Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bruce

Back in October at a fundraiser in NYC, Barack Obama was quoted as saying, "The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." Yes, Mr. Springsteen was in attendance that night and went on to play "The Rising" at campaign events in several battleground states as well as Obama's inaugural concert. Bruuuuuce. 

As I said in a previous post, I really don't care who wins the Super Bowl, because I'm rooting for the Boss. I must admit, the Jersey in me would have loved to have seen the Giants and Springsteen together in the same stadium. The very first time I saw Springsteen perform was at the Meadowlands in Jersey, home of the Giants. At least, that's what it was called back in the early '80s. I'm sure that some corporation is paying big bucks to have its name on the stadium, but it's lost on me as I am still referring to it as the Meadowlands. I saw Bruce Springsteen many times after that at the Meadowlands and in Charlotte...including the night of my 33rd birthday where I was sitting near the center of the first row. Swear. That man can rock a stadium and I am sure he will not disappoint tomorrow night in Tampa. 

So while the Las Vegas odds makers are busy grading your favorite team's chances, I'm betting on what Bruce will play tomorrow evening in his 12 minute extravaganza. Rumor has it that he will play 3 songs, but mum's the word on what he and the E Street Band have in store for us. On the Today Show, Bob Costas suggested that the Boss will cause a riot if he doesn't play "Born to Run". I second that emotion. I'm not sure what he will play, but I'm pretty sure what he won't play: The Rising and Born in the USA. 

So what should the Boss' play for his 12 minute concert? And why?

Here is my list:
  1. Born to Run: because it's New Jersey's state anthem and a crowd pleaser
  2. Badlands: because it always rocks the house
  3. No Surrender: because it's my kids favorite and I told them they could stay up to see the 1/2 time show
  4. Out in the Street: oh oh oh oh! Enough said.
  5. Promised Land: because I believe....
  6. Thunder Road: because it was pretty much required that every student in my high school know every word of this ballad. And while this Jersey Girl can barely remember her name, she can still sing every stinkin' word to Thunder Road. And I'd love to sing along tomorrow night...
What do you think? What would you like to hear?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I am Not Losing My Mind and Other Random Thoughts

Many readers of this blog never actually visit my blog. Instead, they sign up to receive the posts which are delivered to their inboxes via Feedburner at about 3 o'clock in the morning. So, instead of generating a lot of feedback in the comments section of the blog, I receive many responses in my inbox. The nice thing is, most of the people who comment via e-mail are my friends and usually have positive, encouraging things to say. Often I receive e-mails from friends of friends - which is always nice - and a delight to read. 

But my post on Monday entitled, "My Lips are Sealed" generated more e-mails than I would have ever anticipated. Many readers expressed concern about the state of my mental health and were convinced that I was going off the deep end. Let me assure you - I am a-ok, folks. I promise, I am not hoarding any deep, dark secrets. Ok, there might be just that one skeleton in my closet (no pun intended) involving a guy who landed a job that Jim interviewed for - but other than that - I am not keeping anything really big from you. (Kidding.)

But my favorite email that day was from a friend who wrote, "Americans think that they are entitled to know everything about their celebrities...and you are now a celeb." She added, "First Brangelina, now Jimaurie." I thought it was kind of cute, but I'm sure she sent it because she thought I was having some sort of mental breakdown and needed a boost. Not to worry, faithful readers, I am in good spirits and of sound mind. But thanks for the concern. 

On a different note, I was true to my word and did not watch Idol last night. I DVRed it in case I had a midnight craving, but I decided to go with the cookies, instead. I'm sure that my kids and I will sit down and watch it tonight, but The Office and 30 Rock will be calling my name. 

In closing, I have some random thoughts to share:
  • What, in god's name, did we talk about before the economy went to hell in a hand-basket?
  • Back in the day, were we continually bombarded by news reports about how good things were?
  • And again, back in 2006, were we constantly told the number of new jobs created on a daily basis?
  • The summer before 9/11 went down in the history books as the summer of the shark. There were many, many shark attacks up and down the east coast. Late that September I remember longing for the days of the shark attacks.
  • Now I long for the days when we thought we might be attacked by terrorists. Not really. At all. Because it was Bush telling us that he would keep us safe. And quite frankly, I feel much safer with Obama at the helm of the ship. (that's gonna generate some e-mails).
  • And lastly...I was talking to a friend today (a very young friend) who expressed concern about leaving her toddler for an hour in the YMCA's Childwatch. I assured her that he would be fine and then thought to myself, "For the love of Pete, she needs to lighten the heck up, what could possibly happen to her kid in Childwatch?" Ahhh, the luxury of looking at things in highsight; I'm sure I was a freaky new mother who at one point doubted the capabilities of Childwatch, too. So now after acquiring years of "wisdom" why, pray tell, can't I apply the same perspective when thinking about my pre-teen daughter? Wouldn't it be nice if I could view things from the eyes of an empty nester, rather than from my own 45 year old, naive, eyes? Yes, that would be nice...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Season 8: The Contrived Season

The Idol judges keep referring to season 8 as The Bizarre Season, but I beg to differ...I think it's The Contrived Season. I'm embarrassed for the judges. Surely they, too, cannot wait until we get to the point where we can put an end to this tomfoolery. 

