Not Your Everyday News

Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Traditions

New Year's Eve and New Year's day are chock full of
traditions. Most people know about the red underwear
legend - how folks who want to be 'lucky' in the new year
should be wearing red panties or boxers when the year
changes over (wink wink)! In Italy, natives prepare a special
lentil soup (yum!), as there is the perception that eating
lentils will bring financial fortune in the new year. In Greece,
a special Vassilopita is baked with a gold coin wrapped in foil
inside. The Vassilopita, a sweet confection also known as St.
Basil's or New Year's cake, is then cut by the head of the family.
As that person cuts, each piece is named; the 1st is designated
for Jesus Christ, the 2nd for the Virgin Mary, the 3rd for the
house everyone is in at the moment, the 4th for the family
business. The cutter of the pita gets the next piece, and then on
down the family line. Whoever gets the piece with the coin
inside supposedly will have good luck in the new year. And in
both Italy and Greece, there is lots of late night card games,
sometimes lasting into the early morning hours. Needless to
say, on both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, there is a
amount of imbibing of various alcoholic beverages. My
personal favorite indulgence is Asti Spumante, a sweet
sparkling white wine from the Asti province of Piemonte,
a region in northwest Italy near the French border. Not to be
confused with brut (dry) French champagne, spumante goes
magnificently with Vassilopita and the various finger foods
served on this holiday, and yes, even with lentil soup! Martini &
Rossi Asti Spumante
is what I usually buy; it is not expensive
and, most importantly, it tastes great - crisp, cool, and sweet!
Over the years I have tasted various brands of Asti Spumante;
some have been cheap imitations, others low grade with a
bitter aftertaste. Martini & Rossi definitely is top notch. The
only spumante that may be a tad superior to it is the one from
the Cinzano company - Cinzano Asti Spumante is excellent, also
not pricey. However, for whatever reason, it is not as readily
available as other brands. Anyway, for the next couple of days,
hubby and I will be indulging in good eats accompanied by a bit
of bubbly...hope those bubbles knock out our colds!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

good riddance

Yes, good riddance - to Saddam Hussein that is. I sometimes have
questions over the death penalty, with that ever so slight chance
that in some cases, an innocent person is condemned. Definitely
a debatable topic. But this man was FAR from innocent; he was a
bloodthirsty, tyrannical dictator. That doesn't mean that in 10, 20,
or 30 years from now there won't be another dictator as bad or
even worse than him around, that is just the cycle of history, but in
the end, all the tyrants get their just desserts. It is just a tragedy,
however, that by they time they do, it is too late for most of their
victims. That's about all I have to say today, as my sweet husband,
very unintentionally, has shared his cold with me, hence it is my
turn to feel icky and gross. oh well, let's hope the Advil and Zicam
cold remedies (the latter recommended to me by the Thompsons
last night!) work quickly - I see a few days of soup, oatmeal, juice,
and hot chocolate overloads in my immediate future!

Friday, December 29, 2006

weekend upon us

and that means I am back to my preferred nightshift! It isn't only the
hours that my night owl self likes better, but I just seem to have
more and nicer, if not funner, visits! (hhmmm, is funner even a real
word? oh well, it is now!) Hope this weekend is no different. One
thing that is constant about the dayshift is the never ending drama
surrounding Tiffany. It is GUARANTEED that each and every week
there will be something new going on her life. The latest? Apparently
the ex-boyfriend she dumped a couple of months ago is going to try
to get her in trouble with the IRS! When they were living together
in Tiffany's house, the son of this ex, (not by Tiffany), was living with
them as well. Since this ex was out of work most of the time (and of
course in jail for a brief while too), Tiffany claimed the boy on her
taxes. Well, the ex told her that he would now file back taxes and
claim the boy, since he is the father, and say that Tiffany had no
right to claim him. hhhhmmmm, both living in her house and of
course she was supporting both - I think the IRS will see it her way.
So that was this week's drama...stay tuned for next week's episode!
Changing streams - I noticed an article by 'Overdrive' magazine, a
monthly publication aimed at truck drivers. It discussed the states
with the worst and best roads, drivers, rest stops, and the level of
law enforcement. Our fine state of Virginia ranked in the top 5 in 3
categories: #5 in best roads (tops was Texas), #5 in the best inter-
state list - I-81 specifically (first was 1-40 in Tennessee), and in the
one that has hit me close to home too often, #3 in the toughest law
enforcement category (California was first, yet another reason that
state is on my black list!). The state police and county sheriffs hide
in the darndest places, trying to catch folks speeding! It doesn't help,
of course, that radar detectors are illegal ONLY in Virginia and
Washington D.C.. What is that about? Money money money.....
speeding tickets is how some of these hick counties get funds to
survive I guess. I could rant and rave all day about this, but the
response to such would be 'SLOW DOWN'! I can't do it...I try,
but as Sammy Hagar sang, 'I Can't Drive 55!'

