Sunday, February 24, 2008

Observations of the Oscars

I'm not doing anything exciting for Oscar Night, except hang out with my lovely husband who has been away for a week. So I'm going to pretend that I'm a little more important than I really am and "live blog" for Oscar night so you all don't have to live in suspense about what my opinions are.

Hmm... Don't know what I think about Anne Hathaway's dress.

Bullshit that Ratatoullie won. Not that I saw any of the animated feature films, but I was rooting for Persepolis.

Wow. Charlie Chaplin in color! And talking!

And Katherine Hiegel is really nervous. Proabably because she's wearing the same dress as Anne Hathaway. Well, a prettier version of the same dress.

Don't know how I feel about Jennifer Garner's dress. Doing something weird to her boobs. Hmm....

Maybe I say hmm... too much. hmmm... something to think about.

Wow. The ROCK uses Crest Whitestrips...

TIVO is awesome when you're watching the Oscars.

Johnny Depp is hot.

Really hot.

Why does Jack Nicholson wear sunglasses all the time? Is it a thing? Should I know?

Maybe it's just a weird night for boobs. I mean, Jennifer Hudson's look strange in her dress too.

I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Wow, Javier Bardem looks a lot like Jeffrey Dean Morgan. No? Just me? Okay, carry on...

Felicity grew up quite a bit. Note to self: put Waitress on Netflix queue.

Whoops. Almost fast forwarded through the bee. Thought it was an annoying commercial.

Ohhh... I really want to make these. I'm multitasking, okay?

Darn. I was just going to start a Jessica Alba is pregnant rumor (could her dress be any less figure fitting?) before I remembered that she is.

Jack Nicholson has the best seat in the house. Everyone on stage is really having a conversation with him. They all just look at him and chat.

Oh! Superdelegate joke!

The choreographing of "How Do You Know" from Enchanted kicked all the other musical nominees choreographing in the ass. Bam! Boom!

Damn. Jon, rub in the "everyone knows Jessica Alba pregnant" a little more. Really.

Awww. Marion Cotillard made me cry with her speech. I'm such a mush. And I'm even I little bummed that Ellen Page didn't win. Though I suppose she wasn't going to win with the competition.

Oh. Jack, with only tinted glasses now.

How come there is a glut of color movies up for Best Picture between 1938 and 1951? The clip of Gone With the Wind they showed was *definitely* in color.

Renee Zellweger has great legs, but she always looks squinty and not quite happy. In fact, she just looks kind of bored up there tonight.

I want Nicole Kidman's bling.

Wow. The musical category is really just an Enchanted-off, no? WOW. And they didn't even win. Sucks for them.

How cute that they let the girl (woman) that got cut off come back out again.

Yawn. I'm tired.

Does anyone else feel like they should explain to Tom Hanks that Iraq isn't in California? His introduction felt a little off to me...

Oh my gosh. Diablo Cody is adorable. And her family loves her.

Johnny Depp is still hot.

No Country for Old Men did really well tonight. I didn't see it myself, but Bri and Joe both had good things to say. Congratulations Coen brothers!

Hmm... and it was over before midnight. Was that expected/on time? At the very least it was only a half hour over time, right? Not to shabby...

Hope this wasn't too exciting for you to handle. I'm really astute in my observations, so I can only imagine this was a truly amazing Oscar blogging experience for you tonight. I hope you can sleep for the excitement of it all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Colo-Rectal Cancer Awareness

Most of the content of this is taken from a letter posted on I've edited it to make it appropriate to me and my experience, and got permission to repost it here, but I thought it was worth sharing.

