Why Columbus Day? How A Wrong Turn Became A National Holiday…

For all you non-Americans, this week we had a holiday in the US.  It’s called Columbus Day.   President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Columbus Day a national holiday, meaning government offices and banks are closed (although many companies don’t shut down).   It was an opportunity to reflect on the efforts that resulted in the creation of our nation, plus it gave the labor movement an extra holiday.

Officially, Columbus Day commemorates the  Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492 (although he thought he’d landed in India).  Almost every American school child knows the rhyme: “in fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”  He did sail the ocean blue, or blueish, but when he landed on San Salvador (in what is now The Bahamas).  In one of the most giant “oops, my bad” ever, he thought he’d landed in India.  While he didn’t quite land in India (as planned), he developed a European awareness of the American continents (Leif Ericson had already sailed from Europe to the Americas so Columbus wasn’t the first).

In the 1800’s, Columbus Day was (unofficially) celebrated in a number of cities (NYC and Baltimore).  Italian Americans, who for many years were discriminated against in the US in part because of their Catholicism, were proud of their Italian forefather and instrumental in having it declared a holiday.  For them, it was a way of celebrating Italian-American heritage.  Today, many see Columbus’ arrival as marking the beginning of problems for the Native Americans (who were already here) and the onslaught on their culture.  Thinking about it in those terms, the holiday gets a whole lot more complex.

Schoolchildren learn about the “discovery” of the Americas.  Bankers enjoy their day off.  A US friend joked that they would celebrate by: going in the wrong direction, not recognizing their destination, inaccurately reporting where they’ve been inaccurately upon their return, and do it all on someone else’s dime (also known as spending someone else’s money)!

By the way… I hear some countries in Latin America close down for the whole week to celebrate Columbus Day (known as Día de la Razain, Discovery Day in the Bahamas, Día de la Hispanidad, Fiesta Nacional in Spain, Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural in Argentina and Día de las Américas in Uruguay).  Geez… the US is getting the shaft.

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Another Reason To Love Switzerland, The Future Orientation Index

World map showing countries by nominal GDP per...

World map showing countries by nominal GDP per capita in 2008, IMF estimates as of April 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, a study (Future Orientation Index) ranking the most forward thinking nations came out. Switzerland ranked #2, up from #7 the previous year. Scientists correlated data from Google searches, the CIA World Factbook and national economic performance. In other words, researchers looked at how many times people in 2012 used Google to search for “2013” than for “2011.” They discovered strong links between changes in the information users seek online and events in the real world.

Why is this important? Aside from the obvious reasons, there’s a big one, GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  Professor Tobias Preis of Warwick Business School said: “In general, we find a strong tendency for countries in which Google users enquire more about the future to exhibit a larger per capita GDP… There seems to be a relationship with the economic success of a country and the information seeking behavior of its citizens online.”

Okay, so there’s a relationship between looking for information about the future and wealth. Why is there one? What can people say about this relationship?  Co-author Dr Suzy Moat stated “[w]e see two leading explanations for this relationship between search activity and GDP… [T]hese findings may reflect international differences in attention to the future and the past, where a focus on the future supports economic success.” She continued “these findings may reflect international differences in the type of information sought online, perhaps due to economic influences on available Internet infrastructure.”

By the way. Germany took the top spot, while Pakistan ranked at the bottom of their list as #45. The US came in at #11.

 

Not Again! Reverse Culture Shock

First Barney Plush

First Barney Plush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reverse Culture Shock occurs when you return to your home country after living abroad.  If you’ve been away for a sustained period, things will have changed (including yourself).  You have adapted (sometimes kicking and screaming) to another culture.

Depending on how long you’ve been away, you may find that many things have changed.  You don’t expect that things have changed so much.  You definitely don’t appreciate the depth of your change either.  The first time I experienced Reverse Culture Shock was when I returned to the US after a year as an exchange student in high school.  I came back and there was a lot I didn’t know.

Barney had hit and I just couldn’t understand the fuss about a purple dinosaur.  RuPaul is another example.  I didn’t know he wasn’t in drag.  I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he wasn’t a woman.  In the pre-internet early 90’s, I didn’t know any of the songs on the radio and didn’t have the slightest clue who he was.  I felt like  a foreigner in my own country.

