Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Randomness

I don't like writing random posts, but today it's necessary.

I am extremely displeased with our weather up here. Storm after storm is hitting NJ and PA and missing us. The latest storm brought my parents 2 feet of snow, and us, just hurricane-force winds and rain. BOOORRRIIING. On the flip side, NH is in a state of emergency right now because those winds took down trees and power lines and half the state is without power. We're supposed to get snow tonight, but I'll believe it when I see it.

I almost blew our cover this week on our cable situation. You see, we "share" cable with ShortShorts and theQuilter (read, they pay the bill). I noticed midweek that we were missing a few channels. Not too important, since we are not TV addicts. But, it just happens to be the channels I watch, like HDTV and the Travel Channel. So, I called the cable company and scheduled a technician to come out. Then J reminded me that, um, we don't pay for cable!!! I'm glad one of us has a working brain. That was close!

I spent my afternoon working in the library today. I can't tell you the last time I spent time in a library (unfortunately), so it was quite nostalgic. I spent my 4 years in college working at our library. Mondays and Tuesdays from 10pm to midnight. I loved that shift, despite the fact that my boss was a transsexual and it took me 6 months to figure that out. I had one duty to do--shelve books. Once I finished that, I could spent the rest of my time doing homework or talking to friends who came in to visit (and occasionally checking out books). I used to time myself and see how fast I could get the shelving done--usually about 30 minutes. Getting back to the library, I missed you so. I love your smell, your vast collection of books. You're better than the Internet, I swear.

J is at a concert tonight (are you surprised?) with Uncle SlickG. He will stay through the weekend for more concerts and possible some XC skiing. My biggest decision right now is should I watch Sex in the City (the movie), The Notebook or reruns of 16 and Pregnant ... decision made ... I just saw the trailer for Sex in the City 2 when looking up the link for the first one and it was a done deal.

I am sad to see the Olympics end, but I still don't get curling.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Training the Mister - EDITED

J is ever so proud of Mr. McKinley and has a new goal in mind. He wants to train him to use the toilet to throw up.

You see, cleaning up the throw up—much like cleaning the litter box—is just about the only source of tension in our house. It's part of the reason we have a B*% A#@ litter box, so that I only have to scoop the poop once or twice a week. But throw up is another story. It's fair game and duties are shared.

Last night, McKinley successfully made it to the toilet in time to throw up, instead of leaving his mess on the floor for us to bicker over. Next time, we will try to get a picture. Some would call it animal cruelty, but not us. Anything not to clean up the throw up.

Just look at him, he is holding his head up high and so proud.
POST EDIT***I'm realizing how misleading this post sounds. J assisted McKinley in the process. McKinley tends to heave a bit before actually up-chucking. So J led him to the toilet and hoisted him on it. Sorry for the confusion, but fingers crossed that he eventually gets there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Movie Theater

As I've mentioned before, J & I don't frequent the movie theater. But we made plans to go Saturday and see Avatar in the IMAX theater. We figured that it may be a likely Oscar winner, which means we have to watch it eventually to complete our goal of watching all the Best Pictures, and it'd be better to see it on the big screen and as an IMAX flick.

What happened to the movie theater? When did it ever get so crowded? We got there about an hour before, not purposely. Yet, the movie was already sold out! The pubescent cashier said in an all-knowing voice, "well everyone buys their tickets online these days." Wow, I didn't get that memo. And what the heck? Hasn't Avatar been in the theater for months now?

So, we didn't get to see Avatar. It will be showing at the IMAX theater until March, so we'll be going back and we learned our lesson. We will buy our tickets online ...

We did see Shutter Island. Which is a really good psychological thriller that has you wondering until the end. I had dreams all night about it and even woke up around 3ish to ask J a question. I need to see it again!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Things I Love Thursday


I have to profess my love to the Sonicare toothbrush.*

I had a wonderful experience at the dentist today. This is not right. I never have anything less than a terrible experience at the dentist.

Hating the dentist all started when I was young. For some reason, I just loathed going to the dentist. I would have preferred the enema I once had to get (TMI - I was 11). Going to the dentist made me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (if you giggled at that, or had to re-read it to comprehend it, my disclaimer is I didn't come up with it on my own; I read it somewhere a long time ago and stole it). I would put up such a fight when it was time to go to the dentist. And you would think I took to brushing better to prevent more visits, but sadly I had more cavities by the age of 17 than I had adult teeth.

