Friday, September 30, 2005

Meeting Oriol!!!!!

I have an e-mail or two to write but they can wait because I need to finish up my Vegas weekend report! Okay, I've reported on Hoover Dam and the asshole plowing into tourists on the Strip, so what's next.

Ah yes, our goal on Thursday after Hoover Dam was to find a Cheesecake Factory. Even though they were started in Detroit and then moved to LA there is not one in Detroit, so whenever I go somewhere I hunt one down. It'd be nice if they'd open one here so I don't have to be so predictable. Anyway, the Vegas yellow pages listed on but in Henderson on Water Street. When in Henderson we asked the cashier at the Target ($1 yarn called my name – and we needed water for the track) where The Cheesecake Factory on Water Street was. She had never heard of Water Street but said that there was one at Ceasar's Palace!?!? When we got back to the hotel I called Caesar's and sure enough there is a Cheesecake Factory there. Oh, the excitement! It was pure bliss. I just love their food.

After dinner we caught a cab because the Champ Car drivers were having an autograph session at ESPN SportsZone in New York, New York. I had my Catalunyan flag with me and my TFG* shirt. I was going to get all of the drivers to sign the TFG shirt. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that shit. We get there and the line is a freaking mile long all the way to the curb. And we knew it was the right line because I recognised a few people. It's true, but there are actually bigger Champ Car geeks than me in this world. We didn't stay. I wasn't worried about getting the flag signed as we all know we had plans for that already established, right? Yeah, right.

Fast forward to Friday and we're at the track watching and timing cars as they went in circles. Canadian driver Paul Tracy *ick* is having trouble breaking the 27 second lap (the fast guys from Newman-Haas were in the low 26s) and HRH was getting all nervous as he's her driver (although she totally admits that if he weren't Canadian and from the Toronto area she wouldn’t like him as he's pretty much an asshole). I told her not to worry because I was sure the little fucker (I like him a LOT) was sandbagging. Turns out that I was right as he started the race 15th and within 7 laps he was first. You don't do that if the car is sucking. Trust me. Friggin' sandbagger.

Anyway, Friday!!! My friend Erock had set up the meeting with Oriol as I told you all last week. He was going to call his friend Greg (VP of Lola) to make sure it was all set. It was. At 2:20 I started getting anxious and said, "Shouldn't we go over?" We were to be over there by 3:00. Well, unlike Milwaukee where paddock access on Friday was free, it cost $30 to enter the paddock at LVMS. ARGH!!! 30 minutes later and much frantic running around and me being certain I was NOT going to get to meet Oriol, Roadrunner and I bought the paddock passes for $30 while Erock, rocket and Aero used their redemption passes and we all headed over. We finally found the Newman-Haas garage and Erock introduced me to Greg. Greg went looking for Oriol but while he was looking I saw Sebastien Bourdais (2004 Champ Car Champion – and probably the 2005 champion as well) walking toward me. I whipped out my TFG shirt and asked him to sign it and he did and I told him that I thought he was quite a good driver. He's not brimming in personality but he was very nice. And I'm all for a champion whose name is not Paul Tracy.

I didn't have to wait too long for Oriol to show up. He was very impressed with my flag and signed it VERY NICELY – it's neat, legible and he even wrote Las Vegas '05. I asked if I could get my picture taken with him and he said, Yes. I'm waiting for Erock and Roadrunner to send me the pics, but once I get them I'll post them. And just to show Oriol that I'm not a Johnny-come-lately fan (since he got the good ride with Newman-Haas earlier this year after Bruno got hurt at Indy), I asked him about his last race in Indy Lights at Fontana when Sergio Paese took him out. I was pretty sure I remember Sergio running over and punching Oriol, but since Sergio had been the cause of the accident I wasn't certain I was remembering it correctly. Oriol told me that it was Sergio who had tried to punch him, but he had evaded the blow and that Sergio had lost his license for that behavior, and he didn't think that was fair. I remember that Sergio's own father might have had something to do with the license yanking as he was scared that Sergio was going to kill himself. He was a bit of a wild driver.

I was too shy to ask him to sign two things, so Roadrunner grabbed the TFG shirt and got him to sign it right above the TFG – the place of honor in my opinion. After the incredibly momentous shirt signing, Greg took us on a little tour. We got to go into the Newman-Haas garage and watch them work on the cars (this is HUGE, people) but no pictures were allowed (of course). After the garage, he took us over to the Lola semi and showed us where they keep spare parts. I got to see spare suspension parts and unpainted carbon fibre!!! This is very exciting stuff to us race geeks.

My friend Tricia is the first person who introduced me to the saying "Be careful what you wish for…" and I mention it because I'm about to say that I would dearly love a ride in the two-seater Champ Car, but then I wonder if I really do. They go 200 mph at a place like Vegas. I'm scared I'd pee my pants and embarrass myself by screaming – although I don't scream on roller coasters, but only because I'm usually too scared for my vocal cords to work. But you can't say you're a Champ Car fan if you don't want a ride in the two-seater! Not that it'll ever happen, so it's all moot. *sigh* If I could just get a ride in a pace car, I'd be happy.

Time to go home and not go to the gym. I'm going shoe shopping with Martha at 4:00, and there's just not enough time to work out and shower and get all dolled up again before that, so I guess what I'm saying is Shoe Shopping Comes First! ;-)

Have a great weekend, all!

