Sunday, September 11, 2011

This Day

I don't like to talk about 9/11. I keep most things that are important to me very close. I talk a good game, but what I share about myself with other people is more often than not very shallow and not substantial.

I have been trying to ignore this day, to just complain about all the traffic and the people and the raised security. I wanted to pretend that this was just another day. I have found that I cannot. This will never be just another day to me. I may never lose the sadness and the anger, the very intense anger, over this day. And I really hate that.

And that's pretty much all I have to say on this to most people. I sometimes wish I could say more, but I just don't know how.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


They're doing a blood drive in my building today and I hadn't given in a while so I thought I'd go. So, I did.

I love giving blood. Really. I HATE needles and the finger pricking for the iron test is almost as upsetting to me as the needle stick to drain my blood. But otherwise, I love it. I love the people who work and volunteer at blood banks. I like filling out my form. I like feeling good about doing something so easy that can help so much. Totally gives me a smug do gooder feel (I advise any of my friends in NY to avoid me for the day while I bask in my smug awesomeness, it's really quite insufferable). Though one of my friends enjoys my blood donating days as I get drunk way quicker and he's a bad, bad man.

I started back in high school. Hawai'i does the blood bank thing well. They have (had?) a focus of getting you in young. Lots of high school blood drives and things. I remember even a huge blood donating festival or two with local comedians and musicians and all performing and such, trying to get the young interested and involved. I still have some Hawai'i Blood Bank t-shirts in a box in my basement somewhere (you know, the box of clothes I'll fit back into one day. Ha!). Also, I made a friend at Punahou back then who was in remission. She was a big volunteer at the blood drives. And a good face for the people you don't meet who you help with your blood. Everytime I give I think of her. And others. As you get older the list of people you know who need blood or platelets or plasma grows.

Anyway, once I started I kept giving. And my high school friends are big dorky donors as well. Lots of fun stories of blood letting with them. Tangerine and I once were at the Hawai'i blood bank when some guy came in trying to sell his blood. But this was a volunteer center. And the woman at the front desk mustered more smugness than even I can do on blood donating days to say, "People here VOLUNTEER their blood." I'm a little more sympathetic as an adult to the plight of people who need money however they can get it, but at the time I was very proud to be giving my blood in exchange for nothing more than cookies. And my insufferable smugness. Sorry.

Pumpkin and I can get a little annoying (or amusing?) at blood banks. We both fill our blood bags pretty quickly and a couple times when we've given together we've tried to get the folks at the blood bank to do us at the same time so we could race. Some were amused, some annoyed. No one really would humor us though. But, I always think of her when I give and someone comments on how fast it's going. Sometimes they stick me, set me up and walk away saying they'll be back in 10-15. I tell them they'll want to come back earlier and they roll their eyes. Today two of the aids working with me were mocking me and my book saying I hadn't even turned the page yet and had almost filled my blood bag. They said I wasn't going to get much reading done. They were right.

I like the people at blood banks too. Some are paid, some are volunteers, but they've always been nice. And big on saying thank you. I haven't been to the blood bank in the Port Authority in a while, but the juice & cookie volunteers there were awesome. On your first time there they'd take your picture and put it on a bulletin board. And then as you'd come back they'd put colored stars on for each visit. And they are QUITE the juice and cookie pushers there.

I love the juice table too. So cute with the juice boxes and mini packs of cookies and all. Today I had fruit punch and shortbread cookies, because they MAKE you sit at the juice table for a while no matter how you feel. I don't have much of an adverse reaction to giving blood. I might feel a twinge of lightheadness at times, but overall I'm all good. No worries. One time in high school Pumpkin and I donated and then went right back to the theatre to continue building a set. Until the Techincal Director saw our telltale band-aids and made us sit down. We pouted. We felt fine and saw no reason we couldn't haul set pieces and equipment around. We can be a little bratty. But I do know some people react more strongly to blood donation and all and in my old age I try to be a bit better about sitting at the table, drinking my juice and putting everyone at peace.

Anyway, I gave blood today, loved it and have to be better about giving more regularly again. I'm up again March 19th. Gotta find a place to give near work or home. But first, more juice.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

RVing to Wally World

On Thursday we all enjoyed a delightful Thanksgiving dinner with our favorites (Green Bean Casserole & Corn Casserole) and some other tasty stuff. We also kept sneaking away during hte day to pack up the RV. So that come Friday we could leave at 8AM and be on the road by 9:30AM heading to Georgia for a little stop to break up the trip.

It was my first time really going in the RV and it was fun. Though there is QUITE a bit of work involved in packing everything in and down for the long haul. Dad is the only one up to driving such a beast (37 foot RV) so he took the whole 8 hours or so. We did stop at a Flying J in South Caroline for gas and food and I got to browse the store looking at lovely shirts all about hunting and beer and McCain/Palin '08! Woo! Dad enjoyed the buffet and Sweet Tea while Mom had a pork tenderloin. I always love how the pork is about three times the size of the bun they serve it on. I made do with an off menu grilled cheese. Rebel that I am. The Flying J did have a lot of lovely three CD box set tin things for Elvis and Dolly and John Denver, but I decided to save my bucks for Wally World.

We finally got to our RV park (Eagle Hammock on the Sub Base in Kings Bay, GA) around 6PM and got set up. Dad still doesn't allow pooping in the RV so luckily the park had nice facilities. And Free Coffee! Georgia was fun, mostly. The weather was delightful and the RV Park is right on a lake with lots of birds (we got a blue heron photo for you, Vader!) and apparently gators. Though we did roll our eyes when the dining directory listed all the Asian restaurants under "Oriental."

Saturday we ran some errands, hit the commissary and did a bit of sight seeing in St. Mary's Georgia. The weather was lovely and we enjoyed some walking along the water as well as some of the pretty buildings there, including an old and darling Presbyterian Church. And that night we went to a teppanyaki restaurant, which I haven't done in ages. The majority of the staff was Filipino rather than Japanese, but it was fun and tasty. Though more customers seemed to want the chipotle ranch dip over the ginger dip. Both dips were good but it tasted a little off dipping my vegetable tempura into a creamy dip.

