wine by the color

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quickly, before I depart for the high seas and warmer temperatures...

I joined Freecycle a few weeks ago, in the hope of finding a good home for my old coffee table and kitchen table and chairs. My sister-in-law warned me that some of the items people try to get rid of are ridiculous. I did not realize just what she meant until I checked the postings yesterday and found, among hundreds of other things, the following: an artificial pre-lit Christmas tree (not working), a Siamese cat, the top of a papasan chair, a manual breast pump (like new), breast pads and 13 OB tampons.

The tampons, it should be noted, were claimed within two hours.

When I get back from vacation, I am going to amass a pile of unwanted things and start posting on Freecycle. I bet I could write some enticing descriptions for my crap.

Of course, I'll be lucky to find time to do so, given that it will probably take me several hours to get through all the e-mails I will have upon my return. Nine days without e-mail is a frightening proposition. But I'll do my best.

Bon voyage...
I have been trying to curtail my Facebook status updates lately. Rather than make people there aware of how strange I am, I will do it here...

Jersey Girl is trying not to vomit while watching Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, as our host watches Chileans cut the balls off bulls and cook them up and then eats them. And really enjoys them. And drinks blood.

Jersey Girl thinks her new favorite show might be Man Vs. Food.

Jersey Girl has to get packing, as she leaves for a nine-day vacation tomorrow and has yet to do a damn thing.

Jersey Girl is probably dragging her heels because trying on summer clothes in the middle of winter (and the winter eating and drinking) is never an encouraging endeavor.

Jersey Girl is pondering whether it is time to have short hair again.


Last Saturday, I took two-thirds of the crazy trio to Deb and Randy's open house. Their eldest sibling was sick and none too happy about being left home. But the other two greatly enjoyed themselves. Sweetie Pie Princess quickly made herself at home, nary a shy bone in her body. Matthew was a little more hesitant in the crowd, but found a comfortable spot with the other kids in the extra bedroom, home of the classic Atari and a pile of art supplies. While I bounced around to keep an eye on his sister, he sat quiety, working on a project...

When he was done coloring the popsicle sticks with a blue marker, his hands were completely blue. There was also glue involved, always a dangerous endeavor for a five year old. But when he proudly handed it to me and announced, "it's me and you," he ensured I would not give him a hard time about the mess.


I will try to post again before I leave tomorrow but no guarantees. In the meantime, here are a few links I have enjoyed lately:

Why is Peyton Manning such a good pitchman? Great question.

My idol is at it again: ESPN guilty of teller becoming the tale.

But extremely sad news: her triumphant reign is soon to end.

The Jets finally hired a new coach, and this one is older than me. The transcript of his press conference, which seemed entertaining. He showed more personality in 10 minutes than Mangini did in three years.

We want to be known as the most physical football team in the NFL, and whatever that means, you figure it out. We’re going to take care of each other. The players will have each other’s backs. If you take a swipe at one of ours, we’ll take a swipe at two of yours, and that’s just the way this game is going to be played.

I do like the sound of that. Let's not forget, this is the son of a man who once punched another coach. For the same team (see #5 and please ignore the first item on that list)...

Finally, this boggles my mind. I don't want to disparage His Holiness' home state, but how can this still be happening?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

So the latest thing all the kids on Facebook are doing is posting Twenty-five Random Things, in which you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself. I have no interest in doing so on Facebook because I have a few colleagues and random folks on my friends list who don't need to know everything about me. But you, loyal readers, are different...

