People Underestimate the Value of a Good Ramble

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Being in Sync

I had to help my husband set up his second gmail account with his phone.

ME:  OK, it's set up and it's syncing.

HIM: Sinking  in what? What's sinking?

ME: The phone is syncing.

HIM: What? A boat is sinking?

ME: No! Syncing, not sinking. Syncing.

HIM: I don't get it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Distracted Driving or Ordinary Life?

I read an article yesterday morning about a Federal investigation on cell phone use in cars that is recommending more state-wide bans on the use of electronic devices while driving. Not just hand held use, all use.  Of course, we have that where I live, cause this is New York (the "we like to take away ALL of your liberties State") and they put such a ban into effect already. (We were also among the first to institute helmet laws and mandatory seat belt use. My wearing or not wearing a seat belt only concerns my safety, so why do they even care? I mean, maybe I WANT to get thrown out of the car and die by smashing my head on the pavement. What's it to you, bud??)

I found this article interesting, because several years ago when cell phone use really became more popular and they first decided that we could not use our hands, but needed some sort of additional hands-free mechanism to use our phones, I cried foul. For one thing, I'm pretty sure that was all just a stunt by cell-phone lobbyists to get us to all buy even more junk with our phones.  Added to that, I always contended that it was the actual use of the phone, that is the carrying on of a conversation that's distracting. I mean once you dial that part is complete and you're just talking. The same way you'd chat with someone sitting in the car next to you.

So I thought if they are going to stop us from talking on our cell phones, they should probably also discourage having any additional people in the car with us. Cause, honestly, is there anything more distracting than a 2-yr old throwing McDonald's french fries at the back of your head while you're driving? Clearly the kids have got to go, along with any other passengers.  Also, the radio is a distraction, what if you're singing along and not concentrating on where you're going? And then smoking should be banned, too, cause it's not hands free.

What about all those controls we have to operate which cause us to remove our hands from the wheel, like opening and closing windows or windshield wipers or turning on the lights.  Of course, cars these days do have daytime running lights, so I guess they took care of that one.

Also, what about my GPS, cause it's in my phone and if I'm gonna find my way around, I'm absolutely going to need to touch my phone.  Of course, I could just unfold a huge road map and hold it in front of me, kinda propped on the wheel, while I'm driving.  Cause that's safe.

Look, what I'm saying here is that, yes, cell phones are distracting when you drive, but so is life. Some people can handle it, some can't.  There was also a story yesterday about a police office in Florida who ran his car up a pole because he looked down to pick up a dropped pen.  As far as I know, there is no evidence his cell phone was even on at the time.

These things happen. People, in general, need to be more careful, but I'm not sure that cell phone use alone is the main reason for most car accidents.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Life As a Teenage Geek

So we moved, right? Well, I'm still sorting out boxes and stuff, naturally, and the other day the shelf in our closet, which I had clearly overloaded, tilted and this box I hadn't looked at yet - or actually hadn't looked at in about 30 years and which had been sitting on the top of our other closet since we built that addition in 1996 - tumbled down, spilling several large expansion folders.  You know the kind, like lawyers use.

I had to be sure to tell my husband that those should not have been in the bedroom closet in the first place, since they belonged in the office. I wasn't exactly sure what was in them, but it looked like papers and stuff, which obviously should go in an office. So it was clearly his fault. Clearly. Am I right?

Anyway, he dumped them all on the long table in the office and I decided to go through them before putting them away in that closet. This may or may not have been a mistake.

They contained my life.  Seriously, my entire life was in there. At least the teenage part of it.

There were notebooks full of my scribbles, stories, plays, and notes; random news clippings; construction paper pages with pics of hot guys of the times pasted to them (these were in my locker and I'm not naming any names, but Tim Hutton just may have been in there); song lyrics; my high school diploma; poems; term papers; and just so many memories.

There were even pages in which I had clipped out and pasted parts from the TV Guide about movies I watched. Everything was all neatly cataloged and dated.  So I was clearly an organized insane person. My husband was amazed cause he was a high school jock and apparently I was always a geek girl.

I can't even imagine having the time to do stuff like that now, and then I remember that I have a spreadsheet to keep track of what shows I watch and I realize that I haven't changed all that much over the years.

I had to just shove it all back into the folders and stick them up on the shelf in the office closet, or I would have spent the rest of the day and probably several days afterwards just going through it all and re-living my glory days of being a geeky teen-aged freak.

At some point, I definitely plan to go back through all that stuff and maybe even read over some of those stories to see if they are worth re-working and finishing.  Maybe my great american novel is in there somewhere.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm Not Any Percentage

I think I know myself pretty well. I’m under no illusions about who I am. Other people may be, but I know myself enough to be honest about me. I’m selfish, shallow and pretty much self-involved.

A friend once told me that she appreciated how I never had anything bad to say about other people, that I wasn’t a gossip. I responded, it’s cause I don’t care about anyone else. Hey, it's only the truth. That’s why you can also share your secrets with me and I won’t tell. I won’t even remember them within half an hour, cause I’m probably not even listening to what you tell me.

This frustrates my poor husband, who doesn’t understand why I’m apparently so proud that I’m a jerk. It’s not that, it’s just that I realize people don’t really change. Not deep down, not that much. This is who I am. Maybe I’m selfish, but I’m a good cook and I’m smart. And being selfish about some things doesn’t necessarily make me selfish about everything.

For instance, if we’re both sitting, all comfy, wrapped in blankets and watching a movie, or whatever, and I ask my husband to do something for me, it turns into a fight. He’s not going to get up and kill that spider or get me something to drink or whatever. Even though he knows I can’t exist in the same room with a spider, dead or alive. He knows I’m going to start whining about it, but he just won’t get up and deal. On the other hand, if he asks me to go get him something, or even if he doesn’t ask, if he just realizes he needs a cough drop or hot chocolate or something, I’ll get up and go get it. I just will. I like him and I have no problem missing part of the movie or whatever, to do something for him.

Of course, if I point this out, then I’ve ruined it. He needs to realize this for himself. But he never will. He’s a guy.

I think that’s a major issue for me. I figure things out, I process information quickly. So sometimes, I want to tell people stuff that I should let them figure out on their own. But I’m too impatient to wait for them to catch up with me. Did I also mention that along with being selfish and shallow, I’m also impatient and a tad bit arrogant. Or maybe I’m just a snob, which is kinda like being arrogant, but not quite.

It’s the area I grew up in. We’re all snobs. Sort of like attorneys, who are given that little extra thing when they go through law school, some little gene, that makes them a little bit better than all the rest of us. Either they get it in law school or they’re born with it and it’s what makes them want to be lawyers in the first place. I’ve never been able to work that one out to my satisfaction.

But, in any case, it’s like that where I grew up. We’re from a slightly-higher-than-middle-class income area and it’s been around for a while, it’s old money, if you know what I mean. We’re not nouveau riche. (Of course, I'm not any kind of rich, but that's beside the point here.)

Those types of things, the little class distinctions that I’m apt to make, are just cause of where I grew up. We still believe in a caste system. I’m almost not even kidding.

It makes my husband crazy, but that’s just he’s not from Williamsville. Seriously. If he was, he’d understand, but he grew up in Cheektowaga.

So you can see what I mean, right?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Toni's Blogging Tip No. 1

I follow a lot of blogs.

