Wednesday, October 31, 2007

From Last Year

Happy Halloween!

I posted this last year:

Just so you don't get the wrong idea right off the bat, I'm no Halloween Grinch. Just the opposite: every year I decorate my little porch and dress up to give out GOOD candy. A few years ago I even dressed as the Cat in The Hat and spoke in rhyme to the kids. One year I wore an eye patch and it nearly gave me brain damage. I hope I never lose an eye. No more fun and games after that. Oh, I seemed to wander off the subject, which is this:

1) If you are an adult DO NOT come to my door carrying a 4 month old baby dressed in a cute little costume to collect candy. The baby will not remember the experience and the baby does not need candy. This only applies to people with an only child. If you have an actual real child that is trick-or-treating, feel free to bring along your cute little baby, but do not ask for candy for the baby.

2) If you are a kid that is taller than me, do not come to my house. If you are 5' 5" or taller, you are too old to trick-or-treat.

3) Say "Thank you" and mean it or I will put a wicked curse on your ass.

I will have the decoration pictures up later tonight.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let the people decide (this means you)

We were trying to replicate my profile pic so you could see how much Barney has grown. This, of course, is the old picture that was taken in August:

These are the two My Sweetie took tonight. I thought I'd also go ahead and update my profile pic, because I like to keep it current, but I thought it would be fun if you guys decide which one you like best.

I'm just glad I don't look like the weird bloated creature that I looked like at the state fair. If I ever get the guts, I'll post one of those. They were really awful!

So I guess we can just call these "the first one" and "the second one" or you can just say, "I don't give a rat's ass." heh, heh. I've been thinking about my Dad a lot lately and that was one of his expressions. Oh and it's been 9 days since my haircut and I have JUST started to like it. I really really hated it for about 5 days. I just noticed that in the first new picture, Barney is doing THE EXACT SAME THING as in the old picture. My Sweetie called him, whistled, tried all sorts of noises, but Barney just would not look up. And speaking of cats, I FINALLY got a picture of all four cats. Except for Barney and Rufus, my cats do not like each other so they are rarely in one place. I got this a few Sundays ago:

The orange tabby is 18 years old. His name is Jake. Lilly, the ragdoll, is our only female. She is the smallest cat, but is 10 years old. Rufus is the black shadow under the chair, because black cats are like vampires and are hard to see. He is the biggest cat, but I was looking at Barney tonight and I think he will outgrow Rufus. But he will have a tiny head, sort of like a Cervil. Well, I guess that's enough about cats. Oh yeah, so let me know which picture to use for my profile. I will go with the majority vote and I will leave this up until very late Wednesday night - when I will have my Halloween porch pictures.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ghouling, on a Sunday Afternoon

When I started out, I had just the cape and the old shower caddy. I bought the skull on Wednesday. As is my usual modus operandi, I had absolutely no plan, just a concept. This is also the way I cook. Saturday I had some chicken tenders and no plan and realized my husband had bought some brie, so I got on the internet and typed in "chicken brie recipe" and actually found something good. Of course I put my own spin on it because I am genetically predisposed to refuse to follow any recipe to the letter.

Okay, back to my monster making: I decided I could use some chicken wire and some black cloth. Oh yeah, I did buy some black cloth when I bought the skull although I was thinking to line the porch with it. I had to send My Sweetie out for the chicken wire, which by the way, to be politically correct, is now called Poultry Cloth. Yeah, I know, what the hay is that all about?

Saturday afternoon while My Sweetie was out (for the chicken wire and to do some work) I got a crazy hair and decided to go into the attic. This may sound perfectly normal but I do NOT go into the attic. I have a horrid fear of falling. Not of heights, but of falling. They are two different things. I can stand pressed against the window of the 46th floor of a building all day, but I do not like to be up on anything where there is nothing between me and the ground but air. Like the big hole between the attic and the garage. And the creaky funky pull-down laddery thing. But I just knew there were some old wigs up there. And there were.

I found two good ones. They were quite ratty but I washed them and decided my little skull needed one, so today I put it on him:

( Is it just me or does that kinda look like Farah Fawcett?) I also shaped and formed chicken wire (I am so NOT going to call it poultry cloth!) to make a shoulder-like form.

I started playing around with the extra black cloth to dress the guy - I probably should name him - and realized I was going to have a problem with the neck area. I started thinking "What do I have that looks like spine?" It's not a thought I have every day, so I had to think a bit, but then I went to my old reliable: packing peanuts. These weren't the s-shaped ones though. I used these "figure 8" ones. I took four popsicle sticks, put them two and two and threaded six packing peanuts over them. I then put some old (yellow) bias tape between the sets of two and then glued the hell out of everything. The popsicle sticks sticking out to the sides in the picture are just to hold the whole thing off of the newspaper. Glue can get sticky, ya know.

