Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bros and hos (Part 2)

Read Part 1

It's New Year's Eve. In the parts of the world that have not yet already arrived in 2010, people are preparing for one of the biggest party nights of the year. A lot of alcohol will be consumed tonight, and a lot of hangover remedies will be employed tomorrow.

But for bros, tonight may not be much different than any other Thursday night. Cause bros f'in love to get f'd up! And they don't wait until the weekend to do it! One thing that might be different tonight is the location. Bros will be willing to spend some extra bucks to gain access to an environment with increased odds of slaying a slam piece (I can't believe I wrote that).

Bros will roll deep into a party, bar or club event (many already drunk from their pre-game), scout the crowd for the hottest girls, chat them up just long enough to gauge their chances, and be in the right place when the countdown ends. Some bros will have to fall on a grenade (settle for an ugly and/or fat chick so their bro can hook up with the hottie). A few bros won't get lucky at all, but will still have an awesome night because, hey, they're with their bros!

But the primary objective is to score. And that's where the hos come in.

In my day (I am allowed to use that phrase because I'm hitting 50 in 2010, God willing) I loved to party too. I didn't go to college, but I went to a lot of college parties. I once fell off an Amtrack train after pre-gaming it alone, because I had to work while the rest of my group drove from Chicago to East Lansing. It was an epic night. I think it was the night I met my future (and I mean way in the future) husband, so I kinda wish I remembered more of it.

What seems to be different from my party days and what I've learned about the bro culture of today is that I pretty much always partied with a group of people I trusted. We were friends with a lot in common, and we hung out together whenever we could, even if it wasn't a party. All these years later we're still friends, and we still sometimes drink to excess. The only negative consequence of this (besides the hangover) is hearing the same old stories for the hundredth time.*

Anyway, the bros of my day seemed to respect women a lot more. And maybe that's because more women in my day respected themselves enough to avoid being known as a slut or a whore. Today that seems to be a designation with little shame attached, if not a badge of honor. I'll explore that further in Part 3.

*I just thought of another negative photography. I live in fear of finding a picture of me on the internet from a canoe trip in 2008. Damn pre-mixed mojitos!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bros and hos

I recently set out to learn something about a facet of popular culture for which I was almost clueless. It all started innocently enough, with me thinking that two young people I know might want to meet each other. Not that I have any qualifications as a match-maker, but you never know who might hit it off.

The girl I know quite well. The guy - I know one facet of his life (his profession) pretty well, and he seems nice enough. The people he works with all speak very highly of him. So I show said girl a picture of said guy, and am surprised by her reaction. Yeah, he's good looking...but he might be a "bro".

When she tried to explain to me what she meant, it didn't seem to fit what I knew about said guy. But again I don't really know him outside of our professional relationship. So I wanted to learn more. A few words typed into a search engine, and I've got a ton of information for my research.

With billions of pages on the Internet, there are sites dedicated to everything you can think of (and even more to things most people would never think of). And there are plenty of bro sites with awesome stories of all things bro. They even have their own language, epitomized in this essay from The Onion (language warning).

These sites were a lot of fun to read. Assuming that most of what I read was super-exaggerated for comic effect, it seemed like bros are basically a modern version of the Deltas from Animal House.

So I was all set to do a funny take on the bro thing. I was even going to write about doing "field research" by observing the behavior of bros in their natural habitats (said girl offered to be my guide). But then my online research took me to places that weren't so funny.

What if many of those stories I read weren't exaggerated after all?


Monday, November 30, 2009

Pooped puppy takes a nap

Meet Slim, the newest addition to our family. She's still very shy, getting used to her new home (my sister's house). She's sweet and fluffy and sleepy and I love her already.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dogs love you back

I've always been more of a cat person, but let's face it...most cats barely acknowledge your presence unless they want something. Dogs actually do love you back.

Check out these videos of dogs greeting their long-absent owners.

I was in tears by the second video.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Do just a little more

I have given up on a lot of things in my life. Some things I wanted to do I never even started. But the ones I did many of them could have been a success if I had just done a little more?

The line between failure and success is so fine that we...are often on the line and do not know it. How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more persistence, would have achieved success. A little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.

Elbert Hubbard
via Walk the Talk

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Knuckle chuckle

A friend recently turned me on to mixed martial arts. I've watched a few bouts, and it is not at all what I expected. What struck me (pun itended) was the grace of their movement. Watching them move reminded me of dancing - right up until the point where our guy got pummeled after taking one to the chin.

The MMA fighters are supreme athletes in extraordinary physical condition. Their training includes, of course, proper nutrition.

I wonder if this is on any of their diet plans!

