Friday, January 26, 2007

Angel Wings

We had a scare this past Tuesday, my nephew Justin was in an accident. He lost control of his Jeep on Parsons Road while he and his friendie were on their way to go sledding or something. Anyway, the Jeep rolled over, landing on it's soft-top roof. Justin ended up with a cut artery in his head and his little friendie ended up with some cuts on his hand & fingers which required a few stitches. The accident looked a lot worse than it turned out to be, with the trooper who arrived on the scene calling the ambulance and telling them to prepare for a "dead on scene" situation - guess there was blood everywhere and Justin and his friend had climbed out of the vehicle, but then Justin lost consciousness. Every time his heart beat, blood was squirting out of his head, lending a fatal look to the scene. It's rather miraculous, but both boys got stitched up and were sent home from the hospital the same night.

I was scared to death and had a minor breakdown when Melinda called me at work with the news, but I pulled it together long enough to drive home so Kenny could drive me out there. By the time we got home that evening I was exhausted from the sheer stress of it all - Melinda was holding up very well, considering. Luckily this story had a very happy ending and I think they must have landed with angel wings. That's my story. The boys, on the other hand, were cooking up their own story to make it even more dramatic - they were corroborating their story and how many times they were going to say the jeep rolled. They wanted to say 8, but Kenny wisely informed them that sounded slightly unbelievable, so they settled on 3 times.

I think one of the most shocking parts of the whole evening was seeing my little baby nephew with hair on his chest. I used to pack him around with me wherever I went when he was a baby - he was my little guy. He shouldn't have chest hair! He's still a baby!
Speaking of babies, here's a picture of Twinkle when he was just a small little fella.

Other than that little slice of drama, it was a rather quiet week. The Baldwin/Anderson Movie Reviewers took in Children of Men on Wednesday evening. We both really enjoyed it and would recommend it, but not for Geri - she would HATE it.

Thursday evening was my planned work soiree, which was my first attempt to pull the girls in my department together a little bit more and help the new folks feel like part of the greater team. The weather forecast was horrible, with "blinding squalls" and "biting winds" on the Dopplar. I sent a formal cancellation notice to the 11 people who accepted the night out, but by 5:00 it still wasn't bad outside so a handful of us decided to go out as planned. Six of us went to TGI Fridays and we had a really good time. Two newer girls I haven't had the chance to talk to joined me, my friends Kristen & Emily and my new team member Kristin Barclay. I was by far the oldest in the group, with no one else over the age of 26. They even have young names - Chelsey, the Kristens, Stefanie (with an f of course!) and Emily. I felt like Mrs. Garrett from the Facts of Life. Surprisingly, we didn't get one free drink all evening. I'm going to have to teach the "kids" how to work it, I guess - that many hotties at one table, we shouldn't even be opening our purses!
On Tuesday I dragged Kristen & Emily to our first Toastmasters meeting at work. I decided that morning to sign up us, I need speaking/presentation skills on my resume. Kristen has so much public speaking anxiety, she will literally throw up before having to speak. Which is surprising because she doesn't have a bit of trouble gabbing with me all day! I told her that I refuse to allow that from her, she's 25 with the world at her feet and I'm not going to let some fear prevent her from being the best that she can. Emily decided to come for fun, so the three of us were surprise guests. We're officially joining next week and I even talked our department into paying our membership dues for us. So we'll be official Toastmasters! Now lets see if we can ever grow up enough to stop laughing at one of the other member's names, Susan Cox. We had a ball with that one (get it...a ball....with Cox...tee hee!!).
Wow, I guess the week was more interesting than I thought - joining groups, car accidents, movies, drinks with girls. No wonder I'm tired by the end of the week.

I hung out at home tonight and watched a tivo'd recording of North Country with Charlize Theron. It was excellent and I recommend it if you get the chance to see it. Kenny's running Karaoke at Blue Moose, he has his friend Pete going with him so I didn't feel obligated to go and keep him company. I was happy, I've been out enough this week already.