The longer you’ve been away and the more you embraced the habits and customs of a new culture, the more likely you won’t feel at ease, relaxed or comfortable in your country of origin.   It’s only natural the tour experiences changed you and re-entry can be difficult.  Sometimes, people find it impossible to readapt to their home country after living abroad for a number of years.  Others have seen RuPaul’s Drag Race and now understand.

A Little Bit of Love

A Little Bit of Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How Not To Eat Like An American

This post doesn’t have anything to do with America’s obesity epidemic. It concerns customary fork and knife handling (aka their utensil etiquette).

Years ago, someone told me that it was easy to tell I was American when I ate.  It wasn’t the massive amount of food I shoveled into my big mouth at an astounding rate. They told me that Americans are easy to spot because they tend to cut their food with the knife in their right hand and the fork in their left hand.  After cutting their food, they set the knife down and switch the fork to their right hand to eat.   They told me that a spy gave himself away as an American by doing this and lost his life.  Knowing that my life could rest on this small habit, I promptly changed to the European method and haven’t looked back (just don’t ask me to right-click with my left hand).

If you want to eat like the Swiss, here are some simple rules:

  • Always eat with knife in one hand and fork in the other (except for fondue).  I have seen people eat open-faced sandwiches with a knife and fork.   Although I found it difficult, I did it too.  When in Rome, right?  I didn’t want to be the bad American with horrible table manners.
  • Under no circumstance are you to switch the fork to your right hand from your left.
  • Note the palms concealing the handles of the utensils in the top photo.  Americans tend to hold their fork like a pen.  If you are a spy, don’t let this detail ruin an otherwise seller performance.
  • Do not put your one or both of your hands in your lap at the dinner table. This even borders on rude. Here, people put forearms and/or elbows on the table when they aren’t eating.  That’s also different for me because on the US elbows on the table is considered rude.
  • Take bread and wipe your plate until it is sparkling clean.  The bread here is very good, so this should not present any difficulties.

If this seems like a lot, you could just avoid the knife and fork altogether and live off fondue or switch to chopsticks.

The Peanut Butter Crisis Of Today Is The Joke Of Tomorrow

This week, we had a crisis of epic proportions.  We almost ran out of peanut butter!  Actually, it depends on your definition of “almost”, this is what we had left.

We consciously try not to recreate our American lives here.  We’re trying to do things the way the Swiss do and use local products…with one exception.   He loves peanut butter.   He may survive on peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey sandwiches (feel free to draw conclusions about the quality of my cooking).

He used to be a JIF man, but when we became DINK’s (Dual Income No Kids) we started splurging.  We love Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter (the kind made from only crushed peanuts). He’s a creamy man.  I’m a crunchy girl.  Since he eats 30x more of it than I do, we buy creamy.

When I saw the “almost empty” jar in the fridge, I went to the nearest supermarket that I thought would have peanut butter that wasn’t completely packed with sugar and oils.  They didn’t have plain crushed peanuts so I bought one that was mostly peanuts with a small amount of oil.  For good measure, I bought one that was made of only crushed almonds and another of only crushed cashews.   Crisis averted.

“Man cannot live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter.” – President James A. Garfield.

 

Bracketology: How To Fill Out A Bracket

Warmup before the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I B...

Warmup before the 2006 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament National Championship Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Last week, I posted about trying to explain March Madness to non-Americans.  Now, I’ve compiled some suggestions for our non-American friends who are wrestling with their NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament brackets.  Here is their introduction to Bracketology, the art and science of filling out a winning bracket.

 

  • If you are filling out a bracket for a giant pool online, feel free to go nuts and pick crazy upsets. Otherwise, play it safe.  Smaller pools tend to be won by those who do.

 

  • The early rounds are not as important as the later rounds.  It is virtually impossible to win if you haven’t picked some of the teams in the Final Four.  The best way of ensuring this is to look at each region before filling out the bracket and choose the team you think has the best chance to come out of it.

 

  • After picking your Final Four teams, choose the highest of those to win the tournament.

 

  • Pick all of the No. 1 seeds to win against the No. 16 seeds.  The No. 1 seed has always won against the No. 16.

