Thursday, December 13, 2007
Stupid automatic phone systems with voice recognition as the only option. How dumb do I sound saying, slowly and clearly, things like 'Accounts' and 'Representative' out loud, alone, in my cubicle? It's so weird. You definitely can't mumble it. Then you face the wrath of 'I'm sorry, I didn't hear you clearly. Please say the option again.' It's so damn polite. What it really means is 'Speak the fuck up, moron!'. I'd be so much happier if it would just say that instead.
What genius invented the stupid voice recognition system? What good does it do? You still have to listen to the automatic voice rattle off all of the possible choices. Does anyone prefer saying their choice out loud as opposed to just hitting the darn button? It doesn't save any time. Don't most people use these at the office anyway? So stupid. I'd love to sit the inventor down next to the office of the old, loud, crazy guy next to me and listen to him shout his options over and over, then get really pissed, and hang up. Over and over. It's great. Such an improvement.
One thing that's making me feel better about dumb wastes of time:
A hot mug of Wild Oats organic instant hot cocoa. Hands down the best instant cocoa I've ever had. If only I was at home and it was snowing! Then the day would be perfect.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
When I was driving him home, he found the Disney radio channel on the AM dial (he's 12). The Jonas Brothers came on. I know them because my niece likes them, but that's it. I know nothing else about them. He told me they went on tour with Miley Cyrus (Hanna Montana, for those of you lucky folks who don't know), and that there's a movie coming out with footage from the concert plus some backstage stuff too. I asked him if he wanted to see it, thinking he'd be horrified, but no, he does want to see it.
Doesn't that seem odd? A junior high boy wanting to see Miley Cyrus? And I don't think it's because he 'likes' her, or thinks she's cute. I really think he likes the TV show and her music. I hope he doesn't talk about this at school. As the hub-unit put it, it's a good thing he's at the small, all-boys private school, and not at the mega-huge University City public school. He was picked on enough there, this would probably make him public enemy number one.
So we were at Target yesterday doing some shopping, and the little brother called me twice. I didn't get the calls right away, but called him a little later. He was urgently calling me to tell me the tickets for the above-described movie were on sale. I was confused. Do these tickets work differently than other movie tickets? Turns out it's only going to be in theaters from Feb. 1-7, 2008. Whew, at least I won't have to see it until then.
Is it too much to hope that he will have gotten over this odd fascination by then?
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
What a game on Saturday night. I was confident the Tigers would win, but man, they totally dominated. The score didn't quite reflect the damage we inflicted on the Jayhawks. I believe that was the best game I've ever seen, by far. And the game next week promises to be just as good. But KU did give us a run for our money during the second quarter - I admit, I was waiting the whole time for Mizzou to crumble. I suppose it's just instinct after all of those seasons when they did manage to fall apart.
We've got some unfinished business against Oklahoma, and this time it'll be on neutral territory, not at Norman. And we'll be riding high off of the KU win. Man, I'm excited to watch it now, and it's only Monday morning.
I'm excited even though I just overheard the bigwigs here talking about chartering a flight to San Antonio for the game this weekend. Must be nice, right? They all went to the game on Saturday and sat in some special box on the field. Stupid rich people and their stupid ability to do anything they want. Makes me want to puke! I definitely do not have any tolerance for that on a Monday morning. And I suppose I'll get to hear about it all week. Yay me.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
What you should do instead is check out that's not news.com. Apparently there has been a rash of people taping others watching the video for the first time. They're hilarious. Much funnier, apparently, than watching the actual video, though as I mentioned earlier, I wouldn't know. I'd heard rumors about what it contained, and after hearing one of the girls in the youtube video actually describe what was happening, that was enough.
That's why the internets is so great. Two girls can make a video of themselves doing despicable and completely wrong things, and it becomes the next big thing that everyone's talking about. Eating poop can make you a 'celebrity'. I suppose fame is worth it at any price, huh? What a world.
Friday, November 16, 2007
- Missouri and Kansas U lose. That would suck (the Missouri part, anyway), but hey, we'll be back bigger and stronger than last year, right? We'd have to put our Big 12 faith in Oklahoma's hands.
- Missouri loses, Kansas wins. That would suck horribly. But then we'd come back next weekend and kick their asses.
- Missouri wins, Kansas loses. That would be frikkin' awesome. Too incredible for words.
- Missouri wins, Kansas wins. That would be okay too. Cause we'll just kill them next weekend.
But there are a few more possibilities:
- LSU loses. They've done it once already this year. Could happen again.
- Oklahoma loses. They've also done it once already this year.
