Friday, September 28, 2007

When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best

I love e-cards. They're convenient and make me seem like I'm terribly thoughtful. And they're cheap. I love cheap. But sometimes they just don't say what you want them to say. Of course that's true for paper cards too, but it has always seemed like ecards should be able to be much more flexible. You know, since there isn't the whole "printing" aspect to complicate it.

Problem solved, friends. Let me introduce you to, an ecard site that accounts for all kinds of greetings.

For the office.....

To express your life philosophy ...

To get those unsavory things taken care of ...

For Holidays, of course ...

And anything else that needs to be made obvious ...

I expect everyone to start being more thoughtful by sending ecards regularly. After all, as Someecards slogan says, you only have to care enough to hit send.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mad Season

All right you guys, confessional time. Brace yourselves.

One of my least favorite things about myself is my inability to be irrational. Like, you know those people who are able to flip out and act all crazy when they are upset? That isn't me.

But sometimes, I really really wish it were. Sometimes when I'm angry or upset I would love nothing more than to cry until mascara streaks down my face. Or maybe punch a wall or break plates or something. But nope. About two minutes into a passionate frenzy, my rational brain rolls its eyes and asks, "Is this really necessary?" To which I reply, "Nah. Probably not." And that's it. Tantrum over.

This sucks because sometimes you really just want to be able to fly off the handle and throw the entire contents of your closet out of the window and afterward just shrug your shoulders and say, "What? I was mad."

Being level-headed and emotionally mature is so boring.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hottie McHotterson

Several years ago my friends and I each picked our Top Three Most Attractive famous people. I'm sorry to report that in my opinion these girls had really bad taste in men. But we were young, we all make mistakes.

Our friend Libby, for example, picked Alan Rickman. You might remember him in all of his pasty glory as Severus Snape. I think Alan Rickman is a fine actor, and I really enjoy watching his films, but if I were picking my TOP THREE hottest men ... no, definitely not. But, then again Libby also had a "poo rag" which she used for quite some time, and so perhaps her judgment shouldn't be anyone's guiding light.

My brain has turned to a pile of mush and I can't remember who made my original top three, and so instead of trying to remember I decided that I should just pick again. You must tell me your three too! Most of the fun of this game is to laugh at who other people think are hot. (Camie, if Adam Sandler is still on your list I really might vomit.)

And so, without futher ado ....

Third Place goes to:

Hugh Jackman

He sings, he dances, he's Australian! One thing we're going to be seeing over and over again is a man with an accent. I loves me an accent. I think Hugh might have been on the original list ... I'm not sure, but I was looking for pictures of my previous Third Place choice, when I ran across a picture of the dashing Mr. Jackman. I immediately ousted #3 and put Hugh in his place. I do really, really love him.

Consequently, serving as an Alternate to Mr. Hugh Jackman's Third Place position is ...

Daniel Craig

I had to give Daniel Craig some props because I can't really remember a time when I've been so bowled over by the unbridled hottness of an actor as I was when I saw Casino Royale. If you haven't seen it, you must. Just know that when you leave the theater all other men will be a little less manly in your eyes.

If Daniel Craig fails in his alternate duties, there is a second alternate ....

Mr. Clive Owen

He's a saucy one, that Clive. Plus I really like his name. Clive. When this old man played knick-knack-patty-whack on five, he came up with one babe of an actor. I also really like that Clive is married to a normal looking lady. That's another common thing with most of the men on my list, they're all happily married. I find the fact that these men are happily married incredibly attractive. I'm weird.

Ok, so enough with the alternates.

In Second Place:

James McAvoy

You might say, "WHO?" Let me school you. This newcomer is rocketing up my list. I first loved him in Becoming Jane, but every time I see him in something new it justifies his presence on this list again. He's completely adorable. And his blue eyes are sinful. Plus, he also shares a quality with my #1 man. He can look really, really bad. Like "This is your #2? Explain yourself" bad. For some reason, when he looks bad, it just makes him even more attractive when he looks good. He's like a foil for himself. It's awesome. I mean, David Beckham looks good all of the time, but where's the fun in that? Every time you looked at him you'd be like, "yep. still hot. this is so boring." Hanging around him would just be depressing. Hanging with James, on the other hand would be exciting and completely wunderbar.

