Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh my gosh I need a pedicure!!!!!!!!

First Crush

Hmmm .... was just reading a blog by Kristy about her first big (and lasting) "crush" ... which you really ought to read if you are alive, as everyone has experienced something like this at least once in their lives.

For me, it was a guy in junior high school ... like Kristy, I don't want to write his name because ... oh who knows, really, he might find out? He went to my church and was the same age as me, so I got to see him weekly in confirmation as well as occasionally passing him in the hallway in school. We had no classes together, and shared no interests or activities. But I had a secret weapon. I had a job in junior high - every morning during home room, I was one of a select group of girls (don't know why we were all girls, but we were) who got to take notes and deliver papers to teachers and students all throughout the school building. Remember, this was WAY before computers and cell phones and any other technologically efficient communication devices existed. Back then, to communicate during the school day, teachers relied on adolescent legs.

Anyway, since I had the freedom to roam the halls for those precious 12 minutes every morning, it allowed me to surreptitiously and anonymously slip notes into HIS locker, confident no one would ever see me.

I don't really remember what I wrote to him, or if I wrote daily or weekly or - trying to show my "coolness" - sporadically so he would never know if there would be a note of not. But I do remember once writing "If you want to know who I am, {of course I never SIGNED the notes!!!} wear ... " and I described my favorite shirt of his.

He wore it.

And I was WAY, WAY, WAY too chicken to come clean.

The crush went on. The summer between 9th and 10th grade, I got the idea to call him. Remember, no caller ID. We would chat occasionally - I would be sweaty and nervous and my voice would, no doubt, shake. But still I never revealed my identity.

Now it gets fuzzy.... at the end of some school year (I really can't remember which, though I still have the evidence somewhere so I could go find out), I got up the nerve to ASK. HIM. TO. SIGN. MY. YEARBOOK.

And he said YES.

I felt like Kristy felt when her crush asked to come over and sing.

He wrote something like "Have a great summer." or something equally personalized. And now it's coming back to me. He signed my 9th grade yearbook. It was AFTER that close, personal encounter, that I got the nerve to call him over the summer.

And one day, after many, many phone calls, I told him who I was.

We hung up, and that was it.

Crush was over, I never called him again, and didn't pine after him when high school started in the fall.

But I still think of him occasionally, look him up in the class directory after class reunions, and I admit to googling him a few years back, so I know where he lives and what he does. He owns a family lodge on a lake up north, with his wife and 2 daughters. I do wonder what his impression of all this was, way back then.

Ahh, adolescence.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Spam Filter Creators Appreciation

It amazes me that there really must be a lot of people out there who open their emails with subject headings full of misspelled, suggestive words. I thought about copying some of the more creative ones here but don't want my blog to be marked as spam, but I know you all know what I mean.

I figure people would stop sending them if they didn't have a decent rate of return, right? Sure, some are sent by strange people who either are trying to be funny or who are just experimenting - but I assume most spam emails do have some sort of benefit to the sender and that benefit must be enough that they keep sending them, otherwise why bother?

This is all in my mind because I just spent some time in my filtered inbox - I try to check it every few days to make sure something important doesn't accidentally end up in there, and I suddenly found myself admiring the people who set up the filter parameters, because really, they do a very good job. It's very rare that I get a spam message in my regular email inbox, and it's even more rare that a real message gets filtered out.

Which is pretty impressive, you gotta admit.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Static in your brain

This morning on my favorite radio station they were talking about some new study which shows what happens in people's brains when they aren't really doing anything. Like when walking alone, or sitting at a red light, or waiting at the dentist, or something. And they have discovered that the majority of people have a mode which they called "static" - now I don't know if this is what the researchers called it or what the radio people called it. But apparently it's quite normal to just let your brain "rest" or something.

But then one of the radio guys went on to say that he doesn't think his brain ever rests; when he is sitting, for example, in a movie theater waiting for the film to begin, he maps out what he would do if a sniper came into the theater. And when he is dropping his son off at school he memorizes license plate numbers around him for the day that some student gets kidnapped and he needs to be prepared to tell the police what the getaway car looked like. And he went on and on with more examples.

