Many Happy Returns
Monday, April 30, 2007
I arrived back this evening to a hyper dog who was thrilled to see me (gotta love that), a huge stack of mail, a box of product from Delush, and two loads of laundry. Awesome.

So what did I do? Ordered a pizza and salad, checked my email, went through my blogroll quickly, and walked the dog. It was all I could handle - you'll have to wait until tomorrow for pictures of the Florida getaway. Sorry!

Out of Office
Friday, April 27, 2007
I'm off like a prom dress to sunny (we hope) West Palm Beach. I need this vacation.

I'll be back on Monday night with a better attitude (we hope), and plenty of wild stories.

Have a great weekend!

These Songs Make Me Laugh Hysterically, What Can I Say?
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
This weekend, I'm off to Florida with my best girlfriends to visit our missing limb,Jen. See, she flew the coop after senior year of high school and left us for the sunshine (and equestrians) in South Carolina. (Go Cocks!) Ever since, we've been telling ourselves we would visit. But as we all know, life gets complicated and busy, and POOF! it's 2007 and we still haven't done it. But that will all change as of midday Friday, when Kate, Kate, the Other Jen, and I will hit the land of hurricanes and mall walkers. WATCH OUT!

In celebration of our much-needed vacation to the Land o' Mickey, I decided to throw together a good, old-fashioned mixtape. Just like high school...only on CD. (I was never very skilled with the dubbing on cassette players anyway) My original thought was a CD for each year of high school - like Freshman Year's Greatest Hits, but do you have ANY IDEA how many hilarious and memorable songs happened between Fall of 1993 and Spring of 1997?! About eleventy million, that's how many. So many that I don't even care that I just completely dated myself by telling the entire internet when I graduated high school.

And, for the record, I am on our 10-year reunion committee. Once an apple polisher, always an apple polisher, I suppose. That's a story for another blog entry. But I digress.

I have had the unfortunate task of picking only the most upbeat, memorable songs from each year - I'm trying to keep it on two CDs, folks! It hasn't been easy. And for your entertainment and enjoyment, here is a list of all the songs that did not make the cut for The Official Reunion Girls-Gone-Wild Vacation CD. Two beers, and I'm drunk! Woot!

If I had a million dollars and forty more CD-Rs, I would have included these:

Freshman Year: 93-94
All That She Wants - Ace of Base
Mr. Wendal - Arrested Development
What is Love - Haddaway
Sweat - Inner Circle
Short Dick Man - 20 Fingers
Because The Night - 10,000 Maniacs

Sophomore Year: 94-95
If You Go - Jon Secada
Runaround - Blues Traveler
1st of the Month - Bone Thugz-n-Harmony

Junior Year: 95-96
In the House of Stone & Light - Martin Page
I Wish - Skee Lo
No Diggity - Blackstreet f. Dr. Dre
Change the World - Eric Clapton
Every Day is a Winding Road - Sheryl Crow
Killing Me Softly - The Fugees

Senior Year: 96-97
Don't Speak - No Doubt
Foolish Games - Jewel
The Freshmen - Verve Pipe
Return of the Mack - Mark Morrison
Ooh Aah - Gina G
1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
Bitch - Meredith Brooks

Infidelity: Pet Peeve No. 1
Monday, April 23, 2007
Stories like this one makes me nutso-ragealiciously angry. Granted, the discussion is a interesting one -- one that only begins to touch the tip of the iceberg where virtual relationships are concerned. But seriously? Emotional infidelity is still infidelity. Cheating is cheating...and it is not defined by the act of getting caught.

If something is virtual, does that mean it does not exist, and does not have real consequences?

Well Isn't My Face Red: A Race Update
I managed to run/walk the 5K and still (a) live to tell about it, and (b) finish it *just* under my preset time goal. Not super fast, but not horrendously bad. I'm contemplating running other races - but that's not to say I enjoyed it. First off, running outside is not nearly as easy as hitting the treadmill. Secondly, I'm not really motivated by the whole timing aspect - I really don't care if people beat me, or if I make a certain time. I have very few competitive bones in my body, so I couldn't even really make a mind game of it.

If any runners out there have suggestions, I'm all ears. Maybe from now on, I'll just use the elliptical.

Lessons from a Sweaty Toddler
Thursday, April 19, 2007
The year was 1980
The summer, oh so hot
I was no longer a baby
Instead a tiny tot

Who'd have thought that chubby girl
Would find this photo late one night
Scream with horror at her drooled on shirt
Then remember her scanner and scream in delight?

No one, that's who. It's Friday, so drool away! Pull up your drawstring shorts, stick out your belly, and smile big because the weekend is here! Have a good one, all.

5K Update
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
So the race is this saturday. As in, a few days from now. I could not feel less prepared.

