Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year

I would like to wish everyone an early Happy New Year, since I may not have internet access until after the holiday.

Or then again, I might. My home computer was fried a while back in a lightning strike, along with the phone, answering machine and VCR. (But hey--my neighbor's house caught ON FIRE, so I got off lightly, I think.) My friend Bill offered to fix it for me gratis. (One of his several jobs is actually computer technician; I'm not handing off the computer to a floral designer or something. "Well, it's not working, but I love the ribbon you've chosen." Hee.) Which of course was a lovely offer. Naturally, there are generally strings attached to "free," which in this case were that he is one of the busiest people I know, and it took him some time to get to it. Which is cool. I spend all day on a computer, so it's rare that I actually MUST have a computer at home. Of course lately I've had a couple of long weekends (snow, holidays) where it would have been nice. At any rate, he fixed the power supply (and cleaned out a goodly amount of cat hair--oops) and ascertained that the internal modem is fried AGAIN. (Those things must be very fragile, as this also happened in a storm a couple of years ago. That time he had an extra modem laying around; this time no such luck.) No problem, I said, I happen to have an external modem bought for a different computer; I'll just hook it up. He thought he had the appropriate cable, and dropped it and the computer off late last week. Well, the cable he brought was female, and let me just tell you that the v.92 modem is also female, and is NOT a fan of hot girl-on-girl action. The v.92 modem is a traditionalist, and she wants a cable with boy parts. Hee. So I ordered what I thought was the appropriate cable (based on my vendor's sometimes inadequate descriptions), it was also wrong, ordered ANOTHER cable, which arrived today and appears to be right, so maybe by this evening I'll have internet access at home once again. Fingers crossed.

I also have to hook up the new TV I bought last night after the cable company told me the problems I'd been having were within the TV, and NOT their problem. (Maybe stemming from the lightning strike, as well? Hmm...) They also tried to charge me for the service call, after the customer service rep specifically told me there would be no charge, as I had some sort of insurance (news to me, but I thought maybe that's part of why it's so danged expensive these days). I threw a little hissyfit about that, of course, and the charge was removed from my bill. I can be a bitch when I have to be.

At any rate, I will spend some part of the weekend unplugging and replugging and hooking and unhooking cables, which I just hate to do. There's no easy way to access the back of the computer or the back of the TV, so I'll have to crouch uncomfortably, undoubtedly amongst some nice cat hair tumbleweeds, trying not to get mired in the approximately 187' of coaxial cable the idiot technician who came out the last time saw fit to leave swirling back behind the entertainment center. If you don't hear from me in a few days, please send help--I may be trapped on the floor, tangled in wires, hungry and thirsty, and probably in danger of being eaten by equally hungry cats. You know, that actually doesn't sound all that much worse than my last few New Year's Eves. I'll just hum a few bars of Auld Lang Syne, kiss whichever cat is gnawing my face off, and call it good.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I quiz because I'm bored.

Your SAT Score of 1390 Means:

You Scored Higher Than Howard Stern
You Scored Higher Than George W. Bush
You Scored Higher Than Al Gore
You Scored Higher Than David Duchovny
You Scored Lower Than Natalie Portman
You Scored Lower Than Bill Gates

Your IQ is most likely in the 130-140 range

Equivalent ACT score: 31

Schools that Fit Your SAT Score:
Brown University
Northwestern University
Carnegie Mellon University
Cornell University
Reed College

Well, they're right. My ACT score WAS exactly 31. I'm nothing if not consistent. But while I'm pleased to have beaten out David Duchovny and Al Gore, I sure wish I could have taken down that little Natalie Portman. Hee.

And whoo hoo, I beat Dubya. What score wouldn't have done that? to do a little investigating. Be right back.

Okay, anything over 1206 will beat Bush. Little Natalie didn't beat me by much--she came in at 1400. Bill Gates was near perfect--1590. (And still I have to reboot my computer a couple of times a week. Why, Bill, why? Maybe if he'd just managed those extra 10 points. Heh.) And Howard Stern--must have been cutting up during class a lot. He managed a mere 1000.

Too sleepy to come up with a real blog entry?

I'd say this is pretty much true for me.

You Have Your Sarcastic Moments

While you're not sarcastic at all times, you definitely have a cynical edge.
In your opinion, not all people are annoying. Some are dead!
And although you do have your genuine moments, you can't help getting your zingers in.
Some people might be a little hurt by your sarcasm, but it's more likely they think you're hilarious.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It was good, thanks. And yours?

That's the answer to the question of the day. My Christmas was fine, actually. Not earth-shatteringly, life-changingly wonderful, but perfectly pleasant. The weather cooperated (sorry for all you folks who were wanting white, but the sunny blue sky was festive enough for me), nice gifts were exchanged, good food was eaten, there was pumpkin pie, A Christmas Story was watched, Indian food was eaten on Christmas Eve...what more could you ask for?

Do you want a list of gifts received? You do? Okay, then.

Purchased for myself with a bit of my (bigger than usual) Christmas bonus: a small pair of diamond stud earrings, white gold, princess cut. I have four holes in each ear; I wear small studs in the top three. I already had little round diamonds for the top hole on each side, and I decided I wanted a differently shaped pair for the next lower holes when I saw that they were on a tremendous "doorbuster" sale until noon, and it was then 11:35. I had no choice, really, did I? (Note: I wear small studs in all the upper holes NOW, but back in the day, I used to wear a different dangly earring, some quite long, in each hole. There were also a lot of shoulder pads and granny boots involved in my "look" at the time. And very loud eye shadow colors. I was very cool. Shut up--I was. It was the 80s!)

Purchased for myself with the gift card given to me by the company owner: a cool brushed silver and copper bracelet, and a small pair of brushed silver earrings. Very pretty. (But fie on "sounds like Millards" for not having a post-Christmas jewelry sale. I paid full price, which I try NEVER to do.)

Gifts from family:

"I Like You: Entertaining Under the Influence" by Amy Sedaris. This was tops on my wish list, and while I'm only a few pages in, I can tell you it is hilarious. She's crazy, that Amy, in the most delightful way.

DVDs of "Best in Show," "Waiting for Guffman," and "A Mighty Wind." All of which I have seen numerous times, of course, but I plan to watch them numerous more times, and now don't have to depend on the programming caprices of my local cable company for my mockumentary needs.

Clothes. Pants, shirts, jacket. Black, white, purple, red. My mother, she knows my preferred color palette.

A gift box set of Sarah Jessica Parker's "Lovely." Which does smell lovely. I'm not always instantly drawn to celebrity fragrances, but for some reason, Sarah Jessica Parker seems to me like she would smell good. (Carrie Bradshaw, on the other hand, seems like she would smell like stale smoke and hangover.) So I gave it a sniff in the perfume aisle the other day, liked it, put it on my Christmas list. I have not ever, and will NEVER, let my nose anywhere near any fragrance having any connection to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez or Celine Dion. I have my sniffing standards. (Really, why would anyone in the world CHOOSE to smell like Paris Hilton? That stench can't be good.)

A lovely little silver embroidered silk wallet.

A tiger's-eye and silver necklace and earring set. Very pretty. (Yes, I'm a jewelry whore. I get it from my mother. We loves the sparkly.)

And a little gift bag full of all the cosmetic items my Avon Lady mother generally provides for me.

Pretty nice haul. Nothing that needs to be returned or exchanged, even if I were the sort of person to do that, which I'm generally not.

My sometimes cantankerous car made the trip home and back with no crankiness--always a blessing.

I had the day after Christmas off, which I usually don't.

So, all in all, no complaints! It was as pleasant a Christmas as I've had in a while. I hope that each and every one of you had a happy and joyous day with your own family/friends.

What'd you get?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry, merry!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Kwanzaa and Festive Festivus and Swingin' Solstice and all-around warm holiday fuzzies to all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I'm dreaming of a brown Christmas, personally.

Every year about this time, people start wistfully saying "Oh, I wish we could have a white Christmas." I want to smack these people. Seriously, I almost threw something through my television screen when one of the anchors said it last week. Fortunately for my immediate television viewing needs, the meteorologist immediately replied "Well, you can keep on dreaming." (Fortunate for my cats, too, since they would have been the only thing handy to throw. Hee.) Oh, I suppose I used to be one of "those people." Though we've never been prone to white Christmases here, the thought is nice. It seems magical, doesn't it? Snuggling up with your loved ones next to a beautifully decorated tree, sighing over a cup of hot (possibly spiked) cocoa and gazing out the window at the beautiful snowflakes, each one so delightfully different from the next. A storybook image, no question.

Okay, that's the storybook. Here's the reality. Or MY reality, at any rate. Your mileage may vary. Some people live alone, sans loved ones for snuggling (okay, the pets DO count, of course, but that's not what we're talking here). Some people have to travel on Christmas to be with their loved ones. Only 75 miles, in my case, but still, travelling is required before loved ones are even remotely within snuggling range. Not that I would actually snuggle with my parents or siblings, but let's call it metaphorical snuggling. Emotional snuggling, perhaps.

Several years ago, a nasty storm blew in late on Christmas Eve. My parents had come to town earlier in the day to pick up my brother at the airport. The meteorologists were making dire predictions, so I insisted my parents take all my gifts to the family back with them that night, in case I was unable to make it the next morning. (If you're wondering, I couldn't go then and spend the night, as I had no one to take care of my animals. For the record, I also had requested that they bring MY gifts to me, so I could have some sort of Christmas if the dire predictions panned out, but they refused. "We won't have Christmas at all until you're here." Ha.) I went to bed that night with snow on the ground, and awoke the next morning to find the streets covered with at least 2 inches of ice. Sheer, glazed, slippery black ice. I stepped onto the sidewalk to test it, and realized that unless I was planning to skate the 75 miles home, I wasn't going anywhere. Not the 75 miles to my parents, not even across town. This was before I had a cellphone, and there was just NO WAY I was venturing out in that. I resigned myself to a day spent alone.

Have I mentioned that my cantankerous floor furnace had stopped working a couple of days earlier, and the repair guy was out-of-town for the holidays? That it was something like 10 degrees outside and I was heating the entire house with 2 small space heaters? No? Well, that was the case, and it really added to my holiday spirit. Praying that the ice wouldn't break just the wrong power line and leave me completely in the cold/dark, I pulled out the sofabed, layered blankets and sleeping bags, put one heater on each side and closed up the rest of the house. The animals and I snuggled into a giant mass on the sofabed and turned on TNT's 24 hours of A Christmas Story marathon. (Okay, that part wasn't bad. The snuggling critters and Ralphie.)

