29 February, 2008

Friday Video Clip

I heart Stephen Colbert, but I think this clip from Wednesday night's show might kill his presidential dreams forever!

...of course, his kickin' music choice could bring him back!

28 February, 2008

Note to Self:

Before deciding to leave the living room windows open over night, take 30 seconds to check and make an informed decision as to whether that is the best thing to do.

The AOL main page informed me that it was 39 degrees when I woke up this morning. That explains why, even with a sweatshirt on last night, I woke up with sore muscles from sleeping tightly in the fetal position!


26 February, 2008

Discount Fashion Show

Scott escorted me out today to shop for a new "party shirt," since this one has been photographed WAY too many times. I found three shirts that I just loved, and ended up deciding against one because it was solid brown, and I have a lot of brown in my wardrobe right now.

The first shirt I bought has really cool open rings on the shoulders, which presents a little weird bra strap situation, but it's all good. Obviously, my hair is long enough to cover the shoulders anyway. It is really comfortable, looks pretty decent, and nothing in my closet looks anything like it. I think this one is going to make its debut at the baby shower I'm going to on Saturday. It's more of a "daytime" look than the other shirt.

And speaking of the other shirt, it's PURPLE! I don't have any other purple shirts in the mix right now, except for a short sleeve sweater. But this one is so much cooler! Check out the giant fake belt/belt buckle! This one I think I'll be wearing out for my birthday dinner and the subsequent get-together.

I also got a brown "pea coat" that's just a cotton shell with a simple liner. I doubt it would keep me warm, but it looks like a nice jacket on top of that flowered shirt. And the total for all 3 was under $30.

Fashion is fun, but discount fashion is so much better!

25 February, 2008

Mrs. Houdini Did It?

Gross: Entering the stall in the women's room, only to find out the last person didn't flush.

Disturbing: Seeing that there is no toilet paper in the bowl.

Is there a woman alive who doesn't have to wipe?  TruckerMom? Any insight into this phenomenon?

Anyway, just thought I'd share with the group.  I'm good like that!

Mail Call

It's probably for the best that I don't own Post-It notes. Otherwise, the following would be on my downstairs neighbor's front door:

G.S. -

Glad to hear that you're getting laid, but would prefer to not actually hear when you're getting laid.


Honestly, two nights in a row after midnight is a bit much for me to stomach. When Mia lived downstairs, her romps were at least entertaining. His romps are so... aerobic that they jingle my wind chime alarm clock! least they don't last very long.

23 February, 2008

Highway Robbery

I filled up my gas tank this morning with the cheapest gas in the 13 miles between home and work.

For $3.09/gallon.

I'm pretty sure the last two times I filled up, I paid $2.92 and $2.99.  That's an increase of 17 cents per gallon over 2 weeks.

What the heck is going on???

21 February, 2008

Florida Voter Fraud? You Decide

Note: I am not actually accusing anyone affiliated with the Lake County Supervisor of Elections of voter fraud.  I just found this interesting.

I bet many of you know that when I first moved back to Florida (right after the turn of the century) and traded in my NJ Driver's License for a Florida License, I registered to vote as a Democrat.  A few weeks after this, I was mailed my very first Voter Registration card, which showed a big fat R under my party affiliation.  Gah!

I had a good laugh about this, and then after the Bush-Gore debacle, I actually half-wondered whether there was a secret underground society of DMV people who try to force Republicanism on new drivers.  I doubted it.  After all, had I chosen to vote in that election (you remember - the one in my lifetime where my vote could have changed history), I could have done so regardless of my party affiliation.  And they did send me a corrected card once I notified them of the "mistake."

This week, Scott and I both received "official election mail" from our good friend Emogene Stegall. Both envelopes included our new voter registration cards.  I looked at my card and was elated (yep… elated) to see that our polling place has been moved from the local fire station to the library at the front of our apartment complex.  That's right, we can WALK to vote, then get a coffee at the coffee shop inside the library (yep… you read that right… the new library is practically a Barnes & Noble!), then walk a little further for some pizza or Chinese food to celebrate.

