Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much, but blogging is trippy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More thoughts...



a. I'm making roast beef for dinner tonight. I can't actually say "roast beef." I always say "roast beast," like a properly-raised longtime Dr. Seuss reader.

2. Japanese beetles like sweet basil as much as I do.

III. Algebra is hard. That's why I majored in history.

D. "Grits to Glitz" has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Wouldn't it make a nice... entertainment venue? Don't you think a thing named "Grits to Glitz" would be full of interesting observations and commentary and stories? Yes, we thought so, too.

5. Roast beast, just before it's ready, smells so good that one really can't concentrate on blogging.

Embracing the sunrise

I am not a morning person.

Oh, no. Not me. I am a night owl. I like it when it's dark outside.

But today, I got up at an insane hour just to work on our vacation plans. Now, that's devotion.

I called Disney World starting at 6:55 to try to book a fireworks cruise.

If you're not a Disney freak, then you should know that not only are there fireworks at WDW, but you can also pay to ride a boat around a lake and watch fireworks at the same time. Sounds like a downer when I put it that way, doesn't it? But it's so cool. I *love* fireworks cruises.

You can only try to book those boats 90 days before the date on which you'd like to cruise. And there are fewer boats available than there are people who want to ride around in 'em. So you have to get up at the crack of dawn and start dialing. It helps if you know the automated operator directories that you have to get through before you even get a human being. There are *five* such directories.

I was very surprised to get through all five directories and hear a human's voice at the other end of the line, but I managed to say, "I'd like to book an 8 pm specialty cruise, please!" The girl asked, "Illuminations or Wishes?" I replied Illuminations and -- surprise! -- I got it!!!

(This experience is SO not Wendy's, huh?)

The last time we did an Illuminations cruise, the year was 2000 and the kids were 6 and 11. Sniffle! They grow up so fast.

Oh, I hope we don't get the captain in trouble this year!

So for once, I'm happy to be awake early in the morning. Maybe I'll do something productive today! Or... maybe I'll just sit and stare at my vacation plans.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sniffle & sob

Oooo, today was quite a day. The first part was rather ordinary -- algebra and homeschooling and drinking coffee and such -- but the second half was downright extraordinary.

Wesley and I went on a date. Movies and dinner. It was veddy, veddy nice to put on make-up and get out of the house for a while. The movie, unfortunately, was not the best choice. I had been slobbering to see "The Lake House," because I was laboring under the misconception that it would be a good, romantic movie. I wasn't sure if it was a romantic comedy -- my favorite genre -- but I thought it would at least be pretty good. I like Sandra Bullock, after all, and sometimes Keanu Reeves isn't too horrid.

Oh. Wow. Y'all, you need to run out not to see this movie. You can wait until it's on HBO. Don't even rent the DVD; that's a waste of moolah. This flick has holes big enough to drive a truck through -- no, a whole *convoy* of trucks. And worst of all -- WORST of ALL --

They used fake plastic tree branches instead of a real maple branch. Those fake plastic leaves weren't even remotely maple-shaped. This is a movie with a budget so big it could afford Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, but they couldn't even pop for a couple of maple sprigs? Oy, vey!!

There were other significant problems with the flick, but the maple tree thing is symbolic of the whole series of problems that this script presented. It could have been good. Goodness knows they had a good cast and good basic premise. The entire rest of the movie just couldn't deliver... mostly because whoever was dressing the set couldn't figure out what maple leaves really look like.

The dog was *excellent* casting.

So that was the movie portion of the date. Then we moved on to dinner at the Bonefish Grill. I recently read a survey which named Bonefish Grill in the top 10 restaurants from the entire country. (Obviously, they meant franchises and chains. The Bonefish Grill ranked higher than P.F. Changs, and y'all know how much I love P.F. Changs!)

The cosmopolitan was *wonderful*. The crabcakes appetizer -- with a wasabi sauce that was out of this world - was divine. The citrus herb vinaigrette on the house salad was incredible. The bread with the olive oil dipping sauce was magnificent.

Then I got the entree.

*Ugh*.

I don't think I'll ever order swordfish again, much less swordfish with bacon, gorgonzola, and some strange sauce. I like bacon, I like cheese, and I like sauce. I even like swordfish. Put them all together, and no, I do not like them, Sam I Am. I do not like green eggs and ham!

