Friday, June 29, 2007

A letter

Dear person "responsible" for the puppy who showed up on my doorstep Wednesday night:

Nice job of animal ownership! The decades-old, frayed pink collar on the very young male dog was a whimsical touch, and added a bit of incongruity to the otherwise pitiful sight. You know...the plainly visible ribs, the jutting hip and chest bones and the ears...oh, the ears. How many fly bites does it take to leave open wounds like that? The general lack of hair, the dry, scaly skin...yes, you did a damn good job with your stewardship, didn't you?

You looked right into those sweet, trusting eyes, and you violated that trust, as your victim licked your chin and wagged his tail, no doubt.

See you in hell. I hope it's hot. And I hope you are forced to forage through garbage for every "morsel" you eat, while the flies chew your ears.


The person now trying to clean up your mess

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Home improvement

I am ridiculously pleased with myself today. And ridiculously pleased with the glories of that series of tubes known as the World Wide Interwebs. Why, you ask? Because I actually managed to diagnose AND solve a problem with my refrigerator without having to call my landlord or sit at home for hours waiting for a refrigerator repairman. (Who, if I had to call one, would almost certainly not arrive wearing a cute little blue suit and cap, like on TV.) I simply googled the symptoms--water pooling inside the fridge--and quickly found a website devoted to diagnosing appliance problems. Neato! It only took a couple of minutes to find the section dedicated to addressing my problem, and to discover the solution: clean out the drain plug located underneath the crisper drawer (is that what that thing is!). I did that yesterday (and may I just say...ick!), and my refrigerator's bottom has been dry as toast ever since. Whoo hoo! I'm so proud. (Okay, all you truly handy people are no doubt snickering, but go ahead and snicker. I'm still pleased.)

I needed a reason to be happy with my home life, silly as the reason might be, since the cat medicating of the last six days was working my very last nerve. It sounded so easy. Put the granules in the yummy canned food, set it down, let 'em eat. But the first night I forgot Ruthie doesn't like the flaked tuna. She only likes the stuff with GRAVY. Well, excuse me! Tomorrow we'll make sure you have some GRAVY. And then EVERY SINGLE DAY one or other of the cats decided they just weren't hungry right now. Thanks, anyway. Maybe later. Of course, their sniffing and walking away necessitated a quick Plan B on my part, since failure to act quickly would have resulted in one of the more aggressive eaters getting a double dose, and the picky eater getting none, and I had just enough packets to go around. No extras. So I ended up scooping up the rejected blobs of food, which were then pureed, put into a large syringe and manually inserted into the offending cat's mouth. You can guess how popular that made me.

That was the indoor cats. The outdoor cats were better, with the exception of the one night Dolly decided not to show up for dinner at all, and I had to save her portion for breakfast.

Pudge was best of all. Dogs are so much easier to medicate than cats. Gulp, gulp--all gone. May I have some more? Wag, wag.

Yes, the cats were treading on shaky ground this weekend. Saturday I managed to accidentally roll the vacuum over an errant pile of cat poop hidden under a throw rug (Why hidden under the throw rug? I don't know...I guess the medicine had someone a little upset, and cats do so love to show when they're upset.) and I spent a delightful few minutes trying to clean mushed-up cat poop out of the vacuum rollers and wheels. If someone had knocked on my door just then, requesting donations for the "Send a Cat to the Animal Testing Lab" drive, it would have been a hard call. "Come here,'re going on an adventure." (I kid, I kid!!)

I did get a knock on my door a few minutes later, but it was only a few smiling representatives of the "Friendship Fellowship Church," wanting to invite me to join them some Sunday morning. I told them I had my own church, thanks anyway, but I have to say...they were certainly the most pleasantly sunshiny people who've ever knocked on my door in the name of religion. Some sort of religious ecstasy? They certainly must have been under the influence of something, to be willing to subject themselves to my company, given the sweaty, disheveled, "I've been cleaning cat poop out of my vacuum with a cotton swab" vibe I was no doubt manifesting.

So....what else has been going on? Not much. Tomorrow will be Day 70 of consecutive days of exercise. Whoo hoo! I wish I was losing more actual weight, but I can feel a definite difference. I don't feel constantly energetic by any means, but I feel stronger, and more flexible. And underneath the shrinking-but-still-present layer of flab, I'm getting some kick-ass calf and arm muscles. I'm still doing really well on the eat-less-cheese-and-fried-stuff front, as well, and I have to say I've noticed some differences there, too. I've long had the occasional acid reflux problems, but they now seem to be gone. I haven't popped a Tums or a Pepcid in weeks. Whoo hoo! I hadn't really anticipated that, but it's a nice bonus, since they're now saying damage from acid reflux can be a precursor to esophageal cancer, and I have a family history of that, anyway. (My aunt no longer has an esophagus. Her stomach has been stretched up to her throat--ouch!--and she had to relearn how to swallow. She's doing well, though.)

Okay, enough drivel for now. Maybe tomorrow I can regale you with the tale of that time I relit my own hot water heater, and talk about poop some more. Hee.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Oh, for the love of pete

The phrase is to "pique" one's interest, not to "peak" one's interest. I have seen this mistake made at least four times this week. What the hell? Do newspapers not have editors anymore? Am I the only person in the world who knows ANYTHING???? AAAAAaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!

Okay, I know I'm not. All you lovely people know things, too. The rest of the world, though? Idiots.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How do the tweakers stand it?

