Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday High School Flashback

This note has so many 1989 references for me. I was a sophomore and the last couple months had been a tad crazy for me. A guy that I was dating that was a senior dumped me THE DAY I GOT MY PROM DRESS for HIS prom (yeah, you know who you are). Another guy asked me from our group of friends but I didn't know he had a girlfriend that didn't go to our school AND NO ONE TOLD ME. I went to the prom and it was kind of awkward later and is addressed in the letter but all was well the following year.

Anyway, this is from my good friend Angela who never missed an episode of "Yo, MTV Raps" when it was amusing in the late eighties and oddly also LOVED (ok still loves) The Cure.

Once again, a last name has been erased in one of the PS's to protect the far from innocent. Click on the pic to read.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Writers Workshop Thursday - Foot IN Mouth Disease

Honestly, this does not happen that often. I think way too much about what I say. I carefully avoid topics that might offend someone just in case they have a crazy relative or some horrible traumatic episode in their past that might be dredged up because I mention one thing or another.

BUT about once a year, I do say something that makes me wonder if an alien has taken over my body. Something interesting, I am never partaking of adult beverages so I don't have an excuse other than "Sofia from the Golden Girls Disease". Remember that she would just say whatever, whenever? It's like that but it last for 2 seconds and I am left wide-eyed wondering what hell just happened.

So, when I first moved back to PA I was actually seeing someone. It was a guy my brother introduced me to that was a volunteer fireman. He was a really nice guy and he helped move me from NC to PA (NOTE: I had already decided to move back BEFORE I met this guy). Anyway, my brother had a party at my Mom's house and this guy was there and a friend of his. His friend was a really nice guy too (and he was a K9 cop which is just too cool). So this guys was lamenting about how he could not find the right girl and so the guys were giving him advice and I had a Golden Girl moment...

'We'll just get you some spray on hair and you'll be good to go."

*crickets chirping...loudly*

I seriously don't know what happened right after that but I do know that I was STUNNED at what I had just said. I have NO CLUE to this day why I said it. Was he loosing his hair, yes. He was a REALLY good looking guy though which totally would have overshadowed that feature. Needless to say, that guy and I stopped seeing each other. No break up really, just stopped on account of me being A TOTAL LUNATIC.

Identify Your Exits

This is not only a good idea for spies and those associated with various organized crime families (not picking on any ONE nationality...there are many) but also good for people with kids and older family members. For kids, you want to know how to get out as soon as possible if there is a meltdown or some such activity. For older people, maybe they have trouble with stairs so you want to be prepared.

In my case, it would be good for me to know so that I don't rush away from dinner with friends to head out to check my new car for dents and scratches only to find out what I thought was the exit was actually the men's bathroom.

That poor guy will probably have performance anxiety for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deadliest Catch: Sea Tested

Yay! The boys are back for my fave Tuesday night show. I am wondering every show how much longer we will get to see Phil and it makes me sad. I try to stuff that down with hating Keith. I am ready for his whiny ass this week though. Nothing will surprise me.

We open with a weather report 3 weeks into the King Crab season. Not a good report at all. Two storms on the way with rain, snow and winds 30-40 knots. I was not crazy about the mist I had to deal with while walking the dogs this morning so I understand how they guys must feel.

Edgar and Sig are still battling it out but in a more passive aggressive manner. Sig even says he doesn't care who wins, it's filling the tanks that matters. He is also worried about the weather and the tide. It's kind of a mess. Hey! It's Jake H's 24th b-day! I am thinking that some ass kicking is coming his way. Sig put Jake H. on the rail. Looks like he'll be heading back to the CM in a couple days though.

The newbie Kodiak is up next. I am thinking I am not crazy about his guy after last week. He is friends with the Hilstrands, so maybe there is something good to him initial feeling is no. I mean he hired Russ Newbery for cripes sake. Looks like he finally landed on the crab though after Jonathan gave him insight into their honey hole. He definitely mellows out when his pots are full. I am thinking bipolar. When Bill calls the Hilstrands to let them know he hit big and to thank Johnathan, Bill then lets the Hilstrands know that he hired Russ ("pick up something you left on the the dock"). The bros act fine about it over the radio but laugh about it afterwards. Andy seems to think Bill is inviting a ton of trouble. I was not aware of how much he really disliked Russ. Interesting.

Next up Time Bandit. They are hitting the weather but need to grid through this strand and get the heck out of there. The water from the waves is coming down like heavy rain. They are hitting huge numbers. BUT, they are hitting tons of jellyfish too. ick. I really would like to see the guys start peeing on each other, a la Friends...ok, not really but still funny. They ridicule one of the deck hands for wearing goggles to keep the jelly fish stinging cells out of his eyes. I am sorry. I know it is a tough guy game but I think they are just jealous that this guy will be able to see later when they are done hauling.

Kodiak AGAIN. Boring talk about the weather. Uh oh. Running low on bait. Bill said to bait them heavy and now he is paying for it. Dead in the water according to Mike. Ok, this guy is an amateur. Seriously, bait heavy all the way out there when you have a deadline 5 days out? WTF? Is he going to ask Johnathan for bait as well as his prime spot? Booo!

