Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #3

I am WAY late with my 13 today...

Sooooo, I just finished decorating our Christmas tree on Tuesday night (I'm a little "behind" this year...). Our tree has no particular theme or design...I've collected most of the ornaments over the years and I buy new ones from time to time (one of my favorite Christmas stores is in Rochester, NY. I always make a trip to Ridge Road Station when we're up that way visiting friends in the fall). For my Thursday Thirteen, I want to share some photos of thirteen of my favorite ornaments (and these are in no particular order):

1. I love the beach, and this hoochie momma flamingo always reminds me of those summer days...ahhhhhhh...

2. Barbie and I have always had a very special relationship. I had a Barbie doll case just like this one, way back when...this brings back wonderful memories:

3. My dad had season tickets to the Washington Redskins games at RFK stadium when I was growing up. Needless to say, I have always been a diehard fan (ok, don't laugh...). They haven't done too well in the past few years (actually, they haven't done that great since their glory days of the 80's), but I still love 'em and root for them every week, come hell or high water. And it's particularly fun since the Sicilian is a NY Giants fan (at least he doesn't cheer for Dallas - THANK GOD!) My two favorite NFL teams are the Washington Redskins and whoever's playing Dallas...BWAHAHAHA!!!

4. Self explanatory (if you look really close, you can see the year):

5. Thalhimers, a local department store in town (out of business in the early 90's - swallowed up by numerous mergers and acquisitions), brought us the legendary Snow Bear stuffed animal (I have the larger version that lives on the bed in the guest room):

6. Old dawg's little bone ornament made by my niece several years ago:

7. My little Shizt Zu's ornament (trust me, he doesn't look a thing like this but I couldn't find an ornament with a puppy-cut):

8. This one hangs in memory of our Buddy, who went to heaven in September:

9. One of my grandmother's hand painted ornaments from the early 1900's:

10. Every tree needs a Christmas's suppposed to bring good luck (or so they say). Per instructions, it is hanging in a secret spot...

11. One of the first ornaments I ever purchased for myself. It hung on my first little tree in my first apartment:

12. An ornament that my mother had when she was a child (circa 1920). It always hung on our tree when I was growing up, and now it's been passed on to me.

13. This ornament, made by a dear friend, expresses the true meaning of Christmas and has a very special place on my tree:

That's it - I did it...another Thirteen under my belt...

Hugs and kisses and Merry Christmas, everyone...ok, back to wrapping...Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Just Another Wordless Wednesday

An archeological team, digging in Washington DC , has uncovered 10,000 year old bones and fossil remains of what is believed to be the first politician:

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Idiosyncratic Ruminations

Looks like my fellow hoochie, Turnbaby, has tagged me to reveal six weird things about myself. Hmmmm...this shouldn't be too difficult...

1. I collect cookbooks. My particular favorites are those published by Junior League organizations from around the country (still don't have one from Birmingham), and I have scores of others. At last count, my collection in my kitchen numbered a little over a hundred, and I have more in storage that I rotate from time-to-time. Why my fondness (ok, I'll call it an obsession) with cookbooks? Was I deprived of cooking as a small child??? Maybe it has something to do with #2...

2. During my senior year of high school, our class was administered an aptitude test to find the the "Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow" for our county. I was shocked to learn that I had received the highest score on the test, which not only covered cooking and sewing, but also many aspects of modern homemaking (remember...this was the 70's...). The Sicilian still laughs his head off whenever I bring up that distinguished honor, but he shuts up when I roll a perfect cannoli shell.

3. I'm pretty sure I had past lives. I haven't confirmed this with a reading by Shirley MacLaine, but sometimes the hair stands up on the back of my neck when I read about life in merry old England during the Restoration (I often think I was a bar wench) or listen to big band music (I feel certain I was a hostess at a USO center in the 40's). Maybe next time I'll come back next time as a Taylor Hicks fan...oh, wait a minute...

4. I'm a certified makeup-a-holic. I can't go by a makeup counter or display without buying something. My first trip to Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was a religious experience. Bobbie Brown and I are on a first-name basis.

