When I first saw this clip about the Arlington Wreath Project, it really touched me. I wanted to share it with the rest of you.
If you’d like to share some good cheer with troops serving their country this holiday season, please go to www.operationusocarepackage.org or www.treatsfortroops.com. In the meantime, have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
When I first saw this clip about the Arlington Wreath Project, it really touched me. I wanted to share it with the rest of you.
Monday, September 18, 2006
We got down there right at dinner time on Friday, so we all changed into our t-shirts (I had some made for the weekend) and headed down to Beale Street. We had an amazing dinner at King’s Palace. There was a great band playing while we ate, and their singer looked like she couldn’t be more than 21 but she was really good. Then we drank our way down Beale Street and back up again.
Saturday night we were picked up by our limo and went to dinner at Automatic Slim’s Tonga Club – and good God, it was amazing. So freaking good! The place was gorgeous too. And (some of us were a bit more excited about this part than others) they had rare pictures of a young and shirtless Elvis on the second floor. I took pictures, of course. After dinner, we hopped back in the limo and had the driver open up the back. I was able to find a limo that had a back section that was open to the outside – so we all crowded in the back and cruised around downtown singing and laughing and drinking. Had a blast – we were certainly very popular driving around like that. Then we worked our way back down Beale Street and back up again.
That’s just a basic sketch of our weekend. Trite as it may be, just like Vegas – what happens in Memphis, stays in Memphis. So I won’t share too many stories – that would ruin all my blackmail material. However, I do want to share a little snippet of our weekend. Here is the bachelorette, Shaina, up on stage singing her own rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee". Unfortunately, this precious moment happened after I’d taken a ton of pictures so I didn’t have enough memory left on my camera to catch the whole thing – but I got a good portion of it.Enjoy!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
PRESS THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE MIDDLE TO VIEW VIDEO
I've been a fan of Emmitt's for years, I fell in love with him on the gridiron - and now I'm more smitten than ever. Look at him dance! I'm so impressed, I had no idea. Jerry Rice looked pretty good on Dancing With the Stars last year, but Emmitt looks amazing.
I've been a Dallas Cowboys fan since I was a kid, and an Emmitt fan throughout his entire NFL career. Emmitt is the NFL all-time rushing leader, the NFL all-time rushing touchdown leader, a SuperBowl MVP, the NFL MVP in '93, Rookie of the Year in '90, he has three SuperBowl rings, and he's clearly a future Hall-of-Famer! Perhaps now he'll be able to add Dancing With the Stars Champion to his list of accomplishments!
BTW - On a side note, completely unrelated to Emmitt... I'm going to be really pissed when Terrell Owens first dances on the star in Texas Stadium with a Cowboys uniform on. I stil haven't forgotten (or forgiven) T.O. for dancing on the star in 2000 when he was playing for San Francisco - mocking Emmitt in his own house. Asshole. I hate that the Cowboys signed T.O. I want to the the 'Boys succeed, but I want to see T.O. fail - it kills me that there are no consequences for people like him. Harumph!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Last weekend the guys all got together at the Broad family farm in Cuba, MO for Jonas' bachelor party. Rumor has it they had a very good time. The good news is, nobody came back with any scars, cuts or bruises and there was no permanent damage done to any of the trucks, four-wheelers or guns.
The weekend before that, we all gathered at Stacy's (Shaina's sister and matron-of-honor) for their wedding shower. (Left) Here is a picture of the party...
It was a very hot and sticky day, but there was a pool for the kids to cool off in and plenty of ice cold beer and other drinks to help the adults cool off.
All of Shaina's family was there, most of Jonas' family was there, as well as my parents and many of our friends.
The girls are all headed to Memphis next weekend for the bachelorette party. That promises to be a ridiculously good time. And no, I probably will not be sharing all of the details of that weekend on here when we get back - at least not if the weekend is successful! However, I'm sure there will still be plenty of G-rated stories I'll be able to tell when we get home.
Here's a really nice picture of Jonas and Shaina cutting the cake at their shower:
Sunday, September 03, 2006
What I do not want to see is Jeffrey in the final two. I just can’t stand that cocky bastard – he’s such an ass. I hate the way he treated Angela’s mom, it was totally uncalled for and he should have shown her more respect. Plus, I don’t usually like his designs and what he did for Angela’s mom was the worst thing I’ve seen on this show – I have no idea why he wasn’t kicked off for that one.
I like Kayne, but I just don’t think he has the well rounded ability needed to win Project Runway. He’s done some beautiful work – but his taste is a little questionable. Vincent’s sweet, but just a little clueless. Basket hat – enough said. And Uli, I totally adore Uli. She does some amazing work, she’s a competitor – she could totally end up in the final two.
My pick is Michael…
Design Star – We’re down to the final two and they’re the two that I wanted through the whole show. Yay! David is as cute as can be. And by “cute”, I mean really freaking hot. And he does really good work, he’s a talented carpenter and he’s got the looks to be on television. However, he’s kind of iffy when it comes to the actual hosting stuff in front of the camera. And then there’s Alice – she’s also an incredibly sweet person and she’s beautiful. And more importantly – she’s a total natural in front of the camera. Her taste is similar to mine, so of course I like everything she does. However, her squeaky girly voice drives me nuts sometimes. Like when she’s greeting another woman or acting excited about something, her voice goes all squeaky – drives me nuts.
My pick is Alice…
Fresh Meat – This is the Real World/Road Rules challenge for this summer. I was terribly disappointed to see Derrick and Diem get knocked off last week. She’s awesome, and totally should have been able to go further. And she made Derrick somebody that I could root for – which surprises me because I hadn’t been real impressed in the past.
