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June 2006

Happy Endings

Last weekend we rented Memoirs of a Geisha and very much enjoyed the film. If you haven't seen it, read no further, because my ruminations are spoilerish in nature.

Off topic here, do you remember Kids in the Hall? It was a sketch comedy series with some extremely funny Canadians (a shout-out to your peeps, Sandy!) that aired from 1989-94. (Had to look that up, btw. The pink pieces in Trivial Pursuit are not any easier than the yellow ones, I find.) Anyway, the KITH had a great regular sketch in which Agent Pleakley (er, Kevin McDonald) played Sir Simon Milligan, the master of the pit of ultimate darkness and evil, and Dave Foley played his manservant, Hecubus.

And here is one of their more brilliant exchanges:

SSM: Hecubus, pick a card, any card.

Hecubus: No.

SSM: Pardon?

Hecubus: No.

SSM: Evil! Evil! Impolite and evil! Hecubus, have you seen the movie Presumed Innocent?

Hecubus: Yes I have, Master, and his wife kills her.

SSM: But Hecubus, I haven't seen the movie yet. Evil! Evil!

Segueing from my segue, an interesting piece of personal trivia is that my first ever CKU class, Whatchacallit, borrowed from this exchange. In making the point that a good layout title should intrigue the reader and encourage them to read the journaling, I suggested that Presumed Innocent wouldn't have done nearly as well at the box office if the title had been His Wife Did It. Thank you, KITH!

Back to original segue . . .

That absolutely brilliant line "Evil! Evil! Impolite and evil!" has been a household expression ever since and I even own a rubber stamp of the phrase, although I can't remember who made it. I tried googling it, but just got some references to the President, which is both amusing and disturbing.

And my point with that diversion was merely that I didn't want to go all Manservant Hecubus on you and spoil the movie without several paragraphs of bail time. Consider yourself warned. Go no further if you don't want the Geisha movie spoiled.

So let's travel back to the point where I was on my couch watching Memoirs of a Geisha. . .

Enthralled as I was with the story, I had little concept of how much time had passed, so when Sayuri stands on the cliff and her voiceover starts, and then she dramatically casts the Chairman's hanky over the edge . . . the hanky, mind you, that she had kept for many years and went all "Geishas Gone Wild" with Hatsumomo over, burning down her house in the process . . . I was convinced that the movie was going to end. Right there. Just like that. On that cliff of despair.

And I was ticked.

I looked at John and said "Are you KIDDING ME?! She's not going to get the guy? After all of THAT?!" but was quickly shushed since the movie was, despite my worries, not over in the least. She got the guy in the end, and despite the movie's attempt at Oscar-worthy poignancy in pointing out that a Geisha can only be half a wife, (just a well-provided-for mistress while the arranged wife gets the real digs. boo hoo) it was, nonetheless, a happy ending.

And I, for one, was happy.

Look, I like happy endings. I'll admit it. Especially where romance is involved. And even if it's pretty darn unrealistic. Vivian could have used her week with Edward as a self-esteem boost to pull her out of the dregs of prostitution and catch a bus elsewhere, perhaps getting her GED and taking some community college courses to become a medical transcriptionist. And maybe in the course of that she would have met a nice hard-working tow-truck driver who could overlook her sordid past and love her for who she had become. (If she even told him about her sordid past, that is) They would have bought a nice starter home in the development up north and their kids would have been well-adjusted, tall, fond of baseball and ignorant of polo.

And that would have been realistic.

But not very satisfying.

Far better for Eddie to ride into her slum in a white limo, head poking through the sunroof and dorkily wielding an umbrella so that we could all suspend reality and believe that this couple, Arthur/Linda 2.0, was going to make it after all.

Far better, I say!

And yes, I know that the sad endings are more Oscar-worthy, but they can backfire as well. A movie that really truly touched me and simultaneously tore my heart out was The Remains of the Day with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. An absolutely superb film with arguably the most maddening romantic restraint between two characters meant to be together until, oh I don't know, My Best Friend's Wedding. (Sarcasm . . . so good at the sarcasm) TRotD was nominated for 8 Oscars and won . . . zero.

