Monday, October 31, 2005

Weekend Plus One Hour

I didn't sleep well Friday night and that's odd for me. Generally my only sleeping complaint is that I sleep so solidly I don't roll around much and can wake up stiff. But Friday night was horrible. It went like this: Start to doze off, jerk awake and thrash about into a new position. For 5 hours, after which I just gave up, got up and snuggled on the couch and watched a bunch of movies. I did get a one hour nap from about 2:00 to 3:00 that afternoon. It was during The Clearing, a Robert Redford movie. Very nappable. Of course after all that, I slept like a board Saturday night and woke up all stiff. Well stiff as a board I guess. The funniest part was the left side of my hair looked just like when I first styled it Saturday afternoon and the right side of my hair looked like crazy town.

Saturday afternoon we hit the Super Target and actually knocked 3 people off of our Christmas list. For my youngest nephew, we bought this really cute rug with roads and things on it that comes with a truck. They had one that was a bowling set and I said, "I want that one!" In their market area they had a stuffed orange roughy (two to a package) that we tried and it was really good. The instructions said to put them in a greased baking dish and cover with foil. I put them both in the release foil with some butter. Very yummy. This afternoon we got our spiderwebs up on the porch and all over the bushes by the front door. Unfortunately we both felt poorly. Apparently the high front was pushed out by a low front and we both always feel that pressure change stuff. It just makes our heads feel weird. Also I made a killer breakfast and ate too much. I very very rarely eat too much and I sure remember why. It will probably be another 8 years before I overeat again. And I'm hoping I remember not to do it that day.

So last night I changed some of the clocks back after My Sweetie went to bed. I used to watch The Newlywed Game a lot. I always thought most of the people were stupid, but I know we would never match if they asked "How many clocks would you say you have in your house?" We have A LOT of clocks. We even have clocks in both bathrooms. There are even clocks in the library and entryway - which are 2 I have not changed yet, but possibly did not change last time and may therefore be correct. I'm surprised I haven't put a clock in the garage. Or the cat's room. I should put a cuckoo clock in the cat's room. That would be funny.

I'm one of those people that thinks about weird stuff a lot. So Saturday night while we were setting up the telescope to look at Mars, I asked (and not for the first time) "Where do squirrels sleep?" and My Sweetie said, "At the Holiday Inn." That really cracked me up. But now I know. I also have a question for all of those "Intelligent Design" people that think we were all created like the Bible says and believe that Charles Darwin was a heretic. My question is this: How "intelligent" is a design of a creature than can live to be 100 years old, but the teeth start failing at 35? Seriously, if God created us in his image, his teeth must be awful. I have 3 freaking crowns. I hate teeth stuff. And dentists. And whatever that guy is called that does the root canals. I really hate that guy, although I couldn't pick him out of a line-up. (Cop: Ma'am, which of these guys assaulted your mouth? Me: I have no idea, I pretty much blocked the whole traumatic experience out of my mind.)

And now for stuff that had nothing to do with my weekend:
I tried a new drink Wednesday at Italliani's. It was called an Oatmeal Cookie. Man was it yummy. Don't quote me here but I think it was (and I don't know how to spell this) Goldschlager, Bailey's and a dash of half-n-half. I'm a beer drinker but will throw in one flavorful drink from time to time and my daughter told me about this one. If you get a chance, check it out. Also Red-headed Sluts are really good. It's Jaeger, Peach Schnapps and cranberry juice. Actually, I should not have mentioned the ingredients. I find that people have preconceived notions so I usually just ask them to try the drink before I tell them what's in it. People are funny like that. My Sweetie said he did not like Dijon mustard or horseradish, yet he loves my sandwiches (dijon) and my homemade cocktail sauce (lots of horseradish). Basically my rule is, if it smells okay taste it. If it doesn't smell good, don't put it in your mouth. Of course that makes you wonder how people originally tried broccoli and cabbage. Or chicken for that matter. I mean live chickens STINK. I wonder how that all came about?

I just realized how late it is. Tomorrow is Halloween! Lots to do. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween Fun

Last year I discovered the spiderwebs and I made the coolest creepiest spiderweb canopy for my front porch. I also draped the bushes leading up to the front porch. I'm going to do that again tomorrow but I'm going to add something cool. A couple of years ago I made a headless stuffed man. The crafty part was the neck part. I somehow was able to shape this foam stuff to look like a neck. In the middle I put the white cap from a Colgate shaving cream travel size can. This looks like the spine bone sticking out. Then I painted blood pouring out. I haven't used it in several years but just came up with a variation. I'm just going to stuff the shirt with the neck thing and put it right in front of the bushes by the front door. I'll surround it with leaves. The look will be a headless ghoul pulling itself out of the ground. All I have are green clear rubber gloves, but I'll fill them with water and paint red nails for the hands. Maybe I'll put enough leaves around them so they are not so obvious. If it looks cool, I'll take a picture. I'm looking forward to doing the webs. That was fun last year.

