12 October 2010

Grocery Bag Bunny-trooper

I had a flashback tonight to the many times when I was a wee one and tried to make a parachute out of a grocery bag. When I say "make" I mean that I tied it to my poor, soon-to-be-smashed-into-the-hardwood bunny. She plummeted to her death with her short life passing before her bead-y eyes, and all I could think was, "maybe this time she'll survive!" You would think after years of failed attempts I would have stopped, but I continued to do something over and over again, expecting different results. What am I saying? I'm saying that, according to Albert Einstein, I am insane.

He's judging me with his eyes...

My poor bunny suffered through multiple skydiving sessions over the years, countless broken bones and serious brain damage. Why would I torture her so? Because someone was foolish enough to let me roam free in the drugstore toy aisle where I stumbled upon a pack of toy paratroopers. How come the toy paratroopers floated so gracefully to the ground, but my bunny fell to the ground before gravity even had a chance to blink? How dare those foolish, colorful men were better at floating like a butterfly than my beautiful, pink bunny! Stupid little men. 18 years later, they still taunt me...

09 October 2010

Write It Now

Why have I been MIA for the past 2 weeks? Honestly, I froze. I hit a wall when it comes to my blog. I was hearing from a few family and friends that people were really enjoying it, but I still couldn't come up with anything. I'm a racing horse who has won a few Saratoga races, but refuses to leave the gate at The Derby. Crumble under pressure much?

I've been checking books out of the library on writing inspiration and writing styles in an attempt to get myself restarted. A few gave me some topics that I'd like to explore more in depth, but, up until today, I hadn't read anything that really got me going. While at the library, I try to look for books that aren't so much about technique or "rules", but more about inspiring the reader to flesh out the ideas in his/her brain. My latest batch of books has been especially helpful, and in the first lines of one I found what I needed to write (at least) this post. "The only way to begin is to begin, and begin right now...I have no doubt the day is coming when you will be wiser or better informed or more highly skilled than you are now, but you will never be more ready to begin writing than you are right this minute." (The Modern Library Writer's Workshop, Stephen Koch) Cliche attack - there is no better time than the present. Stop watching tv, intensely surfing Facebook, and get your hand out of that bag of chips. Start now. Whether it be writing or some other venture you've been thinking about for weeks, months, or years.

I am still embarrassed to tell people I hardly know that I write a blog, or even to drop the comment "I wrote about that recently in my blog" at a gathering of friends, but the whole reason I started this blog was to let myself go and write whatever I want, whenever I want. I'm here to refine my writing skills, and if people are entertained or bored, I want their feedback. There's no reason to hide out for weeks after getting negative or positive feedback, but to take that information and run with it. Tweak (thanks, Mom) something that's good to make it great, and fix something that's bad to make it work.

This has been a lot of "me" talk, but it applies to anyone who is struggling with their fear of actually putting words, thoughts, feelings onto paper and sharing it with the public. The only way you can get better is to get the information out of your head, and into the minds of others. No one can get better by keeping everything bottled up. You've got to share yourself with others at some point in order to improve.

The takeaway principle from the first few pages* of Koch's book, which is useful no matter what you're writing is simply this;

write it now

*I will admit that I have only gotten through the first few pages before realizing that I really should "write it now".

Also, I'm sorry there are no pictures in this post. I couldn't think of anything pertinent. Please, don't hate me.

How can you stay mad at that face?

20 September 2010

So Happy Together

I have to admit an unhealthy, nay, awesome obsession of mine: chips and salsa. Come to my house anytime of the year and you are guaranteed to find a bag of chips and a jar of salsa. After a quick pantry check, I can officially say that I have two bags and 4 jars (two opened, one unopened, and one that has been sealed with super glue, never to be opened by human hands). Take me out to a restaurant with the bottomless chips and salsa and you'll find the waiter giving me an uncomfortable look as he brings out our fifth serving.

This obsession with chips and salsa came about my senior year at Penn. My roommate and I became unofficial salsa testers in our third floor living room while watching Bones reruns and weeping during PS I Love You. We attempted to branch out and find our favorite salsa. Sadly, the year ended before we could make any official statements to the press on our top picks. The verdict is still out and I’m still testing salsa brands when I’m feeling adventurous. At the moment, my go to brand has been Pace Medium Thick ‘n Chunky, but that could change next week.

From my current salsa preference, you can guess that I prefer the medium spice level. Mild provides no excitement for me. You’re eating the salsa for the flavor and fun, not just to shove boring vegetables atop a crunchy chip down your throat. Anything hotter than medium means I can only eat a few chips without feeling like my mouth is on fire, which hinders my need to eat as many chips as possible in one sitting. That hindrance is unacceptable, so I choose to go with medium to satisfy my tongue and fill my belly.

