Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, My Little Elves!

It's double-shot of holiday fun today, y'all! Since I couldn't decide between Queen City Christmas and Must Be Santa for the final TGIF Video Holiday Spectacular (or whatever I called it), I'm giving you both.

Merry Christmas!

How awesome is this Jake Speed and the Freddies' song with all the little Cincinnati-isms in it? VERY. 'All I want this season is Graeter's ice-cream and a three-way with friends, if you know what I mean.' Yeah, I gotcha, Jake. And I'm totally down.

But wait, there's more... Bob Dylan released a Christmas CD and put out perhaps one of the most fun, rollicking videos I've seen lately. I can't believe I wasn't asked to be in it. Grrr! And don't even try to not fall in love with this crazy catchy song because you won't be able to do it.

Hope everyone gets lots of crap you don't need and maybe a few things you do.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You Are Here

I am waiting for something large... and possibly antlered.

Totally Unrelated Stories (Kinda) Held Together By Fate... or God or Luck or Science or Whatever

I've been making a lot of jokes lately about Christmas Miracles. The things we want for Christmas, the things we wish for. What it means and all that's wrapped up in beliefs and faith and fate.

You know, light thinking. How wonderful it would be to think that God had a part in things, right? Or that maybe not everything, but that some things happen for a reason.

Seems like some things happen and you're like, 'Damn, that just sucks,' no two ways about it. And other times you run into someone around a corner at a certain spot and next thing you know you're best friends or married or whatever and you're like, 'Wow. That was... something.'

There are and have been people in my life who I can't help but think they came along at exactly the right time. And there are things I've wished for that later I think, 'Whew, thank God you don't always get what you wish for.'

But then, sometimes you do. And it's exactly and truly what you need and what is most important.

So a friend of mine has finished her last bout of chemo and has a welcome, holiday respite before she hits radiation. She was most excited about being able to taste food again for Christmas. What's more, there are no signs of the tumors. But she wonders when they'll call and say, "oops, wrong results."

A Christmas miracle. A miracle of medicine. Blind luck. Who cares. I'll take it.

When someone asks me if I believe in fate or God or if things happen for a reason I always say something vague like, 'I'm not against the idea.' But in my head I totally don't believe it. You hope for the best, pray, wish on falling stars, whatever... but it's a roll of the dice.

Then you think about people just wanting to taste food for Christmas... or the love story I heard from my friend Natalie recently.

She and her now-husband dated for five years, broke-up, lived in separate states and had no contact. Two years later they reconnected at a Coldplay concert during the song Fix You, when he walked up to her, picked her up, spun her around and told her he was miserable without her. On the lawn. At Riverbend.

I know, awesome. So they were back together, 'let's do this,' happily ever after, right? Umm, no.

They didn't get back together (but he picked you up and spun you around at the Coldplay concert!) because she was dating a guy in Chicago (a doctor, no less) and she just wasn't "sure." So she went back to Chicago, months of silence followed and then she came home for Christmas and saw him again. Then finally - finally! - after all that, they started dating again.

It took ten years but last month they got married on a beach in Cabo. She walked down the aisle to Fix You.

Snif, snif. Is it is dusty in here?!

So I've been thinking about these little things that add up to big things as I make jokes about 'Christmas miracles.' For the last three nights I've been lying awake until 2 a.m. unable to fall asleep, and inevitably I start thinking about myself and the leaps of faith I've taken - jobs, relationships, school, life, all of it - and how I've managed to land on my feet all the better off for it, the whole time thinking, 'Nah, it wasn't fated. I made this happen.' And I think that's true.

But then sometimes, right when I'm about to fall asleep I think of all the things that snapped into place, all the small things that led to this and that and all the circumstances and moments that came together to form the patchwork of this sublime life and I think, "Holy crap, Daugherty, you better thank your lucky stars or God or something cause you sure as hell had no control over it and who'd have have thought you'd have it so good... certainly not you!"

Then I fall asleep and wake up totally skeptical again.

So, you know, the unbearable lightness of being and all that. Here's hoping for Christmas miracles for all of you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And That's Why We Are BFFs

A few weeks ago my darling Missy showed me her fabulous new convertible dress. I was dying, y'all. You can wear it like, 900 different ways, and we tried about 9 of them in her bedroom. It's like transformers for girls. It was then and there I knew I had to have one. In blue.

The following Monday I went to Kismet to make this fantastic dream dress mine... all mine! I tried it on, it looked fab (of course) and I tossed it onto the counter while telling the cute sales girl who works there, 'My friend has this dress and I had to have it.'

The sales clerk looked at me, paused and said, 'Oh my god, I think your friend just bought you this dress.'

Say what? Silence while I process what she's just said.

'Uhm, what? No, I don't think so.'

'I'm serious. I think your friend was just in here like, 30 minutes ago with her boyfriend. He's tall. She's got short blonde hair and is really cute.'

'Uhm, well yeah, she is... but...'

'She said you were adoring the dress at her house, and she said she didn't get you a birthday present so she was getting you this dress as a birthday/Christmas gift.'

'Hmm, this is true... But I think you're crazy, Cute Salesgirl. There is no way. Ring me up.'

'I don't want to ruin the surprise, but she got you the blue one because that's the color you said you wanted.'


So I stood there at the Kismet counter for about, ohhh 15 minutes, while I played out the possibility of all this in my head, all the while the sales girl was telling me she was absolutely certain it was my friend because, "She's really cute and fun." (Why yes, I am the kind of girl who rolls with really cute and fun girls... but still, how would she know that?!)

She was so positive in fact, that she convinced me to not buy the dress. Instead I put it on-hold figuring if she was wrong I could just get it after Christmas, hopefully. The one I had on the counter was the last blue one. The last one, people! This was serious. But, I rolled the dice.

Then I launched into full-on panic mode wondering what to get Missy for Christmas if she did, in fact, buy me this fabulous blue dream dress. I mean, what could even come close, right?

So guess what happened, you guys?

Last night Missy and I went to dinner and sitting at the bar next to her was a big giant box wrapped all pretty with a big ribbon around it. Please God, do me this one solid and let it be the blue dress.

And then, there it was. The most fabulous blue convertible dress in the world.

Indeed there is a Santa Claus, y'all, and she has short blonde hair, is hella funny and adorable, and has impeccable taste. When I opened the box she said, "You won't have to wear that same dress to weddings anymore!"

I adore her. Best. Christmas. Ever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Emmet Otter, You Decorated My Life

We had HBO when I was growing up, which meant we were rich. Or that my dad liked boxing. Either way. This meant I got to watch a lot of shows I definitely shouldn't have been watching (About Last Night, anyone?), but also really great kids shows like Fraggle Rock and Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.

