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.