Sunday, March 29, 2009


My newest addiction.

Last night I went on a friendship date with the guy from the singles' dance to ZuZu in Cambridge for Moroccan food and salsa dancing after. It was the most fun I have had with a guy in a long time! Do you know how rare it is to find a guy who actually enjoys dancing with women and is also a decent leader? Nigh impossible, at least in my circle.

The food was okay, but in my humble opinion, overpriced. But dancing. Was. Awesome!!! And totally affordable. I've already joined an area meetup group for it! The beginner/intermediate class was at 9PM, but since he has been taking classes for a while, he knew all of these steps. By the end of the night, he had even taught me one of the advanced steps.

I wouldn't say I was excellent, but for a first-timer, I was certainly did well enough. It must be my Latina blood. Ha! He was complimentary, shouting encouragements: "Excellent! Verrry nice! Smooth!" I think he was pleasantly surprised at my sense of rhythm, as was I. We also did some merengue (fun, but not as fun as salsa), and a little bachata, which was just okay. Apparently Caucasians and Latinos do the bachata differently. Causasians leave lots of room between them, and basically just go back and forth, with a little hop, whereas Latinos do a much snugglier, sexier version. We briefly tried both. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not sure I want someone else's leg between mine right now.

All in all, a very fun evening was had. I was drenched by the end, which leads me to believe that this activity will be a real weight loss help. Woo hoo! SALSA!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Office health and beauty tips

Other uses for office supplies.
  • Post-its make excellent facial blotters (the darker colors show the oil compellingly)
  • The bent portion of a small paper clip can substitute for an orange stick
  • Can’t locate your emery board? Gently scratch the nail edge against a bulletin board several times
  • A gum eraser removes pen stains from fingers
  • A letter opener can moonlight as a backscratcher
  • The bristly end of a new Eraserstik makes a decent eyebrow brush
Anyone else?

Smooth Away

Along the lines of hair (ok, the hairline), I made a purchase last week.

It was the Smooth Away hair removal system, you know, those personal sandpaper pads. And, they work! Once you have the “wax on, wax off” motion down pat, it takes no time at all. I did my legs, and not only did the hair come off, but it really was an amazing exfoliant. (It says to make three circles in each direction, but my hair is dark and coarse and I do 4-5 circles in both directions.)

In addition, it’s cheap, very cheap – just $10 at Target. You can find it at the “As Seen on TV” endcap. I rank it right up there with the Pedi-Egg and Biore pads in terms of the “oh-my-god-that-actually-came-from-my-body?” factor. (I love that. It’s just so satisfying. And I know you feel the same.) The downside is the curled-up hair bits and skin flakes. Use this before you shower, or maybe on the deck, not as I did, in my bedroom. You would think I had never depilated before! I vacuumed a few times after that. Yuck!

Hair also seems to be growing at a slower rate than when I shave, also (and certainly faster than a wax job). My legs were also not as smooth as when I have them professionally waxed, but that’s probably because I’m not an esthetician. Also, I tried my chin, and it was rather scratchy for three or so days, or until I applied my special Shiseido smoothening facial massage cream. So beware, if you have sensitive skin. But hey, for ten bucks, why not try it (unless you are diabetic!) – think of the money you can save from your underarms alone, not to mention other parts of your anatomy…

A long one

Ew! I was just about to nuke a Lean Pocket, when I found a long dark hair in the office microwave! How absolutely disgusting, so much so that I had to post about it. That's all. You may please to go back to enjoying your day now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

There’s something about Steve

So Denise Richards got booted from Dancing. Gorgeous though she may be, she had absolutely no shake-a-booty-bility (kind of like Kim Kardashian, last season. It was actually kind of pitiful.) My pick is Melissa Rycroft, the last-minute replacement for Nancy O’Dell. She is awesome! And I’ve liked Tony Dovolani since before the show began, yum. It’s his turn to win the mirror ball trophy! I also like gymnast Shawn Johnson and rodeo dude Ty Murray. And, Steve Wozniak is just adorable. Maybe it’s the geek factor that I like so much…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The gym

Today I went to the gym for the first time in a long time. In fact, so much time has passed, that the person behind the desk actually had to look at the screen and then at my face since she didn't recognize me. It's been, oh, only about eight months! Pretty sad, actually.

