Friday, November 23, 2007

Flounder


It just isn't fair, is it? The time we get with our four-legged friends is terribly short.

Our black labrador (a "blabrador" we liked to call her) left us today. It was so quick that I'm not sure it really has sunk in. The last two weeks she had started to slow down, more than her usual arthritic self. Today really wasn't any different. She went out this morning for an all-neighborhood dog emergency bark and seemed a little peppy. Besides the new slowness we attributed to a cut on her leg, nothing really seemed out of the ordinary.

But then she got sick. And in a short time after that vomited blood. We took her to the emergency clinic. In what seems like an even shorter time (although in reality was several hours), she worsened. Her organs started to fail. She went into cardiac arrest in front of me and was brought back.

Then came that inevitable decision. What do you do? Of course, I wanted her to be around for another 10 years. I wanted her to be happy, pain-free, healthy. But there were other plans for her. In the end, we had to let her go. She was too weak for surgery, which only had a slim chance of telling us what was wrong, much less fixing it. It was her time, even if we weren't ready for it.

I knew this was coming someday but didn't think it would be today. Although my intuition was that it would be sooner rather than later. In May, as we crossed the finish line of the Furry Scurry, I felt this overwhelming grief that was her last one.

As we said our goodbyes, my husband through sobs said she was off to the world of slow-moving squirrels, a place she will be very happy.

Now to go on with this huge hole in our lives. I have to tell myself she lived a wonderful life. It may not have been as long as I wanted it to be but it was good. I have to tell myself I made the right decision to let her go. The vet was honest and experienced. He gave us all the options and suggestions. I have to tell myself that people go through all sorts of loss and are able to continue on with life. I have three more furries here with lots of love and a non-furry on the way.

But right now, I just miss my baby girl and the smell of her head.

Rest in peace, Flounder. We love you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ms January!


My 2008 Denver Dumb Friends League calendar arrived today. My Flounder is Ms January!

The photo was shot last December after our first big blizzard. Sarah-Dog also is in the calendar on one of the collage pages.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lost reference in Chuck

One of my new favorite shows is Chuck on NBC. He's a regular Joe, a bit on the geeky side who accidentally downloads government secrets into his head. In Monday night's episode, he is being tested by a doctor to see what he knows. He starts spouting off various secrets and one is "Oceanic flight 815 was shot down ..." which is a reference to the flight that crashed in Lost. Pretty funny (especially since they're on different networks).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's very unique

I read in the paper about a "blog" on "unnecessary" quotation marks -- ones that are grammatically incorrect but have been added for some strange reason. It's hilarious and oh so sadly true. I work with words all day in many languages and see way too many over used quotation marks.

I was thinking about grammatical things that bug me. One is the use of over, instead of more than. "The committee raised over $2 million." To me, the word "over" means a state of being, such as "the balloon hovered over the field." When we talk about something that can't physically be over something else, it should be "more than."

Another is the word unique. The definition means one-of-a-kind or unparalled. So when someone says "that's very unique," he or she is adding an unnecessary modifier. It's already one-of-a-kind, it can't get more unique than that.

Friday, September 07, 2007

And sometimes plans change

Thankfully our Hawaii trip is flexible (using miles and timeshare, etc) as we now have to postpone it to later. Plans have changed -- mostly for the good but will be better when I am not so sick!

Baby butter bean is what is making me so sick. She doesn't like anything I eat. I have a few more weeks of this and can't wait to be past it. Uhg! Why can't I have the pregnancy you see in movies? These people are hardly sick! Instead of morning sickness, I get 24-hour sickness.

Oh baby butter bean, you better be cute. I'll be reminding you how sick I was every year on your birthday (and probably will have a fun labor story too).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hawaii on $20

I love it when a plan comes together.

In my crazy frantic last couple of months I began to stress over getting our annual Hawaii trip together. We have a timeshare week this year. I also realized that we both had enough miles for a place ticket each.

Since we wanted to go in September, time was now to get the show on the road. First I called the owner services in Maui. The woman was awesome -- you have to submit your request in writing but email counts. She looked at the dates I requested (based on award dates available from United's site), told me there was a few left and to email immediately. I did and she confirmed it within minutes.

On to the United site, I found good flights for our time frame and booked them. Ends up it's on 35k a ticket for reward miles. We had thought it was 60k per ticket (it's this once the reward miles run out). So total for airfare - $20! So I used 70 of my 85k miles and we still have a whole trip left on Mark's miles.

I love it! I'm dreaming of the sea and sand already. :-)

Monday, August 06, 2007

The people you meet on public transportation

I took the bus downtown a couple of weeks ago to meet friends for an early showing of Harry Potter. While I was taking the 16th Street Mall shuttle, an older woman with a cane came on the bus which was on the full side. "Ma'am", I said, "would you like my seat."

"No, No," she insisted and proceeded to tell me that once she started taking seats then she'd go downhill fast. It was bad enough she had the cane but she was going to fight it. She was pretty feisty and spoke quietly so I only got a couple of words here and there. As my stop appeared, I thanked her for chatting with me and stood up. Then she said, "well, maybe I will take a seat now."

At the theater, friend Pam who recently returned from a trip to London and Paris. In Paris, they ran into a group of obvious Americans trying to figure out where they needed to go -- without a map. She was amazed that not only were they wandering around a place they were unfamiliar with sans map, but clearly didn't speak the language to read the signs (or understand measurements -- 300m is not "just over there.")

Later as the hubby and I made out way back to the bus station we encountered the self-named "Irish contingent" from the Microsoft convention in town. They were looking for the Celtic Pub and were hoping they were going the right way. I laughed and said, you come all the way to Denver and you go to an Irish pub? The woman understood the reasoning and said, oh, they had been plenty of local spots -- including Elway's for dinner. Can't get more local than that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

When Mel Gibson walks by you at work ...

