"Two Swedes expecting the golden beaches of the Italian island of Capri got a shock when tourist officials told them they were 650 km (400 miles) off course in the northern town of Carpi, after mistyping the name in their GPS."
Recently while in LA, and trying to go to the shops at The Grove, with directions provided by my iPhone maps, I ended up taking us to The Grove apartments. But that was like four blocks, not 400 miles off course.
Vindication! What a kick! :)
July 30, 2009
"Two Swedes expecting the golden beaches of the Italian island of Capri got a shock when tourist officials told them they were 650 km (400 miles) off course in the northern town of Carpi, after mistyping the name in their GPS."
July 29, 2009
NMSU football team picked eighth in preseason coaches poll
The proud football tradition continues....*sigh*
The Whig political party, the stuff of history books, has made a resurgence.
Whigs Revived; Gov. Goes Back to School
A couple days ago, I mentioned that part of my daily work is to manage a helpdesk team. They are a great, hardworking team of ten.
Sometimes, I'm not sure how they do what they do. Especially since most all of these folks are contract employees. They work that hard and they aren't even getting all of the benefits of being employed by the company.
This morning, I'm sitting in my office working on mid-year performance reviews for my other six full time (not contract) employees. I'm trying to find a "business" way to write "he's a great worker when he bothers to show up to work on time."
I'm fiddling, I'm delaying, I'm reading updates on Twitter instead of actually working.
All the while, I can hear my best contract employee, who has the honor of having her cube located just outside my office door, on the phone with our end users.
In the time it took me to check the current stock market performance (down a skosh this morning), she has answered three calls.
One from an outside supplier wanting to do business with the company. "I'm sorry sir, I'm just a call agent, but I can pass on your message. No, I can't give you their phone number. Because I'm not authorized, I'm very sorry. Yes, I understand. I will gladly pass on your message and they'll call you if there is a fit. I understand. I understand. I understand. But that's unfortunately all I can do. Yes. I understand. Ok, thank you."
Another call from a supplier wanting to get paid, "I show your invoice was received on Monday. It's set up to pay Friday. Yes, ok, unh huh. It looks like it was stuck in approvals. Sure, I get that. I can see what I can do to expedite, but I know for sure the check will run Friday. Ok, yes, I'll see if we can overnight the check."
And then a call from an inside end user who can't use our *very* simple online purchasing system. So she walked them through step-by-step, "Do you see the box with the little magnifying glass? Click that, then scroll down to the fifth one down, yes, that's it, click that, then click ok. See the next box that says 'description'? Ok, click there, then type in what you want to buy. Well, what is it you need? Ok, so let's see, type in widget, blue, two and a half inches. Did you do that? Then click ok."
Meanwhile, between calls, she's answering email, typing in tickets for the calls she's just taken, and giving relationship advice to the guy who shares her cube.
This woman is a force of nature.
This is just a small sample of her days, and this is a "quiet" day!
As I listened to her working so hard while I idled the morning hours, I started to feel bad. I realized...I can't do what she does. Well, I could, I just don't want to.
I'm pretty glad I get to sit here in my office being managerial and probably overpaid, searching the thesaurus to find new ways to say "efficient" and "process".
I feel grateful that my parents were able to send me to college, because, really, it's my MBA that has me sitting in the office with the door and not the open-air cube shared with another employee.
I think about that amazing lady out there, the force of nature, who is age 24 trying to go to school at night and holding down this contract job and taking care of her mom and grieving her recently deceased grandmother and being the leader for the team and training our end users and generally doing it all while looking good and being pretty gall damn calm.
I think about how it's unfair, how hard she works and how I have to be honest and admit I don't work as hard as she does every day. I do have days where I work that hard, but not as consistently.
Then I laughed. Because then I remembered a recent conversation I had with this force of nature woman. She was in my office and I was grilling her for information. I was working on a major presentation to our senior leadership team.
I was spending *hours* on a PowerPoint deck of slides, tweaking bullet points, fiddling with fonts, jimmying the graphics.
She looked at my computer monitor, shook her head, sighed, and said, "I'm so glad I don't have to mess with things like that."
I think she's pretty grateful she doesn't have to do my job, either.
Perhaps the grass isn't always greener.
July 28, 2009
I'm not crazy about the entire campaign, narrated by Tom Selleck, but I have to say, I adore this ad.
Mainly because the lead actor is *selling* it the whole way.
I catch myself chanting "oh those boys are much too much..."
*With all due homage to the Steve Martin classic. "He gave his life for tourism."
