Monday, January 29, 2007

Let It Snow Again; Did the Airlines Call?; The Power of No

Report for January 29, 2007

In the northeast, we have been so devoid of snow this winter that yesterday, when 1/4 to 1/2 inch of snow fell after dark, my neighborhood came alive. Children attempted to sled down nonexistent slopes; grownups built miniature snowpersons, 1/4 the size that would normally be constructed in a "good" snowfall. Doesn't matter--it snowed!!

In the city, snow usually brings about slippery-street-and-road fear, and dread of shoveling walkways and stairs. We ponder the hours required to extract our cars from "little Matterhorns." And we steel ourselves to deal with the ugly black lumps that develop after snow has sat on the ground for more than 3 days.

But this time, after such a mild fall and winter--one in which we actually LONGED for bad weather--snow brought great joy to many. May it snow again 1/2 inch tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after that.

Has anyone noticed that I still haven't gone to Florida. My fingers don't seem to be dialing the telephone to call an airline. I HATE FLYING. Why does Florida have to be so far away that I need to FLY to it? Last time I took a train, the sleeper car went on fire. I'd drive but that would take a week roundtrip, and I don't have enough time to do that. ... Maybe the airlines can call ME?

Friends are grandparents to a little boy who is 3 and who is heavily into using the word "no." All he says is "no" this, "no" that. When they tried to feed him, he shouted: "No, I don't want any!! Noooooooooo!!!!" They begged him to eat. "No!" They tried to sweet-talk him into eating. "No!" They tried to play mind games with him, but he still wouldn't eat. "No!!!"

This child reminded me of ME as a child. I remember my father heading a spoon toward my mouth, saying, "Have one little spoonful for Aunt Julie. Go on. Just one." And I'd cry and scream and carry on, shouting "No!" until he proffered: "Do you want to make Aunt Julie sad?" I didn't want to make Aunt Julie sad, so I'd gag my way through another spoonful to make sure Aunt Julie was happy.

Having been such a poor eater in my childhood, I thought I understood this little boy, and I said to his grandparents, "Let me talk to him for a minute alone." When they left the room, I turned to this child and said, "Eddie, have just one little bite. Just one, and if you don't like it, you don't have to eat any more of it. But you have to at least try it. You know why? Because we all love you and we'll be sad if you don't eat. You don't want to make your grandma and grampa sad, do you? Or me, you don't want to make me sad, do you? Just one little spoonful..."

And the little boy looked me straight in the eye shouted, "No! No! No!" and he got up and ran out of the room.

I have such a way with children...

I would write more, but the snow is almost all melted and I need to go touch it. I'll be back later!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

She's Old, but She LOVES Football!

A little over two years ago, I became my 88-year-old mother's only living child when my older sister died of cancer. So you'd think my mother would be happy to hear from her only fully-functioning relative and greet me with enthusiam and joy when I call. Well, she is happy to hear from me, but only if a football game is not on at the time.

A few weeks ago when the Chicago Bears were playing, she rushed me through the conversation so she could get back to the game since it was the 3rd quarter and she didn't want to miss anything. Okay, somewhat understandable. Sort of.

This weekend she told me she'd call back when I was silly enough to call her during the first quarter of the Patriots-Colts game. Good grief, it was the first quarter!!!

Though she lives 1250 miles away, I know, I just know, she's sitting there in her little cheerleading outfit, rooting on her favorite team of the week--with pom-poms no less. I just know it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My Addictions

I stole this from Mel ...

My Addictions

1. Cats--any shape, color, size.

2. Carbohydrates. Bread, rice, cereals, pasta--love them, and the more the better.

3. Computers--I make excuses for why I have to be on the computer even when I have no reason to be there. They are extremely compelling.

4. Cars--I only own one car at a time, but if I don't love the car I'm in (like my Toyota Scion) life is not complete. An ugly car makes for an ugly life is my philosophy.

5. Marshmallow Fluff--haven't had any in over a year, but if I had a jar in front of me I might finish it off in an hour or so (plain; by the spoonful).

6. The Ocean--Sitting and staring at it for hours is just fine with me.

7. Coca-Cola--Does Betty Ford Clinic have a program to break this addiction? Or the Mayo Clinic? I'm willing to sign myself in for an intervention.

8. Old Movies--Many of today's movies are overdone, poorly written, obvious, unfunny, undramatic, unlikeable. But show me a good old movie and I'm fascinated. I'm definitely old-fashioned that way. Shoot me.