OK… there was a little tangent there.  Sorry.  The important thing to remember is that I had to look at my card to see that my polling place had changed.  Scott opened his envelope later on and left it on the table. I picked it up and realized that his envelope also included a letter in large bold font explaining that his polling place had changed, and exactly where and why and when the changes would take effect.

Please note that my husband the Republican got written notification of the change, and that I the Democrat received no such notification.

I smell a rat… a rate the size of an elephant!

19 February, 2008

I-4 Flop Sweats...

...and two other short stories

I am sparing my viewing public a photo of the t-shirt I just took off. After driving Scott up to the Saturn dealer via I-4 and 528 and then right back again, the shirt has pit stains about 6" in diameter. No lie. It's gross. And that's with Secret Clinical Strength AND a spray of Arrid aerosol. That combination gets me through the average 12-hour day, but not less than 2 hours of driving at highway speeds.

Amazing that I plan on driving my fair share of the 1,000+ miles from here to NJ this summer. Scott will be doing most of the driving around big cities... that's for sure!

Brokeback Barrel

I know it's a little hard to tell what this picture is. It's a page out of a calendar on the wall at the Cracker Barrel on route 27 near I-4. Scott and I were seated under this print one day and nearly shot Coke out our nostrils making fun of it. The painting shows two men (fully clothed), one laying on his stomach, and the other one straddling his hips.

I can't completely remember, but I think the caption talks about this being the best way to dislodge something from a choking victim... via the rectum (ok, I might have added that last part!).

Anyway, during our odyssey last week, we found ourselves once again in the same restaurant and we actually saw the print. I waited until the family seated at "our" table left, and then snapped this pic with my camera phone. I'm pretty sure I got nasty looks from the old people in at 11 am for lunch, but that's their problem, not mine!

Ben & Jerry: Politics With a Swirl of Caramel

It seems Ben & Jerry have endorsed Barack Obama. While I was saddened that the article didn't mention a flavor called Obama-Rama, I did enjoy the story:

The founders of Ben & Jerry's endorsed Barack Obama on Monday, and lent his Vermont campaign two "ObamaMobiles" that will tour the state and give away scoops of "Cherries for Change" ice cream...

Echoing Obama, Greenfield said he and Cohen succeeded when they opened their ice cream shop 30 years ago in Burlington by doing things differently, instead of copying the "tired ways" of doing business.

"What we saw is that when you want real change it's not a marketing slogan. You have to do things differently. And that is not going to be done by someone who's been involved in the system for years and years," Greenfield said. "It needs to come from inside and Barack Obama has it."

I haven't been able to find out the exact content of "Cherries for Change," but if it shows up in the Publix freezer section, I will buy that instead of Americone Dream until November!

Put a Little Love in Your Tummy!

Our Chef gave a bunch of us bricks of "special chocolate" (I asked if it was like "special brownies," but all the management types just pretended they didn't hear me) a while back, and I hadn't thought of what to do with it.

Dark Belgian chocolate, it turns out, melts nicely and gives a nice coat to a bunch of strawberries. These are going to go so well with the bottle of Rosa Regale in the fridge... especially after the dinner Scott has planned for tonight.

18 February, 2008

This Box of Chocolates is Like Life!

Scott bought me a Whitman's Sampler heart-o-goodness for V.D. this year. I haven't had one in a million years, and was so excited to have good chocolate for a change (as opposed to the crap we bring to work to share).

I was a little surprised when I opened the box and discovered there was no map. I didn't know which were caramel, nougat, or coconut. I still don't! We managed to figure out the cherry cordials without much ado, but I'm constantly getting frustrated with the different truffle flavors. Luckily, I'll eat just about anything covered in good chocolate (but NO BUGS), and can handle a little "white mystery filling" in my life.

But it's so true: You never know what you're gonna get!

17 February, 2008

Unsolicited Parenting Advice

...from someone without children

I really don't have much business dispensing advice... to most people. However, I can not imagine a situation where the following story could be considered good parenting!

I awoke at 3 am to the sound of a screaming child. These weren't the screams of a baby, but of a child probably 3-4 years old having an absolute melt down. I had the bedroom windows open, and could tell that the noise was coming from outside and not in another apartment. And I listened to this screaming for at least 5 minutes.