I faithfully put them all in my Google Reader, pressing that little RSS button even though I have no idea what RSS means.  I tried to explain this to my husband, so he could get all the news he wants delivered to  his phone, but all he cared about was what RSS meant.


Who cares? I know what it does and that's the important part. (And if you know what it does, too, you should click on my little RSS thingy so that my posts are delivered to your phone, too!)

Look, I know the reason I only update 2-3 times a month isn't cause I'm trying to be nice, it's cause i'm lazy.

But some people, and I have to be honest here, they just update too darn much.

Please, do us all a favor and don't update every single day.  No one wants to read that much about you.

I'm just being helpful.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy To Be Stuck With My Own Number

So the other day I was listening to the 80's station on our Sirius radio, cause it's pretty much the only station I ever listen to. Sue me, I'm stuck in the 80's.

Anyway, it's Huey Lewis and The News' Happy to Be Stuck With You, and I'm singing along, cause why wouldn't I be, and so I'm singing "We are bound by all the rest, like the same phone number, all the same friends and the same address" and I realized something.

Even if we're all stuck with each other, hardly any one I know just has one home phone number any more. Most people actually have their own cell phone and hence their own number.

Maybe we're not as bound to each other as we used to be.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

To NaNo or Not to NaNo

I've been thinking about joining NaNoWriMo again this year. 

I did it last year and the stuff I was writing wasn't bad, but it wasn't really an actual novel. It was more like a really long blog post, or maybe what they're calling a memoir these days, I guess. It was based on all the things I hate. 

And since I hate pretty much everything and everyone, I figured that would give me lots to say. Not so much. I mean, once you say you hate everyone, what else is left?

But I've been contemplating adding to what I started last year. Some of it wasn't half bad and if I just added more, maybe I could edit it a bit and come up with something. 

We will be moving a couple of days before, so that could either be a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe being in a new setting will help me become more inspired or maybe I'll just be too busy setting up my new house so everything is ready for the holidays.  

I don't know.  

But I have been thinking about joining NaNoWriMo again this year. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finally, Some Good News

I've promised exciting news and here it is.  Only I have to tell you a little story first. Or actually kind of a long story. Also, keep in mind that this news may only be exciting if you're me.

I've lived in my house for 45 years. I was born and grew up here, then moved back in only two years after I had got married and moved out. It has 5 bedrooms (well, technically 4 bedrooms and an office) and three full bathrooms, as well as a huge eat in kitchen, living room, dining room and upstairs sitting room. Also a three car attached garage with a 14x12 foyer between it and the kitchen with a 10x12 walk in closet/pantry behind the foyer. In other words, it's huge. The yard isn't gigantic, about half an acre, but big enough.

We just recently upgraded the kitchen with all stainless steel appliances and Corian counter tops. It's big and bright with white cupboards and yellow walls and a huge picture window with a window seat.

We love this house.

But here's the thing. It's too much for us. I'm lazy and I don't feel like dealing with all this space, cleaning and maintaining it, including the yard. We've always talked about downgrading, selling this house someday to one of my nephews, so the house - my parent's house - can stay in the family. Especially since another one of my nephews actually lives in the house directly behind ours.

So then there's the story of my nephew, his wife and their two kids. See, they put their house on the market last year, getting ready to move into something larger and closer to everyone else, but it sold so quickly, they had to move into this tiny apartment right away. They thought they would only be there a short time, but it's been a year and they need to move, except they haven't found a house they want.

Turns out it's cause my nephew wants this house.

So although this is sooner than we planned, we're moving! We've found this great brand new model home that we are buying and moving into at the end of the end of the month.

I'm super excited about it and I can't wait to have my own place. This is also giving us a chance to clean up our lives, get rid of all the unnecessary stuff that we've been holding on to for no reason just cause our house is so huge now. The new place is a nice size and it has lots of storage, but we want to make sure we don't get it all cluttered like our present house has become.

So here are a few videos I took of the place right before we move all our stuff in.

This is walking in the front door, looking at the living room, dining room and then around into the master bedroom, the master bathroom and the closet:

This one is the master bathroom:

This one is around the kitchen and then towards the dining room and the laundry room and the side door:

Once it's all set up, I'll share more pics.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Did you ever have that feeling that things weren't going to be right for a long, long time?

Everything that's happened over the last few months has made me feel extremely depressed, but even so I've been trying to move past it. You know, just deal with it and keep a smiley face.

I'm sort of a fatalist, I guess.  Or maybe that's not really the correct term, cause it's not that I think things can't be changed or that everything is predetermined. It's just that I always feel like things are going to work out the way they should. Usually they do.

But I'm also a worrier. I know that those two concepts seem to be the antithesis of each other. And yet.

So even though right now things seem to be working out just the way they should, I'm still waking up with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, not able to eat breakfast. (Believe me, it's very rare that I'm not able to eat.) But then I have this wild mood swing to the other side and I feel super excited and deliriously happy.

Then I'm worried we're making a mistake. Then I'm thrilled that we're getting this chance and that it worked out so well for us. Then I panic again for a while.

I'm a huge proponent of change.  I think it's good to change things up on a regular basis. Although, I'm not one of those people who change their furniture around all the time or whatever. I just get bored easily and I'm looking for something new and interesting.  Maybe all the depression lately is why I felt the need for a dramatic change in my life now.

Anyway, I think we've found it.  The change we need right now to make things better and new.

I promise to tell you all about it.  Soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Memories from an October Past

Five years ago today, on Thursday, October 12, 2006, it snowed.  Here is the story of that time from a post on my lj dated October 27, 2006, at 5:50 pm, which was about an hour after our power finally went back on. 

I still don’t have my cable back. They are calling it the October Surprise Storm.

Thursday, October 12, 2006. It seemed like a normal day, except that after lunch, while I was headed back to work, it started sleeting a bit. About an hour later when I looked out the window it was snowing in earnest. I left work at 4:30 and the weather was not good, icy, snowy, sleety. Laura came over for dinner and couldn’t leave for two days.

The power went out around 7 pm, just as we were starting to watch Silverado. It didn’t come back on for more than a week. The first night we giggled a lot at how ridiculous it was that the first time Laura and I could get together for ages and now this happened! We put a fire in the fireplace, got out the candles and the oil lamps and sat under blankets in the living room reading Edgar Allen Poe (who, by the way, isn’t really as scary as I remember him to be. What’s that about I wonder?) About 10:30 that night, we ran out to move the cars before they were crushed under the falling tree limbs. It was a bit frightening, cause the limbs were crashing around us as we wiped off the cars and moved them as close to the garage and as far from the tree branches as we could. 

Jeff called from Jamestown at 11 pm and I told him to get a hotel. He almost didn’t believe me.

I joked to mom and Laura that we should get in the car and drive out of the storm to a hotel. Where, they asked. I said, how about Florida.

The next day was less fun. We woke up to about 2 feet of snow and all the trees and bushes seemed to be flat on the ground. Huge limbs were torn off the willow tree next door and the driveway was buried. Moving the cars had been a good idea, too, or they would have been crushed. We hung up curtains around the staircase to keep the warm air from rising upstairs. 

