30 June 2008

Big Ol' Pay It Forward Contest

Good Morning All,

My BFF Swistle came up with a great idea of a Pay It Forward Contest. I am, as usual running behind.

I will offer up to the winner some sort of wonderful prize, or shall I say surprise? The key is, you get to pay it forward! Fun! Everyone wins!

The contest ends on Friday July 4th. The way to enter is to leave a comment, say um...a lyric to your fave song?

And check this out because I'm not awake yet:


C'mon everyone! Jump in! The water's warm!

23 June 2008

Grocery Elf

I met the strangest little man yesterday at the grocery store. He was my checker. Friendly enough, kind of small-ish, gave a sprite-like vibe.

I gave him the mesh bags to use and he set one up in the cart. "Watch This!" he announces. "I've learned a trick"
He set the mesh bag in the cart and then takes a paper bag and inserts it into the mesh bags. "This makes it easier!" he proclaims. While I'm mentally thinking "Well, that kind of undoes the purpose of the bags..." he mentions "And you can just leave them in there!" Oh, well, okay then.
So he merrily checks my groceries. Complete with dropping some of the grapes on the ground. He picks them up, brushes them off gently and says "It's okay, they're not quite wine yet." By now I'm begging silently to be home.
He finishes up and while doing so, calls out hello to another customer. As I am gathering my receipt, he leans toward me conspiratorially and whispers "See that guy back there? I know him, he's a regular."
So, I brush my hair out of my eyes, in the guise of being to look at that guy. He seems perfectly normal.
"I couldn't remember his name" the sprite continues "and I had to figure out a way to remember it. Know how I did it?" I shook my head, he had my attention now.
"His name is Howard. Howard the Duck!" And he smiles triumphantly.
"Oh, that's a great idea!" I smile and walk away.
The sprite merrily continued to the next customer. The strangest people get dropped in my path lately.

22 June 2008

Rules of Attraction

Based on the Unusual Crushes post, this topic has grown:

There are levels of attractiveness, I think. Stereotypes or archetypes, really. Here are some categories that I can think of:
Greek God - so good looking he's unreal. (Brad Pitt, for example)
Bad Boy - there's mischief in his eyes. (lead singer of Maroon 5, David Beckham)
Everyday, Nice Guy - he always is married to a bitch, why is this?
Smart-hot - John Stewart, Anderson Cooper
The Funny guy - not necessarily cute but the engaging humor makes him attractive.
Nerdy - Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory - he's just so endearing.
Dressed Up - something about being in a tux or suit that can up the attractiveness quotient. (although I'm generally attracted to working men versus businessmen) This is like the Bar Girl attractiveness however -she's only hot with the make-up, hair, Wonderbra and tight clothes. Not so much in her sweats and no make-up. This one can backfire.

Working Men: Levi's and workboots, my fave. (guess what my husband does for a living?)
Uniforms. Firefighters, need I say more? (but does not include Psycho Border Guards :-)

Ugly-hot: This is for my friend D who thinks Benicio Deltoro is hot.


I realized the other day that I am retired. Wait, what? Yep, retired. That label applies to me.

With that whole blowing up thing last year, I've retired from being a pyrotechnician. This breaks my heart. With the season rapidly approaching, I find myself wistful. While I know that it's a mature decision to retire, there's a part of me that wants to stamp my feet and protest. I am not ready to retire!

And, a few years ago I retired from my job. Well, I can look at it as a retirement now, just not then. But it was as such. I'm not returning to that field again. I feel too old to pursue that job any longer. Viola: retirement! (how's that for re-visualization?)

The MG is seven years older than me. This means he will be eligible to retire seven years before me. Hopefully, this won't be an issue at that time. Hopefully I will be an established author by then. But it's amazing to me that the issue is beginning to loom on the horizon. Remember? Remember when we were 20? Those were good times.

I guess it's good that I am doing it in small steps then. Less of a brutal reality. I'm sneaking up on it. Yeah, that's it.

