Dec 31, 2004

Who's Your Daddy?

I would like to take this opportunity to rant about one facet of what it's like working in Corporate America during the holidays. But before I begin, I want you to know that I love children and nearly everything about them except their propensity for making messes.

On Wednesday, one of the managers who works in the vicinity of my cubicle brought his twins to work with him for the day. It was cute at first listening to their giggles and high-pitched voices throughout the day because it certainly broke up the monotony. At first, I wasn't the least bit distracted by their presence at the office nor was I aggravated that they spent their whole afternoon playing just mere feet away from me while I stared at my computer screen and analyzed numbers for my fun.

But the following day their novelty wore off. At 8am, my morning began with listening to the brood stomp into their dad's office to begin their day watching Looney Tunes on the portable DVD player. This one simple act brought to mind a deeper understanding of why some say television was the babysitter of my generation.

And here's where my rant begins: Precocious twin toddlers are not meant to sit in their father's office all day watching cartoons on a tiny dvd player. Boredom sets in pretty quickly and Bugs Bunny isn't nearly as interesting as running up and down the aisle towards the soda machine pushing brightly lit buttons for Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew.

How can kids possibly behave when they're surrounded by harsh fluorescent lights, computers, telephones and piles of paperwork when they're crammed into a small office and their father's body language and actions clearly communicate he just wants to be left alone?

It's at this point in my rant that I want to thank Corporate America for putting me about four cubicles away from this disaster. They say in real estate that it's all about location, location, location and boy am I lucky to be sitting across from the childless woman with the loud mouth rather than the daddy with the twins.

Not so lucky was Andrea who expressed an interest early on Wednesday that this little boy and girl were just about the cutest kids she's ever seen. (I don't know if the manager was her boss or not, but if she was going for the kiss-ass move it surely backfired on her big time.) About 30 minutes into Thursday morning, the twins were parked inside her cube coloring on her purchase orders and asking about a gazillion questions while she tried to work. Poor misguided Andrea.

I think to myself that if I sat across from Big Daddy, I would be in for a whole lot of trouble because my cubicle is filled with lots of interesting crap that would suck them in like a dirt devil on a throw-rug. I've got a Care Bear calendar, a Smurf party banner, Alf figurines, dishes of candy, a koosh ball....well, you get the picture. I'd be a big mess of excitement for these kids when in fact, all I ever wanted to be is a is a well-paid responsible adult with a kid's mentality to get me through the day.

Thankfully I took a half-day on Thursday so I didn't have to endure too much of this party train. But throughout the morning, I kept an open e-mail on my PC and logged the most interesting tidbits that I overheard while trying to get some work done. These phrases were either uttered by fellow co-workers who hadn't seen or noticed them on Wednesday, shouts from Big Daddy, questions and answers from the kids themselves...you get the idea.

  • Who's Daddy's favorite team? PATRIOTS!
  • Stay still or I'm gonna staple you two to the chair!
  • Daddy's gotta do some work. Now be quiet.
  • Sit down or I'm gonna give you something to cry about!
  • Shhhhhhhhh! Shhhhhhhhh! Shhhhhhhh!
  • Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!
  • Doritos for breakfast? Go for it.
  • Wow. Barbie's come a long way.
  • Awww. My hair is the same color as yours.
  • Did you get that from Santa?
  • You guys are gonna have to use your quiet voice or no Cinderella.
  • Daddy needs a TIME OUT.

I implore you, unless there is no other choice, don't bring your kids to work. Pay a babysitter or burden a relative to watch them rather than dragging them to work with you. Trust me on this. It's in no way fun for them and it's a pain in the ass for you. You will be viewed as a terrible parent when your kids act up and you can't control them. You will look like a big jerk to those around you when you stick someone else with the job of keeping your kids amused. No one needs to see your kids at work for more than 15 minutes. The photographs of your children that you keep on your desk and the drawings that they did for you that are hanging on your office wall are simply enough.

In my Corporate America, children are better off not seen.

Dec 29, 2004

Brown Christmas

I attempted to make Anisette Christmas cookies this year from a recipe given to me from one of the residents at my mom's nursing home. I should have known I was going to be in for some major kitchen trouble when the recipe called for 8 cups of flour.