But I have to get healthy! So to that end, I completed 35 minutes on the elliptical, and I feel good. Of course, it was nothing like I used to do, but that's ok. I'll work my way up to it. I found my floor work routine sheet, and will add that back in as well. Tomorrow, DDR at home on my amazing Cobalt Flux, and then Guitar Hero with a friend. Looks like I'm back on the video game kick, and that's fine with me...

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Melting Pot

So tonight was Ladies' Night at The Melting Pot, where four of us shared fondues of cheese and chocolate (yes, they were separate.) The cheese was ok; the chocolate, out of this world. If you are thinking of going, I suggest a slice of pizza for dinner, then going here purely for dessert. Here's the lowdown.

It was interesting -- if you've never been (and I hadn't), first the table agrees on the flavor (we had Cheddar cheese, I think). The table is presented with a pot and dunks chunky food (white and brown bread, veggies, and apple pieces) into the bubbling cheesy goodness with extremely long and pointy forks. I could have done without the apple chunks -- those were purely filler, if you ask me.

Three of us had salads. I had the Spinach Mushroom, one friend had the Caesar, and another had the House. These were just right, and the dressing on the spinach salad was warm and to die for. The final friend ordered a court bouillon fondue, and was served raw chicken, beef, shrimp, potatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms that she cooked herself. I liked the mushrooms best, and the bouillon really smelled good. She also received about 8 types of sauces, which nearly took over the table. It was really a lot of sauces. Caution -- keep the potatoes in the broth longer than you think, or they will be crunchy and raw-ish.

The best part by far was dessert. We chose the Flaming Turtle, an evil concoction of milk chocolate, caramel, and pecans, set afire by our waiter. We dunked strawberries, brownies, marshmallows, and other diabetic coma sweets into the molten chocolate, and scraped the dish when it was over, far too soon. We also enjoyed girly drinks. I had a Love Martini, which was an eye-catching bright pink, in addition to being just sweet enough.

This is a good place for a hot date. Although there was indeed garlic in the cheese, it was not at all overpowering, and there was no icky aftertaste. Besides, after the chocolate, no one would care. But be ready to open your wallet, because this place ain't exactly cheap. Our night was $25 per person for the salad dinner and $35 for the entree, which was a really good deal. But an ordinary prix fixe dinner are upwards of $85 for two, and that doesn't count tax or tip. Ka-ching!

We also each had a 10-minute psychic reading ($20, or $2 a minute). Originally we all wanted tarot, but were late in booking, so we added our names to the waiting list. I really didn't want my palm read, but I figured what the heck, why not. Imagine my delight when I found the restaurant had added an extra psychic, and it turned out we all had tarot readings! I also learned that there is such a thing as round cards. They were beautiful.

Well, we know my year is supposed to be a good one in general, but I asked specifically about love and career (not what I do now, but my dream job, writing!)

I won't share what she said, because that is private, after all... but I will say it was one of the few times in my life that I have never gotten emotional in an unusual setting. Whether that's good or bad, I really don't know... I basically treated it almost as a business meeting -- I mean, little to no emotion, but paying attention. But like a fool, I forgot to write down the cards I drew.

Oh all right, if you keep twisting my arm, I will share one piece of my fortune, because it's too good. Eventually, I will make money from my writing. Hear that, world? I will make money from my writing! But it won't happen for years. Guess I'd better get cracking!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Murder Mystery

After the baby visit yesterday, I went to another one of those meetups. This time it was a Murder Mystery, held in Odiorne State Park in Rye, NH. I drove, with a friend navigating, which was lucky, because if I had been alone, I would have gotten lost and probably started to cry.

Anyway, we were there with 128 other people for a potluck dinner (we brought KFC), the game, and optional dancing after. The game itself was straightforward -- standard playing cards were chosen, whoever picked the ace of spades was the killer, and all the lights would be turned off. The killer would grab your arm, whisper, "You're dead. Lay down!" and the victims(s) would drop.

