Friday, March 30

Half of a month's rent

Mom, Auntie Donna, Sydney and I spent the day at the Tempe Festival for the Arts today. I have to tell you: there was so much more worth buying at this fest than there was at the one in December! We got so much good stuff!
I am currently looking at a beautiful purple, hand-painted and blown vase that I got for the bedroom (this image is not the vase I bought, but a picture of a pretty one I found online). What else was worth buying? I got us a purple and green birdhouse in a cool shape; four ceiling fan pulls (a pink and a purple butterfly for Sydney's fan, and a Red Sox and ASU pull for the office); a very cool hanging cow thing for the kitchen; a light switch plate for Sydney's room; and a nifty painting for the guest bathroom that now needs to be framed.
Stuff that I didn't buy but wish I could justify: a very cool painting that I've completely fallen in love with, but can't bring myself to spend the money on; a ladybug bowl for our remote controls on the coffee table; and a handblown side table lamp. Those things I walked away from relatively easily. The painting is the only item I still really wish I could buy.

Thursday, March 29

Stove-top mac and cheese

I've come up with a number of ways to start off this post.
"How to tell your apartment is way too old."
"Apparently, radiation does kill."
"Really, how did they cook back then?"
"The 'ding' tolls for thee."
"And then it just stopped."
So many ideas ... and none of them good. How to begin a blog post about the microwave oven that died right in the middle of heating up cheese dip? I guess my question runs along the line of, did you know that microwaves could just die? I didn't. It's never happened to me before.
Seriously, there were 45 seconds left in the heating of the queso dip, and the microwave stopped. It just stopped. We heard a low and vague, "Wurrrr," and then the whole appliance went black. Thank goodness it didn't smoke. How do you get a smoking microwave out of its place above the oven? I'm glad I didn't have to find out.
At any rate, I'll be calling maintenance to come by tomorrow (I hope), and replace the thing. Because really, how does one prepare meals in this day and age without a microwave?

I wonder who dies in this one

Check it out everyone! The big day is getting closer and closer! Here's the just-released image of the cover to the seventh and last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Am I the only one a little unimpressed by it? It seems kinda ... sunny ... for the final and perhaps scariest of the series. Granted, it's the only cover that's image is a wraparound, and on the back there is a freaky black hand reaching out for Harry, but I really liked the black pre-cover art that they had released weeks ago. It was all black and no-nonsense. There's a place for a cover like that, and I thought that it was on the final H.P. tome. Oh well, it's not like the cover will keep me from tearing into it the second the pages are in my hands!

Wednesday, March 28

Give it two hours to dry

* My carpet looks so good! It's so nice and clean! I said to the guy, "Can you see all the dirt that is coming out?" He said, "Sure. You want to see?" Um, no. Thanks anyway, but I'd rather be ignorant of how gross my floor has been ... you know, the place where we sit, lay down and rest, and play with our baby and dog. The guy said that he doesn't think the apartment management cleaned my carpet before we moved in. I've suspected that since that first day. He said, "There's no way that these carpets could get that dirty in just the months that you've been here." Lovely.
* I bought a new comforter for our bed today. I had picked up some new sheets a couple weeks ago, and have spent the ensuing days searching for a complementary comforter/duvet cover. I am happy to say that my bed looks special now, and my hubby likes it! And yay! Bonus points to me for getting purple in my bedroom!
* Are you keeping track of that random list of home projects that I wrote about a couple months ago? If so, you'll notice that since then, I have managed to knock off a good portion of the things enumerated there. Thankfully, for every one thing crossed off, one or two things are added. Life might lose all meaning once there's nothing on "The List"!

I like that he sang "Infatuation"

Last night, I was witness to one of the weirdest melting pots of people ever.
I saw older women wearing tank tops, sequins and mini skirts. I saw young women hussied up in short-short skirts, tie-dyed tank tops, fishnet stockings and knee-high boots. I saw an impersonator that posed for pictures with fans. I saw couples, groups and partiers rocking out and getting kinda drunk. I saw that more than half of the audience didn't stand up and dance or sing along.
Where was I?
I was at the Rod Stewart concert with Auntie Donna. (I will not let her off the hook just because she was dressed better than most anyone else there; she audibly moaned every time he shook his butt on stage.) I was up for attending the show simply because I knew it would be fun. And it was. Of course, given the fact that I was never much of a fan, nor was Mom (who shaped my early musical life via her radio choices), I only recognized about half the songs. Of those, I only knew the choruses of about two thirds. So, while I couldn't sing along all that much, I still enjoyed the dancing and all that.
Things I learned last night: Rod Stewart is Scottish; he wanted to play football; he's dated and married blond models almost exclusively; older women make the worst-looking hoochies; there really is a market for the Bedazzler; small venues are the only way to go when attending a concert; it's a pleasurable surprise to see female horn players, violinists and piano players alongside the back-up singers; and there is such a thing as a one-song encore (Really! Only one song! Ridiculous!).

