Friday, December 17, 2010

Warm Holiday Wishes

Holiday Greetings to all bloggers, blog readers and general lurkers!

Though my postings have been scarce these last couple of months, I am fully committed to keeping this little blog concern going.  I expect to be more fully engaged in the writing and reading process after the new year.  In the interim, I am taking a look back at 2010 and offering you my best wishes, through a retrospective of blog postings.  I hope all of you have the best holiday season ever and start the new year off with good health, good friends and a happy family.  But most of all, I wish that you . . .

Have zero encounters with a knotted anus.

Find at least one note on the toilet.

Have the wisdom of a silver tabby cat.

Take at least one trip to someplace new and exciting.

See a couple of totally bitchin concerts.

Spend quality time with all the wonderfully crazy relatives and friends that you can possibly handle.

All the best to you and yours.  See you in the new year.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Parenting Fail or Epic Win? Only the Toilet Knows for Sure.

I walked into the powder room last night and lifted the lid of the bowl to find a note written on a piece of construction paper. It was a strange feeling to see the written word on the toilet and I wondered for a split second whether this was going to be some sort of ransom note for the last roll of toilet paper (a commodity worthy of extortion, to be sure).  But no, a recent purchase of a case of the stuff ensured that this was not about a hostage situation.

The note was written in blue pen on purple paper, a cruel trick to middle aged eyes, to be sure.  I squinted to read it under the light of the bathroom sconces.  This is what it said:

"If you are reading this, you're probably about to go pee or poo.  I honestly don't know about your personal life.  Well, anyways, good luck.  Have fun.

Love and scones,

How did I react?  Well if you guessed that I marched out of the bathroom and gave her a stern warning about people's privacy and whatnot then this is either your first time here or you haven't been paying attention.  I gave her what every comedienne wants; laughter and lots of it.  I am, after all, the person who at the same age, found my father's high school year book and wrote the following:

"Have a great summer.  Eat spam.

Good peace,

I had no idea this stuff was genetic.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Truck Nutz and Turkey

I haven't done one of these in quite a while. And because he's still around, making noise and providing laughs, I think it's about time.


I think I have mentioned before that my Uncle Ronnie has a little bit of a hearing problem. To say that he's deaf as a stone is an insult to stones. Many years behind a pneumatic drill have rendered his ears as little more than decoration for his head.

Recently, Ronnie bought himself a new truck. And not just your average truck, a fire engine red, big jammer with all the bells and whistles that one might expect in a loaded 2011 pick up - IPod Dock "I don't know what to do with it." CD Player 'I can't play nothin since all my CD's burned up in the old truck." Sirius/XM Radio "I cancelled it. See no use for it." Digital odometer - '"Can't seem to get my mileage to display." And the biggest feature of all, its mammoth size. So mammoth in fact that I think he has had a problem parking it, because it has a couple of dents and dings. We keep asking where the damage is coming from and he keeps laughing it off and not answering. Typical Ronnie.

When Thanksgiving rolled around, Ronnie was with us at my brother's house in his Sunday-best flannel shirt. As we sat in the living room enjoying some pre-dinner noshes, the talk or perhaps what is best described as screaming, turned to Ronnie's truck. My brother, who was sitting directly across from Ronnie was yelling questions at him about how he liked the truck and Ronnie was answering. He gave us the run down of the sizable list of features in the truck that he doesn't use and he told us how much he liked the truck, overall. I was sitting to his left and tried to ask him a couple of questions that he could not hear. He kept staring straight ahead, eating chips and dips as if I had never said a word.  I guess if he's not looking at you to read your screaming lips, he can't make out what you're saying. So I proceed to have a discussion with my brother about how I am going to buy a pair of truck nuts and sling them around his trailer hitch when he's not looking. Then we can take bets around how long it will take him to realize that there is a scrotum hanging from his truck. He never heard a word of it as he proceeded to completely disrespect the layered Mexican dip in front of him.

After dinner we were passing around my sister-in-law's IPad and showing him pictures of our family, including one of him and I from 1967. One thing I can say is that his vision is as good as his hearing is bad. He took one look at the picture from 1967 and said "My hair looks the same." never pausing to mention the adorable three year old at his knee. Then we showed him a video of my son playing acoustic guitar and singing Me and Bobby McGee and he immediately dismissed it as "Oh, that's not for me, that modern music." A comment that had all of us doubled over in fits of hysterical laughter. But what can you expect from someone whose CD collection consisted of Eddie Arnold and John Phillip Sousa. That's it. For Ronnie, the music industry is frozen in carbonite as of 1948.