My favorite quote of the evening belonged to Kara when she offered up this deep and meaningful observation: "The music industry is paved with heartache." Puhlease, Kara, please don't.  

I can't take anymore of these silly shenanigans. I'll meet y'all in Hollywood. Jacksonville was my last pre-season viewing. 

And speaking of Jacksonville, the Super Bowl is only days away. Yes, I realize the game is being played in Tampa, but really....Jacksonville, Tampa...what the heck is the difference? They are both warm and sunny and therefore ok in my book. So who are you cheering for this year? I don't have a problem with the Eagles, but I am not a fan of Eagles' fans, so that rules them out. Oh wait, they aren't playing. Well, I don't like the Steelers, either. And I suppose that I can't root root root for the team that beat the Panthers, so that rules Arizona out. 

So you know who I am cheering for this year? Bruce. I am rooting for Bruce Springsteen. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Lips are Sealed

You would think that if I can share things as intimate as my cycle (or lack thereof) and the great quantity of cookies that I consume each day to fill the pit in my stomach, I'd pretty much be able to share anything with my readers. Over the past couple of months I've bared my soul sharing light-hearted accounts of how my family and I are surviving the recession and job loss. I've tried to do so with humor and believe it or not - a teeny, tiny bit of dignity and grace. So it might surprise you to learn that there is a lot that I don't share. 

Part of my desire to keep quiet on some of the details is out of respect for my husband. He's been such a good sport about this blog. It would be hard enough for most men to deal with the emotional and financial effects of being laid off, but my husband also has to contend with the fact that people he doesn't even know are reading about his rose colored glasses and the fact that his crazy-ass wife picks out his interview outfits. 

But there is another part of me that just doesn't want to share every single detail of what I'm going through right now. Not with you. Not with him. Not with anybody. These are my thoughts and I want to keep them private. (for awhile anyway.) If I put my doctor of psychology hat on for a minute, I suppose my diagnosis is that it has something to do with managing my expectations. If I don't share a particular thought or fear, than it isn't really a valid thought or fear.  

And it's not only bad or negative things that I've been keeping mum. My husband has actually had a few good nibbles, but I've opted to keep them private as well (until two seconds ago). It's almost as if I'm afraid to talk about it, because I'm afraid I'll jinx it. Is that crazy? 

A few years ago, my daughter suffered a seizure and was rushed to the hospital where an MRI revealed an infection of her brain. The doctor couldn't safely perform a biopsy, so he prescribed about 6 different antibiotics with the hopes that one of them would do the trick. The drugs were administered around the clock and she was in the hospital for a week. I tried my damnedest to be optimistic, but I was cautiously optimistic, at best. I didn't want to share all of the bad news, but I didn't want to share all of the good news, either. I was afraid that if I shared too much good news and painted a picture of her being completely out of the woods, it would hurt her chances of really being completely out of the woods. Is that crazy?

And that's kind of how I feel now. And you know what - I don't really care if it sounds crazy, cause I call the shots and this approach works best for me. 

Look, in the end everything worked out beautifully for my daughter and I honestly believe that we are in store for another happy ending. As long as I control what is and is not said, I'll be fine. I'll continue to share, but just understand...some of the stuff is strictly off limits. For now, anyway. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Week Two: San Fran and Kentucky

I liked Kara better last week when she wasn't trying so hard. Her fake fights with Simon in San Francisco and Kentucky were a bit contrived. I'm sure she's a great song writer and a wonderful singer, but an actor she is not.

I'm staying true to my word: I cannot and will not comment on the crazies. It's a ridiculous waste of time. I'd much rather see the so-so talent than the man dressed in the ludicrous coat who bore a striking resemblance to the GEICO Caveman. 

I think Ryan told us that they found 12 singers in San Francisco; we saw four of them. Do you think the early exposure benefits those contestants by giving them a head start in making a connection with the voting audience? And if so, do you think the other Hollywood-bound singers are upset because they are not showcased?

I'm going to put on my cynical hat for a minute and question Kai Kalama's mother's illness. A seizure condition? Does this condition have a name? Or is it Kai's way of making a connection with the voting audience? I like his look and feel, but I could do without the questionable sob story. 

Truth be told, I didn't like any of the San Francisco winners. Miss Puerto Rico needs a stylist and a laugh coach. Her days are numbered. Jesus Venezuela, or whatever the heck his name was, won't be around for long, either. And you know what? His kids could care less. They were cute, I'll give you that, but they were just not that into their father. Sorry. 

Should I take the cynical hat off now? (cause I kind of like the way it feels.) I guess the last contestant was Mr. Theater. He reminded me a bit of David Cook, but I was not all over those freckly lips of his. He skeeved me out. But if you recall I wasn't a fan of Mr. Cook's in the beginning, either. So I'll hold my cynical tongue until we see him again in Hollywood. 

The producers revealed 5 winners in Kentucky. The first was pretty, little Joanna who apparently has already had a recording contract. She's got the look, for sure. But I'm not so sure she has the stamina. Brent Keith Smith was #2. He's going to play the role of the hip, white boy this season. He'll be a favorite with the young, female viewers, but he won't go very far. Next up was the dueling piano guy. I forget his name and what he looked like, but Simon was right, he did sound like Elliott Yamin. He has some serious potential, but he needs some spit and polish. Alexis Grace, our stay-at-home mom who isn't married, is #4. She has the makings of a star: nice voice, commercial face (as Simon pointed out), and a hard knock life. Done. 

