This sweet birdie yarn bowl is the gift I've asked Santa to consider dropping down my chimney this Christmas. I took up knitting earlier this year, and I'm happy with my progress, but I manage to drop my yarn on a regular basis, and even the cats are no longer amused.
Fitbit. Poseidon and I have the Fitbit One™ and this little activity tracking gadget is a fitness motivator, for sure. I wear it everyday, and try to push myself to get in at least 5000 steps/day. During the day, I'm motivated to move more (which is great for the neck and back). The One™ tracks steps (even when biking or on an elliptical at the gym), stairs climbed, calories burned (including "existence" calories, calories you burn breathing, blinking, moving in your sleep, etc.), and miles traveled. This will make a great Christmas gift for folks looking for an extra push to stay healthy and active. The Fitbit One™ can also track sleep habits, but I don't use that feature. I already know I sleep.
If you know someone who lost a pet this year, consider giving them the gift of making a donation in memory of a pet. There are many charities out there. Petsmart Charities is one example. This precious angel is my own Kat, from December of last year. She wanted to help us wrap Christmas gifts, and she did a great job. Our apologies to everyone for the cat hair stuck in the tape.
Know anyone traveling in the near future? I bought a set of these Herb Lester maps for Poseidon two years ago (for our future European trips). The artwork is super, and these maps feature off-the-beaten-path sorts of things for major cities. A map devoted specifically to donut shops in New York. Paris for single travelers. Untamed London. The description they give for their Clandestine London map makes me giggle:
We list 31 places with hidden alcoves and easy exits, neglected restaurants, unreconstructed wine bars, ancient pubs and even natural isolation. In these locations discretion is assured, it's entirely up to you to decide how you make use of that."
While I'm on the topic of travel, my passport expired in May, and I have to renew. I can't believe how expensive this is going to be! I might add this passport holder to my Christmas list for next year. More birds. I would have expected the whole bird motif thingy to be dead by now. It's a slow death.
I can't even believe I'm going to post these, but I can't help myself. Poseidon sent me a link to these several months ago (I'm not ever going to ask what is was he was searching for when he found them). Gnome shoes. These are neither in my budget nor my heel range, but so adorable (and sold out by now). For the cool, happy person who has everything (and a gifter who has too much), perhaps some gnome shoes for Christmas?
I'm waiting for a server bounce, and because idle hands are the devil's playthings, I've decided to type something; the first thing popping into my head...a five-for-friday post featuring the random junk on my desk.
I'm embracing the sacred grunginess that is my desk today:
1. Mocha orange hand cream.
2. Two monster finger puppets (I stage impromptu puppet shows with these little guys when I need to let off steam). They were in my Christmas stocking last year.
3. What's left of my morning almond snack.
4. My baby Diet Coke.
5. My worry stone.
Suppose you are on the lamb, or recently placed in a witness protection program, and you have to pick a new name? How would you choose your new name?
I'm not on the lamb (or in the witness protection program), but Poseidon thinks I should have a new name, and he's spent a good deal of time thinking about this. Here is his list. I'm trying to picture myself at the DMV, replacing my name on my license with one of these:
Toffee-nosed Ringlefinch - This one leaves me feeling verbally beaten up
Bubbles Maxima - This is not a game, man, this is my life!
Yammyschmidt McStingshine - Saying this outloud feels an awful lot like scraping knuckles on my cheese grater.
Prudence Woolingsworth - Has potential. I'm strangely OK with this name
Eunice G Quattlebaum - This is a mess begging for help up off the floor (and what does the G stand for?)
Felicity Sunshine - this one leaves me feeling boundary-challenged, and I don't really know why
Mrs. Ariel Johannessen - I could never spell this correctly. Never
Travellers Check McLuggage - Sounds like a menu offering at a McDonalds in Edinburgh
Ragnhild Synnove Olson (honoring that Swedish heritage) - That's a troll's name
Trudy "Bubbles" Flowers - See what he's done here? Poseidon has already given this name a nickname
Sandi-Lyn Slavenovich - Hmmm, the pebble in shoe analogy applies to this one. It doesn't seem all that bad when you first give it a test run, but after a few miles? Issues
Virginia West - Nope
Goodwife Snavely - Just makes me feel dirty
I want to be flexible, but honestly, I'm mostly just worried about my capacity for change, at this point.
Five Good Things to Absorb While You're Still Young:
(Original source: http://www.5ives.com/archives/2006/01/23/five-good-things-to-absorb-while-youre-still-young/)
I'm fond of all of my coworkers, but one in particular puts a wide smile on my face. He is so pleasant and funny, and he is real. He often uses this phrase: "Oh, my soul." With his deep southern accent though, it sounds more like, "Ole, mah sole!" I love it. I can't recall having ever heard this phrase used before I met him.