All that day we sat huddled under our blankets, feeding the fire and reading. We had tuna sandwiches for lunch. Laura’s cell phone died and our phone lines went dead. My cell had a very intermittent signal. We were feeling very sad and cut off. We did try to move the tree limbs in the driveway, but they were so heavy, with all the leaves weighted down with wet icy snow, we could barely budge them. Laura dug her car out, but it didn’t look like she could go anywhere for a while.

They told us not the drink the water without boiling first. It’s hard to boil water without electricity. I tried holding my hand over it and saying abracadabra, but it didn’t work.

That night I slept on the couch.

Saturday some of the snow started to melt, but the branches were still heavy. Around noon, we were visited by angels bearing treats from Tim Horton’s and the boys came to dig us out. Laura left about an hour later. If I could have, I’d have gone with her.

So now here we are, no lights, no heat, no water, no phones. No will to live! Jeff finally got home that afternoon. Poor boy had been working and sleeping in the same clothes for two days. I went with him to tour the neighborhood and almost wished I hadn’t cause it looked so sad. I took pictures. Jeff hung up sheets between the living room and dining room to hold in the warmth from the fire.

Sunday, Jeff started cleaning up the yard. Mom and I went to Mandi’s to do laundry.

By Monday, people starting getting their power back. We had a pole down in the backyard. When I called the power company, they told me we would have ours back, maybe, by next Sunday!! Jeff had to go back to Jamestown and he left the house at 5 am and didn’t get home until 9:30 pm. Our phones came back on around 1 pm. I went to work for about an hour to get some files and then just worked from home, since there was no power at work.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday passed about the same way. Debbie and John lent us their generator. Jeff was working in Newfane, about an hour away, in a building with no roof, in the rain. He was pretty miserable, coming home every night to a dark cold house when he was wet and cold all day. I don’t recommend cooking with sterno.

Wednesday the wood ran out so Jeff and I drove to West Seneca when he got home from work to get some from our wood guy, who couldn’t deliver because he is also a tree guy and obviously pretty busy. That night we went out to dinner. When we came home it was pitch black and poor Bambi was terrified. For the next two days, she wouldn’t let us out of her sight.

And then that wood must have been sitting in the rain for a while, because it wouldn’t light. Other than that, Wednesday night was better because Jeff hooked up some lights to the generator and the TV in the living room. All we could get was channel 7, but at least I got to see Lost!

Thursday afternoon the power went back on at work and they called me to go in on Friday. Also, the oil needed to be changed in the generator. I said I would do it. Jeff was tired and mad. He came home, showered and ate, and went to bed. Then got out of bed to change the oil. In the dark and the cold and the rain, lying on the garage floor, he drained the oil. Somehow, he managed to drop a washer into the oil pan. Bye-bye generator. He went back to bed. Mom and I read by oil lamp with our smoky fire.

The power guys showed up and were working in our back yard on the broken pole. We could see their lights through the curtains as we read.

I went in to work very angry and miserable, in a jean skirt, sneakers and one of Jeff’s hoodies. Everyone else’s power had come on, most of them since Saturday. I hated them all! I stayed all morning, then went home to help mom cook lunch and get the fire working again. I was gone for two hours. I went back for a little while and then I left again. No one said a word. I think they were all scared of me.

I was pretty sure I couldn’t take another day of it. I was feeling very suicidal. Jeff was miserable, mom was having chest pains.

When I came home from work my driveway was blocked by power company trucks!!! Jeff came home and was in the shower. Mom and I were sitting and reading. At 4:40 pm, the power came back on!!!!! Mom blew kisses to the men out the front door. I ran upstairs and started flashing the lights on Jeff in the shower. Everyone felt better immediately.

Our back yard is pretty ripped up from the men walking and standing around.

Also, just for fun, our power went out again on Wednesday for a while.

And, as I said, we still don’t have our cable back on. They tell me it will be sometime between now and never.

See more pictures.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The X Factor

I've been watching The X Factor. Not because I thought my life was missing a reality karaoke competition, but because in some unexplainable way, I felt like I owed it to Simon and Paula.

Cause, you know, we're buds.

It's become increasingly apparent to me that I watch way too much TV and the fact that I can even think that pretty much proves it.

So anyway, The X Factor.  I'm not sure if I like it.  I've been dealing with the auditions, but so far I'm not thrilled with anything about AI2.0. Except that I still love Simon. I just wish he was being more like himself. He's been far too easy on the losers. Added to that, Paula is definitely on her meds. I'm hoping that all changes when we get to the real competition part of this competition.

Also, I'm unclear about why they replaced Cheryl Cole, who I had  heard of and who had a super fun northern British accent, with some other chick, that I've never heard of and who has an annoying squeaky baby voice. If Cheryl's accent was the issue, then why keep the broad and sometimes hard to understand Welsh accent of the announcer guy.  I'm guessing he has a name, but he's not Ryan Seacrest, so I don't care.

Probably the one other thing that really bothers me is that they feel its necessary to take up two hours of my life, twice a week. I'm not saying that I have lots of other stuff to do or anything, but I might want to take up a hobby at some point, and how will I do that if I'm busy watching hours and hours of terrible reality TV?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just How Professional Are You?

I was talking to a friend the other day.  She's trying to find a new assistant and she's been drowning in resumes from an ad on Craigslist. I know the feeling. When I was recruiting full-time, it was insane. So many people looking for jobs and not taking into consideration whether or not they are actually capable of performing the jobs they apply for.

Trust me, people, this is important.  If you can't do the job or if you are just incredibly overqualified, you are wasting someone's time. And they won't like you better for it.

Anyway, she was telling me about one particular person who she interviewed and I could feel her pain. Once my friend - changing her name to protect the innocent, she can be....Sally - had called and screened a few people and determined who she wanted to personally interview, she decided to put the ball in the applicants' court by sending out an email and asking them to call her back. In her email, she gave some times to call her, including a specific time frame of about an hour when she could not be called.  This particular applicant, we'll call her Jane, chose to call in that exact time period and then said, "oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see that." Already, she's proven that she has no attention to detail.

The next nail in her coffin was when she went to the interview. She was given an address, 100 This Street, and also given directions; if you miss the turn onto This Street, you can also turn onto That Way, which loops back around.  So at about the time of the interview, Sally gets a call from Jane, "There is no 100 That Way. Are you trying to scam me?", you're just stupid.  I don't think Sally said that, but I probably would have.

Once she got to the interview - late when she was told beforehand that punctuality was a key component for the position - she handed over her resume. With a typo. She listed herself as a "professional administrative assistant" and left the second O out of professional. So she was a "professinal administrative assistant."

I'd like to say I'm surprised, but honestly I'm not. I've seen too many people just like that.

I'm guessing that, like so many I've seen, she's happy on her extended unemployment.  She has to keep interviewing, but she doesn't really want a job.

Or maybe she's just really, really stupid.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bad Energy

So tonight, around 6:30. I'm just getting dinner on the table and the phone rings.

I'll be really honest. Normally, I don't answer my phone. It's just that I spend all day on the phone so I don't feel like dealing with it when I'm not working. If you want to text me, I can handle that. Otherwise, not so much.

Anyway, I was talking and cooking and I guess I was distracted, cause even though I didn't recognize the number, I answered.

