Saturday, January 31, 2009

Da Ponies

<------ Barbaro May 6, 2006

Regardless of individual feelings on the subject, I grew up in a family that adored the ponies. My mom took me to my first race at Saratoga Race Track in NY when I was a kid. It was a confusing place, loads of smelly men all over the place yelling at each other, but the first time I heard that dozen or so horses pound past me I was completely hooked.

I don't have a habit. I don't subscribe to the Daily Racing Form. I don't suck down stats like crazy. And now that I'm in a thoroughbred free state I don't even have the opportunity to bet. 

Sometimes ESPN will show racing, but it's not the same on TV. Golly those horses look tiny on the track.

However, every late April I start doing research. The Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday in May. I patiently wait to read who is going to be there. And as much as I love the horses, I have a secret. I bet jockeys.

So I call my mom and tell her how much money I want on whom. The year Charismatic won was for some reason the year I bet the most, $20. I won over $300. That was exciting.

So when Prado won on Barbaro in 2006 it was wonderful. Great horse, one of my favorite jockeys, win win. Not that much money since the odds were for him, but for me it's more about the thrill of choosing correctly.

And then 2 weeks later on May 20th at the Preakness he shattered his leg. I actually went into hysterics. Rich was completely confused and sat there on the sofa not knowing how to handle me. I was sobbing over a horse I didn't even know about 4 weeks earlier, and it's not like I even knew the horse personally. I can see how it would be confusing.

They chose not to euthanize and instead sent him to one of the best equine hospitals in the country. They tried their best. Eight months later, however, it was time to let him go. He died on January 29th 2007.

I sobbed again.

Today, January 31st 2009, his little brother Nicanor is racing for the very first time at Gulfstream in Florida. They have both the same mom and dad. He's 3 years old. The hopes are high for him. Once again Prado will be riding. He'll be in the 8th race today, but I have no idea what time that will be. Not one TV station in my area is showing it. I'm sure it'll be on Youtube tonight. I hope he wins. Not for his owners, and not for his trainer. I hope for everyone who fell in love with his big brother that he does his brother proud.

Nicanor ----------->

Isn't he gorgeous? 

Friday, January 30, 2009

I do still love you

And I always will.

I spent agonizing moments thinking, "how did it come to this?" but I think I really know. And as much as it sucks, as unfair as that is, I can understand it.

I think even a year ago you would have waited to hear my side of things before acting. 

I think we both know what happened to change that.

And that's ok too. Although my willingness to trust has just had a pan of boiling water poured over it, I do think I understand what happened.

All I ever wanted for you was exactly what you want most. If that ever comes to pass I'm sure I'll hear it through the grapevine. And that will be one of the happiest days of my life.

At first I thought that all of the emotions I'd invested over the past three years since we "met" were wasted. But I know that's not true. Your influence has shaded my life. There are parts of you I will always carry with me. I thought I missed you terribly over the past several months. That's been nothing compared to how bad it will be going forward.

I'm not going to say I'll get over it, because I won't. I will try to put it in the past and learn from it. 

So please take care of yourself and keep working toward your goal.

I do still love you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Can we do this?

Today in the US, as of 3pm, 50,000 jobs were lost. Just today.

Since January 1st 170,000 jobs have been lost.

In 2008 2.6 million jobs were lost.

Rich used to joke around that he was going to quit his highly stressful job and go work at Home Depot. Today they slashed 7000 jobs.

My mom was born in 1930. When my mom was a little girl, for Christmas one year my grandfather tore a page out of a magazine for her and her brother and framed them. That was all they got that year. Since they didn't know any other way, it was more than enough.

My grandfather had taught in a one room schoolhouse in Upstate New York in the 20s. After he moved his family to New Jersey he ended up getting a job at a car dealership. He worked there for a year, and the only car he could manage to sell was his own.

