Christmas Past

I'm just sitting here thinking about Christmas and the Holidaze, and how different it is now from when I was a kid. I mean, the things kids get today is a far cry from what it was in my increasingly distant youth. Today's gift lists include things like iPods, Xboxes, cellphones, and flat screen TV's.  Hmmm...back in the know, the dinosaur age, we were asking for things like record players, Ataris, walkie talkies, and um, there was only one TV in the whole house and cable did not exist, so there'd be no point in asking for a TV!

At any rate, I thought I'd share with you some of my memories of favorite Christmas gifts from Christmas Past.

Barbie's  Country Camper

Barbie Country Camper

Now really, isn't this the only way for Barbie to her own RV?  It had a popout on the side, and a fold-out table; not to mention sleeping bags, a  tilt-up windshield, and a rooftop luggage rack (no sense in letting all their luggage get in the way of their indoor RV fun!)  There was enough room for friends to come along too. Sometimes Malibu Barbie would come, and sometimes even GI Joe.  You just had to be careful with him though; Joe was a little on the stiff side and did not get along with Ken. And if the two of them had a few beers too many, well, all hell would break loose in that camper!

The Six Million Dollar Man Doll

Six Million Dollar Man

Based on the popular TV show, who wouldn't want Steve Austin,  The Six Million Dollar Man doll? Not only did he have a hole in the back of his head so you could see through is bionic eye, but he had roll up skin on his bionic arm and legs, so you could see (and remove) his bionic parts! How creepy cool is that?! Besides, he came in handy when Ken and GI Joe were not getting along, because he could totally kick their ass! And even though he did have his very own bionic girlfriend, we all know he was secretly in love with Barbie, so he enjoyed tagging along with her. No wonder she needed an RV.

Electronic Detective

Electronic Detective

Now this was a game I got in the early 80's. You got to be a detective to solve murder mysteries.  Who Done It? It was your job to find out. There were over 130,000 mysteries to solve, and it included all sorts of sound effects too: gun shots, sirens, even the funeral dirge, and more. My best friend and I both wanted to be private detectives when we grew this game was good training, to be sure.  Talk about your hi-tech toys! This was the height of advanced computer logic...OK well, based on computer logic of 1979, when the game was created anyway.

Mork from Ork Egg Ship

Mork From Ork Egg Ship

Mork from Ork made his first TV appearance on the hit TV show Happy Days in the late 70's. Played by the legendary comic, Robin Williams (who was an unknown at the time), his character became such a hit that he got his own TV show: Mork & Mindy. I loved Mork! I couldn't wait to watch that show each week. It was truly one of my all time faves. One year for Christmas, my grandma and grandpa got all of us these Mork from Ork Egg Ships--because, well, Mork's mode of travel was indeed an egg ship, what else?! The plastic ship came in two parts, with a 4" Mork figure inside.  And Shazbot! I loved that thing!

Portable Cassette Tape Player

Portable Cassette Player

Not as old as an 8-track player, but long before CD players (and iPods), there was the cassette player. And if you were really lucky, you also had a portable cassette player, like this red one that I got one year. I was able to not only take this with me to friends' houses, but I could also record stuff. Talk about old school! Remember those days? If you liked a song on the radio you'd just push your tape recorder up to the radio speaker...really close...and push record, and then you had to remember not to talk or make any other noise while recording or it would be on the tape too and you'd ruin the whole thing! You also had to be sure you had enough space on the tape for all the songs you were recording; but inevitably, at some point, you'd run out of tape...usually just as your favorite song was recording. Ah, the good ole days.

Before I leave, I wanted to share with you the one Christmas present I really, really wanted as a child, but never got.  It's one of those things you can't really explain, but you just really want it. So what was it?

Star Trek Communicators

That's right: Star Trek Communicators. Yes folks, as a child I was indeed a Trekkie. Space travel. Exploring new worlds. Pointy-eared Vulcans. Hot space ship captains. Yeah, I hear you snickering, but that's because you thought James T. Kirk (aka William Shatner) was hot too.  Don't pretend like you didn't. The Communicators were actually walkie-talkies, and I thought they were the coolest things. The top flipped open and you could talk into it.  I never got them as a child. But oh yeah, the Hubs and I have some now. We call them...cellphones.

Beam me up, Scotty. And Happy Holidays.

Who's Who

Apparently, I'm somebody, according to Strathmore's Who's Who. I got a letter that confirms this, so hey, it must be true.

It is my pleasure to inform you that your information was reviewed and accepted for inclusion in the 2009 edition. Strathmore's Who's Who each year recognizes and selects key executives, professionals, and organizations in all disciplines and industries for outstanding business and professional achievements. Those who have reached a distinguished level of success in their chosen profession share this recognition.

OK, so, not only am I "distinguished," but I also have "outstanding business and professional achievements." That's so interesting! I didn't know that having a net income of $0 from my business was considered an outstanding business achievement! Holy heck, I'm doing better than I thought!

What's next? Will Forbes be calling me for the next Fortune 500?!  And surely Oprah will want an interview to extol the merits of my highly tuned business acumen.  Perhaps even The Donald will be calling, wanting some insight from a clearly accomplished business professional.  Like, for real.

That letter from Strathmore made my day. Perhaps I should frame it and hang it on the wall alongside my other nonexistent awards and accolades, so that I can give my name the spotlight it deserves. But wait...what's this? My name is nowhere on this letter. It's not addressed to me at all. It says...Dear...Company Owner. Apparently, I'm so distinguished and accomplished that they can't even address me by name?!


What a racket.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I got one of these letters. (Seriously, that would add up to a LOT of money by now!) Yeah, they're gonna put my name in a book alright. But the only way I'll see it myself is to buy the damned book, which is, of course, the whole point of the letter.

Do people really fall for this? If so, I am definitely in the wrong business. And let's not overlook the fact that this letter fax, just as all news of professional accomplishment and achievement should come.


Gotta give props to the folks at Strathmore though. If they're making money in this economy with this gimmick, more power to 'em.  It's the American way.

5 Lessons From an Insomniac

Having struggled with insomnia off and on since I was a teenager (and no, I won't tell you how long ago I was a teenager), I have found that there are all sorts of lessons to be learned in the wee small hours of the night, or morning, depending upon your point of view. 

Can't Sleep Cat

So I thought I'd share of some my arguably insightful pearls of insomniac wisdom.

1. If a startlingly loud and unidentifiable noise can occur in another room, it will happen at precisely the moment when you happen to be watching some spooky bit of paranormal programming on TV and are already in a heightened state of extreme paranoia...and if you're sipping a beverage at this precise moment, you will end up wearing it too.

2. Paid Programming caters to 3 types of people at 4am: Overweight over-eaters who are in the market for expensive exercise equipment that they cannot afford; older folks who are in search of the one and only beauty cream that will take years off their faces; and those kinky folks who are on the hunt for sex toys, and are surely going to be up at 4am to get the best bargains on lubes and lotions, vibrators and Blow-Me-Up-Suck-Me-Suzie dolls.

3. Your kitchen floor will only creak when you are tip-toeing into the room to get a snack at 12:30am that you do not need, and don't necessarily want your husband to know you are getting while he is sleeping in the next room. (Bonus lesson: the creaky floor is actually a great diet aid!)

4. Reading only helps to make you tired if the book sucks. If it's a good book, you'll just want to keep reading, and before you know it you'll be hearing the coffee pot come on and kicking yourself for ever thinking you could just read "one more chapter."

5. The best sleep aids are reruns of 80's TV shows that you cannot stand. I personally use The Nanny, Married with Children, and Full House.  You can find at least one of those shows on at almost any time of night. And when all else fails, I just put one of those on and I'm usually asleep in relatively short order.

I'm still not tired. So, I think a bit of channel-surfing is in order. The 80's are  definitely calling. Night, all.

