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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful new year filled with all the best of everything.

Tough

Yesterday I got some health news about someone who is very near and dear to my world. The news so far is fairly neutral, however, it has the potential to be noting at all, in a best case scenario, or traumatizing to devastating at the worst.

Since they're still waiting to get anything definitive, I wont go into details. Suffice it to say, however, it has been messing with me like you wouldn't believe. I just hope that after it I'll be able to just say, "phew, false alarm."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And Now I Wait

Well the interview went as well as possible. I hit all the points I wanted to get to; I was lively and impressive, placing emphasis on my strongest qualities; I kept her interested and didn't let the conversations lapse for more than a second or two; She seemed impressed by my experience and even gave me some pretty good compliments. We even got to speaking about salary. She told me what the salary was and if I would have a problem with a salary in that range. I told her that it was actually what I was aiming for. She seemed very delighted and said that the salary had been a deterrent for some people coming up from the city. No surprise.

So who knows. I hope it went well. She said she'd call me by next week when she comes back from the holiday. Round two is to meet up with some of the executives and round three would be to meet with the CEO. And if all goes very well I'll be starting by the end of January/ beginning of February. The place is actually really great and does work I can honestly get behind. I think I'd really like working there. So I'm hoping I get the job. Here's hoping.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Preparing for The Interview

Inhale and release, inhale and release. In a few hours I have an interview. I prepared for it most of yesterday. I have my notes, questions, my resume, printout of the job description with notes on that, references and driving directions. I have an idea of what I'm going to say and what I'm going to focus on, so why do I feel like I'm forgetting something?

Grrr... I hate this feeling. I know I'm not really forgetting anything, I'm just getting anxious. I mean it's been a while since I've worked and it's killing me that I'm still not working. Perhaps that's it. It's just my nervous energy effing with me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Arm is Hurting So Badly

Aaron got me one of the most fun gifts I've gotten in quite a while; a Wii!

I love it. The thing is already nicely set up where it's going to live. No one set it up but me. I was so not about to let anyone touch it. When I went to open it, Evan kinda tried to jump in and try to open the box but backed off when I shot him "the look."

And of course on the very first day we played for hours straight and now we're paying for it. Ow. Ah well, at least no one launched one fo the controllers into the TV.

Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

Since I'm going to be out most of the day today. Merry Christmas everyone.

And just because it's one of my favorite Scenes from a Christmas movie...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cough. Cough. Hack. Cough. Groovy.

With some firm (forced) persuading I decided (given no choice) to finally go to the doctor's and see what the hell is going on with my persistent (and highly annoying) cough. My head seems to have cleared but the coughing refuses to go away and has been waking me (and everyone else within a three mile radius) up in the middle of the night.

So as it turns out it was pretty much a bad cold. He gave me a cough syrup with Codine. Nice. I should have gone sooner. Ah well. He said if the coughing persists for another week, to come back and see what the hell I've got. I didn't like the sound of that.

Since I was there so early I decided I'd finally let them draw blood. My doctor has been asking me to come in to get blood work done. It's been a while since he did a full checkup. I did the standard stuff a few weeks ago but he really wanted to do the rest. While I understand the importance of knowing what the hell is going on in your body and understand that he doesn't really want to cause me pain, my irrational fear of needles has pretty much been the inspiration for the litany of excuses I've come up with for not going.

I'm not the kind of person that passes out at the sight of needles or blood or anything like that. I actually give blood every year and have done so since I was 17. I just really despise the thought of needles going into my skin; hence, I have no tattoos. But yes, I did my little breathing exercise, even faster talking and even asked the nurse to give me a countdown. I warned her that I'm a big baby. She laughed. I couldn't blame her. I'm well aware that from the outside it's pretty funny. And I'll be the first to admit when it comes to getting shots, I'm not much braver than little kid. Hell, if it were socially acceptable, I'd demand a lollipop afterwards. I'm not kidding getting my regular allergy shot as well as flu shot (teeny as those needles are) still involves me squeezing my eyes shut and "eeeek-ing." Ah well, at least I'm good with knowing that my arm is not due to be impaled with anything until the spring.

The good thing is that the cough syrup seems to be working really nicely. I'm relaxed as can be, I haven't been coughing a whole lot and I'm getting kinda sleepy. This is great. Like I said, I should have gone sooner. I just hope this works. I have an interview on Monday afternoon. I'd hate to go in there trying to make a good impression and then start hacking away.

So sleepy... time for a nap.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Hero

Today Aaron gets the hero award. He totally saved my day and all he had to do is tell me to take a nap.

The whole thing started when I got up this morning. I was kinda tired but we had a few things to do, including finishing shopping, wrapping, etc. Then my Mom called and got under my skin (totally related to the holidays. Too long a story to get into). He asked me what was wrong. Rather than explode I told him that there was nothing wrong. Then a few more things happened and I really started to lose it. Picture if you will, a cracked window, but rather than leaving it be, imagine several people throwing pebbles at it. Yeah. Plink, plink, crash!

I blew up and he got to hear it all. He understood that I wasn't yelling at him but rather yelling my problems to him. So he didn't react negatively at all, he just listened and offered the appropriate consolatory comments. He's good like that. He offered to make me a cup of tea. Then suggested I sit and relax on the couch for a little while and brought me my new magazines. He also offered to answer all phone calls for a while so that no one disturbs me. He then suggested I take a nap. I told him I wasn't sleepy. He didn't say a word when I turned on the news for a while (he usually rolls his eyes and grumbles a bit). Still, I was out pretty quickly.

When I woke up, two hours later, all was right in the world. Huzzah!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

OMG Awesome

My friend Dave sent me this little gem so I had to share.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Tiiiiiny Bubbles..."

I swear when I'm in a medically induced sleep, I do it like a champion. Two days ago I took NyQuil Cold and Flu ("Capitol N, small Y, big fucking Q! I love that fucking Q!" Yes. I had to throw in the Dennis Leary line) to get some sleep. Holy shit, did I ever get it. So not only did I sleep for what seemed like days, I was actually unable to answer Aaron's cell phone (he left it behind when he went to work) when it rang incessantly in the middle of the night, perched within arm's reach on the nightstand. I was aware that it must be Daren calling and I was aware that I wanted to throttle him for the calls and I was aware of the plan I had for both him and the phone, I just couldn't do a damn thing about it. Then in the morning, when Daren called again--and every ten minutes for about two hours or so-- I again knew the phone was ringing, I knew who it must have been and I knew that I had upgraded my original plan to now include a possibly implanting of a cell phone into a skull, should my aim and throwing arm prove to be of full use.

Then there were the fun dreams I had. During one of them, I was chasing down something with a marshmallow gun. But apparently it was the strongest one in the world and could actually stun the hell out of a person without actually killing them. In another dream that night, I was the captain of a boat, not sure why or how, but I still had my trusty gun with me. Then the most intriguing... I also dreamed that I had bubbles in my scalp. Yep. I went to brush my hair and kept seeing little bubbles flying all over the bathroom. When I checked my hair in the mirror, there they were, at the base of every hair was a little translucent bubble, just like the ones from bubble solutions. And the more I tried to get rid of them, the bigger they got. I pretty much ended up with an Afro of bubbles that refused to wash or blow away.

NO. Fecking. Clue. "NyQuil, NyQuil, NyQuil, we love you! You giant Fucking Q!"

So yes, now that I've slept for most of the last two days, I feel much better. The aches and pains are gone but I'm still pretty congested and my voice hasn't fully returned. Oh yeah, did I mention that we're in for a pretty big snow storm and we're supposed to be going to a Christmas party up in Peekskill? I think we're going to get there very early and heading out early. Aaron has to work and I shouldn't be there overnight. Really I don't think I should be there at all, but I really need to get out of the house. I feel waaaaay too couped up and I'm afraid to look in the mirror now.

Oh yes, in case you're wondering, no. Daren had no reason and/or emergency going on that required that many phone calls. He was calling to say hello and to see what Aaron was up to and see if Aaron wanted to get coffee (in the morning it was breakfast). I should explain. Daren's the kind of single guy who really doesn't understand why his buddies don't want to hang out to all hours of the morning and would actually want to do things like be responsible, go to work, and get married. He fully believes everyone should be hanging out with him at a diner or fiddling around with music that will never be heard by anyone but him. He's basically in a perpetual state of arrested development; stuck at oh, say, 21-22. You know, the age where you really couldn't give a rat's ass about anything because you're now a full grown adult and can even drink. Apparently, the reality check bitchslap that gets us all shortly after that stage missed him. That in a nutshell is Daren. A perfect target for my marshmallow gun. Ah well.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh, Guess Who's Cooking Tonight

You got it. As it turns out, I think I have the flu. I have a mild fever but my entire body hurts. I mean even my hair is achy. So Aaron is going to have to cook on his own while I gently shout out orders. This should be fun. No I mean it, I think I'm too delirious at this point to get annoyed or snippy. Granted, he may walk into work with a Thai noodle cake with pineapples and a toffee topping with a lovely red wine reduction but hey it'll at least make people laugh.