I gathered all the ingredients and set out to make my first batch of homemade cookies. As I measured out each cup of flour, I was surprised that I needed to keep getting a bigger and bigger bowl. As I was on my 7th cup of flour, my heart sank as I realized there wasn' t any more flour in the house.

My husband suggested using Wheat flour for the last cup. I'm not very good at math, but my notion of how percents work left me to believe that 7 cups of white flour would do very well masking one-cup of wheat flour. So I stirred everything together and much to my horror discovered that even one small cup of wheat flour will turn 7 cups of white flour BROWN! (You know Anisette cookies are supposed to be white, right?) And did I forget to mention that the recipe called for the entire bottle of my anisette flavoring? The kitchen reeked of artificial licorice and I was covered up to my wrists in brown cookie dough.

I managed to roll some of the dough into round balls and spaced them nicely on a cookie sheet. On another, I simply scooped the pasty dough from the massive mixing bowl and splatted it onto another cookie sheet. Regardless of my technique, the cookies baked for the intended ten minutes and came out as either split brown balls or brown lumps with exaggerated peaks and valleys.

After twenty minutes, I was left with 60 brown cookies that smelled of licorice and about seventeen pounds of cookie dough that still needed to be formed, baked and sprinkled with festive glaze. I did what all good beginners are supposed to do when faced with a monumentally difficult task ~ I gave up. I dumped out the seventeen pounds of dough in the wastebasket and set about the task of making the remaining 60 cookies look presentable and pretty.

I slopped the glaze made up confectioner’s sugar and milk onto the hot cookies and watched as the sticky sweetness drizzled over the cookies and down into base of the aluminum-foiled cookie tin. The glaze was clear and not as white as I would have expected, but I figured with time it would harden up and change color. I took out my bottle of brightly-colored non-pareils and started shaking these little happy balls all over the cookies. I began to get a little hopeful seeing how nicely they clung to the glaze and began to think I might be able to pass these off as a gift to my mother on Christmas Eve.

I wasn’t so naïve as to think she would find them delicious, but I thought she would at least appreciate my efforts in the kitchen. For once her daughter cooked something that didn’t come out of a box or require a can opener!

As you might have suspected, my mother couldn’t say enough about my anisette cookies. She thought I did a great job and professed to love them so much that she was going to give them out as a gift to the nurses. "No! Please don’t do that." I pleaded trying to take the cookie tin away from her. But she insisted and the next day dropped off my tin of homemade cookies at the nurse’s station for all to enjoy.

"Guess what? Almost all of your cookies are gone!" She said on the telephone the next day. I cringed with embarrassment thinking of what the nurses must have been saying behind my mother’s back after she handed out her daughter’s homemade cookies. "They really, really liked them!" Yea, right. (I had previously taste-tested them and trust me on this- they were horrific. Although they did taste like anisette cookies, the cookies aesthetic appearance is what did them in. The cookies turned out to be all moist and soggy and many of them were sunken in on themselves after fermenting in the sugary glaze because I hadn’t let them cool off before applying the topping.)

Apparently one of the nurses went so far as to say I made the cookies even healthier by adding a cup of wheat flour. Somehow, in my mother’s mind this was supposed to make me feel better about my first adventure in the kitchen making Christmas cookies.

So what did I learn this past Christmas making cookies? Well, my mother will always be my biggest cheerleader no matter how much I screw up in the kitchen. Oh! And going forward, I am never to rely on my deficient math skills when deciding to substitute ingredients in a recipe.

Dec 21, 2004

Parking Lot Blues

Last night I had to wait in the parking lot after work for 15 minutes while my windshield melted because I forgot my scraper. I did, however, have a state-of-the-art foam snow brum (European Design...doncha know) with a telescoping handle that when extended could reach across to Southboro. It kicks butt for cleaning off your car in heavy snow, but is no match for ice. Duh! So I stocked up the car this morning with a scraper, brush, windshield wiper fluid that can sustain arctic temps and wore my little Nanook of the North head-dress that covers my entire head and nearly all of my face. It's not fashionable. But it is warm and that's all that counts. If you can picture the character of Kenny on South Park (the little boy with his entire head covered with an orange hood so that only his bulbous eyes pop out)--that's me now. I looked very cute this morning in an Alaskan sort of way, but alas I'm no snow bunny.

