Out of Town

Hey... I'll be out of town with work stuff until Sunday with no access to Internet or television. So, nobody is allowed to discuss the topics of American Idol or House, MD with me until I've caught up on them on the Tivo.


Love ya! See when I'm back!


Skin and Bones

So, I was listening on the radio the other day and they were talking about some scientific study (and by scientific study, I mean pretend survey that they made up five minutes ago to have something to talk about on the air) regarding people's views of the importance of being thin. It focused on what people would do if they could be thin for the rest of their lives.

50% of people said they would give a year of their life if they could be thin for the remainder of it.

33% of people said they would give a limb to be skinny.

10% of people said they would give up their sight in order to not have to fight the battle of the bulge for the remainder of their years.

Now, I admit that I am an American woman who feels like I should lose about fifteen to twenty pounds. I also admit that I would much rather do ten million other things instead of getting my ass to the gym. But, would I be willing to give up a year of my life, my left arm, or my sight in order to fit the (unrealistic) standard of beauty?

Thanks, no.

Now, excuse me, but I think I just heard the pizza delivery guy pull up.


Television in America

- Today after work, I was flipping through the channels and came across "Star Trek: The Next Generation" on Spike TV. I was transported to my adolescent years when some of the only quality time my dad and I spent together was on Saturday nights when we would stay up late and watch TNG and SNL episodes. My question is: Was TNG always so contrived and poorly acted?

- At work today, the topic of conversation was last night's "Grey's Anatomy" season finale. If one had simply walked into the conversation and not known what it was about, it would have seemed that they were talking about their dear friends and co-workers. I am soooo sad about Denny. Can you believe that she was making out with that guy in the closet? Do you think that they're really in love? Come on people! It is a television show!

- My theory about American Idol: The producers needed Chris Daughtry voted off the show in order to make the final episodes more interesting and make it seem as though it is anybody's game. With Chris out, it evens the playing field. Chris will be successful outside of American Idol. The three that are left probably won't be remembered three years from now unless they win the show.

- Remember the book "Fahrenheit 451"? Sometimes I think that may be the direction our society is headed. This is our life.


Wet Paint

The hardest part about going to the nail salon is choosing the color to use. It can be a pretty big decision that you'll have to live with for at least the next two weeks of your life. So much of it depends on your mood: Flirty or conservative? Risky or innocent?

When I first began getting my nails done, I kind of laughed to myself when I would see women trying to choose their color. First, they'd seriously consider their options. Choosing one bottle of color, they'd pick it up and shake it vigorously. They'd hold it out at arm's length, perhaps against their other hand to try to imagine what it would look like. Finally, they turn the bottle upside-down to check the name of the color.

I could understand pretty much the whole routine up until the point that they looked at the name of the color. What difference does the name of the color make? But, now I'm a total name-of-color junkie. If I don't like the name of the color, I don't choose it.

Today, I am wearing "Don't Socra-tease Me." I liked the sound of that. Kind of a "don't insult my intelligence" type of theme. If I had been naming the colors, I probably would've called it "Cranberry and Vodka" since it almost perfectly matched my last night's drink of choice.

My favorite nail color is called "I'm Not Really A Waitress." I choose this color probably about every third time I go into the salon.

Other real nail colors' names that I've seen:
"Bikini with a Martini" for those relaxing days on the beach
"Fishnet Stockings" when you're going for "hooker"
"Well Proportioned" just in case people weren't sure
"Trailer Trash" for when you're watching NASCAR
"Meet Balls" don't ask...

I guess it's kind of like judging a book by its cover. "Meet Balls" might be a very nice, warm tone for somebody's nails... but not mine!

P.S. I found an interesting article regarding the names that companies choose for flavors/colors/etc. and how they choose them.
Check it out.


The Original Lemonade Stand

Ever since I was a child, I've had an entrepreneurial streak in me. I've been known to create grand schemes down to the last minute detail. The problem is that I'm also cursed with this annoying optimism that all of my ideas are always going to come to fruition in just the way that I picture them. Sometimes, they don't.

My first venture into the capitalistic market was the "Lemonade Stand." I know I was only 4 or 5 years old (because it was in our 'old house') and I think I got the idea from Sesame Street. I watched Betty Lou and Grover set up a lemonade stand and rake in the dough as all of their friends from Sesame Street and beyond stopped at the stand to quench their thirst from the scorching sun. I knew I could totally do that.

