Saturday, December 12, 2009

Buzz Word Bingo

When I’m in meetings I make a list of buzz words that I hate. As people use them, I make a tick mark, thereby satisfying the need to look engaged and busy, and to count ways that people bug me. My go-to list is:

  • If you will (and I will. Will you?)
  • Honestly (does that mean that people aren’t honest unless they preface with “Honestly”? Yet, I find myself saying, “To tell you the truth…”)
  • Things of that nature (gag!)
  • Whatnot (what? What not?)
  • You know (Yes, I do know. You just said it.)
  • Thus Far (the olde English, I don’t fancy)
  • Heretofore (wheretofive? Hehe)
  • Thusly (okay, so no one ever uses this one. But I’m ready just in case)

That being said (which is another of the phrases that bugs me), I would love for the following to make it into the common vernacular:

  • Crikey!
  • Egads!
  • Blech (not the sound, the word)

Caro’s most recent post made me nostalgic for those vacations in the station wagon where we would pop an 8-track and sing along while driving through the seemingly endless desert.

Mandos called me last weekend when he and his family and Mom were in NYC. I always imagined that they were off gallivanting, eating at fancy places with their pinkies held high and carrying bags of shopping from expensive stores. No, they were arguing about whether the Man of La Mancha soundtrack was ever played in 8-track format, in the station wagon. As I told Mandos, I’ve stopped being jealous.

I have almost finished my Christmas shopping, except for a few little things. Jim and I are getting Mom a remote car starter installed in her car. Because it is ridiculously expensive, it will be her combined birthday and Christmas presents from both of us. In this climate, it is almost a necessity to have a warmed car, and where she’s getting into her car after being up all night three nights a week, she needs it.

Which reminds me—I wonder if Brittany realizes that she has a remote car starter on the Honda? If she needs help, call grandma and she’ll ‘splain the functionality and wonderfulness of the remote starter!

We are very much looking forward to Sophie and Bronnie at our house today. We’re going to the American Girl store for lunch, making s’mores in the fireplace, watching a Christmas movie or two, and generally, partying. Maybe there’s enough snow to go sledding at the cemetery, which is always good. Mom’s birthday is Monday, so we’ll definitely plan something to celebrate while we’re all together for tomorrow's lunch.

Conveniently, Caro didn’t ‘splain that she said, “Somebody’s gotta choke the chicken” at Thanksgiving and claims she wasn’t aware of the sordid meaning. I told Jim and he said, “I always thought it was ‘choke the bishop’.” I guess that’s because of the um, yeah. You know.

I think I’ll make some kolaches this Christmas. He he.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Who's voice did you hear when you read the title?  Come on, you know what I'm talking about.  Just like if I titled it, "I Wanna Know What Love Is" or "Peace is Flowing Like a River".  Anyway, some tunes stay in your head with a very specific singer attached to it.  But anyway....

We are finally done with the Nutcracker.  I don't know what we were thinking.  It was fun a couple of times, but then Sophie got really sick, Bronnie got lice and Shawn hurt his back.  There was too many things happening at once.  The tickets were outrageously expensive and none of the family could be persuaded to watch the second act!   Anyway, we got some good memories out of it - but mostly we realized that 7 performances is probably a lot for our 8 year old.

We also got our Christmas Tree/Cactus hybrid.  I should have taken more notice at the farmer's surprise when we told him we had picked a tree.  He was sure we wouldn't find one, but we did and now we are all nursing puncture wounds after hanging ornaments.  It doesn't even smell piney, which was the reason we chose to get a fresh tree this year.  Of course it may not be the tree's fault.  We do have a lot of competing odors in this house.  In fact, it probably smells like a freakin forest but we will never know.  Thanks Biko.

We also miss Pengu.  The well-behaved dog with enviable poop.  I wish our dogs could poop like that.  Pengu could poop on a white sheet and after you pick it up you could put that sheet right on the bed and no one would ever know.  Not fair.

Anyway, Shawn's back is still hurt, so we are hoping the Physical Therapist and Back Doctor have some good news next week instead of the horrible news Shawn is sure he is going to hear.  I'm just plugging along our original plan that we are going to Virginia - until we have official notice otherwise.  Keep him in your prayers though.  He certainly has a huge amount of anxiety about his back due to being raised by a mother with chronic back issues.

That's all for now.  I'm done with my Christmas shopping for the most part.  I probably will miss the crazy sales over the next few weeks, but it's worth it to miss the crowds.  Not sure if you will get a Christmas card, since I misplaced them in my house.  Maybe a Christmas email?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Off roading

What an exciting morning!  I had just left the house, had my ipod going to Flight of the Conchords (thanks Caro, for recommending the music.  So funny!) and was thinking that I should have stopped to get gas before getting on the turnpike.  My on ramp has a downhill slope as it's curving around in a cloverleaf.  I was thinking about how incredibly slick things were when my tires started to slide and I was looking right into oncoming traffic, getting off the turnpike.  I panicked because I was thinking about the curb separating me from a head on collision so in addition to slamming on my brakes (anti-lock action immediately!), I turned my wheel hard.  As soon as the tires got their grip, they turned me toward the huge gulley, I hopped the curb and went about 15 feet down.  I was terrified that I was going to flip, but I just coasted down the hill and stopped at the bottom.

Luckily, a tow truck was going by not even 3 minutes later, so while I was on the phone with AAA, the tow truck stopped.  It took forever for the state police to arrive (which the tow truck driver had to have because he needed to shut down the on-ramp to pull me out) so the tow truck driver, let's call him Fred, and I became fast friends.

Fred is a divorcee, and told me about all of the traffic fatalities he's cleaned up after, and about yesterday's gruesome pickup that one of his co-workers had to do.   He was very nice, and managed to calm me down. 

