Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Day 57 at home with shingles

Well, I'm still at home and recovering from the shingles. I have gone a full 24-hours w/o a pain pill. That's not completely true, it's been over 24 hours since I took one, but at 4:00 p.m. today, my body will be painkiller free for 24 hours, provided I make it that long. I did use a pain patch last night for sleep which was interesting. It's hard to say if it work or not, but I got some sleep which was a nice change as I have not been sleeping well at all. Shingles suck, people, that's all I have to say. My mom, being a much nicer person than I am, said she wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy. I, on the other hand, have no qualms about that whatsoever. I could very easily wish it on my worst enemy.

I finished (semi) the one baby blanket, after just a debacle of adding in a new skein from which the yarn would come out dirty every so often, and I finally gave in and had to take out a few rows in order to get the damn thing back on needles. Made for a very frustrating Monday let me tell you. Now I just need to talk to Julie to remind me how to do the pretty scalloped crochet edging to finish it off and I'm done!!!! Yay!!! Yesterday I did start the second of the three baby blankets I have to make. It's looking very pretty, but I'm doing it in the tedious Irish Moss Stitch which I quite like, but it's still a little tedious to do for an entire blanket. I hope my cousin's baby appreciates it!!!

It's supposed to be 63F today, so at some point I'm going to make my way outside and enjoy it. I pretty much live for summer and sitting outside in the sun after work and reading or knitting. I hate being stuffed away all winter long in my apt, so once summer hits I like to be outside!!!! And I will face the outdoors in March in Michigan just because I really need to get out of here! I'm so tired of watching movies. Hmm, what I have watched since I last listed them:

A Bug's Life
High Sierra (Bogart)
The Enforcer (Bogart)
Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban (HPIII)
The Thomas Crown Affair (remake)
Notting Hill
Funny Face

Not really a whole lot when you think that is just what I've watched since Saturday. I have to admit that I only half-watched The Thomas Crown Affair as I was doing a variety of things (laundry, Internetting, knitting) and I did give the dance scenes in Funny Face a miss as well. I don't mind singing in my movies, but I'm not much for the dance scenes.

Now I know you're all dying for my take on HPIII. I HATE IT!!! It's my absolute favorite book of the series and I absolutely positively hate what they did to the movie. I just don't understand why people can't follow the fucking book when they make a movie of it!!! WHY? People LIKED the book, follow the book. Now, sure, it's not as bad as that Matt Damon remake of The Bourne Identity (I didn't even bother with The Bourne Supremacy movie) but hell, no book-to-movie could be that hideously off base. I know there are a whole bunch of people out there who loved that movie, but I can guarandamntee you that they never read the frickin' book. But still I watched HPIII on Saturday night and just got pissed off. Now, I'd like to say that if the 4th movie comes out and it's as badly done (okay, the third movie itself is done well) or rather doesn't follow the book as faithfully as I'd like (and by that I mean, follow the storyline, don't change things up to make it more interesting - the book was bloody well interesting to millions of people - no reason to make the werewolf chase Harry - that's all I'm saying) I might just not bother going to see the rest of the movies when they come out. And I'm usually right there for the first showing. Yes, I'm a HP geek, deal with it.

Tonight the Lovely and Talented Ursamajor is coming to visit the shut-in with lovely Indian food. I'm excited as it gets pretty lonely sitting here watching and critiquing movies all damn day long. I'm thinking of getting palak paneer as the last time I went for Indian with Ursa I got the pakora curry which was lovely, but palak paneer is my fave. Yummy!!!

That's it for now. I hope all your lives are going well and there are no shingles lingering in your futures.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter Fun!!!

I'm back! I actually got out of the house yesterday and saw people!! It was very exciting, although once again Saturday night I had the damnedest time sleeping. I just couldn't fall asleep, even though I was dead dog tired. I got up around 2:00 a.m. and took a shower as my entire body (except where the rash is) was itching like a mofo. I think I finally slept around 5:00 and then woke up at 10:00. I was a couple of hours past due on the medication, so I got up to do that and eat. After my run-in with doxycicline during my bronchitis a few weeks ago, I always make sure I eat plenty to avoid nausea. About an hour later YS called from church and I got to talk to a bunch of my dear church family.

Mom and YS picked me up so that I didn't have to drive to Grandma's where I had a lovely time sitting in my chair and knitting away while chatting with family and eating traditional Meadowbrook potatoes and regular old yummy green beans. I even wore my purple Converse All Star High-Tops to celebrate Easter. Ham was the main dish, so I gave that a pass. I barely ate any candy either, although when I got home I did indulge in one lovely piece of 85% Valrhona chocolate. Oooh, baby!!! The fabulous Jason had made a home delivery to the sickly me on Saturday night of Stroh's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, Sander's Hot Fudge and a variety of chocolate, since Lent is over and I can once again indulge. Unfortunately, the drugs I'm on preclude me from indulging in a glorious Guinness.

I got to see the Terror Children and since I wasn't babysitting, it was a joy. The middle terror kept sitting on my lap which was so sweet. The younger terror actually told me he loved me (he's not usually much of a talker) and that was so sweet. And we had deviled eggs, something I never thought I liked until I tried them 2 or so years ago. Now I love them.

Mom drove me home and it reminded me why we normally never let her drive if one of us is there to do it. If we do drive to Ludington this week to visit YS, I shall do the driving. I'm better off even if I'm hallucinating and on prescription narcotics. ;-)

I'm almost finished with the one baby blanket, so I best get to that and finish it off so I can start the next one. And the highlight of today, so far, I talked to my friend and she has tickets for me for next Monday's Home (and Season) Opener for the Tigers. YIPPEE!!!! Everybody cross their fingers that next Monday is lovely and sunny and springlike!!!

