Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Christmas Weekend (2005)

The Christmas weekend was very nice. I had been dreading having to get up early (well, early to ME) on Christmas eve to be at My Sweetie's Mom's by 1:00, but oddly enough I woke up at 10:00 on my own. We pulled up maybe 15 minutes after one, but MS's sister's husband was just unloading their vehicle, so they only beat us by a minute or two. We were there early for them because they had to make the rounds to their kids' other grandparents homes that day (two more sets, because there are two dads).

I had decided to try to just use my cane and everything seemed fine at first, because mostly I just sat in a comfy chair near the front door. It was a casual gathering with all sorts of goodies and snacks laid out on the table. After we had all visited for a couple of hours and the two older kids asked, "Can we open presents now?" for the 37th time, we got down to it. My Sweetie's grandmother gave us some money and she gave me one of those gorgeous "peppers in a nice glass decorative container" type things. If there is a name for those, I don't know what it is, but I love them! This one was really pretty. His Mom gave us a cut crystal decanter and a set of six whimsically painted ceramic cat coasters, one of which I scanned for this post. (The gray on his face is the shadow from scanning a non-flat object.) They are really cute and I want to do some sort of artsy/craftsy display thing with them, but I haven't come up with an idea yet. And his sister gave us a gift certificate to my favorite restaurant. My best moments were seeing the three kids enjoying the gifts we gave them and seeing MS's grandmother's reaction to the beautiful quilt I bought her. It's very girly, with florals and embroidery and a scalloped edge. The funniest thing is that I didn't realize that the "workbench" thing I bought for the two-year-old had all these sounds and songs, I know my sister-in-law hates that. I kept apologizing and she kept saying, "Sure, sure you didn't know." We were all walking around like zombies after an hour singing that one song. I'm glad I can't remember it now.

Well, sis and family left and we still had time to kill as we were waiting for dark to do our annual drive around aimlessly and look at Christmas lights thing. I even took a short nap when MS's Mom took his grandmother to Mass. Well in all we were there five hours. In that time I "walked": to the table once, to check out the spread and make a tiny plate; out the front door to a bench three or four times to smoke, and; to the bathroom maybe three times. My foot was KILLING me. I was so happy to get in the truck and know my walking was over for the day. We drove around for over an hour in a very wealthy, well no, THE wealthiest section of Fort Worth and looked at the lights and beautiful homes. It's a very old, old school neighborhood with all unique mansions set on rolling hills. That was nice. So then we headed over to my favorite restaurant and IT WAS CLOSED! So we just headed back to our side of the world and checked out the restaurants there (there's a whole restaurant row near our house) and settled for Razzoo's. Well then THEY said "Our kitchen is closing in 15 minutes." so we ordered quickly. When we got home, we opened our new "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," season 2. We had some champagne and opened one present each. My Sweetie gave me a "Cameron Crazie" T-shirt and if you don't know Duke basketball, you won't know what that is.

Christmas day, I slept 'til around noon. We popped in a pan of frozen cinnamon buns we had bought just for this occasion (I'm not really a sweets for breakfast kind of person) and made some mimosas with our leftover champagne, and opened our gifts. That was fun. He got me lots of cute stuff and a nice blender. I have no idea why I don't have a blender. We think we lost it two moves back. I'm going to break it in New Year's eve with some homemade salsa to go with our chicken quesadillas. I took a short nap, took a shower, got ready and my daughter Kate showed up and we all jumped in the truck and headed over to Mom's. Last year Mom had her open kitchen/living area all done in tile and boy was it easy to get around in the wheelchair. The decorations were lovely and she had Christmas music playing. The men were in my step-dad's large office watching TV and the girls hung out in the kitchen (and the smoking porch). Mom's theme for the dinner was classic 50's fare. She made a melt-in-your-mouth-tender brisket with a cheesy potato casserole, green bean casserole and a Watergate salad. Everything was yummy. I had to take drastic measures. I went to the bathroom and flossed my teeth so I would stop eating the brisket. No way was I going to floss twice. It was a nice evening. Mom gave me the roaster with rack that I wanted and my daughter gave me a gravy separator, two packages of cheesecloth, a baster and a decorative green glass piece (I LOVE green glass). I now have no excuse, and will one day, maybe at Easter, actually make my first Turkey.

So that's how the weekend went. Monday was beautiful, about 78 degrees out, and I figured since I had stayed off my foot all day Sunday, I should probably get back on it. So I went outside to smoke. It's only two small steps down onto the patio and it felt okay. Well Tuesday I woke up and my foot was sore and swollen again, so again I stayed in the wheelchair all day. Tuesday night's shower was awful. I just could not get comfortable standing in the shower. I was so glad when I took that final rinse and got the hell out of there. So I stayed off of my foot again today except to cook, because it is still sore and I think I will stay off of it again tomorrow. Today was six weeks so I thought things would be so much better by now, so I'm a little disheartened. My San Diego trip is only a week and a half away. The way it looks now, I'll definitely be wearing my cast boot on the trip. My mother-in-law said they made her take her's off at the airport, so that will be a bit of a bitch, but I'll be okay. A week and a half is still a while away.

A Great Recipe: I found this orange spiced chicken recipe and made it with tenders. I cut down the baking time, but not quite enough. 30 minutes would have been plenty. I'm going to make it with thighs next time. I generally do not like to follow recipes at all, but this one is very short and simple. And it was DELICIOUS!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Saturday, December 24, 2005

25 Years Ago

My Step-Mom helping me open a present (Christmas 1980).
(And why is she wearing my peach Adidas jacket?)

