Friday, March 31, 2006

RIP Shelby, Pretty Kitty

Shelby, my beautiful boy, is very, very sick. He's always been a light cat, but he's lost so much weight that his little spine feels like you'd imagine a miniature brontosaurus to feel like. He barely moves, he just lies there in that cat crouch and purrs. Well, he doesn't purr all the time, just when I come over to him and pet him. Which is strange, because he didn't really like to be pet much at all. He's hardly eating, and then only when I give him canned food in gravy and put it right in front of him. He's not drinking much and must be dehydrated. I haven't seen him go to the litterbox either. And his beautiful big blue eyes are so distant and barely focus when he looks at me.

He still responds to me, and he still moves about a bit - I just never see him do it. I'll go to bed, and when I get up he's moved 4 feet. Or I'll come home, and some days he's still where he was when I left.

I only noticed this this week, and now I'm terrified to go home every night, and to wake up every day. I'm terrified I'll walk in the door and he'll be just lying there, staring off into nothingness.

Some days he seems a little better, and I think he'll be ok. Then the next day I wonder, is he really better or am I imagining it to make myself feel better, or am I in denial of the truth?

I'm terrified to take him to the vet, too. I'm so terrified they'll say there's nothing that can be done and I'll have to put him to sleep. I don't know if I can make that choice.

I'm also torn about whether to take him to the vet at all. If it is the end, should I stress him out with the whole cat carrier/car/strange place/strange cat smells ordeal? Or should I let him go out peacefully at home? Or give him the peaceful, painfree exit? What if it's something that we can manage with medication, though? What if I can keep him around for a few more years? I'd never forgive myself if I lost that opportunity.

Why don't they tell us about all this when we get these innocent pieces of fluff? It's so hard to carry the absolute responsibility for another being's life.

The funny thing is, I didn't even like Shelby when I got him. I was just doing my friend a favor by keeping him for her for a year. Eleven years on, and the strange little non-cat has wormed his way into my heart. And I didn't even know it.

Update: I decided to take Shelby to the vet Saturday, 4/1, when he seemed to be wobbly on is back legs. He was severely jaundiced, and his beautiful pale blue eyes were green. The vet felt his liver was very enlarged, with a growoth on it, and another growth near it. The prognosis was poor, even with thousands of dollars thrown at him. Which I gladly would have paid. Or found a way to pay. Somehow. But when the vet started pushing euthanasia, I knew there was really no hope. And so I made the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life.

I hope I gave Shelby the beautiful a good life. I hope he enjoyed living with me and Buca. He was not a very affectionate cat, but occasionally he'd come to me for pets. I wonder if a few weeks ago, when he climbed up on the bed and hung out, maybe he was telling me something?

I feel incredibly guilty, but I hope he is at peace, without pain, and able to have whatever joy and happiness he wants now.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

K is for Kourage

Or courage. Or something like that.

I interrupt this blog for a public service announcement for my best friend K. Because it's mine, because I can, and because she needs to hear and see this. Also because I can't afford to say it as many times as it needs to be said on the phone on international calls to Oz. So . . .

Kiki, listen up, girlie, because I’m only going to say this . . . well, as many times as it takes to drill it through that thick skull of yours.


Honey, there is nothing at all wrong with you. You are beautiful, vibrant, caring, loyal, fun-loving, intelligent and kind. You have done nothing wrong, certainly nothing to deserve what has happened to you. And you should not feel humiliated. You are not the one who fucked everything up.

But most of all, you are something I am not. You are courageous.

You say that I am strong. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe what you see as strength is simply a defense mechanism, a survival instinct.

But I am not courageous like you. You are the one who puts it out there on the line time and again. You are the one who lets people into your heart. That takes much more courage that I can afford. After all, how courageous is it to hide behind a façade of my own making, behind sarcasm and bitchiness and jokes? How courageous is it to choose inappropriate relationships that subconsciously I know won’t go anywhere, and then waste years of my life on them? While you, you seem to have a gift for at least forming relationships that last for more than a few months, to give your heart to others, to accept the love they offer you. These things I can’t do. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable takes a special kind of courage.

