Our Second President

photo courtesy of HBO(c) Films.

I am currently enjoying watching a new series on HBO called “John Adams.” It is all about … you guessed it! John Adams. I love history so this series is right up my alley. I know so little about our second president and independence-fighter, I am embarrassed to say, I am learning a lot from this series.

For example, did you know John Adams lived in France for most of his kids’ lives and missed out on their childhood because he was doing his duty for our country – negotiating treaties and trying to get money so that America could get on its feet after winning independence from Britain? Fascinating. I was also amazed to learn that John Adams should have been our First President but politics, as usual, got in the way of the electoral college voting him in. They chose Washington because they did not want to offend a General who had just won the war against Britain. Interesting.

I also did not know about his family- I am most taken with Abigail Adams who, while a woman during that time and not possessing many rights, did so much for her family and our country. After all, she was Adams’ closest and most trusted advisor. She had a knack for politics and the art of diplomacy that if she were alive today, she would be great on any party ticket. She would definitely have my vote! At a time when smallpox was rampant and was killing many, she had her children immunized. It was a painful procedure but she thought the alternative was even more painful. While her husband was away in another country, she did all of this and ran a home without him. She and her kids even supported the war effort by tending to the sick and wounded and making artillery and bullets.

All in all, I am very impressed with the series and how it depicts the Presidents- Jefferson is in it. I had no idea Martha Jefferson had died so young. Jefferson lost a child and his wife in the same year – tragic! I knew they had died but did not know it was the same year. He drew up plans for a new and improved estate – Monticello- when he returned from France. He was our first Secretary of State. I have been to Monticello and Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home) so I found it interesting to see them in living color. I have not visited the Adams home but it is an NPS National Historic Site so I hope to visit someday and then I will have seen the homes of the first six presidents! Whoops- I forgot about his son, John Quincy. I hope the rest of the series is as good as they say it will be.

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Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

Gone are the days of stopping and asking for directions. These days there is GPS. I remember when GPS was something only the military had a hold of. Now, because of satellites, every Tom, Dick and Harry can own a GPS and find their own way around. Gone are the days of stopping and asking some yahoo for directions. So simple to use, even a child can use it. For my birthday, I got a Garmin and while it is not the jazziest model, I really think it will be useful when we go to new cities and travel within the city of Denver itself. I have not occasion to try it yet as my commute is very familiar and local but soon, I will try it out.

It is amazing how much technology has evolved since we were children- I remember having to help my dad read a road map on our cross country travels. I could never quite fold it back right and this would be troubling to my father. Of course, I still can’t fold a map back right – that is why I get map books. No folding required. I am looking forward to trying out the Garmin on a road trip I am taking next week for work to Cheyenne, Wyoming. It outta be interesting to see how it operates as I cross state lines.

My feelings toward GPS directional systems are mixed- on the one hand, I do not want to be so dependent on these things that I do not teach my daughter how to open a map and learn how to read one. On the other hand, it is convenient especially when I am lost in Washington, D.C., driving around aimlessly hoping for the best. It is scary driving in big cities when your safety is at issue as well. With gas reaching $4.00 a gallon, it is better to have pinpoint directions and get to your destination with as little mileage expended as possible. For example, this morning, I took the recommended Garmin route to the office and the mileage was significantly less. Since it was Friday, the traffic was light too so I got there in the same amount of time it takes me to take the longer but “faster” highway route. All in all, I am excited about this purchase and will take it with me when I travel so the next time I feel the need to stop and ask for directions, I won’t need to do either. I can pull out the Garmin, plug it in, and just Go!

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High Pressure Nails?

I rarely visit those asian salons called “NAILS” or “NAILS FOR YOU” and the like. I prefer to do my pedicures and manicures at home but lately, I long for time so I can do my nails. My daughter would love nothing more than to take my clippers, my nail file, and eat the nail polish remover. So, I opt to not do nails at home any longer. So, I went at my lunch break to get a pedicure at a reasonably priced place but after the experience, I remember why I do not go to these places.

It was a typical nail place, asian-owned and operated. Even the 12-year old child who should have been in school was there practicing nail art. The people are very nice but this is how my trip went down. First, I was greeted by a lady and showed the way to the pedicure chair where the hot bath water is for my feet and the chair “massages” your back. In this case, I felt like a ball of dough as the chair kneaded my back and it genuinely hurt. The first lady asks, “what would you like today?” My response was, “just a pedicure, thanks.” She retorts, “No manicure?” As she grabs my hands and looks down at them with a disapproving frown, “Are you sure no manicure – you need manicure!” (insert appropriate accent here) I replied, “just a pedicure, thanks.” The high pressure sales pitch continued, as she looked at my face, “You want eyebrow wax? You need eyebrow wax!” I replied again, “just a pedicure, thanks.” If things were not awkward enough as it was, she proceeded to make small talk. “First time here?” I replied “no”. She quickly responded, “Oh, long time then.”

This lady left and went over to the school-age girl who was practicing nail art. As my feet soaked in the warm water, I realized the lady I just spent ten minutes convincing I just wanted a pedicure was not the one who would give me a pedicure. Oh no, I thought. Yes, you guessed it! The second lady proceeded to put me through the same questions and interrogation (short of water boarding) as the first. I almost got a manicure, feeling that my nails were nasty or something, and almost asked for the $7 eyebrow wax because for a moment I thought I must have looked like Chewbacca. Trying to muster what self esteem I had left, I relaxed a little in the chair and watched Judge Judy which was playing on a small TV with an antenna on it. The lady did a horrible job on my toes but what could I expect for $19? I quickly started to realize why I did these things at home for free. Then she asked me if I wanted a flower or diamond on my toe nails – I was like Uh, no, thanks. The pressure sales pitch continued, “it look nice.” I repeated, “no, thanks.”

