I have a love-hate relationship with weekends. I love that Fuzzy is home, so we can do stuff together, I love that I don’t have to think about rates or documentation, and, just as I did as a child, I love staying up later than usual.

But I’m having a problem with weekends and water. It’s no secret that I’m not a great fan of drinking water. And I’m trying really hard to drink enough water, because I know it’s healthy. Weekdays are easy because, while my routine doesn’t LOOK like a routine from the outside, there’s enough structure there to keep me on track.

But weekends are brutal, because we sleep late, or are out of the house for long periods of time, so I don’t drink enough water, and by Monday morning I’m dehydrated, cranky, and groggy.

This is not fun.
And caffeine does not help.

So, I’m not writing anything chatty today. Just marking down that today I recognize that I need to drink more water on weekends.

Dog Drama

It began like any other rainy Saturday – we lingered in bed far beyond the time when the alarm went off, not wanting to leave the comfort and warmth of cozy sheets and fluffy quilts, but then the dogs insisted that they needed to go out.

At 10:00 or so, we let Zorro and Cleo into the back yard.
At 10:15, Zorro returned, with a balloon for a face. I panicked, because he has bad teeth, and the swelling was similar to the swelling an abcessed tooth would have caused, and called the nearest vet, who said, “Oh, bring him in.”

I was not impressed with the vet, who wasn’t really listening to us, and didn’t even introduce himself, in person or on the phone, but he was gentle with the dog, treated him kindly, soothed him while he poked and prodded. Apparently he merely lacks people-skills. His diagnoses was “Yes, he does have bad teeth, but it’s not an abcess, probably more like an encounter with fire ants, and this is definitely an allergic reaction.)

By 11:30 we were back home, Zorro had been given a cortisone injection, and we’d been instructed to dose him with benadryl three times over the next 24 hours. (We did this by wrapping half a pink benadryl caplet in cream cheese, and feeding Cleo un-laced cream cheese as a decoy.)

It wasn’t until late this afternoon that the swelling subsided, and our chihuahua looked less like a pug.

As for me, despite Zorro being the one getting mega-doses of benadryl, I’m the one in antihistamine haze today.

It’s not quite midnight, but I’m ready for bed.

Defining Moment: Lost in a Good Book

Anna from The Particular Ordinary posts this challenge, which she co-sponsors:

Describe an event in your growing up that changed you. [That’s rather broad, so let’s make it tougher] It has to be something personal, something that you know will never happen to you again.

It’s no secret that I read a lot. I always have. There’s a kind of magic in words on a page, in plot and character, that transports me to all sorts of places. Through books, I’ve been in the night kitchen with Mickey, sipped tea with Mr. Tumnus, cried over Beth’s death (and later, over Jo refusing Laurie’s proposal), and been as faithful as Watson about following Holmes’s explanations. So you might think that the one moment that most affected my life was the one in which I first connected the sounds to the squiggly lines of type, first actually read. The thing is, I don’t remember that moment. I don’t even remember the process, or remember how old I was when pretending to read, while looking at picture books, became actual reading.

I do, however, remember the moment in which I learned just how far outside the real world I could travel, helped by books.

It was sometime in early fall of 1977. I was seven years old, and missing my two front teeth, and after about a month at school in Golden, Colorado, we’d moved to the tiny mountain town of Georgetown, home of cute houses, and even cuter shops, and often used as a movie backdrop. I was being thrust into yet another new school, but at seven, this was more an adventure for me, than the annoyance changing schools would later become.

I don’t remember the series of events that led to my placement as the only second-grader in a fourth-grade reading class, but I do remember that a girl named Dina (or Deena?) was assigned to show me around. The order of the day was to select a book from the school library, and read quietly, so Dina (it’s shorter than Deena, even if it’s wrong), showed me the library, and introduced me to the librarian, who impressed me so little that I don’t remember the person’s gender, let alone their name.