Dec 17, 2004

Ocean's Twelve Review

Ocean's Twelve will perhaps be my last official 2004 paid-to-see-it-in-the-theatre movie. I should have taken my $9.50 and bought a Starbucks Eggnog Latté and a fancy cookie.

Aside from Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and George Clooney looking good enough to eat (think expensive Starbucks cookie), I surprisingly found myself bored throughout many parts of the movie. It's not that I found the movie's plot difficult or hard to follow. I just felt kind of sleazy and voyeuristic watching these entire well-know actors getting paid to have the time of their lives at the movie-goers expense. I felt ripped off with their crazy, sexy cool bravado because they forgot all about entertaining me and were more interested in entertaining themselves.

The French thief was mildly interesting, but that's probably because I haven't seen such flawless and strong cheekbones on a man in a long time. You will appreciate his agility and expertise when stealing the Faberge egg, but I guarantee that all you’ll be thinking about is how he could have been one dangerously phat break-dancer back in the 80’s with all his gymnastic moves. Did I mention he was French?

I realize I'm sparing you the tedious details about why Ocean's team is back together again, but really what's the point? You got Brad Pitt in shiny designer shirts and sunglasses that accentuate his very kissable lips...so that's about all you need to know. The very annoying Julia Roberts has a comical turn as Tess pretending to be Julia Roberts about three quarters of the way into the movie, but I couldn’t focus too much on her comedy because I was sucked into the void of her dangerously large horse-like mouth. Brad Pitt wins the kissable lips category because Julia looks like she could use a heavy duty dose of collagen to keep up with his delightful smackers, but I digress…

Overall, Ocean’s Twelve was a very disappointing movie. But I’m so happy for all of them because they got to travel to Europe and have a really great time making this movie. Good for them.

Note: Here's a virtual shout-out to the guy who was sitting behind me who couldn't take it anymore and yelled out, "Shhh! Will you please shut up? We're trying to watch a movie." It was the 10:00pm show and a couple sitting in my row talked throughout the first half of the movie until this brave soul decided to shout at him. It was quiet after his outburst and I silently thanked him. I'd never have the guts to shush anybody in a movie theatre because you never know what could happen to you for trying to make strangers act decent. But the guy behind me luckily wasn't as timid as I would be and thanks to him I got to see the rest of the movie without the second-hand chatter.

Nov 7, 2004

I Heart Huckabees

Written and Directed by David O. Russell Starring Jude Law (Brad Stand), Naomi Watts (Dawn Campbell), Jason Schwartzman (Albert Markovski), Mark Wahlberg (Tommy Corn), Dustin Hoffman (Bernard Jaffe), Lilly Tomlin (Vivian Jaffe) and Isabelle Huppert (Caterine Vauban)

I don’t proclaim to know exactly what the heck existentialism is all about and I certainly don’t understand it any better after watching I (Heart) Huckabees, but it sure was a fun trip for 106 minutes.

This is a story about the passionate conservationist Albert Markovski who seeks out two existentialist detectives to help him solve some recent coincidences in his life involving a tall Sudanese man. Aside from three seemingly random instances of meeting this African, Albert is struggling to remain in charge of The Open Space Coalition while his nemesis-Brad Stand (the smarmy near-corporate marketing executive of the department store Huckabees that strangely reminds me of Target) infiltrates his coalition with promises of Shania Twain being a spokesperson for the cause while benefiting the launch of another Huckabees marketing incentive.

Albert gives permission to the existential detectives Bernard and Vivian Jaffe to allow them to follow him around everywhere except where he works. And, of course, that’s precisely the first place they begin. Vivian and Bernard are quite the odd couple. Dustin Hoffman’s mop top was distracting only because I knew he wasn’t wearing a wig and Lilly Tomlin’s trim figure dumpster diving for information was a bit unsettling, but they both did a wonderful job as the quirky detectives.