 

  • While you are at it, pick the No. 2 seeds to win.  They have always won the first game.  They don’t always win the second.

 

  • Since you have picked all four No. 1 seeds to win their first game, how far do you have them going?  In theory, your chances are probably better with all four No. 1 seeds the Final Four, but this rarely happens in practice.  A good rule of thumb is to have two No. 1 seeds in the final four.

 

  • It is probably safe to keep them winning through the Elite Eight.  The teams that are left at that point are all good teams and who have beaten other good teams.  At this point teams seeds do not matter as much as the individual matchups.

 

  • While there are occasional upsets, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds win their first games over 80% of the time.  However, No. 4 seeds don’t win as often as No. 3 seeds in the next few rounds.

 

  • The odds say that a No. 5 seed will lose.  Almost every year, one does.  The No. 12 team that knocks them off is known as a Cinderella.  This team will likely win one or two games, but is not likely to make it past the Sweet Sixteen and almost never makes it past the Elite Eight.

 

  • You may as well flip a coin when trying to pick the winner between the No. 8 seeds and the No. 9 seeds.

 

  • The seed means  little to nothing with the  No. 7 and No. 10 matchup.  Ignore the seeding and just pick who you think is the strongest.

 

  • The No. 13 and 14 seeds are not expected to go far.

 

  • The No 15 and 16 seeds lose their games.

 

Now that you have some general guidelines, here are some things (in no particular order) to consider when choosing your winners:

 

  • Travel – Do any of the teams have to travel a long ways, which is tiring and time consuming?  If they have to change several time zones, it is even mores.

 

  • Location close to home – the closer a team plays to home, the more fans who will come to support them.

 

 

  • Talent – It is good to have it.  No surprise there.  The more of it, the better.  It’s good to have a deep bench.

 

  • Age of the players – Experience counts.  Teams packed with older players, upperclassmen, are less likely to be thrown off balance, used to the drill and have more leaders.

 

  • Past tournament experience – this is invaluable.

 

  • Coaches – Some coaches have a history of winning in the tournament.  They know how to prepare their teams and are able to get the best out of their teams there.  Teams coached by these guys have an edge.

 

  • Free-throw shooting – Free-throw shooting is important.  Everyone should be good at it, but they aren’t.  Teams that can make free throws have an advantage.

 

  • Offense and defense – Teams need to be able to play both to win the tournament.  Be very wary of any team that can’t and pick winners that do both well.

 

 

 

How To Explain March Madness To A Foreigner

U.S. President Barack Obama picks his winners ...

U.S. President Barack Obama picks his winners for the 2009 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We moved from North Carolina, where the start of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is practically a public holiday, to Geneva, which doesn’t even have a European league (or any other quasi-professional team).  While some of our friends are American, most are not.  Some friends may know that something called the “Super Bowl” exists.  Heck, they may even know a bit about it.  However, even basketball fans over here don’t know about March Madness.  We have found it is surprisingly difficult to explain to a foreigner the frenzy that overtakes America, why it’s such a big deal and how the NCAA Tournament works.
Basketball

Basketball (Photo credit: mvongrue)

 

March Madness is a basketball tournament for college teams put on by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA).  If you try to read up on it, know that it is also called “The Tournament,” “The Big Dance,” “The Road to the Final Four,” and even “The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.”  While it seems basic, trust me when I say that using such lingo will trip up a non-native English speaker who hasn’t lived in the US.

 

The fun starts the week before the tournament when college basketball conferences play their tournaments to determine a champion.  The winner of each conference championship tournament automatically gains entry to the NCAA tournament (“get their ticket/invitation to the dance” is slang used to describe this).  This means that a team with a poor record who wouldn’t normally “get an invitation to the dance” can make it into the tournament by winning their league’s tournament.  This is a huge opportunity for some teams.  Almost every year, you see a team break down crying after winning their league’s tournament because that win just earned them a chance to compete in March Madness.

 

The “Madness” starts after the last league championship game when the teams that will compete in the tournament are announced.  This always occurs on a Sunday evening in early March.  This day is known as “Selection Sunday”.   American TV will show teams huddled together in front of a TV waiting to hear their name announced as an entrant.  The TV cameras show the teams cheering, hugging each other, dancing, or even breaking into song.

