Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I have been planning the first real vacation I will have had in a couple of years -- longer than a weekend, that is. I am going on an Alaskan cruise with my friends Babs, Dipu, Matt and his wife Michelle! It's for a week in August and it is actually going to happen!! Here are pics of my cruise friends; first one is Babs and Dipu:

HH at Baby A's

Now me and Matt:

HH at Baby A's

It's going to be a blast! Anyway, we finally reserved our room today -- and I can't quite get my head around it, but i'm getting on a big boat and floating around glaciers come August. You won't believe what was on t.v. Sunday night, and the idiot who watched it; yes, it was Titanic, and yes, the idiot was me. Urm, what exactly was I thinking??? Big boat. Carefree, happy people. Glacier. Recipe for disaster?? Oh well, at least if I die I die with friends!

haaa ha haaa ha. ha.

Is now a bad time to mention I'm not a real big "ocean" person and I can't swim? No? Ok, never mind...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Well. So there's THAT.

And here it is, Monday night, the end of my long weekend that went by faster than I ever could have imagined. And did we ever do a lot. My sistah? She ROCKS. I do not know how she did so much in so little time, including motivating me to keep moving as well. And the thing is, amidst all the cleaning/organizing/rearranging/goodwill-taking madness, she kept thanking me for her mini-VACATION!!! Another clue that I have NO clue when it comes to raising babies... I merely suspect how hard it is, but can I imagine it? No. I can't, and really? I don't know that I want to.

So, Nicole. WOW. My dynamo sistah made my house sparkle. She did mountains of laundry, unearthing items of clothing I had long forgotten about. She cleaned the wretched CAT ROOM, that room of which I dare not speak, it is so wretched. Not anymore -- I went in there tonight? Didn't even need to wear shoes to avoid the nastiness -- for there is none. I'm pretty sure I saw the image of the Virgin Mary reflected on my drier, but I'm not 100% sure so i'm not calling the Vatican or CNN or anything. My closets? Clean. My kitchen? You can see the counters. My office? I can move around again. My spare room? It is now an efficient storage space where before it was a mess with the door closed, to shelter me from the shame. And Goodwill can now hire about 20 more folks to go through all my stuff ALONE, people. It is incredible. She got here early Saturday and left last night. And today I slept, drooling on my very clean pillowcase, images of Pine Sol dancing in my head.

There are still a few things I need to finish up, some sorting I started but didn't finish, but it is all manageable now, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nicole even talked me into painting my living room, even helped me DECIDE on a COLOR!!! We didn't have time to do the actual painting, but we will. Oh, we will.

THAT was my weekend. I had a great time hanging out with my sister, and I adore my house again. I really needed that -- I was feeling trapped, you know? Nicole is safely back at her home in S.A., getting back into the groove of raising three little boys. This week they will hear if my BIL got the job in Denver and when they're moving, so it's going to be another big week for our family. But then, isn't every week, in some way?

As for me, this week I will probably book my trip for August with my friends Babs, Dipu, Matt and Michelle. So, yay!

Signing off, will check in tomorrow. Hope your holiday was productive and lovely as well ;)

Friday, May 27, 2005


Sweet heaven above, it is finally over, this intense, crazy, blur of a week. I finished my stuff at work today, so I do not have to work this weekend - Yay!! Since I got to work so early this morning, when I came home I took a short nap. I woke up in this weird, quiet place where it had grown dark and there was a different Law & Order SVU episode on -- I did not know how much time had passed, but I didn't really feel rested at all. Just sort of out of it.

If you've been reading this journal for any length of time, you know that I have been thinking a lot lately about my life. I took a couple of weeks off to freak out about work, but i'm back on track now, freaking out about my life. My sister is coming to visit me this long holiday weekend, for the first time in years sans bebes! It is going to be intense -- she's going to help me clean my house and get organized, take loads of crap to Goodwill, stuff like that. (I suspect she read my previous entry about practical reasons to have a man around... who needs a man when you can have nicole, the cleanest sistah evah). And? More importantly, we will get to talk. Just us, two girls, interruption free, for hours at a time. No more deep thoughts explored in 5-minute soundbites. This is the real deal! We might even do something crazy like GO TO A MOVIE IN THE THEATRE or OUT somewhere. It's exciting for me of course, but it's got to be damn near thrilling for Nicole, as this is the first time in 5 years she is not pregnant or nursing. Dang.

So tonight I thought I'd try and get a head start on putting stuff away in my house, because although Nicole says she loves a challenge and can't wait to tackle my mess, I don't think the full force of what lies ahead is clear to her yet. It's only vaguely clear to me, which is why I've been avoiding it for so many months. As I have been bumping around in my office, I found some old journals. And of course I had to stop and read them. And of course I've been transported to another place and time. Several, in fact. The ones I scanned are from late 1997-early 1999, one of the happiest times in my life. I was happy with myself (read: skinny), I was madly in love, and my future, although unclear, seemed brimming with possibilities. Just freed from a confining marriage, I felt I could do anything and that I would feel that way forever. Well. I haven't felt that way since early 1999 actually, but reading about it did a number on me. I listened to the voice of that 27-year old girl and compared it to my voice now. My often bitter and jaded voice. It was like a time warp to read words from such an optimistic head that was, after all, mine.