I called my parents, and was assured that there would be NO Christmas until I could be there to join them. Yeah, right. I told them to go ahead, no reason to ruin everyone's Christmas, and was told emphatically that THERE WOULD BE NO CHRISTMAS until I could join them. Sure. An hour or so later, my mother called to ask if I would mind very much if they went ahead and cooked the turkey, etc. I TOLD YOU TO GO AHEAD. A few minutes later, another call. Would I mind very much if they went ahead and opened presents after all? I TOLD YOU TO GO AHEAD.

It was a long day. My aunt and cousin called--they also were snowed in (albeit together) and were trying to make a festive meal out of the contents of a cupboard not planned to provide such. We all managed a few giggles at our plight. Eventually the day passed, the periodic naps became full-on sleep and Christmas was over.

Not the most stellar Christmas ever, wouldn't you agree? So the next time you find yourself wishing for a white Christmas, remember--someone else might get what you wish for.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Who/what am I, anyway?

Well, I finally got around to updating my sidebar to include links to some of the lovely and talented bloggers I've been reading lately. Now I'm fighting that nagging feeling that there's someone I've missed...well, if so I can add it later. Next I need to alphabetize them, and then there's always the "About" section to be improved. One thing at a time.

I've been thinking about self-identity. How do you identify yourself? Does what you "are" have any direct correlation to what you "do"? It doesn't, for me, currently. I consider myself a singer and an actress. That's what I've studied and trained for--but it's never been my primary source of income. The reasons for that are varied--it can be a hard way to eke out a living, if you don't want to teach (which I don't), and don't want to live with half a dozen other people in a shoebox of an apartment (which I don't), and aren't particularly lucky when it comes to being in the right place at the right time with the right look, etc. (which I've never been). It makes it a little complicated to answer the standard opening conversational gambit "What do you do?" I usually end up stammering out something about how I'm an singer/actress but to pay the bills I (insert day job here). It's not a very satisfactory answer, but it serves, I suppose. I'm finding myself sort of...irritated lately when people hear me sing or see me onstage and ask why I'm not doing that professionally. Maybe it's not so much irritation as frustration. Why AREN'T I doing what I love for a living? Of course, I know all my reasons and they're valid (umm...because I like to eat?), but still it's frustrating, you know? When I was young enough to have the energy to pursue that sort of dream, I really didn't think I had the talent. And in retrospect, I think I was right. I didn't. Now I know I do have the talent, but I for damn sure don't have the energy. Catch-22. Maybe the answer for young wannabes is to blind them with your youth and energy (no I did NOT say vagina, Miss Lohan!) until your talents have a chance to mature. At any rate, I've made a sort of compromise with myself. I no longer take jobs that will get in the way of doing what I love. I won't work nights or weekends. I want to be free to do a play or take a singing gig without worrying about losing my rent money. And maybe eventually I'll stop getting those little twinges in my heart when well-meaning people say "You're as good as anyone I've ever heard," or "Why aren't you doing this for a living?" 'Cause truthfully, I hope I NEVER stop hearing those things. They gratify me as much as they frustrate me.

I know I'm not alone in struggling with these feelings. My brother has for years played trumpet in one of the military bands. It's really the only job he's had as an adult. He's planning to take retirement next year and he's freaking out a little bit. Good orchestral jobs are increasingly hard to come by, and he's never done anything else. "What the hell am I gonna do now?" he asks. I'll tell you what you're gonna do, big brother. You're gonna keep playing the trumpet, 'cause that's who you ARE, and you're gonna do whatever else you need to do to keep a roof over your head and food on your table and kibble in your dog bowls! And you (hopefully) are going to be damned thankful you were able to do what you loved for so long without having to ask those questions, and thankful for your military pension, 'cause that's SOOO going to help! (And no, I don't really get to be jealous about that, because years ago when he suggested I try out for one of the military bands as a vocalist I laughed long and hard, because me in the military? So not going to happen.)

Okay, this has been long and rambling and no doubt boring as hell, but I really am curious. How do YOU identify yourselves? Many of you are such wonderful writers and photographers, etc., but don't necessarily make your living that way. Do you think of yourselves as writers, at your core? At the most basic level, how do you finish the sentence "I am a _______"? Certainly I do know a few people who can finish that sentence with their actual occupation. "I am a veterinarian." "I am a doctor." "I am an engineer." But I also seem to know an awful lot of people like me. Musicians, writers, actors, artists at their core, doing whatever it takes to get by. Maybe we should just all stop asking each other "So, what do you do?" and start asking "What do you love to do?" or "What are you compelled to do?" I can't help but think the answers would be more interesting.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Today's post brought to you by the letter "D"

Okay, here it is. The letter meme, in particular, D, wherein I will list 10 things I love beginning with D. D is a great letter, since it allows me to start with:

1. Dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, fat dogs, skinny dogs, black dogs, yellow dogs, spotted dogs. But, most particularly, big, goofy Doberman mixes who think they're lap dogs. (That would be my dog Pudge, of course.) And I'm also particularly partial to scruffy little terrier mixes and big-headed black dogs. (It's been almost a year since I lost my big-headed black Sadie to lung cancer and I still miss her sooo much. Sniff.)

2. David Sedaris. He makes me laugh so hard. I once waited in line for several hours, hungover, going on about 3 hours of sleep, to get his autograph. I wouldn't do that for just anyone. Maybe also for his sister, Amy. I want to go to a Sedaris family reunion--can you imagine what an interesting time that would be?

3. Durang, Christopher. My favorite playwright, hands down. There is a perfect part for me in every one of his plays, of which I have done several. It's sort of a joke in this town how much I love him, but I don't care. Some day I WILL play Mrs. Seizmagraff in Betty's Summer Vacation. I already did Sister Mary Ignatius, so Betty's my next big goal.

4. Dive bars. Dark, a little grungy, maybe the floors look like they haven't been swept in a while, but nobody's pretentious and the liquor is cheap. (And the women cheaper! Thank you, I'll be here all week.)

5. Dove bars. Dark chocolate, of course. Mmm...crunchy dark chocolate, smooth, cool ice cream, and the little wooden stick is wide at the base to get a good grip.

6. Daily shower spray. Method brand. I haven't scrubbed my shower or tub in 2 years. Shut up--because I don't NEED to, not because I don't mind my shower looking like I'm auditioning for "Hey America, Look at My Filth!" or whatever those shows are called where an "expert" comes in to transform you from the total pig that you are, so that you can live happily and cleanly everafter. Do they do follow-up shows on those people? 'Cause I'd give most of them 2 months, tops, before they're living in squalor again.

7. Daffodils. So bright and sunny and happy. And an arbiter of spring, my favorite season.

8. Dad. He's maybe the most stubborn man I know, but he's also the first person I call with "How do I..." and "What should I..." questions, to which he generally ALWAYS knows the answers.

9. Dave Carter. My favorite singer/songwriter/banjo player. He died a few years ago, but his music lives on. I only met him in person once, but that's all it took to know what a special, wonderful person he was. His partner Tracy Grammer continues to perform his music. You should check her out. And him. And them.

10. Daily Show, The. I don't need to elaborate, do I? You all know the wondrousness that is Jon Stewart and crew, right? I will just say that there is a great injustice in this world, waiting to be righted, and that will only happen when Jon is finally named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.

Okay, there's 10. I'm sure there are many other D-things I love, and I will think of them immediately upon hitting "Publish Post." But for now, there you have it!

Like diamonds. And dairy products. And Dempsey, Patrick. See, just hovering my mouse above the button made those leap out. Dolmas. The word "dirigible." (Fun to say!) Okay, I'm stopping now, for real.

Dill pickles!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Product endorsement

I was going to jump on the "10 things beginning with the letter" meme train today, but that will have to wait until Monday. That will give me time to come up with more than "Duh, duh, duh" for the letter "D" assigned to me by stefanie.

For today, I will simply make a ringing product endorsement. If your sweet, docile little housecat turns into a raging saber-toothed, dagger-clawed demon from hell at the mere sound of the rattling of a bottle of pills, save yourself some time (and blood) and get yourself some Pill Pockets. These things are magical. They're squishy little treats with holes in them--pop the pill in, seal it inside, nonchalantly hand it to the cat as if it were just a treat, and they will gobble it down, pill and all. Apparently they're quite delicious. And no shredding of the hands! This morning my kitten Babs (whose recent sneezing turned into full-on wheezing and who required a trip to the vet--Merry Christmas to me) hid under the bed, fearing (rightfully) that I was seeking to poke yet another something in her mouth. (What--she didn't like the yummy banana-flavored Clavamox elixir?) She would not be coaxed out. So I simply placed the antihistamine in the Pill Pocket and casually rolled it under the bed. Instantly she pounced upon the yummy treat. Pill taken! While under the bed! It's a miracle! I'm actually a really good cat piller, generally, but there's always the occasional cat whose sole purpose in life is to make a bad situation worse, so for that reason, I'm now a Pill Pocket enthusiast! They come in two flavors, and are also available for dogs. I've never had a dog who was difficult to pill--stick it in cream cheese and you can get them to eat ANYthing, in my experience, but the option is there, if your dog is not as PERFECT as mine. Hee.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

All spam, all the time.

I've been shamefully neglectful of my spammers lately. And they've been doing such good work! So here are some of my favorites.

"Kris Montoya" says: "Sitting already hurt; the pain would be monstrous by the time she got back, even if she hurried."

Yowza, I don't think I even want to know what happened to cause such pain while sitting.

From "Hovsep Shakespeare" (obviously a descendant of the bard): "Hagrid proceeded to explain that the reason the skrewts had been killing one another was an excess of pent-up energy, and that the solution would be for each student to fix a leash on a skrewt"

Thank god for Hagrid. No good can EVER come from an excess of pent-up skrewt energy, in my experience!

"Bessie Arthur" (which I'm going to go ahead and assume is a non de plume for Bea Arthur) pens this little masterpiece: "Then she came down again, more slowly, dragging something that sounded soft and heavy. The wheelchair thumped against the right side of the doorway and bounced back a little. Her hands snapped open, hooked shut into solid rocklike fists, then snapped open again. For an instant he could feel the thump of her pulse, and his face twisted in revulsion."

