Myself, and two of my girlfriends are getting together for dinner and drinks at the fabulous Mexican restaurant that we love -- which happens to have a second location right down the street from my friend Michelle. She just moved into a new place one town over which is fabulous because even though we don't work together any longer, we live close enough to still be able to visit without it being a big strategic affair. And our other friend Taryn, is a North Shore kinda gal too - so we're all close by. We haven't had the chance to hang out since the three of us don't work together any longer. I changed jobs, Michelle changed jobs...and Taryn is still there. We had planned for last weekend, but with G's back all messed up and Taryn's husband being sick as well -- we rescheduled.

Sunday, is probably going to be a relaxing, of course. But I think we'll just hang in and relax that day because that night -- it's the previously mentioned WWE Survivor Series and it just so happens that G is feeling well enough to go; so my daughter and I are going to have a little girl's night. I thought it would be fun for her and I to do something special, maybe go out to eat or see a movie together, just the two of us.

I am ready to let the weekend begin.

So this is the thought that I'll leave off with today....
"Leave worries and anxieties behind, for they add nothing to your life. Be at peace, and you will feel fullness of your power within".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"You think you know me...."

(The beginning of Alter Bridge by Metalingus. One of my favorite songs. It's also the theme song for "Edge".)

So here's a statement I never thought I'd ever make:
I think I like WWE.

I know, crazy isn't it? While I can't find myself getting enthralled with the story lines -- the music alone is enough to reel me in.

My son loves wrestling. At the tender age of 7 1/2 he knows all about the history of the league (and it's predecessors), the storylines, characters real names, entrance songs (both new and old) -- you name it, he knows it. He has every video game for Xbox and Xbox 360 that has been released for wrestling. And I have to admit -- it's pretty darn fun! You can coordinate everything about a wrestler that you create...and in the newer versions, they even announce the name you make for them as they enter the ring.

You know he made a girl wrestler named "Rebecca".

Truthfully, when G introduced wrestling to him -- I thought he was far too young to be watching it; I think that some of the content with the ladies is a bit too adult for him -- however, Mom doesn't get to win all battles. He gets that it isn't "real", and that these are athletes who play characters (sorry if I'm ruining the mystique for anyone! ) -- but we've also explained to him that they're all very hardworking and talented athletes who put their lives at risk each time they perform. Enjoy this form of entertainment or not -- these people are definitely physical and athletic.

G has a friend who's father is a very important person in the WWE world, and who has been kind enough to get tickets for my son on occasion. This Sunday, there is a big series that is going to be in town and my son will be going. G is supposed to take him, but with his back..... if he's not better in time, then I'll just have to do it.

And interestingly enough, this girl surprisingly finds herself wishing that he just doesn’t feel up to going....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh, Doctor, doctor, can't you see I'm burning, burning

So the last 24 hours or so have been interesting to say the least.

Seems that G has a pinched nerve in his back. Potentially caused by a herniated disc - the Xrays looked okay, no odd spacing or thinning which is a good thing; but only a CT or MRI will truly show whether the disc is herniated or not. Truthfully, even if it is - surgery isn't generally an option anyway.

But he can barely walk, and is really uncomfortable.
How did this happen, you ask?

Well. It's like this.....

Friday night, I get a call. It goes something like this:

G: Hey, whats going on?
Me: Nothing, where are you - at J's?

G: At the store buying sneakers. I'm going to play football with some of the guys.
Me: Um, you're going to what? You know you have a bad back, right? That's just stupid. No football.
G: Stop, I'll be fine. They're calling me out, calling me old -- I'll be fine.
Me: (Clearly irritated) You are old. This is your busy season, don't be a dumbass.
G: Get outta here, it's just a quick game of flag football - I'll call you later.
Hangs up.
Me: (Insert a string of expletives HERE.)

And, sure enough. By Sunday - he couldn't walk.
Monday he waited hours upon hours to be seen by the ER, only to leave unseen.
Yesterday, we went - which is how we were able to determine it wasn't anything more critical.
And that brings us to today.