Because Oregon State bit it last night against Arizona, this would leave the top spots up for grabs. It's a possibility, as pointed out by my hub-unit, that Missouri and Kansas U could be 1 & 2 in the nation. Holy crap. That would be something. Then, numbers 1 & 2 would play each other in a regular season game. Unbelievable. And I passed on a ticket to attend this game way back when they went on sale and no one had any idea this could be so huge, thereby allowing my bro-in-law to go instead. Crap. I'm such an idiot!
Of course, chances of this happening are small, but they do exist. That's what's so great about football. Anything can happen.
Quoth the Tiger...Nevermore!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
My parents still live in the house where I grew up, and by that I mean spent every year of my life there until the age of 18. I've been gone now for 12 years (with a minor setback), yet when I'm there, it's as if I never left. There are so many memories. I had my first kiss on the front porch, flipped over the handlebars of my bike and broke my thumb in the back yard, laid in bed with Mom and watched TV at night and gossiped about boys and friends, had friends spend the night on the sofa bed in the basement, admired my older sisters when they still lived in the basement, set up massive little people worlds with my younger sister and played countless games of make believe, kicked her ass in Mario Cart on the Super Nintendo, laughed hysterically with my Mom when the ump said 'FOUL BALL' while playing baseball on the Atari, practised catching and hitting balls with my Dad (and coach) in the backyard, waited for Dad to get home every night with my younger sister, punched a hole in the wall of the staircase, cried many tears and shared many hugs. I could go on and on. I was a very lucky girl - I had a great childhood.
I took the dog for a walk around the loop behind my parents' house, the loop that circles the neighborhood pool (a place I went to every day, every summer as a kid, and caused my share of trouble). I passed by so many homes with even more memories. As kids, we ran wild all hours of the day, and even into the evening. We knew all the kids in the neighborhood. A kid could be a huge nerd at school, but during the summers, we were all equals. Summers for me were magical like that. I had my school friends, and separately, my summer friends (though there were a few overlaps).
Anyway, on my walk, it occurred to me how few of those houses had any connection to me now, yet I knew them intimately. I'd been in every single room, yet strangers were there now, or people who wouldn't probably recognize me at all after so many years.
I started typing out a list of my memories of the houses and the people who live(d) there, but really, you don't care about that. It's enough for me to think again about all of those memories. To wonder what happened to some of my best friends at the time, what became of their families. Some I know about, some will be lost forever.
It's enough to think about those kids and that I'll probably never have closer friends. They knew everything about me, saw me at my best, and at my worst. We learned valuable life lessons together, and shared so many 'firsts'.
It's impossible to be in my old neighborhood and not remember the time we passed out in the pool parking lot and went to swim practice afterwards after sneaking out of one of the girls' houses, driving around with the cute lifeguard in his Honda CRX, getting a ride to school with Dinky (one of the nerdy boys) when my parents grounded me from the car my junior year and forced me to ride the bus (the horror!), hoofing every square inch of the neighborhood on Halloween and getting a pillowcase full of candy, playing flashlight tag in the gloaming hour of warm, summer evenings full of fireflies, winning first place in the final freestyle race of summer swim league and eating so much lik-m-aid it made us sick, launching water balloons from the deck of a boy who'd survived leukemia onto the unsuspecting pool patrons nearby - really, the list is endless. I could go on forever.
I was really struck though by the house of a family I'd known because one of their sons was best friends with the little brother of my best friend. Their house is visible from my parents' backyard. The entire family died of carbon dioxide poisoning. I was living in Texas when it happened, and hadn't ever really gotten the chance to look at that house and really think about it. I saw a car sitting in the driveway. Do the current owners know what happened? Does it, or did it, disturb them? How depressing. He was a good boy, a smart boy. And he and my friend's little brother used to chant 'duh-duh-duh-duh-duh, cha-cha-cha-cha-chicken' at us all the time. I don't know why. They were odd kids. It's surreal, having such a strong memory of the boys at that age, chanting that irritating ditty, yet one of them is dead.
Kind of like my childhood memories. They're so vivid, some of them anyway, yet they're as good as dead. I can't have them back. I'll never be that naive, innocent child again. I miss those days, but am now starting to appreciate the person I've become. I guess I'm beginning to just now understand that it's time to be an adult, and moreover, like being an adult. Perhaps this is why I was able to really take in all of those memories, to separate myself from them.
Or maybe the dog woke me up at 7 for a walk and in my near-sleepwalking state everything seemed surreal. Whatever.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
The news has been out for a while now, but is only garnering national attention recently. Some DNA evidence has been released, and it doesn't match any of the 3 in jail. It does however closely match the father of one of the three murdered boys, Terry Hobbs. I am in no way, shape, or form indicting him in these horrific crimes, as this is what was done to the 3 so long ago. Interesting, though, how things have turned out.