((I'm still pouting))

This stuff only happens to me

Going to work on Thursday, I was pulled over about 1/4 mile from the house. The weird thing was the vehicle was a new, big, Ford pickup with clear lights and red lights. (State Patrol, police & sheriff has red, blue & white lights. Fire Depts have green lights, unless it's an official vehicle. Blue lights are illegal to purchase...just some background)
Before I was pulled over, I rolled through the stop sign at the first intersection because it's a 90-degree turn and you can't see to the right very well. This is common...for me and also for everyone else in the neighborhood. The truck was toward the top of the hill, on the left side crossroad. I didn't put him in danger at all. He was probably cresting the hill when I turned.

The rest of the road is a straight-away for about a quarter mile. (everything in my life is measured by quarter-miles) Then it curves sharply to the left. (this is relevant)
All of a sudden, the truck sped up and was right on my bumper. He hit his lights so I pulled over, thinking perhaps it was fire department and needed by. He pulled in tight behind me. I started getting really nervous, which never happens. (I get pulled over every six months or so, I'm an old hand at this)

So, I left the truck running and didn't put my window down until the guy approached. Then I only rolled it down half-way. (Thank you Oprah and all those safety email pass-alongs)
The guy is not in uniform but is wearing a coat like deputies wear, sort of. It has a gold star on the lapel and stitching but I can't quite read the stitching. I think it said "warden". No badge, no visible gun, no nameplate.

He asks "Are you having a good day?" really sarcastically.
I kind of stammered that I was just going to work, I wasn't quite awake yet and that remained to be seen.
He then says "So, we're running stop signs and speeding today."

I told him that I didn't think I was speeding (I didn't) and he said that I was. He said that it was only 25 through there. HUGE RED FLAG. It's thirty-five. I said as much. He disagreed. Well, I noticed later that I was sitting right next to a caution sign that said "Curve 25 mph."
I wish I had seen it sooner! And for the record, the speed limit was recently changed from 35 to 30.
I started to get antsy and was thinking about dialing my cell when he said "You need to slow down", wished me a good day and walked away.

Now, to add to the creepiness, he waited until we were past all of the houses to pull me over. I was in the secluded part of the road. He could have pulled me into the PUD office about 500 feet back but didn't. He waited until I was beyond all houses and near a sharp curve. And there was no shoulder to park on. The freeway is about half-mile away.
So, I got on the freeway and I was unhappy. After a few minutes, I called the Sheriff's department and explained what happened. The officer whom answered the phone was sympathetic and felt it needed reporting. She put me over to the officer of the day...whatever the hell he's called. I got to leave a message.
I went to work and told my co-workers about it and they freaked out. Each of them thought of a different detail: he parked too close, he didn't have a ticket book, the sheriff didn't indicate that they had record of me being pulled over (meaning the guy didn't call in my license plate) and why didn't I get a license plate?

Easy: he parked too f*&ing close and I just wanted the hell out of there.
The Deputy calls back and I explain what happened. I was quite reasonable, I think. I told him "It's not about getting pulled over, it's the fact that he didn't seem like he had any right to. There was no badge, no gun, no name on his coat." (I left out the part that he was an ass.)

I explained that it was a big, brand new Ford pick-up that didn't have the right style lights. I explained that I nearly didn't stop because of that.

The deputy stated that perhaps it was Drug Task Force, as they are working in that area. (*great* she thinks with withering sarcasm. What's worse? Drug dealers in the neighborhood or me possibly being part of a camp fireside horror story?)
I went on a rant: "If it was an officer, then I would like to let him know that perhaps he could IDENTIFY HIMSELF as such and not pull over a woman, on a secluded road nonetheless and scare the shit out of her first thing in the morning." I took a breath and then said "And that's my rant for the day. I am done now." The deputy actually kind of laughed and said "That's reasonable rant."
The day passes and no word from the deputy. I waited until the morning and called. He wasn't on shift (fabulous!) and there wasn't a note regarding my case. (double fabulous)
I was instructed to call later. I called later and left another message. I waited a few more hours and called again. Finally at 9:35 PM, the deputy calls me back.
"Oh yeah, that was a BORDER GUARD."
W. T. F !?!?!?!
"A border guard?"
"Yeah, they can pull you over, they cannot ticket you and they DO NOT HAVE TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES."

