Monday, December 27, 2010

Frustration with...

...Facebook. Yes, as many of you know, my Facebook/e-mail account was hacking into the day after Thanksgiving. You might have received some e-mail scam that said it was from me (but wasn't) asking for money. Anyway, I notified Facebook the day I found out (the day AFTER Thanksgiving). I changed my Facebook password and let them know about the scam. Almost one month later they notified me that I had been part of scam (D'uh, I'd figured that out already) by deactivating my Facebook account. I had to notify them that I wanted to reactivate the account by e-mailing them some information (nothing sensitive). That was seven days ago and I still can't log into my Facebook account. UGGGHHHH!!!

Anyway, I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Hope everyone had a good one. Ours was low key (they always are since it's just my sister, my mom and myself). To be honest I'm more excited that I had two days off work but dread going back the week between Christmas and New Year's because there is usually nothing for me to do. At least a three-four of the staff is on vacation (our offices in Canada and Australia actually just close down that week) so there is nobody there to support. It's going to be a long, long week four day week. I do get next Monday off for New Year's Day! Whoo-hooo!!!!!

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How About Some Cheese With Those Crackers

Everybody has some. Those songs you would never admit to liking but will sing at the top of lungs in the car when nobody is with you. Yes, I'm talking about those cheesy songs you are ashamed to love. There are tons of them out there but it seems as if the 70s and 80s produced a lot of them. Well today I'm going to admit to five cheesy songs that I love. Here we go...

5. Don't Mean Nothing by Richard Marx. I actually got to see him perform live on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno back in the 90s. Actually he almost ran my sister and I down with his car after the show but I won't hold that against him.

4. Hold On by Wilson Phillips. Okay, so when you're in your early 20s and on your own for the first time and you think your life is miserable, this song can mean a lot to you.

3. Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon. Oh the unrequited love of high school in the 1980s.

2. Pretty much any song by ABBA. With the new popularity of Mamma Mia, ABBA has had a resurgence but cheese is still cheese. One of my favorites is one of their lesser know songs, Does Your Mother Know.

1. Any song from Air Supply. They are the Royalty of cheese. Yes, I own their Greatest Hits CD (and have some of their songs on my MP3 player) and probably know the words to most of their songs. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Making Love Out of Nothing at All (warning: the video is just as cheesy as the song so if you are lactose intolerant, I don't recommend that you watch).

I have one honorable mention. I really don't like this song but I made a mix CD in September for a road trip with my sister and put this song on it just for her. It's Escape/The Pina Colada song by Rupert Holmes. It's pretty cheesy.

Now I know you have a collection of favorite cheesy songs so don't judge me.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bah! Humbug!

I'm going to be honest, every year I dislike the "Christmas season" more and more. To me Christmas has become brash and commercialized and even tacky. I feel as if the season is forced upon me and I don't like that. I don't like having to listen to Feliz Navidad everywhere I go BEFORE Thanksgiving and I don't understand why people feel the need to celebrate this holiday for four weeks by putting up decorations the minute the Thanksgiving turkey is cleared from the table.

I know why I feel like this. Christmas as an adult isn't the same as Christmas as a child. As an adult I have a small family and although I love my mom and sister more than anything else in the world, I miss my dad and the childhood Christmases spent with my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. I do miss my extended family.

But I think somewhere our society has changed Christmas and it's all about excess. Christmas is one day but for some reason we have to celebrate it for at least four weeks? We don't do that with any other holiday. Thank goodness we don't have to endure four weeks of Valentine decorations everywhere we go. But with Christmas it just seems like there is too much, too much of everything and for me that isn't the meaning of Christmas.

Christmas has definitely changed since I was a kid. I used to love to watch those holiday TV shows like Santa Claus is Coming to Town and The Year Without a Santa Claus. But they used to be scheduled closer to Christmas. Did you know that they have already shown Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Yep, you missed it already. Also there was the time off school. That was the best. Now, as an adult, if you don't save some of your vacation time you end of up working, sometimes even on Christmas Eve. And I don't know about you but NOTHING happens at work the week between Christmas and New Years.

Here's what I love about Christmas. I love that I get to spend time with my family and friends. I love that I get time off work (my company gives us two days of holiday - I'll take whatever I can get). I love that maybe in some little way I can make a difference in the life of a person who may not be as blessed as I am. For Christians this is the time to celebrate the birth of our Savior. It's not about four weeks of lights, decorations, music or spending money leading up to Christmas. And it makes me sad because it feels like the meaning of Christmas has really, really changed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome to the World Gemma

That last thought I had Monday night before falling asleep was about my friend Nancy and how in two weeks her life was going to change forever because in two weeks her baby was due. Nancy is single and had in vitro. I felt blessed because she asked me to be in the delivery room with her and her mother when she had the two weeks.

Tuesday morning I get out the shower, getting ready to go to work, when the phone rings. Nancy's at the hospital. Her water broke and she was having contractions. The baby was coming...two weeks early.

I'm pretty sure that at this point in my life I'm not going to get to experience child birth first hand so I felt pretty honored to be there when Gemma Dorothy Strouse came into the world at 12:3o p.m. on Tuesday, November 30 at 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long.

Mommy and baby are doing just great but looking back it all seems surreal! Thank you Nancy, for letting me be a part of this wonderful moment!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Do You Read Blogs?

I started reading blogs before I started writing a blog. So many different people write blogs: actors, atheletes, authors, journalists, musicians, chefs, singers, politicians and everyday people. And with all these people writing blogs, I wondered if people where really reading any of them.

The first blog I read on a regular basis was by Jorge Garcia, an actor best know as Hugo (Hurley) on Lost. I stared reading his blog half way through the run of Lost. At the time, he was living in Hawaii and working on Lost. His blog was called Dispatches from the Island (such a clever name!). He wrote about Lost but also wrote about things he did and loved (baking bread, gardening and his dog) and things that happened to him (a strang drunk who fell asleep in a backyard tree and a mouse loose in the house). Now, with Lost over, Jorge still blogs at Further Dispatches (

Almost all of the other blogs I read have to do with the publishing industry. I read the blogs of a few of my favorite authors, a local literary agent who has great insight in the business and a hillarious site from an agent who posts blurbs from query letters he has received (if you've ever written a query letter and gotten a rejection letter in return, check out SlushPile Hell).

I have two friends (that I know of) that blog and I check their blogs regularly as well, both of whom are super talented and creative.

So I guess I want to know, do you read blogs? If so, what are you reading?

Who is Reading This?

Writing is kind of a strange thing. You can write for yourself, in a journal, where nobody but you will ever see it or read it, or you can write for other people, in hopes that they will read what you write. I do both but I would much rather do that latter.

