Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Alphabet Game, Blogger edition.

From Guin:

A - Available/Single? Yes.
B - Best Friend? Stacey, Sherri, Amy
C - Cake or Pie? Carrot cake.
D - Drink Of Choice? Water or Diet coke.
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? Bathtub.
F - Favorite Color? Hunter Green.
G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? Gumdrops, please.
H - Hometown? Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
I - Indulgence? Lush, garden plants, bubble gum for the brain novels.
J - January Or February? February--I may be single, but I love decorating for Valentine's.
K - Kids & Their Names? Furkids are Stormy and Beau, aka Bigfoot & Littlefoot.
L - Life Is Incomplete Without? Family, friends, and furry critters.
M - Marriage date? N/A.
N - Number Of Siblings? Two younger brothers.
O - Oranges Or Apples? Jonagold or Pink Lady apples.
P - Phobias/Fears? Spiders, fire.
Q - Favorite Quote? "You want feminine proctection? Get an Akita Bitch." Susan Conant.
R - Reason to Smile? My family, my dogs, my friends, my garden, my Lush.
S - Season? Autumn.
T - Tag 3 or 4 people? If you read this, you're tagged.
U - Unknown Fact About Me? When I'm approaching a stoplight, I cross my toes to keep it green.
V - Vegetable you don't like? Almost all cooked vegetables.
W - Worst Habit? Not dusting.
X - X-rays You've Had? Hips, knees, spinal & head MRIs.
Y - Your Favorite Food? Chocolate, steak, pasta.
Z - ? Zarathustra--R. Strauss. Memories of watching "2001" with my dad & brothers.

Dinner with Doc

Last night, I had dinner with my oldest friend. She's not old, it's just that we've known each other for 35 years. *grin* We had a lovely Mexican dinner at Mariachi Loco, came back to my house and exchanged presents, and talked about bath products, gardening, mothers, mutual friends, family, etc. I had thought beforehand about reminding her not to wear black pants because of the dogs, but she's got a PhD, she should have remembered. Then we were standing in line at the restaurant and I looked, and sure enough--black pants. Thank goodness she's got a sense of humor and a calm, balanced outlook. At the house, she petted the dogs without ever once showing any kind of worry for the layer of fur they were leaving on her.

I told her at dinner she was going to shoot me for one of her presents, by which I meant that I had three Lush bubble bars for her and she would probably get addicted. By the time she opened her bag of bath products and her box with pjs and slippers, I'd forgotten what I said at dinner, and I was too busy being excited about my new fragranced oil burner, candle and linen spray (all in lavender *blissful sigh*) to explain even if I had remembered. The phone rang about half an hour after she left, and she asked, "Why am I going to shoot you? I've been trying to think why the whole way home!" I explained, she laughed, and we said goodnight.

Whether or not I started Doc on a Lush addiction, my own is going to take a back seat for the next few months. Not only because I am still upset with the recent crappy customer service, but because it's time for my gardening addiction to be fed. So far, I'm up to about a $130.00 order from the Jung Seed catalog, including viburnum, butterfly bushes, phlox, lily-of-the-valley (in PINK!) and gladiolus, among others. That will be my next extravagance, and Lush can just do without my money for a while.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bobby Terry, you SCROOOOED UP!

That's a quote from "The Stand," by Stephen King. When Bobby Terry accidentally shoots the Judge in the face, Randall Flagg is a bit upset, and Bobby winds up a bit dead. Right now, I rather wish I could chew up the folks at Lush's online division.

See, they had this wonderful, amazing sale on Christmas Day, and didn't tell anyone about it--you pretty much had to be on the computer and visiting the Lush website right on Christmas to benefit. From what I've read, they gave away some amazing stuff. But, okay, I don't need to spend any more money, I placed an order right before Christmas, and although I was miffed at how they handled the sale, I've made my peace with it.

That is, until today, when I was notified that three of the items I ordered at 10:30 a.m. PST on Friday, December 22nd, were out of stock (and since they were Christmas items, there won't be any more, unless Lush decides to make the same item next year). Of course, Lush didn't get my order ready for shipping until today, six days AFTER I posted my order, and some of the folks who benefited from the sale got FREE Holidays (my item).

To say I'm a bit miffed is putting it mildly. Frankly, right now I want Randy Flagg's teeth.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

From the mouths of babes

Two funny comments from my six year old nephew:

His four year old brother had a bit of a meltdown when his last Christmas present, a car, didn't make noise. His older brother looked up from his final present, a construction set, and said, "Well, I'm not all that thrilled with this one, either."

Later in the day, as the six year old was playing with his Floam, he called out, "Mom, this isn't squishy or stretchy--the commercial lied!"

