Wednesday, April 30

I tend to drive too fast

So I think I'm all packed and ready to go. Sydney and I are off to Cali tomorrow ... yep ... leaving on a jet plane. The only hitch in our get-along right now is the tenuous condition of my back. I've been having serious issues with it over the last 10 days or so, and I'm really nervous about all the heavy lifting and consistent carrying I'll be doing tomorrow. Already, I feel the muscles and tendons gearing up, and they're not happy. I'll do my best to lift with my legs, however, with a running 18-month-old, lifting with the legs isn't always the fastest course of action. But, whatever. We're going to hang out with Mom for a weekend. It's all good.
I gave Brian both his video games (I believe that I hear the opening sounds of GTA IV right now), so he's excited to tackle his weekend activities. Purchasing the games was called, "an excellent entertainment investment, dear," so I did good.

Tuesday, April 29

Tall girls do cry ... a lot

It's so crazy how good I can be sometimes. Did I not call it, when I said that Shannon Elizabeth must go from Dancing with the Stars? Have I not been scary awesome in predicting who'll get the ax from this ridiculously amazing scene? Yes, I have been, and yes, tonight was yet another night where the person I thought should go actually went. If it keeps going along these lines, I might actually develop some respect for the rest of the yahoos that watch this show. I like it when they do what I want! It gives me a false sense of control over something that I have no control over at all! So anyway, Shannon got to cry through her "last dance," and now we can get on to some more serious, no-freakout dance competition. Do you see how I am so frickin' serious and involved here? It's actually scaring me right now!
But I can tell you that, because Katy was here and watched the show with me, Brian actually watched the show as well. Yes, people, Brian watched Dancing with the Stars. I think he's surprised that the world didn't collapse around him because he showed interest. I think he liked it, for its crazed fringe and glitter factor, despite his desire to thoroughly hate the show. I like a man with conflict in his soul. It keeps me on my toes.

Madonna rocks, too

So I did some pop culture/technology shopping this morning at Best Buy, and came home with some treats for B and I. Because I'm the best wife in the world, and need to get him something cool to do this weekend, Brian is the new recipient of both Gran Turismo 5: Prologue and Grand Theft Auto IV. You can say it, I rock.
For me, I picked up the newest Madonna CD, Hard Candy. I'll tell you though, I don't know if I bought it this morning simply because I buy every Madonna CD, or if I really just want Madonna's album sales numbers to look better than Mariah Carey's E=MC2 numbers from two weeks ago. I really, really, really can't stand Mariah Carey and for some reason, would like nothing better than to see Madonna sell more records than her. But beyond that, I do like the new Madonna single, and I am excited to enjoy the rest of the album. The CD is, as we speak (or as I write this) being uploaded into my iTunes. This afternoon, I'll move the CD into the car, where it will enjoy many hours of playing, assuming the kid likes it and I don't have to switch over to Traveling Melodies by the Baby Einstein Orchestra too much.

Monday, April 28

Of course, Mom prefers the raspberry

Sad, sad news, everyone! One of my very favorite restaurants, the incomparable Off Vine, located in Hollywood, was gutted by fire yesterday! Awful, awful, awful! I mean, this is one of the best places in the world, and some fire had the audacity to burn through it? Inconceivable! To their credit, the owners have said that they will rebuild. I will certainly be waiting in line when they reopen. Four words for you: BEST. CHOCOLATE. SOUFFLE. EVER.

My DWTS voting (6 votes allowed):
Kristi Yamaguchi ~ 2 votes. Yes, for the first time, she's not atop the leader board. So what. I actually think that they scored her low because they want to add more tension to the show. No biggie. She'll win.
Cristian de la Fuente, Mario, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Jason Taylor ~ 1 vote each. And they will come back to dance another day.
Well, Shannon Elizabeth, I am officially over your emotional freakouts, awkward arms and legs, and the "showmance" with Derek. I'm sorry to say it, but you get no vote love from me this week.

Sunday, April 27

Click of death? I think not!

Do you remember how I wasn't going to take the time to replace all the album cover art for the music tracks on my iPod after "The Great Hard Drive Death of 2006"? Well, I spent the time doing that this evening, and I'll tell you why: Brian and Sydney bought me an external hard drive for backing up information on my computer today, so now I need not fear losing all that good stuff again. I can write, take pictures and buy music with little to no fear about it disappearing into the wild unknown of computer limbo again, and it feels good.
I haven't actually backed anything up yet. I'm waiting for the album art to be uploaded onto my iPod. Little did I know, but all the work I did affected 593 songs, and it takes some time for the computer and the iPod to get that all synced up. I think tomorrow I will start the backing up. Then I can actually remove stuff for the computer's hard drive, giving it more space to move around (figuratively and internally) helping it get a bit quicker. I just feel like the old girl is laboring lately. I mean, she's eight years old. Do you realize how many improvements and modifications have taken place in that span of time? Sure, I'd love a new computer, but that'll have to wait until I can afford it, and that'll have to wait until I get a job or sell a book. So, until all that happens, I'll be trying my best to make life easier for the iBook and me by making these little changes, improvements, and shifts in protocol.

