Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movie Review By Rip Van Winkle

As has been discussed here before, I am the Rip Van Winkle of movie-viewing. I didn't know who Matt Damon was until a few years ago when my husband dragged me to see The Good Shepherd. I'd never even heard of George Clooney until Mrs. G named him Secret Boyfriend #9 and enlisted him to play one of her husbands in the soon-to-be HBO series Bigger Love (also created by Mrs. G).

So! Larry and I just watched Ocean's 11. First time ever. Because, hey, the movie has only been out for 9 years. You know, I'm just glad I'm seeing movies from this century. I spent all of last year trying to catch up on the 1990's. (Office Space, anyone? Sixth Sense? Do you know how humiliating it is to wait 12 years before understanding the line, "I see dead people"?)

Unfortunately, this particular movie contained a large cast of characters and a somewhat complicated plot. Larry had to endure my saying, "Who's he?" and "How did that happen?" throughout the entire film. I'm thinking it's a good thing we had neither time nor money for much movie-watching in the early part of our marriage. If Larry had had fewer years (and fewer children) invested in our conjugal union already, he might have been tempted to throw in the towel after an ordeal such as the one I put him through this evening.

The movie? Oh, yes - 2 thumbs up (does anyone say that anymore?) It was a total eye candy experience. Although that probably wasn't Larry's takeaway on it...

And is anyone still using the phrase "eye candy"? Or is that too 80's?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sometimes Sinister Wears A Smiley Face

You know, if I had an IPad to carry with me wherever I go, I could have typed in my blog ideas as they came to me today; then I wouldn't be sitting here now wondering what it was that seemed like such a great idea a few hours ago.

Gone...that idea is gone forever...and our world is a little poorer for it.

Or not.

It snowed here today (no, that wasn't the great idea) and we got all of 4 inches of the fluffy white stuff, which meteorological calamity forced our local Starbucks to close 5 hours early. Someone explain to me - does Starbucks simply have to close for the winter in places like Minnesota and Wisconsin?

Larry braved subzero weather (Celsius-wise) this evening to clean the snow off my car so that I could go out to work tonight. Now I am sitting here blogging in a cozy bookstore (albeit without my tea), because the website I work from is down. While Larry gets to clean up the kitchen and put the kids to bed...

Is Larry getting the short end of the stick this evening, or what? And do you think I could get him to come here and clean off my car for me again so that I can get home?

My sister-in-law sent Brian a little headlamp for a belated Christmas present. Apparently, aside from Legos, this item is the best present ever for a 9-year-old boy. He keeps turning off the overhead light in the bathroom, shutting the door, and looking at himself in the mirror.

Simple child, isn't he? Easily amused, too...

Oh, hey, I just found the perfect birthday present for him - a Lego headlamp:

You know, that almost looks threatening - in a StayPuf Marshmallow Man/Ghostbusters sort of way...

I just realized that Larry was so busy cleaning off my car, he forgot to feed me dinner. Should I complain?

Starbucks coffee in snow picture courtesy of daily shot of

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man picture courtesy of

Thursday, January 28, 2010

IWant IPad

Let's review my current technological status:

  • cellphone? Pay-per-minute, no camera, no web access
  • laptop? $350-model bought as a backup when we couldn't live 3 days without our sickly main computer
  • Kindle? None, despite my begging...
  • IPod Touch? Ha!
  • Cable TV? Not even...

Let's face it, people; Larry and I are not early adopters. And once we do get our hands on a new (to us) piece of technology, it takes us forever to learn to use it.

That all changed yesterday. David and I watched Steve Jobs present his newest creation and suddenly a new thought crept into my head: Must we always be the 21st-century equivalent of the Flintstones? Is that indeed our destiny? Or could we exercise our God-given free will to change the trajectory of fate, bend it to our will, as it were?

By my calculations, we've saved 8,640 dollars over the past 18 years by not paying for cable TV. No cellphone contract the past 5 years? That's another 4000 dollars that should be lying around here somewhere. Throwing in the missing Kindle and the never-bought (but much coveted) IPod Touch pushes what I am now calling the IPad nest egg past the $13K mark.

