wine by the color

Monday, October 31, 2005

Dash and Jack Jack wish everyone a Happy Halloween.

Q: What do Cameron Diaz and I have in common?

A: We both broke our noses in Hawaii.

Actually, Dr. Downs at the emergency room couldn’t be sure if it’s broken because of the impressive swelling. He didn’t take x-rays because, as he said, there’s not much he can do if it is broken. He recommended I give it a few days and then see how it looks. So that’s the plan. I did receive some high-power pharmaceuticals for pain (which is nice, since I have to admit it hurts REAL bad) and I got a tetanus shot. Stunningly, I do not have a concussion, and I did not require stitches, which was the main reason I sought professional medical attention. But my face is already black and blue and I expect that by tomorrow morning my left eye might be swollen shut. GOOD times.

And how did this happen?

I was jumping off a rope swing into a waterfall and pond area (don’t worry, Mom, it was totally supervised). Just as I let go of the rope to jump into the water, the bottom of the rope swung up and slammed me in the nose. I must mention that my landing was perfect, despite the fact that I was already bleeding, thanks to the cut on the bridge of my nose. I am also proud of the fact that I did not cry. But it must have looked horrible, because Chas, our Hawaiian guide, jumped into the water after me immediately. He administered first aid and we headed back to our car. There was a slight delay en route to the hospital because Becky and I were both starving, so we stopped for dinner (and maybe a Lava Flow, a magical cocktail I’ll write about another time). After an hour at the hospital, I was discharged and here we are.

And no, there will be no pictures of this. I’m sure it will still be a mess when I get home later this week, so anyone interested can get a live look at the carnage. I should still be quite a pretty picture at the Jets tailgate Sunday.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Come on. Like you wouldn't have taken this picture too.

More photos to come...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I don't plan to post any news items while on vacation as my only priorities while here are beach, relaxing, cocktails and eating, but it would be irresponsible of me to not make you all aware of what may be the quote of the year, from this story...

"One guy just thought he was being funny and decided to slap my wife upside the head. I guess his misfortune was, you know, you don't do that to a Jersey girl. She chased him down and caught him."
I figured that during an 11-hour flight, something interesting might happen, so I decided to take ongoing notes during Continental flight #15.

1:10 p.m. I sit down. My seatmate, a woman in her 60s, introduces herself. Grace seems nice.

1:12 p.m. Grace has about two minutes to figure out how to keep her elbows on her side of the armrest.

1:14 p.m. Grace tells three awful jokes in a two-minute span. My Bose headphones go on, not to be taken off again except for bathroom trips.

2:15 p.m. First movie – Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I really like this movie. The voice of the marriage counselor is really familiar.

3:00 p.m. Lunch is served. Apparently, they still serve vegetarian meals on flights to Hawaii.

3:15 p.m. I have no idea what I just ate. There seemed to be some beans, peas and rice, but I can’t be certain. I picked a hell of a time to eat something I can’t identify. Let’s hope it plays nicely with my intestines, since I’ll be on this plane for eight and a half more hours.

At this point, I decided to record time in ‘hours remaining’ instead of by the clock. Trying to figure the time change was making my brain hurt. Fortunately, Continental’s airshow on the large overhead televisions provides continually updated information regarding hours remaining, altitude and temperature, so that will now do the work for me.

7:01 Seven more hours. The movie is over. Why don’t they have the name of the marriage counselor in the credits?

6:55 There seems to be a complete shutdown of the entertainment system. Don’t they realize we are in this plane for seven more hours? Why isn’t the television working? I’ve got eight more channels to watch here.

6:36 Ok, it’s back. What to watch next… I like how they are showing both “Bewitched” and “War of the Worlds,” so people can pick Nicole over Tom. Which I am clearly going to do.

6:26 Grace made a bit of a fuss to get a pair of headphones a few hours ago, but has yet to put them on her head. Perplexing. What is she waiting for, hour 10 of this flight?

4:58 Just left land. Now we have four hours and 58 minutes of the Pacific Ocean.

4:20 Apparently, vegetarians don’t like Fritos and chocolate. That’s what everyone else got for snack time. I got a plate of fruit and a lemony lemon vegan cookie.

Grace, by the way, has kicked things up a notch. She’s busted out these things she’s squeezing, I guess to exercise her hands and arms, which wouldn’t be half as interesting had she not at the same moment ordered a cocktail.

4:11 Grace and I have just had our first conversation since the jokes. After six hours, she decided it was time for the headphones. This required a quick tutorial. And a discussion as to why the ones she bought from Continental for five bucks look different than the ones I bought from Bose for a whole lot more than that.