As sparkly as "Oh my soul" is, and as giggly as it makes me, it was outdone by this gem (used by another coworker last week when describing an annoying relative): "She looks like death sucking a sponge." I had to cover my mouth to keep from spitting my water on her, and even then, some of that water leaked through my fingers.
Hold your horses - Who hasn't heard or used that old dull phrase, right? Well, I worked with a guy from Russia who used to say to me, "Calm down your horses" when I would get all panicky about project deadlines. I like his translation better, and it's so much funnier hearing it with a Russian accent.
Lawd love a duck! - A guy in my 5th grade class was a frequent user of this phrase (he actually said Lawd instead of Lord). Yes, 5th grade. He was an old man before his time.
My dad liked to use this one when one of us was blocking the television: "You make a better door than a window." My dad was also a fan of, "You're about as useful as a screen door on a submarine." OK, this is fun. One more. Dad also spouted this one out from time to time: "She's deader than a doornail." I never understood this saying either. First, what is a door nail? Second...do you think my dad had some strange obsession with doors?
Saturday mornings, growing up Gen X, were the best (and I've blogged about Gen X Saturdays more than once). We got up, fixed our Cheerios, and parked ourselves in front of the television to watch cartoons. Saturday morning cartoons were followed by the ABC Weekend Special (hosted by Willie Tyler and his ventriloquist puppet, Lester). I lived for those episodes in the early 80s, especially the spookier episodes.
Today's Five for Friday - 5 of my favorite ABC Weekend Special episodes (and a YouTube link, if I could one):
"The Haunted Mansion" - Original aired in 1983, in two parts (the great ones were always in 2 parts), and starred a very young Christian Slater. This was my favorite, and I'm sad I couldn't find it on YouTube. New girl in the neighborhood. Christian Slater's character tells her house was owned by a creepy old miser who disappeared. Secret room in house, searching for fortunes, etc.
"The Red Room Riddle" - Also airing in 1993, this story is the typical, if-you-want-to-be-part-of-the-cool-kids-club-you-must-prove-it fare, but it was (and still is, in my opinion) spooky. I like the graininess of these clips. Takes me back. Way back.
"The Haunting of Cassie Palmer" - This one wasn't actually a part of the official ABC Weekend Special series, but it aired in the early 80s, around the same time, over several Saturdays, so I'm including it in my list because I associate it with ABC Weekend Special. It was a British children's drama, consisting of 6 episodes, and I found them on YouTube! I've linked to the first episode. Cassie's mother was a psychic who has been accused of fraud. It turns out that Cassie may have the "gift" herself and conjures up a spirit in a graveyard. I won't spoil it! If you can get through the poor quality of the recordings, it's an eerie good time.
"The Gold Bug" - Part I and II aired in 1980. It is based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Gold-Bug," starring...Anthony Michael Hall. Secrets and buried treasure! What more could a Gen X kid want out of a Saturday afternoon?
"The Ghost of Thomas Kempe" - Originally aired in 1979. I would like to watch the entire episode again (this one aired in 2 parts also). Family moves into new house. Young boy encounters poltergeist. Creepy.
I found this "archive" of ABC Weekend Special episodes on YouTube. I haven't had time to look through all of them, but I most certainly will.
It has been 11 long years, but tomorrow, I will once again be a palindrome...I will be 44. Do I expect to see a herd of fluffy white unicorns in my front yard when I roll out of bed on my birthday? No, but that would be the best birthday present in the history of birthday presents. You know, I wasn't quite sure if more than one unicorn is referred to as unicorns or unicorn (like deer), so I googled it, and apparently, it is common knowledge (to all but moi) that a herd of unicorns is actually referred to as a "blessing." Good God, we never stop learning, do we?
I just spent 2 of the last 5 minutes reflecting on my last palindromic age: 33. I believe I expected it to be spectacular, simply because it was a palindrome, and I was disappointed that not one magical thing happened to me that year (that I can recall...I can tell you, no unicorns sang "Happy Birthday" to me). 33 turned out to be quite dull. When I was 22 I doubt I realized I had reached a palindromic age, and at 11, I couldn't have given you the definition of palindrome, so progress has been made.
So, what does 44 mean to me? Nothing really. I've matured enough to know this birthday will be devoid of all things mystical, and I won't see those unicorns grazing in the front yard (they would starve...no grass there now anyway). The skies will not be filled with rainbows, unless the circumstances are just right, and the odds are not worth considering. No, it will be just another birthday, but another day alive, another day to breathe, so I will be excited. Who knows, maybe Poseidon will bake me a unicorn-shaped birthday cake?