Everyone else on the radio station was telling him he is insane and they were laughing at him.

Me, I was thinking "you mean there are people out there who DON'T think like this?" I walk through airports on hyper-alert status, ready to jump into action when someone drops from a heart attack. Whenever I hear a strange sound I look at a clock so I can correctly identify the exact time when I am needed as a witness at the trial for whatever crime has been committed. I always I assumed I am normal. Perhaps not?

I'll try to find a link to the research.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Women's Colony

In blog-browsing, I just found this description of a retirement community I just may be interested in ... anyone want to plan to go with me?
So I borrowed season 1 of LOST from a friend. Started watching it tonight. It's dark outside, I am alone, and this show is freaky.

I have never watched even one partial episode before. But I know from hearing bits and pieces that nothing is what it seems to be, and that the writers of the show had the entire series mapped out before they started filming, and that small details in the early episodes end up being meaningful in the later ones.

Of course I have no clue WHICH small details will be significant, or HOW they will be significant. Which makes for tense viewing.

All alone.

In the dark.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


1. Choco is going to be fine. The cysts are just ugly but not harmful. Phew.

2. My great-aunt is being discharged from the hospital tomorrow and will go into hospice, and everyone is quite calm and content. My parents are there, and it sounds like all is going smoothly.

3. The boys have been working like demons and we are SO close to being done with school!!!

4. I still LOVE my hair.

5. It's almost a holiday weekend and I just got an email about a yarn sale ...

6. Our Wii should be here in a day or two, but unfortunately my fears about Wii Fit are coming true ... it's currently impossible to get anywhere. So ... we'll see.

7. I just borrowed season 1 of LOST, so will have something to watch while I knit this weekend, perhaps?

8. Kristi Yamaguchi won Dancing with the Stars! Yay!!!

Happy Thursday, everybody!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Puppy Love

I think the song Puppy Love came out when I was about 10 or so ... I remember it well.

Last night when I was petting Choco, I found a large lump under his skin near the base of his tail. Really large. Then I found another smaller lump on his tail. Both felt somewhat firm, somewhat soft, definitely wrong. He has not been acting his normal cheery self lately, and when I found the lumps my heart sank.

My parents flew to Texas today to be with my mom's aunt, who has been battling cancer for many years and it appears she has just entered her final battle in the war. She & my mom have been extra-special-close since my mom was a baby, and my mom is having a hard time accepting she may need to say good-bye on this trip.

Choco has been a part of our family for just over a year now, and he has moved so totally and deeply into my heart I can hardly believe it.

We went to the vet today and she biopsied both lumps. They look to be benign cysts, but I will hear for sure tomorrow.

I am waiting for a phone call from my parents about my great-aunt, too.


Last night I received an email from someone I don't know. At first I had absolutely no idea how she got my email address, then later realized she was a one-time MNVA mom. Anyway, the email was warning people to not accept the new dollar coin if/when it was offered in a bank or as change at a store. The reason? Apparently it does not say "In God We Trust" on this new coin. The conclusion? By refusing this coin you can profess your faith in God and therefore save our country from .... um, that's where they lost me. {note: I have seen the coin but never noticed this, so I assume that this new design is correct, but can't affirm it from personal knowledge.}

Anyway, I wrote back and asked to be removed from her email list since I didn't know her and did not agree with her sentiments, and (ok, I admit it, went farther than I should have - but it was annoying to be blindly forwarded emails of this sort) said that perhaps she should use her time for more worthwhile things.

Well, she wrote back telling me I ought not to be so judgemental, and that she was sorry that I didn't care what "my Creator" thought of my impolite sarcasm, and that she was so grateful for the opportunity to pray for me and bless me and she truly hoped that one day I would recognize God's will for my life.

