Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Love Me Some Mary Lou!!

So I was watching the Today Show this morning getting dressed (one of many rituals I can't live without) and on came a GNC commercial with Mary Lou Retton!! OMG, this was my absolute childhood IDOL! I got just as giddy and excited seeing her on TV today as I did back in 1984, when I watched her win the gymnastics all-around gold medal at the LA Olympic Games.

My parents taped the gymnastics events for me that year, as I was 8 years old and just about to start my "career" as a competitive gymnast. Girls aren't allowed to compete until they're 9 years old, so I was foaming at the mouth, ready to put on my competition leotard! Anyway, I must have watched that tape 100000000 times. I can still remember the music that was playing when Mary Lou performed her balance beam routine - Eye of the Tiger. And my mom bought me the exact leotard that you see in the picture above, with the stars and stripes - I felt like a superstar every time I wore it to gym practice!!

Anyway, it's unusual that I have a moment that takes me back to my childhood, yet elicits a warm memory, so I wanted to share that with you this morning.

Happy Wednesday! Love, Mer

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Newest Nephew, Jack

Please let me introduce everyone to Jack, Natalie's new adopted puppy. He's an adorable 5ish months old, and is a bundle of joy!! Nat's going to be training him for about 3 weeks or so, but when he's ready, he'll be going to live with Natalie's grandmother for some good company. But I still get to be Auntie Mer!

How cute is this face? :) Love, Mer

Spring Forward Group - Check It Out!

I'm excited and proud to share with you the brand new website of my professional mentor, Diane Craver. Diane is the Founder and Owner of SPRING FORWARD GROUP in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Diane was my first recruiting manager and taught me everything she knows (well, probably not everything), but has been my trainer and mentor for about 8 years. She's an inspiring and intelligent leader with creative ideas and great business savvy. I am lucky to also call her a great friend!

If you ever have a need for an executive coach, I highly recommend you get in touch with Diane.

And please check out Diane's website at

Love, Mer

Monday, February 26, 2007

Movie Review - Little Miss Sunshine

Dysfunctional family – something about which I know a thing or two, so I can appreciate this movie a great deal. Little Miss Sunshine, this creative and unexpected indie comedy, absolutely stole my heart! The premise of the film is a family of four losers (all with their issues, except adorable little 10 year old Olive), a suicidal gay uncle, and heroin-snorting dirty geezer grandpa, road tripping to California in a rapidly degenerating VW bus, so that Olive can attend the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. Each character was a study in himself, and the interaction between this cast was phenomenal – it was funny, heartwarming, ugly at times, and REAL.

You may have seen that it won Best Original Screenplay last night at the Oscars ceremony, and was nominated for Film of the Year. If you haven’t gone to see it yet, you really should…it's on video currently.

Happy Monday!

Love, Mer

Friday, February 23, 2007

Remember These?

I was trying to explain these to someone the other day, and he had no idea of what I spoke!! Was it just a Texas thing? I think these were from around the time I graduated from high school in Houston and into college in Austin...

Anyway, for those of you NOT in the loop on this, please let me introduce to you the crown-shaped air freshener. Back around 1993, this fad became all the rage in automotive accessories, temporarily replacing fuzzy dice and tree-shaped pendants from the mirror. To release the scent, apparently one had to twist the cross on top of the crown to open the vent. One would perch this aromatic royal symbol on the dashboard of his hoopty to freshen the air and to represent... well, I'm not quite sure.

From my observations, that there was a particular type of car that usually presented these things (hooptys) and usually a particular type of individual displaying them (young male minorities, from what I could tell), I was thinking perhaps it was a gang thing? Was it actually supposed to make the car look nicer? Why did it catch on the way it did?

So I did some research this morning to figure out the purpose of these things. It turns out that much speculation exists on the purpose of these crown air fresheners. Here are some of the rumors that have circulated:

1. They're a Black Separatist symbol.
2. African Americans used them to indicate Black ownership, so the car won't be bothered, stolen, or broken into.
3. The number of crowns signifies the car's standing in the drug dealing hierarchy, with more crowns indicating higher status.
4. It was a sick joke stared by the KKK. (HUH? That's a bit much...)

ANYWAY, in the end, my conclusion of this very scientific research project is that it was just a gaudy way to display an air freshener. Simple huh? Weird as a Chia Pet, Baby on Board sign, or the Macarena, but simply a fad that caught on within a particular demographic. Interesting stuff.

I haven't seen one in a long time, but if I do encounter one, I'm gonna rock it in Lady Marmalade!