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Just read an interesting online article from 'Premiere Magazine', a
magazine which is all about movies. It was titled 'The 20 Most Over-
rated Movies of All Time' . I have not seen 1/2 of the movies listed,
heck, I hadn't even heard of 6 of them. But on this so-called list, I
focused my attention on 2 of them. At the top was 'American Beauty',
whose opening music sequence happens to be the ringtone on my
cell phone! It is not my ringtone because I liked the movie, but just
because I think the music is cool. I could never understand the
media hype and adoration this movie received; Kevin Spacey, as in
all the movies he makes, was simply wonderful. But the film itself
was slow and it's plot way too confusing; midlife crisis gone wrong,
or the true meaning of life and relationships? So I was quite glad to
see it was at the top of the overrated list, as it kind of justified my
reasoning. But the movie at #20 is a shocker to me....'Gone with the
Wind'!!! What on earth? Yes, it was a bit too long, and at times, you
just wanted to slap Melanie for being too nice and to beat up Scarlett
for being such a self-absorbed witch. But it is a classic, and when one
considers that it was made in the 30's, then one must admit the
cinematography is fantastic. The acting was also superb; Vivian Leigh,
who wasn't even an American, was the perfect spoiled Southern belle.
And Olivia de Havilland and Clark Gable played their roles to a T.
A few movies that I think should of made the overrated list - 'Dances
With Wolves',
'Titanic', and 'Gladiator'. These 3 films suffer either
from bad acting (DiCaprio, Crowe), unrealistic stories or settings,
and slow, crawling plots which dragged the films out too long
('Dances with Wolves' especially). I hope 'Premiere' puts out a top
20 underrated film list, I would love to see that and then rant and
rave about those picks too!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Redneck humor

I am sure that most folks are familiar with Jeff Foxworthy, whose
claim to fame are his 'you might be a redneck if...' jokes. Growing
up in Virginia has exposed me to the redneck element; managing
a restaurant has assured me of being up close and personal to it!
Working with Beth today really highlighted the features of this
culture. She discussed the latest summons she received for a court
appearance; you definitely need both hands, and maybe a foot, to
count all the summons and warrants that have been delivered to
the restaurant for her. Then, as I wrote yesterday, Beth is about to
have surgery on her wrist and subsequently be out of work for
several months, yet she was talking about getting a new tattoo. She
does realize she can't afford it, but as she put it, she saw a really
'cool, pretty design' and just has to have it. But she did go on to say
that she may just fix up an older tattoo she has that wasn't quite
'done right'! Oh, and once she stops working, her boyfriend will sell
one of the trucks in order to get some extra money. Now I have
seen their vehicles - I call them 'Redneckmobiles' - pickup trucks
that are jacked up and adorned with confederate flags - just classic!
So I spent part of the day just shaking my head at Beth. Then I got
home, checked my e-mail, and saw that on my homepage there was
an article about redneck humor, replete with hilarious photos! So
I have decided to share the link with y'all, some of these photos are
just too good to pass up; even Jeff Foxworthy would be proud!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Work...and work release!

Well, my 3 day holiday weekend is about at the end, back to the
restaurant tomorrow. I must say I did enjoy my time off, even if
hubby decided to come down with a cold in the meantime...poor
thing is miserable, hope he gets over it soon. Will be interesting
what the next few days hold at the restaurant. I am sure Beth's
farewell tour will continue. She is the dayshift waitress who will
be leaving next week due to another surgery on her wrist; she is
very doubtful about coming back, so she has been saying goodbye
to the regular customers. This means Keisha will pick up most of
Beth's shifts - Keisha has been itching to be on dayshift for a while
anyway, so it looks like her wish will come true unless something
unforeseen happens. Of course, this means we will be a bit short
on nightshift waitstaff, but have no fear, there is a solution at hand.
I have written about Kathy, our lovely waitress/hostess star, who
resides at the local state hotel unfortunately. Well, her roommate
has also been on work release, employed by a local breakfast chain.
Well, I guess Kathy was extolling the virtues of our restaurant to
her roomie, so guess who will be starting this week as a new night
shift waitress?!!? Yes, we are about to employ yet another convict;
the rationale being that we know this person, just like Kathy, will
NOT miss a single shift! I know what you are thinking, sitting
there shaking your collective heads - what kind of restaurant is
this, employing jailbirds? Well, it is almost a prerequisite, to have
been in trouble with the law, in order to be employed by the
restaurant; 4 of the cooks have been in jail for various amounts of
time, as have at least 2 waitresses other than Kathy. And practically
everyone has had some kind of run in with the law, be it court
appearances, warrants, summons, or garnishments. Can you tell
we don't do background checks? Heck, if we did that, we would
have, at most, maybe 3 employees! Good help IS hard to find!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Buon Natale

That's Italian for Merry Christmas! Or I could have said Joyeux Noel
(French), Feliz Navidad (Spanish), or even Frohe Weihnachten - wow,
those Germans have a way with words, don't they? Hope everyone will
have a nice holiday with friends and/or family, and that Santa has filled
your stocking with something other than coal! I know that for other
holidays, I have given a brief history of how that fest started, but I will
go a completely different route here, and introduce y'all to a place
where it is Christmas 365 days a year...Christmas Island! A territory
of Australia, it is located in the Pacific, actually closer to the island of
Java than it is to Aussie land. It was discovered by British and Dutch
explorers in the mid 1600's; it was named Christmas Island when
Captain William Mynors of the East India Ship Company arrived there
on Christmas day in 1643. An isolated territory, it came to be used for
phosphate mining in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The Japanese
occupied the island during most of WWII; after the war, Christmas
Island became a territory of Singapore. Australia purchased the
island from Singapore in 1957 for 2.9 million pounds. Important
initially for the phosphate mines, the island is now known for its flora
and fauna; 63% of Christmas Island is a national park now, as there
is full intention by the Australians to preserve this tropical island.
It is known for its variety of crabs, geckos, fish, natural coral reefs,
caves, and rainforests. Sounds like it would be a great place to visit
IF it wasn't so darn far away! But in any case, Frohe Weihnachten
to the natives of Christmas Island too!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

