30 June, 2008

Okay kids, this is it!

The movers are about done packing my things, and I'm going to have to turn off the computer now, so this may be my last post until I arrive in my new apartment in Florida. Expect to be hearing from me again after July 14th! Until then, I leave you with the lyrics to a song that's been running through my head more and more as I'm preparing to move. Regina Spektor's "The Call." I think they're appropriate! Until next time, hasta pronto! If you need me, just call. :)

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word

And then that word grew louder and louder
Til it was a battle cry

I'll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye

Just because everything's changing
Doesn't mean it's never
Been this way before

All you can do is try to know
Who your friends are
As you head off to the war

Pick a star on the dark horizon
And follow the light

You'll come back
When it's over
No need to say good bye

You'll come back
When it's over
No need to say good bye..

Now we're back to the beginning
It's just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can't feel it too
Doesn't mean that you have to forget

Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
Til they're before your eyes

You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say good bye

You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say good bye..

It's 3am, do you know where your children are?

If you're my parents and you guessed that your daughter was still packing and organizing before the movers come in five hours, congratulations! You win a year's supply of turtle wax and Valium.

29 June, 2008

5h2o addendum (Technically I guess Part IV, D is for Douglas)

So A pointed out to me that I'd forgotten to throw in a tidbit about our movie-going experience on Sunday in Ludington. As you'll recall (if you made it that far), we saw Kung Fu Panda. Now obviously, the song that played as the credits rolled was a cover of Carl Douglas' Kung Fu Fighting, redone by Jack Black. As we're walking out of the theater, I made the comment that I liked Carl Douglas' original version better than the new Jack Black version. To which A responds, with shock and abject horror: "YOU like the original version???"

Which I have to take a little bit of offense to, because come on, it was a classic...in a totally cheesy 70s sort of a way. And at any rate, it's really more of a sentimental thing, because my 5h2o friends and I spent the summer before my 9th birthday listening to all of our parents' old music (Beatles, Beach Boys, and yes, Carl Douglas) and I still have very fond memories of the dance that S made up to go along with Kung Fu Fighting. HYSTERICAL!

Anyway, I think that's likely to be the last of the 5h2o entries for awhile...feel free to start making fun now, I'm going to go back to my pre-move panic attacks now.

28 June, 2008

Well, it's official...

I'm in total panic mode. The movers arrive MONDAY to pack up all my stuff. I'm nowhere near ready. My "To Do" list is three pages long. I've got a little more than 24 hours, and if I don't spend at least a few of those sleeping, the panic's going to be even worse come Monday. Thank god one of the boys agreed to come over to help, otherwise I'd probably be curled up in a ball on the floor, denying that any of this was happening. I've had a year to get myself ready for this. It's just moving for God's sake, I'm an adult, I should be able to do this, right?


Right??


It's those genes from my father's "why travel when you could stay home" side of the family. The rational part of my brain knows that FL is going to be a great experience, that the work will be great, I'll meet a lot of new people and all my friends will come visit my apartment a block from the beach.

Sadly, the rational part of my brain is being shouted down by the voice in my head making lists and worrying about what I'm going to forget. I'm hoping that it comes back after the movers leave...or at least once I check into the hotel.

That's it for now. I've got a panic attack scheduled for 10:30, so I should get going if I want to make it in time!

27 June, 2008

5h2o stories Part III. C is for crazy!

Okay kids, this is part III of III for my 5h2o series...I've saved some of the best for last, even if they're slightly out of sequential order!

Bobcat:
So Monday morning, SMT and I decide to walk the boardwalk, I gave her a tour of GP and OBA, and we went out to walk along the channel and out to the lighthouse. We had a lovely workout and the weather was very nice. We get home and there's two messages from my dad, one from RB and the phone is ringing (later, when I'm back in cell phone reception area, I find another voicemail from Dad.). It's mom. She informs me that RB (my dad's friend who has a cottage further down the beach) called them to tell them that there was a BOBCAT on the loose in Pentwater! A BOBCAT! In Pentwater! So Mom and Dad were frantically calling to tell me not to walk in the woods (umm...okay, we won't....anymore...) and to carry a big stick (not sure if we were supposed to speak softly or not). Apparently the bobcat had been in his neck of the woods (literally) and had somehow gotten in the open window of one of his neighbor's truck and had completely torn apart the inside of the cab, but escaped before animal control arrived on the scene. So I went door to door in the association, telling all the neighbors I could find about the bobcat (so they'd keep their little dogs inside!).

