Tuesday, January 31, 2006

1/31 Family

Here's one great thing about family. My sister, Jane, in Quincy IL called my daughter, Jill, in Los Angeles and said, "Tell me if you'd wear this color." And on and on. Turns out that Casual Corner in the mall back home closed. And Jane was passing by the store and just happened to notice that they were having a half-hour sale. Everything, EVERYTHING, was $2.50 each. She bought $400 worth of clothes for my daughter and spent less than $20. Amazing.

Everything was size 2.

Let's not go there.

Monday, January 30, 2006

1/30 Brainstorm and BroadMinded

I sure laughed a lot yesterday. The Rec League is so much fun. Lots of talented and silly folks. Brainstorm lost our match, but it was a close game. We played the winners from last season, so I felt pretty good about that. Next week our match is at 3 because of the Super Bowl. CSz is making a huge brunch menu beginning at 11:30 and then the first match is at 12. I'll be there...

And I'm happy to announce the birth of BroadMinded. BroadMinded consists of nine funny women, who do improv, sketch comedy, and stand-up. We'd been talking about it for a few weeks, and met last night for the first time. Yes, it will take up quite a bit of time. But for me, it's so much fun that it doesn't seem like work.

I'm going to get busy drafting some sketch ideas. We're getting together next Monday for dinner to go over some of our ideas. I'm very psyched about this!

Also, Wednesday we're having a rehearsal for our stand-up show on the 7th. That's another grup of comedians. (One other member from BroadMinded is in that group too.)

Sure am keeping busy--it cuts down on my reality show addiction. That's the only downside.

Okay, that's a good thing. I know.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

1/29 What a relaxing weekend!

I stayed in all day yesterday and it really energized me. I needed a day with no obligations or appointments. Of course, there was still work to do from my office that I was behind on. But I took care of that without problem.

My daugher Jill called and I talked to her, Kayla and Hunter. That always makes my day!

I'm on my way to ComedySportz for our first Rec League match. It'll be fun, no matter if we win or lose--it always is. More about that later.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

1/28 Work and fun

I worked more than 13 hours yesterday and still didn't finish. So I'll spend most of the day working. At least I can work from home since it's Saturday.

After work I was knackered, but decided to go out instead of coming home and crashing. A friend (Eric Price) had a benefit last night at Comedy Sportz. He is one of the funniest guys on the planet. They packed the place. And the laughter and relaxation was just what I needed.

If you want to know why Eric needed a benefit, you can read about it on his myspace site.

Friday, January 27, 2006

1/27 I'm so happy to be home

Lots of miscellaneous stuff.

I love traveling, but it's so good to be home. My messy office feels like a little coccoon today.

Are you on MySpace.com? I'm there too. Add me to your friend list (if you are a friend). They don't have enemy lists. That's a shame.

I checked some of my website stats, and a term some folks have searched on is “big butt.” Now I know that’s an interest for some folks, but seeing it as a search term on my website was not a turn on. Especially because it was my big butt.

This morning I finished an article for CorrectCare, a magazine for health care in the corrections field. It feels good that I'm being published so frequently now. Wish I'd get my novel in shape and get that out there too.

Gotta go. We're redesigning one of our websites and I have lots of copy to write and edit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

1/25 Stressed to the max

I am beyond exhausted. Wish I had all my CPI work done. I'll be working most of the weekend. The good news is that I'm going home tomorrow night. And I don't have another trip planned for a while. Plus, I don't have to work at ComedySportz this weekend.

The fun news is that on Sunday my team (Brainstorm) will have their first CSz Rec League match of this season, and I'm thrilled about that. Can't wait. It's always so much fun.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

1/24 More fun in Rochester

After another hard day of work (I'm not lying about that), we headed downtown for dinner at the Dinosaur Grill. It was absolutely excellent. Almost made me want to eat meat again. It's a huge BBQ place and my three colleagues got a lot of bbq'd meat, beef ribs, spare ribs, pulled pork, chicken and more... I got a plate of sides and everything was superb. From the fried green tomatoes to the cole slaw, it made my mouth water. And the Brooklyn Lager we had didn't hurt anything either.

I am looking forward to going home though. I've got so much to do and am not able to get much done here--too much other work to do. I need to get off the computer soon and work some more. Although I may go down to the lobby and watch American Idol with my friends. They're going to work and watch. Sounds like an excellent proposition.

Monday, January 23, 2006

1/23 Fun in Rochester

We are really working hard. It's a big job. But boy, oh boy, are we ever laughing a lot! This is Gary's first site review, and he is asking some sincere questions. We're giving him some off-the-wall answers. And laughing... Vicki is our team leader, and is knowledgeable and fun. And Robin and I were on a site visit together in September. She's a doll. She's from BC and is looking around for info tonight on the Canadian federal election. Hope her choice wins.

