Archive for December, 2011

25 Days of Thanks- Day 10

December 11, 2011

Thankful- When the moon is bright enough to drive with your lights off

There’s just something about it.  My Mom will probably “comment” on this later, but I learned to appreciate this from my Dad.  While driving back from play practices or my brother’s basketball games, and when the moon was bright enough, he used to turn the car lights off and just drive through the hills on our way back home.

It was definitely something to be noted.  The world would light up with the faintest shade of white and you could really appreciate some of the mountains and hills that surrounded out town.

Can’t really do this in a city or places where there’s a lot of street lights but on certain nights, when there’s not a cloud in the sky, I’ll switch em off and just enjoy the scenery.

Now, if there’s snow on the ground, JACKPOT.  The night lights up even more.

It’s sometimes these little things that I’m thankful for.

Thanks for reading…

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25 Days of Thanks- Day 9

December 10, 2011

Thankful- The Front of a Refrigerator

There’s not too many places in your home that you can go crazy with how you decorate it.  The front of a refrigerator is a blank canvas that no one will judge you about.  Sure if you put up a disrespectful item, you’ll get a comment from me, however, people recognize that it’s a visual representation of some of the stories in their life.

Not just anything goes up there though.  It has to be something that tells a story.  Sometimes the story is as simple as, “Oh, we got this random magnet from a friend…” but most of the time, you put something up there knowing it’s a conversation piece.  A story will come out of it.  Friends will stop by and ask, “That’s a great picture!  What’s going on there?” and for the next couple of minutes you’re laughing or remembering a great time/person in your life.

They say that during house parties (adult house parties, and not adult in that way but adult as in- not hiding in the basement so the neighbors don’t call the cops on the loud music) that most people congregate in the kitchen.  Granted it’s usually where the food is, but I’m going to argue that it’s also where conversation can be generated the easiest.  Food surely can spark something but I also think it’s because of the Save The Date card stuck to the front of the refrigerator door.

I’m definitely thankful it’s there.  I hate silence and my mind is always searching for new things to talk about.  I appreciate the front of the refrigerator for providing that spark.

It happened recently that someone asked why I have a mound of chocolate stuck to my door.  I looked and thought, “Mound of chocolate?  What the….” and then realized he was looking at an Icelandic volcanic rock magnet I brought back from my Europe trip.  After laughing and comparing it to a few other things that it looked like, I shared with him the story of how I got it.  But now I get to add a piece to this story… the time an RA thought I randomly stuck chocolate to my door.

From Quincy, thanks for reading…

25 Days of Thanks- Day 8

December 9, 2011

Thankful- Campus Security/Police Officers

My heart and prayers go out to the families, students, staff, faculty, and community affected by the Virginia Tech shooting today.  The community which has endured much now has to face another tragedy.  An officer, just doing his job, pulling over someone for a traffic violation, was shot and killed.

I’m no expert at their job.  I’ve worked with many great officers in the past and am impressed by their professionalism.  I have never walked in their shoes so the best thing I can do is support when needed.

At the beginning of each year I tell students, “Many of you will make choices that go against school policy. Some will be pretty serious.  But you want to know the quickest way to be shown the door?  Disrespect a campus security officer or one of my RAs.”  That frustrates me the most and I make sure students know that from the beginning.  My support is with them and you should be the kindest person you can be even if you’re in the biggest amount of trouble.

I feel bad that it’s taken a tragedy to prompt this Thanks, but I hope those reading just give a quick little thanks to either the security at their campus or to the people who protect them each day.

For more information, MSNBC has been running updates here.

Thanks for reading…

25 Days of Thanks- Day 7

December 8, 2011

Thankful- Salad Spinners

2 reasons:

1- There’s just something about cold, crisp, CLEAN lettuce.  I’m no germaphobe but I’ve seen the specials and the reports.  I like that with salad spinners, you throw the lettuce in the strainer part (I only use the technical terms for things), wash it off with some water, then put it in the bowl part, and spin it up.  Afterwards you’re left with good lettuce and a little water to dump out.  But then you can just throw it in the bowl part and BA BAM, instant salad bowl.

2- Who doesn’t remember playing with spinning tops when they’re either pulling the string or pushing the plunger down?  I mean, come on, it brings you right back there!  And with the ones that have the brakes on them, you shift from the spinning top memory to BRAKE!  STOP AND BE GONE DIRT!  I COMMAND THEE!  Or maybe it’s just me.

Thanks for reading…

25 Days of Thanks- Day 6

December 7, 2011

Thankful- Diet Coke

I never got into coffee.  Really I only tried a few sips of my Dad’s when we were growing up.  Now he, my brother, and my sister all swear by the stuff.  Especially Starbucks.

That was actually one of the first questions he asked about Quincy after getting the job here.  He was all, “Congrats!  Aw, that’s great!  You excited?  Do they have a Starbucks?”

For many many MANY years, I was addicted to Coca Cola.  The regular, high-test stuff.  Very few things were sent back if a waitress brought them to the table.  You bring me regular coke?  How dare you…

After seeing the light, and the calories, I switched to Diet Coke.  I think I actually prefer it now to regular.  Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke, I’m good either way.  But I really can’t get through the day without a few.  My one weakness….  yep, just Diet Coke.  And maybe Swedish Fish, grape ones.  Oh and real, fresh salsa.