When I told the story in the office, some people were a little confused as to why I'd go around telling everyone, after all, wouldn't they hear about it eventually? To which I responded: Well, there's no cell phone reception, the few people who actually have answering machines don't ever actually check them, most cottages don't have TVs, much less cable, and even if they do, never watch it...how exactly would they hear? At which point one of my colleagues said that he thought that they'd probably notice when their small animals started disappearing...which might also explain where their small children had wandered off to...

Sadly there were no bobcat sightings the rest of the week, though we did get a good tip from a knowledgeable source: if you encounter a bobcat, never turn your back on it; bobcats like to go for the back of the neck. Not sure exactly how helpful that information would have been in an actual bobcat encounter, though I suppose we could have attempted to run away backwards?

Runaway Truck:
Tuesday evening, SMT and I were sadly heading to the airport to fly back to DC. It was hard to leave the cottage, and Pentwater, knowing that I wouldn't be back this year, and wouldn't see all the people I love, so I was feeling a bit melancholy. It was at this point that we noticed a Ford Truck weaving somewhat erratically across the road. I decided to get around it as quickly as possible and move on, but as we were passing, SMT noticed that it was not following closely behind the U-Haul in front of it, it was, in fact, TIED to the U-Haul with a flimsy rope!! Some idiot had decided to save money by not buying the towing package for his U-Haul, and instead putting a rope inside the U-Haul and closing the door on it, then tying the rope to the front bumper of the truck!! There was someone inside the truck "steering" (I use the word loosely, as the guy had his feet up on the dashboard inside the truck.) as they drove along. We both started cracking up laughing at Michigan drivers, crazy people, cheap people...and then we didn't think anything more about it.

Until, of course, we pulled off to get gas, and when we pulled back onto the highway, we realized that they'd caught up to us again. As we prepared to pass the crazies, again, the best thing ever happened...the truck disconnected from the U-Haul right before our eyes and drifted off of the highway...ah, sweet justice...and thanks to the Powers That Be that we were there to witness it! Oh Michigan drivers, how I've missed you!

Lansing Airport Bloopers:
Okay, this is the rant portion of our evening, so if you're not in the mood for another one of my rants, you might just want to skip down to the next paragraph. I'll do my best to keep it short.

There is no signage at the Lansing "International" Airport!! I mean it, from 96 there's no sign that marks the exit as leading to the airport. Once you get off, there are no signs saying "airport this way." Even at the turn to GET to the airpot, no signage! Once you make the correct turn, you can SEE the airport, but there's no signs telling you which of the 600 tiny little nothing roads you need to turn down to get to the airport terminal/rental car return rather than the storage shed, the administrative building, the place where they store the gas, or the equipment hanger. Thank God we were early, otherwise we'd have been SCREWED, even with the runways in sight!

Rant off. Next in airport bloopers....

We finally arrived, turned in our rental car and made our way to the ticket counter. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. And then, for a change of pace, we waited. Finally, a tall, gangly guy in a neon airport vest arrived to check us in for the flight. We told him that we wanted to sit next to each other on the plane, and that I was in seat 8B, so it would be nice if SMT could get seat 8A. The conversation then went something like this:

Gangly Guy: Okay, so 8D?
Us: No, 8A
GG: Okay, so 10A?
Us: No, 8A
GG: Okay, got it, 8C
Us: Again, no. 8A
GG: 8B?
Me: No, that's my seat, we want her to be in 8A.
GG: OH!! Okay, 10A.

It went on like that for an unbelievably long time. Then, in the end, he STILL got it wrong. At any rate, we sped through security, got to the gate and sat down to wait for our flight. It was at this point that we realized that there appeared to be exactly three employees at the Lansing "International" airport. Every time we turned around, there was one of the same three people doing all jobs. Gangly guy, blond woman, and older blond woman. They did everything from announcing the delayed flight, to cleaning the plane, to taking people's boarding passes to attempting to track down the family that was supposed to be picking up the unaccompanied minor on the flight.

