Jan 26, 2010

Cat Man Do

Cat Man Do Take 2

I used to think it was totally embarrassing to go out in public with my mom sometimes because she'd have all these little stuffed animals and toys attached to her red walker. I bought her a basket that attached onto the walker to hold all her stuff-like her Wurther's Original Candy, her Chapsticks, pens and crayons, notepads, tissues and Bingo chips. I even went so far as to buy her one of those Arrooogahhh horns that she could use while walking the halls of the Autumn Village Nursing Home. The basket was a brilliant idea because it offered portability-I simply had to unhook the basket off of her walker whenever we went into a store like a CVS or a Wal-Mart and store it in the trunk of my car.

After looking at this 'person' having stuffed cats glued to her head and back, I've come to realize I really didn't have anything at all to be embarrassed about with my mom. Who knew?

This is another shining example of why People of Wal-Mart is one of my favorite sites on the whole wide world web.

Justin Timberlake wins Harvard’s Hasty Pudding award

Justin Timberlake wins Harvard’s Hasty Pudding award

I'm 40 years old now. I'm not supposed to be getting this excited over JT, but I can't help myself. He's coming to Boston on February 5th to accept his Hasty Pudding award and I'm wondering if I should play hookie from work that day to see my dreamboat?

Let's think about this a bit. He's going to be in the same state as me, experiencing the same weather system as me, be at an address that I could drive to and be plastered all over the local papers. He'll probably do a great morning interview with Matty in the Morning on KISS 108. He'll be someplace fab for a steak dinner and steamed veggies to celebrate his award. Or BBQ ribs. Maybe he'll tip back a pint at that Cheers bar?

Ummm. I think I need to stop thinking about him being like 30 miles away from me. After all, I'm 40 freakin' years old!!

Jan 24, 2010

The Vermont Country Store

We received a $25 gift certificate to The Vermont Country Store two years ago from my in-laws.  I've held on to the gift certificate all this time because we fully expected to take a day trip up to Vermont one weekend to visit the store.  But other things got in the way and we never got the chance to visit.

I receive their catalog throughout the year and I always love browsing the pages because they've got such a wide assortment of things from the past. Their tag line is "Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-To-Find."  I bought my silver retro tinsel Christmas Tree a few years ago from them with one of those color wheels and a watch that required winding rather than batteries to operate.

I've come close to buying a few things online, but hesitated because their website couldn't process my paper gift certificate as they've since come out with the standard gift cards that are website friendly and easy to use.  But once I saw that they were selling their own knock-off version of one of my favorite shampoos from the 70's...I had to call their customer service department and see if I could still use my old gift certificate by placing a telephone order.  (I can't even begin to recall the last time I placed a telephone order with a company, can you?)

It turns out all I needed to do was ask.  I called customer service and placed my order for 2 bottles of their Country Herbal Shampoo which is their version of the discontinued Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo made by The Proctor and Gamble company.  (They also sell other retro shampoo's such as Lemon Up, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and Body On Tap.)

A few days after placing my order, I received my bottles of Country Herbal Shampoo.  I eagerly unscrewed the top and took a great big sniff and guess what?  The smell was magnificent. It took me back to precious buried childhood memories of my mother lathering up my hair with her green shampoo in the bathtub. That scent made me feel five years old again.

I don't use the Country Herbal Shampoo every day because I'm trying to make the two bottles last for as long as possible.  But I'm grateful to The Vermont Country Store that they honored my 2 year old paper gift certificate without any hassles and provided me with a pleasant customer service experience during the holidays.

I may not be able to visit their store for a while, but I can't wait to see what other cool stuff they'll find to remind me of what my life used to be like as a kid growing up in the 70's.

Google Voice

I was lucky enough to snag an invite to Google Voice about two months ago.  I signed up and linked my cell phone number to my Google Voice account so that any messages left on my cell would be transcribed and emailed to me from Google.  Not only does it transcribe the message, there's also a nifty little play button so I can actually hear the message as well.  Good thing they added this feature because Google Voice didn't do such a good job with my first voice mail:

"Hey Kimma, It's Barry it's yes, good morning. It's about 20 Bates and let you know i'm money. Heylate patio, so if you don't wanna wait some coffee. We'll meet that's fine of the couple of years. Reallybefore 8:30, but but he completely my, my mother was because of the hospital buzz that those are.Ohh til about o'clock this morning but so If, a, you don't wanna leave that's okay. I'll see you bye. "

Essentially the voice mail should have said this:

Hi Kim, it's Patty.  It's umm Thursday morning, about twenty to eight and I just wanted to let you know I'm running late late today. Umm...so if you don't want to wait for coffee for me that's fine. I'll probably be in before 8:30 (yawn)...I was up pretty late. My mother was taken to the hospital last night. I was up till about 2 o'clock this morning.But ummm like I said, if you don't want to wait, that's OK.  I'll see ya. Bye.

