Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Super Sunday

I maniacally cleaned house last Sunday, in a futile attempt to hide my football withdrawal tremors. I despise the end of football season. If given a choice between giving up football or giving up, say, makeup...or french fries...or (gasp!) high heels...for the rest of my life? Well, let's just say I'd be paler, thinner, and definitely shorter.

Not that it's any surprise - I'm picking Peyton and the Colts. I've been rooting for them all season, mostly b/c it's Manning's time. He is due. I know the Bears have an incredible defense, but Manning is adaptable. For instance, he proved against the Pats that he didn't need wide receiver Marvin Harrison to make big plays. He used three other receivers, including a DEFENSIVE TACKLE!! Anyone watching that playoff game saw the calm, cool confidence exuded by Peyton as he entered the stadium for the second half of play. Most quarterbacks, down 21-6 against a team who's been to the Big Game three times in the last five years...well, most quarterbacks would have resigned themselves to defeat. Not Peyton and the Colts. I still have any female readers left at this point? It's okay, gals, you can bail if you need to. Maybe desert songbird is still with me!

The Colts are favored to win, even if the pyschological pressures and mammoth expectations faced by Manning work against him. I truly believe this is Peyton's year, and I've said this since the beginning of the season. Much as I like to see an underdog (Bears) triumph over an opponent who is all but a shoo-in for victory, I want the Colts to win for Manning's sake. He deserves a Super Bowl ring at this point in his career.The Bears have a great defense, but their quarterback, Rex Grossman, is not up to par. Something about Rex says, "Scared little boy." Even when the Bears are in the lead, he always looks wide-eyed, frightened, needing direction. One day, he will lead this team - but not just yet. If he had faced a large halftime deficit, Grossman would have crumbled under the pressure. Luckily, Grossman knows he's the underdog in Sunday's battle, which may light a fire in his teammates and get his adrenaline pumping enough to make this an interesting game.

Normally, I hate to see a blowout. I prefer close, high-scoring games. But this weekend? I want to see a legend get the ultimate career honor - a Super Bowl ring, and a win for this hard-working, very-deserving team. Even if it means a routing. GO COLTS!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pre-Pubescent Tiggerlane

Welcome to another Monday adventure in voyeurism prompted by Erik, who is curious about how his blogging buddies looked as children. I've chosen age five as the best "kid year" for Tiggerlane. Before buck teeth emerged, the lack of coordination and the pleasantries of puberty. The first photo is my favorite - I'm all jacked up on Easter chocolate - documentation of my first "high." See those cute braided double-pigtails? As mentioned here, I was blessed with uncertain heritage and VERY curly hair which grew to be lengthy, and heavy. My parents weren't hippies, but their love of my hair kept them from cutting any major length off until I was in the fifth grade. The FIFTH GRADE, people. Why? Well, that's the year I contracted chickenpox. Four feet of hair, gallons of calamine lotion, and itchy spots made for a nasty combination. And finally, Princess Tiggerlane, in all her Halloween glory. My mother made the outfit in the first two photos, as well as this one. Check out that '70s couch! This photo always reminds me of my favorite childhood fantasy. As an adoptee, I've been fascinated with the unlimited possibilities of my heritage. When I would get angry at the parental units for some perceived injustice, I would fantasize that my birthparents were royalty. I imagined they had brought me to America for safe-keeping, until the time was right to notify me of my noble heritage and take me away to my place as a princess in their family. As I got older, the idea of being a Mafia princess replaced this childhood fantasy.

I think I could pull it off either way, don't you?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Musical Poetry

I am SO diggin' this song right now.
Music Video Codes By Music

Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing
There's no way we ever could
Now we see everything is going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

Its hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would've never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on the door
When you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cuz when when the own the information ooohhh,
They can bend it all they want

So while we're waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

It's not that we don't care
We just know that the fight ain't fair...
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

We're still waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population

So we keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
Know we keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change (repeat).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ever Have One of THOSE Days?