25 Random Things About Me
1. There is nothing more important to me than family and friends.
2. Sports and music are close behind.
3. I have had the same best friend since I was two years old.
4. My next cup of coffee will be my first.
5. The first time I ever tried Guinness was at the Guinness factory in Dublin, Ireland (Dec. 2007). They had me at hello.
6. I have gotten in enough trouble over the years to ensure I will never run for public office, but not so much that I should have been incarcerated.
7. There is nothing more important to me in relationships than honesty and trust.
8. I did not eat red meat for 12 years (1991-2003).
9. I played quarterback for my sorority flag football team, which advanced to the league championship final, which was played on the field in Ohio Stadium.
10. My blood pressure is always at its lowest when my toes are in the sand.
11. I am fascinated by natural disasters.
12. The first concert I ever saw was the Hooters and the Outfield at Rutgers on Nov. 25, 1985.
13. I saw my first Springsteen show on July 18, 1999 and saw my 20th last summer at the Meadowlands.
14. As you might be able to guess, I have the ticket stub for almost every concert and sporting event I have ever attended.
15. My seven favorite days of the year are Thanksgiving, Thursday of the Big East basketball tournament, Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, the Jets' home opener, the Fourth of July and the first two days of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
16. I could see Mamma Mia on Broadway every month and never get tired of it.
17. I have never seen "It's a Wonderful Life."
18. I drove by His Holiness's house when he was living in Jersey.
19. I don't tell my parents anywhere near enough how grateful and lucky I am that they are my parents. The same applies to my brother and sister-in-law.
20. My five favorite movies are "Shawshank Redemption," "Dazed and Confused," "Sixteen Candles," "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "Love Actually."
21. I love fishing.
22. I once organized a huge fundraiser in college and managed to get the local television station to cover it, but was unable to appear on camera because I had a spectacular fall the night before the event and was sporting a black eye and broken face.
23. I have been to 45 states.
24. I do not like foods that are prepared together - like stew or casseroles - and I really do not care for shredded meats.
25. My greatest skill is being an aunt.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back in college, the girls and I used to go out frequently during the week but usually stayed home on Saturday nights.

Many years later, I seem to have reverted back to that routine. Three nights out on the town this week have left me curled up on the couch on this bitterly cold Friday night, cozy in my fleece sweatpants, trying to stay awake until 10 p.m.

But the late nights and lack of sleep were worth it. Tuesday night, I went out with my oldest and dearest friend, who I had not seen in a few weeks. KJ and I have for years amused ourselves recounting the night someone we know got very, very, very angry at her husband and confronted him in a local bar ... while wearing her slippers. I would be hard-pressed to count how many times we have told this tale, which only gets better as the years pass.

Well, the other night, a group of us, including the couple in question, were hanging out at the same bar, some 15 years later. As the evening wore on, we were sitting around telling stories from the old days. And, for the very first time, the two of them recounted the story for us all, unaware of how many of us were actually in the establishment that night. To her credit, his wife has a very good sense of humor about it now.

Last night, I met one of my college roommates for dinner, which went on for four hours. I am sure our waitress did not appreciate our parking it at the table, but we had a lot to catch up on. And during the evening, a few glasses of wine into it, she finally admitted the pepto-bismol pink dress she made me wear as a bridesmaid was not as beautiful as she once thought. It was a well-earned admission 15 years in the making...


This Bad Driver calendar is an ongoing source of joy...

Hitting a Parked Car

It’s an all-too-familiar story, and if it hasn’t already happened to you, one day it will. You’re driving along, or maneuvering into a tight parking spot, and CRUNCH, another car seemingly leaps into your path from out of nowhere. You search in vain for the other driver, then realize there is no other driver because the car you hit was parked.

What do you do?

Step 1. Before rushing into an ill-considered course of action, a responsible driver should ask several important questions:

A: Did anyone see you (If the answer is “no,” skip directly to Step 2)
B: Is the car you hit an expensive car? (If “yes,” go back and make damn sure you answered Question A correctly)

Step 2: Drive away

I wonder if my cable company would allow me to pay on a per-channel basis. I have realized I only watch The Travel Channel and ESPN (in spite of myself, of course) and am no doubt spending a whole lot of money on things I never watch.

Speaking of the Evil Empire, I wonder what sort of hate mail Le Anne Schreiber gets in her interoffice correspondence. I should start sending her love letters.

It suggests that every time ESPN becomes its own story, intentionally or not, fans feel the kingdom of sports is in ever greater danger of being usurped by its messenger.


Monday, January 12, 2009

I have two daily calendars on my desk for 2009. The first, "Life is Crap" is self-explanatory, offering cartoons about life gone wrong. While that sounds promising, it is the other, "The Bad Drivers' Handbook," that may prove to be the real winner of these two.

The Bad Drivers' calendar promises that "each day presents a new tongue-in-cheek observation on bad driving habits such as intimidating pedestrians, turn signals (why surrender the element of surprise?), and tailgating (how close is close enough?)."

