Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saying Thanks to our Troops

This Thanksgiving, I am thinking about the men and women who have given so much to ensure that Americans like you and I have the freedom to live the life we want. I think about what it must be like to go to bed on a cot in a tent in the middle of a dusty desert thousands of miles from home, and it makes me realize just how much our service men and women sacrifice for us every day. Not just today, but for the past 200+ years. I live a good life thanks to our veterans and active service people.

If you want to send a soldier a card, here's a freebie for you: Let's Say Thanks in Support of our Troops.

In the meantime, enjoy your Thanksgiving meal! Jelly beat me to the turkey, so it looks like I'll be spending the day doing homework :)

"Whaddayamean that turkey in the fridge was for tomorrow?!"

Just kidding, of course—there was no turkey in my fridge, not even of the NutriSystem variety. I fully intended to spend the whole holiday weekend writing my term papers. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Note from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan

Yesterday my sister-in-law wrote:
Today was my first real (almost) day off. The new British radiologist arrived last night and with he and Ian on board I was finally free to have a real day off. I planned to start the day by sleeping in until at least 0900. This plan was foiled, however, by casualties arriving at 0730 and since I was the duty radiologist the prior evening I got the honor of being hauled out of bed. Oh well.

I found that holding the US machine was a little difficult since I hurt my left hand yesterday playing baseball like a girl. After the morning adventure I decided to get it x-rayed to see if there was a least a small fracture to explain all the pain. It turns out the the left ring finger was completely dislocated (I thought it felt a little funny). After a digital block of the finger (about as much fun as it sounds), I had many surgeons offering to relocate it. Why does this sound like fun to these guys? Anyway, it is a disgusting feeling to have a bone slide back into place and I have decided to cut the baseball career very short to avoid any future recurrence.

With my free afternoon I roamed all the adjacent small bases including Leatherneck, Bastion 2 and the Danish base. While trying to get a good picture of the front of the Leatherneck sign I encountered a returning convoy that by the looks of it had been sent to clear the roads of IEDs. The truck just coming into the picture has a trailer contraption on the front to detect the bombs. The danish coffee house serves free real brewed coffee all day and fresh sheet cake at 1500 daily. I hung out with some of the Brits from the hospital and discussed what a nice day yesterday was (just a couple gunshot wounds) and how this has come to refine the whole TGIF concept. I then wandered over to Bastion 2 where I discovered the most awesome coffee bar in the back of the minimart. Unfortunately their coffee machine was down so it was back to the instant coffee. Oh well, the atmosphere was worth it.

I intend to sleep in tomorrow (god willing) and back to a regular work day on Monday. Hoping to make it to the American Base for Thanksgiving. hope everyone has a great thanksgiving holiday! Love Jacqui

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turning Point for Jelly

My friend Rebecca from class came over Saturday so we could study our flash cards for our computer law class when, out of the blue, Jelly jumped up on the ottoman in front of me where Baby was sprawled out and started licking Baby's back!

I was in awe. That was a first for Jelly! My jaw dropped open as I exclaimed, "Oh my god!" I'm sure Rebecca didn't understand the significance of this friendly behavior of Jelly's—an event I'd awaited patiently for six long months.

The next day, I realized that I hadn't seen nor heard Jelly hiss at Baby in at least in a few days. Right now we are just past the 6-month mark since bringing Jelly home. It's as though a switch was flipped in her little heart and she suddenly opened up to Baby.

Man, this is good news. I'm so glad that Jelly is finally comfortable around Baby and has officially made our home hers. She's so cute. She is certainly the only cat I've ever met who comes running whenever I pull the foil top off the yogurt container so she can lick it. And she's the only cat I know who comes bounding toward me at the crunch of an apple or pear I'm eating. She insists on licking the core.

Not unlike me, Jelly is very food-oriented. (Uh, a nice euphemism for "has an eating disorder!") On Friday after I got home from a trip to Natures Nibbles with my friend Claudia, I was emptying the big bag of Innova Evo dry food into its plastic container when Jelly came over and stuck her face in it before I had a chance to put the lid on. She sat there and ate from the huge "bowl" as if taste-testing this new bag of food and giving her seal of approval. (We did get one bad batch earlier this year that neither of them would touch and I had to throw away.) Baby was much more restrained. She sniffed and walked off. She's the "thin" one of us girls.

Oh, and on Saturday, Jelly ate from the fresh strawberries that Rebecca had brought over. I'd never seen a cat eat fruit before! This cat is more and more like me . . . she'll eat just about anything.

