Monday, December 31, 2007
You girls are the best!! Here goes ......
One day my ont was walking down the street when somebody opened up a giant umba-rella and hit her in the hay-ed with it. It was a big powerful umba-rella ... so powerful, the collision made her fall out. When it hit her, she fell out onto the payment. Nobody in her faaaaymily was wif her, but some newsy person stepping off the curve nearby sawr what happened (thank goodness it was lighty out so they could still see) and called an ambu-lants. They took her to the ER, as an ambu-lants owees does. It wasn't crowded ... prolly cuz it was Thanksgiving and everybuddy was home ea-in their turkey. They warshed her hay-ed and axed her if she felt okay. She said she did, but she was never right after the umba-rella accident. We lahhhhnched a benefit for her on Valentimes Day to help wif expenses, but the injury was just too bad. She omost lived, but she passed. She's the first person I know killed by an umba-rella.
Credits: Maggie, Linda, Doreen, Robin, Sue, Jeanette, Kate, me
P.S. - Doreen, don't think I'll soon forget your infamous quote, "What are you supposed to say if it's not "wan" ..... "winded?" bahaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
So I took Davey Dogs to work this morning, and on the way there we scoured the sidewalks to see how many people had already put their Christmas tree on the curb for trash pick-up. It's surprising to see how many people in South Philly get rid of their tree by 6:30am the day after Christmas! One of my neighbors is an offender.
After I dropped the Dawgs off at work I had to stop at Shop Rite on the way home to pick up trash bags. Not sure how I ran out of them -- if you know me, you know I'm a stocker. My house is like a bunker, not because I think some disaster is imminent, but because I can't stand running out of things. So at 6:45 this morning I pulled up in front of Shop Rite, grabbed my wallet and an empty can of soda to throw away, and went into the store. I was looking lovely, by the way ...... grey sweat pants, purple pajama top, red coat, white socks with slip-ons, and a purple ski hat with dangly things and ear flaps. I knew I'd be the only person in the store (and I was right), so I didn't care.
I wandered through the store and picked up my trash bags, then looked in my hand and realized I was carrying an empty soda can ... no wallet. Horror flashed over me! I had inadvertently thrown my wallet in the garbage can on my way into the store instead of my empty soda can!!
I backtracked through the store, trying to exit through the entrance doors. Despite head-butting and pounding they wouldn't open. The guy who keeps the carts organized showed up to open the doors from the other side, just in time to prevent me from having a meltdown. I guess I looked like a desparate lunatic. Once I had finally escaped the store I blabbed a stream of jibberish to Cart Guy: "thanks .... wallet ... trash ... soda .... help!" and then picked the lid off the giant trash can and dove in head first. I was on a serious mission to trashpick my wallet from the depths of that massive trash can. Cart Guy stood watching in disbelief. I looked like a trashpicker, and I was one.
Luckily, the wallet was recovered with no garbage goop on it. After all, I was the first person in the store and there was a fresh bag. An hour later, and this would have been a completely different story. A little guardian angel was looking out for me and my Louis this morning. I chucked the empty soda can, then went back in to complete my purchase.
Now I'm back at home gearing up to do some cleaning. Am planning to throw a bunch of junk away. The trash theme continues.
By the way, if you happened to be at Shop Rite before 7am this morning and saw a trash can with 2 sweatpants-clad legs sticking out of it .... I'll deny forever more that it was me.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Years ago when I worked for Pru, there was a woman and her daughter (I'll call them Flo and Helga) who had some odd lunchtime habits. They were both really gross -- always slovenly, ungroomed, and piggish. They were the kind of people who wore dirty sweat pants to work. Anyway, they often brought crabs for lunch. Not crab cakes or something containing picked crab meat -- crabs. They brought newspaper, spread it over a table in the lunch room, and then sat down with their mallets and cracked away. Who the hell eats crabs at work???? Yes, Maryland IS for crabs .... but work isn't. When they weren't eating crabs, Momma Flo would bring a crock pot of chili and plug it in under her desk. She and Helga would scarf the whole thing for lunch. The biggest problem with that was the location of my desk -- it backed up to Momma Flo's. About an hour after lunch ended I can honestly say that sitting behind this woman was the worst spot in the entire building! The back of my head got bomb-blasted every afternoon ... it's a wonder my hair didn't turn green or fall out. In fact, those were the days when we could smoke in the office, and I would suggest she light one up just to "clear" the air of the stench. She usually had one desk fire per week.
There was another lady who worked at Pru that had a lunch-hour pasttime I've never seen before or since. She was a tall portly woman in her late 40s who looked like a cross between Pippi Longstocking and Ronald McDonald. She had bright red fuzzy hair that she wore in braids ... not a french braid or corn rows, but the kind of braids you see on 3 year olds -- one on each side of the head. She always wore a flowy dress that had big flowers on it and a collar that looked like one of my mom's dining room table cloths. Anyway, she'd eat her lunch, then put on her roller skates and skate around the parking lot in circles for the balance of her lunch hour.
I miss the crazy lunchtimes at Pru. The stinky smell today made me wonder if Flo and Helga found their way to Philly. I doubt it ... hope not ... I don't really miss them that much.
Friday, December 21, 2007
1.) Teeth must be brushed before getting into the shower. Showering with a hot stinky mouth grosses me out.
2.) My Christmas tree is ginormous this year!!! If it were 1 inch bigger, there'd be a scene like the one from "Christmas Vacation" where the tree blows out the windows of the house. I LOVE IT!! Carmen looks beautious and my lights passed "The Squint Twinkle Test." I have to squint at the tree to tell if the lights are evenly spaced -- lights are the key to a perfect tree. I put them all throughout the tree, inside and out ... cords must be hidden. It took me 2 hours this year. No wonder I'm not ready for Christmas yet.