It was a chick doing a survey about energy...something or other. Since I'm a generally nice person and I don't wish to be rude to a complete stranger on the phone, added to which I cold call people for a living, I chose to not just immediately  hang up on her. She didn't ask me if it was a good time, probably because 6:30 on a Saturday night is pretty clearly not a good time, but just launched right into her little spiel. She made sure to mention up front that she was not selling anything and I almost believed her. I usually say exactly that when I make my calls as well, so maybe it just struck a chord. (And I really am not selling anything. Really.)

She starts out asking me questions and I just go along. At first. I kept thinking it would just be like a three question survey or something short and then I could get on with my life.  Instead it was these long, long questions where I had to rate my answer between 1 and 5, with 5 being the mostly likely. You know.  I'm more of a to the point kind of person, so I kept trying to answer her before she finished, since she was basically asking the same thing over and over, and telling me to give a likelihood of my doing such or so, between 1 and 5 with 1 being the least and 5 being the most likely.  Seriously. She told me that after each question. When I tried to just cut her off and answer without her saying that every time, she insisted that she had to say it.

I started getting testy. I'm not sure what she was after, but the thing was going on way too long and I had absolutely no interest in whatever she wasn't selling me.  Plus, my dinner was getting cold. My mother, in the background, kept telling me to just hang up on her. But, again, I hate to be rude.

We were nearly 9 minutes into this call, when I decided that I was done. She wouldn't just cut to the chase and let me answer her, she insisted on doing the entire spiel, every single time, and I said, look, I can give this another 30 seconds. She said, with a bit of a 'tude, well, there's quite a bit more than that.  I said, I'm sorry, then, but I have absolutely no interest in this and I'm eating dinner.  She sorta sniffed at me a little and thanked me in a really snotty tone, said goodbye and hung up.

Even though I didn't want to be rude to her and just hang up, I should have.  After all it was actually very rude of her to call me during dinner.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Depression and Blogging

I realize that there has been a distinct lack of blogginess about this blog lately.

I'd say I'm sorry, but honestly, not so much.  After the funerals, I just couldn't think of anything to write that wasn't depressing. I even started a few posts about the wedding and our vacation, but they weren't right. I was still too deep in mourning. I might still be.

The only stuff I could think to write about that didn't make me sound all depressed was the TV shows I'm watching, I guess cause they aren't personal.

But then I didn't want to write a bunch of random posts about TV shows, cause then it would look like all I do is watch TV. (The fact that I created an Excel spreadsheet to track all of the returning and new shows, plus all the shows I'm already watching, does not, in any way, add to that theory.)

I have been trying to focus more on work, seeing as I've missed so much of it since mid-July.  But even that doesn't seem to be working well for me.

I hate being depressed. I even lost one of my very few blog followers while I've been gone, which is making me even more depressed.

But don't worry. I have things to say.

So stay tuned.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Loving Memory of Anthony Marchese

Anthony C. Marchese
September 15, 1925-August 13, 2011

"Don't forget Aunt Annie." My uncle Anthony pulled me close in a hug the day my Aunt died. We were all at his house afterwards, sitting around, aimless and numb.  He whispered those words in my ear as he held me with tears in his eyes.  Just two weeks after her funeral, to the day, we were once again at the same funeral home. But this time, it was my uncle in the casket at the front of the room.

Suddenly, the word numb takes on a whole new meaning.

He missed his wife, he was ready to go be with her. Plus, he was a stubborn man and once he made up his mind, he got things done.  So the fact that he lasted less than two weeks after she died isn't even a surprise. He was determined. But it really hurts.

I feel like I have so much to say about Uncle Anthony, but I'm not sure where to start. Of all the memorial blog posts I've written in the last few months, I think this one is the hardest.

He was in the Navy during WWII and his aircraft carrier was sunk. He was one of the few survivors. Then he worked at Bell Aircraft (it's Bell Areospace now) and was involved in developing the Rascal Missile and the Rocket Belt. Interestingly, his older brother, Anello, who died in 2006, was the lead engineer at Bell and worked on the X-1, the first supersonic aircraft.  So at least I was related to smart people.

Uncle Anthony then went on to work at Moog Music as Director of Engineering and developed a bunch of different musical devices, many of which were used by popular groups at the time. If you don't know about Moog, their synthesizers were a huge part of the musical scene, starting in the late 60's, and had a major influence on disco and rock. One of the first rock groups to use a Moog were the Doors in 1967 on their album, "Strange Days."

My uncle created the Moog Liberation, used by all sorts of people and groups, like Santana, Devo and Herbie Hancock.  This isn't a great pic, since I took a pic of a picture with my cell phone at the funeral, but here's my uncle - back in the 70's - pretending to play it.  He thinks he's tall here.

In 2008, Uncle Anthony was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. The best part was my Aunt Annie calling everyone she knew, all excited, and tell them, "Anthony has just been indicted!"  People weren't sure if they should be happy or worried.

According to our pastor, my uncle was a humble man. While delivering the funeral service, pastor made mention that even though he had known my uncle for over 30 years, he didn't know many of the things that Uncle Anthony had accomplished, but read them in the obit (which you can read here).

Our family had a different take on Uncle Anthony. He loved kids, especially his kids, grand kids and great grand kids, and when we were all little, he had us call him Uncle Beep-beep, cause we'd press on his rather sizable nose and he'd make a beep-beep sound, like a car horn. But he was also a cranky, stubborn old man who didn't like people. I get that from him. Alright, maybe he liked some people, but you know what I mean.

He was incredibly picky; his food couldn't touch on a plate. Seriously, the man had to eat every meal on those divided plates and wouldn't eat any kind of casserole or mixed dish.  He loved to travel and to "get out of the house." He dragged my aunt on long drives through the country, stopping at garage sales and drug stores, buying so much stuff they didn't need. Their house was just loaded, their cellar had stacks and stacks of...well, I guess the word is, again, stuff. They also went on tours with Ramblin' Lou. Maybe that's a Buffalo thing, but he was some sort of country music DJ and performer. Maybe he still is, I'm not sure. Anyway, he and his wife do these tours, all over the place, like cruises or trips to Atlantic City, and they went on so many that Ramblin' Lou knew them and came to the funeral.

It's still so hard to believe they are both gone.

But I won't forget Aunt Annie, Uncle Anthony, and I won't forget you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

But This Is How We Communicate

And from the file labeled "conversations that I could not make up" here's another one that really happened:

HIM: So do I give the puppy one of the white pills now?

ME: Well, if you give her a white one now, we can give her one of the brown ones about mid-day, then save a white one for bedtime. Of course, you can give her a white one now, another one in 8 hours and still be able to have one for bedtime, so maybe we don't have to give her a brown one at all. You can give her both white and brown now, even, but then we have to make sure we time it out, cause she can only have the brown one twice a day and can have the white one every 8 hours. But since the white one seems a little stronger, maybe we should just stop the brown one altogether?

HIM: So do I give the puppy one of the white pills now?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Manitou The Sky People Saga

So a friend asked me to review a book she'd just written.

No wait, not a friend exactly, more like someone I've never met and only had contact with through email. So an online acquaintance.  But not one I ever spoke with before agreeing to review the book.  You know what I mean, so don't even pretend you don't.  In any case, I'd say we're friends now. (Or at least frienquaintances.)

