Tuesday, May 31, 2005
  The Best Entertainment is Free

This past holiday weekend, Sarcasdad and I took a road trip to visit Sarcasmo Jr. in upstate New York. We had a great time and while the following story was not the highlight of our trip, it was most amusing. On Sunday we went to Brook's BBQ for lunch. We picked this place ahead of time because I had seen it on Rachel Ray's $40 a Day show, and was most excited to find out that Sarcasmo Jr. was familiar with the establishment. When we went into the outer lobby there was a line of people waiting to get through the door to the actual restaurant area. There was no telling how long the line was on the other side, but as we were in no great rush we decided to wait. Behind us came a woman and a child who looked to be her daughter. With them were a teenage boy, his father and bringing up the rear , his mother. They took their place in line except for the mother who stopped just inside the outer door, planted her feet and loudly declared" Oh no we're not! Oh no we're not!" "Not what" asked the father. "Waiting in this line" replied Mom." The father polled those nearby to see if the wait was worth it. Sarcasmo Jr., being a local, said that the food was good and the line would probably move quickly.This was not enough for Mom. "It's not Fair! It's just not fair" she exclaimed. "what's not fair?" asked Dad. The other woman suggested that she hold their place in line while someone else checked to see how long the wait would be. As soon as Dad went to inquire , Mom made a beeline out the door. We watched her march, head down, full steam ahead away from Brooks.
When Dad returned he was informed that Mom had gone that-a-way down the road to points unknown. The odd thing (as though this all isn't odd enough) is that no one seemed overly concerned. The wait was supposed to be only 10 minutes for a table and no wait at all if you wanted to sit at the counter. Teenage boy suggested that he and his father go look for Mom while the other 2 waited in line. And off they went. No sooner did they leave than the line moved quickly and we were inside the second door. As luck would have it the hostess was looking for a party of FIVE. All twos and threes til you get to the woman behind us. "we're five" she volunteered. But were they all there? Nope sorry. Two of them were chasing a third down route 81. So the party behind them got seated. Dad and Teenage Boy returned as a twosome. They found Mom. She had gotten to a restaurant down the road and was happily ensconced at a table with a menu. So they left her there. Once again the hostess came down the line looking for a party of FIve." We have four" the woman behind me offered. Nope , it had to be five or more. Very strict seating rules at Brook's. They gave up and went to the counter, where they could have sat all along, with Mom had she stuck around.
In a previous post I mentioned that the Sarcaskids and I share a similar sense of humor. The walls of the outer lobby are decorated with a pictoral history of Brook's to keep you occupied while you wait. Sarcasmo Jr. found one picture particularly amusing and pointed it out to me. It was a black and white photo of a little girl out behind the restaurant, obviously delighted to be surrounded by dozens of baby chicks. It's a BBQ restaurant. It made me laugh as well.P5300178

Monday, May 30, 2005
  Is this COOL or What?

Visit Spell with Flickr.
(found via Russell & Aine's Haven)

  Just in Case

I am not a believer in horoscopes. However in todays Philadelphia Inquirer the horoscopes by Jacqueline Bigar have some startling coincidences. Sarcasdad's (Virgo) says"Tonight: Play as if there is no tomorrow". Mine (Scorpio) says "Tonight: Act as if there is no tomorrow." As I said I am not a believer in horoscopes or fate. But if perchance I don't update my blog for a while, I wanted you to know I wasn't slacking off. The stars were aligned.

  Cutie Patootie Countdown

IMG_2717On the sidebar I am counting down the days til the Cutie Patootie finally gets here. It's so close, and yet, so far.

