Thursday, August 30, 2007

The One Thing (Saturday Night in the City)

Beth over at the Gardening Knitter came up with some questions that she wanted her readers to answer. It's harder than it first appeared.

The One Thing

1. If you could recommend only one book for others to read, what would it be and why?

I always say that my favorite book is The Eight by Katharine Neville, and while I always recommend it, it doesn't seem deep enough for this question, mainly because the "why" response would be because "I really liked it." And that's kind of lame.

Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity by Bruce Bawer. I chose this book because there are so many anti-Christians out there (and I don't mean simply being agnostic or atheist or even another religion) who think that the Religious Right is what Christianity is all about and I disagree completely. I wanted to mail this book to my BAB anonymously, but he would never read it because it's written by a gay man. And we all know how the Religious Right feels about "the gay."

2. What is your one favorite song? Why?

Atmosphere by Joy Division. It used to be Madam Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren, but as much as I love that song, I have decided that I couldn't listen to it over and over and over and over which I can definitely do with Atmosphere.

3. What is the one thing that is the biggest time saver in your life?

Oy, this is hard. I have no time savers, really. I don't have a dishwasher or a garbage disposal. I don't even have curbside garbage pick-up. I'm going to show myself to be a true Detroiter with this answer: my car. I like to walk to locations which is why I live where I live. I can walk to the fruit market, the pharmacy, Michael's (in case I'm desperate for yarn), the beer store, the bar, even the grocery store as long as I'm not buying the place out as it's a bit more than a mile, but if I'm in a hurry I will jump in the car.

4. What is one gadget you couldn't live without and why?

My alarm clock. Whereas I usually wake up before the alarm goes off, I won't get up until the alarm actually goes off. I'm generally quite able to go back to sleep.

5. If you could recommend one film for others to see, what would it be and why?

To Live - I remember this film as portraying China as it is, and not as it wishes to be portrayed. The director Zhang Yimou (also responsible for Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern, Ju Dou, The Story of Qiu Ju, The Shanghai Triad and The Road Home) was banned from making movies for a number of years after this one (although Shanghai Triad had been released in that timeframe because it was already done) because of its truism. He also did Hero with Jet Li and The House of Flying Daggers but I haven't seen those. The link above has a great review of it – much better than I could write.

6. What is the one cure or preventative measure you believe in and for what ailment?

Gargling with salt water for a sore throat. Until my doctor recommended it with the correct proportions I always hated doing it because I used too much salt. You're only supposed to use a ¼ t of salt per one cup of warm water.

7. What is the best advice you've ever received and from whom?

"When you get older, you'll vote Republican." From the Former Father when he was disgusted that I was such a liberal. That is enough to keep me from ever voting Republican. ;-)

8. If you could introduce the entire world to just one band/musical artist, who would it be and why?

Joy Division, of course. They are my favorite band of all time and I have read every book I can find on them. I own every CD (I have never collected vinyl, otherwise I'm sure I'd be in serious trouble – money and space wise) that they have ever put out, including the boxset. I remember the first book I read about Joy Division and it used a word I didn't recognize to describe the music, so I looked it up. The word was dyspeptic, which means "gloomy." The funny thing is that I didn't find the music depressing or gloomy at all. One day after work when I worked at the University, I was hanging around the radio station because I didn't feel like going home as I had a headache and was just depressed (this was probably 1990 or 91 after I had broken up with the cheating ex-). I remember MVK playing a Joy Division song which made me smile. Just hearing a JD song played by someone other than me makes me happy. I know they're not everybody's cup of tea, but I think everybody should at least give them a try, if they've never heard them.

9. If you could convince others you meet or know of one thing, what would it be?

This one is easy!! I want to convince everybody that Champ Car is the best racing series in the world and that the IRL and TFG (Tony George) are evil. I can tell you the entire history of CART/Champ Car vs the IRL and TFG, but I won't bore the ever-living crap out of you here, because more than likely your eyes will glaze over and you'll not read the rest of my post. If anybody wants to know, I will gladly tell all, however.

