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.