Come back home and take some time to relax, to think about your next move, to decide what to do next. You wanted to come home anyway, you’ve wanted to for 2 years now. Now you can do it without the Dead Weight (that’s what I’m calling him, btw). Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a step backward to decide how to go forward. I’m a big proponent of coming back to DC for this reason. You were happy here. We had such a great time here. And we can again, albeit 10 years older, er, better. Of course, wherever you go, you know you’re always welcome here and you know I’ll come to see you, too.

You may wonder why I’m putting this on my blog instead of just sending you an e-mail. It’s because I want it preserved for posterity, and I also want others to see how amazingly courageous you are. I also want you to be able to click on the link and see this any time you need it. Not to mention this has a much prettier background than an e-mail. ;-)

So get your ass home, missie!




4 a.m. I awake. I cannot go back to sleep, no matter how hard I try. At 4:30 a.m. I decide to make coffee. At 5 a.m. I think about making some eggs, but the sink full of dishes calls to me plaintively, so I wash the dishes first. I check my e-mail, check my bank balances, my utility accounts, the status of online orders and Thorn Tree. I wash my face and and think about going to work early.

It's happening. I'm becoming my mother-type auntiemomma. *sigh*

The only good bit was having that dream about having sex with my last supervisor.

Right, time to really get ready for work now. Or maybe I'll wait another 15 minutes, have another cup of coffee, and be late instead. Because auntiemomma would NEVER be late. Yeah, that's what I'll do.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Random updates and assorted crap

First, an update on my food challenges. I've sourced what I think are the cutest indoor herb gardens around! Too cute, and not very expensive, either. I think I'll probably order them in April with that cute stackable planter. I want other herbs, too, but I'll just have to venture to a garden store or something. Which should be interesting. While I'm there, I'm considering getting tomatoes, too. I just LOVE fresh tomatoes. Really, does anything taste better than a fresh, homegrown tomato, perfectly ripe, with just a little salt and pepper? I eat them like apples. Or sliced in a caprese salad. Mmmmmmmm.

Anyway, back to the other challenges. I've been passively on the search for an easy ethnic dish to try that I hadn't done before. Then, suddenly, along comes the perfect dish: Butter Chicken. The recipe comes straight from India, even, from an Indian woman living in Mumbai who is, apparently, quite the Chef. I cooked it yesterday and OH MY GOD it turned out absolutely fabulous. I'm hooked now. I think Indian is the way to go for a while, unfortunately for my office colleagues who get to smell the leftovers - some people just don't go for the curry smell, you know. Weirdos. Anyway, here is the recipe I used, with my modifications and notes (modifications are strictly due to inability to get certain things, not because I thought changing the recipe would make it better at all). I also doubled the recipe, using 2 chicken breasts and one huge onion.

Butter Chicken

2 to 3 Tbsp. butter
1 onion
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. crushed garlic (I used 8 cloves through a garlic press)
2 tsp. crushed ginger (I used a knob about as big as my thumb, grated)
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 to 2 tsp. ground chilli
1 Tbsp. coriander (I had to look up whether this meant the ground coriander seed or fresh cilantro leaves - it's the ground coriander)
400 grams / 14 oz of skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts (used 2 chicken breasts, about 1.5 lbs total)
¼ to ½ cups ground almonds (these ended up being just finely to roughly chopped due to only having one grinder and it's got coffee grounds in it)
225 gram / 8 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes with juice (used 14.5 oz can)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup of unsweetened yoghurt

Trim and cut the chicken into small cubes, cover and put aside. Slice the onions into thin wedges (lyonnaise).

Heat a large saucepan or frying pan and melt 2 to 3 Tbsp. butter until it is frothy. Add the onions and the cinnamon to the pan and fry lightly. When the onions are soft stir in the crushed garlic and ginger. Then add the turmeric, chilli and coriander, and sauté over a medium heat. The spices are fried first to release their maximum flavour and this really enhances the dish.

