Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kentucky Derby Handicap

For those of you tuning in to read (A) a rant, (B) adorable anecdotes concerning my offspring, (C) incoherent rambling or (D) all of the above, you may now stop reading.  Because this year, I'm putting my Kentucky Derby handicap commentary down in writing.  To be fair, incoherent rambling may be involved.

Disclaimer:  I have not actually picked a Derby Winner since Real Quiet in 1998.  (I may have picked Big Brown in 2008, but I don't think so.)  Also, the Derby is notorious for doing the exact opposite of what everyone thinks it will do.

Disclaimer #2:  The field hasn't actually been set yet.  This is just based on who has enough points to be in it this year.  P.S. The point system is about as screwed up as the electoral college and biased against fillies.  Shocker!  Hey, I did end up ranting!

This is based on ESPN's top ten picks as they rank them (not me).  I probably should go with the Daily Racing Form but it's not that different and it's easier to find things on which is a crime. Am I allowed one more caveat, or have I used those up?  Most of these horses don't actually have jockeys yet.  It's kind of crazy, but a lot of them had the same rider, so now we have to wait to see which mount that rider chooses.

1. ORB - Won the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby.
Why I Don't Like Him:  He's still in Florida.  I don't like any horses who haven't gotten their butts to Kentucky yet.  Travel is stress.  Stress is not good.  Reason #2, Velazquez rode him in both his wins and Velazquez is sticking with trainer Todd Pletcher in the Derby and riding Verrazano.  I trust Velazquez more than I trust ESPN and the crazy point system.

2.  VERRAZANO - Won the Tampa Bay Derby
Why I Don't Like Him:  I don't give a whole lot of credit to the TB Derby as a prep race, but other than that, I don't have a whole heck of lot of reason to dislike him. Just don't see it.  He will probably win.  Velazquez obviously thinks so.

3.  REVOLUTIONARY - Won the Louisiana Derby
Why I Like Him:  So Costellano picked Normandy Invasion instead, but Calvin Borel immediately picked Revolutionary up.  Great jockey (had won the derby 3 times in recent years) and great trainer (Pletcher again).  Also, he's in Kentucky.

4.  NORMANDY INVASION - 2nd in the Wood Memorial
Why I Like Him:  Seems odd, since he didn't win a single prep race, but Javier Costellano picked him over Revolutionary and as I previously stated, I trust jockeys.  He will also get two workouts in Kentucky prior to the Derby. However, this is pretty much just a gut feeling.

5.  GOLDENCENTS - Won the Santa Anita Derby
Why I Don't Like Him:  The SAD is a fantastic race.  But there were only nine horses in it.  It was completely clean.  And this horse is still sitting in California.  Won't even look at him.

6.  ITSMYLUCKYDAY - Won the Holy Bull Stakes
Why I Don't Like Him:  He's still in Florida and doesn't plan on getting to Kentucky until the 26th.  Otherwise, just not impressed.

7.  OVERANALYZE - Won the Arkansas Derby
Why I Don't Like Him:  He came in 5th in the Gotham.  See below.  He is already in Kentucky though.

8.  JAVA'S WALK - Won the Blue Grass
Why I Like Him:   I have a soft spot for the Blue Grass despite no horse winning from that prep races in eons and it being a synthetic track.  He also came 2nd to Verrazano in the Tampa Bay which was his first race.  He's only raced twice.  He's really fresh and already in Kentucky.  Also, you should see how wide he had to make that final quarter turn and still won.  Yeah, I have to say I'm leaning towards this guy.

9.  VYJACK - Won the Gotham
Why I Don't Like Him:  Who the hell cares about the Gotham?  No one.  That's who.  He came in 3rd in the Wood and now has mucus in his lungs that he's receiving treatments for.  How is this horse even in the top 10?  The only thing he currently has going for him is jockey Garrett Gomez.  Mark my words, Gomez will not be riding this horse in the Derby.

10.  WILL TAKE CHARGE - Won the Rebel Stakes
Why I Like Him:  Trainer D. Wayne Lukas (racing god) had him skip the Arkansas Derby to stay fresh, which is a decision I like.  One of the horses already in Kentucky.

So here are my Early Picks:
1. Java's Walk
2. Normandy Invasion
3. Revolutionary
4. Will Take Charge

And here is my long shot.  Oxbow.  This horse does have enough points to be in the Derby.  He has finished no less than fourth in the four graded stakes he has entered, including a second place finish to Will Take Charge in the Rebel.  Also trained by Lukas.  He had Jon Court aboard when he won the Lecomte and Mike Smith in the Rebel.  Great jockeys that will definitely be riding someone in the Derby.  Here is the interesting fact. has Gary Stevens listed as his jockey.  Um...Gary Stevens has been retired since 2005!  If this is for real and Stevens (my second favorite jockey behind retired Jerry Bailey) really gets on him, there is no way I wouldn't put money on that horse.  Gary Stevens could be living in a retirement home and just come out of a coma and I would put money on him.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Water, Water Everywhere

No, this is not a post about our fantastic weather.  Yet.

