Friday, February 27, 2009

My Other Kid is a Smarty Pants ... I mean, Junior Lawyer ... Too

Here is the conversation my husband had with my daughter at 8:45 last night:

Husband: Hey, I need you to brush your teeth and be in bed with the lights out by 9:00.

Daughter: OK, Daddy!

* * *

Here is the conversation my husband had with my daughter at 9:15 last night:

Husband: Why are you still awake and playing with your Nintendo DS? You're supposed to be sleeping!

Daughter: But Daddy, I brushed my teeth, and I'm in bed and the lights are out! I did what you said!!!

Husband: : : : [sigh] : : :

* * *

Clearly we need a little more discipline around here...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Am Raising A Junior Lawyer (formerly known as a "Smarty Pants")

Here is the note that was sent home from my son's ("LegalMist's Son," aka "LMS") Kindergarten class last week:

"Please keep LMS's gloves at home. He plays during class with them. Thank you."


Here is the conversation I had with LMS this morning as we prepared to leave for school:

"Buddy, your teacher sent a note home with you last week, didn't she?"

"Yes."

"Do you remember what it was about?"

(Sadly) "Yes. I can't take my gloves to school any more."

"Do you remember why?"

(Looking down, fidgeting, talking softly). "Because I was playing with them in class."

"That's right. So, I'm sorry, but you'll have to leave those home today."

(Defiantly) "These? But, mommy ... no! These aren't gloves, they're mittens!"



* * *

Do you think his teacher will appreciate that bit of legal mumbo jumbo?

.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Exciting Yet Somewhat Ambiguous Results of LegalMist's Not-So-Scientifically Accurate Polls

The polls are closed, the votes are counted, the results are in, the people have spoken, and I have a mandate .... (have I missed any cliches?) ... let's discuss. In fact, let's dive right in and thoroughly over-analyze the results, because over-analyzing is my specialty!

First up, the results of the poll that was supposed to test whether these polls produce valid results:

When asked, "Do you participate in polls on blogs?" 15 voters said, "yes."

... wait for it ...

The other 3 voters checked the box that said "No I hate them and never participate in them."

Uh... what? But.... hello, you just participated in one! Clearly, saying "I never participate" is incorrect!

Apparently some of you voters are not the brightest bulb in the box ... not the sharpest knife in the drawer ... not the quickest player on the court ... not the most brilliant star in the sky ... uh-oh, there I go with my cliches again. Sorry.

Let me be more succinct. To the three of you who voted in my poll to tell me that you "never" participate in blog polls (and I'm not naming names, you know who you are), in the words of Bill Engvall:



Here's your sign!


And yours. And yours.

Wear it with ... uh ... pride?








Ok, I admit it is possible you are not in fact stupid; perhaps you are merely sarcastic. Or perhaps you like to go around to web sites with polls and vote the opposite of how you really feel. In which case, I am still giving you the "sign," but you can just keep it as a memento and will not have to actually carry it around.

Either way, these results certainly cast doubt on the validity of the other two polls, eh?

Nevertheless, here are the results of the other two polls:

(And here I must interject that, now that the votes are in, blogger won't let me read the original wording of the questions. There must be a way, but I haven't found it, so I am paraphrasing based on what I remember writing, so if you remember the wording of the answer choices differently, you are probably right and you don't need to berate me in the comments for it).

The poll regarding comment moderation asked, "Does comment moderation deter you from leaving comments?"

2 of you said, "Yes, I never leave comments on blogs with comment moderation."

10 of you said "It's annoying, but I comment anyway."

6 of you said, "It doesn't bother me."

Wow. Those results are pretty clear. I mean, if someone took the time to vote, it likely means one of two things: (1) they felt strongly about the issue; or (2) they are the sort of reader who is most likely to participate in my blog -- whether by answering poll questions or by commenting.

Since I am apparently annoying the overwhelming majority of the folks who voted in my poll (and that group likely consists of the same group of folks who would be likely to comment), even to the point of keeping some folks from commenting, I am going to alter the comment moderation feature.

As I've said before, I love your comments. I hang on your every word. I don't want to miss them.

On the other hand, because I don't want to miss them, I like comment moderation for older posts because it notifies me that a new comment has arrived.

So, a compromise is in order. (See, Obama would love me. I'm all about trying to work with people to make everyone happy).

I previously had comment moderation turned "on" for posts older than 3 days. I've changed that to 10 days. I'll scroll down to see if there are new comments for posts within the past 10 days. Or check my email more often. Or something. I just want to make your lives a little easier, and I hope you will leave me more comments now that you know you probably won't have to deal with comment moderation.

And, rest assured, I will always post your comment, even if you disagree with what I have said or say things I disagree with. So, please, don't let a little moderation on really old posts stop you from saying whatever is on your mind. I'll be sure to read it, and may even respond if it's the sort of comment that needs a response.

The only exception would be a personal attack on another blogger, or a racist rant, or other comments that are just flat-out mean. But those would be deleted even if I didn't have comment moderation, so there's not much difference there. And truly, I have not had a problem with any of those issues so far. My readers (all of you) have been basically kind and respectful, if sometimes a little snarky or sarcastic for fun, which I love.

The last poll asked, "Does word verification deter you from leaving comments on my blog?"

I am clearly paraphrasing here, but the results were as follows:

No one promised to comment every time if I would just turn off the stupid thing.

2 voters said they hate it and it sometimes deters them from commenting.

1 voter said it's annoying, but they probably wouldn't comment much anyway.

6 voters said it doesn't stop them from commenting.

10 intrepid souls said they would march through the fires of heck to comment on my blog, so a little word verification certainly would not stop them.

2 voters (probably 2 of the 3 who said they "never" vote in polls) said they "love" word verification because it is so much fun to see what apropo nonsense words it produces. Or something like that.

So, a clear majority either likes word verification or doesn't mind it. I could just leave it turned on. But 3 voters (probably some of my most involved readers, as explained above) are at least marginally annoyed by it. So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to turn it off for now. But if I start getting spam comments again, I will turn it back on again and feel secure knowing that most of you will still share your thoughts in the comments section.

If the 2 of you who voted that you "love" word verification are sad, well, I'm sorry. Maybe it will be back soon!

That was a lot of fun, wasn't it? I hope you all feel that your input has been carefully considered and analyzed, and that a fair result has been reached.

If not, please feel welcome to leave a comment telling me so.
.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Last Day To Vote ...

... in my three lovely polls, right over there. ==>

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now...