Dinner was at Bazil, an Italian restaurant near the hotel. Great food...and much more laughter. I'm so full, and am sitting at the computer trying to energize myself to work. So much to do...

1/23 Tagged by Bron

Four Jobs You've Had In Your Life
1) director of training
2) psychiatric aide
3) family therapist
4) actor/comedian

Four Movies You Could Watch Over And Over
1) When Harry Met Sally
2) It's a Wonderful Life
3) Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (agree with you, Bron)
4) Norma Rae (I'm an extra in it)

Four Places You've Lived
1) Altrincham Cheshire UK
2) Quincy IL
3) St. Louis MO
4) Columbus GA

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch
1) Stargate SG-1
2) Amazing Race
3) My Name Is Earl
4) The Office (UK and US versions)

Four Places You've Been On Holiday/Vacation
1) Bateman's Bay NSW Australia
2) Copenhagen Denmark
3) Los Angeles CA
4) Okinawa

Four Blogs You Visit Daily
1) Bron
2) Beata
3) Rob
4) Anne

Four Of Your Favorite Foods
1) Pasta
2) Pizza
3) Mexican (anything vegetarian)
4) Bread

Four Places You'd Rather Be
1) Los Angeles
2) Okinawa
3) Quincy IL
4) New York City

Four Albums You Can't Live Without
1) Mary Chapin Carpenter (any)
2) Michael Buble' Home
3) Best of Jimmy Buffett
4) Van Morrison (any)

Four Vehicles You've Owned
1) Kia Sportage
2) '53 Ford Coupe
3) Nissan 240zx (or I forgot the letters following the number)
4) '67 Ford Mustang

Four People To Be Tagged
1) Rob (he won't do it)
2) Beata (she will do it)
3) Anne (she will do it)
4) David (he won't do it)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

1/22 Yawn zzzzzz

Nope, today wasn't boring. I'm just so darn tired. My plane didn't get in until after midnight, and I didn't get to the hotel until about 1 AM. The wings kept icing over in Chicago and we had to have them de-iced a few times. Then when I got here I fiddled with my laptop, and the network card isn't working. The computer says it is, but something's amiss. What is the good of having free high-speed internet access in your hotel if your computer doesn't recognize it?

So I am borrowing a computer from the agency we're reviewing. A brand new IBM. Works like a charm. I have tons of work to do tonight, so I'll get to that after I read my person email, etc. Then a quick nap. And finally work. I'm not going out to dinner with my colleagues because I'm too tired.

I brought a few movies to watch, but won't even be able to do that. This agency is HUGE, and scattered about, so we can plan on 10-12 hour days. Yet, it's fascinating work.

1/22 omigod i'm tired

No time now. On public computer. But didn't get to my room until nearly 1 AM and my network card isn't working. Have to go to work now. But...will write more this evening.

Rochester NY--cold, but no snow. Go figure.

Friday, January 20, 2006

1/20 Tomorrow

I've been on the phone talking to Beata. It's so nice to hear her voice, even though she's coughing in my ear... :)

Tomorrow we have Staff Day from 9-3. Then a friend is dropping me off at the airport. The bad news is that I don't get to Rochester until 11:30 PM. It'll be a really long day.

I have lots of work to do tonight before packing. I have a feeling it's going to be a really long night too. More after I get to NY.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

1/19 To post or not to post

My son and d-i-l each have a blog. Both are wonderful writers--witty and smart. Beatka writes kind of like I do, in a folksy way, like talking to you over coffee. Rob, on the other hand, writes a wry and acerbic blog that is more like a newspaper column. I don't agree with his politics (very often). But I love his writing and his humor.

The only reason I haven't given out his blog address to all my family and friends is that I know some people will be offended. But I also know that most people will enjoy his writing, even though they won't agree with some of it.

Beata's blog is worth reading. She is from Poland, by way of Denmark and Okinawa, and is getting ready to move to the states with Rob for the first time. She's on an adventure and it's fun to share that with her.

Rob's blog is also worth reading. I'm thinking about posting his url here soon. My blog (for unknown reasons) gets quite a few hits every day. Posting his site would drive more traffic there, and would allow his writing to be seen by more people. I need to bite the bullet and just do it.

But not yet.

1/19 For my brothers

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Bozarth brothers!

