Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What is it with people who stand still on escalators and moving sidewalks? Do they normally just stop walking? I can see if you are ill, but that never seems to be the case. Recently in the airport, I was anxiously exiting toward the garage to pick up my waiting vehicle and go home. I almost stepped onto the flat conveyor when I realized the healthy looking young man ahead of me was setting down his suitcase, blocking the passage. I swerved around and kept walking on the regular floor, passing him easily.

Same on the escalator today.

Am I too much in a hurry? Is no one else on a schedule?

If I had one super power, it would be apparition: the ability describe in Harry Potter to just transport yourself instantly to another location. I suppose if I had all my travel time back I'd just get more stressed by all the other things I was now trying to accomplish in the new found time. I do love a road trip with a friend.

I see the metaphor here of enjoying the journey more than the destination, but the standers get on my nerves sometimes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Have you ever given someone who asked for your phone number the wrong number so they wouldn't call you? If you did, did you wonder who they might have called when you transposed those digits? Well, you no longer have to annoy people by giving out their number as a decoy.
Someone very smart has developed a Rejection Hotline. I read about it in the latest issue of Washingtonian Magazine. Instead of giving the creepy guy in the bar some hapless person's number so they won't call, you give them this hotline number. When they call, they hear
"Hello, this is not the person you were trying to call. You've reached the Rejection Hotline." It goes on to list possible reasons why you might have been directed to this number. It's hilarious! The Maryland number is 410-347-1488. Their website has over 80 phone numbers to choose from. I guess you couldn't hand out an 800 number at a bar.
Did you know there is now a national "Get Over It" day? They mention it on the recording.
If you call, let me know what you think.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Have I worried on the blog about the fattening of our town? I know I've had that conversation at least with my Mom. Our town has recently rushed out to enjoy the dual openings of Rita's Italian Ice and Cold Stone Creamery. Tonight I took my kids to Cold Stone. All my steely healthful resolve evaporated when those perky teenagers offered me a free taste test. What could that hurt?

Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where the frozen yogurt wasn't really fat free and everyone who was scarfing it up gained weight? This ice cream I had tonight was too good to be true. They claim it is sugar free, made with Splenda. It was cake batter flavor and it tasted just like the beaters I got to lick if I was one of the lucky ones. As one of four kids, to get one of the two batter beaters was quite a coup. That victory was sweet. The ice cream I had tonight tasted just like that delicious memory. Could it really be sugar free? Certainly the chocolate chips and graham crackers that I had added in weren't sugar free. So I probably shouldn't have it too often. It sure took some of the sting out of that gastronomic memory.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I spent a quiet weekend in lovely Burlington, Connecticut visiting old friends in their beautiful new home. They just acquired a new dog that entertained and amused us. My friend was torn between charmed by this chihuahua-dachshund mix, and remorseful over the burden she just impulsively adopted. It was a great lesson for me to witness.

Saturday we went to the Wadsworth Antheneum, an art museum with quite an impressive collection. They had at least one original piece of almost every artist I've ever heard of and many I hadn't: Monet, Pissaro, Van Gogh, O'Keeffe, Rockwell, Gauguin, Dali, Cole, Picasso, Calder. They also had the impressively intact mummified remains of an unidentified Egyptian: hennaed hair, teeth, leathery black skin. It was creepy and intriguing to think this ancient person was walking around on the other side of the world thousands of years ago.

It is fascinating to see the wide range of artwork that is considered great. Some of it I find beautiful and provocative. The import of other pieces eludes me. Looking at the collection with a friend, however, made for great conversation and speculation. Some of the historical and religious events depicted in the paintings were obvious. Others made me want to research the story. Mostly I like to imagine the lives of the people portrayed. The still lifes and landscapes were wonderful, but I find people to be the best subject of art.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A day on the couch and a big bowl of a friend's fabulous, homemade, personally delivered soup has put me on the road to recovery. I have weekend plans with old friends, so I'm glad I am feeling well enough to proceed with them.