I don't know if I posted this already, but last year I was so tickled when I heard a lady walking up and the kids were all saying stuff and she said to another lady, "This lady always does something special." I don't go all out. I just dress up and do my front porch - which is very small - hardly worthy of being called a porch. Also, the entry to my library is right by the front door, so I can leap out right at the door in my costume. I'm going to be a witch/hag again this year, but I'm going to change it up a little. Two years ago I was the Cat in the Hat and for some crazy reason I spoke in Suess rhyme to everyone. I don't know where that was coming from. It just kept coming out of my mouth.

About 10 years ago, I sat out on the front porch (I had a real serious sized porch back then) in my belly-dancing costume, with lots of veils around me. I put my bowling ball under a glittery veil and told each group I was going to read their fortune in my crystal ball. I'd peak under the veil and tell them I knew their future: They would soon be receiving candy! Then I'd whip out the candy (hidden under the table). It was corny as hell and got old to me really fast but the kids loved it. Well now I'm so worked up, I want to go study all my Halloween stuff.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Good Wednesday

I left out a funny part of my Vegas trip with my daughter. When I travel and am going to sleep alone, I always take a stuffed animal to sleep with. I usually take Geoffrey, a small tiger, but on this particular trip, I took my pony. I DID name him once but forgot what it was and now I just call him Pony. Well you know the usual hotel room set up: two double beds with a nightstand between. So Pony was on my bed. Over the course of our trip Kate brought two different guys up to our room. Near the end of our trip she told me that both guys assumed the bed with the pony was HER bed. One guy was from Scotland and the other was from Ireland. So when she told me I said, "Did they say, 'Your mother sleeps with a poh-nee?'" She burst out laughing and said, "That is the worst accent ever!!!" She won't let me forget it.

As I was getting ready this morning, I seriously thought Kate wasn't going to show up, but she cruised in just as I was brushing my teeth - that's always the last thing I do before I leave the house. I knew it was going to be a fun day when half-way to the church (where we pick up the food) she said, "Does your mother sleep with a poh-nee?" The meal was a taco thing but I was short 5 "salads" and 4 tortillas so I had to do a lot of explaining and juggling. It was okay though and no one was mad. We had 12 people, but only 9 stops so it went pretty quickly. I told Kate I was tired of Bennigans now that the cool bartenders are gone, so we went to Italianni's. If you've never been to one they are really nice. Not "really nice" like really expensive, just nice in a decor/atmosphere/yummy food way. They are actually owned by the TGIF people. We sat at the bar and our bartender was very amusing. I always like THAT.

As we were leaving, I thought I could combine two stops into one. I needed butter, buttermilk and spiderwebs. We went to Super Target and just when I was about to give up on the spiderwebs, Kate dug some out of the bottom of a bin. It was so cool. Like magic. Then we went to The Plant Shed and picked out some killer pumpkins. When we got home we gathered all our knives and giant spoons and that thing used to pound meat and went out on the deck. I HATE the gutting of the pumpkin. Weirdly, Kate said that was her favorite part. Anyway we had a good ole time and no one had to go to the emergency room. (Yes that happened a couple of years ago to Lolo when we were carving pumpkins here.)

Kate left, I watched my soap on DVR, Sweetie got home and as usual I had my Wednesday nap. But that was cool because we had a date night planned for the Movie Tavern and the movie started at 9:00. About 8:15 MS woke me up. I brushed my teeth and drank a beer. We got to the Movie Tavern and no one was in the theater. About 5 minutes later one other couple came in. I had super nachos, MS ordered pizza and we split an order of fried dill pickles. Yum. Movie food. Did I mentioned that we went to the Movie TAVERN? Yes, a full bar and full service. Basically they took a regular movie theater, removed every other row of seats, and installed a wooden bar. I LOVE the movie tavern. I think I had 4 beers. And I laughed my ass off! It was the Wallace and Grommit movie:
The whole theater - all 4 of us - were laughing the whole time. And I'm a person who laughs when most people don't - but in theaters, for some reason, (laugh peer pressure?) when I laugh, people will laugh along with me.

Anyway, I had a great day. I found my pumpkin picture from last year. This pumpkin is different and has a beard, but I like them both.

pumpkin 2004 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Moods and Stuff

I guess everyone has heard the expression "Free-floating Anxiety." I get that sometimes and as soon as I recognize it I can talk myself out of it. But what I've never heard of, yet experience as much is a "Free-floating Good Mood." Have you ever gotten one of those? You just randomly feel really good, like your endocrine system for no apparent reason has decided to send out a flood of seratonin or endorphins or whatever it is that makes you feel good. I LOVE when I get those. I've been in one for about 2 hours now. At first I thought it was the music on the radio. Then I realized it's just one of those random waves of "feel good." I wish I could bottle this.

