Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Little Buddies

Yes, I'm back online. The phone was still off when Rose and I went shopping for our nephew Skylar's birthday around 10...and when we came back from the party around quarter of five, it was back on. Go figure. Turns out I wasn't the only one in the neighborhood who had phone problems, either. Uncle Ken and Dad, my older friend Erica's mom, and several of their neighbors had similar phone problems...and similar problems with the phone company. I hope Verizon's aware that a lot of their customers are not terribly happy with them at the moment. I'm glad they got the phone back on, but did they have to give us such a hard time about it?

Today was pleasant in other ways, too. I ended up having a nice time at Skylar's third birthday party. The party was at a shelter and grill at the Cape May County Park and Zoo - where else would you hold a birthday party for toddlers? Skylar himself was a bit of a pain. He screamed at the top of his lungs for no reason, punched people, ran his mother ragged, kept messing with the birthday cake when his nana repeatedly told him not to, and wouldn't share his new toys with his friends Ronnie and Kaylie.

Ronnie, for his part, couldn't get on the benches. He must have fallen off four times, once very hard on his back. Kaylie was the only one who wasn't really a problem, maybe because she was sort of shy and stuck to her mother and her favorite baby doll for much of the party.

I don't know who brought the water balloons...but my sister Anny (Skylar's mother) probably wasn't too happy with them. For some reason, when everyone started throwing balloons, they were all aimed at her. She was sopping wet by the time the mini-battle was over. Actually, I think Skylar inadvertently started it when he kept throwing the balloons at the ground and someone wanted to show him how to throw them at people...his mommy, of course.

I got some great shots of the battle with an instant camera I'd initially bought for
my vacation...and then joined in. Hey, they were already getting me wet while I took the pictures. I figured if I was going to get wet, I might as well do it with everyone else.

(I also got some nice shots of Skylar blowing a noisemaker over his Bob the Builder-themed cake and getting icing all over it, and Sky's later attempt to lick the icing off. Good thing we were about to eat the cake anyway at that point.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

I Wish I Was A Lineman For The County...

...Then I could fix this mess! X(

We had a massive thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, right before I went home from work. Though there were signs the electricity had been off, other than that, everything was fine when I arrived. The phone worked and the electricity was on (though I had to reset the clocks and air conditioner). There were no problems (and no more storms) for the rest of the afternoon. I even called my older friend Erica and told her I'd be able to volunteer on Thursday from 10 to 1, the first time I've volunteered in almost a month, thanks to my schedule. There was some static when Erica initially tried to call me, but she got through and I thought nothing of it.

Everything was fine until I tried to go online around 7:30PM. The computer kept saying it wasn't getting a dial tone, which couldn't be because everything was hooked up right. I checked three times. All the wires were fine. I finally put the wire for the house phone back (I use dial-up) and tried the house phone. Nothing. No dial tone. Just some weird buzzing. I went downstairs and called my landlady, and she said she'd call the phone company and get them to fix the problem.

I figured, that's that. This is a big area, and I'll bet they have plenty of people out, thanks to that storm. They'll be here later tonight. Well, I waited. I worked on stories. I cried. I screamed. I waited. Nothing. No phone company. No dial tone. Even the buzzing eventually stopped. Nothing. No phone. No internet.

I talked to Miss Ellie (my landlady) again this morning. She said she did call the phone company, and they were going to show...sometime Tuesday! How could that be? This big area, and they didn't have a hundred people dispatched to fix things after that huge storm?

And I couldn't do it Tuesday. I'm going down to Cape May County for my little nephew's third birthday party on Tuesday. We've planned it for weeks. I called the phone company from Miss Ellie's house. (HER phone is working just fine.) Not only did they say it was probably something in the basement (when Miss Ellie's phone was working and also comes from the basement) and would cost almost a 100 bucks, but they refused to reschedule Tuesday! I ended up getting someone to come on Wednesday morning...maybe.

I'm royally ticked off right now. I can't believe how stupid the phone company is. We live less than ten minutes from two of the largest cities in the United States of America, that storm yesterday was crazy enough and noisy enough to knock out everything within a hundred mile radius, and they STILL don't have enough people out? Why haven't they called every repair person they have? They're supposed to be doing their god-damn jobs!

I hate phone companies. I hate phones.

I'm not going to be online again until maybe Wednesday night at the earliest, which means there won't be any more updates to The Monkee Knight or this blog until then. I'm typing this at the tiny Oaklyn Library down the street from my apartment now, and I'll probably be kicked off any moment, since I've been on for almost an hour and it's busy.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hot Fun In The Summertime

Just a quick drop-in. I worked for most of today, from 11 to 5. It was steady-to-dead, surprising for a Saturday. A lot of people probably stayed at home to avoid the heat. Actually, it wasn't so much hot today as it was heavy and humid; we're supposed to have more massive thunderstorms this weekend. I worked on the Monkees story a little before work, and probably will work on it tomorrow, as I work very early, from 8:30AM to 12:30PM. I really do prefer working mornings, but I wish they had me working them consistently. I haven't worked this early since the Fourth of July.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Down Thunder Road

Just a very quick note, as I hear thunder and I was online earlier anyway. I spent most of my day off working on my Monkees fanfic and looking at job ideas online. I did see some I liked, but I haven't drawn up the courage to send resumes yet.