On the Northwestern Jake H talks to Dad and bro Josh for his B-day. He talks about how the CM is an easier boat to work. Also, his bro misses him and makes him think about their relationship. Meanwhile, Jake H is making breakfast for the NW crew in rolling seas and with Edgar critiquing his cooking...and pranking him by turning off the power. he he he He is breaking things and his scrambled eggs end up on the floor after a big roll. Edgar takes pity and turns back on the power in time for the crew to come in. After they are done, Jake H fesses up that he kinda spit a little tobacco juice "just on the cutting board." BWAHHAAHHH!

yay! Phil and the CM. I want to know how Jake A gets coke on the boat. He always looks like he is totally tweaking out. boo! The first pot is about a zero. Not looking good. Many, the next is no better. I HATE this. I want Phil's last season to be a good one. Looks like the spot that was good a few days ago ended up barren quickly.

Ah! It's my fave whiner. The Wizard is hauling big numbers on this string finally. One thing I do like about the gus on the deck is the talk over the crab table. They are really running low on bait. They need to recycle the bait and I have a feeling that if Keith finds out...there will be whining.

Back to the Wizard after the break. I think this means that Keith is about to find out about the bait situation. Totally out of cod. IF the pots are full, Keith does not have to know but if they are not....AND...that pots are big ole zilches. ooooo not looking good. Dun dun dun. He is getting it...He just said 'cod crisis'. He is going on deck to yell. He told them to 'bait heavy' when you bait heavy you are going to run out of bait moron. Then he goes off on his brother for 'mouthing off'. This guys really needs to be taken down SOOOO many more notches than Jonathan did in week one. He just pisses me off.

CM is hitting untested grounds. It's dark and a LONG beep tells me Phil is spitting out the expletives in a long line. But...the pots look ok! They are starting to increase in numbers. Jake A requests a hook throw from Freddy. He gets it on his first throw. Phil, being the wise guy he is, hits the nail on the head, Jake tries REALLY hard to be one of the guys, one of the crab fishermen. Phil says she doesn't blame him but I think he gets it. Jake continues to do well but does end up missing one. Phil encourages him to go back to the rail and continue. he again does really well. They guys congratulate his good work. I think this time on the CM was good for Jake A. He obviously is a soft hearted guy and the guys on the CM are just as apt to prank you but I think they did Jake A some good. The Norwegians on the Northwestern are colder it seems, even with Edgar showing a soft side when it comes to his wife and kids. I think Jake A needed some building up. Phil is looking forward to getting HIS Jake back though and talks about how much he likes having his kids with him on the boat. Seriously, I am tearing up a little.

Back on the CM and Northwestern they are planning on trading the Jakes back. They are talking about throwing them in the water in survival suits to pick them up. The CM guys talk about how Jake A did a really good job. Jake A said he feels like a deckhand as opposed to a slave on the Northwestern. Jake H thinks about why he was sent to the NW as he runs the boat on wheel duty. He thinks that his dad sent him to the NW to make him a better leader. He also knows how good he has it on the CM and that he was pretty cocky. Jake A really liked his time on the CM. The guys made him feel like part of the team instead of the outsider that he is treated as on the Northwestern. He feels like all they do on the Northwestern is kick him when he is down. If I didn't agree I might think he was whining and call him on it but he really did seem to blossom (sorry about the term but it fits) on the CM.

In summary, I am not sure exactly why Keith has not gotten it through his thick head why his crew does not want to communicate with him. He is an idiot. He told them to bait heavily, he had to know they would run out. I am not sure where he gets off treating his brother the way he does. I know he's the captain but Monty has been fishing just as long. Again, idiot. I thought that the Jakes were going to switch but I guess we'll have to wait for next week. I worry that since Jake A saw that not all boats are like the Northwestern in that they don't all 'kick the dead dog' that he might change his mind about fishing and or the boat he is on. Kodiak, still not sure about that guy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

I am one of those people who fall for inanimate objects. When I was about seven, I bought a stuffed animal at The Christmas Tree Shops solely because it had a defect. There were a ton in the bin and I was so worried that no one would take the little kitty home and it would end up in a dumpster somewhere. I slept with that kitty for a very long time. I remembered feeling like I had done a good deed.

I have not come very far. Don't worry, I am not a hoarder or anything. I generally stay away from stuffed animals (although I do have a collection of Beanie Babies I cannot bring myself to get rid of) and other similar things. I started giving some of the animals to the dogs but they like to rip them up so a little piece of my heart goes when I hear a seam tear or find a pile of fluff in the living room. Anyway, I did have a moment of heartbreak this weekend in the same genre. I got a new car which meant I was leaving the old one behind.

This was the first car I ever actually OWNED. We actually had the title in our hot little hands for awhile. It was the first car I felt I had complete control over when making the decision what to get. I loved my car and took care of it. It had a 'Woof" sticker, a "mutt" magnet and an "AXA" sticker for Anguilla (very unique). I was not ready to let it go this weekend. I really thought I would just get it fixed and I'd be on my merry way. Well, six hours later after working the numbers I had a new car. I never got the chance to say goodbye to my Pilot or prepare myself for giving him up. I just had to clear him out and take off my 'Mutt' magnet, leaving the stickers and hand over my keys. At one point I even felt like we were stealing a dead man's wallet as we removed the wheel locks to put on the new car.

