Sunday, January 30, 2005

Conversations with Cheryl, #3

[Upon turning in to the driveway to the SuperTarget on north IH-35--Mom had never been to a SuperTarget, mind you, and she was quite excited. So, in a surprisingly low, death metal voice she said the following.]

Mom: "Awww yeeeah. Suuuuuper Target. ROCK ON!"
Me: Laughing hysterically. Trying not to wreck the car. More laughing.

Another year older and deeper in debt.

Where does that quote come from? I can't recall. It must be because I'm THIRTY FUCKING SIX years old. Officially. As of midnight. Yes, it's true: On this day in 1969, my mom and dad welcomed me, their only child, into this world--all 6 lbs., 9 oz. of me. And the aquarian was set on her path, in the proverbial "Age of Aquarius," as it were. Lucky enough to grow up in a time and place where kids could be kids for a while. When you could ride around on your bike for 8 hours a day, unsupervised and safe, without cellphones or "amber alerts." God that seems like a bazillion years ago.

Happy Birthday to me. Blah blah blah...

So let's check in, shall we?

Lots has been going on since my last post.

Had baby shower #1, hosted by my girlfriends. It kicked total ass. And not only because I totally BANKED on gifts for Miss Geej, but because I felt like everyone who was there really wanted to be there. That meant a lot to me. You know, baby showers can...well..suck. So, a lot of people (including me, usually) approach them with a sense of "let's get this over with as quickly as possible." But my shower was fun. Hey, how often can the expectant mother throw a few back with the guests without risking the health with the baby? At this shower, much wine was drunk, many hugs were exchanged, and lots of gifts were given. It was really cool. My mom was here for baby shower #1 and stayed until baby shower #2, which was a few nights later, and was thrown by my work friends. A smaller turnout, and an overall tamer event, but shower #2 was also really cool. And yes, I got tons of stuff for little sugar pants. So my new challenge is organizing and rearranging in order to make the guest room into a guest room/nursery. Quite a challenge since the house I'm living in was built during an era that didn't appreciate the term "ample storage space." But I'm making progress...slowly. At least it no longer looks like a Babies-R-Us blew up in my living room.

And the "thank you" cards: I'm making progress with those too. I've written 20. I've only got about 30 to go.

Work has cranked back up, full speed. After something of a lull during the holidays, it is crazy-go-nuts time at work, once again. We've hired a new person onto our team, so we'll be bringing her up-to-speed over the next few weeks. And there's just the usual general chaos.

I had car trouble this week: My car was in the shop for 3 days, and I kept having to bum rides off of people. I would rather have a toe removed than deal with car trouble. It's just such a pain in the ass. The reason I took my car in was because my "check engine" light had been going on and off for the past couple of weeks. But while the car was there, I asked them about replacing one of my reverse taillights, which had recently burned out. $47 DOLLARS!!!! That's' what those bastards wanted to charge CHANGE A LIGHT BULB. Can you believe that? Of course, I told them no. And I actually asked the guy on the phone giving me the $47 quote if he got embarrassed having to call people and tell them that the business he works for charges this ridiculous amount. He said, "I just read the quotes, ma'am." Ugh. I guess my job isn't that bad.

My mom got sick while she was here. Some kind of allergies/chest/head cold sort of thing. She was hating it. And Thursday, when she woke up, she had 101-degree fever. And it was raining outside. And it was her birthday. Sucks, no? I begged her to stay here and let me take care of her rather than driving home in the rain with a clogged up head, but she left anyway. Hardheaded...

And then I got whatever she had. Yay!! Yesterday, I felt like hell. Coughing. Banging headache. Sneezing. Watery eyes. Achy. Clogged up ears. General misery. I'm coming out of it, but still...what a crummy way to spend your birthday.

So I'm going to sign first post as a 36 year old. Yikes. I don't know how I'm going to get used to the idea of being in my "late thirties." God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...

