Thursday, December 29, 2005

Time, time, time

Someone remarked the other day something along the lines of she doesn’t have time to blog because she works/has a family/has a life. I think it was accusing me of not having/doing that. I beg to differ! I work twice as much as most people. That is the life of a freelancer. It allows me more flexibility in the long run - such as putting my thoughts in to a dozen or so half-finished Word files in a folder on my laptop called “Blogs”. It also allows me to spend a lot of time with my family who happens to be all furry and four-legged but sometimes require the same attention as a herd of 4-year-olds.

Whether or not I have a life is up for discussion. Somedays I think my arms are permanently connected to the computer keyboard. Many of my conversations are in meow or bark. But I do get out from time to time, so haven’t become the old cat/dog lady just yet.

Do I have time really to do anything? No. Not really. So I fit in what I like first, then do the have-to’s second.

Speaking of time ... better get back to work!

Monday, December 19, 2005

If it is bad for you, eat or drink it faster

I was at a holiday party the other night where someone had brought Absinthe (yes, the real thing). I tried a sip and it was the most antiseptic thing I had ever tasted. One of the fellow party-goers’ theory was the more bad (or bad-tasting) something is, the faster you should drink it. Of course, I went with an alternate theory - don’t drink it at all.

I’m applying the theory -- slightly modified -- to holiday goodies. They’re not bad tasting but they are bad for me. So the theory is I’ll eat them faster. After all, once they are gone, then how can they be bad for me anymore!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Barenaked good time...

One of my favorite bands was in town the other night -- the Barenaked Ladies. As usual the guys gave a great show but one of the best parts was before the show. We walked in the door and my sister nearly pulled my arm out of its socket. Standing in front of us was Tyler, the drummer. We got him to sign our tickets. The couple right before us had hugged him. My sister asked if she could hug him. He said, “well those were close friends. But I’ll shake your hand and look you right in the eye.”

We were all buzzy and I said, “I wonder if the other guys are around.” Then stopped right next to Steve. At this point, I remembered the great Barenaked for the Holidays santa hat I got from the fan club. So I had him sign that.

We ran into friend Nichelle who said Ed was back under the other stairs. On the way over, I caught Jim. Then I ducked under the stairs, realized there was a line I was not in, so started a conversation with the people at the front (like I was with them). A crew member came out and called Ed time for backstage. I asked if he could sign one more and he said, yes, walk with me.

The really nice guy I was talking to in line had a camera and I lamented not bringing my own. He said “quick, I’ll snap one and email it to you.” but there wasn’t time as Ed was leaving for the stage. But what a nice gesture. There still are cool people out there.

I missed Kevin but meeting four out of the five was awesome.

A group called the LeeVees opened the show - all Jewish and mostly songs about holiday food. They have the same quirky personality as BNL and put on a good opening act.

During the BNL show, Ed and the woman in front of me (who looked like Diane Keeton but maybe just a little younger) started this back and forth thing. She started acting like a teenage groupie (tongue-in-cheek). He threw a guitar pick at her (with remarkable accuracy). It bounced off my husband’s belly and fell at her feet. Then Ed mouthed “you’re so hot.” Then during one of the encores, he came out into the audience and stood in front of her while playing the guitar and she sort of fondled him (like a groupie).

After the show, I asked her, “so... uhm, do you know him?” She laughed and said, “well ... yeah.” But didn’t really offer much more info. She looked too old to be his wife (I am assuming his wife is close to his age), so must have been a good friend. All in all, the entire exchange was funny (not funny business, so Ed’s still okay in my book).

Just a *little* bit funny...

To my blog buddies at the show - you can get the recording here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Happy holidays (and I mean all of them)

I’ve been getting a series of emails from some relatives (an older aunt, MIL, etc). The kind that are forwarded again and again. These particular ones are focused on what to say to other people at the holidays. They make me uncomfortable.

The most recent one was of a Christmas tree stating that it was a *Christmas* tree and not a Hanukkah bush or another symbol of a December holiday other than Christmas. (Okay, a Hanukkah bush?!). Well, duh. I can see it is a Christmas tree. The point they are trying to make is that they can @@$!$#^% say Merry Christmas to anyone they want.

Okay. Yes, it’s a free country. You can say what you want.

However ...