$13,000! Now, I know there are some other dinosaurs out there (including, um, Larry) who are - right at this minute - generating sensible thoughts like "IRA" or "College Fund." But isn't that sort of thinking so last century? With our country still mired in its worst economic recession in decades, is this really the time to be frugal? Does not patriotic duty demand that Larry and I step boldly into that brave new world of gee-whiz electronics from which we have been exiled for so long?

As we watched President Obama address the nation last night on our computer (remember? no cable), I said to Larry, "You know, if I had an IPad, it would be as if he were talking directly to me."

I don't know why my husband doesn't take me seriously anymore.


By the way, was it my imagination or did President Obama essentially say "WTF?" to the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address last night?

And (apropos of nothing) did you know that Supreme Court Justices have to buy their own robes? It's true - Justice Breyer mentioned it when he was a guest on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. And Paula Poundstone, upon hearing this little-known fact, said, "Are you kidding me? You have to buy your own robes? Man, that's like working at IHOP."

Here's the segment, for your listening enjoyment...the robe discussion begins at minute 13, but the whole thing is worth listening to. I heart Paula Poundstone. And, comedy-wise, Justice Breyer is no slouch himself. I like that in a Supreme Court Justice.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Trip in the Wayback Machine

You people really should go read the comments from the last post. Apparently, using one's car as a refrigerator is a fairly common practice. Who knew?


I'm old enough to have learned how to type in junior high on a typewriter. A manual typewriter. Meaning, it didn't plug into anything. Hard to imagine, isn't it? I mean, how did it work if there wasn't any electricity? Did we pedal it or something? I can't recall.

And I remember learning how to use carbon paper in this typewriter (why? didn't we have copy machines back then?) and how to carefully center a title by spacing all the way to the middle and then backspacing half the number of letters (we had time to do this because there was no blogging to suck up half our days). And there was a manual return lever that we had to press to bring the typing carriage back to the beginning of a line.

I swear, I feel as though I made all that up.

We moved up to electric typewriters in 9th grade, which had an automatic return button on the keyboard where your cute little "Enter" key sits now, all you young'uns. It's on my keyboard now, too; but I still call it the "Return" key. Sort of like my parents persist in calling a refrigerator an "icebox."

All this to say that, when we used to type, back in the not-so-good old days of typewriter ribbons and correcting tape, there were moving parts. The carriage of the typewriter traveled back and forth as we worked, and - like any moving part - could cause injury or otherwise wreak havoc. You whippersnappers with your computers don't know how risky it used to be, just trying to put words to paper.

For example, if a comely young coed (humor me, please) were typing on deadline for a term paper and was trying to drink a mug of instant soup at the same time, and absentmindedly placed said mug down in direct line with the moving typewriter carriage....well, let's just say that a dorm room smelling of Lipton's Spring Vegetable has a certain je ne sais quoi that most dorms nowadays - with their oh-so-sterile wifi and their 3G ethernet whatever - sadly lack.

Not that we didn't know from electronics back then. I distinctly remember the popularity of my roommate, a popularity which stemmed from her possession of a hot-air corn popper. You see, this all took place in the Dark Ages, before the existence of microwaveable popcorn bags. Which makes sense, as no one owned a microwave yet anyway.

We did have a TV in our dorm - in the lounge. Picture this - we would all gather together in this lounge and watch the same show. There were no other screens available. No miniature DVD players, no cellphones, no PCs...just that one cathode-ray-tube-in-a-box that had moving pictures on it.

And no remote.

I know! It's like the Flintstones, with their turtle shopping carts.

And now my middle-aged, manually-typing brain cannot remember why I got started on this subject. Help? Anyone?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday: The Procrastinator's Edition

Yeah, it does seem to be Saturday, doesn't it? We're all about breaking the rules around here.

