Tuesday, February 27

I'll catch it on HBO, I guess

ITEM!: It's kinda creepy how much I love my new kitchen trash can. Totally worth the money, by the way. It's got a whisper-quiet lid, and makes for a more aesthetically pleasing appliance in my kitchen. What I noticed though, is how often I throw stuff in the trash. Before, the can was an open plastic one. Now, it's got a step to open it. I never realized how many times I "toss" stuff in the can until I had to expel actual and real energy to throw something away. I'm used to it by now, of course, but I'll admit to holding a piece of trash in my hand until I've got a second piece, thereby making my trash can opening more economical.
ITEM!: I watched Extra last night to catch up on some more Oscar happenings. (Mark McGrath, as usual, looked pretty hot, and the show also showcased Dayna Devin, just returned from maternity leave. She looked almost as good as I did after having my kid!) Here's one of my favorite stories, and one you know I would love: One of the Extra correspondents interviewed Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and their son, Jaden, as they were entering the Vanity Fair party. When asked who he most wanted to meet, Jaden replied that he was eager to meet "Buffy" (Sarah Michelle Gellar). A few moments later, cameras caught him meeting her, and both posing for a picture. I love that Jaden's using his dad's stature at the Vanity Fair after-Oscar party to meet her! I totally would have, too!!
ITEM!: I sent back Hollywoodland today. There's something to be said for having a movie for two weeks and never finding the time to watch it. To me, that speaks volumes of, "Don't really have to catch this one, do I?"

Monday, February 26

Yellow makes it pretty

Here's Mom's floral arrangement from last week's class. She prefers the topiaries, and I'll tell you that I do, too. I like the height of them. Sometimes, when Mom sends a picture of a particularly nifty arrangement, I wish that I lived closer to her so I could sneak into her house while she's gone and steal it for my own home. Is that bad?

The morning after

Well, well. There's certainly quite a bit of coverage out there today, isn't there? And rather than add to it, I'll just link you up to some of my favorite pieces:
USA Today
Entertainment Weekly -- Of particular fun is the Top 10 Oscar moments, which highlights Forest Witacker's speech, and Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway veering into character when presenting for Costume Design. Also, the site's bloggers are wicked good at live blogging any event.

Sunday, February 25

And so it's over

There's no sport in beating Brian at the Oscar ballot game. I read a ton of entertainment magazines, watch a lot of the cheesy shows, and pay too much attention to all this stuff via the Internet. Still, I only bested him by two, so a lot of it has to do with luck. I was right on all the "major" awards, including the Alan Arkin upset, and just by chance, I selected The Danish Poet and Marie Antoinette. I had 16 out of 24. I think this may be my best ballot ever.
Oscar-winning movies I'll have to watch now: Happy Feet, Pan's Labyrinth, An Inconvenient Truth, West Bank Story, and Dreamgirls.

Red carpet observations

Let's just run with a stream of consciousness for the duration of the red carpet coverage, which is approximately 40 more minutes:
Rachel Weisz looks nice, but I agree that the necklace should have stayed home ... Leo looks great ... What is that on Cate Blanchett's shoulder? ... Brian and I watched Spike Lee's Levee documentary on HBO yesterday and today. I loved it and cried through it ... I'm loving the green on Celine Dion ... Isla Fisher is awesome; Sacha Baron Cohen is irritating ... Kirsten Dunst should have trimmed her bangs in the limo ... Anne Hathaway is one of those actresses that really bugs me. She doesn't seem to have a facial expression ... ARGH! Beyonce! Is there a single event that she won't go to? I don't get the hubbub about her! She must stay home every once in a while! ... Alan Arkin is cool, too ... (Short 10 minute break to tend to Sydney G., who, I fear, will not be too cooperative with my Oscar plans tonight.) ... Tell me that Kate Winslet isn't one of the most beautiful women on the carpet! I'm loving her! ... Nicole Kidman's got something on her shoulder, too. Is this a trend? Mom's got the perfect dress to run with it. ... Gwyneth Paltrow's dress has too many lines ... Eddie Murphy doesn't think that he'll win. I think he will, but on my ballot here at home, I'm going for the Alan Arkin upset ... Seacrest -- clearly -- has an issue with the bush that is keeping him from molesting the celebrities he's talking to. He's about ready to pull it out right there on live television ... Meryl Streep is being attacked by some dangerous and scary orange necklaces ... At least Seacrest can appreciate when the conversation dies and ends it right there. Others would drag it on and make our lives painful ... Clive Owen is hot ... Again, I must say that divorce agrees with Reese Witherspoon. She may be my favorite tonight ... The people texting in to E! can not spell ...
And at 6 p.m., my own coverage ends as well.