Famous people never walk by my desk at work. Well, it's rare that anyone walks by my desk at work since my office is at home.

My sister Sara, a landscape architect in Albuquerque, was just plugging away at her cubicle when Mel Gibson walked by. It's funny to even write that line. If it were me, I would have believed I was just working too hard and hallucinating. (The working-to-hard part not too far from the truth.)

It seems Mr. Gibson is in ABQ to film his next project and would be using the company's studios for filming. He was touring the building when he ambled by my surprised sister.

Apparently the building layout is fairly open with cubicles and she said all you could hear was nervous tittering, giggling, and people whispering on the phone.

Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Wonder what they said when he left?

"Attention, Mel has left the building"

Monday, July 09, 2007

now *THAT* is the way to do a movie trailer

It doesn't give the whole story, the best parts, or splice together scenes that don't actually appear (at least so far)... it makes you go WHOA... (and boy, the pressure this movie better not suck).

1.18.08 - the Trailer

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ass Effects and other stupid commercials

I have the TV on a lot during the day while I work so I see/hear a lot of advertisements. There's a couple of ones that have made me laugh.

The mostly recent one is one for a new heartburn medicine called "Aciphex" -- said out loud sounds like "ass effects". Did these people not say it to one another before naming the drug that?

Another one that makes me snicker - -the paper towel one with the kid and the soda. He pulls a soda bottle out of the fridge and proceeds to shake it. The lid pops off and sprays his mother with orange soda. She yells at him "what are you thinking" and then grabs the water sprayer on the sink "this works much better" and they proceed to shower each other further. Yeah right. First of all moms everywhere are cringing with the message. It's going to take more than a paper towel to clean up that mess!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm melting!


As the temp hits 98 degrees ... thought I would post a reminder of six months ago today (Dec. 20, 2006 - the start of the first big holiday blizzard)...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The yard is full of collies

Early last Saturday morning, someone in my dream turned to me and said "the yard is full of collies."

Then I realized my husband was standing over me and he has just said it. I opened my eyes and see that dawn is just breaking. Barely. It's 4:30 am. I rubbed my eyes and said "Is one of them minature and named Max?"

I went upstairs and sure enough, it was Max, the minature collie and his buddy Rusty - not a collie, or even close. Rusty is a chow mix. Sarah-Dog had alerted Mark with her version of "THE YARD IS FULL OF COLLIES...THE YARD IS FULL OF COLLIES." (Which, ironically sounds a lot like "THE YARD IS FULL OF SQUIRRELS" and "THE YARD IS FULL OF UPS DELIVERY MEN".)

So if you have read my blog before you'll know the beginning of March, I wrangled Max and took him across town to his former address still listed on his tag (which luckily was still inhabited by some of his humans). Rusty, thankfully had a tag with the correct address -- about a block over and a block down.

Since clearly Sarah-Dog was verklemped -- there would be no more sleeping until the yard was free of collies. So I leashed up the wayward pups and at 5 am, walked them back to their house.

My intention was to slip them back into their own yard. But the gate was nailed shut (probably after their March escapade). Then I noticed the front door open (the screen door shut) and a pair of glasses laying on the step. As I approached, I smelled the reason someone had accidentally let the dogs out ... in a drunken stupor. Lovely. Holding my breath, I picked up the glasses and put them on the ledge. Carefully opened the screen door, de-leashed the pups and pushed their rumps inside. I made sure the screen door shut and then went back home to my bed.

The drunken fool who let them out probably didn't even know they were gone. Wonder if he/she found his/her glasses...

We were quite freaked out by how the wayward pups got into our backyard in the first place since the gate is normally shut. But pretty much determined the hubbie left it open after taking the trash out Thursday night and my girls mysteriously didn't notice it open when they were out on Friday.

Otherwise someone else may have woken up to "the yard is full of Labradors."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Top 10 problems dogs have with humans

I saw this in the paper a few weeks back and had to repost it - 'cause it's funny.

Top 10 problems dogs have with humans:
10 Sit. You sit!

9 Chewing. There is no logical translation for not chewing in dog language.

8 Don't cover up my holes! It's hot. I'm trying to cool off. Cut me some slack, will ya?

7 Barking. There is no logical translation for no barking in our kingdom.

6 Stay. Sorry. No can do. Got things to do, dogs to see.

5 Sniffing. It's called P-mail people. Geez, buy a clue already.

4 Jumping up. Stretching. That's all we're doing. Stretching those back legs, don't ya know?

3 Collars. Here's an idea. You wear them.

2 Off. What? The couch? No way.

1 Wait. There is no logical translation in dogdom.

Source: longmonthumane.org

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Joan of Arc survived

On today's date (May 30) 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Or was she? In a Da Vinci Code kind of way, there is an argument that she actually escaped the burning because she was a secret illegitimate daughter of a queen.

According to the alternate theory, Joan of Arc was smuggled out of the city and later secretly married a French nobleman Robert des Armoises. Another condemned witch took her place at the stake. She was much older than Joan of Arc's 23 years.

This theory is in a book published in the 1970s called Joan of Arc and Her Secret Missions. The author, Pierre de Sermoise states that Isabelle of Bavaria (wife of the half-mad King Charles VI of France) had an affair with the king's brother, Louis d'Orleans. Joan was born of this relationship on Nov 10, 1407. Louis was assasinated two weeks later and baby Joan was sent into hiding with the d'Arch (later changed to d'Arc) family in Domremy.

It was due to her royal birth that she was so well educated. The marriage certificate to Des Armoises identifies her as "Joan of France." She died in 1449. The author claims her tombstone is there with her symbol (celtic cross in a circle).

Of course there have been many historians arguing against this theory. Joan was made a saint in 1920. The theory also is disputed by the Roman Catholic church.