To Pay or Not to Pay

That's the question all right.

The Hubs and I recently switched cell phone carriers. We had one phone left under contract with our old carrier, so we decided to just let the contract run out, rather than pay the $250 cancellation fee--since we'd save a lot of money that way.

Our contract expired on the 7th, so I called the carrier and told them I want to cancel and close the account. No problem, right? Should be easy enough. Well, you know, idiots thrive in this world, and cell phone carriers are no exception. They tell me that they will close my the end of my billing cycle date, which is the 22nd. So basically, I have to keep my account, for a phone I haven't used in about three months, for another 2 weeks. OK. Fine, I tell them. And I figured we were done. But,  no.

First they want to share with me all the great offers I should take advantage of, now that my phone is paid off. I should get the pay-as-you-go plan, so that I can use the phone as a back up, if I need to. Or I should get a new monthly calling package and just start fresh with them. Well, um, "I already have a phone with another carrier," I say. I don't want to pay to have a "back up" phone,  nor do I wish to start over with them, thank you very much.  (Do they even live in the same economy that I do?!) So fine, they say that I'll get my final bill soon after my regular billing cycle ends.

So yesterday I get the bill via email. And how much is it for? .01. That's right, ONE CENT! And this is where I'm thinking, are you freaking kidding me? They are sending me a bill for a penny? WTH? Well, after much consideration, I've decided I have 3 options.

1. Print out the payment page, tape a penny to it, and mail them the bill with a carefully worded letter about the inanity of sending someone a bill for one cent. But you know, that would cost me .44 cents, not to mention I'd have to print out the bill and waste an envelope. This economy has taught me to be quite cheap frugal, if nothing else, so this is a less than ideal choice.

2. Ignore the bill all together, and wait to see how long it takes them to turn me over to collections FOR ONE CENT! You know they'd do it, right? They sooo would! This is America, after all, land of the free-for-alls and home of the seedy bill collectors. This is actually a plausible option though, if you think about it. When you send someone to collections, the collections agency gets at least half the money you are due, so basically the cell phone carrier would end up with about half of a cent. I'd love that! But not at the expense of my credit report, I don't think.  So probably not worth it.

3. Use my online banking to send them a payment of  .02 cents. And why  .02 cents? Because if I send them .02 cents, they will have to refund me the overpayment, which would be .01 cent.  And since the cost of postage is .44 cents, they will actually lose money by sending me a refund check.  I'll get my .01 cent overpayment back, but they will have just spent .44 cents to send it to me.

So yeah, I'm gonna go with option 3. They'll get their one cent, but it's gonna cost them to get it.  Just a little vindication for all the dropped calls, out-of-service times, and lack of carryover minutes we endured over the course of the last 4 years!

Sometimes, revenge is truly sweet.

Can You Hear Me Now, From Aisle 5?

Is it just me, or is there a new breed of shoppers at the local grocery store? You know the ones I mean, right? They're pushing their cart, they're grabbing some Funyuns, they're changing their mind about their bologna, and shoving it onto a shelf next to the paper plates while making sure no one is watching...all the while chatting incessantly to their BFF...on their cell phone.

Since when did talking on the phone while grocery shopping become the chic  thing to do?! As if dealing with self-involved shoppers who drive their cart down the aisle like they're the only ones in the entire store isn't bad enough, no no. Now we have to put up with them screeching and hollering into their cell phone to boot. And are they blocking your access to the Pop Tarts? Well, uh, sorry, you're going to have to hope and pray for a dropped call before it would even occur to them to get out of your way.

Whatever happened to the good old days, when going to the grocery store meant that the rudest thing you had to put up with was someone who was willing to arm wrestle you for the very last package of Buy One Get One Free 12 Roll Packs of toilet paper? Those days are long gone, my friend. Yesiree. Now they'll not only arm wrestle you, but they'll give the play-by-play of the whole scene to that BFF on the other end of the phone call, and they'll be referring to you in less than flattering terms, as if you aren't even standing just twelve inches away from them while they do it.

Don't get me wrong, I think cell phones are great. And I will admit to having called the Hubs a time or two from the grocery store, asking if we need one gallon of milk or two. But I sure as heck don't spend countless minutes chattering on and on about mindless drivel, completely oblivious to my own volume level, and all at the expense and annoyance of the rest of the shoppers, who clearly just want to get their groceries and go home.

Seriously. What is wrong with people? This is one of those things I really don't understand. If you want to chat up your best friend while shopping, here's an idea: bring them with you! Get in some real, quality, one-on-one face time, and get your shopping done all at the same time.  {They call that multi-tasking, I believe.} And then the real bonus is, the rest of us won't have to hear you yelling into your cell phone, to your BFF, "Can you hear me now, from aisle 5?!"

Typos, Price Tags and Elephants, Oh My!

Just some more random things I really don't understand...

Typos in books: Isn't it someone's job to make sure that doesn't happen? I mean, they get paid for that, right? So basically, they are getting paid to make mistakes. Um, where can I sign up for that job?

Non-Removable Price Tags: I cannot stand when I buy something that I can't get the price tag off of. What genius thought it was OK to stick a giant price tag on the cover of a book with adhesive so strong you could more likely permanently glue an elephant to the underside of a 747 than remove the sticker from the cover of a book? Someone needs to talk to the dang Post-It Notes guys and see what glue they're using. Sheesh.

Celebrity Sex Videos: What is it with celebrities and their sex videos? Doesn't being a celebrity kind of imply that you are one of the people that should never make a sex video?! And considering how quickly videos go viral on the Web, that should be a little bit of a wake-up call to the wanton celeb porn stars out there. Does their fame and money really impair their judgment that much? And do they really have nothing better to do? Maybe someone should just write a celebrity manual.

Rule #1: Don't make a sex video.

Rule #2: If you do make a sex tape, don't complain when it hits the Web and the evening news. (You're famous, what the hell did you expect?!)

Rule #3: Apologize to your mother when you break Rule #1.

Tabloid Journalism: Isn't that an oxymoron?!

Pop Up Tape: Really now, pop up tape? Come on, people. Have we gotten so lazy that we can't even tear off a piece of tape from a roll dispenser? Heaven knows it takes an incredible amount of physical strength and exertion to tear scotch tape! Don't strain yourself or anything.

And finally...Frozen Dinners: Just the idea of them boggles my mind. They're basically leftovers that have been frozen and thrown into a cardboard box for the enjoyment of those with clearly discerning palates. I know a lot of people who won't touch leftovers, but who love frozen dinners. What the heck is the difference? Oh yeah, you have to buy the frozen dinners.

This is what our society has evolved to, folks...being able to enjoy a frozen dinner while reading a book filled with typos and a torn cover,  created after you've spent an hour trying to remove a price tag that's been affixed with super glue, and having to repair it with your handy dispenser of pop-up tape; afterward, you can catch up on all the literary masterpieces to be found in your favorite tabloid, which will surely also provide you with the website link of your favorite celebrity sex video.

God I love this country. ;o)

What a Girl Wants

Sometimes I truly have to question the workings of my almost-43-year-old brain. Seriously. What is going on up there? Not to sound bragalicous (yes, it's a word...if I want it to be), but I'm fairly intelligent. I have college degrees. I was a teacher for heaven's sake!I know stuff. Ahem. LOTS of stuff! Some of it's even interesting.

I've enjoyed the works of Shakespeare, Austen, and Hemmingway. I love listening to classical music when I paint. I mean, really, who doesn't like a little Mozart or Rachmaninov during the creative process? And I absolutely love poetry. Longfellow, anyone?

So, considering how mature and evolved I surely must be, given the above facts, why is that when I was on Amazon the other day looking for a book,  I ordered this DVD.