There are three couples left and each of the three couples is guaranteed some money. Tina and Kenny – like most of America, I would imagine, I really don’t like Tina and I really don’t want these two to win. Okay, I take that back. I don’t even know the woman so I can’t say that I don’t like her. Instead, I’ll say that I don’t care for the behavior I’ve seen her display over the years on tv. Then there’s Wes and Casey. He’s really busted his butt to still be there, so I have to give him credit for that. However, I still don’t like the way he’s behaved on the show (I’m hoping girlfriend Johanna is similarly unimpressed as she watched the shows as well), so I’d hate to see him win. Plus, Casey totally doesn’t deserve to still be there – she’s not athletic, she’s not bright and she’s downright smarmy. That leaves Darrell and Aviv – they’re hard workers, and don’t get involved in all the drama bullshit. Of the three couples left – this is who I’d like to see take it all.
Darrell and Aviv are my picks…
Big Brother All Stars – This is my true obsession. Love this show. And it’s All-Stars this season. We’re down to four players: Erika and Mike Boogie – the showmance of the season, Janelle and Will – the “flirtmance” of the season.
I seriously cannot believe that Will and Boogie are still in the game. The two people who went into the house with a well-known and obvious alliance with one another, the two people who are KNOWN to lie at every turn, the two people who are the most obnoxious in the house! Will is a past winner and even constantly wears a t-shirt that says “I’m probably lying” – what is he still doing in this game?!?! I hope the morons on the jury realize that there’s no one to blame but themselves, they should have shown those two the door in the first two weeks.
As for Janelle – she totally deserves to be there. However, she has let Will play her from the beginning – and it cost her James’ loyalty and faith; and it’s probably going to cost her some pride in the end. I think she really thinks she and Will are falling in love… But Will has made it clear to the internet viewers and to Boogie that he’s dedicated to Erin (his girlfriend) and he’s not about to screw that up. He thought he was playing this “flirtmance” with someone who knew it was a game – seems he’s a better player than even he though.
And Erica. Erica, Erica, Erica – what are you THINKING? You put Danielle up and let her get voted out while Will and Boogie sit there laughing at you for being so gullible. They’ve brought you to the final four with them because you’re so easily manipulated with your desperation for a happily-ever-after. Boogie is playing you – big time! It’s a well thought out plan and he started before the show, and she’s fallen for it hook, line and sinker. This is another one that’s going to feel like a real fool when she sees the show. Will deserves to win. Again. He has been running the game from the day he walked in the door – he’s played the exact same game he won with and he’s so good at it that a house full of All Stars fell for it all over again.
Obviously, my pick is Will…
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
He was there with John Fogerty, which (no offense to any Fogerty fans out there) really surprised me that he was sharing the tour with another headliner, and that it was Fogerty. And I was also really surprised that Willie played first. But he did - which was fine, we were there in time to see his entire set. He was just as good as I thought he would be. He played everything I really wanted to hear, "Whiskey River", "Always On My Mind", "Crazy", "Momma, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys", etc. He even sang "Jambalaya"!
But you know what did surprise me? That he's so little. I guess I just didn't realize that Willie's such a short guy. And it was so cool to see Trigger in real life, too. That's the name of his guitar - he plays the same guitar he's had since 1969. He's played it so much that he's worn a hole in the front, but he refuses to get it fixed. And he's asked people that he likes and admires to autograph Trigger - he says he's got over 100 signatures on it - including those of Leon Russell, Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson (love him!), Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, lawyers, football coaches and other friends and associates. Willie loves that guitar so much that during his IRS troubles back in the 80s he hid Trigger at his managers house for safe-keeping.
Something else I learned about Willie tonight - he's hoping to open an ethanol refinery here in Missouri.
He sang a couple of new songs, both of which I thought were really funny and totally enjoyed; "I'm No Superman" and "You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore". The first line of "I'm No Superman": Too many pain pills, too much pot; tryin' to be something that I'm not; I ain't Superman. Enough said!
Monday, August 21, 2006
Aquatanica Spa Sea Moisture Gel Soufflé (the green jar in the center of the group picture of this line of products) - Holy cow, I love this stuff. It’s from Bath and Body Works brand new line, Aquatanica Spa. It soaks in right away and doesn’t leave your hands sticky or wet. And it’s got to be the silkiest moisturizer I have ever used. The scent is awesome. Generally, I prefer fruity scents – but this is a very refreshing, clean scent. Hard to describe, but I really like it. My friend, Michelle, introduced me to it – thanks Michelle, I need more crap to spend my money on.
Partylight Chiminea – I liked this candle holder so much that I had to buy two. And I bought Wasabi Ginger tealights to burn in my chimineas outside. They’re so cute!
AND I bought a candle-holder that looks like a mini Weber grill and holds three votives – OR it can three condiments at your next barbecue. And then of course I had to buy a bunch of other cool new votives to burn in them. So I bought way too many - but most of them are also citronella candles. Very cool - not girlie at all and they’re awesome for use outside. This one is all Michelle’s fault as well. Isn’t she an awful friend?
Mr. & Mrs. Smith - Good movie, just TiVo’ed it and watched it last night. It’s kind of weird, though, to see Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Vince Vaughn all in a movie together. Even though I think Brad’s a big asshole for leaving Jennifer for Angelina, which he obviously did, I loved this movie. It’s really slick, though and I really enjoyed it. And I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that I’m at that part of my cycle where I just want to walk around punching people for no good reason. I just really wanna punch people. So, yeah, there’s lots of punching in this movie.
Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Raisin (and Rhubarb) - Discovered this while in the checkout line at Border's a couple of weeks ago. It's their usual lip balm, of which I was already a fan, with color included now. It still tingles when you put it on, it has that nice minty scent - but it also has a nice deep rich color as well. It has completely eliminated the need for all those lip balms I had to use to undo the drying effects of lipstick. I still love my lipsticks and glosses, but I wear this for general everyday use and it repairs my lips and still looks great! It comes in a bunch of colors (Cocoa, Guava, Papaya, Toffee, Champagne, Coffee, Merlot, Nutmeg, Watermelon), but I personally like Raisin and Rhubarb the best. And didn't that list of colors just make you kind of hungry?
