Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Exciting Life and a Survey

Well, yesterday was very exciting for me. I finished my first non-scarf-like knitting project. Yup, I finished the hat! Yay!!! I used double-pointed needles and everything! It's not perfect, but it's not horrible either. I had two small mistakes that only another knitter would probably notice – or some hyper-critical type. And I have enough of the alpaca left that I can make a matching scarf. Ah, the pure excitement that is my life!!!

I was completely swamped yesterday at work. I mean it was insane. It didn't stop for over eight hours. I donated 45 minutes of my time to the company and I hate doing that. I didn't even finish everything, but I figured "Tomorrow is another day." And I just finished setting up the agenda for a Friday meeting, sent it to the boss for his approval and got his Out of Office reply saying he's out of the office THROUGH Friday. Hmmm, does that mean the meeting is canceled? ARGH!!! Of course, that means that I can easily make Friday's agenda into Monday's agenda and I'm done! Woohoo! And I don't know who is going to do the agenda for next Friday's meeting, but it won't be me. HA! HA! I'll be on a cruise ship touring the Gulf of Mexico and experiencing sunshine and warmth (I hope) and thinking of everybody back here suffering through bitter cold and crappy weather.

I have this sick fascination with checking out the Detroit Free Press after I get in in the morning to see how bloody cold it was while I walked. I just checked, an hour late, but I figure it's still valid, and it's 21F with a RealFeel of -1. Yup, that was NEGATIVE ONE FAHRENHEIT. Man, I'm tired of this crap already!!!

I started an entry last week and never got to finish it, so I'll work on that today.

I stole this survey from Clarity, but then got tagged by Julie to take it, so here goes.

1) Kathleen
2) Kat
3) Aunt Kat

1) Kat
2) Kat_M6
3) Katm6

1) My ability to go with the flow (usually)
2) My friendliness
3) My patience?

1) I'm a pushover
2) My body
3) My loner-ishness

1) Losing the people closest to me (death of.)
2) Failure
3) Rejection

1) Tea (winter), Water (summer)
2) Knitting
3) Books

1) Socks
2) All Black Converse High Tops
3) New top I got at Mervyn's for $11!

1) PlanetUron
2) Tijuana Strip Club
3) Joy Division (always)

1) "Atmosphere" – Joy Division (always)
2) "Candy" – Iggy Pop & Chick from the B-52s
3) "Clarity" - PlanetUron

1) Knit myself a SWEATER!
2) Going to the gym
3) Having more than one date with a person

1) Love
2) Trust
3) Conversation

1) I love filing.
2) I learned to play the tin flute in 6th grade.
3) I have had a cell phone for less than a year.

1) Eyes
2) Smile
3) That indescribable something

1) Drive a stick shift.
2) Run more than a block (damn knees, lungs and feet)
3) Give up my love for Champ Car.

1) Knitting/Crocheting/Beading
2) Reading
3) Happy Hour with Martha!

1) Go home
2) Get another cup of tea
3) Curse the snow!

1) Spain
2) Sweden
3) Egypt (been once, but want to see more than just Cairo)

THREE KID'S NAMES: (my own?)
1) Ian
2) Andrew
3) Christopher

1) Get to every racing venue Champ Car visits.
2) Visit Tikal
3) Heavens, I'm a slacker. I have no goals.

1) I have short hair like a boy (as my nephew said once)
2) I hate cleaning.
3) I love hockey and racing and can talk them both with the best of the boys.

1) I like chick flicks.
2) I think my butt is too big.
3) I love new clothes (but hate shopping).

1) Peter Wingfield
2) Luke Wilson
3) Ed Harris

1) SF Suzy
2) Urs

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dance Hall Days sends out the Word of the Day to their subscribers. This was today's Word of the Day: eldritch \EL-drich\, adjective: Strange; unearthly; weird; eerie. It struck me since this is the last name of the lead singer of the Sisters of Mercy. Coincidence? I think not!!! Actually, I don't know if it's Andrew's real name or not, but how could I pass that up? Ah, it makes me wish my knees and feet weren't older than the rest of me and I could still dance the night away to Vision Thing, This Corrosion, Dominion/Mother Russia, Lucretia My Reflection, First and Last and Always, More, Ribbons, Black Planet, Temple of Love, and Alice.

No, that was not a listing of all their songs, just the ones that will get me on a dance floor faster than Celebration will get white people on the dance floor at a wedding. Unless it's at 3-D in 1995 and Davo plays More around midnight because the dance floor would be much too crowded with wienies to find space to move your head much less dance with the abandon required by the Sisters. Ah, those were the days, my heyday of dancing. Sometimes I really miss those days when I'd go the bar four days a week to dance. Wednesdays were my favorite because there'd be ten people in the place and I could dance to my heart's content w/o being pestered by wienies in their white Keds and pink sweaters. I mean, really who can dance in a sweater??? Even in the dead of a Michigan winter I'd wear a tank dress and fishnet tights because I'd be sweating profusely by 10:00 p.m. That's what happens when I dance nonstop. Maybe I put more effort and energy into my dancing that girls in pink sweaters.

Tuesdays was the busy night at 3-D and by busy, I mean insanely-surpass-the-fire-code-by-hundreds-and-make-enough-to-pay-the-bills-for-the-week busy. There was no cover and dollar well drinks before midnight. There would be a line out the door and down the street every Tuesday night and even when the windchill was -40 people would be standing out there waiting. I, on the other hand, would get there by 9:30, have my one drink/beer (when I was doing the driving) and be on the dance floor the second I liked a song. I've never needed to be drunk to get on a dance floor, but then again, I'm not a guy. Anyway, in the early days I would dance all night long except for songs I hated (i.e., anything by New Order would get me off the dance floor faster than the Hustle at a wedding), so I'd be moving from 9:30 until almost 2:00 a.m. The second These Boots Were Made For Walking would come on, you'd know it was time to go home – that and the lights would come on – and really is there anything sadder than a bar with the lights on? Or more disgusting? NASTY!!!!