You know how some people go jogging with their dogs so that they can keep up a steady, aerobically-strengthening pace? Today I saw a woman doing that, but I doubt she was getting maximum exercise benefits out of the experience. Dachshunds just cannot go that fast.


Larry went skiing with David and his Boy Scout troop this weekend, so I decided to give myself a break and order pizza for dinner last night. (Hey, it's cheaper than the spa weekend I should be getting.) We had almost an entire pizza left over. Trying to make room in my refrigerator(s) for a large pizza box was too overwhelming, so I threw on my coat and carried the pizza box out to our parking lot and placed it carefully in the front passenger seat of our minivan. Brian went out there this morning to retrieve it for breakfast.

And now it occurs to me that maybe that looked a little weird to the neighbors.


Remember the knit signal? The Yarn Harlot reports that we knitters have donated over 1,000,000 dollars to Medecins Sans Frontieres since 2004. The total since she put up the knit signal for Haiti a week or so ago? In the vicinity of half a million dollars...

See? Knitters can be very nice. We're not always trying to kill people.


Did I mention that when Larry left for the weekend with David, they forgot to leave the dining room light on? And I feel it would look too pathetic to ask a neighbor to come over and screw in the lightbulbs. Particularly if that neighbor happened to have seen me storing pizza in my car last night. There's weird, and then there is weird.

It's getting sort of dark. Maybe I should hunt up some candles.


You know, just because the commissary is selling off all their Christmas-y Hershey's Kisses with Almonds for a dollar a bag doesn't mean it's a good idea to stock up. Because, really? "Stocking up" on chocolate is an oxymoron around here. If I have chocolate, I eat it.

Also? I get my kids to play Monopoly with each other by giving them candy to eat when they land on Free Parking. I'm trying to decide if they are spoiled or if my brother and I were just stupid to play Monopoly without being bribed.


I'm linking to Jen's 7 Quick Takes even though I'm late for the party this week and even though she makes me feel technologically inadequate by blogging about how easy it is to use her new Flip digital camcorder to make movies of the kids and then send them (the movies, not the kids) to all the relatives. Right. Probably just as easy on a light....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

As The Food Turns: The Non-Blogging Friend Edition

Hey, did you know that if you Yahoo-search the question "how many days can an open jar of Tostitos brand salsa be kept in the refrigerator?"...

This post tops the list?

Honored. I am honored, I tell you. And I certainly hope that the reader who arrived at my humble blog after asking that question was frightened into cleaning out her fridge, lest she end up with condiment overload also.

You know, I really like that post. It sums up my housekeeping issues very nicely.

But it also made me realize that we are overdue here, people. It's time.

First, I'd like to present our Holiday Collection: the cut celery sticks (top) are from New Year's Day, the potroast and carrots (do not enlarge, you will be sorry) are from Christmas (not typical Noel fare, but we were celebrating Chanukah late - long story); and the vegetable stock? Hails all the way from Thanksgiving.

I know, I know - sometimes I just outdo myself.

The other food-poisoning contestants:
  1. In the metal pot, some leftover matzo ball soup (homemade!) that I cooked a couple of weeks ago for comfort food. It worked; but now all the matzo balls are gone, so what's the point?
  2. Hmmm....I don't know what is in the top round dish in the center. Any guesses?
  3. Green beans - no need to explain why these weren't gobbled up, right?
  4. Extra rice - we always seem to have extra rice. Why? Discuss.
  5. 2 open bags of baby carrots - they sneaked into the picture when I wasn't looking. They haven't gone bad yet. YET. They know they're doomed.

The container of mayo you see to the right? Is how I know that my best friend doesn't really read my blog. You see, shortly after the condiment overload post referenced above, this friend came by my house with this jar of mayonnaise. "Here," she said. "I figured you could use it."

(Me, confused) "What?"

"Take it," she said. "My husband got one of those huge jars at Costco and I knew we couldn't finish it in time, so I put some in a smaller jar to give to you."

"You're kidding me, right? This is a joke?"

"No. Why?"

