Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Non-Holiday Week

I know that it's a retailer's dream season this year - Thanksgiving was early, so there's an extra week of Holiday shopping time - but it's got me kind of discombobulated.

I feel like it should already be December. I feel like I'm running late for buying Christmas presents and baking cookies and sending cards. It's not making me excited to shop more, it's just making me feel kind of stressed out that I haven't already shopped more.

Of course, all of this is made even stranger by the fact that it's still November, and I already have my first batch of cookies baked. (There would have been a second batch, but I forgot to double the flour when I doubled the recipe and... long story short... I'm not sure what they turned out to be, but they're definitely not Christmas cookies.)

I've also got about 75% of my shopping done. Although, truth be told, that's pretty easy this year since Christopher and I are getting the same thing for a lot of my family, and I actually stumbled upon an idea for a gift for Christopher (which I obviously can't talk about, here).

We haven't decorated the house, yet, but I think that might happen this weekend. Which, when I looked at the calendar, I realized is only going to be December 1st. So I guess we're pretty much either on schedule or a little early.

So why am I feeling like I've missed something, already?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Splitting Hairs

When I lived in Baltimore, I had the *best* hair cutter person. (Sorry, I know that's a weird thing to call someone, but I don't feel like she was my "stylist" but she also definitely wasn't a "barber," and I'm not sure what to call her. So I'm going to try "hair cutter.")

She was great fun. I stumbled across her working in a mall salon, and I worked my haircuts around her schedule for probably at least 5 years. One of the times I took Christopher out to Baltimore to visit, we actually tracked her down at a different salon so I could get my hair cut.

She was brash and opinionated, and we would talk as much about her as we would about me. And, after about the second cut, there was never really any question about whether she might do something I wouldn't want. I'd walk in and she'd ask what we were doing that day, and if I didn't have a particular agenda, she'd just do whatever she wanted.

That's how I ended up with blond highlights one summer. It's also how my hair went from shaggy to preppy and back - but always looked great when she was done with me.

But, of course, I moved to the Twin Cities, and - in case you didn't realize it - airfare is a little too expensive to justify flying to Baltimore for a haircut every month or so. So I started trying to find a hair cutter out here. And, after nearly 7 years of searching, I did find someone last spring.

For the first time in pretty much ever, I got my hair cut by a guy. I've never really worried about who was cutting my hair. After all, I go to the places where you don't need an appointment and you kind of take what you can get. Which, I realize, is also why I don't always love my haircuts. But don't try to get all rational about an irrational subject.

Anyway... I went to get my hair cut and this guy was there and he was the one who got me, so we walked back to his chair and I thought he was going to be a little too frenetic for me. He was hyper - talking most of the time, as he did the entire cut with scissors and never touched his clippers. He just kind of ducked and dodged and snipped when the mood seemed right. When he was done, aside from feeling like I needed some time in a quiet room, I had a great haircut.

The next time I went back, I requested him, and he remembered me and made some suggestions and branched off a little from the previous cut, and I felt completely comfortable letting him take chances with my hair. And that was the first time since Baltimore that I felt that way.

I called in to check his schedule before my next haircut, and was informed that he had left the salon and gone back to school. And I was back at square one.

I told Christopher, tonight, that I don't hate my haircut. And he laughed at my choice of words and assured me that I look as cute as always (his words, I swear).

And, yet, what I wouldn't give for a cut from Karen out in Baltimore.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

'Tis the Season

I really wanted to start this posting with "I was at my ancestral home over the weekend..." which, though true, doesn't quite ring true since where I really was was my parents' house where I grew up.

But, anyway...

I was there to celebrate Thanksgiving, and - since I was there, anyway - to help start decorating for Christmas. We've never been an over-the-top decorating family, but the house lends itself very well to Christmas decor. And, since the whole family is descending upon the house next month during the Holidays, it seemed like a good idea to pull out some of the stops. 

I'm not going to get all misty-eyed about it. Or philosophical. Or even wistful. But I did want to show off one piece of my handiwork, just so you have an idea of how cool it looks. 

