Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday Roundup

I think I'm caught up! Six o'freakin' thirty, and I'm finally caught up!

First I got caught up on AOL alerts. Those seem to be way down, which shows that we're all moving along and trying to get comfy in our new digs.

Next was getting caught up on everyone's Blogger entries, and it was great to see that people are starting to write more here and enjoy our new format. I think it's a lot of fun to play with the settings, and although I'm sure I'll be tweaking things for a while, I'm happy with things at the moment.

THEN it was catching up on emails. I had several from friends and I apologized for neglecting them while I dealt with this big mess with moving our blogs. It was great to hear from everyone, and it sounds like all is well. One is working on buying a house, one is planning on an election night party, and all are well!

And a big congratulations to my pal Jim, who successfully passed his
Medical Technology registry! I'm an MT, too, and you can read about our profession if you follow the link provided. Did you know that 80% of diagnoses come from laboratory results? Although we're trained in all departments of the lab, many of us focus on one area, and for the last 20 years of my career, I worked in Microbiology, because it was always the most interesting to me. Be sure to hug an MT today if you get a chance, and Jimi, I'm sending you a virtual hug! Jim got his MLT degree (a 2-year degree) several years ago, and he's been working full time and taking online courses to get his Bachelor's degree for the past couple of years. Why does it matter? Well, it gives you a broader depth of knowledge, for one thing. And with a four-year degree, you get more money. Right now, I'd guess that the latter trumps the former!

I've already received one big benefit from this switch to Blogger from AOL. I sent out a mass email telling almost everyone on my email list that my blog was moving. I was thrilled to hear from my friend Bruce in Indianapolis. He wrote back, "Hi Doll!" How can you not love that?! It was wonderful to hear from him. He lost his long-time partner a while back, but has just started to move on, get back into the dating scene, and is trying to rejoin the world in general. Bruce is also a wonderful writer, and I asked him if he's considered writing a blog...? I still remember his column about the infamous Dumpster Dive, and believe me, if he starts posting anything anywhere anytime, you'll find the link here. He's a peach.

Hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday! Notre Dame beat Stanford (and looked good doing it) and Illinois beat Michigan very decisively. Good day for our teams!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A little bit wider now

Hey, what do you think of the new look? Thank you Linda, at Andirondack Country Gal (at least I think she'll rename it that), for giving me the tip. When I visited her blog, I had to ask how she got the page to be so wide. All that space! She told me the name of the template was Stretch Denim, so I edited my layout and chose Stretch Denim Light. Then I started playing with the colors, and got this nice little grey and purple thing goin' on. (I really like purple.)

I'm very grateful, because I was starting to feel all claustrophoby and junk. Now I feel like I've just eaten a really big meal, leaned back, and unzipped my pants. Ahhhh. Ha ha! I think the text wraps around pictures nicer, too, with this wider format.

Speaking of meals, we had a small problem at Nutwood this morning. Sheeba woke up from his morning nap and strolled over to grab a bite to eat. crunch crunch crunch Then, since it was nasty dry crap, he was thirsty. lap lap lap Then he walked around a moment, jumped up on the table, started making that yarking sound, leaned his head over the side of the table, and barfed down the basement stairs. It was impressive, on the verge of projectile. I cleaned off the stair railings and what got on the wall, and I'm letting the stuff on the carpet dry for a while. It's a lot easier to clean up. Poor little guy. He was no worse for the wear, though. A few minutes later, he went over and chowed down again! He kept that one down. He sat on my lap for a while, and is now curled up and sleeping on one of the chairs.

Someone sent me the link to this picture, and I thought it was quite clever and funny. I think most of us have, at one point or another, been subjected to flow charts. Either following them or creating them. Apparently, this debate prep chart was leaked. (Warning: A little bit of "language," but nothing too severe.)

