Thursday, May 31, 2007

And the air-conditioner goest in & lots o' birthdays-- and Organic Stuff

Finally. It's hot in northeast pa. Today was a scorcher and I lived it up by laying in the sun. I need to do something about this pale body o' mine.

Then, I came inside and did some housework. When I went upstairs to put away the laundry that has piled up (of course on the Bowflex- what else is expensive home-gym equipment for?) but it was so hot upstairs. Downstairs was okay-- breathable, liveable. But yeah- I wasn't going to suffer from heat exhaustion just to put away clothes in the kiln-like bedroom.

My one day vacation from not getting the bedroom in order is over, however. It's my fault. I asked Dave to put in our AC. He's doing that right now as we speak. We only have one unit, so we are going to look into one of those plug-in stand up, rotating ones that way we can still use our window, plus they look nicer. Anyone know of a good brand to look into? Let us know!

We have a lot to celebrate this weekend, and not just my new job. Nikki from the Weekender who I adore is turning 30 so her parents are throwing her a bash. I look forward to attending. Dave's sister Marie is also celebrating her b-day, as is our good friend, Andy. So, we're likely to stay in on Friday since we have so many functions to attend!!

And Dave's is coming up on the 21st, my sister's on the 22nd and then mine in July. Happy birthday, everyone!

As some of you know, I became a vegetarian and am totally LOVING the way I feel lately. I am also trying to go as organic as I can, especially with fruits and veggies and things. It's kind of pricey as I learned from my trip to Wegman's but I want to feel and look good and I've done so much reading on the benefits of going organic.

So, I bought organic peaches, bananas, pears and spiniach. I don't think the bagged carrots I got are. I also bought some kick ass organic cereal which I wrote about. (I will post the link as soon as it publishes.) I also bought BWC organic shampoo and conditioner, which I loved. I did buy organic JASON toothpaste, but was not thrilled about that. I know that Tom's is good, but Wegman's didn't sell it.

There's just one teeny thing I have to work on. It just didn't make sense to put all these organic groceries in the trunk of a BIG SUV.
(Speaking of organic and veggie-eating, I wrote about the new BK Burger King Veggie Burger- read about it here.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Job! I am THRILLED!

Just a quick post, as I already blogged twice today! I accepted a position at Solid Cactus and start on Monday the 4th. I am THRILLED about starting a new career with an awesome, hip, technology company. Thanks for crossing your fingers. It worked!

New CDs. Yes. As in Compact Discs. They DO still exist.

Even as obsessed as I am with the Internet, I am still quite the mail order junkie. A few weeks ago, I cancelled everything. Silkes, Grandma's Kitchen, Quality Paperback Book Club and even the One Spirit Book Club. I was tired of invoices and sending back forms saying I DIDN'T want to order anything.

Then guess what. I go and sign up for the BMG Music Club. Argh! But, I've been quite nostalgic these days and want to go back to the music I grew up with when my mom and adoptive father used to do campground shows-- the old folk songs, ya know. So, I went wild and ordered nothing from this decade. I don't know what to listen to first:

I don't own an iPod, although I do think I want one, moreso for Podcasts of NPR and such. There is still something so exciting about getting a CD, opening the jacket, looking at the pictures and lyrics, etc. I don't think that will ever go away. But of course, I still read the newspaper and read books made of paper. Let the music play!

I feel good today.

I know it is only a matter of time before I am gainfully employed again. (This is where you cross your fingers for me....)

However, today it was such an awesome morning to wake up when I wanted to. I know I cannot get used to this, but I had to. Just once. The cool spring breeze was making the curtains flap in my bedroom-- and somehow one sock came off during the night-- so my foot was cold and that woke me up. Otherwise I probably could have slept for a few hours more.

But, I woke up and was checking my email and my various blogs and message boards to see if there was any activity last night after I fell into dreamland. There was. It is just SOO nice to 'meet' kindred spirits online. I recieved a great comment from The Enemy Blog on my Office Space post. His note was inspiring and kind-- and reminded me to follow my dreams. I mean, I know there are people like me out there, but when I actually come across them, I just feel this incredible energy that, YES-- we can create and everything else will fall into place. His blog is also quite awesome and it seems he has also came to a revelation, too. It's nice to find someone who have something in common with. Just a quick brush with someone else, even virtually can really be great for the soul!

