I was supposed to be on a flight to New York this afternoon, but it was cancelled, along with about 900 others. And I was kicked out of the crappy hotel I was staying in at the airport, because they were "overbooked," what with all the stranded travelers. Luckily, we are rewards members of one of the hotel chains, so I called them and said, "I'm a rewards club member, and I'm stuck in Ft. Lauderdale and I need a room because I am NOT sleeping at the airport" and they hooked me up.
I checked into my new hotel and watched "The Queen" in my room.
Afterward, I went down to the front desk and asked if there was somewhere I could go, some shops, restaurants, maybe I could walk around a bit? They told me there was a place across the street just beyond the McDonald's. I walked a mile to find that they sent me to a strip mall with stores like Home Depot, Office Max, Marshalls and something called BJ's which I don't even know what that is but you gotta love that someone would put those two letters on the front of a building.
My restaurant choices were Red Lobster, Dave & Buster's, TGIFridays or something called The Ale House. I went to D&B and actually had a pretty good salad. When I came out, it was getting dark and there were two police cars parked in front. Now, I don't mean to be assumptive; they might have been in there having a bite of supper for all I know. But the people coming in were looking pretty ghetto, so I called the hotel and told them to send their shuttle to pick me up b/c I think I may actually be staying in a pretty sketchy part of town. Actually, I think I'm in Hollywood rather than Ft. Lauderdale proper anymore. At least that's what the side of the police cars said.
This morning I landed in Ft. Lauderdale. I'm pretty sure I was the only person in the airport not going to or coming from a cruise. Everyone here is either retired or on vacation.
Boston was a bit of a whirlwind. I foolishly brought only one pair shoes, which I wore for three days straight - including treking thru airports and standing for 12 hours at a trade show - and I have come to the realization that looking cute isn't nearly as important as not being crippled. Carrie Bradshaw convinced us we could walk around big cities in high-rise shoes all day, but it was A LIE. Just one way Carrie Bradshaw ruined my life.
(The smoke alarm in my room is beeping like the battery might be dead.)
(Oh, they're testing them. They just made an announcement. I didn't even know they had intercom speakers in the rooms.)
(Oh for pete's sake. NOW THE DAMN ALARM IS GOING OFF.)
I knew that I was going to Boston for the International Seafood Show. What I didn't expect was for the entire convention center to SMELL LIKE FISH. Neither could I have predicted the floral centerpieces that included whole, dead fish, nor the ice sculptures with whole, dead fish frozen into them. You'd be surprised what you can do with whole, dead fish when you think outside the box.
On the dinner cruise, my boss & I got stuck with this woman who drank way, way too much. And I found her to be thoroughly annoying before the four glasses of wine and two cosmos. She's the kind of woman who gives suburban moms a bad name. She talked A LOT (mostly about her kids) and she had this really annoying habit of tucking her short, curly hair behind her right ear. Not that it ever went anywhere. She just kept tucking it and tucking it while she chattered on and on. She totally thought she was charming and her husband just kept plying her with drinks. Probably the only way he gets any from her.
Tomorrow I head to NYC where I think it might be snowing. I had to bring my super-big suitcase, because there are boots and a winter coat in there, bud.
But wait...I haven't even told you the bad news yet. THEY MADE ME THROW AWAY MY BENEFIT LIP GLOSS AT THE AIRPORT. Which, whatever. I'm all for stopping terrorists and all but come on. The most ridiculous part is that if I'd had a ziplock bag with me, I could've put my $16 glossiness back into my purse and been on my merry way. Because, you know, those plastic baggies have the power to stop a terrorist attack right in its tracks.
1. "Are the Geiko cavemen real cavemen?"
2. "Where is Singapore? In Thailand?"
The carrot cake was a huge hit. HUGE. I don't believe I've ever cooked anything that my boys have raved about. RAVED. I don't get it, really. I said to My Kid, "You know there's vegetables in that." He didn't care. He ate two more pieces.
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 (4.5 ounce) jars carrot baby food
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil; beat well. Add eggs, carrots, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat mixture until smooth. Combine flour, salt, soda, and spices; add to creamed mixture, beating well. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, and then transfer layers to wire racks.
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
Combine cream cheese and butter or margarine, beating until light and fluffy. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. Fill and frost the cake with cream cheese frosting.
(Note: I made the cake from scratch, but I cheated and bought canned cream cheese frosting.)
You know what I would love? I would love it if Ann Coulter's f-word controversy would end her career. Whatever it is she's paid to do.
Here's my travel schedule for the next week: Saturday - Monday: Boston; Thurs-Friday: Ft. Lauderdale; Friday-Monday: New York City. It's a packing nightmare. It's 80 degrees in Ft. Lauderdale and -4 in NYC. Which means I have to take my big winter coat to southern Florida.
