Thursday, September 28, 2006

Old friends. And football.

In a couple of weeks I'm going to do something I haven't done in years. I'm going to my college homecoming game. One of my music department classmates is putting together a mini-reunion, wherein a group of us who were the primary movers and shakers (yeah, we thought we were pretty hot stuff at the time) of the vocal music program will sing the national anthem before the game. I haven't seen most of these people in 20 years, so it should be interesting. We were all asked to send in little bios to share with the others, and I'm amazed at how many of them have ended up working in church music. We've also been playing a lot of "remember when" and I have to say, though we really did have a lot of goofy fun, it shouldn't be any surprise how many of them are music ministers. Apart from furnishing our kitchens with china and glasses we lifted from food services, it was a remarkably strait-laced group. My god, was I ever really that young and innocent? We might enjoy the very occasional adult beverage, but that was it. For most of them, and for me, for a while. But I was also involved in the instrumental music department, and them folks (particularly the jazz guys) were a little more into mind-altering substances. Lots of drinking, lots of smoking. Then, near the end of my college tenure, I segued over into the theatre department and, look out! Maybe it was prophetic that the first involvement I had with that theatre department was the show "Anything Goes." 'Cause, let me tell you, anything went. But that was a long time ago, and these days I'm more than content with a good beer to wash down a good meal. And I find myself actually quite looking forward to spending a weekend with those people who knew me when I was young, and optimistic, and had absolutely no idea what life had in store for me. I just hope I don't cause a scandal if I slip and say "fuck."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Come into my parlor..."

I'm worried about my spider.

Okay, a little background. I have a very Buddhist dislike of unnecessary killing. I'm one of those people who gently scoops up creepy-crawlies and takes them outside, rather than screaming and stomping or swatting. (And they never even say thank you. I've even been peed on for my trouble. By a baby snake. Nice. Hee.) Oh sure, there are things I kill--mosquitos, fleas, ticks, roaches, flies--but for the most part, I'm very live and let live with the animal kingdom. I've even been known to humanely trap rats, and relocate them outside of town. I'm a little nutty, to be sure. I think I owned a slaughterhouse in a past life, and am now required in this life to be extra nice to all living things.

At any rate, I've never minded a few little house spiders hanging out. In my old house, they were in pretty much every window. Hey, they catch mosquitoes and flies, so they're okay in my book. I used to have a beautiful big garden spider who built an elaborate web each night between my front porch posts, in front of the porch light. I thought that was quite clever of him. When I'd come home late, after the web was built, I'd limbo underneath it to keep from tearing it down before he'd had dinner. My neighbors must have thought I was crazy. For the first several months in my new house, there were no spiders at all, but a few weeks ago, one showed up in the corner of my bathroom ceiling, over the tub. What an odd place, I thought. Maybe he likes to take a steam. Or maybe he's a Peeping Tom spider. Eww...the spider watches me take showers. That's kind of icky. But he did catch one very large fly a while back, so he's good with me. Since then, though, I don't see him catching much. There just don't seem to be as many bugs getting into this house as the old one. (Maybe because the floors and walls actually meet. But that's a story for another time.) So, I feel bad for my voyeuristic, possibly malnourished spider. What the hell is wrong with me?!?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

That Pudge of mine

I'm posting two days in a row. What is this world coming to?

First of all, I must point out that if you look very closely, you can see one of the first definite signs of fall. No, not beautiful colored foliage or pumpkins....I'm wearing shoes. Real shoes, with socks. For the first time since April, I think. Okay, I'll confess that the real reason I'm wearing shoes (as opposed to sandals; I don't always run around barefoot like white trash, just sometimes)is that I'm way overdue to give myself a pedicure. But still, I'm wearing real shoes and I'm not miserable. Fall is in the hizzouse!