In the wink of an eye

Artist: Neal McCoy

Song: "Wink"

All she had to do was just give me that wink

And slam bam I'm feelin' alright

Troubles take a hike in the blink of an eye

Don't need to psychoanalyze or have a stiff drink

All she's gotta do is just give me that wink

All right then...we'll call it a draw

The crock pot unrolled cabbage rolls were pretty least to me. I think Ken was so-so with the cabbage, but he DID eat it all, so it couldn't have been too putrid to him! Mmm, there was so much that we had enough for Ken's lunch tomorrow AND another dinner! Ken is in bed now, but I know he is extremely excited about that! I know I'm looking forward to eating it again tomorrow! I think the next day, I'll make a kickass roast beef with potatoes, carrots, and onions. Oh, and some red wine in there, too!

As for the debate, well, you can be proud of me. I managed to not damage the TV by throwing things at it. Yay for me! There were a couple of times...okay, several times...when I rolled on my back and waved my arms and legs in the air and yelled, "AAAAAAHHHHH!"

Is that too much information?

Bottom line, no one screwed up big time. Palin didn't blather on as she's prone to do (or at least not too much), and Biden didn't misspeak as he is so prone to do. I think Biden was much more fact-oriented, and I think Palin's talk about "reform" was pretty bogus, but you all know that I'm biased. The bar was so low for Palin and so high for Biden that the fact that neither totally screwed up means that it's basically a draw.

I was never a fan of Biden all that much, and didn't know that much about him, until lately. But I was pretty impressed by him tonight. In general, I think it was a pretty lame debate...oh wow...I'm watching the debate again on CNN...did Palin just say "Senator O'Biden?" And did she just say "nucular?" No way...I may have misheard--did anyone else hear that? Oh my God, I think she DID say "nucular."

Anyhoo, this wasn't a game changer. McCain has basically conceded Michigan, and is moving on to other battleground states...and amazingly, Indiana is now a battleground state! I'm stunned. No joke...Indiana. Indiana has been as red as a beet for as long as I can remember, but it's in play. I can hardly wait to see if either candidate comes to our town. Wow, this is getting exciting!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

McCain pulls out of Michigan...a frustrated Michigan has no comment

McCain giving up on Michigan


Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major concession, Republican John McCain has abandoned efforts to win Michigan, a Democratic-leaning battleground state the GOP presidential candidate had hoped to capture.

Republican officials with knowledge of the strategy said the GOP nominee is removing staff, curtailing advertising and canceling visits to the Midwestern state, which offers 17 electoral votes. Resources will be sent to Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and other competitive states.

Earlier, Obama abandoned efforts in Alaska, Georgia and North Dakota after boasting about running a 50-state campaign, though he succeeded in making traditional Republican strongholds Indiana [bold mine], North Carolina [Sheria and friends!] and Virginia competitive. Both sides are battling it out in those states where public polls show Obama ahead or tied.

A McCain aide said the campaign is opening up a front in Maine, which Kerry won four years ago and which offers four electoral votes. His campaign checked advertising rates in media markets there this week.

I was really surprised to hear this today. We're about 5 miles from the Indiana-Michigan state line, so much of their news is our news (Ken even works in Michigan). We've been hearing that this was one of the states that McCain was hoping to grab, but it seems he's folding up his tent and movin' on down the road. Michigan is in dire straits economically, and I think that is the main issue, as it is throughout the country. Also, last I heard, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida are starting to break--some of them big--for Obama. There is about a month to go, but I'm just sayin'.

I'm also surprised to read that McCain is going to try to go for Maine. Obama currently has a 49-44% lead there, and Maine has voted Democratic in the past four presidential elections. Besides, Stephen King tells us that they're a Dem bunch, and everything I know about Maine, I know from Stephen King! He says the place is lousy with vampires (nasty, ugly ones, too, not the good looking ones like in Anne Rice's books), there are alien spaceships buried in the woods, and you need to be really careful about where you bury your dead cat. Oh, and watch out for Saint Bernards. All kidding aside, it seems to be an odd state to focus on, with only four electoral votes and a tendency to vote Democratic.

I totally cracked up tonight. First, a little set-up. We usually watch NBC News, but have been watching CBS News to see Katie Couric's interviews with Palin, McCain, and Biden. Last night, they showed a preview of tonight's segment. Katie asked the question of both VP candidates: "What was the best thing and the worst thing that Dick Cheney has done?" Ken immediately said, "Worst thing? Shot someone in the face!" I laughed and said, "Good one!"