February's almost upon us with Groundhog Day coming up - can't wait to hear what Punxatawny has to reveal

Peace out and stay safe - hope you all have your own angel wings when you need to land softly!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

2007 Gaming Adventures

The Bowens, Vargos, Kenny and I flew to Atlantic City last weekend. We got a great deal from Personal Travel Corporation, $250 included two nights at Harrah's, airfare and all transfers. They took your luggage from the shuttle bus to the room for you, and picked it up out of the room at noon on the day of checkout. It was a very smooth trip, not one glitch to speak of.....other than my luck at the gaming machines, of course. It seems that 2007 is going to continue the gambling trend for me, which is taking all my money, spanking me and sending me home.

Happily, Kenny had much better luck than I; he won $1,200 within the first thirty minutes of our arrival. He was very excited to find his favorite new slot machines were there, the World Series of Poker machines. They are super-fun, they're regular video poker with a Texas Hold 'Em bonus game that takes you into a simulated contest against other players. So he was a big winner right off the bat - too bad he isn't as good at the "saving your winnings" part of gambling. I would be good at that if I ever had the opportunity! Anyway, the two days had quite a few mini-jackpots for Kenny, and at one point he even won $1001 twice on the same machine, which was the best way to do it because both times were under the limit for paying taxes. He did have to fill out the tax form on his $1200 win, and he doesn't believe in the theory of write-offs so we'll see if he actually collects his losing lottery tickets for the next year to apply against his winnings. I'm going to bet no. I think that's one gamble I would win.

The Bowens & Vargos had on & off again luck, but on Sunday night Rusty found a three-card poker table and settled in for what turned into quite a lengthy ride. Geri had gone to bed and Rusty had text-messaged me, but I was already done for the night as well. So he played alone, and rocked out at that table. He couldn't lose, and was still there at 8:30 the following morning when Geri stumbled down to find her husband. He was still at the same table, playing two hands at once and apparently treating the cocktail lady exceptionally well - she brought him a cheese & cracker plate! I've never been served food snacks at the card tables - Rusty got snacks! It was so fun because that was just above & beyond ordinary service. I actually had the opposite problem at Harrah's and could not get a cocktail lady to wait on me. I asked for a soda at one point and was told "no, she's not in my area." I had to have Kenny get my drinks for me and bring them over to me. And I was gambling - and I would have tipped well!

While on our mini-trip, Dave Vargo mentioned to me that he had started to write a book, about four guys who take a trip to Las Vegas. He said he got the first few pages done, which are actually the hardest in my opinion. I hope he finishes it - Dave, just do it! If you want to be a writer, write. That's the advice I recently read. Now I have to practice what I read myself. I've got my book bottled up inside me and Rob has made a bet that by the end of this year I will be no further along than I am now. I hope he's not right.

Last night Kenny and I went and killed the evening at our fun little gaming places in Akron. We came out ahead, me by $100 (which I'll be adding to my trip pooch) and Kenny ahead about $230. He plays much harder than me so his winnings are always bigger. I was very excited, though, because I got a full-screen of pink diamonds on my favorite Queen Bee machine - it's the 2nd largest jackpot you can win! It actually looks more impressive than it really is, but I was thrilled and it was the end of the night so I took those winnings home with me. The Smoke Free Ohio apparently hasn't taken effect there yet because I smelled to high-heaven when we got home and jumped in the shower before I even kissed a cat - they would have stunk like smoke had I touched them. Ah well. What's a little lung cancer compared to the thrill of all pink diamonds on the Queen Bee?!

I'm getting closer to my resolutions for 2007. I've got some of them narrowed down so far. I think I'm struggling because I'm now 40 and feel the need to figure out what I truely want in life. Not that what I've got is bad now, but I need to figure out where I want to go on a personal level and make it happen. First and foremost is getting healthy. Kenny and I actually took the step and went and checked out Omni Gym in Parma yesterday. They have quite a bit to offer, and you can pay on a monthly basis, which is perfect for us right now. I felt a little uncomfortable there and it would definately be stepping out of my comfort zone to join that particular gym. I'm used to ladies only, with a bunch of overweight white women huffing & puffing along. This is co-ed, and much more utilitarian feeling than the pretty gyms with flowers & candles that I'm used to. The Omni is, however, mostly older men and once Kenny pointed that out to me I was better with it. They have a big pool there, which would be good for my crazy back - which, I must mention, is now doing something even crazier and and making my right arm feel like it's falling asleep. That's all I need, to have a still-numb left arm, a bad lower back and now lose the feeling in my right arm. How the hell did all this happen? So that's that. I'm going to wait and see if I become paralyzed one limb at a time.