My personal opinion is that the Academy wanted to send a clear message - Dude, don't DO THAT! Movie formula 101: the guy gets the girl in the end. Or she dies but there's another girl in the wings. (Sleepless in Seattle, The Interpreter) Or she dies but the kids will get him through (Shadowlands, Forrest Gump) Or he doesn't get THAT girl, but he gets some other girl. (Castaway) Or he doesn't get to KEEP the girl, but hey, at least it's good for his art! (Shakespeare in Love) But the idea of not getting the girl at all - not even clearing up that you like her - and then she goes off and marries someone else and all those feelings are just gurgling there under the surface until the credits roll? NOT COOL! No soup for you!

Even the most excruciatingly painful but you can't turn away because the pain is so funny TV show, The Office, didn't send Pam to the altar without Jim getting a shot at her. You just don't DO THAT!

Where romance is not the primary plot line, I can handle sad endings, as long as there's a point to it. I can't stand sad endings just for sad ending's sakes. *cough*Ladder49*cough* Here we follow a guy through his whole dream/life/ascension as a firefighter only to have him die at the end. What was the point? That his wife was right to nag him? That firefighting is dangerous and these guys are heroes? Oh, OK. Got it. Thanks. Feel free to make another movie about how winters in Alaska are cold or how smoking is bad for your health.

Which really explains why The Princess Bride is truly the best movie ever made. He gets the girl, but not without effort. And hilarity. And quoteworthy lines. And noteworthy characters. And blogworthy everything.

This post, just like my favorite movies, has a happy ending. Elliott will be on Live with Regis & Kelly AND Dayside (Fox news) tomorrow, June 1st. Set your VCR/DVR/TiVo's accordingly!

TKITHQOTD (Good evening and welcome to the Pit of Ultimate Darkness. Hello, I am your host, Sir Simon Milligan... Now, for those of you with a brave heart and for those of you who have stayed, look into my face and know, to look into my face is to look into the face..of EVIL! Yes, I am a man possessed by many demons. Polite demons that would open the door for a lady carrying too many parcels, but demons nonetheless! Yes, I have walked along the path of evil many times, it's a twisting curving path, that actually leads to a charming block garden, but beyond that; evil!)


On Idols and iPods

Although several days have passed since the not-even-remotely-suspenseful crowning of Taylor as the new American Idol, I just can't let the occasion pass without commenting on that absolutely brilliant finale show. Best two hours of TV - EVER! All of the Idols sounded fantastic and they all seemed to be having an excellent time together. I anticipate that the tour will be fabulous.

But the show. *sigh* Ah the show!

The celebrity sing-alongs were just too snarktastic to pass without mention. Starting, of course, with the Meatloaf/Kat pairing. Now I was not familiar with Meatloaf's voice, so when he started singing I looked at John and said "Is he joking?" to which John said "No, that's his voice." A few more bars passed and I looked at him again. "That really is the way he sings," he assured me. Whoa. Disturbing.

But the real comedy was yet to come . . . enter Kat! Now here's a girl who has graced us with beauty pageant smiles, winks and Vanna waves every time she sings - whether the song is about cherry trees, broken hearts, or, I don't know - toxic waste and kids with cancer. Her connection to the lyrics seems to be limited to pronunciation and determining whether "cancer" can be stretched to ten syllables and half a dozen octave changes. Honestly, I don't know if she's ever had a clue what the songs are supposed to be about. Until, that is, last Wednesday. Suddenly she's up for an Oscar or something. Is she already auditioning for a post-Idol gig on Broadway? Or was she just intensely frightened of Meatloaf? Yeah - probably that latter. In any case - highly entertaining!

Paris was excellent with Al Jarreau. They seemed to be having so much fun and hey - girl can scat! I wouldn't normally utter even the slightest of slights against my Elliott (or let's just call him Melliott, for succinctness) but I wasn't *totally* sold on the use of "tweedle" in his On Broadway scat session. Of course, if you listen to anything a thousand times, it grows on you, so tweedle me impressed, my El, Melliott, Mel.

