Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

Thought provoking Tuesday question wants to know "How many pair of jeans do you own?"

Most folks have at least one pair. I mean, a wardrobe isn’t complete without at least one pair, right? Well, my mom may not agree…but she is my mom.

I’ll go first and I’ll lie because OH-MY-GOSH I own too many. I admit it I am a jeans fanatic.

I own over 30 pair. Yup, you read that correctly. Three-zero pair.

I own about ten pair of Polo Saturday jeans, which they no longer make. I bought a bunch of them when I heard they were discontinuing them. I even have some that I have not ever worn still on the hangers. Not to worry though, these are the jeans that I will wear until they wear out and then I use them for painting or staining or I cut them off in the summer and use them for yard shorts. That way it doesn’t matter if they get dirty or ruined. And let me tell you, I have destroyed my share of jeans with the way I play in my garden or decide to stain a deck or paint a wall.

I have petite jeans because I am short and so I don’t always have to wear heels in order for my jeans not to drag on the ground. I have plenty more that our regular length so I wear boots or some type of heel with them. Makes me look taller too.

I also own about twenty pairs of J. Jill jeans. Hm. Talk about obsessive. With these, I have about three different colors. I own dark-wash, medium-wash, and a pair or two of faded-wash. Mostly I wear the medium blue color because they go with everything.

This sounds like a lot, but I live in New England so except for summer, I can easily wear jeans ten months out of twelve. As a matter of fact, I own a few pairs of calf-length jeans for summer evenings outdoors. Bonus - I can wear jeans to work. . .thank goodness.

The thing about jeans is that you can dress them up or down. I can wear them with a T-shirt or Boston Sox baseball shirt, toss on a pair of cute white sneakers and I look casual and ready to go to a baseball game. Or I can wear a silk blouse and a pair of leather boots or leather, high-heeled sandals and look fabulous enough to go out on a date or to work or anywhere.

How many pairs of jeans do I actually wear? I probably rotate about ten pair at a time.

Now that I have admitted my jeans vice, tell me about yours. How many pair do you own?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do clothes make a man?

Hmm…well, let’s examine this.

If you see a man wearing a heavy rock band T-shirt what’s the first thing you think? “Great pecs.” Because chances are the T-shirt is more than likely too tight.
Or how about, “I wonder how many drugs he did when he was in his twenties?” Then again, maybe he still does them. Check the band name. Is it a band around today or one that started back in the seventies? If it's from twenty plus years ago, the guy needs to get over it and grow up.

What about a guy in a plaid, flannel shirt? Now this one might make you think a little more. Are you in the great Northwest when you see this phenomenon? Then maybe he is a lumberjack. That may not be all bad. Just think of the warm nights he could give you.

Are you in the south when you see the plaid, flannel shirt wearing man? That may be a tad bit scarier. I’m thinking, “Redneck” is the first word that comes to mind. Check his truck. Do you see a gun rack hooked inside the cab or a rebel flag hanging from the mirror or the antenna?

What is it with guys in suits? I mean, is it written somewhere that if a man puts on a suit that the stick is automatically inserted someplace that I won’t mention? If the suit fits well, as in it’s been tailored to fit the man then I bet he looks hot in all those crisp, sharp lines. Rather like a man in uniform. Can’t wait to peel him out of all those clothes.

If the suit isn’t tailored then it’s as if the guy just put a sleek cover on a slob. Check his socks. Do they match his suit? If not, I bet he’s a slob and drives beat up old jalopy. It’s all a façade ladies. Watch out.

Oh, wait! What about a leisure suit? You remember those polyester suits that fit a little too snug in places it shouldn’t and look just awful no matter who wears them. Seriously, who the heck thought those were a good idea? Had to be a woman with a great sense of humor. And men buy them. Ladies, watch out for this guy because if he buys a polyester suit he is just as likely to buy the magic beans from a wandering salesman.

Let’s talk about a guy in a uniform. Now, not any uniform will do. Who wants to do a young Navy squid in his sailor whites? Please, bell-bottoms and white and so not a good combination. Then again, Army fatigues don’t do anything for any guy any where. Army green is just plain ugly. Not to mention the way they hang on a guy. And what do they carry in all those pockets? [SHIVER]

Now if we’re talking dress uniforms of Marines. . . “Oorah!” Again, all those nice crisp lines that mold to a terrific set of pecs and biceps. Yummy! This outfit shows you the man can commit and cares about his country. Of course, if the hair was not so short you could picture yourself running your fingers through it or grabbing hold while the Marine takes you for a ride. Yeehaw!

