Sunday, December 30, 2007

Doing my best ...

to hold it together.

Many days these days, I am trying my best to hold it all together. A plus is that I now have a job that I enjoy. With benefits. And as soon, as I get all the paperwork straightened out, I will be heading back to therapy. Because I know from past experience what with lies ahead, I will have a hard time holding it together without therapy.

On 23 December I learned that the doctors have stopped chemo on my stepmother. They want her to start a new drug treatment -- with no guarantees. This treatment has a lot of harsh side effects. My stepmother is debating the whole thing. If she starts the new treatment, it will be after the first. But I know that she doesn't really want to do it. She's been making statements about her "quality of life" and how it pretty much sucks already without the treatment. She has been telling my father that she wants to get all her affairs in order. In that long conversation with my dad on Christmas Eve, I asked, "She's given up, hasn't she?" He replied, "Yes." And the hard thing is that my father has not given up yet. And I really can't blame him. This is a woman who he has known for over 30 years, has been married to for almost 22 years. But in my heart, I know the truth. She's dying.

Most days I'm OK. But every now and then, I'll feel myself starting to cry. And that kind of surprises me.

I first met my stepmother when I was nine years old -- a year after my parents' divorce. My dad had just started to date her. They had met through their younger sisters who were close friends. Over the next ten years, I didn't see much of my stepmother. Well, not with my father at least. She lived around the corner from my mom and attended the same church that we did. Actually she started attending the church after she started dating my dad because she's Catholic. During those years there were other women. My stepmother explained to me a couple of years ago that she wouldn't really commit to my dad because of his drinking. (And yes, he is drinking once more. On Christmas I saw him down a shot of Patron with his cigar.)

When I turned 18, my father stopped drinking -- and smoking. Apparently one of his drinking buddies had attempted suicide and that scared the crap out of my dad. Within the next couple of years later he married my stepmother.

My stepmother, early on in their marriage, decided that I was a spoiled brat. We didn't get along. On my part, I know that I didn't have much respect for her. She came off as this bubblehead who could not make a decision without first hearing her husband's opinion. And this was a woman who holds a master's degree and has worked as a counselor at colleges. She could help others plan their futures but deferred to her husband in most things at home. I guess it went against all of my feminist sensibilities. Because one thing I am never willing to do is to play dumb for some man. OK. Maybe if there is a free drink involved but never in a relationship.

Then in 1989 my stepbrother was killed. He was only six months older than I. It wasn't until 2003 that I was ever able to discuss it with my stepmother. Circumstances had dictated that conversation though. I had discovered that the father of one of my students had been with my stepbrother when he was killed. And this guy -- his alleged best friend who left my stepbrother to bleed to death in a car in downtown Sacramento and then had his girlfriend -- the student's mother -- call my father and stepmother in the middle of the night to tell them the news -- wanted to speak to my stepmother about what had happened. I think this was a turning point in my relationship with my stepmother. Although I guess it happened earlier; I was just too blind to see that shortly after my stepbrother's death, my stepmother started giving me gifts for my birthday and Christmas that were solely from her.

And so yes, therapy will be in my future very soon. I'm a lot better about talking to people about what's going on inside of me but it's still not enough. Especially when I feel like I'm a conduit for everyone else's pain and loss at the same time. And it's probably part of the reason why I haven't been going out as much as I used to. I have found that going out and feeling so-so emotionally are not really a good mix. I tend to make some really dumb choices. But a part of me really wants to go out and to interact with people. So I've got to get my crap together -- and soon. Besides, I'd like to be able to post stuff that's not such a downer.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Finally something

Things have been a bit slow since Christmas. I get up, I go to work, and then I come home. But then something interesting happened.

Back in the summer, I signed up with OKCupid thanks to Fluffycat. One of the fun features is that you can see who has been checking out your profile. Well, this one guy kept checking out my profile daily. But he never tried to contact me. I eventually sent him a message asking what was up with his actions. And so we started sending messages to each other. Then I started working and I was rarely on OKCupid. So last night I read his latest message finally. He had sent me his phone numbers and his email address. So of course, I did some research based on the email address.

