Friday, January 28, 2005

Dear Mother Nature,

OKAY, OKAY, we're SORRY we had lovely, upper-70s weather in early January. Can you PLEASE STOP the cold now??? Haven't we atoned for our sins enough already?? It's cold ALL THE TIME!


The Joggers, Bikers, and Dog-Walkers of Raleigh, NC

PS- feel free to bring back some of the nice cold in July and August.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Bridge From Atlanta to Rockville

Last week in Atlanta was fun, although I had hoped to see family a little more than I did. It was unfortunate that my flight came in kind of late on Tuesday and my aunt and uncle weren't free any other night that week. So I ate alone Tue and Wed nights (*sob!*) and after a healthy diet of feeling sorry for myself, my cousin Twinkie #2 and her boyfriend came over Thursday evening for a fun dinner out at this weird but cool jazz/fondue/pirate ship place in Buckhead called Dante's Down The Hatch. I'd been there once before about 4 years ago, and it promptly burned to the ground about a week later. (Aside: Really, I had nothing to do with it. Fire's not my bag, baby!) Now they've rebuilt, and it looks exactly the same. The food is still good, the music is still good. But I must say that I'm not crazy about their fondue- your only choice is oil (except the cheese appetizer) and to get chocolate fondue you have to give them 2 days' notice. 'The hell?? How hard would it be just to have a chocolate fondue dessert on the menu? For gosh sakes, you call yourself a jazz/fondue/pirate ship, you should have some broth options (meat cooked in oil? eew) and some chocolate fondue.

ANYWAY, it was a fun trip. Atlanta is one of the cities where I usually do a lot of shopping and the local office ends up having to mail several boxes of stuff home for me via interoffice mail. This time I tried, I really did, but I think it's a bad fashion year or something. Nothing looked appealing. It wasn't offensive, just kind of... bla. Maybe the preppy-comeback thing is just a bad idea, hmm?

I'm in town this week, which is nice, although it is SO DARN COLD that I wouldn't mind being in Florida/crazyland. Next week I'll be in Rockville/DC. I like going to DC. It's another good shopping city, and there are so many terrific restaurants. I don't think I'll have time to see any friends this time, though, because I was just nailed with *2*!! course development projects at once, while I'm also trying to learn another course to teach (that someone else wrote, which makes it kind of difficult).

And I can't believe my good fortune, my next trip after Rockville is the Platonic ideal of shopping cities, Manhattan (well, actually, that'd be Paris, but Manhattan is a close 2nd). Can't wait. I'll be traveling with a good friend from work, which is a rare, but welcome, change of pace for me. I'll have to call my cousin Cosmopolitan to see if she's free some evening. Last time I went to NYC, she was in Hattiesburgvillesland, PA or someplace awful like that. I was sad to miss seeing her. I bet she was even sadder...

Cosmo, if you're reading, keep one evening free the week of Feb 15.

After New York I'll be in Hattiesburgvillesland, PA.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Updates all around...

The Wild-and-Crazy-Fad-Diet is going really well- 6 pounds down, 5 to go! It's still the most fun diet ever (except, of course, that chocolate-overload one, which didn't lead to any weight loss). We made "million dollar brownies" the other night-- that's where you make brownies in 2 layers, with a layer of peppermint patties in the middle. I dig diet food. hee!

Last weekend's frosty 50 ride It was about 35 degrees the whole time, and a little windy. It seemed to actually get colder as we rode on, so by the time we finished, after 3 1/2 hours of riding in the cold, we were all near dead. Then, going home in the sweaty clothes, which cooled rapidly on the way from the truck into the house, I developed symptoms of hypothermic shock. Uncontrollable shaking, blue lips, desperate cold. I stood under the hot hot shower and felt my toes crack into pieces for about 30 minutes, and couldn't even reach out of the hot water for my shampoo. FREAKING cold.

Next Saturday it's supposed to be low 30s and snowing! Yay! Then maybe I can get hypothermia *before* we finish the ride! Won't that be fun?

Seriously? If it's snowing? No riding. I will jog in snow. If you slip on the ice you're only going, what, 6 mph? Slip on the bike at 20 mph and you're off the hook for riding for the rest of winter.

Which might not be such a bad thing, come to think of it.

SNG says that if it's that cold, he'll jog... in little circles around the living room!

The dogs have a fence!!!! Yay!!! With gates and everything! They love it. Modean has been exploring the "back 40" most of the time, since that's the part of the yard the he couldn't get to from his leash before. It's also the most wild and overgrown part of the yard, so I think he's finding lots of stuff to dig up. And it looks like the chemo has helped. He is eating like a linebacker. Think Remission!!!

