Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PEYTON MANNING, FUTURE SUPER BOWL CHAMPS, A NUTELLA ADDICTION, AND OTHER THINGS

Over the weekend this past weekend, the Playoffs were on TV, the last two games that would determine the two teams battling it out for the crown of Super Bowl champ-eens of 2010.  

I am way into football, but everyone needs a vice.  That is one of my few.  I cannot sit through an entire one-point-five-hour long movie, but plop me in front of the TV when my Indianapolis Colts are playing, give me a quilt and a cold beer, or two, maybe, three, and the next three hours cutsie Peyton Manning has my undivided attention.  

But there are ads during the game.  Ads for things that no human being should ever be exposed to...like Nutella.  I had never heard of it, had never noticed it on the shelf at Walmart in the peanut butter section, but during my love affair with PM, they flash an almost subliminal message for this hazelnut spread that is laced with cocoa and skim milk and sold in plastic jars, just like Jif. 

When I went to do my shopping last night, I honed in on the section where I usually pick up a jar of my same old low-fat blah Jif peanut butter, but instead of reaching for it, let my eyes wander the shelves, looking for Nutella.  I now have it associated forever in my mind with being carried off the football field after a perfect winning season by the Super Bowl champ quarterback, his eyes locked on mine...WAKE UP!!  Okay, no Nutella, until I looked up to the top shelf.

First of all, there is a reason they have to put this stuff on the top shelf.  If everyone could reach it, we would all be having to attend a twelve-steps program to break our addiction.  Children, especially, would be susceptible to being able to sneak it into the shopping cart when Mom was not paying attention, and how many times have you been behind a harried mom with a couple of kids and heard her say, "Where did this come from??" then watch her disgustedly throw it up on the conveyor belt to be checked out and taken home because she was too tired to cope with the situation?  

Once I found it and climbed up a shelf to get my grubby paws on it, I decided that since it was so high up there and was a pain to reach, I better have two jars.  When I got home and tasted this decadent drippy chocolate nutty gooey creamy stuff, I immediately went to Facebook to tell all my friends about it.

And guess what?  They've been holding out on me.  Yes, you heard right!  They all know about it and have been closet Nutella addicts for years!  Friends?  Right.  Of course, they were just kind of living with the adage, "Friends don't let friends discover Nutella."  They all knew the implications.  And none of them wanted to admit out loud they had a problem.  I understand that.  And once I had mentioned that I had put more than one jar in the cart, there were many, "Oh, no's!" that rang out.  My brother said he went to the website where there is a disclaimer that this product is not endorsed by any health professionals.  He said, "The stuff has GOT to be good!"  

So, I want you to all set the Nutella jars down on the cabinet and back away slowly...and...

I'M GOING TO STEAL THEM ALL!!  

Hi, my name is Kathy, and I'm a Nutella addict.  

Yes, my lawsuit against the NFL for allowing the ad is in the works.  Way to go, Peyton!  Will you be in court?  May I sit by you?  I'll share the Nutella with you and your dreamy-eyed self!  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BOTTLE CAPS ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR

It is 3:30 a.m.  Sleep, once again, has come and gone and refuses to come again.  My eyelids, apparently, took leave of my face and are refusing to come back to take up the sentinel position over the delicate globes they are sworn to protect.  That could be because earlier, about 1:30 a.m., I frightened them into hiding.

Once you get a habit going they say it takes a full month to break it, and that might be true, but if the habit is getting up at the same time every night to pee, whether you really need to or not, that one is not so easy to break.  And one advantage to having to make that sabbatical in the wintertime is that creepy crawlers have burrowed down or just simply died due to the frigid temperatures.  I keep my house so cold at night that the creepy crawlers of the two- and four-legged variety won’t even sleep here willingly.

Spiders make me shudder.  Something about their crab-like disjointed spindly eight limbs and fangs the size of small swords just creeps me out.  But not to worry in the wintertime.  No spiders in the wintertime.  Safe in the wintertime.  Wrong.

