Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Subliminal Advertising

Sure they are targeting men,
I'm not positive about the Hemi option in a woman though.

(Dodge Ram Logo)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blonde, Blue, Mysterious

I look like my maternal grandmother. There was a picture of her, as a little girl, that I asked my mother for. I'm guessing she wasn't much older than six in this picture. It was in a gold oval ornate antique metal frame ... the original I am sure. I look like the girl in that picture.

When I moved from a larger house to this smaller one, I stored boxes of things in my ex-husband's basement. The picture was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap, then in a quilt, placed in a zipper plastic storage bag, then into a box. I forgot about it.

He cleaned his basement last summer and brought over all my things and put them in my garage. Last fall I was going through the boxes and found it.

His dishwasher line had burst the year before and it flooded through the floor to the basement. He never checked my boxes. When I opened this box, I saw rust and knew what happened. I took the frame off, well it fell apart, but thankfully I was able to save the convexed glass and picture. It has started to slightly mold on the edges.

It isn't a photograph, or a painting. It is a chalk type medium, when I touch it, it rubs off. Now here is the unexplainable part. My grandmother's name was Bernice Gizara, she went by the name Bridget, and she was born in New York, 1910. I turned the picture over and it says N Gizara, Amsterdam, 1755. I am Nancy, born 1955. I have to think about this more.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Quinnie The Pooh

Quinn will be ten this May. He was 2 lbs and fit in the palm of my hand when I brought him home.

I originally got him for my kids, but Bryan wanting a bull dog at the time, took one look at this fluffy Bichon Frise and proclaimed he was a sorry excuse for a dog. Caitlin looked at him as a dress up toy. It wasn't long before both kids loved him and he became part of our family.

Since I was the one to feed, groom, and clean up poop after this little guy, he became quite attached to me. In the ten years we've had him, he hasn't been away from me for very long. With age, separation from me becomes harder for him. I think more so because Bryan has moved out and Caitlin is out of the house more than home. My being in Florida the past five days was hard on him. Caitlin said he was so depressed, not the yapping, demanding, feisty, pest he usually is. When I walk in the door, he is always barking and demanding my attention with arrogance ... how dare I leave him. As I came through the door today, he had that sad puppy eyed look, no barking ... an almost drug induced state of sadness. I picked him up and he just looked at me like an abandoned child. He has followed me around all night, still not barking, just making sure I wasn't going to leave again. Finally, he curled up and fell asleep in this chair next to me. I am afraid to get up to go the bathroom!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bern's Steak House

Bern's Steak House in Tampa Florida ~ Won*Der*Ful

Bern's Lobby From the moment you enter the lobby of this legendary restaurant, Bern's Steak House displays its unique decor and its classic personality.

Kitchen Tour Stop One Bern's custom-built, 30-foot hardwood burning charcoal grill holds up to 200 steaks at once and our grill masters each have more than twenty years experience. In the kitchen, Bern's aged-to-perfection beef is custom cut to order for each guest. Steaks are cut, trimmed and weighed to order using three to four pounds of raw beef for every finished one pound steak that is served.*Chateaubriand, excellent!

Stop Two Three, 1,200-gallon fish tanks hold up to 650 pounds of live fish and our lobsters are flown in fresh, three times a week from New England. Every day, vintage coffee machines roast premium, hand-sorted beans from around the world to create our signature coffees.

Wine Cellar Bern's Wine Cellar houses the most extensive selection of wines of any restaurant in the world. The restaurant's cellar features 90,000 bottles which represents only about 15 percent of Bern's complete wine collection. * Just lock me in with a wine key and a glass.

Dessert Room After dining, visit the Harry Waugh Dessert Room where you can choose from nearly 50 desserts, wines, ports, sherries and madeiras in one of 48 private rooms.
*Cherries Jubilee, delicious!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hello Dali

Still beautiful weather, mid 70's, sunny skies ... why do I still live in Michigan?

I went to the Salvador Dali' Museum in St. Petersburg this afternoon. Quite amazing ... I guess I never looked in great detail at his work before. There are hidden pictures creating illusions through out his work. I was unaware Dali had a shoe fetish. There is another ahem, fetish he had, but you can research that one on your own ... key word piano.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pirate Booty

Tampa Florida 76 degrees, on the beach with a metal detector, ok, my life is complete. Well, for now at least.

Bill Jackson's Adventurer in Tampa was thee place to be as far as getting a detector to rent. A mini instruction, a warning not to take it to Fort Desoto Beach because it is a national park, a suggestion of where to find some awesome public beaches and it was treasure hunting time.