I never thought it would be essential to read the directions on a bottle of water before opening it, but I'm here to tell is.

We stopped at the gas station before preschool this morning and Zoe came in to grab something to drink with me.  She chose a bottle of flavored water for herself, which I thought was very responsible since I grabbed a Coke Zero.  (I don't drink coffee. Stop judging.)

I have never heard of this water before. 9-89 On Demand.  It has 9 vitamins, 84 ironic minerals (okay, it's ionic, but I have no idea what that means) + 5 Electrolytes.  Shouldn't it be called 9-84-5?  Or just 108?   I don't get it.

Apparently it is made with Stevia and Himalayan Sea Salt.  I'm supposed to visit if want to know more about what this means.  I'll pass.

At the top of the bottle it says "Smile after opening and also refrigerate."  Hmmm...a little too perky of water if you want my opinion.

So we are driving back down the road and I'm trying to open the bottle (yes, this is how I'm going to eventually die).  It's a huge cap and that sucker is on there tight.

And then the top portion of the cap comes loose.  Hey, guess what?  The flavor is in the cap separate.  And it is now dripping down the outside of the bottle, through my fingers, onto the steering wheel, the seat and my pants.  (Good thing I'm still in my awesome maternity leggings.  To be fair they aren't ACTUALLY maternity leggings, I just happened to buy them when I was pregnant. So now you know they are eight years old.  And you also know that I am extremely fashionable.)

I manage to direct most of the flavor into the actual water at this point, but my hands are sticky and because the flavor was...wait for it...GRAPE...I have reddish-purple liquid all over the place.  I'm not going to lie, it looked very much like blood.  On the seat.  Between my legs.  Fabulous.

Quite out of character for me, I actually had two napkins in the car and was able to clean the bottle up enough to let Zoe try it.  I tried it too.  It was okay for grape flavored water.  I prefer Kool-Aid.  She liked it enough to remind me to put it in the refrigerator when I got home and save it for her.  Got it covered, kid.

As I set the bottle on the counter I notice one whole side of it reads in big letters and helpful pictures "Twist cap clockwise to release the fresh vitamins and minerals.  Then twist cap counter clockwise to open." Things that would have been helpful to know YESTERDAY, to quote Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer.

This is your public service announcement for the day.  The More You Know.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Morgan, Age 8

This morning I asked Morgan if she felt any different now that she is eight.  She said she thought her legs seemed a little longer.  Oh, dream on, my little vertically challenged gene pool.

I feel like Morgan did a lot of "growing up" this year.  And I'm a little worried that those quotable gems that only come in the formative years are going to come fewer and farther between for her.  But instead of dwelling on the loss of innocence, I'm going to try very hard to appreciate the fact that she's getting smarter than me.  And since she hasn't asked for a training bra yet, I'm marking this year in the "win" column.

Here are Morgan's favorite things - Age 8 (AKA the year technology threw up in my house).

Best Friend: Annie
Movie: Oz, The Great and Powerful (good things we saw it yesterday)
TV Show: Ocean Girl and H2O 
Toy:  Pooh Bear and Beluga
Book:  The books you made of pictures of vacation.
Color: Emerald
Song: I Believe (from Mirror, Mirror)
Food:  Ribs and meat (that's my girl)
Dessert: Frozen banana with chocolate over it  (that's Scott's girl)
Thing to do as a family: Play games
Thing about Zoe: I like her personality
Thing about Mommy: Because you're my mom (so basically she has to like me)
Thing about Daddy:  Because he's funny
Things about Thea's (sitter):  Playing with my friends and hanging out with her

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Artist that just does stuff at home.  And then a teacher that does stuff at school.  But I don't want to be an art teacher.  I just want to do art in my free time.  (What is this "free time" you speak of?)

Friday, April 5, 2013

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

I received a blog award.  Crazy, right?  Most of you can’t bother to write a single comment to let me know you’re out there.  Stalkers.  Anyway, I “met” Jenn at Random Lunacy last year, when I made a half-ass attempt to get more readers by finding other blogs to follow and comment on.  It did not last long, and Jenn and Chris are the only two people I stuck with.  Jenn’s my idol because she actually self-published a book.  And it was great!  I read it.  I have it if you want to borrow it, but you should buy one yourself because it’s important to support self-publishers.  She’s also from Boston, so there is a lot of love for The Package between us.