I'm just eagerly anticipating what will come of a writ filed on behalf of Damian Echols, who currently sits on death row. I'm hoping, of course, for exoneration, but will settle for a new trial. After fighting for this cause for so many years, it's so exciting to see it sprouting up all over the place. It's amazing to hear that so many people have visited the website in the last few days that the servers crashed.
I feel they'll be set free, but I hope the state of Arkansas will compensate them somehow for the 10+ years they spent in prison as innocent men. Of course all they want is their freedom. But can you imagine? It unfortunately happens all too often.
I can't wait for the day I can cover my 'free the 3' bumper stickers with stickers saying 'freed!'.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
How? And better yet, Why?
I get wanting to give your child a unique name. I share my ubiquitous first name with millions of people. But I'd rather have my name any day over the likes of:
Reven Niaga (Never Again backwards - straight from BelleMO)
You get the point. Apparently these celebrities (and hicks) were totally cool kids and never got picked on. Giving your kid a name like that is an open invitation to get their asses kicked. And seriously, it all ties back to my earlier post on Coco Crisp (hee hee) - assuming these children grow up to be normal adults (it's a long shot, but play along), how can they go out into the real world and look for a job? Can you imagine investing money with Pilot Inspektor? Or purchasing a home with the help of Apple? Or how about Tu Morrow teaching your kids?
This further reinforces my opinion that people should have to earn the right to have children.
Friday, November 02, 2007
What's really not right is being able to buy a burger for $1 (McDonald's value menu) - why on earth would anyone think that's a good deal? You get what you pay for. A $1 burger. So disgusting.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Some of the best jokes:
Where do pirates go for dinner?
Where does the lady with one leg go for breakfast?
IHOP (as told by Katie?)
Who eats at IHOP?
Katie! (as told by the girl's much younger sister)
What do you call a nun who sleepwalks?
A Roman Catholic (our favorite 'coherent' joke)
Who has a dog with pizza on its head?
Me! (our favorite 'non-coherent' joke)
Orange you glad I didn't say poop?
The poop was the best joke overall, mostly because jokes that end with poop are always funny even if they make no sense. However, watching the girl tell the nun joke to the ex-nun who lives next door was pretty hilarious. All in all a good halloweenie.
Monday, October 29, 2007
The best part of the game was my decision to roll the ball through my legs on my very last frame of the day. I got a strike. How's that for luck? It just proves I have no skill at this sport whatsoever. My little brother wanted me to lose on purpose so he could win. He didn't get at all that it actually takes skill to lose at bowling when the bumpers are up. Really, anything goes. I tried to miss pins a couple of times and ended up getting spares. It doesn't work that way. I only beat him by marginal amounts anyway, and surely not because I was trying.
Bowling is messed up like that. I don't think anyone can say they were born good at it. I'd call myself a 'natural' athlete. I love sports, I love competing, and I've always been at least somewhat good at everything I tried. I suppose maybe if I practiced a little more I could be good at it, but see, that's where you lose me. I never liked practicing. Perhaps why I wasn't ever a great athlete. But I'm okay with that. I'll fully admit to my laziness any day.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
I do know it's a darn good thing he's a professional athlete making tons of dough. Because can you imagine being Coco Crisp and going in to interview as an accountant? Or, mayhap, a teacher? People would remember you, that's for sure. That's if they can get past the hysterics they'll inevitably have whilst reading the resume.
I have to hand it to the sports talk folks and announcers for keeping it together when they mention this guy. Because all I have to do is hear it and chuckling ensues. I can be in the worst mood in the world, then turn on a Sox game (well I could do this if we had cable) and am guaranteed a laugh.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
I saw this today - hilarious:
Little Johnny was in his 4th grade class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living.
All the typical answers came up: Fireman, Truck Driver, Salesman, etc. but, Johnny was being uncharacteristically quiet and so the teacher asked him about his father.
"My father's an exotic dancer and takes off all his clothes at a bar. Sometimes, if the offer's really good, he'll go out to the alley with someone for money."
The teacher, obviously shaken by his statement immediately changed the subject and hurriedly set the other children to work on a coloring project.
She then took Little Johnny aside and asked him, "Is that really true about your father?"
"No," said Johnny, "He's defensive coordinator at the University of Nebraska. I was just too embarrassed to say that."
Friday, October 05, 2007
I was able to fall asleep despite each raspy breath drawn in through a raw throat threatening rebellion at each intake. I woke up with a clogged throat/chest waiting to unleash hellish, racking coughs. Which I fully expected. I just also expected to be horribly tired from lack of sleep due to above mentioned horribleness.
