Friday, November 30, 2007

Last post of NaBloPoMo!

...and just in the nick of time. We have our sales meeting beginning Monday so it's a good time to take a few days off. Looking back on my posts, it's easy to see why a-post-a-day-in-November this is so hard. There just isn't much to write about in November, once the summer and fall wind down and the holidays begin gearing up.
Now I can post about whatever I feel like writing about! But, it was fun to do. Thanks for any comments you might have left, and putting up with the dumb posts.
Anyway, I DID IT!
Nice to know I can do something when given the challenge, LOL! :-)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Zappo'd

...and I STILL can't find the perfect pair of low-heeled black boots.
Zappos IS a customer service company that happens to sell shoes though. Free shipping both ways. And they ship to you via next-day air! I placed my order last night at about 9:30 and the boots were here today! Wow. I thought it was too late and I'd see them on Friday. Unfortunately neither pair I ordered was perfect, so off they go...for free!
Well, I'm gonna try, try again in my quest. The perfect leather jacket took 12 years. Hopefully the boots just take about 2 or 3 orders after three years of searching.
No one wants to see my six-year-old ratty-ass old black ones with the worn out heels anymore. Plus I slip whenever I wear them now. Owie!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just counting

I have nothing to write about and I'm a little bored tonight. So I will count countries and remember times I was NOT so bored.
England. Maybe 8 times? 10? the first time for 3 months though.
Scotland
Spain 3 times
France
Sweden
Norway
Denmark
Belgium
The Netherlands
Hungary
Austria
Switzerland
Czech Republic
Slovakia
4 hours in Germany hanging around train stations with no Deutch Marks. Teehee. I can't count that! ;-)
Canada
Grand Cayman
St Thomas
St Maartin
Jamaica
Mexico
US States: 45
Boy, there's a whole lot of world left to see.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Miss Crankypants

I was Miss Crankypants today. For no apparent reason, other than our sales meeting is on Monday, and I am collecting projects and not finishing anything. Correction. All the stuff I KNOW I have to do is done, or just about done. It's the "blind-sided" items I'm getting hit with now.
Even my boss was like, "You OK?" And I'm like, "What?!"
"You seem weird today."
All I could say was that I was CRANKY. I woke up cranky.
He got it and fed me a cookie.
Why was I Miss Crankypants though? Not sure. It all started this morning when I couldn't get dressed and leave the house by 8:08am for the second day in a row, and my lateness to work was compounded by the blasted improvements to the infrastructure on Somerville Ave. Yesterday it took me over two miles out of my way and today it was about a mile. But I normally take those things in stride. Part of the commute.
Honestly, I think I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Which is weird, 'cause I always get up on the same side.
Ah well. Tomorrow's another day. Bright and cheery again?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Heard from my friend today

Odd, I'm having weird formatting issues today so I'm sorry
about the weird little font. The words are running off the right side of
the page so I'm shrinking it down.

Heard from Carolyn in Iraq today. Her digs aren't too bad, the camp is
better than she thought. As far as injuries she's treated one person for
an IED
injury, but it wasn't one of ours. (Still tough for whoever's kid that
is though.)

She says the rest of her work has involved things like kidney stones and health concerns.


After reading C's email, I was looking for an address to send stuff to
if you're inspired to send stuff overseas to support the military.
It seems
they don't allow that operation Dear Abby anonymous stuff anymore which is
too bad. I remember sending letters when I was a kid. So, maybe you have a friend
or know someone whose kid is over there and wondered what to send.

Here's what Carolyn says about sending stuff over:

"Mail is taking about 5-7 days. It will probably slow down closer to Christmas. People
keep asking what to send. There is a SGT in the hospital who is the donations coordinator
and she said she would give me a list of soldiers' needs. I don't really
need anything, but it's cool to get mail. Anything we get we have to either
ship or bring home or give away before we leave so... But there are soldiers who
come in as patients with nothing. They get transported from their unit and their
clothes get removed from them when they hit our triage tent so they have no clothes
or PJs or unders to wear. I was told that inexpensive underwear, short and long
sleeve t-shirts and sweats or PJ bottoms are a great donation."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Not as hard as it seams

Well, I finally got the new sewing machine up and running today. After spending an hour figuring out how to thread it and what the heck a bobbin is used for, I actually hemmed a pair of pants and shortened a shirt today, so I am 2/5ths of the way to considering it mine for FREE, by not going to the tailor for simple hems.

A couple of things I learned today:

1) If you don't put the presser foot down, the machine will go absolutely bonkers chewing up the item being sewn, and not spitting it out until the thread is good and tangled. Even if you don't have any idea what a presser foot is, you get the picture.

2) If you don't pay attention to what you're doing, you will shorten the item being sewn by anywhere from 1"-4.5" along the same seam, even if it's nicely pinned and everything.

On another note, the nice long holiday weekend is over. Back to work tomorrow! Wahhhh!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mom's home!

She's back! I picked her up today at Logan. She was very tired but she looked radiant. She was full of stories about her travels and has about 800 pictures to show us. Or maybe 670 once she weeds the bad ones out.

The photo above is borrowed. It is, what I hope, her picture will look like with her standing in front of it. Because the LCD viewer on her brand-new camera crapped out the last day, the day they visited the Sphinx. But she still tried to get some last pix on Friday, the last tour day, before sleeping a couple hours before boarding her plane at about 9PM last night my time. Mind you, it was about 4:00 am Egypt time!

After 15 or so hours of travel, sitting next to not one, but TWO men with horrifying halitosis, her plane landed early at Logan. I got there into the terminal at 1:23pm, about 1/2 hour after it landed, stood around, chatted with some people, thinking, hm there's only a couple foreign flights coming in. She should be out in about 10-15 minutes. Then the phone rings. It's Mom. Can't get her luggage 'cause the cargo door on the plane is frozen shut. And she was upset and worried about us waiting. I was thinking, well, I've only been involved in this day for about 45 minutes including the drive, the parking, and the walking into the terminal. This can't be helped! So I said, well, it can't be helped, these things happen. So I wait. I meet a fellow waiter, who happens to either own or run an agency in Boston that specializes in the kind of travel that she likes to do. Details: CHECK. Website: CHECK.