What a Girl Wants

I have seen What a Girl Wants at least 3 times. It's the story of a teenage girl who travels to London to find her long-lost aristocratic father, whom she's longed to meet her entire life. It's a combination coming of age story, a love story, a fish out of water story, and just a feel good father-daughter-relationship movie. That being said, it's also cutesy, a bit contrived, and too sticky-sweet in some parts. But OMGosh, people, I love this movie!

The movie's two main stars, Amanda Bynes and Colin Firth, have such great chemistry; they really are the big reason this movie works. And the movie does have a Cinderella-story quality to it that appeals to the sap hopeful romantic in me. So when I saw it on Amazon, what can I say? I had to buy it.

It really is fun to watch. It's sweet. It's touching.

It's What a Girl Wants!

Excuse Me…

There's that saying, "Kids say the darndest things." It's so true, and my grandson, Dylan proves it almost every day. His mommy, along with the Hubs and I, have tried to teach him proper etiquette. Saying please and thank you and a million other things.

One thing I've always been big on is the use of "excuse me." You know, sometimes your body has natural functions that can't always be controlled. (Better out than in, if you know what I mean). And when something sneaks out, we've taught Dylan to say, "excuse me." It's just good manners, after all. And he' really good about saying his own way.

You see, he will almost always say "excuse me," but not without an explanation of what he's done. So, for example, we were out to eat this evening, and a little something managed to sneak out of his pint sized body. So what does he say, and loudly enough for all the surrounding restaurant patrons to hear?

"Excuse me...I farted."

And the Hubs and I embarrassingly add, in perfect unison, "Shhhhhhhhhh!"

Yep, that's my grandson for you. He can't just say excuse me, and stop right there. No, no, he has to let you know WHY he's saying excuse me too. I guess it's only fair, in his mind, to give everyone the proper heads up (especially in a restaurant). And right now, since he's 5 years old, it's still funny, even kind of cute. But heaven help us if he's 15 and still doing that!

Uh huh, out of the mouths (and orifices) of babes.

Dylan Brag Book

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ever have one of those days when you just want to stay home from school (or work!)? You know, hang out with your friends, borrow your best friend's father's Ferrari, take a trip into the Windy City, and jump onto a float to sing in a parade that has the onlookers dancing, as the float travels past your father's office building? Well, the 80's flick, Ferris Bueller does that and more in what I think is one of the best movies ever made.

Meet Ferris

I don't care how old I get, I absolutely love to watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It just never gets old. It always makes me laugh and smile, and what more could you want on a day you don't feel like getting out of bed?!

There are some great young stars in this flick too..

Matthew Broderick, of course, plays Ferris, the kid that all the kids know and love--with the exception of his sister, Jeanie, played by Jennifer Gray (Dirty Dancing). Ferris' girlfriend, Sloane, is played by the lovely Mia Sara (Legend), and his befuddled  and tormented best friend, Cameron is played by the amazing Alan Ruck (Spin City).  You'll also see a young Charlie Sheen in the movie, whose role as a drugged out misfit rebel is quite small, but memorable.

And then there's his principal, who's out to prove that Ferris is indeed playing hooky, rather than hacking up internal organs at home, as he would have his parents believe; and he goes to great lengths--and pains--to catch Ferris in his big lie. Only Ferris' sister wants to catch Ferris more, because she's tired of his tricks and his ability fool his parents and get away with anything he wants.

It's impossible to explain everything that's in this movie. So here's a short trailer I found online that will do a better job.

You might also be interested in some great trivia about the flick posted at IMDB. Some great tidbits there! And FYI, the parade scene was filmed during an actual annual parade in Chicago, and it includes dancers doing a great reproduction of the moves in Michael Jackson's Thriller video.

If you haven't seen this movie, well, you just don't know what you're missing! And if you have seen it, isn't it time you re-watched Ferris Bueller?

Bueller? Bueller?


Barnes and Noble Blackout

So the Hubs and I went to Fort Wayne yesterday. I wanted to go through Hobby Lobby for some craft supplies and figured we'd eat in town while we were there. FW is an hour away, so we tend to make the most of it while we're there.

After Hobby Lobby and a nice meal at Olive Garden, we were heading past the mall to head home when I spied Barnes and Noble. Now I've only ever been to B&N online; I honestly didn't know they even had "real" stores. This one had to be fairly new because I know it wasn't always there at the mall. I'm not into mall hopping anyway...just not my thing. But since we were right there and in no hurry to get home, I asked the Hubs to pull in so we could browse.

Now I don't know about you, but I love book stores, and I avoid them most of the time for that very reason. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars in there in very short order. It's kind of like how guys are in hardware stores or anyplace that carries tools. If I see some I want, I have to buy them. I just love books! But since I seldom actually have the hundreds of dollars to spend in there (and on this day it was certainly no different), I just don't go in book stores too often. But since I'd never been into an actual B&N, I figured this would at least be worth the effort.

After scouring the parking lot for a parking space--which is never an easy task at that mall so it's something I do not attempt too often--and then squeezing our car into one of the undersized mall parking spaces, we headed to the doors of B&N. We got to the entryway, which had several people kind of milling about in it, and noticed it looked kind of dark in the store. As we tried to make our way past the people, a store employee stopped to inform us:

"I'm sorry, but we've had a power outage and we are not letting customers inside the store. We do, however, have staff members on hand who will gladly browse for books for you and..."

OK, I stopped her right there. While in my mind I'm thinking nothing more than WTH?!, I just shrugged her off, said "no thanks" and headed back out the door from whence I entered.

I mean, are they kidding me? They are going to browse for books for me? How does that work exactly? Were they gonna send an employee into the dark belly of the store, have her randomly grab books, hold them up and holler back at me with, "How about this one?" And then I would, in turn, yell back, "Maybe, could you read me a couple of pages to see if I like it?" Um, yeah, I don't think so.

Book shopping, except for the occasions when you're only in a book store to buy one specific book, is a very personal experience. It's not something someone else can do for you, and I'd think B&N staff would kind of know this. Why else do book stores have chairs and coffee shops in them? Perhaps because people are going to spend a bit of time in there...reading?

Apparently, the store had been without power since a thunderstorm passed through FW earlier that morning. And from what I could gather from other folks who had been talking to the B&N employees before our arrival, the employees had been standing at the doors all day telling every customer who showed up the same things they told us. We heard another customer say, "that's a long time to be standing in the doorway." Uh, ya think?

So my question is this, Barnes & Noble: why on earth didn't you just put a sign on the front door that explained about the power outage, thereby preventing people from going through the hassle of trying to find an undersized parking space in a crowded mall parking lot and making the trek from their car to your front door, only to find out that they could not even go inside?!

Hmm. Maybe they were just afraid that people wouldn't want to read their sign...because, um, you know, people that go to book stores...don't like to read.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

The person who came up with those directions for the back of shampoo bottles is a marketing genius. Think how many people actually do that, every single day, or at least every single time they wash their hair. They lather, rinse, and repeat, without ever questioning why they're doing it.

Think about this for just one minute, people. Why on earth would you or should you wash your hair, rinse it off, and then wash it again? Do you wash your body that way with your shower gel? Do you wash your dishes that way? Your car? I'm assuming that you answered "no" to these questions. That would be insane, right? I mean, who would ever do that?! If you had to wash your dishes twice every day at every meal, you know you'd be looking for a brand new dish soap before the last dish was even dry. So why would you wash your hair twice?

Why? I'll tell you why: because that marketing genius knows that people are just gullible enough to do it. The bottle tells you to do it, so you do it. And in doing so, you're going through shampoo twice as fast, which then forces you to need another bottle of shampoo even sooner. Makes sense, right? Of course it does, because that is the whole point: you spend more money, and the shampoo makers are laughing all the way to the bank.

But it doesn't have to be like this. Take a stand right now (or at least the next time you wash your hair); rebel against that stupid shampoo bottle and reclaim your shower power!