Someone would inevitably bump into the body and shout, "Murder!" Then everyone was supposed to freeze. (This did not happen, which made the game much less organized.) The lights would be turned on. The inspector (the king of hearts) would then ask everyone in the vicinity a few questions that could only be answered with a yes or no. Then s/he would ask someone if they were the killer. The person would show their card, and if they were not the killer, the game would continue, round after round until the killer was found. In the meantime, all the victims were herded into the main hall, where music was playing and people were supposed to socialize.

Am I unapproachable? Because very few people were interested in talking to me. One shrimpy guy even seemed to take offense when I walked up to the dessert table. He was in the way, picking through a pile of strawberries. I said hi in order for him to know I was there, so he could step aside and I could choose something sweet. "Uhhhhh, hiiiii," he said, eyeing me suspiciously. But I was only interested in a cupcake. People are silly.

We played three games of multiple rounds, and then there was dancing. We didn't stay. It was 9:30ish. We drove back, stopped at a bar in Haverhill, MA, then went out to Denny's in Salem, NH where we broke down the day's events, and finally back to my place. It was about 1:30. Friend took off, I jumped on FB, caught up, showered, checked the burns, and went to bed at 4:15. In the morning! Needless to say, I slept laaaaate. All in all, it was a very fun, albeit fattening day! Thanks, Friend!

Everyone has their own

Yesterday, less than a week after the birth, the crew went to gawk at the brand new baby. And she is beautiful! I still really want one of my own, but right now I will focus on my own baby -- the condo!

My next project will be to put in a table (coffee bar style) under the front window, and get better window coverings. I will use bookcases underneath as legs to store my recipe books. Also, the kitchen floor needs to be replaced. I'm thinking Pergo! (I really like bamboo, but the flooring seems to dent rather easily.) I only have to cover about 36 square feet, and I will lay it myself, so it won't be too bad. Kitchen counters can be replaced later, with the bathroom vanity, and the bathroom floor. I simply must get rid of the tile in there! Many pieces are broken, and the grout is just powder now, and by the way, have you ever tried to maintain grouted small tiles while being a pet owner and sharing the bathroom with a litter box? It's nigh impossible.

In the meantime, I will plan my attack for the kitchen bar. Once installed, I will get rid of the kitchen table I'm using. But maybe I should see if I can can use a piece of counter for the bar, instead. Hmm... no, I think I'll use something cheap. This way, I can paint it and decoupage and college and sand down and do whatever I want, over and over again to change the look of the place! Hooray!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Aloe? It's for you!

Ring ring! Ring ring!

Hello? Who is it?

It's Aloe, did you need me for something?

Oh, hey, Aloe! Yeah, I totally burned my forehead with a curling iron on Wednesday, and my finger on the toaster oven on Monday. The burns are dry and clean, but really ugly. And I'm going out on Saturday night. I've heard you can help.

Let me see... oh, Clever Cat. Tsk tsk. What were you thinking? Of course I can help! Just run to the store, get a leaf from my cousin, squish it, and place the goop on the burn. Keep doing this. It will heal much faster. For best results, you should have done this right away, but it will still help.

Thanks Aloe, I don't know how I was so careless this week, but will!

Clever Cat applies pure aloe on the forehead burn every hour for six hours, which miraculously is almost gone now! After her bedtime, relax-me shower, she couldn't help but rub off the icky burned bits where the curling iron got her, and next morning, new skin has already come along. The finger burn also looks much better. It's a more severe burn, but it is very clear the aloe made the wound much smaller. She applies more, waits until it dries, then a little more to each spot.

Hello, Aloe? I didn't realize the gel would be so stringy, but what a great first aid trick! I found it in the ethnic section of the market. And it only cost a dollar for a two-foot leaf! How can I thank you properly? Can you do any other tricks?

I sure can! Look me up, and check. I'm so glad it worked. Just tell your friends, and we'll call it even...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

3-2-1 Contact

Con-tact! Is the an-swer! Is the ques-tion! When everything hap-pens! 3! 2! 1! CONTACT!!!