5. I carry the same trait that my tagger possesses...I love me some shoes!!! I have in excess of 100 pairs. Put me in Manolo Blahnik's and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside (I have a pair that my friends call "roach in the corner" shoes - they just don't understand...). When Saks or Nordstrom's has a shoe sale, I'm waiting at the door with my nose pressed up against the glass until they open. My latest purchase was a beautiful pair of Stuart Weitzman pumps that I'm wearing right now...oooooooooo...heaven!

6. I have a phobia...a BIG phobia. Some people are afraid of snakes, spiders, heights, closed-in spaces, wide-open spaces, etc. I am afraid of birds...that's right...BIRDS. They can be alive or dead, big or small...I don't like them. I can be in the room with a bird in a cage, but if he gets out, I crumble. When I'm walking down the street and I see a pigeon on the sidewalk in front of me, I'll cross to the other side. I guess I wouldn't do too well in Trafalgar Square...

OK, there you have it...six weird things about Pia. I'm not tagging anyone else 'cuz I think all of my blogging buddies have already been hit. Just beware - I'll get you next time!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

This just in...


Dress Code:

You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.

- If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will
assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

- If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so
that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.

- If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore
you do not need a raise.

Sick Days:

We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you
are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days:

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called
Saturdays & Sundays.

Bereavement Leave:

This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead
friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have
non-employees attend the funeral arrangements. In rare cases where
employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the
late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour
and subsequently leave one hour early.

Bathroom Breaks:

Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict
three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm
will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted
on the company bulletin board under the "Chronic Offenders" category.

Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the
company's mental health policy.

Lunch Break:

- Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more,
so that they can look healthy.

- Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to
maintain their average figure.

- Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time
needed to drink a Slim-Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a
positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments,
concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations,
allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should
be directed elsewhere.

The Management

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Is That All There Is?

The immortal Peggy Lee sang that famous Leiber & Stoller song in the late 60's. Almost 40 years later, a possessed group of music fans (include a large number of "fawning middle-aged women") is singing the same tune. Seems that pre-sale tickets for the Taylor Hicks concert tour went on sale yesterday at 2:00 p.m. and a select few managed to grab tickets here and there. Unfortunately, many SP'ers were left out in the cold. Ticket sales for most of the venues will resume at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. Wanna bet the Ticketmaster server is gonna be blown off the planet (at least temporarily)??? My finger is poised (F5, F5, F5, F5) at 11...

Addendum: I would have never thunk it, but DID NOT have the code on this tune. If you've never heard it, go to iTunes and hear a's a keeper...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #2

Here I am, smack-dab in the middle of the East Coast. This is a place where we have know...winter, spring, summer and fall??? Well, today's high will be 70°F, and they're expecting these temps to continue until the middle of next week. Those of you who are freezing your butts off might ask "Why is she complaining?" My answer would be a very simple "I WANT SOME SNOW!!!!!" And we all know it ain't gonna snow when it's 70 degress outside, right? So, to make me feel better (and stop whining - right?), my Thursday Thirteen is a list of places I've snow-skied in the U.S. If that won't make me think of snow, nothing will.

1. Massanutten, Virgina - the first place I ever skiied (NO, I didn't use wooden skis...). Some prefer to call it "Massa-nuthin", but for those of us who can't head up north or out west at the drop of a hat, it rocks.

2. Wintergreen, Virginia - OK, so they sometimes have to make snow there, but I can jump in my car and be there in about 2 hours. The have a great black diamond (would probably be a "blue" out west) called "The Highlands".

4. Snowshoe, West Virginia - terrific natural snow and wonderful runs and trails. You can hear John Denver singing in your ears as you swoosh down piste. They also have some bodacious tubing here for the non-skiers.

5. Park City West, Utah (now called "The Canyons") - a sweet little mountain next to huge Park City Resort where I saw my first snowboarder.

6. Park City, Utah - the home of the U.S. Ski Team. Awesome long runs and beautiful terrain. The Sundance Film Festival is held here every year.

7. Deer Valley, Utah - the valets come up to your car when you pull up, take your skis off the rack, and carry them to the slope for you. Fabulous houses are built along the slopes, and the food is to die for.

8. Copper Mountain, Colorado - tough, tough terrain. The hardest skiing I ever experienced.

9. Keystone, Colorado - fabulous bowl skiing, and they have a spot at the bottom of one of the slopes for sunbathing.

10. Beaver Creek, Colorado - another great Colorado ski resort. They have a quaint little store near the resort called "Beaver Liquor" (I'll show you my T-shirt sometime!).