In case you’re worried that I’m not getting all the nutrients a growing girl needs, I do enjoy branching out to other dip options. Guacamole is delicious, especially when it’s homemade. I also have found that melting down some Velveeta and mixing it together with salsa makes for quick and easy queso. If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned potato chips and their accompanying dips it is because I just don’t like them. Potato chips are a bit too greasy and the dips have never appealed to me. To put it simply:

Give me tortilla chips and salsa or give me death!

17 September 2010

Stina on Sports

A good friend of mine from waaaay back in the day, Christina, was a standout lacrosse player in high school for the Westhill Warriors and a standout lacrosse player for four years at Gannon University where she was also a contributing sports writer for "The Gannon Knight". She's currently back in the Cuse working for a local community college and pursuing her love of sports writing.

She frequently posts insightful and intelligent sports commentary on her blog Stina on Sports. It's great to have a woman's point of view in a male-dominated arena. I've never been a huge sports fan, which some find hard to believe considering I was a college athlete (yes, I retired after freshman year due to multiple surgeries), so I love reading her blog to feel like I know what's up in the sports world. I have a better knowledge than many people (male or female) of what constitutes a good or a bad play in most sports, but I don't keep track of key players, top coaches, and championship caliber teams. This comes in handy when I want to comment on a recent play, but not when the discussion turns to the players' prospects in the NFL or what team they're in talks to go to and how that will change the league. Her blog covers it all, from NFL conference predictions to the recent scandal with the Jets and female reporter, Ines Sainz.

And she's pretty to boot! Too bad she's engaged, gentlemen.

I encourage all of my readers, male or female, to give her a look. I promise you won't be let down.

16 September 2010

On the Hunt!

Finding motivation is a tricky, tricky hunt. I can sit at my desk claiming that I am going to start writing at that moment, but 4 hours later all I've done is browse the internet and watch shows on Netflix. I can check out 3 books about writing and inspiration from the library, thinking they're going to lead to some divine epiphany, and only open them the first day I have them. I'll start writing something, blog post, paragraph in a story, poem, then get distracted and forget where I was going with my idea when I come back. How people write whole novels in a short period is beyond me. 400 pages? That's baffling. I don't know if I have 400 pages of words in my brain.

Why am I rambling on about motivation? Because I finally found some today. I had been sitting in my home office since 9am wasting time on Gchat, Netflix, and any other sites (I visiting TFLN for the first time in weeks, it was that bad.) I could find when I decided to give my back deck area a try. It's been too hot down here to spend more than 30 seconds outside without hating life, but today is gorgeous. 90 degrees with a very nice breeze. Add overhead fans on full blast, and I'm shockingly comfortable on this Florida afternoon. My husband built a very nice picnic table a few weeks ago, so I've decided to test it out.

I've been out here for about 45 minutes and have written this post, created a cure for cancer, and realized one of our screens is broken. I stand proud with G.W. when I say "Mission Accomplished"! Motivation found, people! The fresh air and Vitamin D helped to release my words. Let's see how long this will last.

Smile, George. You're making me look bad.

10 September 2010

More Thank Yous!

When I was younger I used to loathe the days following Christmas and my birthday because my mother would force me to sit at the kitchen table and write endless thank you notes. At the time, I felt like they were completely unnecessary; hadn't I thanked Grandma enough at Christmas dinner for the check? Hadn't I given my aunt a big hug and kiss on the cheek after opening my beautiful sweater? What would a note card with "Thank You" printed on the cover and the same 3 sentences I wrote for every other thank you card on the inside actually accomplish? I bet Grandma didn’t even read these! Child labor! I should call child protective services!
----Whoa. My whiny teenage-self just reared its ugly head. Back to the mature, intelligent, controlled me. ---

Now that I'm older and have a firm grasp on manners and etiquette, I find it is crucial to send a thank you note. Not only does it let the sender know that their gift was received, but it lets them know that the thought and care they put into choosing a gift for you is appreciated, even if they only sent a check.

Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned, but thank you notes are simple and easy. You don't need to spend 15 minutes on a single note, but making sure that you don’t repeat the same three sentences on every note is important. After writing nearly 100 thank you notes after my wedding, I know that it’s surprisingly not hard to change up your notes for a large group of recipients. Always mention the gift given and how you plan to use it and you have a personalized thank you note.
What brought me to this tangent? I’ve had an influx of friends tell me they’ve been reading and enjoying this here blog and I want to thank my friends and family for supporting my babblings. So, thank you to everyone who reads this blog and sends it along to others to check out.
hahaha the frog moves

31 August 2010

Thank you, Penn (not Penn State)

Students are returning to college campuses around the US, which means that I'm being forced to procrastinate by reading Facebook Newsfeeds, FmyLifes, and Texts From Last Night all about the stupid decisions that they are making. In honor of their bad decisions, I've decided to make a list of things I miss now that I've been out for over a year. Some led to bad decisions, others I just plain miss.

