Ahhh...it's No Mentor Night on Idol. I don't know if it's a cost cutting measure or what, but I'm happy for the break.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Ahhh...it's No Mentor Night on Idol. I don't know if it's a cost cutting measure or what, but I'm happy for the break.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I'd like to skip over everything and go right to Stevie Wonder, because he was fantastic, but I can't go there without first mentioning what a sweaty mess of a man that Ruben Studdard is. Just gross. The sweat was streaming down that big, fat head of his like a waterfall, for crying out loud. Seriously, what is that about? This from a woman who sweats with the best of 'em, but in all my years, I have never been blinded by my own sweat. Horrible.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
That Smokey Robinson is a class act; I love him - bad plastic surgery and all.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So it seems that candy companies are relatively recession-proof. In fact, during the Depression, those who specialized in bonbons were extremely prosperous. The early 1930s saw the birth of some of my childhood favorites: Snickers, Tootsie Pops, Mars bars and Three Musketeers. The term "childhood favorites" implies that as an adult I no longer care for these sweet confections; that would be a lie. At 45, I am still a candy lover, a candy afficionado and a closet candy addict. Ok, maybe not so much a closet candy eater as I devour candy out in the open as well.
Monday, March 23, 2009
What a glorious day! It was sunny and warm in Charlotte: the cherry blossoms are magnificent, the daffodils are up and at 'em, and Spring is here to stay. Have I mentioned how much I love being a southern belle? And there was good news on the economic front as well! Wall Street got the news it's been waiting for and rejoiced by sending the Dow surging to its biggest percentage gain since October. And how about that surprising increase in home sales? A glorious day, indeed.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I've received many emails asking for an update on our staycation. I haven't mailed the postcards yet, but suffice it to say....we are having a fabulous time. I must confess, I haven't attempted many of the things I blogged about in my March 12th post, but we're going with the flow and everybody seems happy, so why would I offer up room service and trolley rides when they are clearly not needed?
We haven't rented a single movie, but, we have completed season one of the Gilmore Girls (Santa brought all 8 seasons). Next year, assuming my husband is gainfully employed, we hope to spend our spring break in Stars Hollow, home of the Gilmore Girls. I know, I know, it's a fictional town in Connecticut, but I am convinced that we can find it. That might mean heading to the Warner Brothers studio back lot instead of New England, but we will find our Shangri-la if it kills me. (Maybe it's time to put away the Gilmore Girls DVDs and rent The Wizard of Oz....)
One of the highlights of this week has been the latest addition to our family. No, we have not caved and gotten that puppy that the kids keep asking for....but we did get the next best thing...an ant farm. The farmers arrived in a test tube via USPS (one was DOA) and settled nicely into their new digs. In a matter of hours they had successfully built several tunnels. They are the best pets EVER: no feeding, no watering, and no cleaning is required AND no noise, no mess, and no aggravation is generated. Good, clean fun; those ants have provided us with hours and hours of pure joy.
I'll admit, at first I was a bit skeeved when my husband placed the "farm" on the kitchen counter next to the big bowl that I use to store our bread. But I've gotten use to the picnic ants hanging out next to the english muffins. Every time I enter the kitchen, one of the Reids is leaning on the counter checking out the ants' progress. And if I've sang "The ants go marching one by one..." once, I swear I've sang it a thousand times. The other day while spying on the ants, I heard my son whisper...."I think the ants are getting chubby." Hmm. Maybe we'll buy some ant treadmills for the farm.
Speaking of getting chubby...we've made cookies and pizza and orange-creme smoothies (darn, I forgot the umbrellas!), but nothing from the Barefoot Contessa's collection. Tonight we are having my BFF over for her birthday dinner; maybe we'll pull out one of Ina's recipe's...but probably not. Today we're heading to Costco in search of the perfect slab of meat in honor of her 44th meat eating year. We hope to arrive around noon so that our shopping excursion coincides with peak sample time. Love those samples (if it's free, it's for me) at Costco! Our goal is to sample enough goodies so that we do not have to purchase lunch. But, if we have to break down and pay $1.99 for a slice of pizza, then so be it. (Costco's version of a slice easily feeds a family of 10 as everything at Costco is ginormous.)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
What the heck happened tonight? I was out drinking wine with some girlfriends and came home to find that Alexis Grace is no longer an Idol. But that wasn't what surprised me...what surprised me was that Scott MacIntyre wasn't in the bottom 3!? Has America gone mad? Michael Sarver, sure I get that, but Allison over Scott? Rrrreally?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So far, staycation is all I ever wanted...and then some. Maybe that's why AI seemed especially boring this evening? Or maybe it had something to do with this week's theme. There are many reasons why I love Simon Cowell, not the least of which is that we share a disdain for country music.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Spring Break is fast approaching and this year we are not headed to an exotic destination. We are hunkering down and staying put. No packing, no jet lag, no airport delays, no backseat fighting, no sunburn, no "are we there yet?" This year we are embarking on a staycation and the possibilities are endless...