This guy is much older than my usual victims -- a little more than ten years older than I am. But here's the thing. He's a former actor who apparently used to party a lot back in the day. And he's related to a number of famous actors.

I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a celebrity whore. And so I think I should go on at least one date. Because at the very least, there could be some really interesting stories from that one meeting -- and I'd be sure to share them with y'all.

I've heard from some of you already on this topic but you're free to chime in once more.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Oops. Meant to post this in the morning but it's still Christmas day here. And even though I don't technically celebrate Christmas, my family does. So I show up out of respect. And when they do the prayer before the meal I just substitute a few words in my mind.

And this year was a little different. First of all, because my aunt cooked dinner. As in the one to whom I am always delivering food. It's not that she can't cook; it's just that she doesn't like to -- often. And we really didn't do the gift thing this year. It was just about being together. Because there's a good chance that my stepmother won't be around next Christmas. So that means that I'll be driving up to Sacramento soon to use her gift -- a gift certificate for a pedicure at her favorite nail salon in Sacramento. Funny how time has changed her opinion of the "spoiled brat" from her husband's first marriage. OK. I am a spoiled brat.

But then on Monday morning I spent an hour or so on the phone with my dad. He said that he would never tell me how to live my life because he knows that I am a different person than he. But he will always be around to support me in whatever I choose in life. And he trusts my choices because he knows that he and the others in our family gave me a firm foundation. We talked about my summers with his parents. He said the first time that he sent me there, others told him that I would absolutely hate being stuck in rural Alabama. But I didn't. And I told him why I loved it there so much even though it was so different from being in the Bay Area. And my younger cousin? Well, by the time she came along, our grandfather was dead and our grandmother was sick. She never got to experience the great kind of summers that I had. And I think that that would have made a world of a difference in who she is today.

Because today I snapped on her and told her what an inconsiderate, rude person I thought she is. It may have had something to do with the hour minimum she spends in the bathroom getting ready each day. I think my comment was something along the lines of, "You've never had to share a bathroom with someone else? If you had been my roommate in college, we would have had to have a chat." Or it may have been that she decided to borrow one of my tote bags -- without asking. Because if she had asked, I would have given her a bag. And this was after she had shut herself off in the bedroom Monday night until we left for our aunt's house on Tuesday because I had told her older brother on the phone about the scene at my dad's house. And he had a few words for her. But other than her drama, it was a wonderful day. Probably because for once someone else's behavior was more atrocious than mine. And I kind of like it that way.

Enough of the heavy stuff. On with the frivolity.

You Are Blitzen

Always in good spirits, you're the reindeer who loves to party down with Santa.

Why You're Naughty: You're always blitzed on Christmas Eve, while flying!

Why You're Nice: You mix up a mean eggnog martini.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Some things are not meant to intersect

Friday I ended up following Pearl's example. This would have been fine and all if I hadn't had a 10:00 a.m. hair appointment on Saturday morning. And I had told my dad that I would come to Sacramento after the appointment to help him shop for Christmas gifts. But it was 2 when I left the appointment and I had to go into San Francisco before heading anywhere to retrieve my debit card. Don't ask. And then traffic sucked and I wasn't feeling particularly well. In fact, now that I think about it, I don't believe I consumed any solids on Saturday. So I went home and slept but before that I let my dad know that I would be up on Sunday morning.

And I did make it on Sunday. And there was lots of tension in the house. Per usual I thought that my dad was pissed off with me but he quickly set me straight on that. My 23-year-old cousin is visiting from Alabama for Christmas. She arrived on Friday night. And it seems that she met a guy on the plane. Because he came by my dad's house Saturday night after dinner to take her out. And my stepmother proclaimed that he looked like a thug. And they said that they were going to a movie. And she got home at 5:00 a.m. Well, she says that it was 4:45 a.m. My dad and stepmother, of course, were not pleased. And here's the real kicker. My dad asked me if he was wrong to be upset. Ummmm. Not sure if he was asking the right person there.

See. Part of the problem is that my little cousin has often said that she wants to be like me. And what would I have done in her situation? Probably the same thing.