It was a tradition for my mom and I to watch Emmet Otter together. Every year I'd hope that Emmet's mom, by some feat of Christmas magic, er, Hollywood editing, would win the talent contest to replace her washboard Emmet drilled a hole through and be able to unhock her dead otter husband's tools she had to sell for dress fabric.

(Christmas was sad for poor Otters who's dads died. Except... surviving Otter's win in the end when they're mash-up style song lands them a regular paying gig at the Bullfrog's restaurant. Woo hoo!)

A few years ago I got together with Ronson and some other folks to watch this magical Christmas story and spread its joy. Ronson shared a similar childhood watching it and being the true friends we are, we demanded other people love it as much as we did.

Except, we could hardly stop laughing when we watched it because everything looked so ridiculously... fake. In my hazy childhood memories it was perfection. As an adult I was stunned to so clearly see the strings attached to Emmet's arms. Emmet's not a real otter?! Say it ain't so!

Needless the say, the friends we were watching it with were not impressed. Phssht. Their HBO-less childhoods probably sucked anyway.

The highlight of watching the movie two decades later on DVD was the out-takes, so please enjoy the above video while I attempt to repair my childhood and rethink the meaning of Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

TGIF Grinches!

It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens... Word.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Sum: Movies I've Recently Watched and Mostly Liked

Aside from the four times I've watched Goodfellas on cable, I hadn't watched a movie in three months until last weekend.

Investing time in movies, not my strong suit. This is a harsh reality for My Dude, who loves movies. I love movies too... one's I've seen 20 times already.

But Friday night I agreed to hunker down and watch Away We Go.

Basically, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph (I forget their characters' names) are early 30-somethings who are about to have their first baby. Realizing they have no family or friendships tying them to where they live, they go in search of connections... a "family" of friends and siblings who might give them a sense of belonging as they raise their baby. A feeling of "home."

I like this idea. How do you decide where home is? Is it where your house is? Where your friends are? The city where you work? The town where you grew up? What feels like home?

So they wander around to various cities and friends' and relative's homes in search of kinship. On the way hilarity ensues, along with some poignant moments as well.

It's not the mostly deeply felt movie I've ever seen, but it made me laugh out loud a few times and I thought the ending was sweet if a bit sad. It was worth the 98 minutes of my time.

Husband and wife writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida wrote the screenplay, so, if you're into them it's worth a look-see. (And come on, who doesn't love Dave Eggers.)

I'm embarrassed (but not really, whatever) to admit I also made Adam watch The Notebook on tv recently. Whenever it was on I'd joke I was going to make him watch it, but never did, until a few weeks ago. Mwauhahahaha!

First off, I could watch Ryan Gosling all day long. Ditto for Rachel McAdams, though for less prurient reasons. So what if the movie is sappy and silly and based on a book by Nicholas Sparks. (God help me, what have I become.)

But come on, who doesn't want to think that love is meant to be and that "the one" is out there, writing you love letters and being all manly and refinishing hardwood floors for you while he waits.

It's sentimental tacky crap, as Barry, one of my all time favorite movies characters would say. And I was totally into it. Suck it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Spirit

Yesterday at Target I texted Adam, "Holy shizz I hate Christmas." And I meant it too. I hate trying to think of gifts for people for a certain day. It's inorganic and processed and unfun. Like New Years. (I'm bad with forced-upon holidays.)

But still, earlier this month I put up my three foot Christmas tree, hung some indoor-outdoor lights around my living room picture window and set out some red and white candles. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in my living room.

I might hate Christmas, but I love lights. Twinkly!

Then I went home and bought a bunch of crap on Amazon. Because Christmas shopping at stores might be utterly joyless, but Christmas shopping online while listening to music and eating gooey brownies is supremely fun. Ho Ho Ho!

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's TGIF Video Time!

Oh man this song is awesome. I will seriously sit in the car and wait for it end before I get out.

The funniest thing about this video is that George Michael is pretending to like women. Good one, George! Then he appears to give her not only his heart, but also a broach for Christmas. Umm, a broach? No wonder you got dumped dude.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gina Vs. The (Boss) Man

Last week my desk was full of drama and arguments between the Boss Man (the scientist one) and me over which version of Sunday Morning Coming Down is better, the Johnny Cash cover or the Kris Kristofferson version.

Clearly Johnny Cash runs away with it, but you can't tell people nothin'.

He'd storm into my aisle loudly criticizing my taste in music (which is ludicrous, I have phenomenal taste in music) and chiding that I was wrong and deaf. Then he had the nerve - the nerve, people! - to tell me I was "old" while he and the VP of finance celebrated this supposed burn by double-fist bumping. Have you ever seen two old white guys fist-bump? Talk about awkward.

I told the Boss Man that the Kris Kristopherson version sounds like something you'd hear on an adult contemporary radio station. Hey guess what you guys? Nothing excites anger quite like having a song you like identified with Warm 98.

Heads. Will. Roll. (And that head would be mine.)

We even dragged in passers-by to the dispute. Seeing us argue a colleague lamented, "Look at you guys fighting in front of us! What about us, the children?! Think of the Heart Institute!"

Friday as he was leaving the Boss Man said, "What's it like being smart but so dumb when it comes to music?"

Funny how our minds think alike.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

TGIF Countdown to Christmas

No matter how many Christmas songs play on hot rotation throughout this festive month, all but four of them are crap. Welcome to the first ever (and probably last) TGIF Video Countdown to Christmas Song Spectacular! Four Fridays = Four awesome Christmas videos. It's going to be epic. Let's get started!

Do They Know It's Christmas. Wow, now this catchy little ditty fed some people in Africa and produced the most hilariously depressing upbeat song EVER. Let's examine the lyrics, shall we?

There's a world outside your window, and it's a world of dread and fear (pop the champagne, y'all, it's about to get real... real depressing.)

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
(crap, tears are falling into my champagne.)

And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom (doom? I guess the clanging chimes of Judgment Day didn't rhyme as well.)

Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you (thank you God for making other people's lives suck, but not mine. Whew!)

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime (seems like the least of their problems with the clanging chimes of doom and all.)

The greatest gift they'll get this year is life (woo hoo, cheers to a sucky life!)

Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow
(except for, you know, that really big river, The Nile.)

Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
(the real question here folks is, Do they know it's TGIF Video Countdown to Christmas Song Spectacular?!)

TGIF my little elves! Come back next week to learn the what other '80s Christmas song rocks my mittens off.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

JC in the Hizzy

Sunday morning my dude and I were heading out for brunch. Now I can't help it, but pretty much every Sunday, especially when it's sunny, for some reason, I start to sing Sunday Morning Coming Down in my head. As we were backing the car out, I started saying the words.

Well I woke up Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head, that didn't hurt.

My dude looked at me, kinda expectantly. Yeah, he knows where I'm going with this!

And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more... (pause while I watched a car coming toward us)... for dessert.

