Saturday, September 27, 2008

Show Me Where The Magic Happens

Not THERE you pervs! Your desk!

I'm not sure if this has been done before - it probably has. As they say, there is nothing new under the sun! Still, if it has happened before and you have already done something like it then please bear with me.

I want to see where all of you mess around on the computer. I have visions of my fellow bloggers lounging in luxury with a laptop on one knee and a plate of bon-bons on the other. A half-nekkid man slave (Sawyer!) slowly fans you with a palm frond while simultaneously serving you chilled (preferably alcoholic) beverages. Husbands and children do all the housework and somehow manage to work in a foot rub or two as well... Yes, that's how my imagination works.

Meanwhile, I sit at a laptop that sometimes winds up on my sofa while I'm watching reality tv/mysteries/old movies. My desk has a printer/scanner, several knick-knacks from various travels, a clock, a thesaurus and dictionary and a mail-sorter in the shape of a cat.

I sit next to my sliding glass doors and when I'm on the computer I get to watch the sky lighten in the morning and darken in the evening. I like hearing the bugs and birds outside, but sometimes it's kind of creepy at night because I fear that there is something lurking out there watching me on the computer (overactive imagination anyone?)

Sure, the pink carpet is still there and the walls have yet to be painted - but all in all, its a happy place. Especially when my cup of coffee is full and steaming hot!

Here is a picture of my desk, now - show me yours!! I'm tagging you all - if you've read this post, show us the money! ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Moving on... Help, please!

Last night I dashed off a post in response to some surprising news. I don't handle surprises well. I indulged in some "poetic" self pity and went to bed. Then I woke up ashamed of myself and deleted the post. If you read it and commented, thank you.

Anyway, who has time to wallow in self-pity when there's amazing TV to watch! Tonight is Bones, America's Next Top Model AND Project Runway. I'm going to have to Tivo at least one of those shows and I just can't make up my mind. I'm addicted to Bones now. It is filling the void left by Sawyer and Jack in the hot man department. Booth doesn't take off his shirt nearly enough for my taste, but then he doesn't have the excuse of being stranded on a deserted island either. Ah well...

Tomorrow is the season premiere of Survivor and I am wary. Last season was pretty good and if the tradition holds true, this season will suck donkey balls. However, I will reserve judgement for at least two episodes. Oh, who am I kidding! I'll be judging them from the get-go. That's my favorite part of reality TV! Judging others from the safety of my home.

With all of this TV to watch, I almost forgot about an assignment from work - yes, work. I have been assigned to put together a "Spa Basket" to raffle off for the Christmas Party Fund. When the Party Leader (makes him sound communist!) told me that I had been volunteered for the task I was shocked. I mean, really? Do I look like I have the faintest idea of what would occur at a spa?

I need help. So far I have a basket - what else do I need? I was thinking about getting some wine and maybe a loofah along with some candles. What else? Pedicure set? Bubble bath? Suggestions? Help!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Captain Frisky-Nibbles and the Bitching Kitty

That would be my pets, my two cats. They've been with me for 14 years and I love them very much. Their real names are Louis and Zephyr, but I often call them other things such as Cheeze Doodle and Lou-burger. Their superhero names are Captain Frisky-Nibbles and the Bitching Kitty. See, Louis likes to nip at people when they neglect petting him and Zephyr likes to bitch and moan.

Louis is kind of a whore. Specifically, he is a lap whore. If there is a seated person in my house he will be in their lap soaking up as much love as he can. He is especially attracted to men, people that allergic to cats and people that are afraid of cats - but he's not too picky. He'll sit on anyone as long as they hold still long enough. If the stroking starts to slow down he will gently nip the offender's hand in order to remind them of their duty. He's very conscientious that way.

Zephyr is my baby. She has been my cuddle-bun for 14 years. She will snuggle under the covers with me at night and disdain anyone else who tries to pet her. She never "talked" much until after my daughter was born. Since then she has bitched and complained about her reduced status every day. Seriously, I wish I was joking. As soon as we come home she eyes Muffin and starts in.

"Merrrowww, merrroooooowwww, merow." (roughly translated means "Aren't you done with that hairless pink monkey YET?!? Get rid of it already!")

God help Muffin is she attempts to pet Zephyr - Zephyr won't have it. Zephyr gives her the stink eye and slowly skulks upstairs to lick her belly in frustration.

