Monday, February 28

One Couple's Eyewitness Account of New Zealand Earthquake

It was Tuesday the 22nd and I was on board an Air New Zealand flight from Dunedin into ChristChurch. We were scheduled to land in ChristChurch at 1:00pm. We were coming in for landing at approximately 12:50 when the pilot announced “Folks, I don’t know what to say, but we’ve lost contact with air traffic control. We’ve been trying for several minutes, I don’t know what to say but we’re turning around and going back to Dunedin.” I was in an aisle seat towards the front of the plane so I could see the flight attendants and they seemed as confused as the passengers. The people in the row behind me were trying to figure out if there was something wrong with the plane.

In a few minutes the pilot came back on and said “Uh folks, apparently the reason we lost contact in ChristChurch is that there has been a big earthquake. I don’t have any more information than that, but we’re returning to Dunedin.” Throughout the plane there was an audible gasp. The flight was short and when we began our descent into Dunedin, people were turning on their cell phones and calling their families. Others were on their phones searching for news about the earthquake.

Thursday, February 24

The Libyan Situation

The Libyan situation has become a dizzying array of lights, sounds and characters with similarly sounding confusing names.  I have offered you a straightforward and concise version of the facts.  This is a simple primer that puts the current conflict in context and subtly tells you what your opinion should be on the situation.

Libya is just to the left of Egypt.  Tripoli is the capital.  If you have gone to the wrong Tripoli, in Greece, you need to get on the E952 and start driving towards Kalamata (great place to pick up some olives on the way if you need a snack).  When you get to the water, you need to get to the other side.  That should be Egypt, now keep driving and Libya should be on your left, or right depending on the way you are facing.

In 1551 the Ottomans (not to be confused with the sofa/chair accesory) took over Tripoli because they wanted a place on the water.  They soon realized that they were surrounded by the Sahara desert which has become the subject of many ‘you can make it and then a few sympathetic characters die anyway’ films.  Then came wars with Italy and Turkey and Libya was a shambles.  In 1952 the UN told Sheik Idris to pull it together and Libya became an Independent state, and Idris named King.

Enter Mommar Gaddafi.  As a young Bedouin, Mommar had grown up listening to such music greats as “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog’ by Elvis Presley.  Mommar was captivated by Elvis and recognized the power of Elvis’s magnetic personality and captivating costumes.  Mommar knew that all he needed to lead the people of Libya was some Jheri Curl, a few well designed white suits and charm lessons.  He attended charm school in Athens, Greece (within driving distance of the other Tripoli) at the Hellenic Militarty Academy.  In 1969, armed with a new haircut and scarf, he waited until King Idris went out of town and told everyone that he was now the boss.  As boss he outlawed gambling and drinking and not to be outdone by Mao Tse Tung and his Little Red Book, Mommar made up his own Little Green Book.  This was probably a big mistake because it was a lot of reading with no drink or blackjack afterwards.

Mommar Gaddafi financed violence resulting in many fatalities during his leadership.  He is responsible for bad things which ended relations with England and the United States the details of which don’t warrant ink.

Mommar Gaddafi has 30 to 40 female bodyguards all of whom are virgins.  They are called the Amazonian Guard.   They are trained in martial arts and weaponry and he selects the body guards himself.  What a freak.

Many believe if Mommar Gaddafi had ever pulled a music video together, or even a theme song, his reign as boss may have been successful since his rule was founded on the principles and tenets of Elvis Presley.  Unfortunately, the current generation doesn’t remember Elvis Presley and Mommar’s current style doesn’t resonate with anyone.

Even an eight year old Libyan can use youtube and figure out that Mommar is not cool in any way.  With a little help from cell phones, Facebook, twitter and a little something I like to call, “talking to the person next to you” everyone decided to protest.  They protested on February 16th (waited two days so they wouldn't mess up Valentine's day) over a guy who was in jail over a human rights violation.  The protest included thousands of people in multiple cities with protestors chanting anit-government slogans.  One of Mommar’s sons from one of his many wives went on television trying to look scary threatening that "rivers of blood" would flow and instead he looked just as freaky as his father.

Mommar returned to his old methods and found anyone with a gun who accepted cash and got them to shoot the protestors.  This is pretty much where things stand right now.  Protestors without guns are being shot and killed by people with guns, most of whom are not even Libyan.  President Barack Obama has seen this movie before a la Rwanda.  President Bill Clinton publically stated that his biggest regret as president was not making more effort to prevent the horrific tragedies in Rwanda.  I think everyone is done with unarmed protestors being shot by mercenaries, especially at the direction of an old Elvis impersonator with an Amazonian Guard.