This past weekend, while my best girlfriend was in town, the three of us (The Good Man, The Friend, and me) went over to San Francisco's De Young museum to see the King Tut exhibition.
This marked a 30-year anniversary for the De Young, as they also showed King Tut artifacts back in 1979. I remember the hubbub about Tut back in the day (and listened to the Steve Martin song on the album owned by my big brother).
Of course, the Tut traveling show never made it anywhere near New Mexico, so I was pretty psyched to see it this go 'round.
In short, it was amazing. I would love you show you photographs, a drawing, a pencil sketch, my notes or ANYTHING from that visit, but all of that is prohibited. *sigh*
After the exhibit, the three of us headed over to the historic Japanese Tea Garden located next door to the De Young, and while sipping tea in quiet surroundings, we talked about the Tut exhibit and our impressions.
Here's where my train of thought was headed.....
Ok, so this whole funerary thing...they create these surroundings to make it nice for the person in the afterlife. There are chairs and other furniture, cosmetics, hair care items (gotta look good), and clothing. Favored toys, games, and pets also included.
Basically, all the stuff the deceased liked so they would have a happy, restful afterlife.
And so, with this in mind, I determined my tomb would be, on the inner sanctum, a replica of the red couch, with a fine yet tubby statute of my Feline at my side, or rather, on my legs.
And cheesy poofs. Lots and lots of cheesy poofs (I'm thinking they can use carnelian to properly capture the vibrant orange cheesiness).
My friend pointed out that we had to work out my regal name. As the Egyptian royalty ascended to leadership, their name was changed.
As we learned in the exhibit, the naming convention is something like:
A personal identifier + a word like "life" or "peace" or whatever + name of your preferred god
Tut + Ankh (means "life") + Amun (the diety)
And so my name would have to be something like:
Ka + Ankh + Cheesy Poof (cuz I revere the Cheeto)
And yet, we also realized that sometimes, on the cartouche, the name is actually represented in the other direction.
Thus making my name
Now we're cooking.
Also, in the funerary tomb, there are these little figurines placed about. They are called shabti, and their whole gig is to be the servants for the deceased in the afterlife. So, like, if there is manual labor to be done, the shabti have to step up.
Well, I thought on it, and then was all like, "you know, I think my shabti should be all my bad bosses through the years....put those b*stards to work for ME!"
Like opening fresh bags of cheesy poofs and going on beer runs. Stuff like that.
The Good Man and The Friend were *way* in favor of this idea.
However, the more I thought on it, the more I realized I don't really want all of those bad bosses to hang out with me for all eternity. The good bosses (there have been plenty) are welcome, but why would I want the yuck around? We want a happy afterlife.
So what I need instead is a jar like this one (that we saw at the exhibit).
See, the tiger on top represents Tut...so on mine it would be...uh...a sloth. Anyhow, so there the sloth lays, all smug looking, and then at the bottom would be carved heads of my former
oppressors managers (see the photo, heads of Tut's enemies are found at the foot of the jar).
Instead, my shabti can just be really cool but hardworking people who, like, want to shag glasses of lemonade and make guacamole and are willing to get up a game of softball every now and again.
Ok, so we've got a good start on this whole afterlife plan....
Now I need to find someone to begin carving images of me. I need to be depicted throughout the years. I'm thinking all this carving and painting and gilding might take a while.
That's ok, I can wait. Also, I'd like them not to take my brain out through my nose if we can at all avoid it, mmmkay?
July 27, 2009
...who wandered away from home, and might be a little bit lost?
This weekend my best friend arrived, and it couldn't have happened at a better time.
Lately, I've been, yes, a little bit lost. Been thrown off my center of gravity and unable to get myself back right.
The Good Man has been a champ in propping me up, rubbing my shoulders, sending me back out there for the fight.
I keep swinging. And keep getting knocked down.
Then that great gal I described last week, the one who has been in my court for twenty plus years shows up...back up troops, you might say.
And from her roller bag, she pulls out some completely unexpected presents for my belated birthday.
In the presents, she had this (pardon the iPhone photo fuzziness):
That gift was the idea of my two goddaughters (her kids).
"Open it, friend," she said, "and take a whiff."
At first I thought it was some sort of unknown-to-me spice. But I was wrong.
I opened. I inhaled.
Inside that little canning jar, hauled on a plane all the way from New Mexico, was a little sprig of creosote.
"Smells like rain," she said. She was right.
"Smells like home," I said, and had to blink really fast so I didn't dissolve into a huge puddle right there on the red couch.
