30 December, 2008

How To:

Avoid Awkward Situations with Friends and Loved Ones at the Holidays:

Here are are few little tips I've found helpful this holiday season, when forced into awkward conversations with friends, family, colleagues, and other well-meaning but inept well-wishers:

1.) "Thanks for your opinion, I'll think about it." My god, how simple! Short, polite, to the point, and GETS YOU OUT OF THE CONVERSATION when Aunt Frannie's telling you that you should really drink something more lady-like than a vodka tonic, or when Uncle Sampson says that you'd be an idiot not to consider buying in today's real estate market, nevermind that you're only going to be in FL another 2 years MAX... This little conversational gambit leaves you free to escape to the other room to help Mom with the appetizers or to answer the phone that's vibrating in your purse.

2.) "Well let's Google it!" The wonders of the Internet...what did we do without it? This bad boy is the quickest way to minimize the fight looming on the horizon between Granddad and Uncle Pete over what year Ford started making the Thunderbird. Thank you Wikipedia, you're a life-saver!

3.) "Thank God you're here, I really need your help! Can you please..." Apply lessons learned from your first-aid classes (If you're in a crowd, looking to help someone who's been injured, point to individuals and give them specific tasks.) to the holidays. When you're annoyed with your layabout relatives who never offer to help, assign them a task. Have Cousin Steve make a pot of coffee, ask Aunt Pearl to help her sister clear the table. Get Grandmother to find out how many people want dessert. If you give them specific tasks, they know you expect them to help you, and won't just assume that you've got it all handled (as you always so capably do!).

4.) "Let me get back to you on that one." Oh. My. God. A lifesaver! Those of you who know me, know how hard it is for me to say no when someone asks for my help. Whether it's baking something for the 75 person Christmas Eve party, or organizing a last-minute holiday party, I have the hardest time saying no to anything. But the beauty of "Let me get back to you" is that it isn't saying no! It lets the asker know that you're busy, but that you'll consider how you can help them!

So there it is, CW5H2O's Quick Guide to Getting Through the Holidays with Your Sanity Intact! Hope 2008 has treated everyone well, and that 2009 is even better! :)

29 December, 2008

Family

I love my family, I truly and honestly do. Despite their flaws, or in some cases because of them, I love them more than anything else in this world. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my family.

But sometimes...

Sometimes one of them does something that makes me not like them very much.

I didn't get to spend Christmas with Dad's side of the family this year, so I called over the weekend to get an update on how the festivities had gone, and I had one of those moments that made me really not like my Aunt very much at all. I found out that Christmas morning, she'd had everyone over to her house to open presents. My 10 year old godson got SO excited when he saw the present she'd given him. It was a HUGE box, and he was so excited to find out what was inside. That was the present he picked to open first, and he tore into it with gusto. When he finally got it open, it was full of trash. Yes, that's right, trash. The ENTIRE HUGE BOX was full of nothing but garbage: candy wrappers, empty potato chip bags, torn crayon drawings, TRASH. And my Aunt, his Grandmother, was laughing hysterically. She told him that this was all the trash he'd left at her house over the course of the last year. That's right, she'd collected it and SAVED IT (who does that???) and gave it to him as his Christmas present. Seriously?? His little face just crumbled, and he turned around and said "Nana, I don't get it." She could barely answer him because she was laughing too hard, and taking pictures as his eyes filled up with tears.

This is what I just don't understand. He's 10 years old. He believes in Santa Claus. He's your Grandson, and he loves you, worships you. He comes over to your house, of his own volition, and helps you clean, organizes your attic and your garage, and this is what you do to him at Christmas? HE'S 10 YEARS OLD!! Okay, yes, he should be better about picking up after himself, and you should tell him that (FYI, she never has, not once), but again, he's 10! He doesn't get irony, or sarcasm, he's not going to stop being messy because his Nana gives him a box full of garbage for Christmas! He's just going to think that his Nana doesn't really love him, or that she's mad at him! It's just plain mean, and that's all there is to it. So yes, I love my Aunt, but right now, today, I really don't like her very much.

25 December, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad Everyone!

We just got back from the festivities with the extended family and are getting ready for a nice, chill rest of the evening. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and got to spend time with loved ones. From CW5H2O's family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Only 364 days to go!

21 December, 2008

Freaking out...

There always comes a point in my preparations for my mother's visits, when I realize that it's too much. I'm causing myself an insane amount of stress over something that SHOULD be making me happy and excited. That point arrived earlier this evening when I found myself outside on my balcony, with only the lights of the tennis court as illumination, on my hands and knees, scrubbing the concrete balcony. I finished, then looked down at myself and cringed. If my mother actually cares whether or not my balcony has been appropriately scrubbed, then there's no pleasing her, and I should just give up. So there it is...I'm going to finish dusting, make my bed, lay out towels for my parents, and finish wrapping the presents. That's it, I'm done. No more of this staying up until 4am frantically checking my apartment for an errant speck of dust, damp mopping the baseboards and dusting the tops of doors. My parents are coming to visit their only daughter for Christmas. Dad's just going to be happy to see me, and if Mom's not...well, I guess that's just something I'll have to live with, 'cause I can't let it control me anymore, I won't. And I REFUSE to ever do this to my kids.

20 December, 2008

How do I let this happen??

Every time my mother comes to visit, I realize what a complete and utter disaster my house is. It doesn't matter how much advance notice I have of her arrival, I inevitably leave everything to the last possible moment, so here it is, t-minus 48 hours until my mother's arrival, and my apartment is a wreck. I'm ashamed to have friends see it, much less my hyper-judgmental MOTHER...Oh dear god, I'm really not going to sleep for 48 hours, am I?

HELP!!!

18 December, 2008

One of those days....

It's like trying to explain to someone "This is an apple, it's for eating." And they respond with: "Oh, an apple! This must be used for the thermodynamic energy transfer of heat to a diathermic system!"

People, you're attributing way too much importance to the damn apple!!

Have you ever had one of those days that makes you want to beat your head against the wall until you pass out, just so that people will stop talking to you?



**Note: I know nothing about science in general, or thermodynamics in particular.**

16 December, 2008

Big Bang Theory

Okay, I just watched Monday's episode of The Big Bang Theory, and I COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING!! My neighbors came by, and knocked on the door to make sure everything was okay.

Giant nerd, party of one? Right here!

Happy Birthday B & T!!

What're the odds that two of my best friends in the whole world would have birthdays on the same day? Well, pretty high actually! So Happy Birthday to both of you...I love you guys and miss you tons...have a great birthday!

15 December, 2008

Our President...

I'm sure by the time most people read this post they'll have seen the news footage of President Bush having two shoes hurled at his head by an Iraqi reporter at a news conference in Iraq. If you haven't, go to YouTube, or turn on one of the thousands of 24hr. news networks, which I'm sure will be showing the clip ad nauseam throughout the day. I have only three things to say on the topic:

1.) Say what you will about the man, our president has some KICK ASS REFLEXES! Did you see that dodge? I'm guessing if we look back in his parents basement in Texas we're sure to find some dusty old dodgeball trophies!

2.) Prime Minister Maliki is an unflappable man. I guess you'd have to be, being Prime Minister of Iraq for 2+ years, but wow! The man didn't even flinch when the first shoe was thrown, and just calmly reached out to bat the second away from Bush's face. There wasn't even a change in facial expression!

3.) The Iraqi Press Corps took the guy down before the Secret Service could even get near him...so good on the other Iraqi reporters, you guys are kind of bad ass! (They also apologized to the President later, saying that they hoped he didn't think that this one crazy-shoe-throwing-man was representative of the entire Iraqi Press.)

11 December, 2008

Can you say Grinch?

I was talking to one of my friends today, who mentioned that his kids are all gung-ho to go to DisneyWorld this year. I said: "Aw! That's great, you'll have so much fun!"

This, ladies and gentlemen, was CLEARLY the wrong reaction.

His response:

"C, I hate rodents. Hate them. I want to kill them dead. I have one small mouse in my house, and I've been setting traps all over the place trying to snap the little bastard's neck for months now. And that's only one tiny little rodent. Why on EARTH would I drive three hours to see their kingdom?"

Ooooookay then Ebenezer! I couldn't stop laughing at such an extreme reaction (and yes kids, he was totally serious. He has no desire to EVER go to DisneyWorld). I just got this mental image of my friend in the happiest place on Earth, setting GIANT mouse traps and going after Mickey with a baseball bat. His poor children would be traumatized for life! So yes, Ebz, please stay away from DisneyWorld. Those of us who enjoy the magic will be better off without you.

And a Bah Humbug to you too!

08 December, 2008

Being Neighborly!

