wine by the color

Monday, July 28, 2008

After an exhausting week on the road and a stressful, stop-and-go drive from Connecticut to north Jersey yesterday afternoon, I was concerned I might not have the energy to go full throttle at the first of this week's three Springsteen/E Street Band shows at the Meadowlands. A crappy weather report, complete with lightning-filled storms, added to my anxiety.

Oh, silly me to have worried.

I mean, if the band is going to treat us to a show like this, the least I can do is give 100%. Of special note was the back-to-back "Jungleland" and "Born to Run." To go from the emotional drama of "Jungleland" into the powerhouse, house-lights-on "Born to Run" was quite a doozy.

Of course, that (and perhaps the several hours of adult beverages) left me so spent that I lacked the energy to drive home after the show. But hey, that's what couches are for...

Last night was particularly special for me not only because of the show itself, but because my brother and sister-in-law attended their first Springsteen concert. If there's anything I love more than seeing a show, it's getting to experience it with first-timers. They seemed to really enjoy themselves, and not just because they were having a rare, child-free evening.

The weather held out, with just a slight drizzle during our tailgate and a few drops during the encore. It was like Mother Nature KNEW not to screw with things.

Another 100% to be given tonight...

(Thanks to the Ledger for the photo.)
For someone who's normally pretty good with words, I'm struggling with how best to describe this commercial I saw while while watching late-night television in Connecticut last week...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

I should probably warn everyone to take a seat again. This one is going to be tough to explain...

Yeah. It's way too long a story. One day you throw out a little compliment, three days later you're sitting on the set. Life is funny that way.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I hope you are all sitting down.

For I am about to compliment Justin Timberlake and ESPN.

At once.

God help me.

While sitting in a Connecticut tavern last night, I accidentally started watching the ESPYs. And damned if they weren't entertaining.

The highlight of the evening was JT's "I Love Sports" song-and-dance number. Simply fantastic. Last night, I thought several glasses of pinot grigio might have been responsible for my hearty enjoyment of this so I re-watched it today with a clearer head.

Oh yes. It is glorious.

I realize JT didn't write it, but his delivery is spot-on perfect. He apparently (please help me as I say this) has some serious talent.

For someone like me who loves sports and pop culture, this a home run. Well done, ESPN.

I need to lie down. Being so gratuitously complimentary to anything from the Evil Empire has left me a bit light-headed.

PS - Pay no attention to what follows JT's brillant performance. Just hit stop and let that be the end of it...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

After sitting on the runway in Newark for three hours on Sunday evening, I mentally started yet another letter to my dear friends in Houston. I would have been irritated regardless of the circumstances, but the fact that I left this face's birthday party three hours early made me appreciably more bitter.

That bitterness eventually erupted when I finally arrived at PDX at 12:30 a.m. With a two-hour drive remaining to my final destination, the last thing I needed was to find no one at the Hertz drive-through check-out window to verify my ID and send me on my way. But that's exactly what happened.

Perhaps I should write a letter of apology to the man working in the service center. I know I scared the crap out of him as I banged on the window of the building with enough force to hurt my hand. But that's what he gets for not being at his station.

Speaking of the birthday boy, Crazy Nephew #2 loves SpongeBob Squarepants. I was shopping online when I came across this gem.

What little kid wouldn't want to have a musical Sponge Bob thermometer put in his rear end? Because having your temperature taken rectally isn't traumatic enough - let's have it sing too!

For those who have asked, I do not have anything to say about the current state of affairs in Green Bay, Wis. I am thisclose to replacing the honor of His Holiness with that of Her Holiness.

The Donaghy story was given major breaking news treatment on the 6 p.m. ET "SportsCenter." writers went into immediate swarm mode. From 8:30-9 p.m., though, on the live ESPN/ABC pregame show, there was not a single word on the Donaghy allegations. That curious silence seemed to roar with conflict of interest between ESPN, the news organization, and ESPN, the event broadcaster.

Sing it, sister.

So here's a protocol question for the ladies. Today, I went to the spa, thanks to a gift certificate from my brother, who wisely believes that the women in his life should be rewarded with trips to the spa.

After an outstanding massage, I settled in for the facial portion of the program. All was going well when I suddenly felt something hot being put on my face. VERY hot. I froze, unsure of what was happening.

My eyebrows were being torn off my face, was what was happening.

Admittedly, it has been a while since I manicured my eyebrows and there was a bit of a need. But that would seem the sort of thing a salon professional would ask about before slapping hot wax on someone's face. Maybe it's just me.