And yes, I have every intention to go to the doctor tomorrow if this keeps up. I should have gone today but I really didn't want to go outside. I went out yesterday to purchase noodles and ended up toy shopping with my Mom. I was cranky as hell and tired. I swear I almost threw a child worthy, nuclear fit in the store. I so wanted to go home. So yes, after yesterday's shenanigans, I think I will be staying frimly plated in my home. Damn it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All I Want for Chirstmas is...

To feel normal again. This stinks. Ever since the weekend, I have yet to feel like I'm back to normal. Now I'm getting all congested and feel like I'm starting to come down with a cold. What's next? The plague?

I've gone through what seems like gallons of hot tea but nothing seems to be working. I think tonight I may break out the big guns. Vick's vaporub, a shower soothers, my decongestant and maybe, just maybe, I'll be breathing without feeling like someone shoved cotton up my nose.

Ah well, at least I'm able to function well-ish; which is a good thing. Aaron needs me to make him a platter of food for his command tomorrow. The group of cops he works with decided they're having a small Christmas thing tomorrow and they are all bringing a platter of something. Aaron told them I'd make Thai noodles. Luckily it's not too difficult to make, I just have to make sure I have enough noodles. Now had he asked me to make something more complicated, we'd be in trouble. "We," because he would have to do the cooking while I hover over his shoulder, giving him directions. Not a pretty picture. Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blech, Blech and Double Blech

There's nothing quite like waking up from a sound sleep and realizing that, no, you weren't dreaming the world was spinning. Everything really is spinning in a goopy, green, slow motion and oh lord...

Yeah that was my night last night and it didn't stop till about 4ish. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with what I ate yesterday. Nothing I made at home made anyone feel this way. It was just me. Huzzah. Something definitely did NOT agree with me. Ah well at least I've managed to keep down a few saltines and some tea. I just hope this pattern continues.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Chanukah!

Since today is the first day of Chanukah. I thought I'd share this with yall and you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy it.

The Chanukah Song: Redone by Neil Diamond (yet another reason to love the man).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just for Vizma

More fun for the holidays.

More Holiday Fun

I recently remembered these and looked them up. They still make me laugh.


12 Days of Christmas Correspondence
Dearest John:
I went to the door today and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. What a delightful gift. I couldn't have been more surprised.

With dearest love and affection, Agnes

***

December 15th

Dearest John:

Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine, two turtle doves.... I'm just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are just adorable.

All my love, Agnes

***

December 16th

Dear John:

Oh, aren't you the extravagant one! Now I must protest. I don't deserve such generosity. Three french hens. They are just darling but I must insist.... you're just too kind.

Love Agnes

***

December 17th

Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now really! They are beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough? You're being too romantic.

Affectionately, Agnes

***

December 18th

Dearest John:

What a surprise! Today the postman delivered five golden rings. One for each finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, John, all those squawking birds were beginning to get on my nerves.

All my love, Agnes

***

December 19th

Dear John:

When I opened the door there were actually six geese-a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. PLEASE STOP!

Cordially, Agnes

***

December 20th

John:

What's with you and those birds???? Seven swans-a-swimming. What kind of joke is this? There's bird do-do all over the house and they never stop the racket. I'm a nervous wreck and I can't sleep all night. IT'S NOT FUNNY.......So stop with those birds.

Sincerely, Agnes

***

December 21st

OK Buster:

I think I prefer the birds. What am I going to do with eight maids-a-milking? It's not enough with all those birds and eight maids-a-milking, but they had to bring their own cows. There is poop all over the lawn and I can't move into my own house. Just lay off me. .

Ag

***

December 22nd

Hey:

What are you? Some kind of sadist? Now there's nine pipers playing. And do they play! They never stopped chasing those maids since they got here yesterday morning. The cows are upset and are stepping all over those screeching birds. No wonder they screech. What am I going to do? The neighbors have started a petition to evict me. You'll get yours.

From Ag

***

December 23rd

You Creep!

Now there's ten ladies dancing - I don't know why I call them ladies. Now the cows can't sleep and they've got diarrhea. My living room is a river of poop. The commissioner of buildings has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building shouldn't be condemned. I'm sicking the police on you.

One who means it, Ag

***

December 24th

Listen Idiot:

What's with the eleven lords a-leaping? All 234 of the birds are dead. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten swine.

Your sworn enemy, Miss Agnes McCallister

***

December 25th (From the law offices Taeker, Spedar, and Baegar)

Dear Sir:

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers fiddling, which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes McCallister. The destruction, of course, was total. All correspondence should come to our attention. If you should attempt to reach Miss McCallister at Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.

-Merry Christmas



And in honor of my crazy hero. Love her! ... So crazy,



Martha Stewart's Holiday Planning List

December 1
Blanch carcass from Thanksgiving turkey. Spray paint gold, turn upside down and use as a sleigh to hold Christmas Cards.

December 2
Have Mormon Tabernacle Choir record outgoing Christmas message for answering machine.

December 3
Using candlewick and hand gilded miniature pine cones, fashion cat-o-nine-tails. Flog Gardener.

December 4
Repaint Sistine Chapel ceiling ecru, with mocha trim.

December 5
Get new eyeglasses. Grind lenses myself.

December 6
Fax family Christmas newsletter to Pulitzer committee for consideration.

December 7
Debug WindowsXP (or latest version).

December 10
Align carpets to adjust for curvature of Earth.

December 11
Lay Faberge egg.

December 12
Take Dog apart. Disinfect. Reassemble.

December 13
Collect Dentures. They make excellent pastry cutters, particularly for decorative pie crusts.

December 14
Install plumbing in gingerbread house.

December 15
Replace air in mini-van tires with Glade "holiday scents" in case tires are shot out at mall.

December 17
Child proof the Christmas tree with garland of razor wire.

December 19
Adjust legs of chairs so each Christmas dinner guest will be same height when sitting at his or her assigned seat.

December 20
Dip sheep and cows in egg whites and roll in confectioner's sugar to add a festive sparkle to the pasture.

December 21
Drain city reservoir; refill with mulled cider, orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

December 22
Float votive candles in toilet tank.

December 23
Seed clouds for white Christmas.

December 24
Do my annual good deed. Go to several stores. Be seen engaged in last minute Christmas shopping, thus making many people feel less inadequate than they really are.

December 25
Bear son. Swaddle. Lay in color coordinated manger scented with homemade potpourri.

December 26
Organize spice racks by genus and phylum.

December 27
Build snowman in exact likeness of God.

December 31
New Year's Eve! Give staff their resolutions. Call a friend in each time zone of the world as the clock strikes midnight in that country.

The 12 Pains of Christmas

This makes me laugh every single year. Tonight my personal favorite is number four, the card man. "Yo, ho! Sending Christmas cards," and "Oh, I don't even know half these people." I honestly thought about saying screw it, I'm not sending them this year.

Here you go:



Now I know this clearly isn't the original video but it's one of the few that give you the lyrics. Besides, it's funny.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Getting Together With Old Friends

Today I spent a few hours with some of my closest friends from back in high school. I've seen then a handful of times since high school but not a whole lot. Sadly, we pretty much lost touch. But it was incredibly nice getting to see them and catch up.

We met up at the Cheesecake Factory a few towns over from me and lost track of time chatting away. My friend Agnes has two beautiful little boys and my friend Marie is happily married and working as a teacher in the area. It was really nice getting in touch with them. I just hope that we can actually keep our word and remain in touch this time around. I've missed them over the years. I definitely think I'm going to have them over once the holidays are over and things kinda get back to being normal. Now, if we could only get back in touch with our other friend who's kinda MIA.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It Finally Feels Like Winter

Woohoo... Snow!


Outside in The Snow with the family.


The munchkins enjoyed the day outside.




Teehee.. child labor

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Christmas, Christmas Time is Here..."

Ahhhh... I'm now happy. I have the place looking the way I want it (for this year).

Two days ago, I got the tree up and a few other decorations out. But I still wasn't completely happy. I felt I needed a few more touches. So today I got my hands on a coupon from Michael's and I went to town. The great part of it was that they were running a sale on ornaments, and decorative pieces. I went only slightly nutty. I walked out with a bunch of things and only spent about $30. Woohoo! So now my place is starting to look a whole lot merrier. I love it. I will not rest till the place looks like a Bavarian village damn it. One year at a time, one year at a time...

Then I'll get to start all over again once we get a house. Yeah, it'll be a while till then, but still. I have big plans. I fully plan on making my house a home that Martha would be proud and hopefully jelous of.

How Funny

I normally don't participate in phone surveys, but this place had been calling for the past three days finally I decided, why not, I'll see what they want. The lady seemed very nice and happy that I actually said yes. She said it was about television viewing habits. She then asked me for my age. Then I heard her say, "Oh noooo." As it turned out, I'm one of the few people who actually agreed to do the survey, but they already had all they needed for people in my age group. I can't help it, but that kinda made me laugh.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bad Shoppers

I got knocked down today by a little old woman. I turned the corner to walk up a crowded store aisle. I tool about a two steps in and looked up to see her coming toward me. I swear she football-style stiff armed me. Got me right below the sternum. I fell back on my butt. She didn't even bother to acknowledge me.