"Akeelah and the Bee" was terrific. There is a powerful quote in the movie I've listed below. Do you think there is some truth in this quote?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?

You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others."

- Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I hate being sick. There's too much to do. The only medicine that helps also knocks me out. So I'll be on the couch today. At least I have a good new movie to watch: "Akeelah and the Bee."

P.S. I love my dad. He's the best tech support around, among other positive attributes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've decided I'm going to apply for the job of cosmetics color namer. What fun it would be!

I had to (and I use "had to" loosely) buy a new blush today. Because I'm a sucker for good service, I also bought eye shadow. So today I wore "smouldering plum" and "teddy bear browns." You can imagine how cuddly and delicious I looked. The woman behind the counter said I looked "doe-eyed." I told her that was exactly the look I was going for. I just hope no one shoots me!

My favorite lipstick shade was discontinued: "Just Georgeous." I always felt gorgeous in it. I was a great everyday shade. This summer at the beach I asked Julie & Mom to pick out a shade of lipstick for me. I showed them my array and they declared them to all look the same. That's because I have been trying to match the discontinued shade and haven't quite found it.

What are some of your favorite color names?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hey friends,
I have begun this other website endeavor that looks promising. I'm going to try using AdSense on the adjoining blog. I hope it doesn't affect CG. So if one day ads turn up here, I'm not selling you! Give me a day to figure out how to keep it only on my Restaurant Bytes blog.

Speaking of which, on that website, which is still just a baby website, we have a drink recipe contest. Guess what the first winner was? My blueberry cooler! Thanks Greeny! Boy, the competition was stiff! Anyway, one of my partners in this project will be featuring the winning drink recipe in his restaurant. So if any of you have a great idea for a fall drink, I'd LOVE it if you would post your entry on (Find my blog under “The Dish.”)

OK. That it for my commercial. I'll try not to do that, but I know you guys have good drink recipes.
Pros & Cons of Dancing with the Old Drunk

Old guys have actual dancing skills: twirling, rhythm, spacing
No pestering for phone number
No ass grabbing
Says thanks for dancing with him

Keeping him from knocking into musicians
Bad breath & teeth
Getting held close to that big belly
Younger guys in pub realize we're available (time to leave!)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My children danced on a stage at the Kennedy Center today - and got paid!

Peggy & I took our small group to the Kennedy Center's Open House in DC. We were treated to a free concert of a group called “Wild Magnolias.” The picture in the brochure had the guys all in these full feathery and finery costumes. However, we saw them performing in t-shirts and jerseys. Alas.

Their music was fun though. Their instruments were all percussion and their style was New Orleans Mardi Gras. Too bad they didn't even know what Mardi Gras meant. They couldn't even identify when it was Mardi Gras, although they insisted they never missed one. It surprised me that these obviously talented artists were so disinterested in learning more about the actual meanings of their words and style. Oh well. They were fun and they were performing on the stage at the Kennedy Center, so I guess their mediocrity was not inhibitive.

They were at odds with the dozens of red blazered women volunteering as ushers. The musicians were encouraging us to stand up and dance – a bunch of totally sober white people – and the ushers were asking the standers and dancers to sit down. What is proper Kennedy Center etiquette here? I actually saw an usher tap someone and ask them to sit. So we finally all had to stand.

The little kids got off easy. They stood up to dance without much prompting because the music was so infectious. Dancing is just their natural response. You couldn't feel sleepy or irritated. You had to wiggle, had to clap.

My kids were less sure of taking the stage. My son, however, has been acquiring a taste for being the class clown. He was trying to persuade one of his sisters to go up with him. I told him I'd give him $5. That was just the prompt he needed.

He took the stage with a dance style that was influenced by “Dance Dance Revolution.” He was wonderful. I was so proud.

My youngest saw the potential profit and asked if I'd pay her too. She wasn't brave enough to go first, so I only offered her $2. Of course she was adorable in her pink skirt and cowgirl boots.

