Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Resolution Report

I thought I’d check in at the one month point to see how I’m doing with my resolutions. To track my progress, I’ve given myself a grade for each resolution.

Get back into a size 8. Well, at the rate I’m going, 8 may be a factor of my size. Or a digit in my size. My sugar cravings have been massive and unending, whereas my gym habits have been sporadic. But at least I’ve stopped gaining weight. And I have gone to a couple spinning classes and some personal training sessions. Grade: C-

Run a half marathon. Does it have to be all at once? Could I do it one mile per week for 13 weeks? Yeah, so not making any progress on this one. Grade: F

Be more social. Finally---one I’m actually doing okay with, largely due to my blog buddies. Thanks, ya’ll! Grade: B+

Volunteer more often. With the exception of the church committee from hell, I haven’t volunteered a single hour this past month. I did submit an application to the library but haven’t heard back. I signed up to sort books for a book sale---and then bailed. Perhaps this will be a good Lenten resolution. 40 hours of volunteering in 40 days? Grade: D

Finish the first draft of a novel. True confession: I haven’t written anything in months other than my blog entries. And my applications for grad school. It’s not even writer’s block; it’s fear and laziness. Grade: F

Live within a budget. I haven’t pulled out the credit cards this month. But I also had some Christmas money and an extra paycheck this month, both of which seemed to have found their way out of my checking account. So as much as I’d like to give myself credit for this one, I really can’t. Grade: C

Pay my bills on time. I did this one! I did this one! Grade: A

Improve my work ethic. Ummm . . . . . not so much. Grade: F

Improve my cooking skills. I made a very tasty eggplant parmesan and managed to get it, pasta, and salad onto a plate simultaneously without anything getting cold or overdone. I also tried making steamed veggies and fish with a side of rosemary potatoes but had considerably less success. The potatoes were done way too far ahead of time and the veggies got soft while waiting for the fish to steam and then the fish and veggies weren’t very tasty. Other than those two attempts, I've mostly been living on prefab food this month. Grade: B-

Refresh my French skills. Again, not so much. Grade: F

Don’t buy any books. So far, so good! Grade: A+.

In Summary: Out of 11 resolutions, I’ve stuck to 3.5 in the first month.
Average Grade: C

Onward to February!

On the Pile

What is wrong with me? Seriously.

I have three books that I have to have read in less than two weeks. So far, I’ve read about 10 pages of one. I have (had) seven library books at home, most of which won’t get read before they have to be returned. And I have piles and piles of my own books that I haven’t yet read. So what do I do?

I go to the library and get four more books.

Finished: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis. Absolutely my favorite of the series (so far). I found myself comparing Lewis to Tolkien during much of this book, perhaps because VDT most closely resembles the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Except that Lewis accomplishes a similar epic journey with a fraction of the words. His words are concise and concrete enough to create the outline for your own imagination, whereas Tolkien painted the whole picture. I think I like Lewis's approach better. I also found myself referring back to what I’ve read so far of A Short History of Myth, particularly about using myths to describe the journey back to Eden. Anyway, VDT---so very, very good.

Now Reading: The three books I have to read---L’America, Elements of Style (RIP Wendy Wasserstein), and Man of My Dreams.

On Deck: TBD. I really want to get back to A Short History of Myth, The Penelopiad, and The Odyssey. But . . . I have that pile of library books that needs reading. On top of that pile are The Golden Compass and The Mind of the Maker.

Added to the Pile:
* The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (recommended by Mike)
* The Dog of the Marriage by Amy Hempel (chosen solely for its title)
* Plan B by Anne Lamott
* McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories (chosen solely because it has a story by Margaret Atwood)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Veni, Vidi, Ceni

So I’m not so sure about my Latin. But I am fairly certain that I gained 10 lbs this weekend. But all in the spirit of friendship and fun. And we all know that food eaten with fellow bloggers doesn’t have calories.

Friday night, I was definitely nervous about meeting everyone. And worried what they would think of Austin. After weeks of fantastic weather, we had a cold front on Friday that dropped the temps near freezing and brought high winds. I even tried lighting a fire in the fireplace (tried being the operative word---not sure whether to blame the overpriced firestarter cakes, the overpriced logs, or the poor excuse for a former girl scout). Then, Saturday morning, I woke up to pouring rain. Great, I thought. It hasn’t rained in Austin in months. Bah!

But I should have remembered: rain is a good omen (and the only really ironic statement in the Alanis song).

Putting aside my grumbles, I changed into my yoga clothes and went to meet Bearette at her hotel. She looks exactly like the photo on her blog. And she was exactly as I would have expected: friendly, fun, energetic, and bendy. And definitely dog-crazy! We went to a morning yoga class that turned out to be a perfect introduction to my navigational skills (we got lost a block from the studio---I don’t think I ever earned the orienteering badge) and to Austin. The instructor, Summer, embodied the spirit of an Austinite: friendly, warm, and free-spirited. Her class wasn’t as vigorous as Bearette or I would have liked---she preferred to let us do “whatever feels good” and “play with the poses”---but it was a cozy studio and a relaxing way to spend a rainy morning.