Talk about bringing coals to Newcastle...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fat Is Funny

I have no idea if I'm allowed to post this strip, but the third frame? To get the full effect, say it out loud. I was telling Larry about it and I laughed until I cried.

"Everything makes you look fat."

It kills me.

And poor Larry, he didn't know what to do.

  1. Laugh with me and risk appearing to identify with the sentiment?
  2. Say, "That doesn't even make sense!" in a desperate effort to distance himself from any conjugal conversation with the word "fat" in it?
  3. Just sit there and smile uncertainly?

He picked option #3. That man knows when he's in dangerous waters (no pun intended).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No Time For Titles

First, a correction - Friday I claimed that Ree had over 400 comments already! 400! As in, a very big number! Ann in NJ, as first commenter, gently informed me that somehow that number had jumped to, uh, 24000 in the 15 minutes since I had posted this information. Seems that it was 400 comments on just the first page that I had noticed. I didn't even know it was possible to have more than one page of comments. Jenn tells us that the final total was over 25000. Meaning that Ree owed over $2500 dollars to charity....rather than the 40 dollars that I had so uncleverly calculated.

Second, RobinH, taking pity on my lack of pixels and computer ignorance in general, sent me a corrected version of the delurking badge (over there to your right). She claimed that she just happened to have some extra pixels lying around and didn't mind sharing them.

So, for those of you keeping count, that is 2 commenters gently humoring my total technological ineptitude. The blogosphere is a very kind place, if you ask me - my teeny-tiny corner of it, anyway...


I've got a fridge post coming - it features my Holiday Collection. What? The holidays are over? No wonder that stuff doesn't look edible. 3-week-old pot roast, anyone?


It's almost Monday - I'm going to post this instead of waiting for the funny to come up and hit me in the face. I don't think it is gonna show tonight. You can always check out Sue instead. She's got a lock on funny.

Friday, January 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes: The Unnumbered Edition

Until noon today, Ree at The Pioneer Woman is donating $.10 for every comment she receives on a post where she is giving away two $500 donations to the Haitian-related charity of the winner’s choice. Let's see...if I donated 10 cents for every comment I receive....hmmmm......that would come to about 2 dollars. With Ree, however, it's real money - I think she has 400 commenters already. So get on over there and earn your dime, will ya?


That's right - I've given up on the numbered list. It was maxing me out, technologically speaking.


I think Tuesday was delurking day, but most of us forgot it - what with earthquakes in Haiti and all. So let's delurk today, shall we? If you don't usually comment, just say hi! I'd love to know who bothers reading this silly little blog. Supposedly 420 people have me on their Google Reader - I only know about 30 of you.

And, yes, I know I have the wrong year on the logo. When you steal stuff, it doesn't always fit. And if I can't handle a numbered list, I sure can't handle designing my own Delurking Day button. It probably requires pixels or something.


The Little Blog That Could - good idea for a children's book? Discuss.


The problem with not having a numbered list is that I have no idea what number I am on. Excuse me while I check...

5. This is number 5. I had to count twice, because I lost track the first time. That worries me. I used to be good at math.


I've figured out how to irritate Larry out in January. I just whisper sweet nothings into his ear, words like "FAFSA" and "taxes." It's fascinating watching his neck veins bulge out like that. I guess Larry doesn't consider complicated financial forms sexy.

Me? I'm just trying to count to 7 here.


You know, #1 up there won't be very useful if I don't manage to post this before noon. So it's time to say good-bye for now. I'm so glad we've had this time together...

Warning: Do not search "Carol Burnett" on YouTube - you will be sucked into the wayback machine and waste a good 2 hours laughing at Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, wondering just what was up with men's fashion in the 70's, and trying to explain to your kids why the drapery rod in "Went With The Wind" is so darn funny.

[Make sure to visit the real 7 Quick Takes at Jen's place. Jen is too young to make you listen to stories about variety shows from the 70's, thank goodness.]

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Calling All Knitters!