  1. Native Americans never actually ate Bozarth brothers; killing such a timid prey was thought to indicate laziness.
  2. Bozarth brothers can eat up to four kilograms of insects in a single night.
  3. Bozarth brothericide is the killing of Bozarth brothers.
  4. You should always store Bozarth brothers in an airtight container in the fridge!
  5. Bozarth brothers can't drink - they absorb water from their surroundings by osmosis!
  6. South Australia was the first place to allow Bozarth brothers to stand for parliament!
  7. Bozarth brothers can sleep with one eye open.
  8. Antarctica is the only continent without Bozarth brothers.
  9. It takes more than 500 peanuts to make Bozarth brothers.
  10. Abraham Lincoln, who invented Bozarth brothers, was the only US president ever granted a patent!
I am interested in - do tell me about

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

1/18 We're having some fun now

Received the schedule for this season's Rec League at ComedySportz. My team (Brainstorm) is looking good this year with the addition of Mary Jo as a fourth. Our first match is 1/29.

1/29--4 PM vs. Sailboats (the champs from last season)
2/5--3 PM vs. Four Hoarsemen
2/12--6 PM vs. We
2/26--7 PM vs. County Clare Clowns
3/5--7 PM vs. Room for Improv-ment
3/19--6 PM vs. Kuribo's Shoe
4/2--6 PM vs. Slims Pickens

And February 7 at 7 PM I'm appearing (with other newbie comics) at Giggles Comedy Club in Mequon WI. This will be my second time there, and I'm psyched.

Hell, I'm laughing already. Hope you can make one of the shows.

1/18 Death Psychic

The Death Psychic says this about my death: You are bitten while tormenting a sickly-looking squirrel. You die from rabies days later.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

1/17 Some fun in Chicago

Last night a friend (Mary Jo) and I went to Chicago. Another friend (Stacy) was performing at Second City. Really good performances. Most were sketch comedy rather than improvisation, but quite enjoyable.

I thought I'd never been there, but this morning remembered that MANY years ago I went to a main stage show and Richard Kind was in the troupe. I remember because who could forget that face, and then when I saw him on tons of TV shows I recognized him. (Okay, let's hope that's my aside for this entry. We'll see. I usually have tons of them.)

The trip there and back was fun too. I enjoyed getting to know Mary Jo better. She's fun, and has a lot of training. Is involved in the Second City training, ComedySportz, and Shakespeare.

But I didn't make it home until 12:30 and I am TIRED! Luckily I have tons of work to do, as usual, so I should be able to stay awake until American Idol comes on tonight. Yeah, me and my reality shows. What a combination!

Monday, January 16, 2006

1/16 Trivia about Jerilyn

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Jerilyn!

  1. Jerilyn can be very poisonous if injected intravenously!
  2. Jerilyn was first grown in America by the grandmother Maria Ann Smith, from whom her name comes!
  3. More people are killed by Jerilyn each year than die in aeroplane accidents.
  4. Fifty-two percent of Americans drink Jerilyn.
  5. Dolphins sleep at night just below the surface of Jerilyn, and frequently rise to the surface for air.
  6. India tested its first nuclear Jerilyn in 1974.
  7. The difference between Jerilyn and a village is that Jerilyn does not have a church!
  8. Jerilyn can't sweat.
  9. In Ancient Egypt, people wore glittery eyeshadow made from the crushed shells of Jerilyn.
  10. Jerilyn will always turn right when leaving a cave!
I am interested in - do tell me about

Sunday, January 15, 2006

1/15 Tale of Two Suitcases

First of all, Victoria's birthday party at Olivia's Doll House was so much fun. A hoot from start to finish. When we arrived, Jill just dropped off Kayla and me, because we'd forgotten Victoria's presents. She went home to get them (a 40 minute round trip), so I took lots of pictures so she'd see what Kayla did in her absence.

The place is like a little Victorian cottage. The first thing the girls do is walk into this big room that has make up mirrors and chests of jewelry and dresses hanging absolutely everywhere else. The girls pick out a party dress (or several) to try on. That's done in the powder room. Kayla's first choice was perfect for her. They could also get a big hat if they liked, but she wasn't interested. Her gold "flapper dress" was fun, and reminded her of a "hula girl" dress because of all the fringe. She's really into the hula lately. She found some huge clip-on earrings that completed the ensemble beautifully. Then she sat to have her nails done. The attendants looked like college girls. K's person asked what color. Kayla replied yellow and pink, every other nail done a different color. What fun! Then, the next station was for make up. Some of the girls looked like little clowns because either they chose odd colors or their attendant wasn't good at make-up. Kayla's make up looked really good. I was surprised. The pink blusher was applied expertly and the lipstick was very cute and matched the blush.

The final stage was hair. Kayla's hair is super fine, just like Jill's. But the girl did a good job of putting it up on top of K's head, with a circlet of white flowers as a crown. This little princess certainly fit the roll.

After all the girls were ready they had a fashion show. Each princess was announced and they walked into a room where parents were sitting, they stopped and posed, and tons of pictures were taken. (At the end of the night, each girl got to pick a toy from a treasure chest, plus received a really cute pic of themselves as a princess.)