After the class---and a hug from the instructor---the rain had stopped but the sky was still cloudy. So I called off the dog park on account of mud, and Bearette and I went to Kerbey Lane Cafe for lunch. Bearette had flautas (described on her site) and I had my Austin addiction: migas with queso. We talked about our blogs, writing, yoga, Austin women vs. New York women, pregnancy, and so many other things.

That night, I proved my directional prowess once again by driving right past the Sweetish Hill bakery three times in an attempt to pick up a birthday cake for Bdogg. Then it was off to get Bearette again to go to dinner. We got there super-early (I tend to do that---sorry, Bearette!), so we had tea at a local coffee shop and lusted after the cute cookies.

Finally, it was time for dinner! Lora was the first person we saw. Again, she looks exactly like she does in her blog pictures. Next was LostInTexas (whom I had already met), New Mezger, and NM’s hubby. In quick succession came Bdogg and her DH and Crystal and Justin. Bearette's husband, Capybaras United, was still MIA---and Bearette and I were getting a little worried that he might have biked to San Antonio---but he arrived shortly after we were seated. I can’t even begin to summarize the conversations. They ranged from a stomach full of olives to puppy love to Tex-Mex food to handguns to electric bills. My head was spinning by the end of the evening. And that was before the cake was served---with it’s absolutely decadent fudge icing. I’m a champion chocolate eater, and I couldn’t finish my slice. Fortunately Bearette stepped up to finish off my leftovers (as well as others’! But where does she put it? She’s a twig!).

The dinner went by entirely too quickly---even though we closed out the restaurant. I said goodbyes to New Mezger and Bdogg and their DHs as they were leaving early on Sunday, and I made plans to see everyone else the next day.

Sunday was more typical Austin weather: sunny and warm. So Bearette finally got to meet the infamous Rowen. We took a walk along Town Lake, which was full of bikers, runners, walkers---and dogs. Rowen demonstrated her Woody Allen impression and showed Bearette how good of a swimmer she is.

The last blogger-related event of the weekend was meeting Crystal, Justin, LostInTexas, and Capybaras at Kerby Lane for a lunch redux. Rowen and I couldn’t stay, but we hung out in the parking lot for a bit while Rowen lapped up much attention from everyone and showed off her good obedience skills (as well as her magic tricks when she somehow unlatched part of her halter).

Then it was back home for a nap---this introvert was T-I-R-E-D! But the weather was entirely too perfect to stay home for long. Rowen and I---and apparently all of Austin (was there a memo?)---went to the dog park for a couple hours. Rowen swam, fetched, ran, tugged---her usual energetic, outgoing self. She also did me proud by showing her good manners when we took a short walk on the park trail: She sat and stayed at the side of the trail to let others pass the other direction, and one passerby said that Rowen was the best behaved dog at the park! She really is a much better dog than I give her credit for. At the end of the trail is a small waterfall and a place for the dogs to swim. Rowen did her thing, while I sat on a rock and enjoyed a fantastic Sunday afternoon.

If I get to pick my heaven, that’s exactly what I want: to sit in the sun on a warm rock next to a waterfall emptying into a small pool with lots of dogs and friendly people running about, everyone just happy and pleasant and quietly enjoying the day. Well, I might add an unlimited supply of cupcakes and ice cream. And Bradley Cooper.

Finally, exhausted and a little muddy, I wrapped up my weekend by reading a little of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (possibly my favorite of the series so far, although I also really liked The Magician’s Nephew---both have a more fantastical, magical aspect to them than the others) and rewatching Alias, Season 2.

Now, even though I’m at work, I’m still on a bit of high from the weekend and so looking forward to seeing everyone again (and listening to the fantastic CD that Crystal made for us). I’m just thrilled that everyone turned out to be as nice as they seem on their blogs. Possibly more so. Not a single serial killer in the bunch.

At least, that we know of.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Weekend Plans: The Great Austin Blogger Encounter

We have a great group of bloggers gathering in Austin this weekend: Bearette24, Bdogg, New Mezger, LostInTexas, Crystal, and Lora (as well as some significant others). I so excited to meet everyone---although apparently a little nervous as well. I had a dream last night that involved all of you and Chris Klein as a sociopathic serial killer.

Friday Evening
I should go spinning. But I’m not gonna. If I do make it to the gym, it’ll be to run. But more likely, I’m going to ditch work early to go to the Container Store for more storage drawers so I can finish organizing my craft area. I started last night. I’m lusting after the pretty, pretty craft room on the CS Web site (except with a big, long table instead of the little round one), but I’ll settle for moving stuff out of cardboard boxes and off the floor and into some semblance of neatness. When I get home, I’ll take Rowen for a walk if it isn’t raining. Then I’ll try to get my apartment into a somewhat livable condition because I’m feeling very home-ecish. I’ll end the evening in my traditional way: knitting and DVDs.