I yelled at her, "What the hell is wrong with you, lady?" She turned around looking as innocent as possible through these frog looking glasses and said "what?" as if I were the crazy one. I told her, "You just shoved through, hit me and knocked me over." She just stood there staring at me for a second and then had the balls to say, "Well, I couldn't get through." I was just dumbstruck. No sign of an, "I'm sorry," or an, "oh excuse me," or even an, "I didn't see you" (This would have been an all out lie but still...) At that moment, every last lesson I was ever taught and ingrained in me, that told me to respect my elders, went to hell. I said, "Wow, you're just as rude, mean, old bitch." Threw my basket on the ground and left the damn store. I don't exactly know why I did that last part. I suppose it was the last bit of decency left in me taking over, to keep me from hitting an old lady square in the face. I'm not even kidding either. I wanted to take that horrible, fuchsia jacket over hers, pull it over her head and frickin channel my inner Hanson brother (please tell me you've all seen Slap Shot) and let the fists fly.

So yeah, that was the start of my Chirstmas shopping season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Forgot to Pack Underwear!

See! Even though I frickin thought of it and had them out, my underwear never made it into my bag! I frickin knew it. Luckily Target was open to save me.

I got to my brother's place on Wednesday by about noon. I meant to get there sooner but I got caught up watching "Hoarders," on Tuesday night. This is quite possibly the single most disturbing program on television. It's about people with hoarding disorders. Holy cow, gross. I mean, just gross. I had to watch. It's like a bad car accident. So yes, I stayed up too late watching a marathon.

In my rush out the door, the last thing I packed was my overnight bag. I had everything laid out and somehow I missed my underwear. I also forgot to pack a box of pasta and half of the ingredients I needed for my cornbread. Luckily it was still early enough that it didn't cause a panic.

Within an hour of getting to my brother's I began cooking. I have enough experience in doing this to know what needs to be made the day of and what can be prepped early and set aside to chill out. I gave everything a time table and staggered the order of the dishes so that everything would be done and coming out of the oven by the time the turkey had rested enough and was ready to be carved. Things almost worked out perfectly. I told Stella at the very beginning of the day that it was going to be a Murphy's Law kind of a day. I was right. One of the simplest dishes, roasted acorn squash, got burnt to unservable (Not my doing, Alvin manned the grill outside) and the mashed potatoes that Stella was making took unusually long to make. Those held things up. Ah well. Whaddaya gonna do? Luckily, there was still plenty of food available that the squash wasn't missed and the potatoes, once they got done, were actually amazing.

So here's what was on the menu.

Roasted Turkey
home made mac and cheese
sauteed green beans
sauteed Brussels sprouts with garlic and shallots
cornbread (my cousin's baby girl loved this stuff. I can't blame her. So do I)
stuffed mushrooms
stuffing with morells (yep I did get my hands on some. My brother had a pack of them)
grilled polenta with a morell infused sherry vinaigrette
garlic mashed potatoes
biscuits
candied yams
olive loaf (so darn good)
gravy
two different kinds of homemade cranberry sauce

Appetizers:
assorted cheese and cured meats platter
crackers
mixed nuts
dried fruit mix

desert:
my Mom's homemade flan
Cherry pie (from my eldest brother's cherry tree)
Pumpkin pie
Key lime cheesecake

Drinks: Mulled cider spiked with rum (my saving grace)



I dunno, think we had enough food? I think we'd be good to go if we had to run a marathon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And So It Begins

At this time tomorrow, I will most likely be covered in food bits that have flown off the knife or cutting board. Damn I'm excited.

I spent most of the day today hopping from one supermarket to another looking for all the damn ingredients I need for The Big day. I'm still missing one. Morel mushrooms. I can't find them. Those bastards are pretty hard to find. Ah well, I suppose I'll have to go with Shiitake instead. I'm making a mushroom infused vinaigrette reduction to go over roasted acorn squash.

But that wasn't the worst part of it. I went to four different supermarkets looking for fricking sherry vinegar. Finally I found the last lonely bottle at a supermarket in Rye (three towns away from my parent's in New Rochelle). So what happens the moment I get home, the stupid bag broke and the bottle fell out. It cracked! The effing bottle of vinegar that is about 10 oz and runs for $12 cracked! Luckily I was able to salvage most of it. I had to sacrifice half a bottle of red wine vinegar to save it, but it's worth it damn it. Aaron almost had a heart attack. He wasn't sure why I was so mad. I told him that I specifically told the checkout girl to double bag. She didn't and I didn't notice. He still didn't get it. Then I told him how much that small bottle cost. He asked me to repeat it a few times. He then understood.

Ah well. So now my kitchen is a staging point for tomorrow. I the two boxes for all my tools and equipment packed up and all the bags are lined up, ready to be walked out to my car. Now I just have to make sure I remember stuff I'll need like, oh say, clothes and underwear. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Teehee

It just dawned on me. I've now met or been in the same room with all the men in Twilight except for Rob. I've met Jackson (so incredibly nice and pretty talented) and Peter (and his lovely wife, Jennie). Been in the same room with (under two feet from) Kellan and had a mini interaction with him. One more and my collection will be complete. Sigh...

I'm Such A Twerd

So last night Twilight Moms had an early movie screening for New Moon and got to hang out with Peter Facinelli and Kellan Lutz for a little while.

Yep they dropped by our little gathering and a few lucky women bid on dinner dates with the two men. I was in on the bidding till it got to $800. Both dinner dates sold for well over $3000. But yes, I was one of the volunteers and got to meet some of Peter's friends. I was also one of the few who knew we were having special guests showing up. Kellan was a surprise even to me. I have to say, the two men are so much more adorable and sweet in person than they are on screen. Sadly, when they passed by (right by me) I saw so surprised to see Kellan in all his hotness, that I went dumb. I didn't put my hand out for the high fives down the aisle. Damn. :( Ah well.

Oh yes, when I got out bid the three times Kellan gave me a sad face and mouthed a, "sorry." Teehee.

So yes, the movie. SO much better than Twilight. The special effects actually worked in the movie and the acting wasn't as cardboardish. Getting rid of the last director was the correct decision. The new directorial direction made all the difference in the world. And of course, the part of the book that made me cry the hardest, actually made me get a little misty-eyed in the theater. The girl next to me was bawling. Really. Crying hiccups and all. All I kept thinking was, 'woman, you read the book. You know what happens.' Ah well. I suppose some people are a lot more emotional than others.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feeling Good

This week has gone better than I anticipated. So far I have sent out, I don't even know how many applications and e-mails to jobs. I was able to hit a mall and not shop. I handed Pony off and drove a friend to the airport. I have three drawings to deliver to a friend and tonight I am going to check out New Moon with the Twilight Moms and am helping run the event. Not bad for one week.

Lets hope next week is as productive. I only have to juggle the job search and the big food show. Woo!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

C'mon, c'mon...

Sigh... I am so excited. I'm getting to the point where I can almost feel my body tense every time I turn on Food Network, I keep eyeing my knives in the kitchen and all thoughts are turning to food. Yep, I'm ready to take on Thanksgiving.

I'm the head chef when it comes to the big food holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I now accept the assistance from a sous chef from time to time but that's only been very recently and I'm trying to be a lot more patient with them, rather than chase every one out of the kitchen. I like things done a certain way, I can't help it.

So yes, Stella and I have created the menu for the big day. She's doing most of the sauces and some of the side dishes. I'm making the stars (ie, the Turkey, homemade mac and cheese, roasted acorn squash, candied yams, sauteed Brussels sprouts). And this year, like most other years I am indeed adding to the menu. I can't help it, it needs to be done. I am adding a lovely polenta dish. I've been playing with the stuff a lot lately and I think I can trust my skills enough to bring a dish to the big day table. I swear this day is like the Superbowl for me. I already have a game plan and I know what I'll be bringing to my brother's.

Once upon a time I remember clearly only needing to bring a handful of recipes and a few dishes over. Now I have to travel alone in my car. The back seat and the trunk usually end up packed with tools and an bags of groceries. I normally have to bring a lot of the basics because Alvin and Stella have a tendency to use up stuff in their dishes and not remember that there is a whole conga line of stuff I still have to make.

Traveling this year for the first time, my cast iron griddle, and several of my pie dishes. I was thinking about bringing my freshly sharpened knives, but I think I'll leave them at home. I don't want to leave one behind by accident. It would make me cry. I normally bring two boxes of equipment, but I think I may need another box this year. As it is I'm already bringing a roasting pan, my thermometers, my 3 baking sheets, pastry cutters, biscuit rounds, several serving dishes, rolling pins, possibly my fondue set and a bunch storage bowls for the overnight stuff. Oh yes and my gas torch. Yep you read that right, a butane gas torch. It's for spot burning such as the cheese on French onion soup, the tops of marshmallows or for the sugar on Crème Brûlées. Yes, I have one. Aaron also said, "Oh my God. Are you kidding?" when I first told him I have one and when he actually saw me pull it out.

I would bring my smoker pan. I didn't really allow much room in the menu for a smoked item. But had there been room, I would have had a nice smoked fish of some sort. Ah well.