Something soft and heavy.....the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man, perhaps?

"Harland Beasley" notes: "He saw drying drips and splashes - again, mostly of ice-cream - on the rug and couch."

It's the "again" that gets me. Someone spilled the ice cream AGAIN? How often does this happen?

"In desperation he pushed back the blankets with his hands for the first time, hoping against hope that it wasnt as bad as the shapes the blankets made seemed to suggest it was. There, within plain sight, was salvation: all he had to do was break the window and the dog-lock the bitch had put on his tongue and scream Help me, help me, save me from Annie! Beside it was a ceramic ashtray with a paddlewheel excursion boat printed on the bottom encircled by the words, SOUVENIR OF HANNIBAL, MISSOURI - HOME OF AMERICAS STORY TELLER! There was an old strip of towelling hung from a hook in the entryway, and after hanging up his dripping coat and removing his boots, he used it to towel his dark-blonde hair dry"

Damn you, "Debra Bland!" Don't leave me hanging! WHAT WAS UNDER THE BLANKETS?

"In order to benefit from this lucrative opportunity you need to get in now, before the big news release. There's still time, but not much. The news could be out as early as Tuesday, November 13th. THIS is the one you've been waiting for! Do yourself a favor and make that big score!"

Ah, hell! It's already December. Thanks for nothing, "Vivian Villalobos!"

None of this poetry nonsense for "Bandhani Fernando." Nope, ol' Bandhani is pure prose:

"You Love Big tits? But Girls love big thing! If you don't have one - GET ONE! Not only a larger prick will make you feel better, it will make you look better!"

Yeah, I know that's the first thing I look at when I meet a guy. Skip the "nice to meet you"--it's eyes straight to the groin! Though, you know, if a girl is truly that desperate for a "big thing" I believe she can pick one of those up at her local adult "bookstore" in a variety of colors and sizes. And hey, wait...might this have a connection to the "painful sitting" from earlier? Hee!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm so sad.

Rest in peace, Peter.

I can give no better compliment than this: you made me laugh.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I rarely carry cash. That makes it easy to turn away panhandlers and bellringers with a clear conscience. "Sorry, I don't have any cash." Today I actually had cash on me, though after I paid for my delicious takeout falafel and tabouli at lunch, I had only a twenty and a single one. As I approached my car a homeless-looking man began spritzing and wiping my very dirty windshield. I felt a brief flicker of irritation--he didn't even ASK first! (And confusion--this doesn't happen regularly in Tulsa. The panhandlers NEVER want to "work for food," despite their placards to the contrary.) Then I realized that, after the recent inclement weather, my windshield was very, VERY dirty and that whatever magical elixir he had in his beat-up Febreze bottle, it was doing a very good job of cleaning. So I let him finish, and handed him the single dollar (what? you think I'm handing over a twenty?) with a smile. He grunted thanks and walked off. (I don't think the grunt was necessarily meant to be unpleasant--he seemed to have difficulty speaking.) But as he walked off I was wishing I'd had a five. Compared to my sparkling (and completely streak-free--what WAS that magic elixir?) windshield, my side windows and back windshield looked like Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze after their pot-throwing love scene. I didn't feel that $1 and a smile merited a more thorough window cleaning, so I regretfully drove off less than completely fulfilled. Sigh. I suppose I could go home and clean the rest of the windows myself. Or only look forward while I drive. Yeah, that's easier.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What a delightful weekend.

And I'm not even being facetious. I did have a delightful weekend, more or less.

On the second Saturday of the month, every month for about the last 10 years, a group of women who all met doing animal rescue meet for lunch at the same restaurant. I call it the Cat Lady Lunch, even though there's one member who has only dogs. It's a standing date, and it's always fun, but our December gathering is always really fun, because over the years we have somehow developed a tradition wherein everyone brings small gifts for everyone else. I'm not sure how it happened, actually--we didn't start out doing it, and nothing was ever "officially" decreed, but however it happened, it's great. It's like opening a Christmas stocking--nothing elaborate or expensive, but since there are usually about a dozen of us, everyone goes home with 11 or so small gifts. Lip balms, mints, CHOCOLATE of course, ornaments, candles, various cat-themed tchotchkes, etc. We eat lots of food, make probably a bit too much noise, and draw attention to ourselves, but no one seems to mind. It's a great group of bright, funny, compassionate women, some of whom have MORE CATS THAN ME. Seriously, that's part of what makes it so great. We're all crazy in the same way. A person could admit to having half-a-dozen cats and the response is likely to be "Is THAT all?" Hee. We also talk about our lives, our jobs, our politics, but mostly it's about the animals. You can casually mention your cat's diarrhea problem while everyone is eating, and nobody bats an eye! We share solutions, compare vets, and we have on occasion done it while all wearing silly hats. It's the one place no one will judge you strange for admitting how deeply you still grieve for an animal who died years ago. The funniest thing is how often people at nearby tables stop by on their way out to say "I heard you talking about cats/dogs--here's a picture of my Fluffy/Fido. Isn't she/he adorable?"

Anyway, buoyed with Christmas spirit on my way home from lunch, I stopped at the Christmas tree lot and bought my "Charlie Brown" tree. It's adorable. I decorated with nothing but lights, and so far the cats aren't overly interested. Timmy did curl up to take a nap underneath it like a sweet little orange-wrapped present, but nobody's attempted (yet) to climb it.

Sunday morning I sang one of my favorite seasonal songs at church, and a friend (who I hadn't seen in weeks, and who'd never heard me sing) and her young son, and my parents (who have heard me sing a million times, but apparently never get tired of it--hee) all came to listen. It was lovely to have them there. My parents took me out for lunch afterwards to atone for standing me up on Thanksgiving, and that was lovely, too.

Then I went home and took a nap. Ahh....yummy, yummy nap. The weekend was marred only by the fact that nearly every cat in my house is sneezing. I took one to the vet a few days ago, and apparently somebody blew some germs on him while he was there. It doesn't seem to be anything serious, so I've just been poking antihistamines down every cat I can. Which is easier with some of them than others--Ruthie is now my very favoritest cat, and Magda can go bite me. Which, uh, actually is exactly what she's trying to do. Ahh, nothing wakes you up in the morning quite as efficiently as a snotty-nosed cat lying on your chest, dripping his snot delicately onto your face. Hee. Poor babies. I shouldn't make fun. I don't like sneezing and dripping, either. Which is why I take my pills like a big girl. ;)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sweet dreams

I've always had very vivid dreams. Often they're just like a movie--they have plots, camera angles, blackouts and fades. Sometimes I'm a character in them, sometimes I'm an actor playing a character. Those are kind of fun 'cause I know I'm acting, and I'm going to wake up, and I needn't get too stressed about any less-than-desirable plot twists. They often co-star famous people. Sometimes, they fail to rise to the level of "film" and--much like my life-- resemble a poorly written sitcom. Last night's was pretty much a standard rom-com. I was playing myself in this one. Steve Martin was playing himself, as well. Hee.

Basically, Steve and I were a pair of star-crossed lovers, meeting every few years, feeling the vibe, and yet never in the right place at the right time. Our first meeting was when the father of one of my elementary-through-high school friends (a real person, though I haven't thought about her in years, and don't know why she suddenly popped up in my dreamland) hired him to do his early standup act at one of her birthday parties. (That never happened in real life, of course, though she did always have good birthday parties.) We clicked immediately, naturally (the famous people who star in my dreams always just love me), danced, flirted, and then regretfully parted ways, as I was heading off to college soon and just too young to get seriously involved. We met again a few years later--I ran into him somewhere and we both remembered our initial meeting, clicked again, of course, but for some reason couldn't undertake an actual relationship, though there was, of course, some necking. (This was pretty much a PG-13 dream, dang it.) On it went. We met a couple more times through the years--more flirting, more kissy-face--but always something keeping us apart. (Damn you, fate! *Shakes fist at the sky*) And then, finally, the last big scene. I run into him again. We're both much older. We've both failed to find that ONE TRUE LOVE we're meant to be with. But this time, this time, he's with a fairly attractive, much younger woman. Sob. He's delighted to see me, though, and invites me to join them for a drink. She's wearing a good-sized sparkler on her all-important finger and talking animatedly about wedding plans. I am crushed, CRUSHED, I tell you, but decide to probe her for details in an effort to gain some closure. She excitedly answers questions about flowers, dresses and cake, as I grow more and more (visibly) dejected, and Steve infuriatingly smiles like a fool. And then, and then, the denouement: She's his ASSISTANT! Steve is generously paying for her wedding, to her hometown boyfriend in OHIO! He knew the whole time that I thought he was the intended bridegroom, but let me go on thinking it, since he knew how much sweeter it would be when I found out that finally, finally, our paths had crossed at the right time! And then we fell rapturously into each other's arms. Of course, this being a PG-13 movie, it ended before we actually got to consummate our newly re-found love. Drat. And hee.

So, anybody care to do a dream analysis on THAT? Do I just want to marry a movie star? (And yes, for the record, I have always found Steve Martin to be attractive. So it's not like I dreamed a romantic comedy for myself with Kid Rock or K-Fed or Toby Keith. Shudder.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

At least the house wasn't destroyed.

Well, when I went home for lunch, the kitties had been sleeping, so not too much destruction. Which is a good thing, since I was NOT in the mood for it. I seem to be easily irritated today. Ahh...looking at the calendar, I see perhaps there is a hormonal reason for that. Or maybe it's that work has been insanely busy. Anyway...

My mother called a few minutes ago, reminding me that they're in town taking my nearly blind aunt to an eye appointment. (PSA: If you're diabetic--keep on top of it! Don't think you might not have to pay later.) Casually mentioned: my dad had a brain scan this morning--didn't she tell me? NO. Why is he having a brain scan? Just a precaution; he's had a little memory loss, which was also news to me. "Did they find one?" I couldn't help but ask. We both laughed. I hope it's nothing, just a cautious doctor, but it makes me realize that my parents really are getting older. They started their family young, so I've pretty much always had the youngest parents of any of my friends. I'm just not ready to start dealing with aging parents. I'm not, damn it! I want them young and healthy. You'd think the fact that I recently had to get reading glasses, and occasionally have a little bursitis in my hip, might have clued me to the fact that I'M certainly getting older, therefore....but nope. I might be moving quickly into middle age (whatever THAT is, these days), but my parents must always be young and vital. I did have a great-great uncle who lived to be 102 and did his own yard work until his last couple of years, so perhaps we've all got some good years left. Fingers crossed! (Owww...was that a twinge of the rheumatiz? Hee.)

