Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Busy much?

Oofah, "busy" doesn't even begin to describe what this month has been like. The back-to-school chaos mixed in with waaaayyyyy too much volunteering (I must be stopped!) has kept me running like a hamster on a wheel.

Then of course, there's this little economic crisis you may have heard about. Scary stuff. Do yourself a favor: go to www.fdic.gov and read up on what your rights are in the event of a bank failure. Did you know that the stuff in your safe deposit box isn't insured? Neither did I.

Even the recent Presidential debate failed to capture my interest. If anything, it depressed me even further--neither one of those guys has the answer to what ails this country, and I don't see either one providing solutions. Watching Palin try to put together a cohesive sentence with Katie Couric was p-a-i-n-f-u-l, and Biden is blending into the background like an old piece of furniture you keep forgetting you have. I'm not sure I can stomach watching their debate later this week, but I suspect it'll be so awful, it might have some "sideshow" appeal.

It's times like these that I really identify with that Green Day song, "Wake Me Up When September Ends."

Here's hoping October brings us all some brighter days.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Sis!

Today is my sister's 20th wedding anniversary. I can't believe that much time has passed, until you consider that, on the day they married:

* Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States, and George H.W. Bush was the V.P.

* Bush was running for President himself, with a newcomer-from-nowhere named Dan Quayle. Everyone thought it was a crazy pick at the time. Until they won.

* A first class stamp cost 22 cents.

* Music CDs outsold vinyl records for the first time.

Lots of history between then and now. It's great to see a happy couple still going strong, two decades later.

Happy Anniversary, Laura & Curt!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome Autumn 2008

My favorite season.

Cool breezes.
Warm sweaters.
Cushy blankets.
Fresh pressed cider.
Pumpkin pie.
Crockpot cooking.
Caramel apples.
Crackling logs in the fireplace.
Changing leaves.
Darker nights.
An extra hour when we turn the clocks back.
Nesting, hibernating, hunkering down for the cold to come.

I love the Fall.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More coffee than you can shake a stick at

Hello, my name is Lisa, and I'm a coffee addict. Ever since I got my Keurig Coffee machine in late 2006, I've been a java fanatic. I try to limit myself to ONE cup of caffeinated coffee a day, and two decaf, but will occasionally go for an extra boost in the mid-afternoon.

I love my coffee machine, because it brews one cup at a time, and I like my coffee piping hot. It reminds me of the scalding coffee my grandmother used to make in her old metal espresso pot. No matter what brand of coffee machine I had before, the coffee was NEVER hot enough, or if it was initially, it didn't stay that way. The Keurig, set at the maximum temperature, cranks out a cup of 192-degree fresh-brewed happiness. Ahhhhh....

So, the other day, I was at the supermarket purchasing some more of my little K-cups, and I met a guy who works for the company. He advised me that it's much less expensive to order the coffee directly from Keurig, or from one of their distributors, because they sell boxes of 24 cups, and the ones in the supermarket and Bed, Bath & Beyond only have 18 cups. I told him I had some problems ordering directly from Keurig (they started sending me coffees I didn't want/didn't order), so he told me about a website for one of their distributors: www.coffeewiz.com.

Oh my lord...the selection there was incredible. I temporarily lost my mind and placed a huge order. It arrived today. Behold, my new stash:

I ordered (from left to right, starting at the bottom): Dark Magic Decaf, Obama Blend (more on that later), Half-Caff, Newman's Own Special Blend Caffeinated, English Breakfast Tea, Parisian Nights, Newman's Own Special Blend DeCaf, White Hot Chocolate, Hot Cocoa, and Double Black Diamond.

My husband loves the Newman's Own, which is why I ordered two of those, and my eldest daughter likes to have Tea in the morning. My younger two kids are all about the Hot Cocoa, and the White Chocolate version sounded interesting, so I got that, too. I like the super-strong coffee, even if it's decaf, so I always have plenty of those, too. The first one I tried (just now!) was the Double Black Diamond, an extra bold coffee for those really tough days when I need a kick in the afternoon. There was another brand on the site called "Jet Fuel" that I must buy next time!

My favorite purchase, though, is the "Office Politics: Obama Blend" from Coffee People. I haven't even tasted it yet, but I'm really looking forward to trying it. They also had a "McCain Blend," which I did not buy, although I would, if and when my friends Michael Lee or The Chief ever stop by for coffee and donuts. According to the website, they're going to keep a running tally of the sales of both blends, and see who "wins." Pretty clever idea, eh? Go Obama!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL

I don't care which side of the aisle you're on...this is damn funny:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 years ago

So many images playing in my head from the terror attacks on 9/11, most of them awful.

This one used to bring me comfort, back in the day. Now when I look at it, I still see the poignancy, but I also can't help but think about all of that toxic dust those guys are surrounded by.

"Firefighters at Ground Zero, Sept. 11, 2001"
©2001 The Record, (Bergen County, N.J.). Thomas E. Franklin, Staff Photographer

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My new "baby"

One of the many things that has kept me crazy busy lately is that my car lease is up at the end of this month. So, I've spent the last couple of days (now that the kids are back in school) doing lots of research and test drives and such. I thought I had it narrowed down to three options: buying my 2005 Pathfinder, buying a new 2008 Pathfinder, or buying a GMC Acadia. The Acadia was recommended to me by a couple of friends, but when I saw it in person, there were a few things about it that I wasn't 100% thrilled with. I also read some reviews online that made me widen my search a bit.