3.) Two songs make me cry every time: "O Holy Night" (reminds me of my grandmother sitting in church at midmight mass on Christmas Eve, crying as she listened to that song) and "The Star Spangled Banner."
4.) Anything that has an electronic setting with numbers (like the volume on the TV) must be set on an even number. So my volume control will never be set at 11. Even numbers, and 8s are best.
5.) "Step on a crack, break yo momma's back" still echoes in my head when I walk down the sidewalk -- she had a broken back in high school from a car accident. I can't tempt fate, so I don't step on cracks.
6.) One more thing on stepping ...... is it weird that I always have to step up or step down with my right foot first?
(I better watch it .... they're going to take me away HAHA they're going to take me away!!!)
7.) My favorite Christmas gift ever was my piano when I was 4 years old. At some point I'd like to have it moved from my parent's house to my house.
8.) If there were a fire in my house, my Christmas ornaments would probably be one of the first things I'd try to save.
9.) I've saved every note, card, letter my mother has ever sent me ..... and there are hundreds. I probably have 95% of cards/letters I've ever received -- from anyone.
10.) My Dad called me last year at Christmas time to tell me I should go to KMart because they have REAL leather football coats on sale for $7. I thanked him for thinking of me, but also reminded him I'm a girl and probably wouldn't wear a leather Eagles coat from KMart (or anywhere). How could I explain THAT hanging next to my beloved St. John coat?
11.) I time myself when doing things. Like I'll get in the shower at 7:30 then race to see if I can be out by 7:36 (an even number, of course). You think that's nuts? Wait til you hear the next thing .....
12.) Before I get out of the shower, I have to make a mental list of the next few things I'm gonna do so I can do them as fast as possible. My mental list is usually: towel dry, hair product, comb hair, deodorant, lotion, underwear, robe, blow dry. I keep repeating it in my head until each thing is done. (cuckoo!) I'm not too swift in the morning so efficiency and focus are key.
13) Davey Dogs loves "Tollamazoo." What the heck is tollamazoo? Tira misu. (I'll have to do a special post sometime on words that Davey Dogs invents.) They're fantastic and rather endearing.
14.) One more so I don't have to end on an odd number 13 ..... one of my goals while I'm on vacation is to make sure I put pictures in all my frames. I've got 3 frames in my bedroom with no pictures in them.
Arighty, I think I've revealed enough of my lunacy for one morning. Besides, I've gotta go brush my hot teeth and get into the shower. Neurosis awaits!!! Only 8 hours til I'm off for 2 weeks ... yahooey!!!!!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
1.) The past tense of "win" is "wan." Somebody was telling me about a superbowl block pool where they wan $800. Wow .... I can't wait to use it in a sentence. In fact, if all goes well this weekend the fantasy football team that my friend Sue and I have -- Team CaCa -- will do well and someday I'll be able to say we wan the championship.
2.) I finally got introduded to Guitar Hero at Schue and Los' house on Friday night .... and I was pretty good. I'm not sure what was better, my near conquer of the "Ballroom Blitz" or Schue and I singing back-up to "Sweet Child of Mine" on the karaoke mike while Los rocked out. I'm also not sure how Davey Dogs snored through the whole thing -- maybe his hearing loss is worse than we thought.
3.) I'm not as bad at fundraising as I thought. -- I absolutely can't stand asking people for money, even if it's a good cause. Not sure why, but I guess I'm just wired funny. I really admire people who have this skill because it's definitely one where I'm lacking, and if you're a group that relies on the generosity of others it's important to have people who know how to elicit donations. Anyhow, I spent a few hours on Saturday morning wrapping presents at Barnes & Noble to help raise money for an organization I've been supporting, the Community Learning Center. As I chatted with the customers and told the story of what we do, the most amazing thing happened -- some people who had only dropped a dollar (or nothing) into the donation bucket actually upped their contributions. Just by telling the story of how some students won't go take their GED because they don't have the $12 for the test, people started giving $12. Not only did I learn something about fundraising, but it felt good to do something to help our students.
4.) Brasciole doesn't have to cook for hours in a crock pot to be good. I always thought that good braciole had to slow cook in the sauce for hours and hours to be delicious and tender. Not true. I made a quick braciole that was absolutely falling apart and very very good -- all in about 30 mins. Move over Rachel Ray! If you're a cook and want to try, here's what I did: (By the way, I don't measure so if you need precise instructions this probably won't work for you. I'm also not a cookbook author, yet, so this doesn't look like a regular recipe. It's the first time writing it down.) It's very easy and delicious ... let me know how it works out if you decide to try it.
Barbra Peapod's Fast Braciole
- Top round for braciole (it's packaged like this and requires no pounding ... yay!)
- Bread Crumbs
- Parsley and other italian herbs
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Egg
- Peppers (red, green or both)
- 1 Can diced tomatoes (the flavored ones are great)
- 1 can tomato sauce
Mix the stuffing in a small bowl: ricotta, bread crumbs, spices, egg, parmesan. (It should be pasty consistency -- add cheese to thin it out, add bread crumbs to thicken.)
Lay the steaks flat, then spread a heaping spoonful of the mix on about 3/4 of the steak. Don't spread too thick or too close to the edges or it'll all spooge out when you're cooking the rolls. You can use string or toothpicks if you really want to, but I didn't and everything was fine. The trick is in the next step -- searing. I had leftover stuffing mixture, and used it up by chucking it into the sauce .... mmmm!
