Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Perfect Pen

This topic may seem a little silly as I am typing about it, but haven't you ever wondered what drives us to find that perfect pen? Now, of course the only reason I bring this up is because I spent 30 minutes, yes, three-zero minutes, searching for the perfect pen today. It is completely possible that I would have been able to cut this time in half had I been able to test each pen's unique writing capability's. Yes, I think each pen has it's own capabilities.
Lets start with the bold point pen...and I will stop you right there. Why is there a bold point pen?? Just make it a marker for cryin' out loud! Who in their right mind would knowingly choose to write a document of any kind with a bold point PEN??? A toddler perhaps. Or a very near-sighted person. Give the kid some crayons and the near-sighted person a laptop with bold extra large print and call it a day.
Moving on to the medium point writing utensil. Now, in my experience I feel like I have run into more people who shy away from the medium points and go right for the fine point. So, Why, I dare ask, are medium point pens the easiest ones to find in A) Bulk packaging B) the cheapest prices and C) pretty much everywhere a pen is sold?? Are retailers, manufactures, etc that worried that a person will impale themselves with a fine point pen that they are willing to sacrifice the consumer's right to pure and utter scribing happiness, merely to avoid a lawsuit?? Come on now!! I know we may not be the brightest species on the planet, but at least let us enjoy a good "pen and flow." (I may have to coin that phrase.)
Once again, I digress...enter fine point pen. As mentioned earlier, I am finding more and more people enjoying the flow and crispness of the fine pointed writing friend. I was and am still occasionally in this group that enjoys a good Uniball Fine Point. (No, not Bic.) However, once again, shout out to good ol' Pops who has shown me the true meaning of writing bliss with the Uniball MICRO point. I remember growing up finding these completely black cased pens all over the house. The cap would be off and pen on the counter if Mom had last used it. She doesn't like to put caps back on pens...not sure what it is. Or the cap chewed like it was someone's last supper if my sister had it last. And of course, no cap at all if little bro had it in his possession for anymore than 5 seconds. I don't know if it was the level of respect I gave Dad or the pen that made me return it in its pristine condition to its natural home on Dad's desk. If you enjoy the feel and comfort of a fine point pen, I'm telling you...try the Micro. It will change your world.
I will leave you one last item to discuss around this topic. Why, oh WHY does your waitress (or waiter) ALWAYS have the best pen??

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What is it about the Fall...?

I know, I know...it's been a minute since I have last posted, but I am back. I'm going to try to get back into my regular postings. So, I start back up with the question...What is it about the fall season that makes us crave certain smells, foods, etc?? The Fall/Autumn season is officially upon us. I pose these questions to all of my readers because I cannot come up with anything other than a semi scientific answer. However, before I reveal said semi scientific answer, I want to delve into some of the categories.
Let's start with the smells. Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of fall, I think of the smell of leaves, fires (from real fireplaces), apples and cinnamon, baked goods and clean laundry. I'm sure you most of you are on the same wavelength as me with the first few items. The last one may have thrown you off a bit though. Let me explain myself on that one. The reason I think of clean laundry in the fall is because when given them time, as soon as my laundry is done (especially sheets, towels and sweatshirts) I like to wrap myself up in said items as soon as it comes out of the dryer while it is still warm. Be honest...what can beat this feeling?? I don't get this same feeling or smell recognition in any other season but fall. As far as the other smells, yes, I know they are relatively common, but the beauty is that everyone probably has different memories and feelings associated with each smell. When I smell leaves, I think of when I was a kid. We would help our parents rake up the millions of leaves dropped by the 5 maple trees in our yard and then get to jump in the pile. Now, for those of you who never had the experience of a maple tree in your yard...yes, LOTS of leaves are to be had, however the little thing that most don't remember or think of....acorns. Yeah, jumping into a pile of leaves is all fun and games until you get an acorn in the knee, elbow or spleen. Let me be the first to tell you, they HURT! But still fun, nonetheless.
Next of course comes the smell of a fire from a real fireplace. What could be better than a nice wood fire with a cup of hot cider or hot chocolate on a cool fall afternoon or evening? Nowadays there are many who do not have the luxury of having such a fireplace or have chosen the gas fireplace road... If this is any of you, I beg you to get in front of at least one WOOD fireplace this fall. I promise you, it is worth it!
The smell of apples and cinnamon along with baked goods leads me into my next topic...food. For those who know me personally know that I don't generally get all that excited about food. It actually is in my nature that I should (my entire family seems to except me), however, yet again, I have to be different. :-) Although, when it comes to baked goods in the fall, we enter a whole different ball game. I made my first batch of cookies for the fall season. I decided to start out slow with the old fashioned chocolate chip. Don't want to get too carried away too early. Setting the bar high right off the bat with, we'll say a coffee or cheesecake, could prove to be difficult and in turn dangerous. Anyway, I digress...maybe it is the fact that the windows are all closed, forcing the sweet smell of sugary goodness to stay inside that makes it so satisfying to bake in the fall. In case you are like I used to be and unable to bake, there is a trick to getting the "smell of fall" in your house. All you need is an apple, an orange, cloves, and a cinnamon stick or two. You cut the orange and apple in half and put them in a pot with boiling water. Add cloves and cinnamon sticks and let it simmer. In about 20 minutes you will instantly have the best fall smelling house on the block.
We can all thank my mom for teaching me that little trick. Even though I now am able to bake a halfway decent pastry or cookie, I still like to throw this little number on the stove every once in a while. It's a nice touch for the fall ambiance of your home.
And now for the big finale....the semi scientific answer to what it is about the fall smells that just does something to each person in their own way. Now, I must preface this with the ever so clear fact that I am not a scientist, nor am I attempting to make anyone believe I have any idea what I am talking about. However, I like the fact that the smells of fall effect everyone differently because of their Amygdala (or the part of your brain that connects a smell to a certain memory). I told you, I'm no scientist! Anyway, sorry if that was anti-climactic. It's going to take me a few posts to get back into the swing of things. So bear with me and for pete sake, make a darn fire to sit in front of with some cookies and hot chocolate! :-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Miss Cleo....

