My Many Musings

Having an online home for sharing thoughts, stories, and ideas makes me happy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

DVD rentals

We are Netflix subscribers, so there is always something to watch on DVD at our house. Over the last few days we've seen two good movies, Glory Road and Eight Below. Interestingly, both are Disney films that celebrate characters who overcome an amazing obstacle. The formula is similar to that of Remember the Titans and, since it works, Disney seems to be sticking to it. I loved both movies for their ability to tug at my heartstrings and make me cheer for the underdogs (no pun intended there). They are a bit predictable, but they are refreshingly absent of gratuitous swearing and sex and still manage to hold the viewer's attention. Two thumbs up for each of them.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Feel that breeze?

I am happy. The leaves and branches are moving because there is finally a breeze here. Ahhhhh. The extreme heat of the past two weeks has given way to more humane temperatures and a light breeze. We might even be able to open the windows tonight! Wahoo!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hair

Hair is BIG business. People spend a lot of money on products and services for their hair. Just yesterday I had my hair colored, highlighted, and cut. The cost for such basics varies from salon to salon. I have a hard time spending over $100 on my hair, and that's how much most salons charge for my hair length and weave. I have to go back for touch-ups and new color every few months, so that adds up to a LOT of money. Recently I've started going to the local beauty college for these services. Yes, they are students so it takes a little longer. They need people like me so that they can practice their skills, and I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the "young people" on the floor. And so I go, a willing volunteer for the eager students. Best of all, my hair looks great!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday's Big Brother episode

Whoa. Tonight was one of the most compelling episodes of Big Brother yet.

**SPOILER ALERT** - Don't read further if you haven't yet seen this episode and still plan to do so.

I'm not quite sure where to start with tonight's shenanigans. George was obviously a little upset that James nominated him. I'd go so far as to say that James may have something to worry about now that George won the veto competition. How could that be? I have my suspicions that BB chose this particular veto challenge to give George a chance to stay in the game. Regardless, George proved himself to be desperate enough to stay in the game that he shaved his head, gave up the ability to compete in a future veto competition, died himself blue, and will eat slop for the remainder of his time in the house. Impressive? Well, I'm not sure that's the right word for it. He does have a lot of heart and desire and that says something. Poor Kaysar gave up next week's veto competition AND shaved his head, much to the dismay of Marcellas, and still didn't get the veto because he was only willing to eat slop for two weeks, not two months. James should remember Kaysar's allegiance to the alliance.

The truly shocking bits came after the POV competition. Kaysar told Jase that he would be the replacement nominee for veto winner/nominee George. Jase came unglued! He threw things, cursed, and called people all kinds of names. He has been playing both of the main alliances against each other, but somehow overlooked that in his defense. Jase also threw poor Marcellas "under the bus," accusing Marcellas of sharing information with both sides when Marcellas, if truth be told, has clearly sealed his fate along with that of Janelle and the rest of the Season Six alliance. The heated exchange between the houseguests outside while George prepared for his veto meeting was one for the books, with smarmy Will smiling and eating a sandwich while enjoying the show. Jase was mad, but he didn't do himself any favors by blowing up, thus ruining an opportunity to negotiate with James one last time. If the Season Six group doesn't recognize James as a true part of their alliance after this (they convinced him to nominate Jase), they deserve to fall apart at the seams.

The icing on the cake HAD to be Will. His speech during the veto ceremony was almost more than I could stand. He challenged the houseguests to throw him out, and has predicted that they probably won't. He likely will live through yet another eviction and will likely get one week closer to the money and the win AGAIN. His threats to throw competitions may or may not be true. Danielle won't eat slop AKA "the devil's oatmeal," so I'm sure she'll consider voting Will right out the door. I enjoy Will's diary room bits. He is hysterical and makes astute observations about people, but he is also a little mean and sometimes stirs the pot just a little too much. I'm hopeful that he will, in fact, be evicted. If he is the one to leave, James and the rest of Season Six had better continue winning HOH and POV competitions. Jase will come out of this with a score to settle. Yikes!

Howie, I hope we continue seeing our favorite Jedi for weeks to come. You make me laugh!

