Saturday, November 26, 2005

Never been finished THIS early!!

Not Christmas shopping -- ha ha ha! Barely started!

No, I am proud because this is the earliest that I have ever planned my family's annual post-Christmas gathering!

For many years as a child, Christmas Day was a huge family dinner at either Grandma's townhouse or at my aunt's church's social hall. But once my grandmother died, and a few other events transpired, we stopped doing it. In a way, it was a relief, because there was so much going on in December for everyone. But it was also very sad, because then we didn't do anything at all.

A few years ago, several of my cousins and I realized we missed all the fun times, and wanted to do something -- but what? So one year, I took the bulls by the horn and planned a gathering at a nearby seafood place. 26 people showed up -- which I thought was REALLY good. It continued at varying locations, and the last one (January 2004) we had 35 people! This past January was the first that I just didn't have the time or energy to plan anything -- but we also had a gathering at my cousin Lori's over Labor Day weekend.

This year, I have a little extra time and energy to devote to the gathering. My plan is to have us all meet in January at a nearby barbeque place that also has live entertainment (a bluegrass band). That ensures that my dad's brothers will be the last to leave the place -- they LOVE bluegrass!

So I'm working on the invitations now, to go out into the Christmas cards! WOO HOO!!!!!! I'm so thrilled that this is now off my list of "Things To Do Before December 10!"

Friday, November 25, 2005

From a turkey coma to the Dark Side....

To quote Adam Sandler, "Oh, I love turkey on Thanksgiving!!!" MMMM!! Thanksgiving dinner was awesome this year. My parents -- whose dressing is fabulous anyway you cook it -- made it even better this year, adding chopped apple and toasted pecans to it. Oh My God!!!! Divine. And naturally, the tryptophan kicked in as it should and we all fell asleep as usual during the football game. The turkey coma is alive and well!

Today, I have officially crossed to the Dark Side. Yes, 'tis a sad day: I have turned on the holiday channel on XM. God help me. I mean, I love holiday music -- truly! Okay, there are a few songs I despise, but 98% of them are good and I love them. But I just HATE having Christmas music shoved down my throat as soon as the Halloween candy is passed out. So I have done my best to avoid listening to them before now. I'd catch myself occasionally singing a line or two from one, and react in complete horror! I still think it's a little too early.

When I was a kid, holiday music was slowly phased in along with the regular music -- and as Christmas got closer, more music. Then on Christmas Eve, they'd play ALLLLLLL Christmas music and again on Christmas Day. That was cool. But these days, it's just a full-on all-out assault!

I guess it's a scheme worked up between retailers and radio -- "Hey radio man, if you start playing Christmas music early, we win, you win, it's all good baby!" -- to get my butt in the store and buying. But all it makes me want to do is stay inside and away from the Christmas music that permeates the malls and stores and holiday stuff crammed down my throat: BUY BUY BUY! You are a Bolshevik weenie if you do not!

If that's the case, I'll proudly wear the banner of "Bolshevik weenie." I am proud to say that for the last 5 years or so (maybe longer) I have not bought one Christmas present at the mall. For my family and friends, I can get everything I need elsewhere -- a few stand-alone big box stores, and a few local shops. It works and it's good!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

XM on TV

Yep! DirecTV has made the switch on their music portion from Music Choice to XM stations. Now, I liked the Music Choice stations just fine myself, but I have to admit I was pretty excited about the XM offerings.

It's been about 5 days, and so far, so good. I haven't had a chance to listen to it much, but I like what I've heard so far! I'm rather fond of the 60s, 70s, and 80s -- along with a smattering of the 90s AND the 40s! Why I bypass the 50s, I don't know... just haven't listened to them much.

Haven't delved into too many of the specialty stations, but I can tell I'm going to like what I see so far. I'm more a fan of classic country (and I never imagined myself ever saying that when I was 16), and they have a station or two of that, plus a couple of alt-country stations. I like bluegrass too (never imagined myself saying that one either), and they have a couple of those. Not to mention the other stuff.

Oh yeah. This is gonna be good!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Auntie Nettie's Driving Tips!

Hello all. Auntie Nettie here with a driving tip for the day:

There is no need to slam on brakes when you notice that a trooper has pulled over another car.

HELLLLLLOOOOOO? Keep going at a normal rate of speed -- S/HE'S OCCUPIED! Believe me, unless you are committing a seriously egregious act of dangerous driving, s/he's not gonna hop in the car and come after you.

Thanks. Happy driving to you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Begging their pardon!

I got home (late as usual) from work. My mail contained a catalog (YAY!) and insurance information, from the fine folks who sponsored "Wild Kingdom" with Marlon Perkins.

So after dinner (and perusing the catalog and making mental notes), I began to review the information that "Wild Kingdom" had sent me. Imagine my shock as I read this:

For a long time, we wanted to do something really important for a too-long neglected group of Americans.
I'm thinking, "GREAT! They wanna do something for us working stiffs! Woo-hoo!" It continues....