We had movie night this past Thursday and went to see The Good Shepherd. Wow. I asked Kenny if we could get a refund after the first 40 minutes. I want my 2 hours and 39 minutes back. Not to mention my $8. Frannie had seen it and recommended it, and I'm really surprised she could even follow this movie, much less give it a thumbs up. I think she must have actually seen Blood Diamonds or something and thought she was seeing The Good Shepherd - that's the only explanation I have for her saying this was a good movie. Throughout the movie Kenny was asking me "what's happening" or "who's that" and my reply was the same throughout - I have no idea. More importantly, the movie was so bad I didn't even care who was who or what they were doing. Baldwin & Anderson give it two big thumbs down - WAY DOWN.

Work was work this week. I took the initiative on Friday and sent out a dinner/drink invite for all the marketing analysts & program administrators in my department. The whole area is so "clickish" and it frustrates me to watch the new people not get accepeted on a personal level. I really couldn't care less for myself, I've said before and I very much mean it, I know enough people. But I want these new people to find their feet in the company and make friends. I know that my friends at work are one of the reasons I love going there - if I didn't have my group of peeps I would be so unhappy. So far I've received a pretty good response for next Thursday.
I've taken this one step farther and sent an email to our Product Managers asking if we can get permission to leave early one day in February so I can organize an afternoon of bowling - without bosses. I think we need a social activity, even though I can't play myself because of my arm/back. I'll tell you what summed up the department mindset: I included our department secretary on my dinner invite and she emailed me back with the message "how fun! are you sure you meant to include me??" I told her of course I did, the people need to know she's more than just the keeper of the post-it-notes. She gets excluded from all our department stuff and I hate that. She's very nice with a really good sense of humor - and people need to know that. I guess I should have been a cruise director.

Kenny's computer died on him this week so we're sharing my laptop until they either repair it or declare it dead. It's hard because he's sitting around looking at me as I blog. I told him to go and read a magazine or something. Moments ago he asked me if I'd like him to whip up something for breakfast. I said sure, and he's now in the process of whipping up breakfast at Pappou's for us. He's showering, that's his prep work. So I need to go and throw my hair in a ponytail and get dressed so we can head out for his version of home cookin'.

Peace out & stay warm - winter's finally arrived!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jack's Back!

Holy Hot, Jack's back - and looking better than ever! Four action-packed hours started this past Sunday and even though we were on a long weekend trip to Atlantic City, the Bowens, Kenny & I took a time-out for some Jack Action Sunday night. He didn't disappoint. Those who don't watch are missing the best show on network television. We were on the edge of our seat. I was so hyped up after the first two hours that I tried to do a karate kick to show how I would fend off a terrorist (of course, my first plan of attack would be to bite the ol' jugular, ala Bauer). Anyway, I apparently forgot who I am for a moment and as I raised my leg into high-kick position, I lost my balance and fell into my suitcase. Agile like a cat, that's me!
Peace out - Atlantic City update to come later. It's a big t.v. week for me - yes, I know I should do something more productive with my time but I LIKE t.v. - so Rob, suck it.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

January Returns!

I made the first returns for 2007:

  • a purplish microfiber/suede track suit (what the hell was I thinking??), it clung to every dip and dimple on my body

  • a Superman DVD set (Kenny wanted the new 14 disc set with never-before-seen footage, this was just the 4 disc set)

  • a little shelf for the kitchen that was missing some parts

Tina, Timmy and Kenny went to HH Gregg this morning because Tina purchased a new 32" t.v. which was supposed to be delivered yesterday and it is out of stock. The written policy of HH Gregg is "if it's out of stock you get a free upgrade to the next-best t.v. in stock." So they went to get her free upgraded model. They didn't take me with them, which was their first mistake. The manager of the store told them that while that may be their policy, they weren't going to honor it on this particular television. Something about it was an error and they were way oversold so a directive came down not to honor their policy. So they came away with nothing but a business card for the home office and some ideas about contacting Channel 8, etc. Shoulda took me. I returned a consumed rotisserie chicken with success - got my $5.99 refunded. I would have created a HUGE stink right in the middle of that store until they honored their policy. This isn't the first bad story I've heard about HH Gregg - it won't be on my shopping list going forward. Not that I ever bought anything from there anyway, but this just reinforces my decision. I never did like that store.