I got an e-mail from my Mom late tonight saying that she is in Meridian, Mississippi. (I was gonna use the postal abbreviation but I never get those M states right. Is it MS or MI?) At any rate, it was quite odd because A) she did not even mention they were leaving and B) the last time I asked if they had set a date to leave yet, she said that my step-dad had just gotten another contract. I was surprised. They have a HUGE truck which pulls a camper thing called a 5th Wheel, that when parked has these pull-out rooms which turn it into quite a large dwelling. They took their dog AND their cat. I think it's cool they take their cat. I mean EVERYONE takes their dog all over, but how many people take their cat? (I wonder what that cat thinks when those extra rooms are sliding in and out?) They are on their way to N.C. They, like me, are from N.C. and are going to visit family. Every time they go, they come back early and say, "I hated it, why did we go, we couldn't wait to get back to Texas!" Then 8 months later, they plan another trip. It's like they have no memory. It's funny.

I finally got a short e-mail from Jeanette in Houston. It didn't say much, just that she was going to call. She said she took the Disaster Class on Friday. I can't wait to talk to her to find out what is going on. Lolo turns 30 on Friday. I got her package out in the mail today. I wish I could have been with her for this, but that didn't work out.

Oh a funky thing happened late Saturday night. Lisa, my sister-in-law came by to watch Saturday Night Live with us. (SNL was boring, it was Catherine Zeta-Jones, so we ended up looking at Saturn through my 5" telescope.) Anyway, she walked in with this killer shirt on. I told her I loved it, she told me where she got it. Then about an hour later she asked if I had a long-sleeved T-shirt. I said, sure, why? She said, "Give me that to wear home and I'll give you this shirt." I was flummoxed. So I gace her the T-shirt - to keep as I have never worn it - and she gave me the cool shirt. Also I set her up with a kick-ass halloween outfit. She had never gone to a halloween party because she didn't get into the costume thing. Her husband went the last 2 years (without her) to his friends annual party, so she wanted to go this year. I set her up with full Flapper gear. I think she'll make a great flapper.

I think tomorrow I'll talk about Rosa Parks.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Was Robbed

My favorite month has always been October. Well as an adult anyway. It was probably December or June when I was a kid. But October in this part of Texas has always been the one month you could count on for perfect weather. The summer months are insanely hot and winter months are hell if you're someone who likes to lay out your clothes the night before work. Because on any given winter day it might be 30, it might be 40, or 50 or 60. You never really knew until you woke up and watched the weather. Or it might drop or raise 20 degrees in the middle of the afternoon. When I worked, I always kept an emergency jacket in the car. Well, October was always the one month I could count on.

Until this year.

I really feel like I've been robbed of something precious. How do you rail against mother nature? There's nothing to be done about it. It's not fair though. Our hot summer lasted all the way into the 3rd week of October and with maybe 2 days of fairly nice weather -BOOM: 58 degrees and drizzly. It sucks when you switch your thermostat from A/C to Heat with no real break of just fans and windows open. I know intellectually that it's ridiculous to rant about something over which you have absolutely no control, but still...

Well, the good news is they are forecasting 69 degrees and sunny for Wednesday. If that's the case, I will enjoy my day out, and when I get home, I will open the windows. My daughter is going to drive me for Meals on Wheels Wednesday and then we are going to buy and carve pumpkins. I carve a good pumpkin. I'll post a picture of last year's pumpkin this week.

We finally got a cover for our spa today and that's timing because this cold snap will probably cause the leaves to literally rain down. No more skimming - yay! I guess covering the spa, turning on the heat and lugging out the humidifiers are the sure signs of the turn of the seasons. I just wasn't ready for it yet. I feel discombobulated from not having my normal October transition. Oh well, like I said, there's nothing I can do about it. Except pick a new favorite month. Maybe April.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

State Fair and....

I haven't really been in the mood to blog this week, because I was so crabby from the quitting smoking thing. I feel better now. Tuesday My Sweetie took a half day off and we went to the Texas State Fair. MS and I go every year, but we're very odd about it. We only do a few things. We usually only stay a few hours. We were there 3 hours Tuesday. We get there, we get coupons, I get a beer. Then we wander through the midway and point at all the rides we will never ride and say "Aw, hell no!" Then MS grabs something hideous to eat - this time was a fried twinkie. I grabbed a sausage on a stick. I took about 6 bites and tossed it into the garbage can teaming with bees. (That's going to be some nasty honey they make from what they were getting in there.) Then I stop at the darts & balloons booth, plunk down $5 for 3 darts, take out all 3 balloons and get a smallish stuffed animal and pin it to my belt loop. Next we head out of the midway to the creative arts building.

