Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's My 42nd Birthday!

Just kidding.
Here are some other people who share my birthday:
1974 Christian Bale
1951 Phil Collins (zzzzzz)
1950 Victoria Principal (fabulous!)
1941 Dick Cheney (BOO! HISS!)
1937 Vanessa Redgrave
1933 Louis Rukeyser
1931 Gene Hackman
1882 Franklin Delano Roosevelt

There are some historical events that happened on this day, but they involve syphilitic dictators taking power, the assassination of a promoter of peace and tolerance, and the last performance of a great band. A bummer day in world history. So, let's just think of all the nice things that happened today instead. Okay?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Who Woulda Thunk It?

Like MNMom, I too love tag as it spares me the creative process. So here's the challenge: List 5 things you couldn't imagine 25 years ago. Or something to that effect. Twenty five years ago, I would have been 17, not a great forethought year for me, so I'll bump it up to 21.

1. I never would have imagined that the country and parts of the world would be progressing toward marriage/union rights for gays and lesbians. And would never have guess that Mexico City would arrive there before the U.S. did. From experience I know that it is some expensive time spent with attorneys to cover yourselves when you don't have the rights inherited in a recognized marriage contract. So, just let us get married everywhere, damn it!

2. I couldn't have imagined living with the man I love in the suburbs in a lovely ranch home with two dogs and great gardens. I always thought I would be a city dweller and actually loathed the burbs at age 21. In fact, I don't think I even imagined love correctly back then. It is so different and so much more satisfying than how I thought of it.

3. I didn't imagine that I wouldn't know, at almost age 42, what I want to do with the rest of my life. Though I'm reasonably successful in my current position, there isn't much of a career path and I have no idea what I want to do next. And let's face it, insurance? Not sure this is where my passion lies. Would love to explore a more creative life, but am also a whore for money. *sigh*

4. I never imagined that I would see U.S. involvement in another war, let alone two. I thought war was an outdated notion and that we had grown beyond it. Naive, yes.

5. I never imagined that I would be crafty and enjoy things like quilting and knitting. I thought I would be a poet or something deep that required brooding and a black turtleneck, not a quilter.

Thanks to MNMom and Melinda June for the great tag.

Are YOU Getting Your Daily Fiber?

Holy smokes! These are tasty! And with 9 grams of fiber per bar, they make a great supplement on days when (insert your veggie of choice) isn't available. However, some good things have a down side and I discovered it today. So, here's some advice: don't eat 3 in one day if you plan to spend time around people. I won't elaborate, but let's just say "Poor Curt."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Maybe It Was Just Me?

The other day, I asserted on The Cheesecake Maven's blog that age 14 is an ugly age on everyone. Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe it was just me- acne, the beginnings of a unibrow, a little puberty mustache and big front teeth that are barely contained by my lips. We won't even talk about the fashion. *sigh*

Remodeling Underway

Okay, I'm a sheep. Everyone seems to be remodeling their blogs. So, baaaaa baaaa baaaa. I'm remodeling too. Please be gentle as I tweak this to be prettier and more readable.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta #4

#4: Read on the Beach
Here is our friend Jim expanding his intellect with the book "If I Did It" by none other than Orinthal J. Simpson. We annoyed him by asking "Has he killed her yet?" every ten minutes or so. Apparently, there is a lot of build up because as of half way through the book, OJ was still saying endearing things like "I only hit her that one time and that was it." That makes it okay right? Grrrr. The only bright spot, if there is one, is that the Brown family gets the profits from the book, not OJ. That poor OJ, he can't seem to catch a break. It's not often you get to see someone's karma come around and kick their ass, but there he is for all the world to see. It gives me some faith in universal order.
For my beach reading, I took recommendations from MNMom and Coaster Punchman. MNMom recommended "Little Heathens." I started the book and was enjoying it until I got to the part about graphically killing the two geese for Thanksgiving, at which point I decided this was not a good beach read for me. So, I picked up "How I Paid for College", which is a great beach read. All went well until page 152 when I discovered that the next page was 185. Wha'huh? My book was missing 33 pages right in the middle! Upon return from vacation, Border's gladly exchanged my incomplete tome for a complete version, which I plan to finish this weekend.

