Friday, April 28

Pudge, sweat and a pedicure

Joanna has officially kicked off the warmer season by circulating the "Open-Toed Shoe Pledge." I've signed on for another year. I post it for your enjoyment, and in hoping that you too will take the pledge.
As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow these RULES when I wear sandals and other open-toed shoes:
- I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. The sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.
- I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.
- I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.
- I will shave the hairs off my big toe.
- I won't wear pantyhose -- even if my misinformed girlfriend/coworker/mother/sister tells me that the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.
- If a shoe strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get the shoe fixed or toss the pair.
- I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.
- I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99, even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of foot sweat, and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.
- I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.
- I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as someone's fingers and that no sandal makes creepy feet look good.
- I will promise that if I wear flip flops I will ensure that they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking, and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.
- I will promise to go my local nail salon at least once per season and have a real pedicure.
- I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signs of wear ... nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals.

Thursday, April 27

Fire! Fire!

We had such an exciting evening last night! Fire trucks! Police officers! Drug dealers!
This story happens in a few parts, so I'll go through them in pieces, if that's okay.
It's illegal to turn left onto our street from Columbus between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. All us locals know this, so this is why the story, for us, is funny. The motorcycle cops tend to hide out on our street, and pick off the people who turn left to shortcut through the South End, and just line them up for tickets. This usually happens towards mid to late month, when their quota needs to be filled, and in this situation, they have been known to move through 30 tickets in an afternoon. After taking Oliver for his afternoon walk, we decided to sit out on our front steps and watch the people get nailed, and yes, laugh at them goodnaturedly.
A guy in a wheelchair comes tearing across Columbus to the cop, telling him to look up, look up, there's a fire. We didn't understand what was going on too much at this point, but once we started looking around, we realized that there were several people on the street, looking up at the top of a house just six doors down from ours. From the top, billowed smoke. Once we got up to look better, we saw flames. Shortly thereafter, and I mean shortly, the fire trucks began arriving. There ended up being eight fire trucks on our street, four with their ladders extended to the top of the buildings, and all with their hoses, axes, chain saws and the like ready to do battle. The fire though, was relatively minor, in that it only took the one house's terrace up top. The water damage, from what we heard, was quite severe though, since the fire was at the top of the building, and the water all had to rush down the four or five stories.
We spent at least an hour watching this all go down from the steps of a house across the street, as did many of the street's residents and passersby. I'm freaked that a fire along those rows of houses has the potential to take out an entire block, but I feel better knowing how fast the fire trucks arrive, and how many of them answer the call.
In the meantime, a drug trafficker that's ducked out on his bail is being pursued through the South End by the police. He's attempting to escape, and is fleeing down Tremont Street. He comes to an intersection and faces the dilemma: left or right? He, in a move that he will quickly regret, turns right ... directly onto my street, where eight fire trucks have taken up both sides of the driving lanes. He's trapped, with nowhere to go, and the police are behind him. He's arrested, and by the time the fire is out, the police tell us that he's already in booking, and that a drug dog is on its way to sniff through the guy's truck.
When the heavy-duty fire trucks with ladders go to stretch their ladders, they extend balance posts on each side of the truck, by about three feet. If there's nothing but space on one side, that's great. If, as there was last night, there happens to be a Subaru and a Volvo on one side ... well, they get kinda crushed in on the side, and one may get a tire popped from being pushed up onto the curb. The city would pay for it, but the fire department guys, and the policeman, both suggested that the owners just go with their own insurance company, since they'll probably get results faster.
Eventually, of course, all the fire trucks went back home, and all became quiet again on our little street. This morning, the only evidence of anything amiss was the tips of blackened wood peeking out from the top of the assaulted building, and floor rugs stretched out over the front steps drying.
Ah, city living.

Wednesday, April 26

Sadly, "ain't" is among them

While this may not be of too much interest to very many of you, as a lover of words, I'm kinda tingly knowing that there are now, officially, 1 billion words documented in the English language. By documented, I mean that they are recognized by the Oxford English Corpus, the press that prints the dictionary under the same name.
The Corpus draws on weblogs (maybe even THIS one!), newspapers, magazines, chatrooms and fiction for the new words that may end up in the most-recent edition of the dictionary. Lexicographer Catherine Soanes said the database is not [really] a collection of 1 billion different words, but of sentences and other examples of the usage and spelling. In the most recent edition of the dictionary, August 2005, the Corpus added words such as "supersize," "wiki" and "retail politics."
Launched in January 2000, the Corpus is part of the world's largest-funded language research project, costing $90,000 to $107,000 per year. The Corpus collects evidence from all the places where English is spoken, whether from North America, Britain, the Caribbean, Australia or India, to reflect the most current and common usage of the English language.