July 23, 2009
As one part of the work I do, I have the honor of managing a group of ten people who run a help desk. They do phone and email support for people both inside and outside the company.
If you've ever worked a help desk, or known someone who has, you know that it's really not a very rewarding job.
And to do it well is a major feat.
The team I work with was so well put together by my predecessor that I could sometimes weep at how lucky I am to step into a help desk team that hums.
Sadly, most of the people who work the help desk are contractors, and sort of viewed as the "lowest form of life" around here. People treat my team like their personal admins. Like they are dumb. And often worse.
But these folks endure, provide great support, and I'm proud to heck to be affiliated with them.
When I arrived, once they sniffed me out and decided I was ok, they gave me a hoodie sweatshirt that had our team's name and logo embroidered into it. The median age of the helpdesk is like 25 years old, so the hoodies make them happy.
The one they gave me is like three sizes too big and makes me look like the unibomber. So of course I rather enjoy wearing it over my work clothes on these cold San Francisco summer days. It's toasty, and plus I like identifying as part of my team.
This afternoon, wearing my hoodie, I went down to the first floor for a fro-yo break. While I was waiting for the elevators, I found myself standing with a group of executives from the European company that just acquired my own.
Four men, all in *very* sharp suits, middle aged, Caucasian, rich.
They looked me over, saw my sweatshirt, and gave me that warm-eyed condescending smile you give your grandmother when she tells you to have another slice of her over-salted, undercooked apple pie.
So at first I got a little ticked. I was thinking, "I should tell those rich fat bastards that I'm a senior manager and they shouldn't be so quick to judge! I bet those d'bags don't do any real work! My team works their collective ass off and you sit up there on the twentieth floor deciding who gets to keep their job and who doesn't, while you cash your bonus check and drink Cristal out of your Mercedes!"
In other words, as they were judging me, I was judging them right back. Judging them from the top of their perfectly coiffed heads, right down to the cuff of their perfectly creased dark blue pinstripe suit pants. Yup.
They may have been looking down at me, but I was looking down at them right back. And we were all wrong in our assessments.
That knife pleat cuts both ways, now doesn't it?
July 22, 2009
"The green chile harvest should begin in earnest in the next two to three weeks, said Stephanie Walker, extension vegetable specialist at New Mexico State University."
"As long as the weather keeps cooperating, we're going to have an excellent, excellent crop."
: Cue the wavy lines : Today we're headed down memory lane.
The year was 1988. Hmm...I believe we're talking Fall semester of school? My memory is often weak. If so, then the month would have been August, or maybe September.
It was warm, I remember that. Then again, it's always warm in Las Cruces.
I was a student at New Mexico State University. Enrolled in the College of Business.
I was also a member of a social sorority. Yes, now it can be told. Me, I was a sorority girl. Though it didn't mean what you think of when you think of that stereotype.
NMSU is a different sort of college and the group I belonged to wasn't your typical sort of sorority. But yes, it can't be denied. I'm a sorority girl. My husband never thought he'd end up with a sorority girl. I never thought I'd end up with an ROTC guy. Things change...
I had only joined the group just the semester before. It was all pretty new to me. But summer was ending and it was time to engage in "rush", that every semester ritual whereby you try to convince new people to join (new members, the lifeblood of any organization).
We had to practice for days. Learning songs, doing skits, working on conversation skills, coming up with party theme ideas. Figuring out how to be little drone salespeople, I realize now, in my later years.
So we'd line up, white Keds sparkling in the New Mexico sunshine, shorts perfectly creased, hair teased impossibly high. We were a'twitter with anticipation about meeting the new young ladies who would come to our house to learn about us, and our particular sorority.
They would gather on the front walk and we'd run out, do some awkward singing on the lawn, then select one of the girls, cut her from the herd and bring her inside.
From there, we'd engage in some banal conversation for about ten minutes. Then with the subtle cue, we'd "switch partners" and go on to the next girl, engage is similar inane conversation, and on and on. So it went.
At the end of the day, we'd compare notes and decide who we wanted to invite back the next day.
So on that fateful day back in 1988, the theme of the party was somehow something Jamaican. We'd adapted the words to Bob Marley's "One Love" to fit in things about our sorority (a travesty, if there ever was one).
For reasons I can't explain, yards and yards of camouflage netting had been hung from the ceilings in the house...to really bring in that tropical feel?
Being the well-behaved drone, I lined up, I ran outside, I sang, I selected, and dragged this poor young lady into the house.
Her name was Kathleen.
She was extraordinarily tall, dark hair, face full of charming freckles, and the brightest blue eyes in the world.