*Oh yeah, gotta explain TFG. TFG = Tony Fucking George. Quick history: TFG owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and he started the Indy Racing League (IRL) back in 1995 to run in 1996. His goal was an All-American Oval Series (or so he said) blah blah blah. Anyway, he is the direct cause of the problems facing open-wheel racing today in this country and I hate him with a passion that probably borders on obsessive. I started calling him TFG way back in 1995 when he first announced his "brainchild." And all my racing friends call him that too - although my new racing friends use FTG - I'm sure you can figure that out without the explanation. ;-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hoover Dam and the Strip Incident

Well, I'm back from Vegas. I got back very late Monday night (midnight) and then was back at work on Tuesday right on time (i.e., before 6:00 a.m.). I was bloody tired all day yesterday.

Vegas was fun. I met my friends HRH, JimY and Roadrunner there and we all went down to Hoover Dam on Thursday to check it out. I hadn't been there since 1973, I think. We didn't do the tour or anything like that although I would have liked to, but HRH is just not into stuff like that and since she had the car keys… ;-) Actually, if I had said I wanted to, I'm sure it wouldn't have been a problem.

HRH has this problem of driving fast. Now, I know some of you are saying, "Um, Kathleen, I've driven with you…" True, I do drive fast, but let's just say that HRH's driving makes mine look tortoise-slow! Various member of my family have driven with her and all would prefer not to ride ever again with her. Normally she doesn't bother me at all, but even this weekend I was thinking that her slowing down might have been okay. We got to Hoover Dam really fast. Roadrunner isn't Catholic, but I think she might have wanted a rosary for the trip. ;-)

When I got to Vegas on Wednesday a man from California had just driven his mother's stolen car into a crowd of people walking on the Strip right in front of Bally's. DELIBERATELY!!! He killed two people and injured twelve others. It was so sad. And pointless. I hope he rots in jail for the rest of his natural born days. He killed a 52-year-old man who was in Vegas with his wife and two other couples, and a 26-year-old man who was in Vegas to be married. My heart just broke when I heard that. But then I wondered why it's more tragic that the younger man was there to be married? The older man might have had more time on this earth and more time with the woman he loved, but I'm sure his family is going to mourn him just as much as the younger man's.

There was an off-duty police officer nearby who heard the yelling and screaming and he went running out and arrested the driver even though he didn't have his gun or any handcuffs. And from all accounts the driver has sped up as he plowed through the people. Two days after the fact he said (after people heard him say that he did it on purpose) that he thought all the people were staring at him like demons and that they had their hands in their pockets and he thought they had guns and were going to shoot him. Are we all prepared for an Insanity plea? His parents and brother are beside themselves and his brother even stated that his parents have only one son now. Oh yeah, two days before the Strip incident he had beaten up his mother and stood over her with a knife.

And all this happened the same time as the JetBlue plane which had the emergency landing in LA. It was a very busy news day for the 24-hour-stations.

It's now time for me to get my once again fat ass off to the gym. I'll bore you all with details of the race Friday. I'm off tomorrow with a doctor's appt. and tickets to the last Tigers' home game of the season. They're on a three-game win streak (as of last night), so I hope they continue this. We need to end on a high note so that Tram can keep his job!!


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Tigers roar into final homestand

This was the subject line of an e-mail I got from the Detroit Tigers. I question the use of the word "roar" as I would normally take it to mean that the Tigers are winning big and taking no prisoners…and this is so not the case. My Tigers are sucking canal water so badly they're leaking. I think they're on a six game losing streak – and lost two games yesterday to Kansas City. KANSAS CITY!!!! How can they lose to Kansas City? It's like they've lost all will to live or something. I hope they find a little of that "roar" next Thursday. It's the last home game of the season and I'm going with the fabulous Glen. When you organize a group outing, the Tigers send you a voucher for two free mezzanine tickets to another game. And this is the game we chose. We were at the home opener and it was interesting. I hope we get a win and that the NASCAR drunks stay home!

I am leaving in a few short hours and heading to Vegas, BabE!!! I am beyond excited as my good friend E has arranged a meeting with my favorite driver, Oriol Servia, so that he can sign my brand new Catalan flag! Yes, I am a racing geek and I'm proud of it. E has a friend who works for the team and we are to call him on Friday to arrange the meeting. I hope someone has a digital camera so I can post pictures of me being a complete racing geek. ;-)

I'm all packed, but I'm such a goofball that I packed my workout shoes, but, as I realised this morning at work, that I forgot to pack any workout clothes. DUH!!! So, should I pack the clothes or unpack the shoes?

I have been bad and never satisfied everybody's raging curiosity about the hair color question. Yes, I colored it. The first night it scared me, but a couple of good washings took the color down from the extreme auburn it was and now it's just a nice redder shade. Sadly, it seems that the color doesn’t like to stick to the grey hairs (you know, the ones I'm actually getting the color for?) and I can see the lighter hairs peeking through. Ah well…I'm sure I'll live through it!

Have a great weekend, all (yes, to me it's the weekend already) and I'll be back here on Tuesday!

