Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nobody likes a bully

I have a lot of a few several more than one pet peeve. I try to be a fairly understanding and empathetic person, and recognize that not everyone looks at everything the same way. So, when people are doing something that irks me, I try very, very hard not to take it personally.

But seriously....

If you start a sentence with the phrase, "Do you remember....," no matter what you say after that, I'm going to answer your question. Either yes, I do remember or no, I do not.

I really feel like our conversation should be over at that point. If you don't agree, and you want to finish telling me the story, I'm certainly happy to listen - or, you know, nod and smile.

But listening, nodding and smiling will all stop the minute you utter the phrase, "Yes, you do."

Are you actually trying to convince me that there's a memory in my head that I'm not aware of, but you are? Let's just say for the sake of argument that were true... then what difference does it make if I remember, anyway? I obviously have zero credibility.

I realize sometimes people really want something to be true, and sometimes someone else's validation is the only confirmation they can find. And the truth is - I often have a terrible memory. (Unless you've seriously pissed me off; that I won't forget.)

So your story might be true, and I just don't remember - and I'm really, really sorry. That brings me back to the understanding and empathy I mentioned. Now I'm willing to listen, and try and help you piece things together. At this point, I'm probably totally on your side, because I feel like I've let you down - and because there's no reason for me not to believe you.

But, if you try to convince me that I do remember something when I've clearly stated I don't, or something must be true because you remember - now you're a bully. Not only do I not like bullies - I don't usually believe them, and I certainly don't go out of my way to help them.

Does this ever happen to you? People try so hard to convince you (or themselves, I suppose) of anything that they come on too strong?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

I'm celebrating today, and you should be too. But since you stopped by, you should head over and say hi to my friend Cute~Ella, and read about my take on a great idea for picnic food.
Then go eat some picnic food yourself. Picnic food consumed on Memorial Day has no calories, ya know.

There are a lot of Americans who can't celebrate today. Tornadoes, floods, fires and other disasters are impacting our neighbors all across the country. What better way to honor those who fight for our freedom than by helping the very people they protect?

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to Give $10 to disaster relief funds

Visit The American Red Cross Donate Now page to give online

Friday, May 27, 2011

Follow Friday Fun: Big League Stew

In keeping with the baseball theme I accidentally created for this week, I thought I'd direct you to my favorite baseball blog. There are actually quite a few out there, and this one really needs no help in gaining followers - being a part of Yahoo Sports.

But it's my favorite.

Big League Stew is edited by Kevin Kaduk (who posts as Duk). He has several contributors, including Dave Brown. Dave's an incredibly cool guy, who not only knows his baseball, but who once helped me make a purse-buying decision on twitter. We all know how important purses are to me.

Big League Stew is a fun blog, written by authors who not only know baseball - they know what fans want to talk about. They don't just talk stats and standings - they talk about what matters. Plus, occasionally, Curtis Granderson contributes. What could be better? (Besides Jeter, who as far as I can tell, does not have a blog.)

If you're into baseball, or even just sports, you really must check this out. You can also follow Duk on twitter here and Dave on twitter over here.

Other blogs of note:

Pinstripe Alley

Blogging the Bombers (NY Daily News)


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Favorite baseball games

I seem to be having a baseball-themed week, so I figured I'd stick with that for the Thursday thirteen. I asked my twitter and facebook friends to name their favorite baseball games - ever. In no particular order:

May 17, 1998 - Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees - David Wells pitched a perfect game that day.

July 18, 1999 - Montreal Expos at New York Yankees - David Cone pitched a perfect game this time.

No beautiful faces were harmed
in the making of this play.
July 1, 2004 - Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees - Derek Jeter makes his famous leap into the stands.

October 17, 1999 - Atlanta Braves at New York Mets - Game 5 of the National League Championship Series (Mets won).

June 30, 2000 - Atlanta Braves at New York Mets - Mets won.

June 16, 1997 - New York Mets at New York Yankees - Mets won.

October 6, 2010 - Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies - Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series, Roy Halladay pitches a no-hitter!