It's funny, though. When I pulled up the pictures, it seemed to lose a little in translation. So maybe the Grinch and the Whos down in Whoville have it all correct when they make us all realize that the real Christmas comes from the heart, and not from the greenery with the really cool bows (all of which looks oddly plasticky in the picture because of the flash). 

So, as we stumble through the crowds and the hustle and bustle of the next month, here's to finding your Holiday cheer - may it come to you with or without decorations and ribbons and bows. 

(But, if you happen to be around my parents' house in the next 6 weeks, it does look pretty cool in person - possibly because the home is where the heart is, and all that misty-eyed, philosophically wistful stuff.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Change of Seasons

When I left Minneapolis to drive to my parents' house, yesterday, it was about 60 degrees in Minneapolis. I had been packing my car without a coat on, so I almost forgot to pack a coat.

On the drive, the wind was ridiculously strong. Blowing from the WNW, according to the weather folks. Since I was driving mostly toward the wind (I was driving WSW), it was the bane of my shoulders - and of my gas mileage - the whole way home.

By the time I got home, the temp was about 35 degrees - in the middle of the afternoon with the sun out - and the wind was still blowing (which it continued to do all last night - so I got to fall asleep, and wake up, to rattling windows).

Today, we had a high of about 30 degrees, and I was very happy to have brought a coat home with me while I was out running errands with my mom.

Of course, one of my big reasons for coming home for the Thanksgiving weekend was to help my folks do some of the Christmas decorating, so that it's done long before the festivities begin. And I spent some time, today, doing just that.

So I guess it all makes sense. The house changed over from fall to winter just as the weather did the same thing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Milestone Monday

(Big apologies - Just found this post in my "Drafts" folder. Sorry for the delay in posting! My actual Wednesday post follows this one.)

Truth be told, the milestone in question was reached last week Thursday. That is when I posted my 900th (!) blog entry.

Today, then, is my 902nd blog entry, which is its own milestone, really, because I've also never written a 902nd blog entry.

My first entry, posted on August 25, 2008, was pretty short, but otherwise it was a lot like every other post I put up here. Focused on me, assuming someone was reading, but not sure what to write. (It's here, if you want to go back and look. I'll wait.)

My second entry, posted the next day, was all about the dilemma of going to a group interview for a possible job. I honestly didn't even remember what the interview was until I was reading through that post. I have to admit - hindsight is a wonderful thing - that I'm kind of glad that I blew that interview. And, to this day, I know exactly what I did to blow it.

The job was for a retail company, and I had to role-play helping a customer who had "two rambunctious kids who were playing on the shelving." And, well, if you know me you know that: a) I think role-playing in an interview is dorky; b) I think that people should wrangle their own kids when shopping and not rely on the already-overworked staff; and, c) when put in front of a crowd, I tend to work the room - which doesn't necessarily mean pandering to the interviewer's expectations. Let's just say that, four years later, I still remember my fellow interviewees laughing as I went through the spiel, and the interviewer looking at his clipboard and making notes. Oh, well.

So... Yeah... I couldn't have picked one of my posts from Europe, or Florida, or Canada to talk about. No discussions of John Barrowman or Angela Lansbury in New York. Not even any talk about getting published. No Friday Food, no Movie Monday, no Travel Tuesday. Not even a Tiz List. Instead, I had to pull up a blog post about a job interview. At least it was relatively memorable, once I thought about it.

Which, I guess, is kind of what I've hoped this whole blog would be.

Thanks to those of you who have been along for the entire ride. Welcome to those of you who are new. Glad those of you who came in in the middle have stuck around.

I don't know if this will continue for another 902 entries over another 4+ years, but I guess only time will tell.

Thanksgiving Eve

Maybe it's because I'm gearing up to drive 5.5 hours tomorrow, without even starting to pack.

Maybe it's the fact that we got off work 2.5 hours early today, much of which time I used to go out for an early Happy Hour with Christopher and a friend of ours.