I flipped through the journal I wrote during my divorce. It was rife with therapy-speak, since that was a huge part of my life at the time. I can see how I might have seemed a little intense at that time, but you know, the feelings I was working through then were intense. I found the journal I wrote when Tam and I went on our magical freedom trip. And the journal from exactly one year later, when I had returned to Paris, alone this time, and compared the difference in the two journeys. The difference in me. How much had changed in a year, and how much had stayed the same. There's a lot to be said about my Solo Paris Trip, but not now.

Reading my own words just now, I felt just a glimmer of hope sort of spark up inside of me. A faint, very faint feeling of optimism. I could close my eyes and relive some of what I felt during that time period, rife with so many feelings. Guilt. Anger. Love. Hope. Joy. Sadness. Freedom. Confinement. It was a busy year, people.

So i'm kind of in a weird place right at this moment. And I'm so very glad my sister is coming to see me, because I have a lot I need to talk about, and I'm happy it will be with her. I am also going to start writing my Rocco saga this weekend. It might take me a while though, before I am able to post something.

I'm going to sign off now, sated with old feelings, remembered dreams and goals. I have a lot to sort out in my mind. But I think I'm ready. I've been preparing myself for a while, and I think my next life phase is upon me. I just need to reach out and grab it, from the many choices I have. Key word: Choice. I can choose how to live my life. I can choose to take control of my body, my finances, my love life (or lack thereof). I am going to need strength and momentum to take that leap, but I feel it building up inside of me.

...but not right this very moment. for now, goodnight.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why isn't this Friday???

So all my bosses are out of the office today. It is dead quiet down here in the creative department. Yet can we play? nooooooooooo. Can we frolic? noooooooooooo. Why not? Because WE'RE ALL SLAMMED!! But enough about work. Except to say I have no time and no business pausing to write this, but I have thoughts so I must record them.

I read Chiara's blog [http://claro.diary-x.com/] today and it made me ache. It reminds me soooo much of my Rocco story, which I have yet to tell. My close friends know the story, but I've never written it down, even just for me. So that's what I'm going to do this weekend, including the latest development I've been trying to blog about but the wound has just been too fresh. I'm going to do it anyway. I'm going to poke the bruise.

In other boy news, my "relationship" with CJ ended rather abruptly this week, but that shouldn't really surprise me. Our whole history could be described as "abrupt", truth be told. Not to go into the details, because I just don't feel like it right now, but he accepted a job in New Mexico and he's moving next week. Um, yeah. I don't feel anything, surprisingly. I don't feel sad, except that he had to cause drama before he went and we were doing SO WELL in the drama department. Sigh. I feel angry at him too, for feeling compelled to have a confrontation before he leaves. I would have been fine hugging him goodbye and saying "see ya later", but I guess that was too mundane. ANYWAY, that's over. I guess more than anything, I feel relieved. So we'll see what happens with that...

On the pet front, I dragged my ass off my couch last night, in between American Idol and Law & Order, to use the restroom -- and came across a hairball immersed in bright. red. blood. on my carpet. And not just a few drops, either. It wasn't a TON, but it was in two places, like the cat had a LOT of trouble getting that hairball out. Well, I had no idea which cat it was!! I suspected Megs, because she is the furriest and the oldest. I found her in the spare room curled up on the futon, and when she saw me she jumped up and started talking to me. She seemed fine -- I stayed in there and poked around on her for a few minutes, but nothing was strange. Then I found Piper, sitting around the corner, just out of sight of Megs, eavesdropping on us. I poked around on her too, and again, she was fine. She was doing everything normally, eating, drinking, playing, etc. I am 99% sure it wasn't Jess, because he was sitting on me most of the time I was on the couch. And he was following me around, acting concerned, sniffing the girl kitties as I inspected them, as if to say "ok, ok, it's all good here." So I didn't know what to do. Even if it hadn't been late at night, it is not physically possible for me to transport more than 2 of them at a time to a vet, because they're, umm, ample. Not petite. HEAVY, ok?? After consulting with my mom, I decided to watch them very closely and see if anything else happened. Nothing did. This morning? Nothing. They were all keeping their normal routines of tormenting me while I prepared for work, nothing abnormal at all. And no more bloody hairballs.