Mom and Mexico Revisited

Well, Mom called last night and guess what? Yup, she has plenty of vacation time left over and can go to Mexico. Yeah, I'm happy…

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

2nd Post of the Day - Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today I woke up without pain for the first time in two months, thanks to a cervical diskectomy and fusion. The amazing part in that first sentence was the part where I said "I woke up…" as for two months I had been completely unable to sleep from the pain. I had just started working for my present company (one month on the job) and I felt bad about it but I would spend the day crying at my desk from the pain and the lack of sleep. I was pretty sure all the people around me thought I was utterly pathetic as I was brand new and knew pretty much nobody.

My new company did not offer health care insurance for the first three months of employment, and since it was summer time I didn't take them up on their offer of being able to pay for it. Thankfully, my neck/arm started hurting before the 30 day window closed and I got in at the last minute. YS has her Bachelors degree in sports medicine/athletic training, so when I described the pain she had a sneaking suspicion of what it was. She asked if I knew anybody at the office who could perform various medical type tasks on me. My cousin's fiancé worked here (he still does, but now he's her husband), so I said I could call him and see if he could help me out. We found a conference room and per YS's instructions I laid on the floor and CF pulled on my head. If the pain went away with the pulling then I had a pinched nerve in my neck. Well, the pain went away when he pulled, but the second he let go the pain was back. But at least we had a clue. I went to a doctor at DMC that evening, Urgent Care, and even though I had my insurance it wasn't in the system yet and I ended up paying $60 for some lame-ass doctor tell me the problem was carpal tunnel and then gave me a prescription for 800 mg of ibuprofen. No matter what I said that was her diagnosis, so I left and drove home crying knowing already from experience that the ibuprofen wasn't going to help and that it wasn't carpal tunnel.

I went over to YS's apartment that night and she pulled on my head saying the entire time, "I suck at necks. I suck at necks." And she'd call her friend who had been in school with her who didn't suck at necks, and again the discussion was that this was NOT carpal tunnel. YS gave me the name of a doctor who she thought would be good. I had been gone for five years and although I liked my old doctor, I decided I didn't want to return to DMC after the Urgent Care experience. Besides my old doctor was a tad old and I wasn't even sure he was still practicing. I called the doctor the next day and couldn't get in with the one recommended but another doctor in the practice was available, so I got an appt. with her. And that was the beginning of my love affair with my doctor – not like that – just a doctor who is so good and caring and takes her time with her patients. She listened to me and performed simple tests (unlike the DMC doctor) and then wrote up prescriptions for Tylenol #3s and X-rays. The X-rays showed nothing and the Tylenol was worthless. Within a couple of weeks my doctor decided I needed Vicodin and an MRI. Of course, I couldn’t get in to the MRI for a month, and although the Vicodin kicked ass, she only gave me one prescription (good for a week) and then was reluctant to give me more until she knew the source of the pain. I understood but that was the only week I got any sleep at all.

One month later I had the MRI done (not the most fabulous of experiences, I must say) and the very next night (9:00 p.m.) my doctor called me with the news. I had a bulging disk and it was touching the spinal cord. Yup, I pretty much freaked the fuck right out. I stayed pretty calm on the phone with the doctor as I took down the name and number of a neurosurgeon she wanted me to contact IMMEDIATELY (well, the next day) for an appt. ASAP. I remember calling my friend Paula in tears and she's so sensible she calmed me down, so that when Mom called (she was in CA visiting her sisters and to go to the jazz festival) I was calm and didn't freak Mom out (Mom freaks out easily, so it's best not to contribute to the freaking).

The next day I called the neurosurgeon's office and he was booked solid for a week and then going away for a month. There was no way I could get in. Yup, cue more tears. I got in touch with my doctor and she took over. Within a few hours she called me back with the name of the first neurosurgeon's partner and he was willing to see me on Tuesday. (Timeline: MRI on Wednesday, Freakout from Phone Call on Thursday, Friday get appt. with the best neurosurgeon in the history of the world, Monday – Labor Day, Tuesday – appt.) Oh yeah, the doctor had also recommended the Pain Clinic to deal with the pain, so I had an appt. for that the Wednesday morning after my appt. with the neurosurgeon.

Best Neurosurgeon in the History of the World (BNHW) spent so much time with me in his office (I think YS went with me, or maybe not…I don't remember being alone, but can't figure out who was with me, maybe I was alone, but I had my list of questions from YS) answering all of my questions, showing me exactly what the problem was on the MRI films, etc. By the end of the appt., I was ready to have the surgery right then and there, and blow off the Pain Clinic appt., but he wouldn't tell me I could as I think it would have been viewed as a conflict of interest.

I ended up going to the Pain Clinic appointment which was supposedly the first appt. of the day at 7:00 a.m. I don’t know about you, but to me the first appointment of the day should not be called in 20 minutes late!!! WTF is up with that??? I was stressed enough as it was and there I had to wait and be even later to work. They finally call me in and explain that the gist of pain clinic is to give you a shot into the spine. I sat there listening to them explain what they do and cried the entire time. They looked at my films and claimed that many people had the surgery but still needed the pain clinic so why don't I just forgo the surgery and go with the pain clinic and I cried. I cried while I drove to work and cried sitting at my desk. As you can tell, I was pretty much at the end of my rope by this time.