I didn’t bother with putting my feet into my pink fuzzy bunny slippers…just going right across the hall.  Didn’t bother with the lights…this is my home where I’m safe and where I can walk through every room in the pitch dark and manage to step around every piece of clutter like I’ve been doing it my whole life, which I have. 

In the bathroom, even in the dark, I could see that something was laying on the floor.  I was in drowsy-state, but it appeared, even without my glasses on, to be a two-liter bottle cap.  Never mind that there was no reason for a two-liter bottle cap to be in the bathroom floor, but stranger things have happened in this house.  So I reached down and picked it up, which startled it.  Who knew that plastic bottle caps could run so quickly up your arm?  Who knew that I could scream so loudly that the Dachshunds would be roused from their sleep of the dead to bark crazily from their kennel? 

Really, I am not sure who was more startled, me or the bottle cap.  I was fiercely shaking my hand, reaching for the light switch with the other, and then wildly swatting at that eight-legged creature shaking like a leaf near my elbow, its eyes looking wickedly at me, panicked.  This was probably just the sort of scenario he had been warned to avoid his whole life and thought, “Oh, it would never happen to ME!”

By the time we had reached an understanding that he would keep his fangs packed away and I would stop trying to murder him so he could just wander quietly back to the basement and his hungry, loving family waiting for him, I no longer had to pee, but my eyelids had everted themselves up under my skull somewhere and have refused ever since to reappear. I brushed him off in the toilet and said, “If you manage to get out of there, you can go home.  If not, I’ll flush you in the morning.” Last time I looked the bowl was empty and I can only return to the bathroom armed with a can of Raid.  Nothing to worry about, though, most likely.  I am pretty sure that the trauma of the past few hours has driven him deep into hiding and his wife has already had to make an appointment with the Arachnid Psychological Center for intensive counseling.  Not sure if spiders have eyelids, but I am pretty sure if they do, he will not be closing his for a long time, either.

Yes, Virginia, there are spiders in the wintertime. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

MY GREAT WESTERN VACATION - PART 2

A couple of weeks before flying out to the City of Angels, and it really IS the City of Angels when the Pub Princesses descend on it, and you can laugh at that if you want, I understand your mirth, I e-mailed everyone I could find on the guest list and said, "My cousin turns 50 this year, and on Saturday, I would love it if you could show up at the Getty Center about 1:30.  Cathi, Vicky, and I will get Tracy there about 2:00, and we'll surprise her!  Bring a card if you don't mind so she can put it in her keepsake book!  Hope to see you there!"  Every with no previous plans was onboard for this little surprise, and about twenty of them made their way down the freeway, walked all the way across the lawn to the gardens to wait...and waited...and waited...and waited.

Cathi and I stalled Tracy at our hotel for quite awhile.  We walked her like a poodle.  We went to the pool and did "senior citizens aerobics."  Cathi had us running backwards around the pool (it's really good for your balance but really hurts your ass when you trip over a pool chair.  Apparently you are supposed to somehow be coordinated enough to also watch behind  you while you do this enticing exercise).  When our backwards jog did not kill enough time, Vicky was on her way and driving to The Getty, because we asked her to, we decided to have a little photo shoot by the Birds of Paradise.  Upon a panicked "We're-gonna-be-too-early-if-we-go-now" look from Cathi with a C, I found a gorgeous red car in the parking lot that totally took my breath away.  I had to have pictures, I had to check it out, and here it is: 
Pretty, isn't she?  As I was checking out this car, Vicky, she's the woman standing behind Cathi and Tracy in the photo above, drove up, and we then needed to go back up to the room to grab purses and other things, and needed to stall maybe 15 more minutes. We strolled to the front door of the hotel, and I suddenly had brain freeze and pushed the button in the elevator to take us all the way to the fifth floor instead of stopping on the second.  Some might think this was enough over the top to tip Tracy that something was going on, but it wasn't.  Totally expected that I would do that.  I am a easily distracted.