Anyway, she put out a plea on this indie book publishing message board I belong to and just hearing her enthusiasm for her story made it sound interesting to me.  So I thought why not, if nothing else, I'd get a free ebook out of the deal.  (I think she's a she. Maybe she's a he?? As it turns out, I have no idea. But I'm going with she.  OK, fine, I just checked and she's definitely a she. I told you.)

Of course, now we get to the harder part of the equation. The book has been read and must be reviewed. I don't review too many books on here, even though I read dozens and dozens. It's not because I don't like them, either, but just cause by the time I finish one, I move on to the next and the moment is gone.

But not this time. This time, I have to write a review. The panic actually set in as soon as I agreed to review the book. What if I don't like it? How do I even write an actual book review, you know, beyond the "it's good and you should buy it" kinda of thing? I don't even know if I have that skill. Book reviewing is a skill, right?

Well, the good news is, I really liked the book. So it'll be much easier to tell you how good it is and that you should buy it.  And in my attempt to be like a real reviewer type person, I'll start with a synopsis:

Manitou The Sky People Saga by Lexus Luke is the first in a series of YA novels about a young girl adopted into the modern Ute Tribe.  Wray Sky's parents were murdered and she has been transported from her New York home to live with her Ute great grandmother in Colorado.  Wray firmly believes in good solid logic and scientific facts. But one day she comes face to face with with some ancient Ute magic and she begins to believe that science may not always have the answers.

This is pitched as a YA story, but I think it will appeal to younger and older readers.  It definitely kept my interest throughout and, even though my reading time was limited, I managed to finish it in just a couple of days. (Honestly, I stayed up way later than I should have, too!)  I even found myself thinking about what would happen next when I wasn't reading, which is always a great sign of well-developed, engaging characters and an intriguing story-line.  I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say that the story isn't as predictable as you think it might be and the twists are definitely surprising.  Overall this was an enjoyable read and I'm glad I was able to review it.

And the best part? That the story isn't over yet! I can't wait to review Book 2.

Oh, I almost forgot...if you want to buy it (and you do!) check it out at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Loving Memory of Annie Marchese

My Aunt Annie passed away on Sunday after a four month illness with bone cancer. She was a wonderful, funny, sweet woman. She leaves behind a husband, three children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Uncle Anthony, my mom's brother, met and fell in love with Yanette Petrillo, when she was only 13. They were married when she was 21. My mom still tells the story of her first encounter with Annie. Being the little brat she was, mom greeted the girl who liked her brother by sticking her tongue out and running away. 

But, somehow, even after that, the two became great friends. Their kids grew up together, more like siblings than cousins. Their friendship would last for 72 years. The last few years, since they weren't able to get around too much anymore, they mostly talked on the phone together. And talked. And talked. Every day. For hours and hours and hours. In all those many years, my mom was able to say that they never once had a major disagreement or fought about anything.  That's something when you consider they're both Italian, too!

A room in her house, dedicated to her doll collection.
Aunt Annie touched so many lives. She was one of those people who would give you anything she had. And she had lots and lots of stuff.  You've never seen so much stuff. She was the woman you could always go to if you needed something unusual, cause she probably had it. She decorated her entire house for every holiday, including Arbor Day, I think. But Christmas was when she went way over the top. She would buy presents all year round for her kids and grand kids, and then carry down big bags full of gifts for everyone. One year, when I was little, she took a Santa hat out of one of her many trunks full of costumes and gave it to me. I wore that hat until it fell apart and I still wear a Santa hat every year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Because I did that, my four nephews always wore them, and now their children wear them, too. Even though they don't know it, it's a legacy from my Aunt Annie.

She had a saying for everything. For instance, she'd tell her grand kids, "Never marry a murderer" and "Don't make friends with a serious killer." OK, maybe she got those sayings a little wrong, but we knew what she meant. She was also fond of telling you that if you did something wrong or were with someone who did something wrong, you'd get worms. And she was always worried about what you were doing, even if it was just going out for ice cream. "Oh, dear, be careful, I knew a kid who died doing that."

What makes her sudden loss even worse for the family is that my cousin, Marianne, their youngest child, just died in November, the day before Thanksgiving, after fighting cancer for 5 years. She was only 53. I wrote a post about her, if you'd like to read it, she was an amazing person. 

Aunt Annie was still grieving her daughter when she started feeling ill, around Christmas, but she didn't get checked out until Easter.  They found a tumor in the bone of her shoulder and removed it surgically, inserting a metal rod into her arm where they had to remove bone.  But it was too late. The cancer had spread through her body.

She spent the next four months in and out of facilities, including Roswell Park Cancer Institute, having radiation and chemo.  A few days ago, they gave about three months to live, but said maybe a year with treatment.  While she was going through chemo last week the pain became unbearable and they started heavily medicating her. At that point, the doctor gave her two weeks.

Then we got the call at 2 am Sunday morning to get to the hospital and she died around 10:15 am.

I already miss her so much and I just can't imagine what we'll do without her. We won't forget you, Aunt Annie. We love you very, very much. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thoughts on Banking

How come banks can charge almost 30% interest on money they loan out, but pay less than 1% on our money in savings that's essentially loaned to them?

Seriously, someone please explain it to me, cause I don't get it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Babies

Look at these two!

I know, they look adorable, right? Sleeping all cuddled up like that?

Of course, the truth is Buffy has been sleeping in the bed every day like it's hers, so Bella decided it was time to take back possession of it. There was a short but bitter skirmish and Bella was back in her bed.

So Buffy did the next best thing.  In an effort  to be as annoying as possible, she got as close as she could to Bella without quite touching her.

It's great to see siblings get along. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Heaven

I've found it!

Book Heaven is not just a myth, it's a real place and I've been there.

OK, it's not really called Book Heaven. It's called The Book Center, which is a super boring name for such an amazing place, so I felt the need to re-name it.

I had to take these pics, cause I was just so completely overwhelmed by so many books, piled floor to ceiling down these narrow rows, just packed into this little shop. Honestly, my little pictures don't really do the place justice.

My boss found out I was going to Rochester last week and she told me about this place, in Spencerport, which is a cute, cute little village with shops and other quaint stuff. Including this independent used book store.

I'm a fan of places where books live, like libraries and book stores. Especially used book stores.

There's just something about all those lovely pages with lots of lovely words written on them all in one place, just waiting for someone to read them.

I read or heard this quote somewhere recently and it's perfect for this place: "All books wait. They sit patiently on their shelves collecting the most refined dust until their cover is opened and the pages are turned by the proper person."  I feel a little sad, cause I can't remember where I found it, so I can't give credit to whoever it was that said it first. I almost think it might have been an episode of some old show from the 80's that I was watching. But I'm not sure.

In any case, I almost wasn't able to get there, but on the last day I was in Rochester, I got together a group of like-minded friends (well, all my real friends are like-minded) and we ran out there for a bit. We only had about an hour and I didn't have too much cash on me, but I still managed to come out with eight books.

I only wish I'd had more time. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

People of Walmart Probably Doesn't Want Me

Filed under "conversations that really happened."

ME:   How does this look?
HIM: It looks fine.
ME: You didn't even look.
HIM: That's cause I knew it would look fine. Besides, we're only going shopping.
ME: Sure, and that's when People of Walmart will be taking my picture.
HIM: Is that one of your goals?
ME: No, it's my biggest fear.
HIM: Well, at least you don't have back boobs.

