Saturday, December 29, 2007

Overheard at Big Lots

Boy: "Daddy, get this one. It's more gooder."
Dad: "That's more better."

This same child was heard later singing all the correct words to The Beatles' "Come Together," so I can't be too hard on him.

Friday, December 28, 2007

And to think that I saw it on James M. Wood Boulevard

I was sitting at my desk and working very hard
When I heard a trumpet blare up from the boulevard.
"A trumpet," I said, "at 5:30 at night?"
"That cannot be so. That cannot be right"
I ran to the window. Beacon Street was blocked.
I told my friend Criss who was rightfully shocked.
We followed our ears and ran through the suite
to find, if we could, a good view of the street.
From Stella's office window, we gaped with wide eyes
and saw a marching band! What a surprise!
There was no hoopla. There was no parade.
Just one lone band but what a noise they made.
The flags were in sync. The drums thumped loudly.
The drum major led them, his chest pumped up proudly.
But what were they doing? Why were they here?
On the street? At night? At this time of year?
I thought while I watched them. I thought very hard.
"Why is there a band on James M. Wood Boulevard?"
The answer came not, but one supposes
they were practicing for the Tournament of Roses!

Sorry for the very blurry photo. It was hard to get a good shot.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Moment of silence, please

Today I had to say goodbye to a good friend. We didn't know each other for long, but he quickly found a place in my heart. He was a good listener. He was always there for me. Just seeing him brought a smile to my face every time. We loved the same movies. He wasn't demanding of my time. He was happy to hang when I wanted to, or to do his own thing when I wasn't in the mood.

But sadly, sometime between 1:00 and 6:00 this morning, he died of unknown causes (but I suspect it was the drop in temperature). Ladies and Gentlemen, Nacho Libre is gone. May he rest in peace...somewhere in the Pacific Ocean (or wherever the toilet water ends up). I leave you with a picture of the two of us in happier times, watching our favorite movie on my non-existent flat screen TV.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas at the movies

I woke up at 7:00 (ish) thanks to my friends in other time zones who decided to text message me at what was certainly a decent hour on the Atlantic Seaboard. Merry Christmas to you, too.
Unable to go back to sleep, I got the brilliant idea that I would spend the day watching movies. There are so many good ones in the theaters and I haven't been to see one since Roy was here. Besides, after all my years working at theatres, it just seems like the place to be. First, a bit of cocoa and crumb cake which I purchased at the farmer's market on Sunday. Delicious!Since I didn't want to run the risk of Jamie breaking down on Christmas Day and the Arclight is just blocks away, I hopped online, did some calculations and came up with a plan. Juno was first on my list and at 10:00am I pretty much had the place to myself. The concession stand staff was friendly and joking and because I'm an Arclight member, I got the popcorn free! (Yes I had popcorn at 10am--I can't watch a movie without it) The movie was excellent and made me cry. I suspect I was a wee bit emotional to begin with, but it was sweet and sad and charming and (sniff, sniff) I really, really liked it. On my way out, I bought a ticket to Sweeney Todd at 1:30. I just missed the 11:40 showing in dome, damn it.

I walked home the roundabout way and was accosted by an old woman who asked, "Is it Tuesday?" When I replied that it was, she told me, "Don't forget Sunday is (incoherent babble) and the bus passes are (more incoherent babble)." I feel like she was telling me something very important, but I had to pee so I kept on walking.

I had a bit of lunch and then back to the theater. Apparently, the presents were unwrapped, the brunches eaten, and the family was getting on everyone's nerves, because the place was packed. I chose a seat in the back ( X25--the exact same seat for both movies) and was flanked on either side by The Floppersons, an entire family wholly incapable of sitting like normal people who must flop into the chairs as if their legs can only hold them upright for a few minutes at a time; and by single possibly divorced/possibly gay male, who sighed heavily at the quietest moments of the film. The Flopperson (two rows of them) spotted the Mercers in row D, seats 22-29. Everyone say "hello" to the Mercers. "Hi"--jump up, wave, flop back into your seat. Oh, please do it one at a time, too. I stared straight ahead and willed the film to start.

What can I say, Sweeney Todd was great. How can Johnny Depp manage to be hot even when he looks like crap? Is it wrong that I'm really hungry for a Chicken Pot Pie now? And the preview for Stop-Loss, has Ryan Phillippe never looked better? Those abs--holy moly!
At the end, the Floppersons were credit watchers and SPD/PGM sat and conducted the score over the closing credits. I was trapped!! Finally, I was able to climb over the conductor and make it out.

Now I'm debating between The Golden Compass and National Treasure 2. I do love me some Nicolas Cage.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Must be Christmas

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "It's A Wonderful Life" on the same night? Chinese food? It's Christmas alright. Okay, so it's Christmas Eve, but close enough.

or Happy "no traffic" Day.