Wesley suggested we swap entrees, so I tried his cedar-plank salmon. Ugh. I didn't like *it*, either!!!!! The cedar was entirely too charred and the whole thing tasted burnt as a result.

I sent my entree back to the kitchen. Wesley kind of turned green, because we were paying $21 for an entree that I was rejecting in its entirety based solely on my tastes. There was nothing *wrong* with the swordfish. I just didn't like it. He thought maybe we should get it boxed and take it home to the kids, and I said, "No, honey, the kids will not eat that stuff. Trust me."

The manager came out and asked me what was wrong with the entree, and I confessed that there was nothing wrong, it was exactly what I ordered and was probably perfectly prepared. I wouldn't know how perfectly prepared it was, though, because I just didn't like it.

He was really, *really* nice and took the entree off our bill. He really didn't have to -- there was nothing wrong with the dish. (OK, I also didn't like the over-cooked zucchini or the watery mashed potatoes, but.... y'know. WhatEV. The veggies weren't the expensive part of the meal.)

Wesley wiped the sweat off his brow, and he finished his stinky salmon. I don't know what side dish he got.

And the thing is -- I would go back to the Bonefish Grill. I would! Those crabcakes were the stuff that dreams are made of! The salad with the citrus herb vinaigrette was yummy!!!! The bread was really good!!!! Next time I'll try the chicken or the pork chops or the filet mignon, and maybe one of *those* dishes will be more to my liking.

That was just the first part of the evening.

When I got home, I had to do laundry, organize the kids, and call Disney.

What's that? Yes, I called Disney World!!!!!! We're going at the end of September, and we had some questions about our billing. (Long story, too long to post here, but basically, if you're going to WDW and you made your reservations on the Internet -- although technically we didn't -- you can't pay the balance before you get to WDW.) (Trust me on this.)

So, Wesley and Woodrow and I lit a mosquito lamp and took to the porch. I dialed up WDW, and waited through the automated operator system to get a real, live person.

At the last part of the automated operator system, I was put on hold. And then I got the music.

You know the music? Whenever someone puts you on hold, you get music?

Well, when you call Walt Disney World, you get Disney music. And this time, I got Sarah MacLachlan's immortal and sublime "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2.

Aaaaaaaaeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"When She Loved Me" is the saddest song in the Disney catalog. It's sadder than "Baby Mine" from Dumbo, and Dumbo was released in 1941, back when people really knew how to write sad songs.

Now, I am always darned near crying over Disney music anyway, but the two songs most guaranteed to make me bawl my eyes out *immediately* are "Baby Mine" and "When She Loved Me."

And here's that number one, most-likely-to-induce-sobs song, "When She Loved Me."

So within about four words on the phone, I was tearing up and crying. Another six words, and I was actively crying out loud. Wesley and Woodrow were both very anxious to know why I was crying so darned hard, and I choked out, "Sarah MacLach--- sob! -- lan! When She -- sniffle! -- Loved Me!!!! snort, sob!"

Wesley laughed out loud.

Woodrow groaned and threw his hands up in the air.

All I could think was, "If Mama had ever heard this song, she wouldn't have made me sing 'Danny Boy,' she would have made me listen to 'When She Loved Me'!"

[True story: My mother thought the most hilarious thing in the world was making me try to sing "Danny Boy" without breaking down in tears. I never did it before she died. And she always thought it was completely hilarious.]

I listened to all of "When She Loved Me" and cried through the whole thing. And then -- and then! -- the Disney rep answered the phone.

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!

Here I was, sniffling and sobbing over such a pretty song, and now I'm s'posed to be coherent and smart enough to ask intelligent questions?

I reiterate -- ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I pulled myself together and *told* the rep why I was crying. His name was Milton, and he said he totally understood. I love Disney cast members. Most of them really *get it*.

I did manage to ask him my stupid Q's, and he did answer them. But man, the minute I was off the phone, I was crying again, and Wesley was laughing again, and Woodrow was disgusted with me again.

Just another manic Monday -- right?

Sniffle!!!!!!!

Pareo ramblings


Because I would not stop for the mail.....

It kindly stopped for me.