We also got to meet some RV folks at the park. Roland from Maine and Jean from Ohio who nicely pointed out one of the Blue Herons when I was out for a walk around the lake. And one friendly lady who made a "Kitty Porn" joke when I was on the camp computer looking at a photo of DKE that Vader sent me. :) I also got some ideas on what to get the folks for Christmas. See, RV people put a TON of crap out when they set up camp. In the GA park there wasn't much but there were some flags and a few lights and someone even had a gnome out front. My parents have nothing. Well, almost nothing. They do own a string of flip flop lights but haven't put them out yet. So, I have to get them some crap, so they can fit in with their fellow RVers.

Anyway, today we got up early, packed everything up and hit the road again. The road was okay for the first two or three hours and then the skies just opened. Dad did a great job, but it wasn't pretty.

At around 2PM we finally arrived at Wally World!!!!! Check in was a hoot with four long lines of RVs waiting to get their campsite assignments. But, we got through, got a nice spot, got set up and then went off to get my 8 day park pass for the parks. Woo! After which Dad and I toured Fort Wilderness looking at the different sites and all the crap they have.

Now, RV folks have lots of stuff. Sometimes it's just crap, sometimes it's themed to go with their favorite sports team or something like that. Disney people also have lots of crap (as my friends and family can attest). And Christmas folks have lots of crap. Knowing all this you still can't imagine the crap all throughout this park. Some sites have thousands of dollars worth of Disney Christmas lights and inflatable character decorations and candy canes. One RV had a TV in one of the bottom compartments, open and playing the Christmas Rudolph movie. Another RV had a speaker out amongst the crap with Christmas Music blasting. So fabulous.

And... after all that we headed off to the Magic Kingdom to start our Disney Adventure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm on Vacation!

I know it's been a while since I blogged. According to my Mom, "Mandy hasn't updated hers in forever." So, while I"m teaching her about the magical world of RSS feed readers I figure I"ll update as a teaching tool. Good times.

I have been referring to it as vaca, but that's been too confusing for my father. He was pronouncing it more like kaka for one thing and for another kept asking if I was talking about a sweater. Apparently he was thinking vicuna was vacana or something. We're a special family.

Anyway. I am finally on vacation. I hadn't realized how badly I needed one. I haven't had a real vacation all year. Some days here or there, long weekends for weddings or obligations, a couple weekend getaways... but no real vacation. And I was getting cranky and bitter and angry (more so than usual).

And then I left the office at 3:45 yesterday and birds were singing and colors were brighter and it was like I was in a Disney Movie! I was lugging my giant suitcase through the subway system and onto the JFK Airtrain and had a big smile on my face the whole damn time, texting everyone that I'm on VACATION!!!! Woo! (Yes, I'm a girl who woos.)

So, I'm in NC right now, chilling with the family and preparing to eat my weight in starch tomorrow. And working to keep my dad from eating the pecan pie before tomorrow. Corn casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, rolles, pie... so good.

And then, day after tomorrow, we're all loading up the RV and heading to Wally World! I'm so looking forward to it. I've stayed in the RV at Disney before with the folks, but I've never driven there before. I'm kind of excited. Expect lots of photos and video on flickr soon. Of driving. It's a rock star life.

Friday, August 08, 2008

New York Cares

I like to volunteer. I'm not all noble or anything, there are lots of folks who give so much more than I do. And I think I get just as much out of it as I give to others.

When I was little we'd often do volunteer type things through school or the Officer's Wives Club or something like that. And my ballet schools always took time to perform in nursing homes and hospitals close to Nutcracker or recital times. I liked when we'd get to talk to the patients afterwards. I got to run around in my leotard and dance and chat with people. Seemed like a good time to me.

I volunteered as a candy striper in an ER when I was in high school, but that was as much to learn about medicine and hospitals and see if I wanted to be a doctor. In fact, I think one of my college application essays was about the first time I saw a dead body, which happened while volunteering in the ER. I changed a lot of beds and held a lot of hands and ran a lot of x-rays around, but I got to see a lot of cool stuff too, depending on which doctors were on duty. And I got to meet interesting patients as well. I am my mother's daughter and love chatting with strangers.

My high school required all Seniors do a semester (or actually I think half a semester) of Community Service. Usually it was things like taking animals from the Humane Society to hospitals and nursing homes (I think the most popular one) and such. It was also usually during school hours, during class time. You could request projects and would tell them your interests and all, but projects were ultimately assigned. You'd get a slip saying what your project was and once a cycle you'd meet with a group to talk about it. I think it's a nice idea. Gets students in the habit of giving back and all that. I wanted the Humane Society one, but a friend of mine and I got slips saying that we would be informed of our project details upon our first meeting with our group. So we started calling it the Super Secret Community Service.

It turns out we were going to be sent to an Emergency Children's Shelter. The location of these kinds of places does need to be kept very secret so once we found out it made sense. Also, only a couple of people a semester do this project as it's a weekend one so we hadn't heard of it before. But it was such a great experience. Every Saturday we'd drive out to the house and spend the day hanging out with kids; going to the beach or the mall, hanging around the house and playing, whatever. We were just there to spend time with these kids. And it was amazing. The stuff that had happened to some of these kids would turn your stomach. And while some were very reserved and some were incredibly outgoing they were all so loving and warm. And once they got used to you they'd just shower you with affection. They really seemed to love the attention and having an almost grown-up who was just there to hang out with them and be kind to them and have fun with them. I always had a great time with those kids. And I'm sorry I wasn't able to do it for longer.

In college I volunteered at Head Start my first year, which was again just largely hanging out with kids. Sometimes I'd help with getting stuff ready or tidying up, but mostly it was playing with the kids. I would've done that longer, but then got a workstudy job at the Day Care in the same building. And, once you're paid it doesn't count as volunteering. I loved the volunteering and the job. Hanging out with kids, watching Disney movies, going on field trips; it was all my kind of thing. Though I did get peed on for one of the field trips, on a ride. I still remember one time I was having a crap day and showed up for work in a bad mood. But, a few girls and I sat in the playground watching earthworms and calling ourselves Jessica (except one girl who preferred to keep her own name). And in no time at all I was out of my cranky mood. Giggling with little girls in the sunshine makes it pretty hard to hate the world.

