Thursday, December 25, 2008

And the Word Became Flesh

May the peace of Christ be with us all on this Christmas Day, over 2000 years after His arrival.

Let us ponder the true meaning of this Holiday. Pray for wisdom. Pray for patience. Pray for guidance. Pray for strength and the ability to understand. Pray for peace.

Take comfort in the fact that we are never alone, for He is always with us.
May we all carry His peace in our hearts into 2009 and beyond.
A blessed Christmas and abundant New Year to you all!








Sunday, December 21, 2008

Drive-By Random Thoughts

Life has been a blurrrrrrr lately, and updating the blog has fallen by the wayside. In an attempt to catch back up a bit, here's a random accounting of activities and thoughts from the last couple of weeks:

  • Work has been a whirlwind, and I'm clocking 12-15 hours a day right now, trying to keep up. I think it will settle down a bit in January, once we're done with all the year-end rush. Fingers crossed.

  • I just got back from Toronto, where it snowed 3-4 inches on the city before I got out of there. Snow is so wonderful when you can look at it out your window; not so wonderful when you trudge to work in it. Still, being from the relatively warm south and spending much of my time in the tropics, snow is always a novelty, and if it's going to be frigid outside, it may was well snow to make it worth the while.

  • I feel like I am way behind on Christmas shopping. Truth is, compared to the short list I'm buying this year, I'm not. But compared to what I bought last year, I am. I feel a bit like Scrooge -- I've been trimming down my list, sending more cards than gifts. But it's sort of the mode in these economic times. Conspicuous consumption is a bit gauche right now anyway.

  • Current Christmas plans are up in the air. Plans to spend it with my parents have been dashed due to a flu bug at their house. We may not go now. If not, it's just my husband and I, and no gifts to boot! So we're thinking of being creative this year -- midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, a volunteer gig to pass out holiday meals on Christmas Day. And as for cooking, I think maybe I want to do something like research what a traditional Christmas meal is in Italy, and try to recreate that here. Something completely different, but perhaps establishing a new tradition for us. I'm sort of in the mood to break with the old and bring in the new. I must say that not rushing around to over-buy Christmas gifts this year has been refreshing. Perhaps some good things will come out of this bad economy; perhaps we'll get back to finding meaning in non-material things, and we'll find more joy in the giving of our time to others and in the little things. I'd really like to see that happen.

  • Finally, I have managed to work off the extra five pounds I put on during the summer by being lazy, eating too much frozen custard and starting on some new BC pills (which I think is the real culprit). It's odd, because I've lost the poundage during the holiday season and while working for 12+ hours a day, a set of circumstances that usually has me finding the 5 pounds, not losing it.

  • I have been eating a lot of sushi lately -- perhaps too much. I need to cut that back to once a week, as I'm hearing about avid sushi lovers getting too much mercury from it (Jeremy Piven), and that's a really bad thing.

  • Parents all around me are starting to fail healthwise, including mine. My husband's mother, my neighbor's dad, my parents....all starting to feel their age. I fear that some of them won't be with us for long, but also the road ahead will be difficult for us all, as we struggle to help them with their health issues. Thirteen years ago, my husband's father fell over dead out of the blue (heart), and while that was a shocker, I'm starting to think it might be preferred to the deterioration of health as they get into their 70s & 80s. Sometimes I think maybe we just weren't meant to live so long.

  • My shitzuh is the cutest boy ever. For some reason, he has become my constant companion lately, following me around the house at all times. Suddenly, he' s a mama's boy, and that's okay by me.

  • I am in a mental panic over the first few months of next year. We still have some ugliness going on with my husband's business that has collapsed, and it is likely to peak in March '09. I am trying very hard to hang on mentally and financially to get through it all. I don't talk about it much...I try not to think about it much....because it sends me into a tailspin, and I have to continue to be functional to get us through this. I have to say that it's amazing what life throws at us and what we can actually bear. I hate the challenge this has presented, but I am thankful for the strength I am able to find. It's terrifying yet interesting to explore the boundaries of what one can handle and still be able to function. I thank God every day for the strength and the blessings He provides. He is the only reason I am still here and halfway sane, given some of the events of the last 18 months that I do not ever speak of here.
  • I must remember to pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow. Note to self.
  • My brother and his wife are in Europe for Christmas -- Germany at the moment. It's odd turnabout. I am usually the jetsetter, and he's the one at home. But not right now. Not this year.
  • Tomorrow is Monday, the start of a holiday week, and I hope enough people have already started their vacation that it starts to lighten the workload for the rest of us who haven't. Please let the emails slow down!!

And with that....I must sign off for now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Saw It....and Saw It Again

Mostly because I'm a Daniel fanatic, but also because the action moved so fast, I couldn't keep up the first time! I'm wondering if that isn't a conspiracy by the producers -- confuse them the first time so they buy a second ticket, and make twice as much money! Well, it worked -- at least in my case. And by the way, I'd be willing to go again, but that's just to see Mr. Craig one more time. He's a beautiful man, especially in a Tom Ford custom suit. *sigh*

I found Quantum of Solace to be a decent flick, although not on par with Casino Royale. I missed the moments from CR -- the human moments -- the witty dialogue, the rare heartfelt scene, the window into some of the characters -- that we enjoyed in CR. It's like they just skipped over that part in Quantum. They just omitted them in favor of more action sequences, and it took away from the end product. In fact, if we hadn't come to QoS already enamored with the characters, there really wasn't much to endear them to us in this one. It truly was a sequel, and it would have been a whole different experience -- a lackluster one at that -- if you hadn't seen CR first. It doesn't stand on its own.

While I missed the deeper elements, on a much shallower note....why did we only get to see the Aston Martin DBS for about five minutes in the whole film? I read all about how they cracked up two or three of them during filming ($250K+ a piece -- CHA-CHING -- down the drain, or in the lake, as it were), yet we only got to see that beautiful piece of artwork on wheels for maybe five whole minutes. There were way too many scenes of Daniel driving a Ford (yawn) and not nearly enough of him in the Martin, and that was really disappointing. Next flick, more Martin and less Ford, please. He is James Bond, afterall. Get him into an impossibly fabulous car again as soon as possible, please.

As for the women in the flick, I thought Olga was gorgeous -- loved the dark skin and green eyes. Beautiful! And Gemma Arterton was okay....she fit the spunky young thing part well, but she couldn't hold a candle to Olga. What a gorgeous girl! Daniel needs to dump his fugly girlfriend and get it on with Olga. I'd feel much better about that if he did. :)

Which leads to my next issue -- not nearly enough sex in this one. I want to see James Bond (well, Daniel Craig anyway) seduce a few women along the way. Say maybe a brunette, 5'10", an American career woman, highly intelligent, maybe a little older than the others.... :) Yes, that would work quite well, thank you.

So I have to give this one 4 out of 5 stars. Remove the Daniel factor, and it gets 2.5 out of 5 stars. Watching him on the screen is worth the price of admission....I don't care if he stands there and reads the phone book. Shirtless, of course. :)









Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Post-Election Wrap Part III

And now, some thoughts on Mr. Obama.

First of all, let me quickly move through the whole 'first Black president' thing. I feel like a bunch of us are patting ourselves on the back, busting with pride because 'look what we did' over here. Hmmm. Of course it's a milestone, for him and the country, but truthfully, when you look into the details of how all that happened, it isn't the exponential leap for mankind that some would purport. Lots and lots of people voted for him (and against him) based on race, and that's really the truth. So while most of his supporters would like to beat the drum of 'transcending race' with this candidate, we really didn't. The racial aspect drove certain behaviors that resulted in his election -- 98% of Blacks voted for him (which alone wouldn't get him elected), but add that to an adequate percentage of Whites who voted for him because he is not George W. Bush, and that definitely provided enough votes to put him in office.