* Yoga with Bearette. I haven’t been to yoga class in months, so I made Bearette swear a solemn oath not to laugh at me.
* Dog park with Rowen, Bearette, and New Mezger. If it isn’t raining. We haven’t had rain in Austin in about 20 years, so of course it rains the weekend that ya’ll are coming.
* Dinner with the whole gang!

* Recovering from the revelry.
* Regretting telling that story and wondering who will put it on her blog.
* Running and weights at the gym.
* Reading.
* Wrecking my newly organized craft area by doing some crafts. I think I might experiment with some more book making.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mmmmmm . . . . Sugar

The past week, my sweet tooth has been in overdrive. Cupcakes, ice cream, cookies . . . you name it, I've been devouring it. Which could go a long way to explaining my jitters and restlessness. I'm having the worst time sitting still and focusing. Rowen has a longer attention span than I do right now. It's like I have adult-onset ADHD.

In other news, I finally found my ass muscles during my training session yesterday. They are not real happy with me today. But my arms are getting stronger. Three weeks ago, we did this evil arm-stepping thing and I could barely do five before collapsing in a panting, sweating heap. Yesterday, I did a whole set straight through. And apparently I have very good lunge form. Yay for me!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Got Nothing

I could whine about the church committee. Again. Or tell you how I've been on a sugar binge. Again. But I thought I'd give you a pretty, pretty picture instead.

Photo from Failure to Launch via Blackfilm.com

Monday, January 23, 2006

On the Pile

Finished: Marley and Me. A sweet story about a dog and his human family. But it proves the truism that no one is as interested in our children or our pets as we are. As much of a dog lover as I am, even I got bored of reading about Marley’s astraphobia, his insatiable appetite, his penchant for destruction, and his general disobedience. The first few anecdotes were amusing, but after about 100 pages, they became repetitive in a Katie Holmes kind of way (He’s wacky! He’s wild! He’s amazing!). Grogan himself must have realized this, because Marley all but disappears in the middle third of the book and towards the end, the story abruptly and repeatedly fast forwards several years at a time, often without much warning or contextual clues. Once again, a good book ruined by length.

Currently Reading: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and A Short History of Myth. Both by writers who appreciate the beauty of brevity.

On Deck: TBD

Added to the Pile:
* Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein
* L’America by Martha McPhee
* The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld

A couple months ago, I saw a notice in Elle magazine* for readers to be on a book jury: Each month, a different jury reads three books and picks their favorite. The jurors' comments and rankings are published in the magazine. Seeing an opportunity to bypass that silly resolution about not buying any books, I immediately applied. And was selected! So I received the above three books this weekend. I’m currently feeling very happy to have new books and very special to have new books that won’t even be published until April (the little things---like getting a book marked “review copy”---make me oh-so-happy).

I only have three weeks to read the three books and send in my comments, so The Odyssey and The Penelopiad may have to wait until mid-February (sorry, Mike).

In the meantime, my library privileges have been suspended because the library thinks I have a book that I think I returned. Unfortunately, the library is probably right. Although I’ve done a good search in my apartment and car and can’t find the book. Hmmmmm . . .

*Not sure if they are still recruiting, but here’s where to go.

It's Not Just Me

I'm still in my funk and did not want to get out of bed this morning. I did not want to come to work and was thisclose to calling out sick. Now I don't want to do any work, nor do I want to do anything after work.

But now I have an explanation: This is the most depressing day of the year (link via austinist).

Or I could just have PMS.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Weekend Plans

Have you ever wanted to not do anything? As in stare-at-the-walls, only-the-sound-of-your-breath nothing. That was me last night. I could not bring myself to do a darn thing. I didn’t want to craft or cook or read or clean or watch a DVD. I didn’t even want to read the gossip magazines or eat the ice cream that I bought on the way home. And 7 p.m. seemed too early to go to bed. I finally did decide to make a cup of tea and curl in bed with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which I realize was not on the pile, but as much as I am loving A Short History of Myth, it requires more concentration than I was able to muster last night (due to the subject not the writing).

And I am loving ASHM. Even if you have no interest in myth, you should read this for the quality of the writing. Armstrong is clear and concise without being dry, thorough without being tedious, intelligent without being pretentious, and accessible without being condescending or flip. There were a few places where she could have provided a little more explanation for those of use who weren’t English or History majors. Still, she would make Zinsser and White proud. Certainly some other authors could learn from her example (Diamond, Grogan---I’m talking to you.)

My lethargy seems to be spreading to my weekend. I’m already paring my activities. But I’m justifying it as conserving my energy for . . . The Great Austin Blogger Encounter!

Just one week to go! Yay!

Friday Evening
* Spinning class.
* DVDs, ice cream, and knitting.