Heat some olive oil to med high in a deep dish pan (I used my flat-bottomed wok). When the pan is hot, put the roll-ups seam side down in the pan. Sear for a couple of minutes then rotate. The meat cooks very fast, so watch it. Add a little beef broff to cover the bottom of the pan after 3-4 minutes.
Add onions, garlic, peppers, shrooms, or whatever vegs you'd like. Saute for a few minutes until they are slightly tender. Add tomato stuff. Stir gently, then cover and simmer.
While it was simmering, I cooked up some pasta. By the time the pasta was done, so was everything else. I served with some garlic crescent rolls on the side ..... delish!!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
As it turned out, he went into the ladies room and realized he was in the wrong spot when he first saw me. I thought I was in the wrong spot when I first saw him (which I wasn't) and then wandered into the men's room thinking I was in the ladies room. So who was following who??? hahahahaa Both of us started laughing in the men's room. I didn't stick around giggling for too long, but I did think it was pretty funny.
P.S. -- As a follow up to one of my previous posts where I talked about the nasty plastic contraptions on the toilets in the Louisville airport ... they're gone! I wonder if someone read my post and realized they were probably spreading mooby fooby rathering than preventing it??
P.S.S. -- "Mooby fooby" is a generic name for all diseases that my mom always said when I was a kid. Do other people say it, or just my family? I'm wondering because as I've grown up, I've learned that there are words she made up and led me to believe were commonly used .... until I spurted them out in conversation in front of someone other than a family member, only to find out my mother made something up. This happened with the word "cutethings." Not meant to be "cute things", but all one word. It was synonymous with poop. Imagine my surprise in college when I said something about "cutethings" (trying not to be too crude) only to be laughed right off Mt. Nittany when they realized I was talking about poo!
OK, I've rambled long enough. Tell me some made up words ... or something to entertain me while I'm traveling ... pretty please.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
The ratio of "bad" to "good" is probably 10:1. That being the case, I think I better set the record straight about what I've accidentally stumbled upon, just in case I ever get arrested or die and somebody decides to search my computer for my cyber-history. Hey, it happens on Law & Order all the time, so I'm just trying to be prepared. Here are some places I visited by the luck (or unluck) of the draw:
- Porn Facial Expressions (I learned I have a few things to learn.)
- Prison Paul (Wasn't this an E! True Hollywood Special called "Prisoner Pen Pals" or something like that??)
- Rare Poultry Breeders (I have no idea what this was all about and didn't check it out. I was afraid I'd find pictures. ew.)
- Adult Friend Finder (I'd rather be lost than found here. And I don't think it's friendship they're looking for.)
- Mormon Mommy Wars (Holy wars in Utah?? Who knew.)
- Miss Bikini International (There's a lesson to be learned here: Just because it comes in your size doesn't mean you should wear it.)
- Pis (I'm not sure if this is an abbreviation or a misspelled word. Didn't stick around long enough to find out.)
- Bouncing Boobs of Bollywood (I've got no words for this one.)
I wish I could remember some of the others, but these were the bizarre ones that stuck in my head either because they were so strange or they kept popping up. All that being said, I'll keep reaching into the random "Next Blog" grab bag ... every now and then there's a jewel.
Anybody else ever do that? Find anything funny?
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I'm actually a bit jealous of the folks who work for the Louisville Apartment Association -- they're having a big fancy shindig in the ballroom of the hotel I'm staying in.
Anyway, I ended up ordering room service because dining choices are limited down here, and it's a little too cold, dark and barren to go exploring on foot tonight. So I checked out the room service menu. It took me a good 5 minutes to convince them to let me order the cheeseburger off the kids menu because the 12 (yes, TWELVE!) ounce burger on the adult menu would be too big. Please tell me -- who the hell can eat a 12 oz burger???That's not a burger, it's a meatL-O-A-F. YUCK!!!!! Other options were a chicken breast (boring), a steak (too much), cream of carrot soup (what ever happened to good ole fashion Chicken Noodle?), or a Hot Brown sandwich (which I should've gotten). Finally they brought me the cheeseburger, and I don't know what kid could eat this thing, but it looked like a football. No wonder kids are getting fatter! I swear I'm not a picky eater, but I've never had such a hard time trying to find a normal decent dinner. I'm thinking maybe it's the hotel's passive aggressive attempt to discourage people from ordering room service? I don't know. Next time I'll try pizza delivery, or bring my ball gown and crash somebody's event.
I can't wait to get home tomorrow. Let's hope for a smooth, on-time flight!!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
1.) Unwrapping my ornaments as I decorate my tree. This may be the opitomy of my holiday season. When I pull my Carmen Miranda ornament out of her swaddling cotton wrap and place her front and center on my tree (perfectly positioned near a light so she glistens), it nearly brings me to tears. Truly, I should be ashamed of myself for admitting to being such a dork!
2.) Singing "Ave Matree-a" on the Christmas tree lot after finding the perfect tree. This happens after walking the entire lot, and is a signal that my search has come to an end. People stare but I don't care.
3.) One year, my sister, my friend Herbie and I took my Dad's big gigantic pick-up truck to the tree farm. I have no idea how this started, but on the way home we began whistling "Silent Night." When we got to the high note, all of us burst out laughing hysterically. What a bunch of geeks!!! I don't even like that song, but now every time I hear it I giggle. (We later went to Herbie's house and decorated his silver tree from Goodwill with bubble ornaments and beer caps. Maybe we were hitting the eggnog a bit early that day!?!??)