I called my doctor crying and instead of letting me talk to her, the stupid receptionist (she's gone now, I think, thank heavens) insist I make an appt., so while in major pain and at the end of my rope I had to drive out to Novi (not a fun drive at rush hour, let me tell you). YS met me over there and the agreement was that I needed surgery not pain clinic - which was music to my ears, let me tell you. For some reason the thought of someone cutting my neck open, shoving aside my esophagus and trachea to remove a disk from my spinal column and replace it with cadaveric bone and then attach a titanium plate to the two vertebraes sounded like a much better option than sticking a needle into my spine. My doctor didn't charge me for the visit and I went home and called the BNHW and made the appt. for my surgery within two weeks and because I'm a thoughtful daughter, for my mother's b-day.

The Monday of my surgery I was at the hospital in plenty of time even though Mom drove me (Mom is notoriously late for everything), but I planned for the Mom Factor. My surgery was scheduled for 1:00 and it was supposed to last two hours (if I remember correctly) and I would go home that evening. Yup, neck surgery is out-patient surgery these days, kids.

That's not exactly how it worked out though. The BNHW was running late (no big deal, in my book, take your time with all your patients, not just me) and then when I was supposed to go in an emergency came in and needed the operating room. It was 10:00 p.m. before I was wheeled into the OR and they gave me the drugs to knock me and asked me to count backwards from 100 – I might have gotten to 97.

The next thing I knew I was in Recovery and pain-free and tear-free for the first time in two months. Mom and YS were there waiting for me and YS was quite jealous that I was not sick from the anesthetic because it makes her puke. Since it was so late they kept me overnight, and the next day when I got to go home I teased my roommate (who had been told that she had stay another day at least) that I got to put on my underwear. She was exceptionally jealous. And happily that was my biggest gripe about being in the hospital – why do they take your underwear?? I even asked the nurse why I couldn't wear my undies. Her answer? "So, you don't lose them. We can't be responsible in the operating room." HUH? Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I have never had my underwear fall off willy-nilly – much less when I'm lying down not moving while under anesthetic. I said, "He's operating on my NECK, how would I lose my underwear?" Yeah, there was no answer to that. And I could tell by the way my gown was done up after the surgery that they just ripped that puppy wide open and very haphazardly put it back together - it was like they were one button off. I realise that doctors and nurses and orderlies see naked people all the time, but I don't care. I still think I should have been able to keep my undies on.

When I was walking out of the hospital that morning looking like death warmed over in my neck brace and hair every which way, YS offered me her baseball cap to cover the rat's nest that was my hair. I was walking past a male patient at the time and said to her, "I don't care." And he gave me a verbal High Five on walking proudly out of the hospital while looking like hell. It was such a relief to be going home.

I love carnival rides!

It's been a while since I updated. I got totally sucked into this damn Name that Band excel file someone sent me. 270 pictures and you have to name the band. If you want to play and drive yourself crazy, send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you. Oh yeah, and there's no cheat sheet. You either know the band or you don't. Although I am finding the allmusic guide helpful.

And in a moment that brings tears to my eyes – there was HOCKEY news on the front page of the Freep this morning. The exhibition season has started and the latest news on the Where will Pavel Datsyuk play soap opera is that he's coming back to Detroit after all (he has supposedly two different contracts to play in Russia, but something about the second one makes the first one null and void and the second one doesn't count for some reason or other, which opened the door for him to come back – don't ask, I don't understand at all). And Thank God for his return because w/o him I have a feeling the Red Wings are going to be a tad mediocre. I can't believe I don't have the Wings schedule up yet. For the past few season I've been tracking the Wings' wins and losses on a matrix (it's not a spreadsheet, I'm not that anal, for Pete's sake) and I still have the 2003-2004 season's matrix up at my desk. I think it's going to be hard to get used to watching hockey every night.

I had an up and down weekend. Friday night and Saturday morning and most of the afternoon was spent at the funeral home/funeral for my good friend's Grandma. It had been a rough few weeks, as it always is when you're waiting for someone to die. And no matter how long you have to prepare, you're never prepared for the loss of a loved one. And I'm just glad that I was able to go and show my support. I think it's good to have friends around at times like that, especially when family can get a little crazy.

Still no word on whether Mom will be going to Mexico. I've asked her a good four times if she has figured out her vacation time, but her excuse last week was "I have to wait until I get paid on Friday." When I saw her on Saturday and asked I got, "Oh yeah, I need to check that out." It's now Tuesday and still nothing. *sigh* I know, why am I pushing this if I don't want her to go? Good question. I guess it's because I don't want to be responsible for her not getting to go, so she can't hold it over me, like I hold the fact that I didn't get a birthday cake two years ago over her head. ;-) Was it her fault? Not at all, my b-day weekend was the great Blackout and there was no power by which to make said b-day cake, but my mom is very Catholic, so guilt works well on her. And it's fun.