I kid you not, two feet onto the beach and the dang thing was beeping. A nickle, woo-hoo, that find just reduced the $35 dollar rental fee down to $34.95. I am hooked.

I know you want to get to the details of the booty haul so check out the photo as you read below.

After the nickle, there were two BudLite beer bottle tops. Not to be out shined, came the coveted Corona cap. A burnt sparkler, a screw, two pop can pull tabs, whoa, I was on a roll. There is half a pair of sunglasses, a couple pieces of unknown wire, a Budweiser can and a some tin. The rusted hook was probably buried the deepest.

And then I heard it, the detector was beeping and the indicator was showing something BIG. As it was becoming more visible, I just knew it was a bomb head. A cylinder, rounded on one end, flat on the other, yep, it was looking like a bomb and if care wasn't taken, it was sure to explode. I carefully lifted it out of the hole, scooped the sand out of this hollow casing and reconsidered. Maybe it wasn't a bomb head after all, maybe it was the top to an acetylene tank or gas tank. But for those few minutes of digging, it was fun to speculate what the heck this thing was.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tampa Florida, 75* and Sunny

Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yea, leaving my house at 5:30am for normally a 3 hour flight, and arriving in Florida 8 hours later was not quite how I thought it would start out, but so far everything else went smooth. No itinerary makes it easier to always be in the right place at the right time. So in zombie state from sleeping less than 3 hours, here is a quickie. I am staying here at Tampa Wyndham. And my first night dinner was at the Cheesecake Factory. Yummy

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Treasure, With a Double Entendre

I am leaving for Florida tomorrow morning. Figures, Michigan is experiencing a "heat wave" and promises of a nice weekend is ahead. Still, Florida will be a welcomed change. Tampa predictions are in the mid to high 70's, I can do that!

I remember beach time being all about laying there carefully posed in a bathing suit, designer sun glasses, and slathered with oil in anticipation of a volleyball accidentally-on-purpose landing by my girlfriend and me as some six pack male species jogs over to retrieve it. The time spent on beaches in my youth were all about not getting burned, polishing toe nails, trying to get sand out of wet polish, and attracting hot guys.

I also remember how cute I though it was to see old people walking the beach. Men in their "tourist" fashion of fishing hat, sear sucker shirt, madras shorts, white socks and sandals. The women with "muumuus" (you know I spell checked that), big floppy hats, flip-flops and a bag to carry their beach combed treasures.

Off in the distance you could see a relaxed but focused man with his metal detector. I always wondered what treasures beyond shells, star fish, or sea glass could be found. I'll let you know because that is what I hope to do. I want to rent a metal detector, don more stylish albeit age appropriate beach wear and have a treasure hunt.

When my son Bryan was about seven years old, a friend of mine gave him a metal detector to go explore out in the backyard. After explaining to him what to do and how to dig up something once it was located, Bryan headed out to the 160' X 240' fenced in yard. I had hoped it would give me some time to finish a few projects I had started. Within 10 minutes Bryan was in, flopped on the couch, complaining of boredom. When I asked him about his treasure hunt, he said he was done, he found buried treasure. I assumed it was just disappointment in uncovering a bottle cap or rusty nail, but still, I asked him to show me his treasure. He held out his little hand and said, "Here Mom, you can have it." I couldn't believe it, I cleaned it off and there was a gold ring with a Jade color stone in it. It's real gold and appears to be old. I was urged on by my friend to take it to a jeweler, but instead I put it on my finger and wore it for a long time. It's priceless to me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Because I am on a perpetual diet, I am forever looking for "new, great tasting recipe ideas" to try *yeah, right* Don't you hate the diet food marketing campaigns? We are over weight, not under brained! No matter how they slice it, dice it, package it, or color it, most diet foods taste like Styrofoam and look like cardboard.

Fruit, vegi's, fish, meat, cheese, blah blah blah blah. One thing I don't tire of is eggs. I like omeletts for lunch or dinner. I like egg salad with lite mayo on celery. Scrambled eggs in the microwave is super fast for the always-late-for-work me. My favorite though is hard boiled. Until today, I assumed my simple, perfectly timed, bright yellow, hard but not dried out yolk, never having that gray halo, boiled egg couldn't be topped. My nephew Michael, working in Germany, attended a party celebrating Carnival and someone actually brought this as a dish. I mean really, who would have ever thought you could do all this to hard boiled eggs? I am ashamed of myself.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Treadmill Motivation

Saturday night I went to the Power Center in Ann Arbor to see a modern dance performance.

Other than my daughter Caitlin or niece Rachel's childhood dance recitals, I have not attended such a show. So, I admit I was clueless as what to expect.

