Saturday, October 29

Prognosis: recovering

I see it, yes, it's there. The white light at the end of the illness tunnel. I'm feeling a bit better today, as Brian and I ventured out into the world, had lunch, did some random shopping at REI, and watched the snow come down. (Yes, snow. It officially snowed today, the first snow of the season, on the 29th of October. This means, of course, that I lost the bet with Brian, who said it would snow in October. I said November. Like the frickin weather system couldn't wait another two days! Damn!) At any rate, I'm feeling less like death today.
I did stay home sick from work yesterday though. Oliver and I had a good day, shifting from the sofa's right cushion to the left cushion, ensuring that no one side would get a permanent imprint of my butt. I was, however, eager to use the time to watch the television that I'd missed all week, having gone to bed early each night. Morning agenda: Gilmore Girls, Invasion, Alias.
Afternoon agenda? VH1's entire I Love the 80s: 3D series.
I love these anthology shows, and VH1 does a stellar job on them. Of course, there is no better entertainment for me, as a sick person, than 10 hours (!!!) of funny, creative and spot-on mockery and satire of my favorite decade. Perfect. Brian watched the last three hours with me. (I think he was secretly impressed, and fell in love with me a little more, having learned that I did sit through the whole 10 hours.) One detraction from the day though, is that I was unable to find any 3D glasses in my house. So I really must have missed something in the translation, don't you think? I do not believe I'll be sitting still for that marathon again though.
Tomorrow, I think I'll be able to brave Target for some last-minute Halloween stuff for our Halloween party at work on Monday. It'll be on sale, right? Awesome.

Thursday, October 27

The sickness is winning

I hate being sick. Hate it with a passion. I always think that, when I feel the illness coming on, I will be able to will it away. You know, repel it with the force of my mind and the will of my soul. Every year, I know... I KNOW!.... that I will beat it back. Every year, of course, I'm disappointed and defeated, but I attack each new illness with the same gusto.
Mom believes in the power of echinacea. Me? Not so much. I mean, she routinely gets pneumonia. I just get bad colds. Case closed. (Love you, Mommy!)
Monday morning I woke up in Pittsburgh (I knew I'd come home with something awful from that town), with a sore throat. I soldiered through, as I do, and made it home with minimal issues. That night, I was sure to get my full night's sleep.
Tuesday morning, still with a sore throat, and added to that a minimal stuffiness in my nose. Tuesday night, nine hours of sleep.
Yesterday I felt a little bit better, was pleased with that, and was determined to follow through with another full night of sleep.
This morning, I've got that icky feeling in the back of my throat, the one similar to having a rolled up wool sock back there that won't really let me swallow too easily, and throbs a bit with every breath. The nose is just beginning to require periodic sniffing and snorting. My voice is getting rougher, and the headache is present. I'm also coughing once in a while.
In a word, bad.
I hate losing the battle. I hate when the sick starts to win.
Fight, fight, fight! Beat them back at the main gates, men! Even now, they can not defeat me!!!

Tuesday, October 25

The prodigal daughter returns

I really wish I had an awesome story for you about Pittsburgh, but it's with some lack of enthusiasm that I tell you that Pittsburgh was really very nice, with Fall colors that surpass New England's so far; the weirdest person I met was a taxi driver who looked like a greasy Santa Claus wearing a Harley Davidson hat; people there sing really bad karaoke; the band at the Hard Rock Cafe sucked; buildings were colorful; and the news was less depressing than Boston's. However, it was very cold and rainy. But, no one heaved soot or anything like that.
Happily, my ignorance has been erased as to the city of Pittsburgh.
Sadly, I've got nothing funny out of the trip for you!!

Thursday, October 20

Michael Jackson called for jury duty

Um, really? Yep, according to reports, our good friend and alleged pedophile has been tapped for jury duty in his hometown of Santa Barbara (a lovely place, by the way). Odds are he won't make it, since he's still hiding out ... er ... recording in Bahrain (where is that, you may ask. Check it out: Apparently, through his attorney, we learn that M.J. is permanently living out of the country now.
I think you get out of it with that reason.


