Thursday, April 27, 2006

As you know, I'm in Atlanta this week, and there isn't much to do but shop. Except that shopping isn't really the same right now, as I'm as big as a house around the middle and normal otherwise (although I DO have these ta-tas that would make Pamela Anderson call her plastic surgeon for a touch-up out of jealousy...). So, I'm licking the windows instead (for those of you not familiar with the expression, it's just that: an expression. I'm not really licking the windows. Just browsing. An equally funny expression, that means almost the same thing when you think about it. Oh jeez, I've done another one of those super-long parentheticals again. Stopping. Now.).

But, I am getting some fun reading done. Thus it occurred to me yesterday that I've missed one of the great Blog Topics all this time!

What Cat is:
Reading: Pregnancy Sucks (forgot the author's name); Eats, Shoots and Leaves: A Zero-Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (also forgot the author's name)

Listening to: John Adams (biography-- forgot the author's name. Sensing a pattern yet?)-- walking and jogging are easier with an audiobook

Watching: Absolutely nothing, unless you count the 20 minutes of The Mighty Ducks I saw on HBO in the hotel fitness center this morning. I've never seen a more Canadian cast set supposedly in southern California. They're just so cuuuuuute.

Last week I finished reading Heloise and Abelard, a biography of the famous medieval couple that brings to light some recently discovered letters presumed to be from the early part of their relationship. It was very interesting because in college, I studied some of their philosophical writings, which were all conducted in the form of letters sent between his monastery and her convent. The primary focus of that college course was the role of women in the church and in society during the Middle Ages. This biography, in contrast, was much more about the people and their interactions with one another throughout the relationship, which spanned over 30 years (the last 25+ being in monasteries and convents, as poor old Abelard had "lost his jewels," so to speak). I'd tell you the name of the author but I forgot it. You already guessed that, right? Anyway, for anyone who likes that kind of thing, it's a good read.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which I'm now about 2/3 through, is a grammar book and it is a page-turner. I'm not joking. Well, it's a page-turner for someone like me, who gets violent and experiences missing time after seeing "it's" and "its" used incorrectly. When I see a chalkboard outside a restaurant advertising "Burger's" as the daily special, I erase the apostrophe. I prefer to use the forehead of the shopkeeper as an eraser. So far, Eats, Shoots and Leaves is fantastic. The author encourages geurilla tactics to combat poor grammar and punctuation, including (but not limited to) vandalism, confrontation and letter-writing (full of thinly veiled threats). I predict that she will suggest kidnapping pets before the book is finished. She makes a good point: punctuation is part of what makes written communication flow smoothly. Without proper punctuation or grammar, we may as well use grunts and gestures to convey our thoughts and intentions.

And the information age almost makes the problem worse. Who is a worse judge of proper spelling and grammar than MS Word? Auto-correct does more damage in my writing than it fixes typos. So I turn it off. If I have a few genuine typos (where I hit "r" instead of "e" because they're next to each other) I think it looks less stupid than if I have the wrong form of "whose" or "who's" in my writing, for which the only excuse is ignorance of the English language.

Dirty confession: I once sent an email, cc'ed to the Big Cheese of my company (hint: you'll find his name in Fortune magazine once a year) where I had TYPO'ED (honestly!! Not ignorance, just a TYPO!!) the wrong form of their/they're/there. I can't recall which was the offending version, but it was one of those half-asleep mistakes that I saw just as the email blinked off the screen to "Sent" land. That was 5 years ago and I'm still embarassed about it. Hopefully, the fact that Big Cheese is a statistician and not a grammarian means that he didn't notice. He's definitely forgotten it by now, but I haven't. I've tried to come up with an excuse to CC him on another message using "there," "they're" and "their" all in their correct forms. OK I TOLD YOU IT WAS A DIRTY CONFESSION, STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.

And just as a point of interest, I dislike the Oxford comma. It's superfluous.

Perhaps I've said too much....

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yeah, I got nothing to talk about. Nothing. So I'll ramble for awhile so as to not get in the habit of leaving my blog un-updated for weeks on end.

Last week I was in Chicago and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was kind of cool. It uses the same logo as Hard Rock Cafe, so I guess they're related somehow, but I can't say for sure. The room was outfitted with a fake lizard-skin chair and ottoman of the kind you'd expect Steven Tyler to use for one-night-stands with groupies, and the paint, carpets, and linens were all appropriately blase shades of grey and pewter. Chrome fixtures, furry pillows. Ace Frehley on the wall by the window, beckoning me to sinfulness with one hand, the other hand on his guitar. The Who in the bathroom, Roger Daultry doing the white-man's-overbite.

I'd stay there again. Comfy bed, very quiet, DVD and surround sound in the room.

This week I'll be in Atlanta, but only for a short trip. Arriving late tomorrow and leaving after class Friday. Barely even time to shop at the mall attached to my hotel! Not like I can buy much anyway, though. I'm mostly wearing Tony's shirts these days. He could definitely use some more feminine shirts. Maybe I'll buy him some nice blouses.

Next week is Cincinnatti. Some people call it Cincy for short, but I think that's because it's hard to spell. There's a lot of traffic between the airport and the Cincy office. And that is all that there is to say about Cincinnatti.