I thought the end of the high pressure sales pitch was done but then came the slippers. So, she put the pedicure slippers on me and I realized I was going back to work. I saw a box full of nice slippers and asked if I could have those instead because they looked better. She said those slippers from Bebe company were for sale- $15. I was like, “Oh… no thanks.” I was not about to spend $15 on something that looked like it came from the Dollar Tree for a temporary fix ‘til the nails dried. I would just take the floppy pedicure slippers and head off back to work. The lady responded, “wait, I give you special – for you, $10.” I did all I could to contain the laughter that was building inside of me and while I thought to myself, “Where am I?” I avoided the temptation of asking if I was in a Chinese Bazaar in the middle of Denver, Colorado.

The whole experience was strange but an experience nonetheless. It reinforced why I do not get my nails done at these places and instead, prefer the comfort of my home – I guess I will have to send my daughter off to the park with my husband so I can enjoy a few minutes of solitude, fill up the pedicure bath spa, and soak my worries away. Until then, I am sure my nails are fine and my eyebrows are not growing out of ears but I got some fodder for a new blog entry and that is always fun!

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We moved into our new neighborhood about a year ago when I was about to delivery our baby. A year later, I have assessed our situation and our neighborhood and I have to say, I am impressed with the people we live around. Granted, our neighbors are a little more friendlier than other neighborhoods I have lived in – okay, they are downright FRIENDLY! But, wouldn’t you rather have that than people who ignore you and could care less if you screamed at the top of your lungs, they would not run to help you? I think so.

The neighborhood always tries to get together for things- breakfast at Panera’s, social gatherings, events around the holidays for the kids, and visiting each other’s homes with gift. The last one gets a bit extreme as people showed up at our door on Valentine’s Day sporting Valentine’s and candy- I had nothing in return and we were all sick from an International Trip so needless to say, I felt like the LOSER of the otherwise friendly neighborhood. Easter was the same and since we do not celebrate Easter, I got some tulips and wrote Happy Spring on my card.

People are very kind in the neighborhood and keep an eye out for eachother and all in all, there is a good balance of activities and privacy. The location is great and there are many parks to choose from – our daughter loves the swings and slides and watching all the kids in the area. She will, no doubt, be attending school with them where I hope the good manners, hospitality, and nice things continue for her. I would hate for her to get into a fight with the neighbor kids. That would turn things ugly on future Valentine’s Day events :+)

All in all, one year later, I am very pleased with our purchase and our neighborhood. And if I have to buy a few Russell Stouffer’s candy boxes, plastic eggs, and nice tulips now and dthen, that is nothing to complain about.

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The Boob Tube Nonesense

I was home last Monday and watched a little bit of morning TV. I started out watching Martha Stewart’s show which was on make-up and the tools necessary to apply make-up.

An expert make-up consultant from an expensive New York salon was on the show sporting the products they recommend for make-up and make-up application. Primarily, they were focusing on the brushes to apply foundation, make-up, blush, eye shadow, and other items. Not a big make-up fan or wearer of make-up, I was thinking, “what is the big deal? It’s make-up for God’s sake. You do realize you are currently being broadcast to millions of women who are at home with their kids right or retired or not working because they were laid off?” So as I am watching this, the lady talked about this BRUSH you had to have – it had its own carrying kit and Martha was like, “yeah you need this – it is a must have and at only $90, it is a steal.” WHAT?!! Are you kidding me? I thought to myself, “$90 for a make-up brush!” Are you out of your BLEEPING mind!? I do not spend that much on my shoes or slacks much less a brush to apply make-up! I do not care if it lasts a lifetime, I am not spending $90 on something I can get for $10 at Wal-Mart. They also talked about cheap products like eyebrow application pencils and the like – I was not impressed at all. The show, I am sure went on but I could only take about 10 minutes before I had to change the channel, thinking I would find something better on the Boob Tube.

Of course, I did not find anything better. I went from that show to a bunch of screaming hysterical, opinionated women on the View who all seem to talk over each other and at the same time- someone’s idea of a good show. What were they talking about? Yes, of course, politics and racial issues in America but of course, they went on and on and made no sense and the conversation had no beginning or end, just a lot of ideas thrown in so I felt frustrated. I changed that channel feeling more confused than when I started. I felt like I was losing precious minutes of my life- I was!

I changed the boob tube to the Regis and Kelly show which oftentimes has some weird antics too but there was a guest on the show and it was boring too. I was resolved to watching Drew Carey hosting Price is Right, accepting my fate, when my baby cried and woke up from her morning nap. She never sounded so sweet to me and I was so thrilled to turn the Boob Tube off and spend some time playing with my lil one. Thank Goodness she was up to keep me occupied so I could be relieved from the mindless daytime shows. Could I have stopped watching on my own? Sure, but who can stop themselves from watching a train wreck voluntarily?

Needless to say, we had a fun afternoon together until Oprah started… that is when I saw the story of the pregnant man? Yes, folks, the nonsense continued. A man was allegedly pregnant. Well, it was not really a man- HE was a SHE and became a HE so, technically HE was really a woman- wow! What a day! I am glad I work during the day or am otherwise occupied. At least I got to spend time with my daughter and take a nap so it wasn’t so nonsensical after all!

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