Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Russian Secret Agent

Obviously, I am slightly obsessed with Alexander Litvinenko's story. I saw the special on Dateline Sunday night. I've always wanted to be a spy, a Jane Bond, a secret agent, intelligence broker, Charlie's Angel kind of girl. ANYTHING along those lines makes me so excited I could cry. I would and could happily give up my mundane life to hide in the shadows and play the game of international espionage. I've even considered a career in the CIA, FBI, or any intelligence Bureau that actually would have me. All of this fascinates me. Now would anything like this really happen? Probably not unless someone from the one of the fore mentioned Bureaus reads this and decides Cupcake is just what they are looking for...(If someone really is reading this and considering enlisting me, I promise to keep it semi quiet, yet I can't promise I won't blog about it).

Kristin and I were discussing a few things I'd have to change in order to do this. First of all, I'd have to give up alcohol because I'd be too worried of losing control or being seduced by an uncanny male agent. Second, I probably would not eat or drink anything in public places or restaurants. After all, that is how Mr. Litvinenko was poisoned with radio active chemicals. I might perpetually be worried and skeptical of everyone and anything, but that isn't anything new, as I already am. It would just be on an entirely new level. I would have to make sure I'm really a Ninja, as in go to China to train. I fear my purple soon to be blue belt isn't quite enough. Oh and it would help if I had the "balls" to really do something like this. I believe this line of work takes "pull up your skirt" to an entirely new level.

While it is easy for me to indulge in my little fantasy of being a cool spy, it is a grave matter. Secret Agent Alexander was poisoned with RADIO ACTIVE CHEMICALS worth more than $2,000,000.00. That is some serious business. I have to wonder, what could he possibly have known or done to warrant such a gruesome death? Is there anything in this world that merits such destructive and hostile actions? I'm intrigued and saddened.

Since watching the story, I've researched Polonium-210. It was discovered by Marie Curie, an amazing scientist and woman, and named after her native country of Poland. The substance is state controlled and exceptionally rare. Polonium is a million more times more deadly than cyanide. He lived 22 DAYS with the poison attacking his system. TWENTY-TWO DAYS.

It all makes me wonder what really happens behind the scenes in governments and secret agencies..

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Pursuit of Chap Stick...

Chap stick. It all started with a mad search for a purple tube of chap stick. In a desperate attempt to moisturize her lips, she rushed to the nearest pharmacy to find her favorite tube. She patiently perused the aisles in an attempt to fill her urgent need. She walked calmly and slowly around the store until she bumped into a very attractive male in uniform. He flashed a lovely and charismatic smile at her while removing his hat and inquired if she was OK.

"You look flustered..do you need some help?" he asked.

"No, I think I'm fine but thank you. It's just that I have this favorite chap stick for which I'm trying to find a replacement. I don't know where they keep the stuff in this place." She replied while looking around inquisitively.

He responded, "I'd be happy to look with you."

"Oh, that is nice of you, but I'm sure I can find it. Besides, I don't want to bother you. Have a good day!" She answered and wondered off to fulfill her pursuit.

After a few minutes of intense searching, she finally discovered the display behind the counter where she could purchase the right brand, however, not the correct flavor. She discontentedly began sorting through the other varieties in an attempt to appease her needs. She analyzed each and every tube until she was able to decide which would adequately meet her short term desire.
She paid for her chap stick and left the store. Upon departure, she ran into Mr. Smiles again.

"I've decided I will not take no for an answer. Come for a walk at the academy with me." He touched her elbow to guide her in his direction.

Slightly baffled and astonished, she followed without reason. They walked over to the Coast Guard Academy football field where they sat on a picnic table to watch the game.

Long after the football game was over, dusk fell on the field, which brought a conclusion to their mingling. Mr. Smiles stood up and said to her, "You do realize I am going to marry you."

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP

This is the point at which I woke up. My roommate now believes I should start
hanging out in pharmacies. I, on the other hand, am just glad it wasn't another nightmare where I wake up ripping the ring off my finger because once again I married the wrong person. However, I find my pursuit of chap stick concerning. Is there a reason our dreams are so freaking weird? I mean I was just saying to "THE TRIANGLE" I was perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life eating Amy's chili and hanging out with my friends... Nothing like a creepy dream to keep you out of the local CVS.

The Night "TRIANGLE" was born...