Anyway, I'd be there Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (although for one year I was the Door Girl on Friday nights). That got me in for free forever after that which was a bonus in my book. ;-) Sure, it was only $3 cover, but it's still a savings for as often as I went. I couldn't stand working there for more than a year though. Talk about rude people! I had people who would give me a $5 bill (remember the cover was only $3) and tell me that they were to get $2 back. I just looked at them. My bouncer, however, just growled at the morons, "She has a college degree. She can make change." A lot of people didn't like Chris, but I loved him. He was the best bouncer to have checking IDs because he didn't take shit from anybody. One time this big 50-year-old man walked in with his expensive leather coat and no idea. Now the rule was that we checked all IDs (except for the regulars who we knew because they were there 2-3 times a week) and so the Bouncer (it might have been Chris, but I don't think it was) asked for his ID. He got all blustery and in your face and said he didn't have it with him. The bouncer told him he had to have his ID or he couldn't let him in. The guy just got worse and started yelling and throwing a fit and making a commotion. The bouncer stood his ground even after Mr. Mid-Life Crisis told him that the ID wasn't in his car he had left it at home. Mr. MLC finally went to his car and got his damn ID and came back. His ID checked out so we asked him for the $3 cover fee and he pulls out this huge-ass wad and peels off a fucking hundred. Fuckwad. I told him I couldn't make change for a $100 (sure we had lots of people, but the owner wouldn't let me sit up front by the door with hundreds in my drawer) and he proceeded to be an even bigger fuckass as he took the $100 back and threw (literally threw) a $50 at me. And then he asked me to check his coat which I did and guess what? He did NOT tip me. Not that that was anything new. I could check up to 50 coats a night and get ZERO in tips. ALWAYS TIP THE COAT CHECK PERSON!!!! And the coat check I worked wasn't a nice room or closet. There were some bars hanging up the long area behind me (the cash register was set in the opening of this narrow (less than a yard in width) but ten feet long room. So, in order to hang up coats I would have to crawl under the first row of coats to get the second and third rows and the third row was actually over this pile of chairs. In other words, it was a royal pain in the buttocks to check more than 10-15 coats because I would come out from under the coats with my hair every which way from static cling. God, I so hated that coat check. I was actually smart enough to put coats on the second row of coats first, but inevitably I would be hanging coats on all the rows.

I tried go dancing two years ago (can't believe it's that long already) as the new owner of 3-D has goth Fridays and Saturdays. I'm always up for a good goth club, so I went a few times, but I couldn't dance all night like I used to and even after only a couple of hours I'd be quite literally hobbling to my car in pain. And I can't take Advil because I don't eat before I go dancing and Aleve apparently causes heart attacks. I guess I'll just have to concede that I'm too old to dance like I used to and that my old dancing days are probably the direct cause of my knee and feet issues. Ah, to be young and foolish!!! They were good days!!!

Off to the dept. mtg!!! Such fun and excitement!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

All sorts of extremely interesting things!

Not much happening here. The meeting I had scheduled with the bossman yesterday got canceled. Today's meeting has been postponed until tomorrow, so tomorrow will be the hell day as I have three meetings right in a row. ARGH!!! I'm so tempted to bring my knitting to the dept. meeting. Last dept. meeting I wrote a letter to McCoy, so it looked like I was being all diligent and taking notes, but people wondered what the hell I was taking notes on, so maybe knitting is better. I do take knitting to the All Hands meetings which are held in a huge meeting hall and are boring and worthless beyond belief. At least the knitting makes me feel like I've accomplished something and at the same time it keeps me awake. One of the All Hands meetings I had only enough knitting with me for about 15 minutes (really really really poor planning on my part) and the rest of the time I fought sleep, unsuccessfully. And I was right on the aisle, so I'm sure the Director caught me with my mouth hanging open a few times, I'm sure. EMBARRASSING!!!

I didn't do anything exciting last night. I didn't have any lunch and only a slice of pizza for breakfast so I was starving by the time I got home. I had dinner at 4:30, how sad and old is that??? And although my Boca burger with fake bacon and real swiss cheese tasted yummy, it was with me all night long. I don't think the fake bacon gets along with my digestive tract. How's that for sharing? I read Justine while eating dinner. When reading at lunchtime at the office, I often find myself going to to look words up. Last night I finally gave in and grabbed my dictionary off the bookshelf and got a pen and paper. I was going to give you all a list of the words I had to look up (and their meaning, because I'm nice like that). I, of course, didn't bring the list with me, but I remember some of the words: hebetude, caryatid, etc. I'll bring the list tomorrow along with the definition according to my Random House College Dictionary with a copyright of 1975. I can tell you that hebetude means act of being listless; or lethargy, while a caryatid is a female shaped column. Word is so pathetic, it doesn't even recognise "hebetude" as a word.

I did not work on the alpaca hat as I was so NOT in the mood to deal with teeny tiny needles. I broke out some Fun Fur and Size 10 needles and was oh so happy knitting the night away. I almost finished two skeins too. That's a productive evening!