I guess my favorite was LaNeshe Young. But before I comment on her, let me slip that cynical hat back on, if I may. Did I hear her correctly? Did she say that she decided to stay home with her mother so she could be a good role model for her brother and sisters? (Again, I refuse to rewind my DVR because I know we will hear her story at least 50 more times in Hollywood.) So I might have it completely wrong, but by saying she's "staying home with her mother" can I assume then that she has opted not to go to school or work? And if so, how, pray tell is that being a good role model? I hope I've got it wrong. Still, that girl can sing. And I enjoyed her original ditty. And I look forward to hearing more from her in Hollywood. 

And last, but not least...Ryan. I love him. I think he plays his part perfectly. And with that said...I am outta here...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Trumps Idol

I can't blog about Idol tonight. In fact, I can't even watch Idol tonight. 

I've been glued to my television all day looong watching the inauguration and I'm afraid my eyes will fall out if I spend another minute in front of a screen of any sort. But I'll DVR tonight's episode and watch a double-header on Wednesday evening and report back ASAP. 

I'm exhausted. I can't imagine how the Obamas are feeling right about now. Overwhelmed? Exhilarated? Invigorated? Astounded? Amazed? I think probably exhausted. I need a nap just thinking about their day. And to think they have 10 inaugural balls to attend this evening. 

As much as they inspire and motivate me, I'm afraid I don't have it in me tonight to emulate their energy and devotion. While they party with the big dogs, I'll be curled up in my bed reading a good book and then dreaming sweet dreams....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I need to come clean. While my dream is to become a freelance magazine writer when I grow up, truth be told, I don't read a lot of magazines. 

Newspapers - yes, I could read them all day long. Books - yes, on any given day, I usually have 5 or 6 on my bedside table. Websites, yes - I can waste hours in front of my iMac. But magazines? Other than People, which I devour within 10 minutes of it being delivered to my mailbox, I am not a big fan of any one particular publication. 

That didn't stop me, however, from subscribing to at least 10 magazines when my middle school daughter had her sights on top sales dog of her school's magazine drive. So I've been accumulating magazines since September and finally got around to diving in to get a feel for my competition. 

I decided that I probably didn't have the expertise to write for the likes of Sports Illustrated, Outside, Fast Company and Boy's Life. Yet. So I concentrated on Women's Day, Real Simple and Cooking Light. No offense to any of those magazines - in fact, let me go on record as saying that I would be honored to be published in any one of those fine periodicals - but, it seems that if I want to achieve my dream of becoming a published writer, I will have to write about one of three topics. 
  1. Reinventing Date Night
  2. Getting Organized (from ones laundry room to ones finances)
  3. Creating Quick, Easy, Healthy Meals (I'm talking meals in under 30 minutes. Tops)
I'm not kidding, that was the bulk of what was available to read in the magazines marketed to woman. And the format was almost always the same: numbered lists and tests. Five Reasons To Plan A Secret Rendezvous with Your Husband, The 31 Sex and Love Thrills No Woman Should Miss, Ten Time-Saving Tricks to Organize Your Kitchen, One Chicken: Seven Healthy Meals, Eight Ways to De-clutter Your Life. Granted, I made these titles up, but I'm telling you, there is a magazine out there for each and every one of my made-up stories. 

If you are successful and manage to free up a few extra minutes for yourself, every magazine offers a test of some sort. Since I am very organized and had dinner simmering while I was reading, I had the extra time to take a fitness test, a sex test, a compatibility test, a personality test, an erotic dreams test and a what-kind-of-dog-would-you-be test. 

I know that I'm not suppose to believe everything I read, but after spending a few hours with women's magazines, I am convinced that every woman in America needs a major overhaul of her sex life and pantry and is in dire need of a make over. Unfortunately, she has no time to devote to any of these noble causes. 

Have no fear, I have another stack of magazines upstairs: Women's Health, Vanity Fair, Self and More. Hopefully I'll feel more at home flipping through their pages. I'll report back, in the meantime, if you've read any good articles, please share. But do me a bullet points and for the love of Pete, do not make me take a test...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol: Kansas City

Is it me or did every person who showed up in Kansas City get a golden ticket to Hollywood? From the girl who sang Simon Cowell's song and messed up the lyrics, to the boy who sang Chris Brown's song and begged for appeared as if the bar was set rather low in David Cook's hometown. 

I'm not sure I can even pick a favorite from these auditions? I suppose that cute girl who referred to herself as KC in KC wins the total package award. But I think the producers were holding their cards close to their chest; the real talent that emerged in Kansas City won't be revealed until we get to Hollywood. 

One thing that was revealed was that Kara likes the word "chops". I heard her use it twice in a span of 10 minutes. Randy gives you props, Karla comments on chops. 

Wait...I just remembered my favorite...Jason Castro's brother! Those Castro boys are the most unpretentious, endearing, adorable contestants ever. I found myself grinning from ear to ear listening to their banter. And when Michael sang for the crew, I had the same dumb smirk on my face that I had when Jason strummed the yukalaylee. They are simply precious and I cannot wait to see more of Castro brother #2. Apparently they have a younger sister. I wonder when she'll discover her singing voice? I think she's 13, so she has another season or two. 

