Friday, November 30, 2007

A week's work well done

Man, who'd have believed that someone still riding a turkey-and-martini high could spend the week slaying dragons? Not only slaying dragons, but writing, marketing, budgeting, and printing all the news that's fit to print about all those dragons slayed? Slew?

I dragged myself to work on Monday knowing I faced some huge deadlines, many of which required some kind of creative spirit on my part. I honestly didn't know if I could pull it off, but, boy, something spurred me on (um, a paycheck?), and I was little Miss Writer Chick-Design Approver-Order Placer- Smooth Operator all week.

And in between the projects foreseen, other demands kept cropping up - writing an obituary for a dear missionary who died on Tuesday, cajoling a dynamic, inspiring woman to speak at a conference next summer, re-writing a section of copy that - although ready for the printer - additional information came my way.

Add to that mix budget tensions as we approach the year-end closing, a couple of lunch appointments that proved quite beneficial for the old resume, and updating two websites at work - and, well, I think I earned my pay-packet this week.

Oh, and I was just sweet as pie. Didn't jump down anyone's throat or get into a pissing match with someone hell-bent on derailing my kick-butt-train. No. Just sweet as pie. Honest.

Maybe a turkey-and-martini diet works for me, eh?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Every which way. I'm still trying to come down from my Thanksgiving turkey-high, as well as deal with a schedule and work-load overstuffed with meetings and must-be-dones.

Quick recap:

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Ate too much. Yum! Lots of family and good friends helped us tuck in to the gigantic meal. A full-filling time was had by all, I believe.

Engagement party was swell. I've posted pics at The MoBster Diaries, if you're interested.

Saw Fred Claus with buddy Joanna. It was OK. I'm still trying to decide if the "Siblings Anonymous" bit with Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton, and Steve Baldwin was brilliant or pathetic. I'm leaning toward "great concept/poor execution."

Put the first hunk of change down on Kate's wedding dress, and she made her alteration decisions. It'll take me a couple of months to scrounge the rest of the deposit dough so that the construction can begin. (And I do mean "construction.") Fortunately, Anne Barge is letting me dole out a bit every month, rather than write one whopping check (which wouldn't be any good, I can tell you).

Got back to New York Saturday afternoon, which gave me a little down-time before revving back up again Monday. Since then, however, I've been quite a little workin' machine. I've churned out brochure copy, press releases, web copy (er, except for this here blog), and approved artwork for several big projects. And the meetings. Well. They never end, do they?

So. Here I am. I apologize for being such a blog-slacker. And I have been lurking around your blogs but haven't commented. I'll get back to that later. So that's it for now from overstuffed Shorty. Once the tryptophan is completely out of my system, I'll get back to pithy blogging.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Day Countdown

The house is clean and "fluffed."

Tablecloths and napkins are pressed.

We've decorated inside and out.

Placecards are ready and waiting.

China plates are squeaky clean. (Yes, they made it down from New York with 'nary a chip.)

The turkey is prepped and chilling safely in the fridge until I'm ready to bung it into the oven tomorrow morning.

The cornbread dressing is as complete as it can be until the turkey drippings can be poured on.

A casserole or two await final warm-up.

Family and friends have checked in to confirm what they're bringing to to the meal.

So, I'm going to call it a day. (How about Thanksgiving Eve?) Enjoy the 3 F's tomorrow: Family, Friends, and Feast. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A different view

Got to Atlanta Friday evening and have either a) been running around like crazy, or b) finding my inner couch potato-ness.

The first thing that struck me Saturday morning was the crazy, wild, brilliant colors of the trees here. It's the most spectacular autumn display that I've seen in years. New York wasn't nearly this colorful (tree-wise, I mean) when I left. Wowser!

Between Thanksgiving preparations and Engagement Party plans, our dance card has been pretty full. We did get to church on Sunday (yea!), and I somehow found time to take a young friend to see the movie Fred Claus, but beyond that, it's been All Turkey Day-Engagement Hoopla/All The Time.