Tuesday, April 25

"It wasn't me. Ducks."

Bean farters, and those of us who love them, rejoice! It seems as though adding some bacteria to beans may actually cut back on flatulence.

Hotels are red, houses are green

Now, you too can help shape the future of a Monopoly game! The newest version of the popular real estate game is due out this fall, and Hasbro is looking for our help in creating the properties that will be featured on it. Click here through May 12, and you can vote on landmarks in 22 different U.S. cities, and those with the most votes earn themselves a place on the board. I did my voting yesterday, and was surprised by a couple of the front runners so far. Waikiki Beach has more votes than Diamond Head? The White House over both the Lincoln and Washington monuments?
The game, first sold by Charles Darrow in 1933, became America's most popular board game a short three years later, permanently solidifying it, and the shoe, hat and dog pieces, in the country's pop culture history. This new version, "Here and Now," looks like it might be pretty cool actually, although I've never been a big fan of the game. (It takes so long to play, and really, there's just too much math.)

Monday, April 24

It's in the Spring

My mommy loves Spring. It's her favorite season, I think, because of all the flowers, all the warm sunshine, and just the fact that winter is over. This post is dedicated to Mom's love of Spring, and the pictures she e-mailed me over the weekend.
Some Spring trivia:
* There are approximately 250,000 species of flowers; honeybees prefer yellow and blue ones.
* Children grow twice as fast in the spring as they do in the fall, but gain more weight in the fall.
* A young robin will eat as much as 14 feet of earthworms a day.
* The hum of a hummingbird comes from the swift beat of its wings.
* The average lifespan of a small cumulus cloud is 10 to 15 minutes.
* No two people see the same rainbow. A rainbow is formed by the reflection of specific raindrops, and a person standing next to you will see different droplets from the ones you see.
* On the vernal equinox, the sun rises exactly in the East, travels through the sky for 12 hours, and sets exactly in the West; every place on earth experiences a 12-hour day.
* Bees collect nectar from 2 million flowers to make a 1-pound comb of honey.
And this little bit of Spring-ified dogginess is the most-excellent Sheila. I don't think I've spoken of her on the blog before, but don't mistake that as disinterest in her, for she is the sweetest of dogs out there in California. (I love her. I really do.) And look how pretty she is sitting in the sunshine!!

Friday, April 21

Common sense lacking in Florida neighborhood

I try so hard to not fault women for things when they happen to them. I'm a violent opponent to the "she asked for it," thought process that some people spew. I hate that a woman's job, history, sobriety, or intelligence is brought into evidence as a reason why something happened to them. I'm the last person to believe that it wasn't the way she says it was.
That being said: "A 76-year-old man claiming to be a doctor went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams, and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said on Thursday." (Italics added by me.)
WHO, WHO, WHO says to a white-haired guy with no credentials that shows up on your doorstep, "Sure, come on in and feel me up. This is a GREAT opportunity to have a free breast exam!"
To make this even more appalling, the women were in their 30s; not old, gullible, blue hairs who never get out anymore. The first woman became suspicious after he asked her to take off all her clothes, and began (that means that she actually DID disrobe! Argh!) conducting a genital exam without putting on gloves. Anyway, she called the cops, and the guy took off. The police caught him at another woman's apartment, in the same neighborhood, a little while later.
And contrary to the apparently very official and trustworthy black bag he carried, and his line about working for a local hospital, we come to find out that he's a shuttle driver for an auto dealership.
Ladies, ladies, ladies!! Don't let freaky old men you don't know into your house to touch you! That's creepy!! RED FLAG! RED FLAG! RED FLAG!