Seacrest's a dork

So I sit here watching the pre-show, red carpet reporting by Ryan Seacrest on E!. He's so annoying to me. It's quite a feat how he's shuffling celebrities to and fro, pushing them out when the next one comes along. Like right now, he shoved out Steve Carell for Leonardo DiCaprio, and proceeded to grill Leo on what his acceptance speech would include. Leo, showing class, refused to give it up, since we all seem to know that he won't win.
Side note: I had no idea that Djimon Hounsou was in all those music videos. Straight Up with Paula Abdul? Crazy!!
Look at how pretty Jodie Foster looks! I'm loving the Internet right now, and how quick pictures become available for me to shamelessly steal them for my little blog.

Saturday, February 24

My prediction: The Departed

ITEM!: Don't forget that the Oscars are on tomorrow night. I'm feeling a bit anticlimactic about it, to tell you the truth, because the top four acting awards are pretty much set in stone already. And the only real wild card race -- Best Picture -- is the last award of the evening. Still, I'll be attached to my television all day Sunday to catch all the pre-show stuff! I predict popcorn, other yummy snacks, and a crying companion for my show.
ITEM!: Jon and Emily are out for a visit this weekend! We had a great day yesterday, and a good dinner last night. Brian and I left Sydney with Auntie Donna for the first time. Of course, the kid slept the whole time we were gone, but I still found myself a bit nervous. I trust Donna completely, it's just that this was the first time I'd left her with anyone other than Brian or my mom.
ITEM!: I think we're off to Target to get a new trash can today. I've noticed that the rectangular simplehuman stainless steel can with the pedal to open is only $99.99 at Target. It goes for $129.99 in the Crate & Barrel catalog, and $139.99 someplace else I forget. At any rate, I've been dying for the new can, so since I've got a big man to carry it today, we'll go out and pick one up.
ITEM!: We picked up the HD cable box yesterday to go with our new TV. An extra $6 a month for 16 HD channels is a bit silly, I think, but B was insistent. I will confess that the channels do come through with remarkable clarity. He's very happy with it though, and that's all that matters to me.
ITEM!: As an M&M, I'm not particularly cute.

Wednesday, February 21

A book in time

I'm back from Cali!
Sydney and I had a great week out visiting everyone, catching up with the goods and gossip, driving here and there, and eating at all my favorite places. It's such a treat to see all my favorite people! I won't lie though; it's tiring. I'm exhausted, and Miss Syd has been napping all morning, after her full night's sleep. While we had a fabu time out there, it's always nice to come home to Brian and Oliver.
These are a couple pictures of the new library going up in my hometown. Isn't it beautiful? I'm such a book geek: I can't wait to see all those trucks full of books pulling up and unloading their precious cargo (I'd love to be there and watch it all day), nor can I wait to wander through the place once it opens. This column here is my most favorite portion of the library. It's in the children's section (check out the pirate ship part, too). I'm loving it. I want one in my house.
Freaky update: Mom just called to let me know that the trucks are unloading boxes right now -- as I blog this!