Especially the ones in your age group.
Okay, I'm not sure what to think but I give them the benefit of a doubt and say to myself, "Wow! Nice of them to start marketing to us who are a little younger, help us get insurance we could always use." Okay.... I'm biting.

The solid, decent, dependable Americans (yup, that's me) who had raised their families -- paid their taxes -- fought our wars...
Fought our wars? WHAT? Vietnam ended when I was a kid.... the Gulf War was when I was in college, so maybe that and the War on Terror qualify.... maybe?

Then I keep reading to the next paragraph:
So we're happy to offer you a second chance to get up to .... blah blah, yadda yadda ... will be issued if you are age 45-85...

Well. In the words of Ellen Foley (female lead in "Paradise By the Dashboard Light"):
STOP RIGHT THERE!

Crushed. Deflated. Totally humiliated. I double checked the mirror. I know I'm working long hours right now and probably look like warmed-over crud ... but do I look 45? That's still 9 years off. Fercrynoutloud, I just hit 36!

And this is the way they reward me for actually WATCHING "Wild Kingdom" when I was a kid!

Monday, November 14, 2005

GAAAAAK.... it's started already!

Frickin' Christmas music 24-7. I knew it would start, but good gravy, does it have to start in 4 weeks before Thanksgiving? And of all songs, WHYYYYYYYYYYY did they have to play that ghastly "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas"???? I've already heard the bad news that (dare I say it?) "Christmas Shoes" has been playing???

Bah Humbug!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

These are in no particular order......

10. I have never traveled outside the US. And outside a trip to Colorado, I've never been outside the Southeast.

9. While I am most familiar and knowledgeable about classic rock, I listen to all genres across the board -- except for three. I do not listen to speed/thrash/death metal, or to gangsta rap (heck, to most rap, for that matter), or Southern/country gospel music. No thanks to all three.

8. If I could go back and visit a period of time, I'd like to visit the late 50s/early 60s. I would be a Rat Pack hanger-on/wannabe something bad. Totally into their music and Space Age stuff, with a Tiki lounge in my cool apartment in NYC, and working as an architect or designer. If you want an idea of the mood of this, think "Blast from the Past" set to Donald Fagen's "New Frontier." I think it would just be the coolest thing ever.

7. I took Calculus II my first semester in college. I should note that I hate math. I scored a "4" on my AP test in high school, which gave me 4 credits. I needed 6 in math, so I had to take one more math course. I decided to get it over with as soon as I could, while it was all still fresh. I haven't done math any more complicated than basic 8th-grade algebra since December 1987. As you can tell, I'm just heartbroken over that.......

6. Speaking of college, I don't actually have a degree. I have approximately 81 hours toward my degree, but I bet I've lost all my credits by now. Crud.

5. Short of woodburning and knitting, I have probably done at least some of every handicraft known to man. I have done crocheting -- made a fish-shaped thing that ended up as a trivet. I have painted wooden figures. I have cross-stitched. I have (and still do) scrapbooking. Again, I've attempted them all. Okay, not model cars, but those never interested me anyway.

4. I have been reading since around age 2. My parents have no idea how I picked it up, just that I did. By age 5, I could read the newspaper and books from the "older youth" section of the library. I've had my nose in a book (so to speak) ever since.

3. I have no concept of stage fright. Never have. No fear of public speaking, no fear of being a ham, even no fear of getting up and making a fool of myself. None at all. How did this happen? When I was 3 years old, somehow I ended up with the responsibility for Scripture reading on "Youth Day." I learned that day that I had nothing to fear from being in front of people. And I also remember going away feeling that I'd done something very unusual, but wasn't sure what it was.

2. I have always wanted to be a redhead. But it's gotta be the right shade of red. So right now, I do red highlights. But I want actual red hair. Oh well......

1. I crank the car up to 11 every time "Highway to Hell" comes on.......

Saturday, November 05, 2005

In A Mellow Mood....

Yep, I am Miss Mellow this fine evening.

I woke up at 6:00 AM ... yes, on a Saturday, I voluntarily woke at 6:00 AM ... because I had to go into work. We are in the process of moving to a new building in about 4 weeks, and we're trying to rid ourselves of a lot of the crap that has collected over the years. So from about 8:15 to 12:15, we unboxed, sorted, reboxed, tossed, laughed, shook our heads, laughed, etc. trying to get it all together.

Stopped off for lunch... since USC was playing the Razorbacks, I was in a mood for barbecue. So I ate the delicious stuff while watching us get a very not-too-pretty win. One where we were just glad to get out of the stadium..... Sorry to pals Bolivar, Laslo, Hazey, and other assorted Arkies.

And now, I'm watching another game, and sipping on some very delicious vanilla bourbon and Diet Dr. Pepper. Yeah, it sounds weird but it's what's on hand..... mmmmm! It's delightfully mellow! Really, it's not so much "vanilla bourbon" as it is homemade vanilla flavoring -- a cut-up vanilla bean that's soaked in some Maker's Mark. It's about 2 years old, and it's the best vanilla ever. I will be making a couple more batches this winter. And besides being a great flavoring, it makes one hell of a mixed drink! Smooth and delicious!