At the end of the evening, as we were cleaning off the table and packing him a to go container full of turkey, he turned to my husband and and asked "Do you have a record player in your car?" After an evening of classic quotes and talk of truck nuts, I was done in and had to dash to the bathroom to prevent myself from peeing my pants. And that is one thing that our Uncle Ronnie has provided for us throughout our entire lives; pants-pissing hilarious moments, some intentional, most unintentional.  The man is a treasure and someone to be thankful for at this time of the year and all year round. Boy, I can't wait to order those truck nuts.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Go eat some turkey!  But first, watch this

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leftovers by the Hair of My Chinny, Chin, Chin

Hey everyone.  Some of you may have noticed that I have not posted in over a week.   I don't think this has ever happened before without me giving some sort of "we're on vacation this week" warning.  Unfortunately, it's work and not world travel that has me away from my computer and all other forms of merrymaking. As I had mentioned in this post, it's my busy season at work AND some people have faces like a cat's ass.  If you missed this educational post, please check in on it.

For today,  rather than let the drought continue, I am going to heat up some leftovers for you.  The post below was featured as a guest post on Speaking From the Crib, one year ago.  It's a fave because it's a totally true story and something that I am still battling today (though I am winning the war).  Enjoy.  And I hope to be back to visit all of your blogs soon!

Look, nobody said that getting older was glamorous, but chin hair? Really? For about five years now, I have been doing battle with a foe so evil, so vile, that I live in a constant state of alert for its reappearance. I’m talking about my chin hair and it’s a doozie. Yes, I said chin hair. Singular.

Now some of you are going to read this and say “Be-yotch, have you lost your damn mind complaining about one little chin hair? I sit up in this electrolysis chair weekly with some angry hermaphrodite zapping me with rads or whatever and you are complaining about one lonely chin hair? “And you would be justified to say that, except, this is no ordinary hair. This is a super hair.

Super in what way? Well I’ll tell you. Besides having a sweet-ass CD collection and a vacation condo in Aruba, this is one BIG freaking hair. It is not so much a hair as it is a tree, lovingly planted on my chin by the hands of time. Let me tell you the story of how we met . . .

About five years ago, I was laid off from the company where I had worked for eighteen years.Suddenly, I was thrust out into the uncomfortable world of job interviews (aka brown nosing and groveling) without any real practice. One morning I rolled up on an Eyeglass Manufacturer who was looking for a Business Analyst for their manufacturing system. Dressed in my best ugly interview suit, I did a quick rearview mirror check for spinach in the teeth and what do I see in the harsh glare of the afternoon sun? A half inch long chin hair. Cripes man! It was just waving in the wind. How did I not ever see this before? Giving its length, it had to be cultivating for a while and someone was force feeding it Miracle Gro.

Utterly unprepared for the cosmetic challenge I had before me, I tried to pull the hair out with my fingers. Let me just say that without the laser beam precision and gripping power of a tweezers, this is no easy feat. I pulled and tugged and pinched and yanked, but it kept slipping out of my grip. Finally after about 10 minutes of wrestling with it, it came out, PAINFULLY. This thing had more roots than Pam Anderson between touch-ups. Double checking the mirror, I could see that there was no longer a hair there, but there was a nickel sized circle of angry red skin from all my pulling. Undaunted, I marched into that interview and gave my best dog and pony show.

Did I get the job? No, but I did get what was to be the beginning of a five year war with the hair on my chin. Let me tell you a little something about chin hair . . . it’s mutable. It will change its texture, color, length on a whim. Back then, it was fine in texture and a soft brown color. Today, it is a big, wide tree stump of a hair, but it has grayed (bonus!), so I don’t see it as easily, I have to rely on feeling. If I run my hand over my chin and sustain a flesh wound, it’s time to pluck. Pretty, I know.

There is an upside to this story and that is that it never brought any more friends to the party. It is a solitary hair and does not wish to share the real estate with anyone else. And I am truly thankful for its greedy, anti-social behavior.

As a delightful post script to this story, I found out through the grapevine that the girl that got the job at the eyewear manufacturer was a former coworker of mine. Her last name? Chin. I wish I were kidding. I’m not.

Friday, November 12, 2010

International Love Letters

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog posting to bring you this important news from overseas:



What? You don't read Chinese? 

Are you kidding?

Ok, ok, I'.ll translate. 

Dear Diary,
Why are you so full of the awesome?
When I cook General Tso's Chicken, I am reminded of how not awesome it is, compared to you.
Your skin is like fine porcelain. So fine, in fact, that I can see all your veins. 
Your hair is like rarest amber, with a brown stripe down the middle, 'cause your roots girl? Damn.
Your energy level is so high that you can actually beat the all the Sr Citizens at assisted living center at the pole vault, but only by the very narrowest of margins.  And your kindness can only be bested by the average Mc Donalds employee.

Stay awesome and come to China real soon.

Yours truly,
The Ghost of Chairman Mao

If you think this is hot, you shold read the love letters I get from Nikita Kruschev.  Smokin!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

News Schmooze

At some point, I'm not sure when, my mother became obsessed with the news and weather.  This was a radical departure for her as I did not grow up in a household where I got covered in layers of clothing and was sent out looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as soon as the first cold wind of the season blew.  No, we were looser and more free-form than that.  I was trusted to coat and glove up as I saw fit and if I was cold, then it was my own damn fault.

