Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I've Finally Bought Some Art

Alternate title: Christmas Came Early This Year.

Look what Salvato..I mean, Santa, brought!

I know what you're thinking.

This art you bought - is it Picasso? During his cubist period?

Or maybe Klimt? The colors really say Klimt.

It's difficult to identify whether this piece draws from Analytic Cubism, or Synthetic Cubism.

Although Analytic Cubism was nearly devoid of color, except for a monochromatic scheme that included blue, gray and ochre.

What's that? You'd like to see the work from another angle?

I know. Incredibly versatile, and a fine statement piece.

I heart this new art so much, I want to let it sleep with me tonight. But I'm afraid I'll roll over on it.

I'll just put it in it's crib, and then sleep lightly. In case it needs something in the middle of the night. Like a matching purse.

Bah Humbug. Whoops, wrong holiday.

It's Halloween, and I'm sure you have seen some of the spooky photos in mass email rotation, showing "spirits" or "ghosts" in the backgrounds of photos, etc.

Now, I have done some very crappy photography work in my time, where I thought the roll of film was NEW, when in fact, it was COMPLETELY FULL ALREADY (back in the days before digital), resulting in double-exposed photos.
Some, as exciting as Me Sitting At Picnic Table With Grandma, and ALSO Whitewater Rafting in Peru.

(I do not have this photo in digital format. You'll have to use your imaginations. And in your imaginations, I would like Grandma and I to be wearing fancy matching hats and eating chocolate cake; and then for me to be looking very fierce as I brave the rapids of the Colca River, paddle raised in the air.)

But back to the topical topic at hand. Halloween Spooky Photos Of Supposed Spirits/Ghosts. Friend Debs sent me an email with these photos, and I would like to explain each as I see fit.

1) The caption of this one said "This photograph, taken in 1916, is showing a figure likely being the soul of someone departing"

I think it's just that nice Sky Welder we've all heard so much about. You know. The one on which Jennifer Beals' character, in "Flashdance", was based.

2) This one, which I've seen before, was captioned:

"This is a scene from the film called 'Three men and a baby'. A boy behind the curtains appeared. They say that this boy was killed in the same room that the film was taking place."

I think this boy was originally hired as an extra, to play the paperboy, but he would continually break into distracting song and dance - hoping to be noticed, and tapped to play Ted Danson's son, at a later date, in "Getting Even With Dad" - so he was subsequently fired, and decided to lurk around the sets so that, at an even later date, he could watch the DVD with friends and say "SEE? I WAS in it."

(Ed. note: I may or may not do this with the movie "Lucas".)

3) This one said:

"A couple on vacation took a photo of their daughter.When the film was developed, a lady without legs appeared."

I can't comment on this one, as I am so distraught at the thought that if/when you DO cross over, they take away your legs, so you can't wear any of the SHOES you were thinking would magically appear in your version of Heaven.

Please give me a moment to compose myself.

4) This one is easy:

It's not a ghost or spirit, it's just Sasquatch. That should be obvious to everyone.

5) And finally:

You can see the woman, dressed in late 1800s garb, but if you look VERY closely, you will also see me eating chocolate cake with Grandma, and whitewater rafting in Peru.

Why Men Shouldn't Take Phone Messages

(This post courtesy of our bookkeeper, Betsy - I think her brother forwarded it to her.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is The Clap

Yesterday afternoon at work, the mail arrived.

This is not news.

What I found to be newsworthy (and yes, I do pretend my blog is the news), was a package that Co-Worker Shelley received, containing The Flu:

You can't squish and squeeze this thing, like I was doing yesterday, but it is fuzzy and cute, and... The Flu?

I confuse.

Shelley explained that you may order The Flu from a company called Giant Microbes.

"Why are they making the flu look all cute and cuddly?" And then the inevitable question:

"WAIT! Do they have others?"

They do.

You have myriad options when giving your friends and loved ones Maladies, Calamities, Critters, and - maybe as a special Valentine's Day treat - Venereals.

I know that, in the subject line, I said I wanted The Clap, but Chlamydia is much cuter.

But exercise caution when ordering. Not all of the diseases are charming and adorable.