 

The winners of their respective conferences automatically make it into the tournament.   A selection committee composed of select university athletic directors and conference commissioners choses the other entrants.  They use criteria like the team’s record, the number of wins against ranked opponents, the number of wins on the road and the team’s ranking in determining which teams to invite.  There is always controversy over teams people believe should have been invited or left out.  Regardless, once they announce the Tournament entrants, things really get crazy.

 

 

To understand this madness, you need to understand how the tournament works.  Originally, 64 teams received invitations to the tournament.  4 seeded regions are divided into groups of 16 teams each.  In each region, teams are assigned a “seed” number 1 through 16 based on their perceived skills.  The best team in each region is awarded the 1 seed and the weakest, the number 16.  In each bracket, the number 1 team plays the number 16 team, the number 2 team plays the number 15 team, and so on.  It is a single elimination tournament, so a single loss means you are out (unlike the World Cup).  Each round cuts the number of teams in half (64 to 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2).  A win means advancing to the next round, a loss means crying and a trip home.

 

Each of the more advanced stages of the tournament has its own nickname.  The second round of the tournament is known as the Sweet Sixteen.  The next stage, with 8 remaining teams, is known as the Elite Eight.  The following games, where only 4 teams remain, is known as the Final Four.   The Tournament’s last game is known as “the final” or “the finals”.

 

Immediately flowing Selection Sunday’s announcement of the Tournament’s teams, papers and the internet publish the brackets.   Almost as instantaneously, the gambling begins.  The NCAA is proud that their athletes are “ametuers” and likes to tout it, but they (and the universities involved) make a lot of money off the tournament’s popularity.  As a result, they do little to discourage it.   Just about every office has a pool (or several).  Families have pools.  Friends have pools.  It’s not unusual for people to enter multiple pools.  Although there is a large about of informal gambling among friends, Vegas and professional gamblers really go nuts.  There, you can bet on almost any aspect of the tournament.   People pack Vegas’s sports betting parlors of Vegas casinos to watch the games on giant screens (and gamble).

 

It is extremely difficult to predict each game’s winners in such a large, single elimination tournament.  Usually the winner of a pool correctly picks the final four teams.  It helps to correctly pick most of the winners at the Sweet Sixteen level as well.  Here’s another vocabulary term for you non-American English speakers, the science or art of picking the winning teams (in a bracket) is known as Bracketology.

 

 

In theory, a number 16 seed can win the tournament.  In reality, it has never happened.  While the 1 and 2 seeds typically survive into to least the third round, half of the number 3 seeds are typically eliminated in the second round.  Inevitably a low seeded team (or two) will, unexpectedly, advance a few rounds.  When this happens, they are known as Cinderella’s (like the fairy tale).  Cinderella’s rarely make it to the final games, but they garner tons of attention and support as Americans love to root for an underdog. 

 

The Tournament begins in earnest on Thursday.  In recent years, to include more teams, the NCAA introduced play-in games.  In these games, two teams play for to be a 16 seed.  These games take place on Tuesday and Wednesday before the regular tournament.

 

 

Starting at 12:00 on Thursday, everyone is glued to the nearest television.  On Thursday and Friday,  teams play all the first round games.  This means that there are 32 (mostly) outstanding basketball games in 36 hours.  People gather to watch them and coverages switches from game to game televising the most exciting games.

 

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

 

On Saturday and Sunday, there are another 16 games (the second round).  People gather to watch the games together.  One year we watched our low-ranked Michigan State Spartans battle it out to beat (upset) a more highly ranked opponent.  We watched it in a room with over a hundred other fans and two projection TV’s.  Each time our team scored, there were screams, high fives, and even hugging.  This energy and comradery is one of the reasons we love the Tournament.

 

We hope to stay on speaking terms with our friends in Geneva (who are from Kentucky) after March.  If not, it was nice knowing you.*

 

Kentucky is a big-time basketball school and they are big-time fans.  We are Michigan State fans.  If these two teams play each other in the tournament, it could be the end of our friendship. 🙂

 

 

 

Our New Language…English (Or At Least Our New Vocabulary)

courtesy of Wallace and Gromit

Usually when we learn new words, they are inappropriate ones on other languages.  Sometimes we try to be polite travelers and learn words like “hello”, “goodbye”, “yes”, “no”, “please”, “thank you” and “cheers”.

