Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Here is A Start...

In a desperate attempt to do some GOOD, Mr. Bush is now attacking executive salaries, which are disgracefully unacceptable (see article, which also points out the economic failures of the President).

At least he acknowledged it.

My Thoughts on Corporate America...

First and foremost, it has become apparent one's First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech does not exist in the business world. I have a problem with this. I firmly believe it is my right to decide whether or not I am stupid enough to make comments or smart enough to keep my mouth shut, assuming I have something to say at all, regardless of the "business" stigma or my gender, without being judged and with the right to defend such behavior.

Secondly, The "Good Old Boy's Club" is getting exactly that: OLD. Welcome to the twenty first century Gentlemen. Whether you like it or not, you are the MINORITY on this lovely planet, which you share with the fairer gender. And on that note, negotiating business over a five course, four diamond meal is not difficult. Neither is striking a deal on a lush green golf course or in the safety of a board room with a free audience who shares similar goals. The most challenging negotiations requiring the most skill, diplomacy, and considerable resourcefulness take place outside the business world. How many businessmen have successfully negotiated with three children all under the ages of three? No corporate meeting will ever be as difficult as the "meetings" women tackle on a daily basis. While the bottom line of an ubiquitous company Americans probably do not need might seem meaningful, forming the character of another human being is far more significant than anything that happens in Corporate America. Humble yourself gentlemen, you aren't that important. While you are lining the already corpulent pockets of share holders, friends, and fellow businessmen, someone is actually doing GOOD for humanity and the planet on which we live. I advise you to take the time to thank these people no matter who they are for you are indebted to them.

Thirdly, I understand walking the line between assistant and partner is difficult. However, you try walking the line between beauty, intelligence, and femininity in Corporate America. At least with the former all you must do is sell your soul to your employer by working as many hours and kissing as much ass as you possibly can. That does not work for the latter.

Fourthly, in Corporate America, there are these small issues of the glass ceiling and stereotypes, both of which are a result of Caucasian males who are afraid of "others" replacing them. I cannot think of another reason why two of the most blatantly obvious and ultimately stupid issues could exist in society today. My suggestion, once again, is for you to get over yourselves. After thousands of years, this gets old, too. Inferiority might help you grow a pair and/or gain some much needed character.

Lastly, an environment that squelches individuality, creativity, and ignores or negatively labels inherent and uncontrollable biological differences ultimately robs America of its core principles and morals. Why don't you take a minute from your over planned, over taxed, and detrimental behavior to see how your caustic actions are affecting this planet and humanity. When all of you are sitting back in your rockers at 90, should you have the good fortune of avoiding a heart-attack, untimely death, or accident, how do you think you will feel about the world you created or the impact you left or how your family discarded you in an assisted living home to be cared for by others?

I might be caught in the wheel of this arena at the moment, however, I do not plan to stay here very long. I hope to find success, defined on my own terms, in my own creative arena very soon.

P.S. The two degrees I earned from a prestigious university are no less valuable than the one you earned from a rather lesser known educational institution just because I happen to have breasts and fecundity. When one takes the time to earn such academic achievements, this usually implies she knows what she is doing and saying, thereby meriting the same respect you so vehemently demand.

I highly recommend you all read Kurt Vonnegut's new novel "A Man Without A Country". It's fantastic. (I'll comment on the book at a later date, I want to reread it before I express my thoughts.)

Disclaimer: Obviously this does not pertain to Steve Jobs or to other facets of Corporate America I actually like. I reserve the right to decide on which those are determined based on my status as a free thinker, economist, female, hybrid capitalist, oh and my rights from the First Amendment.

While it might seem I'm being a tad sexist here, I am not. Most of the people, places, and things I love pertain to males, especially intellectually stimulating deceased ones, oh and my hero, my dad.

This would be a good time for you (as in vous) to check on your Karmic Bank account. (Just in case, God forbid, momentarily something happens to knock you back into reality or turns your world upside down and inside out.)


Miss Cupcake

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Finally Took the Plunge

Friday night, I attended a charity event for work, which quite possibly was the most awkward night I have EVER experienced. It was my first "grown up" event for work and I have to say the event itself was well done. The food was tasty, the speeches weren't too bad, and the band was excellent. I enjoyed most of the evening aside from one minor detail about which I'm dying to write but I'm going to rely on my better judgment and just tell you it was a typical Cupcake situation (and had nothing to do with my conclusions). After leaving the event, I came to the conclusions Jean, my coworker, is one of the coolest girls I know, and that it's time for me to get a new wardrobe with appropriate shoes. I probably should wait to do this, but I've decided I cannot. At this point, I also did not regret or question the events to occur the following day.

Saturday, I drove an hour and a half to get my hair cut, grocery shop, buy stationery, and eat dinner. Earlier this week, I booked an appointment with my hairstylist, Brian, at his new salon to chop off my luscious espresso curls that cascaded ten inches down my back. Everyone told me not to do it. I'd been complaining about my hair since August at the very least. It was long, heavy, exasperating and the feel of it on my neck was beginning to give me the willies. I sat down in the modern shiny silver chair and pulled my hair out of a pony tail. Brian twisted it into one long spiral curl down my back. Then, he looked at me, back at my hair, then back at me and said, "Are you ready?" To which I took a deep, deep breath exhaling seconds later with a definitive "Yes." He snipped the giant curl at the nape of my neck and with that one fell swoop, it was all gone. The lady quickly came over to clean up the evidence. I told him he had creative license to do whatever he wanted. I sat back for 45 minutes while he worked his magic turning my sultry long luscious locks into a sassy, trés chic French cut settling delightfully around my chin. In total, it was about 13 inches gone. I've never had my hair this short before, but I'm ecstatic about the results. The response has been just as overwhelming. I could not be happier. I felt like a million light-hearted dollars leaving the salon. Once again, Brian has made me feel spectacular. He's worth the trip and the money. I highly recommend him to all those ladies out there who need inspiration.