So am I a terrible parent?? Should I have tossed them all in the car anyway and sped to a 24-hour vet? Which I have done MANY times, people, I do not neglect my kitties. My mom thought maybe whoever threw up the hairball maybe just strained so hard they bled a little -- which TOTALLY oogs me out and can't possibly be a good thing. But. The only reason I'm glad it's only Thursday, even though it feels SO MUCH like a Friday, is because I have tonight and tomorrow to watch them and take them to the vet before the weekend, if need be. So, please send good vibes to my kitties, k? I lurve theem.

Ciao for now.

p.s. I dreamed that Butchie Klein was my boyfriend last night. Hee. (see "Fame and legwarmers")

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


As I sit here at my desk at work, listening to "Groove is in the Heart" blaring out of my boss's office, beer within reach, I am reminded of how much I love my job. Even though it's almost 6 with no end in sight? Still worth it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Practical reasons to have a man around

I HATE doing chores. I hated them as a kid, and now, as an adult, I just don't do them. Until it gets so bad I can't stand it anymore -- and people, I have a pretty high tolerance for awful. So my house is in DIRE need of some TLC, and the problem is, I just don't care that much. I want the inside to be clean, but I could really care less about the outside because I don't go out there. I mean, I've lived in my house for 5 years and I don't even own a lawn mower. I pay someone to do it. Clipping bushes? I pay someone to do it. And that's all fine and good. BUT. My home has now reached the point where it's getting expensive to pay people to do stupid stuff because all I really need is a man. I just want to BORROW one for a while, I don't want him to hang around or anything. I am not giving up my remote control, or my kooky schedule, or my obsessive tendency to surf the web on my laptop while watching television. I am NOT giving up any closet space. I simply need some help around the house. Here are some man-things I need done*:

1. fix my garage door opener once and for all
2. de-weed my yard
3. kill all the ants/wasps/etc hanging around the outside of my house
4. paint the lantern in the front hard so it's black again
5. plant low-maintenance foliage in my front and back yard to hide dead grass and utility poles and such
6. change all the batteries in all 900 of my interior smoke detectors so they will STOP BEEPING ALREADY
7. sweep the ceilings to get rid of spiderwebs and floaty cat hair
8. help me rearrange my two spare rooms
9. help me haul all my shit to goodwill -- he'll need a truck for this one
10. organize my garage with shelfs and all
11. wash my car, inside and out
12. change the oil in my car, rotate my tires, other general tune-up stuff
13. install ceiling fans - 3, to be exact
14. go grocery shopping so I don't have to
15. take out the trash every Sunday night
16. clean out the cat box every day
17. paint, paint, paint
18. help me take the cats to the vet so I can take all 3 at once and not make several trips b/c my cats are too fat
19. in general, keep my yard looking spiffy before I ever have to ask and so I never again get a mean note from my HOA
20. you know. but you CAN'T stay. i mean it.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Why isn't there a "rent a man for a day" service? (ok, for everything but 20). SIGH. So those are the things I miss about having a significant other. Everything else is just fine..... JUST FINE, I say!

*I refer to anything I don't want to do as a "man thing". Just so you know.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Be kind to spiny lizards - they are my friends

"Spiny" lizard is actually a technical term. I know this because when they started showing up in my backyard 5 years ago, I went to half-price books and bought a book called Lizards. These are not your average, run-of-the-mill geckos, no sir. Unlike their slim, smooth brothers, spiny lizards are...well, spiny. They are bigger and more fierce looking. They are a little bit more shy than geckos, I've found. Although they look scary they are very not scary. Nice, even.

I have always loved lizards. I don't know why. I just know that as a kid growing up in Texas, for the most part, I had to come to terms with the fact that wildlife still roams free in our great state. I would catch geckos and watch, fascinated, as they changed colors in consternation. I would then gently set them free again. For years, there was nothing quite as thrilling as spotting a green gecko hiding in a bush -- it was like a treasure hunt! I even used to catch locusts when I was a kid and put them in a bug jug. I see these f***ers now and think HOLY COW why did I ever touch one of those?? Actually, all I ever see now are their barren, brown see-through shells clinging to an occasional wood deck or tree. But. I digress.

This is all leading up to something. I am going to share my illicit spiny lizard experience. For I did something forbidden. I brought a spiny lizard into my air-conditioned world and we both lived through it. Here is my story:

The summer of 2002 I was unemployed, for the most part. I had a LOT of free time, people. I slept a lot (too much) and stared out my window into my backyard, where there used to be a giant, majestic tree. The tree is dead and gone now, but not the memory. No, not the memory. The giant tree was contained in a "tree pit" the builders built up around it -- which is eventually what killed it. Anyway, these spiny lizards used to cavort and romp around this area, jumping from the tree trunk to the railroad-tie border, skuttling into hidden crevices when I let the cats play outside on occasion, almost always with my rapt supervision. My cats are so indoor-ized that I figured there was no way in hell they'd EVER catch a lizard. Oh, I was so wrong.