So, my brother was meeting us west of Boston in Framingham, to meet us then drive her the last 2 hrs 15 minutes home. I told him on Thursday that I thought we'd be there around 2:30-2:45. This pushed it back to 3:15 or 3:30. He calls me at 2:00. "Where are you guys?"

Needless to say, he and the kids spent a lot of time at the Petco at Shopper's World. We finally met up with them at about 3:30 (45 minutes late due to the frozen door) and the kids went crazy! "NANA! NANA! NANA!"

Anyway, her trip was great. She went by herself as you know. Saw everything she wanted to see. Telling me, "When YOU go..." Not if, but when! I thought that was great.

She was evidently the belle of the ball, adopted by a bunch of really fun people on the cruise. The foreign men all flirted with her and gave her a big ole' ego boost. She doesn't realize how attractive she is, especially when she's doing something she loves.

She was one of only about 4 Americans and everyone else was from Canada and Australia. So she was dubbed an honorary Ausnadian. Determined to prove unsound the theory that Americans are ugly overseas. Sounds like she succeeded.

Looking forward to seeing the pics. I wanna help her get them edited and all pretty before she brings them in for printing. Maybe throw a few on the calendar that she alway pretends she's not sure if she's gonna get or not. (Who knows, I might not make it for her this year. Wink Wink.)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pics from the Thanksgiving trip

Home safe! It's great to be on the couch with two happy kitties boinging around and even more food in our bellies. No Black Friday shopping today, and very easy travel. We had a nice lunch with Randy's parents before we left. We had a really nice Thanksgiving and visit.

Finally some pics from Thanksgiving, with a weird looking doggie in the middle

At the zoo:
One of Randy's best friends, Pat, with his wee one Jeremiah

This was right after the giraffe tried to eat Randy's new birthday camera.


A meerkat, who spied Randy and promptly flipped on her back for a belly scratch. Couldn't reach though.

Beeeg tiger prowling


Pink Flamingos!!!!

Walking to the gardens. This was my last chance to sport my favorite dress this year.

Me and a barn owl
This is Dusty, the albino Pekingese dog. Funny looking, but sweet. He does snort a lot.


The beautiful Thanksgiving dining room

Ricky, me, Bill, Papa Ricker, Mary Kate

R's niece, Jayne' Gayle

Mary Kate with her and Jayne' Gayle's mom Renee (she and Bill were with us in Hawaii this yr)

Randy's mom is so much prettier than this, but it's the only shot we got this time around. That's Randy's brother Ricky next to her.

This is Ricky and Nancy's daughter Emily (unfortunately no pic of Nancy)

Red Hat Randy.

Randy on the swings with the red-hat owner Livvy. She's a bit of a firecracker.

Livvy with a different kind of hat

Playing Apples to Apples. You should try it.

The Papa Ricker. Don't read my cards!

That's it for this year. I really should have insisted on the Ricker clan posing for a full-family photo. I failed. Ah well.
Tomorrow I collect Mom from the airport on her way home from Egypt. Looking forward to seeing her and hearing some stories!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I was gonna post pics and stuff today but we can't get the wireless to work on the laptop, and I'm not gonna mess with Randy's parents' desktop computer to upload the pics!
So, today, I'll just say, I'm thankful for my family and friends including their health and happiness through this year, my sweet one Randy, his wonderful family for including me in their holiday, and my pretty much fortunate life in general.
Oh and of course I'm thankful for my unseen-but-not-unknown-blog-friends and their humor and perspectives! It's great to take peeks into each others lives and thoughts.
We're going home tomorrow. Can't wait to see the kitties and sleep in our own bed!
I pick up my mom from the airport on Saturday. I hope she had a great time in Egypt. I missed her for the holiday but it was totally worth it to see her live out a dream for herself.
Well, that's it for tonight!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quick SC update

Temp 77
Activities: Zoo with Randy's best friend Pat and his son Jeremiah. The giraffe tried to eat Randy's camera.
Chillin' on the sofa. Dinner with Randy's parents. Very nice! I had grouper with shrimp and cheesy potatos and grits. Ya gotta love the South!
OK so these posts are lame, but when I get home, I promise, I'll post pics and maybe some stories.
Oh, and R's parents have a dog. It looks like a mop. He's an albino Pekingese. He's white with pink everything and snorts a lot, but he's really sweet. Dog licks are far different than kitty licks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In SC

Got to Columbia today...78 and sunny. Very far from the 37 we left in Boston this morning.
Everything here is new. New cars, new homes. Looks like a nice place to live. We stepped out for a drive around Randy's hometown and grabbed a couple beers at this place downtown.
Great dinner at Randy's sister's house. 12 people total. Yummy Papa Ricker spag sauce and great lasagna from Renee. Great to see her and Bill again, the last time was in Hawaii in Feb (ya gotta look up the old posts for that trip!)
Looking forward to a nice long sleep and another really nice and fun day tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Vacation time!