I wrote back again - again, I know I should have just hit delete, but this hit a sore spot with me - and said that I found it interesting and amusing that she was warning me about judging and then called me an impolite, sarcastic, apparent non-believer who was in need of her prayers and blessings. What I did NOT say was how is she so darn sure that I am NOT acting on God's will RIGHT NOW, delivering some food for thought into her life?

So today I got a LONG message from her husband who told me his poor wife had been up late with a sick toddler and was merely trying to serve the Lord and share His goodness and wasn't I nasty to not let her do that. Oh, and there was no need for THEM to judge me, God would take care of that, thank you very much. {which sounds vaguely judgmental again, but I'll give him a pass, since his child has been sick and his wife is tired.}

This time I did just hit delete.

Honestly, it started as a "please don't forward emails to people you don't know" but then it escalated.

Escalated into a "My faith is better than yours and if you don't believe exactly what I do you are wrong but I am so gosh-darn good that I will joyously pray for you because that somehow shows my rightness even more but hey, I am not judging you, I LOVE you because we are all children of God."

What gets me the most is the hypocrisy and the total obliviousness of people who profess their faith like this. I know a lot of very religious, and very spiritual, and very faithful people who do not act like this and who respect one another's rights and beliefs and even if they truly deeply believe the others are dead wrong, they would never shove it in their face like that.

Unfortunately I have also had to deal with many people like these anonymous emailers, who, no matter what you say and no matter how reasonable you try to be (or, sarcastically impolite you may sound) their response is "My faith is better than yours and if you were a TRUE _____[insert denomination name here]____ you would see things my way and thank me for LOVING you."

And though I realize I am on a tirade here, trust me I really am not exaggerating. It IRRITATES me.

I read a while ago on Calandria's blog - no, actually I think it was her sister's blog - you'll have to take my word on this as I am not going to go search for the original post - anyways, the upshot was that commenters -and this is where I am pretty sure Calandria came in - said that it's the fanatics in any religion or faith that cause the difficulties in this world.

Amen to that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wheeeee!!!! Wii!!!!!

Well, we just acted on impulse ...
This morning in the paper - front page of the source section, which we all know is where the BEST news is - was an article about the new Wii FIT "game" which is basically Wii's attempts to get overweight, under-fit moms in to the game.

It worked.
The boys informed me you still can't get a Wii easily, so we looked on eBay, and found one that was only $50 above retail, with the auction ending in 30 seconds ... we bid, we won! That $50 saved us getting up at the crack of dawn on days Wal-Mart gets new shipments and hoping that we would be close enough to the front of the line to get the machine. Worth it to me.

So in a few days we will get our Wii, and I hope we do'nt have to wait in line to get the game, and then - well, THEN, baby, we will ALL be getting so fit you may not even recognize us.

(Oh, and I cancelled my gym membership ... I've been paying monthly since December to not go there ... in just a few months I will have made back the Wii purchase.)

My 90 Seconds of Fame

Wow! Yesterday was a whirlwind of attention :-) I bet I got 50 emails from people who saw the article and another 15 phone messages! And when I went to the grocery store, the check-out lady recognized me!

That was just about enough fame for my taste. I did enjoy it, but am ready to move on now with regular life!

Thanks for all the affirming comments, ya'll!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Latest pair of socks

Just finished another pair of socks, watching an old episode of Friends. Here they are in the laundry basket, they need blocking to make them look nice but I still wanted to show a picture!

Yet another post from me today!

I am feeling prolific today so thought since I am here anyway, I would post one more announcement. After a TON of thinking, worrying, research, comparing, talking, pondering, even dreaming - we have enrolled B & T back in traditional school for next year. phew! (wipe that brow.)

Actually they will both be in Dimensions Academy, a school-within-a-school program, so I guess we aren't going totally back to traditional schooling.

I'm not worried about them at all academically, but it will be a challenge to have to do all their work sitting at a desk or table, instead of lying in bed or lounging in an overstuffed armchair. And it will be difficult to be "in school" all day long without taking breaks to walk the dogs, or to go out for lunch, or to play a game of cards just because. And then there is not being able to debate every point with the teacher ... !!! Yeah, they are in for some adjustments.