I wasn't able to get him into see my acupuncturist before Monday, she had a death in the family. But his sister got him into see another one who I've heard of - and whom is very well thought of from what I hear from those who've been to see him. So hopefully, this course of therapy will help some.

Poor guy, for whatever reason - pain medicines don't work on him. Muscle relaxers don't affect him like they affect everyone else -- I've never seen anything like it in my life. Whether it's at the dentist, or at the hospital -- the iv sedation they give him never works. He's always awake, lucid - and feels everything.

Well, the upside to that is -- he won't turn into Jeff Conaway -- he can't get high!
(God forbid! Little "Celebrity Rehab w/ Dr. Drew Pinsky" joke in there.)

I just hope it clears up for him quickly. For his sake....and mine!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rock, rock, rock, rock...Rock n Roll High School....

So my 20th high school reunion is quickly approaching.
(You know, the one I bowed out of helping to plan.)

It's funny because there's only about 100 people going, out of a class of 320. And it's mostly girls from what I can see from the RSVP list....which is rather interesting.

It is way over priced (I'm thinking due to the poor turnout), which is what's going to make going with a few girlfriends much more palatable. Who wants to spend $150.00 on a night that their spouse isn't going to know anyone or have a good time? Especially in this economy! Which is probably the mindset behind why a.) only a handful of people are going, and b.) an even smaller handful within that are bringing their spouses.

And since the price of the ticket is so high -- this girl will not be buying anything new to wear!

But that's okay - I don't really feel the need to go out of my way to impress anyone. I truly haven't changed all that much from high school - and I don't have anything to prove to anyone, so to speak.

There are a lot of girls going who have changed quite a bit -- and I mean that in a positive way, and so I'm sure they're anxious to "strut their stuff". I'm excited for them! It's always great to see people gain acceptance and confidence; let's be honest, for many people no matter how many years out of school they are - it will always feel like "high school" to them without that validation.

So my friend Robyn and I will be driving together -- and them we've planned on sitting with about 10 other girls, some of whom I've run into over the years because we live near each other - and some I haven't seen since graduation and I can't wait to see them and catch up.

(Now I can't get the Bon Jovi song "Never say Goodbye" out of my head. Senior year in my Filmmaking & TV Media class, as a project we had to script and direct a video -- and I chose this song. It was set around a 20th year high school reunion. Not super creative, but hey - no one else thought of it! I was so proud of that project...)

I just don't feel old enough to be having a 20 year reunion.
I swear, when I look in the mirror I think I'm only a kid.

A very busy, tired, and multi-tasked kid -- but a kid, none the less.
It blows my mind to think that I've been out of school that long.

Anyone else been to their respective reunions?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Survey!

Okay, so my personal pity party from yesterday is over. It's a brand new day - and truthfully, it's good to have a job even if you're not happy with it. I think my incense about it lies in the fact that I see so many people try to get out of doing more than they have to with their jobs, and here I am, looking to do as much as I possibly can! It will all work out in the end.

Any how, generally I try not to post on a Saturday unless it's a survey. And since the kiddies and I went food shopping today - I though this would be the perfect survey for me to post. Let me know if you use it, I'd love to see your answers!

Bon Appetit!

1. Favorite milk? I don't drink milk, truth be told. I use skim in my coffee. Both kids have lactose issues to a certain extent so my son drinks Soy and my daughter drinks Rice.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook this season? Pot Roast, Stuffed Cabbage, Spaghetti and Meatballs. (That was easy)!

3. Topping of choice for popcorn? Salt -- and tabasco pepper

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure? ooh, that's a tough one. I haven't really had a huge disaster. Oh wait - one Christmas, I ordered Muscovy Ducks from Harry & David - and they were supposed to be smoked and fully cooked, I just needed to warm them. And they were raw. That was fun to serve...not.

