Thursday, June 30, 2005

Busy week

And here it is EOD Thursday, much to my horror. Anyway, here's what's been going on:

1. Today is my brother's birthday -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!! I'm glad you were born!
2. My sister and BIL found and are in the process of buying their dream house in Colorado!
3. They are flying off to their new life a week from tomorrow :O
4. My parents survived through keeping all three of the nephews for two days and two nights -- and they all still like each other
5. During the stay with my parents, my 1-year old nephew managed to stealthily remove his CAST from his BROKEN WRIST, almost causing my poor father's hair to turn instantly solid white (Dane's response, via cell phone? "Just slip it back on." And I'll be damned - it worked)
6. I have a better idea of what the cruise is going to be like, thanks to a meeting with my friends Tuesday night -- thus I am more excited than ever
7. My grass is starting to die a slow, painful death because I have still not bought a sprinkler -- and my rain dances aren't working, dammit
8. I had a fabulous girl night with my friend Hope last night

Really, I can't think of two more to make it an even 10...sorry... maybe i'll update later with a longer, more insightful post. Or then again, maybe I won't...

And for now I leave you with this one thought...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My mood, it makes sense

Top ten clues that it **might** soon be my TOM:

1. I seriously almost sprayed hairspray under my arm this morning
2. I was out my driveway before I remembered my laptop
3. I left my frozen lunch thawing on my coffee table
4. I have four (count them: 4) mysterious bruises on my legs
5. I have dropped my pen under my desk every 10 minutes or so since 9 a.m.
6. I have also dropped water bottle lids, post-it-note pads, and my cell phone
7. I keep listening to “The Boys of Summer” over and over again on my iTunes
8. I just finished lunch and I’m already plotting dinner
9. I’ve had three bottles of water and one glass at lunch and I haven’t peed yet
10. I’m getting emotional brainstorming for new and exciting ways to sell laptop computers

Monday, June 27, 2005

Texas summers suck

O.M.G. It is 7:15pm. I just got home from running a couple of errands on my way home from work. The temperature, outside? It is still 95 degrees. This. It is precisely why I hate living in this state from about May through October. Nicole et al has the RIGHT idea, moving to CO...

And please tell me why Target does not carry sprinklers??? Why do they have garden hoses, sprayers, garden furniture, fake foliage, and all sorts of decorative crap, but no sprinklers?? I just need a cheap plastic one to append to the end of my cracked hose, for Pete's sake. GAH!

And please tell me why Office Depot doesn't carry any iBook accessories, although they do carry iPods?? All I wanted was a power cord, people!!

And while you're at it? Can you mention to my cats that it would be cool if they stopped shedding, already???

that is all. i'm going to go soak in a tub of ice.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

This is a test...

and only a test... I just read that we can now upload photos directly from blogger, instead of going through outside sources. I want to check this out. So I'm going to try it. Here goes.

First, I present to you the Coopinator, enjoying his first birthday party. Immensely.

Now I give you Jess, chillin. (I mean, when does this cat NOT chill?)

Hmmm...seemed to work. Cool...

Friday, June 24, 2005

How much is too much?

Warning: girlie post about bath products. Ok, you have been warned.

I am in my bed, typing, with the TV on and two cats on my bed with me. I just glanced over at my bedside table and idly thought that what is normal to me may not be normal to others. Plus I can't decide which one to use. So here it is, and I know you can hardly wait: the list of all the lotions/beauty products on my bedside table right this moment. ON it, not counting what's IN it:

-Suds & Light Shea Deluxe Body Lotion - Vanilla Bean Noel
-Suds & Light Featherlite Souffle - Vanilla Bean Noel
-Suds & Light Linen Mist - Vanilla Bean Noel
-LUSH Sympathy for the Skin
-LUSH Dream Cream
-LUSH Smitten hand cream
-True Blue Spa Shea it Isn't So
-Coconut Hut Aloe-Ha Rich Body Lotion - Pooka Shells
-Jaqua Best Foot Forward Chai Spice Latte cream
-Tutti Dolci Cinnamin Frosting Mousturizing Souffle
-MMU Cosmetics "In the Buff" sprayable body lotion - Ms. Swish

Huh. And you know what? None of those sound good right now. Might have to open the drawer... Oh, how disappointing. The only lotions in the drawer are:

-MMU Cosmetics Sweet Fluff Body Butter - Buttermint Candy
-The Body Dessert Shop All-over Body lotion - Poundcake w/whipped cream
-Coconut Hut Aloe-Ha Rich Body Lotion - Blueberry Verbena

So many lotions, so little time.

Jess is now sitting in my doorway staring at me from the dark kitchen. All I can see are his glinting eyes and his white chest. I wonder what he wants. I made sure his food bowl was full before I went to bed; litterbox is acceptable; he must either want kitty weed or to go outside -- neither of which is going to happen in the next 8 hours or so.

Is there a point to this blog entry? I'd say, no. Not really. I wasn't sure til I started writing, but I think I peaked out with the lotion list. It's been a long week, people.

Oh, and a really anoying thing I need to take care of this weekend? The other night as I was struggling to turn off my bedside lamp with lotion-y fingers, I kept twisting and twisting and suddenly the black twisty thing was in my hand. It twisted off. Without ever turning off the lamp. So i haven't had a bedside light all week and it's been really bothersome. Just thought I'd leave you with that tidbit. Now that everyone has been thoroughly entertained, i'm going to bed. Good thing I don't have to worry about TURNING OFF THE LAMP before closing my eyes....