Ever since high school I've known I wanted to write. I got a degree in journalism and worked for several years as a reporter for a small town (population less than 5,000) daily (Monday through Friday) newspaper. I was getting paid to write but it wasn't easy. It was long hours and bad pay. We covered our town and neighboring towns and counties. We were everywhere with our notepads and cameras (we were our own photojournalists as well) covering everything from crime (very little) and trials (man is stabbed by screwdriver over parking space) to 4-H (hated the pig judging at the Arkansas Valley Fair) and high school volleyball (my sports reporting was TERRIBLE!). After my first few months at the newspaper I knew people many not have known my name but they knew where I worked. I once got pulled over for speeding on the way to a school board meeting and the state trooper didn't give me a ticket because he recognized my name from the newspaper.

At that time I tried not to think about people reading my stories. I knew the circulation of the newspaper but had no clue what people were really reading. Some days my byline appeared once and some days I'd have a couple stories in the newspaper. Every so often my story would appear on the front page, above the fold (and the obituaries, yes dying made front page news in this town) and sometimes I'd be back on page four, five or six. The only time I really knew if someone was reading one of my stories was when they complained. I was got corned in the Walmart by a school board member who was very angry over something I wrote.

I'm learning that blogging is a lot like writing for the newspaper, you never really know if or who is reading this blog. But that's okay with me because I'm writing and that's what really matters to me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Table Envy

One of the blogs that I read on a regular basis is by a NY Times best-selling British author who lives in a Connecticut seaside town and is about the same age as me. Okay, I’ll say it right at the beginning, I’d like her life (she’s an author, she’s British and she lives by the ocean!).

Anyway, she often blogs about dinner parties she hosts or ones that she goes to. It all sounds so sophisticated and lovely; it gets me to thinking, why don’t I have dinner parties? It doesn’t take me long to realize the answer to that, my table.

Here is my dining table. It can seat four people, so it’s rather small but it fits my needs. It’s big enough so that I can have family dinners for three (the extent of my family). And it’s big enough for me (and one other person) to do any crafting projects (like scrapbooking). So I don’t have a dining room per say, I have a dining area that isn’t separated from the living area and the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home. It may not be very big but it’s spacious enough to hold small parties but just not sit down dinner party.
But someday I’d like to have a nice big dining table that seats at least six (don’t want to get too carried away). And on this table would be a lovely table setting with my great square plates (because let’s be honest, food just looks better on square plates), cloth napkins and a beautiful bouquet of flowers in the center of the table. I love the idea of having friends over for good food and conversation, sitting around eating wonderful meals I created, drinking wine, talking and laughing and then eating a decedent dessert and drinking coffee (okay, I don’t drink coffee but I would make it for my guests, I do own a coffee maker). What a wonderful evening!

But I’d have to get that bigger table first.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yes, I Sneak-A-Peak

I admit, I do sneak-a-peak. I don't know why I do it and I'm really sure when I started to do it but I do it 99% percent of the time. And here's what I'm sneaking a peak at: the last page of a book. I get somewhere around 30 pages into a book then I flip to the very last page of the story. Sometimes I read that entire page, sometimes just the last paragraph and sometimes I just skim the page.

Does this ruin the story for me? No. I admit that sometimes I become aware of who makes it to the end of the story and with whom, but I would say it doesn't really reveal the end of the story for me. For example, right now I'm ready a mystery by Tana French called The Likening. I read the last page and all I know for sure is that the main character doesn't die. Since this story is narrative in first person I already knew there was a pretty good chance she wouldn't die, so no harm.

I know a lot of people don't understanding why I do this and I'm not really sure either, it's just something I do. It's very rare that I start a book and dislike it so much that I'll read the last page to find out how it ends and then toss the book aside. But that does happen. Either way I'm compelled to sneak-a-peak almost every time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hooray for Autumn!!!!

Fall is my favorite season. The days are warm and the nights are cool and crisp allowing for great sleeping weather with the bedroom window cracked open just a little bit. But autumn in Colorado is really quite different from the autumns of my childhood in New York and Connecticut. In Colorado, autumn lasts two, maybe three weeks. It's really not a complete season. The mountain peaks already have snow on them and usually by this time in October we've had at least one snow fall (this year it hasn't happened yet).

Today was beautiful day with blue skies, temperatures in the upper 60s and the leaves starting change. It's the leaves I miss the most. The aspens here in Colorado are pretty but change to just yellow and sometimes orange. Back east it's a sunset of colors: red, yellow, orange and purple. And the sunlight seems to have some sort of mystical essences as it shines through and the leave crackle under your feet.

A co-worker just came back from a vacation in New York and showed me some photos he took of the changing leaves. It made me miss the those autumns of my childhood, racking piles of leaves just to jump into them, going to a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin, dragging my feet through the leafy woods surrounding our house.

Yes, nostalgia is setting in.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hope Realized

I work for a mining and engineering consulting firm. Most of my co-workers are mining engineers and geologists. I am not (proof that God has a sense of humor). The company I work for is a consulting firm. We are hired by mines, mining companies and banks from all around the world to produce reports on mines (mine plans, due diligence, feasibility studies, cost analyses, reclaimation plans, etc.). Some of my co-workers have worked at or in mines. I have never set foot in a mine.

Just a few hours ago all 33 miners who had been trapped in a Chilean mine for 70 days were rescued ( It's a great thing but it makes me think that the general public doesn't realize how much of an impact the mining industry has on our daily lives and the risks that miners take to do their jobs. I know mining can have a negative impact on the environment (and our company does usually address environmental issues and plans) but I think we take for granted what our life would be like without coal, without iron, without silver, without copper or nickle or talc.

The men who go down into the mines like the one in Chile do so knowing they are risking their lives. Their work environment is dangerous, something most people will never have to experience sitting in their offices and cubicles. And there are a lot of mines out there that are not safe. It costs money to make mines safe so the companies running the mines pay for the bare minimum and take the risks. Earlier this year a mine collapsed in West Virginia and those miners weren't as lucky as the ones in Chile. Of course, after a tragedy like this occurs it's reported that the mine had a bad safety record. The penaties mining companies pay for bad safety are less expensive that paying for the improvements. Thousands of miners die in mining accidents each year. By far the worst mining safety record belongs to China. Even today, hundreds (if not thousands—the secretive Chinese government does not reveal figures) die every year in Chinese mining accidents.

But now is a joyful time because the miners in Chile were rescued and reunited with their loved ones. But take a moment today to think of all the things you use on a daily basis that came from mining and about the men who's job it is to get it for us.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Book Week

This week (Sept 25 – Oct 2) is Banned Book Week.

I never really understood the whole banning of books. If a parent doesn’t want their child to read a certain book, then it’s their responsibilities to do so (just like with television). It’s not up to the libraries and bookstores to police your values. We all have the freedom to read what we want (ever hear of the First Amendment of the Constitution?) and decide for ourselves what we want to read. If you’re concerned about what your child is reading, then it is your responsibility to police that. Nobody has the right to tell me what I can or can’t read.