Yesterday I bought tickets to the Champ Car race at the Milwaukee Mile for Elaine, Sara, Patty and me, so that was the excitement for the day. Of course, I've only read bad news regarding my beloved racing series in recent days, so I'm a little apprehensive. Are we going to have enough teams/drivers? The ticket box office guy told me that they added ARCA as a support race. He thought it was good news, but I'm not so sure. ARCA is a stock car series and they use different tires/rubber compounds than we do and that always fucks up the track for our guys. I hate reading bad news!!! It makes me sad and gets me all worried. And the news that Michel Jourdain, Jr. has a contract with Ford to go racing in NASCAR's Busch Grand National series does NOT MAKE ME HAPPY!!! Is he nuts? Has he not followed the careers of the other Champ Car drivers (see Scott Pruett, John Andretti, Christian Fittipaldi) who tried to make the jump to NASCAR? NASCAR's good ol' boys do not like open wheel drivers coming over and trying to make a name for themselves. They have a tendency to put them into the wall!!! And if you don't believe me, check out the Busch February Daytona race from a few years back when Jimmy Vasser was going to run just a few Busch races that season. With a few laps to go he was running 6th ahead a whole lot of Busch and Winston Cup (as it was then called) regulars. Todd Bodine very neatly put Jimmy into the wall to save them the embarrassment of being beaten by a pansy open-wheel guy. He was the only Bodine I didn't despise up to that point, but he almost surpassed his brother Geoff on my shit list that day. And he's still there. Poor losers!!! You'd think they'd welcome the competition and opportunity to show that they're the better drivers (not that I'd give it much credence considering all the differences between the series and cars), but still fair competition is just not done when it comes to getting rid of somebody they don't like. Of course, we all know that the reason Michel is being welcomed with open arms by the NASCAR higher-ups is because Busch is making a foray into Mexico soon (if not this year) and the best way to ensure a good attendance is to have a Mexican driver. NASCAR is nothing if not marketing savvy. Buena suerte, Michel, te extrañaré.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Long Boring Descripton of my Weekend and my Grandparents

I have two meetings today, one right after the other. This is noteworthy because I rarely, once a month, have to attend meetings. And it's about something which I don't think I'm supposed to know. So, I'm kind of feeling like I have secret knowledge. I'm not pleased about the secret knowledge either. My department is presently divided between two floors which is not exactly the problem you might think it is. We're in the same location just one floor up or down. And the meeting is to discuss moving all of us who sit downstairs to the upstairs. SUCK! I am not happy. Upstairs is a lot colder and the bloody stairs are hard on my poor old arthritic (right) and cystic (left) knees. Besides, I have a feeling that it also means that instead of sitting amongst everybody else that I'm going to be put in the admin desk outside the boss' office and that will make me severely unhappy, as I will be very lonely sitting there all alone. I'm a people person, people!!!! I hate sitting all alone with nobody to talk to. It's enough to make a grown woman cry (that would be me).

Now, I guess I better pretend to work on the matrix I need for the second meeting since that one is with the bossman. It's best to be prepared when meeting with the bossman. Oops, just noticed that the first meeting isn't really until tomorrow, so I don't have to panic. And my "second" one got canceled as bossman is stuck with a VP. My meetings with the bossman ALWAYS get canceled. This one has been rescheduled twice already. Craziness.

And my friend McCoy sent me an article which discussed newly discovered benefits of chamomile tea. I usually drink either chamomile or decaf green tea, but as lately I've been drinking mostly the green tea, I think I better start drinking more chamomile which isn't really a hardship since I can get it for five cents a teabag at the local Bulk Food store.

The DSO on Friday was unbelievable. Leah and I first enjoyed a quick dinner at TJ's and got to our seats with just minutes to spare – the bell was dinging in the outer areas as we were hurrying up the steps to my upper balcony seats. The first piece was a Violin Concerto by Sibelius. Quite incredibly beautiful, but then again it was a violin concerto and we all know that I love the violin. The opening strains brought tears to my eyes; it was just so movingly beautiful. After the intermission, we heard Rachmaninoff, Symphony #2. I had been a little nervous about it as I'm not the biggest Rachmaninoff fan, but that's mostly the piano stuff, as I find piano a tad dull. Anyway, the Symphony #2 is quite fabulous.

After the symphony, we went back to TJ's for dessert – always worth it. TJ's is a tradition for me and whichever cousin I happen to be taking to the symphony. Two years ago I took Leah's younger brother Glenn (Leah was living in TX at the time, so that's why the younger sibling got to go first). Then last year I took Maureen, the middle sibling. And since Leah is back in Michigan, I took her and this coming Friday I'll be taking Blake the second youngest (at 16). It's Mahler and Prokofiev (Sym. #6 and Piano Concerto with the soloist Lang Lang, respectively). I introduced Blake to Mahler's Sym #5 within the past 1-2 years and he loves it, so I figured I should take him to hear some Mahler live.

So, that means this coming Friday night will be remarkably like this past Friday night: dinner at TJ's, symphony, dessert at TJ's. You gotta do everything the same when you do something for one member of a family. Not that I don't want to, but you have to because kids notice when you ignore them. My own grandparents treated me differently than the rest of my siblings and cousins, so I figured out at a fairly young age (13) that they didn't much like me. Want an example? I can give you multiple examples, but here's the biggest and most glaring. When my brother graduated from eighth grade (you do that in Catholic schools), he got a plane trip to visit the paternal grandparents in Tucson, AZ. He was there for a long time (2-4) weeks, and in that time frame he was taken to Old Tucson, shopping where they bought him tons of clothes, Nogales (border town), etc. The following year when my older sister graduated from 8th grade, she also got flown out to Tucson to spend a month or so there and came back with memories and new clothes. The following year I figured it was my turn, but nothing was ever said. It was the year of The Big Vacation*, however, so I figured that when we got to Grandma and Grandpa's that I would be staying on while the family drove off in the newly bought for the Big Vacation Ford Econoline van. I was wrong. I was in my usual spot directly behind the driver as powder blue and white van pulled out of grandparental driveway.