Despite my wish to be in all ways different than Dustin Diamond, yesterday I tried taking a "weight loss supplement." Not Zantrex-3, mind you. (That shit's expensive!) No, on a whim I picked up some green tea and hoodia extract pills. (They were cheap.) What the heck, I thought. Green tea's good for you. A little hoodia, a little guarana, some chromium...I'll give it a shot.

The results? Blecch. A little jittery, a little nauseous...not a good time. I had to eat some crackers just to calm my stomach down. I didn't lose control of my bowels or anything (just say no to Alli!), but it wasn't fun.

Maybe I'm too old for "stimulants," natural or otherwise. Didn't it used to be fun? Didn't I enjoy a little "buzz," back in the day? I remember in college, taking a couple of Dexatrim and warning my roommates to stand back--I was going to clean the house, and I was going to clean the house quickly.

I had a friend years ago who actually had prescription spee..."appetite suppressants," and she used to share them with me sometimes. I remember actually kind of liking that buzzy feeling of focus. I never had my own prescription spee..."appetite suppressants," though I did try unsuccessfully to get an appointment with her "doctor," who had a "weight loss clinic" like something out of a movie. Seriously, this old quack only accepted new patients on two specific mornings each year. You had to get through to the unlisted phone number, on that morning, with a referral from a current patient, or you were out of luck. (I didn't get through, and decided not to keep trying. The whole thing was a bit icky for my taste.) If you managed to get an appointment, you went in for an "exam," which my friend said consisted of allowing the doctor to pinch your inner arm flab and watch you jump up and down. If you were deemed overweight, you were given a prescription for the pills, which could only be filled at that clinic, one month's supply at a time. You picked up the pills at the front desk, and never saw the doctor again. No weigh-ins required. Can you believe that shit? That was years ago, but for all I know the place is still open. Lordy.

I really should know better when it comes to stimulants. Would you like to hear one more tale from my misspent youth? This is the story of the melting sinuses, and a cautionary tale if ever there was one.

Years ago, when I first moved to Tulsa, I lived for the first few months with BFF and his partner at the time....let's call him BFATT. (For Best Friend At the Time. I was quite convinced then that we would also be friends forever, but, alas, that did not come to pass. The fact that we didn't has no connection to the coming story, however. He moved, and we just lost touch.) BFATT had an older sister, and Sis was getting married. BFATT had not come out of the closet to his family, or anyone back in his hometown, and decided he needed a beard...I mean "date" for the wedding. I don't know who he thought he was fooling, since BFF was also invited to the wedding, and didn't take his own be..."date," but whatever. I happily agreed to be the beard, since they were Catholics with money, and those are generally the best kind of weddings to attend, in my opinion. Lots of food, lots of liquor.

So off we go to the wedding. It was a lovely, formal evening affair, followed by a catered reception. BFATT was off flitting around like the social butterfly he was, so BFF and I just kind of sat back and watched, since we didn't know anyone else in attendance. There was food, champagne, beer...and boredom. My god, it was boring. In an attempt to alleviate our boredom, BFATT approached us with an offer: the sister of the groom (a bridesmaid) and her fiance (an usher) were going out to the groom's van to do a little "crank"--did we want to join them? (Back then nobody called it "meth," and it was not all that common. We considered it less hardcore than cocaine (which I never did), and I'd only done it a couple of times previously. The groom always seemed to have a supply, but we didn't really think about WHY, though we should have. A few years later it turned out he was quite the little druglord, and Sis testified against him, post-divorce, at the trial that put him away.)

We were bored, we couldn't leave, and so we thought "what the heck," and out we went. We all got in the van and started looking for the stuff, which we had been told was inside somewhere. Bridesmaid called from the backseat, "here it is." She and Fiance lined it up on a little mirror, and started passing it around for snorting. (Important notes: nobody but Bridesmaid saw the bottle from whence it came. Bridesmaid was possibly the least experienced drug user in the wedding party. In fact, the four of us, Bridesmaid, Fiance, BFF and I were by far the least experienced drug users of the newly married couple's circle of friends. They were some party people.) I remember hearing Fiance say "this shit's like napalm," but didn't give it all that much thought, as I remembered it burning a bit the other two times I did it. Someone noticed that people were approaching the van to decorate it for the going-away later, so we hurriedly finished passing the mirror, with BFATT declining to partake, and we leapt out of the van and scattered.

Very soon after, I realized something was wrong. My nose was burning, my throat was burning, my eyes were watering...was I having an allergic reaction? I went inside to the bathroom and rinsed my eyes and mouth, and spat out as much as I could. Soon, though, other people came into the bathroom, including some children, and I thought it prudent to go outside. (I found out later they all thought I was drunk. Oh, if only.) It was like someone had turned on a spigot in my head--fluid was pouring from my eyes and nose, and I knew I was in trouble. BFATT came running up--thank god. "I need to go to the hospital," I said. "I know, I know," he replied in a panic. "It's happening to the others, too."

He corralled us to his car as Groom came rushing up in a frenzy. "What bottle was it from? WHAT BOTTLE WAS IT FROM? You dumb bitch,"...this directed at his sister..."what bottle was it from?" She described the bottle (which was definitely not your typical "drug bottle"), he ordered BFATT to get us to the hospital posthaste and tell them we had here is where we all should have been paying a little closer attention. None of us quite remembered the same thing. Definitely not methamphetamines. "Mercuric chloride," maybe. We weren't sure. We still don't know. Groom had an auto body shop (as a cover for his meth lab, apparently), and it could have been ANYthing. Industrial chemicals, name it.