When I attended the University of Virginia, I loved to sit outside on a clear spring day. The University has thousands of gorgeous old, huge trees lining walkways across huge expanses of grassy lawns. The new green leaves set against the brilliant blue sky with bright white clouds .... oh, I could lie on the soft green grass and stare through the tree boughs to the blue sky beyond and daydream for hours there.

Spring was all the more beautiful because it followed what was generally a long, cold, and dreary winter. Those of you who live in places such as Minnesota (or even Connecticut) will scoff at me for thinking it is cold in Virginia, but those of us who were born and raised in Florida find Virginia to be intolerably damp and frigid in January and February.

Spring in Virginia meant we could enjoy warmer weather, sunnier skies, bright flowers and green trees, and, best of all, summer vacation within a few short weeks. I loved it!

Then I moved to Arizona, where the winters are warm-ish and sunny and not very long at all. I still loved Spring. But it lost some of its cachet.

Spring, here, means that Summer is just around the corner. Summer. With temperatures exceeding 100 degrees day after day.... and sometimes even night after night in July before the monsoon season brings some cooling rain. Trees and grass turn crispy and brown from the heat and lack of rain. Car door handles and steering wheels are too hot to touch, ironically requiring the use of "driving gloves." (I never wear gloves while driving here in the winter. They are quite handy, however, in the summer.) Every summer, the local news crews find it amusing to pick a particularly hot day and show how one can fry an egg on the sidewalk.

Don't take all this the wrong way. I do not mean to complain. I live here for the simple reason that I prefer those 100-plus super hot days every year to the cold and wet Winters in Virginia. But that doesn't mean I have to love the heat. There is, after all, the concept of "too much of a good thing."

In Arizona, Autumn** is wonderful, coming, as it does, after the seemingly interminable blazing hot summer, and being the harbinger of cooler days and nights to come. Finally along about Halloween you can count on evening temperatures below 80 degrees. November and December are generally delightful, weather-wise. January is sometimes a bit chilly for my liking, but February perks right up again. Yes, Autumn, leading as it does straight to the beautiful Winter season, quickly became my favorite time of year here.

But the beauty of an Arizona Autumn differs substantially from the beauty of a Virginia Spring. Instead of spending hours outside staring at the new green leaves on the trees in April, thanking the heavens and Mother Nature for the beauty that is Spring, I focused more on the newly re-discovered Autumn wonders of warm (not hot!) evening walks, colorful sunsets, moonlit clouds, and cool night breezes.

None of these amazing experiences particularly requires eagle-sharp eyesight to enjoy them, and so I did not immediately notice that my eyesight had diminished.

In fact, it took at least a year before I noticed that I couldn't read street signs from very far away while driving on the freeway. Then another season or two so before I realized that I was having a bit of trouble reading street signs at all while driving.

So I had my eyes checked. Sure enough, I needed corrective lenses. My eyes aren't terribly bad; I am not even required to wear corrective lenses while driving. In fact, I can see cars, people, animals, lane lines, traffic lights -- everything that is necessary to avoid crashing my car. But I much prefer to see well, not merely adequately, while I drive, since it makes it so much easier to find the correct exit on the freeway.

And so I faced the reality that my eyes were no longer perfect, and it was time to remedy that problem.

I first tried wearing contact lenses, but I never could learn to put the darn things in my eyes efficiently. It took me 45 minutes every morning -- time I knew I would rather spend doing something else. Sleeping, for example, is always a good thing to do early in the morning. I had no problem at all taking the contact lenses out of my eyes in the evening; it seemed somehow normal to me to *remove* an item from my eye. But every reflex and fiber of my being resisted my attempts to place those foreign objects (er, I mean, "contact lenses") into my eyes each morning. And once I had them in, I spent most of the day squinting and blinking and applying eye drops, trying to keep my eyes moist enough so they didn't hurt. (Did I mention the average summer humidity here ranges from 12% to 50%? Compare that with Northern Virginia's range of 55% to 90%, and you can see how my eyes might have had a bit of trouble adjusting...)

I am a persistent person. I do not give up easily. But after several months of this ridiculous 45 minute ritual every morning and the subsequent all-day squinting and squirting marathon, I conceded defeat. I would have to wear glasses.

I fretted about wearing glasses. I was vain enough to wonder whether I would look older, less "cool" (my kids would probably question whether I was ever really "cool," but I sure thought I was), or less pretty (a fellow in college once said I had "eyes a guy could lose his soul in"; I didn't want to cover them up!). More importanly, I hadn't the foggiest idea how to go about picking frames that "matched" my face and looked stylish. I scoured magazines for photos of celebrities or models wearing glasses, looking for fashion guidance, but such photos were few and far between.

Eventually, I swallowed my pride and vanity, took along my husband and a friend for fashion advice, and picked out some frames for my corrective lenses. I found some that looked cute, and I bought them. I loved them immediately because I could read street signs and I did not have to squint.

And then Spring rolled around. All I could say was, Wow! I could see every leaf on every tree for the first time in years! They were so green, and so distinctly individual, and so... beautiful.

I love Spring again. It is once more the most beautiful of all the seasons. I can see the bees as they buzz around the flowers. I can see the individual petals on the flowers, rather than just a blur of color. I can see the difference between the new bright green needles on our pine tree and the older dark green needles left over from last season. I can see the stamens peeking from the cactus flowers. I can see the pouffy cloud shapes and the wispy hazy clouds and the feathers on the birds, and the hummingbird beaks (we have lots of hummingbirds here in Arizona) and the patterns on the butterfly wings. In short, I can see the wonder and the beauty and the fantastic bounty of nature that I missed for years!

Maybe it wasn't the heat, after all, that caused me to lose my enthusiasm for Spring. Maybe it was the fact that I just couldn't see it very well. Because here it is, more than 15 years after I got my first pair of glasses, and I still love Spring in Arizona.


______________

** In Virginia, we used to call it "Fall," presumably because the leaves would fall from the trees (and I loved the Fall, too, in Virginia. It had its own rather melancholy beauty, but I'll write about that some other time). Here, the word Autumn seems more fitting. There are some deciduous trees, of course, but they are outnumbered by the evergreen trees and cacti, so that one barely notices that some of the trees are missing their leaves. We have a plum tree, an apple tree, and a pear tree in our yard that lose their leaves about mid-winter, but they are surrounded by the pine trees, the eucalyptus tree, the orange tree, and the various desert shrubs (like the Mexican Red Bird of Paradise) which keep their leaves. There is no noticeable leaf-falling here in the valley of the sun.
.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Very Charming Award

I got another fine award, this time from my bloggy pal Jenners, over at Find Your Next Book Here. Look, isn't it beautiful!?



