Sunday, December 31, 2006
As an adult its not the WishBook that brings hours of fantasy but the Pottery Barn Bed and Bath catalogue or the William Sonoma kitchen gadgets that are exciting to me. I know that the $2 scraper from Fred Meyer will scrape just as well as the $12 scraper from Crate & Barrel but the more expensive one is more fun to use. What is that? I'm such a consumer.
I am aware that if I stop spending dinero on the $12 items that I can save up the cash and buy a bigger ticket item or better yet save for the future so that when I'm old that I don't have to live under a bridge or worse at your house.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
I don't make formal resolutions but I do plan to continue to work on the debt to fun ratio, reduce the ass on couch time and increase the amount of time I spend sweating to the oldies.
I'm on the train tomorrow to Portland to finish up the holiday week. I love taking the train... it's so wonderful not to have to drive. So, take care and goodbye to 2006.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
pretty! Socked in, but pretty.
I haven't seen the sun since, but we did have a white Christmas. Upon arrival I checked out the house and the new dog. He's a nice dog and well suited for my parents lifestyle. I fell into like with him instantly and as you can see he has personality. Unfortunately Bear is a little passive. He and I went for a walk on Saturday morning and we ran into the dog who lives up the lane. That dog was a friendly but aggressive male with sexuality issues. He instantly mounted my mom's dog and started to assault him in an unkind way. Bear froze in his tracks and only faught back upon penetration. I was horrified and tried to get the big dog away but it was clear that I was not in charge. Finally, the scary lady in the house with the flamingos came out and shooed the rapist dog away. She shamed me by being able to shoo him away by yelling from afar when I had been so ineffective in my attempts.
Upon the return to the house I told my parents about our horrific outing and dad said "yeah, we shoudl have told you about that, we usually walk the other way." Thanks for the heads up!
We spent Christmas Eve with Glenda the good aunt and Sandy & Ed. They watched football and after it was clear that we would not win the game we played board games. Mostly it was fun. One of the "sisters" tried to pitch a fit at dinner but we were able to get out of it without a major blow out. (Sometimes it's a little volatile in our family - the aunts don't have the best 'go with the flow' skills and when anyone tries to take over and manage the other sparks are guaranteed.)
Mom, Dad & I opened presents that night and everyone seemed happy wtih their haul. Mom and Dad bought me some nice queen sized sheets and I think its a hint to get a bigger bed so that they can be comfortable when they visit. That's ok, it's on the list.
We had dinner at Sandy & Ed's and played cards until dad was ready to drop. My cousin Vernon brought his girlfriend and she was subjected to all the stories but I think we came off less crazy than we actually are. It was nice to see him so happy.
It was snowing like crazy this morning so I quickly packed the car and left. I don't have studs on my tires and didn't want to have to chain up. I did stop near Cle Elum to pop the chains on, but found out the VW Golf chains don't fit the VW Jetta. I decided to just go and found that 400 yards down the road the worst was over. I had planned on stopping and buying chains - but decided to wait until I got home. Who wants to pay the "its snowing and you need them so we can charge you anything" price? Not me.
I did take some pictures before I left.
These are the trees in the pasture behind my parents house. Our first dog Barniby Jones "Barney" is burried in this grove. A nice place to be if you ask me.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Puget Sound Energy tells me that by tonight there will be power - but I don't believe them. I spent the morning with the cat - burned a presto log for heat and packed my car for the journey over the pass. The weather service said that today was the ideal travel day and were they ever right. I left the PNW around 11 and descended into the foggy Yakima Valley around 1:30. It was an easy drive. Hopefully the return trip won't be horrific.
The parents remodeled house is good. It's still a small house but it has better flow and I have a room to sleep in. The new dog really is sweet (a combo Akita/Chow) and the cats pretty much leave him alone.
No Christmas tree tho. That's kind of sad. We'll be going over to Glenda the good aunt's for the football game on Sunday. (um, maybe the Seahawks? I'm so not into football - but whatever.) Then we'll be doing Christmas dinner with Aunt Sandy & Uncle Ed. S&E are fun - Ed has a wicked sense of humor. During my childhood they were the most fun to hang out with. They always had things planned when we visited so it seemed to us like they spent all summer camping and boating. The poor boat hasn't been out in a hundred years and is basically dead. They still have it and I suggested that they bury it in the front yard as a shrine but Sandy doesn't want to mow around it. Plus, it's a little W.T. if you know what I mean.
Have a nice Christmas. If anything exciting happens I'll let you know.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The paper this morning reported that Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is now saying that some of the power outages are 'our' fault for not letting them de-tree in areas. I personally own none of that responsibility, but it is a sign that the goodwill and heroic after storm actions are starting to fade. I wouldn't be surprised if in short order all hell breaks loose and those of us in the dark start to rise up and revolt.
This morning, I packed my car with all the things I have had at Becky's (she said to just go ahead and use her name, she thinks my pseudonyms are easily crackable) and will go home tonight in hopes that today is the day. Power Day....
I'm feeling really bad for my cat. Peter has been home alone for days now, and I don't think the nightly check in is enough to keep the poor dude happy. It has been cold enough to leave out cream for him to clog his arteries with, but I haven't done it. I am a bad bad mommy.
Power or no, I'll probably sleep at home tonight because the beast needs some human contact before I leave him for the Christmas weekend. I'd take him with me to Yaki-vegas but mom and dad have enough animals. Katie - the loving and super cute black cat, Iris - super bitchy standoffish calico cat. (She was in the home first and is a little more than angry about Katie moving in, but it's the new dog that really has her in Michael Douglas "Falling Down" mode.) The new dog (whose name hasn't been told to me yet) is the most adored being in the house. I think adding my cat to the mix would really throw Iris over the edge. She'd probably step up her bitchy behavior and just set the house on fire. No one needs that drama, so Pete will have to suffer.
