Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas work....

Yes, I'm at work...and even more annoying, I have a TON of stuff that needs to be done.

Just once, I'd like to have a Christmas Eve that doesn't stress me out. I know that once I leave here, I'll be stress-free and have a ton of fun - but I have a lot to do today and I'd much rather be somewhere else.

I probably won't be Blogging tomorrow, so I'll take this time now to wish you all a

Merry Christmas!!!

xoxo - John

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two more days!!!

First of all – a BIG thank you to all the folks who commented and/or emailed me in regard to yesterday’s Blog entry. It’s nice to be surrounded by so many wicked awesome folks.

Secondly, it’s day 21 people. That’s right - day TWENTY-ONE of the sweater. I’m completely amazed and disgusted.

Work has been so busy the past few days. There have been a bazillion emails going back and forth regarding the testing I’m doing, and it’s kind of making me crazy. Good thing I’m an organized person. There are a ton of people involved and they’re all asking about different things. It’s nutso.
Unfortunately, I have a meeting this morning (conference call) that’s scheduled from 11 until 12:30!
Say what?!?!? Bitch, please.
That DIRECTLY interferes with my lunch time plans.
Have they no shame?!?! What’s next? Meetings during my coffee break??
Hell to the no.
Speaking of Whitney....when exactly is her comeback going to happen???

Anyway….Jim and I had a snow-filled weekend. Thank God for Jim. We only have one shovel at the moment, and since I’m the one with back issues, (and I'm 3 months older) he did 99.8% of the shoveling on Saturday. I did a little bit of shoveling. I cleaned off the cars and re-shoveled all around them…and I shoveled a path in the backyard for Scooter. When all was said and done, we had over a foot of snow. It looks so nice, but Sweet Jesus….I’m done for the winter.
Scooter was THRILLED about the snow. He leaps through it grabbing mouthfuls all along the way…it’s hysterical. Jim took some great pictures, which I promise to post asap.
I know, I know…I’m full of empty promises. I hope that during my time off (between Christmas and New Year’s Eve) I can do some posting from home and have a few ‘picture days’ on the blog. Won’t THAT be exciting?!?!? I’m getting all tingly just thinking about it.
At least I think that’s why I’m getting all tingly….

I have to stop writing and get myself together before this 11 o’clock call. There’s nothing more terrifying than being asked a question by some super-important, vice-president-type person, and having no answer prepared….
Junior High, anyone??

Have a great Christmas Eve Eve....

Monday, December 22, 2008

23 Years Ago...

Twenty-three years ago today, my mom passed away.
I can't believe it's been that long. Well, that's not entirely true. Part of me feels like it was yesterday; but when I think about all the things she has 'missed' it seems even longer.

Just a quick synopsis: shortly after I was born, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She eventually had both breasts removed, underwent chemotherapy, radiation treatments, several extended hospital stays, etc...etc...and eventually passed away on December 22, 1985.
I was 13 at the time so I have plenty of great memories of my years with her, but unfortunately there's still a lot I don't remember. Thankfully I have an unending supply of stories from my dad, my sisters and countless friends of hers who can fill in the gaps. :-)
The fact that she lived as long as she did (this all began in 1972, don't forget) is a testament to her strength and courage. There wasn't a day that went by where she didn't live her life to the fullest. She never let the fact that she wasn't feeling well keep her from being happy and you never once heard her complain...beyond the everyday complaints that we all have. :-)
I have her to thank for my love for music, singing, (sorry, dad!) and making sure that I never take advantage of all that I have in my life.
I want to share with the Blog world the last letter I received from her. This was written in August of 1985 and she wrote it to me while I was at camp for two weeks. After this hospital stay (described in the letter), she returned home for a few months but eventually had to return to the hospital for the last time.

This letter is one of the most important things I own and yes, I was afraid to take it out of the house! Posting it here will not only share her words with the 'world', but now I'll have a permanent copy that I can't lose. Maybe I'll make a few copies while I'm at work...don't tell my boss. :-)