Ah yes, my last LAN blooper story...the unaccompanied minor. Older blond woman was attempting to find the people who were supposed to be waiting for an unaccompanied minor on the incoming flight. She and younger blond woman talked about it for a few minutes, and YBW suggested that OBW ask those of us sitting at the gate if we were picking up the kid. OBW, however, did not want to do this. Instead, OBW fiddled with her walkie-talkie for about 10 minutes trying to raise someone to make an announcement over the PA system. Finally, she was successful and the canned voice told anyone waiting to pick up unaccompanied minor "Jonas Foster" to report to the ticket counter to get a gate pass. OBW gets back on the walkie-talkie to inform her friend that she said the name wrong. Announcement number two told anyone waiting to pick up unaccompanied minor "Adonis Foster" to report to the ticket counter to get a gate pass. At this point, SMT and I are cracking up laughing, because, really, who the hell names their kid "Adonis"? I mean really, you're just asking for the poor kid to A) Get constantly made fun of B) Have a life-long inferiority complex and C) Be really, really ugly! Finally, announcement number three comes on telling anyone waiting to pick up unaccompanied minor "Donas Foster" to report to the ticket counter to get a gate pass. Okay, not an overly normal name, but better than "Adonis" right? But my thing is, this whole process has taken about 15-20 minutes, and no one has come forward to say that they're the ones who are picking up this kid. Did they seriously not know from the first two butcherings of their kid's name that it was them? I mean, what are the odds that there's ANOTHER unaccompanied minor traveling to LANSING with such a similar sounding name? How thick are these people? So finally the flight arrives, the kid gets off the plane, and he spots his family (who have finally gotten their gate pass) and yells "There's my Dad! DAD!" and starts to run over to his family, who are filming this entire event with an old-school camcorder. Gangly Guy grabs the kid to hold him back and goes up to Dad to get a photo ID proving that he is, in fact, "Dad." Now I'm all for protecting children and not letting them go home with strangers, but it's a fairly elaborate kidnapping attempt to A) Get the kid to go along with it and call him "Dad" B) Bring along three other kids who look EXACTLY like him and C) Tape the whole thing. I'm just saying. There's security, and then there's excessive security. Maybe it's because I'm not a parent yet, but it seemed like a bit much to me.

Crazy Airport Lady:
Now for this final story, we need to go back a bit. As SMT and I were waiting for our connecting flight from Detroit to Lansing, on Saturday morning, we'd seen a woman in the terminal wearing huge Jackie O style sunglasses and looking somewhat disheveled. We'd wondered at the time if she was just hungover, or just "too cool for school." We mocked, we made fun, and then we moved on.

Until, of course, we saw her again at the airport in Lansing on Tuesday evening:



This is, I'd like to point out, the exact same outfit she'd been wearing on Saturday morning, from the crazy sunglasses, to the ugly black sweater, to the wrinkled too big button-up shirt, to the unforgivably horrible orange croc-style heels...where are TLC's Stacey and Clinton when you need them?? Surely someone other than me was shooting some secret footage of this chick...right?


Okay, so that's it. That's my first solo 5H2O journey. I managed to open the cottage and close it again with no undue stress (and clean...god we cleaned...after all, Grandmother was coming, and if you all remember my post about my mom's cleaning proclivities, just keep in mind, she's got NOTHING on her mother.). I had what I hope is the first of many trips up with my friends, and generally enjoyed myself and relaxed. Now it's time to start stressing out over moving...woo-hoo! Thanks for your continued patience with my self-indulgent prattling! :) G'night!

26 June, 2008

Mamma Mia! and Metro Bloopers

Mamma Mia was amazing!! So much fun, such a great show, and a wonderful group of friends to see it with! Two short stories about the post-show activities, then bed.

First:

Upon leaving the theater and walking to the metro, I saw a rat. And I yelled "A RAT!" loudly...not shrieking, I retained my dignity (a little), but I was very emphatically pointing out the creature skittering to our right. Now I know this might not seem like such a big deal to some people, but I quickly realized that this was the first time I had ever actually SEEN a rat, other than Remy or Splinter, and this one was neither cute and cartoony, nor fighting evil with Turtle-power. I spent the rest of the walk to the metro closely examining the ground at my feet, and practically took J's BF's arm off when he jokingly ran his fingers up my arm...yes, everyone got a big laugh at the expense of the suburbia girl.

Second:

Upon arriving at the metro, we boarded our train and were chatting amongst ourselves when we spotted a fine example of humanity. A couple had just boarded the train. I'll try to paint a picture for you, but I know I won't be able to do them justice. Starting off easy...the guy. He looked like your normal college frat boy. Khaki shorts, teal polo shirt with the collar popped, plastic bracelet with "I heart boobies" on it. Amusing, but not overly notable. Until you get to his girlfriend. She was wearing a black strapless beach-type dress with a teal bra, matching teal strappy shoes (both the same color as his shirt) and bright red press-on nails. Her hair had clearly been abused and was bleached blonde everywhere EXCEPT at the roots...which were orange. She had not one, but two lip rings and she was wearing a matching "I heart boobies" bracelet. Oh Lance Armstrong, look what you started with "Live Strong." We could NOT stop laughing at these two even when they noticed that we were laughing at them! Bad, bad C...I'm going straight to hell...oh well, at least I'll have good company!! :)

25 June, 2008

5h2o stories Part II. B is for beach!

We headed straight to the beach as soon as A arrived, adult beverages in hand (thanks A!), and enjoyed an afternoon of sunshine and summertime before heading into town.