Saturday, April 26

"Not just regards, but best regards"

My mom is awesome for many reasons, but one of them is a specific thing that, at the time, I thought was lame, but now I totally and completely appreciate her for putting me through. She made me watch the movies that she loved as a kid and young woman. Of course, for every couple hits (West Side Story, The Sound of Music), there was a miss (Franky and Annette, pick one), but I find that these choices of hers have made me a more well-rounded entertainment junkie. Yesterday, as I was flipping through the channels, I came upon one of our favorites on Turner Classic Movies: The Unsinkable Molly Brown. This movie is, no joke, one of the best movies ever, and one of my personal favorites. Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell will forever hold a special place in my heart because of this film, as will Leadville and Denver, and the color red in a house. The whole movie just rocks like no one's business, and I was eager to record the rest of it off the TV, even though I have the DVD on my shelf. So I watched the flick later on the afternoon, and was happy to tell Mom that night that I got to see it. We sang a little bit of "Belly Up to the Bar, Boys" (Mom would like that as a ringtone, please. Anyone know how to make that happen?), and at that moment, I realized that my iPod was sadly lacking these classic tunes. Well, not anymore! Yay iTunes! They have the soundtrack, and now I can here more "Colorado, My Home" and my fave song from the movie, "I'll Never Say No to You."
I don't remember the first time I saw Molly Brown. I only know that I've been able to sing the words to the songs for as long as I can remember. I really can't wait for Mom and I to watch it with Sydney for the first time. I hope she won't mind the singers on the sofa next to her.
Best Regards ...

Friday, April 25

Two spaths, some pothos and a dieffenbachia

I totally went to Lowe's this afternoon and bought some more house plants for my living spaces. Sydney and I collaborated and selected five new bits of foliage for the office and her bedroom: three for the office; two for her space. I've already potted both of her plants, and know where they're going. The others ... well, I didn't like any of the pots at Lowe's, so have announced to Brian that he is accompanying me to Target tomorrow morning so that I may buy new pots. You see, my office is kind of an eclectic space, full of my personality and Brian's dentistry, so the room is a bit of a mishmash of colors, themes and styles. (As an example, just on our walls is my Gramps' Love Me Tender poster, B's diploma from dental school, a collage of family pictures and a "Wonders of the World" wall calendar.) This is why I don't want my nice, uniform, white plant pots in that room. I want colorful and odd. I want not-matching. For that, I need Target.
But back to the point of all this, I almost feel like I can tell the difference in the air in here because now the room has plants. It's a bit cooler in temperature, and definitely lighter, meaning the air just feels easier to breathe. It's probably just my heart telling me those things, but I think I'll choose to believe in that. The whole place is happier now. Yay plants!

Thursday, April 24

I will put some of the ideas into practice

I can't believe that it's 10:30 p.m. already, and I'm not even close to being ready for my 10 p.m. bedtime. I especially like it when I'm in my pajamas and ready to go to sleep at 9:45 p.m. It makes me feel like a responsible adult ... you know, since I'm getting a whole lot of sleep. But not tonight, as Lost now rolls from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., and I don't get anything done before that show starts, since there's all that Scrubs, The Office and 30 Rock goodness before it. I think I'll just have to be comfortable with Thursday night being a complete wash for anything productive.
Hey, did you know that having a plant in your office, on your desk, helps negate all the radiation and bad karma produced by your computer while it's on? I didn't know that either, until I read this very cool little book, 1001 Little Things You Can Do to Help Save the Planet. In it was that little nugget about the plant. (You mock, but just watch me, I will go out and buy a house plant for my office tomorrow!) I'm liking a few of the suggestions, although so many of the others were so out of my league, as an apartment dweller and as someone who really kinda values their time more than making my own floor polish out of lemon wedges and baking soda.

Tuesday, April 22

It's actually brighter than in the picture

It's like the Dancing with the Stars gods are actually reading my blog every week. Is it weird, or have I called, in some way, each of the last several contestants to be kicked off the show? Finally, it seems as though the world is coming around to my way of thinking! Marlee, who looked better in that awful animal print dress than any woman ever should, is sent packing, though I do agree that her work was ridiculously impressive. I can't imagine how she did it, so I won't even try. I do applaud the DWTS producers and director for finally giving someone the opportunity to actually say something after they've been evicted. Every other week, the celebrity has only had about 30 seconds to say anything. I'd totally shave a minute off the "Macy's Stars of Dance," or lose some kind of guest spot to give the ousted celebrity a chance to thank their partner.
You know how I told Brian that the next time Oliver threw up on my bed, I would go out and buy new bedding and just throw away the ugly purple stuff that I don't like anymore? Well, today was that day, my friends. My fuzzy kid spewed on the folded comforter this morning, and I wasted no time in taking my non-fuzzy kid to Linens 'N Things to find something new. And huzzah! The store actually had a quilt and shams that, not only make me smile, but match my bathroom (Mom can be happy now), and brighten up the bedroom. What's that? A picture of the new bedding? Excellent! It's a fun little plaid, stripey, stitched, pink and green confection for the eyes, yes? You can say it; you love it, too.