* Shopping for the afghan I’m making as my sister’s wedding gift.
* Shopping for supplies for the cross-stitch I’m making as my sister’s shower gift.
* Dog park.
* Rowen’s graduation from obedience classes. Despite acting out scenes from a Woody Allen movie during the past two classes, Rowen is graduating.
* DVDs, ice cream, and knitting.

* Gym.
* Housecleaning.
* Dog time.
* Craft time.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


As if having to go to the dentist weren't bad enough,* I missed a chance at a Sampler subscription because I was there.


Now I'm hungry, but I don't want to mess up my superclean teeth by eating.

*My mother's reaction when I told her that I was going to the dentist: "That's good. I'm glad you're doing that." As if I have a mouthful of nasty yellow teeth barely hanging into my bleeding gums with vile halitosis to boot! Thanks, Mom. I am so not telling her about my two cavities.

A Meme of Four

From Bearette and Bdogg.

Four Jobs I’ve Had in My Life:
1. Snowball server
2. Grocery store cashier
3. Trading post manager at a Boy Scout camp
4. Editor

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over, and Have:
1. Bring It On
2. Sleepless in Seattle
3. Summer Catch
4. Wedding Singer

Four Places I Have Lived:
1. Austin, TX
2. Alexandria, VA
3. Balaka, Malawi
4. Rome, Italy

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch:
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. Homicide
3. The Wire
4. Gilmore Girls
And so many others.

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation:
1. Pipestem Park, WV
2. Greece
3. New Zealand
4. London

Four Web Sites I Visit Daily:
1. All of your blogs
2. Hotmail/Yahoo for e-mail
3. A Socialite’s Life
4. Defamer

Four Favorite Foods:
1. German Chocolate Cake
2. Carrot Cake
3. Maryland Steamed Crabs
4. Pasta with cheese

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. In a small house on the Eastern Shore with a wrap around porch and a view of the bay
2. A piazza in Italy
3. My bed
4. Brisbane, either sitting in the botanical gardens or walking along the river

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My So-Called Life

I have this idea of what adult life is supposed to be like. In the adult world, people have cozy, comfortable homes---whether an apartment or a house---with matching furniture, tasteful decorations, flowers in vases, and candles that are always lit. They keep these homes neat and clean and would never be embarrassed to have an unexpected visitor. In the mornings, they wake up in these nice homes, take out clean, well-pressed, color-coordinated clothes from the closet where they are neatly arranged on hangers, make a cup of coffee, and read the newspaper. At night, they go back to these homes and pour themselves a glass of wine, turn on NPR or some grown-up music like classical or jazz, and light their candles. Then, they make a nice, healthy dinner with a salad, a main course, and a couple of side dishes, which they eat at a table with a plate, matching utensils, and a napkin. They do their dishes, clean the kitchen, and retire to a comfortable, yet dignified chair to watch television---something enlightening or at least sophisticated---read a book, or do the crossword puzzle. They always pay their bills on time, know how much is in their bank account, and have both a savings account and a retirement plan to which they contribute faithfully. They take out their trash. They keep their cars clean and well maintained, and if something does go wrong, they know what to do about it. The same with their home: they change the filters, replace lightbulbs, check the smoke detectors, and keep their appliances in good repair.

This is not what my life is like. Nearly ten years after graduation, my furniture is a mish-mash of junk giveaways, with no one piece matching any other piece. None of it is anything I would have actually paid money for. I’m propping a missing chair leg with a pile of books and using a sleeping bag as my bedspread. Rowen’s crate doubles as an end table. I’d be horrified to have any visitor, expected or not, because they would see the inch layer of dog hair covering the carpet and my own hair balls rolling through like tumbleweeds. And they might smell the trash, which never seems to get taken out in time. My smoke detector battery started dying this morning, so I took the whole thing down; I know I should just replace the battery but I guarantee you that it will still be sitting on the counter when I move out six months from now. I can’t remember the last time I read a newspaper. Getting dressed in the morning usually means choosing the least-wrinkled, least-stained items from one of the piles around the bedroom. I have more clothes on top of the dresser than in it. Color-coordination, if it happens, is mostly accidental. I’m trying on the cooking front, but more often than not, it’s takeout or leftovers eaten straight from the Tupperware container with mismatched utensils and a paper towel as a napkin. And even if I do cook, I still can only manage one item at a time. My biggest success to date was when I put together eggplant parmesan, pasta, and a salad. That was Sunday. As in, this past Sunday. It took me 29 years to do that. I eat my pitiful dinners in front of the “television” (my laptop on a tray) while watching such WB staples as Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Gilmore Girls. I get my bills paid on time about half the time. I play Russian roulette with my checking account. Savings? Retirement? Ha! I consider it a good month if I don’t have to use my credit card for groceries and gas. My car is a sty---the front dash is coated in dust, the back seat is barely visible under the dog hair. It probably smells, but I’ve become too used to it to tell. I remember to get the oil changed about every six months and I have to call my dad if anything goes wrong. I have more burned out lightbulbs than functioning ones. I keep the blinds open so the streetlight will reflect into the front hall and the only light working in the kitchen is in the fridge. It’s been this way for months.