July 13, 1993 - All-Star Game, John Kruk vs. Randy Johnson - I had to google this - hysterical. You can see it here.

May 17, 2000 - Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs - Fan stole a player's cap, and a brawl ensued.

September 16, 1978 - New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox - One-game playoff, necessary when the teams finished the regular season tied for first. It's the famous Bucky Dent game.

October 1, 2007 - San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies - One-game playoff to determine first place on the season.

October 6, 2009 - Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins - One-game playoff to determine first place on the season.

September 21, 2001 - Atlanta Braves at New York Mets - This was the first game played after the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was played in New York, and the Mets won, thanks to a two-run home run by Mike Piazza (SN: my favorite Met ever). Baseball helped bring a city, and a nation, back to life. 

Everyone had a different reason for remembering the game they mentioned. Some appreciate the intensity and finality of a one-game playoff, others recalled a fond memory, some simply loved the game because they saw it live. Others remember their team winning - whether it was a trophy, or just bragging rights. Some because it was funny, or silly, or just plain stupid.

We may be fans for different reasons, but baseball fans know what true love and memories are.

Special thanks to Angelos, Sassy, Meagan, Lee, Kelly and Patrick for helping me out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Higher standard

So, I was talking about how we put celebrities on pedestals - and how I think one particular celebrity is perfect. I've often said that Jeter has never done anything to let me down - he carries himself with such class that I can't help admire and respect him. In fact, I said as much in a comment on this blog, and was quoted in this article.

But I have to admit, his reaction to the Jorge Posada situation last week sort of disappointed me.

I'm not an athlete (which is undoubtedly the biggest understatement you'll probably ever see on this blog), so I can't relate to a team mentality, or what it feels like to be the captain, or how it feels to have your role on a team diminished. I don't know what it's like to be in the club house, or understand the bond that's formed after playing with someone for 15 years.

I may not know any of that - but I sure know what a temper tantrum looks like. Posada behaved the way I did as a child, when I didn't get the doll I wanted at my friends house; he stamped his foot, and said he wanted to go home. That's not cool - it's not cool to the fans, to the management, or to his teammates

To his credit, Posada realized that, and apologized. I feel like Jeter should have left it at that - maybe said that he understood how Jorge felt, that things haven't been falling into place, but that he respected the offer of an apology, and that he thinks the team is ready to move on. Period.

Usually, Jeter seems prepared for this sort of thing. It's not as though he doesn't know when he'll be asked about something - it's pretty predictable. Usually, he seems ready. I suspect he has someone (or several someones) who draft a response, so he has an idea of what to say - and what to avoid saying.

But not this time; this time, it was more raw, more emotional. Maybe because, as was pointed out to me in a bar the other night - Derek knows that this will be him soon. He'll start moving down the lineup, and his role will be diminished.

I suppose we're all guilty of that - we let something get too personal, and react emotionally instead of rationally. Work is work - but everyone has their limits.

People will say it's not fair to hold Jeter to a higher standard  than the rest of us. He is, after all, just a guy. But the thing is - he's not just a guy to me. Like I said in my comment - Jeter is everything that's good about baseball. He's the class we all want to see, that's missing from the game.

Do I hold Jeter to a higher standard? Yes. Is that fair? Maybe not. But it works both ways. If he wants the admiration and respect - he has to keep up the image that earned it in the first place. The Jeter I know (and love) would agree.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My pedestal

I used to have one of those quizzes on my facebook profile for people to test how well they knew me. One question that no one ever got right was:

What celebrity would Sue most like to meet?
  • a) Derek Jeter
  • b) Rosie O'Donnell
  • c) George Bush
  • d) No One
  • e) Oprah
It was a trick question. Honestly, there's only one person on earth who even stood a chance, and that was X. He's the only person with whom I ever had this conversation - until now. Don't you feel special?

I actually admire everyone on the list (except for George Bush, though I do think he handled the whole 9/11 thing pretty well). Of course, we all know of my love for Jeter....