So after that "neck bone thing" finally dried, I tried to paint it to match the skull and I think it came out pretty good. I'm saving the whole picture for Halloween. But here's some of it:

I'm looking forward to doing my "porch" on Wednesday. I say it like that because we do not have a porch. We have a tiny slab of aggregate between two brick walls leading up to our door. It's actually good in that it makes for a spooky claustrophobic space on Halloween. Another good thing is I've learned to keep to a theme. For Halloween it's skully things, for Christmas, it's candy canes. Oh NO! That sort of rhymed and is making me do a CRAZY poem:
For Halloween it's skully things;
For Christmas it is candy canes,
And ne'er the twain shall meet.
Unless you are Tim Burton:
Because he can be certain,
To combine disparate themes into a treat.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shiny Happy Thoughts

5th Avenue from the Rooftop of the Gaslamp Plaza Suites with
San Diego Bay in the background

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired so I wanted to post about good stuff. I just found out that our third annual San Diego trip is a go. I'm very excited. We are going the first weekend in January. Well, I am going the first weekend. My Sweetie will already be there on business. What a great way to ring in the New Year! It's also a great way to celebrate being non-smokers because as most of you know, California is a non-smoking state. I am looking forward to experiencing all my favorite bars and restaurants from the inside. I remember passing lots of lovely bars when I'd go inside a restaurant to use the bathroom. Now I will go inside and park my butt at these places and enjoy them. If the weather is great we will still take advantage of all the outdoor seating, but this time it will be a choice. We won't have to sit outside. I think my favorite part will be waking up and not stressing about being presentable enough to go to the rooftop to smoke. This trip, when I wake up, I can stay in my pajamas as long as I want to.

The last two years I planned something particular to do, and I already had a few ideas, but now I'm thinking I may not plan anything. I mean we only really have the one day - Saturday. And just since I've typed all of this, I'm thinking maybe we should stay at a different hotel. Maybe on the bay? I've already found two that look interesting. With marina views, no less! Okay, now I am even more excited about going. I really love the Gaslamp District, but the bay and marinas? I think it's time for a change of scenery and one of the hotels is very close to the Gaslamp District. As a matter of fact, I believe it may be the tall building on the left in the picture up there. Anyway, I'm glad to have something fun to look forward to.

The weather here has been SO NICE! It's sunny and in the low 70's and it's been day after day of this and is supposed to continue. I love sitting out on the deck in the sun and not getting hot. And it's in the 40's at night so sleeping has been really really cozy. It gets down to about 69 inside which is 4 degrees lower than summer air-conditioning. I could live with this weather forever. Well, I suppose you always need rain eventually.

I'm going to get and carve my pumpkin this weekend and start working on my yard ghoul. I guess the pumpkin part will happen on Sunday because my husband, oh so very subtly, said, "Now tomorrow you are going to rest and take it easy." That's his way of saying, "Don't plan on anything for tomorrow because I plan to vege out and play video games all day." He's so cute.

So anyway, I can breathe again, I have my San Diego trip ahead, the weather is great and I have some fun crafty halloween stuff to do. Life is good and I'm going to enjoy it. Even if it kills me!

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Alway Something. Or Something Else

Maybe Josie was right about the full moon being bad. And this is no regular full moon. This is the perigee moon. The biggest (closest) one there is. I took these Wednesday night on my way home.
A few days ago I noticed I was wheezing a lot and started to cough some. I decided to go all ostrichy about it and decided it was the change in the weather - we got our first cool weather - and it was being caused by my postnasal drip from that. It wasn't too horrible and I figured it would go away on its own.
Wednesday's Meals on Wheels was a bitch. There was some sort of wreck on Denton Highway that had the entire 7 lane road closed - get this - RIGHT WHERE I NEEDED TO GO! I knew enough about the neighborhoods over there to figure out an alternate route, but apparently so did everyone else. Do you know how weird it was to be in stop and go, congested traffic in a little neighborhood with teeny unmarked streets? Oh and did I mention I had TWELVE people? That's a whole page. I actually had two pages because the total counts are printed at the bottom of the page and they ran out of page. When I picked up my sheet and saw the staple I was all "oh no" because I had so many things I wanted to get done that day. Oh, okay back to Denton Highway. So after the interminable Denton Highway/neighborhood scramble, when I reached the intersection of Denton and Watauga road the stoplights were being worked on and were flashing red. So Denton, the seven lane road and Watauga, the 5 lane road were basically a 12 way-stop. Texans are not good at this sort of thing. In these type of circumstances, I sit there like a crazy person and decide exactly when it is my turn and then glare at everyone like a maniacal fiend and just go.

After my route was finished -and it took an hour and a half - I finally had my catfish and ate it too. Then I went to the post office to mail Lo's birthday present and to get Jazz's gift to her. (I STILL kick myself for leaving it here that night!) I did my Halloween shopping. I found a skull and a lot of black gaberdeen to make my ghoul. I think I need some chicken wire, though. I also bought some black toile fabric for another project and some embroidery floss. After that I went to Italianni's and had a perfect bar time. I talked to an old man on my right about home improvement projects and then a lady on my left about adult daughters. These are two subjects I most definitely know something about. After I got home, I noticed I was having to cough a lot. That was really getting on my nerves and I blamed the postnasal drip.

