Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy new Year!

I for one, am happy to say goodbye to 2006! Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2007!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Alright, this kinda pisses me off

I just found this article on Yahoo News.

Arnold Schwarzenegger breaks his leg so badly, it requires a surgical repair, and he gets a nice 4 day stay in the hospital.

I break my leg so badly it requires repair, the nurses are sitting me up while I'm still doped up on anesthetics, dress me, sit me in a wheel chair and make my family wheel me out of the hospital the same night.

It's good to be rich and famous in this sometimes-stupid country.

The Latest Round of Hilarious Spammer Names

I've been collecting for a couple months, and hope you find this new collection just as entertaining.

Hoarded T. Crinkly
Militarize T. Importunes
Mangiest F. Seawards
Bagel S. Hearken
Erratas A. Pestled
Blanchard O. Doll
Retype B. Agree
Jockeying V. Contrast
Earthlings F. Landslidden
Hauptmann U. Citadel
Pendulum U. Dam
Suitable E. Inhalation
Grandstanding U. Postponed
Yelling H. Activates
Woodpeckers L. Louver
Clarion Q. Orly
Mayes L. Paddy
Homered S. Sony
Throughways R. Ration
Switchbacks S. Investigation
Floy F. Hays
Freebies R. Jubal
Administer D. Ireland
Medically I. Inception
Heartache F. Confirmatory
Grapnels V. Ascendant
Photocopies S. Casually (my 2nd personal favorite of this round for some reason!)
Senegal U. Stanchions
Firms I. Fundamentally
Relational E. Unwarier
Belief U. Therapies
Adulterates A. Biker (my #1 favorite this round)
Moistly L. Framework
Hunching E. Maternally
Interns T. Saucer
Cleanser A. Unpretentious

These really fizzled out for a while, but now they're starting to pick back up, so I may have some more soon. I hope everyone finds these as amusing as I do, but you all may just think I'm a nerd. Oh well. hehe

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I just want to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas!! I hope it's filled with only good things...

I'm here, surrounded by three of the people I love most. If the other two were here, life would be perfect. :-) But even now, it's pretty damned fantastic.

Love you all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Day With Saturn


Yesterday was one of those days when NOTHING goes right.

I took my car in for an oil change and the state inspection. Should be easy enough, right?

Wrong. Poor Glerrts needed about $540 in repairs to be streetworthy by Virginia's standards.

So, fine, I"ll take the tire, the brakes, do what you have to do, just make my baby run!

And do it early, I have a doctor's appointment.

Ok, so it's all done, and I'm invited to the back room to come and pay for it.

So I whip out the old checkbook, and write a check. The woman runs it through a machine, and the machine beeps, and she gets a message prompting her to make a phone call.

She makes the phone call, and talks to someone, and when she hangs up, she says, "Your check has been declined."

Uh, excuse me!?

Me: "Can you tell me why?"

Her: No, there's nothing wrong with your account, everything seems to be fine, but they won't accept your check. Your account came back with no negatives, but they won't take it.

Me: Who did you talk to?

Her: I don't know. You'll need some other form of payment.

Me: Did you talk to the bank or someone else?

Her: I'm not sure, I'm not the regular cashier.

I hand over my Visa check card. BEEP! It's soundly rejected. Ok, this is ridiculous.

Her: Well, don't you have some other form of payment?

Me: No, I have a checking account, which is full of money, because Mr. Man got paid Friday. I don't understand this.

Her: Well, I don't know what we can do about this situation.

Me: I'll go over to the ATM across the street and bring back cash.

I drive to the ATM. I do a balance inquiry. As expected, everything is A-OK. Plenty of money in the account. I try to withdraw the money to cover the car payments.

ATM: Sorry, this amount exceeds your daily limit for withdrawal."


ATM: Would you like to try again?

Me: *Sigh*

Finally, I deduct my limit of $400 and go back to the dealer.

Me: Here's $400. Now, you run my card again and see if it'll accept the other $140.

Her: (whipping out calculator) Ok, so I'll be charging... *crickets chirping*


Why can't people do simple arithmetic??

So she runs the card, and lo and behold, it works. Saturn has their money, I get my car and my license back.

AUGH!!!!! And don't you know, I was late for the doctor?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I May Be Done With the Food Network People

So, last night was the Rachel Ray book signing.

On top of the grand disappointment that was the Paula Deen book signing, I was hoping for a little something more.

Instead, I think, if possible, I got something less.