As you can imagine, after 14 years I've become very attached to my furry babies. Lately they have had some health problems and I've begun to fear for their mortality. I imagine coming home to stiff furry carcasses and it brings tears to my eyes. I fervently hope that I find them before Muffin does because I can not even contemplate the mental scars inflicted upon her if she found a dead kitty first.

Morbid much? Oh yeah. But, I'm not alone! A good friend, who's cat Lilly is the mother of my cats, frequently obsesses about her cat's mortality too. Also, Sarah Neilson recently wrote a post about her choice to adopt a new pug and part of that decision was determined by her dog Daisy's age and mortality.

I guess the reason I'm writing about this is because as of today they are both still with me but I'm not sure how much longer I have with them. This week the vet discovered that Zephyr has Cardio Myopothy - a degenerative heart condition. Louis has stones in his bladder and continues to suffer from bladder infections. They are both in decline - which I think is kind of a gyp because cats are supposed to live well into their 20's!

I love you, my little babies! You've been with me longer than most of my friends, providing love and support and only asking for the occasional (ok, frequent) belly rub. I'll miss you terribly when you go, but I won't let you suffer. However, it would be super if you could get a kitty modeling job to help pay for the vet bill! No? Ok, just lay in that patch of sunshine then - you've earned it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cat v/s Printer

In my house the scenario is more like "Preschooler v/s Printer" but my cats are haters as well. Enjoy...

Video courtesy of Cute Overload.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Can Spell!

When I was younger, back in the dark ages, I had the worst time with spelling. It never seemed to click with me. I used to dread spelling tests because I knew I was hopeless. I blamed my inability to spell on the fact that I am left-handed. (It's a "handy" excuse. I use it a lot) I was always frustrated by teachers who told me to look up the word in a dictionary if I didn't know how to spell it. Hello, McFly! If I can't spell it then how can I look it up? Logic people, logic!

Then, along came spell check! It was love at first correction! I didn't have to know how to spell anymore! Spell check would fix all of my mistakes! Except when there was a homonym or something - in that case I would just look like an idiot. Which, come to think of it, happens frequently enough without spellcheck...

After many many many years of enjoying spell check I began to resent it. I began to hate seeing words underlined in red. It was as if my 3rd grade teacher was grading my work all over again! I actually began to pay attention to words that I frequently misspelled like maintenance, unconscious, necessary, convenience (for some reason I could never get these right).

Pretty soon I was ambitious enough to tackle miscellaneous, obsequious, ubiquitous and other strangely spelled words. Since starting school again two years ago I have had to write a multitude of papers and every time it becomes a game. A challenge. Me versus Spellcheck. And boy do I love it when I can just hit "ignore" because stupid spellcheck doesn't recognize some obscure IT technical term. Take that, Spellcheck! HA HA!

Even Blogger and I face off from time to time. I can not even describe the swell of satisfaction when I click on the tiny little check mark and discover zero misspellings. I suppose I've just found another slice of life to obsess over - but at least this obsession has a practical purpose! My elementary school teachers may not have been able to motivate me to spell but by golly, spell check did!

(as a foot note, I just hit spell check and it found that I had misspelled "describe" "tackle" and "elementary." So much for my super spelling prowess!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

Have I mentioned that I like to read? Alot? Because its true. I love books and I love love love to suspend my disbelief and traipse off to unknown parts for a lovely adventure involving manly men and ponies. Ok, maybe the pony part is a little over the top, but the rest is pretty accurate.

I resisted the Harry Potter phenomenon, initially. I was all "I'm not jumping on THAT bandwagon, thank-you-very-much" and lo, I eventually succumbed and devoured the first four books in one weekend.

Since that time, the "enlightened by Harry" time, I have tried very hard not to poo-poo any popular literature. Sometimes I like it (Secret Life Of Bees) and sometimes I just can't get into it (anything by Nicholas Sparks - SORRY!!!)

**side note: I don't know how or why I can suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy Harry Potter and yet not enough to enjoy Mr. Sparks. Maybe I find the idea of wizards roaming the planet more plausible than finding true love. Or maybe I'm just weird. Could go either way.**

Fast forward to summer 2008. I happened to read about the hullabaloo caused by the trailer for the movie "Twilight." I was curious about a movie that had the potential to break the hearts of millions of teen girls so, I looked it up. Turns out the movie is based on a book! Oh joy! I went to my library's website to see if any copies were available. None. So, I put my name on the waiting list. Guess which number I was, guess!


