Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post-Christmas Bliss is....

. . . lying on my bed in clean, comfy sweats after a long hot shower and knowing that every trace of Christmas is gone (except for a few gifts I need to give to people). Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas well enough (although I don't think we need to celebrate it for an entire month and it's gotten too materialistic) but it's just so much work.

I don't decorate my home for holidays. I just don't care, don't have the room for all the stuff and would rather spend my money on other things. The one exception is Christmas and that is only when my Mom & Sister are coming over on Christmas. Then I feel I need to make an effort. I want to make Christmas special for them so I decorate. If nobody is coming over there are absolutely no decorations. No light are hung, no wreaths, no Christmas decorations at all. But this was a year when I was "hosting" Christmas.

I don't go overboard but I do get a Christmas tree, a real Christmas tree. That's what I grew up with and that to me is Christmas. I'd rather have no tree at all than a fake, plastic tree. And I know that a real tree is a lot more work. A week before Christmas I went to get my tree. A nice guy working at the place I got it put it in my car for me (note: the tree was wrapped up tight with string so I wasn't sure what size it was - only how tall and that I could carry it). Then when I got to my apartment my neighbor's boyfriend offered to carry my tree up three flights of stairs to my door. So far so good. I get the tree in the stand, untied it and decorated it. Everything was going great until my completed decorated Christmas tree fell over, not once but twice and the second time it fell on top of me as I was under it trying to adjust the screws in the stand.

As I was trapped under my Christmas tree I thought this would be it, it was a slow news week and the story of my Mom and Sister finding me dead under the Christmas tree would definitely make the evening news. But I averted death and got myself out from under the tree covered in pine needles, my hand covered in dirt and sap and only a few cuts and bruises. I cleaned myself up, called my Sister and told her I would never again put up a Christmas tree.

And while it wasn't as much of a life threatening experience, it was just as stressful to get the darn thing out of my apartment. The de-decorating started almost immediately after Mom and Sister left on Christmas. By Monday the ornament and lights were off the tree and boxed up. By noon today the tree was out of the apartment and everything has been cleaned up and put away. The tree turned out to be much bigger than I thought. I wanted to recycle but couldn't get the darn thing in my car. And after carrying it down three flights of stairs, it left behind so many pine needles I got out the broom and brushed them all the way down the stairs so my neighbors wouldn't complained (of course, less than five minutes after I finished this task a maintenance person came by and vacuumed/blew all the pine needles away).

But it's all behind me now and I feel like I can enjoy the rest of my week. And if I ever mention even the possibility of wanting to put up another Christmas tree, please just say, "Remember Christmas 2011 when your tree almost killed you?" That should do it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ready for Vacation

For me one of the very best things about Christmas is getting time off work. For the last two weeks work has been absolutely CRAZY. I’ve worked overtime pretty much every day. That along with just keeping up with personal daily stuff (laundry, grocery shopping, new tires on the car) hasn’t helped. Then all the stuff with holidays (I’m behind on my gift shopping and I don’t decorate for the entire month, if I decorate at all – that an entirely different blog for a different time)…I am ready for a vacation.

Here in corporate America vacations aren’t what they should be. As I’ve posted before, most countries give their employees way more vacation time than we get here in America. I think for the first time in my working life I’ve finally worked somewhere long enough to get 15 days of vacation a year. Before I’ve always gotten 10 days per year (think about that – that’s less than one vacation day a month).

I like to travel and have been very blessed to be able to go somewhere once a year and it takes up a good chunk of that vacation time. Any days I have left I usually spend on other special stuff (within the last year I took a vacaiton day to watch the royal wedding or be with my friend when she had her baby). So I don’t really take vacation and stay at home. Most people take vacation during the Christmas holiday and I’m stuck at the office with not much to do (and sometimes I’m the only person in the office – honestly). Working Christmas Eve sucks. Working the day after Christmas sucks. If you’ve every worked retail it triple sucks. But for the first time that I can rememver I am taking substantial time off at Christmas, specifically the entire week between Christmas and New Year. With holidays at either end that means I will have seven business days off. SEVEN!!!! Whoahoo!!!!!! (can you tell I’m excited).

I have absolutely nothing planned for my time off. I will probably squander it away with naps and reading and eating and watching tv/movies and naps and reading…. I can’t wait.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rude Awakening

I love Friday nights because I know when I go to bed that night I won't be awoken the next morning before I'm ready by an alarm clock (as my frequent blog readers know, sleep is very important to me).

This morning I was awaken a little after 6 a.m. by a snow blower outside my window. It had started snowing the night before and was still snowing at 6 a.m. Apparently the apartment management people thought this would be a good time to clear the sidewalks. Yes, 6 a.m. on a Saturday. Of course they didn't start clearing the sidewalk of snow that the previous Thursday morning until 8 a.m. Go figure.

So I went back to sleep. I had a dream that involved several people I know and if I remember correctly cooking. And then there was a ringing in my dream. Of course it took me a minute to realize it wasn't in my dream but my phone. It was 9 a.m. on the dot.

Now this is significant because I have nine o'clock rule. For the most part, don't call me after 9 p.m. during the week or before 9 a.m. on the weekends. Because I usually speak with Mom every Saturday morning I thought it might be her but I so rudely awaken I was too disoriented to get out of bed and to the phone before it went to voice mail. It wasn't Mom but the pharmacy calling to say a prescription is in. Is 9 a.m. on a Saturday too early for businesses to be calling? I think so.

I tried to go back to sleep but to no avail. My wonderful Saturday sleep-in had been ruined. And now I have to wait another week for Friday night to come along.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I Am Thankful For

Every day I thank God for my family and friends, the food in my stomach, the clothes on my back, the roof over my head and my job. But at Thanksgiving I also think about those things that I am so thankful for but might take for granted. They include:

Pharmaceutical Drugs - Nope, not kidding. Anyone who deals with health issues know how important drugs are. I have to take pills (yes, plural) every day and without them I literarly would not be able to function.

Glasses/Contact Lens - They can be a pain and expensive but without them I'd be legally blind. I could function but it would be very difficult. I'm near-sighted which means I can't see things far away (far away being anything farther than four inches from my face). Standing at the bathroom counter, I can make out my toothbrush, the tube of toothpaste, the hair brush and the curling iron. But if you asked me what brand of toothpaste I use, I'd have to hold it right in front of my face. Life would really suck without glasses/contacts.

My Car - Yes, I'm still making payments on it but I would be lost without it. And I always expect it to be out there waiting for me (yes, one day it wasn't - stolen) and in working order (yes, I could do better with preventative maintenance).

Hot Showers - I don't like to be dirty so I take a shower every day. Even on the weekends, I can go until about noon and then I have to shower and wash my hair. Earlier this year I had surgery on my ear. I had stitches all behind my ear and was told I had to keep it dry for seven days. Seven days! There was no way in hell I could go seven days without washing my hair. Yes, I bought those products to dry wash your hair but they just aren't as good as the real thing. And washing my hair in the sink was going to provide too much of a challenge. So I devised a contraption using gauze, rubber bands and these plastic wraps with elastic already in them that normally go over the tops of bowls to cover my ear. That's how far I'll go to wash my hair (and I kept those stitches dry).

Washer/Dryer - I don't own either of these so even though I have to schelp my basket of dirty laundry to the laundromat (or if I'm lucky, someone's house), I can't even image hand washing clothes.

My Bed - This is the most favorite piece of furniture that I own. Just last year I got my first big girl bed (bigger than a twin - whole other story) complete with a great headboard and comforter set. It's next to a window and my most favorite thing to do in the whole world is to lie on my bed under a blanket, next to the open window with a lovely breeze coming through and read a book. Best thing ever! And speaking of books...

Public Libraries - Think about this for a moment. You give them your name, address and phone number and in return they give you a little plastic card that allows you to take home books, DVDs, and CDs for FREE and all you do is have to return them in usually 1-3 weeks. How cool is that? That is taxpayer money being put to good use.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Inside

I am a hot person (temperature wise, not in a sexy way) and I rarely get cold. I don’t typically drink hot beverages, don’t like tea or coffee but will occasional have a hot chocolate. I have only a sheet and a comforter on my bed, no blankets, and I sleep in a tank top and shorts year around.

