Thursday, February 24, 2005

Commentary and Gym Stories

I started off the week so well, updating my diary on Monday, but then I got into slacker mode.

It was bloody cold walking in today. I mean really, is winter ever going to freaking end? I'm already tired of it…hell, I've been tired of it since December! It was officially 22˚F, but the RealFeel is 16˚F. Whatever happened to the good ol' windchill number? That's what I want to know. That was a concept you could get your teeth into. This RealFeel crap just sounds like they're trying to get away with something. I don’t know what though, but something.

I read this article the other day and as I had been wondering how this Presidents' Day crap had come about it, I found it very interesting. So from now, I will be calling the third Monday in February Washington's Birthday, just like it was when I was a kid. Not that it really matters, as all it really means is that there's no mail delivery that day.

Just another reason to hate Blockbuster. All those commercials about no late fees and it doesn't say anything about 8 days or BUYING the DVD. Not that I go there anyway, as I'm generally too lazy to drive all the way to Blockbuster when I want to watch a movie and then try to decide what to watch. I'm still and always in love with Netflix. I know that the whole No Late Fees at Blockbusters is related to Netflix coming in and breaking up their party. And I believe fully in supporting the competitor who came up with a new and original idea.

And here is a lovely (NOT) tribute to Martin Luther King on the holiday to celebrate his birthday. These bastards need to be strung up just like they did to this poor cat. I can't even begin to imagine how that poor cat felt, being so trusting of people and then having its trust smashed literally out of it. I don't want to think about its last few minutes on this earth. Just another reason, people, of why you should keep your cats indoors. You never know when complete shitheads like these will come along and view your cat as something just to kill or torture. If you love your cats, keep them inside!!!

I wish this country as a whole would get serious about animal abuse/torture/killing and impose some real punishment on people who would treat an animal this way. Everything I've ever read from FBI profilers about serial killers is that they all got their start by abusing animals. But people have a tendency to laugh it off, especially if it's a cat, and just say, "Oh, it's boys being boys." What a crock of shit that is. No, it's sadistic assholes getting their start. I remember being a teenager and somebody saying something about frying ants with a magnifying glass and the force of the sun. I was horrified as I had never heard of such a thing and I had certainly never dreamed of doing anything to hurt them. I know that I've probably killed hundreds of ants over the years just by walking down the sidewalk, but it was never intentional and if I saw a bunch of them I would try to walk around them. I never pulled wings off a fly, although I will confess that I've smacked the shit out of any mosquito that gets within a foot of me.

I think I've mentioned that I've been going to the gym for the past month, right? Well, today I fit into a pair of pants that 3-4 months ago I could not wear. I fit in them, essentially, but they were tight and it was not a pretty sight. It's good to have some positive reinforcement with this exercise experiment.

The gym is a great source of inspiration though – for this diary. Dear God, can we please, please, please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, make nylon running shorts illegal???? PLEASE!!! I beg of you. There is this one guy there who two weeks ago was wearing sunglasses indoors while he worked out (now I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt here and thinking that maybe, just maybe – but not likely – he forgot his regular glasses that day, but this is winter in Michigan, there is no sun). And then this past Monday he was there wearing a long sleeved turtleneck to work out and these nasty red nylon running shorts. You know the ones with the flapped sides? I'm sorry, but those should only be worn when running actual marathons or when you're outside and not in a gym with dozens of unsuspecting people. And they weren't even the type with the built-in panty (are they called that when men wear them?). At one point, he was following Julie and me around the weight floor (okay, he wasn't "following" us, per se, but he must have been on the same training type program), so every time we looked up, there he was. ARGH!!!! It was like a train wreck!

And the other look which should be banned is spandex bike shorts (particularly WHITE) underneath the aforementioned nylon running shorts. That was the look I saw yesterday on this old guy. And I couldn't avoid him, because I was on the rowing machine and he was on the cross-trainer right in front of me. It was so not a pretty sight. Tony and I had seen the same look on a woman on the cruise ships when we did our morning walk and we were all WTF, but at least it was on a woman!!! This was an old guy and his nylon running shorts had a pattern. And when he was on the cross-trainer (a cross-country ski-type machine), the belt was the same color as his shorts and it seems to hike them up. I was traumatized and was so very thankful when he got done. Oh, yeah, and he was wearing a spandex white tank top dealie, so it was a look. Whatever happened to shorts and a t-shirt for working out!!!??? I must admit, actually, that the majority of people do wear shorts or workpants (it is winter) and a t-shirt for working out, but there are the occasional AAUUGGHH! moment.

And then there are the foreign born worker-outers and for some reason they favor button-down shirts for working out. There aren't too many of those, but every once in a while one will catch my eye and I just have to shake my head. I have enough t-shirts, perhaps I should give them one. I mean, really, how do you work out in long-sleeves with buttoned cuffs???

And then there are the anorexics – one male, one female. Okay, the man might not be anorexic, but he really does look like he could use a good meal. The woman is most definitely anorexic. I swear her thighs (and she was wearing workout pants when I saw her) are as thin as my ankles. And her arms? As thin as my wrists. She is literally skin and bones. I asked one of the guys there about her and he said that her friend tells her all the time to eat as does her husband. Well, kids, this is not something that works on anorexics or bulimics. You have to get them to a doctor. This woman is so thin that her face looks like the quintessential alien.

And then there are the klutzes, namely me. Yeah, I'm so graceful that I managed to fall flat on my ass the other day. I was cleaning the elliptical machine (so the next person wouldn't have to deal with my sweat) and managed to get my foot caught between the two bars and down I went – right in front of everybody. I hate being a klutz. It's like I have no sense of balance these days. I’m constantly trying desperately to save myself from falling over, if I even get the slightest little bit off-balance. No, I don't have an earache or water in the ear, so I don't think it's related to that. I think I'm just a big ol' freaking klutz!!!

Monday, February 21, 2005

No Job Rant and My Top Celebrity Crushes of all time

I started off this entry with a rant about my job, but then decided that it would be smarter not to post it, since I read about a number of people who lost their jobs by talking about the jobs in their blogs/diaries. So, trust me that I'm in a ranting mood and pretend I wrote about it.

Clarity has come up with some great lists over the past year and I'm stealing some ideas from her (so that you're not stuck reading about my very busy, but not exciting, weekend).

Top Ten Celebrity Crushes:

Although I was very diligent about watching The Brady Bunch every Friday night, I do not remember having a crush on any of them. I thought Bobby was too young, Peter, too middle child and Greg just didn't do it for me (whatever that means to a 7-year old). And I might have equated him with my own older brother, and that would definitely work against poor ol' Greg who would probably be heartbroken to know that I did not have a crush on him.

The first person I remember having a crush on was Bobby Sherman. I remember fighting over his single from the back of the Honeycombs box with my sister. No clue what that single was, but I remember being highly impressed that they were able to make a cardboard record play! Age? 8 maybe?

Randolph Mantooth from Emergency! I absolutely loved that show and would watch it every Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. Hell, a few years ago TVLand played it and I watched every episode all over again and thought that he was still cute.

Starsky from Starsky & Hutch. I've always been a dark-haired, dark-eyed man kind of woman. Blondes have never been high on my list. It was all about Paul Michael Glaser.

Gopher aka Fred Grandy from Love Boat. I never ever understood why Doc got all those women. I thought Gopher was much cuter. I thought maybe it was an adult thing, but now that I'm an adult I still don't get it. I'd go after Isaac before I'd go after Doc. No offense, Doc. Of course, knowing that Gopher is now a Republican congressman from Iowa (or somewhere in the middle of the country) has killed my crush for him. I could never love a Republican.

Patrick Duffy from The Man from Atlantis and, of course, Dallas. I only saw the first season of Dallas as I think school got in the way. I thought he was *soooo* cute.