So 25 years ago, close to right now as I type, I was about to be in a major car accident. I was 19 and doing typical stupid 19-year old stuff. I had finished my freshman year at UNC-G that spring and spent the summer living with Mom in Texas and working as a groundskeeper at her country club. And if you are a Texan, yes that was the summer of the heat wave. Days and days and days of temperatures over 110. It was HOT. I kept putting off telling my Mom that I was not going back to UNC-G. When I finally told her, late in the summer, she was not pleased. We started arguing a lot, so I did my normal exit strategy and went back to N.C. to live with my Dad. I got a job at a nice Italian restaurant thanks to my best buddy Bill. So I worked late nights, slept all day, and partied on my days off. Typical 19-year-old stuff.
Well I had December 23rd off and Mazzone was having a big party. Mazzone was a guy I knew from home room. Our school sytem had a 20 minute home room period each morning for the purpose of checking attendance, listening to the daily intercom address by our principal, and passing out stuff. The home rooms were all in alphabetical order, so you had the same people year after year. Mazzone was hilarious and did a dead-on impersonation of our principal who was morbidly obese and had a particular voice. The story was Mazzone's parents had moved back to New York and their giant empty house was on the market, so Mazzone was throwing this big party there.
I woke up late as usual as I had closed the night before at the restaurant. I showered and went to the mall to get a knock-out outfit for the party. I finally found this one-piece black (with a small random print) rayon number that was almost a cat suit. I knew it was hot as soon as I tried it on. I wanted to turn heads. I had lost my license and needed a ride to the party and spent the afternoon on the phone with people begging for a ride. HSB (high school boyfriend) was the easiest mark, but I still had to work at it as we were not on the best of terms at the time. Finally the ride situation was worked out. HSB's best friend - MV (who I had also been involved with twice - long story, a post unto itself) was going to drive his VW bug. I got dressed in my killer togs and went to dinner at Darryl's, which was THE cool restaurant in Durham at the time, with my Dad and Step-Mom. We had a picture taken there and I wish I had a copy. We got back home and I waited for my ride.
I seriously thought they were going to be A-holes and not show up, but they finally came. HSB was still being rude on the ride to the party, but I was determined to just have fun. The actual party was one big buzzed blur. I remember bits and pieces. I remember how the concept of a giant fancy house being empty was so cool at first, but you know what? Sometimes you just want to sit the F down. Room after room of carpet and walls can wear on you. I DO remember getting lots and lots of compliments on my outfit. Finally I reached staged GTFOOH. (If you don't know what that is, the first word is "get" and the last word is "here.") I frantically went from room to room asking, "Have you seen HSB or MV? I ended up in the front yard which also had a huge crowd and finally someone said, "They just left." I ran out to where the car was and they had just gotten in. I was pissed!
Well I got into the back of the VW bug and now old HS boyfriend is being very friendly and cuddling with me. My best bud Bill was in the passenger seat and MV was driving. We dropped Bill off at his house, and HSB got out and moved to the passenger seat. I knew it was a good 15 minute or more highway drive back to our part of town so I dropped my shoes and curled up in the back of that bug. The last thing I heard was HSB saying, "Oh no, she's going to pass out."
I seemed to have a lot of strange dreams of people talking to me over a radio and asking me questions. I remember repeating over and over my name, address, telephone number and social security number. But I thought it was all in a dream. I woke up in a large bright room with a big silver dome over me. I recognized that dome from television shows. My first words were, "Am I in a hospital?"
A nurse said, "You were in a car accident." My first thoughts were that MV and HSB might be dead. I was terrified to ask, but I had to. She told me they were in the hospital with me. I was SO relieved. I glanced over at my left arm AND FREAKED OUT! I calmly asked her, "Why do I have two elbows?" She told me my arm was broken. My humerus, the long bone between the shoulder and elbow was broken in half and was laying on the table at a crazy angle. She saw it was freaking me out and put a sheet over it. My next memory was my Dad and Step-Mom walking into that huge room. I remember saying, "Don't look over there. Seriously whatever you do, you do not want to see THAT." I guess the doctor came in and sent them away. Then he proceeded to twist and bend my broken arm while I screamed and screamed and called him all sorts of foul names. Then he put it in a cast. I think I passed out before the cast part.
So I woke up about noon or so on Christmas eve in the room in which I would spend the next 10 days. They told me my arm was broken (I remembered that part) and my pelvis was broken in two places (this was news) and that I had chipped a tooth. Later that afternoon, I asked a nurse why my leg went "kathunk, kathunk" every time I flexed my foot. They brought a portable X-ray machine into my room, X-rayed that part of my leg and then told me, "Yeah, that's broken, too. Don't flex your foot like that anymore." It was my left tibia, the slimmer bone behind the shin bone.
My sweet Step-Mom showed up with a two-foot half Christmas tree that hangs on a wall and had Snoopy ornaments on it. That was sweet. We had hordes and hordes of high school friends visiting us those first few days. HSB was treated and released the first night with stitches in his head and a dislocated shoulder. MV had to have emergency surgery to get car paint chips out of his left leg which had a compound fracture, so he was there for about 8 days. On New Year's eve, the nurses wheeled him into my room and we watched the countdown on TV together and threw ice chips around the room.
By the way, here are some facts about the accident. WE were the victims. We were on a five lane highway/road with the middle lane as a both way turn lane. It was foggy and we were going slow, thank goodness. A guy passed out and drifted across three or four lanes to hit us head on. MV (our driver) tested negative for alcohol. The other driver? Drunk.
It's hard to believe that was a quarter of a century ago. I wonder if they were thinking about it today, too.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Ahhhhh. A Shower.

I decided tonight that if I could stand barefoot (barefooted? seems like it should be baredfeet) on a hard surface comfortably, I was going to take a REAL shower. Well, I could and I did, and man was it NICE! My first normal (or standing) shower since November 16th. Woo hoo! It looks like I'm on target for not having to use the wheelchair for the two family gatherings. Fortunately we are talking about modest ranch-style homes here and not some sort of giant mansiony places. I'm still going to use the wheelchair tomorrow to go to SuperTarget. My Sweetie has tomorrow (Friday) off, so I asked if we could go to SuperTarget just so I could experience some semblance of Christmas shopping, even though I would not have done my Christmas shopping at Target. Although, since I did buy all my presents online this year, I did end up getting a toy from Target. Maybe I'll just pick up some Christmas stuff that's on sale.

And we need paper plates. I can't cook without paper plates. I think of them as disposable prep dishes. You know how on cooking shows everything is in those cute little glass dishes? All my prep stuff is on paper plates. I also use them for disposable cutting boards, especially for bacterial foods like bacon and chicken. They are also hot pads for food delivered in hot pie tins. And microwave lids..... Messy spoon rests. Okay this could go on forever. I'll just leave it at: I can't cook without paper plates.