It was hot and humid, which is why I spent most of the day inside, though I did run to Family Dollar really quick for a few items and stopped at WaWa for fixings for meatball sandwiches and a soda from that really cool fountain with the flavored syrups.

I may start posting my Monkees story here when I get closer to finishing it; we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Summertime Blues

Sigh. It's been fairly boring since I returned from vacation. I'm not even working much. I only had twenty hours this week.

The very thought of looking for a new job scares the living daylights out of me. It's hard for me to not look in the mirror and see a child, instead of a very frightened adult who is afraid nothing will ever change. The girl no one ever accepted, because she had weird habits and liked weird things and her body suddenly turned into a woman while she remained a child.

I just don't want to be hurt again. I don't want to go somewhere and have them immediately drop me...or laugh in my face because I'm so dull, plain, and unsophisticated.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Summertime...And The Livin's Easy

It's been a quiet couple of days, which is what I hoped it would be after last week. Today, I worked on my Monkees fanfic, added my new CDs and the books my grandma gave me to my inventories, and headed down the street to Doria's Deli to pick up some turkey. It was hot today. Not even humid, just hot. I turned the air conditioner and fan back on. It started raining lightly when I swept the porch after I got back from Doria's, but I don't think it has since.

Even work was dead last night. It got a little busy around 4-5PM, rush hour time, then went right back to being dead again. I don't imagine it'll be really busy during the week again until we get closer to Labor Day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Back To Business

I more-or-less returned to the daily schedule today. Ran to the bank and did some work on my Monkees fantasy story. I'm going to try to concentrate on writing this week, since there really isn't much else I can do. I'm too broke to do any more traveling or major shopping at the moment, and I still want to rest up that knee (which got bounced around considerably on that Raging Rapids ride at Great Escape).

Watched Grand Hotel during dinner. I have the cast album for the 1989 musical, but I'd only read about the movie until now. God, that was awesome. If the Doctor really thinks nothing goes on in that hotel, he's been looking behind all the wrong doors. The starry cast really delivered, especially John and Lionel Barrymore as a Baron desperate for money and a sweet-natured former accountant determined to live life to the fullest after he discovers he's dying. (I almost cried along with Kringelin and Flammechen at the end, when he offered to take her to Paris. That was so sweet, and Joan Crawford and Lionel Barrymore did so well in that scene.)

Also went back to work, which much to my relief was busy but not much of a problem. A lot of people are probably still on vacation.

The weather behaved, too. It rained this morning, but by the time I was finished with work, it was sunny and 75 out. "Feels like a fall day," said one woman as I headed outside. I couldn't have agreed more. It felt more like a day in early September than mid-July...and I wish every day in mid-July felt this nice.
Citrus Sweet

I experimented with a low-fat version of Betty Crocker's Lemon Cake Mix and came up with this moist, sweet, low-fat winner. (You could probably use yellow or white cake mixes, too. Just add more lemon juice.)

Lemon-Lime Cake

1 Package Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix (Or your favorite lemon, yellow, or white cake mix)
1 Package Sugar-Free Jell-O Lemon Pudding Mix (Or your favorite sugar-free lemon or vanilla pudding mix)
3 Egg Whites
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1/2 cup Unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon rind (optional)
1 package Sugar-Free Lime Jell-O (or your favorite sugar-free lime gelatin mix)

Turn stove on to 350 degrees. Coat your choice of pan with cooking spray. (I used a bundt pan.) Combine all ingredients but Lime Jell-O in large mixing bowl for about five minutes or until almost smooth. Add the lime Jell-O last, mixing lightly to create swirls. (Don't mix the Jell-o too thoroughly, or you'll lose the swirl effect.) Pour into choice of pan and bake for the time indicated for that pan on cake mix box.

Makes between 12 and 24 slice or 24 cupcakes, depending on the pan used.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

And We Now Return You To Our Regularly Broadcast Blog

I got in from New England last night around 9. No major traveling problems either way this time. I ran into a little traffic going into New York on Monday, but nothing that caused any major delay; I also got lost in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. (Really, whoever designed that nightmare maze ought to be smacked with a fish. A lot.) The bus coming to Pittsfield going home was late; I barely made the New York bus.

I had a fun time with Lauren in North Adams, Massachusetts. It poured during the middle of the week, which did cancel out some of our plans. We spent a lot of time wandering around in malls. We did get to do the two major things we'd planned, though - we visited Six Flags Great Escape in upstate New York on Tuesday, and headed down to Wolf Road in Albany, a mecca of malls and huge shops, on Friday.