He kinda laughed. I looked at him and said, Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and my cleanest dirty shirt.

Woo hoo, sing it with me!!

Again, smiles but no singing. It was devastatingly clear he had no clue what I was saying.

Had I not been dying for an egg and spinach croissant with roasted tomato sauce and bacon from my favorite brunch spot, Annabel's, I'd have totally gotten out of the car without another word, slammed the door and never spoke to him again. But as it was, I was hungry. And I needed coffee.

So I played the I'm-an-understanding-girlfriend, plus-you're-driving-me-to-brunch-so-maybe-we-can-just-let-this-one-over-sight slip-past, even-though-it's-HUGE-that-you-don't-know-this-song... who-are-you-anyway?!

You know, Johnny Cash, I said encouragingly, thinking it'd ring a bell... Sunday Morning Coming Down.

"I don't know Johnny Cash like you do," he said.

Pssht. You can say that again Jack.

Then we started talking about fried chicken, because, well... I was still singing the song.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Flexible Ruler

It's not everyday you find something as useful as a tape measure wedged in the spoiler of your car, but yesterday just so happened to be my lucky day.

It's brand new too. Still had the tape on it protecting the battery life. That's right, I said battery. This little baby is equipped with an LED light, so you can really see what those numbers are.

Is it normal when you see a tape measure in your rear view mirror to immediately think it's some sort of tracking device, disguised as a tape measure? So dumb, I thought. Like I wouldn't take it off my car and use it... Omg! Maybe it's a recording device. But that's stupid too because how well could it pick up sound in my tool drawer? Not very! Whoever left this is a terrible spy.

Then it dawned on me, it's probably just a tape measure. I'd be disappointed if tape measures weren't so handy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving eve my little sweet potatoes! The Boss Man (reluctantly) signed my PTO for Friday, which means four day weekend for this girl. Ow ow!

My crew is in town for the holiday, which means dancing the night away tonight. My wish this thanksgiving is that everyone could be so fortunate as to have their besties in town for boozing, dancing and showing off new shoes. Cause it really doesn't get any better than that.

Then over the river and through the woods tomorrow to Susie and Ray's for turkey and noodles. Can't wait!

To celebrate, please enjoy this massively addictive Kid Cudi song, Make Her Say. Because we all need a jam we dance to! (And the video is fun too.)

Count your blessings and pass the pumpkin pie on over this way!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who Feels Like A Crying Jag?

The old man, always in a plain black or white t-shirt.

Because I was raised by Ray Daugherty, who thinks of himself as a lone, austere cowboy in our little blue-collar neighborhood in Indiana, I wasn't allowed to cry.

If something was about to go down where I might want to cry - like, ohhh the time I had to have my broken ankle reset or the time I thought my cat had been murdered - he'd say or do something to the effect of, "Don't cry now. You're tough. Nothing you can't handle." Or, if he was the one making me cry, it was more to the effective of, "NOW GOD DAMNIT, DON'T YOU CRY!"

Obviously I was raised by a very sensitive man who is super in touch with his emotions.

In three decades I've seen him shed one tear, and that was at my great uncle's funeral. It stunned me so deeply I went into complete hysterics, convinced the whole damn world was coming to an end. I think I cried for about three hours after that.

Whenever I'd get injured as a teenager and would be bleeding or whatever, he'd minimize the event by holding up my bleeding hand and saying something really sweet like, "If I hold it up to the light I can almost see where it's cut!"

Real funny. He's grouchy and stubborn and difficult, but he's also very funny, protective and sweet. Probably like all dads, I imagine.

I'm remembering all this because earlier today my mom and I were talking on the phone and she told me she'd been feeling kind of low all day, which is unusual because my mom is a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of person.

"Well mom, you know we're not allowed to cry, right?"

"Yeah right," she laughed. "Did you know your dad used to cry every night when you were going through cancer treatment. Every night, Gina. He was a mess."

Wow. Now why after seven years she'd choose to tell me this, I have no idea. But man, talk about shattering your visions of your dad. I always thought he was the rock. (Apparently we are our own rocks.)

Not to let a one-up slip past me, and for all those years of him yelling at me to toughen up, and because that's just the way I was raised, I have her put my dad on the phone so I can rub it in a little.

"Hi Pap, yeah, I'm fine. Sooo, mom just told me you used to cry like a big baby when I was sick. Ha. What's up with that, tough guy."

So he says, "She said I cried? Ha. I never cried. I knew the whole time you were gonna be ok. You're a Daugherty, right?"

Then he paused for effect and added, "Besides, I'll punch you out, little girl."

Ahh, now there's the sweet ol' dad I know and love.

I would like to point out that in spite of his best efforts, I turned out human anyway.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Come On, Rogue

Holy Shiggity, y'all. Sarah Palin brought her special brand of crazy to Joseph Beth today. As with all things Palin, the likelihood of batshit insanity is certain. (I hope Levi showed up, shirtless.)

Plus Nordstrom's The Rack is opening tonight, which means lookout Rookwood, it's designer pant-suit pandemonium Friday!

Meanwhile, please enjoy this hilarious Thanksgiving related Palin video.

TGIF my little Rogues!

Coincidence? Probably. Or Maybe Not.

The last two times I've been in Florida I've been lucky enough to stumble upon the shuttle launches.

The first in was March, when I watched the Space Shuttle Discovery launch from my hotel balcony in St. Pete's Beach.

Then on Monday I watched Space Shuttle Atlantis rocket into the clouds from my hotel pool in Orlando. (Wait. Did I say pool? What I meant was from a window at the American Heart Association conference. I certainly was not at the pool. I mean, I'm so obviously not tan, there was no way I was at the pool.)

The launches are extraordinary, full of awe and wonder. And no less so is seeing everyone around you silent and staring into the sky. Everyone just... stops.

I was 100 miles closer to this launch than I was in March, but still about 50 miles away. I'm getting closer. They're aren't many left. I feel like I should actually "plan" a trip to watch one, to feel the thunderous noise and shaking. How fun that would be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Just back from a work trip to Florida, and look what I came home to... leaves the same hue as my couch pillows. The planets have aligned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's GO Time

I've decided to do the Jingle Bell Run this year. I did it a few years ago for my my sweet mama, who has Rheumatoid arthritis. I was pretty out of shape then, and I'd venture to guess I'm even more out of shape now.

Since my dude is all about making training calendars, I kindly asked him, in my sweetest voice possible, if he'd put me together a schedule.

"Yo, make me a Jingle Bell Run training calendar, will ya."

He gleefully agreed and began asking questions I wasn't quite prepared to answer, such as, "Can you run for five minutes?"

"God no. Why would I want to do that?" I said I as I popped some candy corn into my mouth.

"But you can run for 90 seconds, right?"

Good god. What does he want from me?