Monday, March 26

Just clean the carpets, please

ITEM!: The Picture People, the place where we got Sydney's four-month portraits, seems to have gone out of business in their Scottsdale location. Um, that makes me really mad. It is totally my luck that the store is there for years and years, and right when I start making the place a normal stop, it closes. Frickin' frick. Now what? I gotta find some place else to take the little girl to get her snaps. (I have ordered more photos to send out to everyone, but their online store is taking forever to get them done. I'm going to call tomorrow and see what the hell is going on with these people.)
ITEM!: I'm having my carpets cleaned on Wednesday morning. Brian seems to think that the guys are going to muscle me into getting something done that we don't want to pay for. All I want, really, is for them to get all the dirt out of my carpets. They do that, don't they? I know they'll be all, "You've got a dog. You should have us do the pet urine cleaning, too." Little do they know that Oliver is a rock star, and finds pee and poop inside the house as dirty as B and I do.
ITEM!: I had six of the eight teams going into the Elite Eight, and none, count them, none, of the Final Four. That's got to be some kind of record, right? I've tossed the bracket already. Brian's holding on to his, since he's got Florida winning the tournament.
ITEM!: I'm having sleep issues lately. I've been waking up in the early mornings, say at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. (with or without baby's help), and have not been able to get back to sleep for about 90 minutes. It's really weird. It's happened three nights in a row now, and I'm about ready to think something may be terribly wrong. I've tried several different tactics to get back to sleep, but they have all failed. Let's hope that tonight is better and that I'll get a decent night's rest.
ITEM!: I'm off on a fun adventure with Auntie Donna tomorrow night. You all will have to wait until Wednesday to hear about it.

Saturday, March 24

Does he even know me at all?

So I'm all, "Hey, I bought some frosting to go on the angel food cake mix you bought a couple weeks ago. I thought I'd make the cake tomorrow."
He looks at me kinda funky. "What for? Can't we just eat the cake?"
My eyes, I'm sure, bulge out a little. "What do you mean 'just the cake'? You want to eat cake with no frosting on it?"
His face takes on a somewhat pitiful expression. "It never occurs to you to ever eat cake without frosting, does it?"
I become more confused. "Why would you ever want to eat cake without frosting? What fun is that?"

Really. Does anyone know the enjoyment in cake without frosting? I can't come up with a single instance where cake without frosting is appropriate. Without frosting, it's just a slab of moist, squishiness. The frosting holds it all together. Eating cake without frosting ... that's just wrong.

Thursday, March 22

Flashback: 1970-something

Check it out, people.
Daddy's going through Grandma's stuff, which includes a small ton of pictures. Every once in a while he'll send over one that I don't remember ever seeing before. This one is taken on Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I know that because I recognize the Christmas scene that she used to put on top of her television.
Welcome to the 70s, my friends. Enjoy the flip of Mom's hair and the belted majesty of her dress. Appreciate the snugness of my dad's polyester pants and shirt, and that insane moustache. Envy my ponytails and curly bangs ... and that ROCKING dress.
You're all so jealous that you weren't there that night, aren't you?