I couldn't make this stuff up.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Dog By Any Other Name

So, things are going well with the puppy. Mostly. She still has no name.

I call her Baby, my husband calls her Dog and my mother calls her Buffy. We mostly refer to her as "no, the other one" cause my mother is always asking "Is that Bella?" I guess her name is Buffy, at this point, since that's the only actual name of the three, but it's not official. She doesn't really come when she's called anyway, so it hardly matters.

We have fewer in house accidents and most of those are my fault. She doesn't know enough to tell us yet.

Oh, and you know how they say a dog won't pee in their bed. Just another fairy tale. She's managed to pee on all three beds in our house, one of them twice.

Also, she's learning a lot. She's learned that she can go behind the couch, under the beds, back inside the space under my desk and other small, dusty, dirty places where it's impossible for any one of us to reach her.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brad's Deals

OK, I just saw something that made me happy.

Lately, I've been reading lots of books on my phone Kindle app. Don't get me wrong, I still love actual books. I love them. I buy way too many of them, in both a physical and wireless sense.

So, anyway, I wanted to buy a tablet, for book reading and other fun stuff. Today I went over to Brad's Deals and was able to do that, using this coupon for Tiger Direct, saving me $30 in the process. I can't wait to start reading books on it! (The little tiny pages on my phone were starting to get on my nerves.)

You can see why this made me happy.

But since I was already at Brad's Deals checking things out, I just kept looking and I saw this:
Set of 4 Mikasa York Balloon Wine Glasses. Um, don't I need something just like those for a wedding shower gift soon? For only $6 with two coupon codes!! My wedding shower person has registered at Macy's. So I searched and found some Macy's coupons and a deal where I can get 20% off Macy's wedding registry gifts. Seriously?

Where has this site been my whole life?

Anyway, I didn't stop there. I decided to see what other store deals I could find. I love Old Navy. Like who doesn't, right?  There are both coupons and deals for Old Navy, as well.

I'm basically in love with Brad's Deals right now, cause it saved me $30 already and there's more money to be saved.

Basically, you just type in what you what kind of deal you're looking for and voila! You have access to thousands of coupons and deals for thousands of stores. All over the place, every day.  They also have their hot deals of the day right at the top of the page and just below are handpicked deals for various items, like computers, shoes, entertainment books, Chase rewards cards, and lots more.

I have feeling I'm about to save a lot of money very soon.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What's In A Name?

 The name dilemma isn't new to us.

When we got our first Maltese, Bambi, back in 1997, we hemmed and hawed for days, calling her puppy and baby, cause we just couldn't agree. I made up lists, consulted books, all sorts of craziness, just to name our dog. We then started with elimination, each person got to nix a certain number of names on the list in each round. Finally, we whittled it down to the name no one hated, Bambi. Seriously, that's what we called it, "the name no one hated." But after a while it was clear that the name suited her, cause she was a big baby. Although, at one point, we regretted not naming her Noodles, cause she loved pasta and if you so much as said the word noodles, her ears went up and she would tip her head to the side as if to ask, where??


Then came Bella. That  name was easier, I just picked it. I didn't want to go through what we'd gone through before. Plus, we'd picked her out right at birth, so we had several weeks while she was growing up to think about it. At birth, the breeder had named her Priscilla (she had one brother, Elvis), but we told her we would change that. I think we did pick something different at first, but by the time she came home, she was Bella.

And don't think we just call the dogs by their given names, either, cause we don't. Bambi was often Bambina or Bamberella or Bamberino or Bam-Bam. Sometimes she was Bama-lama-ding-dong.  Bella is often called Belle, Bellarina, Bella Ella Isabella, and Bella Buttonella, by various family members.

Since we've been calling the new dog Baby to differentiate her from Bella, I've realized that I often use the term Baby when I'm talking to Bella. So it leads to confusion. When I call the puppy, Bella often comes to see what I want and then I have to give her something or she thinks I'm crazy. No really, she does. And since the puppy is so eager to please, she generally comes no matter what I call her, so that she answers to Bella, too.

Little Noname
But to get back to the naming dilemma, it seems at this point like we're on a run of B names from Disney characters. So it makes sense for the new dog to be Bianca or Beauty. I found a list (you know how I love lists, right?) of every Disney character. There are a ton of other B names, but none that are that great. I even found a place that listed the names of all 101 Dalmatians. Seriously.  I like Bongo. But it's not popular with anyone else.

I also thought of Baloo. But then you just know at least half the people won't get it and you'll have to explain it to them and they won't care. Then everyone will end up calling her Blue anyway. My husband actually had a dog named Blue. OK, that was the whole story.

When I was a baby, my family had a black Cocker Spaniel named Beauty that I just dimly recall. So I like that name, too, but I think this puppy deserves her own name.

My family members outside of this house have taken to calling her Beauty. My mom wants Bianca, my husband likes Baby or Zuzu. I have no idea.

And by this point we may have just called her Baby long enough for that name to stick.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Dog With No Name

While the puppy is still nameless, she has let me take a picture of her. It wasn't easy, but I finally caught her looking right at me. She just doesn't sit still for long. As a result, my phone is filling up with dozens of blurry "action" shots.

We're working on potty training and although she's really smart, she just doesn't seem interested in going potty outside. She must not have ever been trained, I think.

We saw the vet today who said she thinks Baby (the name I'm using until I can convince everyone that there has to be something better) is probably between 6 months and 1 year, so we're calling her birthday December 10, which is the same day as Bella's, only 4 years apart.

The vet also thinks Baby is some sort of mix, although she looks mostly Maltese, she's just a little larger in body frame for a puppy. She weighs 7 1/2 lbs and is in good health. She didn't like getting shots, but she had no problems riding in the car.

She seems to be settling in here really well and the funnest part (yes, funnest is too a word!) is that she seems to be "my" dog. You see, Bambi was always my mom's dog. She spent all her time with mom and followed her around. Bella is my husband's dog, in the most definite way. She guards him and insists on being with him whenever she possibly can. She's been known to wait by the door for him for hours when he goes out.

But Baby is attached to me. So far she's been hanging around me all the time and when I went outside this afternoon to plant the impatiens in my shed's window boxes, she was crying at the door, nearly the entire time. #socute

Uh oh.  I think this blog is about to become the story of Baby.

I'll try not to talk about her too much. You know, sorta.

Friday, June 3, 2011

So What Should We Name Our New Puppy?

She moves too fast to get a good pic. 
We've been wanting another dog. I even wrote a whole post about it back in December, talking about all the dogs I've ever owned and trying to decide if I was ready to go though puppyhood again.  I never posted it, cause it was kinda boring.

So about a week ago, a neighbor asked my husband about Bella, if she was a Maltese and what they are like.  Of course, he waxed lyrical, cause we love Maltese dogs, in general, and our own, in particular. Apparently, the neighbor knew someone who had a 4 month old Maltese puppy they couldn't keep and they were looking to sell her to someone, pretty cheaply.  When my husband heard that he said, we'll take her! But the neighbor wasn't sure, since this was such a great deal, he might want her himself.

So on Saturday, they got her. She definitely not 4 months old. I'm guessing more like 14 months, and she may be a mix with poodle or something slightly larger than a Maltese, cause she's already as long and tall as Bella, who's 4 1/2 years old.