There is one thing that's getting me pretty annoyed. And that's the fact that Food Network's site is so overloaded that it is running slowly as can be. Oh holy crap is that every getting old. But it's not just them. Epicurious and Allrecipies.com are the same way. Grrr... ah well luckily I have other ways of getting the info I want.

Monday, November 16, 2009

One Year Ago Yesterday

One year ago, yesterday Aaron and I got married. Good lord it's been a year already. It's been a great year actually. We've discovered that after ten years we actually still like being together.

We meant to do stuff over the weekenbd. He actually wanted to go for a hike and perhaps a small picnic, but we got rained out. So we had a nice time at home watching movies. Not the most exciting, but it was very nice to just spend a weekend together chilling.

"Eat Them Up Yum"

Earlier this evening, on Iron Chef, Ted Allen said, "Rolly Polly Fish Heads," and I stated laughing. Evan didn't get it. That told me one thing. He's never seen the frickin Fish Heads video and has never heard the song. So I just had to show him.

And just in case there are any others out there. Here you go. I'd say, "enjoy," but really this isn't a song you enjoy, per se. It's just one of those things that once you see or hear it, it'll stick with you. You just can't unsee it.



So there you go. From this point on, any time you hear a reference to this song, you won't be able to help immediately recalling this song/ video. You may one day even laugh. Who knows.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yay For Winter

I started getting e-mails from OnTheSnow and SkiTown.com and it's making me happy. It means before too long, it'll be ski season. And hopefully I'll be able to hit the slopes this year. I'm not kidding the thought of getting out there in the snow actually made me giddy. Tee...

Cures to Feeling Mopey

The whole unemployment thing has been getting to me lately and so I've been working on a few things to kind of help me feel a bit better. So now I'm sharing them with you.


Cleaning. Sure it sounds kind of odd, but it keeps your mind off things for a while. Sometimes it serves as a mental reset.

Watching funny movies when really needed. No explanation needed. I can not thank Aaron enough for getting me the complete collection of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Yoga. Again no explanation needed. You end up all limber, perhaps a touch sore but centered. Ahhh

Eating one kind of candy. I normally go for a good ole snickers bar. For obvious reasons I try not to do this one too often. I actually use it as a reward for getting a predetermined number of applications out. I roll dice every morning to determine how many I'll reply to.

Playing Guitar Hero between applications. Send out one, play a song.

Allowing my self time to get lost in a Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray magazine and/ or show.

Go on a cursing spree. Yep. When I get into a real funk, I just let it rip. I go into a room, occasionally punch something and curse like a sailor. Getting the frustration out that way, is actually shockingly invigorating. I like to call it a having a Ralphie moment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Poor Noggin

I don't know where it came from, but I think it all goes back to falling asleep while reading a magazine. For the past two days I have had a hell of a neck ache. Last night it turned to a massive headache. I was almost tearing up. This morning, my whole upper to middle back felt like someone took a bat to it and my head has been pounding. Ouch!

The Aleve and a super hot shower helped loosen me up, but damn. It's gotten to the point where I am really thinking of wearing sunglasses to try to look at the computer screen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Season

Every now and then when i just can't stand watching the news during the day, I'll switch over to the music stations on TV. Not the MTV's or VH1's but the stations that play nothing but music and put up random factoids about the artists and show still photos of some sort. Basically, radio on TV, minus the commercials. Today I came across the "Sounds of the Season" channel. Normally, they play relaxing instrumental pieces. Today, they were playing Christmas music. Now, i don't mind the Christmas music. I mean lets face it, if I could I would be a full time resident of Christmas Town. But really, Christmas? Isn't it a touch early for it? What, did they start playing the stuff after Halloween?

Ah well, I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised. Most stores started putting up the Christmas stuff out a few days before Halloween. Heck, downstairs on the street, they already have the big Christmas wreath and last week, they put lights up on the trees.

Eh, I don't mean to sound like a Scrooge, but I for one, wait till the week or weekend after Thanksgiving to decorate. It feels kind of odd to get into the mood for Christmas when it's 65 degrees outside and some houses still have ghosts and goblins out on their front yards.

Mind you, I'm still going to be heading to Michael's in a wee bit to check out their Christmas stuff, so I suppose the music (which I actually kept on) is kind of working. Slightly susceptible to outside influence much? Ho, ho, ho.

A Fun and Informative Clip

This evening I watched Zombieland with Evan. Yes, this is my second time watching this film and yes, I do like the movie that much. Afterwards, I went to one of my favorite movie review sites, Spill.com

I went there to check out reviews for a few other flicks I've been thinking of seeing, but because their reviews are usually pretty funny (and surprisingly pretty spot on), I checked out the one for Zombieland (didn't need it but was curious to hear what they had to say about it). Attached to said review was this little clip. I now share it with you.

Enjoy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Now, I swear....

Why does one get pooped on so often?

Sigh. I finally got the chance to go to the Ticketing office to fihgt the tickets I got last week. I would have though that at least one of them would have been dismissed. I had the registration for frick's sake. Nope.

The double parking ticket got reduced. The clerk said he could reduce the registration ticket too or I could take it before the judge. I said, I'll take that other ticket to the judge since it should be dismissed. Nope. I have to pay the full amount on it. Feck me. The judge said that I should have had the sticker on the car or shouldn't have double parked. I told her that this was indeed my first chance to do so. She said she understood why I did it and even though they didn't get the tag to me until after the date expired, I still should have had it on immediately.

Is it me or does that kind of sound like a, "fecked if you do, fecked if you don't," situation. Ah well, I suppose it serves me right for trying to do the right thing. I should have driven around with the expired tag, just so that the parking agents don't get me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Couple's Game Night

Every now and our friends get together for game night. The usual games include, Taboo, Cranium, Scene It, Scategories, Trivial Pursuit, and once in a while we even throw in Wii Bowling. These started off as just a friendly gathering of random friends but since we have all slowly paired off the game nights kind of became a couple's thing. And as for the, "friendly" thing, yeah, not so much, we're all kind of competitive and a bunch of sore winners. So over time, even with the marriages and introduction of new people, the competitiveness, has by no means diminished. I think we've actually gotten worse. We gladly throw our significant others/ spouses under the bus at the drop of a hat and get into all out verbal disputes that often require a thesaurus, dictionary or encyclopedia to sort out.

One example of a typical argument and coincidentally, of the longest arguments was over transportation and train. During a game of taboo, the word was "transportation," I said, "trains are a mass form of this, especially in NYC." "Train" was not a taboo word, but I got buzzed for it. The rationale was that "train" is in the word, "transportation." I informed our friend that he was a dolt. He argued he was correct because you transport things and that train was at the root. I repeated my initial argument that he was a dolt. I then broke down the word transportation and that a train is actually a noun and the proper technical name of said thing. He didn't get it. He then argued that the two words begin with the same root, "T.R and A." I countered with, "so do car and carp, and carpet but they aren't the same thing and one is not the root of the other words." Needless to say, the argument went on for a good half hour. His fiancee, a teacher, sided with him. This fact made one or two more people side with him. Most of the people there agreed with me. The argument was finally settled when we looked up both words on the Internet and an encyclopedia. Our friend, still insisted he was correct. I maintained that he was a dolt and demanded a new buzzer person.

So yes, last night we had another game night broken as a battle of the sexes. We had a new couple there and we gave them plenty of prior warning that things can get a bit crazy. They said they were warned and seemed a bit wary, but by the end they said they wanted in for the next game night. Surprisingly, we didn't have a huge arguments although there was quite a bit of backstabbing and poking fun of each other. All in good fun though.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Caution: Student Driver

For all those in the Tri-State area, please be warned that Evan now has his learner's permit. I would advise you stay off the sidewalks as he is actually going to be on the road, driving.

For those who can not avoid remaining in your homes with all the doors and windows securely locked and preferably barricaded, here are some signs that you are in imminent danger:

You hear my voice screaming, "brake, braaaake, BRAKE!"

You hear the, "Mission Impossible" theme blaring, immediately followed by a very slowly moving car that will likely be jerking to stops and swerving every five feet.

A male voice from a car says, "Oh hey (insert name here)" He may be driving right toward you.

And lastly, If it looks like the wolfman is behind the wheel of my car and I'm not in the passenger seat, run. I mosly likely already dove out of it for my own safety.



Nah, really I don't think he'll be as bad as Aaron is behind the wheel. I'm not saying Aaron can't drive, I'm just saying that since he became a cop, driving rules don't seem to apply to him any more, so he drives like a jackass.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And We're Breathing... Breathing... Breeeeeathing...

So after taking a few days off to recoup and try to regain a hold on things, I've decided to say 'Eff it.' I'm going to try my best to regain order but if order insists on being elusive, then so friggin' be it. Those with strong faith in God will also call this, having faith. I'm one of these people, so God, I hope you're a reader. :)

Yes, I've decided that perhaps things will not get to me so much if I try to take a more laid-back, Zen-like, if you will, approach to things. So far it's working. Despite the DMV and ticket thing and not hearing word one from any of the numerous job applications I've sent out, I've yet to reach for a single, solitary cigarette. I have, however, increased my hot chocolate intake and Yoga practice time. So you know, by the time I do end up gainfully employed again, I'll be limber. Chubby wubby, but limber and very relaxed.