almost done...I think

ok, unless something else totally unforeseen comes up, I think I am
almost there...ready for Christmas. I have finished my shopping and
even given most of my gifts out. Most food preparations are done
except for 2 items which will be dealt with tomorrow (thankfully I
will have the day off, so the extra time will definitely be a blessing!).
Yesterday marked my return to the night shift after almost 2 weeks,
and it was rather nice, as I had pleasant visits. Whistler Tom and his
wife Marion came in, he sporting a haircut, she with new glasses
(apparently she lost her old ones, poor thing). Their waitress, Keisha,
was right on top of their latest whim....splitting a warm beer, Tom's
half in a mug, Marion's part in a wine glass! Hey, whatever works!
Lisa and Peter came in, both looking rather nice I must add; they had
come to visit me a couple of times when I was working dayshift, but
as most folks know, those early hours are not kind to me! Michelle
and Fran also dropped by, totally exhausted by a crazy busy day at
their retail cell phone locale. They have also had to deal with my pal
Lola's dilemma; unfortunately, Lola, when doing laundry, washed her
cell phone as well. After letting it dry out a couple of days, the sad
verdict was in - dead cell phone. So Michelle is trying to figure out
what can be done economically. Hope that can get worked out soon.
The Thompsons also dropped by for dinner. My husband and I had
gone over to their house for a spell the night before, after we had
attended a Christmas party held by our friend Nancy. At that party,
much like Nancy's birthday party in September, I MAY have had a
bit too much wine; in September the culprit was sangria, the other
night was some kind of warm mulled wine with fruit...basically a
warm sangria. It was sweet and delicious! Well, at the Thompsons,
I thought I was holding my own, but at one point Mr. Thompson
said something about me being giggly. (I have a hard time believing
I was giggly, but anyway!) Then last night at the restaurant Mrs.
Thompson proceeded to tell Keisha, who waited on them, that as the
night wore on, I was sinking deeper and lower into the armchair I
was sitting in and covering my eyes from the light above me! I tend
to think all this is bordering on exaggeration - I mean, I do love that
chair, I always sit there when I visit the Thompsons, just a darn comfy
armchair! But what do they need such a bright light right above it for
anyway? More sangria/mulled wine please!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wish list

I think I got all my Christmas cards out. It was a little harder this year,
as I seem to have misplaced my address book; I looked everywhere,
but to no avail. So I had to rely on the phone book, and on friends who
sent their cards to me first, allowing me to grab their details from the
return address! As for my actual shopping, am almost done, need just
3 more things (unless something unforeseen pops up). Of course, at
times I wonder what is worse, the actual shopping part, or wrapping
the gifts. I see the folks who wrap just perfectly, with even paper,
gorgeous bows and ribbons, not a piece of tape out of place. Needless
to say, I am NOT one of those type of people! My paper is crooked,
tape askew, and my ribbon consists of those stick on bows; eventually
I get to the point where I will break down and buy those overpriced
gift bags just to prevent further embarrassment! Anyway, should any
of my friends be reading and be in a last minute daze as to what to
get me for Christmas, let me just say cash, gift certificates, and gift
cards are good! If you prefer a more personal touch....well....let's see.
A membership to a local gym would be cool. (I would actually make
an effort to go if someone else got it for me, I would feel guilty if I
wasted someone else's money!) Good history books are always a
treat. Our home would love a seaside or old city landscape painting.
The coin collector in me would appreciate any Barber coins, 3 cent
nickels, or Morgan dollars. A DVD boxed set of 'Bewitched' (with the
first Darren of course!), or 'The Avengers' (but only with Emma Peel!)
would also be sweet! I know, rather retro, but you have to admit, the
battles between Endora and Darren in 'Bewitched' and Emma Peel
kicking butt in her high heeled boots in 'The Avengers' are too good
to pass up!

