Sad Day in Gameville.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was half-watching Good Morning America. While I was putting my socks on, I happened to catch a commercial for Monopoly. When's the last time you saw one of those? I can't remember one for a long time...

But anyway, it was tragic. Truly a sad day in the world of board games. Why?


What the hell? The whole point of monopoly is the MONEY! But now you can buy it where each person gets a freaking DEBIT CARD! They're calling it "Monopoly Electronic Banking Edition."

Now, in my real life, I hardly ever use cash. So I get it that this edition is more current, more accurate to how money is handled in the world today. But here are some reasons I find this a really sad move on the part of Parker Brothers:

-Counting Monopoly money teaches you MATH. And math is important. I don't care if now every kid in kindegarten has a calculator, call me old school, but I believe every child should have to learn how to AT LEAST do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division without one. Monopoly used to be a great tool for this.

-When you're playing Monopoly and your side of the board is sitting up an inch off the table because of all the money you have stuffed under there, it's so much more obvious to your opponent that they're getting their butt kicked than if you just pass around the ATM machine and show him your balance on the screen. BO-RING!

-How are little kids going to play "store" anymore? I always set up stores on my back porch and we got the cash out of the Monopoly game to play with. I guess kids can use the ATM machine for this as well, but.... man, that just ain't right!

-Finally, what happens when little Tommy gets super pissed that little Suzy beat him so bad? When I was little, he would have taken the banker box and thrown that sucker in the air, cash flying all around... very dramatic, and sure to incite little Suzy to tears. Now what? He's gonna throw the ATM box and the debit cards? Definitely not the same drama... unless that ATM box whacks Suzy in the head, in which case Tommy's parents better hope they have some real cash for when Suzy's parents sue them for Tommy causing such trauma to their daughter.

Man, I miss the eighties.

Holy crap, did I just say that?!


And in the name of the Lollipop Guuuuuuiiiiiiilllllldddd....

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. I have basically been watching that movie at least once a year since I was born, and so I was absolutely THRILLED to see that, 70 years later, the Munchkins got their star on the Walk of Fame! 'Bout damn time!

Nevermind the fact that so many of these little wonders of film are still alive... actually, yes, let's mind that fact... how the heck old were they when this movie was made?! And is there something special about "munchkins" (yes, I know that's not the PC term, but we're talking Wizard of Oz so I'm calling them that) that allows them to have extraordinarily long life spans?

Who cares, they are my heroes this morning and I'm so proud of them! :-D


Christmas bells seem to be ringing early...

I don't know what it is. Maybe that my cousin Cassandra put up her Christmas tree with her son Spencer the first weekend in November. Maybe it's that my friend Krystyna got me to go Christmas shopping with her this past weekend and it's not even Thanksgiving. Maybe it's the commercial machine that started airing Christmas-themed commercials the day after Halloween. Whatever it is, I am ready for Christmas to be here SUPER EARLY this year.

I mean, seriously, I can't remember the last time I purchased more than one Christmas gift before Thanksgiving, and I have already purchased several and have a couple of ideas for other ones I'm buying soon! And I am itching something fierce to start decorating for the holidays, but I am determined to wait until at least this weekend, after Thanksgiving. This weekend I got some really cute votive candleholders that are going to go so well with my Christmas decor... is it some kind of rule that the older you get the more into holiday decorating you get? 'Cause that seems to be happening to me. Maybe it's just that I'm accumulating so much fun Christmas stuff... who knows.

Of course, getting the Christmas tree down is going to be an interesting experience. Last year Bryan decided it was going up in our attic. Only problem is, the access to our attic is just one of those hole in the ceiling deals, and our tree is one of those 9-ft tall pre-lit monsters. So he had to install a pulley system to get it up there. When I mentioned getting it down soon over the weekend, he groaned and reminded me that that "damned Christmas tree" is why he fell through the ceiling last spring installing the tv in our bathroom. (DAD: I am going to have to schedule you to come over to our house to help Bryan get the tree down, you free Sunday? :) )

Anyway, first and foremost is Turkey Day.... I've been craving Thanksgiving dinner for about a week and a half now. Bring it on!


68 degrees.