How about plaid knee-length shorts with dark socks and sandals? HA! Yes, we’ve all seen it. And most of us have denied knowing that person. Why wear shorts and sandals if you’re going to ear socks at all? Isn’t the whole point to show off your legs or get a little sun? Please, if you’re going to dress like an old man then stay inside so we don’t have to see.

Here’s another summertime visual for you. Picture yourself walking down the beach with the sand curling in your toes as you walk. The sun is shining and the waves are crashing and all the sudden you see this very tan, very buff dude. As you draw closer to him you stop in your tracks and you chin drops to your chest. Why?

Because the dude is wearing a Speedo. Can you say slingshot? Or banana case? I don’t know what it is with men and their Speedos but they should get over it. If you’re not a competitive swimmer and in a pool then this guy is someone who thinks too highly of himself, whether he has much of a banana or not in those trunks.

Ladies – do you let your man walk out of the house wearing sweatpants and a wife-beater T-shirt? Most the women I know would say, “Hell, no!”

Why? Because are you kidding me? No guy looks sexy in a wife-beater. Like the Speedo wearing man, this guy thinks he looks better than he really does. In fact, he probably has very little muscle at all except in his head. The head sitting on his shoulder that is. All you have conveyed to a woman wearing this outfit is that you are too sexy for yourself. Gym or no gym this is a no-no.

Mmm. A man in a pair of jeans can do it for me anytime. Well, okay, only if they fit and aren’t hanging off his butt so I get a clear shot of his tighty-whities or his boxers or worse. If they aren’t wrinkled like they just came out of the dirty clothes hamper, a man who wears a pair of nice jeans that hug his derriere is hot. Toss in a pair of cowboy boots so it makes his butt that much more firm and you have a winner! Cowboy boots are to men’s butts what 3-inch heels are to a woman’s behind.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Someone send Ahmed Hassan crashing my yard

I watch very little television in my house, but when I do, it’s usually something on HGTV. One of the shows I catch now and again is Yard Crashers. First of all - cool name! I love the idea of a complete stranger offering his services to do yard work.
I would be the first to yell, “Me, me! Pick me!”

I love my yard and have spent the last. . .going on four years destroying it and rebuilding it. It went from being swamped by Forsythias (also known as skinny yellow weeds) with a practically dead apple tree in the middle that gave me one apple the first summer to no Forsythias at all anywhere and an old apple tree that drops tons of apples (none of which are edible. . .yet).

When I bought my house, I wanted a yard in a big way. While it’s only a quarter acre, it’s all mine. But oh-my-gosh it is not done yet! Every year I have to remove dead plants and add new ones. I’ve planted about eight fruit trees and only one pear tree gave me fruit, Unfortunately, that pear tree was decapitated this year when all that snow snapped it in half. Very sad.

I created this great walkway in my back yard that meanders through the garden so I can walk through it and enjoy the color and scents. Now I have a firepit that I put together myself, but no seating around it because, uh, well, that area of the yard is very wet and unlevel. It’s more like a swimming hole. And, well, let's just say I am so NOT a person who believes in using a level.

I have this great deck on the back that I adore and tend to sit on and write in the summer, but I want to extend the retaining wall underneath it so I can have more flowers. And there’s no place to put my grill so it sits on the corner of the driveway. I’m thinking of adding a lower floating deck and make that the grilling area.

My front yard has this terrific front porch, but honestly, I have completely neglected the front yard. There is a Flowering Quince that I have hacked and trimmed, and pampered, but it doesn’t exactly give me much color so I’m thinking this summer it has got to take a nosedive. Time to get another fruit tree in the ground. Hmm. I’m thinking peach or nectarine trees.

Oh! I have this gorgeous rock wall down the side of the property. This is actually one of the reasons I bought the house. In the last two years I have tried to plant bulbs and flowers over there, but there is just not enough color there yet either. Part of that is because there is a ton of rocks in my so-called dirt. “Welcome to the Granite State.” HA!

What do I do with the hammock? I have yet to find the perfect spot for it. I’ve moved it three times and none of those places make me want to go hang out on it.

I have a vision so someone please send Ahmed Hassan crashing my yard!

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's baseball season and time for a wine/book mystery event

It’s baseball season!