From further research, I've found that in 2006, Joan of Arc’s rib and some other relics were reported that they had survived her burning at the stake. Tests were conducted in Paris to find out if the remains were indeed hers, since it seemed unlikely anything could have survived such a fire and there long had been a legend that the ashes were tossed in the Seine. There was no way they could be proved to be Joan’s relics definitively since there was no authentic family DNA to compare them against. In April 2007, the results were the rib belonged to an Egyptian mummy from between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC!

The most favored explanation for all this was that holy relics were required in the 19th century before Joan could be beatified and canonized. What is more interesting perhaps is that the relics were in the possession of the Catholic Church all these centuries. Until recently they were housed at Chinon in a museum owned by the Archdiocese of Tours.

Like the Da Vinci Code story, perhaps this was part of a cover up by the church?

It's definitely an interesting theory. I have the book on order from amazon.uk (cheaper than the ones listed here, even with shipping).

There's a further reason that I am interested in this. If she really did survive, I am a descendant of hers through my maternal grandmother (surname Haderer). Several generations have been researching the link. I recently received an article from 1973 about the de Sermoise book with some papers from my aunt's cousin.

Monday, May 28, 2007

In memory of Laura Alexander

Ruth Stewart died Friday May 18th after battling bipolar disorder. I got the benefit of knowing her for about 10 years. She was the only member of my ex's family I would have loved to keep.

Laura Alexander was her alias. As her disease waxed and waned, she had many grand ideas of writing books and traveling under this name.

As Ruth Stewart, she was a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a good friend. She was a firey liberal - one of the few 70-somethings I knew with a "legalize pot" sticker on her car. She was a caring and giving person, often to the point of her detriment.

Several years into my relationship, I had received a phone call from her. She was elated. She had an epiphany. She was the seventh child of the seventh child. She went on like this for awhile. I knew her to be well-educated and funny. I kept waiting for the punchline. It never came. After I had hung up with her, I called my now-ex at work and told him about the conversation. Oh no, he said. She's off her medication. That was the first I knew she had this disorder.

After my horrid split from her grandson, I began to lose track of Ruth. The breakup was really hard on me and I had to distance myself from everything related to him. I had sent a birthday card to her every year (Sept. 1). One year, it came back. Through one of her manic phases, Ruth had fallen prey to a refinance scheme that ultimately took her condo in a foreclosure. She decided to travel after that -- but essentially became homeless. I re-sent the card to a local shelter where she was staying but after a couple of months it too came back.

After time passed, I often wondered about what became of her. Unfortunately the disease changed her to someone other than the person she used to be. This happens too often to those affected by the disease.

The email from my ex came this last Monday on a bleak day I was already suffering my own loss. I felt terrible I had lost track of her but I know the Ruth I knew was gone a long time ago. There was no obituary and apparently no service. I understand the family was tired from dealing with the disease (as I now deal with those close to me with this disease) but she was still a great person and deserves a memorial.

Rest in peace, Ruth.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Furries scurried


Two weeks ago Flounder and her houndies (Sya, Sheena, and Oz) and their humans scurried their way around Washington Park. The day started out looking like cold and rain but managed to stay dry and perfect temp. Whew! Imagine a couple of thousand wet dogs!

Flounder and I raised $750 this year, which is our highest yet. She made the two mile trek but was a little slower this year. Around the curve of mile two, she started to lag behind until Pam mentioned there were frosty paws at the finish. That was all she needed to push her rump into turbo mode. (She ate two of them -- each in mere seconds).

We ended up getting there at 7am because I had woken up really early. This gave us plenty of time to wander the vendors and get lots of freebies. On the way down, she seemed a little confused at the distance of the car ride. But as soon as I parked near Washington Park, she got very excited. Amazing that she remembers the place since we're only there once a year. Her favorite is to check out the vendors because she knows they all have treats. She has perfected the "starving dog" look (even at a rotund 100 pounds).

Hopefully Sarah-dog and I will be able to do the Lucky Mutt Strut in July.

The cats could care less about all the buddy-buddy stuff (although wouldn't mind getting out and about) but they wanted me to post this link of their dreamhouse.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

*Now* I get it ...

Guess you have to see the whole commercial! It's for a Kohler toliet and the guy is frantically trying to back it up and is flushing all kinds of stuff down. (Apparently it's a super flush.) I couldn't figure out why the guy was trying to back it up. But fianlly saw it from the beginning. There's a hot plumber (named "Jo") who just pulled up next door.

They have some entertaining ads.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

ACK! My tongue is black

The following is a public service announcement:

Nothing worse to jolt you awake. I was sleepily brushing my teeth this morning when I noticed my toothbrush was turning black. What the ... I did already have my coffee but that usually is a little bit of brown. This was ink black. Then I opened my mouth. ACK! I look like that chick in Pirates of the Caribbean -- with the ink black mouth. I quickly take stock of the counter top. Nope, definitely toothpaste I am using. Crap! Did I chew on my pen earlier?

I check in with myself. Besides a little sleepy, I otherwise feel fine. Heart's beating. All my limbs are attached.

Then I remember, I woke up about three a.m. with horrible heart burn. Maybe this was part of that? I had taken some chewable pepto-bismol and then went back to bed. So I googled away and found this pepto page.

It says: The active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol contains bismuth. When a small amount of bismuth combines with trace amounts of sulfur in your saliva and gastrointestinal tract, a black-colored substance (bismuth sulfide) is formed. [Lovely!] This discoloration is temporary and harmless. [Unless you count my ego when everyone freaks out when I talk to them.] It can last several days after you stop taking Pepto-Bismol. [Seriously??]

Several days? Yikes. But hey, the heartburn went away...

Weird. I've never had this happen before and I have taken Pepto before (a lot, in fact, which may be another story you don't want to hear).

So there's you little warning!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Eyes on the world

I've become obsessed with web cams. This comes partly from the Macintosh OSX dashboard. I have widgets that allow me to have a bunch of web cams up while I'm working away on my Windows (kind of a screen saver effect for my Mac, without the actuak screen saver process.).