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Loot, Part II


From parents:

A black velvet pantsuit
A white & black flowered skirt with a black, short-sleeved sweater
A brown shirt with a turquoise fun fur scarf with fuzzy cream/brown yarn knitted into it that my mom knitted for me
Holiday, Christingly and Greenwing
Turquoise striped shirt
Short-sleeved denim shirt
Black gauze peasant blouse
A copy of this book, signed by the author, who's a friend of my parents.

From one brother & his family:
A gorgeous, sheer magenta peasant top
An equally gorgeous black sweater
A framed picture of my nephews
A book of short stories by Susannah Clarke

From the other brother & his family:
Puddy Holly, Ne Worry Pas, Creamy Candy and Christmas Day
Freshwater pearl earrings and two necklaces made by my sister-in-law


To my dad:
A hunter green fleece jacket
Two bags of chocolate-drizzled caramel corn
Set of four martini glasses with bright blue twisted stems

To my mom:
Blue jammies & fuzzy slippers
Handmade stoneware cheese plate & matching knife
Funky glittery egg-shaped Santa
Little velvet Santa pillow on a golden cord.

To my nephews:
For the six year old, a M&Ms truck/candy dispenser and his first digital camera
For the four year old, two popup travelling Matchbox play sets

To my nieces:
For the three and a half year old, a dress up box
For the 11 month old, two winter outfits

To my brother in Columbus:
A pooping reindeer and a set of martini glasses with their own ice holders

To my brother in Dallas:
A Cleveland Browns book & a check

To my sister-in-law in Columbus:
A set of pink and black jammies & fuzzy black slippers
A leopard-print dress
A kitchen message board with a background of happy chefs

And for some reason, I can't remember what I sent my sister-in-law in Dallas (it's late and I'm tired).

Still have to exchange presents with two of my friends, and then Christmas will be over.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

That's IT

Neither Rob nor The Heather have received their Christmas boxes. I am sending Snicker to Toronto.

Canada Post won't know what hit 'em.

Now I want the piggie!

Before I start talking about presents I have received, I will say that I am happy that all the boxes going to various spots in the U.S. have arrived, and more than a bit worried about the Canadian presents. If either of my Canuck friends have gotten a box, could you let me know? And if not, I shall have to send the Snicker to Canada to intimidate Canadian postal workers.

Thanks to all of my lovely friends for my wonderful Christmas pressies! *beeg hugs*

Thursday night, I came home from work and saw a small package on my stoop. When opened, it turned out to be an adorable, soft-furred little otter from Captain Spaulding. Oscar the otter wears a t-shirt for the Erie Otters, and has a tail that looks like a beaver tail, but he's still adorable. And soft, omidog he's soft--I kept rubbing him against my cheek.

Friday when I got home from work, there was a box bigger than Littlefoot on the stoop. By Friday night, I was considering putting Littlefoot in the box, punching some air holes and marking it "Return to Sender." That Box contained Christmas pressies from Mallie & The Scarecrow. They sent me a very funny sweatshirt (It's uncredible how well I am with grammer), an mp3 player, a plush otter, a plush red-eyed tree frog, a DVD/VCR, 3 DVDs, seven books and two dog toys. Also included were four Sunnyside bubble bars from The Heather, in an actual Lush bag from an actual Lush store. Yes, I'm saving the bag--if you didn't already know I was dorky, read the entry before this one.

I'm currently giggling and snorting my way through "Interior Desecrations," and, as predicted in comments on Scott's blog, saying to myself, "This is what she thinks of me?" They also sent me an book on frogs and toads which states right on the cover that it is authoritative and illustrated --after all, what point is a reference work if it's not authoritative?

And the dog toys. Ahhh, yes. One stuffed squeaky pink piggie (memories of my prior experience with undead stuffed piggies) and one very fluffy squeaky stuffed sheep. I gave Littlefoot the sheep and Bigfoot the piggie, and spent the rest of the evening listening to the canine equivalent of "Hey, I like the sheep better. Gimme!" "Fine, I'll take the piggie!" "Now I want the piggie!"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

By request

Lush has a message board, and one of the subforums is "Lush P*o*r*n," wherein members post pictures of their Lush stashes. I decided to do something a bit different for my stash thread, and Sherri requested that I share it here so she doesn't have to join the Lush board.