It’s 56 (F) degrees below 0 outside.

3:40 It’s time for some CSI. There is little chance I haven’t seen these episodes. I wonder how long it will take me to remember who did it.

3:38 Definitely seen this one. The stepmother did it. And the bear in the other crime was part of a canned hunt, set up by someone at the zoo.

2:51 CSI Miami. Seen this one too. Tony Hawk is the victim. His wife thinks she offed him, but it’s actually someone at the video game skate park.

2:33 The soap in the lavatory has a lovely almond smell. I wonder if you can buy that soap somewhere.

1:43 The two-hour barrier has been broken. The CSI trifecta is complete with an episode of CSI New York. One of the guys on the show looks a lot like the Geekboy.

:53 Less than an hour! I feel just like Red at the end of Shawshank, when he’s all excited to see Andy and the water. Well, except for my lack of a lengthy prison term, of course.

:29 Huh. You have to fill out a declaration form to enter Hawaii. No, I am not bringing in any plants. I wonder how badly the Jets are losing.

:04 For the first time in almost five hours, I can see land! Diamond Head is visible if I crane my neck to a chiropractic-requiring position.

Within a minute of landing, I turned on my cell phone and got the following text message from The Marsh: This is the sickest display of football I have ever seen! Vinny fumbled three times in the first quarter. I guess that answers that.

And that was the end of life on Continental flight #15. From there, it was on to the resort, where I had a drink in my hand within five minutes of arriving. Good times.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Packing for a two-week vacation has proven to be quite a challenge. If I were actually moving to Hawaii tomorrow, I probably wouldn't bring too much more than I currently have packed.

Friday, October 21, 2005

As a follow up to yesterday's post about the triathlons, I give you this...

I was watching Oprah yesterday afternoon (shut up - it happened to be on while I was working out) and this was one of the segments. Dick Hoyt, who I believe is around 66 years old, not only does the swimming, biking and running involved in completing a triathlon, he does so with his physically handicapped son. When Dick swims, he pulls his son. When he bikes, he has his son on the front of his bike in a special seat. When he runs, he pushes his son in a jogging wheelchair. They have competed in 206 triathlons and 64 marathons. It was one of the most humbling and inspiring things I have ever seen.

Yes. Oprah made me cry.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Two things of note from today’s newspaper. First, this gem from Dear Abby…

Dear Abby: My son-in-law insists on walking around naked after his shower. He claims that he’s hot and must let his hemorrhoids air-dry. Abby, this man has four children, three of whom are girls ages 9, 7 and 4. My daughter has done everything from plead to scream to get him to stop this habit, yet he still emerges from the bathroom with the announcement, “Turn your heads, girls, I’m naked!” What more can my daughter do to get him to understand how potentially dangerous this is? – Disgusted in Missouri

Dear Disgusted: … It is not appropriate for your son-in-law to parade around in front of the girls. My suggested aversion therapy: the next time he makes his grand entrance, your daughter and the girls should point to his lower midsection and start laughing. If that proves ineffective, she should buy a long extension cord for her hair dryer and warn her spouse that if he doesn’t dry his hemorrhoids, then she will. I’m sure he’ll get the message.

I would LOVE to be a witness to those solutions. Methinks Daddy is going to get very, very angry.

Then, my daily horoscope…

PISCES: Contrary to popular myth, there is scientific proof that goldfish can remember things for longer than three seconds. Those who think that you, dear fish, won’t hold a grudge may have another thing coming!

Be afraid. Be very afraid.
There has been some recent sidebar commentary about my current mental status, so let’s just get it out there for the record.

Yes, I am going to participate in a mini-triathlon.

Yes, I am clearly insane.

Before you ask, no, this is not being done with the idea that I’ll someday undertake a full triathlon. I could probably manage the swimming (2.4 miles) and the biking (112 miles). But to run a full marathon on top of that is simply out of the question. On the list of things I don’t ever want to do, ‘run a marathon’ is number two, just after ‘get shot.’ Actually, I might prefer getting shot.

Anyway, KJ asked if I’d be interested in trying a mini-triathlon (or as they call it, a Sprint Triathlon) and I said sure. To her credit, she did not ask me while we were drinking, unlike the last time she asked such a question and I wound up running five miles. This latest endeavor consists of a half-mile swim, 10-mile bike ride and three-mile run. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. There are quite a few of them in N.J., and we’re targeting one for next September.

