Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ice, Ice Baby!

We woke up this morning to a coating of ice all over the trees, the deck, the roads and the announcement that schools were closed today. Victoria was thrilled, even though her class was supposed to have their holiday party today -- for which I had made fruit salad for 30 people last night!

It should have been a cozy day, except that our downstairs heater stopped working at some point yesterday and it was brisk, as my dad from Boston would say, downstairs. So I started the world's biggest fire in the fireplace, but all the heat went right up the chimney -- unless you were standing directly in front of the flames, pressed up against the screen. I felt like a pioneer woman -- must keep the fire going! -- AND like a 21st century techie as I had two computers going in the office, the coldest room in the house.

Late in the afternoon, I took a mini-break from work to vaccuum under the cabinets in the kitchen. I don't know why they called out to me to do that -- I was just stopping to make myself a cup of tea to clutch for warmth's sake so I could keep working from home today. (Hi Monty!) But I simply had to do that vaccuuming, right that minute.

Did I mention my downstairs heat wasn't working? So I was wearing a heavy-ish jacket-y coat as I switched on my Hoover, and a few minutes into my tiny little task, I thought, hmm, that's odd, suddenly I'm very warm. Wow, housework must really be good for you after all! Hey, wait a minute ... I'm REALLY warm. My heat had mysteriously come back on.

There's a whole saga about my heater. We moved into this new (new to us) house 18 months ago, and we've had at least 15 service calls on the heater. We have a home warranty, so that's a relief, but our heater has been out for days at a time, fixed, out the next day, runs for a month, mysteriously out again. One guy who fixed it, fixed it so well that it was 90 degrees downstairs and the heater wouldn't turn off. Turns out the former owner had paid someone to rig the heater so it would pass the home inspection. We had a few weeks last winter when no one could fix the darn thing for more than a day, then I smelled natural gas and called the gas company, and they fixed it for a while.

So last week, it mysteriously went out again. (Hmm, do heaters have horoscopes? Like, could I see a portent in the heavens or something so I could predict just when it wouldn't work so I can call ahead to the home warranty company??!! Actually there is a portent: our local weather guy says it will drop below 35. My heater stops!! Spooky!!) And we had our favorite home warranty-approved company come out and fix it. I'm on first-name terms with Ken, and Tracy who does the scheduling back at the office. Ken fixed it, and said we needed a computer part, which he installed on Monday. Wednesday -- no heat! I think my heater is cursed. Or maybe there's someone with a voodoo doll of my heater -- I can see him now, sticking pins in it during the weather forecast.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bah. Humbug.

I must be officially middle-aged. I was just in Old Navy, and not only did I think there were very few cute things for my daughter, but I was also put off by the lack of cashiers at the checkout. It is 2 weeks until Christmas, and they had 2 cashiers working.

During lunch hour.

When people who work try to get their shopping done.

One of the cashiers was moving like she was underwater and about to run out of air. Maybe she was just silently protesting the fact she had to wear an elf hat at work, but she didn't have to take it out on all of us. I was standing in line, waiting to buy three pairs of socks. I do think that Old Navy has really cute Christmas socks, and I had picked out a pair with gingerbread men on them and two more with snowflakes.

The other cashier was moving a little more quickly, so three people ahead of me in this line went over to that register. That put that cashier behind. Then a guy wearing his official Old Navy headset kept walking back and forth very officially between the two registers with a shirt on a hanger in his hands. Hmm. No elf hat here. He was careful not to make eye contact with any customers, and took his shirt over to an empty register.

Was he opening a new register to handle the overflow? Could it be? I'll never know. He spent 5-7 minutes trying to slide his official register card and get the register going, but never made it. After 15 minutes of waiting, as the line trebled, I tossed my socks on a nearby display and headed out of there. I used up my whole lunch for three pairs of socks I didn't even get to buy.
I did enjoy holding them. And I saved myself $15 bucks by not buying them, I guess.

When I got back to the office, I was relieved to find out it was not that I was middle-aged -- all my coworkers are hip, younger folks. They said they wouldn't have stayed either!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Good Enough to Eat!

Posted by PicasaMy local Harris Teeter had a limited supply of this great ice cream -- Tar Heels Sundae. It's vanilla ice cream with fudge brownies and little chocolate footballs filled with caramel! It was great! Not just because the ice cream was good, but also because I'm a Carolina alum who's trying to teach her 7-year-old daughter about Blue Heaven. I must tell you that there were NO Wolfpack, Duke or Wake Forest ice cream flavors. Just Carolina.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

meme meme meme me!

a meme n (mëm): is an idea that is shared and passed from blog to blog, like a question posted in one blog and answered in many other blogs.

