Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Finally, a rundown of my trip to Mexico - Pics included

Oops, I should clarify that when I say that I think it's a tad bit pathetic to write fan letters that I mean for full-blown adults. Writing to favorite actors/musicians/athletes is completely acceptable when a child or a teenager or even into college. The actor to whom I was referring yesterday is not really the type to appeal to anybody under the age of 30. So, I'm picturing pathetic women who think if they send him a holiday greeting that he'll want to meet them or whatever. Long letters to Wil Wheaton are perfectly acceptable! ;-) Especially when hand-written notes and autographed photographs are the end result.

I have the picture CDs from Mexico! Woohoo! Of course, now I've forgotten everything I did in Mexico. No, not really.

Monday, Oct. 31 – We got a late start (not in the least bit surprising and a regular theme), so it was 1:00 p.m. by the time we got to Artesanía to buy souvenirs. All I really wanted were these very cool TINY animals made from straw (?). I have one that I got when I was there in 1979 (or was 1983?) and it's just so tiny, it's hard to imagine someone able to make something that tiny that looks like the animal it's representing. No luck. Mom found herself an Aztec calendar ring. I wanted one, but they were all too big. It does not pay to have thin fingers in this world, if you want to buy off-the-rack silver rings. If I owned a digital camera, I could take pics of the fun stuff I bought and post them, but since I don't… When I was in Mexico back during the January cruise I had seen this very cool necklace of the Aztec calendar but since it was a highly traveled tourist area, they wanted a stupid amount of money for it. I left it there. I finally found one and although it was still more money than I thought I wanted to pay, I realised that I really did want it and I'm very glad I bought it (I'm wearing it today…ooh, I could use the work camera to take a picture of it – but I wouldn't bet money on it happening). I got myself a very cool Mexico t-shirt (red and green – colors of Mexico, not just Christmas). I also bought Ursamajor a very pretty pewter dish to thank her for taking me to and picking me up from the airport. It's so incredibly helpful that she moved in downstairs. Of course, I was unable to return the favor when she asked because I had family stuff happening, so who knows if she'll ever want to take me again. ;-)

Here is a pic of J and me outside Artesanías.

After we were done shopping we went for ice cream. J wanted to introduce us to elote ice cream which is corn on the cob ice cream. He was a little upset with me when I ordered a tamarindo nieve as this was the only place to get elote ice cream. I tried to explain to him that although tamarind is very popular in Mexico, I can't get it in the States (at least Michigan, as far as I know) and that I developed a taste for tamarind when I visited in 1979. He was still annoyed with me, but I was very happy with my tamarind nieve. I tried Mom's elote ice cream and although it was good, it didn't thrill me.

Tuesday was spent doing touristy stuff I hadn't done when I was there previously which was very cool. We went to the Museo Casa de Frida Kahlo which was incredibly fascinating. The main exhibit while we were there were the letters she wrote to a doctor she met when in San Francisco, Leo Eloesser. They corresponded for many years and in one letter from Detroit (when Diego Rivera was painting his murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts) expressed her deep dislike for the United States – paraphrased "Detroit is as ugly as the rest of the United States." I was pleased for my hometown.

I was amused by the letters (all written in Spanish) because for the first number of years she addressed him with the formal Usted (you) vs. the informal tu (also you). I was more amused by the letter (after about 12 years of letter writing – if I remember correctly) that began: Doctorcito muy lindo de mi Corazon. We giggled over that for the rest of our visit. Roughly translated it means: Dearest Doctor Most Beautiful of my heart. It's a little hard to translate as we Americans don't usually get quite so flowery in our letter salutations. The museum also contained a number of painful looking corsets which she wore after her bus accident.

From there we went on to the Plaza de Coyoacán and since it was a holiday (All Saints Day), there were lots of people and artesanos there. We saw indigenous dancers.

If someone knows how to re-orient my pictures so they show up correctly, I'd accept all help, thankfully.

Went into the San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist) Church.

Since it was a holiday there was more shopping set up huge tents. There were tables of artesanía from the rest of Latin America, each country having their own table, tables of food, clothes, etc. It was quite overwhelming really, but I finally found the little animals of straw that I wanted the day before. I got a burro (not as tiny as the one I got years ago), a cat (as teeny tiny as my old burro), and a lady carrying a basket on her head (which I seem to have lost). I kept the teeny tiny gatito for myself!

Mom and I also got our picture taken with the traditional Mexican Día de Muertos representatives: a skeleton and La Catrina.

After much wandering and another tamarindo nieve for me and real elote (corn on the cob) with mayo and cheese sprinkled on it (it was an interesting taste sensation) for Mom, we headed for the Museo Casa León Trotsky. Here are pictures of the house itself.

This is a picture of Trotsky's rabbit hutches:

Dia de Muertos altars at Trotsky's house which cracked me up as they were good Communists and totally not religious.

And a picture of his "tomb" – his ashes and his wife's Natalia's are in a little cache at the back. I made Mom take this picture.