Earl among the baby shower loot. This sort of reminds me of that scene from "E.T." when he's in the closet with the stuffed animals. Posted by Hello

Friday, January 21, 2005

A view (looking northeast) from the new office buildiing. You can see the capitol peeking out. Posted by Hello

A view from my new office building. Look! You can see Opal's! Posted by Hello

Busy at work = Blog Neglect

So yeah. I've been a bit remiss at posting regularly on ye olde blog. It's just been a wacky couple of weeks. I've gotten really busy at work again (after a bit of a lag, during which I blogged on the clock), and then I've been up to my arse in errands and socializing after work, so the blog gets neglected. Sorry. Here's the latest haps:

  • Still haven't heard anything about my Russian court date. The laws regarding international adoption were changed the week after Christmas (thanks, Putin!), and it remains to be seen how these new regulations may (or may not) affect those of us who are "already in the pipeline" so to speak. It's driving me insane not knowing. But one thing that COULD happen (and I'm praying to God it doesn't) is that it could delay everything an additional 90 days. Three months. I think, no wait, I KNOW I'll freak out if that happens.
  • I've visited and gotten on the waiting list at 3 day cares. Since I don't know when I'll be going back to get the Geej, I have no idea really when she'll need to start daycare (roughly six or eight weeks after we get back from Russia...whenever that is). At any rate, I'm trying as best I can to get prepared. All three I visited were nice, but I liked the one at St. Luke's in Clarksville best. Not sure why, but I just liked the vibe. The sad thing is that when I go to these day cares, I almost always have to sit in my car and have a little bit of a cry afterward because being around all those adorable babies makes me miss MY baby so much it literally hurts. It's been a little over a month since I held that precious baby, and my heart just aches for her.
  • I moved into a new office building, along with the rest of my team. It's different. Very corporate. Lots of "cube farms." I am in a cube for the first time in years, and it's taking some getting used to. But all in all it's fine. We do have a kick ass view from my floor (the 6th). It'll be a great place to watch the 4th of July fireworks over Town Lake.
  • I've started rearranging the guest room to make room for The Geej--her crib, her clothes, etc. It's going to be a challenge, but I think I'll be able to fit everything she needs into the space. I just need to get creative with my storage situation. My WONDERFUL girl friends have already given me so many gently used baby clothes. It's really nuts. So many cute outfits, and all the basics to boot. I can't wait to dress her up in some of this stuff. She's going to be such a little cherub.
  • Remember Mr. Mumbly that I wrote about in a previous post? Well, he's still hanging in there. But not in an "I'm a freaky stalker" way. He's really just a nice guy and he's said he's "in awe" of what I'm doing with the whole adoption thing. And he flat out said, "Just so you know, the idea of dating a single mom doesn't scare me." (Wow. Single mom. I can't believe that's what I'm about to be.) So who knows...
  • I'm being given a baby shower tomorrow and then another one on Wednesday. Normally, I think baby showers are pretty awful. But I think mine's going to be fun--a bunch of my wine drinking friends and me. And since I'm not pregnant, I get to drink wine too! Yay wine!
  • I'm sort of addicted to "Celebrity Fit Club" on VH-1. I know, I know...reality t.v. is so played and stupid. But there's something fascinating about watching Biz Markie and The Snapple Lady try to shed the pounds. And then they've got this big giant scales that they get in as a team at the end of each episode. So cheesy it's brilliant.
  • It feels like spring outside. It's 72 degrees as I write this. Very bizarre for late January.

That's pretty much it. I'll try and be a more regular poster. But let's face it: sometimes a) life's pretty boring and there's not much to write about or b) life gets busy and you don't have time to write about it.

And freedom and liberty for all!

The inaguration speech score card:

27: Mentions of the word "Freedom"
15: Mentions of the word "Liberty"
0: Mentions of the word "Iraq"

Adds up to: Complete tool that happens to be our Commander in Chief for four more years. God help us...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Saturday, January 15, 2005

What's in a name?

This afternoon I was at a birthday party for a friend of mine's daughter who was turning one. It seemed like everyone there either had kids or was pregnant. It was interesting. Anyway, I met this one gal named Kim who has an 11 month old boy. When I asked what his name was, she said: Toby. Really, his name is "Tobin," but they call him Toby.
Okay, Tobin I like. Toby? Not so much. And they named him Tobin with the intent of calling him Toby. Like naming your kid "Richard" if you just really want little "Dick" running around. I don't understand it. Why not name the kid the name you want to call them, and then if a nickname comes out it, so be it.
She said that one of her main reasons for choosing it was that "it wasn't on the list of 100 most popular boy names." Oh really? What a surprise.
The thing with baby names is that everyone has associations. Like, for instance, if I told you I planned on naming my daughter Britney, who would that make you think of?
That's what you want to avoid. You don't want anyone thinking about your adorable 5-month old in a thong, smoking a cigarette, giving a blowjob to Kevin "I like to wear my trucker's hat cocked" Federline.
So I guess my main question here is: Why in the FUCK would anyone want to call their baby "Toby," when they surely know of the evil incarate that is Toby Keith?! I mean, even if you've never even surfed past CMT, you've still GOT to know Toby Keith is a no talent, "We're gonna put a boot up your ass," "Ford Truck Man," Dixie Chick hatin', O.U.-lovin', former-mullet-having, JACK ASS. I HATE this mother fucker. In fact, here's a haiku I wrote to express my ire:

Big dumb jerk, he is.
Ford Truck man with no talent.

Very small penis.

And Celine Dion. I hate her too. Oh man, she REALLY gets me riled...

I'm probably reading WAY too much into this whole situation, but really...Toby? I'm sorry.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Today was a good day.

First of all, it's Friday.
-And it's sunny and cool outside.
-And I ate really good Mexican food for lunch.
-And I got my hair cut and colored last night (it looks pretty hot).
-And I found out this morning that I'm getting a bonus and a raise.
-And I have a massage scheduled in 45 minutes.

Every now and then it's nice to have a day like today. The only thing that could make it more perfect is if a) The Geej were already here and all the adoption stress was over, b) I suddenly discovered that I'd lost 20 lbs. and had ripped abs, and/or c) I had wild, multiple orgasmic sex with a super hot dude who also wanted to be my sugar daddy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The caption at the bottom of the screen says "PAL English." This was the one English channel, and yes, it always looked like this. Posted by Hello

Hey look! An infomercial for Spirulina! Yay! (Did I mention I was bored to the point of insanity?) Posted by Hello

Man? Woman? I'm still not sure... Posted by Hello

The typical cheery Russian music video. Posted by Hello

More Russian television, just for you.

You lucky bastards. Usually you have to travel thousands of miles to get a glimpse at this kind of strangeness. And here it is: brought to you absolutely free by Karla May. Enjoy!

The Singer/Performer. Current day. Mommy, I'm scared... Posted by Hello

The hoochie girl/acid wash dad show. Posted by Hello

The talkshow/head mike phenomenon. Someone explain this to me please. Posted by Hello

The Russian Television Post

So when I was in Vladivostok, I spent a big chunk of my time alone, in my dismal hotel room, reading, journaling, listening to my iPod or sleeping. There was a television, but there were no channels in English, so there was really no point in watching it since I couldn't understand any of it. But sometimes, the boredom overtook me, and I just had to channel surf. My last night there, I'd hit some sort of boredom saturation point. That's the only way I can explain what happened next. Not only did I channel surf: I took digital photos of the t.v. screen. There was so much weird shit on that t.v., that I had to document it somehow. So here's some explanation behind the photos:
  • First there was a talkshow like many of the ones I'd seen on the various channels there. They've all got these HUGE garishly colored sets, and the guests/hosts sit miles apart and, like the Jerry Springer/Jenny Jones shows here, they're usually yelling at one Russian, which is really kind of a redundant thing to do since speaking Russian in a normal tone of voice already makes you sound pissed off. But here's the thing that makes it weird: The guests wear head mikes a la Britney Spears. That's right: They're sitting on a couch with a head mike on, having an argument with someone 100 yards away on a tangerine colored couch. Very weird. The hosts sometimes have a hand held mike, but most of the time they're wearing a head mike as well. It's totally stupid.
  • Then there was another talkshow with a boy band-looking host who was standing among the audience members interviewing a little girl on the stage who was dressed like a total hoochie. I'm not sure what her "talent" was, but her dad/manager was sitting next to her in some sweet acid wash. And behind him? A cardboard cut out of the host. Um...why?
  • But the most intriguing by far was this hour-long documentary about this guy who's a Singer/Performer who is WAY gay. It was showing career highlight performances from the early 80s to the present, interspersed with current interview footage. Wow. This guy is so over the top and melodramatic in performance, that he makes Celine Dion look tame. And he just SUCKED. And yet there were stadiums full of people--mainly delusional women--swooning over him. And let me tell ya, homeboy has gone through some truly unfortunate hairdos over the past twenty years, including a faux dreadlock/Milli Vanilli wannabe phase in what looked like the late 90s. Yowzah. And the current interview footage was downright scary. He's still sporting the curly perm semi-fro look, but he's had more plastic surgery than Joan Rivers, and he's just freaky looking now. If anyone knows who this joker is, please give me his name. I'm sort of obsessed with finding out more about him. I'm sure he's got a website, and I'm sure it's fabulous.
Being without t.v. for a week is a good thing. But during my next trip, I'm going to be there about two weeks. With my mother. In a hotel room. Together. T.V. is going to be sorely missed, I fear...