Here's what I like about being back in Atlanta:
  • Family and friends (of course)
  • Big-ass supermarkets - oh, to have a grand Publix or Kroger in Manhattan!
  • Cheap movie theaters
  • All Saints' Church
  • Front yards. Back yards.
  • Southern stuff - like, um, food and accents

Here's what I don't like:

  • Traffic (because I have to drive in it; I can't walk around it or catch the nearest subway to avoid it)
  • No water (well, there is water, it's just you really are mindful of conserving it since there's a shortage)
  • No Chrysler Building. No Grand Central Station. No Central Park. (And ordinarily I'd put "no Broadway," but since the stage-hands are on strike . . . )

But being home/ATL gives me a different view on life. And it's good to be here.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I was in the check-out line of my neighborhood grocery/bodega last evening, when "Build Me Up, Buttercup" started up over the store's Muzak (or whatever) system. This store, smack in the heart of Spanish Harlem, plays a mix of Latin and Old Top 40 stuff, even though nothing but Spanish (language) is swirling around me.

Now, "Build Me Up, Buttercup" came out in winter of my senior year in high school. Music does tend to tug at things long-buried. So, I have all the "then" memories whenever I hear the song: school talent shows, the big senior therm paper, Senior Prom, club retreats, Awards Day, planning for college, etc. But last night I heard the song in the "now." "Now" means a shopping in a largely Spanish-speaking area of New York City, living in a small, but cozy apartment, working in Midtown Manhattan, the subway, and Central Park. A million light years away from Chattanooga, Tennessee, City High School, and Clairol Hot Rollers.

This happens to me all the time. I'll hear an old song, remembering where and what I was when it became embedded in my heart and soul, then look around at the very different place and time of my life today. I just smile and shake my head. Never in my wildest dream would I have imagined it.

Does this happen to you? You hear a song that brings back memories, then look around at where your standing today? A very interesting juxtaposition, me thinks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's official: I'm a card-carrying New Yorker

Forget a Macy's card or Sak's, Lord & Taylor, or Tiffany's, for that matter. Anybody anywhere can be card-carrying members of those shopping emporia. No, what separates the Big Apple-Eaters from the New Kids in Town is a Duane Reade card. I'm serious.

Who's Duane Reade, you might ask? Well, as much as I like to imbue the ubiquitous Manhattan drugstore-cum-variety store with the persona of a guy named "Duane," it's actually named after the location of its first store - the corner of Duane and Reade streets in lower Manhattan. (Now you know.)

Duane Reade is everywhere. CVS? Rite Aid? Mom-and-Pop pharmacies? Practically invisible in Manhattan. But ol' Duane is on every street corner - sometimes there are two or three on a block. New Yorkers must have their Duane! I'm serious. I accuse my work-buddy Lisa of having a torrid affair with Duane, as she must see him everyday. Sometimes twice a day. "Give my love to Duane," I shout as she heads for her fix of DR.

It took me a long time to find time to fill out the form and get my official card discount card. Seems like I was always in a hurry, or there were too many folks behind me in the line. But a couple of days ago, well, the time was right, and I gave the big DR my name and email address and received a shiny new card, plus the miniature key-chain version.

So now I'm official. Duane Reade card. Check. Food Emporium card. Check. Voter registration card. Check. I must be serious about this New York City thing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thanksgiving Movies Redux

Two years ago I posted a couple of ramblings about Thanksgiving movies. The point was that unlike Halloween and Christmas, there aren't many Turkey Day-themed films. My list contained movies like The Ice Storm and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles that take place around the holiday, but there is a definite dearth of Pilgrim movies (one Spencer Tracy flick, if you're interested).

We have to face it. This hearty group of folks who ventured across an ocean in a rickety little boat just ain't that sexy. At least, no one has found the sex and humor in the Pilgrims landing in Massachusetts and throwing a big party with the Indians after a couple of rough winters. Sounds pretty rich for intrigue (and humor) to me.

If you want to check out my Thanksgiving movie lists, here they be:
Add to these the popular British Thanksgiving film (as suggested by PT): Thursday We All Went To Work As Usual. Har!

Any Thanksgiving movies I'm missing?

I'm still looking for the breakout Pilgrim/Indian/Turkey/Maize film. I appreciate that there is a writers' strike going on here, but surely someone can start working on the definitive Thanksgiving Pilgrim movie, eh? Maybe it will have to be me.

Monday, November 12, 2007

We gather together . . .