Once I got to New York I didn't do too much at first. But after I got settled into my job at Morgan I checked out their Foundation and volunteer program and started with their lunchtime reading program. It was a pretty simple one. You're assigned a child and then once a week you go and read with them at lunch. Totally easy and fun. Sometimes the kids are ones who could use extra help and sometimes the kids were ones who did really well in school and got a reading buddy as a perk. It was all voluntary for the kids. And it wasn't so much about tutoring them or teaching them to read. It was about them having an adult who was focused on them and only them for an hour a week. And to show them that reading was fun. My first two years I was assigned a holy terror whom I adored. He liked trying to shock me by telling me he drank beer and was going to get a motorcycle and tattoos. He was six. I told him he might want to wait a few years before making that kind of commitment to beer and bikes and skin art. He said he might wait until 18, but did offer to have one of his tattoos include my name. He also frequently tried to look up my skirt and asked me for my number so he could call me over our the summer after our first year. I said that wasn't appropriate and he should call girls closer to his own age. He thought that made sense. He wasn't a huge fan of reading but we found lots of shark and dinosaur books. And he seemed more into it when it was more interactive so we'd grab the globe and look up locations of fossils and such whenever they were mentioned in the books. I'd also bring in puzzles for him. While reading with him for two years I really got to see him learn and improve at reading and at the puzzles. But then his family moved. And I got a sweet, smart girl. Who LOVED math. Which made me so happy. We'd read for a bit, she liked mysteries a lot, and then I'd sit around making up math problems with her. I explained a bit of pre-algebra to her and she really liked figuring out x. She had a friend whose reading buddy didn't always show up so I often got two of them reading and doing math and solving crime. Not a bad two years. But then she was older and wanted to spend all of her lunches with friends instead of me. So I got my last little girl. Who was a blast. I called her Troublemaker. She liked messing with my cell phone and talking about movies and drinking chocolate milk. One night the school had a talent show and she and her friends did a dance. I want to see it after work. It was kind of spectacular. I hadn't been to a grade school talent show in a while. The Spring of our second year I was laid off. I finished up the year, but since I was no longer with the program I couldn't go another year.

Also through Morgan I'd sign up for the Holiday Gift program every year. You get a child's letter to Santa or whomever and then you go shopping. Pumpkin and I have had a blast in previous years buying things for little girls. We don't have too many kids in our lives so it's fun to shop for the small girlie stuff. And they'd always tell us this could very well be the only gift the child would receive that Holiday season so I'd go a little overboard. But, that was also through Morgan.

So, now that I'm settled in my job and have no volunteer options through work I've finally signed up for
New York Cares. And I'm a total dork about it. Vader has been doing it for years and is humoring me. I did my orientation last week, but most of the projects have already been filled for the month. I guess the calendar comes out around the 21s or 22nd and people sign up for projects quickly. It's a nice system. They have lots of one-shot projects so you don't have to commit long-term if you don't want. And you can try all kinds of things. And if you have a free evening or Saturday you can see if any projects are open and sign up. Vader said that things don't fill up quite so fast after the summer is over, so that will be nice. I'm excited to try some of the kid or animal ones, and playing cards or casino nights in homes for the elderly, and maybe one of the zoo or aquarium visits. But tomorrow Vader and I are going to sort clothes for a thrift shop whose profits go to help the Homeless with AIDS/HIV. It's not too glamorous which is probably why it was one of the few things still left for tomorrow. But I'm still kind of excited. And later this month I'm signed up to play Wii at a health center in my neighborhood and a coffeehouse at a center for the blind and those with low vision. And New York Cares does the Winter Wishes gift program as well so I can get back into that again. I'm looking forward to all of that. Though, is there someone out there who can teach me to Wii?

More Movies

So, for WarGames I got to be the one to sit next to the crazies. Actually, they weren't crazy, but they were very angry.

We got to the theater and there was a HUGE line at the door to our particular theater. Which we thought a little odd, but not too odd. WarGames is a fantastic movie after all. The food line was bad too so I went to get food while Vader waited in the theater line. Everyone in my food line was on their phone so I called Vader just so I wouldn't feel left out. I told her this and the guy in front of me thought I was pretty funny. Not that he got off the phone to chat with me or anything. So, that doesn't work as a pick up line.

Anyway, we realized I had both tickets with me so we decided Vader would call me when they started seating us, if it looked like they were checking tickets. A little while later she came up to me and said that the line that seemed to start right at the door of our theater was NOT for WarGames. We never found out for sure what it was for, but we suspect The Dark Knight in the theater next to ours. Even though it was a Tuesday and almost two weeks after that movie opened. Right then I got our food so we booked it to the theater. The BEST seats were gone, but there were decent ones down front. A nice man let us climb over him though he was worried I was going to dump soda and popcorn on him. I did not, but I did drop a dollar bill on his lap. He said that was perfectly fine. And then he nicely gave us the dollar back. I wandered off to get butter for our popcorn (yes, I know that's not helping me lose weight) and Vader let him read the
Wired article on WarGames as a thank you for tolerating all of our climbing.

I came back and we got all settled and were hanging out waiting for the movie to start. About five minutes prior a man and woman came and sat next to me. They had to climb over us and our nice man to get to the seats and the woman was very annoyed at this. But really, you come to a movie five minutes before the start and the odds aren't good you'll get a choice aisle seat. Whatever. They sat down and they seemed to know the people in front of them and possibly the people behind them. A little chatty group.

Now, I would like you to know that the ad that first brought this viewing to our attention advertised this as a WarGames 25th Anniversary event with never before seen interviews and clips from the sequel (straight to video, do not want to see). When I searched for the event online that was clearly started as well. The same when I purchased tickets. And when we were waiting for the movie to start, every minute or so the screen would flash the event ad/sign along with the mention of never before seen interviews and clips from the sequel.

So, the lights dim and the previews start. Then the lights go out and the featurette starts with interviews and clips. And the woman in my row is LIVID. She is very, very angry they're showing this featurette that they advertised all over the place. At one point early on she shrieks, "Just show the movie!!!" Now, I am enjoying the featurette. Fun stuff in it and all. Everyone else seems to be chuckling and having a good time as well. Except the chatty crew to my left. The woman in front of us yells, "They're ruining it!!" Now, they did have clips from the movie in there, but I've seen trailers that revealed more of a movie. Also, they did show Joshua's last screen, but not for long and if you haven't actually seen the movie I can't imagine the screen making enough sense to give anything away. But this group was freaking out. Finally midway through they calmed down and just decided to ignore what was going on onscreen, just chatting and typing on their blackberries. Bah.