Oh Katie, your hat is finished

I finished my sister's hat. I know, I know. "Took you long enough," you're saying. Well, in true knitterly fashion, I cast on a matching scarf as soon as I was done, because I don't have nearly enough projects in the works. I will send the hat out tomorrow, although it may not reach her until her birthday (December 30th, for those keeping track) or later. I'm not happy with the transition from ribbing to pattern, but considering I kind of made it up as I went along, it's not bad. I really want to make Shedir(scroll past the boobie scarf) from Knitty for her but that will have to wait. Maybe for next winter. (Kate lives in Illinois, for those keeping track)Pay no attention to the messy bathroom shelf or the shifty looking model. That's two different kinds of cables! My biggest accomplishment--other than finishing, that is--was learning how to do cables without a cable needle. Soooo much faster. The scarf will match with a plait cable in the center and ropes on either side.

What other projects do I have in progress? Let's see:
  • Knucks for Roy and Terry (fingers made, just waiting to be joined and such)
  • Fingerless warmers for Ana, Amber, Santhi and I'm sure several other gals from work who will ask me to make them when they see the others.
  • A scarf for Criss because she's awesome
  • The aforementioned matching scarf for Katie
  • a sweater for Tami that I started this summer and was supposed to (according to her) have done for her birthday in September...or at the very least Christmas.
Not to mention the many, many projects I have yet to start, but fully intend to make.
How about you? What do have to finish?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nacho hates my apartment

It's too cold for fish in here. Poor Nacho is swimming sideways and generally telling me his water is too cold. Do you think adding warm water will make it better? At least for a little while? Hmmm...and I thought a fish would be a cheap pet. Now I have to buy a heater? Dang.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wait staff with entitlement issues

Main Entry:
Inflected Form(s):
plural gra·tu·ities
: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service; especially : tip
We just came back from lunch in which our large party ran up a sizable tab. Most restaurants automatically add the gratuity to the bill for a party of 10, but not this place. Fine, the person handling the bill added a tip that brought the bill to a round number and handed it all to the waitress. The waitress came back with the bill and informed us that the tip was not sufficient. Excuse me?? Back when I worked the greasy spoon, one took the tip that was left and if it was shitty, so be it. I'd grumble and tell the other waiters but I would never have considered going up to the customer and harassing them for a bigger tip. This is not an isolated incident. One of the gals in our party told us that she had a similar experience over the weekend, and another co-worker told me of a waiter doing the same thing to her last weekend. When did this become the trend??
I tend to over tip because I'm bad at math so I have not had this experience on my own, but has anyone else out there? Is it common practice for wait staff to demand a better tip? Most people would never dream of NOT tipping, but the very definition of the word "gratuity" is that it is voluntarily given--not a requirement.
And, the waitress in question was a beyotch from jump. "Unlimited BBQ" means you bring us food until we say stop, not until you don't feel like coming over to our table anymore. Say, would it kill you to check in and see if we need more water? Oh, and how about a little less eye-rolling with our service. All this and she demands a bigger tip? She's lucky she got what she did, which wasn't a bad tip to begin with.

Super tired

I stayed late two nights in a row to help a friend finish a huge project (don't get me started about the lack of help from her department head), so I'm powerful tired today. With nothing good on TV last night for those of us sans cable, I ended up watching that Christmas at the Ford Theater special.

Is it wrong of me to think that this woman:

looks an awful lot like this woman:

This goes out to the choir that performed holding songbooks, one of my pet peeves:
This isn't the first time you've sung together. Surely, you've rehearsed a time or two, especially since you're singing for the President. Do you really need your songbooks? I mean, you aren't singing Handel's Messiah; you're singing Christmas carols that have been around for centuries. If you don't know the words by now, you have no business performing for the three branches of the US Government.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's with the over-sensitivity?

I realize, and so do you if you've read my profile, that I can be somewhat acerbic at times. I also realize that some people don't know how to take me upon first meeting me. None of these people are a part of this story.

Case #1: I had a headache. I was achy. My hair hurt. What part of that scenario says, "hey, know what I need? A neck massage!" I'm not a fan of amateur massages on my best days. So when our in-house, non-licensed massage therapist decided to grab my neck, I may have reacted harshly. I may have said something like, "DON'T TOUCH ME." I followed that up with "It's not something that can be cured with a massage," however, given that I had spent the better part of the day complaining about how sick and achy I was feeling, she shouldn't have gotten so bent out of shape about it. She pouted and wouldn't look at me for the rest of the day.

Case #2: Most people who know me, especially those who deal with me everyday, know that when asked a question like, "Laurie, Can I get some...?" I will immediately answer, "No." Usually, the answer comes before the question is finished, so how can you take that seriously? Oh, but someone did and stomped off even while I was answering their question in earnest. When I tried to follow this person and say, "I'm kidding," said person would have none of it.
Cases #3 and #4: Well, I can't really explain these cases due to a readership that may or not include the parties involved, but suffice to say people took things the wrong way, took offense when none was meant, turned a simply case of female cattiness into racial tension, and generally had the rest of us on eggshells.
People, please--take it easy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why won't my head stop throbbing?