Maybe it's because I love the pumpkin pie time of year - and the thought of eating it during a four-day weekend.

Whatever the reason, I'm really kind of excited that tonight is Thanksgiving Eve.

I won't run down a litany of things I'm thankful for, but I can tell you that I'll probably be running that list in my head on the drive to South Dakota, tomorrow.

Instead, I'm simply enjoying the fact that Christopher and I spent the evening watching "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" while snuggling on the couch with the pup (all under a massive afghan made by my mom).

Here's to one of the few holidays that doesn't really ask us to do anything except enjoy the world around us.

May your cornucopia runneth over.
Oh. And if you're one of the crazy people who goes out shopping on Black Friday PLEASE be kind to the salespeople. If you shop on Thanksgiving (please tell me you don't), be even more kind and more appreciative of those people who are losing part of their holiday just so you can enjoy conspicuous consumption on a day that's supposed to be all about giving thanks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Starry Saturday - Delayed John Barrowman

It's been two weeks since I got to "meet" John and Carole Barrowman and have them sign my books. Yes, I put "meet" in quotation marks because although there were people in the crowd I'm sure they'll remember - and while I'm sure everyone in the crowd will always remember them - it's not like we all sat down for dinner and a chat and exchanged vital (or at least contact) information.

The gathering of hundreds of fans started fairly early in the afternoon. By the time the group of us who were meeting up all joined forces we'd already seen the Victorian Lady Doctors (they're a group of women who dress as all of the Doctors from Dr. Who, but all kind of Victorian-y), we'd hung out by the fire pit outside the Red Balloon Bookshop, and we - or at least I - had realized that there were a LOT of people showing up at the book signing.

We eventually got pulled into the store, in order of when we had each purchased our books. I was somewhere in the late 100s. If I remember correctly my two books put me in place 189 and 190, or something like that. We all kind of paired up so that we would have someone to snap pictures while the other went through the line, but then found out that the shop had put someone on camera duty, as well. (They were really amazingly organized for the crazy big crowd.)

And I can already tell this is going to get quite long, but I have to share a couple of "stories from the line" (there will be pictures at the end, so it will be worth it):

I watched John (it seems odd to keep calling him "John Barrowman" over and over, so I'm going for the familiarity at least for this posting) sign a small girl's t-shirt. I watched him sign a probably-thirteen-year-old boy's coat collar - a coat much like that worn by Barrowman's character on Dr. Who/Torchwood - and imagined what it would have been like to be 13 and have that happen.

I watched John and Carole banter and cajole and charm every single person in that line, writing things like "Keep reading" and "Keep imagining" in every kid's book.

I watched the hugs and the smiles and the photos, and I fully admit that although I'd already thought that John was an interesting person, I was totally impressed by his "bookside" manner. I've read his autobiographical books, and I was kind of afraid there could be some diva action (which he kind of alludes to about himself in his books) - especially when they'd already been signing books for almost 2 hours by the time I got to the front of the line. But, then...

This kid - and by "kid" I mean someone who was probably in his early 20s - was about 10 people ahead of me in line. He was cute, not gorgeous, but cute - probably someone who was going to grow into his looks, if he could just get past the shy stages. And I watched him, trying to be all cool, kind of bouncing up to look over the bookshelves as he got closer. When he got to John, there was a short exchange which we couldn't hear, and the kid kind of leaned in to say something which, from body language, looked to be important. John flashed a million-watt smile and said, loudly, "Oh, please. I could tell that from all the way across the room."

I fully admit that I am assuming the conversation - I wasn't within earshot of the kid - but I am pretty certain that he had just come out to the Barrowmans. And the kid was kind of shocked and embarrassed, but John leaned forward and said something else we couldn't hear, followed by "I made you turn red. You're completely red. Turn around and show everyone how red you are!" (The kid did, with a sheepish grin.) And - remember, this was almost 2 hours into what was obviously a long day of promotions - they continued to have a conversation after that. I heard them talk about how great it is to have an older sister to take care of you (the kid's sister had brought him to the signing, and was standing to the side practically glowing). They smiled for the camera, they chatted a bit more, and then the kid moved on.