The Chris and Live thing - loved it. Nothing much to snark on - they looked like twins. Ed's shirt was uber cool. Chris's chain is played, no? I mean - he even wore it with his tux! Of course, Ace probably had a beanie tucked into his, so what do I know?

Which brings us to Haylor Ticks and Stoni Sexton. Hello?! What was she THINKING?! First of all, she was singing so low that the guitar-picking Brokenote Cowboy sounded falsetto in comparison. You couldn't even hear half of what she was singing. But whatever it was, it certainly made her horny! Whatever was that catchy tune they were singing? Oh! "In the Ghetto" you say? Well that explains things. She was demonstrating HOW the hungry little childs are born. Thanks, Toni. (Oh, and Taylor? My dog used to do that, too. Should have brought a squirt bottle, dawg!)

But the best, best, best of the night? Melliott, of course. When he came out singing "One" I liked to pee my pants. It's only, like, my FAVORITE U2 song, evah! I had read earlier in the day that he would be singing with MJB, and was impressed that he had arguably the biggest star for his duet. For a guy who's been frustratingly overlooked by the producers of the show and the press, this seemed to be a big vindication. Singing with MJB - wow, that's something! And so he comes out and sings the pants off the first minute of "One" and I squeal in delight, and he introduces MJB and out she comes in her white pantsuit with reinforced boob protectors and Nicole Richie shades and proceeds to sing so loud that Elliot scampers completely off camera. Or perhaps her voice just blows him over there. He is a wee one, my E. She builds to a big finish, including some stomping and a move where she's throwing out the first pitch at the Women's World Series, and suddenly Elliott is back, keeping his 90% deaf ear firmly between him and MJ Shrieksalot. He tries to harmonize, but she hears him, and in a lightning quick attack, she grabs his arm and pulls it out of the socket. His voice is saying "Wuh-uh-uh-uh-un" but his face is saying "Ow-ow-ow-ow-ow" Finally she releases her death grip, the camera pans to E's girlfriend gasping in horror, and then we see MJB march off-stage. Her work here is done.

I really think E should have sang "Two-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh" to remind her of what "Duet" means, but whatever. He sounded awesome. I would have liked to hear more of HIM singing, but they did sing the duet authentically and I do love the MP3 (thanks Mary L), as well as the Bono/MJB original, which I promptly downloaded after the show.

Kellie Pickler protesting snails and running from lobsters was pure comic genius.

And fake Clay? With REAL Clay surprise?! AWESOME! I was a total Clay fan in Season 2. John even got me a shirt that said "Clay's Gurl" (Yes, spelled like that. No I never wore it, but Emma did) and surprised me with box seats to the Clay/Kelly concert. The hair, though. Oh the hair! Plus the jacket seemed too large. But the voice? Glorious as ever. Hope that guy doesn't sink into obscurity. He really has the pipes!

Loved the Brokenote Cowboys. Loved the cheesy awards. Loved the Burt Baccarat medley. (E was the best and I'm not EVEN being biased!) and then . . . then . . . .PRINCE! How absolutely awesome was that?! He sounded great, had beautiful limber twins to gyrate and sing backup, did some fancy footwork in his man-heels and purple suit, pulled out a comb and fauxcombed his hair helmet, gave a little white man's overbite at the end there, followed by a smirk that clearly said, in deja MJB style; "My work here is done" and then marched right off the stage with nary a backwards glance. And yes, I know he's not white, but the overbite clearly was. But hey - he's Prince. He can pull off a purple suit and high heels, so on him, a wmo is sexy as hell!

They could have ended the show right there and I was totally satisfied. Just throw a little ticker on the bottom to say that Taylor won and roll credits.

ROLL CREDITS?!! Aurgh! Can't. Accept. Finality.