Today Mount St. Helens is intermittent fog (completely fogged out right at this moment), downtown Denver is mostly sunny, the Golden Gate Bridge just disappeared under a fog bank, people are milling about in Times Square NYC, Old Faithful in Yellowstone is mostly cloudy (and actually going off here and there), and the Russian hamsters are in the dark (actually haven't caught them not in the dark yet but the time stamp keeps updating).

The Times Square is actually part of Sloth Cam, which cycles between Times Square, Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, Calhoun Factory - Canada, Abbey Road - London, Broadway - NYC, Vancouver Aquarium Beluga Whale Cam, San Diego Zoo Panda Cam, Daytona Beach, Trafalgar Square, CBC - Montreal, Del Mar Beach - CA, Venice Beach, Parliament Hill - Ontario, CBC - Toronto, Eiffel Tower, Panama Canal, and Sydney Harbor.

The downtown Denver one is from Camlorado (a collection of about two dozen cameras throughout the state). The one I tend to sit on looks west and I can watch the afternoon t-storms roll in.

I've been trying to add my Hawaii cams but they don't seem to be the correct format. Bummer.

But otherwise a fun way for desktop diversion ...

Friday, April 13, 2007

What part of No Soliciting don't you understand?

I have a very clear sign on the door – "No Soliciting." It means, unless I know you or you have a package for me (from a real package company, not a package from God), then don't ring the doorbell!

I don't care who sent you or why, how nicely you are dressed or how polite you are. I don't do anything business, charity, whatever from someone I don't know who comes to my door.

Since the sign doesn't seem to work, I've thought up some other devices. I'd like a booming loudspeaker that makes me sound like the Wizard of Oz -- "WHO DARES TO RING MY DOORBELL?".

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring brings ... silverware?

I was picking my mail out of the box, walking back towards the house, admiring the flowering bulbs and other buds coming out. A glint caught my eye. Just in front of my front fence were two silver "sprouts" coming out of the ground. Okaaaaaay....

A spoon and a fork.

I don't remember planting these? Will have to check with the neighbor kids. :-)

Okay - this gets weirder. The silverware doesn't belong to the houses with kids. So none of them did it. Mark noticed them about a week ago.

I replanted them in the front garden. Who knows, maybe I'll have a bumper crop this year.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A disturbance in the force

You ever feel like there's something out there on your periphery, like the way the sky gets very dark and twirly before a tornado? Granted I'm a nut, so I probably get this much more than necessary. But the clouds have been gathering.

In any case, I chatted with an old friend today and while catching up somehow the evil-ex came up in conversation. We were talking about doing game night and about the card game Phase 10. I mentioned how I learned to be cut-throat at that due to the friend, the evil-ex and his brothers.

Oh, says the friend, I am working with him now .... blah blah blah.

Whoa. Back up the boat. Put out the anchor. Hell, call the coast guard!

What do you mean, I stammer. He's in Portland, right.

Uh, he says, [evil-ex] moved back in Colorado.

Ack, I screech. You were supposed to warn me so I don't have a heart attack accidentally bumping into him at Costco or something.

I thought you knew, says friend. But don't worry. He lives in the south side of town.

Still there's a much better chance I could bump into him in the same city, then if he was still in Portland. Dammit, Colorado is my state. I was *born* here.

Yes, I have moved on. I am happily married. But quite honestly I would like to just completely forget he existed. A blip in the continuum. No it doesn't really bother me, except that it's 1:30 in the morning and I'm here complaining about it.

Argh.

Monday, March 19, 2007

You say it's your birthday?

It's my birthday too!

I think I may have reached that point in my life where you start to use birthdays as mile markers -- something to re-access your life. I'm 37 (and still think I'm somewhere in my 20s). Wow, time flies!

But when I really sit back and think about it, there isn't too much I'm behind on. I'd like to have kids and that opportunity is diminishing. I did think I would have done that by now.

Other than that, the cool thing about my birthday is it's the last day of Winter. Around here Spring has been hanging about for a week or two. Lots of crocus and other bulbs are popping up. I have the urge to stick my hands in the dirt and plant stuff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Furry Scurry time!

The Flounder-Pounder pup and I will be doing our annual Furry Scurry to raise funds for the Denver Dumb Friends League. We're part of friend Pam's ManiaTV team.

Support us by donating -- here's our link.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

Obsessed? No, not me.

When I get a hobby, it's not a small thing. I have to go all out. I've always been this way. As a kid, I carefully cataloged all my stamps. I set up a library system for all my books. I got my first penpal when I was 10 years old, and by high school I had 60 of them.

As an adult, I became a fan of the TV show Northern Exposure. I collected plenty of NoEx things including actual items from the show. When I did a web site tribute, I didn't just do a single page or two. I went hog wild (moose wild?).

The hubby bought me an MP3 player a couple of years ago. I heard a song I liked on Grey's Anatomy. I looked it up, downloaded it from Napster. Then I decided that ALL the music on Grey's is pretty cool so spent an afternoon downloading all the songs from seasons one and two. (I'm behind in the current season, but not for long, for sure).

Another hobby gets me off the computer and lets me be a little more creative. I make cards and things with stamps. Because I've spent so much time (and money) with it, I recently became a Stampin Up demonstrator. Although this may have made this worse. I can buy a lot more now!

One of my latest obsession is books. Part of it stemmed from dismanteling and moving my floor to ceiling bookshelves from one room to another. I started to realize how many books I have and how many I haven't read. I have to hold myself back at the 3-for-2 Borders table or at Costco. Even looking at amazon.com the other day, I had to refrain from ordering used books from my amazon wish list.