One day I was sleeping very late. I had gotten up earlier and opened the back door a crack so the kitties could go in and out. This kept them off my head and allowed me to sleep longer. At some point I became aware of a ruckus in my bathroom. I think I yelled a few times, something like "SHUT UP", but i'm not clear on the details. There was clattering and such. I ignored it and kept sleeping. Some time later, maybe an hour, I finally got out of bed. And saw. On the floor by my bed. A large. Spiny. Lizard. Motionless. And as I looked closer, wounded. It's long tail was amputated at the thick base. I looked even closer, and it had two fang-marks in its back. I immediately reached for it, as I finally noticed two of my cats lurking nearby, proudly letting me know it was a present for ME, look what they brought ME, weren't they wonderful hunters, this was so much better than the usual Roach, blahblahblah. I snatched up the lizard and it was still motionless. And cold. Very cold. My heart ached for this lizard. I was grieving, especially for the fact that I had slept just a few feet away while it was tortured and terrified by at least two felines for what seemed like a very long time. I carried it into the bathroom and saw a bunch of bubble bath and stuff on the floor. And. And. I almost can't say it. And the rest of the tail. On my bath mat. Spattered with tiny drops. Of lizard blood. (Note to the faint-hearted: don't freak out, the story gets better, i promise.)

I was horrified, I felt like I was going to throw up. And still the cats preened. I couldn't really take it out on them, I realized it was an instinctual thing and they had no idea how this offense would offend me. I kept reminding myself that they were animals, after all. But I thought lower of them at that moment, I'll admit it. Predatory BASTARDS.

Still the lizard lay in my hand, cold and still. It was breathing, though, and its eyes were open. So I carried it outside and set it down in the tree pit, by the tree trunk. It still didn't move. I went inside and cleaned up the bathroom a bit. I picked up the lizard tail, and for some reason, wrapped it in a kleenex and set it on the counter. (I know, ewwww.) Then I went back outside, only to find that the lizard had not moved, but was now covered in ants. I gasped and snatched it up again, brushing off the insects. It blinked but didn't move. People, my heart was breaking. I couldn't take it. So what did I do? Guess. Just guess.

Ok, i'll tell you. I did the only thing I could do and still live with myself. I tried to make it right.

First I put the lizard in a shoebox. I then found a vet in the yellow pages who specialized in lizards (a herpatologist). I called the vet and they said to bring him in, but there was probably nothing they could do. However the woman on the other end of the phone must have sensed my grief, because she didn't laugh at me or anything. I dressed my unemployed ass and drove in a panic to the vet, lizard in tow. I had to repeat my story several times before I got the right person to look at my lizard friend. I said "He's so COLD. I can't believe how COLD he is." and the vet said "Yes, he's a LIZARD. They're COLD-blooded." Oh. Yeah.

The vet told me the tail wasn't that big of a problem, although it looked gross. I knew, of course, that lizards grew their tails back, but I wasn't sure how high up it could be broken off and still come back. (And yes, I had the broken part with me, although she threw it away -- this wasn't ER, after all). She said it would probably grow back partways, but not to its full length. However, the more troubling issue was the teeth marks. The vet told me the lizard would probably die from infection, if not internal injuries. I must have looked crestfallen. She then laid out a plan where I would need to put the lizard in the shoebox on a heating pad set on low. I would need to administer a liquid antibiotic 3 times a day, by syringe. I would also need to syringe-feed it canned catfood and water twice a day. All this, for 10 days. I looked at her and said "You know this lizard is from my backyard, right??" and she nodded and said "10 days." So then my unemployed ass paid $100 and went home to care for the lizard. Yes, I did it. I did everything she said. After a couple of days the lizard began moving around a bit, although oddly, it never tried to escape. It also wasn't so excited about my forcing a syringe into its mouth several times a day, but I got the hang of that too. Thank God my sister came to visit later that day, because at first it took both of us to get the job done. And bless her heart, my sister is probably the only person in the world who didn't think I was insane for doing this. She completely got it. If she did think I was insane, she didn't let on. Much.

After 10 days it was time to free the lizard. I called the vet and she sounded surprised that it was still alive. Nice. But she said that was a good sign. Encouraged, I took it outside and set it gently on the railroad tie around the tree pit. It didn't move. I went back inside to watch it. And people, I am not making up what i'm about to tell you. It is TRUE.

As I watched out my window, about 30 seconds later another spiny lizard appeared to greet my little guy. At the sight of the other lizard, my guy moved around a bit. The other lizard then bumped noses (YES IT DID) with my guy, then climbed on its back and just sat there for a moment. Then it leapt off and both lizards scuttled into a crevice and I didn't see them again that day. It brought literal tears to my eyes. It could only have been more perfect had a John Denver song been playing in the background.