Tuesday, February 13

Best in everything

If Oliver ever were to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club show:
He would ignore all the other dogs, as he's famous for being indifferent to other canines; shrink in intimidation from the big dogs; stop to scratch when he should be trotting; pretend he can't here anyone giving him orders; growl at the guy who checks teeth; lay down and sigh because he's bored with all the pretty kids surrounding him; pee somewhere inappropriate; and run around the judging area in carefree abandon.
He would not care if he wins, because his mom loves him and thinks he's the coolest no matter what; walk on those treadmills backstage; stand still while his hair is blown dry; tolerate any combing whatsoever; perform for treats, as he deserves treats for just being him; stop running when he's told; let his hair grow long; or consent to being judged.

Monday, February 12

I'd have flipped if it was my car

* I never had flannel sheets until five winters ago. You never really can appreciate the cozyness of flannel sheets until you're wintering in New England, where they are a necessity to getting through the cold months. During those four winters, we enjoyed, appreciated and cozied our flannel sheets. So much so that I was excited when the winter got cool enough out here for them to be put on the bed. Of course, in those four winters, I've never needed to take them off the bed in February. I have a basic guideline for when the sheets come off: when I wake up hot and sweaty three nights in a row (not due to Brian), it's time to change back to the cotton sheets. Today is that day.
* This is Mom's floral arrangement from last week's class. In it, you'll find red amaryllis and pink tulips. Pretty flowers for Valentine's Day!
* I did not watch the Grammy Awards last night. I don't really care about them. I remember writing about that last year, so won't dwell on it this time around.
* I did my part for being a good person today. Some girl hit another car in our parking lot this morning. I heard it, didn't see it, but two ladies walking down the street saw her. I went out on the balcony, and the ladies asked me if it was my car. It wasn't, but as we were discussing it, the girl drove down the street between us. The ladies flagged her down and reminded her that she'd hit a car. The girl pulled over, wrote a note for the car's owner, put it on the crunched car's windshield, and then took off. I asked the ladies if they got the girl's license plate, to which they said they had. I went downstairs to the car, and they recited it to me as I wrote it down on the girl's note. She had written, "I'm so sorry! Call me:" and had written her phone number, somewhat illegibly. I wrote on the note that I had heard the impact, and my apartment number for the car's owner to come find me if they wanted to. ... It's not that I'm an untrusting person. I just don't trust people to always do the right thing.

Saturday, February 10

It takes up the whole wall

There's a new member of our family, and it is a 47-inch, flat-screen, LCD television. Yep, I've allowed it, and there is a super-big new TV in my house. I won't lie to you, I totally love having a new TV. We've redone our living room, moving the TV stand and DVD rack, and there seems to be more room. A couple things that we didn't know when buying this television: without an HD box, the picture is a bit pixelated, but not too bad; the manufacturer doesn't cooperate with Cox, so our universal remote isn't that universal anymore; and a regular show is stretched out to fill up the whole widescreen, so everyone's got a bit of a stretchy face. I can't wait to watch Buffy on it Monday morning.
A new TV in the living room pushes the old TV into the bedroom, and that room's TV into storage. I don't like the old living room TV in the bedroom -- it's simply too big. I like my television to be as discreet as possible in the bedroom. That room, that entire space, needs to be a tranquil spot, a calming area, and a serene space. It isn't that with a TV taking up a prominent place. It's now a room with a bed on one wall and a TV on the other. My plan is to get another smaller flat-screen for the bedroom, and either sell the old living-room TV, or save it for the playroom in our next house.