9. Flip That House (HGTV)--I love to see what a run-down ramshackle disaster is turned into through the use of granite, maple, travertine, and good decorating.

10. Home Decorating--please someone make me stop!

If you want to list your addictions, please do so in the comments section or on your own blog. You KNOW you've got addictions!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bompy, Experience vs. Enthusiasm, Late Christmas Lunch, Bunco

A friend called me two days ago to say my favorite cat in all the world, Bompy, died.

I don't know why I love him so. I'd only met him twice, but he was so compelling I basically ignored everyone else at a dinner party to follow him wherever he went. Yes, I'm nuts. Was this ever in question?

Here's to Bompy! I hope he's having a great time in Cat Heaven.

On another note, have you ever given someone yards and yards of advice whenever they asked for it based on let's say 20 years' of work experience (and you are well-respected in your field), searched out answers for them, knocked yourself out, got advice from others in your area of expertise if you personally didn't have the answer, and then after months of involving yourself in your friend's project, someone new comes along with absolutely no knowledge of the subject, tells your friend "do this/do that," questions the value of your 20 years' experience, and your friend ignores every piece of advice you've put forth based on KNOWLEDGE and does a 180 to follow the new, totally inexperienced person's advice as if they "know"? (Yes, that was a very very long sentence...) That's never happened to you? Trust me. It's super-upsetting.

I'm going to this season's final Christmas event today. Another lunch. I'm so tired of eating. And in this area, you basically have two menu choices: Italian and Chinese. How many more Chicken Francaises can I eat--or Penne Vodka? Who wants more General Tsao's Chicken--or for that matter, those funny crispy noodles served at the Chinese restaurant with two little bowls of mustard and sweet orange sauces?

MSN has a bunco game going 24/7. If you can't find me, I'll be over there. I'm hooked.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Simon Cowell's in Trouble

It was fascinating to watch the auditions for American Idol over the last two nights to see how many people in this country think they are talented enough to (a) audition for a nationally televised dog-eat-dog "talent" contest and (b) qualify as the "greatest singing talent" in the country in 2007, especially when they don't know how to sing to begin with.

Beyond that, it's even more interesting and fascinating that so many people (10,000 in Minneapolis alone) think they are good-looking enough not to scare anyone who looks at them.

Five years ago I took singing lessons and learned one important thing. No one seems to have a clue how they sound when they sing until they hear the playback. Sometimes I'd sing a song and think it was the most beautiful rendition the world had ever heard--until I listened to it on tape and realized I wasn't hitting all the notes properly and even sounded whiney or raspy at times.

Other times I'd record something and feel embarrassed afterwards because I believed it was the most God-awful singing EVER. But on playback, it sounded pretty good. And when I say good, I mean good enough to sing in the shower or in front of people who really really loved me and would overlook such awful singing.

So to watch these auditioners become extremely ANGRY when they failed to get the golden ticket was really sad for me to watch because I knew that in their heads they had just sung the most beautiful song of all time--but we all heard it as off-key, out of tune, flat, whiney...and rather pathetic.

And though I'm no fan of Simon Cowell, I worry for him. Because someday, somewhere, some rejected AI auditioner's going to let him have it with an AK-47, and he'll have lost his life all because he told someone that they were off-key and didn't know how to sing. How could they have known he was right?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

There It Goes Again

I was in my office on Saturday night, sitting in a swivel chair; I reached behind me to pull something heavy toward me and the chair I was sitting in tipped to the right, throwing me forward. Oops.

I hit my head on the edge of the filing cabinet (yeck! blood!), my right knee fell downward onto the sharp edge of a steel "box" to my right (steel does not bend), and I found myself eventually upside down in a pile on the floor with a large, heavy chair hanging over me and pinning me down. The fun never stops around here. :)

As I lay on the floor I thought this is the most ridiculous thing that's happened to me in a very long time. At first I laughed to myself. Then when the pain of my knee sunk in, I cried. Then when I saw blood on my head, I panicked. I still had to figure out how to get up and out from that mess and get myself up off the floor considering the pain I was experiencing in my knee.

Well, I eventually did get up (as Frankie and Johnny stared from a safe distance with that dumb blank stare that cats are so good at), and I took care of the blood, put an ice pack on my head and another on my knee. But now I think I've taken about 10 steps backwards in mobility. Back to PT! Boo...not fair!

Oh, and the TV--the one on top of the cabinet I struck my head on--broke and I had to replace it last night. $$$ out the window (but it's LCD and it's HD-ready, so that's a good thing).