At any rate, off we rushed, and stormed into the emergency room--the best-dressed party they'd seen in a while, I'm sure. (It was really kind of funny. Formal dresses and tuxes...we looked great.) This was a small-town emergency room, and they weren't used to moving quickly, apparently. BFATT took charge: "I have four people here who have ingested mercuric chloride, and WE NEED HELP NOW!" Well, that got their attention. Soon there were doctors and nurses buzzing all over us. The police were called. The doctors really wanted to know exactly what they were dealing with, and BFATT and the police went in search of the bottle...which was missing, of course. The groom and his lovely friends had "misplaced" it, along with the actual drugs, and whatever else he was hiding in that van. They dummied up, naturally, and refused to talk at all. The police interviewed us at the hospital, one by one, and though none of us were lying when we said we didn't know anything about anything, the cops were frustrated. One of them finally said to me, "look, you haven't actually done anything illegal, we're not going to arrest you, we're just trying to get information." Sorry, Officer...I had none to give.

The doctors put it on the line for us: they didn't know what we had taken, or what the results might be. If it truly was "mercuric" anything, our kidneys might shortly start to fail, and if so we would die. They would treat the symptoms as they came up, and hope for the best. OH MY GOOD LORD!! I have never been so terrified in all my life. So they hovered around us, and watched as the first symptoms soon became apparent. We all had to pee. A lot. Over and over. Like racehorses. Our kidneys were working overtime, apparently. Good news, really, since they didn't seem to be shutting down.

At this point, I started to feel a shift in the attitudes of the ER staff. To be honest, when we came in they were less than sympathetic. Can't blame them, I guess--they thought we were some kind of hardened druggies, taking up space in their emergency room. But it became apparent to them after a few minutes that we were just dumb kids with really bad luck, and they started to feel sorry for us. One of the nurses was having trouble getting an IV in my hand, and started slapping my wrist to raise some blood vessels. "Keep going," I said, "I deserve at least a good slap on the wrist, don't you think?" She smiled at that, and the atmosphere got noticeably warmer from then.

At that point an ambulance brought in another patient, a large woman convinced she was having a heart attack, and screaming over and over, "I CAN'T BREATHE!" You could hear her all over the hospital--trust me, there was plenty of air going in and out of those lungs. She refused to let a male doctor examine her, and yelled and screamed and generally caused such a stir that all attention was diverted to her, and I was wheeled off to the side on my gurney, away from my friends. It was then that the second wave of symptoms began to arrive.

Leg cramps. Not just a little charley horse or two...these were incredibly intense leg cramps, that locked my legs up to the extent that they were actually lifting off the gurney of their own accord. I lay there, feet in the air, waving feebly in the direction of the doctors, trying to be polite and not make a stir of my own. Finally a nurse passed by, and I reached out and stopped her. " legs are kind of cramping." She paused and tried to massage out the knots. "Wow," she said. "These are some cramps." I began to writhe on the gurney, and she ran to get one of the doctors, who ordered valium, and said "Yeah, it's happening to the others, too."

The fun, it never ends. I was still very panicky, even through the valium, and I kept trying to get the cute young doctor to tell me if I was going to die. I figured I had a right to know. "We certainly hope not, and we're doing all we can," he kept saying. "Come on, Doctor Joe," I pleaded, "just be straight with me." He looked around to make sure his supervisor wasn't looking, leaned down and whispered into my ear, "you're going to be fine." Aww...thanks, Doc. That's all I needed to hear.

Eventually they decided to admit us. Bridesmaid and Fiance were allowed to share a room, since they were engaged, but rules prohibited BFF and I from doing the same. "But we're roommates!" No dice.

I was there for four days. Four long, lonely days. They never did figure out what we took, but we all had basically the same weird symptoms. The peeing, the cramping, followed by major swelling under our chins. We all looked like we had goiters. I had complete blockage of my nasal passages--couldn't get one molecule of air to pass through there. "We've never seen such blockage," they said. "You may have sinus problems for the rest of your life." Nice. BFF, not having run to the restroom and gargled like I did immediately after, also had problems with his digestive tract. At least I was spared that.

Eventually all the symptoms cleared up, though BFF and I both dripped orange snot out of our noses for days. ORANGE SNOT! How gross is that? I had planned never to tell my parents, but I was forced to, since the doctors felt very strongly that I not stay in the house alone for a while, and BFATT was still dancing attendance on BFF, who lingered in the hospital for a few more days. So I sucked it up, and called them, and they came to get me and took me home with them for a few days. I have to give them credit, though...very few recriminations. I guess they figured I'd suffered enough. My mother merely said, "You know you're too accident prone to get away with doing drugs." Heh.

The moral of this story? Don't do drugs, kids. And if you do, be damn sure you know exactly what you're taking. LOOK AT THE BOTTLE FIRST. Or, you know, just have a bottle of beer instead. And then don't drive. Or you could end up like Paris Hilton. And really, who wants that?

Monday, June 18, 2007

My heart was broken this morning.

Literally. Right in two. Of course, it was only a heart-shaped incense holder that came to a bad end upon colliding with a much sturdier vase that I clumsily knocked over, and it had no particular value, sentimental or otherwise, but wasn't that a dramatic way to title a post which, I'm afraid, will otherwise be largely about cat poop?

Yes, the verdict is in, and my household is apparently awash in Giardia. Delightful! That means that for the next week I get to treat not only the [embarrassingly large number redacted] indoor cats, but also Pudge the dog, and Dolly and McBeady, for good measure. I can't be sure they all have it, of course, but I can't be sure they don't, so everybody gets granules mixed in their food this week. Tasty granules for everyone! The little parasites were most likely brought into the house via Timmy and Babs, the two of Dolly's formerly feral kittens that I kept. And yes, we did a fecal check on them back then, but only a fecal float done in the office. This time we did the extra-special (and therefore extra-expensive), extra-thorough sent-off-to-the-lab type. And voila! Giardia. I guess I got my money's worth, at least.

