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Sunday, July 11th, 2004
4:55 pm - Same Bat Time, New Bat Channel
I've moved! You can find the same old stuff at http://www.shamrocketship.com.

See you there -

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Thursday, July 8th, 2004
9:34 pm - I'm an addict and I know it.
I have an obsession. A passion. A need. A need that is mostly unfulfilled. Rarely and joyfully is it rewarded. Even people who know me really well aren't aware of this, um, problem. I don't exactly make a secret of it, but unless you've been on a grocery-shopping expedition with me, you wouldn't have a clue. My name is Lynne, and I'm addicted to WHITE paper.

WHITE paper towels. WHITE napkins. WHITE toilet paper. WHITE tissues. WHITE paper.

I have a weakness in this regard. If WHITE paper towels (preferably, the select-a-size kind) are not available, I often debate whether or not to use the no-longer-really-white but still print-free rags in my closet instead. I cannot stand the stupid printed version of things. Stamps of fleur-de-lis, stamps of puppy dogs and kittens. Roosters, chickens, ducks, flowers, cottages, soccer balls, bowling balls and the like. I want PLAIN WHITE PAPER. PLAIN WHITE PAPER, IS THAT SO HARD TO GET?

Unfortunately, it seems the answer is yes. The paper industry seems to think everyone has a favorite "theme" with which they must emblazon their kitchen, their bath, their office. Well I for one don't need it. I'm colorful enough and don't want the distraction. I have color in my personality. Color on my walls, on my bed, in my furnishings. Printed paper just . . . clashes.

I realize I have a problem. I admit to it, 'fess up to it. When I go into my local store each week to stock up on essentials, I start to sweat as I near the PAPER aisle. My heart beats faster, and my nerves stand on end. Will they have what I need? Will my fix be there? Or will I have to suffer through some methadone-substitute printed version of what I really crave? I hate having this problem. I hate being alone in it.

There is no twelve-step program for my problem. I've looked. Every single other person I know thinks nothing of grabbing the happy-print stuff off the shelf and infesting their home with colors and prints and what I see as additional chaos. They actually look for certain prints, patterns, shades of ink. I can't stand it, I tell you. I need help, I know it, but I'm not ready to give up my desire for a blank paper slate just yet.

current mood: bitchy

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Tuesday, June 29th, 2004
5:38 pm - Top Secret
There's a place down south where someone I know is from. I've been there a few times, and it's near paradise. It's a small island with a limited capacity for tourists, both in terms of lodging and patience of the natives. Any one from the North who dares to actually MOVE there instantly degenerates from a merely scorned Yankee to a loathsome Damned Yankee. The person I know from there has warned me that one gets banished if the natives there find out one does anything to promote additional visitors. They have enough thankyouverymuch.

So Sunday evening I was sitting at my local Irish House of Worship (aka "pub") and I hear, from across the room, someone shouting to another person. "Hey! If you go to (city not to be identified), you HAVE to visit (unnamed) Island. It's great! Don't miss it! It's spelled (U-N-N-A-M-E-D)."

I'm very much a regular at this particular House of Worship. And I had never before seen the person who dared to shout this classified information across a crowded room. I've only been to (unnamed) Island a few times, but realize the place is a treasure. Plus I'm very loyal to the natives there. So I did the right thing. I jumped off my barstool, marched across the room to the table this eejit was sitting at, and gave him a piece of unsolicited advice. "I know where you're talking about. I love the place. And if YOU like it so much, you shouldn't be telling other people about it. You have to keep it a SECRET." And I turned around and sat down.

I'm sure I sounded deranged. Looney. Whacko. PMS-y. At the very least, selfish. I'm sure the guy turned to his friends after I was done and said something like "WTF was THAT all about?" But I didn't care. I felt righteous. Saintly. Joan of Arc-ish. And very deserving of another cold adult beverage which I ordered right away. Because crusading is hard work, you know.

current mood: accomplished

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Monday, June 28th, 2004
5:30 pm - Buckle Up!
Our office building looks like a garage sale these days. We've downsized so much, and so many offices have been cleaned out and now just sit dark and empty, dusty and lifeless. Problem is, not everything that used to be in them gets taken away. A lot of the former inhabitants' possessions and supplies just got dumped in the hallway, and there all this stuff still sits as a sad reminder.

