Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's Oscar Time! 

Preparations are well underway, both at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, and here at Castle Henderscott for the annual Oscar Party! E!'s Countdown to the Red Carpet has been playing since noon to set the mood, the Chinese food's been ordered for 5:30 pickup, the beverages and snacks are in the house (it's amazing how much you can fit in a Mini!), the ballots are printing and the 2007 Oscar poster is framed and on the wall!

I'm so excited - I wait all year for this, my favorite holiday!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:44 PM
Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tic Toc Crash 

Time flies like an arrow
Fruit flies like a banana
Law school flies like a banana crashing into the clock

Last night the heating system was out of control at school. I was reading in the lounge before my first class, and it was like a sauna in there. When the clock on the clubhouse wall, er, lounge wall, said it was five minutes to Taxation of Business Entitities, I gathered up my half ton backpack and other belongings and headed next door. First I had to squeeze past the large trash can that someone was using to prop open the lounge door to allow in some precious cooler air from the hallway, then it was just three steps to the classroom next door. As I walked in, the professor - a very congenial tax court judge - said "You're late!" but with a smirk. I began to reply that I was not, but then I glanced at the classroom clock, and indeed it was time for class. The professor said that one of the other two women in the class had remarked prior to my entrance that I was in the lounge, and that launched us into a discussion of how it was a steamroom in there. I then took my opportunity to point out that the lounge clock was five minutes behind this one and that I thought perhaps the excess heat and moisture was causing damage.

We then resumed class, but we had to take a break in the middle to open the door and let in more of that precious cool hallway air.

Later on after this and my second class had concluded, I was in the parking garage elevator along with a few others from school, and the topic was how hot it was in the building, when two of them informed us that the clock in their Law and Ethics of Lawyering class had spontaneously exploded in the middle of class. For no apparent reason, the glass face just shattered!

Heat, law school and timepieces don't mix.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:37 AM
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

And the Winner Is... 

Here it is - the new RSLS mobile! It comes home Friday. The further good news is that the loyal, hard working Jeep will be staying in the family. My nephew is picking it up Thursday night.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:12 PM
Sunday, February 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by RSLS.
My side

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:50 PM


Originally uploaded by RSLS.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:48 PM


Originally uploaded by RSLS.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:44 PM
Saturday, February 17, 2007

Paula Cole Returns 

And we were there. For Valentine's Day The Girl purchased tickets for us to see Paula Cole at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. This was quite a gift, because until last night The Girl thought of Paula Cole as a bit of a banshee. I say until last night, because after the show The Girl gave the ultimate sign of approval - she said she'd see her again.

The show was fabulous, and emotional. This was her first show in seven years (you can read the tale of her absence on her web site). She seemed overjoyed and more than a little surprised at the applause, cheers, whoops and standing ovations she got a number of times throughout the evening. During her first standing O in between her thank you's I heard "I needed this so much!" For her it was also a return, as she's an alum of Berklee College of Music.

When they first brought the house lights down, they also darkened the stage, and then the first chords from the piano called out quietly and the low lights came up to illuminate her at the Yamaha playing a quiet, wistful version of Where Have All the Cowboys Gone. Rather than the bittersweet but fast-paced, slightly western song you're thinking of, this was a slow, regretful, where did the time go ballad. And it was wonderful.

Then the band came out and she rocked. And told stories, and sang and sang and sang. She did a lot of her hits plus six tunes from her upcoming CD, "Courage." It's being released in June and she'll be doing a tour titled "Lessons in Life 07/08.". She stood still and we held our collective breath, she danced and we were entranced, and she rocked hard with that controlled fire that I always associate with her.

Plus a portion of the show's proceeds went to Rosie's Place, a Boston sanctuary for poor and homeless women and those escaping abuse, and also to Berklee City Music, the college's collection of year round programs for young aspiring urban musicians from 6th to 12th grade.

