Saturday, November 27, 2010

Have you ever...

...known someone, and valued that person, for many years, and just lost touch? And all of a sudden, after not thinking about them for just as many years, they just pop up, randomly, into your brain?

That's happened to me recently.

Lately I've been thinking about my 8th grade history teacher. Yes, kittens, I know that sounds random, but this woman really did a lot for me.

I was coming off a really bad 7th grade year. Really bad 7th grade year. Remember that this all takes place well before Facebook, Twitter, texting, and any form of instant communication that preceded the prank phone call.

I was an awkward child known for being a bookworm, for out of control hair, for ridiculous fashion sense, and for being an open target. I was bullied, mostly by my ex-best friend and her newfound cronies. I wasn't bullied so much that I had prank phone calls or eggs thrown at me, or toilet paper around my house, but I was insulted verbally. A lot.

So I built a wall around myself. And didn't let anyone in by the time that year came to a close.

Then came 8th grade. I faced a quandary by the time September rolled around: You see, kittens, I really liked school. I liked to learn. Hell, loved to learn. I would read ahead in textbooks and work on extra math problems for fun.

However, I hated the social part of it. Everyone had to dress the same, be the same, have the same hairstyle, talk about boys...

...I wanted no part of it.

I entered my 8th grade year determined to make it through socially, get straight As, and then go to private school, away from my peers, the following year.

That's when I met Mrs. P. In addition to being my history teacher, she was my homeroom teacher.

She knew who I was when I walked into her classroom on the first day of school.

And that scared the crap out of me.

She was a dynamic woman who was extremely well put-together. Not a hair was out of place. Fingernails, perfectly manicured. Her clothes were incredibly stylish. They may not have been all of the latest trends, but Mrs. P. had a way of carrying herself so elegantly. She had an incredible presence.

And she loved her students. Her enthusiasm for teaching was evident. Her passion for history could be seen on her bulletin boards, in her bookshelf, in the photos she had of students who participated in statewide competitions...

Wait a sec...

...do we all have to participate in this competition?

More on that later. But first, let's start with the second week of school, when Mrs. P. announced that she was casting for her annual play. That year, the play was about Black History Month. All of her students were required to have some part in the play, whether it was the chorus or behind the scenes.

I volunteered to be in the chorus.

But Mrs. P. had something else in mind.

She cast me in the lead.

Up to that point, I had zero acting experience. I only had, as most teenage girls do, a well-developed flair for the dramatic. I still don't know, to this day, why she had cast me in such a big role. Did she want to capitalize on my flair for the dramatic? Did she think I had a good speaking voice? Did she think I had stage presence?

Or did she want to instill a sense of confidence in an otherwise insecure girl? Did she see potential in me that I didn't?

I read the script and had it memorized by the next rehearsal. I really wanted to make a good impression.

By the night of the play, I had received compliments from classmates I otherwise would not have spoken to. They really loved my acting, and often told me, "I didn't know you could do that!"

Boy, was that an ego boost!

About a month later, Mrs. P. announced that everyone was required to complete a research project on a historical figure. There was a statewide history competition that year, and the theme was "Science and Technology in History." I decided to research Madame Curie, complete the three-paneled cardboard display, and turn in the project.

But Mrs. P. had other suggestions for me.

I ended up entering the competition--and presented my research through a dramatic monologue as Madame Curie, Polish accent and all.

I came in third in the regional competition, and felt confident enough I could win at the state level.

And I did--I came in third place in my category.

But only first and second place could go to nationals.

Needless to say, I was crushed.

The following morning, a Sunday, I got a phone call, at home, from Mrs. P. She asked how I was feeling, and I told her I still was pretty upset. But she told me that things would get better, and soon.

They did get better, indeed. Two days later our class left for our annual trip to Washington, DC--and the teachers chose me and another student to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I never, ever thought I'd do something of that magnitude when I was in 7th grade.

Mrs. P. really helped me come out of my shell. She helped instill a sense of confidence and determination in me that I didn't know I had. She gave me the tools to do better in school and develop my potential.

Her classroom became a sanctuary for me. I'd hang out there a couple of times a week after school, and we'd chat while I did my homework and she corrected papers.

I ended up going to another high school the following year, and we eventually lost touch. Occasionally, throughout the years, I'd think about Mrs. P. and wondered what she was up to.

But this week, I've thought about her. A lot.

A friend of mine says that this happens to her quite a bit. She regards this as a sign that such a person needs to have a prayer said for them. And nine times out of ten, something happens to that person. Something significant, either good or bad.

So tonight, I said a prayer. I am really, really contemplating getting back in touch. Just sending a letter, or a Christmas card, saying how I am and what I've been up to since my 8th grade year. Just a thank you note would do.

But a part of me is very nervous about this. Is this the right thing to do? I found my second grade teacher a couple of years ago, another woman who had a significant impact on me, and wrote to her, but she never wrote back.

And then another part of me worries that she's ill and doesn't have the physical capacity to write back.

I'd better stop this, because I'm going around in circles, and it's very late. So let me conclude by asking you this, kittens: Have you ever told someone from your past how much they really meant to you? And when you did, were you able to do so before it was too late?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Queen's Meme: The Threes Meme

I couldn't resist this one...after all, I was born on the third day of the third month!

3.
Where were you 3 hours ago?

At home, checking E-mail, then getting ready for my Zumba class.

3. Is there anything pink within 3 feet of you?
Why, yes there is! A pink and grey striped blanket, and my pink and white blazer.

3. Name the 3 scariest places in the world.
My office (very messy), the woods behind my house, and the north end of town.

3. Name the 3 loveliest sights you've seen lately.
The changing leaves on the trees (LOVE New England), a gorgeous sunset, and the stars in the autumn night sky. I guess I'm a bit of a nature freak lately.

3. Name the top 3 Bands in the year you were born.
KISS, the Eagles, and ABBA

3. Walk to your front door. Go outside and get in your car. Drive 3 miles East. Describe 3 things you saw on your way.
The Price Chopper/Home Depot shopping plaza, the Walgreen's next door to the CVS, and the local university campus.

3. I, Queen Mimi, have sentenced you to a 3-day diet of your most sinful cravings.
What will you be partaking?
Pirate's Booty (that stuff is AMAZING and soooo much better than Cheetos), chocolate flavored peanut butter, and macaroni and cheese. Yummm...

3. Go back to question #3. Change the first word to "travel" and let me know if you survived.
OK, I cleaned up the office...that wasn't too bad...then I went into the woods behind my house and nearly got eaten alive by a raccoon...but that prepared me for surviving the north end of town--barely.

Mimi, pass the Pirate's Booty and mac and cheese, please...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Twelve

Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.

That would be my eyes.

I have Bambi eyes, and when I put my face on in the morning, they're the part I really accentuate.

Yet no one ever notes how nice they are.

Would anyone do so if they were blue, grey, hazel, green?

I dunno.

And I wouldn't wanna know.

Because I like my eyes!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Eleven

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

That would be my hair.

As you know, it's naturally curly. Since I was a kid, I have received raves about my ringlets.

However, like most curly girls, I'd do anything to straighten it.

I've learned to accept my curls, and am quite proud of them.

I just wish all curly girls would be as content as I am.

Monday, October 11, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Ten

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

I knew a girl from college who never really got the idea that I didn't want to be her "best" friend. A "good" friend, yes, but not a BFF.

On SNL, Kristen Wiig plays a character named Penelope, who one-ups everything that people brag about. For example, if a mother says that her baby can say "dada" and "mama", Penelope will say that her kid was fluent in two languages by her first birthday.

That's the way this "friend" has been to me. She always insists on getting her way; she hardly takes suggestions from anyone, and if she does, she'll lecture us on how our ideas aren't as good.

We lost touch for quite a few years. Then she friended me on Facebook. She's not very active on her account--and then, suddenly, she posted on my wall the other day. "Let's get together soon!"

I'm not sure how to respond to that one.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Nine

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

That would be the person whom I refer to as "BFF" throughout the blog.

We've drifted apart in the last several months, and here are the reasons why:
  • He's in a steady relationship. Lately he and his partner have been spending time with other couples, especially his partner's friends. I am not a part of a couple.
  • He spends his time with his friends' kids. I don't have any children.
  • He wants to start a family. I don't think I want to have children.
  • We're both really invested in our careers.
It's more of the emotional part that has caused us to drift...we both want different things out of life. And it really makes me feel bittersweet, considering how much we've been through in 16 years of friendship. His coming out. My episodes of depression. His breakup with his first partner. My juggling grad school and working full time.