We didn't get a whole lot of good beach days this time around, but our first two days were spectacular. We actually went IN the water (I know, in Michigan, in June, who knew??), which was...well, "refreshing", as my mother always puts it, but it was lovely.



Now you can see A and I here, enjoying a beautiful afternoon in Pentwater. One of the things that most people find simply astonishing is that they can't see the other side of the lake. I guess it just never occurred to me to be surprised by that, as Lake Michigan was the first lake I ever experienced, but everyone I've ever brought up there says that it looks more like an ocean than a lake...you be the judge, I just love it. :)

Saturday evening, our first stop in town was The Boathouse Bar and Grill (aka Johnny's to those in the know!), which has some of the best pizza in town, and after our day in the sun, we were looking for some good quality greasy food...they're also known for their Michigan Cherry Salad, so that balanced things out nicely. Now keep in mind that Johnny's is your quintessential small town bar, where everyone's a regular, outsiders are looked upon with suspicion and summer people (of which I, of course, am one) are simply tolerated. It's a sticky floor'd, broke bathroom stall'd, Thursday night karaoke and keno kind of a place. Of course, Johnny's was hopping, busier than I'd ever seen it, and it took us a little while to get the attention of our waitress, who we dubbed Erma. Now Erma was a lovely woman, seemed to like SMT and I just fine, but A insisted that the hunchbacked waitress (yeah, you read that right) had some sort of a grudge against her. Maybe it was that Erma didn't like red-heads, maybe she doesn't like lawyers, who knows, but she kept giving A these looks...very entertaining for SMT and myself, slightly less so for A.

After Johnny's, we headed into town proper for a little bit of exploration and...of course...putt putt!! After all, what trip to 5h2o is complete without a little bit of childhood reminiscing? We rolled into Rinaldi's mini-golf around 9. This made Mrs. R, who had laryngitis and could barely talk, exceedingly unhappy (more on that later), but since they didn't close until 10, we figured we were in plenty of time to get in a good 18 holes, and away we went.



I was the first to tee off at the infamous 'shipwrecked boat' hole, and too many strokes later, we moved on, out from under the ever-watchful eye of Mrs. R.




SMT and I rocked the castle holes...A had slightly more problems, but she followed those up with a rockstar hole-in-one on the 14th hole! And all while keeping score for the three of us...guess those multi-tasking skills perfected in law school are really coming in handy, huh A?



It was at about the half-way point in our game, when we were really beginning to understand how totally and completely we all SUCKED at mini-golf, that we decided it would be a good idea to name our balls...so ladies and gentlemen, I give you Oliver (purple), Napoleon (red) and Fred (green). Ironically, it was after naming Oliver, that I got my first (and last) hole in one!





I like to think that it was me naming him that led to the victory, and I have to give a shout out to Richard Hammond from BBC's Top Gear, for giving me the idea for the name. Oliver was indeed a loyal friend who led me to victory by a single stroke in th game...I credit his hole in one shortly after I named him! :)

So we finished the game, me flush with victory, the others...well, still having a good time :) and it's five to 10, so we're also giving ourselves little mental pats on the back for getting our 18 holes in under the 10:00 deadline, when wheezy Mrs. R proceeds to begin verbally berating each of us for taking so long as we hand in our putters. "Next time, come earlier!" Ah, that's life in a small town, when "we close at 10" really means "we close whenever we damn well please and if you make us late for 48 Hours Mystery, we won't be responsible for our actions."

Still, all in all a very successful first night in Pentwater. The next day would prove to be even more entertaining!

**********************************************************

Sunday dawned, overcast and hazy, so we decided to spend the morning shopping in town. I drove us into the village in my stylin' silver four door Ford Focus, and just as we climb out of the car, the skies open up and begin to dump rain on our heads. We dashed into the nearest store and began our shopping extravaganza. It was quite the trip, punctuated by the surprise discovery of a June art fair (yes, I bought more jewelry, spent ridiculous quantities of money, but hey, I'm supporting small town economy, isn't that what the President told us to start doing? And you all know that I always do what the President tells me!), a sudden hail storm, 15 minute massages for $15 and the deep-fried twinkie booth. Sadly, none of us was quite brave enough to attempt the deep-fried twinkies, but maybe next year!

This is a shot of the three of us grabbing a quick caffeine fix before hitting the art fair, little knowing that as soon as we set foot out of The Village Grounds, we'd be hit by a hail storm and have to take refuge in the jam-seller's tent.

After doing up the art fair right, and A's 15 minute massage, we hit the House of Flavors, a personal favorite of mine that serves the world's best comfort food...grilled PB&J, mac and cheese, grilled cheese...all the classics.