Needless to say, Google Voice did a pretty poor job translating my voice mail, but Patty and I got a really good laugh over it.

And now I call my friend Barry as a joke instead of her real name.  Thanks Google Voice.

Jan 9, 2010

Two Worlds Collide

It's Kismet

Now that I can watch network television again (Why Thank You…DIRECTV), I’m able to DVR all airings of The Big Bang Theory. Sure I have Season 1 & 2 on DVD (Why Thank You…sister-in-law Katie), but my husband Spencer and I love this show so much that we can easily watch any previously viewed episode and always find something to laugh about together.

Last night we watched the episode called The Friendship Algorithm in which Sheldon Cooper devotes himself to becoming friends with the much loathed colleague Barry Kripke. Sheldon has heard that Kripke only lets his friends have access to The Open Science Grid computer on campus and Sheldon wants to have access to it. After repeated attempts to befriend Kripke, he decides to visit a bookstore to find a book on the subject of making friends. It becomes quickly apparent that there aren’t any books available other than within the children’s section. He finds a book called ‘Stu the Cockatoo is New at the Zoo” and proceeds to extrapolate a flowchart he aptly titles The Friendship Algorithm.

I absolutely LOVE this chart. I started laughing as soon as the scene began. So much so that I had to pause the DVR and once again tell Spencer how much I LOVE Sheldon and how much I LOVE this show and simply LOVE his flowchart. Spencer walks out of the living room only to return with a little surprise present. He hands it to me and surprise surprise…it’s a t-shirt with the image of The Friendship Algorithm!!!!! How cool. Maybe he was holding on to it as part of my birthday present, but I was so glad he didn’t wait. What perfect timing. After profusely thanking him, I went into our bedroom and pulled out a t-shirt that I had bought him also depicting a classic scene from the show: Rock…Paper…Scissors…Lizard…Spock.

In retelling this gift exchange to my friend Jillian over lunch this afternoon, she once again told me that Spencer and I were made for each other. It’s a wonderful compliment to my marriage, but I take it with a grain of salt because she’s single and bitter. This is coming from a woman who takes a personal day on Valentine’s Day so she doesn’t have to put up with the pukefest of chocolates and roses that are annually delivered to people who work alongside her in the office. Yea, I’d say she’s a bit jaded.

But in all seriousness, I know how lucky I am to be married to Spencer. This upcoming August is our 20th Wedding Anniversary which means we’ve been together for 24 years as I met him when I was a young lass of 16 and he was 21. He knew me before I knew how to drive. He knew me before I learned about a whole bunch of things.

He really does get me and it’s so weird sometimes for me to actually process that the life we’ve formed together is kismet.

Jan 4, 2010

High Up On The Mountain Top

When I first started at my current job, I didn’t really give much consideration to the limited parking and consequences of the high altitude of where I would be working five days a week. (For those of you who don’t know, my corporate office is located on a big old man-made mountain in Framingham, MA.)  I didn’t bat an eyelash when I was told by Human Resources that I would have to use the company shuttle bus three months out of the year – February, June & October – due to limited parking on The Mountain.  No biggie.  However, after working in this building for the past four years I’ve come to the conclusion that they should have warned me about the weather on The Mountain instead of the parking.

Let me explain.

I’m a creature of habit. I park on the right side of our building in nearly the same parking space every day.  This means that at the beginning or end of my day , I leave the office and could potentially face exaggerated weather conditions due to the elevation on The Mountain. It might take the form of walking against whipping wind or severe sheets of rain.  Occasionally there’s a thunderstorm.  I’m a sturdy girl and unfortunately carry lots of extra bulk on my 5’2 frame.  But that wind has nearly knocked me off balance on more than one occasion. I am also not one of those people who is content to stand in the lobby hoping for a break in the weather. I’m decisive and often find myself pushing past the smart people waiting comfortably inside the building. I take my life into my own hands by pressing on towards the right side of the building in a mad purposeful dash to my car.  (So far I haven’t been struck by lightning.  I urge you to keep your fingers crossed for me to continue my safety streak with Mother Nature.  Thank you very much.)

