Monday, December 29, 2008

How good can it be if they are giving it away?

So if you go to Starbucks on Tuesday, you can pick up a coupon for a free iTunes download. I see the little cards lying there, but rarely pick them up. I mean, nothing good is free right?

Have I mentioned that we have a communal computer for iTunes? Well, when I recently updated my BRAND NEW, LOVELY PURPLE IRIS iPod Nano, I got this song....

The song has really grown on me...I especially love the mariachi band chorus.

I was playing this song on the docking station when Madelaine walks into the kitchen (during the mariachi chorus): What ARE you listening to? Me: It's Noah and the Whale. I thought you downloaded it? I like it alot! Mad: Oh...that was one of those free things from Starbucks. Me: I am going to start actually picking them up from now on.

PS...I think I need to start giving some of those Mexican Wrestling masks as Christmas gifts....just not to my children.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Blahs?

There is a lot of talk about the Christmas Blahs. Most people think that we stress ourselves out so much around the holidays that there is no way they can meet our expectations. The Christmas Blahs seem to be attributed to the modern commercial version of Christmas but I don't know that this is the case. I was listening to the lyrics of We Need a Little Christmas and if you think about it, the song almost seems to talk about forcing yourself into the holiday spirit. The song was written for the Broadway Musical Mame in 1956.

Seems like maybe the Christmas Blahs have been around for a while.

Haul out the holly;
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.
Fill up the stocking,
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.
For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute,
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute.
It hasn't snowed a single flurry,
But Santa, dear, we're in a hurry;
So climb down the chimney;
Put up the brightest string of lights I've ever seen.
Slice up the fruitcake;
It's time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough.
For I've grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,
For we need a little music,
Need a little laughter,
Need a little singing
Ringing through the rafter,
And we need a little snappy
"Happy ever after,"
Need a little Christmas now.
Need a little Christmas now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Perfect Gift....Jesus!

There are times when I miss my former place of employment acutely. Mostly when I want to talk to one of my friends, formerly co-workers, immediately.

For the longest time, I wondered if I loved being a librarian or if I just loved being a librarian with the great group of people that I worked with. I have found my answer but I still miss my friends.

My office mate Amy is a prime example. She gets my slightly offbeat sense of humor. She knows why I will laugh uncontrollably at something. I can't tell you how many times we would end up in tears we would laugh so hard. I really miss that.

That's why, when walking through Kohls the other day I laughed out loud. I found the perfect gift for Amy!

I chuckled all the way to the register. When the young man, with funky hairdo and Buddy Holly glasses checked me out, I laughed again. Thinking I was another stressed shopper gone off the deep end, he gave me a look. "Jesus is a gift" I said. "Do you want a gift receipt?" he deadpanned. "No...she needs to keep Jesus." "You can't really return God can you?"

Ah...someone else gets me.

My only regret is that he isn't plastic. That would have made this the absolutely perfect!

jesus 009

I am meeting her for lunch today. I am looking forward to laughing til I cry over Jesus.

It is good to have friends that understand...

Home Improvements

With the holidays coming, everyone wants their house to look nice for company. This is only normal. This season, I purchased some pretty throws to soften the browns of my sofa. And every year I add an item or two to the seasonal decor.

However, I wisely resist doing any major home painting for instance.

I love to paint. As a matter of fact, I would say that before I started back to school, painting was my hobby. I have painted every room in my house (except for our bathroom and kitchen, which were both wallpapered). I did a splash technique on the kids bathroom when they were younger....I have done an "aging" process in our sitting room, which I did about 8 years ago and still love today.

I'm not afraid of color either. Our bedroom is marigold, our living room yellow, sitting room green and our kitchen and half bath blood red. Ok...yes, there are chickens on my kitchen wall, but that is another blog.

The point I am trying to make here...I like to paint. I love color.

So four years ago, my daughter and I painted her bedroom. The color was called Cranapple and we decided to go with a semi-gloss...just to be different. Mistake. I don't know if it was the color or the finish, but the walls were never quite right. You could see brush strokes in areas, see where you cut in the edges. It was not perfect, but we had to give up after 3 coats and move the furniture back into the room.

As the years have gone by, there have been other issues with the walls. The semi-gloss seemed to attract dust. Furniture, like her bookcase, pulled segments of the paint off the wall. One night, Madelaine was lying on her bed, talking on the phone. She found an air pocket in the paint and absent mindedly peeled it away. She continued to do so until the whole was the size of a dinner plate. Grrrrrr.

So a few weeks ago, Madelaine tells me that she and Travis will be re-painting her room (the same color just in flat) over the Christmas break. Fine I say. Then she announces that they are going to do it the week before Christmas, as opposed to, I don't know...the THREE WEEKS SHE HAS OFF AFTER CHRISTMAS?

I make a fuss. "Why this week? I don't have cookies made; I could use some help with Christmas cards and laundry...can't this wait?"