Love, Mer

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Poor Brit

Dear Britney Spears,

Here was your chance, darling, to jettison the dead weight in your life and start over. You made some bad decisions, but you were given another chance to make your life better - don't waste it! It's not too late - you can still get back on track!

You forgot to to call me - remember, I offered my services a fabulous divorcee consultant? I definitely wouldn't have approved his head-shaving business... And the loser actor-wannabe that looked just like your ex? Not so much.

On another note, you're sure making me feel better about how I handle breakups. Thanks!

Love, Mer

Nancy's New House!

Congrats to Nancy and Aaron, the happy newlyweds, on the purchase of their new home in Cary, North Carolina (incidentally, just named of the most desirable places to live in the U.S. by Money Magazine)! Look at the happy couple and their gorgeous house!

Why don't I live there, again? Didn't I just move there? How did I get back in San Diego, living in my cardboard box for $1000 a month? Hmmmmm..........

Bewilderedly yours, Mer xx

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mer Show Update

Hi guys,

I've been kinda quiet this week with the 3 day weekend and a whole lot of rocks rolling around in my head... But I just wanted to check in with everyone and make an announcement.

I'm very excited to announce that in mid-March, I am planning to add to my family. I'm going to adopt a doggie!! Yep, I'm very excited about it. I've got a lot of extra time and affection to share, and I think a homeless animal would be the perfect recipient.

You all know that I love cats, but with Jasmine's personality and rambunctiousness, she'd drive a cat to dogicide (is that a word?). So I've decided upon a canine. Yea!!!

Anyone have any insight on what kind of doggie I should get? I looked at Westies (West Highland Terriers) and they're super high maintenance... I might just get a mutt! We'll see. I've got about three weeks to think about it and get prepared for motherhood. I can't wait!

Love, Mer

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Susanita, mi Valentinita

My girl Susie sent me Chick Fil A gift certificates today through the mail to wish me a happy Valentine's Day, and I just want to say to her...

Thanks Susie!! You're the best Valentine a girl could ever ask for... :) You know they say the way to a girl's heart is with chicken nuggets... I AGREE!

Love ya, mean it! Mer xx

Peeps says Happy V Day, peeps!

Romantic V Day Article... Um, Not So Much

I'd like to share a little item from my past with you fine folks this Valentine's morning. Back in 1995, when I was at the University of Texas at Austin, I met a charming young man named Jason Kraus. 9 years later, I would divorce him. Meanwhile, Jason was the Associate Editor of the Daily Texan, the school newspaper, and wrote me this... um, sweet... little ditty for V Day. You'd think it would have tipped me off that he and I lived on different planets, but I was 20 years old - what did I know??!!

Enjoy! Love, Mer

For the Perfect Date, Try Laundromat


Forget about that romantic candlelight dinner. For the truly romantic Valentine's Day, stock up on some quarters, show up at the door with a box of Tide and take your date to the Laundromat.

Scoff if you must. Dismiss me as a cold-hearted penny-pincher whose appreciation for true love is exceeded by my passion for a neatly pressed shirt. But before making dinner reservations or slaving over a hot stove, consider the advantages of the laundry date.

Money is the obvious one. A laundry date will cost less than that dinner that you know you can't afford anyway. And considering that Spring Break is less than a month away, the saving is well worth it.

But the issue is not just the money.

This is about intimacy -- something that the candlelight dinner does not provide. The laundry date allows one who is less than three months into a relationship to see a potential partner as he or she will truly be.

Over dinner, couples will engage in witty banter, discussing their classes, mutual friends or almost anything but what they are really thinking, which is: "I wonder what kind of underwear he or she is wearing." To answer this question, a couple has to endure all the complications that go with sleeping together.

With the laundry date, however, the underwear issue is out in the open. The woman doesn't have to guess whether her date is a boxer or a jockey man, and the man can quickly disregard all his fantasies about sexy lingerie when he sees pink pajamas with bunny feet being thrown into the wash.

The laundry date is also the perfect test of character. A man who leaves lint in the dryer for future users will never pick up after himself around the future house. And the woman who carelessly tosses extra quarters in the dryer without checking the load will eventually squander the family nest egg.

Perhaps the best indicator of compatibility is the other person's receptiveness to the laundry date. A man who suggests it obviously is secure with himself and doesn't need to buy affection. And a woman who accepts the laundry date with good humor is the kind of woman who won't yell at her husband when he makes a wrong turn during a road trip with the three screaming children in the back seat.

Consequently, the laundry date provides the perfect testing ground for all the idiosyncrasies that will eventually destroy a relationship years later.