Mange just looks mean.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dancing With the Stars

Is anyone else watching this?

Nope, me neither.

I have absolutely no interest in this show.

I was tricked into watching it, as it airs right before The Bachelor (which is another show I am not watching).

So, that is it. The only reason I am watching Dancing With the Stars is because it is conveniently on before The Bachelor.

And that is the only reason I'm watching it.

Halloween Gretta, age 3 - Foreshadowing?

I should have had my mom ghost-write my blog while I was in Europe.

(Get it? Halloween? Ghosts? Anyone?)

She just sent this:

"Much cuter than Paris Hilton in ANY outfit!"

After that year's costume, I demanded to be in "pretty costumes": Princess, Fairy, Fairy Princess, Cleopatra (who was once a princess), Isis (probably a princess) etc.

The year I had to be a pumpkin, I was pissed.

Ode To Sitting Out Halloween

On the one day that I DID check email in Prague, I waded therough a slew of Halloween party updates, and I was all "Hannnhhh? Halloween? I'm on VACATION."

I opted to dismiss the pressure and stress of trying to come up with a costume, but am now reveling in photos from those who made the effort. Or had an idea about making some effort:

1) People I kind-of know - Kevyn & Stacy (and hope that they don't mind my borrowing the photo - it's just too good not to share) as the Dick in a Box guys:

2) Also people I kind-of know - Pistols at Dawn - who had the idea to go as Your Own Evil Twin:

That is not him.

Props go to the Hoff. But more props to Pistols, as the Evil Twin idea rocks.

3) People I do not know - Paris Hilton - who, unfortunately waited until the last minute to buy her costume, and ended up going as both Naughty Nautical and Naughty Alice-in-Wonderland.

If she had shown up in something Non-Naughty, I would be as surprised as if Mariah Carey was photographed in anything more covering than a dinner napkin.

Next year, I'm going as Mariah Carey's dinner napkin.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Life in the Fab Lane

Can someone please tell me why I am watching the Kimora Lee Simmons reality show, instead of running errands?

This is not a good show.

Unsolicited Fashion "Advice" From Strangers

I was happily perusing one of my favorite blogs, Retail Recovery (it's like the most fun fashion-related homework, as all the posts end with a question from Editor. You can't NOT answer the questions.), and Landis posted the following account:

"i'm at a big fashion party last night in beijing. opening the "barney's" of china. i'm wearing (if i do say so myself, and you know by now, i do.) a pretty cool outfit, which entails some metallic elements, including a prada overpainted sweater in this pewter.

this guy walks up to me and plucks at the sweater and says "why would you wear this? it's silver."

and i said "why wouldn't i? and actually, it's kinda pewter. if you care."

and he says, smirking, "cause it looks stupid."

and i pause. and let it hang in the air.and then i look him up and down, in his half-zip black nylon jumper, khaki pleated pants, and black tennis shoes, and say

"honey, dressed like that, i'm not sure you know the meaning of looking stupid"

ta da!

(i mean, i get it. i was a bit over-the-top. but there was effort involved for a fashion event. and he? he just didn't care. i think its just a complete lack of comprehension of the FUN of fashion. kinda like me and sports.)"


If I had been at that party I would have raised a glass to that. And as I said in my own comment on that story, "unsolicited comments from strangers should only be positive, or they're really asking to be smacked."

Case in point:

I was shoe shopping (I know, I know, I can pretty much just start all of my stories this way), at this crazy sale where most of the shoes were price-slashed down to $20. So, you can imagine my arms spilling over with shoe boxes, as I shuffled from table to table, afraid of missing something fabulous.

I arrived at a table, and promptly dropped all other boxes in order to pick up a fantastically impractical pair of Steve Madden psychedelic, ivory/beige/navy/fuschia, silk-ish fabric platform sandals. Just seeing them made me happy. I cradled the box in my arms, smiling down at the shoes, and the saleswoman (who had been following my progress) said "find something you loved?"

And I answered with a gushing "YES! Ohmygosh I SO love these!", and this random woman next to me peers into the box and sneeringly says,

"Well, you'd HAVE to, wouldn't you."