When I left the salon, I headed to Boylston Street to stock up on pretty writing paper at the Paper Source and to pillage the fantastic Trader Joe's . Every time I caught a glimpse of myself in a storefront window, I was shocked and happy. When I walk by a mirror, I freeze in a moment of panic, only to realize it's just the new me, thereby, prompting me to happily go on my merry way. After patronizing my favorite places, I headed to a nearby town to give Chipotle a try after reading all the raves about it in various blogs. It was awesome and well worth the detour. Of course, I could not just go in, order food, drink, eat and leave. I had to make some friends. I took a small breather to sip my corona when I noticed the woman standing next to my table was wearing a Villanova sweatshirt. I said hello and inquired if she was an alum. Turns out, her husband was. He rushed right over, introduced me to the whole fam and we chatted for a good fifteen minutes. Despite our age difference, we found common ground on the Wildcat Basketball court, oh and his wife was from the same area as I was. It's always an adventure and it's always a small world. I finished my food, drank my beer, and waved bye.

You should see me now, a whole new cupcake! No regrets. Although, of course now I'm growing it out.

Chipotle is kind of like the In-and-Out of Mexican food. I HIGHLY recommend eating there. It was simple, hearty and delicious. I can't wait to go back.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"Too Little, Too Late?"

In the safe wee hours of this morning, the question "Too Little, Too Late?" was posed to me. I've been thinking about it ever since I read it. I despise text messages because I think they are insincere, which means I try to avoid them at all costs. If I had an email address, I might write an email response, but I don't, and although I should call instead of writing here, I do not believe I should be the one to call considering my last two phone calls have gone unanswered. Oh, and my idea of "I'll talk to you later" is not 26 days (your rendez-vous with cupcake don't count). So Mr. Houdini, here's my response:

"Too little, too late?" ~ for what?

"Too Little" ~ Well, despite our very bizarre affair's brevity, the effort has always been too little.

"Too Late" ~ I'm not sure.

To be honest, I'm not exactly certain of what I think or how I feel about this. However, I do know this:

I'm not like most girls. I actually do not have a pressing need to know about your disappearance because frankly, I have too much experience with disappearing boy(s), which is why it doesn't phase me anymore. I have no fear of abandonment. I think I actually might have a fear of being surprised by someone who doesn't disappear. I require very little of the opposite sex: say what you mean and mean what you say, then do it. I also believe you already know the answer to your question and in that case, what do you think? How would you perceive the situation if you were in my shoes?

Despite your extremely odd and rather questionable and insidious behavior, I do like you. I would like to spend time with you. I would like to believe you are a good person. However, I don't want to play games here. Either you like me or you don't. Either you want to spend time with me or you don't; no matter how much or how little. So make a decision already. No matter what you decide, I'm a big girl, I can handle it. I just don't want to continue playing hide and seek anymore.

This probably should have been an official snail mail letter (my usual method of communication for important topics), and it definitely is a little too public for cupcake, but I felt compelled because I'm much better with words than I am with talk. Anyway, that is my two cents. My cards are now on the table.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put on my party dress for this evening's festivities.

~ Miss Cupcake

He's the Cutest boy Ever:

Alé at 9 months. Kate & David, he's so cute I can't even take it! Oh my gosh, I can't wait to hug him!

"Memories of My Melancholy Whores"

"On the eve of his ninetieth birthday a bachelor decides to give himself a wild night of love with a virgin. As is his habit–he has purchased hundreds of women–he asks a madam for her assistance. The fourteen-year-old girl who is procured for him is enchanting, but exhausted as she is from caring for siblings and her job sewing buttons, she can do little but sleep. Yet with this sleeping beauty at his side, it is he who awakens to a romance he has never known.

Tender, knowing, and slyly comic, Memories of My Melancholy Whores is an exquisite addition to the master’s work." ~ Random House

This is a case of not judging a book by it's title. I might not have considered the novel if it weren't for the author. The book is a very quick and easy read, despite the depth of the themes. Once again, I am reminded love is not two or three dimensional nor is it defined by marriage, sex, fairy tales, or the traditional twist or standard society has pinned on it. Love's complexity only makes sense to the individuals encompassed by the passion and emotion of their feelings and responses to each other. While reading this novel, I tried to keep all perceptions and ingrained notions I had detached from the open self who was curiously reading the work. The novel was odd, compelling, and even though you wanted to be repulsed by the thought of the main character and his actions, you are intrigued, if not sympathetic to his existence. I highly recommend reading Garcia's "Memories" if nothing more than to shake up your normal repertoire.

The one word I'd use to describe myself:

According to Webster Merriam: energy, pep, courage, determination, know-how, expertise

I'd like to add: a little sassy and sultry, yet sharp and unique.

I think it's my favorite word, although I'm a little uncertain of the actual soft drink. I'll drink it with my grandmother and Melina, otherwise, I might have to liquor it up.

If I had to design my own logos for MOXIE, they would be the following:

Either one of these would do really. (I know many of you would vote for 'curious'. Just go with me on this one.)

Which do you think?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just When I thought Things Could Not Get Creepier

I should have known it was going to be a strange week when I feel asleep with the light on Saturday night. I've never done that before ever. I watched a movie, read a book, then, apparently forgot to turn the light out before I dozed. Oh, there is also the Patriots loss, which inevitably is why I was terribly ill Monday and Tuesday. (Not to mention the reason I'm boycotting the Superbowl, and why I'm in a fight with them.) All of that followed by the incident Tuesday night is just the preamble to why I must now lock my doors.