What?  You don't know what that is?  It's the knit-signal, alerting all the knitters of Gotham City (and the blogosphere) that help is needed.  That little bit of money you've been squirreling away for your next yarn purchase?  The latest BlogHer check that you haven't cashed yet while you decide which size circulars you need to purchase?  The loose change on your husband's dresser he'll never miss that you had planned to spend on a little something at Michael's to tide you over?

It's needed.  In Haiti.  Right now.  That's right, Knitters Without Borders has been reactivated by the esteemed Yarn Harlot in order to assist Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders, you non-French-speaking rubes) in helping the Haitians cope with the devastation that has been wrought upon their island.

The knit-signal has been activated!  Go to Stephanie's page to learn how to help.  Or go directly to the Doctors Without Borders donation page.  Let's show the world what knitters can do.

[Oh, and you non-knitters?  You're welcome to donate, too.  Heck, you must have lots of extra money lying around if you're not spending it at Knitpicks or Webs like the rest of us...]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Being Jewish Is A Laugh Riot

2 minutes left to post tonight! Go!

Did I ever regale y'all with the story of the Anne Frank bathroom? June over at Bye Bye Pie was talking about Anne Frank, which (because I am a tad shallow) reminded me of an apartment I once lived in, an apartment with a faux-wood-panelled hallway.

Very classy, yes? This apartment was in a college town, in the basement of a gorgeous old house that had been split up into several separate living quarters. It was centrally located, meaning that I could hear all the people leaving the collegetown bars at night - mostly because they stopped in the alley behind my bedroom window to throw up.

I told you - classy.

Where was I? Oh, yes - the hallway....

There was a bathroom opening off the hallway. When the bathroom door was shut, you couldn't see it; it was made of the same fake wood panels as the walls in the hall. I had a friend who, any time he came to visit, would insist on opening what he called the "hidden" door, just to make sure there wasn't a Jewish family hiding in my bathtub.

This cracked us up. Every single time. A different year, we almost got kicked out of Rosh Hashanah services on campus because we were giggling too loudly. Guffawing, actually.

Look, if you weren't brought up Jewish, you won't get it. Just go over to June's place and see what she thinks about everyone's reading a poor dead girl's diary. And be treated to snippets of June's 12-year-old thoughts from 1980, as a bonus...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Don't Shop For Me At Home Depot...

Perhaps it isn't wise of me to sit around waiting for Larry to come up with a good anniversary gift, considering his gift-giving history. Let's see, we all recall the bananas he gave me last Valentine's Day, correct? So perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised on Christmas morning when he handed me a package and urged me to open it. It was long, with something that felt suspiciously like a brush on one end.

"You didn't," I said.


"It's something to clean my car off with. You got me an ice scraper for Christmas?"

"It's a pretty color," he promised.

Oh! Being a sucker for any happy combination of form and function, I tore off the wrapping to discover a handy-dandy windshield scraper/brush in the dainty color of....

Construction-truck yellow?

Larry, noting the puzzled expression on my face, said, "Look! It's got a telescoping handle!"

"I thought it would be purple..."

"See? It pulls out so you can reach the whole windshield!"

"Are you telling me to clean off my own car and stop bothering you?"

"I thought you'd want something you could reach the top of the van with," he said, hurt.

Apparently, chivalry is dead.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lights! Camera! Action!

Last Sunday was Larry's and my 19th anniversary; and I spent the day being smugly cognizant of the fact that Larry did not seem to be aware of this momentous occasion. Unlike last year, I plotted to spring the news on him the next morning and ruminated gleefully on all the ways I could milk this mistake of his over the next year. Oh, I had plans, people!

Of course, Larry ruined everything by wishing me a happy anniversary at 8 o'clock that evening. He claims he knew all along what day it was, but we were just so busy preparing for that day's visitors (old friends were dropping by) that he didn't have time to mention it earlier. What? No time for a simple kiss on the cheek? It's not as if he would have had to run out to the store to buy it, right?

I think I've been had. Next year? That guy will have a bridge to sell me.

