Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Another one of Cat's reminiscent blogs. With respects to Tomato Nation's Thanksgiving post.

I've never quite adapted completely to the whole Thanksgiving tradition thing. Every "traditional" Thanksgiving I've ever spent has been with the family of some boyfriend or significant other, so my picture of traditional Thanksgivings is colored by those experiences. Our family's traditional Thanksgiving was really, in my mind, the only sensible and decent way to spend the holiday weekend, but I can imagine that others may disagree.

As a kid in my family, Thanksgiving holidays were always spent at JAM, a.k.a. JAM fest, or properly known as Jambalaya Tour. If I describe it, it won't do the event justice. But here goes. People from various bike clubs around Louisiana (Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, etc) convene at a campground near St Francisville, LA for 4 days of eating, biking, dancing, eating, and biking. Days were spent touring through the countryside, burning calories. That part of Louisiana is not the swampy willows and spanish moss so common throughout southern LA. St Francisville has lots of pine and even some rolling little hills. Evenings were spent eating and dancing to music by a cajun band that would come in just for the event. Nights were spent in a tent, listening intently for bears, aliens and snakes that were trying to get in all night long. Armed with best friend and flashlight, we usually discovered that the sound was a raccoon or an owl eating on the picnic table.

The first boy I ever had a *real* crush on was at JAM. He was in college, I was in 6th grade. It was a 1-sided romance doomed to failure, but at the time I was sure I could sway his attention away from that co-ed. I first learned to cajun dance at JAM. We did the crippled chicken, waltz, cajun 2-step, and other dances I couldn't name in a million years. We could dance all night. I had my first deep-fried turkey at JAM. Thursday night was always turkey and jambablaya, Friday was always red beans and rice, made by an award-winning chef from Gonzales, LA- the self-proclaimed Jambabalaya capital of the world. I rode my first 30 mile bike ride at JAM. Hey, that's saying something for a 10-year-old! I spent a lot of Thanksgivings riding no further than the dirt trails in the campground and scrambling around the rocks with my best friend Jennifer, and in later years with my best friend Katy. You know about the transitive property of best friends, right?

When we moved to Texas, we stopped going to JAM every year. We made it back 2 or 3 times after that, but it was the end of the era. After that, I spent most Thanksgivings with Current Boyfriend's family. It's funny how Thanksgiving has always been the holiday for the significant other. Since 1992 I've spent every (or nearly every?) Thanksgiving with SNG and Dianaverse's family. My family gets New Year's and Easter.

Easter is still spent much the same way as those old Thanksgivings. We don't have the cajun band, and meals require that we cook for ourselves, but it's almost as much fun as JAM fest. But you'll have to wait until March for the Easter Hill Country Tour...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

YAY we only have ONE HOUSE!

I'm still not over the excitement of selling the old house, at last! It's like being released from prison. It's like having sunshine after 8 months of rain. It's like losing those 10 vanity pounds. It's like the departure of the airplane when you've been sitting on the runway for 3 hours trying to go home. It's like chocolate cake after finishing your liver and brussels sprouts. I think I'm taller now...

Over the weekend we did a bunch of house maintenence stuff. We rebuilt the pantry so that it's usable, just in time for the big Thanksgiving shin-dig this week. We burned a bunch of branches and stumps in the firepit in the backyard, adding to our trailer-trash mystique that we've tried to establish in our new neighborhood. The guys next door came over and drank beer around the fire for awhile, and then we made apple cobbler over the coals in the dutch oven after dinner. Let me tell you, it does NOT taste the same to cook it in an oven. Next, we've got to find a big brisket and do 12-hour-firepit brisket. It doesn't need a knife, it doesn't even need a fork. It's "need no teef to eat my beef" brisket.