I’m nearly 30 years old. When do I become an adult?

Update: Liz has an adult home. She even has the glass of wine to prove it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies, and Photos

Do not be fooled by the photo. My imaginary boyfriend Bradley is not cheating on me. Once again, he is simply faking a relationship with a gorgeous actress as a clever ruse to fool the tabloids.

He really respects my privacy.

Monday, January 16, 2006

On the Pile

Now Reading: Marley and Me. Yeah, I know I said that I was going to read Affluenza, but, well, ya'll should know not to trust me when it comes to books. Was amused by M&M when I first flipped through it; found it engaging and warm for the first 100 or so pages; now I have about 80 pages left to go and I just want it to be over. Except that I have a feeling that the ending means sad times for poor ol' Marley.

On Deck: I've got a three-for coming up that should get me through the dark, cold days of winter---The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood; The Odyssey of Homer (trans. by Richmond Lattimore); and A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong.

Added to the Pile: The Tent and Life Before Man, both by Atwood. Both ordered in 2005, so I didn't cheat. Really. Right?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Weekend Plans: Freaky Friday Edition

More like foul Friday. Among the things making me want to hide under the covers today:

* After a week of ignoring my mother’s phone messages, she finally caught me this morning by calling my cell phone while I was on the way to work. I first assumed that something was wrong at home because she never calls me on a weekday morning. Nope, all is fine at home. Then I thought, “Maybe she’s worried because she hasn’t heard from me in more than a week.” I usually talk to her twice a week. But, no, not that either. She didn’t seem particularly concerned about me---or even interested in me at all. The reason for her phone call: The Wedding. We just HAD to get the details finalized for my sister’s bridal shower. This wedding is seven months and 2,000 miles away from me and I’m already tired of it. She’s getting married, not receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. And, well, I have a life. Or, at least, I’m starting to.

* Speaking of The Wedding, I went to the craft store yesterday to look for a cross-stitch project to make as a shower gift. And to get myself an eyelet setter and eyelets. Well, I got the setter and eyelets. I also got yet another paper sample packet, a pack of pewter ribbon holders, several pewter embellishments, a skein of yarn, some ribbon, metal glue . . . but did not get the cross-stitch project. It wasn’t the worst craft-store binge I’ve gone on, but I have a major shopping hangover. Oops.

* So at lunch I gave in to my annoyance and self-pity and tiredness and self-loathing and had a big ol’ plate of cheese and bean nachos and a cheese quesadilla smothered in sour cream. Didn’t solve any of my pre-lunch problems and now I think I can actually feel my stomach rolls growing. Blech.

I also almost got taken out by a postal van on my way back from lunch.

Here’s hoping the weekend gets better.

Friday Evening
* Spinning class. My trainer kicked my butt yet again on Wednesday, and while I was gasping for breath and wondering if I’d ever feel anything below my waist again, she made me promise to go to this class tonight. After what I had for lunch (and breakfast---chai and a muffin from Starbucks), I think I need this class no matter how much I want to crawl into bed.
* Crawling into bed. I’ll probably try to shower first, but maybe not. It’s just me in there.

* If I can walk, I’ll take Rowen out for a hike in the morning. If I can’t, we’ll be at the dog park.
* Naps. Many, many naps.
* Writing my personal statement for my final grad application.
* Reading Marley and Me. I’m not sure how I feel about this book so far. It’s engaging in a way, even though I feel like it ought not be. But I’m not sure I’d recommend it unless you really like dogs and are interested in the minutia of their breeding, behavior, training, health, etc.
* Taking my own dog to obedience class and hoping that it goes better than last week. I’m not sure what got into Rowen last Saturday. She was already acting strange when we went to the dog park; she wasn’t at all interested in playing fetch, whereas normally she’ll fetch for days. Or until she remembers that there’s a creek for her to swim in. She kept trying to hide among the cars in the parking lot. I took her down to the creek, hoping that the water would perk her up---she loves the water---and it eventually did. But she took an abnormally long time (as in, more than 0.000000001 seconds) to get in the water and wasn’t all that interested in any of the other dogs or people, when normally she can’t say hello fast enough. We went straight to class after the park, and she was a little more lively---saying hello to Abby (the Boston terrier), and putting her head in Sadie Mae’s mouth (the trainer’s rottweiler). She was a bit mischievous during the first exercise, but still way too calm for her. Then we went out to the aisles to do some exercises (the classes are in a pet store), and Abby’s mom was practicing calling Abby with the horn on her wheelchair. Rowen just freaked. She tucked her tail under, stared at the back of the store, and started shaking. I tried taking her to a different aisle to calm down, but she wasn’t having any of it. The only place she would go was out of the store. I tried enticing her with toys and treats, but she would just try to scrunch herself under the display shelves. She didn’t even want to be hugged or snuggled. Every once in a while, she would perk up a bit, but if I tried inching her closer to the aisle where we had started, she would bolt in the opposite direction. I finally gave up and put her back in the training ring, and she crawled right under the stools and pressed herself against the wall, still shaking, still refusing treats or any enticements to come out. By that time, I was completely freaked as well. This was not my sweet Rowen. She had heard the wheelchair horn before and was very good about not reacting as Abby’s mom wheeled past her or honked the horn. So I’m not sure what got her so upset this time and why even removing her from the situation didn’t help. Or why she was so lethargic at the park. She seems to be all better---except for getting scared by a bicycle on our walk last night---but we’ll see what happens.
* Watching DVDs and knitting. There are some movies in the theater that I want to see, but I think I may have to live small this weekend to make up for the craft-store spree.