I have the feeling that even though I've been halfheartedly training for it, another week of preparation would have been the ticket to meeting my time goal. I haven't run for fitness purposes in 8 years, and I certainly never imagined myself doing a 5K. The optimist in me says, "Just giving it a go is good enough," and the pessimist in me is screaming, "You're just going to embarass yourself, you fat, lazy slag." (Apparently my inner pessimist is angry and British)

This update is a bit belated, but here we go...

Mental Outlook for Race Day: Skeptical

Training surprise of the week: Being able to take a quick walk break, and actually feel physically ready to start running again

Training disappointment of the week: I still do not have thin ankles - I thought all runners developed thin ankles? WHERE ARE MY THIN ANKLES?! WTF?

Face color at end of most recent workout: Splotchy Eggplant

And the best part of all? I had an excuse to buy new shoes!

New shoes make everything better - even running.

Good News O' The Day
Okay, enough with all the deep, pensive seriousness.

The good news of the day is that I found 1000-thread count sheets on sale (online - Amazon) for $60. And they arrived yesterday, and they are fabulous.

Now if only I could manage to keep the dog out of the bed. Hmm...

What's another word for pain?
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I've been thinking a lot about yesterday's horrific, tragic events. I wanted to post something about life, loss, and grieving...but the whole situation is so unbelievably awful that I find myself at a loss for words.

I cannot seem to get over the irony of this situation. This may make me sound heartless, but what are 33 students compared to a marketplace full of Iraqi women and children? Or perhaps two towers full of innocent New Yorkers? Violence is everywhere - including all around the world, and it seems a bit strange that all the foreign governments are issuing statements of condolences. Is it just because we're America, and they are not? I don't think the White House releases a press statement everytime a suicide bomber hits a bustling, pedestrian area in Kabul - or when another wave of genocide sweeps across the Sudan.

Where are the detailed articles about the victims of needless violence in other countries? Where are the candlelight vigils for those people? Why aren't they just as important? Why isn't the blogging community up in arms about them? Are we, as bloggers, just emulating our own twisted, off-kilter American media?

As usual, there are a million answers for the questions I have bouncing around in my head. I cannot pretend to understand the depth of suffering and hurt that is present in/around Blacksburg, and in the homes of the families of each victim. My heart goes out to each and every one of the victims - including those victimized by the terror of witnessing the shootings, the parents frozen in horror, wondering whether or not their child survived, and the list goes on. I think this kind of occurrence forces us to consider what we think the value of a human life is - and apply that logic to our interpretation of all people, in all places.

Whoorl-ing Dervish
Saturday, April 14, 2007
One of my favorite blogs is Whoorl. She is a unique source of laughter, advice, thoughts, and observations about everyday life -- in a perspective that is so refreshingly different from my own. I won't describe her writing any further, only to say that once you start reading, you won't be able to stop.

Simply put, Whoorl is the Pringles of the blogging universe.

This morning, she started up a reverse-chain of questions, of which I decided that I absolutely HAD to be a part. It seems like one of those simple online activities that starts out small, and then blooms into something interesting and spectacular. Here are the five questions that she emailed to me for the answering - instructions for joining in on the fun will be at the bottom.

Whoorl's Questions for Jamie:

1. Would you rather live by the oceans, or mountains? Or neither?

If forced to choose between the two, I would (without hesitation) choose the mountains for their spectacular scenic possibilities and visual variety. I don't like salt water, hate the messiness of sand, and I sunburn easily - so no oceans for me. In reality, I'm not terribly fond of either - I like my boring, midwestern plains. freshwater lakes, and rolling hills. Oceans and mountains seem to represent the two extremes of geography, which are always accompanied by natural disasters like hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, avalanches, and bathing suit season. I'll take a beautiful field of wheat blowing in the wind over rolling waves of water ANY DAY.

2. Do you regularly apply mascara?

Hell yes. I am a redhead - this means that my eyelashes (along with most of my body hair) are VERY light - like fishing line. If I don't wear mascara, I look like a female impersonator of Gary Busey - not a good look, friends. I wear mascara every single day - always brown, never black. I gave up black when I quit professional cheerleading - it was too drastic on me. Current rotation of mascaras include: LuLu Beauty Lash Creme, Clinique's Naturally Glossy Mascara, Sue Devitt Waterproof Mascara, and Maybelline's Define-a-Lash.

3. What snack could you not live without?

This is an insanely difficult question to answer, as I consider myself an expert on all foods portable and bite-size. Out of a large pool of qualified finalists like granola, bite-size snickers, graham crackers, peanut butter straight from the jar, roasted almonds, microwave popcorn, and organic fruit leathers, I would have to declare Diet Coke as the snack to end all snacks. It's technically not a food, but that doesn't sway my devotion. Jamie without Diet Coke is like a desert without sand.