Perhaps we'll pitch a tent in the backyard one night, build a campfire and take in the night sky. Maybe we'll get crazy and project a movie on the shed in the backyard and have our very own drive-in theater. And if it rains that night, have no fear, we'll pitch the tent in the living room and roast marshmallows over the gas range.
We've visited DC, New York, and Boston and seen all the sites worth seeing. And do you know what tops my kids' favorite list from those cities? The ride on the Metro, the T, the Subway and in a NYC taxi cab. What can I say, my kids love public transportation. So, who am I to fight it? We'll take the trolley to uptown Charlotte and take a city bus home. I'll throw in a few bucks to buy some souvenirs, postcards and treats - because no trip is complete without useless tchotchkes - and I promise you the Jefferson Memorial, the Empire State Building and the Freedom Trail will be distant memories.
One morning I'll surprise them with room service. They'll wake up and find a menu next to their beds with instructions to intercom me in the kitchen when they are ready to place their order. Then I'll deliver the eggs (anyway they like 'em), toast, and orange juice on a silver tray with a copy of USA Today...right to their bedroom door. Service with a smile. And I'll give them the option of hanging a "Do Not Disturb" sign on their doorknob. If I'm still feeling generous at the end of the day, they will receive turn down service complete with a piece of chocolate on their pillow. The Westin's got nothing on Hotel Reid.
On second thought, that doesn't sound like a vacation for me. At all. I may decide to declare a choratorium: no bed making, no vacuuming, no cleaning toilets and certainly no meal preparation. In which case the room service idea may not be an option after all. Hmm. I'll have to think about that one...
The other night we were watching one of our favorite cooking shows...The Barefoot Contessa and my son commented, "Man it would be nice to have a dinner like that every night." Ouch. But I have to agree; in my next life, I'm coming back as the Barefoot Contessa's husband. I was quick to point out that if I cooked like the Barefoot Contessa every night, his sister would would starve to death. The thought of Dover Sole in a lemon butter sauce might sound appealing to him, but it would set her over the edge. Then I suggested that when we go on staycation, the whole family should get involved in meal selection and preparation. My son loved the idea and keeps asking if we are really going to do it. (wait until she vetoes his every suggestion).
I promise to share photos from our staycation. My husband's cameras and all the lenses accompany us on every trip. We have candid shots, posed shots, funny shots, family shots, individual shots; he's exceptionally talented and captures our lives on film quite beautifully. On past vacations, we looked forward to the nightly slideshow of the days activities and I don't expect this year to be any different. I'm envisioning a few snapshots of the couch, several of the kids playing the Wii, some kitchen scenes, the trolley ride, room service delivery, and one or two of the pizza delivery man (we can't cook every night) oh and cocktail hour. We may not be poolside, but we'll keep up the tradition of happy hour every afternoon. We'll get the blender out and mix up some fruit smoothies for the kids and pina coladas for the adults (note to self: purchase cocktail parasols for the umbrella drinks).
And, yes, of course, it goes without saying that I'll scrapbook the whole staycation. Because I am oh, so crafty. Not.
Maybe I'll come up with a theme for each day? Monday will be Beach Day (hence the umbrella drinks), Tuesday can be Spa Day (somebody can rub my shoulders while somebody else gives me a pedicure), Wednesday can be International Day (Bonjour! I'll offer French toast on the room service menu, visit Taco Bell for lunch and perhaps see a movie with subtitles in the late afternoon), Thursday can be Olden Days Day (no electricity, board games, candles, outhouse, etc...). Or maybe it would be easier to pick a theme and make it last all week? I like the idea of Film Festival Week. We'll rent movies, pop corn, eat Milk Duds and Junior Mints for lunch each day and wash it down with ginormous Coke products. The first movie will be The Wizard of Oz and I'll replay the part where Dorothy chants, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home..."
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
33 million votes. That's a lotta votes. I've been a fan right from the start; I knew Kelly Clarkson when she was a waitress in Texas and yet I have never once voted for a single contestant. (But I will be the first to rant and rave if one of the contestants I like gets voted off.)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Michael Jackson night...