So Friday we are going to have our little outing and probably go out for dinner - Razzoo's sounds good. Saturday, Christmas eve, we are going to My Sweetie's Mom's house at 1:00. Sister-in-Law and family are meeting us there. We will all exchange gifts including MS's grandmother who is "wintering" here. Then MS and I are going to hit the old fancy neighborhoods of Fort Worth to look at Christmas lights. Dinner will be at Mercado Juarez, then home to champagne and one present each and maybe a movie (we just got Harvey from Netflix). Sunday (Christmas) we can be lazy at first. Wake up, open presents, make an interesting brunch..... We don't have to be at my Mom's until 6:00. My daughter will be here around 5:00 to ride with us. I'm looking forward to Mom's brisket. It rocks! And Mom always gets us the greatest gifts. She's always been good at that.

Well that was so dull, I thought I'd end with two of my irrational fears. (I like to assign them random numbers.)

Warning: If you are prone to having irrational fears and are highly suggestible, DO NOT READ!

irrational fear #328 - the exploding shaving cream can. I only use the very small Colgate travel size because I imagine that a regular sized can will get rusted out enough to explode and spray me with trillions of metal shards.

irrational fear #217 - hitting the wire. If I nail anything longer than 3/4" into a wall, I believe I will hit an electrical wire, be thrown violently across the room, and possibly die from my injuries.

I must point out that formerly irrational fear #7 - being a victom of random gunfire, almost happened as I lighlty mentioned in this_post. Yeah, I had to move that one off the irrational list.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

"My (Celebrity) List"

Years ago "Friends" had an episode about having a "wish list" of celebrities that you could have sex with if you got the opportunity. Well I've had my list for years. We picked 5 for the allotted amount. It's changed somewhat over the years. People come and go for various reasons but my current list has been the same for about a year. My Sweetie only seems to keep one or two on his list at a time. And he has time travel people like Annette Bening from 15 years ago. I don't have time travel people or Cary Grant would be on my list from anytime in the 1940's. I don't know if I have mentioned that My Sweetie is 6 years younger than me, but it's funny that all of my celebs are younger than me and his constant #1 on his list is actually FIVE years older than I am! Sela Ward. He really thinks she's hot. He also likes Ashley Judd, who is about his age, but he was kinda turned off by the fact that she married a race car driver.

I have a separate list of celebrities that I'd like to spend 3 or 4 hours in a bar with, like Kevin Spacey, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, and Robin Williams, but as far as the guys that make me sit up straight, here's my list. Since I do not have a preference order, I'll list them from youngest to oldest:

Orlando Bloom. Like probably half the women on the planet, I fell madly in love with him as Legolas, but then there he was so sweet, romantic and feisty in Pirates of the Caribbean. Everything I've read about him is very positive. He seems like a very well-grounded dude. He's 16 years younger than me, so it is kinda pushing it, but he IS HOT!

Mark Wahlberg. I can't put my finger on what it is about him that I find so sexy. I think it's that Boston yob, workingman thing. Also he is 5' 8 1/2". I like compact men. And I think he really pulled off the sexy action hero thing with Planet of the Apes. He's just 10 years younger.

Matt Damon. He's just freaking cute. He's sexy in that cute, but tough, little boy look way. He REALLY pulled off the sexy action hero thing in those Bourne movies. And he's also got that Boston yob workingman thing going. He's 9 years younger.

Ron Livingston. Sometimes he looks a little thick in the neck, and I don't like that, but he was really hot in Band of Brothers. Also he has very sexy lips. He's just 7 years younger.

Dermot Mulroney. Okay, speaking of lips, WOW does this guy have sexy lips. I mean the kind of lips you just want to (deleted). And he's Irish! I first saw him in The Trigger Effect, (which if you've never heard of, you should see) and was instantly smitten. Instantly. He's only 2 years younger than I am, and his wife Catherine Keener is actually a year older than me.

So that's my current list. I'm sure a year from now, I will have thrown some people off and replaced them. Colin Farrell was once on my list, but I tossed him as soon as I started reading things about him, or maybe it was the picture of him with Britney Spears. Jim Carrey was on my list long ago, but I moved him to the bar buddy list. Sometimes I think of who I might delete to possibly add Jon Stewart to my list, but not yet.

If you don't already have your celebrity list, have fun making it!

Monday, December 19, 2005

busy, busy

I've been busy wrapping presents. I have a system. I wrap presents at the foot of my guest room bed. It's a high bed and has a high foot board. I don't know furniture words, but its a black pickety fence type style with a little curl out at the top like sleigh beds have (oh! that IS a furniture word!) So I stand and balance on my good foot and lean slightly against the footboard. But I can only do one at a time and then I just have to sit down. I'm also going through a crazy bow-making phase. I'm experimenting and studying designs of bows that I have that I find interesting. Last night while playing poker I made what seemed like a trillion little scissor curls on thin ribbon. Now I want to make more of those because while I was doing it I increased my score from $15,228 to $16,013. This is Yahoo poker and not real money in case you didn't know.

I've started to do a little bit of walking with my cane. I went outside today and sat on the deck for a while. I even napped a bit and had three different dreams. In one of the dreams, we were at a bar and I was buying drinks for people and we had made friends with a large guy. So I told the bartender, "And one for the little lady." And I said it like John Wayne. It freaked My Sweetie out (in the dream) and I said, "Hey if a guy's that big, you can tease him." In another dream some little girls were in a round hot tub and there were fish in it and I yelled, "Don't turn on the pump! It will suck those fish into the pipes!" They were 3" long fish, like aquarium fish. The third dream was about a gay cowboy, but that's all I remember. Reebus, our yard cat that is not our cat, was also dozing next to me, so every time I woke up, I guess I made a little noise and he would wake up and we would look at each other for a minute or two and then both go back to sleep. I love napping in the sun.