Someone used to use that keyboard. Someone used to get their morning coffee in that mug. Someone worked for a long time filling up all those files. Someone obviously didn't want to take their 10- or 15- or 20-year anniversary plaque with them when they left. All these someones, actually about 5000 of them, are no longer part of the life of our company. They've been . . . exhaled.

Some survivors see all this as a free-for-all grab-bag, not unlike the garbage pickers who come out at night to scour the piles at the curb in front of houses who had garage sales over the weekend. They pick through the piles pulling out staplers, three-hole punches, unused writing pads. Can't say I blame them. Everyone gets the modern-day equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition if you try to order common office supplies these days. I recently went to our group Admin to ask for staples. Ordinary SwingLine staples. Unlike the good old days when she would have handed me a box without raising an eyebrow, this time she opened the box and asked "How many do you need?" I kid you not.

I find the hallway flotsam and jetsam depressing, and the scavenging even worse. But occasionally you see something amusing. Like the person who is apparently overjoyed to find that used, plastic water bottle with some bank logo on it. Well, maybe that's sad after all.

But something I saw today really made me think. There were about 15 chairs lined up in a hallway. They've been there for months. I walk past this chair landfill a couple of times a day on my way to get coffee. And today I noticed one of these chairs, an ordinary office chair, had a SEAT BELT on it. Huh? I don't think it was part of the regular chair, but rather that the former occupant had a sense of humor and attached it as a means to convey "Hold on! We're going really fast!" Or maybe the passenger felt his or her job was a roller coaster?

In any event, I think we lost someone creative. Someone who probably did more than just write requirements or sling code or whip up project schedules. I think we lost someone who did the job with a smile. Someone happy working here, or who at least made the best out of a tough situation. I've seen far too many folks like that go. Very talented, intelligent, experienced people, all deemed dispensable by the almighty bottom line.

So tomorrow I may become a scavenger myself. I'd like to go back for that chair and keep it around. Dump my own out in the hall and keep the crazy seat-belted chair. Strap myself in each morning as I start the day as a reminder of and tribute to the kinds of folk that used to work here. I hope they can all come back someday. But in the meantime, they're not forgotten. Buckle up!

current mood: nostalgic

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Sunday, June 27th, 2004
8:41 pm - Cloisim an pib uilleann!
Today was a beautiful June day. Temperature around 80 degrees, very sunny, not humid, nice breeze. I spent the entire day outside. So what in the world could give me a six-hour case of the goosebumps? I wasn't ill. The breeze was mild. I wasn't spooked about a bad dream or anything. I was at the 34th Annual Irish Heritage Festival at the (not the PNC Bank)Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel. And let me tell you, unless you're an extraterrestrial (and probably even then), hearing hundreds of bagpipers would give you goosebumps, too.

That was just the start of it. There was also about an acre of great food. Another acre of neat stuff to buy. I found a t-shirt that has my other name on it - Shamrock. There were step-dancers, fiddlers, uilleann pipes, tin whistles. There was a 9-foot leprechaun. There was a very moving parade of 10 or so pipe bands leading to a wreath-laying ceremony at the Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial. And a six-hour ceili. We won't even mention the 50,000 people there that share my ancestry, or the 1000 guys in skirts with who knows what underneath.

The highlight of the day, if I had to pinpoint one, was the massed bands. If you've ever been to an Irish or Scottish festival, you know this. It's when all the pipe and drum bands gather on the field and play at once. You haven't really experienced serious goosebumps unless you've heard 1000 bagpipes and drums performing "Amazing Grace" all at once. Amazing indeed.