Eventually FDR and a World War pulled the nation out of the skids and jobs became plentiful. However, they still had to choose which kid would go to college. My uncle ended up being sent to Drexel because he was a man and would have to support a family someday. My mom, who had always wanted to be a teacher, ended up in secretarial school.

My uncle now lives in a very ritzy section of the Philadelphia suburbs and also has a home "down the shore." My mom, having worked for the past 33 years in a school system, makes less than $40,000 a year and clips coupons.

Growing up in my house everything was saved. Yogurt and cream cheese containers. Ziploc bags were rinsed and reused. There was no dryer, in order to save electricity. In the spring and summer clothes were hung out back on the lines, and in the fall and winter they were hung on clotheslines in the basement. 

I've gotten somewhat lax. I recycle all of the plastic ware allowed by our trash company because we really have no place to store it. Plus it can't be microwaved. I throw out Ziplocs. I don't rinse off tin foil and reuse it. I do several loads of laundry a week. I don't clip coupons.

Prior to the news today I had alloted myself $50 a month to play with. CDs or DVDs. Maybe a pair of shoes. Whatever. I don't have a Netflix membership and I rent no videos. I watch what I own or whatever is on TV. I don't buy books anymore, and I used to have a serious hardcover habit. 

I think that $50 is about to go by the wayside.

Our propane order this morning cost $404. That will last us a month. We have a 1000 square foot house. That's insane. We can't afford to switch to electric heat though. And the city doesn't run gas out here.

I collected all of my old gold jewelry today to sell. But then CNN broke the news of the 50,000. So now I don't know if I should do it now, when we can squeak by, or save it in case Rich loses his job and I need it to buy a week's worth of groceries someday.

I think I might wait on it.

EDIT: as of 445pm it's at 68,000.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

When in Doubt

Jaws came out when I was teeny tiny. In fact, I was 4. 

I was old enough to remember the hoopla, and the freaking out about beaches. I remember the way sharks became something to be destroyed, although that was never Peter Benchley's intention. 

I wasn't allowed to see it as a kid, because my parents didn't want me to be afraid of the water. Considering how adamant they were about my not seeing it, I was surprised later to discover that it was rated PG. I thought for sure it must be R. Nope.

I saw it anyway. One of my friends had HBO. Know what I remember most about it from back then? I didn't understand it. I didn't see the big deal about it, because there wasn't any real gore, but it seemed like every movie my father had dragged me to see as a kid. Boring and too much talking. Being about 9 years old, I thought it sucked. It also failed to scare me out of the water. I never stopped swimming in the ocean.

In my late teens I had the chance to see it again. There was nothing on TV one day, and I turned it on. By this time Shark Week had begun on the Discovery Channel, so I thought I'd give it another shot. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. All of that talking that had bored me at 9? Brilliant. The shark? Practically incidental. I would have sat and watched Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, and Richard Dreyfuss talk about paint drying by the end of that movie. The throwaway moments are my favorites. Quint and then Hooper crushing the beer cans. Ellen asking Brody if he wants to get drunk and fool around. When Hooper tells Brody that he should let the wine breathe as Brody dumps half the bottle in a glass. I can't think of a single moment in this movie that's a clunker. 

Jaws was the first DVD I ever purchased. When I finally got with the program in 2001 and bought a DVD player I decided that I needed to make the first purchase something special. The first thing that came to mind was Jaws. And even though I own it I still watch it every time it's on television. In fact, I think I've watched it on TV more in the past 8 years than I have on my DVD.

So this morning nothing was on TV. I'm not really a music person. I like music, but for background noise I prefer TV so that if something interesting happens I can stop and watch. I considered putting in a DVD, but everything I was in the mood for was totally inappropriate with a 2 year old around. I opened the DVD closet, and my eyes fell on Jaws. 