But you know what? I've come to terms with our drift...well, I'm getting better at it. There are still some days where I miss picking up the phone and calling at random.

But he's moved on.

And I know I am, too.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Eight

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

That would be the boss I had when I worked at a resort the summer before I went to college.

I won't say much, because it can be explained succinctly:
  • Worked shifts from 7 AM till 10:30 PM, with only two half-hour breaks.
  • Worked for minimum wage--which, at the time, was $4.25 an hour. By the time I left at the end of August, my rate went up to $5.25 an hour.
  • Whenever we closed down for the night, I always ended up on bathroom duty. And the toilets were RARELY clean.
They called me back the following summer. My mother, who answered the phone, gave my old boss the what for, saying that I would never be allowed to step on their grounds again, after how they treated me.

I didn't learn about this until about two summers ago.

And I am thankful for what Mama did for me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Seven

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

Hmmm...this is a tough one. Obviously my family has made my life worth living for. So have my friends. But just one person to choose? I can't! So I'll go with my first answer. My friends and family keep me in line and have helped shape me to be the person I am.

30 days of truth: Day Six

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

I could answer this question simply, by saying something like, "I hope I never have to go to jail," or, "I hope I never get arrested," or, "I hope I never have to clean the gutters on a house."

But I'll stay serious.

I hope I never have to become so morbidly obese that I need assistance in everyday life. I hope I never have to use an electric scooter to go grocery shopping, to lose my balance when walking, to gasp for breath when coming up the stairs.

I was heading that route--and fast.

So I had to make some changes.

I've lost 17 pounds so far, but still have a way to go.

A friend of mine is scheduled for bariatric surgery soon. She praised me for my weight loss, and then looked me in the eye, and said, "Don't become like me."

I know I can get healthy.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Five

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

After college I had several friends either enter the Peace Corps or the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I've always wanted to engage in a long-term volunteer project in an urban area or a third-world country, but just never have had the time or opportunity.

That, and Papa Cat made it clear upon receipt of my diploma, that "I. Would. Get. A. Job."

Well, retirement's only about 30 years away for me!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Four

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

This is a really difficult one for me, because I am a pretty forgiving person towards other people. I am the person I find myself most difficult to forgive.

Basically, I have to forgive certain people for their perfectionism. This is coming from someone who considers herself a recovering perfectionist. I just can't understand why people tend to obsess over the most minute details in their lives. I learned a long time ago (okay, maybe not THAT long ago) that there are MANY circumstances in our lives we can't control. And from those circumstances, I believe, is where humans learn their greatest lessons.

I have some friends who are so afraid of letting go that they can't take even one day off from work. I don't know why I let this bother me so. Maybe it's because I let myself get so run down at one point in my career that I wound up in the hospital for three days.

Please note that I say "recovering perfectionist". I still pride myself on my attention to detail.

But I'd like to think that I'm better about it than I used to be.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Three

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

This past July, I attended a wedding of a longtime college friend. BFF was there, along with several other friends that I hadn't seen for a long time.

Long story short, I met a guy. I liked the guy. Guy didn't ask me for my contact information. I took my misery out on BFF.

Basically, I have to forgive myself for letting my emotions get in the way of enjoying what was otherwise a very lovely day. Everyone else in attendance has forgiven me for what I did--I just wish I could forgive myself.

Monday, October 4, 2010

30 days of truth: Day Two

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

I love my eyes and my hair. I have short, bobbed, naturally curly, dark brown hair. Some would say it's black, but if I go out into the sun, you can see reddish-brown highlights. True black hair does not have any highlights.

I also have big brown, wide eyes to match my hair. They're the part of my face I play up the most when I put on makeup. Eyes are the windows to the soul, and you can tell a lot about me just by looking in my eyes. They alone will tell you how I'm feeling. They express my emotions in ways that words never can.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

30 days of truth: Day One

Various bloggers I follow have done this challenge. I have no idea where it originated, or who did, but now I'm jumping on the bandwagon, in an effort to get back to posting.

And awaaaaaayy we go...

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.

I am my own worst critic. You know how some people are able to let the little things roll off their backs? I'm not one of those people. I tend to obsess over things that I've done wrong. I never forget any mistake I've made. Well, okay, that statement is an exaggeration, but too many times I make mountains out of molehills.

Through talk therapy and medication, I've become a lot better about this self-criticism, but it's an ongoing battle. At least I no longer feel like Sisyphus, constantly pushing the rock up the hill, only to watch it roll back to the bottom.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lately I've been dreaming...

...about my college days.

If I were to post this on Facebook, I would say that I didn't know why.

But the truth is, I do know why.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at my undergraduate institution. It's the kind of place where, every time I visit, I feel like I'm coming home. It will always have a special place in my heart.

But things have changed. A lot. There's so much construction on campus. My residence hall from senior year is being gutted and turned into apartments. Lots of new residence halls are being constructed. No new academic buildings are being constructed, though. The campus is now very crowded.

That was a very bittersweet feeling--walking around campus and seeing that everything was different. Lots of trees were cut down to make room for the new buildings. It wasn't the place where I went to school.

And then, over the past several nights, I've been dreaming about my undergrad days. And it's not just because of my visit there...lately I've been awash in many memories of the past.

It's inevitable in life that you drift apart from some friends, while making new ones. Some people leave your lives temporarily, only to return again, unexpectedly. Some people are meant to be in your lives forever, others only for a short time.

I'm in touch with quite a few of my college friends, but have grown apart from a lot of them, too. And lately, I've been really missing several of them. Some of them I've been missing so much that one of my dreams this week was about what my college life would have been like if I wasn't friends with the people I was friends with in college and beyond. Things were different. Very different.

I have one friend in particular whom I've known since freshman year. Lately our lives have taken completely different directions. My friend wants a family, and hangs out with her spouse's friends, mostly. I'm not quite headed in that direction yet. And I have another friend who's headed in the same direction; he hangs out primarily with his partner, his friends, and their kids.

And that leaves me...well, headed down another path.

And that's okay.

Sometimes I dream about college when I yearn for simpler times. For example, as much as I love to watch/read the news, I just can't watch it lately. Especially the election season here in Connecticut. Arrgh, too much stress...

Sometimes it just plain sucks to be an adult...

Other times, I'm pretty damn glad to be one. I look back at my senior year, and remember the feelings of bittersweetness. I didn't want to leave campus, but I also felt like I was trapped in a bubble. That protective bubble of the university gates. I was ready to move on, but at the same time, scared of what I'd face in the real world.

Well, it's time for bed now, ironically enough...what will I dream about tonight?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A post about nothing

I haven't written since last Friday, when I informed the world that I don't have sleep apnea. It's been awhile since I've waited so long between posts. Lots has been going on, lots of good stuff, lots of activities to keep me busy, but nothing I'm ready to blog about yet.

I felt the need to post tonight, but I don't know what to write about. I guess I'm just posting for the sake of posting.

Kinda like that show about nothing...Seinfeld.

Which, in my opinion, is one of the most over-rated shows ever to have been produced. No offense to you Seinfeld fans, but I found the characters to be very self-absorbed.

Papa Cat loves that show. So much I've bought him the first three seasons on DVD. He has watched them, and also watches the reruns on TBS. I believe he's seen every episode at least four or five times. It drives Mama Cat crazy.

TBS. Home of Conan's new show. November 8th. Fifty-three days from this writing.

Writing a post about nothing turned out to be a post about random. This was kinda fun. Maybe I should do this again...

Friday, September 10, 2010

My sleep study results are in...

...and I don't have sleep apnea! Woo-hoo! Excited!

However, it was determined that I have "disrupted sleep issues, and I could benefit from medication." I have a couple of friends who are on Ambien, and now they can't sleep without it. Literally. One tried to wean herself off, with her doctor's assistance, and just couldn't do it. She needed the drug in order to fall asleep.

So, I'm making some small changes. No caffeine after lunchtime. Meditating before sleep. Not falling asleep to the news, but with a good book. Nothing to eat after 8 PM. Only thinking positive thoughts as I drift to dreamland. Write down whatever's bothering me on a bad by my nightstand, so I don't process those things and wake up to nightmares.