I was reading the Little House… books that year, and so I selected the first in the series that I hadn’t yet read: On the Banks of Plum Creek. I don’t know how long I read, or what went on around me, I just know that I opened the book and began reading about Laura and Mary exploring their new home in a dugout – I marvel now at how large LIW made a dugout sound – having actually SEEN such a house, I’m amazed that anyone would be able to tolerate more than an hour in such a place.

I’d gotten to the point in the book where Laura and Mary manipulate Nellie into wading into the section of the creek where the leeches live, and then the external world broke through the bubble of my imagination, and I realized I’d read through the whole class, and part of the next. I was new, so no one had noticed.

It was the first time I learned that it was possible to virtually hide in a book, and it was knowledge that would serve me well over the next three years.

I don’t talk about it much – practically never, really – but I’ve never met my biological father. He and my mother never married, despite lobbying by both sets of parents, and he was never part of my life. My mother’s first husband was incredibly abusive. I don’t remember details, just constant tension and fear, with flashes of details – my name spoken in a certain tone of voice freaks me out, beige classic VW Beetles make me want to hide, and I remember the flash of light glinting off a child-sized baton that I had, as he raised it to hit my mother, and later, as my mother and I were leaving for the last time, his voice as he took me aside and hissed that someday he’d hunt me down and kill me. I’ve moved past that time, for the most part, and don’t care to relive the details – there were good memories from those years, and I prefer to dwell on them.

But the thing that saved my sanity was the ability to completely lose track of reality, while reading, the trick I learned when I was seven.

When my mother and J. would fight, screaming matches followed by slammed doors, and days of tension, and sometimes physical fights, I’d retreat to the bottom bunk of my bunk beds, close the curtains I’d attached to the side, turn on a flashlight suspended from the far support, and read myself to someplace safe and happy. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were my rescuers more often than I care to count, but I often immersed myself in the classics too. In my head, I chatted with Jane Eyre over bowls of stew, or snuck through the forest with Hawkeye.

It took several years for me to feel entirely safe and settled, and getting lost in books continued to be my source of security. At ten, I shared tomato sandwiches with Harriet M. Welsh (from whom I adopted the habit of ALWAYS using my middle initial), at twelve, I mocked Arthur Dent with Zaphod Beeblebrox, and at eighteen after a rough exam, I played chess on a sailboat with a soulful Russian called Solarin.

These days, escapist reading is a more casual comfort, done for pleasure, and not to hide from anything scarier than cramps, or a bad cold, but sometimes I still have these reading-zen moments where reality is totally non-existant and I’m literally lost in a good book. I suspect one of the reasons I loved Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series is because his heroine is doing (in her reality), what I’ve only been able to do via my imagination.


I barely made it to Curves on Friday, I thought, since they close at noon, and I didn’t get there until 11:32 AM, but apparently the noon thing is a guideline, at this Curves, and not a hard and fast rule. It must be nice to have a hobby business, and love your job that much.

At any rate, I didn’t feel well, and I was so concerned about staying upright, because I was congested and sinussy, that it was 2/3 of the way through my workout before I realized that they were playing the Christian workout music I’d read about on a chat board. Now, I believe that people should have the right to listen to whatever they want, but I have to admit that if I’d been feeling at all normal, I’d have requested different music, and, because these women are all pretty nice, they wouldn’t have cared, and everyone would have been happy.

But I wasn’t feeling well, and so I finished my workout, while listening to this pumped-up praise with a combined reaction of being amused and being appalled.

The song that amused me most has a lyric that goes “Shine, Jesus, Shine,” and as I was doing my last set on the abductor/adductor machine, I was seeing these images in my head of a Jesus-figure doing a Windex commercial. “For cleanliness that is truly divine…”

The song that appalled me most was their treatment of “Amazing Grace,” a song that I really love, and that has personal importance to me. I goggled at the radio, and reflected that this is why I don’t like Christian pop and Christian rock. It’s not the message of the music I have the largest issue with, it’s that setting Amazing Grace to a dance beat ruins the impact of the song, turns it into just another catchy tune, with no deep spirituality at all. (Incidentally, I feel the same way about cursing. When you use words like “fuck” in normal conversation, you diminish the power of strong language. You eliminate the shock value.)