So how much would I have to lay out to get you to dance on the stage?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Things I Love:
Daybreak walks with a friend
Sleeping in on a rainy morning
Hot strong coffee on my porch swing
Reading a good book with a snuggly child
Finding the exact words to describe my thoughts
Proud smiles on my children's faces
Boa constrictor hugs
Hot sand and cold drinks
Strong arms and sore muscles
A clear starry night
Traveling to new places
Talking to strangers
Wine and conversation with friends
Getting and 80% on my practice math test today!
Finding a new song to sing loud with the windows rolled down
Christmas morning
Changing seasons
The smell of my parent's house
Laughter – especially when it gets a bit out of control

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is romance impractical? Are Romance” and “Practicality” opposites? Do you find that men or women are more practical? More romantic? Can something practical be romantic? I guess it depends on how you define everything. Sometimes I'm afraid that I cave into my desire for romance and then the practical side speaks up and wrecks everything. I'm full of questions. Do you guys have any answers?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

For my daughter's 13th birthday, her dad threw her a party at his house. He hired a couple of pretty, perky women to run a make-up demonstration and pedicure/manicure session. I got to help with the toenail decorating. It was fun.

When I arrived, the six 13 year old girls were soaking their feet. I joined the circle as the hostesses were distributing four lotions to smell in order to select which they wanted. The pastel creams had these names: Happiness, Harmony, Dreamy, and Romance. Happiness, I noticed was yellow. It smelled a bit too strong for me. I don't think I'm good with Happiness. The Harmony, in blue, was a boring scent. I liked the pink one and thought it might be nice to smell "Dreamy." When polled, every 13 year old selected the purple one: Romance. It was perfect. They are still young enough.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The newest grocery store in my town is having a grand “re-opening.” Is it two years old? It seems like it just opened. They were giving away iPods to random customers and had banners waving in the parking lot. The differences are cosmetic. The floors in the produce section and the bakery section, the two ends of the store, are now wood laminate instead of industrial looking tile. The veggies and fruit are meticulously arranged in lovely displays. The lighting in those areas is also changed. Instead of fluorescent, the lights are more like a restaurant, long drop down incandescent bulbs. It's like mood lighting for the melons and buns.

I've heard that grocery stores can be good pick-up places (although it's never worked for me.) I was wondering if they were going to start sponsoring singles night at the grocery story since they've installed mood lighting. It just seemed weird.

So I was wondering if people could have a “grand re-opening” for themselves? Do you have to give away prizes? Can you hang out a banner? How often can you get away with it before people start thinking your crazy? Sometimes the changes are just cosmetic. Could you post an “Under New Management” sign for major changes? Maybe you just start a new blog.

In another setting, I had several people say to me “Change for the sake of change is wrong.” I believe that staying the same for the sake of staying the same is at least as wrong.

So how about you? Is it time for a change? Have you finished re-modeling?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Has it been 5 years?
Will any of us ever forget exactly where we were when we heard the news? How shocked? How horrified? sickened? furious?

I'm not always current with my music, but I just recently was listening to Melissa Etheridge's "Lucky" CD. Although I didn't notice it at first, she has a 9-11 song that was both eye-opening and powerful. On her website she admits that she really toned down her anger in this song so that it would be heard. If you get a chance to listen to this song somewhere, take a moment and do.

Tuesday Morning
Melissa Etheridge

10:03 on a tuesday morning
In the fall of an american dream
A man is doing what he knows is right
On flight 93

Loved his mom and he loved his dad
Loved his home and he loved his man
But on that bloody tuesday morning
He died and american

Now you cannot change this
You can't erase this
You can't pretend this is not the truth

Even though he could not marry
Or teach your children in our schools
Because who he wants to love
Is breaking your god's rules

He stood up on a tuesday morning
In the terror he was brave
And he made his choice and without a doubt
A hundred lives he must have saved


And the things you might take for granted
Your inalienable rights
Some might choose to deny him
Even though he gave his life

Can you live with yourself in the land of the free
And make him less of a hero than the other three
Well it might begin to change ya
In a field in pennsylvania


Stand up america
Hear the bell now as it tolls
Wake up america
It's tuesday morning
Let's roll

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My eight year old seems to "get" me the best of my three children. Either that or she's still too young to be embarrassed by me.