Why is it that when it's, let's say, late April, and you go outside after work and it is 68 degrees it feels blissfully warm, but when it is, let's say, mid-November and your thermostat in your house is set to 72 but you have an open floor plan house so it is only 68 degrees in your living room it feels miserably cold?

Don't worry, I don't expect an answer. I (basically) understand why. But it's annoying.

Back to the couch with blankets, warm husband and the trio of gossip mags I picked up at the grocery store this afternoon. :)


Mountain Getaway

Okay, so I decided to take a few minutes out of inordinately busy week at work to blog. I have been going 90 mph at work this week, and in the evenings I've been so sleepy I'm in bed by 9 at the latest, so I'm just now getting around to making time to tell you about our fun mountain getaway!

Bryan and I rented a log home with our friends Hailey and Jason in the mountains of VA, about 20 miles from Front Royal, for a long weekend retreat. Hailey found us a great place to stay, and miraculously, it was even BETTER than the pictures they sent us beforehand!

We arrived on Friday evening and had dinner and chilled. Saturday we headed down to Luray Caverns, and surprisingly Hailey was the only one of us who had ever been there. I expected it to be cold down there, but it wasn't. At all. I thought the caverns were awesome, and I'm glad I finally saw them!

Saturday evening we went out to dinner in a town not too far away (15 miles... that was close for where we were staying). The place was called the Hotel Strasburg, and it was decent... nothing to knock your socks off, but Hailey and I had a nice bottle of wine which made everything excellent. :) After dinner, it was back home for perhaps my favorite part of the trip: GAME NIGHT! Yes!! I love board games, and it's rare I get to play with anyone but Bryan. (And let's be honest, there aren't a lot of board games that are very exciting with just 2 people. Scrabble is our favorite...) We played Cranium and had some of the biggest laughs of the weekend, then played Taboo, then off to bed.

Sunday was the day we planned to go hiking. We first tried this "Bird and Wildlife Viewing Trail" that was really close to our place (maybe 3 miles?). Unfortunately there wasn't much of a hiking trail. What we did find was an old muddy road we thought might be used for hunters, but it was Sunday so we thought we'd be safe. We started our trek up this road and in just a few minutes came upon an old dilapidated bus that appeared to be painted in some psychedelic pattern. The premises immediately around this bus were roped off with some wire. And we were spooked. I think we all were a little worried some banjo-playing maniac was going to come out and chop all our heads off. So we went a little ways further, then decided to find a park with some more defined trails. :)

We ended up at a great little national park on the Shenandoah River. At the entrance to the trails were some campsites, complete with wagons for campers to tote their belongings to their site. I thought it would be fun to get in one and have Bryan pull me. Bryan thought it would be fun to pull me the whole way. And while I felt like a complete idiot when we passed a large family on the trail, I have to say getting a ride wasn't all that bad. :) I did get out to hike up Wildcat Ledge, a .4 mile trail that was basically straight up the side of a mountain. It was a nice view from the top, but... whew, am I out of shape!

Once we got almost back to the car, Bryan decided it was his turn to ride in the cart. I must say I did not like pulling as much as I liked riding.

Sunday evening we relaxed and hung out, played some cards, watched some TV and enjoyed our last hours at River Oak. I could tell Hailey and Jason were getting a little antsy to get home--this was their first time away from their daughter Grace for any length of time besides a few hours! They did great, though, and I think even managed to enjoy themselves a bit. :)

Monday, Hailey and Jason headed out pretty early, and Bryan and I decided we would try to get in one more tourist-y thing before heading home. Looking at the map, there wasn't a whole lot between there and home, but we finally settled on a stop at Montpelier, James Madison's home. I must say, I knew pretty much nothing about Madison besides that he was one of the early presidents, and I learned a lot while we were there. He was a very cool, very intelligent dude! :) They are currently renovating Montpelier, which passed through many hands since James Madison lived there, to its original state. I told Bryan that if I were a carpenter, that is totally the job I'd want to have. I mean, how cool is that to build something back to how it was for our fourth president, the Father of our Constitution? I dig it.

If you'd like to see more of the pictures from our trip, you can check them out here: http://picasaweb.google.com/uvaleg

And finally, home again, where I began a very busy week at work. I must say, I'm really looking forward to Saturday, even if this was just a four-day week!


Cheery Money.