When I bought one for my brother for Christmas, I was intrigued enough by that description to buy one for myself. And it has not disappointed ... to wit, this entry from last week:


When considering the so-called rights of pedestrians, a good question to ask is: Who pays for the roads you travel on? Who pays to construct them? Who pays to maintain them? The answer, which should be painfully obvious whenever you fill up your tank with gas a price unreasonably inflated by taxes, is: You do! And yet you are forced to share your roads with pedestrians. And they always get the right of way! Why is that? You’re bigger, you’re stronger, you’re faster. It is, not surprisingly, because of the espresso-drinking fascists at the DMV.

They had me at hello...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Part of the objective of the Great Photo Project...

is organizing and eliminating countless boxes of photos and other assorted personal mementos. Things that haven't been looked at for so long they were covered in dust. Last night, I opened a box that included 38 years worth of letters...

When I opened the box, I thought, "You can probably get rid of most of this." I mean, how long does one need to hold on to old correspondence?

Then I found letters from my parents and grandparents when I was in college. Notes I passed during class in high school. Letters from my brother and high school friends. Letters from old boyfriends. All handwritten notes, before the days of e-mail.

Total number of those that got thrown out: about 3 (of roughly 1,000)

The other half of that plastic box contained this...

a Christmas card from my parents from 1972, a birthday card from my great-grandparents, another from my brother when he was a year old, a Valentine's Day card from my father when I was about 13, a birthday card from my best friend when we were about 6.

You can guess how many of those got tossed.

It would appear I am a total sap. But a sap with a treasure trove of memories...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I have a sense of humor that many people would probably consider strange. Except my friends, which is exactly why they are my friends. But things that "normal" people might find offensive or non-humorous are right up my alley. If I had a dollar for every time my mother shook her head and wondered where her real daughter is, I wouldn't have to go to work tomorrow. Or ever again.

Years ago, I read this story on The Onion. I can't tell you why, but it really hit my funny bone. I realize it's satire and intended to be humorous, but this goes above and beyond. The line, "But, from a purely tactical standpoint, this is absurd," makes me absolutely SNORT with laughter.

So today, I came across this. Obviously, this is terrible. No one wants to be saturated in urine. But just look at the guy's mug shot. That smile on his face has had me in stitches all day. It says, "well, sure I dumped urine on her. What of it?"

And there's a reason Florida (residents of Venice and Lakeland not included) has its own tag on Fark...crazy damn people.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009




I challenge anyone to match that disastrous trifecta of sports support in the past four months...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

From our ongoing "and people wonder why newspapers are dying" series...

Yesterday, the following appeared in the local paper. I won't include the byline that accompanied said prose, because I like him and have a lot of respect for him and I am almost certain this wasn't his idea...

To Our Readers

Starting Sunday, Jan. 4, you will notice some changes in your newspaper.

Due to economic recession, the Courier News has been forced to cut expenses, including the amount of newsprint it uses.

In our Sunday TV Book, we no longer will have a cover story in the section, and we removed the individual grids for Sunday morning, afternoon and evening, as well as the grids for Saturday morning, afternoon and late night.

Some additional sports listings can now be found on page 3 of the section, and updated sports-related television listings can be found in our Sports section seven days a week.

We will continue to offer our expanded evening television grid, with show highlights, in the daily newspaper Monday to Saturday.

In addition, detailed, consistently updated television listings also can be found on our Web site, Newly updated features on the site provide more details on each show, along with pictures and related information on actors and more.

On Sunday, we are also introducing a new books page to the Sunday Courier News. That page will appear in the Community Life section.

By my estimation, this was nine inches of copy to discuss a change in television listings. The entire usefuleness of which, given that every television in America has a station guide available, could rightly be questioned.

Oh, and how did I see this? Because the newspaper, which I canceled Dec. 3, is still being delivered.

The paper has also called me seven times in the last three days. You know, to get me to re-subscribe to the paper they are still delivering...

While reading Friday's free paper, the following head/subhead jumped off page A-3 at me...

Woman plans to marry
The only thing she's missing is a man

I return to work tomorrow for the first time since Dec. 23 and am already imagining the alarm will more or less feel like being shot.