My three cousins also got their trips out there, as did my two younger siblings. I was literally the only child who didn't get to spend time with them. My parents, however, were on the ball and somehow arranged for me to go to Mexico to spend time with our Mexican family. I went for a month the summer after 9th grade. I probably got the better end of the deal, in the long run, but a child should not be made painfully aware that her own grandparents never loved her. That's pathetic.

One summer when they were visiting us I was working a lot (as I was paying for college) and as I would drive off in my favorite car (bright yellow 1979 Pinto – they fixed the gas tank problem by that year) I would wave and yell, "Good-bye" or whatever to my Grandpa who would be sitting on the porch with my younger sister (hard to determine if my youngest sister as the baby grandchild or my older brother as the first grandchild was their favorite). My sister told me that he would say disparagingly, "Well, there goes Queenie." I did not take it as a compliment and if there was ever anybody in this world who was not a "Queenie," it was me.

I kept trying though, because I'm stupid like that. One year I opened my Christmas card and my card was signed "Grandma and Grandpa LastName." My siblings all got "With love and many prayers," and "May God Bless You and Keep You, Love," etc. Did they really think I wouldn't notice? I wasn't stupid. Or did they just not care if I noticed? The family moved Grandma back to Michigan after Grandpa died and we figured out that she was being taken by some con artists. My mom kept encouraging me to go and visit her and I finally confronted my Mom and told her that I didn't feel like I had to visit her as she didn't much like me. Grandma had dementia though and forgot that she hated me, and I suppose I should have forgiven her, but if she hadn't had dementia, I'm pretty sure she still would have hated me. They're both dead now and I have to say that I didn't cry a whole lot at their deaths. And I don't actually feel bad about it either, and I don't think I should. All my cousins and siblings were crying their eyes out and I was pretty much unmoved by the whole thing. If I cried at all, it was for selfish reasons, such as "Why couldn't s/he have loved me for whom I am?"

*The Big Vacation was held every five years starting in 1968 and essentially ending for me in 1978, as I was in college when the next one came along and much too busy working to pay for college to waste two weeks on the road. Typical trip was drive to California and harass whichever of my mother's sisters were living there, then go on to AZ to visit the paternal grandparents.

Sorry for that depressing foray into my youth, but that's why I'm taking all of my cousins to the symphony. Let's get back to the weekend! I woke Saturday morning to snow, but as Julie, Suzy and I had planned a road trip to the Lansing yarn store, I was wondering if we were still going to go. I got up and showered, though, just to be ready in case we decided to adventure out into the nasty Michigan weather. We had an advance team out there though by the name of Glen and he said that as he got further north the weather got better. We decided to go for it! We stopped briefly at the Plymouth yarn store (Suzy had to return some yarn) and then we got on the road to Lansing, Our Yarn Mecca. The roads were absolutely fine once we got a bit north. I had taken knitting with me and I finished one one-skein Fun Fur scarf (on size 15s) and started Eric's scarf. I got quite a bit done on the trip and took it in with me as I thought I was only going to buy one more skein of this fabulous Peruvian cotton yarn. But when I told Matt what I was planning on making with it, he said it wouldn’t work and explained why. *sigh* We then had to go through my patterns and figure out what would work. We decided on this fabulous Misti Alpaca (the softest alpaca ever) but then he made me knit up a swatch for gauge. It was SO not fun, but we determined that I had knitted PERFECTLY TO GAUGE!!! It was complete insanity!!! I normally knit very tightly, so Matt about fell over from the shock, as they had actually moved me down a needle size and they usually move me up a needle size to reach gauge. It was all very very exciting. I worked on Eric's scarf on the way home and finished up the first skein.

On the way back to my place, we decided to stop at Glen's store as I had ordered a couple of things. None was in, but I found the Sibelius Violin Concerto and Rachmaninoff's Symphony #2 in his used Classical section, so I picked those up. And since Knitting Club was happening at my place later that evening, we stopped at Merchant's to get beverages and snacks. And Julie and I were over the moon because we found Skullsplitter of Judd and Dusty fame! It lived up to its name that night as I got a headache from just one! Although I don't really blame poor li'l ol' Skullsplitter as I had a glass of wine yesterday and got a headache as well. Probably just some chemical imbalance in my body. I hope it fixes itself soon!!! If you want to see pics of us with the Skullsplitter, you'll have to go to Julie's site, although I don't think she has them up quite yet.

Soyon, the dear, helped me get started on the hat I want to make from the alpaca. The pattern said to do the whole thing on double-pointed needles, but that was just hellish as I kept dropping stitches off the opposite end of the dpns. Suzy kindly let me borrow her size 3 needles with the shortest cable so that I could get the hat off the damn double-points. It's much easier, but that's relative, as knitting with such small needles is not easy. It hurts my right hand. Before Saturday night I had never used anything smaller than a size 7 and my preferred needle sizes are 9-11. I'm getting all adventurous!!! And I can't even blame the Skullsplitter!!

And even as great as Friday and Saturday were, yesterday was even better! For the lone reason that I finally got my hair cut! It was so incredibly long (you'll see it in the pic if/when Julie posts it, so the pic will be outdated by the time anybody sees it) that I was going nuts! After church yesterday I drove straight to my friend (and hairdresser) Pamela's house and got the mop cut. I trust Pamela so much with my hair that I never even looked in the mirror before I left. And today my hair was dry before I even left the bathroom, as it should be. I'm so much happier when my hair is short.