Still, I finished my workout laughing, because, really, you haven’t lived til you’ve had the experience of doing crunches to the tune of “What A Friend We Have in Jesus” done in 11/4 time with a disco beat.


Today for the first time my mother sounded like an old woman on the phone. She isn’t actually old, having just turned 55 on Monday, but she’s sick, and sounded frail and weak and small, and the sound of her voice, usually so vibrant, but today, pathetic, is haunting me.

I find myself distracted by frightening thoughts of my mother someday living with us.

Some day in the far far far future, and only when we’ve run out of the necessary funds to keep her in a lounge chair on the beach with hardbodied young men bringing her margaritas every hour, as is her mostly-in-jest wish.

I’ve been musing on stories I want to write, but I can’t quite get them from my brain to my fingers.

I have an article I want to write, and I can’t focus enough to sit down and do it.

Last night, I stayed up til five, watching the lightening and counting the seconds until the thunder, as if the counting was a measure of my life.

Today, I’ve been in a sort of sleepy fog, flitting between tasks, but not settling to any of them.

My irises (brought home by Fuzzy on his last trip to the grocery store) are starting to curl, as if they know I’ve been reflecting upon mortality today.

The mums and carnations from valentines day remain smugly intact, their intense colors dragging me back from my more morbid thoughts.


My muse is silent these days, so I’m offering instead a picture of a pair of Frye boots I’m lusting after…I could never actually WEAR them, as I’m far too short to wear tall boots, but I’m lusting after them anyway.


(I’m also cross-posting this to the new shoe_whores community on LiveJournal.)

I think it’s the move to Texas that has put boots on my brain, really.

It’s No Surprise….

…that when I did the meme that determined my Secret Ya-Ya Name, the response was “Empress Shops-Too-Much.” I earned the title today, as I am now the proud new owner of:

4 new bras (with a smaller band size, yay)
10 pairs of spiffy new panties (some with butterflies)
One pink wristwatch – I hate pink, except when I’m in a kitschy mood.
A rice cooker.
A vibrant blue tea kettle that WHISTLES
And a Creative Zen Micro mp3 player, the last limited edition model at the Fry’s in Arlington (the LE’s come with an extra battery).

Oh, and Fuzzy bought a book and two new mice.

But admit it, you’re all stuck on the bit about the panties, aren’t you?

Color My World

I’ve been re-reading Diane Ackerman’s book A Natural History of the Senses, and this morning in the bathroom I got to the part where she discusses color, and mentions that many of the artists we think of as great, Degas, Monet, Chegall, Van Gogh, may have painted in their disctinctive fashions because they had various issues with their vision. I nodded as I read this because to me it makes perfect sense. After all, I explained to my doctor, post-LASIK, that seeing halos and starburts around streetlights doesn’t bother me, because I’ve ALWAYS seen such things, either because my myopic eyes blurred things, or because light was refracting off the edges of glasses or contacts.

* * * * *

Ackerman mentioned that when you’re nearsighted red is usually the best-defined color. It’s always been a favorite of mine, but after some analysis I can confirm that the red I remember is more vivid than the red I see now, as if sharpening definition in all things has muted the vibrancy of the fiery colors.

She also says that not everyone perceives color the same way, which I’ve always known, but never really had the urge to poll people about. I know that to my grandmother everything from pastel orchid to vibrant plum was “lavender” and that my husband is color blind, but there’s a part of me that wishes to be able to see through their eyes, just for a moment, so that the next time I tell Fuzzy “get my green shirt,” instead of becoming fussy when he brings one that is definitely teal, I’ll be able to describe the color in a way he can understand.