It's really happening

I spoke to my sis this morning and they have an official move date now: July 8. That is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. None of us can quite believe it. That's actually the day they get on the plane and jet off to their new life -- things start getting hairy on the 6th, when the movers come. Nicole said, "Yeah, we keep saying to each other, 'so when are we going to quit pretending we're moving to Colorado?'" Yeah, it's pretty unreal for me too, folks!

And? Cooper, the youngest nephew, broke his wrist this week. So he's in a cast for a month. Can you think of a better time to have a baby in a cast?? In the heat of summer in TEXAS, during a MOVE?? Yeah, me neither. He got hurt rough-housing with his big brothers -- boys, you know. Cole had a broken arm a year ago; maybe two now? (see what I mean about time? no concept) that he got by jumping off the roof of their playhouse. Pretending to be Spiderman. Good times. Boys.

Anyway, my sis and her husband are going house-hunting in CO this weekend, so my parents are keeping los chicos pequenos. Should be interesting. I don't know if I'll see them this weekend, but I will def. see them all next weekend.

So that's the update, that's all I got. I will still have to work a bit this weekend, but not at all like last weekend -- yay!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And, breathe. Slow, deep, even breaths.

I keep thinking I have something to say, something that wants to come out, but when I sit down to write about it? It disappears. And I end up sitting in front of a blank screen, again, not sure what to write about because my mind is totally blank -- again.

Ok, here comes something; I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling rather anti-social lately. Not with my close buds, but with anyone else; even work people, who I really do like. At first I thought I was just tired and burned out from working so much as of late. Which is at least partly true – but I realize now that’s not the whole problem. The word that keeps coming to my mind is “overwhelmed”. I feel that way about work, about family, about social things. About my house. So many things, so much to do, and as a result I end up paralyzed, vegging out by myself one more night. Here are some things that have been swirling around in my head, disturbing my sleep, causing me to have weird kissing dreams about people i do NOT want to kiss...

1. Time is going by so fast that I have no concept of its passage. This is freaking me out, people. I can’t believe I’m already 35. I can’t believe I’ve been at my “new” job for a year now (as of yesterday). I can’t believe it’s going to be Christmas soon. (Yes! It is!) My trip in August is going to be here in a heartbeat, the way things have been going. And this is really bothering me lately because another year is going to go by and the major things in my life I’ve identified as problems are going to be around for another year. And with each year that goes by, I feel more and more helpless to fix these things. The longer I go without dating? The less I want to. The truth is, right now I’m completely happy to be by myself. And that scares me. I can only think of maybe two things a guy would be good for in my life right now. Maybe even just one. No, the lawn needs mowing…two. The same goes for dieting/exercising – each day, each week, each year that goes by, I feel less motivated and more helpless and numb about the whole thing.

2. My sister and her family are moving to Colorado in about 3 weeks. This is a happy, good thing for them, and cool for me b/c hey, I love CO and now I can go there several times a year. The downside? I’ll only see them several times a year. My nephews will grow and change and maybe they won’t even remember me too much when I go see them. I don’t want to be a distant Aunt, someone who’s pretty much a stranger except for a few days every year. I have never felt terribly close to any of my extended family, and I’m pretty sure it’s because we have always lived in different states, different cities. I want to be a significant part of my nephews’ lives. So the fact that they’re moving, so soon, is really freaking me out.

3. I so need to get away for a weekend, but by the time the weekends get here I’m so tired I don’t want to do anything but veg or lately, go to various birthday celebrations for various family members. I have been trying to plan two trips to Houston for MONTHS now, and for some reason I can’t get it together. I have two dear friends there, Alysia and Stephanie, and I think about them every day. I also have my friend Kelly in Dallas. And Ann in Alabama. Meredith in Missouri. Sarah in San Francisco. (and no, the alliteration is not lost on me). And on and on. So many places to go, so many people to see, and so little energy. Every week I think “maybe this next weekend” and then something happens. I keep telling myself to just sit down w/a calendar and just make plans, but I can’t seem to coordinate it well enough. Why is it so hard to take a couple days off for myself? Just a couple days here, a couple there…why can I set aside a week in August, but I can’t seem to go away just for a weekend now?? I feel like I am just devoid of energy for myself. I feel stuck. And each weekend that goes by without me making definitive plans to go visit someone, the more guilty I feel and the more stressed I get about how much time has gone by. And the fear that is underlying all this? That if I can’t even get my shit together enough to go to Houston, two hours away, for a weekend, who am I kidding that I’ll be getting up to Colorado as often as I’m telling myself???

There’s just not enough time in the whole world for everyone and everything. I want so bad to just STOP TIME for a few weeks, even a month, and just catch up on things I want to do. Hell, even a year. Nothing I “should” do, but things I WANT to do. I want work to just freeze and wait for me. I want my metabolism to run on ahead, I’ll catch up later. I want to take leisurely trips to see all my dear friends. I want to spend more quality time with my friends who live in Austin, more time with my family in San Antonio. I want to do all this without feeling rushed. Without guilt. Without shame at my inability to get my shit together.

3. And now for the smaller things, but troublesome things nonetheless. I need to get my car fixed. Not only all the dents I’ve been accumulating in the last two years, but I need to get the oil changed. The tires rotated. I need to get the inspection updated. I need to have someone show me how to put the damn registration sticker in the windshield instead of it just sitting on my dashboard, all ripped up from my futile attempts to unstick it. I have a college degree, and I write about technology for a living, and I can assemble elaborate pieces of fake-wood furniture from Ikea BY MYSELF, but I can’t put the sticker in the window. What’s wrong with this scenario??