And the best part of all? My lizard is STILL OUT THERE. He lives back there and I have seen him every summer since then. I know it's him because of his stubby tail! This all came to mind because I saw him hanging out on my house just the other day as I went out my front door. I stopped and put my face close to him and said "hello spiny lizard" and -- you got it -- he didn't move. I have no regrets about saving that lizard's life. I think it's special that he didn't relocate after such a trauma, and my cats even still go outside sometimes.

So whenever you see a spiny lizard, be kind. I truly believe that mine genuinely appreciated what I did for him -- and what comes around goes around. Oh, and please don't anyone try to tell me that a lizard's lifespan is shorter than 3 years, because I absolutely won't believe you. This is MY lizard with his stubby tail. I just know it.

the. end.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Claw

The time has now come to tell Piper's Story.

Piper is my "special" cat. I found her in a drainage pipe almost four years ago (?????FOUR?????) and rescued her. She has a special paw, what we affectionately refer to as The Claw. Behold:

TheClaw Redux

Here's another angle of the magnificent Claw highlighted by the eerie glow of the computer screen:


You get the idea.

So, the story. My friend Tamara actually discovered the stuck kitty on that fateful Fourth of July. She had gone in to work on a HOLIDAY and because no one was there, she could hear, ever so clearly, the howling of an unhappy feline. Echoing. Throughout the parking garage. She called me to let me listen, and people, it was LOUD. Since I am "the" cat person, I got in my car and sped up north to the parking garage where this mysterious cat was yeowling for her life. By then Tam had identified that the sound was coming from a tiny hole in the cement wall -- a drainage pipe. About as big around as a makeup compact. If i'm exaggerating here, it's honest error because it's been soooo long. But anyway, it was clear to us that a kitty of unknown size was somehow lodged too far back in the pipe for either of us to reach -- and I wasn't sure it was a good idea to be sticking our hands into the jaws of an unknown cat anyway...

We ended up calling Animal Control for help. I guess we thought they'd have some fancy instruments for extracting kitties from tiny drain pipes. They didn't. WTF??? You'd THINK... but anyway, they were stumped as well, so THEY then called the FIRE DEPT. So here we are, two girls, two burly (yet useless) animal control guys, and one mysterious howling kitty (who had not let up ONCE during the hour or so we'd been there so far). And a firetruck pulls up. A FIRETRUCK. The whole thing. And a bunch of firemen jump off and trudge over to us to save the day. I remember being embarrassed and apologizing for dragging them to a drainage pipe, and they were like "No, it's no problem -- you just rescued us from some dumb parade." Oh yeah. It was a HOLIDAY.

So now there are about 5 cute firemen trying to figure out how to rescue this cat. About halfway through the delicate operation, one of them asked us "is it your cat?" and we had to admit that no, it was some random unknown cat. Long story short, they ended up having to dig up the ground on the other side of the garage wall and then BREAK the city pipe. Yeah. We kept asking "are you sure? are you sure it's okay?" and they were all "we're firemen, we can do anything." Or something like that. That all took at least another hour. And during that time, mysterious kitty had grown silent. I remember there was some tension at the end because they were afraid maybe she had suffocated, or maybe they had sawed her in half when they sawed the pipe apart. Oh, so many things could have gone wrong, but they didn't.

Finally, out came a triumphant, squirming, mangy-looking furry striped kitten, howling her lungs out! One of the firemen was holding her by the scruff of the neck and started to drop her into the medieval wire cage supplied by the Animal Control people, but I intercepted her. They tried to tell me at first that it was their "procedure", that they had to take her and if I wanted her i'd have to go apply down at the animal shelter just like anyone else -- and my raised eyebrows must have seemed threatening because then they conferred and decided to just let me take the mangy cat anyway. So we left, me and Tamara and one mangy, hoarse, scraggly, dirty kitten, in search of a vet opened on a HOLIDAY.

We didn't immediately find one. So skip ahead -- Tam went back to work and I took the kitten and headed over to Hope's house, which was nearby. I wouldn't have just randomly taken the mangy cat there, but they had invited me over for a barbecue, so I just brought the cat. The kitten, I mean. Who was clinging to me, I might add, and who was no longer yelling, but was now purring like a sewing machine motor.

Hope helped me give Piper (by now I'd thought of the only logical name she could have) her first bath in their kitchen sink. It was nasty. Black dirt and fleas and God knows what else went washing down the drain. But after? She was clean and fluffy and relatively flea-free. She would not leave my lap. We didn't even notice her gimpy paw until later, and we were unsure if it was "made like that" or if something had happened during her Adventure in the Pipes of North Austin. It didn't seem to hurt her at all, so we sort of shrugged and moved on.

That's the heart of the story. Skip ahead -- I found an emergency vet clinic open on a HOLIDAY where they checked her out, tested her for horrible diseases, gave her a magical Flea-Killing Pill, and had no idea what was up with her Claw. I took her home and then the Integration began. And was not very successful, as it is years later and Piper and my geriatric cat, Meggie, are arch enemies.