We sat by the window and finished up the paperwork. I looked outside wistfully at my car and hoped that after a a paint job and an alignment fix that the next person would like him as much as I did.

I am teary-eyed. Yes, I am that person.

(it's the silver one all the way to the left *snif*)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Did You Know?

If you hit a curb real hard like your coffee will spill all over you and the alignment on your car will go all out of whack?

Um, yeah. It does.

Friday Flashback Will Be Back Next Week...

Unless I am broke and working the corner for money to fix my car.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writers Workshop Thursday - Happy Sheep!

I am not going to lie to you. The reason I picked a topic about 'joy in the moment' is because it is hard for me to find. I am pessimistic...I like to call it very realistic but P and others just shake their heads at me. I am working on it...occasionally...

I can find joy when I look for it but I have to REALLY look sometimes.

There is something small that I find joy in every time I see it.

I pass a farm driving to and from the office and with the spring come these.

There is really not much cuter than baby sheep. Have you ever watched them? Their joy is contagious. As I am driving along, I actually hope for a red light so I can stop and watch them cavort in the field. When they were first let outside with their mamas they were a little timid. They stuck close to their milk supply and looked around a little. As days went by they started noticing other little sheep their size. Then they started playing with each other, not in groups but a couple would get together and start jumping around on their still wobbly legs. You could feel their joy in just being alive. And they are so white, they almost sparkle! I think if it were dark they would twinkle.

A few weeks go by and all of a sudden they have formed a posse and are tearing around the field together. No worries, no cares. For some reason the 30 seconds I get to watch this, opens my heart and clears the clutter from my head. There is sincere joy in that sheep field and I got to experience it for a moment. That is a treasure.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Re Cap Deadliest Catch - Breakin' Em In

Looks like this week the arguing between family members might be a point. At least that is what the intro said. The weather looks like it is about to turn as well.

We start out with the Cornelia Marie grinding it out. It's not looking good at the moment and we are reminded that Phil has been out of the game for 22 months because of the blood clot he had. So, we move to Freddie the Samoan deck hand eating some raw fish to appease the crab gods. He then convinces Jake A, the puppy dog, to do the same. I think he'd jump overboard if someone told him to. The offering seems to help though and the crab starts rolling in and we are treated to Freddy drinking the blood of cod as a thank you to the gods.

Next up, the Wizard. Looks like they are getting ready to haul. The Greenhorn is in a good deal of pain from the muscles in his hands. The guys are giving him really hard time. "Consistently full is what we are looking for, but consistency will do." is what Keith says. What the hell does that mean? You can have one crab a pot and that's ok? Fortunately, Keith starts to haul good pots but that means the greenhorn has to move quick to get the bait done. He is getting a lot of crap from the crew. Keith pontificates that if you are the greenhorn you have to suck it up. If you can't move your fingers I think maybe there is a problem. Do these guys remember what their first season was at all?

CM starts out and they are hauling 60 averages. Pretty good but then need 30K lbs more. They get it and head to St Paul to offload the first run.

Time Bandit is in the storm. They are about to test a hunch. A spot that they have hit 2 years in a row. They are pushing it with a third. Hopefully Karma will not bite him now for the Kieth thing from the first episode. The first pot is all but empty, second as well. Not looking good. Jonathan does not seem too upset. He says its part of the job. Commercial.

Time Bandit continuing to haul blank pots but spot finally what they are looking for scallops in the pots, crab food! The next pot is full. They hit the area and are hauling in the crab.

Next up, Kodiak is ready to start hauling in pots. Bill hasn't pulled pots in 5 years. Russ talks about playing the game. They haul up a pot of crab but they are all females and small. This trend continues and he is not happy with the pace of the deck hands. It's hard to tell if they really are slow of he is just pissed off. A second knot comes untied and a pot falls again, just like last week. Someone is going to die on this boat. Not a great start to the season.

We come back to the Northwestern. Jake H is going to be on the rail. Here comes the first The storm is hitting them now and they continue to haul in 40 knot winds. Sig takes Jake off the rail and doesn't like being treated like someone's kid rather than just a deckhand. Sig and Edgar start getting into it. Edgar is complaining that Sig needs to stop crossing into his territory, the deck. Sig is pissed and acting like a child. That is pretty much par for the course. He is a control freak but I can appreciate that because I am one as well.

Time Bandit is on the crab and putting all his pots on the scallop beds. Andy heads down to help with all the crab in the high seas. Waves are crashing over the sides and there is lots of creaking and Andy gets swept across the deck. He is ok but it was a really close call.

Northwestern. Sig and Edgar are still battling. Sig is still arguing over this trivial thing and picking at it and complaining that Edgar needs to be in the wheel house understanding what is going on up there. He doesn't want to. He feels like he is getting to the end of it. Sig accuses him of being miserable and infecting the crew. It seems that Sig doesn't even realize that Edgar is ready to walk away. Edgar at the end holds up pics of his family saying "This is what is important, this, this and this. Not a crab pot." as he points to his pictures. I think I am in love with Edgar.