The tea party followed the fashion show. They ate little squares of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, little slices of hot dogs on toothpicks, sliced veggies like carrots and celery, slivers of cheese pizza. After that, they each received a plate of sweets. The "tea" was lemonade, which was a perfect choice.

The evening was wonderful.

Kayla's bedtime is usually 8, and we got home at 9, so she was tired. Me too. I got to bed at 10, asleep by 10:30 or so, and my alarm went off at 2 AM. Kayla jumped up, "Grandma, are you leaving?" I told her not yet, and I'd wake her up before I left. About 2:45 I gave her a kiss and a hug. She didn't open her eyes but said, "I love you so much, Grandma." (Any wonder it's hard to leave?) I snuck in Hunter's room and kissed him too.

Then downstairs. Remember I'd brought two huge hardsided suitcases? Almost all presents.... So when it's time to leave I have one completely empty suitcase and one 1/2 full--of my clothes and presents I received.

When I arrived in Milwaukee only one suitcase made it. Guess which one it was?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

1/14 Update on my happiness

Moments of bliss and moments of omigod when will their parents get home! Hunter threw a gigantic fit last night. I called Nanny 911 but the line was busy. Sat him on the stairs for a timeout. He screamed the whole time. Then he puked. BIG TIME! All over the new carpet, and not one drop on him. Amazing aim.

Luckily Jill and Todd have a Dirt Devil Spot Cleaner, and I made good use of it. Hunter apologized to both his sister and me, so the evening ended well. When he was calm I told him I was going to put him on the stairs and that I wasn't going to argue with him. He said, "Okay, Grandma."

My new resolve was tested this morning. He screamed at me when I said it was time to get out of the bathtub. I told him he had one minute on the stairs. Surprise surprise surprise. H said, "Okay, Grandma," and sat on the stairs with no complaints. This reminded me that neither of my kids had the "terrible twos." They both had the terrible threes. H is following their footsteps.

But most of the time he is such a sweet little boy. And funny.

Last night when I climbed into bed, Kayla said, "Grandma, how do your pajamas get so cuddly?" I replied that it probably wasn't my pajamas, it was just that I was a grandma. And if I stay here much longer I'm going to think I'm beautiful. Kayla tells me that a few times a day. "Grandma, you are beautiful." "Grandma, you look beautiful."

Both kids are already telling me not to leave. (I have to wake up at 2 AM and leave here by 3 AM to drive to LAX. That's why I rented a car this time instead of Jill picking me up at the airport.)

It's always hard to leave here.

In a little while we're going to Walmart with the kids to exchange a skirt I bought Kayla. Both kids need slims. Kayla will be six in May and still wears a 4. Hunter will be 4 in June and wears a 2.

Then this afternoon Jill and I are going shopping for clothes for her. Todd likes me to go with her because alone she'll only buy black, white, olive green, khaki. She loves her neutrals. When I'm here she buys purples and teals and other deep rich colors that look great with her skin color and black hair and eyes.

Tonight Kayla and I are going to a birthday party (Jill might go too). It's at Olivia's Doll House and I think the girls get to dress up in formals and tiaras and such and be little princesses. It will be a lot of fun and Kayla is so excited that I get to go with her. (I can definitely put up with princess stuff for two hours, especially with my own little princess in tow.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

1/13 Friday the 13th...

and life couldn't be better. At least in the family department. I'm having a glorious time with my grandkids. Details follow.

1/12 (written on the plane) I was up at 5 after a restless night. Think I was afraid I'd oversleep and miss my flight. Many strange dreams too. Since it was early I got on the computer for a while.

Got to the airport plenty early. Had two huge hard-sided suitcases. Only a small amount of clothes for the quick trip--the rest of the space was taken up with presents, primarily for Kayla and Hunter. Can't wait to open presents. If I'm lucky, Jill and Todd will let us do it tonight. Then I'll be able to play with the new toys with the kids.

I went to Starbucks at the airport, got a cup of coffee, walked away, and immediately spilled a good portion of it on my shirt. So I spent the remaining time at the airport in the bathroom, washing and drying my shirt. Oh, yay!

Trip from Milwaukee to St. Louis was uneventful, I tried to edit some web pages but I didn't have enough information. Will have to wait until I get back to the office on Monday.

From St. Louis to LAX there were little kids puking behind me. The guy sitting next to me was watching Monty Python, so I watched too. Even without the sound, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is hilarious.

I'm a Gold level frequent flyer on American Airlines, so that's nice. But I used to be a super-dooper cutie-patootie high-falutin' 100,000 miles a year flyer. Then I would be bumped to first class. Where I belong.

1/13 Okay... back to writing from my head rather than the notes I took on the plane. It only took me 45 minutes to drive from LAX. The freeway gods were with me. While driving I listened to my Spanish tapes and that made the time go by quickly.