Like most Irish folk, I take enormous pride in my heritage. My first name's origin (even if my parents weren't aware of it) means a pool of water, a pond, or the sea in Irish. Linn. In fact, Dublin stems from DubhLinn, or "black pool." My last name, shared by one American President, is a source of pride as well. But not for the definition. In Irish, it means "helmeted," "helmet-head," or "one with an ugly or misshapen head." With typical Irish optimism, I think that's a handy excuse for a bad hair day.

And on that note, slan go foill. Slainte!

current mood: happy

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Monday, June 21st, 2004
9:39 pm - What have I gotten myself into?
Scene from this weekend with the kids. We went to the mall Saturday night so daughter could spend loads of cash she got for her birthday. I had to keep son appeased and happy during the shopping, so I gave him five bucks and a half hour deadline to meet up with us again. He came back proud as punch. He'd bought "a little brother."

Thank heavens he didn't actually find some poor kid being sold for five bucks. Could happen around here. Instead, he got one of those things you put in water overnight and it grows "UP TO THREE TIMES THIS SIZE." Wow.

Next day, little brother has been sitting on the table in water overnight and is roughly double his original size. Daughter walks in and sticks her hand in the glass and pulls out the little brother.

"What is this?"

I replied, "It's Declan's."

She quickly came back with "Can I cut its legs off?"

Huh????? You don't want to get on her bad side.

Belieeeeeve me.

current mood: scared

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Sunday, June 20th, 2004
9:49 pm - Welcome to NJ. Now go home.
Ahh. Summer has arrived. Not officially until tomorrow, but with Memorial Day here at the Jersey Shore, it has definitely arrived. And with it, the inevitable hoard of weekend bennie locusts.

If you're not from around here, you probably have no idea what a bennie is. It's our word for a tourist. We debate ad nauseum about the origin of the word (which is properly NEVER capitalized) but the truth is no one really knows. Jack Nicholson, originally from the area, claims that it was a phrase for out-of-towners that came to the area for the benefits. Some say it stems from the train line that passed through Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark (BEN) in order to get here. Another possibility is that it refers to the large number of folks named "Benjamin," a popular name in the members of the Jewish working class from New York City and northern New Jersey who visited the Shore in large enough numbers that their speech patterns and mannerisms made them noticeable to the locals.

But regardless of the word origin, we do notice bennies. They stand out like, well, like bennies. They wear sandals with socks. They wear speedos. They have boom boxes and frisbees and coolers and cellphones, and big Staten Island hair and ACCENTS. And unless we (the native "clamdiggers") are beach-related business people, they are unwanted.

I am not unsympathetic. I travel. I too am a visitor to foreign lands. I've been called a "flatlander" in Vermont, a "Yankee" down south (although thankfully not a DAMNED Yankee because I do eventually GO HOME) and up in Maine? They're the coolest of all. If you're not from their neck of the woods you're just "from away." They don't care where. You're just not from THERE. So I understand what it's like to be a foreigner, to not fit in, to not be welcome. But when I'm here, home in NJ, in the summertime, I wish the bennies would just . . . go home.

I stay away from the beach (which is THE BEACH, thankyouverymuch, not THE SHORE as you all insist on calling it) in the summer. I can't stand the crowds of those who have descended like a weekend plague from north Jersey, New York, Staten Island, Long Island, Pennsylvania. Those with the speedos and boom boxes and frisbees. Why don't you all stay home and barbecue or something? Leave the beaches to us who pay the taxes for the things YOU all inevitably require - the garbage cleanup, the lifeguards, the parking lots, the extra cops that have to be hired to control your drunken revelries.

And despite the fact that I avoid the beaches, I cannot avoid the bennies. I am forced by a divorce- and work-related schedule to travel the Garden State Parkway (aka the Garden State Parking Lot) North on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings. With all of you amateurs. You who don't know the toll lanes by heart and crowd your way across six lanes to find the exact change lane because you're not privileged enough to have EZPass. You who don't know you're OK going 10 MPH over the speed limit without risking a ticket (although I might be careful of that if I had the blasphemous out-of-state plates also but dammit use the SLOW lane please). You who think I'M ONE OF YOU because I'm out there with you in this horrible weekly exodus from our beloved beaches. I AM NOT ONE OF YOU. You see that Exit 109 sticker on my bumper? I live here. And I pay for your day at the beach. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you're sunburned and spent a lot of money here. I hope you sit in traffic for six hours getting back to north Jersey, or New York, or Staten Island, or Long Island or Pennsylvania.