A Lush Fairy Tale

Cast of Characters (in order of appearance):

Peasants: Tisty Tosty
King Frank: Blue Skies
Queen Cosi: The Comforter
Princess Herbaceous: French Kiss
Visiting Princes: Ceridwen, Avobath, Wish Upon A Star
Prince Sonny: Sunny Side
Guards: Wiccy
Ladies in Waiting: Holiday(s)
Gentlemen of the Court: Christmas Kisses(es)
Blob Monster Supervisors: Old Blue Skies
Blob Monsters: Christingly(s)
Mysterious Wise Old Wizard: Amandapondo
Magistrate: Think Pink

Once upon a time, there was a small kingdom named Bathtopia. The peasants were happy in their hovels.

King Frank and Queen Cosi doted upon their beautiful adopted daughter, Princess Herbaceous, who everyone just called “Herbi.”

The Princess was very picky (and more than a little spoiled), and no matter how many eligible young men visited the castle, she turned up her nose at them.

One day, Princess Herbi was out riding her pet dragon.

She met a mysterious young man.

He said he was Prince Sonny, from a neighboring kingdom. Because he hadn’t been paraded in front of her as a possible husband, she liked him, and he seemed to like her too. They started meeting every day on their rides, and soon they fell in love.

When Princess Herbi took Prince Sonny to meet her parents, they were shocked and appalled!

“NO!” said the King and Queen. “You may NOT marry him! Your children will smell disgusting! And they’ll be glittery!”

They sent Prince Sonny away and locked Princess Herbi up with her ladies-in-waiting. Princess Herbi wept and screamed and laid on the floor holding her breath until she turned purple, but the King and the Queen were adamant.

That night, she tried to sneak out of the castle, so her parents sent her away to a remote location guarded by blob monsters.

When Prince Sonny arrived at the castle the next day, the King and the Queen gloated that Princess Herbi was out of reach and had their guard throw him out. He went home and consulted his childhood mentor, the Wise Old Wizard.

The Wise Old Wizard consulted his charts, did a spell, and said he could find Princess Herbi, but Prince Sonny should bring all his friends to fight the blob monsters.

After a long and arduous ride, Prince Sonny, his friends and the Wise Old Wizard arrived at the secret castle where Princess Herbi was held prisoner.

They battled the blob monsters.

There was carnage on both sides.

It was ugly.

But they were victorious!

Princess Herbi flew from the castle into Prince Sonny’s arms.

“Oh, my love, you rescued me!”

“Yes, my precious, and we shall never be separated again!”

Prince Sonny had even brought a magistrate to marry them on the spot.

They returned to Bathtopia, and told the King and the Queen what had happened.

The Queen fainted.

The King yelled.

But eventually, they threw a grand ball to celebrate.

They all lived happily ever after.

Even if Princess Herbi and Prince Sonny did in fact have stinky, glittery children.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Loot, Part I

My very favorite camelid, Evil Alpaca, sent me the Saving Jane CD with my new theme song on it. That arrived on Monday.

Today was our office Christmas luncheon, and I think everyone liked their gifts. I know Snoopy loved his pooping reindeer, and Goldilocks really liked her Steelers piggy bank. We had a very lovely lunch, and I came home loaded with great loot. Snoopy got me a $20 gift card for Yankee Candle, which will buy lots of lovely wax tarts to melt, Goldilocks got me a Greenwing bath ballistic, Christmas Kisses and Creamy Candy bubble bars and a Twinkle ballistic from Lush, and some Warm Vanilla Sugar body butter that everyone at the table wanted to eat. Vegan Lawyer got me a gorgeous burnt velvet shawl in black with sparkly beading all over it--I'm going to wear it to work tomorrow over my bright green silk blazer. The boss gave me a beautiful pair of silver earrings with bright blue glass and $250.00.

The Inn at Turner's Mill wasn't the best choice of lunch venue for a vegan & a vegetarian, but the three meat-eaters were happy. I had the medallions of beef, as did Goldilocks, and Snoopy had the butternut squash pasta with chorizo. Next year, we'll probably go back to Blue Canyon. Still, we had a great time, and I think I've got VL interested in Lush. And I know if she tries it, she'll be addicted. *grin*

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Instant gratification

Much to my surprise, almost all of the US packages I mailed on Saturday arrived at their destinations on Monday. While a few people are determined to wait until Christmas to open their pressies, MissJett and the Alpaca both opened their boxes last night, and then let me know that I chose well.

I adore giving presents. If I had loads of money, that would be all I would do all the time. :-D

Monday, December 18, 2006

And now the hard part

Imp, Sherri and Captain Spaulding all have their boxes.

Now I have to WAIT for people to open boxes.

Ack! I hate waiting!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas P.O.