Mom has told me that they got a dog three or four times now. (I love that she can't remember when she's last spoken to me. I would feel unimportant except that she's so excited to talk to me that I know she's happy about it - she doesn't recall what we've talked about. It's not Alzheimer's...'cuz that's what you're thinking, she's just caught up in her world.)
Um... what else is there to report... Nothing!---er... previously posted content has been removed because my attorney friend reminds me that it's not really anonymous and how would I feel if something unkind (but true) was posted about me by someone I worked for? Not good. I will now fall back on revisionist history in order to gloss over my lapse in judgement. Everything everywhere is ok, I never said there were "ACTUAL" weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Its not that I mind giving up year end work activities to do my civic duty because I don't. Its the hours and hours of sitting around that displeases me. Plus there's the odd assemblage of people who are my peers? Sorry Wolf Sweater lady we aren't peers!
I've got the laptop and will try to keep up with work. (Shouldn't be too hard, I received like five work related emails yesterday.)
I was sad to hear that another storm with high winds will hit our area tonight. I suppose I should just move in forever with Babs--- no that won't work, um what about Becks?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
As of 11 a.m. PST, Dec. 19, 2006
For the Renton, Renton Highlands, and Fairwood areas
In the Renton area, we are working to repair the local distribution lines to restore customers' power by Wednesday or Thursday. Because of severe damage to the transmission lines serving the Fairwood and Lake Youngs areas, restoration efforts will continue there into the weekend.
Monday, December 18, 2006
As I made the turn to my condo all hope faded. Pitch Black. It looks as though most of my neighbors have also left. Never before has there been so much parking available.
I popped inside, fed the pissed off cat, picked out some new clothes --hopefully not blue and black and finished throwing the rest of the food away. Then I drove back over to Becca's.
I feel a little homeless at the moment.
The wind storm was amazing, loud and somewhat scary. It literally roared and when the power clicked off at 1:15 it was not a surprise. The blue arcs from the transformers lit up the sky like fireworks. I could hear firetruck alarms all night. That was Thursday, today is Monday four days later and I’m still one of the unlucky who have no power at home.
Rico used his hotel connections to get me a room at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Seattle. I extended an offer to Yazmine to come with me. Her husband left for a dudes weekend in Bend, Oregon so she was grateful and quickly packed a bag in the dark and met me for a return trip into the city.
Our night was nice; we walked over to Bucca di Beppo and ordered a pizza and a “small” salad which we took back to our room. We watched Lord of the Rings, Return of The King and then turned off the light and as we drifted off to sleep we discussed what items in our refrigerator or freezer we would be most saddened to have to throw away. For me it was some steaks and seafood.
We spent the day Saturday braving the horrific University Village holiday shoppers. Thankfully the valet parkers were still in a good mood and let us pick up my car even though the valet ticket had gone missing from my pocket.
Upon returning home Saturday afternoon I realized just how much time TV and the Internet sucks up when I cleaned my room and organized a couple closets in no time at all. I had been putting off these tasks for ages and with no distractions it was done in a heartbeat.
I made up the bed with all things wonderful, flannel sheets, quilts, the down comforter and the feather bed. I was ready for the sun to go down and for a long winter night. In the living room I set up candle after candle and hoped they would give off enough heat to make the room cozy. (WRONG) I wrapped the rest of the adopt-o-family gifts and had a delightful dinner (pb&j). Around 8 I finally gave in and went to bed. By moving 10 or so of the candles into the bedroom I was able to read for a while. This plan was not well thought out because I had to get OUT of bed to blow them out to prevent the house from burning down. Brrrr.
As a kid I use to think it would be so cool to go back in time and live like Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie– well I was fucking WRONG! Those people had a suck-ass life – it is cold with no heat and boring with no TV. No wonder they had 19 children there was NOTHING TO DO after the sun went down except for sex.
Sunday – still no power. I willingly got out of bed and headed to church for a little warmth. After lunch I headed back home and decided that I am not rugged nor am I cut out for ‘roughing’ it. After dropping the gifts at our adopt-a-families home (which was roasty toasty) I darkened the door of Becca and her family. They have a guest bedroom with built in twin beds that are surprisingly comfortable.
They have a wonderful 4 year old son who increased the size of my heart tenfold, when he figured out I was staying the night responded with a little dance and “I’m so HAPPY!!!” Awe shucks kid, I like you too.
The bus service to Becca’s is a little strange – almost impossible to work a full 8 hour day – so I’ll be (darn) leaving work early today. Hopefully there will be power tonight – but I’m not counting on it.
I’ll update you when I can.
Monday, December 11, 2006
I was thinking this morning as I stood in line at ChristmasBucks - Starbucks to get my tall eggnog latte (totally gross by the way) that those non-Christians among us must get irritated with the fact that Christmas is everywhere from the day before Thanksgiving until at least the first week in January.
Special lights on the trees downtown, boughs of red and green are everywhere, Karen Carpenter is thinly wishing you a merry christmas while you stand in line at Quiznos to get a non-pork product type sandwich. (For me, this is the one thing that would totally prevent me from coverting to Judiasim. Sorry chosen people bacon tastes really good.)
Last year there was a big stink about some politician - maybe even the idiot king himself sending cards that read "Happy Holidays" and some of the more red Americans were displeased because they thought it displayed a sacrifice of christian values not to use Christmas in the message. Uh hello a-holes Jesus was all about inclusiveness.