Now, stepping off my soapbox, back in March the Huffington Post listed the 11 most surprising banned books (

Here’s the list:

1. The Dictionary, both the Merriam Webster and the American Heritage Dictionaries (Really?)
2. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (banned for obscenity and negative light in which the country was painted (lol).
3. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (because it portrayed policemen as pigs)
4. The Bluest Eyes Ever by Toni Morrison (obscene language and gratuitous violence)
5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (banned jus t this past January because author has the same name as obscure Marist theorist – but not the same person).
6. James and the Giant Peach and The Witches both by Roald Dahl (obscenity and violence and sexism)
7. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (sexually explicit and homosexual themes)
8. Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott (who knows?)
9. For Whom the Bells Tolls and A Farewell to Arms both by Ernest Hemingway (sexual content and pro-communist views)
10. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (promotes disrespect, horror and violence). Side note: become one of the most banned books in the 1990s.
11. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (battle between good and evil).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Placement of Books

I recently finished reading a hard (yes, signed) copy of Jennifer Weiner’s Fly Away Home (see my previous blog from July for information on that) and now I have to determine where to put it because where you place reading material (books and magazines) in your home can tell a lot about you. People put reading material in their living room, their bedroom, their kitchen, hallways and even their bathroom (I won’t comment on that). Reading material is on coffee tables, book cases, shelves, magazine racks and sometimes just stacked on the floor. And I guarantee you that when someone comes into you home there are two things they are going to look at: photographs and what books you have on display.

I have books in my living room, bedroom and kitchen (kitchen consists of three cookbooks and a three ring binders with my own collection of recipes). I have bookcases were I place books (among other things) but I also place books on any table that might have shelf with it. And all these books are organized in a certain way.

In the living room, where I have my biggest bookcase, I have most of my hard bound copies of commercial fiction (some signed) and some non-fiction (mostly biographies) that I have read (this is where the signed Jennifer Weiner book is going). To me, that’s important. I don’t buy book to put on display just for decorating purposes. If someone asks, “Did you read this?” I want to honestly say yes because the minute you lie you know that person, who has read the book, will start asking questions that you can’t answer. Now, that’s not so say I don’t have books that I haven’t read, because I do. They are either piled on the nightstand or the floor next to my bed or in a bookshelf in my bedroom.

I also keep some books that would be considered “coffee table books” in my living room. I don’t actually keep anything on my coffee table but I have a shelf under it and that’s where I keep magazines and fun little gift books I’ve been given as gifts over the years.

I have two and a half book cases in my bedroom (the half is a stand I have a television on that just happens to have room for books). These are organized together by category and size. It is here that I have my books on writing, various paper back, political books that I haven’t gotten around to reading and various other types of books. I do have a few old (over 100 years old) and possibly rare books by Charlotte Bronte and Lucy Maud Montgomery (of the Anne of Green Gables series) that I will prominently put on display one of these days. I wish I had more of those, but old and rare book collecting is a very, very expensive hobby.

And I need to work really hard to keep the purchase of books in check. Because I can see things getting totally out of control to the point where I’m living in my car with just a pillow, a black Hefty bags of clothes and piles and piles of books all around me. It’s not a pretty picture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Addiction

It was my friend Nancy's fault. She's the one that got me addicted. She's the one that gave me my first taste and after that it was all I could think of. At $4 a pop my habit could get up to $16 to $20 a month. What am I spending all this money on? Peanut butter.

Yes, you read correctly, peanut butter. But not just any peanut butter, White Chocolate Wonderful by Peanut Butter & Co. Good Lord, it tastes so good and I had to tell my friends about it.

"What do you put it on?" one friend asked.

"My finger," I replied.

Now I have to tell you that I have never before been a big peanut butter person. I like a good PB&J as well as the next person but I usually buy a jar, have a couple of sandwiches and then throw the half eaten jar out several months later. But not this stuff. No, with this stuff I lick the container clean.

After realizing I had a problem I went cold turkey. Weeks would go by and I'd walk down the peanut butter aisle at the grocey store and mustered up the will power not to grab a jar. At $4 a jar I couldn't justify the price. But this week was different. It was on SALE! Fifty cents off! That was two days ago and the jar is almost empty.

My local grocery store carries three varieties of this peanut butter but there are tons of other stuff on their Web site:

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just What IS That?

Today I was watching the U.S. gymnastics championships on TV and there was a lot of talk about the London 2012 Summer Olympics and it got me to thinking about Olympic mascots. A couple of months ago the new mascots for the London 2010 Summer Olympics, Wenlock and Mandeville, were unveil. What the hell are these things? According to organizers, they are fashioned after droplets of steel used to build a new stadium in London for the event. Is it just me or have Olympic mascots just gotten weirder and weirder over the years?

The use of an mascot to first raise money for Olympic organizers began in Los Angeles (surprise, surprise) with the 1984 Summer Olympics and Sam the Eagle (there were Olympic mascot before San but they had not been used for marketing purposes). At least we could tell what the mascot was. Some years have been good. For the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics there was Howdy and Hidi, polar bear siblings. For the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics there was Hodori, a tiger. For the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics there was Powder (a snowshoe hare), Copper (a coyote) and Coal (an American black bear). But it seems that every couple of Olympic years the mascot has been morphed into something that isn’t even identifiable.

Remember the 1996 for the Atlanta Summer Olympics? The mascot was Izzy. To this day nobody knows who or what Izzy is. And for the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics there was Neve (a snowball) and Gliz (an ice cube.). Really, an ice cube as an Olympic mascot? The Fuwa from the 2008 Beijing Summery Olympics (supposedly good luck dolls but really just look down right strange) are now known as “The Curse of the Fuwa.” (see story at And what the heck were the mascots for the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic? Named Athena and Phevos, nobody seems to know what the Olympic organizers were going for that year (they have been some references to them look like a certain part of the male anatomy with feet).

Here’s the background for the 2012 London Olympic mascots: Wenlock was named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock that helped inspire Pierre de Coubertin to launch the modern Olympics, and Mandeville was inspired by the Buckinghamshire town of Stoke Mandeville, where the Paralympics were founded. There is always a story behind the mascot that is designed to make the Olympics relevant to the whole world. But I’m not sure how droplets of steel do that. Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Love/Hate Relationship

Is with my computer. Even after working at a job for 8 hours a day, five days a week where 95% of my time is spent looking at a computer (I even have two monitors) I still come home and turn on my computer, to write or get on the Internet. Almost every day I check my e-mail, Facebook and a handful of blogs.

But my computer can sometimes be very, very sloooooooow. My computer is actually a refurbished laptop that I got about five years ago. In other words, it's old (see photo). It's slow and it's heavy (so I don't normally take it around with me). Some days it's fine, I'm able to have two programs open at the same time. But most days it's slow to open documents, it's slow to load Internet pages, it's just darn slow.