Lather? Of course.
Rinse? Hell yes.
But Repeat? Um, NO!
Step away from the shampoo bottle, and stop this cycle of madness once and for all.

And with the money you'll save on shampoo, you can always send a donation to your favorite blogger charity.

Grocery Store Goob

Ever have repeated run-ins with one major goob while at the grocery store? You know the kind I mean...kind of stupid, kind of oblivious, kind of really super annoying?! Apparently, goobs are in their element at the grocery store, and it's just my luck to have run into one during a quick jaunt to the corner market today.

First, he nearly nicked me with his cart, because apparently, my wide frame was outside his range of peripheral vision and he couldn't see me, being all of 16 inches away from him. No apologies from the goob once he realized his faux pas either. Typical.

Shopping Cart in Aisle

Then, a few aisles down, I see a shopping cart sitting unattended in the middle of the typically-too-narrow grocery store aisle. It was positioned cockeyed in the center, so that there was no room for anyone to maneuver past it. And just as I'm wondering to whom the aisle-blocking barrier belonged, I look up to see Mr. Goob, standing ten feet away, perusing the chips and dip selections. He was completely oblivious to the fact that three people had to change course to bypass his basket blockade; either that or he thinks he owns the store and can park his cart wherever he pleases. Either way though, he's still a goob for having left it there in the first place.

I finished grabbing my goodies for the taco dinner I had planned for this evening, and headed for the "express" lane, which we all know has about as much validity as "fast food" does at the drive-through. 

But anyhoots, I get in line, look up, and guess who's ahead of me? Uh-huh: good ole Goob. Does he bother to place the plastic bar behind his order to separate it from mine? No. But what he does do is become fascinated with the credit card swiping machine, and the fact that it is on a base that can spin all the way around. He looks befuddled as the cashier (stifling a chuckle herself) explains to him that it swivels so that she can see it, to assist customers if need be. Sheesh. It's not rocket science, fella. Neither is the fact that he has to sign the machine for his pending credit card purchase, which seems to really confuse him. But he manages to close the deal and be on his merry goob way.

Finally, thinking I am free of the whole goob experience, I get checked out and head to my car...but not before the goob manages to speed past me in his circa 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix in the parking lot, and a little too close for comfort in doing so.

Reasonable Facsimile of the Goob's Car
Goob Tan Grand Am

What is WITH this goob anyway?! Pedestrians have the right of way, last time I checked, and he in no way made any effort to yield to the pedestrian (me, of course) in his path. And thus, that annoying idiot went from goob to A-hole, in my book, in one swift shot!

He turned down the same row as my vehicle was parked in, just as I was unlocking the driver's side door. I glanced at my car, a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix, and then back at his, and I had to laugh. All I could think was, yeah, Goob, this is what a REAL Grand Prix looks like. Immature, I do confess. But hell, what else have you got when your opponent is a grocery store goob? If nothing else, I left there knowing that my Grand Prix could kick his Grand Prix's ass. And that he would always, forever more, be a goob.

 Reasonable Facsimile of My Car
White Grand Prix

Now I've gotta cook some tacos!

Best Chick Flicks You've Probably Never Seen

The following is a list of some of my favorite chick flicks, but they are ones that weren't necessarily huge box office hits. As a result, you may never have seen them. Call them just a few of my favorite move obsessions. I can watch them over and over an still love them. You gals will understand, I'm sure.

The Man in the Moon
The Man in the Moon, starring Reese Witherspoon

This 1991 film marks the first time I ever saw Reese Witherspoon on film. I can't say I knew she'd become the big star that she is today, but seeing what I did in this movie, it didn't surprise me either. It's a story set in 1957, when a 14 year old Dani (Reese) finds first love; while her older sister, Maureen finds true love. Unfortunately, they're both in love with the same young man, and fate has other things in store for all of them. Trust me, you need hankies for this film, girls! And it's a must see.

Mystic Pizza
Mystic Pizza, starring Julia Roberts

This Julia Roberts movie was made before we even knew who Julia Roberts was. It's about 2 sisters, Kat and Daisy (Julia) and their friend JoJo, all of whom work at a pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut. It's about sisters, and friendships, finding true love...and not so true love. It's really a sweet and girly kind of flick. It'll make you laugh, and maybe cry a little bit too.

Hope Floats
Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock

When Birdee (Sandra) finds out on a TV talk show that her BFF is sleeping with her husband, she leaves with her daughter to move back home with Mama in Texas. She has to deal with depression, a daughter who blames her and misses her daddy, catty old friends, an eccentric mama, and an old male friend, who has always been in love with her. The critics panned this movie, but I never listen to critics. If you can't find a reason to like the emotional journey this film takes you on, then your heart must be completely shriveled up and dried out! Watch with tissues.

Paradise, starring Don Johnson & Melanie Griffith

This has got to be one of the most overlooked movies of all time. Don and Melanie star as an unhappy couple who seem to have lost their love for each other, when a friend's young boy comes to stay the summer with them (played by a young Elijah Wood). It's really a story about love and loss and family, and about letting go and appreciating life's gifts. The cinematography is amazing too. Don't rent it...BUY IT! You won't be disappointed.

While You Were Sleeping
While You Were Sleeping, starring Sandra Bullock

What can I say? I'm a Sandra fan, and this is a feel good chick flick that I love to watch again and again. Sandra plays Lucy, who takes tokens for the "L" train in Chicago, and who falls in love with a commuter, Peter, who passes through her booth each day. One day he falls onto the tracks and Lucy rescues him, though he's in a coma, and she mistakenly gets identified as his fiancee, and recognized as such by his family. Since Lucy is lonely and has no family of her own, she has a hard time telling the family the truth, and as the days go on, she finds herself falling more in love...with Peter's brother. This movie is quirky and funny and touching and heartwarming, a "feel good" chick flick for sure. If this doesn't tug at your heartstrings, I don't know what will.

And now that I'm in total chick flick mode, I think it's time to pop some popcorn, curl up on the couch, and watch a good chick flick...or two.

Remembering Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson Profile

Don't Judge
© Tina Grimes 2009

Don’t judge a book by its cover
When its binding is worse for wear
The riches are in its pages
Its magic lingers there.

It’s much the same with people
Whose stories we don’t really know
Looking only at the outside
When the cover masks the story below.

We don’t know the truth of a life
Because it’s lived in the public eye
We don’t know what’s fact or folly
We don’t know what’s truth or lie.

Don’t judge the icon and legend
Whose image became worse for wear
The riches are in his melodies
His magic lingers there.

After watching a truly moving memorial tribute to Michael Jackson, I felt compelled to compose this poem in his memory. I'm thankful to have had his music as the soundtrack to many memories in my life. Thanks for the magic, Michael.

Random Things I Don't Understand

This is just a list of random Things I Don't Understand.

The TV Show, Operation Repo.
Are we so hard up for new reality TV shows (because obviously, there aren't enough of them already on the air) that we need to watch a show about cars getting repossessed?! It's the same show every time, only the faces change: weird repo folk go to repossess some cars; car owners who haven't made their payments get pissed off; car gets repo'd anyway. Uh-huh, yeah, that's must see TV.

Why men can go around with their shirts off and that's legal, but if women do it, they'd get arrested.  
Now let my clarify by saying, I don't want women to be able to run around topless (though I'm sure most men would like that). But I don't understand the sexist law that allows men to do so with no fear of consequences. Most men should not be topless anyway--it's just not attractive, nor is it necessary! Is it really so unbearably hot that they can't tolerate a sleeveless shirt like we women can? Puhleaze. Put on a freaking tank top and get over it already.