Two centuries, and a green planet returns

Happy Earth Day, my dears! May all your carbon footprints and global-warming contributions be banished!
Oh, wouldn't that be excellent? If we could just do one grand, amazing thing and completely obliterate our own personal affect we've had on the planet? I think I would love that. Did any of you see that documentary on the Discovery (or was it Science) Channel about what would happen to Earth should the humans just disappear one day? Really, all our stuff would be left behind, and all the cars left right where they are, but just the people up and disappear. The bad is that our dogs would starve to death in our houses and apartments. The good is that, in the short span of 200 years, our entire existence would be wiped clean from the planet and it would be healthy again. That includes nuclear fallout from power plants exploding, chemicals left in cars and in homes, and the destruction of our natural resources. Just 200 years! That's so amazing!
It really makes you think, doesn't it? How much better off would this planet be without us peeps walking around? Much better, apparently. Come to think of it, we don't do a damn positive thing for this home planet of ours. ... That's depressing. ... I need a hybrid car.

Monday, April 21

Or just call him Turtle

I have decided that I no longer like the children's cartoon, Franklin. And it wasn't really until Brian asked me about it one morning that I finally put my finger on the reason why. This picture is of Franklin, the main character of the show. He's cute enough, for a turtle, and he tends to get into the fun kind of hijinks that a five- or six-year-old boy turtle would get into, so the actual message and content in the show isn't a problem.
Here's the rub: his name is "Franklin." His friends are named Bear, Beaver, Fox, Goose, Snail, Porcupine and Bat. And guess what, the friends are what they're called: a bear, beaver, fox, goose, snail, porcupine and bat. Irritating.
What I'm looking for here is a decent amount of continuity in my kid cartoons. Why should the turtle get a "real" name, while the rest are saddled with ... um ... let's say unimaginative monikers? Do the cartoon makers not think that kids can grasp a group of animal children with different names? Are the cartoon makers themselves that ridiculously uncreative? Names that go with Franklin: George, Marcus, Beatrice, Louise, Robert and Christian. You see what I did there? I came up with names for the other animals with, like, no problem. And the names are even easy enough for the kids to remember! This is the only show that, I believe, talks down to the kids from a more basic level than that of language or topic. How does a mother explain why the turtle has a real name? Is it because he's the star? Why aren't his friends important enough to have their own names?

My DWTS voting (7 votes allowed):
Kristi Yamaguchi ~ 2 votes, and my quest to see the ringer win the coveted disco ball forges on.
Cristian de la Fuente, Shannon Elizabeth, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Jason Taylor, Mario ~ 1 vote each. Cristian rocked this week, people. Shannon looked kinda awkward. Marissa performed well. Jason Taylor did well, too. Mario is creeping me out with his sexy act.
Marlee Matlin was on the no-vote side for me this evening. I like her ... I do. I applaud that she's gotten this far in the competition. But this is two weeks in a row where even I can see all the mistakes and blunders she's making. You're awesome, Marlee, but it's time to go home.

Sunday, April 20

Gigantic combined with enormous

When is the last time you looked something up in a dictionary? I mean a real dictionary, one of those book ones, with the tabs, thin paper and weird inky smell? Before tonight, I would say that I couldn't remember the last time I cracked a Webster's. In fact, even the one I opened tonight is the same dictionary I had in college. I thought, when I picked it up, that I should get a new dictionary, but then I thought, "Well, it had the word I was looking for. And I can't remember the last time I opened it. So really, it's still a perfectly good dictionary. Why buy a new one until Sydney needs one of her own? So it doesn't include 'ginormous.' Big deal, that's a made-up word anyway."
I actually wonder how many people still own dictionaries. It used to be one of the books that must be in a home. Now it's a seldom used, only when the computer's down, reference book, and that's kinda sad. But not tonight! And my dictionary isn't sad! It got felt up this evening!

n 1. a mass for the dead; 2. a: a solemn chant (as a dirge) for the repose of the dead b: something that resembles such a solemn chant.
Yeah, it's from that Alien vs. Predator: Requiem movie. I had to look it up so Brian and I would know what the hell the title was talking about.

Saturday, April 19

Slutty character ... seemingly, not a stretch

First, a clarification. I've spent some time thinking about my last post, and decided that it may have some blurred logic in it. I'd like to spell out my feelings on the subject a bit better. Consenting adults should be able to marry whoever they want. Consenting adults should be allowed to marry more than one person if they want. The important words in those two sentences are "consenting adults." That means a person of an age to make their own informed decisions. This country allows that at 18. Anyone younger than 18, who is forced into a marriage is, I believe, in an abusive situation. They must be protected. Even if it's their parents or "trusted" guardians that entered them into that situation. This protection is far more important that anyone's right to religion, or private property, or even their rights as parents.