Erin and I live in a quiet wealthy New England town. Our house is on the water juxtaposed two beaches and two four diamond resorts. The road we live on is quite busy and quite curvy, i.e. not really friendly to the walker. However, this does not stop the Jehovah's Witnesses from breaking into our house. Yup, they waltzed right in and deposited their literature right on top of our washer. I guess they didn't exactly break in because we don't lock our doors, until now that is. We've never locked our back door, which brings this question to my mind, why were the Jehovah's walking around out back? Don't they usually come to the front door? I'm nervous now. I thought our neighbors were a little strange, but they are nothing compared to the Witnesses. Plus, it's one thing to come home and find your sister has "borrowed" your desk and shirts, yet quite another to find religious pamphlets on your washer. I think now I can justify the disaster in the play room, which is probably why they didn't venture past the laundry room for fear they might die trying to get to the stairs. This saddens me. I'm a big fan of living in a community where you can leave your doors unlocked. Now, because of the Jehovah's Witnesses, I have to lock my doors.

What next, a curtain in the bathroom? And you thought I was paranoid before...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How we decided to hire a cleaning lady and other miscellaneous happenings on my Sick Day

So yesterday, I spent the day home sick in bed. For as awful as I felt, I still had the energy to read three books, two cook books, and four magazines (I'll get to those later). I remained in my pjs all day and only left my bed three times in order to shower and eat until my roommate came home at 7:30 with the muchachos. At which time, I thought I might sleep better if I actually left my bedroom for a little bit so I joined them upstairs (consequently, this did not work). I knew the evening would be spectacular when Ryan (age 5) came yelling out of the bedroom proclaiming Emily (age 2) peed on the floor. This was a brand new development. I tried desperately to be stern and not to die laughing but I had to leave the room because I could not control myself. Erin busted out laughing but tried to remain as mommy stern as she could. Once the issue of using the bedroom as a bathroom was cleared up, dinner was served. Dinosaur chicken nuggets with a side of peas was the menu. Erin was chatting with Aunt Tracey as she oversaw the muchachos eat dinner. All was well until Emily projectile vomited her peas all over the table and kitchen floor. Luckily, I was in the living room when this happened. Ryan announced he could no longer eat his peas (understandably) and grabbed the phone to talk to his aunt while Erin cleaned up. Once everything was sorted out and put away, I jokingly said to Erin, "Maybe we should get a cleaning lady. Hahaha!" I was in no way being serious. However, Erin thought this was a brilliant idea and that is how we came to get a cleaning lady. I feel a little silly even considering a cleaning lady for our rather small house. I can just hear it now, "Two able bodied girls can't keep their house clean? They have to hire a cleaning lady?!?!"

After the muchachos were settled into bed, Erin and I sat in the living room in front of the enormous picture window to discuss the merits of hiring a housekeeper. I told her I kind of thought it was a little creepy. She had no qualms with having someone come in once or twice a month (I can think of a certain male who would support Erin's claim wholeheartedly. It's a shame he doesn't read this). Erin was playing mindsweeper on the brand new computer and I was sitting in the lovely leather chair reading a magazine. Erin's telephone rang mid-conversation. It was only Alex calling to tell us he just saw us when he drove by. He told Erin I was sitting in the chair in a red shirt with my hair in a ponytail while Erin was at the computer... Did I not just say something about creepy? I guess it never occurred to me that people would actually be looking into our living room window when they drive by at night...Erin assured me people do not look in our window when they drive by with the exception of Alex because he knows we are there and he's our friend. At this point, you can imagine how unconvinced I was. We continued to discuss getting a cleaning lady and settled on me doing research the following day.

Thanks to grammy with the birdies, we now had oreos and cheetos in the pantry (we NEVER have junk in the house). I grabbed a row of oreos from freezer and the Trader Joe's peanut butter from the fridge (no hydrogenated oils, which freak me out. No I'm not paranoid, just kind of weird). I sat in the little chair (meaning Ryan and Emily's recliner) next to Erin in the corner and out of the view of the window. I began to tell Erin about the book I just finished, "Memories of My Melancholy Whores" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, when Aunt "Theresa" came up. We were talking about why she never got married. Erin said it was the saddest thing she'd ever heard. Apparently, when everyone asked her why she never married (she was in her 90s and a virgin) she said, "No one ever asked me." I looked at Erin and said, "That will be me." Then I sadly looked into my jar of peanut butter and said, "It's just me and you buddy" while grabbing another oreo. Erin laughed so hard I thought she was going to choke on her oreos and tumble to the ground. It was hysterical. After that, I had all I could take for one evening so I retired to bed.

Please, if you are looking for entertainment, just drive by our house.

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Finding Neverland"

This weekend, I watched the movie, “Finding Neverland,” which according to its website, “is a tale of magic and fantasy inspired by the life of James Barrie, the real-life author of the children’s classic, ‘Peter Pan’. Set in London in 1904, the film is a fictional account of Barrie’s creative journey to bring Peter Pan to life, from his first inspiration of the story up until the play’s premiere at the Duke of York’s theater – a night that will change not only Barrie’s own life, but also the lives of everyone close to him.

Inspired by JM Barrie’s real life friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family, “Finding Neverland” is infused with the same themes that make Barrie’s play of, “Peter Pan” so resonant: the wonder of imagination, the nostalgia for childhood innocence, and the longing to believe in something more enchanted than everyday life.”

The exceptional cast of Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, and Julie Christie bring this tale to life on a personal level. I am quite certain the outstanding talent of Depp and Winslet speaks for itself. This powerful tale encompasses a plethora of life issues.

