Gustav seemed like such a nice boy…

99% of the time, The Weather Channel isn’t something I even remember we have. I mean, how often do I really need to know what the weather is like in Atlanta?

When there’s a dramatic weather event, however, I enjoy TWC’s programming. Right now, the buzz is all about our friend Hurricane Gustav, currently a Category 4 storm taking a trip across Cuba. Tomorrow or Monday, however, it’s likely to pick up speed thanks to the lovely, lovely warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

I’m watching news about evacuations going on along the gulf coast, and while I feel bad for people who have to go through it, I’m also excited. Why? Because a bad storm in the gulf means that we in the D/FW metroplex are likely to get some rainstorms that are heavy enough to cool things off, but not so dangerous that we need to be horribly concerned for ourselves.

I know, I know. It’s sick and twisted to think that way.

I can’t help it.

This poem is made of win.

My friend Jeremy posted this in his LiveJournal earlier this evening. I loved the poem so much, I had to post it here in my own blog, as well:

Pronunciation Poem

I take it you already know
of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
on hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
to learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead — it’s said like bed not bead —
and for goodness’ sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)

A moth is not the moth in mother,
nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose —
just look them up — and goose and choose,
and cork and work and card and ward,
and font and front and word and sword,
and do and go and thwart and cart —
come, come I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Man alive.
I’d mastered it when I was five.

— author unknown

Chasing Shadows

For me, shadows generally come in the form of restlessness and lack of focus, rather than deep depression. Whatever the cause though, there are things I do to chase them away. Here are seven.

  1. Sing. Like a little kid, when no one’s around, if I have the time, I can perform entire musicals in my living room.
  2. Dance. Tap, mainly. Sometimes I use the railing of our upstairs hallway and do barre work – it’s kind of Zen. Other times it’s just mindless grooving to whatever music I hear.
  3. Soak. I’ve always responded to water, and taking a bath is completely comforting. Warm water, scented bubbles, a good book, and NPR for company.
  4. Read. I have a shelves full of “comfort books,” – novels I know as well as I know my closest friends. Re-reading them is like visiting home.
  5. Bake. It’s impossible to feel at all blue when there’s something in the oven – bread, chocolate, cinnamon. Doesn’t matter.
  6. Swim. Bubble baths are good for relaxing, but a swim is refreshing. Invigorating. And involves sunshine. Usually.
  7. Sleep. I used to hate sleeping, but now I find it restorative. Also, a bit of melatonin now and then guarantees deep, restful sleep with lovely dreams.

If writing seems conspicuously absent from this list, it’s only because writing is a constant for me, like breathing. It’s there whether there are shadows or not.

For the July/August editon of CafeWriting

I Smell Like Piña Colada…

…that was caught in the rain.

It’s all Deb‘s fault, too, because she got me hooked on ULTA, so I bought shampoo there yesterday, because, even though I do love my Aveda products, every so often it’s nice to use something different.

I fell in love with Freeman/Aussie products 20 or so years ago, but our local grocery store shampoo aisle is distinctly lacking in them, so when I saw them at ULTA, I couldn’t refuse. I love the cheery purple bottles and snarky instructions. I love the fruity smells of the shampoo, and the piña-colada scent of the conditioner. When combined with my lovely citrus body wash, I’m a walking fruit salad. Or something.

The best thing about my visit to ULTA yesterday, is that it came with a free gift. A lovely green Calvin Klein tote bag with black leather straps, and some CK Eternity lotion, body wash, and cologne to try. Well, for some random guest in my house to try, because I sprayed the cologne and all I could smell was alcohol for ages. Or ten minutes. I’m so spoiled by the perfume oils I buy from Possets and BPAL that I can’t tolerate spray scents unless they’re amazing.

For the record: Coco & Coco Mademoiselle are amazing. Clinique’s Happy is delightful. CK Eternity? Not so much.

From ULTA we went to PetSmart or PetsMart (I never know how to interpret their name) to buy dog food. Funny thing about dogs – they like to eat regularly. I did not spend an extra fifteen minutes meeting all the dogs up for adoption. No, I really didn’t. Well, maybe ten. The rest of the time I was quietly chanting, “You have two already. Zorro will never forgive you if you bring home a third.”

I paid the extra $3 for the good dog food, though.

We went to the grocery store as well, for, you know, groceries. I was out of tea. Well, out of good tea. Well, out of good black tea. I have tons of herbal. Sadly, Tom Thumb, even in it’s new and improved upscale garb with a Starbucks about to open inside the store, does not have a great tea selection. (Translation: I was looking for Lapsang Souchong. They don’t carry this, even though I KNOW Twinings and Ceylon Teas both make it.) I opted for a Twinings sampler of English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey and Lady Grey. The Lipton, which I had resorted to drinking, is now back in the cabinet, where it shall remain until the next time I’m ready for it’s intended use: ICED tea.

And now, on a fine Sunday afternoon, I’m going to go have tea and a muffin, because it may be nearly two, but we’re just getting up (oh, hush, we went to bed at four), and then I’m going to roast a chicken.

Have a great day.

Not a Pet-Friendly Year

It’s been a rough year for animals, at least in our family and circle of friends.

Zorro is coughing almost non-stop, at least when he’s awake, and while we have drugs to help him, he’s refusing to take them, and has to be hovered over and watched in order even to eat dinner. His new food-avoidance (and this is an animal who will do anything for food) means he’s also not taking the pain killers for his torn ACL. He IS, however, jumping onto the bed with apparent ease, so maybe the pain isn’t bad, or isn’t phasing him. I’m thinking of hiring neighborhood kids to drug him for me, since he knows, now, when we’re doing it.