Wednesday, March 21

They read our e-mail, too

Do you remember when I said that, when all is said and done and this presidency is in the rearview mirror, it would be discovered to have been the most shady, dishonest, power-hungry and scandalous of the bunch? I said that the Bush Administration will go down as one of the dirtiest presidencies in history. Years ago, more of you would have argued.
How do you argue that the Administration has, behind the people's backs (screw that, behind the law's back), fired federal prosecutors in several states because they were not as loyal to the president and Republicanism as the Administration feels they should be?
Where is this not an act of dictatorialism? Or communism? Or some other kind of "ism"? How is this within the realm of what can happen in a country that is supposed to celebrate different points of view, as well as separate church and state? How is it that there is still another year before the yahoo sitting in the big chair gets kicked out of office?
Some people may be blind to all the president's faults. So many see what they want to see, and refuse to believe that this guy is on a serious power trip that has cost American lives, as well as trillions of dollars. (I would totally vote for Bill Clinton again.)
"Hey," you may say, "he didn't fire those guys." True. The hammer has fallen on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' head. Gonzales handed out the pink slips. But do we really believe that he acted on his own? Would an Attorney General so egregiously ignore the whole Constitution and its declaration of our right to think what we want in order to fire some prosecutors? Doubtful. People like that don't act like that unless they've been prevailed upon to do so. Bush's Administration is full of the people that would demand such action (*cough, cough* Karl Rove and Dick Cheney *cough, cough*).
My question is this: Has this president and his administration so damaged our national self esteem and international reputation that it can not be fixed? I'm thinking that, perhaps not indefinitely, but the Bush scars will be with us for a long time.

Tuesday, March 20

He killed in that disco suit

I've developed another secret shame. I DVR'd Dancing with the Stars last night, and watched it tonight. Brian would not indulge me by sitting next to me throughout the two-hour premiere, so I went on alone -- against my better judgment. And I enjoyed it.
I watched a show that could be classified as reality television. I feel a little bit dirty.
But alas, I have talked my way through this, and have reasoned that Dancing is not really reality TV so much as it is a competition played out on television. It lacks the emotional "drama" of, say, The Real World or Survivor (people and their issues played out for the world to watch train-wreck style), but the show still can keep me hooked on the characters involved.
As you can tell by the picture I've chosen to accompany this post, Joey Fatone (of the former boy band *NSync) and his partner, Kym Johnson, are the dancers I consider to be the front runners right now.

Monday, March 19

Use of the word "manhood" is mandatory

For years, I've loved reading cheesy romance novels. They were always a nice escape into a world of ridiculously good-looking people that had money, attitude, manners, sensuality and the opportunity to set out on adventures. Sure, the sex in the books was always written about in incredible detail, to the point where some exploits would have me blushing ... at a book. But more than that, they were just fun to read.
But I think the unthinkable has happened. This is twice now, in as many books, that I've set them aside, put them under the bookshelf, or sighed in exasperation at the hero and heroine's antics. Tonight, I put a book that I was approximately 120 pages into under my bookshelf, with nary a thought as to what was going to happen next or how it would end.
To understand these books is to see the predictable outline that each one follows: boy and girl meet either in a cute way, or in a mysteriously dangerous way; both have physical attraction to each other, but immediately sense the intelligence lurking behind each other's eyes; both concede to their attraction, but are too stubborn to admit that they like each other, because of some ridiculous misunderstanding or plot sabotage; they decide to seduce each other to get what they want, and unwittingly, fall in love; life-threatening incident occurs, and they realize how much they feel for each other; now working together, the couple foils the crime or solves the mystery; finally, they fess up to their feelings. (Prologue: Still so much in love, they are happy and expecting their first child.)
Tonight's moment of disinterest comes courtesy of the hero, Dillon Caxton, who decides that the best way to gain the trust of the heroine, Priscilla Dalling, is to seduce her. He actually goes through that thought process, and thinks to himself (and I paraphrase here), "If I want her to trust me, I have to get her into bed." Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. The simplicity of his plan is amazing. This was the exasperated sigh that I mentioned earlier.
Anyway, I've put the book away, and can say with a measure of anticipation and delight that no more of the books in my to-be-read pile are romances. At this moment, I don't feel like I have the patience for them. I foresee it staying like that for some time.

Beware the fans of March

The maintenance guy came by this morning to install the ceiling fans. He started in Sydney's room, and then went on to do the office fan, before the living room. Since he started in the other portions of the house, I watched television while he was working. When he asked to work in the living room, I got up to check out the other two fans. Upon seeing them: "Oh," I said. I returned to the living room to ask the guy, "Those seem kinda low, don't they?" He replied, "Yeah, I thought so, but I didn't know how much you loved them, so didn't want to say anything."
Seriously, it's hard to believe how low these fans are. I really worry about Brian bumping his forehead on the lamp portion of them. I don't like the look of them. Anyway, I asked Joe, the maintenance guy, to not install the third one in the living room. "Will you hate me if I call the office in two days and ask you to take them down?" He was very kind when he smiled, lied, and said, "No. Not at all."
I'm so pissy that these damn fans didn't work out as well as I would have liked. Of course, every time I enter the rooms I get a little more used to them, but I still have a weird, "there's something heavy hanging over my shoulder that may crash on my head at any time" kind of feeling. Grr.