I also heard two other voices, one male and one female (I'll assume they were the parents of the little night screamer). They tried reasoning with the child. They tried threatening the child. They pleaded with the child. From what I gather, the child didn't want to put his/her shoes on. So they wouldn't let him/her get out of the car. Later, I heard one of them say "fine, go without your shoes. just don't step in any dog shit." Then Mom started the "count to three" crap. And when she got to three, she said she was taking away a specific toy.

And during all of this, the child didn't stop screaming.

Finally, from the sounds of it, they grabbed the kid and dragged him/her into their apartment, screaming all the way.

So really. Does anyone else think that the fact that the child was up at 3 am might have contributed to the situation? Get your child home at a decent hour! And if your child starts screaming in the car, get him inside and into bed. And for goodness' sake, on the street at 3 am is NOT the time to experiment with various parenting techniques. The rest of us don't care how you get the child to stop crying, only that you do it quickly.

Next time, I'm just going to fire my air horn out the window.

14 February, 2008

Adventures in Dining

Scott and I found ourselves spending more time and money dining out over the past few days than we would have preferred.  We ate breakfast at Chick Fil A on Tuesday and Cracker Barrel on Wednesday, skipped lunch both days, and ate dinner at sit-down places both nights.

Tuesday night, we went to Up The Creek, which is a chain that I had never heard of, but Scott has fond memories from college.  The menu can be summarized in three words: Southern/Deep Fried. We both had catfish for dinner, served with hush puppies and french fries (fried/fried/fried). And the appetizer platter: a combo of onion rings, chicken tenders, popcorn shrimp, hush puppies, chicken tenders, fried green tomatoes, and fried pickles.

Yeah, deep-fried pickles.

I'm shocked that we didn't have to sign a waiver acknowledging what we were about to do to our arteries!

Well, at least the peach cobbler wasn't deep-fried!

And then there was last night's adventure. I decided that I wanted a meal from a chain restaurant, because I was looking for something more along the lines of "comfort food" ("comfort" to me is just familiar food… not necessarily home-cooking).   We were driving down US 19 looking at the strange sights when I saw a friendly-looking dive with patio tables and umbrellas outside. It was called Pasco Patio. Well, I joked to Scott that we should eat there, and he said he didn't think they would serve us, since they were a furniture store.

Sure enough, those friendly patio tables outside were just a sampling of the entire store full of patio tables inside!  Oh, how I laughed.  I don't really know if this is something that the rest of the world would find funny, or if I just laughed because I was exhausted and cried-out.  But I still think it's funny.  A while down the road, we passed a Pier 1 Imports, and told Scott I had heard excellent things about their wine list.

We ended up at the Olive Garden, where I had the best thing they've ever put on their menu: steak gorgonzola alfredo.  I couldn't believe how good it was!

And now, my bank account and I are going to spend a few days in detox.  Nothing fried, nothing from a restaurant, and lots more fruits and veggies.

13 February, 2008

Happy News

Scott was sitting at the computer this morning (you know... 10 minutes ago) relaying top headlines to me. He showed me a picture of Obama, hand up in the air in a victory stance, and then went on to tell me that a beagle won Westminster. When I asked whether he won it all, he said "yes, best in show." Ironically enough, I had gone back to asking about Obama. I made the comment that he must be almost dead even with Hillary in delegates now.

I actually went "WOO!" out loud when I logged on and saw on the AOL main page, "Obama takes the lead in delegates." Woo! I said it again!

The Associated Press count of delegates showed Obama with 1,210. Clinton had 1,188, falling behind for the first time since the campaign began. Neither was close to the 2,025 needed to win the nomination.

And one more time for good measure: Woo!

11 February, 2008

Guess What I'm Doing Today!

Yep... getting a hair cut! I'd say it's necessary. Actually, it was necessary two weeks ago when Scott looked at me and said, "I thought you were going to get your hair cut." When the husband notices, it must be bad!

Other plans for the day include going to Borders with Cat and wandering the aisles of various stores killing time before she gets off from work. Oh yes - and I also plan to not take any more pictures that show that my left ring finger is curved to the side. How weird is that!?!?