When I arrived the kids burst out of the door so quickly it surprised me. Shouldn't have but it did. Those first moments with the kids are always magical. And it's always such a treat to see my beautiful daughter Jill.

We went inside and caught up. We played new games the kids got for Christmas. And I read four books to them while Jill went to the store to get the makings for fajitas. Todd got home around 5:45, and we ate around 6:15 or so. The kids ate very well, because we said we were going to open presents as soon as dinner was done. Todd and I did the dishes quickly while Jill sat on a heating pad for a while. Her back is a lot better, but still hurts.

Then the mayhem began. Everyone loved all the presents I brought. I'm happy about that. And I got some great stuff. Kayla picked out this frog rattle (not really a rattle, but the wood clicks). I love it. Hunter gave me a new stuffed frog for my collection. Kids picked out those gifts themselves. From the whole family I got a pink Green Bay Packers ball cap. Limited edition, and some of the money goes to breast cancer research. I really wanted this cap. Finally I got a really nice (meaning big) gift card for Loews. (The last few years I got them for Home Depot, but I told Jill and Todd that a Loews is going up across the street from my office and also about a 1/2 block from my home.) I'm ecstatic about that gift.

The kids went to bed around 8:15 and I was up there by 9 (11 at home). Really tired. Too bad I didn't sleep well. Got up at 6 with the kids. Well, Hunter was up several times during the night with bad dreams. So that kept me up. And Kayla always sleeps with me. She moves around like she's doing gymnastics. But I wouldn't change a thing. It's such a treat to have that sweet child cuddle close to me.

Jill left for work a little before 6:30. I took the kids to Coco's for breakfast. Then we went to Walmart. I was looking for something for myself. Ended up buying Kayla a beautiful outfit, and Hunter some toys. He said, "I don't need clothes. I need toys."

We ran late, so I didn't have time to give them baths, we just had time to get home and have Kayla change into school clothes. Hunter and I dropped her off at school. (I think she's pretty popular. Other kids came running up to her as soon as they saw her.)

Hunter and I then went to Chuck E. Cheese for play and lunch. Yesterday when I arrived, he said, "I have an idea for our special day tomorrow....Chuck E. Cheese. (He said the name with eyes wide, big smile, huge dimples--like he was giving me a great gift. Truthfully, I'm a freak who loves Chuck E. Cheese.)

We ordered our pizza and began playing. Almost ordered an individual pan pizza, but thought I could bring the leftovers home for tonight. Jill and Todd are going out for dinner and the kids and I are having an "eat whatever you want" supper. Kayla is going to make a special English muffin pizza that she invented. Hunter wants to make mac and cheese, and I'm craving a salad.

Anyway, H and I ate the whole little pizza. We each had four pieces--although he took some of mine as well. He wanted a cheese pizza so I ordered 1/2 cheese, and 1/2 vegetarian. He ate lots of my veggies, so I warned him next time we're going to get all veggies.

We had a great time. He's napping right now. In 1/2 hour we have to leave to go pick up Kayla from kindergarten. She goes from 11-3. Then we'll pick up toys and get ready for Mom and Dad to come home. Later tonight we'll play more games.

I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

1/11 Let's forget about it

Let's pretend that last post never happened...

One thing that has me smiling is that I'm leaving tomorrow for Los Angeles. It will be a quick turnaround, I'll leave there at 6 AM on Sunday to get back to reality. But for those few brief days I'll be in Grandma heaven.

I'll have to take some work with me, but since the plane ride is four hours, and the layover in a second city is an hour, I'll have time to work and won't have to do any while there. That's a definite good thing.

As I wrote the earlier blog entry I said there was nothing I could pinpoint that might make me feel down. "Physician, heal thyself!" or more appropriately--trauma counselor, get a grip! When I came back from working with the Red Cross at the end of November I didn't feel the usually inevitable letdown. That, plus experiencing a glorious Christmas with my family, could be the cause of what I'm feeling now. I do know I'm still homesick.

Or it could be that it doesn't matter. :) I'll be in a very good mood when I get home tonight--I'll be packing for a great weekend.

1/11 An unexpected and unwelcome visitor

I'm depressed. Eyes are stinging from unshed tears. Don't you dare say "cheer up." That's like telling someone with a broken arm to un-break it.

This is an infrequent occurence. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was depressed. I can remember some significantly negative situations in my life when I was depressed. Days in 1968, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1992... every one of these dates bears a sad trademark. Since then though, there haven't been horrific days.