John came home from work the next day to find me cooking dinner with ET playing in the background and an AI message board cued up on the laptop. "I thought American Idol was, you know, OVER!" he said. Au contraire, mon frere. Before I could answer him, though, ET started reporting on Idol so I shushed the family and threw him the spatula.

I may have a problem.

I'm having a hard time letting go.

I definitely have a problem.

But I also have an iPod. It was my Mother's Day present. So to recap, I have a Dyson AND an iPod. It's good to be me. All of Mel's performances are in my Elliott playlist. I listen while I'm doing dishes, folding clothes, traveling to Europe, etc.

So yesterday I was weeding the flower beds as the 16-year-old neighbor boy mowed our yard. The lawnmower was loud, so I had the volume turned way up. Which is why I didn't even notice that he had finished with the lawn and was waiting patiently for my attention to ask if I wanted him to weed whack. When I looked up and saw him there I immediately jumped up and said "Oh, sorry" as I pulled one of the earpieces of the distinctive white iHeadphones out of my ear and let it hang. We looked like twins! He was standing there with one of his white earpieces hanging down and I could see the shock register on his face. Mrs. B has an iPod! Mrs. B just got some street cred!

Later, after the weed whacking, he said "Is that a Nano?" and I did a little head bop, popped my gum and said "Word. Whatcha packin'?" (OK, I didn't say that, but it was rather impressive to swap iPod specs with the teenager next door. I'm so with it. So groovy. So swell. So phat!)

John, however, has gift-regret. He had to get my attention last night and when he finally did, and I had to cut off Melliott's "Knocks me off my Feet" right before the "I love you (karen) I love you (karen) I lo-o-o-ve you (karen)" part, I was a little snappish. "What?" I demanded. John said "Hey look, I didn't get you that thing so I could have an instant teenager who rolls her eyes when I want to talk to her!"

Eep.

You know how I said that the AI tour wasn't coming to Denver? I lied. They added it. September 5th will find me happily surrounded by 6th graders while I scream like a wee little fangirl. I'm trying to get Mary L. to fly in and accompany me. You really need a fellow AI addict for an occasion like this. John would just snark on everyone, plus it will be a school night, so someone has to be, you know, a responsible parent. And, frankly, having a husband with me will totally cramp my style for going all Kate-Hudson-in-Almost-Famous when Elliott sees me and falls hopelessly in love.

Look guys, I'm just not sure if there will be wi-fi access on the tour bus. Blog updates after September 5th might be a problem. I'm just sayin'.

Heh.

TPBQOTD (This is true love. You think this happens every day?)


As usual . . .

If I bring a blog post over from Word it messes up the formatting and there is simply no way to fix it, other than starting over. So the post below is messed up for that reason and not because I have paragraph and punctuation issues. (Well, no more issues than the average engineering major, that is)

So long as we're clear.

Carry on . . .


Even old New York was once New Amsterdam

Why they changed it I can’t say. People just liked it better that way. [/They Might be Giants]

And we’re baaaack!

Another stellar trip across the pond, I must say. I was a little worried about the luggage situation. Some of you may remember the horrors of my January trip when they lost my bags for two of a four-day trip. This time, since my itinerary had changed and they would not allow me to claim my bags in Chicago, I was worried that they would not be properly routed to follow me. Two separate agents did some very impressive keyboard clicking (think chopsticks-in-the-hair airport lady from Meet the Parents) and assured me that federal regulations require that bags travel with the passenger and, as such, there was simply no possibility of them being lost. I think Brian described it best when he said “We were very comforted by this lie.”

We arrived in Amsterdam a day late (Friday) after missing apparently the most glorious day of weather in all of Holland history (Thursday). As luck would have it, though, we had no chance to lament that particular piece of irony because we were too busy lamenting the “bags must travel with the passenger” irony.

Stuck, as we were, in the windowless baggage claim purgatory between Immigration and Customs, we had no way of knowing that the weather was downright scary outside. Perhaps if I had known that a trip to see the tulips was out of the question because of nasty weather I wouldn’t have dropped so many f-bombs (under my breath, of course) (OK, more like barely audible) (OK, audible to Brian but to nobody else) when the baggage claim belt finally stopped sans my two bags.