"Look buddy, I don't have to prove anything," I say. "I've already climbed my Everest, I survived cancer."

"Yeah. How long are you going to coast on that?"

Oooh. It's your funeral now, dude.

"I'm going to blog you said that and everyone is going to know what a douche canoe you are."

Haha. Douche canoe. Man that's hilarious.

"I'm going to name this training calendar 'Sack up, Daugherty.'"

Pause for effect so I can ask my next question real sweet sounding.

"You're going to do the race with me, right baby?"

"Of course."

"Good. I hope you fall down and I beat you."

"Ha. It'd be the only way you'd beat me."

Ooh burn. I don't say anything yet because I can't think of a comeback. Damn it.

"I'm done with your calendar. You're running three days a week. Don't be a candy ass about it."

"Oh yeah?! Well, don't be candy-ass when I push your ass down at the race and dust you!"

Hahahaha. Good one, Daugherty. Way to wait for it.

Then he ignored me, which really, really drives me crazy.

"Didn't you hear me?! I said, I'M GOING TO PUSH YOU DOWN AT THE RACE!"

More silence.


So, please join this happy little effort of ours on December 5. You know, if you like waking up early on Saturday mornings in the freezing December cold to run down the street.

And come on, who doesn't love that?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Party In The U.S.A. TGIF!

While we were all sitting on our asses on Sunday eating Chipotle and watching the NYC Marathon on the dvr (Ok, maybe that was just me), Meb Keflezighi was tearing. it. up.

The first American to win the New York City Marathon in... oh who cares, he won! Woo hoo!

2:09:15 - and look at the bling he got for it. Who knew Flavor Flav handed out the medals.

Congrats, Meb. You da man.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Journo-brawls Are Funny

Did you guys hear the one about the 68-year-old Washington Post Style editor letting one off on a staff writer, like straight-up punching him "right in his grill, like BLAM!"

Hahahaha! *wipes tears from eyes. But seriously folks... the Style desk? The Style desk. Really? So what you're saying is that your feature writin' ass just got dropped by the feature writin' editor, who's nearly 70... and a former Marine. *tears again. You can't write this shiggity.

I always did prefer my newsrooms Hemingway-esque, even though none of them were. (Though my first editor did go to detox after my third week. It was unrelated to me though. Probably.)

Anyway, happy retirement Henry Allen. No one will mistake you for going gently into that good night.

Oh yeah: Violence is wrong. I'm against it.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Certain Slant of Light

At exactly 6:16 p.m. on Monday, October 12, this angled ray of the setting sun filtered through the buildings of Clifton, into the Boss Man's conference room, through the very upper glass of the partition, past the potted tree, the printers and two more offices before it finally came to land in the row of empty desks just feet from where I sit.

A celestial occurrence this near to me is so rare that when I saw it, it stopped me in my tracks. (Not unlike a kitten getting stopped in a sunbeam.) So I did what I do, I took photos.

It was my very own office light sabre, for about seven minutes.

All this reminded me of course of the Emily Dickinson poem, "There's a certain slant of light."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

You Must Be My Lucky Star

I'm just back from a walk around the mean streets of Hyde Park where I noticed there are nearly as many fun sized candy wrappers on the ground as there are leaves.

Is it bad that I nearly picked up and ate an unopened fun sized pack of discarded Whoppers? I didn't think so either. The only thing that stopped me was that I stepped on it and squished them before I realized it wasn't empty. Sad.

Hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween! I dressed up as Madonna a-la Lucky Star, but really, in my head I am Madonna, so I'm not sure how much of a stretch it was for me.

My dance moves were super amazing too. I might have practiced in the living room before I left. Ok yeah, that did happen. Not that I didn't already know the moves, I just thought some polish was in order since I had the fingerless lace gloves on and everything.

Starlight, star bright. Yeah.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Because Nothing Says Happy Halloween Like Smokin' Smarties

When I was a kid parents worried about some crazy sliding a razor blade into our popcorn balls. Now they have to worry about kids "smokin' Smarties." I don't know, y'all, I'm no parent, but this looks kinda awesome to me.

I feel peer pressure to start doing it.

"You can let it roll out, or you can blow it out." Word.

Happy Halloween my little Pumpkins!

P.S. My Halloween costume this year is even more amazing than it was last year, and I didn't even think that was possible. God I can't wait for tomorrow!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Please enjoy this random photo of Jen and Pat, taken before Detroit stole them away from me.

When Jen and Patrick got engaged, I surprised Jen in Chicago so I could be there to celebrate. Because what's getting engaged if you have no one to clink glasses with and show off your ring to, right?

We ended up at a restaurant that night called Avec. It was probably Jen's idea because she knows cool stuff like that.

This weekend I was reading this article in Men's Health about Sam Kass, the White House chef who also tends the First Family's vegetable garden.

It turns out Kass was a cook at Avec. So that's pretty much like eating what the Obamas eat, right? Honestly, I don't remember much about the food at Avec, or even what I had, but I remember enjoying it and all of us passing our plates around.

The article also happens to be written by New York Times columnist, Mark Bittman, who I fell in love with a few years ago after reading his terrific cookbook, How To Cook Everything. (Note: I said 'read' the cookbook.)

Anyway, I probably wouldn't have remembered we went to Avec except we took this video I named 'Hot Avec Action,' because that's what Patrick says after violating the side of Jen's face. Eww.

Kinda fun all the great memories this little story on the White House kitchen brought back to me. To good food and friends... and speaking of good food, my dude plans to comfort-food the winter blues away. Dear Diary, Jackpot!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Take the Stairs, Munchkins!

The music can always be in your head.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Goodbye To All That

There is a good (and amusing) reason why this cake is not very enthusiastic. Or designed well. It's pretty much the best cake I've ever had. My dude is too good to me.

A weekend of birthday gifts and cakes and cupcakes and getting to see many of my favorite people and it's all over for another year. Thank god!

Friday, October 16, 2009

There Is Something Goin' On - TGIF!

This very special edition of TGIF Video goes to me, y'all. My bday is tomorrow and I'll be 100, so I deserve this!

When I was little I thought singers who did duets were married. So in my 9-year-old mind (you can do the math), Kenny and Dolly were totally a couple and they were madly in love. Imagine my shock and sadness when I later learned that not only were they not married, they weren't even a couple, were never a couple and they were just singing some random song.

What?! Dreams shattered that day folks.

Still, I love Kenny and Dolly, and I love this song. Earlier this year I found this Feist and Constantine's stripped down slow-jam version, and damn, it's almost better.

But this is my birthday, and I'll celebrate with Dolly and Kenny if want. Highlights:

• Oh Kenny, look how normal your face was back then. ( He's got something goin'on all right... and it's scary!)

• "We start and end as one, in love forever, we can ride it together." (Look how Dolly pretends to ride something. Ow!)