But something has changed and I think I know what it is.

This is where I started working about six months ago:



I was rather excited about moving to this office space because it has windows. Now you may not think windows are such a big deal but when you spend years working at desk with no windows, no natural lighting, believe me, it makes a difference. But then I realized that while I can now just turn my head to glance outside and feel the sun on my face, these are really crappy windows. I have learned that they don’t keep out the heat of the summer and they are not keeping out the cold of winter.

Last week the high temperature was in the low 40s and by mid-morning my feet (with socks on and in a pair of work shoes) were as cold as ice. So cold that at lunch time I was compelled, compelled I say, to buy these:



They are not the prettiest pair of slippers (although they have rubber soles so are they technically slippers?) but I was looking for something warm and these are warm. And it’s all because of those darn windows. They don’t keep out the cold and now I’m going to spend the next several months wrapped in layers of clothing like never before. I’ve decided I will probably have to buy a fashionable wrap because I would not be caught dead in one of those awful Snuggies. I have a “work” cardigan but it’s hard to put on over a sweater.

And then it hit me. I come to work and take off my shoes for warmer ones and then put on a cardigan…. who does that reminder you of? Hint: It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood… Yes, I’ve turned into a reverse Mr. Rodgers!!!!







Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Not Easy Being a Blogger

For me, writing a blog isn’t as easy as you’d think. Coming up with topics can be hard. I know other bloggers will write about anything and everything but there are some topics I have decided to stay away from. Not because I don’t want to address these issues, share my views or piss people off. It’s just too easy. So here are some topics I don’t ever plan on blogging about (but never say never) and maybe just a little bit of my insight on them:

1. Politics. Let me just say that anyone who can’t finish a four-year term as governor is not qualified to be President of the United States (notice I bolded anyone). And now I don’t have to think about moving to Canada.


2. Religion. Nine cities (including Denver) have seen TV ads sharing the Mormon faith. (See http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/tv-ads-mormons-pitch-message.html). They claim these ads are trying to explain the Mormon faith but, as the article states, Republican Mitt Romney from Massachusetts is contemplating running for the Presidency and guess what? He’s Mormon. So these ads aren’t really about religion but politics.


3. Totally stupid reality television shows or people who are on totally stupid reality television shows. How can you not think that Kim Kardashian isn’t a total narcissus and her wedding and divorce are just about publicity? And Jersey Shore has had its 15 minutes of fame. Please, let’s move on. Better yet, read a book.


4. Myself or my family. I am not going to share everything about myself on this blog. Yes, I will make fun of myself (or my mother) on occasion but some things are going to be kept private. I don’t feel the need to Twitter every step I take, every move I make (can I use that phrase with paying royalties?) so don’t expect a tell-all here.

So if you’ve been reading, thanks and please keep reading. You never know, one day something might just push me off the edge and I’ll write a scathing blog about one of the above topics. But until then, hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Can't get that song out of my head!

How does this happen? You’re exhausted, ready to fall into a deep, relaxing sleep and some song creeps into your brain and won’t go away. It just plays over and over again like the shuffle on your MP3 player is stuck. Right now, for me, that song is Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. This is actually a terrible song about a kid with a gun and lyrics that say “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you’d better run, better run, outrun my gun.” What the heck are pumped up kicks and why does this kid want to shoot kids with them? I don’t want to like this song but I have to admit it’s a catchy tune.

Here's the link to share the love...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQ

Yesterday I was driving home with the radio on singing along to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville thinking you probably couldn’t find many people who didn’t know the lyrics to this song. Yes, I know the lyrics to hundreds of songs but I can’t tell you the names of all the Presidents of the United States. But, of course, if someone put all their names to a really catchy tune, say Pumped Up Kicks, I might know them all. Let’s see, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, uh Madison and um, I know Lincoln was pretty early on and there were two Roosevelts in there (Teddy and Franklin). How many have there been? Forty-three or forty-four? Wait, there was also Hoover, Wilson, Truman, Eisenhower, and of course Kennedy. I can name all the ones since I was born: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the First, Clinton, Bush the Second, and Obama. How did I end up on this topic?

Anyway, for the longest time I had P!nk’s Raise Your Glass (which I love) rolling around in my head. I heard it when I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, when I was in the shower, during a conference call that I wasn’t really paying attention to. And then I’d hear it on the radio, sometimes even twice a day for a while. Another recent one was Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons. They sound Irish but are really English. Good tune.

And it doesn’t ever seem to stop. The only thing that changes is the song. Sometimes it’s a good one and sometimes it’s ones that you really hate. And those are the worse.

"All the other kids with the pumped up kicks better run, better run, outrun my gun…"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

(Trying to) Keep It Green

Recycling has been around forever, really. But back in the 80s there was a renewal of aluminum recycling. Growing up in my teens we recycled newspapers and aluminium cans (and, just for the record, we had solar panels that heated our water as well). As one of our chores, my sister and I had to crush soda and beer cans in the garage (by crushing them we could fit more in that bag). And again, just for the record, we both hated this chore.

Over the years as I became an adult my recycling habits, I admit, have been sporadic. I will totally fess up and say that recycling totally depended on whether it was convenient for me (I know, bad excuse).

So just recently my apartment complex brought in dumpsters just for recycling. And this time around I am so much more aware of how much of my trash can actually be recycled. Pretty much almost any container, from the shampoo bottle to the cereal box. I'm recycling butter tubs, mayonnaise jars, soda bottles, anything that has the universal recycling symbol on it. Now for every bag of actually trash and I have two to three bags of recycled material. I am really amazed. And I think the fact that the recycle dumpster seem to almost aways be full my neighbors are recycling more as well.

So be aware and recycle.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parking Lot Etiquette

It seems as if at least three times a week (sometimes more) I almost get hit in parking lot, whether I’m in my car or walking. And my car pretty much spends all it’s time in a parking lot, at home, at work, almost anywhere I go. And it also seems as if the parking spots are getting smaller and the number of people driving large vehicles is getting bigger.

So here are a few nuggets of wisdom regarding parking lot etiquette:

1. Look before you pull out of a parking spot. I mean REALLY look. Don’t just glance in your rear view mirror. Move your head both left and right to see if anyone is there (because that anyone could be me). This seems to be a big problem in grocery store parking lots. Many times it seems as people pull out of parking spot they just looking one way. I’ve been only inches away of being hit by someone’s bumper on numerous occasions so please, LOOK BOTH WAYS.
2. The lines painted on the pavement are there for a reason. You are supposed to park BETWEEN the lines. Not on the line, not over the line but between the lines (see #3 if your vehicle is too big to fit between the lines).

3. If you happened to drive a large mini-van or one of those huge extended cab pickup trucks and you can’t part between the lines, then find a spot far away from all the other cars and park way over there. It is annoying to those of us who don’t drive these gas-guzzling monsters to pull into a parking space only to find we can’t open the door far enough to get out because the vehicle you drive is larger than the parking space (or because you aren’t skilled enough to park between the lines – I know it takes a lot of skill).

4. Don’t stop in the middle of a parking lot and just… wait. If you are picking someone up, checking your cell phone, whatever, pull into an empty spot. This seems to happen at lot at my apartment complex and in front of grocery stores. I don’t care who you are waiting for, why do you think you are so special that you don’t have to park in a parking spot?

5. Slow down. If you are going more than 20 miles an hour in a parking lot you are going too fast. I don’t know why people do this. Are they really in that much of hurry? Do they want to show off their fast cars? Seriously, I almost got run down in my office parking lot the other day.

6. Pedestrians have the right of way in parking lots. This means you have to STOP for pedestrians who are walking in front of you. And they need to clear your path BEFORE you start to move forward. Stop being so impatient.

7. And the flip side of number six is don’t stand around in the middle of the parking lot to talk to someone or talk on your cell phone. Pay attention to your surroundings. Yes, you may have the right of way but if you are in the middle of the parking lot I will come as close as I can to running you down (seriously – get out of the way).

I beg of you, please follow these simple etiquette rules. There person you might avoid hitting is me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stop the Remakes!!!!




I can be rather possessive about things that aren’t really mine. Movies from my teenage years are an example of this. Eighties classics like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing and Footloose, just to name just a few, were great and in opinion should not be messed with.