HOLY CRAP what kind of book is this that has 189 people on it's waiting list? Wah! I had resigned myself to a very long wait when my younger sister happened to mention that she had the book! She was reading it, but when she was finished she would give it to me. Joy, joy, joy, happy dance of joy!

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend. Little Sis presented me with not only the first book, Twilight, but the second book, New Moon, as well! Isn't she great? (Will she comment on my posts? No. Still great though)

I read Twilight in two days - and the only reason it took two days is because I had to take care of my child and drive several hours. I was all for allowing Muffin wallow in her own filth and forage for her own food but I was at my parents house and we all know how Grandmamas like to see the babies happy! whatever.

I'm not saying that it was the best book ever written because that is certainly not the case. I didn't relate to the characters at all. The subject matter was unbelievable to say the least. The author somehow perfectly encapsulated the agony of teen love - which is not something I ever care to repeat. And yet... And yet, I couldn't put it down to save my life! It's like watching a horribly fascinating train wreck of human emotion.

After reading Twilight, I took a break. I eyeballed the second book, New Moon, suspiciously. Unwilling to give up my free will for the duration of that novel, I caught up on other books. But New Moon waited. It lurked. It whispered sweet nothings from my bookshelf, eventually seducing me with it's promise of teen angst. Monday evening I submitted to it's will.

I only have a few chapters left. I saved myself from finishing the book last night. I want to linger over the cheese-tastic finale and savor a (mostly) happy ending. Right now, I'm number 3 on the waiting list for Eclipse and number 102 on the waiting list for Breaking Dawn.

I hope to finish the Twilight Saga before Thanksgiving so that I can get on with my life. Is this a review or a recommendation? No, it's a warning. Stay far far away or you may fall under the spell too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Changing My Routine

I KNOW! Big step, right? At least, according to that therapist I took Muffin to way back in the spring. According to her, a little change would do us both some good and help us adjust to bigger changes more easily and blah, blah, blah... Well, as far as I know that's therapy talk for "switch it up a little! You're in a rut!"

Since my sister left to pursue married life and all the joys therein, Muffin and I have been trying out a few new routines. Not the kind that involve a trapeze or gymnastics mat (neither of us is that coordinated - sorry Muffin!) but the kind that involves grocery trips, dinner, baths, etc. I believe that we have developed one that works - but I'm concerned that it maybe be considered too rigid. AGAIN!

Is anyone else comforted by a nice strict schedule? Do you find comfort in knowing exactly what you're going to do on any given day of the week? Am I the only one who "schedules" relaxing time?

All I can say is that I am more content than I have been in ages. I sleep eight hours each night (without sleep aids!), I'm eating better and Muffin and I spend a lot more "quality" time together. I'm caught up on my homework, my leisure reading and my house/yard work! I'm actually planning projects and getting excited rather than looking around the house in despair.

Maybe switching up the routine once in a blue moon means finding a better way to do things rather than giving up a schedule all together. That's the lesson I'm going to take from this experience anyway. I'm sure we'll be do for another change in six months - so I'll just go pencil that in on the master calendar.

hee hee!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekend Warrior

A funny thing happened Friday night. Not funny "ha, ha" but funny "strange." Actually, it was more like funny "dammit."

I was in my bedroom waiting for Muffin to come and harass me join me when I noticed a strange sound. A dripping sound. Curious, I went to the bathroom to see if I had left the sink dripping and noticed that the bathmat was soaking wet! Frantic, I searched for the source of the water and discovered this:

A gigantic crack in my toilet! WTF? How the hell did that happen?

I turned off the water to the toilet and went to bed wondering what to do about it.

Yesterday, thanks to a quick google search, I determined that silicone sealant would do the trick. After Muffin's nap we went to my favorite $100 store, Target. For some reason I'm never able to leave that damn store without dropping at least $100.

On the way to the home improvement section I discovered several items I couldn't live without - including some cute new curtains! (modeled below with my lovely cat, Zephyr)

As well as some adorable new shoes and jeans for Muffin, Halloween cards and cleaning supplies. However, I was disappointed that Target did not carry this item:

Because I have been absolutely dying to get it ever since I saw the commercial for it this week!!