Oh, did I forget to mention the ice cream? :) The BEST ice cream...

Our credit cards smoking (though much credit has to go to A and SMT for talking me out of purchasing that $72 wooden bowl), and the sun beginning to peak from behind the clouds, we headed back to the cottage to spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach.

Sunday evening, refreshed by our afternoon by the lake and our pipping hot showers, we headed into the big city (read: Ludington, population 8,357...compared to Pentwater's 958.) for dinner and a movie...Kung Fu Panda! Arriving too late for the 7:30 show, it was time to explore Ludington and find a good place for dinner. At which point, C starts to panic....now granted, I've been coming up here my entire life, since I was in utero in fact, but I've never really come to Ludington for anything other than the art fair and the occasional movie or dinner at the country club...now the country club is my grandparents' thing, and the food is, to be honest, pretty awful. It's incredibly good people watching, and has the added bonus of making me feel like I'm an extra in Gilmore Girls, but it's not exactly the kind of place I was dying to take my friends. Not wanting to outwardly panic, I start driving towards "downtown" Ludington (note that there's not a whole lot of "town" to be had here, so I didn't have much time to come up with a good idea). Finally, I had a revelation..."Scotty's" I shouted, perhaps a little too excitedly. My family usually goes to Scotty's once a summer, and I was sure that I liked the food, so in we pulled to the parking lot.

Once determining that there was something on the menu that A could eat, we sat down and were greeted by, I kid you not, the BEST waitress EVER. Her name was Beth, and she was everything that movies and TV shows teach us that waitresses should be...she was at equal turns, sweet, smart, funny, snarky and attentive. She recommended perfect entrées, noticed how much we were loving the hot rolls and snuck us some cinnamon butter to use with them, even going so far as to pack us up some extra rolls and cinnamon butter to go at the end of the night when we mentioned how much we loved it (and let me tell you, home-made cinnamon butter on rolls for breakfast....HEAVEN!). She was attentive enough without hovering, and always seemed to appear exactly when we needed something! So if you're ever in Ludington, head east down Ludington Ave, Scotty's will be on your right...ask for Beth!

After our delectable dining experience, we explored a bit more town, caught an amazing sunset, and then headed to see Kung Fu Panda, my requisite cartoon film of the summer.



I always have to see the latest Disney Pixar offering of course, but beyond that, I require at least one other cartoon offering each summer, in part to make me feel like a kid again. There's something about summer to me that requires a trip back to childhood, to at least attempt to reclaim some of the glory that was summertime back when my biggest responsibility was setting the table for dinner each night. So we movie'd it up, and all of us really enjoyed the latest Jack Black offering...it's a cute movie, go see it! Reclaim your childhood joys!

Walking back to the car, I had to wonder what it must be like to grow up as a local in Pentwater...the next big city is Ludington, and even that is pretty lacking in fun for teenagers and the college set. It explains why, each time I go to see a movie in Ludington, there are inevitably a crowd of high school/college kids hanging out around a pick-up truck, drinking beer in the movie theater parking lot. And I thought growing up in Toledo was boring...I guess it's all in how you're looking at it. Pentwater will always be heaven on earth to me, but if I'd grown up there? Who knows, I might be a whole different person.

Our drive back to the cottage was punctuated by spotting not one, not two, but THREE deer! I don't have to tell those of you who've been there, that's a bit of a rarity these days. When I was a kid, you'd spot four or five a night it seemed, but these days, you're lucky if you get that many in a month. I considered it a sign of good fortune for our trip, and we all turned in for the night.

Okay, this one was a LOT longer than I'd originally anticipated, and it's now, once again, bedtime...tomorrow is Mamma Mia! night with the gang, so don't expect another update before the weekend, but I swear, I'll finish my vacation updates then...really...I promise...Good Night All! :) And thanks for listening to my self-indulgent prattling! It's much appreciated!

5h2o stories Part I. A is for asparagus...

I'm back and officially rested, relaxed, and ready to take on the world!

The vacation was great...5h2o was amazing, good times with good friends. It's nice to see my circles of friends overlapping and getting along. As I've said before, it's impossible to stress in 5h2o, so we all managed to put our lives on hold for a long weekend and just relax and enjoy our time together. A nice little bonus to be sure! I'll post more pics when I get them from A and SMT, but for now, here's a teaser...

I think it's likely that I ate my weight in asparagus up there! Now, as most of you likely don't know, Michigan is asparagus country, so one of the first things SMT and I did upon arriving was stop at a local produce stand and pick up some asparagus and corn to grill with our burgers later in the week. Of course somehow, almost every restaurant we went to in the four days were were up north had deep-fried asparagus on the menu, and we had to partake in that as well! All in all, I got my fill of asparagus and was a very happy camper (go ahead, make fun. Yes I have a pot whose sole purpose is cooking asparagus, you wanna make something of it??).