It's vacation time! Had a nice easy day today at work. Tomorrow we fly to South Carolina to see Randy's family for Thanksgiving. Helloooooo 73-79 degrees for three days! Plus they're cool folks to see anyway. I'm looking forward to it.
Will have to get on line to make my NaBlo posts and talk about how warm I am and how happy I am to have sandals on in November. :-)
No work again until Monday! Yay!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Moscow Cats Theatre

OK, so last night we went to the Moscow Cats Theatre show. Maybe you've seen them on Good Morning America or one of those shows? These Russian folks have trained cats to do tricks, ride on those little electric car things, shimmey up poles, do handstands, walk on tightropes, amongst other funny little tricks that you can't believe they can be trained to do.
Well, you all know how I feel about cats. Also, how I feel about having something to do on a Saturday night. So, I wasn't terribly stung by the $54.90 tickets plus all the "bend over" fees from Ticketmaster.
I can't get my cats to do anything, other than jump up against the plastic shower curtain in the downstairs bathroom to fight while I'm doing my thing. Can't get 'em to play piano like Nora the Piano Playing Cat (dudes, you GOTTA click that link). Can't get 'em to roll over and play dead. Can't even get 'em to fetch.
So, I was all over this.
We get there in plenty of time for the show. All excited to see performing kitties.
Well, I gotta tell you. If you're all over fat 55-year-old Russian clowns and mimes then this show is for you. 'Cause it's about 50 minutes worth of them and 20 minutes worth of cat tricks. I hafta say, it was really cool to see these trained kitties, especially the ones that didn't feel like doing their tricks, 'cause we all know how ornery kitties can be. There was this one kitty that kept running out to perform the trick, refused to do it, then ran right offstage. Every time. And another that ran out, stopped halfway to his place, and started clawing at the carpet like "this is the best thing EVER, I love this thing!" He turned around and headed for the stairs to check out the audience.
But there were others who ran right out and walked on large furry beach balls, others who swung around on circles, and yet others who rode on 1:50 ratio SUVs across the stage. Others who kept switching lights on and another who climbed 15 ft above the stage then nose-dived into a pillow. got so see some good tightrope action, but alas, the handstander wouldn't handstand, in three attempts. Oh well, it was their third performance of the day.
Honestly, we could've done without the silly clown acts. We've seen much better at Faneuil Hall and many other places. I would've given them $35 per person to see kitty acts for half an hour. But, it was what it was. We went to dinner after and really, a week from now I won't remember the average Russian clowns and mimes.
And I WILL have a cat that plays piano. Someday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More than halfway through NaBloPoMo

Hey we're more than halfway through National Blog Posting Month! Yay! It's not easy coming up with stuff to say every day when there's not that much stuff going on.

One thing I read in the news today that piqued my interest. Today is the first annual National Black Cat day in Italy. They want to remove the stigma attached to black cats. I guess over 60K black kitties are killed by superstitious people over there every year, isn't that horrible? My black kitty is the sweetest. I can't believe she's bad luck with all the love and laughs she gives us. And my old black cat Sadie wasn't very friendly, she was a true one-person cat, but she was great company to me for over 14 years. Anyway, hope it works out well for those Italian cats.

Miao!
Ciao!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

The cat in the bag trick

The cat in the bag trick:




Nothin' to say. Sometimes pictures are worth 1000 words.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An indoor skiing accident

Getting back in touch with my old friends Chris and Jayne in the last year has made me think back to a long-ago time in my life.
I went to college at UMass at Amherst back in the day, when if you said you went to UMass everyone knew it was at Amherst. Back before the 5 campus system it is now and everyone asks you which campus.
My roommate at the dorms was Pam, who was one of my best friends in high school. We had zebra finches for pets, lived on too much coffee and bad DC food, and had the kind of dorm rooms that people would stop by and take pictures of because it was so messy.
The year was 1987. We'd moved from one dorm to another and had a pretty good floor. We were all a little dorky but like all kids that age were trying to figure out who we were and what the heck we were gonna do with our lives.
We did all hang out together and stuff, and one week we decided we were going to have a a Round Robin floor party. The gist of it: Each room served a different alcoholic concoction. We charged everyone $5 to get on the floor. I'm pretty sure we all got about $8 which didn't really cover the outlay on booze and mixers.
I used to have this thing about pink flamingos. I collected stuffed ones, tee shirts with pick flamingos on them, stole pink flamingos from people's lawns (really, I was just doing them a favor), had an inflatable keychain pink flamingo dangling from the rear-view mirror, and yelled "BAWK" every time anything to do with pink flamingos came up in conversation, which was more often than one would think.
So, naturally, our featured beverage was The Pink Flamingo.
It was disgusting. Cheap vodka and pink lemonade with too much melted ice in it.
Of course, since it was our floor party, we had to make the rounds. So, we took turns serving while the other sampled other concoctions.
We were wasted. Music was loud. The floor stunk like spilled booze, cigarettes, cloves, incense, and other stuff that burns. People were everywhere. Drunk. As were we.
The party was winding down. Pam was running around like a crazy girl. Someone chased her in the room and that's when it happened.
The Indoor Skiing Accident.
She ran into the room, straight into the pink flamingo that was hanging from her cross country skis, placed at the top of our wardrobe closets.
Down came the skis. Whacked her in the head. Knocked her out COLD.
Oh. Shit.
When you and all your friends and floormates are wasted it's really hard to be rational about serious injury and getting someone to come to.
Eventually she comes around. It's about 1:30am and we're all like, We gotta go to health services. She just wants to go to bed. Someone actually had the presence of mind to announce that she can't go to bed 'cause she might have a concussion.
So we drag her to health services.
They ask what happened.
Imagine explaining that one to the nurse.
She wound up fine, with a mild concussion, but I've always wondered if that kind of stuff ever gets deleted from your health record.
Anyway, lesson learned. Never party with pink flamingos when skis are overhead.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gratuitous post

...because it's this silly post-a-day thing for NaBloPoMo and I have to do it 'cause I promised.

OK
Work: Mindless tasks all day.
Home: Randy is home from NY!
Cats: Fighting.
Email: Message from Carolyn, who as of yesterday was in Kuwait. They have Starbucks at the camp.
Dinner with two girls I worked with in the old building: Great.
# of people that staple their hems (so far, see last post): 2
Funniest reply to the sewing machine post:
HAR said...
This is the second blogger in two days to buy a sewing machine. It may be a new thread.
Corny, sorry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I bought a sewing machine today

Isn't that funny?!