(Sorry, I have Emily Dickinson on the brain right now. First Amy calls me up and tells me that all of Dickinson's poems can be sung to the tune of "Yellow Rose of Texas." I'll save you the headache -- no, they can't. But it's fun to try to make them fit. Then Miss Snark recommended Emily Dickinson to someone who wanted to read some good poetry. It must be Belle of Amherst time or something.)

Anyway, I received my prize package from Islands magazine for the essay that they liked. Yes, the sappy essay. They posted it at http://www.islands.com/readeressays/ . I'm fairly sure they gave it a title with the word "lost" something-or-other. It's very sappy. Oh, I looked it up. My story is at the link to "Lost In Time." Take a napkin with you if you go to read it. It's really saccharine.

Regardless -- the pareo came in the mail the other day, and I've been trying to get Emily to model it for a photo, but she keeps refusing. So I draped it over the herb garden for this photo. It's quite bright and pretty. I like it. If I were skinny, I would wear it.

The most fun part of the prize package, however, was a glossy, four-color brochure about how to wear a pareo. Emily looked at the brochure while I was cooing over the piece of cloth itself, and she gasped, "Mama! These people... these girls... these people are... NAKEY!!!!!"

I looked at the brochure myself, and sure enough, those models are entirely devoid of clothing whilst wrapping themselves cheerfully in pareos. Some of the girls wear leis to cover their top halves. Some of them don't. All of them are absolutely ecstatic to be nakey.

So if you are a gorgeous, dark-skinned, exotic Tahitian girl, you, too, can go nakey under your pareo!

Me, I think I'll just use the pareo as a tablecloth or something. It's very pretty. It's just .... I mean, I'm ... Well, it's very pretty, isn't it?

We're keeping the brochure about how to fold/tie/drape the thing far from Woodrow. The poor boy is very sensitive, and I'm afraid he would die of shock if he saw all the South Pacific nakey girls in the booklet.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A prince on the air conditioner


Kiss a frog, and he'll turn into a little thing that makes a lot of noise on top of your air conditioner!

I was hanging out, listening to this week's The Strip podcast (with a great interview of Reba McIntyre, of whom I was not a fan, but I'm reconsidering based on her intelligence and overall manners in this interview), when Woodrow barreled into the office and insisted we go outside with a flashlight to find the frog.

I told him, "Those frogs are not in our yard -- they're next to the Queens' pool."

Woodrow disagreed and again invited me outside, into the night, to find the frog that was closest to our house.

So I put on my melon-colored Crocs and ventured outside to find a frog -- an activity in which I have not indulged since I passed my fifth summer at camp (at age 12).

After a few minutes of listening to the frog chorus around our neighbors' pool, I was very surprised to hear a loud, insistent croak from our yard. In fact, he sounded close to -- dare I say it? -- our air conditioner.

It took a few minutes to locate the frog -- he made a massive bellowing noise, but we kept looking down on the ground in the moist areas next to the condensation valve. Finally, we shined the flashlight higher -- and higher -- until the beam came to rest on the top of the air conditioner, next to an abandoned water pistol.

And there he sat -- Prince Noises in the Night.

*Way* too cool. I have a frog!!!!!! May he eat all the mosquitos in my yard! I really could kiss him if he would just do that one little thing....

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hazards of Scrapbooking

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've taken my life into my own hands in order to get the photograph that I want. Not that it ever turns out the way I intended. I am still a moosesnot photog at best, after all.

Anyway, I've climbed up on chairs, rickety chairs, ladders, bookshelves, retaining walls, fences, fence posts, and have hung my torso out over the edge of the wall to look down the Hoover Dam's sweeping slope and get a nifty picture.

If anyone in my party said, "Be careful," or expressed any other concern for my well-being, I pooh-poohed their worry. Gotta get that shot. It ain't a vacation 'til you have a scrapbook full of impressive photos, right?

Well. Wrong.

There's a Michigan family whose vacation is ruined and their lives are torn apart because their mom stepped over to the wrong side of a retaining wall in Yellowstone Park. Being on the wrong side of an important safety structure, she is no longer alive. And goodness only knows what became of her camera or the photo she was trying to snag.

It isn't anything I haven't done before. Well, OK, I'm scared enough of heights that I probably wouldn't have climbed over the wall. But I bet my last $3.89 that I would've sat on the wall and leaned back if that's what it took to get the shot.