Okay, I promised Pudge I would write about what a wonderful dog he is. I don't want to have to go home and tell him otherwise. Hee. Pudge is an 4-year-old 86-pound Doberman Shepherd mix. I think. I'm sure about the Doberman--his mother was a Doberman who gave birth to him at the city animal shelter--but I'm guessing about the Shepherd. A kind volunteer with one of the local rescue groups took home all six puppies from the litter and nursed them through various ailments--pneumonia, ringworm, etc., and in Pudge's case, a bone tumor on his leg. Eventually his picture and profile were posted on their website, which I happened to peruse when I was thinking of getting a companion for my older female dog, Sadie. (Who was one of the all-time great dogs, but is gone now. Sniff.) I thought his face was cute, so I emailed to ask about him and got in response something akin to "Pudge is the most wonderful, awesome, perfect dog ever!!!!!!" Lots of enthusiasm there (to judge by the adjectives and punctuation), so I figured I should check him out. He came for a couple of short visits, then came to spend a trial weekend and never left. (I like to tell people we met online.) He was 9 months old, and they told me he would be a "good 70 pounds" when he reached adulthood. That sounded pretty big to me. Little did I know! For the first few days, I marveled at how well-behaved he was. He was perfect--no chewing, no barking. Just perfect. I congratulated myself on having selected such a perfect dog. Again, little did I know! He had been crate-trained in his foster home, and just never had the chance to learn how to misbehave. Once the opportunity presented itself, he proved himself to be quite a fast learner. Hee. First it was sleeping on the bed. I was determined not to let him. I already had a 60-pound dog and any number of cats sharing the bed, and that was plenty. I figured he'd never slept ON a bed, so he wouldn't know what he was missing and would be happy to sleep NEAR the bed. Wrong! I gave up after about a week. (And actually, I've now grown so used to him pressing up again my back and giving me lumbar support--I can't sleep well when he's not there. Good thing I'm adaptable, I guess.) Things went on fairly peacefully for a while. Then began the Eating of Inappropriate Things. Not chewing, which I was expecting, and against which possibility I had laid in a supply of chew toys. Eating--chewing up and swallowing. Turns out Pudge has something of an iron stomach, fortunately--nothing ever seemed to harm his digestive tract. He ate small glass perfume bottles. Me: "What should I do?" Vet: "Feed him some bread to cushion it and watch him closely." He ate matches. Me: "What should I do?" Vet: "Watch him closely." He ate bath salts. Me: I am no longer calling the vet at this point. He chewed up a big bottle of blowing bubbles I had gotten as a gag gift. He did this on my bed. Guess what--bubbles don't dry easily. I had a giant wet spot in the middle of my bed for days (and I didn't even get to do anything enjoyable to put it there!). He ate a ceramic music box and pooped out the shards. He did this the day before he was scheduled to have surgery on his leg--the bone tumor had come back. I warned the clinic staff when I dropped him off. "If he poops out ceramic pieces while he's here, don't worry. He ate a music box." They shot back "What tune might he play?" Hee. ("Hava Nagila") He ate a bottle of betadine. In the middle of my bed. I saw a huge reddish brown stain and thought someone had hemorrhaged. I ran around the house, panicked, checking all the animals for wounds, until I found the empty punctured bottle. He ate a brillo pad. I didn't actually see him eat it, but I suspected, and my suspicions were confirmed several hours later when he puked it up neatly on my bedroom floor. He ate books, and CDs. Quite a lover of culture, that Pudge. One day he apparently decided he had a problem with my home decor and he ripped apart all the throw pillows and two of the bed pillows. It looked like a snowstorm had raged inside. He discovered the cat boxes and, instead of merely helping himself to a "kitty crunchy" or two like a normal dog, he turned over all the boxes (and there were several) and spread the litter all over the room. It looked like a sandstorm had raged inside. I was nearly at my wits' end. I made the mistake of yelling at him one day (which I feel bad about, but I was frustrated) and found out that yelling at Pudge causes him to pee in fright like a little baby. Unfortunately, he wasn't a LITTLE baby, so cleaning that up was fun. I didn't know what to do--how do you puppy-proof a house when the puppy is so unpredictable? I would never have imagined him eating bath salts or perfume bottles. So I began confining him to the bathroom when I wasn't at home. He remembered his previous crate-training and didn't seem to mind, but it bothered me that he couldn't be out to keep Sadie company. Nonetheless, that's the way it continued for several months. Then I was forced to steal my neighbor's cat one night, under cover of darkness--they let her get pregnant and then couldn't be bothered to provide shelter or adequate food--and I needed the bathroom for her and the kittens she delivered shortly thereafter. So I left Pudge loose in the house. Looked him straight in the face and asked "Will you be good?" And you know what? He was. He was perfect, that day and from then on. He was almost exactly two years old at that point, and apparently that was the magic number. Hallelujah! Since then he's been a total delight. He's huge, goofy, sweet and smart. He and Sadie bonded very tightly--how tightly I didn't realize until I took him in for his leg surgery, and she moped all day, refusing even to go outside until he returned. When I walked in the door with him, she wiggled herself silly greeting him, stopping whenever I looked at her, all "I don't really like him, you know" but I knew better. Pudge loved Sadie, but that didn't keep him from playing her. They both loved to be in the primo spot on the couch next to me, and would swap it back and forth all evening long, seizing each opportunity to "steal" it from the other. Pudge, smart little goof that he is, realized he could take advantage of Sadie's tremendous territorial instincts, and when she had posession of the coveted spot, he would run to the front window and bark as if he saw something. Sadie would leap off the couch and race to the window to protect her turf, and Pudge would instantly leap on in her place. He got pretty lazy about it after a while. He wouldn't go to the window, just stand next to the couch and glance in the general direction of the window, emitting a tepid little "woof." She fell for it every time, though. It was hilarious. Later, when Sadie was ill, I brought her home for what I knew was in all likelihood her last weekend with me. She had exploratory surgery scheduled for Monday, a last-ditch effort we knew was a long shot. Her breathing was very labored at that point, and the vet told me to keep her as still as possible. I made her a bed in the floor, next to the couch, so she wouldn't have to jump up. She laid down, and Pudge immediately became confused. He stood there, looking back and forth between Sadie and the obviously empty spot on the couch. Why wasn't she jumping up there? Finally, he went and got a bone from the pile and placed it in front of her, went and got himself a bone and laid down with it next to her on the blanket. They stayed that way for probably an hour while I sobbed on the couch. What a sweetheart. And they say they're "just" animals. ("They" can bite me.) Sadie's cancer turned out to be inoperable, and we lost her. Pudge grieved as hard as I did. Maybe harder. For several days he'd race to the back door each time I took him out, and when he realized that she wasn't in the yard waiting for him, he'd sink back, dispirited and wait for me to take him back inside. It was a long time before he even made it more than a few feet past the door. I made the mistake of pulling her collar out of a drawer one night--I had remembered where I had stored my other departed doggy collars, and wanted to put it with them. Big mistake. He came racing over, sniffing the collar and wagging and looking around. Obviously he smelled her, and thought she was in the room somewhere. It broke my heart. Gradually, he's returned to something more like his old self, though I think he still misses her. Eventually I will find the perfect dog to add to the household, but it's so hard. So, that's Pudge. He makes me laugh. He's trying very hard to be the protector of the house, (which was formerly Sadie's job, and boy was she good at it) but his innate goofiness makes it hard for him. My next-door neighbor's been having a good deal of work done to his house (following a fire, caused by lightning--scary) and the workmen in his yard are making Pudge crazy. He wants to be brave, so he'll charge toward the fence, barking madly, but stop a good ten yards short of any actual interaction. (Sadie would never have held back, bless her heart.) It makes me laugh. It's a terrific bark, though, I must say. I don't think an intruder would notice the ten yard gap. One day, one of the workmen asked "is that one of those Warlord Dobermans?" I managed not to laugh out loud--wouldn't want to hurt my brave dog's little feelings, and replied "Well, he's a Doberman mixed with German Shepherd, I think." Warlord Doberman. Hee. I don't even know what that is, but if there is anything Pudge is not, it is a warlord. He IS sweet, smart and funny, and he enriches my life far beyond what I expected when I chose him to keep Sadie company. The cats adore him, my family and friends adore him, I adore him. When he settles himself down on the couch and drapes his mile-long legs across my lap, he lets out the deepest, most contented sigh you ever heard. He's my Pudge.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rainy days and Mondays...well, you know.