I'm happy to see the trees go back up because they are pretty, but I think we need to be sensitive that we Christmas celebrators aren't the only people on the earth. You'll notice when you get my card that I too have used "happy holidays" but it's not because I hate the baby Jesus but because I like the alliteration.
I love many things about technology, the Internet which allows you to read my version of the New York Times. Albeit tp gal is much less widely read and a little less well written but none the less important to our way of life. It also enables the wonderful tool e-mail, which none of us could ever pass the buck without. "What do you mean you didn't finish re-writing the Merger proposal, I sent you an e-mail?" E-mail also fills our work day with endless interruptions and is impossible to ignore thanks to the pop up window that appears at the bottom of my screen anytime someone has something to say. I love that e-mail is an easy way to keep in contact w/ friends (work and 'real') and responding looks like work. Sometimes the giggling gives it away that I'm goofing around, but the minions know a happy TPgal is a good TPgal. Cranky TPgal is no fun at all!
I know the "minions" reference is wrong. I am a hateful and ungrateful girl. In reality in the off-line world I am humbled to be able to work with such a hard working team. There's a lot of CRAP (crazy-repetitive-administrative-processes) that managers here (and everywhere I think) have to endure, and I'm hopeful that if I do my job well that the folks that work in my area aren't burdened with it and whether they know it or not I'm trying to make their lives easier.
The minion-hood grew by two last week. I gave birth (ick) to two project managers so now life will truly never be the same. I don't get to start making them wash my car and clean my catbox until January, but I've got a project plan for them. Oooh, a new kitchen!
So, the lead story in the mornings "MegaBank Today" splash page on our web site was all about the oh-so-exciting e-cards that the company lets us use to send SPAM to people we think are going a bang up job. (Bank Up Job?) Here's how it works Bob kills himself to get something done that Joe should have done last week and to thank him, Joe sends Bob a pretty e-card (basically a form letter) and Bob's manager gets a copy and all of a sudden Joe is relieved of any obligation to Bob.
Seriously, it's just noise and while I do pay attention to the e-cards my team receives from their customers I rarely (once) send them. When someone seriously knocks it out of the park for me I write a note to their manager and make sure to follow up at review time to remind them that they have been a credit to that team.
One last "work" story and then I'd better get right to it.
So, you may have noticed that I don't use the name of my company when I blog. If you're able to put your pants on by yourself you can totally figure it out, but I am technically toeing the company line when I don't identify myself as an employee of MegaBank. I have plenty of nice things to say about the company. I believe that the CRAP is the same stuff I would find at MegaSoft across the lake or any other big company; it's just branded as Quirky here. I know there are plenty of ex-co workers that don't share my opinion, but I've generally been pretty happy.
So, the rule is don't talk shit about your company in public even if it's "good" because the minute Dilbert Bank Teller stands up in front of the nightly news and says "I love the way MegaBank encourages us to donate 5% of our salary to United Way each year. It's so good for the community, and they are totally aggressive about the encouragement so they get like 99% participation!" The evil Media will miss his well intentioned point and pick up on the fact that MB practically beats the money out of its employees.
This has been the rule for ages and ages, but the internal communications department thinks we're missing out on lots of positive free advertising by not letting the employees post how excited they are about the MB on their mySpace sites.
Uh hello do Internal Communications and Public Relations not even speak anymore? I thought the guiding principal of communications was CONTROL THE MESSAGE. I'm not overly worried about folks posting how awesome they think their work life is, and really when they post how suck ass things are we generally have some recourse when they are malicious and inaccurate but what happens when they post something ugly that's totally true?
Anyway, we're getting the lawyers, public relations and the internal communications folks together to talk about it. The unhelpful bitter part of me wants to tell internal communications that the Internet is EXTERNAL and they need to get their nose out of it but I probably won't. I like being able to pay my mortgage.
So, get back to your regularly scheduled life.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I mull things over and talk them out with the cat, but he's no help when I'm unsure as to how to proceed. Talking it out with the trusted inner circle is an idea, but some think that it is crass to talk money, and then there's the worry that you'll spill the oh-so-secret salary level or the dreadful financial situation. All those charged shoes add up to a worrisome debt to income situation.
There are professionals to talk with, but I'm unsure as to how to find one that isn't trying to sell me something. Plus, isn't paying someone to talk to me a little reminiscent of the days of yore when my mom paid the kids in the neighborhood to be nice to me? I have to tell you I was pretty upset when I found out the reason why little Timmy came over every 15th and 30th like clockwork.
Anywho... I'm mulling over a new fictionary term in honor of our friends who are prohibited by law from marrying: Significan't Others.
Lastly, the shelf lady stopped by last night to pick up the shelf and upon seeing it realized it wouldn't fit in her car. Too bad I didn't include the dimensions of the item on my ad... wait I DID! She's supposed to be back tonight - we'll see.
I want the damn thing gone.
Bye bye shelf
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I've been hanging on to an IKEA bookshelf that has served me well, but doesn't work in the condo since I moved in 3 years ago. For a while it was in the office taking up space and when the pretty white bookshelves arrived it moved into the bedroom to get in the way. All attempts to talk P&J into taking it to their spacious new home have been met with laughter and general disdain.
MJ (ooh a new character!) at work suggested that I post it in the 'free' section on Craigslist and promised it would be gone in less than 10 minutes. Yeah right... it only took 2 minutes from the time it posted. 15 e-mail requests for the dusty shelves in 10 minutes. I had to take the dang thing off line.