Now I'm thinking about that woman's husband, her kids, and her entire circle of acquaintances, who are going to have to live on after her, without her.

The perfect shot isn't worth sacrificing your life. Just get the picture that will suffice. You can write about how you wished you could climb over the retaining wall in your journaling. That's what writing is for, anyway.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

TGIF


Edited to add: A few readers have written to inquire about the flora in the photo. This plant is malva alcea 'Fastigiata,' a perennial version of the hollyhock or mallow family. It grows to about 4' in height and blooms this lovely lavender-pink bloom like mad. This particular sprig comes from a root that I planted at least 10 years ago, and despite the fact that all the gardening manuals claim that hollyhocks prefer sandy to normal soil, this baby is planted in unforgiving red clay. If you want some of your own, I highly recommend Bluestone Perennials. In fact, there is no perennial catalog I recommend more highly than Bluestone. They're the best. Period. End of editing.

Ugh, what a day. I didn't feel like doing anything, but I managed a whole bunch of procrastinating, anyway. I'm worn out!

My MIL doesn't like me. She called Thursday morning, and in the span of a two-minute conversation managed to drop no fewer than six slurs about my general uselessness.

I have never gotten into an out-and-out fight with my MIL. We would have to actually speak to each other in order to get into a quarrel. She just manages to make her disapproval known with the tone of her voice. It's amazing. Someday I have got to develop a similar disdain for another human being.

So what were her complaints on Thursday? One, she derided my sleeping hours. For weeks, I've been waking up at the inexplicable hour of 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning, hours that have been anathema to me for years. I have absolutely no idea why I'm suddenly waking up early, but I have to wonder if it's connected to my sudden onset of somnambulism. Anyway, Louise was absolutely shocked that I managed to answer the phone at 8:30 in the morning! She so expected to get the voice mail! What a surprise! Yeah, it was great to talk to her first thing in the morning, too, thanx.

Two, someone told her I was a finalist in an essay contest. She barely held in her giggles as she "congratulated" me on my near-miss.

Three and four, Louise chided me for homeschooling. She hates it on principle. What principle? Damned if I know. And she thinks it's been too long since I brought the kids to see her. When Louise says "see," she really means, "The children need to come pay homage to me." She has no understanding of or sympathy for normal childish behavior. We were freely invited not to come visit her when the kids were little. They might have made her house messy or disturbed her cats. Heaven forbid. She doesn't want a normal, grandmotherly relationship with my children -- she just demands their respect and fear, and I guess they haven't paid it recently enough. She isn't interested in who they are, she wants to ensure that they reflect well on her.

Five, she asked -- in a totally shocked voice -- if I really had gotten a job.

Six, upon finding out that I no longer work at the grocery store, she laughed snottily and snorted, "Of course you quit a perfectly good job -- that is SO YOU!"

I struggle so hard to remember to be grateful to her for raising my husband. I like Wesley a lot, after all. He can't help it that his mother is -- well, she's difficult to understand. She's just utterly different from us. She doesn't understand creativity or creative people. Louise is the sort of reliable, responsible person who makes the world go 'round, decade after decade. She's only retired because she was basically forced to do so. It wasn't like she wanted to stop working.

Years ago, I can remember, she launched a vicious diatribe about the movie Steel Magnolias. She hated it. Couldn't understand why anyone thought it was sooooooooo good. (Not that it's a great movie, but c'mon, it was a good 'un, and amusing in a rip-your-heart-out kind of way for its time.) "Talk talk talk talk, TALK," Louise complained, "All they did in that movie was TALK. I was so bored!"

I was so flummoxed by this proclamation, I couldn't do anything except snap my mouth shut and sort of wobble my head around on my shoulders, in a gesture that she could interpret as either, "Yes, you are right," or "Noooooooo, it was such a pathetic waste of film."

I'm entirely too introverted to go head-to-head with her on any of the things we ever talk about. But laws, we just do not speak the same language. If you say, "The sky is blue," to Louise, you had darned well better be talking about the weather. Metaphors and analogies are lost on that one. Which probably explains why she dislikes me so much.