FYE was having a buy three used DVDs get one free sale; I picked up Galaxy Quest, Grand Hotel, Superman: The Movie (the original cut on DVD), and Superman Returns, the last of which I've been dying to see. The massive FYE in Albany yielded a huge room filled with nothing but heavily discounted jazz, country, oldies, and import CDs and random weird videos. I picked up CDs for Mandy Patikin, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy (who are impossible to find on CD), and two British imports featuring Broadway music and performers. Lauren picked up seven CDs (though two country discs were for her father).

Great Escape was probably the most fun of our excursions. Between my bad knee and Lauren's motion sickness we were only able to go on a few rides, but we enjoyed what we did. The Grand Prix Raceway-with-50s-cars Thunder Alley and the Raging Rapids water rapids rides were the biggest hits. Lauren loves Raging Rapids so much, we rode it four times, three in a row. (We also rode the carousel, snapped a few pictures of the gorgeous view from the Ferris Wheel, and saw a very good Elvis impersonator and a cute Loony Tunes stage show parodying American Idol.)

The Arcade proved to be a disappointment. Last year, it had many Skee-Ball machines and other games of chance that could allow you to earn tickets you could turn in for points. Sadly, the skee-ball machines were moved to another building (and were all broken), and the other games were gone, replaced by basic video game machines. We did win some stuffed animals on boardwalk-style games, though. (I got a white lamb. She's adorable. :) )

Making up for this somewhat was, probably thanks to gorgeous, 70-degree weather, the characters were out in full force. I think I got a shot of every Loony Tune in Warner's roster at one time or another, two or three of Daffy, my favorite. (It was so hot when we went last year, we only saw two characters, and that as we were leaving.)

We spent a lot of a rained-out Wednesday and Thursday playing Lauren's new Nintendo Wii. Once you get the hang of it, that thing rocks. We played just about every two-player game we could open in Mario Party 8, and Lauren showed me Big Brain Academy and Super Paper Mario and even made a Mii of me! (She's slightly plump, wears red, and has wavy-ish hair and a round face and glasses.)

The other big highlight was seeing the new version of Hairspray in a brand-new theater five minutes from Lauren's house. I had to talk Lauren into it, but I'm glad I did, because we had a blast. That movie so sooo fun. As awesome as Michelle Pfiffer, Queen Latifa, James Marsden, and the kids were, John Travolta and Christopher Walken stole the show as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, the supportive parents of vivacious Tracy, a big girl with an even bigger heart and an amazing talent for picking up hot dances. Their "You're Timeless To Me" duet had the theater in stitches and was probably the film's best number. Travolta was so good, there were times you'd forget he was a man in a fat suit and really see a timid, large-waisted housewife coming out of her shell.

We ate out every day. In addition to small food court booths, we took in Uno Bar and Grill (coming back from Great Escape), Olive Garden (in Albany - the Venetian Apricot Chicken was divine), and two local restaurants that are favorites of Lauren's, Boston Seafood in North Adams and The Highland in Pittsfield. (The latter has great spaghetti at terrific prices.)

I'm not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. I hate work so much, and this week off just emphasized it. It was so nice to spend a week with someone I felt comfortable with, who accepted me for what I am. I'm gonna miss Lauren this week. She went on her second week of vacation with her folks, taking a bus tour to Cleveland to see a Red Sox-Indians game.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Turner Classic Head

Ok, I lied. THIS is the last entry until I get back from New England.

I was so excited about my vacation, I forgot to mention good ol' Turner Classic Movies now has an entry for The Monkees' strange-but-tuneful cult film Head in their database, as well as an article on it for their new late-night cult film show Turner Classic Underground.

I knew they had good taste. ;)


Just dropping a quick blog entry, probably my last until I return from New England. I spent the morning packing and listening to the Beatles show on WOGL. It was so nice to be able to listen to the whole show! I haven't done that in at least a month. Heck, it was nice to not have to go into work on a Sunday for a change!

I ran to CVS really quick after the Beatles ended to pick up a few odds and ends. I could have taken a longer walk, but it was way too hot! I did, however, drop by Bruce and Ken's to confirm my departure time with Bruce (who'll be driving me to the Greyhound bus terminal in Mt. Laurel tomorrow morning). I also got a chance to say good-bye to Bruce's girlfriend Jodie and Miss Nancy, my kindly neighbor who is also a close friend of Uncle Ken's. (She, her family, and my landlady will be keeping an eye on my apartment while I'm gone this week.)

I spent the remainder of the day watching travel-and-vacation-related Disney and Garfield cartoons and trying to get rid of as much food in my refrigerator as possible.

Everyone have a great week!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Vacation: The Most Glorious Word In The English Language

I woke up early to run to the bank, then did my five-hour shift at the Acme. Work was steady when I came in at 10, stone-dead by the time I left at 3. Plenty of help, no major problems. Many people had just returned from vacations of their own (if their massive restocking orders were any indication - some orders numbered as much as $600) and were in great moods.