So, the movie started and all was well. I've never seen it on the big screen before so Vader and I were having a blast. But, right when they're trying to get off the island the movie stopped. Annoying, but hardly the end of the world. I thought the woman in our row was going to have a heart attack she was so upset. Lots of people got up, to tell a manager, get some snacks, hit the head, whatever. Vader and I stayed seated because 207 people do not need to get up and tell the manager the movie is out. We figured it would get worked out or we'd be told otherwise. The woman next to me kept turning around and looking at the projection booth and spitting out, "No one is BACK there!" and huffing. Of course she made NO effort to get up or have one of her group get up to talk to anyone. She just huffed.

Within a couple of minutes a manager came out and told us all that the satellite went out and the event folks were working on it. The theater wasn't showing the movie it was a nationwide event so this was going on all over the country, not just with us. But it would be up shortly. Some folks yelled out we should get free food or something but everyone laughed (except the woman in my row) and within a couple more minutes the movie was going again. And it was awesome.

I had a great time and loved seeing the movie on the big screen. I know technology has come so far since then, but I still think it's a kickass flick. I just feel bad the angry woman couldn't enjoy it. Luckily she didn't ruin it for us and now Vader and I have added, "They're RUINING the movie." to our collection of things to say when waiting for a movie to start.

We used it last weekend when I finally got to see The Dark Knight IMAX. I hadn't seen the movie yet because I wanted to see it on the IMAX screen first. And I'm so glad I waited. Don't know what it was like on a regular screen but seeing it on the giant glory that is the IMAX was lovely. Though it took some effort. Tickets in New York were selling out like mad. Vader and I tried to get tickets earlier, but within a day of being available everything but the 4:30AM shows were selling out. And some of the 9:30AM weekday ones. But, finally, on a Tuesday, I got tickets for a Sunday show, which was sold out by Wednesday.

Bon Jovi joined us and we thought about getting there at noon for a 1:15 movie. We weren't sure if that was too early or too late and decided to go for 11:30AM feeling kind of like nerds. Well, I did. Vader has seen first or almost first showings of the recent Star Wars movies so she sorta thought we were lightweights. (And yes, she is going to the first showing of Clone Wars next week. I tease her lots, but I think it's kinda cool she loves Star Wars so much and knows so much about it.) But, we got there at 11:30 and there were already 10-20 folks in line ahead of us. By the time noon rolled around the line was huge and out the door and down the stairs. So, 11:30 worked. We got great seats and settled in for the awesomeness that is The Dark Knight. Good times. And it was kind of fun watching people enter the theater around 12:30 or so and see that it was already packed, with the only available seats on the ends or down front.

Of course, after all my line waiting drama I made Vader get to the waterfalls cruise last night ridiculously early. We WERE first in line. But we were first in line for a good 20 minutes so... At least we always have something to talk about. And she was a very good sport.

Hopefully there won't be any drama for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Maybe if I go on Monday during the day...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I'm not a big one for celebrity gossip. I enjoy hearing about it and I skim all kinds of celeb blogs. I'm a fan of pop culture and all that. But I don't actually care about most of the gossip. It's sad when people break up or die or go to jail or fall off the wagon or whatever, but I have enough people in my life who need my care and attention and love and sympathy. Okay, that sounds cold. Man, I really am dead inside. It's not that I'm cold and uncaring, I just figure they have folks to worry about them. If they need me they can find me and call me but otherwise I'm not going to feel more than a, "huh, that sucks" for people I don't know and/or can't help.

Anyway, my whole point is that I'm actually a little bit sad about Estelle Getty. Like really sad and not just sad in passing for her family and friends.

Anyone who knows me and Vader even a little bit should know our MAD LOVE for the Golden Girls. We've seen all the episodes a million times (bless you Lifetime Television for Women and your six hours of GG a day). We quote them or reference them all the time. I smile every time the Go Fug Yourself girls mention one of Blanche's caftan's or Dorothy's special style of dressing. Even my poor father has been subjected to a episode or two when he's been in town. And I totally hope that when I hit a certain age I'll be living with friends and eating cheesecake and talking about all the dirty sex we're having (finally, after you've gone, Daddy, I might think about having sex) and getting into inane fights and hitting each other on the head with newspapers and stuff like that. So, I'm sad that the woman who brought Sofia to life is gone. And that she had to battle an illness for a long time before.

So, this Sunday Vader and I are going to get together and have a little Estelle Memorial. We're going to watch "Flu Attack" (my favorite GG episode) and "The Case of the Libertine Belle" (Vader's favorite episode) as well as a few others. We'll probably throw in a viewing of Mannequin. And we'll eat cheesecake and some kind of Sophia food that involves red sauce. Or maybe we'll just have ear salve on pasta. And it'll be awesome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

David Lynch goes to Boston Market

Vader, Bon Jovi and I went to Maggie's house in NH for Fourth of July weekend. We had a lovely time. It's a beautiful house and area and Maggie is a gracious host. Though she could rival my Mamaw in the pushing of food. I think she's going to make an excellent grandma in 30 years or so. But, it was a lovely weekend and I'm glad I went.

Anyway, in order to get to NH we rented a car in Brooklyn and drove all the way up there. I warned Maggie that we would arrive late and quite punchy from being in a car for so long. But even I didn't realize what a road trip it would end up being.

We started out okay, but with lots of traffic. There were a lot of people getting off the East Norwalk exit. Vader thought this was because they were all going to the Yankee Doodle Ranch. We had to break her heart a little by pointing out she misread the sign and it was really Yankee Doodle Bridge. We were all a little sad there is no Yankee Doodle Ranch.

Maggie called us a time or two from the road. She left Boston about the same time we left Brooklyn, and seemed a little surprised we were so far behind her drivingwise. She wanted to know why we weren't on I495 at one point. Vader pointed out we would be, in about two hours. I suspect she was just really excited to see us and have us see the house. But it seemed like she thought we'd all arrive around the same time.