The upsetting thing? I always thought I was such a unique individual that I would be able to break the MIL-DIL mold and be friends with her. It's such a boring cliche not to get along with one's MIL.

I can only take solace in the knowledge that Wesley himself is nearly as foreign to her as I am.

Man, ruminating on all this just makes me miss my mother that much more.

Here's to the weekend. It cannot possibly be worse than the week!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Patience is a Virtue



Ooo! Look! Tomato babies! Well, they're not tomatoes yet, but they will be. Prob'ly not in time for Indepen-dence Day, but that's all right. I can be patient.

Well, I can be patient sometimes.

Like, sometimes I'm so patient, I totally forget that I entered an essay contest. Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I came home from the dentist and discovered an email from Islands magazine. I was a finalist in the Send Me To Tahiti essay contest! Top 11 out of about 850 desperately-slobbering-for-a-free-trip entries! I get a prize package of Tahitian stuff! Do I get a trip to Tahiti? Heck, no!

But I have to confess, I'm totally tickled pink. And shocked to pieces. That essay of mine was really, really sappy, y'all; I mean, that thing was guaranteed to wring tears out of the most taciturn property appraiser. I had to re-read it to see what I had written -- man, I was feeling syrupy the day I wrote it!

Eventually it'll be published on the Islands website's contest winners page. Right now there's just the grand prize winner's essay. Boogerhead! I'm jealous. She's going to Tahiti. I'm not. Pbtpbtpbt!

Wait a second, I just remembered -- I can't go to the South Pacific, anyway. I have to wait for my tomatoes to grow!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Marigold Thyme



Odds and ends on another unusually hot, dry day. Y'know, if global warming is gonna happen, why couldn't it affect my weather in the winter? I don't need any more heat in summer.

I had a leftover marigold, so I tossed it in a pot and plopped it into the middle of the herbs. It looks very nice next to the thyme and just behind some cilantro, doesn't it?

Wesley calls this my pot garden. If he keeps this up, the cops are going to come searching for illegal plants on a tip from an anonymous source. And then, oh, my some of my young neighbors are going to be very nervous. Not that they grow illegal substances. Oh, no. They just buy them and smoke them.

As the kids say, "WhatEV."

I miss steam locomotives. When Mama was still alive, every fall a steam engine would pass through Athens on its way to a foliage excursion. Whichever of us was the first to hear its lonesome whistle would call the other to warn her to open her windows and take a good listen. Mama loved that sound, and I grew to love it because she did. Steam engines were the norm in her childhood. Now they're so rare, you have to go to a theme park to hear one. That's almost as sad as the whistle itself sounds.

The other day, Woodrow -- who's fascinated with the Doppler effect -- declared that Hollywood has train whistles all wrong. What he doesn't understand is that the movies to which he refers are actually using period-appropriate steam whistles, while the trains that we hear passing our house are modern diesel locomotives.

On a completely different topic, I received a letter yesterday from someone who was having difficulty posting comments on the blog. Let me give everyone a little tip: If you're trying to post a comment and encounter the Evil Red X instead of the word verification letters, go ahead and hit "sign in and publish comment." The window will automatically refresh itself with brand-new, fresh, tasty word verification letters. The second time around, you should be able to post a comment if you like.

And as always, you are more than welcome to email me instead of posting a comment. I understand why some people want to remain anonymous. I happen to suck at being anonymous, but I'm more than happy to preserve someone else's anonymity.

Besides, it's nice to get mail from the blog readers. Y'all are a chatty lot, and you make me think of interesting stuff to post!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Boycott Wendy's

Overheard at Wendy's tonight........

Intercom: Welcome to Wendy's, may I take your order?

Bay: Yes, I'd like a #2 combo with --

Intercom: What do you want to drink with that?

Bay: Excuse me?

Intercom: What do you want to drink with that?

Bay: Uh, Dr. Pepper....

Intercome: What size?

Bay: Excuse me?

Intercom: What size Dr. Pepper do you want with that #2?

Bay: Um, it's... a combo... what do you mean, 'what size'?

Intercom: Small, medium, or large?

Bay: I thought combos came in one size.

Intercom: No ma'am three sizes small medium or large which one do you want?

Bay: Do the mediums and larges cost more than the price on the menu?

Intercom: Yes.

