Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coldplay, Thanksgiving, and everything that's fit to print


The sassy lads from England did not disapoint.

Scot and I left the house on a chilly Phoenix night (70 degrees) for happy hour at Bamboo Club. After seared tuna, Kobe sliders, and a wee bit of beer (it's 30 miles to the venue) we headed out for the concert.

Dear friend Stacy works for a company that has box seats and primo parking, so she had hooked us up with passes to both. The seats were fantastic! After greeting Stacy, Wendy, Tina and others in attendance, the band came on. On the way to the show, I had a debate with Scot over what song the band would open the show with. Only it wasn't really a debate as Scot wasn't knowledgable enough to discuss such a serious matter, nor did he give two hoots. Scot was going to the show as my date, not a fan. While he isn't opposed to Coldplay, he does feel they lack the second ball necessary to make them men. I had vacillated between "Lost", and "Viva La Vida", for the opener. But I knew this album had a definite beginning and an end, and they might want to stay consistent to the storytelling buildup and denouement. Therefore, the only logical choice for the opening song would be "Life in Technicolor". And it was. The song started and I got the chills. I ran down to the partition and became acutely aware that I was in the midst of my second religious experience. Wouldn't you like to know what the first was? NO, not my baptism or First Holy Confession- U2's last concert. Dear me, I am going on here. At any rate, it was wonderful.


The whole fam rolled in around 2 p.m. Mom brought assorted salads and was given the responsibilty of Gravy Master. Sister brought the turkey, Jack Daniels Pecan Pie, and stuffing. Most importantly, Julie brought the Boggle. Immediately we set up the outside table with pads, pens, the Boggle game and beer. My mom served as Beer Wench and kept refilling my wine glass. I'm pretty sure she never got me on the proper footing to be a doctor back in my school days, as she certainly seemed genuinely happy to dumb me down with beer during a heated Boggle match. Not surprisingly, my smart niece and ultra-smart nephew schooled all of us when it came to the word-search game. I'd like to think my senses were dull from the drink, but the reality is that I've never been a game-winner. Then we had turkey, dessert, and everyone went "bye bye." Okay, so it was a little more involved than that, but that's the good part, isn't it? I don't know why we bother with all the pomp and circumstance. Let's just get together, play games, and drink.

Gotta run. Too much to do online right now. Shopping, Christmas cards, researching biochemical warfare, etc.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Longest Day EVER

Thirty minutes and I'm out of this house. Headed to some sushi, Kirin, and then on to COLDPLAY!!! Scot and I saw them about 5 years ago, and they sucked. Bad venue with horrible acoustics. We were like two old people, "It's too LOUD!" Hopefully this time we'll be able to tolerate it.

What a way to kick off Thanksgiving. All day I was like a kid cooped up in a hot classroom on the last day of school. I have been waiting for this since MAY, when I got the tickets for my birthday. Of course I'll let you know how it is.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hostess With the Mostest

I'm channeling Martha. I am hosting Thanksgiving. It's been a few years since everyone came over here, as we usually go to my mom or my sister's house. My mother is weary from jet lag, my sister handles Christmas, and to be honest, it's time for me to grow up and claim more cooking/hostessing responsibilities. My cooking jobs are the mashed potatoes, my mother-in-law's stuffing, and a pumpkin pie. Dear sister and mommy will bring the rest. To say I'm excited to pull out my new Williams-Sonoma chicken tablecloth and matching linens would be overstating it, but at least I have something presentable to chuck the turkey on this year. Our dining room table has been in our possession for 3 years, all that time without a dining cloth.

Today, Nora and I got out the good silver and cleaned it ( Truly, that kid doesn't miss a trick and will be able to gut a fish by age 15.) The silverware is an old set, circa 1940. My inlaws bought it for us for Christmas a couple of years back. Ten years ago I would have said it was "old-fashioned, too stuffy." But I've matured, and I see the beauty in finer, somewhat useless things now. Never mind it will sit side-saddle with chipped Pottery Barn plates.