Sigh... Hey, does anyone out there know someone who's good at rejiggering resumes? I sent mine to JobFox.com and Careerbuilder's resume revamp services and they said I have a lot of good stuff to work with but it needs to be spruced up and "streamlined" in some areas. While I agree, I refuse to pay ~$400 to have to retool it. And by refuse to pay, I mean, can't afford it. So yes, if anyone out there would like to take a crack at sprucing up my resume or know someone who would be willing to do me a solid, I would be eternally grateful and would more than likely give them some sort of nifty gift in exchange.

Monday, November 2, 2009

WooHoo!


Yay I won!

I got all the answers to LivingDeadNurse's Halloween Horror Objects quiz!

I can't wait to see next year's quizes. I can't believe I botched up on the creepy kids quiz. Woops. Ah well. It's nice having happy pockets like this on a craptacular day.

And So...

NARRATOR: And so Arthur and Bedemir and Sir Robin set out on their
search to find the enchanter of whom the old man had spoken in Scene 24.
Beyond the forest they met Launcelot and Galahad, and there was much
rejoicing.

ALL: Yay!

NARRATOR: In the frozen land of Nador they were forced to eat Robin's
minstrels. And there was much rejoicing.

ALL: Yay!

NARRATOR: A year passed. Winter changed into Spring. Spring changed
into Summer. Summer changed back into Winter. And Winter gave Spring
and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn.



I don't know... I felt like putting something funny up. Besides, after a morning like I've had today, I needed something like this to make me laugh.

This morning I got up nice and early to take Evan over to the DMV to finally go for his permit. We got there, waited on line, got his number, waited to be called and then nothing. He didn't have enough ID (to this point I hadn't realized he only brought this non license ID). Fine. We went back home and got his passport and a bill. He couldn't find his Social Security card, but I though having a non-driver's licence (issued by the DMV) a bill with his name and address, and a passport would have been enough. Nope. We went back, waited, got a number, waited till he was called and still they insisted he bring more ID. Apparently, having a document given by them, two photo ID's and a passport. which has his SSN on it. wasn't good enough. So now we have to go back on Thursday, provided of course, that he finds his Social Security card.

I was also going to go to the ticket office to fight a ticket I got yesterday morning on my way to church. I got in my car and remembered that the registration sticker which I got a day after my old one expired was upstairs. I ran upstairs to get it and came back down, in under five minutes. In that span of time I got two tickets for an expired registration and for double parking. Feck me! I had to double park because I didn't want to just take off with the expired sticker and because there wasn't a single spot to be found. So I found the cop and explained. His response was, "talk about ironic." Yeah, feck me, I got hit for trying to do the right thing. Assholes! So he told me that I could get the expired registration ticket waved as long as I showed them that I got it renewed and showed them my new card. He wasn't sure about the double parking ticket, but I could try. So yes, after the waiting game at the DMV, I got in the car, drove to the ticket office and realized I switched purses this morning and that the stupid card was in the purse at home.

Ah well, at least I'm finally feeling better.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween every one. Remember, always walk around in pairs and carry a flashlight in the dark.

And do look out for the things that go bump in the night. They're only out there having some fun.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rejection... It's What's For Dinner

There's nothing like a, 'thank you, you're a fantastic candidate, but no thank you,' to make you feel fan-fecking-tabulous. Blech. At least I got to run all my errands and did most of the things I wanted to get to today before getting that e-mail. I would have otherwise just felt too blech to get to any of them and then would have felt worse.

I really hate job hunting. I think I may have mentioned it before, but I wanted to make sure I got that out there.

Ah well, one more hour of the pitty party, then right back to hitting the job sites. Well, no. Dinner first, then the job sites, yes, that sounds better. Nothing like a rejection from a really good sounding prospect to motivate you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Awesome!

Quick note. Living Dead Nurse has one of the best renditions of "This is Halloween" on her blog. It's a version done by Marilyn Manson (Her music player is at the bottom). As if I couldn't possibly like that song more... Loves it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mike The Headless Chicken

I forgot who it was that I mentioned this to but I promised I would give them the link to the story. I forgot. But I heard someone talk about it today so it popped back into my head. *snicker* I told you I wasn't kidding!

This is the story of Mike the headless chicken.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Photos From Europe (at last)



Dinner in Venice on our first night.



Aaron and I at the Coloseum.



I really can't believe someone out there sells Duff Beer. Oh yeah!












This is one of the really beautiful fountains at the beautiful mountain-top town of Tivoli.


















Aaron and I at Trevi fountain just before tossing our coins into the water.















The view from the Rialto Bridge in Venice.





I loved this shop, but everything was just way too expensive here. Cool shop though.






Us at one of the sections of the Berlin Wall right by the Brandenberg Gate.





Aaron and I with Stella's mom, her sister Muna, Batiste and Munchkin #6.

"Find The Fish"



Just about anyone that knows me, knows that I have been a Monty Python fan since I was about, oh... fetal. And if you didn't know it, my cell phone's ringtone is a dead giveaway. It's the "Liberty Bell March," a.k.a. the theme song from Flying Circus. I'm always surprised by how often people actually start smiling, giggling or start quoting Python, rather than get annoyed when my cell phone goes off.

But I digress. So I was pissed that I missed the whole Python-A-Thon on the IFC channel. Sadly, we don't have it. Boo... BUT I did get somewhat of a fix when I went up to my brother's place and on the way back home on satellite radio (we caught a broadcast of the 40th reunion special). So yes, it got me in the mood to want to watch Monty Python when I got home. The last thing I heard in the car was the Galaxy Song so naturally, I watched "Meaning of Life."

Sure Grail is the one most people think of when they think of the Python movies, but there is quite a lot to be said for this little gem. I mean where else are you going to find a group of 60 children singing, "every sperm is sacred" and the sublimely bizarre "find the fish," bit?

Now, I have never watched any movie with the director's commentary setting until tonight. It really made me appreciate the movie that much more. Who knew? I think I may have to hit my collection of Flying Circus and see if those have commentary to them.

So, since it's still one of my favorite songs from Monty Python and because it's been stuck in my head for most of the night, I've attached the Galaxy Song.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Scares Us

I just finished rewatching Salem's Lot. I haven't watched this in years but I distinctly remember this kinda scaring me when I was little. Looking at it now, I have no idea why.

I always thought the "new" vampires were scarier than "the master" since I always thought he was kind of goofy looking and I always got a kick out of seeing where the makeup ended on his neck and hands. But I digress. As far as the newer vampires in the movie. They kind of now look, I don't know... I suppose it's not a good thing when I can see their makeup and know that I could have done a better job at making them look dead or undead. Eh, perhaps it's just me.

But yeah, I've noticed over the years that there isn't much that scares me any more. Well, outside of freaky clowns. Those will always scare the piss out of me. Ever since IT. Damn you Tim Curry! I love him but damn it he was scary as hell as Pennywise. Certain clowns wont scare me. The ones with the makeup actually done well will usually be okay still. The streaky, cracky, blotchy makeup with the big red nose (kind of like Pennywise), however... yeah not so much. Gimme a gooey, half eaten fecked up looking zombie or a nasty-ass vampire any day. If it has any kind of resemblance to Pennywise, however, you can just go ef yourself.

So now I'm watching a decent undead movie, Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

"One, Two, Freddie's Coming For You..."

Living Dead Nurse has a nifty game up on her blog. Test your horror movie knowledge, name the creepy kids, just remember, don't post the answers in the comment section, e-mail them to her if you wanna play.

Creepy Kids Game

Anyhoo, I think I did pretty well on her game and so I wanted to add to the list of creepy-ass kids. No Guessing required, just my two cents. :)


Toshio Saeki- a.k.a. the screaming Asian kid from The Grudge
The Grudge Icon Pictures, Images and Photos


All the kids from the original Village of The Damned








Karen Cooper- The Zombie girl from the original Night of The Living Dead






The singing little girls from Nightmare on Elm Street... yeah, try not singing the jumprope song. Couldn't find an image, but I got the soundbite.




Steve, Debbie and Curtis- Bloody Birthday








The neighbor girl from Dawn of The Dead (2004) I unfotunately can't find a photo of her but if you've seen the movie you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch...Again!"

*Singing* God, I hope I get it.
I hope I get it.
How many people does he need?

Look at all the people!
At all the people.
How many people does he need?
How many boys, how many girls?
How many people does he...?

[TRICIA]
I really need this job.
Please God, I need this job.
I've got to get this job.

[ALL]
God, I really blew it!
I really blew it!
How could I do a thing like that?

....


Sorry it's another one of those days... I woke up with a random song in my head. For some reason today's was, "I hope I get it" from A Chorus Line. Yeah I woke up with the, "Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch... again" bit, from the very beginning. Mind you, I haven't seen or thought of this show in ages. Probably since high school. I wish I could explain these things.