I would love to see Mommar Gaddafi and Kim Jong Il meet.  Two of the craziest leaders of our time in one room, pure insanity, total entertainment.  I was writing a book and have tossed that idea aside and I am now pouring all of my energy into a reality TV show starring non-other than Mommar Gaddafi and Kim Jong Il.  It would require a great number of translators but it would make for the best TV viewing in the history of TV. 

I used to think that Mommar belonged in jail, but now I think the greatest gift that Mommar Gaddafi could give the world is a reality tv show with Kim Jong Il.  The two of them could be set up in a house in Los Angeles.  They could bring all of their guards.  Then I would interview them.  Also, similar to The Bachelor or The Biggest Loser, competitions could be planned.  For example, they could compete against each other performing karaoke.    There would have to be a fashion competition, which would surely end in a tie given Kim Jong Il’s fantastic Elton John like fashion sense with his front zipper jackets, goggle size sunglasses and platform shoes. 

Don’t even think about stealing my idea because I just mailed it to myself and tomorrow I am going to copy write it.  The time spent crafting the show title and composing the theme song will entertain me for days……………………….

Mommar Gaddafi: How many ways can you spell one man's name?

Tuesday, February 22

Pajamas all Day

OK. Don't tell my husbad this, but I didn't get dressed this morning.  My husband took the kids to school and after they left, I got back in bed.  I went to get coffee at lunch time.  Don't worry, I stayed in the car and went through the drive thru.  The only person who saw me was the lady at the window and I see her all the time without makeup.  Plus, my pajamas almost look like clothes.  It is now 3:30 and I am still not dressed.  I went to car line and picked up my kids in my pajamas.  My daughter asked me if I was wearing my pajamas and I told her I had just come from yoga.  I have no intention of putting on clothes until 5:55, immediately before my husband is likely to walk through the door.

Tuesday, February 15

Attack of the Breadmaker

I asked Santa for a breadmaker for Christmas and Santa delivered.  I wanted a breadmaker because my freind Johanna makes bread almost daily.  Her bread smells wonderful, looks tantalizing and tastes delicious.

One afternoon I went to Johanna's house for a playdate and Johanna was just preparing to bake some whole wheat bread.  As if we were on a cooking show, I watched her toss ingredients into her bread maker in minutes and by the end of the playdate, fresh baked bread miraculously appeared.  She convinced me that I too, could easily perform the magic of breadmaker bread baking.  I made a cursory effort with my calculator and concluded that I would actually save money by baking my own bread.  And imagine the health benefits for my family!

My husband told me he would be impressed if I used the bread maker more than 3 times.  He did have some fact to substantiate his obnoxious comments because I received a (requested) juice maker for my birthday and used it exactly one time.  The juice maker then literally gathered dust on the floor of the pantry.  I promise, you would have done the same thing.  It was big, heavy and a hassle to clean.

In response to my husband's obnoxious breadmaker comment, I began baking bread.  I was determined to prove him wrong.  I baked five loaves of bread in two days.  I made white bread, two loaves of oatmeal bread, whole wheat bread and whole wheat buttermilk bread (didn't know that flavor existed).  I was like Jesus with the loaves of bread and fish, only no fish.  Not one of those five loaves resembled bread.

My understanding of the breadmaker is that it is fool proof.  Meaning any fool can use it and produce bread.  Let me tell you right now, I am no fool and will not be beaten by a countertop appliance.

Monday, February 14

Craft Time

To whomever makes the 'Do It Yourself Craft' kits for children, I would like to say, that if a parent cannot make the craft, it is not a children's craft.  If the craft requires a tool that comes from a real tool box, it is no longer, by the rules of childhood, a child's craft.

Today our child's craft was making a bug house.  I was immediately against this craft since I do not want bugs in my house and I certainly do not want to make a special house for the bugs that will then be in my house.

Step one of the bug house child's craft was "sand all pieces in the direction of the wood grain."  We don't keep sand paper in the toy chest so we jumped directly to step two.

Step two was "using a screw driver, screw the round door, onto the square end piece."  Obviously I had to get a screw driver out of the toolkit in the garage and it took me five minutes to try and screw the thing in while steadily holding the round door over the square end with my third hand.

Step three, "apply a thin layer of wood glue along the length of the bottom piece of wood."  In our adhesive box, we have Elmer's school glue, good for kindergarten decorative paper creations and scotch tape, good for gift wrap.  We do not keep wood glue handy amongst our craft adhesives.  We skipped this step too.