A couple of years ago, I joined Bookcrossing.com. I had heard something about it somewhere and thought, what a cool idea. You register your books and pass them on when they're read. It's a little tough to let some go (and they have a Permanent Collection section). I've released and caught several books so far. But now I've been into "controlled releases" where I'm handing off the book to someone I know will read it. The idea is that people will journal the travels of the book as they get it. You don't have to be a member to journal. I'd love to know where they go.

I've discovered a couple of companion sites to bookcrossing. The first is RABCK.com. That stands for Random Act of Bookcrossing Kindness. Basically you sign up on the site, enter a few key things (like your mailing address and book type preferences). So it's not completely random in the sense of the word, but you can search through the database, find someone who has a reading preference for a book you're releasing and send it to them in the mail.

Related to this one, another Bookcrosser set up a place for you to list your books wish list. So if you're on RABCK, someone can look at your wish list and maybe surprise send you one of those books.

Bookcrossing has many places to join up fellow readers. I've been signing up for bookrings and bookrays. Basically a ring is where you set up a group of people who want to read a particular book. The first person reads and sends it to the second, etc. until the last person who then sends it back to the first person (who started it). It's way to see your book travel and a bit more controlled (since other members are BC members, greater chance they'll journal it and pass it on).

The last related site is paperbackswap.com -- which pretty much explains itself. You get credits for uploading your list and for each book that reaches its destination. Again -- more of a controlled release because the recipient is looking for that exact title. Kind of another cool way to swap your books.

Now if I could just get obsessed with spring cleaning ...

Currently reading: "Alphabet Weekends" - Elizabeth Noble

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Inconceivable!

Vizzini

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

I'll take your heathen dollars!

From the MIL into my email in-box:

<< Isn't that un-constitutional???FYI Subject: Do not accecept them-
U.S. Government to Release New Dollar Coins

You guessed it'IN GOD WE TRUST'IS GONE!!!
Who originally put 'In God We Trust' onto our currency?
My bet is that it was one of the Presidents on these coins.
All our U.S. Government has done is Dishonor them, and disgust me!!!
If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!!
DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE
Together we can force them out of circulation. Please send to all on you mail list !!! >>

Can I tell you how much I hate these emails? In any case, the amusing thing is some moron started it (and I'm not sure about those who keep passing it on). I've been trying to teach those who send me these things to do a little research first.

For example, by simply going to the US Mint's page, you can see that indeed "In God We Trust" is on the coin, around the edge, along with E Pluribus Unum. (Strangely, I didn't get the email from those freaked out by that missing.)

And further research indicates that yes, in fact about 50,000 new US dollar coins were accidentally put into circulation missing the text In God We Trust (and E Pluribus Unum). The first one went on ebay for about $600 but the rest will probably settle around $40 - $60 each (since there are many).

So yes, please send me your heathen coins. I'll take them off your hands. (And please learn spell-check!)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dog wrangling

Last Thursday night, my neighbor Bridget and I arrived home from Jazzercise to see a sweet mini collie in our cul-du-sac. It was a cold night with a colder wind. I checked his tag. His name was Max and he was about 5 miles from his home -- over several busy roads and a highway. I picked him up and put him in my husband's car then went inside to google the address. I tried calling the number several times but it went directly to voice mail.

When I came back out of the house, I noticed a second dog in the shadows, a chow mix. He wouldn't come to me but seemed a little concerned I had his buddy in the car. I went back in for some puppy biscuits to entice him. But when I came out, he had disappeared.

So as I was driving my buddy Max, the sweetest little guy, back to his house, I wondered if the address was correct. Still no one answered at the number (my guess is dial-up internet) so figured I'll do something else if I get there and that's not his address. The distance over the highway and the road seemed a bit odd for this little guy.

I got to the address and most of the lights were off but I saw a shadow behind the door window and rang the bell. A teenaged boy answered the door. I had Max in my arms. "Is this a buddy of yours?," I asked. He looked preplexed and said yes. So I set Max down. I asked if he had a second pup, a chow mix and he again said yes. I told him where I lived and that I wasn't able to catch the second one (named Rusty).

His mother came down the stairs and he didn't say anything so I said, I found your Max wandering around my neighborhood and wow, he went far. She laughed. Ends up her daughter lives in my neighborhood and had both Max and Rusty. I said, oops! Do you want me to take him back? And she laughed and said no, she'd make her come get the pup. But thanked me for bringing him home.

Bottom line - make sure your dog's tags are current. At least this was one of Max's homes. It would have been worse if the whole family had moved. I would have had no way to find his home. But I always will pick up a wayward pup -- I would hope if mine ever wandered away, someone would do the same.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Self-help books

I belong to a book club. The primary purpose of this really has not been to delve deeply into books, but more of a gathering of friends once a month with the excuse of reading a book. However I usually enjoy reading said book and the bit of discussion we do have about it. However, sometimes we venture into the non-fiction world. March's pick is a self-help book.

Uhg.

I hate self-help books -- except the ones that I buy specifically for me and my problems/issues/questions. For example: I suffer from PCOS (and the inability to get pregnant) so I have recently added a couple of PCOS treatment/diet books to help me treat this and all its underlying issues. But this is a specific need for my own self. I wouldn't pick it for a group of people to read and discuss. I wouldn't assume that this applies to everyone else.

Our book club's March's selection is a bit broader -- "Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don't Want". But again, what if I am not looking for this? I guess I don't believe a book, especially a 142 page paperback, is going to change my life: make me skinnier, wealthier, healthier and pregnant. I believe that while life is a journey, it's also a job. Just by believing something (or sending out positive energy) is not going to make it happen. You also have to take steps to make what you want happen. I have to eat right to be better fit. I have to treat my disorder to be healthier. I have to exercise for both. I have to work to earn money and be wise about how I spend it, in order to be better off financially.

I know that even with hard work -- life happens. Shit happens. Bliss happens. Whether that is luck, serendipity or simply laws of the universe, it's going to happen no matter what. This is why these books drive me bonkers.