I was so caught off guard that it took me a full minute to realize that she was not being complimentary, and I was both shocked and offended.

Until I looked at her outfit.

Blah blah black, shapeless trenchcoat. Blah blah black pants. And I'm more than confident that her shoes were handed down to her from her ancestor, Hester Prynne.

(If you haven't read "The Scarlet Letter", or seen Demi Moore in the film, just picture a hideous pair of black, clompy puritan sloggers.)

So I gave her the once over, and ended with a pitying look. I mean really.

Add To Your Vernacular

This daily chuckle is courtesy of Kerry and Urban Dictionary:

1. Leave Britney Alone

An exclamation made when your friends or family are teasing you to a point where you can't handle it anymore and a hissy fit is in order.

Derived from a YouTube user's famed outburst following Britney's lackluster performance at the 2007 VMA's.

Sarah: 'OMG Susan, I can't believe you are wearing the same skirt as yesterday. Oh, and by the way, EVERYONE knows what you did with Kevin on the weekend. Plus you look a little fat, are you retaining water?'



I wish I had known to use this, while going through security (again) at the Munich airport.

Frau Security: Do you haff any liquitts in your bag?

Me: Erm, no.

Frau Security: OH - Yess, here we haff one bottle off vatter in your pursss, oont one in your bag. You cannot haff these.

Me: Oh.

Frau Security: Oont zeess liquids here? Zeess shoult be in zee approoffed airportt bag.


They totally would have gotten the reference, as I saw a German magazine with Britney on the cover. Looking a mess.

I miss this girl:

If I were slightly drunk right now, I might admit that I used to rent the Britney videos on DVD, and practice learning the dances along with the video.

Luckily I am not in the least bit drunk.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

God Bless America

The day I left the U.S. to go on my Eastern European Extravaganza, I found myself behaving in an oddly Uber-American fashion.

1) I flew American Airlines.

(This is notsomuch odd, in that I was using frequent flier miles, and I had the most on American, so, coincidence? Yes.)

I had a 2 hour layover at Dallas/Ft. Worth, and it was lunchtime. I wandered around, looking for something to eat that wasn't too fast-foody, and was entering a food court area when I saw a banner for a BBQ place. I thought "AWESOME - I'll have BBQ IN Texas before I leave the United States of America".


2) I ate here:

at the one in Terminal D. And it was D-licious.

(If all that print is too small, it was COUSIN'S BBQ - GO THERE!)

Even though I had my Vanity Fair, and one of the hundred books my mom has given me to read...

3) I bought this for the flight

And Oh My God if you have not read this yet, DO! It's hilarious.

Yes, it was totally obnoxious of me to bring that book to Europe, as it screams "Americana!" at the top of it's lungs. (You know, it's book lungs).

But I was ALL about The America, during my travel debacle at the stupid Munich airport. With stupid Lufthansa Airlines. Uft.

I had to book a flight from Zurich to Prague, since American Airlines does not fly into Prague. I checked several options (Swiss Air, Czech Air, etc), and Lufthansa had a reasonably priced flight that worked well with my arrival into Zurich. The one hitch was that I had to stop in Munich. Fine.

What I did not know, was that when you fly Lufthansa, and stop in Munich, you have to de-plane, get on a bus that circles around the very outskirts of the terminal at 2 mph, and then drops you at an entrance that is about 40 miles away from your gate.

Then you have to go through security. Again. Even though you just got off of a Lufthansa flight, prior to which, you went through security - they make you take off your shoes, and they confiscate the water you bought in Zurich, and begin to lecture you about your Ziploc baggie with your 3 oz. items, and say that it needs to be an "official airport bag", or some such nonsense, and you are looking at your watch, and your boarding pass and thinking "the flight wouldn't just LEAVE, would it? It's my connecting flight, and they know I'm coming, don't they?"

So when you're running through the terminal, passing Gate G29, on your way to G83, around G45 you stop running and wave your boarding pass at the blonde Frau Lufthansa and frantically ask "Has this flight left yet?"