Well, after my holiday bake-a-thon (tip: read the yield before making the recipe. If the recipe yields 12 dozen, it's probably safe to cut the recipe in half!), I decided to take baked treats to the neighbors I'm friendly with. Well, turns out...great move! A couple of them decided to get together for an impromptu dinner, and they invited me. Since I had a batch of lemon snowbars in the oven at that very moment, I was perfectly positioned to provide desert for our little fiesta!

The dinner was great, and the company was wonderful. We all got along very well, and there was never a lull in the conversation (the dreaded lull!!). After dinner, we helped our hostess put up her Christmas tree, which turned into a bit of a debacle, as we realized that the slackers at the Christmas Tree Lot hadn't drilled the hole in the stump all the way, so I got to break out my seldom-used Black&Decker drill, and after BREAKING one of the drill bits, we finally got the tree both A) straight and B) leak free! All in all, it was a highly entertaining evening, with good neighbors. I could get used to this! :)

07 December, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Well it's official...I'm in the Christmas spirit!

Yes, it's true, I'm probably overcompensating for the fact that it was in the high 70s this weekend, and I went out for walks and sat by the pool, but I'm in full on, crazy Christmas mode.

Facts in evidence:

I'm giddy about the fact that the apartment building across the street has a Christmas tree made of lights on its side.


I stayed up until well after 1am finishing my first tranche of holiday baking: Sugar cookies, Christmas Confetti cookies, Eggnog Snickerdoodle cookies, lemon snowbars, banana bread, peppermint bark and peppermint chocolate scones. (Yes, all from scratch, I don't do Christmas any other way!)


I finished decorating my apartment:

The Kitchen:


The China Cabinet:


The Dining Room:


The Entryway:


The Front Door:


The Tree (Obviously):


The Living Room:


Yes, that's right, my apartment looks like Santa's Elves threw up in it. I've also got candles in the windows in both bedrooms, along with Snowman night-lights, and Christmas towels in the bathrooms, but the bedrooms are too messy to photograph, and it's just weird to show pictures of a bathroom on a blog.

I've written half my Christmas cards, and wrapped all the presents I've bought so far, all while watching White Christmas....several times. If you haven't seen White Christmas, SHAME ON YOU! GO OUT AND RENT IT RIGHT NOW! It's only the best holiday movie ever! Ah, Bing and Danny....two of my favorite guys!

So now I'm just about ready...I'm going to try to get the holiday cards finished by the end of next weekend, but I've gotta say...I'm in the Christmas spirit! 24 hour Christmas music? Check. Copious amounts of baking? Check. Insane quantity of Christmas decorations? Check. Changing Blog Colors to Red and Green? Check. Christmas Cheer? Absolutely! Insanity Check? Positive.

Now, it's sleeping time. What'dya think the odds are that I'll dream of sugarplums? G'night Everybody! :)

05 December, 2008

Have you ever had a dream?

Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid, so normal, so completely logical that when you woke up, it took you more than just a few seconds to realize that it wasn't real?

I woke up this morning from the most vivid dream I've ever had in my life, and for more than five minutes, I was confused. I felt it. Felt all of it. In this dream I'd relived the last eight years of my life, but made different choices. Not better choices, not worse, just different. And I saw my life, the way it could have been. It was better in some ways, worse in others. Mainly just different. The people in my life were the same, by and large. My friends were my friends, my family was my family. But this other life felt so real, that when I woke up, I didn't know that it wasn't. And I have no idea what it means, if it means anything, and it's probably nothing, but I think it's significant, that the people I choose to have in my life were the same, in the dream world and the real world.

So I know that if nothing else, at least I've gotten that part right.

03 December, 2008

A minor quibble....

I have a minor quibble with the Wii Fit. For the Strength Training and Yoga sections, it assigns you a trainer. Fine. You get to choose if you want a male trainer or a female trainer. I don't really care, as it's a computer generated image, so I picked the male trainer. Then today, I start my workout, and it gives me the female trainer, who says "I hope you don't mind, but I'm filling in for your usual trainer today."

Um......okay.....is he out sick? Computer virus or something? Then, when he does return, a few workouts later, his formerly crew-cut hair is now a few inches longer, and sort of shaggy. If my trainer turns into a hippie guy with a pony-tail, I'm going to be a little weirded-out.

A note to the people of South Florida:

71 degrees is not cold. 65 degrees is not cold. Even 60 degrees is not cold. Do not come stomping into a building, faux shivering, and announce to the world "UGH! I HATE WINTER!" This? Is not winter. This is fall...ish. Even that's sort of pushing it.

That is all.

01 December, 2008

SNOW!!

The trip home to see the family for Thanksgiving was amazing, and I'll post more later, but for now, I leave you with the sight that a homesick Midwest girl longs for....SNOW!!

Snow//It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow//Snow//I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow//Snow//I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow//Snow//Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow...



Where it's snowing//All winter through//That's where I want to be//Snowball throwing//That's what I'll do//How I'm longing to ski//Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh...



Those glist'ning houses that seem to be built of snow//Snow//Oh, to see a mountain covered with a quilt of snow//What is Christmas with no snow?//No white Christmas with no snow//Snow...



I'll soon be there with snow//I'll wash my hair with snow//And with a spade of snow//I'll build a man that's made of snow//I'd love to stay up with you but I recommend a little shuteye//Go to sleep//And dream//Of snow!

G'night Everybody! :)

29 November, 2008

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

None, if it's lying dead in front of your house.

Yes, that's right, we woke up this morning to find a GIANT woodchuck (or at least it seems giant to us, it's the size of a full-grown lab.) dead in front of our neighbor's house. Apparently he almost ran it over when leaving his house this morning, and would have run it over if not for the timely internevtion of another neighbor who was out walking her dog. Yuck.

This of course begs the question....who do you call to remove dead critters from your front lawn? RoadKillBusters? Dad and I did have a moment of levity about it though. We have an ongoing prank with some of our friends in another neigborhood...we leave things in each other's garages (wheelbarrows, paint cans, ladders) and see how long it takes the other family to notice. I somehow feel that "dead woodchuck" might get noticed a little sooner than anything else we've tried. But then there's the ick factor of getting it there. And the mean factor...we like these people, we want them to continue to be our friends!

**Follow-up: It seems that you call the Department of Waste to get rid of roadkill in front of your house. Sadly, they're not open on Saturdays. Thank God it's cold outside, otherwise....ewwwww....**

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, ate way too much and watched lots of TV!

25 November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well I'll post more about M&D's wedding later, but suffice to say that a great time was had by all. There were minimal hitches, and the happy couple had an amazing day. I'm thankful that I got to meet all the folks in the bridal party, because I think I've made some really good friends! And in the spirit of the season:

Things I'm thankful for:

-- My friends. I love you guys more than I can ever say. From people who've known me since I was 4, to High School friends, to Butler people, to DC friends, to the friends I'm just meeting now, you've all been there for me when I've needed you. You each hold a different aspect of my life, know a different part of me, and I'm so grateful for that.

-- My family. Crazy-making though they may be, I love 'em. Family is family, and I'm grateful for mine.

-- My job. To have a job I love, to get to do good work that interests and excites me, in this world right now, in this economy, I'm unbelievably lucky.

-- My health. It's something I've never given much thought to, but I do realize how lucky I am, and I'm very thankful.

-- Good Memories. This year alone I've created amazing memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Vegas with T and S, Pentwater with S and A, picnics that took two hours to get the grill lit, my going-away party in DC, watermelon spitting contests on the National Mall, Disney with A, Homecoming at Butler with B, A, A&G, M&D's wedding...all amazing memories that keep me going when things look bleak.

-- My friends. You guys rock, you merit two thank you's.

That's just a short list, because I do know that I've been incredibly blessed, and I'm so thankful for everything in my life. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I'm headed to T-town at the crack of dawn tomorrow, so I'll be back next week, with plenty to tell, I'm sure. G'night!

20 November, 2008

CW5H2O is MIA

Well, I'm off to Spanish class, then to work, then to the airport for M&D's wedding!! All that means I'm going to be MIA on the blog for awhile, but hopefully I'll have some crazy wedding stories when I get back. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

19 November, 2008

Only in South Florida....

I was out for my evening stroll tonight, and I noticed a few things. (Be forewarned...here comes a three part rant about Fort Lauderdale.)

#1: When you put on your "For Sale" sign that not only is your house waterfront, and not only does it have a pool, but that it has a waterfront pool? You're just bragging. It's obnoxious. What, do you have a helipad in the garden too? If you tell me that you have the ability to run a global war from the sun porch, I'm just going to cry.