So- I know that I did the right thing by leaving. There were things I love about my job and certainly things I will miss. But I know now that I feed off the creative energy of others and I need to be somewhere that the environment is creative and diverse because it's just the kind of place I excel in. I remember my radio days... those were some of the best days of my life because work was absolutely serious-- it was a business. But the atmosphere of the place was just laid back-- I think I've been dying to get back into a place like that again. I don't want to say anything bad about the place I was at before really, but no one would argue that it was no designed to be a fun place to work. (I mean, I had fun with my coworkers and all....) It was corporate driven and I don't think that's for me. They also didn't go the extra mile for their employees, like other companies I am finding out about.

I think of places like Google and record companies in Nashville that are just designed for employees to have a kick ass time at work. It's just the way to do things now, and the company that I worked for did not have that mentality. I think when you begin to focus on your employees first, and then the numbers second you will have low absenteeism and low turnover-- and the result is people that love their jobs and have constant high morale. Then, the business just HAPPENS. That's just my opinion. I was tired of being depressed at work.

I also CANNOT wait to start the creative writing program at Wilkes. There are only two eight-day residencies a year and the rest is on-line, however for these eight days in late June I am finally going to be in the physical company of people with the same dreams as me! I mean, I know a few writers but we don't see each other often. So, when I am surrounded by people everyday who don't understand the arts and what it is like to have an imagination and ideas yearning to get out-- it can get depressing. They don't get it. They laught at you. They say, "Okay, Donna. Good luck with that." or "Sure, Donna. If that's what you want." You know, belittiling you.... I will finally be around people that will say, "Oh my god! Great idea-- that will so happen!"

So, today is a good day. I know that it will take forever for me to be a successful author. But in the meantime, I will find a cool company to devote my working hours to-- one where creative energy comes from the management on down (I have one in mind of course, but do you think I'm gonna jinx it here?) and then start my writing life as a student of creative writing.

Today is like the first day of the rest of my life!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rubber Chickens and More on Memorial Day '08

Dave and I attended our friends' Rob & Craig's Memorial Day picnic last night and it was uber fun. As most parties do, things started off a little slow until the drinks set in. And before you know it, we're kissing rubber chickens, talking into bananas, breaking lawn furniture and just having a grand old time.

There are two very memorable quotes from the evening. The first one was just upon our arrival. We were adoring Rob & Craig's Himalayan cats when we started exchanging kitty cat tales. Rob told us that their newest cat, Baylee ate a plastic bag, which was a chore to remove. So, I wittily said:

"I heard of letting that cat out of the bag, but not getting the bag out of the cat!"

Later, Birthday boy David (not my Dave) was getting picked on for leaving all his lights on-- he lives up the block and we could see is apartment. He said it was so he could find his way home. When someone commented that there is plenty of light from the streetlights in the front, he innocently exclaimed not even realizing how funny it was:

"I like going in the back."

Dave is a gay man, which is what made it absolutely hysterical. Toward the end of the evening we moved inside the house for seconds on the kick-ass food. Then, a party guest, Mark had returned with his daughter and rubber chicken it tow. That was fun. You can see the pictures on my MySpace page.

I met Mark and his wife Doreen for the first time at this party and they were really, really nice. While I like Miller Lite and will drink it if I have to, I have always appreciated a good, hand-crafted microbrew. So, I was thrilled when Mark said his cooler (which was a cool, insulated bag on wheels) filled with a variety of microbrews was fair game.

So, I had a mini beer fest. I tried Mojo Indian Pale Ale, some caramel-tasting porter stout (I'll have to ask), Sam Adams Long Shot Ale which won the homebrew contest this year (it was 10% alcohol!) and by far me favorite was the Orange Blossom beer. I think I am a fan of fruit beer. Dave always keeps Miller Lite in the fridge because if we have company, it's a safe beer to have that everyone likes. But, I think I am going to pick up a different microbrew each week as well. If I want to play drinking games or am going to be outside for a while, Miller Lite is cool-- but if I am going to relax after work, I would like to enjoy a good, flavorful brew.

And, I have to give a HUGE shout out to Debbie who makes the best Jell-o shots ever. She tops them with Cool Whip and then a cherry bomb, so it is like you are getting two shots in one. She had three trays and 120 shots, and they were all gone. No wonder things got a little out of hand!

I wish I saw Rob & Craig and their gang more often because we always have an absolute blast!

Happy Memorial Day!