Saturday night, some time between the time the bottle of champagne was imbibed and the shots were taken, "Triangle" was born. I'm not sure if it was our ridiculously fabulous 80s get-up or the fact Allison kept giving out our hotel room number, but I believe it was made up to get all of us to focus on our groove amidst the crowd on the light up dance floor at Bubba's. Amanda, Allie, and I made friends with the keyboard player of our favorite 80s cover band (it helps that I work with his brother) and danced the night away before encountering shady males while trying to catch a cab back to the Hilton. Of course, Ken did not make it to Bill's for pizza (Whit, he was probably gay), but we still managed to have fun. At least we did not wake up in the middle of the night to find astrology boy or hairspray man knocking at our door. Although, someone did stop me in the elevator to ask me if I was "working late". I still am not sure if he was questioning whether or not I was a hooker so I'll just refrain from wearing hoop earrings, hot pink nail polish, and blue eye shadow on a daily basis. The evening was exceptionally tame for the crew involved. I didn't mind though, because we have "Triangle". Now if we could just keep the paparazzi from taking our pictures...

Oh and you are wondering why my nails are still hot pink...good question...

This is why you only can celebrate the 80s infrequently. You just never know what is going to happen.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Is this a joke?

This week has sucked, royally. I'm not usually a complainer but you've got to be kidding me. Seriously, is this a joke? I mean it was bad enough the landlord fondled my underwear, my bedroom was soggy, work is awful right now, and I almost hit an oak tree. My luck is topped off with my favorite wine glass being broken (this makes me very sad), our washing machine is now in a sad state of disrepair, which just heightens my fashion problems to a point where I want to move to a nudist colony, and then there is the issue with the car I didn't even want to buy (sorry Meg). It has been nothing but a headache.

After work yesterday, I eagerly headed over to the parking garage to get my car and to go to karate. I had not been in three days and was very excited to get there. I hopped into my car, turned the key, and....nothing. Nothing at all. I checked to see if I had left the lights on; I had not. I checked to see if all the fuel leaked out; it had not. The lights and horn worked, which is an indication it's not the battery. My heart sank. I returned to my office to call the tow truck. Mr. Towman was very friendly and promised he'd meet me at the garage in a half hour, which gave me enough time to run to the library to get a book. I already had the call number and the affirmation the book was not checked out from the library's online system. I waltzed in, barely avoided the lethal book cart (tons of books for sale for $2, cheap yes, however, if you purchase 20 at a time, this is not cheap), and headed in the direction where the book was located: 641.815. Of course, it was not there. It actually wasn't anywhere in that section. I checked every freaking shelf for the book. I had the lady at the counter check every possible corner in which it could be. After 15 minutes, the librarian apologized and told me the book was somewhere, they just didn't know where. Are you serious? Obviously, it's not on the shelf where it is supposed to be. God forbid. I left the library cloaked in disappointment.

When I arrived at the parking garage, Mr. Towman was there waiting. He bravely drove his truck into the garage where it clinked on the ceiling every time we turned a corner for six stories. It was the scariest four minutes I've encountered since the snowstorm. Shockingly, we reached my car unscathed. He took out his little battery starter and jumped the car. It started immediately. He only charged me $55 and followed me out to make sure the car was working. He told me to drive around for 45 minutes to make sure the battery was recharged. As I drove out of the garage, my gas light turned on, of course. I was skeptical of the battery being the problem, as it was only seven months old. Fortunately, Meg kept all the receipts for the repairs in the glove box. I leafed through them to discover the battery receipt was in there and that she bought it at Sears with a 36 month warranty. I also discovered the starter was new. I secretly knew the problem was the alternator however prayed desperately for it to be the battery. I drove over to Sears to make use of the warranty. A very nice man, Ken, promised they could get my car into the shop in the next half hour, which meant I could wonder around the mall until they were done. While most people would find being stranded at the mall much akin to a fat kid being stranded in a bakery, I find it to be more like a sane person being accidentally left in an asylum. I despise malls. My roommate found this to be hysterical and pointed out it was an opportunity for me to finally buy some clothing. After unsuccessfully perusing three apparel stores, I found some solace in William & Sonoma where I read through a couple of cookbooks until Ken telephoned me with the bad news. I needed a new alternator, which they could repair this evening for the bargain price of $300.00. I wanted to cry. I headed back to Sears to sign the paperwork for them to fix it. Ken kindly thanked me for my patience and took $20 off my bill for something of which I'm not quite sure. He said it would be half and hour and he'd call when they were done. I left the store and headed to Best Buy where I sat in a massage chair in front of a 60 inch tv for thirty-five minutes until Ken called back to let me know my car was ready. I resentfully picked up Bonnie and headed home.

Total cost of car repairs to date: $1,002.00 (And I've only had it since October).

Morals of the story: 1) Never buy a car from a friend despite how much you love her. 2) Purchase all the good luck charms you've had your eye on for the last two weeks. 3) Find a Best Buy with a massage chair and 60 inch tv in which you can lounge to help aid in your deep depression. 4) GO BUY THE FREAKING SUBURBAN ALREADY!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"I don't know much about Geography..."

A local Irish pub features trivia night on Tuesdays. Ryan, Allie and I braved the cold and forwent the Mardi Gras celebrations in order to flex our intellectual muscles. The rest of the group bowed out at the last minute, which was fine because we did reasonably well considering...