But there's nothing to point at as a cause this time: No one died (thank God); no one left me; I have a job; I have a home; I can pay my bills; my family loves me. No cause. Just there--like an unwelcome and unexpected visitor. This isn't the kind of depression that would force someone to take to bed with a cover over her head. This is a "what's wrong with me" melancholia. Able to work, able to laugh, able to make others laugh. But sitting in my office with the door closed and the music going, my face hurts from not crying. I'll fix that when I get home.

And on the forums I frequent, people won't notice--unless they also read my blog.

People may be surprised that I--a stereotypical Pollyanna with a perpetual smile--might be depressed. Smiles hide a lot.

(I'm not allowing comments on this thread. I don't want anyone to be nice to me. And don't worry, I never have been and never will be suicidal. Just depressed.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

1/10 Movie of my life

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick

You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times. Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!

Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite

1/10 Amazing

I just finished speaking to my daughter, Jill, via instant message. If I weren't at work, we would have turned on our webcams and I would have talked to my grandkids--voice and picture.

This morning, before I left home, I communicated with my son and daughter-in-law in Okinawa. We read each other's blogs, we are on the same writers' forum, and we email. Sometimes we use Skype to communicate via instant message, with voice. They broke their webcam or lost it or something, so we don't use that. But I am able to hear their voices.

When we absolutely must, we use the telephone. But we all have access to computers almost constantly, so we don't phone very often.

I even have access with my digital phone--I receive email, instant message (through Yahoo), and can read their blogs as well. This is so welcome when I'm in airports and on the road.

All this technology helps me immensely. I'm living and working where I have no family, and now it's so easy to connect. Almost my entire extended family uses Yahoo Messenger. I have it at work, but don't use it. It says "I'm working." But it's there so my kids and sibs can contact me immediately if something important happens. When I lived in Englad in 2004, it was invaluable.

It's so cool to feel close to my kids (that includes you, Beata), even though they live thousands of miles away.

I'm a lucky bug.

Monday, January 09, 2006

1/9 Saint Jer

Okay, maybe not saint, but I do feel pretty virtuous getting up early and going to the gym before work. But the halo slipped somewhat when I ate too much at lunch. Damn. (Oops, slipped some more.)

Working hard today trying to get a lot done before leaving Thursday for LA. Plus I'm going to Rochester NY in a few weeks on business, and there's tons of prep to do for that. So I'm listening to Rod Stewart croon to me as I try to get back on task.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

1/8 So far...

I've cleaned out one closet and finished wrapping all the presents for California and for Rob/Beata. Pretty good for a Sunday. (I leave for LA early Thursday morning, so I'm quite excited. It's been since October since I've seen my grandkids, and I miss them so much.) Rob and Beata's aren't going to be opened until March, but at least they're wrapped and I was able to clean up my living room.

Then I fell asleep in my chair, watching a movie. The sound of a RING!!!! woke me up. My daugher instant messaged me, so we talked for a while, which is always wonderful.

Now--back to my chair. Tomorrow is a big day at work. (I'm going to the gym before the office, too.)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

1/7 More on today

I worked on my desk for 2 1/2 hours. Still only completed the main part. The side return on the desk is still piled high. But at least when people walk by my office they can see me, and know I'm working. Or not. Oops, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to clean off those stacks.

After that I went to Starbuck's and wrote for over an hour. A conversation at the next table piqued my imagination, and I think it can turn into one of those minute mysteries for Women's World. My friend, Gloria, has sold to them a lot, and it can be quite lucrative.

Now I'm home and catching up on Stargate Atlantis.

1/7 So far so good

I got up fairly early. Loitered at home awhile, then drove to the gym. It's 1/2 hour away, but the closest one to work. I did the elliptical for 35 minutes until I was nice and sweaty. And attractive. Then drove to work, which is where I am now. Made the mistake of turning on the computer and have become distracted. In a few minutes I'll turn this puppy off, and start on my desk. I'll play the Spanish tapes and try to multi-task. There's no one else here, so currently Bob Seger is blaring, but I'll change that to Spanish in a moment--no one else is here to think I'm nuts. More later...

Friday, January 06, 2006

1/6 Pondering

I'm in a writing slump. Not at work--here, articles have deadlines and I meet them.

I'm talking about writing in my "spare" time. I've gotten some excellent, excellent advice from members of my online writers' group. And I'm feeling inspired.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I have plans. First, I'm going to the gym. (Yes, this is really me writing this.) Then I'm coming into this office and clean--and put away four years of "stuff." (I would say four years of shit but I don't want to offend anyone.)

My desk is just piled with paper. I need to file, pitch, laugh, cry, think about, whatever...

When I'm finished with that, and if it's still Saturday, I'm going to Starbuck's to write. Why there? If I'm at home I'll be distracted by work that needs to be done, Stargate that needs to be watched, people who need to be written (online), and other everyday things that attack us in our own abodes.

But at Starbuck's, all that I'll do is drink a Decaf Tall Americano, look at people, and write.