"Yeah, I don't understand it either but that's how they work. I'm really sorry that happened to you."
I was dumbfounded. The border guard gets to scare the life out of me and no reprecussions. That's just not right. Oh, and I am 45 minutes away from the border! So, I am assuming that he must live around here.
I SO want to find his name, call his wife and say "Do you know what your husband did to me?" That would be better than any reprimand his commanding officer could give to him.
I may call the border patrol office tomorrow (because of course I find out on a Friday night) to see what can be done.

It's just not right. Like I said, it wasn't about me being pulled over, it was about the image of me being a headline in the newspaper the next day having been kidnapped, killed, whatever by this jerk.

The MG said "Perhaps you just got caught in the crossfire of someone having a bad day." Well, if that's the case then he's going to have another one when I complain.

And I'm still not stopping at that stop sign until they fix the intersection. Psycho border guard or not.

16 June 2008

When we bought the old house/property, it was a disaster. In our naivete, we had no idea what we were getting into. We bought the property on the assumption that it had a creek because you couldn't actually see it. Just like you couldn't actually see the garden the original owner had kept.

While cleaning everything up, MG found this cute little yard art among the weeds. For one of the first times ever in our relationship, I saw him exhibit a sentimental side. "Why don't we keep this? In honor of Mrs. Gritz?"

So, the cute little Dutch couple live in our corner garden, some 17 years later. We made sure we kept them safe when we built the new house and now they're tucked away in the corner, protected from the dogs and some of the weather.

I hope Mrs. Gritz is pleased.

Potty Mouth

As predicted, I returned from our weekend with a potty mouth. It began as I blearily stumbled out of the bedroom only to see a hallway-long trail of shedded dog hair. It's shedding season and every time this year I swear I am going to shave the dog clean. Luckily for her, MG keeps me from doing so.

It's amazing how immersing yourself in a culture (as I dare call "Boy World" culture) can alter your language in such a short time. Even when I was aware of it. I began to mentally count each time I cursed today. It's not pretty.

I give it another day or so and I will return to the regular level of cursing. Only in two weeks, I am back in that world. Heaven help us all.

It was a great weekend though. The weather was beautiful, we did well and we got to see our friends. What more could I ask for, eh?

13 June 2008

Hello Canadian Friends

It's with excitement that we are packing, right this minute, to spend the weekend in Canada. It's been two years since I've been there. Two Years! I can't wait to see our friends.

It wasn't until the past few days that I've realized how much I miss them. I can't wait to hear "Hello Our American Friends" from Jason, to see how big Miguel's girls have grown and just to hear the familiar lilt of their accents. All the "ehs", the "f&#k-alls" and "Right on"s. I know I am going to return with a potty mouth, as i usually do. (I am not sure if it's the Canadian thing or the Boy World thing. Although the f-bomb doesn't carry the strength there like it does in the States.)
Secondarily, to me at least, we're racing the car for the first time in about a year. That is always nerve-wracking. The first pass is always watched through cautious eyes. Of course, we hope to set the world on fire but will be happy with not breaking anything other than the bank.
*happy hand clap* I'm excited to see old friends! As our friend Steve says "It's just a line in the dirt. It's ridiculous we don't see each other more often."
We'll see you soon, eh?

11 June 2008

Ring a Ding

This is a little brass bell that I have for no other reason than I like it. It serves no purpose in this house other than it makes a nice little grouping on our bookshelf.

I found in at my great-aunts house. She had passed and my parents were in charge of closing her house. She was in her 80's, had outlived three husbands, and had lived in this house for 35 years. The homestead was next door and she had lived in that home from about 1935 - 1970.
The amount of stuff that was packed into that house was mind-boggling.

This bell was on a shelf somewhere. It wasn't hung on a door or packed with Christmas decorations. It seems that its purpose in that house was much like it purpose here. Something pretty.

Aunt Betty didn't have children, just like me, so it's not like it was a pioneer in child safety. She wasn't a store owner so check that off the list as well. Her husbands were working men, farmers and such. The bell is too small to be a cow bell. And there were some of those in the barn.

So, this strange little bell is spending another lifetime with no purpose other than being sparkly.