Cubist Martini Set - This was a birthday gift from Mary Beth and Mike (but let's be honest, it's from MB) - and I love this. For those of you who really know me, you know how I take my martinis - dirty vodka martini, straight up, with extra olives (preferably hand stuffed blue cheese olives). And I also love a good espresso martini made with Starbuck's liquor. But the bad thing about mixing up a martini is that is gets warm if you don't drink it quickly - and warm vodka is not yummy. But if you drink it quickly, then you need another and another and then you're too drunk and nobody wants a too drunk Heather to deal with! But these martini glasses are the perfect solution - it keeps your drink nice and cold, so you can take your time and really enjoy your drink. Without ending up on top of the pool table singing about pretty pretty pain caves.
Okay - that's enough for now. Enjoy.
Monday, August 14, 2006
So he asked me about two months ago if I had anything in mind that I wanted to do for my birthday. (We’ve gone to Hermann with some friends for the last few years, and I always plan it – so he was checking to make sure I hadn’t already made any plans.) I told him I didn’t and he asked if I wanted him to take care of it this year. My immediate answer was YES before he even got the whole sentence out – that’s exactly what I wanted. And then nothing. He never said another word about it. So a week or so before my bday I asked him what we were doing for my birthday. “What do you want to do?” he asked. “You didn’t make any plans?” I answered. “Well, what do you want to do?” So I figured he forgot, and there were no plans for my birthday. I was disappointed, but it wasn’t worth starting a big fight over – and I figured it was my own fault for getting my hopes up anyway. Should have known better.
So he wished me a happy birthday Thursday morning before he left for work. No gift. He got home and hopped in the shower and we rushed off to meet my parents for dinner. No gift. We finished dinner, and I opened my gift from my parents. Still no gift. I am not a patient woman. Finally I said, “Isn’t there something you want to give me?” He knew he was totally torturing me. “Nope, you’ll have to wait.” Butthead.
So we get home from dinner, I let the dog out, take off my shoes and plop down on the couch.
Still. No. Gift.
Someone pulls up in front of the house. It’s my parents. Must have left something in their car, or they forgot to give me something. I let them in the house, a little mystified, and Jeremy hands them the dog’s leash. Lightbulb moment! They’re taking the dog! They’re going to dogsit! That means we’re going somewhere! Immediately I’m all over the three of them. “Why are you taking the dog? Are we going somewhere? Where are we going? How should I pack? Are we flying or driving? What are we doing?”
Laughter – but no answers. Jeremy just tells me that I’ll have to wait and see, but I need to be packed and ready to go when he gets home from work the next day. “Do I need a swimming suit? Do I need anything dressy? Should I take sunscreen or a jacket? Are we going alone? Are we meeting anybody there? How long will we be gone?” No answers.
I was in suspense all day Friday, but I loved it. Surprises rock!
So he finally gets home on Friday and tells me that Mike and Mary Beth will be picking us up shortly. Of course, I’m completely packed, my bag is sitting on the porch and I’m ready to leave immediately. When they pull up in front of the house I meet them at the door with my purse. “You don’t need to come in, let’s go, I’m ready, let’s go. Do you know where we’re going? Where are we going?”
We’re on the road – heading west on 70. So I’m thinking Hermann, this is what we usually do, so he knows I love Hermann so he probably got us a really nice B&B this time and it’s going to be better than ever.
We get off on Wentzville Parkway. WTF? “Um, guys – I really don’t want to go to Wentzville for my birthday.” Okay, we’re not staying in Wentzville, we’re picking up Jeremy and Michelle. Awesome – good times, this rocks! (Ed note – from here on out Jeremy Broad will be referred to as JeremyJelly and Jeremy Moring will be JeremyJam.)
So back on 70 West. We pass Hermann and I think okay, we’re passing Hermann – bet we’re going to the lake. That’ll be fun! Then we pass the exit that would take us to the lake. Okay… no lake. We better not be going to Columbia. I don’t want to go to Columbia for my birthday. Once we passed Columbia I was out of ideas. I decided we better be going to Kansas City, because there was nothing west of KC that I wanted to go to in a car! We get to KC, and JeremyJam gets out directions and starts directing JeremyJelly (who’s driving) and JeremyJelly gets on the phone with someone to tell them we’ll be there soon. So at least then I finally knew we were going.
He’d made reservations at the Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza! We had an amazing view of Brush Creek and the Plaza from our cute little balcony! He’d arranged for us to meet my little sister (Nicole) and her fiancé (Jeremy – from here on out referred to as JeremyAlso) Friday night for drinks. It was so wonderful to see Nicole and to finally meet JeremyAlso. We talked about their wedding plans and gossiped about family stuff. Turns out JeremyAlso is a very nice guy in spite of being a Cubs and Bears fan. I may one day forgive him for that, but it’s still under consideration. I drank too many gin and tonics and couldn’t stop giggling about how happy I was. I also probably did and said a bunch of stupid stuff, but I was drunk and happy – what do you expect?
This is my younger sister, Nicole, and I - a really bad, moon-faced picture of me, I've obviously had a couple of drinks here already, but I never noticed until I saw this picture that we have the same smile.
Saturday I spent some time walking around the Plaza and doing a little shopping while everybody else napped the day away – but it was hot and I was sweating, so that only lasted a couple of hours. That night we went to dinner and there were two extra seats at the table. But I knew he wouldn’t bring me to KC without seeing Kim and Jeff. (Kim’s my best friend from college and we try to see one another more than once a year – but once a year is usually all we can manage.) Kim and Jeff started dating our junior year in college, so I’ve known Jeff almost as long as I’ve known Kimmie. So we had a great meal, and Kim and I spent some time catching up and telling the same old stories we tell on each other every time we get together. Although I think there was a new one that came to light this time…
We got home late yesterday afternoon and I was glad to finally be home after the long drive, but I’m still pretty bouncy about my weekend. It means so much to me that he put that much effort into my gift. He really thought about what would make me happy, and what would really surprise me; he had to break into my email to get to my address book to get Kim and Nicole’s email addresses and phone numbers; he contacted them both to arrange the meetings; he invited MB, Mike, JeremyJam and Michelle; he made the reservations; he arranged for my parents to dogsit; and he had to keep his mouth shut while I moped around thinking we weren’t doing anything for the weekend. I can’t believe so many people knew about this and not one person slipped – not a single hint. I was caught totally off guard – and I LOVED it.