But that is another story for another day. Bet you can't wait.............but you have to!

The sociology of skittles

Someone brought in a large bag of Skittles today and put them in a big bowl right by my desk. So naturally I'm about to be sick from eating them. But this situation has caused me to think about them in a philosophical way. Well, somewhat. Here is my ranking of the colors/flavors, in order, and why:

1. purple - yummy grape soda flavor (grape crush-esque)
2. red - red is always good. (berry-licious)
3. orange - orange. very benign. nothing to get excited about, but not objectionable, either
4. yellow - GROSS - lemon pledge
5. green - GROSSER - toilet bowl cleaner/Pine Sol

And, the deep thought of the day is: why do Skittles market themselves as colors of the rainbow, yet there are no BLUE ones? Why would they have every color of the rainbow except blue? A co-worker suggested that "maybe they tasted weird"; but I say, yellow and green taste weird, and that didn't stop them...

It's interesting having the candy bowl in such close proximity. Besides making myself puke, it's an interesting study on who is eating the Skittles and how they go about it. For example, there are the "pickers." These are the people who pick through the bowl, picking out only the colors they like. I admit, it's tempting, but it's not really FAIR people. Next, you have the "pinchers". These folks pinch about 3-5 at a time and go back to their desks where they furtively eat them in a matter of seconds. Then they get up and come all the way back and pinch some more. Come ON, get serious! Finally, we have the "grabbers". Some might find these people annoying; they're the folks that show up in the kitchen at the first whiff of popcorn and fill up an entire bowl to take back when them, while others stand around and eat a handful at a time. It might appear that they're not so good at sharing. But I completely disagree. I think it's much less annoying to get what you really want the first time than to pussy-foot around and sneak back over and over again for a few at a time -- behaviour that is especially annoying if you're sitting BY THE BOWL, like me. So the "grabbers" make the most sense, in my opinion. They grab handfuls, sometimes even cupfuls, at a time. But at least they're honest.

How is it possible that it's only 2:00????? I hate Mondays. Especially gloomy Mondays where your pants were too tight to begin with and now you're puffed up with skittles and runny chicken salad from the sub-par deli down the street. SIGH.

That's all I got.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

iPod vs. Lawn

I am no longer in a work frenzy, and the horror is starting to wear off. I can tell because I'm starting to have original thoughts again that have nothing to do with technology.

Well, almost.

The ongoing iPod debate still rages, even after suffering a temporary setback yesterday evening. Remember my new lawn guy, who I love? Well he is so much more proactive than my old lawn guy that he came over yesterday and "aerated" my lawn and spread some kind of stinky fertilizer everywhere! Which is cool -- we talked about it before, we just hadn't really nailed down *when* to do it. So while it wasn't a shock, it wasn't $295 I was planning to spend yesterday. Sigh. But I guess it's the responsible home-owner thing to do, investing in my lawn. If I ever get around to selling my house, I suppose a live lawn would help with the curb appeal.... He said one of my neighbors came out and said "What is that stuff, it stinks." Which makes perfect sense, as these are the only people on the block with a worse-looking lawn than me. Then actually have a dandelion garden growing in their yard. Why would they recognize fertilizer??

Gigantic kitties and alligators

Well I thought Jess was large at 25 solid pounds of grey goodness. But that ain't nothin. I just read a story in the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/12/fashion/12cats.html?incamp=article_popular&pagewanted=all) about the latest animal fad: "Savannah" cats, a man-made breed that is a cross between a wildcat - the African serval - and the domestic house cat. Here is a quote from the article:

"The cats - which can cost from $4,000 to $10,000 - are visually striking with their long necks and oversized ears, and they can be intimidating. They look like little leopards and grow to more than twice the size of normal cats. They love to leap and splash in water, and they don't mind taking long walks on a leash. Some people describe them as dogs in cats' bodies."


Kick. Ass. I mean, Jess acts a lot like a dog in that he comes when called, greets me at the door, follows me around, wakes me up in the mornings, etc. But I cannot WALK him. Years ago I tried, even going so far as to purchase a harness at the pet store, but it was more of a "drag" than a "walk." Now a Savannah? Just imagine how tough I would look walking that thing around Town Lake. Who needs puppies for attention, I'd have a 50-lb CAT! And yes people, it's all about getting dates. (HA)

So anyway, this got me thinking about exotic pets. And I thought back to my ex. Friends, there were so many red flags leading up to our marriage that I am stunned, in retrospect, that I managed to ignore them all. One of them: for several months, he had a pet alligator. [beat] Yes, I said ALLIGATOR. It was a little one, but it was not a meek baby. It was a wild animal that would have eaten a cat given the opportunity (but a Savannah? I think NOT). He bought this thing from some exotic pet dealer in Houston -- it was about 2 feet long. He kept it in a large aquarium with a lid. Once a day he would take it out on a leash, just to scare his neighbors. Hey, at least we didn't live together when this was going on -- he lived in Houston and I was still at A&M, so I only saw the thing on weekends. To my credit, I was disapproving and expressed repeatedly how mean I thought it was to keep an alligator in an aquarium just for the sake of conversation. So after several months, he gave him back to the dealer. And I pretty much blocked the whole thing from my memory, until now. That was quite a big digression. But somewhat interesting, no?