Join us on Friday evening, April 29th at Zorvino Vineyards as we welcome members of the 1991 Pennant Winning Boston Monuments (you remember our local National League team, right?) as they rally two of their teammates in support of their nominations to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Despite the rumors of the hard partying days, rampant drug abuse, steroid use, infidelities on the road and the fact that these guys just don’t get along anymore...don’t believe the hype. It’s going to be a great celebration of the American pastime and maybe the last time to see the team all together in one place! Don't miss this one!!!!

This will be a special one night only event as Zorvino Vineyards presents THREE STRIKES & YOU’RE DEAD – a Hall of Fame Baseball Murder Mystery Event. Four mystery authors will unite with a talented cast of actors to craft a murder mystery right before your eyes.

Our whole facility will be open for you to wander about searching for clues, questioning suspects & discussing opinions with your friends as to who done it, where they done it & why they done it.

The cost for this special event will be $ 30 / pp which INCLUDES one book of your choice from one of our famous authors, which they will be glad to sign & personalize for you. Also included are light finger foods for all, the winery will be open all evening for complimentary tasting & wine purchases, the upstairs cash bar will be open with baseball specialty drinks plus there will be other baseball surprises!

This is a general admission event. . .Doors will open at 6:30 pm on April 29th and we ask our guests to be present in the great room at 7 pm for the evening’s kick-off. The murder will be solved at 9:30 pm sharp as we share the details of the mystery with everyone. The one person who comes closest to figuring out what happened will receive a prize. The authors will be on hand at the end of the evening to personalize books and chat with their fans.

Reservations are mandatory for this evening and we fully expect to sell out our 200 tickets so please make your reservation early so you are not disappointed. Tickets can be purchased online at www.zorvino.com or by calling (603) 887-8463.

Our authors for this special event will be Lloyd Corricelli, Mike Girard, CJ West & Denise Robbins. Authors will be available for sales & book signing from 9:30 pm until 10:00 pm after the mystery is solved.

Hope to see you there in your favorite baseball attire!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Writing Prompt Wednesday

Time for some new writing prompts for Wednesday.

Prompt: She was bent over with her head. . .

For those of you who have never participated in Writing Prompt Wednesday, it's easy. And fun!

All you have to do is write.

I post the beginning of a sentence and you finish it. You can just write the rest of the sentence or if your creativity is so inspired by the few words, write a paragraph or a page or more.

Then share it! Yes, this is the most difficult part for many people, but hey, we're all friends here, so why not let us see what your active imagination and your keyboard came up with.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What do you like to do in your spare time/on weekends?

Yesterday we talked about how much we work and the long commute, so today let's discuss spare time.

What do you like to do in your spare time/on weekends?

It goes without saying that I love to write. But beyond that there are lots of things I like to do in my spare time.

I get up on the weekends and go have breakfast. On most Saturdays, I usually go meet a small group of friends, the'breakfast club' at our favorite bagel shop. On Sundays, I tend to keep to myself and hang out where I can write for a good couple of hours.

Now that spring has finally arrived, I enjoy being outside as much as possible. So after I have breakfast with friends or do a little writing, I go home and change into outdoor attire. That means clothes I can get dirty. REALLY dirty.

I ALWAYS wear a baseball cap. Most of the time it's a Boston Sox cap, but since I returned from Ireland I am wearing my green Ireland hat. Yup, that's me beneath that green cap.

Once I'm dressed for dirt, I head outside with my CD player and several CDs and then I dig in. Literally. I will plant flowers or snip the dead heads, but more than likely I am finding something I can do that will add color to the yard. Like my little crocuses that have come up. Soon the tulips will be blooming and I will have a ton of color. I cannot wait!

A year ago, I saw this idea for a firepit at Lowe's, but never got around to building one. Last weekend, I finally took the bull by the horn and went for it. I borrowed my neighbors' green machine truck, now known as the shaggin' wagon and found someone at the store who knew how to build the firepit. I got the stones loaded, picked up the metal firepit thingy then drove home and voila! About an hour later, with the help of some friends, I had a firepit.

If I'm not getting dirty by digging something up then I am enjoying my deck and a good beer or bottle of champagne. Yeah, I'm weird like that. I don't need a reason to drink champagne.

I like just soaking in the sun, especially after 6 months of cold, icky white fluffy stuff, and gray skies. On a really good day you will catch me writing on my deck, listening to a good music CD, and the lyrical sound of the old wooden roller coaster with screaming kids in the background.