However, somewhere around my early 30's, my mother started to obsess over the weather, just in time to question my choices around the way that I suited up my kids to battle the elements.   I had gotten a piece of advice from my pediatrician that said "If you're comfortable, they're comfortable", so I followed my own clothing guidelines with them, choosing not to layer then in so many snowsuits, blankets and hats and mittens, that their bucket became a Flavor Wave Oven.  I really didn't want to have to Mr T with me everywhere with him saying things like "MMMMMM, that roasting baby smells good. Quit your jibber jabber woman, gimme some of that baby!".

Somewhere around the same time, my mom became obsessed with the news.  I couldn't walk into a room without seeing her with her reading glasses perched on her nose, thumbing through the newspaper with CNN blaring in the background.  Ultimately, she would try to engage me in discussion about local politics or other current events and I would lapse into my Forrest Gump voice and tell her "Mama, I am not a smart woman, but I know what over saturation of media is.".  An then I would scamper off and anesthetize my brain with pop-culture info and other junk food for the brain.  I couldn't name all the 9/11 hijackers, but I had a firm grip on the romantic history of Brad Pitt.

I have talked to friends that are around my age and they all say the same thing, once their mothers hit retirement age, they developed an unnatural obsession with Willard Scott and his morning raisin brigade and with all things news.  To this, I respond "NEVER!".  I am so determined not to have a picture in picture of CNN and MSNBC running simultaneously that I have made a pact with my besties:  They are approved to call Kevorkian, as soon as exhibit any combination of two or more of the following:

1) Watch the news and weather obsessively
2) Wear holiday themed sweaters
3) Stuff tissues up my sleeve
4) Wear rubber bands around my wrist
5) Break wind with every step that I take
6) Save wrapping paper from opened gifts (yes, yes, it's green, it's also "grandma")
7) Develop a love-jones for Keith Olberman ,Sean Hannity or Glen Beck (or any other controversial, talking head)
8) Save my bacon grease in a coffee can

Oh, and did someone say Mr . T?  Well I pity the fool. . . .

Friday, November 5, 2010

Season of the Bitch OR The Effect of Group Dynamics on the Anus of a Cat

 My son comes into the kitchen the other day, dancing and clapping his hands.  He stops, squints at me and asks "What's good?". Entertained, but slightly distracted, I replied "Not much bro-ski". It was an honest answer, given that this is the season of the bitch.

I work in a business that has a pretty well defined busy season and for whatever reason, that busy season lands right around the holidays. I also work in the type of job where you have to work in large teams of people. Working with a large group of people, increases your chances for working with people that have personalities that have more in common with a festering bunghole than a decent human being.  The upside of this is that for every difficult person, there are twenty awesome people that are committed to offering their skills and expertise, without the side order of bitterness,hate and childishnes that bungholio contributes.

This is nothing that I can't handle, because I feel that people who behave like this, offer self-fulfilling punishment by way of their own embarrassing behavior.  There is nothing that I could do or say that is more humiliating than to let these people flaunt their bad attitudes and lack of cooperation.  Score!   Unfortunately, they become an inconvenience when fighting the clock, as their foot dragging petulance can occasionally slow progress.

As I often say, these are not "real world problems".  Real world problems are when someone you love is sick or when you don't have a job to bitch about.  And while I might be too busy to cook and bake this Thanksgiving, I can still order a pie and pick up a pre-made shrimp platter, so that I don't have to show up empty-handed at my brother's house.   And I will adjust my Martha Stewart on crack attitude and be thankful to be there with the ones that I love, store bought baked goods and all.


OK, chill.  I'm not about to steal anybodies good time.

Owing to my OWN childishness. . .

There is a person that I work with that is so foul and so bitter that I want to name them Marie.   Why Marie?  Because as my daughter informed me, the meaning of the name Marie in some cultures is "Sea of Bitterness",   and there couldn't be a more perfect description for this person than that.   " But what about the anus, Diary?", you might ask.

OK, OK, I'm getting to it.

When we were in Italy, we went to this Tuscan hillside restaurant where no one spoke English. We were greeted in the outdoor courtyard by a brown, curly haired dog at our feet and a black and white cat, sitting on the roof of the restaurant. The owner came out and thanks to the one (in 17) Italian speaking member of our party, it was agreed that we would eat outside.

We assembled around a long, L shaped table and with the help of our Italian speaking friend, we ordered a metric crap-ton of food and wine.  As I have mentioned in prior trip reports about Italy,  dinner is an all night affair, with course after course of deliciousness, stretched out over several hours.