But it's been an enjoyable break. In particular, 2009 has gotten off to a great start. New Year's Eve was spent with The Captain and many of his friends. We started our evening at a terrific hibachi/sushi restaurant, where I tried quite a few new foods. We then headed to their local bar, where they rented out the upstairs for festivites that lasted late into the evening. You can guess how that worked out:

No, those are not sober faces. But they are faces that had a great time and as a result slept until 12:15 p.m. the following day. And then napped throughout the rest of the day. But the face on the left had it back together by the following morning, which was good as my social calendar had a large red circle around it.

For years, the Sandman has talked about his "band practice" on Friday nights. Most of the others in our group of friends have questioned the legitimacy of this musical outfit, given that we have never met any of the other musicians and they never play any actual gigs.

Imagine my dual discovery that a) there is indeed a band and b) they do not suck.

It wasn't Zeppelin or the Beatles, to be sure. But the motley crew of musicians, most of whom were in the Sandman's father's age range, created an overall enjoyable musical experience, working through a solid playlist (including a great version of "Jersey Girl" dedicated to yours truly).

More notably, this group brought a tremendous amount of shtick. Seriously, this group needs its own television show. I don't know where to begin. I'll simply say it was a cast of characters the likes of which I have rarely come across. They kept questioning my sanity, asking if I was sure I wanted to be there, and certain I'd never return. Oh, I'll be back. I see myself making regular appearances.

But the real revelation of the night was experiencing the Sandman's musical talents in action. I knew he was musically inclined - I've been enjoying his kareoke skills for years and knew he could play some instruments. But he has incredible talent, particularly on the drums. I was mesmerized watching him play. It's always amazing to watch someone you have known for years do something you had no idea they possessed in their skill set. I have already started pestering him about why he hasn't pursued a career in music. As any good Jewish man would do, he's somehow blaming his mother...


The one thing I have not done thus far in 2009 is make a lengthy list of goals. As you may recall, last year I compiled a list of 25 goals for the year. Let's look at how those worked out...

Last year, I resolved to...
1. work less (outright failure until October; much better since)
2. dance more (I do a lot of dancing in Casa Magnolia and The Captain humored me by dancing with me in an Atlantic City bar a week ago; otherwise, not so much)
3. read one book per week (my biggest failure of the year - finished with nine. Not even one per month. Shameful)
4. lose at least one pound (success)
5. see as many Springsteen/E Street Band concerts as my time and finances allow (moderate success, with three shows; room for improvement in 2009)
6. write the second chapter of my book (started another book after what we like to call the Jerry Springer Episode of my life hit in early October, so I'll give myself an incomplete here)
7. shave 10 minutes off my 2007 Spring Lake Five time (eliminated six. A success, as far as I'm concerned)
8. ride my bike at least 700 miles (I stopped counting sometime in June. But I did well)
9. visit at least two new countries (went to Scotland)
10. knock three more states off my to-visit list (made it to two - Mississippi and Alabama - leaving five to go in my quest for all 50)
11. make strides toward finishing the world's slowest masters' degree (zero strides made)
12. consider getting Easy Pass (I only vow to consider it. I'm still not sure I want The Man to be able to track my every vehicular movement). (I considered it. I declined.)
13. maintain a low, healthy blood pressure regardless of what happens on Jan. 7. (I did manage to keep myself under control as Ohio State lost its second national title game in a row. Overall, I did a pretty good job when watching sports. Until the Jets-Seahawks game two weeks ago. Not my finest moment. Let's move on...)
14. finally clean the damn walk-in closet (I did this several times this year. And I'm sure I'll do it again in 2009)
15. start playing basketball again. (I tried, at one point signing up for a league. Which was canceled due to lack of interest)
16. do more camping (zilch)
17. stay out of McDonald's, particularly between the hours of 7 and 11 a.m. (Had I known they were opening a McDonald's four miles down the road in January of '08, I would NEVER have included this on the list. failure, but not my fault)
18. bring the crazy nephews to Shea Stadium and Coney Island's Astroland, both in their final year (Shea 2, Coney Island 0; but I understand Coney Island will live another year)
19. make a major appliance purchase. (another no, although that process is well underway for new kitchen appliances and should be completed in 01/09)
20. start to learn French (nyet)
21. consider writing a fan letter to Le Anne Schreiber (I sent her a lot of mental notes with quite a bit of positive feedback)
22. learn how to properly grill fish (another no, but I started dating someone who is a master at catching, cleaning and grilling fish, so I'll count that)
23. figure out how to operate the sewing machine I got last year (hmm, let's hope there is something I can say I did coming up soon, because this is another no)
24. do something completely irresponsible (whew. Of COURSE I did irresponsible things)
25. make one major life change (switched jobs)

When I look at that list, the one that really annoys me is #3. So when I compiled this year's much smaller list, that one led the way...