I have now decided what my epitaph will be. The single phrase that most completely encapsulates my life:

Here lies Liz. No good deed goes unpunished.

Of course, I'm not sure exactly where this epitaph will be engraved, since I plan to be cremated and, depending on my mood at the time, have my ashes scattered from a mountaintop, turned into part of a barrier reef or exploded in a fireworks display. (Festive!) So maybe it will be my figurative epitaph, as opposed to my literal one, but nonetheless, it seems appropriate.

What else is going on in LizLand? I'm kicking myself for giving in to the impulse to buy a scale, for one thing. So depressing. Despite the fact that I've been very good (NO beer and almost NO CHEESE!), and have not missed a single day's exercise, the numbers are just not falling downward as rapidly as I would like. Oh, I know, I know...I'm building muscle, my body is changing, blah, blah, blah. I actually found myself last night seriously considering buying some Zantrex-3. Dustin Diamond, the World's Single Most Odious Person, lost quite a bit of weight on Celebrity Fit Club this week, by "cheating" with Zantrex-3, and I actually googled it this morning. Turns out it's really almost nothing but caffeine, tons and tons of caffeine, so I think I'll pass. I'm plenty caffeinated as it is, I think. Besides, I'd hate to think I have ANYthing in common with Dustin. "He breathes air? I'm growing gills!"

Cute Church Guy wasn't in church yesterday, but his mother (who is WAY cool, incidentally; I just love her) told me how beautiful I looked. Inside my head a little voice was screaming "Beautiful enough for your son? Tell your son!" But on the outside I just calmly said thanks. (And wondered why I am suddenly so beautiful to middle-aged married women. My boss's sister who is visiting from out-of-town said the same thing to me last week. I'm quite sure neither of these women was hitting on me. Maybe I was wearing something particularly flattering? Is that new wrinkle cream working? Hmm...) The lesbians and I had a little chat about appropriate wedding music--turns out they're getting married (not legally, of course, this is Oklahoma) this fall. At least CCG wasn't there to witness that cozy little confab. Hee. I was actually one of the witnesses in a gay wedding (commitment ceremony, union, blessing, whatever you want to call it) years ago, but I could never figure out if I was the best man or the maid of honor. I stood on the side of the butcher of the two guys, man?

Aside from's raining. Over and over again it rains. "I am so. tired. of this. rain. Remind me not to honeymoon in Niagara Falls." Quick--who said that in what movie? I'm probably the only one who knows. I'm a dork.

Oh well, at least I don't have giardia. I don't think. Omigod...what if?! Maybe I ought to throw some of those granules in with some tofu, just to be safe.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Puke, poop and blood, my god, the blood

First off, for anyone who might be wondering, Charlie's exam and bloodwork showed...nothing, really. We decided to do a round of antibiotics and some anti-nausea meds, and he seems to have stopped vomiting, but whether that's from the drugs or because whatever bug he had ran its course at the exact instant I dropped $175 on him...that's anybody's guess. Because he and Rover have both had unexplained gastrointestinal problems recently, the vet also suggested doing a fecal check, so I went back to the vet yesterday after work with a couple of randomly selected samples from the litterbox. (Here's a tip: even if you've put it securely in a ziploc, cat poop that spends an afternoon in your car with the windows rolled up ('cause it won't. stop. raining.) will stink it up. Blech.) Of course, I don't know WHOSE poop it was, exactly, of the [embarrassingly large number redacted] possible suspects, but I figured if one has a parasite, they probably ALL have a parasite. Big fun. They haven't called with the results, so I don't know yet if I stank up my car for nothing. (It's better this morning, thank goodness.)

And just to keep me from missing that first-thing-in-the-morning-puke cleanup ('cause they're thoughtful like that), one of the other cats decided to drizzle their just-ingested canned food and a hairball all over my computer keyboard. Lovely! I'm sure that won't cause any problems, right? Lordy.

Okay, moving on from puke and poop...I've had a request to elaborate on some of the freakier accidents I eluded to in the last post. Well, I aim to please, so today I'll regale you with the tale of the "gashed nose/bottle throwing" incident.

Years ago, during one of the summers I spent doing outdoor theatre, I befriended a young fellow we'll call Chris. (But only because that was his name.) Chris was kind of an odd duck, but very sweet, and for whatever reason, we really hit it off. I was pretty much his only friend there--he made kind of a bad initial impression on most of the cast members. They thought he was a Satan worshipper, actually. That sounds bad, doesn't it? It was really silly, though...he had drawn a symbol on the outside of his script (he was an artist, too, and was always doodling) someone thought was a pentagram, though in reality, it was some sort of anarchy symbol used by some rock band or other. (He was also a drummer, and had dreams of rockstardom.) At any rate, rumors spread, as rumors will, and because he didn't make any real effort to get to know anyone but me and his roommates (who he had gone to junior college with, and who knew he wasn't a Satan worshipper, but did nothing to dispel the rumors--how sweet), and because on some level I believe he sort of enjoyed being mysterious, people just generally kept their distance.