No pictures within 5 feet of her. She did not so much as look up from the table when it was your turn. At least Paula Deen said, "Hello, sweetheart." When I said "Thank you" to Rachel, she more or less grumbled, "you're welcome"... I mean, this from Little Miss Sunshine? HELLO!?

Seriously, I was so disappointed. My book got handed to two of her handlers on one side, then it got passed to a handler after it was signed, and that final handler stuffed two stupid bookmarks in it to promote her shows.

But to treat the people who watch her shows so dismissively, I mean, seriously, that was just wrong. Considering I sat in line for 3 hours, to be rushed through with not so much as a "HI, thanks for buying my books and watching my shows" was beyond the pale. Honestly.

The only good thing about it was Melissa came to keep me company starting around 5:30--and since RR was an hour late due to DC traffic, well, it made the time go by a bit faster.


I mean, for crying out loud, Alan Alda, a revered veteran of stage and screen, gave me a full minute of his time. And he had a thousand people to get through.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Well, I've finally gotten some sleep and I'm rested and ready to write about my trip!

I left Friday night to go to Florida and of course, I got stopped at the security gate, and my toothpaste was confiscated. The Colgate mafia is probably looking to bring down planes all over the country, and they can't be too careful, so my beautiful tube of toothpaste is now consigned to some level of airport hell.

On the plus side, my flight arrived early, and since I didn't check any bags, once I found my mom, we were able to walk right out and head for home! The Orlando airport is a lot easier to navigate than the Tampa airport, in my humble opinion, so I was feeling pretty good.

Although I was still pissed off about my toothpaste.

So we get home and I got to see BUSTER the wonder cat, who now weighs, I would say, a minimum of 20 pounds, and I bet he's pushing 25. For anyone who doesn't know, Buster was the cat I took in when I lived in Arkansas and since Michael's allergic, I decided he would move to Florida. And I have to say, of all the cats I COULD have rescued, Buster has been 150% personality and just a fantastic choice. We all just love him. Plus his two sisters, Bianca and Hermia, but I must confess, I did not see Bianca in 4 days with the exception of about 15 seconds where she gave me the eye and fled back under the bed. Hermia has become quite affectionate--she used to be the "hide under the bed cat" but now she's all purring and cuddles, which is nice. And my mom's new dog, Sidney, is just the most hilarious little dog. He's a chiuhuahua (however the hell you spell that) and he is Mr. Personality in a 4 pound package. yes, Mom has a 4 pound dog and a 25 pound cat. Go figure.

So anyway, Saturday dawned bright and clear, and we decided we'd spend the evening at the beach to go check out the space shuttle launch, but first a tour of the beach! So we went over to Mom's favorite IHOP and then went down to the beach.

Let me tell you something about Vero Beach.

For some reason, the waves come in to a point, and then they stop. And what happens is a big, 2 foot wall of sand builds up, and then there's a plunging cliff. But since it's made of sand, it's not particularly sturdy.

So we decide to shoot some video of me, in the ocean, in December. I give Mom the camera, walk down to this cliff and it crumbles beneath my feet and down I go and the waves are coming and the beach is full of jelly fish, and I get up and run into the oncoming water, and hop back out and yell to find out if mom got the footage, because there was a jelly fish swimming over my foot (how stupid are jelly fish? Every time I go to the beach, I see dozens of them washed up on shore. Can't they navigate?)

So I look up, and Mom's coming down the stairs and I'm trying to climb back up this cliff, which you guessed it, continues to crumble, and she's standing there, laughing, and I'm covered in sand, plus I'm wet, which is charming. (And the water was absolutely FREEZING) And Mom says she's not sure, she could only see herself in the camera. Hmmm. So we get back in the car, and I turn on the playback feature and discover that my mom has video taped her feet.

Oh, there's a bit of footage of me, from the waist up, but you can't tell really that I'm in the water, and then mom drops the camera to her side and films her feet.

It's a minor masterpiece. I may leave the thing in its entirety and post it on YouTube as is. An artistic view of my mother's feet, and not my own.

So we spent the rest of the day shopping for Christmas decorations and then Mom decides what she really needs is a new computer. Christmas is generally a good time to get a deal on a computer. So we go to Office Depot, where we disappoint the little old man who is the greeter, by not purchasing anything after he merrily points us in the direction of computers, and then go to Best Buy, where a very nice guy talks us almost into buying a computer there, but it doesn't come with a monitor that's flat and mom only has a small desk and the upgrade is a teensy bit more than she wanted to spend. But the General gives his blessing on that particular machine, so we tell him we'll be back if Circuit City has nothing better to offer.