Tuesday Aug. 20, 1985

Dear John,
How are you doing? Hope you are having a great time. Well John, I did it again. Dad and I left for Cape Cod Saturday. I was feeling pretty good. It took us about 1 hr. and 1/2 to get there. We drove around for a while to see where everything was, stopped in to see the L*****s. They have a bigger trailer than the M***s. It was very nice. We got our place, unpacked, sat around for a while, and then went out for dinner. It was excellent. I had fish, and Dad had white clam sauce on pasta. Home we went, watched some TV, and went to bed.
We woke up Sunday morning and decided to go to 11:30 mass. I wasn't feeling too good. I was having trouble breathing. We left mass early and found a nice place to have breakfast. We sat around the rest of the day and relaxed & met some of our neighbors. When we woke up on Monday it was pouring. Dad went for a ride and said some of the roads you couldn't use they were so flooded. I really wasn't feeling that good - still having trouble breathing and felt lousy. We decided to go for a ride. We went to the post office and just rode around. we went back home, it was still raining. We sat around for a while, I still wasn't feeling any better, in fact I felt worse. We decided to call the doctor. He thought I should go to the local hospital and be checked. My doctor would call the hospital and tell them what to do. Now is where the fun begins. We decided there was too much traffic, so we called the ambulance. Of course the fire engines showed up too. Everyone was looking and watching, wondering what was wrong with me. They told me it would be a noisy ride. Was it ever. They has the sirens going all the way. As it turned out, it was the same thing as before - they had to take out the fluid from the chest cavity. I am feeling much better. The only thing is, Dr. L. decided he wanted me at the Brigham and Women's Hospital so back into the ambulance I go, this time to Boston. This time the ride wasn't quite as noisy. I got here at 8:00. I had no supper. I was starving. I got my supper at 10:30 last night, boy did it taste good. So here I am John, at the hospital. I haven't seen the doctor yet, he had a big surgery this morning so I don't know when I'll be home. Donna and Bill will be picking you and Scott up. I'm hoping I will be home when you get there. Have a great time John and please don't worry about me, I am doing just fine. Looking forward to seeing you and hearing all about your adventures.

Love ya,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow....

As if I have any say in the matter...

According to the latest report, we're supposed to get up to a foot of snow between today and tomorrow. Yikes. Living in this area my entire life, I'm not at all surprised, but still....that is a LOT of snow.
At least it's happening today and not on a Monday morning or something extremely inconvenient like that. My biggest concern is my commute home. I'm sure it'll be fine, but that's the only thing that could screw me up. If my train is running late, I'll be pissed.

I know I've mentioned it on here before, but it is a GHOST TOWN in the city today. Crazy.
Apparently a lot of people are either working from home or have the day off. It's really quite strange. My train was very empty, and on the walk up to my office - there were hardly any people around.
It was nice. :-)

Last night Jim had his holiday party for work, so I was on my own. His company is usually very generous when it comes to parties, but for this one, there were no spouses invited. Boo!
I'm kidding, it's not a big deal.
I got home, fed the dog, ate a quick dinner (leftover pork chops, broccoli, roasted butternut squash., and stuffing - welcome to my delicious life!) and went out to complete my Christmas shopping.
I have a terrible cold (annoying) but in spite of that, I had fun traipsing around the south shore finishing things up. I wasn't really traipsing, but it was still fun.
As far as I know, I'm all set....I still have to double check everything to make sure that I didn't leave anyone out, but I think I'm done!! YAY!
This is totally a record for me. Now, I'm not a Christmas Eve shopper, that's out of control; but I'm totally a Christmas Eve wrapper...which stinks.

Speaking of stinks...there is something dead in our cellar. I know, I's totally gross, but come on!!! We live in an antique farmhouse built in 1825...what do you expect? When it's freezing out, little critters are going to try and take shelter in our warm and cozy home - can you blame them? I certainly don't.
However, I do blame them for being dumb enough to get trapped in the house and die.
Hello, animals?!?! Did you not read 'Hansel and Gretel'?!?! Drop breadcrumbs or something, dummies. I don't care what you do, just don't get lost in my basement and die. Of course, they would probably rather EAT the breadcrumbs, wouldn't they? Whatever. The point is; something got in, couldn't get out, and now Jim and I are paying the stinky, decomposing price.

This weekend is SUPER busy. Tomorrow we're going to a holiday open house starting at 1pm, then meeting Jim's family to celebrate the birthdays of K and D (a niece and nephew) then we're going to a 40th birthday party Saturday night. On Sunday we're going to a family 'get together' with my entire family and my entire step family. THAT will be interesting.

Everyone stay safe, and enjoy the snow!!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who's The Boss?

No, I'm not talking about this guy:

I'm talking about my current work situation. My co-worker (and 'partner in crime') is out until after Christmas, so in her absence - I'm in charge.

Hooray for 80's TV!!!!

Anyway...I'm the only one here supporting a specific application, so I'm the contact person for the next week or so. It makes me a little nervous, but I'm not afraid to ask questions, so if I get into any hot water, I know there are plenty of people around to help me out. The only thing that's making me a little nervous is that I'm dealing with a lot of people who I've never worked with before, which means I'll have to turn on the charm.