I want to start trying to get around a little more, but I have to put a shoe on my good foot to walk with the cast boot. Having a shoe on in the house is as unnatural to me as being barefoot in the grocery store. That's one of my weird things. I NEVER wear shoes or jewelry in the house, not even my wedding rings. They are the last things I put on to leave and the first things I take off on return. So this week, I'm just going to force myself to wear a shoe all day, so I can work on getting around in the boot. I want my foot to be up and running for my San Diego trip. And by that, I of course mean the expression, because "no running will actually be involved in the making of this vacation."

I think the next time I'm in a bar and start talking to a big macho guy, I'm going to order a drink, then point at him and say, "And one for the little lady." If he freaks out, I'll just say, "Well you didn't get mad in the dream."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Foot Update and Movie Review

Stormy, the boot

I forgot to mention that I finally went to the doctor last Friday. They wrote me a prescription for this thing for my foot. I named it "Stormy," because it reminds me of a Storm Trooper boot from Star Wars. Mine looks exactly like that one except it is on the other foot. I think it has helped a lot. I expect to be using it to walk on pretty soon. I may even wear it to San Diego since it will be a mostly walking vacation. Better safe than sorry.

Geewits' Very Simple Movie Review:
The new Harry Potter movie was pretty good as far as movies in general go. But first I must say that I've not read any of the books, which has its good points. Like watching the Lord of the Rings movies and going, "What the heck happened to Tom Bombadil?" Or seeing the miniseries "The Stand" and going "Oh, I get it, they rolled these two women into one woman." The worst was I saw Jurassic Park TWO DAYS after I read the book and was sitting there thinking, "Well where's THAT GUY?!?" (Note: Do not read a book immediately before seeing the movie! Ever.) I'm just glad there will be a long time between reading The Da Vinci Code and seeing the movie, although I don't see that there are an excess of characters that would have to be cut, or worse yet, rolled into one character. But I digress. There are two basic things I did not like about the movie: the negative infighting of the trio of friends. Their camaraderie has always been one of the best aspects of the series to me. And if it's supposed to reflect the reality of kids that age, give me a break, like kids that age, in reality, are going to have an argument about a dragon. It's fantasy and in a perfect fantasy, friends stay tight ALWAYS! The other thing was there was a scene that seemed almost a direct rip off from Star Wars VI. Oh and the third thing. Wait, I said two things, what was I thinking? The third thing was I missed the mirth present throughout the other movies, not to mention the clever visuals that were just thrown in and not part of the plot. But still it was a good movie. I'd recommend it, although someone who HAS read the book told me she was very disappointed.

Oh and it was nice just getting out of the house and seeing all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood (I haven't been out at night since our anniversary - December 2nd). I'll have to make a date with My Sweetie for this weekend to cruise around and see the Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music. Speaking of which, it's time to put some on (music, not lights) and play some poker.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Very Good Christmasy Day

(Not an actual representation of my tree)

We finished our tree tonight! But first, since I didn't post since the wee hours of Friday morning and it's now Tuesday night I'll do some quick catch-up:

Saturday was nice. My Sweetie wheeled me out front and I sat in the sun, drank beer, listened to the radio (I was parked by my truck) and watched M.S. rake leaves. I had him put my candy cane decorations out - I have a wooden stake candy cane with a Santa on it that I put in a bush grouping, and a large electric candy cane that hangs on the house . Also before we went outside we watched the Duke game where we (the #1 team) trounced the #2 team, Texas. That was sweet. No, it was SWEEEEEEEEET!! I was afraid we were going to lose because it seems like we've been struggling so far, but we KICKED ASS!! Not only was I nervous, but the announcers were clearly expecting an upset by Texas. Then I took a nap and took a shower and we made chicken enchiladas together while we watched, "It's a Wonderful Life." Saturday was really nice. Sunday we worked on the house, which meant basically I was watching My Sweetie do stuff like clean ceiling fans and move stuff to make a space for the tree. Then Kate came over and they went to pick a tree. They did a good job. Then Kate helped me decorate the mantle over the fireplace. She stayed for dinner and we watched the whole 3 hour season finale of "Survivor." After M.S. went to bed, his sister called and we talked for almost 4 hours.

I spent most of Monday doing as much as I could to prepare for today and get organized (in my head) for what I wanted to get done today since I was going to have so much help. First my Mom came over and brought me lunch. When I had spoken with her Monday night and she told me what she was cooking, I asked for leftovers for my lunch. Oh and YUM! She brought homemade collard greens and her special Lima beans. Best lunch ever! We got a lot done. We de-junked and decorated the dining room, she took care of one of my plants which was in a corner I couldn't get to and even cleaned my bathroom sinks. She helped me start my beef for my stew/chili (I make my chili with cubed chuck roast that has simmered for HOURS). She went into the garage and dug out Christmas bowls for tonight. There's more but I can't remember every little thing. After Mom left, my friend Kim called and we talked for an hour, then My Sweetie got home. One of his vendors had given him this GIANT basket of goodies, so we used the cheese spread and crackers from that to go with our grapes that we had set out. Then my daughter Kate and my sister-in-law Lisa showed up at the same time. We were all just hanging out and watching My Sweetie put the lights on the tree. Lisa was going to show HIM how to do it, because I usually do it and then she had a severe allergic reaction to the tree. So she washed her hands and sat some ways away just to watch. After the lights were in place, and I must say I was very impressed, (In ten years, I have always done the lights, now I know My Sweetie can do it just fine -WOO HOO!) we all sat down in my nicely decorated dining room and had our Christmas bowls of chili with tiny cubes of cheese and fritos to stir in. Lisa said it was the best chili she ever had in her life. I thought she was just saying that, but she insisted she was dead serious. Wow! There's nothing like having someone wax rhapsodic over your food. After we were sated, we proceeded to decorate the tree. It went very smoothly considering 3 of us were decorating, the tree is in a corner, and I am in this wheelchair.

I did at one point, early in the evening, roll over a Christmas light (a round one about the size of a golfball) that exploded quite loudly. Everyone quickly cleaned up the mess and I found the replacement bulbs. Everyone was cool about it and in no time we had forgotten all about it, except to make jokes. It was a very good night and I had fun. And the tree looks really sweet. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I'm going to get our Christmas cards done. For dinner, we are going to The Movie Tavern to see the new Harry Potter film. I love the food there and always have trouble deciding what to order. At least we don't have to worry about seating, they have wheelchair spaces on several good rows.