In my 20s, going to the dentist was the reason I was so broke. Crowns, root canals, waterway canals, you name it, I had it done in my mouth. And those damn wisdom teeth. Three of them came out in my 20s. The only dental debt-free time was the 3 months I dated my dentist. Yes, I dated my 37-year-old dentist (I was 22). What can I say? He was nice and I got 2 crowns and one filling out of it.

J had a similar history with the dentist (not the dating part). Hated going, had tons of work done. Dentists have commented about both of our mouths saying that we had a record number of fillings in there. Guess our mouths were made for each other ... I know, eww, gross.

So imagine my surprise today when I went to the dentist and the hygienist said, "your mouth looks impeccable. I am trying to find calculus [plaque] and I can't find any!" She asked if I flossed every day to make this difference and I admitted, no, I floss maybe once a week. Her conclusion: the Sonicare toothbrush.

Rewind 6 months ago when J and I finally caved and bought the Sonicare brush. It took about 2 years of the dentist hounding us to buy it. "It makes all the difference," they said! To spend the $100 to replace the electronic $10 toothbrush we already had, we needed them to prove it moved mountains.

J & I both got a clean bill of health at our last dental visits and we are proudly attributing that to the Sonicare brush. Remember J's gum (thumb) replacement surgery (which he has yet to fully heal from)? Originally, they planned to do the surgery 3 more times. But, Sonicare did the trick. His gums stopped receding and actually grew back. A medical miracle they call it. We admit the 2-minute timed brushing routine sometimes gets old and we only make it a minute in, but we don't cheat everyday.

So, if you are considering the Sonicare brush, go for it. It does move mountains.

*Sonicare did not pay me to say all this. But, if they want to send me a coupon for replacement heads, please do!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

City of Sisterly Love

I’ve returned from my long-awaited and snow-delayed weekend in Philly and it was divine. Seriously, what’s better than girl time and good food?

I was visiting my college roommates—Chile and Charlotte—and 2 other friends from college—theChief and RedJeepTrvlr—with whom I worked on the newspaper. I stayed at Charlotte’s house. Some would say I picked the house with no kids purposely as my base camp, but the “no kids” part had nothing to do with it, I swear! I actually hardly got to see any of the kids this trip, which is a bummer! Seriously! They grow so fast!

Charlotte didn’t stop at anything to be an awesome hostess. The first night she took me to Wawa, a staple in Pennsylvania. I didn't even know they served dinner there. I was blown away by the food, let me tell you. (In all honesty, it was not that bad).

Moving on, theChief, RedJeepTrvlr and I spent Saturday together. I did get to meet theChief's little one, who incidentally is not so little (a 7-month-old fitting in 12m clothing). She’s going to be a mighty fine football player.Saturday night, Charlotte made up for Wawa. She and her husband PA Dutch took me to a wicked cool joint, Half Moon Restaurant & Saloon, which has been featured on the Travel Channel and is known for its wild game! Now I can officially add yak, wild boar, ostrich and kangaroo to my list of meats I’ve tried. If you like meat and beer, this restaurant is a must-try.Chile joined us Sunday after an adventure in DC where she got 15 minutes of sleep the whole weekend. She somehow found her fifth wind and with the help of Charlotte's magic fan, she was able to sleep a whole 8 hours that night.

We ventured to America’s Grill for dinner. Not only was the food excellent, but our server was HOOOOT and really awesome. Too bad he was 10 years too late for us! Of course he probably thought we were bitter, scorned women out together without our husbands on Valentine’s Day. Actually, there was a customer in the restaurant who might have thought we were involved in a ménage a trois.

Charlotte’s new pad is ginormous (the spare bedroom I stayed in had 4 doors and I’m still not sure where they all led), so it was easy to escape to the West Wing and have an all-out pillow fight in our underwear without PA Dutch even knowing (cause that’s what girls do at sleepovers, right?).

Monday, February 8, 2010

And the Oscar goes to ...

J and I have been making our way through the list of Academy Award Best Picture winners, a goal we set in 2008, but thought would take us through our retirement. Instead, we may actually finish by the end of 2010. We have never really been "movie" people, but watching these Oscar winners has been quite an education, as many of them are about historical events. I'm happy to report that out of the 80 movies from 1927 on, we've seen and rated 49!!

And because we are as good as Siskel & Ebert, I'm sharing our reviews (1981-present). I'm sorry, but I'm way too lazy to link all the movies. Just google them.