The grilling also worked out rather well if I do say so myself, with both SMT and myself taking turns at the helm, and without outside help, we managed to get the grill lit and cooking in about half an hour (a marked improvement from our May outing, during which it took our boys over an hour to get the grill even lit, much less hot enough to cook...don't think we won't be lording THAT over them for the next few weeks now!



I'm posting that one as photographic evidence, just in case you crazy kids don't believe that I actually grilled...proof is there my friends, I'm expanding my horizons!

We had a great time, and I'll post a series of amusing encounters over the next couple of days, but for now, I've got to get to bed...my day of travel is finally catching up to me.

Here's a tidbit of what you can expect over the next few days: a run-away truck, a hunchback, a bobcat, more airport bloopers and, of course, putt-putt! More to come!

21 June, 2008

5h2o here we come!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, In t-minus six hours I'll be on board a plane heading to heaven on earth...no stress about moving, the job, family or personal life...I'll be in my favorite place in the world with some great friends, relaxing. I'll post all about it when I get back and will hopefully have some incredible pictures to show you when I return. Until then, hasta pronto!

19 June, 2008

Just to balance things out....

...and since I'm in a West Wing sort of a mood tonight, I leave you with this:

Ainsley: [to her Republican friends] Say they are smug and superior. Say their approach to public policy makes you want to tear your hair out. Say they like high taxes and spending your money. Say they want to take your guns and open your borders but don't call them worthless. At least don't do it in front of me. The people I have met have been extraordinarily qualified. Their intent is good. Their commitment is true. They are righteous, and they are patriots. And I'm their lawyer.

Can't we all just get along? :)

West Wing Quote

I was out with some friends for dinner tonight and we got to talking about ... well, everything, but one topic of conversation reminded me of this great scene from The West Wing, where President Bartlet is addressing a group of talk-radio hosts, and singles out a Dr. Laura wanna-be.


President Josiah Bartlet: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
President Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus.
Dr. Jacobs: 18:22.
President Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetwon sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.

I'm reminded of how much I love Aaron Sorkin, and how I can't wait until his next TV Show or Movie...It's not even really the political sentiment...it's just how whip sharp and smart the dialog is. None of this "OMG!" or "chicken of the sea" stuff (though I'll admit to having Gossip Girl as a guilty pleasure). Just really quality, well-written dialog. Is that too much to ask?

18 June, 2008

Moving

Okay, this is basically going to be a rant about moving, and all the stress that comes along with it, so if you don't want to read that, you may just want to move on. Fair warning!


There is sooooo much to do! Even though the movers will actually pack for me, I still have to organize. And even though I've been tackling one problem area at a time (File cabinet -- check, china cabinet -- check, writing desk -- check, closet -- check, dresser -- check. Only under the bed and the desk left to go.), in order to be better prepared, and so as not to have the movers pack anything I don't actually want to bring with me.

In the meantime, I have a vacation to go on (I'm totally looking forward to getting up to 5H2O again and I'm totally going to need a little R&R!), then a Pottery Barn desk to buy (it's sooo fabulous...check it out!), then a billion dinners and parties to go to, and an apartment to pack out!

Basically, it all boils down to the fact that my life is no longer my own, and doesn't show any indications of becoming my own again until...oh, say, mid-July?

All I have to say is .... AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

17 June, 2008

Moment of Zen

Did anybody check out Jon Stewart's "Moment of Zen" on Monday night's Daily Show? You can watch it here if you missed it. I didn't expect him to touch on the Tim Russert story, but he did, and I think in the best way possible. It was neat to watch, and made me smile.

Time is rapidly running out!!

I feel like my social calendar has gotten dramatically busier in the run-up to my move. Tonight is dinner with J, T & D at Melting Pot, tomorrow is dinner with L at a TBD location, Thursday pest control comes (stupid flying ants...just die already!), then I've got dinner with E&E, Friday is my movers survey, then Saturday is my trip with S&A to 5H2O. I get back from 5H2O on Tuesday, but I'm taking Wednesday off to get organized, then do dinner with J&S, Thursday is dinner with ... god, ridiculous quantities of people followed by Mamma Mia! Friday is Girl's Night In with lots of wine and cheesy movies. Saturday I have to take my car to the dealer's for a once over before the big drive, then Sunday more organizing before the movers arrive on Monday to pack me out, then Tuesday is my official good-bye dinner with everyone...then I have nothing scheduled (YET!!) until the big going away/birthday bash for a bunch of us on the 5th of July.

Dear Sweet Mother of God, I'm going to need another vacation!