So I'm grumpy and achy today still. And I might even be grumpy again tomorrow (but I'm hoping the pain goes away by then).

Sorry you have such a grumpy friend. Life is good; it just a few minor sidetrips of not good.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I woke up at 8:25, thought "I just need 5 minutes more"--and the next time I looked at the clock it was 12:05. In the afternoon.


Might have been the best sleep I've had in a long time...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Another Exciting Day Here in The World of Zed

Okay, okay, I'm not going to torture anyone any longer with the meme. Sheesh! I think I have the stomach buggy thing that's going around, so today I think I'll go relax in my Homedics Shiatsu Massager.

And have myself a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino (yum).

Then I'll clean the living room and chase the cats with the vaccuum for a while.
Later I'm heading in my car (Toyota Scion)

to Target for litter and cat food.

Nothing but good times and excitement.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Random Meme

Reporting in, January 9, 2007:

I need to leave early in the morning for a meeting a bit of a distance away, so in my absence would you please answer these 16 seemingly (and yes, absolutely) random questions for me in the comments section? Or for that matter, do it on your own blog--just tell me where to look. Thanks!

The Random Meme

1. a) Are your dreams recurring or new every night? b) Do you have nightmares?

2. If you are stopped by a police officer for speeding, how do you treat the officer? Are you friendly? Cold? Angry? Nervous? Rude? Explain.

3. Have you seen ever climbed a mountain? If so, where?

4. Have you ever taken a cruise? Where to and for how long?

5. Have you ever given a speech before more than 200 people? Where (generalities are fine)?

6. What's your favorite holiday, and why?

7. What is a place you haven't been to, but would like to visit before you die?

8. If you had $5,000,000 cash to spend freely, what would you do with it?

9. What program do you use to send and receive email? Hotmail? Outlook Express? Windows Live? MSN? AOL? Something else?

10. In regard to fixing your computer, do you consider yourself to be a) a novice, b) a mild (I have a little knowledge) expert, or c) an expert?

11. How many hours per day do you spend working/playing (combined) on the computer?

12. Are you afraid of flying?

13. Do you have pets? What kind(s) and how many?

14. What are your favorite sports to participate in?
What are your favorite sports to watch?

15. Last, but not least: Do you consider yourself a happy person?

16. Looking at the way your life has gone thus far, how successful do you feel you have been in accomplishing what you set out to do (whatever THAT is)--on a scale of 1-100%? 25%? 50%? 75%? 100%?

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Feel So Lemony

Well, I hope you're HAPPY, Tanya. :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

So, Do You See the Difference??

Don't anyone ever tell me I'm not courageous. Today I changed the background color of my blog from "stark white" to "floral white."

What a difference, huh? I live on the edge. I'm a risk taker--

Tomorrow I just might add another color, say in the header; or if I decide I don't like the floral white background, I might change the color back to stark white.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do

Reporting in January 6, 2007:

1. The cockatoo lady has returned from vacation and said I did such a great job taking care of her pet that she's not going to charge me for the broken vase. She changed her mind. Whew!

2. There's something dripping in the corner behind my bed's headboard in the bedroom. I kept hearing it all night, but whenever I got up to find the source, it seemed to get less loud. Never found it. Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do. :) Finding it is my mission today.

3. I'm thinking of redesigning my site to add a photograph in the header and color all around, but I am afraid to use Blogger's new templates--the ones that Blogger itself says will make you lose everything you had previously. (Not that what I have is so great, but at least it works.) Anyone switch to the new templates yet?

I'm off to find the drip source! See you later!

Friday, January 05, 2007

I'll Never Make It as a Spy

Two weeks ago, my ears were clogged from allergies. But I was awakened at about 3 AM by a loud, consistent knock at a neighbor's door. Here's what I heard:

Neighbor: Just a minute...
Door opens.
Police officer: Sir, we're here to _________________ you. I'm giving you _____________. Please read it over carefully and you will see what _______________.
Neighbor: But why? I don't understand. I didn't do anything wrong.
Police officer: You ___________ed; and that's illegal, sir. Now read this over, get yourself an attorney, and decide _____________.
Neighbor: But I didn't do anything illegal. All I did was _________________.
Police officer: Sir, I'm not going to discuss the details of this with you. I'm dropping this _______ off and you need to read it over and get yourself legal counsel.
Neighbor: You mean _______________???
Police officer: Yes sir. You need to _____________.
Neighbor: Okay then. Thank you.
Police officer: Goodnight sir. Good luck with that.