I feel so much better now with my Christmas stuff out, my tree up AND, unless there is a stock or shipment problem, every gift has been ordered and is on the way. Yay! Merry Christmas to me!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Early Friday Morning

I was so happy I figured how to do the links. ifilm has some really good stuff on it. There's one from Craig Ferguson's talk show with a fake interview of Jeniffer Anniston, and a real clip of Constantine Maroulis falling on his ass. I haven't even begun to plumb the depths of that site. On the one I named funny music videos, scroll down to other songs and watch "Gay Bar." That's my favorite, although I am also partial to "First Drink of the Day." APOD is Asronomy Picture of the Day and is a really cool site. I look at that one every day. I've been an astronomy buff for years. I have a 5" telescope and can make out the rings of Saturn. That singing horses site is just addictive. You can be your own sound engineer by constantly clicking and changing the pattern of the song. I love that thing.

My Movie Rant: I loved Ang Lee's The Ice Storm and therefore I have great respect for him. I did not see HULK, the movie that almost killed his career. Well now, he's pushing Brokeback Mountain based on a short story by Annie Proulx. Here's the part I'm mad about: One of my very favorite movies, The Shipping News, was based on an Annie Proulx novel and she is going around in interviews saying Brokeback Mountain is true to her story, she didn't want to sell the rights blah blah, blah, because Hollywood ruined The Shipping News. Okay, so I didn't read her original novel, but I LOVE that movie. So all I'm thinking here is that it's all about the dollar. The Shipping News wasn't seen by that many people, therefore had low box office, so she's saying it was bad? Just to push this new movie? My guess is she is invested monetarily on the box office take on this new movie. Okay I know a lot of authors diss the movie versions of their work, but it's the first I've heard of her disappointment with TSN and I thought the timing was...well, interesting.
Maybe her dissing it will make the price go down and I can get the DVD cheaper now to replace my beloved VCR copy.

I guess being stuck here in the house with my broken foot has made me boring as hell. One of my sweet ladies from Meal on Wheels called me Wednesday to see how I was doing. She said "I miss seeing you here every Wednesday." I thought that was so sweet. I asked her if her house was warm enough with this crazy arctic blast we got (It would be nothing to northerners, but it hit us Texans like a ton of bricks) and she said she was fine. I do have something to look forward (or dread) on Saturday. Duke, still the number one team, will be playing Texas, the number two team. We've been struggling (although winning) since DeMarcus Nelson was injured so I have a bad feeling Texas might kick our ass. It's going to be a tough game. If we win, it will be thrilling! If we lose...well, I'll probably cuss a lot, drink too many beers and take a long nap.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

There's a great back story from U.S.A Today about A Charlie Brown Christmas here: Charlie . There were a lot of fascinating factoids I've never heard. As My Sweetie summed it up, "Always trust the artist." And like the article says, it's now officially Christmas for me. We watched that tonight. Also My Sweetie brought home Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 1. We watched the first 3 episodes. For some reason I didn't remember the first 2 shows at all but I remember the third one clearly. I guess It took that long for me to get to know everyone. I do remember when we first watched it having to work at getting past Sarah Michelle Geller not being Kendall Hart from my soap (All My Children). It's hard to believe those episodes are almost 10 years old. The actors looked so YOUNG. It was good stuff though. It's easy to remember why we were hooked.

Kate and Kurt came by late in the afternoon to help me out. Kate vacuumed the whole house and dusted the library shelves and Kurt did a lot of moving things around for me. Kate also cleaned the kitchen. It was nice having some help. Not for me so much as it makes things easier for My Sweetie. I can clean the kitchen, but I can NOT vacuum. Before I broke my foot, I vacuumed every Friday, so after a week my very light carpet really gets on my nerves. We ordered Italian food tonight so it was just an easy day all around (also I have some killer left-over veal parmigiana and angel hair pasta for lunch tomorrow. I'm going to cover the food with slices of provolone to re-heat it and make it a little different.)

My Sweetie says he is going to get a tree this weekend. Maybe I can get him to help me decorate the house. I'm going to keep it simple, for obvious reasons. Well with all this Christmas talk, I am really in the mood to do some online Christmas shopping. Off I go!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My Take On Some Some Humorous Quotes

My Sweetie sent me one of those things people pass around. It was a bunch of funny quotes. I particularly liked this one:

"I read somewhere that 77 per cent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I'm more intrigued by the 23 percent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves."
(Jerry Garcia - Grateful Dead)

I thought that was a very clever quote. Yes we are doing quite well flying by the seat of our pants as the saying goes. I've thought a lot about how lucky I am to live in this time. First of all, 200 years ago, I would have died in childbirth along with my daughter. Secondly, I probably would have been "put away" once my severe anxiety/social phobia manifested. I actually read an article once where basically the writer said something like: This whole social phobia/anxiety thing is just the result of people having poor social skills. Seriously. That's what he said. Poor social skills. Well dude, give me social skills "lessons" and put me on a heart monitor and let's see what happens. Anxiety attacks SUCK. Poor social skills? That's an insult to Mrs. Tippett, my 8th AND 9th grade Home Ec. teacher who taught us everything in the world about social skills. Hell, I went home and had to show my Mom how to correctly set a table. Actually I think that was Granny. She would put every utensil on the table. You could be having bacon and eggs and she would include a spoon. I wish Mrs. Tippett could have met Granny and cleared some stuff up.

"There are only two reasons to sit in the back row of an airplane: Either you have diarrhea, or you're anxious to meet people who do."
(Henry Kissinger - former US Secretary of State)

Okay that's just wrong. I have THREE really good reasons for sitting in the back of the plane. I like beer. I've found that if you sit in the back of the plane, where the flight attendants are, you can get an early pre-cart beer. Secondly, I like beer, so I'm near the bathroom. And also people in the tail are more likley to survive a crash. That's three good reasons.

"On the one hand, we'll never experience childbirth. On the other hand, we can open all our own jars."
(Bruce Willis - On the difference between men and women)

Well you know what? I have those rubber thingies AND I have a bottle cap opener and know about letting the air out. Plus I'm very stubborn. The only time I hand off a jar to be opened by a man is when I'm just in a hurry (plus I know it makes them feel important).