Since I think the pictures are going to bog this down a touch, I'm splitting this up and will post Wednesday through Monday next.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It Could Be Sunshine

I received an e-mail from a fan club telling me that I could send Holiday Greetings to the reason the fan club exists. Do people really do that? And not feel utterly pathetic? Does the actor really care and read every message? I signed up just because I wanted the messages that tell me where I can find him on TV (not that I ever remember and watch the shows, if I have access to the channel), but this invitation to be a completely freak also showed up in my Inbox.

I have written one letter to a "famous" person in my life (two if you count the letter they made me write in 3rd grade to the President – Nixon at the time, thank you very much). It was 1995 (or 96) and I had discovered the ESPN racing chat and met all sorts of people including the woman who was Darrell Waltrip's timekeeper. I learned about NASCAR through the chat and although I didn't know much I thought that DW seemed to be a cool guy and Timekeeper assured us all that he was a great guy. He ended up having some sort of surgery that year and a bunch of us sent e-mails to Timekeeper wishing him well. According to her, he greatly appreciated the messages.

I've thought about writing letters to famous sport figures, but it never happens because it would be a little weird. Don’t you think?

If I did write a letter it would be to Lance Armstrong in which I inform him that Sheryl Crow can't actually sing well and ask if he really wants to be married to a no-talent hack with no fashion sense (did you see the yellow dress from earlier this year? Honestly, as my mother says, "I guess she doesn't own a full-length mirror.") I guess that's his business, but he should really think about it. Yeah, I know, productive as hell, isn't it? I can't believe that I just voluntarily went looking for Sheryl Crow pictures. I've made myself ill.

Good news! Queen (with Paul Rodgers and only Brian May and Roger Taylor) has announced a full 23-date tour for next year! Pre-sale starts tomorrow. Tickets on sale on Dec. 3 for some dates and Dec. 17 for others. I'm so there! It won't be the same but I think it could be a really cool show. I should probably ask LB as he went to the show at the Hollywood Bowl in October. He has been a HUGE Queen fan for years and just cried when Freddy died. He'd kill me if he knew I told people that, much less broadcast it to the Internet world. ;-)

Loopy – I must confess that I did NOT go to the gym yesterday. It was too darn nice.

When it's 60F in Detroit on November 28th, you don't waste time inside! I went for a nice three mile walk. I figured that was pretty good. Today I'll be running up and down two flights of steps doing laundry, so that'll have to count as well. I seriously have no clean clothes (ignore those clothes in my closet) and need to get serious about doing the wash. I hate doing laundry!!! Mostly I hate folding and putting away the clean clothes. Why is that? It's not like it takes a super long time – ten minutes top, but I simply hate doing it!!!

I have to go and buy a microwave today. My friend and I signed up to participate in "Operation Good Cheer" where you essentially adopt a child/teenager who would otherwise not get Christmas gifts and buy them stuff. All gifts need to be here by tomorrow (wrapped!). We got a 17-year-old girl in foster care who is apparently going to be out on her butt shortly because she wants all bridal shower type gifts (towels, pots/pans, dishes, lamps). My friend told me that Target has one for $34 or the Evil Empire has one for $30. She knows that there is no way in hell that I would go to the Evil Empire, so I hope my Target didn't sell out on Black Friday. I will drive to every Target within a 15 mile radius before I grace Wal-Mart with my presence.

The poor girl also wanted Winnie-the-Pooh pajamas but there were none to be had in women's sizes that I could find. I wanted to get her something fun for Christmas – not just practical stuff!!! Even 17-year-olds w/o parents deserve fun.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Be smart! Warm up before dancing!

I finally got the CDs of Mexico pictures from Mom and managed to forget them at home, so no pics today.

I went dancing Tuesday night for the first time in a couple of years and even though I showed my age by not knowing any of the newer music, I danced my fool ass off to some good old goth/industrial! Boy, are Tuesdays different from back in my dancing heyday when the bar would be PACKED by 10:30 with more people waiting in line to get in. Last Tuesday was nice because I never had to fight for a spot on the stage. The first song DJ Darren played after the Garbage/GoldFrapp Video Appreciation was Sisters of Mercy's This Corrosion. Oh, it was incredibly satisfying to have room to dance. I was a little bummed that it was my first song as I was not really warmed up, but I will never miss a chance to dance to the Sisters. I somehow managed to hurt my shoulder during This Corrosion, but I didn't let it stop me from dancing to everything else that I knew and/or appealed to me. My friends and I have discussed going on a Saturday when it's all goth/industrial (vs. newer music), so we'll see. I went a few times a couple of years ago mostly by myself and it was just not as much fun.

