Friday, February 29, 2008

The Last Five Years

So I'm taking advantage of an extra day in February this year (Happy Leap Year Day, btw!) to catch up on a posting I meant to post yesterday. (I really had every intention on getting around to it....but as my mission president used to say, the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions. But...I digress......)

So the 27th of February was an 'anniversary' of sorts in my life and the life of some of my closest friends back home. Five years ago February 27th, one of my best friends, Shawn Marti, and his wife, Natalie and their 5-month old daughter, Sage, were hit by a drunk driver while on their way home to Caldwell. Shawn and Sage were killed that night...and Natalie ended up surviving, and for those who aren't familiar with the details of the wreck, it is somewhat of a miracle that she is here. Over the last five years, Natalie has become one of the most inspirational and amazing people I know. She is a dear friend...and I am continually reminded of the blessing she is in my life...and how thankful I am that she is a survivor.

I wanted to post today NOT to lament the loss of Shawn and Sage. I miss them terribly - and find that pain like that never goes away...you just learn to manage it better. But I wanted to share an article with you from (my favorite) The Idaho Statesman about Natalie...just to show you the person I have seen her become since this tragedy changed her life forever. And for those of you familiar with Natalie and the entire situation, just to give you an update of her progress and strength...and her life today.

Click HERE to read the article. (The Idaho Press Tribune also ran a story on the 27th. You can read that one, too, if you want. Click HERE for that one.)

Today I post in celebration of Natalie Marti. She has taught me the power of love, the miracle of forgiveness, and repeated lessons of living life to its fullest....even when things don't work out like we ever hoped or dreamed they would. I hope that as you read about her that you might learn something, too. Hers are definitely lessons well worth learning. Love your guts, Nat!

Shawn, Sage and Natalie Marti.

Good times, great oldies.....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me...

That I MISSED a very important audition this weekend?

Click HERE to read all about it.

MAN...I so could've landed this gig! People, I need all of your eyes and ears to help me here! Do better next time. Thanks!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Weekend Special

Hey Jude!

Well, Fun Friend Dave Kopp has brought another magical YouTube video to my attention - and I've shared it with some of you...but it has been so much fun to watch, that I decided I needed to post it here for everyone to enjoy this weekend.

Oh yeah...and evidently, the parents named the little boy HERO. WHAT is that all about? Silly Koreans.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Late Edition

Why I Love The Idaho Statesman

So I reported on my Love List that I am in love with my hometown newspaper, The Idaho Statesman. Today I signed on to their website to find that one of their 3 MAIN stories was about....the stiff competition at the Great Idaho Finger Steak Cook-Off! Finger steaks, you ask? Indeed. A distinctly Idaho food...all you really need to know is that these little gems (no pun intended....if you get the pun at all) consist of: red meat, batter, deep frying. YES. and PLEASE. Learn more about them at wikipedia by clicking HERE.

So....now that you're aware of finger steaks and have a better understanding of them, you can find out more about the comeptition at the Cook-Off...and find out who walked away the winner! Read the article HERE. PLUS - because The Statesman doesn't do anything second rate, you can have the award-winning recipe YOURSELF! Let me know when you're making them...I'll be over to test them out. (They go great with tater tots. I'm just sayin......)

PLUS....look how happy Finger Steaks made the judges of the Cook-Off!

NOW....just tell me that YOU don't love The Idaho Statesman, too!

Monday, February 18, 2008

No Soup For YOU!

I almost started a fight Saturday night. A no-holds-barred, you-gotta-fight-for-your-right-to-party type of fight. It was at a CVS. It was with a woman. It was over soup. In retrospect, I'm not proud of the fact. But at the time, I was taking a stand for the steaming pile of INJUSTICE I was being served. The story goes like so....

Saturday night, post-Segway tour, I decided to stop in the CVS at 8th Street and E Street NW, around the corner from our office. The time was precisely 9:15pm. (Please make a note of it...time will come in to play here soon.) My mission was to simply pick up a couple of VitaminWaters, a pack of gum, a new toothbruth, a new thing of deodorant and a Diet Coke. Sadly, they were out of VitaminWaters, but everything else on my list was in my basket.