And me! What am *I* going to do all day long? I admit to being a little freaked out, but also a little excited - perhaps I really will start writing the next great mystery novel!

On my bookshelf

It's been a while since I wrote about what I am reading these days. Usually I finish up a book and forget about it before I come all the way downstairs to the computer. (update - I am about to order a new computer, a notebook, so I can have it upstairs - or anywhere in the house, for that matter - so it won't be so arduous to post!)

Anyway ... here's what I have recently finished, am in the middle of, and have waiting to be read.

This is the latest book I have been reading about how to write a book. It's by a successful mystery author, and really makes sense to me - I have always thought, from my own reading interests, that if the characters are likable you will develop a loyal readership even if your plot isn't always stellar (it has to be good, but if the reader likes your characters they are forgiving on occasion.) So perhaps I will actually start writing one of these days instead of just reading about writing and talking about doing it.
This book was my book club selection for two months ago, and I still haven't finished it. I love that it is historical fiction set in China, since I am interested in all things China these days, and everyone else in the book club who did finish it loved it, but it's just failed to keep my interest and though I have renewed it countless times at the library, I don't know if I will ever finish it.
This one I was excited to order but now that it's here, I haven't even opened it yet. I like the idea of green investing, and socially responsible investments, but to act on those ideas requires that I know a bit more about investing and while I aspire to that state of knowledge, right now I have too many other things (like laundry) on my plate. But I figure having the book in the house is the firststep and I get half-credit for that, right?

This one I bought on a whim at Barnes & Noble. Perhaps that's how you make your millions, you have a book that people buy on a whim? Anyway, it's actually a very good step-by-step instruction book on how to take "your product" from idea stage to market. Now I just need a product.

I was looking for A Tale of Two Cities for Ben to read for school and saw this on the shelf and thought I would re-read it, as I haven't read it since junior high. I suspect I will like Dickens more now than I did then.

Here's one of the mysteries written by the author of that "how-to write a mystery" book. The main character is Brady Coyne, a lawyer who loves to fly fish, and I have been devouring the books as fast as the library can send them to me. Which led me to ...
This one (or rather, this is one of several) - a jointly written book by that author, William Tapply, and, apparently, his buddy Philip Craig, who writes his own series of mystery books about J.W. Jackson, a retired cop who now lives on an island - where Brady Coyne likes to come to fish. So another series for me to get lost in! Such fun!

So ... that brings you up-to-date on my reading. I was just randomly perusing other people's blogs a bit ago and found a recommendation for a new author, Harlan Coben, who was favorably compared to Robert Parker, one of my all-time favorite mystery authors, so now I am going to go reserve some of his books at the library.

Happy reading, all!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reality Shows and Mormons?

In the issue of Newsweek I got today, there is an article called America's Next Top Mormon, which I (of course) read with interest. Frankly, I didn't realize all the people they name in the article who are or have been on reality shows lately are Mormon - generally speaking, denomination of faith doesn't usually come up - but it was an impressive list! And they put forth one viewer's theory that growing up in large families may be what gives the Mormons the edge in a reality show were you have to share close quarters with a lot of people, and going on a mission trip helps you in shows where you are dropped into foreign situations and have to figure out how to manage.


Whatever, I found it interesting.

Friends in Exotic Places

It's so great having such good friends in such cool locations around the globe :-)
I just got a care package from Carla, and I got an absolutely bee-u-tee-ful suede purse, and the cutest monkey tray ever! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them both! The boys got incredible carved wooden animals - I haven't taken pictures of those yet but will soon.
ASANTE SANA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Makeover Details

OK, it's not that I am trying to keep you all in suspense ... I just don't have any pictures. I didn't bring my own camera, and while I am planning on emailing the photographer from the paper, I doubt she will send me any pictures before the article runs (and maybe not even after unless I buy them, which I probably won't do. But maybe she will send me the bad pics that she would never have published. She seemed nice, we'll see.)