So I'm relieved to be healthy...and not to have to go for a blasted sleep study again. I've had many bad nights of sleep, but that one was clearly the worst night of sleep I ever had!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writers Workshop: This one just spoke to me

This week's prompt, courtesy of Mama Kat:

A list of things you no longer have in common with your married/child bearing friends...and why you love them anyways.

Considering the increasing number of friends that I have that are going this route, I thought it was appropriate for me to choose. Hell, take it a step further and say that it's God's way of trying to tell me something. So here goes.

WHAT I NO LONGER HAVE IN COMMON WITH MY MARRIED/CHILD BEARING FRIENDS, A LIST CREATED BY KITTEN

1. Spouses
For obvious reasons--because I lack one.

2. Children (if they have children)
I am childless. Unless you count my fur-babies. Which I don't think Mama Kat is taking into consideration here.

3. A minivan, or vehicle equipped for young children or growing families
I've got a four-door sedan with keyless entry and auto start. And cupholders for when I eat/drink on the run.

4. A house
I have a two-bedroom condo.

5. Toys littered all over the house/floor
I'm not familiar with anything Little Tykes or Playskool makes nowadays--unless you count the items I see at my friends' houses.

6. Family picnics/vacations
The primary reason why I rarely see my married/child bearing friends these days--time is spent with the family.

7. Playdates
Every time I hear a group of mothers converse about "mom stuff," it's as if they're speaking a foreign language. Same with a group of childless married women talking about their husbands/domestic partners.

8. 529 accounts
Lots of moms I know received savings bonds when their kids were born/baptized/turned a year old. They promptly put them into college savings accounts. I do not have such an account for my fur-babies, even though I think they're smart enough to earn a PhD or discover a cure for cancer.

9. Facebook newsfeeds full of pictures of their children
Wanna see some pictures of my cats? No! Of course you don't! Growing children are far more interesting!

10. Time

It's hard to find someone to go to the movies with nowadays. My friends' schedules revolve around feeding times, playdates, and other meetings with fellow moms. Or, if they're married and childless, date nights with their spouses. Or their domestic partners, if they aren't married.

So why do I love my friends so, even though we have less in common now?

1. They make me laugh.
I don't need to say any more than that.

2. They were there with me during my formative years, and even though I had my share of screw-ups, they stuck around.
My friends' loyalty is amazing.

3. We can get together after not seeing each other for a very, very long time, and it's as if we saw each other five minutes ago.
We can talk for hours and hours and hours before we realize what time it is.

Thanks Mama Kat. I really needed a slice of perspective this week.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The coolest Emmys opening EVER.



It has Springsteen and Glee. Two of my favorite things. Oh, and Jimmy Fallon, too. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kitten and work

Yesterday I returned to work. For those of you who know me in life, as well as longtime readers, know what I do for a living. For those of you recent arrivals, you could probably deduce my profession. But we'll leave it at that.

I've recently realized that work, for me, is a salve. That is, I often use it to cover up, mask, avoid, or forget, a lot of my personal issues. That is, if I don't let my personal issues become embedded in my job--which, in my line of work, is easy to do. I take things very personally. I can be very paranoid.

But the bottom line is this: When I'm at work, doing something I know I'm good at, I feel good. When I do poorly, I feel as if it's a reflection on myself.

That's just one of the things I learned about myself this summer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Friend Makin' Mondays

Hey kittens, I'm participating in this meme, which today is sponsored by the lovely Kenz at her fabulous blog All the Weigh. I discovered her through Jodi. Please stop by Kenz's blog and give her some comment love--and tell her Kitten sent ya!

Anyhoo, what's Friend Makin' Monday? Here's what Kenz has to say:

If you're new and want to take part, all you have to do is copy this post and a link (with your own answers) onto your own blog then link up at the bottom of [Kenz's post]. After that, just take a few minutes to visit a few FMM bloggers and leave a comment or two. It's a great way to discover new and awesome blogs. Let's get to know each other, shall we?

I like...being back in a routine. As much as I don't like getting up at the ass-crack of dawn, it's good to be back at work.

I don't like...peas. Never have, never will. They have a weird texture. I'm big on texture when it comes to my food.

I love...lots of things. Too many to list!

I dream of...living in a peaceful world.

I wonder...how I can recapture my sense of wonder and awe at things in the world around me.

I know...that life isn't easy sometimes.

I went...to the Y this afternoon for Zumba, and discovered that it was on their annual shutdown week. Major bummer!

I have...to bake a cake tomorrow for a dessert buffet we're having for a colleague who just got married.

I think...therefore, I am.

I plan...to do some form of exercise today. I'm not going to let the Y shutdown get me...well, down!

I regret...letting my emotions get the best of me sometimes. Sometimes I react before I've had a chance to think.

I do...a lot to keep me busy.

I drink...lots of different beverages every day. Mostly water, but I also drink milk, cranberry juice, coffee, tea (green, black, and chamomile), and a glass of red wine with dinner.

I wish...that this country weren't so divided. We've taken the "united" part out of our official name.

I am...Kitten, hear me meow.

I am not...actually a little grey kitten, like you see in my header. I am a human being, blogging under a synonym. I happen to like books and cats, hence, my nom de plume.

I need...to achieve balance in my life, somehow.

I graduated...with a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks.

I hope...that I can be the best person I can be.

I want...to shed some pounds. I've recently made some lifestyle changes that are working. I love to see the results!

I sometimes...I'm going to quote Kenz's answer for this one, word for word, because it applies to me as well: "I try way too hard to impress people immediately upon meeting them because I want them to know that I'm more than just an overweight person."

I always...know that things happen for a reason, and that life has a funny way of working itself out.

I can...gain perspective on almost everything I've ever done.

I work...very hard to overcome depression and anxiety.

I cannot...walk and chew gum at the same time.

I avoid...again, I'm going to quote Kenz because it applies to me as well: "problems sometimes instead of facing them, but I've come a long way with that in the past year. That being said, I still have to work on it because my first instinct is often to avoid problems rather than facing and fixing them."

I will...wrap up this post and see if the butter has softened to start making my cake. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Live blogging the Emmys: The ceremony

TY BURRELL!!!

The guy in the grey tux is named Ty Burrell.

He's from that Modern Family show I've never seen.

Anyhoo, on with the show, shall we?

8:02: So far, the opening is not disappointing and just may be one of the most memorable opening numbers in Emmy history. Jon Hamm grinding it with Betty White? Yeah!!!

SPRINGSTEEN?!?! YES!!!! And Hurley? I never watched Lost, but nice touch!!!

Damn, this needs to go on iTunes. Like, in five minutes.

Work it, Tim Gunn!!!

OmigGod, this is too. Frakkin.' Coll. I need to download this to my hard drive before those shmucks at NBC take it off YouTube.

Randy Jackson? Dawg!

By the way, Ryan Murphy, should you read this: Springsteen episode. If not next season, then season 3.

Oh, and Emmy producers, thank you for not using Kate Gosselin so much.

8:07: Born to Run production number over. Jimmy Fallon takes over with his acoustic guitar. "I'm going to be hosting a show on the West Coast. What could possibly go wrong?"

Cue close up of Conan, who seems to take it in stride.

8:08: Year in comedy retrospective.

8:11: Jon Hamm and Betty White present the award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. They enter to the strains of "The Odd Couple" theme.

The guy from Modern Family won. How? What is this show about anyway? I thought Colfer was a shoo-in for this one. To say that I am très disappointed is an understatement.

I've decided to go to bed right after they present Outstanding Variety Series. I have a feeling Modern Family is going to upset Glee--and if they upset Glee, they upset me.

8:18: I like John Hodgeman as narrator, and I can't wait to hear all of the grudge stories.

8:19: Whoever is writing the presenter banter needs to be dragged into the street and shot. Nice way to introduce the comedy writer nominees. Like how Tina Fey is wearing a Late Night with Jimmy Fallon t-shirt.

Modern Family won AGAIN. It beat out 30 Rock, The Office AND Glee!!! I'm ready to throw my laptop against the TV. Getting pissed. Why is it that the TV shows I root for to win end up LOSING?!?!? (Hope I didn't jinx Conan...hope I didn't jinx Conan...)

And everyone on Modern Family seems to be really long-winded with the speeches...

8:23: Ahhh, Stephen Colbert, please don't disappoint me. Please tell me that Jane Lynch's name is in that envelope you're holding in your right hand. Way to kiss up to the ladies, Stephen.