4.) Prepping for my annual Christmas party with Sue. For two days straight, we cook, laugh, drink, and go to the corner bar in our stinky cooking clothes. In fact, I owe her a BIG THANKS for putting up with me during this process. (Shue -- I swear, this year we're keeping it simple and finishing at least 3 hours ahead of time!)
5.) On Christmas morning my Dad is always the first one to wake up and he yells "Ho Ho Ho' at the top of his lungs ... repeatedly ... until everyone gets out of bed. This usually begins around 6:00am. My Dad is 6'4" and built like a big ole mountain man, and when he bellows it makes the walls rumble. It's not a big deal anymore, but when I was in my teens and 20s and couldn't get up before noon, his ho'ing really pissed me off and I'd wake up every Christmas morning in a bad mood. Now I'm up before him and I just lay there and wait for his signal.
6.) The "A Christmas Story" marathon on TNT. I love that movie and still have to watch it at least once during the holidays. If and when I ever get my basement fixed up, I think I may need one of those dumb leg lamps for my bar. You know, the one marked "fra-gee-lay!"
7.) Screwing up my Christmas cookies. I can't bake, but I love to decorate the cookies anyway. Usually they're inedible (one year I made them with olive oil ... ooops), but at least they look good -- or funny.
8.) I get a phone call every Christmas Eve at midnight from my friend John. He's always bombed up when he calls and asks me if I remembered to leave God and Santa a snack. Seriously, I have no idea why or where this started but he does it every year and now I kinda look forward to it. What a nut!
9.) My Christmas Party!! I must say, it's one of the best events of the year. Every year at my party I have at least one moment of nerdiness where I sit back and watch all my different circles of friends mingling, dancing, the Christmas tree in all its glory, people stuffing their faces, somebody running around with Blanta, and I get all warm and goofy inside. I'm excited for this year because I think a lot of people will be coming -- especially some folks I haven't seen in a while. After my big sentimental moment, I usually do a shot or the humpty dance or something.
10.) Dressing up! I love during the holidays how people get fancy and festive with their outfits. I love me some sparkly clothes, chandelearrings and fancy hair! This year we have 4 dress-up parties to go to. It would be 5, but my company gives everyone a $5 lunch coupon to the cafeteria instead. Nice, but I prefer not to be wearing a badge at a party unless it's part of a Halloween costume.
More to come on traditions I don't enjoy ... or maybe I'll just skip right to New Year's. That's an event unto it's own!!
Monday, December 3, 2007
I don't suck at small talk with everybody, just most people. Friends and family who know what a weirdo I am are not a problem. It's the remainder of folks (work people, new acquaintances, etc) who are problematic and trigger my usual tongue-tied, boring responses. Frankly, I'm not sure why I'm so bad a mingling because I'm a pretty sociable person -- I guess it's just a skill I never really perfected. Time to turn the tide on that one! Although, I do have to be careful because when I deviate from my standard boring responses, I generally wind up with at least one of my feet in my mouth. This holiday party season, I'm determined to be prepared. I will wow people with my brilliant conversation skills! Somewhere between telling the mundane truth and fabricating a wildly interesting story, I will find the perfect words to stun whomever is within earshot.
Here are some alternatives I'm contemplating instead of my usual ho-hum response:
- I got called out of the audience at the Hans Klok show in Vegas and he made Pam Anderson disappear so I could appear in her place.
- I got abducted by aliens to help mow crop circles in a cornfield somewhere in South Jersey. They returned me unharmed.
- I once took belly dancing lessons and am now thinking of going for ballroom. Wanna see "snake hips" or "scoop the pudding"?
- While the news was doing a story on visits with Santa, I was captured on film in the background doing an Eagles chant.
- Nothing. I could just burst into song instead. Whatever song comes to mind will do.
See what I mean? I'm not very good at this. Maybe I should hang a piece of lettuce from my lip to throw people off. Instead of asking what's been going on with me, people will just tell me I've got stuff hanging from my face. Yeah yeah, that's what I'll do!!
Friday, November 30, 2007
I hate the automatic flushing sensors. Sometimes the flusher begins before I’m ready, and that’s just wrong. I don't know if I'm unknowingly moving around too much when hovering and I'm triggering the sensor, but there’s a serious design flaw when a toilet flushes before I’m ready AND the flush is so powerful that an “old faithful” effect is created. If I wanted a bidet, I’d have one. God forbid you have to actually sit on the seat – an unexpected flush could result in an unexpected enema. I know it’s gross, but I’m right … aren’t I? I want control of the flush so I have time to clear my hovercraft out of the way.
Next on my hit list are the automated dispensers for paper towels, soap and water. I don’t know if I’m waving too fast or too slow, but I never seem to get what I need when I need it. When the soap dispenser does decide to cooperate, it’s usually after I’ve given up and moved my hands out of the way. I wish the flushing sensors were more like this!
I discovered a new toilet gadget in the ladies room at the Louisville Airport that I’ve never seen anywhere else. There’s a machine affixed to the toilet that holds a bunch of plastic wrap for the seat. You push a button, then the plastic rotates around to give you a “fresh” piece of plastic to sit on. Good in theory, but let me tell you – this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!! First, the plastic only rotates 3-4 inches at a time so you’re never getting a full seat worth of fresh plastic. If you land your hovercraft, the left cheek may be kept clean but the right cheek remains vulnerable. And, don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll get fresh plastic by pushing the button 10 times! I’ve inspected this thing quite thoroughly (because I’m weird like that) and hell if I can tell where the used plastic went and where the "new" plastic came from. Sherlock here thinks it's the same piece of plastic going around and around the bowl. No way is this girl’s hovercraft landing there!!