Another thing -- and something no one seems to want to talk about -- Obama is as much White as he is Black, and perhaps a bit more. It appears that the only Black influence on him may have been in the form of sperm, since he is the product of a Black father who did not hang around for long and a White mother who was a bit of a free spirit, disappearing from time to time, while his White grandparents raised him (mostly). Obama does not share the typical Black experience in America -- he grew up mostly in Hawaii, not an inner-city ghetto; he attended prestigious schools (Columbia, Harvard, etc.). So while we can talk about the color of his skin, neither his DNA nor his life experience even remotely resembles 99% of the Black population in America. And yes, he's just as much White as he is Black, but it's a lot less sexy to look at it that way. I felt the same way about Halle Berry being the first Black actress to win an Oscar -- people went out of their way to ignore the fact that she was raised by a mother who is whiter than snow.

One other thing his supporters would have us all believe is that Obama brought out voters in unprecedented numbers, in droves never seen before. In reality, only 1% more of the population voted than in 2004, something like 62% to 61%. So while, yes, that's more, it's not like it was a monumental increase. It didn't even break a record. So in historic context, it wasn't that big of a deal really.

And then there were the 55 million people who voted against him -- I don't have statistics on this, but I would bet that at least some of them voted not for John McCain, but against the Black guy, so again, race played a role. And isn't that just the way things go in the world? So while some would like to put on airs and act like we did something special in this election, I don't really think that's the truth, and I doubt many thinking people are buying that premise.

My next thought on Obama is that we truly don't know who he is. First, the press never vetted him. He was given an unprecedented free ride by the media during most of the campaign. So in the past, we've been able to rely on the press causing any and everything about a candidate to surface and be examined, but not this time. They simply wouldn't do it. It was like a conspiracy to grease the skids on putting their man in office, and no matter what legitimate question about Obama's past came up, it was quickly buried by the mainstream media and the person raising the question was immediately attacked.

And in addition to the ongoing question mark in the press, we saw several different Obamas. In the primaries, he ran to the Left and beat out Hillary Clinton to get his party's nomination. As soon as he hit the general election against McCain, he suddenly moved center and tried to sound like a moderate in all his stump speeches. And looking back, if one does review his voting record in both the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate, he was the most liberal-voting Senator on record. So past actions indicate a hard Leftist, while stump speeches portrayed a moderate. And since the press was on no mission for the truth about this, we still have no idea what we'll get in a real live President from Mr. Obama. It's a total crapshoot. Hard to believe over 60 million people were willing to go with a crapshoot on this, but that's just more proof that other factors like race and Bush hatred played a major role in his election.

And here's something that really bothered me about the Obama phenomenon, and not so much him, but in the behavior of some of his followers. The whole 'he's our messiah' thing was just too much. People turned him into some fantasy saviour superhero of the world, pinning all sorts of hopes and dreams on him, assigning all sorts of super powers to this one man, a politician. The looney end of the spectrum got out of control with it, and we started to see some really OTP things -- children chanting, songs being sung, art being created, Obama depicted as Jesus -- and the thing that came to mind for me, the only other time I recall seeing that sort of behavior and response -- was in the era of Hitler and the Nazis. *shiver* There was an Obama fever in the left-leaning part of the population that resulted in the same types of behaviors and displays I've read about in history books from Nazi Germany in the 1940s. And I find that VERY disturbing. We'd all like to think we are so different from them, that we learned from that; that it could never happen again. But the hard Left behavior during this election helped me to see how all that happened in the past and, if left unchecked, could happen again. And I find that extremely unsettling for all of us.

Adding one cultural note -- I will say this about the race factor -- though this is not a huge milestone to me personally, it probably truly is for the African American community. And if Obama's election has enabled African Americans to see their lives differently, to truly believe they've broken through a barrier now, then I find value in that. If his election has moved us past a view in the Black public mindset that this is a racist country in which a Black person cannot hope to get ahead, then that's valuable to the culture. I would say to those people -- see, regardless of what you thought, the only force really holding you back was yourself -- but they would have never believed that until now (and many still won't). And so it is probably a very big deal for that sector of society, and if it helps to move them forward in any way, it has value to us all. I think it will be difficult now for them to legitimately claim or truly believe that America is a racist country, since it took the votes of a many non-Blacks to put Obama in office.

And so...he is...headed for office.

Even though he wasn't 'my guy' in this election, in general, I find Obama to be likeable, and I do have admiration for him in certain regards. I very much like the idea of a young Black guy in office, vs. the typical old white guy...I really do. It feels fresh. And I love the idea of having young children living in the White House -- it has a feeling of new beginnings to it. I am, however, very concerned about Obama's lack of experience -- he really, truly doesn't have any, no matter what they may argue. He's spent most of his career either administering social programs or running for office. I feel that he has good intentions (who doesn't?) but he just doesn't know what he doesn't know, and the rest of us will have to suffer for that. And then there are the policies he touted during the election which I cannot agree with -- his tax policies, his views on abortion, his naivety on national security -- we seem to be polar opposites on the things that really matter. So while I like the 'idea' of Obama and admire certain things about him, I can't get past his liberal voting record and the policies he embraced during the campaign. My only hope is that, like most other politicians, he won't make good on any of his promises while in office and will be forced to move to the center on most everything, since that's where the majority of the country lies.

And so, in January, we start anew with a fresh administration. I am hopeful that he will do the right thing, but I am fearful of his naivete and of the vicious Democrat political dogs in power on the Hill -- Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and others -- who have a robust liberal agenda and are prepared to try to shove a lot of policy change down the throats of most of us who sit in the middle. I do hope Obama has a spine and can battle those two. My fear is that he neither has the will nor the inclination to do it, but we'll go into it hoping for the best. He seems to be a rather pragmatic guy, not an idealogue, so the bodes well for him listening to a lot of differing opinions and thinking things through. So we'll hope for the best.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Election Wrap-Up - Part II

I've had a hard time gathering my thoughts on the Presidential election this year. There are many, and they continue to evolve as the post-election dust settles, so it's hard to distill them into something succint and meaningful, but I'll try. Here goes.

Sarah Palin. To begin with, I am amazed that the mere mention of her name can send some people into an immediate rage. For someone who's been in the national psyche for only about 120 days now, it's fascinating to me that she can evoke that sort of reaction. Half the country's been in the grip of BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) for the last five years; suddenly they've switched gears into PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome), and it only took her about 30 days to accomplish that. Definite proof that she is a force to contend with. Well done, I say.

Let's see.....Sarah Palin. First of all, regardless of how badly the press wants us to believe it, this is not a stupid woman. She couldn't possibly be. This is a woman who has raised/is raising 5 children (a daunting feat in itself), including a special needs child. And while doing that, she's managed to become the governor of the largest state in the union, all on her own. She did not ride the coattails of any man to get there -- not a husband, not a father, nobody. She also did not come from money, power, celebrity or any other form of societal influence. Her rise is an amazing feat, and (one would think) especially in Alaska -- likely not the most progressive of thinkers in terms of the role of a woman in society, so it was probably even harder to crash through the glass ceiling there. Imagine how many men she had to outsmart, outthink, outplay to get where she is today. Well done again, I say. And no, regardless of what you may think of her, this is NOT a stupid woman. As a career woman, climbing my way through a man's world, I recognize this and can fully appreciate it.

I understand the media's crusade to paint her as incompetent -- they wouldn't do that if they didn't fear her so much. They understand that she is a force, and one that threatens the hard Left, so she must be destroyed. Got it. But what I don't understand is the hate, the absolutely vile and shameless reaction -- from the so-called 'feminists' -- to her very presence. Why so much anger and hate? Why the vulgar reaction? Why aren't they able to respect her accomplishments but respectfully disagree with her views? As women, they should have respect for what she's done, the climb she's achieved, yet be able to state calm disagreement with her views. Instead, they go back to Junior High behavior and resort to the lowest of attacks -- on her looks, her clothes, her accent, her family. I've never seen so many 'adults' instantaneously melt into such childish, playground behavior with the name-calling and rumor-mongering and attempts at personal destruction, all because they don't agree with her views. Wow. And all this from the "party of tolerance", as they would have us believe. Yes, tolerant, but only as long as you don't disagree with them. Hypocrites, all, and this has 'outed' them on it.