Happy Tail Ale- Beer for Dogs

Friday, May 25, 2007

BK Does it YOUR Way, for real & New Job Soon

So I am happy. Burger King offers a great veggie burger. I had no idea. What was pretty ironic is that I asked the cute girl at the counter if it was any good, expecting her to say, "ew, gross" since she worked at Burger King. Lo and behold, the girl was a vegetarian!! And she said they were pretty good. As a new vegetarian, I trusted her judgement. She was right! Mmmm.

Oh my gosh-- and BK's new cheesy tater tots-- TO DIE FOR.

Today also was my last day at Allied Medical & Technical Institute. I am trying to go in a creative direction somewhere and kind of took a chance that'd I'd find something soon. Wish me luck in my search! All I know is that I want to thrive in a creative, diverse environment. I love my coworkers now, but I just like when I am around lots of different types of people who aren't going to say I'm nuts for being quirky and creative! ; ) I will miss you Katie, Susan, Lauren, Danielle, Jessica and Heather!
Reccomended read of the day from my arsenal: Fictional Characters Who Starred in Commercials

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I will miss Tom Curry....

When I get a message from someone I haven’t talked to in a while, something in my stomach starts to feel funny. Like I know something is wrong.

I got a message on MySpace from an old young democrats friend saying to call him right away. When we spoke, he told me an a friend of ours Tom Curry lost his battle with cancer this morning. I broke down for a little while. Then I got angry. At cancer.
I was active in the young democrats back in 2003-2004 just when things in our area were starting to take a positive change—since the people we helped vote into office took over the administration, Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County has never been better. But, this post isn’t about politicians. It’s about Tom.

Tom had a passion like no other for local politics. The last time I checked out his MySpace page, there was a picture of him and Governor Ed Rendell. His caption next to it said, “Current governor with future governor.”

I started to cry again when I thought about that statement. Tom never got his wish. When I think back of that picture, and all the times I had with Tom I see a young, ambitious, smart young man who probably would have became president.

While it was a message of hope from Todd Vondeheid’s campaign website that propelled me to volunteer for his county commissioner campaign, and while it was Danny Bauder who recruited me to the YDs at a victory party for Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak, it was Tom Curry who really got me excited about local politics. He played a huge role in getting me involved with local and statewide campaigns.

Sure, I had always cared about issues—but I never was involved with the people who could create change before. So, through Tom, I learned a lot more about local politics. I attended the YDA national convention in Buffalo in ’04 and met some great friends. I went all over the state campaigning for people and just had so much fun. But, I was just doing what Tom told me to do. He had such a way of getting our group the things it needed to help these candidates. He was an experienced campaign manager. He was just great. He will be sorely missed.

I think back to how I went back to school and started working full-time and how I didn’t have time to dedicate myself to these causes. That doesn’t make me a bad person- I know that. But when I think about someone like Tom who gave so much to so many people, I feel ashamed that I can’t give more of myself. His passion was a constant. He never tired of doing the things he believed in. And a lot of big time people believed in him because of this dedication.
I lost touch with the YDs when I went back to school full-time, as I said. My heart never left. But now, that heart is bleeding. Upset, I needed to see Tom again. I’ve moved twice since the YD days, so I tore through my attic trying to find the photos I took while I was secretary of the Luzerne County YDs. I couldn’t find them. I was upset. Then, I decided go back upstairs once again. I didn’t want to give up. I found them. There were pics of us at victory parties, fundraisers, the convention and more. Pictures of Tom being serious, and pictures of Tom having fun. God, these pics made me miss those days dearly. I wish my heart was only as big as his. I posted some of those pics here, and I will surely pass them along to anyone who would like them, either by email or making a copy at those CVS photo booths.

So, this is my tribute to my old friend, Tom Curry. I am thankful for the time we shared as friends. I am thankful for what you taught me. I am thankful for those drunken escapades, too. After all, we were 'young.' I know that Tom loved karaoke, he loved an occasional brewsy and of course, a good cigar. After all, politics is all about a smoky room, right? (just kidding)

I am sure Tom will find a way to fight god to be president of heaven. I just know it.

The Mysterious Illness Returns, of all times too

Damn server errors. Wrote a whole blog and even saved it, but there was a server error from Google and I lost everything. I am not sure that I can write it better this time around.

Here I go. What I said before is that this week has been one of ups and downs for me. I have gotten good news, and then for each piece of that, either bad news or something bad happens.