....But that's the problem. We tend to put celebrities on such high pedestals, that there's no way any mere mortal could live up to our expectations. And celebrities really are just mere mortals - with bigger bank accounts.

So, the truth is - if I admire someone, I would really never want to meet him. Because there is no way that Jeter, for example, is as perfect in real life as he is in my mind. And I love the guy who is my mind - so why not just leave him there? It hurts no one, and the truth is - even if I met him, what's going to happen? We're going to say "hi," maybe I get an autograph - and then what? Nothing.

So for nothing, I risk all my happy? All my hope that there is one guy on earth who wouldn't let me down the moment I give him a chance? That's not worth it to me.

I'd rather just go on believing that one guy exists.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Follow Friday Fun: High Heel Shoes

I discovered this blog on twitter, from my favorite shoe blog - Shoe tease (which we've talked about before). From the about section, High Heel Shoes is about fashion. The author also owns a website, selling high heels shoes and boots. The blog gives you style tips and tricks for the shoes you buy at the website.

Sorta brilliant, no?

I haven't been following the blog long. But just the idea makes me smile. You can follow High Heel Shoes on twitter and facebook.

If you like shoes, a few other sites I would recommend:

Shoe Dazzle

The Well-Heeled Society

Heel Candy

.....To name a few.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Apples and trees

Chrissy's son turned five last weekend. Five. Hard to believe he's gotten so big, while I haven't aged a day.


The party was at a bowling alley. Chrissy's mom was telling me a funny story about bowling with her other daughter, her husband and their daughter a while back. Apparently, mom's finger got caught in the ball, and when she went to release - it didn't. She fell forward, and as her son-in-law described it, "looked like she was sliding into third."

The thing is, when I hear a story like that about someone in Chrissy's family - it's not surprising. Mostly, it makes sense - in this case, I actually thought (and said), "Well, I guess we know where Chrissy gets it."

That's the sort of thing she's always doing. For example, did I tell you about the time she was in Florida on business? All her coworkers, their boss - and their boss' boss - were walking across the courtyard of a very well-appointed hotel to the restaurant for dinner. Everyone was dressed, so Chrissy was wearing a black sheath dress and black heels. One of the heels got caught in between the pavers in the courtyard, and she tripped. Chrissy fell backwards, into a bush.

Funny, yes? Wait, there's more.

Chrissy didn't just fall into the bush - she fell over it, onto the other side. Where there was, in fact, a pool. So, one of her coworkers had to reach over, grab her hand and pull her back up.

I guess that apple didn't fall far from the tree. All I got was straight hair and big hips.

What traits did you get from your parents?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No Words Wednesday: Beware of female spies

I love getting postcards in the mail. I especially love to get them from smart, witty friends - because they send smart, witty postcards.

This friend sent me this postcard from the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. It replicates a World War I poster warning Navy personnel against the wiles of females spies.

Never send a man to a woman's job.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Speaking of (non)feminism...

Stereotypes. I. Hate. Them.

I got thinking about that whole feminism issue a while back when someone pointed out that I'm a girlie-girl, as though it's a bad thing.

Here's the thing: I am a girlie-girl. Ask anyone - I even include that description of myself in online profiles. Anyone who looks at my facebook or twitter profiles for ten seconds can see I'm girlie. There's no point in hiding or denying it, and I wouldn't want to, anyway.

I figure - why should it matter? I guess some people take issue with the fact that, because I live up to (or down to?) some stereotypical female behavior, that must mean all stereotypes are true. So, if I like to shop for shoes and and get manicures, that must also mean that I always need a man, I'm scared of being alone and I can't take care of myself.

I can see why this might be frustrating. I've written about how people are surprised that I take care of my home all by lil' ol' self, and it is frustrating that people jump to the conclusion that I'm not capable, simply because I'm a woman. It's definitely detrimental to women that these stereotypes persist.

But, if letting those stereotypes rule us is the problem - then it seems like it's just as big a problem if we change who we are to avoid them. Let's just say that a woman is worried people will think less of her if she uses purple tools - so she buys gray ones instead. That woman has just let other people's beliefs, assumptions - and stereotypes - define who she is and the choices she makes.