March is National Colo-Rectal Cancer Awareness Month. Before I was
diagnosed, I always thought of this as an “old mans disease”. I have
since learned this is not the case. This type of cancer strikes both
men and women equally and although not the norm, can and does strike
people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. There are symptoms associated with
this cancer – in my case it was frequency and control issues and bright
red blood on the TP (sorry, nothing about this cancer is pretty). Other
symptoms can include but are not limited to any change in bowel
movements, narrow/pencil like bowel movements, abdominal pain and/or
bloating and blood in the stools to mention a few. That said, the most
common symptom is no symptoms at all
. In that regard, I guess I was
lucky in some respects.

But even with symptoms many people are afraid to get screened because
it’s embarrassing to discuss this type of stuff with anyone – even your
doctor. Another deterrent is that people think a colonoscopy is
embarrassing and painful. Well, it is embarrassing to discuss – and the
prep work for a colonoscopy isn’t a ton of fun – but the procedure
itself is completely painless. In fact as a friend of mine put it, it’s
like taking a nice little nap. You get great drugs – you don’t feel a
thing and it’s over with before you know it.

The American Cancer Society recommends all people – both men and
women get screened at the age of 50; earlier if you have a family
history of the disease and/or symptoms. It is recommended that if you have a history of colon cancer in your family, to get your first colonoscopy 10 years before the earliest diagnosis in your family. Some doctors will discuss these
things with you – others won’t, so you need to be proactive in
addressing this issue. Doctors make a big deal out of breast cancer and
screenings for women at the age of 40+ but too few discuss the risks of
colo-rectal cancer, even though it is the second leading cause of
cancer related deaths in the US, behind lung cancer.

Many of you have asked me what you can do to help me. Well….you can
take a very close look at your personal situation and that of your
family members and determine whether it is time for you to get a
colonoscopy. Your greatest gift to me, your friends and your family,
would be to get screened for this terrible disease. If you’re 30 years
old with no family history and/or symptoms then there is no reason to
get this done now. But what about your parents? And if you are 50+ and
have never had this done, please seriously consider having it done. If
you have no polyps, your next screening isn’t for another 5 years. And
if you do have polyps, removing them now before they turn cancerous can
save your life.

In closing, I never thought this would happen to me. I’m sure you
feel the same way. Sadly, bad things do happen to good people. Please
don’t let this happen to you, your friends or your family members. This
is one cancer than can be detected early and treated – but you have to
make that happen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lesson Learned

When making Tiramisu, if you run out of cognac, as you are sniffing the various bottles of alcohol in your stash in order to find a suitable substitute, don't think "hmm... whiskey smells an awful lot like cognac" and proceed to use it as a straight substitute. It turns out that whiskey is a LOT stronger than cognac, and your meticulously peaked and folded egg whites and cream that you spent overly long watching to confirm that they did not seize up will end up tasting like a glorified, chewable whiskey shot. And nobody likes that. Well, except for perhaps Brianna...though I like to think she was only being polite.

The rest of dinner was very good though. Possibly because I made none of it. I'm planning to post some pictures- the heart shaped lobster ravioli was great- you should go buy some.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On Skiing

When I was about 16 years old, my dad took my brother and I on a skiing expedition- the first of my young life. By the time we left that afternoon, I was convinced it would be the final one as well-- it did not go quite as I had envisioned.

When my dad was young, he and his cousins would go skiing. According to my dad, he and his cousins were reckless youths. They would rent skis and head straight towards the highest, most dangerous looking trails, not worrying about trivialities such as knowing how to stop or steer. He assumed my brother and I would follow suit, so on that fateful day that he packed us into the car and drove us up to the Adirondack mountains he was not planning getting us skiing lessons, depending on our wits and inherent athletic ability to get us down the mountain in one piece.

Unfortunately for my father, though he and my brother both share the ability to a) play most sports with a surprising degree of skill and b) pick up any musical instrument and *gasp* make music with it, I must have taken after my mother in more than my good looks because I am tone deaf and a klutz. We got to the mountain, rented our equipment and my dad halfheartedly offered words into the air such as "snowplow" and "weaving." He showed us how to use the tow rope, and within moments, my brother was graduating to the double diamond slopes as I stood frozen at the top of the "ski school slope" paranoid that I would move and start hurdling down that steep (well, slightly inclined/ not quite totally flat) frozen path towards my imminent death.