The post office opens at 8:30, so I was there at 8:15. I had to make three trips with my boxes, setting them on the customer counter at the end closest to the registers (which weren't open yet). As I was making my third trip, a gentleman came in with one box, and I insisted he stand in front of me since he only had one box. In return, he insisted on carrying my last three packages inside from my car. We chatted for a while, and then were joined by a lady with one box who said the post office should have coffee and Christmas music for people waiting. I said that I work in a retail/office building, and if I hear "Santa Baby" one more time, I'm liable to go on a rampage. Both of my conversation partners snorted.

By the time the metal divider was rolled up, there was a line behind the three of us stretching all the way to the door, and this is a big post office. While the gentleman in front of me was paying for his postage, I started moving boxes to the clerk's counter. While I was on my second set of three, a clerk opened up the register next to the first one. The redhead at the first register said snottily, "You are supposed to wait until you are called. He wasn't ready for you yet." I tried to explain that I was just getting my packages within reach in order to speed up the process, but fell over my own tongue. Anyway, the clerk who helped me, a very nice man named Reggie, could not have been sweeter. He weighed the packages to Canada first, so I could fill out the customs forms while he weighed everything else, and helped me get the least expensive shipping that would still get everything there by Christmas.

When I explained that one package wasn't fragile but it was meltable, he weighed it, put the postage on it and set it aside so he could mark it later to keep away from heat. Although the natives behind me were restless, Reggie was an absolute doll throughout the entire transaction. I apologized to him for what looked like jumping the gun, and managed to use the correct words when telling him I was trying to expedite things. He said that he's used to people being cranky at the holidays, and I wondered if he meant customers or the snotty redhead. *grin*

When I left the post office, eighty-six dollars later, I was pretty sure I was the most hated person there, even if the redheaded clerk is a bitch.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ms. CraftyButt

The fruits of several nights' labor, all laid out and ready to wrap & pack:

The pale yellow is raspberry lemonade, the purple bath salts are lavender, the light purple soaps & fizzies are pearberry, the deep red is carnation/rose, the dark purple soaps are cherry, the yellow/green soaps are lemongrass, the pale orange is spiced citrus, the bright blue is peppermint and the dark red/cream/orange are various combos of clove, cinnamon, orange and vanilla.

Off to pack all this stuff for shipping! :-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So much for Wednesday

This was supposed to be my night to gloat over all the stuff I've done, and post pictures of all my neato bath products I've made since Sunday. Since the slugs are totally kicking my ass today, I decided just to post some pics of the brats.

Monday, December 11, 2006

So it's Monday

And there were bad things and good things.

The biggest bad thing was, of course, just the sheer existence of Monday. It didn't help that I very much enjoyed having Captain Crossword in town for the weekend, and taking him to the airport on Sunday made me sad. We had a wonderful dinner Saturday night at Russo's--great food and even better company. Dad & CC both ordered Maker's Mark manhattans, and the drinks came in glasses a beta fish would be happy swimming in. *chuckle* Mom had iced tea and the four cheese spinach ravioli, and the rest of us had the chicken-fried steak, which was made with beef tenderloin and absolutely wonderful.

Sunday morning, Mom put on a lavish brunch spread for ten people (family and 3 couples who are old friends) and we all enjoyed the meal and the conversation. It was an absolutely beautiful day, so the driving part to the airport was nice, and it did give me an extra forty-five minutes alone with my brother, but I couldn't watch him go into the terminal. Lest you think I'm being stickily sentimental, I must confess that instead of waving goodbye to him I was trying to readjust the driver's seat of Dad's car from a position comfortable for a six foot one person to one comfy for me at my mere five foot five.

So in addition to having to return to work after a very wonderful weekend, there was all the usual stuff--a gazillion phone messages, checks to write, data entry on an accounting (and I totally forgot to do the shredding, so I have to do that tomorrow). But I woke up to a very clean house, Vegan Lawyer told me she can see me shrinking, which was a nice compliment, the anarchist animals are back, the new Blowfish catalog is out, and I got an amusing wrong number on my cell phone. I don't dare brag about Monday being easy--the last time I did that, seven things went wrong between 7 p.m. and bedtime, and I still have to make soap, but I will say that it could have been worse.

Brutally honest personality test.

Take it here.

Loner - ISFP
46% Extraversion, 40% Intuition, 33% Thinking, 46% Judging
Ahh...the sweet serenity. The utter perfection of all creation. The wondrous beauty of nature. The sweet sparrow singing along in the great orchestra we call life...
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? You're the type of person people always love to mock because they don't believe there's anyone ACTUALLY like you.

Do realise that you ostracise people with your behaviour or is it all subconscious? You're so quiet and reserved it's almost impossible to get to know you well, and when someone finally does, all you want to talk about is grace and beauty and harmony!