I was home and on the couch in front of the TV knitting away by 12:45. I watched all three of Netflix movies before I went to bed and even killed brain cells by watching The Surreal Life for an hour on VH1. The movies I watched were The Killing (noir classic by Stanley Kubrick), Stalag 17 (brilliant), and The Eagle Has Landed (from the book by my favorite author, Jack Higgins). I need to get my book back from the person to whom I lent it as I think they jacked the book in the movie. I just re-read it a year or so ago, but it just seemed wrong in some small ways. Overall, they did a fine job and Donald Pleasance played an incredibly brilliantly icky evil Himmler, while Duval played a wonderful Radl. All in all, I enjoyed all three movies that I watched yesterday, but I'd have to say that I *loved* Stalag 17. Yes, I know that everybody else in the world has already seen it, but I'm a girl, I'm not supposed to be into war movies (and I'm generally not, I prefer war escape films).

Regarding The Surreal Life. Dear heavens, what a complete train wreck that is!!! It's the first time I've ever watched a reality show in its entirety and with my own free will, although the last half hour was more of the train wreck sucking-in-ness than really free will, if you know what I mean. I just hope Marcus Schenkberg turns out to be as stable as he appeared in the first show or Christopher Knight aka Peter Brady is going to be insane by the time this show is over as everybody else in the house seemed to view Chris (as he introduced himself to all the housemates) as a father figure and came running to him to solve any and all problems that cropped up (from Chyna Doll the tallest and biggest person in the house taking Verne Troyer's room with all its miniature furniture for herself to Da Brat finding Verne Troyer drunk and buck naked peeing in the corner of one of the common rooms and knocking on Chris' door because Chris wants to deal with a naked, drunk Mini Me). Complete and total insanity that's all there is to it!!! Half of them calling their agents the second they got there to complain about something (okay, only two of them called their agents, but still). I don't think I can say that I recommend watching it, but there was something incredibly mesmerising about it.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Friends, Music and Food

Last night was a good time. A group of us went out for Kelli's b-day at Mexican Fiesta where as is required we all ate too many chips and salsa and then dinner came. I only ate the rice and beans and am planning on having one and a half of my three enchiladas for lunch today. I'm trying to cut down my portions. After dinner we went to Starbucks to hang and harass Campbell while he worked. It was a fun time sitting around and just chatting and remembering past adventures. I hadn't been a part of the gun-shooting weekends or the paintball weekends, as I think I was in SF at the time, but it's okay because I have an eternal fear/hatred of guns. And then since there's no hockey to discuss (fuck both Bob Goodenow and Gary Bettman – I blame them both equally and believe the owners should fire Bettman and the players should fire Goodenow and put two sane caring people in charge of the negotiations and then maybe something would get accomplished toward having a hockey season this year), Rick, Davo, Glen and I got involved in a baseball discussion. Glen even had to switch seats with Amy so that Amy could join the girls' talk about clothes or yarn and Glen could join the boys (and me) talking baseball. It was a good discussion with Davo and Rick firmly on the side of letting Pete Rose into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Glen torn about the issue and me thinking no way in hell should he be there. The Tigers' off-season acquisitions (or lack thereof) was also a topic of conversation. All in all, it was quite a fun evening – and helped to make up for the fact that this was the first Thursday (of many) of not going out with Martha since she's in Mexico.

This morning I was thinking about how much I love classical music and how for the most part I like all of it and how I love to hear stuff I've never heard before on 89.9 CBC Radio 2 in Windsor. Unlike the classical station to which I listened in SF, which played 95% baroque music (which is actually quite limiting in the classical music world), CBC plays music from the 1500s as well as the 2000s and everything in between. And they don't just say, "This is the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky," they give you a little background on either the music or the composer or what he was thinking when he composed it or what his contemporaries thought of it. I love knowing more about things!!! I'm always hearing new stuff and finding that I like contemporary classical music quite a lot. But there are two pieces of music that make me want to shoot myself when I hear them which puts them in a category with Sheryl Crow and the Dave Matthews Band. The first one is the Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo. It's a guitar concierto and the guitar is not my favorite instrument of all time, so that does not help this piece for me. All the hosts have to say is that we'll be hearing Rodrigo that hour and I tense up and can't wait for it to be played so I can turn it off. I really wish that they would just play it first to get it over with.

Now, I didn't always feel that way about the Aranjuez (say the "z" with a "th" sound as that's how the Castillian Spaniards pronounce it and all classical music types insist on doing it as well), I think I liked it the first 100 times my father played it, but then he just played the every living fucking hell out of it. I swear to God that when our Mexican friends came to visit he felt it appropriate to play it (not bearing in mind that Americans probably don't necessarily want to hear Benjamin Britten when visiting another country, but whatever) CONSTANTLY! And I mean CONSTANTLY!!! I thought I was going to rip my hair out. I even asked him (and got yelled at for my efforts for showing disrespect to the Mexicans) if he was going to play the bloody piece of music the entire time the Mexicans were with us. I was thinking that they were just too polite to object to hearing it for the 374th time that visit, so I spoke up. I still think they were too polite to tell Denis is to play something else, but whatever. Last season the DSO played the Concierto and I made sure I did not have tickets. Meg heard the announcement on the radio or somewhere that they were going to play it and she asked me excitedly if I had tickets. HELL NO, I said, I hate that fucking piece of music. I think I took her aback. LOL!