I guess soon it'll be time to start holiday shopping. As usual, I'm going to do as much of it online as possible. This year my friend Peace is doing a fundraiser for an organization that she heads up through web-shopping. You shop online through their site ( and a percentage of the revenue goes to them. Hey, if you want to shop online, and some of the places you'd shop are on the list, you could support HEC, too. They're a pretty small organization and they have a HEC-k (:-P) of a time raising funds for their outings, which require a lot of specialized equpiment such as wheelchair-accessible transportation, medical supplies, etc. There's a link to their homepage at the top left side of the onecause website.

Did you know that during mating season, bucks (as in male deer) get so crazed that they've been known to attack people? Have I ever mentioned that we live in deer-central? Manhattan-for-deer. And our deer are HUMONGOUS. They're taller than I am. I'm starting to get a little nervous jogging home from work around sunset. If I don't blog for a few weeks, just assume I've been gored by a crazed blood-thirsty 300 pound buck, and am lying in a ditch in the state park waiting to be found.

To prepare for this eventuality, I've been practicing kicking the heavy rubber kickboxing-dummy we have at the gym. If I set him to "short attacker" height, I can repeatedly kick his jaw with pretty good accuracy with my roundhouse. I figure that's about where a deer neck would be, so if I practice a lot, maybe I can go Mr Miyagi on the attacking deer. It's the antlers I've got to watch out for. So I'm also practicing side-kicks in the ribs-- which should be about rib-height for the deer, too.

I should write one of those worst-case-survival guides: Urban Trail-Running Survival Guide. I could discuss how to deal with attacks by snakes, deer, squirrels, beavers, hawks and equestrians. What to do when your shoestring gets caught in poison ivy. How to escape a flooding creekbed. The safest way to pass a steroid-raged high school track team.

The royalties will make me rich!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The folks left this morning. (sad) It was so much fun with them here. And they came to town immediately after the house sold, so we had lots of time to do fun stuff. I also enjoyed having an excuse to take some time off work. Yesterday dad and I took a 30 mile bike ride through central and north Raleigh neighborhoods- hilly parts of town- and it was peak of fall color. Our neighborhood, being a little further from the city, had its peak over a week ago. And the sky was bright blue, so the contrast of the yellow, red, orange and purple leaves against the bright blue sky was enchanting. It was a nice way to end a terrific week.

First thing this morning I got online and scheduled our Appointment With The Devil. We're getting cable again! This time, no movie channels. We're getting the digital package with DVR, and we'll do road runner again. No more dialin. Now we only need a printer. We're so 1992.

I have vowed not to get sucked into the cable. I've told you before how TV does me. It's scary, really. But when I'm out of town for 3 weeks in a row, poor SNG has GOT to be bored. Because, well, it's probably boring without me! ;-) Anyway, now he can watch spanish-language soccer, british mystery series, shows about american's top 10 favorite lollipops, QVC, you name it.

I am going to try not to turn on BBC America and Food Network every day after work. I will continue to spend my free time enjoying the woods behind the house, reading books, playing with the dogs.

Unless Iron Chef is on. I dig Iron Chef so much.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So I went home on Friday. Right after I wrote the last post. hee. I also took Monday off. I'm taking tomorrow off. I'm at work today. What a hard worker I am! I better get a raise!

As you know, mom and dad are in town. We had such a fun weekend, once we sorted out the dog-ear business. It was so icky that I just have to share it with you.

I went home Friday and was sitting with Daisy, feeling sorry for her, and decided that I should get her ear wound all cleaned up before the vet visit because they would probably try to shave her head or something ridiculous if the wound looked messy. They love to shave animals. Then the animal looks like a rabid squirrel or like it has mange or something equally nasty.

Anyway, so I took some peroxide and cottonballs (and yes, a flashlight) and started cleaning off the black nickel-sized scab under her ear. It wiped away to reveal... pink doggie skin. There was no wound there. Hmmmmm. Then I lifted up her floppy blonde doggie ear and there I found something from an eopisode of the X-files, from the season right before they made that movie. Black sludge was oozing from her ear onto her fur, causing some irritation. Luckily, I recognized this symptom because I have one shape-shifting alien dog already-- Goofch sometimes gets yeast infections in his ear. They come from a little bit of water in the ear (usually because of a bath or swimming) combined with having big flooppy doggie ears that don't let air flow in and out freely. It's also characterized by a distinctive yeasty smell. Yes, you really DID need to know that.