So it's Monday. Whoo hoo! And so begins another week. I will try very hard to post more than once this week. I didn't post at all last week. It was my birthday week, but I had the least celebratory birthday on record, so I didn't want to write about it. Or not write about it. Somehow that turned into not writing at all. I'll be better--I promise.

Under the "Sometimes I can't believe what I hear coming out of my co-workers' mouths" file, add this: "Well, if Hilary ever gets to be president it'll be nothing but the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer." Excuse me, but WTF?! Have you been around for the last 6 years? The Bush administration is nothing BUT the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. This astute political commentator also said "Well, I bet you money Bill Clinton runs for president again." And when a co-worker said "He can't" she replied "Why not? He only had that one term." Again, I say, WTF?! She capped it all off by saying "Well Bill just wants Hilary to win so he can get his finger in the pie again." To which I actually had to respond (I usually just bite my tongue and do deep-breathing exercises) "Do you seriously think Hilary lets Bill tell her what to do?" Poor Hilary. I'm not her biggest fan by any means (she's a bit centrist for me), but she just can't win, can she? When she was the First Lady everyone called her a ball buster, and if she does ever get to be president, those same people will call her a puppet. Which is why I don't want her to run, actually. She's very polarizing, way beyond anything deserved by her actions or ideology.

I was going to write about my dog today, 'cause goodness knows there's plenty to talk about there, but now I just feel like bashing my head on my desk repeatedly.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I'm a meme stealer