Well...tonight we saw the actual interview. When Couric asked that question of Palin, the response was, "Well...I suppose the duck hunting accident was not great!" (or words to that effect). AGH! I busted out laughing and pointed at Ken and said, "That's what YOU said!" Ken said, "Yeah...but I was joking!"


Wie geht's, y'all?

Ahhh, things seem a little quieter today! Everyone seems to be as busy as little bees, copying their files, working on your new blogs, and I hope having fun! I've been able to get caught up with most of you, although I still need to make the rounds for a meet & greet with some of the folks I don't know. As Dr. Evil would say, "Some of you I know, some of you I'm meeting for the first time." Don't worry--I'm not one of Dr. Evil's,, henchpeople. There we go.

Today I'm channeling my inner German and making a crock pot dish with cabbage. Ken isn't all that fond of cooked cabbage (although he likes cole slaw), but this is a combination of ground beef, a tomato sauce, rice, and's like cabbage rolls without the rolling part! I made it years ago for myself and really liked it, so I hope it's as good as I remember it. I love cabbage rolls, but Ken doesn't...I don't really mind not ever making them, though, because what a pain! Blanching the cabbage leaves, trying to roll 'em up and not have all the filling goosh out, trying to keep them together...nah, that one is just a little too labor intensive for me. They are tasty, though. I hope this crock pot dish will satisfy my craving.

I haven't made anything with cabbage for a long time, and I have to say, this was one of the densest, tightest heads of cabbage (locally grown!) I've ever encountered. That baby was SOLID. I had to get out a large butcher knife and really put some effort into it. I'm happy to report that my Mafia name didn't change from Extra Arm to Nine Fingers! After I got it all chopped off of the core, I remembered that when I was little, and Mom was cutting up cabbage, she'd split the core between me and Dad. For whatever reason, we loved gnawing on that tough inner core. Today I couldn't resist...I stood there in the kitchen and chomped away. I didn't eat the whole thing, but it was as good as I remember it! Mmm, I love cabbage!

It seems like I recall hearing something about some event on TV tonight...some kind of political thing...something called it a debate? Is that the word? Yes, of course I'll be watching. I'm a political junkie, remember? (Oo, that reminds me...I need to get that electoral vote widget up here.) I think a lot of people are hoping for a Palin meltdown (I suppose there are plenty waiting for a Biden meltdown, as well), but I doubt if that will happen. She'll have enough good sound bites, and if she can keep from saying something totally out there, she'll come across as okay. She's been coached all week, so if they stick to fairly scripted topics and format, she won't be able to keep talking and get herself in trouble. In reading up on debates, it's not so much about the content of the argument, it's about the presentation. People aren't listening to be educated about policy, they're watching to see how the candidates express themselves and whether or not they appear presidential, or in this case, vice-presidential.

How many times have you watched a debate and yelled at the TV, "That's not true!" or "Oh, come on--that's a bald-faced lie!" None? Oh...well, I guess that's just me. That's why body language is so important, and why there was so much ballyhoo over McCain's refusal to look at Obama in the first debate. A sort of "dismissive" attitude...get away from me kid, you're buggin' me. Should be interesting to see if that changes in the next debate. Anyhoo, I find the whole psychological aspect of it fascinating. Style probably counts for more than substance in a debate. It doesn't seem right, but that's exactly the way it is.

In the meantime, we'll see if Biden manages to put his foot in his mouth, and we'll see if the Palin train completely jumps the tracks. I had an email this week in which the person wrote, "As long as she doesn't vomit on the microphone, it will be considered a success." Probably...but THAT I'd pay to see!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy October!

I almost forgot! Rabbit rabbit rabbit! Gotta keep the evil spirits away!

High anxiety

Are we all getting settled in?

I feel so behind...I can barely keep up with the emails about all of this stuff! For my friends from work who have emailed me, I'll get back to you as soon as possible! And for all of the folks I read, I'll get to reading your latest soon.

I've been trying to update my new info on places like Technorati, and I think I'm getting that kind of stuff taken care of. I still need to send out a mass email to relatives to tell them about the Big Move of '08. Ha ha!