But enough time has passed that some of these movies are being remade (last year it started with The Karate Kid – I wonder if people remember the remake as well as the original – wax on, wax off is still being quoted to this day). On October 14 a remake of Footloose will be released and I have a problem with that. The original movie was great the way it was, why remake it? And we all know the remake will never be better than the original.

It seems obvious that Hollywood can’t come up with new story ideas for movies so they have to remake an old movie, make it a little bit different, make changes that would “modernize” the story. It goes along with a recent trend of making movies based on television shows (usually not very good television shows). But what these producers don’t understand is that these movies don’t need modern makeovers, they were really good the first time around.

For this Footloose remake, Ren moves to a small town in Tennessee (not Utah) after his mother dies (she’s alive in the original) where rock ‘n’ roll is banned. Apparently they use some of the same dance sequences from the original (Ren still dances in the barn, teaches Williard how to dance, and, of course, the big school dance) and three songs from the original (Footloose, Holding Out for a Hero, Let’s Hear it for the Boys and Almost Paradise). A virtual unknown is playing Rena and a former ballroom dance with not a lot of acting experience is playing Ariel. But really, what kind of expectations can there be?

I heard that they were going to remake Dirty Dancing and I felt like a piece of my heart was breaking. All these movies from my teen years were part of my life. I saw the over and over again, heard their music was heard almost every day and they have been staples in pop culture. People from my generation can tell you exactly who Ferris, Baby, Maverick, Duckie and Mr. Miyagi are without skipping a beat. We know all the words to Simple Minds Don’t You Forget About Me and the late-great Patrick Swayze’s She’s Like the Wind.

Okay, so maybe these movies aren’t Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca but they were good enough the first time around that they don’t need to be remade.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Somebody Called the Cops

I live in an apartment complex and the "class" of people who live in apartments can vary. And it really one takes one tenant to bring down the whole complex. I've had my fair share of neigborhors of questionable class. Like the people who live across the hall. They have several weeks worth of newspapers in front of their door (and before you ask, they are home). Or the people downstairs who use their patio as a giant ashtray or a place to store automobile tires. And then there are always those loud drunk people in the parking lot at 2 a.m. (don't these people have jobs?).

And then there are times when somebody calls the cops, like last night. I think there was a young man and young woman living in the apartment downstairs (I'm not sure because I've seen several women) along with a todder. Everything was fine until around 6:30 p.m. when a moving truck showed up. Then the shouting started, with foul language drifting up to my window. And it wasn't long until two cops showed up (no I didn't call them - this time) to "supervise" someone moving out.

Did you know that law enforcement is requied when someone is moving? I didn't.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering

I thought a lot about if should blog about today and if I did what I would blog about. All those videos, photographs and stories from 10 years ago still make me cry. I don't plan on watching any television today, even 10 years later the memories are vivid enought I don't need to see them again.

So instead of writing words of my own I'm going to borrow the words of Bruce Springsteen. In 2002 he wrote and recorded, a song inspired by 9/11 called The Rising. Here are the lyrics:

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Come on up for the rising
Com on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

Spirits above and behind me
Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood forever bind me
Lord as I stand before your fiery light

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of the line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (a dream of life)

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

Friday, August 19, 2011

They Earn How Much?!?!

This is a list that I want to be on someday. Forbes has come out with the top earning authors and they are making lots of money.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/08/17/the-worlds-highest-paid-authors/

Why? Books will never die but right now their format is changing. Whether the change will actually stick around or is just a fad, only time will tell. But I can guarantee, books will always be around because people like stories.

Even if you not a reader and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know a couple of these top 10 authors:

1. James Patterson - $84 million
2. Danielle Steel – $35 million
3. Stephen King – $28 million
4. Janet Evanovich – $22 million
5. Stephanie Meyers – $21 million
6. Rick Riordan – $21 million
7. Dean Koontz – $19 million
8. John Grisham - $18 million
9. Jeff Kinney - $17 million
10. Nicholas Sparks - $16 million

Here are a couple of things I’ve noticed about this list. The number of male writers outnumbers the female writers (I think some women writers are going to be moving up the ranks). There are three young adult/children’s writers on the list (which is encouraging because, hopefully it means children and young adults are reading). And there are some names on this list that have writing for years and year and, well a really long time. I also noticed that one big name was missing from the top 10 list. JK Rowlings came in at only $5 million (her Harry Potter books have run its course). How could this be? According to Forbes the income estimates are based on sales figures supplied by Nielsen Bookscan (which gets year-end sales totals submitted by publishing houses to Publishers Weekly and input from numerous agents, managers and editors).

Right now I’d sell my book(s) for a just a couple thousand dollars (what a steal!) just to get published!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dear NFL - Here's How You Can Show Your Appreciation...

Well it looks like there’s going to be a professional football season after all. And to show it’s appreciation of all the fans, the NFL is having each team present personalized jerseys to 90 supporters.

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP24d962f2bcf2495fac6e7a2914d1582a.html

Really? Personalized jerseys are the best the NFL can do? Please.

Here are five suggestions that the NFL can do to REALLY show it’s appreciation to the fans:

1. Discount tickets. I don’t know how much tickets are where you live but here in Denver tickets for good seats for a single, regular season Bronco game are anywhere from $75 - $510. And somehow Invesco Field where the Broncos play is always filled for every home game so make it a little bit more affordable.

2. Ticket lottery. Have a lottery for a certain amount of free tickets for each home game of the season. What fan isn’t going to love free tickets?

3. Give away tickets in the suites. This would be a real treat for any Bronco fan. Give away a couple of pairs for each game. This will guarantee fan loyalty.

4. Discount parking. Parking at Invesco Field can set you back $30. Add that to the cost of the ticket and you are forking out some big bucks to see a Bronco game.

5. Discount concessions. Food and beverages at the concession stands aren’t cheap either. Give a discount for the season or just a couple of games.

Yes, personalized jerseys are nice but I would guess that most fans would really just like to go to a game without having to take out a small loan to do so. People, we are STILL in a recession and it’s all about $$$$. What could boost the spirits of fans more than being able to afford going to a professional football game?

Go Broncos!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where Would You Live?

If you could live anywhere in the U.S. and money wasn’t an issue, where would it be? Would you like to live in big city like New York City or Chicago, or would you opt for a small town in Vermont or Oregon?

And why don't you live there now? Probably because of money (among other reasons).

According to Forbes Magazine, the top five most expensive places to live in the U.S. in 2010 were:

1. New York City, New York – I have no idea how people survive financially in this city. In general, people have to make 40 times the monthly apartment rent to qualify without a guarantor. Let’s do the math. If the average apartment rents for $2,800 you’d have to earn $122,000. I don’t know many people who earn that much money.

2. Los Angeles, California – It may be sunny there but gas prices are higher and commutes are astounding. And then there’s pollution, smog, earthquakes. Why do people want to live there?

3. Honolulu, Hawaii – This might be paradise but it comes with a price. Everything (food, household product, gas, building materials, etc.) has to be imported so it costs more. Living in this city costs 55% more than the average U.S. city.

4. Aspen, Colorado – It’s a nice place to visit and home to some major celebrities but the average house is $2.6 million. The rich and the famous have made this mountain retreat expensive.

5. Juneau, Alaska – This city has the same problem as Honolulu. If you think gas prices are high where you live, they have gotten as high as $9 per gallon the small city of Juneau.

The only one of these place that I would even slight consider living is New York City and that's because it's the publishing capital of the U.S. (and I'd have to have so much money that I would need another residence somewhere else). I’ve visited all of these places with the exception of Juneau, Alaska. I think my perfect place would be a cottage on a beach that is close enough to a city (under an hour’s drive) that had the culture (theaters) and amenities (B&N, Target, Hobby Lobby) I wanted.

Ah, maybe one day…

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Blues

It takes forever for Friday to come along but Monday seems to come more quickly.

As I sit at my desk and look out my window (yes, I finally have a window) I wonder, “Wasn’t I just here?”