Denise of the unpronounceable last name (Aksamit) and her "man" are coming tomorrow after 6 to pick it up. I'm so excited to have the damn thing gone I may dust it. If I end up murdered in my house you can look in my comcast e-mail box for her name and phone number. (I'll make sure they don't have to come all the way into my house and if I can find someone to come over at the same time I will.) I doubt this would be the perfect crime - respond to a craigs list ad and kill the poor spinster in her home and leave her body on the floor for the cat to eat.
In addition to world peace and a different outcome in the 2000 presidential election (I know I need to get over it) the totally selfish and materialistic things I want are:
New living room couch and chair(s) I'm O-V-E-R the hand-me-down chair and the beat up 15 year old pink couch.
A queen sized bed.
Replacement carpet in the livingroom, bedroom and office
The oh so cool 80 gig iPod!
My two mortgages re-financed and consolodated into one with a lower payment.
An employed new boyfriend
The drive to get my *ss out of bed every morning and work out.
Ann Coulter to look in the mirror and realize just how not nice she is, and want to change.
Jury duty over the christmas break.
Wait... that one already came true. Thanks Santa!
Friday, December 01, 2006
ILWACO, Wash. — A late-night fire burned the town fire station and most of the equipment inside, including the department's only ambulance, officials said today.
"I can't believe that it happened. But I'm standing her looking at it and it's gone," Fire Chief Tom Williams said. "This little department has been here since 1887."
Nobody was in the station when the fire was reported at about 11 p.m. Thursday, Williams said. Firefighters were able to save one fire engine and a smaller truck, but the building and remaining equipment were destroyed.
Along with the agency's lone ambulance, the blaze wrecked a pumper truck, equipment for 27 volunteer firefighters, and a 1950s-era fire engine used in parades.
The fire wasn't considered suspicious. Electrical problems were one possible cause, because the fire apparently started on a wall that houses an electrical panel, Williams said.
Nearby departments at Long Beach and Chinook will provide backup fire service. Williams said Ilwaco's department may be able to operate by this weekend, using its remaining trucks and equipment donated from other departments.
The Ilwaco fire house, which was insured, also was used for City Council meetings and by the Red Cross, City Clerk Lori Mossman said.
This is the form letter response I received after lodging a complaint with BW corporate (the bolding is mine):
Thank you for contacting Best Western International. The Customer Care Department monitors all guest complaint files to ensure that a timely response is sent as required by the member property. Our files do not indicate that a reply has been sent to you by the management of the Best Western St. Christopher Hotel. I apologize that the hotel has not taken the opportunity to resolve this matter with you. We can only suggest that you continue to contact them directly to see if they have found the items you left at the hotel.
Since customer satisfaction is the primary goal of Best Western members,guest comments are greatly appreciated. Again, thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention.
Are you fricking kidding me!? I am aware that by now my mom's stuff is gone but their complete lack of customer service angers me. I did get a phone call on my cell phone a week or so ago that said:
Miss Hall - we haven't found your iPod charger, but we will continue to look.
Yeah, if my name was Miss Hall or if I had left my iPod charger (which I totally wouldn't) this message would have been relevant-- but they suck so bad they can't even keep phone numbers associated with requests for lost stuff and they just continue to find ways to piss me off.
So, please... DON'T EVER STAY AT THE BEST WESTERN ST. CHRISTOPHER in New Orleans!!!!
After 9:30 I found myself holding the book but realized my eyes were closed and I was 'thinking' about the last thing I read. (This is code for drifting off to sleep.) I decided to go for it and snapped off the light and gave in. All was dandy until 1:27 when I awoke. (In college Becca and I use to call this the wee wee hours - a phrase stolen from a Bruce Springsteen song.) Usually I can pop back into bed, move the cat out of the center of the bed and drift back to dreamland where Josh Lucas or Logan Echols is waiting to clean my house. Not last night, the longer I laid in the dark the more awake I became. It's not like I've got anything weighty on my head these days but I couldn't turn my brain off.
Giving up I snapped on the tv to find Madge (who use to be Madonna) performing a concert. It was pretty good, but not really intended to be watched by the 'I want to be asleep' demographic. Flashing lights and quick cuts from the dancers to Madge was enough to give me a seizure. Luckily for me there was a twilight zone episode on Spike. After 15 minutes of a man with a magic stop watch that could stop the world clicking stop... and then an obvious pause of the film I started to spend more time under my eyelids. I'm disappointed that I don't know what happened to stop watch man, I wonder if he like Adam Sandler had to "catch up" at the end of his life. Or if he realized he was a terrible actor and that this was the only job he was ever going to get? Either way, I'm sure Rod Sterling had some witty and thought provoking to say about it.
Have a delightful day!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
In reading through the previous posts MWR called me out on the carpet for A) never posting and B) having a typo in my side bar. Hell if I can find it, so I've gone to the source and begged for help. He's a stand up guy and will help me find the error of my fingers.
But, in searching the sidebar I clicked the EVIL BEET link to catch up on the latest (and admittedly grossest) celebrity news. There's photo's on EB of poor Brittney Spears with Paris Hilton (who we all know it the ONE person to turn to for help through a tough time) out on the town. Brit must have packed light because in a couple of the 'exiting the car' shots you can see her SHARON STONE (if you know what I mean.) HELLO... you just had a baby... put on underwear!!!!!!
Surf over there at your own peril. I may never be the same.