1. How many keys are on your keychain? 5
2. What curse word do you use the most? Undoubtedly some form of fuck. I change it to frickin' or friggin' if someone is around who might be offended by the "real" thing.
3. Do you own an iPod? No.
4. What time is your alarm clock set for? 6:05. I have to hit the snooze buttom a few times before my feet hit the floor, though.
5. How many suitcases do you own? 1 big one, a couple of small, a garment bag
6. Do you wear flip–flops even when it’s cold outside? I don't wear flip-flops even when it's warm outside.
7. Where do you buy your groceries from? Depends. If I'm in a hurry I'll stop at one of the two grocery stores on my way home--Whitetrash, I mean, Warehouse Market or Las Americas #2 Super Mercado. They have a fascinating produce section--lots of cactus and chiles. When I have time I like to go to Wild Oats.
8. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture? I hate my picture being taken.
9. What was the last movie you watched? I can't remember. Something on cable.
10. Do any of your friends have children? Many of my friends have children.
11. If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would buy? A house, probably. Then a newer car. Invest the rest!
12. Has anyone ever called you lazy? Probably. Not too often, though, I wouldn't think.
13. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster? I don't need any help in that department. Is there a medication to help you wake up faster? Oh yeah, crystal meth.
14. What CD is currently in your CD player? In the car, "Seven is the Number" by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer. In the house, another Dave and Tracy, and one by Carrie Newcomer. Can't remember which one.
15. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk? Regular, skim.
16. Has anyone told you a secret this week? Nope.
17. When was the last time someone hit on you? I can't remember. Which means it's been a while. Oh great, now I'm depressed.
18. What did you have for dinner? Last night I had some cheese fries. I know--healthy!
19. Do you wear hoodies often? I don't own a hoodie. How uncool am I?
20. Can you whistle? Yes, not only through my lips, but through my tongue. Has to be seen to be believed!
21. Have you ever participated in a protest? I was part of the Lysistrata Project just before the start of the Iraqi war.
22. Who was the last person to call you? My mother.
23. What is your favorite ride at an amusement park? Roller coasters, the bigger and badder the better.
24. Do you think people talk about you behind your back? Let me turn around and check. Well, not at the moment, apparently.
25. What area code are you in right now? 918
26. Did you watch cartoons as a child? Who DIDN'T? What kind of freaky kid do you think I was?
27. How big is your local mall? Do you want the square footage? Why would I know that? And further, why would you care?
28. How many siblings do you have? 2, 1 bro 1 sis
29. Are you shy around the opposite sex? Sometimes I'm shy, period.
30. What is your biggest regret? Probably that I didn't try harder to make a relationship work with the nicest guy I was ever involved with. I was young and stupid, and had no idea how few truly decent men I would meet in later years.
31. When was the last time you laughed so hard your sides hurt? The cousin of a friend of mine was mimicking some downtrodden workers coming out of a downtown office building, and for some reason it was the funniest thing either of us had ever seen. Of course, my friend's mother had just died and we may have simply needed the release. Or maybe it was just funny as hell.
32. What movie do you know every line to? When Harry Met Sally, While You Were Sleeping, soon perhaps the 40-year-old Virgin
33. Do you own any band t–shirts? I don't think any of them survived the "I'm moving" purge.
34. When was your last plane ride? A few years ago, returning home from seeing Lillith Fair in Kansas City. I need to get out of town again soon.
35. How many chairs are at your dining room table? None. I never eat at the table.
36. Do you read for fun? Of course.
37. Can you speak any languages other than English? No. I wish I could. I wish I could speak Spanish, because I just know the cashiers at Las Americas #2 Super Mercado are talking about me.
38. Do you do your own dishes? If I don't, who will?
39. What color is your bedroom painted? The same color as the rest of the house. Rental taupish.
40. Have you ever cried in public? Yes. Not fun.
41. Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop? A desktop, currently in need of repair.
43. Are you always trying to learn new things? Not always actively trying, but I'm always receptive to new knowledge.
44. Do you shower on a daily basis? Sometimes I skip a day, because my skin gets so dry.
45. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos? I'd like another tattoo. I just can't decide exactly what I want.
46. Do you believe that the guy should pay on the first date? I always offer to help pay, but I secretly like it when the guy refuses to let me.
47. Can you skip rocks? You betcha.
48. Have you ever been to Jamaica? No. What a weird question.
49. What to snack on at the movie theaters? I rarely go to the movie theater, but when I do, there must be overpriced, unhealthy buttered popcorn.