5. Favorite pickled item? LOVE marinated mushrooms. Home made sour tomatoes and stuffed cherry peppers are a close second.

6. How do you organize your recipes? By course.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal? I'd love to have a disposal but since I'm on septic, trash it is.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)? Sushi, pineapple, pad thai. I could sustain quite nicely with those three.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood? So many. My mom making home made spaghetti sauce (she didn't make it as frequently as I do so that was a real treat.) My dad's dropped eggs on toast. And of course -- tuna fish dip. I've blogged often about these childhood memories.

10. Favorite ice cream? I don't eat real ice cream often, but Kimballs Farms is the best - hands down.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance? My Kitchen Aid. I don't use it too terribly often, but just looking at it makes me happy. I really want the pasta attachment.

12. Spice/herb you would die without? Garlic.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time? The one my parents made for me. It's about 12 years old or so now and it's my favorite.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly? Raspberry

15. Favorite recipe to serve to an omni (I would've used the word "uber" here, but hey, I didn't make this one up) friend? Why I'd cook their favorite, of course...!

16. Do you eat tofu? I never thought I would, but I do. And it's delicious!!!

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)? Oh, dinner - without a doubt.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator? My breads, juices, a bread maker, and the rice milk.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking. Frozen veggies, pork chops, chicken breast

20. What's on your grocery list? WAY too much to list here!

21. Favorite grocery store? Whole Foods. But I so don't do my food order there. I'm a Market Basket kinda girl. Who can afford to feed a family at Whole Foods?!

22. Name a recipe you'd love to try, but haven't yet. Just about anything in my Food and Wine magazines.

23. Food blog you read the most. I don't read food blogs. What, is that a bad thing?

24. Favorite chocolate? Since I'm not a big chocolate kinda girl, I've become quite accustomed to organic dark chocolate, 70% at minimum. It tastes wonderful and doesn't entice you to overindulge. Plus, it's good for you!

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately? Define extravagant...? It's not like I buy caviar or anything. Maybe it was buying 10 lobsters three weeks ago. But at $3.99/lb, is that truly extravagant? I'd venture to guess not...

26. What vegetables do you enjoy most? I love, love, love vegetables. Cooked, raw, whatever. I love roasting my veggies too. Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Eggplant, Peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower. The only vegetable that's truly off limits for me is peas.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down....

So, yesterday wasn't one of my happier days.
I know, in today's economy - we should all be thankful for being employed. That being said -- yesterday was a day that reality smacked me right in the face.
And I had it validated this morning, which in some way - is very helpful and allows for me to feel that I'm not imagining the situation.

I have never, ever been the type of person to say "that isn't my job". But today I am going to publicly make the statement.
(And let me preface this with the caveat that to any of my fellow blogging friends who are in a different job position than I am - please don't be offended by the following statement. If this is your job, it's a lovely job, but unfortunately -- not my career path or background.)

I am not a file clerk.
I am not a file clerk!!!

This morning, when the office was quiet -- a co worker of mine whom I've known since my first office here on base, and we are now working together again - sat me down and asked me why the heck I was in this job, and that it was steps backwards for me. (Thank you! Vindication!!).

Unfortunately, the way the position was described to me was very different from what it was. It was Requirements, and Project Management. They were "desperately seeking" someone with strong program management skills -- even quizzing me about how I lifecycle a project from beginning to end. It was high visibility, and politically charged. Had they been honest during the interview process, yes I would've declined. But they knew that....and had been struggling to fill the position (I now learn) and I am. Rerouting an email or two, scanning a few documents -- and oh yes, filing.

Who even does paper filing any longer? They should all be electronic. But no, I have to file documents from 1999 - 2008.

Yeah... found that little tidbit out yesterday. When it was suggested I go through each file one by one (thousands of them?!?) to determine what should stay and what can be shredded, I had to hold myself back from saying, "you can't be serious, right?". Again, no offense to anyone reading --- I work with people who are file clerks, and that is their job. They know this - it's their job title and they interviewed with that understanding. I am not a file clerk, nor did I expect to be one.