Also? Larry and I went out for our annual movie date today, using the movie theatre gift card I bought him for Christmas. No problem with that, except he counts this excursion as a belated celebration of our anniversary. The movie was for Christmas. From me. Larry is still on the hook for some sort of anniversary commemoration, don't you think?


Anyway, we went to see Up in the Air because (and I know most of you will not believe this) I had never seen George Clooney in anything - TV, movies, nada.... In fact, the first time I ever heard of him was when Mrs. G listed him as one of her many secret boyfriends.

It's true, I live under a rock. And I'm comfortable there.

Up in the Air was a good movie for any number of reasons, including the fact that the main character did not bed a woman young enough to have been his daughter (thank you Jason Reitman); but Larry and I arrived at the theater too late to get popcorn. We ended up buying some afterwards and sitting together in the lobby to eat it. We looked weird. Homeless, even. And I was disappointed to discover that even though George makes for some delicious eye candy, his magazine-y good looks are just not my type. I prefer quirky good looks myself. Sorry, George - but in the highly unlikely event you come calling, I'm not home.

Yes, Larry, I just called you quirky-looking. Now get going on that anniversary gift, will ya? It shouldn't be too difficult. Simply try to imagine - What Would George Clooney Do?

[Up in the Air photo courtesy of]

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Gone And (Maybe) Forgotten

5 days? 5 days I go missing and you folks don't even send out a search team? That's about 6 months in blog years, you know.

And I don't even have a good excuse. None. Oh, maybe I was trying to garner a little attention, trying to see how many readers would bother to stop by to see how I was doing (answer: not a lot). Or maybe I was like the 9-year-old girl at the slumber party who pretends to be asleep before everyone else just so they would all tickle her.

Was that just me?

Most likely I was just too darn busy eating all the leftover mini-Reese's from my New Year's Party to bother waddling over to my computer desk and typing out a few words.

Also? That "2 thousand and 10" v "twenty ten" controversy? Has me very depressed. I want to say "twenty ten"; I know that by next year everyone will be saying "twenty eleven"; and certainly a decade from now no one would be foolish enough to recite "two thousand and twenty" when a simple "20-20" would do.

But I find myself babbling "2 thousand and 10," just like everyone else around me. At least, when my mouth isn't full of chocolatey peanut butter goodness, that's what I'm saying. The rest of the time I'm saying, "Mmmph mwafnd m-m."

A lemming, that's what I am. A year-naming lemming. I make me sick.


You know what? It feels good to be back. Anything exciting happen while I was gone?

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Last year I resolved not to set up myself up for failure by making resolutions I could not meet. Let us review, then, whether this plan worked or not:

Maintain my current (over)weight

No problem! With a bonus 5 pounds, for a safety cushion (ahem)...

Studiously ignore my children at least 2 hours every day


Make sure to have a minimum of 10 knitting projects started at all times, with fully half of them not findable at any given moment. Finish projects only when absolutely necessary.

Whoops - I only managed to have 3 or 4 on the needles at one time. But some of them have been started since 2008, so I claim success on this one also. Also, I took advantage of every opportunity to order items from Knitpicks. Bonus points.

Take thousands more pictures, but only edit a minimal number (say, when a small child asks, "What does Grandma look like again?")

What can I say? I'm prescient.

Breathe loudly near my teen daughter. She likes that.

I continued to annoy Anna this year, without even trying. I know - amazing.

Refuse to number lists properly. If Blogger wants me to count to 4 and then start over again, who am I to argue?

Goes without saying...


Observed religiously

Waste time blogging

I'm still here, am I not?

In other words, last year's resolutions turned out to be a resounding success. Tune in tomorrow to see how far I can lower the bar with the 2010 version of "Fail Safe - Resolutions You Can Keep."


In the meantime, y'all can discuss in the comments whether I am justified in teaching a fellow Starbuck's laptop tapper about that miracle of courtesy known as earbuds. Or maybe I should just have him killed...

I'm trying to work here, people. Really.