After watching the movie, I felt compelled to reflect on a few of the issues explored. The tale made me realize love is so much more than what we can express because “the heart sees things the mind knows nothing of.” Love is not two dimensional, nor is it three. It is not marriage, sex, family, perception, friends, or beauty. Nor is it tragic, comical, or moral. It is not about right or wrong, nor is it about societal standards. Love is so much more than our limited human vocabulary could ever portray.

Life is so much more than what we see. It is pirate ships, fairy tales, and playgrounds with turtles, dragons, and a dinosaur named Sammy. It’s not the tedium we have created for ourselves. The trite does not matter: our careers, money, pretension, insecurity, or our constant shallow search for bigger and better fulfillment in material objects. All of those pursuits are unimportant in the grand scheme of what happens in our lives. Humans often forget we are all in this together with the point being we’re here to make each other’s lives better and easier because, in the end, the only thing we take with us is our karmic bank account.

All too often, people are threatened by the rare individuals who “see” this. Why get in the way of someone else’s happiness? Why not find your own childish innocence in which to believe? Celebrate with others the privilege of existing on this planet.

Go watch the movie. Therein lies some inspiration to those open enough to “see” it.

Life, much like love, is not to be understood, but experienced wholeheartedly without abandon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Becoming a Wine Expert

For all of you interested in becoming a wine expert, "Food and Wine" published an article in their February issue on how to do so in 28 days. The article is also on their website. I recommend you buy the issue though, as it's easier to use. Happy learning and drinking!

Drink of the Week

As recommended in the February 2007 "Food and Wine" magazine: 2005 Banrock Station Riesling ($5) described as: "Fruity and balanced with a hint of lemon zest, this South Australian wine could very well be your new house white."

From the article: "Best Wines Under $10".

Recipe of the Week

Cajun Shrimp Pitas

1.5 lbs of Cajun shrimp
1 cup of brown rice
beans (any kind will do; I used kidney beans a.k.a. red ones)
1 jalapeño seeded and diced
diced green peppers
diced mushrooms

cayenne pepper
chili powder

Cook rice according to package (Uncle Ben's Instant whole grain brown rice is awesome). DO NOT REMOVE THE COVER UNTIL THE TIME IS UP. No need to check on it.

Heat corn and beans on the stove top, separately, until warm. Remove from heat, toss in some chili powder and cayenne pepper.

Heat skillet on medium, toss in shrimp, jalapeños, green peppers, mushrooms, onions. Cook until thoroughly heated and veggies are to desired tenderness. Add a little cayenne pepper.

Keep shrimp et al warm until the rice is done. Once finished, open up a pita, add some rice, beans & corn, then top with shrimp mixture. Add some salsa. YUM!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Shamelss and Stupid in Chicago

This is the worst story I've ever heard. What a God awful group of beastly pugnacious wretches!

My friend, Chris, just spent the weekend in Chicago visiting his friend, Jackie. He, she, and her friend, Jen, were out drinking on Friday night when they decided to catch a cab somewhere else. Upon getting into the cab, a fight ensued. Apparently, two unique groups of seven girls each (so fourteen total) decided to attack Jackie over the taxi. They attacked her broken arm, ripped out chunks of her hair, stomped in her sinuses, kicked her (with those heinous 4 inch boots), and bitch slapped her. Can someone please explain to me WHY FOURTEEN GIRLS WOULD BEAT UP ONE GIRL OVER A TAXI? I'm struggling to understand this. Meanwhile, some male bystanders were too busy making a video of the action to call the police. Luckily, Chris was able to rip the girls off of Jackie and get her to the ER. Now she needs reconstructive and plastic surgery, which means she's out of work for at least two months. While I'm baffled by most things, this event takes the cake. Seriously, did they think they were all going to fit in the cab? Instead of "beating the shit" out of the girls, Chris took the moral high ground by throwing the girls off and breaking their hands, which leads me to think of how awkward that is. What do you do, as a guy, when your female friend is getting attacked by a gang of girls? Honestly? What is the right thing to do? I agree with how Chris handled the situation and probably saved Jackie's life, but I'm not sure I would have thought it was horrible of him to punch the chimeras. What is wrong with people today? And the spineless punks who VIDEO-TAPPED the fight but didn't feel the urge to CALL THE POLICE! When was the last time you tried to get into a taxi only to be beaten up by a gang of girls so badly you might lose feeling in your cheek? And for what reason??? None. How terrible! I'm hoping the police catch each and every one of those pernicious asshole chicas. They are just lucky I wasn't there.

Good work Chris, and Get well soon, Jackie!

P.S. If anyone happens to have information or saw the video of the fight, please pass it onto the Chicago police.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ode to 2006

(from this fantastic blog I read.) Better late than never.

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Traveled to Europe, ate Sushi, said no, walked away, stayed friends with a boy who kissed me, started karate, started a blog, made decisions, and learned to cook well.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?
Yes, I only had one.

3. What countries did you visit?

4. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Gumption, otherwise known as MOXIE.

5. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 10, 2006, because I woke up in England.
June 30, 2006 because Meg was no longer my roommate

October 9, 2006, because I realized sitting in the rocking chair would never get me into the fort, no matter what I said or did.

October 31, 2006, because after 4.5 years, he was not who I thought he was.

November 4, 2006, because I realized I had everything a girl could need.

November 23, 2006, because my family is so wildly weird it’s entertaining.

December 31, 2006, because I learned boys can be punks.

All year long, because I have the best friends EVER.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My purple belt in Karate

7. What was your biggest failure?
Taking things personally

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Other than sparring bruises, none.