Ugh. Sure, you "genuinely care for others" and all that rubbish, but when it boils right down to the basics you take life far too seriously.

Throughout the entire test, I bet you were searching for "further clarification and hidden meaning" so that you might improve your pitiful life. And woe and behold if it betrayed your intense values system!

You need to STOP smelling the daisies. Believe it or not, logic does have a place in this world...imbecile.

Hmmm. Some of it fits, some of it doesn't. Kinda like life in all of its deep grace and beauty and harmony. :p

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My new theme song

"Imperfection" by Saving Jane

You can listen to the song here (Just click on the link for "Imperfection").

My hair's a wreck
Mascara runs
My feet get dirty and my skin burns in the sun

My lips, they bleed
But I still sing my songs
Takes me a minute to admit it when I'm wrong

Pretty is as pretty does, but pretty's not my thing...

This is what you get
This is who I am
Take me now or leave me
Any way you can
Sometimes I trip and fall
But I know where I stand
And if you're thinking about changing my direction...
Don't mess with Imperfection.

My back is weak
But my will is true
Got good intentions but I never follow through
I say too much
Don't know when to leave
In case you're looking that's my heart there on my sleeve

Ego trips and stupid slipups, I'm a mess but..

This is what you get
This is who I am
Take me now or leave me
Any way you can
Sometimes I trip and fall
But I know where I stand
And if you're thinking about changing my direction...
Don't mess with Imperfection.

Scratched and bruised, a little used,
But baby, I work fine.
You might call me damaged goods,
But I'm one of a kind.

My hair's a wreck
Mascara runs
No, I'm not perfect, but I'm not the only one...

This is what you get
This is who I am
Take me now or leave me
Any way you can
Sometimes I trip and fall
But I know where I stand
And if you're thinking about changing my direction...
Don't mess with Imperfection.

I love the music for this song, and the lyrics are me, completely. Unfortunately, it's not on Saving Jane's only album. However, they're from Columbus and my brother might know someone who knows someone who might know someone in the band so he can find out if this is for an upcoming album and let me know when it will be released. I will definitely be buying it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I like lists

I like to-do lists, Christmas lists, lists of books, lists of things I didn't know about people, shopping lists, all kinds of lists. So here are today's lists:

Things I have done this week:

Emptied 24 boxes of crap which have sat since I moved in here two years ago
Washed, dried and put away almost all of the crap
Winnowed out enough things to donate one box of crap to Goodwill
Hauled all the empty boxes out with the trash

Things I have done today:

Moved the living room furniture around
Hauled one nonfunctional speaker and two nonfunctional lamps out to the garage for disposal on Thursday
Moved Goodwill box to garage to be donated in January (taxes)
Cleaned off the peninsula counter and the kitchen table
Vacuumed the living room, eating area and breezeway
One load of laundry washed and now in the dryer, one load folded and put away
Compost taken out
Three wreaths hung
Houseplants watered
Made a to-do list
Posted to my blog (hey, two in one! *grin*)

Things I still need to do:

Wash the kitchen & bathroom floors
Scrub the tub, toilet and bathroom sink
Change my sheets
Hide my "toys"
Take a shower
Eat lunch
Maybe take a nap

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What are the odds?

Yesterday morning, I asked VL (Vegan Lawyer) how her weekend was, and she said Saturday was great and Sunday sucked. Saturday night, she was walking from one mini-barn to the other (feeding the goat and the horse) and she walked right into a tree branch, which poked her in the eye. She spent Sunday feeling dizzy, nauseous and pained all day. We talked about how miserable a poke in the eye is, and I told her about the two times it's happened to me, then she told me about the other time it's happened to her. Back when I was still living with my parents, we were having a bonfire and Dad stepped on one end of a tree branch, which whipped the other end up and across my eye, and then about four or five years ago, I bent over to pick up a tomato plant and jabbed my eye right down on one of the stakes.

So last night, I go to fluff up the pillow shams on my bed, and manage to flick a corner of one sham across my right eyeball. Pain, pain, pain, OH PAIN, ow ow ow. I had ice on it all evening and it still hurts today, and I have a headache.

Honestly, what are the odds?

Christmas tag

From the lovely Guin. It's a simple tag, asking for Christmas lists. Here are my top ten wishes, in no particular order:

1. A copy of everything Terry Pratchett has written.

2. Enough money to give my friend Snicker a huge tract of land and a no-kill shelter on it.

3. Someone to go with me when I kidnap certain dogs I've seen spending their lives on chains and deliver them to said no-kill shelter.