She received the award (congratulations, by the way!) from Cathy over at Kittling: Books, which is where I found the official description of the award, which is as follows:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

This is not the first award I've received that says it is being given only to bloggers who "are not interested in self-aggrandizement" (or words to that effect). But it always strikes me as a little odd to give an award only to those who, if they truly met the criteria for the award, would not be interested in receiving it. I mean, it seems (to me) pretty clear that those of us who are writing things and hoping others will read them and/or who are at all interested in receiving a blog award, must be at least a little "interested in self-aggrandizement."
Put another way, if one were completely uninterested in self-aggrandizement, one likely would not be blogging (a private blog, with no one invited to read it, perhaps, or a hand-written journal would suffice, right?), and certainly would never accept an award. But then that would defeat the purpose of the award, right? Or maybe I am over-analyzing things, as seems to be my habit.
In any event, "charming" seems to me to be the key, here. So, thank you, Jenners, for calling my blog "charming." I'm smiling now!

Moreover, since this beautiful award was delivered to me without the instructions to deliver it to only 8 bloggers, and since it is so hard to pick and choose only 8 bloggy pals, I'm going to change the rules a bit, as is my custom. (Be forewarned, if you give me an award I am highly unlikely to follow your rules as written!).

I hereby select as recipients of this award *all* of my faithful followers. I click on your little avatars over there and read your blogs, too, and have found all of you to be charming.

As a bonus, if you are not already one of my charming followers but you want me to bestow this award upon you, all you have to do is have a "charming" blog, and then click on that little "followers" icon over there in the side bar. We're on the honor system, here. If your blog isn't charming, don't click over there just so you can receive the award. (But feel free to be a "follower" anyway, if you like.)

(Yes, since you asked, I'm quite sure your blog is charming. Yes, yours too. And yours. But maybe not yours... oh, ok, yes, I see it now, very charming, in its own way .... )

And then, once you have accepted your award, all you have to do is post the lovely little award picture on your blog. You may then deliver it to 8 of your bloggy pals, or 23 of them, or 2 of them, or all of them, or even none of them -- whatever you want to do. Enjoy!

And of course, if you have already received this award, or if you truly are so uninterested in self-aggrandizement that you wish to decline it, no worries. You don't need to "un-follow" me (please don't "un-follow" me! I'll miss you too much!) to avoid this award. You can just pretend your blog isn't charming (even though it is) and that I didn't mean *you* when I gave the award to all of my charming followers.

.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Do Your Kids Do This To You, Too?

LegalMist's Son ("LMS"): Mommy?

LegalMist ("LM"): (Trying to type something in the computer for work) Ummm ... what?

LMS: Can I watch tv?

LM: No. Go play with some of your toys.

* * *

LMS: Mommy?

LM: (Still trying to work) Ummm ... what?

LMS: Did you know that Spiderman was bit by a spider and that's how he got his powers?

LM: LMS, mommy's trying to work right now. Can you go find some toys to play with please?

* * *

LMS: Mommy?

LM: (Getting a little frustrated) What?

LMS: Did you know that I'm Spiderman?

LM: LMS, I'm trying to work. Please don't talk to me right now.

* * *

LMS: Mommy?

LM: (A little more frustrated) WHAT?

LMS: Spiderman always catches the bad guys.

LM: LMS, PLEASE go find some toys to play with and don't talk to me right now.

* * *

LMS: Mommy?

LM: (Very frustrated) WHAT?!?

LMS: The movie Spiderman is just the pretend Spiderman; I'm the real Spiderman, and I'll keep you safe if any bad guys come in, ok?

LM: LMS, GO DO SOMETHING ELSE! I can't talk with you right now!

* * *

LMS: Mommy?

LM: (extremely annoyed) WHAT DO YOU WANT NOW?!?!

LMS: I love you!

. . . . .


I should have let him watch tv.
.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Bag Meme

Alice, over at Mindless Rambling of a 26 Year Old, tagged me with a bag meme. Being the cooperative sort that I am, I am playing along. (Jenners, I promise I'll do that book meme soon, too -- it's just that, well, that one takes so much more thought than this one!)

Here are the rules:

1. Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. No, you can't go into your closet and pull out your favorite purse! We want to know what you carried today or the last time you left the house.

2. List how much it cost. And this is not to judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. So spill it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, we’d love to hear it!

3. Tag some chicks. And link back to this post so people know why the heck you’re showing everyone your bag.

So here is a photo of my current bag. Like Bella and Gwen, I tend to use the same one every day until it wears out, then get a new one. None of that changing my bag daily or weekly to match my shoes or outfit sort of thing. (No time for that!) It's getting a little dinged up.



This bag was free to me; I have no idea how much my mother in law paid for it, but she gave it to me as a birthday gift just as my prior bag wore out, so I was happy and grateful and have carried it since then. It is black leather, sturdy, reasonably good looking, and a little larger than I really need, but comfortable to carry, and I like it.

It wasn't in the rules, but everyone who is playing this game seems to be posting a photo of the contents. Since I'm not shy, I'll play along with that game, too. Here is a photo of the contents of the bag:



Clockwise spiral from top left:

1. Michael's receipt from purchase of supplies for Girl Scout meeting Monday night.

2. Claritin, Aspirin, Kleenex, because you never know when you might need these things. Especially the Kleenex, when you have kids.

3. Mints, regular and chocolate.

4. Pens. I usually have many more than two, but I just cleaned out my bag over the weekend.

5. Emergency grooming needs -- two liptsticks, nail clippers, nail file. I usually have a comb in here, too; must have left it at the office.

6. Lawyer supplies -- post it notes (the white-ish looking blob next to the pens) and paperclips in various styles and sizes.

7. Various punch cards / membership cards / insurance cards, etc, kept in inside pocket for occasional use. The one on top is for the "Gold Bar Espresso" coffee house I've mentioned before. They make the best coffee in town. I am halfway to a free latte there. Woo hoo!

8. Memory stick inside case, for transporting important computer files from office to home and/or on vacation and/or for emergency use.

9. Keys. It looks like a lot of keys, but I don't have any on there that aren't regularly used. There are keys for my car, office (main building door and my office door), mailbox (main door and my box key), my husband's car (ignition and gas), bike lock, my house, and my friend's house. She has Multiple Sclerosis, and sometimes needs me to stop by and help her with this or that. Me having a key makes it easier for her so she doesn't have to get up to answer the door.