Slumdog Millionaire (2009)
P=9, J=7
I personally loved this movie, but I also heart anything bollywoodish. It's an interesting and unique story nonetheless, and a peak into the Indian culture.

No Country for Old Men (2008)
P=9, J=8
Violent movie, but sort of suspenseful.

The Departed (2007)
P=9, J=8
You must pay attention when watching this movie. And I heart Leonardo DiCaprio.

Crash (2006)
P=8, J=8
Sad, but true, depiction of our society

Million Dollar Baby (2005)
P=9, J=7
Good, good acting in this movie. Sad story.

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004)
P=7, J=7
I enjoyed the whole series, but at this point, I was like, can we just get there Frodo?

Chicago (2003)
P=6, J=5
Musicals are better on stage.

A Beautiful Mind (2002)
P=9, J=8
This movie makes me sad every time I watch it. It's a really heart-warming story.

Gladiator (2001)
A high-action film of the Roman empire.
P=9, J=9

American Beauty (2000)
P=8, J=9
Odd and a little uncomfortable, but still a good lesson about life

Shakespeare in Love (1999)
P=9, J=8
I took an entire course on Shakespeare in college, so this was great to see the "making" of Romeo and Juliet. And Joseph Fiennes is hooooot.

Titanic (1998)
P=9, J=8
What a love story! I saw it 3 times in the movies when it first came out. Plus, Leooooooo!

The English Patient (1997)
P=8, J=8
This was a surprising good love story set during WWII.

Braveheart (1996)
P=9, J=10
Action-packed movie about loyalty and honor set in the 13th century.

Forrest Gump (1995)
P=8, J=9
Another one that warms the heart. And Tom Hanks was just incredible in this movie.

Schindler's List (1994)
P=10, J=9
I know this always comes out wrong, but I love the Holocaust. I guess it's better to say that I love learning about the Holocaust.

Unforgiven (1993)
P=6, J=6
An interesting western. I wonder if that's how it was really like back then with saloons, cowboys and prostitutes.

Silence of the Lambs (1992)
P=9, J=7
Disturbing, but intriguing. Along with the Holocaust, I love serial killers.

Dances with Wolves (1991)
P=7, J=7
Real cowboys and Indians.

Driving Miss Daisy (1990)
P=6, J=5
This is a slow movie, but a nice story about rich, old, white folk living in the South.

Rain Man (1989)
P=7, J=7
Great acting on Dustin Hoffman's part, but it was actually kind of a slow movie. Good story though.

The Last Emperor (1988)
P=6, J=6
I never knew much about the Chinese emperor, but now I know a whole lot more. Makes me want to go and visit the Forbidden City!

Platoon (1987)
P=7, J=7
It's hard to look into the life of a soldier, especially during the Vietnam War, but here's a movie that gives a real glimpse of that life.

Out of Africa (1986)
P=8, J=8
This was another surprise for us. It's about a headstrong woman exploring the wild of Africa. Women empowerment!

Amadeus (1985)
J=3, P=6
I found this to be a humorous account of a young Mozart, but as you can see, J did not enjoy it.

Terms of Endearment (1984)
J=6, P=8
You could dub this a chick flick, really, and a tear-jerker. A funny side note on this movie, the PG and R ratings were the only options. Lots of F-bombs in a PG movie!

Gandhi (1983)
J=7, P=8
I had no idea about Gandhi's life, which was truly amazing. One of those really educational films.

Chariots of Fire (1982)
J=4, P=4
Chariot racing should still be part of the Olympics, just like it was in 1924.

Ordinary People (1981)
J=5, P=7
I felt like this touched on a controversial topic--depression in the 1970s. Everyone covered it up back then and that makes this film interesting to me.

We've actually seen every movie since 1964 and will keep plugging along. Stay tuned for the next batch ...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowpocalypse

I'm blogging from NH and I'm not happy about it. I'm supposed to be in Philly having a girls' weekend that took months of planning. Mother Nature had other plans. Not only is she currently dumping 2 feet of snow on the Philly area, she is giving us not one inch. What the great googly moogly.

I'm not too mad, though. US Airways renewed my faith (a little) by easily rebooking me. Because of the weather, they waived all change fees and allowed me to rebook within 7 days. And amazingly enough, all my girlfriends had free time next weekend, so we just pushed back our gathering. T minus 7 days until quality girl time.