So we go to Circuit City. And we find a machine that looks plausible--a bit cheaper than Best Buy, and a bit more bang for the buck. Plus for only $70, you can upgrade to a flat panel. So we're waiting, and 3 salesmen are wandering around helping ONE GUY, and ignoring us. And Mom's getting hot under the collar, all "I guess they don't like serving women" and all and I was getting a bit cheesed, but then this young guy comes over and asks if he can help us. Now, I'm telling you, this kid looks like he's all of about 10 years old. So we point to the computer we're thinking about (which also gets the general's approval) and ask about it, and the sign says it costs $349, and we tell him we want that, plus the $70 upgrade to the flat panel monitor. So he pulls all the stuff out of the shelves, and we go up to the cash register, and he scans it all in, and the bill comes to $813.

So our eyebrows shoot over our heads and we're kind of like, "Wait a minute, this sign says $349."

To his credit, even he appears a bit confused, so he hits a button on the register and unfurls a pile of register tape and starts making calculations on the paper, and during the five minutes he is figuring out the price of everything, he actually (I swear to God I am not making this up) stands there and counts on his fingers.

Well, I guess the Yankee in me starts getting a little uppity, because I was getting impatient and I grab the $349 sign and I ask him, "What about this price right here? Can you just tell us what we have to do to get this price?"

And he looks at me just as angry as he can and says, "Wait, I'm not finished yet" and grabs the sign out of my hand and starts counting all over.

I look at my mom and she looks at me, I just about lost it. I was laughing that silent laugh when your whole body shakes from the effort of not bursting out laughing. Her mouth dangled in disbelief and then she had to try and hold it in too.

So eventually, he finishes up his complex set of calculations, and shows us how to get the $349 price, sort of. There are 2 mail in rebates worth $240, which drops the price to $573. The $349 + $70 upgrade is $419, and the rest is apparently made up in various taxes and whatnot, although frankly this is never made quite clear.

Well, not surprisingly, Mom doesn't have $800 to drop on a computer, so we tell him "Thanks anyway" and head out.

We go back to her house in time to get a phone call from the General who has considered the situation and says "Don't buy the Circuit City computer, it's not good" after all. So we dodged a bullet.

Mom's friend Judy comes over, and they decide to go be nosy. The town where my mom lives is getting all built up, although for no apparent reason, since at the moment no one is moving in. There is a place nearby where they are building homes that "start" in the $400's, and the two of them have been dying to go check them out. So we go on over there.

The realtor was a snot, and while the model itself was beautiful, I'm not sure I would have bought one. Some of the tiles had fallen out of the tub, there were various small flaws in the construction that I think they should have been embarrassed to show the model with those flaws showing. So Mom and Judy are busy exclaiming over the decorating and I was sitting there kind of fuming about it, because frankly, their furniture was way nicer than ours and it's just for display and that really gets me pissed off that they can afford to buy nicer furniture than I can and their furniture is not ever going to be used for anything. So I decided that if a couple of bars of their fancy French milled soap happened to fall off their granite vanities and happened to land into my pocket, I wasn't going to do a thing about it, and that is precisely what happened.

So we got back in the car, and Mom and Judy were hashing it all out, and I just burst out, "Well ladies, we can't afford their house, but it looks like we can afford their soap" and handed each of them their own little souvenirs of the place. Mom almost drove off the road.

Saturday night we went down to the beach and watched the space shuttle take off. It was an amazing sight. We were about 60 miles or so south of Cape Canaveral, and it was night time, and it was windy and cloudy and we were hopeful that the launch would happen, but we couldn't sit around at home and wait, since we had a little bit of a drive to the beach to start with, so we sat in the car and listened to the NASA transmissions on the radio and then hit the beach. Wow. When the thing finally lifted off, what an amazing sight to see. All of a sudden, the northern sky lit up like a brigh orange sunrise, and then this flaming dart shot out of the middle of it. Unfortunately due to the cloud cover, we were only able to see it for about 15 seconds before it disappeared, but it was mesmerizing. Definitely cool. And I shot the footage on that, so you won't see Mom's feet. :-)

Oh, and we went back to Best Buy and bought the computer there, which in total, with a flat screen monitor, came to $510. And God bless Best Buy, the guys who work there are all gorgeous.