Who could be in a bad mood anyway, between a glorious day and the knowledge that I wouldn't be setting foot in the Acme again for over a week? I went straight to Uncle Ken's after work to do my laundry, which I did. Uncle Ken and his girlfriend Dolores were working on new railings for the porch. Bruce, Jessa, and Bruce's girlfriend Jodie went to some graduation/pool party and were gone pretty much the whole time I was there.

I hit the pool after I put the laundry in the dryer. It was great! The water was warm; the air was breezy and hot but not humid. There couldn't have been a more perfect July day. I swam for about a half-hour. The doctor told me I'd have my knee up for a week, then could exercise it for four, and what better way to exercise a bad knee than with simple swimming moves? I felt more refreshed and energized after that swim than I have in...years, maybe. I just felt so GOOD.

Even the TV was on my side. Bruce had TCM on when I arrived; they were running the last 20 minutes of Casablanca, one of my all-time favorite films. The movie that came on afterwards, Murder of the Orient Express, was equally good. (I'm lucky there was something interesting on for a change; I usually bring a book when I do the laundry, but I was in such a hurry after I got back from work, I forgot).

Most of tomorrow is going to be spent packing. I want to bring far less this time than I did last time so it'll be a lot easier to haul my luggage around four bus terminals. I'll make a quick run to CVS for trial-sized shampoo and conditioner in the morning. (I didn't like the brands the Acme carried, though I did get trial-sized deodorant from them.)

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Strangest Bit of "Magic" On Broadway

Ok, I'm completely with Playbill.com here. Not only is there a stage version of the very bad 1982 movie "Xanadu" on Broadway, but it seems to have received GOOD reviews! ;)

Tell Everybody I'm On My Way

Did my first chore in over a week today. I decided to test my knee by returning a book that needed to go back to the Oaklyn Library. It was so hot, I stopped a Doria's Deli on West Clinton Avenue on the way back and picked up a diet soda as a treat. (I seldom drink soda anymore. It's not good for your bones, and I'm not really that big on diet soda. It has an awful aftertaste.)

My knee was sore, but not bad; certainly better than when I hurt it last year. It's not fun, but I can walk on it. This will be the last day I have it on the heating pad. The doctor said to have it on the heating pad and rest it as much as possible for a week, then exercise it. He even gave me a couple of pages of simple knee exercises to do.

Work was busy, but went fast, and nothing worse happened than a couple giving me attitudes because their food stamp card wouldn't work. Tomorrow's my last day of work before vacation; I also need to run to the bank and do my laundry.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lazy Day

My day began in darkness. I awoke at 3:15AM to the sounds of nothing. There was no light at all, not even from the clock on the wooden crate I use for a bedstand. The air conditioner and fan weren't even running. I stumbled to the bathroom (my bladder woke me up in the first place), then stumbled to the front door and stuck my head out. It was freezing, especially compared to yesterday's heat! I pulled back in and switched the air conditioner off, then grabbed a flashlight. As I returned to bed, my alarm clock blinked back to life, and the fan started whirring again.

Today is the last day I can get away with doing more-or-less nothing. I watched The Muppet Movie, listened to Broadway cast albums with traveling or vacation themes (the 1953 Shirley Booth vehicle By The Beautiful Sea and the original 1949 Carol Channing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), made muffins for Lauren's parents as a thank-you present, and worked on that Monkees fanfic.

I didn't even do much at work. We were dead for most of the day, thanks to hot but dry weather. They did ask me to stay later (I should have known a lot of the teenagers wouldn't want to work on the first gorgeous day we've had since before the Fourth), but I declined - I appreciated the offer, but I'm not supposed to be working on my knee at all, much less extra hours. They really need to start hiring more reliable people.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rest I Need, Yes

Spent all of today inside, resting my knee. The most I did was make up a list of things I need to pack, work a little on my Monkees fairy-tale fanfic, and (finally) take out the trash. I took it out at the right time, too. About 20 minutes after I got in, the thunderstorm that had threatened all day finally rolled in. It was noisy and violent; we even briefly lost power at one point.

I'm going to continue to rest the knee tomorrow until (and after) work. I'll test it on Friday with a quick trip to the Oaklyn Library down the street (I need to return a book that's actually due the Monday I leave for New England).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

And The Heat Goes On

Urgh. The heat wave continues in the South Jersey/Camden area. Hit 97 today, with humidity making it feel like 100. Thankfully, unlike last year, the heat doesn't appear to be sticking around. It's supposed to return to the 80s by the end of the week. (And please, PLEASE let it stay that way for my vacation!)

I did go out and buy sandals with Rose this morning. That was a pain and a half. Most of the styles we saw that weren't chunky, sporty guy-style Birkenstocks had high heels, practically no tread, and/or nothing on the back. Why do women's clothes styles have to be soooo impractical right now? I finally settled on a simple pair of dark-brown, sling-back sandals I found at Sears.

Work was ghost-town dead when I came in, but got busier as people started to come home from work and it got cooler. Thank goodness I'm off tomorrow; I intend to spend the entire day resting my knee and beating the heat.

