Friday, December 19, 2008

I Married a Monkey and My Crazy Ass Friend

Friday, December 19, 2008....

With the first snowfall upon us, there is not much to do other than stay in, stay warm and drink champagne. Okay, maybe drinking champagne is not necessary, but it was tasty.

During the course of the evening, I had two very disturbing conversations. The first with a friend of mine. We were discussing her "possible" work happy hour at her condo the last week of December. I told her to invite the guy she likes and after getting through all the excuses of why he might not come, it came down to this one line: "he can't ravage me in the bathroom because I only have one clean one". After my shock wore off, all I could muster was "excuse me?"

She explained they would be in the other bathroom which isn't clean (take aside the obvious fact she could clean it before the event) I explained that a man, ravaging a woman for the first time, would not notice the state of her bathroom. After that statement, I couldn't utter anything else because I thought her logic to be absurd.

So, that was conversation # 1 that left me baffled. The other one was with the hubby.

Every year, my family has a grab bag for Christmas. Now that he is part of the fold, he is participating. He drew my nephew's name and actually purchased one of the items via my nephew's directions through eBay. He paid on December 3rd, but when I questionned him earlier in the week, he was a bit stumped as to why it hadn't arrived. [Note: at the moment, we still have two residences and he had it shipped to the location where Christmas is not being held] He contacted the seller and was told that the item was shipped the day before, but the seller did not offer up a tracking number when asked. As of today, the package is still MIA and he doesn't really seem to care.

I don't think he grasps that Christmas is once per year and we only see my nephew on Christmas. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling my nephew of the shipping issues the other day and today he asked if the package arrived. I completely understand why he would be bummed if there was no gift for him under the tree. My husband does not understand the big deal of not having a gift under the tree.

As I relayed this story to my sister, I wondered out loud if my husband was raised by monkeys and that I had married one. He's lovable and laid back and always happy -- a monkey (no he doesn't smell or do the other things that monkeys do) however, the fact remains, he's a monkey. I married a monkey.

I later shared this revelation with my hubby and his comment was "I have a tag that reads LMB's Monkey". A statement only a monkey would say.

My sister suggested I needed more champagne. She might be right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Wednesday, December 17, 2008....

Did you ever have one of those dreams where it was so real it woke you up? It's frustrating. I usually end up mad at the person because they've done something to upset me or I can't explain my position. Today was the latter.

Recently, my friend's husband, he's also my friend, lost his job. My gf told me that I was no longer allowed to speak to him as she thought I was a bad influence. I didn't understand what she meant by her comment until she explained that I was out-of-work far too long and should be gainfully employed.

I tried explaining our positions were like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, both were fruit, but that is where the similarities ended.

I have two major strikes against me: 1) the type of job I do is very specialized (although I've stretched the skills to fit in many other positions); and 2) the openings I do find are 1/2 way across the country and I'm not relocating.

At first, I couldn't figure out why I had this dream and now I have. Although I've been diligent about my search, it's still 7 months that I've been unemployed. I think I'm just as baffled by it as others. One consolidation is knowing there is a two to three month lag before hearing back on an opportunity I've applied for (I know this because I track dates and such on an excel spreadsheet - yes, I can be a bit anal).

In real-life there is an individual, not my gf in the dream, who has made rude and painful comments to me regarding my situation. Listening to them has underminded my confidence and the dream helped me realize this. The dream helped me realize that her comments are just chatter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The War of Penguins & Snowmen....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008.....

How darn cute are these fellas....

My sister and I were thumbing through the Williams-Sonoma Christmas catalog and she was commenting how yummy the snowmen looked and how cute the penguins were. Although, I agree 100%, that wasn't what I thought when I first looked at them. Instead, I imagined the penguins on a conveyor belt and literally falling off the table onto the floor. This vision cracked me up (yes, I understand I have too much time on my hands -- or I need to get out more) and then declared it would be great if the snowmen and penguins were lined up facing one another for combat --- the Snowball Combat of 2008!