I spent Tuesday night after dancing completely unable to sleep as I had taken a Vicodin leftover from my bout with Shingles back in March so that I could dance (stupid knee). And it turned out that my right shoulder was just killing me. I took another vicodin when I got home, but it didn't even touch the debilitating pain in my shoulder – and just kept me awake. I wish I were a bit more normal when it comes to painkillers. I called the doctor first thing in the morning (since I was awake) and made an appt. for later that day. I couldn't even lift my arm to brush my teeth without being in excruciating pain. And I had stuff to prepare for Thanksgiving. It hurt to cut bread! How lame is that? The doctor gave me a new painkiller, Percocet. Let's just add that to the list of painkillers which do not kill my pain. In fact, not only did the pain remain, but I also got to deal with an itchiness all over my body. There is simply no danger of me becoming addicted to painkillers because I don't get whatever effect other people get from them. The doctor also prescribed X-rays, now to see if anything showed up. My shoulder no longer hurts but when I lift it above my head I can feel and hear a click like something isn't quite right. The lesson here is "Always warm up before dancing." Including arm exercises. Who knew?

The rest of the weekend was uneventful. Thanksgiving went well – I even got to eat dessert as YS made a caramel-chocolate truffle pie and it was quite yummy. Friday I went to the symphony with YS and although it was a nice concert, there was nothing unbelievably fabulous that brought me to my feet. Saturday my goal was not to leave the house at all and I accomplished that goal – I love setting achievable goals for my life. I knitted and watched Highlander: The Series (finished Season Five). Sunday was the opening mass for my new church and it went very well – although Mass did run a titch long at 2 hours and 17 minutes. Egads!!! You'd think we were Baptist or something!!!

The weather has been simply screwy! Friday of the Bauhaus concert was FREEZING! The following Sunday was beautiful. Monday and Tuesday were basic November days. Wednesday was shitty-ass snow. Thursday and Friday were cold (of course, it's always crappy when I have symphony tickets). Yesterday was 50-something and rainy. Today I heard it's supposed to get up to 60F. Expect the entire Detroit population to come down with colds by the end of this week.

And now you've been brought up to speed on the past week in my ever scintillating life!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bauhaus Review

Sorry for no update yesterday. After thinking about it all weekend I just didn't get around to writing it.

The Bauhaus concert sucked completely. Okay, Jason, time to click the little boxed X in the upper right hand corner.

Okay, do you think he's gone?

I think it's safe now.

Now on to the real review. BAUHAUS was unbelievably awesome! Usually after attending a concert I'm over the music of the band and I put it away and listen to something else. Not this time. I've been listening to it non-stop since Friday night (to say nothing of the two months before it). Okay, that's a slight lie, yesterday I broke out Love & Rockets and Tones on Tail. And it's all good!!!

I normally am not all that enthralled with guitar solos, but can I just tell you that Daniel Ash is the coolest guitarist ever? I declared him my Favorite Guitarist Ever after the concert. I never realised before Friday night how his guitar playing is mostly responsible for Bauhaus' distinctive sound (along with Peter Murphy's vocals, of course). And holy cow, is Daniel Ash short!!! He was wearing these funky platform shoe/sandals dealies which were at least 3 – 4 inches high. Craziness!!!

Peter started off the show looking like a bad lounge singer in a bad velvet jacket, but he lost the jacket by the third song and that helped. The only time he looked truly goth was for Bela Lugosi is Dead which was the very last song (and 2nd encore) and he came out in a long coat. Very cool.

They didn't do St. Vitus Dance, Spy in a Cab or Third Uncle, but they did do Terror Couple Kill Colonel which I love and a fabulous version of Ziggy Stardust. They're near the end of their tour, but if they come to a venue near you, do your best to see them. It was brilliant!

I have a new person to add to my List of Five. I had to remove Peter Wingfield because I found out that he's married and just had a baby. I know, but it's my rule. I still swoon a little when I see him and since I'm in Season Five of my Highlander: The Series DVDs I'm seeing him daily, but I have to do the right thing and replace him with David J, bassist for Bauhaus. Yeah, I told you that I was NOT over the whole Bauhaus thing. Here's the new listing:

1. Gary Sinise
2. Edward Norton
3. Ed Harris
4. Jason Statham
5. David J

And aren't I nice? I included links to pics this time.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I don't really like Black Comedies

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy

In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.

Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho

My Review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Well, I'm back from my 10:30 a.m. movie showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And let me tell you all something, it FUCKING ROCKED!!! Sorry about the language, but it was so bloody awesome.

Now, to be honest, I hated the last movie which really ticked me off because it was (and still is) my all-time favorite book of the series. So, I'm not a blanket love-everything-that-is-Harry-Potter person.

There were a few things that bothered me in this one: mainly I really have not come to love the new Dumbledore. I probably wouldn't have a problem with him if Richard Harris (it was Richard Harris, right?) hadn’t had the part for the first two movies. He was PERFECT! New guy? I don't know, I just can't warm up to him.

Obviously things are missing (it's just shy of three hours, but doesn't seem like it, even when you have to pee like a freaking race horse for the last hour and a half), but that book was HUGE! They had to eliminate some stuff. I'm going to give away the missing stuff now.


The subplot concerning the Weasley twins and Bagwell is not included. Nor is the story of Crouch's house elf Twinky or whatever the crap her name was. And I have to tell you that even though I noticed it right away (at the Quidditch World Cup match) it was the last time I thought of it. You don't really miss any of it, truthfully.