4. Are you left-handed, or right-handed?

I am right-handed, which I believe to be fortunate. Do you know how few office products are out there for lefties? I surround myself with left-handed folks in order to keep a healthy balance. It also looks as if my nephew is going to be left-handed. I'm an equal opportunity hand advocate.

5. What kind of cheese do you prefer on your burger?

Cheeseburgers are my favorite food of all time, especially when they are topped with Pepper Jack. If there is no PJ to be had, I will settle for Colby-Jack, Sharp Cheddar, or even good ol' American Cheese. I refuse to eat most pungent cheeses, including Swiss and Muenster and anything that crumbles.

If you have a blog and want to join in, just comment here with the words, "Interview me!" I will email you five questions, then you put the answers on YOUR blog and so on. Enjoy!

Big News
Friday, April 13, 2007
After months of yearning and creative product application, I am proud to announce that I have all of my hair pulled back in a ponytail. For the first time since mid-November, 2006. I could not be happier! My hair is coming back!

Sure, I look like a reject from the Romanian olympic gymnastics try-outs - what with ten bendy snappy barrettes holding my layers in place - but still...A PONYTAIL!

Woot woot!

I'm Talkin' to YOU, John Mayer
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Isn't it sort of a sign that's it is time to cut your hair, when you find yourself needing a headband? AND YOU'RE A MAN?!

What is it with men wearing headbands these days? Long hair is not sexy, long hair is just lazy.

That is all.

All's Well that Ends Well?
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Well, it's official. Larry Birkhead is officially the luckiest bastard on the face of the planet.

If I actually believed that his ridiculous dog & pony show about caring for an infant, all those crocodile tears, and letting paparazzi accompany him while shopping at baby stores was in any way sincere, I might be relieved to see this poor child go home to her father and a caring (if dysfunctional) family. But I think both of the men in question see the baby as a living, breathing paycheck.

It's just so depressing.

An Easter Tail
Sunday, April 08, 2007
So Easter '07 has come and gone. Children played, had spectacular tantrums, and then moved on.

A family thanked the Lord for all their blessings, then ate too much food with too many dressings.

At the new home of Dick and Sally - it seems a palace, with so much space that this city-dweller couldn't help feeling jealous.

The weather was wintry and unpleasant, it's true - but with sunshine and family we managed to make do.

The egg hunt was easy for our dress wearing girl, quite the Medusa with a head full of curls.

I hope that you all had wonderful weekends - with joy, love, family, chocolate, and friends.

Friday Photo Caption Contest
Friday, April 06, 2007
I found this disturbing postcard at our hotel in Zurich - I'm off today with tons to do, so chime in with your best caption.

The Accidental Chili
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
This morning, I took some ground beef out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Thinking to myself, "Dinner's taken care of, you responsible adult, you" I neglected to consider what I might actually put with it. I was too preoccupied with patting myself on the back. I don't know about YOU, but a pound of browned beef crumbles does not a delicious dinner make -- at least not for me.

After a quick pantry perusal, I realized that I was either (a) S.O.L., or (b) going to have pull something clever out of my you-know-what. Then, like a flash of culinary GENIUS, I accidentally created Jamie's really-good-even-though-it-sounds-disgusting-chili.

This is what passes for blogworthy excitement when one is single, sober, and lacking in fresh produce.

1 pack Chili Seasoning, leftover from a 2004 chili making binge
1 lb. ground beef, browned/drained
1 can, something-teen oz., Italian Seasoned Diced Tomatoes
1 can, Progresso Black Bean Soup w/Bacon, partially drained

Brown and drain beef. Put everything else in pan, along with a splash of water, I don't know how much. Heat until you feel like it's done, until it looks done, or until you get so hungry you can no longer wait for it to be "ready," whatever that means. Serve hot with cheese and onions, if ya got 'em. I live in the Midwest, so you'd better believe I keep shredded sharp cheddar on hand.

Do not serve with oyster crackers because you are foolishly on a low-carb diet.

For those of you gagging about the bacon thing - it actually added a surprisingly mellow smoky element to the chili. It was honestly really good! Who knew?!

Doc, who these days is constantly peeved by my cooking (i.e. not paying attention to his furry little face), waited around for something to drop - not out of love for me, but rather for food in general. Do you see how annoyed he looks? One bite of my chili would have wiped that scowl away. He got a savory garlic treat instead, because I am a huge sucker.

And, as it turns out, kind of clever in the kitchen.

Alice Bradley (of Finslippy fame) writes for AlphaMom under the name of "Wonderland." I find her to be an interesting writer - always wonderfully particular in her observations. She's a quirky one, that's for certain.

Recently, she wrote this piece, and I've been reading the comments every day since. There are so many interesting takes on the issue, and I don't think you have to be a parent, or a woman, to appreciate the dialogue.