• "Too deep in love and we got no way out!" (Spoken like a true stalker. Love. It.)

• Dolly's little flub toward the end... she is human. (She's still a sweet little angel from heaven as far as I'm concerned, though.)

As Dolly and Kenny practically yell into their mics, this could be "the year for the real thang." Let's sail away, y'all.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Breakin' It Down at Paul Brown

Friday night was the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative's big gala at Paul Brown Stadium. We skipped the gala and went straight to the after party, and damn, ya'll, we got served.

Everything was cool at first. We were all chillin' and dancin' - and doing it well, I might add - when all of a sudden the band (which was awesome) suddenly started the Soul Train Line.

Oh. Snap.

I was out of my league. But you know who wasn't... my girl Mindi. (Of course.)

Just about the time everyone was back on the floor doing their dance, the band starts up on Single Ladies. Pa-Pow, the whole joint went crazy. And somehow half of them knew the exact moment when Beyonce gyrates to the floor (you know what move I'm talking about), and they all did it in time. Daaaamn.

What have I done with my life, is what I wondered at that exact moment. That could have been me. I should have studied Beyonce's video more. I should know these moves. Stupid!

It was after that that the floor cleared for the dude getting low in this photo, because he and another girl knew all the steps and they brought it like Beyonce was watching. (So this photo obviously isn't of him during Single Ladies, but it's all I had that turned out.)

So yeah, that happened.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Ooh la la!

Look for me at the club this weekend y'all, I'll be doing the the Tracy Morgan dance from Conan.

30 Rock premieres this Thursday.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I'm With The Band

The Western at Southgate House with the Shiv on guitar. The rest of his bandmates were there too, but I got this nice shot through a hole in a sidedoor, so to hell with the rest of 'em. I'm thinking album cover shot, no?

The Mighty at Northside Tavern. Rob on bass. Don't let the casualness of the photo fool you, Rob will make it rain. And Josh will totally smash his guitar on stage. (Ok I just made that up. But it'd be kinda awesome.)

I'm practically a groupie, y'all.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Welcome To the World, Isla

Remember the baby shower I threw a few months ago, well... here she is. Isn't she five pounds of the sweetest thing you've ever seen in your entire life? I was a natural holding her, so it's only a matter of time before Michele realizes I should be her go-to babysitter.

I mean at look at me. I'm a total pro. I put her binkie in her mouth for her when it fell out and was all, "I think she's hungry" when she started squirming. It's like I can read babies' minds.

Welcome to the world little, Isla. It's going to be so much fun.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Blackmail: It Ain't What It Used To Be

Man, my boy David Letterman has found himself in a trifflin' mess, huh?

Seems like back in the day when someone dropped the extortion bomb people were all, "Damn!" and forked over the money. Now they're like, "Get me the district attorney on the phone."

Not even blackmail is pure anymore.

All this reminded me of my alma maters second most-famous broadcaster, Boom Goes the Dynamite. It's an amusing trainwreck, kind of like Letterman's announcement last night.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Borderline Love Thing

It's possible I might be even more of a sicko than the sickos who get up at the crack of dawn to go running. Why? Because I don't get up at the crack of dawn to go running. Oh no. I get up at the crack of dawn to watch other people run.


Sunday morning I got up at 6 a.m. to see three months of training come to fruition when my dude ran the State-To-State Half Marathon.

He eats 13 mile runs for breakfast. I prefer glazed donuts.

He sacrifices sleep to get in a run. I sleep during his runs.

He creates and plans calendars for his training. I make fun of him.

But I was proud of him Sunday morning when he came screeching down the cobblestone in Oxford. I can spot the cadence of his footfalls a mile away, and I was snapping pictures long before he really came into view.

And I continued to snap pictures after he crossed the finish line, hunched over like he was going to throw up and looked at me all
confused and glassy before he finally went to his knees and sat in the street.

I've never seen him slowly collapse like that before... and it was awesome. (Of course made sure he was ok as I took photos. Sheesh, what kind of girlfriend do you think I am?)

"You ok?" Click, click click. "You gonna throw up?" Click, click. "For real, you don't look so good." Click, click.

He was totally fine.

While he ran 13.1 miles I downed 16 ounces of grande latté, and let me tell ya folks, it was no easy task. I was full by the halfway point, but I pushed through. As Adam was staring at the cobblestone in throw-up pose I empathized by telling him I wasn't feeling so hot myself. "Yeah dude, I just drank a latté and believe you me, stomach ache!"

As punishment he made me carry around an apple and a oatmeal cream pie for him post-race. "You're in charge of snack transportation," he said. Pssht. Like I can be fooled by a fancy title. (Ok fine, it totally worked.)

Anyway, I was hoping his jaunt might inspire me to put on my ol' running shoes again. No such luck. I love watching races but I kinda hate running. I guess you could call it a borderline love thing.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Party in the USA

Good news, y'all! I'm not getting evicted!

Ok, not that I was really going to get evicted, but I kinda thought there was a possibility of me getting evicted because the jerkwads I rent from left me a lease at my door last week saying, "If you don't sign this we will totally evict your ass. And your lard-ass cats, too."

But I was all, "Go ahead and try, beeyotches, because I'm totally gonna look up Ohio Revised Code 'cause I know the law absolutely tries to help people who don't own $1.2 million buildings, so in your face!"

Except... hold on a sec, y'all... the law is... not like that at all. Shit.

Then I sent a really nice email to the likely cute (I've never actually met her, but aren't they all) rental girl saying something to the effect of, "Hey, you seem like a mostly nice person... Why did you tell me my rent would be one thing but the lease says it's another, and that "another" is a helluvalot more than what you said? Not cool, sister."

So tonight I get home and there's another envelope at my door. Aww, shiiiiiit, I'm thinking, I'm getting evicted for reals now.

But then - surprise! - it's a new lease at the amount we had previously discussed with a letter saying, "My bad."

Ok, actually the letter was really too long for what it said and ol' girl needs an editor (kinda like I do for this blog post) but that's essentially what it said.

I. Will. Totally. Sign. In. My. Own. Blood. Cause. This. Girl. Ain't. Moving.

As Kanye would say, "I'm really happy for you rich bastards and I'mma let you finish... but let me give a shout to my boy Bob who can best summarize this sitch with his groove Dear Landlord ."

Party at my pad, y'all. Who's bringing the new Miley? (Don't hate, it's completely catchy and she drops Jay-Z and Britney. Boom.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Waaaay Back

So here's a little known fact about me: I've been writing to a penpal since the 6th grade.

People are always surprised to learn this.

We each filled out penpal requests in the Sunday paper and our names were randomly sent to each other. That was over 20 years ago.

Stunning, eh?