I went through a Celebrity Crush drought during high school and college as I watched very little TV in those days (too busy working and doing homework), so I missed a lot of the 80s TVs and movies.

Richard Dean Anderson from MacGyver. I, unfortunately, didn't discover MacGyver until it was almost in syndication, so even though according to the 80s TV Shows website the show started in 1985, I didn't develop my crush until the 90s. I still think he's way cute, but haven't indulged in the Stargate G-1 show. I'm not really a sci-fi kind of girl – guess my crush is over, eh?

Sam Elliott from Fatal Beauty and Mask. I normally don't go for guys with mustaches but there's something about him. I still think he's a handsome man, but I have scruples. Once I discover a guy is married, he's off my Crush list. Since he's married to Katharine Ross (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Donnie Darko), I've had to end my crush on him. Hmm, interesting, Sam Elliott was in Butch Cassidy too. I wonder if that's when they met.

Johnny Depp. I think he needs no explanation. And no, I wasn't a 21 Jump Street fan, although my sister was. I watched it much later (again, probably the 90s) and even then I had standards. I'd say I developed my crush on Johnny Depp after Benny & Joon. And I've always admired him as an actor as I never thought he sold out and played to his hotness. I mean, did we see Richard Grieco doing Edward Scissorhands?

Damn, two more. This is tougher than I thought. Now that I’m old, I have a tendency to see movies because I admire the actor's abilities, and don't really have "crushes" on any of them.

I'm going to stop at 9, just because I can't think of any others. And the #1 Crush (even though he's #9 on this list) is Peter Wingfield who played Methos, the oldest immortal in Highlander: The Series. And since that page informs me that he is (was?) in Stargate SG-1, I might have to check that out. Two of my all-time hotties in one show???? And it looks like he was in Catwoman. I might have to check that one out, after all – even though I hear it was not good. Still, any opportunity to see Peter Wingfield must be taken.

And with that I'm going to stop for the day and will work on the other lists that I stole from Clarity at another time.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

90s Movie Character, the IRS and a quiz

I took Clarity's Which 90s movie character are you? and this is what I got.

You are Celine from
You are Celine from "Before Sunrise"
Take Which 90's movie character are you? today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are an "old soul", You love to get absorbed into a good book curled on the windowsill, you like to observe the things around you and be introspective.
You have deep thoughts which you don't always share with others. You're feminine, beautiful, intelligent and mysterious. There is also an underlying innocence about you.

Unfortunately, I don't have a freaking clue who Celine or the movie Before Sunrise is. I guess I better add it to my Netflix list and see if I want to be like Celine. I see the name Celine and I get hives thinking that it's Celine Dion.

Bloody IRS. If your address is correct, you can use this form. Well, why can't the bloody government get my damn address correct??? I have lived here for almost five years and every year they think I live in a single digit apartment, meaning they leave off the second digit and I can't e-file, although they want you to. Well, I'd like to, but you dumbasses can't get my address correct. And for some reason the State of Michigan just simply refuses to send me forms. Every year I have to go on-line and download the forms. It's pissing me off!!!

And, oh look, a survey I stole from Heather, because I could and it looked more interesting than the usual ones. Or at least different.

48 questions for you to love...

1. Your name spelled backwards:

2. Where were your parents born?
Detroit, MI, I think.

3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer?
Work computer? Nothing, they don't let us download anything. Home? No clue, as I haven't downloaded anything in a while – but it was probably a webshots picture.

4. What's your favorite restaurant?
Traffic Jam & Snug, although I'm quite happy at Bastone, as well.

5. Last time you swam in a pool?
Actually swum? Good question. I was in a pool (kind of) on the cruise a few weeks ago.

6. Have you ever been in a school play?
I don't think so, but I don't remember grade school all that well. I remember being a butterfly for something but I don't think it was a play.

7. How many kids do you want?

8. Type of music do you dislike most?
Country & Western, smooth Jazz, Britney Spears-type pop

9. Are you registered to vote?
Of course.

10. Do you have cable?
Hell yes! No hockey (not that there is this year any way) or racing w/o it. Besides I hate reality TV and that means I'm not watching network TV!

11. Have you ever ridden on a moped?
Yup, my friend Tom would give me a ride home from my massage when I lived in SF and he only had a moped back then. Have I ever ridden one by myself? Heck no!

12. Ever prank call anybody?
Nope, but I was prank called back in high school. The cool kids mistook me for a different girl of the same first name, same first initial of last name. I didn't find out until years later what the deal was.

13. Ever get a parking ticket?
Yes, twice. Parked in front of my own apartment where there is not sufficient parking. The first ticket I parked where I had seen tons of people park and for long periods of time, i.e., longer than a day, and never got a ticket. I parked there overnight once as there were literally no open spots on the street. I left my apt. by 7:45 a.m. the next morning and had received a ticket at 7:40 a.m. I was not a happy camper. The other time was just two years ago. Again, same parking arrangements (street only) and so I tried to maximize our space by parking my car a little bit behind the No Parking Sign, i.e., just my trunk. I came home from work one day (I walk to work) to find a parking ticket. I was spitting mad. The cops here KNOW we have NO parking and, in fact, one of the prime assholes who live on my street had his big ass Dodge Ram parked COMPLETELY behind the sign for a full week once and didn't get a single ticket, but I try to be considerate of everybody else in our buildings and I get a $60 ticket. I paid it within three days so it was only half price, but still. I no longer attempt to be nice and thoughtful, since nobody else on my street is.

14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
Definitely not

15. Farthest place you ever traveled?

16. Do you have a garden?
No, no room for a garden, not that I'd have one if I did have room.

17. What's your favorite comic strip?
I have to agree with Heather and Derek on this one, Calvin & Hobbes, most definitely. I don't even read the comics anymore.

18. Do you really know all the words to the national anthem?
U.S. and Canada

19. Bath or Shower, morning or night?
Shower every morning (only way I wake up). Bath when I’m freezing to death in my apartment and need to warm up, usually afternoon, evening.

20. Best movie you've seen in the past month?
I've seen so many movies in the past month. How To Steal A Million and The Desk Set and both versions of The Italian Job

21. Favorite pizza toppings?
Onions and mushrooms

22. Chips or popcorn?
Popcorn, although that is not said enthusiastically.

23. What color lipstick do you usually wear?
Fetish or Verve

24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells?
I'd have to say No to that one.

25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?
Oh yeah, in my head when I was 12 and watching Miss America on TV.

26. Orange Juice or apple?
Apple Cider.

27. Favorite type of chocolate bar?
Lindt 85% Chocolate

27. When was the last time you voted at the polls?
This past November

28. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato?
Last summer when somebody brought them into work from home. YUMMY!

29. Have you ever won a trophy?
It was a plaque for Women's Intramural Soccer back in high school. Only trophy type item I ever received, unless you count the Perfect Attendance ribbon I got one year in grade school.

30. Are you a good cook?
I am when I bother to cook.

31. Do you know how to pump your own gas?
Hell, even my 86-year-old Grandma knows how to pump her own gas!

32. Ever order an item from an infomercial?
No, although those Tupperware-like containers which stack together nicely and use the same size lid that they've been showing lately are very tempting!!!!

33. Sprite or 7-up?

34. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work?
Yup, six years of Burger King.

35. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy?
Allergy pills

36. Ever throw up in public?
Oh yes, but I think I told this story recently. I puked at the Most Famous Intersection in San Francisco – Haight & Ashbury, unfortunately, not in front of The Gap. If I didn't tell it, I will soon.

37. Would you prefer being a millionaire or to find true love?
This is a toughie. I'm pretty cynical, so I'm not sure I believe in true love, but I know that money does not buy happiness…still I hope to find my own Wesley one day, so I guess I'll say True Love.