. . . all the stuff I'm bringing to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. I leave Friday afternoon, so it's time to start sorting what goes and what stays. I know that sounds as if I'm moving back (I'm not), but after moving all of my holiday decorations and the good china north with me, I have found that I need to haul some stuff back south.

Kate is hosting the family Thanksgiving this year - if my count is right, it'll number around 16 people - so it's only right and proper for her to have some of the Thanksgiving decorations that graced our house for all those Thanksgivings of yore. (I know you're thinking "Thanksgiving decorations????")

And the china. Well, that's a problem. I moved everything to New York because the thought of leaving Mother's china and my china in storage bothered me. The funny (ha-ha) thing is that I don't even have space for a kitchen table in my tiny apartment, but I have two full sets of china stashed away! At least I know it's safe.

There's no way I can afford to ship it all back at this point, but my plan is to carefully swaddle the plates only (8 of Mother's, 8 of mine) in the linen table clothes and napkins, plus bubble wrap, and pack them in my carry-on. Do you think china plates will freak out the security people at the airport? I'll get back to ya' on that.

I know you're thinking, Sheesh! Just eat on paper plates!, and we could do that, of course, but Thanksgiving's so much nicer on the good china, especially since it has graced our table for so many years. Plus, it's a good way to get the family heirlooms back down to Kate. Alas, I only have room for 16 plates, so I'm foregoing all the cups and saucers, bread plates, salad and soup bowls, and wonderful serving pieces. I do need to find a way to bring one of the platters, though - for the turkey, doncha' know.

Bit by bit during the week, I'll pack what's needed for my Thanksgiving trip. With so many valuable items heading south, last-minute packing is out of the question.

So, I will gather together to ask the Lord's blessing as I prepare for the feast of the season.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Latest rage in plastic surgery

At lunch yesterday we got into a discussion about the heavily face-lifted women of the Upper East Side. We were laughing about the fact that they all look alike and that the high-priced Manhattan plastic surgeons must have a one-size-fits-all mask.

"Yeah, but that's all about to change," said a friend at the table. "I predict the 'natural' look is on its way back and younger women will start pounding down the doors of plastic surgeons to stop stretching and start sagging their faces!"

Well, the race was on, and everyone jumped in with future plastic surgery requests:

"Can you give me more crepiness and wrinkles around the eyes? My top lids don't sag over my lower lids."

"Thinner lips, with those lovely little perpendicular lines!"

"Can you take some of my butt fat and inject it under my chin for more neck flab? I'd like it to swing in a stiff wind. Mmmmm - sexy!"

"And while you're at it - save a little of that butt fat for my jowls. I want them heavy enough to pull down the corners of my mouth."

"More age spots! Just tattoo them on until I get some of my own."

"Can I get a nose-hair/ear-hair transplant? The bushier, the better!" (That from a man, not a woman, thank goodness. We weren't about to go that far.)

Well, you get the drift. We're all hoping against hope that the natural aging look will soon be the cutting edge (literally) of our nip/tuck world. And with that in mind, I'm looking pretty good this morning!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Anything Can Happen Day

It's Wednesday, and as every good Mouseketeer knows, it's "Anything Can Happen Day." In celebration of said day, I thought you might like to relive the whacky Wednesday antics of the Mouseketeers. And I mean the real Mouseketeers - the ones named Tommy and Sharon and Bobby and Darlene and - of course - Annette, not the ones names Britney, Justin, or Christina.

So here, my friends, in honor of good ol' Wednesday, join me and Jimmy Dodd in a chorus of "Anything Can Happen Day."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Voices in the night

Last week I wrote about being sucked under by the quicksand of writer-stuck. Well, the good news is that I have pulled myself out of the muck and have completed all but one of the work-related writing projects I mentioned.

The other good news is that a couple of stories that have been oozing around in my brain have started to sink in to become real stories. Ideas are poppin' all over the place. Not only that, but characters are coming out of thin air. It's like an episode of "Twilight Zone" (but without the toy telephone), where the characters are starting to take over my thoughts.

And. The characters from the two stories are waking me up at night. And talking to each other. Across stories. Very spooky. Still, they're giving me some good plots lines, so I really can't complain.

Perhaps it's time to get professional help.