I understand that it's often a crap shoot and you don't know what you're going to truly end up with when you interview for a job, but I am utterly, utterly disappointed. It's a dead end clerk position for which I am severely overpaid for. Oh, and get this - the person who I report to knows this. I supervised his staff in my last job!! He knows I'm not right for this job. But contracting is a dirty business...

Should I laugh and enjoy the down time and collect the check? I suppose. But I am not happy about it. To add insult to injury, if the people here perceive me as being that, how will I ever be able to prove that I'm not supposed to be in this kind of a job?!? That limits my opportunities in this organization. And truth be told, I'm embarrassed. Because I know how the construct of this organization is, and I'm now perceived as a very junior person - and even worse in my mind -- as the office "fluff".

(Insert really loud F-bomb HERE.)

Thoughts, suggestions, kind words, laughter.....all are welcome, and much needed today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stop the presses!

I got an email this morning stating that 117 Ann Taylor stores are going to be closing!
This, can not be possible!!

Check out the following information I got via email this morning - and oh by the way - verified it at Snopes. So think carefully before buying gift cards this holiday.


* Eddie Bauer to close more stores. Eddie Bauer has already Closed 27 shops in the first quarter and plans to close up To two more outlet stores by the end of the year.

* Cache closing stores. Women's retailer Cache announced that it is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

* Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide The owner of retailers Lane Bryant , Fashion Bug , Catherines Plus Sizes will close about 150 under performing stores this year. The company hasn't provided a list of specific store closures and can't say when it will offer That info, spokeswoman Brooke Perry said today.

* Talbots, J. Jill closing stores. About a month ago, Talbots announced that it will be shuttering all 78 of its kids and men's stores. Now the company says it will close Another 22 under performing stores.. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill , another chain it owns. The closures will occur this Fiscal year, according to a company press release.

* Gap Inc. Closing 85 stores. In addition to its namesake chain, Gap also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic .The company said the closures - all planned for fiscal 2008 - will be weighted toward the Gap brand.

* Foot Locker to close 140 stores. In the company press release and during its Conference call with analysts today, it did not specify where the future store C losures - all planned in fiscal 2008 - will be. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

* Wickes is going out of business. Wickes Furniture is going Out of business and closing all of its stores. Wickes, a 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy Protection last month.

* Goodbye Levitz / BOMBAY - closed already. The furniture retailer, which is going out Of business. Levitz first announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910 when Richard Levitz opened his First furniture store in Lebanon, PA. In the 1960s, the warehouse/showroom concept brought Levitz to The forefront of the furniture industry. The local Levitz closures will follow the shutdown of Bombay.

* Zales, Piercing Pagoda closing stores. The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously Said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. Today, it announced that it is closing Another 23 under performing stores. The company said it's not providing a list of specific Store closures. Of the 105 locations planned for closure, 50 are kiosks and 55 are Stores.

* Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores The Walt Disney Company Announced it acquired about 220 Disney Stores from subsidiaries of The Children's Place Retail Stores. The exact number of stores acquired will depend on negotiations with landlords. Those subsidiaries of Children's Place filed for bankruptcy protection in late March. Walt Disney In the news release said it has also obtained the right to close about 98 Disney Stores in the U.S. The press release didn't list those stores.

* Home Depot store closings (E. Brunswick, Rt 18 just put up their closing sign) ATLANTA - Nearly 7+ months after its chief executive said there were no plans To cut the number of its core retail stores, The Home Depot Inc. announced Thursday that it is shuttering 15 of them amid a slumping U.S. economy and Housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship Store for performance reasons.

* Its shares rose almost 5 percent. The Atlanta-based company said the under performing U.S. stores Being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months.