For her final encore, Paula returned to the Yamaha alone, with low lighting, and sang "I Am So Ordinary." But she's not.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:14 AM

Ice and Windshields Don't Mix 

Thursday night around 9:45 I was driving home from class, cruising along the Mass Pike just west of Copley, when I saw a large sheet of compressed snow and ice fly off the roof an a green SUV (license plate 5566 something, perhaps 5566VB), ahead of me and one lane over. The chunk then broke apart into slightly smaller chunks in mid air, then take flight across the lanes. One of these tiny icebergs was determined to meet me, and it did. It flew right into my windshield, and the impact not only created the inevitable damage to the windshield itself, but also knocked my rear view mirror right off and into my shoulder. For a moment it felt like the ice had come right through, as there was impact and then something hitting me. But it was just the mirror. And of course the asshole in the SUV had no idea what had happened and kept cruising along. Just like the last time.

Yes, this is not the first time I've been assaulted by wayward winter roof debris. The first was nine years ago around Franconia Notch in New Hampshire. The person driving the pickup truck in that incident also had no idea and continued on. Of course that time I was rather freaked out and swerved a bit on the highway before regaining control. This time it was just, "Oh look, it's going to happen again. Can I get out of the way? Nope - cars all around, and it's coming right for me. BAM. Crap." At least this time I was left with a clear view. Last time it was spider-webbed all over the driver's side.

The glass repair folks were swamped yesterday, so they're going to be coming to my driveway to do the repairs today.

UPDATE: I just got a call from JN Phillips Auto Glass, who wanted to let me know that my insurance company has rejected my claim because (they say) I don't have glass replacement coverage in my policy. So now it's a check for $227.90 and an upcoming battle with the goofball agent who I think was a year behind me in high school.

UPDATE (1:00 pm): Well, no need to worry about paying for the windshield. The glass guy removed the gasket from around the glass and discovered that there is so much rot in the frame that there's not enough metal to which to attach the new windshield. And off he went.

Our new topic of conversation for this President's Day weekend: body work or new car?

UPDATE: I finally got back from our weekend away, and can now bring you the visual aids on the post gasket removal rot revelation:

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:59 AM
Sunday, February 11, 2007

5.6 Mile Loop Training Walk 

Middle Sister and I headed out for our Sunday morning 8:00 am walk, while The Girl slept soundly after her big day of drumming yesterday. We had planned a 5.25 mile walk, but on the home stretch we were so busy looking at and commenting on houses that we missed our turn, so we just extended it a bit. We're just under two weeks away from the start of the official 12-week training program, and we're hitting our target miles. Shout out to Biggest Sister who sadly is 350 miles away so cannot join us.

In other Avon Walk news, I'm 24% of the way to my goal (of $1800), and the team is 20% of the way to our combined goal (of $5400). Big thanks to Bigger Brother, who made an online contribution today to each of us! I know, you don't hear much about them, but there are three of them, all older than me. I'll call them Big Brother, Bigger Brother and Biggest Brother. The birth order is: Biggest Sister, Biggest Brother, Bigger Brother, Middle Sister, Big Brother and RSLS.

Cool new internet geekiness: I've just discovered, where you can map out your routes, upload them from a GPS if you take one with you, and it calculates your elevation changes, your pace AND (coolest of all) will show you geotagged Flickr pictures in the area of your route. How cool is that? Here's our route today (many of the photos are from our walk - you have to click "Show on map" to see where they are). Or you can just click on the hopeful pink flamingos in the snow to see the pics and commentary.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:56 PM

Penguin Geek 

Penguin Geek
Originally uploaded by RSLS.
You know you've been studying too long when...

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:49 AM
Saturday, February 10, 2007

Study Hard, Sushi Reward! 

The Girl headed off to Scituate today to take part in a jam session with some friends. She was quite excited, as she got to play on actual acoustic drums rather than the (very nice) electronic kit she has at home. A secret to a successful marriage...

Anyway, that left The Boys and me at home to study (me) and nap (them). Mischief helped by blocking my way to the internet (clearly he's taken a break from guard duty at the moment), and Aspen helped by keeping my lap warm.