I was somewhat impressed with the big welder guy who sang Ain't No Sunshine. And clearly I was not alone as Kara, Paula and Simon all gave him a yes. But the Dawg wasn't feelin' it and said no. You know what? Randy. Knows. Jackshit. Honestly, he is soooo on my list this season and we are only 4 hours into it. 

How about the girl who lives with her 93 year old grandmother? Loved her. I'm telling you, she is one to watch. She is going to transform into a beauty right before our very eyes. She is going to lose the glasses, drop some lbs and she's going to blossom into a star. And hopefully her grandmother will still be around in March to see it. She needs to keep on popping those pills of hers. 

Didn't get the California Dreamin' guy at all. That was the most overdone, affected performance of my very favorite Mama and Papa's song...ever. I'm not sure the judges and I heard the same performance? But I did like his friend Danny. He reminded me of Robery Downey, Jr. My phone rang when he was crying about losing his wife, so I didn't get to hear the whole story, but I have faith that the Idol producers will play it and replay it and play it again so that by the time Hollywood week is over, I will be able to recite his sob story verbatim. 

And even though Randy is on my list, I will give him his props for my favorite line of the night. It was when he was telling Anoop Doggie Dog that he needed to "hook up the wardrobe." Love that. And I loved Anoop! I heard him say something about UNC which means the Charlotte Observer is going to jump on assured that in tomorrow's paper they will refer to Anoop as "one of our own". It hardly matters that UNC is in Chapel Hill, not Charlotte. That didn't stop them from claiming Kellie Picklier, Chris Daughtry, Bucky Covington and Fantasia as hometown favorites even though none of them hailed directly from Charlotte. 

I wish Lil Rounds, mother of three, the best of luck. She's got a good sob story, as well, what with that tornado touching down in her backyard and all. I thinks she was good, but I'll be honest, I was half listening by the time she took the mini-stage. Hollywood cannot get here fast enough...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American Idol: Phoenix

I like Kara. She's a keeper. I like her style, her singing voice and her perspective. As far as I'm concerned she should have been a replacement, not an addition to the crew. Of course, she couldn't replace Simon because without Simon there would be no Idol. And Paula offers the producers the right amount of drama and comic relief. But the Dawg brings nothing to the table. He should be the one looking for a job, not me. In fact, screw freelance writing, I want to sit in the chair next to Kara. 

I'm not commenting on the losers. I just can't go do so would be to play into their pitiful  hands. The whole thing is so contrived and so trite. But I will touch on the winners...

The judges awarded 27 golden tickets to Hollywood and by my count we witnessed about ten of them. My favorite was the girl named after Stevie Nicks and reminded me of Kelly Clarkson. She had a beautiful voice and a star quality. Her voice wasn't as pretty as Tattoo/Body Pierce Girl's...but you mark my words, those tattoos are going to hinder, not help. It's one thing to paint your body, but another to stretch out your ear lobes and pierce your upper and lower lip. She said she did it to avoid ever having to work in an office, but by doing so, she earned herself a one way ticket to the circus. Hopefully, Barnum and Bailey will embrace that look, because middle American will not. 

The 16 year do-gooder-nursing-home-singer was adorable and sweet. As was the oil rigging dude. But you know what? Nice guys (and gals) finish last. They both made it to Hollywood, now she needs to grow some teeth and he needs to grow a pair of something else in order to survive the likes of Bikini Girl...because that one is pulling out all the stops. She's in it to win it, folks. 

I liked Lonely Girl, too...the one with nary a friend or family member. Loved her voice, but she was a bit too eraser-face for my liking. But, have no fear, it's nothing a stylist and make up artist can't fix. I have faith. 

I didn't quite get the Gay Horror Film Maker or his bizarre entourage. What an odd bunch. And I'm not sure why the Nerdie kid got a pass; he didn't have the voice or the stage persona. And I'm sorry, but the blind guy did not have what it takes (and I'm not talking eyesight). 

And so tomorrow we're off to Kansas City....

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Golden Globes

My plan was to blog about the Golden Globes last night before I went to bed, but that didn't happen. I've had nights where even Ambien can't put me to sleep, but the Golden Globes did the trick rather nicely. I could barely keep my eyes open when Slum Dog Millionaire won it's millionth award.

So here's my recap...or what I remember of the show:

When I tuned in, Jennifer Lopez, dressed like a Golden Globe and no doubt sporting double-sided tape, referred to herself as mama when trying to quiet the crowd. Yes, Jennifer, we know about the twins. She presented the first award to Kate Winslet for The Reader. I must confess, I have not seen a lot of the movies this year, but I did read The Reader and it was not my favorite book. After Kate's acceptance speech, the movie isn't even on my radar. I know you shouldn't judge a movie by it's Best Supporting Actress' acceptance speech, but I am. 

As far as I'm concerned, the Hollywood Foreign Press needs to black ball Ms. Winslet. She needs to get a hold of her breathing and recognize that her discombobulated persona is immensely annoying to watch. And for the love of Pete, she needs to pick one or two people to thank and leave it at that. If you are really so indebted to your make up artist, Kate, send her some flowers in the morning, but spare us the patronizing, never-ending monologue. Lastly, learn your lines, you're an actress, for crying out loud, you get paid a lot of money to memorize lines...lose the cheat sheet.