And now, a meme stolen from Guinness Girl, who stole it from Jasclo.

In a word

Yourself: tired
Your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse: nonexistent
Your hair: unruly
Your mother: wonderful
Your father: stubborn
Your favorite item: pets
Your dream last night: fuzzy
Your favorite drink: iced tea
Your dream car: Prius
The room you are in: office
Your ex: which?
Your fear: loneliness
What you want to be in 10 years: alive
Who you hung out with last night: pets
What you're not: svelte (sigh)
Muffins: blueberry
One of your wish list items: dictionary
Time: fast
The last thing you did: took order
What you are wearing: clothes
Your favorite weather: spring
Your favorite book: Animal Dreams
The last thing you ate: fries
Your life: okay
Your mood: irritable
Your best friend: busy
What are you thinking about right now: meme
Your car: crappy
What are you doing right now: working
Your summer: hot
Your relationship status: single
What is on your tv: cat?
What is the weather like: cold
When is the last time you laughed? earlier
Who do you tag? whomever

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

When the human's away...

Sometimes I go home for lunch and every cat in the house is seemingly in the exact same position they were in when I left for work. There's a peaceful, languorous feeling enveloping the house. They look up at me when I greet them, yawn and go right back to sleep. I'm so jealous--why can't I spend the day napping in a sunbeam?

Other days I come home to a house strewn with uprooted plants, scattered, broken tchotchkes, closet and cabinet doors pried open for some undoubtedly nefarious purpose (seriously--what do they need from the medicine cabinet? floss?) and a general air of chaos.

Guess which kind today was?

Mantra for the day: I love my cats, I love my cats, I love my cats. (Repeat as needed.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

O Tannenbaum...

I'm considering actually putting up a Christmas tree this year. One of the little "Charlie Brown" trees the Christmas tree lot sells for about $6. I haven't put one up in several years, for various reasons, including the very valid one that I've had young cats in the house who I assumed would make it their life's purpose to destroy it. I have kittens this year, too, but for some reason I'm tempted to try it. No tinsel or fragile ornaments...just a little pine tree with some lights. I miss that fresh evergreen smell. I LOVE that smell. That smell IS Christmas to me. I like to remind my mother on a regular basis that she ruined Christmas for me forever when she switched to an artificial tree. She tried appeasing me by spraying that fake Christmas tree-smelling stuff on it. I was not appeased, and would not pretend to be. (Yeah, I'm evil. Hee.) So, if I get a tree, what are the odds it will stay intact until Christmas? Yeah, slim to none. Still, I feel compelled. If they destroy it, I'm only out $6, right? And if they eat the needles, pierce their intestinal tract and require emergency surgery, what's a thousand bucks or so, right? It's Christmas!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Storm of the Century

Sweet fancy Moses, someone remind me never again to be glib about possible winter weather. I didn't leave my house from Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon. Wednesday afternoon they started making the predictions more dire. We went from "wintry mix" to "some ice and snow" to "10 inches of snow" and "storm of the century." I thought they were making free with the hyperbole--Storm of the Century? Give me a break. 10 inches of snow? In Tulsa? Yeah, right. Well, gosh darn if they didn't hit it right for a change. First we had a day of torrential rain, which froze overnight into a sheet of ice. Then the snow came. And came and came and came. An average of 10.4" in the Tulsa area. For the record, our average annual YEARLY snowfall is 9 inches. We broke all kinds of records--record snowfall, record lows, the first ever blizzard warning in Oklahoma (slightly north of here, thank goodness). I briefly thought about trying to get to work on Friday. Okay, I'm not that dedicated an employee, but it was payday! I measured the snow in my driveway, then measured the distance from the underbelly of my car to the ground. Exactly the same. No way in hell was I attempting that. I couldn't get anywhere to spend money, anyway. I turned on the TV and watched footage of cars getting stuck, wreckers getting stuck, ambulances getting stuck. Okay, there was REALLY no way I was going out in that! So I hunkered down for the duration with Pudge and the cats. I counted the cans of cat food--exactly enough to last until Monday morning, if necessary. Friday and Saturday I worked on clearing the driveway, just in case I should have to get out for any reason. Holy shit, that was some work! Even borrowing a snow shovel from my neighbor ('cause who needs a snow shovel around here on a regular basis?) it took hours. By the time I finally finished the bottom layer of ice on Saturday I was too tired to even think about venturing out. I went inside and realized I had devolved. I'd put so much pressure on that fleshy patch between thumb and forefinger that I was no longer able to make a fist. No more opposable thumb! I tried to eat, and kept dropping the fork. Even while it was happening, I could see the humor in that. One bad storm, and centuries of evolution down the drain. I made it to the grocery store yesterday for supplies, and today it's pretty much business as usual. Still a lot of snow on the ground, but the roads are passable, and life goes on.

And I promise to be slightly less mocking of the local meteorologists from now on. Slightly. No need for overkill, after all.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And it came to pass...

Well, dang it. "They" were right. Winter is in the hizzouse. I went out this morning with the dog, barefoot and wearing a sleeveless tank. (I was the one wearing the tank, not Pudge. And he always goes barefoot. Maybe I should get him a little outfit. But I digress.) It was a balmy 65 degrees. It is now in the 30s, and getting steadily colder. I had trouble getting dressed this morning--what do you wear that can take you seamlessly from balmy to frigid? The sleety stuff is supposed to set in overnight, though they're already saying it's not going to stick, and to just be careful on bridges and overpasses. But does that anyone's mind to rest? Nooo. We've already got one employee threatening to stay home tomorrow because of it. Dude--wait and see what happens, you big baby. I need to stop by the grocery store on the way home for a couple of things, but I don't know if I can bring myself to do it. People around here go CRAZY at the thought of snow or ice. They flood the stores, buying up canned goods like they're hunkering down for a winter at the North Pole. It's only supposed to last a DAY. I don't know if I can stand being amongst the idiots, so perhaps I'll make my mashed potatoes sans milk, and just smother them in extra gravy. Mmm...gravy. Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Please pass the wintry mix.

Well, it's finally happening. We're getting our first blast of "Arctic" air tomorrow. Or so they say. These lovely, lovely days of upper 60s/lower 70s are coming to an end. And, you know, I can handle the cold. I don't like it, mind you, but I can handle it.

What I really hate is the added bonus of precipitation they're predicting. "Wintry mix," the meteorologists call it. What a terribly misleading name. "Wintry mix" should be a delightful concoction found in a cut glass bowl at a holiday party, next to the chips and salsa and the spinach dip in the bread bowl. It should contain red and green M&Ms and nuts and all manner of tasty, toasted morsels, perhaps covered in a light dusting of powdered sugar. It should NOT be the sleety, dirty, nasty, not-quite-snow-and-not-quite rain stuff that mixes with the dirt on the road to form an even nastier gray sludge that gets sprayed all over your car whenever a giant SUV carelessly races past you.

I call foul. Wintry mix, my ass.

Monday, November 27, 2006

On the plus side...

Well, I don't have to worry about working off those Thanksgiving pounds. If you don't actually have Thanksgiving dinner, it's not a problem. Long story short, my family didn't come to town and I spent Thanksgiving alone, eating beans out of a can. (Boy, that sounds pathetic, doesn't it?) The decision was very last-minute, so I didn't have time to make other plans. My mother tried to get me to "call a friend." Is she insane? You can't invite yourself to Thanksgiving dinner ON Thanksgiving Day. Particularly not when you have special dietary needs. "I'll be there in about an hour, and would you mind whipping up something vegetarian for me?" I think not.

Friday I took myself to a movie, and picked up some yummy takeout from a favorite restaurant. I thought the weekend was going to be okay, but then noticed that one of my cats hadn't moved from her spot the whole time I was out. And she hadn't wanted breakfast. Hmmm...I started watching her more closely and realized she seemed a bit under the weather. By Friday evening I was pretty worried, and started her on some Pepcid and force-fed baby food. Saturday morning, when she still hadn't moved, I realized she really was sick. Of course. It's a holiday weekend, the vet is closed...of course she's sick. I HATE the animal emergency room, so I shamelessly called the younger of my vets on his cellphone. (Hey, he's the one who gave the number to me.) He is a truly nice guy, and he agreed to meet me at the clinic. Turns out she had a fever--we don't really know why. Sometimes cats just get fevers--they call them FUOs--Fever of Unknown Origin. At any rate, she got fluids and antibiotics and finally yesterday morning she ate a little on her own. Today she's moving about fairly normally, so hopefully she's well on the road to recovery. Fingers crossed. I could NOT take another pet death this year.

Saturday evening I went out with a friend who just moved back to town after several years away. We had some great sushi, and a few drinks. She does those Slumber Parties--kind of like Tupperware parties, only with sex toys and creams, etc.--and was handing out business cards all night. At one point we were next to a table of women who were obviously having a girls night out. One of the women quipped to a man who walked up that he couldn't sit down with them because he "didn't have a vagina." "There's your magic word," I said. She walked over and said brightly "I believe I just heard you say vagina!" and started passing out the business cards. Pretty funny.

Sunday morning, when I realized my prayers had been answered and Stella was actually eating, I got my butt in gear and actually made it to church. Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and that was it for the long holiday weekend. Whoo hoo!

Yeah, it really sucked, for the most part. Even worse than being alone and not hanging with the family was that there was NO PIE! I realized that, say what you will about family, Thanksgiving is really all about the pie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Have yourself a happy little Thanksgiving

If you feel something strange tomorrow, something that feels akin to the planet shifting on its axis, to the very fabric of existence being torn, it will probably be because my family has decided to EAT OUT on Thanksgiving.