Thursday, May 26, 2005
  To Meme or Not to Meme

That is the question. Last Girl on Earth has framed her answer in a song. Listen here.
(found via Expresso Sarcasm)

  A Requiem For Rosie

As I type this blog the words are being displayed across our brand new 19 inch flat panel monitor. It is indeed "slim and stylish" just as the box it came in touts. THe sad truth is that if the new monitor is here, then Rosie is gone. Poor Rosie. Years of faithful service ended last Thursday with a pop and a flicker. Suddenly everything was blurry, and then she was gone. Rosie was our old monitor. And no, the printer the keyboard and the hard drive do not have names.( Sometimes we call them names when they don't do what we want them to , but that is not the same thing.)Just Rosie, who was named after Rosie the Robot from the Jetson's. The resemblance was astounding. Both were a silvery gray, both were square. Our monitor had a notched base support , reminiscent of the robot's collar , and an embellishment on the top that could pass for a little maid's cap.
The new monitor doesn't resemble anyone. So no name for it. It is LARGE though. It takes up the same amount of area that Rosie did, but much more of that is screen area, where Rosie was more box and speakers. Everything I viewed seemed oversized at first, It reminded me of going to the eye doctors and leafing through the Readers' Digests with the extra large print that are in the waiting room. It makes me wonder if all the new large screen Tv's and monitors are less about technology and more about Baby Boomers with declining eyesight.

  Maybe It Is Freezing Over

This is a shout out to all my blogging aquaintances in the middle or western part of the country. If you should happen to run across Spring lollygagging around in your neighborhood, will you please tell it to get it's butt in gear. We're a bit chilly here in Philly. Normally the end of may in these parts is when you leave the house in the morning without a jacket. The afternoon sun can be a little intense but is usually abated by a light warm breeze. It is the idyllic time before we are hit with the intense mugginess of a Philadelphia summer. Usually. Yesterday the high was 58 degrees, and damp and rainy to boot. We had to shut all the windows and the heat still went on in the house.
It is almost Memorial day weekend, and here in the birthplace of Liberty the upcoming holiday is steeped in tradition. No matter what shows up on Doppler Radar, local weather forecasters insist that the weekend will be warm and dry. This assurance coupled with a long term memory disfunction causes most of Philadelphia to head for the Jersey shore for some fun in the sun. Then from Friday to Sunday we are treated to news reporters in rain slickers standing on the boardwalk interviewing tourists who had to buy a sweatshirt because they didn't pack a jacket. There are those who think that boardwalk merchants pay off the weather people for a favorable forecast, therefore ensuring a profitable kick-off to the summer beach season. That's silly. Although I myself wonder if the food stores pay them off in the winter months to predict phantom snow storms, creating a frenzied bread and milk free for all in supermarket aisles.
There is one more theory on the strange shill in the air. Last night* local * trivia god Brad Rutter bested Ken Jennings to become the biggest money winner in Jeopardy history. Perhaps Hell is starting to frost over?

* In Philadelpia-ese. *local* refers to anyone in the tri- state area, except Pittsburgh, if they are in the news for a good reason. Like Smarty Jones, the local Philadelphia horse from Bensalem. If they are news worthy for nefarious circumstances we are more than happy to point out what county they hail from.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
  Unscheduled Time

Like just about everyone else I know , actual "free time" is a concept that is more myth than reality. If I plan on going to the gym before work, is that really my free time? Isn't free time a block of minutes when you are able to do whatever you wish because you have done everything that needs to be done? If so, I have no free time.
Right this minute I have some unscheduled time. Usually on Wednesdays, Sarcas-dad and I , off from work spend the day together doing chores and running errands. Very enjoyable, but again, not really FREE time. Today however we were thrown a little curve. One of us has to be in the house for several anticipated Fedex & UPS deliveries. Normally when we are here together we catch up on the TV shows we tape all week because we can't stay up to watch them . Again, very enjoyable, but not REALLY free time because we are trying to stay abreast of all the recent developments on Desperate Housewives and Lost before we hear about them elsewhere. Today however Sarcasad has a couple of appointments and so he is out and about while I await the man in brown. Mentally I made a list of things I could do since I was going to be in the house and on my own. Closets to clean out. A mound of papers that need shredding, calls to make, emails to return, and so on and so on until the actual list greatly surpasses the time slot allotted to do it. So what am I doing?