She and I were heading out for a quick grocery run. We were all out of our Easy Bake Oven mixes among other things. We were the only two making the trip and she suggested we crank up our current favorite song, "Soak Up the Sun." She likes the windows down and the music loud, just like me. My other two don't usually like all that wind and rhythm. She wanted to take advantage of their absence and I was delighted to indulge her (or was she indulging me?)

I'm always surprised at how well this little girl remembers lyrics. She's singing right along. My oldest cringes if I perform any step that might be construed as dancing. I may not be the world's greatest dancer, but I don't think I dance as badly as say, Elaine.

I'm edging out of the years where I'm raising cooperative, adoring children and edging into those trying teenage ones. I know these are phases and stages. So I will cherish little moments like these as they come by.
I have a new digital voice recorder to help me with my interview/essay business. I figured I better practice with it. I was reading the instruction manual and was looking at the “Care and Use” section. In an effort to be thorough, the instructions actually say
“Do no throw into fire.”

Boy am I glad I read that because I usually throw my electronics in fire when it gets full as a way of clearing the memory. I would have never known it didn’t work with this recorder.

Really? Did they have to explain that? Does that mean someone called in a complaint about a non-functioning unit and divulged that they had thrown it into a fire?

My daughter’s curling iron gave the sage advice to not use while sleeping. Did someone confuse the curling iron for the soft pink spongy ones?

My son said that one of his game cube games warned not to throw it in the toilet. I guess this is a common response to low scores.

How about the directions on the frozen pizzas: Remove from cardboard box. Remove plastic wrapper. Did someone really just put it in the oven with the box and wrapper on? How dumb are we?

What dumb directions have you encountered?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I had fun with power tools today!

My daughters are in a play. One of the requirements of cast members is a parent who will support the play somehow. I'm new at this, but I signed up to help with set construction. Since some of the main builders were also on my Habitat for Humanity trip, some people involved knew that I had fun with building. The set designer gave me a sketch of Cinderella's Carriage and talked to me about how it would be used for the narrator. It needed to be mobile.

I consulted with the director. She doesn't know me as well. She suggested that I do the decorative part and leave the base including wheels to the guys.

I took it as a dare.

So today, with the help of my friend's superb wood shop, and his 16 year old son who was dodging homework, we made the rolling carriage. I got to use a new one, a band saw, plus some of my old favorites, the chop saw and sawzall. I owe that boy an iTunes gift card or something for helping me figure out how to cut the angles I wanted and how to brace the supports. It was like a live math problem. Can I count that as studying for my GRE?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I need to thank my friend Anne for turning me on to blogging back in February. I have had such a good time talking to you all. I look forward to much more. I am feeling optimistic about my writing career. It has taken me many fun places. You have helped to build my confidence.

Can I share some stats with you? I meant to point out my statcounter before it did this, but it just slipped right by 10,000 page loads without comment. Tonight will be my 196th post, so Monday morning you will likely be reading my 200th post. Cool, huh?

Since February of this year, my profile has been viewed 911 times. That's some exposure. Some of those who have joined the conversation are a modern combination of stranger and friend. I've never met them. Sometimes I don't even know their real names. But today I was buying mums and I thought, "Greeny would like this. She'd be proud of me." We've become friends. You've "met" my family and friends. Weird, in an Orwellian kind of way, but still friends.

I'm still seeing if I can make any money with this writing. Perhaps if I get my degree, if I pass that damn math portion of the GRE.

Thanks Anne! You haven't steered me wrong yet.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I try not to blog too much about the men dated because
a.) they might be reading it
b.) what if it doesn't work out
c.) I don't want to have to explain how it's going and
d.) other reasons I don't want to mention here.
However, dating is so interesting, as has been the cast of characters. So I would like to hear your reactions to this one.