With a very “been there, done that” air of confidence that was surely impressive to my brother, I marched right over to the lost luggage desk and flopped my claim tickets on the counter. I had my angry eyebrows on, and there may have been a thin wisp of smoke wafting from my ears. I’m sure I was a formidable sight and was completely prepared to breathe fire.

I didn’t count on Bernard, though.

He took one glance at my claim tickets and said “Ah yes. Your bags will be arriving on the flight from Chicago in 30 minutes.” I just gaped at him. What was this? Another joke? They already knew about my bags? Bernard continued, using that soothing snake-charmer accent of his; “Would you prefer to wait for them or shall we deliver them to your destination?” Uh. Um. It was hard to think. My eyebrows were shifting dangerously close to happy and there seemed to be an upward tug at the outer edges of my mouth. “Uh, we’ll wait for them, I guess. 30 minutes you say?”

While we waited, Bernard would occasionally walk by and update us. “The plane has landed, but is still taxi-ing” “You’ll want carousel 16” “They’re off-loading them now” etc. And, sure enough, my bags arrived.

Bernard . . . you’re an angel. You were born for this. Never quit.

After the various travel ordeals, we were more than happy to just head to Egmond aan Zee and hang out in the hotel. I had a class to teach that night anyway.

The classes, by the way, went very well, although, after more than 3 years of convention teaching you’d think I’d be able to plan a project that can actually be completed in the class time allotted. Unfortunately, I seem to be an extremely slow learner. I had to assign an obscene amount of homework in all three classes, although most of it was just decorative. The important parts were done in class. The students, as usual, were very good sports . . . or very good liars. I’m not actually sure. They may be, as I type this, complaining extensively about me on Dutch message boards while I sit back in blissful ignorance thinking “They were really so nice about it! I’m huge in Europe! Tra la la!”

Brian went into Amsterdam without me on Saturday and took a canal tour. On Sunday the weather was bad again so he worked all day while I was teaching. Monday I had the early slot on the Retailers Day so we were able to spend the bulk of the day in Amsterdam and the weather cooperated quite nicely. We went to the Anne Frank house (so moving) and walked around Amsterdam, taking pictures and doing some shopping. Brian fell in love with the whole feel of Amsterdam and has officially developed a traveling bug. Tuesday morning we flew out for home in the rain.

The flight home, by the way, was much more pleasant than the flight over. No delays and we upgraded to Economy Plus. Five extra inches of leg room makes quite a difference! Brian had been up all night fixing a server that crashed in his absence. There was something rather technologically awing in the way he could sit in a hotel room in the Netherlands (borrowing internet access from someone in the village with an unprotected wireless network) and patch into his computer at home, which had a VPN client, so he could get into his servers and move things around, etc. Savvy! My point in all this being that he slept the whole flight home. So did a lot of other people, including my good friend Pepe le Pew, who took off his shoes 5 minutes into the flight and didn’t put them back on again until we landed. And from his shoes and feet emitted the foulest odor I’ve ever had the extreme misfortune to be seated across the aisle from. *sigh* The flight attendant, noticing me holding a blanket firmly over my nose, came through with some industrial-strength air freshener, but it was no match for Pepe. His feet smelled like they died in 1987, or something. Blech.

And for your viewing pleasure, a sampling of some Amsterdam photos. I took the nicely focused shot of Brian with blurred city backdrop. Right afterward Brian took the blurred shot of me with nicely focused city backdrop. Sheesh.

All in all a lovely trip. And my bags made it home quite nicely!

TPBQOTD (There’s a Spaniard giving us some trouble.)

Blog_collage_holland 


Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

How the heck should I know? I can tell you where she ain't, though. She ain't in a slightly dumpy hotel in a Chicago suburb missing out on her only day of Amsterdam sightseeing because Chicago had thunderstorms that caused a 2-hour flight from Denver to take 5.5 hours so she was doing figure-8's for several hours over Peoria while her connecting flight was heading happily to Amsterdam with at least two empty seats. And I know this because that was OUR story and Carmen was not on the plane with us. *sigh*

What's that on my ankle? Oh yeah - a snake bite. Heh.