* Gym.
* A lunch meeting for the church subcommittee. Pray for me.
* More naps.
* Making up work hours.
* More DVDs and knitting.
* More reading.

It should be a mostly low-key weekend. Which is exactly what I want.


Over on Bearette's site, LostInTexas posted a link to an online MASH game. My results were not pretty:

Your husband's name is Pete and you have 5 children. You're an Accountant who drives to work every day in a Red Jeep.

It's truly a wonderful life when you consider the countless romantic nights you have spent with Pete in your shack in Australia.

So, most of the first two sentences are my worst nightmare---marrying my college boyfriend, having five kids, and being an accountant. I'm okay with the Jeep and I can deal with living in a shack if that shack happens to be in Australia.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pissed Much?

So, seriously, is today National Pissed About Pee Day? Anonymous Coworker, Kim, and Mike all have rants about potty behavior.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Seriously, Bearette, you need to do some recon for me when Bradley Cooper is in NYC.

Masters of the . . . Wha?

(Image from Fark via Defamer)

Well, Color Me Strangely Accurate

ColorQuiz.comLisa took the free ColorQuiz.com personality test!

"Desires a conflict-free haven offering security an..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

I think most of my few-yet-faithful readers are posting comments already, but in case there are some lurkers about, give me a shout in the comments.

(Image shamelessly stolen from Frema)


So here's the thing: I'm on a committee at church. And as much as I believe in the mission of the committee, it's become a burden. We meet twice a month---meetings that consist mostly of reaffirming our commitment to the mission and talking. And talking. And talking. Most of the talking could easily be accomplished through e-mails (e.g., calendar items, updates on legislation). We very rarely actually do anything. And somehow the talking and the planning for the talking and the more talking have grown like a B-movie blob to occupy much more of my time than I had intended. So normally I would bow out as gracefully as possible, but . . .

I'm on a subcommittee for an event coming up in the spring. I mostly volunteered because no one else did, but also because it was---for once---an actual thing to do. And I was initially excited. I like to plan events. I like to brainstorm and work out logistics and make schedules. But as this commitment has dragged on, I've burned out. We needed a maximum of three months to plan (the guide---provided by an international organization that has put on thousands of these events so they might know something about this---suggests two months to plan). We have been planning for four months already---and the event is still three months away! So far, all we have done is talk and talk and talk---and about the same topics over and over again. No decision seems to be final---ever. So it's not really surprising that people are losing interest and dropping off the subcommittee. I'm still committed, but barely.

So today I fielded a phone call from the committee chair and took the brunt of her frustrations that people aren't more committed to this event. Because I can't attend a meeting tonight because I had already made plans. And because I can't have lunch today because I need to go home at lunch to take Rowen outside because I have plans after work.

And here's the thing: The committee chair and her husband (who co-chairs the committee) are retired. They have no children at home, no pets, and no work commitments. They keep very busy and do a lot of work for social justice, and I applaud them for both those things. I think it is important for people to stay occupied after retirement. But I have little-to-no patience for retired people who complain about how busy they are: You are retired; you choose to be busy. You have chosen your commitments.

This couple---mostly the woman---don't seem to grasp that people who are not yet retired might have other commitments in their lives, both voluntary and involuntary. I have to work at least 40 hours per week (or, at least, sit in an office for that amount of time). I have deadlines, and occassionally I try to meet them. I don't particularly like my job; it kills my soul and my spirit a little more every day and I'm usually drained by the time I get home. I also have a dog who lives in an apartment and relies on me to take her outside for recreation, exercise, and physical needs. I made a commitment to her to provide as good a quality of life as I can; I won't have a pet of convenience. Those two things---work and puppy---take up the majority of my time. I also have a commitment to social justice and I keep up with certain issues to a reasonable degree. But until I find a paying job that promotes social justice, that commitment has to fit in somewhere after work and Rowen and between keeping the health department out of my apartment and myself out of the hospital. Nor does this couple understand that people may have varying levels of commitment. Yes, I think social justice is important and I devote some time to it. But it isn't the only voluntary commitment in my life; exercise, writing, reading, friends, family, crafting---these are all important to me, as well. I'm trying to find a balance, which isn't always easy. But with this couple---particularly the woman---I feel like it's all or nothing. I feel judged if I don't commit every waking hour to social justice---and particularly to the causes that they deem important.