Prepping to throw computer against screen if anyone from Modern Family wins...

YES!!!! JANE WON, JANE WON, JANE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Emmy gods!!! And she thanked her wife and little girl, and made a crack about jealousy that was great but I couldn't catch it in time (and I'm too lazy to rewind my DVR).

8:28: Let the tributes to Oprah begin...even though her show isn't off the air yet...

8:31: What the hell is Lauren Graham wearing?

Again, these writers for the presenters banter need to be dragged into the street and shot...

Betty White deserved the Emmy for SNL. More than deserved it. But I think Mike O'Malley should have received it instead of NPH.

Ryan Murphy won for Glee!!!!! Lurve the teal tux there, Ryan! Don't forget about my suggestion for the Springsteen episode...oh, and thank you for thanking the teachers. :)

8:36: What's NOT to like about a George Clooney cameo?

8:37: Lead actor in a comedy. Alec Baldwin, FTW! Sorry, Matthew Morrison, but there's no one like Jack Donaghy on TV!!

Jim Parsons won?!?! WTF?!?!? Now there's an upset!!!

Now I'm feeling really badly for Steve Carell...hopefully the last season will be the charm...

OT: This You Again movie with Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Betty White looks like it has potential.

Starting to get tired...but must stay up for Conan...must stay up for Conan...must stay up for Conan...


8:44: Ahhh, NPH...presenting Lead Actress in a Comedy...I have no idea who will win...oh, Edie Falco, an old pro at winning Emmy statuettes...I should watch this Nurse Jackie show, but I don't get Showtime.

8:47: Kim Kardashian should NOT sing. Not one note.
Greaaaaaaaat, the reality category. Have I ever mentioned to you, my darling kittens, how much I loathe reality television? (That is, the reality of the Kardashian/Big Brother/Not-So-Real Housewives variety...give me Mythbusters any day).

Top Chef won! At last, the Amazing Race stranglehold is broken! God, Padma Lakshmi is beautiful.

8:56: And now we're introduced to the accountants...wow, that went quicker than I thought.

8:57: Well, Julianna Marguiles is a somewhat better singer than Kim Kardashian...and now, for the drama category...gonna skip this one, kittens, I don't watch any dramas. See ya for the Variety category.

9:11: OK, I said that I'd skip the drama category, but I have to say...this has been a night of upsets. I've never heard of Archie Panjabi. Then again, I don't watch The Good Wife.

But I am quite familiar with the work of Christine Baranski, and I adore her.

9:12: Do NOT compare Edie Falco to a Real Housewife of New Jersey. She's too classy.

9:13: Three in a row for Malcolm's dad! He's a classy guy...and rawther cute. :)

We're coming up on 9:17 on the east coast, kittens. I really want to stay up and see if Conan wins, but it he's not on by 10 PM (a rawther likely possibility, since the announcer has teased that filler is coming up in the form of a musical tribute to canceled shows), I'm gonna have to turn in. I can't tell you the last time I had to wake up at my work reveille--the oh so lovely hour of 5:30 AM.

9:21: If all of us women could be as sexy as Ann-Margret when we get to be her age...and her voice sounds just as wonderful...

9:23: Oh dear Lord, here comes the musical tribute to 24, Lost, and Law and Order. With Jimmy Fallon impersonating Elton John. Chee-z!!

Wow, that was a quick change! Now he's in a weird getup singing to Boyz II Men, with a Law and Order tribute. Nice deal with the 40 Oz., a creepy acknowledgment to what he did when Conan went off the air.

Wow, very credible Green Day impersonation there, Jimmy.

How'd he change outfits so quickly, I wonder?

I have to say, Jimmy's doing a credible job so far. Not a wham-bam, amazing job, but a good job. Golf clap!

OT: Kinda surprised that Lost isn't receiving any Emmy love. I wouldn't know what I'm talking about, though, since I never watched the show.

Oh, they just announced the variety show salute. YES! Maybe I WILL get to bed on time.

9:34: Announcing the Variety category!!!!! With Stephen Colbert! Colbert FTW!! Black Eyed Peas FTW!!! And all they're talking about is the Conan/Leno debacle.

I have to say, Fallon looks really good in a white tux.

Oh, and BTW, in case you're wondering...yes, I am using textspeak throughout this post. Yes, I have written prolifically about my hatred for this dialect. But when you're live blogging, you don't want to miss much, and hence, I must use shorthand. A lesson I learned from my cousin, who is studying to be a stenographer.

9:39: Disappointed that Wanda Sykes didn't win for Variety Special. I love her!

9:45: Ricky Gervais is onstage. He's presenting the Outstanding Direction in a Variety Special award.

And he's going off script!! LOVE IT!!!!

OMG, he's giving beer out to people in the audience! Awesome!!!

Bucky Gunts--best name for an Emmy winner. Ever.

9:51: The Outstanding Variety Show award. Crap, my heart is racing right now. And there goes Jon Stewart with his Glenn Beck impression. Yes, mucho loud applause for Conan. Well deserved. Hollywood is with Coco. Nice ending to the B-roll by the way.

I'm gonna crap in my pants.

The Daily Show won AGAIN?!?!?!?! ROBBERY!!!!!

OK, gotta go on Facebook to see what the Coco fans are saying...

Yep, disappointment all the way around.

Conan O'Brien...the Charlie Brown of the Emmys.

And on that note, I shall leave you all. Good night, my darling kittens...


Live blogging the Emmys: Red Carpet Pre-Show

This is my first attempt at live blogging; please forgive me if it isn't perfect.

We'll start off with the red carpet preview on E!

6:04: They're bedazzling E! mics now?

6:05: Seacrest's shmoozing with Jimmy Fallon right now. Fallon's hosting tonight. I love the guy, and I love his show, but his monologues are weak. I hope this show isn't one long monologue--and he's not gonna have The Roots to help him. God, his wife is gorgeous.

(Now, kittens, I don't honestly know how long I'll be able to stay up tonight, since I have to return to work tomorrow. I'm hoping to stay up long enough to see who wins the Variety Show category--Conan, Conan, Conan!!!)

6:08: They've actually gone to commercial!! And then they're interviewing the Jersey Shore crew--sans Angelina--after the break. I think I'll change the channel.

6:09: It seems like there are a lot of commercials--even though they've only been airing for two minutes now. I'm reminded of why I no longer watch live TV. DVR FTW!

6:11: Commercials are over. Gratuitous shot of the Goodyear blimp, followed by cheesy promo for the "glam cam", or whatever those new cheesy photo booths are that all the entertainment shows have now. This looks worse than being photographed constantly at a wedding.

6:13: They're already analyzing Emmy fashions. Oh Lord. :P

6:15: There's the Jersey Shore crew. Questions are asinine. And the answers are even worse. Are these people capable of answering with more than one word? Channel changed.

6:17: Caught the tale end of a Conan/Leno/Letterman story on my NBC affiliate. Changing channel back, since they're going to commercial.

6:18: Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt on E! Jon Hamm looks hoooooooottttttttttt. LURVE the grey tux!!

Speaking of looking good, Kelly Osbourne looks AMAZING!!! I've always loved her. She and Sharon are my favorite Osbournes.

6:26: Giuliana Rancic's interviewing Kevin McHale. He is adorable! He and Chris Colfer are my favorite cast members from Glee. Admitting to having a crush on Sally Field--to Sally Field?!?! Adorable!

OT: Really hoping Chris Colfer wins tonight. He is awesome as Kurt. And by the way, what's with the colored bow ties on a lot of the tuxedos tonight?

6:28: Now we've got an autograph cam? HURL.

Okay, I've decided to end this particular post at 7:00 so I can get ready for bed. That, and the pre-show's veeerrrrryyyyyyyy boring. Will write about the ceremony itself in another post.

6:31: Kathy Griffin and her mom, Maggie, are talking to Seacrest. Loved Maggie's response to the "Who are you wearing?" question: "A J.C. Peigné." (That's a Frenchified version of JC Penney for those of you kittens who don't know French).

6:36: Kim Kardashian meets Lea Michele for the first time. They're acting like two high school best friends gossiping in the bathroom. Seacrest's trying his best to stop the interview, but they wanna keep going.

6:39: Totally didn't recognize Claire Danes. I really hope she wins tonight. If you haven't seen her performance in Temple Grandin, you should.