And now, for my #1 Most Attractive Famous Person

Ewan McGregor

I have loved him for a long, long time. He may have been my #1 in my previous list, but I won't swear to that. He's got it ALL going for him: accent, happily married, can look really bad (hello Obi Wan? What happened there?), but can also look SO, SO, SO G-O-O-D! My sister thinks that he's contractually obligated to either sing or take his pants off in every film he makes. I say, Mores the Better! He's free to do whichever he wishes, it won't dethrone him from being my #1 man. I Heart you, Ewan!

Who are your three? (PS. Please don't say Brad Pitt, I don't want to have to divorce you as my internet friend.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Baltimore Look

This scan isn't so great ... I'm having some issues with my technology right now. I'll complain about that at some point, I'm sure. But when I run across something as ridiculous as this article, I have to put my technology issues aside and scan it just to prove that it exists.

I found this in one of the regional magazines. I am shocked that the editor actually agreed to print it. My only hope is that it is somehow a tongue-in-cheek style article. That's really all that's keeping me from not discrediting the entire magazine's journalistic (not to mention fashionista) integrity. I've copied out the article in full for your easy reading enjoyment. I'm sure you'll find it a treat. At least I hope you will. If you don't we can't be friends anymore.

The Baltimore Look

Susie Winstead, 57 retired, and her boyfriend Larry Howe, 68, custodian, from Lancaster Pennsylvania
Spotted at Bingo World, Baltimore

Describe your own style:

Larry: Casual
Susie: His style is antique. He's got polyester pants he wore in the 60's. My style is very casual. I love to wear cat T-shirts or anything that has a cat on it along with any kind of comfy shorts.

What are you wearing?:
Larry: Shorts and a knit sport shirt, both from Boscov's in Lancaster.
Susie: I'm wearing slacks from Wal-Mart and a cat T-shirt from Boscov's in Lancaster.

Who are your fashion icons?:

Larry: She usually buys my clothes.
Susie: [His is] that one from The King of Queens - Kevin James! My icon is my mother because she was very particular with how she looked when she went out of the house.

Is this your work outfit?:

Larry: No. I wear khakis and a blue shirt with a red collar to work.

How do you dress at home?:

Larry: In shorts.
Susie: Comfy shorts, a blouse, and, of course, tennis shoes.

What's your favorite item of clothing?:

Larry: My [Philadelphia] Eagles shirt.
Susie: My cat shirt. I have one with a little brown and black cat on the front. That's my favorite.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?:

Larry: Right now only three - one dress pair and two pairs of sneakers.
Susie: About 20. I have lots of sandals and heels and, most of all, I love my sneakers.

Are you a bargain hound?:

Susie: Yes, I like anything that's cheap even if I don't need it.

What was your best outfit ever?:

Larry: The suit I got married in. It was navy blue pinstripe.
Susie: My brown slacks and brown sparkly sweater.

Is there a particular item of clothing you are currently coveting?:

Susie: A wedding gown. A big white fluffy veil, the biggest and best they have. I want the whole works.
Larry: A Phillies knit shirt.



I have so many things to say about this, I'm actually speechless. You many not read a lot of these fashion-watch articles, but I've read a lot of them in my day ... and this one is, well, definitely the exception to the rule.

First of all, call me Captain Obvious, but isn't this supposed to be about Baltimore style? Must I point out that even though they were spotted at that fashion mecca, Bowling World, this couple is from Pennsylvania and NOT Baltimore? But residency aside, do you REALLY want to imply that Baltimore style is all about cat t-shirts, slacks, and doubleknit from Wal-Mart? Do you REALLY, Mr. Editor??