The absolute highlight of the weekend was going to my old parish's festival with my BAB and the three Terror Children (and of course, Mom). The Terror Children were actually being good and were quite excited to be at the fair. The two older TCs were very much into the bigger kid rides and although the middle TC is old enough to go on those, he's still young enough to enjoy the boring kid go around at a top speed of a foot a minute in those cars or boats or motorcycles on tracks rides. I went on the Paratrooper twice and relived my glory days at the St. Robert's Fair when I went on the Paratrooper 29 times in one weekend (that was when tickets were four for a dollar and each ride only took one ticket). The 26th time the guy let me ride for free. It pays to be obsessive sometimes. ;-)

I laughed like a little kid, it's been so long since I've been on a ride. We also went on the Tilt-A-Whirl (another all-time favorite) and again, I laughed as if I were ten. The Scrambler was my last ride and had been my favorite until I discovered the Paratrooper. I'm not sure the Scrambler was a good idea though as my neck has bothered me since. I have to say that I still enjoyed the hell out of it, though.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rain, Umbrellas, Sunglasses and RedHots

It's raining here in MI and boy, did we need it. It made the walk in a touch damp, but it was raining hard enough that I actually used my umbrella, and I am not a fan of umbrellas, in general. I've never much liked umbrellas but grew to hate them in San Francisco where everybody would pull one out for the piddliest rain ever, which made walking down any street in the Financial District detrimental to your eyes. I actually stayed pretty dry and made pretty good progress w/o one because umbrellas cause a certain amount of space to be available, so I would just dodge between people but would be covered by their umbrellas. Worked really well, I have to say. It was frustrating though because it would slow me down and I have this problem of needing to be somewhere/anywhere as quickly as possible – whether I'm walking or driving.

I'm having a San Francisco day here in Detroit. It's raining and I bought RedHots last night. I was completely addicted to RedHots when I was in SF. If I didn't have any at my desk one of the consultants downstairs did and he told me I could help myself whenever. I would even buy bags and keep them at his desk to control my consumption of them. And the ridiculous thing? If I eat too many they set my asthma off. Yeah, you'd think I'd be smart enough not to indulge in something that affects my health adversely, but no.

August was a bad month for my sunglasses – specifically Tigers games attended during the month of August were bad for my sunglasses. I lost one pair at the first game I went to and they were my favorite pair (got them for $1 at the dollar store) and then the second pair broke on my birthday at the game when my sister hugged me Hello. That was the pair that I found in New Orleans back in January for $5 and had been so so so excited about. Yeah, gone. So, last week or the week before I tried on sunglasses at Target and found two pairs for more than I usually pay ($10 and $12), but I figured if they fit and I like them then they are worth it. Yeah, I was wrong. They were so not worth it. The one pair that I thought I liked best? All of a sudden are not fitting my head and are ridiculously uncomfortable. The other pair? I picked up off the desk in my hallway where I keep such things for handy out the door grabbing and one of the nosepieces fell off because the teeny tiny miniscule nut is gone. I might try to fix the 2nd pair by stealing a nut off the first pair (since I'm hating them so completely), but it looks like the type of job that's just going to frustrate me and piss me off.

Yesterday instead of going to the gym (common theme, eh?) I went to Target and was going to try on sunglasses once again, but got sidetracked with their $1 yarn. Yup, $1 yarn. Julieu had called me a day or so before and left a message (I forget to take the phone out of my purse and off vibrate all the time) about the $1 yarn. I had seen it but never had had time to stop before, but did yesterday and I have to say that it's not bad stuff for $1. In fact, it's pretty damn good. After my way too successful visit to Target, I was heading back home when I spotted TWO dollar stores in the same strip mall, so stopped and picked up three pairs of sunglasses for $1 each (the way I'm going through them I figured what the heck), and so far they haven't fall apart or become hideously uncomfortable. We will not discuss the whole rain and lack of sun issue. I really must get to dollar stores more often. They have great stuff! (Like RedHots)

Have a great weekend all.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Iraqi Prime Minister visits

The other night I was having dinner and drinks with a friend at one of the (very) few local restaurants that has seating outside. By very few I mean TWO. While sitting out and enjoying what could be one of our last days of real summer-like weather (read: hot), we heard all these sirens and noticed a police car blocking off one of the side streets to Michigan Avenue. There was a string of cars lined up on Michigan Avenue waiting to go through the light but the cop car was not only blocking the side street but the right lane of Michigan. All the cars were in the right lane as there were sirens behind them and they were actually following the law by getting over. Finally a motorcycle cop comes by and yells at them to get off the road. They were all forced to turn into the parking lot of the local Starbucks which is one of those parking lots that it's best to avoid because there is never enough parking for all the other stores/restaurants. Everybody on the patio by this time is watching and wondering what the hell was going on. I then remembered that the Prime Minister of Iraq was in town and sure enough along Michigan Avenue came the longest string of police motorcycles, black limousines and SUVs and then another string of motorcycle cops – all with sirens wailing.

He was on his way from the Airport to the Ritz-Carlton where he was going to give a speech. I'm just glad that there was so much security as an extremist group put a $100,000 bounty on his head shortly before he came here.

My brother who works over by the R-C said that he just left and there was just security all over the place. Major freeway shutdown, road shutdown, bomb sniffing dogs, snipers on rooftops, etc. Scary shit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Asking Women Out (No, not me)

Monday night I had excellent seats (front row just past 3rd base) to the Tigers game at Comerica Park (or as I prefer to call it, Tigers Stadium) where they presumably took on the Minnesota Twins. The good news is that although they had something like 17 hits we only allowed them to score twice. The bad news is that we only scored once (and we will not discuss the number of men left on base in scoring position).