10. What do you believe is one of the greatest ways of wasting money and how do you combat it?

I have to agree with Beth on this one. Commercial cleaning products. I have major issue with chemical smells, so I don't buy most of these products. I clean my bathroom with rubbing alcohol (kills germs), a toothbrush, and Zud (when I have rust stains – which is pretty often considering the color of the water in my apt. can be pretty orange). Beth has a lot more homemade recipes, so go and see her (it was a number of months back, but maybe she'll link for us).

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More crap all about me

I borrowed this from Flumadiddle. The idea is to answer the pre-colon words/phrases using one word.

Yourself: nauseous
Your partner: nonexistent
Your hair: reddish
Your mother: tardy
Your father: worthless
Your favorite item: cats
Your dream last night: none
Your favorite drink: Guinness
Your dream car: Jaguar
Dream home: current
The room you are in: office
Your fear: love
What you are great at: nothing
Where you want to be in 10 years: happy
Who you hung out with last night: me
You're not: lovable
One of your wish list items: books
The last thing you did: ate
You are wearing: clothes
Your favorite weather: summer
Your favorite book: Eight
Last thing you ate: nasty
Your life: regular
Your mood: sad
Your best friend: whatever
What are you thinking about right now: puking
Your car: Focus
What are you doing at the moment: thinking
Relationship status: nonexistent
What is on your t.v: tchotckes
When is the last time you laughed: Yesterday


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Will Dare - Grandma Update

Friday was crazy weatherwise here in Southeastern Michigan. I, being me, hadn't really paid all that much attention to the weather report. I knew it was supposed to rain, but that was the extent of it. I picked up a friend of Marianne's who lives by me and I had met a number of times before (with the price of gas it seemed stupid to have two of driving from the same place to the same place) and we got there a little before 6:30. As we walked up the walk, it started to rain a little bit. We made it into the house before all hell broke loose. Marianne's kids were in the basement as her city had sounded the weather warning siren and they were insistent that they get in the basement along with the two guinea pigs, the two mice and the killer cat (locked in the basement bathroom). We stood in the living room window and watched this huge mother branch from the tree next door fall into the street. At that point, I got a little worried about my car (it survived unscathed, thankfully) and thought that maybe the kids had the right idea. We three grabbed the food and took it to the basement where we hung out until the worst was over. Marianne's 9-year-old daughter was completely freaked out and was on her knees under a blanket praying with tears streaming down her face. Poor sweetie.

Obviously we all survived the storm which I heard brought five tornados to Fenton, MI where my aunt lives. I was quite worried because their house is up on a hill, but it turns out that it all happened north of them and they actually got hardly any rain and my aunt needed to water her garden the next morning. Marianne's street, on the other hand, was flooded, although thankfully, not too badly that the ol' Focus made it through no problem.

The rest of the partygoers showed up finally and we had a lovely adult type party just sitting around and chatting. I got home around midnight to hear that the score of the Tigers-Yankees game was 5-2 (or something like that) in the bottom of the 3rd inning. WTF??? The game ended at 3:30 a.m. with a Carlos Guillen walk off home run. No, I didn't stay up. I was tired. I managed to sleep in until 11:00 a.m., so that was one goal accomplished for the weekend – and pretty much the only one as I got no laundry done, I didn't get to PetSmart for cat food, nor Borders with my 20% off coupon.

My massage was not as deep tissue as I prefer, so it was a little disappointing, even though it was VERY relaxing. I spent hours on the phone over the weekend with Panasonic & Comcast trying to get my new DVD-R (I bought it Friday after work) to record (still completely unsuccessful) which means I'll be staying up to 10:00 tonight to watch Eureka, since I can't count on my DVD-R yet. Dammit.