I try not to discuss my work often. Not that I'll get in trouble with the boss or anything, but b/c this blog is supposed to be a reprieve from my work headaches. However, every so often, I have a day that makes me want to give it all up, head for the Bahamas, and live life as a drunken beach bum. Naked.

Today was one of those days. Difficult clients are a major problem, but I also work with a high-energy agent team full of Type-A sales associates who only earn money when deals reach the closing table. For example, the agents could put a sales contract together, work for a month to get all the required inspections, paperwork, title insurance, etc., just to have a buyer walk away at closing and back out of a contract. Who is usually blamed? The agent. Who gets nothing? The agent. Well, and me. Who do they complain to? Me. To make matters worse, often these deals involve more than one of my agents, and the placing of blame and fault for a deal not closing gets passed around like crazy.

Luckily, having worked in this business for 14 1/2 years, I quit counting chickens before they hatch. It makes no difference if I net $1,000 or $10,000 from a deal - I treat them all the same. I can walk into a closing and not honestly give a crap whether or not a buyer or seller decides to back out - and usually when they sense that from me, they straighten up and drop whatever power trip they're on.

What's hard is consoling an agent who just lost thousands of dollars on a deal that didn't close. Working straight commission is difficult, and no matter how long these agents have been in business, they have trouble being calm about these situations. It should be more difficult for me, seeing as I have an office overhead that MUST be met each month - but it's truly harder on them.

Anyone know of a magic pill I can give them when things get rough? I hate to see them get so upset.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mindless Miscellany

After stopping by everyone's front door, I was exhausted! But it was a great project, and lots of fun. So just some mind fuzz for you guys today.

Mandy, a friend of mine who is married to a law enforcement officer who looks a lot like this guy, sent me the following quiz: Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer? See how well you do!

And thanks again to my friend Petra for the following find:

By the way, I know that some of you are surprised that I haven't written about the Colts or the hotter Manning brother. Don't worry - I will soon!

And if you-know-who preempts American Idol with another mind-numbing speech, you can BET that I'll have something to say about THAT!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tiggerlane's View

Vicki had this wonderfully voyeuristic idea that we post photos of our front door view. She was very precise in her instructions; precise enough that even a neophyte like me should have been comfortable participating. For example, this set: "Stand in the doorway of your home. Face to the outside of the house." Then we are supposed to snap a photo. Simple enough. Take a look:
My house actually has TWO front doors - one that opens into our living room, and one that opens into our bedroom that is never used. Vicki's instructions further state: "There doesn't have to be a circus going on in your front yard. The point is just to post whatever you see out your front door." Okay. Technically, our front door is more like a side door - so if you're standing on the porch, facing the would see this:
Probably more appropriate, seeing as it is our front yard and all. And technically, it's from a front door - just not the one we use. Later on, she mentioned we should be taking photos of "the doorway you use to enter your home." Hmmm...well, the "porch view" is the view from the doorway OTHER people use to enter my home. And the door used by politicians and religious cults to hang their flyers. However, we always go in the back door. What the heck, here's that view, too! We are forced to use the back door because we don't have a key to the front doors. They have old-timey doorknobs, and we usually just deadbolt and chain them from the inside in order to secure the house. Of course, a bunch of other folks use the back door. Enough other folks that Songbird even bought Roger this sign for Christmas present:
And finally, this isn't the view from my front door, but the view from our FUTURE front door from our new home, to be built this year. It's my favorite!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spiders on Drugs

I honestly can't think of anything to add to this video.

Got this from my friend Petra, and I wonder: have they performed studies on how COMBINATIONS of these substances affect arachnids?

Somehow, I know Marnie is involved.
Crazy Canadians!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Golden Globes - Tastefully Displayed!