I say Happy Holidays to those I don’t know or don't know well enough but am trying to be polite. That covers everything for the person I am talking to -- Hanukkah, Kwaanza, Christmas, Festivus, even Happy New Year. Why should I assume that everyone is just like me and that Christmas is the only holiday this time of year. That’s like going to France and expecting everyone to speak English. Man, we Americans, especially Christian Americans are really self-centered (no, not eveyone but sometimes I wonder).

I think it’s my point of view from what I do for a living. I rarely work in English. I am fascinated by other languages, cultures, and the global market. I usually write ‘Thank You’ in the native language of the person I correspond with in email. You know, English isn’t even the most spoken language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is first, followed by Spanish (that’s got to chap some conservative hide). Then followed by English.

So if I know someone really well, I’ll wish them a happy whatever-it-is I know they celebrate. I even know how to write it out in a couple of languages (although pronouncing it aloud is a whole other thing). Chag Sameach. Joyeux Noel. Mele Kalikimaka. Feliz Navidad. Buon Natale. Happy Chriskwanzukkah to all. There, I think that covers it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s my back fence ...

Ah, the joys of Colorado weather. You never know what you’re going to get. I recently made a comment that we are lucky we don’t get hurricanes. But instead we get cold hurricane force winds.

Monday morning started early - really early. Our beloved Labrador is really afraid of the wind and kept waking us up. About 5am, I heard a bizarre noise - like some of my wind chimes in my bedroom. I got up, put my sweatshirt, glasses and slippers on and went outside. I grabbed a few things that were wavering around and secured them down. Out front, I secured my lawn moose down better and grabbed the newspaper. It was really windy.

Well, that was just the wind-up. (get it? *wind*-up).

Once the sun came up, the gusts came harder. At the airport just north of me, they measured gusts of 92 mph. One of those gusts lifted a 45-foot section of my back fence about 10 feet into the air and then threw it 20 feet into the neighbor’s yard. Dang. We were going to get that replaced but thought it would hold to the Spring (since that section alone is about $1300!). My porch wall came apart too. Sigh.

Sarah-dog came out with me to survey the damage. The neighbor’s dog, Drake, a shy Rotweiller, poked his head out to see what was going on. He was very surprised when Sarah-Dog came over, kissed him on the nose (like “hey, howzit goin’”) and sniffed around his yard. His look was like Monk needing an antibacterial wipe. “Wha... hey, where’s the fence... hey, you’re in my space....” But Sarah-Dog being very socialized and familiar to him from sniffs through the fence, just went with the flow.

As the day went on, I tried to get him to talk to me and gave him a couple of biscuits. He was putty in my hands after two. I went back inside and noticed him periodically coming over and stealing the girls’ toys. Poor boy is out there 24/7 (yes, he’s out there in today’s below zero weather). His people seem nice but ignorant about him being out in the cold.

So now we have a little temporary fence up. I think when both girls out, they might gang up on him. We’ll ask Santa for a new fence. In the meantime, Drake the Rottie is getting a lot of extra attention. If only I could bring him in my house to warm up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cleaning out the closet

I’ve been meaning to get around to this the past 10 or so years. I just kept buying more hangers. But now the issue is nothing fits. Well, nothing seemed to fit six months ago (a little too small to way too small). Now most of my closet is way too big. I decided to start sorting through so I could get to what does fit right now.

Coldwater Creek is awesome. They take back things even after several years. It sounds like they take about anything back - worn, with or without receipts, but I think that’s pushing it. I do however have a lot of unworn things with receipts. I bought them on sale but either didn’t have an occasion to wear the item or it was just slightly too small. Since I lost way more than “a few” pounds, those are now too big. There are two boxes of these right now.

I also have some gently worn stuff from Coldwater Creek, JJill and some other name brands that I can post on ebay. Plus the stuff not worn that I can’t return due to time passed or no receipt. There’s three boxes of that so far.

A close friend has loaned me several pairs of 14-16 pants that have come in quite handy in the “transition” sizes. She is now embarking on her own weight loss plan so I have a very large box of recent clothes that she may be able to enjoy in her transition sizes.

As I’ve dug through the closet, I found several dresses I kept over the years that I can fit back into. While they are cute, they all seem to have either shoulder pads or empire waists (some have both). Empire waists make me look like a short Little House on the Prairie wannabe. So those and a bunch of other stuff make up five plus boxes going to charities.