Yes, I'm complaining because I don't get immediate results from my computer but isn't that what a computer is supposed to be? Fast?

I know that at some point in the near future I'm going to have to get a more updated computer, one that costs money. That's what is holding me back, money. Thankfully I haven't encountered any computer virus that have incapacitated ey (knock on wood, knock, knock) so I probably will end up keeping this computer and enduring the slowness until it no longer works at all. It's kind like what my family does with cars. We drive them into the ground until they no longer run. It's the Robinson way.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Good Friend

I think everyone has a different idea about what this is. For me it’s someone who is going to be there for me during the good times and the bad. Someone who, when they say they want to help, actually come through and help. A good friend is someone who has seen me at my worst and still wants to be my friend. A good friend is someone is going to support me emotionally, spiritually and sometimes even physically as well as someone who will cheer me on in whatever my dreams in life are. A good friend is also someone who will tell me when they think I am doing something wrong, that I’m acting like a jerk or making a seriously bad decision.

Right now I’m struggling a lot with that last part in trying to be a good friend. It’s really hard to see your friends making bad decisions (or maybe it’s just what I consider to be a bad decision). How do you express your concerns without making it seem like you are judging them? And how do you express your concern if you’re not sure your friend wants to or is ready to hear them? I do know that if you do express your concerns, do it once and let it go. Don’t harp on them to that person. They know what you think and how you feel and they can take it or leave it.

I do know that having a good friend and being a good friend takes a lot work, just like any relationship, there is give and take. Are you a good friend if you stand by someone who treats you like crap over and over again because you have a history? And does that make you a good friend or just an enabler to their problems?

I know I expect a lot from my friends (which may be why I don’t have a lot of really good friends) but I’m sure they know that I am fully capable and willing to be a good friend in return. I don’t say things I don’t mean. I’m not flakey about getting together with my friends. And if I have to cancel something, I better have a really good reason and a good apology. And I don’t like to see my good friends being treated badly by other people, especially people who are supposed to be friends themselves. Unfortunately I see that a lot.

So there you go, I’ve put it out there. This is what I expect from a good friend. Take it or leave it. Next to my family, good friends are the most important thing out there and the people I want to share my life with. And to all my good friends out there, thank you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet the Author - Jennifer Weiner

I am really lucky in that Denver has a fabulous independent bookstore called The Tattered Cover. It’s because of this store that authors make a stop in Denver on their book tours. And there have been a lot. I’ve seen Jane Green, Jodi Piccoult, Craig Ferguson (he is just the cutest), Tim LaHaye, Judy Blume (my childhood favorite), Maeve Binchy (she wants me to include her in the dedication of my first book – honest to God), Sarah Ferguson (she was gorgeous in person) and Rick Steves (I asked him for a job) just to name a few.

It’s a really neat experience. The author usually talks a little bit about his or her book (usually the new one they are promoting), reads an excerpt from the new book and then does a Q&A session before signing books. And every single one of them has been super nice. They will answer a question or two, chat for a minute or two and some even allow you to have your picture taken with them. That’s really great consider some of these authors have up to 250 people waiting to sign their book.

So I was at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch (one of three locations) last night to see Jennifer Weiner. She was probably one of the first American Chick Lit authors but has grown out of that genre and now writes what is considered Women’s Fiction. One of her books, In Your Shoes, even became a move with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette. Jennifer is really a veteran when it comes to book tours. She has done them before, knows what to expect knows what to say and is really a very funny person.

Monday, July 12, 2010


How far out from a vacation do you start getting excited about it? For me, it’s as soon as reservations/plans are made. And the anticipation that builds up to the actual vacation is what sees me through. Having a bad day at work can be minimized in knowing that in 57 days I’ll be sitting on a deck overlooking the beach and the Pacific Ocean listening to the crash of the waves and drinking an refreshing alcoholic beverage. Ah…..only 57 more days. You know it’s when bad you start counting down the days. It’s even worse when you start counting down the hours. I probably won’t go that far because I still know what I have to endure before I get my butt into that Adirondack chair that is calling my name.

Yes, there might be some pain before the pleasure. This is a road trip and not just any road trip. It’s a FAMILY road trip, a 1,350 mile (one way) with my sister, my mother and two dogs (Shih Tzus to be exact). I took this trip with my sisters and the dogs last year and it wasn’t that bad (the trip back was worse than trip out because one of the dogs seems to have some anxiety about being in the car and leaving beach – I could TOTALLY understand that). And this year Mom is coming along. I love my Mom dearly but, and all you out there who know her will understand, she talks NON-STOP!!! We are definitely going to have to get her some books on CD and possibly some duct tape.

Also, this is not the most scenic trip either. We go north up to Wyoming, then across southern Wyoming to Utah and this part of the drive is really brutal. There is nothing, I mean nothing, out there but brown plains for as far as the eyes can see. We head northwest through Utah and it’s pretty scenic around Ogden but them it’s flat, nothing, all the way north of Utah, through southern Idaho and north through Oregon until you get to the Columbia River and start heading west. At least you have the river to look at until you get close to Portland.

We aren’t flying to Oregon because my sister wants to take the dogs with her and I can understand that. Last year the dogs absolutely loved the beach as much as we did and were fairly well behaved. And so the road trip is the price to pay in order to see the ocean when you are land locked like we are.

Only 57 more days….

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grease is the Word

It was 32 years ago this month when the movie Grease was releases. It’s hard to believe, 32 years!!!! I was nine years old when I saw the movie for the first time (it was probably the first non-Disney movie I ever saw) and then I immediate had to get the album and spend hundred and hundreds of hours over the next several years listening to it. And I still have that album.

I think it was the music that got me. It was fun and a little over my nine year old head (if you remember, there are some racy lyrics in Grease Lightning). While at that age I did have a crush on Shaun Cassidy, I never thought John Travolta was all the special (sorry, John). I never wanted to be Sandy (although I did like her hair) and I thought, even at nine, the Pink Ladies were too sophisticated to be high school girls.

But I loved the music. I sang the songs with my sister and my friends, knew every word. And who at my age didn’t? It was a pre-Generation X movie, way before John Hughes came along with Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

And, if you hadn’t heard, next month Grease is being re-released as a “sing-a-long” movie. If you don’t know what that means, it’s when the words to the songs are shown on the screen during the songs so that the audience can sing-a-long. And I don’t think I’m going to miss that, a chance to have a fun time and reminisce.

Here’s a link to the trailer if you’re interested:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Morning Breakfast with Dad

This morning I decided to cook myself breakfast. This is something I haven't done in so long I can remember the last time I did it. I even put in on one of my just for company square plates (doesn't food just look prettier on square plates). And although I know that this breakfast (which I tried to make a little health with wheat bread and turkey sausage) will probably consume half (if not more) of my salt intake for the day I did it because it reminds me of my Dad.