All this being said, I have to agree with Dorothy: “There’s no place like home!”
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The plural of shrimp is shrimp.
I had to get that out of my system. I have no idea how "shrimps" work their way into daily conversation, but somehow they do. Usually somebody is telling me how they ate shrimps, cooked shrimps, bought shrimps, blahs blahs blahs. Of course I never say anything because who would be dumb and catty enough to pick on someone for improperly adding an "s" to the end of the word shrimp? Certainly not me. Noooooo ... instead, I'll blog about it. Maybe an offender will read?!??!
Why do I fixate on such crap?? I don't know. Who cares if someone says shrimps? Or if they say they shop at KMarts or Walmarts? I'm certainly no grammarian, but I guess there are just some words that are annoying.
Does anybody else have words they don't like? My top offenders (even placing ahead of shrimps) are: moist, loaf and meal.
Yuck. Yuck. Trivial, but yuck.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I've been off work for a week and had almost forgotten about one of my more unpleasant morning routines. I find it unbelievable that every morning my exit from I-95 is perfectly timed with the entrance of a fleet of UPS trucks onto I-95. This has been happening almost every morning for the last 12+ years that I've been working at my company. There are always 5 of these trucks spaced about 15 feet apart, and they move from the far right lane across 3 lanes to merge left onto the highway. This happens at the precise time and location where I need to exit right. They barrel onto the highway with no signal, no yielding, and no apparent recognition that someone's already in the space they're taking over. It's a game of chicken, and I'm always the chicken. I always wind up in the wrong lane to prevent a crash, then I have to scoot across 4 lanes to get where I need to go after they've practically run me off the road.
I'm tired of being bullied by Brown's convoy every morning. Yeah, I could either leave earlier or later to avoid them, but why should I have to change my schedule just to keep from getting run over every morning? Probably because leaving 2 minutes earlier is smarter than getting run over. I guess I'm either spitefully stubborn or just not that smart.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The serenade is kinda like the reception before the reception. At this particular serenade, there was a heated tent in the middle of the street with porta potties and lots of fru fru wedding decorations. There was a big decorated arch and some decorated trees at the entrance to the tent. Inside, there was a full buffet of very delicious food, a bar, a DJ, and tables for the 100+ people who attended. I had to call somebody ahead of time to find out what you're supposed to bring -- I had no idea. The answer, you don't bring anything. No gift, no nothing. You just show up. Weird, huh? I think you're expected to show your appreciation and well wishes with your wedding gift.
At most South Philly wedding serenades, it's not uncommon for some Mummers to play instead of (or in addition to) the groom singing. At this particular serenade, there were no Mummers but the groom sang. Apparently this groom is quite the singer and at one point had a sponsor fly him somewhere to audition for American Idol. He never made it to Hollywood, but he definitely had center stage in the middle of South Philly last night. He did a nice job singing a sentimental love song to his bride-to-be while the crowd hovered around with their video and cell phone cameras. Other than the actual singing, I'd categorize it as a big dinner and dance party. Very fun. In fact, I wish I got invited to more of them.
What to wear to a serenade? Outfits were quite varied. I saw everything from camouflage to hoochie tops. Jeans seem to be most common, but if you want to flash some sequins I don't think anyone in South Philly would ever bat an eyelash.
The official party lasted til around 11:30, then we left as the party after the party got underway. What I assume was the bridal party was hanging out doing shots and the father of the groom was upside down doing his second keg stand.
So there you have it -- the inside scoop on a South Philly serenade.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Back in September on the morning of the 2St 5K run, Sue and I were making our way to the starting gate. We squeezed through the crowds and said a "pardon me" as we edged past somebody dressed in a big bird costume. Yep, it was Bucky. I have no idea why he was wearing a big bird costume to the run, but it was pretty funny to see a big yellow-feathered Big Bird smoking Marlboro Reds on the corner at 9am.
What made me think of this was an unexpected course of events this morning. I was in my peapod dozing and watching TV when I heard a bunch of bagpipes outside my house. I was pretty sure I wasn't dead and they weren't coming for me, so I poked my head out to see what was going on. There was a memorial service out on the street for a fallen firefighter who lost his life 61 years ago on the corner of my street. The city was dedicating a memorial plaque, so there were tons of people from the fire department, neighborhood, news and politicians standing around for the event. For someone who's been in a funk for the last 5 months, I really didn't need another funeral to go to but curiousity got the best of me. As I stood on the corner listening to the service, someone came up and whispered in my ear "Now would be a really good time for us to go streak out in the middle of the street." I turned around -- it was Bucky. He cracked me up.
Bucky is the youngest 60-something I know. I'm so happy I started playing darts and got to meet him. He's crazy and always makes me laugh
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Ah yes!! I have the week off from work. Other than going to visit my family in Maryland, I plan to do nothing other than indulge in some of my favorite guilty pleasures. Here's the short list:
- Watch "Saved by the Bell" every morning
- Drink Bloody Marys
- Get caught up on episodes of "I Love New York"
- Make a trip to diBruno Brothers in the Italian Market
- Try my luck at Harrah's Chester
- Make pork balls (Kelly, thanks for the recipe ... it's become a staple!)