Just around the time that our entrees came out, the sun was just going down and the festive patio lights and candles on the table were lit.  This was also about the time that the cat came down off the roof and started to prowl around the guests, looking for scraps.  Seeing the cat on the ground, close up, it was evident that he was either not well, very old or both.  He was skinny and rickety and he moved a little slowly.  It wasn't until he walked away from our table that I saw what was really going on.  His rear end area was bulging out and it had a strange green hue.  It looked like he was smuggling grapes in his ass and someone had spray painted the area for emphasis.  It was at that moment that my son exclaimed "Look at that cat! He has a knotted anus!".

It was such a astute observation, that it became the unofficial battle cry of our week in Tuscany.  Every cat that we saw after that, we would simply point and say "knotted anus".    So now, when I look across the conference table at a particularly bitter and uncooperative coworker, with their lips pursed in pruney discontent,  I am reminded of that unfortunate cat's backside and I giggle, on the inside.  Hey, I'm a professional here.  A professional child, but a professional, none the less.

And there's your anus. Have a fabulous weekend and be sure to let me know about anyone that you know whose face reminds you of a diseased cat butt.
Probably has a knoted anus.

DEFINITELY has a knotted anus!

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's a Very Hollow Weiner 'Round These Parts

Oh, hi there.  Have we met?  Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is "Diary the Bitter".  Wanna see my picture?  That's me, right there.

You might ask, why so bitter Diary? Well, I'll tell ya, it appears that my Halloween good times are over.  For a combination of reasons, lack of time, kids growing up, general exhaustion, we have not decorated our house for Halloween this year.  I have a few things up inside and last weekend, I half-heartedly threw some purple lights and skeletons over a couple of bushes in the front yard, but that's it.   It's a radical departure from last year, where we were clearly going for some kind of world record in outdoor decor.

We will still have our usual open house and plans are in motion for my traditional vat of chili, but the excitement is not there.  The only thing that I might be able to count on is that my sister in law will join me in downing a large number of cosmos. Hmmmm, maybe the weekend is looking up after all.

Happy Halloween everyone!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's the Little Differences

When we were in Italy in August, I noticed a couple of unusual things in the Florence train station. The first unusual thing was that there were wine vending carts on the platforms when you step off the train. They are the first thing you see, before coffee, before food, before newspapers. The second thing was the Mc Donalds in the station. It looked like any other Mc Donalds, but the menu included such things as Tira Misu flavored shakes and whole fried shrimp.

But upon walking out of the Mc Donalds , that was when I saw the strangest thing of all - Benecio Del Toro on a 30 foot high billboard advertisement for what I though was condoms, but turned out to be ice cream.

I suppose it never dawned on the Italians that Magnum ice cream, with it's black and gold color wrapper and hyper-masculine design might spell jimmy hat before it spelled two scoops of vanilla with jimmies.

Naturally, I snapped a picture of the ad (see below). But I was not content with my simple vacation snapshot and have since dug a little deeper. Turns out that there is a significant advertising campaign associated with this concept. It's pretty lame, but I am going to guess that they backed up the money truck and unloaded a pile as high the billboard picture on Benecio's doorstep. I guess this is where academy award winners go to plump their bank accounts when the work gets slow. What's next? Adrien Brody for Tantum Rosa? No. I am not going to tell you what Tantum Rosa is. Google it for yourself. Tee hee.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life According to the Hotness Monster

When I think about my role models in life it hurts my head, because I don't think I really have any. I am a pretty firm believer that all men are created equal, except for people who suck. Those people are somewhat less than equal.

However, I most definitely admire my cat. Have you met my cat? This is him. His name is Spike the Hotness monster. He is 11 years old, which is nineteen bajillion in cat years. (Are there even such a thing as cat years? I don't know, I made it up. Whatever.)

Here are some of Spike's philosophies that bear repeating:

People Suck: When you don't need them for something, like food, water or affection, then they are of no use to you. Find a cozy place behind the big chair in the living room and sleep there for more hours than a human could count without an abacus.

Flirt with Everyone: You should not care about someones race, creed, color or species. If nuzzling a dog gets him to move off the choice spot on the stair landing, then nuzzle away. Being able to perch there and sleep with one eye trained on the flora and fauna out the window is worth a little insincere cuddling. And being that humans are too dumb and lazy to think beyond food, they will fill your bowl every time you sidle up to them. Score!

Explore the World, But There's No Place Like Home: The guy across the street likes when you roam his property because it keeps the mice away, there are cat treats in that gig. The little boy down the block gets all excited when you sit on his front lawn, so he convinces his mother to feed you. This extra meal helps to plump you up for the chilly winter months, when you will need your energy to sleep behind the chair. But remember to start the morning with a bowl of cat crunchies at home and end the day the same way. Nobody really knows how much you eat during the day. All you have to do is dilate your pupils and give them saucer eyes, magically, the bowl will fill.

Never Bathe or Poop in Public: This one is self explanatory. No one should ever see you either cleaning your business or doing it. Arrive everywhere looking clean, with a spring in your step.