So my dad had a talk to her and I think she started crying. On Saturday they had managed to buy all of his gifts except for the one for me. Because I had to be there. So while my cousin composed herself, my dad and I headed to Costco to pick up some new tires for my car. I had one with a leak that I was going to have patched but my dad thought that was a ridiculous idea. Something about after five years, how I needed new tires and not a patch job.

And then my cousin and I headed over to my stepmother's sister's house. Where there was baking and wine. And a much more relaxed atmosphere. And we decided that they could all use a break from one another so I told my dad that I would be taking my cousin back to Berkeley with me and that we would see him on Christmas day. (She's still asleep right now.)

How did I pull this off? By saying that my stepmother probably didn't need the stress right now. (She was probably more upset than my dad was.) And she doesn't. The doctors have stopped the chemo because it is not working. They will be starting a new drug therapy that fortunately because of my dad's health insurance will only cost $350 a month instead of $2,000 a month since Medicaid would not pay for the drug. And this stuff has a lot of unpleasant side effects so we'll see how it goes. And maybe I know why many family members have had a hard time getting into the whole holiday spirit this year.

Meanwhile I am going to try my best to not be jealous. Because Natasha has become completely obsessed with my cousin and doesn't like it when my cousin leaves her sight. Actually it's rather comical.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sticking with it

I just can't escape the music thing. I got home last night and turned on the TV even though I knew that there was nothing but reruns on. And for some reason the TV was on VH1. And they were doing one of their countdowns -- Top 100 songs of the 90s. Squeee!

Unfortunately last night they did not show the top 20. They'll be running the series again tonight including the unseen top 20. And that's right. I set the DVR to record the whole thing. Because I'm weird like that. And mostly because I will probably sit around tonight with a pad of paper out. To write down the songs that I have "forgotten" and will now have to dig out to listen to once more.

And I wasn't going to do a video today but then I started trying to think of what was one of my all-time favorite songs of the 90s. And it was this one.

Because I still play it now and always will. Because how could you not feel happy listening to this song?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting ready for the holiday

I first wrote this post when I thought that there would be an end to what I had deemed as "Music Week." What I have now realized is that music is such a large part of my life that it would be hard to contain it to one week. So expect to see a lot more music, along with the food and other stuff, around these parts. Oh, and probably has something to do with the fact that my dad's older sister is arriving in town today -- the first of the relatives flying in for Christmas.

My daddy is from Georgia. When the family gets together, there comes a point in which we sing every song we can think of that mentions the fine state of Georgia. Here's the collection of songs. And I will admit, for some reason the first song always makes me kind of misty.

The fiddle playin' in this song is incredible.

Hmmm. That just covers my dad's side of the family. I should also represent my mother. I would say her side of the family but there is not much definitive there. Well, perhaps there is but I'll leave that to another post. Instead I give you these selections.

This is one of my all-time favorite songs and I regularly listen to it in my car while commuting. In fact, I was listening to this song right before the Marvin hit the radio about a week or so ago.

Oops. I forgot that my mother is not really into Brazilian stuff like I am. Here's one of her favorite songs by one of her favorite artists.

Celia? She partied until her death. I want her spirit. Just like when I reach 60 or so, I want legs like Tina Turner and a face like Lena Horne's.

I love this song so much that I think you should know the lyrics. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd give you the English translation that's in the liner notes of the album.

I like to think that part of the reason that my mother moved to Mexico started with her love of Spanish Harlem. Although she was born and raised in Virginia, she spent every summer until she graduated from college -- yes, even after she married my dad -- in NYC. When I was growing up, she regaled me with tales of going to the Palladium and seeing greats like Celia Cruz and Tito Puentes. Bottom line is that around age eight or nine, my mom taught me the cha cha. Next was the mambo. I guess I learned merengue and samba on my own. But once you have the basic rhythm, the rest is a piece of cake. We're still working on turns.

Even when my parents are at their highest level of irritation, I can still walk away from it. I remember the wonderful world of music that they gave me. Because even if I cannot fully express myself in speaking to family, I know that I can find a song that will do it for me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Split post

Kind of like that pea soup. I never said that I'm a comedian so stop groaning.