I haven't tried out the silicone sealant yet, but as soon as I get my courage up I'll give it a whirl.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ANTM - Lots of Hot Air

First up - the new opening sequence: it's all about Tyra. I guess after 10 cycles you can insist that everyone bow down to your fabulousness. There's one shot of her stomping in some bustier thingy and DAMN her boobs are all over the place! Reign them in, Tyra! Reign. Them. In.

Next, the girls discuss the events at panel and admire Marjorie's photo. Awww, sweet awkward Marjorie. Afterwards we move on to a pose lesson with Benny Ninja! He has become an ANTM regular, hasn't he? He asks if anyone in the group is naturally flexible and the girls out Sheena, I guess because she's kind of hootchy. She demonstrates her flexibility by putting her leg behind her head - yep, that's hootchy. The girls are instructed to pose inside stretchy fabric tubes and it became apparent that ,as far as posing is concerned, they are rank amateurs. Well, it's only the second episode. I suppose they'll learn.

Arriving back at the house they receive some TYRA MAIL! It says something like "if you learned your lesson this should be in the bag." Lauren Brie, showing amazing insight, guesses that the next challenge may involve posing. You think?

On to the hot tub! There's Elina kissing Clark - her dream come true! Then, Hannah is pushing Isis away from her. Ruh-row! I smell a controversy coming on! Sheena and Brittany corner Hannah and she says something along the lines of needing personal space and being the whitest white girl she knows.

Now, this house is full of very young women. One can only imagine that they have been waiting for something to focus their need for drama. Sheena and Brittany relay Hannah's comments (with some embellishments) to the other ladies of color in the house and everyone decides that Hannah's comments are very concerning.

After Analeigh helps Isis with her transition injections (surely an ANTM first!) the girls head out their challenge where they are instructed to fiercely pose with some handbags and accessories. The results are pretty comical and culminate with Sheena posing with her leg behind her head and the purse in front of her hoo-ha. Needless to say, the designer was not pleased. Elina wins and they head back to the house.

Further discussion of Hannah's alleged racist remarks ensue. Some of the ladies feel the need to confront Hannah and ask her if she's a racist. Which, first of all, I'm not even sure a person would ever ADMIT to being a racist - so why ask? But Hannah says no and thanks them for their attack upon her before running back to her room to cry.

And here's Whitney!! Good Lord, what are they trying to sell with these commercials? Cheese?

Moving on, Hannah discusses the unfairness her plight before the girls get to their photo shoot. It's a Hot Air Balloon!! The girls are expected to pose on a rope ladder hanging from the balloon! The girls are a little wary - but not to worry! The wind is too fierce to keep the balloon steady in the air, so the girls are going to pose on a rope ladder hanging from a fork lift and then the balloon will be digitally added to the photo later. Ain't technology wonderful?

Basically Lauren Brie, Joslyn, Marjorie and Elina rocked the shoot. Isis, Nikeysha, Clark and Samantha had some trouble. Sheena is accused of hootchy-ness again. Mostly because she held on to the ladder with her butt cheeks. Well, yeah, that will do it!

Panel time! Ms. Jay is wearing necklaces to indicate the number of models left in the competition. Hey, it's better than the ruffles and Afros from seasons past! Paulina looks like a fem-bot and the girls get critiqued. Nikeysha is called out for being too skinny. Holla! However, overall the judges are very complimentary. Where is the scathing critique from seasons past? Make them cry, Tyra! Make them CRY!!!

Not surprisingly Lauren Brie is called first. The judges thought she was Fierce, but I thought Elina was better. It comes down to Nikeysha and Isis - who will go home? The girl that can't shut her mouth or the girl who took a good picture last week? Looks like Isis will be given another chance! Bye, bye Nikeysha!

Next week, MAKEOVERS!!! And a first in Top Model History - I wonder what? Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I imagine many people will post about September 11 today - whether it be a recollection of their experience, a commentary on the war or a general observation about how far (or not far enough) our country has come since that fateful day.

I remember asking my Mom about the JFK assassination for a school project many years ago. My teacher had told us that everyone who had a television or a radio would remember where they were and what they were doing when JFK was assassinated. Mom and Dad both remembered the shock, horror and powerless misery of that event.

Later, in a college psychology class, a professor claimed that our generation would remember the Challenger explosion with as much clarity as our parents remembered the JFK assassination. It's true - I remember being in the fourth grade and all of us watching the explosion over and over on a TV the teachers had wheeled into the cafeteria.

Sadly for our generation, another event came along to polarize our memories.