* CompUSA (CLOSED) clarifies details on store Closings Any extended warranties purchased for products Through CompUSA will be honored by a third-party provider, Assurant Solutions. Gift cards, rain checks, and rebates purchased prior to December 12 can be redeemed at any time during the final sale. For those who have a gadget currently in for service with CompUSA, the repair will be completed and the gadget will be returned to owners.

* Macy's - 9 stores

* Movie Gallery - 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy. The video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental chain closed last fall.

§ Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations New Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse appears to have inherited a company bleeding subscribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the ax on 4,000 employees and 125 retail locations. Amid the loss of 639,000 postpaid customers in the fourth quarter, Sprint will be cutting a total of 6.7%of its work force (following the 5,000 layoffs last year) and 8% of company-owned brick-and-mortar stores, while remaining mute on other rumors that it will consolidate its headquarters in Kansas . Sprint Nextel shares are down $2.89, or nearly 25%, at the time of this writing.

* J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are scaling back

* Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+stores in an effort to cut costs.

* Wilsons the Leather Experts - 158 stores

* Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. Seventy-four under performing Demo stores closed last May.

* Sharper Image: The Company recently filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that 90 of its 184 stores are closing. The retailer will still operate 94 stores to pay off debts, but 90 of these stores have performed poorly and also may close.

* KB Toys posted a list of 356 stores that it is closing around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. To see the list of store closings, go to the KB Toys Information web site, and click on Press Information

* Dillard's to Close More Stores Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing under performing stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008. At the company's annual shareholder meeting, CEO William Dillard II said the company will close another six under performing stores this year

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A moment to say thank you...

I woke up this morning and thought of how when I was younger, there were two parades in my hometown that we used to go to: Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.

I don't think that Veteran's Day parades are held any longer.
And I'm not sure why.

I wonder if it's because that generation of people had a stronger sense of ceremony that people do today?

It only takes a moment to say thank you to those who are a part of our country's armed forces - and who represent and protect every right we have.

It can be something as small as saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
But however you do it, take the time to do so.

It's not a political thing, it's a humanity thing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The unpopular road is often the one less traveled...

So, I've been getting some slack over the last few days about my choice on voting against decriminalizing marijuana usage.
But no one has really stopped to ask me why I voted against it.

The general response I've received has been "it's ridiculous to make it a crime if I get pulled over on a random traffic stop, and get caught with a bone, or a small amount for a pipe".
Really now.... ? Ridiculous?

I don't care if you're a thirty-something or older and you've decided that you just can't handle life without self medicating. Or don't know how to distress in a way that isn't chemically induced. Whatever, that's your issue and you can deal with it. I'm not trying to sound holier than thou, because sure - I smoked for a few months when I was younger. I was 18. And then, I grew up. That's sort of how I perceive it. After a while, you grow up and realize that it isn't funny to have the munchies, or be paranoid and stupid - or be completely complacent. There are more things to do in life with your time. At least for me.

But here is my issue: We can't stop our kids from drinking. We certainly can't stop them from taking drugs. But if it's illegal, there's a different mindset about them using it. They're more careful about it, hopefully. Because if we downplay it and make it perfectly acceptable, then I think it's going to be impossible to keep kids from using it.

And here's the thing. You thirty-somethings and older who are career pot smokers, well maybe you're better experienced at driving under the influence. But you take a 16 year old kid, with a fast car and reduced reflexes without care of being caught smoking high, because after all -- it's perfectly legal -- then you have a dangerous mix.

The last thing I want to hear is that my child is god forbid in an accident because some other kid was high behind the wheel.

And it's not that legalizing prevents it from happening entirely -- it's just a way to try to make it a bit more difficult to obtain.

Ten years ago, maybe I'd have felt differently. But today, as a mother -- and a mother of children who are genetically predisposed to becoming addicts due to the amount of addiction that is riddled through their paternal background, I can't help but to try to deter my children from using recreational drugs of any kind. Every single addict that I have come to know throughout my life -- all started with marijuana. So do I believe it's a gateway drug? You bet I do.