So, I'm $100 poorer, but otherwise my car is fine and I'm fine.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Health Update

Lola may or may not have the swine. I talked to her last night and it sure sounds like it.

Austin has strep and an ear infection that perforated his eardrum. He's absolutely miserable, and the discharge would put you off your lunch.  Blech!

Caro had many unexpected guests at Thanksgiving that she never explained to you guys and the title of her blog post was obscene and will likely bring lots of "interesting" people to our little blog.  Anyone googling euphemisms for spanking the monkey, for example.

Pengu misses Caro and Biko.

Anyone needing gift ideas for Jim and/or Mom, let me know. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Someone's Gotta Strangle the Chicken

Hot Tamales in the Red Hot

Mom is constantly wringing her hands over passing down the tamale-making legacy.  She once told me that she felt Gaby was her greatest hope in keeping the recipe alive - ouch!  I've helped her make them several times....I've lugged 10 pounds of frozen masa from Texas to Boston....Shawn and I have made them by ourselves in Guam (although they weighed about 2 lbs each and you could only eat 1 per meal).  Anyway, my efforts go unnoticed, yet I continue to volunteer my services!  Whatever, they are delicious and as long as you stay 1 step ahead of the dishes (and are willing to sacrifice your blender and strainer) they are worth it!

Mom and the dogs quickly found their groove!
So, I guess I'll be needing a new smoothie blender

Not as messy as it could be 

There was a nice sheen of lard covering most surfaces of the kitchen.  Why won't Biko lose weight? 

This is the best part - one scoop of meat/chile for the tamale, one scoop for my mouth! 

Bagheera's interest is purely for posterity.

Anyway, too bad you weren't here to taste them fresh out of the pot!  They are the best we have made together.  I'm going to walk a few steps to my fridge and help myself to a few!

Turkey Day update

Hey! Our Thanksgiving was great at Caro’s house. Adam loved playing with Bronnie! Yesterday morning I heard Adam ask Bronnie if he could lay down with her to watch TV and she said, “Only if I can hug you.” So, they cuddled up and watched TV.

We had a fabulous dinner of the usual items, including probably the best dressing I’ve ever had. It was delicious! Everything else was great, but I could have had just dressing and been happy.

I see my camera is still acting up. It adds 30 pounds and an extra chin to all of the pictures of me. I was more cheerful than I appear--we were playing a game that required reading through a clear red de-coder and I could barely see.  Old age is heck, and you're all right behind me.

Sophie was so cute in the Nutcracker. I was crying through it, but she was great. She was the cutest little mouse, with her glasses! I could never have done what she did. She was doing cartwheels and spinning around in front of probably 200 people. It was awesome! When she was getting ready, she looked so grown up and so much like a real ballerina.

Austin was with Marc, which cuts both ways. I miss him every minute of every day, but he’s so much work, that I guiltily rest from the drama. Of course, we were home 20 minutes when Marc delivered him to us at home, a day early and riddled with disease. He probably has the flu again, in spite of having been vaccinated for seasonal and H1N1, but he’s having a strep test in the morning to be sure. 102.4 degree fever this morning! Being sick makes him very sweet and affectionate. I guess I know how to tell when he’s feeling better.

It was good to talk to Gaby yesterday. She’s not her usual bubbly self, but it’s nice to talk to her since her visit.

I understand Lola is sick. Probably from too many informational sessions and strenuous meetings at work.

I talked to Caro and Gaby and since the birth order posting idea isn't working, whomever feels like posting, at whatever time, should feel free to do so. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

don't be ridicurous--- im not asian!

as long as i can remember, people have thought i was asian.  rob's granny is convinced that i'm chinese and not admitting this.  she whispers loudly, suspicious over my failure to 'fess up.  i've considered visiting with her in some traditional chinese garb, just to mess with her.  so i have chinky eyes(no offense to the ching-chongs, i have the eyes too!-- and i didn't get the naturally slender physique, so suck it if you're offended)
my vietnamese manicurist has asked me if i was thai.  i walk in to a salon and everyone nods at me in solidarity.  everyone seems a little disappointed when i tell them i'm not.  i've considered running with it, and have invented a history i may start using.  im a vietnamese boat person.  it may need some work.
another thing i hear all of the time is, "you look like the chick from the bride of chucky".  not familiar with this cinematic gem, i looked it up. this is what i found:

i admit, there are worse people to look like, but on ugly days, im convinced that i look like frederick douglass: (with chinky eyes)

i've learned to adapt. whenever anyone is around with a camera, i try to do my best marty feldman impersonation so i won't look quiet so pat norita-ish in pics.  so i look a little crazed.  i can live with that.
it's just that people expect me to be so friggin' smart...good at math... and like i can be their hook-up on a great knock off handbag, or like they need to clutch their dogs in case i get hungry. What? it's true!


I was in Memphis last week, right before Gaby came to visit. I told Gaby and Caro this already, but Lola hasn't heard.

After an annoying delay in Atlanta, I made it to Memphis. I worked with the nicest people, who took me to Corky's for dinner. Delicious, but if I lived in Memphis I'd be as big as a house.The hotel itself was really something. Here was the marquee:
I guess they needed something to brag about. I did try the shower, and it was excellent. I was in room 311, so I walked past 309, past an unmarked door, then the next door was 313. So I backed up to the unmarked door. That was mine!

I didn't leave the room at all because a friend told me that the particular part of Memphis near the airport is full of drug dealers and prostitutes. The next day at the airport, I went to empty my bladder. In addition to listening to a woman who was multi-tasking by pooping and talking on her phone, I saw this reminder scrawled on the stall door:
I really hope the woman in the next stall is off the toilet and phone by then.