Monday, December 18, 2006

grab bag

The 4 day opening shift marathon is FINALLY over...whew! I mean,
it was nice to see some of the customers I don't usually see, and I do
enjoy the faster weekend breakfast pace....BUT....I am still a night owl
and always will be! As I have missed a couple of days here, need to do
a quick catchup - Dallas won this weekend, so hopefully they are back
on track now that they clinched a playoff berth. Sad news the last few
days....lost climbers on a frozen Mt. Hood, kids killing themselves
because they didn't make the honor roll....and last but not least, it
appears that authorities have arrested a man in connection with the
deaths of 4 prostitutes in England (you know, at times it seems the
world's oldest profession is also the most dangerous). Oh, and last
night was the last episode of the Showtime series 'Sleeper Cell' that
I had mentioned last week. Was definitely worth watching, and I am
sure that they will repeat it, so try to catch it. Naturally, they left the
ending rather ambiguous, so of course that means there will be a 3rd
season next year! But until then, I will be able to watch the new
season of '24', which will start in January. I was watching football the
other day and, during the commercials, there were ads for the new
season starting soon. More unrealistic spy stuff....LOVE IT! Now I
must...I must...get the rest of my Christmas plans and shopping in
gear, a week away. Worst thing is that I need to go to the post office,
I can only imagine the lines there....ick.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I am really trying to find some positives about doing the dastardly
early A.M. shift this week. They are few and far between however,
so this is a daunting task. I do get to sample fresh biscuits and grits,
both with a dab of butter - YUM! I have gotten to see my concerned
observer Mrs. Reagan both days....shot the breeze and had some
coffee together. Today I got a pleasant surprise - a visit from Fran
and Michelle in the morning, and Michelle again in the afternoon
briefly. Fran was excited about the start of Chanukuh - my sincere
apologies if I have misspelled that, but I have found about 3 different
spelling versions on calendars and such; some have it without the 'C'.
In any case, Happy Holidays Fran! Tiffany was in a MUCH better
mood today; she is trying to turn this latest family drama into a
positive by trying to learn more about her ancestors and the times
they lived in. She apparently found some documents and photographs
from the 1930's and was thoroughly fascinated by them; she has
promised to bring them in for me to see when she has things more
organized. We shall see. And both days at the restaurant ended by
me getting to see and chat with our resident handlebar mustache
Brit, Phillip - ascot and all! He has been doing some physical
therapy due to a slight injury he suffered after a fall off one of his
horses; yesterday he was complaining about this therapy, calling
it "a beast"! Poor Phillip...but I bet his therapist has been totally
entertained by him, as we at the restaurant always are. I was a bit
ticked off today by a table of 4 rather rough looking rednecks who
were making fun of his accent and sarcastically asked him if was
going to have some tea. Phillip just raised his semi-handlebar
eyebrows, rolled his eyes, and moved along. I was glad to see them
leave, can't have TPT folks making fun of the old cavalry major. (by
the way, TPT is short for Trailer Park Trash - i.e., ignorant
characters who more than likely couldn't find England, or any other
country for that matter, on a world geography map.) But I don't want
to sell the dear rednecks short - I am sure they can find Martinsville,
Charlotte, Bristol, Daytona, and all other NASCAR and/or pro
wrestling venues on a guide or chart! Anyway, back to Phillip, or
actually, to his unusual facial hair. I have linked this post to a great
website that Lola brought to my attention, replete with photos of
gentlemen with handlebar mustaches, some more outrageous than
others (hint - a few of the gents have simply unreal sideburns too)!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Skeletons out of the closet

Let me say that just when I think I have heard it all from our
overly dramatic dayshift waitresses, I am sadly proven wrong by
something even more incredulous. Today my opening waitress
was Tiffany, and I knew I was in for quite an adventure as soon as
I unlocked the door for her; her hair wasn't done (a first) and she
was in tears (NOT a first). Some background info before I get into
this...Tiffany lives in the sticks, on some mountain road about 45
minutes from town. Most of the people who live in that area are
distantly related to her or at least are folks who know her family,
who all come from the same hick region. Ok, so when I asked her
what was wrong, she said something about finally understanding
why the people of her mountain are always hateful, mean, and
spiteful towards her. Apparently last night a cousin of hers revealed
certain family secrets, mostly about aberrations of the family tree,
that simply devastated the unknowing Tiffany. In a nutshell, this
cousin informed her about an incestuous relationship between a
brother and sister who ended up being her grandparents, around 20
bodies buried around the various tracts of land owned by the family
on the mountain, most of whom never had birth OR death certifi-
cates, and moonshine and bootleg money hidden in mason jars or
cookie tins and buried in the ground (near the bodies perhaps?!?!).
Tiffany knew about the moonshining bit, but apparently all the other
stuff was new to her; in her mind, it now makes sense why her late
brother was born with Down's Syndrome and why she is so, as she
put it, "messed up". I spent most of the morning trying to convince
her that none of this was her fault and that she wasn't "messed up".
I went on to say that she had alot going for her, that she had already
overcome the odds working against her, and that all families had
skeletons in their closet and/or blacksheep, so she had nothing to be
ashamed of. Well, needless to say, she was a wreck all morning, so
as I had 2 other waitresses and we weren't particularly busy, I let
Tiffany go home early. Just hope we can have a somewhat NORMAL
day tomorrow....of course, the restaurant's version of normal is still
rather ABNORMAL to the rest of the civilized world!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To regift, or not to regift?