In other news, Goofch got to spend the weekend with his girlfriend DOTi, who, for all her tiny-ness, seems to have no problem smacking The Goofch into shape when he misebehaves. He wasn't able to get within a foot of her food dish without a serious talking to. It was hi-larious because DOTi is about 1/5 the size of Goofch. Saturday we took the dogs to the state park for an Earth Day celebration and 4 mile walk/run. We walked to and from the walk/run, making it 6 miles for us, but the dogs held up nicely. On the way home, a giant electrical storm popped up and scared the pants off of me, and so I ran very very fast with SNG behind me saying, "If you can hear the lightning, you haven't been struck by it! It's OK! Don't panic!!"

Oh, well, nothing else going on.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Today we're heading out to Kerrville, Texas for the annual Rhodes Family Camping, Biking, Eating, and Polishing Firearms Easter Reunion. We had to miss last year's, so I'm really excited to be going this year. And for the first time since Twinkie #2's wedding, all 4 of the Twinkies (girl cousins on mom's side of the family) will be together. Yay! Maybe we can get thrown out of a pizza joint for being disorderly, just like old times.

And this year is also super because T&E and BigAl will be there. They're making noises about probably not doing much bike riding, but I think they're just buttering us up so they can dust us on the roads when we get there. I don't think they realize just how much slower I am on a bike than I was last year.

Which is kind of a funny thing. If I walk, I'm not much slower than before I was in my "delicate condition." Jogging is slower because I don't jog uphill (My heart rate spikes when I jog uphill. Weird), but on the flats I'm not any slower. But on the bike, I'm just SLOW. That bent-forward position combined with the crowded abdomen (and boy, howdy is it ever crowded in there) makes it uncomfortable to breathe heavy.

Pregnancy must be easier on taller girls because you have more abdomen space to fill up.

In isn't-that-neat news, last night I laid down to read a book in bed-- I always read on my stomach-- and pissed off the inch-high-private-eye. (S)he kicked up a riot in there. It was the first time I've felt the baby move that I was completely sure it wasn't gas. I think (s)he was mad that I was squishing him/her so badly. Oh, well, kiddo-- as long as you're living under my roof (um, uterus) you'll live by my rules!

Everybody have a terrific Easter!

Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Spoils of Goofch's War

Friday evening Goofch brought a "present" to the back door.

Modean was an effective hunter, but Goofch never really got the hang of it. Once he found a dead squirrel and was so proud. And then there was the time a live chipmunk fell out of a tall tree and BOUNCED OFF HIS HEAD and ran away. Meanwhile Goofch stood looking stunned at his amazing fortune. By the time he snapped back to reality and started the chase, chippy was 30 feet up in a pine tree hyperventelating and rocking back-and-forth chanting "I do believe in fairies." In Austin Modean would catch oppossums (we did live on Possum Trot street after all) and let Goofch play with them until SNG or I saw the turmoil and rescued the poor things, who inevitably played dead so effectively that we were never quite sure whether they'd get up and stagger away afterwards (they always did).

But from time to time, Goofch does surprise us, and just as even a blind squirrel gets a nut some of the time, even Goofch manages to catch a real, live critter once in awhile.

I had called him to come in for the night Friday around 11:00 and he ignored me. I could hear him rusting around somewhere, so I whistled for him (it's like the "One... Two... Three" you use with little kids-- he knows he's in big trouble if he doesn't respond to the whistle). He comes to the back step and drops a limp, half-struggling little tiny baby bunny. It was about 6 inches long from nose to tail all stretched out and it was still alive. I've saved baby creatures before, and my vet is open on Saturdays, so I put the dog inside and wrapped up the little guy in a dish towel to try to keep him safe for the night and get him some care in the morning.

Poor little thing never had a chance. I'm pretty sure his spine was snapped, because although he was breathing and moving his head and front paws, his whole lower half was dead still. Maybe I made it worse by picking him up, but I thought he was certainly a goner if I'd left him in the yard, with all the giant owls prowling at night. And, I'm sure Goofch had already shaken him up pretty good. Literally.

OH he was so cute! He passed away within 5 minutes. SNG and I were so sad, and a little bit in denial. We decided to leave him wrapped in the warm towel in a nook where owls wouldn't spot him from overhead and if he was still dead in the morning, SNG would dispose of him.

That night I dreampt about the bunny. I dreamed that he did recover and hop away on the night, and a few months later we found him again. He had healed and gone "on the road" and was making the county and state fair circuit as a highly successful show rabbit. He had lots of blue ribbons. Maybe the weirdest thing was that he had turned completely white after he recovered. We congratulated him on his great success.

When I woke up, the bunny was still an ex-bunny, so SNG disposed of the body and we said a few kind words before closing the lid, wishing him well in bunny heaven. Perhaps he is there going from cloud-to-cloud as a successful show bunny, doing a Vaudeville act that includes a wild dog chase.

Squirrels, lizards, possums, mice and other things the dogs have caught over the years gross me out a bit but they don't make me particularly sad. This one got to me, though, because I've had lots of pet rabbits.

Then, this morning, SNG finds THIS on the web. I swear, it looks exactly like our bunny. Exactly. As it turns out, Goofch may have actually been saving us from a terrible fate.

Like I said, sometimes that dog surprises us.