I watched Georgia Rule last night. Let me say, that movie went in an entirely different direction than I thought it would ever go, and it disturbed me. I am not even sure what compelled me to check out this film. I'm not a fan of Lindsay Lohan. I liked her in The Parent Trap and Mean Girls, but that's it. Her popularity with me has gone downhill since. My enjoyment of her acting has been affected by my judgment of her personal life. Anyway, I don't think I ruin anything by saying that the molestation and sexual abuse of an underage girl (Lohan's character) is a major plot line. I was not at all prepared for it to go that way. I saw a "bad girl goes good after a summer with Grandma" thing going on from the previews, not a "abused girl reconnects with her mom and grandma" thing. Not to mention that Cary Elwes is the gross stepdad in it, and that's just not right. When did Cary Elwes, our beloved Westley, become older and kinda fat? Shouldn't he always be young, handsome and living happily ever after with Buttercup?

Thursday, April 17

Uh oh, they're messing with Texas

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to tackle this particular topic, but here goes:
I'm of two minds in regards to this polygamy in Texas thing. First, I think it's not the government's business who you marry, nor how many you choose to marry. That should be a citizen's business, and that of his (or hers, in a fair world) spouses. And I don't think it's the government's business to round up every child in the facility because one of them called 911. Find and rescue that girl. Don't pull every one of those kids away from their mothers and families.
HOWEVER, and on the other hand, if these people are taking away the basic human rights of these girls by marrying them off before they are old enough to make their own decisions, then yes, by all means, give them the freedom that every citizen of this country deserves. (Oh yeah, and show them a different and more flattering way to style their hair.)
It's the lack of freedom to make decisions about their own lives that disturbs me here. I hate cults (because, really, that's what this is) and how they manipulate, destroy and rob their followers (male or female) from making their own choices. And the children sucked into that lifestyle--I'll say it: because their parents are too weak to believe in themselves or their own inner strength and cling to a false deity--are the real victims here. For that, yes, they need protection.
So maybe there should be some kind of cult sign-in sheet with the government? Join a cult, release your children, present and future, into the government's hands until the kids are old enough to decide on their own whether they'd like to hook up with Mom, her husband, and his two other wives, or they'd like to, oh, I don't know, sell cars and eat at Red Robin every Monday night. Truthfully, the whole thing sickens me. So, was the government right or wrong to go in and take every kid younger than 18 years old? Probably not. But better to err on the side of caution, when, it seems, any girl over the age of five (I exaggerate, but for effect) can be married to a 50-year-old man with nothing but a tight ass (or two) on his mind.
See? Conflicted between personal rights and government interference, and government protection and statutory rapists. Rock, meet hard place. Okay, here it is: save the little girls, screw the husbands.

Wednesday, April 16

The long and short of it

I don't know what I expected from myself this morning when I sat down to tackle my homework assignment, part 2, but I certainly hadn't thought I would blow past the word count limit by more than double. Yep, that's me, the great editor who can write most anything to a number, when faced with her own creative mind, flies past a 750-word limit, and compiles a 1,527-word novella. Yikes! And since it's an assignment, that means that the whole thing needs to be cut ... by more than half! Argh! Well, I think I finally did it, with only 13 words to spare, and I'm pretty happy with the result. Though I'm quite certain that there is a lot of work to be done on it. I'll read through it again tomorrow morning, and maybe tomorrow night, but my plan is to have it in the mail by Friday. I've got to say, I'm more than intrigued to see where this takes me with my writing. I know that my creative stuff needs work, so far as direction and plotting, so I'll be interested in how my stories progress throughout the next several months.

Brian and I finally got to watch us some Deadliest Catch tonight. We DVR'd the first two episodes of the season last night (they could not be watched at their original air time, due to a prior commitment with DWTS). Do any of you watch this show? It's awesome, really, to see what these guys go through to get these crab. And in high definition, the show is even cooler.

Tuesday, April 15

Priscilla has left the building

Come on, you all know I had to go with that headline, right? Anyway, Priscilla Presley's out. No more shots of her partner, Louis, groping her just a little too much. Sadly, now more "woo." And no more ridiculously dark eyeshadow or hair flipping. I think that, without her, the competition is really going to bring it. Okay, I have nothing more to say about that.
But ... I think Kristi Yamaguchi is a ringer, and I'll tell you why. She's got the lines and graceful movements that this competition thrives on. She's got the flexibility and work ethic that is required to win. She already knows the exact ... exact ... way to curtsy on ice, er, stage. Yep, she's a ringer. And I like it.
Not too long ago, Maksim Chmerkovsky (I'm positive that I spelled that wrong) was quoted as saying that a woman will never win this competition. His reasons: because women do all the voting on the show; and women will not vote for other women. I think that the producers thought this too, and countered that logic with inviting Kristi to compete. Sure, women are women, and will more than likely vote for the guy they think is hottest, but women also love, love, love figure skating. It's a well-known fact, people. And so is this country's love for one of its own skating sweethearts, Kristi Yamaguchi.
What this show needed to get another female to hoist the great disco ball was a 1.) talented performer; 2.) natural athlete with the grace dancing requires; 3.) person who already has established themselves as one of America's favorite daughters; 4.) strong ethic to work hard and give the people the fancy-dancy routines they are dying to see. In short, they gave us Kristi. And I'll be voting for her until the end. She rocks.