The Stephen Petronio Company took stage to the music of Rufus Wainwright. I can't name a Ruffie song, but I can sing "Dead Skunk," his dad Loudon's comical song, proper to belt out after slamming a few shots in any local watering hole.

The choreography, costumes, and music, all flowed in a unique way to express Petronio's piece about optimism with a bit of regret. About young people innocent of the ways of the world, that need to be given a sense of hope. The main vision, an illustration of fragile love when someone is approaching adulthood. All expressed through dance, not a word spoken.

WTF? I must have stayed in the restroom too long because I didn't see that at all. I enjoyed it immensely but my take was more like this:

Wow cool music, *note to self, buy the CD

Whoa, look at the bodies on those strapping young men. Toned, nice butt cheeks, fabulous abs, great pecs, powerful arms! Hey, they shave their legs!

Sheesh how does she do THAT? I honestly did not know legs could spread that far apart, straight up, in the air ... with head and shoulders flat against the floor. Summm-body is talented in bed for sure. Skin tight sheer costumes, peep shows at certain moves ... this is a sensual and sexual display indeed.

There was only one puzzlement I still can't figure out. The seats occupied at this nearly sold out show were people of my age and older. I don't recall seeing any 20-30ish attendees. Does this mean the appreciation for an interpretation dance is appealing to the mid-aged crowd or does the mid-aged crowd just like to recall what we used to look and move like?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy New Year
~ The year of the Pig ~

Today is the celebration of Chinese New Year. On the Chinese Zodiac chart, I am a goat. Perhaps the taunts and teasing of "Nanny-Goat" I faced in my childhood were more on target than I realized. Look on the chart to see what sign you are ... any pigs in the family? *no comment*

People born in the Year of Goat are elegant and highly accomplished in the arts. They are wise, gentle, and compassionate On the surface they appear better off than those born in the zodiac's other years but are often shy, pessimistic and often puzzled about life. They are very spiritual yet timid. They are sometimes not well spoken but are always passionate about what they do and what they believe in. Their abilities will always make them prosperous so they are able to enjoy all the comforts of a good life. They are compatible with Rabbits, Pigs, and Horses.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Conversation Hearts

As Caitlin came out to the living room last night with my hair rollers on:

C: "Can I wear your black leather Boots tonight?"
Me:"Sure Cait"

Ooohh's and ahhh's from my bathroom:

C: "You got new eye shadow and lipstick"
Me:"Yep, go ahead, use them"
C: "Mmmm, I loooove the smell of your Gucci- Me"
Me:"You can use it"

She walks out to the living room holding two different earrings:

C: "Which looks better the red or the peach ? ... or-rrr would big silver hoops look best?
Me:"My big silver hoops are on the dresser, go ahead, wear them"

Comes out all dressed, looking and smelling nice:

Me:"Cait it is freezing out, why don't you wear my long black coat?"
C: "Ugh, no way, I am not going out looking like my MOTHER!"


Friday, February 16, 2007


I have bought/sold 6 houses and 1 condo in the past 11 or so years. For those you you that know me, Mildred, Woodingham, Stellma, Woodelm, *Jons condo, Ravine Terrace, and my present street. They have all been FSBO (for sale by owner). I have been lucky enough not to need a Realtor. The areas and market I have played in, have done well. When I bought this current home, I calculated my kids time in school vs the time they'd be ready to bolt, err...I mean ready to leave the nest. I decided on a 5 year balloon because the rate was obscenely low.

Five years is up this September. Michigan jobs suck, so of course Michigan real estate sales sucks. Plans were to list in spring, but I am quickly getting my house ready to get it on the market yesterday. My basement is back in order, I have weeded out junk-N-stuff from closets and once I get that Tupperware cupboard organized to where I can even close the door, I should be fine. I am being a "skater" on this house ... not going to paint or spruce up too much because it's such a buyers market, I am sure anything I put into it at this time isn't going to make or break a sale.

There are lots of homes for sale in my neighborhood, mostly listed with Realtors. I think I will ride on their coat tails for a few months, see what draw I can get from those listed.

I have my St. Joseph statue to bury in the yard, ( flyer's, and a sign ... but about this frozen ground! Grrrr

Thursday, February 15, 2007


My dad died 27 years ago today.

During the summer of 5th grade something happened that haunts me still.

I was 10, my brother 11, my sisters were 13 and 3. Meticulously placed on my fathers dresser in my parents bedroom was his coveted Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses. The arm had been broken off and strategically placed to appear intact. Of course when he picked them up, he discovered they had been broken. He was not happy. After interrogating all of us, we had an unsolved mystery. The ever present extra child that I am sure most families have, must have broken them. The child called "nobody" had struck again!