The Seattle Times has a huge headline today that reads something like: HERE WE GO AGAIN... MORE SNOW!! This pretty much guarantees a snowless night.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Sorry about that folks. I casually quipped that the snow would be gone by Monday and well... it did sort of go away, but by 6pm it started to snow and then zip zap an *Arctic Blast* (that's what the news folks call it when the weather gets cold here in Seattle.)
The girlfriends and I were attempting to get to East Seattle for a lovely French dinner in honor of our friend MWR who hosted his 40th birthday (Whoa fella!) recently. We, Yaz and I, headed east out of down town and quickly got caught in traffic. We drove about 15 blocks (in 30 minutes) and passed two stuck busses and realized that we had 28 blocks and two major hills to go before we got to the restaurant and it was obvious that the roads were quickly going from slushy to icy. We debated the likely hood of making it to the restaurant let alone the smartness of trying to head home afterwards against the understandable disappointment of MWR. He graciously understood and we took a right and headed towards the freeway over the lake (she and I both live on the east side - she in the highlands above Issaquah and me in the (low)Rent(on) highlands. (Highlands is northwest speak for hills.)
We questioned our decision when we hit the I-90 bridge and found the roadway to be wet but totally passable. Traffic was non-existent and we zipped to the park n' ride in record time. (Maybe we had called it quits too early?) I promised I call her when I got home and made my way to 405 South. I found *ALL* the southbound traffic at exit 9 at 7:45. At 8:15, when I had gone 1.5 miles I called Yaz to see how she was doing and I think it is safe to categorize her mood as bleak. She found all the eastbound traffic about a mile from the park and ride. At 8:45 I finally got to my exit (#6 - yes folks that's 3 miles and hour.) It only took 15 minutes to navigate the back streets to my condo - I had to wait for the 'yahoo' to give up the dream of leaving our condo complex (it's a steep hill) before committing to the slide around the gate.
I spoke with Yaz twice more last night. At 9:15 and then again at 10:30. By this time, her husband MC had caught a ride down the hill and braved the trek home with her. (that's so nice!)
I called in SNOW this morning, but that won't fly tomorrow. I'll have to don my snow boots and deal with the bus.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
DeJa Vu: Denzel lands on New Orleans as an ATF agent who is chasing a terrorist/patriot 4 days and 7 hours in the past. Interesting and twisty it was a a fun ride with some loose ends but enjoyable. We didn't have to see him make out with anyone - which is a plus. It had an inventive car chase that made me dizzy. Rating: PayPerView
Stranger Than Fiction: Harold Crick is an IRS agent who also also happens to be the doomed main character in a soon to be finished novel. Will Farrell (Crick) manages to keep clothed during the entire movie and is touching in his sadness. I loved this movie & recommend it to those were inclined to enjoy Adaptation, and Being John Malcovich. Rating: Matinee to Full Price
Shut Up & Sing: The Dixie Chick's documentary about the making of their latest album and the fall out from their unfavorable comments in 2003 about President Bush. It does kill my enjoyment of an artists work (especially actors) when they speak out against things I believe in, so I can somewhat understand people turning away from the DC's after their comment, but I don't understand death threats and corporate censorship (my term for a wholesale boycott by radio stations.). While political (and enjoyable for me the frustrated democrat) their story is really about friendship, family and loyalty. I was touched! Rating: Matinee/Pay Per View
Casino Royale: New Bond. He's athletic, blonde, a wicked poker player, and H-O-T!!! It was a fun movie. Rating: Matinee or Friday Night full price.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Mr. Bell - my high school English teacher taught us a writing technique that was basically stream of conscience writing. He would tell us to take a blank page of paper and a pen and write for an extended period of time and if we ran out of things to say then we were to repeat the last word we wrote over and over until something else came to mind. It was nutty - I mean PAPER AND PEN!? No one does that anymore. However the writing without editing was a way to get over the scary white space.
We were lucky to have Mr. Bell in our rural community; he was a great teacher. He cared about the students and challenged each of us to be better. He is is responsible for my love of words, especially fake words. We were encouraged to find words that we didn't know and incorporate them into our vocabulary. He also had us make up words as a fun exercise. I guess he's the inspiration for the fictionary. Yaz talks to this day about our friend Jackson who came up with a new word that combined Idiot and Stupid: "Stup-Id" Yes, Jackson, but it still spells Stupid.
Mr. Bell was also really brave. He lent his only car to the Honor Society kids to run an errand during the school day. Oh Mr. Bell - Connie Gore and I were NOT to be trusted! Actually, I was never blessed with the "get in trouble" gene. I skipped school once in four years and my parents knew before I got home. SAD. On our Senior Skip day I told my parents ahead of time... what a goodie goodie. No wonder my brother tried to kick my ass all the time.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I'm in Orlando, Fl for a short conference and have half a day today and tomorrow of "free time". My original thoughts were to take the Magic Boat to the parks both days, but a 15 minute stop at the hotel park ticket desk killed that dream.
Note that when you come to Orlando the park entrance fees are an investment. $112 for two days. Holy crap batman, that's a lot of bat cash!
I opted to stay here today and work and only go to the park tomorrow. Will it be possible to "do" universal studios in six hours? It will have to be possible. I don't have kids to slow me down, and my hotel key gets me "front of the line" privileges so that should help.
I'll be at the gate at 9:00am tomorrow. Let the fun begin!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Man, there is NOTHING more exciting than a Risk Management conference. The people are "dynamic" and the concepts are "interesting."
The current presenter is describing the "seven habits of a highly effective operational risk and compliance programs." (Still awake?)
The trip out to Orlando was fine, my seat neighbor didn't make the flight so I had space! Yeah!