When we were growing up my Dad would cook breakfast for my sister and I almost every Saturday and Sunday. Usually it was eggs or pancakes and there was always a little daily vitamins on the plate. If you look closely in the upper right corner of my breakfast picture you'll see bottles of the some of the vitamins I take today. Growing up, during the week, breakfast was usually cereal (now it's usually yogurt and granola). But I always knew there'd be a breakfast for me on Saturday and Sunday thanks to my Dad.

Father's Day was this past week. The day after was my Dad's birthday. He would have turned 67 years old today. Even though it's been several years since he passed away, I still miss him terribly. So this morning I made myself breakfast and remembered all the weekend breakfasts my Dad made. Thanks Dad! I love you and miss you!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vacation...Had to Get Away

I just got back from a vacation which was actually a mini-vacation because it was more like a four-day weekend but the two days I took off work to take this vacation was spend traveling in a car. Ah, well you take what you can get and I don’t get a lot. I define vacation as any Monday through Friday when I’m not at work. This is how Merriam-Webster defines vacation:

1 : a respite or a time of respite from something : intermission
2 a : a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b : a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3 : a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation (had a restful vacation at the beach)
4 : an act or an instance of vacating

I work in corporate America and therefore get two weeks of vacation (which is actually 10 days of vacation). When I started with the company I currently work for employees got another five days after 10 years. Yes, 10 years! Because morale has been so poor I think that has changed to five years.

And when you think about it that’s not a lot of time off. Especially when you compare it to anyone who works in the education field, and a lot of my friends do. Some of them get as much as 12 weeks off a year and yes, I feel a little bitterness towards them about that. And don’t get me started on anyone who works outside the United States (the company I work for has offices in Canada and Australia and you wouldn’t believe how much vacation time they get!).

I take my vacation very seriously. There are really two types of vacation: the one where you stay at home (and either do things at home or have people visit you) or the one where you go somewhere. Since we rarely get anyone visiting us in Colorado, most of my vacations are spent travelling. And since I have limited time (and even limited money) I have to make the most of them which means I’m not just going to go off on some random trip to somewhere I don’t really want to go and do something I don’t really want to do. And unless it’s Europe, there probably better be a really big body of water nearby.

And I am very fortunately that my next, true vacation (more than two days) will do just that. While I’ll probably have to endure two 12-hour days in a car it will be worth it to spend time at the cottage on the beach in Oregon. Countdown: 79 days until my feet touch the Pacific Ocean again!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Enticing Titles

I thank God every day that I have a job but I also pray every night that God might help me find a new job. One that I would love. Don't laugh. I've heard people say "I love my job." So I know loving your job does exist. But right now I really, really don't love my job. At it's has gotten so bad that I have turned to . . . self help books!

First, a disclamer about self help books: there is nothing wrong with them. But the only books the I have that would even be considered self help are books about writing. Self help books just don't do it for me.
But yesterday, during a rather bad day, a friend called me at work and told me she had just seen a book she thought I might be interested in.
Yes, this a real title for a real book and it fit my state of mind yesterday and so after work I made a trip to the library to check the book out. I found the book, pulled it off the shelf and then took a quick glance at the book that was next to it.

Wow, this one sounded really good too! So I got that book out as well. When I got home I went online and found one more book that I thought might help.

My library carried this book as well but it was checked out so I put it on the hold list. Last night I started the first book and it didn't take long for me to realized why I don't normally ready self help books! But boy do they have good titles!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Did you see the last episode of…?

As all television watchers know, May is the end of the TV viewing season. Season finales and series finales are upon us and then its repeats for the next three months. Two of my favorite shows said good-bye for good this month, Ugly Betty and Lost.

Ugly Betty went as many televisions shows do, the character(s) decided to do something else. In some cases a major event happens like a wedding (Happy Days) or a war ends (M*A*S*H). Some TV shows just end, period.

Some shows have very memorable or controversial endings. Like the last episode of The Sopranos where Tony and his family are eating in a restaurant and then the screen goes to black, the end. Or Seinfield, where all the characters end up in jail having the same conversation they had in the very first episode (this is after almost every memorable character makes a courtroom appearance). And then there’s the show Newhart where Bob Newhart’s character wakes up in bed with his wife from his previous television show, The Bob Newhart Show, and claims all eight season of Newhart (where Bob runs an inn in New Hampshire – remember Larry and his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl?) was all a dream.

Last night was the final episode of Lost. I know a lot of people watched this show when it first came on but then lost interest (no pun intended) when things got a little too complicated and convoluted. First there were flash backs, then there were flash forwards and then there were too many questions (what the heck is the Smoke Monster and Dharma Imitative?) and not enough answers (in hindsight I think the writers could haven’t given us more answers without giving away the ending). If you are one of those people who stopped watching, I really don’t blame you.

But I kept going, I had to know what was going on and thank goodness for my friend Nancy, someone who, like me, kept watching. If I didn’t have someone to talk to, my head would explode. We helped each other out, asked each other questions, pointed out things the other might have missed and speculated on how the whole thing would end. The writers of the show kind of made it clear that there would be a lot of unanswered questions (they claimed they couldn’t answer every question, cop-out anyone?) but that character driven questions would be answered. If that was true, I’d be okay. If not, I was going to be one pissed-off viewer.

I really wanted an ending that made me think, “Okay, now I understand,” or “Okay, that makes some sense,” not an ending that was left open to interpretation and speculation. I wanted an ending that we didn't have to debate. And even though that didn't happen, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the last episode, because I did.

SPOILER ALERT: If stopped watching Lost and you plan on watching the rest of it on DVD at some point or you haven’t seen the finale, stop reading NOW.

But even the day after the finale episode and reading other blogs, I’m not sure what it all meant. I get that the last episode was about “letting go” and the relationships that these characters development (I held it together until Claire gave birth to Aaron at the concert at which point I started crying until the very end, even though I realized all the relationships would come together and everyone was heading off to church, heaven’s waiting room?) but was the island purgatory (a popular theory that goes all the way back to first season)? And if so, was it purgatory for everyone who was there before the Oceanic plane crash (Like the Dharma Initiative or the military that originally had the hydrogen bomb)? Was life on the island real or were the sideways real (or limbos between life and death) or were the sideways just a tool used by the creators to get most of the characters together and “go towards the light”? (Michael and Walt were missing from the church and was Richard there? Did Ben not go in because he thought he was going to hell or that he didn’t redeem himself and shouldn’t be part of the group?) Also, who built the big statue and why? Why didn’t all the Oceanic 6 go back in time when they returned to the island on the Aijira flight? What was the deal with the numbers? We know each “candidate” was assigned a number but did those numbers really mean something?

So I watched for six years (mostly just has confused as everyone else) and I’m still confused after it’s all over. But I do know that for six years Lost was totally entertaining and a rare high quality show. It can’t be duplicated but let’s hope we’ll have more shows like this in the future, shows that entertain and make you think.