  • Day drinking - Now when I pop open a beer at 1pm I look like an alcoholic, in college I looked normal.
  • Eating whatever I want - I used to love cheese fries. I haven't had them in at least 6 months.
  • Close proximity to friends - It was so much easier walking up a flight of stairs to see my good friends. Now I have to fly all the way up the East Coast.
  • Close proximity to, well, everything - Going to school in Philadelphia meant that I didn't need a car. I could walk to the grocery store, to class, to work, take the subway downtown. Now it's a minimum 15 minute drive to get anywhere. Life was so much better when I could go for strolls around campus whenever I wanted to. (Except at 2am when the real residents of West Philly strolled about.)
  • Parental Funding - Granted, I worked all four years of college, but having my parents back me up with grocery money each month made day drinking and eating whatever I wanted at 3am far less of a financial strain.*
  • Lounging on The Green - When you had an hour to kill between classes, you could lounge around on the grass and quickly accumulate a large group of people with nowhere else to go. Lounging to college students is like honey to flies. Who wants to be a motivated, prosperous human being when the sun is shining and friends are amassing?
  • Making bad decisions - If someone goes out now, gets wasted, and ends up sleeping in their underwear on the couch they're frowned upon. In college, that was a normal Friday night.
I was hoping that I'd be over my four year affair with college by now, but the sad part is that the bitch (pardon my French) ripped my heart out. We had a good, no great, thing going for 4 years and I was just shoved out there door with no more than a piece of paper stating that I'd been there. It's no better than an "I survived Pike's Peak" t-shirt. I want to go back! I want to survive it again, and again, and again.

I'm painfully bringing myself to believe that this feeling, this desire means that I got out of college what I was supposed to. A great experience, great friends, great memories, and a great education. So, as much as I miss it and hate it for dumping me, I have to thank Penn for 4 of the best years of my life.

Hurrah for the Red and Blue!

*I must apologize to my parents, who I'm sure knew about all of these shenanigans. Mom, Dad, your money went to groceries, I swear. A girl's gotta eat.

30 August 2010

Reliable References

A few months ago I read a book called Reading the OED by Ammon Shea and found myself seriously enjoying the read. Shea spent one year reading through the whole OED, chronicling his adventure in this novel. Each chapter is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet. He begins each chapter with a little anecdote dealing with how he began his obsession with dictionaries (he owns thousands) to the horrible headaches he got each day as he read through all 21,000-plus pages. After each anecdote he lists his favorite words beginning with the designated letter of the alphabet and random connections he has to them (different dictionaries he's seen them in, varying definitions, etc).

To many this book would be a total bore - reading about someone reading the OED?! Sounds crazy to someone who doesn't have a love for the English language. I don't ever see myself reading page 1 to page 21,730 of the OED, but I can, honestly, see the appeal. Since I read this book I have bought myself 3 new dictionaries/thesauruses (i) and constantly look-up words I do not know. You can never have too many reference books, whether they be your run-of-the-mill dictionary to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. I know that all of this can be found online (I am now the proud owner of a bouncing, baby Nook), but nothing, and I mean nothing, beats having a hard copy on hand.

I hope to one day have a room in my home that I can call my library, filled with leather-bound tomes, ratty classics, and shelves of reference books. If you see me when I'm 50 and I do not own the OED, then, please, slap me then split the cost of it with friends as a birthday gift for yours truly. You may want to find many, many friends to split it with considering it is over $1,000. And preferably find a nicely bound set. Thanks, friends.

24 August 2010

iPad Adventures

A friend and I were just discussing new music videos (something we do on a pretty regular basis) and we came across the new Jason Derulo song. I happen to seriously enjoy this song and turn it up much louder than necessary when I'm driving (just ask my husband). I hadn't seen the video until today. I posted it below for your viewing pleasure.

What I came to my blog to discuss today came up during our chat about this video. My friend asked me "Who brings their iPad to the club?" I thought it was an excellent query. This then got me thinking, if I were to own an iPad where else would I bring it besides out clubbin? Below I've listed a few of the options:

  • Toilet -Who doesn't already surf the web while using the facilities on their smart phone or laptop?
  • Opera - Quick translations!
  • Alligator hunting - The iPad is crucial to the sport of gator hunting. You never know when you'll need to read up on gator facts or play the gators a soothing tune to trick them into coming to the surface. And, if it comes to it, bash the gators' heads in with the iPad as they swarm your boat. (Just think how happy the people from Lake Placid would be if they had iPads to battle the giant gator!)
  • Operating heavy machinery - A woman needs her reading materials to help the time pass while operating the crane that's about to smash -- oh, wrong building...
  • Walking on the moon - AT&T 3G coverage makes it out there, right?

Serpentine, Shadow! Serpentine!
I also got my degree at RISD for Drawing with a minor in Finger Painting, can't you tell?