Well, would you look at that, not one but TWO new pairs of Avia aerobics shoes. I also had wanted some Mary Jane style shoes, apparently I have bought 3 pairs now.

Now I should stress these are large moving boxes full of clothing. There are a ton of clothes here. I know they say if you haven’t worn it in a year, you should get rid of it. I agree and disagree on that. I have been quite happy to find some classic items (skirts, dresses, jeans) that I am glad I did keep as I am changing sizes. But perhaps I should keep a check on what’s in and what is still my style. Those cute shorts rompers from the 1990s may be back in style at some point, but really should not be worn past 30 years of age.

It’s easy to hoard clothes when you have a closet the size of a small room. But as a new year’s resolution, I promise to keep it more organized. Roy G. Biv and all. In the meantime, all these fantastic outfits, even the outdated ones, will make someone happy.

Did I mention the gazillion pieces of luggage? Boy I have a lot of baggage! Part of the hoarding comes from the fact I cannot throw out anything that can be reused or recycled. I must have been traumitized by films as a child showing landfills taking over the earth. Now that my little house is becoming smaller and I would like to make room for a new human or two, it’s time to deal with it.

A great web site with a list of recycling/donation places:

Now I am going to try to get one of the local charities to come pick this stuff up!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dear Santa...

Inspired by wish lists on my blog-buddies’ sites:

Dear Santa,
I think I’ve been pretty good this year.

After just hauling away several large boxes of clothes to charities, I could use some new clothes that fit. My favorite stores are Coldwater Creek, J Jill, Old Navy, GAP, Eddie Bauer, Lands End, Victoria’s Secret, and Target.

I would love so many music CDs, movies, and books so I have quite the long list at (plus if you click through my web site, I also get a small portion to help cover my web fees). I’s also love a Dell MP3 player, as I like so many new songs, but not so many CDs.

I have wish lists (bridal registires) for the both of us on Crate & Barrel, Target, Bed, Bath, & Beyond,, and the Home Depot.

The girls and boys can never have toys (and food). The cats would love a window birdfeeder.

Home Depot has a floor lamp with moose on it. It would be perfect for my home office moose room.

I also could use some new aerobics shoes and athletic tops. My shoes are from the late 90s (I took a lot of time off from Jazzercise but recently started up again). My tops are too big. OOPs. Scratch that. See the "cleaning the closet" post. Found two new pairs of Avias, as well as a bag of tops I apparently pulled out of my drawer more than six months ago (and thought would never fit again).

Since I can’t seem to get my four or five VCRs ever programmed correctly, I would love a DVR.

My creative siblings have it easy - I love their artwork.

That’s it. May everyone else’s holiday wishes come true!

Fishy follow up

Right after I posted my thoughts about the Aarone Thompson case, the Aurora chief of police held a press conference that confirmed a lot of my questions. How does a six-year-old girl just disappear?

Later that evening I answered one of my questions -- sort of -- while talking with a neighbor. There's a house on the corner, I affectionally call the Crack house. The people there, I am sure, are very nice but very, very reclusive. My neighbor Bridget's kids are friends with the corner kids but aren't allowed in the house. The shades are always drawn and most of the time looks like no one is home. We're not quite sure exactly how many people live there. The house was empty for about a year and then these folks seemed to move in in the middle of the night. So I can see how neighbors might not have known much about the Thompson family. My surprise in the conversation was that Alex's dad was going to help another neighbor move the hot tub. Alex is the little boy in the house but I've never seen dad so didn't know there was one. In fact, haven't really seen much of mom either.

However, the kids play outside and with neighbor kids. And I have talked to their adorable, although shy, five- or six-year-old. She's definitely there. The family may be reclusive but the kids all know each other.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Okay, this is just fishy...

One of the latest ongoing Denver news stories is of a missing girl, Aarone Thompson. Her father reported her missing on Nov. 14th. He said she ran off after an argument. After a few days, the police department received a tip that she actually has been missing for some time, perhaps dead. They changed their focus to look for a dead body.