Can you tell that I'm in a 'picture posting' mood??

OK, well I have a lot to do and it isn't going to get done if I'm writing this.

OH!!! The 'sweater' has consistently been showing up to work every day!! If the trend continues, today will be day 18....amazing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sleepy man

I am tired.

Last night was The Company Theatre Christmas party and it was V-E-R-Y fun. There were a whole lot of people there, many of whom I haven’t seen in a very long time. It was such a great mix of people. There were people there that I’ve known for only a few months, yet there were also people there who have known me since I was eleven years old. That's a long time ago.
So, I'm sending out a BIG thank you to all the people at The Company Theatre for throwing a super, duper, and fun party. I was thrilled to be there and had a great time.
Granted, I’m completely exhausted this morning, but whatever….it's totally worth it.

Speaking of this morning…what a dismal day it is here in Beantown. It’s cold and rainy. Actually, it’s cold and freezing rainy. If you’ve been reading my blog, you may recall that I’m not a fan of the rain. I particularly despise when it can’t make up its mind whether it wants to rain or snow, which results in a lovely mix of the two. Yuck.

It’s supposed to snow again up here starting on Friday, continuing into Saturday and they’re saying that we could expect 6-10 inches. Believe it or not, that wouldn’t bother me that much. I don’t mind the snow, as long as it’s not during the week. I despise having to adjust my morning commute around snow. Having to rush around, heating up the car, cleaning off the car…blah, blah, blah….it’s irritating.
I have to say that one of the neatest things I’ve seen in a while was a video that Brettcajun (I’m a big fan of his blog) posted last week when it snowed in Louisiana. Clearly, snow in Louisiana is a rare occurrence, so he made a video in order to document the event. Up here, we’re so used to people bitching and complaining non-stop about the snow. (I’ll admit, I do my share of complaining!!) It was so nice to see someone that truly enjoyed the fact that it was snowing.
It was adorable.

I got some GREAT presents for Jim yesterday!!! I’m very happy with what I’ve purchased so far. Of course, I can’t share it with ya’ll because a ‘certain person’ reads this blog and Christmas would be RUINED if I shared that information with the public. You’ll have to be patient and wait….or email me.
Tonight I’m getting all my receipts together and figuring out who’s ‘done’ and how much I’ve spent so far. Once that’s figured out, I can determine who I still need to shop for and how much I can spend on them. I’ve been really good so far in sticking to my budget, so I’m hopeful that everything works out.

Have a great day....I’m going to grab some MUCH needed coffee and get to work.

Here are a few pictures (from the 2007 Christmas card ‘photo shoot’) for your holiday enjoyment.
Getting restless....

Union break.....

'Post photo-shoot' celebration.....

Angelic Scooter.....

Smiley Scooter.....

Santa Scooter.......

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Come on in, little boy....

First of all....HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELISSA!!!!! YAY!!!!

Now that I got that off my chest.....

I had an experience Sunday evening that made me feel like a dirty old man. Yikes.
Jim and I were in the middle of the Christmas card process (I was stuffing envelopes as he was printing labels) and there was a knock at the door.
It was clearly someone with a sense of humor, since they knocked in rhythm, (shave and a haircut, two bits! - if you don't know what I'm talking about, Google it.) so I figured it was one of Jim's family members stopping by. Upon hearing the knock on the door, Scooter completely lost his mind. He started barking and came RUNNING in from the other room to see who was visiting. So now there's Scooter running around like a loon, and Jim yelling from the other room asking who it went a little like this:

(Knock on the door)
Scooter begins barking and runs into the kitchen

Jim: Is someone at the door?
John: Yup, it must be one of your family members....

(John gets up from the table, walks into the kitchen, and opens the door to reveal a young man, wearing a winter jacket, winter hat and gloves.
Scooter is still barking his face off.)

Young Stranger: Hi. I'm from CM and I'm selling raffle tickets for our winter fundraiser, would you be interested in buying a ticket?
John: How much?
Young Stranger: Five dollars.
John: OK, what can I win?

(Jim enters the kitchen)

Jim: What's going on? Who is it?

(He grabs Scooter and puts him in the crate to the left of the door.....Scooter is still barking.
It's a chaotic scene.)

