Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Gifts

The house is quiet now. The family has gone, the dogs are resting, and I'm a bit lonely. It was a great time to have Ethan (my five-month-old nephew), Ben and Kristen here for the Thanksgiving week. Here is a photo essay of the adventure.

Ethan came to meet his great-grandma, Nanny, and the rest of our family. Here is his with Nanny on Wednesday. He's a sweet boy and adapted well to all the changes, people, and dogs that greeted and followed him during his five-day stay. He's got five teeth, drools a lot, and takes short naps.

His cousin, Lauren, did a great job playing with him. Even when he got sick of me snapping all the photos. At dinner he hung in there with us from appetizers to dessert, barely making a fuss.

Then came Thanksgiving, the granddaddy of events in our family!! As is tradition, we gave him the turkey leg ... but he had no interest in it - even with his five teeth. I am sure he could have gnawed his heart out...but he didn't. Just pushed it aside awaiting for a bottle and some blocks ... or for someone to laugh with.

New this year was family karaoke. And I'll just leave it at this: we all rolled our eyes when Shotsie proposed the idea, but in the end we were our own version of Hampton Cove Idol. The winner? All of us - for enduring renditions of Summer Nights, Jesse's Girl, and some retro songs sung by Adam.

Before the holidays wrapped up and everyone went on their way, Ben had to make a few changes to my house ... the first was installing a new light in my entry way. The old one hung low (and we're tall people), so I got a new set of track lighting ... I can hear you all quoting Steel Magnolias right now, so just hush. Here is the light:

In addition, Ben thought I needed to reorganize my tool drawer (the bottom one in the kitchen - just like most single women). So he got me a manly tool box and a new drill. SWEET! I can't wait to find new things to screw. Who knew I needed one? And it's got a diagram that shows you where to turn the thing depending on what you're screwing. Funny. I used to just close my eyes and hope for the best.

Nanny pulled through, too. From her I got the greatest gift a girl could hope for: alcohol. And plenty of it. Not only did she give me this magnum of premixed Cosmos ... I am the proud owner of two bottles of Tiki Tini and Mojitos. Some grannys give sweaters or other traditional gifts. Not mine. I got vodka.

So there you go - I lot light to see better, power to screw more, and alcohol to help me do them all better!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy December!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NYC - the unpublishable stories

I don't know where to begin - so I'll start with the first unusual interaction I had.

It was Tuesday morning, in the conference of 1,400 people. I sat myself next to an elderly man and was polite, striking up the typical conversation. I wanted to get a good seat, so I got there early and now I see why my seat was good, it actually turned out to be fan-tas-tic!

The gentleman next to me, we'll call Artie, was familiar with Huntsville, as he graduated from A&M about 50 years ago. He asked about my personal life - married? kids? divorced? I didn't give him too much information, because really, what's the point. Well, he made a point of that, telling me over and over that I wasn't telling him everything - I was being too closed off to his questions.

The mental dialog went like this, "Really. Fucker, really? You really want me to delve into my psychologial problems and tell you why I am not in a relationship? You want me to air my dirty laundry right here in the middle of the Sheraton NY Towers' Ballroom while I'm waiting for Mayor BLOOMBERG to speak... Really?"

He told me about his marriage - celebrating 53 years next month...blah blah blah.

Mayor Bloomberg began; I was mesmerized. The mayor of the largest city in the world, right there, looking at me - in the eyes. He talked about education reform and ending's a marathon he said! A marathon. Artie leans over and goes, "Huntsville, I'd like to come there and get you across the finish line." He then looked me up and down.

Internal monologue: Oh hell what? Remember what he said - this is good material. I mean good material. A man in his 70s representing the YMCA from New Orleans coming on to me while the powerful mayor is speaking.

I turned away from him and chuckled. At the end of the session, I got up and left that table.

The rest of the interactions were normal. Until the flight from LGA to Pittsburgh.

As I settled into my seat, the bald man next to me greeted me with a friendly hello. Perhaps a little too friendly? He had three hoop earrings in each ear and deeply stained yellow teeth. At this point, I'm not really sure what I did to allow him to open up to me - but here's what I learned about him:

1. He's been living in the woods of Vermont (Burlington) for the last 20 years.
2. He has some daughters, but I don't think any of them were biological
3. He doesn't watch the news
4. He hated President Bush
5. He's vocal about said hatred
6. He believes in privacy to the full extent - so much so, that when I opened up my laptop and the picture of Ethan appeared, he curled into a ball and looked at the "wall"
7. He used alcohol wipes every time he coughed and offered me some, just in case
8. He was flying for the first time in nearly two decades to go to a Buddhist retreat. He'd been online talking Buddhism and met someone. They were meeting in Pittsburgh to go to the retreat. His new friend was incredibly intelligent - a 5'7" Italian who studies disease patterns in homosexual and transgenders.
9. His new friend is a man and so not only was he taking on a new religion on this trip, this was to be his first homosexual relationship.
10. But he was excited about it - because in his younger years he looked like a girl.
11. If you ask me, that's a lot to take on during a Buddhist retreat.

That's a lot to discuss in a 50-minute plane ride. But we discussed that and more.

As I write this, I now see that I really do attract the weird-os. Maybe I'm too welcoming, allowing people to be too open. Maybe I'm just too boring. Or maybe I understand that some things just really shouldn't be talked about with complete strangers - whether or not you'll see them again. Because one day, it's all gonna end up on Facebook, talked about in post-meeting meetings, and written up for someone's memoirs. And there are just some things I have done, experienced, etc. that I know I'd rather not see in print. :)

Those secrets will go to the grave with me. Poor strangers, they'll never be so lucky.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Since I haven't had time to write...

This is the text of an email a friend forwarded and I think it's just hilarious! See my comments in green:

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. For Jenny, this means making sure all shopping bags are empty. I personally would be slightly embarrassed (albeit dead) if anyone saw my excel spread sheet that details my bank account and asked what in the world "K" stands for and why did I spent so much money there.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
I freely admit when I'm wrong - because it happens so often. so this isn't really that hard for me

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
The best part about being a long-distance runner is the amount of napping required. I figure it this way: for each minute you run, you earn a napping point. You can use them all at once or spread them throughout the day/week. I use mine immediately.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
Yes - there is. And it should be purple with italics.

5. How are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
Would you believe that I, Miss Unorganized, knows how to do this and does it!!!!!

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
Yes, because telling someone to fuck off in pretty hand writing is polite. also - crazy people write in print. Have you seen those letters on the dateline episodes?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
So true - and I like how it gives alternative ways to get out of the the hood...I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go the same way no matter what.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
This is true, too! I try to figure it out by looking at where they want their donations sent!

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
Don't have kids, do have great meds - doesn't apply to me.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.
Yes, especially when a trucker is involved.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
Amazingly, that moment is earlier in the day as the week progresses.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
Not a techy -not ever sure that a flat screen tv is... seriously.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
Hit Control z and then save.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever.
I'll wash it. what the hell!

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
They're usually leaving a message that starts with, "Hi, this is Jane, I'm just calling ... but you're not around ..." and then ramble on for a bit more. This is why I don't listen to voice mail. If I see a missed call, I will call you back.

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
Or what about the days when you look like shit and run into everyone - including your ex???

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
You know it - and they've got nicknames like "crazy Pete", "Baby Daddy", and "Backseat Delight."

18. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How do I respond to that?
Go into insurance claim processes - the kid will tune out immediately.

19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
Mine has one!!!

20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than with Kay.
Mine usually start with V ... for Vodka!