A little side note: if you've ever closed a house you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't: Think about the things that you have kept in your life. Consider whether or not they are ever going to serve a purpose in your or someone else's life. Consider what your children will think when they discover it.

Now think about what happens if someone else is going to pack up your house. *gasp* those old letters from boyfriends! that trashy, racy novel that no one knows you've read - let alone own, all those old school projects! That credit card bill that your spouse doesn't know about!


Makes you want to go clean your closet, eh?

See, that little bell made you think, didn't it?

09 June 2008

Random Stuff in My House

In an effort to post more regularly, I came up with this idea. Granted, it was about three o'clock in the morning so bear with me.

Random stuff in my house. I am going to choose an object from my house, photograph it and post it. As I thought about this, I realized that I really do have some random sh*t in my house. As I am sure so do you.

Without further ado, Random Stuff #1:

This is, by far, the creepiest thing in our house. It resides in our china cupboard. I actually have it placed in such a way that I don't see it when I walk by. It freaks me out a little. (aren't you glad I shared?)

It's a creamer. It's probably an antique and a collector item. I say it's a monkey but the family says it's a dog. I say it's creepy.

When my in-laws sold the family home and moved up here, we divided everything up amongst the family. The boys (Mad Genius & his brother) divided three china cupboards full of china. If they disagreed about anything, it was maturely settled by Paper, Rock, Scissors.

Unfortunately, I cannot blame the ownership of this creamer to a losing round of Paper, Rock Scissors. Nope, the Mad Genius chose it On PURPOSE.

Raindrops keep falling on my head

It's June. June 9th. Tonight we had a winter-like storm pass over the house that blew over trees and cut off our power. It hailed. It's continuing to rain as if God is holding a garden hose over the house. WTF. It's June!

My weather friend Scott says that it's going to be like this all through June. September weather in June. I, who is normally not bothered by the weather, am ready to move to Arizona.

So with this pouty little rant, I am sharing the only thing about the rain that I have enjoyed. It's an ad from Scott's blog


So, the YW has a cat. He's feral and full of attitude. He will deign to allow some people to pet him, on his terms of course, and will hiss at others. His name is Friendly, with intended irony. He lived here at the YW for a few years and then disappeared. He was gone for over a year. Apparently, he's back after having spent lives #4-6 from his adventures.

I took this picture of him this morning, from the safety of the vestibule. Unfortunately, my camera is slow so I didn't get the true portrait of him hissing at me. He has the best "I'll f*&k you up" expression of any cat I have ever seen. I think it's because I think he has the power to back up the attitude.

He looks sweet, don't believe it. It's a disguise. I think he used to work for the CIA.

07 June 2008

Unusual Crushes

We were talking about celebrities that we found attractive that most people don't. Not the George Clooney's of the world but of the more quirky variety. Swistle's example was Kevin James. Mine would be Kevin Smith.

So, without further ado: My Unusual Crushes:

Stephen Colbert. He had a picture in Vanity Fair that I nearly taped on the wall above my computer.

Hector Elizondo...he's older now but there's just something in his eyes.

Jeremy Piven before he became "Entourge."

Stanley Tucci...I think it's the eyes.

Ethan Embry (in Sweet Home Alabama)

Again, feel free to discuss amongst yourselves...

Rom Coms

I found this interesting... http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/movies/09roma.html

*pause* while you read...I'll wait....

As I think about my favorite "rom-coms" as the industry apparently refers to them *wretch* It occurs to me that there are two common denominators when considering great movies in this category: ensemble casts/multi-storylines (Hello? Love Actually!) and the 90-minute format. Many movies shouldn't or can't be squashed/edited/rushed into that quick little time frame. Yet many are. Thank you, short-attention-span America.

But in our fast food, disposable mindset, everything has to be done in sound bites. A lot of content is lost in the editing; a lot of little detail that adds to the feeling of the entire movie is cut for time. Many movies could be great (or just simply, better) with just a little more character or plot development. But with our short-attention span and the monster that is the movie industry, this seems no longer possible.