No I'm not gonna start making my own clothes-I have no design creativity. But I do have 3 pairs of pants and some tops to shorten to the perfect length. And maybe add a top button to a couple blazers so I can Lock and Load. I figure, for what I would pay for tailoring, I might as well try to do it myself. Save the tailor for taking jackets in or something.

Hemming everything isn't the problem. I've done it by hand several times, but that's really time consuming and my fingers hurt from stabbing myself. I'm sure I can figure it out. Once I figure out the GdDm sewing machine.

Monday, November 12, 2007

God ISN'T a Red Sox Fan?!

Maybe it's just the Pope. I gotta say though, Yankees fans could use a blessing, and W could use the extra face time in D.C.

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff

BALTIMORE -- Pope Benedict XVI will visit New York and Washington, D.C., in the spring, but will not come to Boston, the Vatican's top diplomat in the United States announced this morning.

In his first visit to the United States as pope, Benedict will speak at the United Nations, visit the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Manhattan, and meet at the White House with President Bush. He will also celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium in New York and at the new Nationals baseball stadium, which is now under construction in Washington.

7:48 and still working

It's 7:48 and I'm still working! Alright, I'll admit, I'm taking a break.

I have to do the final proof for our Fall 2008 catalog. Can you believe I know already what folks will be buying to run in a year from now?

Our stuff looks great. I am very sad to see my old brand go away since I've worked on it for over 11 yrs, but the quality and design is still great under the new brand. Opening new samples and putting them on hangers is like Christmas twice a year. There are several items I already have my eye on for future purchase. Even though I don't run myself, several pieces are run-inspired and definitely company focused, and we can wear the cool casual lifestyle stuff to work.

I heard from my mom today. She was in Alexandria, Egypt. Very historic place. Can't wait to see her and hear about her trip, but then she'll be sad it's over and I don't want that either.

OK, gotta go make sure this thing says everything we want it to say.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bye bye little green friends

I knew this day would eventually come.
I broke down the garden and the plants on the deck today. :-(
Two nights of freezing temps and none of the rain we were promised meant that all but the hardiest survived.
>sniff<

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Big purge, part deux

Not much exciting to write about again today. Unless you like to talk about wardrobe perfection.
I converted my closet from summer to winter today. I got rid of 4 large garbage bags full of clothes and 1 large garbage bag full of shoes. Donated a bunch of good stuff to Salvation Army. There IS some good stuff in there. Someone is getting a bunch of brand name clothes and really good running shoes at a 95% discount in the coming weeks.
I am taking advice from Stacy and Clinton of TLC's What Not To Wear. If it's too old, too short, too old, or doesn't go with anything, it goes away. I purged all the stuff I put on 6 times this year then pulled off 'cause it wasn't quite right. So, I am thinking I have a mighty mighty streamlined wardrobe. Doesn't matter anyway, 'cause on my floor at work, everyone is dressed in jeans and the freebie clothes we give away and sell at events, plus it's so freakin' cold we end up wearing the winter gear we make for winter anyway. But I likes to have the options.
Anyway, most of the stuff I got rid of was purchased during the short-shirt era, which I hated, not only because it was unflattering on most people, but because my chest and shoulders made most of that stuff more than way too short for me anyway. And because everything went in the dryer, shortness was further enhanced. And about 20% of it was purchased at my ultimate thinness in 2001, right after I lost 25-27 lbs and I was thinking I could wear anything. Plus I like to think I'm 13 yrs younger than I am and I love trends. Bad when you are pushing 40 so hard that 40 is laughing at you.
When you lose weight to get to a healthier size, you just wanna see how thin you can get. But your body wants to be 7-10 lbs more than that. At least for most people I know that have achieved good amounts of weight loss. But the truth is, you get to the healthy size, you wanna look like a model, and insanity sets in. 'Cause you still like buffalo wings and pizza and beer and hamburgers. It's inevitable.
Lesson learned. Don't shop at that weight unless you want to feel really bad about re-gaining 7-10 lbs. 'Cause it only lasts a few weeks. It's unavoidable, and you'll be really mad you spent that money thinking you'll maintain the Ultimate Thinnest Point if you're not making a career of it or trying to gain weight to be healthy.
I like to like the way I look in my clothes, so anything that made me feel bad about myself went into the Hefty bag. I like everything I have left and I constantly shop for entertainment so I'm sure I'll go through another purge in 6 months once the summer clothes come back out.
On another note, I hope no one buys me any cream-colored sweaters this year for Christmas, because I have 4. One turtleneck, one merino wool and two cashmere. How the heck did that happen?
Also, I am too large for my skinny pants and too small for my fat pants. Hope the fat pants don't start looking good 'cause that would be bad. Maybe I need to go shopping?

Friday, November 09, 2007

No imagination

OK, I have no imagination or anything I wanna write about.
So, you can get to know me a little better.