Obviously in a case like this, there’s a lot not said. But I have some questions. Why is it that no one can vouch for seeing her in the last year to year in a half? She is six years old. Was she not enrolled in a school that has records of her being there? Does she not have playdates with friends whose parents can vouch for her? What about neighbors? The church? What have the other children in the house said?

According to the family spokesperson, Thompson told him AaronĂ© didn't enroll in school because her father couldn't get a copy of her Michigan immunization records. So she didn’t go to Sunday school or play with anyone outside the family? There seems to be an odd excuse for everything.

As for the neighbors, they were surprised to hear there were that many kids in the house. None of them were able to say they had ever seen Aarone. They also painted a picture of a reclusive family with a lot of domestic police calls.

The other kids in the family were interviewed. According to the news, those interviews further cemented that something had happened to Aarone some time ago. Another story explains why none of them said anything before now.

A week or so ago, the family held a news conference. They were represented by two grandfathers and a church minister. Both grandfathers pleaded with the public to continue to search for her. Ironically neither grandfather has seen her in the past year. One kept repeating the same incredibly annoying phrase over and over -- even when the question was not directed at him.

There have been reports that she didn’t have her own bed, that the family signed up for a Christmas charity list but her name was not included, that the family traveled to Disney World last year but she wasn’t included (okay, a side note... why would this family qualify for a charity toy donations, as well as low income housing, but can afford to take the whole gang to Disney World?).

The police department seems to be frustrated getting information out of the family. They also had a couple of missing children experts come in who came up with the same conclusions.

Generally there’s the idea of innocent until proven guilty. But when so many facts seem to be against them, you have to wonder. As for the family spokespeople, how are they so sure that the parents are innocent when none of them can vouch for seeing Aarone in the past year (and prove it).

So maybe the parents indeed did not kill her but maybe she’s been missing for much longer. Why report it now? Well, apparently there was a caseworker visit to the house for the family to continue to qualify for financial aid. That and Aarone’s birthday is today. Out of these two events, something came up and someone noticed she wasn’t around.

During the family press conferences with the minister and the grandfathers, someone brought up the Jon Benet Ramsey case. He seemed to imply that the Ramsey parents weren’t treated as suspects. Gee, what news were they watching? Perhaps the Ramseys cooperated with police better or just had better legal representation. But they were definitely considered suspects. That’s a whole other case.

As for the Thompson family, so far nothing seems to be proving their case. In fact, it appears one of the attorneys just quit. So it doesn’t bode well.

Happy birthday Aarone, whereever you are, I hope it’s a better place.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

You had me at woof (and meow)

Lately I've been a little freaked out about my children aging faster than me. My beloved Flounder, a black lab, will be 8 years old the beginning of December. To me she's still that 10-pound roly-poly ball of fluff I brought home (only mysteriously 10 times bigger than that now!). Where does the time go.

She's a pretty healthy normal, somewhat gargantuan Labrador. However in the several months, there's been a lot more "garumpf" when she gets up from sleeping (a full time job), and less running around the backyard. I noticed she was getting very sore at doggie camp and tends to lay down more than sit. So we checked it out. Ol' Flound-dog is getting arthritic. Poor baby. We've put her on a new (and expensive!) drug Rimadyl.

Excuse me, is that a Labrador between your legs?
Yes, the old Flounder has returned. She's been back up on the bed, having an easier time getting up and down the stairs and more frolicking in the backyard. One of her favorite things is to come up behind me and pop her head between my legs, like some sort of clown act. And luckily we've found cheaper and reliable routes for the meds. I would do anything for the furries to make them happy and comfortable (well, short of a steak dinner every night).

Since I am a worrisome mom, I did a complete blood panel on the Flounder - part was required for the drug but also to get a baseline on how she is doing. Happy to say all parts are good and functioning. The part that makes gas is functioning exceptionally well.

Flounder is not my oldest though. My black cat Sebastian will be 14 this Spring. He's always been a curmedgeon but since the white cat Toby came into our lives (who I think will be 9), Sebastian has acted much younger than his age. Next trip to the vet though, he will also get a senior panel.