More immediately, my friend “MeliBabe” at LiveJournal (not linking, on purpose) said good-bye to her cat, Aoife today – she discovered she (the cat) had cancer not that long ago.

Another friend, whom many of you know as Ms. Eclectic has learned that her cat, Dorey, has terminal cancer in his lymph nodes. She’s elected not to put him through chemo, and she said estimates are that he’ll live about a year, give or take. Please go wish her – them – well.

The worst thing about a sick pet is that you can’t explain to them why they need to swallow the nasty pills, or why they’re not allowed to jump onto furniture any more, and when you deny them something for their own good, they give you the big liquid eyes that go right to your heart.

Here comes the rain again…

Today, I posted, mostly in jest, a request to a friend to shoot me if ever I wished for rain again. The truth is, I love rain; it inspires me more than anything else, including chocolate, but this week, the rain is annoying, despite it’s cooling effect, because it means the dogs are refusing to go OUT, and everything is damp and soggy, and it’s raining but has the nerve not to be all dramatic with thunder and lightning.

I want thunder and lightning.

And yet, I’m also grateful for the rain, because I know we need it, because I’d far rather have rain fall than spend money to fill the pool, or water the lawn.

Birthday Wrap-up

Or maybe that should be “Unwrapped.” Whatever.

I received a lovely bouquet of flowers that arrived sans card, but were from my friend Deb. This was the official beginning of my birthday weekend.

A lightning storm woke me around five, and scared the dogs, but we all went back to sleep. I’d stayed up late Thursday despite not feeling well (female stuff and a stomach bug that required me to send Fuzzy out for perrier and pepto that evening) so I wouldn’t have to work much on Friday.

I’d also been primed to be home to answer the door. My mother sent me a cake.

We went to the Dallas Galleria despite it being a Tax Free Weekend, so that I could pick my present from Fuzzy. I’d been lusting after a new watch, and we found one at the Fossil store. We also had lunch at Cafe Brazil. I came home and went to sleep after that, because I still wasn’t feeling very peppy. In fact, I canceled the nail appt. I was supposed to have had that morning. It’s all good though, because Deb and I will bond over mani/pedi’s on Friday afternoon.

My actual birthday was quiet but pleasant.

Today, we slept late. We’d gone to bed before one, but I’d been really dizzy the night before, to the point where I felt like the planet was spinning around me. We emerged from the cocoon of sleep, showered, dressed, and went into Dallas, to the Angelika (a lovely theater) to see Bottle Shock, about California wines beating French wines in a 1976 blind tasting. It starred Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, and Chris Pine (among others), featured Eliza Dushku in a small but important part, and even had what amounted to a bit more than a cameo by Bradley Whitford, so it was pretty much the perfect birthday movie for me. It’s funny and sweet and really enjoyable, and I officially recommend it.

After the movie, we went to an Irish pub called Trinity Hall for dinner. I didn’t realize this until after we told our waitress that it was my birthday, but they have a Sunday Birthday Discount. If you go to their restaurant on the Sunday closest to your birthday (and you can’t get much closer than the actual day) you get a discount on food (but not alcohol) that equals your new age. I had the braised lamb chops. I’d initially wanted Irish Stew, and I kind of wish I’d stuck to that, but we’ll go back, and I don’t have lamb chops very often. Fuzzy had Shepherd’s Pie (really Peasant Pie, since there was only beef in it) and we shared a peach tart/cobbler/thing. I also had lovely hard pear cider during my meal, and an Irish coffee after.

We stayed for the first two rounds of trivia (it’s quiz night at the pub), but then Fuzzy got bored, and we knew the dogs were waiting.

So, now I’m home, with small cuddly creatures, watching Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School which has the same director and much of the same cast as Bottle Shock, and is interesting and quirky so far.

How was your weekend?

Clockwork Copper

Birthday Fossil from Fuzzy

I’ve been a Fossil fan since forever, and somewhere in a box, I have one of their original, basic, white dial with moon phases watches that desperately needs to be ‘tuned’ and given a new strap.

Over the years, I’ve purchased other Fossils as well, as they always have something that speaks to me when I’m watch shopping.

Among my current collection are a blue-dial Kaleidoscope that alternates between a mirrored dial and a variegated blue dial in two-second intervals, and an oblong bracelet-style watch that I left with the Fossil people today because the clasp keeps un-clasping.

For my birthday, I told Fuzzy I needed a new watch, and also wanted the other two fixed. (Both needed batteries.) My Kaleidoscope is now home and ticking happily, and my birthday watch, pictured above, is on my wrist.

The description on Fossil‘s web site is “brown and gold,” but it’s really more of a dark matte copper with a warm gold tone. (I’d been looking at this, a rose-gold Twist, and one of their models with a leather band, but the leather wasn’t as appealing up close, and the Twist was very heavy and too masculine for my tastes, despite being a woman’s watch (and it was pink in all the wrong ways.)

This one was my second choice. The first was a similarly shaped dial with a more hollow band, and all the brown/copper color, but Fuzzy made the tie-breaking decision, and I’m pleased with the result, especially since we’d eliminated half the offerings before arriving – anything silver – because my other two functional Fossils are silver.

To make the decision even better, the price was $10 less than what the tag (and website) both said – $85 instead of $95.

Sadly, we left that store, and the Galleria in which it resides, before I remembered the bracelet I’d also wanted to look at.

Oh, well.