When I went to bed Wednesday night, my wheezing was so bad, it sounded like two or three cats in heat. That was around 4:00 a.m. I woke up at 6:00 and then again just before 8:00. Now I was really having trouble getting a breath and started to feel a bit panicky. So I called the doctor and they said it was 9:00 a.m. or nothing, so I bucked up and jumped in the shower and made it over there. Anyone that knows me would be so shocked by this, but as I told my husband, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." I did not want to have pneumonia again!
My oximeter level was not as bad as I expected (93) but I sounded awful and he put me on the nebulizer (the breathing treatment machine). It was like an old friend and fixed me right up. He says that it's possible I could have developed asthma in my "old age," but he chose to go ahead and treat this like bronchitis.
So here's the thing. I have been looking like crap lately and figured maybe it was from all the steroids I took. Everyone knows they do weird stuff to your face. Well my friend told me that usually goes away in about 6 weeks. Well since my doctor decided to treat this like bronchitis he put me on steroids, an inhaler and antibiotics. I guess I will be able to breathe again, but my face will look like the full moon. At least I won't need to dress up Wednesday to give out candy. I'm sure I'll be scary enough.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Five Senses, Five Things

Jazz did this today and I really liked it so I thought I would give it a shot:
Five smells I love -
1) That little spot on a baby's head. Okay, I believe that's called the temple. Babies smell so good there. It's better than fresh baking even.
2) The Ocean. I don't think I need to elaborate as I've gone on and on about my love for the ocean.
3) Fresh-cut lemon slices. Mmmmmm. When I was in Junior High I wore a cologne called Love's Fresh Lemon all the time. I was CRAZY about it. I was going to say they stopped making it and then I just googled it and it seems to exist and I got all excited, but the sites I found all said "Currently out of stock." I hate that when you get all excited about something just to have your hopes dashed in just a matter of minutes. Damn! Ooh, I just found some. Sorry. I'm easily distracted.
4) This one is really odd, but I can explain: Diesel engines. The smell of a large diesel engine reminds me of the Wayne County fair. I really loved going to the fair as a kid. And this was an old school fair with freaks and hoochie coochie dancers. All of the rides were powered by large diesel engines. There was also fresh straw all over the ground and popcorn machines and cotton candy. I just loved the smells of the county fair, but the diesel engine smell really brings it back.
5) Cinnabon's. I rarely go the mall and I hardly ever eat sweets, but I really love the smell of this store. Sometimes I'll just stand near the store and inhale for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. I've only actually bought one maybe three times. I prefer the aroma to the taste.
Five sights I love -
1) Marinas. I love being at the water and seeing all the boats. I always make up a story in my head for each boat. I love reading the fun, imaginative and sometimes weird names of the boats. I think one of the prettiest marinas, well that I've seen, was the one on Coronado Island. I'm looking forward to seeing a marina in Vancouver!
2) The ocean. I love when you get lucky and the clouds are pink, maybe a moon is rising and a boat is going by. I can pretty much stare out at the ocean all day. And I have.
3) Kittens playing. That's just cute as hell.
4) A professional Ballet performance. I've seen several but I think my favorite was "Peer Gynt." I am absolutely mesmerized when I watch ballet.
5) 17th to 19th century portraiture. I love staring into these paintings and thinking about the person in the painting and the artist.
Five tastes that I love -
1) A really good soup. It doesn't matter if it is creamy or brothy. I just love a really good soup. I particulary love the she crab soup at George on the Riverwalk in Wilminton, N.C. That's some VERY good soup. The thing is, you don't want to be with me when I am experiencing the really good soup because I will go on and on about it and make all sorts of ecstatic sounds like "Mmmmmmmm" and "Oh, yeah."
2) My cabbage. I love my cabbage, but My Sweetie? He does not care for the cabbage, so I hardly ever have it. I cook it the way my Granny and my Mom cooked it (except for the Cavender's). We cook a couple of slices of chopped bacon then add the chunks (2 inch chunks) of cabbage. I sprinkle in some Cavender's and let it steam itself on low heat, stirring occasionally. I really love my cabbage. I should buy a head and just make it for lunch.
3) The house dressing at Italiani's. I think about it a lot. I brought some home a few months ago and marinated some canned artichoke hearts in it and they were excellent.
4) The warm salsa at Mercado Juarez. Another food item I think about a lot.
5) The salty way my lips taste when I've been at the ocean all day.
Five sounds I love -
1) The ocean. And it's not just the crashing of the waves. I also love the accompaniment of the seagulls.
2) The perfect song at just the right time.
3) A lone horn playing a jazz riff, coming from somewhere just around the corner and lightly echoing through the streets, as you walk through the French Quarter in New Orleans.
4) All the crazy jingle jangle dings clicks and bells and whistles of a casino.
5) That loud boat horn that you hear coming from the Mississippi river in New Orleans.
Five things I love to touch -
1) Fur. Well most fur. Some dogs are kinda wiry. But cat fur and bunny fur always feel very nice.
2) Very old wood. When I am in an old building, I always want to run my hands over the wood. I don't know why. Maybe trying to pick up the history of the place.
3) My husband's skin. He has very silky skin.
4) My own hair. Sometimes I just love playing with my curls.
5) Frosted glass. If there is frosted glass, I will have to stroke it.
and since Jazz cheated a little I will add
6) The fuzzy felt of some poker tables. I sometimes get distracted from the game by the fuzzy felt. (But my petting and rubbing it also distracts the male players, hee hee. My bad.)
Well that was fun. Thanks, Jazz.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Live from New York!

I've always had weird dreams but a couple of years ago I had a dream that I had an entire scalp transplant and I had long straight blonde hair. The kind of hair I dreamed about in elementary school. In the dream, I still had the stitches going around my hairline. Then the other day Leno said there was news of scalp transplants from cadavers. My eyes nearly popped out of my head, and I said, "I DREAMED THAT!"