The friend who has picked it is looking for enlightenment. She is sincere in sharing this. So this I'll accept. I'll begrudingly give her book a chance, and longingly look at the huge stack of fiction and chick-lit waiting for me to read. I guess I get enough real life every day. I like to read fiction. It's an escape from your life, not a dissection.

The original book picked was "The Secret." But I have figured out what the secret is: it's how to get you to spend money for possible enlightenment (more of "lighten the wallet"). The book ($23.95) is a companion piece to the movie DVD ($29.95) and I am sure there are t-shirts, coasters, mugs and more.

Both the Secret and Law of Attraction are non-fiction bestsellers. Perhaps this is a trend that Americans are searching for something more. Seems like we could actually do well with less: less on our schedules, less food, less objects for our lives and our homes. Why are people always looking for how to be happy with their lives? Why not just try it? Just enjoy what you have. Work for what you want. Be in the moment. Just knock it off and be happy, dammit!

Hey – I think I have a new bestselling self-help book there. I'll call Oprah.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

That's all she wrote...

By far the best TV program ever was Northern Exposure. It can never be repeated. However, there are TV shows out there that are well-written and amusing to watch none-the-less. One of those was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. You didn't see it? Well, then it's your fault. It was fantastic -- funny and intellectual at the same time (which may have been its downfall). My husband said it was too smart.

This past monday night's episode was the last one. There's still six unaired episodes that I hope NBC will decide to air at some point.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Snow close!


Two days short! Denver was on tap to beat the record for the longest time having an average of 1 inch of snow on the ground for consecutive days. The official measuring site is near the former Stapleton airport. But Spring is on its way and we've had fantastically warm weather. So where they came up with 2 inches average on Tuesday, it didn't hold through Wednesday.
The record for the most was 63 days between November 1983 and January 1984. We did beat number 2, which was set in 1913. We made 61 days.
This is just some of the snow cover still remaining in my yard (a couple of feet in the middle of that mound). More snow in the forecast Friday night.
But March and April are traditionally the snowiest months here so we're not done yet...
Meltdown
61 consecutive days of continuous snow cover recorded in Denver, ending Tuesday.
2 is this season's ranking for consecutive days of continuous snow cover in Denver.
21 inches is the deepest snow measured this winter, on Dec. 21 and 22.
64.6 inches is the total snowfall so far this winter.
70 percent of the ground is bare at the official measuring site, leading to the end of the snow-cover streak.
Source: Numbers Are From Thenational Weather Service's Stapleton Airport Site Where Some Official Measurements - Including Snow Depth - Are Taken.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A MIL vent

I know, I know. I really should be more patient. If it weren't for this woman, my husband would not have been born. And for that I
am thankful.

However.

I may have mentioned before that in May 2005, my mother-in-law decided she'd rather live in San Jose, then Denver. So she put her condo up for sale, packed what fit in her Camry, quit her job and left. The hubby and I, well, mostly the "I" part, packed up everything else, sold the furniture, sorted and donated, etc the rest of the place.

In July, the bank seized the place, changed the locks and had we not emptied it already, would have thrown everything to the curb. That was a brief misunderstanding and she regained the ownership. However almost two years later, the condo is still on the market. Twice contracts have been placed and then the buyers walking away. It's a nice place, the kitchen a little dated. But it includes all the appliances, including a brand-new glass-top stove. The market is just not good right now. There's too many of the same for less. She's now asking about $15k under what she paid.

This part of this whole thing rubs me the wrong way because it's just not what I would do. I've always been a very practical person. I line up a job before quitting another. I would sell a place before just packing and moving. I know not everyone should be like me. But she has a long history of "flying by the seat of her pants." She's getting older, has nothing to her name and I worry how we're all going to take care of her later. (I should mention she blew what retirement she had on a trip to Ireland when she was unemployed). This is hard for me. I would love to be more this way but am just too darn responsible. I also believe she suffers from manic-depression but it is untreated.

Which brings me to present day. She blew through town this past weekend, arriving on Saturday and leaving early Monday. We tried to get her to pin down plans to see her but was only able to plan dinner at a local restaurant (Bloom) that is a favorite (although quite pricey). She ended up bringing two friends to this dinner and spent more time catching up with them then with us. We also arrived a little late (totally my fault -- was painting the bathroom and wanted to finish up the paint I had out so it wouldn't dry up). But in those few minutes, she and the two friends had ordered several appetizers. (Did I mention this was an expensive
restaurant?). I figured that they decided that they would just eat that. But no. Entrees, several glasses of wine and dessert too. Ack. She insisted on paying the tab but then seemed surprised. We at least got the tip covered. Initially we had thought we would take her (just her) out to dinner but never got the chance to mention it. There's no way we could afford to cover her and the two friends too. Not sure how she could afford it?

At the end of dinner, as we were leaving, she mentioned oh by the way, she needed a ride to the airport on Monday. I replied, well we are both working, what time do you need to be there. She had assumed we were off for president's day. Ends up her flight was at 8:30 am. I squeeked out, 8:30 IN THE MORNING??! (Meaning she had to be picked up at her hotel at 6am). Seriously??! Luckily the hubby could get up a little earlier to take her before work (never mind that the airport is very much out of the way from downtown but whatever).

We had mentioned all the things we've been doing to the house (remodels etc) so she said she would come by on Sunday. Late afternoon she called to say she was coming by. I was putting the finishing touches on painting the new "beach" bathroom. I heard the pups bark and came upstairs. She was standing outside and I walked out in time to see her get back into her friend's car and leave. I asked my hubby what was up. She had run to the hardware store to buy a couple of things for her condo and wanted Mark to hang on to them. She didn't want to leave them in the condo (which is empty and has lots of closet space). After a "discussion," he agreed with me that we do not have the room for anything else of hers. We've spent the last almost two years trying to get rid of her stuff.