I am a very lucky woman. And I love my JeremyJelly very much.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
I waited a little while to make up my mind about this, but I’m going to have to agree with Barbara Walters when she said, “I don’t think I want to see any more Mel Gibson movies.” I’m saddened and disappointed by his actions and just can’t imagine supporting him in any way after what he’s said. I won’t be watching any more of his movies – either at the theatre or on DVD or even on television.
I’m of the mind that you speak with your actions and with every dollar you spend. I used to be a huge NBA fan, and after the players strike in the summer of 1998 I was so disgusted by both the players and the owners that I decided to stop supporting the NBA. I haven’t spent a single penny on anything related to the NBA in nine years and I probably never will again. No hats, no t-shirts, nothing else – I don’t even watch the games on television anymore. Those of you living in St Louis might wonder where’s the big sacrifice in that – St Louis doesn’t even have an NBA team, nobody in St Louis cares about the NBA. That may be true, but as I was growing up basketball was the center of life. In high school, basketball was the only sport that mattered. And we were good. We went to the State Championship regularly – both boys and girls teams. My family is from Kentucky – and that means I’m a Wildcats basketball fan. So of course, I was also a big NBA fan – specifically a Bulls fan. So it was a sacrifice for me. There have been other things in the past (I won’t go into detail with all of them) that I’ve decided not to support – once I found out where the money really goes to in the end.
So let’s get back to Mel Gibson. I really liked him. What woman of my generation didn’t? The Lethal Weapon movies, Tequila Sunrise, Bird on a Wire, Braveheart, What Women Want. An attractive movie star who has been married to the same woman for over twenty-five years and has seven children with her – no philandering or other scandals; that sounds like a good strong man. A person you can really admire and feel good about going to their movies and enjoying yourself.
Then he released The Passion of the Christ and I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theatre. I certainly heard a lot about it – both pro and con. J and I both wanted to see it, but didn’t want to spend the money to see it in the theatre. I heard a lot of commentary claiming that the movie was anti-Semitic, but nobody that I personally knew (that actually saw it and discussed it with me) thought it was. I heard about his father and his extremist views – the most commonly reported being his assertion that the Holocaust never happened. But we’ve all got family members who believe things we certainly don’t believe – trust me, I can give you a very long list of relatives whose beliefs disgust me. So I didn’t white-wash Gibson with the sins of his father.
However, after hearing of his anti-Semitic tirade while being charged with a DUI last week, I believe it now. Mel Gibson is a bigot. And there’s no excusing it. He was drunk. I get that. Shockingly enough, I’ve been drunk myself. A lot. And I’ve done and said a lot of stupid things while drunk, I’ve made an ass of myself, I’ve fallen and hurt myself, I’ve spent time with people I probably wouldn’t have chosen to spend time with had I been sober. But do you know what I’ve never done while drunk? I’ve never once gone off on a tirade of bigotry. I’ve never said awful things about a portion of the human race based on their heritage, race, skin color, sexual preference or religious beliefs. Why? Because that’s not the way I feel – I’ve never felt that way, I’ve never even considered saying such things because it’s the furthest thing from my mind. Drunk or sober – words such as those that came out of Mel Gibson’s mouth would never come out of the mouth of a person who didn’t actually believe it. I’m sorry, but I do believe that the old adage rings true here, a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.
I’ve read his statements to the press, carefully crafted and released by his publicist. I see that he’s extremely remorseful and full of regret – but to me, he regrets that he’s wrecked his career, that he got caught being the hypocrite he has so vehemently denied being for so many years. He regrets saying what he did, when he said and to whom he said it – but I do think he meant it. Here is Gibson’s second statement to the press:
Mel Gibson’s statement, released to the news media early Tuesday, five days after his drunken driving arrest in Malibu:
There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.
I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.
The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God’s child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.
I’m not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.
I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realizing is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.
This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. Its about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad.
Some of this I believe, and some of it – not so much. The bottom line is that no matter how heart-felt and sincere his apology sounds, there’s no way to know whether or not it’s all true. We cannot read his mind, we can’t look into his heart and know how he truly feels. We can only go by what he tells us. And to me – what he tells us while drunkenly berating a Jewish police officer during a DUI speaks more to his true thoughts and feelings than a statement released through his publicist aimed at damage control.
He says in part, that being a bigot is against his religion. In defending himself against being called anti-Semitic he said “hatred of any kind goes against my faith”. True. But so what? That certainly doesn’t mean you aren’t a bigot. Just because it’s against your religion to do or be something – doesn’t mean you aren’t. I’m also a christian, I believe in God and have a strong personal faith. I believe that to lie is a sin, that to covet what isn’t yours is a sin, that many of the things I do are sins – but does that mean I don’t do them, because I believe those things are wrong??? No – it means I do them, even though I know it’s wrong. That I know I shouldn’t, and struggle not to – but it doesn’t mean I don’t do it.
All of that being said, I’m not saying that I’m absolutely right. I hope that I’m not. I hope he isn’t the person I now think he is. I’ll watch, I’ll listen and maybe I’ll be convinced that I’ve misjudged. Because apparently, unlike Mel Gibson, I have an open mind.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Andy was one of the best people I’ve ever known – and tragically, he passed away at the beginning of this month. Andy Polcyn was the best of everything. He was a hard worker, a self-made man and the president of his own company, Advance Environmental Associates. He was also incredibly smart – and a self-professed gadget freak. Andy always had the newest coolest phone and/or PDA or computer accessory. He was a great father, a good friend and a wonderful husband. I wish I had known him better, and appreciated the time I did know him more than I did at the time. He died way too soon – at only 59, which makes no sense. He was healthy and fit – an avid skier and boater. He was very active in his church and community. This sounds like such a generic blurb about any nice guy – but Andy really was more than that. He fit one hell of a lot of life into just 59 years.