At six feet all, she had to spend the day ducked under that low hanging camo net, but was a good sport about it. She was a little shy, but we hit it off. We saw the world in a similar way, and I really thought she was cool. Her mom had been a member of the same sorority, what they call "a legacy," so she was pretty odds on to make the cut.
Ten minutes passed fast, and I moved on, reluctantly. Later, in the voting round, I gave her a big thumbs up, as did all the others.
She soon joined, became "a pledge" and I got to know her more. We became distant friends, she ran pretty thick with the girl who was my roommate. They did everything together. But we were friends and always got along.
The story goes on at some length from here. Too much to tell, really.
I'll fast forward a bit. A couple years later, some adversity hit Kathleen's life. Hard. Big. Overwhelming. In a bid to deal with a pending breakdown, she did some stuff that made sense in the mind of youth. Some crazy sh*t that seemed like a big deal at the time, but in my now grown up eyes, looks incredibly not even noteworthy.
Because of all of that, she lost a lot of friends back then. People with small minds who didn't want to understand. People who maybe weren't really friends to begin with.
But through all that, she didn't lose me.
In fact, that adversity she struggled through moved us from being pretty good friends to rock solid life-long best friends. 99.999% of the fun I've had up until I met The Good Man is directly attributable to her. Pretty much every wayback machine moment I have written about on this site, she was either there or more likely was the catalyst.
A lot has gone on in the twenty-plus years since. We both graduated, grew up, became actual adults, all against our will.
Tomorrow evening, I have the honor of driving to the airport to pick up my best good friend of now some unbelievable twenty years. She will be here for a weekend that likely will move way too fast.
Attached is a very small photo (sorry about the size, I don't have the original handy) of my best friend and me on my wedding day. I wouldn't have anyone else at my side. She's just said something that has cracked. me. up.
You don't laugh that hard with someone who you kind of feel fond about...you laugh that hard with someone who is family.
I love that girl. I can hardly wait to see her!
P.S. Not to be all selfish, but to have both my best girlfriend and The Good Man together this weekend, two people who are always in my court, it's kind of all about me, and...well, hell, it's *good* to be me!
July 21, 2009
I ranted recently that people who would eliminate a resume from consideration due to one typo were maybe a bit too harsh.
Was just going over my own resume....yeah, the one I recently sent out.
You guessed it.
Ah well. Live by the misspelled word, die by the misspelled word.
And the f$%^ing New York Post can't help themselves.
"ESPN HOTTIE ERIN ANDREWS IN PEEP SHOCKER" screams the headline (I won't link to that trash).
Gasps of shock that this could happen run through the story.
That rag posts screen grabs from the video with a "modesty" black bar across her parts.
The video taken of her is both illegal and vastly offensive.
And in reporting the offense, one shouldn't also include the video, links to the video or screen grabs.
The media is just perpetrating that what happened to her is ok. Spying via the peep hole in her hotel room door is ok, right? She's just a woman, after all, and a really good looking one, too. Oh, and she's in the public eye, so getting video of her naked is a-ok, right?
Oh, she can't just be good at her job, nope, she's gotta be a "hottie" too.
And that the media is taking this with a behind the hand ho-ho-ho takes me from miffed to furious.
The Baltimore Sun got it a bit more respectful (but still smirky with the air-finger quotes), so I'll link to this article for reference:
ESPN: Erin Andrews 'grievously wronged' by video
Edit: Story is emerging. Good opinion piece here. Thanks to NewMexiKen for the link.
July 20, 2009
"Hey Karen, what are you going to do this weekend?"
True conversation held last Friday.
The last two and a half months have been nothing short of a rat race. Every weekend something was brewing.
Every. Weekend. Since May.
Most of the stuff was good. Traveling, dinner with friends and family, visiting newly born godbabies, etc.
Also, both The Good Man and I celebrated birthdays over that time span.
There was also some crap stuff, like moving out of our place for termite tenting.
Every weekend was a blur, non-stop, arriving back at work Monday more tired then when I'd left the previous Friday.
I'm a Taurus, and by nature, a bit of an at-home kind of girl. Bonding with the red couch is my sort of speed.
My Gemini love is more of a "let's GOOOOO" sort of fellow.
So for us, it is about striking a balance.
Combine my natural tendency to lay about with a couple months of mistreatment at the hands of my employers, and you have Little
Johnny Karen on the verge of something not pretty.
All work and no play makes Karen a very, very cranky girl.
And so, for the past two and a half months I have been plotting and planning a weekend that included zero plans with anyone other than me, the husband and the feline.