Hugs to all!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A Rare Saturday Entry!!!! Rejoice! ;-)

A rare Saturday entry for me today. And you all can thank my lovely Shingles. What else do I have to do? There are only so many movies,so much TV, so many books and so much knitting a girl can do.

I'm going to start with a little description of shingles since there are so many misconceptions out there. First off, it's not an embarrassment to have shingles. It's a pain, in more ways than one, but nothing to be embarrassed about. I had asked one of my co-workers to let the bosses know that I had shingles and would be out for the week. Well, Goofball simply sent out an e-mail that said, "Kathleen is ill. She'll be out the rest of the week." *sigh* I mean, this is a legitimate state home kind of problem and he makes it sound like I have a freaking cold. I called the Big Boss myself on Thursday morning to tell him the real story, but he didn't answer so I just left a message. I also called one of the supervisors to tell her. She's so sweet, she called me yesterday to say, "Oh my God, Kathleen. I'm so sorry." Turns out her husband had shingles a few years back so she knows.

Back to the shingles, anybody who has ever had chicken pox could get shingles. The virus that causes chicken pox doesn't completely leave your body, it just goes and hides in your nerve endings and then later on in life, it can decide to make an appearance in the form of a lovely rash usually on one half of your body, i.e., the left side which is where mine is. And with the rash comes an incredible pain, but not necessarily where the rash is. And the pain is a deep muscle pain which is why I thought I was having muscles spasms. And the beauty of this pain is that it's FUCKING CONTSANT. Oh yeah, it's fabulous fun.

The doctor gave me Vicodin on Tuesday for the pain and although it didn't eliminate it completely, it did lessen it. At least, it did until Thursday. I took TWO Vicodin (checking with my pharmacist aunt = PA) Thursday night before I went to bed as when I've taken two Vicodin in the past I would just fall asleep. Well, the Vicodin magic did not work Thursday night. I got ZERO sleep as the pain was just beyond intense. It was so bad, and I reached the point where I just couldn't deal with it anymore and I just laid in bed and felt sorry for myself and cried. I'm not usually a crier when it comes to pain. I like to think I'm stoic (but that's probably not completely accurate), but I usually don't cry. But the exhaustion combined with the pain was just too much for me.

I got up around 5:30 and took my medication and then put in a movie (The Empire Strikes Back, if anybody is taking notes. I had watched Star Wars the night before, after also watching Himalaya, The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, Love Actually and Runaway Bride this week.) and was just waiting for 8:30 when I could call the doctor's office. I got a 9:30 appt. which made me happy, or as happy as I could be. I love my doctor because she takes the time she needs. She's never rushed to get to the next patient. She was pleased that the diagnosis she had made on Tuesday was correct (as the rash wasn't fully developed on Tuesday), but was not pleased to know that the Vicodin wasn't working. I told her what my mother had been prescribed, but she didn't think those drugs would be right for me. She ended up prescribing Norco for me and let me tell you. That stuff rocks, although it's taking its time this morning to take effect, I must say. My body has this tendency to develop immunities to painkillers pretty quickly, but I'd say that 24 hours is a little quick even for me.

When I took the Norco yesterday I immediately got a bit loopy so I laid down whereupon I had some freaked out hallucinations. The only one I remember was this giant earwig (one of the few bugs that give me the willies just thinking about them) and it was crawling in somebody's ear. That's when I decided to get up, as I was apparently not going to fall asleep. And I put in Return of the Jedi.

My mom brought me groceries yesterday. Every day when I would talk to her she would ask if I had enough food in the house, knowing full well that I RARELY have food in the house. And as I was getting a little tired of the Raman Noodle Diet (thanks Clarity), I decided to let her get me some stuff as she so badly wanted to do something for me. She made me laugh yesterday. I called her at work after I left the doctor's office to keep her posted and she answered the phone, "Doctor's Office, this is Kathleen's Mom's Name." I said, "Is this the Kathleen's Mom's Name that is my Mom?" "Yes, this is your mommy." I literally laughed as I haven't call my Mom Mommy since I was about 2 years old, if then.

The really sucky thing about this damn shingles isn't the pain though, it's the fact that I'm contagious to people who haven't had chicken pox. I had heard that it's only contagious if you touch the rash, but then I read on-line yesterday that it's just contagious being in my presence, which means that I can't go to knitting club tonight because two of the members haven't had chicken pox, and I can't go to my OS's house today for my niece's birthday party because the OS's SIL's kids haven't had chicken pox. And it's very possible that I can't go to Grandma's for Easter tomorrow because my OB (older brother's) kids are all young and I don't think they've had chicken pox. I've been trying to get a hold of them since last night but their line is busy. Yay!!! OBW (Older Brother's Wife) doesn't care if her kids get the chicken pox, in fact, she wants them to get it and get it over with. DOUBLE YAY!!! So, I at least can go to Grandma's tomorrow for Easter. The weekend isn't completely lost!!!

And now I must get back to my knitting. I have so much to do. I'm in the middle of a baby blanket for a dear friend who is due April 14 (or something like that) and then I must make one for my cousin who had a baby back in August (yeah, I'm slacking), and then her sister just gave birth to a baby boy yesterday. Whew!!! So many babies, so little time!!! Must.Get.To.Work!!!!