AND stay tuned, I will be updating my webpage soon! It's time to get some new pictures up there. I'll let you know when I do it. The biggest trouble is figuring out an easy way to mass-convert all my BIG picture files to smaller picture files, besides opening each one individually and doing a Save As.. for each one and reducing the picture quality. Because that's a pain in the arse.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Since we don't have "real" internet at home, this is posted a day late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY songs today are dedicated to *TWO* of my most favorite people!!

.My cousin PartnerInCrime turned 29 Sunday (for the first time) and got an awesome new mountain bike!! Yay! Next time I come to Seattle, I am SO going to rent a bike and we'll ride together. I'm sure we can find a way to get into some trouble, if we put our minds to it! Happy birthday, PIC!

.My sister"-in-law" (they're not married, but they started dating about 100 years ago) turned 29 yesterday (for the not-quite-first time) and was washing dishes! I hope someone gave her plumbing to install a dishwasher in the kitchen for her birthday. Happy birthday, HMV!

It's funny that two people, one for whom I was a bad influence during her formative jr high years and the other who was a welcomed bad influence on me in my formative jr high years, share a birthday... Great birthday, great women. :-)

(for the record, I'm no longer a bad influence on anybody. And that whole internationalsmuggling thing? I've tried to keep others from being influenced. And the one time I was caught? Mom helped me do it.

And I'd do it again. Maybe I already have... >:-) )

Tomorrow I'm leaving for Atlanta. I have accidentally managed to have a lot of family in Atlanta. There's, from mom's side, 2 cousins and one cousin's spouse, and from dad's side, an uncle, an aunt and her partner, and a cousin. So going to Atlanta is a little like going home, even though I've never lived there.

Friday, January 14, 2005


This week seemed to go by really quickly. I think it was the great weather we've had the last 2 weeks- time flies when you're having fun. Last night a huge storm came through and by the end of today we should be back down in the 30s, with lows in the 20's tonight. Tomorrow's "frosty 50" ride will live up to its name- we expect a high of around 35 degrees. That's Fahrenheit. For my fellow southerners, that's a temperature that sometimes happens when you live in the wrong place.

Last night the storm blew in at about 5:00. The wind picked up and blew through the tall hardwood trees in the backyard making a huge howling noise. I got up to look out the window at the storm. SNG rolled over and said, "mrrf torrential elf-war?" Yes, dear- the elves are at war again.

He says he said torrential downpour, but I know what I heard.

It was quite a torrential elf-war. The dogs wanted nothing to do with it. So of course when I put them out, the first thing they did was go bury themselves in the mud. Little orcses, nasty muddy little orcses, my precious.

Modean had his first round of chemo yesterday. The vet found a way to do the first dose at a dramatically lower price than the doggie oncologist could do, so we took her up on it. Modean is completely in love with the vet, even if she sticks him with big fat needles. I think it's partly because she has a cute little tiny voice.

She says:

Modean is going to need to take 15.5 grams of prednisone every day- he'll get 3/4 of this pill and 1/2 of this pill. Make sure to watch him for signs of allergic reaction...

Modean hears:

Modeeeeeeean coo coo coooo teee teee tee daaaaaaa, heeeeee, cooo cooo, tooo tooo, pii pii rerere coooooooo.

Modean says:

You had me at Modeeeeeeeean

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Mom has convinced me to try her latest crazy-diet-scheme with her. It's sort of a hobby with us. We try out fad diets, see how well they work, test their limits. Between diets we power-eat to keep our strength up. ;-) This one is called the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet. And it's fun. You get to power-eat any crap you want one meal a day, as long as you start with 2+ cups of salad and eat the whole meal within an hour (therein lies the key- it takes 56 minutes to eat 2+ cups of salad, so you're left with 4 minutes to power-eat). The other 2 meals are just plain old low-carb a la south beach diet phase 1 (which differs from Atkins in fat content). I've lost 5 pounds. I'm looking forward to strawberry shortcake with buttercream frosting and french chocolates every evening at dinner, which keeps me out of the M&M jar in the breakroom all day. I'll keep you posted, but so far it's the most fun I've had on a diet since the "eat dark chocolate until you're sick of it" diet-- which didn't work very well, but who cares?! And it's WAY better than the "nothing but tomato, egg, and grapefruit for 2 weeks" diet.