I had targeted this past weekend for some time and was a little bit cranky in defending it. We had no less than FOUR invitations to do something this weekend. All of which, we turned down.
Sure, that may make me a bad friend, but I have my sanity to consider.
So finally, the delicious weekend of July 18th arrived, and good for my word, I did nothing.
Ok, to be fair, I did a few things. Laundry. Landlord came to make some needed repairs. Ran a few errands.
But I also took a *nap* on both Saturday and Sunday. Oh delicious mouth watering naps.
I also made dinner for me and the cutest boy on Saturday night. Took the time and made a genuine homemade dinner! Imgaine that!
You know what else? I *read* a book. My god, it's like vacation porn. I actually sat on my tush and READ A BOOK. Ay god. Makes me drool just remembering.
So as it will, Monday has returned to my life, but so far so good. I feel a bit rested, calmer, ready to take on the slings and arrows that will inevitably land my way.
Next weekend, it all begins again. Rev up the big machine and start running. Won't see another break until September...*sigh*
My new motto: Do nothing. And do it *really* well!
P.S. and all those old fashioned "you must get up early and work hard!" because you think it makes you moral-and-just type of folks. To you, I say BAH!
P.P.S. And BAH! again!
July 17, 2009
Some webfame for our Fair New Mexico.
From the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks
I've never been prouder to be a New Mexican.
Gotta love Grants.
I'm going to take a divergence from my usual frivolity and irreverence here on this blog.
Yup, a departure. I'm instead going to sink below all that and slip right over into immature and really, a bit petty.
But I'll redeem myself by the end. I promise.
Watch me work.
So, last evening I was out and about. I had drinks with a former coworker. A lady who is a friend, a mentor, and someone I respect deeply. It was great to catch up, laugh a little, and have fun.
Later, after we'd parted ways, I wandered over to the ol' stompin' grounds located near my former employer. I was looking for a friend I knew would probably be there, having a drink. I was surprised to find not just my buddy, but also a whole group of my former crew from The Company.
These are the folks I worked with, side by side, walking through fire, hand-to-hand combat, and together we had major, major success.
These are some of the best folks, and it was great to see them!
Among those present was a gentleman (using that term loosely) that I worked with pretty closely back in the day. This was quite a few years ago, well before The Good Man.
For the sake of anonymity, let's call him...Sporto.
Back then, I sorta had a little crush on the guy. Yes, I'll admit it, I liked ol' Sporto a lot and might have chased him a little bit. I think he might have liked me a little too, but just a little. He actually liked it better when I was chasing him around.
So of course, I never got any traction there, and eventually gave up.
So last night, there Sporto was, and seemed really happy to see me. He gave me a big hug, a "how *are* you?" and that ol' charming smile...the one like a ferret about to devour the alligator egg.
After hugs all around the group, we all got a drink and settled around a table. We quickly fell back into our old ways, teasing each other mercilessly and laughing a lot.
At one point, I said to the group something like, "yeah, my husband told me blah blah blah."
What I said doesn't matter.
What *does* matter is that when I said the phrase "my husband", ol' Sporto's ears perked up, and he gave me a look like someone had shot his dog.
He caught my eye across the table and mouthed, "You got married?"
I nodded eagerly and held up my ring hand.
And I grinned a Cheshire smile.
Later he caught me aside, "uh...when did you get married? I mean, last time I saw you...you were...."
He left that space empty to imply, "last time I saw you, you were into ME"
I laughed and said, "Yeah, I got married about a year ago, he's great, we're having a lot of fun."
And here's where I got petty.
I then said to him, concerned hand on his shoulder, "Why do you look so sad?"
He mumbled, "I don't know.....I guess.....just another good one off the market."
What I *should* have replied was "YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE, DILLWEED!!"
Here's where I redeem myself.
What I did reply was, "thanks for saying that..."
He then shuffled off, shot-dog look and shoulder slumped, over to the bar, and ordered another beer.
I went back to my friends and picked up where we left off.
I also *might* have engaged in a small, yet subtle vindication dance.
July 15, 2009
It's ok. Unclench. You might like it.
"A telephone survey of 100 senior Canadian executives showed that more than a fifth of executives said a single typo on a resume or cover letter could cost a potential employee a job, while 28 percent said two mistakes would kill their chances."
Wow, really? I'm a hiring manager. I went through a two year period where I was constantly hiring. I've probably looked at over a thousand resumes. All were done to greater and lesser degree. Yes, some were so sloppy it wasn't worth taking a look, but a minor error here or there, especially if it's a common typo, teh for the, for instance, is certainly acceptable.