In this so sad day and age where the new, 'improved' NyQuil reigns no more (thanks to those snaggle-toothed meth addicts), it's nice to know Theraflu is out there waiting to put me out of my misery, if only for a night.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
It was...interesting. To say the least. It was apparently their 'loudmouth' version of open mic night, which means pretty much anything goes. And go it did last night. It started off with an awkward poet who left a lot to be desired. Bless his heart, he got up there and read his stuff, which takes a lot of guts, but whew. Not a great start. It only picked up from there, though. The next guy apparently is practicing to be a stand up comic, so between his routine he read a vulgar poem of sorts about vagina shortening (the procedure, not a spray-on-Pam type of sex toy, as he explained). He had his moments, but he definitely thought he was a lot funnier than he was.
He was followed by both poets and short story writers, as well as a novelist, reading a chapter from her work-in-progress. It was a small crowd, so we were accosted from the beginning about whether we were there to read. We politely declined. We had to case the joint first.
We sat at a table in back with another first-timer, a very pleasant PhD student who moved here in July. During break a seasoned poet, and quite the character, came to scope us out and get our story. I can honestly say I've never met anyone quite like him. He's been published in 45 magazines, looked like a beatnick, and had traveled all over the world. Yes, we learned all of this within the span of 5 minutes. Then, one of the organizers, a sweet older man, came over to apologize for the resident 'comedian' and his tomfooleries. We were instantly taken by him - he was so darn pleasant, and had a sense of humor to boot. There seemed to be such camaraderie amongst these folks, it was really comforting. I definitely felt as though I could have read there and been wholly accepted, whether I was good or not. And believe me, there was some talent there, both in poetry and fiction. One girl wrote a story so darn funny at one point I was wiping tears from my eyes. That's serious.
As we got up to leave they thanked us for coming, and made us promise to read the next time we attended. If we attend again, that is. I think we all enjoyed it. Enough to get up and read our work? Only time will tell.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
And about this time change thing. Boy do I love me some daylight savings time. When it rolls around in the spring I'm happy as a pig in shit (and they shit a lot, by the way). It's the start of something great - longer days, sunny weather, warmth - it's beautiful. I tolerate it in the fall as it means the beginning of winter, which I love in a very different way. I'm like a small child when it snows (or even threatens to snow) - very excited. I like warm clothes, fat comforters, slippers, and cozy blankets, not to mention chili, roasts, and hot soup. Mmmmmmmm.
However, what the fuck is happening in the sky right now? It's pitch black when I get up in the morning. Is this some sort of joke? How can I get up and get ready for work when it still seems like the middle of the night? Even my dog looks at me like I'm an evil axe murderer when I go in her room (yes she has her own room) and turn on the light so I can get clothes (yes my clothes are in the dog's room...that's what happens when you have too many clothes). Small children are walking to school in the dark. What if the evil sex offender living down the street that my internets tells me about snags them right from the sidewalk? How could you let that happen?
Mostly though I'm complaining at the incredible sadness that occurs when my alarm goes off in the pitch blackness. And now I have to wait until November for that to change. I cannot deal with this for another month and a half.
Earth, why you gotta be so cruel?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The weather has cooled off. I love it. It's finally time to open the windows. I'm sure my dog is hating life right now (she acts as though we're killing her if the temperature in the house is even one degree warmer than usual), but it's just too nice at night. We're camping with a group of friends (new friends, must be on best behavior - yeah right) this weekend, and it's supposed to dip down into the lower forties. That's the best camping weather ever. And supposedly they'll have a huge bonfire, so that will be perfect.
The hub and I are completely obsessed with Deadwood as of late. We're watching the series from the beginning from Netflix. I like it this way - we don't have cable (read: we're too cheap), so instead of waiting week to week for a new episode, we can inhale them as fast as the mailman can bring them. We're both fascinated with the West during that time period. The characters are so great and have incredible depth. I can't decide which I like best. We're still in the first season, and boy, I will be so sad when it's over. Maybe as sad as I was after watching the last Freaks & Geeks (oh Judd Apatow, how I love thee). I didn't think it was possible.
It's sunny, cloudless actually, and around 75 right now, and time cannot go slower. It's nearing in on go time though, and I can't wait to get outside. This time of year kills me. It's damn near impossible to sit here at work all day when the weather is this nice and stare out the window. One day I will not be stuck in an office all day, I'll be able to enjoy this whenever I want. One day...
Thursday, September 06, 2007
On the flip side, I'm drinking WAY less soda. In fact, the last soda I remember having was this past weekend - Dr. Pepper obtained from Taco Bell along with my three bean (no meat!) tacos. I've even taken to drinking tea when we go out to eat as opposed to soda (other than the previously mentioned Dr. Pepper - it was to mix with rum). I've been trying to kick the soda habit for a while now. The diet varieties just don't fit into my no-artificial-sweetner kick, and regular soda is chock full of calories and high fructose corn syrup (another thing I'm trying to avoid).