A Narrow Eyed Glare is More Effective in Communicating Your Displeasure Than Raising Your Voice: Look at this picture, it's self explanatory. Oh, you soiled yourself in fear. Sorry. See how effective it is? Now go clean yourself up so that you can continue to gaze lovingly at my incendiary hotness.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Falling for it

There are pros and cons to north east livin'. On the con side, the summers are slapabitch hot and humid and the winters are icy, cold and snowy. But on the pro side, we have fall. Not just your average fall, but crispy sweater weather, hot apple cider-drinkin, colors ablaze fall that makes you want to apologize to the bitch you slapped during your case of the summer crankies.

There are problems with fall though. In many ways, fall is kind of a supermodel girlfriend, gorgeous and all up in your business one day, then suddenly gone, leaving only a skeletal reminder of the warmth and beauty that you had when she was here. Ok, who are we kidding? Supermodels don't deserve to be compared to fall and they're not likely to be hanging around our asses for a day, no less a season.

Fall is much more like a very beautiful sweater that says hand wash, but you haughtily toss it in the regular cycle, rendering it threadbare before the chill has left the air. No, wait a minute, fall really isn't like a sweater or any article of clothing for that matter. Maybe it's more like a hawk soaring in a crystal clear- - - aw, screw it!

I'm not poetic and anyone who's ever had a conversation with me will tell you that I'm not deep. Nope. Pretty basic. Pretty inarticulate. But I really do love fall. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, there is something that I can compare fall to: Fall is like apple pie, slightly warm, sweet and golden and gone much too soon.

Happy fall everyone!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Apple Pie.

Montauk Daisies

Colorful falling maple leaves

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Post it Note Tuesday

It's time for Post It Note Tuesday hosted by Supah Mommy. Go here to link up and get in on the fun.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

. . . And. It. Was. Awesome!

First of all, let me express my extreme bitterness that the clip of Wayne Brady, Iron Mike and Bobby Brown that was included in my last post, has been taken off You Tube. Hello? Viral is the best free promotion a clip could ever have. Whatever, dumbass.

So in its place, I give you a far, far better clip to enjoy. This one is better because I was there to see it (though it is not my video). Last week, Billie Joe Armstrong joined the cast of his Broadway musical, American Idiot for a one week run. We quickly snatched up whatever tickets we could get and we went on Friday night. In case you are wondering what I thought of his performance and the entire show, consult the title of this post.

Enjoy -

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Come Back to me Bobby

If I were to pull out my soapbox, climb up and tell you about how evil and mind-numbing reality TV is, would you listen? If I were to tell you how bereft of value and sociologically damaging I thought it was, would you agree? If the answer to these two questions is yes, then this is not the post for you. This is a post about a secret obsession. A dark, ugly, secret obsession. The kind that could ruin a career. A reputation. A blog following.

You see, for the past five years, I have had an emptiness that nothing can fill. It's like an itch that I have been unable to scratch ever since Being Bobby Brown went off the air. Oh sure, I have watched other reality shows since. Shows likeh Top Chef and Project Runway, but these are competition shows, it's not like being invited for an inside look into the circus of someone's life like like BBB was. The fact is that NOTHING has given me the soul satisfying schadenfreude of Being Bobby Brown. In my humble opinion, it was the train wreck of all reality show train wrecks.

So you can imagine the unbridled joy I felt when I saw the video gumbo of disaster from Wayne Brady below. Bobby Brown and Iron Mike? Oh the dramatic possibilities! Tribal tattoos, crack addiction and and an awesome 90's jam, all in the same video. I am so there!

Please enjoy this delightful music video with my compliments. Sadly, there is not a whole lot of BBB video out there to share. I searched high and low for the Dookie Bubble clip, but no luck. You are familiar with the "dookie bubble" incident right? Right? No? Urban Dictionary that phrase immediately after watching the video below. You won't be sorry.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Swift Kick in the Pants

Growing up, whenever someone needed a reality check or had done something stupid, my father would say that person needed a "swift kick in the pants". He still says it to this day. No doubt, he is sitting and watching the news right now and as LiLo goes back for her fifth stint in rehab, he is muttering "She doesn't need rehab, she needs a swift kick in the pants.". As you might imagine, he said this about me an awful lot, particularly throughout my "colorful" teen years.

This phrase has become part of my own lexicon, despite my attempts to beat it back with a stick. Anything you hear that often sinks in whether you want it to or not.

Today, I would like to share with you, some of the people and things that I have encountered over the past week that need a "Swift Kick in the Pants".

A Swift Kick in the Pants to: My Shoes
for the sole separating out from under the heel and making a smacking noise with every step. And an extra kick for happening as I walked in the building at 9:00 am, leaving me to announce my arrival at every meeting with a thwack,thwack.

A Swift Kick in the Pants to: Me
for face planting in the middle of Five Guys Burger. Go figure, old dumbass germophobe wants to wash her hands before she eats her burger and since they take an eternity to cook a burger at Five Guys, I had ample time. However, you would think that after a lifetime of scraped knees and twisted ankles that I would look more closely at the four inch high lip between the restaurant floor and the bathroom floor.