Well, today they arrived! She sent them to me. They are the cutest things in the world! The penguins are half the size of the snowmen and unless they peck the bottoms of the snowmen, I'd say they'd lose in combat....

Thanks sis!

A Cartoon to Put Anyone in the Christmas Spirit.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008.....

Can anyone guess?

One of the cartoons that will stop me in my tracks for every year is "A Charlie Brown Christmas". It's a classic and I plan on watching it tonight by the fire with a yummy hot cocoa.

Happy Holidays.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Celebrity News....

Saturday, December 13, 2008.....

My sister is a celeb news whore.... I typically am not, but couldn't resist commenting on this headline:

"American Pie' Star Tara Reid checks into rehab" (source: AP)

Really? Seriously? This made it as news headline ? I don't know about you, but it must have been a slow news day to print this because I wasn't shocked at all. In fact, I thought she had already been in rehab and AP was either recycling headlines or inadvertently reprinted an old news item.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008....

Last night, my hubby and I went through the Starbucks drive-thru to pick up the salted caramel hot cocoa holiday drink. Christmas time always has me craving certain drinks - hot cocoa being one of them. I convinced hubby that the drink was yummy and he agreed to try it.

We pull up, order our drink and are told they are out of the drink, but they would be happy to salt our hot cocoa for us. We both looked at each other and told the barista, thanks, but no thanks.

As we were pulling out of the lot, we were a bit bewildered with the offer. I believe that the caramel is salted and that is what gives the drink a yummy flavor. All I could imagine is getting to the bottom of the salted hot cocoa and taking that last sip and swallowing a mouthful of salt - YUCK....

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tacky Chrismas Gift Ideas.....

Wednesday, December 9, 2008.....

Every family has its traditions and mine is no exception. We have a traditional grab bag type of arrangement where we pick names as soon as we opened our holiday gift and know whom we purchase for the next year (okay, someone keeps a list because who can really remember after a day of heavy drinking and food???).

Another tradition is a "tacky" Chinese grab bag. We are limited to $20 and my competitive family strives to bring the tackiest gift possible. Unfortunately, my husband hasn't quite gotten the concept and actually wanted the gift I threw into the mix last year (motion sensor noisy rooster -- yes, it is sitting in my attic).

This year I'm taxed with coming up with 2 gifts and am going blank. You'd think with all my time gifted to me being unemployed I'd have the greatest idea. Nope. Not a single thought.

Personally, my favorite contribution to date is the Librarian Action figure that shushed people because of her movable arm (

I'm hoping I didn't peak with that gift. I'm desperate for suggestions. I need another source than as it is becoming a major source for most of the gifts in the exchange.

Any thoughts?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Guardian Angel....

Monday, December 8, 2008.....

Ever have one of those days when you know someone is looking out for you? Cheering you on. Ensuring that stumbling blocks are cleared for you.

I don't consider myself a spiritual person, but I do recognize days or situations when fate steps in and actually helps me (I also recognize when fate screws with me for fun).

Today was one of those days. I had an interview in NYC. It was late afternoon and right by Grand Central Station so no rushing was needed from the train station to the interview. No getting lost. No cutting it short because the trains only run hourly into the city until a certain time. This has always been a common occurrence when going into NYC for any appointment. Not today.

Today, I had a nice leisurely morning. Checked the company's website for any updated news and went through my notes from the first phone interview. I was ready and out the door 1/2 hour prior to my train departing. I always love to get to the station early, no matter the temperature. However, today, the time gods abandoned me.

As I was heading to the entrance of I-95, I noticed traffic progressively slowing down, and then, the inevitable standstill. The entrance was in site, but I knew it would take another 15 minutes to get to the actual entrance. I had already wasted 10minutes getting nowhere, so I did the only thing I could --- pulled a U-turn on a very busy road. I have turbo and used it. Barely escaping a car wreck (did I mention that a huge SUV was blocking my ability to see the oncoming traffic I'd be turning into??).