The first day, they seemed happy with her. They have two kids, not little, but pre-teen, who are kinda rough. But that day, they were taking her all over on a leash and showing her off. However, even then, the mother was telling us that did not want a dog and the daughter was saying that she wanted a Chihuahua.  

By Monday, the dog was chained out front for hours, in intense heat and sun, on a short leash. None of us was happy about that, but she wasn't our dog. On Tuesday, it was the same thing. I walked over at one point and she literally jumped up into my arms and started kissing me all over my face. Her water dish was empty, but they were all home and I wasn't sure what to do. Tell them she needs water? Get it for her myself?

My husband was talking with the dad, telling him that Maltese are lap dogs, they want to be with you and they need attention and love. They aren't really the kind of dog you leave tied up outside all day. The dad mentioned that the kids didn't really want a Maltese, they wanted a Chihuahua, so they wouldn't to anything for the dog.  He had to do it all himself.

Wednesday was the same. My mother kept telling me to do something.

That evening, my husband went over to talk to them again. The dad said they really weren't bonding with the dog. Maybe he would sell it to us. For a little more than he paid, of course.

My husband said, fine, how much do you want? I'll give you cash right now if you let me take her. But the dad wasn't sure yet.

Thursday morning the dog was back outside. It was colder and windy. Before he left for work at 3 pm, my husband tried again. Maybe. Maybe tomorrow, he was told.

I watched the dog, outside all afternoon and into the evening. Alone, without food or water. At one point, I was tempted to just go get her and take her home.

I was sleeping when my husband got home from work around midnight. I was woken up by a wet nose in my face. It did not belong to my husband.

When he got home, he saw the dog chained outside, in the dark, shivering, with no food or water, and all tangled up in her leash. We live in a suburban area, but there are known predators, including a fox who often hangs out in our yard at night.

My husband knocked until someone woke up and answered the door. He handed over cash and carried her home.

She's a great dog, high-energy, smart and fast moving. Also, very sweet, friendly and loving. And just the teeniest bit hand shy, but she's quickly learning not to be afraid of us.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eating Out Nightmares

This actually looks better in the picture than it did  live.
I think I may be turning into Gordon Ramsay.

So, last week, I didn't feel like cooking and even though we're broke, we decided to try out a new local restaurant, Milo's. They had recently bought and renovated what used to be a higher end eatery, turning it into more of a family restaurant. The interior was beautiful. It was clear that they had spent some money.

So, anyway, as we're looking at the menu, it seems too long to me, with too many choices. I can literally hear Chef telling them that.  But even with all the choices, I had a hard time picking anything I liked on the menu.  It was a lot of Greek food, which I don't particularly care for, sandwiches and breakfast. I'm not a fan of sandwiches for dinner. I'm not a fan of sandwiches in general and I want real food for my dinner.  Breakfast is actually OK for dinner, but I wasn't in the mood.

I thought my husband would have souvlaki, since he likes that, but he chose something I'd never heard of, called pastitsio. As it turns out, it was probably the most interesting sounding dish on the menu to me, too, so I ordered the same thing. It's a sort of baked Greek lasagna, with long ziti noodles, mixed with ground beef and cheese, and a layer of bechamel sauce on top.

See, now that sounds good, doesn't it?

But what we were served just wasn't that great. For one thing, they had put a sort of raw chunky tomato garlic marinara sauce on it over the bechamel. That was so wrong.

Plus, it came with a side of potatoes. Potatoes with a baked pasta. I chose mashed and they appeared to be instant and sort of brown and overcooked. Seriously, instant mashed potatoes as a side to a baked pasta dish. Maybe it's a Greek thing, but it's still kinda yucky.

I found myself pulling the dish apart. Mushy pasta, raw tasteless sauce, instant mashed potatoes.  I could literally hear Gordon telling the server how awful it was and then tearing the kitchen staff apart with a litany of exactly what was wrong and how they should fix it. I wanted to go help them fix it.

My husband stopped me, which was probably a good idea. Not that I really would have gotten all Gordon Ramsey on them. Maybe just a little. I mean, what harm could it do, cause we won't be going back.

Anyway, the baklava was OK.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Winner of American Idol Season 10 is....

So what started as a season full of promise this year on American Idol came down to a penultimate boring country teen-fest last night. I wasn't surprised. I could see this coming from a long way back. I felt the manipulating hand of Uncle Nigel, gleefully creating the scenario he wanted, pushing the pieces into place. It felt inevitable, yet somehow I still retained my belief in free will. It turns out, Nigel won. I'm just not sure why he wanted what was definitely going to alienate people. Like those who aren't interested in watching two bland teenagers sing random country karaoke for an hour. I'd imagine there are plenty of people like that. Of course, if they are anything like me, they figured, I've come this far, I should stick it out to the boring country end.

I'm not saying this season was all bad. Some good came of it. For one thing, I bought my husband a melodica for his birthday and if he doesn't learn to play it, I might. But the part of this season I'm going to miss the most, the part that leaves a gaping hole, is...well, actually, it's two parts: Paul F. Tompkin's (@PFTompkinsIdol reviews in NY Mag and Michael Slezak's (@MichaelSlezakTV) Buffy-tinged Idoloonies at TVLine. They made Idol so much fun for me this year and I salute them. Thanks for a great year, guys! I suspect that their reviews would not have been as much fun without watching the show, so that almost makes all the time I spent on this thing worth it. Although, next year, I'm tempted to test that theory.

Tonight we embark upon the F-list-Star Studded Finale. Although one assumes that Steven Tyler (who I read is performing tonight) will be singing with James Durbin (since they sorta had an agreement), I think it's interesting that the only spoiler I've read more than one place is about Casey Abrams singing with Jack Black. It's like even after about a thousand weeks of this show and an ending engineered by the powers that be, the only person anyone cares about this year is Casey.  I know I feel that way.

So I'm watching the group number, with the sound muted of course, and I just realized that every single one of these kids makes crazy faces into the camera. Seriously. Re-wind that and you'll see it, too.

James Durbin is first up to sing and, interestingly, he's singing a medley with Judas Priest. So I guess that deal he and Steven made had an escape clause. I'm still not a James fan, but I miss him only cause he would have made for a more interesting country-lite finale.

Instead of more singing, right now we take time to make fun of the people behind the desk, starting with Randy "In It To Win It" Jackson. I used to like Randy.

Next we have Jacob Lusk with Kirk Franklin. This is also interesting, cause I never expected it. Good on Jacob for sticking with what he knows and where he's going to shine. He definitely needs to engender some goodwill with America. And, oh, look at this, Gladys Knight. What the heck does she need to sell?

Did you just see?? My babies were on during the American Idol finale!

Now, it's time for Casey Abrams and Jack Black singing Queen's Fat Bottom Girls. That was fun. I'm just glad no one is going to pretend to judge anything this week.

On to the all girl group number medley. All I really notice is that Karen Rodriguez doesn't even try to sing any of the words in Spanish. Weird, cause I thought she was somehow under contract to do that in every single song she sings. Ever. After about an hour, the girls are joined by Beyonce, but by this point, I've left the room and I'm busy doing something else.

We move on to making fun of Steven Tyler. Yes, he swears on camera. We know.