You see, when you live with a teen-aged girl there are factors that allow for this type of drama. The timing for this conversation was perfectly wrong. She also just found out that she owed her father and I money. She just received her grades for her first semester of college. Our policy is: We only pay for As and Bs. She owes us for her Statistics class.

"Fine." I say.

And she and Travis spent Wednesday painting.

I can see it now...the two young people trying to replicate all those cutsie scenes in almost every chick flick ever made. They probably dabbed the paint brush on each others nose and kissed. They sang along as they painted, with wide open windows and songs playing at top volume on the stereo. They probably even write "I Heart You" on the walls, so that the message would always be there, even when their were many coats of paint on top of it.

As a matter of fact, I know that they wrote "I Heart You" because I can still see it through the two coats of paint that they have decided is enough. After spending all day with paint fumes; after a coat of primer and two coats of paint, they have given up and are calling the room good.

It is so not good. It is bad. It is, dare I say it? Worse than it was to begin with. I cannot begin to tell you how bad it is.

On Wednesday night when I came home from work, I looked up through her open window and said..."Please God, tell me that is just the first coat." It wasn't.

I ranted and raved. I reiterated my initial arguments. I yelled. Fred play negotiator, tyring (in vain) to calm me...trying to soothe a weeping Madelaine. We weren't budging. I have trained her well.

Now, even though my cards still aren't in the mail and not a single cookie has been baked, Fred and I will spend this evening painting a room that was not on the agenda.

Even I know that you should never attempt home improvements the week before Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cranky Old Woman Blog...

I guess I am getting old. I am also getting crankier with age, which makes me sad. But maybe it isn't just me. Maybe I have a right to some of the crankiness I have been feeling lately.

For example: I went to WalMart the other day to pick up three items. I found them and went to the register with the least amount of people. I bypassed the self check because one of the items I purchased had a security strip. There was one man ahead of me and he only had a single item. Score! I will be out of there quick.

Turns out the woman standing behind the register, was just re-stocking bags. The cashier took her time walking over to the register and began to tidy up. She checked that all of the bags were positioned just so. She moved some of the fliers that were lying about. Then after a minute or so, rang the man in front of me up. It was my turn.

Guess what? She proceeded to count EVERY SINGLE BILL in her till. She looked over at me and said..."Sorry...I am just signing on to this till." Now I am a patient person. I used to work a cash till. I understand that she wants to make sure she has what she is supposed to have. Then she turns on her little light over the register and calls the manager over. She needs change. If she had started to count the change I think my head would have exploded. Nope...she didn't, but while she was waiting for the manager, she made all of her bills face the right way.

Cut to the next day at the gas station. I went inside to pay cash. The man behind the counter was...I kid you not...picking his nails...he looked up at me and said..."I'll be right with you..." Wait a beat....wait a beat....wait a beat....wait a beat....wait a beat....wait a beat. He finally looks up at me and says "Yes?"

Being a cranky old woman, I said: "I'll be right with you." Then I stared off into the distance for a couple of minutes. He gave me a look. I didn't really care.

Then I got my gas.

Seriously. What's up?

Monday, December 8, 2008


PS (pre-script): Fabi, this blog is not for you.

OK...I know. I am a librarian and a doctoral student. If you didn't know me...and didn't read my blogs, you may think I am an intellectual.

Those who do know me...and do read my rants here, know otherwise.

I am pretty down to earth. My thoughts tend to be as deep as the saucer my grandmother used to cool her coffee in. I end sentences in prepositions. Often. I even write in fragments!

That said; I am a reader. I love to read. I will read anything but not everything.

I recently read a review of a wonderful book about Einstein and his mistakes. Wow! I though (I also overuse exclamation marks, ellipses and parenthetical asides), what a great book. The book also coincided with my qualitative analysis class readings on keeping a research I placed a hold on the book and took it home. I read the first couple of chapters. Then (can you imagine) the book started to get heavy on the physics side of things. I had physics...I even made an A in the class. This is a different kind of physics though. The kind that gave me a headache. So I put it down. (Hans C. Ohanian, Hans C. (2008) Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius)

Anyway...the point of this blog.

I am aware that I don't read the most stimulating books published. I read tons of "pop" lit, some "chicklit," but more young adult and children's literature than anything. So there are certain things I do to keep up with what is being written and by whom.

1) I try to read the yearly publication of the best American short stories in The O'Henry Award Winning Stories collection. This just lets me have a little taste of the style and process of the great writers out there. In this years' collection the only author I am really familiar with is Alice Munro who also ended her title with a preposition: "What do you want to know for?" HA! Great minds think alike. Although I am sure hers is artistic and mine is just bad form.

2) I read reviews. Lots of them. Then I put books on hold and read them. If they cause headaches, I put them down and move on to the next book. is the part of the blog where I get to the "faker-pants" portion of the title.

I subscribe to Barnes and Noble Booksellers email notifications. I get to hear if there is a sale and they often send out coupons for free cookies with the purchase of coffee. Like you can even go to the bookstore without purchasing coffee? Have you ever heard of something so ridiculous?