Once upstairs, Vicky quietly suggested we leave in about ten minutes.  She sat down in a chair and this is not over the top, either, for any of us, we got a little lost in talking.  We all four could talk for at least 24 hours without running out of topics, usually, but on that day, the conversation lagged and finally it was time to go.

As is normal for LA, you cannot ever predict the traffic, so as we pulled onto the freeway Vicky audibly gulped as we looked forward and saw so many cars in all six lanes going our direction, that it was effectively "iced over like sheet cake."

When in that situation, as everyone knows, you might as well relax, so acting as if nothing was wrong, as if we had all day to get there and no reason to be in a hurry, acting as if there were not 20 people tapping their feet and wondering where we were, we crept forward.  Finally, on the shoulder of the freeway, came a tow truck.  We all looked at one another and sighed, and chose a new subject of conversation.

We were only about 30 minutes late when the traffic broke loose, and miracle of miracles, we could see the entrance to the Getty Center.  There was an audible sigh of relief in the Prius which was quickly replaced by frustration when the line into the parking garage came into view, then again when we got into the parking garage and drove around and around for another 20 minutes to find a parking space.  I think the three of us were gritting our teeth to keep from yelling, "WHY ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE HERE??"  Once parked, though, we were on our way.  Rushing Tracy toward the entrance, we were intrigued looking almost straight up the side of a mountain to the beautiful architecture of the museum.  I was excited to get up there by then, not only for Tracy's surprise, but because it looked gorgeous! 

But then, we encountered the line waiting for the tram up the mountain.  Vicky, wasting no time, pulled us all off to the side and asked an employee of the center, "How long does it take to get on the tram?"  "It's only about a 20-minute wait right now."  Vicky said, "How long does it take to walk?"

Now, when I tell you she looked skeptically at the four of us, none of us exactly looking like we spend a lot of time in the gym, and said, "It's a five-degree grade, about a 15-minute walk." 

Vicky took our hands, afraid we were going to bolt for the tram line, and off we hiked.  It was a beautiful walk, I have to admit, and Tracy and I were stopping to snap photos every few minutes.  I am going to post a couple of pictures of the grounds here now.


I called this Fern Gulley.


This was the central garden where all our people were waiting.  If you had to wait, to have this to look at was a good diversion!


This was my favorite sculpture on the way up that big hill.


After making it up the hill, we had to just get up this...one...more...set...of...steps!


"Hey, look, I MADE IT!"

And once we got there, we turned the corner and Tracy finally realized what all that talking, strolling, old peoples' aerobics session led by Cathi, and hill climbing had been for.  Tears sprung to her eyes immediately as the group, and all of them waited patiently for us because they are just fantastic, awesome, big-hearted people, yelled, "Surprise, Tracy!" 


Cards were handed out and the relaxed tone of the day was set as we all broke into a loud version of "Happy Birthday," much to the surprise, and possibly horror, of all the non-birthday princes and princesses enjoying a beautiful LA Saturday at The Getty Center.

After a group picture was snapped, we headed out to tour the beautiful gardens and find the cafeteria for a lunch on the patio overlooking the city.  Next chapter I will post a few pictures of some of the flowers, the sun, and other things. 

What a wonderful day, what a great group of friends!  What a way to turn 50!

Friday, January 22, 2010

MY GREAT WESTERN VACATION - PART 1

It took weeks for me to finally give in and let myself take off out west to Los Angeles to celebrate Tracy's fiftieth birthday with her at our annual Pub Princess January Birthday Bash.  But I am so happy I did give in and take the plunge, or take to the skies, or just get there however I could.  We had so much fun!  

Here's what it look like when I left my little home in Indiana:

The name of this picture is "Frigid," because it really, really was ugly and cold!