Use them or lose them

And yet another bit of news to make my editorial heart shrivel up and die: A teacher in Orlando, Fla., has reported that she's finding more and more instant-messaging spelling errors in essays and papers turned in by her students. Kids are using words such as "b4," "ur," "2" and "wata" in place of the proper usage. In fact, junior high and high school teachers nationwide say they see the same trend: The words have become so commonplace in children's social lives that the spellings are finding their way into these writing assignments.
From an AP article: Fourteen-year-old Brandi Concepcion, a pupil of [the teacher's], said "wit," "da," and "dat" -- used in place of with, the and that -- sometimes creep into her homework. "I write like that in the rough draft, but I try to catch the mistakes before I turn in the final draft," she said. Some educators, like David Warlick, of Raleigh, N.C., see the young burgeoning band of instant messengers as a phenomenon that should be celebrated. Teachers should credit their students with inventing a new language ideal for communicating in a high-tech world, said Warlick, who has authored three books on technology in the classroom. And most avoid those pitfalls once they enter college, said Larry Beason, director of freshman composition at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. "Some of the same kids that I teach now were probably guilty of techno spellings in high school," Beason said. "But most students realize that they need to put their adolescent spellings behind them by the time they get to college."
This hurts my head. That kids are growing up thinking that these spellings, or others that short-change words, may become acceptable is enough to ... well ... make me really irritable.

Friday, February 9

Just a mouse click away

Do you remember that scene from The Net where Sandra Bullock's character, Angela, orders her pizza on the internet? I remember thinking, "Why would you do that when all you have to do is call?" Here I am, 10-something years later, about to tell you that I have done that, for the very first time. I ordered Papa John's the other night ... on the internet. (Besides the point, but relevant, I didn't really like it. No one's pan pizza can ever compare with Numero Uno's.)
I had to sign up for the site, create a password, give them all my information, and then, down to the important stuff, order the pizza. It was really kind of cool. You can select the dough, the toppings for the pie (or for half of it), order side dishes and the like, and pick your drinks. All on a nifty ordering page.
In watching The Net, I never thought that society ever would get to that point where everything can be done without talking to anyone. Is it progress that we have? Don't misunderstand, I am a huge proponent for not talking to people. People are a drag.
We had a pan pizza, half with pepperoni, and spicy wings, for $25, including a $2 tip. The internet is expensive, too.

Thursday, February 8

Pop-culture phenomenon dies

I'm surprised, really pretty shocked, to hear about Anna Nicole Smith dying today. Crazy sudden, it is. My gut instinct is that she's committed suicide, which is too bad, especially since she leaves behind a five-month-old daughter. I hope I'm wrong though. I'd hate for her baby to go motherless by her own hand. One person on the CNN blog says that Smith died of a broken heart. That's an interesting theory. There's no denying that the mysterious death of her son late last year was a terrible blow to her. And it's no secret that she's been tabloid fodder lately, and not in a good way. I can believe that a depression might suck away someone's will to live. Still, I'm creeped out that she's dead. She was only 39 years old.

He didn't wear an arrow

These are the moments that make me so happy that I'm staying home and tend to watch television in the afternoons. I just watched Steve Martin play the banjo on Ellen. That's just fun. He's super good at it, too.

Random coincidence: I just finished reading an article about Ellen hosting the Oscars, and that Bruce Vilanch, the head joke writer for the Oscars for the last 16 years, will be writing this year, too. (Talk about a script in need of fresh blood! Find someone new to write the Oscar dialog, Academy people! Please do something!) I was reminded in the piece how funny Steve Martin was when he hosted it that one year. I think he did a great job, and I wish that they would call him back for another go.

Wednesday, February 7

I feel kinda pimpin' in it, too

ITEM!: Lost returns from a three-month hiatus tonight! From what I've heard, the episode is great, bringing the show back to form. Also, it kicks off a 16-week schedule of new episodes going into May. Apparently, only one or two more episodes center on the Others, and then it's back to the main island, the original castaways, and those earlier plots that need to be tied up (sort of, it is Lost after all). Thank goodness, I say. I'm quite sick of the Others, and miss all the people we got attached to in the first season. Bring back Sayid, Jin and Sun, Claire, Charlie and Locke!
ITEM!: I hear that there may be an opening in the astronaut corps. If I promise not to go crazy, stalk a perceived romantic rival and try to kill her, do you think they'll let me go up? Most importantly, it's good to note that they will let some unstable people into space. "So you're saying there's a chance."
ITEM!: A shout-out to JJ, who is training to run in the Midnight Mayors Marathon in Alaska on June 23! She's running in honor of those battling blood cancers, and fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I wish I could go along and cheer her on. Diva, you're awesome!
ITEM!: I got the windows on my car tinted this morning. I did it, of course, for the kid. Tinting removes the need for the cheesy shade that was hanging crooked in the back window, and more importantly, cuts down the heat through the windows by 60 percent. And she won't have to make that funny, lemon-just-squirted-in-my-eye face when the sun catches her.