I convinced my mom to help me make a pitcher of Kool-Aid (we didn't have lemonade, but that was okay, since I preferred grape Kool-Aid over lemonade any day) and carry a small end table outside our house and up to the sidewalk. I got a little change purse and stocked it full of quarters in case anybody didn't have exact change. I made a little sign to advertise, stuck it on the front of my table, and sat... and sat... and sat.

My first customer was my mom. She bought a cup of the Kool-Aid (that she had provided) and then sat on the porch with a book, watching me from a distrance. It seemed that there weren't a lot of people out of the streets that day (probably too hot) and the cars that did drive by weren't interested in stopping for a refreshment. My dad got home from work and he also bought a drink. He paid with a dollar and let me keep the change. I could tell that things were looking up now.

I didn't sell any other lemonade that day. But, for me, I had a net gain of $1.25. It was a start.

Later, once we moved to the 'new house,' my neighbor friend, Sara, and I tried to have a car wash. We got all of our materials ready: water, soap, towels, posters... We didn't have much business, though. It probably didn't help that we were holding our car wash in my driveway, in a court, in a subdivision, in the suburbs of the Midwest. Not a lot of traffic, you know? Our bikes sure were shiny, though.

Probably my most ambitious project was when I was in fifth grade. Another neighborhood friend and I decided that we wanted to hold a carnival. So, in order to raise funds for the event, we held a garage sale and earned about $75. Our mothers told us to save ourselves the trouble and just split the money from the garage sale. We would hear nothing of it.

We planned and organized all the booths that we would need for the event. We purchased tickets and concessions and prizes. We rounded up the other kids around the neighborhood and drafted them into service to help run the different games. We rode our bikes far and wide to put up signs advertising the fair.

The carnival ended up being a huge success. All the kids from the neighborhood showed up. We binged on popcorn and soda and gave away all the prizes. However, we gave away most of the tickets and ultimately didn't profit from the event. Our investment was not high-yielding, to say the least. We probably should've heeded our mothers' advice and kept the cash from the garage sale. But, the garage sale wasn't nearly as fun as the carnival.

As summer starts to roll around, I know that there will be kids waiting patiently at lemonade stands for a customer to stop by. I always stop. I've pulled u-turns to go back to lemonade stands and dug through the abyss of my car searching for change to pay for a cup of lemonade from those kids. But, I always do it. And, I'll tell you what. Watching those kids scurry around to pour a cup and trying to count out the correct change is almost just as fun as setting up the Lemonade Stand for the first time.


Just a Thought

You ever do something that at the time seems so incredibly inconsequential and then, later, it seems that you will never be able to escape the consequences of it for the rest of your life? Sometimes it can be hard to "look at the bright side" when it seems like every turn you take, you are sucker-punched in the face with the reality of your past.


Baby Showers

So, this beautiful Sunday afternoon, I will be attending my good friend Paula's baby shower. And love Paula (and all of my friends) as I may, I have to admit that baby showers are not my favorite event.

Apparently, baby showers are held throughout the world. Many cultures don't hold the baby showers until after the baby is born. Even in the U.S., babies were "showered" with gifts from families and friends after their birth until the late 1800's. It was at that time that baby showers began to be held as a female-only tea party, usually only held for the first child born in a family. Baby showers as we know them today really became prevalent in the U.S. following the baby boom after World War II.

And baby showers are fine. I'm excited to give little Ella gifts that hopefully she and her parents will be able to use and enjoy. I guess what bothers me about baby showers is the strange traditions that go along them....

Sample Itinerary of Events for Hypothetical Baby Shower

1:00 - Arrive at baby shower. A baby shower is the one type of event where showing up "fashionably late" isn't really acceptable. Any other type of party is more of a "come whenever you can make it" type of mentality. Not a baby shower - we've got a schedule to follow here, people!

1:05 - Squish grandmother, aunts, sisters, cousins, and female friends into a room that no matter what will be too small and not have enough seats. Doesn't matter. If you have a room big enough for ten people, twenty will show up. A room big enough for fifty? Seventy-six.

