Monday, November 30, 2009

The Thanksgiving Letter

I know I am a control freak when it comes to cooking...which I why I usually don't ask people to bring anything. Below is a letter I saw on another blog (courtesy of Kara at about a woman asking people to bring things for Thanksgiving dinner. This is hilarious...unless of course you are named in the letter.

From: Marney

As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.

Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.

All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.

HJB—Dinner wine

The Mike Byron Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don't feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don't care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob Byron Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle Bobble Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Prosciutto pin wheel - please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife

The June Davis Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.

Looking forward to the 28th!!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Live Like You Were Dying

I heard the song Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw yesterday and it always gets to me. At this time of year when we are supposed to be giving thanks I think it's a good time to think about how we can make ourselves better and make sure we don't have any regrets. Something can happen to someone we love at any time. Most of you reading this are around my age, and although we still think of ourselves as somewhat young, we aren't that young...anything can happen.

Here are some of the lyrics. Take them to heart...I'm sure there is a verse or two that hits home with everybody.

He said: "I was in my early forties,
"With a lot of life before me,
"An' a moment came that stopped me on a dime.
"I spent most of the next days,
"Looking at the x-rays,
"An' talking 'bout the options an' talkin’ ‘bout sweet time."

I asked him when it sank in,
That this might really be the real end?
How’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?
Man whatcha do?

An' he said: "I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
"And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
"And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying.
"An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
"To live like you were dyin'."

He said "I was finally the husband,
"That most the time I wasn’t.
"An' I became a friend a friend would like to have.
"And all of a sudden goin' fishin’,
"Wasn’t such an imposition,
"And I went three times that year I lost my Dad.
"Well, I finally read the Good Book,
"And I took a good long hard look,
"At what I'd do if I could do it all again,
"And then:

"I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
"And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
"And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying.
"An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
"To live like you were dyin'."

Like tomorrow was a gift,
And you got eternity,
To think about what you’d do with it.
An' what did you do with it?
An' what can I do with it?
An' what would I do with it?

The Magic Machine

My husband and I are taking this week off work for a much needed break and to do some fun things. Sunday morning we went drove down to Charlottesville, did some wine tasting, ate some good food and stayed the night at a hotel down there. We were going to do more today before driving home but since it's raining we decided to just drive back home. Later this week we are going to spend the night in DC for Thanksgiving. We all know how I adore my cats and don't want them to have their perfect little worlds messed with...but I didn't want to deal with getting the cat sitter to come just for overnight trips. For each of these little trips, we are away from the house for only a little over 24 hours. I can't leave a big bowl of food for the cats though because they will eat it all immediately and then have nothing to eat the rest of the time so I bought two automatic feeders to take care of this problem. I tried using it for their breakfast yesterday before we left, but it didn't work right (it only dispensed a tiny amount of food). I worked on it for about a half hour and got it working right and got both in sync to dispense at the same time. What still worried me though was that only Manny went to it to get the food when the little bit of food came out. Minky didn't even go near it so while we were gone I was worried Manny was eating both and Minky none. Well, when we got home today it was clear that they had both eaten and were just fine. I'm used to coming home and them being all friendly because they want to be fed. Now they don't really see my purpose anymore. Instead they now hover and rub all over the feeders that we have named "the magic machine". Can't wait to see this in action at 5:00.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Barbie's Dreams Downsized

When I was a kid I loved Barbie and always wanted her Dream House. Today I was in Target and saw the Barbie Dream Townhouse. Poor Barbie, her dreams have been affected by the recession as well and now she just gets a townhouse.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lay Off Season: Part Deux

My company announced today that they need to lower headcount by 2,500 people....out of 6,900 so that's more than a third. They are offering a voluntary package which is a good idea in my opinion because it gives people some level of control in making the decision themselves and it gets rid of the people who really don't want to be there. If enough people take it, then there won't be an involuntary lay off, but I doubt enough will so there will still be a sad day in the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


People magazine has announced Johnny Depp as the "sexiest man alive". Don't get me wrong, I like Johnny Depp and I had a huuuuuuge crush on him back in the 21 Jump Street Days, but come on, they just keep recycling the same men year after year and I think they need some fresher guys.

My vote is Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights. He has a real name, but to me he will always be Tim Riggins.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Step Away from the French Fries

This past month I've been eating like I just got home from being on Survivor. Starting with Vegas, then my dad's visit and then all the stress at work, but I'm done. I gave myself until last Friday (when a big deliverable was due at work) to let myself go, but now I need to stop. This time last year I joined Jenny Craig and lost 17 pounds. I've gained back 12. I wish I could use something other than food to cope with my emotions. I accept what I've done and need to get back in control. It's going to be hard though the next couple weeks as we have lots of food events planned for the T-Day week.

Focus People

I finally started getting caught up on The Biggest Loser. I am about 5 or 6 episodes behind. Yesterday I was watching an episode where they have to eat out the entire week and make healthy choices and their pop quiz focuses on this too. I couldn't believe how hung up these people were getting on which fruits have higher amounts of sugar than others! Seriously people...nobody ever became overweight by eating too many mangoes or grapes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Violated...But Not Really

Over the summer I endured ten weeks of painful dry needling treatments in my neck and head to try to resolve my health issues from the accident. The owner of the place I went to is the expert is this treatment. He teaches the method and is a leading researcher who authors many papers. I didn't see him, but the other physical therapist in the office. I drove an hour to another state for this. It helped me some, but the improvements plateaued so I stopped going given the distance and the pain involved.

A month or two ago I got a letter from a state board investigator telling me my PT was being investigated and asked me to contact him if I felt there was anything inappropriate that occurred. This perplexed me and I couldn't imagine what he did wrong. He wasn't my favorite person in the world since I felt he was insensitive to the amount of pain the treatment caused, but never anything inappropriate. I put the letter aside and soon after threw it away.