I was working part time for the Geography Department at ECU as the Graduate Secretary. The position allowed me to take classes during the day and I had stopped into a snack shop, the Croatan, to pick up a bagel on the way back to work. As I was paying for my breakfast I happened to see footage of the Twin Towers on the television sets that were placed around the eating area. At first I thought it was a tasteless video on MTV and remarked to the cashier that I thought it was tacky. She told me that it was real, that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center and we watched together as the second plane hit.

I ran back to my department, taking the stairs two at a time and rushed into the chair's office to see if he knew what was happening and to watch his television. All of the staff and faculty crowded together, piled on the arms of his leather sofas and leaning against bookshelves watching the news anchors attempt to make sense of a senseless act.

Finally, the chair announced that the university would be closing for the rest of the day and for us to go home to our families. I drove home, bewildered and anxious. The empty house held no comfort for me. I called family members. I watch Fox News. Eventually I drove over to a friend's house and together we watched the news for hours.

In the days and weeks afterwards I gradually weaned myself off the news channels. Life began to settle into normal routines. I was set to graduate in December 2001. A few close friends wanted to drive to NYC for New Years 2002 and visit Ground Zero. Sometime between graduation and that New Years visit I decided to join the Navy.

Every year the significance of 9/11 seems to grow weaker in the media. In a few more decades the anniversary may not even be mentioned. My daughter won't understand the feeling of horror and helplessness - and I hope she never does. I hope she never experiences an event that causes her to question her safety and security. I hope we can find a way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Searching The Beach After Hanna

Further Proof that I Am Becoming My Mother

Not that it's a bad thing, mind you - I've always admired her. I used to think that I would naturally fall into Dad's camp because I'm emotional, musical and more inclined to find a faster way to accomplish a task rather than sit down and actually do it. Not that my Dad is a high-strung lazy person! He's not - but he is a musical-genius-engineer type that likes figuring things out.

However, I have found that as I grow older (and slightly more OCD) I have developed a rising affinity with my mother's character. Chiefly, an obsession with my glass-topped stove.

When we moved to NC, back in the early 90's, Mom had her very first glass-topped stove. She was instantly smitten. No more grungy burner plates or icky tin-foil liners! A perfectly smooth glass top - free from stain or build up! It was love at first sight.

While the rest of the after-dinner clean up was left to the kids, Mom would lovingly clean the stove-top - bringing it to a streak-free shine. If we did try and clean the stove-top she would smile, wait until we left the kitchen and then, clean it again. It was perfection.

Now that I have a glass-topped stove I too have fallen under the same spell except that I'm not nearly as nice as Mom. Everyday when I come home from work I am greeted by a gleaming stove top! *Joy!* Sometimes, through the course of the evening, I discover a smear or fingerprint. My eyes widen in shock and horror! I rush to the sink and procure a sponge to immediately lift the offending smudge. Then, I ruthlessly track down the culprit.

"Muffin! What have you been doing to Mommy's stove!" I ask dangerously.

Looking up from her puzzle she replies "What do you mean? I know better than to touch the stove!" with slight indignation as if she is appalled that I would question her knowledge of self-preservation.

"Yes, I realize that - so why did you touch it?" I say through gritted teeth.

"I didn't touch it, Mama. You touched it when you reached into that cabinet." She answers calmly and turns back to her puzzle.

"Oh, that's right. Of course. I was just teasing." I laugh and turn around quickly so as to hide my shame.
My Mom would have handled that scenario with more grace and dignity I'm sure - but, whatever! Kids have short memories, right? I'll just keep telling myself that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Physically Tough

Today we went to see the pediatrician for Muffin's physical. Everything looks good except perhaps her hearing. The doc said that she was a little concerned about Muffin not being able to hear well in the lower range - but she said that it could be because the doctor's office isn't a sound proof environment and not a great place to conduct hearing tests. She wants us to take another look next year before Muffin starts school. After the tests came the shots and, long ear-piercing story short, Muffin survived. Barely. According to Muffin, that is.

The doc also prescribed an antibiotic for the tick and bug bites because they weren't healing well or fast enough. Wait - what? The TICK BITE you ask?