50. Who was your favorite teacher? I don't know that there was just one--Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Allred, Mr. Ford, Mrs. Franklin all were fun. And I learned a lot from them, too.
51. Have you ever dated someone out of your race? I don't think there's a race I haven't dated.
52. What is the weather like? Beautiful. Blue sky, not too hot.
53. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos? I would. I have a hard time thinking that someone covered in ink would want to date me, though.
54. Do you have an online journal? I'm trying.
55. What was your favorite class in high school? Chemistry II.
56. Do you enjoy traveling via airplanes? I don't enjoy the actual travel, but I love how fast it gets you somewhere.
57. What personality trait is a must–have in your preferred gender? Kindness. Sense of humor. Intelligence. Honesty.
58. Have you ever been attracted to someone physically unattractive? I have been attracted to guys who were not the "standard" of attractiveness, sure.
59. When was the last time you slept on the floor? Can't remember. Probably because it was years ago and I was drunk, I would think.
60. What is your favorite alcoholic drink? Good beer. Imported or microbrew. No Bud, Busch, Miller, Coors, etc.
61. Does your closest Starbucks have a drive–thru? I don't even know where my closest Starbucks is. I drink iced tea I make myself at home.
62. Do you like your living arrangement? More or less.
63. What is your mother’s hometown? Pryor, OK
64. How many hours of sleep do you need to function? Close to 9. Which is bad, since I rarely get more than 7.
65. Do you eat breakfast daily? Yes. I rarely eat "breakfast food" though. It's a good time to get rid of leftovers for me.
66. What was the last thing to scare you? I don't know--bird flu?
67. Are your days full and fast–paced? Sometimes. Sometimes I sit around and read blogs.
68. Did you ever get in trouble for talking in class? I was a very quiet child, but there were a couple of times I did. Once a teacher moved me beside a kid who wouldn't stop talking to his seatmate, thinking I was so quiet it would solve the problem. He was quite gregarious though, and we ended up talking, too. She laughed and gave up.
69. What is your favorite fruit? I like lots of fruit, none really more than the others. Now, if the question was WHO is my favorite fruit--that's my best friend, Tony. Hee.
70. Do you pay attention to calories on the back of packages? Sometimes. Not as often as I should.
71. How old will you be turning on your next birthday? 44
72. Are you picky about spelling and grammar? Oh, yes. It's a dealbreaker.
73. Do you believe in life on other planets? Not on any of the planets in our solar system, but somewhere out there? Yeah.
74. Have you ever been to Six Flags? I have been to several Six Flags.
75. Who was the last person to piss you off? A good safe answer is George W. Bush.
76. Do you believe that God has a gender? Nope.
77. What was the last thing you ate? Ranch flavor Corn Nuts.
78. Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex? I get along with most people, regardless of gender.
79. What did you dress up as for your first Halloween? I don't know what my first Halloween costume was, but I have an adorable picture of me dressed as a princess of some sort. (Still waiting for that prince!)
80. How did your parents pick your name? A combination of family names.
81. Do you like mustard? No. I LOVE it.
82. What do you tell yourself when times get hard? That things will get better. I don't always believe it, though.
83. Would you ever sky dive? Perhaps.
84. Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back? I alternate sides, slightly curled.
85. What character from a movie most reminds you of yourself? I don't know--Yoda? Hee.
86. Have you ever bid for something on ebay? Yes. There are few things so joyous as purchasing a $.99 pair of earrings.
87. Do you enjoy giving hugs? Sure. And getting.
88. Would you consider yourself to be fashionable? I'm not UNfashionable.
89. Do you own a digital camera? Yes.
90. If someone you had no interest in dating expressed interest in dating you, how would you feel? Flattered. Maybe a little awkward, but still flattered.
91. What celebrities have you been compared to? A young Angela Lansbury. Christine Ebersole. Bea Arthur in a theatre review once.
92. Who is your favorite Star Wars character? Han Solo. So dreamy. Sigh.
93. Does it annoy you when someone says they’ll call but never do? Yes. It doesn't surprise me, but it still annoys me.
94. What books, if any, have made you cry? Too many to mention.
95. Do you think you’re attractive? Mostly. Sometimes.
96. What are you allergic to? Ragweed. Ann Coulter.
97. Are you a jealous person? Not particularly.
98. What’s your opinion on sex without emotional commitment? Been there, done that, often enjoyed it, but don't really need to do it at this point in my life.
99. Do you ever feel guilty after eating meat? I'm a vegetarian, so no!
100. If you were born the opposite sex, what would your name have been? Some combination of family names. Probably Charles or Sherman or Ted.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I thought it would last forever...