Have a few ripe peaches sitting around, but it's too hot to make them into cakes, crisps, or cobblers? Here's an easy dessert that can be done on any stove top, without turning your house into a sauna during the Dog Days of Summer.

Serves one.

Peach Yogurt Dessert

butter cooking spray
2 small peaches
2 tablespoons unpacked brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4-6 oz Light Peach Yogurt (I used Dannon's Light n' Fit, but you can use your favorite)

Coat a small nonstick frying pay with butter-flavored cooking spray. Pit two small, very ripe peaches, then slice into wedges. Cook peaches on medium heat for three to five minutes, or until soft. Add brown sugar; cook again for another five minutes. Remove; top with peach yogurt.

I call it a dessert, but I actually had it for lunch today; would probably make a great breakfast topped with granola or cereal, too!

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Day With The Monkees, A Night With My Sister

I did end up spending most of the day pretty much the way I figured I would - watching Monkees episodes with my knee under a heating pad. (In fact, the knee is back under a heating pad as I write this.) To stretch and keep the knee from getting stiff, I did little things around the apartment I've been meaning to do - make my bed (which I only do once a century - who's gonna see it?), glue the bottom part onto a small red shelf I bought from the thrift shop that fell off the nails I had it on, pick up a hundred small items I left on tables and shelves.

I did see Rose today...around 6:30PM. May have been just as well. I finally got her to visit Uncle Ken and Bruce (she hasn't been over there since last fall), and I ate a pleasant meal of Cornmeal-Battered Tilapia, green beans, and jambalaya with her, her boyfriend Craig, and their puppies Toby and Kelsey and their cat Bob. (I didn't see much of Bob - he was understandably avoiding the frisky dogs.)

Rose and I are going to get together again tomorrow so she can return something to Old Navy and I can buy sandals to replace the flip-flops that I slipped on. (Flip-flops are probably not the best things for a klutz to be wearing anyway.)
Memo From Linda - It's 8 About Me

Tagged by Linda Young

Here are the rules.

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged must make a post about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don't forget to leave them each a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I like little kids' cartoons, like "Dora the Explorer" or "The Backyardigans"...and I have no young children of my own (or any kids at all). I think it started in college. I had a lot of evening and night classes during my first two years, and pretty much the only things on TV in the morning and early afternoon are bad movies, talk shows, news, cartoons for toddlers, and soap operas. The cartoons were the only things I could really tolerate.

2. I come from a very clumsy family. My mother just got over a toe she broke when she kicked the side of a bed. I broke my toe in high school when I kicked the side of my sister's foot while doing a kick line to "(Theme From) New York, New York" and have twisted my ankle badly at least three times. (It was less fun in college, when I lived by myself and had to climb a steep concrete stairway on crutches.) My sister Rose broke her wrist at least three times three years in a row as a child and received countless scars and injuries playing soccer in high school. (While I, oddly enough, never got worse than a few bruises playing field hockey.) My brother has scars and bruises everywhere from football and soccer.

3. I get randomly addicted to weird things. My childhood Star Wars addiction may have been the most normal; I've been obsessed with everything from the Japanese girls' anime Sailor Moon to the American Girls' kids book series. I'll usually abandon something and come back to it, with slightly less fervor but no less interest (I've been back to Star Wars countless times, but I never quite got as into it as I did in 1988-1990), but sometimes I'll just write my addiction off as a phase and never pick it up again. Pokemon could count as one obsession I never quite regained interest in (it got too complicated after they started releasing more than 151, though I do still have all the toys I picked up in college). Figure skating, my big thing between 1993 and 1995, was another. (To this day, I have no idea where the figure skating came from. I'd never even ice skated at that point.)

(Incidentally, if my Monkee-a-thon in the last few days is any indication, I think I'm swinging back to the Monkees fandom. Time will tell.)

4. Until last year, I'd never lived more than 20 minutes from a seaside resort. I was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, grew up in Cape May, West Cape May, and North Cape May, NJ, went to college 20 minutes west of Atlantic City, and moved to Wildwood a month after finishing college, where I lived for four years.

5. I have this thing for Texans. My first serious crush was a boy whose Coast Guard family moved here from Texas. His name was Josh Kingston, and he had the most gorgeous accent I'd ever heard. He was one of the only boys in fourth and fifth grade I sort of semi-got-along with. Sadly, we had a nasty argument one day in fifth grade, and I never saw him again; his family moved back to Texas shortly afterwards, and he never told me.

When I finally got my first (and so far only) real boyfriend in college, I found out he was born in New Jersey, but did live for a few years in Texas. He didn't have an accent, but he was a Dallas Cowboys fan (which I, a big Philadelphia Eagles fan, used to tease him about).

Native Texan Mike Nesmith is my favorite Monkee (followed closely by childhood favorite Micky Dolenz).

On a somewhat related note...

6. I've only had one serious boyfriend in my entire life. I met him at a coffee house in college, and we kept dating even after we graduated. He broke it off about three years ago. I haven't dated since, or met any boys I've even close to liked.