But at least my brother Brian is with me, and we're having fun, despite the change of plans. We'll catch a flight today and get into Amsterdam in the morning, just in time to join up with the other Americans who are going to see the tulips. And Brian is very daring and savvy and will have no problem hopping the train into Amsterdam while I'm teaching on Saturday. So this is all just fine. Plus there's a Dunkin Donuts across the street and Brian is, as I type, heading over there to snag us some calories! YES!

Brian is also the most technologically savvy computer geek I've ever had the pleasure to be related to. Karl may give him a run for his money in a few years, though. Brian flew in on Sunday to spend a couple days with us before the trip. He hadn't seen my kids since they were babies. Brian and Karl together was a pure "Forrest Gump meets Little Forrest and they share a head tilt" moment, only it was in front of Karl's computer instead of Dying-Jenny-with-the-hair-flip's TV.

Anyway, the technological genius that is my brother means that he was able to remote program his TiVo to capture the AI results show last night when we finally made it to the hotel. We arrived too late to watch it live, but Brian lives on the west coast, where it hadn't aired. Today he'll be able to download the episode and we can watch it, if I have plenty of kleenex, while over Iceland, or whatever. I considered living in a bubble and shunning all TV and internet access to avoid what I knew the results must be, but caved an hour later when Brian said the news was on his computer screen.

"Break it to me" I told him.

"You want to know?" he said, with a completely unreadable smirk. What did that mean? Was he smirking because I was right or because I was wrong? Oh the agony!

"Yeah, OK, break it to me," I sighed.

He started reading "Paula was in tears . . ." and then I knew.

Elliott. MY Elliott. Went. Home. *sob*

It's OK. I'm OK with it. I just hope that he makes a CD at some point in the future so I can hear that velvet voice.

The tour is not coming to Denver. That seems particularly cruel to the Ace fans, but whatever. My sister is having a baby in August and I've been thinking that August 22nd is the PERFECT time to go see her and the baby. What? What's that you say? The AI tour is in St. Paul that night? No, no I had no idea. Hmmm, what a coincidence. Heh.

Well, I must fly. Literally. I hope. We must pack up our meager belongings (because they wouldn't give us our luggage) (And by "meager" I'm referring only to myself because Brian is a guy that can take a 10-day vacation with a carry-on sized duffel bag) and head back to the airport.

The sun is shining in Chicago! Things are looking up! (Yes, I realize that the last two paragraphs are riddled with stupid flight puns, but I'm improvising here, folks.)

More from Amsterdam . . . hopefully!

TPBQOTD (Someone has beaten a giant.)


Let me explain . . .

. . . no, it is too much. Let me sum up . . . [/inigo]

It's been a bit crazy 'round here. I'm working on a large project but I also have two trips this month, so although there have been plenty of times that I've procrastinated when creativity is elusive, and although that procrastination time would be best spent updating my blog, the simple truth is that stress makes me decidedly unfunny.

Work was not the only thing stressing me out last week. My Elliott seemed in grave peril, despite singing so beautifully and hauntingly on "Home" that I have kept his performance cued up on Moxie 2 so I can watch it whenever the dishwasher needs loading or unloading. Wednesday was a day of doom. I feared that Elliott might be going home and was having a hard time concentrating on work and packing for Chicago. I turned to my dear "friends" on the Creative Imaginations Design Team for support in my time of overwhelming anxiety and trepidation.

And then it happened.

What? Go on.

Well, Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. Er, no. Wrong script.

A certain "friend" of mine, who shall remain nameless *cough*meow*cough*, said something so utterly heartless and heinous, that I shudder to type it here, lest it send some of you screaming into the street holding your ears (or, I guess, eyes) where you will meet your sudden demise under the wheels of a cross-town bus (those things can never brake fast enough, I find) and, as a result, you'd be dead (tragic) and I'd be out a few blog readers and fellow Elliott fans (triple tragic).