Hugs to all who have written and/or called this week to express their sympathy and caring regarding my hideous health issues. It meant a lot to me!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mexico and Shingles

Diaryland was up, but before I could finish typing up the account of my past week, my POS computer decided to lock up and I lost everything I had written. And now my keyboard is making strange noises. Have I mentioned previously how much I hate this computer? And how my next computer is going to be a MAC? And if this POS continues the way it is acting, it'll be sooner than I want it to be.

And since I lost my entire entry and I don't feel like re-typing it (this is why I like to type it in Word - which I don't have, thanks to this POS computer), I'm going to give the Readers Digest Condensed version.

I went to Mexico. Had a great time, laid in the sun, got quite the golden tan, came home, found out that the muscle spasms that I had been having since Saturday night/Sunday morning were not due to the rock hard mattress, but because I managed to get shingles. I now understand the pain that my mother has been going through for the past 5-6 weeks. The only time I'm semi-comfortable is the first two hours or so after taking the Vicodin, and I can't take another one until 8 hours. Time to go and sit on the couch which is infinitely more comfortable the folding chair I use at my computer...and wait for diaryland to let me post this!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2005


People talk incessantly about the "meaning of life." And it makes me wonder why? Why does there need to be a meaning to life? Are these people just trying to appear to be more philosophical and deeper than the rest of us?

Clarity seems to be going through a mid-life crisis and it made me think that instead of boring the few people who read this with what I've been knitting or what movie I've watched that I would try to let others know, like Clarity, that none of us knows what the hell life is about. And if people tell you they know, they're lying, or ultra-religious. ;-) I sincerely think that it's about being the best person you can be. And that doesn't mean, necessarily, being rich and famous or finding the cure for cancer, it's doing what you can to make your little corner of the world (or even a bigger corner, if that's your bent) a better place for the people around you. You know, "Practice random acts of kindness." And shit like that.

I really think it's just about getting through each day the best that I can. And that can mean, barely getting through each day like last week when I don’t remember physically talking to people, or smiling at a stranger in a store who looks like they could use a pick-me-up.

Yesterday was a miserable day, news-wise, for me. I read early in the morning that the Archdiocese of Detroit is closing down my high school. Is that tragic news? No, not really, but it made me very sad reading the article where my old high school is just one of 18 closing in Detroit. And then while I was at the gym last night stuck in front of the Fox News Channel (*gag*) I saw that the bloody fucking Senate voted to approve drilling in the ANWR. FUCKERS! I was going to start my entry today as "I hate Republicans" with a link on Republicans to a news story about the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, but it makes me too sad. I had to leave the gym without doing any abdominal work because I didn't want people to see me cry. What the fuck is wrong with this country that instead of looking forward and trying to protect the future of the planet, we are more concerned with saving a couple of bucks on a barrel of oil? It's just so goddamn selfish. I blew my Lenten resolution of not using the F-word or the G-D word right out of the water last night and when it comes to this issue, well, I guess I'll be putting lots of quarters in that rice bowl.

I just thank God for my Senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. But if I lived in the states that had Democrats voting for drilling, I'd be spitting nails right about now and they'd be hearing from me. Actually, I'm thinking of calling my Senators and thanking them for their efforts. Will I do it? Probably not, as I'm just not that politically active, but I might.

Does it help to know that other people suffer from the same insecurities about life? I think it can help because it makes me, at least, feel less alone in the world, especially because it seems like everybody else is so much more secure and know what they want and are doing it. I don't want some high-powered job, but that works for some people. I’m not in the least bit artistic, and that actually bothers me more than the lack of high-powered-career-success. I'd rather be creative and artistic than rich and powerful and business-like.

My aunt (not the RAfH) told me years ago that all of us kids (my siblings) are doomed to failure because of the way my father dealt with us. Those weren't her exact words, it was more along the lines of we're all afraid to try to succeed because he browbeat us with our failures. Why try to do something when it's just going to come back and hit you in the face? Do I consider myself a failure? I think that's a little harsh, actually, but I don't think of myself as a rousing life success. I wouldn't go into a class reunion crowing about my life…am I embarrassed by my life and its lack of success? I think I'm more embarrassed by my complete lack of ambition. And I'm not really that embarrassed by that. I like my life. Am I wildly happy? No, but I'm not completely miserable and I really think that contentment in life is a tad more reliable than extreme happiness which is ephemeral at best.

The ex's brother the other day was complaining about how hard it is to find a woman at his age (he's divorced) who isn't selfish. I told him that I prefer the term "set in our ways," and his response was "I guess I'm more honest." Well, having dated his brother, my feeling is that he wants a woman who will cook and clean and keep his house, and most women who have been on their own would prefer someone with whom they can have a real relationship and just not be someone's housecleaner and cook. It's possible that he's really met some extremely selfish women, but I'm keeping my own counsel on this matter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Stolen Ideas, Dreams and People From the Past

Stole this from Words of Mine:

Colleges and Universities

"Fathers send their sons to college either because they went to college or because they didn't." -L.L. Henderson

1) Did you go to college? 4-year university, but it took me 5 years as I had to pay my own way.
2) Did you live in a dorm or an apartment? I lived at home. Since I was paying I couldn't afford to go away to school.
3) Who was your favorite roommate? I guess that would be my sisters since they're the only roommates I had during college. After college? No favorite roommates until I got my cats.
4) What is your favorite college sport? Hockey
5) Who was your favorite professor and class? Too many from which to choose! Jackie Lawson for English 232: Crime through the Novel. Great class and beat the hell out of the other options for English 232 which was generally taught through short stories, which I hate with a freaking passion…particularly The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. WHY ON EARTH is that story so popular with teachers????? Someone please explain it to me.