Next up was Sting who presented the award for sound track. When, pray tell, did he turn into a werewolf? Bruce Springsteen was up against Hannah Montana (who stuck her tongue out at the camera when her name was announced). Rrrreally? Did Miley Cyrus rrreally think that she stood a snowball's chance in hell? He's called The Boss for a reason, my little friend. Shouldn't you be in bed, you have school in the morning. 

I forgot what happened next. But I do remember that the miniseries, John Adams, won quite a bit (rightfully so). Love all the actors: Tom Wilkinson earned Best Supporting Actor honors, Laua Linney was awarded the Best Actress and Paul Giammatti won the Best Actor award. The show itself was crowned best miniseries. I watched the miniseries in its entirety and I believe it should be required viewing for every American citizen. Hell, I'll take it a step further and require it for every earthling. Our founding fathers were a selfless, committed, brilliant ensemble and the actors and crew of the HBO series did them justice. Actors and politicians alike could learn a thing or two from this miniseries. Run, don't walk, to Blockbuster and rent this series. 

Time out for hair talk. 

What the heck was going on with Zac Ephon's hair? Hair product gone amuck. Would it have killed Sally Field to dye hers? She's got all that time on her hands now that she's only taking Boniva once a month; you think she could schedule some time with her stylist or at least L'Oreal. And before I move on, Drew Barrymore? While I loved her dress, what was up with crazy-lady-hairdo thing she had going on? She looked like a stark raving lunatic. And no, I am not going to comment on Johnny Dep's hair because I love him too much. I don't care that his greasy hair hangs in his beautiful face. He can wear it anyway he wants as long as he agrees to show up at these ridiculous award shows. It's the price we pay.

If memory serves me correctly, and mine usually doesn't, I believe Mr. Depp presented Sally Hawkins her award for Happy Go Lucky. That woman is in dire need of a burger. Make it a cheeseburger as she could use the extra protein and calories. I'm assuming Happy Go Lucky is a, well, happy go lucky kind of film? I'm assuming there were no scenes filmed in concentration camps? Why then the stick figure arms, Ms. Hawkins? She was clearly shocked and a nervous wreck up on stage, but I couldn't get past those arms of hers.

Hottest lady of the night: Demi Moore. She is smokin'. (And when I said that out loud during the show, my husband said that she looks as good as me. Swear. Those of you who are frequent readers of this blog know that my darling husband wears rose colored glasses. Love that.) Demi presented the award to Heath Leger. (moment of silence on this blog...)

Colin Farrell gave a good speech, but to make a long story could have been shortened a bit. No need to wax poetic about everything that is near and dear to your heart, Colin. We feel the love, leave it at that...

I've admitted to not seeing many of this year's films, but the only one I want to see after the GGs is Slum Dog Millionaire. Loved the screenwriter's speech - in fact - he needs a big bonus. He left me wanting more; I will see his movie on the big screen, for sure. The gentleman who won the original score was adorable. I wanted to put him in my pocket and carry him off the stage. And the director was...well...happy, to say the least. The cast and crew were a breath of fresh air. They had me at hello. 

So happy to see 30 Rock rock the house. Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan are incredibly talented and hilarious; apparently Alec Baldwin's daughter is, as well. And here I thought she was just a rude little pig. Hmm.

How about Mickey Rourke? I was sad for Frank Langella because I like his story, but I also like when a darkhorse pulls ahead. Brad Pitt shouldn't have been nominated. No, I didn't see the movie, I just know these things. I'll give it to the make up artist for transforming Brad into Benjamin Button, but not to Brad himself, as he has worn out his welcome. Award him for being the most recognized actor on the face of the planet (move over Tom Cruise), but not so much for his acting abilities (or lack thereof). I'm sure Sean Penn was deserving but Leo isn't going to get a shout out from me because he is friends with Kate Winslet. Bad judgement on his part, therefore he loses. 

And how about Kate Winslet giving another 3 hour, breathy, chaotic acceptance speech? She took up so much time that the producers were forced to wrap up the show while the cast and crew of Slum Dog Millionaire were only beginning to bask in their glory. From what I can gather there are many, many talented actresses in Hollywood, how does she manage to land two major roles in one season? Can we not spread the wealth?

Let's cut to the chase...

Best dressed women:
1) Demi Moore
2) Eva Longoria
3) Kate Beckinsale
4) Freida Pinto
5) Eva Mendez

Kate Winslet looked beautiful and I loved her dress, but because her acceptance speeches pissed me off, I am not including her on my list. Black balled. 

What was up with all of the white, off-white, light yellow and grey dresses this year? I guess neutrals are in?

Worst dressed women:
1) Maggie Gyllenhaal (Apparently did not get the memo about the neutral dress thing. Her dress looked like something Wilma Flintstone would wear)
2) Renee Zellweger (crazy hair, crazy old lady dress, crazy lady)
3) Jenna Fischer (whoa)
4) Debra Messing (who does your hair? And why were you at the Golden Globes?)
5) Blake Lively (honey, your dress didn't fit)
6) Marissa Tomei (wtf?)
6) And lastly, what the hell happened to Piece Brosnen's wife Keely Shaye-Smith? I think she might be suffering from Oprah's thyroid issue. Get ahold of yourself, Keely. 