Add the cubed chicken and sauté stirring constantly until the chicken has turned white. Pour in the ground almonds, tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the yoghurt and heat through. Serve on rice with a salad and Indian bread if desired. (serves 4)

Chef's cooking tip: the flavour is enhanced if you marinate the chicken with a paste of ginger, garlic & 1/2 tsp. lemon juice for 30 minutes before cooking.

I didn't marinate the chicken because I thought I'd just chuck it all in the pan, but after spending so much time cutting and chopping and grating and crushing . . . I should have. I will next time I make this, which is probably later this week. It's that good. This is really, really easy and, as I say, is an authentic recipe which really makes me happy. I've never ever had it before, so I have no restaurant or other experiences to compare it to. I didn't eat it with rice or bread because I'm trying to lose weight right now, but I might try it with a little brown rice this weekend, depending on my weigh-in April 1. Oh, and the Chef must not eat much at all - if half of what I made is supposed to be 4 servings, they must either eat like birds or eat it with lots of rice, salad and naan.

Speaking of which, the Chef also provided a recipe for naan which doesn't use a tandoori oven, so at some point I'll attempt that, too. That means I can then tick off another challenge, right? The bread one?

Ballet classes really do pay off. On public transportation, anyway. I discovered about a year ago that a modified fourth position is the best way to maintain your balance when standing on a crowded Metro bus or train. Try it. Seriously, it works. Of course, most people look at you a little funny, but I just figure I'm providing them with some of that free entertainment that public transportation is known for.

Also, WMATA. Yes, I'm talking to you. Can you please get your collective asses in gear and do something about the escalator situation? This is seriously becoming a problem now. Look, I know you're busy with trying to figure out your new raises, and hiring on a new chief or whatever, and planning that new line out to Tysons and Dulles Airport (very nice move, btw, and only about 20 years overdue, but never mind that), and supposedly you're revamping the bus routes and schedules for my lines (yeah, I'll believe THAT when I see it), but COME ON. This morning, out of 5 escalators at my station, there was a grand total of 2 working. 2! Out of 5! Congratulations on sinking to a new low, my friends. Mind you, the up escalator that I need to use going home has only worked for a total of 2 weeks since Thanksgiving, so I don't know why I'm surprised at this at all.

In other news, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is once again upon us. And once again, in one of its finest traditions, our country borrows a festival from another country and fucks it all up. See, these cherry trees were given to us by the Japanese government. In Japan, as explained so well by Jo, they celebrate the blooming of the cherry trees, and spring in general it seems, with lounging in parks under the trees and copious amounts of food and booze. THAT'S a celebration. Not the crap they try to pawn off on us here. I mean, how are we supposed to properly celebrate this thousands of years old tradition when we can't even have any booze out on the Mall? Can't they get anything right? Sheesh.

And finally, the stars may truly be aligning for me. Finances improving steadily, thanks to new job that I actually don't hate. And now it appears that a very nice apartment will be coming available just about the time I'd be able to afford to move into it. It's in a nice area, not the 'hood, in a great building with a pool, and parking, and 24 hour security, and a convenience store right there . . . and it's a lot more space than I have now . . . and the rent includes utilities, which means it's not really any more than what I pay now . . . and the landlord allows pets . . . and it has a dishwasher . . . and can you tell I really, really want this place? Cross your fingers for me that the landlords will be willing to overlook my crap credit and depend instead on my current landlord's referral and my job.

Oh, one more thing: my best friend, who reads this shite (lord knows why, must have a thing for self-inflicted pain like the rest of you freaks ;) ), is finally moving home after a little over 3 years in Oz. It's not due to the happiest of circumstances, but I'm thrilled that we'll finally at least be in the same country again and I'm going to do my damnedest to get her back to DC (K, you have been warned!). I just wish it were under better circumstances. K Warning: full-on DC appeal will be forthcoming when I have more time tonight!

Friday, March 24, 2006


Justice ran rampant on the bus this morning.