For some reason, today I thought about the 3-2-1 Contact show, and I remembered the segment involving the computerized voice. You know, "By dame bis BARK!" Remember? (Turns out that was part of the very first episode.) From the moment those words passed the speaker-lips of a computer, they have cracked me and my sister up. We still burst into song whenever someone in the family has a cold. And what about the Bloodhound Gang? Whenever there was trouble, they were there on the double. Ahh, good ol' educational tv...

That's all. There's no other reason for this post except that it popped into my head. What can I say? These are the things I think about...

My little tax credit

Well, the condo is mine in name and deed. Mortgage transfer papers will be sent tomorrow, and I have joined the ranks of the millions of American debtors. It's nice to have some company!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mine, all mine

So tonight I went to the lawyer’s office with my parents to process the paperwork for the conveyance of the condo. It was frightfully easy. Tomorrow, the mortgage paperwork. And then it will be mine! Hopefully nothing will hold it up, but I guess anything can happen.

And no, this is not my floor plan. I just thought it looked kinda sorta familiar -- you know, two bedrooms and a bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and living room. And a deck that can't be used because it is under someone else's, and also overlooks the highway. Ha!

Bambooed flowered tables

Ooh! Ooh! I love bamboo and I love this! I'm gonna do it, too.

Red beans

I made a boo-boo. Again. I bought a three-pound jug of Jelly Belly beanies at BJs. Why can’t I learn my lesson? I eat the ones I like, then chuck the rest into a small garbage can, which by the way is best accomplished from across the room. Anyway, I have compiled a list of the best and worst flavors.

My Top Ten Jelly Belly Beans (These are in order.)

Red Apple – the absolute tops!
Very Cherry – follows very closely
Strawberry Jam (lol, I just typed Strawberry Ham, how gross would that be!?)
Sunkist Tangerine
Tutti Fruitti
Any of the sour ones (these I count as one flavor, because I like them all the same amount.)
Pink Grapefuit

Hmm. I never knew I liked fruit so much. Conversely, 80% of the icky flavors are non-fruit-related.

My Worst Ten Jelly Belly Beans (Not in any particular order, since they don’t deserve it, anyway.)

Juicy Pear
Top Banana
Cafe Latte
Peanut Butter
Buttered Popcorn
Strawberry Cheesecake
Dr. Pepper
French Vanilla
Chocolate Pudding

Anyone else? Preferences? Nasties? I know you have 'em...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The goal

February 11th, 2009, 4:43 PM

"Oh no, Mommy, I have to use the bathroom!" three-year-old Nephew announces, after nibbling his way through nearly an entire yogurt cone.

"Ok, we're almost home. What is it, pee or poo?"

"Both. Pee AND poo!!! I really have to go, Mommy..."

"We're almost there." This nearly-a-lie is delivered calmly by my sister, as she maneuvers the minivan through a good seven minutes of Florida traffic on the way to the house, almost ten in total after stopping to pick up the mail.

"Whatever you do, don't go here, in the car! Hold it! Hold it! Hold it! Hold it!" Niecey's admonition has become a chant, and Nephew joins in, while squirming in his car seat. Soon the car pulses with high-pitched kiddie voices, and it's deafening.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Kids! What's the goal, here, anyway?" I ask, thinking of the immediate necessity of the toilet, still miles away, and of the thankless, damp task ahead of me if things don't go as hoped.

Gears tick in youngsters' heads (three blessed seconds of silence), and five-year-old Niecey is first to voice her view. "The goal... is FUN!!!" she chirpily proclaims, with absolute certainty, wide eyes, and a bit of a teenager's world-weariness, because surely Auntie must know this, by now!

Despite the backseat commotion, I can't help but grin at all three of them. Sister grins back at me, while the kids continue their chant. Niecey's right, you know. From the mouths of babes come the clearest, most important principles of life. Why, oh why didn't I think of that? Of COURSE the goal is fun!

And, by the way, there was no need to worry. Nephew made it to the toilet like a pro. Unfortunately, bath time was nowhere near as easy...

Math cubes

Have you ever wanted... to fold a penultimate module? Now is your chance. All you need is 30 pieces of paper and a teensy bit of patience.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eat up at the meetup

So tonight I drove 40 minutes out of my way to Salem to attend a meetup where we played one game of Scrabble with seven people. (It was crowded.) Basically, people complained about terrible love affairs they have had, and no one offered useful advice or a point of view about how interactions could possibly be improved, or avoided (which was the whole point of the meetup).