A February resolution

I've noticed that I've been drinking a lot more soda lately. Practically every lunch has been purchased with a Coke, and I've been finishing them over the course of the afternoon. I don't know how this habit became a habit, but just the other day, I decided that I'd had enough. No more Coke for me.
I've happily returned to my non-soda liquid preferences: water, water, water, iced tea and milk. That's all I ever really drank, only indulging in a soda with Chinese food (the two go together particularly well), or having a sip or two whenever Brian would order one. So I've gone cold turkey.
Because of that, my lunch places have dwindled by a couple options. Not everyone serves fresh-brewed tea (I refuse those that sell Nestea, the devil's drink); I don't order milk at restaurants unless it's breakfast; and bottles of water are always cheaper at non-restaurant type places. Thank goodness Jack in the Box, Arby's, and Sonic make a good tea!
Anyway, I'm happy with my decision to ban the Coke from my own private menu. I remember the last time I did it, in high school, and was pleased to see pounds melt away from the depletion of sugar, and the increase of water, in my diet. Let's see if that happens again!

Tuesday, February 6


I like to admit when I fall for a company's marketing ploy. Really, I do; it's not a sign of weakness. I like it when an ad is good enough, intriguing enough, and jarring enough to make me rethink the way I do things, or what I buy. As an example: if I didn't have a kid and need a small SUV to drive, I would totally buy a Volkswagen Jetta. Those commercials are amazing.
Today, I bought a new vitamin, based solely on the ad I saw on television. I used to take Centrum. I liked the rainbow on the bottle; it made me feel safe. Then I saw the new ad for the One-a-Day vitamin for women. I didn't pay too much attention the first time I saw the ad, but the second and third time sunk into my head. I was all, "You know what? My body is different because I'm a woman. I should have a women's vitamin." Then I was all, "Brian's a man; he should have the men's vitamin." So to Target I went this morning, and, I picked up, among other things, a bottle of vitamins for me, and a bottle for Brian. I already feel more womanly: my breasts are already healthier; my bones are humming; and my uterus is happy to have some help.

Monday, February 5

I get 10% off in the gift shop, too

Sydney G and I went to the zoo today! Mom bought us a membership to the Phoenix Zoo, which means she and I, and one guest, can visit the zoo whenever we want! So today, the kid and I did it on our own, wandering around looking at the tigers, birds, gazelles, giraffes and all the animals. (The tiger we saw was sleeping, very unlike the picture here.) I carried her around in her Baby Bjorn, allowing me to carry her, our bag and a bottle of water with minimal "pack horse" feelings. Next time though, since we don't stay that long, I think I'll just put the membership card, my ID and the money and keys in my pocket so the bag can stay in the car. It's not heavy, per se, but after an hour or so, it was certainly getting that way. I need to put a small pocket mirror in my bag though, because with the Bjorn, I can't see her face, and didn't realize that she'd fallen asleep until her head bobbed forward.

And what about those Colts? Was that a game or what? We were really very nervous after that opening kickoff return for a touchdown, but to see the Colts come back and score shortly thereafter was a confidence builder. We have some Bears fans across the hall from us though. They had their food catered in, and there was a large group of people who, getting into the second quarter, got very quiet. At the beginning of the game, we were worried that they might make too much noise once the game was over. At the end of the game, we knew that they'd all go home with their tails firmly between their legs.
And now football is over for the season. All that's left is basketball. I'm not a huge fan of that sport, so will be excited for baseball to return. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 16. Only 11 days for the fun to begin! (How I wish that the Red Sox had their training in the Cactus League!!)