It nice out here, not warm, but not raining. Hopefully that will be the case tomorrow afternoon when I go and explore Universal Studios. If it rains the hotel (which is massive) has a $20 poncho with the Incredibles on it (so I could totally wear it at home!)
I should go and pay attention.
Friday, November 10, 2006
It was a hard week. The glow of being Seals new best friend wore off the moment my boss (and mentor) told me he was leaving. All plans that were set are now in flux and the stress level has risen about 200%
I was looking forward to dinner with my friend that I never see, but she's bringing her "fun" co-workers so I guess we won't be talking talking.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
From the Seattle Times coverage of the Opening of WaMu Theater. This picture shows Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Seahawks, as he stands for a round of applause. The show opened with an appearance by the Seahawks football team. Photo by ERIKA SCHULTZ.
You can "clearly" see MWR's head under Tod's armpit. You can't see me because I was sitting behind Tod.
Some days are better than others. Everyday life is a wonderful thing but there are some days that are just a little more exiting than others. Yesterday was one of those days. Thanks to MWR who had an online chat experience about photography with the singer Seal he was given two tickets to the Seattle Show and backstage passes. Lucky me, I got to be the +1.
It was the grand opening of the venue and there were all sorts of folks on hand who were quite high up in the food chain. As our seats were in the 7th Row Center they didn't really suck too badly. The CEO and COO of Washington Mutual Bank were in the seats in front of us, the president of the Seattle Seahawks was in front of MWR, but when he stepped out Warren Moon (yes, the NFL Football hall of famer) came and sat with his lovely wife. Other sightings included Matt Hasselback and a bunch of other footballers. I did comment to MWR that's it was a little unfortunate that we weren't bigger football fans.
The show was great. The Paul Allen band opened (they have a different name like "Scourge" or "Ailment" something not very rock n' roll) and they were great. Mr. Allen was not present - they claimed he had a cold but I bet he was home stacking his millions. Chris Terrill (also a Seahawk) came on stage and sang a few songs. He was fun.
The Seal concert itself was great. He's got a lot of energy and seemed to be having fun. Once the show was over we flashed our backstage passes and started following the football crowd (picture large, fit men with thin young booby women on their arms) to where we thought the 'back stage' was. I was aced out of an elevator from a mildly high level executive at Washington Mutual and then snootily directed to a different area of the building by an event person. We made our way down a non descript hall following signs to Seals dressing room where we found him in the hall with Shaun Alexander and Warren Moon. Both Mr. Alexander and Mr. Moon were star struck which was cool to see. Another couple was there was well and it turned out they too had met Seal through the photography thing. We chatted as we waited for the football posee to visit.
Seal was so nice and was really eager to talk cameras with MWR and the other guy. The football executives were clearly ready to "party in the back room" with Seal, but he was doing all the talking to MWR. We stood there until well after midnight. When it was time for us to go, Seal kissed me on both cheeks (remembered my name -he remembered everyone's name he met- wow) I wished him good luck with the new baby and we left.
It was all very very exciting. There was a lot of standing around, but it wasn't like standing on line at the metro waiting for the 111 bus to suburbia. We talked to one of Shaun Alexanders friends - clearly a football player himself. (Who was he? No clue -- I'm so awful!! - mystery solved Leonard Weaver) His wife was very nice and we had a genuine interaction. In fact, most of the Shawn Posee were down to earth and I was talking with one gal and expressed that I was a little embarrassed to be start struck and that I really make an effort to leave celebrities alone. She said that because of her relationship with 'these guys' that she gets to meet all sorts of people and there are times when she gets to excited she wants to do the autograph thing. (No autographs for me...I would loathe to have to do it and thus will not ask for them.)
MWR and I babbled the whole way back to his place and I had crazy dreams all night (like I do when I'm overly excited about something) and woke up this morning at 11! It's back to my normal life today (blogging with the cat sleeping at my feet) but I know it was real - I have photos!
Friday, November 03, 2006
While driving to the Park and Ride this morning I was filling up on the left liberal news (NPR) and there was a story about the shamed Rev. Ted Haggard the Colorado minister who has been accused of buying drugs and paying to have sex with a male prostitute. The story was clearly recorded prior to the comments Rev. Haggard made to a local TV news crew came to light where he admitted to purchasing the drugs but not using them and to receiving a massage from the young man in question. As the story ended and NPR transitioned to the next story two notes of a song played to bridge the transition… the artist: Depeche Mode the song: “Personal Jesus” the first two lines of the song are “reach out touch faith.”
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I have to huge things to get done by Friday and so here it is 6:10am and I'm ready to walk out the door for work. YUCK.
So, no time to blog, but I do want to leave you another picture from our holiday:
This is Mom and "Aunt Ebby" (elisabeth) She doesn't see doctors nor go to the hospital because you see her neighbor went to the hospital in 1954 and they gave him high blood pressure and he died. She also has a very large shotgun on her dining room table that she uses to shoot "arm-a-dillers" that walk through her yard. The neighbors must LOVE that.
This picture is for Jeb.
We awoke one morning to a lovley fog that reminded me of the icy crisp mornings at the beach. Only it was about 90 degrees.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
The vacation was nice, the conference was good but the year is wrapping up an there is work to be done. Luckily I only have one more trip to make and then I'm done for the year. That trip will top my frequent flyer program into "MVP Status" which means I've flown enough to get early boarding and a 50% miles bonus for each flight but not so much that I could rent my home to strangers.
The extra bonus miles are great as I think I've decided to take a super long wonderful trip to Europe for my 40th birthday. The girls have talked about taking a trip, but I'm not really sure they are doing anything more than just 'talking' at this point.