So that's what I've been watching this morning. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not Famous

GARNER, N.C.A 19-month-old boy likely had been dead for six weeks before family members found his body in his mother's apartment in mid-November, Garner police said Friday.
There was a little girl in Florida named Caylee Anthony. She was cute and tiny and all toddler. 
Sherita Nicole McNeil, 23, of 1852 Spring Drive, Garner, was charged Thursday afternoon with first-degree murder and concealing the death of a person in the death of DeVarion Montrell Gross.
McNeil was in the Wake County jail Friday afternoon after a first court appearance during which a District Court judge denied her bond.
By all indications Caylee's own mother killed her. Only Caylee, Casey, and the Universe know what happened in Caylee's final moments. However, her mother failed to report her missing for a month. Then she lied. 
Although investigators are still awaiting a final autopsy report, initial results found the boy suffered multiple injuries in the months preceding his death, Police Chief Tom Moss said during a news conference.

"We know that Sherita McNeil, upon DeVarion's death, which we believe occurred in early October of this past year, concealed his body in her residence for a period of approximately six weeks, using bleach to mask the smell, until he was discovered by family members," Moss said.
Caylee's mom was eventually arrested and indicted. She can't take a shit in her cell without Headline News being all over it. For some reason the state of Florida took the death penalty off the table in this.

Caylee was found on December 11th in a wooded area. She had been wrapped in a blanket, stuffed into a laundry bag, and then stuffed into a plastic garbage bag. Her mouth was duct taped shut.
Family members found DeVarion in a sealed white plastic garbage bag in a second-floor closet of the home he shared with his mother and sister, according to search warrants and a 911 call released in the case. The bag was underneath sheets inside a plastic container.

"Though bleach was used to mask the odor, there was a strong, strong odor, and it would not take that much looking to find where the source of the odor was," said Christina Pappas, a special victims investigator handling the case.
Caylee was white. DeVarion was black. Maybe I'm just jaded, but that's the only reason I can come up with for why Caylee is plastered everywhere and DeVarion is not.
According to a timeline released Friday, DeVarion was last seen alive Oct. 3, when he was picked up from day care. On Oct. 6, police said, McNeil told the day care that the boy was staying with his godmother.

"Sherita McNeil repeatedly lied to family, friends and others about her son's welfare and whereabouts," Moss said.

Garner police began looking into the case on Nov. 1 after an individual close to the family began calling with concerns. Investigators tried multiple times to meet with McNeil and DeVarion but were unsuccessful, Moss said.

Pappas said she had an appointment with McNeil on Nov. 13, but that McNeil never came to it. Pappas had tried contacting her again on Nov. 14.

Although police did not give a motive for the crime, search warrants suggest they suspected McNeil might have wanted to get rid of her son.

Investigators searching the home uncovered letters from DeVarion's father, Eric Chambers, expressing concern over McNeil getting rid of their son, according to a Dec. 3 search warrant.

Chambers, who was in the Wake County jail at the time on habitual-felon charges, has been cooperative with police, investigators said Friday, and they do not believe he had any involvement in his son's death.

"I believe there was communication between (Chambers) and (McNeil), where he felt concern that she was not going to keep the child but that she was going to give the child away," Pappas said. "And because he was behind bars, he was not going to be able to stop that."
DeVarion was 19 months old.

Reporter: Amanda Lamb - WRAL

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bull headed

I have a personality characteristic that I guess would be pure stubbornness. 

The more people tell me that I HAVE to read, watch, view something the less likely I am to do it.

Dirty Dancing came out in my senior year in high school. It wasn't something I was very interested in from the get go, but after EVERY frigging girl in school told me, squealing, that I HAD TO SEE THIS I made the decision to never sit though it ever, even on pain of death.

It's been 20 years. I still haven't seen it. And I never will.

This applies to TV shows and books as well. I thank the gods that I discovered Harry Potter prior to the hysteria, because otherwise I never would have read them, and I would have missed out on something great. In 1999 a friend of mine I had worked with in a book store in NJ sent me an email and said, "There's this book called Harry Potter. Read it." And I did. If she had told me that 2 years later I would have dug in my heels and never read them.