10 February, 2008

Assorted Nuts

Just some random thoughts:

Oh golly! Does Obama actually have a chance? All of a sudden, I find myself hoping against hope that the Florida and Michigan delegates don't count at the convention. GO-bama!

Happiness is: the first day of a new battery in my electric toothbrush!

I learned yesterday that I really love a good Reuben sandwich. Individually, corned beef, sauerkraut, 1000 island dressing, swiss cheese, and rye bread are items I generally avoid on a sandwich. But put them together and they become an irresistible tour de force of culinary delight!

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are musical geniuses. My current favorite cover: Leavin' on a Jet Plane. Although I must say, my favorite version of that song is in Armageddon when Ben Affleck and the guys sing it to Liv Tyler. I always laugh and cry at that part of the movie.

08 February, 2008


I was reading a post over at the Whatever earlier about the stimulus program working its way through Congress right now that will, in a nut shell, give all of us tax-paying adults a check for $600 some time before Summer.

The question was raised about what people were likely to spend their money on, and I got to thinking about it, and I just don't know! It's so rare that we get that kind of money (especially since Scott and I owe $300 in taxes AGAIN this year… grr…) in a lump sum. So below were some thoughts on how I would spend "my" $600 or "our" $1,200:

* I need a new car, but could only put my own $600 towards it in good conscience. Of course, the new car will probably happen before the money comes in, but that's still almost 3 payments I could pay at once.

* $1200 could be spent a few different ways on our summer road trip. (Oh yeah - Did I mention that Scott and I are planning a road trip up north this summer?) That could extend our stay in NYC… in a decent hotel... pay for our theater tickets… maybe even pay for lunch at a fancy restaurant!

* Scott wants a laptop, and $1200 could pay a good chunk of a sweet new Mac Book Air. However, we're not Mac people. And I know if "we" got a laptop, one of us would bring it to work with him every day and the other one of us would never see the thing! But Dell has laptops starting under $500. So maybe that's an idea for one or both of us.

* Stick the money in our ever-rolling 6-month CD (which earned a whopping $82 in interest last year!): $1200 could be a nice addition to the buy-a-house fund.

* Stick the money in checking to be wasted on entertainment, eating out, etc.

* Buy furniture! Do you KNOW how much you can get at IKEA for $1200? Sadly, what I want most is a sofa, and I just don't want to spend that much without first de-clawing the cats. And I think they're both a little old for that now. But I could certainly use a new dresser!

* Two words: vacation fund! The trip to NJ/NY/PA this summer is already budgeted for. But that money could pay for a nice long cruise to somewhere we haven't been before, or a flight to England to visit Alicia, or a trip out to Disneyland!

Scott and I haven't even spoken about this. It just popped into my head, and I thought I would share. Anyone have any good ideas to share?

America Has Spoken...

This was just too perfect to not share with you all...

Of course, sometimes the AOL video doesn't work so great here on Blogger. So here's the link to Mo Rocca's site just in case.

P.S. I love that song from the Daughtry CD. Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone was looking for a cheap-ish birthday gift for me. ;-)

07 February, 2008

The DemoCat

What better way to follow up a silly political post than with a picture of everyone's favorite DemoCat?

I think this picture looks absolutely tragic, so I shall caption this one: Proof That Cats Don't Always Land on their Feet (even though he was just laying under the table).

Anyone have a better caption?

Stirring the Pot

Scott sent me this... so blame him! Please remember that it's all in good fun.

Just in case you were in danger of getting too caught up in the relatively small matters that divide or bother you about the Democratic candidates...

To be a Republican you need to believe:

1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's Daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him,and a bad guy when Bush needed a 'we can't find Bin Laden' diversion.

3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Viet Nam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational drug corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies,then demand their cooperation and money.

9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMO's and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring theInternet.

13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

15. Supporting 'Executive Privilege' for every Republican ever born,who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)

16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960's is of vital national interest,but what Bush did in the '80's is irrelevant.

17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

If you don't send this to at least 10 other people, we're likely to be stuck with more Republicans '08.