Thursday, April 20

Pink shoes

I've got this great pair of pink loafers that Mom and I bought about 10 years ago during a sale at Saks, that I've never worn. Every Spring, I take out the shoes at least once, consider wearing them for the day, decide against them, put them away, and save them for the next time I may feel brave enough to put them on. This morning, as I considered which footwear to put on today, I thought, "Pink shirt, cool. I wonder if the pink loafers match." I pulled out the shoes, removed them from the little shoe baggy, and put one on.
Brian entered the room: "Those are pink!"
"What do you think?" I ask. "Are they too pink?"
He takes a moment to consider, and responds, "I like them actually. They're more feminine than the other shoes you wear. You should wear them today."
"I don't know. I do this every year, you know. I never wear them."
"Do it," my spouse asserted. "Don't be a pussy. I DARE you to wear them."
With the gauntlet thrown down in such a way, how could I refuse? How could I preserve my womanhood and status of being the coolest wife in the world WITHOUT wearing the shoes today? Easy answer: I couldn't. (Though I don't always tell him, Brian tends to bring out the best in me sometimes.)
And as I walk around my office today -- as I look down as the classic style; as I appreciate the pink Spring-y-ness of the shoes -- I am happy and at peace with myself.
The pink shoes rule.

Shaking it up, for no real good reason

With all of yesterday's hysteria about little Suri Cruise, I was unable to comment on the recent job shakeups at the White House ... but today dawns bright and sunny!
Karl Rove, political guru and hatchet man, has been reassigned, though he still holds the title of deputy chief of staff, to focus on strategic and tactical planning within the administration, including the November congressional elections, and shedding himself of the responsibility of policy development. Good, but still scary.
Also, the president's relentlessly tight-lipped press secretary, Scott McClellan (far left, with the frowning guy), resigned from his post. McClellan, who has been the ... um ... I'd say "voice," but really, he and his bosses don't say much ... and public face for three years, said that it was time to "move on." He'll stay on until a replacement is found.
According to USA, "Bush also announced that deputy budget director Joel Kaplan will become deputy chief of staff for policy, assuming that part of Rove's duties. Kaplan follows his boss, Joshua Bolten, the former budget director who took over as chief of staff on Monday."
All these changes come in the wake of the president's AWFUL poll ratings, and, shall we say, strained relationship with Congress. Even his Republican allies have called for staff changes. (Fat lot of good it all does, really. The man doing the biggest amount of damage isn't going anywhere until 2008, and is continuing to "stand behind" his not-handling-this-right Secretary of Defense.)
But wait, here's my favorite part. In commenting on McClellan's resignation, Bush had this to say: "One of these days, he [McClellan] and I are going to be rocking in chairs in Texas and talking about the good old days." ... sigh ... THESE are the good old days? I fear for the next two years.

Wednesday, April 19

Syd's back

After a four-month hiatus from ABC's primetime schedule, Alias is (FINALLY!) returning tonight with a two-hour episode. I spent some time today reading through the season five episode synopses, catching up on the action that had taken place already, and feel like I'm ... not perfectly prepared ... but better prepared for a new episode. For those of you who don't watch, the mythology, characters and action behind the show is really quite convoluted and web-y, and is more of a maze than Harry Potter's final task in Goblet of Fire. Double agents, secret organizations, crazy inventions, and a zig-zaggy plotlines keep all us fans on our toes. The remaining, and final, episodes of the show should prove to be a cornucopia of goodness though, with the return of Weiss, SpyMommy, Nadia, Sark, Rambaldi and (SPOILER ALERT!!) an un-dead Michael Vaughn.
This may be the only show that I don't resent for taking up valuable Lost time on a Wednesday night.

Cruise/Holmes baby is here

BREAKING NEWS!: The wait is over, and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have welcomed their new baby into the world. The little girl, named Suri, was born yesterday, and weighed in at 7 lbs., 7 oz., and 20 inches long. Her name means "princess" in Hebrew, and "red rose" in Persian. Actually, that's quite pretty. Mother and daughter are doing well, and according to E! news, Cruise is "presumably, couch-hopping happy." There's no word on how the Scientology birth went, though with a new movie coming out in a couple weeks, no doubt that Cruise will be very forthcoming with the intimate details of it with the media.