As I headed up the aisle to the front to check out (at one of CVS's Self Check-Out Kiosks, which I am slightly addicted to), I passed a shelf FULL of Progresso Soups - with the CVS Care Card Deal signs that said "BUY 1 GET 1 FREE!" Well, that's a deal. 2 cans of Progresso Soup - which I enjoy a great deal - for the price of ONE can? I couldn't walk past without getting some. I quickly scan the flavors, settling on 6 different cans, happy that 3 of them were going to be free, and I proceeded to the front to pay.

When I finished with checking out and running my card, I looked at the total and realized that I hadn't gotten my discount. And as I finished out my transaction, I also noticed that the paper printer was EMPTY - so I never got a receipt. So I patiently waited for the young man behind the counter to finish with the next customer, told him my dilemma (no paper - no soup discount - no happy), and he called his co-worker over. She listened to my story, checked the printer, confirmed that there was, indeed, no paper in the printer (because evidently she didn't believe me when I just told her), and then said, "I'm going to have to call Ms. Elaine to figure this out." She turned around, said to the young man behind the counter, 'Tyrone. Call Ms. Elaine to the front", and then took out her phone, checked text messages and waited for Ms. Elaine to arrive. (Tyrone, elated to use the PA System, called Ms. Elaine with a great deal of decorum and flare.)

Ms. Elaine arrived, and no sooner had I explained my story (no paper - no soup discount - no happy) then Ms. Elaine piped up and said, "That soup discount doesn't take effect until tomorrow."

Stunned, I said, "Tomorrow? Then why are the signs all over the shelves tonight?"

Ms. Elaine: "Because I was putting them out for tomorrow. Just to get a jump on it. You just happened to come in RIGHT before we closed." (In my mind, 8 minutes having elapsed since I walked in, I'm thinking, "You close at 9:23pm every night?")

Me: "But the advertisments are out there NOW and your store is still open."

Ms. Elaine: "Right. But the sale doesn't start until tomorrow." (She's starting to get irriated by me now.)

Me: "Right. But if the sale doesn't start until tomorrow, then maybe you shouldn't put the signs UP until tomorrow, or atleast until you're closed, because you are misleading shoppers." (I'm starting to get irriated by her now.)

Ms. Elaine: "But we're just doing it now to make it easier tomorrow. We're almost closed anyway." (9:26pm......)

Me: "Well, since it is misleading, can't you just give me the discount on the soup?"

Ms. Elaine: (quickly) "Nope."

Me: "But why not?"

Ms. Elaine: "It's not tomorrow."

Me: (extremely exasperated) "Fine. Then take it all back."

Ms. Elaine: (equally as exasperated) "You want a refund?"

Me: "No. I WANT the discount on the soup. But I'll TAKE the refund. On all 6 cans."

Ms. Elaine: "Fine. Give me your receipt."

Me: ...

Needless to say, I was NOT a happy customer. I was pretty near fuming...and ready to rumble with Ms. Elaine. I'm almost positive I could've taken her. I finally got the receipt situation explained to her again (NO PAPER, Ms. Elaine!), and I finally got refunded for the soups. BUT....something did make me laugh in the midst of all the ridiculousness. A woman waiting in line for Tyrone, who had heard all of this, started emptying her basket out at the register as I waited for my refund, and she took 4 cans of Progresso soup out and slid them across to Tyrone and said, "I don't want these anymore."

Sadly, the next day, I was craving Progresso Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. I hope Ms. Elaine is HAPPY!

------------------------------------

P.S. They close at 10pm. Please make a note of it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So This Is Love

So it may be late, as the clock now reads 12:51am...clocking in 51 minutes AFTER Valentines Day officially ended, but I had previously said I would leave a list of things that I am currently in LOVE with - to coincide with V-day 2008! But before I did that, I had to break it down and take a look at what I meant. So, I went to dictionary.com and put the word 'love' in the search window. And from the results, I pulled a few definitions to help in my explanation of what I am currently in love with!

LOVE
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
3. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything

Now those aren't all the definitions, but they are the best for what I will be explaining here today. ALSO, while reading this list, please take into consideration that the standards, i.e. my family, my health, my freedom, etc, etc, etc, are just given (duh!) and will not be discussed here. Also, please note that something NOT being on the List Of Love '08 doesn't render it out of mind. This is just a slight sampling - time and space do not allow me to make a complete list of my affections. But trust me....MANY of you would be on it. (Awwwwwwwww......)