Remember when I mentioned the horrific visit to her dad's house? She came home with, in addition to a plethora of other bug bites, a tick embedded in her skin and her hair crudely chopped off. Her dad claims that the tick couldn't have been on there more than a few hours but the doc said it was more like 72 hours (I suppose that could be his definition of a few...) because the damn thing was so deep all of it's legs were INSIDE HER BODY! Oh yeah, and apparently her hair had some tangles that he couldn't be bothered to comb out SO HE CUT HUGE HUNKS OF HAIR OFF OF HER HEAD!!!

(deep, calming breaths) Serenity Now!

But I digress...

Before the tick/haircut fiasco I had asked Muffin's dad if he would be able to get her this weekend so that I could go to a career fair in DC next week. However, during the long wait in the pharmacy, I decided to keep her with me in order to ensure that the full course of antibiotics are taken and to stay near the doctor just in case.

After I got the antibiotics I called her dad's cell and left a message saying that I didn't need to meet this weekend after all and that we would meet on the 20th instead. Almost immediately he called back but I was already red in the face and shaking so I knew better than to try and talk to him.

He left a long message saying that he had tried to call a couple of days after our last conversation. The conversation that ended with me screaming at him and accusing him of neglect. He wanted to try and explain that the tick couldn't have been on her more than a day because they always check the kids out during bath time. He also wanted to explain that he had meant to get Muffin a haircut but just didn't have the time. He said that he understood why I was upset but basically wanted to explain himself. He also agreed on the 20th.

Boy am I glad I didn't pick up the phone. I really and truly wish that I could manage my emotions better. I feel like I'm giving him the upper hand by getting so worked up. I wish I could be an ice princess. boo.

If it weren't for the court order, I would not let her go back. My lawyer says that this type of thing does not constitute neglect, merely "bad parenting." He has rights, and he loves her - I know this. But he doesn't care for her and it breaks my heart. However, I am assured by the experts (other mothers, that is) that raising children is full of heartbreak. We'll shoulder on and we'll survive. We have each other, after all! Gnarly bug bites included!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hanna's Visit And Some People Watching

Hanna's visit was a little windy and pretty rainy - but nothing like the media hoped for I'm sure. Yes, I have quite a bit of debris in my yard, but nothing major. Merely the leavings of the pine tree in my yard and the damned blasted gum ball trees in everyone else's yard. Is it cool to ask those people to pick up their own tree's trash? I hate those stupid trees. At any rate, all the blowing and raining was finished by late afternoon leaving the sky full of fast moving, beautiful clouds.

Due to the wind and rain we spent most of the day indoors. I did four loads of laundry, reorganized my linen closet, reorganized three utility drawers, downloaded and organized pictures from Labor Day, cleaned the kitchen and swapped out the summer seasonal decor for the fall seasonal decor. By the end of the day I was going stir crazy. Thankfully I had something to look forward to! My friend Erin's birthday is September 11 (poor thing) so she wanted to celebrate her birthday at a nice restaurant this weekend.

Having secured the OK to bring Muffin, we met Erin and a few other ladies at the Baker's Crust in Chesapeake. If you get the opportunity to visit any of the Baker's Crust locations in Hampton Roads - do it! Such wonderful food!!! I brought a bag of coloring books and preschool workbooks to keep Muffin busy and it was a very pleasant evening.

On the way to the restaurant I followed a gentleman on a motorcycle, fascinated by his behavior. He raised his hand in salute to anyone else on the highway riding a motorcycle - and they waved back! It was as if the motorcycle crowd was an exclusive club where all members know and recognize each other. Something like the Masons with their secret handshakes and rings. Maybe it was just that I'd been cooped up too long, but I enjoyed watching him wave to others and seeing them wave back.

When Muffin and I sat down at the restaurant I happened to notice a nicely dressed couple sitting on the other side of the fire pit. They were seated together on one side of the booth enjoying a bottle of wine. Later, I glanced over as they were making their way through huge salads. Since this establishment serves some salads as entrees I fully expected to see another party at that table shortly. However, upon my next glance I observed that they were sharing another entree and another bottle of wine! Then, on the way to the ladies room, I watched the waiter bring out their dessert - a huge strawberry and whipped cream crepe. While we were paying our bills the couple across the room sipped brandy and feasted on strawberries.

Watching this couple enjoy a lingering luxurious meal for over two hours gave me a twinge. My family has always been of the "eat and run" variety. I love food, but I rarely take time to savor the flavors and relish the experience. When Muffin and I sit down to dinner I mow through my plate and chastise her for dawdling. It occurs to me that I should take a lesson from my daughter and learn to linger, savor and appreciate my meals. I'm not sure if this old dawg can learn a new trick, but I will try.