Blonde Frau Lufthansa answers dismissively "Yes, off coursse. Ziss flight lefft 15 minutes ago. Go to za counter." and she waves you in the direction of a long line of people who apparently missed their connecting flights as well - due, in no small part, to the ridiculously unnecessary in-transit procedures.

Muttering to yourself: stupid Lufthansa, stupid Munich airport, stupid Germans... This progresses into the all-consuming hatred of the entire German population, as it is clearly the fault of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich and all who came after that, that you missed your connecting flight.

(Apologies to the Germans. They are a fine people. Some of my best friends are German, blah blah blah.)

The silver lining in this tale of travel woe is that the woman at the information/service counter for Lufthansa was so kind and helpful, and she actually called information to get the phone # for my hotel in Prague, to let them know I would be arriving on a later flight, and would require a later airport pick-up.

This, naturally, made me cry, as I was completely exhausted. DFW/Zurich flight, plus all the running through the Munich airport, plus the lunch I hadn't yet eaten, plus the general frustration of still not having arrived at the final destination all equalled Fragile Me. Nice Frau Lufthansa gave me a meal voucher which I used to purchase something called a Kornspitz sandwich and a Paulaner beer.

Beer is good and makes everything better. I would normally say, that is a totally American statement to make, but beer is a pretty universal equalizer.

God bless beer.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Email From Dad

"I enjoyed the pictures of your trip to the capitols of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. I was interested to see the use of blankets at outdoor eating places. I believe that the clear liquid was slivowitz.

Your pictures were very professional and enhanced the understanding.

From your pictures, I gather that the food the natives consume consists of wine,



and fancy cocktails.

There was one lonely fat laden entree that looked to be stick-to-the ribs fare.

No Pilsner Uraquat in Praha? Shame on you all. I saw no street cars or buses. The Czechs build the Portland street cars I believe. The ladies looked to be having good fun and I detected no serious shopping. I suspect the stores were closed.

Love, Dad"

Training for the MENS - Episode 4

Today's episode is about shoes. WAIT! Where are you going, you MENS? You wear shoes too.
European men seem to have far superior footwear to Americans. I saw no jeans-and-Nike combinations, no Tevas-with-black-socks, and NO Crocs.

These may seem a bit extreme; I'm just using them as an example. They are FUN.

EPISODE 4 RECAP: GO TO EUROPE. BUY SHOES. (or just order them online).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Heart Eastern Europe

Did I mention this?

The Perfect Seatmate and His Jacket

On "Good Morning America" this morning, or "Today", or something else I was watching at the ungodly hour of Too Early To Be Up On A Day You Don't Have To Go To Work...

They asked the question "Who would you most want to be seated next to, on an international flight?"

And I thought "Hayaaayyy! I was just ON an international flight!"

Their answers were 1) Oprah, 2) Bill Gates, and 3) Someone else famous - I stopped paying attention, because I was thinking "I would want to be seated next to that same cute little old man I sat next to between DFW and Zurich!"

Honestly. I was so baffled by this man. He had the window seat, and I had the aisle (just a two seater arrangement). At various times throughout the flight, I would squirm around, or get up and lope to the loo, in between trying to nap (cannot sleep upright on overnight flights), or reading, or watching "A Fish Called Wanda" on the iPod.

My little seatmate guy did not get up ONCE between the time we boarded, and about one hour before we landed. Not once. I kept sneaking glances over at him, wondering if he was wearing Depends, or had some type of cathater hidden somewhere; which brings me to another anomaly.

He did not have ANY carry-on luggage. Nothing. About two hours into the flight, he buzzed the flight attendant to say that he did not have the in-flight magazine, and could the flight attendant find one for him. I was finished reading mine, so I just handed it over to him. He seemed so surprised, and pleased, and I was thinking "Hmm, maybe I should share my iPod with him?" but then thought that might be awkward, as there were some semi-racy scenes in "Wanda", and he seemed to be a very fragile, old man.

I still couldn't believe he didn't have any carry-on bags, but when we landed in Zurich, everyone got up from their seats, and opened the overhead compartments, and I was standing in the aisle, and asked him if he had anything and he said "Just my jacket", which was a very nice tweed blazer.

He also shared the middle armrest. Do you think Oprah or Bill Gates would have done that?