I had a second party to attend on Saturday and although I was a little nervous about it as I only knew the hosts (and one other person who wasn't going to show up until 11:00 or so because he was going to the Tigers game). I’m not shy, generally, anymore, but I still have tentative moments about meeting new people, but everybody was very friendly and like-minded, so I got to talk to music, movies, hockey, Tigers, etc. I had such a lovely time that I didn't get home until 3:00 a.m. I had gotten a phone call from Mom telling me that she was leaving for CA Sunday morning so she wouldn't be at church. Whew! That meant I didn't have to go. I would have gone, except that the Champ Car race was on at 8:00 a.m. and church starts at 10:00 a.m. And with my DVD-R still not set up properly (although from all accounts it is), I didn't trust it to record the race. Good thing since it didn't. I called Panasonic again and the girl had me adjust something. I test recorded the Champ Car race re-broadcast at 2:00 a.m. Monday and yup, still not working. Mom called me around 11:30 from the Dallas airport and asked surprised, "You're out of church already?" "No, I didn't go." "Oh." "If you didn't ask, you wouldn't know I missed." She made it sound like she didn't care but I'm not sure the Champ Car race is a good reason to miss church in Mom's eyes.

After the race (won by Sebastien Bourdais – his sixth win of the season), I showered and got dressed and then called Grandma. She wasn't sure she was going to be hungry for sushi, because she wasn't sure what time I'd be calling, so she had had an Ensure first thing when she woke up and a slice of toast just before I called. I teased her saying, "Ooooh, an Ensure and a piece of toast. That's the Breakfast of Champions, Grandma." I told her I'd be there in 45 minutes and headed out. She looked fabulous as always in her tan pants, black sweater and tan/black jacket-y thing (which she didn't need). She agreed with me that I can't wear beige/tan/khaki pants.

First stop was CVS for batteries for her husband's hearing aid, then it was on to sushi where she had the Shrimp Tempura sushi and I had the asparagus tempura (YUMMY!). She couldn't finish the last piece of sushi as she was just stuffed. She was weak enough that she let me drop her off at the door while I parked the car, although she insisted she could walk to the car after lunch. I had parked it as closely as I could, but it was still a bit of a walk for Shortstuff's little legs. She actually let me help her, although I thought she was doing pretty darn well for 88.

She had run out of her Estee Lauder lifting serum three weeks previously, so she had me take her to the store for that. After giving me a hard time for spending $130 on the DVD-R, she proceeded to spend $175 on her lifting serum. I didn't say a word, but I noted it. ;-)

From there I took her to the hospice to visit her husband who got in either Friday or Saturday. My mom said to me, "Your Grandma took care of him for the past 3-4 months, but his daughter takes care of him for a week and he's in hospice. I guess she figured out how much work he really is." Grandma has been spending almost all day every day visiting with him, even though she's supposed to be resting to build up her strength. I don't blame her, really, he is her husband. It's just that while I was there, I noticed that he's a tad cranky. He would say something mumbling and she would ask him to repeat it. And he would, LOUDLY.AND.ONE.WORD.AT.A.TIME as if she were an idiot. That annoyed me, but Grandma just accepted it and responded to whatever he asked.

My mom is certain that he's going to die soon and that she's going to have to cut her vacation short, but I don't think so. He didn't look that bad to me, but what do I know about Alzheimer's? Mom said something about his cancer being back, too, but that’s the first I had heard of it.

I went for PT yesterday and now have a whole series of exercises designed to build up my knee strength which includes stretches. I'm terrible at stretching because it's so darn boring. Still, if I'm serious about this, I'm going to have to do it. Soyon gave me the name of an acupuncturist yesterday. Now to get up the nerve to call. Grandma told me on Sunday that she had gone to an acupuncturist years before for her osteoporosis. After five visits, the acupuncturist told her that it wasn't going to help her and that she should save her money. I thought that was very honorable of him. I don't think she remembers his name, though.