4. I need to renew my passport. It’s getting down to the wire here, I need it for the cruise in August. I can’t even quite believe I let it expire. But I can’t seem to make myself go to the post office and stand in line and fill out papers etc etc etc.

This is rapidly turning into a pathetic “to-do” list, so I’m going to stop. For now.

I’m trying to decide if I feel any better getting all that out. So far? No. But maybe it will help me to refer back to this list. Maybe I can climb out of the quicksand that is sucking my time and energy and DO something. What I need is a GIANT dose of inspiration. From SOMEWHERE. Oh, and self-discipline. That too. Know where I can get some??? Because until I find it inside myself? I’m afraid I’m going to stay on my couch, cowering from life, watching the moments click by, moments turning into weeks, then years. And that. It terrifies me.

Live from Austin

This is a live feed, so to speak. I just finished watching the first episode (rerun from last night) of the Real World Austin. People were laughing about it at work today, so when I saw it was on again, I caved. And you know what? It was truly. Dreadful. I felt soooo old watching that shit. Those people -- do they know they look like ASSES?? And how did MTV manage to make my city look like Gotham??? (little batman reference in there for ya, dipu). I am a Real World veteran. I have not watched it every season, and my fave all time season was Las Vegas, just a couple years ago. The one after that was in Paris, and I was SO EXCITED about that one -- but turns out it was so awful I couldn't bear to watch it, even just to see my favorite city. I'm afraid Austin may be like that too for me. SIGH. All I know is that, my eyes? They are currently stuck up inside my forehead, because they were on one continuous roll for an entire hour. Dammit.

Who's to say, I could still get sucked in; it's been known to happen...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I am severely procrastinating. I have more work to do (GASP), so I thought it an opportune time to post some pics of my kitties. I've been promising you jungle kitty pics, so here are a couple of Piper. First one, you have to look REAL hard to see her, but trust me, she's in there...

Jungle Kitty

Here she is just soaking up the energy of the (fake) tree...

Jungle Kitty 2

Now, I bring you "Kitties in the Backyard on a HOT Day."

Meggie eating a weed in the hot sun -- you are witnessing one of the happiest moments of her long cat life:

old kitty

Here is Piper greeting Jess after she galloped outside:

lovey kitties

and finally, Jess chillin' on the back porch:

biiiiig kitty

Ok, enough of the kitties. Sheesh.

I have been intimidated to blog lately (well, besides being wicked busy) because I was feeling like my blog is so light and fluffy compared to some others I've been reading. But don't worry -- I'm over it, as I realized I have a lot of big ideas swirling in my head right now, and eventually I'll straighten them out here.

Until then...

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I am so fried. So fried that I can't make myself do the work I brought home with me. So fried that I can't even bring myself to work on my freelance project that is due Monday. This week. It has been long.

This afternoon I had an offsite meeting for work, and afterwards, I drove around and looked at a couple of houses with the girl who gave me a ride. I can't begin to express how GREAT it was to be away from my desk, immersed in girl talk, driving around in the hot sun looking for houses to rent in downtown Austin. Not only was it great to be away from the office for a little while, but looking for little houses made me want one. A different house, I mean. I have been saying this for a couple of years now, but I really do think I'm ready to move into my upgrade home -- the cute little house I live in now? It's cute, but I never intended it to be my "forever" home. In fact, I never dreamed I'd live here as long as I have. Never. But living here has given me great perspective. Here is a list of things I know I want in my next house:

-**a gigantic, luxurious bathtub,** separate from a gigantic awesome shower.
-Location, Location, Location -- more central, closer to work
-tons of windows and natural light
-no yard to tend (I'm thinking condo or townhome?)
-no more wall-to-wall carpet
-a view
-for the great room to be nowhere near the front door -- i'm tired of sitting on my couch every night feeling like someone is staring at me through the little windows by my front door, which is 10 feet away
-an enclosed area for the kitties to hang out in
-neighbors my own age - everyone here, and I mean EVERYONE, has little kids. No one talks to me, as I'm the "spinster with the cats who never does her lawn." SIGH.

Things I do love about my current house, that I wouldn't want to give up, are:

-the vaulted ceilings and feeling of openness
-the master bedroom in back of the house looking out over the backyard and the greenbelt
-the greenbelt
-the guest room/guest bathroom
-unique angles -- my house is not all square inside, it has neat slants and cuts

Nice little wishlist. Think i'll pack it up and go to bed early tonight. Maybe this weekend i'll be inspired to finish what my sister and I started and get the house perfect so I can sell it :) Or maybe not --who knows....

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Waving from the raft in the sea of ick

I am at home now, working. SHOCKING, i know. But I'm taking a break to tell you about a strange phone call I received tonight. A call that I didn't answer but upon reflection, kind of wish I had... I have one of those talking caller ID telephones; it's not nearly as cool as I thought it would be, in fact it's very hard to understand the robotic voice announce loudly who is calling, phonetically to a T (you should hear it butcher my parents' name). The robotic voice has even freaked out certain houseguests, as I suppose when the phone rings most phones don't shout out who's there. ANYWAY, Tonight the phone rang and the phone said "Te-Xas". I thought I heard incorrectly, but it said it again "Te-Xas." Huh. I looked at the caller ID and sure enough, Texas had called me. From a San Antonio area code. Texas. Called. Me. I was so curious that I typed the phone number into Google, but nothing came up. So I'm guessing some telemarketer thought they got smart by using "Texas" instead of "Solicitor" or something? Either that or I'm really in trouble for not getting my car inspection renews back in March...