I also adored my Econ seminar by Mitch Stengel on Marx's Capital. We read Volume 1 of Das Kapital (in English, thank you very much) and a number of other Marxist texts.

History 102: Intro to Medieval History with the ever-fabulous Elaine Clark. I actually took that class after I had graduated and even wrote the papers! She used my Beowulf paper for years as an example of what she was looking for. Ah, the glory!!!

The following is also stolen from Mz. Em at Words of Mine:

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." -- Isaac Newton

1) Have you ever swum in the ocean? If so, which ones? Yes, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. At some point I wish to swim in the Mediterranean, too.
2) Have you ever been snorkeling or scuba diving? Yup, snorkeling off the Florida Keys when my one aunt (not the RAfH) lived there. I'm not a fan of pastels, generally, but for some reason I loved the houses painted in pink and yellow and aqua, etc. It works down there. It just looks stupid in a wintry state like Michigan.
3) Do you like traveling by boat and have you ever? I've been on two cruises and of course was on the Boblo boat many times. I do not get seasick, so boats don't bother me.
4) Do you believe that Atlantis existed? This one is hard. I'd like to think it did, but I don't think so.
5) If you could live on the coast of any of the oceans, which ocean and which coast? I'm not particularly partial to living near the ocean. I lived in San Francisco for four years and it just wasn't that big of a draw. Then again, it's so bloody cold in SF all the time there's really no need for a beach. I'd have to say that the beach we visited last March in St. Maarten was pretty remarkable. I'd choose that one! ;-)

Well, last night was interesting. I'm back at the gym and did 30 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the elliptical and another 20 on the Stairmaster, and then as I was stretching my hamstrings (or whatever the hell muscle I was stretching), a man came up and stood next to me and said, "You used to date my brother." Those words are not words I care to hear EVER! For one, I really only dated one guy for any length of time to the point where people would recognise me as dating their brother, and he's not someone I really wish to remember wasting four years of my life on. I just turned and smiled and said, Hi Frank. Back in January I ran into the ex's SIL, but I didn't have qualms, really, about that, because she's a woman and she probably knows that the ex was a jackass and she wouldn't have said anything to him about running into me. This one, on the other hand, though. I can see him saying something to the ex. I just hope he's grown up over the past almost 15 years and doesn't feel the need to e-mail me. The good thing about seeing Frank is that I did ask him to send my greetings along to his mother. I also said that I had stayed with the ex for as long as I did because of his mother. She was *and probably still is* the sweetest woman. I had tried to keep in touch with her after we broke up, but if *he* found out that I had seen his mother, he would call me up and rag on me and I just didn't need that hassle in my life, so I stopped contacting her or dropping by the house (when I wouldn't see his car there). If he does e-mail me and says anything about talking to his family, I'll inform him that in both cases, his family members approached ME! Not the other way around….if I bother to respond to him at all. I might just treat it like I would an e-mail from my father – blow it away immediately. Life is too short to waste on people who do not add value. And he certainly did not add value to my life.

For some reason (I'm sure it was a cost-cutting idea) they changed the soap in the restrooms at work and the new soap dries my hands terribly. I'm tempted to avoid the soap from now on, but that's disgusting, so I won't. I'll just come back to my desk and use my hand lotion.

I've had some weird dreams lately. The one I don't really remember from a few nights back was Julie needing help with something completely bizarre, like starting her own car wash. That wasn't it, but it was something that ridiculous. And then last night I was measuring the arm length of one of the supervisors here at work because I was going to make her a blouse. I DON'T SEW, PEOPLE!!!! But I had my tape measure and I measured her arm length, to get the right sleeve length, of course, and she had short arms at 58". Yes, I know that's really long. Where does this stuff come from?????

I can't wait for Lent to be over!!!! I want a beer so badly…and chocolate. I need to buy fun things at Merchants, not just peanut butter and jelly and apple cider vinegar and honey. I need 85% Lindt Chocolate!!!! And Guinness!!!! Okay, I don't *need* them. I want them!!!!!! Soon, very soon.

So, do you think two hours of cardio a day is too much?


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Sick Again and Crap

I was particularly lax last week with posting, wasn't I? I was sicker than the proverbial dog. My bloody lungs are pissing me off. Bronchitis twice in ten weeks is a bit much in my book. I went to the doctor to get antibiotics and she gave me something different this time, due to the whole developing immunity shit, and it made me feel worse than the freaking bronchitis. I was awake by 1:15 a.m. Wednesday and could not go back to sleep I felt so nauseous. I finally got up at 4:15 a.m. and came in to work. Got here before 5:00 a.m. I couldn't sleep, so what the hell. My desk was being moved on Friday so I had to pack up all my shit and see what I missed on Tuesday. I also thought I had to get an agenda together for a Friday and Monday meeting, but when I got to work I had an e-mail from the Big Boss reminding me he was on vacation those days and that there would be no meeting. It was a happy time. I went home at noon and that was it for the week. Actually, at noon I went to the grocery store as I was down to damn near no food in the house (which is a pretty common occurrence for me) and then I went to Merchant's as I was out of peanut butter. While there I picked up apple cider vinegar (the homeopathic remedy to all ills) and Michigan honey (to make the apple cider vinegar palatable) and a bottle of My Igor's Hattrick wine.