Eight years ago, Susan Polcyn hired me to be her assistant at Facts & Comparisons and she and I became good friends. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that we lived just blocks from one another. So Jeremy and I also got to know her husband, Andy. Being together every day, Susan and I quickly developed a rapport that carried over into our personal lives, as did our husbands. When Jeremy was ready to become a small business owner, one of the first people he went to for advice was Andy. When there were problems with the environmental report, Andy didn’t wait for Jeremy to ask for help (which was ironic because Jeremy had actually called and left Andy a message asking for help – Andy just hadn’t listened to it yet) – he just came right over to read the report and advised Jeremy on how to handle the situation. He was an inspiration to both Jeremy and I.
For someone that I knew for such a relative short amount of time, I really miss Andy. And I miss the Susan that Susan was when she was with Andy. After nearly forty years of marriage, she still giggled when he flirted with her – which was often. (And those of you that know Susan – yes, she giggled).
Even if you never met Andy, please go to http://www.mem.com/display/biography.asp?ID=1422877 and read his memorial and then view the movie. Also, click on "tributes" and read the eulogy his sons, Tom and Bryan wrote. We should all be so lucky to have a father, husband or friend like Andy. I miss him.
Monday, July 24, 2006
For the last few years, my husband and a group of his friends have all gathered at his family farm in January for their annual “Freeze Out”. They go play in the snow and the ice, ride their four-wheelers, and drink around a big campfire; all while freezing their nuts off. Sounds like fun – if it were October. In January – not so much. It’s freaking COLD out there! Which is why it’s a guys weekend – the women in their lives aren’t at all interested in joining them. It’s the only “guys only” thing my husband does, so I don’t really care – I’m fine with it. For myself, I’ve never been interested in organizing a girls’ weekend or a girls’ night or anything like that. Simply put – if I think of something fun to do, I’m not going to choose the friends I want to invite by their genitalia.
That being said, last year before the Freeze Out, one of my girlfriends mentioned that if all the guys were going to be out of town anyway we ought to all get together and do something girlie that they wouldn’t enjoy anyway. And I decided she was right. So Boobs, Booze and Bullshit was born. If you know me, you know I love to plan a big party and I love to plan surprises. So I sent an invitation out to all the girls. See below:
The first night, we just hung out in the basement bar and drank and talked and had a good time. At 10 AM a stretch limo pulled up to pick us all up (in our hats, of course) and take us to Miss Aimee B’s Teahouse for brunch. Mimosas were served in the limo, and mimosas were served at the teahouse – and we were all in fine spirits by the end of the meal. The limo then took us to Steinberg Rink (the outdoor ice-skating rink in Forest Park), where we quickly learned that ice-skating was so much easier when we were 12! Then off to Café Eau for martinis and back to my house. We had pedicures and then dinner and then returned to my house for the pièce de résistance. I’d rented a full-scale karaoke machine and sound system and had it set up in my basement while we were gone during the day. It took a while, but eventually everyone was on the microphone and we were having a great time.
The first semi-annual meeting of Booze, Boobs and Bullshit in front of the limo.
We had so much fun that weekend that we decided we need to do this again – and not just once a year during the Freeze Out – twice a year, January and July; but that it would be a girls’ weekend and it would be something the guys wouldn’t enjoy anyway. (It’s not fair to all go to a concert or Vegas or something the guys would all really enjoy and not include them only because they don’t have the right genitalia.)
So Jill volunteered to organize a weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks in July. Her hubbie’s aunt has a beautiful lakehouse in a cove not far from Osage Beach. So last weekend we all kissed the husbands and children good bye and headed to the Lake. What a wonderful weekend. We drank, we ate, we laughed, and then we drank some more. There were some tears, but not of the drama-filled variety. We spent the entire time sitting and talking, sometimes about serious things – and sometimes about silly things. And a lot about sex. Jill gave us all makeovers before we went out to dinner Saturday night – which was so much fun. And trust me – we looked hot. So it wasn’t unfair – it wasn’t a weekend the guys would have enjoyed. Eight girls getting facials and makeovers and then getting dressed up to go out to dinner – doesn’t sound like anything the guys would have been interested in, does it? And we spent the whole rest of the weekend sitting and talking, or laying on the rafts in the water and talking, or eating and talking. There were no speedboats, nothing competitive, we didn’t play poker or see who could shoot the most empty beer cans with one clip (not that I don’t enjoy all of those things as well) – it was just a big group of women talking and laughing for a weekend.
At the end of the weekend, we cleaned the house and packed the cars and prepared to leave. And we stood in a group at the end of the deck, not wanting to leave – not wanting to let the weekend end, starting different conversations so that we wouldn’t have to go our separate ways…
I love this group of women and I love that we’ve formed this bond. I met each and every one of them at a different point in my life and under different circumstances. I have a relationship with each of them that differs a bit from the next one. But we are able to spend time together like this and really enjoy one another. There’s no drama, there are no arguments. We have our differences – our politics, our ages, our circumstances, etc – but they don’t matter. We are wives, mothers, and daughters. Our jobs run the gamut – but each and every one of us is a busy and stressed out woman.
Michelle has volunteered to host our next BB&B at her home in January. And rumor has it we’re going roller skating! I can’t wait…
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I’ve been taking golf lessons this summer for a variety of reasons. For one thing, I’ve always wanted to play golf, but didn’t want to get out on the course and make a fool of myself by playing very poorly. And everyone I’ve known that plays golf well and was willing to try to teach me didn’t have the obstacles I have – big boobs. It’s really hard to develop a good swing with great big old boobs in your way.