38. Do you believe in love at first sight?
No, that's called lust.

39. Ever call a 1-900 number?

40. Can exes be friends?

41. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital?
My cousin Maureen and her brand new baby.

42. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby?
I have absolutely no idea.

43. What message is on your answering machine?
No answering machine, just the cell phone and I have no idea what message I have on it.

44. What is in your backpack?
The bag I carry every day is not a backpack, but it contains my badge to get into the building, CDs, 2004 pocket calendar, 2005 Book of Days calendar, calculator, checkbook, deodorant (helps if you're suffering from a brainfade in the morning and forget to put some on), small bottle of ibuprofen, aleve and allergy pills.

My backpack, on the other hand, is my racing bag. It contains at all time (1) one Brasilian flag, (1) one Mexican flag, my Patrick Racing Rain Suit in XL as it was the only size they had, three stopwatches, Sharpie, credential holders, Racegirl Headband, pair of gloves (after Milwaukee 2003, I'm not getting caught out in the cold again), usually my binoculars, but I lost them after the last symphony, and piece of paper with all the Champ Car track lengths on it.

45. Favorite thing to do before bedtime?
Play solitaire on my electronic handheld game.

46. What is one thing you are grateful for today?
Lack of pain when I walk

47. What is the first concert you ever went to?
Bob Seger at age 15.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hockey is canceled - and Bettman still sucks canal water

Yesterday I had my one-on-one training session-dealie-thingy with Brandon at the gym. He's not a personal trainer, per se. We met and discussed what my goals are: To be SKINNY again (and that does mean losing weight, in my book). He figured out what my exercise pulse should be based on my resting heartbeat/pulse. And I'm supposed to check that throughout my exercise routines. No more treadmill for 45 minutes for me. He wants me to go between the machines: treadmill, elliptical, rower and even Stairmaster (once we determined it didn't bother my knees too much). Then he took me to the weight machines and showed me how to use the ones I need. To start I'll be two sets of 12 reps and after a month move up to three sets. I am a big ol' wuss, that's all I'm going to say about the amount of weight I'll be lifting. Pathetic. And then he showed me some ab and lower back work using the big balls. Those weren't so bad. The question will be if I remember how to do them. And then it was stretches time. I really need to write them down, because I know me, I won't remember them. Thankfully, he said I could bother him anytime and he'll help me.

I'm going to try to go to the gym Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It seems (at least this week and last week) that I'm giving myself Wednesdays off, but who knows if that will continue and I'll start giving myself Thursdays off. Hard to say.

There was a step aerobics class happening in the classroom while I was there last night and I told Brandon that it was intimidating. The people in the class all seem to know what they're doing and nobody stumbles or looks foolish, whereas I'm certain I'd manage to trip over the damn step thing and fall and kill myself. He said that he's taking over the aerobics classes (scheduling of them) and that he's thinking of implementing a beginners class. That sounded good to me, because there's no way in hell I'd go to the step class that was happening yesterday. No way, Jose!

Today I'm heading straight to church after work because we have to finish our Parish Evaluation Inventory (PEI) and submit it by the end of the month. I think we got lackadaisical about it, after doing the first sections as soon as we got the crap, because we realised that it doesn't matter what we do or submit the Archdiocese of Detroit will shut us down. It's sad and depressing. I've gone through the Anger phase, perhaps by November when it happens I'll have reached Acceptance – maybe.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just value the time I have left with my beloved church family and maybe we can join up with Precious Blood and that they're equally lovely people. And actually if this merging thing means we lose MC, our pianist/choir director, I can't say it'd be all bad. The woman drives me up the bleedin' wall. She's a complete authoritarian dictator controlling know-it-all freak. And now I discover that she's writing her own Mass, which means she routinely makes us sing her version of the different parts of the Mass. We did the Lamb of God this past Sunday and it was not good. I must confess that it was not as bad as I expected it to be when I saw her name on the sheet, but I still prefer one of the traditional Lamb of Gods. She's even written her own Gloria, and I'm dreading that day. I hope she drags it out the third Sunday of March as I'll be in Mexico. ;-) According to one of the guys in the choir, it's a sign of prestige or some such thing to write your own Mass and get it played at another church. Well, I figure there's no way in Hell, it'll get played at another church (unless MC has incriminating pictures of the choir director/organist), but I'm sure she thinks she's brilliantly talented musically. Hell, she used to sing until Father told her that her talents might lie elsewhere. He's so nice. I wanted to tell her that her "singing" sounds like cats in heat fighting in the backalleys, but I'm too much of a wuss.

Now, if I could just get rid of my headache. I had one last Wednesday too, which makes no sense to me. I've already taken drugs to no avail. I hate headaches!!!

News Stories and my take on hockey (because I know you all care)

Good ol' NorthWorst is at it again. I so hope nobody is flying NWA (*snigger) this weekend as they're predicting more "un/misrouted" luggage. I guess I need to give them props for NOT our luggage during our interminable day at McNamara-ville oh so many weeks ago. Why does anybody fly them? Seriously, I'd rather fly Southwest and stop in every Plains state city than get on a "non-stop" NorthWorst flight.

At least the Archdiocese of Detroit has one radical, left-leaning Bishop. Too bad the Church is probably going to make him retire this year – can't have someone who actually thinks for himself and isn't ultra-conservative. If they close down my church I might just head over to St. Leo's. A college friend of mine goes there with his family. Speaking of church closings, we have our last meeting to finish our PEI (I don't even remember what it stands for anymore, other than Prince Edward Island) on Wednesday evening. I haven't looked at my red folder since December, but I guess I'm prepared for the inevitable. We're even having members from another church in on Saturday to meet and discuss melding our two churches together. *sigh* I'm sure they're lovely people.

And I loved this story about a man who blasts the NHL's lockout in his obituary! Good for you, Archie! I still say the best thing the owners could do is to fire Gary Bettman and for the players to fire Bob Goodenow. Then maybe some progress could be made, but I'm afraid that the season isn't worth saving at this point. A 28-game season? To determine the playoffs? Puhleeze. The teams that had the most players playing over in Europe would be set the best as their players would be in game shape. I think it could end up being a laughingstock and it's just best to come to a deal which includes canceling this season and starting up new and fresh next year – although this really sucks for players who are at the end of their careers, i.e., Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick, etc. Not to have a chance to say Good-bye would be a shame for the players themselves (not to be able to thank the fans) and for the fans. At the very least, a Farewell Game should be planned a la the Russian tradition which is just a brilliant idea!

Well, yesterday the NHLPA (Players' Union) finally gave in on the salary cap and suggested a $52 million cap. The owners have said all along that they wanted a $40 million cap. Hmmm, that's a $12 million difference. Now, normal people would say, Okay, we're as close as we've been in years, let's split the difference and make it a $46 million cap. But no, the owners came back with a firm (they say) $42.5 million and the NHLPA counteroffered with $49 million. *sigh* Give me a break, people!!!! SAVE THE GAME!!!!! I don't really care about the season at this point, because I really think a 28-game season to set up the Stanley Cup playoffs to be a tad ridiculous, but I really think that if they don't do it today (deadline 11:00 a.m., with press conference set up at 1:00 p.m. EST by the idiot Gary Bettman to announce the cancellation of the season), I fear that they won't continue to negotiate and they won't start up again until the 2005-06 season is supposed to start and it'll be déjà vu all over again!