Best dressed men:
1) Bruce Springsteen
2) Leonard DiCaprio (would have been #1 had he not had Kate Winslet on his arm)
3) Aaron Eckhart
4) Adrian Grenier
5) Bruce Springsteen (because I love him)

Worst dressed men:
1) Mickey Rourke (you knew that was coming)
2) Tracy Morgan
3) Jonas Brothers (not really, but I hate them, so I'm including them on this list. And sticking my tongue out while I type.)

And that is all she wrote, my friends. I'm sure I'll think of more things as the day goes on, but I've got to get back to my so-called life. So, leave some comments...tell me what you thought about the show....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Getting Back to My Roots...

Guess what I just did? I programmed my DVR to start recording Idol. Holy mother of pearl, it starts next week! From this point on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings will be devoted to all things Idol. (that's not entirely true or I wouldn't have just programmed my DVR...) 

But I still have a few weeks before I totally commit. I hate the early Idol episodes and the carnival-like feel of the show. I am not interested in seeing large, black woman dress up as Big Bird. Nor do I enjoy watching contestants, incapable of carrying a tune, have nervous breakdowns when they learn they are not going to Hollywood. Waste. 'O. My. Time. 

I've read that there will be more finalists this season than ever before: 36 in all. Buckle up, folks, we are in for a looong, painful ride. It's going to take some time to whittle away the crazies. I understand that the producers are bringing back the Wild Card show. (Note to crazies: if you feel you have been mistakenly tossed off with the likes of Big Bird, you have a chance to redeem yourself as a wild card. I trust that you will make it your own and not blow it. But for the love of Pete, should you blow it, do me a favor and just get off of the stage. Go peacefully and without much fanfare. Just go.)

And last, but certainly not least, we have a new judge this season (who apparently is a big fan of Chris Daughtry, so that's a good sign). And the producers are hoping that you will tune in to see how she interracts with Simon, Paula and Randy. 

My plan is to continue to blog about the highs and lows of unemployment, the ups and downs of trying to launch a freelance writing career and the ins and outs of American Idol. That should keep me busy as I continue to recuperate from my surgery. (I have a 2 week follow up visit on Wednesday and if my doctor doesn't release me from in-house arrest...I will blog about him, too. And yes, that is a threat.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Menopause Sign

I am happy to report that I have not yet entered menopause. 

Not that I expected to, as the doctor left my ovaries in place and intact. But apparently some woman enter menopause after a hysterectomy regardless of the fact that their ovaries are present and accounted for and seemingly healthy. It's an unexplained medical phenomenon. Quite honestly (and I'm all about being honest these days) I think those woman were a little off their rocker in the first place, but that does not leave this you hear me?

So, how do I know that I haven't entered menopause, you ask? (and by the way, when I type the words "enter menopause" I get a visual of a woman walking through an automatic glass door with a sign overhead that reads MENOPAUSE in big red letters. As soon as she passes over the threshold, bells and whistles sound and she is greeted by tens of thousands of women who cheer and celebrate her entrance.) But I digress, I am certain that my ovaries are working properly producing hormones that undoubtedly control my life. I'll give you two good reasons to back up my claim. 

First and foremost, last night after a long day of grazing which included three full meals and far too many sugary snacks for me to count or admit to, I was still on a mission for something sweet. I inhaled the chocolate covered raisins, the Special K bars and then moved on to the left-over Christmas cookies that I don't even like. When that didn't do the trick, I raided the candy drawer and ate Trader Jacques Fleur de sel Caramels three at a time. (I highly recommend those soft, buttery, chewy caramels made with imported French sea salt.). But even though I was bursting at the seams, I didn't stop, hell, I couldn't stop. You'd think that after thirty some odd years of experiencing this each and every month I'd be able to control it or at least see it coming, but it always catches me by surprise. "Why am I eating anything that is not nailed down," I'll think to myself, "Where is my self-control, my pride?" And then it hits's PMS time, buckle up.  

The second sign is my mood and my inability to control my emotions. I hesitate to put words to my thoughts as my daughter and husband might mistakenly think that they are off the hook for this morning's arguments. (Note to Jim: it takes two to tango) and (Note to Maddie: your mother will always be right regardless of her menstrual cycle or lack thereof) and, what the hell (Beck: you somehow managed to stay under the radar this morning, thank you.I strongly recommend that you do the same this afternoon.) There. You've been warned. 

I will try my hardest to keep the eating in check and will apologize to my family for my lack of patience this morning, but I will also celebrate the fact that I have not yet walked under the MENOPAUSE sign. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Full Time Job

Let me tell you something...finding a job is a full time job and my husband is working it. 

He didn't even take Christmas Eve off, for crying out loud. Get of his contacts left a voice message (the day before Christmas, mind you) with a number where she could be reached over the holidays if he had any questions. "Let me get this straight," I wondered out loud, "you can call and ask her any question? Well, then, I double-dog dare you to call her in the Bahamas on Christmas day and ask her at what temperature you should cook the turkey." He didn't accept my challenge (nor did he think it was funny) and that is precisely why he will most likely land a job before moi. 

Yes, folks, I am looking for a job. I've decided I want to write for magazines when I grow up. I haven't ruled out writing a book on my husband's job search. But while he in on a mission to find his dream job, I will be on a mission to find mine. And I'll take plenty of notes along the way so that eventually, when we are living happily ever after, I can write that book.