I think we are ending with the Kodiak tonight. They had a horrible start and are looking for anything at this point. Bill calls into Jonathan on the Time Bandit for some help. It sounds like Jonathan lets him in on his area a bit but hopefully it will pay off. Problem is, they are running very low on bait. Now, they need to set cod pots to replenish their bait. Bill seems to be really pissed off at the point. One of the deck hands is trying to explain why the cod pots were not ready. It seems to me the deckhand was right but Bill went off anyway seeming to cover his mistake with more yelling. The deckhand seems to cower under the captain and that is really odd. I mean he didn't even really stand up to the captain. Stupid Russ Newberry takes the captains side and makes a remark about if it was the 1700's someone would be getting keelhauled. SHUT UP RUSS!

In summary, looks like we are into the season. The Hansons on the Northwestern are having brother issues and are not communicating. Wild Bill on the Kodiak is no longer ok in my book. I think he needs some Xanax. Keith pontificates again and it annoys me. See you next week!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Deadliest Catch Recap - Season Premiere

I am a huge fan of this show. I have been watching it from the beginning so this post might just really be for me. If you like the show. Good! If not, I'll be back tomorrow with something else.

I am finally getting a chance to watch the first episode of the season. It will be bittersweet as I was very upset when Phil Harris passed. He was my favorite and always will be. They show a good deal of him in the intro and I am glad because I miss him and they got some great shots.

We open with Jake and Josh Harris going at it. I love these brothers. They fight like cats and dogs but they are family and you can see it. Josh, though, was talking about the possibility of switching boats because he couldn't stand working with his younger brother. Cut to the Northwestern where Jake (jeez, two Jakes, um, this is Jake A.) is asking about running the boat. Sig seems to think he is getting a bit ahead of himself.

Keith on the Wizard is puffed up and mugging for the camera. It is SOOOOO obvious. He is making fun of the new greenhorn asking how long his rap sheet is and says he looks like he just came out of the joint. Jackass. It is funny because Keith asks another crew member how many greenhorns they've gone through. He wonders why...Really?

On the Time Bandit Jonathan and Andy ask crew member Eddie what Keith was talking him up at the bar about. Eddy reveals that Keith asked if he wanted to work on a real boat. Needless to say Jonathan is pissed and is itching for a fight. Looks like he'll get his chance at the Captains get together in the old skeleton of a ship on the beach.

At the meeting, all are present except Jonathan who is in his truck on the way. When he arrives, he doesn't waste much time getting into it with Keith who of course denies trying to steal Jonathan's crew members. Now, I dislike Keith. He is a baby and he is a backstabber. I have seeing it over the years. BUT, Jonathan dealt a low blow when he said something about "killing your brother" which basically references something that happened last season when Monty, Keith's brother, got very badly hurt. There was a push ended up with Keith on his ass. In my opinion, where he belonged just because he is Keith. Keith jumps up and starts calling Jonathan "Suckerpunch" Hilstrand. Too freaking hilarious. He was like a little girl. Jonathan didn't even hit him. Someone call the whaaambulance. The rest of the captains actually look a little startled at the altercation. I have to say, I wonder if is was slightly contrived. It might have been but I kind of don't care, again, I don't like Keith.

Back at the docks, Sig and Phil are chatting about the two Jakes. They are cooking something up, it's obvious. What you find out it's that THEY ARE TRADING JAKES! Whaaaa?

Cut to Keith whining about last night. Keith kind of eludes that maybe he DID talk to Eddie and "offer advice" but no code was broken. Hmmmm.... He also says "I was attacked physically and I was man enough not to do anything." Um, yeah Keith, you were ON YOUR ASS and Phil stepped between you and Jonathan. What an ass.

Next day, boats pull out and begin the season. Keith pontificating. SHUT UP! Oh he is going to annoy me this year to no end.

On the Northwestern, Jake H is signing paperwork and being told to forget everything he has ever learned. Then he is forced to do the biting the head of the herring for a good season. Jake H seems to be doing well till he gets hit with a door but he's ok.

On the Cornelia Marie Jake A is stuck baiting. It seems a little more relaxed on the CM side for Jake A and he seems to be getting along with people well. His puppy dog "please like me" 'tude might become a problem when the crew gets tired.

After the break, we see the Wild Card of the season, Wild Bill of the Kodiak. He's got the distinct pleasure of having ex Time Bandit and ex Wizard crewman, Russ Newberry. The reason that he got kicked off the Wizard, he is like Keith. Another annoying man. Bill seems like an interesting guy. Right off the bat though, you see that the combo of vets and greenhorns on his boat could be a problem as a pot comes off the hook and would have killed someone had they been a little closer to the rail.

CM starts hauling prospect pots. The first few are not so hot then they get into it which is good for Phil. Everyone is happy. Then Jake A falls into a crab tank. he he.

Phil, Jonathan, Andy and Sig comment on the perfect weather and in captain style the immediately are worried that they will pay for it. Jonathan calls the Bering Sea Lake Titticaca and Andy says that if this is global warming he likes it. Now whether it is editing or it really happened this way but the Coast Guard sends out a PON PON for the Carly Renee, a vessel taking on water. The vessel Guardian is able to respond and someone on the boat with a camera phone records what happens. All four crewmen are rescued. This is the first time we have seen a happy ending in a boat sinking on this show and it made me happy to see how the fishermen look after each other. The crew members of the Guardian and the Carly Renee talk about just that. Then it cuts to them looking at the sunken boat and you can see that they are holding back tears.