No, really. A little boy ran up and down the aisle of the bus for the 30 minutes that I was on it. He talked incessantly, sang, hit the bars and seats going back and forth, and his mother did absolutely nothing about it. When we got to the Metro station, he was running around through the swarm of rush hour commuters, and I heard her call to him, "Justice!"

Which made me think a bit, and shake my head. Because now this poor kid has basically 2 options in life: either he can end up on the receiving end of justice or he can end up meting it out. Some names are just self-fulfilling prophecies, you know? This isn't the kind of situation where he can just become an accountant or a janitor. And the way his mother refused to corral him makes me just a bit more inclined to say he's going to be seeing some justice in the future, and not from the good side.

Then I took the escalator down into the abyss, and walking through the tunnel I noticed, as I frequently do, a poster advertising TV shows. One of the shows that's being advertised lately is the L'il Kim show Countdown to Lockdown on BET. There's some justice, right? Or is it? Is it a cautionary tale about how you will end up paying the price, or is it profit and glamourization of wrongdoing?

Where is the Justice?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We like muscle relaxers

Sorry I haven't updated in a few days. Here's the quick rundown:

Saturday: got free futon, probably shouldn't have done any of the lifting. Went to an Ides of March party, an obvious attempt to relive our youths in togas. No, I did NOT dress up. I did, however, drink far too much wine and limoncello. Crashed on the couch of a friend.

Sunday: grocery shopped on the way home. Doing the shopping while hungover/still half drunk isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds. Ran into my landlord while there. That can't be good. I think I may have grunted completely unintelligibly. Got home and discovered someone else's keys in my pocket. Took codeine, ate lots of food, slept.

Monday: felt almost human again. Got to work and realized I forgot to bill any of my time for last week. Decided to do it on Tuesday. Got e-mail circulated to all partygoers about keys. Arranged for return of same.

Tuesday (today): really busy at work. No time to do billing for last week. Met friend to return keys. Felt a tweak in my back on the way home (doc told me this might happen in these weeks). Ate phenomenal steak cooked in butter, took muscle relaxers while cooking, and am about to fade out . . .

Yes, we like muscle relaxers. Far better than wine. No hangover. And no picking up strange keys.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Innocence lost

A very dear internet acquaintance posted recently about her experience breastfeeding her newborn son. While the experience seemed quite lovely overall, one thing did stick out. Quite literally. She realized while looking down (lovingly, I'm sure) at her son feeding that she had a white hair growing out of her nipple. What amused me was that she wasn't shocked at the fact that there was a hair there, just that it was white and this made her feel old.

Sadly, I have to report that this morning, while towelling off after my morning shower, I happened to look at my nipples and I was shocked to find that I, too, have a hair growing out of each nipple.

Look, I know weird things happen to our bodies as we get older. I've dealt with weight gain and loss (and gain and loss and gain), stretch marks, surgery scars, eye lens replacement due to cataracts, bifocal vision, increased growth of hair on my legs and bikini area, the occasional hair on my chin, out of a mole, and one on my upper lip, hair in my nose, and most recently back strain, bursitis in my hip, and the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in my hands.

But I have to say, I think I've really gone over the edge with the nipple hairs. I do not want anybody flossing there!

Can't I just turn back time a little? Please? Just 5 years, that's all. It's really not too much to ask, is it?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Career Change: Snow White, Fairy Tale Heroine

So here’s the scene: very crowded Metro car, people jammed in elbow to boob to armpit to nose, hanging on to the railings, jostling for any spare inch they could find. I find myself accosted by a Talker. You know, one of those people who WILL NOT SHUT UP. The Talker Talks along merrily to anyone, or no one, about anything, or nothing. You don’t even have to answer the Talker, or even acknowledge their existence. Of course, if you’re me, you feel rude not doing so, so you stand there ignoring them with a fake smile on your face, studiously avoiding looking at them while you try to figure out if you should recognize their existence and run the risk of fueling further Talking. My unease was compounded on this particular occasion by the fact that the Talker was Talking to my boobs. Not his fault, really, being as he was all of about 4 feet tall. Literally. I’m not joking.