Unfortunately for J, he had to cancel the keg and strippers last minute. And they are unavailable for next weekend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dream Big

Last night, J and I went with some friends to the Banff Mountain Film Festival Tour that came through NH. These are not your regular films; these are for adrenaline junkies. We got to see a sampling of 8 films from the actual festival and they all involved mountain sports.

I like to think of myself as an adventurer--always willing to try something once and keeping life exciting. But the people in these films, they put my life adventures to shame! I know I can only do so much given money and resources, but J and I do crave something bigger and better in our lives. We hope to start by completing the AT, even though that still pales in comparison to other feats. Anyways, to say these films were inspiring for what's to come is an understatement ... kind of like only saying "the U.S. is in debt."

Here's a comparison of my life to some of the film characters.
Dominic Gill (Take a Seat) cycled some 20,000 from the northern most point of Alaska to the southern tip of South America on a tandem bike (he picked up random strangers as passengers) during a two-year period.
The furthest I've biked is 11 miles.

Roz Savage (Rowing the Atlantic) spent 103 days rowing her boat solo and without any support teams from Spain to Antigua.
I have never been kayaking by myself. Even in a pond.

Aaron Honnold climbed 2,000-foot Half Dome (in Yosemite) without any ropes (called free solo--mind-blowing, but insane and controversial) in under 3 hours. This was the best available link I found about him, but none about the film--First Ascent: Alone on the Wall.
The highest wall I've scaled was 70 feet and it was probably 5.6 difficulty (Half Dome is 5.12). With rope support.

We will definitely be attending the film festival next year ... maybe even in Banff????

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Well, that was disappointing

Lost is driving me bonkers. It's one of the few TV shows I've stayed loyal to through its 5+ years of airtime. And we have a love-hate relationship. At first, I wasn't certain I liked it, but J did and I watched on. Then I was truly addicted. I remember episodes when I was hanging off the couch in anticipation of what would happen next. But last season, I got very frustrated. Not only did they split the season up so we had to wait 6 months in between episodes, they introduced several new characters and made my head hurt with all the things to keep track of. The new season started last night and I tried to go into it with an open mind. But I was very disappointed. Anyone else? I'll stand by them until the end, but I can't wait for this madness to be over!!! Only 15 more episodes.

If you don't watch, be glad you never started!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thawing out in Florida

Shiver me buccaneers, J & I had a weekend full of pirates and cannons in Tampa. I'm not sure why anyone would want to play around with pirates or the idea of pirating, but everyone in Tampa does. At least once a year they do.

This weekend was the annual Gasparilla Invasion, or re-enacting an invasion of pirates (led by Jose Gaspar) into the city. I can't say that my explanation (or the pictures) will do the event justice, but I can say it is extremely entertaining. I really didn't know what to expect of the festival. I just wanted to visit Beef and get some vitamin D in Florida. Instead, we got all that and a bag of beads (I'll get to that later).

Essentially, Gaspirilla is just a reason for the entire city to party. They try to make it a little like Mardi Gras, but Mardi Gras on steroids. Of course I've never been to Mardi Gras, so ignore what I just said. But, there are beads involved. And costumes. The whole point of the day is to gather as many beads as possible, all while drinking a few adult beverages. The beads are thrown to us from boats. The people on land throw water balloons as a thank you for the beads. Then, a parade starts on the street. And the people on the floats throw more beads (and sometimes, you get hit in the face and your tooth falls out. True story, it happened to someone). Did I mention the floats are put together by krewes? Adult fraternities/soriorities. Who knew they existed? Only in Florida though.

All in all, Beef's mateys are quite colorful so we were surrounded by good people all weekend. He lives in a small apartment complex within walking distance of bars. The ideal lifestyle for a bachelor! He has a million friends (no exaggeration) and his circle of friends could really make for a good late-night, R-rated sitcom.

And well, that's the story of Gaspirilla. ARRRRGH! Now for the pictures.

The pirate ship arriving ... Gasper's pirates themselves
Look how many boats were out there. I could never drive a boat in this traffic.


The road parade
J praising the Lord. Or trying to collect beads. You decide.
On a side note, I discovered two new foods in Florida. Boiled peanuts. Ever have? Apparently they serve them in gas stations down there. Boiled peanuts changed my life. By adding protein.

The second food is a Scotch egg. You see, Beef's apartment complex does a whole breakfast potluck the morning of Gaspirilla. To fatten the belly before the drinking begins (for some people, the drinking begins even before that). Anyways, someone brought a batch of Scotch eggs. It was a little intimidating at first, but definitely yummy in the tummy.