Bed time.  Long week.  Thanks for reading:-)

 

25 Days of Thanks- Day 5

December 6, 2011

Thankful- Jon Stewart and The Daily Show

Put aside the politics, the humor, the George Bush bashing for a minute.  I argue that no one person is currently doing more for modern-day literature than Jon Stewart.

It has to be recognized that Harry Potter, The Hunger Games (separate Days of Thanks post coming about these books) , and yes, even Twilight have promoted reading amongst young people (You can define “young people” however you wish.  I am still a young person!  Right?).  Oprah, a very good judge of literature, promoted women and men to get out there and get connected with a well written volume.  But one common thing amongst these movements is that they all ended a little while ago.

I didn’t start watching the Daily Show until highlights started popping up in a blog I read.  Soon after I became interested in the perspective he took on different topics that brought both humor and a message to the screen.  There’s a good reason his show continues to win Emmy after Emmy.  He and his writers are masters at making you laugh hysterically while sending a message that’s very easy to connect with.  He goes after both sides with ease and, like me, is looking for someone to get something done for the people.

Each episode he also has a guest on.  Some are political figures, others come from the entertainment industry, but a good majority of his guests are authors.  He invites on mostly non-fiction or biographical authors and chats with them about their life or their work.  But 9 times out of 10, you develop a connection with that book and/or author through humor.

No where else are these authors getting their message or voice out there to promote what they’ve spent countless hours doing.  Sometimes the chat isn’t even about the work, sometimes it gets into something about the author but I have to say it adds to the connection for me.  I trust it just a little bit more for me to give my time to that book.  And I haven’t been steered wrong yet.

10pm every night, I know I’m going to get a laugh to end a crazy day (His Herman Cain segment about the bus tonight still has me giggling.  I also agree with his feelings about Donald Trump and pizza.  You don’t use a knife and fork to eat NYC pizza).  But usually by 10:25pm, I’m on the library’s website seeing what’s available.

Thanks for reading…

25 Days of Thanks- Day 4

December 4, 2011

Thankful- Carol of the Bells

Thanks to many Christmas Concerts growing up, I learned the words to many carols as the years at St. Jude’s went on.  Joy to the World- check.  Angels We Have Heard On High- check.  O Christmas Tree- check. Heck even, Twas the Night Before Christmas- check.

My favorite Christmas Carol dances between two.  Some years it’s Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  But most years it’s Carol of the Bells, any version.

Problem is that I have no clue what the words are.  I muffle through it when it comes on the radio but it mostly sounds like one long, “Hmmm Naaaa Sinnnngggg Bellllllssss christMAAAASSSSSssss”.

I first remember hearing it in the epic classic, the STILL SHOULD BE PLAYED ON THANKSGIVING masterpiece, Home Alone.

Soon after my Dad got the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CD and that version rocked my socks.  The melody drives you and the little “electical” touches they put make my hands start waving like a conductor at an orchestra.  Since this version was the easiest to stick with, I could tell you where the little “bings” and “bongs” are very easily.  But very little words to this version.

Now, if you happen to pass by my house when the song is on, you again won’t hear the words, you’ll probably hear my version.  Which goes a little something like this:


(The first 45ish seconds)

Hark how the bells
Sweet Christmas Smells
All seem to say
Jeff burned something today

Christmas is here
Bring in the beer
Don’t wait in the cold
I’ve still got a Jello Mold

Ding dong ding dong
That is the song
Of a working doorbell
But mine sounds like a zombie after the fall

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
from the lack of chairs
that I have to spare

Oh how I didn’t know
Turkey could turn into charcoal
Damn IPhone timer
being silenced by a damn reminder

Gaily they bring
side dishes to sing
songs of tossing my turkey cheer
Christmas is here

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,

On on they send,
texts without end,
their joyful tone to every home

Hark! How the people
Awesome Christmas sweater-ed people
All seem to say
Throw Cares Away

I’m sure I’ll learn the words one day but for now, I cool with either flailing my arms or sounding like I have marbles in my mouth.

Thanks for reading…

25 Days of Thanks- Day 3!

December 4, 2011

Thankful- thedailywh.at

I admit that I am a tech and internet geek.  I try to keep up on the days happenings and on what’s hot on the interwebs.  Some of these findings I post to facebook, others I’ll use as a way to get some laughter going in the office, and others I keep to myself for quiet smiles.

Many sites try to provide this service but the best I’ve found out there is one called The Daily What.  It keeps the videos safe for work and provides coverage on a wide range of topics.

Some little gems I’ve found through this site include:

Procrastination- http://thedailywh.at/2011/11/02/book-trailer-of-the-day-2/

-Hits a little too close to home

Say Something Nice- http://thedailywh.at/2011/08/22/urban-improv-of-the-day-7/

-Those who you who know what happens when you put a microphone in front of my face would have a pretty good idea of what I would have done.