After all these years, it's now safe to fess up ... who did it?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Happy Vagina Day!

You expected me to say Happy Valentines Day?

Two years ago, Valentines Day, I saw the play, The Vagina Monologues, at Oakland University. I went with three other women. We met for dinner and had enough drinks to start our comedic quips about what we were going to see. The sold out performance was attended by both men and women, not just college students, but of all ages. I though I was going for the comedy, and yes, there is plenty of it. What sobered me up was the message.

"The Vagina Monologues is based on Eve Ensler's interviews with more than 200 women. With humor and grace the piece celebrates women's sexuality and strength. V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina."

I took those words from the V-Day site. I hope you save the link at the bottom of this post, take the time to read it and pass it on. We pass on email chain letters and jokes, this link is definitely worth passing on.

One particular part of the play I liked was the explanation of "Vagina Warriors." Once you become aware of the violence women and girls all over the world experience, you can't deny that you should be a warrior against what is happening. As in anything, once you are made aware, you can't pretend it doesn't happen. After the play my girlfriends and I decided we needed to become warriors and therefore we had to have warrior names.

My hope is that when it is scheduled at Oakland University this year, I can get a girls-night-out together and go see it. (I checked, it's not posted yet) 

Now I will tell you about my warrior name. Men readers, you may stop here or get a lesson, in part, of what happens at our annual exams. We all know that the speculum has the shape and look of duck bills. Even though our doctors insist they are kept on a warming tray, the are as cold as our Michigan winters when they are using them! With that in mind ... I wish you all a Happy V-Day and a Happy Valentine's Day.

"Warm Duck Lips Please"
My Vagina Warrior Name

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Shelia!

Today is my older sisters birthday. She is 34 days older than me. I know, sounds impossible. OK, well Shelia really is 34 days older than me and she is married to my brother Mike. It was years ago I forgot that she was my sister-in-law. Married to Mike over 30 years, she has earned her rank as sister in my heart. I could go on and on about her being a good mother to their son and daughter, about how their home has always been welcoming, how hard she has worked over the years, and how she has been a good daughter, sister, aunt, and mother. It is her being my brothers wife that makes me proud of her. It's impossible to summarize the many things she has done for him. She has taken great care of him and their children. There is no way to express the love I have seen her show for my brother and their family.

Recently Mike called me and told me how he was so moved because of something she did. He has had reoccurring kidney stones for the past 10 years and this year has proven to be pure hell for him. His doctor told him Shelia asked about donating one of her kidneys to him. Although that isn't an option, being told by his doctor of her request, he called me to talk ... he was so touched by that, so unassuming that she would make such a request. I had to smile, because 16 years ago when Mike was in a coma, Shelia and I and other family members were standing in front of his doctor. This brain surgeon was giving us bleak news, nothing we wanted to hear. I saw the look on her face as she grabbed the lapels of his $1,500.00 Armani suit ... as she got thisclosetohisface, she said "You will NOT let my husband die." She gave that doctor no other option. I don't even know if she remembers that, but it is something I will never forget. I don't think I have ever said this because we all assume too much in life but I will say it now, Shelia, I love you, you are my sister and I am glad that you are my brothers wife. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Sunday Service is Saturday At 5:30

I wasn't raised with any formal religious education. As a little girl, I was the one in the neighborhood that would go to church on Sunday with any family that would take me. Baptist Church with RuthAnn, Lutheran with Gina, Catholic with Patty (I was welcome to go but don't I dare take communion.)

Sure I can still name all the books of the Bible in order, but it was only to earn the glow-in-the-dark cross prize. I memorized verses to accumulate badges for my sash in Pioneer Girls (Baptists answer to Girl Scouts.) And I know the 10 commandments, the "popular" stories from the Bible, and thanks to Christmas being such a big part of commercial America, I knew about Jesus.

But I never "got it."

I always claimed to be agnostic ... a fence rider, just in case I was found unexpectedly at deaths door, I might be able to back peddle and sneak into Heaven at the last minute.

Last fall I begin to go to Kensington Church, a new age type of place. Humongous building, sans steeple, stained glass, crosses, pews, not even a photo of JC himself. But, they do have a great quasi Starbucks on the second floor. I had gone there on and off since they begin their ministry in this area. It seems over the past 10 years, when I have been mentally lost in a direction, I was always drawn to go and listen to their service. The electric guitars, drums, synthesiser and upbeat music reaches out to me more than the dreaded church organ with robed middle aged men and women singing from a hymn book. The skits and plays make the lesson of the series being taught a lot easier to understand and apply to scripture. The delivery from less than perfect pastors in their jeans and Polo's puts everyone on an equal level. This Christian, bible based church has introduced me to an undeniable faith, something I have struggled with for years.