On a final note, here's a picture of Muffin in the pool at Grandmama's house last weekend - the sky was darkening in anticipation of a late afternoon thunderstorm so the incredible light seemed to make her glow. Or maybe it's just the proud Mama talking. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

And so it begins... ANTM Cycle 11

I have been a Reality TV whore since it's inception and religiously follow some of the oldies but goodies such as Survivor and America's Next Top Model. I wish I could say that I followed American Idol but, as a former music major, I find it painful and can't help but wonder at the psychological damage inflicted on these kids. Or maybe they don't care. Anyway, having never been a "survivor" or a model I revel in their woes, laugh at their pain and blog about the outcomes.

Cycle 11 of ANTM started off with a shock - or should I say and interstellar Big Bang? I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised by the overloaded campy-ness of the Top Model Institute of Technology. Seeing the two Jays dressed as space androids was amusing, but more amusing was the thought of the stage direction required to get the girls to squeal at the "special effects" like Tyra beaming up Scotty-style. All of the added special effects were so low-budget they reminded me of Doctor Who circa 1980 - and that's not a compliment, producer people!

The interviews were an interesting mix of silliness, sexiness, awkwardness, buffoonery and of course lectures from Tyra. Right off the bat I take an immediate dislike to Clark and a shine to Sheena. Analeigh vaguely reminds me Denise Richards, Brittany S. (McKey) has a bizarre low-lip thing going on when she talks, Marjorie reminds me of a white-blonde Audrey Tautou (from the movie Amelie), and Isis is a she-male without an agenda. Hannah is from Alaska (and I can already tell I'm going to get tired of hearing about THAT), Joslyn and her squeaky high voice are endearing in a goof-ball way and Elina is not gender-specific when it comes to love (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

And OMG it's Whitney's "My Life As A Covergirl" commercial! It's terrible, but not nearly as bad as Jaslene - anyone remember that? Holy cow, if ever subtitles were needed it was for Jaslene's commercials. Still, Whitney seems to have embraced her plus-size and resisted the temptation to conform. Way to go big girl!

Ok, enough of the first hour - out of the 35 girls only 14 were chosen and the rest left in tears. Lots of different ethnicities, nationalities and a she-male, but no plus sized girls this go around. Let's get on with the next hour!

After the obligatory race through the house while screaming, the girls finally settle down and begin to diss on Isis. Frankly, I like Isis - she handles the bitchy-ness with self possession and confidence. Marjorie kinda freaks out. Alot. And her nervous energy comes out in arm spasms and stutters. I fear for her down the road - she's pretty, but her lack of confidence could end up hurting her at panel.

Next up is a trip to the Magic Castle where they are once again given an opportunity to run while squealing. Apparently the point of this exercise was to give the models a chance to meet the judges face-to-face. ShaRaun told all of the judges that she IS America's Next Top Model and it didn't go over well with any of them. Joslyn charmed the pants off of Ms. Jay and Isis impressed Nigel with her light-knowledge. Some of the girls were clueless and others asked for advice. Then it's back to the house for SWAG! Nothing like free shoes, dresses and hand bags to make a girl feel pretty!

The theme of the photo shoot was political issues. Natch. Tyra does like to start off the girls with something designed to make them think. Remember Cycle 8 where Kathleen didn't know how she felt about fur? This time around Clark was confused about bureaucracy. Poor silly little girls, is it not enough that they're expected to know the ins and outs of fashion? Must they study current events as well?

Over all I think that Marjorie, Isis and Elina rocked the shoot. Clark, Hannah, ShaRaun seemed a little lost. Sheena (with blue lipstick) had to be counseled on hootch, Joslyn was "Tyra Banks Hot," and McKey used her background in boxing to fight for the environment!

What did the judges think? The first critique was actually pretty gentle! Maybe they like to break-in the girls a little before ripping them an new one. There were a few jabs at the girl's choice of attire and a few pokes at poses but (surprisingly) they slathered compliments on most of the pictures!

They picked Marjorie first - let's hope that boosts her confidence level! Isis, McKey, Joslyn and Elina were also ranked high. Nikeysha, and ShaRaun were in the bottom two and Tyra had to decide who to keep: the girl that can't take a critique or the overly cocky girl who rubbed everyone the wrong way. In the end, ShaRaun's cocky attitude annoyed the judges so much they didn't want to give her another chance. Yet more proof that what the judges seek in a model is the ability to take great pictures combined with a healthy sprinkling of ass-kissing. Take Note!