When I was heading to the doctor's on Tuesday I ran into my neighbor who said that her 90-year old uncle swears by the hot water, apple cider vinegar and honey mixture and I figured that it certainly couldn't hurt to try it. It doesn't taste bad and if it helps, why not? My doctor also called in a new prescription for me on Wednesday and told me not to take anything until Thursday morning to give my stomach a chance to recover. I was more than glad to oblige and by Thursday morning I was not so nauseous. The thing that pisses me off the most about the damn bronchitis is that I missed a full week of working out. I'm leaving for Mexico this Friday (please cross your fingers that I get on the plane) and am going to the beach and I wanted to be in better shape. Oh well. I'm hoping that the stark whiteness of my body and the glare of the sun off of it will keep people blinded to the extra few pounds. *sigh*

I was so sick that I couldn't even be bothered to watch any of my Netflix movies or knit! Now you know that's sick!!!! I'm just glad that that's past me (for now) and last night I got my big ol' butt back to the gym and did an easy hour of cardio and some ab work. My plan is to go every day this week and get at least an hour of cardio in.

My weekend was obviously less than fabulous although I did spend Friday evening at my Grandma's as two of my aunts were in visiting. My one aunt only said one nitpicky thing to me which was a record for her. A few years ago as I was driving her back to Grandma's after taking her to the symphony, she asked when I was going to buy a house. I was a little taken aback as I have never talked about buying a house. I simply said, "I don’t want to buy a house." And her reply was, "You want to live in that dump the rest of your life?" Okay, now I was really taken aback. DUMP? My apt. is not a dump!!! It may be old, but it has style and character and I happen to love it. I said, between clenched teeth, "My apt. is not a dump." She backed off and went with the monetary advantages of owning vs. renting. And I basically ignored her as I do not feel the advantages are for me. I like being able to call Chris when the plumbing doesn't work or whathaveyou. Plumbers and repairmen, in general, cost a shitload of money and then how do you know you found a trustworthy one and all that. I think it's a lot more convenient for me to live in an apt. Besides, I like where I live (walking to work and all) and I know I definitely can't afford a house in this neighborhood. Those are my reasons and that's it. Anyway, my aunt never apologised for calling my apt. a dump, although I know she knows she pissed me off as she mentioned it to my cousin the next morning. Whatever.

Well, my aunt's latest dig at me (and I've heard this a few times now) is "You know, I always hear everybody say how pretty YS (my younger sister) is, but I really think OS (older sister) is gorgeous. She's just gorgeous. Blah blah blah!" This goes on for a good 10-15 minutes while I sit there and think that it's so nice to have a supportive family. She's pulled this at least three times, once on the phone directly to me, and then twice in the midst of big family get togethers. And that's only the times I've been around to hear it. God knows how many times she's gone off w/o me around. Now, you're thinking, Kathleen, she didn't say anything about you being butt-ugly. Well, no, you're right, but don't you think that's kind of implied when she's talking about my two sisters' appearances and how pretty and gorgeous they are, but I'm completely ignored? I don't know. It just seems a little suspect.

Then again, what can you expect from such a rabid, conservative Republican. ;-)

The evening spent at Grandma's was quite pleasant, though, and it was nice to get the hell out of the apartment for a while. I was actually up to knitting by then, so I took the scarf I had been making for my mom and finished it there and gave it to her. She bought a red jacket last winter and I decided she needed a red scarf. I made her a nice 2x2 rib out of Lion Brand Glitterspun Ruby and Fun Fur. It turned out quite nicely and really brightened up Mom's face. Mom has a tendency to try to fade into the background and wear beige and shit-ass colors like that. I do my best not to allow this to happen and I was really quite pleased with the red on her. It really gave her some color.

The Republican Aunt from Hell (RAfH) likes pinks and purples and colors like that and so when I finished Mom's scarf I started a Paton's Twister in Fruit Loops for her. She was wearing a pink shirt at the time that matched EXACTLY! Scary. Anyway, while I was working on that YS came in and asked if I had any light colored fun fur as one of her patients or co-workers had bought a $10 fun fur-esque scarf at Hallmark and it was falling apart. I didn't, but went to Michael's Saturday morning and picked up two skeins of Ivory fun fur and knitted the scarf up while watching The Cooler (I love William H. Macy) and The Iron Giant. I took it to church Sunday morning and passed it along. I had finished the Fruit Loops scarf too, so I gave that one to YS to give to RAfH as I wasn't sure I was going to see her and knew YS was.

I had a baby shower to attend for a dear friend and it was a lovely time. I was lame and gave them a Target gift card (as she pointed out she's going to need lots of diapers) and my favorite kids book, The Poky Little Puppy. I had a little trouble finding it at Borders after no luck at all at Target, but I hi-jacked an employee into helping me. The computer said the store had two copies, but it was not overly forthcoming with information as to where in the Children's Section it might be. I bought yarn last week for the baby blanket I'm going to make for the baby. Now to get my butt in gear and start the darn thing. I have until mid-April, in theory. I hope it's so, in actuality!!!!

The shower itself was very nice, as far as these things go. The food was wonderful, especially the white and dark chocolate torte cake-thingy which was so rich that I felt a little ill later, but it was worth it!! YUMMY!!!!!!!

You're all really glad that I didn't post last Thursday night. I was in a *funk* of major order and I was all depressed and shit. I wrote a fabulous depressed entry in my head while lying in bed, but of course, I have no clue now. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Good to know those feelings don't last forever for me.