#2: Can anyone tell me why, ON EARTH, someone would go to the trouble of building themselves a huge, beautiful mansion in South Florida, only to completely mar its beauty by carving their name into the front wall, in giant, two foot tall letters? This is not something you can just spackle over people....getting rid of this thing would basically mean knocking out the south wall of the entire house. I feel like there are probably some necessary support beams in there somewhere. Now I don't profess to be a real estate expert, and perhaps some of my lovely readers who are can enlighten me, but wouldn't having a family name engraved onto the side of a home, oh, I don't know, reduce the resale value? A little? And we're not talking about a "Smith" or a "Jones" or a "Rodriguez" here. It's not like Bob and Suzy Smith are going to see this place on the market in 15 years and say to themselves: "My God! It's like it was meant to be!" We're talking about a crazy-long Polish name that I've A) never heard of, and B) can't even attempt to pronounce. And even if you're planning on retiring and spending the rest of your life in this house, and handing it down to your children and your children's children, odds are good that eventually, the family line is going to die out, or your descendants are going to want to move, and then (to quote a favorite TV show) I believe the appropriate metaphor involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.

#3: Yard signs have started popping up that read: "Christmas decorating service. Prices start at only $2,000." Seriously? First of all, I think decorating the house for Christmas is one of the best parts of the Christmas season! Put on some Bing, a little Frank, some TSO to spice things up, and break out the nog! I wouldn't give that up for anything! And secondly, starting at only $2,000?? For something you should be able to do yourself? INSANE!!

It's like a whole different world down here, I'm telling you....

18 November, 2008

Guess what I bought???

Yes, that's right, after heming and hawing (what does that expression even mean anyway?) for over two years, I finally succumbed and bought ...... a Wii!

Self-Justification: Wii Fit is out. I'm on a new "exercise and health" kick. There was a bundled special. It's pretty!! :)

So clearly the only things making me leave the house in the next few weeks are going to be A) Work (paycheck to fund the Wii purchase) and B) M&D's upcoming wedding, for which I am a bridesmaid.

Let the fun begin!

17 November, 2008

I HAVE ROWERS!!!!

Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen, I DEFINITELY picked the right place to live, because a block from my apartment one way is the beach, and the other way, as I discovered on my evening walk today, is a park along the intercoastal where ROWERS MEET TO PRACTICE EVERY DAY!! Did you hear me?? I have ROWERS!! ROWERS!!!!!!! Clearly this brings me no small amount of joy, and I'm currently plotting all the different ways I could get involved in what appears to be a high school rowing program...but still, even if I can just watch them derigging and loading the boats it'll make me happy! Of course thinking about it, that would probably be no small amount creepy for them....okay, new plan: think up non-creepy ways of getting back involved in rowing again...any thoughts?

16 November, 2008

Hometown Pride!

I'm sitting here watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which this week, is in Toledo. And I'm looking at this family, and seeing everything they've gone through, and I've heard reports over the last few weeks from my friends and family back home, about how good this experience has been for the community, and how everyone really came together to help these people, and I keep seeing snapshots of people that I know from the neighborhood, people I went to school with, people from church, and I'm just feeling this huge surge of hometown pride! I'm a midwest girl, and proud of it!

Well done Toledo!

Oh!

And I forgot to add, a HUGE congratulations to B, who just closed on his new house in Indy! Congrats B, the place is amazing! :)

What a weekend!

Well, Aunt D, in her usual way, has gotten up to leave at the crack of dawn, so here I am, finally able to post again about the wonderful weekend! As I said before, TSO on Thursday was amazing...I encourage anyone who hasn't seen them live to do so, it was just incredible. You can feel be beat in your chest, and I didn't stop grinning for about an hour after the show.

Friday I worked all day, then got back to the apartment at the same time Aunt D did, and we went out to dinner. We went to bed early Friday night, because Saturday was Cirque du Solei in Miami! We went to see Corteo, which was incredible. It's my third Cirque show, and was completely different than the first two, but equally good!

One downside to the weekend was finding out that my cousin J isn't going to be around for Christmas. Now keep in mind, I'm not that close to the cousins on Mom's side of the family, mainly because they've always living in FL and we've never spent a holiday down here. It's literally been 30+ years since my mother has gotten to have Christmas with her whole family, and so naturally, J has decided to go to Africa to teach computer skills to children over the holidays. GAH!!! I just don't understand...and Aunt D and Mom were sooo upset when they found out, which just makes me really sad. I don't want to spend Christmas in Florida, and I'll always be a white-Christmas-midwest-girl at heart, but I'm also a daughter who loves her mom, and I know how important this is to her, so I'm staying in Florida and having a palm tree Christmas, and I'm not going to whine or moan about it (at least not anywhere other than this blog!), because Christmas with her family for the first time in 30+ years is probably the best gift I can ever give my mom.

Okay, I'm heading out for a morning walk along the beach, actually wearing long pants because it's in the 50s (albeit high 50s) for the first time since I moved here, and it finally feels like it might be fall! Between this and TSO, I'm finally starting to get into the holiday spirit! Hope everyone's having a good weekend! :)

13 November, 2008

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

I just got back from seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert.

Wow.

Amazing.

I've wanted to see these guys for 7 years, and just haven't been able to make it work, but it was totally worth the wait. Absolutely incredible, I can't say enough good things....and now, I care much less about the 4-story tall reindeer at the mall! I'm in the Christmas spirit baby! Woo-hoo! I heart TSO! :D

For the record:

There are two GIANT 4-story tall bright red reindeer outside of the Galleria Mall now. Much as I love Christmas (and I do, it's my favorite holiday!), I still attest that it is too early for Giant 4-story reindeer. Also, it's 85 degrees and sunny. It's just weird.

12 November, 2008

Random Typing....

So today was pretty much all about typing. I really don't think that I've typed this much since college. It's amazing I don't have carpal tunnel! I was writing memo after memo, e-mail after e-mail, all day long. As it is I've had to wait several hours before sitting down to type this post, and I'm only doing it now so that I don't forget to post it this week, b/c otherwise I'm a total flake.

So here's the thing. Around about 3pm, after I'd been typing pretty much straight since 8am, I was going cross-eyed staring at the computer screen, so I just took off my glasses for a minute to let my eyes rest, but kept typing. I knew what I wanted to say, so I just let my eyes blur and kept going.

You know how after you say a word over and over and over again it starts to loose all meaning? Or when you were in school and you stared at the teacher up at the front of the class for so long that they seemed to get smaller and further away? Well, turns out typing is sort of like that. After awhile, I just kind of looked at my fingers flying across the keyboard as though they weren't attached to my body anymore, and my mind went abstract. Typing is an odd sort of thing. I started taking "keyboarding" classes when I was literally in Kindergarten. K-8th I took typing every year. Then when I got to high school, I was told that typing class was a required class for all freshmen. So I did it again. And finally, after three weeks of typing nothing but a s d f j k l ; I'd had enough...I went up to the teacher and begged her to let me type an actual word. Something other than "as" or "ass" or "add" or "all" or "ask." Something, please God, with more than one syllable. She was somehow shocked that I already knew how to type (Really?? This was a private Catholic school...her surprise still surprises me.), gave me a typing test, was astonished at my wpm, and immediately told me I could use the class as a study hall. But I digress.

The human brain is kind of an amazing thing. I think about the sentences that I want to type, and I type them. I don't think of the individual letters that make up the words, I just think the words and then my fingers hit the right letters almost unconsciously (except for with works like unconsciously, which I have to think about and make sure I spell correctly.). It's sort of amazing, and I guess I can understand why some of the people I work with who are in my parents' generation, who didn't take 9+ years of typing classes are amazed that I can be carrying on a perfectly normal conversation with them, looking them right in the eye, while typing out an e-mail or instant message to someone else, fingers flying across the keyboard without even looking down. I've always taken it for granted, been confused by their astonishment, but stepping back and looking at it objectively, it's not "just multitasking" like I always used to say. It's that my brain has been trained since I was about 5 years old to do this, in much the same way that I can walk or eat or cook while carrying on a conversation. So once again, the human brain is kind of an amazing thing!

Not least of all because from this human brain came this completely RANDOM and inane post!! :)

11 November, 2008

It's official.....

Christmas decorations have gone up at the local stores. The mall, Target, everywhere. There's a freakin' 20 foot tall Christmas tree at the Galleria. Bing and Frank are being piped in, and it's being touted as the most wonderful time of the year. Already.

I don't know if it's the fact that I'm in Florida now, and sat out by the pool on Veteran's Day, but it seems so early to me. I know it gets earlier and earlier every year, and I know that with the economy tanking like it is, retailers are hoping to get people shopping sooner, to make up for the fact that sales will probably be low this year, but I have to say, I think I'm going to have a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit if it's still in the mid-80's in December. I don't mean to complain or anything, but it's just...weird. It's too early for Christmas decorations!!

I heart my job...

Well I slept in, just got back from the pool, and will be heading out to get a pedicure soon, followed by some shopping. That's right, it's Veteran's Day people! Another one of those crazy holidays that the Federal Government gets off and that everyone else is just kind of confused by. I'm trying to decide what color to paint my toes...M&D's wedding is in two weeks, and the dresses are navy, so would it be overkill to get my toes painted navy? I just can't decide.