Monday, March 9, 2009
Do you think it's possible to cough up a lung? I don't. Because if it were possible, I would have done so today. What about coughing your brains out - do you think that's possible? My head is pounding so badly right now, that it almost sounds tempting. What about falling apart? Do you think people can actually fall apart? Is it possible that my tongue might shoot across the room as a result of the force of my next cough? Stay tuned.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
An abbreviated version of this post appeared in the Charlotte Observer this past week. Click here to read it and the comments people left. I'm posting it on my blog because I want all of my posts recorded in one place for posterity.
I was happy to see that most of the comments regarding my story were positive. I am no Pollyanna, but I do believe that everybody has the ability to take a bad situation and transform it into strength and power, it's all about having the right attitude. So this is what I sent to The Observer...
I realize that in this economy, finding a job will not happen over night. Unfortunately, I was born without patience and so waiting is not my strong suit. When my husband was laid off in November, I developed a pit in my stomach the size of the Grand Canyon and nothing seemed to fill it; not the cookies that I inhaled by the boatload nor the wine that I consumed by the bottle. Luckily, what I lack in patience, I make up for in mental toughness. And so I have been able to choose patience over frustration as I have learned that the latter is a waste of my time and energy. Staying positive gives me power.
Last month I had lunch with several women whose children attend school with my son. I've known these women for years, but we never got together socially until we discovered that all of our husbands were out of work. Suddenly we had a lot more in common than just third graders. Our new situation connected us in a way that chaperoning class field trips and attending back- to-school nights never had been able to do. Over lunch we shared our stories, our concerns and our worries. We talked about our husbands’ job searches and our own efforts to find work. We discussed everything from healthcare coverage to cutting coupons to our families and how they are coping. I couldn't help but think how different our conversation would have been had we gotten together for lunch a year or two ago.
Rest assured, there weren't any tears and it certainly wasn't a pity party. None of the diners in the restaurant had any idea that we were discussing COBRA and unemployment benefits. We were upbeat and positive and shared many, many laughs. Each of us vowed to make our lunch a monthly outing (next time we are brown bagging it). I think we have a mini support group in the making. I knew I would enjoy the lunch, but I didn't expect to find a group of mentally strong women whose stories were exactly like mine. Just as staying positive gives me energy, so does talking about what I am experiencing with people who truly understand. The bond we share isn't the most pleasant, but we are all happy to have made a connection.
I've known plenty of people who have lost their jobs over the years. My father lost his in the 1980's with two children in college and one more on her way. I was a teenager at the time away at school in Boston; I'm sure I barely acknowledged the difficult time that my parents were going through. I'd like to blame my behavior on being a teenager and thinking that the world revolved around me. But lately I've thought a lot about others who were in this situation long after my selfish teenage years, and I am embarrassed to think back on the meager compassion that I offered them. I've always thought of myself as an empathetic person, but there is something to be said about actually living through something before you can truly understand its effects.
Career experts estimate that the vast majority of job openings are never advertised or publicly announced, instead they are filled through word-of-mouth or networking. As such, my husband has been on a mission to broaden his ever-growing list of business network contacts. The thought of networking can be overwhelming, scary and intimidating for a lot of people, but my husband has embraced this new mission of his and seems to enjoy every meeting and every single person he adds to his contact list.
Several mornings a week he holds court at our neighborhood Starbucks. I call them his Starbucks Encounters and am quick to point out that he could save a little money by inviting his new friends to our house for coffee and biscotti. I am more than happy to don my barista apron and serve up a cup of Joe and a smile. He chuckles at this suggestion, probably because he knows that my coffee will not win him friends or influence people. It’s probably best that he sticks with the tall, skinny lattes at Starbucks.
I can't help but think that those Starbucks encounters do more for him than simply grow his contact list. The people he meets serve as his support line. He gets positive energy from each of those encounters and he returns the favor tenfold. There are millions of people out of work and millions more worried about becoming the next statistic. My advice to all of them is to find yourself a good support system: accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Being able to do so is no trivial pursuit, but I believe if you put positive energy in your life, you will reap the dividends. I’m not talking about the kind of dividends that are controlled by the stock market; I’m talking about the kind of dividends that are controlled by you.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Jasmine was selected for her commercial marketability.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Hmm. I guess we need to get used to seeing the couch as the prop of choice for the Group Sing choreography. I mean no disrespect; Scott seems like a very nice feller, but he is just not American Idol material. Lil Rounds, yes, but Scott MacIntyre, no.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Can I just tell you how much Kara bugged me tonight? I think she has taken on the role of Paula this season and Paula is mild in comparison.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb or so the saying goes...