I pulled into the station at the time of the scheduled train departure, but it was late. Yippee for me! I tried to buy a ticket with cash at the ticket machine, but it couldn't give me the change -- unfortunately, too little time to hop on the train to try again using credit card. Luckily, hit up the hubby for some cash yesterday and was able to buy a ticket on the train without annoying the conductor by using the only other bill in wallet which was $100.

I got to the interview in time, met with three lovely women and hope that my Guardian Angel was with me and convinced them that having 3 out of 4 qualities needed for the position gets me in. I'm hoping they realize that I have a brain and could learn the last rusty skill set of mine - financials. They even mentioned setting me up with additional training.

I haven't a clue how I did, but will know more in a couple of weeks. If they liked me, next step is a Finance for Dummies book and a meeting with the CFO in Massachusetts.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thing(s) I Wish For.....

Sunday, December 7, 2008....

Yeah, I know I should be wishing for full-time employment, but that's not what I've been thinking about lately. I've been thinking about the first apartment I had when I graduated college.

I lived in this great brownstone on Beacon Street in Boston. It was an amazing one bedroom condo, rent controlled, but that is not what made it great. It had character and charm with the high ceilings, arched ways, enormous windows and great rooftop views of the Citgo sign.

I worked in Cambridge, but during the summer walked home from work because I could. At night, the roads were well lit and you always passed people on the street.

Last night, I was driving home from my friend's house and as I made my way through the unlit back roads to my house, I realized how I longed for the hustle and bustle of the busy Boston streets.

If in Boston, I would have seen where I was driving and realized that although I was following some patch of pavement, it wouldn't have been the entrance to someone's driveway. It would have been the main road I needed to be one.

Luckily, I only skidded slightly when I realized that I was heading into a private driveway and veered back onto the road.

The first skid of the season always unravels me a bit. Luckily, it prepared me for the two larger ones I had further down the road.

I've come to the conclusion that snow falling is so much prettier to watch from the windows inside the house than inside your car when driving in it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Birthday

Saturday, December 6, 2008....


I'm very fortunate to have you as my sister and am lucky enough that you're also my dear friend.....



Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Year of Big Santa

Thursday, December 4, 2008....

Since I'm hosting Christmas this year, I plan on pulling out all my Christmas paraphernalia. This includes, dishes, napkins, nutcrackers and nutcracker place cards (just to name a few). I even plan on hiding the pickle ornament for the surprise gift under the tree, not sure what the surprise gift should be yet.

Years ago, my dad (very crafty) made a HUGE larger than life-size plywood Santa. Personally, poinsettias and mantel decorating have always been my thing, but I inherited the Santa and he's been in the garage for several years. Just collecting dust. Poor Santa.

Well, this is the year, I believe, that Santa will be escaping the garage and taking his rightful position on the front lawn. I figured this is the easiest way to welcome people to the house Christmas day. Of course, I haven't figured out the logistics of getting him down from the ceiling or lighting him up at night.

I know my dad will be happy to see Santa again, but wonder if the neighbors that had the 15 chickens, trying to quick sell their home will appreciate it. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Bank Rant.....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008....

I'm furious with my bank. It's bad enough that there are alot of stupid charges associated with keeping my money in their bank, but I've hit my wall.

Over the past few months, I've deposited some change into my account and every time I do, they skim off the top. I know I can count. I know what I deposit and yet my Bank skims off the top. I don't believe they charge for this service, but if they do, they haven't informed me of this.

I actually wrote the bank. I know many would say, "what's the big deal?". Sure, it ranges from $0.30 to $0.55 each time, but it adds up.

I guess I wouldn't be ranting so much if my Bank informed me there is a fee for this service. I just hate hidden fees.....

Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008....