11. Vail, Colorado - THE BOWLS, THE BOWLS, THE BOWLS. Huge resort, so much to do and see, and unparalled skiing. There's a huge restaurant at the bottom of one of the black diamond slopes where everyone rates the best falls down the hill (kinda sick, huh?).

12. Aspen, Colorado - tough terrain, but great for people watching (I sat next to Michael Keaton at a bar there).

13. Snowmass, Colorado - my A-#1, top favorite ski resort of all time. The most beautiful scenery anywhere, and in the early morning, you can follow the snow cats down the slopes during their grooming sessions. I think I did some of my best skiing ever at this wonderful place.

So...Happy Thursday, everyone...THINK SNOW!!!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

Here's Richmond, Virginia's own "Legendary Santa"...I'll be making a visit to see him tonight with a passle of nieces and nephews...can't wait!!!! (P.S. I took this picture last year - isn't he a sweetie???)Here's a slide show of our Santa through the years...

On another note, there's been a HUGE brouhaha here in town about a high school art teacher who uses "tools" in his creative process. Here's a short video of exactly how he does it (don't worry - it's PG rated). How do you feel about this, after reading the story?? Inquiring minds want to know...

Finally, a little hoochie holiday humor for everyone (teeheehee):

Hell of a Day, Isn't It?

It's been almost 11 months to the day since I first saw Taylor Hicks audition for American Idol. I had never watched the show before, and when he opened his mouth, I pretty much knew that even if he won AI or not, I was going to do my best to find out more about him and his music. His freshman CD was released today at 12:00 a.m. Although I've actually had my copy since Saturday (thanks to Sony On-line Music Store), I just think this is one HELL of a day. And with that, I'll close with a WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
By Kenny Rogers

Let's was the week of April 2, 2006. We were all speculating which song Taylor would sing that week on American Idol. Tuesday night finally rolled around and we all got a look at the guest star for the week - the legend, Kenny Rogers. All those songs he sang came flooding back...The Gambler; Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town; Lady; Lucille; Coward of the County; Islands in the Stream...the list goes on and on. We remembered the chiseled, bearded face...the cowboy...the rough-rider. Then, we saw him. What had he done to himself? Had he stumbled into some bad plastic surgery? This was not the Kenny we remembered. There was probably more talk about Kenny's face than about Taylor's song choice that week ("Country Roads" - we 'll never forget that one!). Later reports indicated that even Kenny wasn't too happy with his most recent foray into the world of face-lifts.

Fast forward 8 months to last night. DH and I are sitting in a stadium here in town (we managed to score some floor table seating that included dinner and drinks). We're sipping our so-so table wine and waiting for the 25th annual "Kenny Rogers Christmas and Greatest Hits" show. Me? I'd never seen him live in concert but had always loved his hits and those damn "Gambler" movies (how many were there, anyway???). DH remembered spinning his "First Edition" tunes as a DJ in the late 60's. We're stoked, albeit a little unsure of what to expect "up close and personal." The moment he walks out on the stage, we forget all about the face. Now remember: the man is 68 years old...68 YEARS OLD! Last night, he delivered a yeoman's performance. The first half of the show was devoted to "hits". And he delivered them, one after the other. While singing "The Gambler", he strolled out onto the floor and stopped at each table to sing a few notes. DH managed to snap a few close-ups with his camera phone as Kenny approached our table (still waiting for the downloads...check back later).

After an intermission, the audience was treated to a Christmas songfest, complete with a Norman Rockwell set and big Christmas tree...everything was red and green and cozy. There was audience participation (11 lucky peeps were pulled on stage to sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas") and the second set included the beautiful voice of Kenny's touring partner, Linda Davis, and a local high school choir and children's group (Kenny makes it a point to include local kids in all of his shows). Throughout the set of both secular and non-secular tunes, the man delivered. It was over before I knew it, but I have to tell you...this did more to put me in the Christmas spirit than anything else that has crossed my path this season. I usually don't get all schmaltzy about stuff like this, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who has the chance to see it. You won't even notice the plastic surgery...