Instead of waiting until the week before the event and cramming all my training into four days, like the annual routine for the five-mile run, I decided to start exercising more now. So each day, I peel myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Yes, this sucks. I wake up and turn the alarm off, and then consider going back to sleep, but then guilt and a weird mix of motivation and irritation takes over, and I find myself muttering a la Cameron Frye, “Ok, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go.”

This morning, I decided to try a spin cycling class. I spend a lot of time on my bike but have avoided the spin classes, for fear I would, oh I don’t know, DIE. These fears were not unfounded. For starters, I don’t know that such classes should start at 6 a.m. I’m sure my eyes weren’t fully open. And I don’t know that it’s healthy to put yourself through so much so early in the day. Basically, you just keep spinning your feet on this special bike. You climb hills, do jumps (sit, stand, sit, stand), and keep on pedaling. And pedaling. And pedaling. It was a workout and a half, and my body was just in shock for a while.

Fortunately, the music was outstanding – at one point, the CD played Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” and Tina Turner’s version of “Proud Mary” back to back – and the instructor didn’t screech at us like so many other aerobic teachers seem to feel is necessary. That’s a bonus at 6 a.m. And I had extra motivation. The woman on the bike across from me appeared to be six months pregnant. So I figured, if she can do this, I can do it. And I did.

Honestly, it wasn’t all THAT bad, and I really think I’ve found a way to lose 20 pounds in 60 minutes. You’ll never see more sweat come off a person. Now I know why they tell you to bring a towel. If only I had thought to bring a comfy seat as well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This headline has really given me the giggles this morning.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My taste buds worked overtime this weekend. Friday night was seafood down the shore, which was a nice way to end a long, wet week. We wound up at a new place because we couldn’t get to our regular haunt due to flooding, which was everywhere. The place had a great vibe – more of a bar than a restaurant, great food (had the creamy crab chowder and crab cakes), 99 different beers including my favorite, and live music.

Saturday was a girls’ outing to the city to see Mamma Mia. We stopped at the Hyatt for cocktails before dinner (okay, it was really to catch football scores, but we had several drinks as well) and then headed to the Bryant Park Grill, which was outstanding. Had the sea bass, which was perfect. After the show, which was tremendous (I didn't come close to falling asleep, which is usually a problem for me in any sort of theater) we headed to Carmine's for another cocktail.

Then, perhaps saving the best for last, Kevin and I went to Steve’s Sizzlin’ Steaks in north Jersey last night, for two reasons: to watch the Jets game and eat meat. The steaks were outstanding; the Jets were not. Steve's is one of my favorite places, and Kevin now lives less than two miles from it. It is low key (one might even refer to it as a dive) and doesn't have a web site, which is why there's no link. But it has two key features: televisions in every room and fantastic steaks. They don’t mess around with vegetables and sides and all that crap. They put a huge piece of meat on your plate and cover it with a few steak fries, and then soak the entire thing in some magical sauce. And when it arrives at the table, it is indeed sizzlin’. Kevin had the sirloin and I had the filet and there was not a lot of food left on the plates when we were done.

Another reason for the visit to Kevin’s was so he could help me purchase a digital camera. As has been mentioned previously, I’m not usually the quickest to pick up on new technology. But my 35mm camera has been on the fritz lately and I needed to rectify that before I left for vacation. So after a torturous visit to Best Buy, I am now the owner, finally, of a digital camera.

One week from today, I’ll be on a plane to Hawaii, where I will spend two weeks with one of my college roommates. We’re going to Oahu and Kauai. To say I’m excited is the understatement of the year. I honestly can’t remember ever being this wound up for something. Ok, something that doesn't involve sports. Also, since I joined the working world 12 years ago, I have never taken two consecutive weeks off from work, so I’m looking forward to that as well.

In the lone sports note I’ll mention this week (because the Packers were off, the Jets sucked, and the Browns barely showed up against their former selves), Ohio State rebounded from last week’s loss to Penn State to beat Michigan State. I missed the entire second half because I was en route to the city but right before I left, Ohio State took advantage of some block-headed coaching by Michigan State to block a field goal and run it back for a touchdown as the first half ended. So instead of Michigan State heading to halftime with a 20-7 lead, they instead led by a 17-14 margin. It completely turned the tide and Ohio State went on to win 35-24.