I could do post after post of my weird dreams but I only remember most of them long enough to tell my husband and then we laugh and then I forget them. Some, like the GOD dream, I have a record of, because I e-mailed it to my Mom. The one dream that I will always remember is my "Saturday Night Live" dream. It was truly the perfect dream. I don't remember the year now, but I'm guessing it was between '91 and '93 because Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey were on the show. I was the host. I came out and did my opening bit and then was in several sketches. I really remember the backstage part. Then about 30 minutes into the show, Lorne Michaels came to us and said, "The band's not going to make it!" He was freaking out and I said, "I'll fill in." Then I did stand-up comedy for the 4 or 5 minutes the band was going to perform.


When I woke up, I felt so good. I had such a good time and it was so realistic! I've told so many people about it over the years we joke about the time I hosted "Saturday Night Live." Much better than the blonde hair transplant! And maybe I should get one of those little recorders to record my dreams when I wake up.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fun at The Fair

I'll talk about the only bad thing first. As I was getting ready Wednesday morning, I watched TV and the weather people said it would be mostly cloudy, scattered showers, with the sun peeking out occasionally, with a high of 79. So I wore a dark shirt that is sort of thick. Those bastards lied. On the news that night they said the high was 89. THAT'S A TEN DEGREE DIFFERENCE!! Plus I think it was more like 92 at the fairgrounds. I was a hot sweaty beast and my hair turned into something so horrible I can't even describe it. It was like a giant round fuzz mop.
Meals on Wheels went by pretty quickly even though we had 11 people, but it's always faster with two people, so we were on the road by 12:30 and got there a little after 1:00. This picture was taken just after we arrived and were walking into the Midway. That Ferris wheel on the left is the Texas Star and was one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world when it was built in 1985. Since then 12 to 15 taller ones have been built. It is 65 meters tall. Notice how the clouds are really breaking up.?

We ate first. I had some Cajun black-eyed peas. I wanted something just heavy enough to take medicine with, but I was saving myself for crazy fair food. The first thing we did after that was ride the Skyway. There wasn't even a line. This picture was taken from the air car and is of the city of Dallas. The tall thing on the far left is Reunion Tower which has a rotating restaurant and bar in the ball at the top. Once we (my Dad, daughter, HUB2 and myself) got really lucky and were eating there and saw a gorgeous sunset and full moonrise. Heck, that's probably the last time I was there. That was probably 15 to 18 years ago. Notice the sun is hardly "peeking out" now.
This is looking down from the air car. I wonder why they couldn't decide if that thing was either an alligator or a crocodile. Do they think people think they are the same thing? I don't care for either so I did not go inside to investigate.

At this point we had full-on sun and I was sweating like a crazy person. We decided to head over to the Creative Arts building because it is air-conditioned. This was my favorite quilt. It was hanging over part of the photography exhibit. There were a lot of good photos of cats, but none as good as the one My Sweetie took of Barney. And there was one other quilt I liked - a Christmas quilt - but the picture was blurry.

I'm not sure if this was a collectible or something someone made, but I thought it was kinda creepy. I guess someone liked it because it is sporting a blue ribbon.

After the crafts, I grabbed a frozen lemonade and we headed over to the dog show. I was disappointed they didn't have the performing sheep dogs, but the dancing dogs were pretty cute. The picture is very blurry because I zoomed in and I am a very shaky person. It was VERY hot in that building so even with the frozen lemonade I couldn't take it any more. At least outside there was a breeze. I got a sausage on a stick and a beer and sat in the shade.

We went back to the Midway to play games and maybe leave. But after playing darts and pick a duck and winning my little prizes I felt a little more energetic and realized we were near some water I had seen from the Skyway. We found a peaceful little fake pond with paddle boats and it broke my heart because I knew I couldn't do it because of my knee and I love love love paddle boats. There were also turtles all over fake logs. The turtles were real. I don't know why I didn't put pictures here of that. I'm goofy. By the time we got to the end of the pond we decided to go ahead and head for the Women's Museum even though they put it WAY over in one corner - basically the exact opposite end of where our car was. We made a detour through the car show just for the air conditioning. I took a picture of My Sweetie in one of those monster trucks but you know he won't let me show his photos. It was funny because he thought he would look tiny, but he didn't. We got to the Women's Museum and I let My Sweetie take this picture of me from a great distance because my hair was such a disaster. Then a breeze caught it and it looks REALLY funny. I think I look like Thing Two from The Cat in The Hat.
I really enjoyed looking at the costumes even though a few were replicas. Elizabeth Taylor had one TINY waist. I think my favorite was a sexy number worn by Claudette Colbert in Cleopatra (1934). A lot of people were commenting on how very sexy and skimpy it was for "back then." My smartypants self said to total strangers, "Most people don't realize the Hays Code came about some time after movies were being made. There was not always a rating system. Obviously this movie was made before the Hays Code." (When I got home and looked it up the movie came out the same year that the Hays Code was enacted. Oh well. Just call me Cliff Clavin.) My Sweetie made me laugh. There were also lots of original sketches from movie costume designers. One said "Tom Hanks Allen in Splash." He said, "His name is "Tom Hanks Allen?" I laughed and laughed and he was all "What?" I said "Honey, he played "Allen" in the movie. As in Tom Hanks: Allen in Splash."
After the museum, we headed back to the Midway, because it was on the way out and we wanted to ride one of the little spookhouse rides. It was funny because we weren't paying attention at all and it wasn't a haunted house. It was called something like "Lumillusion" and had lots of funky lights and Pink Floyd music. I took this picture when we came out. I was looking up at the Texas Star, the Skyway and the moon. Can you see the moon? And notice there is not a cloud in the sky. Okay, one or two little wisps. At least when the sun started to set, it got a lot cooler.