Isn't it a stronger, more powerful statement to choose what you want and be who you are - regardless of what anyone else thinks?

Isn't it weak to make assumptions and jump to conclusions based on your own insecurities? To let stereotypes define you, or define how you see others?

I'm not perfect, but I am a pretty strong woman. Life has taught me how to take care of myself, be happy on my own and make my own choices.

I don't see how me doing any of that with a purple hammer makes me weak.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Go with the flow

I'm trying to get healthy and fit. A couple weeks ago, I asked for some suggestions on healthy snacks that I could eat to cure my hunger, while still avoiding empty calories. My twitter friends came through in a major way.

Eating better is something I'm starting to think I can do. I know there will be days that I won't eat right. But I know I can pick it back up the next day. I still have a ways to go - vegetables still elude me - but I'm getting better at eating well, and saving a ton of money in the process (more shoes!).

My next challenge is to get myself motivated for the gym. I mean - I've been going a few times a week, but that's not getting me the results I want. I need to be motivated to go more often. When I get home from work, I'm often too drained from my day. Or I'm busy right after work, and too tired by the time I'm finally done for the day. Getting up in the morning is a challenge for me - because I'm not a morning person.

I realized a while ago that part of the problem is my day job. It isn't something I really love (or even like) all that much - so starting my day is tough. So, I think I need to refocus in the morning; I need to stop thinking of it as a start to a work day, and start thinking of it as a start to my day...which will include work.

That's probably the main obstacle in all fitness and health goals, don't you think? All goals, really, depend on motivation and focus. We're so driven to a certain goal, or a certain way of doing things that we give up easily when it doesn't happen right away, or work out exactly as we expected.

I guess the trick to success in anything is to be willing to shift your perspective, and learn how to go with the flow.

Friday, May 13, 2011

No Fun Friday

This is me. Hiding from conference calls.
I've been super busy lately. It's mostly good, except for these stupid conference calls, but it still means I totally ran out of days other than Friday to write a good Follow Friday Fun post.

Two of my favorite bloggers have really cool Fun Friday posts today. You should visit and comment, if you haven't already. Already been there? Go again, you're not working anyway.

Kristi's is here.

Amanda's is here.

Happy Friday (the 13th)!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Letters

Another Thursday - another email. This one was a collection of short, funny letters that could should have been written at some point. I picked my favorites.

Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.

Dear Icebergs,
Sorry to hear about the global warming. Karma's a bitch.
The Titanic

Dear America,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.

Dear Batman,
What was your power again?
Sincerely, Superman

Dear Global Warming,
You're the best imaginary friend ever!
Sincerely, Al Gore

Dear Mr. Gump
WTF are you talking about? There's a little diagram on the lid that tells you EXACTLY what you're gonna get....
Sincerely, Jenny

Dear Martin Luther King Jr.
I have a dream within a dream within a dream within another dream.... What now?
Leonardo Di Caprio

Dear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendar ends there because some Spanish d-bags invaded our country and we got a little busy ok?
The Mayans

Dear White People,
Don't you just hate immigrants?
Native Americans

Dear iPhone,
Please stop spellchecking all of my rude words into nice words. You piece of shut.
Every iPhone User

Dear Giant Spider on the Wall,
Please die. Please die. Please die. Please die. CRAP! Where did you go?

Dear Man,
It's cute, but can you pick up peanuts with it?

Dear Dr. Phil,
Look man, there's only room for one fake doctor in this world and I was here first.
Dr. Pepper

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bottom line about underwear

A while back, I was asked to write about my opinion on women wearing "sexy" underwear - just for themselves.

Why not, right?
My take, which may come as no surprise to anyone, is that anything a woman does to make herself feel sexy or beautiful should always be done for herself. Yes, if you're in a relationship and someone is going to see (and admire) your undies, it's fabulous if he'll like them, too. (Though, the results of an embarrassingly unscientific pole poll [Thanks, John!] show that most men don't really care; they're more interested in what the material is covering.) 