9. What was the best thing you bought?
Cinnamon chips

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Erin’s because she realized who she was and that he was not worthy.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

12. Where did most of your money go?
Some where in the ball park of $14,000 went to food and gas. No joke.

13. What song will always remind you of 2006?
“Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” ~ John Mayer

14. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) Happier or sadder? Much happier
b) Thinner or fatter? Much thinner
c) Richer or poorer? About the same

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Saving & traveling

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?

17. How did you spend Christmas?
Don’t even ask.

18. Did you fall in love in 2006?
No. (huge crush yes)

19. How many one-night stands?
Zero. That sounds like a bad DMB song, and they are icky.

20. What was your favorite TV program?
“The Biggest Loser” ~ I admire the people on that show. What courage they have.

21. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don’t hate anyone but I can say one person I never thought would ever fall from my graces, plummeted from his spot on my character tree. And I’m not a fan of a few others who probably know exactly who they are (I can see you reading this). Otherwise, I am a lover not a fighter.

22. What was the best book you read?
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” ~ Audrey Niffenegger

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Killers

24. What did you want and get?
Peace of Mind

25. What did you want and not get?
An Answer. Oh, and a return phone call. (unrelated)

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
“Casino Royale”

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Trying not to get arrested and old enough

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It was a pretty good year, so nothing really.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
According to the lovely Mr. D, “limited”.

30. What kept you sane?
Bethy, Meg, Laurie, Lindsay, Erin, Amanda, Tim, Matt et al. I truly have the bestest friends. Oh and "Law and Order: Criminal Intent"

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Diego Luna

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
The War in Iraq

33. Who did you miss?
Bethy, Kate, Peter, Kristin, Theresa, Johanna, Mariana, Dan, The Olsens, and shockingly, Dave.

34. Who is the best new person you met?
Matt, Lindsay & Andrew.

35. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2006.
Walk away when you have to. Don’t wait to do the things you want to; just dive right in. It won’t always be like this. Nothing is ever what you think it is. Don’t be scared. Take care of yourself. Take nothing personally. Just because it happened once before doesn’t mean it has to happen again. Live the life you’ve imagined for you only get one chance in life, so make the best of it. Never settle for a low “WOW” Factor. Lastly, There is time.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Pain throws your heart to the ground

Love turns the whole thing around

No it won't all go the way it should

But I know the heart of life is good” ~ John Mayer

If you could only pick one...

Which would it be?


Monday, January 15, 2007

Why I can't watch Television...

I discovered two things about myself this weekend: 1) I can be a huge brat. I never knew this about myself despite my mother and my ex-boyfriend, Peter, hinting so much to me. Although, I would never give either of them the satisfaction of admitting it to her or him. 2) Why I cannot watch television.

I do not have a television. I do not watch television (with the exception of Law & Order). I've never really liked it and until yesterday, I could not tell you why. It was one of those crazy weekends that ended with spending Sunday in a recliner ALL DAY LONG. Amanda, Allison and I did not leave our seats until the pizza came late in the afternoon. During that time, we watched three seasons of "Sex in the City." The episode where Carrie takes Natasha to the emergency room is when my realization occurred. Or maybe it was my cursing and yelling at the TV, but either way, I cannot watch modern media because I take it personally. What the hell was Carrie thinking? Seriously, I get angry. I know this is completely ridiculous and somewhat comical (ask Allison and Amanda. What good sports you guys are.) However, it's true. I cannot watch. The characters and stories enrage me, infiltrate my psyche, and completely invade my sense of peace and ideal about how the world should be. I get stressed out by the illogical behavior of the people on the screen, which I'm smart enough to know is staged to keep you watching, but I cannot help but fall prey to these very drug like tactics. It's compellingly evil. I've decided I'm going to stick to books and magazines. There is a reason I prefer to read. Books and magazines are so much easier to digest. (Although you wouldn't think so judging by the stacks of books and magazines in my bedroom.) I was able to read 10 magazines this weekend despite all my time in front of the tube. None of which made me curse, yell, or throw things. It became clearly evident by 7 p.m. last night that I should stick to print.

(P.S. These revelations were in no way related to each other. The first one had something to do with me shaving my legs at 1:30 in the morning.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Boys and Girls

For once in my life, I'd like to meet a man with integrity. I might even settle for a pair of balls...

Friday, January 12, 2007

K-A-R-M-A Catches Up with China...

I just read this article on world news:

"BEIJING - China will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years as a gender imbalance resulting from the country’s tough one-child policy becomes more pronounced, state media reported Friday."

Finally, the Communist female-hating country of China is getting a nice dose of reality. I say, It serves you right. Maybe you should have thought about that before killing all your baby girls.

Looks like female fecundity is of some importance after all...

(Really I do like China, as I am learning to speak Mandarin and plan to visit Shanghai at some point in the future. It's just that there are two genders for a reason, so quit messing with them already.)

Quotation of the Day...

"Where are all the good men dead?

In the heart or in the head."

~Debi Newberry, "Grosse Pointe Blank"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

TOP FIVE MOVIES ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL (strictly from the 90s)

Ok, I have an unabashed affinity for high school movies. I can't help it. While I don't enjoy movies or tv in general, I'll happily drop what I am doing to watch a cheesy movie about high school. Amanda and I came up with this list after many hours of research and much debating:

Honorable Mention: Never Been Kissed

5. Varsity Blues

4. Drive Me Crazy

3. 10 Things I hate about You

2. Clueless

1. She's All That

Drinking for State Troopers...