16 June, 2008

And we thought Bush was unpopular...

Residents of a small village in Romania knowingly voted a dead guy in as mayor this Sunday. One resident said that though he knew the candidate was dead, he didn't like change, so he voted for the dead man anyhow. Talk about your low approval ratings...looks like W's got nothing on Romania's Gheorghe Dobrescu. You've almost gotta feel sorry for the guy. Who wants to win that way?

15 June, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Just wanted to take the time to say Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially my own who has always been there for me, no matter what, and always made me feel loved. Happy Father's Day!

14 June, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

Tim Russert, NBC's Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press died Friday, after suffering from a massive heart attack while working on the set of Meet the Press. You can read more here.

I found out from A, who texted me to see if I'd heard the news. We'd both had a standing Sunday morning date with Tim, who in my opinion, was one of the best newscasters on television. He was certainly one of the most enthusiastic, and always seemed to be honestly excited about the political process. It's amazing to me how many of my friends were affected by his death. All night long on Friday, and all day so far today, it's been a topic of conversation. For a generation that's got our fair share of cynicism, it appears that many of us were affected by Tim Russert. He was always entertaining to watch and no matter how fed-up with politics I was, he could always make me smile and make me remember why I care about the political process in this country. Newsweek's Howard Fineman had this to say about Tim's affect on the upcoming presidential election:

"One of these candidates is going to seize the Russert spirit of persons of goodwill agreeing to disagree and yet with an eye to the common good and the national interest. Whoever best captures that spirit will win the election."

I only hope that's true. Tim Russert leaves behind a wife and son, who I'm sure miss him terribly, in ways that those of us who only knew him via the TV screen can't begin to understand. RIP Tim, keep an eye on things for us from up there.

11 June, 2008

Weather and Misc. Other Stuff...

Well, it looks like the weather has finally broken! The last few days have been in the high 90s, with 100% humidity, and the heat index something like 115 degrees...needless to say I've been spending quite a bit of quality time by the pool! Today was a beautiful day, in the mid-80s, sunny...gorgeous. It makes me realize that I'm going to miss this kind of thing. I have a sneaking suspicion that I won't be experiencing a whole lot of breaks in the Florida humidity. I'm still looking forward to it, don't get me wrong, but it's going to be bit of a transition. I guess going from Ohio to Virginia to Florida makes the transition a bit easier. Minimal humidity, lots of humidity (whose idiot idea was it to build our nation's capital on a swamp anyhow?), MAXIMUM humidity! So really, my time here in NoVa was just preparing me for Ft. Lauderdale!

In other news, my aunt sent me a link to a Jon McLaughlin song, "For You From Me" which was shot entirely in Indianapolis...it's really cool, and I found myself surprised that I actually really enjoyed it. Even made me a bit homesick for Butler! Check it out: Indy Music Video. Ironically, my friends and I were talking about our college towns today. I think most people always have a bit of a soft spot in their hearts for their college towns, small or large. There's something about the place where you spent your college years...maybe it's that it's the first time away from home and "on your own," maybe it's the environment of getting to choose what you study, what you are, who you'll be for the first time. Maybe it's just all about first times. I look back at those days and realize that that was when I started becoming the person I am today. There were good times and bad times, but I took the first steps towards becoming the woman I am today back at Butler. It's about your friends, your professors, your classes, your roommates, your jobs...all of the choices you make in college impact who you become in the real world. And while there are some individual choices I might go back and do over if I could, on the whole, choosing Butler, the people I surrounded myself with ... I wouldn't have chosen any differently.

09 June, 2008

The Pool

Yes ladies and gents, it's that time of year again. The pool has been open for a few weeks, and I will now commence my yearly tradition of spending a portion of each lovely summer evening sitting beside it with a good book. In addition to being supremely relaxing, it's also excellent people watching. For example:

After getting home from the office today, I went out to lounge by the pool. It was 98 degrees out, and humid, but the water was lovely, so I hopped in with my book and read in the pool. About half an hour later, a rowdy group of teenagers arrived, requisite alcohol-filled red plastic cups in hand. The girls were wearing tiny little g-string bikinis. The guys ogled them and tossed them around the pool, splashing and carrying on. Now I don't begrudge them their fun, and they weren't bothering me, so I pretty much ignored them. Until, that is, they got out of the pool, and ...


... wait for it ...


... wait for it ...


... wait for it ...


Started.


Playing.


Scrabble.


Which they proceeded to play for the next TWO HOURS.


Now I'm sure things have changed since I was a teenager (though admittedly, it wasn't that long ago), but Scrabble? By the pool? Maybe I was wrong, maybe it was Kool-Aid in those red plastic cups! Is there some new Scrabble phase sweeping the nation's youth that I'm not aware of? If so, someone should tell my grandparents that they're cool again!