I could go on and on about the horror of the mental images Susie's comments have created for me (brown SLACKS and a sparkly sweater?? BIG FLUFFY VEIL? I'm actually starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it.) But I trust you, dear readers, to understand why this article is at once appalling and absolutely priceless. I can't even begin to comment fully on it without getting mean.

So I'll just leave you with this final thought: In their cat T-shirt infested house, I find this similarity very striking.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Watch Out Persimmon

My favorite word is persimmon. I love to say it. Persimmon, persimmon, persimmon.

It has been my favorite word for years now, and I don't keep a favorite anything for more than a few hours. So that tells you how much I love the word persimmon.

But a new contender just entered the ring. May I introduce to you:


It is pronounced just like it's spelled: fih-SIP-uh-rus. Isn't it delightful to say? Fissiparous.

And it has a great meaning! "Tending to break into parts; divisive" ooooo! Can't you just see using that word and amazing the mere mortals around you?

"Fissiparous behavior was their downfall."

I can't wait to put this new linguistic treasure to work. Persimmon, being a fruit or sometimes a color, doesn't get much action as I conduct my daily business. Fissiparous, however, is a word that could get some real play time. How often do I talk about things dividing or breaking into parts? Answer: ALWAYS.

Persimmon, I'll always love you, but you're officially on notice. Fissiparous is younger, sexier, and I think comes with a convertible.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rotting My Brain

The Fall Television season is finally here! 'Bout time, too. This summer's television was particularly heinous. I am so OVER game shows!

Anyway, as you know, I don't actually watch TV in real time. I record it, and then watch it all on Sunday afternoon. After analyzing all of my choices, these are the shows that made the recording schedule:

8PM - Chuck (Love the commercial when he says he's working on his 5 year plan, he just has to choose a font. HA! A man after my own heart.)

9PM - Heroes (goody, goody! can't wait!)

9PM - Cashmere Mafia (once it starts in November)

10PM - Boston Legal (love me some James Spader!)

8PM - Pushing Daisies (This is the show I'm most excited about this season!)
8PMLiveViewing - Kid Nation

9PM - Oh no! too many choices ... time for a GRUDGE MATCH!
Private Practice (would this be Grey's overload??)
Bionic Woman (this could be good or really sucky)
Gossip Girl (based on YA books = good, produced by The OC people = bad)

Votes anyone?

10PM - Life (Love Damian Lewis ... hope his show is good.)
10PMLiveViewing - Dirty Sexy Money

8PM - Ugly Betty (I heart Henry!)
8PMLiveViewing - My Name is Earl/30 Rock

9PM - Grey's Anatomy (despite the good news that Isiah "I'm a pompous ass" Washington is out, this show might be on the chopping block. Not sure why, just not feeling it.)
9PMLiveViewing - The Office

10PM - Big Shots (this might not be a keeper, either)

So there you have it. The Fall Line Up. What do you think? Could I possibly be missing anything? What are you watching this Fall?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Shoot Out at the Black & Decker Corral

Many of you have asked, and I'm happy to report that my iron has indeed made its way back home. Not without a little muscle, though, I must tell you.

It was almost like High Noon. I strode down my long long hallway at noon (well, noon-45, but pretty close), my Silver BCBG Wedge heels glinting like spurs. There, at the end of the hall, stood the ringleader of the notorious Small Appliance Robbers. Quicker than lightening I drew my accusational finger and fired it at her.

"Hey! Didn't you borrow my iron?" I shot.

"Oh, that was you?" she sputtered, clutching her stomach. "Yes, I did."

"Can I get that back? It's been almost three weeks."

Visibly cowering (I'm not exaggerating that satisfying detail) she fumbled for her keys to get me my iron right that very minute. Clearly she could tell that I meant business. And she was right. I did mean business! Hijacking my small appliances is very serious business.

But right then the elevator (that she had called) arrived, and I needed to go get my church on. No time to babysit her while she returned my iron, and I certainly wasn't going to waste MY OWN time taking it back to my apartment myself. So I told her to trot it on down the hall and leave it where my flyer had clearly indicated she should.