And for some reason I can't think of the second piece of music which drives me to distraction. I had it this morning in the shower, but no clue right now what it is. Let me think for a second….oh yes, the Polovtsian Dances by Borodin. It's his most famous piece of music, but I think it's because he uses the main theme in "In the Steppes of Central Asia." At any rate, I can not listen to anything by Borodin for fear that the Polovtsian Dances will break out. And I don't think it's Borodin's fault, I think it was used in a popular song in a movie, and for some reason I can not accept it as serious classical music since I knew it first as the song. I just tried to listen to it on the Internet, but unfortunately, my company is so paranoid that I can't download anything at all, including just playing soundbites from Very annoying. So, there you have it the two composers who have been lumped permanently in my mind with Sheryl Crow and the Dave Matthews Band for playing music I hate and despise. Actually Sheryl Crow and DMB's music might be okay, but I can't get past their "singing" voices to see if there's anything worthwhile in the music.

I stole this from Julie: The BBC has come up with a list of 50 things you should eat before you die. Items in CAPS are things I have eaten.

The BBC Top 50

11. Moreton Bay Bugs (I don't have a clue what these are, and I'm not sure I want to know)
18. LAMB
19. Cream tea
20. Alligator
22. Kangaroo
28. SQUID (it was nasty but I did try it.)
31. Venison
32. Guinea pig
33. Shark
36. Barramundi
37. Reindeer
40. Australian meat pie
42. Durian fruit
43. Octopus
44. RIBS
47. Jerk chicken/pork
48. Haggis
50. Cornish pasty

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Potpourri of goodies

So, the Great Storm of 2005 did not happen. Sure, we got snow, but nowhere near the 10" predicted. Closer to the 4" that was the low end of the prediction. Hell, the snowstorm before Christmas was worse and didn't get half the freaking hype. I'm not complaining, but why the hell do we listen to the weather people? I'm refusing to call them forecasters since they do such a shitty job of forecasting. Oh, but wait, it's snowing out there. I've been inside for three and a half hours, so maybe we'll get another inch. I'm just so thankful that I don't have to drive to work on days like this. I blissfully walk past my car all snow-covered (okay, it's still at the garage, so I didn't walk past it, but I would have) and think of all the poor people out there who have to brave the freeway system, main and secondary roads which have been inadequately plowed and salted for rush hour morning traffic. It took one of my co-workers two hours to get here. And he's normally 30 minutes away.

I hate hearing people yelling at other people here at work. Makes me crazy when our employees feel they can yell at our suppliers. Just seems like bad form and I so hate it. Makes me want to find a happy place. I think I'll turn Tchaikovsky up. Problem with classical music is that there are quiet music moments, so you turn the sound way up and then it goes into its presto or scherzo moment (or whatever the hell it's called) and it scares the ever living daylights out of you as all of a sudden there's this huge boom from the percussion section when you'd just been listening to some lovely soft violins, and the adrenaline starts pumping like you have to save a baby from a burning building. And it's still not loud enough to drown out the yelling person. ARGH!!!!

"Book sales were way down last year, off by something like 26 million copies, and a majority of Americans bought no more than one book in the entire year, and most bought none." Thanks to Mark Morford

How can this be? How can people go a whole year without buying a single book or even buying just one book? I know I did my share to help the bookseller union. I can't imagine life without books. I have three five-shelf bookcases, two four-shelf bookcases and one three-shelf bookcase (extra-wide) and I need at least one more of the five-shelfer for the piles of books I have around the house. Oh, and I didn't even include the two four or five shelfers that I have built-in in the kitchen. I'm actually proud of myself that it's January 6th and I haven't bought a book yet!

I've been reading Justine by Lawrence Durrell for a while now and it's gotten easier (I just had to get used to his writing style), but with the cold weather and rain and snow I haven't been reading as I walk home and then with the holidays I'm afraid that I spent all spare time on knitting. It's technically post-holiday time but I'm still making Christmas presents, so still no time to read but hopefully I will find time to read more soon. I have all four books of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, but I'm not sure I'll be reading the next one right away. I have the new Arturo Perez-Reverte book, so I might take a break from the deep philosophical stuff and go for a deep mystery. I've read all of his other books that have been translated (it appears there's one out there that hasn't been translated – do I trust my extremely rusty Spanish or just wait for the translation?) and really enjoy his writing. He wrote The Club Dumas which was the basis for the Johnny Depp movie, "The Ninth Gate."

I also have two Brian Jacques books to read. My nephew introduced me to The Redwall Series some years back and I quite like them. I bought him the latest one for Christmas and he's already read it and given it back to me, so that I can read it. And then I had missed one somehow, so I have that one awaiting my attention too. As the tote bag in all the catalogs says, "So Many Books, So Little Time." Too true!!! I need one that says "So Many Books, So Much Yarn, So Little Time." ;-)

I finished Rebecca's scarf last night (now it'll take me three weeks to get to the damn post office) and started a simple one just for the helluva it while I find an easy watch cap pattern. Easy to me means NO DOUBLEPOINT NEEDLES as I have no clue how to work those suckers! *sigh* I found a bunch of patterns, now to see if any of them are within my skill level. I hope the Twisted Sisters can help me out. Once I finish the hat (assuming I ever start it), I'll then make the matching scarf and ship off to the person for whom I'm making them. So much to do still!!!!

If the weather improves today, I need to go and get my car. I had the brakes done on Tuesday but didn't get the call until 5:55 p.m. that it was ready and there was no way I could walk there 5 minutes, so I told them that I didn't really need it and that if the weather was shitty on Wednesday I wouldn't be picking it up then either. She was fine with that so it's still up there. If I didn't have dinner plans tonight to celebrate Kelli's b-day I'd probably leave the darn thing up there until tomorrow. I just hope it's not too cold and icky when I get outta here at 4:00 p.m. I need the walk/exercise, especially since we're going out for Mexican food tonight, and I'm taking my cousin Leah to the symphony tomorrow night – and you all know that means dinner at The Traffic Jam & Snug! YUM.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Clarity asked some questions yesterday that I want to answer, so she doesn't feel alone, so Perl, this isn't going to be a happy, upbeat entry. Deal with itl ;-)

I just stared into the darkness while he slept and felt this crushing sadness. It just overwhelmed me.