Since I had a post about our dog, Pace, it is only fair I make a post for "our" cat, Cleo. I put "our" cat because I have never owned/adopted/rescued a cat. I inherited this cat by default. There will be days I will call her our cat, but today is definitely an "our" cat day. The difference is basically when she does something(s) to drive me absolutely bonkers. Last night/this morning is one of those days. Little did I know when I "inherited" this cat, that cats are nocturnal. (We were a dog family) Would have been a deal breaker for me, but..... (Aishiteru that much!)
So, of course, when you want to sleep, cats want to play. Now, most cats could probably get away with not waking your up during the night. However "our" cat is not like most cats. Cleo is, how can I put this lightly..ah yes..a pleasantly plump Calico!! I kid you not. She weighs in at a whopping 20 lbs!! For those of you who are "cat clueless" as I was, the average weight for a cat is between 8-10lbs. I'll do the math for you...Cleo is TWICE that!! So you can just imagine when she plays at night, it sounds like a toddler is running around, with the occasional thump when she jumps. Another phenomenon about "our" Cleo is her purr. Most cats purr "within" themselves. Nope, not Cleo. She HAS to be different in every way, so her purr sounds more like a motor of a 1982 VW Bug-with a broken muffler. In case that didn't put her at the top of the "Special List," she has Hypothyroid disease AND Diabetes! Yes, that is correct, we have to give her a shot of insulin every night.
When Cleo is done with her playing at 4am she moves onto the next part of her routine, eating of course!! Even though we feed her right before we go to bed, she has to let us know she is eating again. She does this by scratching at the bed or jumping on the bed and pawing at our heads. Last night she decided to do both. You know...just in case I didn't notice her jumping into my face. (Note Picture: Imagine that flying towards you at 2am) I was having flashbacks to my younger brother waking me up at 6am because he wanted to play with his WWF Wrestler Action figures and he needed me to ref the matches.
I will admit, she has her moments where she is adorable. She has taken a liking to me, mainly when I am in my chair that allows her to lay on my chest. When she does that, she is kind of cute...until she crushes the air out of my lungs. If
she could just keep the nighttime activity to a minimum and perhaps keep her paws away from my head, that would be great! Thats all for today. Stay warm out there!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Resolution Schmezolution