19 August 2010

School Supplies + Mo = True Love

My husband and I stopped into Walmart today on our way to the Post Office. There were 2 things on my shopping list: Skirt hangers & a specific shade of OPI nail polish. Sadly, Walmart does not sell OPI and my quest for the shade "Got a Date To-Knight" is still on. I did find myself a bunch of new hangers which will aid in my never-ending quest to perfectly organize my closet.

Why am I telling you about my mundane, uneventful journey to Walmart? BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING. It slaps you in the face as you walk into Walmart, Target, or any major store and makes me wish I could be back in school.

I have always loved back to school shopping. Not the kind of love I have for hangers or chips and salsa, but the kind of love that makes you giddy as a school girl, that makes it impossible to sleep at night, that makes your hands shake as the day Mom has designated as back to school shopping day draws near. This isn't back to school clothes shopping that I'm referring to, however. No, that shopping was left to kids who went to public school and had the option of jeans and fun t-shirts every day. I'm talking supplies. Folders, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, pencil cases, everything.

I used to immediately scan my list of necessary items for each class with sheer bliss. What color 1-in binder for Social Studies will I get this year? What color book covers should I get for my textbooks? Do I want to write in blue or black ink? Should I get gel pens to decorate my covers or a stash of Yikes! pencils? Do I get a Lisa Frank folder or a Trapper Keeper? (Yes, I went to middle school in 90s. Jealous, much?)

The options were endless! As I grew older and went to high school, I was forced to fit in and buy less exciting folders and binders. This didn't squelch my excitement for back to school shopping, though. I still heavily weighed the benefits of a green binder for Biology and a red binder for Math. Even in college I spent far too long in the school supplies section of the book store debating whether I wanted a yellow folder or a red folder to carry my notes in.

Now that I'm graduated, I won't get the excitement of back to school shopping until I have children of my own. I hope that at least one of them gets as excited as I do. Then again, if they don't want to pick out their supplies I'll have to color coordinate their Earth Science notebooks for them! For now, I must satisfy my craving for office supplies by stocking up my home office with colorful pens, Moleskine notebooks of various sizes, and post-it notes galore.

Where's Lisa Frank now? The woman knew her target market so well.

First Kiss Follow-up

Last week I went home for a few days to see my family and attend my cousin's wedding. It was great to see my parents and brothers again, having not seen them since the hectic week of my own wedding.

My father brought up the topic of my blog the second day I was there. I know my mother has been reading this since my first post (Hi, Mom!), but I assumed my father simply skimmed it if he even looked at it at all. I was excited to hear his analysis, but what he had to say only reassured me, once again, that I am my father's daughter.

I was waiting for a comment on improper grammar or language usage, but, instead, he exclaimed, "I did the exact same thing for my first kiss!" Apparently, an inability to think on one's toes when the big moment was upon us is, in fact, a genetic trait. I wonder if I will pass this on to any of my children, and when will it be appropriate to ask them if they did the same thing as their mother and grandfather had. Will it ruin my relationship with them if I stand in wait at the door while they are on their first dates and pounce like a puma that hasn't eaten in weeks when they step foot in the house? I'd be doing it for science!

Geneticists across the globe would thank me for my groundbreaking work!
You disagree? Really?
Well, I think they would, loyal readers. I think they would.

Oh, DNA, why do you have such a strange sense of humor?

08 August 2010

Snooki: Keeping Our Government Honest Since 1987

Everyone's favorite Jersey Shore mini-waste of space (please, don't read too far into that. I love the show.) has something she'd like to tell President Obama. E! Online has the details.

This show, focusing on the exploits of 8 self-proclaimed "guidos" and "guidettes", is one of the few that I look forward to watching each week. No, it's not for the educational value or the hilarious wit. I watch because these fame-seeking, drunkards provide excellent drama and stupidity for one hour each week. (I can't explain to you my elation when I saw that MTV had wisely extended the weekly episodes from 30 minutes to 60.)

Jersey Shore is a cultural phenomenon. These 8 people signed on to do a start-up show, and have turned into celebrities. Everyone likes to say that they are "too intelligent" or "too classy" to watch a show about 8 kids running around Miami getting drunk, but if they watched, they would get at least a little pleasure out of it. None of them are especially attractive. None are especially mature, although JWoww sometimes "wows" me with the way she handles different situations (note: not capitalized, but she does have to deal with that Situation at times). None of them are great decision makers.

But, what they have is chemistry. A 30-year old egomaniac who calls himself The Situation, a 5-foot nothing firecracker, a tumultuous couple, a tough, double-d chested fighter, a trash-talking exile, a stiff-haired DJ, and a quiet Casanova all mix together to create a show that you can't turn away from. No matter how hard you try, once that show is on, you must watch. The situations they get themselves into (bar fights, boardwalk fights, cat fights - a lot of fights) make for great television.