Young Stranger: The top prize is 2 grand.
John: Wow, OK. - (to Scooter) - Scooter! Be quiet. (to Jim) It's someone selling raffle tickets for Catholic Memorial. - (to Young Stranger) Sure, I'll buy one (he hands the Young Stranger a 5 dollar bill)
Scooter: (as he tries to escape from the crate) Bark, bark bark, cry, cry, cry....
Young Stranger: (handing John the packet of tickets and a pen) You just have to fill out the top part.
John: Do you want to come in?
Young Stranger: thanks.
John: (realizing he just asked a complete stranger, who happens to be alone, who also happens to be a teenage boy, to come into his house) Oh....right.....ummm....of course not. Well....(as he's closing the door) I'll be right back second.

Jim: Wait, what is this for?
John: (flustered) Huh? What? Oh...It's a Catholic Memorial's a raffle...the top prize is two thousand dollars.
Jim: You're giving money to the Catholics?
John:'s not for the church, it's for the school....the kid's walking around outside in the freezing cold going door to door... (he pauses as he heads back to the door) I can't believe I totally asked him to come in....I was just being polite, it's freezing out. (as he opens the door)
All set!!

Young Stranger: Great....did you take the bottom part?
John: Huh? Oh...yes, I have it.
Young Stranger: Excellent, thank you.
John: No problem, have a good night. (as he lets Scooter out of the crate, yelling to Jim in the other room) I can't remember the last time someone went around door to door selling odd. I was just being polite...I can't believe I asked him to come in....I feel dirty.

I bet we won't get anymore teenagers coming by the house selling stuff!

Seriously though, I know it's not a huge deal, but I did feel kind of odd about the whole thing. I only asked him to come in because I felt weird just shutting the door in his face and leaving him standing out in the cold. Yikes...I've gone on long enough. I'm feeling dirty again.

On another note, Jim and I did a TON of Christmas shopping last night. It was very fun and not at all painful.
Besides, two excellent things came out of it.

1. We ended the night with yummy frappes at Brigham's, (I got coffee and he got chocolate) which we needed like a hole in the head....shut up, it's the holidays.

2. We saw Santa smoking a butt out in the parking lot.

I assume that he was done with his shift for the night, because when went into the mall, he wasn't in his designated 'Santa area'. It seems a little risky to me, especially since he was still in his full Santa outfit at the time. Maybe he assumed that all the 'kiddies' would be in bed at that hour (it was sometime around 8 or 8:30)? Who knows? Either way, it still seems pretty risky.
It made me laugh - and I waved to him.

Happy Tuesday everyone...have a great day!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vacation - Enough is Enough

I'm getting tired of writing about my vacation. :-) Not that the rest of the trip wasn't fun, but I feel like I'm boring my readers to tears with my rambling.

Here's the Reader's Digest version of the rest of the trip: On Sunday night, we returned to Twist (after my friend had us over for dinner) and had a GREAT time there. We went back to Fort Myers on Monday morning and spent the rest of the week lounging by the pool or the beach, shopping and going out to eat with my parents. One day we went to Sanibel Island, and on Tuesday night we explored the gay 'scene' in Fort Myers. It consisted of three bars...none of which were too exciting. In their defense, it was a Tuesday night - not a big night for going out on the town. Everyone we met at the bars was super friendly, and actually struck up a conversation with you, which is more than I can say for the majority of the places in Boston. One place (The Bottom Line) had $5 pitchers. Needless to say, it was the best of the three (and busiest) and we spent the majority of the evening there....very fun. One of the highlights of the trip was getting to see the City of Palms park, up close and personal. Not only did it give us the chance to see every nook and cranny of the park, but it was great seeing my dad doing his 'job' - something that he LOVES to do and is so good at it. Again, there are some great pictures that I will post soon...I promise. If you're impatient, you can check them out on my facebook profile....Jim created an album, and I linked it to my profile last night. So check it out, impatient pants.

I'm going to get coffee, but I'll probably write later...things have been so busy, and I haven't done a lick of shopping yet.
What?!? I have 10 days, get off my case.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Vacation - Part Four

Saturday, 11/29

Jim and I woke up, threw together a suitcase full of clothes, said goodbye to my folks, brought Jill out to the car, and began our trip across the state.
The ride was fairly uneventful (if you've driven 'Alligator Alley' you CERTAINLY understand what I mean). We drove for just about 2 1/2 hours, arriving at our hotel at about 1pm and found out it was a tad too early for check in. Even though we were early, they were kind enough to park our car and held onto our luggage until our room was ready. The hotel was VERY nice.
I love a good lobby. Since we had about an hour to kill, we decided to have lunch out at the bar by the pool. By the time we were done, (it took our amazingly slow waitress forever to bring us the check) it was time to check in. We went up to the room and were very happy with it. The hotel was right on the ocean, and we had a room with a great view which also overlooked the pool area. We were happy. :-)
You'll see pictures of all this when I get around to posting them...settle down.
We weren't unpacked for 2 minutes and we were already in our bathing suits and headed to the beach!