Anyway. A few details that will give you the flavor of the experience since I am pretty sure those of you who read my blog that I know have not done something like this (if you have, sorry for making that assumption!)

The day started with my "before" picture. Now, they had told me to wear something that was unflattering, and not to put any effort into my appearance. Not difficult to do, since I really don't put that much effort into it on my best day. But I have to tell you, walking through Uptown to get to the salon, knowing I was deliberately out there looking my worst, really started to affect my psyche. I started feeling my worst, too. Since I had had such a rough morning, I was in a bad mood anyway. Then, when I was going through my wardrobe to find what to wear for the "after picture" I got really depressed. They told me to bring something that made me feel wonderful to wear. Well, I have nothing that makes me feel wonderful. It's easy to imagine "oh, she's just saying that" - but it sincerely was true. I really went through my closet and every drawer in my bedroom and could not find one thing that made me smile and say "YES!" because of the good feelings associated with the article of clothing. How's that for sad?

So there I am, looking frumpy, feeling depressed, and walking in to this hip salon. Yeah, so far it's going just great.

When they greeted me and asked how I was, I nearly cried. So now we have embarrassment on top of everything else. I mean honestly, crying in the salon? Whatever. I gave myself a STERN talking to, and picked up a magazine - I don't even know what it was called, it was one I had never heard of. (an aside - there were a lot of magazines to choose from. Now, I hate Glamour, so I ignored that one. There were a couple others I had never heard of which seemed to be kind of mid-line fashion magazines, there was a National Geographic Traveler, and there was a Good Housekeeping. Guess which one I wanted to pick up and read. Good Housekeeping. But I DIDN'T because really, how pathetic would that be, the frumpy housewife choosing the housewives' magazine over the fashion glossies. Yes, that is really what was going through my head.)

Anyway. I picked up one of the unfamiliar fashion magazines, and flipped through it, stopping at the horoscope page. I KID YOU NOT. My horoscope said "Do not shy away from bold changes (such as a new hair cut) because all the luck is lined up for you, so you should take advantage of it."

Well, with THAT in my mind, how could I not smile and begin to pull out of the funk?

So everyone met everyone else, and I was led off by Audrey to get my new hair color. First she stripped the old color off - which was actually quite exciting to me since I have been coloring my own hair for about 20 years, and know there is a bit of build-up which can't be good. She was pleased with the results, and then took me over to the coloring area. First she bleached highlights, covering my head with those little foil strips (new experience for me!) and then doing the all-over color of red (which comes out of the bottle BRIGHT VIVID PURPLE. Little scary.) The color burned my scalp pretty painfully, so I was really happy when this part was done. Ahh, the pain endured for (free) beauty.

After the coloring, Audrey handed me off to Stephen who was going to do the cut. This was amazing. This man's hands were magical. He cut so fast and so authoritatively and I never for one nanosecond doubted that he was giving me the best haircut of my life. And he has this bizarre and cool method of cutting while he was blow-drying. Held the dryer in one hand and the scissors in the other. Very weird but very cool. He said everyone asks him about it (as did I) and he has never seen anyone else do it that way, but since he wants the hair to look good when it moves, he cuts it while it's moving.

I started grinning when I could see the shape of my head. Since my glasses were off, the shape is all I could see, but even that made me grin, and I couldn't stop. Kendell (the photographer) got some goofy shots of me there.

Then we went downstairs to the spa for my eyebrow waxing. That's when I felt I was entering a different world. I was led into a room with candles, soft music, scented air, and a massage table. I looked at Kim (the journalist) and Kendell, and we all shrugged our shoulders and said simultaneously "all this for EYEBROWS?" I was told to lie down on the table and the waxing commenced and I kept giggling. All that for eyebrows.

Then back upstairs for the makeup, where Kami did an outstanding job of covering my skin with more makeup than I have had on in 20 years (even if you put all the makeup I have worn in 20 years all on me at once, I think) and it made for a very dramatic look and a very dramatic after picture. But when I got home, I washed most of it off before I saw the boys. They would have FREAKED.