My fourth baby is Sarah-dog. Besides a bit of doggie autism and other mental issues, she's pretty healthy. She's also a mixed breed (German shepherd, which she takes very seriously, and something brown dog) which tend to be healthier and longer-living than purebreds. She's about 2 years younger than Flounder. She's my tattletale. I always know when a cat is someplace that he shouldn't be or that I've left Flounder outside, or a delivery is here, or that the house is being attached by squirrels. She'll let me know. Usually in a grab my arm/sleeve with her teeth "timmy-has-fallen-in-the-well" approach. She's also my worrier. She's very attached to Flounder. She likes to watch over her in the backyard and at doggy camp -- maybe a little too much for Flounder's taste. Her last report card from doggy camp said "likes to help supervise." Yup. That's my Sarah-dog.

Clean up on Aisle 9
I think my next baby will be human. In addition to all the normal reasons for having a baby, I think of my furry babies. Flounder loves babies and I know both dogs will thoroughly enjoy clean up around the high chair. My human children will be licked probably more than wet-wiped. Sebastian will probably be annoyed that there will yet another filthy vile creature in the house. He really wanted to be an only child. But I think Toby will enjoy a human baby (until the toddler years when both cats are likely to spend all their time hiding).

I cannot imagine my life without pets. I grew up allergic to everything with fur. I had a couple of dogs as a kid but they couldn't sleep in my room. I took two years of allergy shots specifically for pet dander before Sebastian came into my life. I had about six months of sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. Then became immune to the fur. Good thing. My house is now covered with it. When my first husband wanted a divorce, the first thing out of my mouth was "you're not taking the dog." The fourleggeds are priority in my life.

The girls (the dogs) are now outside barking their heads off at nothing (on the quiet neighbor's side of the house who must *love* them). The boys (the cats) are sitting on Mark's desk looking out the window at birds in the trees. I think for Christmas, I'll get them one of those bird feeders that attach to the window. It has a two way mirror so the birds won't see the wide-eyed drooling cat on the other side but it will send the felines into a foaming frenzy. The girls already have monogrammed holiday bandanas and collars. I think I have a dozen new squeaky toys and will probably bake dog cookies.

So for now, I worry. But I also enjoy. I don't take the short time for granted. There's plenty of rump rubs, lap cuddles, treats, walks, rides, and catnip. In return I get something you can't quite explain to someone without a pet - unconditional love and all that goes with it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Coffee, grunge and blue skies??

The first two days I was in Seattle, I spent my time between the Comfort Suites Seattle Center and the Bell Harbor Conference Center for a conference. A great place to stay. They have free high speed internet (so I could check on the girls on the doggy cam at Camp Bow Wow). I had forgotten a network cable and they gave me one. The conference center is really nice - with a Odyssey Maritime Discovery museum on the first floor. It sits right on the water so has gorgeous views of the sound.

Wednesday night, the conference had a formal dinner at a place called Dimitriou's Jazz Alley. The food was fantastic. We were entertained by a Bay Area singer named Lorraine Feather. Unfortunately a good portion of the folks there talked loudly over her singing. So I felt kind of badly for her but bought her CD. She writes lyrics to old Jazz tunes (Fats Waller, Duke Ellington) and they lyrics are really fun.

Thursday the hubby joined me. During the day, I finished my conference and he worked at the Seattle office of the company he works with (doing computer *stuff*). We wandered off from the Comfort Suites that evening and headed to a little pub called McMenamins Queen Anne. They have their own beer (I tried Terminator Stout) and great Ahi tuna tacos.

Friday morning we took the hotel shuttle to Pioneer Square. Seattle is a very pedestrian city with great mass transit available. You don't need to rent a car. Many hotels have airport shuttles or you can take the Gray Line Downtown Airporter like I did. Mark got a car to get him to his office, parked it at the motel and then to get us to Olympia and back to the airport.

In Pioneer Square, we took the Bill Speidel's Underground Tour. Ends up the original Seattle burned down. It had been plagued with flooding and plumbing problems so the heads of the city, decided they would knock down a nearby cliff and build up the city. But in the meantime the owners of the buildings wanted to get on with it, so they rebuilt in stone and brick in the same place. After these buildings went up, the city built walls around them, filled up the streets with the cliff and other stuff. So now the first floors of these older buildings are underground and the street level is at the second story. The tours take you under the sidewalks and view a lot of fun things. They are led by people in theater and comedy and the history of Seattle is given to you very tongue-in-cheek.