The game consists of ten rounds with ten questions in each round. This includes a picture round that can be ANYTHING. This week, the picture round was this:




It's a map of ten countries. Ten random ass countries. We correctly guessed three right, one of which our lovely Irish waiter answered for us (Austria). Of course I guessed Libya right (I have no idea) but missed Bolivia despite the fact that I've been staring at a map of South America since October (it's laughing at me as I write). I'm ok with not getting any of the entertainment questions right, that is what Amanda is for, and I'm ok with not knowing all the sports questions, that is what Peter is for, however, I'm not ok with not knowing the somewhat intellectual facts. Seriously, I could guess Coco Chanel right but not any of the countries on the map? Have you seen my wardrobe? Needless to say, I was forced to do some research where I discovered this handy website from the CIA featuring "The World Factbook," which highlights anything you ever need to know about geography or other related facts on all the countries in the world. I'm guessing I probably won't ever need to know about this again, however, it cannot hurt to have a clue.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A little Inspiration

"It's that feeling on the inside
that shows on the outside
You can't borrow it
You can't fake it
You can't hide it
lose it
lend it
break it
shake it
or teach it a thing or two
You can't forget it
or forgo it
open it
or close it
It won't be ignored
And you definitely can't take it
for granted
And when you've got it inside
you know it."


Tango, Anyone?

Um, I'd say this is the sexiest thing I've ever seen but I've already given out that award . Therefore, this is the second sexiest thing I've ever seen. You better believe I am signing up for lessons today. The movie was awesome so make sure to check it out. It was inspirational and Antonio was fabulously hot. Watch this, then go watch the movie. I bet you sign up for lessons, too...

The "TANGO" scene from the movie "Take the Lead":

Monday, February 19, 2007

Seriously, Am I that Bad?

Sunday Morning 1:05 A.M.

I was peacefully and quietly cleaning my room when my mobile phone rang. I didn't look at the caller ID because I figured it was Allison or Amanda, as I left their presence not too long before.

Me: "Aloha."
Him: "Hello, 'Cupcake'. How are you?"
Me: "Well, well 'Mr. Houdini.' Look what the cat dragged in. I'm good. How are you?"
Mr. Houdini: "You're going to write a blog about this aren't you?"


I would never...but since you mentioned it.
Umm, seriously, am I that bad? I mean come on people (totally disregard the fact that I just did).

Guardian Angels and Near Death Experiences

Last night, it came to my attention I also have a guardian angel for I survived my second near death experience.

Oblivious to the world and the weather, I made arrangements to have dinner with a friend. I left my house at the agreed upon hour only to realize it was snowing badly and I probably should not be driving. I called to take a rain check then headed home. The roads to my house are all back roads, hilly, and curvy. I was travel at 25 miles an hour when my car slid sideways heading straight for a house. The car turned slightly away from the house and instead was on course for a large oak tree in the front yard. In that split second, I realized if I did not change the direction of the car, I was going to hit a very large tree in the driver's side door where I do not have an airbag. I let off the brakes and maneuvered the wheel so the car was heading in the opposite direction. I spun back out into the road, did a donut, slammed on the brakes so that the car came to a stop on the wrong side of the road, facing the wrong direction about six inches from a telephone pole. Needless to say, I sat in the car for five minutes until I was brave enough to reverse direction and head two miles home. I drove 10 miles an hour the rest of the way and nearly hit a snow bank but figured that was nothing compared to the house, oak tree, or telephone pole. I almost started crying twice, had a panic attack, and went straight to bed thinking I could be sitting in a ditch under a telephone pole right now....

Four things, 1) I also have a guardian angel. 2) Thank you dad for teaching me excellent driving skills. 3) Thank you karate for teaching me excellent reaction skills. 4). I'm buying that gosh darn Suburban now!

Today, my heart is skipping beats but I think I'm OK. I hope this doesn't signify anything regarding my Chinese New Year Luck.

Oh and I promise never again to wish bad things on Tom Brady's baby's mother.

Friday, February 16, 2007

How Not to....Part II

Apparently when you don't have heat for an extended amount of time on a very blistery winter day, the pipes burst, which is what I found when I arrived at home yesterday afternoon. I walked into a small river of water (see diagram below) throughout the entry way. I immediately searched for a mop but was interrupted by the doorbell. I greeted a middle aged man who asked me how the "situation" was. I asked him who the heck he was. Turns out, he was the landlord. This is where the fun begins, as Erin isn't supposed to have roommates. I calmly told him Erin called me to see if I could swing by to check things out for her. I wasn't exactly lying nor was I really being truthful. He appeared to by it.