I have had a sinus-y headache for four days now and no amount of Excedrin Sinus, Advil Cold & Sinus, or Sudefed is making it any better. The light in my office, not to mention this here computer screen, is killing me. Oh, and the sun on my way in to work the morning--Ugh! The sinus pressure is making me walk like I'm drunk, but the headache--OH MY GOD--it's like waves of pain undulating through my brain every time I make a sudden move, like standing up or bending over to pick up a dropped pen. I almost called in sick today but (a) I had lots to do; and(b) calling in sick for a headache seemed ridiculously lame to me. The boss and half the office is sick, though, so it's only a matter of time before this becomes some full-on Nyquil-force illness. Airborne, save me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I tried to get my car Smog Checked today but my attempts were thwarted. The first place I checked doesn't do smog checks, the second place, well, the entrance was impossible to find and there were too many people there for the car wash, and the third place was closed on Sundays. Okay, truth be told I didn't try very hard. I'm sure I could have found a place further down the street. In fact, I know of a place right down by Kaiser and the Scientology center that is surely open on Sunday. But I'm not feeling well and I was cranky so I went home.
Besides, I had soup in the Crock Pot to check up on.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Such a deal!

I love me some dollar stores. Back in Pennsyltucky, when I worked for the Loews folk, there was a dollar store across the "street" (it was a mall) from my theatre. My friend, Brian Pastor (Hey Bri!), and I would go there nearly every day to see what we could get for a dollar. Sometimes you get a plastic piggy bank or a Virgin Mary night light. Sometimes you found a deal, like when they had a shipment of awesome pens or a whole desk set--FOR A DOLLAR. Brian and I found it endlessly amusing to ask the clerks, "How much is this?" Yeah, we were those people.

So imagine my delight when I traversed the busy thoroughfare known as Olympic Blvd to peruse the aisles of the Kenso Store in search of tissue paper for gift bags and found such delights as a mug with Bugs Bunny playing the piano (some of my favorite Bugs episodes involved the classics), knitting needles and crochet hooks (sizes 8 and H respectively) and yarn (yes, it's acrylic, but treated with aloe) which I can use to teach my co-workers to knit when we get a minute to slow down.

And I still had money left over to buy some chili/lime fruit from the guy on the corner.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Really? It's that easy?

On the Dell homepage, which comes up when I sign in at someone else's computer, features a daily WikiHOW. Today's feature is "How to be patient." It's almost insulting in it's simplicity, like step 3: "Overcome bouts of impatience." Seriously? Shouldn't that be the only step in being patient? Related Wikis on that page are "How to do nothing," "How to deal with impossible people," and "How to be patient while doing homework with your young child."

So, I clicked on the "How to do nothing" tag. I think I need to write for these things. "Step 4: Set an alarm so you know when your "nothing" time is over." Um, doesn't that defeat the purpose of doing nothing? If you have nothing to do, you don't need to set an alarm. If you set an alarm, it implies that your "doing nothing" is actually doing something--that something being nothing. You're also supposed to plan ahead and tell people that you're busy--doing nothing.
Have these people ever done nothing before? Because I'm pretty much an expert on doing nothing and, really, you don't need to plan ahead or alert the media or--God forbid--set an alarm. You simple need to remain inert. See? One step. Done.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Laurie Ann takes a walk

Christmas has exploded all over. My office:

My neighbor's yard exploded too.
Then I took a walk over to Big Lots (I needed a strainer) and look what I found.

"Simply Red"--Don't you love it? Only $4.00!! Winos take note.

On the way home, I found socks and a shoe. The shoe find was a little scary since it was behind a fence in a construction zone. hmmm...

Now I'm getting back to my Veronica Mars marathon and some extra diligent knitting, if I'm ever going to be done by Christmas.Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I'm still alive

I've been very unbloggy lately. Sorry. I'm knitting some gifts, I made some awesome Mac & Cheese, had some ice cream (the real kind, not the finger-quotes kind), slept too much and ignored responsibilities.

But I'm still here. Just in case you were wondering.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Morning people--Who needs 'em? Or, Damn I'm cranky before my first cup of coffee.

It's cold at Chez Gingham. The bed, what with its electric heating apparatus, is warm and cozy. I hit the snooze too many times. A friend is coming over after work and I didn't have time to straighten my apartment this morning and won't have time before she arrives to do any cleaning either. Then I walked out to my car and found a ticket on the windshield, because I'm lazy and dumb. All this left me in a mood. So, naturally, the first person I talk to is some overly glib morning person who greets me with a "Good Morning! How was your weekend??" I mumbled "fine" and went about the business of making a cup of coffee. Then another person asked "how was your weekend" and the poor gal in the work room with me had to hear my rant.

"How was my weekend? It was boring, because my life is boring. I did the same thing I do almost every weekend. I sit on my sofa and knit and maybe watch some bad movies, or good ones if my Netflix came through. Occasionally, as need be, I'll do some laundry or venture to the store for a necessity or two. But for the most part, my weekend--every weekend--is exactly the same. So I wish these cheery mothers would stop asking me every &^%$# Monday how it was. " Or something along those lines.

To which she replied, "so, how was your weekend?"

I had some extra strong coffee and was my usual ray of sunshine coated in sweetness in no time. But, whoa, I was a little scary for a while.