There's this little book called The Bridges of Madison County. Never read it. Never saw the film either.

I read a book called The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks because he was a "local author." It exploded. He became the patron saint of male written romance. And I never touched another one of his books ever. I also haven't seen THOSE films.

This happened with The Sopranos and Sex and the City as well. I really had no interest in either anyway, but after the rabidness started there was no way in HELL I would ever watch either. I have walked in on parts of The Sopranos and walked right out again. I have NEVER seen an episode of SATC and I never ever will. Ever. Even if I'm tortured.

This doesn't mean that I won't enjoy things that are popular. I couldn't wait for The Dark Knight to come out, and when it hit DVD I was bouncing up and down waiting for my copy from Amazon. And I'm a pop culture junkie. I watch 24, I watch Idol. I really don't have highbrow tastes.

However, enough people have now informed me that I MUST see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that they have guaranteed that I will never in my life sit through it.

If only I had listened to my instincts for Titanic and Cast Away.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Day After

This morning my daughter danced with our new president.

Yesterday CNN was on all day. We took breaks to go outside and play in the snow, but kept coming back in so that someday I can tell her, "On the day President Obama was sworn in you spent the entire day ignoring him."

These are my favorite images from yesterday.

My absolute favorite quote from yesterday had nothing to do with politics or policy. It was this:

"How good-looking is my wife?"

Yesterday prior to the Oath being taken I witnessed the Clintons holding hands as they approached the dais. All I could think was, "Oh come ON."

Being someone who is actually in love with my husband, the joy that the Obamas clearly take in each other's company is wonderful. I really believe in it. I don't think those looks they give each other can be faked.

So aside from my wishes that President Obama survives his term(s), I also hope and pray that their marriage survives the pressures of the office as well. I cross my fingers that theirs never becomes "in name only." 

And I will continue to use them as an example for how to behave with my spouse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yeah well, we'll see...

January 25, 2000 (Yes, my decorations were still up)

January 25, 2000 (and this was about halfway through)

From NC State University:

...A powerful winter storm dropped record amounts of snow across central North Carolina...
...The all time single storm snow accumulation record for Raleigh-Durham was set with this storm when the airport received 20.3 inches of snow...
...Over 100,000 customers were without power and many schools and business closed for several days...
...The storm was not well forecast by numerical weather prediction models...
...Following the event, research at NC State indicated that the inability of the operational models to resolve antecedent precipitation across the Deep South was a major reason for their forecast failure of the developing cyclone...
...This event reinforces the need for forecasters to maintain situational awareness of upstream conditions and to compare model forecasts with observations...

Carolina Crusher

So last night when I went to bed they were calling for a dusting tonight. When I got up this morning they had upgraded that to 2-4 inches statewide and pockets of 4-6 inches. However, they just don't know. Even after 9 years they're having difficulty with this. They're saying that this system greatly resembles that "Carolina Crusher," although it seems to be moving more quickly, so it probably won't dump almost 2 feet on us.

From our current watch:
Some uncertainty remains regarding the precise location of the
highest snowfall totals. At this time it appears that the greatest
risk of heavy snow will be in the corridor between Highway one and
Interstate 95. However... everyone across central North Carolina
should keep a close eye on the latest conditions and forecasts
through today and tonight. Check NOAA Weather Radio or other local
media frequently for the latest information... including possible
advisories and warnings... on this developing storm.
So I guess we'll see. I'll post photos tomorrow if there's something worth taking a photo of.

Wish us luck this time! At least this time the snow removal equipment hasn't been sent to the western part of the state.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Philadelphia Eagles 25 - Arizona Cardinals 32

This is why I don't watch.

I didn't watch the World Series. Even though my beloved Phillies were playing, I was terrified to watch. Every night I would watch the news and get a quick idea of what the score was doing, and then I'd get in bed and clamp my eyes shut and cross my fingers that that brief lapse wouldn't jinx them completely.

