Sunday, December 28, 2008

Being a Lions Fan

Hi. My name is Julayne, and I'm a . . . Lions fan. Like an alcoholic irresistibly drawn to drink, I'm perennially enticed by the wretched football games played by the hapless Detroit Lions.

There must be something wrong with a fan who keeps going back to the kind of misery that the Detroit Lions consistently heap upon their fans. We haven't had a decent season since the days Barry Sanders graced the Honolulu blue and silver, and the Lions are one of the few NFL teams never to have played in a Super Bowl, let alone won one. I could quote more of the statistical morass that defines the Lions, but I'll desist. The fact remains that despite how awful the Lions are, I'm still a fan of the team. One has to wonder why.

It may be the old root-for-the-underdog mentality that defines America's rags-to-riches character. The problem with that is that the Lions have been all rags and no riches. Maybe it's because I've always been drawn to mournful things like gray, rainy days and music in minor keys. There's a certain piteousness about the Lions that makes you want to wallow with them in some sort of depressive mud puddle. But the Lions won't even feel properly sorry for themselves. There is an indefatigable optimism about even their worst games that has them looking hopefully to next week and causes them to celebrate their first downs as if they were touchdowns.

Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment. After all, I'm also a fan of the Detroit Tigers and the Michigan Wolverines, both of whom had disastrous seasons this year. The 2008 Tigers looked more like the 2003 Tigers (who lost more than 100 games) than the 2006 Tigers (who made the World Series). Michigan is not playing in a college bowl game this year for the first time in over thirty years. It's definitely not a good year to be a sports fan in southeastern Michigan. But I keep coming back.

Maybe it's genetic. My dad has been a Lions fan all his life, so perhaps I inherited it from him. But even he gets discouraged and sometimes threatens to start following a different team just so he can say his team can win a game once in a while. Yet I have a difficult time even joking about such a thing, despite the suggestions of my Packer-fan husband. There's something about being a Lions fan and remaining a Lions fan that I can't seem to get away from.

I guess what I need to do is stop analyzing it, accept the cold, hard reality that I'm a fan of a terrible team and leave it at that. Enjoy the flash-in-the-pan bright spots and the occasional first downs and revel in the fact that one way into the NFL Hall of Fame is to be the only 0-16 team ever to have donned NFL jerseys.

Whatever else the Lions might be, they are my football team, for better or for worse. Even though it's been mostly for worse, I'll keep rooting for them. After all, there's always next year.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Playing Musical Mayo

Who knew that condiments could be fodder for a game of musical chairs?

This morning as I was making my lunch, I reached into the refrigerator to pull out everything I needed. Turkey, check. Apple, check. Mayo, che -- wait a minute. This wasn't mayonnaise. It was Miracle Whip salad dressing! Suddenly I knew I'd been had by the fiend who plays the game of Musical Mayo.

We store our condiments in one of those plastic refrigerator trays that slides into plastic grooves inside the fridge door. In the tray is ketchup, mustard, maybe a jar of pickles, and yes, Miracle Whip and mayonnaise. These latter two stand one behind another on one side of the tray. It's easiest to just grab a bottle from the closest corner, and boom! Instant sandwich makings. Naturally, I prefer that the mayo be at the front of the tray for just such instant grabbage. Some fiend in our house, on the other hand, prefers that the Miracle Whip be in the front for the same reason.

This fiend gets up earlier than I do, so on the days he takes his lunch to work, he makes his first. When he's done, I'm guessing he sticks his Miracle Whip back in the most convenient spot -- that coveted front corner. Which results in my mayo getting shoved to the back corner and my getting to do the Musical Mayo mambo when it's my turn at food fabrication.

I supppose we could demote the ketchup to the back row. Then the mayo and the Miracle Whip could stand side by side, ready at a moment's notice to decorate my sandwich or the fiend's. But one problem with that solution is that the corner would still be the position most highly sought after, resulting in a new game of Musical Mayo that runs side-to-side instead of front-to-back. Not only that, what would we do when we want ketchup for our hamburgers?

I'm not at all sure how to resolve this conundrum. Perhaps I should simply start humming nameless tunes while I extract condiments from the refrigerator. Then when the music stops . . .

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Loving My Weather Channel Widget

I admit it. I'm a weather geek. I love all things having to do with storms, clouds, tornadoes, you name it. Not only can I tell you exactly what a dewpoint is, but I can calculate it in my head fairly accurately given temperature and humidity readings. Of course, I rely on my handy dewpoint spreadsheet for more exact figures (see, I told you I was a geek). I check the weather forecast several times a day from many different sources. If I don't quite believe something one weatherman says, I'll check it against what other weathermen say.

Sometimes I even do my own amateur forecasting. "Well, the radio station says it's supposed to get up to 80 degrees next week, but I don't think we'll see much more than the mid-seventies." Then when the thermometer tops out at a warm, but not hot, 75 degrees, I carve out another notch in my temperature-taker.

There are all kinds of awesome gadgets in my weather-geek toolbox. Besides the Weather Channel being my favorite cable TV channel and website, I also get my kicks out of different weather websites, cool weather webcams, and other wonders of our technological age.

But by far my favorite recent discovery has been the Weather Channel desktop widget. I tried it a couple years ago, and it didn't do much for me but kludge up my computer. But I thought they may have spruced things up a bit since then, so I gave it another shot. I discovered one thing:

I love my Weather Channel desktop widget! And I'm telling everyone I know. I'm driving my Twitter followers crazy by mentioning it at least twice a day.

