Monday, April 19, 2010

Don’t Know Much About History…

The new season of The Tudors has started on ShowTime, and I am hooked once again. I’ll tell ya, if they had had this series back when I was in high school, I can guarantee you that I would have paid a lot closer attention to my history lessons!! You think that politicians today are corrupt and seedy? They can’t hold a candle to Henry VIII. He was one seriously messed up dude, and Jonathan Rhys Myers plays him fabulously. I love all the costumes and jewelry; the horses and riding are first rate; and all the women are drop dead gorgeous. Some people think it was such a romantic time to be living and think that living amongst the King’s Court would have been wonderful; um, I am thinking not so much.

You never knew who was going to stick a knife in your back or for what reason; disease ran rampant and doctors had no clue how to treat you if they couldn’t use leeches; the everyday person was severely oppressed; and if you were female, can you imagine trying to go to the bathroom in those gowns they wore?? Yeah, funny how they never show that kind of stuff on the show.

I wonder if they will ever come out with a series that deals with US history. It would be interesting to see what kinds of behind the scenes info (meaning dirt and scandal, obviously) they could dig up. I am ashamed to admit that I was one of those kids in school that never really paid attention to American History. We are pretty boring with our powdered wigs and buckle shoes in comparison to European Kings that go through wives like Kleenex, chopping off heads willy-nilly every time a wife has a daughter instead of a son, or if a younger maiden catches his eye.

Although, you do see a lot of that type of behavior in every day current American life; just watch Snapped on the Oxygen channel, or Forensic Files on A&E. Or your evening news for that matter.


It is also baseball season once again. I think I have mentioned this once before, but I used to be a huge baseball fan – even back before I was physically huge. I say “used to be” because when all the ball players went on strike back in the 90’s for more money, it really ruined it for me.

Gee, I’m so sorry that 10 million dollars a year isn’t enough for you to be paid for hitting a little ball with a stick, and that you make more than ER doctors, firefighters, police officers, and other people who actually make a difference in the world by treating the injured, healing the sick and dying, and generally putting their lives on the line every single day.

I’m sorry, where was I? Oh yes. Sorry, I have digressed once again (do they make a pill for that without the side effect of anal leakage?). Anyhoo, it gets me by until football season starts again. I put the game on and then go about my business doing other stuff around the house, listening to the game but not really watching it. Just doing that kind of brings back memories: when I was a kid, we always had baseball on the tube (Dad was a ginormous fan), and it would usually be hot enough in California for the air conditioner to be running in the house; Mom would do her mounds of ironing while watching the game and I would usually fall asleep on the couch listening to Vin Skulley’s voice combined with the hiss of the steam from the iron. Good times. Dad would usually wake me up because he would be hollering at the TV over a bad call. (Why do guys do that? Tip: THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU. But the neighbors can, and they don’t care if he was safe or out. Chill.)

Anything good on the tube that you are enjoying these days?


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy (?) IRS Day

Did you remember to mail off your taxes today? I did. I have a very handy built-in reminder.

Today is my birthday.

You know what I did for my birthday today? I mailed the IRS a check for $475.

Its times like these that make me realize how I have absolutely no life.

Happy Frickin Birthday to me.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Need Money for Karate Lessons

This morning I have dusted off the soap box, gotten out my step ladder, and am now atop said box ready to give you my two cents. Ahem.

I am starting to get really disappointed with the Today Show. It comes on at 7am here, and I usually watch it while getting dressed for work (otherwise known as the fabulously fun game of SOCKS, SOCKS, WHERE THE HELL ARE MY SOCKS?!). Tomorrow Meredith V. is interviewing – sorry, conducting an IN DEPTH interview – with Kate Gosselin.


First of all, I don’t see how IN DEPTH the interview can be when this person is more shallow than a cake pan. Also, shouldn’t stuff like that be relegated to Entertainment Tonight? Or at least to the fourth hour of the Today Show with Hoda and Cathy Lee (that I am pretty sure no one watches or if they are, they are in a coma by the time it reaches this point and are unable to reach the clicker)? Is the world of top notch journalism so slow these days that an interview with this person is the best they can do? Is the war in Iraq over? What about the President of Poland being killed in that plane wreck? Isn’t the President of the US putting through a new health care bill that will affect us all? I would love to know what the bill is exactly; and I don’t mean listening to Senators and Congresspeople yelling at each other about it, I want to know what it is supposed to do for us all. Heck, Kate’s got eight children; maybe she would like to be better informed about it. Although, she is pretty busy sucking on Dancing With The Stars right now, so maybe she is postponing her study of it for later. And I’m sorry – why hasn’t she been voted off yet? My bedside table dances better than her. I think that Joel McHale over on E’s The Soup gets people to vote for her, just so that they can make fun of her week after week (WIN!).