I Was Eavesdropping Again v3

Some days, I am a 12 year old boy in a 40 something body. For instance, today I got a chuckle out of this comment as I passed a meeting room and heard my co-worker John say this:

John: You should go see Steve and ask him to show you his tool.

Hee hee hee.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta #3

#3: Enjoy Public Art
One of the things I love most about Puerto Vallarta is the Malecon. The Malecon is a mile long walkway along the oceanfront in downtown Puerto Vallarta. That in itself would be gorgeous, but the city planners really got it right with the 10 or so installations of bronze sculpture by various artists spanning the length of the Malecon. The image above is a portion of a sculpture by Sergio Bustamante. This gentelman(?) stands before a very tall ladder on which two similar figures are ascending to an unknown destination. It really is quite stunning. What makes all these public sculptures really fun though is that the public is allowed to interact with them. On the ladder sculpture there is enough room below the two climbing figures for visitors to climb up a few rungs and pose. Another sculpture features a council of odd sea creatures that also happen to be chairs. Another features a mermaid whose whole body has acquired a lovely patina, all except her breasts, which are fondled so often they are bright shiny bronze.
Sunday night is the big night on the Malecon. It is the night when all the locals and visitors come out with their loved ones to walk up and down, enjoying a variety of food and craft vendors as well as local entertainment. No one is in a hurry and the atmosphere is that of a very mellow carnival. Very nice.

Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta #2

#2: Fly Through The Air With the Greatest of Ease

See the tiny grey dot? That is me zipping from one tree to another across a canyon. What you can't see is the river about 400 feet below me or the expression of sheer exhilaration on my face. On Monday last week, we took a bus about 15 miles south along Banderas Bay to do the Los Veranos Canopy Tour. This isn't so much about learning about trees and wildlife as it is about zipping from place to place at high rates of speed. Fun! I highly recommend Los Veranos if you're considering a tour. Everyone we asked said it was the safest and best of the four tours offered in Puerto Vallarta. Safety, a good thing. A little tip- sign up for the 9:00 a.m. Monday tour. Most visitors arrive on the weekend and haven't had time to think about what they want to do yet, so the Monday morning tour is smaller. We met a really fun couple from Chicago, another from L.A., a nice family from Montreal, and three 20 year old gals from San Francisco one of whom recovered from puking out the bus window on the ride out just to flirt with all the cute tour guides. Would y'all like a mint?

But wait, it gets better. At the end of the canopy tour, you can go play with MONKEYS!! I heart monkeys! These are little cute things of a variety I can't recall that climb all over you with their cold little toes and fingers in their enclosure as you feed them bits of salad. Then they go face first into your pockets looking for stuff to steal. You are instructed to empty your pockets, but some dude had an unopened granola bar that was instantly pilfered by a clever monkey. The keeper retrieved the granola bar, which sort of pissed of the monkey since possession is the law in monkey land.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What To Do In Puerto Vallarta #1

#1: Buy Pretty Things
Puerto Vallarta has some great little galleries tucked away in the Old Town, and even in downtown, which is otherwise dominated by flea market stuff. The galleries range from higher end fine art to galleries featuring traditional folk art. Every Wednesday evening, the fine art galleries host an art walk from 6 - 10 pm, which can be fun with free snacks and drinks, and good people watching.
When I'm in Mexico, I love shopping for things Mexican. For a pasty boy of Scandinavian descent, I'm unusually drawn to Mexican folk art, particularly images associated with Dia de los Muertos. There are tons of folk art shops, but you need to shop around to find the quality of work that tickles your fancy. I was thrilled to find these three lovely Catrinas by local artist Tadeo Cruz. (Actually, the Frida representation wouldn't technically be a Catrina, but we won't get into that here.) They are delicate little clay beauties, standing only about six inches tall. Clearly they love to have their photos taken, even though my photography doesn't do them justice.
One shop we always visit is The Puerco Azul (The Blue Pig), owned by Nancy & Lee Chapman. Nancy writes children's books and Lee illustrates them. Their shop is filled with very lighthearted, endearing prints, books, objects and general curiosities. It is in Old Town just off of the great restaurant street, Basilio Badillo (more on that later).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

And We're Back!