Just . . . go home.

current mood: frustrated

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Tuesday, June 15th, 2004
7:52 pm - Trashing NJ
About a year ago, The Southern Guy (TSG) and I made a trip to Target. I forget who needed what, and the reason for us being there, but I think it was the first time we'd run some type of ordinary errand together. And although I knew he was funny already, this ordinary-errand-kind-of-funny stuck in my head.

We pulled into the Target parking lot and I immediately noticed the huge amount of trash strewn about. Huge even for NJ. Bags, bottles, cans, boxes, you name it. To top it all off, we saw a Target employee pushing carts back towards the main door, and he casually threw a clothes hanger out of a cart and right back into the parking lot. I made some remark about it to TSG because, heck, he was from somewhere far away and pretty, and I was acutely aware of (and embarrassed at the moment about) being from NJ. Ugly, trashy, place with people who would DO such a thing. Really, this is NOT representative of all of us.

So we're in the store a minute later and all I need is a dustpan. And I find that one cannot buy a dustpan without buying the little broom that comes WITH the dustpan. I looked for several minutes while TSG stood watching me patiently. I was getting angry about buying something I didn't require. "But I only need the PAN. I don't NEED the broom!" I exclaimed, rather perturbed.

TSG replied with the Southern, peaches and cream charm. "Well, you could always throw it in the parking lot."

current mood: amused

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7:35 pm - The Ensemble
About a year ago, I met someone very Southern. And very funny. And very tolerant of me and my moods and whims. About two weeks after we first met, I had the audacity to invite him to be my guest at my cousin's wedding. I don't know what made me do that. I mean, what was I thinking? Exposing this poor Southern guy to 80% of my immediate and extended NJ family AT ONE TIME? But I already said he was tolerant.

To make a long story short, he wasn't from the area. And didn't have wedding-type clothes with him. So he asked me to accompany him to the mall to shop for some wedding-type clothes. And I did. And I started to feel very guilty for having imposed this horrible responsibility on someone I barely knew. I mean, he's looking at suit jackets, and pants, a dress shirt, a tie, and my head is racking up the bill as we go along, and I'm feeling just horribly guilty. So I venture "You know, you don't need to go to this trouble, or this expense. What you had on (the night of our first date) was just fine. And you know, the minute that you open your mouth /because of his fine Southern accent and his fine Southern charm/ it won't matter WHAT you're wearing."

He responded with all appropriate Southern peaches and cream smoothness: "Then I'll just have to shut up so they'll notice my ensemble."

current mood: impressed

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6:57 pm - What SPF is a Booger?
I had a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my 5-year-old nephew last night. One on one. My kids have long since passed that age, and it was great to be reminded of just how cool, smart, interesting, funny, and BIZARRE it can be talking to a 5-year-old. This particular 5-year-old is exceptionally cool, smart, interesting and funny. We just don't understand how he thinks yet. He's waiting for us to catch up to his intellect. Here's just one snippet of the night's conversations.

Nephew (out of the BLUE and with a very serious expression): I'm not allowed to wear sunscreen on the back of my neck anymore.

Aunt: Why is that?

Nephew (eyebrows raised in apparent excitement): Well I went to bed one night and when I was asleep this really long booger came out of my nose and got on the pillow and then it got on my neck and because of the suntan lotion on my neck the booger made it all sticky so I'm not allowed to wear suntan lotion on the back of my neck anymore even if the booger is gone now and so I wear my hat backwards so I don't get sunburn there.

Aunt (frowning): Oh. OK. (Makes mental note to ask his mom about the origin of this situation.)