Today's automated email had a column called "A year in reading" in which book reviewers wrote about the things that caught their eyes and imaginations this year. I thought: "Well, this will be a great way to catch any titles that I have missed!"


Here is a snippet of the column:

The most surprising book I've read this year is The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English, by Henry Hitchings, author of Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary. It has just been published, by Farrar, Straus. I've always been a logophile, and, like many of my fellow roundtablers, I bet, I've read a lot of the books that are clinically symptomatic of logophilia -- starting with The Elements of Style and coming up to the recent past with Woe Is I, by Patricia O'Conner, copyediting legend of The New York Times Book Review. The Secret Life of Words is one of the few such books that succeeds in making a really engrossing narrative out of the development of a language. Hitchings has a cheerful, almost ebullient style, and so, for example, as he describes the evolution of the hegemony that the East India Company had over commerce on the subcontinent, he cleverly works in the 18th- and 19th-century equivalents of etymological verbal pop-ups: of one contemporary author, Hitchings writes, "He was the first to write of an avatar, the sweet song of the bulbul...and dharma."

The italics are in the original, and they're keyed to a wonderful index in the back, which allows readers to look up any word so italicized in the text.

Did you catch where he commented that he read "Elements of Style?" Seriously? I thought that was just a book they made every freshman in college buy for the sake of having it on your shelf.

I'm sorry. I may have to call a "Faker-Pants" on this one. I don't for a moment believe that anyone read that book for fun.

And who are they trying to impress here? This is an email sent out to Barnes and Noble car members, not the Pulitzer committee!

I am sad, because these reviewers had a chance to reach people like me, time crunched readers, and they missed out on a unique opportunity. Instead they leave me, and I am sure countless others yelling "Faker-Pants."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Google Maps - Street View

I don't know if you have looked at this recently, but google maps has added a "street view" feature to some of its locations. Right now if you "google" my address, you get the option of "Street view" which shows you a picture of my you are standing right out front! I have tried this for some friends I have back east and it doesn't seem to be available there yet.

Wow...big brother really is watching.

I wonder how and when they do this though. Our tree is still out front, and my car is in the that would suggest sometime early in 2008 before I was working full time...but before we chopped our poor dead tree down.

Google your address and see if it is an option....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

There's no place like home....

20th anniversary 211So Frd and I got some interesting news the other day. The resort that we have gone to for the past several years is being divided into two.

We had heard that once upon a time the Adventura Spa Palace was once two “palaces.” One was sports themed (the Adventura part) and the other was the Spa. Because of this, they each had their own lobby. The sporty lobby has pool tables and ping pong, one REALLY good restaurant (another that is mediocre at best) and a disco. The other has…THE SPA!...and two amazing restaurants. Fred and I have really enjoyed the dichotomy of the resort. The sporty part has always been the “louder” of the two and the spa side where you go when you want to have a nap and some quiet time.

Now, the resort will once again be two…but…and here is the kicker…Children will be allowed on the Sporty side!

Part of me is thrilled by this!!!! We could bring our children! We could spend most of the day with them on the sporty side and then Fred and I could have some quiet time while they were otherwise occupied at the Kids Club! Fred and I could have a salad with them at dinner and then go off to the quiet “adults only” portion of the hotel for our own meal.

Fred was quick to point out the downside of this. When we are sitting by the pool with our own children, we will get to hear the screaming of everyone else’s children. And what kind of parents would we be if we spent a portion of the day AWAY from our children? He has a point. Besides, he says….it is OP… “Our Place.” Not the family’s place. There should be some things that we don’t share with our children. After all, we started going on couples vacations to get away from our children and strengthen our marriage.

The jury is still out as to what we will do. I guess we will figure it out when it comes time to book our next Mexican vacation….which is 10 months away! We also have to decide if it will be with the children or adults only. So there will be many decisions along the way.

It does make me a bit sad that things change so often. My last year or so has been filled with change and it just doesn’t seem to ever stop. I understand things change, but it is always nice to know that there is something you can return to that is wonderful and just the way you remember it. That is what this place has been for us. When you walk in and your concierge says “Bienvenidos…Welcome Home” Fred and I always break into a smile…and then accept the glass of champagne that is being handed to us.


There is no place like home. L

Christmas Trees and a poem by e e cummings

(excuse me while i slip into cummingsese...)

yesterday, while driving to and fro I saw many trees strapped to many tops of cars. i remember this, remember the excitement and the smell and the bristle tough touch of the fir. now we have fake firs and candles to fool ourselves into thinking the something is as real as the other. its not.

i thought of this poem and thought i would share....

little tree by e e cummings

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bard

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms

and I’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

Oh but you’ll be proud

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”

"little tree" was originally published in The Dial Vol. LXVIII, No. 1 (Jan. 1920). New York: The Dial Publishing Company, Inc.