You can say otherwise, but the fact that they have already begun filming Season 3, and there seems to be no end in sight, shows that this come-out-of-left-field hit show isn't going anywhere for awhile. People will continue to watch until the hilarity and drama die down or they realize that watching these people drink in excess and make stupid decisions at the age of 40 has become sliiightly sad.

04 August 2010

Oil, Oil Everywhere...

This CNN article is all about the beach 10 minutes from my house. It's extremely depressing to hear of all the people and wildlife that are suffering from the millions of gallons of oil spilled no more than a week after we moved down here. The only benefit I see is that I don't have to worry about crowded beaches when I meander down to the Key.

Just me and my good friend, Oily Bucket, soakin up the rays.

Below are a few links to sites with ways to help out:

Help The Gulf Coast - Etsy shop -- 100% of the proceeds are donated to charity
Donate Hair - Article with details on how to donate your/your pet's hair to help soak up oil
World Wildlife Federation - WWF link takes you to their Oil Spill Crisis donation page

03 August 2010

First Kiss Fail

I'm sitting at my desk attempting to write up wall notes for the museum's upcoming exhibit on WWI, but am happily sidetracked by this link from Cute Overload in my RSS feed:

Awkward First Kiss

It brings back memories of my first kiss. I will admit to the world here that it was horribly awkward and I was the only one to blame. I had seen plenty of kissing scenes in movies, on tv, and witnessed a few pecks in real life, so one would think I would have been prepared for the big moment. Hardly. (Warning: Serious embarrassment ahead!)

He was an experienced, older boy, while I was new to the world of kissing. We were sitting on a couch in my parents' basement and, if memory serves, we had just finished watching Seven. Horror films are supposed to be great first date movies because they get your adrenaline going and the fear makes you want to be closer to someone. I don't recall the exact details that led to the kiss, but, boy, do I remember the kiss.

He leaned in, ready for the kill. I froze. Literally, froze. Mouth open. Eyes open. Breathing stopped.

We might as well have been twins.

After a solid attempt on his part to involve me in this event, he pulled away. There was no beautiful moment of looking into each other's eyes with a slow smile of satisfaction curling on our mouths. No, I just gasped for oxygen. Heaving gasps of desperation. Why he decided to date me for another couple of years is beyond me.

I haven't had any complaints since that horrendous first attempt. I'd like to think that I improved tremendously since that fated evening in my parents' basement. You'll have to ask one of the poor men with whom I had lip-locking sessions with. Or ask my husband, who will be beaten if anything other than "amazing" or "perfect" escape from his mouth.

01 August 2010

Plastic Not So Fantastic

I have been watching a lot of the show Nip/Tuck in my free time, which has led me to ponder my thoughts on plastic surgery and the show's portrayal of the real world. Here are a few principles of life that I have gathered from this over-dramatized (but fun) show:

A. Everyone needs or wants plastic surgery.
B. All plastic surgeons are superficial.
C. Everyone murders.
D. It is impossible not to cheat on your significant other.
E. It is possible to have hundreds of sexual partners, but somehow never get a STD.
F. Everyone is happier after they have plastic surgery.

I think A is the only point that is true in the real world. I have yet to meet a single person who is 100% satisfied with their body. We would all like bigger breasts, a smaller nose, thinner hips, a more shapely behind, and so on. I would like to think that most people understand that looking good on the outside does not equal true beauty. Considering the amount of people in the world who choose to have plastic surgery, I'm forced to see that this is untrue.

People seem to think that going under the knife, since it is something that happens so often nowadays, is completely safe. They ignore the serious risks that come along with going under anesthesia or having their bodies cut open to the world making them vulnerable to airborne contaminants. I have had a few orthopedic surgeries in my young life due to athletic injuries and I can say that having an elective surgery is not worth it. Recovery and rehab are long and painful (a lot longer than Hollywood wants you to think).

People need to be willing to embrace their imperfections. I constantly remind myself that everyone is perfect because of their imperfections. Why do we all want to look the same? I liked my Barbie when I was little, but attempting to emulate her literally impossible waistline was never on my To Do List.

Medical Coding
Via: Medical Coding

28 July 2010

Drop in the Bucket

As I said in my last post, I love lists, so it should come as no surprise to my beloved, loyal, numerous readers that I have started a "Bucket List". I have had a lot of time on my hands lately which has lead me to think about what I want out of life. As with most people's "Bucket Lists", mine is rather varied, but there is a large chunk dedicated to traveling (stroll the Great Wall, marvel at the Taj Mahal, check my watch with Big Ben, smile with the Mona Lisa, hike to Machu Picchu). I want to see as much of the world as possible before I die.

Sadly, I have some hindrances to these dreams, including a fear of flying and travel anxiety. I have a few weddings dotted along the East Coast to go to in the coming months and I'm already worried that I'll miss a flight or lose my luggage! Luckily, my husband is extremely level-headed and can talk me down from almost any irrational rant I'm on at the moment.