"So if the guy doesn't care - why bother?"
"But if there is no guy to impress - why go to the trouble?"

...Are the questions most women normally ask.

My answer? Self-esteem begins and ends with you doing things for you. If it makes you feel good to wear lacy underwear and a matching bra - do it. If wearing a thong makes you feel more sexy - go for it.

The thing is - the more sexy and beautiful you feel, the more confident you'll be. The more confident you are, the more comfortable and at ease you'll be. If your goal is to find a guy to admire that lacy thong, this is the first step. What guy wouldn't want to be around a confident, comfortable woman?

Only one that isn't worth your time in the first place.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Instant karma

Saturday, a good friend and I (along with her sweet-as-can-be little son) headed down to the Albany Tulip Fest in Washington Park. If you don't know, the Tulip Fest is an annual tradition in Albany, celebrating the city's Dutch heritage. It's a three (well, two and a half really) day event, held annually the weekend of Mother's Day.

It's intended to be a family event, and obviously intended to be a fun, enjoyable time for everyone involved. But like anything else where a crowd is involved - it sometimes gets out of hand.

My favorite thing to do at any event like this is people-watch. I saw some really cute shoes on Saturday - along with a whole lot of fashion felonies. Stacy and Clinton would spontaneously com-bust if they saw some of what we saw.

Besides fashion-fails, the other thing I like to observe (though hopefully from a distance) is the way people behave when faced with a large crowd. Somehow, either people just become more rude and self-involved - or it's just that much more obvious that some people are.

For example - as you might imagine, parking for something like this is a nightmare of epic proportions. We drove around for probably close to thirty minutes, without finding a thing. (Ultimately, I paid to park because my sanity is worth at least $10.)

Just before we finally settled our parking situation, we saw the funniest thing. A man (with a woman in the passenger seat) was driving a small, BMW two-door sedan on the main road next to the park (Madison, for the locals). There was a section that was blocked off by two construction markers like these:

I guess he was convinced that the spot was being held for him. No one else thought to park in between the markers and there are many cars that would have fit in the spot (including certain emergency or police vehicles - which may have been the purpse).

But no, this guy seemed certain the City of Albany knew he was coming for Tulip Fest, and knew that his date would not be wearing walking shoes, and saved them a spot right up front.

It's really too bad that the city put those markers too close, though. Cause Mr. Myspot backed his bright, shiny, $50K+ bumper right into that bright orange barrel.

Instant karma is a bitch.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Follow Friday Fun: Hungry Girl

Yesterday, I asked for some tips on healthy snacks. A friend told me about Fiber One cereal. My friend is very smart, so I bought a box of the honey clusters cereal. My friend's brilliance continues to amaze.

Here's something fun - on the back of the box were a few tips for guilt-free snack recipes, featuring (of course) Fiber One cereal. The tips came from the website hungry-girl.com - and they were good. A couple of highlights:
  • Top off your yogurt, light ice cream or cottage cheese with your favorite cereal flavor
  • Faux-fry - ground up cereal (original), mix with your favorite spices and use as a coating for lean pork or chicken. Bake or prepare in a skillet for fried flavor - without the fat!
  • Mix equal parts of original and caramel delight cereals, and crush to make pie crusts 
Intrigued, I decided to visit the site to see what else this hungry girl could teach me. Turns out - a thing or two.

Chew the Right Thing is a blog - all about fabulous ways to make your favorites a little healthier.

Weekly Weigh-In is a blog that includes new recipes and reviews.

Girls Bite Out is a blog all about surviving the weekends - and dining out.

There's more at the site, and you can sign up for their daily email on their home page. They bring you the latest news on health and dieting, and answer questions from readers.

If you're a TV person, Hungry Girl will also have her own Food Network show on a limited run (for now) - Sundays in May (starting 5/8) at 10am/9c.

You can also follow Hungry Girl on twitter and like her on facebook.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's the problem with diets?

In a word: hunger. I've promised myself that I will try to get healthier - and I am. I haven't been as good about going to the gym as I wanted to be this month, but I have kept going. I took some steps to improve my diet - though I've still got a ways to go.