Turned out, he received a phone call from the neighbors because water was seeping under the wall into their laundry room. I explained to him the situation with the oil man (leaving out the part about the oil running out). He was very helpful and friendly about the mess. He offered to clean up the water with his handy dandy wet/dry shop vac. I enthusiastically accepted his offer and proceeded to telephone Erin to ask her what she would like me to do about this very precarious situation. Meanwhile, he vacuumed up the water in the laundry room, then he cleaned up the mess in the playroom. While the water was all gone, the rugs were exceptionally soggy and gross. (At this point, the temperature hit a high of 55 degrees F. You can imagine how excited I was to hear the humming of the furnace.) Mr. Landlord and I chatted briefly until it dawned on him that there might be water in the room next to the playroom. Of course, it did not occur to me, as I was too busy pretending not to live there. You can imagine my utter dismay and complete embarrassment when he asked if we could go into MY BEDROOM to see if there was any water that needed cleaning up. It is very difficult to pretend you do not live somewhere when your shit is all over the room with the closed door. Did I mention the pictures of my FAMILY and friends I had on the bookshelf and desk? I dreadfully opened the door to the room so we could scope out the scene. He looked at me with a smile and said, "So, you live with these guys?" Probably the most awkward and mortifying moment of my life until he started helping me move my belongings out of the way of the water flooding my bedroom. The day reached it's lowest point when he started to move my laundry baskets out of the closet, which required him to pick up my grey Victoria's Secret undies off the floor. Beyond horrified, I sorted through the soggy books and magazines on the bookshelf and floor. I was speechless. My room was a disaster. The landlord discovered our dirty little secret and fondled my dirty laundry- Did I mentioned he touched my undies? Cause I don't think I've even had a boyfriend touch my undies off the floor like that. Nope, never. I almost died from embarrassment. Of course all of this would happen the one day my room was a disaster with the laundry on the floor, magazines spread out in a little row along the wall, books everywhere, a table piled with papers in dire need of sorting, and just a plain old mess because I've been terribly busy. Note to self: NEVER BE TOO BUSY TO CLEAN YOUR ROOM!!! Also, did I mention the bit where I'm not supposed to be living there and I was pretending to be a friend who stopped by about thirty seconds before we entered the room? Kind of difficult to continue to pretend when you get caught red handed with your hand in the cookie jar (or with your face randomly plastered in frames on the bookshelf.)

He didn't seem too bothered by the incident, as he happily vacuumed up the water and asked that we let the carpets air out. On his way next door, he requested we call him if we needed anything else and said farewell. I turned to look at the wreckage that once was my room and desperately wished to run far far away.

Needless to say, my socks are perpetually wet and my feet are covered in permafrost. The carpets are two seconds away from being blasted by hair dryers in an attempt to remove the water plaguing them. Books are ruined, although ironically enough, the only ones damaged beyond repair were the Accounting ones. I think it's a sign. The pile of magazines that were ruined were the only ones I did not like, Gourmet. At least one half of my room isn't a marsh. So I guess it could have been worse....

Of course, I left out the part where Erin made me run into the garage to check the oil tank much to my absolute exasperation. I was hyperventilating when I opened the door and heard the mice. Luckily, she told me to pull up my skirt and to run to the closet to check the tank. I did as I was told. Of course, I thought this was going to be the worst part of the afternoon. Thirty minutes later, I was proven wrong. (Enter Landlord.)

Morals of the story: 1) Do not try to pretend you do not live somewhere when there is a disaster and the Landlord is present. 2) Always, Always keep your room clean. You never know when a pipe will burst, flood the room, and thereby require your landlord to fondle your skivvies. 3) Never, I mean NEVER run out of oil.


To aide in understanding the disaster area better:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Quotations of the Day:

"Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself." ~ Katherine Hepburn

How Not to Weather a New England Blizzard...

Here's my advice on how not to weather a Blizzard in New England:

First of all, buy garbage cans to take the trash out EVERY WEEK instead of letting it pile up for a month in the unused garage thereby creating a nice little home for furry friends a.k.a. mice. Yes, mice have taken over our garage. It makes it easier to take the trash out the day after the storm when you don't have to worry about vermin attacking as you carry away their feasts. Also, this is very important because when the oil tank is in the garage, you are more likely to check it to make sure you don't run out of oil in the middle of the night during the blizzard if there are not scary creatures freely roaming that corner of the house. Or you could be like Erin and run through the garage in the middle of the night with flip flop slippers on to see if your biggest winter fear just came true. (This is something I WILL NEVER do and probably the sole reason I'll get married. I'm notorious for paying roommates to take care of the garbage and vermin.)