Oh, and if have any answers to the above questions, please let me know!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Weekends

I work Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for one reason and one reason only, I need MONEY. So I can honestly say, I live for weekends. The very best thing for me about weekend is I get to sleep in, usually 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer than I do during the week (I really like to sleep!). But weekends can be kind of tricky. You have to balance pleasure with all those "chores" you didn't do during the week.

Because I'm single and I essentially don't have to please anybody but myself so some of these chores can go a lot longer than you probably would let them. But I still have decide, do I watch two hours of cooking shows on Saturday morning or do I clean the microwave and wash the kitchen floor. Then there are all those chores I didn't do during the week, like laundry or grocery shopping or going to Target to pick up some "essentials" I've been thinking about all week.

Now I know families where both parents work have it even harder because you have to factor in children. And I won't even start on all the addition chores if you have a house!

Here's my perfect weekend: two days where the most productive thing I do is brush my teeth and take a shower. The kitchen is stocked with food so I don't have to go grocery shopping and going outside constitutes opening the door to get the Sunday paper. During these two days of bliss I would have equal time to nap, read, write and scrapbook (and possibly watch a cooking show or two and a movie). Sounds pretty damn lazy, doesn't it?

So my perfect weekend doesn't happen very often. While I did get to sleep in this morning and I have brushed my teeth and taken a shower I am determined to clean the bathroom and the microwave and vacuum before the day is over. But first, there's a cooking show (or three) that I need to watch first. I could definitely use an extra day to my weekend.

Have a happy weekend.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Dare You

I don’t think people who know me would call me a silly person. I tend to be very sensible. But I can definitely get into silly moods. Last weekend a couple of girlfriends and I went to brunch (a very good brunch indeed, the food was fabulous). As we are figuring out the bill the table next to us got their food and my friend notices a plate with homemade potato chips and comments on how good they look.

“I’ll give you $10 if you go over to that table and ask that man for one of his potato chips,” I said to my friend (ala “Seinfield – The Chinese Restaurant” episode where the gang is waiting for a table and Jerry dares Elaine to take an egg roll from someone's plate and eat it, offering her $50 if she does so).

My friend laughs and refuses. I told her I’d do it for $10 but then nobody dares me or offers the $10.

Probably a year ago some friends and I has just finished dinner and had some time to kill before going to our Bible study so we went into a Dollar Store. There are a lot of interesting things in Dollar Stores, including really hideous hair extensions. One of my friends (who just happened to be at the bunch last Saturday) dared me to buy the hot pink one and wear it to Bible study. I got them and some bobby pins and went to work. I’m sure I looked absolutely terrible (nobody had a camera phone at the time) but I went to Bible study and got a good laugh out of everyone. Of course there was a brand new couple there so I made a really good first impression on them!

So go ahead, dare me and see what happens.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it Spring Yet?

The calendar says it is but I’m not so sure here in the suburbs of Denver. We’ve had a mixture of rain and snow a lot over the last few weeks. Yes, I said snow. In May. And it’s not just any snow, it is apparently mud snow. Some how, some way mud is covering my car along with the snow/slush that has been coming from the sky lately. What the heck is that stuff? It’s there BEFORE I drive my car anywhere. I try to brush it (along with the snow/slush) off my car but it doesn’t come off! Everything is just dirty.

But apparently my bougainvillea plant realized it was spring. I had a great bougainvillea for many years. It would bloom all year around, red flowers, pink flowers, peach flowers. But then I went on vacation and someone (who will remain nameless) forgot to water it so it died. But back in November the mother of a friend gave me a new bougainvillea. She’d had it for 20 years and was just tired of it. It looked healthy, it had lots of leaves but no flowers. I watered it and still no flowers. Then the leaves started to fall off but I just kept watering it even though my Mother said it was dying. And then last week, literally overnight, flower started to appear, beautiful pink/peach flowers. It still hasn’t gotten a lot of leaves back but it’s full of flowers!

So maybe spring is here after all!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I admit I have had a lot of different jobs in my adult lifetime. I tend to get bored after a couple of years and decided to move on. I will have been at my current job for four years in June and that is a record for me. I would have to say that in half of those jobs I've had really, really bad bosses (also part of the reason I leave) but I have had a few good ones. And unfortunately they leave before I do.

And it's happened again. My boss sent me an IM "Would you come see me please." I walk into her office and she asks me to shut the door. Oh no! I ask if it's good news or bad news and she says it depends on your viewpoint and that's when I knew. Even so, I admit I threw my hands in my head when she said she was resigning. Yes, I've been here before.

I worked with my current boss at my last job, she wasn't my boss but we got along well enough that when she left that job and started her current job, eight months later I was working for her. I wasn't looking for a job at the time (although I was thinking about it) so her offer came at a great time. And she didn't go looking for this new job, it came to her.

I am happy for her and I wish her well. She's a good boss. She understood that work is not the most important thing in life and she appreciates good employees.

As for me, I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. Probably nothing for now, just wait and see where things go. I might start doing some research though. But first I think I'll have a really, really big drink.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hyped for Summmer Movies?

Not really. I don't go to the movies as much as I used to for a couple of reasons. First, it costs too much, Second, it's really hit or miss as to whether I'm going to see a movie that is worth the price of admission. Finally, there just doesn't seem to be any good, original movies being made anymore.
The magazine Entertainment Weekly put out it's summer movie preview issue recently and less that half the movies they featured were original stories. Of the 51 movies they previewed for May, June, July and August, here is the breakdown:

11 are based on books, short stories or comic books

4 are based on television shows

1 is based on a video game (which I guess is better than a movie based on a child's toy!)

7 are sequels

4 are re-makes or spin-offs

4 are documentaries

That leaves only 20 movies with original stories out of 51.

Now I know books have been made into movies for years but few movies based on books have been as good as the books (like Harry Potter) and most don't meet the expectations. And Hollywood has been doing sequels for years (there were twelve Friday the 13th movies, yes twelve). The newest trend is movies based on cheesy television shows (this year it's The A-Team) or remaking movies (this year it's The Karate Kid) and usually the re-makes aren't nearly as good as the original.

Guess I'm going to have see more independent films at art house theaters. Thank goodness Denver has a couple of those!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time to Start Cooking

I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. I love to watch cooking shows (thank goodness I don't have cable because my weekends would be spent watching the Food Network), I love to collect recipes and I love to cook for my family and friends. I hate cooking for just myself. The idea of cooking a bunch of meals and freezing them only to be thawed out and cooked weeks later just does not appeal to me. It never has and never will.