The story here isn't the game itself, it's about me trying to get my friend Jim to talk to a girl. A girl in whom he was greatly interested, I wanted to clarify that so nobody thought I was making choices for him. Jim is the guy who left the note on my car way back in the spring when I was home with the shingles. Anyway, Jim took off at one point to use the facilities, buy another beer and have a cigarette and when he got back he said that he saw a really cute girl in whom he was interested. Turns out that she was sitting one section over, one row back and on the end, so I could check her out – he wasn't sure if she was 21 or not and we both agreed that picking up jailbait is not a smart thing. The problem was that the game was in the other direction so I had trouble seeing her face. Eventually we got Glen involved and he said she was definitely at least 21, so one hurdle over!

Next hurdle was getting Jim to talk to her. She was with a friend, so that's difficult, but the friend disappeared for a long while and I kept nagging Jim to go over and talk to her. He would pretend he was going to stand up but he was being wussman that night. The friend comes back and I smack Jim upside the head for missing a golden opportunity. I then noticed that the seats directly in front of Cute Girl and Her Friend were empty. I suggested that he go and sit in those seats and occasionally turn around to comment and talk, whatever. Yeah, he didn't listen to me and we see that two other guys (older) were sitting in front of the two girls and chatting away. I smacked him again. ;-)

Top of the ninth and I look over and see movement which means to me they're getting ready to leave. I push Jim to get a move on and catch her before she leaves, because then all he'll have is regret that he didn't do anything about it. He hesitates a few times and then finally takes off. Glen and I watch him all the way up and he kept looking back and I said, "Go!" He went and caught up with her and it ends up that she has a boyfriend, but at least now, Jim's not wondering "what if." And I was proud of him for talking to a stranger. I did give him one tip: If you see two women together and you're only interested in one of them, NEVER approach the friend and ask about The One when The One disappears to do whatever. It's rude and mean and terribly demeaning to the friend whom you approached first and perhaps got her hopes up a little bit that you were actually interested in HER. I say this from more experience than you could possibly imagine. I reached the point that when the guy would say, "Soooo, who's your cute friend?", I would turn away from him and say, "She's my sister and you can talk her when she gets back." And then I would pointedly ignore him. It's RUDE, men! RUDE!!!!!

And yes, I understand that it's just as hard for men to approach women as it is for women to approach men, blah blah blah, but it doesn't change the fact that in this society it is more acceptable for the man to approach a woman in whom he's interested than the other way around. And that makes a big difference. Although I'm not dissing Jim at all on that. I was very proud of him for going for it and he didn't seem to lose any self-esteem over it. He just accepted it and the next time it should be easier, right?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Date Horror Story

Yesterday at church during Deacon Wyatt's sermon I was reminded of a story. A few years ago (2 or 3) I had season tickets to the Detroit Symphony (like I do now) and there was this guy from work whom I thought was cute. Someone had told me that he was single and not dating anybody, so I got up my nerve and asked if he would be interested in going with me. He said Yes, and when the particular Friday night rolled around he picked me up and we went to my favorite restaurant for dinner. One of the things I love about TJ's is that it covers the gamut when it comes to variety: vegan, vegetarian, chicken, fish, pork and beef, so the vegetarian is happy, but so are their meat-eating dinner companions. We're chatting away during dinner when he pipes up with, "I'm going to have to bring my girlfriend here. She's a vegetarian, too." I think the look on my face (even though I tried not to show it) was, "WTF?"

Okay, loyal male readers, why on earth would a man accept an invitation from a woman if he's got a girlfriend???? And going to tell me about it? Why not just say at the time of invitation, "I’m sorry, Kathleen, but I have a girlfriend." I would not have been heartbroken. Instead, I'm sitting at dinner and thinking of smacking him. ;-) That is if I were the violent type.

I maintained a pleasant demeanour throughout dinner and oh yes, I most definitely let him pay. We go to the symphony, because I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face. We have now reached the point where I was reminded of this evening at church. When we left Orchestra Hall, it was after most people had left (we must have stopped in the shop or something), and as we crossed the street a man approached us with a story about having a flat and needing money to fix the flat and he spun quite the tale. Yes, I fell for it and gave the man money. The other woman's boyfriend gave me a hard time, but Deacon Wyatt made me feel better yesterday about me giving away money with a story about his own kids many years ago. He had taken them to a movie and he instructed them to stand in one spot while he got the popcorn and pop. The kids had their own $3 to spend later, but he was paying initially. When later came though the kids informed him that they did not have their $3. He asked them where it was and they said that some man had approached them and said he was hungry. His point was that his children were not fools, but instead generous, as they had seen him being and he had seen his father before him being. And although the Date occasionally mentions my giving money to a stranger, I feel that that man needed that money more than I did. No, I'm not rich, but I am and was better off than he was. And although the man insisted he would pay me back the next day, I never really expected the phone call or the money.

I did appreciate Deacon Wyatt's sermon though because I know that most people would consider me to be the fool, and it's nice to know that here is someone who doesn't (or wouldn't if he knew).

As we drove back toward my house, he asked what I wanted to do next. I didn't look at him incredulously, but I wanted to. We decided to go to a bar near my house (walking distance) and while there I ran into a friend of mine and ended up hanging out with him while Date left early because he had biking plans with the girlfriend in the morning. He asked if I were ready to leave and I said No, I was going to stay longer and drink with my friend. I think that annoyed him, but tough shit. I told my friend the story of the evening and he couldn’t believe it.