Oh and after looking forever for the fried guacamole, I found it. I think when we went to throw darts. It looked like this:

It tasted like dirt. Later I had a Fletcher's Corny Dog to get the taste out of my mouth. We stayed until about 7:30 and neither one of us could believe we stayed so long. I had some theories. One was: Because of my knee, we really took our time and rested a lot. Another was: Because we stopped smoking, we had more stamina. Or maybe it was a combination of both things. But 6 hours? That was crazy. And I loved all of it except the sweating.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's Fair Time, Ya'll

Well the day has finally come! My Sweetie has taken tomorrow off, and after Meals on Wheels, we are going to the Texas State Fair. I love the State Fair! My favorite things are seeing the dogs round up sheep, the craft contests, especially the photography and the quilts, and trying new weird food. Tomorrow I'm going to try Fried Guacamole! That dude in the picture is Big Tex. He welcomes everyone to the fair.


The funny thing is we have done this so many times, we practically can do it without thinking and are usually through with everything we want to do in just a few hours. Because my knee is still not at 100%, I expect we will be there longer and take things slower this time. I also always win a stuffed animal by throwing darts at balloons. I am a Freaking Master at that! And I do it with my eyes closed! I'm also good at squirting water in the clown's mouth. (Always pick the spot with the freshest balloon.) I want to do all the fun and spook houses tomorrow, too. Well the ones where you ride.


I started a new thing last year - that we do something new. Last year we went to the Women's Museum for a special Marilyn Monroe exhibit and this year they are having "Costumes by Hollywood costumers and designers from the past 70+ years." That sounds like fun. Plus they have a new skyway air train thing that goes over the whole midway. The only thing is it's supposed to be very windy tomorrow, so that may not be running. Oh and they have a horse whisperer type show called "Spirit of the Horse." I hope my knee is good for the afternoon - which in case I haven't said, tested negative for arthritis. The little card didn't mention gout though. I guess I should call about that.


Anyway, I'm very excited about going to the fair. I've gone almost every year since 1981. I wish all of you could come with us. Instead, I will take lots of pictures and tell you all about it. Yee-Ha!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Assignment: Bars and Bartenders

I asked for "assignments" three posts back and Josie asked about my favorite bars and bartenders. This one was way too easy. My all-time favorite bartender is Shep. He's the guy in the photo. He is a bartender at the Luxor's Nile Bar in Las Vegas. He always has something interesting to say and no matter how busy they are, you always feel special. Not only that, but he remembers me. That may not sound like much, but MILLIONS of people must pass through that hotel every year and no matter how far between my visits, he knows me. The most impressive thing he ever did was threaten an annoying guy with a baseball bat. The annoying guy and I were the only people at the bar. The guy just would not stop yelling weird stuff over to me. I didn't think that much about it, but suddenly Shep brandishes a baseball bat and says, "Get the hell out of my bar!" I was SO shocked because in my personal experience, in both Vegas and New Orleans, you just can't really get in trouble. I was so afraid some scary guy in a suit was going to show up and fire Shep, but it didn't happen. And as far as I know, he's still there.
My second favorite bartender is Marvin. He's a bartender at The Carousel Bar at The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. He not only makes the very best bloody mary ON EARTH, but he's just downright pleasant and friendly. We asked him to recommend a restaurant that the locals liked, that wasn't a touristy place and man did he send us to a good place. I wish I could tell you what it was, but it doesn't matter. Marvin still works there. Just tell him to send you to the loud boisterous place that he has recommended before. The only thing about the carousel bar is it is JUST THAT. Yes, it rotates, and to be quite honest I could only take it for so long, then I had to step off. But if you want a very friendly and knowledgeable bartender in New Orleans and you like bloody marys, stop into the Carousel Bar.
Part of the asssignment was just where I like to drink beer. My favorite places to drink beer are:
  1. Any place with a view of the sea, the sound, a bay, a river or a lake.
  2. Any bar with a feel of history. My very first bar was a classic old dark NYC bar when I was 16 and I once drank a beer in a VERY OLD bar in San Fransisco and just LOVED it.
  3. Places where you can sit outside and people watch, like Fifth street in the Gaslamp district of San Diego or a balcony on Bourbon Street. Or even an open bar in an airport.
  4. The bar/lobby of The Arlington in Hot Springs. The last time we went, we sat their for several hours and played Scrabble while a three-piece combo played. It was EXCELLENT.
  5. Any cabana bar at any beach (oh wait, maybe #1 covers that!)
  6. Piano bars - not the goofy ones, but the nice ones.