I agree that job seekers need to put a best foot forward all of the time. I agree with polishing the resume, having someone else read it, making it clean and crisp. This is your sales pitch and you need to get it right.
But for me and for the hiring managers I know, one typo doesn't kill anyone's chances. Unless this is a job for the typing pool where accuracy matters, it's more about the qualities of the person, not their keyboarding skills. I think if that's the view the company takes of minor human error, then who would want to work there anyway?
July 14, 2009
I have turned my minions into zombies! Zombies, I tell you!
I have shared with the minions my little addiction, and they have succumbed as have I, their mighty leader!
See, while on road trip over the Fourth of July, in some forgotten town off of Highway 5, with snackies on my mind, I picked up two packs of these little beauties:
I took them and squirreled them into our car and I ATE them. Oh yes I did. Every one of them. I didn't even offer one to The Good Man. I just ate 'em and ate 'em until they were gone.
Like that first hit off a crack pipe, I was done. I succumbed. First taste is free....then you're gonna pay.
While devouring these nutty little heroin balls, I saw that the Pnuttles people had a website where they vend their product. Then, I thought...maybe I can save a couple bucks by ordering from Amazon.
To Amazon I went and YES! there they were. Only...it's more complicated. I found the butter toffee almonds....but with *cinnamon* added. I didn't even look at price, I one-click ordered those bad boys so fast your head would swim!
Last evening I arrived home from a difficult day at work to find that my precious had been delivered to the front door step. Yes!
I tore into the box like a wild animal to discover that I had purchased not one but TWO jars of my addiction. WHAT!?!?
Turns out I ordered 1 each of a two pack. Good lord.
The Husbandnator looked in askance (remember, at this point he was not yet a Pnuttles zombie), "we can't eat all of those" he told me.
I shrank back, protecting my precious. But then cooler heads prevailed, and I realized he's right.
"I'll take one to work," I replied.
That seemed reasonable, we agreed, then cracked open the jar we were keeping.
Husband took a few bites and declared "EVIL!"
We sat on the couch, feeding our addiction, watching who cares what on the television. Didn't matter, only the constant crunch crunch of not-too-sweet delicious toffee almonds.
Today, I brought the other jar to work. I posted a note, "These are very addictive. Enjoy!"
That was twenty minutes ago and there is now a line of zombie minions coming to my door exclaiming "these are sooooo goooood"
My Pnuttles army of zombies increases. We are unstoppable! (except for when the jar runs out and we all flop over in sugar coma)
Here's where you too can succumb and become a member:
July 13, 2009
From the "this is a surprise to no one" files:
Cats Control Humans, Study Finds
July 12, 2009
Yes! For once, science backs my play....
Swearing Makes Pain More Tolerable
I think I always knew this on some level, despite the naysayers who simply think I have a potty mouth. No, I was enacting highly sophisticated mechanisms in this ol' human rig to help me deal.
Pardon me whilst I engage in a vindication dance.
: shake shake bootay :
July 10, 2009
Earlier today, in a meeting at work, one of my teammates was given a gift from our clients. It was a really nifty wool stadium blanket.
Another lady asked to look at it, and when it landed in her hands, she brought it to her nose and took a good deep smell.
Just writing that...I know you know that smell, right? Nothing else smells like wool.
I smiled, because I was across the table and I knew exactly what she was smelling. I thought to myself about my own memories of the smell of wool.
Usually winter, outside, snowy day in Albuquerque (the only time it would be cold enough to wear a wool sweater). That perfect storm of smells combined, wool, a snowy day, a bit of sweat and the dirt on my mittens (that got there from making a snowball to lob, offline, at my brother).
So then this got me thinking about the deep associations made from odors, both good and bad.
But I was thinking about good...about the smells I deeply love.
The first that immediately came to mind was leather. I mean, unless you are a PETA advocate, who doesn't love the smell of good leather?
Just that smell can dredge up lots of happy memories.
Like...the combined smell of leather and saddle soap you get upon opening the door to a tack room. Especially when I was taking riding classes at NMSU, because that tack room had rows and rows of saddles, all smelling nice.
Or...back when we first started dating, The Good Man had this black hard-leather jacket. It's now too big for him and I think he recently gave it away, but I can easily remember that smell. Hugging him really tight, sinking my face into the shoulder of that jacket and inhaling deeply, tattooing the scent of cute boy and leather deeply into every single cell of my being.