For some reason, Universal Studios apparently couldn't afford hairdressers for the boys as all of them were in dreadful need of a haircut. They reminded me of my 17-year-old cousin over the summer. Every time I saw him I wanted to take scissors to his head. It wasn't a good look in the 70s and it's not now. I hope they take care of that by the next book. Really no reason for half the cast to look like Bernie Ecclestone. For those of you unsure, he's the weasel in the middle. *shudder* I can't believe I just did that to myself. He's so icky he gives me a full body shudder.

So, if you're the least bit interested, check it out! But don't be like the complete bloody idiots in front of me who had a (at most) three year old with them. It was a bit intense for me!!! Much less a cute little three year old in a pink winter jacket! DON'T BE STUPID, people!!! LEAVE THE SMALL CHILDREN AT HOME!!!!!

Harry and Peter!

First off to the anonymous commenter who left me a message re: John Le Carre. I am reading The Honourable Schoolboy right now and it's simply taking me forever. It's not that I'm not enjoying it, it's just that I have so many other things to do that I don't have an overabundance of reading time. I hope to finish it SOON! I'm really liking it.

There is good news today. First off, suicidal friend was doing much better last night, although Martha said she noticed that he was definitely still down compared to last Friday when we were out. I agreed with her, but said that he was a thousand percent better than the night before. And he was all excited last night because he's getting a new truck. I figured that was a good sign. And I reminded him that he had agreed to go to my church's closing mass on Sunday. I have three people who have said they'll go and another who said she'd go to the opening mass of the new church the following Sunday. I guess I just want people to see how warm and inviting my church family is.

Other good is that today is Opening Day of the latest Harry Potter movie. I'm sorry to all you non Harry-ites out there, but I’m GEEKED!!!! Yes, I am. My plan is to take off in the middle of the day to see it and then come back to work. Pure excitement, you might get a movie review later.

Tonight is also the Bauhaus concert. Beyond EXCITED!!!! What can I say? I'm a geek. I saw them on their big reunion tour back in 1999 (I think it was '99, I know I was in SF at the time) and it kicked. I'm sure tonight's is going to be even better! Oooooh, it's at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. All this time I figured it was downtown at the State. I saw Oingo Boingo at the Royal Oak more years ago than I want to admit (at least 15, but probably more). Where does the time go? I simply love Danny Elfman. He is a freaking musical genius. If he weren't already married to Bridget Fonda I'd probably have him on my list of five – he's not that cute, but bloody hell, he's DANNY ELFMAN!!! Holy cow! Who knew there were such devoted Oingo Boingo fans out there in the world! Tattoos??? WOW!

In preparation for the concert tonight I've been listening to my Bauhaus CDs for the past month. I have at least six. Not too bad. I haven't been to a rock concert (versus classical) since last November when I saw Tears for Fears. What can I say? I love the 80s.

Oh, and for the record, I'm not ready for winter. And it was 21F this morning with a RealFeel of 14F. This is just WRONG!!!

GoingLoopy – Please nag me into going to the gym. I was a complete lame ass last night and didn't go. *sigh* I need someone to kick me in the ass.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thanks to everybody.

Thanks to everybody who left me supporting comments to last night's post. The good news is that I called him at work and he's there. He says he's doing a little better, but he sounded very down still. He's going out with us for drinks after work. Yes, I know alcohol is a depressant, but it's better than him going home alone and then working himself into a further depression.

And thanks for any and all prayers and thoughts for my friend with brain cancer. All are needed and welcomed.

I was so depressed myself last night that I went to bed at 9:00 p.m. and still had trouble getting out of bed this morning. I wasn't late for work or anything, but it was very hard to motivate myself. And although I don't normally sleep with a stuffed animal I did hug my Jess bear to myself all night. When I woke up this morning Jess Bear was right there being the comfort that Jess always was to me when he was alive.

I'm really sorry for the sad and depressing posts, but it's what is in my head right now.

Thanks again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I feel so helpless...

When I got home from work today I received a phone call from a friend. He sounded very distraught, so I asked him what was wrong. I could tell he had been or was crying and he said something about going out for a beer. I told him that I couldn't as I was waiting for the UPS man (have I ever said how much I completely hate UPS?), but that I had beer in the house and why didn't he come over. He agreed and I raced arond the house trying to make it look like someone other than a complete pig lives here.

He stayed for a little less than two hours and when he left he scared the hell out of me. "If you don't hear from me in a few days, know that I appreciate having known you." I felt so helpless! What could I do? I couldn't hogtie and keep him in my apt., but I so didn't want him to leave. He talked about how he almost took his dog to the pound today. I am absolutely beside myself wondering if he's okay. Wondering what I should do or could do.

No matter what I said, no matter how sensible it was, he wasn't listening. He just kept calling himself a fuck-up and that he was so exhausted and he was just so tired of it all. I kept telling him that he is a good person and that life isn't easy, but most of the time I honestly had no idea what to say to him. If he hadn't been so severely depressed, I might have tried to tease him a little bit, but I knew that wasn't going to work.

