Jan 31, 2009

Susan on "Morning Show With Mike & Juliet"

Three years ago I wrote an essay about my misadventures in internet dating, which I titled "Rejected by eHarmony. " Because for one thing, I WAS rejected by eHarmony. I took their personality test three times and they rejected me. The fourth time I was on percoset and I passed. Anyway, I wrote the essay, and I guess a lot of people get rejected by eharmony, because if you google "rejected by eharmony" my blog piece comes in first.

So Thursday, someone from Fox TV's "Morning Show With Mike & Juliet" called, one thing led to another, and they're flying me out to New York to be on the show on Tuesday. If you are home, or you want to set your TiVo, tape the Tuesday edition of Mornings with Mike & Juliet

Great Super Bowl Commercials, and others ...

Don Miller posted some of his favorite super bowl commercials on his blog, which made me think of a few I liked. Here's one you've probably seen.

Herding Cats

However, this one is my favorite, especially since it stars Tall Todd Wilkerson, the funniest guy on TV.

Searching for Todd's commercial I found this one. Voted best commercial in Europe.

What are your favorite super bowl spots?

Jan 27, 2009

My Own Private LOL Cat

Love or hate LOL Catz, they're her to stay. Between Obamicons and LOL cats, I can waste my whole day . I know because I've done it. Using my own cat.

Okay I am going back to work. But first, let me check my obamicon page.

Jan 25, 2009

A couch only a cat could love

Larry and I are moving! We've been sharing a house for the last two years with our friends the Rooneys, who live in Portland most of the time. We've loved it, but a house rental came open in Sierra Madre that we can't pass up. I hate moving east another 12 miles ... so many of our close friends are on the west side. But Sierra Madre is an adorable town, like living in LA without having to live in LA. So we're moving March 1.

When we moved to the Rooneys we got rid of our couch, a decision I knew I would later regret. So we've got to find a new couch. I'm disillusioned with what's out there. IKEA is turned too boxy and 1980s on me. And frankly I get tired of pronouncing the names. Malm. Rheum. Leskavikensnickersnakken.

So I googled "traditional couch." This is what I got.
I don't know about you, but this picture makes me uneasy. It's too neutral. I feel like I'm about to sit down with the head of the Armenian Mafia. And being Norwegian and Welsh, that meeting won't go well.

Google found me this couch as well.
This belongs in the Green Room at TBN.
this loveseat pillow maze makes Jan Crouch look understated. Or at least, it'll hide her mascara runs. How can you be gaudy using only browns? Apparently you can.

But wait! Wait!
I found this one! YESSSS. This is my idea of perfect traditional. Clean lines, traditional look, a fun bold color with some fun stitching. Great, where do I buy one? Sigh. Great Britain. For £4,000, or about $7500.

Well I'm a thrifty gal, I've bought loads of stuff from the Goodwill. Clothes, dishes, shoes, housewares. Things you can put in a washing machine and sanitize. Heck, I bought up a beautiful china pattern they were just putting out on the rack. Paid $70 for all the pieces, came home and found out it was a fancy Italian china worth $2,000. So I can do thrift stores and craigslist for couches, and just buy lots of ScotchGuard.

Here's something that came up in my search. "Selling a great vintage sofa and matching side chair. I'd like to get them off my hands this weekend. I'd love for it to be today!"

Oh sister, I sure understand why you want that off your hands today. One more day on that couch and you'd feel like you were imprisoned in a Tijuana brothel. Lordy, let today be the day you are set free.

WAIT. She wants money for this. She wants $175 for this? She says it's an eames couch. Sure, and I'm a Beatle because I was born in the Sixties? Wait, she provided an aerial view. So you can see um, the structure.

Hey, is that a cat on the far right, clawing its way up to the window? Lady, this may be why you need to sell that couch. Your cats have made it their personal Gymnasium. Or, they are climbing it to escape from you and your tijuana brothel.

In fact, going back to the first photo,
I see there ARE cats. More cats, different cats. And their handiwork.

Well, I suppose the moral of the story is, if you want to keep an Eames Sofa, don't let your cats on it. Or don't get cats. Or an Eames Sofa. And if you want a deal on Craigslist, you're nutz.
I may have to go back to my people at IKEA.

PS someone asked about the china I got at the Goodwill, so I'm adding a pic. Richard Ginori, Palmero Green. Yummy.

Jan 24, 2009

A Poem by Anna Waterhouse

by Anna Waterhouse

Our country, ‘tis of
            cracked and broken

that we lift
            with tender fingers
bit by jagged bit

           (carefully!) we
lay the shards down

edge by edge and
           side by side
until the faces
           mirrored there
           hopeful, wary, longing,
yours and mine

           and then — at last!