Good start to the season. In summary, a Jake swap, Keith is a girl and I miss Phil.

How Could this Have Happened?

I usually try very hard not to do two negative posts in a row but the anger and sorrow and almost shame I feel being a human right now is about to make me physically ill.

Ban on Dog Fighting Videos Struck Down in Supreme Court

I have two rescue dogs. I treat them like my children in my heart but I know they are dogs and they are treated like dogs because it would be detrimental to them to treat them as humans. Let's just get that out of the way. What these videos show is absolutely horrifying. Anyone who gets pleasure from watching something like it should be sterilized immediately, i.e. taken out of the gene pool. Why? It means you are a sociopath/psychopath and will likely torture animals and move on to children and adults. That is the progression of a serial killer.


That is not my point. What these videos are showing is an illegal act in all 50 states. As I see it, murder of a human being is also illegal in all 50 states but if we were to market and sell snuff films or maybe videos of people being raped violently, I guess that would be ok.

Make no mistake, I am not equating humans and other animals, I am stating that it looks like the Supreme Court has decided that the videotaping of an illegal incident, ANY illegal incident is not illegal and people can profit from said incident. Does that make you feel good about the state of our country? It scares me to death.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dear Neighbors

Dear Neighbors,
Good morning! I hope you enjoyed that lovely weekend. I noticed several of you working hard on your curb appeal. Just beautiful. I have one favor to ask. I know we all want our lawn that perfect shade of rich green that really is not actually attainable in nature but being in the suburbs it is beaten into us that our lawn must be perfect at any cost. When you or your chemical company come to treat your lawn, is it possible that you keep the weed killing poison, scary genetically modified lawn food off the sidewalk? I mean, there is not grass ON the side walk and you are technically wasting all those chemicals when you could be using them in your backyard or something. For me, I don't want my dogs walking on it and I don't want it on the bottom of my shoes, being tracked into the house. I am pretty sure anyone with kids doesn't want that either. You see, if you look on the bag of most brands of lawn treatment it tells you in bold letters that kids and pets should not be near it and that it is a poison of sorts.

So, I'll make a deal with you. You stop spreading that crap on the sidewalk (I know this is possible because we have a spreader too, just use the guard on it) and I will continue to pick my dog's crap off the curb side of your lawn. If you hold up your end of the bargain, great. If not G-dog and M-dog will be leaving presents for you that your lawn chemicals can do nothing about.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday High School Flashback

I have a treasure. It is in a shoebox. I thought I lost this treasure long ago, actually around the time I started this blog. This box holds all the information that was so extremely important in high school that is was passed in interesting shapes; footballs and squares and triangles, a origami-like configuration if you will. They are high school notes. The notes you wrote in class with information that was much more important than whatever any teacher was saying. Words that needed to be said over life and death matters such as, who was riding with who to where, if you saw someone in the Plaza or the Court or if that guy that just broke your heart is showing any remorse what so ever.

Today's first installment is from my good friend Pauline (Bean) to me (Zuppie). We are talking about a birthday party and I think prom shoes. I have erased a little bit and also I must tell you, those drawings at the bottom of the second page they are not what you think, they are SOCK PUPPETS. :) Click on the image to see the full size, no crazy viruses, don't worry. This first one is a pretty tame one. Once I get the ok from the rest of my friends, there will be others that will make you laugh till you cry...or at least ask me what the inside jokes are sock puppets.

Since this is the first time I am doing this. There might be a trial and error period. Bear with me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writers Workshop Thursday - Cigars, Graph Paper, Grape Bubble Yum and Number 2 Pencils

When I was little, I always associated the smell of a cigar with my Grampy (Mom's Dad). It made me think of all the wonderful things at my Grandparent's home and how much I loved being there. Now that my father has passed, it more reminds me of how much I miss my Dad. I can see him standing in the garage or on the deck relaxing with a cheap El Producto or enjoying something a little nicer with the boys on the deck at the cape, maybe a Hampton Court or a smuggled Cuban. Dad would stare into space and daydream and relax when he smoked a cigar. I think maybe he was thinking of golf or Puerto Rico or maybe just the beach at the Cape. Dad found relaxing difficult so this memory is really one I treasure. That smell can bring tears to my eyes at the drop of ash.

My Dad was a Chemical Engineer, one of the top in his field of Environmental Consulting. I am not bragging, it is a fact and I have the documentation to prove it. He was incredibly detail oriented but had a difficult time with change. He had a calculator from the late 60's that he used until it died completely. He was also not completely trusting of computers. I think he could have become more of a techy guy had he had the chance. He kept extremely detailed notes on all his projects. His writing was all capital letters but he made the letters that were supposed to be lowercase smaller that the ones that were uppercase. I envied his writing because it seemed to flow so well. Every word was so perfectly legible (unlike my handwriting today). He almost always kept his notes on graph paper. I thought it was the coolest thing. Later in life, I would realize just how important all those notes were. My writing never looked as good on graph paper but I still buy it sometimes just to see.

I remember at a very early age not understanding why I could not have the awesome smelling grape Bubble Yum my Dad used to get. The pieces were HUGE compared to those little piddly Trident pieces. The smell of that artificial grape and sugar was mesmerizing. Sometimes Dad would let me have half a piece. I could feel the sugar in between my teeth and the gorgeous fake grape flavor wash over my mouth. Then I would try to blow a bubble and the gum would fall out of my mouth.