Somewhere in Connecticut we were all getting a little hungry and Vader had to pee. So, we took the next exit promising gas and food. The vegetarian vetoed Burger King and KFC, the diabetic vetoed Duncan Donuts. That left us with Boston Market. Oh my.

We walked in and it was strangely quiet. Like really, creepily quiet. There were a few folks behind the counter and a couple of customers already there. But everyone was moving very slowly. And very quietly. Vader, Bon Jovi and I all started talking to each other in a whisper, and then sort of stopped speaking at all not long after after we went inside. There was a VERY pregnant woman ahead of us in line and she was asking the guy behind the counter (kinda cute, but hunched over the whole time we were there, he never stood up once) about the $4.99 specials advertised in the window. He looked at her blankly for a bit and then suggested the Side Sampler (which was priced at $5.99). She asked if they had a list of the $4.99 specials. "Nope." He didn't tell her what the $4.99 specials were, but didn't say they didn't have $4.99 specials either. Very strange.

The pregnant woman told us to go ahead while she just hung out looking at the menu and the sides displayed under the plexiglass. I believe she was still there when we finally left.

I ordered the Side Sampler with mashed potatoes, mac & cheese (also known as spiral pasta and yellow liquid) and green beans. I had to wait a moment or two for the "mac" & "cheese" to be brought out. The woman in front of me was waiting on corn. Every so often she would ask how long until the corn would be ready. Every time a couple of the workers would react by being vaguely surprised there was no corn, announcing they needed corn and responding that someone was getting corn. But no one ever told her when the corn was coming. Until eventually corn came. I think.

As the cute hunched over counter guy was packing up my food he said, "would you like this to go?"

Amanda: "No. I, um, want to stay."
CHOCG: "We're closing at 9."
Amanda (seeing that it's 8:52): "So, I guess I have to get it to go."
CHOCG: "I'm not saying that."
CHOCG: "But we're closing at 9."
Amanda: "We'll take it to go."

At some point a few other people came in. One woman with a full leg cast and crutches. A very strange looking couple. The pregnant woman still hanging out, letting people get in front of her. The line grew behind us. And yet it was still very, very quiet. And everyone was moving very, very slowly. Customers and workers.

I was in line to pay and wanted to make sure Vader and I got our cornbread with our Side Samplers. One worker showed it to me in a bag. Then another worker came around and tossed it in the larger bag of the person behind us (the woman waiting on corn). Vader then came up to me, asked me to pay for her food handed her wallet to me and said, "I have to..." and then wandered off. I demanded more cornbread. I have no idea why, but I was obsessed with making sure we got our cornbread. Paying took long enough that Vader was back from the bathroom by the time I made it to the drink station. It was very sticky on the walk from the cash register to the drink station. And as quiet as it was you could hear me pry my foot off the floor with each step.

At the drink station Vader was mesmerized by the two 2 liter bottles of Coke. At first she wondered if they just poured it into the soda fountain. I pointed out the coke lever was probably broken and people were to serve themselves. She didn't say anything, but kept pointing at the bottles. Later she said she was just concerned about health code violations. We got our sodas and met up with Bon Jovi and headed to the car. They locked the doors as soon as we left. Even though other people were still inside.

Apparently while we were getting drinks, Bon Jovi was insisting that he did NOT want his cornbread. But the cashier kept pushing it on him. At one point the couple behind him asked if THEY could have his cornbread. We don't know if the cashier let them have it or not.

So, we get outside and there is nowhere to eat our food. And Boston Market is NOT the kind of food you can eat while driving. Someone did leave an almost full and still cold enough the bottle was sweating Mike's Hard Lemonade in the parking spot next to us. We opted not to drink it. Anyway, we sat in the car eating mashed potatoes and sweet potato souffle (apparently largely just mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar rocks on top) and really bad cornbread. Laughing, sweating and watching at least 8 different cop cars go through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru across the street. While we were there a couple different cars pulled up and people got out only to get back in when they saw the Boston Market was closed. At one point a red mini van pulled up with a woman talking very animatedly in the driver's seat. We couldn't see a phone or anything and thought she was talking to herself. Until a very, very short man got out of the passenger seat. We couldn't even see him when he was in the van. And we decided then it was VERY Lynchian. I don't think the guy was actually a little person, but he was pretty small and looked to be an adult. And it was all just such a weird experience with all the quiet and the strange people and everyone speaking and moving so slowly...

We finally finished our food and were ready to head out. But there wasn't a trash can for as far as the eye could see. At least on our side of the road. So, we bagged it all up and got onto the highway, pulling into the CVS when we spotted a trash can. Bon Jovi got back in the car and informed us there was already a pile of Boston Market trash in the CVS trash can. Heh. Awesome.

So, we hit the road once again. Maggie checked in from time to time, Bon Jovi supplied awesome tunes (Blondie, Bon Jovi, Rick Springfield, etc) and we did well until I got ired. Between laughing over Boston Market and just being pooped I started to lose focus on the road. Not a good thing So, we looked for a place to pull over so Vader could take on driving duties. We saw a sign for a rest area and pulled over.

Now, most rest areas have at least a bathroom, some lights, picnic tables, something. This one was just wooded area and some parking spots. You should also know that Vader hates nature and the woods and all of that. Okay, I'm not sure she actually hates nature, but she's afraid of it. She's convinced nature or axe murderers or some such are going to come out of the dark and murder her. In a violent and painful manner. Lots of people have this fear, but hers is a bit grander than most. So, we pull up into a spot with dark woods on one side and a couple of dark parked trucks. Sh e jumped out of the car, ran over to the driver's seat and got in, locking her door as quickly as possible. I wasn't paying much attention and got out of the car to dump some more trash (there WAS a trashcan nearby) and stretch my legs. Until Vader and Bon Jovi threatened to leave my ass there if I didn't get in the car 'RIGHT THIS MINUTE.' Between Boston Market and this stop it we decided I'm not allowed to pick any more of our stops. Though the sleeping truckers did give us a nice long conversation about trucks,
Modern Marvels, truck stop hookers, Lifetime-esque movies about truck stop hookers and a little look into my bizarre psyche.