The addition of the mysterious French radical detective Caterine Vauban eventually moves the plot along, but overall I found her character too annoying and far too wizened-looking for poor lost Albert to be smitten. Eventually the detectives decide to introduce Albert to a support system known as his “other” Tommy Corn is a firefighter whose own issues with the petroleum industry lead him to also be a client of the Jaffee detective agency.Tommy is by far the most likeable and amusing character in the story. You would think there would be a lot of passion to the character of Albert since he’s an environmental activist, but it’s really Tommy who is soaked in passion and steals the show. For example, he’s a firefighter who rides his bike to fires and takes great delight in skirting through traffic jams while his fellow firefighting brothers can only honk the horn of their gas-guzzling machine while stuck in traffic.

The movie drifts off center once Tommy and Albert meet. Between them, they try to discover the meaning of their existence without the much needed help of the Jaffee detectives. Albert delights in tracking down the tall mysterious Sudanese man only to discover that he still doesn’t understand the coincidence of meeting him in the first place.

Caterine introduces her own tactics in opposition of the Jaffe method, but in the end we only discover that each of the characters come to their own realization about what their life is all about. Brad and his spokesmodel girlfriend Dawn are shallow products of the corporate monster they represent and only one of them realizes it too late. Albert and Tommy eventually find their way back to what they were looking for in the first place.

Along the way they both seem to discover that although life is hard, harsh and random – it’s still ok to numb your inner pain by smashing a big rubber blow-up ball on your face as hard as you can. Yes folks, it’s just another form of self-medication but with an existential twist.

My companion and I walked out of the movie uncomfortably silent until I said something about it being an amazingly quirky movie. I really loved it. She just wanted to know what the hell it was all about! But in asking that, I think she unwittingly answered her own question and summed up the whole point of I (Heart) Huckabees.

Side note: I’m a huge fan of Mark Wahlberg so I was desperate to see this movie. I had to wait a few weeks while the movie was in limited release for it to come to my town, but I can say how happy I was to be able to see it on the big screen rather than waiting for it to eventually hit release via DVD. Any fan of Mark Wahlberg will be delighted to see his knack for comedy in his performance as the tortured Tommy Corn, but surely will be appalled at how poorly he can grow a beard. Even though his facial hair was scattered across his cheek in alarmingly sparse patches, the fact that he could ride a bike wearing fireman near-hip boots more than made up for it.Additionally you should check out Tommy Corn’s BLOG that I came across while waiting for the movie trailer to be released. http://tommycorn.blogspot.com/I was sliding my mouse over an image of Mark Wahlberg on the official site and found this hidden link. This idea of creating a BLOG for a character from a movie is an ingenious marketing ploy, but wait – there’s more! I also found that the existential detectives have their own company website: http://www.jaffeandjaffe.com/It’s pretty well done with topics such as About, Methodology, Questionnaire & Case Studies. I took the Questionnaire and was deemed a Solitary Casanova…who needed their help. I wonder how these two questions played into my results?Do you hate anyone?(a) No(b) Yes(c) Hate is too strong a word(d) Hate is not a strong enough wordHow do you feel about hamburgers?(a) I love them(b) I despise them(c) I’m indifferent towards them(d) Meat is murder

Nov 3, 2004

My Experience at the Polls

I voted last night after work and there was a tremendous amount of people at the polls. I stood in line for about 15 minutes as I was fortunate to leave work early because I had my Powerpoint class at 6:30. But upon exiting the polls I noticed there was a line of people snaking outside the school so I arrived at just the right time.

A lady struck up a conversation with me while standing in line and was appalled that I was voting Libertarian. So I jokingly replied that Archie Bunker would call me a 'meathead', but she didn't get the joke. May I ask once again why people don't get me? Then again, I really didn't stop and think: What Would Debbie Do? If only I could get that through my thick socially-challenged head, I would do much better interacting within the public.

Later on in the eveing, I was in my Powerpoint class and my teacher begain our class by asking if anyone had already voted and did we notice who the first candidate was listed on the ballot? (Mind you, he had quite the smirk on his face which I didn't appreciate.) So to irritate him, I raised my hand and said, "Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik" I think I totally floored him and the other 5 people in the class because (a) I knew the answer and (b) I could pronounce his name correctly.

Even though I'm disappointed that I didn't get a personalized telephone call from P. Diddy asking me to Vote or Die, I am pleased that I saw such an amazing turn out-especially the youngsters.