Monday, May 23, 2005
  Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Lack of a Clue

A couple of things made me laugh today, and I thought I would share. This morning I stopped at the Post Office on my way to work. My local branch was very quiet as it usually is right after it opens. There were two clerks at the counter. One was waiting on me when an elderly man came into the queue behind me. " Can I help you?" the other clerk inquired."No" the man replied. Both clerks made eye contact with me in a moment of solidarity among name badge wearers. The clerk tried again. " Do you need assistance sir?" the elderly man approached the counter and said he had an appointment at a dental clinic in the area but couldn't find it. The clerk tried to give directions using landmarks and sweeping hand gestures, but to no avail. The man pulled an appointment card from his pocket to show the clerk. "How many blocks from here?" he asked her. "I'm not sure" the clerk replied. She turned to the clerk waiting on me and said"what's the address here?"
Funny right? The post office clerk doesn't know the address of the post office. I found it most amusing. And, had any of the Sarcaskids been there they would have giggled as well. They got their sense of direction from their Sarcasdad, but they definitely got my sense of humor.
The other thing that made me laugh was a news report I heard on my way from the Post Office to work. Apparently, Mary Kay LaTourneau- Fualaau hopes to teach again one day. Now that's funny!

Thursday, May 19, 2005
  All Hail the Retcho of Nnelg

Your Star Wars Name and Title

Your Star Wars Name: Stafo Lophi

Your Star Wars Title: Retcho of Nnelg

Your Star Wars Name and Title


Monday, May 16, 2005

This has been a busy few days at the Sarcas house. Twice in three days we put aside our normal daily after work routine of coming home, eating dinner and then trying to stay awake long enough to see some prime time television. Twice mind you.
Last Thursday I was delighted to participate in the realization of a meme. I got to have dinner with one of my virtual party "guests", and his family. We were joined by the loquacious Sarcasmo whom we sup with from time to time. It was like catching up with a friend you hadn't seen for a while, even though we never actually met. Imagine the adventurous spirit his wife must have. She agreed that after flying across the country with their utterly adorable 30 month old son in tow, to take a detour from their final destination, drive into an unfamiliar city and have dinner with virtual strangers. She and I agreed that while this seemed perfectly acceptable to us, we kind of hedged on those details to other people who would admonish us about "those people" you meet online. You can only listen to the "What if They Turn Out to be Axe Murderers" speech so many times before it gets old.
On Saturday night we went to a class at the Wine School, compliments of the Sarcas-kids. We had a great time. The school is located in the Fairmount area Of Philadelphia, near the Eastern State Penitentiary and Jack's Firehouse restaurant. It seemed to be a very "Yuppie" type of neighborhood. Lots of old storefronts and industrial buildings, revamped into gyms and daycare centers. It was still light on an unseasonably warm evening. Lots of young parents were out pushing strollers down the street to the ice cream parlor which was right next to the Wine School, itself a converted storefront.
We entered into a single room with tables and chairs set up for about 20 "students".Two women and one man, the instructor, were already there. When Sarcasdad said we were here for the class on Italian wines, one of the women jumped up from her seat."this is it" she said," and the less people the better." Not quite sure how to take that comment we chose a table and sat. The two women were joined by a man who bought cheese and bread and plastic knives for himself and his two friends. They spoke among themselves but definitely loud enough to be overheard. They talked about their lofts and their spinning classes. The woman who greeted us made sure we knew she frequented smaller merchants for her specialty cheeses because she is a "patron" and not a customer of mass merchandising conglomerates. The other woman actually said "my books define me" to explain why she could not part with even one for her friend to borrow. In other words, you could have cut the pretentiousness in that room with one of thise plastic knives.
Fortunately, the rest of the class started showing up, citing traffic and parking difficulties as a reason for being late, and they were all perfectly normal.
What followed was a fascinating two hours of the history of Italian wine and most importantly, the tasting of Italian wines. We learned what to look for when we tilt the glass. We learned that we swirl the wine in the glass to get some of the aroma into the air and to coat the glass. And we leaned about the part where you "sniff" the wine. The instructor would say things like, it smells fruity, or woody , or spicy or like cherries. I got the part that it smelled like something, mostly like wine. I figured I just didn't have the nose. Then we tilted and swirled and sniffed the fourth flight * of the evening. It was Chianti. It smelled like wet tobacco leaves to me. And no, I don't think I ever actually smelled wet tobacco leaves. But that's what it smelled like. Assuming no one would want to drink something that smelled like tobacco, I kept that opinion to myself. Guess what? The instructor said it smelled like tobacco! Hey maybe I got the hang of it after all.
We had a lot of fun. The instructor was very engaging and entertaining. Once the pretentious trio were out numbered they kept quiet. I can't wait to try the wines of Australia, or Spain, or California.