Folks who know me will understand how big a deal this is. I've been a soda addict for as long as I can remember. In college, my roomie (and new mom! hi!) Hammertime and I existed on soda (close your eyes mom and dad - and alcohol). Water was not in our vocabulary. We'd even trade in our leftover meal plan points for twelve packs. The past few years or so I've tried to limit myself to one a day, which was pretty good.
So I'm happy I've found a beverage to replace soda. I like it almost as much! And the best part is that I like it unsweetened (not that I will discriminate against sweetened). It's good for you, and low in calories. Perfect. And so refreshing. I like to brew my own iced green tea with a sprig of fresh mint from the yard. Mmmmmmm.
*Yes, I am strangely obsessed with beverages of any kind. See the previous entry. It's a running joke between the hub and I - when we go to the store, we laugh about how much of our final cart is full of beverages. It's seriously not right.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Am I supposed to be glad about this? Instead of feeling glad I'm even more freaked out at the prospect of buying meat in a conventional grocery store. If companies are resorting to this type of thing, what else are they doing?
When food has to be shipped across the country (across the globe, in some cases...eek), companies resort to doing all they can to keep it fresh - or make it appear fresh. This is but one of the reasons I decided to only buy/consume meat if it comes from local farmers, not huge farm conglomerates like Tyson. Firstly, it comes straight from the animal to me, only traveling a hundred miles at most. Secondly, I am more apt to trust a local farmer on how he's raised and fed the animals than the factory farms, who are in this solely for the money, and as we see above, will literally do anything to increase the bottom line. Thirdly, it just plain tastes better, and I can be happy about supporting my local farmers.
Sheesh, though, I guess this could be considered a big step for Tyson. What's next? They stop shearing off chickens' beaks so they can't peck each other to death while crammed into small cages? They stop giving them feed found to contain arsenic, ammonia, and other chemicals? Wow. That's a whole lot to ask.
Man. Eating chicken is so not worth it.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I knew the big 10 was coming up. It's kind of mind boggling - like when you try to think about death, and your brain gets all murky and your head spins. I've been with the same person for ten years. I haven't been on a date with anyone else (well there was that one guy, but that didn't count, and the hub (boyfriend then) knew about it), haven't kissed anyone else (well, there was that one guy...just kidding! ha ha), haven't really even thought about anyone else in ten years. That's insane.
The best part is that it doesn't feel weird at all. In ten years we've had really only one big blowup fight, and that was barely a fight - we never yell and scream. We just get along so darn well. Best friends, really. I know, sick, stop, you're making us gag. I'm proud, that's all.
Here's to another ten! Maybe more, if the hub continues to behave himself.
'White also said he didn't understand the uproar over dogfighting, when hunting deer and other animals is perfectly acceptable.'
He uttered these genius words while explaning why the NFL shouldn't ban Michael Vick. Dear readers, I will spare you my assesment of this comment. I won't insult your intelligence. I myself have never hunted in my life, and I understand the difference between hunting and dogfighting. So he can't use that excuse.
Throw that nasty dog abuser in jail, already.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I finally made it to my car, hot and sweaty, feet sore from high heeled stilettos. I was pulling down the lane when I saw the cop finish up the ticket and walk towards the empty SUV. I was then lucky enough to see a woman hurry out of Schnucks towards the SUV clutching a bottle of water (side note - plastic). The cop handed her the ticket, and to her credit, she didn't appear to argue much, just took it and went. I gave the cop a round of applause (is it called that when you're alone?) and smiled bigger than life.
Why was she so special to get to park in the fire lane? Does she assume the rest of us like parking far away and hoofing it on a hot day? I went in there for one thing, just like her, but I did it the right way. Stinky bitch. First of all, you shouldn't park in the fire lane. But come on - if you're going to do it, don't be gone long enough for a cop to finish writing out a ticket. I've yet to encounter one who did it quickly. If you don't want to get out of your overpriced box on wheels, go through the McDonald's drive thru. I hear they've got a pool-sized soft drink for $.89 - what a value!
Friday, July 13, 2007
I know, I know, you're saying 'But Norma Jean, you have to work! It's a part of life. In order to get the good things later on you have to put your time in now.'