Task of the day

Avoidance is the name of the game this morning. I MUST address the issue of my desk and our shared family office before a haz-mat team is called in to save us. Piles of papers, office supplies, books, notepads, stationery...the list goes on and on. I WILL get to my desk today, after I have gone on my errands, visited my parents, cooked an amazing six course meal, and write the solution to world peace. Well, maybe I'll just do the first two things on my list and THEN I will tackle my desk...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hot, hot, hot!!!


109 - Today's expected high temperature


Officially, it's hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk here in the Central Valley. Not that I'm going to do that, mind you, but it is an interesting thought. As far as meals today, my plan involves salads, fruit, & cottage cheese. I might be inclined to use the microwave for Supersport, but it's even too hot to BBQ. Who wants to stand over that when it's already sweltering?

I'm sure it's hot where you are, too. What are you doing to beat the heat?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

St. Andrews




Seeing the British Open on television this morning reminded me of St. Andrews, one of my favorite little towns in Great Britain. Every year the event alternates between the great courses, and last year it took place at St. Andrews. What a beautiful setting (although I'm sure that the old course is even more beautiful without grandstands and press tents)!

Last year we saw some of the practice rounds at St. Andrews. Here you see the famous bridge at the 18th hole. Crossing the bridge is Nick Faldo (in white) and Jack Nicklaus (in yellow). This practice round was particularly meaningful (notice all of the press following them) in that their sons were caddies for them. All four of them posed on the bridge together for several minutes before completing the hole. This was Jack's last year at the Open, clearly an emotional time for the golfers and fans.

St. Andrews itself is a gorgeous town. There are some cobblestone streets lined with shops and flats. Everywhere you look are signs that this is a golf community: folks wearing golf clothes, golf shops, signs directing you to the course, the British Golf Museum, and dozens of golf stores. There are even golf bookstores. It is charming.

Friday, July 21, 2006

We love our dogs!

Meet Nala and Ruby.

Ruby is our baby. At just a year old, she still chews just about anything, including Nala's ears, swim goggles abandoned at the side of the pool, and fruit that falls from the trees. She is a German Shorthair, and, true to her breed and age, is a bit more reserved and willing to be bossed around by other dogs. When she wants attention, she will rest her head on your arm and just look at you. She's a sweetheart.

Nala is our three year-old Yellow Labrador Retreiver. She is the most affectionate dog we've ever had. A great swimmer and hunter, Nala even talks to us with a series of grunts and gasps. It is hysterical! She also smiles constantly and is always ready to pose for pictures. Nala has a thing for birds and is always ready for a game of fetch.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

This week I'm reading...


...Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi. I've read so many British and NY chick lit books recently, I thought it was time to read something with a different setting. Tied to the Tracks is a charming story set in Ogilvie, Georgia. I love the way that the characters talk and their small town ways. Quick plot: Angie's documentary film company, Tied to the Tracks, comes to Ogilvie to work on a piece about Miss Zula, a respected writer-in-residence of prestigious Ogilvie College. Angie has mixed feelings about the project because she needs the work and is interested in the subject, but the chair of the English department at Ogilvie is, alas, a flame from her past. They did not end their relationship well and there remains, of course, some unresolved feelings between the two of them. He's about to marry a hometown girl...or is he? I can't speak to the ending of the book (yet), but so far I'm hooked!

Added July 25: I finished the book over the weekend. While I looked forward to Angie reconciling with the love of her life, other aspects of the storyline, including Miss Zula's big secret, were not as satisfying. I loved the comeuppance of the manipulative aunt (clever stuff)!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

For the sake of blogging

Sometimes I talk to myself. I admit it. I don't believe I'm some sort of bumbling oddball, randomly spewing things. Usually, I talk to myself (actually, I prefer the term, "think out loud,") because I don't want to forget something. I am at that age, you know.

Blogging is a bit like talking to myself. Yes, my words are out there for others to read and some people even respond to my posts. At this point, though, I'm not really purposefully posting things to start conversations or because I have had some epiphany. Mostly, I just need a place to put my thoughts so that I don't forget them.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer Television

I do not cope well in the valley heat. Summer is almost painful for me because I just don't do well in high temperatures. Thank goodness we have air conditioning! I can stay inside most days and putter around the house, read, or watch television. Summer television is heating up, too. My reality show fever is in full force this summer with favorites old and new.