Well, we are down to a dozen days before Christmas. Not soon enough
to panic yet about what gifts you are going to get for whom, definitely
not time to wonder what kind of gifts you're going to receive. For those
in dire straits, there may be a solution out there for you. I came across
an article the other day about this new website that has grown in
popularity, dedicated to regifting. A Houston based nonprofit named
Money Management International created a site called
(their motto is quite clever - "Really, you shouldn't have") Apparently
this firm conducted a survey last year in which 40% of the people
polled admitted to regifting, some in the effort to save money, others
to save time. I am sure that the majority of folks think that regifting is
nothing short of TACKY. However, I would dare say most people have
done it at least once, yours truly included. Yes, I have been guilty on
about 3-4 occasions. For a couple of them, it was due to an effort to
save time....I had gotten a couple of Christmas gifts from folks I did not
expect to receive something from, and feeling that I needed to recipro-
cate, had to scramble....and found a couple things still in boxes that I
had never opened or used, and really had no intention of ever doing so.
And on another occasion, it was something that I had received that I
intentionally saved for someone else - it was just THAT perfect for this
other person, not me. And lastly, I gave boxes of candy to some office
workers I know; I didn't even rewrap them, just dropped them off,
confessing I had gotten them but had no business eating them - they
seemed to be more than happy to take them off my hands! The website,
(which also stated that wedding presents are often regifted as well)
does recommend, if you are going to partake in this tactic, to rewrap
the gift, naturally changing the gift tag (DUH!), only regift items still
new and in their original packaging (boy, they must think folks are
dumb!), and to remember who the gift originally came from so that you
don't give it back to them accidentally! (OK, I guess they figure they are
dealing with rocket scientists!) I do have 2 gifts from last year
still in original packaging, but I have no intention of parting with them,
not because I will use them one day, but because I don't know anyone I
dislike enough to give these items to!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Doctor is IN

Due to the schedule being completely crazy this week, I had to work
last night at the restaurant. Will have today and tomorrow as my
'weekend', then the boom will fall...4, yes 4, straight days of opening.
The dastardly A.M. shift, pure Hades for a non-morning person! I
suggest to all my friends to either NOT visit me this week, or do so
with extreme patience and foreboding, as my grouchiness will be
increasing day by day! A colleague is taking some extra time off so
I am filling in, but I can't complain, I will have a few extra days off
within the next 3 weeks as well, so it all comes out in the wash. At
least I will get to see Mrs. Reagan a bit more often than I have been
lately. Anyway, I was still able to have a somewhat interesting time
last night despite the fact it was Monday. Whistler Tom and wife
Marion were in, as were the always entertaining Lisa and Peter.
Peter was in a pretty decent mood, much of that due to my beloved
Dallas Cowboys losing over the weekend, to the delight of his
Deadskin loving heart! Michelle and Fran came in as well, but I did
not get to speak to them as much as I would have liked. The waitress
on the one side of the restaurant was the one and only Kathy (she
who is a guest at the local state 'hotel'), and both Michelle and Fran
don't particularly care for her and hence do not sit on her side of the
restaurant....seems Kathy did NOT give them good service once.
Kathy generally is a great worker, but I am guessing that maybe that
particular night, there were several tables with young, good looking
guys, and she was concentrating on giving her best 'service' to them!
So Michelle and Fran sat on the more distant side of the restaurant.
Lola also called me from the great white, COLD Alaska. She was very
excited as this guy she likes, a fellow colleague at the book store she
works at, is starting to hang out more with her, so fingers and toes
are crossed that this turns into something meaningful down the road.
Lola is a VERY unusual person, quite different from the norm, and
while she claims she doesn't care or isn't concerned about STUFF
(stuff covering various topics in this case), deep down she has quite
a sensitive soul, so it would be nice for something good to fill that
soul up and displace the negative karma in there now. And THAT
was my philosophy/psychology for the day - from Peter's displaced
joy to Kathy's flirtations to Lola's soulmate quest...the doctor is now

Monday, December 11, 2006

nice....very nice!

Do any of you remember that adorable little cartoon about a penguin
named Chilly Willy? He didn't speak very much, but there was one
episode where he was getting all the fish he wanted, and at one point
he said 'nice, very nice' in just the cutest little voice! Has stuck with
me ever since. Anyway, nice, very nice is how I would like to describe
today. After ridiculously COLD weather last week, we are in the 60's
in central Virginia today. Hope everyone is enjoying it. I sure am. My
husband and I went for a walk earlier, came across a guy with a little
puppy, looked like a Boxer maybe, cute little thing. Then some dudes
were throwing and hitting some softballs around at the local park we
live near. Almost felt like spring, not mid-December. Something else
rather nice, if you like spy/espionage thrillers, is the new season of
the Showtime series called 'Sleeper Cell'. We got hooked on it during
the first season late last year. Yes, I know you need to pay extra to
have Showtime as part of your TV package, but the series is only 8
episodes long, so you watch and record them, then cancel the sub-
scription! (that is what my husband and I do each year when 'The
Sopranos' new season starts on HBO!) 'Sleeper Cell' is about an
undercover FBI agent who infiltrates terrorist sleeper cells in order
to discover and prevent terror attacks on American soil. The agent
is an American Muslim, and part of the show focuses on his internal
struggle to balance his religion and his job. It is a very well done
series, keeping you guessing and on edge with all the exciting twists
and turns. I don't watch an excessive amount of TV, sticking mainly
to the news and sports (especially football)....but I can't resist a cool
spy story, or the occasional cute Chilly Willy cartoon!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