That brings me to my second piece of advice, check the oil as soon as you hear the weather report proclaiming (correctly) you will be covered in 10 inches of snow (at least) during the storm. This gives you time to call the oil man to come BEFORE the storm so you don't wake up at 11:30 p.m DURING the storm only to realize there is NO HEAT AT ALL because the oil tank is empty. It makes for a precarious situation, as no one is going to come fill your oil tank (well, not for anything less than four figures) in the middle of the night (all the more reason to have a warm body in bed next to you, if possible. Mr. Matthews did not cut it last night, thereby, making me reconsider not having boys sleep at my house). Also, with this comes the problem of hot water; there is none, which means you have to go to work early to shower next door (which happens to be a hotel owned by the company for which I work) and pray the nice girl is working so you can get breakfast for $4.

Thirdly, find a nice high school boy to shovel the walkway and a path to the oil spout, as the oil man will not deliver the oil without a clear pathway (Although, he will still charge you $75 extra for the trip. Did I mention the CEO of my company owns the oil company? I should complain). If you do not have someone to shovel, you'll have to leave work to go home to shovel a forty foot path in front of the house through three feet of snow yourself. This sucks. You come out of it looking like a scowling mushroomy white French poodle who should have waited to shower until AFTER shoveling, which brings me to my fourth piece of advice:

DO NOT KEEP YOUR BOOTS IN THE GARAGE WITH THE MICE. Otherwise, you have to shovel in your "England shoes" which might be good for rain in the lovely United Kingdom, however, not so much for the three feet of snow through which you have to shovel and walk.

This brings me to number five: after it takes you an hour to drive 8 miles then 45 minutes to cross a draw bridge, you overwhelming become ok with SUVs, as in you probably might go buy one in the next five minutes as a result of your awful winter commutes over the last two days. A shiny nice Suburban should do the trick during New England winters (and yes, I secretly want to go buy one RIGHT NOW. I might take my little green car over to the dealership to get me one of those American beasts with a custom Bose stereo system. Can you see 5'4", 120 lb me driving around BY MYSELF in one of those? God the image brings tears to my eyes right now). My very green, Earth-friendly self (just look at the recycling, I mean home for animals, in my garage) declares it's perfectly acceptable to drive a SUV if you live in New England and brave the winters.

And finally: BE PREPARED!!! When your existence is based on unpreparedness, it is important to over correct for the past by making an attempt to be ready for such things: Take out the garbage, check the oil, keep boots by the door away from gross mammals, hire a shoveler or buy a snow blower, have a weather appropriate vehicle, BUY SOME CLOTHES THAT FIT YOU (Uh, sorry, that is just me telling myself that because the only pair of pants I could find in my morning panic were two sizes too big for me), wait, I mean, don't forget your bra at home, especially when you are carrying a rack of cantaloupes (sorry, E, I couldn't help it!) . Oh and, Enjoy the snow! (or use it as an excuse to by the $18 hand relief lotion you've been unable to justify until today as soon as you crossed the bridge.) Happy Winter...

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to thaw out my toes and to locate pest control services.



("courtesy of" a fellow storm survivor from somewhere wintry)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

February 14 ...a few poems for you :)


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!

AMONG THE MULTITUDE

by: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

      Among the men and women the multitude,
      I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
      Acknowledging none else, not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I am,
      Some are baffled, but that one is not--that one knows me.
      Ah lover and perfect equal,
      I meant that you should discover me so by faint indirections,
      And I when I meet you mean to discover you by the like in you.

by Henry David Thoreau:

Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
Withstand the winter's storm,
And spite of wind and tide,
Grow up the meadow's pride,
For both are strong

Above they barely touch, but undermined
Down to their deepest source,
Admiring you shall find
Their roots are intertwined
Insep'rably.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The "Car" after...





This is what happens when you get hit by a freight truck...

Favorite Quotes from "Case Histories: A Novel"

"That is how you lost people, a little carelessness and they just slipped through your fingers" ~ Jackson Brodie

"Perhaps Marlee would be there on a visit, and she would have her children with her so that Jackson could see that part of him carried into the future, that death wasn't the end of everything."

"Yeah, I know. I'm a policeman, I've turned into a woman. I'm pussy whipped, and I carry an organ donor card. It's called middle-aged." ~ Jackson

"She felt like someone who lost her way and ended up in the wrong generation." ~ Amelia Land

"Because I Said So"


A couple of weekends ago, a few friends and I went to see this movie in the theater. Despite what critics said, we loved it. Yes, it's a girly movie, but it's definitely a good one. It's about a single mother who realizes her daughters are grown up at the same time she realizes she's getting older. The movie is dramatic, girly, hysterical, and cute. There are some valuable lessons one can take away from the film such as what mothers should and should not do and what girls should and should not do when in love with boys.