"Friends don't let friends vote Republican."

06 February, 2008

Universal Fun

Scott and I went over to Universal Orlando today. We got rained on, I didn't have my ID (no booze for me), and we only rode a handful of rides. But we sure had a lot of fun! Here's some pictures from Scott's camera phone:

And here's the link to the album for Scott, so that he can change his darn myspace profile picture!

05 February, 2008

Super Freak

Can someone please explain to my how Mike Huckabee is doing so well tonight across the country? The man doesn't believe in evolution, he thinks the Constitution should be re-written to better align with the word of God, and he has jowls like Richard Nixon.

OK, I get it that the Evangelicals are willing to sacrifice our national security and our economy in order to get a President in office who will appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade and prevent stem cell research from catching on...

...but where are all of the logical, rational Republicans?

Janette? Can you explain it to me?

04 February, 2008


I hear tomorrow is Super Tuesday. And for some reason, I am incredibly excited about the prospect of sitting in front of the TV all night long flipping between CNN and ABC watching the returns come in.

I found another "choose your candidate" survey thing, and thought I should pass it along to the masses. I really like the graph on this one. It turns out I don't really match any of the candidates, but they say I'm closest to Hillary.

So take the quiz and let me know how it goes. Anyone out there in one of the far corners? Even closer to the center than I am?

03 February, 2008

A Valid Point

I saw this video at Patrick's Place today:

The man makes an excellent point. Why don't I know how many soldiers have died in Iraq so far this year? Why haven't I heard one single name of someone who died "protecting" me? I read every night during my lunch break, and I don't think I read one single story today about Iraq.

Thank you, Montel.

01 February, 2008

Deadbeat No Longer

Let's start with an admission of guilt: 

Hello, my name is Jamie, and I have terrible credit. The best example of why I have bad credit is that I applied for a Discover Card in college just to get a free PEZ dispenser. It was pretty much all down hill from there. Did you know they expect you to PAY for that stuff eventually?

About 4 1/2 years ago, my student loans defaulted to a point where I got a letter in the mail giving me 2 weeks to make a payment or they were going to start sucking money straight from my paycheck. I called them 13 days after I got the letter, and the man on the other end of the phone explained to me that I had 2 weeks from the date they sent it, and that I was too late. The garnishment was effective immediately.  And 10% of my pay has been going to the student loan people ever since.

Fast forward to a year ago: I started thinking I should be just about done with these payments, and called my company's payroll department to find out what the balance was. Payroll didn't know. They basically told me that they take the money out until the government tells them to stop.  Dead end. And in typical Jamie fashion, I got distracted by something else and forgot all about it.

Finally, yesterday I called SALLIE MAE. A man in India called me back this morning (yes, the US Department of Education has outsourced its call centers to India… I'm still in shock!) and he couldn't help me. He transferred me to a woman here in the US who told me that SALLIE MAE doesn't have my account. She gave me the phone number for PHEAA and I was on my way.

When I called PHEAA, I was mildly amused to find out that it was the deadbeat hotline (ok, "default collections" department, same thing!). The girl I spoke to was so incredibly helpful. She told me I had a little over $3,000 left on the loan, and then went on to explain that because I was paying involuntarily, that my credit is continuing to decline (really - I need to pull my credit score - it's got to be the lowest possible number!). So she sent me the form to do an auto-debit from my checking account. Once I send them the form, they will cancel my garnishment and in 9-11 payments my account will be transferred back to the "good girl" department. So by the time I pay off the loan, it will actually be in good standing.

Of course, I'm thrilled about that. The payments are actually lower than what is being taken out of my paycheck now. What bugs me is my contact with the last person. He never gave me any other options. He told me it was too late, and basically that this was my lot in life. Any time over the past four years, I could have made the call I made today and gotten back on track, but I never knew that was an option.

But enough blaming other people for my issues. This is a happy day. Thank you Andrea for being nice to me and helping me take a step to putting my financial life back together!

Fresh Air

The cats are grateful for the cloudy sky today. The clouds are keeping the temperature down enough to leave the windows open.

...and the cats sure love open windows!

I'm betting this month's electric bill will be the cheapest ever.