And to that I say oh hell no. I say this hustle and bustle just isn't worth it. Why should I spend a good chunk of my life working for someone else, at a place I don't really care about? I mean it's a great company, and they're all great people, but let's face it, it's just not all that interesting. Spending 8 hours a day taking orders from other people and doing work for other people is not all it's cracked up to be. Shocking, I know. Don't get me wrong. They give orders in the nicest of ways. I know I'm treated well, very well, and the perks are amazing. I definitely know and appreciate that.
I've just come to the conclusion that this type of work just isn't for me. I don't like it. I don't like having to be somewhere for 8 hours a day if I have 2 hours of work. It's ridiculous. It's the system. Not everyone can be trusted on the honors system, so we all have to suffer. Why should I be here for 8 hours a day with 2 hours of work and not be allowed to surf the internet (you can see how much merit I give to that rule)? What the hell am I supposed to do? I know, help others. Find out what I can do to help. The tricky part is that my bosses pay me, not the company. So if I help the company I'm doing work for them while my bosses pay the price. Blah. I'm sick of thinking about it, and I'm sure you're sick of reading about it. All I know is that soon I'm going to cross the threshold of inability to keep these thoughts to myself at work, of inability to act as though I'm happy and satisfied, and that I give a crap about what we're doing (mom, dad, and moo excepted, of course).
Anyway, what I'm really trying to say is that we had a blast at the cabin, and coming from a week of spending wonderful, relaxing, quality time with my loved ones to work really sucks.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
It was a nice day. I went to lunch with friends from work, got some nice gifts (including a gift cert to one of my favorite places, Square One), and, best of all, got to spend the afternoon/evening at the hospital while my sister underwent an emergency appendectomy. Karma for the forks/graves, perhaps?
I did get to go to dinner at a yummy Mexican place near the hospital and got a good margarita while we waited for her in recovery. So that was nice. It was funny - after she went to her room and was all drugged up and cottonmouth, balancing a barf tray on her chest, she said she wanted to hear about my birthday. I told her she was looking at it! Really though, I'm just glad she's okay. Word of warning - when your stomach feels like it's going to explode, go to the ER. It might be about to do just that.
As my mother said last night - at least it'll be a birthday I won't forget.
Monday, June 25, 2007
O'Fallon is a small microbrewery in, you guessed it, O'Fallon, Missouri. It's actually a small pre-fab building buried in some industrial park off the highway. But when you walk in the first thing that hits you is the smell of brewing beer...possibly one of the best smells in the entire world. The tour is actually given by one of the co-owners, Fran. She and her husband own the brewery and call themselves co-owners - so cute.
Anyway, you actually get to see how the beer is made, though Q and I already know a lot about that from brewing our own. But it's cool to see how a small brewery does the same thing we do on a larger scale, but not as mammoth as Anheuser Busch. Plus we got to ask questions, taste the malt, see how they bottle, and sample each of their beers plus a few seasonal beers. Yum. I highly recommend the pumpkin beer when it's available in September. I don't usually like pumpkin beers, but this one is subtle. When the beer hits your tongue you taste a bit of pumpkin, then after you swallow you're left with cinnamon. Delicious. And we got to talk to one of the brewers who explained the process of making cask ale, and told us their cask ale is available at the Iron Barley, one of our favorite restaurants. I can't wait to try it.
It was a lot of fun. I highly recommend going there and doing the tour. The Anheuser tour is fun, of course, and it's cool to see some of the insides of a huge brewery, but this one is so neat because you have the opportunity to really see and understand how beer is made and actually talk to the people who make it.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Q and I watched Babel last night. I was excited to see it, especially after it won so many awards. I should know better by now. What a horribly depressing and sad movie. It was well acted, I suppose, and well done, but crap - talk about getting smacked in the face left and right with sad. There wasn't a moment where I wasn't wondering what horrible thing was going to happen next, or that I could even sit and relax and watch the movie - I was tense the entire time.
I just don't find that enjoyable anymore. I don't handle very well movies that deal with such tragedy. To watch the Mexican woman in such pain over not being able to see the kids, kids she's probably had more of a hand in raising than their own parents, was borderline unbearable. I almost got up and walked out (of my own living room) during the scene in the police station. Not so bad on it's own, I suppose, but after she was forced to leave that adorable boy in tears and his sister half dead under a tree in the desert, it was too much.
And the little boy being killed in the desert. Shit. That was awful. I kept waiting for the police to shoot the youngest one as he surrendered. The movie did end on a somewhat positive note, I suppose, for the Asian and American families, but even so. Life for them will never be the same.
I think I have such a hard time with movies like this because they're so real. I somehow internalize what's happening, and it literally makes me sick to my stomach to imagine that happening to me or my loved ones. It's just too painful to watch. I wonder afterwards, why did I sit there for well over 2 hours feeling tense and depressed? I do that for 9 at work every day for the love. That's enough for me.