Conversations with Cheryl, #2

Me: So what movie did ya'll end up going to see?
Mom: "Meet the Fockers."
Me: Really? How was it?
Mom: It was okay. Silly but pretty funny. I just can't get over how much like "Meet the Parents" it was.
Me: Um...You do know it's the sequel to "Meet the Parents," right?
Mom: No. Really? Well I WAS thinking that Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller had been in that first movie.
Me: And "Meet the Parents," Ben Stiller's last name is Focker and he's a nurse...?
Mom: Oh yeah. Now it makes a lot more sense.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

My favorite Christmas card.

As I was putting away the cards I received from friends and family this most recent Christmas, I ran across this gem. A bit of background about the senders: Josh and Michelle. I met Michelle while I was living in Chicago. She was my first girl friend that I made while living there. I met her in a creative non-fiction journal writing class at Columbia College. She had cool hair and even cooler shoes. Plus she was the best writer in our class. We became fast friends. I introduced her to a friend of my boyfriend's, Josh. We all went bowling together.
Fast forward several years and several moves later, and they are now married and living in Portland, OR, and are expecting thier first baby--a daughter they're naming Ruby--at the end of this month. We're all very excited about becoming the parents of little baby girls in the very near future.

So, the card--
It has an angel on the front and says, "Believe."
You open it up, and on the inside, Michelle wrote: "We (heart) you & Josh is c r a z y. XOXO"
Then Josh wrote:
"We are so proud & excited for you. You've got ballz the size of church bellz & we're honored to call you our friend. Our little ladies will grow up at the same time & maybe, just maybe go to see their first concert together, hopefully a G-n-R reunion will all original members. God willing. I'm talking Slash, Duff, Axl & Izzy in full affect, word up. How sick would that be? Totally sick. Totally F'n sick. The more I think about this, to hell with the kids, call the sitter, we'll meet you at the Will Call window of the Austin Municipal Fucking Auditorium, load the flask with jungle juice beyotch cuz it's go time. Cut the shiznit, start the piznit, you know what I'm talking about?! Show us your titz and all that. Fuck-n-ay."

Wow. He's about to be somebody's dad. That totally rules.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A recent rendering of my mom Cheryl. Posted by Hello

Conversations with Cheryl, #1

My mom Cheryl called me this morning on my cell phone. Here's more or less a transcript of our call.

Mom: Hey, I've got 2 things to tell you.
Me: Okay. Lay it on me.
Mom: Roy left me a note.
Me: What? [Remember, dear Readers, that Roy is my recently-deceased stepfather.]
Mom: Roy left me a note! When I woke up this morning, there was this note from Roy on my dresser. And it was NOT there last night.
Me: Whoa. What did it say?
Mom: Well, it was on this really nice stationary that I'd never seen before, and it was dated 1997, but I've never seen it before. And I swear to you, it wasn't there last night. I would've noticed it.
Me: But what did it say?
Mom: [Quoting the note] Sweetie, I found myself smiling on my way to work today. I have a simple life and am happy. You are not only my best friend, but my lover and a very good person. I am very lucky and just wanted to know that I love you very much. --Roy
Me: Oh my God.
Mom: I KNOW!
Me: And you've never seen it?
Mom: NO! Isn't that crazy?
Me: It's just so cool. Did you have a particularly hard day yesterday?
Mom: Well, we were in court to probate the will. And then I went out to the cemetary and they still hadn't put his nameplate up in the mausoleum. So yeah, it was emotional.
Me: He just wanted you to know that he was watching out for you and that he loves you.
Mom: I know. I'm just so happy that I got this note.
Me: What's the second thing?
Mom: I found a baby snake in the dining room this morning.
Me: WHAT?!
Mom: Yeah. I don't know how he got there. But now I'm worried about where his parents are!
Me: What did you do?
Mom: I got some kitchen tongs, picked him up, and sealed him in an envelope.
Me: Alive?
Mom: Yes. I mean, I think he's still alive...
Me: What are you going to DO with him?
Mom: Well, your uncle's coming over later to help me with some stuff, so I want him to look at it and tell me if it's a copperhead or not.
Me: Oh.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Mama's Little Fatty. Posted by Hello