By the way - I forgot to pack t-shirts for the weekend excursion. Thankfully, I remembered to pack some short-sleeved button down shirts, but the only t-shirt I had was the one I was wearing at the time. I was PISSED. That is so unlike me. I'm usually a total freak about packing and remembering everything because I'm constantly checking and re-checking what I've packed. Apparently I'm slipping. Anyway...Jim assured me it wasn't a big deal, which was true, so we were able to continue the vacation. . :-)

From the beach, we called my best friend from growing up (who lives 5 minutes from the hotel we were staying at) and told him we had arrived. He said he'd give us a call later and we'd meet up at some point.
Jim and I swam for a while, taking great pleasure in the fact that the water was very nice and there lots of fun waves to play in, when all of a sudden (cue: dramatic music) I was stung by a jellyfish!

Say what?!?! Yes, it's true. Clearly I'm fine, but it was a tad scary.

I was standing in a shallow area, waiting for a big wave to come in (yay for riding waves!!), and I felt something slimy on my leg. I thought I was imagining it, but then I saw the little bugger floating by me and I could feel a slimy patch of grossness on my bathing suit.
Get your minds out of the gutter.
It kind of felt like I'd been slimed by that gross thing in Ghostbusters. Yuck.
I didn't feel any pain at all, but I was kind of concerned. I wasn't sure if it just 'bumped into me' or it had stung me. What the hell do I know about jellyfish?!?!? I have NO idea what happens when you get a jellyfish sting. Do they always sting? Can you just bump into one without being stung?

Anywhoo...I casually mentioned the incident to Jim and he asked me if I was OK. I said I was feeling totally fine, (which I was) but I was still a little freaked out. After a minute or so, I started feeling a weird 'irritating' feeling on the back of my right knee. It felt like a scratch, but since we were in the water, I couldn't really see what was going on. We decided to get out of the water and take a peek. Once we were out, I started to notice it a bit more and we could see that it was getting red. After a brief discussion about what to do, ("I am NOT going to the emergency room! How embarrassing.") we decided to ask the lifeguard about it. I explained the situation to him and he pretty much said I was fine. If anything really bad was going to happen to me as a result of the sting, it would have happened right know, chest pains, shortness of breath, or collapsing. Excellent.
Hearing that news was a relief. At this point, however, it felt like I'd been stung by a bee and it looked similar to a bee sting as well. It wasn't painful, but it was irritating. Kind of how it felt when I got my tattoo. Anyway...within five minutes of chatting with Mr. Baywatch (no, he wasn't cute) the pain was gone and even though it looked red and puffy, I had survived my first jellyfish sting.

We decided to hang on the beach for a while, (one the sand, not the water) then we went back to the room, showered, changed, and went exploring. We walked all over South Beach and eventually heard from my friend at about 6pm. (3 1/2 hours after our initial call, letting him know we'd arrived). We made arrangements to meet him at 7pm at Score, a gay bar on Lincoln Road, for a drink and then grab some dinner. He arrived at about 7:30 and it was SO nice to see him. We haven't seen him since last Christmas and he looked great. We had a couple of drinks there with him, then we headed to Jerry's Famous Deli on Collins Ave. We were looking for something quick, cheap and yummy (much like myself) and this place turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. Even though it was diner-type food, it was SOOO good. I highly recommend it if you're ever in South Beach looking for great food without having to pay a ton of money. We finished dinner, and then went to a bar called Palace on Ocean Drive (I didn't love this place, but it was right on the main strip and was fairly decent). We had a few drinks there and them moved onto a bar/dance club called Twist (located on Washington Ave). Twist was my favorite of all the places we went. It had several bars, spread over two stories and a bunch of different places you could dance, if you were so inclined. It had a great mix of people (and a great mix of music) and it was a friendly and fun looking crowd. One of the bars was outside and that area also was home to several attractive men dancing around in their scanties...for a price, of course. When we arrived, the upstairs and the outside area weren't open yet, but they shortly opened after we got there (which was around 11pm). My friend brought us there, but then quickly departed because he was meeting someone for a 'date' at midnight.

Really?!?!?!? Really.

Jim and I walked around for a bit, but didn't stay too long. After an hour or so (if that) we hopped into a cab and headed back to the hotel and called it a day.

Stay tuned tomorrow for 'South Beach: Day Two'.