Jan 21, 2009

Inaugural speech written by a 27 year old in Starbucks?!

So said the guardian uk. Here's the brain trust.

Guess the Prez is delegating tasks. And caffeine give you mad skillz!

(PS: blogger Stephanie checked out the above claim ... totally bogus; See her comment below. The guy in this pic is probably the shlub selling "Obama Body Oil" on Pennsylvania Avenue. Serious, Don Miller wrote it on twitter; all manner of kitsch was for sale.

Well let's not bring down the mood. My favorite line from the speech:
“We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

Written by a twit in Starbucks. Can't believe I fell for that. ...

On another note, Paste Magazine brings you, the ObamiconMe Poster generator! Generate your own Obama style poster. Here are a few.

Jan 17, 2009

lol pastors

Some of you have visited icanhascheezburger, where you'll find odd pictures of cats with user-submitted captions. If you're not a fan of cats, don't worry: this post is leading away from cats.

It's interesting to observe a website develop, like stuffonmycat.com or cuteoverload.com. The site takes on its own sense of content, style and community. Take content: Someone submitted a picture of a cat that had been startled. The caption was, "Invisible Bike." Others submitted their own "invisible" photos such as Invisible Window Installation and Invisible Macy's parade. Some of them are really funny. Some aren't.

This one, "Im in ur briefcase, peein on ur memoz" is part of another content string, "Im in ur office party, Im in ur fridge, et al.

Which brings up style: contributors like to use a kind of hip-hop txt msg grmr, mebbe cuz da nayshun is gettin stoopid. Or cuz it's supposa be kewl.

Enough cats. A month ago, fellow Burnside Blog contributor Chad Gibbs wrote a post, LOL Pastors; using some of the grammar gimmicks, and taking pastor pics. Like a pic of Mark Driscoll, Billy Graham and ... that cute boy with the massive church in texas. Best Life Now guy. Forget his name.

Anyway, the post was a hit. Some of us did our own lol pastors, as well. Aaron Donley, who's a genius and obsessive compulsive, couldn't stop creating his own, so he started the lol pastors blog.

Of course it's one thing to make funny comments about cats, and quite another to make comments about people. It can turn mean. So we'll try to limit the sarcasm to "social commentary" or irony or pathos. And do it in fun.
We also won't avoid dead people (they're safer), or other religious figures/ideas (ripe for commentary!). I've got some lol contributions coming up featuring the Dalai Lama, Fanny Crosby, John Calvin and James Dobson. Some of whom are dead. Here's my lolpastor contribution for today: Kali, The Destroyer.

So check into the lol pastors blog!

Jan 16, 2009

And So That Was Christmas

And what have I done?
Another year over, another just begun

I left for Colorado on Dec 18, to help my sister take care of our ailing mother. Mom had a mild stroke in 2001. It mostly affected her speech, but her overall health: mobility, physical strength, speech and lucidity have declined bit by bit since then. She went to live with Nancy and Phill, and for the most part it's been fine. But the last 5 months the decline has been rapid. Right around Thanksgiving she started having uh, well, uncontrollable diarrhea. Nancy home-schools four children as well, so she was at her wit's end. her doctor suggested she give Mom a home enema. I suggested her doctor was nuts, and that Nancy take Mom to a colon hydro therapist and that helped. I also suggested I come to watch Mom so that the Ericksons could go do things like visit friends, go to church, shopping, etc .. things they haven't been able to do because they needed to watch Mom 24/7.

Fortunately by the time I arrived, the colonics had fixed mom's plumbing problems. She was back to "normal." When she's aware, she can't express herself. The other day she called my nephew Jonathan "David, the Hudson Worker." No one has any idea where she got that. She wrote a Christmas card to her other grandson Matthew: "Greetings, Al, here is the estimate of your celebration." We don't know what that meant either. THat's when she's aware. When she's not, she's like a child. It's heartbreaking, thinking of what must really be going on in her head.

I came on my own for the first week. My niece Emily loaned me the bottom bunk. We had lots of fun, hanging out, making cookies, and playing with the Photobooth function on my Mac.

It was like being Single Aunt Susie again. But I missed Larry. He arrived Christmas Eve. Larry's never had a long stretch of time with my family ... they were in LA for our wedding. (which means they had about 3 hours total with him.) We went to Colorado for Thanksgiving 2006, but spent a day of that in the Springs with Larry's friend Dave. They all came out to see us last Christmas. Another couple days total. But this time we had six days together. It was terrific! Larry and I also got a motel nearby so he wouldn't have to kick Lizzie out of the top bunk.