I eventually gathered up my nerve and pushed off, hurling aimlessly down the hill. I looked enviously at the groups of people standing around an instructor, listening intently as he explained that "pizza" would slow you down and "french fries" would speed you up. Going faster and faster, I became further concerned as I realized that I did not know how to stop myself and would likely crash straight into the lodge at the bottom of this treacherous hill. Luckily, for me at least, there was a group of people standing directly in my path. Smart people, who were busy learning what I did not know- how to stop these damn skis. One of the group of beginner skiers quickly got wise as she glanced up and saw me aiming directly at her, yelling that I was sorry, but I didn't know how to turn or stop. The instructor saw my predicament, and started coaching me with the best advice I had gotten that day-- "FALL!!!!"

Now, gentle reader, I don't know if you realize this, but when you are on skis hurling to certain doom about to kill yourself and others on this most dangerous of slopes- the ski school slope- the last thing you want to do is speed up that death by falling on purpose. The whole goal of skiing is to stay standing. Falling is scary. However, killing a perfect stranger who just wanted to learn how to ski is also a frightening prospect. I am certain you can understand my predicament. Go against every instinct in my body and hurl it towards the ground, quite possibly breaking my bones and getting several unsightly bruises, all for the good of humanity; or crashing into a stranger and breaking and bruising my body along with hers (and possibly others, if the domino effect went into play). Being the selfless humanitarian I am, of course I gathered my courage and fell to the ground, skidding harmlessly into that poor ski student's legs at a surprisingly slow and nondestructive speed. After that traumatic episode, I determined that I was not destined to be an Olympic (or even casual) skier, and retired to the ski lodge to enjoy hot chocolate and firm ground while my dad and brother continued to show off their feats of agility, speed and skill.

So as you can see, it is quite understandable that at the age of nearly 30 I figured my skiing days were over, if they had ever even started. Life however, seems to have other plans. In a twist of fate, my in laws have recently relocated from beautiful, flat, below sea level Long Island to the mountainous (well, at least for the East Coast) Catskill Mountain Range. Yes, within 30 minutes of their house are at least 3 or 4 places to ski. Being practical people, my husband and I decided that it would be a waste to not take advantage of this vacation get away and spend some of the season skiing. Keep in mind that my husband has *never* skied before, and my only experience included hurling to certain doom about 15 years ago when my bones were *much* springier. But this past weekend I borrowed some ski clothes (my closet is suspiciously bereft of anything appropriate for skiing) and after a late night target run for waterproof pants, we were ready to attempt to ski.

My one requirement for this ski trip, in order to right the wrongs from my youth was to take a lesson. My husband, being a smart man who appreciates knowledge, agreed to this wise plan. We met with a lovely man named Mike who hailed from Jamaica, Queens (he wore a nifty name tag reminiscent of people who work at casinos in Vegas) who taught- and made us practice- all those wonderful terms that I had only heard about when I was 16. I learned how to snowplow and traveled down the ski school slope at various elevations practicing. I then graduated to learning how to turn- both left and right. When I was doing something wrong, Mike, or one of the other ski instructors, tried to explain what to do correctly. The only flaw I saw in their technique is that they tended to explain themselves the same way every time- as a teacher, I know it is important to try to vary the way you explain something if a student is consistently not getting what you are trying to teach. However, I caught on fairly quickly- I was able to stay upright and generally weave my way around the orange cones put there for that purpose. After a hearty lunch of chili, my husband and I went back out for an attempt on a slightly (very slightly) harder trail- this one with a chair lift and everything!

We were not perfect, and both of us had some unfortunate falling incidents, but we manged not to injure ourselves or others as we whooshed down the "mountain". In fact, we might even do it again some day... but not before we get another lesson!

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