Check out all the fun stuff at Insanewiches.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

For the broken hearted

Seems several of my young friends have recently experienced breakups or that unique heartbreak of unrequited love. And my heart goes out to each of you. I wish I had words to make it all better for you.

All I can say is I know it hurts. A lot. It's gonna hurt for a while, then feel better, then hit you like a ton of bricks again. That is the nature of grieving.

Twice I have fallen hard for guys who did not love me back. I have been loved and dumped (rather publicly) for a prettier girl. At the time, I blamed it on the fact that she was prettier, but that's not why he dumped me. I've also been on the other side of a breakup.

Relationships are the stuff life is made of...the good ones and the bad ones alike. And the ones that were good that then turned bad...well, it's just gonna have to hurt for a while.

You will get over it - I promise! Don't be too hard on yourself, but don't wallow for too long either. Keep moving, living your life and trusting that there is love in your future.

And he might just be as awesome as Mr. Wonderful.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's not the bait, it's the bite

This is one of those days when the exact words I needed to read appeared to me. I have been struggling with a severe case of temptation in an area of my life that I thought I had a grip on.

When this temptation is dormant, I have zero doubt that I am doing the right thing by avoiding it. Actually, I don't even think about it. When the temptation flares up, it hits hard. And when it puts itself close enough to touch twenty times in one day, it is nearly unbearable.

But I did bear it. I made it through the night. And in the light of the morning as I sat with my hot coffee and surfed my usual web sites for news and such, I came across this from Pastor Greg Laurie:

God never will give you more than you can handle (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). It may not feel that way in the moment, because the fact is that when temptation is coming your way, it looks as though what would bring the most happiness would be giving in to it. The reality is that happiness comes from resisting and overcoming temptation. There is the initial euphoria that temptation can bring, but then you discover that what looks so appealing on the outside is actually filled with poison. That is how temptation works.

Read the rest here.

Being tempted by things that are ultimately not good for us is part of life on this earth. Sometimes we handle it well, sometimes we give in and immediately suffer the consequences. And sometimes we give in and there don't seem to be any negative consequences. That is the worst scenario, because it just leads to more...and it doesn't take long before what we know is wrong becomes a stronghold and it is nearly impossible to break free.

Do I wish that I was never tempted? Sure. But being tempted isn't the real problem. The real problem doesn't come until I give in. Remember, the worm dancing in the water in front of a fish does not cause him any problems until he takes the bite.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Name that Jesus

I can't believe this image is being used to advertise an online dating service on Facebook:

Can you identify this Jesus?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Clout goes to college

You work hard in school. You sacrifice your social life to study and get good grades so you can get into a good college. You are willing to pay the price with your time and treasure. But when you receive that rejection letter, don't automatically assume it was because you just didn't work hard enough to merit admission.

from today's Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of applicants received special consideration in the last five years, according to documents obtained by the Tribune under the state's Freedom of Information Act. The records chronicle a shadow admissions system in which some students won spots at the state's most prestigious public university over the protests of admissions officers, while others had their rejections reversed during an unadvertised appeal process.

Beyond it just not being fair to pass over qualified candidates in favor of those with lesser merit but better political connections, this practice erodes the value of the degrees issued by any college that does so.

I long ago learned to accept that life isn't fair. Still, this one really burns me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Think BIG!!!

"Our thoughts become a border around our lives. If we think little, we will live little. If we think big, we will live big."

~Joyce Meyer

Monday, May 18, 2009

3 down, 47 to go

Scratch #49 off the list. Yes, I am seriously behind on that list with only 468 days until my 50th Birthday.

I walked in the Network of Strength Walk to Empower on Mother's Day. Thanks to those of you who donated for the cause. It was a gorgeous day in downtown Chicago, and there were thousands of walkers! This is me with my sister Jean (in the middle) who is a breast cancer survivor, and my other sister Jan.

Right after we were done I hopped (well, more like crawled) into the car for a trip that took me to Detroit then Buffalo then back to Detroit then back home today. I'm a busy gal, and now it's time to get to bed so I can get up by 4:30 to go to the gym.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

You make the most of what you got

Life is not fair. Things don't go the way you want them to. Other people are luckier, richer, prettier. You weren't born into the right family or live in the right place or given all the advantages and therefore life sucks.

That's not the way this guy thinks:

(h/t Mike Groom in the ShredderSphere)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lamb cookies

Made these for a baby shower on Sunday:

They are lemon butter cookies with lemon royal icing and filled with seedless raspberry jam.