Things went along smoothly until we hit NH. I was in the middle of some story or talking point and I saw the welcome sign. My first instinct was to say "Welcome to New Hampshire" to the car. Really, that was my intent when I stopped mid sentence. What came out of my mouth was an extremely loud, rather angry, "LIVE FREE OR DIE, BITCHES!!!" that scared Vader, Bon Jovi, me and possibly any other cars within a 100 feet of us. It was very bizarre. And I think that was the moment we broke poor Bon Jovi.

Not long after we hit the town which hosts Maggie's lake house. We pulled out her instructions and learned that they were thorough and correct, but really only useful in daylight. In the dead of night without street lights or house lights it's very hard to make out fields and meadows and farmhouses and such. But, we made it almost to the house when we ended up on Hemlock Lane. And hit a dead end. The Soundtrack from Grease 2 was on the stereo, Vader was freaking out because the nature is dark and scary all around us and all Bon Jovi could do was sing "Wa a a" from "Girl for All Seasons" over and over again. Well, until he saw a house with four guys hanging out inside. He wanted us to just drop him off there, but we didn't think having Bon Jovi ringing a doorbell at 1:30AM in a remote part of NH singing "Wa a a" would end well. Also, while she called us several times over the course of the drive, now that we were lost and needed her we couldn't get her on the phone. I know now that her house isn't in a great service area and her phone wasn't ringing but at the time there was a lot of swearing. So, Vader is in the car freaking out thinking nature is going to kill us, Bon Jovi is singing "Wa a a" on a constant loop and I'm swearing up a storm. Don't you so wish you were there?

We turned back around and right before the turn saw the house number on a tree and also on the house. We weren't sure it was the right street, but with the proper number we figured we'll chance it. There were lights on in the house unlike most others. We got to the front door and Bon Jovi wouldn't go in. He claimed he'd "seen this movie" and thought he'd be shot. I would've barged right in, but I was at the back of the group. Finally we saw Maggie's cat coming towards the door and knew we're in the right place. At which point we stumbled in with all our crap and promptly freak out Maggie and her friend with our inane babbling. And Bon Jovi's "Wa a a"'s.

So, who's with us for the NEXT road trip?

Fun Being a Girl

(Dad, just stay away from this entry, you really don't want to read this.)

A friend of mine is experiencing her first UTI this morning. And hopefully if I don't mention her name, she won't mind me writing about it.

I had 'em when I was little. And then again a time or two in college, when I was probably at my most sexually active. And it's just the worst thing ever. I'd rather have a festival of yeast infections than a UTI. It hurts and you want to pee all the time. When I have one all I want to do is sit on the toilet and cry. I had to be threatened once in order go to the ER when I had an open wound with exposed fatty tissue, but I will barely bother to put on shoes or pants in my rush to get to the doctor if I have a UTI. My friend is someone who is usually trying to convince me to see a doctor but as soon as she said she thought she had a UTI I was all, "go to the doctor, NOW." I think she may have thought she was dying since the 'walk it off' girl was so vehemently recommending a doctor's visit.

And it really is such a girl thing. Yeah, guys can get them, but I think over half of all women in this country have a UTI at least once in their lives. On the Mayo Clinic's website under risks for UTI the first one is "being female." Bah! Most women will totally feel your pain when you get one. Whenever I'd have one female nurses, doctors and pharmacists (and even boyfriends' mothers) would be so sympathetic. We'd exchange horror stories, giggle about the evils of having sex and then jokingly blame the menfolk. My friend had a similar experience, as I think I told her she would. Her doctor was sooo sympathetic. And apparently laughed at her at one point. Her doctor was prescribing the antibiotics and then mentioned the pain killer and my friend was all eager, "Is that for the orange pills?" The doctor was confused as she thought it was her first such infection. My friend said it was but that her friend (me) told her to go to the doctor and get the orange pills right away. And her doctor laughed.

But dude, the orange pills. They're magic. They make you pee neon orange for a while, but they work super fast, numb everything up and make the bad go away while the antibiotics do their thing. Oh how I love them. I haven't had a UTI in over a decade but I think if I had any skills as a poet I would write an ode to the orange pills for you right now.

I would also like to stress for everyone who hasn't had one (you lucky, lucky people) that it's not just dirty hos who get UTIs. Granted my adult ones came from a little experimenting without enough research (Dad, you SO better not be reading now) or from impersonating a bunny after a dry spell. So yes, sex seems to be a factor. Cleanliness of girl parts is always a good thing. Peeing after sex is a good, good thing to do if you're a chica. Proper post-potty technique is wise. Drinking the cranberry juice (oh how I hate vodka free cranberry juice) is a helpful thing. But sometimes, it seems you just get them. And when you do, go to the doctor, get your orange pills (and antibiotics) and then giggle and sympathize and bond with some chicas.

Dr. Muffy is probably horrified by my unscientific entry about doctoring. Because she is wise. And a doctor.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Vader and I are going to see WarGames Thursday night. Very excited. When one of her coworkers was describing what WarGames was to another coworker he said, "It's like Dr. Strangelove directed by John Hughes." Love it!

Vader and I saw a couple of movies this past weekend. Now, I normally am the one sitting next to the chatty/crazy/evil/not too bright people, but that was Vader's luck this weekend. At Wall-e she sat next to an adult woman who looked bright enough, but had to have the move constantly explained to her. Wall-e. A children's movie. Created with children in mind. Something children could understand. Apparently she had a hard time grasping the idea of robots. So, through our whole next movie I kept leaning over to Vader and asking, "What's that?" Every time she responded with, "It's a robot."

Next, we went to see Mama Mia. A move based on a Broadway Musical based on the songs of ABBA. Whether you know anything else about this movie, you should expect some singing. But, apparently there is a whole group of people out there who pay their $10+ without knowing what they're getting into. At the opening scene the girl next to her asked if it was a Disney movie. And decided Amanda Seyfried sounded like Ariel. At one point in the movie she threatened to throw something at the screen if the cast sang one more song. And she was horrified by all the old people in the movie. You know, the ancient old crones in their 50s. Who are all in better shape and look better in bathing suits than I do. Or her I think. Bah! As Vader said, "shut up, you have a side ponytail!"