Of course, I found myself watching an OLD Tigers last night, so I guess I'll take a lame-ass 28-game season. The TV Guide channel (it's Comcast so why do I think it's accurate?) told me there was going to be Classic NHL on, but it was "Classic" baseball. I really don't think that a Tigers game from last year can be considered Classic. I'm assuming they chose a game that the Tigers won, but I didn't stick with it that long. It's sad but with no hockey I am actually looking forward to the baseball season!!!! That hasn't happened in a good 20-25 years. Sad.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Monday Stuff

I received two e-mails over the weekend which affected me. One was from the friend for whom I had made my first non-scarf knitted project, i.e., the hat. He really liked the hat and the scarf, so that made me very happy. There's nothing quite like being told "You rock!"

The second one was from Clarity and she said that she had written two entries for that day which was her one year anniversary with Diaryland and she hadn't decided which entry to post – the one where she said good-bye or the one where she doesn't say good-bye. I'm very glad to report that she decided to stick with Diaryland. I didn't have time to write her back and let her know that I hoped she stuck with it. She's the first person I read every day after reading my know-in-person friends, and I would have missed her daily writings terribly. She inspires me to try and write more fulfilling entries. I have been worrying about writing too much from my heart and soul and who was reading what I wrote, instead of just writing what I would write if it were my paper diary. Although I have to say that I don't think I'm going there. I find that I only write in my notebook journal when I'm severely depressed or upset about something or other.

I used to exchange e-mails every day with my friend Paula, but she's been just beyond swamped at work for the past 6-8 months and it seems like it's the way of the future for her. I really miss writing to her and boring her (instead of you guys) with the blow-by-blow details of my life, and of course, getting her replies and hearing how her family is doing. It seems like all of my non-Michigan friends are very very busy and it makes me sad that I don't hear from them like I used to. I guess I'll have to get a life of my own, but how do I do that? I got one phone call this weekend (starting Friday evening) that I did not initiate (i.e., I called first) and I actually made more phone calls than the one, but nobody else returned my call. And the one phone call I got was from my sister telling me that my Mom has shingles, so that was a joyous message.

I called Mom Saturday morning to see how she was doing (I may have a cell phone but I don't like to answer it while driving the Southfield at 75 mph or when I'm out to dinner with friends, so I didn't get the message until 11:30 p.m.) and she is in a whole lot of pain. She made wincing noises throughout our conversation while I verified that she didn't need anything. The doctor gave her Vicodin but it wasn’t really helping so I told her that when I had my neck issues that my prescription said I could take 1-2 tablets as needed, so she should call her sister the pharmacist and see if that was okay for her. I think the reason 2 Vicodins help is that it just puts you to sleep so you don't realise you're in pain. I know when I would take 2, I would sit at my desk and just fight sleep. When I talked to Mom yesterday to see if she wanted her Girl Scout cookies (which I picked up for her at church), she said No, it's Lent, so they're just going in the freezer and she said that she talked to her sister and she could take 2 at a time (not exceeding 8 in a 24 hours period), and that she did, but all she did was sleep. I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I told her it was her body's way of telling her she needed some rest (the woman NEVER rests). And miracle of miracles, she did not go to work this morning. She was in too much pain, so she called the doctor who was going to call in a different painkiller prescription for her and my cousin (her nephew and Godson) was going to pick it up. Of course, when my brother talked to her she wasn't in as much pain, so she was thinking she should go in. Even when God smites her down with shingles, the woman thinks that she must work. I wonder if I can shackle her to her bed. Or is that parental abuse?

And now, time for a survey I stole from Urs.

It's called the ABC Survey (as in The Alphabet, not the TV station):

A - Accent: Technically, Michigan, but have been told I don't sound like a true Michigander.
B - Breast size: I'm not sure anybody really needs this information.
C - Chore you hate: Dusting and vacuuming
D - Dad's name: Jackass (but only because it's Lent and I've given up the F-word)
E - Essential make-up item: Mascara
F - Favorite perfume: Vanilla from The Body Shop or Tuscany
G - Gold or silver: Silver, White Gold
H - Hometown: Redford
I - Insomnia: Only on Sunday nights, seems I stress about going back to work.
J - Job title: Engineering Coordinator
K - Kids: Two cats, Boris and Igor
L - Living arrangements: Live with Boris and Igor in my lovely 1100 sq ft apartment built by Henry Ford for his employees way back in the 19-teens.
M - Mum's birthplace: Detroit, MI
N - Number of apples you've eaten: Today? None. Over my lifetime? Like I counted.
O - Overnight hospital stays: One, although it wasn't supposed to be. My surgery was scheduled for 1:00 p.m., but didn't happen until 11:00 p.m. (if I remember correctly), so they just kept me until morning.
P - Phobia: Ladders
R - Religious affiliation: Roman Catholic
S - Siblings: We're Catholic, I have lots of siblings: two brothers, two sisters
T - Time you wake up: I snoozed a little long today and got up at 5:00 a.m.
U - Unnatural hair colors you've worn: None
V - Vegetable you refuse to eat: Lima beans
W - Worst habit: Procrastinating at work
X - X-rays you've had: Right foot baby toe, both feet, both knees, ribs, neck, MRI
Y - Yummy foods you make: I make a killer grilled cheese, but if they're talking real food: Onion Soup, vegetarian stuffing every Thanksgiving.
Z - Zodiac sign: Leo.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

2004 Pop Song

I'm crazy busy today, so have fun with this quiz that I stole from Glen.

100 Years by Five for Fighting

"Every day's a new day...
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live"

2004 was about thinking and reflecting - but isn't every year?

I'm just glad I had heard of Five for Fighting. I guess I should start listening to the radio again!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ash Wednesday, and I have no ashes

Today is Clean Up Day here at the office. I have to go through my desk (i.e., all the blasted papers I have on top of it) and get rid of stuff I don't need. The engineers are also supposed to get rid of parts they no longer need. My cubemate is already at work cleaning up his area and making me feel guilty, especially since I'm just wasting time and not actually working.

The walk in this morning was quite treacherous, as all concrete and asphalt was covered in black ice. I could have fallen with every step I took. The first one was on the step leading to the sidewalk, and I just chalked it up to the paint on the step which makes it a little slick when it rains. Well, when I hit the sidewalk I figured out that it wasn't the paint's fault, it was the fact that it was misting and it was 20˚F, so when it hit the ground it formed this very thin layer of ice. NOT FUN - that's all I have to say. And now it's snowing. DAMN! I know I live in Michigan and it's expected, but it doesn't mean I have to like it, right? I really need to move somewhere warm.

Back in 1996 I had moved to San Francisco thinking that it would be paradise. It's not. Sure, it doesn't get snow or 20˚F, as a general rule, but it also doesn't get what I consider to be a normal summer (80-90˚F and sun). I actually wore my gloves year-round (except maybe late September and early October). That damn fog is freaking bone-chilling! And after four years I figured out that I like summer a whole lot more than I hate winter, so I came back. I can see why people live in Arizona.

Today is Ash Wednesday and already I've blown the not-swearing Lenten sacrifice. I shall try harder. And for the record, I'm not giving up all swearing, just the grand-daddies (the "F" word and the G-D words). Bloody hell is not swearing in my book! ;-) I am going to fast today though, and not the wimpy Catholic fasting (small something for breakfast, small something for lunch, and then a small dinner which is not to exceed the total of breakfast and lunch), but really not eating today (well, at least until dinner, because I made dinner plans last week before I realised what day it was, but I'm only going to have a small salad or something like that). I am drinking tea and water though, so I'm not doing a Ramadan type fast.