I was pleased that this year's array of globes seemed well supported and well-covered, for the most part, unlike some of last year's droopers. And poor Prince! Stuck in traffic. That might teach him to show up a little earlier, unlike his usual "fashionably late" mode. At last year's American Idol competition, producers were unsure if he was going to be there at all - until he sauntered backstage only 30 seconds before his performance. At least Hugh Grant gave Prince his due. Wonder if he kicked Justin Timberlake's a$$ at the post-party for mocking him? Hey, Justin, GUESS WHO IS PLAYING THE SUPER BOWL this year? Huh? No more of that lame teenaged-boy-fumbling with a Jackson's boob and then acting all innocent later - the man who INVENTED sexy in the music world will show you how it's done!! Sexy never LEFT, little boy! But I digress.
I really thought most of the dresses were great - and Drew Barrymore propped the girls up, where they belong. However, Meryl Streep probably has more money in the bank than half the audience, and yet she chose to wear a burlap sack held together with twine? WTF? Gotta love Meryl, but she should have taken some lessons from Helen Mirren, who looked absolutely stunning. And, who made the decision to let Sacha Baron Cohen go on and on about his costar's wrinkly testicular globes (or as Tom Hanks reminded us all too often, balls = "artistic vision"), yet cut short the speech of the nameless guy who accepted the award for Dreamgirls?? Must be compensating for the ladies getting all modest about their own globes.

The worst dresses of the night were Beyonce's gold atrocity and Rinko Kikuchi's pink-balled disaster (keeping in the theme, perhaps). Seriously - this is a cute girl, with a tiny figure, and she chooses a dress that mimics a psychotic poodle owner's vision of the perfect Valentine doggie makeover? Puh-leez.

"Worst Display of Globes" award goes to Ali Larter of Heroes, who somehow made's best dressed list. Prop them up, darlin', they are young and fresh and yet look old and tired in this dress:

Best Globes? Why, Salma Hayek, of course, seen here on the right of America Ferrera. You go, girl! Lest you think my criticisms are all out of jealousy, know that I only give these folks a hard time because they have all the money in the world to look absolutely FABULOUS. So when they make poor choices, they are fair game! Can't wait for the Oscars!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ice, Ice, Baby

I am a weather junkie. I have been watching this past weekend's storm with anticipation, flipping back and forth between the playoff games and the Weather Channel. I don't usually want bad weather, but I've had such a hard time getting back into the groove after the holidays that I wanted a school cancellation in the worst way. If school is cancelled, I don't have to get up early. I can call my office while snuggled in bed and tell them if they need me, come try to find me under the mountain of blankets, afghans and comforters. Being the boss has its perks.

I woke up to light sleet this morning, and thought SURELY it was too treacherous for a school bus. Evidently, the school's transportation department didn't agree. To make matters worse, we figured there wouldn't be any trash service due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But on my way back from dropping off the child, I spied trash trucks. Roger had already gone to work (seems like they NEVER close that hospital), so I had to haul stinky trash bags to the curb. I think I've done this maybe one other time during our marriage. What a way to start off my Monday.

I spent some time this weekend worrying about blogger buddies Shauna, Ree, and Julie. How strange it is to worry about folks you don't really "know" - yet feel a personal connection to through the blogosphere! Thankfully, they all seem to be faring just fine - and you should take a moment to check out Ree's site for some cute photos of her enjoying the ice and snow.

Finally, there are only four teams left in the race for the Super Bowl - who would you like to see win? (I'm hoping it is Peyton's year - I'd like to see the Colts and Saints face off for the big game.) And for those of you who love to criticize stars for their lack of fashion sense, don't forget to check out tonight's Golden Globes.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Squeaky Tradition

There's a new unintentional post-holiday tradition at the Lane house. Living in a 104-year old Victorian home, we have scant closet space (one more reason I'm practically dripping with glee about our new house plans). When it's time for me to erect our massive Christmas tree, Roger will lug the tree box from our shed and unload the many boxes of ornaments from a high closet in the dining room. Displayed for only a month, dripping with gold and red, shining with over 2,000 tiny white lights, the tree is a brilliant testament of the season, taking up a good portion of our living room. The empty tree box returns to the shed until it's time to strip the once glorious tree of festive decor, wrench the branches from their sockets, and shove the whole lot unceremoniously into the sad, torn, held-together-with-twine box. I always feel guilty looking at the once full branches, all squinched together, crammed into the small space. Like I've pimped my tree out for the joy and delight of others, and now I'm hiding it away like Quasimodo until I need to whore it out again next year.