One of my friends caught this shot. It's not a great picture of John, but if I'm not mistaken, it was taken during the conversation with "the kid" (I seem to remember him having a dark coat and a scarf), and I like how you can tell he's really paying attention to what's going on. 
And I can't help but hope that the kid's self-esteem got a huge boost that night. That he learned, through the grace and cajoling of a chance meeting with John Barrowman, that he's got quite a life ahead of him if he learns to be true to himself.

My visit to the front of the line... Well... It wasn't quite so spectacular. Someone came up to ask them about their dinner plans just as I was at the table, so they were a bit distracted. Carole shook my hand when I told them I had all of the books they'd written (she commented on it when she saw the stack I handed her), and John very politely signed a card I asked them to sign for Christopher, since he was home sick.

I admit that I'd have loved to have gotten the flirtatious cajoling that the kid got, but twenty-some years on, I'm happy that we had a laugh over "gay signatures," instead. (Oddly, thinking on it now, I don't remember that many men in the crowd who seemed to be there for the Barrowmans in a non-Dr.-Who sort of way, which may have played in my favor.)

In short (finally, right?) they were charming, outrageous, and utterly surpassed expectations. And, yes, he is *so* much better looking in person than on TV - I suspect it's because there isn't "charisma-vision" so you lose a little something in translation.

And now, the photo-essay of the inauspicious meeting (the captions... well... they may have been a tad fabricated...):

getting closer, as he rolls up his sleeves to get to work

Book signing - serious business...
...or not.
Carole: You came from all the way back there? 
Staffer: When do you want dinner?
John: How many people are left in line?
Me: From the numbers I heard outside, there are at least 75 people behind me.
Carole: Are all of these yours?
Me: Yep. I own them all.
Carole: I need to shake your hand. (she did)
(I think this was about when she signed all of them to me - including the one that was supposed to stay without a listed name on it... Oh, well.)
John: What do you want me to do with this?
Me: Could you sign it for my partner who is home sick?
John: Oh, sure.
Me: That would be great. Thanks for wearing the "Vote NO" t-shirt, by the way.
Smiling for the camera, while no one else is looking up.
Actually, this may be when the second copy of "Hollow Earth" got inscribed to me.
I swear that I was not trying to shoot them with my fingers, and that she was not looking at me in shock. I think this was when John was handing Carole the card and she was asking about Christopher. As I was leaving, they both told me to tell him to get well soon.  
And, yeah... That's the whole story.

I hung around while all of the others in my group went through the line and snapped some more pictures, but none were that great. (I think my favorite, really, is the laughing one, above.)

Full disclosure: I haven't started reading the book, yet. But if you've been paying attention, you know that the past couple of weeks have been pretty crazy. I hope to get to it, soon - maybe over some of the upcoming holidays. I'll let you know how it is.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sharing a Secret

So, you know how it is when there's something that you do that you think is way cool in the moment, and so you throw your excitement into it, but then you think that maybe it's not? And you've already committed to it, so you can't back out, and it's going to happen and you can't stop it? And you're still excited, but it's more muted - like being excited for a good haircut. And, like a good haircut, you hope someone mentions it or even somehow asks about it, but you don't want to be the one to bring it up?

Then, somewhere along the way, you start to find yourself excited about it, again. Like really excited. But it kind of seems like the window of opportunity for being excited about it has passed you by, and you really can't tell anyone now. Like you should have either jumped up and down and screamed a while back, and since you didn't, now you're not allowed to even whisper.

And then that thing that is, once again, really pretty exciting, becomes a secret. You share it with a few people, but mostly you just keep it to yourself. It's a strange ball of warm fuzzies that you keep somewhere near your heart, possibly just behind your left lung, but inside your ribcage where it stays warm. (And... yeah... that metaphor just got a little strange.)