That's my plan. Here's hoping I stick to it. I'll feel really good about myself if I do.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

1/5 So much is happening

I'm now on the Red Cross, DSMH (Disaster Services-Mental Health) team, and will be on call for two weeks in March for the first time. In the meantime I have a two day training to attend in February, and a meeting to go to. This will certainly fill up the "I'm-missing-my-family" time.

Just got an email from an editor asking for an article to be done by the end of January. It will be a quick turnaround, but I'll get it done. Also got a call from a DA's office across the country asking for some assistance. PLUS I got my hair cut today. Busy day. (Yes, I know the haircut isn't in the same class as everything else. It's more important.) :)

My dear d-i-l started a blog, and I'm thrilled. Hope she keeps up with it, because I'll get more info and pics. Sometimes I forget what she and Rob look like. Sigh. But here's the latest picture, and they look adorable as usual. This was taken New Years Eve on Torii Beach in Okinawa.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

1/4 Spanish

I received the CDs today to continue studying. The first eight units are similar to the shortened version I already have, but that's no big deal. The next 24 will be new info. And I'll get $100 off on the next level when I return these.

So I'm psyched to continue. Of course the next place the Red Cross sends me will probably have people who speak Russian, and then I'll yell, "DRAT!"

1/4 Beata

Got Beata involved in my online writers' group, and she's having fun there. It will be great when she meets them in Nashville. Hope Rob can arrange to be there too. Here's Beatka's latest haircut. She's so lovely.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

1/3 Religious founder I resemble

This is fun. Try it!

Siddhartha Gautama
You two would probably really get along!
Founder of Buddhism "All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?"

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Intuitive

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Structured

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on Mildness

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on Traditional
Link: The Religion Founder You Resemble Test written by Stinkbot on Ok Cupid.

1/3 Work work work work work

So much to do today, and I'm getting quite a few things done. Some major things to accomplish today:

1. Publish an online newsletter.
2. Copyedit a hardcopy newsletter, due to the graphic artist tomorrow.
3. Prepare for a trip to Rochester NY by reading copious pieces of paper. Luckily, it will be fairly interesting stuff.
4. And, personally, I need to stay on top of my comedy routine. Still don't know when our performance is at Giggles Comedy Club, but it could happen fairly quickly.
5. A friend gave me the manuscript for his non-fiction book. Haven't been able to start it yet, but will read it with an eye for editing.

Guess that's it for today. Also, guess I better stop doing this and get back to work.

Monday, January 02, 2006

1/2 Picture from family

Not quite as many folks were at the cemetary for the annual "let's drink beer with the folks" visit, but Cindy said some of the little ones were in the car, and a few others were at the house waiting for the festivities to begin.

1/2 Pretty darn productive!

Am in the midst of wrapping presents for my late Christmas in LA. It's less than two weeks away. The number of gifts is quite a surprise! Didn't realize I'd bought so much, but Kayla and Hunter will be happy. They already love their Grandma. This will just cement things a bit. I buy all year long when I find sales, so when I begin wrapping it's fun once again to see what I've bought.

I spoke to Rob and Beata last night. It was evening here and morning there. While talking I had an absolute brilliant idea, and they agreed. I invited them to join me in Nashville for a writers' reunion I'm attending in April. By then they'll be living in North Carolina instead of Japan, so it will be a fairly short jaunt. I've got a reservation at an Embassy Suites, so there will be plenty of room for them. They're excited about coming and meeting my writer pals, and since both of them are writers themselves, it will be a grand networking opportunity for them.

Yes, I'm pleased with myself today.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

1/1 Post from last year!

I just called my family. Everyone is at Joe and Cindy's house. They'd returned from the cemetary, ate lunch and are now getting ready for Texas Hold'Em. Of course they all teased me. One brother thought I was on my cell phone and would be walking through the door. Alas, it's not to be this year. But as promised to a few friends, here's an account of last year's party... and a picture that I'd posted later.

1/2/05 Happy New Year!
This is my first opportunity to post. I had the best New Year's ever. On Thursday, due to the evil genius of my s-i-l, Karen, married to my brother Jim, we decided that on Saturday we'd drive to Quincy and surprise everyone at the cemetary. I live 6 hours from Q and they live 4 1/2 hours, so I drove to their place and rode with them.

First we had New Year's Eve at their home. They have a dinner party every year with a few friends. And they have the most well stocked bar I've ever seen. I got fooled into drinking grappa last year (never again) and this year drank glug (gloog?), a Scandinavian drink made from fermented raisins and other fruit with grain alcohol added. Reminded me of college. Not horrific, but not interested in doing it again. And the worst was malert, or was it spelled melort or malort? Yeah, I think it's malort. Anyway, it's a cross between gasoline and horse pee. I'm sure that's what those two things would taste like, although I've never had the privilege. But trust me--malort is absolutely wretched. I'm shivering as I type.