Tuesday, April 18

Kenny's just not ... Kenny ... anymore

There's something wrong with the world when Kenny Rogers looks less like Kenny Rogers than the guys at Really, that guy on the right is Kenny Rogers. So, The Gambler went in for some eye work, and check out what happened. He looks more like a Ken doll than the man who knows when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. Here's his take on it (from an interview with People magazine):
"Last year I had so many lines coming in at the side of my eyes up here. So I went in and got my eyes done, and I’m not happy about it. (The surgeon) is going to go in and fix that for me. They’re too tight around the eyelids for me. It drives me crazy. I wake up in the morning, and Wanda says, 'You look great.' But I know what I want to look like. If we can fix that, then I’ll be glad I did it. If we can’t fix it, I’ll regret it or get used to it."

Monday, April 17

But they fit me better!

Perhaps the worst-kept secret in the world is how much I love my jeans. I would wear them every day if I could (Wait a minute! I can, and I do!). I've always been a huge fan, and have really no idea where my absolute love/obsession for the denim stems from. Of course, Mom has a few pairs, and that's all good, but she tends to mix it up with khakis, chinos, and all that, where for me, especially during the winter, jeans are all that I wear on the bottom. (For summer, I'll break out my own pairs of chinos and don skirts and such, but you all know how I love my jeans.)
Anyway, some distressing news comes my way via the Internet today. In this article on, the author shocks my world by noting that skinny jeans are returning to the trendy fold, and that the popular bootcut variety may be saying their goodbyes. This, is unacceptable. I mean, a lot of you have seen the circumference of my calf muscles. They simply do not "go" with skinny jeans. Seriously, back in the 80s, the pants wouldn't fit over my calves. For that reason, I hated those pants (even when the legs were punctuated with zippers), and I find that I hate them still now, even though they are just a "re-emerging trend."
I like my jeans to be trendy and cool. I like them to be in sync with the latest fashions. I simply can not make myself go the way of the skinny jeans again! I CANNOT! Please, goddess, for all that is good in the world, let this trend die before it begins ... again!
Long live bootcuts!

Friday, April 14

The Bunny's comin'

So Easter is right around the corner, and so far, we've got no plans to celebrate the bunny. I'm decidedly lacking in Easter festive-ness this year, mainly, I think, because I didn't decorate my house or anything; we aren't coloring eggs; we've got no family plans for food (don't misunderstand -- that's a good thing); and I'm cutting back on the candy. I've had, so far, only one small Palmer's hollow chocolate bunny. (I do have another bunny for Sunday though.) Brian put a ban on Peeps this year, and if you can believe it, I'm not missing them that much. Mom bought us some See's scotchmallow eggs, so those will be good. But aside from the chocolate goodness, I think we'll be pretty Easter-less this weekend. (Fun Easter bunnies photo is courtesy of Nicole.)
I'd love to have tickets to a Red Sox game or something, or some plans to hang outside for a time. Actually, if the weather's decent, I may just grab a book and some water and head over to the park for some sunshine-y reading.

Wherefore lipemia?

I'm all stressed out, though I know that nothing could be wrong. Oliver was scheduled to have his teeth cleaned today at the vet. The drop-off went fine, and all was well until about 9:10 a.m., when they called me to tell me that they didn't like the results they got from Ollie's blood tests. Apparently, the results came back lipemic, which means an elevated level of fat in the blood. The results could indicate something as innocuous as too much fat eaten yesterday, to the more-severe liver disease. It can't be anything that serious, since we were just in for Ollie's annual check-up in February, and those blood tests showed nothing odd. Anyway, they want to send out the blood to another, more-sophisticated lab for further analysis. Because of that, they aren't comfortable putting him under general anesthesia for the teeth cleaning. So, now the Beast is just hanging out at the vet waiting for me to come get him. I'll be leaving here around 2:30 p.m. to go get him ... and I'm stressed out, even though I know that nothing could be wrong.