*Inhale* I have the strong suspicion that this has something to do with feeling like I'm doing the same thing over and over every day and just hoping. I know there are others out there who have been sans job much longer than I have, but still I hate the feeling on not working. I know it's not true at all, but from time to time, I just to feel useless. Like I said, I know that's the furthest thing from the truth but I'm just used to working. I'm used to having deadlines and multiple tasks, phones ringing and the kind of hectic pace that makes the day fly by.

The other day I actually considered just getting a job at Barnes and Nobel just for the hell of it. Then realized they weren't hiring at that particular branch. Not to mention, I think I'd make less working there than what I'm getting for unemployment. Blast.

Ah well, at least I've made some progress in other areas. I've been pushing Evan (Aaron's brother) to get his driver's license. If he has that he can actually try to go for a few city jobs that would be infinitely better for him all around. I've encouraged, prodded and pushed but he's finally gotten through the whole driver's manual and is ready to take his written test on Friday. Huzzah!

Lord help me when it comes to the driving part.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Who You Gonna Call?



I just had to throw this up here. I saw a clip on Mitch's blog and it made me want to hear the song. Besides, I don't know a single person who doesn't remember their childhood when they hear this song. Well, provided they were born in the 70's and grew up during the 80's. But you know what I mean.

I'm So Proud

I just heard one of the greatest things ever. Munchkin #1 is a Harry Potter fan.
My brother and sister-in-law introduced her to the Harry Potter movies and now she's all about Harry Potter. Her favorite characters are Hermione and Ron. For Halloween she's going as Hermione. How great is that?

I love it. She's not up on the books yet since I'm not sure her parents have all of them, but it's all good. Aaron and I are going up to see her this weekend and she's dying to watch the first movie with us. *Sniff* The baby girl is already geeking out and she's only six. I love it. I'm getting all choked up.

AND she lost her first tooth last week. She has the cutie-pie gap in front and from what she tells me she has, "another tooth that's wiggling." Teehee. That's so cute, I can't stand it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm All Messed Up

The other day we had friends over for dinner. Wait, let me correct that... they were supposed to come over for dinner. I spent the day cleaning and tidying up and made a great dinner. They were supposed to come over a little later (about 9:00) in the night so we were expecting to eat lateish.

Aaron and I gave up waiting at 10:00ish and ate. They didn't get here till after midnight. I didn't exactly mind I just wish they had bothered to say something a little sooner. It's all good though, they ended up just picking at some stuff, so we got the bulk of the leftovers, which made Aaron happy.

Gallons of coffee and hours of Guitar Hero later, they finally left. The problem was, this messed up my internal clock something fierce. I called my Mom yesterday to wish her a happy birthday. The only problem was that it wasn't yesterday, it's today. Yeah. So now we have to go over and I have to explain to my Mom why I got her birthday wrong. Nice.

Ah well at least I'm sort of getting sleepy the right time of the night. I just hate feeling all out of wack like this. Hell, I didn't feel this wacky when I got to Europe or when I got back. Blech.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A New Project

I think I may want to take on a new project for myself. Well, really it's for Aaron. See, my family, although they haven't been great at it, has been able to maintain a decent family history. For example, we know where in Spain the family came from prior to arriving in Puerto Rico. We know the accomplishments of our ancestors once they got to the island and if we put our heads together we can even put all the names together in order. Hell, some of my Dad's siblings even have photos that go back to before my grandfather was born (1900). Aaron on the other hand, can't.

While we were at the Holocaust Museum, we tried looking up his family name at one of the database computers. The problem was, he wasn't exactly sure where they would have been from and didn't know any names. We typed in his last name and searched under Poland and a huge list of names came up. He got angry and walked away. He kind of snapped at me to delete our search. He said he was angry because his grandparents never spoke about their family. They never spoke about where exactly the family is from and never spoke about any relatives that may have remained behind. So even if we were looking at their names he wouldn't know. His grandparents just never spoke about what they remember from the war.

This has been bothering me quite a bit. I know these people aren't directly related to ME, but they will be related to our children and haveing them know as little as Aaron knows about this part of the family is a pattern I don't like. I've always believed that it is important to know where you are from or at least have a good understanding about one's family. I know our children will be regaled with stories about my grandparents (on both sides) but they'll also get to hear the stories about how one of our ancestors on the Velez side was a Conquistador and how our relatives founded the city of Lajas on the Western coast of the island and that we're from the Southernmost tip of Spain, Malaga, or less commonly known as Velez-Malaga.

It would also be nice to be able to share some kind of information about his family with them. Even if it's just that they were once from this or that country. Not just what Aaron says when someone asks him where he's from. He usually rattles off a list that includes Russia, Austria, Poland but usually stops there. As far as they've been able to figure these are the primary countries. But that's all they can say. I think I'm going to start working on his family tree. I know their two grandparents names so I should be able to work backwards from there through records. They were from New York City so that part shouldn't be too hard. It'll get a bit tougher once I get into Europe. I think I'll keep this project under wraps until I get a good amount of information to be able to give him. I don't know how he'll react to it, but at least I'll know how to access it and will be able to share it with future generations.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our Trip in a Nutshell- Part VII

Berlin:

We got to the airport really early. Our flight took off a few minutes late but it's all good. We found a luggage scale and realized we were okayish but still shuffled a few items in our bags to make sure we were under the weight limit.

When we got to Berlin it was kinda rainy but luckily my sister-in-law's soon to be brother-in-law, Batiste was there to pick us up. We got to their place and rested. It just so happens that we got there on Germany's reunification day. The city was in party mode for a few days and even treated to a parade of Giants. A French artist made these giant marionettes and used them to tell the story of a little girl and her father. The little girl woke up in the West and the father emerged from the river in the East. The father is a pearl diver and while he was out one day he and the daughter got separated. For two days the two marionettes walked through the city streets searching for each other. On the 3rd, they were reunited at the Brandenberg Gate (where the two countries came together). They hugged, played and walked the city together. It's a lot cooler than I'm making it sound. We didn't get a chance to even get close to them until the 4th day. They were toured around the city on a riverboat. They were asleep together :) Even like that they still moved (their chests rose and fell like they were breathing and made sleeping sounds).

They're a little freaky to look at at first, but their movements and the effort to make them so articulate is actually beautiful.



We got a great walking tour of Potsdamerplatz, the city's western center and got to see parts of the Berlin Wall and the permanent line showing where the wall used to be. It's hard to believe there used to be something like that there. Looking around from this side of the city you really can't tell the area we were in was once pretty dangerous.

We passed by the city's big casino, Spielbank and Aaron immediately got the urge to take Euros from the Germans. I told him we could go back at a later point in our stay. Later on that evening we met up with Batiste's brother Julian and his adorable girlfriend Julia (yeah, I thought the same thing you're likely thinking). We went to a really nice restaurant and had dinner and beer. We ate so much I felt sick afterwards. But this didn't stop us from drinking more beer.

The following day we got together with Stella, Munchkin #5, Stella's Mom, Batiste and Stella's sister Muna. We saw the marionettes and took a boat tour around the city. From the river we got to see Museum Island, which was once in the East, their government buildings around the Unter den Linden, the Reichstag, the new train hub, and a few of their performing arts centers. During the tour Stella and I had a Weisbier (white beer), the stuff is flavored with syrups. I had a raspberry one. Holy cow was it ever yummy. It was nice seeing the city this way. It gave us a pretty good idea of where things were. The entire time there were took the U and S-Bahn, their super easy train systems. Really. Their train system is pretty large and will take you to just about every part of the city and beyond, but they are really easy to follow and very punctual. When the train schedule says the thing is coming in a minute, you better believe that un under a minute, the thing WILL be there. Awesome.

We went to the site that was once Checkpoint Charle and got to see what is left of the infamous gate. Along the streets leading there there are permanent billboards that tell the history of the site and the biographies of the successful escapes and the stories of those that didn't make it through. Some of these really made me want to cry. I saw this photo of an East German soldier Conrad Schumann jumping over the Berlin Wall and loved it.



Aaron preferred another image. It's one of an It's a photo of another East German soldier along the barbed wire barricades. Instead of leaping to his own freedom, he's reaching down to help a small boy over the wire. The soldier is young, and his eyes, looking warily over his shoulder, are full of fear. And yet, he persisted. Apparently, the boy escaped but the soldier didn't. He was seen helping the boy and, moments later, was taken away. I couldn't find the photo anywhere and the one I saw was a poster but couldn't take a photo of it. I did find the image on this link for the Checkpoint Charlie Museum (Click on the "Exhibitions" tab).

In Aaron's opinion, Schumann, although brave for saying, 'Feck it' and jumping over the border, the braver one was the soldier helping the boy. He knew he'd be screwed if he got caught but still decided to do the right thing for the boy.

On our way back to Muna and Batiste's place we had one of the best snack foods I have ever encountered, Currywurst! Holy crap this stuff is delicious. I mean I could honestly eat platefuls of this stuff till I popped. All it is, is a great sausage smothered with a tomato-based sauce with a good sprinkling of curry. Not too much, just enough to give it all a good swift kick. Holy crap, I'm drooling just thinking about it. They so need to bring this stuff to NYC. I think it would give the dirty water dogs a run for their money.