So I haven't worked up the nerve to post the stuff that I am sure will infuriate some of y'all. It's my internal censor at work. The one that says, "Are you sure it was not a hormonal surge that made you say that stuff?" And I say, "No, it was not hormones -- really. These are thoughts that are bouncing around in my head but it only seems that under the influence of certain hormones -- or alcohol -- that I feel brave enough to step out on a limb and say the stuff that really matters to me." And then I start wishing that I was a stand-up comic. Because those folks? They have the ability to say whatever they think without really caring about the fallout. Maybe that's why I love them so much. To the point that most of my list of "future husbands" are comics. But then I woke up from that dream.

And that post still haunts me so I know that it will probably turn up here one day. In the meantime, I'm going to snip a bit of it away. One of my favorite stand-up bits.

Enjoy. And maybe this will give you a clue to the rest of that post. Oh, and yes, I was always the kid who pulled back the band-aid slowly. Don't know why.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why bother?

I'm starting to wonder why I bother to write the endless lists. Like my list for Saturday. OK. I did accomplish the majority of the list actually. It's just that things got changed up and the items that should have been then completed on Sunday are still waiting to be done.

Saturday was filled with numerous errands. I left home around 10 a.m. and returned around 3 p.m. The first stop, after checking on mom's house and then making the dreaded phone call, was to Sears. Because I needed more of the cute cabinets. Well, I was going to buy another quad unit and two of cubes with doors. But they only had one of the cubes with doors. And since it was about the same price as the two-cube unit I wanted anyway, I decided to get that instead. I'll find the other cube with door later.

And then I "wasted" time in the store when I ran into old family friends. These are people who went to church with my family when I was growing up. And even though I had my horrid "I'm running errands" look -- that may be why the husband hesitated when he saw me -- I did chat with them. We talked about where various family members are currently (Their daughter is two years older than I.) and how various family members are doing with their illnesses. The wife is a retired RN from Thrive! and is also a cancer survivor.

Next on the list was some grocery shopping -- a little more sane than going to the mall. And I don't know about you, but if there's a line at the grocery store, I will usually end up in a conversation with someone in line next to me. Like last week when I was in Andronico's and the older guy with the accent in line behind me started up a conversation. I kind of cut him off after he said, "You have a beautiful smile." So similar happened at Trader Joe's. Except it was an older woman and we were talking about kids and education. And then she asked where I went to school since I said that I had attended local schools. And then she asked my name and said, "Of course," when I answered. Because once she told me her name, I knew her instantly. She had been my English teacher my junior year of high school. And she's still teaching. And at Lucky, I discussed cheesecake recipes with the woman in line in front of me.

Once home, I made the above Beef Stroganoff. And another pot of cioppino. And was all set to rest and maybe do some cleaning when there was a knock at the door. The guys in the apartment behind me were having a party to celebrate the end of exams and were hand-delivering the invite.

Isn't this the cutest card ever?

So I took a power nap and headed on over the party. And got home around 4:00 a.m. Now you can see why Sunday was pretty shot. But I wouldn't have missed the party. Because no one parties like some engineering grad students. There were festive green and red Jell-O shots. And someone made a comment about, "There's always room for Jell-O." And there was a fridge full of beer -- really quite literally. And Belvedere and Jack. And there was music and engineers trying to dance. And then there was some beat boxing. Basically it had that kind of vibe if the guys at the Buy More threw a party. (Now if they had hopped into a car to drive to a field to bash some office machinery to the dulcet tones of rap music...) Oh, and the women there? Cute. Because as discussed elsewhere in the PRB, women with taste like their men kind of geeky.

Thankfully I had done all that cooking on Saturday because I only had the energy to make this on Sunday. My only splurge while shopping hungry on Saturday -- the mozzarella. Because who can really say no to cheese?

And I'm afraid of what could be in store for this week. Because on Monday, someone at work told me that I might want to wear loose pants all week...

And I guess I still haven't gotten over the music thing. So I leave you with another classic gem. In the meantime, I'm going to sit here at work and try to be pleasant to people while I'm waiting for the 800 mg of ibuprofen to kick in.

Monday, December 17, 2007

From dad

If you've been paying attention around here, I talk to my dad nearly every day. This is phone calls. That does not include the emails that I receive from him -- mostly jokes. And so this afternoon, I received a link to this gem from him. I knew I had to share it because, heck, I'm still wiping tears from my eyes.