On Sunday, Mom had gotten us tickets to see "A Christmas Carol" on stage. We spent the day channeling our inner Kathy Bates, yelling "TOWANDA!" and pulling down all the crappy blinds and shades in the house and letting in the sunlight. We installed curtains, cleaned out the garage, decorated Christmas trees, put up lights, listened to Christmas music, and put up the new computer and changed all Mom's old passwords. All of this is helping Mom reclaim her life from Asswipe, and I was only too glad to be a part of the transformation. Particularly when I got to wield a hammer.

So, we drive to the school where "A Christmas Carol" is being held, and Mom all of a sudden stops dead in the parking lot and says, "Did you see that?" Nope. She backs up, and there is a huge crab skittering across the lot. He/she was definitely lost. So we parked and stood around it until it safely reached the grass, figuring that was the best it was going to do. It was really neat to see, though!

So, we were given seats up in the "stadium level" of this school's auditorium. It made me weep to see what a state of the art facility they had. If I'm ever a quadrillionaire, I'm totally refurbishing Clifton Fine's auditorium. This place was gorgeous. So we people watched for a while, and then this dude in a tweedy coat goes down to the front and says in the most condescending voice you can imagine, "Now what's the first rule of going to the theater? We must do what?" and everyone replies like a bunch of stupid apes, "Turn off our cell phones." I rolled my eyes. I couldn't believe this guy was going to get away with that. Then he says, "And remember, no pictures, and only record your memories in your mind."

Yup this guy was up for the Mark Twain Award.

So, OK, the show starts, and to tell you how great it was, the two old ladies behind us fell asleep.

It's not that it was bad. It just wasn't well written. The acting and singing and the sets were great. But there was no point to the way it was all put together. For instance, when Ebenezer and Belle break off their engagement, she says, "I release you from your obligation, Ebenezer" and then breaks into a five minute song about how he's broken her heart. I mean, dump him and leave. Or sing to him and then dump him.

Towards the end, when Ebenezer learns whose grave he is at, and his name flashes up on the tombstone, rather than dramatically cutting the lights with only the tombstone showing and the sound of his sobs, he breaks into a five minute song. It could have been one of the most dramatic scenes in the show, but it was ruined by some idiot's desire to have a song thrown in there. Now, don't get me wrong, I *love* musical theater, and I *love* "A Christmas Carol" but it just didn't gel well. The only times the singing was appropriate was when the Fezziwigs had their party (although, frankly, Mrs. Fezziwig's sole character trait appeared to be that she would wave her head in the air to cause her pigtails to waggle back and forth) and when the Cratchitts had their own celebration. But again, I certainly don't fault the cast, they sang the hell out of it. It was just not a great idea.

Monday and Tuesday were spent on more remodelling and decorating, and Tuesday also included a very healthy nap. Also on Monday, I was tremendously excited to go see Paula Deen do a book signing.

I had sent my mom to get a ticket after she found out that tickets were required. Now, the tickets were free, and all the signs said if you had a ticket, you could get two books signed. Two book per person maximum. No problem. I wanted one for myself and one for someone else. So Mom bought me a book there to get our ticket and then I went over to Borders and used my holiday savings and their 30% discount and got a second cookbook for 4 whole dollars. So we go over there and I told Mom we needed to go early, since I know how these things are, and we left home at 4:30 and got there at 5:00 and there was already a line. There was nowhere to sit, and they wouldn't let you inside for the signing--everyone had to wait outside in line. So I decide to go in and scope out the situation. No podium, no anything, just a table. So I was like "Well, I guess she won't be speaking." So I go outside and we're standing around and Mom's talking to the people in line, and she sends me around the back of the building to the strip mall to get some drinks while we're there. Now, I don't want to sound too crabby, but there was nothing back there so I had to cross the street to go to a nearby Panera. And it was a 5 lane highway, with no signals and no crosswalk. Fortunately, it was not very busy. But people are honking at me while I'm standing on the freakin' median. "Um, hello, I'm not moving, so just drive your car and leave me alone." It was ridiculous. All for 2 pepsis. hehe

So I get back and around 6:30, they start letting the line move into the store, we're wending our way around the shelves like the chutes at Disney World, and then this woman comes through to check tickets. She grabs my bag and tells me that since I have only one ticket, I can only get one book signed. I asked her "What do you mean? It says two books per person?" and she says, "No, you need a ticket per book" and storms off. Now, the people behind us didn't qualify, because they didn't buy the right books. So wound up that they had extra tickets and agreed to get my book signed for me. But it was just wrong.