Thursday, April 13


So Brian decided to watch the news this morning, and was disgusted, DISGUSTED, by a report about a couple in Missouri that claimed that they were having/had sextuplets, all in an effort to get money and gifts from kind-hearted gentlefolk.
"We're sorry for everything we did," Sarah Everson said. Kris, her husband, vowed to pay back all those who sent money or other items. Kris said that they did it for financial reasons.
They probably did not expect that people would check out their story about the four boys and two girls that were in intensive care. The police are investigating the couple's bank account, the Post Office box they had set up to receive gifts, and the PayPal account they started for online donations. Huh? Where did they get the money for all the preparation for the scam, if they're so broke that they have to lie about the kids in the first place?
This lady invited a reporter into her home, showed off the nursery, clothes and fake pictures of her pregnancy (above), all to substantiate a lie that was so easily disproved. (Sample fact-checking question: "Hello Random Hospital. Do you have the Everson sextuplets in your intensive care unit?" Answer: "This is Random Hospital's ICU. Nope, no sextuplets here." Lie blown out of the water.)
While it's a clever idea, and well-knowing that so many other multiple-birth parents have hit the motherload with donations, this was a silly thing to do. Did they really think that no one would follow up? They could be charged with collecting cash and gifts under false pretenses, but here's my additional question: Was what they did against the law? How are they different then some guy in a silk suit feeding a convention hall full of people a line like, "Send me 10 percent of your income and you'll go to heaven." (Discuss.)

Wednesday, April 12

Because he IS a star!

Winnie the Pooh received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame the other day, celebrating the silly old bear's contribution to the world of entertainment, and his 80th birthday. (Here he is posing with both his star and his plaque.) Pooh is, as most of you know, Mom's favorite cartoon character. With his being so honored, she will be happy.
By way of some history, Pooh debuted as a cartoon character in the 1966 Disney featurette Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, and went on to star in dozens of films, specials and several cartoon series.
The bear, created in the 1920s by British author A.A. Milne (who coincidentally, or cosmically, shares my birthday), was joined at the unveiling by his pals Tigger, Eeyore and Rabbit.
Milne named Pooh after a stuffed bear owned by his son Christopher Robin Milne. ("Tut, tut! Smells like rain!")

Tuesday, April 11

The Hoff digs Pepsi ... a lot

It's been a while since we've had any Hoff love on the blog, so here's a treat for you all. Enjoy the cheesiness of the phallic Pepsi ad.
Also, I actually treated myself to checking out tickets on line yesterday for Madonna's concert when she's here in Boston. Sarah was all game to go with me, and we were already planning the evening ... in theory. Let me say, I don't know when I'll ever be okay with spending $350 for one ticket to a Madonna concert. That, of course, is before all the fees are accrued and such, too. I can't imagine that her concert could be any better than a U2 show, and I would ONLY pay that amount for a U2 show. So alas, Madonna shall rock on in Boston without me in attendance.

Tuesday, April 4

Some semblance of comfort: $1

I guess you could call me a regular traveler. I'm off gallivanting with Mom this weekend, and have two trips planned for May. Yeah, I'm a regular traveler. As an airline passenger, I don't sweat the $5 drinks, or even the recently implemented $4 snack packs. Airlines need to make money, too. They're charging extra for curbside baggage check, paper tickets, and when customers feel the need to talk to a reservation agent to book a flight instead of using the Internet. These things, I understand, since what we're talking about is employees' time and effort, and paper tickets--a waste of resources when all you need to do is check in at the self-serve kiosks.
But let's just hold the phone for a minute. An article on USA today brought to light some disturbing money-making schemes that the airlines are currently considering, testing and trying out. Do you want an assigned seat, or a request filled to sit on the aisle or at a window? $10 per flight leg. Booking travel using your frequent flyer miles? $10-$50. Unaccompanied minor? $40-plus each way. Sodas, snacks, a pillow or a blanket? $1 each.
Um, are you kidding me? These people are going to try to charge us $1 for some flimsy blanket and a thin pillow? What the hell?? It's not like the pillows or blankets are expendable or anything. They reuse them for each flight, and as evidenced by their smell, are rarely put through the wash. They most certainly are not provided, new and clean, for each passenger. So, for the privilege of a cricked neck and some bit of warmth on the planes, they're all, "Gimme your money, honey. You're trapped on this freezing metal projectile, and if you're looking for any comfort at all, you gotta hand over your wallet."

Monday, April 3

Pink's new tunes

Nothing can make my afternoon go down better, faster and smoother than listening to a full-length preview of Pink's new CD, I'm Not Dead. I am loving these tunes! Of course, the whole thing would be SO much better if, instead of sitting at a desk, I was cruising down the highway in the warm sunshine with the windows open, but we can't have everything, can we? The CD is available for purchase tomorrow, but I think I'll wait until this weekend before buying it. I know I'll want it for the car, so buying it on iTunes isn't really an option. At any rate, it's a kicky little group of songs. Check it out!!