Sunday, March 18

"May the wind be always at your back..."

A belated Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!
Gone are the days when we would go out and celebrate at Maloney's, but still the joy of the day lives on. Actually, we didn't really do anything Ireland-specific. I didn't eat any corned beef and cabbage (yuck!); we didn't go hunting for any leprechauns (it's kinda unnecessary when I've got an angel and leprechaun in one sitting on my shoulder every day anyway); there were no shamrock fields to skip through (Sydney wore a very cute little shamrock-covered dress for her first St. Pat's, though! Too cute!); the only green I sported was a shamrock-shaped lapel pin; and I don't know all the words to "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."
Does that make me a bad Irish descendant? I don't think so, and I'm pretty sure that my Gramps wouldn't think so, either. (He would have loved Sydney in her dress.) I am, I believe, one of the few who claim Irish ancestry that has actually been to Ireland. Some fun Ireland facts: The people there don't eat corned beef and cabbage all the time; in fact, it's a lot of meat and potatoes, fish, and soup. They don't say, "Top o' the mornin' to ya," either. Oh yeah, and very few men wear bowler hats, and none of those hats are green.
That information kinda takes the fun away from the American version of the holiday, but not entirely. I still wish I had remembered to put on my shamrock suspenders and matching socks.

Do I even need the fans now?

It's amazing what a working air conditioner can do for you.
Last year, when I complained to apartment management that my a/c wasn't cooling enough, the guy who came over to check it did three things: he measured the temperature of the unit's outgoing air and deemed it "within normal parameters;" he changed the filters; and then he redirected all our vents to more strategically cool the house.
You all know I've been pissy about how hot my house is getting this year. I kinda decided that it was just my sucky a/c, and went with the ceiling fan thing (Nope, they still haven't been installed). Friday night I came home from dinner to realize that, you know what, my air is just not cooling as it should. Saturday morning, at 6 a.m. when I got up to feed my kid, the unit had been on all night, and my house was not at all cold.
That morning, I called the front office. "No problem," said the girl. "Maintenance is on their way over there right now." Well, I had stuff to do and no time to wait, so took off in the vain hope that this guy might do something more than just shift my vent directions.
Imagine my surprise upon coming home a few hours later to open my door and be greeted by ... a waft of cold air! My goodness! Even part two of my apartment is cooling well! Knock me over with a feather, and beat the hell out of last year's maintenance guy for not knowing what the frick he was talking about! Jeez! The unit is even cooling so well that it's working properly off the thermostat!

Friday, March 16

Darker, grayer, with a double dorsal stripe

You know I love it when new animals are discovered. It's nice to know that we, as a human race, don't know everything about everything on this planet. The downside, of course, is that now the clouded leopard, just discovered in Borneo, will be exploited, tagged and subjected to all the awful stuff we, as a human race, do to the animals on our planet. There is hope though.
According to the AP: The clouded leopard of Borneo — discovered to be an entirely new species — is the latest in a growing list of animals and plants unique to the Southeast Asian country's rainforest and underscores the need to preserve the area, conservationists said Thursday. Genetic tests by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute revealed that the clouded leopard of Borneo and Sumatra islands is a unique cat species and not the same one found in mainland Southeast Asia as long believed, said a statement by WWF, the global conservation organization.
"Who said a leopard can never change its spots? For over a hundred years we have been looking at this animal and never realized it was unique," said Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo program, which is dedicated to preserving the flora and fauna in the deep jungles on Borneo.
The secretive clouded leopards are the biggest predators on Borneo, growing sometimes to the size of a small panther. They have the longest canine teeth relative to body size of any cat.
"The fact that Borneo's top predator is now considered a separate species further emphasizes the importance of conserving the Heart of Borneo," Chapman said. The news about the clouded leopard comes just a few weeks after a WWF report showed that scientists had identified at least 52 new species of animals and plants over the past year on Borneo, the world's third largest island that is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
The Heart of Borneo, a mountainous region about five times the size of Switzerland covered with equatorial rainforest in the center of the island, is the last great forest home of the Bornean clouded leopard. Researchers believe that the Borneo population of the clouded leopard likely diverged from the mainland population some 1.4 million years ago.
Here's hoping that the conservation organizations are able to preserve the animal and its surroundings.