Some pictures for you of where Christopher and I were tonight with a couple of my cousins (whom we'll call KF and KM, since I didn't ask if I could name them, here).

I'm betting you'll be able to find out what the secret is, since you're all smart people. But, in case you're reading this when your caffeine level is drastically low, or something, I'll meet you after the pictures to explain.

The night's invitation:

The first time I saw the book (probably thanks to KF):

Signing a copy for the editor (who, I think, kind of hated me by the time she was done with me) (KF, again, I think?) (Yes, I chose to upload the one where I'm not biting my lower lip as I sign):

The signature (thanks to KF):

One of the two pieces I wrote which were accepted, this one hanging on the wall of the gallery next to its photograph (thanks to KM):

Me with the ironically camera-shy publisher (thanks to KM):

Okay, yeah. So that's the pictorial story of our evening. Did you figure out that I'm now a published author? No, there wasn't any pay beyond a free copy of the book (but it's a very nice hardcover with seriously gorgeous photos - and some decent writing, if I do say so myself - in it). And, no, it isn't going to sell a million copies and make all of us instant celebrities.

But... hot damn... I'm now a published author. How freakin' cool is that?
The Intimate Landscape exhibit runs tomorrow through Dec. 14th in the Gordon Parks Gallery of the Library and Learning Center at Metro State University (645 E 7th St, St. Paul). If you'd like a copy of Intimate Landscape, the book, you can order it at

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Seriously. What a week it has been. I mean, along with everything else, I even missed posting on here last night. Let me see if I can give you the Aftermathical bullet points:

Last Tuesday - The election. Emotional chaos on the day. Aftermath: Quite good, actually. Although all of the calls to secede are kind of stupidly extreme. I mean... Really? We all survived 8 years of Republicans in the White House, and I'm sure we'll all survive 8 years of Democrats in the White House. And, you know, if some of these states actually do secede, we might have a lot more years of Democrats in the White House.

Last Weekend - The filming. Seriously bizarre to be out of the house for most of two days knowing that about 20 people are doing Godknowswhat to the house and you can't know exactly what until later. Aftermath: Lots of good stories to tell. Nothing but positive tales and experiences. Not sure we'd jump at the chance to do it again (although we might), but we'd definitely work with/hang out with that group again.

Last Wednesday - The movie. Christopher got sneak preview tickets to see "Skyfall" last Wednesday, and in the midst of the week's tumult, we went and had a rather marvelous mid-week date night with a really good movie. Aftermath: We've been telling stories about going to the movie almost as much as telling stories about having the film crew around last weekend. If you're looking for a good fun action movie, definitely go to it. If you like Bond movies, that will help even more.

Last Tuesday and Last Weekend - The funeral. I'm not really sure I'm ready to talk about this in specific terms, yet. I will say it was a close - not immediate, but close, in HR-ish terms - family member, and my emotional state for the week was definitely altered by it. Aftermath: I've been looking at some things differently, lately. Looking at "ordinary" objects around the house with a different eye, as well as re-contemplating what I'm doing with my life. In mainly good, though not necessarily easy, ways.

The Barrowman Sighting I mentioned a while ago - It was great, but it was also right before the election. So the Aftermath of that - including pictures - is still on its way. Sorry. I hope to upload photos from that and some photos of our house as a film set as soon as I get a moment with me, my computer, my camera, and the right number of charged batteries and cables.

Hopefully we'll all make it through the aftermaths, and come out ahead.

Oh, and watch this space tomorrow - I might have a little something extra cool to share...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stepping Out of Another World

Our house no longer has random fake grapes in it. The afghan on the back of the couch is, once again, the one my mom made, instead of the mustard yellow one that was there for a couple of days. (Again, my apologies for "hiding" it in the side cabinet - if you're reading this, you know who I'm apologizing to...)

It was a relief, really, to walk back into the house this evening and see it all back the way it's supposed to look. The Snoopy print (purchased in Vegas a few years back) is back on the wall in the kitchen where a mustard-yellow phone had taken up temporary residence. The coasters are back where they belong, as are the runner on the coffee table, and Christopher's grandmother's clock. The fridge and the TiVo are plugged back in and the sheets hanging over the windows are gone.