I know there's probably some deeper meaning that I missed, some political spin, but to be honest, I don't care to think about it any more than I already have. If only all movies could be as great as Knocked Up - oh Judd Apatow, how you've spoiled my movie and TV watching experiences.
Friday, June 15, 2007
My dad was the sole bread winner in our family, which meant he worked a lot. So the times we shared with him were special. My mom dealt with us (my little sister and I) all day long, so pawning us off on Dad on his day off was a welcome change for her I'm sure. I remember Dad taking us (me and Cootie) to Wet Willy's, the coolest water slides of all time. The slides still exist (though are horribly run down) in Fenton, right at the intersection of 141 and 44, on that huge hill above the Steak 'n Shake. There were three slides (or two? I can't remember), and you went down them on a raft of some sort, and it was most fun to see how much weight you could pack on the raft to go as fast as possible. We'd go down, get out, run up the countless stairs, and repeat over and over until our little bodies couldn't take it anymore. We loved it.
Dad took us first to Naugles, the old taco joint (which I think has subsequently morphed into Del Taco, but I could be wrong), which seems now like a bad idea (tacos then waterslides?), but we loved it. Mom doesn't eat mexican, so for Cootie and I this was a special treat. Then we'd head down to the park, pay our money, and slide like banshees. We'd take turns going alone, or going with Dad, or just us girls. Cootie and I would go first, then wait excitedly at the bottom for Dad to fly out of the slide like a bullet into the pool below, always with a huge smile on his face. I remember Cootie and I being so excited about the prospect of spending the day with Dad. We always had fun.
Another favorite memory is waiting for Dad to come home from work. Cootie and I would hear the garage door open, and we'd take our usual places just behind the utility room (or junk room, as we called it) door and wait. Dad would close the garage door, come in through the heavy outside door, and we'd wait for him to emerge from the junk room then shout 'Surprise!' He acted surprised every time. Of course he knew we'd be there, but that didn't matter. His reaction kept us doing it time and time again. I remember so well the feel and smell of his trademark suits against my cheek whenever we hugged him afterwards.
My dad is a special guy, and I hope he has a great day on Sunday.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
This is from a great article called 'Plastic Ocean' in Best Life Magazine. Plastic never goes away. Every ounce we manufacture is here to stay. And recycling doesn't even help much since only 3%-5% of plastic is ever recycled, and it's actually much cheaper to make new than to recycle it, and everyone knows our big companies are out to make a buck and not to worry about how they might impact the world.
And there's no telling how it effects our food and our bodies. Studies have linked it to cancer (I know, like everything else, even delicious barbecue char) and even the obesity epidemic. Scary.
So read this article and think about it when you're out shopping. When you make your next purchase take it without a bag. Even more importantly, think about it at the grocery. Think about all the foods that come packaged in plastic, and about what alternatives might exist. Think about the environmental footprint you want to leave behind. Get your produce without the plastic bag. Opt for paper at the check out line. It's actually easy to find products packaged without plastic if you take an extra minute to look, and I think you'll find these products usually are of better quality and taste better. It's worth spending an extra quarter or so.
Also consider what you put into your trash can. Could it someday cause a world of pain and suffering to an animal? Take the time to cut your milk rings, or six-pack rings. One thoughtless toss into the can could change the life of an animal forever. Or in the case of the ocean, can produce more plastic than plankton for the fish to eat. If we're all a tiny bit more aware of how our actions can impact the entire world it'd make a ton of difference.
I'll leave you with this last picture, taken by Gregg Segal, a man who has dedicated his life to spreading the word about what we're doing to our oceans and animals. Our seabirds are eating things like lighters, tampon applicators, and bottle caps, and each and every one of us is partly to blame.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Q and I went to the Tower Grove Farmers' Market on Saturday. We got some yummy bratwursts and pork steaks. They were more than we'd spend at the store (if we actually bought meat at the store), but it was well worth it. Not only are we getting good quality, hormone free meat, but it's raised by local farmers. A win-win situation. They had lots of other great things too, like cheese, lots of different lettuces, and even bison. Very cool. We're definitely going to go back. And the new grocery store, Local Harvest, opens up on Friday, so I can't wait to go.
We also made another batch of beer, this time an English brown ale. It'll be ready just in time for our annual trip to the lake over the fourth. It's bubbling away, which it did with the second batch but not so much with the first, so here's to hoping it turns out good. I'm sure it will. Now if July 3rd would just hurry up and get here, that'd be great. A whole 4 days at the lake, not including drive time. Fantastic.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
We went to the Paddy Creek campground in the Mark Twain National Forest - twenty or so miles from Licking, MO. It's very remote, without even running water or cell phone signals, which was great - we had a huge campsite to ourselves so we could be as loud as we wanted (overruling Q's paranoia). The weather was picture-perfect. Not a cloud in the sky for three days straight - the most amazing blue sky framed by huge trees. The night sky looked like a planetarium there were so many stars. Days spent relaxing, chilling with friends, drinking good beer, eating great food, nothing to worry about - I could get used to that.