As if there wasn't enough excitement in my life, I head off to another amazing destination spot tomorrow. Yep, you guessed right (from the post's title), the beautiful city of Pittsburgh.
I've never been to Pittsburgh, and really, have never felt a desire to go. In my ignorance, I picture the city very Upton Sinclair's The Jungle: smoke stacks, concrete buildings of gray, people walking around in heavy, long plaid coats heaving soot, and cold weather that includes unforgiving and unrelenting wind. As I've been told, the downtown area, where the hotel and convention is located, is nice and fun, with a lot to do; or conversely, the entire city is a drag, waste of space, and boring, and there's not much to redeem it.
But clearly, as events this week have indicated, I am fated to go there. This weekend, according to all the signs, big things are going to happen in Pittsburgh. First of all came the weekly e-newsletter from The Onion, and it's ridiculously timely, above-the-fold headline: "Study Reveals Pittsburgh Unprepared For Full-Scale Zombie Attack." Check out the article at: Then, come to find out, the best band ever will be playing in town on Saturday night. Yes, people, U2 will be ripping it up at the city's Mellon Arena. (That news courtesy of Joe.) Also: it's National Chemistry Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center (I got an A in chemistry); Pitt vs. Syracuse Saturday afternoon (Syracuse was shown on my TV instead of ASU the other weekend); and An Afternoon with Augusten Burroughs (an author who was featured in Entertainment Weekly, my favorite magazine).
Call them omens, fate, foreshadowing, precursors, signs or indications, but something big will go down in the Burgh of Pitts this weekend, and I'll be there, and ready, for it. Hooyah!

Wednesday, October 19

Instant messaging

Here's the deal. The company, a week or so ago, sent out an e-mail about downloading some security program to computers with instant messaging programs, to prevent any unauthorized, "non-business," instant messaging, and to ensure that no classified information was being transmitted outside of these hallowed walls. Little do they know that all my chatting is to Daddy, Brian, Mom every once in a while, JJ, and Pamela on Fridays.
Anyway, the security program went into effect last Friday. We were told that anyone not "registered" with this program would not be available to chat with. Nick, who works down the aisle from me, started the download, but then stopped it halfway through. He, consequently, is not able to chat on line anymore.
But for me, who ignored the e-mail all together? Boy, were they wrong! Somehow, I've beaten the system, and I'm able to chat just fine with all my peeps! (I tested it extensively yesterday.) So, any of you others want to catch me on MSN Messenger? The door is always open, my friends. Damn the Man!!

Monday, October 17

Road trips

I love a good road trip. My favorites of course, were the two cross-country jaunts in the summer of 2002, and a certain shorter trip down to Palm Springs with the divas. (Let's add here the two-hour, each way, trip to the Krispy Kreme shop in Connecticut a couple years ago.)
To me, when one hits the road, with naught but a map, a vague idea of destination, a decent radio station or CD collection, and gas money, life simply can not be better.
Today was such a day. Mom, Carolyn and I road-tripped to the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont. It's no short drive, clocking in at about three hours each way. And to hear us talk about it, the entire trip was about two things: the factory tour and the ice cream cozy. Both objectives were met ... and boy, am I tired.
I don't sweat doing the driving, as that's the fun of a road trip, but I am really tired tonight. Do you remember, back in the day, when you couldn't understand how Mom or Dad could get tired by just driving? I mean, really, they're just sitting there, right? Jeez. Now, I know. If I closed my eyes right now, I'd fall, head first, into this keyboard, and I'd have "dfghjk" engraved on my forehead all day tomorrow.
Anyway, we had a fabtabulous time checking out the fall foliage, lunching in Montpelier, and tasting some cold deliciousness after the tour (Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough were the two samples given out today).
So tomorrow, it's back to work for me, and regularly written postings for you, but right now, I'm grabbing my doggy and going to bed.