This is unprecedented. In years past, if we went to my grandparents for Thanksgiving, my mother would still come home and cook another entire dinner, so she could eat leftovers for days. The woman loves turkey and dressing. I tried pointing out to her that if she loves it so much, she could actually cook it whenever she wants, and not wait until November, but that never happened. I don't get that--if I love something enough that I'm willing to eat it for several meals in a row, I love it enough to eat in the spring and summer, you know? Apparently holiday meals are not subject to logic. Personally, I like dressing, but I don't love it. I'll eat it if it's there, but I never crave it. It wouldn't be listed among the dishes requested for my last meal on earth, is what I'm saying.

But this year, things have worked out so that shopping for and cooking a giant meal this week is unappealing to her (and my father, who really does more of the cooking than she does). She just had surgery on her foot, is in a cast and hobbling around on crutches and/or rolling around in a wheelchair. My father's ongoing back problems have dampened his appetite, which in turn has caused his blood sugar to dip dangerously low several times recently. My sister had "female" surgery a couple of weeks ago, which which she didn't let stop her from cooking turkey and dressing for 135 this week (she has a catering business). Her husband has back problems. I told my mother it would be like having Thanksgiving dinner in the convalescent ward. Hee. I'm not gonna offer to cook--my kitchen is tiny, and seeing as how I'm a vegetarian, I don't really want to stuff a big dead bird in my oven. I don't think I have enough chairs for us all to sit down, anyway. At any rate, it was my mother's suggestion: Why don't we come to Tulsa and just go out to eat? Okay, let's see....I won't have to drive the 75 miles to their house and 75 miles back, alone in my not completely reliable car, to eat a meal I'm not all that crazy about anyway? (Except for the broccoli-rice casserole, which I love so much I sometimes make it for myself even when it's not a holiday, Mother.) That works for me. So, unless someone has an overnight change of heart, that's the plan. I've never eaten out on Thanksgiving, so I have no idea if the few restaurants open will all be packed, or if we'll have the place to ourselves, along with a few other poor souls who have nowhere else to go. I liked the idea of doing Chinese or something (I've probably seen A Christmas Story a few too many times, and harbor a secret wish to have Chinese waiters sing holiday songs to me while I eat. Hee.) but it seems most of the restaurants open are just home-cooking style places. Whatever--it's all about being together and being thankful, right?

And I am. Thankful for my decrepit, hobbling, blood sugar dropping, illogical, crazy, INCREDIBLY SUPPORTIVE family. God bless us, every one.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!! (And sorry about any possible rip in the time-space continuum.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Who was that productive woman?

Someone took over my body this weekend. Someone more energetic and productive than I am. The last several weekends I have been a total slug--more than once not leaving the house from Friday evening 'til Monday morning. This weekend, though, I was a ball of fire.

Saturday morning I popped out of bed early, did my usual weekend housecleaning chores, did some laundry, decided to go across town to partake of the lunch buffet at my favorite Indian restaurant, followed that with a shopping excursion at the "big" grocery store I usually shun, was remarkably patient and non-irritated in the incredibly full aisles and long lines (the Saturday before Thanksgiving--what was I thinking?), did NOT roll my eyes when the cashier said incredulously "They make okra ALREADY BREADED?", came home and caulked my bathtub, re-adhered some loose shower tiles and redid all the grout, then baked two loaves of apple bread, finally sitting down about 10:00 p.m. Who was that woman? And, whoever she is, can she come back next weekend? I've really been wanting to paste wax my hardwood floors.

Yesterday was somewhat calmer, but I finished the day off by going to see Tony Bennett, who I'm pleased to report was in fine voice and quite charming. He even did the occasional little dance twirl--each time greeted by cheers from his adoring audience. (Careful, Mr. Bennett, don't break a hip!) The tickets were free--thank you to my friend Susan--could you ask for a better end to a weekend? Plus I felt really young in comparison to those around me--not often that happens these days!

Spammy spammy spam spam: "Either way, you are working way too hard for a 24-year-old" think I look 24? You're sweet. Well, I DID work hard this weekend, and I almost felt 24 amongst all the walkers and wheelchairs at the concert. Thank you, spammer. I feel like you're speaking JUST TO ME.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bright and shiny

Okay, after yesterday's post, I thought I should demonstrate to myself (and anyone who might be reading) that my life is not completely made up of dead pets and homeless kittens and ailing cars and orphaned friends. There must be things I enjoy, and to prove it I will make a list.

Things That Make Me Smile:

The Sonic Drive-In, and their crunchy tater tots, and groovy crunchy ice

My cats and dog

My still-blooming red geranium

Falafel, which I am craving for lunch

Knowing that I only have to work half of next week

My co-worker's boyfriend's doctor just confirmed my diagnosis of overuse of hydrogen peroxide on an injured finger, making me feel smart

I'm going to see Tony Bennett this weekend (yeah, he's old and I hear he doesn't always sing that well anymore, but they're free tickets and it's Tony-friggin' Bennett)

The cool emerald ring I'm wearing today, designed years ago by a friend before he stopped making jewelry and went into some sort of financial advising (I liked it so much, I actually bought it off his girlfriend's finger. It was cool with her--she was wearing it as a display model.)

Knowing that I only have to work half of next week (I'm not senile, I just thought it bore repeating.)

The Daily Show

Scrubs reruns on Comedy Central

The Lyle Lovett poster over my desk

Hindi Bendy, Pirate Bendy, Evil Bendy (all on display in my office)

My singing nun finger puppet (yeah, I'm looking around my office for inspiration)

My giant blue thermal QT mug

My friends (This list is in random order--I do not value my mug over my friends. Most days. It DOES keep my iced tea icy cold--do any of my friends do that? Hee)

The closing musical scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Paul Rudd dances with such abandon)

The Snickers commercial where the guy sings earnestly "prancing nougat in the meadow, singing songs of satisfaction to the world"

The insufferable Raro tribe keeps losing on "Survivor"

And last, for now, but not least: I only have to work half of next week!!!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Feel free to skip this you don't love cats.

As long as I'm posting cat pictures--here's a picture of my dearly departed boy Payday. Wasn't he handsome? He died last year of histoplasmosis--a hideous lung fungus that preys on those with weakened immune systems. He'd been on prednisone for several years to combat a bad case of kitty IBS. I'm not planning to turn this into a animal rescue blog, but his tale is worth telling, I think, and he's been on my mind. Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of the day I found him.

Payday was a true rescue. I was at work one day in November several years ago when one of our delivery drivers came rushing inside. "There's a kitten laying in the road. I ain't gonna touch it (he's afraid of cats) but I'll loan you my gloves if you want to pick it up." I rushed outside and, sure enough, there was a tiny gray scrap of a kitten in the middle of the road. The temperature was close to freezing, and that pavement was COLD. I scooped him up, and he immediately began to protest. "Mrow, mrow!" Well, he seemed feisty, all right. He had no obvious injuries, but he was shivering to beat the band, and when I peeked inside his mouth, his tongue and gums were nearly chalk white. I quickly asked my boss if I could run him to the vet. "Go, go!" he said. A co-worker pulled off her sweater to wrap him in, called the vet to let them know I was coming, and I was off. As I raced out the door, I turned back to quip "Thank god it's payday." On the way there, I alternately heated the gloves the delivery driver refused to take back ("No, you just keep 'em." They'd touched a CAT, after all.) on my heating vent, and draped them across him. Finally I arrived at the vet, and they rushed him into the exam room.

It turns out his temperature was 92--about 9-10 degrees below normal, and that was AFTER several minutes in a warm car. He had a huge hernia, but other than that nothing that was visible to the naked eye. We agreed on some tests and x-rays, and I returned to work to await the test results. Well, he was hypothermic, obviously, and dehydrated, and his CBC showed that he had less than 1/3 of the blood he should have had. The fleas and intestinal worms had apparently just drained him. He really shouldn't have been alive, much less "mrowing" at me the way he did. He had a slight fracture of the pelvis, and of course, the hernia. "So, what do we do?" I asked. My vet at the time was a very intellectual sort, and fond of the big words. He started reeling off options--blood transfusion, plasma, blah, blah, blah. "Or," he said, "you could try some good old-fashioned nursing and see how it goes." Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

After work, I went to pick him up. I could hear tiny screams coming from the back. "That's your baby," the receptionist said wryly. I took him home, and set up a kitty PICU with a heating pad in one end. For the next couple of days, I fed him special canned food, and squirted Nutrical and Pedialyte in his mouth. (He LOVED the Nutrical, setting up a lifelong addiction to the stuff, inhaling it straight from the tube.) Then one morning, I took him out of the cage and one of his back legs was enormously, cartoonishly swollen. I stopped at the vet on the way to work and was told he was just bruised, and that he'd only just gotten enough fluid in his body to swell. He'd been so dehydrated he couldn't even bruise, folks! I was advised to give him "therapeutic massage" to work the fluid back into his body. "It'll be good for you both," said the wry receptionist. "Nice and relaxing." (And it was. I'd sit in a rocking chair, holding the little scrap, massaging and rocking. "Oh, I can't worry about the laundry now," I'd think. "I'm doing his therapeutic massage.") It was at this point we discovered that his body temperature had now soared well ABOVE normal, and we put him on antibiotics. Yes, his body temperature had been only 92 even WITH a fever. Good lord.

Well, he got better fast from there. Wry Receptionist asked if I was going ahead with my initial plan to "find him a good home." "Sure," I said, "I'll give him to the first person who can correctly fill out my 30-page adoption questionnaire!" No, he was mine at that point. I let him out to join the rest of the household critters, and they all loved him. That never changed--through the years as new animals joined the household, Payday was always their first friend. Such a sweet, simple boy. I think actually he may have been a little brain-damaged from the cold and the lack of blood, but I never minded. He was SWEET.

A few months later, I decided to go to work for a vet I knew who was opening a new clinic. I only stayed there a couple of years, but it was a fortunate move financially, 'cause that free veterinary care sure came in handy with Mr. Payday. We fixed his hernia and neutered him. Then began the ongoing diarrhea adventures. I'll spare you all the gory details, but suffice it to say that there was at least one rectal probe involved, and at one point, we even did a full-out barium series. The only thing that helped him was prednisone. I knew, intellectually, that continued steroid use might cut some years off his life down the line, but we just didn't have any choice.

Sadly, "down the line" turned out to be last year. It took a while to diagnose the problem--it's very rare--and though we tried very hard to get him well, it wasn't to be. The anti-fungal medicine was hampered by the prednisone, but when we took him off the pred, his diarrhea came back and his breathing worsened. It was heart-wrenching. Finally, on Labor Day weekend, he started to wind down. One of the vets was nice enough to meet me at the clinic, and we eased him out of his pain.