10. Business checkbook and wallet containing business credit and merchant cards, as well as business cards and my lucky $2 bill.

11. Cell phone.

12. Personal wallet containing personal credit and merchant cards, and (rarely) small amounts of cash or coins for the parking meter.

Ok, so there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know, and then some, about my bag.

I'm not going to specifically tag anyone else, though. If you are reading this blog and you haven't already been tagged, consider yourself tagged! Or not. Your choice, really.
.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Remember to Vote in My Polls...

. . . there are three of them, right over there! ==>

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Polls Are Now Open

Please vote in my exciting polls over there. ==>

In addition to the polls at the right side of your screen, I'd love to hear your comments on how you feel about the word verification and comment moderation features.

But, before you start haranguing me for being stuck-up or defensive or paranoid or whatever, first consider my reasons for using both:

When I started this blog, I received quite a few spam comments. I got more spam than real comments. (Then again, I only had two readers, so maybe that's not surprising). Even with the word verification, I still get an occasional spam comment, but only occasionally. I also don't mind the word verification on other blogs; sometimes they are rather amusing or cryptically on point and I get a chuckle. But I understand some folks really hate it. Here is your chance to tell me how you feel about it.

I've enabled comment moderation only for posts more than a few days old. I do not use it to selectively publish comments; in fact, I've never failed to publish one unless it was clearly spam, or a duplicate (when someone accidentally hit the "submit" button twice). I just use the moderation feature so I will be notified that the comments are there. I love your comments. I hang on your every word. I don't want to miss any of them. But I don't check my email very often -- maybe once every week or two, depending on how busy I am. And although I generally scroll down through the most recent two or three posts to see if there are new comments, I don't want to have to scroll down through all of the old posts every day just to see if I've got new comments. Thus, the comment moderation is an easy way for me to know that I've got a new comment on an older post.

Now that you've considered my reasons, I still want to know if I am annoying you all with one or both of these features, and thereby reducing the number of comments I get. If that is the case, I will remove one or both of them. After all, I hang on your every word. I am a comment junkie. I crave your approval, disapproval, and/or apathy -- so long as it is expressed in comment form.... so I'll do what it takes to encourage more comments, even if it means checking my email more often and/or deleting spam more often. But if you find them only mildly annoying and it won't make a difference to the number of comments I get, I will likely leave these features as they are now.

So, use the polls at the right to register your opinion!

And use the "post a comment" button at the bottom of each post to tell me how much you love me (or not...)!

My Husband Is Andy Warhol

I came home from work today and this is what I found on my kitchen counter. A wall of Pop-tarts, looking very much like an Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup painting:




Apparently, they were on sale at Safeway for $1 a box. My husband loves Pop-tarts, so he stocked up.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Must Have Been Some Awesome Bar...

We moved into our home in 1990. At the time, I was just starting law school, and hubby (then boyfriend) and I were living together, along with various and sundry other housemates (who have since been replaced by our kids).

As soon as we had the telephone connected, the calls began.

(Telephone rings)

"Hello."

"Hi..... uh, is this Tequila Dan's?"

"Tequila ... What's that?"

"Tequila Dan's, it's a bar. Sorry, I must have dialed the wrong number."

* * * *

(One minute later, telephone rings again)

"Hello."

"Oh, I guess this still isn't Tequila Dan's, huh."

"No, no it's not. It's a house."

"Ok then. Bummer. Well, bye."

"Bye."

Similar conversations took place over many weeks, then months, and finally I asked one of the wrong-number dialers what was so great about Tequila Dan's?

He said, "I dunno, it was just a fun bar. Good drinks. Kind of a dive, though."

* * *

Fast forward to my graduation from law school, three years later, and we were still getting calls every month or so for Tequila Dan's.

* * *

A couple of years later, the calls had pretty much stopped, I thought. But then I got another one as I was making wedding preparations in 1997. And another shortly after the birth of my first child in 1998. Several more as Y2K approached; presumably folks were looking for some place awesome to celebrate, or to sit and watch as the world descended into chaos, if you believed the end-of-the-world-doomsayers.

By then, the internet had been invented (but not by Al Gore), so I googled it and found a photo of a "Tequila Dan's Mexican Food" restaurant sign; the caption said it was on 48th Street in Phoenix.

I wasn't sure if it was the same place. None of the wrong-number dialers had ever called it a restaurant. They all just called it a bar.

But anyway, here is the photo I found:

* * *

I hadn't thought about Tequila Dan's for at least five years. And then, during halftime of the Super Bowl a couple of weeks ago (yes, in 2009), the telephone rang, and the call brought a smile to my face:

"Hello."

"Uh, hi.... Is this Tequila Dan's?"

"No, I'm so sorry, it's not, but can I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

"What is it about that bar? I've lived in this house for nearly 19 years and had the same telephone number the entire time, yet folks are still calling, asking for Tequila Dan's! It must have been quite a great bar, eh?"

"Yeah, wow. I just found this old matchbook from there, and I just thought I'd call and see if it's still there."

"Where was it?"

"Oh, it was on 48th Street in Phoenix."

"Well, it's apparently gone now. Sorry. So what was so great about that bar that you're calling it, 19 years later?"

"I dunno. It was just a fun bar."

This is wrong (and hilarious!) on so many levels. First, who keeps a matchbook from a dive bar for 19 years? Second, who calls that bar during halftime of the Super Bowl? Aren't you already ensconced in a bar or a friend's house or at home drinking and watching the game?!? You're not seriously going out right now, are you? Third, what is so friggin' awesome about this dive bar that people are still calling it NINETEEN YEARS LATER?!? No one has ever really answered that question, other than to call it a "fun bar." Fun is good, don't get me wrong here, but it's not much of a description for a bar you are calling nearly two decades after it apparently has closed....


All I know is, if I ever open a bar, I'm calling it Tequila Dan's. And using my home telephone number.
.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Until last night, I had never watched American Idol.

Well, I admit I have seen bits and pieces on occasion -- a singer here, a judge "critique" there -- but I had never watched an entire episode. I recognize that it is a very popular show and therefore many of you may think I am weird because of this, but I am ok with that. I have my reasons, which I am happy to share with you now. After you hear my reasons, feel free to judge me as weird anyway, if you like.