Of course the Monday Blues aren’t so bad if you love your job or whatever you have to do all day. And if that’s the case, consider yourself lucky. I don’t think it’s instilled in you while growing up what it means to go to work to earn money to survive (or work to support somebody who is earning money so you can survive) and that “work” may not be enjoyable, creative, or even interesting. “Work” may be mind-numbingly boring, frustrating and irritating. Nobody tells you that growing up. You are told that if you work hard you can be anything you want to be. I used the think that getting up in the morning and going to work (as oppose to school) would be kind of cool. I also never considered I wouldn’t have a job that I enjoyed. But there are jobs out there that aren’t interesting, aren’t challenging and are mind-numbingly boring but have to be done. And why do we do it? For the paycheck, of course.

Such is life, which is often contemplated on Monday morning when the work week starts all over again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

Time to vent a little. Today I had a follow-up doctor appointment for a surgery I had. I arrived on time for my appointment and had to wait 55 minutes to see the doctor for 5 minutes. I was NOT happy. Nobody apologized or gave an explanation for why I had to wait for almost an hour (first in the main waiting room, then in an interior waiting room and then in the exam room).

Now, this doctor has a reputation for not being on time (he was actually an hour late for my surgery) but still, show some respect to your patients, their time is just as valuable as yours (whether you understand that or not). I can understanding if the doctor had some sort of emergency and if that was the case, just tell me and I would understanding. Instead I spent almost an hour watching other patients see other doctors come and go. Not fun.

There are always situations where you are going to have to wait: in line at almost any store, on the telephone with any type of customer service rep, for the bathroom at a sporting event, concert, play, etc. But am I being too impatient in saying waiting 55 minutes to see a doctor for 5 minutes is too long?

I have to go back and see him again in two months. Hopefully after that I won't have to see him again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Summer vacation for me was five days and six nights on the California coast. July 6 was my sister’s 40th birthday and she wanted to go somewhere to celebrate. She usually gets shafted when it comes to celebrating her birthday because it’s so close to the 4th of July holiday.

Five of us rented a cottage high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The photo with the “To Beach” sigh is from the backyard. It was a very remote location. We didn’t have television reception, no Internet connect and no cell phone service (the house did have a landline though). I didn’t really mind all that much that we didn’t have these things except I missed the Casey Anthony verdict and it would have been nice to call each other on our cell phones when our small group occasionally split up.

The weather was perfect. Mild (in the 60°s) and sunny (after the fog burned off in the morning). We sat on beaches, drove through a redwood forest and taste wine at various Anderson Valley wineries. We even surprised my sister with a small little birthday cake.

The only snafu in the trip was traffic. We all ran into it getting to the house when we arrived but thought that was just because it was a holiday weekend. We were WRONG! We left on Friday, July 8 and a 180 mile trip to the Sacramento airport that should have taken less than 4 hours took 7 hours. We ran into three traffic jams (two resulting from accidents and one from just stupid drivers). Then after dropping Mom off at the airport a mere 50 minutes before her flight, we got stuck in yet ANOTHER traffic jam from an accident (we moved two miles in 45 minutes), and we were ready to get the hell out of California.

But while we were there we had a great time, of course it was just too short! Need more time and more money!

So here’s a photo showing the Robinson “girls”. From left to right: Me (holding Mateo), Mom and Jenny (sitting, holding Dante).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer is a Bummer

Of all the four season I dislike summer the most (which doesn’t even start until June 21). I know most people disagree with me but I can totally justify it. Here are my top 10 reasons why I dislike summer:

1. Vacation. Summer is for kids and adults who work in education. I don’t know any other profession that gives you something like 10 weeks off every year. It’s totally unfair.

2. It’s hot. I don’t do hot. It probably has something to do with the fact that when I’m in the sun I burn. My sister tans and she knows I’m jealous. And too hot for me is anything about 70 degrees. And summer nights rarely get that cool.

3. Air conditioning. I have a love/hate relationship with the a/c. I thank God every summer that we have it (I would not survive summer without it) but I would prefer cool breezes from outside than air that comes out of a machine.

4. Hot cars. It totally sucks to get off work and have to drive home in a really, really hot car.

5. Public pools. Yes, they sound great but really, I don’t want to be around all those other people and, sorry parents, all those screaming kids (And what’s the deal with kids screaming all the time now for no reason?).

6. Sleep. I don’t sleep as well in the summer as I do the rest of the year. Mainly because of #2. I like a cold room and am too cheap to crank up the a/c to a level I really, really like (again, best scenario is sleeping next to an open window with a cool breeze coming in).

7. Cooking. Nobody wants to turn on the oven in the summer. Yes, I know a lot of people grill but not everyone has (or can have) a grill. So it’s stovetop or microwave meals for three months. Yuck!

8. Geography. I live in Colorado. We don’t really have lakes (they are called lakes but are more like ponds or small reservoirs). Summer to me means large bodies of water in which to swim in or sit by. If you haven’t looked at a map recently, Colorado is far away from any ocean.

9. Clothing. Summer clothes suck, especially if you have to spend five out of seven days in an office with a dress code. If you have a part of your body that you hate (and women, who of us don’t?) it probably something you want covered and in the summer that means you are hot.

10. Television. Reruns and reality shows. Another yuck!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What to Wear, What Not to Wear, Part II

I love the TLC television show What Not to Wear. If you’ve never watched this show, host Stacy London and Clinton Kelly single out women (I have seen one show with a man) who dress terribly. In most cases it’s because the women have self-esteem issues related to their body (and who doesn’t?). Of course, sometimes these women are just clueless about fashion. What I like about Stacy and Clinton is that, while they use humor to point out what these women are wear is hideous, they are really sensitive to the issues these women have. Their advise: learn how to dress based on the body you have. It doesn’t matter if you have a big butt, flat chest, huge thighs or dangling underarms, there are clothes out there that can make you look better and make you feel better about yourself.

I have a quote from Clinton Kelly taped to my full length mirror (side note: everyone woman should look in a full length mirror before she leaves the house) that says “What you wears tells the world how you want to be treated.” I totally believe that. If you dress classy people will treat you different then if you dress like a slob. That doesn’t mean you can’t run to the supermarket in sweats but I wouldn’t recommend doing it often. Just take a little bit of time to make yourself look good.

Now I will admit I am no fashionista. I don’t read fashion magazines or shop in trendy stores (I don’t have the budget for that). But I, like everyone else, have my own sense of style. It’s just that some people’s sense of style is…well, terrible. And I think a lot of it is common sense. Now, of course, what you wear in the privacy of your home is totally up to you but when you go out in public use common sense. So here are my common sense style tips:

1. If you have boobies, wear a bra (this is not a given as I know women who don’t). Believe me, people can totally tell if you’re not wearing a bra (and unless you’re a college girl on spring break in Florida, it’s not a sexy look). Having those boobies hang down to nearly your belly button is a dead give-a-way. It’s not an attractive look. And even if you don’t have boobies, unless you have on a thick sweater, wear a bra. Nobody wants to see nipples either.

2. Do not wear Crocs out in public. I know Crocs are supposed to be very comfortable but these are shoes made entirely of rubber and were never meant to be worn in public. They were meant to be worn in your backyard garden. These are the least attractive piece of footwear in the history of footwear.

3. After a certain age, certain pieces of clothing should not be worn. That age may vary but many of restrictions happen around the time you turn 30. I don’t care how great a body you have, a woman in her fifties should NOT be wearing short-shorts. And no woman past the age of 30 should wear sweat pants/work-out pants with words across the ass (do you really want to draw attention to your ass by having the word “juicy” of “sassy” on it?). And unless you work on a farm, nobody over the age of 12 should wear overalls.

4. Wear clothes that fit properly. This doesn’t mean wear clothes that are two sizes too big, but nobody wants to see blubber hanging over a pair of low ride jeans or butt cracks (this is NEVER in style). The biggest culprit I see in this area is jeans. If you are skinny and can wear skinny jeans that fit properly, kudos to you. But if you aren’t skinny, wear jeans that fit. And wear ones that are fashionable and age appropriate. Just because you’re a Mom doesn’t mean you have to wear Mom jeans.

5. When shopping, try clothes on. Something that looks great on the hanger may not look great on you, and vice versa. Try something that might be out of your comfort zone or style, you may be surprised. And taking a note from Stacy and Clinton, be realistic about your size. You aren’t going to look good in something that you know is two sizes too small before you even get to a dressing room.