I finally finished reading Justine the other day, which means that I shall finally give you all the list of words I had to look up (I know you've all been dying for this list). Please remember that the dictionary used was a Random House College Dictionary with a copyright of 1975.

hebetude = the state of being dull or listless; lethargy
tarbush (tarboosh in my dictionary) = A tasseled cloth or felt cap worn by Muslim men
caryatids = a sculptured female figure used as a column
fatidic = prophetic
parturition = childbirth
narguileh = hookah
Swedenborg = Emanuel, 1688-1772, Swedish scientist & philosopher
refecundated = re-fertilize
planchette = small, heart-shaped board supported by two castors and a pencil or stylus which when moved across a surface by the light unguided pressure of the fingertips is supposed to trace meaningful patterns or written messages revealing subconscious thoughts, clairvoyant messages, etc.
scarp = line of cliffs formed by the faulting or fracturing of the earth's crust

Favorite quote from Justine: "Speaking about his marriage, Pursewarden wrote, 'I found that as well as displeasing another I also displeased myself; now, alone, I have only myself to displease. Joy!'"

I definitely feel that at some point I shall have to re-read it in a not so haphazard manner to understand it a bit more fully and I shall not move on to the next book in the Quartet (I hope) until I re-read it. I need to read something a little less esoteric before I go back to it. I'm now reading The Queen of the South by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. I found that he has written yet another book, so I had to get moving on this one. I've read all his others in order (not that they need to be, mind you) and I didn't want to get out of synch. If you have never read him, I highly recommend The Flanders Panel and The Club Dumas, as well as his others, but those were my favorites. The Club Dumas was made into the movie, The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp.

Two websites related to snowflakes were brought to my attention this week: one from Ursamajor and this one from Julie. Both are cool in their own ways, although Ursa's is more fun as you get to make your own snowflakes! Talk about a lovely timewaster!

Okay, time to get serious and clean up this mess of a desk! Happy Ash Wednesday, all!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Weekends, Movies and Lent

I had a very good weekend. Nothing spectacular, but it was a good one. Friday I slept in (as I'm wont to do) but made sure I was up in enough time to pack up the items I needed to mail and be on time for the Yoga class. I was very nervous about it as I really had no clue what Yoga is about. I was there in plenty of time (as usual for me) and had time to get even more nervous. It went well though, my very first yoga class of my life. And I liked it well enough that when the instructor announced at the end of class that he would be teaching another class Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. that I took note. After yoga, I went and signed up for a one-on-one training session. That's where one of the gym employees comes up with a workout regimen (I think that's what happens at any rate) for you. They ask what you want to accomplish and they take you around the gym and show you how the machines work. Essentially anything that helps me be skinny again, I'm up for. I'm tired of pushing maximum density in my fat jeans.

After yoga, I went to the post office and sent off my packages to various locations. Then it was off to PetSmart (cat food and litter) and Target to spend massive amounts of money on workout clothes, slips, spatulas, contact solution, pain relievers, allergy pills and essential amino acids. I didn't buy any DVDs! I didn't even let myself look at them. I then had something to eat (ramen noodles) and went back to the gym where I did 45 minutes on the treadmill and stretched. I went to bed early since I'm a wuss and I wanted to get up early for the 8:30 yoga class. Yup, I went. Can you believe it? Let's see how long I keep up this diligent gym-going though. I really want to be serious about this and do what I can to work off my fat ass. After yoga, I cruised home and showered, because I had a massage scheduled for 11:00 a.m. After the massage, I went to the Plymouth yarn store to check out their yarns and figure out what I wanted to buy at the Super Bowl Sale on Sunday. Well, once I got there I decided I really didn't want to go back the next day, especially as they couldn't tell us what was going to be on sale. I was only there because I had a gift certificate that I had to use up by the end of the month. After two hours of not really finding anything I had to have and wishing I had a $65.00 GC to Threadbear and complaining about how much I hate the Plymouth store I finally just grabbed enough Katia Scotch Tweed to use up the GC and left.

Saturday night was Knitting Club so I took the yarn with me along with my two pattern books and asked if Soyon could help me figure out what to make. I want to make a sweater I tell her. She went through my books and determined that I could make the last one in my Knitting Simple Sweaters from Luxurious Yarns if I have more yardage. ARGH! You know what that means. Yup, a trip to the hellhole that is the Plymouth yarn store on Super Bowl Sunday – something I had wished to avoid. I was determined to get there first, grab the # of balls I needed and get the hell out of there, so as soon as Mass was over I said Good-bye to Mom, said Yes, I have a hot date and peeled out of the parking lot with Iggy Pop blaring on the stereo. I got to the store within 20 minutes (by 11:15 with the doors to open at noon). I had been smart enough to bring a book, so I kept my eye on the people who pulled into the parking lot and the woman next to me who had beat me there (she has less of a life than I do!). Finally at 11:45, she got out of her car and the rest of us followed. I was second in line. The doors opened a touch before noon and I went straight to the lying on its side milk crate type yarn holder and found one ball of the yarn I needed (but ten others hit the floor – reason #1 why I hate that damn store). Bloody hell, I say. A store employee asked me if I needed anything and I said, Yes, I need four more of these. She goes in the back and comes back with an unopened bag of my yarn. YAY!!! I grab them, hit the checkout counter. I was the first person to check out and I was on Hines Drive by 12:05 p.m. Pretty damn good, I must say. Now to get up the nerve to start that damn sweater. ;-)

I watched five movies this weekend. Friday I watched Beetlejuice (yes, I know, everybody else saw it years ago. I'm telling you I'm behind in my movie watching) and I thought it was okay. I thought I would hate it and I didn't so that's cool. I loved Winona Ryder in it! Loved her goth look!!! Saturday I watched Like Water for Chocolate. A very good movie, but damn that mother was a bitch from hell!!!! Sunday I watched The Shipping News. It was an interesting movie starring Kevin Spacey, Dame Judi Dench and Julianne Moore. I wanted to love this movie, but I didn't. I didn't hate, but I didn't love it. I think it's another film that shows Kevin Spacey's range, and there was great potential for it to be extremely tragic (which I'm thankful it wasn't), but I'm just not sure how I felt about it. I'm not sure I would recommend it to anybody because it is so unique and I'd hate someone coming back and saying, How could you recommend that movie, it sucked. If you like different movies about small Newfoundland towns, and if you love Kevin Spacey, then I'd say, check it out. If you are a fan of mindless comedies and don't really like thinking about your movies, don't waste your time.

After Kevin Spacey's foray into Newfoundland, I wanted something a little more light-hearted, so I broke into my Audrey Hepburn boxset and watched Sabrina. And after that I watched the audio commentary with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke on the 40th anniversary DVD of Mary Poppins. I noticed they also have a Pop-Up version to watch, so I think I'll watch that next. I loved Bravo's (or was it A&E's) pop-up version of Willie Wonka and The Breakfast Club, so I'm hoping there are lots of cool tidbits of information forthcoming.

Last night at dinner I was talking about the movies I watched and it turned out all three of my dinner companions had seen The Shipping News and thought it was good, if a little weird and different. One person commented on how Kevin Spacey's character, Quoyle, seemed actually stupid in the first half of the movie but by the end he was a newspaper columnist and quite popular in his little town. I thought about it and came up with this response (belatedly): I think it's a clear indication of how a father's view of his child can color that child well into adulthood and it takes signs of approval, shows of trust in the person's ability to contribute to succeed. Quoyle's father had belittled him and used his own version of "tough love" which backfired. Some people can thrive in that situation, but others withdraw into themselves when faced with constant criticism and I think that was the character's problem. And once his father died and his aunt showed him true tough love along with the quirky townsfolk that he was able to come into his own. At any rate, that's my take on The Shipping News.

I didn't go to the gym last night but I did get on my stupid stationary bike and ride it for 20 miles (a little over an hour). Man, I hate that thing. I much prefer the treadmill at the gym (which I never expected to say) as it doesn't hurt my knees like the bike does. Still, I did exercise and that's what matters. Today is gym day with my workout partner. I'm hoping we can get there shortly after 4:00 and grab a treadmill for 45 minutes. I find it's a better workout than just walking as it makes you maintain your pace.