Monday, April 14

One more magazine in the mailbox? Really?

And because it is imperative to me that my baby love reading as much as I do, I just purchased Sydney's very first magazine subscription. She is now a subscriber to Wild Animal Baby, a 10 times a year periodical created by the National Wildlife Federation, focused on educating and entertaining kids ages 12 months to 4 years. It's got pictures, games, stories and all kinds of stuff to get kids interested in wild animals from around the world. I am loving this, to tell you the truth, and can not wait until we get our first issue. we even got a kicky decal, and should get a bowl and spoon set as a subscription gift.
So, did you all get your taxes done? I'll say that we just got ours ... today ... from our accountant. Thankfully, and luckily for him because I hate it when I'm this late sending them in, we do get a refund. It's not as large as our normal refund, because I didn't work this year, but it'll still be enough to make us happy and perhaps giddy to buy something. Add that to our economy-boosting payoff from our good friend the president, and we've got a healthy deposit to make from the government. Yay! I am irritated that I'll be one of those filings that has an April 15 postmark on it, but I feel good that it will, at the least, be in the mail in the morning.
We got our carpets cleaned this morning, and they look great. I would rather have gotten all new carpet, but I can see why they would hesitate to allow that. You know, moving furniture and all that. Anyway, I've been busy moving stuff around here and there; debating about the necessity of other things; and considering the usefulness of more stuff all afternoon. The carpets are still damp in a few places, so there is still a lot of work to be done tomorrow. Jeez though, my back is sore. I took some Advil, but it just hasn't helped much at all. I'll be eager to hit the bed early again tonight and see if a few more hours of zzz's will help.

My DWTS voting (8 votes allowed):
Kristi Yamaguchi ~ 2 votes. I want her to win. I will give her the boost she needs to make that happen.
Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Taylor, Cristian de la Fuente, Mario, Marlee Matlin, and, if you can believe it, Marissa J-something Winokur ~ 1 vote each so they shake their booties again next week.
Priscilla Presley won't be getting any love from me this week, I'm sad to report. What is the saying? If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen? I don't think Priscilla's dancing is (to follow the metaphor) heating up as well as the others'.

Sunday, April 13

"That's what an 8,000-pound mako thinks about."

Jeez, you guys, having a sick kid is frickin' exhausting. Yep, bless her little heart, Miss Sydney came down with a wicked virus last Thursday, posting a blistering temperature of 103 degrees that afternoon, and thrashing her dear mother for three days straight. Last night was my first decent night of sleep since last Wednesday, and even that wasn't too good. Here's hoping that she'll actually let me sleep through the night tonight. Anyway, blah, blah, blah, I'm tired.
I also just finished part 1 of my first assignment for the writing program. It was a letter of introduction to "Judy," and I actually found that I was very excited to write to her. It's an interesting thing, consolidating everything about yourself, your career, your aspirations and your weaknesses into a quick, little, informal letter. I dug the challenge though, and feel like I put together a good snapshot of myself. Tomorrow night, I'll take care of part 2, which is to make a story out of one of three individual scenes. I'll need to look at the drawings again before I select one to storify (not a word), so will give you the update on all that tomorrow.
Brian, Sydney and I checked out the Scottsdale Culinary Festival this afternoon, and I am delighted to tell you that we've found a restaurant in the Phoenix metropolitan area that makes fried dill pickles. This is a delicacy that we discovered out in Providence, R.I., and have fostered a love for through a couple random restaurants here and there. Unfortunately, we've had a hard time finding somewhere out here that serves the yummy treats (damn you, Dave & Buster's at Tempe Marketplace, damn you!). But today, at the festival, we found The Armadillo Grille, which, for a mere two tickets, was providing the populace with a deliciously crispy friend dill pickle with ranch dressing for dipping. I say, YAY! Additional excitement goes to the little coupons the restaurant was handing out for a free drink or appetizer. An order of free pickles? Huzzah!
You know how I've mentioned that HBO tends to bring out some random flicks every once in a while, and then plays them over and over and over? You remember how I told you that I easily get obsessed with a movie and will watch it over and over and over? Guess what this month's HBO movie obsession is ... you'll never guess, so I'll just tell you. Deep Blue Sea. It's a pretty random, though seemingly engaging, movie about a group of scientists and lab workers trying to survive an onslaught from the three "super" sharks that they genetically engineered. The people are trying to escape their underwater facility, which also is flooding, and the sharks are trying to eat them. Like I said, random. I remember Brian and I actually seeing this movie in the theater. I wonder now why I don't have it on DVD. Anyway, I'm watching it right now, as I write this, and I'm enjoying the symmetry.
Well, apparently, I am trying to redeem my lack of blogging by posting a ridiculously long piece on just about everything in my head right now. You know what? That's all good, but I'm going to shut down now and finish watching this movie.