So while you enjoy this, I'm going to head over to Buzzgirl's to get a little more Pearl in my life.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What I think when I hear the news

I so lag. I was supposed to have posted this yesterday but yesterday? More about that on another day.

Warning: The second and third videos contain some graphic images.

Check out the choreography...

And what the heck. Let's throw what I have always thought to be the companion piece into the mix.

I thought this was the perfect way to end music week. The first song came on the radio while I was in the car on the way home Thursday night. Of course, I had to turn up the volume.

Both songs seem just as a fitting now as they did when Marvin first recorded them. And I thought it was only fitting to post all three videos videos. Because as an African American woman living in the United States, I have started to question if we are not that far away from the images depicted in the last two videos.

My parents grew up in the segregated South. They did not have "regular" contact with non-Blacks until they moved to California after graduating college -- a year before I was born. And then my parents divorced when I was eight. In many ways it was the best thing for me. While my father has many friends who are not Black, they are not his "best friends." Without my father's narrow views of the world present, the home in which I grew up was one filled with diversity. When I was in undergrad, my mother would have the "orphan" Christmas at our house. The majority of the folks present were not Black. Heck. Some of them were even Jewish. And so I learned about different people. And I would say that I learned to accept them but that would be ridiculous. How can you learn to love people who seem to love you unconditionally? You don't learn because it is just a fact of life. I loved that we were different and yet still the same. Many of these people were my mom's co-workers who were from other parts of the country. And they were about halfway between my mom and me in age. So I will always think of them as being older siblings -- the ones I never had.

I often asked my mother when I was growing up if she believed that the world was a better place. She always answered, "Yes." Now my mother is lot more hesitant in her response. And that pains me deeply.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tim and Veronica are not allowed into my closet

You have to watch the video until the end so you can see the metallic dress. That dress? There are still dresses hanging in my closet that are that length. And I am now in my 40s. I haven't worn them for years. They really should be purged. That's what I discovered in the closet portion of the Great Organization Project of '07. That I haven't done a closet purge in over a year.

I used to purge annually. The exceptions were party wear that still fit and that I felt good about. And suits. I haven't had to wear a suit in years but I have some nice ones. So I am keeping them just in case I should ever need them again. Same goes with formal wear. Everything else? If I haven't worn it in two years, then it goes. That way I have room to start shopping again. Or maybe sewing up the endless amount of fabric that I have collected over the years.

A lot of those short dresses and skirts? Never going to wear them again. Time for them to go. Because I checked the BMI recently and I am in that borderline land of still being underweight so I'm not in a rush to drop the pounds that I have gained over the last five years. Especially since folks have been telling me that the extra pounds look good on me. (Depending on the scale and what I have on, I have gained five to ten pounds in the last five years or so. And if you've met me recently, try to picture that. And know that when I was 10 to 15 pounds lighter than I am now, I was told by an agent that I could stand to lose five pounds or so. I didn't listen to him because I like food too much.) Bottom line, why force myself into something like a sausage or that I would need to pick up Spanx to wear? That's just sick in my mind. Those clothes are taking up valuable closet space. So this weekend I'll be bagging up the trash and donations.

Oh, and I like just about any song that has an Eastern rhythm. It's an addiction.

This, along with Shakira, started the addiction. Probably why I can merengue so well. My mother is jealous about how I can isolate my hips and shoulders. Thank you, jazz dance and belly dancing lessons. Of course, if I was still taking dance classes and going out dancing 2 to 3 nights a week, then maybe I'd keep those dresses and skirts. Because then maybe my butt and waist would be two inches smaller.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Seven random things

So it seems that I was tagged some time ago. Well, it wasn't that long ago but it feels like eons ago. This one is kind of hard for me because I've been all about sharing and being honest here. Read on because I haven't tagged anyone else but if you feel the urge to steal, then steal away.

1. I only had three dates in high school. Really. And for all three, I asked the guy out. High school sucked majorly.

2. I kind of lied on that first one. I was asked out in high school. When I was 14. By guys who were 18 or older. And it was kind of creepy. One of them ended up stalking me until one of my friends cursed him out. Really he did. I would catch the bus to somewhere and he'd suddenly appear.