And whether it’s fair or not, being able to play golf gives a person an advantage in corporate America. I didn’t really care much about the business aspect of golf at my previous job – there wasn’t much professional competition for me there and golf is not part of the corporate culture at my previous company (which is rather unusual). But now that I’m at Express Scripts, it’s a little different. They hold a charity golf tournament, there are a lot of execs here that play golf and I’ve had to turn down a few invites to play in our vendors’ golf tourneys since I started just three months ago.
So I decided it was time for me to learn to play golf. A friend sent me an article about women and golf in the business world yesterday. Two things in that article really struck me: “At night when I go to the driving range, it’s wall-to-wall men. When they’re on the driving range, they’re working on their careers. Men recognize it, but for some reason women don’t get it. They think it’s just a sport. It’s not. It’s business… Women that can’t golf, don’t. Men that can’t golf, do.”
And the most important reason to learn to play golf? What other sport can you play where someone drives right up to you to sell you beer right in the middle of the game? Beer and golf, they just go together like… beer and fishing; or beer and bowling; beer and pool. Okay, so maybe there are a few other sports…
So of course, once I started my lessons and decided I was going to stick with it – I had to go shopping! I bought these really cute clubs – they’re good, but they’re also really cute. They’re Square 2 Opal petite length ladies clubs. They’re a dark blue/teal color and the bag matches the clubs – of course. And I had to get golf shoes – so I got two pairs of very cute Nike golf shoes; leather oxford style black and white shoes and a similar leather and suede pair that are tan and white. And of course – you gotta have the clothes. So I have some nice shorts and tops to wear while I suck out on the golf course.
Anyway, the lessons have been going pretty well. My drive isn’t too bad (gotta do something about it always going to the right though – I know what the problem is, I’ve just gotta work on correcting it). My short game isn’t too bad either. But really all I need is a lot of practice.
So after six weeks of working on the basics and learning the rules and etiquette, we were ready to actually get out on the course and play our first game. Before we were supposed to meet at the course, I went to the driving range to warm up a little. It was about 97 degrees out, so after half an hour at the driving range I was plenty warm. We met at the clubhouse to start our scramble. As you can imagine, with five beginners, we’re moving pretty slowly. By the time we finish the first hole, the temp is starting to drop. We arrive at the second hole tee box and the wind is picking up a little. As the last person is teeing up, we suddenly hear a roar of wind and all turn to look north – and you can SEE a huge storm coming up on us. SHIT! So everybody runs for their golf carts and books it back to the clubhouse. Of course, golf carts go very slowly and it’s mostly uphill back to the clubhouse. This storm came up FAST. So as we’re heading back, there are tree limbs falling around us and we’re hearing loud sounds all around us (later found out it was trees and tree limbs falling). It was really scary – I honestly started thinking of all the things I’ve been through in my life I just know it’s not all going to end on a freaking golf course after my very first hole (and by the way, just for the record – I’m the one that sank the putt on our first hole)!
We get back to the clubhouse and go inside, they’ve already put everyone in the clubhouse in interior rooms – we were expecting to see Dorothy and Toto go flying by any second. The sky was that sickening dark yellow/green color. The power went out almost immediately and everyone was on their cell phones checking to see what was going on and where their loved ones were. I called Jeremy – and of course he’s standing in the backyard, watching it all. It was far too bad to even try to leave, but we did get free beer from the clubhouse. Still not worth it though!
It was a monster storm. http://www.ksdk.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=100574 There were traffic accidents all over the place, semis were blown over on the highways (I know of at least four). Part of the roof was torn off of Lambert International Airport and ended up on Highway 70. People in the airport were evacuated down to the baggage claim area. There were a few tornadoes spotted. The new stadium was full of fans – I heard it got a bit panicky in there since people weren’t really sure what to do or where to go to safety in the new stadium. There were 30 people injured at the stadium. The winds were so strong that a tractor on top of the tarp on the field was moved by the wind. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13944394/ As of this morning there are still 450,000 people without power in their homes. We were one of the lucky ones, we had power all night last night. I got to work to find out almost everyone else I work with didn’t have power last night and most of them still didn’t have power when they got up this morning – which means no AC, hard on kids, the elderly and pets. And due to the nature of the storm and the large number of homes without power, AmerenUE can’t even give people anticipated restoration times.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Have you seen Ford's latest commercial? The one that features CEO Bill Ford and farmer and a corn field. Because obviously, if we see farmers harvesting corn in an ad it must mean it's a product that is good for the environment. (And by the way, the farmer is hoisting a bushel basket of corn into the back of his truck - do you seriously think farmers pick their corn by hand, put it in a basket and then load it in their truck to drive 'into town' to sell for use in ethanol???) The commercial is all about Ford's ethanol and hybrid vehicles, and how "green" Ford Motor Company is - which is great. I am all for alternative fuels and doing what we can to break our dependence on foreign oil. But Bill, do you seriously expect me to believe that Ford is "leading the way" to develop alternatives??? Ford??? The same company that created the marketing plan that began the SUV craze and sold more gas-guzzling Explorers, Expeditions and Excursions in the 90s than Beanie Babies?
You know, I'm not the most environmentally friendly person in the world. I had an Explorer, I loved it. I drove a gas guzzling sports car when I was a teenager, I loved it too. I've had plenty of cars that have not been environmentally-friendly. And I sure used more than my fair share of aerosol hairspray full of chloroflurocarbons in the 80s to have my own corner of the hole in the ozone layer named after me. But I'm not the one standing in my front yard yelling to all the world that I'm leading the way in ending pollution, and the country's dependence on foreign oil!
This comes just months after a bunch of environmental groups publically criticized Ford for renegging on their own pledge made just nine months ago to build 250,000 hybrid-fueled vehicles by 2010. Interesting that this commercial starts airing just as gas prices have started rising again and everybody's talking about it. "While we can't control the price of fuel, we're innovating to reduce the need," Bill tells us. Oh really, Bill? Are you? How exactly does that fit in with the fact that Ford, like GM, has long raked in the bulk of it's North Amercian profits by selling large pickup trucks and SUVs, many of which carry very poor fuel-economy numbers? Or the fact that Ford's product portfolio remains among the worst-performers of the large players in the industry when it comes to average fuel economy? (John D. Stoll, Dow Jones Newswires)
Bill, isn't it just a tad hypocritical of your company - that wastes more oil and has the worst fuel economy numbers of any major American auto maker - to run ads like this?