That assault wasn't enough to ruin the rest of the day, as I spent the afternoon in NYC with my older nephew. I gave him a choice of activities and the budding artist chose MOMA, which currently has an amazing Dali exhibit. From there, it was on to a nice walk in Central Park, followed by dinner. He fell asleep about six minutes after leaving the city, always a sign that a good time was had.

A final note, while waiting in an Oregon Kinko's the other day, I started looking at the miscellaneous literature they sell. Most of the books are along the "Be a Better Employee" and "How to Maximize Your Time" lines, but I'll admit this one did pique my interest.

Good times!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Last week, I mentioned to a friend that I was going to spend an evening carousing in NYC with two mutual friends. His response? "You are nuts."

He may have had a point.

Because that outing broke a string of more than 20 years of successfully navigating public transportation.

Friday, not so much.

I knew I did not need that last drink on my way back to Penn Station. There had already been more than six hours of cocktails and tomfoolery, and I knew it was time for me to depart. Any good Jerseyan who spends time in the city knows the last train out departs at 1:42 a.m. My car was parked under KJ's building in Newark, and the last thing I wanted was to have to pay for a taxi back to Newark. As it turns out, that was not the last thing I wanted to do. But I digress...

But the crew assured me there was plenty of time for another drink, and indeed there was. I arrived back at Penn Station with 20 minutes to spare, and caught the 1:37 Jersey shoreline train. However, while I had the time for that last drink, I did not have the energy.

For upon seating myself on the train, I promptly fell asleep.

Fortunately, I awoke in Newark. Unfortunately, it was as the train was pulling out of the station.

In my sleepy state, I weighed my options and decided it would be best to get off at the next stop, the Newark Airport link, and take that over to the airport where I could get a taxi to take me back to Penn Station. That was a solid plan, albeit one that took an hour and featured a change of trains for reasons I could not quite understand. It also included a lot of walking, which I could have done without given that I was wearing my highest heels, strappy numbers that make my legs look terrific but which could be the least-comfortable footwear ever designed.

The mistaken journey eventually got me back to my intended destination. But then I had spent the last $20 I had on the taxi, so I needed to find an ATM as the parking garage only takes cash and Penn Station and its 20 ATM machines was completely closed. Me and my heels were trying to determine what to do when I mercifully remembered that KJ's building has an ATM. I walked the 1.5 blocks in Newark as quickly as one can in high heels and breaking feet and breathed a huge sigh of relief upon my arrival within the building's safe doors.

After a final challenge, when I had to find a security guard to allow me into the garade and then awaken the late-night parking attendant to let me pay and open the gate so I could depart, and I was on my way.

Fortunately, White Castle was still open at 3:45 a.m., so all was not lost...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mark Bergsrud
Senior Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution
Continental Airlines
Houston, TX

Dear Mr. Bergsrud:

You are lucky I've been so busy. It's the only reason I've yet to write about the e-mail you distributed to OnePass members last month titled "Continental and United Plan Cooperation." You probably thought you snuck that one by me. You were mistaken.

Plan cooperation?

My nephews are seven and five years old. They plan to cooperate. They tell my brother and sister-in-law they will cooperate. Then there is a disagreement, usually over something like the possession of toys or an invasion of personal space, and then they are no longer cooperating. Then they are fighting.

"Plan to cooperate." Can you picture me shaking my head at this? Trust me, I am.

I can only imagine how long it took your teams to develop the verbiage of "Continental and United Plan Cooperation." It no doubt took countless hours and wrangling between you and your new friends at United Airlines. I'm sure this delicate phrasing is due to a technicality in the business agreement. I know all too well what happens when the corporate suits get involved in something like this.

Also, might I say that your proclamation that "Once implemented, our partnership with United will result in expanded domestic and international travel options for OnePass members and together, we will provide you with a seamless process for reservations, check-in, flight connections and baggage transfer."

Good luck with that. Have YOU ever flown United?

Hugs & kisses,
Jersey Girl

PS - I'm sure this isn't your department, but can you please ask someone in Houston why a flight from Newark to Seattle, which includes two Saturday night stays, is more than $1,000, while a quick trip from EWR to Dublin is less than $500? I'm not complaining because I'm paying for the Ireland jaunt while my workplace is footing the bill for the trip westward, but as long as I live, I will never understand how your entire industry does its pricing.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I received the following e-mail from a friend today...