Sadly, I am one that will watch the same movie over and over, especially the movies with good soundtracks. There's something about my ADD brain that allows this. (The Mad Genius is guilty of this as well.) I have noticed that with multiple viewings, I often catch things - sometimes just nuances - that I missed in the original viewing. Things that suddenly click the plot into place for me. Or little assumptions that I make...have you caught the chemistry between two sub-characters and make assumptions? (The Lake House - Keanu's "assistant" and Sandra's boyfriend. I bet they hooked up later)

Or I focus not on the main character and find details that I previously missed: an expression, a gesture, a little subplot move that blends everything together with a little more clarity. I have also noticed details that I have previously missed now that television screens are increasing. I’ll never forget watching an episode of Mad About You and noticing that we had the same area rug! I hadn’t caught that on a smaller screened television!

Also, as Swistle has pointed out in previous conversations: much like books, some movies take mulling over and even a second watch. Also, no longer easily done. Movies are too expensive to go to the theatre twice. There are also so many movies to watch and not enough time. We just don’t have time for that kind of movie watching anymore. And the movie industry doesn’t allow for it. It’s sad really.

For instance, I wasn't wild about Stranger than Fiction at first but it took up residence in my brain and now I love it. It wasn't labeled a romantic comedy but it surely was. This brings up another problem: sometimes movies are sorely mislabeled.

Or there are so many genres contained within one film, how do you possible label it? "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" is a perfect example. Comedy? Yes. Romance? Yes. Action? Yes.

I think Hollywood needs to work on refining their definitions or maybe even let go of them entirely. Wouldn’t that make for some fun Oscar nominations?

Perhaps a wedge that needs to be driven between categories. There's chick flick, there's romantic comedies and then there's romance. Devil Wears Prada = Chick Flick, When Harry Met Sally = Romantic Comedy and Moulin Rouge = Romance.

Knocked Up and 40-Year-Old Virgin are NOT romantic comedies for the love of Nora Ephron! They're "American Pie" for grown-ups. And I SOOOOOOOOO didn't see how Knocked Up was "Hilarious!" as proclaimed by oh, everyone.

Katherine Hiegl was more enjoyable in The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville. (SO non-PC and had some pretty freaking funny moments) Oh, I’m off topic…big surprise.

So many times, I’ve watched a movie and thought, “This isn’t a comedy.”
Most recently, I watched “Lucky You” with Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana. I remember it being marketed as a romantic comedy. It So Wasn’t! It was actually more of guy movie.
Little Black Book” was also marketed at as romantic comedy. But it was actually a little dark and had a social commentary on privacy, the media, and the public’s avarice for “infotainment”.

To return to a previous point: All of these movies aren’t easily categorized as well. Sure, there’s romance in all, there’s comedy in all but there is also drama. It’s as if there needs to be an entire new category. “Dramedy” has been bounced around a bit. I think I can work with dramedy.

To add to the mix, there is a mindset that actors can’t act out of their range. Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction – PERFECT. Adam Sandler in Reign on Me – PERFECT. Jim Carrey in The Majestic. (more on him in a minute)

Remember when there were only a handful of movies to watch in the theatre and they were in there for forever, it seemed. I think movies were given a better shake during that time and in relation, the movies HAD to be better. There was only one theatre in town and two movies. They had to stand the test of time. There’s a line in the movie “The Holiday” where the elderly former movie writer exclaims in disgust “Nine movies out in one weekend! And this is conducive to great film making!?!”
Yeah, what he said.

While I'm on a rant here, box office isn't the end all/be all of tallies anymore. DVD rentals/purchases and Pay-per-View or On Demand movies have sometimes completely different results than the original box office. (Better off Dead & Princess Bride are two notable examples although I am sure there are more recent examples) Which kind of makes some of my points moot but only a little.

Personally, I hate, hate, hate going to the movie theatre. People are rude. Drinks & treats are expensive, tickets are expensive. They rarely feel clean. And it’s too freaking loud. Explain to me, in the age of NetFlix and plasma televisions, why a person would go to the theatre? I don’t get it.

About a year ago, the New York Times had an article on Boutique Theatres. It was a small venue, set up for 30-50 people with comfy seating, adult beverages and appetizers. If I remember correctly, there was a need for reservations. THAT is my kind of movie theatre! Of course, it was horribly expensive but I could justify that expense.