But I have a dietary restriction: salt. This means I need to cook fresh food and not eat processed food (i.e. frozen dinners, boxed rices, canned meats, etc). So I now I have to force myself to cook for only myself. What I try to do on Sunday afternoons is cook a couple of things I can eat later in the week (but NOT put in the freezer to eat sometime in May!). Right now I have country-style pork ribs in the slow cooker with low-sodium BBQ sauce. Lately I've been on a chicken salad kick so I've been making that each week and eating it for lunch a couple days a week. I don't really have a recipe for this but it consists of chicken (that I cooked, not from a can), low-salt mayo, no-salt mustard, apples, walnuts, pepper, dill, parsley and lemon juice.

The other planned recipe for today is Beef Pasties (pasties with the 'a' pronounced as it is in 'cat') which are pastries that are usually filled with beef, sliced potatoes, tunrips and onions (my recipe is a little different). If you haven't heard of these here's a little history: they originated in Cornwall, England and were lunch for the Cornish tin miners who, even covered in dirt, could hold the pasty by the folded crust and eat the reast without touching it. They would then discard the dirty pastry end they were holding because it was dirty and it was supposed to appease the knockers, capricous spirits in the miners who might other lead miners into danger.

While I think most recipes for pasties tend to be a little bland, I've taken the recipe below and spiced it up a little bit by adding spices and peas. You could probably also add finely chopped carrots or other veggies if you wanted. And by making them a little smaller, I think kids would love them.

My, look at the time. Got to go, America's Test Kitchen is on TV. But if you are interested, here is the recipe I started with from "Outdoor Entertaining."

Beef Pasties - Serves 4


1 pound of ground beef

1 onion, finely chopped

1 russet potatoe, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

2 boxes ready-made pie crusts

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium-size bowl mix ground beef, onion, potato, salt and pepper. Cut pit crust rounds in half. On one side of each half place a small handfull of mixture and fold the other side of the dough over the meat, creating a triange shape. Gently press along the edges to seal the pastry and brush with beaten egg. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minues, then lower to 325 degrees and bake until crust is golden brown, an additional 45 minutes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What the Heck Has Happened to Cell Phones?

My sister just got the iPhone. It jas a lot of bells and whistles. Yes, the Internet access on her phone is better than on my computer at home. And yes, the apps are pretty cool (she has one that translate dog barks into English). But it has one really big problem, making phone calls. I was on a call with my sister and her iPhone (for about 30-45 minutes) and the call was dropped four times. Yes, FOUR TIMES! What good is a cell phone (even with all the cool stuff) if you can't make phone calls?

Now I admit my cell phone is very basic and I don't pay a lot for it. I don't have unlimited minutes or texting (I don't do a lot of texting because it takes me about 10 minutes to type in a five word message). I don't have Internet access on my phone (I'm too cheap, there I said it) so I can't update my Facebook page or Tweet (and I really HATE Twitter). I don't download special ringtones, I use what comes with the phone and my current ringtone is actually an old fashing ringing phone (remember the ringing sound of the rotary phones?). I do have the ability to take pictures but since I don't have a sims card its hard to get the photos off my phone, and they are pretty crappy quality.

Yes, basically I use my cell phone for one purpose, to make phone calls. Yes, all the other things are really cool but do we really need all that stuff? I know people who can't survive without their cell phones (you know who you are) and that seems kind of sad to me. Why do we need to be in constant contact with each other? Why do you think people are interested in your every thought or movement? What happened to calling people and talking?

There's a commerical on TV now (I actually think think it's for an iPhone) of a man asking, "Who uses a phone just to make phone calls?" Hello, I do!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Day Without Spending Money

In this day and age it's absolutely impossible to go a day without spending money.

Everyone couple of years it seems that I get into some sort of financial "trouble" and it usually comes in the form of an astronomical bill that I didn't see coming (usually medical or automobile related). When this happens I, of course, start to think of ways of cutting back and wondered if I could go an entire day with spending any money. The conclusions is, you can't.

While you might not be pulling cash or a credit card directly out of your wallet in a store, just by existing you're spending money. You turn on a light, you're spending money. You take a shower, you're spending money. You watch television, you're spending money. You get on the Internet, you're spending money. You cook dinner, you're spending money. It can't be helped.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blessings Happen

They really do and I have proof that they do. Here's the back story: About four years ago I was diagnosed with Meniere's' disease. It's basically a disorder that affects the inner ear and, for me, causes severe and debilitating vertigo episodes and, to a lesser extent, dizzy spells. The exact cause of Meniere's is unknown and there is no cure. And a side effect is hearing loss. When I was diagnosed I was told I had 40% hearing loss in my right ear. I saw an audiologist about getting a hearing aide but because my insurance doesn't cover it, the cost would be $2,30o. That's $2,300 I don't have. So for the last four years I've made adjustments, like always trying to be on the right side of people and leaning into people with my left side to try and hear them better. I've also been saying "What?" a lot.

Here's where my blessing comes in. About two years ago a woman named Christine started coming to the Bible study I attend. She has a great personality, loves to laugh and is very joyful. It wasn't until about a year ago that we developed a common interest and became friends. Christine is married with two boys. her youngest one is completely deaf but now has a cochlear implant and no longer has to use hearing aides so Christine offered me one of his. I asked my doctor if I could use a "used" hearing aide and how much it would cost. I was told that all I'd need to do was have a new ear mold done and adjustments could be made so that I could use it. And the best news: it would cost less than $125!!!!

Now if that isn't a blessing then I don't know what is. I know God brought Christine into my life for a reason and I am truly thankful. So one week from today I should get my new hearing aide. Thanks Christine, I love you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Blame the Meds

I did something rather embarrassing last Saturday. But it wasn't my fault, really. I have some prescription medication that I take on an as-needed basis (I won't bore you with the details as to why I need it but I do, I really do). Other people who take this medication for the same reason I do call a side effect of the medication "brain fog." For me it just makes me a little groggy. Ok, maybe a lot groggy but I'm still able to function, at least to a point.

So very early Saturday morning I had to take this medication. Just over an hour later the medication wasn't working so I took another little tiny pill. The medication started to kick in and I went about my day which included going out to lunch and spending the afternoon with a friend (Hi Nancy!). When I got home I took off my shoes and realized I had on two different shoes. On the right foot was a brown shoe and on the left foot was a black show. Two different style shoes, two different colors. The heals were the same height so I guess that's why I didn't notice

So maybe I do get a little brain fog.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stinky Situation (or Brush with an Olympian)

Tomorrow night is the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I'll have the TV on that night and will be watching, I may flip around the channels form time to time but I will be watching, I always do. There is just something magical about the entire thing, it's compelling.

The events I just have to watch are all the figure skating, mens, women, pairs and dance. Everything else I can take it or leave it. I know who the front-runners are to win medals and I even know most of the routines. If nothing else is on TV, I'll watch curling (this is such an unusual sport) or ski jumping but for me, I'm a die hard figure skating fan.