6. Bath. If you haven’t showered in two days and your hair is greasy, nobody is going to notice that you are dressed nicely. They are going to notice the greasy hair and that is not fashionable. Which leads me to...

7. Don’t go overboard with the perfume or cologne. This is a big pet peeve of mine. I hate getting on the elevator alone but can smell what the person who just got off (someone I haven’t even seen) smells like. Also, if someone is walking 10 feet behind you and starts to cough, you’re got too much perfume or cologne on.

Okay, so I kind of got off the topic of fashion and into the realm of personal hygiene but kind of go together. And you may think my advice is crap but there it is. But I do think that clothes can help you feel better about yourself. You just have to know what looks good on your body. It may take some effort but I think it’s probably worth it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What to Wear, What Not to Wear, Part I

I recently moved into a new office with a new company. When we had an orientation I asked about the dress code. I have always worked in an office and the dress code is usually business casual. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what that is so here is what I think isn’t business casual: it’s not business attire that consists of suits but it’s also probably not what you wear on the weeks (jeans, t-shirts, sweats, shorts, sandals, tennis shoes, etc.). Monday through Thursday I’ve always had to wear nice clothes to my place of business and Friday was a more casual day. I didn’t get to wear sweats but I did get to wear nice jeans and a nice shirt (no t-shirts and no sandals).

So at my new place of employment I was told one thing but saw something else. I understanding that the industry I work in is pretty laid back. And while I wouldn’t mind going to work and not caring what I wear, that isn’t real life. If you work in an office you should dress appropriately. So I was told that the dress code (which isn’t really official) is business casual but that sometimes people who are going out in the field wear jeans and some days jeans are acceptable. The guy who sits next to me is a Manager and does no field work. He’s worn jeans almost every day. And the support staff wears jeans as well most of the time. The group that came over with me (all men, except for me) dress nicer than most of the men in this office.

Here is my opinion about how to dress in a work environment (and it’s just my opinion), it depends on the work environment. If you work in an office you should dress appropriately. In the building I used to work in I saw people on a regular basis come into the building wearing rubber flip flops, torn jeans, tight t-shirts and shorts. There was a call center in the building but still, I thought that was a little too casual (just my opinion).

And unless you are applying for a job flipping burgers at McDonalds, you should always go to a job interview in business attire (yes, that means a suit and a tie for men). Even if the office environment is laid back, you should be dressed nicely for the interview (no exceptions). Once you get the job you can start dressing like everyone else.

I’ve had men come into the office dressed in jeans and a golf shirt for an interview. In my opinion, that’s a strike against you. Even if I’m going to a job interview and have to change in my car, which I have done (my current employer might be suspicious if I should up to work in a suit), that’s what I do.

Buck up and dress appropriately… and come back for Part II.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Are You an Idiot Savant?

Today on the radio they were talking to people who have what they called idiot savant talents, something you are really, really good at but has no value at all. My Sister and I call my Mother an Idiot Food Savant (those who know her know what I mean). While she gave birth to both my Sister and myself, she can’t remember what year we were born (she tends to make us a year older than we really are, not cool), but she can remember everything she ate on a road trip to California in 1983. Go figure.

I guess my idiot savant skill is Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a game some college kids in the 1990s came up with based on the theory of Six Degrees of Separation which is the idea that everyone is six steps away from any other person on Earth (i.e. a friend of a friend). Because Kevin Bacon has been in so many movies (he’s 52 years old and has been in about 70 movies) the purpose of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is that any actor can be linked to Kevin Bacon by less than six movies.

I’m really good at this game (and unless they make this into a game show, it has no real value to me) and I’ll give two secrets to being good at this game. #1 – you don’t have to see a lot of movies, you just have to know who was in them. #2 – you only have to know a few of the really well know movies Kevin Bacon was in with high profile actors. I’ll give you some examples using the most recent Oscar winners and I promise you I am NOT cheating by using Google or IMBb.

Colin Firth (Best Actor for A King’s Speech)

Colin Firth was in Bridget Jones’s Diary with Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger was in Case 39 with Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper was in Valentine’s Day with Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon

Natalie Portman (Best Actress or Black Swan)

Natalie Portman was in Where the Heart is with Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing was in Strange Magic with Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman was in Days of Thunder/Far Away with Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise was in a Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon

Melissa Leo & Christian Bale (Supporting role in The Fighter)

Melissa Leo & Christian Bale were in The Fighter with Amy Adams
Amy Adams was in Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep was in The River Wild with Kevin Bacon

It’s a little bit harder with new, younger actors who have had many breakout roles, obscure actors who only done really small roles, or classic movie actors like Elizabeth Taylor. Movies with great ensemble casts also really helps, like with any of the three major actors in the Harry Potter movies:

Daniel Radcliff/Emma Watson/Rupert Grint were in all the Harry Potter movie with Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman was in Sense and Sensibility with Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant was in Notting Hill with Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon

Or how about the Twilight actors:

Robert Patterson was in Water for Elephants with Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon was in Pleasantville with Joan Allen
Joan Allen was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon

Kristen Stewart was in Twilight New Moon with Dakota Fanning
Dakota Fanning was in War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon

And just for good measure:

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was in The Flintstones with Elizabeth Perkins
Elizabeth Perkins was in Big with Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon

Give me a name and I’ll like them to Kevin Bacon is six or less steps!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Next week is moving week at work. The company I work for (to be further known as the Old Company) was bought at the end of March by another company (to be further known as the New Company). This is the second company I have worked for that was bought while I was an employee. It’s a different experience.

Both are international companies in the same industry but the New Company has a much broader field of work. That is because while the Old Company has less than 80 employees total, the New Company has about 7,000 employees. And the integration of the Old Company into the New Company is going to happen in stages over the next seven months (we weren’t told why this was happening but there are rumors).

So what this means for my little office of eight people is that we are physically moving to the office of the New Company which employees over 220 people. The building is in the same town. It has six floors and the New Company occupies office space on four of them (two floors are completely theirs). That is going to be an adjustment.

And with any big change there are pros and cons. Here are mine, starting with the pros:

Pro #1 – I will have a window. I think people take for granted natural lighting until they spend years in a workspace without it. My workspace for the last five years has not included a window. There isn’t even one in my line of view. For me to look out a window I have to get up and walk halfway down the hall to the conference room, which has a window. Believe me, a window is a big deal.

Pro #2 – Voice mail. The Old Company was a family owned company (New Company is employee owned). With not a lot of employees the Old Company felt that no voice mail meant better customer service (i.e. the caller talks to a live person). Tell that to the 90% of callers who ask to leave a message on voice mail. I think people would rather have voice mail than talk to a real person but that’s just my opinion.

Pro 3# – More women. Women can be a fickle bunch to work with. Some are great and supportive and some are backstabbing and gossipy. In my current office of eight, I am the only woman and have been for the last year. Before then there were two of us and at one time (for less than a year) there were three. It’s the nature of the industry were in, men outnumber women. Because of this, for the first time in my adult working life I don’t have any work friends. But at the New Company there are woman (I’ve actually seen them) so I’m hoping that will change.

Pro #4 – I am guessing that 35% - 40% of the job duties that I really didn’t like to do at my Old Company I will no longer have to do at the New Company. While this is a pro, it also leads to Con #1.

Con #1 – This is a BIG con – I don’t know what my job will be. The New Company doesn’t do things the same way as the Old Company, so I have no clue what my job duties will be. I have been told that this could be an opportunity to do something that I will enjoy but I have also been told that they will assess my current responsibilities and place me where I am needed (possibly resulting in a terrible outcome). Will I have input or not? I don’t know and I’m not very optimistic about this. I will be doing a lot of my current duties until September and that is when things will change.

Con #2 – Location. For the last five years I have been extremely lucky because my office was less than two miles away from my home. I can sleep in later and go home for lunch (it’s awesome!). My new office, while in the same town, is 16 miles away. My commute is going to double from less than 10 minutes to about 20 minutes. Yes, I know that I’m not going to experience normal rush hour traffic but I liked sleeping later and going home for lunch.