Last night, I finally settled on a 2008 Mazda CX-9. It has all of the features I was looking for--third row seats, Navigation system, power everything--and the financing deal was excellent. So, we said goodbye to the Pathfinder, and hello to the Zoom-zoom-zoom.

Ain't it purty?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Deja Vu: Britney on the VMAs

It's been announced that, once again, Britney Spears will be the opening act at the MTV Video Music Awards. It airs here on the East Coast in just under an hour from now.

I'm praying that we don't get a repeat of last year's sad, robotic performance. This is her shot to reclaim her status as an entertainer, and not just the butt of so many jokes. I have to believe that her father and those who are managing her career at the moment would not put her out there unless she was ready and prepared to do a great job.

Here's hoping. Good luck, Britney.

UPDATE at 9:05pm: ah, a pre-recorded comedy bit, followed by a super-quick tele-prompted intro. Whew.

I'm sure many folks will be disappointed that Spears didn't actually perform tonight, but it was the right move. This was merely intended as a confidence booster for her, and she did just fine. She looked great!

Stormy weather

Yesterday, I enjoyed a lazy Saturday at home, waiting and waiting for the remnants of what was Hurricane Hannah to come and drench us. The waterworks didn't get going until late in the afternoon, and although it was quite a bit of rain, the winds were not even close to what I'd expected.

Now comes word that Hurricane Ike, a massive Category 4 storm, is ripping through the Caribbean. It devastated Haiti, and is now taking aim at Cuba and the Florida Keys. Where it heads after that is yet to be determined, but it looks like Texas may be in its path. And, of course, it could possibly swing back and nail the New Orleans area again. Disconcerting, to say the least.

Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain's balancing act

Last night, John McCain accepted his party's nomination for President. I thought he did okay, but his speech was a bit all over the place. He should have focused on one clear message and stuck with it. Instead, he was trying to please everyone, so he came off as a bit schizo.

He acknowledged our current president for guiding the country through the storm that we're in now, but then he went on later to say that he was going to shake up Washington and buck the status quo because he's a maverick. He thanked Bush for doing a good job, and then talks about all the corruption that runs rampant on his watch, in both parties. Yikes--I guess he felt the need to acknowledge the scandals, but it felt a bit like pandering. It's hard to embrace the current administration whilst promising change, so it's not surprising that McCain's message wasn't cohesive.

He did a good job talking up Sarah Palin, but I noticed that parts of his speech--particularly the part about renewable resources and drilling--sounded almost verbatim to hers. That's good in that they're on the same page, bad in that it was a little repetitive.

Seeing his 96 year old mom in the audience was touching, but also a reminder that he's got great genes. She looked darn good!

His best moment was how he handled those stupid hecklers. Why do these people come to the convention to stir up trouble? They had their moment in the sun last week, and crashing the Republican convention is petty and pointless.

McCain stayed calm and jovial, and simply advised everyone to "ignore the static and the noise." That's the tone I think he should take if he wants to succeed in this election. Let Palin be his "barracuda" and do the attacking. McCain should play the role of the wise, experienced leader who rises above the buzzing of the nay-saying gnats.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin's Big Night

I watched Palin last night (fell asleep immediately afterwards--long day) but I thought she did very well. I think she got off to a slow start, but she accomplished exactly what she was supposed to: she introduced herself to America and set the tone for her campaign.

She was aggressive and took lots of shots at Obama, but only mentioned his name once, as I recall. She made fun of him, and was derisive of his "god-like" image.

Some jabs that landed:

* McCain is the only man in this race that actually HAS fought for her (alluding to his military service, and Obama/Biden's lack thereof)

* Mentioning those over-the-top styrofoam Greek columns from the DNC and referencing Obama's ability to "part the seas and heal the world."

I also thought she hit the right note in terms of her daughter's situation. She practically shrugged her shoulders and said, "We're a typical American family, with the same ups and downs as everybody else." Perfect.

The BEST part of the speech, though, was when they cut away to a shot of her youngest daughter cradling her baby brother. She was ever-so-patiently swiping her palm over the top of his little head, smoothing his hair down. Then, just before the camera cuts away, you see her bring her palm up to her mouth, and lick a whole bunch more saliva on it, and then go back to slicking his hair down. Most adorable frickin' thing ever.

I think her speech will reinvigorate McCain's followers, but it didn't change my mind about voting for her because, in the end, her policies are her policies

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day, as it ought to be

It was a quiet, relaxed Labor Day this year at Casa Yak. Rich and I started the day watching the flurry of news coverage as Hurricane Gustav made landfall, pelting Anderson Cooper and his on-location cohorts with heavy winds and rain, but ultimately sparing New Orleans. Thank goodness.

The girls slept in a bit, and then went fishing with Daddy for the second day in a row. I stopped at the lake to check in on them, right in time to see Cathy catch a fish. It was a bit "spiky", so she asked Dad to hold it up for the picture.

We just had a nice dinner of homemade ravioli with bolognese sauce, and everyone is off in the various nooks of the house, settling in for a peaceful evening. In a couple of days, the girls will all be back to school, and chaos will become a familiar friend once again.

For now, though, I think I'll enjoy the calm before the storm. Tomorrow, it's back to the same old grind. But today...was lovely.

I hope you all had a relaxing Labor Day.