One year, as I was precariously perched atop a stepladder, in anal-retentive decoration mode, something small and dark whisked through the living room. Evidently, a field mouse had hitched a ride in the tree box. Mayhem erupted as Roger, Amber, and the cat attempted for the next hour to corner the intruder until Amber finally trapped it under a plastic container. Roger wanted to destroy it and insisted it would return later for revenge. But after listening to the pleas of his housemates, he relented, and the cute little bugger was escorted outside and flung into the neighbor's yard.
The other night, after another tree-trashing episode, I awoke to strange noises. Cat noises. Not purring, not scurrying, not hairball yakking on the carpet - but FLINGING. She scampered across our bed several times, prompting me to arise. I found her in the dining room, proudly holding a weak but live field mouse in her jaws. Roger was dead asleep and can be horribly cranky if aroused. I contemplated waking the offspring - after all, hadn't she caused me a few sleepless nights in the past? I decided to be a "big girl" and handle the situation myself.

At 2:30AM, I coaxed the feline to release her prey, and the poor thing was obviously too weak to run far. Poised with a flashlight in one hand, plastic cup in the other, I crept slowly toward the petrified victim. Sensing my next move, the cat took this opportunity to leap into the arena, grab the mouse and fling him into the air. Naturally, I dropped the flashlight and cup, shrieked, cursed the cat, and demanded she catch him again. This continued for at least 20 minutes, with me repeatedly whisper-shouting instructions to the cat. Each time she would release the mouse, she would stand close enough to observe, but too close for me to shoo her away without also spooking the mouse. She was toying with us both.

Naturally, Roger awoke. He was not happy. I was in mid-creep as he entered the dining room, and asked me what the hell was going on.

"I'm trying to catch this mouse...but YOUR cat is NOT cooperating!"

Roger took the cup, and unceremoniously beat the heck out of the mouse. I looked on in horror. As he saw my eyes, he asked, "What exactly were you planning to do with it?"

"Capture it gently and toss it outside," I replied, more than a little frustrated and bordering on tears.

I suppose it was a bit much to expect Roger to listen to our shenanigans all night, but I felt more than a little sad as he disposed of the mouse and grumbled back to bed.

As a child, my all-time favorite poem was "Mice," by Rose Flyeman:

I think mice are rather nice;
Their tails are long, their faces small;
They haven't any chins at all.
Their ears are pink, their teeth are white,
They run about the house at night;
They nibble things they shouldn't touch,
And, no one seems to like them much,
But, I think mice are nice.

And I still feel that way today.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Neophyte Whining

As you may have noticed, there have been some changes at the Neophyte's Lair. Most are blogger-induced, since I made the "big leap." Unlike the crowd who defected to typepad, I decided to stay with blogger. The change was okay - but I lost some of my hard-earned HTML coding. You have NO CLUE how long it took me to get the site looking like what you see here! I am an idiot when it comes to this web stuff.

The good news is that blogger is easier than ever. Photos upload faster, links are MUCH easier to add, post options are better, etc. Its functionality has made me feel more confident, and less like the computerland equivalent of Ree's retarded brother.

While you suffer thru my growing pains, check out this spoiled brat:

Okay, I was being mean and hateful, judging this poor little girl. Calling her names. After all, we never know the whole story, do we? It may LOOK like she lives in a mansion, and it may LOOK like she has everything she could possibly want, but we really don't know. So in order to be fair, I found her defense posted online. Watch, and make your own judgment. Just click on the video that says "I'm not a spoiled brat."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tigger Smackdown!