Whitney and Bobby are divorcing. I was so sure those crazy kids would make it. Actually, the only part of that sentence I was sure about was the "crazy." Crack isn't the only thing that's wack.

I just read a blog entry about childhood celebrity crushes, and I'm trying to remember. Who was my first celebrity crush? Was it Derek and Alan from the Bay City Rollers or Parker Stevenson from the Hardy Boys? I can't remember which came first. Can you believe I'm admitting these things? I had a pen pal from Germany in 7th grade and she turned me on to the Bay City Rollers before they became super big (shut up--they were, too...for a brief shining moment. S-A-TUR-DAY NIGHT!) in the United States. Probably the last time I was ahead of the coolness curve, truthfully. Sabine eventually stopped writing me--no doubt she sensed my inherent dorkiness, even through the second language barrier. She, of course, was extremely cool. She had an older sister who went to discoteks! Hee. I also had an Irish penpal who jumped horses competitively. I, dork that I was, thought that was even cooler than discoteks. She stopped writing very suddenly, and I always wondered why. This was Ireland in the 70s--lots of IRA bombings, she mentioned them once--I hope she was okay, and merely bored with my nerdiness. Which really wasn't my fault--how cool could you be in a small town in Oklahoma in the 70s? I ask you?!? Of course, I make up for that with my incredible cool now. Hee.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One mo' time

So, I've tried the blogging thing a couple of times now, and just didn't stick with it, for whatever reason. But I so very much enjoy reading other people's blogs--it makes me feel like a great big wuss that I don't blog myself. So, Blogger--this is your last chance (said like Rhoda as she left Minneapolis for New York and her very own show).

So, what's up with me today? I've spent the day advising (hee) a co-worker who has just been picked to appear in a segment on a national news-ish show. (We'll call it 40/40, okay?) She's never been to NY, never even flown, actually. And in "advising" her what to expect, I really felt how long it's been since I've been to NY, or anywhere, for that matter. For the love of all that is holy, I really need to rearrange my life so I can take a trip from time to time. Not that I regret taking in every stray animal that comes my way (or so it feels) and making it nearly impossible to arrange pet-sitting easily, but I sure could use a break. From my house, my job, my life. I have no desire to air my dirty laundry on 40/40, however. And I ain't gettin' rid of the critters, either. Couldn't live without the little buggers. Most days.

I'm about to turn 44. I was thinking about having an actual birthday party, but it's just too damn much trouble. I'll stay at home instead, and enjoy the gift my 44-year-old eyes have just given me. I finally need reading glasses for something other than those tiny little labels on cosmetic jars and frozen dinner packages. Whoo hoo! Yes, my eyes have finally reached the point where my arms are just too damned short. It sucks. (And why mention the tiny little labels on frozen dinner packages? 'Cause I'm a vegetarian and they sneak chicken fat into EVERYTHING. Why? Really. I don't think chicken stock is necessary for mediocre vegetable lasagna. It can be just as mediocre with vegetable stock.)

It's September. For the last few years, September hasn't been so nice to me. It's my birthday month; it should know better. But every September for the last several years, someone I care about has died. The last 3 years it was much cherished cats. The year before that, a friend and an ex-boyfriend. The year before that--well, that was 2001. I didn't personally lose anyone in September that year, but I did lose cats in July and December, and you really didn't have to know anyone personally who died on 9/11 to be emotionally affected. So I haven't had a really fun birthday in a while. And, while I try not to be superstitious, I can't help wondering if this September still has something unpleasant in store for me. God, I hope not. Fingers crossed.

So, anyway...first post out of the way, if less than spectacularly. Maybe if I can make myself do this regularly, something worth reading will come out. Fingers crossed.