I hope you're serious about Ford's dedication to be more green. I hope you really are going to make a difference. However, I really wish you'd be more honest about it and have a little more respect for the American public. Do you really think that showing me a commercial with farmers and corn in it that I'm going to believe the load of crap you're trying to get me to buy into? I'd have a lot more respect and a lot more interest in listening to you if you were more honest. Tell us that Ford has had a change of heart, that you recognize this company has been a part of the problem but you're ready to be a part of the solution. Don't put together a slick marketing game-plan and try to tell me it's raining while you piss on my shoes.
You know, I was impressed with you at one point, Mr. Ford. I read the Time magazine article about you back shortly after you became CEO of Ford. I was impressed. I heard what you had said before becoming CEO about your support of the environment. I thought it would be really interesting to see one of the "Big Three" headed by a vegetarian, guitar-strumming black belt in tae kwon do. Turns out maybe you're just another short-sighted auto executive with no real interest in the environment, our oil dependence or - most importantly - the truth.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Two of my favorite things in the world - Dennis Quaid and New Orleans - what could be better?
Meg Ryan is a moron. Seriously - look at that man. How could she have possibly left Dennis Quaid? And for Russell Crowe??? Yuck.
I have been seriously enamored of Dennis since I first saw him in 1987's The Big Easy. I love that movie. J makes fun of me for it all the time. I have the movie on VHS, he got it for me on DVD, and I have the TiVO set to record it everytime it comes on. We just came home from dinner last night to find it on TV being recorded. Which put me in the mood to see it again, so I watched it tonight. (J made me change it last night so he could watch something else.) But he understands that Dennis Quaid is on my "list". Actually, he's probably five out of the ten spots on my "list"!
If you haven't seen it - go rent it. Or come on over - I'm happy to watch with you! It's set in New Orleans, one of my favorite places; it features great cajun music and Aaron Neville, one of my favorite singers; and it stars Dennis Quaid - what's not to love? Also in the movie are Ellen Barkin, John Goodman, and Ned Beatty. Quaid plays a slightly crooked NOPD detective who bumps heads with a high-strung prosecutor new to New Orleans, Ellen Barkin. It features one of the steamiest love scenes I've ever seen. Not graphic, not pornographic - just hot. Just the thought of Quaid asking "This? ...or this?" Sigh.
The movie may seem a little bit clunky, it's twenty years old, remember - it wasn't shot with CGI or anything of the sort. It's got a lot of stereotypes in it and it can be a little predictable - yet it's a steamy, stylish suspenseful movie that hasn't lost a thing in two decades. The zydeco music and the atmosphere of the movie bring New Orleans to life. It makes me yearn for jambalaya and crawfish étouffée, fried oyster po'boys and gumbo; zydeco on a washboard and BIG ASS BEER. Unfortunatley, some of that New Orleans is probably gone for good. Tipitina's and the French Quarter (both featured in the movie) are still around, but many of the other areas highlighted in the movie are gone for good.
The only thing that really bums me out is that there are no extras on the DVD. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If you decide to watch the movie after reading this - drop me a line, let me know what you thought.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Don’t they look proud? They should!
As most of our friends and family already know, Jeremy and Mike (friend and business partner) are now small business owners. It’s been a long hard road with a lot of starts and stops. But, as we all knew it eventually would, it all worked out in the end. I’m very happy for both of them and extremely proud. But also – I’m pretty damned happy for Mary Beth and myself. Now life can get back to some semblance of normality! Everyone is gainfully employed and the guys are back in good spirits. Mostly.
Many people have asked how this all came about, so a little background for those who don’t know and haven’t heard the ongoing saga as it unfolded… About a year and a half ago, Jeremy and Mike decided to buy an auto repair shop. They found one in Overland that was for sale and everything seemed to go very well. Both of them secured their share of the downpayment financing and were ready to move forward. On the very day that they were to sign a contract with the owner, the owner sold to someone else for cash in hand. It was awful. It happened just 45 minutes before I was due at our bank to close on our equity loan. (Side note: the two yahoos that bought it out from under us had already purchased another shop in the area and didn't want the competition. They're already out of business. So there. Assholes.)
And frankly, it just went downhill from there. In the last year and a half we’ve all learned much more than we ever wanted to know about SBA loans, letters of intent, contracts, and all kinds of other such exciting things. Seriously, buying a business makes buying a house look like going to Target for a new pair of socks! The guys looked at several shops in the St. Louis area – from south city to north county to St. Charles, I feel like we’ve looked at every freaking auto repair shop around! We came very close to purchasing another shop last winter. We had a signed contract, we had bank approval for the full purchase amount and we were ready to go. That seller backed out on us as well.
And for a while there, it looked like this deal was going to fall apart. However, the purchase was split up into two separate deals – the purchase of the business and the purchase of the real estate. So the purchase of the real estate will happen later (hopefully not TOO much later), after the Missouri Department of Natural Resources decides they’re satisfied with the contamination level of the ground.
The weekend after they closed we went to work on the shop. The office was pretty dirty – so MB and I spent a lot of time cleaning off the layer of grime that was on everything. We reorganized, we cleaned, we made plans, etc…
A lot of friends and family members showed up to help that first weekend and we really appreciate their well-wishes and all their help. Jay (Jeremy’s dad) bought a light to fix one of his truck lights Saturday morning and was really proud to be their first customer. We framed his two dollars and they’re now hanging on the wall of the office.