In the meantime, I want to freelance. It has a ring to it, doesn't it? "What do you do for a living, Laurie?" "Oh, me? I'm a freelancer." Wait a minute, technically am I a freelancer or a freelance writer? Freelancer kind of sounds like freeloader. Hmm. I'll have to look into that, as well as a few other things. Like, for starters, how do I go about becoming a freelancer/freelance writer? I've got my work cut out for me.

I spent the entire day yesterday and most of this morning researching and taking notes. I read about freelancing on the internet. I compiled a list of magazines to submit my work. And I worked on, well, my work. So now I have to decide how to market myself to magazines and then begin the process of sending out tens of thousands of letters so that I can get rejected by most and hopefully gain the attention of one or two. 

I really think that the unemployment angle is the way to go. I've been amazed and overwhelmed by the number of people who read my blog and send e-mails telling me how much they enjoy it. I think my adopted hometown newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, should pick me up as a columnist. I can offer a light-hearted, first hand account of what many of the Observer's readers are experiencing or are about to experience: being laid off. It is going to get a lot worse around here before it gets better (which means, Charlotte Observer, that my reader base will continue to grow...$$$$). For every person that is laid off, there is a family that feels its effect. And I am your gal to write about how these families survive the recession and job loss with humor and grace (well, maybe not so much grace). 

But, apparently the Charlotte Observer has no room in the inn for me and my insights. Personally, I think that they are missing the boat (and when I become a famous syndicated columnist I will try not to hold a grudge, but I am not making any promises). So now I have to decide which magazines to target. Where is the best fit for me and my prose? I'm assuming Reader's Digest might be a tough nut to crack. O Magazine might consider me until they check out my blog post on February 18th of last year. I don't think I have the street cred for the likes of Vanity Fair. But what about Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, More, you think they'd hire me?

Talk to me...suggest a magazine. And for the love of god, if you have a contact...send 'em my way!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Holiday in 2009

Now that the holidays are behind us (and most of us are back to work), I want to suggest a new holiday for 2009. Let's stick it in there somewhere between the MLK Day festivities and the Presidents' Day hoopla. Or maybe right before the candy onslaught of Valentine's Day. Let's just get it done sooner rather than later. 

I propose....drum role please...a National Day of Honesty.  

For an entire day, every citizen of this great country must be 100% honest. That is, the words in your mind will be spoken from your lips. No white lies, no sugar coating and no pussy footing around. I'm talking truthfulness, candor, and possible extreme bluntness. It's hard for most people to be brutally honest, but perhaps if we make it a national holiday, people will feel as if they have a pass to speak the truth for just one day (you can resume the lies in 24 hours).

It may be just what the doctor ordered for this sluggish economy. Surely Hallmark will jump on the bandwagon? We can have "Honesty is the Best Policy" buttons, balloons and t-shirts made for the occasion. Florists can create an assortment of Honesty Bouquets. Restaurants can offer Honest Meals whereby the customer gets a discount if they give their honest feedback. Honestly, the opportunities are endless...

But my guess is...most people will not be able to do it. Be honest...could you? I don't get many comments on my blog. Many people send me private e-mails, but many of you are too shy or too kind or perhaps not honest enough to share your thoughts. But, I'd love to hear from you in the comments section. The question is...could you be completely honest for an entire day?

Talk to me...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning...

I didn't take an Ambien last night and as a result I was wide awake at 1:00 am. And then 2:00 am. And still at 3:00 am. 

I tried desperately to slow my mind down, but it gets stuck in overdrive in those wee small hours of the morning. I attempted to hypnotize myself, to relax every muscle in my body and concentrate on not thinking. But, it didn't work and inevitably I was obsessing about things that I would never normally entertain during my waking hours (well, a normal person's waking hours, anyway).

Last night's topic of fixation was my recent hospital visit. It started innocently enough; the first hour in the hospital was zen-like, so in an attempt to achieve calm and fall mind wandered back to that pre-surgery room hoping to relive the tranquil experience. 

It was about 5:45 am and the hospital had not yet woken up. The sweet nurse escorted me from the waiting room to the pre-surgery area and had me change into a robe. I call it a robe because I assure you, it was not your normal hospital frock. It was made of paper - disposable - but it was a thick absorbent, comfy paper (think Viva paper towels). It was a lovely periwinkle color and tied in the front at the waist. Near the tie, was a round flap like a trap door (think doggie door). I laid down on the bed and the nurse asked if I was warm enough. 

Warm enough? I am never warm enough. In fact, I am always cold. As soon as I moved south of the Mason Dixon line my blood starting thinning and has continued to thin with each passing year. So when I told the nurse that I wouldn't mind a blanket - she indulged me. She brought me two warm blankets: she wrapped one around my shoulders like a pashmina and the other she spread over my legs and feet and tucked it in on the sides. I was in heaven. 

But it gets better....

Behind me on the wall was a vacuum hose and that sweet nurse grabbed it and stuck it in that doggie door hole near the tie on the Viva-like robe. Before I could ask what she was doing, I felt warm air circulating all over my body. I felt like a Viva diva. This is stuff that dreams are made of (mine, anyway). I laid there thinking...what else can I have removed? Take my uterus today, next week you can have my appendix, and the week after that I'll be back to have my gall bladder confiscated. I can function without them, but I am quite certain that I can no longer function without this vacuum hose.