I will concede, there are a few token boneheads writing asinine things, but for the most part it is a well-managed, peaceful dialogue. The most frightening thing to me is this: Philosophy, religion, and politics aside -- it's simply not appropriate to tell other people what to do with their body.

Laws are being artfully constructed RIGHT NOW by people who would:

assume that a handful of generally worded laws can adequately apply to, and govern, a host of human behaviors to lead to unwanted pregnancies, each of which is a unique and difficult situation,

willingly force a rape victim to bear the child of that violent union (and then deny her the ability to put that child up for adoption),

mandate a 16 year old to stare at the ultrasound image (and listen to the sonogram heartbeat) of her unborn child for HOURS before finalizing the decision to abort, and

do NOTHING about the ridiculous things that pass for "sexual education" in our school systems.

I like to think I'm supportive of life in all senses - including the life of each mother facing such an awful, heartbreaking decision. Does that make me pro-choice? Maybe, maybe not.

Monday, April 02, 2007
On the spectrum of spontaneity, I fall somewhere in the region of "completely and totally predictable." The only impulsive thing I do is shop. Which isn't really spontaneous because you can predict that I will make an impulse purchase just about every week or so. So am I impulse shopping, or simply executing a pattern? But, I digress.

I crave order, love routine, and enjoy knowing exactly what is going on everywhere at all times. This makes me a PRETTY FLEXIBLE gal to hang out with sometimes. So you can imagine my own shock (and horror!) when I found myself sitting at work last week, verbally commiting to run a 5K.

As in, a race. Well, technically, it's a 5K/10K Run/Walk Fundraiser. For those of you that know me personally, you can appreciate and understand how this decision is almost completely contrary to my everyday lifestyle. I hate running, and as a dancer, I've avoided it for years. I find it boring, difficult, and don't even want to think about what it does to your joints. But here I am, less physically fit (not to mention fatter) than ever, and drastic measures are in order.

Earlier this evening, I strapped on my new running shoes (Thanks to Jeff for his expert running shoe assistance) and hit the road. Since the race is only 3 weeks away, my only training goals are (a) not to die somewhere along the route, and (b) finish in less than 40 minutes. I know that may sound less than stellar, timewise, but it's realistic given how lazy I have been over the past 5 years.

Day One Training: 1.8 miles run/walk, city streets, varied inclines
Elapsed Time: 21 minutes

Small Victory: Passing Target and NOT GOING IN TO BUY SOMETHING. Gah. That may have been the toughest part. I can take some minor huffing and puffing, but I cannot resist cute, cheap shoes.

Small Surprise: My quads. Formerly the strongest part of my body (Dancers reading this will know what I mean when I say that I'm a jumper, not a turner), these bad boys really gave up on me in the form of feeling detached from my legs, and also massive buildups of lactic acid. Feel the burn, baby.

I'm prepared for being purple in the face (I'm one of those, sadly), looking slow, and being lapped by ladies with jogging strollers. I laugh in the face of embarassment! I'll be updating this blog with my progress every week or so, mostly so that you all hold me accountable for actually running the damn race.

Wish me luck!

Inspired by this recipe, I had some friends over yesterday for a casual potluck. Because I'm a twisted individual who must make a theme out of all social gatherings (it's my natural urge to plan, I tell you), I immediately titled the event "Garluck," and told everyone to bring a dish made with garlic. Since my friends like (a) garlic, and (b) eating, I figured it would work out perfectly.

I spent Saturday night making the soup - because I had to double the recipe, I knew I would need to make it ahead of time. I like to minimize the craziness of the actual event by being as prepared as possible, and after one 11th-hour trip to the grocery store for another thingy of chicken stock, the soup was made. (Well, technically Sean helped me peel cloves, and he cut the onions because dicing onions is so incredibly painful for me and my tear ducts, and my face, and he also helped me not to have a nervous breakdown about messing up the damn soup but enough with the parentheses already) And lo, the soup was so good. I will definitely make it again at some point.

Other dishes included: Kate K's Bruschetta Style pasta, Kate T's garlic & cream cheese dip, Sean's Skordalia, Doug's garlic eggplant/zucchini, the aforementioned soup, and we also threw together a garlic vinagrette and tossed it in a green salad. Honorable mention goes out to Jen and Jeff, who found and attempted a recipe for garlic chocolate chip cookies. Sadly, an issue with baking agents left them with a pan-shaped brick of cookie that was inedible...but they get an "A" for effort.

A casual, midmeal clove count indicated that we had used approximately 200 cloves of garlic, in total, to make all the dishes. Roughly 145 of those 200 were in the Skordalia and the soup.

We capped off the afternoon with some NASCAR, food comas, and an episode of Seinfeld. A good, garlicky time was had by all. Excuse me please, I need to go brush my teeth. Again.