I found myself becoming annoyed that some of them didn't understand Scrabble scoring (what's not to understand? Double letter, triple word. It's self-explanatory.) In addition, there was little to no group leadership. The hangout location (Gulu Gulu) was pretty cool (and the food was decent. Crepes and dessert cocktails, brie and smoked turkey, various yummy tidbits), but I'm not feeling that I made any strong friend-like connections. The food was the best part! (And I could have eaten something more delicious, and much less expensive, at home.)

This was my first real meetup, and part of me says it was a waste of time, but part of me says it was a good experience. I'm going to try some other ones to see if they are any more fun. Wish me luck?

The naked truth

So 1,000,000 monkeys is not for me. The bad news is I'm extinct. The good news is I'm not ranked last. I am #484 out of 1603, as of today.

No one liked my snippet (I admit, it was not my best work, I was rusty) and I've been reduced to a pile of primate hair and bones. Waaahhh! I'm shouting and stomping my feet. Now I'm sitting and breathing. Ok, tantrum over. Perhaps I can resurrect myself. Or maybe I don't wish to.

Science fiction is nice, but it's really not my bag anymore. Guess I'll have to start writing about something else. Any ideas?

The best bra

I found it in my closet!

This is something my family says when we come across something useful we forgot we had – a cute purse, seasonal shoes, whisk, computer game, whatever.

Anyway, do you remember when the underwire broke on my favorite bra, and I was heartbroken because they are no longer made? Well, guess what I found! Yup! Brand new! Still in the bag! I’m so happy about it, and I’m wearing it… right… now! Hurrah!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dance party!

Tonight, I went all by myself to a singles dance. All by myself! (I'm proud of me.) I found it through But, they lie! Singles in their 30's to 60's? More like 2 singles in their 30's, and the rest in their 50's and 60's.

Although I was there only for about half an hour, the one guy in his 30's found me. I had walked straight to the bar, and was sipping my Seven & Seven for, like, all of a minute when he asked if I dance. I said "badly," and we chitchatted for a while. Then he had to leave to go to a friend's party. Lucky him! We exchanged contact info.

I was kinda digging the dance music, and then the dj started playing Electric Slide. And eeek! everyone liked it! The dance floor was full! At that point, I marched over to the dj and asked about the general age range. He didn't have an answer since this was his first time playing this gig, but I heard all about other gigs in South Beach, Boston, Chicago, somewhere in California, and his most recent three months playing Long Island. I don't think I believe him.

I bailed after chatting up the dj, and within two hours after I had left my place, I was back home. (I spent lots of quality time with my car today.) Socially speaking, it was a good mingling exercise for me, without falling back on the "just keep talking to the buddy you came with" trick. I ended up looking pretty good after all. Also, since it was free for ladies until 9 PM (I arrived at 8:53), all I had to spend was $6.75 on an overpriced drinkie.

I don't know when I'll do it again, but I probably will. You never know who you will meet...


Today, I saw Watchmen. I enjoyed it. And I'm not at all ashamed to state that I found myself constantly staring at Dr. Manhattan's glowing, electrified, pointy, blue penis. Other things I liked about the movie:
  • Rorschach's mask
  • Silk Spectre's hair
  • Lots of rain
  • Nite Owl's sense of humor
  • Dr. Manhattan, out of clothes, in clothes, and for the most part
  • The Comedian's mustache
  • Adrian's Antarctic hideout
  • The beginning scenes
  • Everyone's intensity
Some stuff I didn't like:
  • Too much makeup on the women
  • The Comedian's enjoyment and capacity for bloodshed (I know, it's part of the story. I still don't like it.)
  • Dr. Manhattan's voice (No affect. He actually lost me during one part.)
But all in all, it was really good. And I enjoyed seeing it in Imax. You should see it too, but be prepared for a loooong sit. Bring a cushion!