After the tour, we ate paninis and limonada at a little mediterranean place (Mediterranean Mix) off Pioneer square. We ventured back out and walked down to the piers and the waterfront. I have to mention the weather. It was 50s and 60s and blue sky. Yeah - kind of weird for Seattle for this time of year. We had to stop in Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe on Pier 54. It's a combo shop and museum of the weird. There are human and animal mummies, a siamese calf, shrunken heads and more.

From there we took 185+ steps to Pike Place Market. Good thing we're from a high altitude so didn't have heart attacks. We visited a bunch of shops below the market, watched them throw fish, smelled gorgeous boquets of flowers. We bought some cinnamon hazelnuts, then ventured a little farther up hill to Westlake center. On the way to Westlake, I saw a sign for Three Dog Bakery and had to get the pups some treats from our trip. I put my cinammon hazelnuts in the same shopping bag. I got some odd looks munching on something I was pulling from the Three Dog Bakery bag. At Westlake Center we boarded the monorail back to the Seattle Center. It’s a quick trip but fun being so high above the streets (and a good way to rest weary feet).

We had started the day under the city and we ended it high above the city in the Space Needle. We watched a rain storm roll in from the north. There was a wine tasting from a Washington vineyard (NorthStar out of Walla Walla). The Stella Maris Columbia Valley Red was very tasty. We headed back down the elevator and up the Queen Anne hill for some dinner.

We chose a place from the guidebook called Ten Mercer, about 5 or 6 blocks from our hotel. As we walked up hill, the light rain turned into a torential downpour and came at us horizontally. We got to the restaurant soaked, walked in the door, looked around and noticed everyone seemed a little dressed up. We were in wet jeans. After some discussion about reservations (no) and tables (yes, please), we sat at the bar and tried another local wine. Ends up there was both ballet and opera shows that evening (which is why people were dressy). After that initial dinner rush, more people came in wearing jeans and less formal wear. Dinner was worth the walk in the rain and the service was fantastic. Yum!

Saturday we drug our weary legs out of bed, checked out of the hotel, and headed back to the Seattle Center around the corner. This time we went to the new Frank Gehry-designed building(?) housing the Experience Music Project. The building itself is a sight to see. Very curvy, metallic, colorful blop (like something dropped from the needle). EMP is a music museum/interactive experience (thus the name) mostly focused on Pacific NW musicians, including Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. After that we visited the Science Fiction museum (housed in the same building). Lots of fun stuff there. Both museums are the ideas of Paul Allen (the other half of Microsoft). It was funny to see a lot of the items on display in the Sci-Fi museum were from his personal collection. Software geek = sci-fi fan. Imagine that!

Since two museums are not enough in one day, we hit the Museum of Flight near Boeing on our way down I-5 to Olympia. It's full of all things with wings. If you think my hubbie had fun in the Sci-Fi museum, he was a kid with cotton candy on Christmas day here. The museum includes an air park outside. They have a Concorde you can walk through. The only problem they had covered the seats with a plastic bubble on each side so you had barely enough room to walk through. It got jammed up at the cockpit so it was slow going. I was 30 seconds from hyperventilating - didn't realize I was that claustrophobic!

We headed down to my w-Dad's place outside of Olympia for the night. My hubby hadn't been out there to see his place yet. It was a quick visit but I'd be in trouble being the state without visiting! Sunday morning, he and his wife Marcia took us to this place down the road (Kennedy Creek) to watch Salmon spawn. Not only do they swim upstream but they like to run in very shallow water. They are big guys too and not very pretty. The Kennedy Creek area is somewhat rain foresty - lots of moss and mushrooms.

Then back to the airport and home to the pups and kitties.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Orange hands and other hazards of travel

I took a week off to head northwest to Seattle for a conference. I went out by myself (my hubbie arrived two days later). Traveling by yourself, you tend to be more aware of your surroundings and the drama in them.

I took the bus to the airport. The last stop before the airport picked up several airport employees. John, the fuel handler trainer sat in the seat across the aisle from me. The first call on his cell phone was to Rick - a new guy whom he apparently forgot his name but was training him. They discussed fuel stuff and the day's schedule for training. Then there was a long pause on John's end with a lot of uh-huhs. Then he said "yeah - I've been through that but mine was 12 years, not three." More uh-huhs. Then he says, "well ... I would put her stuff out on the front lawn and say goodbye. You got to cut your losses, man." Who knew Dr Phil was masquarading as a big, burly manly fuel handler man on the airport bus?