There is a woman in my karate class who is a state trooper. After class, she asked me and one of the other girls (there are only five of us total) if we were 21. We both answered yes, then inquired why, to which she responded by asking if we'd like to participate in a field sobriety test for the state troopers. The test was on a weekday afternoon, which meant they were having difficulty finding volunteers. All we'd have to do is show up, drink until they tell us to stop, eat, play games, watch movies, hang out with the other participants, partake in some tests, then leave. All of the food and drinks would be provided by the state. The only stipulation is to have a designated driver. Of course, Hillary and I said yes, I mean what are the chances something like this happens... How very random...Does anyone want to join us?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Three Stooges: Cupcake, Sunshine et Notre Père

Last night, I had the wonderful pleasure of having dinner with my sister and my father. An evening out with them is exceptionally rare, as my father seldomly leaves the house. Despite being in his forties, he sometimes acts as if he's in his sixties. His excuse for the surprise adventure stemmed from his winning a GPS in the state lottery (my father has tiny gambling problem he inherited from his grandmother) and his curiosity of my sister's residence. Previously, she lived in Florida, so her return to New England has prompted dad to worry out loud, after all, she's the baby (affectionately, I'm the half pint). We ate a lovely meal at Sunshine's place of employment and lingered for a bit since it was an occasion. We listened intently to notre père talk about work, his current investments (I picked), which inevitably would be our inheritance (jokingly he loves to tell us this), and the local happenings. When the check finally came, he whipped out his old wallet to pay the bill. I noticed he was in dire need of a replacement and commented on the one we bought him years ago. He said he actually had two brand new wallets still in the boxes, but he didn't use them because neither had a place for his pictures. Just as I did when I was a child, I gingerly picked up the worn leather contraption and fumbled through it. He always lets us play with his wallet. I was unable to pull the pictures out so he took the wallet back to extract a plastic fold from the deepest pocket. He held open the yellowed sheath to show us what mysterious treasures he had. The first photo was the best picture of my mother: She's wearing a teal and black polka dotted dress with matching greenish eyes and a glowing smile. I can still see the picture despite it being nowhere in sight. The next three pictures were of Sunshine. The fourth picture was of me, which was followed by a fifth picture of my sister. I vocalized my chagrin at only having one picture to my sister's four when my dad flipped the plastic over and a small fortune from a Chinese cookie fell out from behind my portrait. He smiled and said it was from our family dinner* at my college graduation. Then, he rotated the fortune over to show the numbers on the backside proclaiming proudly that they were his lucky lottery numbers. I humbly smiled and decided I could do without the other three photos. We finished up our conversation and made pleasantries with my sister's friends, after which the three of us gathered our things to head over to my sister's house.

Sunshine escorted us to her chateau where we settled on the bed and recliners in her room. Dad told us stories and we updated him on the recent events in our lives. We laughed and chatted for a while until notre père sadly declared it was time for him to leave. Walking out together, Sunshine and I made our usual secret language conversation, into which my father chimed using "the voice" that made us laugh hysterically in the drive way. He's the only person allowed to use our language and it's so funny when he does. I love it. We hugged and kissed bye and were very happy to hear dad say he'd come back again next Tuesday, only we'd go to the movies as well. Once again, we were little girls eagerly giggling at daddy's feet.

As I was walking to my car, my dad said, "Don't forget to buy a lottery ticket Friday."

I chuckled and retorted, "I'll try."

He responded, "I'll call to remind you."

I could not help but feel delightful and remorseful all at once as I drove away...

a la prochaine

*Margaret Quo's ~ probably the best gourmet Chinese food EVER.

My Best Friend Beth...


Have an awesome day!

(Not only is she having a birthday, but she's the coolest person I know. How many of your friends write for PhillyStyle AND send you copies with sticky notes highlighting the best articles? I love you, Bethy. You're the best. Happiest Birthday to you!)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"The Haj" - Leon Uris

After hearing of my interest in the Middle East, a coworker recommended I read the book "The Haj" by Leon Uris. The novel is a dense, dark book spanning almost 600 pages. This is the first novel I have not been able to breeze through for as long as I can remember, which is not a bad thing because I am fascinated by the complexity and depth of the characters, issues, and themes. "The Haj" is fiction, however, Mr. Uris spent years researching the topics and history of the people, the land, religion, politics, and culture. The story he weaves encompasses the nefarious and complicated relationship primarily between the Arabs and Jews, yet he also involves the interactions between the Arabs and other Arabs, the Christians, and the Bedouin Tribes. The author graciously and accurately describes the perplexing relationships of the people and the times. He explores how the World Wars affected the Middle East, especially Palestine. The influence of the French, British, and Germans during those times. Also, He examines the traditions of each society and how religion influences them by highlighting the differences in development of each, especially the Jewish settlements and the Arab villages. The roles of women in each society are also scrutinized throughout the story.

The amount of information one absorbs from reading the paragraphs from these pages is overwhelming, somewhat disturbing, yet paradoxically enlightening. Despite the daunting task of reading such an intense work, the reader is not flummoxed in any way. The characters clearly convey the societal happenings. Although I am only one-fifth into the book, I'm deeply moved by the powerful portrayal of the woman's role in the Arab Muslim world. The reader is left with the impression that women are merely present for their fecundity, cooking, and sex. Their only role is to serve men. It's astounding and quite disturbing. Uris also delves into the role of violence within Arab nations with the majority of which against eachother instead of the "outsiders". Through the characters, he analyzes how their religion keeps them repressed and economically challenged compared to how the collective, open and progressive ideals of the Jewish world provided the opposite results of prosperity and growth. From swamps, they build kibbutzim that turned the driest desert sand into vegetation. It truly is amazing. So far, the book is exasperating, yet intriguing. I am very excited to finish the rest. For those interested in the Middle East, Religion, the history of Palestine and the surrounding areas, as well as families surviving in that region during WWI and WWII, I highly recommend reading "The Haj". It's not for the faint of heart, but it provides excellent insight into a pugnacious and muddled world by which many westerners are perplexed.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bumper Stickers of the Less Intelligent...