They were a big hit!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A sad day for a once-honorable profession (Part 2)

Read Part 1

In school we were taught that a free and unbiased press is essential to our democracy, because they could be counted on to report the facts, to shine the light on what our government and the other countries in the world are doing, to keep those we have placed in power over us accountable to the masses. We were told that a free press reports the facts, investigates all sides of a story and presents "the truth". Seems nothing could be further from the truth today.

If all you watched was CNN, and if the only report you saw was from about 2:00 that afternoon, you would have concluded that the Chicago Tea Party was filled with crazy, ignorant and racist people. I was there on the edge of the crowd around the CNN reporter and watched her zero in on one of the very few signs that was blatantly offensive. Then she interviewed a man who was concerned about the debt our country will pass on to his daughter. She interrupted him, scolded him, tried to convince him he was wrong, and then ended by drawing conclusions about the event that had nothing to do with the reality. She even managed to throw in a dig at one of her competing news organizations, which didn't help her already suspect credibility.

It was obvious that this reporter arrived with a pre-conceived notion of the event. She started with the conclusion and then sought out the "facts" to "prove" it. I was shocked. It would be equivalent to seeing somebody breathlessly proclaim that "Lake Michigan is filled with styrofoam cups!", when all the reporter actually found were a few cups floating at the shore.

I am not saying that other news organizations don't do this kind of thing. I have just never witnessed such blatantly misleading reporting in person before. My point is, don't trust any one source for news. My morning routine includes reading news web sites and political blogs while I eat my breakfast. The first news sites I read are CNN, Fox News and the Chicago Tribune. Whenever I'm in the car, I've got the radio on. My three most-used buttons are for what are considered all news, conservative talk, and liberal talk.

Do not believe that one news source is always telling the truth and another is "in the tank" for your political enemy. What you see and hear is shaped by the political beliefs and objectives of the owners, editors, writers and reporters of that organization.

Don't believe me? Give it a try. Research one current news story using as many different sources as you can find. Carefully read or listen to the reporting and determine how much is "fact" and how much is opinion, dramatization and spin. Then, research a story on the same topic from a different time period (say before this last national election) and notice the difference in how each news organization reported it when a different political party was in power. A very good topic for this exercise would be the national deficit.

Maybe I'm being naive. Maybe the profession of "journalism" was never what it purported to be. Maybe they have never been what we need now more than ever - the guardians of our democracy. But if that were the case, Richard Nixon would not have left office early, would he?

This was actually my favorite sign from the event:

America, and all freedom-loving people, should mourn.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A sad day for a once-honorable profession

I attended the Chicago Tea Party on Wednesday. It was my first ever politcal protest, and I almost didn't go.

For one thing, I'm not comfortable in large crowds. I was once caught in a very fast-moving crowd of people leaving a baseball game - it was almost a stampede - and the fear of being trampled may be unreasonable but it's there. Another reason I almost didn't go was the publication of a report by a government agency that labels people who believe in some of the things I believe in as possible threats to national security. It frightens me to think that my own government may be monitoring me because I don't agree with its policies.

The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press (among other things). These are critical in a healthy democratic society. They are related and, when exercised with integrity, help protect each other. But what happens when the people exercise their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and the press purposely misrepresents it?

At the Tea Party I spent the entire time moving into, out of and around the crowd. I took pictures of signs. I listened to people reacting to the speakers and interacting with each other. I did so with a purpose...I wanted to compare what I saw with what was reported in the news. And I witnessed something that frightened me even more than the government report...the intentional distortion of the event by a major media organization.

If CNN were truly what their motto purports - "the most trusted name in news" - this country would be doomed.

(to be continued)

Monday, March 23, 2009

2 down, 48 to go

Took the CPR/First Aid class yesterday. Scratch #17 off the list.

I really, really hope I never have to use it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This breaks my heart

Detroit is my second home. I lived in the area for eight years, and many of the people I love still live there. We didn't go into the city often - maybe once a year for brunch or a ballgame. At that time it was already too far gone. You had to go through miles of awful to get to the few fun parts.

Detroit was once every bit as lovely and vibrant a city as my Chicago. Makes me wonder if Chicago is heading for the same fate.

The causes are many and the answers aren't simple. But attention Chicago...Cook County...and Illinois - if you keep raising taxes and don't clean up the corruption, you will force businesses and their workers to find a better place work and live. Your tax base will crumble, and Detroit's present may be your future.

Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline (TIME, via Instapundit)

The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eat That Frog!


No, this is not a diet tip that belongs on my other blog. It's some great advice from a book of the same name I found on

As some of you know, I excel in procrastination. I have always intended to do something about that, but I keep putting it off!