So brace yourselves and lock the front door, 'kay?

She said . . .

"Elliott needs to say goodnight to the people."

Oh no she dih-unt?!

Oh yes, she DID.

I tried to reason with her, pointing out that if you weren't a fan of Elliott's genre of music you might not appreciate the true talent and artistry he possesses. There are a few derogatory things I could say about her favorite, but I took the high road, hoping that we could all just get along and appreciate each others different tastes without resorting to name calling and favorite-bashing.

And then it happened AGAIN!

She said . . .

Dear Elliott, Please take a bow and a number. Your time is up. Signed, the people.

Now THAT was uncalled for.

And then another DT member, again remaining nameless *cough*soundslikebarrell*cough*  chimed in and said: I second that one!! So hoping tonight is the night. . . sorry karen. :)

Notice, my friends, that she used not one but TWO exclamation points and a SMILEY FACE after saying sorry. Not a frown face, folks. A SMILEY! The shock of being so misled . . .so betrayed . . .by two people that I previously thought were . . . "of the hearing" . . . well, it was a rude awakening, let me tell you.

It was two hours until the results show. Elliott still lived, but Karen's nightmares were growing steadily worse. When John arrived home from work I met him at the door with a look on my face so ghastly, so devoid of happiness, that he immediately asked me what was wrong.

"Two of our Design Team members . . " I choked out . . .

"What?! What happened?!!"

". . . are dissing on my Elliott!"

"Huh? That's it? I thought something BAD happened," he replied, completely without sympathy. Nice. You think you know a guy.

The results show seemed to pass in slow motion. The final four would go to Graceland . . . would Elliott be walking in Memphis? He was in the bottom two . . . NOOOOO!. . . Ryan, just say it already . . . break my heart into a million pieces if you must . . .Elliott . . . was . . ..

SAFE!

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host . . .

Nah. I won't go there. It's more fun to gloat.

That's right, nay-sayers, Elliott was safe. He WOULD be walking in Memphis. He WOULD be able to say "Ma'am I am tonight" if asked if he were a Christian child. He WILL be singing Elvis tomorrow night and I WILL be voting my fingers off for him. Who's my favorite? Oh, wasn't I clear? My favorite is ELLIOTT. Need me to say it again? Sure - Elliott, Elliott, Elliott. What? You can't hear me? I'll say it again: P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney. Er, ELLIOTT!

The gloves, of course, were off. I likened "meow"s favorite to a goat and told "soundslikebarrell" that they put E in the bottom two to save us from the monstrous butchering of a Phil Collins song by her favorite. My gloating was so short-lived, though. I left for Chicago the next morning. Plus, both "meow" and "soundslikebarrell" have comfortable leads with their contestants. Still, who wants to root for the people most likely to win?! Underdogs are so much funner to root for. Who's with me on the E-train? Huh? Who's with me?

Now let's talk Chicago for just a sec. The Dollar Scrapbooking booth was packed the entire time, but people seemed happy to wait in line for such good bargains. Sandy came with me, and although we were too worn out Friday night for anything more than a nice relaxed dinner, we summoned our energy to hit the city Saturday night. I'm so glad we did! The Magnificent Mile was COVERED in tulips! It got me doubly excited for my upcoming Holland trip. We ate Chicago stuffed crust pizza for dinner and then headed back to the 'burbs to get some sleep before heading home early Sunday morning.

Here are some of my favorite shots from Saturday night:Chicago_1

So yesterday I mostly hung out with the kids and caught up on the FamousTV that I'd missed. John doesn't check the mail while I'm gone, so I went to retrieve it and found a surprise. My Canadian friend Heather Moll, who I met through blogging, had sent me this shirt:

I don't know if I'm more touched at the sentiment or the sizing! Emma was eying it this morning, mentioning that a friend of hers at school really likes Canada and the shirt pretty much looked like it would fit her. I explained that it was a clingy shirt BY DESIGN and was certainly not intended for a child. Geez!