Friday, March 13, 2009


So tonight I went to a 6-hour concert named BlastFest, set up by Whitehaus Records. It was held at the Cambridge YMCA, an interesting venue. As soon as we arrived, I had the sneaking suspicion that we were supposed to be stoned. But no one seemed to notice that we weren't, and we had a good time. What other concert would provide you with peanut butter and two-kinds-of-jelly sandwiches during a break? This was a hippie concert, for sure. Good thing I didn't wash my hair this morning!

Now for the review. The stage was set up with lots of instruments, which was cool, as well as a whole bunch of random decorations, which was slightly unsettling. It was very dark. The theater had a balcony almost the entire size of the regular floor. Dark moth-eaten velvety drapes. Marble steps into the building. Columns that needed to be repainted, inside. It was your basic urban YMCA, except it didn't smell like sweat or mold, which was nice.

We arrived during a spoken word poetry reading, which was eh. The emcee was all bones and wore an ill-fitting three-piece suit. The first band was not good, and I was afraid that they would all be not good. But thankfully, I was wrong. The Woodrow Wilsons were enjoyable, and so were the The Points North. Avi Jacobs' third song was the best of his set. Catchy. But I thought the top band was Debbie and the Bullets. They were tight, had a really good sound, had fun on stage, and actually had some charisma as well. They rocked! We even got up and danced around.

All in all, it was a very fun night (even though we left rather early.) I would do it again, though. And next time, I'm definitely going to wear clothes that don't match! It's important to look as though one belongs, after all...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab

A couple of days ago, the VT published a very good article by Daphne Gray-Grant entitled Welcome to Dr. Wicked. (Unfortunately, you can't read it unless you have a subscription, poor you.) But don't worry, I'm here for ya.

Although half the article was filler (in my 'umble opinion, sorry Daph), Ms. Gray-Grant brought a terrific tool to the table -- it's called Dr. Wicked, and it is. Your task? Write or die.

Choose your word goal, time goal, mode, and grace period, and then do it. Just write. And hurry! In Kamikaze mode, existing text will be erased if you don't add more (and that's not the highest mode. Eep.) You can choose a lower one if you prefer less hard-core-iness but still want to get the job done -- but beware of bad, bad music. Hey, we all need to be poked sometimes, and this certainly forces productivity. I like it.

So check it out! (I'm a fan on Facebook...)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yum, men

How do men look so yummy?

Why is it that the typical man can look so good without doing a damn thing, while on any given day the typical woman applies makeup and does her hair and wears sexy shoes and eye-catching clothes? I love wearing makeup, and I love sexy shoes and clothes, and doing my hair is fun (to an extent), but it would be great if I could be as appealing as a man just by rolling out of bed... it's so unfair...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gee honey, that itches

My rights must be defended!

This is distinctly un-angelic… good thing I stick to Frederick’s...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Limited warranty

So today I finished a box of paper clips (hooray!) and picked up some more from the supply closet. I broke down the box to put them in their proper dish and admired the shape of the flat box cutout. (I especially liked the tabs. They were pointed.) I was about to throw it away when I noticed what was written on the bottom panel. It was a one-year limited warranty. On paper clips! Who returns paper clips...?

Are you there God

It's me, Clever Cat. Or it could be the person down the street. It's someone, at least...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy birthday, Barbie!

When you're hot, you're hot!

West Virginia lawmakers hope to ban the gorgeous Babs (and other dolls with inhuman proportions) from the state on her 50th birthday, March 9th.

Whuh-huh? I ask you, who wants to play with a doll that looks like your neighbor? Barbie is supposed to be a glamour puss. If a doll had the proportions of a "normal" woman, she would most likely not be a model. And Barbie was born a model, after all. But she's also been a vet, a gymnast, an astronaut, a presidential candidate, and Rosie O'Donnell, of all things (as I understand, this "friend of Barbie" is made from a Barbie head and a Ken body. Why is that fun?) And by the way, Mattel did put out an athletic Barbie with a more correctly proportioned body, one that could stand on its own on with its huge feet... which nobody bought.

As a little girl, I wanted to play with pretty things and make my own scenarios, not be handed a clunky doll and forced to reenact real situations. That doll would have been thrown in the trash! (I would keep the accessories for my Barbies to wear, though...)