Have you ever smiled when you were on the brink of tears and the person you were next to didn't even notice?

Have you ever felt like you couldn't breathe because there was this weight of unhappiness on your chest that you couldn't describe?

I have felt this way, many times. I've lain in bed or sat up in bed and just felt bereft. No other word describes the feeling. You know people love you and care about you, but for some reason, you can't focus on that. You can only think about the deep, enervating sadness you're experiencing. It doesn't even necessarily have to be caused by any specific event or thing. It just is. And I think it's harder to deal with it, because there is no cause, just an effect.

I have also smiled while on the brink of tears –with tears literally brimming in my eyes – and people all around me had no clue or perhaps just weren't comfortable saying anything, and they were people who knew me and were friends. But on other occasions I've had strangers take notice and ask if I were okay. I like to think that friends don't say anything because they're giving you space and don’t want to pry and think that if you're upset you'll say something, whereas a stranger doesn't feel trapped by an ongoing social pressure to have to see you again when you might be embarrassed by a past emotional state.

And the feeling of being unable to breathe? Oh yes, and not just from the asthma, but from the overwhelming depths of my emotions where I just couldn't face people or things. Usually when I'm feeling like that, though, I have to cry, and it's not a graceful little sniffle, but deep gasping sobs where breathing becomes even more difficult, and it scares the hell out of the cats. Instead of wallowing in my depression, I do try to call somebody who I know will be sympathetic and helpful, but not always. It just depends on my mood. The last time I felt that way I called Suzy and she was so sweet and sympathetic and even though there was really nothing she could say to make me feel better, just talking to her did make me feel better. She's one of the people I trust with my emotions. I said in a previous survey that I trust a lot of people with my life. I trust far fewer people with my emotions. And I think that's an indication of a true friend, they're the ones to whom you can tell anything and know that they will never hold or use it/them against you.

Back in 1999 I was at Fontana (you can always spot a true Champ Car fan by how they refer to races, it's rarely by the track or race name and almost always by the city name, except for maybe Laguna Seca, but you'll never hear a race fan call it the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, I guarantee you that) when Greg Moore had his horrendous crash. I knew the second I saw the accident that we had lost him that day and I just sat in the grandstands surrounded by supposed race fans whom didn't seem to grasp the significance of what we had just seen on the big screen. I sat there in stunned horror and disbelief and cried as the people around me watched the race and cheered when someone would make a pass. And they all looked at me as if I were crazy. I didn't get it. WE HAD JUST SEEN SOMEONE DIE, essentially. And they were acting as if it were no big deal. I was with a friend from work, her brother and his wife and this was their first race. You'd think they'd have been horrified by the crash, but they were seemingly oblivious. Even after they lowered the flat to half-mast and announced to the crowd that Greg had died, people still didn't seem to get it. I was floored, especially when the guy in front of me turned around and asked me why I was crying. I said something about Greg and he said, "Oh, did you know him?" WHAT??? Are you freaking kidding me? Why do I have to know him to mourn his passing? I simply said that I had met him years ago in Toronto when he was still in Indy Lights. I so badly wanted to be with my race friends that day, but Mick and The Boys were down in Turn Four while I was stuck in Turn One. And Char and Rich whom I knew were in Turn One were so devastated that they left very quickly after the race was over (all of us wishing that they had just canceled the damn thing, but there was a championship to be decided that day, and it was the last race of the season). I so badly just wanted a hug from somebody who understood and that was not to be.

And the woman behind me was more concerned about Adrian Fernandez (the fucking traitor) who ended up winning the race because his very first win had come at Toronto in 1996 when Jeff Krosnoff died and how unfair this was to Adrian. *sigh* Whatever! And when the race was finally over, it was determined that Juan Pablo Montoya had won the Championship over Dario Franchitti (Greg's best friend on the circuit) better known as Mr. Ashley Judd. The issue here is that JPM is Colombian and there were a shitload of Colombians in the crowd that day waving their Colombian flags. Normally I have no issue with that, except that they were cheering and carrying on and acting like the biggest event of the day had been JPM's championship. I was appalled and said something to my friend about the inappropriateness of their cheering and she said, "Why? Somebody won." I said, "Yes, but somebody died and that takes precedence." I mean, CART canceled the post-race ceremonies and didn't present the Vanderbilt Cup to JPM or the race trophy to AF. I believe there were post race interviews for television, but three top finishing drivers were very subdued and just talked about Greg.

My friend dropped me at the airport where I had to wait a while for my plane and cried in the waiting area, but when it finally landed in Oakland and I got off the plane my brother was standing there waiting for me and I just fell into his arms and burst into tears. The poor thing had no clue what was going on, he just hugged me and that's what I needed. The next day Walter Payton succumbed to his life-threatening illness and I officially retired my racing shirt as I thought three autographs from people no longer with us was enough. I had gotten Greg's in Toronto when he was in Indy Lights, Walter's in Toronto in the paddock (he was the nicest man) and Jeff's in Cleveland two weeks before he was killed, another very nice man who went out of his way to be nice to a fan.