Rich wanted to watch the Eagles game today. I thought it was a bad idea, but I went along with it.

Of course they lost.

I'm pulling for the Steelers in the current game, and I'm watching it. They're winning. It's not that big a deal, however, because they aren't MY home team. My special brand of bad luck only seems to affect the teams from my hometown.

It affects adopted hometowns as well. Which is why the Panthers got their asses handed to them.

I guess it's better this way. I really would have hated to totally avoid the Super Bowl.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


From (photos are mine):

The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is independent, protective, and territorial. Loving with their family and all people they know well and reserved with strangers (this would include strange children). They need to make up to a person, not a person make up to them. Of course there are temperaments on both sides of this, but this is for the average dog. They mature right around 2 and it is as if a light goes on and they say to themselves "I am an adult now and I need to act grown up." This breed's reservation with strangers should not be noticed in a pup, but will show as the dog matures. Although affectionate with his master, the Catahoula is not recommended for the casual pet owner who is uninterested in allowing the dog to function in his intended capacity. For the right owner, this is a protective yet dominating canine. Signs of timidity on a leash should not be taken as cowardness, but the intolerance for strangers. This breed needs a dominant owner who shows strong leadership.
Some do well in apartments while others do not. It all depends on the lines of the dog and how much time an owner spends with the dog and how much exercise it receives. Catahoulas need attention. This is not a dog that can be tied to a dog house, fed, and ignored. Chaining and or ignoring a Catahoula will either make them shy or aggressive. They need human companionship. This does not mean they need to live in your pocket and can not be kept outside; this breed needs direction, training, something to do, people, attention, etc.

If they are kept outside where it is really cold, they need a good warm dog house, preferably one that has an entrance and then a turn into the sleeping quarters. That way they are protected from the elements. They need to be kept inside in really cold weather, as they are a single coated dog.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Man of the Hour

Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger.

Absolutely frikking brilliant.

Bless him and keep him. 

If I ever get on a plane again I can only hope that my pilot will have the same skills.

What an amazing day yesterday was.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On this day in history...

January 15th

Queen Elizabeth I was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

The British Museum opened.

The Republic of New Connecticut declared its independence. Six months later it was renamed Vermont.

The donkey was first used as symbol of the Democratic Party in Harper's Weekly.

The world's largest office building, the Pentagon, was completed.

The first Super Bowl was played: Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10.

President Nixon orders halt to offensive operations in North Vietnam.

My father, Julian Earl Summerell Jr, died of complications of emphysema.

26 years. It's been almost 3 decades since I lost my dad. 

This is where he worked:

This is where he lived: 

View Larger Map

This was the last car he owned. Yes, it's a Ford Granada. The worst car Ford ever made, IMHO:

And this was my dad as a young'n:

I myself don't own any photos of him from when I remember him. I think my mom has some though. She's not the most organized person on the planet, however, so god only knows if I'll ever see them again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Life is Awesome

Twenty whole months after the prior season, 24 is back on TV.

I've been getting antsier and antsier as each month ticked by to January.

Last night did not disappoint.

My dad would have loved this show.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This is stuck in my head. Has been ever since I woke up this morning.

Don't go to bed, with no price on your head 
No, no, don't do it. 

Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time, 
Yeah, don't do it. 

And keep your eye on the sparrow. 
When the going gets narrow. 

Don't do it, don't do it. 

Where can I go where the cold winds don't blow, 

Well, well, well.

Kudos to anyone of you old enough to recognize what's stuck in my head.

I provided the photo as a hint.

Woke up this morning with a full blown sinus infection, and I don't know whether or not I should go to the doctor for it. I'd have to wait until tomorrow anyway, because we don't have the money for Urgent Care. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll feel better and this will be moot.

Now if I could just get this damn tune out of my head.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Know what happens when no one in the house gets sick for years?