1:15 - Begin the first game: "Don't Say Baby." Every woman is given a safety pin with a ribbon or something similar to that to wear. How do you win this game? The name of the game says it all. You are not allowed to say the word "baby." If you say the word baby and somebody else catches you, they get to take your pin. The person with the most pins at the end of the game wins. My personal strategy for this game is to immediately say "baby" so I can give away my pin and I don't have to worry about it the rest of the afternoon.

1:20 - Second game: "How Big is Mommy's Belly?" Everybody is given a piece of yarn or string and they have to cut it to the size they think it should be to fit perfectly around the mother's pregnant tummy. I will admit that this game is more difficult than one would think. And Lord knows, you don't want to offend the pregnant woman. My advice: Go out to the garage and slam a beer. Don't go back in until the game is over.

1:35 - Third game: "Dirty Diapers." Yes, this game really is as bad as it sounds. For this game, the party organizers get a bunch of different types of candy bars, smush them up, put them in diapers and into the microwave. Then, the party guests pass around a bunch of diapers that look like they are filled with diaper shit and examine it, holding it up to their faces to get a really good sniff, in order to try to guess what type of candy it is. You think you see peanuts in there? Probably a Payday.* You get the idea. **

2:00 - Begin opening gifts. Watch the mother open ten million "oh-so-cute" onsies, twosies, sleepers, etc., etc. Hint: Try to get your gift towards the top of the pile so that as soon as it is opened you can make a quick escape to wherever it is that you have the alcohol. (Sidenote: My problem with shopping for baby showers - if you want to buy clothes, there is a whole hell of a lot of math that goes along with it. Okay, I want to buy something for the baby that she can wear when she's a little older. Like 3-6 months. So, the baby will be born at the end of July, so I need to buy something that she'll be able to wear in.... November? Well, fuck! It's May! The stores don't have anything out right now for a baby to wear in November! However, the child will have a different outfit to wear every one of the ninety days until she is 3 months old.)

2:30 - Continue opening gifts. Continue "aaaawww"-ing. At everything. Realize that baby stuff all kind of ends up looking the same.

2:55 - Finish opening gifts. Time for refreshments. Check out what's available... Vegetable tray, fruit tray, cake, maybe some of those little chicken salad sandwiches on those tiny rolls. Realize that this food really isn't worth losing your buzz.

3:30 - Time to go. Call the guys to find out where they're drinking and playing pool and get there as quick as possible.

Now, please nobody take offense to this. I am writing it before I go to the shower this afternoon. Knowing the people who will be involved, this truly could be the shower to break all stereotypes of baby showers that I have. But, if it doesn't, it doesn't mean I don't love all of you anyway!

* I will admit that this is the only game I've ever won at a baby shower. I'm not good at guessing the baby item in the bag, but I can seriously tell you what type of candy is melted in a diaper. And, another admission - - I was kind of proud when I won!
** Dave's suggestions for a possible game for an all female baby showers: "Pin the tongue on the Pussy." Hey, I'm only reporting. Hold it against him!


Cultural Diversity???

Here's an interesting story...

A parent decides that she is distressed that the public school her children attend calls the two-week vacation at the end of December 'Winter Break' instead of 'Christmas Break.'

Last year, she listened to commentators, particularly Bill O'Reilly of the Fox network, who criticized stores and public institutions for not recognizing Christmas.

"Christmas is being virtually wiped out," she said. "This is a tradition. . . . It is a part of the American culture."

So, the woman contacts the school board and presses for them to change the name of the break on the district calendar. Thursday night, the school board voted 4-3 to approve the change. The district will now have an official "Christmas Break."

One of the board members who voted AGAINST the change is a local pastor.

"I believe in democracy," he said. "I do not believe in theocracy ... This is a public institution, and we should try not to offend people."

I find it interesting that a pastor can see the point of wanting to include all segments of the population that attend school within that district, however, some pusillanimous egoists feel that their way is the MOST important, to the exclusion of others.

When I was in elementary school, I remember reading an essay which described America as a "melting pot" of people, with many different cultures coming together and becoming one. Since then, that analogy has become rather outdated, with the newest comparison being to a "garden salad" - different types of cultures coming together to create a diverse society with each embracing its own identity.

My personal feeling is that the school board should stay out of it. If a family chooses to call it "Christmas Break," "Hannukah Holidays," or "Ramadan Retreat" within their home, more power to them.

How boring would the world be if we always expected everybody to be exactly the same?

Click Here: The Original Article

Click Here: The Follow-Up