6:40: ACK! I see Conan in the background! Or at least I think so...it looks like he shave off his beard. Was never a fan of the beard.

6:41: Eva Longoria Parker, like a lot of the women here tonight, is wearing a strapless black dress.

OT: Since when have I become so shallow that I actually give a damn about what these women are wearing?

How many of you kittens have watched
Modern Family? What is the show about? The only shows I really watched this past season were Glee, 30 Rock, Conan, and 60 Minutes.

6:47: OK, so that wasn't Jon Hamm in the grey tux earlier. Who the hell was it? He still looks hot. Gonna have to rewind the DVR later. (Oops, can't...that's when I changed the channel).

6:49: Ricky Gervais has lost a lot of weight. He looks really good. Almost unrecognizable--at least till he opens his mouth. There's no mistaking that accent!

OK, I'm gonna quit live blogging for now. If any of you kittens can figure out who that mystery man in the grey tux was, please let me know! I can't find anything online!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The things that are stressing me out right now have nothing to do with my personal melodramas (for once)

I really can't watch the news anymore. I just can't. But it's there everywhere I turn: on my Yahoo! homepage, on my Facebook newsfeed, on my Twitter feed, everywhere. No matter where I go I get depression, depression, depression thrown in my face--drama that has nothing to do with my friends or family.

So what's stressing me out right now? Recession. Unemployment. Partisanship. Political bitterness. The mortgage crisis. Wars. Floods. Lack of goodwill in this country. Prejudice. Racism. Hatred of people because of their beliefs, political or religious. For sale signs that are up in front of houses for months. Major oil spills that have almost destroyed an entire region. Hurricanes, especially if they're named Katrina, Danielle, or Earl. But especially Katrina. (I can't believe it's been five years already.)

Just now I tried watching the NBC Nightly News, but had to turn it off. I put on baseball. Phillies and the Padres. Teams I don't even care about. But anything but the news.

These days I've been longing for simpler times. Not so much the days when I was little and was protected by mom and dad, but...more like ten years ago. My mid-twenties. I had just moved out of the house. I had my first apartment, my first job. My friends and I hung out all the time. We were all in the same boat. Everything was new, full of wonder. It was a time where I could learn a new thing about my new home every day. Everything was full of firsts, kind of like when I was an infant: first adult vacation. First new car I bought on my own. First major road trip without family members.

And now...fast forward to the mid-thirties. Same job, different home. Mortgage, instead of rent. Condo fees. City taxes for car and water. Increasing electric bills. Hell, increasing bills all the way around. Friends losing their jobs. Friends getting divorces. Friends worrying about getting the mortgage approved to buy their first home. Friends having babies. More responsibilities.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was fearless. I felt like I could take on the world. The world was my oyster. I loved life and everything about it.

And yet, somewhere along the way, that girl disappeared, to be replaced by one who had fear, anxiety, and an increased awareness of the global situation.

I miss the girl who I was in my mid-twenties.

But now that I'm in my mid-thirties, I can't go back. Too much has changed. I've already explained how.

I miss the innocence, the wonder, the thrill of discovery of being a newbie in the real world.

Maybe I can at least capture those feelings, those emotions, in these times, but I don't know how.

I would love to feel that way again.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An evening rendez-vous à l'hôpital

Now kittens, before you panic about the title of this post, relax! I'm fine. I just went for a sleep study Tuesday night.

How many of you have ever been to a sleep study? Here's a rundown of what happens if you haven't:

First, you arrive at the hospital around 7 PM, and someone meets you to take you to the sleep lab. A couple of weeks before your study, you have to fill out a rawther detailed questionnaire about your sleep habits, indicating such information as what time you get up, how long you work, do you doze off at the computer at work, that sort of thing. You hand the questionnaire to your sleep lab technician, who then asks you to fill out MORE paperwork about the type of day you had. This second questionnaire asks what you ate and drank during the day, what medications you took, and if you took any naps during the day (I wasn't supposed to).

The technician, upon collecting my paperwork, set me up with a DVD to watch. It was all about the sleep study: what it's for, what goes on, and what kind of data is collected. Did you know that a typical sleep study can gather up to 800 pages of data? I thought that was neat, and fascinating. That's one of the reasons why it takes two weeks to get the results back to the doctor. The lab sends out the information to the sleep specialist, who then sends it back to the lab, and then sends it back to the doctor.

After the video, the technician asked me to get into my PJs. There's no shower at the facility, or at least my particular one; you have to shower before the study, and make sure that your hair is completely free of any styling products. Any bit of residue can throw off the results.

So I put on my PJs, but I couldn't hop into bed right away. Oh, noooo. I had to be hooked up with lots of electrodes. First the technician attached two electrodes to my chest, because they were going to measure my heart rate during the night. Then she put a band around my stomach and attached two more electrodes. I also had one placed on the middle finger of my left hand. Then I had one attached to either leg.

And finally, here's the fun part. I had one electrode on my neck, and one taped beside my left eye. The one beside my eye was meant to measure my REM during the night. And then I had ten electrodes pasted to my head, to measure my brain waves.

All of these wires were gathered up into a "ponytail", and placed to the side of the bed. There was a camera directly over the bed, so the technician could watch me toss and turn during the night.

And then it was time for bed. I adjusted my sleep number (yes, I had a Select Comfort double bed), and fluffed my pillows and got my comforter ready. You're allowed to bring your own pillows and comforter, and I'm so glad I did; the ones the hospital had were rawther thin. And the room started out COLD!

So then the technician shut off the lights and I tried to find a comfy position. It was NOT easy, given that I could only adjust so much with a bunch of wires coming out of my head. And then a couple of times the technician had to come in and readjust the electrodes because she wasn't getting a good enough reading. I also requested a temperature readjustment. She upped the temp from 66 to 73 degrees--and then I got VERY warm.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep very well during the night. I could have called and asked for the temp to be readjusted, but I didn't want to wake up and disturb the results. And there was no clock in the room. I can understand why; there are some who have clock anxiety and get worried that they haven't fallen asleep by a certain time. Me? I find the clock comforting. I like knowing I have several hours before I need to be up and at 'em. So I had somewhat of a reverse clock anxiety.

I was awakened at quarter to five and given a post-sleep questionnaire. I was very honest about my lousy night of sleep and let them know it. However, I also had to compliment my sleep technician; she was very honest with me, answered all of my questions, explained things very thoroughly, and was very pleasant.

About twenty-five minutes later, I left the hospital. Fortunately my house is a five-minute drive from there. Yes, I am spoiled by living so close to the local hospital. I was alert, but not quite wide-awake, when I left that morning.

But, then I got home, greeted the cats, and saw the couch in my living room...

Three and a half hours later, I awoke again, much more refreshed and relaxed.

My doctor had referred me for a sleep study partly because of my weight. Yes, I am overweight, and she was concerned that I had sleep apnea. I have complained about waking up during the night, but I have always attributed it to the stress of my job. I have never woken up gasping for air.

But we'll see what happens. I'll keep y'all posted.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thursday Thunks: August 26, 2010

For some reason there doesn't seem to be a code for the Thursday Thunks button. So if you want to play along, click here.

1. To whom did you last give the finger?

I dunno...probably someone who pissed me off as I was driving. And I give the finger in private; I just don't have the balls to actually hold it up.

2. If you had 1,000 dollars and HAD to spend it, what would you buy?
New bedroom furniture. I'd start off with the bed, and get a new mattress and boxspring. Then I'd get a dresser, armoire, and a nightstand.

3. What was the last beverage you spilled on yourself?
Most likely coffee...I don't have a good memory for spilling things on myself.

4. When was the last photograph you took? What was it of?
I can't remember the last time I took a photo, and I'm too lazy to go across the room and look up the shots on my digital camera.

5. Who was the last person to smoke a cigarette in your presence?
People who know me know me well enough not to do this. I'm asthmatic. I literally can't breathe around cigarettes.

6. What animal did you last pet or hold?
One of my cats.

7. What was the last superstitious thing you did?
Whenever I buy a beverage with a straw, I take the straw out of the wrapper, tie the wrapper in a knot, and pull both ends. Supposedly, if the knot breaks, someone's thinking of you. I've been doing this since college.

8. What was the last text message you received?
Something from Twitter.

9. Berleen has decided to buy twelve goats. If she trades three for some awesome pot, loses one while she was stoned, what do you think she did with the rest?
LUNCHTIME!!!!