*sigh* I was just supposed to have my bi-weekly meeting with the Big Boss. After waiting outside his office for more than 30 minutes, somebody called me over to his desk and while I was answering his questions, the door opened and someone else snuck in on me. And I really need to talk to the Man. Very frustrating!!!

Guess that's it for now...things to do, people to see.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Babysitting Terror Children

Well, somehow my lungs have once again taken in an uninvited guest (at least I didn't invite the bronchitis) and I'm feeling a tad shitty. It started Thursday night, but I ignored it on Friday for the sake of my fat ass and I did an hour of cardio, an hour of yoga and then an hour of weight lifting. I then went home and showered and then crashed for something like 2.5 hours. I hate it when I take long-ass naps because I have the damnedest time getting up afterwards. I just want to stay all snugly in my bed and ignore the rest of the world. I had to get up though as I had tix to the symphony. Urs had kindly agreed to go with me after my lame-ass sister couldn't be bothered to spend time with me. "It just doesn't interest me." Whatever!!!

We had a splendiferous time listening to the DSO do their thing to Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. And then we, of course, went to TJ's and a lovely snack. Sadly, I just read that original owner/founder of TJ's died this past weekend. I'll be out of town on April 3, so I'll miss the tribute to him. And how cool that his charity of choice is the Dearborn Animal Shelter, where I got the two terror cats, Igor and Boris.

One of my co-workers has told me multiple times that TJ's makes the best nachos. Well, I tried them on Friday and wow! They are SO YUMMY!!! And when you can't finish them and want a doggy bag? They bring you lids to cover the sour cream, jalapeños and salsa. How unbelievably clever! I ran into the present owner when I was leaving and I told her it was so smart of her, as that stuff always spills all over and makes a mess.

Saturday I woke up feeling like shinola, but I forced myself to go to yoga. I spent Saturday at my brother's house watching the Terror Children. I was supposed to take my laundry but decided against it as it is just a royal PITA getting it home as my laundry basket isn't big enough for all the laundry I had to do. I got it mostly done yesterday before I had to go back to my brother's for two of the Terror Children's birthdays. The middle Terror Child (not his birthday) has become quite enthralled with The Wizard of Oz, since my older nephew's birthday party when CBC was showing it (in place of Hockey Night in Canada). I took it with me when I went on Saturday and they watched it with a million questions that I couldn't answer. "Did the guards like working for the witch?" "Do the monkeys like the witch? I don't like the monkeys." And so on. They then asked if I'd like to leave my copy with them and I declined. But I did pick up a copy for the oldest Terror Child's b-day and the two older kids were thrilled to pieces with it. I'm telling you, Obsessed might not be too strong a word here.

The youngest Terror Child is beyond enthralled with caterpillars which he got from one of those religious based kids videos/DVDs that are out there. As I like to wait until the last minute to get gifts, I had to stop at the Family Christian bookstore after babysitting on Saturday to get the kid something. He wanted a ladybug of some sort, but the nice girl working there hadn't seen one. I whipped out my handy-dandy cell phone (they really are helpful inventions) and called Older Brother and he said that all three kids swear that they saw it there. He also asks me Nice Girl's name and he said, Oh, she knows the kids. So, I ask if she knows the Terror Children and she became even nicer and more helpful. She's apparently the middle Terror Child's girlfriend, and has been for two years. She checks the computer and discovers there is a ladybug in the store so we tore the stuffed animal shelves apart and found the only one! WOOHOO!!!! Aunt Kat scores!!! And even though he didn't seem that thrilled when he opened the box, he did ask him Mom later if he could take it to bed with him and when she said Yes, he gave the cutest little shrill yell of enjoyment. It was pretty funny. And I asked Oldest Terror Child if the Wizard of Oz DVD was okay (as it is the middle child who is completely obsessed) and she said, "More than okay." With a huge smile. So, Aunt Kat scored again! I hope they remain easy to please their entire lives!!!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bitter cold, sucky cafeteria, nice long meetings

-4˚F – that was the temp when I walked in this morning. I had been prepared for it though by listening to the weather on WWJ NewsRadio 950. I put on my big-woolly-not-so-attractive-but-keeps-my-head-and-ears-really-warm-hat and my big Cabelas jacket. I wasn't stylin' but who cares! I was as warm as I was going to get for the walk in to work. My issue with -4˚F is that it's MARCH, people! MARCH!!!! I can deal with negative temps in January and even February, but MARCH??? I don't live in Alaska or even the Upper Peninsula! It's just plain wrong.

The cafeteria here at work sucks so incredibly badly that I'm certain that I get more nutritional value out of a bag of Cheetohs. And I know the bag of Cheethos isn't going to get me sick (and will taste good), which is not always a given with the cafeteria's idea of food. I generally try to avoid it, but I haven't been to the grocery store in a very long time and even ran out of peanut butter yesterday morning. I got eggs and hash browns this morning against my better judgement as the last time I got the eggs I was running to the ladies room every half hour or so. I thought that that had been a fluke though (it was MONTHS ago), but it apparently wasn't. I'm feeling quite nauseous. For this particular cafeteria, it's two strikes and you're out.