I guess that's it for now. In case, I don't update again before the end of the week, I hope you all have a lovely Labor Day weekend.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Medical Update, Building C (for Crappy) & Weekend Plans

Quick medical update: I'm going to the PT route, at least, until Sept. 14 when I go back to the orthopedic surgeon. Zombieslayer suggested acupuncture which definitely sounds like an idea. I'll talk to Soyon, as she's the only person I know who has gone to an acupuncturist. I had contemplated acupuncture back in 2000 when I had the pinched nerve (before I knew it was a pinched nerve) and painkillers weren't working for me. Instead I went the surgery route and have never regretted it (except for the whole no roller coasters ever again advice from my neurosurgeon – I love Cedar Point *pout*), as I woke up in Recovery in zero pain. Brilliant!

I just talked to Grandma and she's frustrated that at 88 it's taking her longer to get back to full strength after losing however much blood she lost. She had been up for quite a while and had been busy doing stuff (don't ask me what as while I talked to her the cleaning ladies were arriving, but I'll bet she was cleaning before they got there), but she admitted that she gets shaky. She's really ticked off that she's not allowed to drive for two weeks. She's a tiny little independent woman and hates not being able to go where she wants to go and to rely on other people. I told her that I was going to stop by on Sunday after church and if she were up to it we'd go out for sushi. If she's not, we'll just hang at the house. She was amenable to that and really does appreciate all the prayers and thoughts you all are sending her way.

I talked to the LB (Little Brother) yesterday also. A week after his surgery he's still in a lot of pain and the Tylenol 3s aren't working sufficiently, so they'll be putting him on Vicodin. We talked Hitchcock movies which is always fun. I recommended a couple he hasn't seen yet (Shadow of a Doubt & I Confess). He was going to watch Strangers on a Train last night with my aunt who flew up to the Bay Area to take care of him while my other aunt is off at her son's graduation from basic training.

Building C (for Crappy) update: We are moving out! Woohoo!!! My official move date is Sept. 12, so I'm happy. This morning I noticed all the drinking fountains in the building now carry signs that say "Do not drink the water." with no explanation of why. I had decided quite some time ago that the water was suspect when the one drinking fountain I used had a big masking tape X blocking off the little nook it was in. Then the one I had started to use after that got pulled away from the wall (and is still sitting there about a foot from its normal location) about a month ago, and the one outside the ladies room I use (the other one has this highly disgusting smelly couch in it and I refuse to go in there) has never worked. I'm now upset with myself for giving in and getting water earlier this week. I have some water in the car from the Road America trip. I think I'll be bringing that in.

I was at Move meeting the other day and I heard that people were being moved into Building C (for Crappy) after we move out and I said, "I'll pray for them." The woman in charge of the building looked at me and asked, "Why?" I didn't answer. I'm pretty sure the only thing that should happen to this building is Implosion!

I had a lovely time in Baltimore and when I get my butt in gear I'll take a picture of my fabulous new purse to show you. Railroad bought it for me for my birthday, while we were out shopping in Hampden.

My plans for this weekend are fairly low-key. Margarita Party tonight at Marianne's. Sleeping in until noon tomorrow (okay, it'll probably only be 10:00, but I'd prefer noon), then a massage at 1:00 p.m. and a party with new people tomorrow night. And hopefully, sushi on Sunday with Grandma and Mom. I'm a party animal, or so you would think. I hope you all have a great weekend.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Medical Updates

Thanks to everyone for the thoughts, good vibes, prayers, etc. for my beloved Grandma. She went home yesterday and has admitted that perhaps she can't take care of her husband all by herself. She and his daughter were supposed to call hospice today to see what can be done. Grandma is 88 and has enough to do taking care of herself.

My Little Brother (LB) had surgery yesterday and I talked to him last night. He sounded rough, but after his girlfriend sent me a picture of him in his hospital bed, it made sense. He had some sort of bandage across his nose (he had surgery for his sleep apnea, dear God, could that boy snore). The doctors were going to evaluate him today to see when he could go home. He has a good support group out in CA, with his girlfriend, friends from work, my aunts, etc., so I think he should be okay.