The next day we got an unexpected surprise, Julian, who is a limo driver had a day off and offered to take us on a driving tour of the city to check out some of the lesser known areas of the city and sights that aren't exactly mentioned in tourist books. He took us to the East and we really got to see the big difference between the two halves. The parts that remained the way they were prior to the reunification look very drab and look like they were just thrown together (which they were). It's pretty spartan looking. This side of the city also has the largest, complete stretch of the Wall. Artists who once had murals have been invited to go back and recreate or touch up their works. It's pretty cool to see actually. We got to see some of the smaller streets of the East and got to see how far behind some sections of the city still are. Julian also drove us by the Holocaust Museum right next to the Brandenberg Gate, the New Synagogue (the remains of the last Synagogue in Berlin which got hit when the allied forces bombed Berlin) and the Kudam, an old church that was partially destroyed during WWII and was left untouched to serve as a reminder.

Once again we had currywurst. Aaron got a delicious chicken wrap that needs to be given its proper dues. This thing was drool worthy also. It had veggies galore, freshly grilled chicken strips and some kind of sauce that I would consider bathing any kind of sandwich in. I mean damn! And of course, there was beer. Ah beer.

Later that night Aaron and I hit the casino. He was feeling pretty damn lucky and after being reminded of the past, he was ready to, "take some money back for the Jews." Sigh... I swear it was him who said it. He went in with 200 Euros and about three hours later, he walked out with 460. I lost 20 Euros on the slot machines. I sat down at a 1 and 2 cent machines, so I was there for a while on each machine. I also got currywurst and a beer while he wrapped up his game. We cut out early because the train going in our direction stop running at 1:00am. We ended up missing the train and had to cab it back. This was an adventure because I had learn to say the street name. They live on Schlangenbader Strasse. Luckily, my brother was still in Jersey. I called him and learned how to pronounce where we wanted to go rather than call Muna and Batiste at that time. The cab driver didn't understand a word I was saying. Luckily he spoke English.

The following say we spent the day in the city on our own. We hit the Bode Museum. The work there was nice. But to be honest, after having spent over a week seeing some of the best works of art the world has ever known, other museums kind of fall short. We skipped the other museums and checked out the New Synagogue. We didn't realize it till we got to it that they had an exhibit there. We went through a security system the rivals the airport but got to go into what's left of the Synagogue and got to see some of the items that were left. Considering that Berlin once had a huge Jewish population, the shockingly few items in the place was beyond sad.

But wait, the sadness continues. Aaron and I went to the Holocaust museum. I won't go into the details. I can't do it justice. The memorial on the street level takes a moment to understand, but it is powerful. The museum below is... I can't even find a word. The exhibits give a timeline of the persecution but primarily focus on the people affected. One room in particular, is dark and empty except for benches that face the walls. Every minute or two a name is projected on the four walls. The names are of those who died a narrator says a little something about who they were, their age and where they died. If I remember correctly, if played nonstop, it'll take over nine years to get through all names of those who were killed.

The following day we were going to go to Sachenhousen, the concentration camp right outside Berlin, where most of the city's Jews were taken after the Kristal Nacht raids. After seeing that memorial, I didn't really have it in me to go. I really wanted to, but emotionally I was pretty fucked up. I think we need to go there the next time we're in Germany.

That night we had a more laid back diner. We still had beer and tons of food, but we just hit a small traditional German restaurant/pub with Stella. We were joined by a friend of hers and had a really nice dinner. Her friend swiped a stein for Aaron. :)

The following say we spent repacking our bags then shopping with Stella at KaDeWe. This was once the biggest shopping mall in Europe. It's still massive and super expensive, but the 6th floor has one of the best food sections I've ever seen. The place has every conceivable kind of gourmet food you can think of and then some. I love it. We had lunch there and of course, beer. The place has its own brand of beer. I meant it when I said it has one of the best food sections ever.

That last night we had a lovely dinner with the family and spent a good portion of the night chatting away. And drank beer.


So there you have it. That is our trip in one of the biggest nutshells I have ever seen. I hope you've enjoyed reading about our trip. Don't worry, I'll have more travel stories in April. Aaron's putting together a friends cruise to Bermuda. Given the people who I know will be there, this will definitely turn out a lot of funny-ass stories. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Once Again I'm Covered in Glitter

Teehee... If I walk into a dark room I'll glow.

I've been making a new centerpiece for my living room table. It's made of four little paper mache skulls and I covered them in two shades of green glitter and just for the hell of it, I also used glow-in-the-dark glitter (thank you Martha). Once I finish I'll be putting black and red candles on top of them and ta-dah, instant centerpiece.

The downside, I've got glitter all over the place and myself. I think I may have to give my vacuum another workout. But once I get this thing finished it should look pretty cool. Love it.

Now if I could only make up my mind about what I want to dress as for Halloween. I'm still torn between dressing as a witch or dressing as a zombie. Both costumes are fun and easy to do, but I just can't make up my mind. I've done the vampire route for ages already and I can put that together with my eyes closed. I want to do something a little different this year. Sigh... I suppose I'll try to make a decision some time this week.

Our Trip in a Nutshell-Part VI

Assisi:

We bid farewell to Wayne and Michelle after breakfast and all filed into the bus to Assisi. The bus ride was kinda long but it gave us time to chat with people, fall asleep and in Aaron and Sam's case, challenge each other on brickbreaker. I forgot when but fairly early on, Sam saw Aaron playing brickbreaker. He told Aaron that he's been playing a bit. Aaron showed him how obsessed he is with the game and so it went. Actually, a lot of the men's conversations centered around football, video games, baseball and UFC (I jumped into these once in a while). It's true that regardless of where you're from, you can always find something in common with people.

So yes, we got to Assisi around mid morning and got a really wonderful view from the city walls. The morning fog still hadn't fully dissipated yet so you'd get these buildings jutting out of the light fog and fantastic beams of sunlight streaming through. It was kind of surreal. I loved it.

We didn't have a lot of time to spend in Assisi, only about an hour. We basically had just about enough time to check out the basilica. The basilica itself is really pretty. I like that they let you down to where the brothers of the order are buried including St. Francis for free. The basilica's artwork is really pretty. Although it's all Byzantine art which we're not so fond of, the fact that it's almost all still there and in really great shape is amazing. It looks like they did the whole thing in frescoes. The upper basilica has a bit more damage to the artwork I missed what another tour guide said happened to cause the damage but it's still very well kept. It chronicles the life of St. Francis.

Outside we got another gorgeous view of the area below, took some photos and then we wandered a bit around the small shopping area in front of the basilica. In one of the shops I found these mugs that offered prayers for different occupations. I found one for La Polizia. The man at the shop asked if Aaron was a cop. When Aaron told him he's NYPD the guys eyes lit up, he shook his hand and told him that he was an MP while he was in the military. He gave Aaron a free souvenir. It was really sweet.

The drive back to Rome went the same way as the ride to Assisi. People were kinda quiet. I got to catch up on my journal entries, I got to do a bit of drawing in my sketchbook and the brickbreaker war raged on. It took most of the day to get back but by the time we did, we were all pretty hungry. We settled into the hotel room and almost cheered at the fact that we could actually extend our arms inside the bathroom. The shower, however, was the smallest shower we have had in the whole trip. To think, they had all that space in the bathroom itself, but they couldn't extend the shower box by a few inches. Sigh.

So yes, we got together with Shane, Samone, Sam and Nicole and went out for dinner. Jason and Laura were going to join us but I think she was feeling under the weather so they got some paninis and went back to the hotel. Dinner was very nice. We made sure we all had each other's information and chatted away. It was kind of bittersweet. On the way back we hit a pastry shop and picked up a small selection of goodies for after we repacked everything.

We really had to get creative. We had to make sure the suitcases weighed under 50 lbs or 23-ish kilos. I ended up packing most of the souvenirs in my backpack and threw a few of the lighter items under the mask which remained with me in a shopping bag. I was so not taking any chances with that thing. I spent too much money and too much time making sure I got the right one to let anything happen to it. Half way through we noticed the room was really frickin' hot. The AC wasn't on. I played with the dials and nothing. I called down to the front desk to ask if there is anything going on with the AC. The guy picks up and tells me, "Yes, we normally have air conditioning, but tonight, it is very cool. Prego." and hangs up. In other words, open your damn window. We opened the window but the problem was that our window faced another building and didn't get much more than a hint of a breeze. We finished packing, enjoyed our snacks and tried getting some sleep since we had a 5:15 am wake up call. About 1:00 am we woke up sweating. We decided to go out for a stroll to the gelateria to get drinks. All the way to the place we heard chanting and partying. Apparently one of the Italian teams won. It was kind of fun. There were even a few groups of people partying in the street in front of the gelateria.

The drinks helped quite a bit and we eventually got back to sleep. A few hours later we got right back up. Blech.

Tomorrow: Berlin, Beer, Beer, Food and oh yeah, more beer.

Zombieland

Last night Aaron and I caught a showing of Zombieland. Aaron is not a fan of horror movies. He's just a big chicken like that. Well, that's not fair, he doesn't get scared of the things shown, he just really dislikes the usual gore that comes with the genre. But this he really wanted to see. He loves Woody and it looked pretty funny. It is!