My all time favorite still has to be when Muffy, Steph and I went to see Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Right before the end some guy in front of us ran off to the restroom (I assume). He came back as the credits were rolling. He seemed bummed and asked his friend what had happened. The response, "The fat kid almost drowned." And then... "And they totally set it up for a sequel." Took Muffy and I a while to stop laughing. He just seemed so amazed at the NERVE.

Another good one was when Lovey and I went to see Serenity. It was a fairly empty theater. A man was sitting in the aisle seat, then an empty seat, then me, then Lovey, then several empty seats. Plus many excellent empty seats all around the theater. But this woman comes in and tromps over the man to sit next to me. And takes up all of her seat and then some. Not because she was all that big, though she wasn't tiny, but because she had her jacket and elbows and arms and hands and hair all over the place. Right before the movie started folks sat on Lovey's other side so we couldn't really move down. So, Lovey and I watched the whole movie leaning slightly to the left. The woman wasn't quite in her right mind. Trying to chat with me during the previews and a good portion of the movie. About all kinds of things that made no sense to me at all. I kind of got where she was coming from with the cannibal talk as it sort of tied into the movie, at times, maybe. But most of the rest of it made no sense. Then, at the end of the movie Lovey fled and I turned my head to the right. The woman had bent over, I think to pick something up, and her pants fell down. And her panty clad ass was about an inch or two from my face. I was kind of horrified. She was not. It was an interesting movie going experience.

I can't wait to see what happens at WarGames.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Activity Interest?

It's summer, I hate my apartment (it's messy) and I am looking to do New York things outside of it. A lot of it Girlie flavored. Vader and I are hitting the Bust Anniversary party on August 12th, if anyone is interested. Buy a ticket and let us know and we'll figure out times and places to meet up.

Also, the Brooklyn Cyclones Ladies Clinic is August 2nd. I've been the past two years and love it. Even though it makes me feel woefully fat and out of shape. Or, more accurately, reminds me that I am woefully fat and out of shape. Heh. Anyway, this year there's a meet and greet with an AGPBL All Star Pitcher. How awesome is that?

Vader and I are also planning on doing the Waterfalls free cruise, probably sometime in August. I'm looking to go on both an evening and daytime one. So drop me a line with your availability if you want to join us. We haven't gotten our tickets yet, but will soon.

And I'm sure there's other stuff too. Ideas, suggestions? Anyone ever been to that Frying Pan boat bar?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sunday Opera

I am going to this on Sunday if anyone has any interest in joining me, I'd love the company. I'm not sure about all the performers, but Beverly and Erika definitely kick ass.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


For those of you who snort and make ugly faces when I mention that I am shy, an IM with my mother today:

[17:17] AuntieAmanda: But you're a more outgoing person than I am.
[17:17] AuntieAmanda: I'm shy.
[17:18] AAMom: @#$%^^&@
[17:18] AuntieAmanda: What?
[17:18] AAMom: That was my response to the fact that you think you are shy!

Apparently NONE of you understand the shy little girl within. Not even my own mother!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Birthday Week

I was just now sitting at my desk feeling sorry for myself. Like a four year old.

It has been a rough year for me this past year, for a multitude of reasons. But rather than thinking about any of that, I was finding myself thinking, "no one wants to come celebrate my birthday with me." Which is both untrue and, in the grand scheme of things, such a small thing anyway. I mean, I have both of my parents healthy and alive. I'm rather healthy (despite my inability to get off my fat ass and lose weight). I have a job that is good overall, despite the whining I've been doing about it (in my head) lately. I have good friends, a lovely cat (no matter what y'all say about her), an apartment and backyard I love, a life in New York that suits me for now, a loving family, a steady paycheck and respect from my job, all that good stuff. And yet... "no one is coming to my birthday party."

But, Vader is coming. Bon Jovi is coming. Lovey is coming. The Erogenous Vulcan will be there. Sheena should be there. It's not like I'll be sitting home alone crying into deviled eggs or anything. Granted a large number of my invitees are NOT coming, but still, people will be there. And Vader, apparently appalled I wasn't doing Birthday Week on my own,* seems to have decided to have a Birthday Week for me in spite of myself.

Ma & Pa Vader were in town this weekend so we all dined together Sunday night. And it was lovely. I haven't seen them in over two decades so it was good to catch up. Monday night I was cleaning and putzing and Vader came over to hang and eat diner food with me. Last night Vader, Bon Jovi, Lovey & I all went to see Xanadu on Broadway (which I cannot recommend enough). And it was even more awesome than when Vader and I saw it last year on the first night of previews. Tonight Vader and the Erogenous Vulcan and I will be watching some documentary and making fun of Star Wars fans while hopefully eating Mac & Cheese. Tomorrow night Steph is in town!!!!! And so a few of us are getting together for dinner and drinks on my actual bday. And I will have fruity cocktails at the Zombie Hut, avoiding the Singapore Slings - I hear they're deadly. And Friday was to be cleaning and cooking and waiting for Fresh Direct but Vader is dragging my but out for mani/pedis right after work and before my groceries arrive. Which should be lovely. And then Saturday will be my party. And even if hundreds of people do not show up for it, at least a handful of lovely people will be there. To drink with and eat deviled eggs with and make snarky comments with and laugh with and look at my costumed lawn flamingo with...

So, I'm going to stop being a baby and be very grateful for what I have.

If only I could figure out how to reverse the aging process for these birthdays.

*My last big Birthday Week was for my 30th and I haven't had the energy to do such a massive one since. So, I think massive Birthday Weeks will be every five years, with mini ones in between. So, y'all get ready for the big 3 - 5 next year.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Barb is Blogging

I would like to start writing frequently again. Hopefully soon. But in the meantime, enjoy a little bit of Barb Fun. Hopefully she'll attend the "Red Hatters" event at the RV Rally coming up and write about that.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Turnip is looking for a man. The requirements are below:
#1: not a jerk
#2: straight
#3" not an addict
#4: smart
#5: funny
#6: not a troll
#7: not a deadbeat
#8: in our age range
#9: not related to us
#10: in my city

Now, I don't think it's necessarily a man to date, but just to know a man fitting all the above requirements exists. And for #10 I guess New York and LA would both work. So, if you know any such man... let us know.