Just to reinforce for the trillionth time - Weak Ankles + Clogs + Uneven Pavement = eating the floor.

A Swift Kick in the Pants to: The Boyscouts of America
for stalking people outside the 7-11. I definitely don't mind buying things from the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. I have certainly purchased more than my fair share of Thin Mints. But on this morning, the BS0fA had a new product line (oh goody, no more microwave popcorn), which included an eleven ounce bag of Carmel corn. This is a much smaller bag than your standard bag of chips. The bag was smaller than an 8X11 sheet of paper.

I picked up a bag and handed the kid a ten dollar bill. It wasn't priced, but I figured I must have had it covered. He looked at me in confusion, tongue half hanging out of his mouth like it was the first time he had seen money. The older scout at the table told him to look up the price. He flipped open his little catalogue and said "eighteen dollars please". I tried not to look as shocked as I was. Are you telling me that if they sold that measly bag of snacks for eight dollars, the BSofA would not have made a tidy profit for their organization? Say, somewhere in the neighborhood of $7.50? But it gets better . . .

I reach into my wallet to return the ten dollar bill and retrieve a twenty. I hand the boy the 20 and again, a pained look of confusion crosses his face. He stands there, motionless and silent with the twenty dollar bill in his hand. Again, the older scout instructs him to give me two dollars change. He opens up his little cash box and it is empty. The older scout yells down to his father "Dad, we need change for the box.". His father, deep in conversation with another father about either baseball or hookers, barely nods to his son and goes on with his conversation. At this point, my level of frustration is at its peak. I had two choices: Walk away or walk down to the father and give him a Swift Kick in the Pants. I walked away, but one week later, I regret not kicking him. What a douchebag. Or maybe the douchebag is me. I am the proud owner of a $20 bag of caramel corn.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Joyful Heart Foundation - Please Link Up

Those of you that read this blog on a semi-regular basis know that there is very little about it that is serious. I am certainly not topical, political or prone to slinging an opinion much further than the quality of customer service in local retail establishments. I also don't join many blog carnivals. As a matter of fact, the very word blog carnival conjures images of sleep deprived women on their twelfth cup of coffee, operating the Tilt-a-Whirl while tapping away at their laptops.

However, this one bears mention and participation. I heard about it from the Empress over at Good Day Regular People. Thanks to the Empress for raising awareness.

About this blog carnival: “The world I want for my children” is an effort to support The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay to help victims of sexual assault mend their minds, bodies and spirits and reclaim their lives. Today, the foundation is at the forefront of an effort to end a disheartening backlog of tens of thousands of rape kits in labs across the country, a backlog that contributes to a rapist’s 80 percent chance of getting away with his crime. The backlog and its detrimental effects will be the topic of an SVU episode on September 29th.

Please help us raise awareness for this important work. What kind of world do you want for your children? Write your post and
link up here.

The World That I Want For My Children - By DG @ Diary of a Mad Bathroom

I'll be brief:
The World that I Want for my children is one where blog carnivals like this aren't necessary.

Friday, September 24, 2010

This Explains Why I'm Like This

As some of you might have guessed from my last post, I grew up in the 70's. From Kindergarten through my early teens, I was a child of the decade. For those of you that are of a similar age group, you know that this means that I survived the decade of cheesy AM top 40, of heinous crimes against fashion and of avocado colored appliances. From the fade out of the hippie to the fade in of disco, my formative years bear the imprint of the 'Me Generation'.

Now don't get me wrong, there were good things about the 70's, but for the most part, they are hazed over by the faint and jumbled memories of bad Barbara Streisand movies and episodes of the Partridge Family.

Here are some of the more horrifying things that I survived. It's nothing short of a miracle that I am not walking around in polyester gauchos with marshmallow shoes, incoherently babbling lyrics to Allman Brother's songs. Somehow I made it out with my dignity in tact.


Rex Smith

Astronaut Food

To taste this was to truly appreciate the sacrifice that the astronauts made for this country. Kind of like a mixture of hamster shavings and condensed milk.


Again, hats off to the astronauts. Another sacrifice in the name of progress.
People That Got Their Rocks Off By Squeezing TP

Ewwww. Mr. Whipple was a kinda pervy

Polyester clothing
How did the species not fall off the planet as of 1976? Who would want to sleep with these guys? They look like the Festrunk Brothers.

One hit wonders a-plenty

How Much I Feel by Ambrosia @ Yahoo! Video

OK, I'm not gonna lie, I kinda dig that song. It was played so much in the 1970's that I'm pretty sure you could find traces of it in my DNA. And there were so many more like it. Every time you turned on the radio, it was like spinning the giant wheel of musical cheese.