I feel that I should be angry with him for possibly thinking about throwing away a perfectly good life when I have a friend who has just been diagnosed with brain cancer and from the sounds of it is not going to make it. I feel like my heart is breaking because this incredible woman is facing chemo and radiation for a year while one of my friends has reached a point where he doesn't feel like life is worth the pain. The thing is that I'm not angry with him because I understand. I've been there. I just so badly wish I could do something for him. I tried to get him to look me in the eyes and promise that he wouldn't hurt himself but he said he couldn't do it. I just want to cry, because I feel so fucking helpless.

Please keep him in your thoughts or prayers or send good vibes and not just to him, but for my friend with brain cancer. And her family, her husband has survived two bouts with cancer and this is her second, but at some point I'm scared the miracles will end and that will suck royally. So, please do what you can to think good thoughts and send them this way. Thanks.



Does anybody else hate fluorescent lighting as much as I do? I know I looked better when I left the house 3.5 hours ago. My make-up looked good and everything. Now I look wan and death-like. Fucking fluorescent lighting! Environmentalists recommend that one way to save energy is to have fluorescent lighting in the house. Yeah, like I want to look this bad at home too??? I'm big on saving on the environment, but that’s taking things too far.

Forgetting the book yesterday wasn't that big of a deal. I did get a machine in front of the ESPN TV, but then I ended up reading an issue of Ladies Home Journal. What can I say, it had Bill Clinton on the cover and the interview was about some committee/group/thingy which is working on getting Americans to eat better and not be so overweight. The entire magazine kept my attention for the full hour that I ellipticalled, so I guess it was all good. The only problem is that I’ve been working on this one book for what seems like years and I just want to finish it! I have so many books sitting there begging that I read them. Why oh why oh why do I have to be addicted to books???

On Monday when I had the day off I went up to Royal Oak and had lunch with friends and then we wondered around. I went in to the yarn store and walked out with NOTHING! You have no idea what an accomplishment that is!!!! Although I’m thinking that I could have used a nice grey soft yarn to make a man's scarf. DARN it. Ah well, I can always call the boys at the Lansing yarn store and have them mail me some lovely alpaca. I think there's a heather grey, if not, black is always good for a man's scarf, right?

Oh yeah, back to Royal Oak, in our wonderings we ended up in Barnes & Noble – always a dangerous thing to put me inside a book store. Now I had lent my all-time favorite book, The Eight to someone at least a year ago and I've never gotten it back. The thing that really pisses me off is that I distinctly remember lending it to someone (no clue whom) and saying, 'I've lent this book out before and never got it back. I know I can trust you." Yeah, right. It's the third time I had lent out the book (the second hardback) and never got it back. Come on, people, my friggin' name is on the first sheet with my phone number or at least I have my Library imprint in it. It really pisses me off. I return books, thank you very much. I'm pissed at myself for doing it again.

I also bought a book of Mexican stories with the stories written in English and Spanish side-by-side, so I can read it in Spanish and then read the English and see if I still have it. What can I say, I'm a Spanish Geek!!!

"If you judge a person, you never get a chance to love them"

Favorite quote of Octavia who guest wrote for Clarity last week.

I thought it was too good not to share.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tidbits and Miscellany - and a picture of Mexico!

Well, Mom didn't get her film to Costco yet which is a good thing as it turns out because she had forgotten that I asked her to get CDs. Then she made a little sidebitch about having to go with Kodak which is more expensive – blah blah blah. You'd think the woman has no money the way she scrapes pennies, but when you know that she works 70 hours a week and does NOTHING otherwise (except go on my Mexican vacation), you know she has money socked away. She'll probably die with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank.

Dammit! As most of you know I have season tickets to the DSO (Detroit Symphony Orchestra). One of the highlights to the season for me was going to be Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Although I love other classical pieces more, it was my first true classical love. The problem? Yeah, YS's graduation is the next morning at 9:30 a.m. in fucking Mount Pleasant, MI. I am NOT PLEASED! I was really really really looking forward to hearing the 9th live once again. FUCK!

I'm wondering if I need to give my Highlander: The Series DVDs a break. I had one weird-ass dream last night and all I know is that it had something to do with Immortals. I'm not even halfway through Season 4! And every time I watch another episode, I think to myself how much I love that show.

My friend HRH just sent me this article. If you click on the picture to the right, you'll see me standing there with Mom decked out in my all my Champ Car glory. Unfortunately, you can only see my back. HINT: We're the non-Mexicans in the picture (i.e., look for the light-haired woman in the grey T-shirt and jeans. That's Mom.).

I'm really annoyed with myself right now. I forgot my book!!! Which meant I had to talk to people in the coffee room while I heated up my leftover pizza and it means that when I go straight to the gym after work that I won't have anything to read. SHIT! I hope that I get a TV in front of ESPN and not the bloody General Hospital TV.

Yesterday was a day off, ostensibly for Veterans Day, but everybody here calls it, "Hunting Day." Today, for those of you who are lucky enough not to know, is the first day of Firearms Hunting Season. The union bargained for Veterans Day off, but it's never on Veterans Day, it's always the Friday or Monday closest to November 15, so that the killers of deer have enough time to get up north and settled into their blinds and drink enough beer to fire off a shot at something that just might possibly be a deer – or at least isn't another drunken hunter. I don't know about you, but the mixture of alcohol and guns just seems singularly foolhardy.