* * * * *

Reading about color and light and the process of vision always makes me think of Sunday in the Park with George.

* * * * *

After several days of sun-drenched “California Weather” the Metroplex has been experiencing cool damp greystuff. Yesterday the cloud cover was thick and silver-grey, and while I wasn’t aware of any actual rain, the mist seemed active and alive at times. I wore red to counteract the lack of sun.

Today thick grey clouds cover much of the sky, but brief holes of blue are appearing now and then, though they are very quickly swallowed up by more flowing greystuff. I am wearing soft lavender, and feeling very much like I want to blend with the clouds and not stand out from them. It’s a serene sort of feeling, borne aloft by the balmy breeze. Perfect for a Sunday.

Office Space and Other Blather

After visiting Home Depot, Fry’s and Best Buy, I am now the proud owner of a cd rack that is less than one third full. Clearly, I need more cd’s. This is not a hint that people should SEND me cd’s but title and artist recommendations are hereby solicited. I’ll listen to almost anything, except rap and polka music.

* * * * *

I’ve re-re-arranged my office, putting some things back in their original spots and leaving others in the spots I created for them earlier this week. (I realize this means less than nothing as I never post pictures of my office. If the camera wasn’t all the way downstairs, I’d rectify that. No, really.)

* * * * *

We are also the proud owners of a guerilla gorilla ladder, a multi-positional thing that extends to 21 feet. (Fuzzy was going to buy an eight-foot ladder, until I pointed out that our living room and entry are two stories tall, and have chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, that hang higher than ten feet.) Apparently this ladder can be leaned against a wall, be used by two people at the same time, and can be reconfigured as a 3.5 foot tall scaffold (some additional parts required). Whatever. All I care about is that it is tall enough that we can change the lightbulbs in the afore-mentioned chandeliers. And so, for the first time since we moved into this house, in October , the living room light is ON, and tomorrow the entry chandelier will have six working lightbulbs instead of only two, thus allowing us to see the entry we never use (since we come and go via the garage, and only Company uses the front door). And yes, I actually did pause to go count the bulbs in the chandelier.

* * * * *

For the first time in over a month, I also have new books. I’ve got Foucault’s Pendulum and Baudolino by Umberto Eco. The first is one I’ve read, but my incredibly thick hardbound copy has gone missing, so I picked up a paperback version. I bought a Dallas Planting Guide, so I know what plants I can best keep alive in the back yard, and a couple of softer novels. Check out my reading blog in a few days for the titles and mini-reviews. (I’m woefully behind on posting there, and have promised myself I’ll catch up this week.)

* * * * *

I have to say that I love the low-carb selections at Fridays, even if they do tend to get a bit overzealous about adding cheese to things. If you ever eat there, ask for half the cheese – you won’t miss the extra, and you’ll be able to actually taste the meat. Also the totally not-diet-friendly Vanilla Bean Cheesecake is TO DIE FOR.
And Steven L., our waiter tonight at the Fridays in Arlington, totally rocks. Helpful, funny, and really on the ball. We tipped him extra.

* * * * *

It’s past 2 in the morning, and the dogs are telling me it’s bedtime. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post something remotely interesting. Or not.


Frustration is spending half the day (well, maybe half an hour) rearranging all the furniture in your office, in order to accomodate an additional printer, only to realize that in your benadryl haze you forgot to account for the USB cables that must connect both the new and old printer to the actual computer.

Bigger frustration comes when you move everything back, and realize that won’t work either.

Guess who’s shopping for uber-long cables tomorrow?

Guess who’s trying to figure out how come she has FEWER electronic devices to account for, the same amount of furniture she had in San Jose, and is mysteriously lacking enough surface space.

On a brighter note, guess who absolutely loved Dan “Homer Simpson” Castelleneta in tonight’s episode of Stargate SG1?