A Little Miracle

My last post was on 12/29. That was a Wednesday. It was like any other Wednesday, really. Got up. Got ready for work. Earl, my 3 1/2 year old, nature-lovin' cat whined to go outside. We've gotten into a routine, Earl and I: I let him out when I leave for work (if it's not raining or super cold), and when I pull up in the evening, he comes running up to the front door, purring and ready to go in and have his supper. Then he stays in all night, snoozing and snuggling. (He really never wanders too far away. Usually he's one or two yards away, but for the most part, he's always within earshot. And he NEVER goes toward the busy street near my house because he's terrified of cars.) But when I got home from work this past Wednesday evening, no Earl. I wasn't too worried at first. I left to go get a pedicure, and came back home. Still no Earl. I started to get nervous. I was calling for him and rattling his treat can, but there was no sign of him. Ate some dinner, still no Earl. Took a shower, still no Earl. I was up until about 2:00am, going outside about every half hour, calling for him. I got about four hours of restless sleep and then started all over at about 6:30am, calling for him, walking around rattling the treat can. But nothing.
Thursday, I took the day off of work and made a "Please Help! Lost Cat" flyer with his photo on it. I walked door-to-door in my neighborhood handing out the flyers to those who were home, taping it to the doorknobs of those who weren't. I put a flyer up on the telephone poles at either end of my street. I dropped flyers at the nearby vet's office, fire station and coffee shop. I went to the animal shelter and looked for him. I put him in the "Lost Pets" log at the animal shelter. It was a very exhausting and emotional day.
I kept catching myself looking in his normal snooze spots, expecting him to be there, and remembering he was gone. I kept looking out the back door, expecting to see his little orange and white face looking back at me, but he was never there.
By Friday, I knew he was gone for good. Something bad had happened to him. He had been taken by a coyote. Or he'd been badly injured in a cat fight, and was lying somewhere hurt and dying. Or he'd eaten poison. I just knew it in my heart. He was gone. Vanished. Happy Fucking New Year.
Yesterday was New Year's Day. I went and walked 5 miles around Town Lake to rid myself of some of my stress and sadness. Later in the afternoon, I went to the grocery store near my house to get some blackeyed peas and greens to have for dinner (you know, traditional "luck and money" food that you're supposed to eat on New Year's Day). I was wandering through the store and, as a force of habit, found myself in the catfood aisle, thinking, "Does Earl need treats?" And it hit me: He's gone. Really, really gone. It was all I could do to get checked out and to my car before I burst into tears. I hadn't really cried about his disappearance, so when the floodgates opened, they opened big time. I was just sobbing, asking God, "Why?! Why?! He made me laugh EVERY DAY! Why did you take him?" It was awful.
I finally pulled it together enough to drive home, but I had a banging headache and my eyes were completely swollendand stinging. I sat down and watched the Rose Bowl (best football game I've ever seen, by the way) and ate my greens and peas. I went to bed thinking about how, in the morning, I would go and take down the flyers on the telephone poles. And that I should pick up his toys and stuff that were scattered around the house because everytime I looked at that stuff, it was like getting punched in the gut.
Woke up this morning and I could hear it raining. I was lying there in bed with my other cat, the very elderly Miss Ellen, just thinking about how much Earl hated the rain. Sigh. Got up and opened the blinds and pulled back the curtain on the back door and HOLY FUCKING SHIT there he was!!!!!! I thought I was going to pass out. I was shaking as I opened the door to let him in from the rain. I just kept saying, "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!" I was crying. I couldn't believe it. He just walked on in and went over to his "treat spot" right by his scratching post and sat down, waiting for a treat. He was hungry, but other than that, he's totally fine. I felt all over him for scratches and cuts, and found nothing. He's up on my bed, snoozing as I write this. I have no idea where he was for four days. He's never done anything remotely like this, so I can't even imagine... But he's back, and he's safe, and he's already made me laugh a couple of times today. I cannot believe my prayer to have him come home safe and sound was answered. I love my fat little boy.