Tis the season for days and days of Christmas movies on the Family Channel and Lifetime, but I've identified my Top Ten in no random order.

Before people take a second glance, they will not see Christmas Story that TBS runs for its Christmas Day Marathon. I know, it's the favorite of many people, but not for me. I was overdosed as a kid by my friend who endlessly quoted lines from the move during the month of December (thanks Dave).

So here there are in no particular order:

1. It's a Wonderful Life - love Jimmy Stewart.

2. Scrooge - 1951? version, but don't quote me on that.

3. Bachelor Mother - Ginger Rogers and David Niven.

4. Holiday Affair - Robert Mitchum & Janet Leigh

5. Christmas in Connecticut - Barbara Stanwyck

6. Home Alone.

7. Love Actually.

8. Scrooged - Bill Murray

9. Miracle on 34th Street - Original Version

10. White Christmas - Bing Crosby

I know I've missed some and am always open for suggestions.

It should also be noted I love, love, love Christmas cartoons! However, there are so many that they deserve their own entry.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lawn Ornaments....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008....

Can anyone explain the deal with lawn ornaments? Wait. That was harsh. I'm not the yard police and know that everybody has the freedom to express their need for the plastic year-round lawn deer (don't confuse this entry with Christmas lawn ornaments that come down sometime prior to Mother's Day). I've also seen stone bunnies, gnomes, skunks and fake dogs, but today, I saw my first ceramic gopher/woodchuck on someone's lawn.

Next to the very shiny lawn gopher were two welcome signs. The gopher was life size positioned at the end of the lawn and wonder, how long do these people think that gopher will remain there. Seriously, it is in the perfect position, close to the road, for a snatching.

I have two thoughts about this gopher....1) how long will it last? I say 5 days; and 2) will it be stolen as by a teenager as part of a prank; or by a neighbor to restore the beauty of the neighborhood.


Monday, December 1, 2008

No Time for Dessert......

Monday, December 1, 2008.....

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I am HUGE Top Chef fan and was excited about eating at Craft this weekend for the first time.

I haven't admitted this, but I am a food snob. It's not that I won't try new foods, it is that I judge a restaurant by my ability to make the dish. Basically, if I can make it better and they overcharge, well, it doesn't get a star. Sometimes, the food may not be the best I've eaten, but if the atmosphere and service is great, well, I can overlook so-so food. To me, dining out, is an entire experience.

I've never experienced a restaurant in which the service, food and bar were bad, but did Saturday night.

For this entry, I've asked for feedback from my sister and girlfriend about our experience. I've only added where needed because I think my sister captured our experience extremely well.


Hello, regular followers of this blog....I am Little Ms. Blogger's older sister (one of several). I'm the sister who went to France, and who went to see Harry Connick Jr with LMB and the other guest blogger, whom I like to call Poncho Girl for her love of the poncho. You can call me Yoga Girl since that's a passion of mine.

Anyway - the 3 of us are big Top Chef fans. We usually go into New York several times a year to catch some kind of play/musical performance. The tradition is that each of us takes turns and finds a restaurant for us to try. After watching the 2nd Top Chef show where they are all slaving away at Craft, Tom Colicchio's restaurant, I thought - "that would be fun to try". Oddly enough, Poncho Girl also thought the same thing, so LMB made a reservation there for the preconcert festivities. The concert started at 8 - dinner was at 5:30. Perfect timing, wouldn't you think? Plenty of time to eat and not be rushed, right? If you guessed win a prize.

Tom, Tom, Tom - how could something I looked so forward to be SO DISAPPOINTING????? We got there promptly at 5:30, first table of the evening. A party who came in after us were seated first, as they appeared to be friends of the wait staff. We waited for 5 or 10 minutes to be seated. Come on people - how could you be behind from the get go? So - strike #1 for the restaurant.

LMB Comment - Yoga girl only noticed that one group of people that were seated prior because they were friends with waitstaff,ummm, wrong. There were 2 groups.

