I Can’t Help Myself Friday

It’s my favorite time of the week, I can’t help myself Friday. What do we have on tap today?

spanx

Completely self-explanatory. Who slips into Spanx anyway, without a jar of Crisco by the bedside table?

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A recent visit to the Longhorn steakhouse for a Silverlight margarita uncovered the bar staff duking it over over pens. What gives I said? In an apparent stroke of genius by their corporate bosses, the handsomely paid staff, raking in a whole $2.39 per hour, are required to bring their own pens to work.

I did inquire if the kitchen employees were required to bring in their own pots and pans to cook with. Way to rip off your employees, corporate jerks.

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In breaking news, Jon Gosselin’s bimbo girlfriend says he has anger issues and throws “mantrums”. Is that supposed to be a cute adult tantrum?

And finally:

judge-judy

Because we all need to be a little more like Judge Judy. In her immortal words, don’t spit on my cupcake and tell me it’s frosting.


Ode to a Magazine

Dear Magazine,

I used to curl up with you on a rainy day and leisurely sift though your glossy pages. A glass of wine might be by my side. I ooohed and ahhhed over your gorgeous multi-page layout, featuring the oceanside cottage of my dreams, complete with wraparound porch. Perhaps you whispered, someday this might be yours? I tucked you away, never losing that dream.

I also used to take you to the beach with me? Remember? It would be me and all my girlfriends, and you would join us for gin-spiked lemonade. We would gently lay you down on the beach towel as we napped and tanned, and later we would resume taking your “What a Man Wants Quiz? and collapse in gales of laughter.

Oh, good times indeed, magazine.

But now dear magazine, it seems you are all collectively marching towards the Grim Reaper.

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And magazine, although I can read you on-line in some cases, it’s not the same. The way you slipped yourself into my purse. And Lord, you regaled me for hours on my last plane trip with your witty banter! Sometimes you came to bed with me and sent me into sweet dreams.

I feel deserted and abandoned. Where to send condolences on the death of you, beloved magazine?


Success!

Friday night was prom night.

This past weekend was the culmination of many months of hard work, by many selfless volunteers. It was the first ever Mission of Deeds Dinner/Dance. This is the charity that could, a place completely run by volunteers with only one paid full-time staff member.

This tiny non-profit helps families in need, battered women, former addicts and alcoholics. All of these people have been vetted by social services agencies, and have a proven need for furniture, beds, pots and pans, and anything else you would need to set up a house.

This particular event was to raise money for our new warehouse space. And this is what the new warehouse currently looks like:

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We inherited this new space from the old auto parts place next door. The new warehouse expansion will allow us to stage furniture in room-like settings, give us space for a laundry area to clean and store all the linens and bedspreads, and to have an actual conference room to meet in (ever use some spare sofas in a warehouse for a meeting?)

So our dinner was a real labor of love. How to throw something cheaply, yet attract attendees and potential new donors to the charity?

We thought a wine tasting would be great, as it gets people networking and socializing (and OK, liquor can drive the prices of silent auction items up! Please, go have some wine, I insist!) The local wine shop agreed to donate the beverages at cost, and with a little help from the committee members, we had a wine tasting. The Country Club gave us a great deal – a full buffet dinner with half the proceeds going to the Mission. And centerpieces?

centerpieces

We took actual items from the warehouse and gave them a fall theme. No money to spend on flowers, and the items go back to be given to clients. Which is our real mission, right? People loved it!

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This is Beth and Celeste, who are the most fun people ever to work with. And we all worked together like a well-tuned clock. It was so amazing to get batches of email and phone calls, and run like the wind getting things done.

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Here’s Leo and I with our friend Jill. We were so lucky that all of our neighbors and friends supported us and came out for the evening. Our table collected a nice haul of auction items, including Red Sox tickets, a golf outing, a night at a ski resort, and landscaping services. That made it not only a prom, but Christmas too!

Right now, we don’t have the final tally, but we think we made a significant dent in the building expansion and renovation fund. The charity made many “new friends” that had never heard of them, and are now eager to help in any way they can.

For me, it was fulfilling to be part of such a successful evening. Even more rewarding, was the feeling of giving back to the community in a very real way. Giving locally, especially in these times, it probably one of the best things you can do. Whether is be in a monetary way, or making a donation of used furniture, I know the smallest of gestures can bring great rewards.

As the holidays approach, maybe consider one less Christmas gift, and a possible donation to someplace like Mission of Deeds. You’ll be happy you did!