What have I done since reaching my last palindromic milestone? In a brainstorm fury, here is what I can come up with (though I cannot remember every bump, scrape, or pat on the back) in no real order (I mean, that is the point of brainstorming, right?), and forgive my punctuation, as that is never important when brainstorming--something else I've picked up in the last 11 years:
Went through 2 or 3 relationships, had some bad dates (remind me to tell you someday about the guy who wanted to be a cat and was having whiskers implanted in his cheeks, if I haven't already), had some good dates, decided singledom was the life for me, lost some weight, got back in shape, moved twice (2 different states), bought a house, started a blog, met Poseidon, got engaged, changed my mind about singledom, got married, changed jobs twice, lived through a recession (is it over?) joined Facebook, joined Polyvore, joined Pinterest, joined several other online time sucks that I can't remember now, sent approximately 10,000 emails to spam, had my gallbladder removed, made many new friends, grew apart from some old friends, lost my father to cancer, traveled to (some for work, some for pleasure): Brussels, London, Dominican Republic, Alaska, Oklahoma City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Seattle, Turks & Caicos, West Virginia, White Plains, NYC, Austin, San Antonio, Nashville, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, The Outer Banks, Atlanta, Newberry SC, Cedar Key, DC, Bahamas, Tampa, took up running, ran a few 5Ks, managed to not kill my two cats (still), took up sewing, attended countless concerts, took up biking again, attended some boxing classes, sporadic yoga practice, had only 1 cavity, had a couple of moles removed, more than 20 facials, neck surgery, probably bought more than 150 pairs of shoes, changed my hair color at least 4 times, did some house remodeling (nearly resulting in divorce...do not try to replace a toilet with your husband...call a flipping plumber, please), bought several cell phones including the smartphone I have now, changed my mind about PC's superiority over macs, decided there isn't any age I would revisit, made peace with myself, and most importantly, learned to relinquish some of my imagined control over the universe back to the universe...where it oh most certainly belongs. I'm exhausted.
I haven't done a Five for Friday in some time now!
Poseidon and I watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie" last night, and I now have a girl crush on Tippi Hedren. I've seen "The Birds" several times, but I paid little attention to how gorgeous she was, but in "Marnie," I paid attention, and she was lovely! So, for this long overdue Five for Friday post, my five girl crushes, in no particular order:
Because the management company of the complex where my office is located has been pumping bad, very bad, Christmas music out into the courtyard since Monday, I'm a little on the snarky side today. I wouldn't mind so much, because I'm feeling the Christmas spirit and all, but they are playing the same 3 damn songs over and over and over and over and over. The sound is making me want to seal Santa, all of his elves and everything else Christmas related into an escape-proof cell, in the jungle, with every jingle bell ever made (I would never do that of course, because I am a greedy one, and I still want my presents).
I have a smidgen of crankiness in me, but my will to get over it is strong, and I thank Friday for that. This week has been one of the longest weeks, ever, for no real reason other than I can't look at one more pretty process flow chart or troubleshoot one more XML file. I keep thinking if I stare at it long enough, the XML will rewrite itself. It is Christmastime (don't get annoyed that I'm using a big red font here) and magic stuff can happen, can't it? I just saw a unicorn outside.
OK, here we go:
I doubt 2 - 5 of this Five for Friday post will compare with this first one, but please read on or you will hurt my feelings. I found a blog post this morning that had my sides aching from the commentery on strange Christmas lyrics, and the post is better than that peanut butter I had for breakfast. I will give you a sample, but please--pretty?--read the full blog post so you can laugh so hard you get cramps (then you can go home for the day):
"And why is the couple planning this sham snow wedding saying to the parson, “Hey, man, you can do this wedding when you’re in town.” First of all, I think it’s just a tad disrespectful to refer to this snow pastor as “man”, second, “when he’s in town?” You just crafted him out of snow! He’s not going anywhere, you didn’t even give him legs. I’m pretty sure he can officiate your creepy snow wedding any time." - Buster Blonde from Persephone Magazine
If brash impiety makes you nervous or uncomfortable, then please look away from the magnet. Everyone else with a sense of humor? You are welcome. Poseidon bought this magnet for me a couple of years ago. The magnet hangs proudly, on our refrigerator, for all to see. This morning, while leaning on the countertop, trying to wake up, and blindly digging my spoon into my jar of peanut butter, I saw it and it made me laugh.
Seriously, each and everytime I see this magnet, I sniggle (snort and giggle at the same time). "So, where is my fucking pony?" By the by...I'm still waiting for that pony.
Christmas gits = gift wrapping, and gift wrapping is an art. I start out thinking, "Oh, this should be easy." But the finished product looks as though I studied every gift intently, broke them down completely, then reassembled them into something resembling little abominations marching off an assembly line of mass reproduced Cubist art.
Few truer words have been spoken, and this quote reminds me of a Christmas card my sister bought years ago (I blogged about this once before). The card had a happy shiny Christmas scene on the front, but the inside read, "Merry Christmas, but just remember at 12:01 am on December 26, it's back to F' You Charlie."
"Orphans, dead parents, lonely children at Christmas, morose spoken word recordings, everything you love about the holidays. Move the turkey over so you can fit your head in the oven." -- April Winchell