I bring this up for one reason – the comments Michigan State coach John L. Smith made to the sideline reporter as he walked to the locker room after the botched kick. He was irate. I don’t know that I’ve never seen a coach so angry. Unfortunately, the Evil Empire won't allow me to link directly to the video of his outburst, but if you go here and click on 'Video' you can watch it at 'Buckeyes Get Back on Track With Win.' The tirade comes halfway through the video and, as a bonus, you can see highlights of the OSU victory. Good times.

Oh, also worth mentioning is the fact that I rooted for Michigan Saturday for what I believe was the first time ever. I didn't feel good about it, but it needed to be done if OSU is to remain in the hunt for the Big 10 title. Michigan beat Penn State on a last-second touchdown and I was happy about that, but I felt like I should shower afterward.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Special thanks to Topps for pointing this out. If I were still in my college-era drinking prime, I'd be all over this. A Beer Pong Tournament. What will they think of next?
At my gym, there are three televisions attached to the ceiling in front of the cardiovascular machines (treadmills, bikes and the like). Usually, the televisions are set to NBC, CBS and ABC. Yesterday afternoon I went in for a lengthy workout session and as soon as I started moving on the treadmill, I noticed that the television in front of me was set to the Food Network. What kind of sadist runs on a treadmill while watching someone prepare decadent meals on the television? Me, that’s who. But not by choice.

Yesterday’s meal on a program called Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee (as a sidebar, what is Semi-Homemade Cooking? Seriously, what is that?) was a Garden Italian feast, which included veal piccata and peaches and tarragon with mascarpone. Well, I don’t eat veal, but that looked delicious. Then, as she’s making the peaches and other big words, which is apparently a dessert, she’s oohing and aahing over every bite. This doesn’t exactly inspire fitness. I may have to write a letter to the gym detailing what does and does not make for acceptable viewing during exercise. Not an angry letter, mind you, but just a polite correspondence asking if they could possibly block that channel from the programming options henceforth. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I mean, it’s enough that there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street. I don’t need to be culinarily attacked while actually working out as well.

Day 8.

If you need me, I'll be out back building my ark.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It occurs to me that when I started the blog, I promised a lot of chatter about the crazy nephews. Well, it's been almost two months and I don't know that there's been a word about them, which is simply negligent on my part. It's time to fix that, and to do so photographically. Indulge me.

When I'm not traveling around the country all summer, I try to spend as much time as possible with them, and I think you'll be able to see why. They are both complete pissers. I think they are perfect potential mates for the freaknieces.
At what point do we go from “Well, we really need the rain” to “Holy crap, it’s still raining?” I think we might be crossing that threshold right now.

And now it’s raining harder than any of the previous four or so days. It is just pouring. Megan, if it makes you feel better, I swear it is raining twice as hard as it was Saturday night.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tonight, my yoga instructor told us about something called The Gratitude Project. The project entails that “each night, before you go to bed, write in your journal 1-3 things that you are grateful for” and culminates in a lengthy yoga and meditation session in five weeks. The project theoretically promotes increased alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy, and less depression and stress. I would be tempted to think this is crap but that’s what I originally thought about yoga and that has become an important part of my life so why not give this a try. I won’t be able to attend the November session because it conflicts with a date I have with Mr. Springsteen in Atlantic City, but I’m going to keep the journal anyway.

To kick off this project, tonight I am thankful for my friends. Friends have arrived in my life in so many ways, and I’m always grateful when another friendship door opens. I’m always amazed by how and where I find friends (which I say as I instant message with someone I randomly encountered on a forum and have never actually met but is a great cyber-friend, and someone else who came into my life because we both worked at the same outfit, albeit at completely different times, meaning we never actually worked together, but who has become a terrific friend and, as a sidebar, is the best damn Karaoke singer I’ve ever met).

In the last two days, I have spent time with … a high-school friend I lost touch with for 10 years but who has come back into my life to become one of my dearest friends … two fine Jersey girls I met through said high-school friend … my favorite new friend of the past year, the Wisconsin/Chicago dame who may be my non-sexual soulmate … her mom, who brought gin on a road trip, "just in case," which is clearly fabulous … and an ex-boyfriend, with whom I made a terrible couple, but broke up with in time to salvage a tremendous friendship. I also spent a good chunk of time on the phone with my best friend of 33 years.

Say it with me ... good times.

Don’t worry – I won’t do this online every night. That would be gratuitous and self-serving and I wouldn’t make you suffer through that.

Today is the 36th birthday of a former special education major at Southern Miss. To honor this, I did some searching and found this picture.