On a more serious note, I know this day isn't just about getting a day off from work. It's about the men and women who have fought for our country and have made incredible sacrifices for our freedom. So for everyone out there who has fought, is fighting and will fight for our country, simply, very simply, thank you.

10 November, 2008

HIMYM

As many of you know, How I Met Your Mother (or, HIMYM, as J and I like to call it), is one of my favorite shows on TV. Along with The Big Bang Theory; I never miss either. So imagine my shock, and genuine horror when I read this story on People.com.

Now I'm sure that executive producer Craig Thomas is joking, but if he's not? I quit.

That is all.

In The News...

Today is Monday, November 10th, 2008. In the news today, at one of the holiest sights in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem (the sight of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.), a fist-fight broke out between two rival sets of Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks, who proceeded to shove, scratch and trade blows during a procession marking the 4th century discovery of the cross on which Jesus is believed to have been crucified. (See news article for further details.)



Now this just may be me, but aren't monks supposed to take vows to live simple lives, devoted to God and good works? And wouldn't you think that getting into fisticuffs over who gets to walk thorough the church first would, I don't know, somehow undermine those vows? And okay, maybe someone, somewhere, will say "well, they were just fighting with each other, what's the big deal?" But check out the CNN.com article (linked above) and you'll see photos of the monks brawling with the Israeli police who came to break up the fight.

They're monks for God's sake! (LITERALLY!) Shouldn't they be above this sort of thing?

08 November, 2008

It appears I'm finally a grown-up....

When I was a kid, 7/8/9 years old, I had three main criteria for what "being a grown-up" really meant.

1.) Arguing with my friends over who gets the check at dinner.
2.) Greeting my friends with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
3.) Not sleeping in past 9am.

It appears that at 26 years old, I might finally be "a grown-up." At least according to my childhood-self! Last night I had dinner with P&J, who're in town before leaving on a Caribbean cruise. The check came at the end of the evening and J snatched it up before I could even put a finger on it, and P insisted that they had it. We argued for a little bit before I finally let them pay (mainly because J's a military man, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't take him.). #1, check.

When I was at homecoming a couple weekends ago, I greeted everyone with a hug, and many with a kiss on the cheek. Maybe it's the Latins rubbing off on me, or maybe it's just a southern thing (hey, VA and FL are both below the Mason-Dixon line, it counts!), but it's apparently what I do now. #2, check.

And for the last year, I've never been able to sleep past 9am, regardless of what time I've gone to bed the night before. Often, I can't even make it to 8am before waking up on my own accord! #3, check.

Oh God...I have a steady job, I pay bills, have my own apartment, cook for myself, AND I've checked off everything on my childhood "adult" list...I think I might actually be a grown-up. No quotation marks necessary.

Is it weird that I'm no small amount freaked out by that?

07 November, 2008

Bored?

Stuck in Traffic that just won't move?

Why not be productive? Instead of flipping through the radio stations and sighing with annoyance, try what I witnessed walking back from dinner with my friends this evening. The bridge by my apartment was up, and two guys had hopped out of their cars and were proceeding to have a contest to see who could do the most push-ups before the bridge went back down. A crowd had gathered, people were honking and cheering on their respective horses, and placing bets on who would win. Yes kids, that's South Florida, where we really know how to class up a traffic jam!

06 November, 2008

Position paper....

Someone asked me today what my position on education was. They were actually asking about everything (the CW5H2O doctrine, so to speak), and now that the election is over, I can actually talk about things like that. Shockingly enough (yes, that was sarcasm children, I know I'm obsessive, no need to harp on it.), the first thing that came to my mind was a quote from (do I even need to say it at this point?) The West Wing:

"Education is the silver bullet, education is everything. We don't need little changes, we need gigantic, monumental changes. I think schools should be palaces. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce, they should be making six figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense. That's my position. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet."

05 November, 2008

Sound Familiar?

TiVo has been recording episodes of The West Wing for me, and something struck me about Season 7. It was a low rated season, to be sure, but check this out.

From "Faith Based Initiative" :

"I wanted to start this journey in the place where it all started for me. Soon, we will be inundated by the polls, the punditry, and prognostications, all the nonsense that goes with our national political campaigns. Well, none of that matters. This is the place that matters. Because everyday, children come to this schoolhouse to glimpse their futures, to ask for hope. They may not know they need it yet, but they do. And I'm here to tell you that hope is real. In a life of trials, in the world of challenges, hope is real. In a country where families go without healthcare, where some go without food, some don't even have a home to speak of, hope is real. In a time of global chaos and instability where our faiths collide, as often as our weapons, hope is real. Hope is what gives us the courage to take on our greatest challenges, to move forward together. We live in cynical times, I know that. But hope is not up for debate. There is such a thing as false science, there is such a thing as false promises, I am sure I will have my share of false starts. But there is no such thing as false hope. There is only hope."

From "Election Day, Part II" :

"First, I want to say a special word of thanks to Senator Vinick, and I ask you all to join me in applauding his lifetime of service. Arnie Vinick made this a better campaign, and he's made this a better country for all of us. My father was a barber, my mother a domestic servant, and I never dreamed that I'd have this chance to serve so many people in so many ways. It would be easy for me to stand here and claim a sweeping mandate for the next four years. I can't do that. This was a razor-thin election. My intention is to be the President of everyone - black or brown, yellow or white, Republican or Democrat. I've got a lot of reaching out to do. America has become more polarized - you can't run for President and not see that. Our votes may have been divided, but our country will not be divided. Because, ultimately, it's not about left or right, it's about doing right. Together, we are going to lift up those who have been let down. We are going to ensure that the promise of America is not the privilege of the few, but the birthright of all Americans. I am more grateful than I can say, you have given me an opportunity that comes to few people. Perhaps fewer are worthy of it. God bless you, and God bless America."

Both are quotes from the character Matthew Santos, played by Jimmy Smitts. Do you think he and the writers of the final season of The West Wing ever look back at 2006 and wonder how they got that close to the truth? Think it's possible that Obama's speech writers were West Wing fans? God knows we could do worse!

Election Day - The Generation Gap

Talked to my parents this morning, both huge McCain supporters.

They went to bed last night at 9pm.

9PM!!!

We didn't even KNOW ANYTHING at 9pm!!

But this conversation led to a new revelation about my mom: she has a bit of a mean streak in her!

She got up at 5am this morning to go walk the puppy, then turned on the news and saw that Obama won. So she makes her breakfast, takes a shower, and then goes to wake up Dad. His first question: "Well, how much did he win by?" To which Mom responded: "He didn't. McCain managed to pull it out in the end, McCain won!"

My father sat STRAIGHT UP in bed, got all excited and fumbled around for the TV remote, shouting "REALLY? THIS IS AMAZING! INCREDIBLE!!" At which point my mother had to tell him that no, she was kidding, Obama won and would be the 44th President of the United States. Now I like Obama and I wouldn't even have done that! Who knew my innocent little mother had that kind of a cruel, sadistic streak in her? Maybe we're more alike than I thought! ;)

04 November, 2008

Election....Fini.

NBC News is projecting that the 44th President of the United States will be Barack Obama. And history is made. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard on both campaigns. Well done to everyone who went out to vote. I think at the end of the day, we're going to look at this election, and see records broken everywhere. Impressive job America. :)

Election Evening, Part II

Here's how my election evening is going so far. Watching MSNBC and g-chating and e-mailing with friends in my office. Watching CNN and eating popcorn and pizza in the living room with neighbors. Watching BBC America and texting with friends in the bedroom.

Yes, my inner political geek is, well, totally geeked out.

Election Evening...

A just called from Grant Park in Chicago, where she's waiting in line to get in. I'm jealous! And apparently the official election updater...fun! :)

I'm still anxiously awaiting the final results from Florida and Indiana. The northwest quadrant of Indiana has gone for Obama, and obviously Marion county. I can't remember the last time Indiana was too close to call in a Presidential election. That's an accomplishment on its own!

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and DC

So here's something I don't understand. I'm watching MSNBC and CNN, looking at the electoral math from several different sources, and I see that they're calling Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and DC for Obama. With 0% of precincts reporting.

Huh?

I'm confused.....

Live Election Results!

Okay, I have no idea if this is going to work or not, and I totally stole it from Mark, so if it doesn't I'm blaming him (Al said it was okay!). Enjoy!

Election Afternoon...

I'll probably be posting more of these throughout the rest of today, and I'll try to be as bi-partisan with my mocking as possible, but here's one just for starters:

Seen on CNN this afternoon:

Sarah Palin, talking to reporters after casting her vote in Wasilla this morning, was asked who she voted for. Her response? She said she was going to avail herself of her right to privacy and not tell anyone who she voted for.