All ye hoodlum children, beware the wrath of Tiggers! Apparently, one Tigger felt the need to clock a teenage boy at Disney World, and the dad is all up in arms about it. You can read the full story here.
To be honest, after watching the video, it appears that Tigger was losing his balance, and his flailing arm caught the boy on the face. I also suspect that Tigger may have been attempting to keep both of them from falling over the railing behind them. I'd also like to know what the kid was doing with the arm that was behind Tigger's back, as it appears Tigger grabs that arm first.

So, I gotta know - did Marnie have a run-in with Tigger that she's not 'fessing up to?

UPDATE: Here is the video, finally on YouTube:

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Blogiversary! (Did I spell that right?)

A whole year! And looking back, I find it typical that my first post mentioned football.

A big trip is creeping up on me, so I'm scrambling to make arrangements - or at least figure out a plan. The kid was invited to this leadership forum in Washington D. C. I have never been there, and there's no way I'm putting her on a plane alone. Another mother and her son will be traveling with us, so there's some security in that fact. I've been pricing hotels suggested by the forum staff - and let me tell you, they are PRICEY. I'm in a time-crunch, too, as we leave March 26th.

Have any of you been to D.C.? Any warnings about crime-ridden areas, where I might not want to stay? We have to fly into Dulles, and all the hotels suggested by the forum folks are in Alexandria and Arlington, VA, which makes me think that is close to where the offspring will be staying.

Any suggestions will be MORE than appreciated! Embarking on this trip, I feel a lot like the guys in this video:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Emerging in the New Year

Happy New Year! No, I have not been hiding under a rock - but merely taking a break from all things "normal" in life and mourning the upcoming end of football season. We had a FABULOUS New Year's Eve, filled with fun and friends and as you can see here, the traditional sparklers. Sparklers create a LOT of smoke, so it was tough to get good photographs. Everyone behaved themselves, and I was able to crawl into bed by 4:00AM, with all the dishes complete and only one sleepover guest (who had planned to sleepover days ago, and had given us fair warning).
Better yet, I only gained one measly pound during the holiday season. Yesterday, I cuddled up on the couch and immersed myself in the BCS Bowl games. I even stayed up VERY LATE to watch the end of the Boise State/OU game, possibly the most thrilling game I've seen in ages. I am a football addict and married one of the few men on the planet who could care less if football existed. He will watch a game with me every so often, but usually he rolls his eyes and goes in the other room to watch the History Channel or the Military Channel. He has never understood my obsession with the sport, even though I've tried to explain how phenomenal the athletes must be to endure their beatings, week after leap into the air to catch a floating land with at least one foot inbounds...but it is to no avail. The other night, I was lamenting the end of NCAA play, and it hit me. What if Roger could only watch the History Channel 18 weeks out of the year, and then only on Saturdays, Sundays, sometimes Mondays and Thursdays, and only at specific times (provided there are no "blackouts")? As I proposed this to him, I noticed his face change. "Besides," I continued, "You ALWAYS know how things are going to end up on the History Channel. You ALWAYS know who is going to win. It's not like the Germans might turn it all around if you miss ONE EPISODE."

He was very understanding last night, as I insisted on catching the end (and OVERTIME, at that!) of the game. I had migrated to the bedroom, trying to stay up long enough to see the finish, and he was well on his way to dreamland. He didn't smack me a single time, as I would shout, "No WAY!" or "I can't BELIEVE it!" or "UNREAL!" - though I know I woke him up. Maybe he won't look at me like I'm a freak, the next time I spend an entire day watching football. (And if you have no idea how fantastic the ending of this game was, read up on the details here. Nothing like a game where 22 points are scored in the final 1:26 of regulation play!)