So he and I were pals. Many nights after the show, we'd buy a 12-pack of beer--okay, I'd buy a 12-pack of beer. He wasn't yet of drinking age. Yes, I contributed to the delinquency of a minor, sort of, but give me a break--it was 3.2 beer for pete's sake, and it's not like he was under 18. But I digress. We'd buy the beer and go somewhere to drink it. He really liked driving outside town on the unpaved backroads (of which there were plenty in that little town, back then), so we did that a lot. Occasionally we'd go instead to whatever communal party was being held at whatever cast member's place, but mostly it was just the two of us...drinking beer and talking. Nothing romantic, ever...we just liked each other, and enjoyed each other's company. It was sweet. He was all full of angst, of course...angst about his girl back home, angst about his future--did he want to be an actor, an artist, a rockstar?--and I was his older and wiser (hee!) confidante.

Okay, I've really gotten carried away with the back story, but I realize I kind of miss Chris. We actually did stay friends for several years after that summer, and wrote and visited back and forth while he finished college (with a graphic arts major--decision made). We ended up living in the same town again later, and, having gotten past the antisocial misfit vibe he was rocking that summer, he fit in nicely with my group of friends at the time. Eventually he moved out-of-state, and we gradually lost touch. I wonder where he is now? I hope he's okay.

All right, all right...I'll steer the narrative off the memory lane backroads and get back to the nose gashing!

One night, for whatever reason, his roommates asked if we wanted to hang out in their apartment after the show and have a few drinks. We were agreeable, so instead of hitting the backroads, we crashed in their living room and drank and chit-chatted. They were a bit more...staid, let's say, than many of the people I partied with during those summers, but it was fine. Low-key, but pleasant. Chris, however, was a bit restless. He had acquired a little bit of pot somewhere, and wanted to smoke it. His roommates didn't allow cigarette smoking in the apartment, much less pot smoking, so a little subterfuge was required. He made up some reason he needed to see me in the next room, and suggested we go in the bathroom and smoke a bit. Okay. We turned on the exhaust fan, stood on the toilet, and blew the smoke directly up, so his roommates wouldn't catch on. Oh, weren't we clever? Hee. Then we rejoined the group in the living room. We're chit-chatting away, when the newly acquired kitten of one of the roommates came into the room. They had been trying very hard, with limited success, to train her not to jump on the countertops. Of course, she immediately jumped on the countertop, so Chris grabbed an empty plastic 2-liter pop bottle, and chunked it in the direction of the kitten, intending to hit the cabinet below her, and scare her down off the counter.

Here's where it got weird. The bottle sailed through the air toward the cabinet, then made a u-turn in mid-flight, and sailed directly toward me, on the other side of the room. Honest to god, it all seemed to happen in slow motion. It was like the football smacking Marcia in the nose on the Brady Bunch--picture that, if you will, only replace the football with a pop bottle, and Marcia's face with mine. The bottle smacked me right in the face (an empty plastic bottle, mind you, as light as could be), and the ridged top of the bottle, the only part of the bottle with ANY substance, hit the bridge of my nose and gashed it right open. My hands flew to my face--again, picture Marcia Brady, "Oh, my nose!"--and my head recoiled, everyone's mouths dropped open, and I leapt up and ran to the bathroom, face cupped in my hands, and began to POUR blood into the toilet. We have a gusher! It was very dramatic.

Of course everyone came running, Chris was freaking out, and eventually the decision was made that I should go to the emergency room. Chris drove me; the roommates stayed behind. We got to the emergency room, and out came the young intern on duty that night. "Well," he said, "I could stitch it up, but that might leave a bigger scar. Or you could just tape it up and see your family doctor tomorrow. Which do you want to do?" I just stood there staring at him. May I remind you of the smoking in the bathroom that was done earlier? And may I just tell you that when I have partaken of such substances I become the most indecisive person on the planet? I stared for a while, then the rational part of my brain came to the conclusion that if young Dr. Intern couldn't even decide if I needed stitches or not, I wasn't letting him near me with a needle. We'll tape it up, thanks.

We stopped at the drugstore for supplies, and returned to the apartment. Chris taped me up all right...I had gauze and tape running from forehead to chin and ear to ear, pretty much. I looked like a mummy. The bathroom looked like a crime scene, the roommates apparently not feeling the need to clean up any of my blood in our absence. (Nice.) I'd done well, though, on my mad dash to the bathroom--not one drop of blood on any of the carpet. The toilet was another matter, though...which gave Chris an idea. He got a wire coat hanger, untwisted it, propped it in the toilet and started taking pictures. I know, I know...that is REALLY sick. But they were incredibly dramatic pictures. And yeah, okay...maybe I get why people were a little put off by him, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. (The smoking, remember?)

The next morning I went to see my doctor, who looked like he didn't completely believe my "it was an empty plastic 2-liter bottle story," but taped me up in a more efficient manner, told me the black eyes would go away on their own time, and I'd be fine. I couldn't be excused from the show that night without losing a night's pay, so I sponged makeup all over the tape and under my eyes and hoped that distance would lend enchantment. When anyone would ask me what happened, I would say very dramatically, "Chris hit me in the face with a bottle." And then, once I had enjoyed the expressions on their faces, I would tell the whole story...but, like the doctor, I'm not sure everyone completely believed me. Sorry, Chris.

I'm sure there's a moral to this story, but I'm not sure what it is. Don't smoke? Don't drink soda from plastic bottles? Don't throw things at cats? Don't hang out with alleged Satan worshippers? I'll let you choose.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Karma chameleon

I have to take my cat Charlie to the vet later this afternoon. (He's been throwing up, poor baby.) I'm worried about what might be wrong, of course, but more immediately, I'm worried about actually getting him there. Charlie is...not so good with the carrier, let's say. Charlie actually doesn't care for being messed with in any way. He's a total freak, is what I'm saying here. (But he's MY freak!) I'm sitting here going over various scenarios for tricking him into the carrier, and hoping that maybe my own excellent behavior as a child will net me some good karma.