Got a challenge from Two Peas to blog about 10 memories from my school years, so here goes.

1. Plaid uniform
From first through eighth grade, I attended Holy Spirit Catholic school in a hideous plaid uniform. We didn't have the nice blue and white plaid like so many Catholic schools. Our plaid was rusty red, dark green, brown, black and navy blue. There were so many stripes and criss-crosses of different sizes that you couldn't tell which was the background color. Was it the rusty red (which faded to an unusual shade of burnt orange after a solid years' wear!), the brown, the green? During the younger grades we wore the skirt with the two suspenders that criss-crossed in the back. By fourth grade, we were lucky enough to have drop waisted jumpers and even pants that we could wear under them. When we got to 6th grade, we had red vests and skirts that pleated from the waist. All years, a red tie (like the girl scouts used to wear) and a white shirt.

To this day, I can't wear plaid. Every year, there's some zippy tartan number that's the "must have" for the new fall season, and each year I think "This year it will be different!"
But then I try it on ... and it's just plaid. Yuck.

2. Shortest girl in the class
I was the shortest girl in the class from 1st through 5th grade. We lined up two-by-two from shortest boy to tallest boy, shortest girl to tallest girl. There was always an odd number of boys, so I had to HOLD HANDS with a boy when we walked in line to recess etc. In 6th grade, a new girl came to school. She was 1/4 inch shorter than me and instantly became my best friend. She's still my best friend almost 30 years later. But in 6th grade, when we finally WANTED to hold hands with a boy ... that's when they wouldn't let us anymore!

3. We are the Trojans!
So there I am, a cheerleader for my little Catholic school, yelling things like "We are the Trojans! The mighty, mighty Trojans! Everywhere we go-oh, people want to know-oh, who we are, so we tell them ... We are the Trojans!" etc. A Catholic school, with TROJANS as the mascot?!!! We were too naive to know about Trojans, and it's only funny in hindsight.

4. Prepositions
My 6th grade English teacher made us learn our prepositions in alphabetical order. I still know them. About, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at ...

5. My favorite books
I loved the Little House on the Prairie books, Louisa May Alcott, Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins, Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, and Judy Blume.

6. The Farrah
It was the height of fashion to have the Farrah Fawcett hairdo when I was in high school. Many could achieve it, and on rare good days, I could have those perfect little rolls of hair down the side of my face. We only did the sides, never the back. But usually the humidity of my beach community ruined my Farrah, especially because I did not understand the wonders of Rave hairspray at first. My hair did "feather" nicely, though, so all was not lost.

7. Mousse
Mousse was invented just in time for me to avoid hari kari due to my non-holding Farrah. The Farrah was over, but it was handy for big hair of the 80's.

8. The Preppy Look
Okay, I admit it. I had button-on bermuda bags, strawberry wrap skirts, and those little colored leather belts with the interchangeable goldtone buckles. I think I had a train, ladybugs and something else. I wore brightly colored polo shirts, baggy jeans and parachute pants. I stopped short of the add-a-bead necklace.

9. Journalism class
I loved being on the yearbook committee my junior year and also did a radio show for our school. It sparked a career for me and I'll always be grateful for the experience.

10. Cootie Catchers
We called them fortune tellers, but nowadays they call them cootie catchers. These go back to elementary school, not high school. But we used to love to make them out of paper to tell each other's fortunes, the more elaborate, the better. Do you remember how to fold, number and color them? You can click here for a website that will show you how. My daughter saw them on Nickelodeon the other day and I got big points for remembering how to make one so I could tell her fortune. She's saved it next to her bed, near her rock collection and CD's.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam ... SPAM!

I had no idea you could spam a blog. But it has happened to me. And heck, this isn't even a blog I've been particularly good at keeping up with. Life just had a way of interfering with that this summer.

How did a spammer find my tiny lil blog?!

Well, Mr. Spammer, I made some changes to foil you next time! If you'd like to post comments, all you folks out there who are NOT spammers, I truly welcome your thoughts. You'll just have to do that word verify thing.

Now I've got that whole Monty Python skit running through my head ...
"But I don't loike spam!"
"I love it. I'm having the spam spam egg spam spam spam and more spam, spam"

wink and a nudge, eh?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Scrapbooking ... or reading about scrapbooking

Is it the same thing or slightly different? In my new house, which has a dedicated scrapbook room, I have found I am not spending as much time scrapbooking. I haven't done any of my album for 2004, and am stuck on December 2003. Maybe it's the whole Christmas in July thing -- a little early.

