Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 in multimedia

One of my favorite things about my Entertainment Weekly subscription is the Stephen King article found on the back page twice a month. In homage to his year end lists, here is my top 10 in multimedia, in no particular order.

1. Gilmore Girls - still continues to be one of the best tv shows ever. It is a sin that Lauren Graham has not even been nominated for an Emmy - and just the continued disrespect for the WB and now the CW. It has great characters (I really wish Lorelai were real and we could hang out together), humor, interesting stories, growth, a fantastic cast. I could go on and on. And yes - I am very glad Lorelai married Chris.

2. An Inconvenient Truth - I've been ticked at Al Gore for years for the shotty campaign he ran for pres, but he helped win me back with this movie. He's dealing with issues vital to our survival on this planet, and in an entertaining way (even my 12 year old was able to sit and enjoy it).

3. Taking the Long Way by the Dixie Chicks - easily their best CD to date.

4. These Streets by Paolo Nutini - a young Scotsman with a CD I can't hear enough. James Blunt should watch his back.

5. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - a book recommended by the Asheville book group - I probably would not have picked it up otherwise. The story is unique with characters I don't think I will forget for many years.

6. Beyonce's and Carrie Underwood's Cheatin' Songs - Irreplaceable by Miss B and Before You Cheat by Miss U are two very different, but very great songs about the same thing - how to treat a man who cheats on you. Just be sure to shove the truck to the left with the baseball bat.

7. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series - I discovered this series this summer, right before the latest one was published. The last couple are not quite up to par with the earlier ones, but still a highly entertaining series perfect for the beach.

8. The Office - When NBC announced they were stealing yet another BBC series, I was understandably quite concerned. Yet, they have transformed a series I liked into one I that I absolutely love. The American version has even funnier characters, and with a sweetness that makes me pull for each one of them. Can't wait to see more.

9. Casino Royale - Sean Connery, you will always have a special place, but I am officially over lamenting the years since you left.

Well, I only have 9 in my list and there just is no 10. I haven't seen as many movies or read as many books as I have in years past (or watched as much tv). So to round out the list - here is my biggest disappointment of the year - easily XMen 3. Brett Ratner will forever be on my hit list for taking an incredible series and really blowing it. The movie just stunk. The only thing that saved it was the fantastic cast and the history of the first two movies. Brett - shame on you, and learn to tell a story with a little more character development, less fright about women's power, and a little (or a lot) less violence that does not progress the story. Stop dating models or celebutants and start shadowing Spielburg or Soderberg.

All in all, a good year. I'm sure other great movies, books, tv shows and cds came out - and I missed them. Hopefully I catch up in latter years.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Princess was Mary in the Children's Nativity this past Sunday. She's sitting beside the donkey (if you're not sure what the little boy's costume represents). Each year, the children grades 5 and younger dress up and are the Nativity scene while the Christmas story is told. My favorite part was when it was said that Mary gave birth, and Princess unceremoniously grabbed the baby doll from under her wrap and plopped the baby into the manger. He was left with his left arm sticking straight up for the rest of the scene. When I asked Princess about it later, she responded, "It's just plastic - it wasn't a real baby."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

7th ring of hell

I must first say that I should not have been in the situation I found myself yesterday. This meeting in Fort Worth did not have to be scheduled a week before Christmas. It could have been last week, two weeks ago, or some other time. I didn't schedule it. And I know it could have been much worse - I could have been traveling with kids.

Yes, I found myself in the 7th ring of hell at DallasFortWorth airport yesterday. I had a direct flight to Greensboro at 1:20. Weather was fine there and in Gboro, but my flight was delayed and had gate changes 5 or 6 times until about 4:30. And then they announced the flight was cancelled due to mechanical difficulties. It's a little regional jet with about 36 seats, but when those of us on the cancelled flight arrived at the gate where rescheduling was taking place - there were about 100 people in line in front of us and two flight attendants working the desk. 20 minutes went by and about 5 people were helped. I began to wonder if I could get home that night - certainly there were enough flights going somewhere, but if it took 2 hours to get my flight rebooked...

Then an attendant told us we could exit and go to the main desk to rebook. (which of course meant going back through security, but hey, if it sped things up by an hour or two...) About 15 of us took off. I walked 12 minutes as fast as I could (and I had already walked rather quickly for some of those gate changes). If I walk at that pace, I can make a mile in 15 minutes. So, I found myself at the main desk out front. She said she would book me on the 8pm flight to Gboro - the following night! I explained (hopefully calmly) that I wished to get home that night and would take any flight which would connect me to Gboro. She found a flight to Philly that left in an hour. I was tired and not enjoying the prospect of being stranded without my bag in either Dallas or Philly. I made my way rather quickly to the gate, only to find out that flight had been delayed so long that I would not make the connection to Gboro. (Did I mention that most of the monitors in DFW were not working properly, so that we were always having to ask attendants for correct info?)