We're back from another great trip to Puerto Vallarta! I've missed reading your blogs and need to get that done before updating you with some highlights of our trip.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kids These Days

So, in a not so lovely McMansion filled suburb called Eden Prairie, MN, a group of high school students were suspended from playing sports and other extracurricular activities after school officials came across pictures of the students on FaceBook depicting them in various stages of drunk. Today, some of them staged a walk out in protest of the "extreme" actions of the school officials. Here is the picture that accompanied the article.

The students are going crazy saying the school invaded their privacy and that the consequences are just too severe. Some genius parents are also defending the students. This has been going on for a few days now- long enough for the public comments section related to this article to get really interesting. Here is a post from EP Student, possibly the blue tongued gentleman in the photo above:

January 9th, 2008 at 12:05 pm
I think this is total waste of time. I think they should let us do whatever we want, we are the future of this country and should be able to have fun before we run things. I keep a bottle of vodka in my locker so I can party it up all the time. The teachers should spend less time worried about what we do and more about how they aren’t getting any at home.

Okay, kids. How STUPID are you to post pictures of yourself boozing it up underage on the INTERNET, then call it an invasion of PRIVACY when you get caught. And, what about the damn parents already? Too much to say there.

Oh, and, KILL ME before EP Student starts to "run things." Apparently, since George Bush got to be president with this precise attitude and behavior, all children should follow his lead?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

On My Blog?

I just told Jesus the nun joke.

A week or so back, I got curious about a blog option to place advertisements on my blog. I'm not in it for the money. Oh no. I'm in it for the customization. Google will apparently match key words in your blog with advertising with the idea that customized advertising based on blog content will get clicks from readers. So, check out the verbiage on the ad that came up this morning:

Laughing Jesus
Free to Join. 1000's of pictures of Beautiful Christian Singles

This is likely based on my post "Jesus Protect Me From the Worst of Your Followers." So, in the spirit of things, Google sends me ads for Beautiful Christians, as opposed to the ugly mean spirited ones I wrote about. Sweet.

Hmmmm. Now I'm wondering how best to get other unusual ads placed on my blog. Here's a few words they can match for starters:

Monkey Love
Stretch Marks
Jenna's Bush

Oh, the anticipation.

Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind

How cool is this? Tornados in Wisconsin in January.

Monday, January 7, 2008

What's Stopping You?

It's the middle of winter and my sun deprived brain is struggling with finding a creative spark. So, I've been making my way through an fun little book about stimulating creativity through creating visual chronicles of our lives using fiber, fabric, paper, ink, etc. (I love anything that involves me getting to touch fabric.) Anyway, the reader is instructed to create a topical prompt list to refer to when we're feeling brain dead for ideas. One of the prompts the author suggests is insecurities or things that hold us back. Well, having some expertise in that area, I am led to the following reader question:

What social activity or situation do you avoid because of a personal insecurity (silly, serious or otherwise)?

I avoid: any activity like watching softball or volleyball in which a ball may come my way that I need to throw back to the playing area.

Why: I can't properly throw a ball of any sort. (I can do a granny underhand throw, but that doesn't count.) When I throw a ball overhand, it lands about ten feet away following a tragic trajectory from my hand to the ground. Children have stood in stunned silence when I've tried to return a stray football to them across the street. People have tried to teach me to throw, but I get all anxious and freaky. Ask me some time how many throws it once took me to return a ball from outfield to infield in Little League. Just ask.

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Any Recommendations?

Curt and I are leaving for Puerto Vallarta on Saturday and are both a little stumped about what books to take along. Typically, we've each got two good beach books to take along. This year, zippo. I do have some Amy Tan book buried in my car that might be an option. So, my friends, we are turning to you. The qualifications for good beach reading for us are:

1. Must be entertaining (in a broad sense) and not too deep, dense or thought provoking. This is vacation after all.

2. Must be able to be found at Barnes & Noble and preferably can be found without Oprah's (self appointed spiritual leader of America- poor Gail) seal of approval on it. I'm not a big O fan. Now, if Liza Minelli had a seal of approval that would be another story, he said with quivering jazz hands.