The bread is out, getting "stale" for the stuffing. Tomorrow I will consider shining up the metal chargers. HA!!!!!! Those would be the chargers I had to have when we got married. They resemble UFOs and have silver beading on the edges. They looked great on the Pottery Barn display table. I've never used them. If anyone decided to look deeper into the bowels of my nastiness, they will be disappointed. Scot and I cleaned out the fridge last week, as I had some items that had fallen between shelves and fermented to the walls.

If I forget something for Thursday, I already feel like I'm ahead of the game. Never in a million years did I think I would be showing my daughter how to polish silver. Who AM I ? And when did someone with fine cutlery invade my home?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've been a little preoccupied

Dear Readers,

It's been a little busy around here. Scot is doing some contracting work (Yahoo!!!!) so I've been happy, thus less prone to bitch, therefore not blogging to my imaginary friends. That doesn't mean I don't need you, so don't leave.

My best friend Joelle was here last weekend and we had a blast. She took 546 pictures of my family over the course of the weekend and took me out to lunch and dinner. In exchange I let her listen to my kids be reprimanded and provided her with a mattress on the floor. She must like me, or at least she did before she saw the accommodations. A best friend is supposed to overlook a multitude of failings, and Joelle does that. She is the most considerate, thoughtful, fun person to spend time with. We've always said that we could be sitting with each other in an insurance seminar and find something to laugh about. We've known each other since we were in our mothers' uteruses and she is the family I have chosen. Here's how much I love her- I think she voted for McCain. I don't ask, she doesn't tell. Love has crossed over party lines.

My parents are home from their 3 week European river cruise tonight. Their arrival signifies the beginning of the holiday season. I'm excited to catch up with them and pour my eyes over the H+M shirts they purchased for me in Amsterdam. I miss calling them to discuss Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann nightly. They were gone for the election so we have much to celebrate.

We've been paid, so the wolf is away for now. Everyone is relatively healthy, and Thanksgiving is next week. I'll be making the mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cranberry ring. My sister is bringing the turkey, bread, pecan pie, and stuffing. My mother will make grand mom's frozen salad and sweet potatoes. We're planning on eating, riding bikes, playing games and gaining weight. Thankful I am.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Running Smells 11/19/08

Time : approx. 5:31 p.m MST
Length of Run: 3.01 miles
Run Time: 30.04
Scottsdale Temperature : Approx. 75 degrees F

Smells Recorded

Corned beef and cabbage (get me the barf bag)
Acacia Tree (AKA - sperm tree, stink tree ) It makes you want to hurl and is in bloom here.
Tide Simple Pleasures laundry detergent in Vanilla and Lavender
A grill heating up
Acacia Tree (Sweet Jesus)
Grilled Cheese
Burning Leaves
Some Funky meat cooking (lamb, mutton, etc.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Biking Smells 11/17/08

Time: Appoximately 12:45 p.m MST
Length of Ride : 6.65 miles
Ride Time: 32.28
Scottsdale Temperature: 85 Degrees F


Fresh Air
Duck Poop
Patty Melt (from Buster's Restaurant) onion, toasted bread, burger
Cinnamon (pine cone? firewood?)
Duck Poop
Chlorine (riding along houses on the golf course)
The Cinnamon smell again
My dirty nasty sweaty body (excreting Mexican food, garlic, and beer)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Running Smells 11/12/08

Time : approx. 5:15 MST
Length of Run: 3.02 miles
Run Time: 28.32
Scottsdale Temperature : Approx. 67 degrees F


Steak, grilling
Port-o-Potty fruity air freshener
bacon and eggs
a fire in a fireplace (with smoke visible from chimney)
Pot Roast
Dog crap
Orange Blossoms (in November?)
More steak, grilling
another fire in a fireplace

Again, the temperature was in the high 60's.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mrs. Meyer's to the rescue! Product endorsement of the day.