All of the cold meds expire.

Last night at 230 Rich coughed himself awake. Hard. I got up and went to get the supplies.

The Vaporub expired years ago.

The Robitussin expired last March.

I figured fuck it, and used both on him anyway. The Vaporub did nothing. The Robitussin worked for 3.5 hours instead of 4, so I had to give him more at 6am.

That was the last of it. We ran out.

So CVS opened at 8. We needed everything. I am starting with the crushed glass in throat feeling. So I needed supplies too.

I spent $49.

A bottle of Robitussin was NINE freaking dollars.

I had to buy the liquid Coricidin, instead of Nyquil, because Rich has high blood pressure. $7.50. Vicks was $8.49. And on it went.

Now everyone in the house feels like shit. My nose won't stop running and I keep sneezing. Rich is still coughing a bit. Livvie is breathing through her mouth.

And I have to go out and buy chicken soup supplies, and I don't wanna.

Have a great weekend all.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Not so common here...

<----Livvie with Croup (December 2006)

One night shortly after Christmas 2006 I woke up to hear my daughter barking like a seal. She was sleeping alone in her Pack and Play at that point, but she was having trouble breathing so I got her out and propped her up against my shoulder and slept with her on the sofa. Rich had already been showing symptoms by that point, and later in the day after Livvie and I got up I started showing symptoms too.

We were all sick for your standard common cold 7 days. Rich and I were bad enough, but at least we could blow our noses and cough guck into tissues. Livvie was 3 months old, and she felt so bad. We tried everything. This was before the American Academy of Pediatrics' ban on cold medicines for kids under 6. So our doc recommended Triaminic Thin Strips for cough and congestion. They didn't work all that great, and I had to cut them into quarters because of her size, so the dang things would get stuck to the tip of my finger and not really get into her mouth. Probably why they didn't work.

I used Sudacare shower tablets with the water running super hot and full blast while we sat in the bathroom. I used Vapo-Bath. I smeared her with Baby Vicks Vaporub. She could still barely breathe.

We slept (when we could sleep) with the vaporizer next to the sofa, on the floor next to our heads. That helped a little bit. The barking continued, until one day it just stopped. Just to be on the safe side we went to the doc and had her ears checked and they were clear, so we dodged that bullet. 

Over two years went by.

Yesterday Livvie's developmental therapist arrived at 4pm and they got right to playing. I sit and watch them, and I noticed while they were playing that Livvie kept rubbing her nose. At 5pm Jodi left, and as she was leaving Livvie sneezed. Guck went everywhere. It was like she had taken her finger out of the dam. That was all she wrote.

When she got up this morning she still had snot running out of her left nostril continuously. Her eyes were glazed. I tried to take her temp with the digital ear thermometer and she lost her mind, screaming hysterically. Every time we wiped her nose she would start crying. I called the doc and they had an opening, so in we went.

They took her temp in her armpit. She cried. 100.7. Doc came in and the otoscope sent her into choking hysterics. Rich had to restrain her against his chest and shoulders so doc could look in her ears. Her ears, once again, are clear.

She has a cold.

All we can really do is manage her symptoms. The fever was clearly affecting her mood, so she got tylenol for that. In order to give it to her I had to lay her on the floor and sit on her, prying her mouth open with one hand and squirting with the other while she screamed and twisted. Since she's over 2 now she gets 2 squirts. Lucky us.

She got Benadryl for the faucet nose, but it barely helped so I stopped giving it to her. Doc said to get the cough only Triaminic strips for her this time in case this progresses to her chest, so we picked some of those up.

I elevated the head of her bed, filled the vaporizer and plugged it in, and put her to bed.

Hopefully this time it'll last less than a week.

I just feel so helpless.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dear St Francis:

Remember August of 2004 when I was wandering the streets with my litter of puppies, starving to death, full of worms, and Animal Control picked me up and took me to the shelter? 