Or, or....how about the smell of a new baseball glove? So many kids will get a new glove and spend lots of time with that thing firmly over the face inhaling. Nothing like that smell.
But I seem to be stuck on leather...
What's another good smell?
Oh, I know! So...up and down the peninsula here, they have tons of Eucalyptus trees. Early in the morning or very late at night (depending on what side of the nightclub you're on), when you get the heavy damp fog, it makes those trees let go that very distinctive scent.
The moist, cool damp and Eucalyptus smell... when I travel somewhere else, and then come home, I always latch on to that smell first. It's SO the Bay Area. Easily identifiable by anyone who has ever lived here.
Here's an easy one for all the New Mexico folks...the smell of chiles roasting. Utterly identifiable...for miles. So reminiscent of home.
Summer rain on hot pavement. God I love that smell!
Sheets washed with Downy and dried on the clothesline. Haven't done it in years, so who knows if it smells good anymore? Doesn’t matter, in my memories, it's always fantastic. I think it helped being in NM because stuff dried really fast and didn't pick up too much environmental yuck.
Home baked cinnamon rolls served on Christmas morning.
The soap and water smell of my husband just after he emerges from the shower. So delicious! (ok, that's two about The Good Man, sorry!)
This is kind of funny, but how about the first time you noticed the distinctive smell of money? For me, it was after getting paid allowance for the first time with the kind of money that folded, not jingled. That dollar bill smelled like potential to me.
Aw, heck, I suppose I could go on all night this way.
I'm sure there's some scientist who would explain how odors can make such vivid memories (like here), but I don't need to know the science.
Right now, I'm sitting on the couch, watching a baseball game...thinking of how the yard smells on a nice July night like this. Garlic fries, hot dogs and marine layer.
Thanks to Jim Baca for the link to:
Put together by former reporter Tracy Dingmann and former Albuquerque Journal reporter and editorial page writer Denise Tessier to take a closer look at the shenanigans over at New Mexico's only paper.
I'd say this blog is much necessary and long overdue.
July 9, 2009
Interesting blog post about fast food that looks gross, even in the shiny happy ad campaign.
Pretty good top five list. I agree with most.
However my vote goes to ANYTHING Carl's Jr. makes. That #$%^ makes me nauseous just thinking about it.
As a writer, I'm always interested to see, year to year, which words end up getting added to the dictionary.
Usually they are popular words that bee-bop around the lexicon and eventually get legitimized.
Generally, once the word is added to Merriam-Webster, the trend is so over...
Anyhow, here's a sampling of new words recently added:
Staycation (my *god* I loathe this word...and I'm a lover of words!)
Frenemy (pretty much hate this one too)
Locavore ( : sound of head pounding on desk : )
And a new definition for sock puppet (whatever)
I'm sure that words like tweeple, facebrag and running latte are soon to follow.
Is it a bad sign that Urban Dictionary has become a legitimate reference tool?
July 8, 2009
I blame NewMexiKen and his recent blogging about citizenship tests. I pondered on it a bit in this post too, but lately, I've been thinking a bit about being an American and, yes, in my post-Fourth of July haze...about being patriotic.
I still get a proud chill when the Blue Angels fly low overhead. I put my hand over my heart when they play the Star Spangled. I can recite the Pledge of Allegiance with practiced ease.
Patriotism sort of became a bad word during the previous administration, where aspersions were cast left and right about who was and was not patriotic. That made me grit my teeth.
So ok, I don't wear it on my sleeve, but sure, I am patriotic. I own it.
When I read this article in today's Las Cruces Sun News, I have to admit, I got a little lump in the throat proud.
A small piece, really. Just a short bit about a local boy scout troop doing a proper ceremony to dispose of soiled flags.
I don't really know all the rules about flying the flag, but I know enough. I get testy when I see a flag flying in the rain. Or unlit in the dark. Or when it's been whipped to shreds but still flies.
I don't really do anything wacky about it, like the guy who tore down the Mexican flag on the UNM campus when he noticed a violation of flag protocol.
But I notice stuff and it bugs me.
It was an interesting read at the VFW site about the main code for flying a flag. I learned a little there.
Also interested to see the link to this site, a company that provides proper disposal of a flag for a fee.
Mainly, getting back to the event held in Las Cruces, I was just happy to see a new generation of kids is learning respect and both the proper way to fly, and when the time comes, dispose of, Old Glory.
Photo recycled from this blog...taken at Fort Stanton, NM
July 7, 2009
Much this week about bringing idols from my childhood to a demise.