The moral of this story: hug your pet today and be glad it is not scaly and will not bite your hand off or scratch your eyes out. the end.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Lists lists and more lists

I am too brain-fried today to write anything other than silly lists. So here are some i've been working on:

Things that I really really want in no particular order:
1. an iPod
2. a condo in central Austin
3. another tomcat
4. a niece
5. a blazing-fast metabolism
6. good hair
7. self-motivation
8. a week of uninterrupted sleep
9. no more bills. ever.
10. two months paid vacation in Europe

I am not a picky eater. But here is a list of foods I hate:
1. anything rare
2. seafood (including sushi)
3. brussel sprouts
4. beets
5. any so-called “exotic” meats (anything other than beef, chicken or turkey, pretty much)
6. milk by itself
7. raisins
8. nuts in baked goods (ok by themselves)
9. cucumbers
10. turnips

States I have visited (* = lived in):
1. Alabama*
2. California
3. Colorado
4. Illinois
5. Kansas*
6. Kentucky
7. Louisiana
8. Mississippi
9. Missouri
10. Nevada
11. New Mexico
12. Oklahoma
13. Tennessee*
14. Texas*
15. Utah
16. Virginia

Countries I have visited:
1. Canada (Toronto)
2. England (London)
3. France (Paris, Lyon, Nice)
4. Germany (Kaiserslautern, Bavaria, Frankfurt)
5. Italy (Venice)
6. Spain (Barcelona)
7. Mexico (Nuevo Laredo)

That is all for now. My brain. It is dead.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Baring my soul. But alas, it is bare.

Well. I have been in work hell for the past 5 days or so, so it's all pretty much a blur. The crunch is not quite over, but i think the worst of it is. Even though I need to go in early again tomorrow, I cannot make myself go to bed. [Refer to previous post for more on this.] I can barely keep my eyes open and Law&Order SVU is a rerun. I have been staring at this computer all day long. I mean ALL DAY. But I can't seem to make myself drag ass into my bedroom and crawl into bed. What is wrong with me??

So to change the topic, I saw my family this weekend. We had brunch Sunday, for Mother's Day, with all the nephews and everything. It was really fun, although I was buzzing with the underlying work stress. But the boys are so SQUEEZABLE. I lurve theem.

You know, I am scraping the bottom of the barrel for anything interesting to write besides work stuff, which I try to avoid on this blog. Since that's ruled out, then...that's all i got. So sadly, I guess i'll pack up the laptop and try to go to bed. Or at least to move in that direction...

Maybe something interesting will happen tomorrow. If so, I'll be here.........

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The curse of being a night owl

I have always been a night person. From as long as I can remember, I always resisted going to bed. Finally in 5th or 6th grade, my parents deemed Friday nights as my "go to bed whenever" nights. I had one luxurious night to stay up late as I wanted, then sleep in late on Saturday morning. It was divine. I really took to my newfound freedom; we lived in KS at the time, and MTV was brand spankin' new. I remember the first video I ever saw: Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n Roll". I was mesmerized. I remember being stunned to find out those people? In the video? they were the ones who REALLY sang the song. It was ... well, time stood still, let's just put it that way. And this was before I discovered Adam Ant. But. I digress.

So, Friday nights. My goal was to outlast my parents. Then i could watch as much MTV or whatever scary movie i wanted to, unfettered. On some channel they had a "Friday Fright Night" where they would play these really baaaaaad B-horror flicks. Like "Grizzly." "Motel Hell." Or the one about the giant, radioactive earthworms attacking a whole city. Can't remember the name of that one, but i'm thinking it may have been "Earthworm." HIGH calibur movies. I think this is where my love of scary movies was born. I was never creeped out reallly, until I had to go down into the dark basement where my room was after watching one of those. But it was worth it. Totalmente.

I loathed going to bed early on school nights, and I don't think I ever fell asleep before 11:30, no matter what time I was in bed. Worse? the mornings. I think back now and cannot comprehend how I actually had to be somewhere at 8:10 in the morning. FREAKSHOW. How do they expect kids to learn that early in the damn morning??? Do they think they're somehow preparing you for the "real world"? Well that's a load of crap, because once I got to college, I never took a class before 10am (ok, except for one journalism lab at 8am and I missed it more than half the time...). And the "real world"? The only job I've ever had to be at work at 8 was my very first job. 18 months of constant guilt of being 15 minutes late every single morning. Since then? Flex time, baby. It's all about the flex time.