We've had the most uncharacteristically superb weather lately. Since New Year's it's been warm and sunny. We've been taking advantage of it with lots of hiking, biking, jogging, driving around with the top down, wearing shorts- all those crazy indulgences we're not usually allowed in January in North Carolina. Why the heck they call this "the South" I'll never understand, but I am digging the warm. It'll be over this weekend. Penance time. Last weekend began the "Frosty Fifty" series, put on by our local bike shop (LBS). All year they put on early morning rides Sat and Sun, which usually we can't go to because I teach aerobics on weekends. We're also too wimpy to go ride at 8am in the wintertime, when it's still 20-something degrees out. So we've been rolling-our-own rides most of the time, which means very few off-season miles. But for the winter months, LBS is doing a series of Saturday rides that start at 11 am. Yay! I get out of aerobics at 10:30! And it's warmer by 11 am.

Last week's ride was fun, but a little scary-- remember that nasty crash I had 2 summers ago, where I bit a train-track in the rain? Some of you remember. That's when I discovered TegaDerm (Sure it looks like you've wrapped yourself in saran-wrap, but if you ever have terrible road-rash, get some- it's worth the expense and the goofy factor. Trust me). Anyway, we rode *that same route* on Saturday, and wouldn't you know it, it started drizzling just before we got to those nasty train tracks. Steve-o, the owner of LBS, will never let me live it down (he was there that fateful day). He told everyone "Cat's going to lead us through the railroad crossing! Don't follow too close behind!! She'll show us how to cross it gracefully." Grr. If he didn't have 500 tattoos and quads the size of a redwood tree, I'd smack him.

But, I made it over the tracks, didn't even put my foot down, no crashes. Whee! That was empowering. So I guess I DID show them how to cross it gracefully, without making a taco of my front wheel.

Next weekend we'll do the frosty 50, and I think it'll actually be frosty. I bet there will be a lot fewer people, too.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Oh, MAN did I ever need that holiday!!!

Well, maybe not NEED, but I sure did enjoy it. We had a few ups and downs but overall it was just terrific.

First of all, the sad news-- Modean is not doing too well. He has lymphoma, the vet said he won't be around much longer. Poor dude. He's only 7 1/2. I'm most worried about Goofch, since they've been together almost every hour of the past 6 years. And I'm worried that it's going to take a long time to get over not hearing his little feet tapping across the hardwood floors. Or barking the geese out of our international airspace. But for now, he is still Mr Energetic and seems to have at least a few months in him.

But enough sad, onto the fun stuff. This year was not our usual holiday. No trip to NOLA this year (*sad*) but that also means we won't be saying "'the hell??" come February when the credit card bill arrives. For some reason we always end up spending hundreds of dollars eating when we go back home. Maybe that's because food anywhere else is inferior?? Well, yeah.

Anyway, so instead of the traditional Truxillo-fest in NOLA, we (SNG, Dianaverse, all 3 dogs, Voldemort's cat, and I) went to New Bern to visit SNG's family. It was a nice 3 days- a little walking, a little eating, a little Special-edition SNL Trivial Pursuit (sorry, Dv, your mom and I suck at SNL Trivial Pursuit), a lot of chocolate, some excellent gifties. And then some more chocolate.

SNG and I went back home again on Monday the 26th and I taught aerobics that evening (WHO the heck goes to the gym the day after Christmas?? My Divas do, that's who!). After that, every day was filled with biking, hiking with the dogs, shopping, going to the museum, and watching dvd's with Fuzzy and Peace. We watched all three extended-edition LOTR movies, Tue-Wed-Thur. Our eyes were burned to their sockets by Friday. Peace even had a nightmare about gollum. But it was way fun having friends over every evening.

This week I'm back at work, and it's our annual division meeting where everyone in the division (US only) comes together for various training, updates, comradery, discussions of the next year's plans and general fooling around. I love seeing everyone. The only bummer is that we're in solid meetings 9-5 every day, and I have *two* papers due to editors Monday next week and I think that means I'll be working this weekend. Oh well. Vacation's over.

You may also have noticed that I'm not out of town! Yes, that's right! I'm not scheduled to go anywhere until the 18th, when I'll be headed to Atlanta. My cousin Twinkie #3 lives there (along with 2 other cousins and one wife-of-cousin, an aunt and her partner and an uncle, but who's counting). Anyway, the hotel where we stay in ATL is in Buckhead, which rocks, and it's right next to a terrific mall, which rocks, and I have a hefty per diem, which really rocks. So, in honor of opportunities-not-to-be-missed, T#3's going to come stay with me at my hotel and we'll have a big 3-day slumber party, shopping, eating up the per diem, and catching up. It'll be just like summers when we were kids and I'd go stay in Laredo and she'd show me new and creative ways to get into trouble. Thanks, T#3, I owe so much to you! :-)

OK enough for now. Time to get to the meetings.

Oh- Da...Haydel? Everyone goes by an alias on my blog (you know, in case your boss or your mom reads it, nothing too incriminating). So, you will need an alias. I kind of like Da...H. Tell your mom and sister I said hi, and I hope they're doing well!