I have decided to try Physical Therapy (PT) for my knee to start. The orthopedic surgeon thought that most of my pain was from an inflamed tendon - the big huge honkin' one that holds the kneecap (patella) in place, but I have to see him again in a month. The appt. took three hours this morning and they had that place air conditioned within an inch of my life. Bloody hell I was chilled to the bone!!! I had to turn my heater on when I got back to the office.

Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart for all your thoughts, prayers, etc. this week for my Grandma. I love her to pieces and won't know what to do with myself when she dies. I've told her that she's not allowed to die for at least another 20 years. She just laughs at me, "Oh Kathleen." Please continue to keep her in your prayers. I told her that my friends (I didn't go into the Internet part of it) were praying for her or sending her good vibes and she thought that was very nice. Although I think the part about people not believing in God threw her for a loop. ;-) She thinks she's a fallen away Catholic because she missed Mass on Sunday and yesterday (the Assumption, I believe) because she wasn't feeling well. She's just so darn cute, my Shortstuff.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Prayers for Grandma, please!

Hey all, I'm back and have started an entry about my lovely weekend, but this is much more important.

My Grandma went into the hospital yesterday with internal bleeding. If you all wouldn't mind praying to whichever deity you prefer (be it God, Allah, Yahweh, Vishnu, Horus, Zeus, Hera, et al) or just think good thoughts and send good vibes if you don't believe in any God to my Grandma, I'd greatly appreciate it. I tried to find the post where I told you all about her, but sadly, my habit of naming my posts after the song I'm listening to at the moment has made it impossible to find the post. I'll continue to search for it, though.

And thank you in advance.

Update: It turns out that she has a large gastric ulcer and several smaller duodenal ulcers. Not sure what this all means, but I hope to have a better idea once the YS has spoken to the doctors.

Additional fun is that my doctor called me on Monday with the results of last Monday's MRI and I have a torn meniscus in my right knee. I have an 8:00 a.m. appt. tomorrow with an orthopedic surgeon. I'm thrilled to pieces. I talked to the YS on Monday evening and she said the only thing that can be done for such "injuries" is surgery. I put "injuries" in quote, because I have no clue how it happened as I don't remember injuring myself. I've always thought the knee pain was from arthritis. *sigh*

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Straight Edge (Minor Threat)

Jeff Kay over at The West Virginia Surf Report reported out on the Top Ten Fears and I decided to copy him. I wouldn't even have to credit him since he never reads my drivel, but I know I have at least one reader in common, so I'm giving due credit (I would have anyway).

Fear of spiders – I am not afraid of spiders. I'm not especially fond of them when they're hanging over my head by a slender silk thread, but then again I live in Michigan and we're not exactly known for our huge, killer spiders. I can kill my own spiders, although I have an agreement with any spiders in my house. As long as they stay up high, I allow them to live.

Fear of public speaking – Without a freaking doubt!!! Haven't I ever told you about me doing the first reading at my friend's wedding? She was my best friend growing up, but we hadn't hung together in quite some time when it was time for her wedding, so instead of being asked to be a bridesmaid (as hideous as that is I would have rather spent $200 on a velour dress I was never going to wear again), I was asked to do a reading. The only reason I truly wish to get married is to return the "favor." The reading she chose was from the Song of Solomon (or some such thing). Thirteen years later (or so), I can still recite part of it…"Hark! My lover! Here he comes!" Yeah and it got worse from there. There was talk about peeping Toms ("peering through the lattice"), stags aleaping, breasts heaving, etc. Dear heavens. What the bloody hell was she thinking? "Can't I do 1st Paul to the Corinthians, please?" Nope, that was reserved her sister.