When it became acceptable to go out in pajamas.
Every time I turn around anymore, I see folks at the grocery store, at the video store, at the mall, you name it, wearing every manner of slumber attire. What is the deal here? Is it so much work to just throw on sweats and a t-shirt, if nothing else? Or do they think that we're too stupid to see that they're actually in their PJ's? Or maybe, just maybe, they think they're starting a hot new fashion trend? OK, unless you're 3 years old, it ain't cute, people. And it's the exact opposite of a fashion statement. Act like a grown up and get dressed.

Weight loss infomercials in the wee hours of the morning.
I was up at like 4am recently, and I was amazed at how many infomercials were on focusing on weight loss. They were on a disproportionately large number of channels. Infomercials about diets, exercise machines, pills, you name it. So my question is this: do they really think that fat people have nothing else to do at 4am? Or perhaps they think that fat folks crawl out of bed at that hour, to grab an early snack and maybe watch TV at the same time? Or do they just think that fat people only watch TV in the wee hours of the morning? I just can't figure that out.

Email hoaxes that never die.
I swear, it never ceases to amaze me how many times the same email hoaxes keep circling the planet over and over and over again, and how it's possible that anyone has the nerve to forward them to all their friends, let alone believe what's in them. You know the ones that tell you...your deodorant will cause cancer; your cell phone number is getting released to telemarketers; the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe; the guarantee of hundreds of dollars for forwarding a stupid email to ten of your closest friends. I've gotten these emails at least a hundred times each, along with almost every other stupid email hoax that's ever seen the light of day. And why? Because some poor sap out there is forwarding the same email that ten of his closest gullible friends did, and their friends did, and so on, and so on, and so on. WAKE UP, WORLD! 99.9% of the crap you read about in an email is just that, crap! And the only reason it keeps resurfacing (some of it for over a decade!) is because you send it to all your friends instead of doing the only thing that should ever be done with it: DELETE IT!

OK, so there are my random things I don't understand for today. And now there is a cup of coffee with my name on it and some real work to be done...after I delete a bunch of bogus emails.

Adventures in Freakdom

Freakdom Pin

Just to give you further insight as to how the freak mind works, here are few other random things our neighbor has done in the past.

Called the police on the Amish people who were re-doing our roof. Why? Because one tire on the van of their driver grazed a few blades of his grass when they pulled out of our driveway. And then he proceeded to the Amish! Who the hell yells at Amish people anyway?

Called the police last winter when my Hubs was plowing the alley that runs between our houses. Why? Because some snow landed on the freak's driveway, of course. I'm kind of surprised he doesn't sue Mother Nature then, since she dumps snow on his freaking driveway every single winter!

Planted maple trees a few feet apart, all up and down the edge of his lawn, adjacent to the alley between our houses. Why? To block our view from our porch.

Called the police several times because rain flows off the alley near his driveway. Why? Because he says our house causes the water to run there, and he thinks it's going to crack his cement driveway. And I'll just point out here that if you could see my house and the alley--and if you have even a basic understanding of the laws of Physics, you'd know there was no way on earth that rain from our house was traveling anywhere near his precious driveway. But if it is, I'm sure it's brought there by the flying pigs I see each morning.

Put signs up in his front yard (which, BTW, the city says are "political," so there's nothing they can do) that read: Stop favoritism, enforce zoning laws; Stop runoff of water from alley; and Not zoned for business. And when these signs fade (he does use cheap paint, don'tcha know), he takes them down, repaints them, and puts them back up again, while making sure that each sign is hung at equal heights and distances apart. Being anal is only secondary to his love of symmetry and balance.

Calls the police whenever anyone stops in the alley (even if we don't know them!), even for five minutes. And FYI: it is legal for any vehicle to stop in our alley for up to 20 minutes. We know this, and so does he.

Installed treated lumber for his flower beds--after stripping it, and then staining it. WTH?

Waters his trees from the top down, um, but never at the roots. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but aren't the roots supposed to get the water?

Has two video recorders pointed at our property, and records our movements daily. At first that disgusted me, but now I just share my favorite "bird" with him whenever the mood strikes me as I pass by the camera's view.

Has called the police on contractors working at our house...for playing their music too loud. [INSERT ROAR OF LAUGHTER HERE] I'm sorry, but I had to pause to catch my breath; I just laughed so hard I nearly pee'd my pants. Mister play-his-music-loud-enough-to-shake-windows-and-solely-for-the-annoyance-of-others thinks someone else's music is too loud?! Hello, Mr. Pot, meet the damned black Kettle! That's just too rich.

Guess that's enough freak-ranting for one day. But lest you think I'm exaggerating or embellishing, let me assure you that I am doing no such thing. This is all 100% freakdom FACT. And most of it is on record with our local police department.

An Introduction to the Freak

A lot of my friends and family, and most of the residents of the town in which I live, are familiar with the freak who is my next door neighbor. He's far more than just a freak though; he's also the bane of my very existence on a fairly regular basis. So anyhoots, I thought I'd share with you some tidbits from time to time about his asinine antics, if for no other reason than to exercise my right to freedom of speech. And besides, I know I'm not alone in living next door to an asshole idiot, and misery does love company. So let the venting begin.

I'll preface my introduction to the freak by saying that the Hubs went to school with him, and no, they were not friends, nor were they enemies, but they did know each other. And when he first moved next door there were no issues or problems. We all coexisted peacefully for several years, with no hint of the madness that would relentlessly spew forth at a later date. Without going into boring great detail, I'll summarize with a highlight of the most notable events from world of freakdom.

* Freak starts playing loud music, which gets annoying.

* Freak starts playing louder music, which starts to make my windows shake.

* Freak's music gets loud enough to bother other neighbors too and police get involved.

* Freak gets arrested and charged with violating a noise ordinance and all relevant neighbors get called to testify in court.

* Freak does his homework and discovers that in order to violate the noise ordinance, his music must be louder than the ordinance allows according to a decibel meter, which it is not. So even though his music shakes my windows and is going at all hours of the day and night, he is found "not guilty."

* Freak returns to playing his loud music, but is ultimately charged with a new crime, disorderly conduct.

* We all return to court and he is found guilty, spends some time in county jail and gets probation.

* Upon release from jail, knowing that loud music will not be tolerated, he hatches a new freak plan: annoy whomever he can, playing music just loud enough to be annoying, but not loud enough to send his butt back to jail.

* Freak installs a speaker in his garage vent, which faces our home, and commences playing it at all hours of the day and night, true to freak form, just loud enough to be us.

* Some time later, freak adds more speakers, just underneath his patio roof, facing our home so that he can continue playing music just loud enough to be us.

* Freak continues to play music, even when he is not home. Often times, there is different music coming from each speaker, while the freak is inside his home, either watching TV, or listening to all together different music!

* We call the police on several occasions, and since our calls about the nuisance noise that never ends are now annoying the local police, we are told that unless his music is on past 9pm, there is nothing they can do.

* Freak installs timer, which enables his music to play--and shut off at 9pm--even when he is not at home.

* Freak adds profanity to his repertoire of musical mayhem. So now we have the privilege of listening to words like F--K, B---H, A$$, D--N, S--T, etc. But guess what, that is not illegal either!

We have been dealing with freak-related BS for over three years. When asked by the police why he does what he does, the freak always says it's our fault, because the Hubs runs a business from our home.

OK, so, #1) Running a business from a home is NOT illegal; and #2) My husband is a plumber and a contractor, and all he does at our home is paperwork. After all, how the hell can he plumb someone's house from our home?! And he has a warehouse where all his equipment and parts are stored, and where deliveries are made, etc. But even though the city council and the police have all said that we are NOT violating any laws, the freak continues with his recalcitrant behavior for the sole purpose of punishing us...for allegedly running a business from our home.

So that's a bit about the freak that lives next door. Welcome to my world, people. And there's far more to tell. Our town's motto is, "A Great Place to Live." Yeah, well, that depends on who your neighbors are!