I'm having "Senses Overload" right now. That's what Scot and I call it when your ears are ringing, your body is swaying when you're sitting still, and your nose is burned-out from an offending odor. Usually we find we have only one sense that's been assaulted, but I find when I'm tired the whole body is affected. Currently, there is a pervasive hum of babies crying in my ears, and I'm rocking like Rainman. On a positive note, the smell burned into by nostrils in not crap, like it should be.

I've taken to cleaning with Mrs. Meyer's products, and the Gingerbread scent for the holidays has become my weapon of choice. Have you used these products? A friend was kind enough to buy me the cleaning quartet of room spray, counter top spray, all-purpose spray, and dish soap. I was skeptical, but seeing how I am Maria now, I thought I should get down to business with them. The result is DELISH! I hate to sound like Martha, but cleaning has never been so pleasant. Each product is green, and smells like you just baked a batch. Alas I did not, but don't tell anyone. Oh, so the smell burned in my nose - gingerbread. Sweet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weird News

I love weird news stories. Among my favorites are the women who deliver their babies in a truck stop bathroom, completely unaware they were even pregnant. Yeah, I just thought I was a little bloated when I carried Nora. And the sensitive boobs with Maggie- must have been the nipple tassels that brought on the searing pain.

U.S Woman Found Living With Three Dead Siblings
CHICAGO (Reuters) – An elderly woman has been living with two skeletons and a badly decomposed body of her siblings in a suburb of Chicago, one of whom may have died at least 20 years ago, authorities said on Saturday.

The remains were found covered by sheets in various parts of the house in Evanston on Friday but no foul play was suspected.

Authorities said one of the siblings was last seen alive in the 1980s, the second in 2003 and the third in May.

The woman living in the house, described as "upwards of 90 years of age," was cooperating in the investigation and was taken to a facility for care.

Authorities, who did not release the names of the deceased, said a care worker had alerted them to the situation. Autopsies were due to be performed on Saturday.

Scot and I spent Saturday afternoon on lawn chairs in the front yard. The Little Green Steam Machine and a bucket littered the front yard, and 14 kids bikes were strewn about the driveway. I figure we've got about a month before the neighbors start complaining about the "Country Horizons" squatters. Maybe that's why this story made me laugh aloud. It COULD happen...

Cops Have Tough Time Finding Sober Driver For Boy

SCHERERVILLE, Ind. – Indiana state police said that after a mother was arrested for drunken driving, the three relatives who came to pick up her 1-year-old son also had all been drinking.

A state trooper stopped a minivan for speeding early Saturday on U.S. 30 in Schererville in northwestern Indiana. He arrested the 24-year-old woman on a drunken driving charges.

The boy's father arrived later to pick him up, but officers determined he was intoxicated and also arrested him on a drunken driving charge.

Police said the boy's grandparents then arrived. Both of them also had been drinking, state police said, but the grandmother who was driving was not over the legal limit, so officers escorted them home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Step Forward, A Step Back

We'll further civil rights by electing a black president, but let's deny the basic legal rights of two committed people. What's the deal with all these states that passed amendments on gay unions? And no, I'm not calling it a marriage. See, these religious conservatives love to call it "marriage" so you get your mind stuck in an antiquated, fire-and-brimstone state of mind. The Arizona amendment passed, in part, to its sly , slickly worded catchphrase. "One man, one woman." It never came out and said "a vote for this is a vote against gays, " but that's the message they were tying to send. It effectively outlawed "gay marriage" in our state.

WHY do these funky religious groups feel a need to get involved with an issue that doesn't concern them? Have you seen the woman behind "One Woman, One Man"? It's a fat dumpy hag proselytizing from behind a desk. My guess is she's Mission-style Mary, and her husband has a serious online porn problem. Who gives a flying fukc is it's two women or two men who share retirement accounts, insurance, and a life? For God's sake, this is a legal union, which would allow couples the basic rights of property ownership and hospital visitations. A church marriage is a church marriage. Different thing altogether. But silly me, I forgot that the separation of church and state has become blurred in this country.