At first I thought it was about the lack of entertainment. I was used to scrapbooking at my kitchen table with a clear shot at the TV and my new room didn't have cable, or a tv. I tried listening to music, which was a good thing, but missed my TV. After a yard sale, I had enough $$ to go to Target to buy a Polaroid TV which came with a DVD player. (I think it was kinda cute that I was buying a Polaroid television set for a scrapbook room -- get it??!!! Who knew Polaroid even made TV's?) So I played DVD's, and did some more scrappin'.

You know what was good for scrapping? Believe it or not, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It's 3 hours long, and it works whether you're listening to it or not. You know what's not good for scrapping? Love Actually. I always watch it instead of doing my albums.

I can't figure out what it is about that movie, but I love it. Actually. I can watch it over and over. In fact, after my 10th or so time seeing the whole thing or pieces of it, I found its fatal flaw. They edited one scene too early. I remember seeing it and thinking "how cute" and then when the song it references comes on, I thought, how odd, but I didn't realize that something was wrong until I really looked at the wardrobe. It's the scene with the movie "stand-ins" after their date. Only, what you don't realize until later, (or until I spoil this for you. Stop reading now if you don't want to know!) is that although you see the end of their date at this point, you see the beginning of their date about 10 minutes later when everyone's going in to see the kids' Christmas show at the school. And then her line "All I want for Christmas is you" makes perfect sense. This hasn't ruined it for me ... but now I revel in my keen-eyed perception.

Since I'm on the subject, I'll tell you about my other amazing blooper that I figured out all by my ownself in 10th grade. Subject: Raiders of the Lost Ark. When Harrison Ford is in the map room with his staff of Ra, it extends a foot above his head. Well, if you remember that the medallion had two sides, the old guy who translated it said the side the Nazi's didn't have said you had to take back one kadaah (unit of masurement) to honor the Hebrew god, and Indiana and Sallah said the staff would be six feet tall before he told them to take back 1 foot, then the staff would be five feet, wouldn't it? And with Harrison Ford being 6 feet tall, the staff would hit somewhere below his chin and the sun would not penetrate the crystal, and he would not know where the Ark of the Covenant was. But thanks to movie magic, the staff is proudly taller than good ole Harrison, the sun shown through, the crystal lit up, pointing a laserlike beam of light right smack dab onto that map and sure enough that's where they found the Ark. There are more bloopers in that movie (I saw it a bazillion times in 10th grade due to my major crush in Harrison Ford) but that's the big one for me.

Okay, so if I can remember all this stuff, why can't I remember that I like to scrapbook and I have a year or more's worth of pictures up there for me to get down in an album? Why did I read 3 or 4 scrapbook magazines this month? Why do I surf Two Peas, but don't do my albums? Maybe I need to make a to-do list and put scrapbooking on it!!

Oh, and my brother turned 38 today. Happy Birthday Ray!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Coke Zero ... My Hero!