Congratulations!!! You made it through the first decade of the New Millennium! Now comes the daunting task of making the infamous "New Year's Resolutions." Personally, I have never been a fan of them. Its almost like reverse psychology...you make these resolutions and 9 times out of 10 you break them within 2 weeks. It is a proven fact that it takes about 21 days to form/break a habit. So at least give it a solid 3 weeks!!
I like to call them my goals rather than my resolutions. I also like to make them more general (easier to blur the lines of success). For example, instead of saying "I am going to go to workout at least 3 times a week."; My goal is to live/eat healthier. Being realistic that I am horrible when it comes to working out and things come up that keep me from doing it (i.e. work, friends, being social, etc), I choose this healthier lifestyle goal so I can take baby steps to getting into the shape I want to be in. I know that if I give myself positive reinforcement for having a salad and fries rather than a burger and fries, I will feel better about myself. Thus pushing me to take the next step to use Balsamic Vinaigrette rather than Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing....ok, maybe not that far, but perhaps leave out the fries.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone fails at their resolutions. Some have a lot of more willpower and motivation to succeed and follow through with their resolutions/goals. I, however, am not one of those people. I need to take my baby steps. If I put all my eggs in one basket and go for the big cheese (is that enough clich├ęs for you? ), I am almost certain to fail. With the small/general goals I set, if I can follow through with them, then its a gain. If not, I set new smaller goals. I believe in rewarding yourself and others for the little things. No goal is too small to celebrate once you achieve it.
Anywho, I wish you all luck with you 2010 Resolutions/Goals. If you have any tips on how to "stay the course" feel free to share them. I will keep you posted on any progress I make with my goals. (Notice, I am not disclosing them...just in case!) Ta Ta for now!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Any Precipitation and Boston Drivers...

Anyone who lives in or around Boston will probably agree with me completely on this...even if they are they are part of the problem. Today is our first weekday snow/rain storm and it made this morning's commute almost unbearable. I got stuck behind at least 10 people who were driving 30 mph on the highway (which was the clearest road in my commute) for no reason I can think of other than the little white stuff coming at them too fast.

Really though, what is the difference between driving in snow when the roads are mostly clear and driving in rain? Even rain they have a hard time with too!! Its water!!! Unless you are the Wicked Witch of the West and driving a convertible, you really shouldn't have a problem with it. I understand driving carefully, but these people just drive like they turned 100 years old as soon as the sun went away. They drive 30 miles below the speed limit, forget to use their signals, and brake for NO reason. This, my friend, is how accidents are caused. Put the phones down, keep the radio on one station, and pay attention to driving. It's really not that hard.

My side mirror got flipped in because of the amount of slush hitting me from the car next to me....did I slam on my brakes or panic?? NO! You know why? Two reasons for this: 1. I would have caused an accident if I did.; 2. No need to freak out, just flip the wipers on high and slowly take your foot off the gas to let the inconsiderate dumb ass next to me continue on his merry way.

Now, I know growing up in upstate New York is giving me the upper hand when it comes to knowledge and skill of driving in snow. However, thinking about it the other day, I remembered....Boston is in New England, New England gets snow and always has. So why is it that people who live here have such a hard time driving in it?? There is no excuse other than fear and stupidity. If you are afraid, don't drive...carpool or take public transportation. Stupidity....well we won't go there.

Moral of the story folks....if you are driving through Boston during a rain or snow storm, give yourself an extra 45 minutes to get to your destination. Or just fly, walk, ride a bike, anything but drive...it's probably safer that way and you will get there faster.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Driving Etiquette

No, I am not talking about road rage, horn honking or talking on your phone. Nor am I talking about picking your nose, putting on make up, or shaving. I think we can all agree that none of these should be done while behind the wheel of a large automobile. Yet, I am sure we all have done at least one maybe two of these and will never admit which ones. It's ok! I can let one or two imperfections slide, just don't let it happen again!!

The driving etiquette I would like to discuss today is "To Sing or Not to Sing." I have been racking my brain for sometime now and cannot figure out why people are so hesitant to belt out a good tune once in while. And god forbid you throw in a dance move!! Personally, I find it very comforting when I see someone rocking out to a good Journey ballad. Think about it...that person is 50 times more likely to be in a great mood. Drivers who are rocking out are probably less likely to cut you off, tail you or just be an overall dick on the road. Living in Massachusetts, we call these jerks of the road "Massholes."