I wanted to throw open my front door and scream, "Can't you people speak a little louder?! My ears are clogged. For heaven's sake, work with me here!"

But the officer had left and the neighbor had gone back to sleep and all I had was a bunch of blank lines I still can't fill in. Spy career: over.

Ah, how life has changed for the better...

Here's my boycat Johnny (his sister Frankie is sleeping in the other room).

He's gone from a scruffy homeless thrown-out-with-the-garbage 5-week-old, to a handsome prince. He rules now, and he knows it. But he rules with kindness and grace and will lick your hand to show he cares.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The "Should I Pay for It?" Poll

Time for a poll! Here's the question:

You're watching someone's animal (okay, the cockatoo) in her absence. You go to the apartment 2 or more times a day, play with the creature, talk to it, give it food, make sure it's okay. One night you wake up at 2:00 am and realize you forgot your nightly rounds, so you get dressed and head over to make sure the creature is fine and get back to bed at 2:20. On exiting the apartment, you accidentally knock over a ceramic piece and it crashes to the floor in a thousand pieces. On the bottom of the piece is a label that says "handmade in Africa."

When you tell the owner she says, "I'll let you know what it's worth." She wants you to pay for your accident.


1. Should you be expected to pay for the broken piece (handmade in Africa), which broke by accident in the course of doing the owner a favor?


2. Should she just have said, "Forget about it. I appreciate that you're taking care of my pet in my absence--I would never dream of charging you."

Please vote in the comments section.

Ramblings from a Disordered Mind

Reporting in for January 5, 2007:

1. The cockatoo I'm babysitting didn't bite me today. But while visiting him, I broke his owner's large artistic ceramic piece displayed on a table in the entry hallway. I'm history!

2. With the psychology book finished, I now know who among you are ... paranoid, psychotic, bipolar, antisocial, or suffering from mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders--or is just plain cuckoo. I won't point any fingers, but just know that I know that I know. :)

3. Mel of Mel's Meaningless Rambling appears to be dropping out of the take-over-the-world program, so I may have to do it by myself. I think my post yesterday gave me a jump-start on the process. Every nation is falling into line.

4. It's official. I'm going to Florida in a few weeks. You know... land of Palmetto bugs, fire ants, regular ants, invisible ants, roaches, no-see-ums, mosquitos, swamps, everglades, etc., etc., etc. Why don't they just give it up and change the name of the state to Bugland?

5. When I checked airline prices for January and later for February 16th onward from the tristate area, January's fare is $249 round trip. February's fare is $639. Do the math--looks like my trip's in January!

6. The New York tri-state area has not had below-freezing temperatures or any snow this year. It's now January 3, and spring beings March 21. Where's winter? Where's the snow? And sledding? And skating? How can I build a snowman or throw a snowball at grumpy people if there's no snow? The melting icebergs and tsunamis should begin any moment. I'm so happy I'm living high up in a highrise on top of high cliffs--the tsunami can't reach me, right? Right?!? Ark building begins tomorrow...

Done reporting in for the day. Over and out.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Setting the Nations Straight

When I had my first blog visitor, I almost had a heart attack and rewrote my response to that person 12 times so there wouldn't be any chance of chasing him or her away. Since then I have had over 20,000 visitors to two sites (this and my former Windows Live blog) and I've met some pretty incredible, wonderful people. I used to blog for myself; now I blog for me AND for them.

Even though I kept away from my Clustrmap for a while, I went there today and saw that visitors are still coming from faraway places, even though I haven't been using traffic-volumizing sites like BlogMad or Blog Explosion for months now.

Visitors have stopped by from places like China, Malta, Sardinia, Iraq, Israel, South Africa, India, Turkey, Tenerife and the Canary Islands, Egypt, Cyprus, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan. The list goes on and on. I don't get it. Even France, my mortal blogging enemy, has come a-callin'.

So at the beginning of this new year, I've decided since these nations have become regular visitors, I should have some input into the way some of these countries "perform":

1. France, it took a little arm-twising and diplomacy from Sans Pantaloons to encourage your prime minister, Monsieur Chirac, to get your people to visit me. But since then, visitors are coming from 6 different cities. Now that the tide has turned, you owe me. You have never sent me even so much as eclairs chocolat for 12 nor a nice bowl of fruit. Think about it. You can do better. How about crepes suzette? Show some sign of remorse. And don't try to push yucky escargot on me...