I remember right before I got married, Jonathan (then 6) lamented that it wouldn't be the same, coming to see me. I think this time around he was ecstatic it wasn't the same, because he really likes Larry now. They all do. What's not to like? We watched movies, went on walks, and played lots of Uno Attack. Nancy said she loved falling asleep, listening to us all laughing in the living room.

Mom referred to Larry as "sir," I wondered if she knew who he was ... After all, on my first day there she insisted I was her sister. Not just a word swap -- she wanted to know who my mother was. I said she was. She shook her head, "well the other one. The one who died."

For the most part, Mom sat around, chimed in when possible, intelligible or not we smiled or laughed or did our best to follow her conversation. But when you can't communicate, you tend to go silent. So we just sat a lot. I helped her get up in the morning, change her diaper (yes we have this to look forward to). I helped her get ready for bed as often as I could. It astounds me how my sister and her family have been doing all of this, every day. As hard as it is, though; we are all aware that this could be her last Christmas on Planet Earth.

The last night we were there, Mom went to bed early as usual. We were leaving at 4:30 the next morning, so I knew I'd have to say goodbye that night. I helped her get ready for bed and tucked her in, then told her we'd be gone in the morning. She nodded.

I love your husband," Mom said. "he's funny."
Funny in what way, I wondered.
"He's got a great sense of humor."
"Yes, he does. It's one of the reasons I married him."
"You're a sweet girl," she replied, and lifted her hand to my cheek.
I hugged and kissed her goodnight. And then I held on. It might be the last time. I could only hold that thought a few moments, then brushed it away. No, no there would be another time. There'd have to be.

I am going to miss Mom when she leaves us for heaven. Maybe it's helpful that a lot of her has left already, in bits and pieces. I take comfort in the fact that where she's eventually going, her sickness and age will be gone. She'll have all her words with her. She'll have all her grace and sweetness, too. But they haven't left yet.

When we are all in heaven I will ask her if she remembers some of those strange things she said when her mind was not cooperating. Like David the Hudson worker. Maybe we'll laugh over it.

Our penultimate night there we watched "The Return of The King." The LOTR Trilogy is so weighty. Big stories, big stakes, good triumphing over evil, but at a cost. Good people die. The King of Rohan recovers from his own senility, goes on to fight valiantly in the last battle, but is mortally wounded. Dying, he tells his niece, "I can now go to my fathers, in whose company I am no longer ashamed to keep."

A month or so ago, our little Episcopal church put on an "emergent" service. It was an evening service, so the sanctuary was candle lit, incense, modern worship. We stood in the back and sang. There in the candle-lit dark my mind went places. I imagined people standing with me. Particularly, I 'saw' my father to my right. Dad only came back to faith in the year before his death. Dad standing up straight and smiling. I don't remember the last time he smiled broadly. I 'saw' Dad's mother to his right. Grandma Jean got a posthumous nickname: The Castrating Baptist. But she was there alright. I imagined hugging her, asking forgiveness for resenting her. And I wondered if she smiled or even laughed. It's all gone now.

On my left I saw my old boss. Roy was an atheist most of his life, and one of the sweetest men I ever knew. A couple years before he died we had lunch. His daughter was losing a long battle with cancer, but she had found Christ a few years prior and it changed her life, even as she faced death. So Roy started going to church with her. And there as we sat over lunch, Roy asked me what he needed to do to know Jesus. It was one of the best moments of my life. So anyway, there I was in that emergent evening service, standing in the dark, Roy on my left; Dad and Grandma Jean on the right. They were holding me up: standing next to me, putting their arms around me and keeping me standing. And I understood what they were saying. Not like I saw their mouths move and hear the syllables falling out. but they were saying it. "We are holding you up." I felt strong and safe. And I understood what 'the communion of saints" really means. I cried through most of the service.

I am dreading the day that my mother passes away. I think about it often. It's looming there, like Tax Day or wrinkles. It will come forth in the oddest places, like when I was searching for the jarlsberg at Fresh & Easy. There it was, your mom is going to die sometime soon. I just don't want her to go. I don't.

But then I thought, freezing in the cheese aisle, you know Jesus already went through it. And he broke the barrier on the other side. So it's going to be okay. Mre than okay. One day I will see Mom and Dad and Roy again; without sickness or sorrow. I will see Grandma Jean, without her bitterness. Someday I will go to be with my fathers, in whose company I hope not to be ashamed.

Jan 5, 2009

Sponsor An Executive

I'm long overdue for a blog update. Recapping XMS 2008 is taking more out of me than i thought. But before we trump up good wishes for 2009, let's remember those in dire need. Please help today. Thank you.