So we are pulling into our station, his soliloquy rolling on, when all of a sudden the Talker starts singing, “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go . . .” and exits as the doors open. Yes, out loud. It was the absolute funniest thing I’ve seen and heard in ages. I almost fell over laughing as he merrily strolled down the platform, turning to give me a wink.

Maybe I should adopt him, name him Chatty and call myself Snow White.

Wanted: 6 More Dwarves.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

UK invasion

Yes, the rumors are true, I will be invading your fair isle for a holiday. Arrival in London the morning of 26 May, departure from London 5 June (see how I did the dates just so you UKians can read them, because I'm considerate like that?). Whereabouts in between not entirely nailed down yet, but best estimates at this time include Bristol, Derbyshire (which I am assured I will be saying wrong, but I know they must be crazy, I know how to say Derby AND shire, thankyouverymuch) and York.

You may start the bidding for my presence below in the comments box. Alternatively, you could just give me some fun things to do or see. Or recommend good pubs.

There, don't never say you weren't warned.

Edited to say: I just realized if I don't get any comments, I'm going to look like a ginormous twat, so please at least say something in the little box. Call it your good deed for the day, 'kay? Ta muchly!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Something I Did?

Brrrrrrr. As predicted, winter is once again upon us, and with a vengeance. Unfortunately, yours truly wasn't quite smart enough to take my heavy wool coat (with fur collar, I love it so) to work with me. Why would I? It was almost 60F when I left; surely my iridescent London Fog raincoat was enough. Au contraire, mes amis. By the time I left work this evening, the wind was cutting right through any vestige of protection Ye Olde London Fog provides. Note to self: learn to predict the weather precisely and become billionaire.

I followed my normal path home. It rarely varies. It starts like so: walk around the corner to the right, down the block (crossing), then around another corner to the left, down 2 blocks to the Metro. This part varies only minimally, either by stopping in a store or two (notably, the Godiva store or Filene's basement, both equally dangerous) or in speed. Yesterday was a stroll, while today you would have been forgiven for mistaking me for a speedwalker. Arrive at Metro, down escalator, through turnstile, down another escalator, take subway 2 stops, disembark, walk through station and down another set of escalators, wait for next train, ride 5 stops and disembark, reading all the way.

Wait. How the hell did I get here? Somehow I made it all the way from my first station to my transfer station to my final station with no thought involved. At all. When did this happen? Does this mean I have finally become a real metropolitan? The naturalness of it all stunned me. I'm a farm girl from the sticks. My idea of "public transportation" growing up, if indeed I even knew the term, was a bright yellow school bus that came once in the morning, and took me home in the afternoon.

It was this feeling of naturalness that I contemplated instead of thinking of how the freezing wind was savaging my exposed heels (see pic in post below - could you wear shoes with a back in that state???). And, naturally, 2 buses on my line arrived at the same time. Being the savvy public transportation rider that I am, it was natural to get on the second, and more importantly, empty bus.

That was my big mistake.

Now, it is no secret that there is rampant poverty in this town. What is less known, because it is less visible to visitors, is that mental illness is also rampant. I'm not talking about depression or anxiety, either. I'm talking about people living in their own little worlds. It's virtually impossible to ride my bus line or walk in my neighborhood without seeing this kind of mental illness. Women and men, bent, shaking, wandering the streets or riding aimlessly on the bus, muttering to themselves, every so often spitting out something vaguely comprehensible, and staring . . . where?

There is one woman in particular whom I see most mornings on my way the the bus, walking the opposite direction to me, talking to herself. Normally I have no idea what she's talking about, and the wild gesticulating tells me she's in a rant, but the other day I did manage to hear "Drag Queens" as she passed me. I wondered for a minute whether I should be worried if she'd made some sort of judgment about my appearance . . . but I digress.

I wonder sometimes what these people are seeing, thinking, hearing in their world. Who are they talking to? What are they answering? Where are they?