Since returning from Mexico last Tuesday evening I have started and completed four scarves. The fifth is actually damn near done. Bind off and then weave in the ends and five scarves will officially be done. That leaves me with three more to do before mailing them off to Mexico. I want them done before Thanksgiving!

Saturday night I went to my aunt and uncle's for dinner. We had been trying to schedule a dinner for some months as I have bottles of red wine to open and these aren't the type of bottles you open and drink alone – they cost too bloody much for that. This started when Jason gave me a bottle of Igor Larionov's wine for my b-day. As everybody should know Igor Larionov was the most incredibly beautiful skater and passer and playmaker in the NHL until his retirement after the last season the game was played. He has such grace on the ice, it'd make a grown-man weep. Anyway, he's huge into wine and has hooked up with an Australian wine-maker to make these exceptionally fabulous wines (or so I'm told that they're fab). I held the Igor wine out to my uncle as the carrot, as he's a big wine connoisseur, and then withheld the Igor wines in favor of the Mario Andretti wines I got when he retired in 1994. I had been saving them for a special occasion – like a second date, actually I had started out saving them (I had two bottles) for my engagement or wedding, but as the years went on my rules for a special occasion became a little less stringent. I finally gave that up, obviously, and decided to share them with my uncle. I took my two bottles of Arriverderci Mario wine over but only ended up opening one and not even finishing that as I had to drive home and my aunt didn't like it. Turns out that an older cabernet sauvignon needs to breathe a lot longer than a younger wine and that although the taste is different, it's not considered to be bad. Ah, the things I don't know about wine could fill a tome of encyclopedic size. I went home with the signed bottle still unopened, but will open it sometime this year as I don't want the taste to change much more and those chances of a second date happening ever again in this lifetime are fading fast. And the next dinner I will take the Igor wine and my uncle will swoon.

Which reminds me that I need to ask Jason for his incredibly yummy mashed potato recipe…

Questions and Answers

I completely stole the following memes from Ursamajor.

The Four Things Thing

Bed, toilet, toothpaste and toothbrush

Babysitting, All jobs at Burger King, circulation desk at University Library, Admin at University


HRH, Aunt J, Doctor, Paula

Sliding Doors, Ever After, An Affair to Remember, The Sting

Keep my job, adopt homeless cats (but not to excess – three at most), NOT go on vacation with my mother, find someone who loves me and I love him in return

YS, Grandma, LB, Mom (yes, I bitch about going on vacation with her, but that doesn't mean I'm not close to her)

Mexico City; Cairo, Egypt; Yellowstone; Washington, D.C.

Rabid Race Fan, Black Cat Burglar, Pink Elephant, Gypsy (classic early teenage chance to wear too much jewelry and make-up)

Ashcroft (kindergarten), St. Robert Bellarmine (grade school), Bishop Borgess High School and University of Michigan-Dearborn

Spinach, artichoke hearts (damn Michigan), onions, mushrooms

The Childhood Thing

1. What was the first car your family had?
Country Squire faux wood paneled station wagon (first one I remember)

2. What was the name of your first pet and why?
Kitty, because it was a stray cat and wasn't supposed to stick around.

Hmmm, there's no #3 in this

4. What was the name of your elementary school?
Answered in above "meme."

5. Who was your first best friend?
Lisa who lived next door.

6. Are you still friends today, and if not, what happened?
We're not good friends but we see each other at different large family functions, like graduations and weddings.

7. What was your favorite board game?
Payday or Clue

8. Did you play house or other make believe games?
Of course.

9. Were you a Dungeons and Dragons geek?
Never in a million years, I knew that it existed, but that was about it.

10. Did you sleep with stuffed animals as a kid?
Yup, had a very beloved duck which I called Guck (I was about three), an authentic Smoky the Bear animal (which I could have bought in Vegas at FAO Schwarz for $60).

11. Do you still sleep with stuffed animals?
There are some in the bed, but I'm not really sleeping with them – to me that means I'm hugging it.

12. Who was the first person you looked up to when you were younger?
I honestly don't remember looking up to anybody in particular. How sad is that?

13. Who was your favorite relative?
Great Grandma – she always had gumdrops in her candy dish and had a very cool old house in Detroit.

14. Were you short or tall in elementary school?
I've always been average-sized.

15. Were you teased in school?

16. What was the name of your favorite teacher?
I had a total crush on my 9th grade English teacher, Mr. Gavin, but I wouldn't call him my favorite. Bloody hell, but the whole school thing was a damn long time ago. Mr. Czarny was a very cool Biology teacher and I remember Andrea Cislo made him blush when discussing a woman's biological system. He said that a normal menstrual period lasted 3-5 days and she raised her hand to ask if it wasn't more normally 7 days. At the time I was mortified, but pretty impressed that she had the guts to ask it. Mr. Czarny, as I remember, conceded that perhaps we young women in the class might know more about it than he did.