As evening rolled around, The Girl called to check in. It was already just after 7:00 pm and she hadn't eaten dinner yet, so we decided it was best for her to accept the stir fry invitation before heading home. Otherwise there would have been an unpleasant plunging blood sugar incident. Hers aren't nearly as bad as mine, though.

As for me, it was Samba Sushi and more studying, baby!! Click on each photo to see more of the story. No sets, just these two pics.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:04 PM

Time Warp 

I just realized that I never changed the time setting on my camera when we moved the clocks back last fall, so every photo I've taken since then has been an hour off. That explains the New Year's Eve photos - I couldn't reconcile the timestamps with my memories of what was before and what was after midnight.

I corrected the timestamps in Flickr on my Muskegon pictures (see previous post), but the rest are just going to have to stay wrong. So there.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:05 AM

Muskegon in January 

How I spent a small part of my winter break - client visit to Muskegon, Michigan. My trip was planned for an afternoon departure from Boston, change flights in Detroit and then a puddle jumper to Muskegon County Airport. Arrival around 9:00 pm. Then client visit from 8:30 to 3:45, and a 4:30 flight back to Detroit and on to Boston. So I packed up my small rolling suitcase with one business outfit, jammies and toiletries bag, and felt kind of silly traveling with a half-empty suitcase. So I tossed in my folio with all my relevant client visit papers (workbooks, information packs, maps, phone numbers, and then I also put in my coat, as we were having unseasonably warm weather and I figured I wouldn't need it until I headed out to the rental car at Muskegon.

The Muskegon County Airport is a two gate affair, with one boarding area, one ticket counter and one luggage belt. The gate area is closed while the TSA staff screens luggage, then as the flight times approach they close that station and open the gate area so they can screen the passengers and carry ons. The airline staff who check you in at the counter go through the same thing, as they are also the staff who board you at the gate, and they also handle getting the luggage from the counter to the planes and from the planes to the luggage belt.
So when my bag failed to appear in the small batch of luggage (very small plane), the staffer stuck her head out the tiny little cart door and called out, "That's it!" and looked around for objections, which came from me. "I'll see ya up at the counter, hon!" she cheerily responded.

So I meandered over to the counter, and she eventually popped out from the back, removed her luggage handling coat, and gloves, and expertly booted up her ticket computer and did the ticket agent thing where they hit an amazing number of keys on the keyboard in rapid succession (you know exactly what I mean, don't pretend you don't), and let me know that my bag was safely in the airline's possession in Detroit, and was scheduled to arrive in Muskegon the next day at 1:00. I let her know that I would claim it and check it back in, as my flight out was for 4:30 the next day. I had one piece of good fortune in all this, as even though I found myself without a coat or gloves in Muskegon in January (it was in my suitcase, remember?), the unseasonably warm weather was there as well, and it was in the 40's to 50's, so at least hypothermia wasn't in the offing for this mostly interior trip.

Then it was off to the car rental counter, where the teenager efficiently provided me with paperwork and keys, as well as directions to the wrong hotel. This was particularly distressing as I had already done all my research and had printed out maps and clear directions from the airport to the hotel, hotel to client and client to airport. I tried to find my hotel, as I recalled that it was in the same general area and I had the address in my itinerary that was downloaded into my Palm calendar, but I just couldn't find the stupid thing. Finally I rang them up and they talked me in. Turns out I actually had found it before, but thought I must be on the wrong section of the road, as the section it was on looked like a dirt construction road. Actually it was a dirt construction road, but the hotel was way in the back amidst the piles of gravel.

Lucky for me they had all kinds of emergency supplies at the front desk, so I was able to brush my teeth and hair and put on deodorant before going to the client in the morning, but by the time I got to the hotel it was too late to go out shopping for a new outfit, plus I simply hate shopping. For business clothes, anyway. Put me in a bookstore, electronics or REI for a few hours and I'm a happy clam.