I confess that I am a huge Coca-Cola fan. I used to drink close to 2 liters a day. Or three cans, which ever came first. I really try hard not to drink Pepsi, even though it was born in the Carolinas. At UNCW, I did a research paper on Coca-Cola advertising for an English class. I have Coca-Cola signs in my kitchen ... or I will when I hang them in my new house. They were up in my old house!
In 1985, I told two of my friends that the Cokes we'd been buying at Buffalo's on Wrightsville Road (I think that's the name of the street) tasted funny and just weren't the same. I wondered if the bottles had been washed properly. Two weeks later, New Coke came out with fanfare and when I tasted that one, I knew why the Cokes we'd been buying in refillable glass bottles (sigh, remember those?) tasted different. They'd been filled with New Coke. I hated New Coke, along with most of the free world.
A few years ago, I switched to Diet Coke thanks to Weight Watchers. An 12-ounce can of Coke is what, three points? I had to stop spending my points on Coke. Diet Coke is zero points, and I loved it when they added Vanilla, but my favorite is Diet Coke with Lime!!! Ah, rapture.
So imagine my surprise when I stopped at the Kangaroo mart on my way into work this morning and saw a bottle of Coke with a black cap. The label was kind of silverish. Was this a Diet Coke contest (sometimes they change the cap color for contests)? I pulled it out of the cooler. Coke Zero it said. Zero calories.
Well, zero calories is zero points, fer sure so I nabbed that Coke Zero and a Diet Coke with Splenda just in case I hated it. (For the record, I did try Coke2 and thought it was okay, but tasted kinda flat. And it was still 1 or 2 points. Diet Coke is zero and I'd gotten used to the taste, especially the lime.)
But I digress!!
I whipped off the cap and took a sip. Oh, honey! This stuff tastes a heckuva lot like good old Coca-Cola!! I mean it. It's not just some new version of Diet Coke. I mean the Diet Coke with Splenda tastes good, but it still tastes like Diet Coke. The Diet Coke with Lime is yummy, but it still tastes like Diet Coke, with a little splash of lime.
No, we're talking this tastes so much like my all-American friend in that red can, that curvy plastic bottle with the red cap and label, that if I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine that's what I was holding.
Now, if my husband (another Coke afficionado, thank heavens. Can you imagine what it would be like if I was Coke and he was Pepsi?) were to try it, he might be able to taste more of a difference then I can. NOT because my tastebuds aren't as sharp ... I thought I proved that with the New Coke story above ... but because he drinks the fully-sugared Coca-Cola Classic all day every day, and I have switched to unleaded -- Diet Coke.
How come I haven't heard anything about this??? Is Coke sneaking products onto store shelves these days thanks to the New Coke debacle? I mean, I have seen no DC with Splenda ads. I bumped into that product in a convenience store before it came to my Harris Teeter shelves. Now to have the miracle of Coke Zero just suddenly appear, why, it's as if I were Aladdin, rubbing the genie's lamp. Treasure beyond compare.
I'm so looking forward to my drive to work tomorrow morning. And yes, I will just have to make one teensy tiny stop on the way in. Lookout Kangaroo Mart ... here I come!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Saw this meme challenge on my favorite scrapbooking website Two Peas In A Bucket. I even remember seeing the layout in a magazine that inspired it. So what ten things do I wish I knew when I was in high school?

10. Jill Conner Brown, the Sweet Potato Queen said it best in her book SPQ Big Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner Something to the effect of: "If you are under 30 you are a precious darling thing and if we were you we'd take our clothes off and go running down the street" -- this is not an exact quote. I spent so much time in high school worrying about what size I was. If you showed me a picture of myself then, I'd think "what a cow!" but if you showed me that picture now, I'd shout "What a teeny petite thing I was!" Who knew perspective could work on your body image retroactively?

9. Buy the typewriter with the largest size type for college. (I can't remember, is it pica or elite?) Anyway, I had the smallest version. I suppose I thought I would cram more great thoughts on a page that way, but when you're writing papers by the page, big margins will take you only so far.

8. Combining a spiral perm and living at the beach makes you have blonde hair until the perm grows out. Then you have roots. Then you have to color the roots. And get another perm. I do love being a blonde today though. And strangely enough, I grew up to have curly hair. I think it was a Darwinian evolution, for which I am grateful.

7. Spray starch will make your polo shirt collar stay up. (I thought I just had low ears or something!)

6. Hairspray makes the Farrah work. Lots and lots of hairspray. Hairspray touchups throughout the day. It doesn't work with beach humidity, a curling iron, a spiral perm and NO hairspray.

5. Pleated pants made everyone look like they have a belly. I'd like to thank Trinny and Susanne of BBC's What Not to Wear for making that perfectly clear, more than 2o years later.

4. No one looks good in that 80's shade of green eyeshadow.

3. It's okay to bend the rules, maybe even to break them.

2. Contact lenses don't hurt your eyes the way your dad (who had hard lenses in the 70's) said they would.

1. Well-behaved women rarely make history!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

This is me in high school, a teenage disk jockey at an AM radio station. Look -- turntables! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pizza Problem

I saw this on my local TV news last night, that an 86 year old woman in Charlotte, NC was arrested for abusing 911. She called more than 20 times in 38 minutes. You can read the story here.

Why is this national news?
I live near Charlotte, so I could understand why another nearby city might pick up the story and run with it. It's certainly unusual -- news of the weird. But come on, this woman is 86 years old. She may be suffering from the onset of senile dementia. She may just be an ornery old biddy. What she did was wrong, the police first warned her, then arrested her. But why do I need to see her mugshot on TV, hear it on the radio, and read it in the newspaper when there's so much other news out there?