I love the crafts pavilion. I used to go just to see the photography, but now I look at everything. The quilts are my second favorite thing, but I even look at the canned items. I like to argue in my head with the judges. "How on earth is THIS quilt better than that quilt?" But as I have no earthly idea how quilts are assembled - and I'm guessing the judges do - I'm sure they knew what they were doing. Now with the photography, that's different. I took photography in college AND I know what looks good, so some of their choices just baffled me. I was going to enter a photo last year but after printing out the rules and reading all 7 pages three times, my lazy brain took over and was like, "Well maybe next year." The trouble was I wanted to submit a panoramic shot of a New Orleans cemetery and the rules didn't seem to apply to that size. At least as far as I could tell. Oh and did I mention the creative arts building is air-conditioned? Oh, wait, did I mention it was 93 degrees? And that 93 was the regular air temperature. I'd guess the temperature coming off of the asphalt at the fair was slightly warmer. Slightly? Hah! It was HOT.

And when I get hot at the fair, I take a beer break and get a frozen peach Bellini, park my butt on a bench in the Pan American arena and watch dogs perform. I love those sheep dogs. The show we saw wasn't the normal sheep dogs with sheep. This show was sheep dogs and one Australian cattle dog doing cool Frisbee-related tricks. Those dogs always impress the hell out of me. I could never have a dog like that. I don't think I could get out of bed every day knowing my dog was smarter than me. After the dog show we walked along that exhibit near the petting zoo part. Each cage has something mundane: cats, dogs, ducks, bunnies. So at each cage I act like it's something I've never seen before. "DUCKS! Look Honey! DUCKS!" That's why I only ever have the one peach Bellini. So I go to grab another beer and decide on tamales. The guys says "steamed or fried?" Well, steamed, I say. Then I walk around for the next 20 minutes going, "What the hell is a fried tamale?" I've lived in Texas since 1979, and I have absolutely no recollection of a fried tamale. So then I'm thinking, "Hmmmm, well they did fry that twinkie." So maybe frying is just an option for any food item. Maybe next year I'll try a fried barbecue sandwich.

I was gonna say that was all we did, but I remember we went to the auto show. My Sweetie fell in love with the Saturn sports car that comes out in 2006 or whatever. It's here if you're into that sort of thing: I said "Yeah that would make a lot of sense if we both drove 2 seaters." I mean my Ranger has those pretend seats in the back of the cab, but I can't picture anyone ever fitting on one except maybe Mary-Kate Olsen and I most likely will never offer her a ride. Anyway, that's about all we did. We caught a little bit of rush hour traffic but were home around 5:15. I went straight to my recliner and crashed for a good hour and a half. Then as Tuesday sucks for TV - except for My Name is Earl, which is hilarious, we watched the the first 4 episodes of the first season of the Sopranos. That's about it for Tuesday.

Wednesday - Meals on Wheels was fairly uneventful except the food was different and it smelled really good. They had pork barbecue with the sides of black-eyed peas and cabbage and it came with a hamburger bun so you could make a pork barbecue sandwich. Pork barbecue sandwiches are a staple in North Carolina. It made me a little homesick. Not so much for the state, but for the state's pork barbecue. My one client was so happy to see me. When I told her I'd be back in 2 weeks, she thought I had said I'd be gone for the next 2 weeks. She's so sweet. Well then Bennigan's was boring. I had this young girl bartender. I pretty much ate and left. I was debating whether or not to get one more beer when this hideous regular and her mother came in. It was a sign. Oh I did get an e-mail from Jeanette. She's a licensed home inspector and has been sent to the gulf coast to inspect the damaged homes and said she would call me from Houston Thursday - which is legally today I guess. I'm hoping maybe we can meet in Austin when she's done. Her e-mail was vague and I will know more tomorrow (today). I hope.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Top 15 Movies in the Past 15 Years

This was on IMDB today

It made me want to make my own list.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
2. The Usual Suspects (1995)
3. Groundhog Day (1993)
4. Lord of the Rings:Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
5. Silence of the Lambs (1991)
6. L.A. Confidential (1997)
7. Gladiator (2000)
8. The Sixth Sense (1999)
9. The Fugitive (1993)
10. Unforgiven (1992)
11. Jurassic Park (1993)
12. Schindler's List (1993)
13. Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
14. Magnolia (1999)
15. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

The best thing about these lists are they make you think. I actually laughed out loud at some of the IMDB staff picks. I'm sure you will roll your eyes at some of my picks. I was going to go into what my criteria was, but then realized I had no scientific criteria. It was just basically how much I enjoyed the movie and how many times I'd be willing to watch it. I felt bad about leaving out some good stuff like Dude Where's My Car, and The Spy Who Shagged Me but they just didn't seem to fit on the list. Have fun with your own list!