2. South Korea, I realize you're not on the greatest terms of diplomacy with North Korea, but I'd appreciate anything you can do to get the loony leader of that nation to stop setting off tests of nuclear weapons. Can someone over there find out his true interests (say, a visit from Bono, a trip to Disney World, a The World According to Zed tee-shirt) and I'll do what I can to arrange a visit or a trip or send him a tee-shirt (I'll need size and color preference please)? Let's do this before he blows up entire sections of Earth in one fell swoop. Disney World can take him as early as next week.

3. India, hi. Curry. I don't get it. What exactly is the big fascination with curry? It tastes weird and upsets my stomach. It upsets lots of people's stomachs. I think you should stop eating it immediately for the sake of the health of your nation. Try pasta. In vodka sauce. You'll love it! Mangia!

4. Malta and Sardinia. Isn't it all beaches after beaches after beaches? How dull! :) And do you import most items since you're an island? Prices must be high what with all the importing you have to do. Why don't you all just move to Italy? It's nice there, the living's good, great artwork, great jewelry in Florence, and you can visit Malta and Sardinia for two-week vacations. Does that work for you? No?

5. Tenerife and the Canary Islands. See note to Malta and Sardinia. The only difference is you would all move to Morocco and visit the Canary Islands for your two-week vacation. You're way too close to the volcano anyway. Who needs all that ash?

I'll visit other nations later. But for now, I want to say this:

All foreign nations are welcome in The World According to Zed, and I'll try to set you straight about what's important in the world and what's not. Someone needs to set you straight, trust me. Or if you don't trust me, trust Mel. We're taking over the world this year.

Come on back anytime, world.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Turnover of the New Year

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I've been working on a psych book that has taken almost every bit of my time--except for parties, cockatoo-sitting, a police visit to a neighbor, several rounds of cookie making, meeting/sharing presents with friends & family: non-stop business & social events.

I hope you all are well and enjoyed the holidays. Did you get everything you hoped for?

My favorite mailman, who sorts through my mail, throws out the junk, and generally watches to see if I'm dead or alive, fell off a ladder in September and broke his arm in 11 places. He just got over that, the pins were removed from his arm, and when I gave him his Christmas tip last week (yes, late), he said "Look at this!" and quickly pulled up his pants leg to show how just that morning he had walked into a hand truck, fallen over it, and was bandaged from ankle to knee with cloth through which blood was pouring. I screamed. I'm not good with blood.

I told him to stop working immediately and to go sit down before he fell down, but he was determined to finish his deliveries that day to the 300 families in The Fortress.

He was putting mail in all the slots as blood soaked through the bandages, paper towels, and now his pants. I kept telling him to stop and he just laughed and kept saying, "Well at least I won't have to dance at the wedding I'm going to tomorrow. I'm spared!" He delivered every last piece of mail before hobbling his way out of the building. His was a devotion to the job I had never before witnessed.
What a guy! Gotta love him!

I'll get to those other stories later. Well, except for this:

At a Christmas Eve dinner, one of the children, a five-year-old girl received two dancing (ballerina) dolls. They looked alike except for hair color and the color of their ballerina slippers, which tied up their legs. The little girl made the rounds, showing everyone her dolls, and when she got to me I said "What beautiful ballerinas! They're so pretty!"

Her face scrunched up like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. The only thing that DIDN'T compare was that her head did not spin completely around. She screamed: "They're NOT ballerinas! They're NOT! Don't call them that! Mommy, she called them ballerinas! They're NOT ballerinas!" She stomped her feet some more and scrunched her face to the nth degree.

Okay... I said, "There's no reason to get excited, little girl. What SHOULD I call them?"

This time, she screamed even louder: "They're DANCING DOLLS! DANCING DOLLS! Mommy, tell her. They're DANCING DOLLS! They're NOT ballerinas!" And with that she burst into tears, walked away from me with complete contempt for my stupidity, and fell into her mother's arms. Her mother wasn't too happy with me either. Well, I'll certainly never make that mistake again in HER presence.

Oh, and a neighbor's cockatoo (I'm watching the bird while she's out of state for a week) just bit me tonight and drew blood. In 4 places. Cute. Very cute. Not.

On New Year's Eve I was too busy working a midnight to notice that the clock had struck 12:00. First time I checked, it was already 12:15. Guess I didn't miss too much. Anything big happen??

Okay, I'll be back. And that's a warning. :)