On other News: Yeah my foot still hurts, so I'm still taking Advil. Wednesday will be three weeks in, so I figure I'll be halfway done to a regular foot. Also we have a HUGE cold front coming in with possible snow/sleet/ice so Tuesday night we will finally have weather cold enough to make a fire. If what they predict comes in on Wednesday, I'll have extra time with My Sweetie. YAY!! (and more fires)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Great Weekend (and glad for the 0.6 seconds)!

From The Durham Herald-Sun

Virginia Tech players Jamon Gordon and Wynton Witherspoon stood on their seats along the Hokies bench for a better view. Below, teammates locked arms, swinging and swaying in anticipation.
In 1.6 seconds, the Hokies were set to storm midcourt at Cameron Indoor Stadium to celebrate a stunning victory over top-ranked Duke.
But thanks to Duke senior Sean Dockery, the Hokies never made it to midcourt.
Dockery took a Josh McRoberts pass near midcourt, took one dribble and launched a 40-footer from the right side that found the bottom of the net and left Duke fans to celebrate a stunning victory at midcourt, 77-75.

It didn't look like Duke (7-0) would need any last-second heroics after seemingly shaking free from the Hokies (5-3) for the first time all game. In a game that featured 19 lead changes and 12 ties, the Blue Devils went on an 11-2 run to build a 74-63 lead with four minutes left.
But the Blue Devils wouldn't score again until Dockery's dagger.
Virginia Tech reeled off 12 straight points, taking the lead when Coleman Collins capped his career-high 25-point game with a tip-in of a Gordon miss with 1.6 seconds left. The clock actually ticked down to 1.0 seconds, but as Duke players lined up on the court, hoping for a miracle, officials finished their review of a replay and added 0.6 seconds.

WOW! What a great ending to my anniversary weekend! And thank God for DVRs!! When they originally had the time at one second, I stoically shrugged my shoulders and said, "Well there's nothing they can do in one second." and left to go have a smoke. I was sitting in there thinking how I was going to post about Duke's first loss of the season. I had already come up with a title line like My Weekend: Great Beginning, Suck Ending. A few minutes later, My Sweetie just HOWLED! He ran in there to tell me and I said, "Quick, rewind it and pause it!" I really love the DVR! That shot by Dockery was beyond amazing. I was in shock. I muttered, "I wasn't even going to cry when I thought we lost and now I'm crying!" It was a beautiful shot. Dockery is THE MAN! So my weekend had a great beginning and a great ending.

When My Sweetie got home Friday, we exchanged cards and gifts. He got me the cutest lion and tiger. It's hard to describe them, but they are small with long stringy arms and legs with magnets on the ends, so now they ride around with me on the wheelchair. They're so cute! He helped me with my shower and we were out of here by 8:00. We went to Mercado Juarez and had a great dinner. I was so happy to finally have that killer warm (as in heated - it's very spicy) salsa. Then we went to Pockets and played shuffleboard. It's easy to play shuffleboard in a wheelchair. I almost felt like it gave me and advantage, but My Sweetie won every game. Each game, I'd get a good lead and then he'd catch up. I didn't care because it was just nice to be out of the house. Their handicap stall was not so good. I got in okay, but it took me forever to get out. When I first got in the bathroom, it was empty except for one girl. Yep, you guessed it. She was in the handicapped stall. She was so embarassed when she came out and saw me. I told her it was no biggie. Seriously, their regular stalls are TINY and she was VERY large. I don't think she could have closed the door in one of their regular stalls.

The only bad news about the weekend, was I apparently did not baby my foot enough Friday. I think I must have put a lot of pressure on it on the wheelchair foot rest because it has been really sore since then. Nothing that Advil can't fix, but it is sore. So Saturday, I pretty much slept all day. We did make dinner Saturday night. I mostly coached. Saturday Night Live was pretty funny. Dane Cook hosted and I believe that's the first time a stand-up comic has hosted since the 70's. I'm not sure about that, though. And we watched In Good Company. I thought it was a really good movie. Apparently it was poorly marketed.

In TV News, I found out that Scrubs will return on January 3rd. They will run 2 original episodes back to back each Tuesday at 8:00 my time (central) so I just hope American Idol will be on at 7:00. If you are a big Scrubs fan and don't know about this site: you will love it. We finished up our latest Netflix order and will send it back tomorrow, so we should have my next pick by Friday which is The Cider House Rules. I've only seen it once and have been wanting to see it again for a while.

So, except for irritating the hell out of my poor old broken foot, I had a really nice weekend. Oh and we had the waitress take a picture, but she only took one. We go out every year for our anniversary, and I usually have them take two or three so I can pick out the best one for my wedding album (I put in an anniversary picture every year), so I guess we are stuck with however that one picture turns out. I hope it's not too horrible!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Sweetie (part II)

I still can't believe we will have been married 5 years tomorrow. I'm going to finish this story no matter how long it takes. Warts and all.

When I first moved out from husband #2, my apartment was not going to be ready for a couple of weeks so I stayed with a co-worker until I could get into the apartment. So as not to freak out my daughter, the weekend that I had custody (She stayed with her dad in the summer, but the every other weekend thing stayed the same), we stayed at Mom's. Kate was pretty ambivalent. On the one hand she wasn't so thrilled about having her life change, on the other hand, she was not too keen on her step-dad. She was almost 11. I finally got into my apartment and worked my butt off to get homey and familiar looking. My Sweetie came over most evenings for a few hours and on the weekends I did not have Kate. Eventually he started staying over some week nights (it WAS a lot closer to work). Then he brought his cat over (Jake). It's funny, I just realized that Jake moved in with me before My Sweetie did. MS had been living with his sister and her family, so basically he just eventually brought over clothes and a larger TV. Early November, he decided we should do an official move-in and wanted to rent a house. I had a lease but had been next to a shooting in the complex parking lot and used that to get out of my lease - I sent a dramatic letter about being traumatized by the shooting (which was true - one of my biggest fears for years was death by stray bullet) and cc'ed the parent company of the complex and the Star-Telegram. They agreed to let me go. So we found a crazy ass house across the street from the middle school Kate was attending. Part of our deal was to do some paint and tile work in exchange for a pet deposit. We spent the Christmas holidays working on that house. We still refer to it as the "cracked house." People always think we are saying "crack house." No it was a cracked house, with serious foundation problems. There was one room you could only vacuum in one direction because the hill was so steep. Like trying to mow a hill, you go back and forth, not up and down. It had a lot going for it though: Across the street from the school, very close to the freeway into downtown, 3 full baths (we each had our own!) and two large living areas and a bonus sort of sun room. The kitchen was horrible (though large), but I made the best of it. The best we could figure out was that all the changes and additions were done by drunk monkeys. Our first official day there was 1/1/96.