So thank you, Heather! You cracked me up! I'm wearing the shirt today, looking surprisingly chesty and loving it, to be honest!

But I still have a lot of work to do, so I must bid adieu. For now. Today's the last day to donate to the scrapbooking fundraiser, so check it out if you've been under a rock. Heh.

TPBQOTD (The Pit of Despair! Don't even think . . . *cough sputter cough* . . . don't even think about trying to escape. The chains are far too thick.)


Excuse me! (No really, please do)

Who's a loser on her blog

And posts sporadically?

M-I-C-K-E-Y

M-O-U-S-E!

What? My name didn't work with the RHYME - chuh!

Sorry to be so AWOL. Just trying to get through some deadlines and such. One of these days I'm going to have absolutely nothing to do. I've penciled it in for July 2009ish. Heh.

And what, you may be asking, besides workity workity has been going on around Burniland? Well first, I'm the proud owner of a new Dyson vacuum cleaner. (Thank you, thank you) With apologies to all the folks who have ever sat on my carpets - ewwww! There was some gunk in there! That clear canister don't lie, folks! Bleh.

I mentioned to John about a month ago that our crappy little vacuum was awful and that a kink in the hose had created what can only be described as a shriek from the depths of hell every time you turned the thing on. I was trying to vacuum the van one day and the dogs in the neighborhood started howling. I am SO not kidding! So I said I wanted a Dyson. John pointed out that they cost a small fortune (true) and that was the end of the convo.

Over the next several weeks I would casually (OK, not so casually - you know me) sneak in references to the joy that would be my life if only I had a vacuum that worked properly. No mustard was cutteth with Mr. B, though - he would just shrug, point out the cost, and go back to his activity.

It's not like I really needed his permission, but I was rather hoping that he would be on-board with it - especially since it's a huge purchase. After sighing in despair at the condition of my stairs last week, though, I decided to just go get the thing. So I did. John walked into the house to find me merrily vacuuming the front room. "Isn't she pretty?" I asked.

"Well that was going to be your Mother's Day present, but sure."

Oops.

Apparently his whole casual meh attitude was meant to throw me off the scent. I told him it worked far too well this time. Trying to make him feel better, I pointed out that a vacuum cleaner really didn't scream "Mother's Day Gift" anyway.

"I know," he replied "That's what was so perfect. I was bragging to the guys at work that I was going to buy my wife a vacuum cleaner for Mother's Day and that she'd love me for it. I told them next year it was going to be exercise equipment and the year after that . . . power tools!"

Awww. Poor fella. What a tragedy to have his bragging rights stripped away only to be replaced by flowers or brunch. Brunch that we could eat picnic-style on our clean carpets, mind you, but brunch nonetheless. Shame.

In other events, I spent the weekend with Emma's Brownie Troop at overnight camp! It was actually rather fun, despite the first day's snow and the hectic scheduling. We literally went from activity to activity without any down time or breaks. Our troop was scheduled for an early swim time and we were initially kind of disappointed, but then a while later (after our swim time) someone pooped in the pool and they had to close it down. A whole bunch of troops didn't get to swim at all. Yikes!

Which just proves the old adage: The early troop avoids the poop.

Here are our girls (minus one member who couldn't make it) on the camp playground:

Troop 

The general consensus is that Girl Scout Camp ROCKED. Emma's been singing camp songs ever since.

So please excuse me for not having regular amusing posts. It's only going to get worse since I'm hopping a plane to Chicago tomorrow. I'll be helping my friend Kristi with her booth at the Scrapbook Expo. She owns Dollar Scrapbooking, which you should totally check out if you haven't already. And if you happen to be going to the show, please stop by and say hi! I'm not teaching any classes - just working the booth and enjoying a girls weekend with Kristi and Sandy.

And I'm completely biased, but I thought Elliott sang beautifully last night. I hope he isn't going home tonight. I would hate for my mascara to run!

TPBQOTD ("Hear this now - I will always come for you."   "But how can you be sure?"  "This is True Love - you think this happens every day?")