For the next few months, the weddings will be my traveling and I will have to put off my globe trotting dreams and cross something else off of my list. My list is patiently sitting in a notebook next to my computer waiting to be freed. Eliminating travel from my possibilities leaves me with many options. I could go skydiving (ha!), take salsa dancing lessons (need a partner), go vegetarian for a month, or become trilingual.

I have already begun my attempts at learning another language (French) and have a basic knowledge of Spanish, so option #4 is slowly on its way to being crossed off. Skydiving is on the list more for comedic purposes and I'm waiting on the return of my dance partner to sign up for lessons. It would appear that my best option is to attempt a dietary change. If you know my eating and cooking habits then you will understand that this should be a simple change. I'm not the biggest cook and my preferred meals tend to vary between pasta, PBJs, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I definitely don't have it in me to go vegan (I love cheese far too much!), but I think I'm up for the vegetarian challenge.

As with most everything I do, I'll start with some research before taking the leap. I don't eat tofu, so I'll have to find recipes that don't focus on it. I have already requested a packet from PETA on going vegetarian. I'll keep the world posted on my efforts once I begin this Bucket List Bullet. Wish me luck!

Mr. Koala and I have some bucket work to be done.

16 July 2010

List Love

I have created a list of things that have made me happy in the past few weeks. I thought I'd share not only this list, but my love of lists with the world.

  • My husband - He keeps me sane in an insane world.
  • My dog - Shadow is a cozy cuddler and a constant cache of cuteness. (I adore alliteration.)
  • Rain storms -A sudden deluge of cleansing water and a glorious concert of light and sound.
  • Skirts - Easy, breezy, free.
  • Dog toys - There is nothing more adorable than the full body wiggles that ensue when a new toy is gifted to Shadow.
  • Air conditioning - Too hot. Too humid.
  • Museums - Being surrounded by history reminds me that someone came before me and someone will always follow.

Those who know me know I love lists and organizing. It's very therapeutic to have a better idea of what's in your life or missing from your life in that moment. You can remind yourself of those things that make you smile or release tension by finally admitting to what's bothering you. To do lists help you remember what needs to get done so you can keep things in working order and help you prevent your life from imploding on you. When in doubt, make a list!

11 July 2010

Hop on the Twain Train

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." - Mark Twain

This quote has popped up on my iGoogle homepage many times in the last week or so. Twain could not have hit the nail on the head any harder. (Ah, clever clich├ęs, how you never grow old.)

Twain stamped his mark on my memory and literary endeavors when I read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court last summer. I had read reviews that it isn't his best work, but it was quoted in Dexter (yes, TV shows are where I get my reading inspiration from, but, be honest, who doesn't do this?), so I decided to give it a shot.

The novel wasn't outstanding, but what did get me was the message Twain was going for and the way he wrote. His diction is superb and there are moments of pure perfection in this novel. Unlike famous authors of today whose writing falls far short of being inspirational or erudite, but lands rather in the "Fun, Candy, Beach Reading" category , ie Stephenie Myers & Charlaine Harris*, Twain's writing is elegant and purposeful. I don't find myself chuckling over his poor sentence structure or pathetically obvious imagery, but in awe of the beauty that he creates with his combinations of 26 letters and every day punctuation.

Minus his bow tie being a little limp, he wasn't half bad
looking and had a great head of hair.

Twain is just one of many authors whose writing I and, as evidenced by his fame, the general population find to far surpass others who call themselves "writers". Take the time on your lunch break, weekend, train ride home, any free moment to give Twain and other famous authors a chance at inspiring you. You might be surprised at how easily a message meant for the 19th Century can apply to the 21st.

*I will fully admit to reading and enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight series novels.

06 July 2010

B. Spears' Most Recent Plastic Surgery? Head Reattachment

Has anyone seen the August Cosmopolitan cover?


Is it just me or does Britney Spears' head look a little...off? Anyone with Paint could make Britney look better than this. I know one amateur Photoshop goddess could easily make her look like her head hasn't been poorly reattached recently. Shout out to Dear Photoshop Girl!

Maybe my eyesight as failing me, but this looks awful.

30 June 2010

Thank God I don't Live 12 Million Years Ago

I'm already afraid of the ocean/lakes/rivers/pools because of sharks, alligators, snapping turtles, something totally unknown. Now I'm convinced that this whale + killer shark combo deal is still lurking below. I'm positive that the giant alligator in the epic film "Lake Placid" is waiting for me in every lake I see, so why wouldn't the Leviathan melvillei be waiting for me in the deep ocean?

Thanks, but I'll stick to land and wait for the graboids from "Tremors" to eat me.

Somehow, they feel totally different...

29 June 2010

85 Is Cool? New Technology is Cool?

This is the first evening since we moved down here that it's been "cool" and not 90% humidity, so I'm taking advantage of this and sitting in our Florida room watching the dogs attack bugs stuck crawling along the screens and listening to my Pandora "They All Laughed" station.