Adios Smoking - I Hope I Don't Get Fat

I hadn't mentioned this before, but I was sick as a dog from this cold I'd had. I'm not a doctor person but was doing a follow-up from something else and said, "While I'm here can you listen to my left lung?" It had been aching for almost a week. Well, the guy freaked out and sent me for a chest x-ray, which kinda freaked me out. He said my lungs were bad and I actually showed early signs of emphysema. Now that's a little odd to me, because I've only smoked for 9 years and not even all in a row. But I figured neither the x-ray, nor the doctor would lie.

I grew up in North Carolina and pretty much EVERYBODY smoked. My Dad was in the tobacco business for more than 12 years and my brother did summer tobacco farming from the time he was 13. Tobacco was a NC thing. My parents smoked and my brother "came out" as a smoker at 15. For some reason I never picked it up. I did the occasional experiment at ages 12 and 14, but it just never caught on with me. I did start smoking pot in about the middle of my junior year of high school, but I was done with that by about February of my freshman year in college. I just didn't like the coughing and hacking. It didn't seem lady like.

In 1995, I got the job I always dreamed of. Not only was it the job of my dreams, but I was coming from a job that SUCKED. I grew up watching the Mary Tyler Moore show and always wanted to work downtown in a tall building. I had had some temp jobs in some of the tallest buildings in Dallas, but as a temp, you don't really belong there. This particular job was on the 16th floor of a famous building in downtown Fort Worth. I was thrilled!

It was pretty clear right away who the "cool people" were. They were also the smokers. I would join them on their smoke breaks just to hang out and that led to bumming an occasional smoke. Well somehow that led to my smoking in bars, which through some unnatural progression led to my becoming a smoker of clove cigarettes. I enjoyed the cloves at the time, but they tend to fill your lungs with clove oil. I guess around 2002 I had that constant yucky hack (it's not very lady like) and decided to quit. My Sweetie also decided to quit. I quit for about a year, but would smoke some of Lolo's Camels when we vacationed. I was fine with that, but discovered My Sweetie was secret smoking. I said "That's silly! Let's just smoke!" I do not like secrets. So here we are. He had been wanting to quit for a while and my doctor scared me, so I had my last cigarette Friday afternoon at the Las Vegas airport.

And by last cigarette, I mean the last one I've had to date. I'm not one of those all or none AA type people. I am through being a smoker, but if I feel like it I will have an occasional smoke. I'm actually looking forward to clearing my system of nicotine and having that rare smoke that gives you that fun little rush. My biggest fear is gaining weight. I think it will be fun to keep up with all this here. Wish me luck!

My Last Time in Vegas/My Daughter's first

Yeah it was not my week for gambling. I had some good wins but wasn't playing smart at first. Then when I decided to play smart at poker I just had bad luck. Or I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. Either way, I still had a very amusing and interesting trip. We got there Monday about 4:00 pm. That's close to check-in time, so we sat at the Nile Bar for at least an hour and a half. Kate met a guy from Scotland that she thought was really sweet. Finally we got to our room and changed clothes, then went back downstairs and had dinner, then for some reason, we walked over to Mandalay Bay. After all the times I've stayed at the Luxor, I've never done that. I do NOT with a capital NOT recommend Mandalay Bay. Well for their bar anyway. It was all hip hop guys and hookers. It was fascinating but creepy. We finally met some normal people and they told US that we looked like the only normal people in the bar. Kate left before I did and I was so buzzed I got lost walking back to the Luxor. I guess I went to bed around 4:00 and when I woke up once around 7:00 Kate was not back yet.

Well she finally showed up some time after that. Okay so now it's Tuesday. Kate NEVER left the room on Tuesday. She was totally wiped. She stayed in bed from around 8:30 in the morning Tuesday until noon or so on Wednesday. So Tuesday I spent the whole day by myself, except not. I've actually gone to Vegas before by myself so that wasn't the problem. The problem was the guy from Scotland "that fancied my daughter" found me wherever I was and just sat down with me like we were old friends. Well okay that wasn't really the problem. The true problem was his accent was really, really taxing my brain. I didn't go to Vegas to work on accent interpretation or recognition or whatever it's called. I went to Vegas to drink a lot, tell goofy stories and try to get laughs. Don't get me wrong, he was a very nice guy, just very hard to understand. Plus basically, he was just hanging out with me waiting for my daughter to show up. At some point I met this really cool lady named Lisa. We chatted for a bit and I found out it was her last night and she had not been to the Star Trek bar at the LV Hilton, so we took a cab over there. Unfortunately, the bar was closed (YES in VEGAS! WTF!), so we stopped at the Bellagio for drinks. We chatted our butts off. I love when people ask me for advice.