08 June, 2008

The Belmont Stakes

Well, another year without a Triple Crown...for those of you keeping track, that's 31 years without a Triple Crown winner. I'm hoping the racing board will re-institute the rules they had years ago about not allowing horses that haven't run in the Derby or the Preakness to run in the Belmont...it just doesn't seem very sportsman-like to bring in a fresh horse for the express purpose of upsetting the Triple Crown contender. I mean, would you let a new runner come in on the last mile of the Boston Marathon???

I get a little wound up about this sort of thing...horse racing's in my blood, and anyone who knows me knows where to find me on Derby Day (makes it a little easier when they've received an invitation to my famous Derby Party!): making Mint Juleps behind the bar!

Of course I'm disappointed that Big Brown didn't win, but I'm happy he wasn't hurt, that was the biggest thing my friends and I were worried about when he pulled up at the last turn...he won the Derby and the Preakness, that horse is a champion and deserves a well-earned rest.

Here's hoping 2009 is the year of the next Triple Crown!

06 June, 2008

Friends

So something happened today, and while I don't really want to get into the exact details in this particular forum, I wanted to share some things I realized.

Growing up as an only child, my parents (Dad especially with the Kitchen Cabinet) taught me that friends are the family you choose for yourself. And I came to know as I got older, that sometimes your friends can be there for you in ways that your family can't, because they know a different you. I saw my Dad, as he and the rest of the Cabinet members have all hit 60. To me, they don't seem any different than they did when I was a child, and maybe that's just wishful thinking, or seeing the world through rose colored glasses, or worshiping my father, but I look at those six guys and they way they are when they get together, and I want that, so desperately for myself. I see how they all rallied around the first of them to have to deal with cancer, and I believe that having so many people who loved him supporting him was a big part of what got him through. I see how they support each other when a child gets married secretly and comes back to spring it on the parents. I see how truly happy they are for each others successes, and I see the solid wall of men standing in a pew at a funeral, offering silent, steady support. I see all of that, and I want it. I want people who know me, really really KNOW me, and completely accept me, flaws and all. People who are there for me no matter what, people who'll let me be there for them through everything. I think I have it. I hope I continue to.

Now I love my family, more than anything, but along the way, growing up, I've picked up what I've always referred to as 'pseudo-family.' Pseudo-siblings here and there, to fill the gap from not having siblings of my own. Someone told me once that I love too easily, and maybe that's true, but I wouldn't change it. I've always been very easy with telling my friends that I love them. Maybe it's having gone through the experiences I did with some of my friends from high school...I learned early that you should tell someone you love them, because at times, that knowledge is what sustains you.

I didn't do the best job at staying in touch with people from High School and College...there's basically only two people I'm still really close with from High School, though there are a few others that I talk to or run into occasionally. There are more from college, and truth be told, the ones I'm still in touch with are the ones I've made a concerted effort to stay in touch with, and that probably says something, right?

I look at the friends I've gathered around me since moving to DC and it's a diverse group, from all walks of life, all areas of the country, all professions, all backgrounds, all personalities. But we're there for each other. We care about each other, and I don't think that's something that'll change. I hope it won't, but I suppose only time will tell. And when we're all together, in the same room, I look around and I'm content. Despite anything that may be happening in my life at any given moment, get a group of us together, and I know that whatever happens, I've got family, wherever I go. And having that knowledge always makes me smile.

I guess I'm on my way to having a sort of a Kitchen Cabinet of my own. :)

01 June, 2008

June Rant (1) -- There will probably be more...

I was watching a rerun of The Daily Show this weekend when I came across this exchange between Matt Taibbi and Jon Stewart:

Matt: "I went through this retreat in the Texas hill country...basically they indoctrinate you. We're taught that basically everyone has these traumatic experiences in childhood that leave us infected with demons. And not metaphorical demons, but actual 'hssshhh' demons. And the church sort of trains us to get those demons out. So we actually had to learn how to vomit our demons into a bag. They handed out these little paper bags, and to give you an indication about how literally people took this, there were actually people in my group who thought they were gonna lose weight."

John: "Now I remember learning that I couldn't vomit out my demons when I worked as a bartender."

Matt's talking about time he spent with Pastor John Hagee's church...I feel like church should be in quotation marks there...I just hate to see these right wing...no, not even right wing, that's insulting to the Christian right. These fringe groups getting called Christian churches! I mean, how can it not be offensive to true Christians everywhere when groups like this take to center stage and call themselves Christ's followers??

Makes me want to go out and buy one of those bumper stickers that says "Lord, save me from your followers."