Thursday, December 7, 2006

My First Thursday Thirteen...YIKES!!

And I thought this was gonna be easy...

I really need to get into the Christmas spirit after the past few days (work has been a living hell - it involved federal inspectors - enuff said). So here's a list of my thirteen favorite Chrismas carols:

1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - the lyrics to this song are insightful, and the melody is absolutely my favorite.
2. Away in a Manger - my grandmother taught me the words to this when I was a small child. I love to hear children singing this - it makes the true meaning of Christmas a little clearer.
3. Go Tell It On the Mountain - this is one of my favorites at midnight Mass.
4. The Christmas Song - of course, only the Mel Tormé version will do.
5. White Christmas - gotta have Bing Crosby singing this.
6. O Come All Ye Faithful - I learned the lyrics in French to Adeste Fidelis in high school - still sing it every year and can't figure out how I remember this but can't recall how to diagram a sentence...
7. Jingle Bells - my father sang a version that had the same melody but involved shotgun shells and Grandma's Chevrolet.
8. I'll Be Home for Christmas - Anne Murray's version gives me chills.
9. Winter Wonderland - I remember my sisters listening to the Johnny Mathis version when I was a kid, but I prefer the one by Perry Como.
10. Here Comes Santa Claus - another one my dad used to sing to me.
11. The 12 Days of Christmas - why is it I always get the lords a'leaping and the pipers piping days mixed up?
12. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - my grandad's name was Rudolphus - I could never figure out why they named a reindeer after my grandfather...
13. Silver Bells - always makes me think of NYC at Christmas.


Oops - this just in...may I call it the TTA? (Thursday Thirteen Addendum)


* 1. Schizophrenia -- Do You Hear What I Hear?

* 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

* 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

* 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

* 5. Manic -- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets
and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees

* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

* 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an
Open Fire

* 8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm
Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

* 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at
the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

* 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, JingleBells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...........................................................................

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Smelly dog, smelly dog...

Rumination #1

I've spent most of my weekend trying to figure out how to make a smelly dog smell better. Old Dawg (almost 13) has chronic skin problems and lately has been smelling like...well...I can't even describe it. We've been to the vet ($$$$$$$$), bought lots of different shampoos (more $$$$$$$$), bathed her every week, and she STILL STINKS. Today I spent about an hour on the internet Googling "Smelly Dog" and my search came back with lots of possible solutions. I won't bring them up here since many of them aren't fit for friendly conversation. Suffice it to say that Old Dawg will be visiting the groomer this week for another bath and some "adjustments" to her hind end (those of you with canines will surely know of what I speak). And if any of you out there have other creative solutions (we'll have no pound talk!), by all means please share. Our noses (and the carpet) will be most appreciative!

Rumination #2

I've been trying to figure out exactly where I'm going with this thing called a blog. I'm so envious of you out there who actually have a flow; a direction; a raison d'être. I truly can't wait until "Wordless Wednesday" and "Thursday Thirteen" - at least I'll know where to begin on those days. All others will definitely be a crap shoot - I could go most anywhere. So for those of you who chose to read this mess, please bear with me. I promise to proofread (as best I can); to stay away from certain dirty words (insert any and all here that you may or may not have used one time or the other); to have an open mind and be respectful of others' opinions (within reason); to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong...wait a minute...that's the Girl Scout Law (and I was never a Scout!) Aw heck, you know what I mean - I'll figure it out one way or the other and I'm sure I can look to all of you to keep me in line. In fact, I'm counting on it!!

Friday, December 1, 2006

I've been assimilated...

What I probably should have said is "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." (Michael Corleone). I've been reading web logs for several years, but just in the past couple of months, I've found that I simply can't begin my day without a peek at one or two of my favorites. Suffice it to say that, thanks to my Soul Patrol friends et. al., I am now an official blogger - ARRRGGGHHH!!!!! I would have never thunk it, not in a million years. I still haven't quite figured out where I'm going from here. Perhaps the name of my blog, Stochastic Ruminations, will make more sense as I embark on this new adventure. I'll explain that in more detail later. I'll simply end my first entry with one of my favorite sayings:

"Life's journey is not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy Cow...What a ride!"

Hmmmm...let's just see what happens...