7. I was a major couch potato as a child. I'd spend the whole day watching sitcom reruns, old game shows, and cartoons, much to the annoyance of my mother, who couldn't fathom watching anything that wasn't an art project for that long. Contrary to what Mom thinks, I'd generally lost interest in the boob tube by the time she had the cable turned off in 1992 (for what turned out to be almost ten years). Most of my favorite shows were off the air or in their last seasons, and their replacements weren't as interesting.

Nowadays, I share Mom's habit of reading or working or just doing SOMETHING when I watch TV. I also don't have cable; what's the point of having cable for one when you only watch three or four channels anyway, and about three-fourths of what you like is on DVD or video?

8. Despite my fondness for classic rock and show tunes, I've never been to a concert, and the closest I've gotten to seeing a professional Broadway show is attending a performance of a touring version of Miss Saigon at the Forrest Theater in Philadelphia with my French class in 1996. Both are too expensive for a struggling single writer, concerts get notoriously crazy, and I don't really have anyone to go with.

I just tag...


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Monkee Mania Beats the Heat

Very quiet day today. I worked unusually early this morning, from 9:30 to 1:30. I was rather surprised it was steady but not incredibly busy - it usually is on Sundays. I guess everyone really did run to the Shore this time.

Not that I can actually blame them. It's supposed to hit 100 tomorrow, and it wasn't exactly comfortable out today. I escaped the heat by spending the afternoon inside, watching "Monkees" episodes and eating frozen yogurt and home-made peach-apple sorbet and keeping my knee under a heating pad, as instructed by my doctor.

Sounds like more of the same tomorrow. I may get together with Rose tomorrow morning if she's not busy, but most of the day will probably be spent under a heating pad, laughing at the Monkees' crazy antics.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Surprises, Pleasant and Otherwise

I did return to work today after calling out yesterday because of the bad knee...and I found out I'd have to lose my extra holiday pay because of it! I had no idea you lose your extra pay if you call out the day before or after you work on a holiday. I talked Donna, one of the head managers, into making yesterday a personal day. (Which it was, really.) I need that extra money for vacation.

(Other than that, work was busy and passed without incident.)

I ended up having a lovely evening, though. My uncle picked me up around quarter of 5 (I had to do some grocery shopping I couldn't put off after work) and invited me to a birthday party some neighbors and their children were holding in his pool. (He's very close with most of his neighbors; he's probably known some for decades.) I spent at least an hour and a half in the pool and kept my knee on a raft or flotation device for almost the entire time.

The kids were a lot of fun, though most of them had been swimming for hours by the time I arrived. The adults were a bit on the tipsy side by that point, but some of them did join us; two of the fathers amused their offspring with three or four variations on cannonballs. A long tube that shot water was also a big hit. One cute young lady (the birthday girl, in fact) was just learning how to swim and spent at least an hour on a body board.

Friday, July 06, 2007

What's Goin' On

I went to the doctor's office this afternoon. The knee just hurt too much to ignore it this time, and I wanted a professional opinion. I called Uncle Ken, who took me to the doctor in Haddon Heights that Bruce and Jessa use. He was a pleasant, youngish Asian fellow with an almost shy manner. I also had a small check-up - found out I've lost another pound since I last checked my scale (which means I've now lost 23).

The verdict - sprained knee, probably a torn ligament. I'm to put heat on it and try to stay off of it as much as possible for a week, then exercise it the week after. I called out of work (I only had four hours today and the extra Fourth of July money should make up for it somewhat) and spent the rest of the day watching Monkees episodes (they never fail to cheer me up) and reading that Summer of Love issue of Rolling Stone with my knee under a heating pad. I made a simple dinner (grilled turkey with tomato and spinach, no cheese) and a low-fat chilled dessert (Peach-Apple Sorbet).

(I don't normally read Rolling Stone, partially because I disagree with their treatment of the Monkees. They're some of the only people who still write them off as just a made-for-TV band. I say...guys, they only started out as a TV band and were really talented, so give credit where credit is due, please. The only times the Monkees turn up in any of the Summer Of Love articles is when Peter Tork discusses his very popular home in Laurel Canyon in the LA piece, in a reference to Jimi Hendrix quitting the tour, and in the last page, despite their being one of the number-one bands in the world and having the top albums and two of the top singles of the year. Not to mention Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz were among the musicians attending the Monterey Pop Festival.)

I'm not going to be able to take the whole week off, especially since I'm still going on vacation the week after. (Lauren and I discussed it last night; it's fine, we'll just have to revise our schedule somewhat.) I'll just have to stand on one leg a lot, rest the leg when I get home, and try not to eat too much junk, since I can't exercise for a while. I hate to do it, but I'll probably need rides to work until I go away, too.

(I do have three errands I really do need to pull off, though. I need to go grocery shopping, I need to go to the bank, and I need to buy new sandals.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

When You Scream, Nobody Hears You

It happened again.

I was going to Uncle Ken's to do my laundry. It was raining, but not hard. I put on flip-flops and got moving, figuring I wouldn't take too long anyway.