10. What was the last musical instrument played in your presence?
I went to a band concert last month, if that counts. There was a piano, a drum kit, and a bass.

11. What was the last note that you wrote on your hand?
Something many, many years ago. I no longer use the original Palm Pilot, and haven't for years.

12. Kimber announced that she was born on another planet. Which one do you think it was and why?
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. :)

13. What are you wearing as you answer these ridiculously stupid TT questions?
A T-shirt and jeans.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No time to say goodbye, hello! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!

Kittens, I need some advice from you. I need to make this quick, otherwise I'll be late for my hair appointment.

Which, ironically, is the subject of this post. I have a friend who is excessively, completely, obnoxiously tardy all the frakkin' time. No, she does not have any knowledge of this blog, so I feel comfortable sharing this with all of you.

Last month I had to drop my friend off at the airport. She sent me a text message earlier that morning saying, to the affect of, "You're still coming over at 11:30, right?" To which I texted back, "YES!" Now, my friends know that I am responsible, and usually show up fifteen minutes before the designated start time for any event. So I get really annoyed that, first of all, my friend does not trust me enough that I won't actually be on time to her apartment.

And then I get to her apartment, fifteen minutes before I'm supposed to, and I knock on the door. No answer. I knock again, and put my ear to the door. I hear the water running. She's in the shower.

She texts me in the morning to make sure I'm still coming over, and she's not even ready for me.

Long story short, she lets me in (still not done with her shower), and it turns out, she's not even done packing. I inform her that I want to leave at 12:30 in order to get her to the airport an hour early. We end up leaving at 1:15. It's about a half hour to the airport, her flight takes off at 2:30, and it's raining heavily, so traffic is heavy on the highway.

Oh, and did I mention, she wasn't even finished packing?

So this is where I need you to channel your inner Emily Posts and provide me with some helpful information. The above example is, obviously, a big one, but this is just to illustrate for you what happens whenever I hang out with this person. She is never on time for anything. I'm really sick of having to wait for her for everything.

And yes, I know it's probably tacky for me to post this behind her back. Maybe I should channel my inner Emily Post...

Gotta run! Or else I'll be late for my hair appointment!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: Heidi's Inbox: Scandal in the City, by Holly Denham

Holly Denham, the befuddled London receptionist who gave us all a glimpse into her life--and her inbox--is back with a brand-new book full of more scrapes and hilarity.

Holly is still at the bank, and is doing very well for herself. She is successful in her job and is madly in love. And now she's up for a promotion. Things couldn't be better for Holly--and then scandal starts to edge its way back into her life.

Like it's predecessor, Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City is told entirely in E-mails, with the exception of one chapter, which consists of Holly's texts to her best friend, Jason. I really liked this format because you really got to see the entire contents of her inbox, which include E-mails from family and other businesses. The correspondence from members of Holly's family, in particular, shed some light on her quirky personality, from a meddling mother trying to get Holly to change her career, to a nutty grandmother who is trying to get Holly's mother to stop meddling in her affairs.

And then there are the E-mails from the "Unknown Angel," which pop up sporadically throughout the novel. This lends a little bit of mystery to the book. Just who is this person, and why is she sending Holly E-mails?

At over 500 pages, one may seem a little intimidated to start reading a book so big. But this book is written entirely in E-mails, and it goes by very quickly. I managed to finish it in two sittings. It's one of those novels where you stumble upon a plot element that may seem subtle, but turns out to be a plot changer in the end.

Oh, and that scandal that the book's title refers to? You're just going to have to read the book to find out what it is!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thursday Thunks: August 18, 2010

A. If you see a tornado out your window, what do you do?
I live in Connecticut. Tornadoes are, sadly, becoming a part of life here, even though they weren't very common before. If I saw one out my window, I'd probably enter into Freakout Mode and run around my house like a banshee, panicking because I was facing impending death.

B. A celebrity knocks on your door saying that their tour bus/limo/pedal bike broke down (you pick the transportation)... who is it and what do you do to help them?
It's Pee Wee Herman, and his bike got a flat. I'd help him out by fixing his tire and giving him a generous serving of ice cream soup.



C. Brett is back on the Vikings - do you really give a crap?
No, and I don't really give a crap about American football, either.

D. What side of the bed do you think Bud sleeps on?
He sleeps in the middle, so he can have a French Twin on either side of him.

E. Cookie Monster eats vegetables now. Is this ok with you?
No! He's the Cookie Monster! He can't eat veggies! Stupid political correctness...

F. All the TT's get together for coffee... which state do we meet in?
Well, this is a tough choice...you've got Seattle, Washington, home of Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and cool music...but you could also go to Hawaii, where the Kona coffee is incredibly tasty...oh, hell, Hawaii! It's warm, there's fabulous beaches, and lots of eye candy.

G. Is the town you live in famous for anything? Infamous for anything?
My city is famous for being the home of Wesleyan University. It's infamous for a big explosion at a clean-energy power plant earlier this year.

H. Coffee flavored bubble gum - would you?
Hells, no! Why should I get coffee flavored bubble gum? I can't even get coffee flavored coffee! (Warning: lots of foul language in the video below):



I. So Kimber lost her fight with a granite table.... what did you ever lose a fight with?
An Exacto knife. Long story short, I ended up losing a lot of blood, had a thick skin flap on my thumb, some stitches, and a lot of scar tissue and numbness.

J. Have you ever slept beneath the stars?
I've been camping before, so yeah.

K. School is starting up soon, or has for some, did you get a new pair of tennis shoes every year while you were in school?
I got a new pair of loafers, or any type of leather shoes. I went to Catholic school, so I had to comply with the dress code.

L. What two flavors do you love that you would never want to taste at the same time?
Chocolate and garlic. Love them both, but sometimes two great tastes DON'T taste great together.

M. If you could shave a quote into a lions fur, what would it say?
You think it's easy to get near a lion who would let you do this? But if I were able to do so, I'd shave the MGM logo into its fur. Kinda like an ironic lion tattoo.

N. Did you ever accidentally walk in on your parents doing the nasty? Did you ever purposely walk in on them?
No to both questions...hell, no one should ever even think about this possibility...gross!

Wednesday Wickedness: Hugh Grant

My blog has been all over the place lately, as you have seen, but I am trying hard to rediscover my blogging mojo. As you know, I only post when the spirit moves me--and those winds haven't quite made it back to my part of the eastern seaboard.

But I was over at Bud's place earlier, and I found this new meme. Wednesday Wickedness takes a celebrity each week, and then asks you to respond to ten of that celebrity's quotes. This week, the meme takes on Hugh Grant. Heerree we go...

1. “Basically, my life is so boring, it's embarrassing.” How boring do you think your life is?
For Hugh Grant, an international movie star, to say that his life is boring...well, I find that rawther pretentious.

2. “But I just know from experience that accent wise, even if you're an accent genius, crossing the Atlantic is the hardest thing in the world either way.” Can you do any accents? If not, do you know someone who is good at it?
How many of you have ever picked up accents just by spending time with someone who does? My first year of college I lived in a dorm with lots of people from central and eastern Massachusetts. You know, the "pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd" variety. I picked up a Boston accent very quickly. I don't have it anymore, though. I can still affect a rawther poor British accent.

3. “For any new technology there is always controversy and there always some fear associated with it.” What technology did you at first fear that you now could not live without?
Kittens, this technology that I am about to describe is something I had trouble mastering at first, but now I absolutely adore it. In fact, it's so wonderful, that the kids of today have trouble understanding it, and we adults can use it to communicate secret messages. It's called cursive handwriting, kids.

4. “I cling to the fantasy that I could have done something more creative. Like actually writing a script, or writing a book. But the awful truth is that I... probably can't!” Do you, or have you ever, thought you have a book in you?
I write a blog, and have been doing so for three years. Technically, I could print up my posts and publish them as a book of essays, but I'd rather not.

5. “I had Courtney Love's left bosom out of her dress on my plate in front of me. It was extraordinary. I didn't know where to look.” Have you ever been in a similar type of situation?
I've never met Courtney Love, so I can't say that I have.

6. “The moral of filmmaking in Britain is that you will be screwed by the weather.” How does the weather effect where you live?
I live in New England. The weather goes from sunny to snowy in less than five minutes. I do know that it affects my mood; as Sister Kitten says, I can go from happy to pissy in less than five minutes.