PostScipt: His mom says sunscreen causes him to get a rash in that location. And "the booger incident" was, well, a completely separate event. How nephew made this connection is beyond her. Us. For now. When we catch up with him, we just might understand.

PostPostScript: On this website, "booger" doesn't pass spellcheck. Suggested alternatives include booker, boozer, and burger. I'm sticking with my story.

current mood: curious

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Thursday, June 10th, 2004
5:53 pm - Oh the Horror
I got a sample Election Ballot in the mail last week, and since it was an important contest at the national and local levels, I made it a point to vote in the Primary Election on Tuesday. I found out something pretty awful as a result. I must preface this story by saying I registered to vote over twenty years ago, as an Independent. I vote often. I lean heavily toward the Democratic side. And this was probably the first time I have voted in a Primary Election in quite a while.

I got to the voting place with about 20 minutes to spare between the end of my daily work commute and heading back out again to drive 60 miles to the 2004 Annual Dinner of the NJ Piano Tuners' Guild (and I'm sorry, you'll have to wait on the edge of your chair for the story about THAT another day). Anyway, I sign in, hand my voting receipt to the nice lady at the booth, enter the booth, close the curtain, and proceed to vote. Or try to.

The levers to vote for the Democratic candidates wouldn't budge. Uh-uh. I gingerly tried the Republican ones, and THEY all moved. Oh yeah. Movers and shakers those Republican types. Up and down the little levers went and the boxes next to them filled in with very definitive X's. But the Democrats? I had to try again. And again. And AGAIN because I'm an optimist. But no go. THOSE levers were glued in place. Very puzzled, I left the booth after recording only one vote, for a Republican town council person (Good luck, Marnie. Sorry RJ, I wasn't able to vote for you for the second seat - you were on the immobile side). I just figured I must not have read the sample ballot correctly, and maybe it was a Republican Primary or something? I was confused, but in a hurry.

I had more time to think about it later on, during the fascinating 2004 Annual Dinner of the NJ Piano Tuners' Guild. And more time yesterday. And more this morning. (Yes, I DO have a life. Didn't you see that I went to the 2004 Annual Dinner of the NJ Piano Tuners' Guild? But when something bugs me I'm tenacious.) I researched voting laws and news, and found that no, it wasn't a Republican Primary. It was a both-sides type of Primary. I couldn't find any reason to explain the non-functional Democratic levers. So I carefully deduced that there must have been something wrong with the booth! Election scandal! Oh, the news this would make! Armed with this, I righteously placed a phone call to the County Voter Registration folks. That was when I made the horrible discovery that, according to their records, I have been a registered Republican since 1990. WTF??? I shall hereafter refer to Republican as "R" and to "registered Republican" only as "rR."

OK, next question I had (after I got back on my chair and regained the power of speech) was "How did the booth KNOW???" She explained that when I signed the book before voting, it showed me as an rR. When I hand the little voting ticket to the nice lady next to the voting booth, SHE sees I'm an rR. SHE flips a switch on the booth that crazy-glues the levers of any non-R candidates. Because since I am an rR, and this is a Primary election, I'm only allowed to vote for R's.

JD - this is not funny. Stop laughing. Now.

I immediately e-mailed the dismaying news of my new identity to my good friend Mary. Mary who has seen me through thick and thin. Who is so wise and always knows what to do. I know she'll be shocked too, and supportive. I know Mary will help.

Mary replied quickly as she usually does to my pleas for help. She responded that she was now going to block my e-mails.

I'm having an identity crisis. And it'll take 50 days to fix me, according to the folks at the Voter Registration Bureau. I have to serve another 50 days KNOWINGLY as an rR. Fifty days before I can return to my formerly-perceived Independent self. Damn. Even Noah didn't have to wait that long for the rain to end.