So now, without any further ado, The List.

LIST OF LOVE - V-DAY 2008
1. Cold weather. Call me crazy....but I love winter. And even if it's NOT snowing...I am strongly enthusiastic about the cold weather we are having. Who needs 70 degrees in February? Not I. (Although we had it...last week.)

2. iPod Touch. Seriously. If loving my iPod touch and it's features makes me worldly, then so be it. I have a serious warm, personal attachment to the thing....and I don't mind admitting it!

3. TV. From Project Runway to Biggest Loser to Friday Night Lights (SAVE IT, NBC!) to the charming new Eli Stone, to everything in between...I have a deep affection for the boob tube and all of my stories.

4. TV shows ONLINE! So who cares if I lead a busy life and I can't make it home to watch my stories? I can watch so many of them online now. And I like that.

5. Scrabulous. Seriously, people. I mean...I am slightly addicted to playing Scrabble through Facebook. It's called Scrabulous - and I think at last count, I had like 6 or 7 games going. Donna, Josh, Anais, Scott, 2 games with Michelle...and you can just play when you have a second...so some games take a day...some take a week. Some longer. But it's good times.

6. Jack Black Lip Balm. (No. Not THAT Jack Black!) Seriously...I've been a fan since November 2007, and I'm still a user. Especially with how cold it's been and the high chance of lip chapping...I always have a tube around...and a spare in waiting. I love it, I do.

7. David Kopp's blog. Seriously...my friend Dave finds the craziest/most random videos and articles and what not and posts them on his blog. I am always delighted when I check back and see what new fun he has posted. You would all probably love it, too. But don't take my word for it. http://www.davidism.blogspot.com/

8. Coconut Cake from Harris Teeter. OK....NOW we're talking 'warm personal attachment.' This one is a HUGE shout out to Anais for turning me on to this stuff. You can buy it in single slices...and that's amazing. We had some last night....and it was so serious, I wanted to ask IT to be my Valentine. For those of you who don't live near Harris Teeter, sucks to be you.

9. The Idaho Statesman (online edition.) So I'm from Boise...and The Idaho Statesman is the Boise Newspaper. Boise is by NO MEANS a big city...but it is the largest in the state of Idaho. And I love going to the Statesman website everyday because the headlines are usually good for a laugh or two. Sometimes because it's a slow news day, sometimes because you can tell they are trying to report 'big city' style, and sometimes just because the stories and/or headlines are so....um.....DUH. Like today, for instance. Here is my favorite headline: Experts say heavy snowfall increases flood risk in Spring.' Well you DON'T say! Thank goodness they ran this article. Anyway - I just love stopping in to see what wisdom they are bestowing upon the world each day. Well worth the visit.

10. Working, even part-time, where Darci Nelson works. Mainly because she's the bomb.com - but more than that, it's great to have such a good friend around all day. We can take soda breaks, lunch breaks...whatever. Sometimes we don't even see each other - we just email back and forth to break up the monotony of work. It's just nice. I love it.

11. Segways. The winter has been quiet...but we're starting to gear up again. I'm doing my first couple tours of the year on President's Day. It'll be good to be back on the....roll. And until you ride, you can't really understand the love that I have for them. You'll just have to believe me.

12. Text Messaging. I just love it.

13. Dance Movies. So for Valentines Day? A group of us went to see 'Step Up 2: The Streets'. How could you even HOPE for a better V-day than THAT? Plus, just 2 weeks ago we were watching 'How She Move' - and a YEAR ago we were watching 'Stomp The Yard.' AND - Bravo has a new Dance Reality Show coming up. I love dance. (Except MAYBE butoh-style dance.)

14. Vitamin Water. I know....weird. But I'm totally addicted. And I have the deepest of my affections on the ENERGY flavor. It's something citrus-y and oh so good.

15. I love the kids in my life in this area! Being so far away from my nieces and nephews (13 of them...all out West) can be a bummer, but I have been blessed with so many friends in the area who have kids, that they have become my East Coast Kid Posse....fillin' in for my Pack of 13 out West. From those hysterical Rosman kids (Hannah, Emma and David), to my gal from my manny days, Louise Block, to the Ogea Kids (whom I haven't been able to see in awhile!) up to all the babies and kids around the WSB (just today, a set of twins and a 4 month old were in to visit!), I am continually reminded how cool and refreshing kids can be.