7. “When I think about actors I know, I'd much rather hear about who they're shagging than what film they're doing next.” How about you? Are you more interested in you favorite artist’s next work, or the TMZ side of it all?
As much as I say, "I could care less about the TMZ side of it all," I will admit that I have the website for People Magazine bookmarked. But my favorite actor's bedroom business should remain where it originated--in the boudoir.

8. “Women are frightening. If you get to 41 as a man, you're quite battle-scarred.” Have you ever felt “battled-scarred” by a relationship or relationships in general? If yes, do tell.
Who hasn't? It's a part of life. Everyone's got their own coping mechanisms for dealing with that.

9. “You know everyone loves to be the villain.” Do you tend to root for the bad guy?
Lemme put it to you this way: Whenever I watched the Road Runner duke it out with the coyote, I always wanted Wile E. to win. Just for once.

10. “I think that's the whole point of Bridget Jones. It's all about that it's okay to fail.” What have you failed at and learned a lot from?
Relationships. Not necessarily of the romantic variety, but in dealing with people in general. It takes all kinds...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Adorable!

Found this video on Entertainment Weekly's website today. It's too damn cute!

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life-changers diary, day 2

OK, if you were around yesterday, you've already read my post called "Kitten's life-changers." And if you haven't, do so! Yesterday I made a list of changes that I wanted to make personally in my life, and came up with one rawther ginormous list. So rather than tackle some really big things all at once, I decided to break them up into little tasks. For example, here was my list for today:

Home maintenance:
1. Fold and put away clothes in dryer
2. Pick up items from living room floor
3. Clean litter boxes
4. Take out trash and recycling
5. Sort and wash darks

I managed to do four out of five of these things. There are still some items on the living room floor that have not been picked up, and probably won't be until tomorrow. And I'm okay with that.

In the health category:
1. Brush teeth before bed
2. Wash face before bed
3. Eat an apple
4. Make a salad for the week
5. Eat at least two veggies, including one with dinner

Okay, a few words about this one...I'm a little embarrassed to admit these things, but I need to hold myself accountable, and what better way to do this than to broadcast these things to the entire blogosphere. I have very poor eating habits, and while I have good hygiene in the morning, I don't always follow through at night. Which is gross and disgusting. Lately I've felt much worse waking up in the morning if I don't take care of myself at night.

With respect to today's health goals, I've already brushed and washed, and had my apple. I didn't have dinner tonight because I was still full from the Chinese food leftovers I had earlier in the day. But I did manage to have some celery stalks dipped in tomato-basil hummus. And I haven't made my salad yet because I need to clean my kitchen (!) Cleaning my kitchen will be my home maintenance goal for tomorrow.

At first, I grumbled and complained about giving myself points for these somewhat mundane tasks. But as I checked them off my list, and as I kept finishing my tasks, I felt pretty good! I didn't accomplish everything on my to-do list, but I managed to get most done!

I will update you all tomorrow with my goals!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kitten's life changers

This evening I was up at the Cat Family Homestead, hanging out with the 'rents and Sister Kitten, who told me about a little activity she's doing with her best friend.

Recently, as she was helping her BFF out with her two little boys, they talked about certain changes that they wanted to make in their lives. Both want to exercise more. Both want to change certain eating habits. Sister Kitten wants to spend less time on the computer and the Internet. So what she and her BFF did was make a list of all of the things in their lives that they wanted to change, and they typed them on an Excel spreadsheet. They assigned each task that they wanted to change a certain number of points. For example, for each day they exercised, they got a point. For each day they went without sweets, they got a point. If they had vegetables at every meal, they got a point. At the end of the week, they decided to tally the number of points they earned, and if they got to a certain goal, they would reward themselves. (Sister Kitten didn't get a chance to explain what the rewards were).

They decided to begin with an eight-week commitment. After eight weeks, I'm not sure what they're going to do. But I thought this was a really terrific system, and it got me thinking. I'd like to set something similar up for myself. After I write this blog post, I'm going to make a list of things I'd like to change about my life, and assign them point values. Plus, I need someone to help hold me accountable. Sooo...I would like to invite all of you who are reading this to participate with me. Leave a note in the comments section if you are interested in participating in this project (I really don't want to call it a challenge), and we can share ideas and thoughts.

Tomorrow I hope to have a list of habits I'd like to change, and will publish it here on the ol' blog. I hope you'll be able to join me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In a Muppet state of mind

Lately I've been perusing YouTube for all things Muppet. The following clip, which a friend of mine sent me, is the one that started it all. It's the latest one that the Muppet Studio has posted on its YouTube channel:



And then there's this one:



But this one remains my favorite, and is a St. Patrick's Day tradition here at The Bookkitten:



By the way, the first clip is available for download on iTunes. You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My lip zit

It's really embarrassing that I have a zit on my lower lip.

Unfortunately, lip zits are very difficult to get rid of. You can't use standard zit creams, out of fear of ingesting things you really shouldn't. You can't wear concealer because it wears off quickly from sipping your coffee and eating your breakfast.

Tell me, kittens, do any of you have experience in getting rid of lip zits? I need to know how to dry this puppy up. It's ruining my otherwise (now!) clear complexion!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thursday Thunks, July 29, 2010

1. We know how creative Berleen is with her terrific tee-shirts and such, so how about you? Do you draw anything or perhaps your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
I scrapbook and cross stitch. That's pretty crafty. As for drawing, stick figures are the way to go for moi.

2. Kimber doesn’t always leave her house. I wonder if she knows what is out her back door. What is out your back door?
Trees and a state highway. And the other half of the horseshoe driveway that goes through my condo complex.

3. Do you prefer the beach, a pool or a lake? Why?
The beach. More opportunities for people watching, plus I love the salty air scent. And there's nothing like the feeling of sand between your toes.

4. What is something recently that happened to you that you are REALLY excited about?
Life's been pretty dull lately. Like I said on Facebook the other night, there are some potentially exciting changes coming up, but first I gotta go through Freakout Mode. (I'm not ready to share those changes in Blogland, yet, though. However, I must add it has nothing to do with a new man in my life).

5. I am fortunate that I come from a very close family. Are any of your great-grandparents still alive? If not did you ever meet them?
I only met my great-grandparents through stories my own parents told.

6. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group? Tell us about it.
About a week ago, at a church meeting. Nothing major, just expressing an opinion.

7. Have you ever bungee jumped? Would you ever bungee jump?
No to both questions!!!

8. How strong emotionally do you think you are?
I'm a little weakling.

9. Kimber and Berleen still have NEVER met, yet they are best friends. What is the first thing you notice about people when you meet them?
Eyes are the windows to the soul.

10. Who do you mess with the most?
My best friend. Because it's FUN!!!

11. Who was the last person you talked to on a landline?
Uhhhh...what's a landline?

12. I finally saw Avatar this week. What was the last movie you watched long after it came out and loved?
I honestly don't know. I'm not into movies.

13. What did you dream about last night?
Blackness. Pitch blackness.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The songs in my head

I discovered this video the other day, and it is my current YouTube favorite. Your favorite NPR personalities spoof Lady Gaga.

It's nice to finally put some faces to the names. And that Guy Raz is HOTTTTTT!!!!!! (And Ari Shapiro's not that bad looking, either).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hungry

Ever have one of those nights where you're just not hungry enough for your usual dinner, and then, a few hours later, you find that you've got a ravenous appetite?

Such is the case with tonight. I really didn't feel like eating a complete dinner, but I needed something to tie me over, so I opened a can of organic sweet corn, heated it up a little, and ate it. I figured it was a vegetable, and it would fill me up.

And now, six hours après le repas, I'm feeling it. I'm starving.

Or am I?

Is it because I'm housesitting and I'm bored and I really want to go home? Is it because of the thunderstorms that moved through the area, and I'm away from my cats right now? Is my hunger more emotional as opposed to physical?

Either way, I'm going to bed. I figure I can have a nice, wholesome breakfast in the morning.

Something with protein.

To keep me from going hungry.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: About Alice, by Calvin Trillin

This is the latest in the string of memoirs that men have written about their late/critically ill wives. I assure you, kittens, that it was purely coincidence that I read three of these books in a row. But this volume was in the bargain bin at Borders, and I had heard a lot of good things about it, so I picked it up.