I thought Diane Keaton, "Millie's mom" was nuts. She played nuts well though. I love Laura Graham ("Gilmore Girls" is one of my most favorite shows ever, and my sister often tells me I'm like Lorelai minus the daughter), especially as the successful grown up daughter. Mandy Moore played the helpless daughter well ("Millie"). She was endearing and funny. I enjoyed watching her life unfold in a very unrealistic, Hollywood way. The highlight of the movie for me was Millie's apartment in Venice Beach. I LOVED IT. I've been trying to find one there since I saw the movie. I would happily move across the country to reside in such a lovely home. I know it's Hollywood/movie/not real, but still, I can dream. Minus the mom and the boy drama, I'd love to be Millie. She had a cool business (a caterer) and a fabulous home. Sign me up! Although, I will admit that I'll never think of Reverend Cameron the same...

Anyway, don't listen to the critics, girls, go see the movie.

Monday, February 12, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW!!!

"Case Histories"



I lazily did nothing but read this book yesterday. The novel is "Case Histories: A Novel" by Kate Atkinson. I slept horribly after reading it because I was so disturbed by some of the events that took place in the book. In the beginning, the author introduces three cases of lost girls seemingly unrelated to each other. I use the term "lost" loosely because the girls are lost as in disappeared or lost as in murdered, but in either case, their crimes are unsolved, which is where Jackson Brodie, the private investigator, enters the picture. I don't want to give too much away in case you plan to read the novel. But, as the plot thickens, it turns out there's more to each case than expected, however, if you have a great deal of exposure to mysteries, the ending is not shocking, although little strange. I thought it was rather weak. It doesn't help I am no longer surprised by mystery books and crime movies.

Atkinson is an excellent artist, as the novel was very well written. Atkinson did a great job weaving the characters together in a believable way. The novel is worth your time because it makes you realize you are not safe. This does not so much pertain to men but women. I realized "safety" is sometimes a matter of biology. Women are just not as strong as men when it comes to physical strength vs. physical strength. We are not safe because there will always be scary sick men out there who have their own reality we will never be able to understand. And sometimes, we know these men, which makes it even scarier. Yes, women do commit crimes as well, but no where near the scale on which men do.

Even though the author offered resolution at the end, I was still unsettled because all I could think of was my friend Gabe. His sister was murdered in 2003. It's the closest I've come to a situation like the ones I read about or watch on TV. I'll never forget attending the funeral or the look on the family's face when the casket was lowered into the ground. It broke my heart.

I recommend reading "Case Histories: A novel" if you like to read about crime and mysteries. I did not love the book because it was too real and too humbling in the sense that it makes you realize how mortal you really are. I was unsettled and do not recommend reading the book alone or at night, but that is only if you are a little bit of a scaredy cat like I can be.

(It probably didn't help that I woke up to someone yelling "I'm going to rip your throat out" on Friday night, but that is a whole other story.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Comedy & Cards

Don't forget Comedy & Cards night at my house tonight. All in the area who want to join the fun come by any time after 6. YAY! I can't wait. Eat, drink, and be merry. Dark and Stormies are the drink of the evening. I have a lots of deliciousness to serve, and I'm off to get the Comedy now. If you need help with the emailed directions, please call me. (Yes, please bring your games, etc. The more the merrier.)

I'm very excited to see you all tonight!!!

P.S. Matty, Meg, and Tim, we are very sad you won't be joining us. You'll have to come see us soon!

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Sexiest Thing I've Ever Seen



All I can say is WOW. Yup, speechless.

The people at Rembrandt have BRILLIANT marketing people.

(Oh, and I definitely want to make out with him.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY, PATRICK!!!

On a more postitive note

If you read yesterday's post, this pertains to you. If not, well go back and read about Friday night because I added a paragraph about how awesome Lindsay is.

I posted about the "blog stalker" because this is my space. It's my corner of the world. It's one of the few places I have the opportunity in my busy and very analytical life to be expressive and creative. I was exceptionally annoyed someone (about whom I already had my suspicions) was checking INCESSANTLY. When an individual does that, it skews the statistics for your website, which are important to bloggers and other internet people. We all know how much I love numbers.

This morning, I sat down to read the many responses to what I had written (thank you for your support my friends). I respect each and every one of your opinions as well as your right to express them (YAY First Amendment!). The only thing I could think of in response to the wildly overzealous reaction was I'm not that person anymore. I never was the person my former college friends thought I was. Everyone has emotional wounds and baggage. Sometimes people even have the need to spew their poison onto other people. I do not have that need. I no longer belong to a group of toxic friends. I've become more selective about the company I keep because I never want to get caught up in the same negative energy I felt during those times. I've kept half the circle and I love those girls dearly. Their friendships have been fundamental to who I am today, especially Kristin, Bethy, Johanna, Theresa, and Mariana. You are very important to me. I plan to keep you in my garden for as long as I can. I also plan to have chairs for you in The Porch Club, whether you need them or not.