I attempted more cooking at home, and getting more vegetables into my diet. I even started eating salads at lunch, and recently tried diet shakes for breakfast, figuring the vitamins, protein and controlled calories couldn't hurt.

The thing is - I'm hungry during the day. It's probably not a true hunger; I don't really think I need more calories. I'm thinking it's more out of boredom or stress or a combination thereof.

But - it's still a problem. Why? Because I get irritable testy difficult monumentally bitchy when I get hungry. Like - to the enth degree. Trust me - it's not good for anyone.

I just really see no reason why I should have to choose between happy and healthy. While I know I need to improve my diet - I firmly believe I should be able to have both. Some of it is a mental adjustment in my attitude towards food - but a large portion of it is finding new ideas.

Cause let's face it - food isn't going to stop making me happy. And life is better for everyone when I'm happy.

So, I guess I need some healthy snacks that I can keep on hand, to eat that will satisfy the hunger - without piling on empty calories? Suggestions welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Misadventures in Cooking - Asparagus stinks

Note: I've decided to rename this feature Misadventures in Cooking because...er, well, because it's more appropriate where I'm concerned.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, a couple of weeks ago I purchased a can of whole asparagus at the grocery store. When I got it home, I realized - I had no flippin' idea how to cook asparagus?!

So I did what I always do when I need an answer - I turned to twitter. I got advice from many tweeps on how best to prepare this veggie - and only one had the decency to suggest "throwing it away and not eating it." Next time, I'll surely listen to him.

In the meantime, I was following instructions I'd gotten elsewhere, and looking to butter, garlic and a grill to enhance this green vegetable. Don't get me wrong - they were excellent instructions. But of all the recommendations I got - I didn't get one warning about the awful smell. Which made me sad (and slightly nauseous).

Pressing on - in the name of better eating, trying new things, blog content and not wasting food - I proceeded to bury the shoots in melted butter and garlic salt, and plop them on my electric grill. I will admit - the final product didn't taste half bad....

I did not manage to choke down more than a couple of bites.
....but I'd drowned it in so much butter and garlic that I don't think what remained could actually be considered a vegetable. They were also soggy, so even if I got past the smell - I'd never get past that texture.

So what did I do wrong? Was it because the asparagus was canned, and not fresh? Did I use too much butter? Did I not grill long enough, or on a high enough heat?

I'm interested to learn - for learning sake. I won't be trying this dish again any time soon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A non-feminist's view on feminism

Depsite what some people might think, I don't consider myself a feminist. I do believe that women should be empowered, independent and fulfilled - with or without a man. I do believe women should be treated equally, and have the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as anyone else.

The thing is - I believe that about everyone. I think I sometimes sound like I'm preaching the woman's case because I speak from that perspective - but that's because I'm a woman. It's really the only perspective from which I have a view.

Feminism is defined as "the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men;" and "an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women." To me, a feminist is someone who is actively engaged in that fight. Who believes that women don't enjoy the same rights as men, and who believes that is something for which we need to fight.

I'm not debating whether we do or we don't - mostly because I'm in no mood to research facts, and I suspect even if I was, I'd find plenty in support of either position. The fact is - I've never had to fight for my rights as a woman. I've never been shut out of a club or a job because of my gender; I've never earned less than my male counterparts; I've never been pregnant, so I've never experienced any related prejudice or challenge; I've grown up in a world where my reproductive rights have always been respected.

Since I've never had to fight for equal rights, it seems hypocritical that I would call myself a feminist - someone who actively fights. Plenty of women came before me who did fight for those rights, so that women like me could be in a position to say, "I've never...." It seems disrespectful for me to align myself with them and their heroic efforts - so I won't.

I suspect those women hoped that eventually there would be women like me. They fought and argued and lost and won battles - all in the name of equality. The whole point being that one day, women wouldn't have to fight anymore. The point was never for the battle to keep going - the idea was to win, right?

I guess if I can say "I never had to...." - I'm proof of some victory, no matter how small.