I heard on the radio this morning that a U.S. based Wall Street buyout firm and a sports advisory company met with the NHL owners yesterday and offered them $3billion for the entire NHL team network (for want of a better term) or $100 million per team. I went looking to get more information, and I'm not quite sure what they think that will accomplish, but all 30 teams of the NHL need to agree for the deal to be consummated. I don't know. I do NOT see Mike Illitch selling the Red Wings, although I can see Chicago or Boston or Atlanta being willing to sell their individual teams (the owners, not the cities, although I can't imagine Atlanta cares too awfully much). There's no explanation in the article of what these two companies would do once they owned the entire league. And this was at the invitation of Gary Bettman??? Just one more reason to fire the freaking loser asshole dickhead moron. I stand firm on my decision (as if it were mine to make) to fire Bettman and the NHLPA's freaking loser asshole dickhead moron, Bob Goodenow. Those two hate each other!!!! They are never going to negotiate and accomplish something. It's time to cut our losses and get rid of them. Yes, I've been saying that since last August or September, but how can anybody not agree with me seven months later with the season canceled and no apparent progress on a new CBA?

I'm so lucky. I have a THREE hour meeting today – from 10:00-1:00. Yup, you read that correctly, right through lunchtime. I'm planning on taking my nutritious bag of Cheetohs in with me to tied (or is it tide?) me over until 1:00 when I'll heat up my leftover lunch from Tuesday. I'm serious. I'm going to the grocery store sometime this weekend and I'm buying food and I will be bringing my lunch with me every day!!! I might even get to the fruit market and buy fresh fruits and veggies.

I had my Fitness Evaluation last night at the gym. I was not (and still am not) pleased with the results. It doesn't matter that I've been saying I'm cow for the past year, it matters that some scientific numbers proved it!!! And I don't like it. I guess it's a good thing I decided to start going to the gym, and get myself a program to follow. I've lost 7 pounds since the beginning of the year, so that's not bad. Just 20 more by June 1. That's my deadline. I'll try not to bore you all senseless with a pound-by-pound, blow-by-blow description of my progress, but I'll keep you posted if I fit into my old work pants!!! I know you're all dying for that day!!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Favorite Books

Favorite books from childhood to today:

1. The Poky Little Puppy – I loved this book, especially the illustrations. It was such a cute puppy.

2. Barney Beagle - This one was a favorite with all the kids in my family. The page which shows Barney sitting up with his paws crossed like he's praying as the boy who wants him begs the pet store owner to let him go for less money was so freaking cute!!!

3. The Peculiar Miss Picket – She was a babysitter who could do strange and wonderful things with her eyeglasses. Unfortunately, there is not one good link out there, but if you google her you come up with some hits. Still I remember LOVING that book and read it over and over and over again.

4. The Boxcar Children – I actually read the original Boxcar Car children book six times in one week. I LOVED IT!!! Violet was my favorite character and I so wanted to learn the play the violin just like she did.

5. All Nancy Drew Mystery books – the original stories not the new ones (The Nancy Drew Files) where people actually get murdered which was not allowed in my day. I think my favorite was The Password to Larkspur Lane, although I read all of them except two multiple times – and I mean MULTIPLE!!! My sister and I bought the original ones (in the yellow hardcover that I remember from my youth) for my niece a few years back, so I might have to go over and borrow them. It's not as though I have many books awaiting my attention at home, or anything, but there's something very cool about re-reading books that I loved as a kid.

6. I loved English books as a kid – and I don't mean the Classics, but books that were written the years I was in school. I remember this one book and literally the only things I remember about it is where it was located in my grade school library and the word "scree." I remember some kid caught on the side of a hill in England how he fell because there was a scree, and it sounded incredibly painful.

Once again, high school and college (studying and working) get in the way and I can't remember any particularly memorable books from that time of my life. Sure I read some classics in college: Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Hard Times by Charles Dickens, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. All for the same class, along with Moll Flanders by Daniel Dafoe which I tried like hell to read, but it was incredibly horribly boring that I never finished it, and The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron which we didn't read in class as the professor's father died mid-term and she had to go home for a week. I read it a couple of years ago, finally, and it bums me out that we didn't get a chance to read it.

7. Into Thin Air started my obsession with READING about people who like to climb mountains. I'm not sure it's my favorite mountaineering book, but it was the one that started it all (for me). Hmm, although now that I think about it, I realise that I read The Climb by Anatoly Bourkeev, which had a different view of the same story. If I were to recommend ONE mountaineering book to people though, it'd be Touching The Void by Joe Simpson.

8. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I found this book fascinating and un-put-down-able. I highly recommend it.

9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. That link takes you to the movie page, but I'm talking about the book here. It is my favorite book of the series so far, although I loved all of them. The third is the best, IMHO, because it gives you hope that he'll get away from the Dursleys at some point. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of book six on July 16th.

10. And my all-time favorite book is The Eight by Katherine Neville. I had been lent a number of books around ten years ago and this was in the bag. I read the back of the book and didn't think I'd find it the least bit interesting as chess is a main character in the book and I find chess to be a tad boring. But this particular Monday night I was bored enough (not that I don't at all times have unread books in my house) that I started it, figuring that I was going to hate it and I could return to the friend the next night at the bar. Well, I got sucked in right away and couldn't wait to get home from work every evening so that I could read it. And then when I got close to the end, I'd find something else to do other than read, because it was so good I didn't want it to end. Since I returned the book to my friend I have bought numerous copies of the book and lent them out myself. I told myself that I was never going to lend out my hardcover copy ever again, but of course, I did, and now I can't remember who has it. So, if you're reading this, please let me know that you have it. I re-read the book within the past couple of years just to see if it was as good as I remembered it being and I have to say that it stood up well.