Well, I think that about covers it. I also like bartenders that perform magic for you. That's always fun. And tell good jokes. I LOVE to tell jokes in bars. Thanks, Josie for the fun assignment. I'll get around to that travelogue of Fort Worth.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

That Book Meme

Before I get back to the post requests, I thought I'd do that book meme that's floating around. Although I am not the avid reader I once was, I do enjoy a good book. I am actually a seasonal reader and for some reason view reading as a "winter sport." I have no idea why that is, it just is.
1. How many books do I own? I have no idea. We have a library. Oh no, not a fancy rich people library, but a room lined with shelves, which are in turn lined with books. We have a LOT of books.
2. What was the last book I read? This is a tough one because I tried to to read The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx because I love the movie so much, but her prose is so very, uhm, heck I forgot. I just couldn't get into it. And I've been leafing through a book I read a few years ago called Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg, it's about Katharine Hepburn and I just adore her and love reading her recollections. But I guess the last book I read was probably Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda. It was touching and funny and sweet.
3. What was the last book I bought? Well that would be Einstein by Walter Isaacson. I'm just waiting for winter so I can read it.
4. Five meaningful books that I've read. This is a tough one because the first book that I read that made me want to really read was a Dana Girls Mystery which got me started on the Nancy Drew books. Before that I was mostly interested in Fairy Tales. And the fairy tales turned me into a pack rat because the protagonist always hung onto every little thing he found and then was able to use it to win the day. Oh, okay, I digress.
  1. I don't know the name of it, but in elementary school I read either a biography or autobiography of Helen Keller and was profoundly touched by her story.
  2. The Count of Monte Cristo. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I've probably read it 5 or 6 times and will read it again. It's a fun and amazing adventure. And it makes me feel like I can conquer the world.
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird. This was the first book that didn't seem like a pure fantasy. It seemed like I could have been Scout and my brother was Jem. The story was just great and it, too is a book that I will read again and again.
  4. The Catcher in The Rye. Although this one hasn't held up as well as the last two, it's really a great read when you're going through the weirdness of high school. And it taught me A LOT about punctuation because I did my first research paper on "The Language of The Catcher in The Rye."
  5. I think for this last one I have to pick the tiny decrepit paperback that I found at a used bookstore 26 or 7 years ago. It was printed in 1945. The title is: The Pocket Book of Popular Verse edited by Ted Malone. Just inside the cover is a lady's lipstick print and printed on the back cover there is a small plea to "share this book with someone in uniform." I really love this little book. It has all of the classic poets and a few odd pieces - one poem is obviously about vampires. Here's a nice one:


If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,

And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,

Sell one, and with the dole

Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.

The Gulistan of Moslih Eddin Saadi

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My Imaginary $1000

I asked for suggestions, and I said I would do the easiest one first and that was from Jocelyn. She said:
You've been given a thousand dollars and MUST spend it on something completely fun and frivolous--no do-gooding or world-saving allowed. You must spend it on YOU, for damn fun.What do you use it for? Why?
Well here is what I would do with my $1000: I would buy a plane ticket to Vancouver for April or May. That would take 5 to 6 hundred. I would spend another hundred on a few new tops. I would take the rest for fun money to treat Josie for dinner at least twice.
I have fallen in love with Vancouver after seeing it through Josie's eyes. Also my husband said it was probably the most beautiful city in the world. I love vacation spots where you can walk everywhere and I know that is true for Vancouver because Josie does not drive. We would spend HOURS laughing and talking. I would probably wear her out, but we would both enjoy every minute of it. Imaginary thousand dollars or not, this is still something I want to do and I hope will happen. The free $1000 would be sweet, though!
I would also look forward to meeting some more of my Northernmost blogger friends. Sitting in a nice Jazz club or just enjoying the scenery would be great. And what great pictures we would get! And sights like the picture above and the smell of an ocean breeze? And didn't I hear something once about crab bisque? Mmmmmmmm. Hey Jocelyn, where do I get this $1000?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Need Instruction

This is your cat.

This is your cat on drugs.

Hey, I got a lot of kudos on my last post which was a tag assignment from Lone Grey Squirrel. I do seem to thrive on having an assignment (that's why I did so well in school). I would love a subject suggestion for a future post. I will post about anything that does not involve sex, religion or politics.
Thanks to my daughter, I was able to do Meals on Wheels today. And by "do" I mean, it got done. I went in with her to pack the food, but other than that, I sat in the passenger seat of my truck and my daughter did everything. My one buddy lady hobbled out to talk to me. She is so sweet. I've had her the whole seven years. My route has changed so much I don't really know anyone else.
My Mom met us for lunch. My step-dad is having a creepy procedure done tomorrow to treat his atrial fibrillation. They will stop his heart and then jump start it with some sort of electric shock. They are also going to do a few other smaller procedures. Mom is really freaking out. I hope everything goes okay.
I have to go to the dentist tomorrow and as everyone knows I'd rather do jury duty than go to the dentist. I hope the driving doesn't kill my knee. If I'm up for it, I'm going to go to the grocery store, which is only about two rungs up the ladder from jury duty.
Don't forget, I need an assignment. Ask a question or just pick a topic. I will try to do all of them but will probably start with the easiest one. Because that will be easier.
Update: My Mom said everything went well although it took 3 or 4 tries to get the heart rate corrected. They were released and off to lunch just after the procedure. And although I made it to the dentist, I DID NOT go to the grocery store. I will try again on Friday (today). My knee still hurts.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Dancing Post (I was Tagged)

Lone Grey Squirrel tagged me to do a post about dancing. So here it bees.