I think it comes down to ignorance, fear, and hatred. As comedian Lewis Black would say, " Are you afraid they're going to come into your cul-de-sack and fukc on the front lawn?" My parents best friends are gay. They've been together 30 years. They don't grope each other in public (shock!) and they still attend church. I commend them on their bravery for that, because most churches wouldn't want them if they knew their living arrangement. We've come a long way by electing Barack Obama. But at the same time, we're overturning historic state legislature that protects and provides for the rights of all Americans.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let's Talk About Lungs...

I sat at a red light the other day and noticed a UPS driver taking one long, last hard drag off his cigarette before the light turned. I fought the temptation to honk and scream "you ass, stop that!!!!" Why, I wondered, would someone in this day and age still smoke? The UPS man knows that smoking takes 10 years off his life. Explaining that to a young guy is pointless though when they have their health and stamina. Give the guy a bout of emphysema and he might finally kick the habit. It isn't only smokers I rail on. Not too long ago I watched workers sand and stain a wood floor with no face masks. The electric sander blew a cloud of particles into the air. Once that crap goes in, only so much of it comes out. UGH!!!!! To be honest, this self-righteous lung preaching didn't just happen. It took me wising up. And that started with my family getting sick.

In February, my dad was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Fibrosis of the lungs is scarring of the lung tissue which makes breathing difficult. It's a fatal lung disease with no absolute known cause. Some patients have had exposure to asbestos, but for others it's tobacco smoke. Still many can't pinpoint a cause at all. When I heard about his disease, my first thought was "cut out the bad crap". What's so crazy about all of this is that lungs cannot be operated on like a heart can. My dad's only long-term chance of survival would be a lung transplant. Lungs are essentially fragile balloons. They fill with air and help transport that air throughout the body. Sometimes they collapse, flood, and it's lights out for the whole body. I never understood why so many people died from pneumonia, but when the lungs are involved, there isn't much that can be reversed or fixed.

Nora was diagnosed with asthma last spring. From January to May we had about 3 weeks of clean and easy breathing. For the other infinite, long days of winter, she was sick with a chest cold or cough. I keep the local pollution report on the computer , and sent her out wearing a mask when the ozone levels were high. With Nora, I seek some comfort in knowing that the asthma is something she'll probably outgrow. And I can live with that.

But for my dad, it won't be something he can shake. He has been told IPF will be what takes him down. We will never know what caused my dad's sickness, but the doctor could not discount 25 years of smoking. Coincidentally, my dad has four good friends spread around the country that are suffering from terminal lung diseases, including IPF and lung cancer. Our next door neighbor, a general contractor, has been diagnosed with COPD, a chronic lung disease, due to his lifelong exposure to asbestos.

There is a perennial pile of crap on my desk that sits for weeks at a time. Yesterday, I was rifling through the stack, when I ran across an envelope. The envelope had a fresh, unused stamp on it, and the mailing address was the American Lung Association. For years I have been receiving this same SASE from my neighbor. It's intended use is to mail in a donation, not to pilfer the stamp, as I've done in previous years. This year, I held on to the envelope. This year, I made the leap and read the literature from the ALA. Funny how in the space of a couple of seasons, something can resonate so loudly, so brutally for you, that you can't ignore it. I'm gonna send that envelope in. I really am. I ask that you do your part. Realize how fragile your lungs are. Stop smoking. Protect your lungs. Lecture over.