Thursday, April 10

Bulk (12) or "Empty"

How often do you check your bulk e-mail folder before emptying it? I confess that I never did. I mean, why should I? All it had were messages promising me wonderful credit opportunities, a large penis, and most every pharmaceutical newsletter on the planet. But over the last week or so, I have begun scanning that folder before emptying it.
A few weeks ago, we ordered a new memory stick for the camera from an online company. The chip arrived fine, but, we found out later, it was too large for the camera. The camera, apparently, has a memory stick limitation. Sixteen gigs is too much. Anyway, I requested a return authorization form from the online company to send back the stick. No response. I requested again. No response. Finally, on the third request, I actually got a nice phone message from a young man who told me that my Yahoo! bulk e-mail filter kept pulling the e-mail containing the form, because they had been trying to get it to me. I asked him to send it again, and it finally arrived in my proper inbox.
However, since this little incident put a bug in my ear about the bulk folder, I've been looking through it every time I check my e-mail. I'll tell you, I'm surprised how much stuff I want gets caught up in that bulk net. In fact, even an actual, personally addressed e-mail from Craig landed there tonight. Right now and in fact, I'm quite disturbed to think of how many e-mails I have lost in this manner. Suddenly, all the e-mails that I never got from Julia have a very real place in which they got lost. I'm bothered by this! So I guess now and forever, I'll be checking that bulk folder!

And television returns, thereby making me happy

ITEM!: Look what I made yesterday! It's a "Cool 'n' Easy Strawberry Pie." And it's okay to eat! I won't say I love it, though I did eat my whole piece. Things that went wrong: the mixture didn't cool and thicken enough to "mound;" the filling practically overfilled the crust so I ended up pouring it into the larger crust that I also bought by mistake; too much liquid in the jello forced the pie to not quite set up properly. But still, I'm quite proud of my first baking foray in a while!
ITEM!: Did you know that there is NEW television on tonight? Yes! Brian, Oliver and I get to watch brand-new episodes of The Office, 30 Rock and Scrubs! You know, this morning I was all pouting because I wouldn't have anything decent to watch tonight. But boy, was I wrong! Sometimes, I love being so wrong!
ITEM!: And hey, look at this! It's a never-before-seen picture of Elvis performing at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1972! How cool is he in his jumpsuited glory?! Rock on!

Wednesday, April 9

Yummy, yummy dinner

Can I just tell you, that I am loving, loving, loving these Bertolli frozen skillet dinners? They're quick and easy (allowing me to say that I "made" dinner), and oh so yummy! Really, they're really good! Of course, I had to test drive them first, and I always start my experiments with the flavors I'll probably love, and in this case, I started with the Italian sausage and rigatoni dinner. It was excellent. Second, we tried the chicken parmigiana and penne, then a roasted chicken and linguine. Also very excellent.
Anyway, tonight we tried a shrimp dinner: shrimp, asparagus and penne in a creamy tomato basil sauce. Seriously, it was awesome! How can I possibly beat having a quick and healthy dinner that's cheaper than us going out, easier than me actually preparing a meal, and is going down better than anything we've had in a while? And my goodness, friends, did I tell you that it's healthy? I'm beginning to credit the better fit of my jeans this morning to my eating a better dinner more regularly! I really recommend that you check these dinners out. They're in the frozen dinner section of the grocery store, and go for about $10 each. There are two complete servings in every bag, so it's enough for both me and Brian (however, he usually ends up snacking on something about an hour later). Really! Try them!

Tuesday, April 8

Carolla drives off the dance floor

It's unfortunate that as goes the mouthpiece of the competition, so does one of the show's most engaging professionals. I'm sad to see Julianne leave the dance floor, but at the same time, pleased to no longer have to listen to Adam Carolla. His tendency to take over the microphone, literally and figuratively, from whoever was speaking was really, really grating. I'll be a happier person now that I won't be cringing every time he might get the opportunity to speak on live television. Again though, I'll miss Julianne, she's awesome, and I think the show will suffer a bit without her.
None of this saves me from a bit of shame from tonight. I feel so ... I don't know ... American. I watched a perfectly well done, but depressing and infuriating at the same time, documentary on rape in the Congo, and the plight of the women affected. It bothered me tremendously, mainly because the people who can do something about it don't seem to care. The government and the warring factions need to get right with themselves and leave the women and girls there alone, because, as stated in the documentary, the country will fall without its women. And sadly, the women there are being killed without dying, one by one, at the hands of their rapists. What can be done? I don't know.
But my shame in myself comes from watching this documentary, feeling the appropriate rage and need to do something to help, but then just changing the channel to Dancing with the Stars, and ultimately, having an emotional investment in that fluff show about nothing in particular. I could attempt to excuse myself for this, but I won't. It's the plight of being far enough away to put it out of my mind, I guess. How frustrating, this inability to do anything to save these women.