But yesterday I had a little epiphany while walking our Beagle Minnie in the neighborhood and freezing my ass off.  I finally came to the conclusion that it’s more important to be warm and toasty than it is to look good in my Winter coat and crochet hat.  I knew my return to work was happening, whether I liked it or not, and I inwardly groaned thinking about how cold it was going to be on The Mountain this Winter.  After walking against the wind  yesterday, feeling my skin prickle in pain as the force of the biting below zero wind chill factor hit my face, I decided it was time to bust out my black bank robbery-inspired ski mask and go for it in the name of comfort.  No longer will I wear my crochet hat to match my Winter Hunter Green coat. I resolved to not be a victim this Winter to coordinating accessories.  It was finally time to embrace the fact that it’s not practical dressing cute in sub-zero temperatures.  It was also time to go in a different direction.

This morning I parked directly in front of the building where it seems a good portion of our population parks each day. I managed to get in the third row and about 20 parking spaces away from the entrance.  Sure it’s a bit of a longer walk than if I had parked in my normal parking space to the right of the building, but the benefit of parking front and center is that there is much less chance of being blown away by the currents of whipping wind.  I bundled up as tightly as possible and made my way in a steady path to the main entrance without feeling like the wind was going to knock me down.  I didn’t have to brace my body for anything…I just had to walk.

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  I can’t guarantee that I won’t turn right like a trained monkey and head towards my old parking space at the end of my work day. But what I do know for sure is that for these remaining Winter months, I’m putting on my knit black ski mask and fashion be damned.

I’ll worry later about how I’m going to avoid being hit by lightning.

Jan 2, 2010

How I Spent My Time During Shutdown

Every year for the past four years I've had the benefit of not working during the week of Christmas which is such an amazing bonus with my job.  I was so looking forward to shutdown this year because I had all these plans to get all this stuff done and once again things didn't go as planned.

So here are the highlights:

  • I came down with a really bad cold 4 days before Christmas. Hooray! Even the Niquil didn't make me feel all that better this time around. WTF?
  • Received some great news about my Father-In-Law George on Christmas Eve.  His second bout of lung cancer is in remission and he was able to stop chemo treatments.  We all figured he was going to get good news from his doctor because what kind of scrooge would set up a doctor's appointment the day before Christmas to give bad news?
  • Santa (aka the amazing thoughtful Spencer) surprised me with a pair of Beats by Dr Dre headphones and a pimped out Keurig coffee maker. This fancy smancy version brews iced coffee and is programmable.  I feel guilty about wasting coffee so I've held off setting it up because I've got a bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee to use.
  • Dropped my new HP Laptop on my foot today and caused myself a nasty bloody wound.
  • Set up my pink Hello Kitty Christmas Tree a few days ago.  Yea, I know Christmas is over.  But I've got this grand plan to keep (2) trees up until Spring.  Here's my plan:  Hello Kitty tree in the living room with pink lights and a Valentine's Day tree in the spare room.  I bought a whole bunch of 50% off red ornaments, red lights and a red bow with LED lights for the topper and it looks awesome...in theory since I haven't set it up yet.
  • Got to see Sherlock Holmes with Ginny and enjoyed a 6oz steak at The Outback.  Movie was great, but I think there should be a steak minimum of 8oz.  My steak looked like a hockey puck and was smaller than the loaded baked potato.
  • Achieved Level 25 on Farmville which equates to alot of time on Facebook planting and harvesting crops and organizing my brown and white chickens.  If you're a fellow farmer, I still want Pomegranate Trees.
  • Our beagle Minnie had a whopping 14 teeth extracted and 2 benign lumps removed on December 28th.  I was a nervous wreck the entire four plus hours she was in surgery, but she came out good.  I spent the following day fretting over her health, but it turned out she didn't move off her bed for 24 hours because of the residual effects of the anethesia.
  • We watched Season 2 of The Big Bang Theory on DVD and Season 32 of Saturday Night Live on the Roku player.
I'm sure I did a bunch of other stuff, but right now it escapes me.  What I do know is I'm done counting on my fingers how many days left I have being on vacation.  It's Saturday night and my break is over.  One more day and then it's back to the usual five day workweek.  But this time I'm going back looking forward to seeing my coworkers and thinking about the possibility of doing all that other stuff that's going to fix up my life.

Happy New Year everyone!