So here's the thing: I'm committed to social justice but not to this committee. But much like my job, I feel committed to stick it out for a few more months. All of which is making me develop a severe fear of commitment.

Heads Up, 7 Up!

I got tagged by Crystal! (And sort of by Bearette, who knows I get way too excited about getting tagged.)

7 Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die
1. Have traveled to all the continents (so far, I’ve hit 4 of 7).
2. Run a marathon.
3. Write a novel.
4. Speak a second language fluently.
5. Own my home.
6. Have a beach house.
7. Read the St. John’s College curriculum.

7 Things I (Currently) Cannot Do
1. Speak a foreign language.
2. Cook a meal that consists of more than one dish.
3. Whistle.
4. Wear a size 8.
5. Balance my checkbook.
6. Finish a New York Times crossword puzzle.
7. Drive a motorcycle.

7 Things that Attract Me to Blogging
1. Getting comments.
2. Having a place to dump my thoughts.
3. Having a place to save links, articles, and other ephemera that I find interesting.
4. Reading other people’s blogs (because I am no-sy).
5. Being tagged!
6. Finding like-minded people.
7. Getting new recipes and book recommendations.

7 Things I Say Most Often
1. Grrrr.
2. What the?
3. Are you kidding me?
4. I just need to say . . .
5. I hate my job.
6. Lord.
7. Rowen!

7 Books I Love
1. Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
3. Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
4. Crosswicks Journals by Madeleine L’Engle
5. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
6. Emily Dickinson’s collected works
7. The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

7 Movies I Watch Over and Over Again
1. Summer Catch (cute boys and baseball---what more could I ask for?)
2. Legally Blonde (or any Reese Witherspoon movie)
3. Bring It On
4. Wet Hot American Summer (sounds like porn, but it’s not, I promise)
5. Sleepless in Seattle
6. The Wedding Singer
7. Major League

7 People I Want to Tag
Most of the people whom I would tag have already been tagged. But I’ll tag . . . LostInTexas, Number Twelve, and Frema.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I Heart Michael Schaub

Because he has reassured me that my inability to get more than 30 pages into Vernon God Little has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the book:

Poor DBC Pierre. All that pressure after writing a terrible book that everyone hated. Can his sophomore effort manage to be as globally reviled and forgettable?

From Bookslut

On the Pile

Finished: Behaving Like Adults. Loved it---until p. 235. The first half of the story was terrific: a smart, sympathetic heroine dealing with both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances in a very real, very honest way. The supporting characters were a bit one-dimensional and stereotypical (the shrill, pushy older sister; the flighty younger sister; the drama-queen metrosexual), yet they were still endearing. But then, p. 235 came and there was just one twist too many and the story went from honest drama to melodrama. The second half of the novel was too wordy, too crammed, too preachy, too . . . overwrought. The final 100 pages dragged on in an endless stream of psychobabble broken only by yet another twist in the plot, which then occassioned more analysis, only to end abruptly with a neat---but unearned---ending.

Now Reading: Affluenza. I started this several months ago and am finally getting around to reading the second half.

On Deck: Good Faith by Jane Smiley. HUGE thanks to Bearette24 for the sweet gift.

Added to the Pile:
* The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
* The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (recommended by Crystal)
* Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich

Friday, January 06, 2006

Weekend Plans: Freud Edition

Well, besides hating my mother, my weekend will include the following:

* Taking Rowen for a walk. She got shafted on her usual Thursday night walk because I was too drained from hating my mother, which is a rather exhausting task.
* Curling up in front of my laptop for an evening of DVDs and knitting. On the screen tonight: Homicide, Season 4, Discs 5 and 6. Maybe some skinny people will get killed.

* My first blogger encounter! LostinTexas and I will finally meet to talk puppies, apartments, and smack about all of you. Or we’ll just vent about our mothers.
* Dog park with Rowen. Because she is adorable and sweet and loves me no matter how fat I get.
* Obedience class with Rowen. We haven’t done any of the homework for the past two weeks. Been too busy being fat.
* Quiet evening at home. Maybe I’ll cook. Maybe I’ll read. I’ll definitely be fat.

* To the gym! Because I have the feeling that Paula the Trainer will really know if I’m lying about what cardio I did between sessions and she will kick my ass. And because I’m fat.
* Making up work hours. Hey, I’m fat and lazy.
* Housecleaning. Because I don’t want to become too much of a cliche.
* Walking with Rowen. So she doesn’t get fat like me.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


This week officially sucks: My mother just called me fat.