And I am really tired of hearing about Tiger Woods and Jesse James. I’m sorry – I know that there are people out there that suffer from sex addiction, and I am not talking about them; but just being a walking douche bag with a ton of cash that can’t keep its fly zipped does not qualify you as such. If you are going to hump everything in sight then scream REHAB at the top of your lungs, please stop marrying people and reproducing. Go live in your limo down by the river, and keep your disgusting habits to yourself. And that goes for the entire cast of Jersey Shore as well.

Why can’t regular, everyday, next-door-neighbor type people be featured on the Today Show? You know, the ones that are working a day job, or two jobs plus night school, that are managing to take care of their aging parents, raise four kids that aren’t pregnant or on drugs, and volunteer their time to raise money for cancer patients? Oh, not shocking enough? Are you kidding me? I have a feeling that a lot of people don’t think those types of people exist anymore. Who would you rather have as a role model for your kids? A pseudo-celebrity that is only good at pimping out their children for fame and cash and then doing IN DEPTH interviews to whine about the fame; another pseudo-celeb that is only good at hitting a little tiny ball into a little tiny hole with a stick but damn can he sell shoes; or someone that works hard for their money, doesn’t complain about it (much) and manages to be a good person without asking for the world to be delivered to them, in their dressing room, on a silver platter and manages to keep off the nose candy and stay out of rehab? Hmmmmm…gee, it’s so hard to choose.

Phew. I think my soap box is on fire, so I believe I will step down now.

On a lighter note: this weekend while I was out running some errands, I saw a young man panhandling down by the MetraPark. I noticed as I approached the corner where he had set himself up that he was talking to a gal in another car that had already stopped for the light. As he jogged back across the lane in front of me, he held up his cardboard sign for me to read. It said, “My family was killed by ninjas; need money for karate lessons.” I nearly gave him $5 just for the laugh he gave me.

Now THAT guy should be on the Today Show.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Love Your Local Library

I love to read.

I mean that. And I don’t mean People magazine, or Reader’s Digest; I love books. Big, fat, heavy books. Not only are they great for smashing spiders, but they can transport you to anywhere in world; any time in history; and you can be whomever you wish.

My father loved to read and I think that he passed that love on to my sister and me. He was always reading; he read stories and poetry to me almost every night until I was about 12. I miss that. I still have two of the poetry books that he read to me out of, and I treasure them.

When I was a kid, I loved trips to the library with Dad. We would hit the door and go our separate ways and then meet up an hour later. Sometimes I would beg to stay a little longer, and sometimes we would. There was something so profoundly satisfying about leaving that musty old place with armfuls of books.

I like to read a variety of stuff; I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction for some reason, and I don’t care for romance novels either. I went through a stage in junior high with one of my best pals where we read every single Barbara Cartland romance we could get our hands on. We collected them and traded them, dreamed about them, and talked about them until I thought my mother would lose her mind. Eventually I caught on that there were only about six different plot lines; dear Barbara just changed the countries, names, and hair color of the people involved and just kept cranking those suckers out! I love mystery novels and collected Agatha Christie novels too. I still have a bunch of them. I also read her biography and loved it! I have that book and will always keep it on my shelf. I love anything having to do with psychology and forensics. I find both fields to be extremely interesting; if I had gotten the opportunity to go to college, I would have studied both of those subjects. I also like horror – Steven King is a favorite, but he can get a little too…out there…for even me sometimes. I am not a huge fan of ghosts or anything dealing with the occult; I do like ghost stories to an extent, but not if having the book in my possession is going to start rearranging the furniture in my living room, you know what I mean? Yeah. That’s not fun. Having said that, I just finished one and am starting another ghost story novel. And I do not care for vampire novels at all!! You aren’t going to see me roped into the Twilight series. Period.