Thursday, March 15

It'll be cheaper, too

Truthfully, nothing really happened today. The guys did not come by and install my ceiling fans (yes, I did call again this morning. Let's hope it'll happen tomorrow).
I did make it to Baja Fresh for lunch though, and while I enjoyed my chicken quesadilla immensely, it kinda made me sick to eat all that cheese and grease. I guess that Subway commercial got to me the other night. Have you seen it? It centers on a couple at a drive-through window, ordering "blubber," "fatty love handles," and the like. The part with the guy didn't bug me, but then the woman says, "Instead of the blubber, I'll have thunder thighs and a badonkadonk butt." That quote has been running through my head ever since I heard it.
Confession: I've been eating fast food lunches regularly. I am smitten with Sonic's corn dogs and iced tea. I love Taco Bell's crunchy tacos and nachos supreme. I thoroughly enjoy a regular roast beef and a chocolate shake at Arby's. And my secret shame is still McDonald's -- love it, love it, love it. All that changes, somewhat, after today. There's a difference in what one orders at these places, you know. I remember from Weight Watchers that a small hamburger is only six points. Herein, at McD's, I'll only get a regular hamburger. Sonic: one corn dog and a large iced tea. Taco Bell: only the tacos. Arby's: junior-sized roast beef, no shake.
Rather than deny myself the pleasure of eating this food, I'll be more realistic and just cut back on what I eat. Logically, that works better for my head. If I promise that I won't eat any of it, I'll fail to keep that promise, and then eat what I want out of shame and spite.

Wednesday, March 14

Yeah, I failed bracketology

I've filled out my bracket for March Madness. There's no money involved, just bragging rights, between my hubby and I. It's funny, really. He takes so much time filling his out, and I just tend to pick the winners based on a whim, and their upset potential.
I won't sugarcoat it for you, I suck at this. Last year, the team I had picked to take the whole tourney lost in the second round. Not a good day for Kimmie's bracket at all. This year, I've gone with the number one seeds more than I have in years past, but still have a healthy dose of upsets in there.
Okay, I'll go on the record. I've got North Carolina going all the way, playing Oregon in the championship game. My Final Four includes Oregon, Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee. Brian indicated that he thinks my bracket may have legs this year, which would be a good thing. It's a drag losing the whole smash in that second week.

In Boston, snow on Friday

We had a record-setting day here in sunny Arizona. Yep, at 4:20 p.m., even before the official high temperature is recorded, it was 91 degrees, a new record for this day. Great. I suppose it would make for agreeable symmetry that the summer seasons break records since we've moved out here -- the winters in Boston did for the four years that we were there. I've had my air conditioner on for three days (I'm still waiting for my ceiling fans to be installed), and as I sit here, blogging at 8:43 p.m. in the middle of March, I'm comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt.

Tuesday, March 13

Clank! Clank, clank, clank!

The guys next door have developed the habit of tossing their empty beer bottles onto the parking lot cover off our balconies. In theory, this is no big deal. In actuality, it makes a sh*tload of noise, incites my dog to bark, and generally, just pisses me around.
Brian says I can't go next door and ask them to stop doing it. I think that since I've let them use our plunger, we have a special bond as humans. I think that because of this bond, I should be able to ask them to cease and desist this irritating bottle tossing. I think that the next time they show up at my door with a backed-up toilet, I'll have a condition to their loan.

A "R"eally "B"rutal "I"nstitution

I'll tell you, it's a bizarre experience to watch a company that I worked within for three years slowly imploding on itself. I'm kept in the loop of what's going on there by ex-coworkers/current friends, and find it sad that the place is falling apart. (This is no current development; the place has been sliding for a while.) Recently, the division itself has been kind of merged, but not really, with the New York division; the president has resigned; people are both leaving and being escorted out of the building; the whole place seems to be heading toward the land of never never; and, oh yeah, one employee wants to buy the place for one reason: to fire everyone he works with. We used to joke that the company had become a dangerous place to work. "Like rats fleeing a sinking ship," actually, is how we described people leaving, and the company surviving. It's an interesting push and pull, emotionally, to want the company to survive for the good of the people there, but then also secretly delight in its failure, because the management is doing so much completely wrong.