I've never been both so proud and so embarrassed by the behavior of women, all at once. Proud that a more traditional woman like Sarah Palin can legitimately rise to the top, and embarrassed at the behavior of women who spat on her and threw the equivalent of temper tantrums over it. In my opinion, these so-called "progressive" woman have set women in general back by twenty years with that reaction and behavior. Can we really be taken seriously now? Debatable. Despite all contention to the contrary, women aren't really "for women". Apparently, we're only "for women" who think like we do. Find one that doesn't, and she's toast....no matter what she's accomplished. Or so it goes with the hard Left women's constituency in this country. If you're not hard and you're not Left, you're not legitimate.

As for Sarah Palin as a candidate -- I admire her. I actually agree with many of her views. Oh go ahead, denigrate me for it. Let me apologize if I've offended you with my values and convictions. But I do believe in smaller government, personal accountability, low taxes, free markets, strong national security and the value of life. Yes, the value of life. And isn't that last item really the crux of it all? Isn't that where all the hate came from? Her views on life? Oh sure, they'll say they don't like Sarah Palin because she's stupid, she tried to ban books, she's a religious zealot, she's practiced witchcraft, she speaks in tongues and on and on (none of which is true, by the way), but isn't their real issue with her that she wouldn't abort her Downs Syndrome baby, and that she values the sanctity of life? Let's just get it out there -- the real elephant in the room. And ooh -- how awful -- someone who believes that each life is precious and that each child has something to offer to the world. What a horrid woman! Well, sorry folks, but I admire her views on that and her willingness to stand up and say that. I feel very, very strongly that someone has to be for the babies, for the innocent lives. We can call it a 'choice'; we can call it 'reproductive rights' or whatever other label people want to put on it to spare themselves the ugliness. But it doesn't change what it is -- one of the most horrible and vile actions ever concocted by the human race, and I cannot support it. Like I said, go ahead, call me names, attack my intelligence, my looks, my family, whatever. But the truth is that I am a modern woman, successful, educated, intelligent and energetic -- and I believe in life. So go ahead, shun me, call me stupid, eject me from the 'feminist' club. I can deal with it. But guess what -- I don't think I'm the only one out here. The ugly little secret is that there are quite a few educated, intelligent, successful women who do believe in the value of life. But they want to keep a lid on us....which is why they hated Sarah Palin so much, because she represented their biggest threat -- a woman who made it without giving up her values and convictions. Yes, ladies, it can be done.

Do I think Sarah Palin was ready to be President? No. But she might have been ready to be Vice President, basically a nothing job unless #1 goes down. It actually would have been a great learning experience for her, to watch the Presidential sausage-making from the front lines, assuming John McCain had a healthy 4-8 years in office. Palin has proven to be a fast study. I don't think it'd be long before she'd picked up enough savvy in the VP position to be competent in the top job, should it come to that. And I don't think we've seen that last of her. She'll be back. In her final days of the campaign, she was giving a speech and raising $1M a stop. $1M a stop! There's some power associated with that, ladies and gentleman. This is not a woman who will simply disappear.

For me, Sarah Palin is the first female political figure on a national level that I can really relate to. Good or bad, she looks the most like me. Most of the others have been so far Left or just so angry and bitter, I couldn't relate to them, especially not as women. But something about her struck a chord -- and not just with me, but apparently with 55 million other people -- because of her authenticity and her sense of 'normalness'. It was one of those rare cases when "one of us" rose above it all. And let's face it -- she's the person the founding fathers had in mind when they put a representative government in place over 200 years ago. Their intention was for regular people to govern us, not monarchs, career politicians or elitists. As William F. Buckley said, he would rather be governed by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than by the entire staff of academicians at Harvard. Well, Sarah Palin is one of those people, one of us, and in these tumultuous times full of career politicians, that seems like a refreshing change. I mean, look at the state of things -- how much worse could she do, really?

I do know this -- the media, the hard Left, feminists, Hollywood and half the country had a knee jerk reaction to Sarah Palin. She's a lightning rod. There's almost no one who doesn't have a strong opinion about her (and after only 120 days, which is fascinating). And I also realize this -- if they don't like Sarah Palin....they wouldn't like me either. It's an odd feeling to think that at least half the country would hate your guts if you were to ever be put in a national spotlight like that. On the other hand, I don't think I'll lose any sleep over it. Being liked is highly overrated.

And there will have to be a Part III on Mr. Obama...yet to come.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not Part II -- Yet

I've been trying to find some time to gather my thoughts and post Election Wrap Part II, and life has been way too busy for that lately, but I do have time for a quick post about other things.


I just returned from New York City. Two days, business trip. It's amazing -- sometimes that city can be completely annoying and sometimes it's fabulous. This trip? Fabulous, absolutely. I had a ball, despite actually getting some productive business done.


There was just something about New York this week. Not sure what it was. It was unseasonably cold out, but the people of the city were unseasonably warm and friendly, and that so added to the enjoyment of the city.


I spent two days and a night there. Arrived at the office on Tuesday around noon -- 5th Ave address, next to the original Saks, across the street from Rockefeller Center -- could the location be any sweeter? Answer: No.


I met colleagues, worked all afternoon, broke for a coffee around 4pm and headed over to the corner Starbucks which was brimming over with other busy worker bees also taking a coffee break. A swirling mass of black wool coated New Yorkers queuing up for coffee and pastries, no doubt being repeated at every Starbucks in Manhattan at the very same moment.


After work, we walked to a lovely Italian restaurant somewhere near 3rd Ave & 50th. Belissimo! The later it got, the more the locals dropped in, so we knew it was a find.


After dinner, I took a cab back to my hotel at Broadway and W 44th, where I ascended 49 floors to look out at Gotham glistening below me. It was a sight, a feeling, a moment to be caressed, to be standing there above it all, just gazing at it, like I owned it; it was mine. At least for the night, from the 49th floor, it was. Amazing, amazing, amazing.


Next morning, I got up and walked to work, like a New Yorker. At lunch, we walked through the frigid weather to one of a zillion fabulous neighborhood deli's and had Japanese Udon soup. Delicious. And the best part? I finished work early, my boss caught an early flight, and I was left to my own devices to explore the City until 9pm, when my flight took off.


Not one to toss away an opportunity like that, I quickly pranced over to Park Ave & 50th and checked my luggage with the bell captain at the Waldorf Astoria so I could stalk the shops of Manhattan properly. Fifth, Park, Madison...I made a beeline through them all, ogling the store windows, taking it all in. Stopped by Rockefeller Center to see them working on the tree -- it's not lit yet, but soon. Hit Saks on 5th and came out with a lovely bottle of Coco Chanel I've been pining for (I could buy that in Dallas or in Boca Raton, but there's something more glamorous about buying Chanel at Saks on Fifth ave, isn't there?)


I walked through the busy streets, people hurrying home from work, traffic tying up, cabbies to and fro, just taking in the city. Twinkling lights, Christmas decorations, bells being rung on the streets, chestnuts roasted and sold on corners -- I loved it -- a small window of time for just the two of us -- me and the City -- and I couldn't help but feel a bit of Carrie Bradshaw all the while.


Ironically, as the plane took off from La Guardia and circled over Manhattan, I got to watch the city twinkle from much higher than 49 floors...and what was on the airplane TV? Sex and the City.


Fabulous!



Sunday, November 9, 2008

Election Wrap-Up - Part I

Number one: I'm glad it's over.