Numbers 8-10 were added when I wouldn't stop suggesting my father. I would've thought "not married" would've been added in there too, but Mom, I guess she'd be okay with stealing your Man.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Hate Winter

I hate winter. I hate the cold. I hate layers. I hate wool and sleet and wintery mix and catching colds and flu season and winter coats and sweaters and being cold outside & hot when I go into department stores. I hate taking up a full extra third of space than normal when I'm on the train. I hate black ice and ice storms. I hate having to bundle up. I hate shivering and shaking. I hate seeing my breath in the air. I hate that hot, itchy, sweaty feeling under my layers. I hate having my hair freeze if I don't have time to dry it before going out. I hate not being able to stay outside for very long. I hate people telling me to button up my coat. I hate losing scarves everywhere. I hate walking across campus with the icy wind blowing. I hate everyone hibernating until the Spring.

But I love snow. I love getting out of school for snow days. I love the way it looks piling up on my plastic yard flamingo. I love how quiet everything gets. And how the sky never totally gets dark. I love sitting on my swing in the backyard watching the snow fall down and accumulate on my houseslippers. I love going sledding at the golf course and having someone's parent drive around while we ride on an inner tube or tire tied to the back. I love when it gets really tall and I can make a kickass snow angel. I love snowball fights and the way it feels when it melts and trickles down my bare back under my shirt. I love the way it looks on my coat and my hat and my scarf when I come inside. I love opening the door and watching my Escape Cat take one look at that wet white stuff and run back inside. I love my old Snoopy Snowcone Maker. I love the way it tastes on my tongue and feels on my face. I love that it's cold and wet and yet makes me feel so warm and safe and cozy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Christmas Dork Takes a Holiday

I don't know what it is this season, but I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit of things. Normally I'm ALL about the Christmas stuff. But I haven't even baked a damn Christmas cookie yet and it's already December 6th. I am listening to some Christmas music on my iPod, but normally that's ALL I listen to starting the day after Thanksgiving. I'm not doing crazy shopping and gift planning. It took me a while to muster enough energy to get my decorations out and I haven't even gotten a wreath yet. And writing the Christmas Letter seemed more of a chore than usual. I also haven't gone to look at any decorations or Holiday store windows (except Barney's which I walk by on my way to/from work) or anything yet.

Maybe it's that things are crazy at work right now (they should get better next week), I don't have much money for presents and cookie fixin's and party throwing and all, I'm not sleeping well and that always makes me even moodier than usual, and who knows what else. I also think I'm a little tired of getting all into Christmas like the giant Christmas Dork I am and having no one else but my mother be quite as excited. Not that anyone has any obligation to get as into Christmas as I do, but normally I don't care how enthused everyone else is and just plow on having fun regardless. This year I feel a little more 'why bother if it's only just me who's having fun'? I think I just need a break. To recharge, be mellow, all that stuff.

Of course, I still have over 500 Christmas Songs on my iPod to listen to, I still have quite a few decorations up in my apartment, I've already started working on my 160+ Christmas Cards and I'm making plans for Holiday goodness with my folks. And I got a little excited watching The Closer's holiday episode last night where one character keeps going on about his Perry Como CDs. Because Perry Como Holiday CDs rank up there with the Muppets as my all time favorite Christmas CDs. Also, Muffy will be here for a couple of days next week to possibly drag me to a couple Holiday Hot Spots.

So, me taking it down a notch for the holidays still probably leaves me more of a Christmas Dork than most. Still, I feel a bit like a Grinch. At least by my standards. I guess I'll just chill this year and come back stronger than ever in '08. Prepare yourselves, people.

Seriously, if you don't have the Muppets & John Denver Christmas CD you MUST get it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

NYC Snow

Snow in New York City is an interesting thing. I think it's gorgeous for the first hour or so. The city looks so pretty with everything covered in white. Hiding all the ugly stuff, highlighting the pretty parts. And things get so much quieter with the snow. Walking through the city with snow falling is such a peaceful time. And my neighbors are big fans of making praying snowmen with angel wings. How can you not love that?

But then the plows come and push all the snow into piles that turn to ice. People walk all over it and make it slushy and then icy with their foot steps. Dogs (& people) pee and poop everywhere. And dog owners seem less interested in poop scooping in the snow (& people never scoop their own poop). With all the walking required in the city it becomes a pain tromping all over that snow and ice, and wearing pretty shoes on the street is right out.

That's one of the reasons I love having a backyard. The snow stays pretty back there for a while. The footprints made out there are by cats or birds or me. And I can enjoy the snow all I want without worry. During the first snowfall after I moved to this apartment I ran outside and made a snow angel. And giggled like a four year old the whole damn time.

Friday, November 30, 2007

'Tis the Season

Ah the Holiday Drinking Season is upon us. Such a lovely time of year.

I'm kicking it off with two birthday parties this weekend. One tonight for MC and one tomorrow night for Sheena. Both women are much younger than I am and yet pissing and moaning about becoming old. I'll have to drink heavily to survive.

Then next week are the office holiday parties. Thursday will be a circus event. I was told there would be cocktails. Which I will be needing many of, since I will be at a Circus with coworkers. Luckily, I like my coworkers. Which will be helpful for Friday night when we have our own Holiday Party involving dinner & drinks followed with wild post-dinner boozing. We're a lush kind of company it seems.

Side note: my coworkers were appalled when they learned I was a vegetarian, but accepted it. I suspect I might not have been long for this world had I told them I didn't drink. After learning I was a vegetarian, one of my bosses looked at me in horror and said, "Do you not drink either?!?!?" He was so happy when I laughed at him.

Anyway, after staying out until the wee hours with my bosses & co, I am pondering getting on a bus to Boston sometime Saturday morning so I can hit Muffy & Steph's Holiday party. At which I assume booze will be served. If I do make this party and you see me on a bus from Boston to New York Sunday afternoon, do NOT sit by me. It won't be pretty for you if you do. I'll either get ill and not make it to the bathroom, will grumble and fuss and whine at you the whole way down or I'll fall asleep and drool on you excessively. And I am sure I will REEK of alcohol.

Lord only knows what the following week will hold. Maggie will probably be visiting that weekend. And then, Christmas with the family. Which often involves a very drunk Daddy & Mandy and an eye-rolling Mommy. Good times.

Happy Holidays, y'all!!!!