I am sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of my coffee table typing (badly) on my laptop, ass sound asleep and brain not far behind. Jess is balanced on his back fat over there on the floor, lazily flipping his tail and looking at me upside down, arms and legs splayed out in complete trust and relaxation. Oh, to be a cat. Oh, to be my cat. Piper is, of course, in the tree. Photos of my jungle kitty coming soon.

Bobbing along in a sea of ick

I am so utterly slammed with work this week. Both at work and at home, for my current freelance project. I basically sit and write all day, drive home for 30 minutes, then sit and write until bedtime. That’s why I haven’t been particularly inspired to write in my blog the past few days…. All I can say is it’s a damn good thing I like what I do!!!

I have nothing deep or interesting to say right now because I’m submerged in ick, but believe me, when I find my way out? You’ll be the first to know.

Monday, June 13, 2005

1st Guest Blog: My Dad!

Tonight I am proud to post an account my dad wrote about a very interesting excursion in which he recently participated. Before we begin, you should read about his heart surgery earlier this year, and realize we're only talking 4 months ago. My dad is a rock star. And also, it was kind of spooky how as I read this story, I recognized EXACTLY what I would have been thinking/feeling in the same situation. Genetics, I suppose? Enjoy!

The Bike Ride
June 2005
by Jessie's Girl's Dad

I recovered well from heart surgery in February and by June had worked out enough on a bicycle that I wanted to do one of those long rides with a group. But I knew I could never keep up with the more serious bikers. Then I read a newspaper article about an older group. The article said the members were in their 60s, 70s, and 80s and liked to ride at a more leisurely pace, to smell the roses along the way. Sounded like my deal, so I gave them a call.

Yesterday I showed up for my first ride with this older group. (Only one or two were younger than I, at 66.) But I got there late; first mistake. Wasn’t exactly my fault. I had been told to be there at 8:00 a.m., but that was their planned departure time.

So I drove into the parking lot on the dot (28.6 miles from home!) and there they all were, seated on their bikes, cars all locked up, and obviously ready to roll. Nevertheless, introductions were made and they were extremely polite, as I stammered to apologize. With all eyes watching (nine sets) I popped the trunk on my sedan and struggled to remove my bicycle. Could get it in there only by folding the back seats forward and removing the front bicycle wheel. I was intrigued by the way the wheel came off with just the flip of a little lever. Had never had it off before this morning. Turns out I was the only guy there without either an SUV, a pickup truck, or a bike rack for transport. But no matter.

I struggled to replace the front wheel, forcing the brake pads over it and tearing some of the whitewall. Quickly, found my helmet, took off the warm up pants, etc. They were ever so patient and nice, but I noticed some strange expressions aimed at my bike. So I looked at theirs. NONE of their bikes looked ANYTHING like mine. One guy had some kind of weird seat that looked like two black lily pads atop a forked post.

Then there were the helmets. Theirs were all exactly alike, but for colors. Mine was different, pointed in back like an alien’s and had some guy’s name written on the side. And I was the only man or girl there wearing a T-shirt. They each wore some kind of brightly colored shirt which looked as if it would let air right through and some had special pockets sewed onto the backs. At least I had bought real bicycle shorts, which all the rest wore, also. Oh, well; ready to roll. They told me to ride wherever I wished in the group.

As we departed the parking lot (about 10 revolutions of wheel), my derailleur malfunctioned and the pedals jammed. (Only recently had I learned the proper name of the mechanism; it had been the “gear changer thing.”) Everyone politely stopped (albeit staring) as I struggled to free the chain and I did in about 30 seconds, getting oil all over my bare hands. At last, go for the open road and a slow, fun ride!

It was not to be. They had said they ride slower than other clubs. They lied. You could almost taste the competition as we rolled away. Only the designated leader’s position was secure, as was the last person’s (called a “sweep,” I would learn). They pedaled away effortlessly and grimly on their high-tech bikes. I did not care about position; I just struggled to stay somewhere, anywhere, in the group. We were doing at least 15 mph; I had been training at about 12 mph and eight or ten miles at a time. I thought we were going for 25 miles or so today. I was wrong.

We went single file down the narrow shoulder of a country road with huge trucks and cars streaming by us, about three feet to our left. I was able to keep up just fine, and did not even have any problems with breath, except when the trucks sucked it out of my lungs with their backwash. They darned near blew me over. But I was settling into the work and getting along well when, from somewhere behind me, came a deafening whistle blast! What now, I thought. ’Way up ahead, the leader halted and everyone pulled far off the shoulder. As I did the same, the whistle-blower came up beside me and said, “You are getting a flat rear tire.”

It was true. I was so embarrassed. We had not gone a mile. Three of the men stayed to help; the others went on a short distance where they would wait in a safe place. It would have to be a rear tire. But I was proud of myself. I had packed all the ingredients for repair (I thought) into a “saddlebag” (my name; I bet it is not the correct one).

They stared silently as I pulled out a wrench almost a foot long with which to unbolt the rear wheel. I glanced at their bikes: all had quick releases on BOTH wheels; mine only on the front! Still, they did not complain. But I received very polite, helpful hints. “Haven’t seen pedals like that on a bike in years.” “If you ride much on hills, you might consider a different bike.” What do you mean, I inquired, the weight or the gears? “Both.” I was proud of my ten gears. Seems I needed to have 18. “How long have you had this bike?” About five or six years; bought it in a garage sale. Immediately I wished I had not added the last part.

