Thursday, January 26, 2006

Maxxed Out

It is pretty commonly held that I have a real problem with using "retail therapy" as a way to compensate for unhappiness in my life. When I first got out of college, I bought sheets. Lots and lots of sheets for my new full bed. Most of these sheets were by Laura Ashley and were bought at full price. (I haven't bought new sheets in years, because I have so many of them now.)

Then I moved on to pajamas: flannel pajamas, silky pajamas, striped pajamas that looked like something a Victorian military officer would wear. Victoria's Secret to Old Navy, you name it; I bought it. (I also can't tell you the last time I bought new pajamas.)

Now, I am fixated on accessories, in particular pocketbooks. I mean purses, handbags in fabric, leather, and nylon. Designer names induce lust, and I spend significant portions of the lunch hour surfing through Kate Spade's and Nordstrom's websites.

So imagine my delight last night at the Natick Mall when I discovered The Maxx, which is basically TJ Maxx for just accessories. It was an Arcadian paradise in the middle of the suburban sprawl. I was in a state of bliss. And I did buy a new purse, which I got for less than half of what the big stores would have asked for it. I saved so much money, I bought myself a wallet to match.

And they say that I don't understand economics.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Toasts to all

Happy birthday to both Virginia Woolf and Robert Burns!

Today is Burns Day in Scotland, celebrated by Scots all over the world. I love having additional holidays to celebrate; it breaks up the monotony of working. In its honor, I am having hot chocolate with TWO marshmallows.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The color of the sky as far as I can see is cold gray

The weather this past week has been a bizarre combination of the middle of winter and the end of spring. So much so that getting dressed in the appropriate clothes for leaving the house every day has become a crap shoot, and you just KNOW that an evil cold is lying in wait for the one day that I decide to leave the house without my trusty winter hat with the ear flaps. We had below freezing and gray, warm with heavy winds and teaming rain, warm and sunny, cold and sunny and now today: snowstorm.

I give up. I am just going to keep the layers coming and leave my gloves in my pocketbook. And pray for the groundhog not to see his shadow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Cinema

In one of my more packrat-esque behaviors, I will admit that save all of the movie stubs from every movie I go to. I started this back in the 1980s with Ghostbusters and have been saving ever since. The older tickets are in a cardboard box hidden in my desk while the newer tickets are in a small wooden bowl from Bhutan that rests on the mantle over my fireplace.

Every now and again, I like to go through the tickets and track my movie attendance for the past few months. I did this over this past weekend when it was just too cold to leave the house. Last year, I went to the movies 24 times and saw 21 movies (I saw Phantom of the Opera, Sin City and Pride and Prejudice twice.) Seven of the movies were seen in January 2005; two were seen between June and August.

This got me thinking about the experience of seeing movies in the theater and how it really has fallen off quite a bit. Not just overall box office attendance, but my personal feelings about seeing films on the big screen. I can't decide if I am enjoying the films less or the theater experience less, but I don't really feel drawn to see movies in the theater anymore, especially with Netflix sending me new dvds all of the time. And I am really glad that I didn't spend $10 to see some of the movies that I end up renting. I think that it is worth it to see movies like Harry Potter or Chronicles of Narnia on the big screen, but the films with more intimate stories that I end up preferring, those are just fine to see at home on the television at your own pace without the talking, the cell phones ringing or the kids kicking the back of the chair.

I still love movies, don't get me wrong, I think that I will always love movies, but I really am hoping that 2006 has more to offer than 2005 did. If for no other reason than I need to get out of the house more!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Back to reality

Last night, I watched a bit of the Golden Globes pre-show and then the actual awards, although I was feeling rather under the weather so I wasn't paying 100% attention. In fact, I purposefully tuned out Joan Rivers on the TV Guide channel who, when speaking with Emma Thompson and Colin Firth, introduced Firth as Thompson's husband Greg Wise, was corrected by ET, and then started to talk to Firth about Pride and Prejudice, the film, in which he didn't appear. I was horrified!!! My poor lovelies. Granted Firth has looked better (in DESPERATE need of a shave,) but Joan, I think that all of those facelifts have done something to your BRAIN. There were a lot of British people there, Joan; next time, you might want to take me along to write your notecards. URGH.

Oddly, this year, I am not as into these awards as I have been in the past; then again, I have no one film that I was backing wholeheartedly. I was so pleased that both Rachel Weisz and George Clooney won supporting actor awards. Not only were they both deserving, but way to make a subtle political statement, Hollywood Foreign Press!! I was rooting for both The Constant Gardener and Pride and Prejudice,and basically anything else by or with British people (Mrs. Hendersen, "Girl in the Cafe".) I was out Britished of course, by Gwyneth Paltrow, who is perhaps the one American on the planet who wants to be English more than I do. Yes, we know that it is "Antony" dear, but let's remember that old "Saturday Night Live" monologue: you can do the accent, but you are still a Yank.