Number two: My guy didn't win.

Number three: Even though my guy didn't win, we have a new President, and he will be my President, even though I didn't vote for him. So no real bitterness here, but I do have some lingering thoughts:

1. John McCain. I say this without a historian's context, but I'm fairly confident that there has probably never been a candidate more qualified to be President than John McCain. He served valiantly in a very unpopular war, ending up in a POW camp in Vietnam for five long years, where he was repeatedly tortured. He had his arms broken multiple times (which is why to this day he cannot raise his arms above his shoulders). When they tried to force him to divulge the names of other soldiers, he broke down and gave them names -- the names of the starting line of a professional football team. When he was offered the chance to be released from the camp early -- before others who had been there longer than him -- he turned it down and remained captive for another three long years. This is indeed an honorable man, a man with uncommon valour, a man who clearly loves his country and his fellow Americans more than himself.


McCain went on to serve for 30+ years in the U.S. House and Senate. Is he old? Yep. But the man has history under his belt -- he was there during the Reagan years, for God's sake....the Cold War....when the wall fell...and for every administration and every major foreign policy challenge since. He has always served proudly and always stood for something larger than himself.


I'll say it again -- I believe there has probably never been a candidate more qualified to be President than John McCain. Then why didn't he win? Unfortunately, the most qualified of candidates can be poor campaigners; they can often be less exciting and less charismatic than those less qualified (he was) and, in his defense, he had some pretty big hills to climb -- the unpopularity of his party, the timing of the souring economy, the phenomenon of Obamamania everywhere, including the press. There were just too many things working against him. And it's a shame, because nobody deserved the office more than John McCain.

2. Joe Biden. To me, Joe Biden is the forgotten man in this election. Biden has been in the Senate, in the same job for 35 years. He represents the state of Delaware -- a group of nice folks, I'm sure -- but certainly not a major state or impactive constituency. Joe's just been elected and re-elected over and over and over again, and he's been in the same job all this time because he simply can't do anything else. He's a blowhard, a bore and a Beltway joke. When Obama selected him, most of us chuckled (and groaned). And if anything was proven about any of the candidates in this election, it is what a complete idiot Joe Biden really is. Though the press would like for us to believe the dummy VP candidate was Sarah Palin, in reality it was Joe Biden. You just didn't hear about it because he's such a yawner. And for someone who's been around as long as he has, he sure doesn't know much. He gifted us with a gaffe a day on the campaign trail. He had his foot in his mouth more often than he didn't. In fact, in his televised debate with Sarah Palin, he came off as a golden-tongued debator (a master-debator, perhaps?), at least until minutes afterwards, when the pundits pointed out that despite all his eloquence and bravado, most of his answers were wrong. And not just slightly wrong, but ridiculously wrong. Big ones, like foreign policy questions. Even Palin got those right. So if there's anyone to really fear in all this, it's Joe Biden. The man is a walking stooge. He has a huge ego, a massive temper and bad hair plugs. Ugh. Pray very hard that it's never HIS finger on 'the button'.

And ole Joe clearly backs this notion of playing Robin Hood -- taking from the rich to give to the poor -- yet when his own records of charitable contributions are reviewed, it's clear he doesn't buy his own bull -- he's given almost nothing -- nada -- to charity over the past how many years. So not only is he an idiot, he's a hypocrite. He's all for giving YOUR money away, just not HIS. So much for 'change' in Washington. Nice pick, Mr. Obama.

Part II with my thoughts on both Obama and Palin coming soon.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pure Garbage

I've been purposely not shopping. Trying to keep the budget in line, trying to work with what's already in my closet, trying to forego the fall fashion scene. But this past weekend, I hit my limit. When I couldn't find anything decent to wear, I broke down and decided to go do a little shopping.

Not a major outing, mostly a search for some casual tops to wear with jeans, a few long sleeves to take me through light fall days, because what's currently in my closet is either sleeveless (tanks, strappies, sleeveless tees) or turtleneck sweaters. Nothing in between, except for the tops that have gotten too short and wide after 10 washings.

What is it about casual tops? They never become too long and narrow to wear, always too short and wide. And I am a tall lady, so this is particularly annoying. How does that happen, anyway? Why does everything shrink in that same direction so suddenly? One day it's fine, and the next, the shrinkage fairy has struck. Suddenly, something that fit last week is now too wide for my torso, and too short to touch the top of my jeans. I don't get that.

So anyway, I went out to do a little shopping, and you know what? I couldn't find a damn thing to buy. I have never seen so much trash in my life. Things that are just awful! Bad design, cheap fabric, awful fit, poor quality. Everywhere.

I thought...I'm in the wrong shops....the good stuff must be at a higher price point. Time to upgrade! So I did, and it simply got worse. It was just more bad stuff, with higher price tags.

Who are these buyers? What are they thinking? Who do they think they're dressing with this crap?

I spent an entire afternoon in one of the top shopping plazas in town, and I came away with nothing. NOTHING, I tell you!

Dallas, we have a problem.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm SOOOO Excited!

This doesn't open in the U.S. until Nov 14, so if anyone anywhere sees it before me, do leave a review for me here!



Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Don't Like People

I've only just recently come to realize this. I'm very dimissive of people...I always have been, and I don't know why. I think they disappoint me, and when that happens, I mentally dismiss them. Oh, I still socialize with many of them, for the most part. I don't think they know they've been dismissed. But I don't put myself out there. I don't invest in them, I don't plant roots there.

I can see this with people all through my life, past and present, including some family members.

This is not the way to be. And it's probably my biggest flaw. I really need to work on this, but first, I'd like to understand why I am this way. Why am I so stand-off-ish? Why am I so selective about who I 'let in', about who I view as having real credibility? Unconsciously, I seem to find something wrong with most everyone. Perhaps I have intimacy issues. Perhaps I am afraid to let them know me.

I really don't know the answer to this.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Time to Be Conservative

Looks like the party is over. Time to nurse the global hangover.

In the past week, I've lost 30%+ of my 401K value. I fear I will never be able to retire.


Thankfully, I got out of the stock market with my other forms of savings a year ago, when the market was at an all-time high. Pure luck, no skill involved there.


Cash is king now, so I'm conserving. No major purchases (and very few minor), no big dinners out, no clothes shopping binges, no vacations, nada. Just the simple, conservative life until the storm passes, which could be a while.


The really amazing thing is that we're about to elect a man and a party who were primary offenders and causes of the world's current financial woes. It's like hiring an arsonist to put out a fire. It's crazy that people aren't paying attention. I fear this country has lost its way...and its mind.


God help us all.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Latest Obsession

Mellowcreme pumpkins.

Brach's mellowcreme pumpkins -- only Brach's will do. The others are all poseurs.

And no candy corn, EVER. It must be the pumpkins!

It's a seasonally-correct obsession.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Will Any of this Matter in 100 Years?

Not that I'll be around to answer that question, and neither will my children, since I don't have any (something for which I am thankful every day, given the state of affairs)....but with all the alarming trends going on out there.......what will the world look like in 100 years?

Recent headlines are distressing -- The titans of Wall Street are crumbling; Islam is taking over Europe; Sharia courts are becoming part of the British legal system....has the world gone mad?

Where are our leaders? Who's sleeping on the job? It seems like we used to have adults in charge of these things, but now, it doesn't appear so.

Now I understand why we don't live more than 80-90 years. I don't think any of us could stand any more than that.








Deluded

And now I'm reading this, and I may never buy anything 'designer' ever again.

Read it. It's in paperback. A $15 investment that may save you thousands in the future.


Luxury, indeed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Math

Scene: Restaurant patio, sunset, light breeze, small crowd

Couple #1 (them):
He orders filet mignon - $33
She orders mahi-mahi filet - $29

Couple #2 (us):
He orders Caesar Salad with chicken - $15
She orders fish tacos - $14.50

90 minutes later:
The bill arrives. Couple #1 suggests we just split it down the middle. So we do.