The idea is to do the most difficult thing on your "to do" list first thing each day. That unpleasant, nasty, crappy task on your plate is your "frog". And if you eat that first, the rest of what is on your plate will be more pleasant by comparison.

Today's "frog" for me is a very long, complicated project plan that needs to be reorganized. It's not that it is a difficult is just tedious because every time I make a change to one area it takes forever for the rest of the plan to update. But I will get to the office, settle in with a cuppa joe, and work on it until it's done. Bye-bye froggie!

I love Walk-the-Talk, because they do these little inspirational movies to promote their products. Check out the movie that plays from this page about the book.

Just one thing...don't forget to brush and floss after that frog. Nothing worse than frog breath!

Update: When I got into work, there was a snake on the plate waiting for me. Needed to deal with that first. Got to the frog in the afternoon. Took me three-and-a-half hours to choke down that sucker, but it's DONE! And yes, it tasted as bad as I thought it would.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Check your premises

I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Big book. Hard to hold up when I read in bed. But very relevant to our times (even though it was first published in 1957) and extremely thought-provoking.

There's so much to talk about - and I'll do so over a period of time - but I took one thing from the book that I want to immediately make a practice in my daily life. It has to do with logic. It is to check the premise of a statement or argument. A premise is a "previous statement from which another is inferred".

One of the things that frustrates me about my job is meetings. Not all meetings, but those that seem to get off track with side conversations or end up not making sense, but I don't quite know why. At least several times a week during a meeting I'll find myself asking "how did we get here?"

To be honest, I have a tendancy to be "lazy" in some conversations...I let my attention slip. Or I feel bad and mentally withdraw when a conflict gets heated. I think by paying closer attention, and being aware of the premise when a statement is made during a conversation, I will be able to make my own arguments more effectively. And by doing so hopefully make these meetings more productive.

And productiveness is what it's all about.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The law of unintended consequences

These days there is a lot of mud-slinging at corporate executives and their pay and bonuses and companies having lavish parties while the economy is suffering. My current employer has cut back severely on business travel, and the days of any celebratory event beyond the level of bringing in lunch once a quarter are probably over.

No doubt there are people and companies out there who appear to be "fiddling while Rome burns". But demonizing all such activities has a serious ripple effect. Like a rock landing in a still pool of water, the first act causes waves that go in all directions. Those waves are the unintended consequences.

Here's one example from comedian Jeffrey Jena (via Big Hollywood).

Many years ago, a "luxury" tax was imposed on yachts. Few "regular" people worried about it. So what? Those people are rich, they can afford it! Well, here's what happened as a result: rich people - the only market for yachts - stopped buying those yachts. So boat manufacturers stopped making them. And people lost their jobs. Think about all the people who are involved in the production, sale and operation of yachts - designers, factory workers, salespeople, boat crews, cooks, bartenders, waitresses, maintenance workers, accountants, secretaries. Then there are workers in related businesses - yachts need fuel to run, they need insurance, they pay fees to dock.

It was the "regular" people - multitudes of them - who suffered as a result of the "luxury" tax.

Guess who didn't suffer? The rich people...they got their fun some other way. And because they didn't buy the yachts, the tax wasn't paid. So the original intention was never fulfilled anyway.

So the next time you find yourself thinking that it's a good thing that "rich people" are being made to pay more and more, consider the unintended consequences.

You might be one of them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Valentine's Day again, you poor guys!

Seems every year I see more and more backlash against the commercial "holiday" of Valentine's Day. And I approve. Not since New Year's Eve has a single day caused more useless tension and worry. "Will I have a date?" "Will he buy me something good?" "If I'm alone on Valentine's Day am I a loser?"

It's especially hard for the guys on Valentine's Day. I told my nephew not long ago that I think guys get a raw much pressure on a single day. And it implies that if you don't perform well on this one day, your actions on the other 364 days of the year don't really count. Baloney.

One of the most romantic days of my marriage was also the most disgusting. And I was reminded of that this week, because the disgusting part happened again. I had food poisoning on Monday night. Last time it happened, Daniel not only shielded me from onlookers (he had pulled the car over to the side of the road just in time for the climax), but he also washed my clothes, cleaned the car, make sure I had the fluids I needed and not once gagged (at least that I could see). I wouldn't trade the feeling of being loved I had that day for a flawless diamond. I sure missed him Monday night.

It's simple. Treat each other with kindness every day. When you recognize a need, fulfill it if you can. Choose to be loving, even when you may not feel loving (like when she is puking on your shoes). And don't let society or a television commercial or even your significant other tell you that the rest isn't good enough if you "screw up" this one day. Don't fall for it.