Kenny's still in the pit of betrayal. His ousting from The Nitelites is his divorce. Unlike me, he is not a naturally positive thinker and tends for the overdrama of giving up on life. I told him today that I was done with trying to give motivating ideas and suggestions as everything I mentioned was shot down in a flash. He thanked me for not even "letting the body get cold" before I gave up. I guess I do tend to run out of patience rather quickly...Fsteve accused me of the same thing on a few occassions. But I just don't tend to wallow...that doesn't mean I get over things quickly at all, but I turn to positive activities rather than allowing too many pajama days. When I was sad, I worked out in my basement, painted my entire house, and planted flower bulbs because I knew that by springtime things would be different and planting the bulbs was my way of telling myself that I would also be different and ready to see new life. I was planting hope. That's how I handle adversity. Oh, I stomp around and cry (for days, as Geri and Jill know) - but I bounce back and never say ridiculous things like "my life is over" or "I'd be better off dead". That's crazy talk and, good or bad, I value every day. Kenny leans towards the fatal and that overdrama is a struggle for me to deal with....but I'm trying. Betrayal runs so deep, it is hard to imagine ever feeling right again. Maybe you never really do, maybe it does change the fabric of your being. But you only get one chance here (unless you're a Buddist, then you believe in never-ending lives), so you might as well make the most of it.

I'm still working on my New Year's Resolutions. I haven't gotten my 2006 Inventory List completed yet, so I guess procrastination is still ruling my world. I am not just going to make a few resolutions, but am actually going to list out an action plan for each. "Eating better" doesn't really mean anything, unless you define what that means. My main goal is to be healthy, and again, that needs a definition. My back feels really good right at the moment - I know it's still not "right" but it's not dominating my thoughts. I want to start my Pilates DVD, but I'm holding off until Hot Dr. Golsch gives me the go-ahead. I was supposed to see him this morning at 9:00 a.m., and I realized that no amount of back pain gets me out of bed that early on a Saturday. That was just crazy for me even to pretend I could do that! I slept til 10:22 a.m. Then napped again in the early afternoon with the cats. It was a very restful day.

Jill has made an ambitious attempt to quit smoking. I hope she's able to accomplish it this time around. She's paused before...but hasn't made it to a full-fledge stop. I can't imagine the strength it takes to beat that addiction, but the only way to do it is the hard way - stopping. She might as well give it up since the new smoking laws passed - she's forced to change her habits so she might as well go all the way with it. Good luck, Jill! And remember, if you don't have a perfect day, try again tomorrow.

I'm very excited that it's been raining and I finally used my stylish Coach umbrella. I am nervous that I am going to leave it somewhere so I'm careful about bringing it out - if it's a light drizzle I won't take it with me. I think that's counterproductive to the function of the umbrella, but I've never had such a cute umbrella before! Geri got a compliment on hers the first time she used it.
I believe I've fallen a little in love with Jessica Alba, after seeing her pictures posted on The Superficial. Man, she is smokin' hot! I've posted her picture from People magazine on my fridge so I can use it as inspiration for my new 2007 body I'm hoping to get. I know that's a healthy aspiration, to use a 20-something movie star as my role model for my 40-something-year-old self.

That's as good as it gets from here this week.
Peace out & stay safe!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

2007 Sucker Punch

Wow. We received a phone call this morning from Kenny's "friend" Johnny from his Doo Wop group that they were kicking him out of the group he started. Guess they had a meeting six weeks ago and decided he was holding them back from greatness. He started the group. They were his friends. And they all had the audacity to act as if nothing was wrong for the past six weeks, while they performed on New Year's Eve. The two other guys in the group were the real hold up, in my opinion - they have small kids and jobs that conflicted with singing opportunities.
None of them are so great they are on the verge of being discovered - they got together to sing because they all enjoyed it and they liked hanging out together. It's a cutthroat world out there. People suck. If you have two good friends in this world you're lucky - I mean true, there-for-you-no-matter-what friends. The longer I live the more jaded I'm becoming. He just lost four friends and my heart is breaking for him.