Next time on ANTM: Racism! Looks like Hannah from Alaska could be in trouble! Stay Tuned!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hanna Hanna Bo-Banna

We're getting ready for a Tropical Storm!

I'm actually kind of excited - it's been a couple of years since my last hurricane/tropical storm. I've lived through many kinds of natural disasters and I have to say that hurricanes are my favorite. For one - you can see them coming! Days and days in advance! This soothes my natural tendancy to freak out over surpirses because there IS NO SURPRISE!

Also, it's a good excuse for a party - can't tell you how many "hurricane" parties I hosted and attended in my nine years of college. My liver is probably groaning with the recollection. Yes, siree - I've got this hurricane thing down pat by now.

And yet, there are plenty of people who always seem to wait until the last minute in order to stock up on the essentials. This being my 10th or so major storm - I had my shopping done days ago. Now, I can safely scurry home after work and be assured that there is plenty of milk, water, bread, pop tarts and vienna sausages.

Yes, indeed - that's typical storm fare for us at Chez Calicobebop. I used to stock up on liquor, wine and beer too however, now that I'm the lone adult responsible for Ms. Muffin I have decided to abstain for the time being. So, as far as I know, this will be my first sober hurricane! Yay!

In addition to the food and beverages I went to the library and procured books and DVDs! Am I brilliant or what? Now we'll be entertained with power or without! Oh, and Hanna gave me the perfect excuse to stop into Yankee Candle and get some "life saving" candles! Mmmm, spiced pumpkin! My favorite!

All that's left at this point is the storm itself! Bring it baby - we're ready for you!

But, ummm, Hanna? Please spare the pine tree in my backyard!! Please?!?!?! Kai Thanx!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Random fun

Stacie has a link on her site to band name generator so I decided "what the hey, I'll give it a go." Little did I know that this single act would provide so much fodder for amusement. Behold, my band names:

Inflatable Calicobebop (so that's why my ass keeps getting bigger!)

Calicobebop Glue (It's what hold my family together)

Calicobebop Manifest (the code by which I live by)

Calicobebop Neck (either my own neck or a "neck" of land in the VAB area that has been named after moi!)

Calicobebop Self (what I think about on the drive home)

Calicobebop Step-mom (maybe some day?)

Stereo Calicobebop (Aww Yeah! Commence headbashing!)

Calicobebop Canal (Seriously? WTF - I've already confessed that this "canal" is out of public service! What more do you people want from me?!?)

Broadband Calicobebop Of The Faded Lunch (My favorite because apparently I'm on acid)

Calicobebop Perception (My blog, my view of the world)

This stuff is solid gold. Go there yourself! It's a hoot!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Sissy's Wedding

Sissy and Mr. SisterJust Married! Calicobebop, Muffin and the Happy Couple

Where did the time go?

Life has been moving pretty quickly these days! My sister's wedding, her move, my parents big European vacation, my daughter's dreadful visit to her dad, school starting, hurricane planning... The list goes on and on. Rather than go into all the gory details I'm just going to start fresh.

For the past couple of weeks I have been living as an official single mom. It's amazing how much I relied on my sister to be here for Muffin when I needed to run an errand or go get a mystic tan. :) Muffin and I are adjusting well, I think, and we're developing our own routine.

Muffin started dance lessons again last night! This is her first year on the barr (whatever that means) and she's wearing all black. That's right - all of the PINK leotards and tights from last year are now unacceptable. Does anyone else smell a conspiracy? At any rate, I knew she would need new shoes so I didn't begrudge that purchase. I suppose that I should be grateful for the opportunity to shop for cute little dresses and such, but I'm still getting over the economical sting.

This morning we're going to visit Muffin's ENT doc to check on the progress of her ear tubes. She has been free of ear infections since they were put in last year and we are very grateful. After the check-up she will go to school and I will go to work and write a paper that is due on Friday. I've had three weeks to write it but ONCE AGAIN I put it off until the last second. I am so predictable.

This weekend we're supposed to get hit by Hurricane Hanna. It shouldn't be a direct hit but I'm going to stock up on water, Pop Tarts and Vienna Sausages just in case.

Well, that's about it for now... Thanks for bearing with me!