The first reason I had never watched American Idol is that I don't watch much television in general. I am not a snob. I like television on occasion, and even some of the dorkier shows will often amuse me if I am in the mood to watch television (anyone care to join me for an episode of "Iron Chef"? How about an "Everybody Loves Raymond" rerun?). But I think I have a touch of Attention Deficit Disorder ("ADD"). I will start to watch a show, and then the ads come on, which I can't stand, and so I start a load of laundry, or go to check my email, or start cleaning the bathroom, and then I just never make it back to the show.

Basically, I do not find most television shows interesting enough to remember to come back after 3 or so minutes of ads (and you know I must be bored with a show (or severely ADD, one of those...) if I'd rather clean the bathroom than come back to watch the rest of it!). So, rather than waste my time watching the first 8 minutes of a show, only to forget to watch the rest and then wonder how it all came out, I usually just don't bother. I'll spend that 8 minutes doing something else instead.

The second reason I had never watched American Idol is that, if I do find a show interesting or funny enough to come back after the ads ("The Simpsons," anyone?), and/or if it is a show that, although outrageously awful, sometimes "leaves you hanging" and waiting to see what happens the next week, soap-opera style ("Nip/Tuck," anyone?), I will then find myself addicted to it and wanting to watch it every single time it comes on. Since I am generally pretty busy and don't have a lot of time for television, I try to stick to sit-com's or one-time documentary or contest type shows (like the previously mentioned "Iron Chef") that don't leave you hanging and needing to watch it again the next week.

With American Idol, I was a little afraid that I would get sucked into the competition and start to care about the contestants, and then I would feel obligated to make time for it every week or every day or every however-often-it-airs.

Last night, I watched about 3/4 of an episode of American Idol.

My fears were unfounded. I did not get sucked in. I truly don't care who wins.

Some of the contestants seemed a bit immature or just silly, others a little too desperate or needy, but most of them just seemed like nice folks. Many of them sing quite well; others, not so much, but all of them sing better than I could ever hope to do. I wish them all well and hope they find success and happiness as singers. But the bottom line is, I just didn't find myself caring about any of them any more than the rest.

But I did notice something that bothered me rather a lot and made me not want to watch the show.

First, though, a question for you: How much money do you think they are making with that show?

It has to be a lot. They do not have to pay the "talent," just the 4 washed-up/has-been former stars who are judging the contest and maybe a few decent-but-not-stars musicians. The show is pretty darn popular, so I am sure their ad revenue is quite high.

I could google it and find out, but I don't really care that much.

My point, though, is that however much or little they are making, I am very sure that they could afford to buy or rent chairs for the contestants to sit in during their interminable waits in the "holding rooms."

It just struck me as very cruel that the producers choose not to provide even some standard plastic waiting room chairs for the contestants to sit in while the judges decide their fate. They simply corralled them into large, empty rooms. The contestants were left to lean against the walls or sit on the floor. At least it was carpeted; could have been worse, I guess. But truly, even prisoners awaiting trial get to sit on a wooden bench. Why do they want their contestants to be so uncomfortable?

The situation is probably more of a hardship for the women, in their heels and dresses, than for the men, in their pants and comfy shoes.

But even worse, bordering on "unusually cruel" punishment in my mind, the producers do not provide anything the contestants could read or otherwise use or do to divert their minds from the fact that they are being judged and may not last the night. What would it cost to provide, perhaps, a few old magazines or newspapers for them to read? Or a few decks of cards? Something, anything, to do....

And I would think it would lead to more interesting television, too. Instead of the repetitive and boring shots of a roomful of people pacing around and/or sitting on the floor looking stressed out, we could see how competitive these folks are, and learn a little more about their character.

Do they play poker for money? Or do they play solitaire and hog the deck? Do they fight over the magazines? Do the crossword puzzle in ink or pencil? Read over someone else's shoulder? Find anything to talk about? Do some people sit and stare or pace around and stress out, while others appear to nonchalantly read the newspaper? Does he choose "The Atlantic," or "US Weekly"? Does she read "The Wall Street Journal," or "USA Today?" Does she read the national news, or the comics, first? (I once read that folks who score highest on IQ tests routinely read the comics section first in the newspaper).

Heck, they could provide actual comfortable chairs or sofas, and then we could see if anyone is daring / stupid enough to take a nap and, if so, whether they drool or snore....

In any event, it seems to me that any or all of this would be much more fun than the current footage they are airing of a room full of people just sitting and staring and looking stressed out.

Well, to each his own, I guess. But I probably won't watch it again.

And now you can all tell me how terribly awfully wrong I am, and why this is the greatest show on television, in the comments.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

"No Self-Righteous Pigs"

The lovely and talented and extremely smart and funny Bella, over at That Damn Expat, entitled her post today “No Children.” I have kids, and I love kids, and I wholeheartedly agree with Bella’s general premise that parents should not take their kids to "adults only" venues, and with the specific examples she has given. Parents, please read Bella’s post and take her message to heart. She is right!

Bella also has firmly stated her tolerance for kids in venues where kids should be expected, even though she admits she generally is not fond of kids.** She is right about that, too.

So this post is not an attack on Bella. It’s just that reading her post reminded me of some things I need to get off my chest.

I am trying my very best to raise my kids to be polite, respectful, and well-behaved persons. I do not tolerate misbehavior from my kids in public places, but they are not perfect (yet). We have left restaurants, parks, carnivals, and other fun places when the kids would not calm down and behave. But I will not keep my kids locked up in the house until they turn 18. That would be cruel and impractical, and in any event would not be an effective way to teach them how to behave in polite society.

I take my kids to “kid friendly” places, not to “adults only” venues such as bars, fancy restaurants, or any business with a “no kids” sign posted. Occasionally we venture out to a matinee performance of a kid-friendly ballet (the Nutcracker at Christmas time, for example) or symphony performance, so that the kids can learn to appreciate some of the finer things in life, or to a sporting event such as football or basketball or baseball, so that they can experience the excitement of rooting for their home team. We leave if the kids get too tired or squirmy or whiny.

Please, people, show me, and my kids, the same respect that we try to show you. If you are not a “kid friendly” person, please stay away from venues that cater to kids and matinee performances of kid-friendly shows. And if you are in a venue that caters to both kids and adults, please grow up and behave in a “kid friendly” manner. Don’t act like a pouty three year old just because you happen to see / hear my kid whine or cry or otherwise engage in minor misbehavior.