I miss him still. I have other cats, and they all do cute things, but they don't do HIS cute things, you know?

Sorry about the long, sad post. But, as I said, he's been on my mind. And hey, it's my blog, after all. If you can't spin a long-winded, melancholy, slightly self-indulgent cat story on your blog, why have one? I know you all understand.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How cute is this?

These are the two I kept from the first litter of feral kittens I trapped and tamed this summer. Aren't they adorable? How could I possibly have left them out there in the cold, cruel world? The handsome orange fellow is Timmy, and the little brown tabby in the plant, who looks like the world is her oyster, is Babs. And those cute little faces are why I continue down the path to Crazy Cat Lady Land. The faces, and those little spotted tabby bellies.

Please feel free to tell me how cute they are. ;)

Spam du jour: "A good man in an evil society seems the greatest villain of all. This was a referance to the high wages paid to garbage collectors at one time."

Okay "Moses Turner," I believe you have effectively rendered me speechless. I can't even begin to think of a response to that, especially as to how it relates to investment strategies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


"Thank you for your loan request, which we recieved yesterday,
we'd like to inform you that we are accepting your application, bad credit ok, We are ready to give you a $278,000 loan for a low month payment.
Approval process will take only 1 minute.
Please visit the confirmation link below and fill-out our short 30 second form. "

First of all, Deanne Barber, it's i before e EXCEPT after c. Tsk, tsk. Second of all, I don't remember asking you for a loan, though that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I don't remember raising my garage door and leaving it open all afternoon while I was at work yesterday, either, though apparently I did. But hey, I could use $278,000 and I've got both 1 minute and a short 30 seconds to spare, so why don't I go ahead and click on that link. I'm sure nothing bad will happen. Heh.

What's wrong with people?

Apparently the flashing neon sign that is visible only to needy animals has now installed itself in my car. Yesterday, while going home to lunch, I approached what I first assumed was a dead cat in the road. But, of course, as I passed, it lifted its head. Screeeeech! Slam on the brakes, pull over. It was obviously in great distress. There were a few people standing around. None of them knew where the cat lived, and while one woman claimed to have called Animal Aid and the city animal shelter, she hadn't bothered to move the cat out of the middle of the street. Quite the good samaritan there. So I ignored the conventional wisdom about not touching injured animals, loaded her onto one of my floor mats and headed to the vet. The vet thought it seemed like head trauma, which can sometimes be treated successfully if you can get the brain swelling down. So I left her there getting IVs inserted, but she died a little later. I'm sad, but maybe it's for the best. She was probably a stray, and I certainly couldn't take her into my house at this point. Poor baby. At least she didn't die alone in the street. I wonder how many people drove past her and never thought to stop. How can people do that, wear those blinders that keep them from seeing need? A few weeks ago a similar incident happened with a pit bull in the road on my way to work. Looked for all the world dead until I passed, when she lifted her head. I stopped, of course, turned around and blocked the lane, as did one other fellow, but she died before we could even get her out of the road. We pulled her over to the grass, so the cars wouldn't continue to hit her--I can't stand to see that. I went on to work and called dead animal pickup to tell them where she was, and I was sad, of course. But what bothered me most was that there was a man mowing his grass not 20 feet from where she was hit, and he couldn't be bothered to even slow his mowing, though I know he saw her. His young son was riding his Big Wheel nearby, and all I could think was what a missed opportunity to teach a young child compassion for a creature in need.

It makes me sad.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm actually just testing to see if I'm smart enough to add pictures to the blog. And it turns out I am, just barely, though not smart enough to place them exactly where I wanted.

This is me, on the job.


Okay, I'm not really a nun--but I played one, not on TV, but onstage. Sister Mary Ignatius--terrific fun. If, you know, you're not offended by people leaving in the middle of the show. Which I'm not. Though I was a little afraid of the guy in the front row with a death glare on his face, wearing a postal employees jacket. I was actually happy to see him leave, and fortunately he didn't come back and go postal on our irreverent asses.

Am I blue?

Not so much, today. I actually have something strangely akin to a social life in store for me this weekend. Tonight I'm meeting friends for dinner and then going to see the Blue Man Group. Tomorrow is my monthly lunch date with the rest of the crazy cat ladies, and tomorrow night I'm going to work the box office in exchange for free admittance to the latest play offered by one of the theatre groups I work with. It's a Martin McDonagh play, all full of dark, disturbing, twisted humor, and featuring the acting talents of several of my friends. The last few weekends I have truly not left the house after getting home Friday evening, so hopefully this will be a nice change of pace. I've kept Sunday afternoon free for napping, so I should be okay. Hee.

Strangely gelatinous canned luncheon meat of the day: "A cargo bay behind an eggplant reads a magazine, and some diskette negotiates a prenuptial agreement with a worldly fairy."

Well, that's some giant eggplant, I guess. And some talented (and frighteningly sentient) cargo bay, able to read and all. And while certainly a worldly fairy would insist on a pre-nup, I don't get what any of that has to do with a weight loss supplement.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And now...

...a hoo! To go with my previous "whoo." Since it seems "Macaca" Allen will be conceding shortly. And that's the end of the political discussion.

Spam o' the day: "You don't have to spend the rest of your life exercising yourself to
death. You also don't have to experiment with suspicious po*und-fighting

Whew. What a relief. Thanks, "Barry Crandall." I'm not big into experimentation these days, and when eventually I pass on, I hope it's not from exercising. Death by chocolate, maybe. Death by treadmill--nope.

I think I have some sort of modified crop circles in my backyard. For the last few weeks I've been trying to figure out what the hell they are. They're not circles so much as...lines. Two of them sort of curve, and one double line goes straight from my back gate to the back corner of the yard, dissecting it neatly. They look like something very heavy pressed into the ground, not killing the grass, but making a definite impression, and they're very narrow--probably only 3-4" across. I'm mystified. They're only visible from certain angles, but they're not going away. Any ideas? Did a teeny-tiny alien army stop in for maneuvers one night? Am I in danger of a forthcoming rectal probe? Hmmmm....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I almost forgot my favorite spam today. Here 'tis:

"Do you remember all the times when you said to yourself you would do anything to get rid of this awesome extra weight?"

Yes, I consider my extra weight to be awesome, dude.


Again, whoo! I'm saving the accompanying "hoo" for when Virginia is officially in the Democratic column, and the Senate has an even better chance of fending off any more potential Scalia-like Supreme Court appointments.

Pennsylvania sent that detestable Santorum packing (thank you, PA). And Rummy just resigned--it gets better and better.

And here in Oklahoma, by a fairly narrow margin, we decided that your average adult voter can be trusted to vote, even with liquor stores open on election day. My district is unfortunately sending our own detestable congressman back to D.C., which was a foregone conclusion, but we're keeping our Democratic governor and adding a Democratic Lt. Governor. She (the lt. governor-elect) was not my choice in the primaries, but at least she wasn't actively campaigning against gay marriage. One of the ads attempting to smear her featured a contemptuous voice over proclaiming "When asked about gay marriage...she claimed tolerance." Omigod, say it isn't so!

And I believe the candidate whose ad tagline was "SHE'S one of us" is, indeed, staying one of us, the non-political office holders. Hee.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The inalienable right to bitch...

So, I voted. Unfortunately, I live in a state where voting the way I voted is going to make absolutely no difference to the national status quo, but you know what they say. "If you don't vote, you can't complain." So, as I love to complain as much as the next guy (and often about the next guy), I always take the opportunity to vote. And I reserve the right to bitch like hell for the next two years, if necessary. I'm torn between watching election returns obsessively tonight, and finding a good movie on cable and just waking up tomorrow to see which way it shook out. We'll see...

I'm taking the kittens to my vet tonight after work. Sniff. They're at the most adorable stage--I really will miss them. But it's for the best. I'm already a moderately crazy cat lady--no denying that at this point--but I refuse to become one of those "collectors" that shows up on Animal Precinct living in my garage because the stench from from the 237 cats in my house drove me out. I refuse! Do you hear me, homeless kittens of the world? Stay away. Or I'll...I'll...I'll take you in and feed you and care for you for ONLY a few days, then find a good home for you. So there!

Spam of the Day: "We know you hate the extra pounds, the ugly look and the social stigmata attached to fat people." Yes, not social STIGMA, social STIGMATA. How does that manifest? The face of a disapproving passerby suddenly pops out in bas relief on your palms? Hee.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The power of positive thinking

Well, holy crap, maybe there's something to that "positive thinking" stuff after all. I stopped by my vet last night on the way home to get Revolution for my dog, planning to do a little judicious begging for them to take the kittens into their adoption program, and the vet greeted me with "I was getting ready to call you. I have someone who wants two kittens and would prefer them to be siblings." Well, golly gee whillikers, since that's exactly what I have, I guess this is my lucky day! I'll keep them and continue to socialize them through the weekend, then take them to her early next week. She'll get them all "tuned up" and then they'll go to their new home. Whoo hoo! They're adorable, and they've been fun, and I'll miss them, but they just could NOT live with me forever.

Maybe I should warn them that the orange kittens from this mother seem to have a "drama queen" gene linked to the color. My kitten Timmy, who I kept from the litter I rescued earlier this summer, is quite prone to theatrics. I stepped on him once, weeks and weeks ago, while stepping over the baby gate that keeps the dog out of the litter box room (why do dogs love to eat cat poop so much? ewwww), when he ducked under my foot just in time to get a toe caught under the ball of my foot. Ever since then, if he's anywhere in the vicinity when I step over the gate, he makes a great show of his complete terror--freezing in fear, then rocketing madly around the room trying to escape THE TERRIBLE WOMAN WHO STOMPED ON HIM. Get over it, Timmy. It happened once. Months ago. I felt terrible. I apologized. Geez. Silly little thing.