On my way into work this morning, I was driving South on 95 behind a red minivan that showcased a bumper sticker reading: "Bush 2008". I could not help but shake my head. Clearly, this person does not read THE ECONOMIST, which graciously highlights the stupid temerity of our extremely inept leader. I wonder if he or she has schizophrenia, thereby refusing to face reality, thought it was a good idea. Despite my efforts in trying not to judge people, I think the driver of the minivan with the horrendous bumper sticker needs to pull his or her head out of the sand. Seriously, you've got to be kidding me. Talk about a nightmare...

P.S. I am all for Ms. Pelosi "tormenting the President." It's about time someone starts to clean up the mess.

Quotation of the Day

"Don't invent in people what is not there." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

It's Official, I can be Ninja Now...

On Saturday, I passed my purple belt test in Karate. This was the most difficult test I've taken, largely due to the fact that I was the second highest rank being tested, which meant, my favorite red-headed high schooler friend (the highest ranked at the test) and I got our butts kicked. I was hit in the head twice by the Sensei, which was awesome. He was teaching me to "block" (all of this was done in a very loving way). Also, FIVE was the minimum amount of strikes at once. The entire test was about two hours long and included the "circle of the dragon." That is where you get in the middle of a "gang" and they attack you. The Sensei decides how you are attacked, whether it be strikes, kicks, or grabs. I was fortunate enough to have five men grabbing me at my neck, arms, waist, etc, you get the point, fighting until I proved I could defend myself. It was exhausting yet delightful. This test was more important than the others because now, I can be a Ninja, i.e. I can wear a black gi. You can imagine my excitement (this has to help qualify me for being a Bond girl). Needless to say, I took a two hour nap on Saturday, and Sunday, I was barely able to move when I woke up, but it was worth it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Necessities for Ambiance

Yesterday, I stopped at the only Pier One Store in the state to pick up a Reed Diffuser. My old roommate, Meg, had one her mother sent her that I loved. I'm just now getting around to purchasing one for myself. I bought the cilantro citrus and the aqua. I cannot tell you how awesome my little corner smells. I placed the citrus cilantro in my office. I can't wait to get the aqua one in my bedroom. I HIGHLY recommend adding these subtle yet stimulating fragrances to your space. For someone (this girl) who is not a candle fan, the diffusers are a superior alternative. (I think they are better because they can be refilled and they don't cause fires. But I'm still keeping my fake candle.) A must purchase.

I also made two impulse buys. I bought two cd's: "Paris Train" and " 2 A.M." I know buying collections like this from random stores like William-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Pier One are a little risky because the music is unfamiliar, but I've found they are worth it. I bought the "Florence" cd from W-S last year and was not disappointed. Last night, I listened to the two I bought yesterday with my diffusers, and once again, was not disappointed. They were really cool, actually. I recommend them both. They add a little diversity and depth to your usual collection. There is nothing like some lovely scents and sublime tunes to enhance your surroundings.

Education for a longer life and good teeth for a better Social Class

Rummaging the Internet recently, I came across two very interesting findings. One is from the NY Times referencing longevity. Apparently, the more educated you are, the longer you'll LIVE according to recent studies by award winning Economists. Very intriguing study you should read. The second tidbit came from The former Secretary of Labor from the Clinton Administration, Robert Reich, proclaims there are three common indicators for class: "weight, teeth, and dialect" . There's slide show of his findings on the website for those interested.

Drink of the Week

The drink of the week comes to you by my super friend, Chris. He's decided to test out "The Vesper". Here are his thoughts on it:

"So I have sampled 'the Vesper'. It is not for the faint of heart. If you like gin, I think you might enjoy this drink, but be careful, there's a lot of alcohol in it.

A few things about the recipe-

3 Measures of Gin
1 Measure of Vodka
1/2 Measure of Kina Lillet (Lillet Blanc)
large thin slice of lemon peel for garnish

I would use a high-quality Gin--Bond names Gordon's but I do believe Tanqueray would vastly improve the drink's quality. I didn't find the quality of the vodka was of very large importance. It just seems to take on the flavor of the gin.

I found adding a little bit more lemon or lemon juice can kind of soften this drink up. I would also recommend cutting back on the gin and adding more Lillet.

Interestingly enough, Lillet is actually quite good by itself as an aperitif when served very chilled or over ice.

It's very much like a Martini, (a Gin Martini), but with a unique and interesting twist. Out of the 4 people who sampled this cocktail, 2 did not like it at all, and myself and the other found it interesting but recognized the strength and almost bitterness of the drink.

I would encourage you to try it. And if you don't like it, then you can at least enjoy the Lillet by itself."

I look forward to experimenting with this lovely cocktail. Thank you for your insight!

Za vashe zdorovye!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

From Rockstar to Old Lady in About Four Days...