Ironically one of the items is a kitchen sink. So that tops it, we had everything of hers, even the kitchen sink!! Later that evening we dropped off the sink, a ceiling fan and some light fixtures to the condo for a handyman to replace. She didn't ask if we could help, she just dropped the things off and quickly, before I would see because she knows that my voice of reason is directly in conflict with her geocentric orbit. I think she fully expected Mark to keep these things in the trunk of his car until the handyman called for them.

She didn't even come in the house. We had cleaned and were excited to show off our projects. I also was hoping to show her that yes, we are really doing stuff and that we really are very busy people. I guess my voice of reason (rather, my thought of reason) was hoping she could understand why we did not have the time to show the condo to possible renters (because I work at home and could just run over there ...) and spend time upgrading it. We have no ownership in that place but we do own our house, along with the yard needs a lot of work. Not to mention all the sorting, shipping and general getting rid of all this extra crap we have now. And that we'd actually like to take time off and do something fun once in awhile.

I know I sound coldhearted. But it's the kid who cried wolf here. We bent over backwards helping her clean out the condo and get it ready for the market -- without her here. I never got a thank you or anything. It's always something. It's a bit like enabling someone with an addiction. Of course, you would do anything for your mother but when she does the things she does without regards to the consequences, you have to put your foot down! Sure, we'll love you and support you the best we can but we need the same back.

I warned you. If you read this far, thank you for reading my rant. I needed to vent so that I quit harassing my poor hubby about it. He's the good cop. I'm the bad cop. The only frightening thing was a brief mention that she misses Colorado and has thought about returning. Ack! We've been happy that his sister has had to keep an eye on her for awhile but I'm sure she is ready to send her back. Please someone, buy this damn condo ...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I hade bein thick!

My immune system got a little overwhelmed by the dust of redoing my bathroom floor (ripped out vinyl linoleum and put in some cool tile), as well as the couple of days of toxic inversion (pollution that gets stuck in warmer weather up against the mountains with cold air on the top). So now I have snot head. And I sound like Barry White. With Tuberculosis.

But I got some really good prescription cough medicine that at least lets me breath (blue is so not my color) but makes me a bit loopy.

A woof out to Westminster champion James! Ends up the hubby had a last minute trip last weekend to New York and stayed right by Madison Square Garden. He was wondering why there were so many beautiful dogs at his hotel. I tried to find a last minute ticket to join him but no luck -- probably better since I am thick...

But that would have been really cool to see Westminster. I once worked for a local company that does show dog magazines (did layout and design). I got to travel to several dog shows around the country -- the first was the Poodle Nationals in Maryland. You've seen "Best in Show"? Yeah, those people are real! What a hoot. I did get to meet Anne Rogers Clark though -- who was mentioned last night on the Westminster show. I didn't realize she had passed away in December. She was pretty big in the dog show world.

But I never got to go to the "superbowl" of the dog shows! That would have been fun. Well it was fun to watch on high-definition TV with my echinachea tea, puffs plus tissues and cough drops. Happy, happy dogs! Happy, happy me! (more cough medicine, whoo hoo)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Here Groundhog, Groundhog

Apparently P. Phil did not see his shadow so Spring is coming. This comes to a very sunny but snow-covered day at a balmy -2 (with "brutal windchill," according to the weather guys).

Yeah - think Phil might be wrong for my neck of the woods. But dreaming of seeing the ground underneath the snow. Or better yet, a sunny beach vacation.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Albuquerque Weekend

I headed south this past weekend for a quick visit to Albuquerque. My youngest sister lives there. I also attended a Stampin Up Regional Convention, to learn, stamp, and meet some other SU folks.

I stayed with my sister and was thoroughly licked from head to toe by Duke who has grown to a long-legged, gangly horse! He likes to lick and has a tongue like a lizard. Mollie is very happy to have an energetic buddy.

Friday night, Sara and Aaron took me to O'Neill's Pub on Central for dinner. It was burgers and sandwiches but pretty good. I had a BLT. Albuquerque still has smoking in some restaurants and this was one. It's amazing after Denver went smoke-free how I've lost any immunity to it.

Saturday, after a graburrito at the Flying Star Cafe (also on Central), I headed to the convention center. The event was very informative and fun. I got many new ideas. Afterwards, I headed back to the house where Aaron made his award-winning tortelloni and a spinach-pear salad. We spent the evening in and watched Thank You For Smoking. The movie was really funny (but I think Aaron was disappointed you couldn't see Katie's boobs).

Sunday, Sara had a baby shower to attend, so we all headed to Einstein's Bagels for a quick breakfast. Aaron and I headed to the furniture auction. I've been wanting to get some new (old) stuff for my house and the auction has some great finds. I found a couple of Mission style bookshelves and cabinets, but was overly outbid for what I wanted (they overpaid). I did find a large wooden cat that stands about 3 feet tall, and another of three wooden cats (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) that stands about a foot tall.

After the auction, we headed back to Nob Hill to meet Sara and do some shopping. We had lunch at Il Vicino. I had a very yummy Tacchino Paladine (like a crispy flatbread panini). I bought some coconut masks at Masks y Mas, a silk purse at Peacecraft, some blue topaz earrings at Ooh Ahh, and some fun trinkets at Beeps. For dinner we headed to Thai Orchid. I had the Green Curry Shrimp (which was good but not as good as my Tuk Tuk back home). Then back to the house for an early evening after a busy weekend. Sara dropped me back at the airport early Monday am and it was back to reality.