3. Must not be a romance (straight or gay) and must not be a family history that spans centuries with hundreds of characters. That would be too confusing for a beach read and hard to jump back in after being distracted by lovely beach goers every 10 pages or so.

4. I really like essays, particularly humorous essays. I've read everything by Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris, so they're out.

So, can you help?

The First Step Is To Admit You Have Problem

Step One: I admitted I was powerless over the moronic behavior of others moving too slowly and back and forth at a buffet and that my impatience and desire to slap them has become unmanageable.

Oh, (deity of your choosing), that feels like a weight off my shoulders. Deep cleansing breath.

Whole New Me- Update

Oh, boy. I have been seriously remiss in updating my Whole New Me adventures. So here's the quick scoop. I set a goal of losing 15 lbs in 12 weeks. As of the last trip to the livestock scale I had lost about 11 lbs. We have our final weigh-in next Friday. I'm not so hopeful to lose the remaining 4 lbs mostly because we've just been through 6 weeks from Thanksgiving to the New Year when my world has been filled with treats and I have been filled with treat lust. I did much better than in year's past, but have really only held steady on my weight. Even though I probably won't hit my weight loss goal, I've made great strides in my overall fitness. Here's proof:

1. I sweat. No, I didn't start the program as a dainty thing who only perspired. I just didn't sweat during workouts. Apparently the body's ability to keep itself cool improves as one's fitness improves. Now I can soak a t-shirt and get my socks pretty wet. This is nothing compared to our instructor Bethany who looks as though she has been under a hose at the end of a workout. It's a little grotesque, but she's really cool, so there's some balance.

2. I don't feel the need to nap after work any more. I thought I was just getting old. Nope. I was (am) fat and was seriously un-fit (not in the way Britney Spears is unfit- poor girl, what a mess). Now I can actually take on some plans in the evening. Sweet.

3. I can run a little bit now. Though at higher rates of speed the jiggling of blubber and man boobs flopping around in all directions can frighten children and some delicate adults, I can RUN. (To real runners, it still may appear to be a jog, but to me it is a run. Let me have my moment, okay?) I used to run years ago when I was skinny, but never thought I could run at this weight. Love it.

4. Heart function improvement. It is way harder to get near my anaerobic threshold than when I started the program and wildly faster to recover. This is cool no matter how you look at it.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Jesus, Protect Me From The Worst of Your Followers

I'm still somewhat cranky with the results of the Iowa Republican caucuses. Huckabee?? Come on. This is the guy who only alludes to having a platform on issues that matter, but really only has two core topics in his platform- abortion and the gays- and has now managed to win the majority of delegates in the Iowa caucus. One thing I will say in favor of evangelical wackos is they can certainly organize and energize their ranks to get involved politically. I wish the rest of the country were so motivated. But, hey, who am I to point a finger? I burned out on active politics about a dozen years ago.
For the record, I feel exactly about the far right as I do about the far left. Both are the same people carrying different color flags. In the end, both sides just want to suck the enjoyment out of everyone else's life through complete control over how the rest of us thinks and acts. The far left is slightly more fun at a party though. I'll give them that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Scar? What scar???

Yesterday, among a host of other lazy day activities, I went to get a spiffy new haircut and my eyebrows waxed. I feel so tidy after getting my brows waxed, so was looking forward to it. When my waxer was done, she says to me "I didn't want to go up any higher on your left side because it would expose your scar." Scar???? Below is the image that flashed through my head- me, aging gracefully, looking over the pitiable body of my esthiologist, her foot removed from her mouth only in death, my foot removed from her butt post-ass whooping.

So, I very kindly said "Scar? Really?" Sure enough, she showed me about a small half inch white scar buried in my eyebrow. Who knew? Can anyone recall me bleeding from my left eyebrow?