3. Keeping with the theme, I have spent most of my life thinking that I was ugly. I had a long chat in the last week with my aunt (by marriage) in Savannah on this topic. Funny how other people can get into your head. Now I have a neighbor who says that she aspires to have the same kind of style that I have. Probably because I have a little more confidence these days than I did back in the day. Because I learned that if you're happy with who you are, then others will see your beauty. And this is the kind of beauty that survives even the ravages of aging. Of course, in my mind I will always have "An L.A. face with an Oakland booty."

4. The men on my dad's side of the family are huge Warner Brothers fans, besides being Clint Eastwood fans. We have long conversations about which of the Looney Tunes characters is the coolest.

5. As a kid, I was a militant non-smoker. I bordered on being the type of person who would either destroy or hide cigarettes. Imagine my parents' shock (They were both smokers.) when I revealed that I had become a smoker in college. I told them it was because I had missed them and their second-hand.

6. And speaking of family ... If you had asked me 20 years ago where I would be today, it probably wouldn't be here. I was supposed to be married with at least two kids. But I've learned that life sometimes takes unexpected twists. And even though I have not ended up with where I thought I would be, I have learned to be happy with how things are. Especially after teaching. Because I'm not sure if I'm prepared to have kids around all the time. The cats, mostly Boris, drive me nuts at times.

7. There is a little part of me that will always feel insecure. Even if I am the life of the party, I will have doubts. But I probably won't show these doubts because over the years, I have become a pretty good actress. Sometimes I even fool myself.

So that's the best I can do. Because like I said previously, I've pretty much laid every thing out. And that other stuff? Well, life has taught me that there are some parts of one's self that should be kept to one's self. Self preservation and all.

And now I need to come up with some music for y'all. Hmmmm. Well, let's just keep with that 80s thing. One of my faves from back in the days when my life revolved around the party schedule.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A disappointment of sorts

Last Friday I went into Andronico's with one thing on my mind -- King crab legs. But there were none to be found.

Because Dungeness crab season has finally started. And that's alright with me. So alright that I had more last night along with the last of the baked oysters. Yes, I loved that recipe so much that I just had to make it again.

And today, let's continue with the Art of Noise. Because this is how crab makes me feel.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My grandfather would be proud

Back in the day, my grandfather was an award-winning hog farmer. The majority of my meals over this past weekend involved pork in some form. Pictured above was breakfast on Sunday. The exact same thing I had for breakfast on Saturday. Because I was feeling slightly Southern and decided that bacon just would not do. I wanted meat. A slab of meat. As there were no fish fillets nor steaks in the fridge, I made do with a pork chop. That shortly after this photo was taken was covered in Texas Pete. And if you substitute biscuits for the crumpets and add some grits to the plate? Well, then you have a pretty typical breakfast on my grandfather's farm back when I was a kid. OK. One more change. If there had been biscuits, they would have been swimming in butter and maple syrup, molasses for my grandfather. (Lately I've been remembering those summers on the farm a great deal. Thanks to some other thoughts with which I have been struggling. Actually it's not the thoughts that are a struggle, but how to voice them here in a nice way that is the struggle.)

And then there was dinner on Saturday night at First Crush with Stacy and crew. A lovely double cut pork chop with chard and cheddar mashed potatoes. Heaven on a plate. Of course, I think that of just about anything that includes cheese.

Oh, and I've decided that this week is music video week. Sure the back still hurts some but you'd be surprised how well you can move after 800 mg of ibuprofen. Did that on Sunday night and I was able to fully drop it to yesterday's video. But today? Today is old school day. Back to the days of the first B-boys. Where's that piece of linoleum or cardboard to throw down on the ground? Oh, and I'm probably going to need some kneepads and gloves as well. Concrete burns can be a bitch.

Monday, December 10, 2007

So not me

When I was growing up, my Southern mother would lecture me on the wonder of all things domestic. When I would refuse to do some household thing, she would ask, "What are you going to do when you get married? Your husband will expect these things." But I was a liberated youngster. Housework? Only out of necessity. One day I would have a staff. The problem is that day has not arrived yet.