No, really. I was, in many ways, the BEST kid ever. (If I do say so myself.) Going to the doctor or the dentist, getting a shot, taking a sweat. I never really saw what all the fuss was about. And fuss there was--from my brother and sister. I remember my mother hiding pills in applesauce, smashing them up in orange juice, cleaning up the inevitable vomit when a laborious attempt to swallow a pill without choking went awry once again. I watched it all, and I thought, pragmatic little four-year-old that I was: WTF? (Okay, I probably didn't ACTUALLY think the "F" part; I was way too well-behaved to curse, even if I'd known that word.) But seriously, I'd put the pills in my mouth, swallow them quickly down and get on with my life. Ten seconds, done, and I'm off to play or watch TV while my siblings wasted an hour of their lives. Fools!

Same thing with needles. Hold still, stay calm and it's over quickly. Kick and scream and fuss, and the experience just lengthens. Why couldn't my brother and sister learn from my excellent example? But they never did.

A co-worker was telling me last week about her young niece, who is so freaked out by the dentist that they actually had to hospitalize her to do dental work. I remember my own family dentist (truly a family member, actually--the husband of my dad's cousin)--and his particular method of dealing with children. This was back when getting gas at the dentist was practically unheard of, when we ALL got cavities that had to be filled, and shots of novocaine were standard procedure. Bill would have you close your eyes, and start scratching your gum gently with his fingernail. "You feel the scratching? I'm just rubbing your gum with my finger." Then, having distracted you with that, he'd slide the needle in and give you the shot. Well, he never fooled me. I knew he was giving me a shot, but I didn't see the need to freak out about it. I was somewhat puzzled by the whole "I'm scratching your gum" thing, though, and once asked my mother about it on the way home from an appointment. "Why does Bill always do that scratching thing before he gives the shot?" Screams arose from my brother and sister in the back seat: "HE'S GIVING US A SHOT?!?!" Hee. Sorry, Bill. Didn't mean to tip your hand.

It's a good thing I was (and still am) very calm in the face of physical ailments and injuries, since I was (and still am) the most accident-prone person on the planet. My mother once said to the doctor, as he stitched my fingertips back into their proper place on the ends of my fingers after a particularly heinous pizza dough roller accident (in my mid-20s), "It's a good thing she has such a high pain tolerance, since she's the one of my kids always getting hurt." "Maybe she has a high pain tolerance BECAUSE she's always getting hurt," he replied. Huh. Good point.

Concussion and scraped face from a bicycle accident, broken arm from a horseback riding accident (nurse: "I can't believe she's not screaming, they always scream at this point"), shredded face and broken nose and nearly ripped-off ear from a car accident, gashed nose from a bottle-throwing incident (good story), whiplash from a tornado-related car accident (also a good story), nearly melted sinus cavities from a sort of but not really drug-related incident (that's a REALLY good story), broken arm from a lawnmower accident, cracked rib from yet another car get the picture. I am always calm. Fix me and send me home, please. Thanks.

So really, some of the karma of those years of being calm and easy in the face of impending medical intervention ought to come home to roost, wouldn't you say? Charlie should go obediently into his carrier and let the doctor do what she needs to do, right? Right. I won't hold my breath.

And, okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that, while I was, as a child, incredibly calm and easy-going in the face of medical intervention, I did have my quirks. Ask my mother about the socks with the "wiggles" tantrums sometime and watch her start to laugh. I did NOT, for the record, LIKE MY SOCKS TO HAVE WIGGLES. And while I thought that "my socks have wiggles" was an incredibly descriptive telling of my woe (for a 4-year-old), my mother had NO idea what I meant. I meant that those annoyingly thin, lousy with frills and lace anklets all the little girls wore back then would slide down inside my shoes and wedge underneath my arches in a MOST disturbing way. (For the record, I still hate that feeling.) So I refused to wear them. Loudly. Finally my mother, having realized that though she might never exactly understand the "wiggles" angle, she perfectly understood the "refusal to wear them" angle, went out and bought a bunch of nice, stretchy bobby socks, which stayed obediently where they were meant to, and that's what I wore with all my dresses, style be damned. Let all the other little girls have their anklets--I was wiggle-free!!

Okay, so I was a bit of a freak. Charlie must take after me.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pondering Paris

As I sat at home yesterday, confined much of the time to my 8 x 12 living room (okay, maybe not technically "confined," I just really didn't want to leave the house, and I don't actually know the dimensions of my living room, I just know that it's small), unable to even go to the bathroom without someone watching (Yes, Rover, I love you, too. Now let Mommy poop in private, 'kay?), I had time to reflect. And I came to a startling conclusion.

I've been too hard on Paris Hilton.

No, really. Think about it. She truly has been subjected to a punishment far, far greater than the usual prisoner. She has not just been forced into solitary confinement for 23 hours a day--she has been forced to endure the company of Paris Hilton, and ONLY Paris Hilton, for 23 hours a day! My god, talk about your cruel and unusual punishment! Who among us could endure the same and not soon crack?


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Okay, just one more...Caged Heat, Day 3

From the pen(cil) of Paris Hilton:


I am outa here! Who says I'm not a good actress? I managed to convince them I was going to DIE if they didn't let me out, AND I managed to get credit for 5 days even though I was really only here 3.