Sunday, February 4

I wish I had a picture of it for you

I'm watching the Super Bowl pre-game stuff, and something I saw reminded me of another thing from a hundred years ago. The ESPN guys were interviewing Mike Ditka and some of the other Bears players from the 1985 Super Bowl, and they asked the guys about the "Super Bowl Shuffle." Then, as they were showing a clip of that video, I remembered a bit from one of those lip-synching competitions we used to have at Pinecrest. JJ, whom most of you know is still a great friend of mine, Jackie and Danielle did a routine to the "Super Bowl Shuffle." I remember that JJ was Jim McMahan; Jackie had gotten her hair cut into a short 'do the night before and everyone picked on her for getting her hair chopped for the good of the bit; and that Danielle, easily the smallest girl in the class, made for a super tiny football player. Anyway, all three wore big blue shirts, white pants or something like that, and painted black stripes under their eyes. What I can't believe is that this memory is from 1985, that I've been friends with those wonderful girls for so long, and that I'm really that old.
(Just to spread the love around, I think that Andrea, Jeannine and I did either "My Boyfriend's Back" or "Walk Like an Egyptian" in that contest.)

Saturday, February 3

Post-partum nesting?

You know that episode of Friends where Chandler discovers Monica's messy closet? The funny is that she's such an organized person, and that she has this one place where she's a complete mess and full of anything and everything. Anyway, I have such a closet, where it looks like a mess, but in my mind, is utterly organized: the guestroom closet. In this closet, you'll find plastic bins of holiday decorations; moving boxes with CDs, dentistry stuff, photo albums and other random things; puzzles and game consoles; and a cow footstool. Today, I reorganized it, spending at least an hour stacking, moving, and really just strategically figuring out how best to place all of it so I can get in there without tripping over stuff.
All this after I organized my file cabinet last week and Brian's bookcase the week before. If I didn't know any better, I would say that I'm still nesting. It's kinda creepy, the projects I've been motivated to get done lately. As an example, I noticed that when the cleaning ladies dust my armoire in the bedroom, they slide the plant along the top. A ceramic tray and an oak armoire do not live well together, and the tray was scratching the top of the piece. The next day, I went to Target to find some of those felt furniture protectors for the pot's tray. It's weird that, in my head, it absolutely had to be done the very next day.
Household projects that I'm itching to get done: new bed linens in the master bedroom; new towels in the master bathroom; a new television in the living room and moving TV stand and DVD rack; moving bar glasses and wedding china into a box for storage; organizing storage space out on balcony; little baskets and bins for Sydney's bathroom stuff; re-organize Sydney's closet. Then, of course, there is my secret desire (and I'm a little ashamed of it actually): I want new bed linens for Sydney's room, too. I want something pink and flowery that goes with the green gingham, because I still love that, but more colorful and girly. ... And if any of you mention my naive desire for a gender-neutral nursery, I'll ... well, I'll be embarrassed and admit that I didn't know what I was talking about.

Thursday, February 1

The shortest month of the year

Ah, February. The second month of the year comes with minimal fanfare, but no small amount of excitement. I've got a lot going on this month so far: a visit to California, a visit from Jon and Emily at the end of the month, Brian's birthday, Lost and Jericho are coming back on television, and Sydney's four-month appointment. My calendar, which looks barren beyond this month, is filled to the brim (somewhat), and I'm excited to have stuff to look forward to throughout the coming weeks.

I'll be reading that day

I am so excited to tell you all that I have already made my pre-order for the seventh Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! And I totally called it that the book would be available this summer. It's the way the marketing for these tomes goes, you know, first gossip, then title, then publishing date. It's been like that for years. At any rate, July 21 is the big day!