Ok, back to the rocking out while driving - what is so wrong with it?? Driving into work today I was jamming out to Daft Punk's "One more time" (GREAT driving/dancing song). Now, this is not a singing song, but more of a shoulder toss and slight head bop song. I don't usually pay attention to see if other drivers notice my jam session, but today I just did a quick glance here and there. Let me tell you, 4 out 5 people I saw looking at me were either smiling or just flat out laughing. Most people would have one of two reactions to this, one being pure embarrassment or two, which of course is my reaction, pure joy and satisfaction. I may have single-handedly made these people's day!! Think about it, most of these people are on their way to work, a part of the day that most people dread. While thinking about all the work they have to do before the Thanksgiving holiday, they glance over and see this chick (yours truly) rocking out so hard it shakes her car. How could this not make you smile?? I mean come on!! If you don't get even a slight chuckle out of that, I am truly worried for you.

This picture is not me, but perfectly captures the reaction of a couple of my fellow commuters this morning. I would like to clarify, I don't recommend you dancing or singing at a level that makes it dangerous for you or other drivers. While singing, please do your best to keep your eyes open and not closed while hitting the high notes. While dancing, I recommend a good shoulder shuffle and SLIGHT head bob, anything more could impair your driving and we don't want that!

So, next time you are in your car and a good song comes on, JAM OUT!! Not only will it put you in a better mood, but it will put the drivers around you in a better mood too. If you are a beginner, I suggest to start out easy-try singing to a Journey song or two. After you master that, move on to the dancing part with a shoulder toss or two. If you can do both of those safely, you can graduate to some Michael Jackson, be careful not to get TOO into it though. We don't want you trying to Moonwalk in rush hour traffic. And always remember, you are NEVER going to see these people again, but you will probably make their day and maybe inspire them to do a little jamming of their own. Please dance and drive responsibly!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The life of a dog...

I was out in the yard with my dog the other day and started thinking about what the life of a dog really is like. Quick, back story, I have a rescued greyhound named Pace (Pah-Chey)-which means Peace in Italian.

Ok, moving on...now, I know greyhounds don't have the same behaviors as most dogs. In fact, they almost seem like aliens compared to almost every other dog. Most people think they are funny looking, and to be completely honest, I felt the same way until we rescued Pace. Until you really look at them closely, you don't realize how beautiful these creatures are. Their body is so sleek and slender, yet incredibly strong. And to pull the whole package together, their faces might be the most gentle and loving of all dogs. I mean, look at him....how could you not love that mug??

So, as I was saying before I got side tracked-a dog's life is really incredible when you think about it. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be entertained by a ball or stuffed toy with a squeaker for HOURS?? Who ever would imagine that a creature could get so excited at the sight of a ball, the sound of a squeaker, the rattle of a leash, etc? It seems so trivial but when you really think about it, dogs are quite smart! Pace will recognize the word "out" so we have to spell it out as if my 3 year old niece was in the room and we were spelling out "Candy." Who would have thought you had to censor yourself around a dog?? On the same point, try getting a ball from them if they don't obey the "Drop it" command. It isn't because they are stupid that they don't give it back to you. It's because they are entertained by us chasing them to try and get it. Some dogs might be a little slower and easier to catch, but YOU try chasing down a greyhound! Yeah, not going to happen. The funny thing is that Pace knows he could easily run by me, but no, he will run right towards me and then cut back and forth in front of me, just teasing the crap out of me. Let me just say, it must be quite a sight to watch me during this ordeal.

Now, most dogs would probably be able to play and run outside for a good, solid hour or so, however Pace does not play that way. I think he probably thinks "I ran my a** off for 4 years. I got fed garbage (literally) on a minimal level. And now you want me to run just for hours just for for the fun of it?? What are you smoking, lady?!" So, he will get a good 2 or 3 laps around the yard and then be done. This will tire him out enough so that he will sleep so soundly we have to check for a pulse every couple hours. This is especially funny when we go visit my parents. Because not only are they still adjusting to Pace taking over their couch, but their dog also has to adjust to the reality that Pace is like a teenage boy and will sleep anytime his is not eating.

And finally, the thing one dogs may hate the most is when you play "dress up" with them. As much as we try and use the excuse they will get cold or really don't mind it, we all know that we put silly little shirts, sweaters, and coats on our dog to make them look cute or cool. Yes, as you can see in the picture, I am guilty of this as well. In my defense...it was more to keep his hair off the furniture. Ok, that is a lie, he doesn't shed and we couldn't resist the argyle sweater!!

So, in conclusion (sorry Mom!), for those of us who were children once....being a dog is exactly like being a child. We are entertained for hours by mindless activity. We can get our parents to chase us around in circles and never catch us. And last but very not least, our parents dress us up in things they know we hate because they want everyone to look at us and tell us how cute we are, even they are lying.