Sister Carmen, my Spanish teacher in high school, was definitely a favorite! She was down to earth and very funny and when one of the guys in the class would ask how to translate bad words, she would say that they would have to wait until 4th year as that would be Spanish for Perverts. She was a great teacher.

17. What was the name of your least favorite teacher?
Easy! Emily Spinelli, one of my Spanish professors in University. She was and from all accounts is still a first rate bitch. Examples (and oh, are there many): Every semester in college I would get laryngitis at the end of the term. Damn near everybody in the University knew this as I did work the Circ Desk in the Library. I even had little flash cards that I drew up that said things like "I'm fine. How are you?" "Yes, again." "Yes, I've been to the doctor." Etc. You get the picture. At the end of the semester, Spinelli would assign a topic and each student had to give a speech on their topic. Twice I managed to have laryngitis (the first time I didn't, but my friend Alison had talked to Emily to see if I could give it from my desk as I was a freaking basket-case. She allowed it, but I think she docked me because of it. I'm telling you, she was a BITCH!) The first time I got laryngitis she wasn't happy but I had a doctor's note and she couldn't say anything. The second time I went to her office with a doctor's notice and croaked out, 'I know you're not going to believe me, but I have laryngitis again." And she pointedly crossed her arms over her chest and said coldly, "You're right, I don't believe you." The professor with whom she shared an office just looked at me sympathetically. There wasn't much she could do about it though because I had the doctor's note and if I went to the Chair of the Dept. very obviously unable to speak she'd look like an ass.

Another example: I had had her for something like four classes, had gotten all A's and I needed a letter of recommendation for a summer internship scholarship. I went to ask her for the letter and she said, "You don't want one from me. I'd have to be honest." I just gaped at her as I had done nothing wrong and as I said, gotten STRAIGHT FRICKIN' A's. I think I stuttered, "What did I do?" "I don't think you treated me very fairly this past semester." The past semester she wasn't there for one of the exams, she had the secretary bring the exam in and pass it out, but didn't stay to monitor. Some people in the class cheated (for the record, I did not), even though they totally didn't have to. There was a first class suck-up in the class by the name of Nancy Gump and she ratted to Spinelli when she came back from whatever conference she had attended (probably the "Spain is the greatest country of all, while Latin America sucks ass" conference – she was most disdainful of anything from Latin America). Spinelli approached the class and asked that the people who cheated own up and come forward. As I said, I didn't cheat, so I didn't go forward. So, I say to her, "But I didn't cheat." "Yes, but you didn't tell me who did." Or some such bullshit. I went to the Dean (no, I didn't snitch on her, my name wasn't Nancy Gump) and asked for a letter as I had had him twice for Spanish. In the end I didn't get the scholarship – no, I don't blame her, but the point is that she's a nasty little person.

She also judged you by whom your friends were. Since I hung out with the cheating crowd, she hated me (and she knew I hadn't cheated as I'd bet a large sum of money that Ms Suck Up Gump herself included names) and anybody with whom I hung out, after the initial crowd graduated (they were older than me as I had jumped ahead to Spanish II in my freshman year – thanks to Sr. Carmen's fine teaching).

I think that's enough examples of her hideousness, for now.

18. What was your best subject in school?
Grade School, it was Spelling! I was utterly depressed when I got to high school and found there was no Spelling classes. At University my best subject was Spanish – much to Spinelli's dismay. She *HATED* it that I could skip class, and ace the friggin' tests.

19. What was your worst subject in school?
High School – Chem Study (honors Chemistry class that didn't get honors credit – stupid ass system) and Trig and Analysis (it was called Trig in my day, not Pre-Calc). College – Accounting. God, that class sucked complete ass.

20. Did you do well in Physical Education?
Not at all. I'm not the least bit athletic or coordinated. I even took a squash racket to the head.

21. Were you clumsy when you were younger?
Not really clumsy – moreso, not that graceful.

22. Who was your favorite band as a kid?
Bobby Sherman when I was in 3rd grade. A little later, it was Shaun Cassidy and Andy Gibb.

23. What was your favorite movie as a kid?
Mary Poppins

24. Did your parents read to you?
The only book I remember being read to us was Brighty of the Grand Canyon. I don't think Mom ever finished reading it to us. And remember nothing about it except that it was about a donkey in the Grand Canyon.

25. Did you have a favorite book?
The Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew

26. What was your favorite restaurant as a kid?
We went to McDonald's maybe once a year. Other than that, we would go to this place (long gone) called Lum's once a year right before Christmas after our visit to Santa Claus at Wonderland (also gone) Mall.

27. What TV or movie star did you have a crush?
Do you know how damn hard it is to think that far back? *thinking* This is hard (not just because I'm old), because we weren't really allowed to watch TV or see movies (except G-rated) and I'm afraid that I didn't get crushes on cartoon characters. Randy Mantooth from Emergency!