Yay! Haley Reinhart is paired with Tony Bennett. I love her now. I'm not sure how it happened, but suddenly, she's good. I think it was cause of all the beatings she took.

Apparently, making fun of Jennifer Lopez isn't possible. All they can do is talk about how beautiful she is.

I have no idea what I'm seeing here now. Some sort of synchronized dancing from bondage people. Oh, wait, is that the Idols?  What is going on? Sometimes I think I need to pay more attention to this show and sometimes I'm glad I'm not. This is both of those times.

Getting back to the country music that all love so much, Scotty McCreery and Tim McGraw sing a lovely country song about death.

Just for fun, we get to re-visit all the stupidity and silliness from the early auditions. Actually, there's not that much.

Mark Anthony sings and Jennifer Lopez dances. Clearly, they plan to drag this thing out as long as possible with all sorts of unnecessary filler.

The boys' group sing. Honestly, I have nothing to say about any of this. I just want it to be over. Tom Jones joins them.  He looks older, but he sounds exactly the same. OK, maybe not exactly, but pretty close. Sometimes bringing these old guys on to this big stage tends to just show off how badly they've aged. He was not as bad as some we've seen. And you know it.

A shot of Ryan Seacrest in the audience, with security guard Aaron behind him, nodding his head in agreement to whatever Ryan is telling us. This is followed by some sort of Ford commercial where the Top Two talk about going home to invite a teacher back to the finale and then present them each with keys to a new Ford Focus.  Scotty and Lauren are told they get to pick any Ford vehicle they want. Apparently, Ford doesn't have any new hybrid to push this year.

Lady Gaga. That is all.

There's only about 38 minutes left of this show, which for some odd reason is on until 10:07 pm. Um, you couldn't have just gone to 10:05 or 10:10? Or added one more stupid nothing song and ended at 10:15? I don't like odd numbers. They're too uneven.

In any case, I was just hoping this thing was almost over. But no, we still have to live through Little Lauren Alaina singing with Carrie Underwood. It always amazes me when these kids think of someone from American Idol as an influence on their lives. Seriously, Carrie Underwood has only been around for a couple of years. But I guess when you're only 12, that's like forever.

More Beyonce, cause clearly once wasn't enough.

Bono and The Edge do some boring, silly Spider-Man musical thing with a guy I don't know. Didn't Bono used to stand for something? Besides commercialism? Don't even get me started on what I think about people who refer to themselves as "the" anything. Pretentious twits.

Please make this show end!!!  There's still 16 more minutes and it feels like an eternity.

Hey, here's something I actually like. Steven Tyler singing Dream On. I feel a little bad that Joe Perry and the boys dissed him by refusing to be on Idol. But he doesn't really need them for this anyway. That was cool, a live Steven Tyler concert. Just for me. That almost made living through these past two hours of hell worth it. Almost.

Only 10 minutes now. Ryan promised he wouldn't let my DVR cut off in mid-winner proclamation, so he'd better hurry this thing up.  We need to announce the winner and have them sing their own Do I Make You Proud That This is My Now Inside Your Heaven at The Time of My Life with No Boundaries.

And, now, finally, the winner is .... Scotty McCreery!

I never doubted it for a minute.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is Wanting Someone To Lose The Same As Caring Who Wins?

Please tell me that someone will at least stop these country cousins from singing all country music for the finale of American Idol. Please.

The only positive I can find is that tonight is only an hour and not two hours. Maybe God does love me.

So we start out the show with clips that prove all the people on American Idol were also annoyingly precocious children. Laura, watching the clip of 8 year old Scotty McCreery talking about AI, said, when I was 8, there was no AI. Well, when I was 8, there was no color TV.  So there.

Why do we have to bring up that Lauren Alaina was having voice problems? She does not deserve any pity. The more you try to sway my vote, the more I intensely dislike her. Intensely. Also, I blew out a vocal cord once, it was hemorrhaging, but I still managed to sing in a Christmas concert. You actually use a different part of your vocal cord for singing than you do for talking. And it doesn't hurt at all.

This week, the kids choose their first song from their favorites they've song this season, the second song is chosen for them by their Idol. Carrie Underwood chooses for Lauren and George Strait chooses for Scotty. Their third song is apparently the song that will be their first single. If they win, that is.

Scotty wins the toss, but chooses to go first, so it's like he's trying to jeopardize his chances. Or maybe he's just so confident of the win he wants to prove he can do it no matter what the odds.

Round One
Scotty McCreey: Gone, by some country person - It sounds exactly the same way it sounded the last time he sang it and I didn't listen.

Lauren Alaina: Flat On the Floor, some other country person - I have nothing to say. there no judging?

Round Two
Scotty McCreey: Check Yes or No, George Strait - Oh, look Scotty is singing a country song. Written by a country person and chosen for him by a country person. In a country sorta twangy way.

Somehow, Scotty has gotten cute. I hope he wins. I think he will, but I hope he does. I hope it's a landslide. 

Lauren Alaina: Maybe It Was Memphis, yet a third country person - I hope she loses. 

So here's the judging. Randy says Scotty had a slight edge in Round One and Lauren has a slight edge in Round Two. Let me guess, Round Three will be a tie?

Jennifer agrees with him. Steven gives both rounds to Lauren, cause she's prettier than Scotty. Um, yep.

So those people behind the table are acting like this show has been good so far. It has not. This show absolutely sucks so far.  

And now they are forcing me to watch some person I've never heard of auto-tune his way through some dance beat crap apparently written by American Idol viewers. Well, I had nothing to do with it and I resent Ryan's implication that I was somehow involved.

I've been saving this particular Twitter quote because I knew it would come in handy at some point.  Back in March, @ashman01 (Ashley Edward Miller) said, "I think we can all agree that the inventor of auto-tune needs to be taken out and publicly beaten to death." I believe that time has come.  

Round Three
Scotty McCreey: I Love You This Big - I'm so glad they found something for Jimmy to do this week. It's just not American Idol without him now. At least that's what I always say. The return of the swaybots, however, was something I could have lived without. OK, I feel like I have to weigh in on that song. It was kinda boring.  Laura said, I don't think that's a number one song. 

Lauren Alaina: Like My Mother Does -  Hey, is that a little tiny Leprechaun mandolin player? How cute is he!  Anyway, remember my intense dislike for Lauren from earlier? It has intensified even more since I had to sit here and listen to her sing three country songs. I hope I never, ever hear from or see her again. Ever.

First of all, can I just say how happy I am that we're not going to the concert?

Laura's comments...this is the worst finale ever. There were no standout moments and it was all country. Plus, no one cares about either one of these people.  I couldn't agree more.

It appears that the powers that be have decided that Lauren must win. I guess they just have to have a girl win this year so they don't have a fourth boring-white-guy-with-a-guitar as winner.

This entire show has been bent over backwards for her, to make everything think she was awesome, but she truly was as boring and bland and lifeless as always.  Of course, Carrie was pretty boring, too, and she won, so I guess there's no accounting for taste. My sister just called to ask me what they are hearing that the rest of us aren't? Cause she thinks Scotty was great and Lauren was just so-so.

Personally, I still think Scotty has this thing locked up. Not because I care, but because he's been the top vote getter every week since the beginning. That has to mean something.

I remember when I used to really care about who won this show. This year I'm more focused on hoping that Lauren loses.