Monday, November 05, 2007

NYC Marathon Part 3: Runnin' Robin

Since Robin the Marathoner found his way to Shorty PJs and commented (see previous post), I thought he deserved his very own post. Oh, and if you read his comment, you'll find out where Batman was during the race. (Hint: NOT in Gotham City.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

NYC Marathon Part 2: The Real Folks

All the champions have raced and won their glories, so now it's time for da' peoples to get their due. Here are a few shots from the 5th Avenue/Central Park end of the race (roughly between miles 22 and 23 in the 26-miler).

You can see the the street-packed field of runners as they head toward the south end of the Park.

I can't believe that folks are still standing at this point (never mind, running!), after hitting all five boroughs. By the time they reach this point (NW corner of Central Park - 110th and 5th), they know they're almost at the finish.

Lots of vocal supporters line the route. It's amazing how many actually spot the mom, dad, co-worker, or whomever they've come to cheer on. A lively bunch!

As always, a few brave souls sport various git-ups. Sponge Bob, Robin (but no Batman - hmmm), fairy princesses, Scotsmen in kilts, and all sorts of goofy headgear. Sponge Bob does look like he's in the zone, eh?

OK. That's enough for me today. It's hard work being a side-line, "Woo-hoo! Good job! Good job!" person. And all that clapping! I've gotten my upper-body workout at this marathon, I tell you.

Now I'm going to put my feet up and take a little nap.

NYC Marathon Part 1: The Serious End

Strolled over to 1st Ave. to check out Mile 18 of the NYC Marathon. I really wanted to see Paula Radcliffe - who just won the women's race, but the way. My picture's blurry (I'm not a good action-shot person), but I think you can tell who she is.

And you can see her the back of Radcliffe if you look into the middle of this crowd, in between all the motorcycles.

Wheelchair racers were out in force.

Blue sign, blue sky, great race day!

I'm going to have a little lunch, then head over to 5th Avenue to see the wild hordes racing. More later!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

For all the saints who from their labors rest . . .

Halloween's over. The restless dead spirits (and fairy princesses and Supermen) have returned from whence they came. So now comes All Saints Day. I will celebrate my own saints today, rather than wax elegiac over Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa. Here are some my own personal saints, whom I honor today.

Daddy: Truly a saint. This quiet man put up with his wife's loud crazy family for over 50 years but managed to remain jolly and good-natured almost to the end. (And we'll forgive him those last few years of grouchiness.) He was a gardener, builder, grocery-shopper extraordinaire, singer of "Suwanee River" and "Oh What A Beautiful Morning," caretaker of sick children in the middle of the night, lover of Christmas, hater of PTA meetings (but went anyway), and an all-around good guy. He loved us all deeply. He died in 1999.

Mother: An active saint. The electricity that kept the family-machine running. Part of her was adventuresome - she joined the WAVES in World War II and moved away from her family in Atlanta, she worked outside the home for most of my growing-up years, and it was her bright idea to have us camp all the way to California and back for our 1959 vacation. But she could be pretty stodgy in some other ways, especially where religion and food was concerned (when we took her to New Orleans, she'd only eat at Shoney's!). But she was funny and gregarious and proud of all of us. She died in 2004.

David: A not-so-saintly saint. At least not in his younger years. David was the wild brother - mopeds and loud old jalopies (remember The Blue Goose?), rock and roll music, ducktails and high flat-tops, wall-puncher, sister-puncher, all-round prankster. But he sowed his wild oats early and became a responsible businessman and loving father. He died much too young (44) of pancreatic cancer in 1990.

Aubrey: A fisherman saint. Dear Aubrey died in March of cancer. He was a good friend and knew how to make a damn good gin and tonic.

Two dear saintly friends died during 2007, Dede and Emily.

Dede made me welcome when we first hit the doorstep of All Saints' Church back in 1981. She was friendly and fun. I had both of her children in Sunday School classes over the years. She, too, left this world too soon.

Emily, on the other hand, led a good long life. A true Southern lady, whose ashes reposed in an antique soup tureen during her funeral service (so I'm told - how perfect is that?). One year she bought Kate a lovely Easter bonnet, which was much appreciated by this struggling single mom.

Tom: A classmate saint. Tom died in 2006 in that horrific kidnapping incident in Iraq. He was a Quaker and a peacemaker. He gave his life for what he believed.

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

May your lives be filled with such saints. A good All Saints Day to you all.