Toss in a few friends and a cookout and you have a perfect day. Well, maybe a baseball game would kick the day over the top, but that's pretty dang sweet for my free time.

What about you?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Working from home could save jobs

. . .and people's personalities

Three hours a day in traffic makes for a cranky woman! I should know, I'm that woman.

Funny thing happened as I started to write this post this morning. A friend of mine sent me a message and wanted to know why we had to go back to work. I feel his pain.

If businesses wanted to save money then why not allow for folks to work from home. Isn’t that why technology folks built the routers, cable modems, wireless access points, VPNa, and even the Internet? So folks could do their jobs remotely and have access to more information than what is in a book or a document or in an internal application.

Think of the overhead cost that would be saved if each person worked from home just one day a week. Or, to put it in black and white figures or draw you a picture, try this on for size.

Let’s say the average overhead cost for an employee is $27 per day (not including salary and benefits). In some case this will be high, but in many cases this number will be low. If an employee worked from home just one day a week for 50 weeks (two weeks off for vacation) then the net overhead savings is $1350 per employee/per year.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the average number of employees in a company is 25. Multiply 25 times $1350 and we have a savings of $33,700. Just for letting each employee work from home one day a week. Imagine what a larger company of say 500 employees could save. That’s a whopping total of $675,000.

Holy cow! That’s like almost a million dollars. Well, close enough.

Take the average salary of an employee being $50,000 and divide that into $675,000. That’s a total of 13.5 employees that a company would not have to let go in tough times. Like now. All for simply letting a person leverage the technological tools that some very smart people created and made available to us. And most of us have these tools readily available at our fingertips because we have them at home for our own enjoyment.

Let’s take this a step further.

How many of you cannot stand your commute? Me, I get a little irritated at wasting 3 hours of my day in a car instead of doing something I enjoy…like writing. In 3 hours I could write a good 1000 to 2000 words.

With the cost of gas averaging $3.75, why not save a little extra money and the environment?

Let’s say the average person drives 30 miles each way to work, which wouldn’t be bad if you didn’t have to contend with traffic. That commute will average about 4 gallons of gasoline, which right now would equate to $15 per day. Take that $15 and multiply it by the 50 days we now get to work from home and that’s a savings for us of $750 per year. Not to mention the savings on the wear and tear of your car as well as your frazzled nerves. Can you imagine what you can do with an extra $750 in your pocket each year?

Since the government and politicians haven’t figured this one out maybe we can help them. Aren’t they talking about Green this and that? Aren’t they always paying some overpaid politician to do another study on energy and employment and who knows what else?

I have an idea for them. Why not have a government incentive program that would give a bonus to a company that advocates a 4-day work week or a 1-day a week work-from-home program? Better yet, incent them if they don’t let anyone go due to economic downturn because they were smart enough to sign up for this program? That way the company doesn’t benefit and still let employees go.

On top of all this, employers get the benefit of employees who are happier because they are driving to work in traffic one less day and they are saving money that they can use toward a vacation or a new car with better gas efficiency.

Plus, we can all work in our PJs one day a week!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What's makes a good writing day?

As a writer you sit down with pen and paper or your computer and you start to write. How do you measure whether it was a good writing day?

Is it the amount of words you write or the number of pages that come from the words? Do you sit down and target a number or do you let the story and the words flow and stop when the creativity halts?

Me, I just write. I don't force it. I let the characters takeover and write whatever they tell me to.

You think I am kidding?

Any author will tell you that you can plot as much as you like, but when push comes to shove it is the character who will drive the story and inevitably, he or she will shift it on you.

Maybe the number of words or pages is not your measuring stick. Perhaps you measure by the story itself and where you've gotten to in your storyline or how well you feel the characters and story have developed at that point in time?

I rather like this idea. I love feeling the story geling and the characters coming to life. As a writer you absolutely know if what you've written works or if it's just trash. And if you don't, your critique group will. [grin]

I mean how many times have you written something and then afterwards determined that although that was some really great writing it does not fit in the story?

No big deal, right? You save it for another story on another day, right? I do. Never, ever throw any writing away. For every story I have written I have a "cut" document.

The "cut" document consists of all the words, sentences, paragraphs, and yes chapters that I have chopped from a story then saved in case I want to use it in the future. It's like having your own slush pile.

Perhaps a good writing day is a day in which you just simply write. Maybe it's a blog post like this, or maybe it's a poem, or maybe it's writing a letter to a friend.

How do you measure whether it was a good writing day?

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