Today is Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Paczki (pronounced PUnchki) Day, Carnavale, etc. And I have no great and fabulous plans. I didn't even get a Paczki! What the hell is up with that??? The plans I do have are attending lame-ass all hands meeting (I did bring my knitting), going to the gym, and then to go Ursamajor's for a Body Shop party. I hope she has Paczkis, or at least something sweet and fattening since tomorrow starts the ascetic's life for me. I'm giving up candy, desserts (anything along that line), fast food, take-out pizza, alcohol (except when out with Martha but as she's probably only going to be home two or so weekends during Lent, that's not too bad - she makes me promise that it doesn't count when with her, so that's kind of a Giving Up thing too) and I'm going to try to tone down my swearing. It's going to be a rough 40 days!!! And at some point I'll have to get to the grocery store as I have next to no food in my house.

It's a tad boring here today as half of my department is out of town. And it's really really quiet. Maybe I'll walk over to the good candy room and see if there are Heath bars. Gotta pig out as much as possible today since tomorrow we deny ourselves….

Monday, February 07, 2005

Part 2 of the Vacation - and No Survey

Time for Part II of Kathleen's First January Vacation Ever. Sunday in New Orleans. I had never been to NO before our eventful trip so I appreciated the chance we had to head downtown and see what it's all about. And it was close to Mardi Gras, so there was stuff happening, but not so close that there was naked drunkenness everywhere we looked. And for that I was quite thankful. It was basically a day of shopping. We wandered around the open air market and Julie and I both bought a "Magic" scarf. We looked at it and after finding out that they were $9 or 2 for $14 (plus tax) we each got one as we couldn't have bought the yarn for that price!!! It was a cold cold day in NO, not as cold as in Detroit, but a good thirty degrees colder than it had been the day before. We were all very very glad that we had decided against leaving our winter coats in the cars in Detroit. I also found new pink sunglasses, so I was happy. I am normally not a pink person at all, but I love pink sunglasses. Of course I managed to crack them this past Friday while at Target, but they still work and the crack is to the side, so I hope they'll last a touch longer. This is why I only ever pay $5 for sunglasses!!!!

There were two shops in NO that I just loved. The first was called Gargoyles and I wanted a pair of black leather Chuck Taylor-like shoes with a red skull on them (go to page 2 of the Men's Shoes and it's the top right shoe), but they just weren't comfortable. I was so bummed. This is a GOTH store, people! And I was the only one who didn't buy anything there!!! All the Women's shoes had these huge-ass heels and I'm afraid that my feet just don't like those anymore. Getting old is a bitch!!! The other store that I loved loved loved is called Trashy Diva and they sold real steel-boned corsets there. No, that's not why I loved it. They make them 6" SMALLER than your natural waist! SIX INCHES!!! That's freaking insane!!! Besides insane female torture devices pawned off as underwear, they sold the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen in my life!!!! And oh dear heavens, I can buy on-line??? And they're having a sale??? I'm now in trouble. ;-)

Anyway, I bought the Monroe dress and the Velvet Starlet dress (website is set up with windows, so links didn't work). I wore the first one on the ship for Formal Night and I think I'll be much happier in it once I lose a little weight. And to that end I joined the gym last week. I have an appointment with a trainer next week to help me work out a regimen to help me achieve my goal of losing weight, toning up and losing my freaking much hated J-Lo ass.

Anyway, for me the day in NO was a total success. Two new beautiful classic black dresses that I will be able to wear forever and a new fun scarf (because you can never have too many scarves). And my two favorite stores have websites. What more do I need in life? ;-)

We had a substandard dinner in NO as we were back to the hotel and didn't want to venture back downtown and I have this desire NOT to eat at chain restaurants when I'm in other states/cities. For the record, not a whole lot open on a Sunday night in Metairie, LA, other than chain restaurants. We ate at this place with two men's names and although my eggplant parm was fine, others were not as pleased with their meals.

Monday found us back at the airport and looking at the Security line that was about a mile long. We all got a little nervous, but it moved quickly. The flight from NO to Houston was uneventful, but I almost broke into hives when they announced that the George Bush International Airport welcomed us. *shudder* We had an hour wait there, but our second flight of the day (to Cozumel) was uneventful. We found a taxi driver that spoke English (not that we needed one since we had Tony) and he was very sweet and dropped us off second (the first stop was on the way to our ship, so it worked). Once we get to the port we find out that the only way to the pier and the ship is to wend our way through this PITA concourse filled shops and stupid tourists who can see that we're dressed for cold weather (I was carrying my winter jacket) and pulling suitcases. Talk about incredibly rude and stupid people. I was ready to whack their ankles with my rolling bag! They would just stop dead in the middle of the concourse and gaze about themselves stupidly while we have 45 minutes before our bloody ship sails w/o us – again! We made it though – no thanks to stupid, inconsiderate ugly Americans whose insteps I'd dearly love to stomp. And no thanks to Royal Caribbean who couldn't be bothered to show us how to get to the Purser's Desk so that we could check in or take us to our cabins. It was one extremely exhausting day! Although somehow I did find the energy after dinner to go dancing with the rest of the La Quinta Sueve [you'll have to scroll down to the February 2, 2005 post] (or Seis, depending on the proficiency of your Spanish) other refugees from Flight 1487 (I think that was the number of the canceled-let's-sit-on-the-tarmac-for-five-hours flight)

The next day we were in Georgetown, Grand Cayman where we had a Cockatoo Catamaran trip scheduled. We tendered in to port and first thing we saw was a Hard Rock so we made a foray there so that Julie could get her Dad a shot glass. We owed him big time for the hotel rooms. We wasted an hour so wandering some shops until it was time to join up with the other intrepid souls who signed up for the swimming with the sting rays catamaran ride. All I can say about this trip is that it ROCKED!!! I can't tell you how cool it was! I was the second one in the water (some guy closer to the ladder beat me to it, although I had started for the ladder before him) and I eagerly grabbed a piece of frozen slimy squid and held it in my fist being very careful to keep my thumb down as I had been warned so that the sting ray would try to eat my thumb along with the frozen slimy squid. She didn't get my thumb, but she did try to take my finger off at the third knuckle. I yanked my hand back and was the proud owner of a sting ray hickey on the forefinger of my right hand. I was a tad leery about feeding them after that, until I figured out that the trick is not to be like an iceberg – i.e., put more of the frozen, slimy squid out of the fist than in the fist. Worked brilliantly once I got the nerve up to try it again. I was, however, not in the least bit leery of holding the sting rays or even kissing them. I can't wait to see the pics, although I know I am not looking like an SI swimsuit model in the pics. I KISSED a STING RAY! You have no clue how freaking cool it was! By the end of the hour or so that we were in the water, I had even caught my own sting ray (the catamaran people usually catching them and passing them along to us) and kissed it. I have had a number of people (more than I would have thought) turn their noses up and look at me as if I had lost my mind when I said that I kissed them, and I really thought it was the coolest freaking thing! If I ever go to Grand Cayman again, you can bet I'll be out there at Sting Ray City kissing as many as I can find!

The day after Grand Cayman we were in Costa Maya, a port built specifically for cruise ships. We took a four hour trek to Chacchoben a Mayan site discovered in 1999. I was bummed because all the pyramids were blocked off and you couldn't climb to the top of any of them. I've climbed the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan and I wanted to add to my pyramid count. I can now say that I've seen pyramids at Teotihuacan, Giza and Chacchoben, but only climbed one, been inside another and gazed at the third. Not quite the same grab, you know? Of course, there were completely jackasses in our group who pretended they didn't know the ropes meant Stay Off and had to be yelled at by our tour guide.