Really?

REALLY?

I would presume that most of us could guess, unless she's had an 11th hour change of heart and decided to vote for Ralph Nader. You never know!

And before you nay-sayers jump in and say that she was just joking around, she wasn't. Or at least if she was, she wasn't doing it well. She didn't crack a smile once (and come on, that woman smiles A LOT!), she didn't wink, she didn't laugh, nothing. She said it with a straight face and moved onto the next question.

Which was, FYI, on what she would do about US/Japan foreign policy.

Again, really Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman? Of all the foreign policy issues going on in our world today, you're going to pick US/Japan foreign policy? Not Iran? Not Venezuela? Not Iraq? Not Afghanistan? If you're going to go Asian, how 'bout China and Taiwan signing new economic accords? That's a pretty big deal! Sigh. Oh well. That's all for now, I'm off to watch copious amounts of 24 news. :)

Election Day

Happy Election Day everybody!

No matter who you vote for, don't forget to vote!! :)

03 November, 2008

Crazy Day....

What is it about Mondays? I mean seriously...does Murphy come to visit more on Mondays just because they both start with 'M'?

Tired? Yes.

Going to bed early? Absolutely.

Chocolate? Don't mind if I do!

02 November, 2008

What Not To Do: Tip #173

Gentlemen, from time to time on this blog, I offer tips...little items that most men should know, but perhaps don't. This is one of those times...tonight you can thank a guy I'll call Ricky, who I met in the grocery store this evening. So, courtesy of Ricky, here's What Not To Do On A Date Tip #173:

When inviting a woman over to your home and offering to cook her a nice dinner, be prepared to, in fact, offer her a nice dinner. And if the only thing you know how to cook is steak, that's fine, I know many women who like steak. If you're going to go to the trouble of buying $45 worth of prime cut filet mignon, please, please, for the love of God, put a little thought into what you're going to serve as side dishes (yes, you need side dishes). Do not, under any circumstances, take a page out of Ricky's book and ask a random girl in the grocery store, what kind of potato chips she thinks would go well with filet mignon. There are no potato chips that would go well with filet mignon. I don't care how completely inept you are in the kitchen, you can toss together a salad, they even have them bagged and ready to go...all you have to do is open and put in a bowl. Or get some frozen veggies...they even have the ones that you can microwave in the bag, and then again, open and put in a bowl. Baked potatoes are pretty simple, and always go well with steak. All you have to do is poke them with a fork a couple times, then put them in a 425 degree oven for 50 minutes. Easy peasy. But for the love of God, if you're going to spend $45 on nice steaks, honor the steak AND the girl by making the side dishes more than what you'd serve if it was a super bowl party.

Poor Ricky....I met him at the grocery store at 6, the girl was coming over at 7, and he was just buying dinner, wearing plaid board shorts and a white t-shirt with stains all over it. I'm thinking the boy might not get a second date.

Mad Men and Mexican Food

So I'm catching up on my "Mad Men" episodes this weekend (I haven't watched in about 5 weeks!), and during one of the more recent episodes, a woman asks Don Draper if he's ever had Mexican food. This struck me as a bit of an absurd question, but then when Draper replied "No" I was shocked. I mean, it's set in the early 1960s, didn't they have Mexican food then? Certainly in Manhattan, right? Wouldn't you think?

I guess it's a generational thing, because it honestly didn't occur to me that in the 1960s, they wouldn't have had Mexican food. I suppose I've never stopped to think about when different cuisines came to America. Italian must have been one of the first, but what about others? What about Indian, or Chinese, or Lebanese, or Persian? I mean, when did all these foods that we take for granted today, really enter mainstream American households? It's an interesting question, but more interesting, for me, is the fact that I'd never thought about it before! Not once, in 26 years, did I ever stop to think that of course there was a time when these things weren't available on every street corner. That there was a time when you couldn't have Mexican or Chinese or even Pizza, easily delivered to your home 24 hours a day! I tell you what though, I'm really happy to be living in a world where they are, I promise you that.

31 October, 2008

Happy Halloween Everyone!

And in the Halloween spirit, here are some fun facts to know and tell:

There is a Satan's Kingdom, VT. (How many churches per capita you think they have there?)

There is a Goblintown, VA. (You just know they've got some kind of halloween parade where everyone dresses up as goblins and run through the cemetery.)

There is a Bloody Springs, MS. (Not taking a shower there....)

Jerry Ayers of Baltimore, Ohio has the record for the fastest pumpkin carver at 37 seconds. (Go Ohio!)

86% of Americans decorate their house for Halloween. (Yeah, that's right...I'm in the majority!!)

Just a few fun facts for you to get through the day on. Happy Halloween everybody!!

30 October, 2008

A suggestion ....

....for my new next-door neighbors. Perhaps if you stopped singing "Heigh-ho-the-merrio, no one likes me" at the top of your lungs, people might like you more. I'm just putting it out there....

Dodgeball

Driving home tonight I chanced upon a sign at a park near my house. "Fort Lauderdale Annual Dodgeball Tournament"

Now maybe it's just my inner nerd coming out (I am after all, wearing a Super Mario Brothers 3 t-shirt as I'm posting this.), or maybe it's just my abject hatred of the movie "Dodgeball," but I couldn't imagine what kind of a person (well, minus those who were the school bullies of course) would actually willingly take part in an activity that so many of us despised in grade school. I mean honestly, you're having large balls hurled at you at high speed for hours at a time...for sport? Really? Is this not just a test of our fight or flight reflexes? What's next, stoning for fun and profit?

Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud, but nothing about dodgeball screams "fun" to me....but then, maybe I'm just no fun.

26 October, 2008

Homecoming 2008!!!

I love Indianapolis!!!

I just got back from Butler Homecoming 2008, and had a GREAT time with all my friends. It was incredible to see everyone again, and to get back to Indy, a land that experiences actual seasons.

Check it out! Real trees! Not palm trees, actual honest to God trees!! And they're changing colors! It was amazing, if only for the sheer simple fact that, for the first time since APRIL, I was wearing closed toed shoes, socks, and a jacket -- I miss seasons!

I took Friday off work and left at the inhuman hour of 5am to fly to Indy. The minute I got off the plane and stepped out into the crisp, fall air, I smiled....Home!. A picked me up at the airport and we headed right for Butler, where I met up with Dr. V, one of my favorite professors, for tea. We chatted and caught up on everything that had been going on at Butler (including the new blog another of my professors had started) and in both of our lives, and it was amazing to be back in that atmosphere again. That has to be one of my favorite things about Butler...it's such a small school that not only do your Professors know you by name when you're there, they also remember you and stay in touch once you leave!

After tea with Dr. V, A and I went on to a late lunch with B and J at Bazbeaux in BroadRipple. It was great seeing them again, and getting the chance to catch up with B before he left for a Vegas wedding (Wait, people actually plan those? What happened to the spur-of-the-moment drive-thru chapel with Elvis as the officiant? Is nothing sacred anymore?). We also got the chance to see the new house that he just bought in Indy...it's incredible, and I'm jealous...enough said.

After lunch, A and I made our triumphant return to our mall.



Yes, it's the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing....the scene of many happy times during our college years...if possible the mall has gotten even better, so we spent a long time wandering around and doing our part to support the economy. :) We also found ourselves with some time to kill in Restoration Hardware, where we happened upon an amazing discovery: astrology books. They had one for each sign, and while we were waiting for the staff to get everything together for the lamps that A was buying, we took the time to read up on our signs, just for a laugh. Imagine our surprise when we discovered how scary accurate they were! For example, I'm a Leo, A is an Aquarius. The book at this to say about friendships between Leo and Aquarius: "There's an immediate sense of connection, and even of fascination, between Leo and Aquarius (It's true, A and I often find each other fascinating.). Like all opposites of the zodiac they're on the same wavelength, so things can really buzz and zing between these two (Okay, fine, generic enough, whatever. Here comes the fun part.). If they find themselves in a room full of people, they'll constantly be looking to one another, not for support so much as for the shared understanding and sense of amusement that is almost telepathic between them. When they're together, it's as though they're part of a well-rehearsed double act." Wow. It's true!!! A and I have this uncanny ability to ... well, mock people. All I have to do is look at her in a room full of people and I know she's seen the same horrible hair, really bad outfit or incredibly awful shoe choice. How did the book know that about us? Are all Leo and Aquarius friendships like this? I'm telling you, if you're in a Restoration Hardware anytime soon (remember, the lighting sale ends Tuesday!) you've gotta go pick up these books...they're amazing!



After that, convertible top down and newly-purchased lamps sticking out the top, it was time to go back to A's place and collapse for the evening.

============================

The next morning we got up early and headed over to BU to begin the Homecoming festivities. It was a beautiful and crisp fall day, so in typical Butler preppy fashion, we picked up some Starbucks on the way to campus and headed over to the belltower for some pictures.