Last weekend when I went to visit Kari and Julie in New York I got the chance - for only the second time ever - to see Ee. How I got so lucky in such a random pool of kids wanting penpals I have no idea. Ee is quite possibly the kindest, sweetest person ever. Why she's continued to write me letters for 20 years I have no idea, but I'm forever grateful.

When I arrived in New York I already had plans to have brunch with Ee and her husband, Paul. Taking the L train to Union Square I was nervous to see her - it was only the second time, after all - but because I've known all these little slices of her life, I felt like I could have talked to her forever.

We brunched , stopped for a snack at Pinkberry (my first!), walked through a street "garage" sale and shared stories like old friends. Because, in many ways, we are. And because Ee and Paul are awesome they enthusiastically guided me all over their East Village neighborhood, through Washington Park, past NYU, into Greenwich and even answered personal questions about their lovely condo. (Sooo, how much did this baby cost?)

We chatted about how she and Paul got married in Times Square, about their "extremely casual" soccer team, the drunk NYU students she sees as an emergency room pediatrician (she calls their parents - ha!) and about her parents, who still live in the same house in Florida where she grew up, the one that I addressed countless letter to.

We're all caught up now after hours of chatting, but rest assured in a few months or so one of us will send a letter. And then another. And another.

Our letters are more infrequent now than they were when we were younger and wrote in colored ink pens and curly girlish handwriting, but we still hit the highlights of life's new jobs and loves and diversions. And I know whenever life reshapes itself it's time to write Ee another letter.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I've Only Just Now Recovered, And This Was A Week Ago

So I was in this club in the lower east side of Manhattan last Saturday night entrenched in a dance-off with my BFFs Kari and Julie against two dudes and a girl who was grinding on them and I thought, "I think I could live here."

Not at the bar. In the city.

Plus I was wearing this really fantastic necklace that Kari loaned me, and you can pretty much do and live where ever you want with jewelry like that.

So yeah, we owned the dance-off. Those fools got served.

Kari's been a New Yorker for a year now and Julie's been in Boston for a few months, and finally their hayseed, er... still fabulous Ohio friend (that'd be me) trekked it East to visit their respective new homes.

Of course Jules first stop for me in Boston would be the Italian neighborhood, because she knows I'd want to feast my eyes on the liquid brown eyes of the B-boys there, plus this girl is never against pasta and Chianti.

Her husband, Mike, had to do some serious Indy 500 + NASCAR style maneuvering to get us there, but put him behind the wheel of Volkswagen Bug and he can make it rain in Boston. (Which, in addition to the plentiful red wine, will make me have to pee really, really bad. Sorry guys!)

Jules also successfully navigated me through the New York subway system the rest of the weekend (she was for a while a New Yorker, after all), and she amiably took on the role of tour guide through all sorts of fun sights and neighborhoods. (JFitz for mayor!)

Kari lives in a neighborhood in Brooklyn not unlike Northside in terms of the folks who live there, read: hipster explosion. Best of all there is an old-school New York pizza joint practically in the back of her apartment (YES!), and the subway is just across the street... because when it's time for her and her besties to hit the town, we need easy access, folks.

Because she's awesome and knows people who know people, we got to skip the long club lines and get straight to the dance-off. And did I mention Kari was wearing boots - with heels! - during this subway hopping, lower east side dance-off spectacular? (SaTC II extra? I think so.)

But it was all the little things that are the most memorable - the three of us getting ready together, college style, in Kari's tiny Brooklyn bedroom; Julie and I having coffee and pastries at Union Square; Kari dropping the f-bomb on an unsuspecting NYC taxi thief (yeah, take that!); and the three of us brunching and having dinner together... Just like old times.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Remember, Dance Like No One is Watching

I have no idea who these kids are, but I so want to roll with them. If I had half the moves of the red headed one I'd own every Saturday night for the rest of my life. *booty slap.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yo, Google*


Do I really need everyone knowing I Googled the lyrics to One More Drink the new missile shield program?


*This was going to be a brilliant post about my trip to Boston and New York but I got totally side tracked. Send angry letters, attn: Google.

Friday, September 11, 2009

TGIF Pumpkins!

So, Obama came to Cincinnati a week or so ago and told this delightful story. You'll love it.

All right, Boss - I'm fired up, ready to go.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out

This morning, like every morning, I vowed when I finally dragged myself out of bed after hitting snooze 47 times that tonight I would go to bed early.

Early. Like, before midnight.

"For real this time," I thought. And I thought it sternly. Yes, damn it. I mean it.

I've thought this my whole life.

I am not biologically programmed to go to bed early or to get up early. I guess you could say "early" of any variety is not my thing.

There have been various attempts at change - for school, jobs, working out. (Hahaha. *wipes tears from eyes on the latter.) But staying up late and sleeping in is the template I am cut from. When god was passing out incredible awesomeness and owl-like circadian rhythms, I was right there. "Yo, god... a sprinkle of that night musk right here."

People who wake up early always think people who don't should, and they judge you for sleeping past 10. Yet people who stay up late don't judge those who go to bed at 10. Not cool early worms.

I remember when I was little my parents would put me to bed and I'd lie awake for hours, just kind of hanging out waiting to fall asleep. Eventually I'd get bored, sneak out of bed and crawl under the kitchen table, where I would then watch my parents watch tv in the living room.

(Man, I was a weird kid.)

But my dad is like me, so in the summertime, after my mom would go to bed, he'd take me outside and let me swing on the swingset in the dark while he sat on the picnic table and smoked cigarettes. I can see myself swinging under the starry Indiana sky like it was yesterday.

The first time I ever snuck out of my house I was about 10 or 11. It wasn't to do anything bad, like meet a boy (gasp!), it was because I was bored, it was forbidden and it was invitingly dark outside. So while my parents slept, I snaked myself down the steps and out the front door.

It was exhilarating. And in my feverish excitement, I danced underneath the street lamp beside our house.

Now, instead of doing interesting things like spy on people from under the kitchen table or dance like a maniac in the street, I read.

I know, booooring.

But in my head I am witness to what others aren't in these late hours. I'm in on everything. All the world is in its place and then, there are those few fleeting moments before I finally fade off when I think, "ahhh, I get it now," and everything is illuminated.

Then I wake up seven hours later and have to start all over again.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Weekend - A Photo Recap

The Blue Angel went to see Amber and Mike get married.

Oh, and I went too. (What? You think you've seen this dress before?)

Check out my view of the Labor Day fireworks. Pretty awesome, eh?

This evening I saw this baby. It was the real deal, the full-on arch, not the usual half-arch you see on other, lesser rainbows.

Also this weekend I bought a bunch of crap online (you're welcome, economy) and watched the movie Adventureland, which was sweet and melancholy all at the same time. You should watch it.

Oh yeah, sorry I forgot to post a TGIF video on Friday. My bad.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Farmer's Market Mishap Of '09

Saturday morning my dude set off for the Hyde Park Farmer's market to buy some bread he'd heard about that is supposedly so delicious you'll punch your mom in the face for it.