My WC widget lives in my computer's system tray (that bunch of icons in the lower right hand corner), telling me what the local temperature is. Just one click on the little blue square pops up a window that gives me everything I need to know in a quick snapshot. I see local radar and a short-term forecast. I have easy access to anything else I might want to see, such as more detailed hourly forecasts or the long-range variety. I can get pollen counts and traffic info. There's weather trivia and travel conditions. It even has a section of cute cartoons. I can customize it so the color scheme reflects my favorite MLB team. Right now, it's set to the colors of the Detroit "Wait-Till-Next-Year" Tigers (meow!).

Just yesterday, I found out that my little widget flashes yellow when there's a weather alert. Last night there was a frost warning, and the widget twinkled away to alert me to the fact. Is that the coolest thing, or what?

The only thing I'm really bummed about is that because of downloading restrictions on my computer at work, I can't get my widget there. So I guess I'll have to get my weather jollies at home while trying to ignore the voice of Gizmo, who keeps telling me, "Weather is what happens when you walk out the door!"

Poor misguided soul. Someday he'll learn the joys of weather geekdom. On that happy day, he too can be the proud owner of a Weather Channel desktop widget.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Looking Like a Caramel Apple

I peered into the mirror the other day and saw a stranger looking out at me. "I look like an apple on a stick!" I declared to Gizmo.

I did expect to see somewhat of a stranger in the mirror because I've lost about 45-50 pounds. What I didn't expect to see was a fat little torso perched on a pair of skinny legs. Making matters worse, I was wearing brown clothes at the time, so I resembled nothing so much as a caramel apple.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. The exercise program I've been on has included more walking and zooming along on our elliptical machine than anything else. So I guess I should have expected to lose tons of weight from my lower body. Several months ago, I bought jeans that were three sizes smaller than the tents I'd previously been wearing. And even those jeans are beginning to resemble the circus material I left behind.

The shirts in my wardrobe, on the other hand, have not experienced quite as dramatic a shift. Yes, I have a bit more room in them than I used to, and there are a few sweaters I can fit into again that I haven't been able to wear for a while, but, unlike with my jeans, I can't say that my shirts are three sizes smaller and could stand a reduction of yet another couple sizes.

So until the upper half of my body reaches the level of weight loss the lower half has achieved, I guess I'll have to get used to looking like a caramel apple. Perhaps it fits me after all. I can be a bit tart and crispy on the inside and sugary sweet on the outside. Just so long as nobody tries to take a bite out of me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living in a Cemetery

In his comment on my post Tag, You're It, Sparks asked how I came to spend the first year and a half of my life in a cemetery. It's a logical question, since, after all, most people usually wait until their lives have ended to make their first foray into the collection of deep sixers that make up most cemeteries. But I had to break the mold. Or the burial vault, if you will.

In the early sixties, my dad's uncle was caretaker for Highland Cemetery in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Uncle Stanley lived with his family in one of two houses that were on the cemetery property. The other house was split into two apartments. When my parents got married in 1962, they moved into the lower-level apartment in that second house. Dad even helped Uncle Stanley with some of the cemetery work. I was born in 1964, and our happy little family of three lived there until the middle of 1965, when Mom and Dad bought the house they still live in.

Even after we moved out of the cemetery, we went back there for family reunions. Uncle Stanley, Aunt Ruth, and the cousins still lived there, and beside the house was a great expanse of lawn upon which we picnicked and played softball.

Yes, we played softball in a cemetery! There was a mausoleum in right field, and sometimes home run balls ricocheted off its roof. In later years, graves infiltrated left field, which would have made chasing down fly balls that much more difficult. At that point, the family gatherings were sort of dying out anyway, so it was just as well.

After we left, other cousins moved into the cemetery apartment, and we visited them often. So although I have no memories of the apartment when we lived there, I remember it well from the many New Year's Eve parties and other visits our family made.

I still love to go back to Highland Cemetery, where I wander among the graves of some of my relatives. I usually steal a glance at the lawn where softballs once flew. Uncle Stanley's house (and maybe even the apartment house, too) is now a historical landmark, and the birthday parties I once attended there are long in the past. Heck, I just love wandering cemeteries on general principle. They are fascinating places. But mainly they remind me of the cemetery where I spent my first year and a half of life.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tag, You're It!

I was tagged by @12thnight, whose blog can be found at She invited me to play this fun little game in which you list six random things about yourself. Here are my six things. I might even write in more detail about them in future blogs. See the rules for this tag game below.

1. I spent the first year and a half of my life in a cemetery.

2. My favorite foods are chocolate, homemade bread, Pizza Hut pizza ,and steak. And lobster. And fried chicken. And cake . . . OK, I guess you get the point.

3. I have three degrees: a bachelor's in math education, a bachelor's in music, and a master's in music.

4. I am distantly related to Nelson A. Rockefeller and President Wm. Howard Taft.

5. I have been a Kelly girl, an insurance and securities representative, a computer consultant, and a church secretary, among many other things.

6. I am now an accompanist, a freelance editor and writer, and an admin assistant for the music, theatre, & art department at a local college.

I tag the following:


You can follow these people (and @12thnight) on

The rules to play are easy …

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag sixish people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Welcome to the blogosphere!

I'm probably the only writer/editor who does not yet have a blog. Oh, wait a minute, I just created one, so I'm no longer the only writer/editor who does not yet have a blog.

I guess some other poor sot will have to assume that lofty title while I join the millions of bloggers who have gone before me.

Of course, writing and editing is but a small part of what I do, but more about that will come later.

Until next time, then . . .