On my way down the steps from my apartment, I slipped. The bad knee turned, and the next thing I know, I'm sitting on the third-to-last step, screaming and crying, with a badly bruised right thigh, a knee shrieking in pain, a bare foot, and laundry everywhere. (Good thing I put that copy of Rolling Stone in a plastic bag. It cost me almost 8 bucks.)

I live in an apartment in the back of a house, on a dead-end side street in a small town in New Jersey. I kept screaming "No! No! Not again!" and sobbing. Like last year when I fell off my bike, no one heard me. No one ran to help me or to find out what the commotion was. No one offered aid, or asked what was wrong. No one was there. It was just me with one bare foot and a re-twisted knee, sitting amid a pile of (really) dirty socks, underwear, shirts, Acme uniforms, sheets, and pillowcases.

I did finally get to Uncle Ken's. He wasn't angry (he never is), but he did scold me for not telling him when I was going to come. I thought I was coming earlier, but I slept in and then it started pouring. I did get the laundry done; put my knee on ice while it ran, read Rolling Stone, and watched black and white sitcoms on TV Land.

(My favorite of what I saw was an extremely weird I Love Lucy episode with Lucy dreaming she was in Scotland, she and Ricky were in kilts, and Fred and Ethel were a two-headed dragon that was going to eat her. You've never lived until you've seen a Cuban man in a kilt attempting a Scottish accent and two middle-aged comedians in a very fat and very silly dragon costume with "his" and "hers" bibs. Oh, and it was a musical, too. Bizarre but hilarious. The Paris episode, with Lucy getting into trouble after buying counterfeit Francs, was also fun, though more typical of the show.)

I guess I'm still in shock a little. I can't believe this happened again. It's just like last year; I hurt myself, maybe for good, and no one helps me. Where are people when you need them? Uncle Ken was so doped up on his diabetes medication, he spent most of the time I was there zonked out. Everyone else is probably at work, on vacation, or hiding from the rain.

I'll call Rose and Mom after I get off. I had to get online now; normally I wait until around 8PM (I have dial-up and I prefer to wait until I'm less likely to get phone calls), but if I didn't get all this off my chest, I'd go insane.

I'm afraid to call Mom. I'm afraid she'll either get mad at me for doing this again and getting upset (she hates it when I cry) or worry too much. Rose has been sooo flaky lately, although I think part of that has to do with the wedding of one of her best friends a few weeks ago. I wonder if I could get her to come over here, instead of me going there. I think her dogs Toby and Kelsey and cat Bob are adorable, and her boyfriend Craig is a really nice guy, but her house is crazy with two puppies around. I don't think any of us would get much rest. Besides, I still owe her for helping me out last year. Maybe we could finally talk.

I just had Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on. For me, Sgt. Pepper is nostalgia of another kind. When I hear it, I think not of the summer of 1967, but of the spring of 1993. I'd just gotten my first CD Walkman, which I plugged into my stereo and turned into a kind of portable CD player, and Mom bought me two CDs for my birthday. I think they both came from Vibrations, a now-defunct music store in North Cape May, since I'd seen both there - Sgt. Pepper and the 1952 original cast album for the Cole Porter musical Can-Can, best known for the debut of New York stage diva Gwen Verdon. Yes, I still have both. (In fact, I believe the copy of Can-Can I have has since gone out of print and is considered collectable.) I listened to them all summer long. I knew the Beatles in crazy Day-Glo military uniforms long before I knew them in plain gray suits, and I still prefer their later music (from about Revolver onwards) to their earlier stuff.

I just don't understand it. Why did God let this happen to me - once again right before a vacation that means so much? What is it the Gods (all of them) have against me? What am I going to do now? What about cleaning and my yoga and pilates? How will I lose weight if I hurt when I move? How will I even walk down the stairs again without dreading it?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

United We Get Wet

First of all, "Welcome to the Hotel California" will be up sometime this weekend. It definitely won't be up tonight. I've had a loooong day, which I will explain below.

Second, Happy Fourth of July to all my American readers!

Third, I hope your Fourth was much drier than mine. I did go to work early this morning, around 7:30. This is not the earliest I've worked (that would be the day after the Fourth of July 2003 in Wildwood - I opened the store at 6AM and have not opened any store since), but it still took a lot out of me. I wish I was used to it, but I'm not. I usually work later in the afternoon.

Work was busy but relatively pleasant except for one incident. A woman wanted to buy two 24 packs of water this morning, but she thought they were $2.50. No matter how much I tried to explain it was the 6 packs that were $2.50, she wouldn't listen...and then when she did listen and opt to take Acme's generic water, they were STILL too expensive for her...on sale! One of nature's natural resources, something she could get out of a tap, and she made all that fuss!

My afternoon was much quieter. I went home, had lunch, rested, did yoga, and went over to my older friend Erica's, since she seemed to be the only person I knew who wasn't on vacation or at a party. She'd just returned from vacation; we chatted, played with her cat Honey, and watched the 1942 Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy romantic comedy "Woman of the Year." (Now that's romantic comedy done RIGHT!)