She left me like that for about 1/2 an hour while I slipped in and out of sleep. The anesthesiologist came by to introduce himself and to explain what he'd be doing during the surgery. I didn't care what he had planned and barely listened, I just nodded and smiled and concentrated on the warmth. Then the nurse anesthetist came by and started my IV...again...he could have stuck the needle in my eye...I'm not sure I would have objected at that point. He left and once again I was free to enjoy my surroundings.

And that's when things started to get ugly. 

The nurse anesthetist reappeared, this time with a wheel chair. A huge wheel chair. (I was told that the outpatient operating rooms were used for female surgeries and gastric bypass operations. I guess that was the reason for the ginormous wheel chair?) He announced that I needed to climb aboard. Um, excuse me? This is not how they do it on Grey's Anatomy. Patients aren't wheeled back to the OR in a wheel chair - they enter the room via a bed. And they are asleep. I questioned his tactics but he only laughed and answered, "no dear, the bed stays here and you come with me." Seriously, wtf?

So I reluctantly left the bed and the vacuum hose behind and clambered on to the double-wide chair. I felt like Edith Ann in her rocking chair as he rolled me to OR #4 (some of you may be too young to understand that reference, so click here to get a visual). The door opened and I was met with a blast of cold air and bright lights. Inside were several nurses busy readying themselves for the procedure. He made the introductions and I was forced to exchange pleasantries. Seriously, WTF? I don't like being lovely to people I know, much less people who in a matter of minutes would be tying my feet up in stirrups and suctioning blood from inside my cavity. 

And then the nurse anesthetist instructed me to climb on to the operating table. Swear. I have seen many an episode of E.R., House, Doogie Howser, and General Hospital and I can assure you...this is NOT how it is done. (Hell, I don't think they made the patients on M*A*S*H climb on to the operating table.) But there I was...doing as I was told and scampering onto the table. I focused on the ceiling so as to avoid catching a glimpse of the knives and scalpels, but I couldn't get past the stirrups that hung from chains on two tall poles at the end of the table. Oh, how I longed for the vacuum tube that dispensed warm air and peaceful thoughts. 

Once I was situated on the table, the nurses inserted two boards on either side of me so that I could spread my arms out (as if I were going to be crucified). FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY WASN'T I ASLEEP YET? That's what I get for not listening to the anesthesiologist when he was reviewing the plan. Apparently they slipped me something in that IV right after securing my arms, because the next thing I remember was waking up in my room. Somehow I missed the recovery room altogether. I wonder if they had those vacuum hoses in the recovery room? (I'll let you know when I go back next week to donate my appendix...)

The room on the 7th floor didn't come close to the pre-surgery experience. The Viva-like robe was gone (not sure who changed me into the flimsy hospital gown?) and there was no sign of any warm vacuum hoses. I have no idea if I had to crawl into the bed myself or if somebody helped me. My legs were wrapped in something that resembled a blood pressure cuff that extended from my ankles up past my knees. It was actually quite lovely: air filled the cuffs every minute or so, gently squeezing my legs providing a massage-like effect. Apparently this contraption keeps blood clots from forming in ones legs after surgery. They were to be kept on all night, which was fine with me, that is, until the pump broke and it took the nurse an hour to locate a new one. During that time, the cuffs became hot and itchy and a damned nuisance. Luckily, the morphine drip put me in a drug induced coma, so I was in and out of consciousness and only barely noticed.

I woke during those wee small hours of the morning (that I am far too familiar with) feeling like I had been beaten up. My neck hurt, my arms were stiff and my throat was killing me from the tube they stuck down my throat. But I had weened myself from the morphine drip right after the new massage pump arrived, so I was finally beginning to think clearly and I knew I had to get out of that place. How do they expect you to rest when every hour, on the hour, somebody is taking your temperature and blood pressure and asking you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10? Seriously, every hour? Necessary? And god forbid they coordinate their visits: at 2 am a nurse appeared to take my vitals and at 2:15 after I had fallen back to sleep, another appeared to draw some blood for the lab. My catheter kept backing up so I constantly felt the need to urinate and when I asked the nurse if she could remove it, she told me that she'd rather leave it in until morning so that I could get a good night's sleep. Uh-huh, that makes perfect sense, absolutely

At 8 am my doctor paid a call on me. I let him know that I wanted out of there, but he had me promise that I'd stay the day (since he failed at convincing me to spend another night). So I reluctantly agreed to a 3 pm departure. And by 9:00 am, I renegged on the deal and rang the call button to inform the nurse that she was going to help spring me ASAP. By 11:00 am I was home, in my own bed and enjoying 3 hours of uninterrupted, glorious sleep. I woke up feeling fresh and alive and rested. I took a hot shower and have felt like a million bucks ever since. Dorothy was right...there's no place like home. 

Before the surgery, I started compiling a list of things to buy as soon as my husband lands his dream job. Stupid things; things that we don't need, but would be fun to splurge on. You can bet your sweet bottom that the vacuum hose and the warm air system now tops my list. In fact, perhaps my simple wish can turn into a dream job? Surely my double-degreed engineer of a husband can package a home version and take it to market? A lot of houses have central vacuuming systems, why not provide these same homes with an option for a central personal warming system? A CPWS, if you will. 

I think I may be onto something big...