Barktoberfest was fun, and we got to see a ton of people we hadn't expected. We even managed to get some of the old Dinosaur Evolution gang back together, which was totally unexpected, but an altogether welcome surprise. It seems like everyone's doing fairly well, and happy, which is great to see.

After the end of the Homecoming festivities, we headed to Qudoba, one of our favorite old college haunts and had lunch with BH and N, followed by a little more support of the local Indy economy in BroadRipple (what can I say, I like to do my part to get our nation out of this economic downturn!). After our shopping excursion was complete, it was time to head back to A's to (what else?) collapse and prep for the day's main event....that's right, what trip to Indy would be complete without....



The Melting Pot!!

I love the fact that A's mom didn't even have to ask if we were going to MP, she just asked what day we were going. Yes, it's our group's little tradition, something that we all did after finals every semester that we were at Butler. That's A and I in the middle, flanked by AM and her boyfriend, G. G had been to MP before, but I still contend that he hadn't done it "right" until he did it with the gang. I don't think we overwhelmed him too much (at least I hope not!), and he definitely held his own. It was so great to see AM&G again, it had been way too long. After an astonishingly long dinner (we started at 7pm, didn't finish until almost 11pm!!), we parted ways, full and happy.

Sunday was a day of sleeping in and a little more (what else?) stimulating the local economy! We met BH for brunch at another of our favorite haunts, Le Peep. The bunch was as good as I'd remembered, and afterward, we headed over for a little more shopping and a movie. We saw The Duchess, at the new Keystone Arts Cinema, which was very entertaining! A and I saw movies almost every weekend we were in town at Butler, so it was the perfect way to end my visit. A dropped me back at the airport Sunday evening, and I flew back to Florida, happy and content.

It occurs to me as I'm sitting here writing this, that there's really nothing I would change about my college experience. I know that Butler was the right choice, no doubt in my mind about that, and I love all my friends there. My professors were amazing (thanks Dr. V!), the campus is beautiful, and the opportunities I was given were incredible. I guess the only thing I would do differently if given the chance is take more pictures! :) As I got back to the apartment this evening, I had to wonder....being back at Butler was like coming home, no doubt about it -- will Florida ever feel like that? When I think about it, Toledo is home, Pentwater is home, Indy is home, and DC is home...so really, once again, the theory of home being where your friends and people who love you are, proves true. Hopefully Florida will start to feel like home soon, but in the meantime, I'm just lucky to have so many people I care about all over the country.

So on that note, I guess all that's left to say is Happy Homecoming, and Go Bulldogs! (Did I mention we beat Morehead State 31-21 in an amazing second-half rally? Nice job boys!)

22 October, 2008

Early Voting Has Begun in South Florida!!

Well, in all of Florida technically, as well as some other places around the US.

But that's beside the point.

What is my point?

I'm glad you asked!

The point is how I KNOW that voting has begun in South Florida. And the reason I know this, is because when driving past the polling place that I will eventually vote in, I saw that it was being staffed by a large number of people holding up large signs that simply said "VOTE." There were also signs that said "No matter who you vote for, you have to vote." And: "Vote Today!" And these signs....every single one of them....was being held by a Drag Queen.

Yes, that's right. You know voting has begun in South Florida when the Drag Queens start their "Get Out The Vote" campaign in six inch stilettos and mini-skirts. Now I think that it's great that they're getting involved, and I fully support gay rights, but I have to wonder....if George Washington or Thomas Jefferson suddenly rose from the dead, what would they make of this?

(After, of course, we got them to crawl out from under the table where they were hiding from the giant moving metal monsters on the street.)

21 October, 2008

iPod Shuffle

I was just catching up on my friend M's blog, and found the most interesting entry about her 3 year-old's pre-K class all being given iPod shuffles. She's not sure (nor am I) what the reasoning behind that is, but I found the whole thing so fascinating that I had to post the link to it here. Can't wait to hear what the explanation for this one is!

20 October, 2008

And in other good news....

My neighbors just brought me muffins!!

Yes, that's right, the old-school idea of neighbors knowing, acknowledging and actually talking to one another is not dead (much, as I found last week, like chivalry!). My neighbors, C&K, just brought me pumpkin spice butterscotch muffins! I'm starting to think that I'm going to like this building! :)

AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!

(That's a girlie scream for those of you not in the know.)

Two of my favorite people in the world just got engaged, and I'm over-the-moon-happy for them. So congratulations you two crazy kids! You're going to be so happy together, and I can't wait to see you in person and celebrate! :)


YAY!!!! :)

18 October, 2008

Joe The Plumber

I know, I know, it's a few days after the final Presidential debate. And Joe the Plumber is beginning to be just a sidenote in history, that will probably be forgotten about by the time a new President is in the White House in January (unless whoever it is invites Joe to a State Dinner....which, let's be honest, is not outside of the realm of possibility.). But Joe the Plumber put my hometown on the map this week.

Yes, that's right, CW5H2O is from Holland Ohio. And of all the things I ever imagined our little village, with a population of less than 1,500 could possibly be famous for, a guy talking to a presidential candidate about taxes had to be pretty low on that list. I was watching the news the next morning, and they were standing in Joe's front yard (which, at 6 in the morning, with TV cameramen mucking up his lawn and lights blaring, I imagine he had to be pretty annoyed about.), and I realized, Joe lives just a couple miles from my parents! And I went to grade school with a girl who lived in his neighborhood! I know where Joe the Plumber lives....how crazy is that?

Does this mean that I can start claiming Joe the Plumber as our most famous resident, instead of Katie Holmes (she is more Toledo than Holland after all)? Please? Pretty pretty pretty please?

Have I ever mentioned that I love Halloween?

Well I do. I am, after all, the girl who realized last year that she had more Halloween decorations than Christmas decorations. And the girl who, despite that fact, went out this year and found a big orange and black sign that says "One hour broom parking only. Violators will be toad." And had to buy it, because even now, weeks later, seeing it hanging in my kitchen every morning makes me laugh.

So in that spirit, I've updated my blog's template for the remainder of the month of October, and added a "gadget" on the side called "The Disturbing World Wide Weird."

I'm not sure how long I'll be able to deal with this much orange and black on my blog, so it may not stick around all the way until Halloween, but as a total holiday nerd, I'll do my level best.

Enjoy!

So here's the good news.....

Chivalry? Not dead.

Apparently just hibernating.

I went out with a big group of friends for dinner and drinks tonight, and not only did the guys all do that incredible 'half-stand, half-sit' thing at the restaurant (incredibly attractive guys, FYI), the one who drove us also ran around the car to open the door for the ladies. Chivalrous? Yes. Sexy? Absolutely.

If only guys knew just how easy it was to impress us.....Gentlemen? Take note!

15 October, 2008

Yes Virginia, there are horses in Florida....

Okay, I didn't actually think that there weren't horses in Florida. But when I think of Florida, horses aren't the first things that come to mind. Certainly they aren't the first things that come to mind when I consider effective law enforcement tools for South Florida.

Yes, that's right. Fort Lauderdale has mounted police. I saw them for the first time on my way home last Friday. There was a herd (yeah, they're on horses, so I'm calling them a herd, what're you gonna do about it?) of them on Sunrise, clustered around a convenience store that appeared to have just been robbed. My initial reaction was the classic double-take. Seriously? How stretched thin is FLPD that the only unit available to respond to an armed robbery is the Mounted Police? Then of course I almost got into an accident because I was totally rubber-necking, starring at the policemen on horses. I can't believe I was rubber-necking. I HATE people who rubber-neck!

The second sighting was on my way to the airport to pick up M on Saturday afternoon. This time it was just one, standing (parked? can you park a horse? any cowboys out there want to lend a suggestion? my horse vocab seems to be sorely lacking for this post.) at the side of the road to the airport with a radar detector. And I just had to say, once again, Seriously?? I mean really? What is he going to do if he catches someone speeding? Trot after them? Canter? Gallup? How fast can a horse go anyhow? I presume they can't outrun a car, but maybe I'm wrong (again, cowboys, any thoughts?). This time I did NOT rubber-neck, but it did give me a nice chuckle all the rest of the way to the airport.



In other news, it's been another rough week at work. I'm still feeling overwhelmed on a regular basis and in need of a good laugh. And sleep. Did I mention sleep? But if anyone else is feeling the same way, I offer up the thing that made me crack up laughing when talking to one of my best friends today: "Well, if you have time later, we can debate the number of gremlins that can dance on the head of a lit match." Only a crazy person would offer that up when a friend said they were in need of a good laugh...but then I laughed, so I guess we're both crazy, huh? Hey, whatever works!

14 October, 2008

re: Sun, Fun and Relaxation!