1. Read more. Doesn't matter what and I'm not putting quantity parameters on it. But there will be more reading.
2. Be more organized. For the first time in 13 years, I will spend the majority of my days at home, rather than on the road for work, and I plan to take advantage of it.
3. Reconnect with friends. Something I've done more of lately thanks to Facebook. Now that I'm finding old friends, I will make more time for them. As well as the ones I didn't lose touch with but haven't seen as much as I'd like during the travel-heavy years.
4. Move more. Play Wii, wrestle with the nephews, ride my bike. No resolutions in terms of exercise frequency or weight loss. Just be less of a couch potato.
5. The Great Photo Project. This is the big one. I have thousands of pictures. THOUSANDS. And I have no system for cataloging said photos. By year's end, I hope to have created a searchable database of all of my pictures. It is a massive undertaking. But classic photos like this one, which I found while scanning the old college photos last week, need to be easily found.

The other thing I should probably vow to do is post more often, so I don't have to write novellas like this, which has gotten out of hand. For anyone still reading, I thank you (and I'm speaking mainly to my mom and Todd's mom here). You're clearly gluttons for punishment.

Happy 2009!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The honest answer is ... I have no idea why that vehicle was covered in shrimp, other than to say, why WOULDN'T it be?

There were three orders of business at the Meadowlands last Sunday, an unseasonably warm day: follow the Patriots-Bills game at 1 p.m., enjoy our final tailgate of the year, and hope the Jets could beat the Dolphins. Personally, I was also looking forward to a delightful afternoon with my brother, who was making his second appearance of the season...

The first task was made much easier when the tailgaters next to us opened the back of their SUV to reveal they brought a television...

Interest in the game ran high for a while, as the Bills kept it close for the first half...

But eventually, everyone realized the Bills were not going to pull it out, meaning no matter what happened in the Jets-Dolphins and Ravens-Jaguars games, there would be no home playoff game for us this season.

And I think that realization is what led to the events of the next two hours...out and out drunken, boisterous nuttiness. It was like a fire sale, where everyone felt the need to eat and drink everything we had and enjoy every waning moment of Tailgating 2008.

Before you knew it, people were dancing on cars...

Pops sat back and watched the mayhem while enjoying a cigar and listening to the Giants lose their season finale...

Jeff Bridges was discussed, albeit briefly and at my prompting, yet again...

My cousin's roommate showed up very late, but still managed to get involved in the proceedings (which probably had something to do with the bottle in his hand)...

I'll post another photo of that quartet here, instead of the other one I could post, of one of our group's elderstatesmen napping in his car. He never made it into the game which, as it turned out, might have been for the best...

And then it was time to enter the stadium for the final time this season...

Sometime during the first half, the sun began to set, which was a fitting statement on the Jets' hopes. But while the sunset was breathtaking and beautiful, the Jets' play was not.

But, savvy Jets fans that we are, we didn't allow the goings-on on the field to ruin what was otherwise a terrific day.

I made sure to take time to really enjoy His Holiness' time on the field. I'll post more about this later, but I lingered to watch what may well have been the last snaps of his career...

There was one source of aggravation on the way out of the stadium, as the Jets saw fit to shoot off fireworks after the game. If anyone can tell me why we should have been celebrating a team that was 8-3 and completely crapped the bed with losses in four of their last five (and quite frankly, it would have been 0-5 if not for that incredible luck against Buffalo two weeks prior), I'd appreciate it.

And it was then that we passed the shrimp-covered vehicle. I have no idea why. But at that point, with the Jets' season, once so full of promise, officially dead, it just seemed to make sense...