She invited me over to her friend's house, but I declined. I like Mary Anne, but I was worried I'd feel awkward among Erica's older friends. I'd be the only 30-something there. I went out to the Newton Diner and had half a burger and fries instead.

I did go to the fireworks in Cooper River Park on my own. I had a splendid view from in front of the CVS on the border of Collingswood and Oaklyn. Heck, I actually got to see 1 and 1/2 fireworks shows, not something many people who didn't flip around on TV tonight can claim. I watched the whole Oaklyn/Collingswood show, then watched some of Haddon Township's fireworks in the distance before heading into CVS to buy a copy of this month's Rolling Stone (there's extensive articles on rock history and the 1967 "Summer Of Love") and heading home.

Unfortunately, I got caught in the rain for the third time today walking home...this time in a downpour. Every single article of clothing on my body was sopping wet when I finally got into my apartment, even my undergarments. I was lucky I got home when I did, too - not only does it still appear to be pouring out there, but the wind's picked up, too.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Role Play Coming Soon!

Oh, and we're finishing the role-play tonight. Look for it sometime late this week or this weekend.
All American Pains In the Rear

Work was a pain today. It was crazy-busy, with lines into the eisles, from about 2:30 to right when I left at quarter of 7. We had a lot of the obnoxious beginning-of-the-month people, and if they weren't beginning-of-the-month people, they were in a hurry to go to this picnic or that party. Someone spilled barbecue sauce in my line, which wouldn't have been such a big deal if people had paid attention to the baggers cleaning the spill up and the dark register light and stopped coming in. No, people ignored the light and ignored ME and just kept coming in, even an Acme employee who should have known better. People were just in such a hurry to get back to their family reunions and picnics.

I thought all the newspapers said everyone was down at the Shore!

I'm hoping tomorrow won't be nearly as bad. I work very, very early for me, from 7:30AM to 1PM. I'll get hit with the lunch rush, but hopefully most people will be in parades or at family barbecues by then.

Wow, I think one of the local towns are setting off fireworks. That's too noisy for illegal ones!
This Is Pretty Accurate...

Thanks to Linda Young.

You Are a Turkey Sandwich

Conservative and a bit shy, you tend to stick with what you know and trust.
You are very introverted, and you prefer to blend in whenever possible.
Though you may be hard to know well, anyone who does know you considers you a true friend.

Your best friend: The Ham Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Tuna Fish Sandwich

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mr. Sun Comes Out To Play

Mother Nature has returned to a more amiable frame of mind; today was about 80 degrees, windy but otherwise dry, sunny, and comfortable. I took advantage of the lovely morning to go for a long walk around the neighborhood. I tried the playground at the Oaklyn-Lions Park behind the elementary school on Kendall Boulevard first, but it was filled with kids (probably from one of the three or four local daycare centers and day camps), so I moved on and made brief trips to the library and Doria's Deli instead. (I needed turkey lunchmeat and brown sugar at the latter; they have good prices for brown sugar, better than the Acme or the Super Fresh's.)

Work was steady but not insane until right up to when I left. I thankfully seem to have just missed the rush hour, coming-home-from-work crowd. It should be busier tomorrow, as anyone who didn't use this week for their vacation to the shore, the Poconos, or Atlantic City will be picking up last-minute items for their Fourth of July parties.

Oh, and Lauren and I finished the main story of "Hotel California" tonight. We should be finished with the whole thing tomorrow, and I imagine it'll be up by the weekend. I really want it up by next Monday at the latest, and certainly before vacation.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Warmth of the Sun

What a gorgeous day! It was sunny and cool, with a few clouds and no humidity. I worked early for me today and it was steady, just getting busier when I left.

I'm so happy I worked early today. I got a chance to go bike riding in the parks down by Westmont and Collingswood. I had to return Tomb of the Golden Bird anyway (I won't have the time tomorrow or this week at all, really), so I rode over to the library, dropped the book in the book drop, and went to a great little dollar store in a small shopping center down the street. I love that place. They have great cheap holiday decorations, including paper cut-outs. (I prefer paper hangings to plastic window clings that look tacky and never want to stick.) They also sell every kind of spice, flavoring, and shakeable item known to man. I've bought most of my spices from there. I picked up three large cardboard stars in red, white and silver (they're now up on the back wall in the dining area of the living room) and a bottle of imitation vanilla extract. (I'm not paying 9 bucks a bottle for the real stuff.)

By the way, Tomb of the Golden Bird was good but a tad disappointing, especially compared with the excellent novels preceeding it. I may just have had too high of expectations for this one (this is the one where King Tut's tomb is found), but it seemed confusing and the ending was more of an anti-climax than anything.

By the way, it's time Elizabeth Peters really started whittling down the character list for the Amelia series. As fond as I am of Amelia, Emerson, and their massive extended family, the cast is getting so big, they needed three pages in this book just to let the readers know who's who and who knows who and who works for who.