And yes, I'm not lying...the sweater has officially arrived...this is day 15 people.
Day 15.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A vacation from my vacation....

A few random things

The sweater has returned…day 14. Excellent.

A performer in Vienna slashed his own throat during a show when the prop knife he usually uses, was replaced with a real one.
You can view the story here:
And THAT is why you always ‘check your props’!!! Thanks Jordie! No one will ever slash their own throat with you at the helm, that’s for damn sure.

I just found out this afternoon that the all male a Cappella group I sang with in college has been suspended because of hazing. Now, this isn’t hazing in the ‘traditional’ sense, I mean it’s an a Cappella group for Pete’s sake, but I understand the University’s position. They can't adjust the rules based on how severe the hazing is.
What happened is; after the spring concert last year, each of the new members was dunked (one at a time) into a big trash barrel filled with (alcoholic) punch. They’re held upside down by their feet, dunked into the punch and then immediately pulled out.
Picture a yummy Oreo being dunked into a tall glass of milk…but no new guys are eaten after being dunked. At least when I was in the group no one was. :-)
I understand that the administration has to punish for all hazing, but I hope that the group isn’t going to suffer any long term damages because of this. I think it’s a far cry from those groups that force their members to drink in excess, or put people in dangerous situations.
I know, I know…it’s hazing, no matter how harmless it seems and they have to enforce the rules…it just makes me a little sad.

The good thing is, that after 30 years on the campus there's a ton of alumni (we're a very active and involved alumni group) that still care about what's going on with the current group. I'm sure they'll be fine.

This is my friend's daughter....I talked about her a few weeks ago.

It's WAY too cute not to share.

Vacation - Part Three

While I was showering this morning (watch it, perverts) I came to the realization that at the rate I'm going, I'll be finished talking about my vacation sometime around Groundhog Day.
So, in an effort to keep things moving along and keep things interesting, I'm changing it up a bit. Also, the pictures from the trip are on the computer at home, so I'll be posting those at some point - which is VERY exciting. There are some really great pictures that I can't wait for you all to see!

Thursday, 11/27 - Thanksgiving Day

Jim and I woke up, had a little breakfast with the folks and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (not all that impressed, especially with the Broadway performances - pretty damn boring, if you ask me). After the parade, Jim and I drove Betty to the Super Wal-Mart down the road. First of all, who the hell knew it would be open? Second of all, who could ever have guessed that it would be PACKED. It was insane and I just couldn't get over the fact that people were out and about in droves on Thanksgiving Day. I realize that we were out shopping as well, but STILL....we just ran out for a few things and we were looking to kill some time before lunch. From the looks of it, most of these folks were out doing their weekly shopping. Crazy.

After dealing with that insanity, we arrived back at home, changed, and drove to the restaurant where we were having lunch with my parent's friends. Lunch was VERY good. I was a little hesitant about it at first, but we were pleasantly surprised. They were having a 'Thanksgiving Feast' - which consisted of turkey and all the trimmings, plus dessert. We all decided to take part in the feast, and it was a great choice. Everything was so good, and even though I'm not usually a fan of pumpkin pie, I decided to give it a try and was SOOOO happy I did. Yum-O!!! (Shout out to Rachael Ray, who's about to go under the knife and get a benign cyst removed which is affecting her speech. Apparently that's the reason she sounds like a 75 year-old, chain-smoking, trucker most of the time).
After the meal, we headed home and hung out for a while (turkey coma) and relaxed. Later that night (around 8-ish) we decided to head out in search of some light nourishment (evidently retired people not only stop working full time, but they also stop cooking full time). We ended up at UNO's of all places, and had a little pizza, which was both yummy and just what the doctor ordered. If doctors prescribed food.

Friday, 11/28

On Friday, we went to see the place where the Boston Red Sox practice when they're in Ft. Myers for Spring Training. For those of you who don't know, my dad works for the Red Sox down in Ft. Myers. On non-game days he gives tours and on game days, he's running around either selling merchandise or making sure all the merchandise booths are stocked. This will be his third year working for them and he LOVES it. You'll see pictures of him on here eventually, and if you're ever down there at a game, be sure and say hi. He'll be THRILLED....and probably talk to you for 7 hours. Anyway, we went to see the practice fields and we ended up getting a tour of the entire facility. Pictures and details to follow. Yes, I have a picture of Jason Varitek's locker....and the showers. What?!?! Don't judge. You would have done the same thing.