just to follow up

Yesterday I mentioned that when we are shorthanded at the restaurant,
we are guaranteed to be we were Friday night. Well, last night
we had enough help, and of course, not busy at all other than a couple
of minor pops before and after the circus at the arena. oh well. It did
give me a little time to chit chat with Michelle and Fran, who made an
appearance last night. I had to break to them the bad news about their
fave waitress Shaniqua, who is no longer working at the restaurant.
She was the waitress who did not show up on this past chaotic Friday.
As it was the 3rd incident with her either not showing up, or leaving
early without a manager's OK, her days at the restaurant are over. I
am a bit upset about this, as she did a bang up job, at least the nights
I worked with her. But a no call - no show on a Friday night is simply
unacceptable; I just can't believe that during the 9 and 1/2 hours that
I was there she could not find the time to call me with whatever issue
she had. I was able to convince the other manager to give Shaniqua a
2nd chance the previous time there was an incident with her, but I am
not going to do that again for her, no matter how much I will miss her.
Even sadder will be the regular customers who will miss her, such as
Fran and Michelle, the Thompsons, and maybe most of all, Whistler
Tom and his wife Marion. They came in a couple of times this weekend;
poor Marion was not having one of her better days, telling me that she
couldn't take care of cooking and housework due to trying to raise her
babies. Just for those who may be reading me for the first time, Marion
is 87 years old and her (and Tom's) kids are in their 5o's. Sad. Shaniqua
took such good care of her 'babies', as she called them, putting Marion's
beer in a wine glass as she preferred, splitting the waffle Tom would
order in two, making sure their soup had more broth than veggies or
noodles, and checking to see if their bacon was extra crispy! I just hope
I can get another waitress to step up and take care of them and their
special won't be the same or quite as well done maybe, but we
must move on, as, unfortunately, the days of ghetto fabulous are, at
least for now, done at our dining establishment. Shaniqua was a breath
of fresh air, or a breath of air freshener anyway! (recall the night I
recounted here when we had those customers who very obviously
forgot to wear deodorant and/or shower for several days, and she went
right over and sprayed them - vanilla essence I believe!)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's a circus out there

And I am not just talking about the Ringling Brothers and Barnum
and Bailey Circus in town for 4 days. There are days where it's all a
circus - work, friends, daily life, and the holidays. The restaurant's
version of a 3 ring show exhibited itself last night. We were a cook
AND a waitress short, and naturally we were busy most of the night.
Just so y'all know, it is guaranteed to be busy when you are short
handed. In those situations, I am indeed the ringmaster of the
restaurant! But in all honesty, I love running the show, no matter
how chaotic it gets at times. Just galls me when people don't show
up to work on a Friday night, which 99 times out of a 100 is the
busiest night of the week, and they know that....irresponsible and
inconsiderate....WHATEVER. Moving on. Yesterday I finally put a
dent in my Christmas shopping, actually buying the first few gifts
that I need. (those that I don't do online or by catalogue) Will try to
get my Christmas cards out in the next few days as well, and maybe
do a bit more shopping next week. What is simply absurd is the circus
that the stores have become. Everyone feeling all self-important, that
are the only ones out shopping and thus THEY need to be
waited on RIGHT AWAY. I felt so sorry for some of these ladies
working retail yesterday....yes, they chose this job, but they didn't
choose to have Mr. or Ms. Arrogant show up in front of their faces.
Hang in there retailers, just 2 more weeks! Not to mention the
circus in the post offices, with folks trying to send gifts, or the chaos
in the supermarkets, folks trying to find THE perfect ham. Me, I am
more concerned about finding some Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante
on scouting all locales for that! Well, off to get our tree,
love the smell of fresh cut pine....I know, totally politically incorrect
not to do a fake plastic tree, but for me, fake and plastic refers to
certain people I run into, not trees. (fake blondes with fake tans
driving their Suburbans while on their cell overgrown
Barbies and Kens know who you are!)

Friday, December 08, 2006

more e-coli?

Scanning the headlines in CNN today, and they are rather glum.
I am sure most people have been following the story of the father
and husband who left his family in their car to try to find help in
the middle of nowhere in Oregon. The California family had gotten
lost coming back from Thanksgiving vacation, survived several days
in their car, then the gentleman set out on in the snowy wilderness.
The wife and 2 daughters were rescued soon after; the father's body
was found the other day. He died of hypothermia, less than a mile
from shelter and food, and about a 1/2 a mile from his car. Simply
tragic. I had been hoping that he was still alive as investigators and
searchers found pieces of maps and clothing that he had left as clues
during his almost 10 mile trek. Sad is an understatement for the
outcome of that story. Pathetic is the word for this next headline.
An Arab-American has been arrested for plotting to bomb shopping
centers in Illinois. Just sickening, trying to kill or maim innocents,
and for what?!? I will never understand that mentality. And another
headline about E Coli has emerged, and this one hitting a bit close
to home. Apparently 121 people in 6 states have been infected with
the bacteria, and it appears that the vast majority of these folks
recently ate in a Taco Bell. I am a bit alarmed; while I do not frequent
fast food eateries, fast food Mexican is a sinful treat I indulge in about
once a month. A nice 7-layer burrito or meximelt does the trick, or
the occasional special they run, the cheesy gordita crunch - yum!
Green onions or scallions seem to be the culprit this time; if y'all
remember, it was bagged spinach from California a couple of
months ago. Preliminary details emerging about this new case is
that the onions are coming from a farm in...yes, you guessed it...
California! Another black eye for the left coast if this turns out to
be true. While Virginia is not on the list of the affected states, I
think I will hold off on my dietary transgression for a little while!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A new face