Welcome Home - To Me!

Look at all these people, who are patiently waiting, in Prague's Old Town Square, for me to post on the blog.

Thankfully, they are warmly dressed. They will need to wait a bit more, as I need to do several things first:

1) Check in with friends Sandy & Jeff and make sure they are okay in Irvine, CA (STUPID SCARY WILDFIRES!!!)

2) Check email. While we had internet access the entire trip, I just avoided the computer like it was vegetables.

3) Hand wash cashmere sweater worn on flights. Stupid chocolate.

More to come...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Have Had More Than Enough

of this:

I am leaving the country for 10 days, and when I return, I would like it to be gone.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

This Exciting Life - My Parents

I was chatting with my Mom yesterday, on my drive home from work. She usually starts Sue's Senior Happy Hour around 4pm, so by 5:15pm, she is really only half-paying attention to whatever I'm saying.

I was babbling on about some nonsense, when she blurted out "OOOH! And I saw a common red pole!" So, with brow furrowed, I was envisioning a barber shop pole (???) that happened to be commonly red...while also shaking my cell phone, and readjusting the earpiece, "What did you say?", and she started giggling "A COMMON RED POLE, at least we think that's what it was..."

Using my always-razor-sharp powers of deductive reasoning: I knew she was in the backyard, and in the backyard, there is a birdfeeder. "OH, you're talking about BIRDS", and then I started giggling a little. That Mom, she's so cute. Then she mentioned the Ruby Breasted Nuthatch, and I was agreeing that yes, that was exciting to see those fantastic birds in the backyard.

Mom replied "It IS exciting. We lead an exciting life." And the way she said it sounded like she was kind of dejectedly rolling her eyes about it, you know - sitting in the backyard, lurking near the birdfeeder for hours on end - which made me start laughing really hard.

The kind of laughing where your eyes are watering, and you can't breathe properly, because you're wheezing and trying to explain to your Mom that you are NOT mocking the parents' lifestyle, while your Mom is protesting, saying "Hey! I LIKE our little life! You just wait until you're 60!" And this is just making me laugh even harder, and I'm trying to hold the phone and drive, and wipe the blurring tears away so I don't run over the guy riding his bike up the hill.

I was like "MOM STOP - I have to go - I can't see anything! Will you please email me with the name of that bird?!" (more hysterical laughter).

So here is her email:

"Just save this and look at it again in 30 years and maybe you will have more compassion for the simple pleasures that your Mom and Dad are enjoying!!

OK - as I said, it doesn't take much to get us excited. Ha, ha, ha.

When you were on the phone with your Dad, I was looking out at our bird feeders and thought I saw a Common Redpoll (photo attached).

But I now think that it was an Acorn Woodpecker (photo also attached).

(Ed. note: I am now laughing even harder, as these two birds look nothing alike.)

We keep the bird books next to the sliding door to the deck so that we can have them handy when we see a bird we would like to identify.
Ha, ha, ha

I installed a new feeder last week and put a "gourmet" mix of nuts and fruit in it. The next day ( I actually was leaving you a message at the time) I saw a Redbreasted Nuthatch (photo attached) at the feeder.

I was very excited.
Ha, ha, ha.

So, have a good laugh. Your time will come!!!
Ha, ha, ha
Love, Mom"

I am still laughing about this. Laughing, and wondering how long Sue's Senior Happy Hour typically lasts...

I truly find it very endearing and cute that my parents have a birdwatching hobby. And I love hearing about the things they are doing, with their exciting life.

For example: they recently went Apple Tasting, and my mom is now on a hunt for REAL apple cider, "You know, they won't sell it here in Oregon unless it's been PASTEURIZED? I mean, that just tastes like apple juice. The REAL stuff is so much better...especially when it's been fermenting for a few months, ha ha ha."

She also wants to make those fun sugar donuts, except she went to the butcher to get some lard, and they didn't have any. AND she's also going to make bratwurst.

My mom is celebrating Fall in a big way.

Unfermented apple cider + lard-cooked sugar donuts + bratwurst = possible heart attack.

Heart attacks are actually pretty exciting.