Emotions must be running high in the Jersey Girl world with news of the Great One maybe un-retiring. Peter King has a good article on today. His information is usually pretty good on all things Farve as he is his biggest fan, next to you of course.

Believe it or not, I think Mr. King is a bigger fan of His Holiness than me. And that's saying something. And we both seem to have mixed emotions concerning the possible Return of Favre. I just don't see this whole situation ending well.

Unless it results in him suiting up in a green-and-white jersey in East Rutherford this fall. In which case, I take it back and say, PLAY! PLAY, YOUNG MAN, PLAY!!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

When I walked out of the office Tuesday evening, my lone goal for the extended holiday weekend was to work as little as possible. Limited e-mail, no phone calls. Lots of family, friends and fun.

Mission accomplished...

(I realize that is an obnoxious number of photos, but that is just too damn bad. You try to eliminate any of those darling faces.)

Five days full of soccer games, golf, boardwalk games and rides, watching the sunset, sleeping on the boat, hanging on the deck, fishing, eating, drinking and relaxing. Also, we were all treated to the younger crazy nephew's new original song, "My Butthole" (which, much to our joy, comes with an appropriately choreographed dance).

Even a spur-of-the-moment five-mile run was a good time. That's right, on Wednesday KJ asked if I wanted to run the Firecracker Five-Miler two days later. I temporarily lost my mind and agreed and the next thing you know we had convinced my cousin, brother and sister-in-law it would be a good idea. And except for some unexpected hills along the route, it was just fine.

In fact, we all learned something - apparently, a night-before meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, beans and the better part of a bottle of merlot works well, because I set a personal best time of 54:31.

And we were afraid that sort of pre-race feast might have caused problems.

The only problem around here is going to be returning to the office tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oh yes. I've heard.

As I sat in a shore-area tavern, my cell phone went nuts with a barrage of calls, text messages and e-mails. I wondered if something bad had happened.

Time will tell if it has...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The written word can be a fickle friend.

I write for a variety of reasons. I write for my job, I write for my part-time job, I write for this blog. On occasion (although not thus far in 2008, much to the list's dismay), I write for my book. I write for a variety of correspondences, from personal e-mails to angry letters (hello Continental, we'll be visiting with you tomorrow).

Sometimes, I can write without thinking. Sometimes, a little wine helps the process. And other times, the curse known as writer's block takes hold.

I’ve been struggling to write something for the past month. It’s a short piece - 400 words - but one that will be read by at least a million people as part of an annual magazine. I was at a loss as to where to go with it. I jotted down notes, collected quotes, wrote, re-wrote and then gave up on it.

Finally, around 1:30 last night, while instant messaging with the Sandman about a Poison concert and watching “American Beauty,” inspiration struck. Twenty minutes later, the piece was done. And I don't think it sucks.

As with the first topic in today's post, time will tell if it does...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

For reasons I promise I will finally get around to discussing soon, I was taken to dinner several times while in Minnesota last week. Fine meals were eaten here and here, an excellent dinner was had here, and a top-three-of-all-time dining experience was enjoyed here.

If I lived in Minneapolis, I would eat at Murray's constantly. I would be a regular who has her own table, with a standing weekly reservation. I would tempt bankruptcy and heart disease eating a $41.50 filet accompanied by artery-clogging potatoes au gratin that melt on my tongue. Although I would be quite full, I would forge ahead and order the raspberry pie. Because it's pie and raspberries and whipped cream and really, how can you go wrong with that?

While the raspberry pie was delicious, Manny's was the hands-down winner when it came to dessert. The establishment's web site advertises: "Our hot fudge and caramel-covered macadamia nut brownie a la mode will satisfy at least 4 to 6 people." There were 11 of us and we could not finish it. This photo doesn't begin to capture its enormity - I think it's a serving from the actual dessert. And again, despite being stuffed from a large meal of meat and potatoes, I ignored the pleas of my stomach and ate to the point of discomfort.

Given this spate of gluttony, upon my return to the swamps of Jersey I decided it was time to step off the Bellybuster Bus and reintroduce fruits, vegetables and grains to my gastrointestinal tract.

How's that working out?

Today, I had breakfast at McDonald's, followed by pizza and ice cream cake for lunch. I tried to make something healthy for dinner, but that failed miserably and was spit into the trash, and resulted in a supper of hummus, two ears of corn on the cob and an ice-cream sandwich.

Hey, at least I snuck in a vegetable.