4. A new car. Nothing fancy, a new Saturn wagon would be lovely.

5. A Lush store in Akron, and funds for several years' worth of spending therein.

6. For a friend to get an acceptance to college in Canada, tuition funds for said friend, and vacation money for he and his wife to visit here and for me to visit them in Toronto.

7. For my brother to get his job in Akron, followed by his wife finding a job here and then them moving here with my adorable nieces.

8. For my friends and family to live forever.

9. Ditto #8 for my dogs.

10. Enough money to add a deck and some extra square footage on to my house, and to add my dream bathroom in the new footage.

Sherri, Jay, Brendan, and Scott may all consider themselves tagged. :-p

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I've been working flat-out since 9 this morning, and every single room in this house is a MESS. Between yesterday and today, I emptied twenty boxes of crap which were hiding behind the boxes of books; washed everything I want to keep; created a box for Goodwill and hauled lots of crap out to the garage for disposal on Thursday night. Today, I've washed, dried, folded and put away 3 loads of laundry; I have one in the washer and one in the dryer and four left to go. I've vacuumed the library; changed my bedskirt and comforter to my Christmas ones; changed the sheets on the bed and run the dishwasher.

However, I still haven't scrubbed the tub, toilet and sink, vacuumed anywhere but in the library, swept & mopped the kitchen floor, taken out the compost or rearranged the living room furniture the way I want it. I think my problem is that I keep doing bits and pieces of chores, so they never seem to be done.

I need a break, so it's naptime for a while. Then I will go right back to work. Monday is looking pretty good right now.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A meme from the Leptard and his buddy Brendan:

"[P]ost a comment and I'll give you a letter if you ask nice. Then list ten things that you like that begin with that letter. It's all about the loose letters, round here..."

Brendan gave me the letter "P," so here's my list of ten, in no particular order:

Peppermint puffs from King Leo Candy--pure sugar and peppermint oil. Yum.

"Pink" by Aerosmith.

Fiction by Sara Paretsky, Robert Parker, Anne Perry, Elizabeth Peters and Terry Pratchett.

Posting on message boards like the Great Escape, the CyberSoapBox and the Chat House.


Packages from friends.

Plush animals, particularly bears.



Products from Lush.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Midweek snobservations

To the tail-gating idiot in the Lexus SUV: You do know you're a jerk, right? What is there that's either sporty or utilitarian about a giant, gas-guzzling, marshmallowy SUV? Just because it's big and expensive doesn't make you exempt from safe driving, you poser.

To the family in the house on the corner of Cuyahoga & Uhler: Will you please pay some attention to your dog? You leave that poor Akita mix out there, tied up 24/7, and none of you ever pat him or cuddle him or give him one bit of the affection he undoubtedly craves. He's a dog, damnit, all they want is to please a human, and I've seen all of you walk past him repeatedly, kids and adults alike. You're breaking his heart, and ruining my commute by doing so.

To You people are getting entirely too big for your britches and too sloppy about your customer service. Yes, I qualified for the free shipping. No, that doesn't mean I should have to wait until after Christmas for you to send my order, especially when every item had a little line of text reading "Receive this by November 21 with priority shipping." How exactly can I get something in four days with priority shipping and SIX WEEKS with standard free shipping? I hate you. I had Christmas presents in that now-cancelled order. Your customer service people are perfectly nice, but when they don't have the power to actually FIX things, they're as useless as all get out.

To Snoopy: How did you reach the age of thirty-eight without learning social boundaries? Sometimes, Goldilocks and I talk about girl stuff, and yes, we shut up when you bounce out of the file room and want to join in. You want details? You're going to get them. I swear, if you ask me one more dumbass personal question, I am going to start telling you every single detail of my period, followed by stabbing you in the gut so you know what the pain feels like. And when she had to take a day off for a funeral, it was REALLY tacky to say, "Whoa, how'd the family member die?"

To our stupidest client: I understand that you've had some medical problems, and that they have affected your mental functioning and your memory. But you know that too, and it seems to me that if you know about such problems, you could take notes when you talk to your attorney, instead of pestering her secretary two weeks later because you don't remember what she instructed you to do. The worst thing is that if you don't do it and wind up facing a contempt charge, you will blame her. Write it down, damnit!

To me: Don't ever again brag about what a good day you've had at 5 p.m. Remember what happened yesterday? Oh, yeah, it was a great day until you bragged about it, and then your printer jammed and one of the dogs had an accident in the living room. Brag just before bed, okay? :p

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nearly perfect

So the library is done, and beautiful.

I've lost the amount of weight my OB/Gyn wanted me to lose before she would do the hysterectomy.

All but three of the Christmas presents I need are purchased and waiting to be wrapped and mailed.

December has five Fridays, which means an extra paycheck.