I love to travel to Washington and I love Frontier airlines. However the Seattle gate is at the end of the A councourse where about 500 gates are all stuffed in a corner. It's always a mad house. But fun to listen to the gate people try to steal the overhead paging system from one another.

"Attention Flight 844 to Sea..." interupted by "Last call for passengers on flight 63...." interupted by "Missus Pigg, Missus Ima Pigg, please come to a white paging telephone." Then they start to get testy and you hear "Att ... las... missus... 844 ... final... gate... grrrrr..."

As I am sitting reading the same sentence in my book over and over (ADD on overload), a mom and her 2-year-old sit down next to me. I am a kid magnet. Usually the ones with boogers, drool, dirt on their shoes. She's cute but is practically in my lap. She gets her dirty shoes on my skirt. I move farther to the right edge of the seat. Then mom hands her a bag of cheetos. This woman gets high marks in my book (not!). I stand up. She looks at me and I feel I have to say something. "Uhm - I'd rather not have orange hands touch me..." and I wander off to settle between a sleeping Japanese business man and a nicely dressed older couple - neither of whom have cheetos or boogers all over them.

Luckily when I board the plane - mom and the orange kid are no where in sight.

My friend Jospeh and his wife Ariela once visited Denver from their home country Israel. Ariela is a very talented artist. So one of the places I took them was the Denver Art Museum. Joseph got a kick out of the Native American area but then was done. He headed back downstairs to the couch by the front door. He finds observing people more fun than art. I like art but he's right on the people watching.

The gate I was facing said "Philadelphia" on the marquee. However, the plane at that gate was going to Las Vegas. It was very amusing to watch people run at full speed stop about 20 feet from the gate person and just look stupified. She would say "Vegas?" and they would nod. She would gesture them over. In the midst of the paging wars - you would hear her say "Flight 666 (or whatever it was) is now boarding at gate 56." So it was funny to watch people given those instructions but be faced with accidentally going to Philadelphia instead. Most of them were likely already liquored up for Vegas (baby).

However - I wondered about the gate people. I mean, really. How hard is it to type on the little keyboard and make the marquee say Las Vegas? But that would take the fun out of it, now wouldn't it?

Blasted Technology

Wrote a lengthy blog last Thursday night from my hotel room in Seattle. Free high speed internet comes with speed bumps. Hit one of those bumps when I tried to publish and the whole thing disappeared. Sumofa...

Guess I need to learn "save as draft" more often or perhaps use a text editor.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

You just don't fit in

I caught the premiere of Martha Stewart Apprentice a couple of weeks ago. I was curious. I was a fan of her TV shows and still pick up the magazine once in awhile. But soon into the show realized I had no tolerance for adults generally acting like junior high school students. I was set to write comments about how that is not reality TV and why do they even call it that?

However, in the past couple of weeks, it's hit me like a wet fish. It *is* reality. Adults act like immature teenagers. It's most prevalent when they are put behind the wheel of a car. There's pages and pages of comments on that (and if I am to post this one in a timely manner, will let you use your own experience with this to fill in those paragraphs).

It also happens at work. I was always flabbergasted (love that word) at "office politics." Now they are kind of funny but also kind of sad. I remember one former co-worker complaining he couldn't sit next to another former co-worker because "she keeps looking at me." It didn't matter that they were cube pods set up in fours, with half walls, and her desk directly faced his. I've seen other former co-workers who were very easy to work with face-to-face but constantly running to the supervisor "he isn't doing it right," "she screwed up the files." It was just short of "I'm gonna telllll..."

I haven't missed that since working freelance. I still see a lot of this in emails between project managers and project leads and just chuckle to myself. I have the luxury of not being in the office, being able to ignore email and phones (for a little while at least) and mostly be removed from it.

So I guess why I can't stomach any more Apprentice, the only reality show I really watched, is because I've lost tolerance for this behavior. I mean really (or perhaps, WTF?!), what is the point of acting like this except making yourself look stupid? Then again, maybe that's my opinion of it. One person's stupid is another's normal life. But then again - I know everything.

[postscript: okay, fine. you got me. that was immature. sometimes you just get so angry that comments like that come out. but hey, they make it through filters easier than %##@$%$!!]