- Visit the magazine rack at CVS for at least an hour
- A trip to Olidators with Sue
- Christmas carols (they're year-round for me)
- Find a good block pool for the Eagles game
- Play with my make-up and hair -- time for a new look
- Spend a couple of days in my peapod watching movies (so far I've watched "Because I Said So", "Bridget Jones Part 2" and now I'm on "The Pursuit of Happyness")
- Research vacation plans -- Vegas, the Caribbean, or both
If I had "Guitar Hero" I'd be indulging in that too.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
So speaking of steel magnolias, over the last 5 months I've witnessed one of the most couragous displays of personal strength and character in a real-life steel magnolia, my friend Sandi. She is blogging (Sandi's blog)about her experience as a newly widowed mother of two small children. You may be wondering, "why are you reading something so depressing?" The truth is, yes the circumstance is very sad, but the story that continues to unfold is sheer inspiration. Unlike this blog where I write about nonsense (like walking around CVS with wadded up underwear stuffed in my pants), Sandi's got something important to say. Without recapping her entire blog, let's just say it's all about love, legacy, courage, advocacy, and what a person does to keep going even when they don't want to. Truthfully, I feel like a voyeur every time I read her posts. I go back not only because she's my friend and I care about what she's going through, but also because her writing is very thought-provoking. Sandi is a remarkably strong magnolia, even if she doesn't feel like one right now.
Switching gears to a much lighter note, I can't resist sharing a story about another strong woman -- and I mean strong in the literal sense. Not only does this magnolia possess strength of character and have an incredible life story, but she can probably lift me over her head with one arm. Inga is my friend Karl's mother. She is interesting, sweet, funny, and incredibly physically strong. She probably weighs 100 pounds soaking wet, so she doesn't exactly look like a body-builder. At Sue's bridal shower, there was a gift of some wooden TV trays. There were two boxes of them and each one felt like it was made of solid lead. I tried pushing the boxes out of the way, and the things didn't even budge. Other people tried too, but to no avail. When Inga saw that no one could move these boxes out of the way, she picked both of them them off the ground, lifted them up over her head like they were boxes of feathers, took them out of the house, down the street and plopped them in the car. If Superman was the man of steel, Inga just might be the woman of steel!
Anyway, to all the steel magnolias in my life I say to you what Claris Belcher said to her good ole friend Weeza: "You know I love you more than my luggage!"
I was in a huge hurry to get to a meeting in Center City, but had to print a bunch of stuff and make copies before I could leave the office. I hate even going near our printer. It takes up an entire room and is about 10 different kinds of machines all rolled into one. It never fails that I always encounter a paper jam, some weird error code or an "out of paper" message. This time, I lucked out and was able to do what I needed to do and get out of there pretty quickly despite managing to get toner all over my hands. I washed my hands in our kitchen , gathered my stuff and off I went to my meeting in the city.
I signed in with the security guard, an escort took me to the conference room, I chatted with some people before the meeting started. All very normal. I even had a few minutes to get something to drink, then to the ladies room. As I washed my hands in the ladies room, I looked up into the mirror. Holy moly!!! I looked like I had slid down a chimney!!! I had black stuff all over my face. I must have touched my face when I had the toner all over my hands.
I had probably talked with a dozen people and not one single person said anything. Unbelievable!! Does this kind of stuff happen to other people? I'd really like to know.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
So I got on the economy lot shuttle and was standing in the middle of the bus with about 12 other people, hanging onto a pole to steady my balance. Very typical of public transportation -- no big deal. The bus was packed, everybody was on, but we didn't move. Over the microphone comes a snarly voice: "We ain't goin nowheres til everybody finds a seat." Everybody on the bus kinda looked at each other, and wondered exactly where we were supposed to sit since it was obvious the bus was completely full. Some man yelled back "There are no seats." Snarlypuss responded: "Yuh huh there are. I'm looking right at 'em." At this point, we either had to sit down or get off the bus because she wasn't moving. Luckily I acted quickly before things got too desperate. This old man rolled up on one cheek and made room for half of my cheek in his seat. Good enough, I thought. Some of the other people were sitting on the floor. Alas, everyone was finally seated and off we went! Flying up the aisles of the economy lot. Flying around the corner. Oh my God! My cheek flew off the seat and I was hanging with each arm grabbing a pole, stretched across the center of the bus (in my dress) like a human safety net. Somebody's golf clubs fell on the girl sitting on the floor next to me. It was like a scene out of one of those "bus gone crazy" movies.
The bus driver finally slowed down and I was able to hoist myself back into a respectable position. People got on, so now the bus was even more crowded. I just couldn't take the chance of sliding off my seat again, so I found a hiding space behind the luggage compartment. I figured if I crouched down out of sight it would be okay. How would she see me there? Well, she did. Snarlypuss got on the mic again: "Girl in the red coat, find a seat or we ain't goin nowheres." Shit! Now what was I going to do? My old "seat" was gone. I had to sit on some woman's lap, like a little (big) kid. How embarrassing. It only would have been worse if she started burping me. And all of this before 6am!!!
Luckily, we only had 2 more stops before we got to the first terminal and people got off. Of course I was the very last terminal, but by then all of my new best friends were off the bus.
Now I remember why I usually cough up the $36/day for the short term garage.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
My thoughts then drifted to my Mother and how anxious she is knowing that she will likely lose all of her hair during the course of her chemo treatments -- not just the hair on her head, but her eyebrows and eyelashes too. I keep telling her she's beautiful anyway and "it's just hair and it'll grow back" .... " wigs are fun" ... "just think, you won't have to shave your legs" .... and trying to make her feel better about the temporary hair problem. I think she's coming to terms with it, but she really won't be happy until she has her own hair back. I guess I don't blame her.