When I finally woke up I walked down to join him. (This is the part where I saw Stella parked on the side of the road without me having driven her there, and then I told her it would be fine and that that mean, mean boy would never love her I like do.)

Then I found Adam carrying my helmet and an Adidas gym bag with a large baggette sticking out of the top of it.

I'd never been to the Hyde Park Farmer's Market before. Sad, especially since it's mere blocks from me every Sunday between 9:30 and 1:30.

Tomatoes, green beans, red peppers, free range meats, farm fresh eggs... waffles with whipped cream and berries. Oh yeah.

I may have grown up in Marion, Indiana, but the closest I've ever really come to a farm was during an elementary school field trip, and I wouldn't unplug my nose OR milk the cow. No way, José.

But when I get around farmer's markets I lose it a little bit. So it was while Adam was waiting for a turkey and cheese crepe that I lost it.

I marched right up to some farmer and told him I wanted a dozen eggs and two chicken breasts. He gave me a dozen brown eggs (brown eggs?) and a frozen package of... chicken breasts?

I marched right back over to Adam and handed him the bag. "Uhm, these eggs are weird. And I think the chicken still has skin on it. Yuck. I'm not touching it." (Even though I won't touch uncooked chicken that doesn't have skin on it either.)

This evening I get home from work to find Adam working away in the kitchen. He gives me a look (you know the look) and says, "You make questionable decisions. I had to de-bone and skin that chicken."

"Oh yuck!" I replied, cautiously peaking into the kitchen for fear of seeing the carnage.

"Yeah, you're not allowed to buy anything else at the farmer's market without supervision."

That's what he thinks. You should have been here for dinner. That free-range, local chicken was delicious. I'm going to get two packages next week.

Oh, and the bread was good too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Only Thing Missing Was "The Chug"

One of my very best college pals, the singular Sandy Bressner, came to visit me Friday night. How terrific is it when you can not see someone for years at a time, but easily find yourselves right where you left off, laughing and chatting (and come on, let's face it) drinking.

Which explains why this photo would be cute, if I hadn't spilled half a beer onto my shirt.

No worries though, I "Photoshopped" it out for later photos like this one. Magic!

The visit was much like college in many ways. We watched some bands we didn't know, ended up at some burned-out bar, and I drank too much.

Just like old times.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


TGIT? Aww yeah, party people. Thursday is my Friday this week. Don't be jealous.

Instead, comfort yourself with this fantastic rendition of what's certainly '80s mall singing sensation Tiffany!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

There Are Four I've Loved

Me with my first car. (What? I can't hear you, my mall hair is in the way.)

I like to make the joke that my car is the only reliable thing I know. The only true constant. When I say we're leaving at 3, the Blue Angel is ready to leave at 3. If I'm 20 minutes late, she doesn't care, she's ready when I am.

That's the great thing about cars - they don't really complain a lot, they do the heavy lifting and if you're lucky, your car tells people something about you.

I mention this because I paid off the Blue Angel a few months ago. Wow, has it been five years?

I love cars. I know a lot about cars, older cars mostly. I can identify make and model, even the year on some of them. I can spot Ford truck 100 miles away (it was all my dad would drive for a long time) and I can hold my own on engine talk. (It's nice being a daughter to a mechanic sometimes.)

My first car was a 1978 Monte Carlo.

It had a V-8 305 engine in it (exactly what a 16-year-old needs), and it would smoke any dirthead in a V-6 Camaro who wanted to step to me. (Not that I ever did that, ok mom?) It was black and it awesome. (See photo.)

It also took most of my allowance to keep gas in it. Real smart of me to pick out a V-8 engine given a teenager's predilection for driving.

Still, I loved that car. My dad let me pick out and I knew I wanted it immediately. It cost $2,800. I was in to old cars and big engines, what?

The Monte Carlo also had this deafening exhaust leak. WHAT?! WHAT'D YOU SAY?! I THINK SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE MUFFLER! I'd scream to my friends.

God I was so cool in high school.

My second car was far more practical. A 1985 Ford Escort hatchback. Easy on gas and bucket seats. A college car. I loved that car, even though it left me stranded on the highway countless times because it would flood itself on trips over 10 miles. My dad chain-towed that car all over Indiana. Good times.

My last Honda, a 1994 Civic, didn't have air conditioning so for three years I roasted in the summers, covered in sweat and anger. It was brutal. But I loved that car too. It was the first car I bought on my own.

It was on a lot in Virginia and the Escort had stranded me for the last time, I decided. When I finally sold the Civic (Smuckers, I named it) I cried a bit when they drove it away. I like to think she misses me.

Now it's me and the Blue Angel. She's reliable, sporty... she has a sunroof! We'll be together 'til the wheels fall off and burn.

It's me and baby girl against the world.

Friday, August 21, 2009

You Know What Time It Is?!

It's time for the Health Care Town Hall snap!

Thanks Jon Stewart. (Call me. I love you.)

TGIF everybody!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Barney Frank's Town Hall Snaps
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Raining Women, Hallelujah

Like all other sane, normal women, I hate baby showers.

I like babies and pregnant women fine enough, but I hate sitting around on Sunday afternoons guessing baby food flavors and pretending it's funny when everyone over-estimates by a football field the size of the mother-to-be's belly.

It's just not my idea of a good time. Because, like I said, I am sane.

I've actually gotten more mellow about it with age, though. The last few showers I've been to were fun, and I was happy to be there chatting with people I don't get to talk to that much. If I have to draw a picture of what the baby might look like to catch up with an old friend, then so be it.

Full disclosure though: I was briefly infamous in my former workplace for busting out of a particularly endless shower "early" - it was going on 3 hours people, what do you want from me?! - and the mom-to-be had just then started opening presents.

Do you know how long that takes? FOR. EVER. I figured I put in my two-plus hours, and I bolted.

Several days later my boss called me into his office wanting to know if "everything is ok" because several colleagues had reported back to him (god knows why) that I was acting strangely at a baby shower.

"No, I'm fine... It's just that it was already three hours long and everyone is being polite and all and so the soon-to-be-mom always slowly unwraps things - instead of really tearing into it like you're supposed to with presents - and then she holds each thing up, item by item and passes it around while everyone 'oohs' and 'ahhhs' over pacifiers and breast pads.

And that's not even the half of it. There's the games, Oh god the games!"

I think he caught my drift.

But like I said, I'm more amenable now, more able to embrace such things. Plus I like finger foods.

Ok get on with it here, Daugherty. Deep breath. Deep breath.

All right here goes... In a stunning twist of fate, I, Gina Daugherty, am throwing a baby shower... Complete with baby food and belly size guessing games.

But wait, there's more! Not only am a hosting it, I volunteered. And not just volunteered, I insisted.