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Goombah shirts and Power Panties

Men should not be allowed to shop by themselves. Especially when there's a specific requirement to what they wear. My darling hubby took off the mall one Saturday while I was off at book club. If you know my hubbie, you know that a Hawaiian shirt is his look. My perfect dress is a gorgeous blend of pink, red, orange and yellow. His assignment - a *solid color* shirt that matches my dress for my baby sister's wedding.

He found his perfect shirt and also bought a new pair of dress pants. The pants needed alterations so he didn't bring either home, instead snapping a photo of the outfit on his camera phone. Okay, camera phones are not high definition, but I swore this looked like more than one color and like a bowling shirt or perhaps an Italian Mafia shirt.

The clothes were ready Wednesday. We were leaving for Albuquerque Thursday morning. So in a brief moment of clarity, I decided to bring my dress with me to pick up his clothes. It was a very good idea. While the shirt is nice, it is three colors in large stripes and does not go with the dress one bit. The salesperson came to the rescue and led me to the perfect solid color shirt -- just one color -- in kind of a sherbert orange. It was perfect and looked fantastic. He got to wear his Goombah shirt for the rehearsal dinner -- it looked nice and actually went pretty well with my rehearsal dinner outfit.

While I was at Nordstrom's, I picked up a pair of "Power Panties" by a company called Spanx. Even though I have lost weight, I still have some lumps and bumps to corral. My previous piece of "shape wear" is a size 22. So this brought me to the Power Panties. I thought maybe they might give me superhuman abilities. Wearing this rather comfortable garment was fairly uneventful - perhaps I just gave off the vibe. Don't mess with me... I am wearing my power panties.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Telluride - Food, Views and a Tesla Coil

Managed to miss the rock slides on I-70 last weekend and headed southwest to Telluride for the Culinary Arts Festival. Mark runs the video for these shows. I got to push buttons.

We stayed in town this year at a cute little B&B/ski lodge, the Manitou Lodge. The weather was perfect and the setting gorgeous. The festival was about 1,000 feet up from town in Mountain Village. So to get back and forth we had to take the gonjula (gondola). A gorgeous view but sweaty palms for me.

Telluride reminds me of Roslyn, Washington -- another old mining town. Stone buildings, tin ceilings. Property cost is a little different though. A cute little condo next to the B&B was cheap at $2.5mil. Sigh.

Telluride is a doggy town. There are dogs everywhere. You can find "puppy parking" places along the main drag and lots of water bowls.

That same weekend is the Telluride Tech Festival. The Tech Fest is based on the historical fact that in 1891, Nikola Tesla, George Westinghouse and Telluride's own L.L. Nunn built the world's first commercial grade AC power plant in Telluride. In honor of that, the tech fest has its own Tesla Coil - hard to capture on camera but I tried. This year, Dr. Mega Volt was present -- an interesting guy who created a mesh wire suit that allowed him to play with the bolts of energy generated by the tesla coil. Something you really got to see.

Hey that reminds me of an Northern Exposure episode (and what part of life does not remind me an epsiode of Northern Exposure). Chris, the DJ, decides to get inside electricity by building a bathtub device with a giant magnet. Dr. Mega Volt and Chris-in-the-Morning are on the same wavelength -- so to speak.

I'm wondering how common the name Nunn is... that's my birth last name. I wonder if there's any relation.

SPAM and the Lees

On my way home from running errands, I saw a sign by the side of the road. It was one of those "we buy ugly houses" or "free mortgage" handwritten signs that someone had stuck into the ground. Someone else had come by with a giant magic marker and wrote "SPAM" over the top of it. Has the computer age taken over real life? So "Work at home" flyers pasted to the traffic light poles are now SPAM? Is the junk mail I get in the metal mail box out front of my house considered SPAM? All those commercials on TV SPAM? How about bumper stickers on the car in front of me? SPAM everywhere - ack!

On a completely different note, I'm looking forward to that new Jason Lee show in the Fall "My Name is Earl." It's not his most attractive look but he's in line as a backup husband (behind Viggo).

I accidentally caught a bit of Tommy Lee Goes to College. I think he's kind of cute. I think I am really a headbanging, big-haired, heavy metal groupie at heart.