Sunday, October 16

Oooo, oooo ... witchy woman

Seriously, there should more than one town in this country where you can walk around, in full witch-ness regalia, on a random Sunday, and be viewed as totally cool and one of the locals. Unfortunately, as of now, there is only one such place: Salem, Massachusetts.
I love that this spot on the map has completely embraced its shameful past, and ran with it, to earn some bucks for the township's coffers. Museums, haunted houses, burying grounds and souvenir shops line the streets of Salem, enticing everyone to enter at their own risk to tease the ghosts of the past, get freaked by people in cheesy masks jumping out of dark corners, and of course, buy a t-shirt emblazoned with, "Not all witches are in Salem," "A little wicked is good," or "Got mead?"
Never have we seen so much fun Halloween goodness (and let me say that October is definitely the month for a visit here), and we even managed to time it right for an annual craft fair along one pedestrian walkway.
But back to the witches walking the streets. Striped knee-high socks, tights and hose were required, though the dresses, skirts and capes were varied styles of black silk, satin and lace. One brilliant girl had a accessorized her black skirt and blouse with a black and green boa wrapped round her neck, matching hair ribbons, green and black striped hose and some black boots. It was a perfect ensemble. (Secretly, a new life's ambition is to move to Salem and walk around town dressed in different witch outfits every day.) Some of these witches were truly something the town could be proud to have on a postcard.
Some people, however, went with the white face paint, fake blood dripping from their lips, and ratty hair, perpetuating the unattractive, Hansel-and-Gretel-eating, cackling over a cauldron-type crone stereotype to the highest degree. It takes no imagination to go with that look, I think. Run with the pretty witch, people! Remember that even Glinda, the good witch of the North, was still a witch!
And in my old age, come visit me in Salem. Bring your pointy hat and broom though, because we'll be walking the streets.

Thursday, October 13

Mom is in town this weekend

Okay, everyone, just to let you know, posts tomorrow through Monday will be a bit spotty, since Mom is in town with her friend, Carolyn, this weekend.
We've got some fun activities planned, too, including:
shopping -- yes, for those of you who know us too well, a trip up and down Newbury Street for some purchases we can not, you'll have no question, live without;
a visit to Salem, Mass., home of the infamous witch trials, and the newly erected, but controversial, statue dedicated to Samantha Stevens, of Bewitched;
and a road trip out to Ben & Jerry's factory store in Vermont. (Number one on my souvenir list is an ice cream cozy. Thusly, my fingers won't get cold as I dig into a pint of my very favorite flavor, Brownie Batter.)
It should be a good weekend, and especially so if the weather improves. I'll do my best to post every night on our activities, but forgive me if I'm unable to be that dependable.

Giving birth as a Scientologist

Thanks to Amy for giving me the heads up on more information on our freak relationship of the year, Tom and Katie. Do you know what a Scientologist woman must agree to for a completely religious birthing process? Let me give you the bullet points:
* No music. None at all. Including mood-altering Mozart, or mood-enhancing Metallica.
* No drugs of any kind. Epidurals and, I'm sure, alcohol or pot, are included in that blanket rule.
* No speaking in the delivery room. That includes the screams of pain due to the above rule, my friends. Absolute silence must prevail. I wonder if that includes the heavy breathing, which I'll point out, was probably present during conception.
* Newborns can not be poked or prodded for medical testing. Does that mean that cutting the umbilical is also a bad? And the smack on the baby butt?
* Babies may not be spoken to during the first seven days after they are born. (This is my own personal favorite, what with its ridiculousness.) Quoted from MSN's article, "babies go through so much pain during the birth, they shouldn't have to experience any further discomfort or sensory experience that could return later in life to haunt them."
Yeah. Their mom talking to them during their first week alive.
That's going to be their problem.

Wednesday, October 12

Ashton and Demi's wedding pics

Exactly how famous do you have to be before a magazine will spend untold millions to have the rights to your wedding pictures? For those of you who don't know yet, OK! magazine bought the rights to the photos of Ashton and Demi's undoubtedly sacred and personal event.
Granted, OK! needed the scoop to complement their big splash into the U.S. market. Granted, if someone's willing to give you enough money to pay for the big party, it's one hell of a thing to consider. But seriously, while so many would consider such a thing, very few would act on it. Who has? Besides Ashton (who sported a fedora during the ceremony... um, ridiculous) and Demi, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones sold their wedding photos and put the money into a trust or something for their kid. Nicky Hilton and her first husband did; I think Donald Trump and his latest wife did; as well as the ever-classy Britney and Kevin Federline.
I'm brought back to the days of celebrities releasing one of their wedding photos to the masses (Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are a good example); and having that be the end of it. No auctions to the highest bidder. No cheapening the entire experience with a price tag.