Just dropped M off at the airport...an early start to the day, to be sure, but well worth it for a great weekend catching up with an old friend. Fun, sun and relaxation, absolutely perfect in my book, though I know she's excited to get home to the boys. Thanks for coming M, it was a great time! See you back here this time next year?

08 October, 2008

An Objective View....

For a truly objective view on last night's presidential debates, I went to my favorite mascot, Butler Blue II, who had this to say about who he thought the winner of the second debate was:

"I like to think of myself as a pretty good judge of character (a lot of dogs are) and from what little I saw of the debate tonight, I’d vote for that Tom Brokaw guy...just some free advice from your mascot."

As a sidenote, I can't wait for Homecoming!

06 October, 2008

VOTE!



I know I usually post rants, or silly little stories, or random musings and wonderment, but the thing is, whatever your political views, whether you're Democrat or Republican, you've gotta register to vote. And then you need to go out on November 4th, and you've got to actually vote. Every vote counts, and this election is inevitably going to be a close one. And after all, if you don't vote, you can't bitch about the outcome. And we all know how much I like to bitch...so vote!

For the record:

The Smurfs is out on DVD.



Now I know that I've been accused, and rightfully so, of being obsessed with TV shows on DVD, but The Smurfs? Really?


****Okay, as a sidenote, I was about to write "Really? Next thing you're going to tell me is that The Gummi Bears (bouncing here and there and everywhere...high adventure that's beyond compare....) are coming out on DVD too." Then I thought better of it, and it occured to me to check. Lo and behold....



Wow.

05 October, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

Well, once again the weekend's gone too fast. I was in DC for M's bridal shower, and it was a great time. K&G let me stay with them, which was perfect, since the shower was at their place (and they have a puppy!!!!!!!), and it all went swimmingly. M's family all showed up, the games that S and I organized were NOT rpt NOT cheesy, and went over very well, the food was perfect, and a good time was had by all. It was a lot of fun, and now I can't wait for the wedding!

After the shower, I headed out for dinner with the girls at Dehli Club in Clarendon. I met up with D, M and S and we got to spend the whole evening catching up. There's something about dinner with girlfriends, especially good Indian food with girlfriends, that really just makes me happy. I had one of those moments when I pictured my life as a movie, with the great background music (maybe something a la The Big Chill?) swelling as we laughed and talked the night away. We got to vent about work, bitch about life and gossip about boys....all of which my regular life is severely lacking! That's the thing I miss most about DC, STILL....girlfriends. Someone to hug me when I need it, someone to talk to me about boys, about work, about family, about life. A phone conversation just isn't the same, and the girls at the office are great, don't get me wrong, we're just not at that point yet. It doesn't feel the same, and I suppose I don't expect it to. It's just nice to get home, and see friends again. These little trips back to DC are really what's keeping me sane right now.

Speaking of seeing friends...I got to have brunch with H&J this morning! We met up at Talluah's in Clarendon, one of their favorite brunch spots, and got to have a lovely meal outside on a beautiful fall day (and we won't even talk about the fact that when I got back to FL tonight it was 89 degrees with humidity you had to take a machete to when walking out of the airport). Now these two I really love. They're great together, and play off each other so well. When you're around them, you can't help but be swept up in their ease with each other, and happiness. And funny...god, get the three of us together and we're just constantly mocking, laughing and snarking back and forth...thank god for friends that understand and appreciate my persnickety side!!! It was a great way to end the weekend.

I was sad to leave of course, but I'll be back for the wedding in November, and hopefully will be able to see everyone again...maybe for longer than a couple hours this time (fingers crossed!)!!

So now I'm back in Florida (you'll note I still can't quite manage to say that I'm "home"...I think that'll come with time), typing away to all of you at my computer and staring out my office window at the Ft. Lauderdale skyline at night, which is beautiful, and I'm resisting the urge to look around the room and realize the horrific state it's in...M and Baby C arrive on Friday, so I've got all week to clean, which I'll hopefully do a little bit at a time, rather than in a big frenetic burst in the wee hours of Thursday night. I can't wait to see M again and meet Baby C, so it's going to be yet another busy weekend with friends...my favorite kind! For now I'm going to make myself a quick sandwich for dinner and collapse in front of my TiVo and catch up on some MUCH needed TV viewing before my poor machine gets overloaded! G'night all!

03 October, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS A!!

My friend A found out this morning that she passed the bar exam!! Woo-hoo! So if you know A, or see her online, tell her congrats, it's well deserved, and she worked really hard (not that any of us who know her ever had a doubt in our minds!). Way to go!

02 October, 2008

The VP Debate

Okay, I can't be 100% sure, because I came in a little late, but I'm reasonably certain that Sarah Palin didn't pronounce the name of a single world leader correctly. I mean it...maybe it was the accent, and I'll have to go back and check, but I think she even pronounced Castro wrong!! I sat there on my bed the entire time, clenching the sheets in my fists. Now I know that world politics and foreign policy are kind of my thing, and I certainly don't expect everyone in the US to be able to pronounce Ahmadinejad or Karzai or Maliki correctly, but I damn well expect someone who's trying to be the Vice President of the United States to do it right!!

(See, that wasn't a very long rant, was it?)

29 September, 2008

I'm Back!!

Well, life is insane.

They always say that life is what happens when you're making other plans, and I've never been more sure that that's true. Work is insane. I'm crazy busy. My personal life is nutty, but good, so one makes me able to cope with the other, but today, I just kind of hit the breaking point, so after updating per M's request, I'm going to take a nice long bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book...but let's get to the update, shall we?

I went to visit the grandparents this weekend. Only Friday night and Saturday morning though, so it was doable. Spent the requisite amount of time apologizing for the fact that since I was no longer in a relationship, it meant they wouldn't be great-grandparents anytime soon. (Yeah, that was fun!) Then spent the rest of the time meeting all their neighbors at the new place. They're living in a senior-citizens' center, that appears to be nothing so much as college dorm life for the over 75 set. None of the family could figure out why they wanted to move into the place so badly, but after visiting, I think I can kind of see. The place is really pretty, the staff is friendly and knows everyone by name, they're surrounded by all their old friends, there are constant (and i mean constant) activities happening, sometimes five or six per day, they have world-class chefs who prepare all the food, and people come in to clean the place once a day. It's like college dorm life in a swanky hotel! Oh, and did I mention that my grandparents, both in their mid-80s, are pretty much the youngest people in the place? It's true!! I was introduced to at least 15 people over 100!

After leaving the grandparents, I went to Innisbrooke Resort to meet up with B, who I hadn't seen in about two years (way, WAY too long!). His brother had gotten us a kick-ass rate on a 2BR 2BA place with a great view of the golf course, and we spent the rest of the weekend going to the beach, the pool (shaped like the Loch Ness monster, FYI), getting amazing food and drinks, and generally having a good time. It was non-stop conversation (as it always is with us, after all!) and amazing to catch up with one of my favorite people from Butler. We did have a moment (several really, but I'll only relate one for now...) of complete and utter hilarity. Perhaps it was the fact that we'd had several blue drinks at the pool during the day, or maybe it was just really funny, but we couldn't stop laughing. We went to Packard's, the local steakhouse, for dinner last night, and as we got out of B's rental car, we realized that the lights weren't going off. Now B's car has automatic lights, mine does not, and neither of us had a clue what kind the rental car had, so we just stood there for awhile. Finally, it was clear that they were not automatic, so B ran back to turn them off. While he did that, I started talking to one of the waiters, who was holding the door open for us. I laughed as I watched B running back to the car, sure that as soon as he got there, the lights would go off again. I explained the situation to waiter guy, let's call him Roger, and he started laughing too. Then, the odd thing happened. Roger said to me, and I quote: "Well, you should have just let it go and let the car battery die. I mean, he probably doesn't let you drive all that often, so you should just take advantage of the situation!"

Um, huh? Come again?

There are several things wrong with that sentence. Start with the fact that B and I aren't together, so there's strike one, but I don't really blame the guy for thinking that, extremely natural assumption given the situation, and how clearly comfortable we are with each other, so that's fine, not an issue. But strike two is that he assumed that B wouldn't let me drive....do I look like a bad driver? Is there something about me that screams "Irresponsible citizen," or does he just assume that all women are bad drivers? On top of that, "let" really? Really? In this day and age, do you really think that there are 20something men who don't LET their 20something wives drive? I mean, okay, sure, maybe in some places, but not here, and certainly not me!! Do I look like the kind of shrinking violet of a woman who would take that?? And finally, strike three, I said it was a rental car. If we're driving a rental car, does he assume that we both have one? How does it help me to be able to drive if our one car dies? The logic fairies did not come to bless this kid as a baby.