After the tour, we went to a Flea Market, which is something that my parents said we HAD to experience. It was kind of insane. Picture endless booths, full of people selling lots and lots of junk. I'm sure there were some great deals to be had, but I guess we just weren't looking in the right places. Jim and I felt like we were wandering through a giant yard sale. I will say that everyone was SUPER nice and seemed to enjoy being there. They also seemed to enjoy the fact that we were tourists. One guy immediately knew we were tourists because we "were still white (as in pale) and were wearing shorts and t-shirts." Excellent.
Oh - and one of the many food places there was serving Fried Gator Tail. Yikes.
After the Flea Market, we went home and swam for a while at one of the pools in the 'community'. That night, we went to Naples for a quick tour of the downtown area (the main 'strip' there is BEAUTIFUL - full of great looking fancy restaurants and shops) and then went to visit a friend of my dad's from high school. My dad's friend had spent years working as a secret service agent and protected a ton of presidents and their families. He told us some amazing stories. His favorite president to work for was Reagan (which kind of made me puke a bit, but I said nothing) and he also said that Hillary was a complete and utter bitch, who dropped f-bombs like it was her job (which made me love her even more that I did before). Talking to him was fascinating, and we had a great time.

Saturday morning we began the trek to South Beach.....more on that tomorrow.....or later, we'll see how the day goes. :-)

PS - I realize that my attempts to condense my story telling didn't exactly work as I'd intended, but I'm trying....bear with me. We Italians like to talk. :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vacation - Part Two

You would think that sitting at a gate in the airport for close to 4 hours would be sheer torture…and you would be right. However, for some inexplicable reason, Jim and I did that very thing without going insane or killing one another. I think that certainly says something about us!!! I had a book to read** and Jim had his crossword puzzle book, so between those two things, a few walks to get food and snacks, accompanied by loads of people watching (one of my favorite sports), the wait went by SUPER fast.

**The book I was reading at the time was Rant by Chuck Palahniuk and I do not recommend it. I thought the story and the characters were quite interesting, but good GOD was it a difficult read. I found it very confusing, and way too long. I generally have no issue with reading long books, but it bugs me to no end when I realize that the story could have been told in half the time. If you’re interested in reading it, I suggest going to the Rant Wikipedia page. It’ll save you a lot of time and aggravation.

Once it was time for boarding, we waited our turn and found our seats with no problem. The plane was fairly average sized, with three seats on either side of the aisle. We were in the second row (extra leg room!!) with me sitting on the aisle and Jim in the middle. When our third ‘row mate’ arrived, (looking totally pretentious in his dress pants, buttoned down shirt, fancy shoes and snotty expression) he climbed over us and got situated in his window seat. He seemed friendly enough…he said hello and proceeded to ask us if we knew whether or not the flight was full. Neither Jim nor I knew (Hello??? Do we look like the ticket counter?!?!?) so he then asked the flight attendant, who pretty much said the same thing as us. Once all the cabin doors were shut, he started chatting again.

Mr. Irritating: So, do you want to ask about whether or not the flight is full and if we can move to other seats?

(really long pause, while we both tried to figure out where the HELL that came from)

Jim/John: (speaking at the same time) Ummm, well we’re fine with these seats….we’re fine here….we weren’t really planning on moving…..

Thankfully, he then got up and moved to the row in front of us. I’m not sure why it bugged me so much, but it did. I mean, he clearly didn’t want to sit in a full row (which is totally fine) but I found it really annoying that he was trying to get Jim and I to join his little ‘lets move to different seats’ campaign. As if we had expressed even the slightest interest in moving as well. I know I’m overreacting, but it annoyed me.

We had a great flight (we were flying Jetblue, by the way) and I love that we were able to watch TV on our own little, personal screens! I will say that I missed the in-flight trivia competition that I played (and won, thank you very much) the last time I flew Jetblue. Since we were flying on the night before Thanksgiving, I was sad and irritated that I was going to be missing the Rosie O’Donnell live variety show. However, thanks to modern technology, I was able to watch it at 36,000 feet!! Unfortunately, I didn’t love it, but it certainly wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I also got to watch ‘Law and Order’ which turned out to be super exciting because I ended up knowing two people that were featured in that night’s episode. Very cool!