When was the last time you got drunk? SATURDAY WHILE THEY WERE PLAYING POKER
What's your favorite style of socks? DRESS SOCKS THAT DON'T RUB ON MY PINKY TOES
One big gift or a bunch of little gifts? EITHER! (JUST PLEASE USE THE LIST AS A GUIDE)
Have you ever thrown a pair of shoes on a telephone pole wire outside? NO BUT I ALWAYS WONDER WHOSE SHOES THEY ARE AND IF THEY'RE MY SIZE
When is your birthday? APRIL 22
Who's your best friend? KAREN, KIM AND DAVE
When was the last time you went to a carnival or a fair? 2005 IN VIENNA-IT WAS A HARVEST FESTIVAL
Do you like upside down rollercoasters? LOVE THEM, I LAUGH AND LAUGH
Have you ever witnessed/been in a wet t-shirt contest? NEITHER. HOW CAN THAT HAPPEN?
Hotdogs or hamburgers? HAMBURGERS
What's your favorite kind of chips? MUNCHOS!
Have you ever twisted up a swing and then untwisted it and spun around? OF COURSE I HAVE. I'VE ALSO MADE IT GO REALLY HIGH AND JUMPED
What was your favorite contraption at a playground when you were a kid? THE MERRY GO ROUND. SEE ROLLERCOASTERS ABOVE.
What's your favorite aquatic creature? LOBSTER...YUM!
Have you ever been to Alaska? NO BUT I REALLY WANT TO
Ever drive your car on a sidewalk? NOT ON PURPOSE
Would you rather bake brownies or cookies? COOKIES, BUT I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL AND I EAT THEM ALL AND THEN MY BELLY HURTS
Do you like to make s'mores at a campfire? NO BECAUSE I'D HAVE TO SLEEP IN A TENT AFTERWARDS
What's your favorite flavor coffee? COFFEE-FLAVORED COFFEE
Are you pro or against the death penalty? AGAINST. TOO MANY MISTAKES AND TOO MUCH MONEY
How many scars do you have on your body, that are non-surgical? AT LEAST 10 CHICKEN POCK SCARS (THOUGHT THEY WERE ZITS, I WAS 13), PLUS ONE PIZZA CUTTER ACCIDENT AND A BAD FALL ON THE ICE
Do you own a fish? NO, IT DIED. R.I.P. SPIKE
Do you think there's other life in the universe? OF COURSE. IT'S SILLY TO THINK WE'RE THE ONLY PLANET WITH LIFE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. DIDN'T YOU READ "HITCH-HIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY?" EVERY PLANET WITH LIFE HAS ITS OWN VERSION OF GIN'N'TONIX
Are you afraid of cemeteries? NO, BUT I DON'T LIKE THEM VERY MUCH.
Ever seen a bar fight? YES. HE WOULDN'T STOP DANCING WITH ME SO I PUSHED HIM INTO A TABLE (IS THAT A FIGHT OR JUST A GOOD STORY?)
Do you wear hats/beanies? YES, I LOOK GREAT IN HATS! :-)
Would you rather have a hoodie or a comfy winter coat? COMFY WINTER COAT(S)
Do you sleep with your bedroom door open or closed? OPEN SO THE KITTIES CAN COME IN AND OUT
Are you the type that can sleep anywhere if need be? YES. ONE TIME I WISHED SOMEONE WOULD STEAL MY LUGGAGE OFF THE TRAIN WHILE I WAS SLEEPING SO I WOULDN'T HAVE TO CARRY IT ANYMORE. IN GERMANY.
Are you supposed to be doing something else instead of this survey? NO BUT I HAVE A MAGAZINE AND A BOOK I CAN BE READING
Where's the last country you think you'd ever go on vacation to? IRAQ
Have you ever eaten anything that was inside a garbage can? NO
What will your wedding song be? "AT LAST" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
How many times do you say "fuck" a day? MAYBE 4 TIMES PER WEEK
What's your most-used swear word? DAMIT
Do you fear death? NO, BUT I DON'T LOOK FORWARD TO IT EITHER
Do you go to the beach in the summertime? HAHAHAHAHA! REALLY??
What's your favorite video game? PACMAN
Are you currently dating someone? I LIVE WITH HIM. WE STILL "DATE"

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Do I hafta pay this ticket??

I knew it was coming. But there was no place else to park. So, I parked my car on the far corner and was able to slip into the spot with the entire car lined up against a curb, on the side of the street that abuts angled parking spots with a fence at the end of it so no cars can get through.
Not even the back end was sticking out anywhere.
But as I was parking, I knew, I just had the feeling. I was gonna get a ticket. For parking within 20 ft of an intersection.
Sure enough, morning comes, and there's my ticket. Construction-worker orange blazed from the windshield, complimenting the bright blue that was the morning sky. Also a nice color to set off the sparkley dark gray-blue gray paint that is Scion TC Flint Mica.
So, I walk out to the car, pull it off and put it on the passenger seat.
I think, darn it, 25 bucks. Have to make lunch for the next 4 days instead of eating in the caf.
I drive down to the construction-ridden main road, which of course will be under construction until the fall of 2008 for "improvements" to infrastructure. Just like my favored route to work that I haven't used in 7 months. Anyway, I'm sitting at the light, which is green, but it doesn't matter because there's a cop directing traffic there, and my lane is Stop for the Hand.
I pick up the ticket to read. Heck, other people are driving in my congested city with cell phones glued to their ears and newspapers in their hands, so why not?
It says:
VIOLATION: Parking within 20 feet of an intersection.
NOTES: 3 feet (well, that was very generous of the officer. It was more like 15 inches from the butt end of my car to the end of the curb.)
MODEL: Unknown
LICENSE PLATE: um, one letter is incorrect. It's a K instead of an X!
So, if I ignore it, will they get me?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Five years

Today marks the 5th anniversary of my first date with Randy. We met at the B Side Lounge in Cambridge after a few exchanged emails. We turned up within 30 seconds of each other.
I still remember thinking he was cute in his black turtleneck and jeans with the pant legs turned up a little on the bottom and real shoes. I remember that my hair was short and that he liked that I pinned the bangs back with a hidden pin.
After shaking off the first-date jitters and nervous laughter and trying to be hip, cool and engaging, I relaxed and we had a good time.
I thought wow, he's a lot smarter than me, but he's pretty laid back and he doesn't make me feel dumb and has a good sense of humor and has had the same friends since high school so he knows a lot about loyalty. He loves to travel and had just come back from a big trip to Russia with a couple friends so we had that in common. He's never been married and didn't care if he had kids or not which was great by me because I didn't. He was funny in the way he expressed his dismay at the previous day's elections and he votes the same way I do.

I thought, I could go out with this guy again!

So I did.

So now, we live together.

Every morning that he's home, he brings me coffee in bed 'cause he knows what a slow starter I am.

Every evening he brings up the popsicles.

He always kisses me and holds my hand.

He can tell when I'm blue and asks if I'm ok and listens to the answers.