There were many good reasons for this I won't get in to, but I will say that so far I've enjoyed buying invitations and cute plates and all kinds of stuff for little gift bags for everyone. I'm even excited about tying balloons to the front of the apartment building this weekend.

I feel like they announce, "Hey someone is having a baby!" and "Someone else is a party planner extraordinaire!"

I might hate baby showers, but I love to entertain, y'all.

Still, I promise all you women who might be coming to this magical event that it will last 2 hours and not a minute longer. Because once the clock strikes 4 p.m. on Sunday I will seriously kick your asses out. For which I know you will be grateful and silently thank me.

And do drop in for a piece of cake if you're in the neighborhood. It's gonna be NASCAR themed and I ordered a whole bunch of it. (Jk. Or am I?)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Now With More Sprinkles!

OmgHelmetSundae is back, and it's got the scoop (with sprinkles) on Brandon Phillips bobblehead night.

We had great seats thanks to Reds ticket guru Lance, who is always clutch no matter badly the Reds blow it. (Thanks Lance!)

A few days of radio silence from me as I'm off to visit the Daugherty Farm for my dad's bday. Maybe I'll post a picture or two on my photo blog while I'm away. (Did you guys know I started an iPhone photo blog? No? Eh, it's just as well, it's not that interesting.)

And I'm off!

Friday, August 14, 2009

TGIF! A BDay Shout Out To My Dad

My sweet old dad turns 70 years old today.

Damn. 70. Doesn't hardly seem right.

I wanted to post Johnny Cash singing Five Feet High And Rising for him but I didn't like quality of any of them on YouTube. It's a fitting happy birthday song though.

Johnny's cadence and story-telling on that one reminds me of him, and whenever my dad sings it he follows it up with, "Papa didn't like to talk much, huh?" Which always makes me smile.

But instead I'm post George Jones singing He Stopped Loving Her Today.

I grew up listening to my dad piddle around the house singing this song, and then hearing my mom huff, "Good Lord, Ray, stop singing that sad old song."

As soon as she'd complain my dad would would look at her and say, "You know, she came to see him one last time." Then he'd laugh at how he was torturing her.

I'll go home this weekend and we'll sing it together and wait for mom to cut us off. Happy birthday, Pap.

Give It Up For Basic Research

The scientist who discovered the chemotherapy drug that certainly helped save my life died today.

Barnett Rosenberg was 82. In the 1960s he serendipitously discovered cisplatin, which has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

I'd never heard the name Barnett Rosenberg until I saw his obit.

It'd be near impossible as a chemist, a scientist, a human, to wrap your mind around the fact that what you discovered has and will save untold numbers of lives. People you will never meet are alive and attending family picnics and driving cars and swinging their kids around because of your discovery. You could never know the immensity of your impact. (It's good thing I am in no danger of curing anything; this would keep me up at night.)

This week I was interviewing one of the cardiologists at work and he told me the reason he likes academic medicine and research is because his studies get published and can then be used and built upon by others.

In this way his work is greater than just the handful of patients he can see each day; it has an impact on kids now and in the future that he will never see. (He said this far more eloquently than I am, but you get the idea.)

Which takes me back to Barnett Rosenberg and this article I found. Skip to the third graph... it starts talking about Barnett and how he wasn't even trying to cure cancer, he wasn't even working on cancer and, in fact, he wasn't even working on human disease.

How's that for a life less ordinary.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Normal, Y'All

Well, so to speak.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Monument to My Failure

There it is. You see it? My nemesis.

Consider it seriously on, Rope. You got that? ON.

For the first time in months I went to the gym last week. Out of curiosity I asked the check-in girl when was the last time I was there.

She seemed to tap endlessly on her computer and after an interminable amount of time (I told my dude the computer probably doesn't go back that far) she told me I was last there May 1.

Huh. I thought it had been longer. (Score one for me.)

That's when Adam reminded me, "Don't you remember that two days before the Pig you decided it was 'time to start getting serious about training' and came to the gym?"

Oh right. I do remember that. I also remember walking for about a mile on the treadmill and figuring I could easily walk another 6 for the Pig. (And I was right!)

I digress. Back to my nemesis.

When we got upstairs I saw this rope.

Aww yeah! I thought. This is gonna be awesome.

Up until that moment I had thought of ropes snaking up to gym ceilings as my friends. In school I was the only girl who could climb the rope to the ceiling.

I remember the night at dinner in elementary school when I learned how to do it. I was telling my mom and dad that we were supposed to climb the rope in gym class, and I was irritated I couldn't climb it.

"The trick," my dad told me, "is to wrap your legs around it. Get it in between your knees or your calves, and use your legs to push you up, instead of trying to pull your way."

I practiced in my head at night. By the next gym class I was climbing to the ceiling like I was born to do it.

I tried this last week at the gym and failed miserably. As I dangled there on the rope I told Adam how annoyed I was.

"Well, you're not 40 pounds and in the fourth grade anymore," he said.

"True. But I could also climb it in high school, and I didn't weigh 40 pounds then either," I said, still dangling.

Then this happened: Adam hopped on the rope and without even so much as a grunt easily pulled himself straight to the top, hand-over-hand, like Spidey.

"I hope you get rope splinters in your hands," I said as he slid down.

So I tried it again. Honestly, I was a little self-conscious dangling there, wondering if the other seven people in the gym on this Sunday afternoon were watching me swing around on this stupid rope.

We were kind of making a scene. (Everyone else was wisely ignoring the rope.)

"Hold the bottom," I commanded Adam, thinking I could get some leverage from the stability.

But no. For the life of me I couldn't get it firmly enough between my feet to push off of it.

Rope - 1
Gina - 0

Immediately I decided that by the end of the summer I would climb that damn rope if it killed me. So I set out for the assisted pull-up machine to increase my upper body strength.

Big mistake.

For a week I couldn't raise my arms above my head. No joke. A week. ("Maybe I overdid it a bit," I'd groan while trying to pull my shirt on.)

That was a week ago and I haven't been back since.

But don't think I've forgotten, Rope. Don't think for one second I've forgotten. Plus, Adam won't let me. Tonight he said, "That rope is a monument to your failure."

Just wait until I can move my arms again. He's going to be seriously sorry.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

How I Spent My Weekend

Sad news for Stella - I've met a new soulmate. Its name is Sea Doo, and it was endless fun this weekend.

I had this little dream machine up to 65. I was flying, y'all.

I was trying to see if it'd actually go 70, as the speedometer suggests, but once I hit 65 it was literally about to bounce me off into the Ohio.

I was holding on for dear life. God it was fun.

As proof it's finally summer I have the outline of a life-jacket sunburned into my back and arms. Too bad it's almost over. *Cue the deep depression!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Kickin' Old School

Work it, y'all.