Now that the Presidential election is over, I've unsubscribed myself to the 'Rock the Vote' mailing list and plan on redirecting my attention to the pending release of 'Bridget Jones-Beyond the Edge of Reason.' It's good to have my focus back on what's really important to me - the guilty pleasure of watching Colin Firth's brooding, sexy face. I've seen enough of both candidates these past few months and I deserve a treat, don't I?

Oct 2, 2004


Here's the picture of the grasshopper that was clinging to my Happy Bee antenna topper. Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday! Minnie is two years old and we've had her a whole year. She is the love of my life (besides Spencer) and I've never seen a more expressive dog. 9/30/04 Posted by Hello

This is what Minnie looked like when we first adopted her on September 30, 2003. She weighed 16 pounds and was very thin. Posted by Hello

Sep 18, 2004

Lesson Learned

Nature really can teach us great lessons to live by. I was walking around to the driver's side of my car yesterday morning when I noticed my little rubber yellow bee antenna topper had some strange whisker-like thing sticking onto its face. It looked weird and caught my attention. What the hell?

There was a big green grasshopper attached to the face of the bee. I thought it was pretty odd that it chose my antenna topper as its resting place, but I didn't think too much more about it.

I drove to work which is about 30 miles away in Framingham going my usual 70mph on the highway. As I walking away from the car, I noticed the damned cricket was still perched there on my antenna topper. How did it do that? How come it didn't blow off in the wind? I was amazed! So I grabbed my digital camera and snapped a few pictures for posterity. (I must have looked a little odd to people pulling into spaces next to me considering all they could see was a woman taking digital pics of her car's radio antenna.)

So I walked away with this philosophic thought-we should try to be like my little green friend. Hang on for dear life and don't let the wind blow us off course.

Aug 26, 2004

Usher Rant

I can't stand Usher. If you don't know who this singer is then what I'm about to tell you won't mean a damn thing, but trust me...it's funny.

MTV is always and forever playing his videos in the morning. When I see his video come on for that most annoying song, "Yeah" with all the flashy strobe lights...well, I can't change the channel fast enough.

So Spencer was walking by one morning and said about Usher: He reminds me of Michael Jackson dancing in a phone booth.

He's so right. And people make fun of me for loving Justin Timberlake!

Stinky Candy Delights Me

Spencer and I were doing a little shopping at our local Target. As we were in the checkout line, he mentioned in an off-handed sort of way, "Oh look, liquorice Altoids." I didn't pay any attention because he's always making up funny stuff to tease me when we're out and about. For example, we could be in the Domestics section of a store and he'd tell me they had a Marky Mark beach towel because he knows I'd FREAK OUT!

But he said it again so I looked to where he was pointing and nearly lost my hand lunging over the moving conveyor belt to get my hands on the tins. Good thing I wasn't wearing any bracelets. He really was serious. OH MY GOD. (OK, let me type that again.) OH MY GOOD GOD! I was so excited. I love liquorice! Anyone that knows me could answer that question instantly if asked what is my favorite candy. You'd get 50 bonus points and everything. Honestly.

So I bought a few tins. Just a few. But at $1.79 it was worth it. I mean, you could smell the quality and know that these were not going to disappoint because the fragrance just permeated from the shrink wrap. That's just how 'curiously strong' the smell was.

I had to keep it under control as we were packing our bags into the trunk and heading home. I wanted to just rip into the tin and try one. But I practiced self control and didn't do it until I got home. But once I put one of those snowy little tabs on my tongue...talk about orgasmic! My eyes rolled into the back of my head and I hummed "Mmmmmmmmmm" I wafted the nasty smell for about an hour later, but who cares? I was in the privacy of my own home and Spencer is used to my craziness by now. I love these Altoids!!

So you've got to try them and let me know what you think. Promise?

Aug 11, 2004

Ironic Poo

Spencer was walking Minnie today when he noticed she was acting funny. She just stopped walking and was sitting on the ground looking odd. So he tugs at her chain a little bit to get her to start moving and as she started walking forward, she took one of her back hind legs and stretched it out underneath her so that it was sticking up in the air. Guess what? Poor little Minnie stepped in dog poo and had it on her back paws. Ewwwww....