So 7pm, and out comes Paula Deen and her husband, Michael and literally, you got 3 seconds with her. She said to me, "Hello, sweetheart" which I missed responding because I was trying to get my mom to take a picture, and then passed my book to her husband, and that was it. That was it. I stood in line for 2 freakin' hours to meet this woman and didn't get to talk to her. It was a complete waste of time. I was SO disappointed.

So next week I'm going to go meet Rachel Ray and it better be an improvement over that one, I must say! My mom said she would not go to a book signing again, and I was also disappointed about that, since as you know, I've been to many amazing book signings in the past year. I mean, even Alan Alda took time to talk with me and personalize my book, and there were definitely more people at that book signing than at Paula Deen's. But her goal was to be done with it in 2 hours, and it led me to wonder, "Why bother?" I mean, what a disappointment for fans. I wasn't a big fan of hers, but I do enjoy watching her show and she does make some recipes that I've used that have come out really well, and this left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Oh well.

So now I'm back home and relaxing. Heading to Orange County today and I'm so excited to do some rural driving. :-) It's nice to know that the bunnies survived without me and it sounds like Judy, the General and Joe all had a lot of fun while I was away, so I'm glad it worked out--I was a bit nervous to be gone so long. :-)

Till next time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

i'm back...

...I don't have it within me to blog about my trip to Florida tonight, it was a BLAST despite my initial worries about it. Mom and I did some pretty great stuff, and I had a marvelous time. I can't really do it justice when I'm tired, so I'll write about it tomorrow or the next day.

I also shot some fun video that I'll be putting on youTube, and I'll post the links here, if not embed them, when I get them uploaded. Again, the editing process is not going to happen tonight.


Basically, we got up at 4:15 this morning to head to Orlando so I could sit on the runway while DC's fog lifted, and when we finally landed, we got to sit on the runway some more because there was another plane using our gate.

And I had a meeting to get to, for which I was 25 minutes late.


On the plus side, we're getting our Christmas cards done tonight. :)

See you all soon.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Where Does the Time Go?

Just yesterday it was Thanksgiving... I have no shopping done for Christmas, nor do I have any of my cards sent out, or my indoor decorating complete. I haven't listened to Christmas CD's nonstop, nor have I baked all the cookies I need to. And on Friday, I leave for 4 days in Florida, smack dab in the middle of everything!!!

It's been crazy. In November, I got sick, and with NaNoWriMo, things got REALLY backed up around the house. I cleaned the daylights out of everything before my dad got here, but of course, Hurricane George and Hurricane Judy simultaneously swept through, and pretty much laid waste to my hard work. But I haven't done a whole lot to make up for it--the circulars from black Friday are STILL strewn around the coffee table... Too much energy to pick them up.

Plus my cold has been dragging on and on and on. To date I am mostly fine, although I do have a nagging frog in my throat.

I've been busy sending "the book" around and trying to solicit feedback from it. My in-laws LOVED it and Michael LOVED it, but haven't heard from my own family yet. I'm working on a little worksheet to give the people who read it and then I'll send it out to a few folks. I found an option for getting it published and copyrighted, and I'm hopeful that it might work out, but I have some work to do on it still. If you're interested in possibly reading it, let me know. We had our "Thank God It's Over" party last night here in Fredericksburg, but actually, I'm kind of disappointed that it's over. I don't know what to do with myself, and until I get some more feedback, I don't have any real ideas about areas for improvement. My sister gave me a couple of suggestions back in November for just one of the chapters, and I was able to add 3,000 words in one sitting, so it's definitely valuable to hear what other people think. Oh, and I read an excerpt at the TGIO party and was well received. So that's good.

I've started YouTubing for real, and have posted 5 (?) videos to date. I love the new video camera--it's tons of fun.

And before you ask, no, I don't know what I want for Christmas. :-P

Otherwise, it's quiet. I'll spend tonight cleaning the house and then tomorrow Michael and I are going to see "For Your Consideration." Then Friday night I fly out around 8pm. I haven't been to the Orlando Airport in a LONG time, so it'll be interesting to try and find my mother there. And just as I was getting Tampa down pat. DARN IT.

When I get back, fortunately it's a pay week, and so I can do the Christmas shopping for real, and will probably spend all day on the 22nd doing the baking. Cards, I just don't know... It's even a pain at this point trying to get to the post office. UGH.

So that's the update for now... Ta ta!