Originally, I was just going to write about hair, but as I got ready for work this morning I realized that most people really do care how their appearance is perceived by others. I looked at myself in the mirror and reflected on the things that hide my unmentionables from the rest of the world. Let's just say, my savior has not been a can of spray paint, but modern medicine. Without it, I'd have looked in the mirror this morning at a 300-pound amputee with a cleft lip. Ew, not a very pretty picture. My cleft lip and weight problem were fixed by surgeons, for both health and cosmetic reasons. If I had broken my elbow 100 years ago, there would have been no such thing as replacement surgery and they would have probably amputated my arm. Granted, these were not just cosmetic procedures, but I could've survived without any of them and look where I would've been. And that's just the medical stuff. I haven't even started on my need for make-up, control-tops, and hair coloring. I realized if I looked like that and I could fix it with a can of spray paint, you'd better believe I'd be spraying myself from head to toe every day of my life.
Next time I see the guy with the spray-painted head, I think I'll look at him a little differently. I still don't necessarily think that spray-painting yourself is the most effective way of diverting attention, but who am I to talk.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
My recommended training video for the Elected Official New Hire Training Class of 2008 is ....(drum roll, please) ........ the movie "Dave." This movie came out back in the 90's and stars Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Crazy? Maybe, but hear me out.
If you haven't seen the movie, I'm not going to ruin it so it's safe to read on. The basic premise is that a presidential impersonator is hired when the President becomes incapacitated and gravely ill. Now, I don't intend this training video to include the scene showing the President getting himself into this medical predicament by cheating on his wife with a hooker and having a debilitating stroke in the middle of .... well, you know. We've already had officials who apparently saw that part of the movie and decided to model their Presidential behavior accordingly (minus the stroke, of course). I'm talking about what happens after that.
The fact that an impersonator is sitting in the oval office is kept secret from the public while a few plotters use this inside information to their own political advantage. The plan goes awry when the faux-Prez actually asserts himself in the Presidential role, and refuses to just smile and nod as initially instructed. I knew that Kevin Kline wouldn't sit back smiling and waving, but I'm not sure how this eluded the dummies who hired him. Anyway, the impersonator comes out of his shell and little by little lets his own politically inexperienced personality and unconventional decision-making skills shine through. While the movie is a comedy and you dont have to like or care about politics to enjoy it, I think it does a great job of exposing and poking fun at some of the blatantly stupid things that happen in our government. Better yet, I love how the movie takes it a step further to show how someone makes a difference by simply doing the right thing and applying some basic common sense. Uh huh .... I'm onto something with my idea to use this as a training video ... aren't I?
Still not convinced? Here's an example of one of the proposed video lessons ...... There's a scene where the faux Prez calls a "roll-up-your-sleeves" cabinet meeting where every person in the room is expected to sacrifice some unnecessary spending in order to fund a program that will provide shelter and afer-school programs for homeless children. He questions $48M allocated for a program to "boost consumer confidence in a previously-owned automobile purchase." The President asks the sponsor of that bill "Do you want to tell children they have to live on the street so people can feel better about their used car?" The sponsor is quick to agree to reallocating the money to help the children. Good golly .... what a novel idea!!!???! That's one example, but the scene unfolds to reveal volumes of stupid things costing millions and millions of dollars. Yes, it's just a movie, but there's no way I believe our budget is free from this same type of bullshit. Imagine the strides that could make into education, health care reform, or whatever else is important to you .... if only the money were available. I hate to say it, but the money is out there. Hey, if someone can find $60M to pay Tony Romo for throwing a football, I have to believe there's hope of finding money somewhere to pay teachers and healthcare institutions for taking care of the rest of us.
Now I know this is only a movie, but I think it really isn't too far off base in terms of showing how more common sense, less palm grease, and being a fiscally responsible steward of the public tax dollar could make a positive difference in the lives of many. On a much smaller level, we exercise this level of scrunity all the time when we review budgets at my company. I have to wonder if that level of scrutiny takes place in real government budget meetings without Kevin Kline present to ask the tough questions!?!
By the way ... did you ever wonder how many tax payer dollars have been spent on hearings and investigations into steroid use in baseball? There are over 46M people in this country with no health insurance. Please don't tell me our new hires think its more important to spend money talking about steroid use in baseball than getting children the appropriate screenings and immunizations.
Personally, I would love to volunteer to faciliate a federal or state budget analysis session where this level of scrunity could take place. I'd volunteer in a second. I'm sick of having my tax dollar spent on stupid, over-priced and unnecessary crap. Assuming I won't be invited to do that, I'd settle for our new hires watching the suggested training video.
Monday, November 5, 2007
So a few weeks ago I had a nasty sinus cold and was feeling really really crappy. After an entire day of nose-blowing and sneezing, I decided to suck it up and make the 8 block trek to the CVS at 10th & Reed. In my leggings, a big sweatshirt, no makeup and a ratty pontyail I ventured to CVS for some relief to my clogged-up sinuses. After wandering about 15 feet into the store, I felt something weird on the back of my leg. I stopped and reached down, only to discover a massive lump in my pants. Not something growing on my leg, but something stuffed in my pants. And it was big. I didn't have my purse with me, so I couldn't reach in and do a quick grab n stuff. I wasn't sure what to do. I stood there feeling it for a minute trying to determine if it was pantyhose ... or underwear ... or a big sock. Would it be clean or dirty? I just didn't know. I couldn't pull it out, because how could I explain walking around CVS with a pair of underwear in my hands? As I stood in the middle of the store feeling and contemplating this lump, I had an immediate panic: What if I'm on camera right now and someone thinks I'm trying to steal something? I pictured the scene: security guard comes over and accuses me of stealing a bag of Halloween candy, and my only defense is to reveal my stash. Trick or treat ... it's a pair of my underwear! I'd have to show it to prove my innocence. I couldn't let this happen.