Con #3 – My co-workers. I already know this is going to be a big adjustment for my co-workers from the Old Company because I am learning that a lot of things I used to do for them (see Pro #4) they are now going to have to do for themselves. I am preparing to hear a LOT of bitching. Also, I spent a lot of time working with Old Company co-workers in other offices and as we integrate more into the New Company I will lose touch and not be working with them much.

Con #4 – Benefits. I found out that I am going to be screwed out of at least on vacation day this year. I blame the Old Company because they didn’t have a vacation policy in writing (that is a whole other can of worms not to be opened). Some of the benefits are better and some are not. The biggest inconvenienced is our 401K. The Old Company terminated it at the end of March and we can’t contribute to the New Company’s plan until June (Why? It probably has to with why the integration is happening in stages instead of all at once) so I have to find someplace to put my money for the next two months.

Con #5 – Lip service. You know when you’re getting lip service and we are getting it now from the big wigs at the New Company. Yes, they are telling us everything that we want to hear right now so as not make any big stinks (of course, my boss is the exception to the big stink rule and I can’t really blame him because he’s getting screwed in the sale in a lot of ways). The New Company hasn’t really told us how things work, although we’ve heard little bits and pieces here and there, but nothing official. And this causes anxiety in different levels from different people.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful to have a job in this economy. But I will readily admit that I’m worried about what I’m going to be doing come September. I’m not good with not knowing about certain things, especially when it has to do with my paycheck. I hope the thrill of having a window will stay with me for a while...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Had A Bad Day

Yes, today was a bad day at work. Without going into the gruesome details, it was one of those bad days that is going to stick with me for a while and make me sick to my stomach.

A couple of weeks ago when I was rifling through my desk drawer looking for the lost flash drive (that STILL makes me sick to my stomach to think about) I found something someone (I can't remember who) gave me awhile back. It was Psalms 23 (for the workplace). I don't know who wrote it but I made some changes to reflect my work place. It was on my desk tonight. By coincidence my Bible study is studying psalms. And since it is Holy week I thought I'd share it with all of you...


Psalms 23 (for the workplace)

The Lord is my boss, and I shall not want.
He gives me peace when chaos is all around me.
He reminds me to pray before I speak in anger.
He restores my sanity.
He guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all I do.
Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system failures,
unrealistic deadlines, lazy people, unproofed documents,
staff shortages, stupid questions, fly by the seat of my pants assignments,
solutions pulled out of my butt, crazy requests and a good ole boys club mentality,
I won't give up, for you are with me.
Your presence, peace and power will see me through.
You raise me up, even when the boss fails to promote me (or has any clue what I do).
You claim as your own, even when the company is bought and

I'm not sure what my job is going to be.
Your loyalty and love are better than any 401K.
And when it's said and done.
I'll be working for You a whole lot longer!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

You Have Got To Be Kidding!

Yesterday I had to go to the bank to get change for the office's petty cash. I went to the bank closest to the office, Citywide Bank. And guess what? Citywide Bank wouldn't give me any change.

Yes, that's right. A BANK (definition: an establishment concerned especially with the custody, loan, exchange or issue of money) would not give me fifteen $1 bills in exchange for three $5 bills. I stood before the teller (who as actually sitting behind a cubicle desk) in utter amazement as I held up my money and said, "Really, you can't make change?"

Now I didn't have an account with Citywide Bank (and now never will) but once I step through their doors I was a customer and it shouldn't have mattered if a I had an account or not. I needed change, they were a bank, I should have been able to do business with them and gotten some stinking change!

I guess I should have known something was wrong when I walked in and immediately saw a security guard to my right (a rather large fellow) sitting in an office chair. Not standing but sitting. In the event of robbery the police would probably get there before that guy got out of the chair. So much for customer service.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

17 Days and Counting

If you don’t already know, I’m an anglophile (definition: a person who greatly admires or favors England and things English). So the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton is a big to-do.

Now I know a lot of people don’t really give a hoot about this wedding and that’s okay. Since we have nothing like a royal family in the United States and never had or will (even with the Kennedys during the Camelot era) I think a lot of people don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Lots of people will be attending/watching and lot of money is being spent. And, to be honest, if I thought my tax dollars were being used to pay for this event I might not be so keen on it. But they aren’t so I’m going to hop on the bang wagon and enjoy it.

What it comes down to is its just plain fun. There is glitz and glamour and pomp and pageantry that just doesn’t exist in the United States (and probably never will – even with our sick fascination with celebrities).

What I think people forget is that members of a royal family (regardless from what country) are human beings who have been born into families that have extreme duties to their country. Our normal and their normal are not the same. Yes, they have more privileges than us but they also have bad hair days, trouble sleeping and heartburn. They get colds and sunburns and toothaches. Their parents can divorce (the British royal family has its share of those) or die young. And even though they get special treatment in a lot of ways, they are also scrutinized for things that you and I could get away with. Their every movement is watched and documented.

And members of the British royal family have to get parliament approval for who they want to marry. How would you like it if the government were to tell you who was or wasn’t appropriate enough to marry? After World War II, the late Princess Margaret (the Queen’s younger sister and second in line to the throne at the time) fell in love with a divorced older man named Peter Townsend. The government felt he wasn’t suitable for the Queen’s sister and the Church of England refused to approve the marriage. Under pressure Margaret gave up Townsend and married someone else, whom she divorced 18 years later. It’s been 25 years since England has had a big wedding (last one was the 1986 wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson).

And just because it’s a royal wedding doesn’t mean it will go off smoothly. When Lady Diana got out of the carriage at her wedding in 1981 her dress was extremely wrinkled (something any bride would probably be horrified by) and she mixed up her soon to be husband’s name when she said her vows (some people look back and think that was a sign but I think it was just the nerves of a young woman, I mean it would be hard for anyone to remember Charles Philips Arthur George in front of millions of people).

So when Friday, April 29 rolls around I’ll get out of bed at 3 a.m. (wedding starts at 11 a.m. London time), turn on my television and watch. I’ve even taken that day off work (can’t image going to work after this wedding-a-thon). And, of course, the royal wedding has a web site. Take a look and enjoy…

http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Sound of Silence

My neighbor has started listening to music while he is in the bathroom in the mornings. Now I have absolutely no proof that my neighbor is a he but based on the type of music being played I'm going to assume it's a he (loud, heavy metal sounding or strange African drum songs). And for a guy, he's in there a really long time. I can usually get done what I need to in less than 30 minutes but the music is playing in there for an hour at at time. So with this addition to my morning ritual I realize that as I am getting older I have a better appreciation of silence (especially in the bathroom). Don't get me wrong, I love music and always have but it's now noise that I'm having a hard time tolerating (example: I spent almost two years wearing ear plugs to bed every night because my neighbor would play music from midnight to 5 a.m.).

I digress...

As a young girl I would spend hours listen to albums like Donny and Marie, K-Tel disco albums, and the soundtrack to Mary Poppins . My sister and I would sing along (as the older sister I was always a little bit country and my sister had to be a little bit rock and roll) and performed dance routines to Shaun Cassidy's Da Doo Run Run Run in the backyard (I still remember the moves to that one).

As I got older, my tastes changed and expanded. As a teenager I loved Duran Duran and the Go-Go's but a friend also introduced me to jazz and expanded my taste in classic rock (thanks Jim). Back then I listened to music all the time: in the car, doing chores, cooking, studying, or just lying on my bed. I could spend hours just listening to music, sometimes the same song, over and over again. The times have changed. Just a few years ago I had a car that didn't even have working radio or a stereo system. And while I still have all those vinyl albums I don't own a turntable to play them on. The car I drive now has a radio and CD player and I still have all my vinyl albums, cassette tapes and CDs but most of my music is now on a MP3 player (everything for Simon and Garfunkel to Mozart to P!nk) and I can hook it up to some speakers if I don't want to use ear buds.