Andy Gibb

Again, in the interest of full disclosure, I had a little thing for him in my early teens. It was brief and it only took a couple of listens to something more substantial for me to realize what a lightweight, candy-ass tune this was. Still, it is hooky as hell. . .


The birth of SNL

The birth of Punk
Sadly, these guys didn't come into my consciousness until about 1979, when my boyfriend opened my eyes to a whole new world of music. It was at this point that I waved goodbye to the top 20 and hello to the The Clash, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols.

The Cars first three albums

OK, the third one was from 1980, but in my opinion, they are the three best albums that this band had to offer and the musical dividing line between love and like. This band also provided my first teen crush on a band guy. Oh the years I spent pining over Ben Orr. But, how do you not? I mean, really.

The Bob Newhart Show

No, not that dorky Bed and Breakfast show with the three guys with the same name. The original Newhart show. The one that the dorky show had to call back to in order to make the greatest show ending in television history. The one with Roger, from I Dream of Jeanie. The one that has its own drinking game.

The Odd Couple

Hard to believe that this show was run off the air because people couldn't believe that two men could live together for this long and not be gay. OK, Felix was kind of a queen, but so what? They had perfect comedic chemistry. Imagine if we applied that same twisted logic to Friends - they really all hang out together every day because they're into group sex! So stupid.

This little walk down memory lane was sponsored by the most disgusting food of the 1970s:
Ta-ca-ta-ca-Taco Bell. It spells diarrhea in any decade!

PS - for Noelle and any of you other youngsters that have to ask what Marshmallow shoes were - the shape of the heel and sole was sort of like the shoe below, but it was a closed shoe style and the heel was made of springy white rubber (which looked like a marshmallow). If you didn't have Marshmallow Shoes in 1976, then you just weren't cool. The cork platforms below? Also very cool. As were platform Buffalo Sandals and wood platforms, but you are going to have to Google those yourself. All this walking down memory lane has me exhausted.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

My generation's teen hearthrob:

This generation's teen heartthrob:

My generation's skinny little musician:

This generation's skinny little musician:

My generation's WTF?

This generation's WTF?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cornetti - Neither a Total Fail nor a Total Win

In my ongoing quest to prolong the sights, sounds and tastes of Italy, I have taken a swipe at the standard breakfast food of the Italians -Cornetti. A cousin to the croissant, cornetti have a slightly less rigid fold/chill/turn/chill process. It is basically a brioche dough with butter (or burro if you want to be all Italian about it) between the sheets.

Now, I am not going to pretend that they came out perfect, as a matter of fact they look a little like they got worked over by a marauding band of prune danish. But I would definitely call it a respectable first try.

Most of them are plain, glazed with a light coating of sugar syrup before baking. I filled a couple with Nutella for my daughter. Try as I might to like that stuff, I just can't stomach the flavor of hazlenut (Which reminds me of my favorite scene from the movie Best in Show. Please humor my painfully short attention span and see below). Next up, I make a Crema Pasticceria (pastry cream), which was my favorite filling for the Cornetti and we have a delicious Italian breakfast for tomorrow. Now if only I could make a cappuccino that is even half as good as they do in Italian gas stations. . .

Have a happy weekend and stop naming nuts!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Post It Note Tuesday

It's time for Post It Note Tuesday. Go here to link up and get in on the fun.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Myths, Facts and My Own Stupid Assumptions About Italy

One of the downsides of preparing to visit another country is the research. Not that doing research is bad, it's actually a fun way to get prepared and excited for your trip. But in the process of that research and in reading other people's trip reports and hearing people's stories, you have to work very hard to see past their perceptions, prejudices and things that in reflection, sound like outright lies.

Rather than write a standard trip report about my two weeks in Italy, I am going to share with you the myths, facts and my own stupid assumptions about it and what the realities were, based on our experience.

Myth 1- Italians are lazy. - Completely untrue. We found most Italians to be friendly, helpful and industrious. It's probably the pace that they do things at that gives them this unearned label. Italians live life to the fullest, enjoying long chats over coffee, lingering over multi-course lunches and dinners, appreciating good friends, good wine and good food. No one ever appears frazzled, is multitasking or trying to work at an "American" pace. But who says our pace is right? I would love to close down the office for a three hour lunch/nap combo. Wouldn't you?

Myth 2- Roman cab drivers will rip you off. - Just like New York City, if you get in a cab with purpose, confidence and act like you know where you are going, you are less likely to get taken. Big city rules apply in all big cities. We had no problems with this and we took a LOT of cabs.

Myth 3- They hate Americans in Italy. - This couldn't be less true. Everyone was polite, friendly and worked extra hard at communicating with us. Almost everyone in Rome spoke some English and seemed to appreciate our business.

Myth 4- Renting a villa in Tuscany is a beautiful, magical experience. - This is actually mostly true. However I think I over-romanticized the notion and was therefore a teensy bit surprised by the rusticity of the experience.