So sure -- you can play it safe, have the romantic dinner and enjoy a pleasant yet forgettable Valentine's Day. Or you can avoid the crowds and seek the adventure of the Laundromat. At absolute worst, it will be an inexpensive and productive evening. And at best, you will be taking an important step toward intimacy and discovery of a potential life partner.

After all, swooning from a dozen roses is expected. Melting at the scent of a date's workout socks -- now that's true love.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentines Day!

Cupid is on his way as we speak from the North Pole, ready to deliver toys to all the little girls and boys! Oh wait, wrong holiday... Sorry. I'm somewhat in denial about it being a day to celebrate love and romance right now, but I'll be as positive as possible, OK?

I'm a little afraid to copy and paste of the things written on this site, so I'll simply post the link. If you're easily offended, please don't read. If you have a sick and twisted sense of humor like me, CHECK THIS OUT!! :)

Dysfunctional Valentines Day Cards -

And happy Valentines Day to all you lovebirds out there! May your day be filled with romantic whispers and sweet surprises.

Love, Mer

Happy First Birthday, Finley Darby!

To my most favorite baby on the planet, Finley Darby,

Happy first birthday! You're the first child that's really gotten under my skin and into my heart and I love you very, very much! You're a special little boy with very special parents, and I just know you're going to have a happy and successful life. I can't wait to watch you bloom, and to celebrate more birthdays with you!!

Please make sure that your mommy sends pictures of you in the birthday outfit I picked out for you, ok? I bet you're going to be very handsome!!

I love you bunches. Love, Auntie Mer

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mama Loves the First Amendment!

Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Country Album - The Dixie Chicks! I love it! I love those women.

And a big, fat middle finger goes out to all the the DC haters! Obviously the country is ready to accept that they may not have exercised great taste in their statement that they were ashamed to be from the same place as George W. Bush, but they did have the right to exercise their right to free speech! It definitely a night of sweet vindication for the trio of Texas cuties that, like me, can't keep their mouths shut, and don't have to do so!

Now we just have to the pull the big stick out of the cornholes of all the country music stations who still refuse to play their music. They're being ridiculous! Meanwhile, I'll burn a copy of my disc for any of you that want one. Just kidding, FCC! :)

Love, Mer

Friday, February 09, 2007

New Recipe!

I've got a yummy one for you guys... I found this gem on The Fallen Souffle - one of the blogs to which I subscribe... I made this one this week and it was really, really good. I actually used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter instead of real butter; the taste was fantastic, but the breading didn't stay on the chicken as well as I had hoped... I definitely recommend using real butter.

Have a great weekend, everyone! My new car should be here Monday, so I'll spend this weekend making my "to do when the car gets here" list!

Love, Mer

Parmesean Chicken

1 clove garlic, minced

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 1/4 pound), melted

1 cup dried bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

A large pinch of Italian seasoning (herb mix)

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 lbs of skinless, boneless, chicken meat, cut into pieces no larger than 2x2 inches

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the melted butter. In another bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat.

Place coated chicken pieces on to a 9x13 baking dish. Try to leave a little room between each piece. Drizzle with remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Note that the chicken will get much more browned on the bottom side than on the top.

Serves 4-6.

Can Someone Please Shut Him Up?

Charlie, you know I love ya, but can you please stop glamorizing gambling addition? That's soooooooooo uncool! Thanks. Love, Mer

Barkley claims lucky weekend in Las Vegas

PHOENIX (AP) - Charles Barkley said Monday that he won "about $700,000" gambling in Las Vegas over the weekend.

"That was all profit (from) blackjack and I bet on the Super Bowl. I had the Colts," Barkley said in an interview with Phoenix television station KTVK. "I played a lot of blackjack."

Barkley did not say how much be bet on Sunday's game in which Indianapolis beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Miami.

In an ESPN interview in May 2006, Barkley estimated that he'd lost about $10 million gambling over the years.

He said Monday that he lost $2.5 million "in a six-hour period" one night last year.

"It's a stupid, bad habit. I have a problem," Barkley said. "But the problem is when you can't afford it. I can afford to gamble. I didn't kill myself when I lost two and half million dollars... I like to gamble and I'm not going to quit."

Barkley, who lives in the Phoenix area, was elected to the Hall of Fame last year.

He averaged 22.1 points and nearly 12 rebounds in a 16-year career that included stops in Philadelphia, Phoenix and Houston. He was the league's MVP in 1993 with the Suns, and he won gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as part of the original U.S. Dream Team.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Goodbye Anna Nicole Smith

Well, it's official - I'm am now the biggest drama queen in the world, since Anna sadly passed away today at the age of 39. She always had me beat, but I guess I'm the lone queen of drama now.