When Murphy's Law Goes on Vacation with You

So the Hubs and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this past weekend, with a weekend getaway to Lake Michigan. Sounds kind of romantic, eh? Well, lemme tell ya, when Murphy's Law goes on vacation with you, all chances of romance are completely shot to hell! And it went a little something like this...

Got a later start than the Hubs would have liked. I was up late the night before (because I can NEVER sleep, and he knows this!), so I didn't get up until 10:30. I had told him I'd planned to leave sometime between 10am-Noon. Ahem, it was 11:54 when we hit the road, so was I wrong?! Anyhoots, he was miffed that we were not on the road at the crack of dawn. (Murphy is about to rear its ugly head.)

Headed over to the gas station to gas up the rig, something I thought had already been done. But nope, we were on a quarter of a tank with a 227 mile Mapquest journey ahead of us. That, to me, says fillerup! So, before we could hit the highway, we did just that.

Then we started up to town toward the highway, and I asked the Hubs if he had checked my tire pressure. I had two tires that were getting low, and I had asked him a minimum of 3 times over the previous two weeks to please check my tire pressure before the trip. He had taken my car the night before we left to vacuum out the inside and get it looking as glorious as a Pontiac Grand Prix can possibly look; so one would think he would have A) checked the tire pressure, and B) filled up the car with gas! But since that didn't happen, and since I was not going to travel that far with low tire pressure, I made him stop at another gas station to check the pressure. He was beyond unhappy about that, and we had a little spat about it...yes, about tire pressure! Apparently, the lack of tire pressure in the tires was my fault, because I didn't get out of bed until 10:30am! Yes, I can see the logic there, for sure.

We traveled for the first 45 minutes in absolute silence. That's always fun. Heaven forbid you are the first one to speak after a tiff, because that would make you look guilty or something. But since I was playing my usual role as navigator, I had to speak to direct our way. At any rate, we were fine at that point, up until we got close to our destination of Muskegon, Michigan (romance capital of the world, to be sure). That's when we got lost, courtesy of Mr. Murphy, and Mapquest instructions that were not exactly accurate!

We arrived at our lovely, old Victorian bed and breakfast, after driving through some questionable neighborhoods in our search for the right road, which was situated right next to an old folks home, and some other facility that catered to "very special people." (I can only guess as to what kind of "special" they were talking about, and I figured we were better off not knowing.)

The B&B was beautiful and perfectly matched the description and photos on its website. We were greeted by the owner, Barb, and her adorably chubby Yorkie named Oscar. We were taken to our room, which was just as the website pictures had depicted it. And it was the largest room in the B&B. It was my 25th anniversary, after all, and I wanted the best room. Everything in the room was just as described, and perfect in every way, except for one thing: the air conditioning was not working. (Hello, Mr. Murphy!) We were on the second floor, people, and it was a very warm day--and the Hubs gets hot very easily when indoors (though he can work outside all day in 90+ heat and not complain), especially while sleeping. So the A/C wasn't exactly a minor issue. We were not pleased. The owner was very apologetic, though not quite sorry enough to offer us a discount on the room that I had fully paid for upon arrival!

We tried to put the A/C issue aside and headed out to explore Muskegon. I had researched the tourist attractions in the area so we'd be sure to have plenty to do, but my first stop when we are on a trip like that is always the same: The Lake! I grew up on the west coast, so I love the water. And whenever we go on vacation, I always want to be near water. So we headed to the beach that was only a mile or two away. We headed out onto the sand, in bare feet, of course, toward the jetty in the distance. Got half way out on the jetty and, Murphy's Law strikes again, it started to rain. Not just sprinkles, mind you, but the kind of rain that sent everyone that was on the beach racing toward their vehicles! So much for a leisurely walk on the beach.

While in the car, I checked a couple of tourist spots that we might want to check out, but we discovered that most tourist attractions in Muskegon were only open between Noon and 4pm. WTH? It was after 6pm, so we were S.O.L. at that point, so we headed back to the B&B. We were both getting hungry, so we wanted to figure out where we'd go for dinner.

After careful research between pamphlets and a quick websearch (I'm nothing if not practical: I did bring my laptop, after making sure that our B&B had wireless before I even booked the room!), we settled on our fine dining experience for the evening. 25 years of marriage certainly merits an expensive dinner, don'tcha know. So we changed clothes and made our way out the door, right into the pouring rain. Luckily for me, I always travel with an umbrella in the car, and had taken it to the room with me after the rain started on the beach. I just knew we'd need it again. Take that, Murphy!

The map of tourist spots provided to me by the B&B owner, which she claimed was "the best map," got us lost on the way to the restaurant. Between one way roads (I curse the man who thought up that gem), faded and illegible street signs, and streets that were not existent on "the best map," we ended up in a part of town that can only be described as SCARY! We were fortunate to spot two police cars (I'm sure they're no stranger to the neighborhood we were in), and they were kind enough to point us in the right direction. The street we were looking for turned out to be directly across from the parking lot we were in while speaking to the policemen, but since the letters on the street sign were almost completely faded, there was no way to read them in the dark. I'm sure the policemen thought it was kind of funny, but I was beyond stressed by this time, and was rather hoping for a police escort to the restaurant!

We finally arrived at the restaurant, and the events of the entire day just kind of hit me all at once in the car. The stress poured out of me, in the form of tears and sobs, which was beyond my control for at least 5 minutes. I was at my limit of the perfect 25th anniversary getaway by this time, so I just had to let it out. All the Hubs could do was wait it out. Poor guy. Things were bugging him too, but he handles stress far better and less girly than I do, to be sure.

The restaurant was a 5-star eatery, if I recall correctly, and it had the prices to match. Everything inside was very nice, and the food selection was so complex that you could tell this was not the neighborhood diner by any stretch of the imagination. Good thing I watch Top Chef, so I could figure out what some of the food choices were. I settled on ordering a steak and crab cake dinner, with potatoes gratin and asparagus. The Hubs ordered some sort of fish (we were by the water, after all). We enjoyed a wonderful salad and some tasty parmesan garlic rolls, and waited for our entrees to arrive. But naturally, Murphy had other plans, which became painfully obvious when the waitress came to tell me that they were out of not only my crab cakes, but also my potatoes gratin! I looked at my husband, whom I am sure knew what was coming before I did: TEARS! I struggled to hold back the flood gates, pretty much in vain, while the waitress stood and watched, dumbfounded. She must have thought I was crazy, crying over crabcakes?! OK, I was not crying about the freaking crab cakes, people. It was just one more crappy thing added to an already crappy Murphy kind of day! Sigh. I had to choose a substitution for my two missing meal items, which I did. And I ate less than half of my meal; sorry, but by this time I had completely lost my appetite. At least the waitress was nice enough to deduct 10% off our over $50 bill. And the chef even gave us a card good for a free dessert on our next visit, which we left in the lobby for someone else who has better than a snowball's chance in hell of ever returning to Muskegon, let alone the restaurant. But it was a nice gesture, nonetheless.

Murphy's Law eCard

We went back to the B&B, relieved that the rain had managed to keep the room from getting super hot. But it was still muggy, which is never comfortable. We turned on the ceiling fan, and opened the French door (which led to the private balcony) and the room's two windows. Barb had said we'd get a nice breeze that way, and we did. That is, until the rain started puddling up on the sills, and looking to head with Murphy to the new wood floors. So we had to close the windows. We showered, and watched a bit of TV, and then discovered that Murphy had jumped into bed with us, in the form of a very squeaky mattress. This, of course, precluded doing anything but sleeping in that 25th anniversary bed, since there were guests across the hall and one one side of us, and I sure didn't want to be their late night entertainment. So we went to sleep.