September of 96 my Best Boss Ever gave his two-weeks notice. On his last day, they announced that Rude Hideous Bitch from Hell was going to be my new boss. I gave MY two-weeks notice that day. I had heard great stories about Art Squad, a temp./freelance venue for graphic artists. After my two weeks of basically taunting RHBfH (her name was not on my resume), I had my going away party and left my favorite job. (I should add here that we were about to merge our ad dept. with another company - we were all owned by a parent company - so EVERYTHING was going to be different.) So back to My Sweetie in all of this. I think he was a little shook up about my quitting my job. We'd lived together less than a year and he was probably thinking WTF? He acted supportive enough but I could physically feel his relief when Art Squad called me for my first temp job.

At some point in 1997 My Sweetie turned into The Guy Who was Always in the Den Playing Computer Games. At first, I just sat there alone night after night watching TV in the living room. He was addicted to computer games and I was addicted to attention. Yeah, those don't work so well together. In early 98, I got a call from my old employers from the printing place.

Now you know how people say women forget how horrible things were in the past and that's why they continue to have babies? Well apparently it applies to more than childbirth. I had been miserable working for those people. What happened was Computer Addict and I had pretty much disconnected in a lot of ways, so I figured a full-time regular job would be more stable - just in case. They told me about this new Heidelberg digital four color press and that they would send me to Illinois for training and offered me a salary that sounded nice. Not only that but they were going to remodel and I could pick out everything for my new work space - which had one whole wall of glass. Really, it was an offer I couldn't refuse. It started out great, my new office was fabulous! I had temped at so many ad agencies, I knew exactly what I wanted. I got to pick out everything. I even made those cheap a-holes buy me a high end color printer (seriously, you can't show color work proofs in B&W! What were they thinking?)

Well slowly but surely they turned back into the hideous bosses that I remembered from the first time I worked there (probably how a woman giving birth the second time says, oh yeah, I remember this. WTF was I thinking?). It started over my not putting an astronaut on an in-house marketing power point presentation I put together. Their son was going to make the presentation at a fancy club luncheon and he wanted an astronaut. I had no internet access there. Did they expect me to pull an astronaut graphic out of my ass? I guess they thought I was some sort of wizard and was just being rude. So being an unhappy person at work and at home, I spent a lot of time at happy hours after work. Especially the Fridays that Kate's dad had picked her up. On those Fridays I might stay out til midnight. This is bad, but sometimes on school nights, I'd get a to go order at 8:00 or so and show up at home. Sometimes, I would call home and just tell them to order pizza. I was miserable and probably making everyone else miserable.

Kate had had a party that spring of 98 and shortly thereafter our house was broken into. It was some of the boys that had been to the party. Everyone knew who it was, but we couldn't prove anything. When we gave the names to the cops they already knew who these guys were, but there was nothing to do about it. We were tired of the cracked house and wanted to move into some gated apartments. In early June, on a Saturday morning (Kate was at her dad's) Computer Addict sits down and tells me that when we move out, he is moving out on his own. No one had ever broken up with me before. I calmly said okay, got up, took a shower, went to the bank, cashed out a CD and went apartment hunting. This sweet old lady was showing me an apartment and all I could think about was how disappointed Kate was going to be and I burst into tears and cried on her shoulder as she patted me on the back saying "There, there, you poor thing." amongst other sweet platitudes. I spent the afternoon in a bar dazed and in shock. Finally I drove home. The radio played No Doubt's "Don't Speak," and I just burst into wild wracking sobs. I went straight to Katie's room and just curled up on her bed. I was sad about so many things.

I don't remember anything about that evening except that I slept in Kate's room. The next morning I woke up very early. He had stopped smoking so I went into the den - the farthest room from the rest of the house - to smoke a cigarette. I was sitting at a small glass topped table. He walked in and I said, "What are you doing in here? I came in here so the smoke wouldn't bother you!" He sat down and said he had made a mistake. He apologized for putting me through hell. I kept thinking, "I cashed out a fucking CD and took a penalty!" We talked and talked but not about everything, but decided to stay together.

Well we found a nice, but very small apartment (the cracked house was HUGE - hell our bedroom was bigger than some people's living rooms), and were moved in just in time for Kate's freshman year in high school. We lived through a truce of sorts. I didn't disappear anymore. I did go to my bar to play the NTN games on Friday nights when Kate wasn't there and he played his computer games. In September, I told my horrid bosses that I had made a mistake about getting into a regular job and that I was going to go back to freelance, as I was tired of missing so much of my daughter's volleyball games. In October I flew to N.C. for my Dad's retirement party. The first night we went to my nephew's birthday party. The next night was the retirement party where Dad died. At the restaurant. At his retirement party. (But this post isn't about that. That's for another time.) Well, things changed again.

I had to stay in N.C. longer than planned, for obvious reasons. He and Kate wanted to come, but I said no. I did not want her to miss school and frankly I was in a weird place. I realized later that I was suffering from post traumatic stress. When I got back I tried to go back to normal life. I took a short term job doing catalogue imaging for a leather factory and then moved onto some other place that was weird. And I was starting to lose it. I started to have a serious panic attack at the weird place (I have absolutely no memory of what the company was but it was like a bad surreal movie in my memory. All dark, under construction, plastic sheets and what not) and realized that when I changed purses that morning, I did not add my xanax. I went to lunch and had two Zimas. CHUGGED two Zimas, I should say. This was January of 99. Also through this time I had been dealing long distance with my brother over the estate and legal matters and so forth, and also flying back occasionally. Well Art Squad called and asked me how I was doing. I said , "Not so good." They told me that the weird place had smelled alcohol on my breath. I apologized profusely for embarassing the company, told her I had a panic attack, forgot my xanax and asked her what I should have done. She was very nice, but I said, you know what, let me deal with all this estate stuff and I'll call you guys back. Yep that was January 99. I didn't call back.