Sometimes I listen to music at work but I don't get radio reception at my desk and am not allowed to stream music on my computer. Plus I get interrupted a lot and am out in the open so I don't listen all that much. These days I don't put music on when I'm cleaning or cooking and I find that I don't just lie on my bed and listen to music like I did as a teenager. I could be listening to music while I'm writing this but I'm not. I kind of like the silence better (that is until someone's car radio starts blaring outside like it did just now). I still love music but I like silence a lot more than I used to (especially in the bathroom - did I mention that?). Wait, did you hear that? It's silence.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kissing the Blarney Stone (And Other Tales from Ireland)

I’m half Irish and about 8 years ago I got to go to Ireland with my sister. It was May and we arrived in Dublin on a Sunday. Our taxi driver couldn’t take us directly to our hotel because the streets were closed. We didn’t know why but walking a couple blocks we saw hundreds and hundreds of people in the streets. We got to the hotel and were told that because of Foot and Mouth Disease, St. Patrick Day celebrations had to be postponed until that weekend. We had arrived the same day as the St. Patrick’s Day parade and it was happening right in front of our hotel. We stood at our hotel window and watched the parade. How cool is that, to be in Dublin to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade? Pretty cool.

Another highlight of the trip was kissing the Blarney Stone, several decades after my grandfather had done it. The stone is in the ruins of Blarney Castle, about five stories high. It’s not an easy thing to do. The stone is actually in the wall and, as you can see from the photos, you literarily have to bend over backwards to kiss it (did I say it’s five stories high?). There is a man there to help you and I think the one who helped us might have been then same one who helped my grandfather all those years ago.

Why do we kiss the Blarney Stone? According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery not the gift of blab). According to legend Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, was involved in some sort of lawsuit so the goddess Cliodhna told him that on his way to court he should kiss the first stone he found that morning. He did, and pled his case with great eloquence and won. MacCarthy then took the stone and incorporated into the castle.

The Blarney Stone has been names as the most unhygienic tourist attractions in the world. When we were there they sanitized the rock after each kiss. A little thing like that wasn’t going to deter me. You’re can’t be a true Irish person if you don’t kiss the Blarney Stone when you have a chance.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Pins and Needles

Yes, that is my arm. Today was my second appointment with an acupuncturist. Sorry it's not a better photo but I realized you really shouldn't move too much once the pins/needles are in you cause it tends to hurt.

Anyway, 2010 was a year of medicine and minor medical procedures that had either no success or very limited success. So before the next step (which is probably surgery) I decided to start 2o11 by trying things that might be unconventional, like getting acupuncture.

Before last week I had never been to an acupuncturist before. I ask my doctor and PT if they thought it would work for my problem and got mixed responses. It's not that I didn't believe in this stuff but I never felt a need for it and to be honest common sense kept telling me that it just isn't right to purposely stick needles in you. But after last year I decided to give it a try, if it worked, great, if it didn't, at least I tried.

I was a little apprehensive at the first visit. A friend had told me of her experience but I was still nervous. It turned out to be really nothing. The needles (or pins?) are very thin and flexible. I didn't feel them going in at all. After they were in (about 17 of them in my feet, legs, hands, arms, neck and ear) I just had to lay there for 20 minutes and then they were taken out. I didn't really notice a difference after that first visit and it was hard to tell if I felt better after today's.

So I'm going back again next week. I'm feeling hopeful thought.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Best of the Worst

If you are a movie buff like I am, tonight is THE NIGHT of the year, because tonight the Oscars are awarded. There seem to be a lot of awards being given out since the beginning of the year in the movie industry, highlighting the best of the best in films. But last night the best of the worst was honored.

Every year, the night before the Oscars is the annual Razzies (http://www.razzies.com/) are film industry awards given by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation to the best of the worst in the movies. This was started in the 1980s by John Wilson and the first ceremony was held in his living room. It’s grown and is now held in a Hollywood auditorium. There isn’t a red carpet outside and the nominees usually don’t show up, but the press is there and the “winners” are always well publicized. Of course, there are some exceptions when it comes to the nominees attending. Just last year Sandra Bullock claimed her Golden Raspberry for her performance in All About Steve (I saw the movie, it was a well deserved award) and the very next night won the Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side. It just goes to show that even talented people like Sandra Bullock and put out two movies in the same year on different ends of the spectrum.

The Razzies have a lot of the same categories as the Oscars and then some of its own. A person can be nominated for more than one movie and in some cases a nomination for a category can be shared (when there is an ensemble cast – you’ll see what I mean below).

Some “winners” from the 2010 movie season this year include (there seemed to be a lot to choose from):

Worst Picture – The Last Airbender
Worst Actor – Ashton Kutcher for Killers and Valentine Day
Worst Actress – the entire case (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Catrall, Kristen Davis and Cynthia Nixon) of Sex and the City 2

And here’s some interesting news, anyone with $35 a year can become a member of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation and vote for these awards.

As for the Oscars this year, if Colin Firth doesn’t win for Best Actor I may have to write an angry letter to someone, somewhere in Hollywood.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Something I've Never Done

This morning on the radio they were talking about things that you might never have done or seen before that it seems like everyone else has. Some were kind of lame. One guy said he’d never seen an episode of Friends (his loss, great show). I don’t have cable so there are probably a lot of shows I’ve never seen. One guy said he’s never seen a James Bond movie. I’m sure everyone has at least one really popular movie they’ve never seen. I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life or any of the Godfather movies. One girl said she’d never been to Las Vegas. I’ve never been to Disney World (and a whole lot of other places) but I’m sure I’m not the only one. And there was one woman who said she’s never had a glass of alcohol and another that said she’s never smoked a cigarette. Don’t think they are the only people in the world who have never done either of those things.

There were some good ones. One woman said she’d never had a McDonald’s hamburger and one guy said he had never even seen a Facebook page before.

Now I could “out” some people I know (like a relative who has never pumped her own gas before – you know who you are) but I won’t name names.

So I started to rack my brain for things that I have never done before that it seems like everyone else has. Best I could come up with is that I’ve never sent a Tweet before but, as popular as it is, not many people I know actually use Twitter so I guess that really doesn’t count. I’m sure something will come to me when I wake up at 3 a.m. and realize I forgot to do something at work.

In the meantime, does this mean I am socially and culturally adept? Are you?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good morning, good morning...NOT

This morning as I was brushing my teeth I realized something. I had already brushed my teeth not 10 minutes earlier. Why did I do this? Because I am NOT a morning person. This type of thing happens but usually I forget to do something, not do something twice. Like I’m blow drying my hair when I realize I forgot to condition it. Or I’m taking some medication before bed and realize I didn’t take my medication from that morning (that’s a bad one). Or I get to work and realize I forgot to put on deodorant (this has happened enough times that I now keep a stick of deodorant in my desk drawer at work). Sometimes I forget to take things with me when I leave in the morning: yogurt for breakfast, a book I want to return to the library, my cell phone.

For as far back as junior high school I have always needed an alarm clock to wake me up and the first thought in my mind has always been, “I wish I could sleep another hour.” It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get (last night I got just over 8 hours of sleep and was still in such a daze I brushed my teeth twice). I’ve always needed a lot of sleep but getting up in the morning has always been hard.

Right now I’m pretty damn lucky. My commute to work is about 10 minutes. But I still push it. I’m supposed to be at work by 8 a.m. (this does happen on occasion). My alarm clock goes off at 7:05 a.m. and I immediately push the snooze button. By the time I actually get out of bed it’s between 7:20 a.m. and 7:25 a.m. I don’t dilly-dally in the morning. I get up, take a shower, get dressed, do what I need to do to be presentable and then walk out the door. I don’t eat breakfast at home (I eat at work). I don’t read the newspaper, watch television or have a cup of coffee (I don’t drink coffee – hum, maybe that’s part of my problem?). Getting an extra 10 or 15 minutes of sleep is more important than any of that.

Back in high school my mother dragged me to the doctor because I was going to bed at 9 p.m. Of course, there must be something wrong with a teenager who goes to bed at 9 p.m. I tried to explain to my mother that I was going to bed that early because I had to be up so earlier. Back then I had to get up at around 5:30 a.m. in order to have just over an hour to eat breakfast, shower and get dressed before catching the bus at around 6:40 a.m. in order to get to school for first period which started at 7:40 a.m. The doctor didn’t find anything physically wrong with me.

And yes, I’m yawning as I’m writing this but I did remember deodorant today (at least I think I did, let me check – yup, I’m good).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

To Be Or Not to Be...