The only way to know for sure, though, was to clean out the sludge, stab the dog in the back of the neck with a sharp alien-killing device, and see whether she bled green toxic ooze. OR, clean out the ear thoroughly with more peroxide. OK, you must know this-- I could hear the ear canal clearing. Aaaaah, aren't you glad you know this now? Daisy was visibly relieved. She started shaking her head, shake-shake-shake-shake-shake. She made happy grumbly noises when I cleaned out some more. Then I grabbed the doggie lamisil and voila! She no longer has that not-so-fresh-feeling. In fact, within about 10 minutes, she was entirely restored to her normal hyper-active-jumping-in-your-face self.

The quiet Daisy was kind of nice. We considered filling up her ear with vaseline for the rest of the weekend. Instead we took her for a very long walk in the park on Sunday. She was joyful. Even moreso because Dianaverse picked her up last night to take her home.

So we're having a fantastic time with my folks- hiking, biking, eating, reading newspapers from Diana's front yard, watching DVDs, you know, all that fun stuff you do when people come to town and you have no cable TV.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Wednesday we signed the paperwork and closed, today we get the check (it was ready yesterday, but yesterday was a bank holiday) and now we are FREE!!!! HAHAHAHA!

My parents are in town and I'm at work. I had planned on taking off afternoons to hang out with them, but now I think I should've requested whole days off. If the weather looks nice I'll take off Monday and Wednesday next week. But today the weather is rotten so I can handle working.

OK, here's something I wonder about. My office window is tinted glass. This is to keep the summer heat out, which I appreciate. But it also makes it looks like twilight when it's cloudy outside. Sunset looks like midnight. It's so gloomy. Don't they make window tint that changes with the intensity of the ambient light? Like those sunglasses? Why don't I have that on my office window?

In other news, we're taking care of Dianaverse's animals this week. The cat, Tex/a.k.a. Voldemort is staying at her house ripping up the visa bill, and the dog Daisy is staying with us. Normally Daisy drives me nuts because, frankly, she's just so enthusiastic. She weighs about 100 pounds and likes to lie on the ground until you bend over to pet her and then she jumps up so that her head slams into either your chin or your nose, which hurts. a lot. She's sweet, but she's also stronger than I am. So she's SNG's responsibility. But this week she has a sore on her head, just below her ear. It has completely changed her personality. She won't bark, jump, run, leap, wiggle, etc. No Sudden Movements. The first night I was pretty happy about that- but then it seemed to get worse. She was lethargic the second night, and last night she was at the the point where she didn't even want to come out of her kennel to walk. Now I'm worried. The sore on her ear is a nickel-sized black wound with a scab, and I can't help but think of a Brown Recluse spider bite when I look at it. Except she isn't throwing up and she will eat, so maybe I'm just paranoid. I'm taking her to the vet at 2:00 today. Poor thing.

Monday, November 8, 2004


That's the sound of someone who didn't have to go work on the old house Sunday.


But I was a little peaved this morning. Our agent got an email from the agent of the people who are buying the house:

"When we were in the house the other day, I noticed thare was leaf and yard debris on the carpet. It would be appreciated if it would be vacuumed prior to closing:-).


(buyer's agent)"

Oh come on, I could just spit. It's not their house yet, won't be until Wedensday, and we were over there grouting tile, and house-shoppers were still doing showings in the house, and she can just take her little comments about debris on the floor and shove them.... OK, getting too worked up over this. But it was just annoying as all heck. Like we need to be told that the house should be cleaned prior to closing? Are we idiots? It's been like that with this woman throughout the entire process-- like she thinks we're trying to pull the wool over her eyes and sell them a crappy house and shirk our sellers' responsibilities, and it's downright insulting of her. I sometimes wonder whether these 2 agents (ours and theirs) have an ugly history together and they're just jabbing at each other, but it's just ridiculous. She's sent things like this, incinuating that we're trying to be irresponsible, several times.