The weather was warm and the best thing: there was no snow anywhere! It was nice to walk without slipping on ice. The cats were too heavy to bring back on the plane so will plan to drive back down later to retrieve them and hopefully get back to the auction for some wins!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dream job

I think ideally everyone's dream job would be making money on something that you wouldn't define as a job or have to work hard. I often thought my dream would be a large plot of land and lots of pups and kits. I saw a story about a ranch in Montana, Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary, that gives a dream home to animals with disabilities, who would otherwise be put down. I think this would be a dream job. These animals have a lot of life and excitement in them and a lot of love. Although I think it would be tough to have that many animals, as their lifespan is so short. But then again, watching the doggie smiles and hearing the kitties purring, you know it would be worth it.

If I were ever to come into a lot of money, I would set something up like this myself. In the meantime, I will support the Rolling Dog however way I can! Kudos to them.

Monday, January 22, 2007

15 places I would like to visit

One of my favorite magazines (Real Simple), suggested some alternative New Year's resolution type lists. One was to make a list of 15 places you would like to visit.

So here are mine:

  1. Egypt (pyramids, sphynx, Nile)
  2. Australia
  3. New Zealand
  4. Jordan (specifically the cliff carvings from Indian Jones)
  5. Glacier National Park, Montana
  6. Moab and Arches National Park, Utah
  7. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  8. Paris
  9. Aruba
  10. Coastal Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Isle Mujeres, Tulum)
  11. Molokai, Hawaii
  12. Belize
  13. Brazil
  14. Croatia
  15. The Florida Keys

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The secret life of books

I've been slowly moving a large bookshelf from my old office to my new office. Along with that, I've been I've been rediscovering old favorite books, books I haven't read, and college textbooks I wonder why I still have.

My old favorites include those in my blog profile, such as the classic To Kill A Mockingbird. I actually have two copies of that – a very worn, missing cover one from my original reading at Cache La Poudre Junior High School. It was so worn, it was destined for the waste basket. I asked the librarian (was it Mrs. Neth?) to let me keep it. A few years ago, I thought I should buy a new copy of it for my collection and pass on the old one. Yet when I went to register and release it, I found I couldn't part with the worn one. Its well-loved condition would probably not be as revered as it is in my bookshelf. So it stays.

Every book has a story behind it. Desert Solitaire (Edward Abbey) was recommended by someone once, probably a guy I had a crush on (though who it was, I don't recall now). It really appealed to my tree-hugging side. I have yet to visit the places in the book (Moab and Arches) but it's on my list. (Another blog around the corner).

Marley and Me (John Grogan) was a gift from my sister Annie for my birthday. Its the true story of "life and love with the world's worst dog." As a human to two of the world's worst (but getting better) dogs, I laughed and cried my way through this book. This one shows how dog lovers can truly appreciate their pups, in spite of and in love with all they do.

I have a couple of signed books. One of my most favorite authors is Maya Angelou. I've been lucky to see her speak several times. One of those times even luckier to meet her. She signed my copy of Even the Stars Look Lonesome. More recently, I've become enamoured with Sue Monk Kidd's books, especially The Secret Life of Bees. This past Fall, a fellow GABster (bookclub) and I heard her speak and she signed my copy of Bees.

Now as I put all these books back in my shelves, I realize I'm not only a packrat but a bookaholic. I'm addicted to the 3-for-2 at Borders and the clearance tables there and at Barnes and Nobel, and used books on Amazon.com. I'm very protective of my books too. As a kid, I used to play librarian forcing my sister, parents and anyone else who ventured by to check out books. Recently I've discovered Bookcrossing. It's a place online to register your books with a unique number and then "release them into the wild." The idea is the finder writes a journal entry about their find, reads it and passes it on, with the website as a virtual travel journal for the book.

But moving the books has also given me a chance to edit. Do I really need all my women's studies books from college? The Journalism textbooks? No, probably not. If I edit, then there's more room on the shelf for the new books.

Currently reading: Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ladies do tea


The book club gang met at the Brown Palace a couple of weeks ago for afternoon tea. We read Murder at the Brown Palace, which wasn't as exciting as I hoped (the story is interesting but the book was backwards -- telling the best part first). The tea was very fantastic. It was fun to dress up and have cucumber sandwiches and lots of sugary treats.
Afterwards, Pam, Nichelle and I wandered into the Ship Tavern to check out the bullet holes in the bar.
I need to write up a life list. I don't have one really, but it I did, tea at the Brown Palace would be something to cross off.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Earworms

You know how you get a tune stuck in your head? It's called an earworm and unfortunately it's never the whole song, just an annoying snippit over and over and over and ...

This happens to me all the time. I always wake up with a song in my head. This is odd because I don't wake to an alarm clock. As a freelancer, I have the ability to wake up when my body tells me so. So it's not a song I catch from the clock radio jarring me out of slumberland. Sometimes I can figure out where it comes from -- sometimes I think it's an old tooth filling picking up random radio stations.

Today it's "Paperback Writer." Just that part. "Paperback Writer" over and over. But then my mind likes to change it up a bit -- usually something to the dogs or cats. So now it becomes "Puppydog barker".

Argh.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit.

Happy New Year! Why is it that we start each year with resolutions? Apparently the tradition of resolutions dates back to the early Babylonians. Today most popular resolutions are to quit smoking, lose weight, get out of debt, spend more time with family, and get organized. The most popular resolution for the early Babylonians was to return borrowed farm equipment.

So here it is January 1st once again, and I wonder what the heck happened to the last January 1st. Each one brings the realization of the passage of time, and the fact we're all a bunch of procrastinators. How many people can look back at last year's resolutions and say that they were successful?

But tradition for tradition's sake, here goes:

1. Visit at least one new national park.
2. Get my health under control (this seems to be an ongoing thing given I have this blasted PCOS that waxes and wains. I am too young for this!)
3. Put a stamp on my Passport. (See I got one from last year.)
4. work less
5. Organize and edit (I can't believe it's even worse since I decided to remodel and move my home office).
6. I am having a blank on the rest – but will add more as I think of some.

Here's to the first day of the rest of the year!