I started subscribing to RSS feeds on my Google Reader today. I don't know what took me so long to enter this realm of online information gathering. I have seen the little orange wave on practically every website, but ignored it. I like to think it's because I'm anti-conformity and a total non-hipster, but I cannot lie to myself; I dislike a majority of new things until I force myself (or, more often, am forced) to try them.

I'm a crotchety, creaky 90 year old man. (Definitely not a sweet, candy-carrying granny.) I prefer to shuffle around the house in my worn-in slippers and curse those youngins with their loud music and crazy ideas. This might be a (slight) hyperbole, but I do enjoy my slippers. I'm definitely a child of this extremely connected, constantly moving Internet age, I just come around to new technology a great deal slower than others.
The only Uggs I will ever own. Thanks, Santa!

I swore off e-readers when I first heard of them because nothing can replace the feel of a bona fide, grainy book in your hands. After spending time reading reviews about different e-readers and playing with the Nook at Barnes & Noble, I've decided they might not be the work of El Diablo. Now the top of my Christmas list is adorned with the Nook (No, not the Kindle. Give me a color screen and book sharing.). Hear that, Santa? My husband downloaded the most recent Blackberry software to my phone yesterday and I nearly had a heart attack. As you may have guessed, I survived, but I spent today adjusting to the new BBM format and horrible pain of setting up my email again. Life is so hard.

27 June 2010


A look at the first six months of a dog's life

I am 100% pro-puppy. Anyone got a problem with that?

Sunday, Monday Happy Days!

These have all been said a million and one times, but no one ever really listens. Take the time this week to do one of these each day and give your day, week, month, year, life a little boost.

Two pieces of advice in one snuggly package.

When you're done, take some time to check out the website RealSimple.com. Life doesn't need to be complicated, so why does everyone make it so?

25 June 2010

Blackwater Babblings

My husband, our good friend, and I went on a canoe trip down the Blackwater River yesterday. I was excited to go and to bring our puppy, Shadow, as well. If you know me, you know I don't do well in nature (nature being anything more than 15 feet from a house or paved road), so my husband was pretty excited that I even suggested we go canoeing.

The Blackwater River National Park holds the only white sand river in the whole United States and it's beautiful. The water is too cold for alligators, which would have been a large deterrent in my willingness to go. The river was rarely too deep to stand in and you could easily see to the bottom. Our friend enjoyed repeatedly telling me that there were tree snakes and snapping turtles, but as long as I could see danger a-coming, I knew I'd be okay.

Oh, and, J.Lo let me borrow her rifle.

This was Shadow's first foray into the wide world of boating. She didn't quite grasp the idea of weight distribution or oars. As I perched on our cooler full of Gatorade, Shadow hopped back and forth in utter rapture of every partially submerged tree stump or plunge of the bright red oar. She had me convinced we were going to flip every 5 minutes, which required a shriek that I'm sure my canoe buddies truly appreciated. Shadow also found it completely unacceptable that we did not stop at every single beach so that she could explore. Her whines could be heard for miles. When we did stop, she decided it was no longer time to listen to us, and sprinted from one end of the beach to the other.

Photo evidence of Shadow corraling.

I'd say that everyone had a pretty good time. The only sunburnt part of my is my poor scalp (someone remind me to sunscreen my head next time I put it back in braids before sitting in direct sunlight for 4 hours). If you're ever in the area of Blackwater and you've got a day to spend floating down the river, I highly suggest it! There's a rental company that offers canoes, tubes, and plenty of other water sport items to maximize your river enjoyment.

22 June 2010

Bullpen Love

This is by far too cute: a bullpen catcher for the Mariners tossed an attractive woman in the stands a ball with his number on it. The rest, as they say, is history. They were married in, where else, the Mariners' bullpen this past Saturday.

Give it up for sappy, romantic stories, people!

Happy Tuesday!

If there's one song that can always lift my spirits, it'd have to be this one. Enjoy Whitney's enormous hair, skin tight outfits, and pre-Bobby Brown sanity.

20 June 2010

Female Condom with a Twist

I cannot fully hop on board with this product, but I am jogging alongside the wagon.

Spiked Female Condom

On the one hand, I am glad to see that something will happen to those who are raping women. It is one of the most horrible things that could be done to another human being. It is comforting to know that there are people who are working hard to help prevent rape from happening. I think that, in this case, the punishment fits the crime.

On the other hand, if I were wearing one of these I would also worry about the rapist attempting to hurt me in other ways out of anger. The hope is that it would give the woman enough time to get away from her attacker while he is frantically attempting to pull this off, but enough rage and adrenaline pulsing through your body can push pain to the back of your mind. I'm interested to see what happens with this invention being publicized and handed out in mass to the South African public.

Any thoughts, my, oh so, numerous audience?