He never judges me and always listens well.

He doesn't pick on my recreational shopping habits.

He sings funny made-up songs in the morning that bellow through the house.

He shoved me headlong into the digital age, knowing exactly the gadgets I'd like and would use until they fell apart.

He buys exactly the gifts he knows I'd like, even if I didn't know it myself

He let me take over the garden.

He still plays Yahtzee with me even though I beat his butt nearly every time.

I never have to cook if I don't feel like it.

He bought a new stove 'cause I was afraid of the old one. Ditto the grill.

He sends his mother two dozen roses every year on her birthday.

Good Randy stories:

He took me to Maui as his date to a wedding. His birthday was our first full day there, and he didn't get mad that I wanted to get up at 3:30am to watch the sun rise on top of the volcano and ride bikes down the 10000-foot mountain and across to the ocean. Didn't mind getting lost in the bamboo forest looking for a waterfall that turned up to be dry, and stopping at every damn beach from Kahului to Hana. And he was the one that wanted to take the jeep around the "don't drive our rental car here" forbidden road around the back of the island.

He fractured my back accidentally when he was driving the boat on vacation at his company's beach house. We couldn't go back to the island and had to get a hotel on the mainland. He took care of me for two weeks straight, even bathing me when I couldn't let go of the rails in the handicapped hotel room and feeding me and doling out the medication. He upgraded us to a really nice hotel on Valentine's Day and propped me up for a really nice dinner. Brought the bed downstairs in his house so I didn't have to deal with stairs.

We went back to the beach house a couple months later, and he gave my best friend his frequent flyer miles so she could come with us

He took me to Game Two of the World Series in 2004, the year the "curse" was broken.

He got me Green Monster Seats to a Red Sox/Yankees game for my birthday. He made sure I went to a company event at Fenway the next day, where we got to meet Jim Rice in the Legends Suite.

He never liked baseball until he started watching with me at the end of 2003.

He was there for me in my confusion and emotion when another best friend moved away after completely changing her life in the period of about a month.

He gave me his frequent flyer miles so I could fly first class to visit her in California

He was there for me in a big way as my dad was dying, and when he passed away a short time later. He must have known somehow that it was coming, because he made sure I made the trip home to see my dad when he had some things happen that required hospitalization, even though they weren't life threatening. (A post for another time, but my dad battled rheumatoid arthritis for years and years and we were used to him being admitted for various surgeries to keep him mobile.)

He let my cat that didn't like anyone move in (well...no cat, no me!), and he was great on the day I had to put her to sleep. He went on kitten hunts behind my back to find me a new little beastie. He looked high and low for kittens on the weekends and called around 'til he found some we could meet.

He's my best travel companion. Two of my best foreign vacations have been with him, he's great to travel with and we're completely compatible in how we like to vacation. On one trip he encouraged another of my best friends to join us - not huge until you consider my friend is a guy.
On the other trip, we stopped in England to kick off our vacation with him.

There's been lots of stuff over the 5 years we've been together, but you get it by now. We're not oopy goopy like couples can be but we've got it pretty good, and I'm glad he's my sweet one.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Never a dull moment!

My mom was planning to make a life-long dream come true tomorrow. She's been planning this trip to Egypt on a jealousy-inducing 18-day tour for months now. Starting out in Cairo, and heading down the Nile on a cruise boat for several days. The trip features camel rides (can NOT imagine her on a camel...she can't even deal with cat hair), falukah rides (whatever that is), flights to Abu Simbal, Pyramids, Luxor, temples, Valley of the Kings, all sorts of Moses stuff, ancient tombs, King Tut's mummy now that it's open for public viewing for the first time in history, museums, bazaars, handsome Egyptian men and smelly ones too, sand, lots of sand, more sand, sand, sand, and all sorts of other cool stuff.

We spent the Saturday before Halloween reviewing her trip, looking at all her new purchases - I can't think of a better excuse for a new wardrobe, can you? ...and talking about getting there and away, and not having Thanksgiving at home for the first time. Very very excited.

Well, she calls me tonight 'cause she tried to print her boarding pass out and couldn't. I didn't worry. Most airlines don't allow that yet for international travel. So, I asked her a series of questions and made her read EVERYTHING to find out what kind of ticket she has - e-ticket or paper. No paper tickets anywhere, and I myself remember looking for them when I was looking at her paperwork and thinking, oh yeah, it's an e-ticket. So, there were no paper tickets. I travel all the time, domestic, international, around the block, and I never get paper tickets anymore. But she couldn't find anything anywhere that said she had an e-ticket. Or a paper ticket. No ticket means no flights for you! And she lives 3 hours away so I couldn't look myself. Um...

So, this all occurs tonight. The night before her flight takes off. Jeepers. 24 pairs of underwear and enough clothes to open a store and a visa and a passport with a really nice picture and probably enough meds and vitamins to open a pharmacy and a phone that works overseas and a new camera with 8 megapixels and people to get her from Pittsfield to Boston and back and shaved legs and fresh color in her hair and a new suitcase and carry-on and Egypt books and fiction to pass the time and email addresses and reams of paper about the tour etc etc etc and NO TICKET. How can you not know that you don't know if you have a ticket? But, there we are. Nothing to do but find out for sure.

So, I'm quietly trying not to freak her out by asking said questions and eventually thought, oh God please let it be an e-ticket like I think she said she got. I took the flight info down on paper, and said, "Gimme 15 minutes and I'll call the airline." She said, "Oh I can make the call, you don't have to do that!" and I thought, "OH YES I DO."

If you know my mom, you know, OH YES I DO. I could NOT face the phone call if she found out the hard way that she could not get on the airplane for this trip of a lifetime!