I do like monsters and space aliens too; and I love it when I read a book and think to myself, Wow – that would make a great movie, and then POOF! I’m at the movie theater a few weeks, months, or a year later and there it is – the book I read and the previews for the movie. I had read Jurassic Park almost three years before the movie came out; my sister and I had both read it and thought it would be the most awesome movie, and when we saw the previews for it we nearly beat each other to death with glee. It was one of the few movies made from a book that I thought really stuck to the original. It is so incredibly disappointing to love a book then see a movie that doesn’t live up to it. The Da Vinci Code was definitely one, and I never saw Angels and Demons but I heard it was disappointing as well. Sometimes I just know that a movie isn’t going to cut it so I won’t bother; but sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Which can be awesome. The Relic was an awesome book, and the movie did pretty well at sticking to the basic plot. The DVD of the movie is in my collection.

I am also more drawn to paperbacks rather than hardbacks. I love a paperback because I can stick it in my purse and joyfully carry it around with me. I rarely buy tiny purses; any new purse must be large enough to contain at least one paperback book. I read them everywhere: work, restaurants, movie theaters, in traffic. I read them at restaurants because it makes me feel less alone, and I find that if I don’t have any company to share the meal with, reading is a good substitute. And it keeps me from looking at all the happy families and/or couples and feeling sorry for myself for being there alone. The same with movies; I don’t often go the theaters anymore – they are too expensive, and who wants to go see a movie all by themselves? But I believe that some films must be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated (like the Star Wars films, or 300, etc.) so I will suck it up and go. I like to arrive early so that I can sit in my favorite spot (in stadium seating, top row, dead center) and I don’t miss any previews. So, during the 10-15 minutes of uncomfortable dead time, I read. It makes the wait go by faster and I don’t obsess about whether or not people are staring at me and wondering why I am there alone. And, if you are stuck at a red light that seems to take forever? Whip out your book and read one sentence -I guarantee the light will change; this also works for slow moving drive-thrus. The other reason I like paperbacks is that I refuse to pay $25 for a hardback. Unless it’s something I know I will treasure and want to keep forever.

In these…let’s say challenging…economic times, I have found myself returning to the library more often. I can check out armfuls of hardback books for free. I love to go onto my favorite bookstore site (Powell Books in Portland, OR) to snuffle around and see what books are out there that I might like. When I find something, I flip over to my local library’s website and open the catalog to search for it. If they have it, I make a note of the call numbers and when I have a few on my list, I make a library run. It’s been great – I had forgotten how great. If I hate a book, I can just return it. No questions, no refunds, no problem. I can check out whole collections of a single author’s work and read them back to back in order. I can check out cookbooks and copy just the recipes I like instead of buying an entire book with 892 recipes that I hate and will never make. Sometimes doing that will lead me to a different book by the same person that I will purchase for permanent residence on my cookbook shelf. Sometimes I will preview a book this way, and if I like it enough I will go out and buy my own copy.

Love your local library. If you haven’t been there in a while, check it out (no pun intended). Turn your kids onto the miracle of reading. It’s not just for billboards and menus these days.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

A New Goal

Some of you may know that I also have a weight loss blog; there is a link to it on the right side of this page. I haven’t had anything nice to say about my weight loss journey for quite a while, so I have been neglecting it. Bad blogger – bad girl!! But I have a new goal; a new Twinkie on a stick if you will. I have detailed it on the other blog and will keep track of the details over there, but will also post updates here too.

Here is the basic scoop:

I am still working with my therapist on the issues that cause me to run straight to food for comfort; the hard part is that it is basically everything in my life! I have a lot of holes in my heart and soul, and I recognize now that I use food as a kind of spackle to try to fill those holes. Now I just have to work on finding other ways to fill those holes instead of using food. No more donuts as dry wall. It may take a while, but I’ll get there.

So I have decided to change tactics.

One of my nieces sent me an email yesterday that has lit a fire under me for a couple of reasons. Her father, my sister’s ex-brother-in-law, has ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and she is getting people together to be a team for an upcoming ALS walk. We traded a few emails back and forth, and then I got an idea – why not find out when the walk is? If I haven’t moved back to Washington yet, I will do it here in Billings by myself in honor of him.

Turns out the walk is September 26th. I will definitely be back on the west coast by then, so I told my niece to sign me up to be on her team.