Despite her failure to be trustworthy before, I didn't worry about her not following through. This time, I knew where she lived, and if my iron wasn't on my doorstep when I returned, no amount of holy post-church glow would keep me from getting some whoop-ass all up in there.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Karma Police

You remember when the firestorm of crappiness hit, right? Well, today was court day. I'd vowed to turn this most obnoxious event into something tolerable by sandwiching it between some fun activities. You know, turning Lemons into Lemonade and whatnot. This was the plan:
  1. Go to Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse Book Signing on Thursday night
  2. Stay the night at Camie's in VA to make getting to Alexandria by 9:30 possible.
  3. Go to court with an iron-clad defense; get off scott-free
  4. Spend the day shopping the quaint boutiques of Alexandria
  5. Lunch glamorously at a bistro

As with most things in my life, this adventure didn't go quite as I'd hoped.

I had expected the book signing to be PACKED with little girls - and I was right. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten about the propensity little girls have for screaming. I walked into Borders and heard a shouting match at the back of the store: "EDWARD!!" "JACOB!!" "EDWARD!!" "JACOB!!" (FYI, these are the two hunky heros of Eclipse.) This went on for about 5 minutes, until they started shouting "STE-PHE-NIE! STE-PHE-NIE!" When Ste-phe-nie finally made her appearance more screaming (of course) ensued, but this time in a Beatle-mania-throw-your-panties kind of way. Oh, and did I mention that they were also climbing the bookshelves? Because they were. I'm seriously rethinking my desire to ever have a child, since there's a 50-50 chance it could grow up to be a teenage girl.

Already with the tinges of a headache, all of the screaming and loud-girl-chatter made it start to intensify. I toyed with leaving, but after a certain number of hours dedicated to an activity you sort of feel like you just have to see it through to the end. So I waited in line until my number, 916, was called. It was all fairly anti-climactic, as I knew it would be. But I'm chalking it up to life experience. And it was pretty cool to meet Stephenie, a published author, if only for .6 seconds.

When I got into the car to go to Camie's I realized just how fierce my headache had grown. I seemed completely incapable of logical thought. Camie lives on US 50. The Borders I was at is ON US 50 ... but instead of just driving down it, I somehow got myself turned around and onto a completely different highway, with absolutely no idea of where I was going. I had to call and have her guide me in.

By the time I limped into her apartment, my head was REALLY raging. So I spent my fun girl sleepover puking and laying on the bathroom rug. I am a charming house guest.

Today, Court Day, I arrived at the courthouse without incident. But I was sweating bullets the entire 35 minutes I sat there watching other people get their verdicts. The judge was a bit harsh and VERY few people got off with nothing. Most had to go to driving school and I really didn't want to go to driving school. So when the judge called my name I gulped and said "Here, your honor." He asked for the officer. No answer - Glory be, Hallelujah! - he wasn't there! So the judge just said, "No witness, you're free to go." And boy did I go.

With the taste of freedom fresh in my mouth I set out to shop til I dropped. But my plan to shop around wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped. Most of the stores weren't opened, and I wasn't really in the mood to shop, anyway. Which is really weird for me. I decided that I'd prefer to go back to Borders and keep reading the book that I'd started while waiting during the book signing. So I reformulated my plan for the day and headed off.

Just when it became too late to fix my error, I realized that I'd planned my driving route all wrong and I was going in the exact opposite direction that I should have been going. Once again, I had to remind myself that today was all about making Lemons into Lemonade so I should just enjoy the drive along the river, usually one of my favorites. No sooner had I thought this, then I went around a corner right into a speed trap ... where, you guessed it, I GOT A TICKET!

Two MEASLY hours after leaving court, I had a brand-spankin-new ticket to my name. The long arm of the law will not be so easily avoided it seems.

And you know what? Next time I'm taking those lemons and using them as a garnish on a tankard of Absolut Lemonade.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Resetting the bar

Radio DJ: That was a concerto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He wrote this particular piece when he was just 18.