There was a very interesting family that lived near us when I was small. They were far more cosmopolitan than anything I had seen. They didn't even have a kid my age but that didn't stop me from showing up at their house (I was a weird kid). Beverly was around my brother's age and took ballet lessons and played the flute. I found all of this fascinating and wanted to take ballet because she did. Plus I loved seeing The Nutcracker on TV. I hounded my mother long enough and at the beginning of fourth grade I was FINALLY enrolled in a ballet class. It was one of those beginner kid classes with tap, jazz and ballet. I LOVED the ballet, had great disdain for the tap and merely tolerated the jazz. My first performance was a sad little number where we wore skating leotards (with the skirts) that our mothers had sewn bells on, where we wiggled our hips to "Jingle Bells." I knew right away I was in the dance with the losers. I knew I had to try harder. My next performance was a little more advanced. It was a tap dance to "Singing in the Rain." We even had umbrellas! There was a girl named Margaret that drove me insane. We were supposed to enter the stage from each side. I led one group and Margaret led the other. Everything was in counts of eight. We were to come out facing each other then turn and go toward the audience. All of this tap walking out took 24 counts. The teacher had us turn on the 6th beat of the second 8 count. Then 2 forward, then 8 more. Well Margaret was so stuck on the 8 count thing she did not turn until the 8th beat. To keep our lines uniform, I sort of stumbled and and followed her. I was furious that she made me look bad. I HATED her. A few weeks after our recital, our dance teacher told us we had been invited to perform at the Goldsboro Country Club. I knew this was my chance to redeem myself. Sure enough, as I turned on the 6th beat SHE stumbled to keep up with me. HA! After that year I begged my Mom to enroll me in a ballet only class. I was so happy to be in a ballet only class. After only one year of that class, the teacher put me en pointe and I'm pretty sure I wasn't ready. The picture above was taken through the dance studio by some dude that knew nothing about dance. And the teacher pretty much let us do whatever. I mean the pose? It is awful. My back toe is not even pointed. And the hair? Not very ballet-like! I was either 10 or 11. The set of pictures we bought had 5 different pictures and I was not en pointe in one single picture!
In the middle of my 7th grade year, we moved to Durham and for some reason I did not get right back into dance even though I asked about it a lot. I did not take dance again until my senior year. I took ballet from a girl who had just graduated from UNC-G and her parents bought her the little studio. I thought, "I could do this!" So I went into UNC-G as a dance major. (Yes, we are all laughing now.)

After my sad one-year adventure at UNC-G, I did not run across a ballet class until I was looking for one for my daughter. I enrolled her, at age 5, with a poor old lady who was apparently no longer in the early stages of either Alzheimer's disease or serious dementia. The woman was really pathetic and after a very frustrating year I found "Crazy Patty." Yeah, Patty was weird but she was a great teacher. She must have picked up something from me because she kept telling me to come to a weekday morning adult class. I finally did and that was the start of 5 years of dance. Lots of dance. After Patty moved to her new studio with two classrooms, I somehow ended up teaching a dance fitness class one a week. I also took modern and an occasional jazz class. Between Kate's classes and my classes, I practically lived at the studio. But not as much as Patty. I once showed Patty's 2 or 3-year-old daughter a picture of myself in dance clothes and asked her who it was and she said, "My Mommy." We had an Olan Mills package to have pictures made once a year, so Kate and I decided to have one made in our dance clothes, me in the ballet, she in the jazz. The best one was too large to scan. It's always been one of my favorites. I suppose I could take a picture of it sometime.

This picture was taken while I was sleeping one Saturday afternoon after a ballet class. Probably in either 1993 or 94. I do have two normal feet. I have a bad habit of tucking my foot. That's also probably not good for my knees. Oh. That's my left foot. Yeah I can do a weird thing with my left foot. I'll get a picture of that sometime. Oh, and I'm not stupid. I did not buy a white couch. That was a hand-me-down from my Mom.

After several years of dancing at Patty's studio, she finally talked me into trying a belly dancing class. I seriously did not think it was something I'd have the least bit of interest in, but I LOVED it. That picture was taken at my very last performance in 1995. It was at an outdoor festival in Lake Worth. It was a lot of fun. I still can't believe I was in all of those public performances. And not just the yearly recitals. I performed at Mayfest and Octoberfest each year. I will have to figure out how to transfer some of the dance videos to DVD and then to the computer. There's a ballet I was in when we did Grease, that's really hilarious, not to mention my "Spider Woman" dance at a belly dancing convention. So, Lone Grey Squirrel, did I fulfill my duty as a taggee?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Still Alive Up In Here

There's not much to say. I'm pretty much laying on the couch all the time on drugs waiting for my knee to heal. It was really bad yesterday. I think, what happened was, after the drugs kicked in on Friday I felt better and did too much. I have learned a hard lesson. I am much better today and actually slept 2 1/2 hours in a row once! Mostly, my sleep intervals are measured in minutes and I may suddenly doze off, so we haven't been able to do a lot of TV catch-up. I mean I need to be able to pay attention to watch "Heroes," but I guess we should try to get to it today. I'm also a bit depressed because the doctor said, "This could just be normal wear and tear." That doesn't sound good. That sounds like something that can't be fixed. It could be that a tendon in my knee has gone bad. If it doesn't get well, I will have to go back and they will drain fluid from my knee and that sounds perfectly hideous. And this chair is not good for long intervals, so it's back to the couch for me.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Alas! Poor Uric, It Hurts Like Hell!