Considering the average American woman is overweight, how exactly would that translate to a small doll? I guarantee it wouldn't be much fun to play with. Think of an average woman, say, someone in the grocery store. Her clothes wouldn't lay right, makeup fair, teeth a maybe a little yellow, her accessories are all wrong, and she is pushing a cart with a screaming child. There's a reason why Barbie is fun, people -- escape from reality!

The problem is actually not that Barbie is so sexy, it's that America is becoming less so. People are becoming fatter and fatter, and perhaps if Americans have something else to focus on, the obesity epidemic will not be front and center anymore.

Their argument actually goes both ways. By hoping to pass this bill, West Virginia is suggesting that in order to be considered smart, you may not be attractive at all, let alone sexy. What about all those poor souls who are beautiful, have great figures, and are also rocket scientists? They do exist, you know. Don't ostracize them!

So ban Barbie? I certainly hope so -- that will make my collection worth so much more!,2933,504456,00.html

And lest you think it can't be worse, Barbie also has reason to complain...


It’s a slippery slope.

Let’s say you’re dating someone, and they break it off with you. Would you want to be their friend? What about if you were the breaker-upper? Would it matter to you?

This can be an uncomfortable situation. If the person wanted to see you, as a friend, they would, either right away or some amount of time later. You know I am of the school that says, “It’s over. Let’s never speak of this again, and go our separate ways. And if we run into each other for whatever reason, let’s be polite, not buddy-buddy, not obnoxious, and certainly not nostalgic. And no hanging around like we're friends, because we’re not.”

But I tend to not be nostalgic to begin with, and my patience is short when faced with annoyances, and even shorter when I have to deal with people I have no interest in. (I have even been informed that I think like a guy in certain situations -- which works for me.) I did try the befriend-the-ex-boyfriend thing after college with someone I cared for and fell out of love with, and it worked, until I had to dump him for the second time (from friend status) after my divorce when I realized he was too high-maintenance. Sorry. I just don’t have the desire to expend more energy on someone else than I do on myself. Harsh? I think not. It’s a self-preservation technique! (I am sure this outlook will change after kids enter the picture, but for now, it makes perfect sense.)

And certainly if someone broke up with me I would not want to be friends with them, anyway.

But what do you think? Is it a good idea? A bad idea? A who-really-cares-anyway situation? I'm curious. Please comment.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Baba Marta

So my mom has had a terrific research assistant for the last two semesters. Well, today she gave my mom this charming white and red needlepointy thing shaped like a crane and explained a wonderful custom. In her native Bulgaria, the custom for the first day of March is to present relatives and loved ones with a red and white pin or bracelet made of thread, which they wear until the buds of spring emerge. Then they pin them on bushes and trees! What a lovely and romantic custom.

I looked it up, and it's called Baba Marta, and you typically wear the red and white threads until you see storks. This amulet will keep you safe all year if you follow this custom. Well, it's unlikely to see a stork just wandering around northern Massachusetts, so we'll going to go with the first buds. I like it!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Arroz con gandules sin aceitunas

Drat! I nearly ruined perfectly good arroz con gandules tonight by forgetting to put olives in! It's ok -- it still tastes good, but not as good as with olives. What was I thinking? The good news is the grains came out very nicely -- just dry enough. But the gandules were mushy! That's the last time I follow a recipe for P.R. food! I'll just stick with what I can remember from Gramma. It just seems to come out better that way...

Black brean brownies

Black bean brownies? That’s just wrong.

People who don’t understand proper cooking just don’t get that not all substitutions work well. My personal trainer was shocked when I laughed at his "chocolate chip cookies” that were made with cannellini beans and carob chips. And fake sugar. And applesauce. I tried one once and I couldn’t even swallow it. And I have eaten some strange things! Poor ignorant souls…

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This is really cool. And it's a great thing to do on a date! (If you were dating someone who likes to read. Duh.) Basically, when you're left with a book you no longer want, you catalog it, then give it to a friend or leave it somewhere, like an airport or a coffee shop. Or, hunt for the books other people left somewhere. The book is "tracked" online when you log in the BC identification number. Also, if you want to discuss the books, you can do that too. (I'm not so into that part.) I love this idea! Have fun!