Anyway, she graciously bestowed this Liebster Blog Award on me, which is meant for bloggers with smaller followings.  The only issue I have with accepting this award is that one of the rules is to pass it on to 11 other bloggers and I don’t really follow anybody else that fits this bill, because I am lazy and just end up following people that Jen Lancaster and The Bloggess follow.  But I can at least go through with some of the requirements of acceptance.

So, thanks, Jenn!

The rules:

1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award and display a link back to their blog.
3. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Answer 11 questions that the presenter of the award has asked you.
5. Nominate 11 new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers that you want to pass the award on to.
6. Ask your nominees 11 questions.

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I’m a middle child, but you probably knew this based on how I scream for attention.
  2. In order to correctly spell the word restaurant I have to pronounce it in my head like it’s in Spanish without the e on the end.
  3. At 5’4” I’m too tall for my dream job as the Alice face character at Walt Disney World.
  4. Who am I kidding?  All those kids would drive me bat shit crazy.
  5. The first words I ever uttered directly to Scott were sarcastic.  “Next time, don’t talk so much.”
  6. I am the female version of Chandler Bing.
  7. I hate being told I HAVE to do something.  (Be an OSU Fan, Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Avoid Red Dye #40) So much so that I will actually do the opposite.
  8. I’m a Political Science major and I would have to Google to find out what number president we are on.
  9. I sometimes end sentences in prepositions and don’t bother to figure out the correct way to say it.
  10. I’m addicted to movie trailers.  The kind that you watch before movies, not the kind that have wheels on a movie set.
  11. One of my favorite quotes of all time, which is befitting this blog…”Is it that hard to make us look cool?!” – Jeff Bebe (Almost Famous)

11 Questions From the Presenter Answered

1. What’s your earliest childhood memory?

Nobody believes me when I say my earliest memory was of our multi-family vacation to Canada.  Mainly, they don’t believe me because I was two.  They think I just remember things I was told, like Pam breaking her arm and some basketball ending up in the oven.  But I have one memory that is all my own, that nobody could have told me about.  Waking up in the room I shared with my Aunt Cereal (Cheryl) who was not technically my Aunt yet.  I guess it’s more like a feeling than a memory, because my Aunt Cereal was probably my favorite person in the world beyond my immediately family.  It’s very hazy, with an Instagram 1977 filter on it, even though it was 1976.

2. What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

Anything with corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors.  Bonus points for marshmallows.  Top 10 in no particular order: Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks, Cocoa Puffs, Trix (Just realized that this rhymes with Kix which was the same cereal without the above required ingredients and therefore disgusting.  Seriously, how did I just now notice that?), Honeycomb, Golden Grahams and Cookie Crisp.

3. Do you remember your third grade teacher’s name without looking it up?

Apparently not, because I thought it was Mrs. Woodrum, but when I inquired of the girl with the freakish memory she informed me it was Mrs. Vincent and Mrs. Woodrum was the name of our 5th grade Reading teacher.  Regardless, they were both like soft little granny angels.  In contrast to my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Bates who was every evil teacher scenario that her name implies.

4. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

If I have to answer, too cold.  But I seriously object to the lack of a “just right” option.

5. Have you ever traveled outside your own country?

Caribbean Cruise that included Mexico.  And then there is Canada.  In addition to my first memory on record, I went several times during the course of my E&Y career, one of which almost got me deported back to the US, because we didn’t have work permits.

6. Where do you think would be the scariest place to discover a body?

Okay, the first thing that came to my mind was “in bed beside me”.  Sorry, Scott.  But it is one of the places you would least suspect.  I mean, it’s not AS scary to discover a body in a haunted sanitarium, because you kind of expect to find one there.  Am I right?

7. What’s your favorite book and why?

Seriously?  Why not just ask me to tell you which child is my favorite? (I might have stolen that from somewhere.) I guess if we go by shear number of times I’ve read it…Are you there, God?  It’s Me, Margaret.  Actually, just writing that makes me want to go read it again as a pushing-40-year-old and see if it’s still as perfect as it was back in the day.

8. What is your name?

Anna.  Anna Marie (when I’m in trouble). Annie.  Anna Banana.  Nannie.  Kirschner.  Chuck’s Little Sister.  Amy. Actually, I answer to almost anything that starts with an A.  Most notably, my alias Amy Rogers, who’s social security number is mine backwards.

9. What is your quest?

To save the planet from the evil emperor Zurg.  Wait.  That’s Buzz Lightyear.  To write a book that makes enough money to pay for the years of therapy my kids are going to need.

10. What is your favorite color?

Burnt Sienna

11. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

One point twenty-one gigawatts.