To this day I wonder what his girlfriend thought he was doing on a Friday night.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hair Color Poll

My big dilemma today is "Do I color my hair tonight when I get my haircut?" Martha told me not to because she likes the color of my hair as it is (au naturel), but I'm tired of looking in the mirror and seeing more grey than red these days (although most people are sweet and think it's blonde – or are totally lying to me and just saying they think it's blonde). And since I'm going to Vegas in two weeks I was thinking that a bit more RED would be really fun.

Sure, I could help out the poll by posting a picture of me and seeing what those who don't actually know me think, but since I'm a moron when it comes to this crap, I can't do that because I don't have a freaking clue how to post a picture. The best I can do is post a link to where there's a pic of me. Hmm, let's see….Found one! I think the hair is a tad redder in this pic, i.e., less grey, but it's essentially right, so let me know what you think. Should I be a bit more dazzling? Or just color up the grey?

Famous Ruler: King Ramses II
Living Quarters: Brick, mud and straw houses
Hardship: Drought
Ancient Egypt is one of the most fascinating and
puzzling time periods ever. Plus mummies are

What Time Period Do You Belong In? (Updated!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Woohoo! Although was it really fair since I knew that Ancient Egypt was an option? Although since Ancient Mexico/Latin America wasn't an option, it was inevitable.

Oops, forgot to mention that the hair color would definitely be of the wash out in six weeks variety. That's all I've ever done and my hairdresser assures me that if I hate the color that dish detergent would strip out the color.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Being an Adult! Or Whatever....

I didn't get to the ABC/English Beat concert last night. My friend who had kindly agreed to humor me ended up unable to go. He was so sweet, he even said, "If you really really want to go, I'll go but…." I told him, Of course, it's fine. I'll live. For heaven's sake, I'm 41 years old, if my life is going to end because I didn't get to an 80s band concert then I have some serious re-thinking to do about what is important in life. If I really really really wanted to go there was nothing stopping me from going by myself, except for societal pressures/theories about why a person would be at a rock concert alone. And I'd bet that if I had gone I probably would have run into someone I knew. Instead I watched the 1960s Ocean's Eleven with the Rat Pack which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. And I think it was entirely due to the surprise ending. I had figured it out before the characters on the screen and just laughed. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. I didn't love it, but it was worth the slightly over 2 hours I invested in it.

I'm close to finishing the baby blanket that I'm knitting for cousin's baby. I would be further along but over the weekend I noticed a dropped stitch. Why do you never notice the dropped stitch until you're 20 rows past it? ARGH! I took out the 20 or so rows and then spent God knows how much time getting the bloody thing back on the friggin' needles (this is the part I hate the worst).

I'm "happying" with Martha this afternoon – it is Thursday. It's so nice to get back into a familiar routine after 8 solid months of doing whatever. And no, I was bad. I did not go to the gym yesterday either. And tonight is drinking night so no go there too. I think I'll be ready to face the Libertarian next week without wanting to rip his face off, so I'll return to my exercising and losing no weight ways next week. That'll give me a week and a half before Vegas. I'd like to stress all out and think, "Oh, if I start going today then I'll have almost two solid weeks of exercising in and I'll lose that ten pounds." Yeah, the ten pounds I've been trying to lose since February. So, why mess with success?

Tomorrow I’m getting my hair cut! Woohoo!! It's not to the "Omigod, I hate my hair and want it cut NOW" point, but I will be by next week and when someone offers to cut your hair for $10 you do it on her schedule. I'm trying to decide if I want to color the grey or just let it go. Although if I do color it I want to go a bit more red, jazz it up a bit instead of just using my exact red color to hide the grey. I'm going to Vegas, BabE! I should Vegas-Up as much as possible, no?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mom and Mexico

ARGH!!!! I just got an e-mail from my family in Mexico. They want to buy a ticket for my Mom so that she can come down and visit as well. *sigh* Ten days with my mother???? I would have to kill myself. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom, but shit, I have trouble spending one race weekend (three solid days) with her. Ten days? OH MY GOD. But how can I deny her the chance? She hasn't been to Mexico in forever and she pretends to love racing. *sigh* *double sigh* Even I'm not so heartless as to say Mom can't go. I'm, all of a sudden, not as excited about Mexico.

Give 'til it hurts

Saturday morning I heard on the radio that Cuba and Sri Lanka were sending money for hurricane relief. And I was just looking at the Day in Pictures at SFGate and saw people in South Korea putting money in a donation box for the hurricane victims. That is the stuff that gets to me. That even though we're known to be a rich country, people in poorer countries are reaching into their pockets and giving to help. And there are people in this country who have more money and refuse to give, for whatever lame-ass reason. If everybody in this country gave $1, according to 2003 Census information, we'd have $290,809,777 (includes Puerto Rico). And I'm not saying that you have to give $100 or $1,000, just give what you can and if it's only $10, it's still something and you're doing your part.

I donated last week and feel like I should donate again because I feel like a slacker. One of my bosses called me yesterday to say she wasn't going to be in to work. She had spent her entire long weekend at the Red Cross participating in Disaster Relief Training and she had one more day in the training and she expects to be deployed to the South by Friday. I am just overwhelmed by the goodness in this woman. She buys extra vacation days every year and usually spends two weeks in a small poor village in Guatemala doing whatever needs to be done. This year she didn't go to Guatemala though and she's now going to use up that vacation time here in this country helping where she can. We need more people like her in this world.