A few months ago I had these dizzy spells that came and went. They lasted for a long time when I had them, but came and went. One day, it was so bad I went to the ER, which I blogged about. The ER doctor told me it was vertigo and prescribed me an antihistamine, meclizine.

I followed up with my Dr. the next day and he said I had acute labrynthitis. To the layman, this is from a virus in my inner ear. Basically, since that is where balance is controlled my brain is confused. It doesn’t know where I am or what I am doing, which makes me dizzy all the time. He said the ER doctor gave me the right medication. I took if for about a week and it went away.

The bad part about this is that this condition can last for years- there is no cure. I can only mask the symptoms. So, yesterday it came back. However, I shrugged the dizziness off as not eating. When I got home, it became worse and today, even worse. I had some comp time from work I was using this morning, but asked if I could take the afternoon off. I also realized that we have training on Weds., and told my boss I would still come on for that. However, I just got out of the shower from a scary experience.

While I was showering—and no I was not singing—I lost my balance and almost fell. I caught myself, but my heart was racing and I was petrified at the thought of me getting knocked out and laying in the shower, naked with water failing on me and no one around to help since I am home alone. It was a scary thought. In fact, one of the most dangerous things about this disease is the chance of injury from falling due to dizziness.

I usually shrug things off, but I need to start taking care of myself. I called the Dr. and the earliest they can see me is at 1:00 tomorrow. I called my boss to let her know. She advised that I stay home—even if I did go to the Dr. driving this dizzy is not a very smart idea.

The medicine does not seem to be working this time, although maybe I do need to take a few doses before it kicks in. When I took it last night, about a half hour later, around 8:00, my eyes were so heavy and I was slurring my speech. The next thing I knew, I woke up this morning on the loveseat, half sitting up. It conked me right out. I remembered that my doc said to take just half if that happens.

It upsets me feeling this groggy from a medication—first of all, I have more energy than ever since I became a vegetarian and it is also a lovely day. It’s terrible I feel that way. Second, from a general standpoint, it’s terrible that all a lot of medications do is make you sicker or have bad side effects. Sure, I can’t feel that I am dizzy—BECAUSE I AM ASLEEP.

I am not sure what more the doc can do for me. Maybe there is a different medication, or maybe there is something else they can think of that I may have. In a strange sort of way, I like the name of my illness- acute labrynthitis because the Labyrinth was always one of my favorite movies. If you are interested in this condition, here is an article I found that really explains it well. There is som really fascinating things about it. Maybe he can refer me to an ear, nose and throat dr.; Dave's sister works for one.

Wish me well. Also, I am moving this blog down a notch so that my tribute to Tom can stay on top. I was already feeling down because of this, and now I get sick again.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's not a good idea to watch Office Space when you are unhappy at work.

So here I am doing some freelance writing. Comedy Central has been droning in the background for some time now. But now that Office Space has popped on, well, my writing has slowed down because I abso-f-ing-lutely love this movie. I've seen it so many times. In fact, the movie and my love of the new TV show the office inspired a cover story idea I pitched to The Weekender which turned out to be a really cool issue.

At any rate, there is something very different about Office Space tonight. I feel just like Gibbons. Trapped.

I want to stop showing up.

I want to stop paying my bills.

I don't want to do anything-- unless it's fun or creative-- anymore.

To quote Gibbons, "It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime; so where's the motivation? And here's something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.

If you replace a few words and products in that there classic quote, you've got part of my situation.

Of course the World Wide Web is not the place to openly reveal my concerns with my current job. But, let's just say I am thinking about going in a different direction. I love my job, I love the girls at work, but I do not like corporate America anymore. I think I am worth more. I think I can do more.

I am going to go for my MA in Creative Writing at Wilkes, and I am hoping that in the next year or so I will finally get published. And then the road to really doing what I want will start. It's just so hard sometimes when you have a dream, but you have to go through the humdrum of a normal working life so that you can survive. I mean, singers get American Idol. What do wanna-be-writers get? There is no quick shot to fame as a writer-- and it's not even fame I am looking for. I just want to have that one idea that can get me a book deal, that will lead to future deals. It would be cool to write from home and live off advances and royalties and be able to live, travel and volunteer and do all the things I don't have time to do.

Okay-- I came on here to write some funny things about Office Space and now I am getting all philosophical... Argh! I should go.... ; )

Before I sign off Blogger, here are some more of my favorite quotes, courtesy IMDB.