Of course B picks this moment to return, before I could say something snarky to Roger, and at any rate, it provided some great conversational fodder (like we needed more, but still...) and B and I laughed about that one all night long. It was an amazing dinner, and a great evening all in all, so I highly recommend Innisbrook to anyone looking for a getaway in Central Florida. It's a great place and we were treated like VIPs the whole time. Food was incredible, amenities were good, staff was amazing...and good times were had by all!

Okay, that's it for now, I just ordered food from Franco & Vinnies down the street, an amazing little Italian Pizzaria, and it's calling my name. I'm determined to extend the weekend's relaxation just a smidge. Hasta pronto friends!

21 September, 2008

Incommunicado

Okay kids, looks like with my ever crazy, hectic, INSANE schedule, I'm going to be incommunicado for the next little while. So, since I've been a bit of a downer lately, and since I tend, on the whole, to be somewhat cynical (I expect plenty of "Gasp! What? You, C? Never!!" comments!), I thought I'd share a good story before heading to bed tonight...

A and I always bitch about bad parents, but we rarely comment on good ones (you know it's true!), but earlier this week I was at the pool, taking a little bit of much needed C-time. The pool was fairly deserted, and I was sitting on the edge, reading a book. Two little girls were playing on the other side of the pool, and slowly began to migrate my way. They weren't overly loud or obnoxious, they were just being kids, but they seemed to have no concept of the people around them (Remember when you were little and absolutely certain that the world revolved around you? Ah, the good old days...) When they got to my side of the pool, they were practicing their swimming, kicking, etc, and wound up splashing me, getting me and my book totally soaked. I just spluttered for a moment, and debated yelling at them, but was just too tired to deal with it, and their mother was calling them anyhow, so I got out of the water and went to sit on my lounge chair for a bit.

Next thing I know, I look up and the two little girls are standing there, looking chagrined. They actually apologized, very articulately, said how sorry they were that they'd gotten my book wet, and promised that if I wanted to get back in the water, they would be more careful and pay attention to the people around them.

I was stunned! I mean, their mother had taken immediate action, and not only did the girls actually apologize when their mother told them to, but they seemed to actually mean it! Then I was stunned that I was stunned...my mother, all my friends' mothers, would have done exactly the same thing when we were kids, so I shouldn't really be surprised when I see an example of good parenting, but I kind of am. How sad is that?? Though I suppose in the spirit of attempting to be less cynical, I should call it a glimmer of hope...maybe this is the beginning of a new trend? Hey, a girl can dream!

So, in my absence, folks should read through past posts and COMMENT (hint, hint gang...). I'll be back sometime next week, and hopefully full of more fun stories. Take care kids, have a great week!

20 September, 2008

General Musings...

Well kids, it's been a helluva week. I'm honestly beat...work has been crazy, and shows no signs of slowing down. I'm exhausted. I treated myself to a little mini-spa day this weekend, and God did I need it. Still, despite how cute my fingers and toes are, I'm down to the bone tired. And it's not like it hasn't been emotionally exhausting too...there's a lot of stuff going on in the world of CW5H2O, which is why I haven't really posted in a little while. I don't really know what to say. On the upside, I found a great little Cuban restaurant in town, so chalk one up for getting to know the neighborhood! It's been a long day, so I think I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine, and get in bed with a good book. Hope everyone's having a good weekend!

16 September, 2008

Here's the thing....

The markets are tanking. The American people don't really know what to do about it. The average American doesn't fully understand the stock market, other than that up is good, down is bad, and down 500 is really bad. But the stock market's cyclical, and time has proven that though it goes down, it eventually comes back up again, so I'm personally trying not to worry too much about it, but here's the thing. In this time of financial crisis for many Americans, are we really okay with our presidential candidates taking pot shots at each other? What happened to McCain's pledge not even two months ago that he wasn't going to run or support a dirty campaign? I'm sick to death of nasty attack adds from both sides. I'd give just about anything to see a presidential campaign that was about honest to God issues, that raised the level of debate in this country and didn't assume that the American people were stupid. Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to see that again for a very long time.

14 September, 2008

You know what's incredibly painful?

Dinner and a movie with a person who has the conversational skills and personality of a cardboard box.

You'd think that the movie would take some of the edge off. You'd be wrong.

10 September, 2008

Can you say overreaction? I knew you could....

So last night, I'm on my way to a BBQ at a friend's house, and I'm driving along the residential streets in Fort Lauderdale, ambling along at 25mph. Admittedly this is less a function of me being a good, lawful, speed-limit abiding citizen, and more of the fact that the houses in the area are really big and neat looking, but still, besides the point.

As I'm driving along, I see two police cars coming from the opposite direction. I don't think anything of it.

Then they pass me, then pull a SCREECHING u-turn and get behind me, both with lights flashing and sirens blazing. I pull over, shocked and confused, and roll down my window. "Yes Officer?" "License, registration and proof of insurance please?" I dig around through my glove compartment, find what he needs and pass it to him. "Is there a problem?" No response. I'm not quite sure what to do. Obviously I don't want to be angry and belligerent, but I'm seriously confused here. "I'll be right back." He turns around and walks back to his car. I'm starting to get a little worried. He and his friend confer for 10 minutes (Literally. I timed it as the neighbors started to come out of their houses and stare at me curiously.) and then he comes back to my car. I ask again: "Is there a problem here, sir?" He responds: "Yes, your front driver's side headlight is starting to burn out. I'm letting you off with a warning this time, but you need to get that fixed."

Stunned silence.

Finally: "Umm...I had no idea. Thank you, I will."

Officer leaves.

I drive on to my friend's house.

My front driver's side light was starting to burn out? And you thought that merited not one but TWO police cars making screeching u-turns on a residential street, and turning on both the lights and sirens? Really? REALLY????

Can you say overreaction much kids?

I knew you could....

08 September, 2008

Well, looks like it happened again...

It looks like Hurricane Ike is going to miss us (knock wood). Once again, all that prepping, freaking out and obsessively checking the National Hurricane Center was for nothing. Now I'm not complaining mind you, I just wish we had a better way to predict these things. Or I suppose I wish that hurricanes were more logical. Oh well...if wishes were horses, right? Anyhow, I'm sure we'll be getting drenched tomorrow, so I should get to bed...PTB know it's gonna take twice as long to get into work in the morning! G'night!

06 September, 2008

The White Trash Perfect Storm

Well, I just got back from yet another Target shopping spree. I can never manage to get out of there buying only what I walked in there intending to buy...

But that's not the story of this post.

The story of this post is that I encountered the quintessential white trash woman while shopping.

I first encountered her in housewares. She was in her mid-40s, totally fake 'n baked and bleached-blond hair with the darkest roots I've ever seen. I was momentarily blinded by the sheer number of blue sequins on the her plunging-neckline camisole top. Then, once I readjusted, I was horrified to find that she was falling out of the top as she bent over to check the price on the clearance margarita mix. The only thing holding her in was the hot pink bra, and even that was about to give way. As I moved to walk past her quickly and attempted to hold in the gales of laughter that threatened to erupt, I was stunned to find that she wasn't only falling out of her top, she was spilling over her skin-tight white jeans (perhaps she's "working" to put herself through plumber's school?). I quickly got away and texted A and S, my two favorite partners in mocking.

But the story's not over.

I kept running into her throughout the store! She was polishing the lipstick off her teeth in the glass doors of the frozen food section; she was trying on shoes in the shoe section (though I don't know what could possibly be wrong with her 5 inch white platform shoes); she was asking her boyfriend if he thought she should do her hair like Rhianna on the cover of her latest CD; and finally, she was in line ahead of me when I went to the registers to check out.

But oh my friends...the story's still not over.

In her shopping basket were: thong underwear, condoms, misc. other 'adult' products, monistat 7 and brillo pads. Can I get an "Ewwwwww...." from the crowd? That's just not a good combination.

When she and boyfriend (who was probably about the same age as she was, mid-40's, about 70lbs overweight, balding, and short...in other words, Joe Average) left, the check-out guy looked at me and visibly shuddered. We both started cracking up...I was just grateful that I wasn't the only one who'd A) noticed and B) been completely skeeved out!

05 September, 2008

Seriously, why are there no good movies out right now?

I'm really in the mood to get a group of people together and go see a movie this weekend. My problem is that there appear to be no good movies out right now! And I just don't understand it...most of the time I can find SOMETHING that I'm willing to see. I like a good action flick, I enjoy seeing stuff blow up as much as the next 20-something. I like a good chick flick. I love a good comedy. I love good drama. I don't think I'm too difficult to please. The only thing I really don't go see is horror. But honestly, I've perused the movies currently showing, and not only do none of them appear to be particularly good, I haven't even heard of most of them! And I watch a lot of TV!! A LOT of TV. So what's the deal? Looks like I'm going to be Pineapple Expressing it this weekend. I just can't really bring myself to get excited about another "drugs = humor" movie. Oh well, I'll let you know how it goes!