Tuesday, October 11

Playstation 2

Brian is a video-game kid. Always has been, and I believe, always will be. We've always got to have the newest consoles, games and yes, cheats, available.
(I remember, four or five years ago, calling every Target and toy store within a 20-mile radius, every Tuesday morning, asking if they'd gotten the new PS2 in yet. Finally, one day, a toy store said that they did have some. When I walked into our place with that blue box behind me to surprise him, you'd swear that I was every year's Santa Claus rolled up into one.)
Last night though, the beloved PS2 died. Very sad. It's been giving him fits over the last few months--not registering games or movies, and just being very temperamental. It's really no wonder, after the life it's led. I mean, just Gran Turismo and the Maddens it's had to endure would kill any normal machine....
And once the the crippled electronic god had been declared mechanically dead, the whining started.
"We've got to go get a new one, nnnnoooooooowwwww."
I said, "Why don't we just watch TV tonight, and I'll stop and pick up a new one for you tomorrow on my way home from work?"
And that's when I had a glimpse into what would be my life in 10 or 15 years.
I saw a 32-year-old, 10-year-old child of mine, with eerily familiar brown eyes, turn and frown. "But, I want to play it nnnnoooowwww."
So there I was, staring at Brian, knowing he was completely serious, but trying not to laugh hysterically at what, I'm sure, was a scenario from my child-rearing future. So I caved. It was too cute not to. We put back on our street clothes, got in the car, went to Target, bought a new PS2, and had the thing plugged in and being played within an hour.
Happiness, packaged to order, in a brand-new video game console.

Saturday, October 8

Red Sox

When I moved to Boston, two people told me two different things to not adopt while out here: a Boston accent, and a love of the Red Sox. I've not been able to sufficiently replicate the accent, though I try, simply because I think it would be fun to pull it out every once in a while. But on the subject of the Red Sox, I say that John would be very disappointed in me.
It is impossible to live out here and not become a Red Sox fan. It's impossible to not get sucked into the vortex that was the Curse, the hatred of the Yankees, and the love of the game, Fenway Park, and to a certain extent, the pain. It's an all-consuming love affair, taking over lives during the season, and having significant impact throughout the rest of the year. I've really never seen anything like it before. In California, people have a love of the game and their home-town teams, but the passion just doesn't compare. Simply put, it's a difference of "in like," and "in love."
Last season, as you can imagine, was incredible, and ended with the biggest bang ever. This year, unfortunately, went out with a whimper. The 2005 season is officially over for us in the Nation. "Wait 'til next year!"
One more thing before I finish: I know that I'm a true Red Sox fan now, because even though my team didn't make it to the Series again and win, I find just as much glee in the Yankees getting their butts kicked last night, and perhaps losing to the Angels and getting their season cut short, too.

Friday, October 7


Amy has Tivo, and is able to record her favorite television shows with ease. I am jealous of this. My prehistoric VCR is unable to cooperate with my digital cable, so my television has to be on, and the cable box on the right channel, for it to record a show.
Brian and I have considered Tivo several times, but have instead stuck with our digital cable through Comcast. Now, I'd seen enough commericals about Comcast's DVR abilities, and we pay enough to them every month, that I thought we had it, too. So Wednesday night, because Lost was pushed back super late, I sat through the DVR tutorial and set the DVR recording. The screen said that it was recording, so I thought I was good to go. Well, I went in search of Lost last night in the "Saved Programs" list, and was bitterly disappointed to not find the episode. I called Comcast.
Apparently, since I don't have the special DVR box, which would replace my regular digital cable box, I wasn't really recording. My current system can "apply" the recording technology, and would indicate such to me, but it isn't really doing it. Nice.
"Okay. I'm an idiot," I say to the lady on the phone. "How much is a DVR box?"
Hello!! It is a mere $9.95 more a month! Sweet!!
Today, I call them back. They'll be by on Tuesday between nine and 11.

(p.s. Don't cry for me having missed Lost this week, I haven't. It's on ABC again Saturday night.)

Thursday, October 6

Cruise/Holmes to create offspring

What the hell? Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are pregnant? I thought this whole "relationship" was some kind of cruel hoax on the world, but now it's to result in another celebrity child?
The fun, of course, will be in figuring out what they're going to name it. Some of Tom's suggestions will probably include: "Maverick," "Ethan," "Cole," "L. Ron Hubbard." (I'd throw in "Joey," "Jen," "Pacey" and "Dawson," too, but I get the impression that this whole thing is all about him...) But jeez, after Nicolas Cage naming his kid, Kal-El, after Superman's Krypton name, no holds are barred.