Porter: Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately.

Gibbons: wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.


Milton: "And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire..."


Milton: "I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she's filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I'm collating so I don't see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Beer for Dogs? Happy Tail Ale-- Buy Your Best Friend a Drink

I just wrote an article for Associated Conent that I think is worth a read if you have a dog-- check it out by clicking here.

It's about a couple in California that started making beer just for dogs, called Happy Tail Ale! Check it out, and share it with any dog owners you know!

Thanks for reading, and I'll have a 'real' blog post soon with some updates on me!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

So lately, I've just been vegging out.

I am not sure how long it will last. It IS after all coming up on hot dog season.

But, I have decided to go vegetarian. There are a few reasons.

First of all, I must say that I have always been drawn to the lifestyle. When I was younger, my mom and adoptive father, Tony T. would travel and do shows with a duo, the Holt Twins. Well, these awesome hippie-cool ladies were vegetarians and healthfood nuts. We were avid campers and I spent quite a bit of time with them as a kid, so I saw that their lifestyle could work at home and even at the campsite--- tofu dogs, etc. I was also intrigued by Emily and Linda. So, that was the first recollection I have of vegetarianism.

Well, not really. As a kid I was also around another group of vegetarians. My aunt Joan and uncle Pat are also 95% vegetarian, as our most of my six cousins. They seem to do just fine. They are all very thin and overall, very healthy.

At Wilkes, as a freshman, there were several vegans I knew. We were on SG together, and also on the food committee. Through this, I learned about some nutritional options (and tasty!) that'd don't involve any kind of animal product.

So- this was something I had always thought about. For the past few years as my world view has opened up, and my awareness of environmental issues has grown, I also have always been right on the brink of becoming a vegetarian. I just love hamburgers and hotdogs sooo much. I mean, I can live without everything else-- but barbeque season?! That seriously was my main concern.

However, I have dangerously high cholesterol and am on Lipitor for it. So, being a vegetarian for ethical reasons is one thing, but whether or not that is the reason I am doing it, the health benefits of becoming a vegetarian are amazing. I have been doing a lot of reading about it and every day I get more and more excited about my decision.

I think about what some of my fave foods are. Really, none of them NEED meat. I love Mexican stuff and in fact I had bean burritos tonight-- MMMM. I mixed beans and green chilies together, added lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, salsa, sour cream and wrapped it in a whole grain tortilla. It rocked and I was full.

When I think about holidays that center around a meat dish, I really don't indulge too much in the ham or turkey.... my faves have always been green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, the bread and all the other veggies. And dessert.

I think I may be able to do this for good. It's been two weeks so far! I have been eating a lot of fruit, oatmeal, PB & J, pasta dishes, salads with cool things like almonds and bean sprouts. I am ordering some cookbooks, too.

I have to give kudos to Steph. D who I adore. I came across her MySpace page and she had added that she is a vegetarian. It had been on my mind quite a bit lately. A few months ago I did a Sacred Heart Diet and did well on it-- no meat for a week. When I saw that she became one, well, let's just say I was a copycat. No- really! I just thought that if someone I knew just did it, maybe I could too.

Dave doesn't want to go veg-- but you know what-- he hasn't even said anything about the dinners I've made. I make sure they are filling enough. He doesn't even miss the meat. For lunch, he has ham or turky sandwiches, but yeah, for dinners-- he hasn't asked "Where's the Beef?" yet. When he does, I will think of something to cook for 'one' as I can't push this lifestyle I am adopting on anyone.

Since I am primarily doing this for health and diet reasons and not totally for ethical reasons, I will allow myself to have a hotdog this summer. But who knows, I may not even want one. I will also be one of the vegetarians who eat fish. But again, after the transition, I may find that I don't want any.

On the ethical side, I have always felt funny supporting PETA since I eat meat. But, I truly believe in what they do and I am a total tree-hugging, animal lover at heart. I know my actions haven't always aligned with my views. I know that I don't do enough by way of being green, but I am trying harder now to do so.

Becoming a vegetarian is one small way to make a small difference-- but more importantly a statement. If I can lose some weight, get better skin, lower my cholesterol and risk for other diseases, get more energy and join a group of awesome vegetarians, then this decision benefits me in more ways than one! And, if someone else looks into it, even better!

So, if anyone has any good veggie recipes, fill me in and fill me up!