So I hang up and call the airline. I got a LIVE PERSON, my goodness, a live person. Gave her the info and asked confidently if the flights were e-ticketed or on paper. Thinking, PLEASE PLEase please be e-ticketed, or she's gonna have a heart attack.....and I hear...."Yes, it's an e-ticket, just show up at the counter with the passport and visa and it's all set!" WHEW. I thought that was the case. Thank goodness.

Called Mom back, and I could hear her deflate with relief.

Not sure if she'll sleep tonight or not. I know I will sleep hard and pick her up in Natick tomorrow, and after a nice lunch with her and my sister-in-law, I will get her to the airport and check her in and pack her off on her flight for her dream trip with way too much stuff. And then I will come home and open one of the 7 brands of beers I have remaining in my fridge from Poker Night and think, "Whew! Sure hope the makes that 5am flight with no problems on the way back! I CAN'T WAIT to see the pictures and hear the stories!" Hope she has a blast.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Smitten with a kitten

Well, she's not a kitten anymore, and she's not even really mine. She's our cat Emmie's kitten. Um. Cat, now.
I have nothing to write about today (do you really want to hear about proofing the Fall 08 product catalog for our apparel division? I think not.) I keep promising to write about things that matter during this national blog-posting month. I do, after all, have a lifetime of good stories and great people to write about. Maybe later this week while Randy is out of town.
Anyway, I finally got a great shot of Mimi while poker was taking place in my place of residence.
Isn't she beautiful?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight savings time is over :-(

Yeah that extra hour of sleep was nice. But CRAP. It's 5:11 and very dark outside. I feel like I'm supposed to go to bed in two hours!
Last night was fun. Randy had his friends over for poker. Cool people and they play all sorts of different games and make up a bunch of rules. I don't play though 'cause I don't want to lose all my money. I'd rather waste it at TJ Maxx or Marshalls.
We now have a fridge full of 7 different kinds of beer. Everyone brought a 12 or 18 pack last night and left the remains. So, we're ready for the first dark and stormy night of the winter, whenever that might be. It IS a shame that none of them have a taste for Grey Goose vodka or Hendricks gin though.
Ah well. This qualifies as a post for NaBloPoMo. See ya tomorrow. Oh yeah and please validate me with COMMENTS! :-)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is tragic news


One of our company's sponsored athletes, Ryan Shay, died today at the Olympic Trials in NYC at the age of 28. It's shocking and strange and very sad to read this news.
I'd only met him a couple times, but he was in the office for a visit about 6 weeks ago, while in the area to compete in the Falmouth 5K, and met with us all to talk about what it's like to be training for the Olympics and being sponsored by our company. He was a really nice guy, had a good sense of humor about the "interview" format of our meeting, and passionate about his sport. He was also a recent newlywed, having married another runner about 6 weeks prior to his visit. A very sad loss for his wife and family and friends, and for everyone else who followed his career.

The picture above was taken at Falmouth. (Courtesy of Letsrun.com)

From the New York Times:

A triumphant United States Olympic trials marathon turned tragic on Saturday morning when Ryan Shay, a 28-year-old veteran marathoner, collapsed during the race in Central Park and was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital.

It put a terrible twist on the victory by Ryan Hall, who exulted in the emotion of winning the race and capturing an Olympic berth. But he had no idea that the ambulance that had passed him on the course earlier was carrying his good friend and occasional training partner, a man whose wedding he had just helped celebrate in July.

Shay collapsed at the five-and-a-half-mile mark near the Central Park boathouse, relatively early in the 26.2-mile race, and he was pronounced dead at 8:46 a.m., stunning the sport on a cool, crisp morning that seemed perfect for a marathon. The death was announced by Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners, which staged the race. The medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be performed today to determine the cause of death.

Shay’s death came a day before the running of the New York City Marathon, which will have more than 38,000 competitors attempting the grueling event on a course that winds through the city.

The Olympic trials were supposed to be its triumphant prelude, and Hall’s victory — in 2 hours 9 minutes 2 seconds — was a spectacular performance that announced him as a leading contender for a medal in the Beijing Olympics next summer. Hall, 25, had run only one previous marathon. Dathan Ritzenhein, 24, finished second, and Brian Sell, 28, captured third to take the other two Olympic spots.

The news of Shay’s death reached Hall about an hour after he won.

“I was just shocked when I heard,” Hall said. “It’s hard to believe a dream comes true and that I lost a friend today.”

Hall and Shay were close friends, and their wives, also professional runners, were so close that Hall’s wife, Sara, was a bridesmaid when Ryan and Alicia Shay were married in July. Hall and Shay had much in common and helped drive each other toward the dream of making the Olympic team. Hall called Shay, known throughout track and field for his vigorous work ethic, one of his biggest inspirations.

Their paths crossed one last time on the marathon course as Shay was being rushed to the hospital. His ambulance whisked past Hall, who was at the front of the pack of runners.

“I had no idea,” Hall said. “When I heard the news, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Wittenberg said Shay had received immediate medical attention, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation before being taken to the hospital.

“He crossed right in front of me and stepped off the course,” the runner Marc Jeuland of Chapel Hill, N.C., told The Associated Press. “He nearly tripped me.”

Jeuland said he did not see Shay collapse.

Shay was a five-time national champion at distances ranging from the marathon to the 5,000 meters. He was considered a strong contender to finish among the top three here and earn one of the Olympic berths.

His coach, Joe Vigil, said he did not know of Shay having any health problems.

“He’s strong physically, probably the strongest runner out there,” Vigil said. “Physically, he was healthy, never had anything happen to him.

“He was the epitome of an athlete, lived clean and trained hard, set high goals. Everything you’d ever want in a boy, he had it.”

Shay grew up as one of eight siblings in East Jordan, Mich., and had been training in Flagstaff, Ariz. He graduated from Notre Dame in 2002. He was introduced to Alicia two years ago, while both were in New York for the marathon.

“They were just inseparable,” Sara Hall said. “She had a boyfriend die in high school, and that was really hard on her. Her running sort of took a back seat. But she was doing really well. Now, I’m sure this will be so hard too.”