After an excellent landing (complete with applause….something that continues to mystify me…no one claps for me when I finish a test case?!?! but whatever) we quickly got our bags and headed over to the rental car place. By the way…it was about 11:30pm at this point. We picked up our car, which was a DELIGHTFUL, white, Chevy Cobalt and began the trip to my parent’s place. Although the car was very basic, (Manual locks and windows? What?) it certainly served its purpose. We got a GPS with it (from here on in referred to as ‘Jill’) so that made it feel kind of fancy. It's the little things people.
After a failed attempt at locating my parents ‘community’ (they live in one of the 5,000 gated communities in Fort Myers) we finally got to the right place. Through no fault of her own, Jill led us to one of the back gates, as opposed to the main gate where we were meeting my dad. I called my dad, explained where we were, and he was more than happy to come fetch us and lead us to the correct entrance. We followed him to their building, unloaded the car and went up to their place. Betty (my step-mother) was still awake and they were THRILLED that we were there. My dad gave us the grand tour; we had a drink (Yay Miller Lite!), chatted with them for a bit and then went to bed.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure……”Thanksgiving in Florida”

PS – There is someone at work who has been wearing the same sweater every day for the past 2 weeks. Today is day 13 (although I have no idea what he wears on the weekends).
You can bet your bottom dollar (thank you, Annie) that I’ll be giving you daily updates.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Vacation - Part One

Let's start at the very beginning. Apparently, it's a very good place to start....according to Rodgers and Hammerstein at least. (Let's hear it for the nuns!!!)

Anyway...since this vacation was fairly long and eventful, I'm not even going to TRY to capture it all in one entry. That means you are all in for a TREAT! Well, at least you're in for several entries that describe my vacation.

In my last post, before jetting off to Florida, I was writing from home having recently completed a TON of yard work and was about to begin cleaning the house. Well, I cleaned the house from top to bottom, and it looked FABULOUS. I took a 'cleaning break' in order to meet Jim (and Scooter) at Jim's office for lunch. They had a 'bring your dog to work day' which turned out to be a big success. Scooter was a hit, and everyone fell in love with him. Of COURSE! Thankfully, all the excitement exhausted him, so once we got home he collapsed on the couch, which allowed me to finish cleaning without a little canine constantly begging me for attention.
When Jim got home from work he was VERY excited about the house being cleaned.
I'm a good cleaner, what can I say?
We had dinner, (I'm pretty sure we went to the Grille, since we weren't going to be there on Friday night) came home and watched a bit of TV before going to bed.
On Wednesday morning we got up, ate breakfast, and started packing. Once we were all packed we loaded up the car, including Scooter and all his stuff (which was a lot of stuff) and brought him over to Jim's parent's house. He was THRILLED to be in a new place and Jim's parents were very excited to have him there. We said goodbye (totes sad) and then began phase two of our travel for the day. When we were leaving, Scooter followed us to the door and stood there with a very confused look on his face. When we talked to Jim's mom the next day, she informed us that he sat at the door crying for 10 minutes after we left, but after that brief period of mourning, he was totally fine. Nice.
From Jim's parent's house, we drove to my sister's house (where we were going to be leaving my car for the week) and then she drove us to the train. Since we were travelling on the day before Thanksgiving (not to mention the fact that we were depending on the train to get us to the airport) we allowed ourselves PLENTY of time. Long story short ("Too late!" - Oh, that never gets old. Wait...yes it does.) we ended up sitting at our gate, all ready to board with 4 hours to spare.

Actually, it all worked out so well it was really odd. We had to take 3 different trains (Red Line to the Green Line to the Blue Line) and we didn't wait more than 10 minutes at any place...unheard of. When we arrived at the airport terminal, it was practically deserted. We tried to do the self check-in, but we were too early. Say WHAT?!? Rather than stand there waiting for the self check-in to work, we decided to just stand in line. We stood in line, (behind about 5 people) checked our bags and went to the security check point. That part always makes me really nervous. I have no reason to be nervous, but I find it all so odd and uncomfortable. There you are, standing in the middle of the airport and you're asked to take off your shoes, belt, watch, and everything else that could possibly be considered 'suspicious', leaving you standing there in your socks praying that you don't make the metal detectors flip out when you walk through them. And don't even get me started on the body cavity search!! Yowch.
Jim and I made it through security without incident but for some unknown reason, our carry on bag was too suspicious to get through and needed to be thoroughly searched. I think it's because it's black - but that's just my opinion.
Some security guy took it to a table, went through it looking at every item, and even swabbing some of Jim's lip balm to be sure it didn't contain explosives. What?!?!? Better safe than sorry, I suppose.
Once our bag was cleared, we made our way to the gate and began the long, long, wait.

More tomorrow......

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm baaaaaack!!!

Hello to one and all!!!

OK - I have a TON to catch up on, but let it be said that my vacation was AWESOME and I survived the first round of layoffs. Phew.

I'll be sure and write more once I'm all caught up. I have a ton of work to do, no to mention all the BLOG reading I have to catch up on.

I missed you all so much, it hurts. :-)