When he told me about it tonight, I really started to laugh. Just the thought of how dogs thoughtlessly shit all over the place only to have someone step in it later on is kinda funny to me. We're responsible pet owners and always pick up after our dog ( see Blog entry 'Watch Out Thomas Edison" from June 2nd ), but I still find it deplorable that people let their dogs roam the neighborhood freely pooping away on streets, sidewalks or anywhere there's a good scent.

unfortunately for my dog Minnie, she stepped in it. Pretty funny, huh?

Aug 10, 2004

Sit and Stare

I just came back inside from walking Minnie. But before I came inside to put away the groceries, I sat out on my front steps with her. Nothing special about my porch-granite steps leading up to the front door. I was just sitting on my top stair relaxing alongside the evening breeze. I was thinking that I don't do this often enough-this sitting and staring.

I listened to the crickets and the anonymous frogs making their night sounds and I started counting to 100 looking at the leaves on the tree in my front yard. I had to pace my counting because I thought that as soon as I reached 100 then it was time to step inside. I guess that just shows how uncomfortable I am sitting still with nothing happening.

I watched Minnie shift around beside me looking to me as if to say, "Well, what next?" It was interesting to watch her ears perk up at the littlest sound in the night air. At one point someone whistled off in the distance and we both heard it together. I kept waiting to hear the sound of Spencer's car in the distance because he was out on an errand with his sister and wanted to surprise him by seeing us waiting for him on the porch. But see? That's just me trying to come up with a purpose for just sitting still.

Slowly I counted to 100 and went inside to start putting the groceries away.

Aug 3, 2004

Batman!

Spencer told me tonight that there was a bat in our kitchen. I was watching a movie high on Nyquil so it took me a few beats to completely grasp that we had a live bat in our kitchen.

I crept quietly into the kitchen and the bat was hanging upside down near our Tiffany lamp apparently sleeping. (Spencer later said he first thought it was one of my toy's hanging up there)

I phoned the Worcester Police, but they couldn't help me because they said an officer was already on a bat call across town on Salisbury Street. Great. So now what am I supposed to do? He suggested I call Animal Control.

Animal Control at least answered their phone, but happily told me that I was out of luck because they didn't provide emergency response service in the evening which leads me to wonder if all animal emergencies happen during the daytime? They were useless and essentially told me to keep the doors open in house so that perhaps the bat would fly out. But my bat is sleeping!

I opened the Yellow Pages and turned to the 'Pest' headings. I called the first four companies with the largest ads and all of them had answering machines. The fourth call was to a guy with an Auburn telephone number with a company name of Critter Control. Wayne answered his phone and I explained my dilemma.

He said, "Are you alone?" I'm thinking why does he need to know that? Have I somehow managed to contact a professional pervert? "No," I reply. "My husbands home with me and our dog." (Why I mentioned the dog was beyond me, but remember--I had great doses of Niquil in my system) "So why doesn't he take care of the bat?" asks Wayne of Critter Control. "I don't want my husband to get bitten by the bat." "Oh, so it's ok if 'ole Wayne gets bit then?" he laughs.

Without missing a beat, "Look Wayne, I'm paying you good money to come out to my house tonight to get this bat out of my kitchen so I guess that's the risk you gotta take."

Wayne shows up a half hour later in the batmobile. Seriously. His white pick-up truck had a bug guard with the saying, "Batman" stenciled across it. He walked in with a pair of leather gloves that our nations American Eagle could land on, an empty bottle of Gatorade and a big flashlight.

It took Wayne all of 5 seconds to pick the bat off the wall and deftly deposit the squeaking rodent into the empty bottle. Cost of service? Now get ready because this blows my mind.

$135.00

I was so freaked out by the whole experience that I wrote him the check for $1, 350.00. "Wow, that's some tip." jokes Wayne. Huh? I'm not tipping this guy for 5 seconds of bat wrangling. He hands the check back to me and it sinks in that I wrote the check out incorrectly. So my bat guy was honest, too. What a superhero.

Aside from not having a butterfly net and all this 20/20 hindsight, next time there's a bat in my house I'm taking my friend Deb's advice and putting a paperbag over it. At least that's the plan.

Jul 31, 2004

Just Whistle

Right this very instant my next door neighbor is standing across the street from his house whistling for something. I noticed him doing it while I was sweeping my driveway. (It's my little way of physically recovering from mowing the lawn. Sweeping a broom in a repetitious manner really just helps me decompress from the physical exertion required to mow.)