So there I stand, thinking, I'll be stranded in Philly. Then I happen to overhear someone mention a flight that was leaving in 5 mins for Philly at a gate in that same terminal, but at the other end. I took off. I got there about 2 minutes before they closed the door, and they did have 2 empty seats.

Once in Philly, I had just enough time to get to the new gate, get a fizzy diet coke (which was dinner - they don't even give pretzels on American anymore), call hubby, and then get on the little connector to Gboro.

My luggage did arrive in Gboro this morning on one of the full flights directly from DFW. Thank heavens for that.

Just pure luck, good ears, and fast feet got me home last night. Thank heavens. And I sure hope all those people not in good health and traveling with kids get where they need to be.

Monday, December 18, 2006

One bad ride in a van

I'm in Fort Worth for a meeting. It's the usual exhausting stuff. My day ended in a series of misadventures on the ride back to the hotel. Several of us were riding in mini-van. I graciously offered to sit in the very back. There were two bucket seats in front of me. They are the kind that have to be folded up for someone to get in my seat. As the very kind man in front of me tried to fasten his seat back to the floor, he banged my knees with the seat - three times.

The ride back continued to be eventful - the driver drove rather fast and furiously. I was slung from side to side, trying not to hit my bruised knees. And then we hit a bump, and my head hit the ceiling rather hard. I thought there was a dent on the ceiling when I got out.

And then when the ride was finally over - and I was on my way to get some Advil, I was having some difficulty getting over the folded down bucket seat. The back of my jeans caught on the sliding door, and then riiiiiippppp. Hole just under my pocket showing my behind.

Yet again, I can say that at least I have given people around me a good laugh.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

How I Spent My Time Preparing for the Holidays

When I became a mom (almost 13 years ago), I began doing many things I never envisioned. About 11 years ago, I started buying gingerbread house kits so our family could make those special Christmas memories. About 7 years ago, I started making the houses from scratch (making the patterns, baking the gingerbread and icing, etc.). I was always so proud of my from scratch houses.

We all know what comes after pride - one really big fall. And that's what happened to this year's house after a good chunk of my Saturday (and the kids' day as well) was spent.

Inspite of the proof in these pics, this wasn't the worst thing to happen to one of my homemade houses. The second year I made one, and before I could take a picture, our cat was checking out the house (curious) and knocked it off its high-up perch. Seven hot glue sticks and lots of cover-up icing later, it was back in place on a shorter and much wider table. The next day we left the Golden Retriever inside because it was so cold. When we entered the house, it reeked. Apparently, eating an entire gingerbread house (except for a few specks of candy and icing) as well as the glue did not sit well on her stomach. We ended up throwing away Sonny Boy's rug.

So - it could have been worse yesterday. At least my kids had a good laugh. Unfortunately, they won't remember all the beautiful houses - but they sure will remember this one.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Cameron Crazy...

There are some perks occasionally with my job. A recent one was when the UNCG men's basketball team played Duke - at Cameron Indoor Stadium. I had not been in that building since 1992 (which was a very good year to be there) when I was in grad school at Duke. My family and I were able to get tickets - and even though we absolutely cheered for UNCG, you can tell where our hearts were.

This one is just for you, Restless.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Quiz where I like the answer - Which X-Men are you?

You Are Storm

Exotic and powerful, Storm descended from a line of African priestesses.
Emotions can effect your powers, but you are generally serene.

Powers: controlling weather, creating winds that lift you into flight, generating lightning

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What I really want for Christmas...

This is what I really want for Christmas - the I Robot Vacuum. I recognize that it's a sad state of affairs that all I really want is a vacuum. I also realize that life must be pretty dull if having a clean house is what most excites me. Yet, in defense of my increasing dullness, I must say that this thing does the vacuuming for you! I wouldn't have to lug the heavy thing out of a closet, fight with it to get it to the needy spot, and then drag it back and forth so much that my right arm hurts too much to serve more than 3 games of tennis. I also wouldn't have to needle, cajole, or harass other members of my family to do the vacuuming.

I'm not getting one of these things - I got to go see Carlos Moya in the flesh at Flushing Meadow (which really is a better present than the I Robot) - but I can at least have some wistful thoughts while in the midst of holiday shopping.