As this scene played out in my head I realized that I was probably drawing unwanted attention to myself. I immediately stopped touching my pants and tried to walk inconspicuously to the back of the store for my cold medicine so I could hurry up and get the hell outta there. Could I pull off this purchase without the blob falling out of my pants? Or getting stopped for shoplifting my own undergarments?
The cashier's line was huge, but I waited my turn and didn't worry about the scads of people behind me who were probably speculating about my massive buldge.
When I got back to my car, I pulled the mystery lump from the ankle of my pants. Voila -- it was a pair of underwear. I had a pretty good laugh all by myself right there in the parking lot.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Donovan bugs me.
Yes, he's a great athlete -- forget, for a moment, that he hasn't finished a season in years. He's tremendously capable and has, at times, been an elite. He's had huge games, huge stats and even took us to the Superbowl. All are great accomplishments. Losing the Bowl wasn't, but getting there was pretty darn good.
Anyway, so why does he bug me? He bugs me because he's a sulker. He doesn't act like a leader, and now that he rarely scrambles he's also boring. He's got no fire in his belly, unless it's right after he throws a touchdown or makes a big play. (By the way, I love the flea flicker. It's exciting to watch, and a really fun name for a football play. I wish they'd run that play more often so I could hear them say it.) All of the rhetoric I've heard and read about leaders and great people (business, sports or otherwise) says true leadership and greatness are displayed when times are tough. As soon as the Birds get behind or make a few bad plays, Donovan isolates himself on the bench and mopes. I just want to slap him. You know who else does this? Eli. He's another sulker. Talented and tons of potential, but a sulker. That's a terrible quality in a quarterback, or anyone for that matter.
The Eagles need a leader on the field. Someone to wake them up and motivate them. The best hope they have right now for encouragement and leadership may very well be the fans. A sad statement.
I have to say, I miss Jeff Garcia. He may not be a pillar of strength and athleticism, but he has a contagious energy and ability to get people excited about the game. Tampa is lucky to have him. It's ashame his career crested so late. I love watching him play, just because he goes crazy on the field and gets people fired up. He reminds me of Brett Favre, in that regard. Of course, he's not nearly as hot or gifted as Favre -- but that kind of leader is what the Birds need. The fans and the team deserve a leader who doesn't give up.
I wish Donovan would step up and be that guy, but I just don't see it happening. Would be nice if he'd prove me wrong. Not to say that's the only cure to our Eagles' woes, but I think it's a major hole in a program with more holes than a block of swiss cheese.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Recently, my friend Sandi lost her husband John to pancreatic cancer at the young age of 44. They blogged about their battle with the disease, and now in the wake of his death Sandi has continued blogging about her life as a widowed mother of two toddlers. Their blogs have really been the inspiration for me to start writing. I've always wanted to write, and I don't want to wait for something bad to happen in order for me to start doing it. Procrastination has always been one of my downfalls, and their story has given me some new perspective on the value of time and opportunity.
Anyhow, I guess I will explain the title "Barbra Peapod Disco Bubbles." I had no idea what to call my blog so I lumped some of my nicknames together and voila -- it's a blog title. Here's where the nicknames came from:
- Barbra - I gave myself this nickname by accident when I was in college. During what came to be known as "THE Message", I announced myself as Barbra then sang Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were" aka "Memories" into my friend Autumn's answering machine with John commenting in the background. It stuck, and to a crop of my beloved friends from Penn State I am most affectionately known as Barbra.
- Peapod - Carolina gave me this one. We all need those couch potato days; however, I refer to my couch as my "peapod." It stuck, and now she calls me Peapod. She's the only one and that's fine with me. Carolina is one of my dearest friends, a former roommate, Penn Stater, and most of my best stories involve her in one way or another. Oompie, I love ya! (That's her nickname ... maybe I'll write about that one sometime.)
- Disco - My friend Michelle aka "Mira" gave me this name. When Carolina and I lived at 522 Spruce, we use to have a great apartment with a big hardwood floored living room -- aka dance floor. It was a given that after a night out, our friends and neighbors would come back to our place where the party would continue and the dancing would commence. I appointed myself as the DJ and always managed to pick out stuff that made people dance. Somebody called me "Sister Disco", which I then wrote on my plastic beer cup so I'd know which drink was mine. That was all it took, I was crowned "Disco" by Mira. I love this nickname -- it's fun, musical, happy and reminds me of really fun times.
- Bubbles - I got this name probably because my ass was so huge. It's still not little, but it's better than it was. Anyhow, Eddie at the Shamrock Pub gave me this nickname while we were playing darts. Funny, he gave Sue a nickname and we gave him one but whose name stuck ..... mine. Normally, I probably wouldn't be too thrilled about a nickname that makes fun of me being a big fat person, but I kinda liked Bubbles. It sounds happy, and I don't think Eddie ever meant to me disrespectful. That's sort of an odd statement, considering if you know Eddie he's possibly one of the most offensive people you may ever meet. I love him though. He's an original, and was one of the first people to welcome me into my neighborhood in South Philly. The name stuck, and pretty much everyone in my neighborhood knows me as Bubbles. I don't mind, and I feel lucky to live in a neighborhood with some of the best, most genuine, caring and passionate people in Philadelphia.