My niece gave me a valentine with a 3-D picture of a cat and a chocolate heart taped to the back. Because I love cats and I love chocolate. And because she loves me. Which I already knew because she doesn't wait for a specific day to treat her family and friends with love. She does it every day.

Happy Every Day!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The meaning of life in one word - Part V

Continued from a series started in 2007 but never here to read from Part I.

A week ago right about now, my friend Greg was starting his day and had no way of knowing he would never settle in for the night in his bed again. He looked forward to a fun evening of playing cards with his friends. He was talking and laughing with those friends and his wife when the countdown clock of his life on earth ran down to zero.

At his funeral, his life-long best friend imagined what it must have been like when God greeted him at that moment. He described a scene with all of our friend's departed loved ones standing behind God, and God with His arms outstretched as He exclaimed with joy "here is my friend Greg!".

The end of our earthly relationship with this friend is painful, because we will never have another chance to laugh with him or get a hug from him or see his smile. But at least that pain is lessened with the knowledge that our friend is perfectly happy and at peace.

This man and his wife were surrounded by hundreds (yes, hundreds) of dear friends as we laid him to rest. But someone was missing, and this man's absence was the result of a situation more profoundly sad than our friend's death...the pain of relationships broken by careless words, resentment and unforgiveness.

My prayers this day are for the absent man. I pray for healing for the broken part of him, the part that took offense long ago and would not forgive. The part of him that clung to his resentment instead of letting it go. The part of him that caused him to say "no" instead of "yes" at a critcal moment.

It does not matter what came before that moment. Nor does it matter what I or anyone else thinks about what the absent man did at that moment. It doesn't even really matter if a certain group of souls does not survive as a community much longer.

What matters is what will happen when we stand before God when our earthly life is over. Will God welcome us with open arms, or will He say "you claimed to love Me, but..."?

Our relationships - all of them - are the meaning of our lives.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do you think my work is sexy?

Check this out from MSM Careers:

10 Sexy Careers You Never Thought Of

Not that your first consideration when choosing a career path should be if the work is "sexy"...I wasn't going for that when I became an administrative assistant out of high school. Actually, back then they called them "secretaries". But anyone who has worked in a office knows that good admins really do "possess a hidden but large cache of power".

As for #7 - Personal Trainer - all that is true. Except mine has never called me a quitter. He's the positive-motivation type. Although I admit I have wanted to punch him a few times.

Hey wait...there's no Project Manager on this list!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now I'm hungry

If I could buy only the Food Network and maybe the History Channel, I would order cable today.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Inspiring, or insulting?

There is certainly nothing wrong with a call to service. What I find insulting is the idea that it is only worth doing when you happen to approve of who is occupying the Oval Office:

Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, defend the defenseless. These celebrities would have you think these are new ideas. They are as old as man, and our calling as decent human beings.

Serve your fellow man. Serve your country. Serve a cause you believe in. Serve because it is the right thing to do, not because a charismatic leader instructs you to.

Don't become a member of a cult of personality.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Press on

I don't have to get up every day trying to be perfect! I just need to get up every day, determined to press on.

Today's wisdom from my Joyce Meyer Daily Calendar.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

In this way, we are all equal

Do you ever envy somebody else's life? Wish you were as popular, or rich, or had their house or their parents or their life? Do you ever look at someone who is seemingly happy or carefree, or at least doesn't seem to have to deal with the kind of crap you have to deal with every day?

I have been envious in this way a lot. I sometimes look at my situation in life and wish I was somebody else. When this happens, I am failing to remember and be grateful for all the blessings I do have.

When you find yourself thinking this way, you need to remind yourself that appearances can be deceiving. You don't know the whole story.

John Travolta and his family seemed to have it all - fame, money and a very good life. But what most of us didn't know until recently is the painful struggle they endured with a child's very serious health issues. And the loss of that child at age 16? Most of us will never know that kind of tragedy and devastating pain in our own lives.

Fame and fortune and luck are wonderful. But I would bet that the Travoltas would trade every cent they have to have to get their son back.

No matter how great you think somebody else's life is, remember that we are all equal in that we are human. No amount of money can buy happiness or health or one more day on this earth.

Be grateful for what you do have. You don't know how long it will last.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

One down, 49 to go

You can cross off #6 on my 50 by 50 List.

Today I sang in front of the whole congregation. I will be doing so at least once a month as a Cantor who sings the Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Acclamation.

I was really nervous, and made a couple of mistakes. But it didn't matter.

I was where I belonged.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Character counts

If someone who didn't know you asked someone who did what kind of person you are, they would attempt to describe your character.

Here's a great column about how you build your character, and why it is so important, from one of my favorites - Greg Laurie.