16. Brookstone's AMAZING 'Better Than Down' comforter and 2 pillows. There are no words to do them justice. But I will say that I DO have a profoundly tender and passionate affection for the entire set. You would, too.

-------------------------------

So like I said....not a COMPLETE list....but just some of the things that are IMMEDIATE loves in my life. It was well worth sitting down and writing it all, though...if only to remember how blessed I am, and, in reading back over the list, how random and odd I am, also. But hey...no worries. I've embraced it.

So, in closing, as Christian said to Satine in 2001's 'Moulin Rouge', "All you need is love. Love is all you need." You know....before she......um.....coughed up blood and ultimately died. Awesome. Good luck with your Love List!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Love Is In The Air

Happy Valentines Day 2008! Thanks to John Loughney, I was introduced to the amazingly crazy card selection of someecards - and my life will never be the same! They seem to say just the right things...and sometimes, the most un-right things...but still funny. So as my gift to you, check out SomeEcards today! And if you're lucky, and if I'm free, sometime on V-day, I'll post a list of the things I'm in love with this V-Day '08! I know - you'll be waiting with baited breath. In the meantime, shoot me a note and let me know what YOU'RE in love with today!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's Been Awhile...

Since we last saw a good Case Of The Unfortunates! For those of you new to my world of blog, I have a few 'features' that I can't really call regular, because they just kind of happen - um - whenever. My COTU feature (that's 'Case Of The Unforutnates') started in St. Louis in October 2005 - and since then, I've collected a handful of.....unfortunates around the country. But it's been awhile since I've seen one and was quick enough on the draw to grab the camera and snap a picture.

I know, I know...I can hear some of you saying it's mean...and to that, I say....come back tomorrow when there is something nicer here. If there is one thing I've learned in nearly 3 years of blogging, it's that the people, once shown the magic, NEED the COTU. I just deliver what I see.

So enjoy this return into the world of the Unfortunates. And give SPECIAL thanks to CShainin for her eagle-eye as we drove through Alexandria...and her quick call for me to grab my camera. Gold stars for you, CS!

All this PLUS a bathrobe midday? YES. and PLEASE.

Charlie Bit Me

MAD PROPS to Dainon for sending me this YouTube clip and making my entire weekend. I am THOROUGHLY convinced that all children should be raised with Britsh accents. Something about it just makes cute kids THAT much cuter. It may take a few viewings to catch the nuances of this clip...but pay special attention to Charlie looking right at the camera and laughing after the second bite, and watch the emotions his older brothers face goes through on the second bite....from joy to unbelief to horror to pain. Those are just a couple of my favorite moments! I'm sure you will find yours.

Happy Sunday!
MAnderson

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Oh Brother(s)!

I lead a ridiculous life. And by my use of the word 'ridiculous', I mean amazingly random, exciting and unique. There are times I get stressed out about things, or I get down about things, but then I stop and think of how I have been blessed with a life full of ridiculously entertaining experiences...and people in my life who are always up for the adventure of it all!

Take this week, for instance. My 2 older brothers, Jeremy and Scott, had to travel from Boise to Florida for some business meetings. So...they decided to make about an 18 hour stop in DC...and we got to hang out, roll around and show them the city from my favorite mode of transportation. PLUS - dinner at MatchBox. Sliders? Ridiculous. And my brothers thought so, too! But that was it. They got in Wednesday night at 5pm - and left today, Thursday, at 11am. We had a blast!

Jeremy starts to get the hang of the balance. Just call him GOB.

Scott and Jeremy start to get more confident on the machines.

If you squint, you can see the Washington Monument in the background. I had flash/no flash issues.

The Anderson Brothers go to Washington.

Jeremy and Scott action shots.

Our first attempt at a BROTHERS picture.

Our final BROTHERS shot.

So I can hear you sitting there thinking....well come on Matt, that's not TOO ridiculous. Well...maybe not. But then, today (Thursday), I went to work early for the February staff meeting...where I played "Fake Chris Matthews" - from MSNBC's Hardball. That's right. 'Fake Chris Matthews.' And the whole CATCH was while the 'Fake' was doing his thing, the 'REAL' Chris came into the room.

SEE? Ridiculous. Who does that? Me, evidently!

'Real' Chris and 'Fake' Chris share a moment before the big event!