What do you think of a date who, instead of the traditional flowers or candy, brings tomatoes he grew in his own garden and pears he canned himself? They were both delicious by the way.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I went to a great double concert yesterday at the Nissan Pavilion in Virginia. John Mayer played a bunch of tunes from his as yet unreleased CD. Even though he missed some of my favorites from his first album, (listen to me date myself; I mean CD.) he is an amazing guitarist. I enjoy his bluesy style. Apparently so did a lot of younger women who filled the pavilion.

The second act was Sheryl Crow. I found her downright inspirational. She is a few years older than I am and has persevered through many obstacles. And there she was dazzling all of us. She looks fantastic, and what energy! She makes being a rock star look like so much fun. I have two of her CDs but need to download a few of her tunes for my iPod. I enjoyed the one with the lyrics,
“If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad.
If it makes you happy, why the hell are you so sad?”
“Are you strong enough to be my man?”

How did you all pass the holiday weekend?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ernesto has passed by and all is well. I had the hatches battened. I was on alert for my flooding basement and kept the elements at bay. I couldn't post because my power kept flickering. But today all is well and I only have 4 extra house guests who don't have power. (Three more arrived this morning while I was writing this post!) I love storm parties. In anticipation of the storm I stocked up on snack foods and mixers, plus some of my guests have brought their melting freezer contents. So we are all fine, thanks for worrying.

Peggy & I had planned to take our parents out for dinner last night. Despite the sideways rain and widespread power outages, we continued with our plans, even though our first choice of restaurant was also in the dark. When we arrived at Smokey Bones barbecue restaurant, we saw that many folks in town without power had ended up here. Since it was crowded and we had to wait, Peggy & I decided we ought to get a drink to pass the wait more pleasantly. (Can I say “pleasantly?”) I gave my dad a taste of my Blue Moon beer that they served with an orange slice. The waiting pager went off with lights and vibrations as soon as he took a sip – as if his drinking a beer set off alarms.

Anyway, something about a storm brings the friendly out. While we were waiting for our drink order, we got involved in an animated conversation with two strangers at the bar about our whiskey and bourbon opinions, our mothers, our religious upbringing, and how our experiences didn't equal what we were taught as children. By the time we returned to the lobby with our mother's drinks,they were beginning to get worried about us.

Fortunately for us we were hungry. So when the waiter arrived at our table, we ordered appetizers and another round of drinks. I say fortunately because before they could cook our dinner order, the restaurant lost power too. The friendly manager checked on us and I said we would finish our drinks and see if the power returned, which it didn't.

Some of you know my mom personally. She needs to be fed on a regular basis. It was important that we get her food or else her inner bitch comes out to play. So when the waiter came out with a tray of food, we were hoping maybe ours was some of the food that made it to the grill before the outage. But no such luck. We heckled the table beside us with “Lucky!” The three kids and the parents talked to us for a couple minutes. It was one boy's birthday – now powerless. I encouraged Peggy to offer the kids a dollar for a fry. When she turned around, she saw that they all three had ordered mac and cheese. Darn! That would have been funny. We were foiled by pasta.

Just as I finished my beer and we were trying to calculate an approximation of our bill, the dad beside us came over and asked if we really hadn't had dinner. He offered his leftovers, two sandwich halves that they had cut with a knife so the “Had not even been touched.” I looked over at Mom, caught Peggy's eye, and determined, yes, in this situation, food from strangers was a better option.

Is that gross? It was a gesture of kindness that I decided was more important that dignity or germophobia. His name was Jamie. I wonder at what point in their meal they decided to preserve some of their food for the hungry masses?

Warmed by the family's act of generosity, Peggy flagged down the waiter and checked on the status of the melting ice cream. She insisted that the children behind us get some for the boy's darkened birthday. He obliged and we led the restaurant in a loud round of “Happy Birthday to Joshua.” Even our friends at the bar joined in the singing.

I love storms. They bring out the best in everyone.