Last night I made a relatively easy, crisp hundred dollar bill by spending a couple hours in a room with 12 other ladies talking about Cheerwine. Ever heard of it? It's a cherry-y soda made by the peeps at Coca-Cola, but I'm pretty sure it basically never makes it past the Virginia-North Carolina border. I partook of this cherry goodness as a teen on occasion, but honestly probably haven't seen it since the mid-nineties. It's decent... kind of like Dr. Pepper only cherry-ier. The thing I went to last night was a focus group for the beverage, basically I think they are trying to expand their market and they've got this idea of making it the go to beverage when you want to relax & unwind and have no stress. We hated to do it to them, but at the end when they started asking us what we thought of all these other sodas, we pretty much told them we're not switching from our regular cola of choice. Luckily they didn't care and they still gave us our $100 on the way out the door.

Some highlights of the evening:

-We had to fill out a survey when we came in, and the lady hands us a clipboard with the papers, a pencil and a pack of crayons. Yep, crayons. On page 2 we had to draw a picture that showed "what we want to feel like when drinking our favorite non-alcoholic beverage." And then we had to do show and tell, which I think was a little embarassing for us all, considering we pretty much all drew pictures worthy of 6th graders. No offense to any of the other ladies, mine was in that category too. (For the record, I drew a summer cookout scene... you know, you wanna feel happy, satisfied, relaxed, having fun... blah blah blah.)

-They are considering a sort of incentive program for drinking Cheerwine, kind of like Coke Rewards I guess. We got a list of potential "prizes" that included "free meat for the grill" ("meat" is just not an attractive word when it comes to being a prize) and "CheerRoma Therapy Candles." Ha! CheerRoma! We all thought gas cards would be the best and I think the dudes leading the focus group asked us about 100 times how gas cards related to the "relax & enjoy... no stress" mantra they were going for. DUH! Gas is expensive, which is stressful, so if the gas is free, one less stress!

-At the end, one guy gave us the name of a soda and we had to say what came to mind, then say what kind of person that soda would be were it human. See if you agree with what we came up with:
-Coke: Man in his 30s, drives a Honda Accord
-Pepsi: Woman in her 20's, drives a Mustang Convertible
-Sprite: Woman in her 30's, drives a mini-SUV
-Fresca: Woman in her 50's, drives a Lincoln Continental
-Mountain Dew: Boy in his teens, drives a BMX bike
-Dr. Pepper: Man in his 50's, drives a BMW


Wahoowa! And, Arrrgggg, Matey!

Well, Saturday was a very busy day for yours truly. And what a beautiful fall day to be so busy!

The day began with me hauling myself out of bed before 8am on a Saturday (say WHA?!). For a good cause, of course--spending the day with my dad at the UVA v. Wake Forest football game! I was excited to spend some daddy/daughter time with my dad, and of course to see my dear Wahoos take on a big ACC rival! Somehow our team has done super well this year, literally by the skin on their teeth. But I like it! My dad has had season tickets for the football games since I started school there 11 years ago (again, say WHA?!!), and I try to go at least once a year, but sometimes time slips away before I can find a game I can go to. Not this year! We made it up to Charlottesville a little early and had lunch at Durty Nelly's, where they certainly don't make an effort not to live up to their name. :) Then it was to the stadium for some intense football from the Cardiac Kids, aka Virginia Cavalier Football Team!

The 'Hoos were leading by one point and Wake Forest went to kick a field goal with 2 seconds left in the game. I held my head and prayed "Please, please, please, please" and couldn't watch, and then, miraculously, the kicker missed!!! We won! Of course, the boys had to kneel down and pray after that one!!

We headed home in a great mood, and made it back in time for me to make a quick trip to the Halloween store for some discount costumes so Bryan and I would have something to wear to the Halloween party we were going to that night. The party was chez Traci and Steven, a friend and former co-worker from my Arthritis Foundation days.

At the costume store, I wandered around until deciding that Bryan and I would be Pirate and Wench. And yes, I was dressed a little... provocatively, but hey, I'm still in my 20's, gotta milk it for all it's worth, right? :)
Here's me with the hostess, the pregnant Traci/Flava Flav. Isn't she a cute pregnant lady? :)
And Bryan and me with a couple friends from the Arthritis Foundation, Erica and Susan.
And finally, one last picture with the jack o' lanterns before we move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas!!