In addition to friends from those "crazy college years," I've had the amazing opportunity to cultivate many rich and rewarding relationships with a variety of people. I've evolved as a person. When I was in the eye of the hurricane, I knew I needed to change the direction of the storm but could not articulate exactly what needed to be changed until I had a conversation with one of the girls who had removed herself from the situation. She said it was amazing how much we all fed off each other and once you are out of the environment that breeds the destructive activity, your life changes dramatically. She shed light on something I could not. As a result, my life is better. I am a better person. I truly am lucky and blessed to live the life I gratefully have. Not for one second do I take advantage of this nor should you.

All I can say is I hope you have evolved, too. I hope you are not the same person you were then. I hope you've had opportunities to become a better person and to grow in a positive and helpful way. I'm flattered you find entertainment here, and thanks for stopping by. I sincerely hope your life is as rewarding and enriching as mine, and maybe one day you will have a little corner of the world where you can write about it as well. Genuinely, I wish you well.

Now let's get back to business people, there is plenty to do and share!

P.S. I just blocked the IP address of "BS" so it doesn't skew my numbers anymore. So visit away! Always feel free to comment, too. I encourage expressing your opinions and using your rights.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Lesson in Humility



Once a week, I volunteer for a couple of hours at the Adult Education ESL Literacy Lab. The experience has been more than enlightening if not downright shocking. Most of the students are from Africa, whether it be the Sudan or Somalia. The others are from a variety of places throughout the world.

This week, I was going about my business as usual in the lab when a new student joined us. I helped get her started with the lab by showing her how to use the program and assigning her a story to read. She was a very small yet striking woman with lovely warm features. She called me over to help with one of the words from her story. She asked me what "proudly" meant. I went on to give her this elaborate and unhelpful description to the best of my abilities when I decided to use the dictionary (I'm still working on how to explain what words mean). I pulled out the dictionary and showed her how to use it for future reference. I've found using your hands and images helps describe words better, which was the case here (the dictionaries have pictures). After she finally understood what "proudly" meant, I told her it might be helpful to buy an English dictionary in her own language then, I inquired what her native language was. She told me, but she said she didn't even know her own language so the dictionary would not be useful. Shocked, puzzled, and deeply humbled, I looked at her. SHE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HER NATIVE LANGUAGE. I realized of course she didn't know her own language, she wasn't born in a country where women are allowed to read and write. Can you imagine not knowing your own language? Can you imagine not knowing your own language, but attempting to learn a second language, one of the most difficult, anyway? She is brave in a way most of us never will have to be.

How much do we take for granted...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Friday Night Fun

In an attempt to distract me with some fun, my friends Lindsay, Amanda, Laurie, and Allison and I headed to a local club to see an amazing 80s band play on Friday night. I don't even like 80s music, but I like this band. They are incredible and exceptionally impressive. We arrived a little early (ok a lot early) to secure a spot at the bar, which worked. The show was fantastic despite my leaving for a half hour in the middle because I wanted to run to my office to "find a phone number". I was distracted by a slight heart to heart with a friend online (I think he ended up hitting on me but I'm not sure; he often leaves me bewildered) before I returned to the club without the number. However, I did arrive in time to catch the last song and to have a snowball fight with strangers in the middle of the street outside the bar. I'm not sure how it started, but as soon as I was hit with the first icy burst of winter, I joined the escapade. At one point, a was preparing snowballs for a very attractive male to launch at the enemy. I have no idea how we came to the situation where I was making snowballs for him, but the even more curious thing was the only comment he actually made to me: "Since we work as such a great team in a snowball fight, maybe we should get married?" This seemed a little fast for me so I nervously changed the subject. Eventually, we all called a truce (not before I slid chest forward into a parked car only to turn around looking like the abominable snowman and Lindsay switched teams because she felt badly) and ended the evening in laughs before heading home. It was delightful to take advantage of the perfect New England winter wonderland. Thanks, girls! I can't wait until we venture to the flashing dance floor at Bubba's.

I almost forgot to highlight the best part of the evening. While we were dancing away to the rocking band, Lindsey proclaimed she was hungry. The bartender reached under the bar to grab a can of Chef Boyardee pasta in meat sauce. Yup. A CAN OF CHEF BOYARDEE, which he was selling for $6.00. YES SIX DOLLARS (never mind they are only 89 cents in the grocery store). Despite the hefty price, Linz ordered it anyway. After the required microwave time, he served her the lovely meal in a bright red solo bowl with a plastic fork. It smelled heavenly. Interestingly enough, everyone around her kept asking where she got it. Linz would take a huge bit, and tell them they could buy a can for six bucks. It was hysterical. It really is a classy establishment.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Irony of Life

Thursday night around 10 pm my sister was driving south on interstate 95 when she was hit by an 18 wheeler freight truck. Her car was sucked under the truck, spun around, and spit out like a flying heap of garbage tossed to the curb. Miraculously, she lived. Once the car finally came to a stop, she climbed out of the wreckage, touched every piece of her body in an assessment of the damage, and then wrapped her arms in clothing to stop the bleeding. All she could see was blood, everywhere. She sat next to the guard rail on the road to wait for the police. They thought she was dead and were shocked to see her stand up when they arrived at the scene. They carried her to the ambulance where she peered out past the doors into the night to sneak a peak at what just happened because in the minute in which the accident happened, she's not exactly sure how it occurred. The only glimpse she got was of the "car" crumbled into a heaping pile of metal that resembled nothing of what it was only a half hour before. The roof was torn off, the front seat was smashed into the backseat, and shards of glass were everywhere. She said when she felt the airbag punch her in the face and when she heard the metal roof scrapping off, she thought she was going to die. She remembered almost yelling she wasn't ready to die yet, she has too much to do...