Anyway, so I sat down toward the front of the bus, comfortable in my spacious two seats, close to the door so I wouldn't have to walk forever to get off. There was only one woman and one man near me; the man appeared to be asleep or passed out, the woman staring out the window mumbling to herself and rocking back and forth. Mmmm, okay, not a big deal. Well, not for 2 stops anyway. That's when apparently I caught this lady's eye, and the air turned blue. A veritable barrage of curse words burst forth from her mouth as she pointed and pointed and pointed her gnarled finger at me. As best I can make out, everything that ever happened to her in her life that was negative is my fault because I'm a rich white bitch. Doesn't matter that I've never even seen this woman before, and that she's older than my mother (would have been). It's all my fault.

Was it something I did? Nah, just another day on public transportation. But that just ain't natural, I tell ya.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Suffering for fashion - annual version

It's here again, the season of foot skin rubbed raw and sometimes bleeding, blisters raising and popping and oozing as bare feet become accustomed all over again to direct contact with shoe leather.

I just made the mistake of actually looking down at my feet. I'm wearing the same loafer-type 2" heels I've been wearing for about a month that seemed perfectly comfortable when wearing trouser socks, but somehow have turned into torture devices without them. I knew that my heels were getting rubbed raw; what I didn't know was that a layer or five of skin has actually peeled back, revealing fresh, unprotected pink skin underneath which is, no doubt, destined to turn into pools of oozing bloody mess by the time I get home tonight.

This happens every stinking year.

And people wonder why I like winter. At least then my feet aren't bleeding. Plus I don't have to keep up with my pedicures (note to self: need fresh pedicure badly).

On the flip side, the Cuz came on Saturday to pick up more of her stuff and drop off Bianca for me, and cut my hair for me. I went a bit shorter than I normally do, with the layers around my face a bit shorter, too. And amazingly, with the increasing wave in my hair . . . I find I have a wash and go hairstyle. No, seriously. I mean, I have to wait for it to dry, but it just all falls into the perfect place, including a right side that looks like it has that perfect 40s pincurl bang. I've washed it and let it dry twice now, and it's done it both times. Now I'm afraid to use the blowdryer.

Edited: when I got home, to add the above pics showing a wound, and the offending torture devices. I also forgot how my feet and ankles swell in heat. Lovely, don't you think?

Edited again: Over there on the left, see, that new pic of me? That's the perfect 40s pincurl bang. I had to preserve it for posterity just in case it never happens again.

It's happening

I feel it. It beckons me, calling to me softly but insistently . . . ever since I heard about it, it has lodged itself in the back of my mind (taking over the space formerly occupied by booze-soaked brain cells, but that's a story for later on) and just won't leave. I might have to give in . . . to Audioblog.

Because then you could hear me squeal with delight that my vacation has been approved!!! UK readers, beware. I invade your shores in late May. Invitations for drinks gratefully accepted (hint, hint). Details to come . . .

Sunday, March 12, 2006

In the Moment

In my quest to get back to living in and enjoying the moment, it's nice every once in a while to experience one of those rare moments that just make you supremely content.

This post brought to you by Shelby and Buca both lying on my bed with me at the very same time (and not bickering with each other), purring contentedly.

And this is why we bring pets into our lives. Bliss.

Excuse me while I learn how to purr.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

What a difference a day makes

Or two or so.

No heavy wool coat with fur collar. No coat at all, in fact. No gloves. No socks even! A nice, casual stroll to the bus stop, even though I was late, instead of the usual speedwalk race to promote warmth. Drinking in the sun. Windows open as the bus meanders along (ok, speeds on the way home, thanks to the kamikaze bus driver).

It's brighter, surely. Yes, that's the same sun as 3 days ago, but it's light years closer, isn't it? Everyone is in a better mood, smiling, walking jauntily along. The sounds seem livelier. It all seems slightly surreal, like I'm in a different place.

Maybe that's why I'm completely unmotivated to clean the cat litter and the rest of the apartment.

The really sad part is that I know this isn't spring. Not yet. This is the Annual Spring Tease, those 2 or 3 days we get every year at the end of winter when spring is dangled in front of us like a feathery toy to a cat. We paw at it, sometimes we can get a claw into it and we can make it stand still for just a little bit, but inevitably it eludes us for a while longer and we are left with the freezing winds that are the death throes of winter.