As such, I have a story to tell; actually it's my sister's story. She was in Europe for work that last three weeks and on her flight home from Newark to Denver she had the luxury of flying business class but unfortunately there was someone in business class who was having a problem with gas. Yes, a rather stinky gas. So stinky that the flight attendants were spraying air freshener. My sister suspected it was the young guy sitting in front of her. He did get up to use the bathroom quiet a lot during the flight. My sister described the guy to me: he was in his 20s, black hair, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, rather slim and he was wearing a scarf and red boots (rather flamboyant). Then my sister heard the flight attendants talking about him and saying he looked different than his picture in People magazine. So my sister checked out People magazine and realized that the guy sitting in front of her with the stinky gas was very likely U.S. figure skating champion Johnny Weir! He was probably on his way to Vancouver. Let's hope he gets the gas problem under control before he skates!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not an Urban Legend

Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about having to get a prescription for Ambien because I'm taking another drug that causes insomnia. My co-worker said she heard that Ambien itself can cause weird side effect, like getting up in the middle of the night and frying up a hamburger and onions without even knowing it. I said I'd never heard that before and she said it was probably an urban ledge.

So after work yesterday I went to the pharmacy to pick up my many prescriptions, including Ambien. I got Zolpidem (which I guess is the same as Ambien or the generic version) and inside my bag with the bottle of pills was a sheet of paper that was a medication guide for Zolpidem. Here is what the very first thing read:

What is the most important information I should know about Zolpidem?

After taking Zolpidem, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night. You have a higher chance for doing these activities if you drink alcohol or take any medicines that make you sleepy with Zolpidem. Reported activities include:

* driving a car ("sleep-driving")
* making and eating food
* talking on the phone
* having sex
* sleep walking

Call your doctor right away if you find out that you have done any of the above activities after taking Zolpidem.

Well now!!! I don't remember seeing this list the last time I was prescribed Ambien. I did take a pill last night and this morning my car was parked where I left it, my kitchen looked the same (no dirty dishes or the smell of onions), my phone was where I left it (no outgoing calls), DEFINITELY did not have sex (especially since it was just me in the ben and it has been such a long time, I would have remember, rights?) but I'm not sure about the sleep walking (I did get up a 5 a.m. to go to the bathroom but I did remember that). Of course I didn't drink anything alcoholic when I came home from work. Guess I can't drink those bottles of Smirnoff Ice in the fridge for the next couple of weeks.

But if anyone gets any middle-of-the-night calls from me in the next three weeks, I'm sorry!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Press Can Party in Hollywood

I'm a sucker for award shows, I always have been. Each year it starts with the Golden Globes (TV & movies) in January, the Oscars (movies) in March, the Tony (Broadway) in June and them Emmy (TV) in September. The only one I'm not that keen about is the Grammy Awards (music). But with all of them there's glitz, there's glamour, there's anticipation. And it's even more fun when you have a party with your friends and you can buy a ballot, check off who you think will win and the person with the most correct wins get the money in the pot.

But last night it was just me watching the Golden Globes. This award show is a little different than the others. First, the awards are given by a group called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. That's right, THE PRESS, gives out these awards. And THE PRESS knows how to do an awards ceremony which leads me to the second difference, alcohol. Instead of having the awards ceremony in a auditorium full of rows and rows of seats, the Golden Globes ceremony is in a hotel ball room with tables full of foods and alcohol. In the center of the table is a chilled bottle of Moet. And all the Hollywood big wigs are schmoozing, going from table to table or just standing around like they are at a cocktail party. This can make for some interesting introductions or acceptance speeches if someone isn't careful. Jack Nicholson (I who didn't seem to be there this year) comes to mind. Even the "host" this year had a glass of beer (at least it looked like beer) at the podium. Also, the Golden Globes doesn't do an "performances" of songs or long montages (with the exception of the Cecil B. de Mille Lifetime Achievement Award).

The only time I like "performances" is at the Tony Awards. this is the awards for the theater and the performances are like seeing movie previews. You can see a little bit of what's going on on Broadway in case any of those shows make their way out west. But even Broadway, like the movie industry, is finding it hard to come up with original new shows. How many times can they do a revival of West Side Story? Apparently five time since its Broadway debut in 1957 (the fifth revival was in 2009).

And of course, you have to see all the beautiful (or ugly) gowns the women are wearing. Every awards show seems to have its one standout for absolutely hideous outfit (remember Bjork and her "swan dress" or JLo in the revealing foliage shower curtain-like dress?). That's entertainment and only two more months until the Oscars!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting High (and Ending the Recession?) in the Mile High City

If you've driven down South Broadway in Denver over the last few month you might have noticed some new small businesses popping up. They aren't in new swanky buildings with big glass display windows. Actually most of these new businesses are in older buildings that look like small homes. What makes them stand out are the big neon signs of pot leaves. Yes, Denver now has medicinal marijuana dispensaries (and it's reported there are more of them than Starbucks).

Just this last weekend hundreds of people paid money to attend a seminar on how to open and run a medical marijuana dispensary.

This is a new boom business for Denver. Put aside you views on whether you are for or against this and all the kinks they haven't worked out yet and think about how this could improve the economy.

First, we are going to need qualified people to grow and harvest the stuff. Being medicinal I would think the quality would need to be better than what you'd buy from some dealer in the park or grow in your own basement. Then you'll need to distribute it. That means people to package it and driver to transport it. They you'll need people to sell it. And then there's all the additional people need to regulate it.

So how many new jobs do you think that will mean? Probably lots. And right now Denver is at the forefront of this new enterprise and we should take advantage of that. People should be flocking to Denver to get medicinal marijuana like Americans crossing the border to Canada to get cheaper prescription drugs. And that will mean more money coming into the community (at the very least the food service industry should see a boost).

Here is my strategic marketing plan:

1. Get Denver Mayor Hickenlooper a guest spot on Oprah (especially before he gets caught in the hoopa of whether he'll run for governor). We all know what exposure on Oprah does and we need to do it soon.
2. Remember the episode of The Simpson where Homer and Grandpa go up to Canada to get drugs for Grandpa and his friends at the nursing home? Why not have an episode where Homer comes to Denver to attend a seminar and open a dispensary in Springfield?
3. Develop a catchy slogan and/or jingle. Summit County (home to several ski areas) has "Ski the Summit." The Colorado Beef Council has "What's for Dinner?" Denver is already know as the "Mile High City" do how hard can it be to come up with a slogan for pot in a city that already uses the word "high" as it's slogan? The whole thing can be turned into a contest with the winner getting a lifetime medicinal marijuana card.

So many options.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Life Would Be Dull Without Music

I don't think I could live without books and music. Isn't it amazing how a song can change your attitude? Or how it take you back in time? Or make you laugh or cry? And for me there is usually one song that is the "song of the moment". The song that makes you turn up the volume on the car radio. The song you can hear over and over again. It might be a song that has been around for awhile or something brand new.

Well here's my "song of the moment." It's called I and Love and You by the Avett Brothers. Take a listen at