Not one of the stories I heard or read added any cautionary language about why you shouldn't call 911 for a non-emergency. That's the natural follow-up to this story.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I also heard it wasn't this woman's first time abusing 911. I think her actions are regrettable, and I think she should face sanctions. I just don't want a story like this wasting news time in my area.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Teaching about blogging

You just can't believe how simple it is to update this blog. It's so simple, you'd think I'd do it every day, but I'm not there yet! Try blogging when your six, nearly seven-year-old is begging you to play ponies with her!

Friday, May 13, 2005

More about Blog Nashville

I just have to tell you that I thought the audio blogging and video blogging seminars really struck a chord. When I was a kid, my dad took Spanish lessons and had these conversation tapes on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The machine had a microphone and I was fascinated with it, so he and my mom bought some blank tapes and let me record. I took that microphone all over the house ... or as far as the cord would stretch, anyway. I was probably 4 and interviewed my brother who was 2, read books, sang songs, told jokes -- anything to record my voice on tape.

Ten years later, I'm recording stuff on cassettes with those blocky tape recorders that predated boom boxes, and a few years after that, I got my big break. I got to do my high school radio show when I was a junior. I did all the writing and recording on campus and put it together with help from WJNC-AM's Craig Thomas for air on the radio station before every football game. It was called Cardinal Soundspot (and we used this cool reverb on the intro so it sounded like this "Cardinal Sound-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot" ) I ended up becoming a DJ on Jacksonville's #1 AM radio station (I know, I know) and then moved over into television after college.

While I was at WJNC (I even served a stint as assistant news director) I used patch panels, reel to reel, cassettes and turntables to work with sound. My news director even figured out this ingenious way to change tapes for soundbites while we recorded audio packages. He pulled the cover off a Marantz recorder, so we could slip cued up cassette tapes in there. You had to practice until you could do it soundlessly. For those of you who remember cassettes, you remember what they sounded like going into the machine. They were noisy. Then you had to push all the buttons silently so there was no clicking. When you did it all live, it felt so good and seamless. I like CD's, but without a digital solution to editing, I felt kind of cut off from audio.

Sure, there was splicing available, but we had figured out a way to do all the editing electronically. Because of that, when I was in college at UNC working on Student Television, I picked up video editing in one session. I already understood about inpoints and outpoints, having done the same thing, crudely, with a few cassettes, carts and that Marantz. I loved editing video, and decided I would go into television news. So I did.

I left TV at the end of 2000, just when the station had started switching to the SX editing system. The system wasn't great, but watching the AVID editor doing it all on a computer was really amazing. Now that I've seen video blogging, I'm dying to get in there and create some video pieces on my computer. I'm not sure I have the right software, but that's not too hard to fix. What I don't have is lots of home movies or a digital camera. Did I mention my husband's a photojournalist (chief photographer no less)? We don't have any video or own a camcorder. Pretty amazing, huh?

So ... finally getting around to my point ... I thought the idea of audio blogging and podcasting was amazing. A way to create your own show that other people would listen to! (Beware of copyright laws!) And the same with video blogging -- creating your own packages or greetings for people to check out. It's like having your own broadcast station right inside your pc. And you can decide if you want to be in radio, television ... or both at once.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Allison and I are here at BlogNashville, getting ready for the second seminar. The first was about committing journalism, led by Staci Kramer. The group seemed to struggle for a definition of journalism, citing objectivity and transparency a lot. The chasm between the mainstream media and blogging seemed to be too wide to overcome until John Jay Hooker stood up and gave a rousing oration that basically said "You're a journalist if you want to be one." The notion of self-defined journalism resonated with me, since I decided at age 10 that I would become a journalist. I've never seen so many laptops in one room, ever!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Runaway Bride

I can't decide whether the fiance of the runaway bride is the world's coolest guy (next to my husband) or a total sucker. I admire him for standing by his fiance, giving her back the ring, and saying people make mistakes. How secure is he to stand by her? That is so awesome.

On the other hand, the fact that she apparently bought a bus ticket a week before her "disappearance", cut off her hair and waited days while it made national news before putting her family and fiance at ease, makes me think this could be a very troubled marriage. How can you live that down?

She'll be asking him to put the toilet seat down AGAIN, or to not throw his boxers on the bathroom floor and he'll come back with "Oh yeah? At least I didn't lie to the nation about my cold feet before our wedding!" She'll lose every time. Or maybe those little things won't matter to them, with this big thing hanging over their heads.

I did read an intriguing theory in Lorraine Ahern's column in the Greensboro News & Record. She blames the whole mess on the bride's mom. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Jumping in

Okay, I've been thinking about blogging for a few months now. I've been reading news about it for more than a year. I could study it some more ... or I could just dive in. splash! Here I am.