Courtesy of photo pod and Picture Britain

In an effort to understand and fit in with other speakers here, he has worked on his English vocabulary.  Yep, that’s right.  English.  In truth, he’s been working on British English.

with the loo

New words he likes to use:

  • Banger = sausage, used in the phrase bangers and mash (meaning sausage and hash browns)
  • Chaps = they are not the pant covers cowboys wear, but are instead a couple of guys (sounds better when uttered by Michael Caine)
  • Cheerio = Goodbye
  • Fancy = exhibiting a fondness for something, liking someone or something
  • Flat = Apartment
  • Governor = a colloquial expression for boss
  • Loo = Bathroom
  • Quid = a unit of money equal to one pound (+/- $2)
  • Proper = used as an intensifier
  • Posh = fancy, upper crust

My Favorites include:

  • Carry on = literal, but not used as much in the US
  • Keen = Eager
  • Knickers = Underwear
  • Jolly = an adjective meaning very, as in jolly good fun
  • Peckish = Slightly hungry, in the mood for a snack
  • Toilet = Restroom, they do not say restroom because you don’t rest in there.  Likewise, they don’t use bathroom unless there is a bath in the room.

Courtesy of Take Me Out

Unfortunately for our IQ’s, we have watched some British reality TV.  It’s so bad it’s good.  Don’t judge.  It has provided us with some new words:

  • Chips = French Fries
  • Chippie/Chippy = a takeaway restaurant that sells fish and chips (see above)
  • Chat up = Hit on
  • Cooker = Stove
  • Fringe = Bangs (the part of the hairstyle, not the verb)
  • Gutted = disappointed and upset
  • Redundant = Laid off
  • Slap = Slang for makeup

Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

Thanks to the large number of British Gangster movies, we were already familiar with some of them.  Here are a couple of British phrases that needed no translation due to our excessive viewings of movies like: Layer Cake, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Gangster No.1, Green Street Hooligans, The Bank Job and Eastern Promises.

  • Blokes = Guys
  • Bloody = a mildly vulgar word used to express anger, shock or for emphasis (For obvious reasons, we are only listing quasi-appropriate slang here.  For the other stuff, you will have to come here and ask him)
  • Caravan = RV/motor home
  • Cheers = an expression gratitude or parting, not just toasting
  • Pissed = Drunk
  • Sort = to deal with, as in “don’t worry, it will all get sorted out.”
  • Tart = slang for a less than respectable woman
  • Tarted up = made up to go out but looking slightly less than respectable

Courtesy learn-english-esl-resources-com

Here’s are some other differences between British and American English:

  • Bancock Belly = Montezuma’s Revenge
  • Biscuit = Cookie
  • Boot = Trunk
  • Bin = Breadbox
  • Braces = Suspenders
  • Buggy = Stroller
  • Bunk = to play hooky
  • Callbox/Telephone Box = Telephone Booth
  • Closet = any small room

    Courtesy of aie.edu.vn

  • Diary = Personal calendar, not someplace where you write the juiciest gossip
  • Flyover = Overpass
  • Footpath = Sidewalk
  • Garden = Yard
  • Hamper = a basket for food, used in terms like picnic hamper and Christmas hamper
  • Hire = Rent
  • Hood = the top of a convertible car
  • Jumper = Tank top
  • Lead = Dog’s leash
  • Lift = Elevator
  • Lolly = Popsicle