Naturally, she was plagued by panic and asthma attacks in the ER. The doctor used a battery of tools to cut pieces of glass out of her foot, which was done with immense skill, as my sister was shaking violently. The nurses bandaged up her arm and gave her some medication. She picked out piece after piece of glass from her hair. They told her it would be weeks before she would get all the glass out, but that doesn't matter because she's alive.

The whole thing happened in less than a minute. One second she was traveling safely in the middle lane, in the next, she was trying not to die while being tossed around between the axle of a freight truck. Everyone keeps telling her she's lucky. I'm quite certain she's aware for every time she has a silent moment, she can hear the steel and feel the airbag. She has a guardian angel somewhere. I'm considering ordaining her as the "Saint of Miraculous Escapes". I know this much is true, when I hugged her, I could not express how immensely glad I was to hear her heart beat and feel the air filling her lungs.

Breathe, you're ALIVE; hug someone, tell people you love them, and live. You never know what the next minute beholds.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Good Riddance to January and a Hearty welcome to February

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I cannot adequately express the fervor with which I kick January out nor can I appropriately convey my delight at the arrival of the pretty pink month of February. Sometimes, I think it's a miracle I make it through the first month of the year . This January was unlike previous Januaries because most of the negative events occurring affected other people. However, the plethora and depth of the situations lead me to believe this one might be for the books:

1) To start the month off, I woke up exceptionally grumpy (and completely dressed in the previous night's digs with the exception of my bra. Go figure.)

2) A friend of the family had a cancerous brain tumor of which only part of it could be removed. In the same week, the birth of his first grand child occurred as well as the death of two family members (I do believe he wins the award for the worst January EVER.)

3) A hugely awful personal matter between me and my sister ensued.

4) Two people felt insincerely remorseful about how they treated me. I'll refrain from commenting.

5) The most awkward evening I've ever had was not bad enough alone; it ended up infiltrating my work world for a completely different reason. I might need to file a complaint now. Needless to say, it sucked.

6) Rafael Correa was sworn in as the new President of Ecuador. This scares me.

7) Jackie almost died in a street fight.

8) I got into a fight with two friends from college, one of whom is my best friend. It was our first fight ever and I'm a little disenchanted by it.

9) I had to cancel three trips due to circumstances beyond my control. I'd been waiting 8 years for one of them.

10) A friend lost her job. (only to find a better one, luckily)

11) Jehovah's Witnesses broke into my house.

12) I was very sick for two weeks.

13) The boy I like disappeared, insincerely returned for a millisecond, then vanished again. I give up. (Apparently, he was only taking a survey when he asked if it was too late . Well I guess it is possible he might have been joking too. Who knows.)

14) I had to call 911 because I miraculously missed being involved in an accident last night, however, felt compelled to report it, as I did witness it.

15) Lastly, I discovered (well, confirmed the feeling I had anyway) my father was bestowing gifts upon my sister.

Oh and there is the issue of John Mayer dating Jessica Simpson, but that is a post in itself.

I have never been so happy to see February with all the wonderful things it has to bestow upon us.
I believe this is the first time I'm excited for the little holidays. It all started about two weeks ago when I received the February issues of "Food and Wine" and "Everyday With Rachael Ray". I eagerly devoured the glossy pages one by one when all at once I could hear the pretty pink month of February galloping slowly towards me. I could hardly contain my excitement. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I cannot wait to make cookies and send Valentine's nor can I wait to throw the Chinese New Year party with all the little good fortune tokens, Asian food, and homemade Chinese cookies. I'm so excited to celebrate all the February birthdays (Tim, Andrew, Danny, Patrick, and Kate) as well as the parties the glowing month of March beckons with Laurie, Johanna, and my mom's birthdays, and let's not forget St. Patrick's Day and Krista's baby shower. My imagination is running wild with ideas and recipes for treats for all of these wonderful occasions. I feel like a child preparing for Christmas. Oh my gosh, this is going to be so much fun!

I will say, I'm very grateful for all the wonderful things that did happen in January. I will not discount how appreciative I am for those moments (especially the part about not getting into an accident and being able to help a family in need.)