Favorite Returning Shows:
  • Big Brother - This "all-star" edition is great fun, especially with clever players Will, Danielle, James, and Janelle. I'm not sure who to root for, but I do like that group from last season.
  • Project Runway - Just when I was missing this show, they threw in an extra season. Make it work, Tim Gunn!
  • Hell's Kitchen - I'm not convinced that the candidates are as worthy as those on Top Chef from earlier this year, but it's still fun to watch Gordon Ramsay blow his top!
  • House Hunters International - We'll probably always live here, so it's fun to see the types and cost of housing in other parts of the world.
  • Rock Star: Supernova - I didn't see last season's show, so this is all new to me. My early favorites are Dilana, Toby & Storm.

New Favorites:

  • Treasure Hunters - This new show requires the participants to solve riddles in order to proceed in the game. It's a thinking man's Amazing Race.
  • Dream Drives - I don't think this is a new show, but I've only just discovered the gorgeous homes and neighborhoods touted on this show.
  • House of Boateng - Ozwald Boateng is a gifted fashion designer looking to expand in America. He clearly has a vision, and beautiful clothes!
  • Instant Beauty Pageant - I didn't think I would like this show, but it's kind of fun to watch the contestants get swept up in the madness of preparing for an instant pageant.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sold!

Craigslist is one of the web sites that I visit from time to time to check out the garage sale ads. This week, however, I realized the power of the Internet and just how many people actually use craigslist regularly. We listed a piece of furniture that our son had outgrown years ago. Apparently there is quite a market out there for these beds because it sold in about 3 hours. Seriously. It was amazing. Yes, the item was priced to sell, and I was HAPPY to see it walk out of the house to make room for other furniture, but I really had no idea that it would sell that quickly. It was a lot easier than hauling it to a consignment shop or putting it in the driveway for a garage sale. Even better, it was, say it with me, free!

Friday, July 14, 2006

And...in this corner...



I've read several books this summer. Yesterday I finished Consider Lily, a Christian chick lit book by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt. I read and enjoyed their first effort, Emily Ever After, so I was pleased to see that they had written another book together. Consider Lily tells the story of a humble department store heiress/tomboy whose true calling is writing. Lily starts a blog that turns into more of an online diary, but she is ignorant enough to use real names (!) and finds herself in trouble with her friends and family when her cover is blown. I can relate to her need to keep a diary, a venue for one's thoughts and a place to vent. I loved the San Francisco backdrop and the piece where Lily goes to a San Jose Sharks game with the singles group from her church. The story is funny, fun, and real. Lily's relationship with her grandmother is tender and sweet. I loved it!


In contrast, I'm now reading The Debutante Divorcee' by Plum Sykes. She paints a gor-geous picture of New York society gals enjoying their divorcee' lifestyles. Imagine having a divorce shower. Who knew? Books about New York City society always intrigue me because they are such a contrast to my own life and community. The characters couldn't be more different than me and my friends, so it's a chance to see "behind the curtain" of society ladies and their professional friends. This book has sucked me in and is entertaining me page by page.

There's a side of me that loves the naughty hijinks of the society girls, but there is another side of me that revels in the PG-rated fun of Lily and her friends. Both books are fun, easy reads.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My first mammogram

Having turned 40 recently, I went in for my very first mammogram today. I'm such a rookie, I didn't even think to lock the little dressing room where I changed into the gown before they took the pictures. Good thing I was already covered when a nurse opened the door on me. ;o) I further embarrassed myself in the actual x-ray room with my flair for misunderstanding the technician's directions ("No, your other left." "Face forward. No forward as in facing me."). With a sigh, I returned to the waiting room while the technician confirmed that the pictures were clear.

Shortly after I sat down, another woman came in with her husband. From the discussion they were having with the staff, it was clear that this woman had already been through a rather rigorous mammogram herself and was resting before they took her in for more pictures. You see, she has breast cancer and she is having surgery very soon. The films they were getting were of very specific angles to aide the surgeons during her upcoming procedure. Here I was feeling a bit embarrassed and uncomfortable following my own mammogram when there was this woman, bravely facing one of the most cruel diseases known to women. I said a silent prayer of thanks for my many blessings and another for this courageous woman and her family.