Beautiful Day

The very moment I fell in love with Barack Obama was the night he accepted his party's nomination for President of the United States. I sat, cozy in my chair, TIVO cued up, and hit play during the precise moment Obama walked out through the corny Greek columns. I recognized the first strains of "City of Blinding Lights." This was the track that made me cry like a baby when it opened the show for U2 a few years ago. It begins with a soft keyboard and builds to an orgasmic, romantic crescendo. Seeing Obama looking dapper and presidential with one of my favorite songs playing in the background brought tears to my eyes. I was, how do I say this and not sound like a fool...inspired. Sweet Lord was I was glad I was alone. I felt embarrassed that I was weeping. It could have been the strain of Scot's lay-off the previous week, or the hope Obama was bringing with him, but I was hooked. And it was all because this man had tapped into what made me feel warm and fuzzy. He had U2 playing behind him. I loved this Rock Star Politician.

Looking back, I realize that it's probably the first time I could identify with a song that had been chosen during a presidential election. How many cheesy times have they picked Kenny Rodgers, The Four Tops or some other oldie but goodie. What this showed me was that whoever was in charge of spinning the tunes was from my generation. How refreshing.

Today I went for a run and hit the motherload of "perfect" songs on my MP3 player. I like to call it "The Obama Mix". And this happened in this exact order. No shuffling, no fast-forwarding. And I do have more than U2 and Coldplay on my list. :)

City of Blinding Lights - U2
Pride- U2 (about MLK and my all-time favorite song)
Viva La Vida - Coldplay ( "when I ruled the World....")
Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears

I ran like an inspired Nike runner with dynamite under my ass. I felt a piss-poor era coming to an end. Daydreams of jobless claims dropping and people remaining in their foreclosed houses flooded my mind. And I envisioned a beautiful young family with a dog moving into the White House. It would be a tough-ass crank who wouldn't be moved by that. So no matter what Obama accompishes, I will at least feel a little bit better knowing that he knows who U2 is, and he's probably seen Spongebob Squarepants. That's gotta count for something.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2008 Election

The older I get, the more I live and breathe politics. I've given up on trivial things like if the kids had too much ice cream after dinner. I have become Jane Doe at Anytown, USA's Town Hall Meeting with my constant rants such as "How are we going to get health care, and pay for the kids' college?" No wonder old people sludge through rain with canes and walkers to vote. They have had a lifetime of issues to rally behind. Giving a darn about who becomes president has become my life's obsession. People have asked me why I give a hoot about politics. "How can you not?" is my answer. If you are not informed and don't research things, idiots could be left in control to make decisions for you. You have to care.

Eight years ago, I lived in San Francisco and voted Democratic like I always had. But I had no serious concerns or issues, other than having "my guy" win. I had yet to become a supporter of public education, and was not an avowed environmentalist (too bad because if Gore had won, serious green headway could have been made). The race only became interesting to me after a winner couldn't be declared. Then, I was looking to win, and bloody the other side. I cared, but for the wrong reasons.

Four years ago I had children, and Bush was in office. That was a powerful prod to get me out to the voting booth. No Child Left Behind was a failure, and it was evident the Iraq War had become a political hot potato. I was sure the rest of the country felt that way, too. What a shock to know that over 50% of the country still supported an inept and dangerous leader. The day after the election, England's Daily Mirror had the most fantastic headline I had ever, and probably will ever see. " How can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB". Dumb they may be, but did all those 59,054,087 people go into that booth with political passion? Or was it a vote for their team? There is a difference.

It won't shock me if tonight doesn't go my way. I don't know if twenty-somethings know how high the stakes are now. And does an eighteen-year old think about saving Social Security? I didn't in 2000. But the initial signs look good. A lot can be said for seeing people in Virginia standing out in the rain for 2 hours, waiting to vote. If people put as much energy into studying candidates, policies, and agendas as they do in picking out a new car, we will have come a long way in the last eight years.

I have neighbors with a McCain/Palin sign in their yard. Hubby and a friend have felt the need to tell me not to touch it. But I never would. Because obviously my neighbors are impassioned enough to fly their color. We've got to assume they've taken stock and have made the choice they believe is best for themselves and the country. Whether their yard flag be red, or blue, it doesn't matter. Do they really care? I have to believe they do.