So Wednesday morning I wake up and Kate is sitting on the side of her bed just looking at me. At this point she has slept about 25 hours or so. She says "I'm well rested!" Well duh! So we ordered food, got ready and went to the Rio for that fun sky show. A clown jumped over the rail to the bar where we were sitting and put on a personal mime show for us. The creepy part was he kissed each of my fingers individually and all I wanted to do was wash my hands. Also I had a perfect left-handed bead catch. That was cool. I'm not even left-handed. Then we went to Paris. I seriously recommend going to Napoleon's for happy hour. You get a plate of different French rolls filled with meats with sides of mustards and horseradish. It comes with your drink. Plus it's a classic club (as in old style gentleman's/library decor) with a really good piano player. Wonderful atmosphere and the (free) food was great!

I don't really remember much about Wednesday night after we got back to the Luxor. I remember watching the band at Neffertiti's, I remember seeing John (the Scottish guy) in his kilt - he'd given his mother away at a wedding that day. I think I may have had a nap. Yes I did, I remember now. I'm guessing I napped from 8 to 11 or something like that. Then I started all over. Oh yeah, then I played poker. After losing my max for the night at Poker, for some reason I stopped by the Craps table and picked up $57, then went back to poker. Yeah that was dumb. I should have taken that $57 and just gone back to the bar. It was a fun table though. The last thing about Wednesday night was I ended up in a crowd of about 10 people (4 from Ireland, 2 from England, a guy that could be the stand-in for Hurley from "Lost," my daughter, her Scottish friend and myself) in the Nefertitti lounge all around 2 tiny tables and we were the only people in the room. Until 9:30 in the morning. It was just one of those things.

I woke up Thursday around 2:30 and felt rested even though when I did the math later I was coming off of 5 hours sleep after being awake around 20 hours before that. We ordered food, got ready and headed out to the Star Trek bar. It was fun, we got to meet two different Klingons and take a picture. We stopped by the Bellagio but the crowd was insane and I started to feel panicky so we got the hell out of there. After that we were back at the Nefertitti, watching the band. I went to bed by 3:00, Kate came in around 7:00 and was miserable all day. It was all I could do to get her out of the room. Then our plane was delayed. Poor thing. When we finally got on the plane, it was half empty and she got to stretch out and sleep on the whole flight home. Oh and I had my last cigarette at the Las Vegas airport.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Walk Like an Egyptian

I had a very unusual weekend. I had unexpected visitors at 3:00 am both nights. Friday night it was my sister-in-law. She had had a horrible day culminating with a fight with her husband and came over to spend the night. She called to tell me she was on the way and I had to work like a madman to get my guest room into usable condition. I was just finishing up when she pulled up. So I had a very late night. After lunch Saturday, I napped until 5:00. Saturday night just before 3:00 am, I heard a tiny voice and couldn't figure out where it was coming from and was turning the volume knob on my computer speakers when a face appeared in the window right beside me. It was my daughter. She said she was too excited about Vegas to go home and go to bed and wanted to have some beers with me. I think she left around 5:30. I got up around noon and was ready to leave around 3:00. We went to the mall near my husband's mom's house and I found some jeans. Then we ran over to her house to pick up that purse I was borrowing from my sister-in-law, and visit with My Sweetie's grandmother who is wintering here. She summers in Michigan. Yeah I'm not really the type to use seasons as verbs but I thought it would just be easier to type it that way.

On the way home we stopped for some Mexican food. I got home and spent about 40 minutes trying to find something to wear for our "nightclub night." I'm more of a pub person, so I don't have a lot of nightclub clothes. Also I'm very into wearing "age appropriate" clothes because when I see women my age wearing 20-something's clothes it - I'm not sure how to describe it - I don't know, grosses me out I guess. There's something pathetic about it. I mean I guess it's okay if that's your job, like Heather Locklear, who's my age. But sometimes she just looks like an aging rock whore. Anyway, I modeled a couple of outfits for My Sweetie. By the time we agreed on something it was 9:00. I sat down to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm. Then I told MS that I just had to take a nap before I resumed packing. He woke me at 10:00 and by 11:00 I was as packed as I could be. The only thing I have left to do tonight is transfer purse stuff over to my backpack. I brought all of that out here so MS could go to bed. So I guess I'm about ready to go to Vegas.