* we also learned that the correct term for two or more wines tasted together for the sake of comparison are called a "flight" Feel free to drop the term in casual conversation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
  Have Toothbrush, Will Clean

A local news station runs a feature on the weekends called "Mrs. Fix It'. It's syndicated so it is possible you get to see it as well. I like it . Mrs. Fix It is a woman with a decidedly New England accent. She does a short segment on topics ranging from how to get your whites whiter to how to re-wire your house. I've picked up an interesting tip or two along the way. Last Sunday her gambit was how to get the most from your vacuum cleaner. She suggested using a toothbrush to loosen dirt around baseboards and furniture. If you should ever come to my house, and upon entering see me using a toothbrush to loosen the dirt in my carpet before I run the vacuum cleaner; just back away slowly and shut the door. I am too far gone.

*P.S- Go to http://www.kaysbargains.com/Contest.php and vote for Sarcasmo's Corner to be the Blogette Award Recipient.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
  A Vote For Sarcasmo is----

----well, basically a vote for Sarcasmo. I have nominated the blog Sarcasmo's Corner for the Blogette Award. It is given to the best female- oriented blog, journal or website as voted by the public. The blog can be written by a female or have content geared for females. Obviously I was somewhat motivated by maternal pride, but if you frequent Sarcasmo's Corner you know as well as I do, it's a damn good blog. If you haven't been there take a trip over now. Go ahead. I'll wait. When you get back, you can vote here until May 25th.

Monday, May 09, 2005
  A Day Late But

still heartfelt. Happy Mothers Day to all. I was having so much fun enjoying my day that I didn't have time to blog. I especially want to tell Sillymommy (aka Sarcas-sis) that she is a wonderful mother. The proof is right there in that beautiful , happy , healthy baby that we can't wait to get our hands on. Sillymommy does some guest blogging at Sarcasmo's Corner from time to time. Her take on motherhood is entertaining, and uniquely hers. You can read it on the left sidebar.
Mothers Day also marked my one year anniversary as a blogger. The Sarcas-kids thoughtfully renewed Wednesdays Off for another year this Mothers Day, so you are all stuck with me for a while.

Friday, May 06, 2005
  Keep, Donate, Trash

I could tell that spring had arrived without even glancing at the calendar. Was it seeing the first robin of the season?. No. I did see a few, but that wasn't it. The change to Daylight Savings Time? No. The runny nose and itchy eyes of hay fever? Not that either. It is the undeniable urge to start throwing things away. To de-clutter. I don't know why but the arrival of spring seems to trigger some hormone that lies dormant the rest of the year. Items I couldn't part with last September are suddenly deemed trashable.
Usually I go through some closets and drawers and I am satisfied. But lately I have had this feeling that the house is full. And it is. As the Sarcas-kids grew out of playing in the basement it went from family room to storage space. As they left our home for places of their own the spare bedrooms became a "place to put this until I find something to do with it". I took to referring to the back bedroom as the back closet because we were literally throwing things in there and shutting the door. Out of sight, out of mind. When Sarcasmo Jr. comes for a visit I have to clear a path from the dooway of her room to her bed. Soon we expect to hear the pitter-patter of feet in in those bedrooms. Some little and some big, as Sarcas-sis, Sarcas-bro and the Cutie Patootie take up a temporary residence of indeterminate length. We have to make some room.
As with most monumental tasks the hardest part is starting. I have read all of those articles that say you should get 3 boxes and label one "To Keep" "one "To Donate" and one "Trash" and sort your items accordingly. Right! If I were that organized I wouldn't have this mountain of stuff in the first place. I decided to start with the basement, by far the biggest challenge.I kept trying to set aside a day just for that , but inevitably I found my Wednesdays and Sundays off from work being taken up with appointments and regular chores and errands. Time was marching on and I was accomplishing nothing. I decided that I would have to do the job in bits and pieces whenever I had some time to spare. In a half hour between leaving the shower and leaving for work I cleaned up one small corner of the basement. Besides 2 bags of trash I unearthed the following items. A ukelele Some 8 track tapes. A combination radio & 8 track player that may or may not still work. It had a remote control that was hard wired to to the radio itself. That was progress when it was new. Some actual vinyl albums, including The Four Seasons Greatest Hits and The Muppets Christmas Carol Soundtrack. A Rubik's cube. Oh, and a Commodore 64. What do you think? Keep, donate or trash?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Paul asked Sarcasmo, who asked dbsmall, who asked me. And I asked Jazzy. If you want to see Jazzy's answers (and you really should) you can here. If you want to be asked , the details are here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
  Five Things About Me