Two years from now I will trudge back to radiology to have another mammogram. Next time I'll have the advantage of knowing what it's like, how uncomfortable it is, and, of course, that I do need to lock the door to the dressing room. More importantly, I'll remember that woman and her husband, and that will remind me of just how important it is do this procedure.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Focus, or lack thereof

Summers are the perfect time for me to catch up on the little projects that I put off from August through June. Reorganizing cupboards and closets are at the top of my priority list, along with the professional reading that I often put off until summer so that I can give it my full attention. But, for some reason, I feel like I'm busier in the summer than I am during the school year. The phone rings and then I'm off to take care of something. My son needs a ride to his practice. Dinner needs to be prepared. There is just this neverending flow of activity and I can't seem to get focused on any one thing. I'm threatening to put myself on a schedule just so that I can accomplish some of the bigger tasks, and I'm not sure that I want that. If I could just focus.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back-to-School Bargains

Independence Day has come and gone, so it must be time for, dun-dun-dun, Back to School shopping! The only type of shopping I love more than Christmas shopping is buying those must-have items for the coming school season. As I was drinking my tea this morning while perusing the store ads, my heart skipped a beat when I saw that Staples had several things on sale that I really need...for just 1 penny each! Wow! Of course I rushed right over to the store, dragging my poor husband with me. The two people in line before me spent 19 cents each on their purchases. I splurged on some 20 cent poly folders and walked out the door for only $1.30. I am an elementary teacher in a large but financially challenged school district, so I take every opportunity that I have to purchase things for my classroom at bargain prices. Now that I have everything home and safely bagged up for their August unveiling, I should feel accomplished and happy with the results. However, I seem to be feeling a bit restless. Maybe another trip to Staples will do the trick?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me...

According to an article on the Drudge Report today, Johnny Depp's ('cuz let's face it, it's his movie) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest had the biggest opening day in box office history, earning $55.5 million in the first day of release alone. That would buy a lot of rum for Captain Jack Sparrow, wouldn't it? Apparently I wasn't alone in my anticipation to see the latest installment in the adventures of the wayward pirate. We drove to two different theaters and stood in a few different lines (one of which was in the sun and heat, clocked at 99 degrees) in order to secure our seats for the movie today. But, you ask, was it worth it? Um...duh, of course! I loved the little surprise return of a character or two later in the film. There were also some hysterical moments between Jack and Elizabeth, as well as Jack and the earnest Will Turner. It was exactly what a big summer movie is supposed to be - FUN!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Inspiration in a paperback


See Jane Write: A Girl' Guide to Writing Chick Lit is my current non-fiction read. (Yes, I am one of those people who reads more than one book at a time - I can't help it!) I was looking for some inspiration to guide me in developing my story ideas. This book is just what I was looking for. Written by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs, See Jane Write is easy to read, friendly, and funny. They provide supportive interviews with Sophie Kinsella (LOVE those Shopaholic books!) and Marian Keyes, as well as simple advice for aspiring writers like me. I'm inspired to trudge on with my writing, and now have more tools to help me realize my story ideas in book form.

(Amazon suggests buying Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel along with See Jane Write. I am considering that one...)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Luggage-a-go-go

Where did our luggage-a-go-go? You'll recall my silly little posts regarding packing prior to our trip to "The Land of 10,000 Lakes." Well, the bags made it safely to Minneapolis, thank goodness. Supersport would have been in trouble without the hockey gear. Our return trip was, alas, another story.

It's never a good sign when you hear the words "mechanical trouble" over the intercom at the airport. As anticipated, those words translated into our flight being cancelled and us standing in two different lines in order to get on another flight home. Fast-forward eight hours and we've finally arrived at our local airport, ready to pick up our bags and make the 20 minute drive to our house. Did I mention that it's never a good sign to hear your own name being broadcast over the intercom in the baggage claim area? When you hear that announcement, it means your hair products and dirty clothes didn't make the same trip that you did.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

God Bless America

The other day, I stood during the national anthem before my son's hockey game with tears gleaming in my eyes. There is something about that combination of words, music, and the visual image of the flag that touches my heart. I'm not particularly political, but I do take pride in being American. I'm proud of our troops, leaders, citizens, and country as a whole. As I type this, NASA is preparing the Space Shuttle Discovery for another journey. What an amazing country and an amazing time this is. God Bless the USA.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Homecoming

I love traveling. Anywhere. Long trips? That gives me more time to see things. Short trips? They allow for just a taste of being away from home. Regardless of where I've been or how long I've been gone, I have to say that I always look forward to coming home. There's no place like home, even if our bags didn't make the trip home with us.