It’s a three mile walk. She is going to start training for it with one of my other nieces next week. I am going to have to train on my own, at least until I move, but I am going to start this weekend and the goal is to have some endurance built up by the time I move this summer. Then I can finish my training out there.

So – there you have it. My new goal. I hope that I can really do this; it would be great for my health, my self esteem, my brain, my heart (in every sense), my soul, my karma. Not only will I be benefiting myself, but I can also be a part of helping others as well. I feel like since this goal is not just about ME, but a part of something bigger than me that is for the benefit of others, that it is something that I will actually follow through on.

And if that is what it takes, then Bring. It. On.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ah Spring…whatever that means

So, I haven’t been blogging lately. Anyone notice? Yeah, I thought not. I am pretty sure, regardless of what my visitor counter says, that no one really reads this (except you, Laurie! Thanks for your support girl!!). I think most of the numbers on there are me checking to see if anyone is checking. Hurt.

But, I want to be more diligent in my writing. I love to write. Unfortunately, most of what I write stays written only on the little grey cells (as Hercule Poirot would say) and never seems to make it to the page (paper or virtual). That has been happening a lot lately.

Sometimes people who find out that I write a blog ask me what it’s about. … I don’t really know. It’s about stuff. And things. Ramblings, thoughts, occurrences; things I’ve done or read or seen; things I am thinking about doing or reading or seeing.

If you read my blog, let me know. If you have one of your own and you want me to read it, let me know. I love blogs; I think I am addicted to them. Is there a 12 step program for that? I hope not. I like being addicted to them. My mom doesn’t get it, but that’s OK. She doesn’t “get” a lot of things, but I still love her. But that is a blog all its own.

Sissy keeps encouraging me to write; she says I have a knack for it. I hope so! I started a novel a few years ago but haven’t been working on it very much lately. I dug it out and have decided to start pecking away at it again. I also found a second story that I started around the same time but had forgotten about; I am going to try to get that one going again as well.

I came into contact with a lovely person on an answer forum that I belong to. We had actually been discussing my situation of still being single at…my age…and the fact that my last date had been over 25 years ago, and I was asking for tips on how to get myself back out there in the social scene. I think that social skills can be like speaking a foreign language: if you don’t use it, you lose it. I have no clue how to talk to guys, or anyone really for that matter, when I am face to face with them. I really don’t have any life experience to speak of, so if we aren’t talking about work, sports, movies or the great state of Montana, I am tapped out for subjects. I feel like I have squat all in common with other human beings and trying to talk to people just makes me want to crawl under the floor boards sometimes. I can ramble on and on when I am just an anonymous voice on the internet or in email… But I digress. This lovely lady is a published author and is going to help try to help me form a writer’s group at the local library. Even though I will be moving in a few months, even if I don’t get this group off the ground here, maybe I can get one off the ground in Washington. I will keep you informed on that.

Anyhoo, spring is coming and I love spring. I think I was actually supposed to be a bear in this life. I have a tendency to hibernate during the winter. At least that is how I try to explain away the weight gain, grumpiness, and general desire to stay indoors under the covers where it is warm and just watch TV all the live-long day. Do bears watch TV? They probably would if they had a remote with larger buttons and cable.

But the days are getting longer now, and warmer, and the little critters are starting to pop their heads up out of their hidey holes and the grass is starting to get green again. Which means I will have to eventually dig out the lawn mower at some point. Dang. I HATE mowing the lawn and this year I will not be able to afford to pay someone to do it for me. Oh well. I’ll be moving soon and hopefully I won’t have to do it too many times before I can bid adieu to that stupid thing at my garage sale. Along with the edger/weed eater and leaf blower that I have never used but somehow have managed to lose the manuals for. Hmmm…I will have to look for those! We have rabbits that live in the empty lots across the street from our office building, and gophers too. I made the mistake early on here of referring to them as Prairie Dogs; I was on no uncertain terms corrected. I don’t care what they are, I think they are cute. Of course, they aren’t living in my lawn so I can think that if I want to. So there. Pfft.

So as the days get longer and I start to come out of my hibernation, I promise to be more diligent in keeping in touch on here. All I ask in return is, if you are out there drop me a note to say hi, OK? It’s lonely here in cyberspace. Thanks.