Me: Nicely done, Herr Mozart.

Radio DJ: He'd written two concerti before that. Isn't that surprising?

Me: What, that Mozart was an overachiever? Yeah, shocker.

Radio DJ: You would have thought that he'd have written a lot more by then. But no, only two.

Me: You make a good point. What a slackass!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Poll Dancing

I feel the need to develop a "distinctive competence." That there is fancy lingo for focusing myself a little bit. As you may know, my interests are ALL OVER THE PLACE. I've got to reel it in a bit. Even my hairdryer came with a "concentrator" - I should have the same capability.

So I'm running a poll to see what you, my loyal fans and friends, would most like to get my spin on. I've picked topics that I really like, and might also be interesting to others. Don't worry, this blog, A of All, will continue to be a potpourri of crazy. The winner of the poll will have it's very own blog home.

Please vote, and let me know what you think. Or if you have an idea that I haven't listed, please leave it in the comments!

Gracias a todos

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Postman Always Rings Twice, I Just Don't Answer

When I was a kid I thought getting mail was the shiz-nit. Having no particular reason to receive mail except for on my birthday (no pen-pals or whatnot), my mom used to let me have all of the "Resident" mail. This was, of course, nothing but meaningless crap. But to me, those worthless mailers somehow established me as an individual in my crowded house. If the Post Office knew about me, well then, that was really something! I was never one to get hung up over the fact that the mail I got to open didn't actually have my name on it, or in any way indicate that the Post Office had a clue who I was. To me it was enough to open my "letters" and flaunt my importance at being such a snazzy mail-getting individual in front of my siblings.

Somewhere along the way I managed to establish myself in the Post Office's eyes, and now I get loads of meaningless crap with my name emblazoned all over it. It's one of the great ironies of my life that nowadays I really can't be bothered to read any of it.

For several years now I've made a practice of storing up all of my mail for the entire month. I do a cursory glance through when I pick it up - just to make sure there isn't anything odd I need to pay attention to (like photo-cop traffic tickets - damn them!). And then at the end of the month, generally around bill-paying time, I'll sit down to an orgy of coupons and J Crew catalogs.

People generally look at me funny when I mention that I can't go out because I have to read my mail. But there are many pros to this plan.
  1. Time-sensitive offers (50% off THIS Weekend ONLY) hold no sway over me
  2. One time trash run, instead of slowly filling up the bin
  3. Able to compare and contrast fashion catalogs more easily
  4. Bills and statements are all in one spot and can be easily stuffed in their drawer en masse
  5. Don't get caught up reading a new catalog when I should be doing something important like watching Seinfeld reruns.
I really enjoy procrastinating my mail reading. Recently though, I've been a bit too neglectful and didn't keep to my usual monthly schedule. The last time I read it was at the end of May. Which means I haven't paid any attention to my mail for the ENTIRE SUMMER!

Staring at this pile is a bit daunting. (don't worry, no bills in there -- I hope -- I'm all auto-pay these days. It's fantastic. If you haven't turned over your responsibilities to the internet yet, might I strongly suggest that you join us in the twenty-first century? It's quite lovely here. Lovely and responsibility free.)

I suppose I should get started going through this pile. I'm sorry if you've sent me any cards or other bit of friendly mail this summer. I promise that once I've excavated it you'll get lovely reply sometime before the New Year. I'd promise to get it to you earlier, but it might take a solid week to make it through this pile. After which, I'm sure I'll be so sick of printed material I'll have to take a break from it for a few months. Then I can write you back. Or maybe I'll just send you an email. Yeah, email sounds much better.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Super Fun Time Pool

To celebrate Labor Day this year, we kept up the bi-annual (does that mean twice a year, or once every two years? anyway, we went two years ago) tradition and went to the Super Fun Time Pool!