The wife of one of the conference attendees says I should come to Ireland and participate in the annual engagement ritual or some such thing. She says there's a town where the single women who are ready to marry and the single men who are ready to marry come together and get engaged. This would be fantastic - I could fly over and bring back a man who for would be willing to trade his dignity for citizenship and he could clean my house while I work. Plus, he could make dinner -- Irish Stew is great. There is that small problem of actually loving the man, but I'm sure my mom would love him enough for both of us.
I don't see why it couldn't work. He could be my mail order groom. I'm sure my "no beer" and "no friends when I'm not home" rules would seem reasonable after a while. It's not like I'd make him serve me or anything... I'd still cut my own toe nails and brush my own teeth. It's a great bargain.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I may have mentioned that mom left items behind in our room in New Orleans. Had it been her shampoo or a single item l would have felt pretty good about telling her to suck it up and get over it, however she left behind to bras, underwear, 3-4 pairs of brand new unworn socks, a new blazer, a new scarf and two boxes of chocolate purchased to take to the ‘cousins’.
We checked out of the hotel Tuesday morning, discovered the loss Wednesday and called the hotel on Thursday. That call went unanswered; literally the phone rang about 15 times before I hung up and called again. That call too was not received by a human, an answering machine, nor a homeless person walking through the lobby. We called at 9am the next morning and spoke with the front desk clerk who was so nice and said that he would call me back in an hour with some information. 10 am.. no call… 11am I called again and spoke with a gal who said that she would also call me back in an hour. I nicely explained that we were driving back to New Orleans and that we could stop by the hotel and pick up our items that should be safely locked in the housekeeping managers area of the hotel. We were told that we would have to talk to the head housekeeper and that a message would be left for her and that she would call me back. (are you sensing a theme?) We called again at 3pm and asked to speak to the head housekeeper, who doesn’t have voicemail – the phone was allowed to ring over 15 times before it rang back to the front desk and we were told that a message had been delivered.
When we arrived back into New Orleans we asked the new hotel (at the airport) if they had any inside contacts at the Best Western St. Christopher hotel. The agent didn’t but offered to call anyway – I was hopeful that the hotel to hotel communications might be more fruitful than the bitchy customer to hotel conversation. She did get more information, but it was not what we wanted to hear: the housekeeping manager has lost items locked in her office and she’s gone home for the day. Call Monday. Grrrr.
So, after talking mom off the ceiling I waited patiently to Monday and called for the head housekeeper and left ANOTHER message. Monday afternoon I had escalated to fully pissed and called and asked for the general manager. The desk agent sent me to a voicemail box where I told my story and that I really needed some help and would appreciate a call back. I even shared that I had worked at a hotel and that I’m aware of how these things work (generally stuff it held for a period of time and then “thrown away”) but that what I really needed was a call back.
Monday afternoon I called the Best Western Customer Care line to open a ticket – which the hotel has 7 days to respond to. I did get a phone call Tuesday morning from a terse man who in addition to not seeming to understand my request kept pronouncing my name incorrectly over and over again (it’s tp gal NOT tp GALS!) I tried to politely tell him my name and what room we were in and he said he had it and would call me back ‘that day – by the end of CENTRAL time’s business day.’ He was really specific so I felt pretty good that he would call. Alas… end of the day… no call.
It is currently 3:30 central time the following day and still no call. I’m holding out little hope that my mom’s new clothes are still at the hotel, but because at no point has anyone from the hotel shared with me a policy of how long they hold lost items before disposing them nor have they said that the items aren’t there.
At this point I am ready to state for the record that in spite of how grand our stay at the Best Western St. Christopher, New Orleans was…. I do not recommend it! Their customer service ends the minute your credit card is charged!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Sr. Group Manager at Target offered me a job. I wonder what life would be like in Minneapolis? The idea of living in a city where housing isn’t so damned expensive is intriguing – but I think for now I’ll just hold her card in my back pocket. I’d miss my friends.
Monday, October 23, 2006
I hate to fly Southwest airlines. I want an assigned seat, and I want to board in an orderly manner. I also dislike their policy of picking people out to pay for an extra seat if they think you’re too big. I agree – it’s no fun to sit next to the fat person but to publicly embarrass them is a dreadful thing to do.
I am a faithful Alaska Airlines customer. It’s easy because I’m based in Seattle (their hub) so I know my loyalty is a lot like choice of religion its 75% where you live (where you were born.) They seem to be on time, they are good with information, the web site it helpful and easy to use, and the rewards program is well connected to things in my life (its easy to earn points for non-travel.)
However, lately the distinction between Southwest and Alaska is getting hard to see. Alaska has killed it’s meals for the coach class on domestic flights. For $5 you can buy a soggy sandwich and a f*cking awesome cookie. (The cookie really was fantastic.) My last few flights have been delayed and if it hadn’t been for sharp eyes my bags would have only gone to Chicago when I was going to Seattle. That would have been very very bad.
I have to say that I don’t mind paying extra for food on a flight, but I don’t want to pay the flight attendant on board. I seldom have cash on hand and they haven’t figured out how to take plastic while in flight. So I say to you Alaska Airlines.. stop nickel and diming me and give me a friken’ sandwich when I fly cross country!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
In order the photos are:
The French Quarter
The Blue Dog
Mom and a friend
"THE" House of the rising sun! (overexposed)
the wraught iron corn fence.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Her sister Gloria never left Hodge and took a little bit longer to warm up to, but once I made her laugh we were golden.