I think to myself: I wish we weren't so polite.

Monday, September 15, 2008

An Election Year Revelation

It has just occurred to me for the first time that I have never thought of this person as a woman. Never. Not once.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem

Well, here comes another one. Hunker down for a Texas-sized storm and hang on to your cowboy hat!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Keeping It All Airborne

Today, I feel like there's just too much stuff going on. I'm feeling overwhelmed, like there's too many things and not enough hours.

I wonder how I'm going to get it all done, and not just done but done well, because mediocre won't do for any of them. At the moment, it feels like I'm juggling too many balls in the air, and one of them just might hit the floor if I'm not very, very careful.
Maybe I'm just tired today, and things will be better in the morning. I sure hope so. Life has been a bugger lately. I think I need to go sit and have a good conversation with God tomorrow. That always helps.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I Am Energized!


I could not be more pumped!!!
Congrats to Sarah Palin and all modern women who have waited to see this.
Awesome.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Read This Book

I read this on an overnight flight between Miami and London. And again, between Paris and Atlanta.

I laughed. I cried. I lived vicariously through it.

I loved it. I have not spoken to one modern, intelligent woman who didn't.

Enjoy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another Perspective

Since the start of the Iraq War, over 3500 U.S. soldiers have been killed in action serving our country.

Since last year, 41,059 people were killed driving on our highways.

It's official. Fighting a war in Iraq is a safer proposition than driving a car on a U.S. freeway. Who knew?

Conclusion? We must pull out of our highways immediately.

My Latest Obsession

I eat them by the handfuls. They're like heroin, and I'm jonesing for a daily fix.

My neighborhood store has them on sale for $1 a box. A discounted sugar high is all the more sweet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Random Rants

Way too busy and scattered to put together a cohesive and well-organized blog entry, I'll have to settle for capturing the following:

- I just spent 14 of the last 72 hours rolling across the Texas prairie, north to south and then back again, in 100+ degree weather to do a little visit with the folks. Drive was too long, visit was too short.

- My eating habits over the past few days have been more than horrendous. Whenever I go visit my mom, she stuffs me full of the worst foods in the world (but they taste oh so good). This is part of the job of being a mom -- make your adult children eat as much bad food as possible in the shortest amount of time. Food pushers, indeed.

- I am currently hooked on these little red candies called 'Hot Tamales' that are basically jelly beans covered in a cinnamon-charged outer layer and shaped like little red bullets. I am eating them by the handfuls, which is not a good thing. I feel obsessive about it but I think it's really some howling hormones that are out of control. I am not attempting to control them, however, I understand that I will have to deal with their consequences in a few days, when the hormones go away but the extra poundage does not.

- I should be doing some work right now but suffer from a distinct lack of interest in it at the moment.

- I knew John Edwards was a scumbucket. Now, so does everyone else. The lying is probably worse than the affair. People put themselves out for this man; they believed in him. They invested time, money, emotion in him (God only knows why), only to have him look at them and lie, lie, lie. What is it about sex that causes men to risk everything for it?

- Turns out that if John Edwards had come clean early on, it is likely that Hillary Clinton would have won the Democratic nomination instead of Barrack Obama. This makes the second philandering, cheating male politician that has hosed Hillary and tanked her chance at the White House. She really should be developing a distinct disdain for men at this point, shouldn't she?

- We had a cold front swing through today, and it is only 91 degrees out, a welcomed change from the 106 we had EVERY DAY LAST WEEK.

- It's difficult to continue my outdoor exercise routine in this summer heat. I feel myself falling away from it....I go out less often and stay for shorter periods of time. That, coupled with the current obsession with Hot Tamales is bad news for my thighs.

- I have a gyno appointment tomorrow, and the part of that I dread the most is the 'weigh in'. Ugh, that is emotionally brutal. I plan to close my eyes so as to not completely confirm the damage done by the Hot Tamales as of late.

- I am taking some new b.c. pills that are making me antsy. This month is an improvement over last month. I will give it one more month to see if it gets better. Some days are okay but some are making me crazy. Hormones. Ugh!

- The very best thing about my trip to see the folks was my dad. He has recovered from major heart surgery done in January, and he is like a whole new person. I have never seen him in such a good mood and looking so good. It was well worth the trip to give him a big hug and see him smiling and feeling so good. God is great!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ye Have Little Faith...and Here's Why....

And now this:
What initially seemed to be a journalistic scoop of dubious moral propriety now seems to be a case of an Israeli paper being played by the Barack Obama campaign.

Maariv, the second most popular newspaper in Israel, was roundly criticized for publishing the note Obama left in the Kotel. But now a Maariv spokesperson says that publication of the note was pre-approved for international publication by the Obama campaign, leading to the conclusion that the "private" prayer was intentionally leaked for public consumption.

"Lord - Protect my family and me," reads the note. "Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."

However, it now appears that Maariv had collaborated with the Obama campaign in getting the "private" prayer, with its "modest" supplicaton to the Lord, out to the public, buffing his Christian credentials and showing his "humility."

A Ma'ariv spokesman was quoted in The Jerusalem Post as saying that "Barack Obama's note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem."


Is it any wonder people have no faith in politicians? It's all about disingenuous PR, press and photo opps. And not much else.

We could use a good, targeted lightning bolt about now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sound the Trumpets!


It's official.

Obama has been officially crowned 'King' --

- by the press

- by Hollywood

- by throngs of admirers in Europe

We should probably just skip the election and let the coronation begin.
After all, if the press and the glitterati and every Klaus on the street in Berlin thinks he should be King of the World, then it must be granted!

This actually helps me make up my mind about this awful election. I generally look for who those three 'constituencies' above are for, and I go with the other guy.

Thanks for making it abundantly clear for me this time.
*******POST-SCRIPT TO THIS BLOG POST*********
The media are reporting 200,000 Berliners flocked to hear Barack Obama speak. They neglected to mention that he followed a major free concert by 2 VERY popular groups, Reggae artist Patrice and rock artist Reamonn and free pizza, beer & bratwurst. This is precisely what happened when the media reported 75,000 voters who flocked to see Obama recently in Portland, OR — (or was it another free concert ;-)
Something stinks, and I don't think it's the beer & brats....

The Culprit

After almost single-handedly destroying the tomato industry in this country, the Feds have finally tracked down the real source of the latest salmonella outbreak: Jalapeno Peppers from Mexico

And after all that bad press. I'd say someone needs to officially apologize to tomatoes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mama Mia, Here I Go Again....

Just came from seeing "Mama Mia" (movie version) in its opening weekend here. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Even more than I loved the West End musical itself.

Meryl Streep was fabulous, as always. And Pierce Brosnan? Well, he can't hold a tune in a bucket -- still, his bad singing made the show all the more endearing.

This is definitely the feel good movie the summer needed. It's so great to go to the movies and actually be entertained.

Thanks ABBA and friends. Well done.

Post-script to this entry: Since the Friday night opening across the country, critic after critic has picked it apart and panned it, saying things like 'the story line is not believable' and 'the choreography is terrible...it's just people hopping about', and 'the script is mind-numbing'.

PALEEZ! Do you think it might be okay to go to the movies just to have some fun? Does every film have to have some freakin' political message or deep, dark script to be of value? How about something like, 'It's a musical. It's fun. Come and sing along and enjoy your 2-hour frivolous escape from the world'. Huh? How about something like that for a review?

Freakin' critics take themselves way too seriously. They need to get over themselves. They've forgotten how to just go to the movies and have some fun.

And by the way, the film broke records this weekend and made over $30M. So much for critics, eh?

This Might Be the Way to Go

I received this email from a South African friend today. In light of our current crop of presidential candidates and politicians, she may just be on to something:
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen ElizabethII:

In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas , which she does not fancy). Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide.You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up 'vocabulary').
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All intersections will be replaced withroundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

8. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews ofknown and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are, pound for pound, the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America . Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!
This could be a viable alternative....


Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

I have returned. I'm back but in recovery -- in a coma after blowing through how many different timezones and way too many planes, trains and automobiles. I now need to be idle and not drag a piece of luggage anywhere for a while. Thankfully, I have been given a reprieve from my Toronto trip that was planned for later this week, so I plan to go absolutely nowhere now for as long as I can possibly get away with it.

Still, I had a terrific trip. Three days in London, three days in Paris....working most of the time, but a nice change of venue all the same.

London offered mostly rainy days, which I generally despise.....but the familiar, ever present grayness that hangs in the air there almost felt like a welcoming friend. What I notice about the rain in London is that it's so inconsequential. People don't seem to change their lives over it. They don't walk faster, they don't run for cover, they don't appear to be inconvenienced by it much at all. I really like that about Londoners. They say you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle a rainy day. Kudos to the Brits, who kept right on with their business at hand even as the rain came down.

My regrets about my trip to London are that I had too little time, I spent too much of it working, and I managed to blow in and out of town without scoring a single scone. Blast that!

And then there was Paris. Again, I spent most of my time locked in conference rooms (and rightfully so, since someone else was paying for me to be there). But I did manage to eek out some time on Friday evening. I slipped out of my business suit, put on a lovely strappy, flowy maxi dress and went out for a date with Paris, the city. Magnifique!

It was, however, express dating, as they say. I did as much with Paris as I could in 7 hours, but I can't say we got to know each other all that well. Still, I managed to enjoy our time together.... the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, the Seine, the Left Bank, St. Honore and Rue Royal...all done before the sun set. I worked up an appetite for steak poivre and a summer rose wine in a small brasserie, where I sat alone and had a lovely dinner by myself, feeling very French all the while.

And I wonder if I didn't also somehow look French that evening -- I had 4 or 5 different people approach me and ask me for directions...all in French. It made me laugh, as that always seems to happen to me, no matter where I am. People seem to think I must know the way to wherever it is they're wanting to go....somehow I must look like I know where I'm going, even when that couldn't be further from the truth.

I went to bed that night with the blue lights of the Eiffel Tower glowing through my window. I stared at it for a while, thinking about how lucky I was to have someone actually send me there -- to a place that people dream about seeing but may never actually get there. And here I was, turning out my lights and saying goodnight to it, which felt a little indulgent on my part. Who am I to turn off my lights on Paris? Still, I had a flight to catch the next day, and it had been a tiring week....so I said 'Bon Nuit' to the City, blew it a good night French kiss and hit the hay.

And so I have returned.






Sunday, July 6, 2008

JetSet

I'm off to fly the friendly skies - across the big pond on an overnighter.

Cheers!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Birthday Fun

Momentary apologies to the rest of the world.....but it was really fun being an American tonight.

We drank, we danced, we sang patriotic songs, we waved flags and shot off fireworks. We cheered and broke into applause at anyone wearing a military uniform. It felt good to feel good about the country, regardless of what the press or other people have to say about us. This was just us, celebrating being us....uniquely American...red, white, blue, brown, black and yellow....all singing along to Yankee Doodle Dandy and God Bless America. It was great fun, truly.

I'm sure tomorrow will bring back our differences, but tonight we were all united. And it felt great.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue.

232 Candles


Happy Birthday USA! You've got your problems, for sure, but you're still one grand experiment and a fabulous place to be. Many thanks to my Italian (Dad's side) and English (Mom's side) ancestors who made the trek over many, many years ago. You rock!

Today...a holiday. No work, all play. A neighborhood gathering with food, friends and fun, topped off with fireworks over the ocean. Burgers, cole slaw, Mom's apple pie all on the menu. My contribution? Appetizers. Pecorino and herb stuffed mushrooms. Yum.

Off to the market in search of perfect 'shrooms.

Happy 4th of July!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Packing Up

Lots of packing going on here....

Packing up the Florida house to leave it until September. It's been a bit of a drag to be here with the daily rain and all. And it's so quiet in town. The high airfares and gas prices have kept people at home rather than heading for a beach vacation this summer. So the typical off-season slow-down is brutally quiet this year, eerily so. A sad state for what is usually a bustling beach town. Contrast that with the energy of the city in Dallas, where crowds of people are out and about on warm summer nights....and it's no contest -- we're headed back to Big D for the rest of the summer. 110 degree days? So be it!

And it looks like I'll be taking the long way back....Miami-London-Paris-Atlanta-Dallas. Whew! Talk about your scenic route! So I'm busy packing for all that, too. What to take, what to wear....office, downtime, playtime....

So much to do, so little time.....

Monday, June 30, 2008

Yowsa



Is it November yet?

*sigh*

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hooker Chic

When did this become a 'look' worn by anyone but Vegas cocktail waitresses and hookers?

This isn't an exact example of it, but you get the picture. Short shorts and very high heels. It used to appear only on selective street corners. Now it can be seen everywhere. Ugh.

It used to be the shorter the short, the flatter the shoe. Unless you were a 'working girl' of sorts, looking for some quick cash.

Now, fashion appears to have gone 'hooker chic'. I see 19 year old girls all over town stumbling along in very short shorts and very high pumps. It looks cheap and ridiculous. And imagine how annoyed the hookers must be -- it's getting more and more difficult for them to differentiate themselves.

I ask -- Do these girls have mothers? I would have never been allowed to leave my room, let alone the house, dressed like that.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Crossed Tracks at the Cinema

Caught a foreign flick the other night, "Roman de Gare", a French film playing at the art theatre down the street. In French, English subtitles, of course.

I'd give it a B+, a pretty good grade for a movie I knew almost nothing about before attending. I selected it based on a few short reviews I read online, plus it seemed to be the best thing playing at the theatre close by, which is now my cinema of choice since I can walk to it and don't have to deal with parking.

I rather like foreign films. I generally don't know any of the actors in them, so nothing distracts from the plot. The story is the star. Too often in Hollywood/American films, I find myself distracted by the aura of a 'star' who has practically become an industry all to him/herself. An example of this is George Clooney. While I rather like looking at George, and I find him to be a decent enough actor, his celebrity image is so strong, it distracts from whatever film he is in. It's a George Clooney movie, rather than a film about 'X' which happens to star George Clooney. He's too famous to melt into any character at this point. Same goes for Brad Pitt -- he's too big of a movie star to be effective. He's a distraction, and if I were a director/screenwriter/whatever, I don't think I'd want him in my movies. But maybe that's just me.

Back to the film at hand..... I found "Roman de Gare" to be a bit of a whodunit, cat-and-mouse film, ripe with trickery. It's presented time sequence will have you question all that went before. It's clever, but not astoundingly so....just enough to be amusing. I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars in my foreign film galaxy. The ending clears up the loose ends pretty well, and while you won't spend a lot of time thinking about it post-movie, it's a decent piece of evening entertainment with some excellent performances. Definitely worth the walk down the street.





Thursday, June 19, 2008

London, Too!

Looks like I will make a pit stop in London on my way to France in mid-July, and I'm pumped about it. We are taking the opportunity, while we are 'in the neighborhood' to stop by and visit our colleagues there. I'm not sure how long I'll be there....or arrival/departure dates...but I'm pumped about it all the same.

One burning question for my British friends out there: Hose or no hose? It's become a real question here in the U.S., even Barrack Obama's wife talked about it yesterday. (she says 'no' to panty hose)

So is it okay to go to the office with bare legs? I do it here....but how does it play in London...and Paris?

Priorities, you know....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brutal!

The past two weeks, I've been catching up on Season 2 of 'The Tudors' on Showtime's Video on Demand. I missed it while it was in current runs, since I don't have Showtime at the Florida house. So while I've been in Dallas, I've made it a point to watch one every other night to catch up and get ready for Season 3.