Bay: Uhhhhh.. then... I guess... a ... small?

Intercom: That's a #2 with Dr. Pepper, will that be all?

Bay: Would you like to know which condiments to put on the cheeseburger?

Intercom: Which WHAT?

Bay: Ummmm.... condiments?

Intercom: WHAAAAAAAT?

Bay: The stuff on the hamburger, like, y'know, mustard and ketchup and stuff.

Intercom: OK.

Bay: OK, what?

Intercom: Is that what you want on the double, the mustard and ketchup?

Bay: No, that was an example of the word "condiments." I was defining the word for you. That's not necessarily all we need on the double.

Intercom: What do you want on that double?

Bay: I'd like ketchup....

Intercome: Will that be all?

Bay: WOULD YOU LET ME FINISH A SENTENCE, PLEASE?

[Silence.]

[Several seconds pass.]

Bay: Hello?

Intercom: Go ahead.

Bay: Uhhhhhhhhhhh.. OK. I'd like ketchup, mustard, pickles, and tomatoes.

Intercom: Do you want cheese with that?

Bay: According to the menu out here, a double automatically comes with cheese. Are you suggesting that I need to order something that is presumably already on the sandwich? Do I also need to ask for a bun?

Intercom: You want a #2 combo, with Dr. Pepper, small, with cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles, & tomatoes, will that be all?

Bay: Well, it wasn't SUPPOSED to be ALL, but I quit. I give up. You've won. I'll never eat outside my house again.

Intercom: Excuse me, ma'am?

Bay: That's ALL.

---------------

Then she dropped 80 cents of change on the ground between her window and mine.

At least Woodrow got some food. I ate cheese crackers for dinner, and yes, I cried through the whole thing.

Boycott Wendy's.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy birthday!!!!!!



Once upon a time, and long ago, some deity decided that the best thing for me was to have a sister named Yamy. And on 6/6/60-something, she was born. That same deity decided to wait four years for me to come along, and that's a good thing. I'm a lucky girl.

The strange thing about birthdays is that we fete the person having the birthday, rather than the people who are glad that person was born.

So here I am, celebrating my sister's birthday without her, and it's strange, because really, I want to give her presents because *I* am the lucky one that she was ever brought into this world.

Yamy is my best friend. I have other friends that I love and with whom I want to spend time, but none more than Yamy. I don't even have to be in the same time zone as my sister to laugh so hard that I can't breathe at something she has said -- or *not* said. We are not the same kind of people -- we have different personality types, and she's smart, and she's logical and mathmatical, and I am a gooberhead -- but that just doesn't matter. My sister is my favorite person in the world.

Years ago -- *years* ago -- we sang "Sisters" in a fund-raising talent show for a music club. I blew the last note. Yep, I said it, I blew the last note. I wrecked it. Yamy never said a mean word about it.

A few years before that, we performed the most incredible piece of music I've ever sung, "Go Tell It On The Mountain." We sang it in church on that Sunday right after Christmas when the regular choir wants the day off. We knocked it *way* out of the park. We switched back and forth between the soprano and alto parts. I get chills just thinking about that performance. To this day, I've never sung anything as perfectly as that song, and I'm convinced it was because I was singing with Amy.

Oh, you're wondering why I call her "Yamy." Well, it's because she spent a year in Japan, where they don't pronounce names with a beginning vowel sound. I was "Bay" by that time, and Amy needed a similar nickname. Yamy fit the bill. "Hey, Bay," she would say, and I could reply, "Hey, Yay!"

You can't pick apart the logic. After all, "Amy" isn't even her real name. Although I think she's seriously considering changing her name legally.

Seriously -- I wish I had bought a cake for *me* to celebrate Amy's birthday. I'm the luckiest person in the world to have such a sister. Without Amy, I would still say "costed" instead of "cost." Without Yamy, I wouldn't have the fabulous pork-chops-and-gravy recipe that I so gladly share with anyone who wants it. Without my sister Laura Grace "Yamy" Trotter Turner, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I am so glad she was born. I am so lucky that I was born into the same family. I don't know why Amy should be celebrating her birthday, but I know for sure why *I* am celebrating. I might be across the continent from her, but that doesn't lessen the impact she has on my life -- every single, gorgeous day in her company.