Santa Fe Characters

Before I move on to the Sedona part of the vacation, I must mention two really cool Santa Fe experiences:

bobby

This is Bobby Garcia, and I met him at a shop called Ritual Adornments. Bobby is a santero, which means he creates religious (or spiritual) art. I was picking out some items when Bobby came into the shop, and we talked for about an hour. A lot of the art he creates comes from the old tin roof of a church, called the Santurio de Chimayo, or the Lourdes of the Southwest. It was a very old church who’s roof had been replaced, and Bobby became the recipient of this treasure, and creates crosses, shrines and folk art from the old tin roof of this sacred place.

Bobby has recently been battling cancer but is looking good now, so give up a prayer or send some warm thoughts his way. He personally signed some items for me so I feel very lucky, as I now have Bobby’s good karma hanging in my house.

Another fun place:

evangelos_bar

Evangelos Bar. Music of all kinds every night, unpretentious, cheap beer, fun. The soldier depicted on the neon sign is Angelo Klonis, who was a WWII hero and opened this bar back in the 70’s.

Soulman Sam was playing the night I was there and he had the whole place dancing. I was actually dancing with two women from California and Maryland, who’s names remain the names of their states. They were a blast.

OK, next time we are onward to Sedona…..


Anatomy of a Newspaper Delivery

Yes, so what I still read the hardcopy paper? Call me a dinosaur, but it’s my indulgence and I like to drink my morning coffee while perusing the morning headlines.

So, lo these many years, I get the Boston Globe delivered to my house. The service has always been mostly good, with an occasional missed paper or rain-soaked mishap. I always appreciate scooping my paper off the front step while I pop out the door and in my Nick and Nora cocktail shaker P.J.’s. (And Dear Santa, if you are reading this, man are they long in the tooth this year. Bring some new ones for Christmas).

About or 6-8 weeks ago, I noticed while picking up the paper that there were tire tracks on my front walk, and ergo the lawn. Which lined up directly with where the paper delivery person apparently rolls his window down and flings the paper with laser precision to my front step.

And so, I have a really nice brick walk that a nice mason named Salvatore built for me a few years ago. And needless to say, cars driving on it for their convenience (or because they are the laziest _____ of _____ ever) is not remotely acceptable.

So in a social science experiment, Meg placed some stray cobblestones leftover from a yard project to prevent vehicles from going a certain distance, that distance being her front walk.

And here are the results of her experiment/investigation:

newspaper

As you can see, the paper is no longer delivered to my front step, because it’s looks like I’ve inconvenienced the delivery person by not allowing them to drive up on my front walkway. GASP! How RUDE of me to do that?

So I talked to the customer service department, who assured me that the paper is SUPPOSED to be delivered to the front step, and she will ensure that happens.

A week later, no change in service. But guess what? I did get a request for a monetary TIP in my Sunday paper.

Any suggestions for an REALLY appropriate tip, fellow readers?


No, we didn’t hit the Sweat Lodge on vacation

So, the vacation has come and gone. We went from nice mild weather in New England , to unbelievably fabulous weather in Santa Fe and Sedona. (And now I see snow on my lawn this morning? WTF?) I’m also happy to report we were not present at the recent sweat lodge incident in Sedona , but instead were ingesting real margaritas with lime and salt and honest to goodness authentic Southwest food. So my cleansing and purge begins now at home, but that’s a story for Betty(Ford) and Jenny(Craig) to tell another day.

Here are a few highlights:

camelback

This is the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale. Home of resort central in Arizona, and our launching pad for the rest of the trip. A few additional days could EASILY have been spent there, as I never had a cabana boy bring me a drink before. And I would like to repeat that experience if possible.

After recharging here, we were off to Santa Fe:

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It’s also the land of cowboy hats, big belt buckles, and knives. Lots of knife shops. I like to think a lot of hunting and fishing trips take place and utilize these knives.

There are also very cool traditions here, like walking the wedding party through the streets of the old plaza after the vows have taken place:

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Any room for more at the reception?

Santa Fe’s altitude is very drying, which I think can be good because if you are freeze-dried, no wrinkles right? Anyway, a trip up the the mountains to view the foliage took my breath away. And that was because I was at 10,000 feet, and I think only Olympics runners attempt much of anything at that dizzying height. But the views were spectacular:

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And everytime I see painters outside, I think I must take a class so I can set up an easel outside and pretend I’m some Impressionist transported to another century:

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Finally, an evening drink at the top of the belltower at the La Fonda hotel captures the best sunset of the year:

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The next part of our journey brings us to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. More in Part II.