But I also think that a good portion of being an addict is tied into who we are inherently as a person. It's a fine line between addiction and control.

And as a mother, I just can't agree with giving children the carte blanche availability to figure out which one of those personality types they may have.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It often is just the small things that make us the happiest....

As I was waiting for my cousin to meet me at the fabulous new Mexican joint, I wandered into the Beauty Supply Store that is located next door.

I asked if they had the
Moroccan Oil that the salon I went to recently had -- and they did! And, at a much lower price might I add. As I was talking with the girls, they actually recommended I try another product first, and gave me a sample of the Moroccan oil so that I'd get to try it and make sure I like it before I committed to buying it -- how cool is that?

Then, I saw that my most favorite exfoliator was there... so I of course, had to get it because just this morning my back up brand was all out. I can't remember off the top of my head the brand, otherwise I'd share it. Anyway, the girls there were so nice and ended up giving me all sorts of samples of creams, masques and shampoo -- since I'm thinking my hair is a little stressed after having the highlights re-touched. And my hair hasn't been stressed in ages. I don't like stressed hair. At all.

The best part is, we were chit chatting about skin etc., and one of the girls thought I was the same age as her.... !
And she's a good 7 years younger than I am.
How psyched was I?

I even heard them talk about me as I was walking out because the door was slow in closing -- and they were saying such nice things, and sincerely -- not in that phony "we're talking because we think she can hear us" kind of way.

I walked out of there with my new products, my fun samples -- and a high as if I'd walked through a giant Sephora AND Ann Taylor AND bought a new pair of boots!

Sometimes it's just fun being a girl.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Update on the Knee...

Good news is - my ligaments and meniscus appear to be intact. Bad news is - that means what's seemingly wrong with my knee is not immediately fixable.

My MRI showed cartilage damage under my knee which is interesting because the doctor said MRI's generally don't show patella injuries well so to have it show up is rather telling. Plus of course, for him to actually feel the popping of my knee, as well as see the lack of mobility I have is always helpful.

Here's a fun term for you: Chondromalacia Patella. We think....

So before we think about going further, it's lots of anti-inflammatories and ice - as well as a rigorous PT routine to see how far we can go in 6 weeks before he determines what if anything we need to do next.

This also means less heel wearing for me. Damn it. I don't even own a pair of flats, outside of my sneakers or Uggs.
What's a girl to do?

Clearly, a little shoe shopping!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wondering what I'm gonna say... Sometimes life can be deceiving... Wednesday wont go away

1. Jason, Jason...where for art thou Jason...? While his agent is doing a lot of talking, I really would like to know what his thoughts are on the subject of free agency. Is he as interested in remaining with the Sox as he was during the last round of negotiations? Or is he thinking of leaving us (me) and trying a hand elsewhere? I think two years with options is a fair deal, especially if they're going to consider offering him the same amount of money as he's been making for those two years. C'mon Jason, it can't be all about the money.... there's got to be some value with job satisfaction, right? You love them (me), they (I) love you. It's all good.

Oh, and open letter to the Sox: Let's be honest - you need him. Make it happen.

2. Note to self: Start thinking about a new vehicle. The lease on my RX is up in 5.5 months, and on my way to work this morning -- I almost spun out because I apparently got a flat tire. Fortunately, the tire didn't blow out, and I still had to get to work so....cautiously I continued on my commute. A little while ago, I went to get my oil changed and sure enough - the tire is shot. Not even remotely fixable. So, thankfully I have a full size spare with a perfectly matching rim -- and I will buy a new tire in the next few days. But though I could probably use two other new tires, it's a lease - and being turned in very shortly as I already mentioned. So I think the time has come to start researching new SUVs. I really need a 7 seater. Suggestions, anyone?

3. I'm so over the election. Enough already -- the decision's been made, can we just move on?? Sure, not everyone's happy about it -- but I think it's been beat into the ground already. Now, let's just see what happens.