Remember how I sat there for a month, with roommate after roommate coming and going, while I couldn't get adopted?

None of that was as bad as this.

Yes yes, mom couldn't stand to see me there every day and she finagled her landlord into letting her take me home. And yes, she got rid of my worms and fed me up and put weight on me. I got all shiny. Look! 

So yes, all of that is great, but seriously, we need to talk about power outages.

The power goes out sometimes, and it's WAY scarier than being on the streets. Tonight the power went out for an hour. When it first went out the box that's plugged into the wall for the carbon monoxide beeped. The power came back on and went off again. The box beeped again. And then it happened again. I hid under the table.

Then the power stayed out, and mom and dad lit a bunch of candles. Those were scary too. They were so scary that I pried open the folding door to the office with my claws and went in there to hide. Dad tripped over me in the dark, and that was scary too.

Emma was standing in the middle of the kitchen looking confused. Doesn't she know we're all gonna die????

So after what mom said was an hour, the power came back. When that happened a bunch of stuff in the house made noise. The refrigerator made noise, the freezer made noise, and mom's printer made noise. That was the scariest part of all. I tried to run away but there was nowhere to go. Then I remembered that the office was still open, so I went in there.

Then mom went into the living room and sat down and turned on the TV. I did curl up on the floor and go to sleep, but don't think I'll forget about this anytime soon.

Living outside was soooooo much less scary than being in the house. It took me ages to not be afraid of the washing machine, the ceiling fan, the refrigerator door opening, and the toilet flushing. 

The only problem is that outside I can't curl up on the rug. And I can't sneak up onto the sofa when no one is looking. And there're no heating vents. 

So I guess I really want to stay inside, but the whole power outage thing has to stop. Ok?



Monday, January 05, 2009

Product Endorsement

So there's an age a woman hits where if she has really dark hair it's TOO dark, and it only succeeds in making her look old and tired. I believe that age is 35. 

My mom took a look at me last week and said, "Your hair is too dark."

I agreed with her.

I also informed her that not much could be done about it without spending $90 at a salon to have it professionally done.

I puttered around for the past week until today, when I decided that was ridiculous. The year is 2009. Someone has to sell a product that will lighten super dark hair by more than a shade.

So I googled. And someone recommended L'Oreal's Feria Hi-Lift Browns. So I read the product reviews. It looked good. People were getting results of 2-4 shades lighter. That would work.

I marched out to the nearest Ulta store and bought a box of Downtown Brown. Brought it home and applied it. Waited the required half hour. Rinsed. Waited for it to dry. Here are the results.



Now, I wouldn't call that 4 shades lighter. Maybe 3. And the colorant is supposed to remove the red tones from your hair and be more of an ash shade, but I honestly think NOTHING can get the red out of my hair. Regardless, it's become light enough so that I no longer look like Morticia Addams with the flu. 

So I recommend it. If you have darker hair and want to brighten it up a bit grab a box. It was $9.99 at Ulta, which isn't that bad for hair color.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


<----- Main Thoroughfare in the Town Where I Grew up (1930s)

My mom was born in 1930, and grew up during the Depression and WWII. The other day we were sitting in the living room and she said, "You know, even with all of the bad stuff, my friends and I really think that we grew up during the best time period ever."

I said, "Yeah, if you were white."

She thought for a moment and then said, "I guess you're right in a way, but we were up north, and it wasn't as bad up there."

I agreed that in the 30s and 40s our little pocket of the Northeast was a great deal better than say, Birmingham, but told her that it was still pretty bad. 

When I was a kid the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement was over. Women's Rights was the new cause, and I have memories of Alan Alda marching on my TV screen for the ERA. Which failed. But hey, he tried. THEY tried.

Women still make 80 cents to a man's dollar for the same job. Unpardonable.