The next day, knowing that I'd had my fill of Muskegon, we hit the only few important tourist sites I had wanted to see, along with a wonderful coffee shop that managed to restore my faith in humanity. Yes, coffee can actually do that for me these days. And we made the decision to leave the non-refundable two-night stay at the B&B, and head south to Michigan City, Indiana and its Blue Chip Casino. It was reasonable to think that perhaps we could elude Murphy, who would be left at Michigan's border, no? He certainly couldn't follow us all the way to Indiana, right?

Surprisingly, Murphy did stay behind in Michigan. We spent the day and night just gambling and eating good food. I won nothing on the slots, which of course is all I'm brave enough to play. But the Hubs loves the Roulette wheel, so he got comfy there alongside Lady Luck, and managed to win back all but $200 of what we'd spent out of pocket on the trip. I'll just point out that the hotel and the B&B went on the credit card, and he didn't win enough to cover all of that--lordy, that would have been too sweet! But between meals and gas and coffee and souvenirs...and gambling, we had spent quite a lot of cash. And it was nice that he could win back most of that.

25th anniversaries are supposed to be special, and I can't say that ours really was. But it was memorable, to be sure. And if nothing else, I can at least say that I've been lucky enough in love to make up for the crap that is Murphy's law that went with us on our vacation! I have the best husband in the world, and he actually loves me after 25 years, one unruly adult child, debt, jobs given up, broken dreams, gray hairs, tantrums, a "little" extra weight in my midsection, and everything else that makes me slightly challenging to love on occasion.

Here's to the next 25, baby!

Hey, Girl, That's MY Vampire!

Um, excuse me, missy, but you're touching MY vampire.

Touching Twilight Vampire RPattz

Seriously now, HANDS OFF!

Vampire Twilight RPattz

Sure, he seems gracious, and mildly amused even in the next pic. But in his head he's probably thinking, has she washed her hands before touching me?! Hello, ever heard of Swine Flu?! Look more closely, you can tell that even his bodyguard on the right is thinking that! And the one on the left is pointing at her, as if to say, "touch him again and I'll take off your arm."

Oh no, wait, that was probably just me.

One of Those WTH Moments at Dinner

The Hubs and I were out for dinner at a local eatery this evening, which is our usual Friday night routine. Our server was working in slow motion, at least from my perspective, and she was obviously not into her job. But she was pleasant enough...even when I had to ask for blue cheese dressing for my Buffalo Chicken Sandwich...for the third time. But I had to laugh at the moment she brought us our salads and asked:

"Would you like some silverware?"

My husband and I stared blankly at each other and then glanced down at the table, sans silverware, and simply replied, "Uh, yeah."

Naturally, the evil voice in my head was saying, "No, no silverware, I think I'll just stick my face in the bowl and suck up as much lettuce and tomatoes as I possibly can, and just hope that I don't inhale a crouton in the process. Yes, I want some bleeping silverware...twit!"


Pardon me, but have you seen my...Vampire?

I know. Really. I do. I am far too old to be so hung up on Edward Cullen, aka Robert Pattinson, aka the hottest vampire ever. Seriously, I know!

Twilight New Moon Edward

But I also know that life is ever so short, and you may as well find a little vampire sunshine in it wherever you can. So what if I'm old enough to be his mother much older sister! To hell with propriety!

RPattz Twilight Hot

There is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating some of life's beauty...even if you find it on the silver screen, behind 300 screaming teenage girls, who probably know his birth date, his shoe size, and even his favorite brand of toothpaste.

Twilight Edward Eyes Closeup

It's not like I'm a freak or something. Believe me, I live next door to a freak, so I know what they look like! I'm just a wee bit taken with a fictional character, that's all. You don't have to understand it; some things are just beyond explanation.

OK, gotta run. I'm late for my Twilighters-Anonymous meeting a meeting.

Things I Don't Understand About Men

I'm an educated person and I'm reasonably smart, but there are still plenty of things I simply cannot wrap my brain around. So I thought I'd get Tinalicious and add a category to the ole blog called Things I Don't Understand. And this post will mark the first installment in my perhaps futile attempt at understanding. Today's topic: Men. And these are in no particular order. I'm not going for rank and order here...just going with the proverbial flow.

Why do men hock up phlegm? And furthermore, how did they learn such a disgusting habit? I mean, really, do their dads pull them aside at a young age and teach them how to do that? Or are they genetically predisposed to such an excess of phlegm that it results in them hocking up those snotty wads? I have never once hocked up a loogie in my entire life. I can barely imagine it, let alone actually do it. Gross, man. Gross.

Why must they flip channels on the freaking much? The Hubs does it ad nauseam during every commercial break. And the hilarious part is, he will flip and flip and flip so much, that he will forget what channel he started on to begin with, which results in more flipping in order to find it! Commercials are annoying, I get that. But why is it so hard to just sit there and wait for the show you're watching to come back on? Or how about taking a potty break or grabbing a little snack? Better yet, grab me one! My theory? Commitment Rebellion! Makes no difference if they're in a committed relationship or not; either way, they want to rebel against commitment whenever possible, even if the behavior is completely subconscious! Think about it: if they flip the channels, they aren't truly committed to the show they were watching--it gives them a sense of power freedom to flip through all 108 channels, even if they forget what they were watching in the process. And they avoid using turn signals for the same reason; Heaven forbid they should change their mind at the last minute...and have to turn the signal off (Lord knows how strenuous that would be!). And they sure can't allow their driving to be controlled by a traffic laws.

Why can't they leave the thermostat alone? In my mind, the thermostat only needs two settings: 65 degrees in the winter (for heat) and 73 degrees in the summer (for air). If it were up to me, there'd be no changes and no in-betweens. The Hubs--like many men I know--has different ideas. The same guy that can work outside in 10 degree weather without ever getting chilled has to come home and wanna crank up the thermostat because he's cold. WTH? He's also the one sitting around in just a bathrobe or cotton pants with no shirt. Ummm....PUT SOME CLOTHES ON! And hey, grab me a snack while you're at it...and leave the thermostat alone. Sheesh.

I'm sure I'll continue on this topic again in the future. There are so many things I don't understand about men, but my brain is turning to mush and needs a blogging break. One can only be so thoughtful and witty when the eyelids are winning the battle with the brain. G'night, all!


Yes, I'm sick. I have a nasty, unwelcome cold (yeah, like a cold is ever welcome!) that has rendered me absolutely useless, whiny, and annoying to everyone around me for the past four days. OMG, FOUR DAYS? If I'm only at day four--and feeling worse rather than better, that means this will not be a quicky seven-day virus. No no, oh joy of joys, this will likely be a ten-day reign of infectious terror that will ravage every cell in my aging body.

OK, so I'm being a tad bit melodramatic. It's just a cold, right? It could be worse; it's not like I have the Swine Flu or something. But man, what is it with colds? Shouldn't there be a bodily limit on how many colds one has to endure in their lifetime? If there were such a limit, surely I'd have met mine long ago, after catching most of my daughter's colds, my husband's colds, and the colds of many a sneezing/germ-spreading student when I was a teacher for a decade! I've had more than my fair share of colds in my forty-two years, if I do say so myself. Sniffle.

Think about it: doctors say that there are over 100 viruses that cause the common cold (which, just FYI, is why it's not possible to cure a cold...because it would be impossible/impractical to diagnose which virus a person is infected with at any given time); they also say that the average person gets up to 4 colds per year. So with that bit of enlightened medical insight, shouldn't I have had every single cold virus possible by the age of the latest?! Yeah well, so much for statistics. They should revise that to say that the oh-so-lucky-few-and-far-between get 4 colds per year...the rest of us get screwed. Cough.

And what is it with cold medicines anyway? Why can't they make one that actually works? My left nostril is so plugged that I'm getting a migraine trying to breathe through it, and there is no decongestant that works for me. Yet it says, right on every decongestant box I've ever read: temporarily relieves nasal congestion due to the common cold. Do they really expect us to believe that it worked on the lab rats, but it's not gonna work on us? Or is it just one big pharmaceutical lie...something those drug-makers sit around laughing about at our snot-nosed expense? Sniffle.