Monday, March 12

Sadly, Tom T. was among them

I bought fresh address pages for my Day Runner today. I got to looking through it yesterday, and found that there were a lot of people in there that I a.) did not have a current address or phone number for, and b.) did not care about anymore.
Harsh? Perhaps, but those of you who know me, know that I do not lose touch with people; they stop communicating with me. Most of the people who were dumped from the Day Runner today have been in it for years, with no communication either way during those years. To be fair, I give everyone several years to redeem themselves before they get pushed from my address pages. (Actually, I don't know why I'm being diplomatic and not naming them, because they don't even know about the blog. One person I haven't spoken to since 1998.)
Fresh address pages though, have brought into stark reality how badly worn my Day Runner is. The top and bottom seams of the cover are split; the plastic lining has turned opaque; and the tabbed dividers are wearing through. I think that tomorrow I will go back to Staples and get a new planner.

Saturday, March 10

A pretty princess

This is a picture of the very first black princess in Disney's movie-making history. Goodness gracious, it's about time they had some princesses of color. If not for Aladdin's Jasmine, I would think the crop of princess movies was the worst kind of country club's debutante class.
Isn't she beautiful? I'm digging her dress in a big way.
Anyway, this image is of a recording session for the movie, The Frog Princess, set in New Orleans. (That's Randy Newman there on the piano, and that's a rant for a different time. Get some new music makers, please, Disney.)
More than the fact that the movie is making an African American girl a princess, and showcasing the amazing New Orleans as a backdrop, I'm happy that we are finally getting a new princess. I've got to tell you, I never thought I'd get tired of looking at Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, Ariel and Jasmine. This overwhelming princess hysteria has turned me a bit sour to the whole thing. Walking into a Disney store now can be likened more to cruising the Barbie aisle at a toy store!

Thursday, March 8

Fay! You're killing me!

* Check out what I did on this morning. On the site, you can create a wallpaper for your computer based on your favorite drink! My idea for them? Get into clothing, and make this an option for having t-shirts created for loyal customers. I totally would buy a shirt with my mocha order on it.
* There's a news anchor out here who continues to rock the big hoop earrings and sprayed up bangs. This, you may remember, was quite the look in the late 80s, early 90s. Seriously, every time I see her, I'm all, "Woman! Get someone to give you a real hairstyle! Find new earrings, right now! You must cease and desist this crime against humanity!"
* "It's getting hot in here ... so take off all your clothes..." At least that's how I think the verse goes. Anyway, I turned on my air conditioner today for the first time this year. It's supposed to get up into the 90s this weekend, they say. New project: My apartment is in two parts. Part one is the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and master bathroom. It gets cool from the air conditioning. Part two consists of the office/guestroom, guest bathroom and Sydney's room. Part two does not get cool. So, to combat the oven that is the second half of my apartment, I have decided that we are going to get ceiling fans for those rooms. (Actually, we'll also get one for the living room, since its window gets sunshine all day.) I checked out The Home Depot, and they've got a decent-looking one that's not that expensive. Our apartment is already wired for fans in every room, so I'll call maintenance to see if they'll install them. It's not that I don't trust B and I to do it right; I just don't trust us to do it right without fighting or breaking something.

Wednesday, March 7

But does he know when to use an en-dash

If I were to list for you my favorite things (an idea for the sidebar over there to left, actually), U2, the best band ever, and Vanity Fair, one of the best magazines ever, would be on it. And to have the two combine into some bizarrely ultra-cool coexistence is tripping me out. Look here, at Bono guest editing a future issue of V.F. Another awesome reason to be working at that magazine! I guess this is the first time the mag has had a guest editor, so it should be an interesting issue.
Graydon Carter, the actual editor of V.F., sits to Bono's right. Said Carter of Bono, "I think there isn't one editor in the world who would not pay attention if Bono pulled up and said he wanted to edit a magazine." I agree.
I guess the issue is going to focus on Africa (according to the gossip site I found this on), and "won't be preachy." I confess to being a bit skeptical on that. While I love Bono and U2, I don't love being preached to, and Bono does love his causes.
And here is my pessimism based on the singer's editorial prowess: I suppose I'll look forward to the very special issue of Vanity Fair, and see how the lead singer of my favorite band can screw up one of my favorite magazines.