We stayed in a beautiful old, stone house in the hills of Tuscany. It was set deep within a nature preserve, where the chief protectants were deer and wild boar. Their presence was never seen but it was obvious that they were there, based on the five foot high wire fencing that surrounded the entire perimeter of the compound.

Getting to the villa was nothing short of treacherous. The 2 mile long road to the villa off the main road was a steep, winding, unpaved, single lane path lined with sharp gravel and ditches on either side. Every ride up or down was harrowing and caused the drivers tremendous stress and anxiety. And the bugs! Bugs would follow the car up the road in swarms, they would divebomb us in the pool and they were in the house and everywhere else. I soon realized that we were in their space and we either had to co-exist or go down fighting. The irony was that at night (when all the bugs come out at home), all the bugs went away and we could thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. Because of this, there were several moonlit dinners in the courtyard which we enjoyed with many bottles of wine. (The recycling that we put out was a shocking retrospective of our consumption.)

Myth 5- Rome is crawling with gypsies just waiting to rip you off. - There are definitely street performers and people begging for money all over the place. Again, NY City rules and savvy apply. Don't look like a tourist. Don't make eye contact. Don't be afraid to assertively say NO.
Fact 1- It is almost impossible to get a bad meal in Italy. - Everything is delicious, fresh and well seasoned. Italians don't fear salt and pepper, so every element of the meal is skillfully seasoned. I never picked up a salt shaker for the entire length of the trip. It is also a fact that they cook their pasta 'al dente'. Where I would give the pasta an additional minute, they really let it be toothsome.

Fact 2- Italians don't sweat/have amazing personal style. - Italians always look crisp and fresh, even on the hottest summer days. Men wear long pants and long sleeve shirts in the dog days of summer and there is nary a bead of sweat across their brow. Women ride bikes in the hot summer sun with their hair perfectly coiffed, wearing designer dresses and shades, looking runway ready. Maddening, really. And everyone wears linen and nobody wrinkles. What the hell is that about?
Stupid Assumption 1 - After studying briefly at home, I would pick up a few words of Italian in Italy. - Wrong and wrong. The thing about Italians is that they really know how to speak Italian, so they speak it fast. They don't have time for our Rosetta Stone, Berlitz-ed, Hooked on Phonics asses. If you want to pick up ANY words at all, go to a pre-school where the children are learning their colors and numbers. That's probably the only place that they slow it down.

Stupid Assumption 2 - I would not be able to find the supplies that I need in a foreign country. - Say it with me boys and girls - "Coop". Very good. Coop is a ginormous chain of supermarkets that rival anything we have here in the states. All the produce is local and spectacular, the meats magnificent and you can get artisan breads, cheeses and salumi amongst the Coco Puffs and Potato Chips. We cooked a couple of meals at the villa using ingredients from the Coop and everything was spectacularly fresh and of the highest quality. And Italians don't stand for any genetically modified produce, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. These things simply don't exist. Super win? You have to use a plastic glove to handle the produce. My germophobic heart sang when I read that!

Stupid Assumption 3- I am too jaded to be bowled over by the beauty of a city. - Wrong again Sparky! One look at Florence from the Piazza Michelangelo and I went weak in the knees (photos below). Florence sits in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. It's a stunning, old city, built alongside a river and around its central landmark , the Duomo. Once inside the city, all the jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio also made me weak in the knees. Florence = art and shopping. A perfect balance if you ask me.

Bottom line assessment: I'm going back. That's all there is to it. I'm going back.

Now the pictures (In no particular order. We have 1300 pictures from this trip. I have no time for sorting and ordering.). . .

I forget the name of this temple, but it was a spectacular part of the forum. It was so cool to view the monuments from the bottom of the buried city.

Temple to my homeboys Castor and Pollux. Where my Geminis at?

Street view looking out from inside the Colosseum.

The Colosseum hasn't been the same since REO Speedwagon played in '78.

Then Pantheon at dusk. Nothing like a 2000 year old building to make you feel insignificant (And young! Win!).

The Trevi Fountain. Look! Over there! It's Marcello Mastroianni.

Even the smallest architectural details are stunning. A door in Siena.

My perfect cappuccino. Want to guess where I got it? Go ahead. I'm waiting. Nope. I got it at the gas station. I went in to the "minimart" to find a marble counter with delicious pastries and freshly made espresso and cappuccino. What? No beef jerky?
Nice knockers in Siena.
This was the side street near our apartment in Rome. Right out of La Dolce Vita.

The Villa from a distance. Not too many neighbors, unless you count the entire biting fly population of the Northern Hemisphere.

Yes, we made pizza in an outdoor wood burning oven. So cliche. So amazing.

Italians call this Roman monument the "wedding cake" (Monument to Vittorio Emanuel). It is generally despised for its lack of harmony with the other more historic structures in the city. It is actually quite stunning in person, due to its size and the way it rises up over the cityscape.

Florence is this beautiful and then some. . .

One of 1700 jewelry stores just like it in Florence.
That's all for today.