And as for whatever happened in 1990 to make me declare myself an rR? I have no idea. Except that was the year I had my first child. Yeah, THAT explains it. I had brain damage.

current mood: shocked

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Friday, June 4th, 2004
11:11 pm - Hi Aunt Sharon and Pop-pop Shea
Hi, Aunt Sharon. And Pop-pop Shea. We miss you. Declan and I spent a good long time tonight talking about you. I told him that it took me a long time, but I found out it's still possible to talk to you. And hear back from you, if we're listening. That you're still around, if we're paying attention. That you're not really gone unless we forget you. And that we never will forget you. Which means you'll always be here with us, looking over our shoulders, listening to what we're talking to you about.

We miss you and love you . . .

Lynne and Declan and Emily

current mood: thoughtful

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Tuesday, May 25th, 2004
7:18 pm - Commuter Tales, Vol. 2 - Go With the Flow
Another day, driving home from work on the Garden State Parkway. Heading south, rush hour traffic, just south of the Raritan tollbooths (why does everything happen at this point? Must be a cosmic place for me or something). The traffic started to slow to 50 mph, then 40, then about 30. And I noticed the cars gradually merging out of the slow lane into the center lane, and as a domino effect, into the fast lane. Everyone was avoiding the slow lane, but I couldn't see any reason - no disabled car, no one pulled over by a trooper, no flotsam or jetsam in the road.

When I was the last car in the slow lane before the "impediment" I saw what the "impediment" was. In the lane, flying (yes FLYING) down the road, about 4 feet above the ground, was a Canada goose. And it was observing the rules of the road.

For the two or three miles that I followed it, the goose never deviated from the lane. Altitude also remained the same. The goose was following the lane EXACTLY. And when I finally decided I'd had enough 30 mph and merged into the middle lane to pass the goose, I noticed it was honking. Rhythmically, regularly, honking. Like so many other annoyed users of the Garden State Parkway. Shortly after I passed the goose, it finally swerved to the right and landed.

I wondered if that goose thought it was with a bunch of other geese flying south? That it knew it was a bit different but was trying to fit in? That it was slower than the others but trying to keep up? Or maybe it wanted to hang with a faster crowd? I still wonder about it. And think it's a good lesson. You might not feel comfortable in every situation. You may feel out of place, even when you're doing your best to fit in. But it's definitely a good idea to try to go with the flow. And if the crowd turns out to be too fast for your nature? Get off the road.

current mood: contemplative

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6:51 pm - Commuter Tales, Vol. 1 - Are You All BLIND?
A while back, I was driving home on the Garden State Parkway after work. Rush hour traffic, just south of the Raritan tollbooths. It was a summer day, and a stampede of thunderstorms had just passed through the area. The sun was trying to break through the clouds in a number of places when all of a sudden I noticed a rainbow. Neat! Then I saw another, and another, and finally about FIFTEEN of them all around me. Some were small, others really big. Almost all of them were very bright. It was one of the most amazing things I ever saw. I mean, a single rainbow is an unusual event. I guess on average I see one in any given year. But to see FIFTEEN rainbows at one time, in several directions . . . well, it was awesome. And I was full of awe. Full of goosebumps. And I was smiling like I was in some dental product commercial or something.

So I started looking around at other drivers on the Parkway, to see if they saw the rainbows too. I expected we would smile at one another in recognition of this incredible sight. This probably once-in-a-lifetime thing. I thought it would be great to share this moment with other fellow weary, work-worn commuters - like "Hey! Isn't this AMAZING? Our reward for driving this damned road every day? Doesn't this make it WORTH whatever you went through today at work?"

But no one else was looking. Or smiling. Not a single car out of probably twenty or thirty that I came in contact with during those few brief minutes full of rainbows. Everyone else was just blankly staring ahead at the road. Just . . . driving . . . home. I couldn't believe I was alone in seeing this, or appreciating it. And no, I was not on drugs of any type.

I feel incredibly happy and lucky that I DO notice these things. And sad for the folks that just . . . drive . . . home. And even sadder for those that might have seen it and didn't think it was an awesome thing.