Once settled in my room, which didn't take long as I didn't really have much to unpack, I called The Girl and melted down a bit, then went to sleep.

The next day I called my manager to let him know that I'd be visiting the client in jeans and sneakers, but at least I had worn my fleece zip neck sweatshirt with our company logo. Then I opened the curtains to get a look at the environs in the daytime, only to find that it wasn't daytime at all. This was very confusing, because it was 7:30. Michigan's in the eastern time zone, right? It really is 7:30, right? What the hell's going on???? Finally I just took faith that I had the correct time and wasn't in the Twilight Zone, and decided that Starbucks would fix everything. I knew where it was, as I had made my call to the hotel from the Best Buy parking lot directly across from the freestanding Starbucks in the mall parking lot. Ah, the aroma of civilization! While I waited for my decaf grande nonfat caramel macchiato with my crispy treat in hand, a regular customer came in and told the barista he wanted something other than his usual. He wanted something that tasted good but with as much caffeine as they could cram into it. She made him a 6-shot toffee nut latte. I was sad to see that he took it out to his car without taking a sip, as I wanted to see the top of his head fly off momentarily as the caffeine hit his system.

The good news is that the client visit went well, the two folks I met with were entertained by my sartorial explanation, and we even wrapped up early enough for me to drive down to the lake to take a look. Yep, it's big. And not easily accessible from downtown Muskegon. Well, it's easy, but a lengthy and windy drive. That's windy in both senses - the road wound around a lot and as I neared the lake the wind really picked up. They hadn't yet gotten up their winter snow/sand fences, so the sand was blown all over the roads like dunes. I was pressed for time and I couldn't access the parking lots (blocked by sand), so I'm sad to say I have no scenic lake photos at this time. But fear not! I'm heading back in March for go live (when they'll make the switch from their old transcription to ours). Stay tuned. In the meantime, click the Starbucks below to go to a very small (three photos) set.

Oh, and it was dark because of where Muskegon is located in the Eastern time zone. It's well north, and as west as you can be without crossing into the Central time zone. Now you know.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:33 AM
Thursday, February 08, 2007

This Was Not Staged 

I encountered this little still life on one of the kitchen tables at work this afternoon. Mmm, cheese.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:45 PM

It's 9:30, Do You Know Where Your Mind Is? 

Thursday's my late night, with classes going until 9:30, and I pull into the garage around 10:2o. It doesn't help that the last Thursday professor isn't exactly the most animated person, although I think she is trying. She's cursed with that sort of Darien, Connecticut tight-jawed (but not in a fabulous Kathrine Hepburn way) affect. In the elevator as we were all finally making our exit, someone mentioned that her mind tends to wander as the blessed 9:30 hour approaches. This led to a number of statements of accord, including my two favorites:

"Wander? My mind goes to an entirely different region of The Shire." (okay, that was mine)

"Really - our minds need passports for where they wander in that class."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:37 PM

Doesn't Sound Like My School 

Earlier this year everyone in my department wrote down some little know fun fact about themselves, and then at our monthly department meetings the manager reads off a few and we all guess who it is. Mine have all come up already and are:
  • I have two degrees in physical education
  • I can play piano, french horn and guitar
  • My favorite holiday is Oscar Night.

At today's meeting, one of the cards read, "At my undergraduate school, we were required to attend chapel each morning, and dancing was banned."

As people tried to figure it out, someone said, "Hey Beth - what's the college on that sweatshirt YOU'RE wearing?"

"Bryn Mawr. REALLY doesn't fit the facts."

To my recollection, it was more like dancing was required at least twice per week, and proselytizing was banned, although exploring various global forms of spirituality and world religions and otherwise framed belief systems was greatly encouraged, and you got extra points for being pagan or wiccan, but secular humanism was probably at the top of the totem pole. But it was founded by Quakers. Then there's the whole Maypole tradition. And it was all well-lubricated with as many forms of alcohol as possible.