Thank you, God, for giving me my Yamy. Thank you, Yay, for being my stister. I'm sorry I was such a squeaky wheel for the first 15 years or so. You really rock! Who else would have taken me to see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"? Who else would have helped me memorize so much Monty Python when I was just 9 years old?

You are the bestest stister EVER. And I mean that. Happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday Mishmash, re-hashed



I like to call this picture "In Clover." We're all in clover now that we all have Crocs! My original pink pair are in the center. From the top, clockwise, we have Woodrow's new navy Beach Crocs, Emily's new Athens Crocs, Wesley's ginormous navy Beach Crocs, and over there at the 9:00 spot, my brand-spankin'-new light blue Beach Crocs.

Hey, man, I said I wanted a pair in every color. It's just going to take me a while to collect them all! I'm just waiting for Wesley to spend a whole day in his Crocs so he can become the addict that I am. Kids have it so easy these days -- they don't understand what a revolution these shoes are, because they never had the hard leather school shoes that Wesley and I suffered through.

Welcome to new readers who found this blog from the link on The Strip Podcast's website! The next time I go to Las Vegas, my feet won't curse me like they did last time. Snort!

On today's agenda, I have grand plans for gardening -- we'll see how that works out -- and getting some decent photos of those old houses I want. The weather has not cooperated since I said last week that I want to take some pictures of my quaint old town.

In the meantime, here's a question to ponder: Will I have homegrown tomatoes for the Fourth of July? I really need fresh tomatoes by then. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Post-Script and Post-Posting: I had significant difficulties this afternoon with Blogger and the publishing of my lovely Crocs photo. I pulled that version, and voila, all my blog photos turned into annoying little red X's. I have no idea what happened, nor do I know if this will work. All I can do is cross my fingers and hit "publish post." So here goes nothing. If it doesn't work this time, I'll cry. OK, that's not true. I'll just go shopping for a new blog host. Hmph!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Strip Podcast -- yeah, baby!


Are you like me? Do you miss Las Vegas? Are you counting down the days (weeks, months, years) until your next visit? Are you wondering what hot new shows are going to open, which glorious new casinos are in the works, and which major show-business celebs are hanging out in your favorite LV lounges?

Then you've got to start listening to The Strip Podcast.

This is it; the best locally-recorded and written podcast about the world's favorite adult playground. Steve and Miles are a couple of smart guys who love living in Las Vegas and soaking up the atmosphere, as well as seeing the shows and doing their patriotic duty to test every single bar, club, lounge, restaurant, and bar -- did I mention bar? -- in town.

More than that, Steve is a professional entertainment journalist who writes regularly for those national news magazines everyone gets. So The Strip isn't just about the gossip and the fun stuff -- there are long, beautiful, juicy, newsy interviews with real celebrities! Seriously! This week's guest was Andrew Lloyd Weber! Why? Because he's bringing yet another ALW mini-musical to LV this year! One of my favorite old podcasts was the Dennis Miller interview -- the man known for his vocabulary and wit actually told Steve and Miles at the end of his time, "Hey, man, thanks for a great interview. It was really intelligent." Dennis Miller is a fan of The Strip Podcast. I'm not surprised.

If you get really addicted to The Strip (as I have), then you need to check out the Live Chat that takes place every Thursday during the fresh Podcast. (7 pm PT, 10 pm EST.) Las Vegas enthusiasts from all over the globe drop by to chat with Steve and Miles and the rest of us groupies. (Oh, dang, I just realized -- we need a name for the groupies!)

After you've gotten your Las Vegas "fix," then we can chat about how to vote for Steve and Miles on Podcast Alley. (It's complex -- you have to search for "The Strip," and then you have to put in your email address, which is kinda scary for people who want to avoid too much spam.... but it's worth it, because then Steve and Miles will beat out the *other* Las Vegas podcast, which is chock full of jerks, misogynists, and carpetbaggers who don't love Las Vegas.)

So stop pining away for Sin City! Get a fix on your iPod right now! I promise you're gonna love the trivia questions and the Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week!

Edited to add: To vote for The Strip on PodcastAlley.com, go to this link. You won't regret it, and neither will the PodcastAlley readers -- they need help finding the bestest podcasts in the world and rely on your good taste and votes!