Anyways...He's still out there doing it. It's like he's calling for someone in the neighborhood and I just know it's not his dogs because they're chained up out back. So the only conclusion I can draw is that he's calling for that young girl I see him with every so often. The blonde skinny one with the dead stare and the cigarettes. And this makes we wonder what kind of girl would come running beckoned by a man's whistle? Where's her dignity? Doesn't women's liberation mean anything to her generation? It's one thing to be whistled at, but quite another to be whistled for. It lets the man be in the one-up position and it's like the girl must supplicate herself to his whistle. Shameful.

Perhaps I shouldn't be so cynical. Maybe...just maybe they're secret lovers. Yes, that feels better, doesn't it? He's older, she's younger. Maybe her parents don't approve so they secretly came up with this caveman-like way to communicate. Or maybe they just want to get together to smoke pot and make out. Who can tell?

Oh! He just stopped whistling. By my watch, that was just about 8 minutes of whistling. I wonder. Did she every show up? I have no idea, but it's social observances like these that make me think I've got to get back to watching General Hospital rather than watching my neighbors.

Jul 24, 2004


Mom's Favorite Scratch Ticket Posted by Hello

Scratch Tickets

My mother has discovered the joys of scratch tickets. This isn't good news at all. Especially for someone who suffers from manic depression.

A niece who visits a beloved aunt (known my my mother at "the munchkin" because she's so small, dainty and cute!) at the nursing home occasionally buys the tickets and recently my mom struck gold with her ticket. Well, gold in the sense that she won twenty bucks. But for someone who is limited by the government to only getting $60/month, twenty is really like $100 to her.

So now my mom is driving me insane with the scratch tickets. I took her out last night to get her hair done and she had another winning scratch ticket in her possession. This time, it was only a $2 winner, but she's thinking big and has high hopes. If she gets two more tickets, maybe she'll win more. At least four times during our trip out to Leicester, she saw gas stations and wanted me to stop to redeem the ticket. I'm like a mother with a 4-year old who keeps wanting candy. She just won't stop until she gets what she wants. And I'm telling you my mother will wear a person down. She should bea criminal interrogator because she will find out the truth. Mulder could learn a thing or two from her.She perseveres, she's dogged, she won't give up until she gets what she wants.

I finally broke down when she exclaimed, "Oh! I bet I can cash the ticket in at C.V.S." This was when my outburst happened. "Mom! Would you stop driving me nuts about your stupid scratch tickets. I don't care!! C.V.S. doesn't sell scratch tickets. I'm not going to a gas station to cash in your ticket. You'll just have to wait." This leaves me sounding like an awful daughter who can't spare five minutes to make her mother happy, but if you only knew the demands I have to undertake with my mother...the relentless requests for stupid things she has to have, the search for just the right bra that only is sold at Sears and they never seem to have her size....she drives me crazy. Saying "No" to the scratch ticket redemption is just my small way of drawing a line in the sand between me and my mom's endless requests.

In the end, my mom did get two more scratch tickets. It just so happened that there was a little convenience store next to the C.V.S. called J & J News that sold lottery tickets. I ended up cashing in her stupid ticket and getting her two more 'Aces High'. When I came outside to hand it to her, she was so damn happy. But as I started walking towards the entrance of C.V.S., I heard her say, "Oh, Shit." I turned around and there were her two scratch tickets blowing across the parking lot. She had dropped them while trying to put them in her back pocket.

You know it all worked out in the end. I ran after them and caught them before they blew out into traffic. Just for today, I am a good daughter.



Jul 17, 2004

Where's The Beef?

Everytime a resident celebrates a birthday at my mom's nursing home, they get to choose a special Birthday lunch. Anything their heart desires--within limits both financially and denture-wise.

Yesterday it was Helen's birthday. Now Helen is a very big woman. There's much of Helen to love and she LOVES to eat! The activity lady asks Helen in front of all the gathered residents waiting for their lunch, "What do you want to eat for your Birthday?" Helen thinks for a moment and starts to recite her wishlist: mashed potatoes, lobster, french fries and an eclair for desert. At which point my mom delightfully shouts out, "Hey Helen, why don't you get a side of Beef?"