And that, dear loyal readers, are today's list of my favorite books. I have favorite authors as well, writers whom I'll buy everything they write no matter what. They are Martin Cruz Smith, Jack Higgins, Dick Francis, Helen MacInnes (she died quite a while back), John Sandford, Thomas Perry, Karen Kijewski (not that she's written anything in a while), Sue Grafton, Joe Simpson, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Armistead Maupin, Brian Jacques, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and of course, J.K. Rowling (not that she's written anything other than Harry Potter, but I'd be willing to give anything else she does a shot).

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Grand Gifts and Working Out

Monday – last day of February 2005. I have 24 minutes before I head home, and then onto the gym. I'm thinking that I'm going to up my cardio to about an hour, as it's the only way to lose weight (supposedly).

The weather forecasters have been predicting a shitload of snow for the past 24 hours. It was supposed to start last night and we were supposed to have 4-6" by early this morning. Nada. Then they said (early this morning) that it was supposed to start in time for the morning commute. Nada. It's grey and nasty looking out there, but now they're saying 4-10" starting tonight. I guess I'm just happy it held off so that I can go to the gym. Never thought I'd be saying that!!!

I got the most fabulous present ever this weekend. My friend Jason got me the most thoughtful gift that I was stunned and speechless!!! Last night at Glen and Julie's Come Over and Watch the Oscars party, Jason presented me with a bottle Hattrick, the first wine created for (by?) MyIgor. Not only is this an exclusive bottle of wine (only 224 cases in the whole world, and only 24 cases here in the States – the little blurb on the label says so, regardless of what one of the websites claims), but it's signed by MyIgor and TO ME!!!!!!! Yes, you read that correctly. MyIgor signed the bottle of wine in a lovely silver pen (he must know that his biggest fan is a silver girl and not a yellow gold girl) with his number under his name (#8) and To Kathleen across the top of the label. If any of you are big Igor fans, Merchants does have more signed bottles since he was signing mine he decided to sign the whole case. You have no idea how incredibly cool that is. Or how it makes me feel so incredibly overwhelmed.

It will make a nice addition to my other wine signed by my favorite sports hero – My Arrivederci Mario wine from 1994 when Mario Andretti retired from Champ Car racing. I have two bottles but one is signed. I was pretty stoked that day, but I think I'm more geeked about MyIgor's wine and autograph as I don't see him six times a year at races (not that I see Mario anymore now that his PITA son when to the evil IRL, but I used to see him all the time).

Tuesday – First day of March – We got about 4-5" of snow over night and more falling. I think everybody in southeastern Michigan is pretty darn tired of this white shit that falls from the sky. It's doing it constantly this winter and it's just tiring!!! I did get to the gym last night. I did an hour of cardio (32 minutes on the treadmill, 15 minutes on the elliptical and another 15 on the Stairmaster) and then I did arms. I think the entire world was there last night in preparation of missing tonight due to the expected snow. I had to wait to get on a number of the weight machines. I'm jacking up my cardio as that's what they say you need to do to lose weight and I want to be a size 6 again by June. I want to be able to fit into my old racing jeans with the patches at Milwaukee – one of the few races where it's cold enough to need to wear jeans. That's my goal and if I don't achieve it I will not be happy!!!!!!!

My mother pissed me off last night. She had a pain clinic appt. yesterday morning at 6:30. When I talked to her on Sunday I told her that the forecast was for 4-6" of snow by early morning, so she decided to get her friend to drive her instead of her nephew. When I talked to her last night, she said to me in this snotty tone, "Well, you told me it was going to snow." I'm sorry, but has she ever heard of "Don't kill the messenger." I mean, For Pete's Sake!!! If I hadn't warned her, we probably would have gotten the snow and then where would she have been? I said something about me not being the weather forecaster and just repeating what I heard and she got conciliatory and tried to act like it was a joke, but it didn't sound like it. This is what I get for not being perfect like my sister. And she just called for a favor as she needs a ride to the pain clinic on Friday. Her appt. is at 10:00 and last a couple of hours which means no yoga for me on Friday. She's going to ask my cousin first though as I really don't want to miss yoga or the rest of my workout. Last Friday I worked out for three hours (yoga, cardio and weights) and I like doing that as I have the time, normally. I told her I would do it if my cousin can't, because I'm not going to leave her hanging, but if there's someone else who can do it, that would be cool.

This Friday is my first DSO concert in a month or so. I had tickets for this past Friday but I sold them to some friends. I wonder if they enjoyed it. Anyway, I'm taking my cousin (younger brother of the cousin who might take Mom to the pain clinic) to dinner at TJ's beforehand and if he didn't give up dessert for Lent, I'll take him back afterward for dessert. It'll be his first DSO concert and I think he's pretty excited about it – it'll be his birthday present as he's turns 17 this month. We'll be hearing Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky which should be wonderful. The DSO is doing Mahler's 5th next year and even though they're not doing it on a Friday night I'm going to get tickets for it anyway and I'll take my cousin back and it is my favorite piece and I've converted him to it!

Nothing much going on otherwise – just working out like one of those insane people I'd never thought I'd be and not even getting that much knitting done. I am taking my car to the garage tomorrow as I'm getting SHITTY gas mileage. For some reason, my low gas light comes on at 230 miles on the trip odometer instead of the normal 290. That does not make me happy at all. I hope they find something and that it doesn't cost a shitload of money to fix. Cars suck. I love my car, but they all end up costing money and making you want good public transportation – but only when it costs you money. The rest of the time you love the freedom it gives you – or at least I do.