I've also managed to get some things done today--a trip to the grocery store, washing a few dishes, and getting the load of laundry in the dryer folded. That would be the load that I totally forgot about last night! Agh! We also ate really late last night because we were both working on this, and I think that's why I had some very strange dreams....

In one, I was in the house where I grew up. I was walking from the kitchen to the dining room, and I was wearing a white pantsuit with white heels--I looked at myself in the reflection of the sliding glass door, and thought I looked fairly good in my white pantsuit! I went over to the dining room table, took a cigarette out of a pack laying on the table. I struck a wooden match, lit the cigarette, and took a deep drag. I looked down at the table, and there was an entire carton laying there--Marlboro Lights, if I recall. Ken had a pack laying on the table, too. I remember thinking, "What are we doing? We QUIT smoking! We've got to stop this!" I was very anxiety- and guilt-ridden.

The other dream was a very brief one, but disturbing. When Ken leaves for work, he always comes in and kisses me good-bye. In my dream, he came in and was leaning over me, kissing me on the neck, and I touched his face. His face was covered up with a scarf or something...then I realized that Ken was still laying beside me in bed! AAAAHHH! I woke up with a start, and had a ripple of goosebumps flow over me. It was the creepiest feeling!

[putting on my dream analysis hat]

These two seem fairly straightforward. It's all about anxiety. Hearing that AOL was discontinuing journals, and the subsequent scramble for information and to get this new blog up and running meant for a crazy day. As many of you know, Ken and I quit smoking over two years ago (Yay for us!), but in times of stress, my brain reverts to what I used to do to relieve stress--pick up a cigarette. Of course, that resulted in feelings of guilt, and more anxiety. The creepy neck-kissing dream was just more anxiety, but in a scarier way.

I'm hoping that my dreams will be a little more pleasant tonight, and an earlier dinner should help! (This blog is a nonsmoking establishment, by the way. But feel free to step outside if you need to. :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lord, have Mercy!

Whew, what a crazy night! Between getting me up and running, Ken getting up and running, trying to figure out how to follow everyone, checking their new "digs," and keeping up with the latest from Magic Smoke, I must say that my brain hurrrrrts!

Great to see so many of you over here already, and while this might be taking a new form, it seems that J-Land is alive and well in each of our hearts. :)

We're all still working out the kinks (love that band!), so I know we'll all be patient with each other and give each other helpful hints. One thing I've already changed is that I won't follow anonymously, and I've gone in and followed each of you publicly, if you have that option enabled. I will probably also change the "type in the letters" thing for leaving comments. That's kind of annoying. Please bear with me as I adjust, and go in and follow each of you...I'm surprised to see that I have some people following me that I didn't know read me on AOL Journals! So that's kind of cool. I'll be stopping by soon, I promise!

I'm also happy to see that we're being a proactive bunch, and already beginning the exodus. After seeing so many of you over here already, I told Ken, "We're gonna be just fine!"

Love you guys.

Good news

I've confirmed with Vish that we will be able to move our archives--entries AND comments--to our new Blogger site. The most recent entry on Magic Smoke says that we will need to do this, it won't be done automatically by AOL, but I'm sure Vish will be putting up instructions on where we need to go and what we need to do. I hope that helps everyone feel a little better about this!

Comment alerts


If you go into settings and into the Comments section, there is an option at the bottom to receive a "comment notification email." I put in my AOL address, and got my first alert from Lisa. It even includes the text of the comment! YES!

I haven't found anything for entry alerts, but this is a start.

Let's get this party started!

All right, folks, here we go. I'll be making the transition to this platform, although I'll still be posting on the AOL Nutwood for a while. This is also very much a work in progress, and I'm sure we'll all be playing around with this as we do a little "on the job training." For example, I haven't decided which font to use. I miss Comic Sans! Waaaah, Ricky! Yeah, I point in being upset about it. We have no choice, after all.

Pardon my previous messiness from when I was starting to mess around with this a few months ago. I was going to tidy up before I opened this up, but no reason to. I just chose the Bates Motel sign when I was trying to put up a picture, so there's no significance to it.

...or IS there? Heh heh heh....