In other words, our house's brush with the film industry is done.

We spent most of the day at our neighbor's house, running back to our house just a few times to wander through, take a few pictures, and help find a few extra props. And to try to stay out of the way - which is remarkably hard in a small house. Then, as they were wrapping up, we got to hang out at the aptly named wrap party.

Christopher got to talk electronic equipment. I got to talk editing (and blogging). We ate some pizza and drank some wine, and Aoife (whose presence was requested in the group wrap photo) finally got to collapse on the couch.

Contact info exchanged, we headed home to try to get back to our normal lives. Or at least to bed.

We'll worry about normal tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Food - Fake Fruit

This has been a very odd week. And, because you don't want to start a week out on a strange note and then have it taper off to nothing, I'm happy to say that the weekend promises to be a bit surreal, as well.

You see, Christopher and I agreed - a few weeks ago - to have our house used this weekend for the filming of a short independent film. (No, it's not a porn flick, even though I realize that it does sound a little like that.) (Really. We've seen the costumes. This is *so* not porn.)

The director did a walkthrough a couple weeks ago, and last Friday he brought in a few other people to look at the house again. I have to admit that, yes, it's kind of exciting that this is happening. I have to also admit that, yes, it was very weird to come home from work to find that about 25% of our house now looks like it was decorated by... well... I dunno who. I mean, it's straight out of the 70s at the moment, without being really 70s looking. And there are kids' paintings on the fridge. And our Ben Cohen calendar is gone, which is - frankly - quite depressing. (No. Really. This is Ben Cohen and his anti-bullying foundation - go look and you'll understand why it's odd not seeing the calendar on the side of the fridge.)

And, well, there are bowls of fake grapes all over the place.

Now, I fully admit that I lived through the 70s. I dealt with the Harvest Gold and the Avocado Green. And I know people who - to this day - still have fake fruit around the house.

But I don't believe I've ever seen just fake grapes everywhere. I seem to remember big footed bowls of mixed fruit. Always with pears or apples, and usually at least one banana. Not sure why, but there pretty much always was at least that one banana. Maybe it was because the designs needed something linear. (Yeah. Sure. We'll go with that.)

Our house currently has no fake banana. Also no fake pears or apples. But 2 bowls - and one really ugly pedestalled thing - filled with fake grapes. Not even convincing fake grapes, but the bad ugly ones.

I really don't know much about the film that's being done - except that it's taking place in our house and our backyard and someone else's garage workshop - but I do know that the grapes are going to have to act their hearts out for anyone to believe them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Can I Say?

I went to bed last night unsure what all was going on in the various elections.

I was mentally exhausted from the months of all of the campaigning.

I was physically exhausted because I had gotten up to see Christopher off to the polls (at 5:30) and then stayed up until he got home (at 11:30). (But... no... not even remotely as exhausted as Christopher was.)

I was hoping for the best and preparing myself for the worst.

I got up this morning and didn't really want to turn on the TV or the computer.

And then I saw it on the bottom of the screen. The news that Minnesota voters had defeated the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. (We'd also defeated the Voter ID amendment.)

I stared at the screen for probably 10 minutes, waiting for it to sink in.

The "Vote No" folks had a narrow margin, but it was a win nonetheless.

All I could think to do was say Thank You.

And thank you to all of you for reading my posts along the way and still coming back.

Here's to returning to life as "normal" sometime soon.

(Although... there will be a John Barrowman post in the near future. And that's not all that normal...)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Okay. Deep Breath, Everyone.

Twenty-four hours from now - or, well, maybe about thirty-six hours from now, since we have to factor in Hawaii, too - the voting will be pretty much done.

The 2012 election will be all over except for the counting. The godforsaken political hate ads will finally be off the air.