28. Do you now wonder what you were thinking?
Hell no, he's still pretty hot.

29. Who was your first crush in school?
Danny Pilot.

30. As a child, what kind of car did you want when you grew up?
A VW Beetle

31. Did your parents spank you?
Oh yeah!

32. Did your parents fight a lot when you were a kid?
Nope. I actually didn't know my parents had names because they called each other "Dear" and "Honey" and shit like that.

33. Did your parents get divorced or stay married?

34. If they got divorced, how old were you when it happened?

35. Did you ever run away from home?
No, I didn't have any idea where I'd go.

36. How old were you when/if you first got glasses?
3rd grade – 8 years old

37. Did you need braces or a retainer?
No, and it pisses me off a little now because my teeth are not perfectly straight – but there was no money for such frivolities when I was of age. LB and YS both got them.

38. If you're male, how old were you when you had your first wet dream?

49. Both sexes when did you start shaving?
14, but I know I wasn't really allowed to.

50. Girls when did you start wearing a bra?
I can remember the bra. I can remember it was bought at K-Mart (shit, everything I wore was), but I can't remember if I was 12 or 13.

51. What was your first kiss like?
I remember who and where, but I don't remember the kiss itself.

52. What did you do on your first date?
It was a blind date (of course, I think I've only had blind dates). His brother was hot but too old for me. The date was my age and looked nothing like his brother (this was anomaly to me as all my siblings look alike). We were supposed to go to a Moody Blues concert but it was canceled or he didn't get tickets or whatever, so we ended up at a Catholic Central dance where he proved to be the quintessential nerd (right down to the glasses, pudginess and white button-downed shirt) and didn't dance – just sat there on a folding chair. Then we went to a pizza place on Telegraph so that my friend Kim could check him out. It wasn't hell, but it was boring and not fun.

53. How old were you when you first drank?
My parents let us sip beer from FF's glass and on Sundays we could have our own tiny aperitif glass of champagne, but first real beer outside of the house that my parents didn't know about? 16?

54. Where was your first house?
Redford, Michigan

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What was I in High School?

Brainy Kid

In high school, you were acing AP classes or hanging out in the computer lab.

You may have been a bit of a geek back then, but now you're a total success!

Too funny. First off, I didn't ace AP History in the first semester so I dropped it in favor of plain old history in order to get that damn A. I graduated in 1982 - the computer lab was one computer used by the true geeks in my high school. And I'm not sure I can be described as a total success in life anybody!!

I have returned unscathed from Mexico (as has Mom)

I'm back! I got back Tuesday night but yesterday was a busy day at work and I didn't have time to read any blogs (save one - I figure I'm going to have to catch up a blog a day having been gone ten days), much less update my own.

And even though Mom was along for the ride I still had an incredibly fabulous time in Mexico. I can't believe I went more than 20 years between visits. I simply love that country, that city and the people! I practically had more warnings than well-wishes on my trip as Mexico City has quite the reputation for being dangerous and my Mexican family corroborated the dangerousness.

One story I heard from a co-worker (the Libertarian, for regular readers) was that a man from my company was down in C d M (Ciudad de Mexico) for work and that he took a "green taxi" and they found him in a bad neighborhood shot dead and robbed. And let me tell you, those green taxis are EVERYWHERE!!! Even my Mexican family won't take one or any taxi off the street. There are private taxi companies that you call and they come to your house. Mom and I had occasion to take one on Saturday morning to the race track because my friend Jo. didn't show up to take us to the race track. The man was very nice and got us to the racetrack in perfect time. And when we couldn't find Jo. at the track that afternoon, I used my cell phone (I can't wait to see my bill for this month with Mexico roaming charges) to call the house (that's a whole 'nother entry) and they called the taxi company for us and we waited on the street corner waiting for Cab #245 to pick us up.

I had asked Jo. about the taxis and he said that even he shouldn't take them although sometimes he's stupid (his word) and does. I think if you look like you have even a little bit of money that you shouldn't take the off the street taxis.

I don't have pictures yet, so I'm hesitant to write anything about the trip because I want to include pics. I don't have a camera, so I have to wait for Mom to develop her pictures. I asked her to get CDs, but Mom isn't all that efficient about things as I gave her a disposable camera more than a month ago to develop (she has the Costco membership) and I still don't have the pics. I wish I had thought beforehand to have her get a CD of that one. I took many pics of the kids and I know you're all dying to see my very cute felines!

I didn't get to see everything I wanted to see but that's because there is so much to see there! We missed the Castillo de Chapultepec and the Basilica of Guadalupe and the Plaza de Tres Culturas (which has a Nauhautl name of something like Tlatlalenco). Other than that we got to the Pyramids at Teotihuacán, the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Museo Frida Kahlo, the Museo Casa Leon Trotsky, El Zocalo (which includes the National Cathedral, the Palacio Nacional, and a hotel where my uncle liked to sit on the balcony and have a cup of coffee and look out over his favorite city in the world), and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. I will give details later once I get the CDs of pictures from Mom. You don't want to read about it all twice! Suffice it to say that I had an incredibly fabulously lovely time and can't wait to go back next year – even if Mom will be going as well. *sigh*