The time has come to introduce a new personality to our cast of
characters at the restaurant. This person isn't actually an employee,
but an increasingly regular customer. She used to come in with
friends and/or family in the past, before I really knew her. Now
she has been frequenting the restaurant with my pal Michelle.
They will sit for hours, rehashing their day at work, voicing their
frustrations or accomplishments, and in general just chilling.
They work together at a local retail location, selling cell phone
service and accessories. I will call this gal Fran here. She is in her
mid 20's, dark-haired (a huge plus in my book!), and thin. She has
had a colorful past, but has matured to the point where she is an
assistant manager where she works. One thing I have noticed
about Fran is that she is quite intelligent and has a good, if a bit
twisted, sense of humor. An example of the latter revealed itself
the other night this past weekend (when they usually visit). She
and Michelle had come in, both in kind of so-so moods, in part due
to work, in part due to personal relationship issues (i.e. boyfriend
problems.....phew, so glad I am married!). Well, they were sitting
there, waited on by their fave waitress Shaniqua, who, by the way,
has become the fave waitress for about 1/2 of our regular customers.
Both Michelle and Fran are amazed how Shaniqua is able to keep
their glasses full no matter how busy she is, and are impressed by
the fact they get extra cucumbers, pickles, and ranch dressing for
their food without even asking! But as usual, I digress. This group
of 4 high school kids came in, asking for a large table as more of
their friends were on the way, and that they may need a 2nd table.
These kids were a tad on the obnoxious side in their behavior; even
more bizarre was their mode of dress - you would think it was beach
weather, not in the 30's, by how they were attired. Anyway, simply
annoying by all counts. Fran, who was trying to get into a better
mood, begged me to not give them a bigger table, that they didn't
deserve it. In all honesty, I had no problem with that. They were all
slim, and I have seen skinny sorority and Asian girls squeeze up to 9
in such a booth! Plus we were fairly busy, so it wasn't like I had alot
of extra tables. So, when the additional friends of this group did
arrive, I presented them with two options, either a couple of chairs,
or for them to squeeze....which they did! Fran's face was priceless,
the look of joyous satisfaction, and I was just pleased that, even if
for just a moment, I was able to make her day! What I like about
Fran is that she is really trying to help Michelle get over that loser
ex-boyfriend of hers, making quite an effort to prove to Michelle
that she has self-worth and does not need her ex, who has treated
her like garbage. Granted, at times it is frustrating, as Michelle will
break down and call or text-message him, then get disappointed all
over again. It is like beating your head against the wall, but Fran has
demonstrated extreme patience. Michelle has not listened to her
other best friend, Helen, or to me, a big sister figure, so here's
hoping that Fran will get through to her at long last, so that Michelle,
who is a good person and deserves better, can get on with her life
instead of residing in a holding pattern.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good Things

So nice to be on my version of the
'weekend', days off are a GOOD
! Many thanks to Martha
Stewart for that phrase. I know
alot of people simply don't care for
Ms. Stewart, that she seems aloof,
snobby, and most of all, a big witch
with a capital 'B'! Well, that latter trait I can kind of relate too,
so not a character flaw in my book! I think she is a class act, very savvy,
and a remarkable businesswoman. I actually wasn't a Martha fan until
her legal troubles a couple years back; as you all may remember, she had
that stock market brouhaha pop up, the insider trading scandal. In a
nutshell, she got in trouble, and went to prison, over a sum that was
basically chump change for her, an amount she probably has swimming
in the bottom of her purse. I mean come on, she is worth multi-millions,
so the thought that she was worried about 45 grand is absurd. I don't buy
it. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission simply picked an
unsympathetic public figure to go after, to prove they had some teeth.
And at the same time, others who literally stole millions from their
companies were just as free as birds, practically flaunting their good
fortune. So I was sympathetic to Martha's plight, and last year I actually
bought some of her Christmas ornaments for my tree as well as a
Christmas tree skirt. (ok, YES, I had to go to K-Mart to do this, but I
went ONLY to the Christmas section, was in and out in no time, a very
fast operation....I don't think anyone saw me!) Well, I have linked this
post to Martha Stewart's website, so y'all can go learn how to make
ribbon ornaments, cozy scarf stockings, and Christmas stollen wreath