My bike probably weighed almost twice as much as some of theirs. A good one could be had for as little as $1,100.00, I was told. “No problem,” I responded weakly. (I paid $75.00 for mine.) The wheel came off and I began to force it through the brake pads, as I had forced the front wheel earlier. One man stopped me; he showed me how to punch out a little disc with a screwdriver and the pads would fully spread to pass the tire. Got to remember that. As we started to pull out the ruined tire tube, I proudly produced the special little plastic tool I had bought at a bike shop. I could tell this pleased them. Until they asked for the others. “Others? I need more than one?” When I bought the thing at the bike store, they sold me three-for-one identicals, but I thought the other tools were extras and packed only one. Seems you are supposed to use three. But someone else produced what we needed and we continued the change as cars and trucks sped by and showered us with dust.

“Do you have a pump?” Well, no, but I bought one of these little CO2 cartridge inflator devices. Now I got my first frown. You see, you cannot partially inflate the tube to properly seat it, with one of those things. One of the guys produced a small hand pump from some hidden recess on his bike. Then they made me run my fingers all around the inside of the wheel to find the problem that caused the leak. I could not find it, but they did. They also informed me that my tire stem had been mounted in the wrong position in respect to the tire. And that I badly needed new tires. And that I should always carry TWO spare tubes, not just the one that I was so glad I had purchased and packed. (They did not approve of the brand of tube, either.) But they were still polite and helpful and we got the job done.

So off again. Like a house on fire. No leisurely ride here. Perhaps they were frustrated by the delays. I quickly learned that I was the weakest rider, probably because of my unbelievably heavy, low-tech bike. They even wore special shoes that locked onto their strange-looking pedals! My New Balances for running really stood out in the crowd. We turned off the well-traveled road and at last could ride abreast and chat among ourselves. If you could keep up.

I next learned that the next weakest rider was an 82-year-old woman (she told me), and I tried to stay beside or right behind her. I could, except on some hills. I struggled to shift my gears with the two vertical levers on the handlebars, clanking and clashing. Everyone else just pushed buttons to noiselessly change gears, without moving their hands on the bars! Some gearshifts were even electronic! The lady told me that I looked like some kind of speed demon in my helmet. What kind was it? I did not know; my wife bought it for me in some bike shop for my birthday; and looks are deceiving, aren’t they? In her polite conversation, she offered that I could find good biker shirts in Oshman’s.

I was not in bad shape, but these people were true athletes. My stomach barely bulged under my new biker shorts and weighed only about four pounds; their stomachs were non-existent. One old gentleman was 84 and he was in the lead pack the whole time!

We pedaled on, some of us rather grimly. No time to smell the roses here, had there been any. There were only farm fields and an occasional house with barking dogs and a few cows. This was serious business.

At one of the hourly rest stops in front of a little store, I received more bicycle advice. I would sure get tired of carrying all that weight (of the bike) up hills. I already was. A store customer asked if anyone wanted to buy a used Peugeot, and someone sent him over to talk to me. I took his phone number. I was advised to eat and drink a lot, during these breaks, but I did not. I did sip on my brand-new water bottle whose carrier I had mounted on my bike only last night, hoping that I placed it properly. I had. Except that everyone else had at least two bottles on their bikes.

Never did I become very tired, but just took the hills slower than everyone else. Gradually, I evolved to next-to-last, with the little old lady usually just ahead. The sweep position was quietly rotated among the riders, because I am sure it was boring to ride at the end to watch me struggle. It was especially humiliating to see those three ladies, some older than I, effortlessly shepherd me along. One of the rotating sweeps suggested that I would do better with padded bicycle gloves; then my arms would not go to sleep. (How did she know mine were numb?) But I cannot stress enough how nice they all were about all the imposition.

I was surprised when the leader doubled back to me and announced we had only about four more miles to go, and that we had already traveled over 28. Twenty-eight! Are you sure? He actually had an odometer on his bicycle! Would I be OK to pedal on in? Of course, I said. I must have looked worse than I felt.

Everyone sprinted for the finish, except for the 82-year-old lady, me behind her, and the patient sweep. The next-to-last hill was the worst we encountered. I went to my lowest gear (I am pretty sure it was) but about halfway up, I had to get off and walk. No shame in that, the sweep assured me as he rode on by, and then doubled back. I mounted again at the top of the hill and quickly caught up. One more little hill, and we were within one-half mile of the finish. No sweat! I did not even need all the gears. But about halfway up the hill, disaster struck.

BOTH my thigh muscles massively cramped at the same time! It was instant agony! I managed to coast onto the wide, grassy shoulder and get my feet on the ground, both legs now stiff as boards, and struggled not to fall over! I just stood there. I could not move nor extricate myself from the bicycle. The sweep arrived instantly and I told him I was cramped in both legs; he asked what he could do. I asked him to hold the bike and I just stood there in pain, trying to figure out how to get off the thing. I was able to lift my left leg a little and asked him to swing it over the bike; he did, very painfully. Then he grabbed my armpits from behind and allowed me to fall backward to a sitting position. I was still cramped!

That nice little 82-year-old lady doubled back to see if she could help. I assured them I was OK but for the cramps; she rode ahead to tell the others. Then one of the very pretty female riders came whizzing back at about 80 mph, sized us up, and then took off for the finish. One of my legs came loose, but I bet it was a full six or eight minutes before the other leg finally loosened. Felt like it, anyway.

So now I could stand, and told them I would ride on in. No way would they hear of it. Here came the pretty girl in her pickup. She and the sweep dumped my bike in the truck bed and insisted I climb into the passenger seat. Talk about humiliation.