I remember my mother basically insinuating that "women's libbers" were all ugly, leg hair sporting women who refused to wear bras and couldn't get a man. And my mother was a Democrat. The irony is that my mom is one of the most liberated women I know. She has held a professional career for 55 years. The house was in her name, because she made more than my father did. Due to separation and then my father's death she was a single mom. She has never been without her own car since she first received her driver's license. She almost never lets the man drive. And although she's an extremely devout Catholic who has blazingly different views than my own, she raised a Pro-Choice, homosexual loving, free thinking woman who tries very hard not to judge others. Tries being the operative word.

So I was thinking back to when I grew up. I would have to say that I did not grow up in a fantastic era. When I was born, Vietnam was raging and shortly after Nixon was resigning. We were in the middle of the Cold War, and they still held occasional "nuclear drills" where we all had to get under our desks. The TV movie "The Day After" aired, and scared me and everyone else to death. Everyone hated America, and people were super selfish. The AIDS epidemic was born. Ireland was at war with itself. Inflation went nutty. 

But you know what? I could still ride my bike all over town BY MYSELF and not have to worry. 

So my kids will be growing up basically in the 2010s. There is a LOT of bad shit going down right now, but there's also so much good. I wonder if there really is such a thing as a "best of times," and if there is, what's the criteria? I'm guessing it's totally subjective. And I guess that's ok.

Friday, January 02, 2009

If You Have Nothing To Do Tomorrow

At 2pm, and you get the WGN network on cable, they will be replaying the string bands portion of the 2009 Mummers Parade from Philadelphia. The string bands are the best part, and I am totally of the opinion that the Mummers Parade should be broadcast nationwide each year. However, it's 6 hours long.

From Wikipedia:

The Mummers Parade is held each New Year's Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Local clubs (usually called "New Years Associations") compete in one of four categories (Comics, Fancies, String Bands, and Fancy Brigades). They prepare elaborate costumes and moveable scenery, which take months to complete.
The Mummers Parade traces back to mid-17th century roots, blending elements from Swedish, Finnish, Irish, English, German and other European heritages, as well as African-American heritage.[2][3] The parade is related to the Mummers Play tradition from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.[4] Revivals of this tradition are still celebrated annually in South Gloucestershire, England on Boxing Day and in parts of Ireland on St. Stephen's Day.
Each year, thousands of people participate in the parade, many wearing elaborate costumes costing tens of thousands of dollars to make and weighing well over 100 pounds.[7][12] $395,000 in prizes is awarded to the various winners.[13] The costs for making the outfits plus fees to choreographers and prop designers often far exceed the prizes available. While club fund raisers, hall rentals, bank loans and the like often cover much of the expense, individual members frequently spend hundreds or thousands of dollars of their own money.
As of 2008, the parade cost the city over $1 million each year, including $750,000 for police and parade services and $360,000 in prize money. The 2008 budget crisis has led the city to propose closing numerous libraries and firehouses and the scaling back of expenditures for the parade, offering $300,000 for the 2009 parade and nothing for 2010.

So really, if you get the chance, turn it on for even a few minutes. It's a true joy and it will leave you with a giant grin on your face.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


So today I am spending my New Year's watching a Bones marathon on TNT. It started at 8am, and ends at midnight.

I have seen Walmart commercials.

I have seen Mirena IUD commercials.

I have seen Nuvaring birth control commercials.

I have seen Electrasol dish detergent commercials.

If I see a Mr Clean commercial I will start throwing things at the TV.

Ok, so yes, I'm a woman, and I'm a huge fan. Yes, I'm also 37. And a mom. And a "housewife." But you know what? Most of my friends who watch this show are like me, in that as consumers they have a larger interest than reproductive issues, shopping, and cleaning products.

Seriously, do they think NO men watch this show?

I mean, sure, Rich doesn't watch it, but I suspect that's because he's irritated by my crush on David Boreanaz. Or maybe he's sick of procedurals. 

Ok, really, DO any men watch this show?