I'm betting that maybe NutriSystem MREs are an exception to that, but knowing Jelly I could be way wrong.

Monday, November 09, 2009

"The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3"

After inadvertently coming across the filming of the remake of the 1974 Walter Mathau movie "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" while taking one of my long NYC walks last year, I couldn't wait for the movie to come out on DVD so I could watch it. To wet my appetite, I rented the original version from Netflix and watched it while I was still living in Brooklyn.

I enjoyed it—especially the very last scene, which was the sneeze scene that gave the bad guy away.

So last night I started watching the new version. First thing that ticked me off was the big RED "6" emblazoned on the 6 train. The Lexington Avenue line is GREEN, not red! The 4/5/6 trains are green. And the 1/2/3 trains that run on the 7th Avenue line are red. Duh! Any New Yorker knows that. Even a lot of tourists know that, because the 4/5/6 runs through Grand Central Terminal.

How could the director get the most basic of details wrong?! Are you kidding me? They filmed in New York City. They were on subway platforms, inside subway tunnels, up on elevated subway tracks, inside subway cars, and on the streets of Manhattan where there are subway signs every few blocks—green "6" signs if you're on the east side. Heck, several of the subway platform scenes cleary display the green "6" signs—juxtaposed to the tracks where a train with a big red illuminated 6 is approaching. Whattup wit' dat???

I didn't finish watching last night because I was too tired. Plus, the red 6 really bugged me. I mean, seriously. The other thing that annoyed me was all the cursing. I don't mind when movies use the occasional "f" word, but when they use it Tourette-style, it gets very old very quickly. I do love John Travolta (and wished I'd gotten a chance to see him on the bridge that day last year), but I don't like him when his character is cursing like a spoiled punk. Of course, the 70's version of the flick didn't suffer the same annoyance.

Ok, so I need to watch the rest of the movie. But I wanted to watch Sunday's episode of Mad Men first. And I'm glad I did. It was the best episode ever! It even beat out the lawn mower episode. Matthew Weiner is a genius. It still tickles me that I had an engaging conversation with him last year in a Madison Avenue antique book store, all the while never knowing who he was. That was a little over a year ago. I recall it fondly.

God I miss New York. I can't wait to graduate this Master's program so I can go back. Every time I watch the latest CSI:NY episode I just want to cry because I miss it sooooooo much.

Ok, so I'll watch the rest of the movie and let you know if it's worth it or not.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

"Yes Ma'am, Officer!"

The funniest thing happened on my way to last night's Halloween party. I was actually dressed in a costume, something I haven't done in at least 20, 25 years. I went to a fund-raiser party dressed as a police officer.

On my way, I had to stop at Whole Foods to grab wine and cookies to take with me. I had some fun with the cashier and the guys in line ahead of me. Then I still had some time to kill before the party, so I decided that while I had a car I should check my postal box at the UPS store in Old Town. I drove the few blocks to that location and parked my ZipCar on the street across from the UPS store.

There was a white van parked on the street right in front of the store. Between the store and the van there was one of the standard blue USPS mailboxes next to the sidewalk. The driver side door of the van was open, and a young man was standing outside it, about ready to take a swig from his water bottle.

As I was crossing in front of the van, I said to him (in a firm, authoritative cop voice), “Sir did you know that you’re parked illegally in front of a mailbox?” and as I said it, I keep walking toward the store, my fake night stick swinging at my side. The guy quickly gulped back from the water bottle that he'd raised to his lips, grabbing the steering wheel as he clambered into the van, explaining to me in his slightly panicked voice, “I’m moving it now!”

I wanted to burst out laughing but kept walking up onto the sidewalk. I did say say, “Just kidding!” but am not sure if the van driver heard me. The UPS store was closed, and as I turned around to go back to my car I saw that there were three adults on the other side of the street laughing their butts off! I couldn't hold it in.

The van guy was still trying to figure out what just happened when suddenly it dawned on him that it's Halloween and he'd just been duped. I was bent over laughing when I said to the people across the street, “That was a good one, wasn’t it?!” They all nodded in agreement. As I got into my car, the van driver put his arms up over his head in a WTF gesture saying out loud, “A mailbox?”

I laughed out loud all the way to the party! And no, for all you party poopers, my actions don't qualify as impersonating a police officer because I didn't identify myself as a member of law enforcement and because there's no such thing as parking "illegally" in front of a mailbox. Not to mention, female cops don't wear dresses and funny hats.