Now she looked at me closely. “You are going into heat exhaustion,” she announced, “and we need to replace your electrolytes.” (What the hell is an electrolyte?)

Well, no, I don’t think so; I just cramped.

“Where is your Gatorade?” she demanded. Well, I don’t actually have any. “I saw your bottle; was it water?” Yes, and I drank all of it. “You always need at least two bottles, one of Gatorade and one of water. And you should consider a camel-pack.” Seeing my puzzled look, she correctly surmised I had no idea what she was talking about. She reached behind my seat and produced some kind of nylon backpack deal that probably held two quarts of water, to show me what it was. Then she produced the Gatorade bottle she had carried on her bike and ordered me to drink all the remnants. Now! I complied. Then she chewed me out for wearing a cotton T-shirt. One must wear a special biker’s shirt, else one will overheat. Then she gave me a water bottle and told me to drink that. I did, and now we arrived at the parking lot, where the group members were all gathered in concern.

I was pronounced “recovered” and agreed to join all for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant. But I could not eat a thing. Just drank gallons of lemonade. Lunch discussion was mainly about how many calories were contained in the Chinese dishes and how many we had just burned off during the ride. The 84-year-old gentleman produced miniature bottles of Scotch whiskey, the kind you get on airliners, from his biker shirt special pockets, and proceeded to drink them with his meal, chased by water. I secretly hoped he would offer one to me, but did not know this group well enough to ask. And out came their logbooks. Logbooks! To keep track of their bicycle miles! They began to busily write entries! I used to fly, and we had logbooks for flight time. But bicycle logbooks? Apparently, I had entered another world.

But it would be easy for me to get out of it. I let them know over lunch that I realized that I obviously needed more training; no one argued. I told them I would call them again after more conditioning. Fat chance. One guy offered that I should work up to at least 20 miles at a time. And he spoke yet another gentle suggestion that perhaps I should upgrade my equipment.

They were quite nice to put up with me. But I just do not share their fanaticism, however polite. My body could (eventually) take it, but not my mind. I will stick to running.

--by the father of the girl of Jessie.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Simple, but not shallow, musings

I fell asleep when I got home tonight and slept fitfully for a few hours. I know it's because I broke down and had a beer with my co-workers after work. Beer, or any alcohol for that matter, makes me sleeeeeepy. It sucks getting old. I woke up from my nap sort of discombobulated. I began my routine of reading my growing list of favorite blogs. After a while, I started feeling weird. Insecure. I couldn't put my finger on why, but it kept getting worse the more I read. Then I realized what it was. I was feeling insecure because the blogs I was reading were so excellent, so interesting, so moving. And I couldn't help but compare those blogs to mine.

Because, you see, I don't have children or a husband to write about. I don't necessarily have daily epiphanies where everything seems worth it; I don't have moments of joy at seeing my own dimples reflected on my child's face. I don't have that, not at this time. And I may never have that. So what DO I have? I thought about what I do write about, and suddenly it seemed trite, even shallow. Lizards. My cats. Happy hours. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Why would anyone even want to read my blog, it's so shallow and one dimensional? I began to feel sorry for myself, sitting here alone on my couch on a Friday night, reading blogs, a Law&Order SVU rerun glowing from the TV. Muted because it's a rerun. I fretted a bit longer, feeling embarrassed suddenly that I ever started this blog at all. What was I thinking?? Why did I think anyone could possibly find this interesting, when I myself was bored with my own life? Why why why???

Then it hit me, and I felt my anxiety begin to melt away. I had forgotten my purpose for a few moments. I got swept away in self pity, in momentary loneliness. But now the relief washed over me as I remembered that I did not begin this blog to entertain other people. I remembered how in the beginning, I wasn't even sure I wanted anyone at all to read it but a few of my closest friends. It was a stepping stone for me to share it with a handful of people, and I was very shy about it. It was a milestone when I decided to share it with my family. See, the reason I began this blog is because I'm a writer, and I always have been, and I always will be -- and I need to write. Because it feels good to write, it feels therapeutic, and I sleep better at night after getting something off my chest here, no matter how simplistic. I write for me. It motivates me to write on a more regular basis because what I'm writing is actually being published. I'm more compelled to blog knowing that there's even the mildest possibility that someone out there in Internet-land might read it. But I don't write it for the Internet. I write it for myself. And I will share it with you for as long as you care to read it, but even if no one ever came here and read my words again, I'd keep writing, because the words are inside of me and they must come out, even if they're not always serious, even if they're often silly. You are welcome to join me anytime, I'll be right here.

As I am writing this, I'm also keenly aware that two of my cats are right this second trying to bring down my new silk tree. And you know what? They just might do it. And you know what else? If they do, it will be damn funny, and I'll take pics of the aftermath and post them on here and blog about it. And that is O-Kay.

It's Friday? Already? Really?

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted since Monday. That sort of explains how my week has been, without me having to explain. The funny thing is, I've had lots of bloggable thoughts this week, but i've simply been too tired to write about them. But lucky for you, I've been keeping a list!! Aha! So eventually, there will be all sorts of good stuff on here.

This has been a big week for lots of people I know, and maybe I'm picking up their stress or excitement, I dunno. All I do know is I've been dragging myself home from work later than usual, vegging out as long as possible, then tumbling into bed. Only to toss and turn for much longer than I should. Because people, I usually have NO problem sleeping. Never have. In fact, at any given moment I could crawl right under my desk and take a good nap. I have even recently fantasized about going out to my car, climbing in the back, cracking a window, and sleeping through my lunch break. Yeah. But I've never actually DONE it, ok???