Open your eyes folks. Look around. Stop and smell the roses. Feel what you're touching. Taste what you're eating and listen to what you're hearing. You never know which day is going to be your last, and moments like the one above are treasures not to be missed. They ARE the pot of gold.

current mood: thankful

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Sunday, May 23rd, 2004
9:57 pm - I see TALENTED people . . .
I have the most amazing friends. One of them is Chrisie Santoni, who has been a dear friend of mine for the last ten years. There's an age gap between us - she's 30, I'm 43 - but it's never seemed to matter. Except maybe that she has some perception that I have more experience than she does. But I don't Chrisie, really. Everyone has their OWN experiences and that's how you learn and better yourself. Through your own life. If I ever sound like I know what I'm talking about, well, I don't. Carpe Diem . . . and do the right thing.

Chrisie is a VERY talented musician and songwriter. You can hear her stuff and learn about her at http://www.csantoni.com. She deserves a lot of recognition. Her music has enchanted me for a long time. I've seen her evolve from playing solo in coffee houses to a full band in Savannah, to playing live in front of NYC audiences, to a studio producing her stuff, to winning a John Lennon song-writing competition among others, opening for Jeffrey Gaines, recording with Jethro Tull keyboardist Andrew Giddings, having interviews with major labels, and it's been a wonderful journey. From my point of view, anyway. SHE sees it as an endless challenge. It's definitely hard work. A trial. It's also, from my point of view again, growth, increasing opportunities, increasing exposure. She's gonna make it, I know it.

And I knew her when . . . Love you, Chrisie. Best of luck. Oh, and can you put up an MP3 for "Pictures" on "Going Home"? My personal favorite.

current mood: impressed

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Thursday, May 20th, 2004
8:37 pm - Foaming at the Mouth
I'm foaming at the mouth about people foaming at the mouth. At work, in the Ladies Room, that is.

Every single farkin' workday, around one-ish, if I happen to use the LR at that time, I find the tooth-brushers. They're on a schedule and I hate it. In fact, I need to remind myself NOT TO USE THE LR AT ONE-ISH. There are always the same three or four people in there at the same time, brushing their teeth. And TALKING to each other while they do it. Brush, foam, talk, foam, tongue, brush, foam, talk, foam, yuck.

I have a problem watching people I don't know brush their teeth. And a problem with people I don't know watching me brush mine. It's gross, seeing the scrubbing and the sticking out of tongues and the foam mixed with spit, and it's just gross. I don't have this problem with people I know and love. Not at all. People I gave birth to or people I'm related to or friends with or have swapped spit with me are SO not a problem. I don't know the reason for this. Some people are bothered by others clipping their nails in public; I, in my uniqueness, am disgusted by tooth-brushers. I can't help but picture, in a meeting with some of these same people later, all that foam around their mouths.

I understand and respect dental hygiene. It's a good thing. I understand the importance of brushing one's teeth after every meal. But my dentist says twice a day is fine, and my teeth are perfect. So I keep my brushing to myself.

Anyone else feel this way? Is there a possible compromise other than holding my bladder until two-ish?

Oh, and don't get me started on the after-lunch flossers.

current mood: cranky

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Wednesday, May 19th, 2004
10:45 pm - I don't know where it IS!
This actually occurred sometime in March but I don't remember the date so I'm not backdating.

Scenes from a Saturday Evening with the Kids - a One Act Play

Act I, Scene I
Setting: Home. Saturday early evening. Mother and Daugher doing something in the bedroom on the PC. Son watching TV in the adjoining living room.

Son: (Shuffling into the bedroom) - Hey, do you have the remote? I can't find it.
Mom: Look under the sofa cushions.
Son shuffles out to living room

Act I, Scene II.
15 minutes later.
Setting: The same exact thing.

Son: (Shuffling into bedroom) - I can't find the remote.
Mom: Did you look under the sofa cushions?
Son shuffles out.

Act I, Scene III
15 mintes later.
Setting: The same exact thing.

Son: (Yelling from living room this time) - I can't find the remote!
Mom: Did you LOOK for it?
Son: I don't know where it IS!!!