This week we're going to the C-USA basketball tournament. The Tigers are rocking & rolling again this year. We went 16-0 in our conference (which we've never done) and won the conference outright for the second year in a row (also a first for us). I think we're ranked around #6 right now. Hopefully we'll end up at least a 2-seed in the NCAA. Keep an eye on that Chris Douglas-Roberts. The kid's got real talent.
I never can seem to get myself any Girl Scout cookies. You'd think if they wanted to sell those suckers they'd make it easier to get your hands on them.
Today when I was at the grocery store not one but two people stopped me to ask me questions. It was like I had a hat on that read "ASK ME." (I did not.) It was very odd, b/c grocery shopping is typically a very introverted event for me. You have all these people around you, and yet, you're all alone. But this rather rushed-looking youngish woman carrying a bottle of hair conditioner asked me, "Do you shop here a lot?" When I answered in the affirmative, she said, "Where are the razors?" I hated to have to tell her that they're on the aisle she just walked out of. Makes me feel like I'm being set up.
Then an older lady practically rammed me head-on with her cart. I just looked up and there she was. "I've never tried the Stouffer's macaroni and cheese," she says, looking into my cart. "Is is good?" I told her that it was, but what I really wanted to say was, "No, it's horrid, but I'm not choosy about what I feed my family. I hardly love them at all."
What I'd really like for someone to ask me is, "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?"
I'm making a homemade carrot cake. It's made with baby food carrots so that there's no grating involved. I'll let you know how that works out for me.
Is there anything decent on TV tonight? I hate when sweeps are over and they suddenly go back to episodes that aren't even from this season. I have a back-up plan though; I rented Gosford Park.
Everyone already thinks Memphis and Shelby County are run by a bunch of crooks. But what's happening now just takes the cake. I defy you to find something so abhorrent in any of your hometowns.
Apparently, Herman Morris, the former president of our utility company had a "LIST." The LIST included the names of people in town, mostly govt & corporate officials, who were to be notified first if their utilities were to be disconnected. (Mr. Morris, BTW, is now challenging our long-seated mayor, so of course the current utility president, Joseph Lee, - who was appointed by said mayor - is dumping the entire responsiblity of this crisis into Mr. Morris's lap...but that's probably a whole other scandal. We'll save it for another day.)
Somewhere along the line, where, exactly, is still being debated, the people on the LIST have become excused from actually paying their utility bills.
All this came to light when our daily paper, The Commercial Appeal, broke a story that City Councilman Edmund Ford owed more than $16,000 in past utility bills for his home and his company.
[I might add that the Ford family is notoriously involved in some scandal or another. Most recently State Senator John Ford was indicted in the Operation Tennessee Waltz, an FBI sting operation. As far as I'm concerned, Harold Ford Jr. is the only decent one in the bunch. But I digress.]
So now we have several hundred large business with balances over $5,000 that are more than 30 days past due, including:
International Paper - $9,524.76
Muvico Theaters (owned by the Jack Belz, whose name was on the LIST) - $18,331.38
NorthWest Airlines - $12,459.95
Memphis Publishing Company (publisher of The Commercial Appeal) - $79,763.27
AUTOZONE (owned by Pitt Hyde, also of the LIST) - $47,919.98
And how about these city properties?
Memphis Department of Public Works - $285,806.16
Memphis Cook Convention Center - $801,205.04
Memphis Housing Authority - $324,985.75
I think I understand now why my bill is $500 a month. Someone's having to pick up the slack for all these non-paying companies. But wait...here's the part that gets really appalling.
These small business are examples of small firms who had their services disconnected in the last 30 days for having these amounts in arrears:
Kings Kids learning Center - $222.54
On Time Learning Academy - $521.25
Horn Lake Ready Mix - $610.07
Thomas Auto Sales - 4793.86
All American Steel - $629.08
Big Boy Rims and Tires - $191.07
Tax Express - $136.57
The Next Phase Barber and Beauty - $95.74
Vision Ten Inc. - $86.43
1,300 residents also had their services disconnected in the last 30 days. Because obviously Ms. Irma down in Binghampton who's trying to survive on her social security check doesn't really need heat as much as Jack Belz and Pitt Hyde do. It makes me sick. It absolutely makes me sick.
One controversial Memphis blogger is suggesting a class action law suit to prevent the utility company from cutting off anyone until the practice of disconnection is administered fairly and equally for ALL customers.
If they were my PR client, I would definitely recommend that Joseph Lee just go ahead and enter rehab. I'm pretty sure that's the only way out of this clusterfuck.
* My apologies to Jon Stewart
Labels: govt scandals
Here's the yacht
And here's the dress I bought
With these boots