So, Sarah Silverberg, (or whatever your name is, who cares--you're NOBODY)--who's laughing now, huh?

I'm totally going to throw a party as soon as I get home. And who cares if I have to wear an ankle bracelet? I LOVE jewelry. Maybe I can get one from Cartier. That would be HOTT.

Everyone knows it's windy...

Okay, I'll stop indulging myself at poor Paris's expense. I couldn't help it. The idea of her wearing prison-issued undergarments makes me laugh!

What's happening in my (non-incarcerated) world? It is WINDY here right now. Not tornado wind, thank goodness, just plain old straight winds. But the kind that make you really glad you no longer live in a house surrounded by old, indifferently maintained trees, ready to come crashing down on you at any moment. Not that there aren't plenty of old, indifferently maintained trees in my current neighborhood, but none of them are in direct striking distance of my house. I kept hearing really strange noises last night, though, when I was outside, coming from the direction of a large industrial facility close by. I'm not sure what they do there, exactly, but they have lots of long, metal-roofed buildings, and I guess some sort of wind tunnel was being created, 'cause there was an eerie, deep sort of whistling sound being generated, and it was kind of freaking me out.

The wind has not always been my friend. There was the power outage of the broken arm summer, of course. The night (in my old house) that one of MY (or my landlord's, more accurately) formerly indifferently maintained, now completely DEAD trees came crashing down on the neighbor's fence and power lines. That was fun. Fortunately there was nobody living there at the time, and the other landlord was very nice about it, but I was the one serving as the liaison between the two landlords and the power company, and it was very stressful for a couple of days there.

The funniest wind story I know isn't mine--it happened to a co-worker, years ago. We were working downtown, and the street our building opened onto is a notorious wind tunnel. Seriously, sometimes it's almost impossible to walk across that street when the wind's really kicking up. There's an elevated, enclosed walkway connecting the buildings on each side of the street, but that was a little inconvenient to access from our corner, so we'd usually just plow across at street level. This one day she was going across the street on a snack run for the office, to the little convenience store there, clutching a $20 bill and a couple of $1 bills in her hand. Before she knew it, the wind had plucked one of the bills from her hand, and off it blew. Without looking to see which bill it was, she took off after it, fearing it was the $20. (That was a lot of money for us back then.) Down the block she raced, while the elusive bill flitted just out of reach. Just as she passed under the overhead walkway, she made a big leap, grabbed the errant bill....and promptly landed flat on the sidewalk. She was wearing a skirt that day, of course, and the skirt immediately billowed up over her face, exposing her "mildreds" for everyone overhead to see. She collected herself with as much dignity as possible, and looked down to see that the bill she had humiliated herself to retrieve was, in fact, a single. The $20 was still safely in the other hand. Hee!

My worst experience with wind, though, would have to be when I flew to Chicago in a windstorm several years ago. I have never been so sure I was going to die! The turbulence was incredible, people were throwing up all over the plane, and they couldn't even bring the drink cart down the aisle. "Omigod," I thought, "I'm going to die in a fiery plane crash, dehydrated and surrounded by puke." Finally O'Hare came into view. The relief in the cabin was palpable. The airport approached on the left as we began to descend....and then receded behind us as we banked to the right and began climbing again. WTF? The captain's voice came over the intercom, telling us that, due to the wind, there were only 2 runways open, and the runway they had us scheduled for was currently experiencing crosswinds in excess of 65 mph, which was "beyond the capabilities of this aircraft." So we were just going to circle around for a while and wait for a chance at the other runway. Oh, GREAT. So we circled, and circled, for most of an hour. Above Lake Michigan. Which might as well be an ocean, when you're circling above it with no land in sight. "Omigod," I thought, "now I'm going to die NOT in a fiery explosion, but by DROWNING." Well, at least that would end the dehydration. Heh. Eventually our turn came to land, and the instant the wheels touched the ground the entire plane erupted in spontaneous applause. I believe there may even have been a few whoo hoos!

"I'm never getting on another plane in my life!"

But of course, I was. For I wasn't merely flying to Chicago that time....I was flying to Grand Rapids. And so I was going to be forced to board a puddle-jumper and finish my trip. But not right away. Oh no, I'd missed my connecting flight, of course, and I was going to be forced to spend a few hours sitting in the terminal at O'Hare. With lesbians.

Okay, I'll explain the non-sequitur. As I sat there waiting, I began to notice girls filtering in, 2 or 3 at a time, all quite athletic-looking, and many of whom seemed to be lesbians. "What's with all the lesbians all of a sudden?" I thought. "Not that there's anything wrong with that." Then I noticed they all seemed to be carrying matching duffle bags, emblazoned with the name of a college. A sports team? It's mid-March...a basketball team! Makes perfect sense. So we sat there, the lesbians and I, and one middle-aged businessman who asked me to watch his baggage while he grabbed something to eat. Why me? I don't know...did I look more trustworthy than the basketball players? I probably just looked less intimidating--those were some BIG girls. The tall kind of big. The aggressively athletic kind of tall and big. Eventually we all boarded the plane, the flight to Grand Rapids was uneventful, and my BFF was waiting in the airport for me, reading a magazine and eating a hot dog. And, if I remember correctly, holding up a little sign with my name on it, 'cause that's the kind of silly we are. We drove off to Holland, Michigan, where he was living at the time, and started a delightful week of adventures.

Later in the week, I was reading the local paper and was delighted to see that my airport buddies had won their game in the basketball (see--I was right) tournament the local college was hosting. You go, girls!