I have always prayed ..."Please God, don't let me get caught skipping class and I swear I won't do it again." "I pray God I am not pregnant, I promise I will get on birth control if you get me out of this one" "Lord, please help me" ....etc, etc, etc ...always a prayer for me, always making a deal with God. The first prayer I think I ever really meant was when my brother was in a coma 16 or so years ago ... I remember really feeling that my prayers were being heard by God. And yes, they were answered. I pray now, daily, and my prayers include more thanks than cries for help.

I will continue to seek just as I did as a little girl, but now I am able to seek with an open heart, mind, and with direction. I see God answering and guiding me.

Oh yea, for those of you reading this that know me, no Hell has not frozen over, my closed mind has just thawed out.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Diana and Anna

I remember how I felt when I heard the news of Diana, Princess of Wales death. I think it was one of the first times I stopped to realize how life can seem so routine and well planned out only to be taken in a moment, no notice. A Princess, the mother of the future King of England, and a humanitarian.

The first time I saw Vickie Lynn Hogan, better known as Anna Nicole Smith, I though she was awesome. She was a Dolly Parton, Marilyn Monroe, and Lucille Ball all packaged into one. A young girl stripping for money, a young wife, a divorced mother, and then an instant celebrity because she married an old millionaire.

I really don't see much difference in these two women. Both defined as beautiful. Both initially became famous because of their marriages. Both have children. Both had such public lives. Both did things in public and behind closed doors that were not the best decisions. Many more similarities.

Both deaths affect me much the same way. Their lives were taken too soon by our hearts standards. Dare I question if they were not taken by God in His time, but by the greed of others to control what these women weren't going to relinquish? It seems at the time of their deaths, their desire was to be left alone, just to live a life.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Pie? No Thanks,umm, I'm on a Diet

I am home from work while my basement (for the third time in 4 years) gets new carpet because the sump pump failed and it flooded. They were to be here at 10am, at 11:30 am was phone call #1 with explanation as to why they were late. Call #2 came in about 1pm and they finally showed up about 2:30pm. Now my half day off work just became a whole day.

So now what? See what stay at home people do all day? After the obligatory starting of laundry and dusting the things that never look dusty at night, but certainly are quite an exhibit at high noon when the sun is coming through all the windows, I was bored. TV? Afternoon options are soaps, The Wiggles, or spiced up court room recreations.

How about a chat room, now there is some cheap entertainment. Less than 60 seconds in a room with an incognito screen name, incoming IM's filled the screen like it was the fourth of July. All pretty much lame questions that segue into boring smut. Hey why aren't these guys at work? Oh wait, they are and being paid to sit in a cubicle and chat on line. 

Then he IM's me ... Mr Pastry. (my chosen name for him for the sake of this story.) He seemed interesting, different approach, pleasant, proper, educated, just a nice guy. The catch? He likes pie ...not to eat, to get pelted with it. Seems being "pied" is a fetish I wasn't aware of. (You think I am kidding, Google it.) Not that it's a bad thing, sounds like it beats the heck out of "nail my testicles to this board" fetish (different story) ...but he wanted me to watch him on cam as he pied himself, all the while I should be typing to prompt him on, or should I rephrase that to "off." OK, Judge Judy and The Wiggles are starting to look more entertaining to me. 

I am glad I have a day job.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Who is Marie?

Since I read quite a few favorite blogs on a daily basis, I decided I wanted to start my own. My hesitation has been because I am not sure which way this is going to flow. There are so many "mommy blogs" ... yes I am a "mommy" but to a 21 year old son and 18 year old daughter. I don't think they would find much humor in my posting their daily trials and tribulations. They probably hope that I don't know half of what they are doing!

There are the bloggers promoting their businesses, the travel blogger, the gossip blogs, the lets-keep-the-family-up-to- date bloggers, etc. I had thought about this becoming my quasi therapy, but eventually my family will find this and my venting and bitching would turn us into the Hatfield's and McCoys.

So for now, I will just explain my choice in writing as Marie Millard. It's simply the "movie star name game" we played as kids. Use your middle name as the first name and the street you grew up on as the last name. In most cases, it has a "movie star" ring to it.

We also played the "porn star name game" too ... use your dogs first name and the street you grew up on. So placing me on a street after we moved and acquiring a new puppy... the name would work best for my brother ... "Max Chatsworth."