So, big things that have happened to people close to me this week:
- My BIL landed a dream job, so he and my sis and my nephews are moving to Denver, CO this summer. FABULOUS opportunity for them, sad for selfish me...but I'll get over it the first Christmas I spend in the snow :)
- A good friend of mine got laid off and that just plain SUCKS.
- CJ is "officially" in New Mexico -- at least as far as I know. Even though I haven't spoken to him since our quarrel a couple weeks ago, I can sort of sense an absence in the air. Like, the crackle of energy surrounding him is just...absent.
- I landed another freelance contract job, Hallelujah! The downside? There is a stressful, quick turnaround time. The upside: my cruise will be paid for. Yay!
- Five years ago today, my first beloved nephew was born, forever changing my life and our entire family dynamic. And yeah, my sister's life too ;)


So the random topic of the day is OCD behavior. Obsessive-compulsive disorder for those of you who claim to not know -- but don't LIE because we ALL have a little bit of that going on. Or a lot. Here is a short list of things I am OCD about:

1. Washing my hands.
2. Putting lotion on my feet before bed. Just my feet.
3. Checking my email. (seriously -- if I get up to pee during the night, sometimes i go sneak a peek, just in case...)
4. Washing my face twice a day, every day.
5. Filling my kitty's water dish

Now that i'm trying, of course I can't think of too many. But I'd like to hear what other people are weird about, k?

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Diet to end all Diets

I was chatting with Babs this morning and said something flippantly that upon reflection, seems more profound; or at least, interesting. I was talking about how I've been spending sooo much money the past couple of weeks, between doing stuff to my house, paying for my entire vacation, and all the "little" bath and body purchases I've been making. Well, $30 here and $20 there eventually adds up to $100, real quick!!! I used to know that, but I got out of practice spending money a few years ago when I was laid off. It has taken me years to ramp back up again, but I seem to have found my shopping zen once more. And people, IT MUST STOP. Or at least slow down. Wayyyyy down. Now, I have no problem spending money on a much-deserved vacation, that is money well spent in my opinion. And house stuff? That's also valid because either it will help me sell the house sooner or it will just make me happier in the house until I sell it. However? The bath and body stuff is OUT OF CONTROL. I have always been *just on the brink* of bath and body madness. I was the first person to become addicted to Bath & Body Works when it opened, I think while I was in college. I have ALWAYS been a bath person. When anything bad happens, I jump in a hot bath with some divine bath cream/bubbles/fizzy/salts/something and feel better almost instantly.

But. The past two years or so? I'm not sure what triggered it, but I can't seem to get enough of yummy-smelling things. Lotions, shower gels, bath bombs, bubble bars, SCRUBS (face and body -- my latest addiction), bath pillows, etc etc etc. Out. Of. Control. And since the post-being-laid-off feeling has evidently lifted, it's gotten really bad. Plus I'm a member of this beauty board and I can spend HOURS reading what people are saying about new products, which products suck, which ones rock, when the SALES are, etc etc. It's insane. I admit it. The irony is probably that I don't even have a boyfriend or any kind of SO to appreciate how f***ing FABULOUS I smell all the time. .

So I told Babs that I was addicted to bath products (which I'm sure she already knew) and that in fact, if someone offered me ice cream or a bath bomb? I'd take the bath bomb. No question. Food or bathing decadence? Bathing decadence. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that this could be a BRILLIANT diet, if I could figure out how to work it; y'know??? But the secondary problem is that I seriously need to go on a bath and body diet, as well. I have a "stash" I have built up, slowly, and it's a Lotions? I probably have 20 I haven't even OPENED yet, not to mention the 14 on my bedside table (ask Nicole, she saw it). Scrubs? More than 20, I'll bet. I never have less than 6 shower gels at one time in my shower, and there are SCORES more unopened. I have two shampoos right now, which is low for the moment, and have narrowed it down to one conditioner. But the point is, no way in my life can I ever hope to use all this up. If I stopped buying stuff today, I'd be set for life, i'm pretty sure. Luckily this stuff has a shelf life, so I'm forced to purge ever so often... but then? The horrible, debilitating GUILT at the waste.

Occasionally I put together little goodie bags for family and friends, but not often enough. It's really hard to get rid of things because I only buy really great stuff, and I love it all. I would marry it all. If I could.

So. Not sure how to start the food diet thing, as that is an ongoing challenge for me, but the B&B diet is much more clear. Starting today? I am not buying another product until at LEAST the fall. This summer i'm going to work very, very hard to use stuff up and give things away as I become detached. I am going to smell so damn good that bees will follow me everywhere and Jess will build a nest in and live in my hair. I will be the cleanest girl in Austin. No, in the Land!

Please, good man, if you're out there? Follow that wonderful smell and ASK ME OUT, will you??

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Smooth lizards are cool too

Faithful readers know that I have a certain...affinity for lizards. (Note on link: apparently my inability to insert links has been due to my using a Mac; i'm updating tonight on my PC and lo and behold, there's a BUTTON that says INSERT LINK. Hm.) Today was a nice, low-key Saturday; I slept in, moved to the couch, surfed and watched; watched and surfed; napped. I had my back door open just wide enough for Jess to get out (pretty wide, OK?) and the kitties were frolicking in the backyard. I let them do this sometimes. After a while I happened to glance into my kitchen just in time to see Piper prance inside with something in her mouth and plop it proudly on my new kitchen carpet. It was too long to be a bug. Too thin. I knew instantly what it was. A silent scream formed on my lips: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

I raced into the kitchen and looked down at the motionless lizard. Piper was so proud, she was twirling around between my ankles and chirping at me. She'd probably spent HOURS stalking this poor reptile, and she was so pleased to bring me her kill. I couldn't be mad at her, it's instinctual and all. But I was mad at myself, for letting my guard down and letting them frolick in the yard long enough to get into trouble. Inside, I keened with grief, while outside, I chirped back "good kitty, very good hunter, sweet piper." Kids - you can't tear them down for your own mistakes, y'know??