Texas-Fried Wimp

Today is not going to be pretty.

It's been a rough week anyway. Not because I'm any busier than usual. It's the combination of postholiday comedown and an increasing apathy toward my job. Every morning, it's been a struggle just to get out of bed and come to the office.

Today, though. Extra special rough.

Last night was my first session with the trainer at the gym. As a Christmas gift to myself, I signed up for personal training. Paula, the trainer, seemed so nice and friendly and sympathetic when I was getting my initial evaluation. She failed to mention that she was a fascist drill sargeant in a former life. No easing me into things; no "let's see where you're at." She went straight for the pain. The worst was this exercise where I assumed a push-up position---a correct push-up position, mind you---and then stepped my hands up and down a step. I could that about three times before my vision began to swirl in black and red and my arms started to buckle. But she made me do at least eight. Per set. Among other things. I don't even know the names of some of the muscles I worked.

So this morning, I hurt. My arms hurt. My back hurts. My shoulders hurt. My ass hurts and I think it may actually be swollen. It's not the most sore I've ever been, but sore enough that I feel old and creaky and want to lie down.

THEN . . .

After the training session, I went to a Rose Bowl party at my neighbor's apartment. Normally C is a sweet old Texas gal. During a game, though---Lord Almighty. I'm surprised the police didn't show up for a noise complaint. And although I'm not particularly partial to any college team---and I'm usually not much of a football fan---C's enthusiasm was infectious (and I do like watching sports and I hadn't ever watched a college football game and I've decided that college games are much, much more exciting than pro games). So I was cheering and jumping and all that, temporarily forgetting that I was both excited and in pain. (Actually, I think the cheering and jumping may be what kept me from being more sore today---it kept my muscles loose.) And even with leaving at the top of the fourth quarter (which was apparently a mistake---I thought UT was done after the two guys went down as USC got another faux touchdown [seriously, could the officials have been any more biased toward USC?] but, well, Vince Young rocks! Hook 'Em, Horns!), I got to bed way past my usual time and had trouble getting to sleep.

So this morning my throat is scratchy, my head is fuzzy with a slight pounding sensation, my back and arms feel heavy and achy, and my will to do any sort of work is completely nonexistant.

And I know that much of this post makes little-to-no sense and as an editor, I am ashamed. But, well, you know . . .

Is it lunchtime yet? Is it Friday yet?

Update: AND no one wants to get hotdogs with me at lunch. I think I've been dumped by my coworkers. Today is slipping into a serious pity party.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It Ain't Over 'Til the Wise Men Show Up

In case you are still celebrating the holidays (hey, Epiphany isn't until Friday!), a yummy---and easy---recipe. Not sure what the original source of it was; I got it from my mother who got it from a friend who got it . . . .

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz. cream cheese (I used a reduced-fat version)
8 oz. whipped cream (I used the "lite" version)
1 c. confectioner's sugar plus a little extra.
1 Tbs butter or margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar.
2. Add pumpkin and lemon juice. Mix until well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Add to wet mix. Stir until well blended and smooth.
4. Grease and line with wax paper a 10x15 jelly roll pan/cookie sheet. Pour batter evenly onto the pan. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and cool 5-7 minutes. Prepare a clean tea towel by rubbing it with confectioner's sugar. Turn the cake onto the tea towel. Cover it with a second tea towel. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Remove wax paper. Roll cake into towel. Set aside.
6. Beat together cream cheese, butter, and whipped cream. Slowly add 1 c. confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
7. Unroll the cake. Spread the filling evenly across the cake. Roll up without the towel. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


SEMI-TRANSPARENT GIRL!You're SEMI-TRANSPARENT GIRL! A rebellious young lady who often skips school, she has the unique and somewhat useless ability to turn herself transparent. Sorta. Not see-thru glass invisible, more like dirty-window-with-a-dark-screen invisible. Yeah....

What Sad Rejected Super Hero Are You?

Monday, January 02, 2006

What are YOU so happy about?

What's so friggin happy about the new year?

I am Cranky with a capital "C" today because my office is the ONLY PLACE ON EARTH at work today. And my body is clock is completely mucked up from staying up until 2.30 a.m. on New Year's Eve and then not getting up until nearly 11 a.m. (except for an 8 a.m. potty trip for Rowen, but I'm not entirely sure I was awake for that). And it is a positively gorgeous day outside---sunny, 78 degrees, light breeze---and I'm the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD who can't enjoy it (well, me and the other 90 or so people who work here).

I wanna go home. And clean. Because I had a dream last night that my apartment had been broken into and when the crime scene investigators came, they thought that the place had been ransacked, but it was just that I'm a terrible housekeeper and I was so ashamed of my apartment and my life as I tried to explain why I have completely mismatched furniture and no chairs and clothes piled all over the laundry room and bedroom. And I should probably not watch four episodes of CSI in a row, especially not before bed.

2006 is not off to a good start.