If you're going to be in Vegas this week, stop by the Nile bar at the Luxor and I'll buy you a drink. (Every time I go that song "Walk like an Egyptian" gets stuck in my head. I'm sure I'm not the only person that happens to.) Hopefully I'll have some interesting things to blog next weekend from this trip. And I hope to kick some ass at poker!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fly the Funky Skies

I was trying to come up with a topic and thought I'd talk about divorce. Then I read this other guy's blog about flying and realized that would be a better topic since I will be flying on Monday. He started out saying he's often been asked who would be the perfect person to be seated next to on a plane and he said "An empty seat." Yeah, no kidding. Before I start about seatmates though, I thought I'd tell the story of the time Dad and I got "written up."

For years, I had been packing a few beers in my carry-on to tide me over between take-off and cart service and cart service and landing. Although I didn't know the actual rules, I imagined it would be "frowned upon," so I was always discreet. Well Dad and I were flying somewhere. My guess is Mexico. We'd already had our service drinks. I brought out the beers and told him to be very casual. Well, yeah, what was I thinking? Dad was in the center seat yapping away to the aisle seat person and paid absolutely NO ATTENTION when the flight attendant walked by, watching him wave his Pearl Light can around. Maybe if it had been a beer they actually served, it would have been fine. But it was a Pearl Light. Well, this flight attendant, who looked exactly like Robin Wright Penn in her waitressing uniform near the end of Forest Gump, went freaking ballistic! She wrote us up and yammered away in front of everyone. We got pink copies of some form. My Dad actually framed his and hung it in his den. I threw mine away and never took beer on the plane again. I had a different last name then, so hopefully, American Airlines does not have an asterisk by my name on their computer.

As far as seatmates go, I can tell you my favorite. She was a college student on her way back to UNC from L.A. I was a young mom traveling with Kate who was probably 5. She was the daughter of Lionel Stander and his 6th wife. Lionel Stander was best known as the butler from "Hart to Hart." His IMDB bio is here
She was a fascinating girl named Jennifer. We had the best time talking. Her high school boyfriend stories were just like mine except her HSB was one of the Zappa boys. Her best friend was Courtney Wagner, Robert Wagner's daughter. She was a great story-teller and it seemed like the shortest flight to N.C. that I had ever had.

I had some other interesting seatmates, but none so fun. One was a psychiatrist that looked like Richard Dreyfuss and I talked his ear off. Another was a girl about my age also flying to Vegas to meet her Dad. We ended up drinking and telling jokes with the row of guys in front of us. Another good one was an engineer that explained to me how stop lights work. I like to know how things work.

I'm lucky that I don't have any real horror stories about seatmates. The worst are the ones that smell and they are most likely to be on the flight back from Vegas. There was a hacking cougher on the flight back from Hawaii that shook the whole row of seats with every wracking fit he had. The crying babies thing doesn't bother me so much because I go kinda deaf when I fly. If a kid is kicking my seat, however, I will turn around and tell them to stop. The only time I had to sit next to a really obese person, they asked for volunteers to give up their seats for vouchers and I practically ran to the front of the plane. That was Vegas, so I just went back to my hotel and checked back in.

I do miss the old days with the cute little meal trays. I even miss the lunch bag things they used to have with the fancy French or Italian name. What were those called? But at least they still have drinks. I guess I'm ready to fly again. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This cold and Vegas

Being sick has sucked big time. I know some people would love to lie on the couch for an entire weekend and watch movies, but not me. And by "watch movies" I mean catch the opening credits, fall asleep, wake up when loud things happen, fall asleep and somehow wake up for the very end. I think the ends of movies must be louder to wake up the people sleeping in theaters. At least I know that I've turned the corner.

The bad news is that my Vegas trip is less than a week away and I've pretty much done nothing except decide which shoes to take. And I can't just take shoes. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I never wear anything twice. Without washing it, I mean. So packing for a trip means you must have a clean and fresh everything for every day. I'm jealous of people that can pack one or two pairs of jeans and wear them over and over. Of course there is the laundry service, so for 12 bucks or so I could have some jeans cleaned, but it takes some serious planning when you are drinking around the clock. Also, one of the pairs of jeans I want to take are not even here yet. I ordered some Tommy Hilfiger jeans from Macy's (two pair). They were too large and I sent them back and they only sent me one pair back in the new size. The broad on the phone did promise they'd be here by this Friday - I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I would like a couple of new tops, but don't know when I can get around to looking. Maybe Wednesday or Saturday. It's always fun to have a new top for a trip. At least for this trip, I have solved the problem of "How to carry your stuff." I never take a purse on a vacation. I have lots of reasons. They go like this: 1) Carrying a purse is a mundane thing you do in day-to-day life. 2) My particular Duke purse is so cool that I would be more upset if someone snatched it than I would be about its contents. 3) yeah, that purse-snatching part in general would suck. 4) a regular shoulder purse requires a bit of balance to keep it just sitting there. I've tried the fanny-pack, which worked well, but I've read so many fashion jokes about them it's made me paranoid. Ideally, it would be chilly on my vacation and I would wear my Levi's denim jacket - which holds everything I need. But for Vegas I have the answer. Last Thanksgiving when my sister-in-law and I went to New Orleans, she had the perfect purse. It's small and compact yet large enough for a camera, cigarettes, wallet, carmex, lipstick and lighter. Also it has the long strap so that you hang it from your left shoulder to your right side - no slipping off and tough to "snatch." She's letting me borrow it. Guys never have to worry about how to carry their stuff. But like guys, I always carry my money in my pocket (front left). And my room key (back right).