His little brother seems to have the same propensity for drama. Last night, while laying on the couch watching TV, I heard some meows coming from the garage. I was doing some laundry, and thought the washer/dryer sounds were probably unnerving to the kittens, so I didn't get overly concerned. I'd already noticed the orange kitten was fond of the sound of his own voice. The meows went on, however, and then intensified. Off to the garage I went. Oh, poor sweet orange baby. I had clipped some clothespins to the inside of the wire cage for them to bat at (the last litter LOVED that) and he had somehow managed to get a clothespin off the wire and onto his toe. I felt like the worst kitty mother in the world. I quickly removed the clothespin and spent 15-20 minutes trying to comfort him. He was inconsolable, crying and throwing himself at me to be petted. Okay, I'm sure that clothespin hurt, and I didn't mind doing a little snuggling with him. But he wasn't seriously wounded. And yet, on and on the drama went, as the brown kitten looked at him and I swear, rolled his eyes. Quelle drama!

I love cats. They're so...complicated. I love dogs, too, but they're simpler creatures, I think. I like having both. The yin and yang of the animal world.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Free kitten, anyone?

Still have those adorable kittens--any takers? Anyone? Hello--*tap, tap*--is this thing on?

I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with them, but they sure are cute. They've gone from merely tolerating me messing with them to purring delightedly when I pet them. They've also gone from sitting silently in the corner of the cage, afraid to move 'cause it might draw the attention of the scary head-and-shoulders creature (that being all of me that fits in the cage with them) who likes to mess with them, to chasing their little ball all over the cage. On the one hand, it's great to see them acclimating and socializing. On the other, I keep having to clean litter out of their food and water bowls. I guess I could just stop giving them food and water--that would also eliminate the need for a litter box. (Oh, you know I kid. If I wanted them to die of dehydration and starvation, I'd have left them where they were.) I'm sure a home for them will miraculously make itself known soon. (I'm not at all sure of that, but I'm trying the power of positive thinking. We'll see how that works.)

Not much else going on in my life at the moment. Trying to raise money to take a play I'm in to Louisiana to represent Oklahoma at the AACTFest regionals in the spring. That's slow-going, as well, which is very frustrating. Some of the foundations to which I've applied could shake out the cushions of their reception area couches and come up with more money than I'm asking for. I'm sure we'll make it, though. (Positive thoughts, positive thoughts.) The real push will be if we happen to win there, and have only 6 weeks to raise money for nationals. But I ain't countin' them chickens until (or unless) they're hatched!

Best spam of the day: "How many times did you get unhappy after hating the idea to undress in public?"

"Unhappy" isn't exactly the sentiment I would ascribe to that situation. The idea of undressing in public? That's more...terrifying, I would think. But thanks for your kind concern.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I used to think Halloween was a terrifically fun holiday. Somewhere along the line, though, I became Mr. Freeman, the old janitor at my elementary school, who lived near my grandparents when I was a kid, and was the only old codger on the street who had the balls to draw his blinds and turn out his light and REFUSE TO HAND OUT CANDY. Why, the noive!

I completely understand him now. It's just so damn much trouble. My animals freak out whenever anyone knocks or rings the bell, I never correctly estimate the amount of candy I need, and you can't watch anything on TV when the little demons (and princesses and ladybugs and French poodles, etc.) are constantly interrupting you. When did I get so curmudgeonly? Probably when living in my previous abode, where people drove their children from house to house, far away from their own neighborhoods, and some of those children looked a wee bit old for trick-or-treating, in my opinion. (The only mustaches seen on trick-or-treaters should be of the drawn or glued on variety, don't you think?) They also didn't know when to stop, continuing to drive up in carloads long past dark. I really don't care to answer my door to strangers at 10:00 p.m., Halloween or no.

So these days I either make plans to be elsewhere, or I turn off the lights, draw the blinds and hunker down with the critters until the madness ends. Tonight will be of the hunkering variety. I'm tired. Mr. Freeman probably was, too. Cleaning up after us little monsters all day.

In other news...we made it through the funeral yesterday. My friend and his brothers looked absolutely wiped out. Beyond merely sad. They seemed exhausted and numb. It was hard to see. No one should have to bury both parents in the same year. I think that's all I have to say about that.

In other, other news...I trapped another litter of feral kittens this weekend. Only two this time. (Earlier this summer, I trapped 4 from the same mother. The tramp.) I spent the weekend on my hands and knees, wedging myself into the cage with them, forcing them to accept my love, damn it. The orange one discovered his purr last night, and now I'm in love. Which is too damn bad for me, 'cause he's not coming in my house. There's no room at the inn. I sent an email down the animal rescue chain; hopefully someone will know someone looking for a kitten, or one of the rescue groups will have an opening. At least we're somewhat past high kitten season. That usually helps a bit. How do these animals find me? Where is the invisible flashing light that says "vacancy" and how do I change it to "NO vacancy"? Why can't I develop the ability to see a needy animal and assume someone else will help? Oh, never mind. I don't want to be that person. I'll go on spending money I don't have to take care of animals that have been let down by the people who should have been responsible for them. Who needs a nice car or the occasional vacation? I've got all the purrs a person could want. (Although, Universe? If you're listening? I could use a little break, 'kay? Thanks.) And in the meantime, anybody need an adorable kitten? Hey, maybe I could hand them out to trick-or-treaters! Hmm....KIDDING.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Coincidentally sad.

It's been a sad and kind of bizarre couple of days. The fathers of two of my close friends died in their sleep on consecutive nights. Both of their fathers had been battling serious medical problems for the last few years, so it wasn't unexpected, exactly, but not expected quite so soon. And, the coincidence continues, both of their relatively healthy mothers were killed suddenly in car wrecks--one a few months ago, the other a few years. The single only other thing these two guys have in common is being friends with me, and yet, their lives share this one sad trajectory.

I still have both my parents (thank god) and so I can't really know what it's like to lose one parent, much less both. But I imagine it must leave you feeling a bit...unmoored. In many ways, my parents are so very much the anchors of my life. I know I can call on them for anything, and if it's in their power, they'll be there. They're going to get up early on Monday morning and drive me out-of-state to sing at Pat's funeral, 'cause my car is a bit unreliable these days, and because Tony is probably the closest thing they've ever gotten to a son-in-law from me. (He's my gay husband, don't you know.) They did the same thing when his mother died earlier this year, and I think the most wrenching moment of the day for me was watching Tony cling to my mother and sob.

I'll have to miss Rowe's funeral, since, coincidence continues, they're at the same time. I'm sorry to have to miss it, both because I'd like to be there for Bill, and because they're having a bagpipe play "Amazing Grace," just like Scotty did for Spock. And I'd love to see that!

I wish there was something I could say to or do for my friends to make them feel better. I know there isn't. The most I can do, and what they most expect from me, is to listen to them and laugh with them.

I've already giggled with Tony. We long ago decided that heaven is a big, beautiful meadow, filled with all the pets we've lost in our lives, and that very special people are allowed to come in as well. We imagined his parents, running cinematically toward each other across the meadow, arms outstretched, only to tumble in a heap when a certain portly Pekingese named Zooey darts beneath their feet.

In yet another odd coincidence, an elderly woman with the same first initial and last name as Bill's dad was brought to the funeral home at the same time he was, and we cracked ourselves up thinking what might happen at the viewing if the bodies were mixed up. "Well, folks, there's something about Dad you didn't know...we decided to send him off as the woman he always wanted to be."

Gallows humor. Laughing to keep from crying. For now, it's all I can do.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'll do whatever you say...just give me the drugs.

Don't let your reluctance to stand in line at the pharmacy counter and sign in blood and swear on your firstborn's life that you are not running a meth lab convince you to buy the "Sudafed PE" still available in the regular aisle. It doesn't work. I gave it a shot. I took it, along with about 6 Aleve yesterday and my sinus headache barely budged. This morning I took it again, but when my cheekbones were still screaming and throbbing two hours later, I marched across the street to the drugstore, presented my driver's license and happily signed on the dotted line for my beloved generic pseudoephrine hydrochloride. And mere moments later...sweet, sweet relief. I'll never try the easy way out again. At least when it comes to my decongestant needs.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ditto this, Rush.

I rarely wish actual physical harm on anyone, but I hope Rush Limbaugh is stricken with every manner of neuromuscular disease and suffers horribly on his way to death, and the resulting occupation of the engraved chair I know awaits him in hell. "Michael J. Fox is faking it." Omigod, are you fucking kidding me? Making fun of someone with Parkinson's for daring to support a candidate you don't like?

Hate. HATE.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The vast amount of spam I've been getting lately has actually impressed me. Not with its volume, but with its...poetry. Someone's been putting some effort into getting me to want to enlarge my penis. (What do they know that I don't know?) Some of the invented "from" names are quite beautiful, and some of the text is quite elaborate.

See this:

"pretended he was had - Has it, - It doesnt anyone who raised his neck. The word safe that something pleasant to play cocktail His wife of this terrible, stupid everyone would start Algolian place... a perfectly oblong: the air was stuck out of the one bottle of years to big hello gaze hopelessly on it. The three the open. - to take us in awkward start guiltily for me. Arthur realized what that could grow up blearily, got it, Their - But how you see, moment, and it had been on the juice from the ships cybernetics. Zaphod Beeblebrox is no good, - So had in fact that bowl of Gold. It has passed right through the concerned with - Hi, - we have turned unfathomably into to press and a into the Galaxy quietly, - bellowed the Dentrassis are start He was wonderful this the of the are of your mode an Electronic Thumb - deep didnt impossibly bright young Vogon - he said Marvin."

Now, I have no idea what any of that means--which means it's really deep, right? But it gives me an almost uncontrollable urge to buy a safe, effective weight loss supplement.

Or this, from "Fernando Burton":

"A freight train related to a food stamp The scooby snack teaches the tornado. Any lover can share a shower with the cloud formation inside the tomato, but it takes a real recliner to bury the moldy globule. A tape recorder seeks a sandwich. When you see the ski lodge, it means that the tattered customer goes to sleep. The underhandedly fractured mortician secretly plans an escape from a nearest industrial complex a fire hydrant, and the plaintiff from the cashier makes love to a carelessly nuclear tape recorder"

Why sure, I'll take your male member enhancement, since obviously the scooby snack does teach the tornado. Send me a truckload.

"Everett Hess" asks this pithy question:

"How many times did you get unhappy after noticing the clothes you buy keep getting larger?"

Well, let me tell you, if I notice the clothes I buy keep getting larger, I'm going to freak right on out! What would cause that? Drying 100% cotton or rayon in the dryer will cause them to shrink right up, but getting larger? I can't imagine what kind of genetically mutated fabric would do that, but I'm not having it in my house. Though, come to think of it, clothing that can magically become larger would be handy at certain times of the month.