I highly recommend this movie. It satisfies everything anyone could want in a good non dramatic movie. It has tense moments, great acting, quotable lines galore, great FX makeup and a great dose of humor sprinkled all around. The movie even has a completely unexpected cameo which I will so not spoil for you. There are a few jump moments but my biggest jump moment had nothing to do with a zombie but a clown. Fecking, freaky-ass clowns.

Ask Aaron and he will tell you he enjoyed the movie immensely.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Trip in a Nutshell-Part V

Pisa:

Pisa. Well, there isn't much of the actual town to speak of. The Tower, the Baptistery and the Duomo are about it. There is an old Jewish cemetery but we couldn't get in to see it. Don't get me wrong, the work on the three structures is amazing but the place itself was small.

We did get to climb the leaning tower, which is something I still can't believe we did. I still remember when I was in the second grade, I had to do a report on a famous location, I got Pisa. My brother helped me make a model of the three structures so it was really kind of surreal being there and actually climbing the thing. We did get lucky though. The day was pretty hot but the temperature inside the tower is actually very cool. It was nice. The only odd part about it is the actual climb. It's a narrowish spiral staircase that really tilts. You can't really appreciate how much of an angle it's on until you're in it. It kind of feels a little scary when you get to the window about half way up and see everything outside off kilter. At the top you get a pretty great view of the surrounding town and the hills in the distance, but the very top level is better. I took our video camera and filmed over the leaning side to get a better idea of how messed up it feels. I believe Pony got his second photo with one of the Australian couples in our group.

We had yet another pizza lunch. Sadly this was not as good as all the other places. But it's all good we didn't have a lot of time there anyway. We got caught up looking at a few things at the shops and almost got left behind. We missed the tram that takes you to the parking lot. Our tour guide waited for us but knew the street it would drive on to get back, so she stopped it mid-ride. Phew!

Venice:

If I could, right now, I would hop on a plane and head out to Venice. Although it's a little dirtier (really, the buildings look a little dingier here than they do in other cities) the place is just so damn charming, despite the occasional waft of funk from the canal on some of the smaller streets. Before I go on, we didn't go on a gondola ride because I never really liked the idea of taking a boat ride in their sewer system (I don't know, maybe it's just me).

So we got to the Venice area in the late afternoon. We got our hotel rooms and got on the bus for a night out in the city. The hotel again was a little bit outside of the city so we had to drive a bit to get to the dock where we'd take a boat onto San Marco. It was about 6:00 pm-ish when we started out. On the drive, I noticed a kind of odd thing. A woman was sitting in a white plastic lawn chair in the middle of an island at the highway exit/ entrance. I thought, how odd. The a little bit down further I noticed a woman dressed in very little just standing off the sidewalk in the middle of the street in front of a shop called "Sexy Shop." I thought "what?!" and now tapped Aaron's arm. Another girl appeared in the middle of the other sidewalk, not at any discernible bus stop and this one only had tall grass behind her so it wasn't like there was a shop she could have been coming out of. Aaron confirmed that yep, those were indeed hookers. Other people on the bus noticed too. Sam started laughing. I was confused because I thought the only place where it's that open was in Holland, where it's actually legal.

The boat ride to San Marco was lovely, we got some pretty evening photos of the islands. The group had dinner at a really smallish restaurant that I would never be able to find again even if you paid me. After dinner we got back to Piazza San Marco. By this time it was already dark and whole place was lit up in little lights The place looked spectacular. The best part was there were four bands scattered around the piazza playing classical music. They actually compete to draw the crowd so they don't play over each other. One of the bands got the bulk of the crowd (about 300-ish) to zip over then they began playing "Funiculì, Funiculà" they all started clapping along, singing and dancing. Loved it! But with the beautiful buildings at night, the pretty light and the music you couldn't help but get swept up in the moment and start dancing and some people did. Venice at night is by far the prettiest city I've ever seen. I swear, if the atmosphere doesn't get you, there's seriously something wrong with you. Aaron and I agreed that we could have stayed there all night just going from band stand to band stand, sipping cappuccinos and espressos and perhaps dancing. Sadly we only had about an hour.

On the bus ride back to the hotel Sam and Nicole, Jason, his wife Laura (a couple actually not from Australia. They're from Toronto) Wayne, Aaron and I decided to play a game; count the hookers. On a four-ish mile stretch of road we counted 33 hookers (ah, ah, ah. Yes, we threw in the Count's laugh now and then). A group of them actually had a Winnebago parked on the side of the road! Yeah. Kind of funny and sad. We also drove by a mechanic shop called Ass Auto. I kid you not. That was the name of the place. Somehow, I don't think I would trust the place with my car.

The next morning we hit the dock early and went back to Venice. We noticed one of the freakiest things ever. It seems like all of Australia was on vacation. The tour group that shared our boat out were all Aussies. Apparently there were around 40 people on that tour. I think all but four were from Australia and two of those were from New Zealand. I asked Shane if there was anyone left back home. He said he wasn't sure anymore.

We checked out a glass blowing demonstration where the maestro made a vase and a little sculpture of a horse using pretty much a pair of pliers and a heavy duty set of tweezers in about three minutes. Impressive. I would pretty much burn myself and those around me horribly if I tried that. We didn't buy anything. Basically, most of the stuff, pretty as it was, was over price and too damn fragile to take home. After that we walked around the city and explored. We took the Rialto Bridge and went mask shopping on Santa Croce. I had a hell of a time finding just one. If money and space weren't an issue I would have gone completely insane. I settled on one at a shop where the woman actually paid close attention to what I was looking for. She made recommendations based on my skin tone, hair color and the shape of my eyes. She was awesome! Most workers at other shops kind of just pointed to the kind of masks I was looking for, if they paid attention at all.

Wandering and taking in the city was such a great experience. We hit the less crowded streets and found some of the prettiest sights tucked away down the smaller streets. We even found one of the prettiest churches we've seen. The place was tiny as heck but was decorated so beautifully. Most churches we had seen till this point had been these monster churches that kind of overwhelm you. This place, small as it was, had beautiful paintings a gorgeous altar, but not overwhelming at all. It felt warm and beautiful. It just felt loving and welcoming. Even Aaron felt it and he isn't very religious at all. I actually lit a candle and left a donation. I would have jotted the name down, but it didn't have it posted anywhere where I could see it. All I know is that it was on Santa Croce.

We had lunch at a little place called Cavatappi on San Marco. If you're ever there, I highly recommend finding this place. The food was delicious and the tiramisu is to die for. We ordered one to share. The waitress looked at us funny then asked if we were sure about that. She gave us one anyway. She laughed when we HAD to order another one. It all made sense.

After lunch we took a boat ride out to the small but beautiful lagoon island of Burano, the lace making island. The place is simply cute. It looks like they let a little kid go around to paint the buildings. They are all really adorably bright colored. Apparently the buildings are all painted that way because back in the day, this is where a lot of sailors lived and a lot of times they would come home at night and possibly drunk, so they had to do something to make sure they could find their way back to the right house. This is also why most women took up lace making. It was a way for them to make extra money while their husbands were away at sea.

I picked up a few items there. I got a Christmas table runner and a bread basket. I also got a handkerchief and an infant bib for the future.

At the end of the day, we didn't want to leave. There was so much more we wanted to check out but didn't have time. We didn't go into the Duomo because we were pretty much churched out and the line was enormous. But we decided when we do come back, and we are so going to go back, we HAD to explore ALL the islands thoroughly and make sure we have enough space in our luggage for more souvenirs.

That evening dinner was at the hotel. It was a much better dinner but the best part of the night was afterwards. We got a group of people together and hit the patio behind the hotel for a last night of drinking and to wish Wayne and Michelle adieu. They were heading off to Bolonia the next morning instead of heading back to Assisi and Rome with us.

We couldn't find the lights for the patio so we sat around in the quasi dark and swapped contact information. We magically made about eight bottles of wine and proseco disappear. It was great. We kind of got eaten alive by mosquito's but it's all good. The group eventually dwindled down to Sam, Nicole, Wayne, Michelle, Aaron and myself. We were up till about 1:00 am-ish, chatting about random things and trying to speak in each other's accents. Aaron can't do the Australian accent for crap, he did get Sam's Alabama accent pretty well. I got to hear Wayne speak at full speed and didn't understand a word. We said we should have practiced sooner and freaked everyone out by going around speaking with a different accent, just for fun. Sam told us about an issue he ran into on their plane ride over. When the flight attendant came around to get drink orders he asked for a Pepsi. She didn't understand so she asked him a few times to repeat his order. He kept saying it in a slower, clearer voice, "I. Would. Like. A. Pep-si." The flight attendant was from the States. She eventually brought a drink over to his wife and then asked her what he wanted to drink. He said, "You know I'm right here. I can hear you. I'd like a PEP-SI!" I think he eventually gave up and asked for a Coke. The thing is, of all Southern accents I've ever heard, his was probably one of the easiest I've come across. On the flight home, when the flight attendant came by, I almost asked for a Pepsi just to see what would happen.

Tomorrow: Assisi and back to Rome.