Wednesday night I'm over in Plano whooping it up with Jazz and having a blast. Today? It was not good. I woke up at 7:00 a.m. in AGONY. AGONY, I tell ya. Both of my knees felt like they had been broken. With a bat. It was not a good way to wake up. I was all "What the hell? Why am I dying? What's going on?" I took some Advil and thrashed about and moaned for a bit and finally went back to sleep. I woke up again around 9:00, same pain, more thrashing and moaning. I woke up again at 11:00 and just got up to try to walk it off. And it was HARD to walk. I didn't have another bad attack until 2:30 (while I was trying to nap of course) and then I had the worst of it at 9:00 p.m. tonight.


I think I have gout. And that makes perfect sense. Because I love beer and rich food. I'm going to try to get in to see my doctor tomorrow. The left knee pain has gone away and been replaced by left ankle pain. And I have been having an awful lot of toe cramps lately. Apparently it is caused by a build up of uric acid which causes sharp crystals to stab you all around your joints and cause HORRIBLE pain. Why do I always get these weird things? Gout! What am I, Henry the Eighth over here?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Have Met Jazz and Jazz Has Met Me (and it was awesome)

Well the first thing I have to say about meeting Jazz is that she is awesomely beautiful. And the reason I had to say that is because she did a whole post on how she hates the word "awesome," and I can barely make a sentence without using it. It became the joke of the night. Jazz, you are Awesome. And you ARE awesomely beautiful.

I had so much fun. I was in the company of world travelers and really fun people. We talked about almost everything. I had arranged for Ticknart to call at a certain time and I was going to post a picture of Jazz talking to Ticknart, but they didn't turn out well. (I was at a bad angle, sorry Tick!) Oh! And when the phone rang and I looked all suspicious, Jazz said, "Is that Josie?"
And now I get to introduce the world to Mr. Jazz: a very awesome man. Hey Mr. Jazz! Thanks for a great evening! How cute are the Jazzes?
Mr. Jazz took this cute picture of me drinking a German beer. I have no idea what it was. But it was good.

I was nervous and forgot to take Jazz's gift and she said she felt like she was going on a blind date. I recognized her immediately and she recognized me and we hugged, which was cool because I had told My Sweetie, "I don't think Jazz is the huggy type." I was wrong. Sorry to burst your bubbles, but Jazz is not the ornery beast she portrays on her blog. She's a very lovely lady. I hope you all get to meet her.
I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oktoberfest/Jazz/Biergarten FUN

Rahm Schnitzel

In 19 1/2 hours, I will be walking into The Bavarian Grill to have dinner with Jazz and her husband, Mr. Jazz. I am very excited about not only meeting a fellow blogger, but meeting a human being that has done ALL THIS STUFF. I imagine I will seem like a mundane person to her, but I am fun and feisty. My goal is to make her laugh as many times as possible.


I picked the restaurant from a random google search of something like "fun restaurants in Plano Texas" so I hope it is good. In my experience, German restaurants are generally quite festive. And the entertainment will be an accordionist (is that a word?) that according to a review is "a very good entertainer." Jazz is so funny, when I said, "German restaurants are usually festive." She said, "Well good. If we can't think of anything to say we can be entertained."


My cell phone rarely rings when I am at home unless I am on the phone (I don't have call waiting) so when my phone rang this afternoon, I though, "Ooooh! That must be Jazz!" I have talked to Josie on the phone and thought Jazz would either sound like Josie or sound French. Well Jazz has practically no accent at all. She could be a national news reporter. It was our first time to talk on the phone and we didn't even know each other's husbands' names. It is kinda funny talking to a stranger that you feel like you know. And of course, neither of us called the other by their real first name. I was all, "Hey Jazz!"


Well, my camera battery is charging and I will get lots of pictures. I guess since our husbands are anonymous they can take the pictures. And since I've been typing this, it is now only 19 hours away! I'll let you all know all about it tomorrow night!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Do It Yourself

I just read a Miss Manners column that was about a babysitter expected by the parents of a 5-year-old to do the child's kindergarten project. I never got that whole thing. I never helped my daughter with her projects. Okay, I shouldn't say "never helped." I didn't DO her projects. I would take her to the store to buy supplies or answer questions and there was one project that I found fascinating. It involved building a contraption to protect an egg from falling 200 feet, or something like that. But generally I did not get involved at all. Many times she would come home from school and say things like, "My project did okay, but Jenny's mom did her whole project and she got an A+." Then we'd have that talk. "But don't you feel good about yourself, that YOU did your own project?" I found it sickening that we even had to have that talk each time. My whole generation was so obsessed with their children's self-esteem it was disgusting. Sure, I wanted Kate to have good self-esteem, but I did that by complimenting her accomplishments, not her very existence.


It was just odd that I read that column today because a little while back I was trying to find out the name of a plant and realized that I didn't know even basic leaf descriptions. Then I remembered something from sixth grade. My best friend was a year older than me. Her mom asked me if I was going to have the leaf collection project that year. She told me that she had done it the year before and had a blast doing it. She practically begged me to let her do it for me. When the project did come up, I let her do it for me. She did a great job and I got an A. I hadn't really thought of that in years until I wanted to type in a description of the unknown plant and realized how ignorant I was about leaves. I'm pretty sure if I had done the leaf project I would have had that basic knowledge. I was robbed of that. Just as all children whose parents do the work for them will be robbed. Why do they keep doing that?