"Gennaro Hinkle" prefers to put it this way:

"How many times did you get unhappy after noticing you keep ordering pizza after pizza?"

I never get unhappy when there's pizza, Gennaro.

We'll close with this from "Floriana Shotts":

"nature. Implacable and inescapable. happened after you touched the green light"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, October 23, 2006

"I know it's red."

My god, how much do I hate the need for car repairs? Apparently I haven't spent enough money on my much-despised car lately. Now the throwout bearing is going out in the clutch. I have no idea what that means exactly, except that it's expensive to fix. The first guy I took it to wants $800 to replace the whole clutch. You've got to be friggin' kidding me. He told me I probably had a few days at least before it went out completely, so I'm calling around for estimates. I am clearly in the wrong business--I should have become an auto mechanic. Except that it would require some working knowledge of mechanics, and that I don't have. I am good at many things, none of them automotives. The guy I just called for an estimate asked if it had a "single or double hoobdy-hobdy." Or something like that. I said I had no idea. "I know it's red." Fortunately, he laughed. His is the best quote so far, but I'm not stopping yet. I don't know anything about cars, but I know how to dial the phone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


In lieu of any fascinating little tidbit about my life (ha), I offer you snippets of some of my favorite lyrics.

"The past is so angry to have to let go the night that it fights to its own blood-red death in the sky." --the incomparable George Barton

Love, love, love the imagery.

"Well, there's terror takin' over in the foreign lands, where they're fightin' over oil, and I don't understand--how many soldiers per gallon are we pumping in our cars today? It's kinda like votin', if you vote, they lie, and if you don't vote they lie anyway." --more George

"Got himself married at 17; she looked real pretty, but she talked kinda mean...he thought they'd work things out in the fullness of time. But 20 years later he's headed south, the close-range victim of her sawed-off mouth.." -the wonderful Dave Carter

"...a thorn by any other name draws blood..." --Dave again

"So the night comes and goes, and there's no one there to nurture but yourself, and you know that you've nothing left to lose. Will you stand in the road waiting for another searcher? Will you weep soft and low in the voice that your mother used to use?" --still more Dave

"love is an old root that creeps through the meadows of sleep when the long shadows cast, thin as a vagrant young vine, it encircles and twines, and it holds the heart fast, catches dreamers in the wildwood with the stars in their eyes and the moon in their tousled hair, but love is a light in the sky, and an unspoken lie and a half-whispered prayer" --guess who? Dave again

"and should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline between death and resurrection and the council of the pines, do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so, all your diamond tears will rise up and adorn the sky beside me when i go" --the very last from Dave, I promise, but I just love his work soooo much

"If I could spend my life in awe of everything I ever saw, you'd be the one to lift me up, higher than I am. And if the sky came crashing down, you'd be the only star I found. Of all those scattered on the ground, I'd hold you in my hand, hold you in my hand. Higher, higher, higher than I am." --Tara MacLean, who also has one of most beautiful singing voices known to man

I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top
To capture TinkerBell
And they were just fireflies to the untrained eye
But I could always tell
Cause I believe in fairy tales
And dreamer's dreams like bedsheet sails
And I believe in Peter Pan and miracles,
And anything I can to get by...
And fireflies . . . --Lori McKenna (when she gets it, she gets it)

That's it for today, I think.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Surreal Life

It was an interesting weekend. Surreal, we all agreed. On the one hand, I feel as if I've lived a hundred lifetimes in the last 20 years, and I am not even remotely the same person I was when I last saw my college classmates. I'm sure more than one of them must feel the same. But on the other hand, it seemed as if not a day had gone by--we rehearsed, laughed, ate, rehearsed some more, made fun of the parade floats, and it all felt completely normal. Completely...familiar. The choir room looked and felt exactly the same (though the hallways seemed smaller). Trippy.

It was fun. It was sweet. Our "old" choir director, who retired (after 35 years) during our tenure there, sang with us. Our "new" choir director, who has now been there for 22 years, conducted us. It was quite a sentimental moment--one there with his last students and another there with his first. They both got a little misty. Later in the day, my junior high choir director joined us for a while (I went to college in the same town where I grew up), since several of my classmates did their intern teaching under her, and one of them took over her job after she retired. She seemed a little touched, as well. At the football game, I saw the drama professor who cast me in my first college play. I'm not sure he realizes what an life-changing (for me) decision that was!

Sunday, we all sang at the church where one of the guys is music minister and had one last lunch together. We wisely refrained from too much "Oh, we're all going to keep in touch all the time now" stuff--we all know we're no longer really part of each other's lives, and that's fine. Truth is, many of us had drifted apart somewhat before we even left college. But it was nice to see everyone, and to know that you can go home again, if only for a day.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I get by with a little help...

...from my friends. Today's awesome act of friendship comes courtesy of Susan, who, upon learning that I was quite nervous about travelling out of town tomorrow with my sometimes flaky car, insisted that I drive hers instead. Isn't that the bestest? I'm not travelling all that far, but there is one stretch of twisty, hilly two-lane highway with no shoulder that would just be a hideous place to have car trouble. It's also a really sketchy area for cell service, so--thank you, Susan!

And today's raspberry goes to my mechanic, who, after he replaced my water pump and timing belt a few days ago, asked "Have you been hearing a strange noise? Maybe coming from the clutch? 'Cause I thought I heard a noise, but now I'm not hearing it. Might want to keep an eye on that--I don't do clutch work any more." Oh, thanks. NOT! Since, after the hefty check I just wrote YOU, there's no way to spend any more money this week on another mechanic. Especially based on "Have you been hearing a strange noise?" Hey, what I know about automotive mechanics would fit into...a radiator cap? That's small, isn't it?...a radiator cap, so it ALL sounds strange to me.

I really need to unload this car soon, methinks. To some other poor sucker blinded by the clean interior and paint job.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fluffy and pink

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing I don't have kids, because if I did have a small child, I would most certainly send him/her out trick-or-treating in the foofy, fluffy pink French poodle costume I saw at the drugstore. Would that be adorable, or cruel and unusual punishment?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"I keep on falling..."

I've always been clumsy. And I bruise easily. When I was a child, my mother worried that people would think she was beating me, 'cause I was always covered in bruises. Just about every picture of me in the family photo albums showed little black and blue knees, and often a black and blue forehead. (She also worried that people would think she was drugging me, as my pupils were and still are bigger than normal. Yeah, my mom worries way too much about what people think.) I'm sorry to report that grace has not come with age.

Let's look back over some of the more spectacular falls, shall we?

Summer before last, I tripped over a lawn mower in my driveway. It was behind me. I didn't know it was there; it hadn't been there shortly before. It was the old, tired mower that I was getting rid of. I think it had it out for me. At any rate, I was suddenly falling, of those endless falls that seems to go on for hours. I couldn't get my feet underneath me, I couldn't figure out why I was falling and I was powerless to stop it. I landed on my outstretched arm, and knew instantly it was bad. My parents were there (having just delivered a shiny new mower as a gift) and rushed over yelling "Is anything broken?" I just raised my pitiful head off the driveway and said "Yes." I knew without a doubt that my arm was broken. I sat up and started cursing. "Damn it, I have rehearsal starting in a couple of days." (For a musical, no less.) "Damn it, I won't be able to drive my car." (I have a stick.) "GODDAMMIT, I don't have health insurance." (Note my priorities. My first fear is that I won't be able to do the show--not that I'll be paying hospital bills for the next 15.67 years.) Long story short, the arm was BADLY broken, required surgery to insert a plate, followed by physical therapy, I'll be paying the hospital bills for years, I borrowed my brother-in-law's car for the summer, and I was able to do the show, choreography and all, and received an excellent review. The arm still aches when the weather changes, and I have a really cool scar. That's probably the most dramatic fall of recent years.

When I was 13, I fell off a galloping horse, onto the very same outstretched hand and broke the same wrist I broke in the lawn mower incident. That time it took several grueling hours to set properly, but then I toodled around all summer with a cast on and never really gave it a second thought. The cast came off, and off I went. No physical therapy required. Ah, how things change when you age. Advice for everyone over 40: don't break any bones. It's much harder to heal than when you were a kid.

When I was 6, I fell off my bicycle, but that really had less to do with my clumsiness, and more to do with a bearing falling out of the front wheel. I face-planted on the side of the road, knocking myself unconscious. When I came to, I dragged myself back home, my face a bloody mess of road rash, and scared the hell out of my mother when I came through the door. I was rushed to my doctor's office (he was also my great uncle) and I'm told that when my aunt (his nurse) asked if I would like a Dr. Pepper, I plaintively asked "Who's he?" I have no knowledge of that, or of most of that day, actually, due to the concussion that kept me housebound for several weeks. One of my aunts brought me great stacks of books each week from the library, so I really didn't mind at all, little bookworm that I was.

Generally my falls don't require medical intervention, and some of them have been pretty darn funny. Like the time I went to visit my best friend, who was living in an upper story apartment at the time. I got out of my car, promptly tripped on the concrete parking marker and started to fall. It was was one of those falls that lasts forever only because you keep catching your balance and then losing it again. I jerked and twisted and travelled several feet before I finally came to rest (rather gracefully, actually) on one knee. My friend burst out the door, in a panic--he had seen my contortions out the window, and thought I was having a seizure. Hee.

I've ricocheted around my kitchen trying not to step on my dog, bruising myself on each hard surface as I went. I've tripped going both up and down stairs (once managing to give myself a black eye. How, you ask? No idea.). I've slipped in the shower, bruising myself on the edge of the tub and thanking God I didn't break a hip. (How completely humiliating would that be? Lying naked on the bathroom floor, perhaps ripping the shower curtain down to cover myself, waiting for help to arrive. Which would probably take a while, since I live alone and none of my animals seems to have Lassie-like rescue powers.) I've taken one to the tailbone after making the mistake of trusting a much-shorter-than-me actor when he said, "Just fall back, I'll catch you." I've stepped offstage onto a small box serving as a temporary step, only to have the small box slide to the side--I didn't fall that time, but that one reaaaallly long step twisted my knee badly and kept me in a brace for the run of the show.

You get the picture. I'm accident-prone, to say the least. I probably should just plead a permanent concussion, and lay on the couch reading books. Sounds like a vacation to me.