Friday morning I got up at 3:30 a.m. so I would not be rushed to make my flight.  I took the time to clean my kitchen all up, dust, vacuum...when I go away I like to come back to a clean house, just the way I left it.  And if I want to continue that tradition, I have to remove the Wii and the 47" HD TV and hide them somewhere, as well as all my food, alcohol, and dishes, because the kids come up with a mentality that if I'm not here, they can camp out here for the weekend, which is fine, but they are a little delusional that it's okay to leave dirty dishes in the sink and the stove a mess as well as toys, games, dirty clothing, etc., strewn around my living room.

But I digress.  It was cold and frigid here when I left.  I got on a jet plane at about 6 a.m. and after a mere five hours or so, found myself sitting outside LAX, the Los Angeles Airport, breathing in the smell of ocean air in the warm sunshine and listening to 500 or so people in cars irately honk their horns and scream cuss words out the windows...ah, I am HOME!

The first people I would be encountering on my big adventure were Ginny from Birmingham and Liz from Vancouver.  Yes, you heard right.  The pub princesses are so famous that they draw even international attention!  I met Ginny at the baggage claim, and we did the obligatory jumping up and down, hugging, and squealing routine.  Once settled down, we set out on the quest to find wine and Liz, in that order.  Liz was obviously running late, so a stop in a bar in the International Terminal seemed just a perfect stopping off point to meet her.  And a couple of glasses of Chardonnay later, with a Southern California buzz going on, we wandered around and asked where to find our friend.  Suddenly, as we walked around a corner there she was!  We did the obligatory second set of jumping, hugging, and squealing, and within short minutes were on the FlyAway bus heading into Van Nuys where yet another princess, Katie, had offered to pick us up and drop us at our respective hotels.  The car was abuzz with gossip and catch-up conversation.  I, as were the other two non-California chicks drunk with the warm air and the smell of the sea...and, okay, the wine. And the birds of paradise were out en force to welcome us.  The air smelled fragrant and winter was far from my mind when I spied my favorite tropical flowers peeping up to greet me.  You see these flowers and you have to say, "Toto, I don't think we're in the cold, frigid, tundra of Indiana anymore!"  Then you really do put on your red sparkly shoes and dance around the desert.



Birds of Paradise peeping over the fence.

 Red Wizard of Oz shoes for transporting us to different worlds...okay, okay...they aren't sparkly, but they were all we had, and I'm jealous of Cathi's red shoes her daughter got her for Christmas, so we had to show them off.  

And getting there was half the fun.  Next time I will tell you all about the Bob Cowsill Band and how awesome they are!  It's like if you have to be a stalker, there's the person to stalk! 

Good night, all, and have a great Saturday!

 

Thursday, January 07, 2010

WELL, SO HERE’S WHERE I’VE BEEN HANGING OUT

Christmas came and Christmas went.

New Year’s came and New Year’s went.

I made a resolution:  I resolve to take as good care of myself as I do of my job.  I worry about the job, but not about ME.  I make sure I do an impeccable job at work yet I had a dysfunctional, rather uncomfortable living room. 

So here’s what I did…first I bought a Wii console and a Wii Fit Plus exercise board for it.  Love it!  Then, I bought a beautiful credenza to house the yet-bought big TV I promised myself.  Once the credenza was delivered, well, I am sure by now you know where this is going, I bought a 47-inch flat screen television. 

Once all that stuff was here, Don helped me rearrange the living room, the credenza was fitted with the TV and the TV was fitted with a Wii system, a new DVD player, and a nice little surround sound speaker system.

I took a picture before it was all finished.  Here it is:

Living room2

 

 

 

 

 

After my bank account recovers and I am back into a size eight jeans, I intend to have a comfy new recliner and a new sofa that I can lay on after my Wii Fit Plus workout and a couple of games of Wii bowling or tennis and fall asleep in front of my new TV.

So now you see why I have been MIA.  It drives me pretty insane to have electronics that I have not finished setting up or broken in properly.  I get pretty preoccupied with it.

Tonight, though, as it snows pumas and dingoes, I have taken a breath and given the Dell a chance to rejoin the family!

Happy New Year!  May 2010 find you healthy and happy!