Favre, in baseball pants, with his tongue stuck out? It's a damn good thing I have today off, because I'm going to have to lie down for a while.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Two Happy Faces

The headline on the story I just read about today's game is 'Aging QB Saves Desperate Jets.' Blunt, but accurate. I truly enjoyed watching Vinny helm the Jets. He definitely provides a spark. It's amazing how much better Curtis Martin played with a good leader in the pocket.

Meanwhile, the comeback started in Green Bay today in a 52-3 Packers win. 52-3?? Couldn't they have used some of those points in their first four games?

As an added bonus, the Browns won today, granting me a rare 3-0 NFL weekend. I wouldn't be surprised if this were the only time this happened this season. My squads aren't exactly on the fast track to the playoffs.

My schedule only allowed me to watch one college football game yesterday, and thanks to the big outing with the girls in the city, it was not the Ohio State tilt. That worked out well, as it saved me from sitting through the loss to Penn State. Instead, I caught the last quarter of the Michigan-Minnesota game. Michigan had not lost to Minnesota since 1986. Until yesterday. And it happened in agonizing fashion - on a 61-yard run, followed by a Gophers' field goal with a second left.

Call me heartless, but I enjoyed it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I am shocked, SHOCKED to hear this news. I mean, look at the photo that accompanies the story. Does that look like someone who might be using drugs? I think not.
Thanks to some technical difficulties, I lost my post about the situation in Green Bay. I believe it's worthy of being reposted.

To review, although this photo below is Favre's reaction to a teammate's injury during Monday night's game, it prety much sums up the current state of affairs in Green Bay.

Winless in their first four games. Say it with me, people. Not good times.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Days don’t get much better today. Played in my first golf tournament, a scramble in which my team somehow managed to tie for first. We played off my ball four times (which means I had the best drive of our foursome), which was rather satisfying. I was also the only female in a field of 84 people.

Then, after a huge lunch and a few mid-afternoon beers, it was off to the casinos, where I tripled my money in about 65 minutes.

Good times.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm slightly bitter that the fine folks at Television Without Pity decided that CSI is no longer recap-worthy. I just finished watching the two new episodes and the second one opened and closed with a fantastic song. So I went to TWoP to find out what it was, and wham! No more recaps.

But all is not lost - I was able to find it via other curious folks on the forum. It's called Mad World by Gary Jules.
As someone who works in public/media relations, I'm always interested in how people announce news items.

I don't have a damn clue as to who Chris Cagle is, but I do know that this is the best communiqué I've ever read.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Happy birthday to freakgirl and The Colonel. What’s the likelihood that two of my favorite people would have been born the same day…

Sunday, October 02, 2005

At 9:22 p.m. Thursday, my hectic tournament season officially concluded. There are still a few quick business trips to be made before the year ends, and by no means do I have the rest of the year off, but in terms of the craziness and nonstop travel, I am done for several months. Some low-level celebrating has been done to observe this during the past few days, but I expect the big hoedown will occur next weekend, when the Wisconsin broads come to town and we pay homage to a few matters of importance.

At some point, perhaps I'll compile a Best of the Road 2005 for your amusement.

This weekend featured our giddy return to what we consider to be the quintessential Jersey bar. It’s our favorite haunt from October to May, but during the summer it’s just too crowded with all the shore visitors, so we take a hiatus. Saturday, we made our first trip back. Good times.

But while out Saturday night, the subject turned to a friend’s relatively new fatherhood status. I’m not sure how this came up, but the next thing you know, he admitted that he had changed “maybe four or five diapers” since his daughter was born.


How can this be? That is less than one diaper per month. I’ve met his wife. She’s very nice, but doesn’t at all strike me as the sort to put up with that. Another friend in this discussion, the father of twins, estimated that he changed approximately 3,500 diapers in the first year of the twins' lives.

Anyway, a few random things from the past few days:
-Why do hugely obese men think that overalls, and in particular overall shorts, are a good look?
-Why do people feel that everyone wants to hear their peppy cell phone songs while sitting in the quiet solitude of places like the Continental Presidents’ Club at the airport?
-I wonder what goes through my mailman’s mind as he places both the New Yorker and Us Weekly in my mailbox on a weekly basis.
-If Jason Lee weren’t in “My Name is Earl,” I can guarantee you I wouldn’t be watching it.
-Matthew Fox is so good in “Lost” that I never find myself thinking, “Wow, Charlie Salinger is great on this show.” And that’s saying something, because I often have a hard time separating people from the characters that made them famous.

Look at this, an entire sports-free post. Mainly because I don't want to talk about the Jets. At least the Browns didn't lose today. Nor did the Packers.