We drove all over the county -- er parish to different little church graveyards and took pictures of dead people. (woo hoo) After a full day of that we picked up Gloria and went out to dinner at the Catfish Cafe. We had an artery clogging plate of fried catfish, fried ocra, freedom fries (no joke) and hushpuppies (fried corn bread). Yum. Gloria had fried frogs legs and ate one little frog foot and stopped eating. Those dead frogs asses were staring at me all through my dinner.
We closed the restaraunt down (8:00pm) and headed out to "cousin" Blah-blah's house (no can remember her name) and visited with her a bit. She was very nice and had lots of things to share about Jimmie Tap (some cousin) and Nancy Faye (who knows) she lived way way the heck in the middle of no where and I was worried that Marlene and Gloria were going to kill us for the car.
Wednesday we stopped by the "town" where mom lived as a litte girl. By town I mean the intersection of hwy 77 and lousiana route 4316. It's basically where a two lane road meets a smaller wo lane road. There are many of these places and they all have names. This one was "Mt. Olive. There were two cemetaries and a run down store. Well, apparently my grandfather Milton built the store with wood from the land and they lived behind the store. Mom had me drive around back to see some tree. As we got out of the mini-van we saw the single wide back in the woods a bit. The roof had been reinforced with plywood and a porch added on. Jimmy Foodwood (or whatever) came out and started to shoo us away, but once he heard my mom's name he realized that we're kin! Jimmy wore black (nasty) pants, a camoflauge vest and no shirt. He wanted us to come in the house real bad but we excused ourselves. Yikes.
We drove back to New Orleans today and have been trying to call the first hotel we stayed at. Mom left her new coat, scarf, undies and some other things in the room. We called 4 times today and each time they said they'd call us back. We had the manager of this hotel call and he got a different answer, they didn't "find" our stuff and to call back Monday when the housekeeping manager will be in. SHE WAS IN TODAY... grr. Oh well, I'll call on Monday and speak to the General Manger and (s)he will send her stuff back on their dime.
So, all is well other than mom not having any undies - and we're ready to come home. I of course turn around and leave again on Sunday for a business trip, but that will be 5 days in one place. Easy easy.
Pictues to come.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
SYP asks: has you mom changed her watch yet?
We were just laughing about the (seriously) tornado warnings and the levee breaches.
Our room doesn't have any windows (or closets for that matter so we should be ok... Tonight. We're supposed to drive into the "red" area tomorrow.
Just got back from dinner and three for one margaritas. Oh my! We aren't out very late but we had fun.
The news ticker is providing the number to call to report missing street signs.
The flooding is due to wind, not rain. Odd. Its fricken HOT out there and my hair looks like CRAP... Frizz and damp. Yuck.
It was windy today..we discovered that there is a tornado warning in effect when we dropped our "stuff" off at the hotel. We're taking a small break before deciding where to have dinner. Mom wants to wander over to some creole place -I wanted to mix it up a little, but she's the boss.
We were all over the French Quarter today, up and down Bourbon Street and all around Jackson Square. We attended a tour of the home of a famous Confeterate general. As the only two people on the tour we had all our questions answered.
After walking the French Quarter we decided to take the buggy tour. It was fun, but essentially it was the same places we had just walked.
We enjoyed coffee and beignets at the much recommended Cafe du Mond. Covered in powdered sugar these hot pastries were spectacular!
Must go... There are drinks to ba had!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
The Budget Fastbreak lady was so ready to go home that she flipped off the lights and locked the door to her little kiosk before I could drop my creditcard back into my wallet. Ten or fifteen seconds more with us may have saved us a scary 11:30 pm jaunt around the superdome and an unexpected trip across the Mississippi river.
After passing the damned hotel three times we finally just backed up on the one way street and abandoned the car. That what insurance is for right?
Mom quirk: unwillingness to adjust her watch to the local time. ADJUST damn it ADJUST.
Nothing too exciting to report yet, we had a small "incident" in Seattle. Mom was watching the football game on the tv and the Seahawks scored a touch down and she yelped and scared the ticket agent who looked as though he wanted the TSA to take the crazy lady away.
Sitting next to us on the Seattle to Chicago leg was a Nun. She was grading papers and as we landed Mom started to give her the third degree. Are you a teacher, where did you go to school, where do you teach, what do you teach, oh..what is that? (She taught college level bio-eithics and morality.)
So, now we're waiting for our three hour layover to conclude. CNN is interviewing a Hawaiian lady who lost her rock wall in the earthquake, and is reporting that the K-mart on poi-pu-ku-lu-na avenue is open. The quote of the crisis will be "thanks to the grace of God that the whole rock wall (around her garden) wasn't taken. "
Friday, October 13, 2006
My desk is clean, a huge project done and delivered and I'm on my way home.
Mom and Dad have solved the plumbing problem enough to move into their house. Mom was calm enough to pack and drive over today. I should have just enough time to take out the trash an vacuum before she arrives.
We're going to hit the nail salon for pedicures in the morning and then swing by the mall to spend some dough on vacation clothes. Rico and Replacement Ali are hosting dinner for us tomorrow night. (I really should give her a name because every time she displays un-Ali like behavior it surprizes me. I think that might change if I allow her to have her own identity.)
Mom was also calm enough to have a rational discussion about ALL the things on our agenda. She agreed with me that visiting Uncle Woody was too ambitious. It would have been an eight hour drive (not includi ng rest stops or side jaunts to "see this or that.) I'm pleased about this development because it allows us to be more flexible when visiting "cousin richard" and "relative of unknown title Marlene".
I'll be checking in, so y'all come back now ya hear!