In the movie The Majestic- a totally underrated movie - the lead character whose name I’ve forgotten mentions that going to the theatre used to be an EVENT. It was a treat. People dressed up. Now people talk, answer cell phones, eat, and behave as if there aren’t 150 other people in the room with them. This is where I love the idea of boutique theatres.

However, I like movies no one likes. Perhaps it’s that I always root for the underdog.

I loved:

The Majestic with Jim Carrey. It has a nostalgic, dreamy feel to it. People couldn’t wrap their minds about Jim Carrey not being Ace Ventura and that’s really sad. My mom grew up in that area and in that era.

Elizabethtown with Orlando Bloom & Kirsten Dunst. There’s so much going on in that movie and the soundtrack is Amazing…and it actually becomes a character in the movie.

Catch & Release was good – not great - although I think they miscast the male lead. LOVE the music in it too. Multiple storylines, always my fave. Juliet Lewis has one scene that breaks my heart every time I see it. Kevin Smith and Jennifer Gardner are the stars.

Jersey Girl with Ben Affleck & Liv Tyler. (another miscast: Jennifer Lopez. She sunk the movie before it even got out of editing) Great cameo by Will Smith. George Carlin ROCKED and "Gertie" was played by the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen. But then, I love Kevin Smith. (See Catch & Release) Sweeney Todd is featured before Johnny Depp made it mainstream.

Return to Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovony.... heart-wrenching (excuse the pun. You'll understand if you've seen it) Even D - my cynical, dark movie watcher & David Duchovany-hater LOVED that movie. Carroll O’Connor’s last film role. Bonnie Hunt and Jim Belushi. It’s nearly perfect.

Someone wrote once that "An Affair to Remember" could never be duplicated. I totally agree. I like watching it back-to-back with Sleepless in Seattle during the holidays. Random, renegade thought…not relevant to anything previously written.

And to add to the "You will NEVER top this movie, don't even try" category: Even over "An Affair to Remember" is "The Philadelphia Story" with Cary Grant, James Stewart, and Katherine Hepburn. Their dialogue and chemistry stands the test of today’s humor and intellect. “Yes, she was yar…

While I’m on a rant here: What I really, really, don’t understand is how Quentin Tarantino has a career. I am really not a fan of violence. I believe there is way too much of it in real life to glorify it on the screen. And it pisses me off that people don’t acknowledge the correlation of violence in movies, games, music to violence in real life. I just read a quote from QT that said, “People either love or hate my movies.” Um………DUH. I just see no redeemable qualities from his movies and now, in him.

Even I can accept the dark weirdness that is Tim Burton. Here is a guy that must have actually lived in the Munsters home as a child. He’s dark, he’s quirky but on the whole, he’s not destructive. Well, Sweeny Todd…maybe a little destructive. Not glorified destructive.

Meanwhile, the NYT article mentions many movies as reference:

"My Best Friends Wedding" was good but not one my faves, even with our boyfriend Dermot Mulroney. It surprised me that it did well. I don't remember that.

Diane Lane & our true love John Cusack had little chemistry in "Must Love Dogs". I'm trying to think who would be better? Naomi Watts perhaps? She's in my mind because I watched The Painted Veil last weekend. Arduous but good. Not a happy ending, you've been warned. But there's resolution so it's redeemable.

The Nanny Diaries I haven't seen. Scarlet Johansen is an acquired taste, I think. Perhaps that's what sunk it. She lost me when she began working with Woody Allen (*cough* pedophile *ahem*) It struck me as a Chick-Flick and not a romantic comedy.

The best romantic comedy, in my humble opinion, is The Princess Bride. I have watched it hundreds of times and can recite the lines…not just the “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” that everyone knows.

It has Robin Wright before she was anybody, Cary Elwes…swoon… Rob Reiner, whom I could watch direct Sesame Street and I would be happy. Soundtrack by Mark Knopfler.
Simply cannot be improved.

So, jeez on crackers, this has been a long rambling post. Movies: one of my all-time favorite things. Don’t get me started again…Although I am sure there are movies that I’ve forgotten that I’ll head-slap myself as soon as I click “Post”.

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves…….