A few days ago this crossed my mind so I wanted to find out what happened. I checked the PT web site and the guy I saw nowhere to be found on the web site. Then I did a google search on him and found that the state suspended his license just a few days ago. I read the entire report and can't even describe how I feel about what he did. INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH PATIENTS!!! He had an affair with one patient at her home, which the patient said happened while she was a patient, then later changed her story and said it was before she was a patient...ok, this doesn't bother me if it's consensual. Not a good idea for the PT since it was his patient...oh yeah...and he's married...and his wife is PREGNANT! So that's not the worst of it. Two other women accused him of kissing, hugging, touching, refusing to leave the room while they were dressing and a couple other things I don't want to write. The women were completely shocked by this and reported him to the head guy and he reported this to the state board. The PT admitted to some, but not all of the accusations. This guy has completely ruined his life. I hope his wife leaves him and he never works in the field again. I don't know why this bothers me so much since nothing happened to me, but it really angers me that he took advantage of these women. Who knows if there were more that didn't come forward. People don't end up at his office unless they are in horrible chronic pain. Being in chronic pain and having this treatment done is an extremely vulnerable place to be. Then to have the person who you are supposed to trust will help you take advantage of you sexually...I just can't stomach it. This somehow makes me feel violated even though nothing happened to me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holiday Letters

I am already in the Christmas spirit! I really missed out on Christmas last year due to the car accident. My husband put the tree up, but we never decorated it, and it was painful and difficult for me to even wrap presents. This year I want to enjoy the holidays as much as I can to make up for last year.

I have already picked out some holiday cards that I am going to get personalized and then I'm going to write a letter to include with it. I love holiday letters and find it fascinating what people write about. The letters that come from my mom's side of the family are often pretty dreadful because they usually detail someone getting very sick or dying. We don't keep in touch with them but I do look forward to these letters so I know what is going on. Then there are people who use the letters to brag. One person in particular I know that is always unhappy about something tends to write letters just detailing achievements of her family. I love reading all the letters though regardless of what tone people take. I want my letter to be something people really enjoy so I'm trying to include many elements into it to make it fun and interesting. Right now I'm thinking of including a couple pictures, my favorite holiday dessert and cocktail recipes as well as Christmas songs I think everyone should have on their iPod. The letter part will be weird to friends that I see often though since they don't need an update so I'm not sure if I will send them the letter with the card or just the card. I'm also struggling with what tone to take. I had a rough year with all the car accident pain and then finding the lump, but I don't want to have one of those gloomy letters. It's the holidays and time to be happy so I'll just leave those things out.

Please give me any ideas you have to make my letter enjoyable to the readers. What do you like to read in holiday letters or what has worked for you in letters you have written???

Sunday, November 8, 2009

U2 Tickets...Times Two

Somehow I'm now in the ticket business. Last week the presale U2 tickets went on sale. I was in the third presale group (out of 4) so I knew I wouldn't get the best tickets, but I was hoping for something similar to the last show. I was worried because I was buying tickets for the show in Anaheim at Angel Stadium, which is a baseball stadium, and is much smaller than most of their prior shows on this tour. Their last show in the LA area sold out 96,000 tickets right away and Anaheim only holds about 45 or 50 thousand. Anyway...I got tickets, but knew they were worse...not too much, but the main thing that bothered me was that the seats were under an overhang. I've been to a concert before at Angel Stadium sitting under the over hang and the acoustics were awful and it felt like we weren't really a part of the show. The last show we were in the stadium seats (not on the floor since it was general admission) and in the 20th row. The tickets I just got were around the 30th row...not really sure though because I don't know how many rows are in the section in front of us. Anyway...I had lunch with my husband that same day and told him I got the tickets. He asked where they were and said where we sat at the last show was as far back as he'd want to be...oh uh. I told him we were further back...but still our seats would be better than probably 90% of the stadium. He said it wasn't worth flying across the country to go to the concert for seats that are worse than what we had before. I said fine...if he didn't want to go, I could find somebody in California who would go with me. I really wanted him to go with me though so as soon as I got back to work I checked stub hub for tickets and found seats in the third row. Now I have two sets of tickets! These tickets are pretty expensive so I really hope I can sell the extra tickets. I think I will be able to though given that the show will likely sell out once it goes on sale to the public. I told my husband today about the new tickets and he was pleased...and said if I can't sell the other seats that he would buy them off me and give them to his parents. Now I am just waiting for the stub hub tickets to arrive...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Big Gulp Gate

I have to pack all my liquids in tiny bottles and shove them in a zip lock bag that seems to always break because it's stuffed so full, but Miss Britney Spears gets to carry all the liquids she wants on board...and on to an international flight no less.

See the video of her big gulp...and if you look closely there is another bottle of something in a spray bottle that is much larger than 3 ounces.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Hybrid Cold Flu

What a week. I've been completely slammed at work and woke up sick on Saturday morning. I'm not sure what it was, seemed like a cold on Saturday, then Sunday I just felt awful and slept all day and then worked in the evening. Monday I stayed home, but worked from home. I still felt bad but it helped to be at home in my pajamas. I took some heat for not being in the office, but I didn't want to infect other people and I believe in taking it easy to get better faster. Tuesday I thought I was feeling better, but after about an hour at work I felt awful again. Today I feel better though...still a little low energy, but ok. Work is still killing me. My neck and back are a mess from the stress so I actually look forward to my thrice weekly chiropractor visits to get things loosened up. Work is still going to be crazy for a while, but at least I'm not sick anymore.