Here are three examples of ridiculous places where I have been the target of the steely "I can't stand your kids and I wish you all would leave or die" glare and/or nasty comments from entitled kid-hating yuppies, when my kids have done nothing, or very little, wrong:

(1) On an airplane. More specifically, we were flying Southwest airlines. If you are familiar with Southwest, you will know that they do not assign seats – you get to pick your own seat from among the available seats when you board the plane. (This is euphemistically known as "festival seating," as if that will make it more fun.) I arrived early so I could be in the first group of boarders, near the front of the line - one of the first to choose a seat. I selected seats about 3 rows back for me and my 3 year old boy. An entitled yuppie boarded after me. There were lots of other seats and only about 6 kids on the plane at that time. She could have sat nearly anywhere (including in the same row but across the aisle) and not been near a child, but she chose to sit directly in front of me, even though she could see that I was sitting next to my 3 year old boy.

My boy was talking excitedly about what he could see outside the window as we waited for the other passengers to board. The entitled yuppie held her pillow in her hand and glared at me hotly for 10 long seconds, then :::sigh::: slammed her head heavily into her pillow. Apparently, she wanted to sleep on this mid-morning flight, even before take-off, after seating herself right in front of me and my kid when the airplane was nearly empty, and she wanted me to make sure my kid stopped talking entirely? For a 5 hour flight?!? WTF?!? She glared several more times as we continued talking while the passengers boarded, and again after the takeoff announcements finished, before closing her eyes again to try to sleep.

I am evil. And passive-aggressive. And competitive. (This is why I am a good lawyer). You should not enter a passive-aggressive contest with me, because I will win. After the takeoff routine and the b***’s final glare, I said loudly to my boy (so she would be sure to hear and know that I understood why she was glaring at me), “OK, hon, we need to be very quiet now, because I think the lady in front of us wants to sleep. So let's read some books, ok?” I then proceeded to read Dr. Seuss books at a moderate volume for the next half hour, and then sang songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “The Alphabet Song” at the same moderate volume with my kid for another half-hour until the snacks arrived (at which point the flight attendants unwittingly joined my passive-aggressive campaign to keep this lady from sleeping). And by “moderate volume” I mean quiet enough not to disturb the passengers behind us (I don’t think they could even hear it), but I leaned forward over the books slightly and talked and sang just loud enough so my voice projected straight into the b***’s ear. Did I mention that I couldn’t carry a tune if you put it in a bucket for me?

The lady next to me complimented me for entertaining my kid so well, and for how quiet and well-behaved he was. (I think she may have been “in” on the game, because she said it pretty loudly). The b*** in front of me turned and glared some more. She huffed and sighed and twisted and turned, and glared again ... and again ... and again (I smiled at her and sang some more), but she did not sleep a wink.

(2) Denny’s near Legoland, at breakfast time. We picked a family restaurant near the park so we could be sure not to annoy anyone. Yeah, right. Ok, my kid should not have bolted and ran toward the restroom; I talked to him about that as soon as I caught him. But hello! It’s Denny’s near Legoland, Mr. Yuppie in a suit who had the nerve to tell me, as I walked by on the way back to my table several minutes later, that I should “learn to control my kid better” so he wouldn’t “disturb people who are talking about important things.” If you are trying to impress your business client (or was that an overnight date? You really *are* the last of the big spenders, aren’t you?), you might try a slightly more... upscale restaurant? ... perhaps one that does not have coloring designs and kid menus printed on the placemats? I am sure that if the restaurant itself did not impress your client / date / boss / employee, your charm and tact must have impressed her when you oh-so- self-righteously addressed the mom of the kid who was “running wild throughout the restaurant.” (And, for the record, both of my kids behaved quite well thereafter, and my little guy did make it to the potty in time to avoid an accident).

(3) DISNEYLAND. Hello?!? Do you hate kids? Do you hate to hear kids whine in public, ever? Hate to hear a kid cry, or see a kid with a snotty nose? Don’t want to hear, “Mommy, I gotta go potty” while you wait in line for a ride? Then simply DON’T GO to Disneyland!!! Are you AT Disneyland and feeling unhappy and/or annoyed about having to listen to kids who are tired and therefore acting whiny and bratty all over the park? In a reprise from Friday’s post, “Here’s yer sign!!”

If you are among the reasonable persons in the world, you will simply not believe this story:

Last spring, we were waiting in the interminable line for the submarine ride at Disneyland in California (featuring scenes from Disney’s “Finding Nemo” movie, a kid favorite). Kids can’t stand to miss this ride, but there is not much for anyone over the age of about 6 to love. The line was an hour long. It was the shortest the line had been while we were there, so we went for it, because my kids really wanted to see Nemo and it was our last day at Disneyland.

Forty-five minutes into the wait, my 4 year old was (understandably) a bit bored and whiny. We were running out of fun games and distractions for him. He had no interest in any more “I spy” games or “20 questions” or anything else we could think of. He did not want any more snacks. He was trying to climb the rocks (it said no climbing; my husband and I were doing our best to enforce that rule, but the enforcement attempts were causing more whining....).

A young (probably early 20's) couple with no kids were in line a bit ahead of us. They glared at the kid and then at us. Repeatedly. Every time my kid said anything, and every time I said, “no climbing.” Ok, I agree it was annoying to listen to him whine. And I’m sure it was annoying to listen to me saying “no climbing” 28 times in 10 minutes. But I have a question for you, oh entitled yuppie brats, in case you are reading this:

What the H@#% were you doing waiting in line for that kiddie ride anyway??!!

And I have some advice for you, too, for when the kids in the line annoy you: GET OUT OF THE DAMN LINE!

You, and others like you, are a huge part of the problem here, people! You are making the line even longer for the little kids, who do not have the patience or temperament to wait in such a long line, yet will cry for weeks if they go to Disneyland and don’t get to see Nemo. So just leave, please!!

Ok, I’ll concede your right to see Nemo too, if that floats your boat, so to speak. But you are NOT, repeat NOT, entitled to so much as glance sideways at my kid if he does something annoying.

Well, ok, maybe if he does something extreme – kicks you in the shins or wipes his nose on your shirt, for example – you could say “hey, little guy, that’s not nice. Please don’t touch me.” Or to the parents, “hey, your little guy seems to think my shins are fun for kicking / my shirt should be used as a tissue; could you please ask him not to do that?” Any normal parent will apologize profusely and offer to pay your cleaning bill.

But if you are in line for a kiddie ride, you should EXPECT to experience kid behavior from the kids in the line. That means you will hear whining and crying occasionally. You will see some kids with runny noses, and some parents who don’t notice right away. Some kids will chew with their mouths open, drool, and spill their snacks and drinks. You may be bumped by the kids in front of you or behind you as they fidget and bounce and spin to try to entertain themselves. (Although you could help by keeping your distance behind us, you know). If the kids are just being kids, and are not directly attacking you or deliberately bothering you, your ONLY appropriate responses are (1) ignore it all; or (2) in a mild, not too overly friendly / creepy way, help those parents to entertain those poor bored kids! (Take option 2 at your own risk, of course).