Weekend after next, my baby brother is coming to Ohio from Texas for a job interview.

I'm wearing my splendid new Christmas robe.

I shall splurge on some fancy wrapping paper this weekend.

Work is productive and interesting (if a little sad right now) and we've got our Christmas lunch scheduled.

I just wish I would stop having extravagantly romantic dreams which remind me that I'm a middle-aged spinster. Grrr.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Deep in the stacks

Welcome to Casa de Jammies. Our tour today starts and ends with the recently neatened library--please note the presence of shelves and the absence of cardboard boxes!


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Oh dear oh dear oh OOPS

Having spent the day with my books and my shelves and my catalogue*, I find that I now have 8.5 shelves left empty, which wouldn't be bad if I didn't have 10 boxes of books. I've filled the built-in shelves in the living room with hardcover books (sorry, Snick, I know you liked it with just the knick-knacks) and filled the built-in hutch over the computer with my reference books (how did I wind up with all these dictionaries?). I have a shelf in the basement which should be enough to handle the overflow (at least until the box from Amazon gets here), but I don't know where I'm going to put it. It's an old one that my dad made out of 2x4s, which I washed and painted to match my bedroom. Why not put it in the bedroom? Because all of the bedrooms in this house are dinky, and mine already has too much furniture in it. However, I may be forced to take that route when I run out of space in the library/study. The shelf certainly can't go into the guest room--I'm aiming for elegance in there, and brown 2x4s certainly aren't elegant. Not that it's all that lovely in there at the moment, with Christmas presents, boxes, wrapping paper, mailing paper, etc. strewn all over, but next weekend, I should be able to do something about that.

I'm halfway between regretting lazing away Thanksgiving Day and glad I did. On the one hand, if I had started on the books then, I'd be done by now. On the other hand, it was a good break from the chaos and craziness that so often marks my life. And my life isn't even particularly stressful--I work, I come home, I clean, yak on the phone or the internet, read, maybe rot my brain with some television, sleep. Oh, and take care of the puppymonsters, but still--I don't know how modern parents manage it. Or even people who have, you know, those "life" thingies.

I keep buying presents for people I already have presents for, and still haven't gotten anything for my middle liddle brother or my younger nephew. Ack! I know what the kidlet likes, I just don't think my brother and sister-in-law will let me live to New Year's if I buy him $25 worth of MatchBox cars. ;) He's not a stuffed-animal kind of kid, so that's out, and yes, I probably will get him some clothes and books, but since his brother is getting a toy, I want Dip to have at least one shiny cool toy too. At this point, I'm about to get my brother one of those joke sacks of coal and leave it at that, since he won't give me ANY ideas.

For all of my friends, a blessing I found today, which I send with love and hope to all of you:

"May the light always find you on a dreary day.
When you need to be home, may you always find your way.
May you always have courage to take a chance.
And may you never find frogs in your underpants."

*A friend told me cataloguing my books is "sexily geeky" and when I told her it's alphabetically by author, she swooned. *grin* Made my day.

Friday, November 24, 2006

You bring the cheese, I've got a selection of whines.

#1: I worked very hard today, and only managed to catalogue 120 or so books, empty ten boxes and fill fifteen shelves. I've got twenty-four boxes left to unpack.

#2: My skin is dry and itchy, and I know it's because of my bathing habits, but I just can't give up my nightly Lush fix.

#3: My knee is so sore it's basically locked in place.

#4: I had a dream about being wrapped in someone's arms today. It was nice while I was dreaming it, but just made me sad when I woke up.

#5: My linen closet is really much too small for someone with a severe bed linen addiction.

#6: After I unpack the rest of the book boxes tomorrow, I have to clean like a fiend so I can decorate on Sunday.

#7: My latest Lush order is only "en route to Illinois." What is up with that? Grrr.

#8: I'm really bothered by #4.

#9: Somebody spammed up the Leptard's blog page and so far nobody's fixed it. Double grrr.

That's enough whining for one day. Time for the Jammies to shut up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

police psych eval florist question

Ahhh, yes, ye old referral log. Gotta love it.

"multiple sclerosis -died -fox"

Yes, I have MS. No, I haven't died. Yes, I've been told I'm a fox. *blush*

Wow, someone in Eugene, Oregon got an url for my blog via e-mail. Now 'fess up and tell me who sent it to you. I want to know who thinks my blather is worth passing on. *grin*

"flu shot gluteus maximus"

Two of you looking for this--trust me, get your flu shots in the arm. If the nurse whacks a muscle, better that your arm be a bit sore than that you can't sit down for a day.