The guys have a lot of plans for the shop, fresh paint jobs both inside and out, landscaping, upgrading some of the office equipment, and all kinds of other things. But the important thing now is that they’re in business, they’re busy, and they’re doing very well so far. So if you need a mechanic, don't hesitate to call:
Monday, July 10, 2006
According to Wired magazine, blogging is changing the media world and could... foment a revolution in how journalism functions in our culture. So, yeah. But that's not why I'm starting a blog. It's just because. Because I want to. Because it'll be an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family all over the country - and it's much cooler than an annual Christmas newsletter.
Plus, as you all know, I honestly feel that everyone is entitled to my opinion. But you knew that.
I'm thinking sometimes I'll blog about a specific topic, sometimes I'll just ramble about what's going on in my life, and sometimes I'll rant about something that's really pissing me off (I'll try to keep that at a minimum - but I'm not making any promises).
So I'll start with my weekend, which I had scheduled to the hour and was to be a very productive two days.
Jeremy (my husband) went out of town this weekend. I love my husband - I love him very much. That's why I married him. That's why my wedding was my "Big Fat *bleep*ing Jewish Wedding" - because I love him (some of you will get that, and I'm not explaining it to those that don't). However, after six and a half years together it's nice to spend a little time apart now and again. And I relish my occasional weekend with the house to myself.
As I usually do when I have the house to myself, I had a slew of projects I wanted to accomplish. Shockingly enough, Jeremy's not ever interested in spending a weekend reorganizing the house, redecorating, deep cleaning or anything along those lines. So I was up bright and early Saturday morning with my list of errands and projects:
Clear out shelving unit in back office and get rid of shelving unit. Check. Relocated linens to empty dresser downstairs. Check. Get rid of Jeremy's old armoire from bedroom. Check. Vacuum yucky carpet under the two discarded pieces of furniture. Check. Okay - now we're really rolling - time to leave the house. Pick up bridesmaid's dress. Check. Pick up new litter matt. Check. Hit Target and shop for a vanity table to put in the spot vacated by the old armoire. Check. Holy crap - $200 for a stupid desk-thingy with almost no storage and a stupid-looking matching stool??? I think not. I can do better than that. Buy closet organization components to create a vanity for myself (it'll be more work, but I'll save a ton of money and it'll be exactly what I want). Check. Buy cute new shoes. Okay - that one wasn't really on my list, they were on sale and it's virtually impossible for me to not buy new shoes when in any retail environment. Grab some fast food lunch and head home to eat and get back to work. Check.
So by the time I get home it's early afternoon and I haven't yet run out of steam, but I'm glad to be done with the errand-running portion of my day. Now I can take a quick break to eat lunch and get to work putting together my custom-designed vanity. After lunch (have you tried the new Snack Wrap at McDonald's? Not bad...), I was ready to get back to work:
Clean newly discovered cat pee soaked carpet under the old litter mat. No check. Change of plan - cut out newly discovered cat pee soaked carpet under the old litter mat. Check. (We're getting new carpet in there anyway and it was beyond help.) Put new (nonabsorbant) litter mat over cut out carpet and replace litter box. Check. Try on cute new shoes and walk around house in said shoes practicing my runway walk/sashay. Check. Lug all three boxes of assembly-required furniture into bedroom. Check. Empty boxes of all the pieces and organize the hardware in large pan. Check. Prepare to build, gather necessary tools. Check. Wait a minute, uncheck that. Where's my drill? I know it was right here. The drill that I bought last time Jeremy went out of town and I bought an assembly-required new dresser because I can never find Jeremy's tools. Where is it? I'll call Jeremy - he might know where it is...
"Hi, babe - sorry to interrupt you guys, but do you know where my drill is? The one I bought to put together the dresser last time you went to the farm?"
"Uh... yeah. I have it. I brought it here with me."
"You still there?"
"Jeremy, that's my drill. The whole reason I bought that drill was because I can't ever find your crap and I wanted one of my own so I'd always know where it was."
"I'm sorry - I couldn't find mine. I didn't know you were going to need it. I have all the other tools too."
I was pissed. I mean, really pissed - here I was on a roll, getting things accomplished, on schedule, everything's going perfectly and now I have no tools. Couldn't even find a single screwdriver or hammer in the house. Grrrr. However, Jeremy did then tell me that they were doing battle with big red wasps at the farm and he'd been chased, attacked and stung twice. One sting was on top of his right ear. he said he looked like Mr. Potato Head with one big ear and one tiny ear. It was very swollen and very painful. I felt better then.
So off to the hardware store, gotta buy a new drill. Bought a new cordless drill (cheap one) and a can of very obnoxious pink spraypaint that adheres to plastic. It will be clear from now on which tools are mine and which ones are not. Headed home.
So now I'm ready to put my furniture together. Took the new drill out of the package and... ARGH!!! You have to charge the stupid battery pack for five to seven hours before you use it for the first time. Now I remember - that's why I bought a corded drill last time. I am NOT going back to hardware store again. I searched the house again and found Jeremy's Leatherman - it has both phillips-head and flat-head screwdriver attachments. So I used those two attachments to put together my entire custom-designed vanity manually. Which took about two hours longer than it would have with a drill - no, with my drill that was at the farm. Sigh. I wasn't able to completely finish my vanity, and it took longer than I'd scheduled - so by this point it was 9:30.
So there I stand, hands on hips, my weekend, my schedule and my bedroom in shambles. Clearly it was time for a new checklist.
Vodka. Check. Olive juice. Three olives, handstuffed with blue cheese. Check. Ahhhh - now it's all better.
Also - I made a new discovery this weekend that I'll share with you all. Go-Go Chocolate Martini in a box - found them at Schnuck's. I love martinis and I prefer a dirty vodka martini, straight up with extra olives. But chocolate martinis in a box? Had to try it. Not bad. My own espresso martinis are better, but this really wasn't bad for a premixed drink in a box. I'll have 'em again. They come in three other varieties of Martini and there's also a margarita one too. Probably others, but I stopped when I found the chocolate one!
And finally - Jeremy showed me the pictures they took of him after he was attacked by the killer wasps. He was right, he did look like Mr. Potato Head. (Notice how much bigger his right ear is than the left one!)