Dishwasher Dancer- http://thedailywh.at/2011/11/07/omg-adorbz-of-the-day-62/

-I recently helped my Dad purchase a device that will transfer over his VHS tapes to his computer.  God only knows what similar videos lie on those tapes.  I may have created a monster.

A well done NYC montage- http://thedailywh.at/2011/11/04/a-bite-of-the-big-apple-of-the-day/

-This video gets me each time.  Some random shots but a few give me a little tingle on the back of my neck.

Thanks for reading…

25 Days of Thanks- Day 2

December 3, 2011

Thankful- Panara Bread

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”

Let’s reshape that a bit…

“In the land of having no clue what a bagel is, the circular bread baked good with a hole in the middle is king”

Bagels are one of the things I miss from NY.  A real bagel.  We’re not talking some mass-produced, baked but not boiled, thing with a hole in the middle.

I will hand it to Panara that they try real hard.  Their Cinnamon Crunch Bagel is unreasonably addictive and their Asiago Cheese Bagel is a great holder of turkey and cheese.  I am thankful that there’s a Panara in Quincy.  It’s a good place to get a fresh pastry or a good cup of soup.

It wasn’t always like this though.  For many years, Panara and me were mortal enemies.  After being told on my first trip there that eggs are in everything they make by both the cashier and manager, I had to say “No” when many coworkers would attempt to bring it up as a lunch option.

But then one glorious day, I gave it another shot.  Early in my time here in Quincy, after a long day at work, I headed there knowing that the crowd would be light and I could get time with someone who knew the inner-workings of their bakery creations.  Arriving to find a team of people willing to help we did the “allergy dance” and one by one, a new light shown on each part of the store.  Some were crossed off the list but by the end I had numerous options and a few sniffles from the joy.  Holding back a hug so as to not freak out the manager, I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Thank You”

But… they’re not bagels.  Bagels are boiled first.  Then baked.  A nice crust on the outside, chewy in the middle.  A little cornmeal on the bottom.  Maybe even a little sticky as they all sit in the bag still warm from the oven.

And yes, I have driven two hours to get to the closest Bruegger’s Bagel in Iowa City, IA.  Don’t judge.  You’d do it too if you were in my shoes… right?

 

25 Days of Thanks- Day 1

December 2, 2011

It’s back!  My 25 Days of Thanks list.  Past versions have gone pretty well and you should be able to search for them through the site.  Some are light-hearted, others are serious, but all are things that I’m thankful for in a year that’s brought some pretty good stuff.  Without further ado, Day 1!

Thankful- That feeling you get when you see your luggage come out onto the conveyor belt

Before moving to Quincy, travelling usually consisted of hopping in a car and driving a few hours to get back to Albany.  Since moving out here, travelling now means hopping on a few planes to get to family or vacation.  Most parts of flying I love, some parts I hate, but I noticed that I do the biggest fist-pump in the air when one certain thing happens.

You’ve just got done flying and are walking through the airport towards the exit.  If you’re like me, you’ve checked your bag and are saying prayers to the patron saint of baggage that it’s made the trip with you.  You make it to the baggage claim area and then the thoughts kick in.  You mind races with not only the question of if the bag made it,  but also did the handlers decide to practice their Olympic Hammer Toss throws with your zippers close to busting suitcase.  The siren blasts and the motors turn as people try not to be rude while shifting towards the opening for the baggage release.

“Whap!  Whap!” as the bags go through those metal curtains.  Each “Whap!” brings a wave of anticipation, then disappointment as you process the suitcase that just came out.  Color usually hits first, then shape, then zipper placement as you try to match the item to the one in your head.  It’s at this point you probably remember, “Oh, I have to get one of those crazy luggage wrap bands so that I can pick my stuff out from the rest of the crowd”.

But then you see a new item come through.  Color- check!  Shape-Check!  ZIPPER PLACEMENT-CHEC…OH YEA BABY IT MADE IT!!!! Fist pump!  You walk up nonchalantly but in your head you are acting like you just got called down for the Price is Right and high fiving everyone along the way!

Not Thankful-That feeling you get when you think you see your luggage come out onto the conveyor belt but realize it’s not yours after someone else grabs it

Who the heck is this guy?  And why is he touching my luggage?  Back the truck up buddy that’s mine.  I will fight you!  How should I do this?  Hip check?  Shoulder into arm like I didn’t see him.  Oh wait, he saw me!  Did he just pick up his pace?  This is on now (Granted you’ve only taken one step during this whole time as you’re not that far away from the bag) Is there another bag I can throw at him?  Maybe I can nudge this stroller?  Where are those luggage carts when you need one?  Do they still give you a quarter back for returning them?  FOCUS!  Maybe if you hug him with one hand saying “Hey I know you!” and with your other hand grab the bag?  Would singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music” throw him off?  My domino knocking over experience with the one, two, yep, three people between me and him could come in handy!  Look at me I got it.  BOO YA!  Why are you looking at me that way?  Puff your chest out Jeffrey!  Step up budd… Oh… It’s got your name on it.  Oh, Ha ha!  That’s funny, I thought it was mine.  I’m sorry, here you go!

I’m not saying this happened to me at all.  Nope.