So here lies the problem. While I have grown to love cooking, I still abhor housework. Add into the equation that I can be rather particular about how things are done. And well, it's a recipe for disaster. Over the years I have become an excellent surface cleaner. Can it be thrown in a closet or under the bed? Then you're done.

The Great Organization Project of '07 has been an attempt to undo these wrongs. It started off great but then I quickly lost momentum. Until I got the cabinet. That also coincided with the first Saturday during which I did not need to be anywhere -- at least not in the daytime.

I arose Saturday morning with my list in hand. Number one on the list was to complete what I had started in the bedroom. Because half that stuff from the closet? All over the bedroom floor.

All the stuff got stowed away or thrown away. I believe I took out something like three bags of trash and some recycling as well. I finally hung those pictures that have been sitting around. And I winterized the bed -- put on the flannel sheets. The plan was that I would have at least one wonderful room to which I could return after an evening out with Stacy and some of the other women she knows.

At some point during my cleaning frenzy, I must have done a twist and lift. Because I started having severe muscle spasms in my back. And there was no flexeril in the house. Fortunately I had given myself a deadline that allowed me to rest a bit before heading out. But the pain was good since it allowed me to be just bitchy enough to the guy who tried to hit on me during my BART ride home from dinner. And it didn't stop me from meeting up with BWB and the Commander for caffeine on Sunday afternoon. Of course, I did take some ibuprofen and crawled back into bed after getting home. So much for my living room clean-up plans. Those plans are on hold until the back starts feeling better.

And the lesson learned here? I most definitely need a staff. I mean, it doesn't seem fitting that an Empress should have to do these kinds of things.

But the worst thing is that I can not dance properly to my new favorite song.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Foiled again!

Not me. Boris has been though.

I had reached my limit with his deciding that my prized LP's were a giant scratching post. I can barely look at them these days as the jackets are so damaged. I knew I had do do something before they were all lost. Especially after he added spreading the 45s across the floor into his repertoire. Yes, there have been times I have felt homicidal.

Do you know how difficult it is to find storage units with doors that look stylish enough to be in the living room? Oh, and said cabinets need to be large enough to house LPs. I have scoured the internet. There aren't many choices out there. Oh, and then most of them are either black or white. So not fitting with my idea of colors for the living room.

But I must say that I am pretty happy with this lovely modular set. Especially since the doors have magnetic catches thus ensuring that Boris will not be able to peruse the contents in my absence.

And that reminds me. Must get childproof latches for the kitchen cabinets. He has recently learned how to open those. Grrrr! He rarely tries to go in. Instead he likes the sound of the door banging shut. Continuously. As in for as long as it takes before you tell him to stop. And somehow he understands that direction, shouted from the living room, perfectly fine.

But back to the new unit. I like it so much that I think I will get more to house the stereo, TV, and other stuff. Kind of a cohesive entertainment center thing. But even more fun is that then I will be able to go shop for all the other stuff on my wish list.

Although I have selected the sofa sleeper that I will be getting to replace the futon in the living room. The only question is whether I should get the terracotta or the pale yellow. And do I get the matching chair? Or do I get this one that they had on display with the sofa in the store? Oh, and the chair in the store was in the leather, not the fabric.

(And no, Kapgar, I have not tied the remnants of the earbuds he chewed to pieces around him. Yet.)

Update: Apparently Boris is smarter than I have given him credit for being. He has now figured out how to hook his paw through the handle to open the doors. Obviously new measures must be taken.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bloggers on the road

One of my fave things to do when I have a longer commute is to catch up with folks on the phone. (Don't worry. I always use a hands-free headset.) That way when I finally reach home at the end of the day, I don't have to talk to anyone if I don't want to.

Over the last few weeks, one of my more common conversations is with BWB on the evening commute. See, we now basically have the same commute. And I often get on the road before she does. So I'll get the "How's the traffic tonight?" phone call. And then we discuss the route.

That happened last night. And traffic sucked hardcore. So I told her that I was taking my alternate route. Well, she decided to take the same one. And as I was describing where to make a turn, we suddenly realized that she had caught up to me and was directly behind me. And this was just as well. Because she had never been my secret route before and so I was able to lead the way.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Life with the delinquents

People keep saying to me, "It must be great to no longer work with kids." They don't know the guys with whom I work. For many years before teaching, I worked around guys who build stuff. And now I am a part of the construction trades once more. But they still won't let me have a hammer. No, instead I do billing and all that mundane stuff.