I have one word for The Tudors (both the show and the real historical figures): Brutal.

I have seen more beheadings this week than I can count! Not that I didn't know this stuff happened -- I've read history and been to the Tower of London several times -- but I guess seeing it on my TV happening to characters I've been following really brings it home.

Curious as to how closely the show mirrors actual historical accounts, I did some reading up on the lives of Henry VIII and his six wives. Indeed, they seem to have done a pretty good job of capturing it in the show. I suppose when history gives one a story like that, no concocted script is required. It's pretty darn good stuff as far as drama goes.

But it also led me to wonder a bit about the lives of women (both royal and not) in Medieval times, so I also did a bit of reading on that. If you haven't, I suggest doing so. It will so make you appreciate being born now, rather than then. The same word came to mind as I read about the typical female's life in the 1500s: Brutal.

They were married off at 14 or 15, generally only lived to be about 30 and pretty much spent every year in between pregnant. It was not atypical for a woman of that time to give birth to 10 or 12 children...with only a few surviving infancy and the plagues. Many, many women died during childbirth itself or shortly thereafter. It's amazing that anyone lived through those ages, given the lack of knowledge of basic medicine or even hygiene. It truly, truly was the Dark Ages, especially for women. The myths about women's bodies, menstruation, sex and childbirth were astonishing. It was not a good time in history to be a female (nor anytime before that, I suspect).

So, if you have an hour to spare, I suggest reading up a bit on all that. You'll get a whole new perspective. If you think your life as a woman is difficult now....it's nothing compared to what women put up with then.

And as for Season 3 of 'The Tudors'.....up next? Wife #3....Lady Jane Seymour. I've cheated and read ahead (a perc of following a historically-based show), so I know what happens...but I'll watch it anyway. Henry Cavill alone is worth the watch.

Paris or Bust!


60 days into the new job, and I hit paydirt. Bingo! I've been summoned to a meeting in Paris in mid-July. Yay! Now I'm trying to decide if I need to stop off in London on my way over or back. For my British friends out there, if I'm also doing London for a few days, I will let you know.


This is fabulous. A trip to Europe on someone else's dime. Actually, someone else's Euro. Otherwise, with the airfares and the value of the dollar in such a state, I wouldn't be going at all this year.


Too bad my husband can't get away to go with me, but I may have to stay a day or two and play anyway.


Time to dust off the French book and rewatch "The Devil Wears Prada". My goodness....what to wear, what to wear....






Friday, June 13, 2008

4.5 Mondays

Possible? Yes. Sort of felt like it anyway.

I've been in a conference all week, morning 'til night with a dozen colleagues and 3 guys from the UK giving Powerpoint presentations. Started bright and early Monday morning, finished noon-ish on Friday. 4.5 days of being cooped up with the same faces. A really long week.

Actually, I must admit that it could have been worse. The subject matter was fairly interesting and the format of the conference not half bad. They also fed us well, which will lead to a big workout week next week. And one interesting demographic dynamic -- I was the lone female in the class. 14 attendees, 13 of them male. The nice thing is that I trumped most of them in title, often not the case in a career woman's world.

One other item of interest -- having nothing to do with the content of the class, yet still interesting to me -- I don't know what it was, but one of the presenters had something going on in his demeanor that called to mind David Beckham for me. He didn't look much like him, but there was an essence of something there that I couldn't put my finger on -- he said he lived north of London, so perhaps they've something in common there? Thankfully, he did not have the annoying Becks voice. (The Beckham thing is lost on me the second he opens his mouth and that tiny, whiny cartoon voice emerges.) In contrast, this guy had a deep, commanding voice and British accent that made you want to listen to him. Words elegantly rolled off his tongue in a deep vibrato, easy on the ears (if not the eyes). He sounded a bit Daniel-Craigish in that regard, and you all know what that does for me (*sigh*). So that put an interesting twist to whatever he happened to be presenting...even if I (the lone female) was the only one who appreciated it.

Sometimes, it's the little things that get you through 4.5 Mondays in a row.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

These Are The Choices?



Underexperienced, Overexperienced. Ugh.
The good news?


Ding, dong...the witch is dead! Or at least comatose for a while.


Monday, June 2, 2008

The 7 Deadlies...

Just when I think men and women have evolved in our relationships to a more modern meeting of the minds and balance of life equity, something comes along....some cultural nothing...that indicates perhaps we have not. This morning's indicator of lack of progress was on one of those stupid Tyra Banks episodes.

I'm very embarrassed to say that I actually exposed myself to this dribble because I was too lazy to get up and find the remote control and change it. Plus, I was only listening with one ear as I sat and answered my work email. Still, I came away shaking my head over what I half paid attention to.

The topic? 7 Ways to Keep Your Lover

Tyra had enticed 7 twenty-something men to come on the show and tell why they had recently broken up with their girlfriends. She then had a panel of so-called 'relationship experts' to expound on the reason provided by the guys. This, purportedly, would highlight the mistakes made by the dumped women and could teach us all a thing or two about how to keep our man. Ahem.

So here are the 7 reasons these guys dumped their ladies, and thus, avoiding this behavior would be the way to keep your man:

1. 'She withheld sex from me.' When they'd had a big fight, when he'd done something wrong, when she was feeling hurt or not pleased, she refused him a little something-something. Um....Okay. Wow. So let me get this straight. Even if he treats me badly, disrespects me, makes me feel like crap, stomps all over my feelings, I'm supposed to pop open wide and let him go at it. Really? Even if my resulting lack of desire for him is due to emotional duress (and not a punishment strategy), I'm just supposed to lay back and keep him happy. Well apparently so, because all of the so-called 'experts' agreed. The rule? No matter what, don't go without sex for two weeks. The guy has every right to bolt if that happens.

Wow. Score 1 for men, bigtime zero for the progress of women. I thought that women had started to move out of the dark ages where it actually mattered to men that there was emotional participation along with the sex. Now I hear, even from the experts, that this truly does not matter. It's the Nike philosophy. JUST DO IT.

2. 'She was too clingy.' The girlfriend moved from Florida to NYC to be with him, they had a baby, and now, when he wants to disappear at night for 4 or 5 hours to party with the guys, she either doesn't want him to go or wants to go with him. Um, do I even have to expand on what's wrong with this picture? And once again, our panel of experts agreed -- she definitely needs to give him his space.

3. 'She wouldn't clean up my stuff.' Apparently the poor bloke worked all day (and so did she, by the way), but it would have just been the sexiest thing ever if she'd done those dishes that were stacked up in his sink. Again, the experts agreed.

4. 'She didn't trust me.' Well if he'd aligned with 1-3 above, I can see how #4 would happen.

5. 'She was boring.' This guy didn't like the same old thing all the time. He wanted a woman to surprise him with fun and excitement as often as possible. Yes, the experts agreed -- it was definitely this woman's fault that they were in a rut. Dump her.

6. 'She wanted me to be her wallet.' This poor guy had a girlfriend who was just too into him having some money. Wow. A woman concerned about financial security. Amazing! What a concept! Let's see....traditionally, I think this has been the trade-off across the centuries. He gets regular sex; she gets financial security. Yes, yes, that's the unvarnished version of what marriage was about before "love" took over....but apparently this guy is shocked by that. He wants the regular sex (two-week rule, you know), but she can pay her own way. ha! Good luck with that. Women are just lining up for men like this one.

7. 'She wasn't confident enough.' She agreed with him too much. And he wants a woman who speaks her own mind. Oh, yes, I'm so sure. And the minute she overrides him or puts her needs above his, he'll be crying some of the 1-6 above. PALEEZ.

So that's it. That's why these pencil dicks dumped their girlfriends (and apparently, this is how you can avoid such ugliness...).