18 June 2010

Oh, Snoop

I love me some True Blood, which is why it's so upsetting that we don't have HBO (or any cable for that matter). I also have always had a soft spot for Snoop Dogg (my father has brought back the "izzle"). This video is a little Snoop homage to the show and it's all sorts of fantastic.

I must make a point that if you haven't read the Sookie Stackhouse novels, you're missing out. The storyline is way more fun and there are some great battles. The show does satisfy those who lack an imagination when it comes to sex scenes, but if you have an active imagination there's no end to how good Bill or Eric is in bed. The books are pure candy and sometimes have some editing errors, but they're delicious and very quick reads. I recommend them if you're looking for good summer reads.

17 June 2010

Glee Flash Mob

Yes. An amalgam of things that make me all warm and gooey inside: Glee, Journey, flash mobs, choreographed dances.

Top of the Box, to ya!

Good morning to all!

As I was eating my cereal this morning, I had a delightful moment of happiness. This moment was the result of having perfectly shaped, uncrumbed squares of cereal. It seems so simple and trivial, but it's a great way to start out the day. I felt like I was in a Life cereal commercial with picture perfect squares. All I needed was the milk to crash gloriously into the pile of deliciousness. Mikey would have been proud.

When you wake up and, in a sleepy haze, don't notice the lightness of the box as you pour it and your bowl of cereal is simply a mound of crumbs and sugar bits,your day has started off at a 3 rather than an 8. Maybe my dislike of the bottom half of the box is a manifestation of my (self-diagnosed) OCD. It's still technically the same thing as the top half, it's just so...messy. They might as well be tricking me into eating mulch (right). Where have my perfect little squares gone? They couldn't possibly be composed of this much sugar, could they?

Well, in a few days I will meet the bottom of the box, once again. I cannot toss the remnants in the trash without feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt for "the starving children in countries" as a high school friend once put it. (I'm sure she has no recollection of this statement, but I sure do) Maybe I can trick my unsuspecting husband into finishing off the crumbles.

16 June 2010

Nono, Gaga

I'm going to put this out there, and I know I'll take some heat from the Gagaites or whatever her crazy fans call themselves: I intensely dislike Lady Gaga. Her character is just obnoxious and her music isn't anything more than typical pop. Her music isn't at the level of the Beatles or Stones. I don't see my children 20, 30 years from now singing her songs. People are calling her revolutionary and the best thing to happen to music, but I just can't get behind that.

Yes, she's doing wild things with her outfits and hair. Yes, she's creating music that's topping charts at the moment. With today's social media sites, people can be famous for posting a video of their son on drugs after a trip to the dentist or for tickling a kitten. I can understand why she's famous, because at least, in part, she has used her own, god-given talents to become this famous.

She has created a character that is interesting to people who are used to seeing celebrities wearing their hair in predictable styles and wearing shoes that require little thought while walking. But this character has become boring and a fame whore. Who shows up to their little sister's high school graduation in a completely outrageous outfit? Have some respect for your family and give your sister a day in the sun.

"No one will even know I'm there, lil sis. I swear!"

I get that the first few outfits she wore were crazy and "pushing the envelope", or something, but she's no Madonna. Christina Aguilera was wearing crazy outfits years ago.

I also don't see her music surviving the tests of time. As previously stated, I don't see my children singing her songs 20 or 30 years from now. She's the pop princess of the moment, and, as with most pop princesses, she'll fade. We'll hear stories of her down the road in desperate cries for attention. We'll hear her songs played in flashback moments and be reminded of the good old days of college or high school (thank you, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, & Xtina for always giving me a boost of high school nostalgia). But, when it comes down to it she won't last.

Thanks for the slumber party memories, Brits.

15 June 2010

After my first blog failed to inspire me, but won at instilling doubt in my grasp of the English language (how ironic), I am creating this new blog. Here, I will post my musings, rantings, laudings, etc.

I'll ease myself into it with what I've been pondering for the last 20 minutes. To buy a magazine subscription or to not. I always enjoy reading magazines (or simply skimming through their pages), but I have yet to buy an actual subscription. I have wasted more money on grabbing random magazines while standing in line pondering whether I really should be buying that fourth bag of chips this week. (More on that love affair at a later date.)

Most magazines now are just ad books. Pages 1-25 are Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Burberry shoving their product down my throat as I anxiously flip past for the scholarly "10 New Sex Positions" expose. These are usually the same old tales tossed back at you with different titles and color schemes.

I think, however, that I have found a magazine I can settle myself into subscribing to: Self. A good friend recently brought it along with her on her trip to see me. It is not only a beauty & fashion magazine, but a health & fitness magazine. It didn't have the hard-hitting articles that grace the middle 3 pages of many magazines nowadays, but it made me happy. No overtly sexual articles about pleasing your man or getting the bedroom booty every girl dreams of. It's geared toward women to simply make them happy. I like that.

And, with that, I have inspired myself to click "Subscribe".