Alicia Shay had been on the course watching her husband. Her parents were here also, but Shay’s parents, Joe and Susan Shay, were not in New York.

“Given the tragedy, we’re O.K.,” said Sally Craig, Alicia’s mother. “We’re thankful we’re here. We’ve had tremendous support already. There’s just no way to express it.”

The running community was stunned by the news. There were no weather-related worries about the race — as there were in last month’s heat-shortened Chicago Marathon that left one competitor dead — and heart problems that strike marathon runners usually do not happen to 28-year-old world-class athletes.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” Wittenberg said. “These things happen, but they’re not supposed to happen at the height of an athlete’s life and career and on one of the biggest days of their career. There must be a reason for it all, but it’s certainly not clear to us right now.”

Shay had been training for the past five months in Flagstaff alongside Abdi Abdirahman, a race favorite who dropped out with a leg injury after about 18 miles.

“I warmed up next to him this morning,” Abdirahman said. “I was the one complaining instead of him. He was looking good. In the race, I was looking around at 10-13 miles to see where he was. I expected him to come up because I knew he was in good shape.”

Other runners expected Shay might be celebrating an Olympic berth with Hall.

“I thought today would be his day,” said Meb Keflizighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist who finished eighth. “He had trained very, very hard to make a breakthrough. He’d lost a lot of weight, and was ready to go. I really thought that today he was going to have a breakthrough because he likes it when it’s windy, cool.”

The race began at 7:35 a.m. on Fifth Avenue outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The temperature was in the low 50s as the sun rose over the city near the start. It was ideal weather for a marathon, in which heat often causes health problems among runners. Similar weather is expected for today’s marathon.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Weird day

I have been doing nothing at work for the last two weeks but collecting projects. So, I was happy to have everyone out of the office so I could actually get some work done. I get to work at my usual time of 8:43, check and reply to email, field a call from a headhunter, work on excel for a while (that's what I do all day), hit save, and THE POWER GOES OUT. Auxillary generators turn on but my computer doesn't. But, some people are working, so I sit there for an hour reading back issues of Footwear News, and more power goes out. Crap.
So, I decide I'm gonna go home and work from there since the network is still working but the power isn't. Take a short TJ Maxx break on my way home and there I am, back on line.
At 3:30 I finish up two projects I wanted to complete. Yay for me. Two down and 5 to go.
Then I get in the car to see my friend Carolyn. Have known her for 21 yrs now, since my first day at UMass Amherst in 1986. Our friendship is old enough to drink., even if we weren't at the time. She's been in the service for 17 yrs, partly active and partly in the reserves, and her husband even longer. Uncle Sam has paid for the majority of her education and now he's calling in the favor.
Carolyn is being deployed to Iraq. She leaves tomorrow.
Andy's been deployed several times, but oddly enough Carolyn has never had to go overseas. She's been stationed all over the country, and we've gone several months to a couple years between times seeing each other. But boy is it weird when a friend you've had for more than half your life is heading into the danger zone.
I watched her pack more beige teeshirts than anyone should have (15) and enough feminine products for 4 people and the angel coin her best friend from girlhood had just stopped by the church to have blessed and brought by to give her while I was there tonight. Weird.
Fortunately she's not a soldier, she's a nurse. Currently a nurse anesthetist. She's worked ERs in prior lives and has worked in surgery and on trauma cases and stuff like that, but now it's mostly elective surgery like nosejobs and other stuff like that. But now she's gonna see some crazy unthinkable things in a place where they use IEDs on a daily basis and blow up cars and stuff. Very weird to think about that. She'll do great at her job though and learn a lot and be home in February with all sorts of wild things to talk about, but I'm still worried about my friend going to a dangerous place where I don't think we should be in the first place, and at the same time proud of her for her bravery and her service. And crossing fingers that the roads to and from the base are safe and clean the day she gets there and the day she leaves.

9/3/07 at the Willie Nelson concert

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo, sheesh!

Oh why oh why did I sign up for a post a month?! I have nothing to say right now. Well, not much interesting anyway. I think I'm done posting about the Red Sox for a while at least. I miss baseball already. Well, maybe we'll re-sign Lowell and have some good trades to get me excited.
Well. Hm. First Post of 30 in 30 days. Well, yesterday was Halloween. I can write about that!
I went to CVS to buy candy (too much as always). I left work at about 4:45 since all the grown-ups with kids left at around 3:30 to dress up their wee ones. I figured I'd get home for the first bell-ringers and no one at work would notice I'd left. They didn't.
Randy called me at around 5:15 to say he stopped for candy. teehee. I didn't even think to tell him I did, 'cause I thought that was my thing.
Well, we had ONE trick or treater, and she didn't even yell "TRICK OR TREAT!" And it was a pirate. Hm. The #1 Costume of 2007. Jeepers. Now I have 87 tiny candy bars (I gave out 3 of 90) plus the stuff that Randy brought home minus what the kid grabbed.
We went to Pittsfield over the weekend to see my family and go to my buddy Tor's Halloween bash at one of my ole-time favorite bars, the Depot. (Ideas for another post brewing now!) His band the Rev Tor Band was great as usual and they jammed up the steam machine and we got some cool pics. Plus they has the World Series game on a big screen above the band. A very strange way to see a live band and a very strange way to watch a championship baseball game.
Randy dressed as Dick Cheney and I had no costume, but after rooting around in my mom's closet ideas started coming together. What was NOT going to happen was giving up my lucky Red Sox hat, the one with the glitter on the B. It went 5-for-5 at Fenway this year and I was NOT gonna give it up. And then, I could think of no other time when I would be able to wear sequins in Pittsfield. See below for pics.
That's IT for today. See you tomorrow. (Oh and PLEASE post comments so I know someone is reading!!)


Note: rifle is in safety mode
Front of shirt features no less than 2000 sequins.

Steamy Rev Tor show