About Alice is a loving, affectionate memoir about Alice Trillin, who was the muse, editor, and chief critic/confidante to New Yorker magazine writer Calvin Trillin. Alice, he writes, was the one who ensured that her family ate three square meals a day. She was the one who insisted that a parent attend every single performance of their child's play, no matter how poor it was. She was Calvin's biggest critic, reading over every draft of a piece that he wrote for the New Yorker. He knew the minute that Alice frowned that he would have to rewrite, most likely several drafts worth, of his story.

Mostly, About Alice is a story of courage. Alice Trillin was diagnosed with lung cancer when her daughters, Abigail and Sarah, were very young, seven and four, respectively. She wanted to beat the disease in any way she could, in order to see her daughters grow up. She ultimately survived, and watched her daughters marry. Calvin Trillin writes admiringly about Alice's determination, especially during her final years.

I was not familiar with Calvin Trillin's work before I read this book, and I am not sure if I would pursue his works any further. While About Alice was a very touching story, it was very dry at times. This had nothing to do with the subject matter. Sometimes Trillin can get on a tangent and ramble on about topics that have nothing to do with the main plot. This is where I found the book to be tedious. However, you can't deny the affection, admiration, or love that he had for his wife. That is really what makes the book worth reading.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday Thunks--July 15, 2010

Okay, okay, I know I'm posting these on a Friday, but SHEESH!!!

1. Billy Mays died about a year ago. What kitchen gadgets have you bought that you've used less than three times? What are they?
My Pampered Chef cookie press. I just can't seem to get the hang of it. Not that I have time to bake cookies these days...

2. What celebrity would you like to shake some sense into, and why?
Mel Gibson. Given all of the press about his rants on tape, I don't feel the need to explain.

3. Jimmy Buffett just did on concert to benefit the victims of the Gulf. Name a Buffett song that you like.
"Come Monday"

4. How did you feel about Ringo Starr turned 70?
A Beatle is 70 and still rockin'! Good for him!

5. What sport do you absolute see no point in watching?
Synchronized diving. What's the point of it?

6. Trivia time. Do you know the first names of the French twins?
Michelle and Ma-Belle.

7. You are in the best seafood restaurant in Canada. What type of meat do you order?
The rarest, juiciest steak available.

8. How far would an electric car have to go without a recharge before you'd buy one?
100 miles

9. Did you see that a high court ruled that you can swear on regular TV? What word can you just not wait to hear?
Motherf---er. I can't even swear on my own blog.

10. You are in the finest steak and rib joint in Kimberville (Arizona). What seafood dish do you order?
LOBSTAH!!!

11. What was the last concert that you attended that really sucked?
I've never been to a sucky concert, thank goodness.

12. What type of accent would you like to have, if you were forced to change yours?
I've got a thing for Australian accents.

13. Kimber's got four kids with chicken pox. Berleen is not feeling the love today, so I was asked to host. What do you miss most when neither originator of TT is asking the questions?
Honestly, it's been so long since I've thunked that I can't answer this question!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book review: Jan's Story, by Barry Petersen


CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen had an idyllic marriage to one-time local TV news anchor Jan Chorlton. They were the couple known as "Darling and Darling." They spent many happy years traveling the world together, as CBS News sent Petersen on assignments in such places as Tokyo, Moscow, and London.

Yet over time, subtle changes occurred with Jan. First there was the depression, the unwillingness to leave the apartment. Then came the memory lapses and the strange behavior, ranging from leaving the stove on to wearing street clothes to bed instead of pajamas. Finally, Petersen contacted a neurologist back in the States (he and Jan were living in Tokyo at the time), and after a phone consultation, Jan was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. She was 55 years old.

At first, Petersen was Jan's sole caregiver, but the role soon became physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing, as Jan's behavior and emotions became more difficult to handle. He then hired a live-in nurse to become Jan's caregiver, but her emotional outbursts became more difficult to handle, especially in public. Finally, after much painful debate, and careful consultation with Jan's friends and family, Petersen made the difficult decision to place Jan in assisted living. At the time, the Petersens were still living in Tokyo, and Jan was sent to a nursing home in Bellevue, Washington. Even after Jan was placed in assisted living, Petersen was still unprepared for the continued taxation that this decision took on his mental and physical state.

Jan's Story is an incredibly honest, candid look at the repercussions that friends and family face when dealing with Alzheimer's. This is one of those books where you really experience the emotions along with the storyteller; I found myself feeling angry, sad, and pained as Petersen wrote about losing his beloved wife. He refers to Alzheimer's as "The Disease," something that has taken his Jan from him--even though her physical presence is still there. At one point he writes that it is like going to the same funeral, over and over again.

This book is a quick read, something that most readers may be able to finish in one sitting, because the storytelling is very engaging. However, the emotions are so raw and strong that I had to put the book down after a few chapters before I felt ready to read it again.

I was inspired to read Jan's Story after watching this segment on CBS News Sunday Morning, where Petersen serves as a correspondent. As painful as it was to watch, and as painful as the book could be to read, it is still a moving testament to the struggles that Alzheimer's families face every day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book review: Love is a Mix Tape, by Rob Sheffield

Ahhh, the mix tape. At first it was a rite of passage as an adolescent: When a friend made a mix tape especially for you, that was one of the ultimate signs of true friendship. Same goes for when a boyfriend or girlfriend made you one; it was a sign that he/she really cared.

I remember creating mix tapes as early as the fifth grade. Back then I would have the radio on for hours, listening intently for my favorite songs, and would press record the minute they came on. In high school and college my mix tape creations evolved to bumming CDs and cassettes off friends and dorm mates. I was meticulous about creating the perfect playlists. I purposely chose songs that would forever remind me of that one special occasion, that one special car trip, that one special place or person in my life.

For me, music can take me places that other senses can't: It stirs memories, feelings, and passions way down deep in my soul. If you play, for instance, "Sherrie," I'm immediately transported back to my college's mailroom. That song was playing the first time I ever checked my on-campus mailbox. You play "American Pie," and I'm back in Boston, in 1993, when I was at a leadership conference for Catholic youth.

Rob Sheffield, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, feels the same way. Each chapter begins with a list of songs on a mix tape that is significant to a specific year. Love is a Mix Tape is, indeed, a love story about Sheffield and his wife, Renée, a punk-rock loving girl from the deep south. He uses the mix tapes to chronicle their courtship, wedding, and first years of marriage. He and Renée, at the time, were both freelance music writers. Early in the book, Sheffield recalls the first time he met Renée, in a bar in Charlottesville, where they were both attending grad school:

When the bartender at the Eastern Standard put on a tape, Big Star's Radio City, she was the only other person in the room who perked up. So we drank bourbon and talked about music. we traded stories about the bands we liked, shows we'd seen. Renée loved the Replacements and Alex Chilton and the Meat Puppets. So did I. (p. 3)

Rob and Renée's love affair lasted seven years, ending with her sudden death at the age of 31. (No, this is NOT a spoiler; it was written in the summary on the back of the cover.) Following her death, Sheffield is plunged into a very deep grief. He writes candidly and frankly about his panic attacks, his self-imposed isolation from his friends, and the depression he experienced upon her passing. Throughout his journey, like he did earlier in the book, Sheffield includes his mix tapes, and reflects on how certain songs got to symbolize this painful time in his life.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed Love is a Mix Tape so much was that it was as much of a journey into music history as it was a memoir about a lost love. Sheffield is passionate about punk, and reflects upon how he and Renée felt when they saw their music "go mainstream" in 1991. Then again, one shouldn't be surprised about this aspect of the book, considering that Sheffield is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, the granddaddy of music journalism. Sometimes, though, Sheffield goes off track when he starts writing about the evolution of music and veers far away from the main storyline, but he always returns to it when a fresh chapter starts. If you're really into music, you'll appreciate this layer to the memoir, but if you're not, you may find it a little tedious.

I have to recommend Love is a Mix Tape for the storyline, the storytelling, and the commentary on the music industry. Sheffield also includes, in several places, his thoughts about the iPod and how that has made the mix tape obsolete. Which reminds me...there were some excellent songs on all of the mix tape lists that Sheffield has included in this story. You may wish to have your computer beside you as you read, so you can download some of the songs from the iTunes bookstore. If anything, this book helped me fill in some gaps in my iTunes library.

BONUS LINK: There is a website called Epicwinftw.com that is about preserving childhood memories, especially if you were a kid growing up in the 70s or 80s. Here is a page dedicated to the mix tape. Enjoy!