Today is day four at the farmhouse. My life has swung a complete 180. I've gone from watching a group of 20-something males sing "You've Had a Bad Day" at the top of their lungs at two in the morning on a week night, to watching concerts downtown at very shady bars, to eating dinner out with large groups of friends at awesome restaurants, to drinking a bottle of Clicquot champagne by myself only to be put to bed in the middle of a temper tantrum, finally, to living alone with cats somewhere in the middle of nowhere New England where it's completely silent, dinner is nothing like it use to be, and bedtime is at 9 p.m. I've only seen the cats twice, which really is because I've bribed them with treats, otherwise, they are in hiding. I might freeze to death because I fear these people have the money to vacation because they don't use heat. I grew up in a house where the thermostat always read 72 degrees. If you touched it, my dad freaked out because "It's cold!" In addition to standard heat, there was a wood stove pumping good old fashion flames late into the evening. I do have the option to light a fire at this farmhouse, however, I fear it would be my luck I'd burn the place down because I forgot to do something. I've taken to wearing my favorite sweatshirt (with the hood up) over my flannel Nick & Nora sheep pjs I've had since my junior year of high school. I've discovered I enjoy the solitude very much, but I like the cool washing machine even more. It fascinates me, but then again, I'm easily entertained. I can let the sink fill up with dirty dishes without worrying if there will be enough glasses for others. I can hide the awful smelling plant in the bathroom. Speaking of bathrooms, I've traded toys in the shower for kitty litter on the washroom floor. I can't decide which I prefer. (Who puts the kitty litter in the bathroom?) On the flip side, I have a difficult time sleeping because, I'm embarrassed to admit, I'm afraid there are ghosts...I'm somewhat of a scaredy cat. Every time I hear a noise in the night, I open my eyes and ears wide to see if it's an animal, an intruder, or an apparition. Usually, I cozily pass out from exhaustion under eight layers of comforters and blankets. I'm also convinced someone has been in the garage but I can't be sure until I get home tonight and check to see if the shovel strategically placed in front of the door was moved. I'll keep you posted...

So far so good, I think.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

CIA Personality Quiz

What is your CIA Personality? I'm an "Innovative Pioneer". On THIS SITE you can take a quiz to find out what your personality is. There are only a few questions, however, I feel they are fairly accurate. It only takes a few minutes, go check it out.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"100 Tastes to Try in 2007"

Published a noteworthy article in their January issue. The article lists "100 Tastes to Try in 2007". It's also posted on their website with a bonus 15 for the motivated. A good majority of the items are worth the effort. Definitely check it out.

Work in Progress...

Last night, as I snuggled under eight layers of blankets (I'm completely serious. Old Farmhouses are FREEZING!), I could not help but think of a few things on which I'd like to work for the sparkling new year. I guess one good thing about January is the brand new fresh start full of limitless possibilities the month brings. For simplicity's sake, I've decided to focus on five things:

1) To take much better care of myself. I often neglect doing this, as I fear most do. I need to make myself a priority, especially my health. I don't even like the candy in the kitchen tin, and drinking three glasses of gin & juice in one sitting makes me feel like crap the next day, therefore, no point in torturing myself. I'm going to find a substitute for this behavior that is more beneficial to me. At the moment, I have no ideas, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.

2) To find a consequential career I actually enjoy. This is easier than I thought. Thanks to Bethy's dad, I think I know what I want to be when I grow up now. I just have to figure out how to get there...I'm sure I can figure this one out too.

3) To develop a meaningful relationship where I do not have to be the outer spoon. I don't like it. I've never liked it. I'm a girl. I'm very small. It's awkward and cold and there are many implications from being the big spoon I do not want to assume any more. So unless there are extenuating circumstances, I refuse to be the outer spoon from now on.

4) To buy my first investment property so Matty and I can start our business. I've been looking since April. I will purchase something that meets my standards THIS YEAR. I'm certain this can be accomplished as well.

5) To learn to cook excellent Chinese food. While I've contemplated taking a part-time job at a Chinese restaurant just to learn the fundamentals, I've decided a good cookbook might be a better option. It can't be that hard?? I figure the best way to do this is to make one meal a week. It might be helpful to get a cookbook first...I'll have to research my options before I dive right in.

Honorable Mention goes to becoming fluent in Spanish. I have a feeling this one will take care of itself. Maybe if I'm ambitious, I can get a jump on intermediate Chinese and Arabic. We shall see.

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~ Joseph Campbell

I think this might call for a notebook...

Monday, January 01, 2007

My thoughts on the month of January...

I feel a hermitage coming on...I don't know why, but the beginning of January always makes me want to curl up in a hole to contemplate my life. It makes me feel like a wounded animal who defensively seeks out the refuge of solitude in order to find some sense and solace. January is my least favorite month and with the exception of one day (happy early birthday Beth), I would skip in entirely if I could. I've often considered spending the month in the Greek Isles or the Maldives just to appease my dread and anticipation of the one bad thing that always happens in this awful month. For as long as I can remember, at least as far back as 1999, the most negative event of the year never misses an appearance in the first month of the year. I desperately try not to manifest whatever it is, but no matter how much I try to talk myself out of it, I just end up waiting for the mysterious plague to occur, and it does, without fail, before the pretty pink month of February gallops in to change the ambiance. Maybe that is why I suddenly feel the urge to become a hermit at the end of December. It probably does not help I've already had déjà vu TWICE this morning, and this week, my attempts at not taking things personally became very difficult. I've discovered if I practice enough, I can master three of the agreements easily, however, this fourth one is HARD. It also might have something to do with the recent magazine article I read, which included a lovely thought-provoking question for readers: "Are you living the life you want?" With minimal analysis (VERY RARE), the answer for me is no. Luckily, I can blame my inability to change on dopamine and try to Pavlov myself into new behavior. Although, I have my doubts about changing my opinion on being a recluse for the month of January. Ask me how I feel in a week when I return from my retreat at an old farmhouse where I'm house-sitting and cat-sitting. On second thought, this might be exactly what I need...

"May this year be as happy as you make it." ~ Anonymous

Win a Dream Home

Every January, HGTV hosts a contest for you to enter every day for almost six weeks to win a Brand New Home. My mom introduced me to this contest a couple of years ago and since then, I'm hooked. Each year, the house is in a different location and the prizes are excessively more grandiloquent. It is very entertaining. Check it out. Who knows, maybe you'll win a house.