Just typing all this has gotten me more in the mood to go. I hope to see my favorite bartenders, poker dealers and blackjack dealers. It's always amazing when I walk up to the poker room and they yell out my name. I mean seriously, how many people do they meet in a year? How on earth do they remember me? And the blackjack dealers and bartenders probably go through even more people. I may have posted this before, but one lady blackjack dealer told me it was because I was a good tipper. If that's the case and I'm tipping enough for them to remember me years at a time, everyone else must suck at tipping. Oh and maybe it's my "Dude! You're not going to tip the dealer!??!" that I say to winners. Heh, heh. Maybe that's it.

I'm hoping to have this cold thing conquered soon. I'm pretty sure I picked it up at the doctor's office. I wish they could reimburse me for the 4 boxes of kleenex I've obliterated. I have to go back Thursday and I'm going to pour that antibacterial hand stuff all over my hands the minute I walk out the door. I hope some people are walking in and give me funny looks. I'll just look them in the eye and say, "Trust me on this."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

What? Me? I'm fine!!

I woke up with some sort of cold Thursday morning. I so rarely get colds, they always freak me out. It's like I have a giant spider leg growing out of my elbow and I'm trying to figure it out. Like today I was thinking about how my head felt and I realized it was like after a crying jag, like how my head felt after my Dad died and I cried all the time. Another thing I like to do if something's wrong with me is rate myself. 100% is when you feel normal. I'd put this at 70% which isn't really that bad. I mean after my car accident I would have put myself at 5%; after my C-section 25%. That weird pain I get in my left thumb only drops me about 4 percentage points.

Growing up, getting sick or injured was seriously frowned upon. My brother has still not gotten over his "poor treatment" from 30 years ago when he had mono. I just accepted it. I usually kept things to myself, but some things spoke for themselves, like when I'd get strep and all I could do was croak. Then Mom would take me to the doctor and admonish me for not mentioning my throat was sore. It was a Catch 22. Once when I was about 9, I finally mentioned my "stomach ache" that I'd had for about a week and Mom was horrified at the doctor's office when he asked when was the last time I had "used the bathroom," and I think I said, "About a week ago." I still don't like the taste of prunes.

It's took me years to learn sympathy for sick people (and I don't mean people with diseases or terminal illnesses. I mean colds and stomach aches and headaches). It was just something that was missing from my childhood. I guess I learned about the crackers, chicken soup and all that from watching TV. Well, and from my first husband. He came from a family that went out of their way to cater to a sick person. The first time I got sick, and he was doing all that stuff, kinda freaked me out. Also my Dad always said that headaches and back aches were all in people's minds. And my Mom insisted that migraines were something for people like my aunt to use to get out of helping with the dishes after Thanksgiving. Not a sympathetic lot.

My dad broke his arm at work one night when I was around 11. He continued to work for two more hours, but he was turning all shades of colors and freaking out his co-workers. He didn't want to go to the emergency room so he came home to wait for office hours for his doctor. That's how we do things.

In February of 2000 I broke the far right bone in my right foot. The one sort of in the middle of the foot leading to the pinky. I had fallen asleep crossways on a big easy chair, with my legs dangling over the side. I woke up, saw it was just after 11:00 am and thought, "Oh, my soap has started!" I leapt out of the chair and my sound asleep foot just flopped over forward catching all my weight. Without missing a beat, I crawled over to the TV to turn it on. Then I pulled myself up and hopped into the kitchen to make a sandwich. I hopped back to the couch to eat my lunch and watch the soap. It was only when I got up again and broke into a sweat and started seeing stars that I called my Sweetie. About a week or so later I went to Vegas by myself. They really take care of you in the airports when you are injured - an airport employee whisks you around in a wheelchair. The hotel gave me a wheelchair which was nice because the crutches were starting to kill me. A security guy would wheel me from my room to the casino and back. And they gave me a shower chair. I got a little spoiled because when I got back home, no wheelchair. I missed it.

Anyway, the broken foot incident was the first time I ever decided to ask for help. You know, I'd not been raised that way. Well, my Sweetie and I really bonded somehow over that and later, in the fall, he asked me to marry him (we had been together 5 years at that point). So I guess, sometimes, it can be a good thing to ask for help.