So no, that wasn't my card. I even pointed out that all three of my cards had already been flipped, when a colleague (who it turned out attended the Footloose Academy in question) responded, "Well, you've always been an overachiever."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:28 PM
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Newest Gadget 

*Singing* "Happiness is morning and evening, daytime and night time too. For happiness is anyone and anything at all that's loved by you."

And happiness is singing along with one of your favorite showtunes on the radio, then going back to it when a few songs later it's something you really don't like, and then singing it again, because you're listening to the Sirius satellite radio your girl gave you for Christmas!!!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:22 PM

My New Persona 

After copying my manager on an issue I was having with getting something tested properly, I received a response from the manager:

"Dam Girl! Getting frustrated are we.... :o)"

I showed this to Abandonment Boy (the colleague formerly known as Iron Guy, but he gave his notice and stuck me with his account, so name change), and we both went right into a whole riff on my new superhero persona, Dam Girl. "Oh no, the levee's failing! Call Dam Girl!!!"

We're so easily amused.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:47 PM
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sisters Week, 2002 - Cape Cod 

More photos from the archives, i.e. a box from the basement. This time it's from Sisters Week 2002, a trip to Cape Cod. Click and view.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:22 PM
Sunday, February 04, 2007

My First Training Blister 

My First Training Blister
Originally uploaded by RSLS.
Middle Sister and I went out for a 3.4 mile training loop today, and en route I managed to pick up a lovely souvenier blister. Biggest Sister developed a couple of these on the Avon Walk itself last year, but I had gotten through the season unscathed. The culprit was an overworn pair of sneakers. I tend to wear them past the usability date, but these are now being retired. Click on the photo to see the sneakers and more details.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:00 PM
Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pre-Order Harry and Support the Avon Walk 

My sisters and I are walking the full 39.3 mile, two day Boston Avon Walk in May. You may have read my previous posts, or seen the pink Avon Walk boxes on the sides of this blog. Any and all support is welcome, from good wishes to donations - we each have to raise at least $1800 to participate. But to sweeten the deal, if helping support a foundation that does a great deal to help people fighting breast cancer and the people trying to find a cure isn't enough, now you can pre-order Harry Potter by clicking on one of the Amazon inks below the Avon boxes on the sides, or in this post, and I'll contribute to the Avon Walk the 4% referral fee I get from Amazon. Of course, you can order anything from Amazon by clicking through one of my Amazon link boxes, and I'll contribute that referral as well.

Remember - you can get the seventh and final Harry Potter in Standard or Deluxe editions!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:04 PM

Shocked, Shocked! 

Your Movie Buff Quotient: 86%

You are a movie buff of the most obsessive variety. If a movie exists, chances are that you've seen it.
You're an expert on movie facts and trivia. It's hard to stump you with a question about film.
Are You a Movie Buff?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:05 AM

And She's Never Been There, Either! 

The Girl took the test, and she found:

Your Inner European is Spanish

Energetic and lively.
You bring the party with you!

Who's Your Inner European?

She's been to a number of European destinations, but Spain isn't one of them. Looks like we now have two places for our to do list!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:59 AM
Friday, February 02, 2007

And I've Never Even Been There - Yet 

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.
You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

Who's Your Inner European?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:14 PM
Thursday, February 01, 2007

I Think I've Got It! 

I've been feeling a little out of it in my Taxation of Business Entities class this semester. Granted, it's a four credit course (as opposed to the typical three credits), and is typically regarded as one of the tougher courses, but still. I hate sitting in class and thinking, "Duh, I don't get it."

Tonight I felt a little better. My thoughts on most of the cases and questions turned out to be accurate, and when I was confused about something the professor said regarding IRS Section 248 and the amount of organizational expenditures that is deductible ratably over 180 months, I was brave enough to ask a question without fear that I was just not getting it. Turns out it was a good question, because a 10 minute discussion ensued and the professor (a Tax Court judge in Massachusetts) assigned himself the task of researching the regs to find the correct answer for us by next class.


Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:29 PM