Now that that’s over…I know precisely one blogger who writes consistently enough that I could bestow this upon her.  Her site has 71 followers (double me, by the way), but on the other hand, her facebook page has something around 5000 likes, so I’m not QUITE sure she qualifies.  Anyway, her blog’s only been around a year, so she obviously doesn’t need my help in attracting readers, but if you make your way over to Fit and Healthy, tell her I sent you.  I pray that one day her enthusiasm will stick with me for more than 8 hours.  Debbie, if you are so inclined, feel free to pass the award along.

These would be my 11 questions.  Anybody could answer any of them in the comments section here or on facebook. Anybody?  Anybody?  Bueller?  Bueller?  You don’t have to elaborate like I did.

  1. What’s your sign?  Follow up.  Do you match your sign’s characteristics?
  2. What is the best OR worst vacation you ever went on?
  3. What movie can you watch multiple times without ever tiring of it?
  4. What song is currently in your queue?
  5. What is the best present you ever received?  (And don’t say something cheesey like your kid or your spouse)
  6. Are you a Mulder or a Scully? (For those that aren’t X-File versed, do you believe in extra-terrestrial life?)
  7. What would be your last meal request when you are on death row (Which you totally don’t deserve to get, by the way. I mean, you KILLED somebody!)
  8. You have to put three things in a time capsule that will explain who you are at this moment in time when someone digs it up 50 years from now.  What would they be?
  9. Name something important that happened the year you graduated from high school.
  10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you that you are willing to share?
  11. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Go To The Mattresses

Just a quick update on the start of my work day...

One.  It's still f-ing cold outside.  (And no, this statement of fact does not prohibit me from complaining about the seven-levels-of-hell hot it is in July.)

Two.  Speaking of hell.  Elevator ride to the 11th floor.  No, I don't think it's cute that you both hit different floors and then decided to get off on 10 instead, causing two unnecessary stops along the way.  Apparently, you think this is adorable.  Apparently, you and the two other Chatty Cathy's that insist on holding their conversation at one decibel level higher than you are "morning people".  Apparently, you have not read my elevator manifesto, which includes, "Thou shalt not speak until after 10 AM." and "If thou presses a button, thou better get off on that god damn floor."

Three.  Arrive at my desk to find what appears to be the equivalent of a bloody horse head under my sheets.

I'm not sure what offer I have refused, but just know that in the grand scheme of things, I am the Godfather. Sleep with one eye open, my wee lambs.

(And yes, Little Miss Sunshine is ironic.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, G

Author's Note:  I wrote this two weeks ago while feeling nostalgic and decided to hold on to it for G's birthday.  You're welcome.

Countdown to The Package: Two months and nine days.

You may be wondering why a seemingly normal individual such as myself (okay, normal is loosely defined in this instance) maintains such a giddy, juvenile attachment to a boy band I couldn't even admit to liking for fear of public stoning back in the day when they were actually relevant (and relevant is also loosely defined in this instance). 

And though I would rather have stuck a fork in my eye than be seen at one of their concerts back in 1990, I am not hesitating to openly and publicly humilate myself on this blog, facebook, and potentially the windows of my car while driving down I-90 on June 9th.

Scott's humoring of these forays back to the sixteen-year-old version of myself that he never knew rank way above a reasonable level of expectation. Considering he has already endured me attending 2 solo Joe Mac and 1 solo Jordan Knight concert (from as far back in the room as possible to hide my shame) in addition to the NSYNC Celebrity Tour.  It seems to be his cross to bare (or bear?).

So hear is the only explanation I can offer...

NKOTB = D&G (not Dolce & Gabana in this scenario)

D&G = Just about every weekend from age 14 - 18 in the living room of D's parents home; drinking Pepsi from glass bottles, making mini pizza's from english muffins; writing fictional love stories one level below Sweet Valley High quality; having Dream A Little Dream, The Lost Boys, and Young Guns on continuous VCR loop; and jumping over "the line of insanity" which was actually a seam in D's mom's living room carpet.  (Also, I think I just made appropriate use of a semi-colon.)

High school weekends = Getting in D's car at 2 a.m. (G always in shotgun) and driving with the windows down no matter the temperature outside while blasting the Dead Milkmen and plotting out how quickly we would get out of Dodge after graduation. And driving back home once we ran out of things worthy of shouting about, because we couldn't talk in normal voices with the windows down.

2 a.m. car rides  = A feeling of contentedness that, despite the fact that grades 7 - 12 were the most awkward of my life, I had one place I could go and feel completely accepted.  I mean, they may have given me the nickname White Bread, but at least I knew they didn't care that I was.

Sure there have been other times in my life, and there have been and continue to be other people in my life, that make me feel that way, but that was the time I needed it the most.

So later when you see incriminating pictures of me Hanging Tough, rest assured I'm just reliving that moment in the fall of 1990, when I went for a red Topaz joy ride with my two best friends and breathed cold air into my lungs until I was shivering and wouldn't have traded that moment for anything in the world.