Monday, April 7

That pizza hit the s-p-o-t

What a day! And the only event glaring in my mind right now is that my kid took a two-and-a-half hour nap this morning and I have nothing to show for it. I didn't even take out the trash (though I did later in the afternoon). I got my books and my concert tickets though, so that's super awesome! Let's see, I did make it to Target this afternoon. I had a small but distinguished list, and managed to stick to it well. I got my 5x7 picture frame and a replacement turtle-aquarium crib-hanging music box for my baby's room (her turtle's fish stopped swimming), and a Reese's peanut butter cup. Out the door for $32. Sweet!
And I totally didn't know how to open the parking lot gate for the Domino's guy tonight. He actually called me from the gate, asked for the code to get in, and I had to tell him that I had no idea what it was. He chilled on the phone while I dug through my apartment paperwork, and I finally found the procedure. Of course, by then, someone was exiting the other gate and he snuck in that way. Oh well, so I couldn't put the code into practice; at least I'll know it for the next time it's required!

My DWTS voting (9 votes allowed):
Kristi Yamaguchi ~ 2 votes ~ I think she's got a real shot at winning this based on pure talent, precision and technique. It's time for a woman to win this competition again, I think, and Kristi's got the best chance.
Shannon Elizabeth ~ 2 votes ~ Yes, I voted twice for her. I like her improvement in technique and confidence. She's another one who's got a great shot ... if Kristi breaks a leg or something.
Jason Taylor, Marlee Matlin, Priscilla Presley, Mario, Cristian de la Fuente ~ 1 vote each ~ I got lots of one-vote love.
Adam Carolla and Marissa J-something Winokur are both walking away tonight without my support. I don't usually diss two contestants this way, but the both of them really have to go. Marissa just whines too much, and my goodness, someone needs to quiet Adam Carolla.

Floor seats are too cool

Rock on, my peeps! I am going to see George Michael in a couple months! I am SO excited! Katy has graciously accepted my invitation to accompany me, so (yay!) I'll also have someone to sing along with, and certainly have a few beers with as well! I love it when so much cool stuff goes on in one day, and it's not even noon yet! So I got my tickets, rock-solid ones on the floor.
And I also received my first chapter portion of my instruction manual from the children's writing program! The notebook is looking pretty cool, and I've got two new textbooks to read through. I believe that there is an assignment in the package as well. I haven't finished reading through everything, but I'm excited to get through it all. Actually, it looks like the first portion of my first assignment is an informal letter to my instructor. Easy, peasy. What's next? I'll let you know later!

Sunday, April 6

I'll never eat a meat pie ... ever

I just finished watching Sweeney Todd, and my goodness, is my neck tired! It should be after all the tensing, cowering and stiffening it's done over the last two hours. You remember how, after seeing The Departed, I marveled over how many people were shot in the head in that movie? Well, let me tell you, getting shot in the head has nothing on how many people get their throats slashed in this little film! Yikes! So much cheesy blood spurting and such! I've got to say though, that had I seen this on stage, I would have loved it. As a movie, it was okay. But on stage, with the music, I could see where it would be electrifying and enthralling. The chair, the twist at the end, the irony behind it all! Actually, as a movie, I quite liked it after all. I'll just let it sink in for another hour or so before I go to bed. Yep, that's what I need, some time to chew on it.

Saturday, April 5

UCLA loses in the Final Four

My bracket is busted, and truthfully, I couldn't care less about it. On the up side, Brian picked Kansas to win in his bracket pool. No, they haven't won the tourney, but everyone else in his pool picked either North Carolina or UCLA to win, so he's getting all their cash no matter who wins the big game.
That's all, really. Catch you later.

Antibiotics help too, of course

Why am I getting so many giggles out of the dull pain of others this week? Why should these things amuse me? Okay, so does anyone else think that Jessica Simpson is having a bit too much fun with her new boyfriend? Who doesn't immediately say, "She needs to be more careful with her after-sex hygiene," when a girl gets a kidney infection? A kidney infection is an untreated and angrier UTI, my friends, and that's all from not taking care of yourself after rocking the boat with your boyfriend. She'll learn from this, I hope. She should have friends that will teach her about these things.
Bless her heart, and she had to go into Cedars-Sinai to take care of it. And it's all over the news, in the magazines and headlining the Internets this week. And everyone knows that a good bottle of cranberry juice when you get those first tinglings helps out a ton.

Friday, April 4

George Michael in concert: priceless

I'm not kidding at all when I tell you that I will be sitting right here, at my computer's keyboard and Internets connection, bright and early Monday morning for a singularly spectacular reason. I am going to buy tickets to see George Michael in concert. Goodness, it just feels so cool to say that! You know, I knew that he was doing a tour ... it's my job to keep up with that stuff ... but I didn't really think about checking it out. Until, that is, I heard a local radio station giving away tickets to the show. Hearing that, I thought, "Well, hell yeah, I'm gonna go see him!" How can I really pass up the opportunity to see him perform "Faith," "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "I Want Your Sex," and perhaps the most perfect sing-along "Too Funky"? Hey, do you think he'll sing that cool Wham! Christmas song? My head just swims in the possibilities! I'm giddy in anticipation! I am freaking out about this show and I don't even have the tickets yet! Yay!