The temperature dropped 50 degrees on Saturday night. It wasn't pleasant. It still isn't pleasant. At least it is sunny. But I am glad that I have lined gloves.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Fit and Fabulous

At work, they have restarted the "Get Fit" program that they had last winter/spring. I participated on a team with several of my colleagues here, and I did pretty well. I wasn't "awesome athletic girl" by any stretch of the imagination, but I did do my minimum three hours a week of exercise that I was committed to, even when I was on vacation.

It was this program that made me realize that exercise actually makes you feel good and isn't something to be avoided at all costs. Imagine this coming from the person who is loathe to get off the couch during Masterpiece Theater to retreive the boiling water to make a cup of tea. I have also learned that the cross ramp machine is a really great place to burn off the stress of the day.

In a very ironic sort of way, I have been made the new team captain. Which is sort of funny, me being the team motivator, when it is the team itself that motivates I am motivated by the guilt I will feel for letting the team down by NOT completing my required exercise time. This is why I never used to be a joiner in the first place; curse other people who rely on my help! ;)

I spent 50 minutes on the elipitical machine yesterday, and I felt REALLY good and am suffering no after-effects today. I was inspired during my workout to compile a couple of cardio mixes to distribute to my team, so not only will they be motivated, but they will be bribed with good music to exercise. Oh, how I love the rewards system.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Happy Mondays

Over the weekend, I had a couple of firsts. I had my first gathering at my place in the new year. I thought it was going to be a party, but then I was afraid it was going to be a soiree, so I was rather glad to get a few last minute RSVPs and have it be a gathering. It also was the first soiree/party/gathering I have ever had where I didn't eat too much, drink too much or generally get overly uptight about how the party was going and were people having a good time. I just let it develop on its own, and it worked out very nicely. There is a large part of me that is very "Martha Stewart, overly-controlling, things must be beautiful and perfect or else" when it comes to planning parties at my home, and I don't know how or why it happened, but somehow that got totally supressed. I just was utterly impressed with myself. I even didn't get all that upset that our team was slaughtered in Trivial Pursuit; dare I say that I might just be growing up?

Unfortunately, I didn't make it to any open houses yesterday. It wasn't just me though; I still hadn't gotten the e-mail of places to go from my realtor when I checked my e-mail at 11.00 am. Anyhow, I feel that cancels out all blame, and we have a fresh start again this week.

Last night I caught Raising Helen on cable, and after watching it, I realized that I have entirely all of the wrong shoes for a young urban woman. I am no longer the gal who hangs out with mods and punks and skinheads (albeit not the rascist kind,) and therefore I no longer need to wear Doc Martens to excess. I need to get me some fun, sexy and yet not painful footwear. The movie for me was an ode to shoes, and I am ready to start writing my own. [Also, how does John Corbett manage to get sexier the older he gets? He was so hot on "Northern Exposure", but now he is just hot and funny and nice. (I will never understand how Carrie let him go on "Sex and the City".)]

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Where is OSHA when you need them?

I can't stop thinking about those poor people in West Virginia who lost their family members to the coal mine explosion. You would think that in 2006 we wouldn't still be using coal for fuel or that human beings wouldn't still be doing the mining; it seems so 1880s to me. Heck, it's so 1980s as well.

I was especially saddened to hear this morning that false reports got to the family members that their were 12 survivors and 1 casualty, when it is the other way around, and that man still isn't conscious. Nothing like giving people false hope, giving them a miracle and then yanking it away. That was really irresponsible.

But what disturbs me most was reading this on
The administration has called for cuts to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the agency has shed about 120 coal-industry enforcement jobs since 2002, according to statistics compiled by Democratic congressional aides.

After President Bush took office in 2001, the administration pulled back a series of regulations proposed under President Clinton, including the requirement to upgrade miners' emergency respiratory devices and to add more mine rescue teams.

Three years ago, the White House wanted to increase the legal level of breathable dust that miners could be exposed to, but it backed away in the face of congressional opposition. And Democrats have criticized Bush administration officials for going after relatively small fines against offenders; of the 208 citations issued at Sago Mine, nearly half carried the minimum fine of $60, and none amounted to more than $900.

Something about this situation parallels itself for me with what happened after Hurricane Katrina with the levees, even though some of the details are different, of course. Poor people, place without a strong local economy or big business to back up the community, and the government doesn't make security and safety a priority, despite the health and safety risks to the people providing this service. I am not under the delusion that life is fair, but it would be nice if it could be a little less hazardous.


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