And all I can do is be glad I'm not out there in the single world, trying to find a decent guy to date or marry. Wow. The de-evolution of women in modern relationships is simply astounding to me. But what's more shocking is the 'agreement' by the 'experts'.

What the hell is going on out there? Geez!

Friday, May 30, 2008

So Which One Are You?


If I had to pick....from a persona (not looks) standpoint....I'd say I'm Carrie with a bit of Charlotte mixed in. I do have a spattering of the Miranda career edge...at least on weekdays...but minus the heavy negative sarcasm factor. (positive sarcasm, yes). For the most part, I think I'm missing the Samantha gene....but that's probably a good thing. I mean, does the world really need more of that?
So if you had to pick, which one are you?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Simply Blessed

It sounded like a cartoon voice. Surely he was making it up.

As the odd sound pierced my cloud of internal thoughts and summoned me back to my physical surroundings, I was sure this person was making this up. No one had a real voice like that. He had to be joking.

But as I came back into full awareness of my surroundings -- a pizza stop in a crowded airport during a layover on my way to Toronto -- I realized that the young man gathering the trash and speaking kindly to people in such an odd voice was actually genuine. As I paid more attention, it quickly became clear that he had some form of mental disability. The cartoon voice and unusually cheerful demeanor belonged to someone who did not live in reality...a simpleton...someone not fully capable of grasping and dealing with the real world.

Our eyes met, and he quickly and happily greeted me in the cartoon voice, "Howdy Ma'am" he said cheerfully. I responded, "Hi there. How are you?", not expecting the response I would get. "Having a good day and just happy to be blessed," he said. "That's what it's all about -- being blessed." I cautiously responded, " Yes, it is."

He walked away, happily completing his job of collecting the trash, smiling at people who brought them their empty paper plates and cups. And I thought....how ironic. Me, with an above average IQ....him clearly below; yet he is the one who gave me something profound to think about. Just minutes earlier, I had been lost in some thoughts about my own troubles, a bit grouchy about the flight, the layover, the trip in general. Feeling a lot less than blessed for whatever reason, none of it really legitimate.

And then this person, this trash collector, this simpleton, comes along and reminds me what it's really all about in two sentences flat. His single statement caused me to rethink my entire day and to reconsider what's really important. I no longer dwelled on the petty minutia or the inconvenience at hand. His greeting had changed my entire day, and I am still thinking about it, even now.

It's odd how someone who passes through your life in a day, even in a few moments, can contribute something valuable. A kind word, a cheeful demeanor, even a smile can change someone else's day for the better.

And he, the simpleton....reflected the light of God, even in his simple state. Something for all of us to admire and emulate. A lesson learned, from a simpleton.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Never Forget....

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
We must never forget to whom we owe gratitude for our freedoms. God bless all who have served and those who have lost those serving the cause of freedom.

Pass the Garlic Butter Please!

When I was growing up, we had 4 television channels to watch -- the ABC, NBC, CBS affiliates and public television. Now, I have something like 600 channels at my beck and call, and the exponentially larger population of things to watch brings some strange choices and odd behaviors into my life.

The latest example of this? The Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. I think my husband is obsessed with it.

If you aren't in the know, it's about real life fisherman who go into the Bering Sea and risk life and limb to bring Alaskan King Crabs to our tables. Apparently, they can make a ton of money doing it, but it's incredibly dangerous work and not for the faint of heart.

When it's on, I don't pay much attention to it. Not really my thing. But my husband watches it all the time, and I think he's hooked. He'll even watch the repeats of episodes he's already seen. And he knows I'm not into it, so when I'm in the room, he doesn't watch it much, but if I leave the room, I can hear the channel changing over and here come the crabs! It's like it's porn or something. Very odd, indeed.

Apparently, it's not just him. I'm hearing that this is one of those shows that has struck an odd chord out there, and lots of people are getting into it. Ratings are up. And now, I'm reading there's even a soundtrack album. What? Sounds of crashing waves, perhaps?
Causes me to rethink ordering Alaskan King Crabs. Perhaps I'll never look at them the same way again.
Or, perhaps not....
Pass the melted garlic butter, please....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Order of Chaos

I have this theory that at any given time, there is a constant quantity of married couples in Hollywood, never any more, never any less.

The most recent evidence of this.... this week's 'celebu-headlines' have included the hitching together of Jessica Alba and Cash Warren, as well as Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. In the same set of headlines, we read that Shania Twain is divorcing her husband of 14 years, while Dylan McDermott is splitsville with Shiva Rose, leaving a double-digit year marriage in the rear-view mirror.

Now I don't think this is coincidence. I think there must be a quota system on tinseltown coupledom, only so many marriage licenses to go around. When one couple divorces, it frees up another to get married. Tag-team marriages abound.

Now, with the California Supreme Court ruling that gay marriage in California is legal, the new raft of same-sex marriages should result in a fresh batch of spotlight divorces in order to maintain order. Hmmm....wonder who's next?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Absolutely Absurd

The incompetence of our so-called 'world leaders' is both astounding and amazing.

We had a cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in China. We have ongoing genocide in Africa. We have wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have ongoing tensions and skirmishes in the Middle East. We have $130/barrel oil. We have rice shortages which threaten the food supplies in half the world.

And what does the United Nations do?

They send a special investigator to the United States to study the effects of 'racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance' in America. A lawyer from Senegal will spend the next three weeks touring the country, from Washington and New York to Los Angeles and Chicago....in search of who knows what.

Now don't think it's a coincidence that this is going on during an election year. I'm sure Mr. Senegal will compile a huge report, to be released during the coming year, only it will have leaks the size of the Grand Canyon in it, and we'll hear all sorts of horrid tales of racism from all across the country while we're trying to decide who to vote for. No, no ulterior motives there.

Yet one more reason to pull the plug on the U.N. What a joke it is.

Absurd, indeed.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Highlights, Lowlights

It's Saturday night, and I'm exhausted after all this went on this week:

- I started my new job on Monday with a 3-day orientation. I was really dreading this class but ended up enjoying it. I hadn't foreseen how much I would like reconnecting with smart, professional people again. Sadly, there were so few of them (none, to be exact) at my most recent job.
- I got the unofficial nod by the women in orientation for 'best shoes' in the class. Nice, but now I have the pressure of a shoe reputation to uphold.
- On day three, I was asked to be a mentor. Wow. Someone decided they wanted me to help guide them in their career. I feel honored and yet so completely unworthy of that.
- I ate very badly this week. Lots of snacking, poor choices, too much food. I think I needed to emotionally balance out the discipline of being tied to a new job with some form of freedom otherwise. So it came out in the food area. I felt free to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No more of that going forward.
- I was given a rose today and wished 'Happy Mother's Day', even though I'm not anyone's mother. I wonder if that's some form of cheating, somehow. I feel a bit guilty. *sigh*
- The television in the master bedroom went out.
- I closed out my furniture consignment. The store sold most of what I took in, but they didn't get much money for it. It is potentially enough, however, to replace the dead TV mentioned above, so I guess that's something.
- I saw two children in a cafe at lunch today who, from the back, looked like my estranged niece and nephew at the ages they were before we became estranged. I wanted to go into the ladies room and cry, my heart ached so. I can only imagine the heartbreak of their father (my brother) who lives with that void each and every day. I sometimes wonder how he can function with that weighing on his heart. I don't think I would be able to.
- I bought pink petunias and planted them around my front tree.
- Last night, we strolled the neighborhood, had some gelato, sat on a park bench, people-watched and had great conversation with total strangers.
- We ate at a new Korean/Japanese bistro this evening. Outstanding. Food and service. I left the waitress a sizable tip. She deserved it.
- About an hour's drive from here, Jenna Bush (the President's daughter) has just married her beau, Henry. This afternoon, we had rain and hail. I hope it cleared up in time for Jenna's wedding at the ranch. I wish the new couple all the best.