The funniest part of the weekend (there were many - there always are when the four of us get together) was attempting to hike what we thought was the Paddy Creek Trail, a mile or so hike to a good swimming spot in the creek (as opposed to the concrete bridge - well not really a bridge but a spot where the creek flowed over the road). We got a little ways in and the trail ended at the creek, but definitely not what I would describe as a good swimming spot. So instead of taking the trail back we decided to wade the river back to the bridge. We had Chay with us. Chay's not afraid of getting wet (she'd already plopped herself down in the creek by this time to cool off), but wasn't especially happy about trudging through the water and kept trying to take off for dry land. But she kept going like a trooper. There were a few deeper sections that went to my waist that Chay wasn't able to navigate, so Q picked her up which was a feat unto itself - she does not like being picked up and hadn't ever let us do it. She put up with this twice, then put her foot down - no more. So Q had no choice but to lead her in and see if she would swim.
We've never seen her swim before, and weren't sure she could even do it. Greyhounds are so big and lanky. Some can swim, but some can't. Chay's been in the water, even up to her neck, but that's it. Her instincts took over and she swam like a pro. She made it to a part where she could stand, and stand she did, with her head held high. She totally knew she'd done something new, and was so very proud. Chay swimming is darned adorable with her pointy nose poking high out of the water. Such a cutie. We finally made it back to the bridge where we lounged around for a few hours like complete hoosiers. Letting our true colors shine through. Chay was toast the rest of the day after her little ordeal. I'm curious to see whether she'll try it again this summer at the lake.
Another interesting moment was waking up the first morning and not finding Chay's metal food bowl that I'd put a secure lid on the night before. After asking everyone if they'd put it away, we determined it'd been stolen by an animal. Yum. And animals getting into the trash cans across the way. Can't blame 'em for wanting a tasty treat, I suppose. As long as I'm not the tasty treat I'm good with it. Have at it.
I've got to find some way to live in an amazing, secluded place without a job - at least not a corporate job. Anyone? Ideas? I'm feeling an odd need to reconnect with nature and give up most of my worldly belongings including but not limited to pantyhose and heels. Early mid life crisis perhaps?
Friday, May 18, 2007
Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of the death of my friend, Shorty. Do you call it that? An anniversary? I guess, even though it seems kind of weird. To me 'anniversary' evokes good feelings. How about death day? Like 'yesterday was Shorty's death day?' I suppose there's no good way to say it. It's awkward no matter what.
Kind of like figuring out what to get to put on her grave. Flowers? They seem so cheesy, and Shorty wasn't a flower kind of girl. Plus the crappy Snoocks I went to didn't have a great selection. The cheapest ones were over $6. Somehow spending that on something that will sit and die on Shorty's grave didn't seem right to my frugal (that's one way to say it) self. So I opted for a small potted plant. It had reddish leaves and big red blooms. Not flowers, more like a cone shaped thingy. A botanist I am not. This one set me back $2. Much better. And it'll probably last a lot longer than flowers.
The awkwardness followed me again to the cemetery. This time I found her grave without much trouble, unlike the past few times (once I had to get someone from the cemetery to help me - seriously awkward. Apparently I'd made a mental note the last time that it sat under a small tree, and there it was. It was just like last time. The little dog was still there, looking a bit worse for the wear. Stuffed animals + outside elements = not a great combo. There were some fake flowers in the little vase on her headstone, and a bunch of red roses that had been there for some time. They were one step away from being reclaimed by the earth.
It was a beautiful day. To push away the awkwardness, I set to work arranging her things on the headstone. I brushed off errant leaves and whatnot, and cleaned the grass sprayed by a mower off of the vase. I got a pen from my purse to write 'Miss you Shorty' on the flowerpot. I took a couple of pictures (morbid, yes, but the light and angle were perfect to capture her last name, the flowerpot, the vase with fake flowers, and the dog keeping guard beneath it). Then I ran out of things to do. What does one do at a cemetery? It's weird. I felt like a tool standing there, so I sat down for a while. The sun was nice. The day was very similar to her last death day (yes, that's better, feels more natural). I thought about what we used to do on these days back in college, and sent good thoughts out to her, wherever she is.
Then I got back in the car and listened to Terri Gross on NPR interview Alice Cooper. Great interview. He's quite a guy.