It's so sad that someone with so much beauty and charisma turned her life into such a crazy debacle (and an inspiration not to let mine spiral out of control). She started out as a small town Texas girl, became a stripper, married an octogenarian, buried him, became the 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year, went to the Supreme Court to fight for her husband's estate, filmed a reality show, lost a ton of weight, had a new baby, buried her son, "married" her lawyer in a non-legal ceremony, endured a nasty paternity fight regarding the baby, and was just sued YESTERDAY for her role in TrimSpa's misrepresentation of its products. What a life! I guess noone can say she didn't pack in a lot of experience in her short 39 years... I will definitely give her credit for living life to the fullest and doing the best she could for her children.

I hope Anna finds a sense of peace in the afterlife, because clearly she didn't find it here on earth. And may her poor little daughter escape the same fate as her struggling mother. I'll be interested to see how the custody fight plays out now between her "husband" and ex-boyfriend, who both claim paternity of the baby.

Anyway, have a good weekend, everyone! Love, Mer

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Meet Lady Marmalade

For those of you that know me well, ever since I got to California, I've had the worst troubles with cars!!! There was, of course, the sweet blue Jetta that I totaled tragically while barreling through an intersection in Hillcrest (I cracked the engine when it bottomed out) - she was my favorite car and I felt horrible to have put her to her death. Then, there was Carmen Maria Gaviota (means seagull in Spanish) Ortega - the white Jetta; she was a 'no bells and whistles' version of the blue Jetta, made in Mexico (henceforth the name). She was a good car - drove me all the way from San Diego to Raleigh, NC! We had some good times, but she stayed in North Carolina when I came back home to SD.

For the last year, I've been driving KT's sister's Mazda 626. Although it was a nice car and I was extremely grateful to drive it, it was disastrous having something that could be taken away in a moment of heated anger (which KT and I had often). So now, it's time for The Mer Show to get some wheels.

Everyone, I'm pleased to introduce Lady Marmalade - my new Honda Accord. She was purchased in Houston today, and should be on her way out here in the next week. I'm so excited and eagerly await her arrival to mama. Watch out, America - The Mer Show is mobile again!!!

I do have to thank my parents for helping me with this purchase - they shopped, negotiated, and made the deal for me in Houston. We've certainly had our problems, but it's nice to know that when I need their help, they'll step up to the plate for me. Thanks Mom and Dad!!!!!

Love, Mer

Saturday, February 03, 2007


2004 - 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

In Preparation For the Weekend

I want to make a recommendation to all you moviegoers out there. Last night I went to see Babel and it was fantastic! The premise is an accident that occurred in Morocco, which prompted reactions and ramifications for several families across several continents. The cinematography was absolutely brilliant, and I felt the acting was as supurb. One aspect of the film that I particularly liked was the display of human emotions from joy and love to horrible pain - both physical and emotional. All the characters, despite age, ethnicity, or religion, experienced the same human emotions and experiences, and made the world seem a whole lot smaller. If you can find time to sit through a 2 hour and 20 minute movie, I definitely recommend making the time for it!

In other action this weekend, we have the big Super Bowl. Honestly, I couldn't care less about either team, so I'll be heading to a super bowl party simply for the comaraderie! :)

I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend! Love, Mer

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Groundhog Day - February 2nd

So Friday, February 2nd is Groundhog Day - the day that Punxsutawney Phil, in Punxsutawney, PA comes forth from his hibernation spot and forecasts how many more weeks of winter we have left. I don't really think it applies to us West Coasties, but I like the tradition, nonetheless.

Germans were the first to inhabit this area of the U.S., and they found groundhogs to resemble hedgehogs, whom they considered very wise animals (uh, ok?). Apparently, groundhogs innately come out of their holes in spring, and if they see sun, they go back to hibernate for 6 more weeks; if rainy and cloudy, they come out of hibernation in expectation of spring. So back in the late 19th century, the Germans considered the judgment of the groundhog so sound that they followed his lead. To commemorize these beliefs, they made up the following saying, hereby launching the American tradition of Groundhog Day:

"For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May."

Over the course of Punxsutawney Phil's life, he's experienced the following highlights:
  • During Prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn't allowed a drink.

  • In 1981 Phil wore a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages in Iran.

  • He traveled to Washington DC in 1986 to meet with President Reagan.

  • Phil appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1995.

  • In the last 20 years, crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney!

I personally just like the movie Groundhog Day - just watched it again recently and it was pretty darn funny.

Anyway, happy forecasting Phil! Let's see spring early this year, shall we?

Love, Mer