I practiced that sucker for a month. I had to get through it without laughing, right? Her family was pretty conservative and reserved, so they would not have appreciated me giggling in the middle of her wedding Mass. There were essentially two paragraphs, the first much longer than the second and much more giggle-inducing. As such, I practiced the first paragraph until I damn near had it memorized. The problem was that since the second paragraph was pretty straightforward I hadn't practiced it as much. I show up the day of the wedding and I'm immediately confronted by the bride, "Why weren't you here for the rehearsal dinner?" "I wasn't invited." Yeah, we're such good friends, she forgot to invite me to the rehearsal dinner. I had typed up the reading in big print and double or triple-spaced to make it easier to read. When it came time for my reading, I made my way up the aisle to the pulpit where I proceeded to shake like a leaf with the paper rattling into the microphone. I got through the first paragraph and then made my almost fatal mistake – I paused to take a breath and almost couldn't get started again for fear of sobbing hysterically. I got my bearings by looking at the bride's mother who had a very caring look on her face and I was able to speed my through the second paragraph and ended with "The Word of God." "Thanks be to God." Whew!

And even worse than all that? At the reception, this man came up to me (he had been seated in the pew directly across from me and had stared at me the whole time) and someone introduced us (can't remember who needs to be punished for that) and I politely shook his hand. He held it an extraordinarily long period of time and said, "I just loved the way you said 'lover.'" Eeeeewwwwww!!! I babbled, "Yeah, I was surprised you could say that in church. Have you met my mother?" And I bailed. Oh yeah, the guy? Was about my mother's age. YUK!! FREAK!

Fear of flying - Not really, although I have noticed that the older I get and the more often I fly I do get a little bit more anxious. I hate flying, but that's mostly because of the discomfort of being crammed in like sardines and the inconvenience of trying to get somewhere and not have to check your luggage and pray that it makes it to your actual destination these days.

Fear of open spaces – Not really, although I can say that dark nearly empty parking lots late at night cause to me be a little bit more aware.

Fear of closed spaces – I didn't think I was the least bit claustrophobic until I had my first MRI seven years ago. I had my second one today, and my head was not in the machine as promised, but I could feel the initial squeamishness as the "gurney" moved into the machine. I initially just stared at the ceiling, but I realised that 20 minutes per knee was going to be a long time for staring at a ceiling, so I passed the time by running through race tracks. I started with Road America since I'm heading there Wednesday directly after work (with a stay overnight in Chicago with my friends Mary & Rob - same people who are going with me to see The Stooges tomorrow night). I realised that it had been too long since I've been to Mid-Ohio, because I could only get through Turns 1-6. Cleveland, Toronto, Laguna Seca & Road America (multiple time) kept me from thinking about the big tube I was almost all the way in. The last time I had an MRI I could take music with me, but not this time. If I ever have to be IN the machine again, I'm going somewhere I can take music. There's no way in hell I'm doing it unless I have music or (or perhaps and) am heavily drugged.

Fear of heights – Not really, my fear is more a fear of ladders. I was able to step on the clear platform at the CN Tower in Toronto with no problem.

Fear of vomit – Not scared of it, but hate doing it and try not to.

Fear of cancer – No, although I probably should be since every member of my family who has died in the past 25 years has died from cancer (or in the case of my great uncle who didn't die of it, he had it twice).

Fear of thunderstorms – Not at all. I live in Michigan , we get them all the time. I'd be a basketcase. I can sleep through them, no problem. I can't sleep through the deep, throbbing bass from Crave, but I can sleep through loud blasts of thunder.

Fear of death/dead things – No, I know people who absolutely point blank refuse to go up to the casket at a funeral home, but the dead body doesn't bother me. I'd, generally, prefer that the person lying there be up and about and leaving this mortal coil, but I'm not scared of them. I'm also one of those weirdoes that finds it helps to deal with the death.

I probably won't update again until next week as tomorrow is The Stooges at Meadowbrook Music Festival and then Wednesday immediately after work I leave for Road America where I'll be spending four days! Woohoo!!! Tonight I'm doing laundry, packing and making CDs for myself to take, because I won't have time tomorrow.

Have a good week, everybody, and I'll see you next week briefly, before I head to Baltimore on August 17th for my b-day weekend. I haven't seen my friend Railroad for at least 5 years (she'll know because the last time was at her wedding), and we have much catching up to do. I'm really looking forward to the next two weeks.

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