Wednesday, October 5


U2 is the best band in the world. That is the straight-up truth. They are amazing. Amazing via CD, video, iPod, and yes, in person. IN PERSON AND ON STAGE IN FRONT OF US!!!
Sarah and I saw U2 last night at the Garden, and it was the most incredible show!! Really, the whole night was incredibly fun, complete with some dinner and drink, walking over to the venue, stopping in a couple other places, and just making merry in warming up for the concert.
Once we got there, surprisingly, the security was minimal, and we found our seats relatively easily (it gets that way when you stop and ask everyone in a blazer every 25 feet along the way). The opening band was Keane, which we were intrigued to see. I knew about three of their songs, and while the arena was pretty empty during their set, they did a good job of entertaining those of us who were there already.
THEN IT WAS TIME FOR U2!! It never fails to surprise me how very much in love with this band I am, until I see them on stage. (This is my third U2 concert.)
Here's the scoop: Bono is a god. The Edge is a master. Adam and Larry are fantastic.
Once again, they brought me to my feet for more than two hours of singing, dancing and divine inspiration. Vertigo, City of Blinding Lights, Beautiful Day, Elevation, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Crumbs from Your Table, Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own, and Stuck in a Moment. And those are only the songs I remember off the top of my head. After the second encore, when we knew that they were really leaving the stage, I wanted to cry. I'm still pouting that Bono didn't drag us up on stage. I love them.
Today, my throat is killing me it's so sore. ("LOOK OVER HERE!!") I'm a little bit hungover, but still dragged my ass in to work. ("Sure, we'll have another round.") The ears are still faintly ringing. (That's just a sacrifice to the concert gods.) But even with all that, I'm still floating on pillowy clouds of Irish rock.

Monday, October 3

Blue toenail polish

There are a minimal amount of things that I'm superstitious of, or that I consider lucky, in my life. I don't take any chances on most of the traditional things, like open umbrellas inside, walking under ladders, or broken mirrors. However, I don't sweat crossing a black cat's path, stepping on cracks, or saying "Beetlejuice" three times.
I do though, thoroughly believe in wishing on a blown eyelash off the left wrist, tossing spilled salt over the shoulder, and wishing on a first star.
There is one other ritual that, up until now, only my mom and I have known and talked about. It's silly, you may think, but let me tell you, there is a streak going on here that's freakishly consistent.
If there's something that I want, need, or require some kind of Gramps-inspired divine guidance, I need only do one thing: paint my toenails blue.
Years and years ago, in a small, unassuming beauty supply store, I saw and fell in love with the Essie color, Aruba Blue. It looks great on my feet, and it used to be the semi-permanent shade on my toes. Brian doesn't like it too much though, so the frequency of use slowed down a bit. But that is when the magic started to happen!
Over the years, Mom and I found that with the blue polish on good things came my way: raises were awarded, jobs were offered (this, in fact, occurred several times), a proposal was made, and necessary confidence in anything was granted. I'm telling you, it's freaky. It always works.
I applied the blue polish last night.
And so, you may ask, what is the catalyst for this return to the blue?
You'll know soon after I do.

Sunday, October 2

Halloween decorations

Halloween is my second favorite holiday. (Christmas is my first favorite, mainly because of the family gatherings, smells of the season, holiday shopping, and general merriment.) Halloween, I love because of its unconditional embrace of mischief, unbridled fun, candy dependency, and the ability to, for one night, be anyone in the world that you might ever want to be. (More on that later...) Oh yeah, and it's a pagan holiday.
I put out my Halloween decorations today. As a general rule, I set out the decor for a holiday on the first weekend of that holiday's month. (Don't try to reason it, that's the way my world works.) Of my Halloween decorations, I prefer the witchy stuff, but my house also is sprinkled with ghosts, spiders, bats and jack-o-lanterns. A couple of my fave objects include: a candy dish with a ceramic hand coming out from the bottom to reach for whoever is going for candy; a small ceramic building titled "Phantom's Opera;" a Garfield dressed as a bat who can be attached via string to appear flying; and this year's ultimate find, a porcelain witch's shoe-shaped candy dish.
While the Halloween transformation is not as drastic and overwhelming as Christmas, it still makes me smile. Although, in looking around, I still have a couple places for some new stuff. I think I'll visit Target next weekend...