After the tour we had a little time to buy goodies, so I went through the area looking for an obsidian Chac Mool. I was also quite annoyed that one of the T-shirts for Costa Maya had the Aztec Calendar on it. Um no, this is Costa MAYA, not Costa Azteca! I was using my Spanish fairly well, but had to get Tony to help me at one point. The people didn't have an obsidian Chac Mool but they must have thought I didn't actually know what obsidian looked like because they showed me one made of onyx. I let them know that I wasn't stupid and knew the difference between onxy and obsidian, but that didn't stop them from trying again.

I left w/o buying anything there, thinking for some reason that the people at the port would be more reasonable. LOL! I'm so funny. They were vultures!!! And all smoking crack, too! I mean their prices were ridiculous! You would have thought you were in some high-end Manhattan shop. I was looking at this small pendant with onyx and not a lot of silver. They weigh it like they're giving me good value for my money and then tell me it's $40. I about swallowed my tongue. I may be American and I may be a tourist, but I'm not stupid or rich. I moved on. I finally found my obsidian Chac and the guy selling it was smoking the same crack pipe as everybody else. I heard what he said in Spanish, but my mind couldn't grasp what he was telling me so I had him tell me in English. Yup, I translated it correctly. He wanted $125 for this not overly large Chac. Again, not stupid or rich! I told him No, thanks, but he was determined to sell it. He told me to tell him my price. I told him that I did not want to insult him with what I was willing to spend, but after five minutes, I told him that I had been looking to spend $25, not ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY FIVE! After me threatening to walk away a number of times (not trying to haggle, but actually trying to leave) he told me that I could have the bigger one (he had taken me to a smaller one for $25) for $30. I figured that was more my price range, so I agreed. As I'm leaving with my booty, he asks me for a tip. SAY WHAT!!! A tip for what? I tell him that I have nothing smaller than a $20 and there's no way he's getting that! His response? Let's go find your friend, perhaps she has a dollar for me. I'm telling you that they're all smoking crack! As I was walking away (with him leading me toward my friend), one of his friends told me I should give Tip Boy my hat. I looked at him with my mouth agape. Yeah, that's right, I'm going to give my $20 Randy Owens cap to some crazy Mexican! I don't think so!!! My friend had wisely disappeared and then sent Glen back to find me, so I escaped giving him a tip which I wasn't going to give to him anyway! Hell, even at $30 the Chac was overpriced, so he got his tip.

I'm hoping to go to Mexico City in November for the Champ Car race and I know I'll be able to find some silver jewelry there for more reasonable prices. Fewer turistas so there won't be so much crack smoking! At least, I hope so!

The last two days of vacation were spent on the ship and I lazed around in the sun working on my impressive tan (get off my back, people, I'm a redhead!!! We don't tan!) and walking the deck with Tony and playing Scrabble. It was a nice relaxing way to spend two days, although the second half of the second day (Friday, for those trying to keep track of days) the water got rough and even I, who has never been motion sick ever before in my life, felt nauseous. It didn't keep me from eating dinner, mind you, but all of us, except Glen, got a ginger ale with dinner. A Vernor's would have been perfect, but since Vernor's is pretty much a Michigan thing we knew it wasn't going to happen. All in all, it was a good trip, in the end…and until the end when I got the voicemail message from Darrell from TUESDAY saying, "Where are your car keys? Your car has been 'tagged' and I have to move it." I got a little hot under the collar, let me tell you. I called Darrell and found out that all was fine, but I was still very ticked off.

Let me explain my parking situation to you. We have no parking, except for street parking (and not enough of that). I had parked my car on Friday after doing my running around and bathing suit shopping and thought I was good to go. Ha! We got the huge snowstorm on Saturday and even though the city declared a State of Emergency, the cops know we have no parking and they don't usually bother us since it's just ourselves we're screwing by not moving the cars while the snowplows block us in. I guess Chris called the cops about the Mustang that had not moved in over a year (closer to 16 months) and the cop got a little overzealous and tagged any car that hadn't moved since the storm. THIS WAS MONDAY! THREE FREAKING DAYS and my car is declared abandoned. I was pissed. The cop also tagged Chris' car and you know he didn't call on himself! I was thankful that Darrell found my car keys and moved my car, but I was still pissed off. And even better, it was not a ticket, so I don't have to take a day off work to fight it, because I would have.

So, that's my vacation and then some.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Beginning of Trip and a Survey

15˚F – Yup, that was the temp when I walked in today (Wednesday). I think it was 17˚F yesterday. Darn friggin' cold! That's all I have to say. And my brand new scarf from New Orleans is not toasty warm in 15˚F as it was in 45˚F. I still love it, but it's a wuss scarf compared to my others, but then again NO has wuss weather compared to Detroit's.

There's so much to tell about my week away, but I don't know where to begin. I could begin with how hectic my Friday was as I hadn't even started packing and I needed a new bathing suit. I left work right at 2:00 (I was in at 5:30, so don't worry I didn't cheat the company) and went straight to Mervyn's [once I walked home to my car – I did not pass Go (i.e., go into the house) or collect $200 – I got right in the car and headed off] and tried on their lame collection of bathing suits. No luck, so I went to Target where I had pretty good luck and got two new suits. I was looking for some other sundries but, as always, my Target did not have what I needed. I find all sorts of stuff there I don't need, but rarely have luck finding exactly what I went for.

After Target I went straight home and got moving on the packing. Thursday night I had packed up my knitting so that I would not be tempted to sit and knit. It took me forever to pack as I was not sure what to take with me. We were going to have two Formal Nights, two Semi-Formal nights, a smart casual and a casual night for dinner, at least in theory. I did take a break from packing to meet up with my friend Martha for drinks and some food though. She was in town for the weekend from working in Mexico – she picked a shitty weekend to leave Mexico and come to Detroit, though, that's all I have to say!

Friday was a bitterly cold day with temps near zero Fahrenheit (if I remember correctly) and then Saturday we got the actually predicted amount of snow (a foot). I wouldn't have left the house at all if I hadn't had an airline ticket to NO to catch a ship to warmer climes. As it was, I got up around 5:30 and was all ready to go by 6:30, including the last minute packing (deodorant, make-up, etc.). And for once, the bloody weather forecasters were right. The boatload of snow they predicted was actually happening. You know, I wonder when Michigan will figure this winter thing out. Mountainous amounts of snow on Saturdays are NOT appreciated!! Why can't we get it on a workday???? Not that my company ever closes. What we do is much too important to mind risking our employees lives and cars in a little bit of snow. NOT!

Saturday was an interesting day, to say the least. We got to the airport and since we had all checked-in online the day before we just had to check our luggage in. It was done quickly and relatively easily and we all made it through security although my knitting bag got pegged and had to go through the scanner a second time, and I think Suzy's and Amy's knitting bags also got an extra look. However, they didn't catch the tiny scissors in my travel sewing kit. Of course, that wasn't as bad as last September when I went to Vegas for the Champ Car race. I had the paring knife in my carry-on and they didn't catch that. Makes you feel all safe and warm and cozy inside doesn't all that Security!

Well, it's now Thursday and I haven't posted in quite a while, have I? Today's walk-in-to-work-weather was supposedly 20˚F, but it seemed colder. Have I mentioned that I'm tired of being cold? I thought the trip had warmed me up sufficiently as the walk into work on Monday hadn't seemed bad, but I guess it was just warmer. Ah, winter in Michigan.