But I will think about happier things instead.

* I've whittled my jog-to-work time from 30 minutes down to 23 minutes. Now, jogging fast and going the shortcut way to work takes the same time as biking slowly the long way to work. Woohoo!

* We had a fun Sunday afternoon spontaneous party eating brick burgers with our friends Fuzzy and Peace and our next door neighbors who we like a lot. Sorry, I haven't come up with an alias for them yet.

* Tomorrow night a bunch of friends and the 'rents-in-law will raise a toast at the old house to bid it farewell and wish it a happy life with its new future owners.

* I'm excited because later in the week my 'rents will be here to hang out and watch the fall colors on the ground (because they already missed the fall colors in the trees). They've never seen the new place and I just imagine my mom will be like Modean when she sees all the hiking trails in the forests around the house-- as in she'll run off and we won't see her for days until she returns, tired and ragged, grinning ear-to-ear, carrying the leg of a deer she chased for 8 hours until it died of exhaustion. OK, maybe it won't be * quite * like that. But she sure won't run out of fun things to do while we're at work!

Monday, November 1, 2004

Denver was FUN-- once I finally got off my lazy ass and did some stuff. The first few days were typical business trip fare, but with one nice expection-- I had someone to eat with every night which is rare) . But I was just doing the usual-- up early, try to workout (haha), go to work, go eat dinner, watch TV, read a little more Victor Hugo, go to bed.

Saturday started off like that. I went to an 8am spinning class-- all exercise at altitude is hard exercise-- and afterwards, I went to the mall to walk aroiund and get lunch. So much for my grand plans to hike a 14'er. The Locals talked me out of that because there would be too much snow, and I'd be all alone, which isn't safe in the snow, etc. After lunch I decided I couldn't stand my hair anymore, so I went to a salon that allowed walk-ins to get it colored. I thought, highlights with red lowlights! That'll be a change of pace! Well, 2 1/2 hrs later, I has a new look and I didn't like it too much. So now I can't wait to get home to see my regular hairdresser so she can fix it.

I guess I'd killed as much time as I could, and I finally decided that I'd bite the bullet and go hiking- so I went to a state park just southwest of Denver and hiked for about an hour and a half- no major elevation- only up to about 7200', but to my sea level lungs it was tiring.

Yesterday morning (Sunday) I had enough time to get up early and hike the same park and watch the sunrise. Which was awesome. I hiked for 2 hours and took a ton of pictures. I haven't been able to look at them yet because I didn't bring the camera-computer cable thingie.

So then I flew to Dallas at about 1:30 (mtn time) and got here at about 4:00 (central time) and went to my hotel. Which was not where I left it. It was across the street. so I thought. I took my 105 pounds of combined luggage into the Hilton lobby, and they said I did not have a reservation. When I showed Howdy Doody my itinerary, he told me I was at the wrong North Dallas Tollway Hilton-- I was supposed to be a the Hilton Suites, not the plain-vanilla Hilton. So I and my 105 pounds of combined luggagewent back to the rent car and drove around to find the Hilton North Dallas Tollway SUITES. It's in a better location anyway-- right next to the Dallas Galleria, which is one of the best shopping meccas in Texas. And that's saying something.

BUT- when I got in, I felt like CRAP. For a few hours I'd been getting little symptoms- loss of appetite, dull headache, chills, a little groany stomach... and then my skin started to hurt. And I knew something was very wrong. I think I have the flu!!!! :-(((((

Anyway, so today I don't feel as bad as I did last night, but I didn't workout this morning because I don't want to take any chances of making myself sicker.

Can't wait to go home!