For now, I'm going to enjoy the sun, having the windows open, hearing the birds singing, the traffic sounds more clearly, the loudspeaker announcements from the car dealer just across the alley, the natives screaming ebonics to each other . . . aaahhhh, look at everything there is to look forward to.

Guess I should at least clean the cat litter first, though, before they really start to take offense and do something naughty that would ruin such a nice day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Me, irritating? Surely you jest!

Lately, with the help of discussions with a few friends who have also given up smoking, I have realized something. I think I irritate them now.

See, it seems like it has been/is really difficult for them to stop. It hasn't been for me. They crave it, either mentally or physically. I don't. It has nothing to do with how long or how many we smoked, or how long ago we quit. I probably smoked more than some, longer than others, but my quitting experience has been so completely different than theirs, and it makes me feel bad.

It's like once again I'm not quite cool enough to join the club, only this time it's because it's been too easy for me. I don't have any stories of nicotine cravings, shakes, hacking up black phlegm for months. I don't have dreams of taking that forbidden puff. I'm the one in the corner being disgusted by the smell of smoke that the others sniff longingly, disgusted so much that I now refuse to put my coat in the closet at work.

I know it irritates them; it has to. It would irritate the hell out of me, just like it irritates me that men can just think about losing weight and drop 20 lbs. overnight.

Ah, but there's the rub.

I've been eating like a Survivor refugee, especially chocolate and any other sweets. I don't remember ever craving sweets in my life, but I sure do now. Ice cream, brownies, Godiva chocolates, candy bars, hell, any chocolate will do. And of course Girl Scout cookie time is now and I got 5 boxes, 3.5 of which are left. I'm just proud of myself that I got through today without eating any cookies. Will I eat ice cream later? Probably.

Maybe it's what people say about getting your sense of taste back. Maybe it's really true. I dunno. I cooked for the first time the other night using shallots and, my God, they were so wonderful! How many times does one wax poetic about shallots, for fuck's sake?

So if you read this and you're a quitter and having a rough time of it, and get annoyed with me because I think it's so easy, there's your revenge.

Now I'm going to get a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. Maybe just a small one.

Furry Lobsters, Cute AND Edible!

From the "aaawwwww, how cute!" files comes this lovely creature, newly discovered in the South Pacific. Apparently found by French researchers (naturally, they'd find something this stylish) and named after the Polynesian goddess of crustaceans. Very fitting.

Can't you just see Coco Chanel tucking into this back in the day? Haute couture on a plate.

(Yes, I know you think I've finally lost it, but for some reason, it really just screams fashion and YUM to me all at once.)


Dammit. Pee report: Code Yellow. I took my last muscle relaxer this morning, and my pee never changed color. I got robbed, dammit. Hrmpf.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Days! Or are they?

So here I am, rolling along in the new job, a few minor stumbles here and there along the way, but generally producing my immaculate products of perfection, as usual. Then along comes the announcement in the Monday morning weekly status meeting that we had been retained by a (rather large) wine company to represent them again. Those who had worked on a prior case for them oooh'ed and aaaah'ed, refreshing the rest of us with their memories of how much fun was had on it, what with all the free wine, etc. No firm of teetotallers, this one!

As I said, here I am, now wishing, hoping against hope to be assigned to this case. And lo and behold, I was! Oh, happy day! I hear a song in my head:

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

I went home happy and contented, quite sure that this job that dropped into my lap out of nowhere really was meant for me. I mean, surely this was a sign! Right?

Well, the joke is on me (and certainly not for the first or last time, I'm sure). Yes, I'm on this case, and yes, we'll be getting cases of free wine, but I'm also working for 2 people who are in every office, and universally reviled. First is the associate: he's that guy who shuffles along, won't pick his feet up to walk properly, hunches over even though he's all of about 5'6", talks in that whiny, nasally, twangy voice, has absolutely zero social skills, and his office smells. Great. In comparison, the second guy is a treat: one of the head honchos, the type whose work is always more important than anything else you're doing, even if it's just indexing a stupid box that's been sitting in his office for 6 years (hey, you put the shit in there, you should know what it is, dammit!), and who is always on your back about whatever it is, i.e., The Micromanager.