But puh-lease don't tell me to breathe through my mouth. There is nothing worse than the duty breath and chapped lips that result from breathing through your mouth. Like it's not bad enough that I'm sneezing every five seconds, blowing my nose enough times to single-handedly keep Kleenex in business for the next 40 years, and snoring loud enough to wake the dead (and The Hubs!). Yeah, I really want to have breath that smells like poo and cracked lips to boot! I think not. Hack.

I just want to breathe, people. Is that asking so much? I'll tolerate the lethargy and nose-blowing, and the occasional coughing. I'll even put up with the incessant sniffling. But just let me breathe--through both nostrils! Seriously.


I Wore Bell-bottoms to Thrifty's!

It's Flashback Friday, and this week, we're hitting the 70's, big time! Travel back with me now, and see how many of these things you remember about being a child of the 70's.

You wore bell-bottoms, and if you were lucky, your bell-bottoms were Dittos (Can you feel the fit?!).

You'd go with the the Fam to Thrifty's Drug Store to get ice cream cones, by the scoop, on a hot day. And oh yeah, it was only 5 cents a scoop.

You used your cassette player to tape songs off the radio.

You knew the words to Muskrat Love, and you weren't afraid to sing them.

You had know, the kind with four wheels, and you loved to go to the Skating Rink.

You loved the "sweathogs" of Welcome Back, Kotter, and your favorite phrase was, "up your nose with a rubber hose."

Disco. Need I say more?

You had a huge collection of 45's. (Any younger generations are gonna be stumped on this one!)

You rode a bike with a banana seat, and you thought you were cool doing it.

You had a Pet Rock, or you knew someone else who did. (Now THAT is what I call marketing genius: sell rocks, and become a millionaire!)

You thought Sea Monkeys were real.

Everything in your mom's kitchen was harvest gold or avocado green.

Tiger Beat was your favorite magazine.

You begged your mom for some Love's Baby Soft perfume, and bubble gum lip gloss.

Your hair had "wings."

Wallabies. And I don't mean animals.

Asking your Magic 8 ball if you would marry Shaun Cassidy, or maybe Leif Garrett?

Drive-In movies!
I could go on and on about the 70's. It was a wild decade, to be sure. But as I look back on it, one word comes to mind that really sums it up for me:


The Fish N Chips Incident

Well, I wasn't planning to blog again today, but something happened this evening that just screamed for a late night addition. We'll just call it The Incident for now, and it went a little something like this...

The Hubs and I went out to eat this evening, and we had our grandson Dylan along. It started off just like any other Family Friday at Friendly's (a local eatery). You know, exchanging unwitty banter about our day, deliberating over the menu that we should have memorized after eating there at least 75 times, and listening to our grandson sing the lyrics of his favorite new song, "I'm squishing up my baby bumble bee," the perfect song to accompany any meal. Food arrives, and we begin to eat. Dylan is having his usual, popcorn chicken. I'm having grilled chicken. And the Hubs, the oddball, is having Fish N Chips (at least it wasn't Smelt this time). Nothing too out of the ordinary at this point. Chew and chat, chew and chat...ask Dylan a third time to stop singing that song until we're done eating.

Then, a little more than half way through the meal, the Hubs somehow manages to drop an entire piece of his heavily fried fish onto the floor. And, being the considerate guy that he is, naturally he picks up the fish. After all, he doesn't want someone to step on it, so he does the right thing and picks it up. And then, with little or no thought at all, he put the tainted fish off to the side of his plate...far away from the remaining fish and fries, so that he'll remember why it's there...and it. Great, smart move, my man. I would have put it on the table myself, but hey, whatever works for him. So we continue on to finish diner, chew and chat, chew and chat, and I listen to Dylan talk about how great ranch dressing is on french fries.

And then it happened. I turned back to the Hubs and glanced down at his plate. The tainted fish...has disappeared. WTH? It was just there a second ago--I saw it with my own eyes! But after a cursory look around the table, that freaking fish is nowhere to be found. Where the heck is it?

Yes folks, {insert gagging noise here}

"OMG," I half screamed. "You did NOT just eat that fish, did you?" And he pauses, glances at the plate, and kind of shrugs, as I wait for the look of horror on my own face to be mirrored on his. But it never happens. He's slightly baffled by his obvious, um, mistake, but there's no evidence of disgust at all, after having eaten something to which the 5-second rule can in no way apply, considering we're in a public place--with a carpeted floor no less! All he can manage is, "I guess I did." Allrighty then.

Dinner for 3 at Friendly's: $34.95

Tip for the waitress: $5.00

Opportunity to tell the Hubs not to kiss me for a week, until I'm relatively sure that the Fish N Chips Incident isn't going to come up to haunt us: priceless.

Tina Trivia

I thought I'd do something different today and share with you some useless interesting facts about, well, me! After all, I'm just a faceless name on a page at this point, so why not? And besides, I'm itching to blog, but I'm in the midst of a full mental block, so this will be better than nothing. These won't be in order of importance or anything. Just random things that are coming to me as I write.

I like pepper, and lots of it, on only 2 things: cottage cheese, and macaroni and cheese. I don't know what it is about those two glorious cheesy edibles, but to me, they taste ever so much better with lots of black pepper. {a-choo} The Hubs looks at me like I'm some sort of freak when pour the pepper on my mac-n-cheese. Yeah, like he's one to talk. He puts pepper on hot dogs! Freak.

I dislike, Eggplants are the only veggie I've ever tried that I cannot stand. It quite literally makes me gag. I don't even have to know that there's eggplant in something before hand--I can taste it in anything, and it makes me wanna hurl. Where did that sick thing even come from? It looks like it was brought here by aliens! Yuck.

I Hate Egglpant

I cannot locate all 50 states on a U.S. map. I do know what all the 50 states are, I just don't know where all the 50 states are. And seriously, I can not for the life of me ever remember being taught that! I did move around a lot though growing up, so I could have just missed it in transit one year. I think I can locate all but about 10 or 15 when I really try; I can definitely pinpoint the general area the missing states belong in...just can't, with any certainty, put them in their proper places. What can I say, I'm geographically challenged.

I have to drink my hot tea with milk in it. Most people think I'm weird when I do that. And truth be told, I thought I was kind of weird at first too. I'm not sure why I ever started doing it, but I loved it and have never stopped. If I lived in England, I'd fit right in, because they put milk in their tea all the time! My mom says that it must be that bit of British ancestry in me that makes me love that splash of milk in my tea. I do believe she must be right. Cheerio, and pass the scones!

When the movie Grease came out in 1978, I was just shy of my 12th birthday. Much to my mother's chagrin, I saw that movie at the theater 10 times. I thought it was the best movie ever made and I could not get enough of it. I got the soundtrack and played it over and over and over...and we're talking vinyl here, people, a full size record.

Grease Album Cover

[Do today's 12-year-olds even know what a record is?!]

As a side note about the soundtrack, my mother did not like some of the songs on there--Greased Lightning in particular. There were some questionable phrases in that tune, lead among them, "pussy wagon," that Mom just did not want my impressionable ears to hear. Funny thing though, even though I heard that phrase every time, I was absolutely clueless as to what it meant. I didn't find that out until a few years later, and then I just thought it was funny! And geez, by today's standards, that phrase is pretty tame. But I can see why Mom would be a bit bugged by it.

Grease still ranks as one of my all time favorite movies. I have it on DVD (natch) and when I'm feeling like waxing nostalgic, I pop it in and travel back to the age of greasers, pedal pushers, teen angels, and sock hops. How can you not love Sandy and Danny and all the gang? Right on, man.

Grease is the word.