According to the company my Dad worked for, he used a lot of pencils; Dixon Ticonderoga number 2 pencils to be exact. He seemed to go through a lot of them in September when his girls started school for the year and about the time those girls too k their SATs. I am not sure how they never put 2 and 2 together considering all his detailed notes were in fine point black pen. These days, they'd dock his paycheck for it.

While these four items, cigars, graph paper, bubble gum and pencils may seem like an odd combination, I can tell you who my Dad was based on them. My Dad was contemplative when he felt he could be. His job was very stressful and when he had a cigar, he was allowing himself to relax and think of golfing or Puerto Rico. He was extremely detail oriented, maybe to a fault at times. Although he was an amazing person, I think he was always driven to a certain perfection. It might have been OCD had he allowed himself to think there was anything wrong with the details. He still had playfulness in him although you rarely saw it. I think the grape gum was part of that. The pencils, well. Mom never asked him to do that. He just brought them home for us. As a result, I appreciate a well sharpened, yellow number 2 pencil.

I am a lot like my Dad. Some think there is a bit of fault in this as I have trouble with my emotions and I stress myself out more than I should. But when I look at the items above, I see the good things I picked up; remember to daydream, there is calmness in the details, don't forget that kid inside and remember to pick up pencils (or ice cream) for those you love.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Martini's and the Salad Bar...A Flexitarian's Dinner

So, before my hiatus...that is what I am officially calling it now ("Just being lazy" doesn't sound as cool) I was really getting into the whole food thing. I am still right there and although some rules I have relaxed a bit (I will buy bananas and clementines because I need them) there are others I have increased. I rarely eat red meat anymore. If I know there is an event where I will eat it (if my Aunt and Uncle, wonderful cooks that they are, prepare lamb on Easter, I am going to have a little), I prepare for it by eating veg as much as possible beforehand. Why? In my crazy head it balances out. I will not eat any type of meat at a restaurant (or at home) unless I know where it came from and what conditions are of that place it came from (grass fed beef, free range chicken, sustainable fish, etc). That is pretty easy considering the pro-local restaurants, farmers markets, etc. around here. It gets hard when you have very good friends that you have not hung out with in a long time and they want to go to a red meat Mecca. Do you know of what I speak? It is called the Brazilian Steakhouse.

Meat item after meat item is brought around to your tables. If your coaster is on the green side, they put meat on your plate until you turn it to the red side. It is CRAZY! I went to one for my brother's birthday before I started making all these rules for myself and I couldn't keep up then. Now, I am not sure what to do. I have been researching my options. I could just go for the salad bar which is ANYTHING but just salad. I could find out more about where the meat comes from those prices...I am going to bet it is not a pretty pasture with lots of nice green grass and babbling brooks for the cows. My last option and it seems like a good one, eat before and drink my weight in martini's. Ok, no, with my track record, not a good idea.

Hopefully, I'll figure it out before we go. I'll get good natured teasing about my eating habits from good friends whose company will more than make up for the fact that I will probably be eating from the salad bar...

...and possibly still drinking at least a small child's weight in martini's

...oh and dessert.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Since I don't have a list of things to blog about I am going to have to blog about what it plaguing my mind right at this moment. Right at this very moment, I am having a nice cup of coffee and there is a RAGING battle going on in my head. You see, the deli downstairs has these brownies. These are not just ANY brownies. These brownies are dark chocolate with chocolate pieces AND, the BEST part...a thick peanut butter swirl. I am almost dizzy thinking about it. I WANT ONE.

Commercial Interruption: I lost 40lbs this year on WW. I have about 10 more to go. I am SCARED to FREAKING death that I will gain it back like I did the last time when I lost 30lbs. I am better prepared this time as I did not nor do I eat fake food. I ate regular food, no fat free cheese or Lean Cuisines or fat free cookies. I did eat cookies and brownies now and again. I am human after all no matter what my husband tells you. Back to the post with you.

My brain is amazing at playing both sides of this. On one side, it will say "You are working tonight. You'll be on your feet for hours at Lottery Yarn. You'll probably burn most of it off." The other side says things like, "Did you see that scale this morning?" or "So how was that run you flaked on this morning? Hmmm?" GAAAA! It's a wonder I don't have a split personality. They will go back and forth on this for the next hour and fifteen minutes (the deli closes in an hour and 15 minutes).

My brain will then try to make deals with the other half in that if we go get said brownie, it will be the only one this week, you'll run in the morning, you'll not buy anymore Florentine (Crack) Confections from Whole Foods (it is crack by the way, in the manner of sunflower seed brittle) to put on your Stonyfield fat-free frozen yogurt.

Sometimes they strike a deal and have me walk down to the deli in a daze where I will paw at the basket of brownies, looking for the:

1. One with the most PB
2. Softest
3. Largest

in that order. I will take it back upstairs, warm it in the microwave for 10 seconds then drink my coffee with said brownie. I will be in chocolate/peanut butter heaven...for about 20 minutes and then it will hit me.