You have all seen the "100 Things ABout Me" lists that bloggers post on their personal sites. I never did because I am sure I cannot come up with 100 things about me. Thanks to dbsmall at Smallto.com, I have put 5 in print. That's because he was kind enough to "tag" me for an interview meme. Actually he was even kinder, he asked if he could tag me. To keep the meme going I am supposed to ask three more bloggers, 5 questions each. Below are his questions and my answers. If you would like to be interviewed by me leave a note in the comments and I will come up with 5 questions for you, different than these five. You can post it to your blog and keep the meme going.

1) What is the worst book you've read in the last
Since you specified "in the last year" I would have to say it was a book by Anne River Siddons, titled"Islands". Not that it was by any means the worst book ever. It was more of a disappointment to me. I had thoroughly enjoyed several other of Siddon's novels and looked forward to reading this one. Usually I get quite drawn into her story and her characters. Not so much with this book. It also went on well past the time it should have ended. I stayed til the bitter end because I rarely put a book away without reading to the final word.. Probably not more than 5 times in my whole life. The last book I simply could not finish was " A Prayer for Owen Meany", by John Irving. Again a book I really wanted to read after having so enjoyed "Cider House Rules".

2) You get to provide advice to your 12-year old self
(with the magical bonus that your 12-year old self
will accept any advice as gospel). What advice do you
"Lighten up for heaven's sake" I was much too serious as a child. When I was 12 we were still children. Growing up I always felt like there was one right way to do anything, and that everyone else seemed to know what that way was, but I didn't. I was constantly focused on not screwing up, and I missed a some fun along the way. I remember my parents taking myself and my best friend Carol to an amusement park. There was a ride where you drove old fashioned cars along a metal track. The cars were attached to the track. Carol and I were too young to "drive " alone so Carol went with my mother and I went with my father. I could see Carol up ahead, steering with great abandon and constantly bumping along the sides and getting stuck. She was laughing and so was my mother. I on the other hand was so intent on steering the car flawlessly over the track that I missed the whole having fun part.

3) What one thing should you do to improve the quality
of life for your grandchild(ren)?
If it were in my power I would rid the world of violence and poverty, clean the air and the water of pollutants and cure all diseases known to mankind. What can I really do? Well, along with Sarcasdad I have already helped to shape my grandchild(ren)'s future by raising one of their parents.

4) What is the nicest compliment you've ever received?
I think the best compliments are often ones not given directly.. Like when someone looks genuinely happy to see you, or when someone asks for our opinion on something that matters to them. Probably the nicest compliment ever was when Sarcadad said "I Do". What better compliment than to have someone throw their lot in with yours, for better or for worse?

5) What is your favorite food? (the implied details
would include where you have it, etc.)
Tough one. My first impulse is to say chocolate. Dark, bittersweet chocolate covered cherries. Yep. That about sums it up.

You can view other interviews here and here..

  Japan Trip

Japan Trip
Originally uploaded by foster photos.
The other day while doing some random blog surfing I came across a post about a Japanese snack sold by street vendors. That one had something to do with rice. It bought back this memory from my first trip to Japan in November 2004. Fish on a Stick! Mmmmm Mmmm good. These were offered for sale at a concession stand outside the Temple Toshogu.

  The Runaway Bride

At last count I think there are only 4 or 5 people left in Duluth Georgia who haven't managed to get their 15 minutes of fame out of this "Runaway Bride" story. Any day now I expect they will be putting up a sign at the city limits. "Welcome to Duluth. Home of the Runaway Bride. We Forgive But We Never Forget". Personally, I think that if out of 600 wedding guests, a fiancee and 14 attendants including a maid of honor, this poor bride -to-be couldn't find one friend to confide in, she should have kept on going.

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