Please tell me this will be over soon so I can start cracking open the bottles, because I think I'm going to need them. If you want some cheap Italian wine, let me know.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Look Ma, No Hands!

I was afraid to say I'd be posting from home earlier. Afraid the same thing would happen as it did before, that somehow I'd screw it all up again.

But look! Here I am! Posting! From my toilet!

Alright, I lied. I'm really in bed. But I'm still at home. Because it would be really weird to have a bed at work. Cool, convenient, but weird.

This is how Dell helps put Y in a good mood

They get me connected to the internet again.

Guess how Dell makes Y feel really, really stupid.

They show me how I mucked up all my wireless settings and with one easy stroke, they had me back surfing again.

Filed under the D'oh files.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Add Chemicals, Instant Honesty

So I've found the perfect drug cocktail for the wee little back problem now. A muscle relaxer, an NSAID, and a couple OTC codeines from Canada (thanks, Canucks!). Back no hurt, brain fuzzy.

But the really interesting thing is how clear the opinions come through now. No bullshit, no political correctness or tact or fear of hurting someone's feelings. Somehow it's just easier to say what I think.

I like this feeling. It's a shame it doesn't always carry over without chemicals.

PS - Pee report: Code yellow. I guess that's good. I was actually kind of hoping for one of the funky colors.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Moving In and Moving On

In every new relationship, there are those times of pure bliss, when everything is new and fresh and wonderful and perfect. And then there are those moments when things start to take a little more work, when you start to realize that your new partner isn't perfect after all, but is simply normal, like everyone else.

Well, last night Sam and I reached that second part. I know, I know, it seems so soon, but it's been such a whirlwind. We got home and I got Sam settled in in the bedroom, and we attempted to surf the internet with no joy. I tried everything I knew how, but still couldn't get Sam up. I even went to Dell Support to no avail.

Don't worry, I still love Sam, though, we'll just have to find a way to work around this (surely temporary) problem. And anyway, a relationship with one's laptop is much more than just surfing, right? Tonight we're going to install some programs from cd, and watch a DVD. Just because we can.

Poor Millie looks on from the coffee table in the living room. Abandoned. Sweet Millie, I just don't know what to do with her. It kind of reminds me of when I went from primarily riding my second (and favorite) pony to training on the big horses. Poor Buckster would watch me ride off on Dandy or Goosie or the Hawk and whinny sadly. Of course, I knew he wasn't really THAT sad considering he WAS a pony and notoriously lazy. But Millie really looks like she misses being with me. Maybe I should take her to a repair shop and see if they can fix her so I can find her a new home where she'll get some exercise and love again.

Unfortunately, even my new love couldn't cure my back forever, but I went to the doc this morning and it's not serious, just some muscle spasms. I've got muscle relaxers and prescription strength NSAID's now, so I should be good in a few days. He actually recommended that I take a day or two off, but I can't do that now. Not with the new job. I think they're actually impressed that I'm dragging my Quasimodo ass in here every day with this pain. So I'll rest up this weekend.

One thing, though, with this back pain is that I have to go shopping. Strangely, I'm NOT looking forward to it. I mean, I have to get flat shoes. Flat shoes suck. They are, with few exceptions, extremely unattractive, in my opinion anyway. I really am going to be struggling to find a decent pair that I like in my price range for work.

Can you believe that I have over 100 pairs of shoes and not one pair of black flats?

PS - according to the internet (which is always right, right?), the muscle relaxers may turn my pee black, brown or green. Now, I've been on meds before that turned it orange, but black? Brown? Green? It sounds like some crunchy granola pee. I'll have a pee report tomorrow, because I know you want one. Maybe if it really does change it, I'll take a pic. Hmmmm, that might be taking things a little too far.