So now, I get to work by 9. Or as close to that as possible, on either side. (In a perfect world, I would be at work around 10 am. This is what I did while I freelanced, and thrived. Loved it). I still struggle every single morning to make myself get out of my snuggly bed where there is a large grey cat curled up on my head, lulling me with his even wheezing and soft purr. And NO it doesn't help to go to bed early -- I can't sleep before midnight unless I'm really sick or something. I have come to the conclusion, after many many years, that people are just wired differently. Some people are wired for mornings, some for night. That stuff they say about "you can reset your clock"? Bull. You cannot. You may trick it for a while, but left to your own devices you will end up a night owl or early bird, just like always.

Which leads me to my dilemma tonight. I am bone tired. I have a big day of work ahead of me. It is almost 11pm and I've been struggling to stay awake since about 9. But. I cannot make myself go get in bed. It's torture. I know if I get into bed, i'll just toss and turn for at least an hour. Plus, I actually have a mental aversion to going to bed early -- I feel like I'm going to miss something. Some of life. I spend so many hours at work, I feel compelled to maximize my "at home" time. Even if I'm just sitting on the couch, yawning, next to a large grey cat curled against me, lulling me with his wheezing...and his soft purr........

The bottom line? I don't think i'm going to grow out of this.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Nothing says "single" ...

... quite like a shopping basket filled with ice cream, tampons, and catfood.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Getting dumped

I have had a lawn guy pretty much since I moved into my house almost 5 years ago. I am sitting here trying to think of how I found him in the first place, and I have no earthly idea. Strange. Anyway, from the day he laid sod in my backyard we have had a complicated, tumultuous relationship. Did he do good work? Yes. Did he do good work for cheap? Yes. Did we fight like siblings at times? Yes. Why? I am not really sure. There was the occasion when he raised the price to mow my lawn -- that really pissed me off. Then there was the time I had left him several messages and he had failed to respond, so I called someone else who had left a flier on my door. This other person did my lawn, albeit crappily, then John (my lawn guy) came the next day and "did" it again, charging me full price. We had a heated phone conversation that night where he said he couldn't tell my lawn had just been done because it was done so poorly; and i said I shouldn't have to pay him when I didn't ask him to come; he said I did ask him to come; I said yeah, 3 weeks ago. We both hung up the phone mad. Five minutes later he called me back and apologized, totally sweet-talking me, told me what a good customer I was, he was being an ass, of course I didn't have to pay him, and he'd lower the price of doing my lawn again. You might be wondering why I put up with this tricky relationship w/my lawn guy? Because there were also the good times.

And the good times? They were really, really good. Like when I left for work one day early in my home ownership with a muddy, rocky backyard and came home to a beautiful expanse of green lawn. Or the time I left the house with a giant dead tree towering over my house, then came home and the tree was gone, as if it had never even been there. No wood chips, branches, nothing.

Towards the end of our relationship, we finally hit our stride; he just came every 10 days no matter what; I could finally afford to pay him regularly so it was no longer an issue. And he always did a good job. He called me "hon" and told me if he wasn't married he's be after me b/c I was so "good lookin'". We both knew he was completely harmless and I was never weirded out -- in the end, he was just an emotional Italian man who did lawns for a living.

But. The other day he called me at work. And he dumped me. Out of the blue, he told me he couldn't afford to do my lawn anymore because it was the only lawn in my neighborhood and my neighborhood was nowhere near his other clients. So that was that. He gave me the number of someone else who did lawns in my area. He actually found me a replacement. The end. I'm still a little bit in shock. I mean, he did it over the PHONE. He couldn't even do it in PERSON??? After 5 years?? He couldn't face me, that's why. He was afraid he'd see me and change his mind. Coward.

So today I met my new lawn guy. I called him in the morning, he cut my lawn in the afternoon. Same day. His name is Ken. I instantly clicked with him, and before long he was making plans to come "shape" the bushes in my front yard and "aerate" the lawn. He told me several times that my lawn really "wasn't that bad", if I'd just water it. He proactively suggested filling in the tree pit in my backyard and planting another tree and some shrubbery. He wants to plant bushes in the corners of my backyard.

I'm cautiously hopeful, because I obviously don't want to get hurt again, but I think it's a really good sign that we're already making tentative plans for the future. I think I could love this lawn man. Time will tell, but I'm feeling really hopeful. Maybe, this time, it will work out. Maybe there's still a chance for my grass to grow lush and green. Maybe I've really just been killing time, waiting for Ken. And now he's here.

Random fact: he told me he has a high-maintenance maltese dog named T-Rex. This is funnier if you've met Ken; he said he walked into PetSmart for his 2nd doggie training class and everyone laughed and pointed and said "look at that big black guy and his little dog, T-Rex."

Ok, well I thought it was funny.