Monday, December 04, 2006

comments and cards

I just love it when someone comments on one of my blog posts, unless
it is one of those inane ones about working from home and making a
gazillion dollars a month...almost as bad as the Nigerian bank account
e-mail schemes! Some of my comments come from friends like Lola or
Sandra, but I have some other anonymous ones who I have not been able
to figure out who they are. So whoever y'all are, thanks for reading and
taking the time to comment! Just coming off a good weekend. My Dallas
Cowboys won again, a cliffhanger that required my husband to call me
during the final seconds of the game to have me hear it via loud TV and
phone! (what a doll he is, not a football fan, but he indulges me!) The
Thompsons and Sandra visited me, as did the Browns, but didn't have
much of a chance to talk to any of them, as this weekend was fairly busy
at the restaurant. Basketball season is in full gear for the local college
teams (men and women), thus we get good crowds thanks to our
proximity to the arena. The hotel next door also provided us with
alot of business; about 3-4 times a year it hosts a large bridge tourney
for this part of Virginia. Many of the players came in for their lunch
and/or dinner breaks. They were a hoot to watch when they came in,
complete with their score sheets, studying them intently and debating
how certain hands were played. I could overhear alot of the distressed
or pleased conversations, which unfortunately I could not really under-
stand as I don't play bridge - 'ok, so she opened with a 5 of diamonds',
or 'he led with an ace of spades', or 'they played clubs'
. And sometimes,
along with leads and opens, they talked about sacrifices, whatever they
are! Oh well, nice to see people enjoy their hobby, but these folks, most
of them 50 and up, were really intense! And they would issue challenges
to other groups of fellow players who were also eating...'we're going to
get you next round'
! From what I could gather, they were playing about
8 hours a day. Ok, I want a backgammon tourney, or maybe some gin fun fun! oh well, looks like I will have to settle for
until those unlikely events happen!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

MORE local scandal

OK, what the heck is going on here? For the 2nd day in a row, a
scandal usually reserved for other cities, not ours, has rocked
the news. Yesterday I touched upon the drug addled working
girls....well, it gets worse. A local high school teacher and choir
director, 19 years in service, has been indicted on 7 felony charges;
he has been accused of taking indecent liberties with students.
For me, a teacher is right up there with a priest....both are people
who guide, council, and teach their class/congregation; those who
abuse their position and take advantage of others (who generally
look up to them) are really the lowest of the low and need to be
dealt with quickly and very severely. There will be those who
will play devil's advocate....wanting to hear both sides of the story,
waiting for a trial. Then there will be others who will argue that
counseling and rehabilitation for the offenders are the solutions.
Well, the police have been investigating since September, and they
would not have brought about such serious, life-altering charges
if there wasn't solid proof. And I don't believe for a minute that
sexually based psychological illnesses can be 'cured' or 'fixed' after
a few months in a mental institution. The victims must live with
what happened to them for the rest of their lives - who will 'fix' or
'cure' them? Take the perverted priests out of the churches, the
twisted teachers out of the classrooms, toss them in prison, and
throw away the key. Simply shameful.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

local scandal

Have been perusing the local news about the latest sting operation
conducted by our police department. Unfortunately, this deals with
various women providing certain 'services' in order to get drugs. A
total of 7 were arrested, with ages ranging from early 30's to mid 50's.
Totally tragic what people will do for their addiction, but heck, being
addicted in the first place is equally tragic. Naturally, some of our
staff at the restaurant recognized some of the faces of these women
in the local rag...I mean newspaper. Herman, our long time night
shift cook, recognized one as a niece of a former flame! Nice to know
(NOT) there is some kind of connection, albeit far and indirect,
between this story and the restaurant! oh, and in a totally unrelated
topic, hubby and I are finally DONE.....DONE I tell you, with raking
and collecting leaves. We did it in 3 operations, back, front, and side
yards; round 3 was done today, and let me tell you, I am just glad we
do not have a yard as big as the Thompsons, and that a couple of our
trees are pines!

Friday, December 01, 2006

catch up time

Whew, a hectic last couple of days, trying to catch up! I see my buddy
Sandra has caught up on her required reading, thanks for reading and
commenting hon! And yet another friend of mine has started a blog,
still waiting for my props from Google for starting this mini-trend
and getting folks to sign up with Blogger! Anyway, speaking of Sandra,
my husband and I were able to spend some time with her and a couple
of her friends the other night at a local dining establishment - a
German restaurant, which will drastically narrow the choices down
for my local readers! I actually know the owner/manager there, he
and his family are actually German, so a degree of authenticity is
definitely there....and the beer choices immense! Of course, when my
hubby and I got there, we found Sandra in the bar....but I won't harp
on that too much, because she claimed that her friends were there
first! It was the first time Sandra had met my husband, and they
seemed to hit it off; it was also the first time I had met her friends,
a couple who moved here a few years ago from Georgia. They were
our age and were with their autistic son. I wasn't quite sure, in the
beginning, how to act exactly with him, as I had never had such close
contact with an autistic person. But it went really well, I just treated
him normal as possible, patting him on his arm, smiling and talking
to him, passing him more bread and butter when he pointed to the
basket! He was a good kid, kind of cute too; just makes you wonder
what if...he hadn't been born that way. What DNA mixups cause
autism, and why? And the parents who raise an autistic child - you
just have to admire their bravery, strength, and fortitude. Of course,
Sandra, the natural flirt, proclaimed that he was her date! Well, we
all had a great time, and I hope we can get together again in the
future. Changing streams - last 2 days I had to open, and about the
only good thing about that is getting to taste fresh biscuits and grits,
and having a cup of coffee with Mrs. Reagan! Otherwise, I had to put
up with the dayshift drama....lately it has circled around Tiffany.
Since dropping her boyfriend, he has been semi-stalking her, mostly
with cell phone and text messages (hi-tech, new age stalking!). Then
she had a bank issue with some missing money; apparently a motel
she crashed at, to sleep off an out of town drunken night, put some
extra charges on her card, so Tiffany spent a week getting her $150
dollars back! At least she was responsible enough to not try to drive
home drunk - hey, trying to put a positive spin on this!