I did drink tons of really good liquor however. Since the guest room is right next to the bar in the lower level, I thought it was a good time to drink.

We got only about 2 hours sleep because we had to wake up at 4:30 and left for Quincy at 6 AM Friday morning and arrived at the cemetary around 11:15 AM, just 5 minutes before the Quincy relatives. We'd opened beers and were standing by Mom and Dad's graves. Everyone was so surprised to see us. Our plan worked.

We all (nearly 20 of us?) drank and toasted our parents. Then some poured a little beer on their graves, and also on Grandpa and Grandma's. Individuals went around to visit other graves--their inlaws or friends. Some friends died young, as teenagers or young adults, and my brothers tipped a few drops there too.

This is one of our favorite family traditions.

Mom died the day after Thanksgiving in 1980--young and unexepectedly. Dad died 5 years and 34 days later on New Year's Day 1986. He died in his sleep and we know that the last thing he heard was my brothers' laughing in the dining room as they played Risk. My brother Joe and s-i-l Cindy bought our family home and every year since Dad's death we've gathered there on New Year's Day to play games and have fun. But we always start with a visit to the cemetary to have a beer with Mom and Dad.

We played so many different games--but this year the favorite was poker, Texas Hold 'Em. I ended up coming home with about $50 more than I went with. A very cool, and unusual occurence. We played $5 games and then $10 games. And we had two tables of seven people playing. What a riot!

The food was superb, as was the beer. But the best thing was the company. From the youngest member Blake (less than a year) to the oldest member me. And we had two "boyfriends" there. Jenna's boyfriend Josh and Kristen's boyfriend Rich. Neither one was scared away, which we always think is a good sign. (My daughter lost two boyfriends after they met us en masse. We knew Todd was a keeper after he didn't break up with her.)

I got home late this afternoon and have happy memories. And also a real need for sleep.


(Note: there are now 47 folks in our family, and usually more than 20 make it out to the cemetary for the annual drink-a-beer-with-the-folks gathering. I don't know how many went this year, but here's a picture from 1/1/05. I'm in the middle in the rose-colored coat with a beer in my hand.)

1/1 Happy New Year! (And I met someone from Quincy.)

I had fun last night working at ComedySportz. We had two nearly-full houses for the shows, so that was good. Everyone was in a festive mood, and that made my job quite easy.

A family walked in and the woman said their name, then spelled it. I said, "I know how to say your name. It's German and there are people with that name in my hometown." She asked where I was from. When I said Quincy, Illinois, she said, "So's my husband." She called him over and sure enough, he was from Quincy originally. And his dad and uncles went to St. Francis--the same grade school my family went to. I think one of his uncles was in my sister Jan's class. Their last name is Scheufle (pronounced shy-flea). Mark said I was one of the very few people who said their name correctly. And I think I even spelled it right. (Jan, if you read this--his dad is Richard and his uncles are Larry and Robert.) It was neat meeting someone who not only had been to Quincy but had been born there.

Willard Scott on the Today Show once said he had the best catfish of his life at the Skyride Inn in Quincy. It's odd that I've always remembered that. Besides being the birthplace of Mary Astor, I always thought Willard's comment was Q's claim to fame. :) (For you young ones, Mary Astor was an amazing actress. Among her many roles, she was the female lead in The Maltese Falcon, and was the mother in Meet Me in St. Louis. She had a tremendously long German name, but I can't think of it now. The Packers just sacked Seattle's quarterback, so I'm quite distracted.)

Back to the point, right after the 10:30 show started, Dick and Buddy gave me a glass of champagne and a bottle as well, perhaps about 1/4 full. On the occasions I do drink, I tend to enjoy beer, but I drank the glass. It ended up being all the alcohol I consumed.

When we work at CSz, we always get a "shifty" afterward. A free drink of our choice. Most of the time I get a bottled root beer, but sometimes a Leinie Honey Weiss or a Heineken. So when I didn't want anything to drink because I had a 20 minute drive ahead of me, full of cops on the side of the highway, Buddy gave me two unopened Honey Weiss bottles. That was sweet.

I'm sleep deprived, but not because of partying. I left CSz around 11:30 PM but didn't get to sleep until 1:30. Woke up at 6:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. The good news is that I'll be able to take a nap whenever I feel like it today. The bad news is that I will be totally non-productive because I'm feeling sleepy.

I discovered another favorite movie today--Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslett. What a remarkable film! I laughed and cried throughout. The imagination of J.M. Barrie was undeniably creative, fun, and oddly endearing. The film really brought Barrie, his relationships, and his creations to life. I loved it!