No, not what you're thinking. I'm not talking about that *event* held today in LA, which shall go unnamed on this blog as I don't need to lend anymore kerfuffle to the well built pile already laying around.
No, I have something else on my mind.
Namely....how come drinking and driving makes your hair all jacked up?
Couple arrests this week.
First Joyce DeWitt, former hottie from Three's Company:
And now, the guy who played Carmine "The Big Ragoo" on Laverne & Shirley.
I seem to recall he used to be pretty hot. I might have had a little "thing" for him, in the day.
And now? Yeeeow!
I need to go now and spend some time tending to my broken childhood dreams.
Images and story courtesy of TMZ.
July 6, 2009
"I thought 'Am I going to die?' But it was just like any other flu really."
Actor Rupert Grint on recovering from Swine Flu.
How come THIS angle doesn't get all the media coverage?
I have doubts.
From my company's cafeteria menu for Monday:
(and there is no green chile in that....HA-rumph!)
Man. Can't believe we're already into July. Of 2009. Wow.
Been a little quiet here on the blog-o-rama since I was out and about all weekend.
Big fun. Well worth it!
Sure, I thought I could never top last year's holiday celebration, featuring the viewing of fireworks from a Cessna aeroplane.
But this year went ahead and topped it.
There were fireworks, but not like you think.
This year, The Good Man and I loaded up the car and went on a road trip.
Reason? My amazing, world-class talented cousin wrote and produced a musical and chose this weekend for a family and friends weekend show.
Now, I had read an early version of the script, so I knew what to expect, but this show blew well past even my own expectations!
It was an amazing night, all around.
So there we were in West Hollywood...my cousin was wise and prescient enough to get us a limo (easy to corral a lot of family that way!).
We all got ourselves dolled up for the show and loaded up. Off we went, cruising the streets of Los Angeles.
So yeah, you know, on the Fourth, I got to emerge from a limo, in LA, on my way to this fabulous new show...
Cuz I roll like that.
Yes, I was able to keep my skirt down as I emerged. Yes, I was also wearing chones. I also roll like that.
No one needs to know that really, rather than "emerge" from the limo, my high heeled foot slipped off the step rail, thus whacking the side of my foot on the way down and causing me to actually tumble out of the limo.
But in my memory, when I retell the story, I emerged gracefully, like an elegant movie star from a bygone era.
It was just all around, an amazing weekend that went by way WAY too fast. I got to be with my cousin, one of my most favorite people in the whole world. I got to be with family, I got to see a killer show, I got to hit a couple Hollywood hot spots, and I got to have another amazing memory to make with my fabulous husband.
I can't ask for anything better than all that!
And now, here we are at Monday.
This morning, there is a line for the auto-espresso maker.
The light of day in the real world is always a bit of a let down, now in'nit?
July 1, 2009
After scoring a just barely passing score on the citizenship quiz over at NewMexiKen, I was starting to maybe feel a little, well, un-American.
But then on the drive home, I got to thinking a bit. And something came across the radio that changed my mind.
It was the pre-game show for the San Francisco Giants at the St Louis Cardinals.
As you know, before each baseball game, it's mandatory to play the national anthem. On this first of July night, in that fine midwestern town, the Star Spangled was performed by some children from a local elementary school.
And as those kids honked and wheezed their way through our nation's anthem, the kid on cymbals at least a half beat off bombs bursting in air, the rest of the children blowing notes resembling my car horn, I felt a familiar sense of pride.
I love hearing caterwauling children shriek out the Star Spangled. I love third grade bands lumbering through the difficult tune with all the heart and gusto of Francis Scott Key himself. I both giggle and get a sense of solemnity at the same time.
Hearing those final words, "...the home of the brave", the ump call "play ball!" and I settle back in a plastic stadium seat with a beer and a dog, that always gives me a safe, satisfied, proud feeling of being an American.
I realize that there are people living under tyranny, people who can't get a fair election, people who don't know where a next meal comes from because their stuff was taken by their government. Sometimes I can't even fathom how hard that must be.
And ok, sure, I totally blew that there are 9 and not 11 justices on the Supreme Court. And ok, I muffed that senators last six and not four years....
But damnit, as we head into this Independance Day weekend, I'll step up and say I'm as much of an American as I need to be.
I know that's true, all because of a bunch of kids from Missouri and the magic of AM radio.
"Did my dad ... really ever think this was a credible piece of technology?"
This quote from a 13 year old boy...in reference to his recent use of a Sony Walkman.
To celebrate the Walkman's 30th anniversary, the young man was given a Walkman and a cassette tape.
Let's just say...he wasn't impressed.