And I don't know how much I'll be able to update until Friday as I have this massive finance project that needs to be done by tomorrow. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Okay, I'm totally geeked. I just bought my tickets to Mexico City for the last race of the season. I'm going the Sunday before and spending four days with my family and then three days at the race track, then one more day with family and then home on Election Day. I'll have to make sure that I get an absentee ballot, although I'm supposed to be home by 2:37 p.m., it's better safe than sorry, I'm sure!

My racing friend is willing to pick me up and get me to the track and he thinks that my family lives in the southern part of the city as does he, so it won't be too hideous, I hope, picking me up. I'm so so so excited!

And one of my suppliers called today to offer me tix to the Tigers next Monday night. If these are the seats I think they are I'm going to be in HEAVEN! Right on the field at 3rd base. We all know of my love for all things Brandon Inge!!!

I am not going to the gym today as I have to get to the post office. Have to get my passport picture taken as my passport expires tomorrow (or was it yesterday?), mail that off (I hope I get the old one back as it has my Egypt visa stamps in it), mail off the voucher for two free tix to the Tigers game of my choice for arranging the group outing for my b-day and get a certain birthday present mailed off to a certain young woman in Germany. And then I have a massage scheduled for 4:15, so I can't pussyfoot around after work! I might have to take a few moments to repair the make-up and do my best not to look like a deer caught in headlights as in my last passport picture. Pathetic.

Tomorrow I'm heading off to the ABC/English Beat concert up in Royal Oak. I'm totally geeked about that too. So, right now, it's all good!!! I'm avoiding the person who annoyed me last week by point blank refusing to give to the Red Cross because those people chose to live there and they chose not to leave, so they deserve what they get. That shit just makes my bleeding heart liberal pacifist heart want to go ballistic on his Libertarian ass. So, instead I just ignore his existence and slowly gain all that freaking weight back…Oh wait, that's right, I didn't lose anything, so there's no weight to gain back! ;-)

My fabulous new 8% angora sweater is shedding like a mofo. I first thought my pants were dirty, but nope, it's the grey angora on black that's not looking all that fabulous. Ah well, It's a beautiful sweater, so I'll just deal with it. And if I ever lose the weight, I can wear it with my grey slacks.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I've been reading a lot of spy thrillers lately (hell, damn near my whole life) as they're really good for keeping my attention when on the freaking treadmill, not that I've been this week, but I'll be back to the gym next week. Anyway, I read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy by John Le Carre a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. A man at the gym saw me reading it and commented that he was impressed that I could read it and exercise at the same time because he considered the writing to be "dense." This started a discussion about books. He was all jealous that I was just finding John Le Carre's books whereas he's read them all multiple times.

Tinker, Tailor was the book that introduced the word "mole" as related to a double-agent spy into the lexicon, although the author doesn't remember how he came up with the term. In the foreword of the most recent edition of the book he says that the publishers of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) came to him and asked where he got the word and were going to give him full credit (from what I could tell).

I mentioned some of my favorite spy authors to the man on the next elliptical machine and found he hadn't heard of Helen MacInnes who started writing in the late 30s and placed her stories into current events – one of her books dealt with the invasion of Poland. I have two copies of one of her books so I took it with me to lend to him. After I gave it to him I wondered if it was too girl-y for him. I had never considered them to be more girl books than boy books, but I'm thinking that there's a boy meets girl aspect to most of her spy novels. Ah well, we'll see. He returned the favor, however, and brought me Smiley's People which was the book that followed Tinker, Tailor. I'm in the middle of KG 200 by J.D. Gilman and John Clive which I'm really enjoying, so I have to finish it before I start Smiley's People. I've had this book on my shelf for more years than I'd like to admit and just never got around to reading it. The premise is that during WWII the Nazis had a plan to assassinate Winston Churchill. It's very different from Jack Higgins' The Eagle Has Landed which is the book that got me into spy thrillers, and not in a bad way. The last line of the book reads: "Many of the most fantastic, the most unbelievable incidents here described actually happened." And so as I continue to read it (I was looking for the authors' bios which is why I caught the end of the book) I'll just have to wonder which events were real and which were fictionalized. I was at Target last week though and saw that there was a new Jack Higgins out, so I had to pick that up. The trick will be not reading the new Jack before Smiley's People (don't bet on this one, folks).

And I have been given a massive project (Yay!) to alleviate my complete boredom. Now to find something that will alleviate my Guinness headache!!!

Have a fabulous weekend all. I'm going to sleep in and generally be lazy since I have NO plans for the weekend, except watching movies and knitting.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bored and Boring

I don't feel like doing any work. I don't feel like writing. I just want to sleep. Yes, a familiar refrain, I know. My allergies have been kicking my ass. When I crawled into bed last night I was so stuffed up, I couldn't breathe through my nose at all. I took two allergy pills but they didn't seem to help a whole lot. I took two more this morning because I was still so stuffed up. I'd rather have a cold. I know that'll end at some point!!!!

My whole department had a training session this morning. I took my knitting and got quite a bit done, so that was good. And the knitting kept me from sleeping throughout the presentation. The Faux-Big Boss Man did the presenting and when I saw him later I asked if we should be calling him Professor Faux-Big Boss Man now. He said, No, I almost put myself to sleep. Yeah, the stuff was that interesting.

Almost as interesting as this post which is now finished….