Thursday, April 3

Beware the hawks in Fenway

This isn't at all funny, if you're this girl's mom or a fan of the New York Yankees. To the Red Sox Nation out there, it is creepily apropos. Not funny, but funny. Here's the scoop:

BOSTON -- A 13-year-old girl touring Fenway Park on a school trip was attacked by a resident red-tailed hawk that drew blood from her scalp Thursday.

She wasn’t seriously hurt, but some observers saw an omen for a certain New York Yankees slugger in the attack at the home of the Boston Red Sox. The girl’s name is Alexa Rodriguez.
Vince Jennetta, a teacher who chaperoned her class trip from Memorial Boulevard Middle School in Bristol, Conn., told The Boston Globe that Alexa is “a little shaken, but OK.”
The hawk was perched on a railing in the upper deck behind home plate while the group toured the stadium. The hawk flew at the girl and swooped with its talons extended, scratching her scalp.

As if A-Rod didn't have enough to worry about when he cruises into Fenway. Now he'll know that even the local wildlife is after him! Awesome!

The elephants, monkeys and bears were hiding

I sent in my enrollment confirmation and money information to the children's writing course yesterday! I'm very excited about this! I think it'll work out very well, and I'm feeling pretty awesome about having something creative, and potentially financially healthy, to do with some of my "down" time. Yay me! I've already got a few ideas and such rolling around in my head, and am looking forward to my first assignment from Judy. Sadly, my excitement will have to sustain itself for a while; the program doesn't begin until May. I'll be jotting down some more thoughts (I hope to have some viable ones) until then.
Sydney and I took part in our first playdate outing this morning! We joined Nicole and Ella, and Jenny and Reese, and some new friends, Kelly and Karston, for a stroll around the zoo. Fun! But of course, since I'm still quite the rookie at most of this, I forgot the sunscreen, and since it was still cool in our apartment, I had myself and Sydney in jeans with t-shirts. I even wore sneakers instead of flip flops. I was just a poor organizer in general. I say, at least I remembered all the snacks and she had plenty to drink! Anyway, so we were a bit warm (not boiling though), and thoroughly enjoyed the breezes whenever we got them. I'm pleased that we did something with other kids today! Now, as she sleeps, I'm going to make myself a sandwich for lunch.

Wednesday, April 2

Ha, ha, funny joke

Here is Sydney's new chair at her Grandma's house, being occupied by the fantastic Clyde. Of course, you'll notice that the chair itself is lavender, as everything in the home must be some shade of purple. I can't wait for Sydney to try it out on our next visit back to California.
Okay, so this is how ridiculous I can be. In discussing the Trebek disappearing moustache tonight, Katy suggested that the whole thing was perhaps an April Fool's joke. So I, of course, went to the "source," the Jeopardy! message board, and it was confirmed that yes, the disappearing moustache was indeed an April Fool's prank that I totally noticed and got invested in figuring out. Does that mean that I fell for the joke because I noticed it, or are those that didn't notice the moustache the real victims of the prank?

Tuesday, April 1

And just like that, it's gone

I know it won't be the last time that I'm disappointed with the result of a Dancing with the Stars: The Results show, but damn. I really wanted Steve Guttenberg to have a bit more time under the disco ball, and I really wanted to not have to listen to Marissa J-something Winokur whine, sparkle, cry, giggle, or enthuse through another week's competition. Ack. Who are the people voting on this television show? And why don't they listen to me? At any rate, it'll be interesting next week. Confession: I was quite pleased to see Adam Carolla (and yes, I've been spelling his name wrong for the last couple weeks) survive another week. Of course, it's just awesome that we're all keeping Julianne Hough on the show, and he should thank her for his longevity, but I see some real improvement there. Now if only she can get him to keep his mouth shut more often.
Here's my newly painted coffee table. Notice (somewhat) how well it matches the red chair in the background, and how it complements the brown sofa. I'm quite loving it ... even more tonight since I got to look at it all day in different light and angles. Yay Brian and me for completing a project and having it turn out well!
Okay, so the most random thing happened on today's episode of Jeopardy!, and it's vital that I blog about it: From the beginning of the show through the end of the regular Jeopardy! round, Alex Trebek had a moustache. When the commercial break preceding Double Jeopardy! ended and the show returned, Trebek no longer had a moustache. Huh? It's true! And I even rewound my DVR so I could double check that I wasn't going absolutely frickin' insane! And at the start of the show, right there above his lip, was a cheesy, smarmy dark moustache. I remember thinking, "Oh, Alex is trying to be like the current champ, and grow out a moustache. I hate moustaches." Then, freakishly, during a commercial break, it disappeared! When Alex came back on, his upper lip was bare! And I thought, "What the hell? Where'd the hairy lip go? Did I imagine it?" Then I checked! And I was right! Now you see it, now you don't with a moustache! CREEPY!