Back to Saturday, long story short, our 9:27 a.m. flight never took off. We got on the plane late (thanks to a mechanical problem that caused it to be late coming in from LaGuardia) and then sat on that blasted POS plane for five hours as NorthWorst lived up to its name (and reputation, at least here in Detroit, and probably in Minneapolis). We had to get de-iced. I was cool with that since I could see ice formed on the wing, but the damn de-icing machine ran out of de-icing fluid halfway through so it took twice as long as it should have, and then we found out that our brakes froze up during the de-icing process. And for some reason the plane to our right also had brake problems and even though we had been there first (I don't know why, but I'm a firm believer in First Come, First Served, but that's apparently just me), the mysterious "they" decided to work on the other plane's brakes first. Theirs come unstuck and they take off. We're next, or so we think. They work and work and work on our brakes and then we all hear and feel this HUGE thunk and we think we're golden. Ah, but we would be wrong. Because now we have to go through de-icing again as we had been there so freaking long. *sigh* And that means they turn the plane off (read: no air) so that the plane doesn't suck the vile smelling de-icing fluid into the plane (it smells like when you add windshield wiper fluid to the reservoir, but no matter how careful you are you spill some and then it's piped into the car because you have the heater going) which it does anyway. The second de-icing is finally finished and the pilot announces that we'll be taking off soon. We had a bunch of cynics on the plane though and they expressed their disbelief in no uncertain terms. Well, they were right. A few moments later, the pilot comes on and informs us that the control tower had to be evacuated due to smoke or some such thing (turns out some jackass spilled cleaning solutions and caused fumes to go throughout the control tower). The air traffic controllers had to run (they were probably actually driven there) from the brand new tower to the old one and the entire airport was shut down. Talk about good times!!!!

When the tower finally re-opened, the pilot informed us that due to FAA regulations we had to go back to the gate. He said it was because any plane that sat on the tarmac for so many hours (we were out there for FIVE, count them FIVE, hours with no food or liquids) had to return to the gate. I think it was more along the lines that the flight crew is only allowed to "work" for 8 hours and the trip to New Orleans at 2 hours would put them over the allowed time limit. So, we turned around and went back to the terminal where we had to wait an additional chunk of time for a plane to leave a gate as we had no assigned gate. People were quite edgy by this time, as there were a total of 30 people on that plane trying to get to the same cruise ship. To save you the tension, I'll tell you outright, we didn't make the ship. It sailed without all 30 of us (plus another 70 or so from other flights and locations).

You like how I'm making this long story short??? Okay, I'm really going to now. After much hassle and many cell phone calls (Julie is the master of cell phones – she had two going at once – BRILLIANT!), we got on a plane to New Orleans (as that's where our luggage was already (supposedly, but Julie saw it being put on our plane) and it finally took off a mere twelve hours after our original flight was due to take off. The issue of catching up with the ship had been taken care of by the lone nice NorthWorst employee and Julie's dad was the Hero of the Day and got us rooms at La Quinta about 15 minutes from the airport where Suzy and I collapsed and went directly to bed while the others needed food more than sleep. I think I was asleep five minutes after I crawled into bed.

I'll tell you all about Sunday in my next entry, but I'll just say it was a good day in NO. And it didn't hurt that we found out (much after the fact) that the Day at Sea that we were missing was cold and rough with 15 ft. waves and lots of seasickness.

My brother sent me a survey, so I'm inflicting yet another one on you!

1. What time did you get up today? 4:45 am (this was Tuesday)

2. If you could eat lunch with one person, who would it be? Martha, since she's abandoned me and gone to Mexico for 8 months.

3. Gold or silver? Silver, of course!

4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Shrek2 (unless you count Mr. 3000 on the cruise ship last week – it was in a theatre.

5. What is/are your favorite TV show(s)? M*A*S*H, Sports Night, MacGyver, The Pretender, Highlander: The Series

6. Who would you hate to be stuck in a room with? I shall plead the 5th.

7. Who inspires you? Clarity

8. What is your middle name? Marie

9. Favorite ice cream? Crème de Novi and Mother Lode

10. Butter or Plain popcorn? Real Butter, not that butter semi-flavored grease you get at the movie theatre.

11. Favorite color? Black

12. Favorite sandwich? PB & Lettuce

13. What characteristics do you despise? Passive aggressiveness

14. Favorite flower? Gerbera Daisies

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would you go? Sweden, Spain, Egypt, Peru, Mexico

16. What color is your bathroom? White

17. Where would you like to retire? Somewhere warm

18. Favorite day of the week? Friday (although when Martha isn't in Mexico, I really like Thursdays).

19. What did you do for your last birthday? Had a birthday party thrown by friends, went to Chicago to see Super Diamond, went to the bar with a bunch of friends (I believe in celebrating for at least a week).

20. Where were you born? Livonia, MI

21. Favorite sport to watch? Champ Car and hockey

24. What fabric detergent do you use? All Free

25. Coke or Pepsi? Vernor's

26. Morning person or Night Owl? Day Person

27. Who sent this to you? Michael, my favorite little brother

28. What are you reading? Justine by Lawrence Durrell and The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer

29. Favorite movie? Sliding Doors, Ever After, most anything by Alfred Hitchcock

30. George Clooney or Brad Pitt? George Clooney is definitely hotter! And as far as I know has never hooked up with Angelina Jolie which is a non-starter in my book!

31. Favorite Food? Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Veggie Mushroom 'n Swiss burger from Red Robin. Ethnic wise: Mexican, Indian, Sushi.

32. Favorite clothing store? Chico's and Mervyn's

33. Favorite adult beverage? Guinness

34. Favorite art to buy: Stuff with an ancient history trend to them, i.e., Egyptian and/or Pre-Columbian.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I'm back from vacation but too busy to write a real entry

1: Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says:
Line 4 reads: "…domestic inadequacy, my hopelessness over clothes and food…"

2: Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?:
Pile of papers on my desk.

3: What is the last thing you watched on TV?:
The Wrong Man by Alfred Hitchcock (my cable company turned my cable off while I was gone, even though they get paid every month automatically, so I had to watch a movie).

4: WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what the time is:
3:12 p.m..

5: Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?:
2:44 p.m. – shit, that's an extra half hour I have to be here.

6: With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?:
People talking.

7: When did you last step outside? what were you doing?:
5:45 a.m., walking to work this morning.

8: Before you came to this website, what did you look at?:

9: What are you wearing?:
Black Traveller's Tunic Top and Pants from Chico's, all black Chucks

10: Did you dream last night?:

11: When did you last laugh really hard?:
On the plane sitting on the tarmac in Detroit. I listened to a woman introduce herself and her husband in this way (names changed to protect the moronic), "Oh hi, I'm Jane, this is my husband John. We're the Does." I mean, really, who the fuck introduces themselves thusly???

12: What is on the walls of the room you are in?:
Walls? How about cubicle? Pictures of me with nieces, nephews, mom, brother, my friend Jody (and the Stanley Cup). Pics of Pupo aka Roberto Moreno, my friend Steve in his racing gear, Jeremy McGrath, Igor Larionov, and a classic pic from the 1960s of Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney, James Garner and Richie Ginther.

13: Seen anything weird lately?:
White trash women with Bahamian braids (should never ever be done)

14: what do you think of this quiz?:
Different than most, except for the "What are you wearing" question.

15: What is the last film you saw?:
The Wrong Man

16: If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?:
Get my mom her dream house and out of the POS condo from hell.

17: Tell me something about you that I don't know:
Polar bears are my favorite animal (although rhinos are a very very very very close second).

18: If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?:
Smack all morons upside their respective heads. That includes stupid politicians, terrorists and anybody else I deem in need of a good "upside the head."

19: Do you like to dance?:
I used to live to dance!

20: Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?:
I've never actually found a girl's name that I like all that well.

21: Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?:
Ian or Andrew – but as I'm never having children, these last two questions are moot.

22: Would you ever consider living abroad?:

23: are you hot?
I have my portable heater on…