4. Tomorrow I get the results of my MRI. Seriously, if the doctor tells me that my MRI came back clean, then I'm going to be really, really scared. Something is not right with this knee and though the MRI gave me better mobility just the mere fact that it straightened my leg straighter than I could get it on my own, it's opened a whole new world of discomfort for me. I didn't think I'd ever want to hear the words "you need surgery", but seriously - I'll be more nervous if he tells me I don't. This is very uncomfortable. And truthfully, I'm hoping that if I do have to have it-- I'll be able to schedule it for prior to Thanksgiving. Here's hoping...!

5. And finally, I'll leave you with this thought.... Pragmatism asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?
- William James

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rock the Vote...

So here's the deal.
I don't care who you vote for. It's a personal choice, a private decision - and the most important thing is that you vote for the candidate that you feel best represents you and your views.

It can be a difficult decision to make, depending upon what your beliefs and principals are. Very rarely is there ever one candidate who is all encompassing for anyone individual.

And yet most people lose sight of the fact that -- throughout their campaign, a politicians goal is exactly that -- to be all things, to all people.

All politicians make promises that they cannot, nor have any intention of keeping. So the difficult part that lies within us -- the American voters -- is to determine what is plausible, viable and important enough of an issue that the candidate you are supporting will truly have the opportunity to support in return.

Don't vote for a candidate based upon what other people will think of you or judge you in your choice; that's not the right reason to choose. It happens a lot....more often than you may think, because a person's opinion can easily be swayed by the perception of how others react to their decisions. Of course there is peer pressure in voting; sit around an average dinner table on any given Sunday afternoon and I assure you, you will see it.

At the same time, that is one of the beautiful things about our country and the very essence of who we are as a nation. We don't all have to agree.

That is one of the fundamental rights we have as Americans, and why you should exercise that ability to either agree or disagree - and vote.

If you don't -- then I don't want to hear what you have to say about the economy, or healthcare, or international affairs. Don't whine about tax cuts, or tax breaks or tax increases.

If you don't vote -- then shut up and sit down. Your opinion doesn't count.
Truly, this girl doesn't want to hear a thing you have to say.

Monday, November 03, 2008

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, they say there's always magic in the air...

Sitting front row at the Barrymore Theatre to see David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" was truly nothing short of spectacular.

Though we weren't sure that it would be that way when we were first seated.
It's a beautiful theatre, and an intimate venue which is what I want when I'm seeing a theatrical presentation. But when we sat, our knees were literally touching the stage, and everyone of us in the front row sort of looked at each other and thought "hmm. Maybe we should've gone one row back....". But the minute the lights went down and the actors took the stage it was abundantly clear that we had the best seats in the house, bar none. They were so close, we were practically part of the play ourselves. In one scene, Jeremy Piven almost fell in our laps -- literally.

Raul Esparza and Jeremy Piven were both fantastic -- and that's not an exaggeration. This was a production that has highs and lows, and some great emotion that you don't always get to see in plays. I think the biggest surprise for me was how well Elizabeth Moss performed. In the beginning I wasn't sure of how she was going to do -- but she was excellent.

Going to the theatre always bring back the excitement I remember about being involved in drama myself. I see them up there, and think "I can SO do that... !!" I have done that - just obviously, not on Broadway or any venue so grand.

There's something electric about being on stage -- it's probably what I think someone would equate to a high. Every performance is a living, breathing thing - and it's different every time. It's demanding and rigorous as far as scheduling goes -- but man, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

It's that whole "you can take the girl away from the dream but you can't take the dream away from the girl..."
But we all make choices in life.... and my choice wasn't to follow my dream.
It is, what it is.

At least though, I get to feel the excitement again -- even if it's only vicariously -- and that in of itself is enough for now.

If you plan on going to NYC at any point between now and February -- I'd highly recommend taking this show in.

You won't be disappointed.