That part of my brain must have been sleeping while the deal went down because then it gets all guilt-trippy on me, "What about how hard you've worked this year?" and "Do you know how long it will take to get that out of your system?" I'll hang my head and feel down for about 24 hours...about the same time the next day when some part of my brain will pipe up:

"Hey, you think there are brownies down there today?"

Update: Deli is closed for the brownies were consumed. One battle won. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

A 5K Virgin No More

So after one failed attempt at Couch to 5K (C25K) a few years ago to now when I have been running 30 - 40 minutes 3 times a week (on a good week) I finally decided it was time. Time for an actual 5K race. I had a few false starts. Last year I was thinking about doing it for this particular race and volunteered instead but this year, I had no excuse. I was a novice runner needed to get past the race fear.

What was I afraid of? Mostly looking like an ass who decided to run a race but went too fast too soon and ended up walking most of it. I was also worried that I'd get a cramp because I had to work at Lottery Yarn the night before (RANT WARNING: and even though I came in early as a favor to teach a class, I was not told for sure if I could leave at 9pm, store closing time, and instead had to wait it out to see if I could leave and as a result, not get my break, meaning no dinner just a Luna Bar in the car on the way home). I also was worried I'd come in dead last. The last one was unfounded as I checked the site to see what the longest times were and I was positive I could beat at least them.

I had friends running the same race (David's Run) as it is for a foundation run by one of my best friends in her brothers memory. Anyway, one of my friends told me to take is really slow in the beginning because it was an uphill finish. So I did but when I got to the first mile marker I was WAY below my usual pace. I knew that if I picked it up too much that I would die on the uphill portions. So, I ended up with a slower than anticipated time but...I FINISHED! I finished and did not fall over at the end. I recovered quickly and felt like I could accomplish just about anything that day. :) I guess that is why runners run. I do it because I like to eat, let's be honest.

Now I am at home and as a result of the Manhattan Bagels that I consumed after said race, I want a big ole' nap. That is something I learned, the endorphins are short lived. :)

This is a pic of me and 'the girls'. I am the one with the number.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Misdirected and Unrequited Love

So I am leaving the mall yesterday and as I am pulling out onto the turnpike, I notice there is a note on my windshield. I had not been in the mall more than an hour and I know it wasn't there when I left the parking garage at work. I was going to leave it there until I got off at my exit but I started thinking about what it could possibly be. I could tell that it was a lengthy note on small paper. I didn't remember seeing any damage to my car when I got in so I didn't think it was an "I hit your car" note. I was actually trying to read it, while folded up under my wiperblade. I am not sure which is more dangerous, that or texting while driving.

Curiosity got the better of me and I pulled over to remove it from the windshield. It was starting to flap a bit anyway. So it turns out it was a note from a girl named Melissa to a guy named Kevin. I guess Kevin has a beanie baby on his console too. Anyway, it was an 'I want you back' type note. What is crazy is how much I learned from these people on 3 sheets of 4x6 paper.

It seems that they were an on again off again couple and she broke it off the most recent time. They have a child together and were living together as well. There was a 'You complete me' line in there that made me about retch on my dash as I was driving. Supposedly he is now in love with someone else but this girl Melissa wants Kevin back. She is really hurt that he could find someone else and fall in love so quickly. I surmised at this point that they must be kinda young/immature because of the line and the falling in love so fast stuff. Anyway, in an interesting turn of events at the end of the note she tells him to STAY CLEAN for his daughter. So now we have addition thrown into the mix.

I feel pretty bad about having this note because she clearly is looking for some type of answer from this guy but she picked the wrong car on which to place her note. I put myself in her shoes and thought about what would happen if that was me and I was waiting for some answer from the man I loved, the father of my child. (It was hard to do this b/c I would have been SO much smarter about it. I'd have actually looked at the stuff in the car and the license plate, etc to make sure it was his car.) I am guessing that she is going to be pretty hurt and angry when she doesn't hear anything. I mean they DO have a kid in common. It's not like the note is not going to come up and she'll just assume he is blowing her off. She'll confront him and he'll not know what she is talking about and think she is crazy and she'll think he's lying to avoid the subject. The scenario I have in my head is not good and it kinda makes me sad.

The note is still in my car. I thought about taking it back to the mall and leaving it close to where my car was but then I realized something. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe he was not meant to get that note and the next thing that happens IS the right thing. Maybe she lets it go and he stays happy in love with someone else and that is the best thing. If I interfered, I might screw things up. Maybe this way is better for the kid and she'll grow up stronger and happier not having her parents constantly breaking up and getting back together. It might make her relationships stronger. Or what if she is so mad that she decides to do something to his/my car when she sees it at the mall again.

Or I could just be over thinking this SO badly that I will have bad dreams about it. Now that would suck.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Writer's Workshop - Love At First Sight

It is easy for me to fall in love with a book. I have done it many more times than I can count. I keep some of the most special ones close by so that I may grab one and lose myself for a little while whenever I need a break. There are some books I can open at any page and instantly sink into a different time and or place. Sometimes I search for specific chapters or passages just because I need the words wrapped around my like a favorite blanket.