Thankfully we haven't lost any more drivers since Greg (thanks to the crack Safety Team of Dr. Terry Trammel and Dr. Steve Olvey who saved Alex Zanardi's life in 2000). Just thinking about them still makes me sad and tear up, as even though I had only met all them briefly, they still impacted my life by being involved in the sport I love so much. And their loss is still felt to this day. As Alex said in Toronto that horrible day in 1996, "Go Jeff Go." And Walter and Greg. RIP.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tire Ordeal and Christmas Stuff

The whole tire changing process was not the ordeal I thought it was going to be. For one, I asked one of the guys here at work to come over (sometimes it really pays to live ultra-close to work) and change it. He was more than willing and even wrangled another guy to help as well. They got it changed toot sweet (sorry, no clue how to spell it correctly in French). I didn't even have to change clothes!!! Thanks, Rick and Mike!!!!

I got the tire to Belle Tire and why they looked at it, McCoy and I went for lunch. If you live around here, do NOT waste your time at Kowloon Chinese Restaurant. This was the second time the food I got from there was just tasteless. Maybe they do okay with meat dishes, but the vegetarian are not worth the effort. After lunch we walked over to Westborn as it took less than 30 minutes for lunch and we had a full hour to wait for the tire. When we got back to Belle Tire I found out that the tire was unsalvageable, but that I had very smartly bought the warranty when I got the four tires last year, so my brand new tire only cost me $6.36! Woohoo!!! I did the Happy Dance, let me tell you! No crying over that flat tire at all!

And it was all taken care of in time for me to get McCoy to the airport on time. I then dropped the car off at the garage (needs rear brakes, and front brakes as I found out today due to some hard spots on the pads or some such thing – even though the pads were only 80% used, they made this grinding noise) and walked home in the drizzling rain. It was colder out there than I had thought it was. Now I'm trying to decide if I leave my car at the garage until the snow stops (supposed to start snowing tomorrow and get anywhere from 4-10" – depending on freezing rain), so that I don't have to shovel the street again in order to move my car. I'll probably pick it up today when they call and just deal with the street shoveling when necessary.

The Christmas break was not bad, although getting a cold and bronchitis was really not my idea of fun. Not to say that it wasn't expected, as I seem to get sick every Christmas break. I prefer to get sick when I can call in sick to work, but it's just not to be…at least not now. I'm sure I'll get sick again. Of course, last year I got bronchitis on Good Friday, so once again I was sick when I had a holiday break. This is pissing me off. ;-)

Another thing that pisses me off is that when you go to the diaryland page to log in the cursor doesn't automatically go to the log-in area. WTF!!! What a PITA that is. Instead of just typing in my log-in name and password, I have to take my fingers off the keyboard and find the freaking mouse and click in the box. Why is that? Is it just to annoy me? I think so. Just like the bureaucracy here at work. I'm ready to bang my head against the wall from all the runaround I've had today to do a couple of simple things. And if I send you a request and you're no longer the correct person, instead of just replying to me and saying, "I have moved to a different job. You now need to contact John Doe" perhaps it would make sense to copy John Doe on the friggin' e-mail!!!! What a concept! Geez, people a little forethought is a beautiful thing. Of course, the fact that John Doe wasn't the right person after all is completely beside the point I'm making right now (that's an entirely different rant).

The Christmas Gift Exchange with the group of friends went fabulously well, I thought. Thanks to Julie for organizing it and thanks to her and Glen for hosting the party. It was fun and I wish I could have stayed longer. I LOVED my Audrey Hepburn DVD boxset and the latest Christopher Hilton Senna book. In fact, I was barely able to hold back tears when I saw the book, but then again, just the thought of him makes me cry for with his death came the end of Formula 1 as a competitive, interesting racing series. I mourn his loss still, over ten years later. I like to think that he'd have given Michael Schumacher a driving lesson or two and I'd be a lot happier over the state of F1, but as it is, I can barely be bothered to watch. So sad.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy New Year

Hello all! Happy New Year to those I have not yet wished such.

I am back among the living, but God only knows how long it will last. I'm fighting bronchitis and hacking up a lung, so be very thankful your desk isn't anywhere near mine. Unfortunately the bronchitis is putting up a helluva fight, and I'm going to help it along when I go outside in 60 minutes in the cold and rain and attempt to change a flat tire. I'm thrilled to pieces, kids! This is a relatively new tire (six months old), so I'm officially cursing the potholes of the greater Detroit area and the people whom I deem responsible for them! So, beware!

Sure, I could ignore it, as I do walk to work and some weeks my car doesn't move except for church on Sundays, except that I have to get McCoy to the airport sometime this afternoon and I really really really need rear brakes, so the car was heading for the shop this afternoon anyway. Sometimes cars are really a pain in the tuchas!!! Here's my agenda for the afternoon (my afternoon starts at 11:00 a.m.).

11:00 a.m. Walk home
11:15 a.m. Change clothes into tire changing outfit
11:20 a.m. Look at car and wonder who I can con into changing the fucking thing.
11:25 a.m. Decide to try it myself and figure out where the spare and tire iron and the thing that jacks the car up
11:30 a.m. Cry, because I really hate having to deal with crap which makes me feel inadequate.

At some indeterminate time later, I plan on the bloody thing being in the trunk, stupid donut spare on the car whereupon I'll take the car to Belle Tire and they will inform me that the flat fucker can not be fixed and I will need to buy a whole new tire (pray for my rim, please).

If Belle Tire takes a long time, we'll walk to find some lunch and then I'll take McCoy to the airport and then drop my car off at the garage for new rear brakes and then walk home.

Tomorrow I'll be home from work since I'm sure all that time spent outside in the cold and wet weather will give me a relapse, but let's keep our fingers crossed! And then I'll tell you all about my fun-filled two weeks off.

Oh, and if you haven't donated to the Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, get your butts in gear! There are a myriad of Internet sites which are accepting donations. I donated at Oxfam, but I understand is accepting as well. And keep all those poor people in your thoughts, and if you're so inclined, your prayers!