Mother and daughter exchange glances. Agghhh. Boys.

current mood: amused

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Monday, May 17th, 2004
10:12 pm - Uh-oh
I had a shocking revelation today.

I was searching on Google for a book I read a couple of years ago. I remembered that it was about a middle-aged woman who gave up a career in NYC and moved to a cottage on the coast of Maine without electricity, running water, or a steady food supply. I found it (using those words) and jumped to the amazon.com website that listed it. ("Drinking the Rain," by Alix Kates Shuman, btw. Read on before you decide to buy it.)

Amazon.com reviewers, in their infinite wisdom, have this to say about the book: "Highly recommended, especially for libraries serving middle-aged readers in search of renewal."

My first thought, after reading that, was "Huh? So why did it appeal to ME? I LOVED that book. I'm only 43! I don't need no stinkin' renewal!"

Next thought, a nanosecond later (Alzheimer's hasn't set in yet) was: If I'm optimistic (or wildly delusional given my family history), I'll live to 80. That means I'm PAST MIDDLE AGE. I read that book when I WAS middle aged.

Damn.

current mood: shocked

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5:15 pm - I surrender.
The place I work at is the epitome of ridiculousness. Ridiculosity. Ridiculation.

Altogether, the buildings in our complex form a kind of a square, with a big open courtyard in the center. Courtyard is about an acre. There have always been concrete walkways in the courtyard but last year, in the midst of a round of layoffs, we watched as a bunch of workers labored for weeks to install 8 brick-paved picnic areas with brick paved paths to the main walkways. Then they installed heavy concrete picnic tables and fancy umbrellas. About 1500 or so people have window offices and could see this all going on, this money being spent, while we were laying off people. In the year since they installed them, on any given day you might see ONE of these tables being used at lunchtime.

THIS year's version of ridiculousness is even better. While we're still undergoing layoffs, we are now watching the same workers RIP UP some of the previously installed picnic areas. So they can build a huge gazebo.

I predict next year will be a swimming pool.

I surrender.

current mood: numb

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Sunday, May 16th, 2004
4:40 pm - Bowling CAN be interesting . . .
The kids are always asking me to a) play board games or b) go bowling or c) go ice skating. Sometimes I'm just too tired for skating, although that's my favorite option. Bowling, well, if you remember my relationship with the "pro" bowler back when I was about 20 years old, you can understand I've had about enough of bowling alleys to last me a lifetime. And board games are anathema. This weekend the kids asked about all three. With the ear infection, it was easy to rule out c). Poor a) gets ruled out even if the alternative is watching television. But I DID opt for b) last weekend. Weirdest experience ever.

The place we usually go didn't have open bowling in the early evening, only after 10:00 PM. So we opted for "The Chinese Place." It's a bowling alley on Route 35 in Middletown, Harmony Lanes. Connected, in the same building, to a Chinese restaurant. We'd never been there before but the kids see it when we pass on the highway all the time. Emily called them on the phone to check open bowling times and when she got off the phone, she told me "the lady was Chinese and I could hardly understand her but I think she said 'open bowring until 9 o'crock.'"

So we went. And the place was ENTIRELY empty except for three Chinese people. One was the lady working the desk, one was working the snack bar, and one man sitting at a table reading the paper. They had really weird organ music playing on the radio, and the lady at the desk demanded one of our shoes each as ransom for the pair of bowling shoes. "You must give me one shoe each person."

Declan asked me why they wanted our shoes. I explained that it was so we don't steal the bowling shoes. In a really loud voice (remember the place is ENTIRELY empty) he said "But do they really think I'd go outside in THESE?" (looking down at the nasty silver and green shoes he had just put on.)

We did have a blast. All alone, the entire place to ourselves. Two hours and no one else came in. This was a Saturday evening! In NJ! The Bowling State!

Two games, $4 per person. Simply mahvelous bowling shoe rentals $4 per person. Chinese food snacks and drinks from the snack bar, $20. Experience? Priceless.

current mood: thankful

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