The first book I ever fell in love with was a book called 'Cape Cod Summer' by Eleanor Early. It is a book written in 1949 about Cape Cod in the summer. The most interesting part of this to me is that at a young age I appreciated the fact that this was a book of non-fiction. Ms. Early wrote this book as a type of travel guide for those who wished to visit the narrow land. She basically starts at Plymouth and moves along the Cape to the villages and gives ideas of the special things to see and do there. I think what made me fall in love with it was that even though I found this book in the 1980's, almost all the things that Eleanor wrote about were the things I loved about the Cape but she wrote about them over 30 years earlier.

Ms. Early wrote about the beaches and the views, the harbors and the people. She was not writing about the miniature golf, the whale watches and the cheap tourist attractions. She does mention shopping but only as a warning as she expected it to be warmer the first time she traveled there and needed different clothes once she got there. Although some of the things she wrote about are gone I think 95% of them are still there now in 2010. That to me is amazing and absolutely wonderful. Scargo Tower is still there. :)

I have read other books about the Cape and the two that fall a close second to this book, 'We Chose Cape Cod' by Scott Corbett and 'The House on Nauset Marsh' by Wyman Richardson are no less dear to me. What I find interesting is that all three of these books were written in the 1940's and 1950's. They are not special to me because they are quaint and old fashioned but because they show the core of what it is to love Cape Cod. Tourist attractions come and go but the core of what Cape Cod has will always be there for those who wish to look for it. I am just very grateful that there are authors that chose to do so during that time period.

So This is How It Happened

I was an avid blogger for a year. Somehow after 2008, I fell out of it and I still cannot put my finger on how. I started up again last year but fell out again. I went back through my posts and tried to figure out why. I came up with two reasons.

1. My steel trap mind is starting wear
2. I'm boring

So both those things are not the type of things I want to keep me from doing anything, let alone blogging so in order to fix one I need to fix the other.

I wasn't always boring and I used to be able to remember anything anyone said or did at the drop of a hat. I still retain my incredible skills at being able to identify little known actors and what they have done but remembering, "I need to blog about this." seems to slip out of my head all the time. So, in order to make my life more memorable. I am going to make a list of things that I want to do. It's not a bucket list or anything. It's more like, I want to learn how to make bookshelves from Knock Off Wood (seriously, run, do not walk to her site if you are not familiar and cannot get your better half to help you with projects) or I finally want to finish that quilt I started like 2 years ago. Stuff like that. Maybe I'll add in some life changing stuff but I like the idea of small stuff that I can keep up with while juggling two jobs, a husband in sales, two rambunctious doggies and not adding back the 40 pounds I managed to lose.

This will be my place to keep up. Once a week I will report on my progress. Since Kat probably still does Writers Workshop on days like today, I'll pick a different day or maybe I'll just do it when I can. Who knows, it's a new thing and I still need to make my list.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Addition (ok...since you last heard from me)

When you last heard from me, I had not yet gone on vacation. This particular vacation was to be an interesting one as we ended up leaving a day early for a very special reason.

This is M-dog. He is a rescue from down south and had been staying with a nice foster mommy in New Hampshire. We saw his video on Facebook and our hearts were stolen. We had been thinking for a long time that G-dog needed a buddy and since New Hampshire was not too far from the Cape, we decided to meet M-dog and his foster mommy halfway in between the Cape and her home. We found a state park where we could all take a walk together. This pic is the result of that walk, we took him home on the long ride back to PA.

M-dog was a sweetie right off the bat. He played with G-dog and liked to cuddle (something G-dog had never been fond of, Miss Independent). He was a tad possessive with his food but only to grumble a bit if G-dog go to close to the bowl. We met other doggies and went to the dog park. Finally the day came when we decided to introduce him to my brother's dog. That was when things started to go downhill...

To be fair, we were the one at fault here. We did this ALL wrong from the moment we brought M-dog back. We should have slowly socialized him instead of assuming that all was hunky dory. You see, we saw very quickly that Morgan had fear aggression towards larger dogs and Gatsby was a MUCH larger dog. The growling, snarling and jumping around that happened when M-dog met Gatsby was very scary. This was horrible news for us as we used to spend many long days together, Gatsby, G-dog and the rest of my family. We never even thought for one moment that there would possibly be a problem with M-dog and Gatsby. It gets worse though. After that confrontation, he started to have problems with other large dogs at the dog park and then smaller dogs. We had no idea what changed in our happy wiggly boy. He and G-dog still got along well even if he was a bit of a bully and he adored us. We felt like we broke our dog. :(

Our salvation was in Carol Siegrist. We took a class specifically for 'reactive' dogs. She gave us tools to help M-dog not to be so crazy around other dogs and he LOVED the attention of getting to go to class with me and P and get lots of treats. We are still working with him but he has come such a long way.

We wonder what might have happened to this sweet guy if he'd gotten with people that were not willing to put the time and effort in to him. It happens every day. People get a dog, they don't work with it and when it doesn't read their mind, they dump it. It breaks my heart daily. If you are considering getting a dog, please consider adoption. We are a rare case. Usually, when you adopt locally, especially with a rescue group, you can have many meetings to make sure all is ok between you and the dog and your surroundings. You also have a local support network if problems arise. We adopted M-dog on the spot and hoped it would be ok and, you know what, 95% of the time it is ok. It's actually wonderful. All I have to do is see an ASPCA commercial on TV, look at M-dog and G-dog and know that we saved two lives and in return, they made ours so much better.