Step four, "Nail, the square end piece with the dowel rod, into the length of the bottom piece, blah, blah, blah, blah."  Are you kidding me?  The nails were minuscule.  I could barely hold onto the nail and hammer it while holding all of the pieces in place.

We now have a bug house that I made with adult tools as a child's craft.  I told the children that it seemed like a better miniature mobile garden than a bug house.  Hopefully they will be more inclined to put flowers inside of it which will surely die, rather than bugs, which would also surely die.

For the record, please note Mr. or Mrs. Child Craft Creator, a child's craft requires crayons, stickers, maybe a glue stick (but not a glitter glue stick) and imagination.  And that's it.

Sunday, February 13

Virginia's State of Mind: Valentine's Day Question & Answer, Third Date

I met an awesome woman through a friend of mine. We have had coffee, and we went to dinnr/movie.  I asked her out for Valentine's Day and now I regret it because I have no idea what to do.  I'm afraid if I take her to dinner she will think my feelings are stronger than they are, but I do like her.  Can I cancel the date?  Can I call her today and politely tell her I am not feeling well?  Jay

Dear Jay;
You are doomed.  If you tell her you are sick and cancel she will suspect you are trying to get out of the date.  If you follow through, she will expect you to take her out to dinner which will surely turn romantic as every restaurant has developed an overpriced menu bathed in shadowy candlelight so you can't see the prices.  It will be so dark you will feel like you are already in her bedroom which likely has candles by the bed even when it isn't Valentine's Day.  Do you have a cast from a previous injury?  A car accident in the afternoon would definitely work because you would still be in pain, need bed rest and an anti-inflammatory.  You could easily send her a photo from your phone with undeniable (the cast) evidence. 

In the future, do not ask a woman out on a first date beginning February 1st.  Remember January 31st is the dating cut off and anything after February 15th is fine. 

Happy Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Question & Answer, Marriage Proposal

I have been dating my girlfriend Nadia for almost two years and I want to ask her to marry me.  I have a ring already and I am considering asking her tomorrow night at dinner.  Do you have any advice?  Ted.

Oh Ted, I have plenty of advice for you.  I do not think you should ask her to marry you on Valentine's day.  If you propose, and she says "yes" you have set yourself up for a lifetime of expensive Valentine's Day gifts.  She will never forget that you proposed on February 14th, and you have inflated the importance of what is really nothing more than a commercial greeting card, confectioner's holiday.  You could have gotten away with flowers and a card, but now, every year, you will have to take her to dinner and buy her jewelry as well.

Even worse, if you think "no" is coming, you will feel as if you are on a canoe without a paddle, hopefully and swiftly moving with the current, only to wildly plunge over an unforseen waterfall, into turbulent rapids.  After you have been tossed about, slammed against the rocks a few times, you will wash up on shore like a drowned rat.  The rest of your life you will remember Valentine's Day as the forced romantic holiday that capsized your canoe.

If you must disregard my advice and are firmly convinced that she will accept your proposal, then follow my directions.  Call her parents and ask their persmission.  If she has stepparents you are going to have to ask them as well.  You will gain serious brownie points with everyone by showing them this respect.  If she already has children you should ask them as well, but wait until the last possible moment.  You never know how they will respond and asking a child to keep a secret is like asking a puppy to stay away from a smelly sock.  If you have children you will have to ask them as well, good luck with that.

When you ask her, if you are certain she will say "yes" the restautant proposal is a good idea because there will be applause, congratulations, "oohs, ahs" and you will save money with a free glass of champagne from the restaurant.  You are obligated to get in the proposal one knee position because you will have an audience so shorts are not an option.

I wish you luck.  Within 24 hours you will be on the engagement train, another topic for another day.

Friday, February 4

Zoom, Zoom, Zumbaing in Zumba

I joined a new gym and went to Zumba today for the first time.  The class began at 10:30 and I was a little late.  Everyone was wearing yoga pants and cute spaghetti strap T-shirts.  I didn’t get the memo and I was wearing my running shorts and another pajama shirt masquerading as a Zumba shirt.  I brought an air of dance confidence with me because I have on occasion been known to shake my bootie.  I don’t know what happened today.  My bootie and my body were disassociated and none of my parts seemed to move in concert with one another.  At one point I glanced in the mirror and I looked like I was reaching for a box of cereal on the top shelf at the grocery store. I tried to stay focused on Genie, the Zumba teacher which was easy because she was amazing.  The next time I caught my reflection in the mirror I looked like I was trying to start a lawn mower.  I checked the clock in hopes that the class would be over soon and it was only 10:39.  I had been there 9 minutes and I had already done yard work and gone to the grocery store.