Holy cow, people, the bottom line is, there has to be someplace I can take my kids for fun and to attempt to teach them to interact in society, without getting glared at! If you don't want to see kids, don't go to Denny's or Disneyland! If you don't want to hear kids on an airplane, even happy kids who are talking politely to their moms, then for goodness’ sake look around before you choose to sit right in front of one!! And if you just can’t stay away from Disney and Denny’s and kids on airplanes, then suck it up and behave decently; don’t be a self-righteous pig.

Ok, that’s my rant for today. I could rant more ... much more ... but I’ll stop here, as this post already has reached epic proportions.

Let me know your thoughts.

_______

** I’ll forgive Bella this minor flaw of not liking kids (not that she needs my forgiveness or permission to feel any way she feels, of course...), since she is so wonderful in so many other ways. I didn’t learn to like kids until I was over 30; she may even have a change of heart.

But then again, she may not. Some people never learn to like kids, and I wholeheartedly defend their right not to like them and to avoid them if they choose, including by frequenting establishments that post signs that say “no kids” and even glaring at people who violate the "no kids" signs or rules. And I applaud the self-awareness, and even bravery in this sometimes rather kid-centered world of ours, of those who know and admit they do not like kids, and I only beg of them that they take all measures necessary to avoid having kids so as not to subject the poor darlings to the horrid experience of having parents who hate them, which, sadly, happens much more often than it should.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Here's Your Sign

Have any of you guys seen the Bill Engvall comedy sketches about stupid people? His premise was that we should give stupid people signs that say, "I'm stupid," which they could carry around with them so others would know not to rely on them for anything at all.

I was at the coffee shop yesterday, and the person in front of me studied the menu above the barrista's head for several minutes, and then ordered a large iced latte. The barrista asked, "skim or whole milk?" The person asked, "oh, does it have milk in it?"

Uh.... let's see now, "latte" literally means "milk" in Italian. The menu, which the person had studied at length, described a latte as containing milk. The person had studied the sign for several minutes before ordering....

All I could think was, "Here's yer sign..."
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Busy Week -- How About I Just Share A Heartwarming Story I Received In My Email Inbox Today?

Here is a truly heartwarming story that I received via email today, which demonstrates that we all can make a difference when we give a small child the gift of our time and conversation:

A young family moved into a new house next to a vacant lot in a new subdivision near Houston, Texas. One day, a construction crew began to build a house on the empty lot. The young family's 5-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in the goings-on and spent much of each day observing the workers. She was fascinated by the big trucks, the heavy equipment, the various tools, and the fact that these people were actually building a "whole big house!"

Eventually the construction crew adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her during coffee and lunch breaks and gave her little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important (while complying with all the OSHA regulations and labor laws, of course). At the end of the first week, they even presented her with a pay envelope containing ten dollars. The little girl took this home to her mother who suggested that she take her ten dollars 'pay' she'd received to the bank the next day to start a savings account.

When the girl and her mom got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a young age. The little girl proudly replied, "I worked every day last week with a real construction crew building the new house next door to us."

"Oh my goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on the house again this week, too?"

The little girl replied, "I will, if those a**holes at Home Depot ever deliver the f***in' sheet rock."
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Random Photo Meme (Mardi Gras with My Aunt Lou)

Nan, at "All the Good Names Were Taken" has tagged me with a "Random Photo Meme." Here are the rules:

1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.

2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.

3. Explain the picture.

4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

This is a photo of one of the floats in one of the many Mardi Gras parades I attended during my 2007 visit to New Orleans -- my very first Mardi Gras:





It might surprise you to learn that it was my very first Mardi Gras, given that my Aunt Louisiana ("Aunt Lou") (not her real name) has lived in New Orleans for my entire life. She lives on the second floor of one of those huge old three story houses that has been converted to three condominiums (each with two to three bedrooms and two bathrooms -- I mean, seriously, those old houses initially were far bigger than anyone really needed!) about two blocks from the main parade route down St. Charles Avenue. She has attended just about every Mardi Gras parade along that parade route every year for well over 40 years.

My cousin lives downstairs in the same converted house / condominium. (He bought it after he graduated from college, when the folks downstairs conveniently sold it). He and his wife and kids, along with various friends and their families who descend upon them every year, also have attended every parade along that route every year, for as long as they can remember. Most years they even ride a float in one or more of the parades, handing out beads and trinkets and cups and stuffed animals ("throws") along the way.

My Aunt Lou has been begging /nagging me to come visit her in New Orleans for Mardi Gras since I was a first-year college student. So why did I never go before February 2007? Why didn't I go when I was a young and wild college student? That's crazy, right?

Well, when I was in college, Mardi Gras was always a week or two before mid-term exams, or occasionally right in the middle of them, so I never felt that I could miss that week of school. Plus, I have to say I wasn't entirely sure it was a good plan to visit my Dad's sister for a week of drunken revelry -- I was a little afraid of what stories might be told at family events after that. Although I have to say, looking back, that was silly. My Aunt Lou is not one to tell gossipy tales - she enjoys her Mardi Gras visitors too much and she wants them to feel comfortable coming back, so I've never, in all the years I've known her, heard a bad word said about any of her Mardi Gras visitors. She is, instead, always the gracious hostess, welcoming and kind, and later telling flattering tales of the beautiful coat guest x had, and the wonderful conversations she had with guest y, and the awesome dinner she and guest z enjoyed, and how much fun they all had at the parades. Face it, I'm a nut job for not going to Mardi Gras much sooner.

But I never went during college, and after I moved to Arizona, it just seemed like a mighty long way to go for a parade, so the years went by and I just didn't go.

But my Aunt Lou is not to be disobeyed or ignored. When she wants something, she eventually makes it happen. In this case, she really went to extreme measures to get me to come to Mardi Gras.

Ok, I'm not really that self-centered. The thing that happened was not really about me at all, but she and I like to pretend it was, because it makes it more tolerable somehow.

First, a little background. My Aunt Lou used to smoke cigarettes. She smoked for about 20 years. Then, about 20 years ago, she got lung cancer and had to have a lung removed. Her husband (my uncle) was extremely supportive and really helped her out with the chemo treatments and adjusting to only having one lung, and with quitting smoking. He had smoked for years, as well, so they both quit smoking. Sadly, he eventually died of emphysema.