Jul 5, 2004

Dept of Public Works vs. The Aliens

Did you ever notice the similarities between crop circles and the Department of Public Works? Crop circles mysteriously show up just like those day-glow orange plastic cones you see out in the street. The DPW goes out into neighborhoods and randomly paints bright orange circles and triangles on pavement never to return again. What do they mean?These random street markings just show up exactly like crop circles. Do you think the city is trying to tell me something just like the aliens?

Jun 29, 2004

Company Ice

I was at the new Price Chopper last night on East Mountain Street in Worcester. I had bought a big ole bag of bing cherries and when I looked over at the lady bagging my groceries, I noticed she had this plastic bag sticking out of her shirt. She was saying rather loudly to the cashier how hot it was and that this bag made her feel "...soooo cool." I felt my fists clenching at my sides and I was just about ready to call the manager over when I realized it wasn't my precious bag of bing cherries she had stuffed down her shirt to keep cool, but rather a bag of ice from the ice freezer in the front of the store.

What happened to the days of cashiering when it was inappropriate to chew gum while waiting on customers? Apparently now it's acceptable (and dare I say fun!) to put things you can buy in a grocery store down your shirt for your own personal cooling system.

Jun 2, 2004

Watch Out Thomas Edison!

Ever watch a TV show called "Invent This!" on TechTV? It's a show dedicated to inventors and each segment features a re-enactment of how the idea for the invention originated.

I've got one. Why doesn't Purina or Iams invent glow-in-the-dark pet food? That way, when the dog poops outside in the evening, you'll see this brilliantly green glowing mound of poo and it won't be so hard to pick up in the dark and deposit into your Stop & Shop plastic baggy.

It's a struggle being a responsible dog owner. Our beagle Minnie is housetrained and always poops outside. Our walks are equipped with flashlight and plastic baggy. Our precious little Minnie is a very discerning pooper. She'll only go in certain spots and frequently seeks out patches of musky-smelling leaves or overgrown weeds to do her business. Try gathering dog poop in the dark. That shit's like camouflage.Picking up after her in the daytime is easy...it's when the sun goes down that presents the challenge.

Minnie's poo sure is elusive. And essentially this is where the idea comes in. Scooping up glow-in-the-dark poop would be so easy. I'm no chemist, but I've got to be thinking that if the Trojan folks can come up with glow-in-the-dark condoms...well, then digestible friendly dog food can't be too far behind. Y'think?

May 31, 2004

Serenade At Midnight

I have this nice little cd/clock radio on my nightstand which allows me to play a nature cd that pipes the sound of rain all night long. It's relaxing and helps me get to sleep each night. I think I've played the cd so many times that it's finally burnt out. I've had this cd forever.So last night the cd wouldn't play so I had to try to fall asleep au naturel. But guess what? In all the silence, I started to hear twittering and whistling. It was so erie. I thought it might have been a bat just flying around doing its nightly air swoops, but actually it was a bird.

The really funny thing about lying so still in bed listening to the bird singing was that it felt like dawn instead of nearly 1am. I settled into the blankets and concentrated on the sound. Didn't the bird find it weird that no other birds were answering it's call? He must have been real lonely out there. Hello? Hello? Where is everyone?Eventually I fell asleep thanks to my little misguided friend. I'm curious to know if there will be song tonight when I go to bed. But this is a perfect example of me taking pleasure in the details and that's what I love about life.

May 30, 2004

Grass Is A Pain In The Ass

I've decided that mowing the grass is a pain in my ass. I don't remember last year being this high-maintenance. I've mowed the lawn every week this Spring and that sucks.

Spencer says we should just salt the lawn. Kill everything. There's a house in my neighborhood that has their entire yard filled with decorative pebbles. Sure, a few sprouts of pesky weeds can be seen poking up amongst the stones, but overall it has a nice minimalistic look that someone like me can appreciate. I hate mowing the lawn.

So today I've got to get out there are coax the weed-whacker to start so I can trim all the growth and then I'll mow the lawn. It's 10:30 in the morning so my plan is to devote 2 hours to this task with the reward of a long, hot shower.Maybe then I can come back to the computer and do some real work.