The decor was nice - we all enjoyed that. We also enjoyed the fancy copper sink in the ladies' restroom. Everything was a la carte = $$$$. Okay, I was expecting that.

LMB Comment - Atmosphere was a nice as posted on the Craft website.

However, Yoga Girl did not expect the following:

1) Everything was too salty. LMB, who is basically a salt worshiper, even agreed, so you know it was bad. (LMB - she's right, salt is key in my world)

2) Service was slow. Now, it could have had something to do with the kitchen but it took us about 2 hours to get through dinner and we couldn't order dessert since we had to leave to catch the show. And I enjoy not rushing through dinner, but this was ridiculous. As a person who generally looks at dessert first to plan her dinner, I was very sad about no dessert. I had already perused the menu prior to going and had decided on what I was going to have for dessert. But alas, I was denied. No pumpkin fritters for Yoga Girl, no sirree. Poncho Girl had her heart set on some kind of marshmallow dessert she saw and even wore a little scarf that looked like marshmallows strung together in honor of her anticipated dessert so her entire outfit was for naught, even though it was very festive.

LMB Comment - It was obvious that the food sat under the food lamp too long. The one braised short rib I received was really dry and chewy which is hard to do if cooked in hot liquid for hours unless the sauce burned off.

3) Did not have the ingredients to make Bellinis. Come on, that is a fairly standard champagne cocktail. The only thing they could make was a Mimosa and you don't drink those at dinner - although I love a good Mimosa, it's a brunch drink, along with Bloody Marys.

LMB Comment - okay there is a bit more to this. The house margarita had so much tequila in it that you could smell the drink. I also don't appreciate that the wait staff assumed I was an idiot and would swap out a Bellini with a mimosa. I would have appreciated her stating no and promoting the house champagne drink. Also, if you have a James Beard award on your wall and mixology is as important in today's dining experience, get some staples in bar. The fact that there is a kitchen makes it easy to have simple syrup on hand.

Poncho Girl decided to write out a comment card when we paid the bill. I could swear that the wait staff read it, since when we went to pick up our coats at the front of the restaurant, we all got "to go" gingerbread muffins in a cellophane wrapper. I devoured mine in the cab and it was pretty tasty - but seeing as there's no separate bakery on site, etc, we were all baffled by this. I will say it was the best thing I ate, along with the bread. It's hard to screw bread up, generally speaking.

LMB Comment - ummm....can you say "wrong"??? What's up with handing a patron a muffin on the way out of the restaurant? Unlike my sister, I gave most to my hubby the next day. Since my sister commented that it was the best part of the meal, I had to try a bite. Not a bread girl, I missed out on the other yummy part of the meal she enjoyed.

The irony of all this to me was that all the things that Tom rides the cheftestants for on Top Chef, he is violating in his own restaurant! I will continue to watch religiously but I will not be able to stifle any giggles or yelling back at the set when he comments on seasoning, slow service, etc.

LMB Comment - I think Tom needs to revisit his restaurant again and get involved. I know that he's busy, but so is Eric Ripert. I have to say, after eating at his restaurant, Le Bernadin, several years back to celebrate my 40th with friends, it is still one of most memorable meals to date. I know that it is for my sister and Poncho Girl.

Although I know LMB wanted to keep the restaurant discussion separate from the concert discussion, I was so excited to learn that not only did we have rock star seating (5th row floor), we were sitting behind Harry's family, including his model wife Jill Goodacre and Bernadette Peters. Since I have to confess a passion for all celebrity sightings, I was in heaven. Harry could have played more Christmas music, since it was a Christmas concert, but it was fun all the same. If you like his music, you need to see him live. He's very entertaining and puts on a great show. Not to mention that he's totally cute. What more could you ask for?

So - thanks for reading my guest post - both Poncho Girl and I said to LMB that she had to blog about dinner, and that we wanted to add our $.02 - so hope you enjoyed mine!