Ah Shakespeare...one of the greatest playwrights ever. Every year the Denver Center Theater Company (http://www.denvercenter.org/) always includes a Shakespeare play in it's season and this year it was A Midsummer's Night Dream and it was fabulous, just great. It's one's of Shakespeare's comedies and a rather complicated story with fairies and misuse of love spell on humans. It's a wonderful show.

Now I know that not everyone has an appreciation of Shakespeare and I think I know why. Most of of, at some point in our educational career, were required to read Shakespeare. But the problem is that Shakespeare was not meant to be read, he didn't write books, he wrote plays and the words he wrote weren't meant to be read, they were meant to be spoken (and there is a huge difference). I will readily admit that reading Shakespeare is really hard and can be extremely boring but to see Shakespeare being performed is a whole other story. When you got to a Shakespeare play you get lost in the story. It doesn't matter that you may not understand every single word the actor is saying, you'll get the gist of it and then enjoy it. Shakespeare wrote wonderful stories, drama and comedy, he wrote about death and romance and farce and hatred. There are love scenes and sword battles, there is something for everyone.

So maybe give Shakespeare another try. Maybe see one of his comedies (one your first time around a drama like Hamlet might be too much). If you can't see a theatrical production (and by the way, Colorado has a Shakespeare festival ever year in Boulder (http://www.coloradoshakes.org/) that is also awesome), I recommend the 1968 movie version of Romeo and Juliet. Yes, it's an older movie but it's good.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's the Secret?

Okay guys, I need some help here. For several years we’ve all seen teens and young men sporting the fashion of what I’ll call droopy drawers (when their jeans fall down past their waste, to their hips and halfway down their butt). First of all, who told them this was an attractive look (because it’s not)? And secondly (and my most burning question), how do they keep their pants from falling down?

Please, I very curious to know. Is there some special male secret to how these pants defy gravity and stay up? Women (okay, mainly female celebrities at award ceremonies) have used two-sided tape to show cleavage but keep the boob covered up. What’s the secret here? And let me say it again…IT’S A TERRIBLE LOOK.

And I bet you didn’t know (unless you live in the vicinity or Orlando, Florida) that Florida State Senator Gary Siplin is sponsoring a “droopy drawers” bill (apparently he does it on an annual basis and it has never passed). It requires schools in Florida to ban “clothing the exposes underwear or body parts.” Sounds like a good idea.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-04-16/news/os-ed-quickhits-041610-20100415_1_droopy-drawers-mr-siplin-lawmakers
Hey guys, nobody wants to see your boxers!!!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Where's the politeness?

Something that I have a really had time understanding is our society today and how people act. It seems as if every time I leave the house, whether it's to go to work, the grocery store or a restaurant, I am guaranteed to run into rude, self-absorbed and entitled people. Where is the respect? Where is the politeness? It don't seem to exist anymore.

I was inspired to write about politeness because of a book I'm reading called Talk to the Hand by a British author named Lynne Truss. It's a book about rudeness in today's society. In her book she lists 20 reasons to show special politeness to other people (I feel this goes for children as well as adults). The reasons are:

1. they are older

2. they know more than you do

3. they know less than you do

4. they got here first
5. they have educational qualifications in the subject under discussion

6. you are in their home

7. they once helped you financially

8. they have been good to you all your life

9.. they are less fortunate than you

10. they have achieved status in the wider world

11. you are serving them in a shop

12. they are in the right

13. they are your boss

14. they work for you

15. they are a policeman/teacher/doctor/judge

16. they are in need

17. they are doing you a favor

18 they paid for the ticket

19. you phoned them, not the other way around

20 they have a menial job.

Really, how hard is it to be polite?



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good Intentions

When it comes to writing, I always have really good intentions. It's just that sometimes they don't come to be. Every Monday I start out thinking that ever day this week I will get some writing in. I think that from the time I get home from work to the time I go to bed I should be able to write for at least one hour. But a lot of times that doesn't happen.

Why? Well the biggest reason is that I have a full time job that right now is very frustrating and I come home exhausted. Once I get home booksm, television and the Internet keep me from writing and the fact that I'm exhausted. I could write on the weekends and sometimes I do but I don't want my writing to become work (which, I guess in reality it is - you definitely have to work at it) and, for me, the hardest thing is to find the time. And did I mention I come home from work exhausted?

And right now, I'm writing this blog instead of working on my book. I also plan to visit a couple more Web sites before calling it quits for the night (I've already visited a couple before I started writing this blog). Plus, at some point I'm going to have to cook dinner and I have to do all this before The Big Bang Theory and CSI comes on (I've got about an hour now).

In my defense, I did do some writing today during my lunch. I actually got the "skeleton" of my book finished. But it's still no where near being completely done. At 30 chapter and just under 50,000 words, I still have a lot of writing to do and the flash drive is right next to me on the desk, waiting to be plugged in.

Well, it's Thursday and it's been a long week and another Monday is right around the corner.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Strange Neighbors

Yesterday a sign, of sorts, appeared on the wall outside the sliding doors of my first floor neighbor. It's a hand made sign from a piece of white notebook paper, the message written with a blue ball point pen and there is a lots of scotch tape attaching it the wall. The think it says something like: This porch is now under surveillance. Violators will be shot and killed.

Nice, huh?

I don't know exactly what prompted such a sign but it might have been due to cigarette buts. Over the last several months, at various times, there have been an excess of cigarette buts (I'm talking over two dozen) all over that patio. It's a first floor patio and all the resident in this part of the building have walk past it every day. It was rather disgusting. I'm not really sure who lives there (I think it's a disabled person who has a care giver) but I have seen a man in his mid-20s sitting in the beat up old swivel office chair on the patio smoking cigarettes.

Apparently the complex management doesn't know or doesn't care that one of it's tenants has posted a sign threatening people.

I would have taken a photograph of the sign for you but I didn't want to get shot and killed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I See London, I See France...

I was just sitting a my computer, catching up on some blog reading and folding my clean socks and underwear (multi-tasking) when I had idea for my blog - underwear.

First, I keep my underwear in the top drawer of my dresser. Is this where most people keep their underthings? If so, why is that drawer the smallest? I used to keep bras, underwear and socks all in that drawer but a few years ago I had to move all my socks to an separate bin in my closest. Why? Because I guess I have to0 much underwear.

I rank my underwear:

Level 1 Underwear - The perfect pair. It fits perfect and it's still in good shape because it's still fairly new.

Level 2 Underwear - Still fits but is starting to show a little wear and tear.

Level 3 Underwear - There are two kinds in this category. There are the ones that fit perfectly but now might have a little hole or some of the elastic is starting to get wanky. And then there is the underwear that is still in great condition, almost new, but is so because it's just one size too small or were really cute in the store but didn't really fit right when I got them home. The too small ones were bought during a euphoric time when a couple of pounds had been shed and there was a sense of hopefulness that, I have to admit, didn't last. I don't throw out Level 3 Underwear as often as I should because this is what I wear when I have no more clean Level 1 or Level 2 Underwear (it happens sometimes). I know I should take stock of my underwear more often but really, who wants to spend time doing that?

BTW - I have the same ranking system for bras.

Anyway, I have been known to go out and buy new underwear instead of doing laundry (in my defence I don't own a washer/dryer and have to leave my home to do laundry). I know, it's kind of shameful but sometimes it's easier to just go to Target than the Laundromat.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Year of the Novel

Another year has come and gone. I don't make New Year Resolutions but I do have a goal for this year: finish the current novel that I'm writing. I finished a novel last year but haven't found representation yet (and I'm losing hope that I will) so I've moved on to working on another novel that I started a couple of years ago.

Then I went to an agent's blog and saw this video posted:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9fc-crEFDw

It's hilarious and also brutally honest. I laughed at some parts and wanted to cry at others. If you don't already know, the writing industry kind of sucks. It's REALLY, REALLY hard to break into. While you see hundred and hundreds of books in a book store it's very difficult to get published (unless you have a couple of thousands of dollars to self-published but there is a whole lot more to that than meets the eye). And although the new technology of Kindle and Nook may sound really cool not much has been worked out in regards to the writers part in this new technology. What I'm trying to say is that this new technology is really screwing writers over.

But I will keep writing and keep trying to get published as long as there are people out there who want to read I have some hope. So get the real deal and buy books!