I also did not think that lunch time would be a fascinating time at work given the few nearby choices. I was wrong. I love this one place because the offer chow fun besides rice and chow mien as carb choice. There are not enough words to describe my deep love of chow fun.

And when I tried out the nearby taqueria, I thought that I would have no luck with Mexican. Then one of the guys told me about the deli in the market next to the taqueria.

Now I'm normally a carnitas kind of girl. And these were not a disappointment.

But the real treat are the cruncy tacos.

I had to try them because one of the guys told me they were like the ones from Jack in the Crack -- but on steroids. Ground meat mixed with carrots and potatoes and then put into corn tortillas. At this point they are fried up. Now you can stop here and they will only cost you $1.00 each. But I like the works which takes the price up to $1.50 each. By far one of the best lunch deals in the area.

And now, the downside to digital photography. Well, the guys (I'm the only female in our office.) like to take photos of each other's ass cracks and post the print outs on the walls. Every now and then I think to myself that if I wasn't so chill, the words "hostile work environment" would come to mind. But I don't want them to change. Because then, I couldn't occasionally yell out, "What the fuck did you just say?" Because I love being able to curse like a sailor when I want to.

And me? I'm Catwoman. Not because of B&N but because I tend to walk, unintentionally, in a very stealthy manner. So much so that I was able to surprise my boss and one of the other guys slinging back vodka tonics near the end of the day this past Friday. They were just having a bit too much fun and I could hear them at my desk. My boss told me that as the new kid, I needed to complete a three month probation before he would pour me a cocktail on a Friday evening. Uh huh. Nope. Don't think I'll be leaving this place anytime soon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Confirmation can be good

Saturday at the baby shower, Jade had the opportunity to remind me why she's my BFF. We were talking to another friend of the mom-to-be about our mothers. Jade announced to the other woman, "Your mother sounds a lot like Dagny's. I should tell you about the time that Dagny threw herself a birthday barbecue at her mom's house and her mom totally took over the event." What?

Here's the thing about my relationship with my mom. She does things and I read the situation one way. But then I started doubting myself and think that I am just being overly sensitive or something like that. So I was kind of shocked by Jade's observation because that is completely how I felt that day -- like my mom had taken over.

Then Jade shared some more of her observations. Mainly that when I'm around my mother, I stop being me. Jade said that I'm normally bubbly and outgoing. But around my mother? I become withdrawn and nervous. "It's almost like you're afraid to say or to do anything." Ummm. Might have something to do with the fact that that's usually how I am feeling.

And then we all talked about minimizing contact with family members -- especially around holidays. Because it helps to keep up sane.

All I know is that it felt kind of good to find out that I'm not completely nuts.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A bad start

OK. I have decided that it's not a good thing to start a conversation with, "Whoever came up with the idea of going out for cocktails should be slapped." Because that's the first words I said this morning to Emerald's husband. When I called to let them know that I am still alive. His response? "You know that was your idea." Ummmm. Yeah, and it was a bad one.

Things started off OK enough on Friday. I met Buzzgirl for food and drinks after work. (Oh, because Friday was my first official day. That's right. I'm no longer a temp.) While out, my father tried to call me. When I went to return his call, he said that he couldn't talk. So he called me Saturday morning. Apparently my stepmother doesn't want to continue with chemo anymore. So I spent about an hour or so crying Saturday morning but then dragged myself up. Because Saturday was Emerald's baby shower and I was in charge of games.

Now I understand why we normally don't have alcohol at showers. Because we went through something like a case of champagne. And then one of the guys at the shower said that we needed cocktails. So I suggested my favorite bar. And then I met a boy wearing a bowler and things get pretty hazy after that.

But the Jumbo Jack with cheese and the Dr Pepper are starting to make me feel a bit better. Because you know you're in bad shape when Jack in the Crack sounds like a good idea the next day. So now I'm just going to curl up into the fetal position on the futon in the living room and watch last week's taped shows.