After the surgery and chemo, my Aunt Lou's lung cancer went into remission. She never smoked again, and she faithfully got her screening x-rays for the next 18 or so years, and they always told her everything looked fine.

Then, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans. My Aunt Lou left her beloved New Orleans ahead of the storm, along with the rest of the folks who had enough common sense and enough money to get the heck out of there. She went to Houston and stayed with some relatives, for what she initially thought would be a few days or a week.

But after the storm, New Orleans was a flooded, destroyed mess, and it took months for things to get cleaned up enough that people could return to their homes. My Aunt Lou had to stay with the relatives in Houston for over three months. By the time she was allowed to return to her home, it was January 2006.

My Aunt Lou lives near the Garden District, one of the few places in New Orleans that isn't below sea level, so her home was not flooded. Nor was it blown away or severely damaged by the storm. She was one of the lucky ones in that regard. Nevertheless, she spent several months dealing with assessing and repairing the water and storm damage to the house and replacing appliances. The stove, washer, dryer, toaster, televisions, and just about anything else in the house that had been plugged in had all been ruined -- blown out by the electrical surge that occurred when the New Orleans power company restored power after a couple of months. She wisely declined to open the refrigerator because all the food had been in there rotting for over three months while the power was out. She simply hired some folks to haul it to the dump and bought a new one. And of course, there was Mardi Gras in 2006, too. That couldn't be ignored either, now could it? It would be an understatement to say that she had her hands full.

Hurrican Katrina had destroyed New Orleans just a couple of weeks before Aunt Lou's usual yearly screening x-ray in 2005. By the time she had returned to town and resolved all of the house issues, it was mid-2006, so she figured she would just wait until the next scheduled x-ray in September 2006. After all, the x-rays had been "clean" for 18 or so years, so she figured she was safe.

She wasn't.

When she went for her screening x-ray that fall, they found a lump. One that had "grown a lot since the last time."

"What do you mean 'since the last time'?" she asked.

"Oh, there was a very tiny sort of a spot when you were in two years ago, that we figured we should just watch to see if it was a lump, or nothing at all."

No one had mentioned this "spot" to her before. The lung cancer had returned.

So, my Aunt Lou had to have half of her remaining lung removed, and undergo months of chemotherapy again. Only this time, her faithful, wonderful, and supportive husband was no longer alive to assist her.

She rallied. She called in all her closest friends and family members to assist her by taking turns staying with her during each round of chemotherapy, which really leaves a person weak and helpless for a few days to a week. My cousin and his wife of course helped tremendously and often during the entire course of her treatment, but she felt it would be unfair to dump all of the burden on them just because they live downstairs, so she very graciously asked the rest of the family to chip in where they could. I volunteered to assist for one of the chemo sessions and flew to New Orleans in February 2007. The idea was that I would drive her to and from the chemo appointment, and then would stick around for a week or so afterwards to assist with anything at all that she might need -- shopping, cooking, cleaning, bringing her food or water, even helping her to and from the bathroom if necessary.

But when we went to the pre-chemo screening appointment, there was a minor problem and her doctor said she must wait a couple of weeks before she could undergo that round of chemo. So, instead of needing to play Florence Nightingale, I got to play with my Aunt Lou and my cousin and his family. We had a blast.

My Aunt Lou took me to see some sights in New Orleans. She showed me the areas where the rebuilding was coming along nicely, and we drove through some areas that were still devastated. We wandered through the French Market and had coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde. We walked over to Jackson Square and visited the St. Louis Cathedral. We dined at an obscure sandwich shop that served the best "Po' Boy" I've ever had. We visited friends and relatives in town. We shopped and chatted and rented movies and had a grand old time. I've always loved my Aunt Lou. She is kind, thoughtful, smart, beautiful, and has a good sense of humor. I really enjoyed spending that time with her.

And in the afternoons and evenings, she required me to attend every single Mardi Gras Parade every day, for the entire week. She encouraged/required me to buy a Margarita from the booth at the end of her street (where her street intersects with the parade route). In her words, "They are huge, delicious, and it's a fundraiser for my Grandkids' school." Only in New Orleans at Mardi Gras will you find a Catholic school selling Margaritas to raise money.... and Aunt Lou was right, they were huge and delicious, and only $5. What a deal!

The whole experience was extremely fun from a drunken reveler perspective, and quite an interesting experience from a people-watching and cultural anthropology sort of perspective. I will be forever grateful that my Aunt Lou required me to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, even though I wish she hadn't taken such extreme measures to accomplish that particular goal. Really, we all would have been much happier without the lung cancer.

I'll tell you more about the parades and the culture that has sprung up around them another time; it really was quite fascinating. But this post is getting too long already, and I have yet to complete my required tagging.

I will tell you, before I tag, that my Aunt Lou completed her course of chemo and it appears that the lung cancer has been beaten into submission, or at least remission, once again. And it is truly amazing how well the human body adapts. She won't be running any marathons, and she gets a bit winded going up stairs, but she is managing reasonably well even with only half of one lung remaining in her body. And I am quite sure that, even if hell and high water comes to New Orleans again, she will never miss another scheduled screening x-ray.

I tag:

1. Candy, at Candy's Daily Dandy
2. Kim Ayres, at Ramblings of the Bearded One
3. Michelle H., at The Surly Writer
4. Moe Berg, at Simon Metz

Looking forward to your photos and stories.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Steelers Upset Cardinals In Super Bowl

Well, my Cardinals played hard and played well. They made a few errors, one critical one at the end of the first half where the Steelers intercepted and ran it back for a touchdown, and in the end that came back to haunt them. Pittsburgh beat Arizona, 27 - 23. And so it goes; looks like Dr. Zibbs was right this time. Good call, Dr. Z!

But overall it was a great game, by both teams. A real nail-biter to the end. And not a bad run for my Cardinals, given that at the beginning of the playoffs, no one expected them to advance past the first round.

To anyone who relied on my scoring prediction, which was not entirely accurate this time, I do apologize for the minor error. Apparently I added just a tad too much of that "wishful thinking" ingredient when predicting a Cardinals win. But, in my defense, I have to say I was darn close on the Pittsburgh side of the score (I predicted 29; they scored 27), and I was absolutely right about the Cardinals beating that point spread (7 points!) that the oddsmakers were setting the day I made my prediction. So, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, right?

I just hope none of you bet the farm on the game!

Better luck next time, my little red birds, better luck next time.