So - all in all, it was a magical and fun and bizarre way to spend the day, and I am really, really glad I did it, and I am really, really grateful for the free opportunity. Would I have spent the $300 they normally charge for what I got? Never in a lifetime! But will I go back to have the highlights re-highlighted? Maybe. And Stephen cut my hair again? Again, maybe. I'll know in 6 - 8 weeks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quick Clarification

It wasn't the makeover that made my day bad - the makeover was what turned the day around!

Friday, May 09, 2008

12 Hours Later ...

Well, I posted that book cover at 11AM, and it's now 11PM. The day is ending better than it began. No need to go into details about how it started, and no desire to go into details of how it improved - just know that I am now a strawberry blonde!

Today was my big makeover, and no pictures - yet. You will have to wait and see them in the paper. (coming probably May 20.)

It's VERY weird when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror in passing.

And they called it strawberry blonde but I don't know (yet) if I agree, it's definitely got red in it and it's definitely got blonde in it. I'll let you decide for yourself.

And I had more makeup on today than I have had in the past 20 years, and that all got washed off when I got home - it looked good, but it didn't look like me. She used LATEX mascara on me. LATEX. Every lash was coated with its own little rubber casing. Very weird.

And I had my eyebrows waxed.

And I got my book signed by Christopher himself, who is every bit as gorgeous in person as he is in the book - and he's a lot taller.

My day, so far.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sometimes the road is not the one you planned

This afternoon I went to see Then She Found Me, a movie starring Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth, and Matthew Broderick (and Hunt directs the film, too.) It's based on an Elinor Lipman novel which I realized, about 5 minutes into the movie, I read a while ago. It's the story of a 39 1/2 year old woman (that "1/2" is important!) whose life, in the matter of less than one month, turns completely upside down, then sideways, then flips the other way, and eventually settles back down. But it settles down in ways that she never imagined, and although she ends up happy, the roads she ended up taking to get to that happy ending are absolutely not the ones she planned on taking or wanted to take.

As movies go it was enjoyable and I recommend it - not highly, it's certainly not life-changing or earth-shattering, but it did make me think about how even when you have a goal and you are certain you are going to attain that goal, you can still be surprised at the route you end up taking to get there.

And if you start down your planned route and it doesn't work out, that doesn't mean you won't still reach your goal.

Seems like good advice in this day and age.

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Day of Ups and Downs

Wow, today has been a roller-coaster ride! It actually started yesterday, when I had my annual appointment with the gynecologist. Turns out I have hypertension - big time - and they pretty much freaked out on me until I made an appointment with an internal medicine doctor to get it all checked out. So that's where I started the day ... getting blood drawn, an EKG done, and taking my new prescription to Target (where, BTW, they do NOT give a $10 Target card for new prescriptions unless you have the stupid coupon from last week's paper.) and generally going back and forth between "OK, I can live with this" and "OH MY GOSH I'M GOING TO HAVE A STROKE."


So I come home, take my first pill with lunch, and then decide I really need to lay down for a bit. While I do that, I hear the phone ringing but choose not to answer it. When I got up, I listened to the message - and guess what?!?! I WON!!!!!

Yesterday I was listening to the radio and they were interviewing Christopher the Makeover Guy. I have heard him before - he's way cool - and he has a new book out for women over 45. For once my age is a good thing. Anyway, the Star-Tribune is doing a feature article on him, and they are interviewing some of the women in his book, but they wanted to "see him in action" so he had to find two more models to give makeovers to!!!!! AND I AM ONE OF THEM!!!!

I will be getting a hair cut, color, brow-shaping, and make-up. Somehow they will also have cool clothes for me to wear in the after photo, too. They aren't buying them for me, so I don't know how that will work 'cuz my closet sure doesn't have much to choose from in it. Now, once I get past the idea that the "before" photo is going to be right there in the newspaper for the world to see, I am so excited I can hardly stand it!
So - morning was down, afternoon was up. Can't wait to see what the evening brings.
PS. I am REALLY nervous.

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