In the past, folks were apt to call this pool the Ghetto Pool. But I'm veto-ing that. There are too many things that are labeled ghetto around here. Ghetto Safeway, ... um ... ok that's the only one I can think of at the moment. But Maria calls anything within the Silver Spring city limits ghetto. Ghetto Movie Theater, Ghetto Shopping Mall, Ghetto Street Sign. She's a little obsessed. She'd probably call a Gingerbread Village populated by Mr. Rogers and the Lollipop Kids a ghetto.

The point is, that this pool is anything BUT ghetto. It's super fun! When you're there, you'll have a super fun time! Therefore, it's way more descriptive to call this pool the Super Fun Time Pool! (My logic is irrefutable).

Do ghetto pools have AWESOME MUSHROOM SHOWERS? That's right, they don't!

Do ghetto pools have WAY TWISTY WATER SLIDES? Of course not. I went down this slide many times, sometimes with my hands in the air, sometimes not. I'm a wild woman. Also, you will notice the awesome pool toys floating there. I didn't want to play with the snake (uh, DISGUSTING!) I DID want to play with the alligator. But I was shy.

What's this? MOOOORE WAY TWISTY WATER SLIDES?!? So non-ghetto.

The undisputed non-ghetto delight of the Super Fun Time Pool is the Lazy River! Flow on Lazy River of Peace and Zen-like Relaxation, Flow on!

There is a secret Super Fun Time Recipe for Relaxation. It's amazing. Ok, I will tell you.

Take 1 hot summer day, add one Lazy River, and gently fold in Adult Swim time. Bake for 15 minutes.

Results should look like this:

Whoops, looks like an extra helping of LAZY made this batch not rise. Oh well, still VERY RELAXING! And very non-ghetto. And very Super Fun Time!

(can you blame me? Sitting in pilates boat-pose for 15 minutes is hard work, even when buoyed by water and a tube. What do you think? I have abs of steel? Hardly. More like abs of aluminum foil.)

Goodbye Super Fun Time Pool (previously known erroneously as The Ghetto Pool)! I will grace your hallowed water slides once again on Memorial Day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Too Pumped Up

I'm sure none of you are as foolish as I am, and push yourself too hard at the gym. No, you're much smarter than I am. You wouldn't take a strength training class conducted by a sadist. A Prince of Darkness. A bringer of all that is painful. I'm sure you wouldn't be that foolish.

I, however, am that foolish and did take that class.

I very nearly committed first-degree murder when the Instructor straight from the 7th Ring of Hell said, "Ok, just 4 more! 4, 3-and-a-half, 3, 2, Ok 8 more! You didn't think you were getting off that easy, did you?" This was right around squat rep # 350 (with weights, some balancing on one leg). At this point my quads lost all of their elasticity, and would neither expand nor contract. When your muscles give out on you like that you really start to appreciate your skeleton in a whole new way. Before it was just there to give my fat something to hang onto. Now, my skeleton was the only thing between me and a pile of oooze.

But did I stop? I mean, my legs were gone, but I still had arms and abs, right? I should stick around and torture them too. Right?! I told you, I'm a fool. By the end of that hour, the only muscles not completely blasted were those that controlled my tear ducts. (Although those were on the verge of getting a work out too.) I crawled out of the gym and down the street, looking like I'd been hobbled. It was hard, I tell you. I was just shy of pushing a baby out of its stroller and demanding that the mother wheel me to the bus stop.

Nevertheless, I made it home. I'll always consider that voyage home akin to Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole, since both journeys were considered to be a death sentence. I'm laying on my couch now. It's the same location I've been in since I collapsed here four hours ago. My fingers just barely started working, so I thought I'd send out a distress call. If I'm not back tomorrow, please send someone to make sure the lactic acids haven't petrified me in the night.

It seems that my girly muscles couldn't take the heavy-duty hardcoreness after a measly couple of weeks worth of atrophy. Stupid girly muscles.

By the way, I'm really dreading the thought of having to go through the contortions involved in taking off a sports bra. I'll probably end up with my elbows pinned to my ears for the larger part of an hour. Couldn't they make those things a little less, um, binding?