I gingerly picked up the narrow, smooth lizard. It was not a majestic spiny one, oh no, it was a svelte color-changing gecko. This one was half brown and half green, frozen forever in his panic at being mauled by a giant furry monster with a slight limp. He blinked at me, but didn't move much. He had the telltale stump where his tail should have been. Dammit. A signature Piper move. I sighed and took him outside, gently setting him underneath a bush in the shade. He blinked, but again, didn't move. There was nothing I could do this time -- he was too small to be saved. I knew the one fang mark in his back had done too much damage -- he wasn't big and strong like Mr. Lizard had been.

I sadly shuffled back inside the house, only then realizing I was in my pajamas and underwear. Oh well. I didn't care.

The moral of this story? I don't know if there really is one. It was a stark example of the rigid food chain of the animal world. I could only be partly blamed for letting my kitties outside on this beautiful Saturday; if it hadn't been my kitty, it would have been one of the neighborhood cats who hang out in my yard sometimes trying to give my inside kitties a heart attack. Cats will always hunt lizards. That is the cold, hard truth.

However, I couldn't stop myself from going outside to check on the lizard, several hours later. And? It was gone. I don't know how far or how, for that matter, but it makes me happy. Who knows, maybe it will be alright. Or maybe not. Some things I'd just rather not know. In life, this defense mechanism is often impossible and foolish. But when it comes to lizards and cats, it works just fine for me.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

More random thoughts

Well, the work day is almost over -- hurray!

Guess what? My fabulous lawn guy CALLED ME today!! I'm so happy!! I told him I'd leave him a check under the mat and he can come get it tomorrow during the DAY :) Now, if I can just train him... but I am very relieved. I wasn't even sure if he had my phone number. Tonight I can relax knowing no one will be pounding on my door during my important TV shows...

In other news (and it's a slow news day, people) I actually wore my (hard, scratchy, uncomfortable) contacts today :O I put them in before work and wore them until about 1 this afternoon, at which time I scratched them out of my eyes with an exacto blade. But really. I wore them for several hours, which is a new record. And they didn't bug me AS MUCH as in the past, so perhaps i'm going to be able to break these puppies in after all. Only time will tell. I will say I was ultra-irritable this morning and felt much calmer when I had my glasses back on. Hrrmm.

Wow, I really don't have a whole lot going on at the moment. Except that by some miracle, tomorrow is already Friday!! Yay for short weeks!! Even though my sleeping pattern has been all mucked up!! Still yay!!

Ok, that's enough. If anything else happens today, I'll update...but don't hold your breath.

Two things...

I'm busily working, but I have two things to say --

1. I booked the cruise! It's nonrefundable! It's a done deal!
2. For some reason I just got so desperate for fruit that I'm eating pineapple out of a CAN from the Snack Rack here at work. That's pretty desperate...

and that is all, for now...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I am feeling particularly irritable today. There is not one thing to blame, but a mesh of things. For example, at lunch? Chick-Fil-A forgot to give me a straw in the drivethru, and of course I didn't notice until I was several miles away. NO STRAW people -- what am I to do? WHAAAATTT? Put my LIPS on the FILTHY FAST-FOOD CUP?????? Surely you Jest.

I also discovered on Friday (and it's been festering below the surface of my outer calm since then) that someone HIT MY CAR in the parking lot at Happy Hour Thursday night and left a BIG dent in my fender. Huge. I don't know why this surprises me -- my car has been a giant bumper car from the moment I acquired it, for some reason. It's like after my wreck in 2003, all bets were off, all guardian angels jumped ship, and I've just been at the mercy of every idiot driver in Austin. BAH.

So that adds one more dent to repair on my 2-year-old car, and I don't have a lot of play money right now since i'm planning a vacation and stuff like that. You know.

Also? My fabulous lawn guy will not take the hint and stop dropping by my house in the evenings to pick up a check or chat. I HATE the drop by!!! I don't have his address or I'd just mail him the checks. Or even better, if I knew the days he was coming, I would leave him a check on the porch. But noooo -- he waits until i'm all snuggled up on my couch watching Law&Order before banging on my door until I give up and answer it. Then he wants to chat about the state of my lawn, and I'm like "JUST FIX IT." I don't think he's yet to see me wearing a bra. Yeah, TMI? WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

Um, I might be a little hormonal -- did I mention that earlier? No? Well... yeah.

Also? After my sister scrubbed my house from stem to stern this weekend? I arrived home from work last night to find a brand new, juicy hairball on my bedroom carpet, right beside my bed. THANKS MEGS. No blood though, thank goodness for small victories.

I think one of the things that is really irritating the crap out me today is this: I struggled to stay awake last night to watch this movie that started on TNT at midnight; I made it until about 20 minutes before the end and fell asleep. AGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I will probably never know because while I continue to pay for Netflix, I continue too to clutch the same two movies I've had going on 3 months without ever watching them, and I know I will never get around to renting the movie from last night, much less watching it.

grumblegrumblegrumble. grumble.
Go ahead, make my day. I DARE you.

I promise to try and write something happy to balance things out, maybe later. keep your fingers crossed... i know i will.