    Courtesy of aim.edu.vn

  • Mackintosh = Raincoat
  • Mate = Friend
  • Mum = Mom
  • Nappy = Diaper
  • Plaster = Band-Aid
  • Pudding = A heavy dessert or main course, not just a creamy dessert
  • Quite = a term of agreement use to express reluctant agreement or disbelief; more like “not quite”, “not really”, “sort of, but not very”, or “hardly at all”.  Apparently, it must be uttered in an aloof, pretentious, manner so I don’t plan on using it anytime soon.
  • Rubbish = Trash Queuing = Waiting In Line
  • Rubber = Eraser
  • Skip = Dumpster
  • Spots = Pimples
  • Stand = to run for office
  • Straightaway = Immediately
  • Suspenders = since they use the term braces instead, suspenders mean garters.
  • Torch = Flashlight
  • Trolley = Cart
  • Tube = The London Subway
  • Underground = Subway
  • Waistcoat = Vest
  • Wagon = Freight car on a railroad
  • Wash up = to clean after eating food
  • Winker = slang for a turn signal

courtesy of en.islcollective.com

Should you wish to further educate yourself, here is the link to the British Dialect Translator or the Dictionary of English Slang and Colloquialism (UK version).

International Harassment of Steelers Fans

I think guys bond with and relate to each other a bit differently than us ladies. We missed yet another football game (Broncos-Steelers) due to the time change.  Since Denver won, it was probably just as well.  I would have had to listen to a couple of hours of him yelling at the TV if we’d seen it.

Just like clockwork, the next day, emails were flying to and from his Pittsburgh friends.  Even though he missed the game, he can still bond by ranting about it and harassing his Steeler-fan friends (with his buddy Steamer) over email.   Here are some of the taunts launched at Steelers fans:

  • Thanks a lot.  Not only do we have to listen to another week of “Tebow Time”, but the Steelers have allowed a playoff win for Tebow which may immortalize him for all I know.  Seriously, the guy can hardly pass the whole year, and he goes over 300 on the Steelers?

At least being over here, we don’t have to listen to incessant coverage of Tim Tebow all next week. What else would ESPN cover? Unfortunately, we will also miss the Saturday Night Life Skits.  Tonight’s viewing, last night’s National Championship game.

James HarrisNFL’s most frightening man


 

Being An Expat Makes It A Little Easier To Be A Detroit Lions Fan

I love him.  One of the things that I love about him is his commitment.  When he commits to something, he always follows through.  He is not the kind of guy who switches to something newer, flashier or trendier once he has fallen in love with something (which bodes well for me).  As a small child, before he knew any better, he fell in love with the Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Lions have been one of the, if not the, worst franchise in all of professional sports (other articles about what a poor franchise they aremorethis one with financial info).

  • They have never made it to the Super Bowl.
  • They have only won one playoff game since 1957.
  • In 2008, they set a record by going 0-16.
  • The best running back ever, Barry Sanders, prefered to retire young rather than to continue to play for the team (and did it just short of breaking Walter Payton‘s rushing record).

When we were in North Carolina, he would get the Sunday Ticket just so he could watch the Lions play. He and his friend Steamer would watch every game (usually right at 1:00 p.m. because the Lions aren’t good enough to play later in the day).  In 9 years, I don’t think he missed more than about one game and that was when he was travelling.  He even watched every game in the disastrous 2008 season (see above).

 
Every week, he and Steamer would shout at the TV, complain about the Lions, dream of what should have been and look like someone had just kicked their dog.
In the offseason, they talk (usually with their brothers and other Lions fans) about the possibilities and potential for next season. Despite the abysmal track record, they are excited and hopeful that something will change and the next season will be good. Maybe they will be able to make the playoffs?  Even to them, a Super Bowl seems a bit unrealistic.

Yesterday, about 2:00 a.m. our time*, the Lions played the formidable New Orleans Saints in New Orleans in the playoffs.  If the Lions had won their previous game they would have had an easier game against the New York Giants.  Instead, they had to play the New Orleans Saints who won the Super Bowl in 2010 and still have some of the players from that team.  They are known to be hard to beat at home.  He was not optimistic.

Here, we are not surrounded by American Football.  If we didn’t seek it out, we could go months (or longer) without ever seeing evidence that the sport exists. This morning, the first thing he did when he got up was check the score.   After seeing the Lions lost (45-28), he did not watch the game.  Being over here spared him the game’s frustration, agony and humiliation (or at least it did until I posted this).

*Thank you to those who called at 2:00 a.m. to make sure we were watching the game.  Although we miss you, we’d spent the day falling on our butts (aka skiing).  We were sleeping like rocks and didn’t even hear it ring.  Sorry.