Monday, March 5

Click the link! Give some women their tampons!

Deal or No Deal has been on for a while. I wouldn't venture a guess as to how many episodes -- really, I won't. Tonight, in watching the show, I was struck with a wonderment. Do the models have a pool going for every contestant? Are they silently wishing the people good or not from a room backstage? What do they do after their cases have been chosen and they've been released from the stage? For whatever reason, these questions consume me right now. And the show's web site is disturbingly vague about such things. So I will declare that yes, the models do bet on how far a contestant will go, and how much money they'll take home.

Good karma alert: I rarely pay much attention to the chain e-mails that are sent to me. In fact, I tend to delete them the second I realize what they are. (Mom knows this, but she sends a couple to me anyway.) I don't believe that good things happen by forwarding an e-mail; I don't think that anyone suddenly "receives" a million dollars; I don't think that sending a message to 15 people will cure some kid's cancer. Call me harsh and pessimistic, but the Internet, though definitely an influence, isn't that kind of powerful.
But every once in a while, someone will send something to me that I act on. More rare than that, I also post it up here on the blog. Today's one of those days, and Maria is the e-mailer who has compelled my action. Following is the e-mail and link:
You probably have never thought of this, but women's shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly. While assistance agencies generally help with expenses of "everyday" necessities such as toilet paper, diapers and clothing, this basic need is overlooked. Seventh Generation, a green paper products and cleaning products company, has a do-good attitude and will donate a box of sanitary products to a women's shelter in your chosen state -- just for clicking the link. Talk about easy; it literally takes less than one minute and they ask nothing of you. And, yes, it is legitimate!

Sunday, March 4

It also has a teether

I have a crutch ... a monkey on my back ... an obsession. Spoken in a couple words: baby stuff. Auntie Donna accompanied Sydney and I on a trip through Babies R Us yesterday, where I filled up on all the stuff I found that we desperately needed at home. What's funny is that so much of it was necessary, like the baby lotion, plates and spoons for (somewhat) solid food, wipes, rice cereal and oatmeal. The fun stuff, by way of the natural order of the universe, cost the most, but also was the most fun to buy. Stroller toys, closet organizers, a couple more footie pajamas (I love those on her! She's so comfy in them!), and a lion toy for her crib were all on my list of stuff to buy as well.
The obsession starts though, when I think to myself, "I didn't really like the footie selection at Babies R Us yesterday. Maybe we should go to Carter's tomorrow." Or when I consider, "I should have picked up another 'Mazie' while I was there, too. What if she loses this one just as she's starting to really dig her?"
It's a sickness, truly.

[Editor's note:
This picture, though adorable, is not of my far-cuter baby.]

Not too taxing

I've been pulling together all the stuff we need for our taxes this year. In so doing, I've discovered that there is a lot more to deductions than I ever thought there was. This is our first year filing a "long form," thanks to the kid, so there's a lot more to what I needed to send to the accountant. Color me naive about the whole thing, but I guess, up until now, Brian's and my taxes have been really simple to do.
With Sydney and a long form though, I can add all the health insurance, and hospital and doctor bills from her birth; and because of Brian's job, we can include all his licensing fees and association memberships. Oh yeah, and the moving expenses, and my donations to Goodwill prior to that.
I was a little nervous that we'd get bent over this year because I had some freelance pay that we'd get taxed for after the fact. We usually get really healthy returns because of Brian's loans, so I was actually hoping that we would break even. But with all the stuff that I've been faxing to Mom to add to my pile for Frank, I'm feeling quite optimistic.

Thursday, March 1

Happy March!

I'm watching Thriller Max, one of the Cinemax channels, waiting for 2:50 p.m. when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is scheduled to start. During the day on these premium movie channels, one never knows what one will get. Witness the movie I'm forced to endure until H.P. starts: They Live, starring Roddy Piper ("Rowdy" Roddy Piper, of wrestling fame, I assume) and Keith David. Here's the best part -- "When two men put on special sunglasses they see aliens and subliminal messages." I bet people get paid for coming up with a summary like that. Better yet, people get paid for coming up with a movie idea like that. The credits are rolling now, so the movie's over, but I don't remember any kind of ending. It was that good.
So here's the March avatar! She's breezy in her St. Patrick's Day scarf and at the St. Pat's parade, huh? Love it! This is the kind of avatar that would make my angel Gramps very happy.