I spent the next several months doing very little. I drove Kate to school, picked her up and cooked dinner. The rest of my time was spent sitting on the couch, drinking beer, watching TV and bursting into tears every time they showed the chest shock paddle things on TV. And let me tell you, if you're noticing those things you will find they show them on TV shows A LOT. That summer I realized the anniversary of my Dad's death would set me back even further and that's when I got the idea to call Lolo about going to Vegas that October to celebrate Dad. I should also mention that I had a good little bit of money now. I was pretty good. I bought some good furniture and took some trips. Well, now we come to 2000.

As you can imagine, My Sweetie and I were just co-existing at this point as I was in my own little PTS phase and having my inheritance and stuff. Well 2000 came around. I broke my foot. Everything changed. My being helpless totally brought out the Paladin in him. (If you are unfamiliar with the term: To this day I can't put my finger on it, but we totally fell back in love. I sometimes think it wasn't that, but that we maybe fell in love, real love, for the first time. We got married December 2nd 2000. Oh and about the proposal, not one for the books. Here's how it went. We went car shopping for his new car and were discussing buying a house. We pulled into the driveway and he said, "I guess we should get married."

These have been the happiest 5 years of my life. Happy Anniversary Sweetie!!

My Sweetie (part I)

At lunch with Dad and co-workers, April 1996

Our 5th wedding anniversary is Friday, December 2nd. This post will be about our history, but first about the picture: That's my anonymous My Sweetie on my left. My Dad is on my right, in yellow, flirting with My Sweetie's assistant. In the center back is my most favorite boss ever! He totally spoiled me for bosses. The guy directly behind My Sweetie was a GREAT co-worker, Matt. He's the one that showed me around my first day (January 6th 1995), so I've always given him credit for introducing me to My Sweetie. The last guy can kiss my ass. He was hired to "help" me. Didn't. Enough said. Dad had come to Texas to visit and help me with the party I threw for MS's 29th birthday. He actually took a cab into downtown just to have lunch with us that day. I thought that was pretty cool.

January 6, 1995 was my first day on the job in the advertising department at the corporate headquarters of a Now Defunct Compuer Retailer (NDCR). I was pretty excited and very nervous. I was going from being a one-person pre-press dept. at a printing company to a real dress-up corporate advertising graphic position. My specialty has always been Photoshop and imaging - basically preparing images for press. (That may be hard to believe, but my problem in this blog, is I do not have Photoshop on this Dell. My Photoshop is on my Mac over there and we have no means to transport files. I will have Photoshop on here soon, so I will be able to do fun stuff, Yay!) Anyway Matt introduced me to all the people in our department and then took me up 3 floors to meet the buyers as I would be working closely with them. I remember exactly what I said after meeting My Sweetie. Before I say what it was, realize that at this point I had probably been introduced to 20 or 30 people in a row. I said, "Wow I liked him, he seems cool." I did not know at the time that Matt and MS were good friends (co-worker wise) as both had been with the company since it started and was all on one floor. Well lunch was always a group affair for the designers. MS always joined us. He was the only buyer that lunched with us. I got to know him and he was very funny. I LOVE funny.

Okay this will sound bad, but I was married to husband #2 at this time. The marriage had been rather lifeless for some time. That's one of the reasons I took all those dance classes. Well at first MS and I were just good buddies. I would even sit in his cube and tell him about people at NDCR that I had flirted with, who I thought was cute, stuff like that. One day I was sitting there and I got this "Forest for the trees" flash. I thought "I think this is the person I've been looking for my whole life!" So I said, "Maybe you're supposed to be my next boyfriend. You've been right here all the time." He laughed and said, "I don't think so. You're too aggressive for me." I grabbed his umbrella and held it like a parasol, southern belle style and said, "But Sir, surely you know I'm just a sweet southern belle." From that day forward I decided to win him over.

A going away happy hour was going to be held for a guy on what I believe was Friday, April 14. I decided that this was going to be the day. I rushed home after work and changed into some sexy clothes. (I was lucky I lived only about 12 miles from work.) I rushed back and as I high-tailed down to the bar, I started passing some people heading back to the parking garage. I asked every single one, "Is "My Sweetie" still there?" I was afraid I had missed him. I got there and there he was! This was an indoor/outdoor party and eventually the weather started to turn. We left together (of course), running down the sidewalks as the rain started coming down in big fat splops. I said, "My van's right there, I'll drive you to your car." (He parked in a different lot.) As I was opening the passenger door, before I let him get in, I said, "You'll have to pay the toll. Then leaned in for a kiss." He kissed me and I ran around to the driver's side. The storm started really kicking up. We started kissing. In no time at all the rain and wind were just crazy. I remember thinking the weather was echoing my passion. We talked and kissed until the rain finally started to subside. I drove him to his car and drove home in a great mood. Apparently the storm had been much worse east of downtown. The next morning I discovered a giant tree in our backyard had blown over and found out that around the time I was kissing in my van, my Mom had been huddled in her bathtub waiting for a tornado. A weird day.

On May 30th, the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend, My Sweetie and I went to lunch alone. I told him that I was going to tell my husband that it was over that very night. MS said, "Well, I can't promise you anything." Not very encouraging, but I knew it was time. For some reason, husband #2 was very late coming home that night. My daughter was at her Dad's. I was stitting on the couch and said, "I need to tell you something. I'm not happy and I think I should move out." h#2 said, "Yeah, I think that's a good idea. I've been thinking that for a while." Then we hugged and cried and made dinner. We parted friends. After I was settled, he bought me a VCR and a gas grill. I thought that was sweet.

So now I was ready to really get to know My Sweetie.....