Enough with the wind. How are Dolly and McBeady? Dolly is well, but I'm afraid McBeady has been in a fight. He's limping pretty badly on one leg. And, of course, in his current fraidy-cat state, he won't let me check it out. I hope he's okay--he'd better not have an abscess; I don't think I could get antibiotics down him right now. Damn it, McBeady! I only want to help! Grrrr.

Yesterday was day 49 of the new order. 49 days was also the amount of time it took the Buddha to achieve perfect enlightenment. I don't know that I've achieved enlightenment, exactly, but I've certainly lightened! And learned that if you give in and eat ice cream and cake one day, the scale may very well reflect that the next morning. Sigh. Maybe I am becoming enlightened, after all.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Caged Heat, Day Two

From the pen(cil) of Paris Hilton:

Man, this place sucks. The clothes are AWFUL. This jumpsuit is scratchy. I DON'T think this fabric is breathing! It makes me hot. And NOT in the good way. (Of course I'm still HOTT in that way, could I not be? I mean, have you SEEN me?) I'm pretty sure this bra is NOT from Victoria's Secret, and it's not even a push-up! And I don't know how long they think I'm going to be here, but they gave me WAY too much underwear. TWO pairs? I don't wear that many in, like, a whole year!!

I'm going to take a nap now. My head hurts. I think I got my extensions pulled too tight. :(

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Caged Heat

From the pen of Paris Hilton, Incarceration Day One:

Well, here I am in the pokey. LOL...I said pokey.

My mother said I should take this time for reflection. WhatEVER. She doesn't know how hard that is in here!!! I've been looking in this piece of shit mirror for HOURS, and I can hardly even see my reflection! I can tell that I still look HOTT, though. Orange is sexy.

Omigod, this toilet is disgusting. I'm afraid if I sit on it I'll end up with a firecrotch. LOL. I can't believe I'm in here and that bitch gets off with rehab. It's so unfair. Why does everyone hate me? I can't help it that I'm so much hotter than everyone else. They're just jealous of me!!!

Omigod, my BOOK about my ink...encar...insurr...jail time is going to be so hott. It's going to be all about how totally misunderstood I am. And what a model prisoner I am. I love modeling! Modeling is HOTT. I wonder when the runway show starts.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I'm sure you're all wondering how Operation: Be Healthier is going, right? Well, it's going very well, thank you for asking.

Yesterday was the 46th consecutive day of exercise. Whoo hoo! In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that a few times I substituted mowing the lawn for the workout tape. But, given that I have a good-sized lawn that generally takes at least an hour to mow, and that my mower is neither of the riding nor the self-propelled variety, and that my front lawn is on something of an incline, I think that's okay. And a couple of times when the lawn-mowing seemed to go more quickly than usual, I did the workout later, too. So...yay, me!

I have also advanced from a mere 30 minute daily workout to a full hour, and in addition to the hand weights I've been using, this weekend I added ankle weights for even more fun! Yay, me!

I decided to give in and buy a bathroom scale this weekend, as well. It can be a little dangerous for me, given my OCD tendencies, but I'm going to try really hard not to obsess too much about it. I just really, really wanted to know how much weight I'm losing. I'm still not sure what the total loss is, of course, given that I didn't weigh myself before I started the new regime, but I know my clothes are fitting much looser, so I think I'm off to a great start. And besides--here comes the rationalization--I wanted to be able to weigh my cat Rover regularly without having to wrestle him into a crate and drive him across town. He's been having trouble with some unexplained weight and hair loss, but he seems to be doing better--he's gained a half-pound since his last doctor visit. Yay, Rover!

I'm still doing pretty well on the cutting back of the cheese, and trying to eat more sensibly over all. Though, again in the interest of full disclosure, I did have a little cake and ice cream at lunch.

Why did I have cake in the house? Well, I'll tell you. We had a gathering last night of the "drink and bitch" group I joined a while back, (in a 6,000 square foot house, the master suite of which was bigger than my entire house...sigh) and I just can't seem to figure these women out, culinarily speaking. The last time we met I brought homemade potato salad. Nobody even touched it. (I'm not taking that as a personal insult to my cooking skills--like I said, nobody even tried it. I brought it to work to share the next day and was assured it was VERY tasty.) What were the favorites? Frozen Stouffer's lasagna and storebought angel food cake. Okay, I need for homemade next time. So this time I picked up an Orange Crush cake drizzled with white frosting. And NOBODY EVEN TOUCHED IT. What did they scarf down? Broccoli slaw from the grocery store deli and frozen taquitos from a box. I have no idea what to try next time. Any suggestions?

At any rate, I ended up bringing most of the cake home. And you know what? It's yummy. I ate a little bit of it with some of Ben & Jerry's new Creme Brulee ice cream (omigod, have you tried this stuff?--delightful!) and it was just what I needed to get past the sweet cravings for a while.

Other than that, nothing much is happening around here right now. Exercising, eating right, exchanging the peace with Cute Church Guy (no scintillating discussions of lawn mowing this week...sigh)--my god, I'm boring.

I do have at least one upcoming reason to live, though. I'm going to go see my (imaginary) boyfriend Lyle Lovett, along with (my imaginary girlfriend if I swang that way, which, contrary to popular opinion these days, I don't) kd lang, in concert next month. Whoo hoo! I can't wait. I've seen Lyle a couple of times before, and I just lurrve him. I actually have a big poster of him above my desk here at work....I'm looking at it me, Lyle! You can do better than that Julia chick--you can have me!

I'm sure he's thrilled. Hee.