Regardless of who wins or loses; regardless of what happens with state amendments and statutes; regardless of what we want to have had happen, we're going to have to live with ourselves and each other after beginning on Wednesday.

We'll have to go back to actually speaking to each other. Civilly.

We'll have to try to rebuild some of the bridges we've burned during the past few months.

And, yes, we'll have to live with whatever decisions we've made in the voting booths.

With all of that in mind, and with the firm conviction that the most important thing about tomorrow is simply that we all go out and vote - regardless of who we're voting for - I offer you a few final thoughts on the subjects at hand:

It's hugely important to me that I ask people to vote in favor of love, civil rights, human rights, and voter rights. Because of that, I'm urging people to vote NO on both of the amendments on the MN State ballot tomorrow. If you're not sure how you want to vote on those, leave it blank. That will count as a "NO" vote, and it will mean that even if you're not completely sure about it all, you don't want to institutionalize hatred or discrimination. (Or - and I think I have these all right, but you'll want to verify if any of them applies to you - if you're in Maryland, vote Yes on 6; or Yes on 74 in Washington; or Yes on Question 1 in Maine.)

And remember when I wrote about wanting to be able to visit Christopher if he ever ends up in the hospital? Well, one of the presidential candidates is in favor of all kinds of families, and wants to celebrate diversity. While the Republicans have openly stated that they think my ability to visit Christopher in the hospital (or vice-versa - I just realized that I keep putting Christopher in the hospital in these discussions) is a "privilege," I'll be voting for Obama and Biden, who think that a right is a right - regardless of who is exercising it.

But, again, as much as I would love it if you voted the same way I plan to, my main hope is that we all take advantage of the inalienable right to simply vote.

And breathe. Breathing is also very important if we want to see what the outcome is on the other side of the election.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

John Barrowman Sighting - IN PERSON!

John Barrowman and his sister Carole E. Barrowman, are doing a very short (5 city) U.S. book signing tour for their new juvenile fantasy fiction book "Hollow Earth." 

And, yes, I was at the signing in St. Paul this evening. 

I chatted (very briefly) with them both. I got books signed. I watched them smile and schmooze with massive numbers of fans. I think I got my picture taken with them. 

And I have to say that it was a lot of fun. They're both very charismatic people, and... yes... I'm happy to say that he's better looking in person than on TV. 

I hope to have some pictures to post in the next day or so - friends of mine who were with me took some shots which I hope to get from them. 

In the meantime, I just want to say that it was quite fun and, if anything, made me like them even more. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Friendly Chat

Whatever happened to the friendly chat? (You know, as I was writing that, I realized that "The Friendly Chat" sounds like something out of either Dr. Suess or Edward Gorey.)

All over social media, as we get closer to next week's election, people have stopped chatting. No one is really even being social. There's no good-natured back-and-forth debate about the issues. There's really just a lot of "Either you agree with me or you have to leave" going on.

And when I say "chat" I'm not talking about Instant Messaging. I'm talking about having short, congenial, dialogues on a variety of subjects.

On TV and the radio (yes, I actually still listen to the radio), it seems that all of the pre-election ads are focused on attacks. No one wants to debate, they just want to sling mud and then pretend to be completely clean.

Don't get me wrong - this is happening on both sides of the political aisle. I'm getting to the point where I am ready to vote for whichever candidate does not have any ads on between now and next Tuesday.

But I digress.

Yesterday, I had dinner out with a friend of mine, and then came home and had a long phone conversation with another. And it was great.

Dinner seemed to be going really quickly - within about half an hour of being seated, we'd already pretty much finished - and then we started talking. Really talking. And the next time I looked at my watch another hour had passed.

The same kind of thing happened on the phone call. We started out kind of covering the small details, but soon we were talking about anything and everything, and over half an hour had passed.

In each situation we talked about family. We talked about work. We talked about Halloween. We even talked about politics. But we were friendly, and respectful of each other's opinions, and it was great.

Wouldn't it be nice if more people focused on discussion, instead of argument? Maybe then we could all talk, converse, debate, and - yes - even chat, again.