For the dozens of you looking for "contemporary bathrooms" on Google Image Search--how bored ARE you? I've checked out of curiosity, and my blog isn't on the first eight pages of results. You've got an awful lot of time to waste, that's all I can say!

"complaints about colyte"

Lots of complaints--it's totally disgusting, trying to keep down a gallon of salt water in eight hours. If you have to do it, you have my sincerest sympathy (and I'd recommend a 'scrip for Phenergan, too). And on a related note, to the person searching "What if colyte doesn't work," gah, what a nightmare. I can't imagine drinking that swill to no effect. I'm gonna have nightmares now, thanks.

To whoever at the Kohler company checked out my blog: You folks make awesome tubs, and I've linked to your site a few times. Care to give me a free tub for the publicity? You're getting more and more from all these people who keep pulling my blog up on Google--you'll get your money's worth in a year or so, honest, and I don't want much, just the two-person overflow jacuzzi with colored lights and the ceiling-fill spout.

"cramps diarrhea vomit worst story laxative"

Yuk. I am so not telling my worst cramps diarrhea vomit story on here--I'd like to keep my six or so readers. Go read the Best of Craigslist for that kind of stuff.

To the person from Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek, CA: First of all, a friend who works for Kaiser in SoCal says you've got a lot of nice weird people at your office (lots of IT geeks, I understand), so hello. Second, thank you for coming back to read my blog after your first look. Thirdly, you win the prize for most creative Google search. I'm also appalled that my blog is the seventh link when you put "police psych eval florist question" in. Finally, what did you decide were the appropriate flowers to send to someone who just flunked the psych eval for a police job? In case it ever comes up in my life, of course...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

So it's been three years.

And MS is now just a part of my life, not the ruling force. The tingling in my feet, legs and hands has never left me. Some days, it's worse than others, but it's always here. Ironic, considering that it was the neuropathy that led me to a doc for diagnosis. In that, I was amazingly lucky--there are people who wait sixteen years for a diagnosis and I had one in six weeks.

Some other things I've been lucky in with regard to the MS:

My "MS Guru," Patty, who is a client, a nurse, and was diagnosed 13 years ago. She was absolutely correct--the first year is all about the MS. Working in the garden led to thoughts of "How long can I do this? IhaveMS." Flirting led to thoughts of "Should I tell him IhaveMS?" It went on, and then, thankfully, I moved on.

My neurologist, Dr. Cohen, and the rest of the cheerful and friendly staff at the Mellen Center at the Cleveland Clinic. It's worth the 45 minute drive to get up there. As an aside, I'm very glad his first nurse practioner, Nurse Tardy, retired. I thought I was going to pop a blood vessel the morning she walked in past me 20 mintues after our scheduled appointment time! The new NP is a punctual, friendly, warm person, yay!

The fact that my MS is mild, and that the resident at my GP's office just wouldn't quit until we knew what was wrong with me. Thank you, Dr. Adolph, and I hope that whatever line of medicine you chose after your time at my doc's office, you have patients who appreciate your tenacity and your capacity for listening.

The fact that the MS community is so warm and open and caring. To the folks in the local society, who made a nervous, shy stranger very welcome at that first Christmas luncheon and the folks at Jooly's Joint, who I met when I was terrified that my bout of optic neuritis was going to lead to permanent blindness in my left eye. Thank you all.

Some things I'm not thankful for:

Well, okay, I have MS. It's mild and it's in remission, but it still sucks.

The cost of my meds--$17,000/year. That's about the Federal poverty guideline for a family of three.

The MS depression which has me taking a little more Lexapro every year, when I managed my depression for 25 years without meds. I still hate that I'm dependent on a pill to keep from sleeping 24/7 when things go wrong.

So it's been three years, and I'm lucky things aren't worse, and I'm proud of me for making sure MS is just a minor part of my life, not the central facet.

Friday, November 17, 2006

4:45 p.m., November 17th, 2003

When I got home from work and checked the messages, there was an urgent one from the resident at my doctor's office who'd been treating me. Unfortunately, the office had closed at 4:30. I knew it had to be the results of the 2 MRIs I'd had the previous week--one of my brain and one of my spine. The MRIs were the culmination of six weeks of intensive testing. On September 30th, 2003, I went to the doctor because I'd had pins and needles in my feet, legs, hands and arms for over a week and they just wouldn't stop. Because I'm overweight and my grandfather was diabetic, the resident explained to me, what I was feeling was probably diabetic neuropathy, and I should have a blood test and see him in a week for the results.

When I went back in a week, the blood test showed normal sugar levels. Okay, said this bulldog resident, maybe you've got a pinched nerve. Let's do a nerve conduction test and an electromyogram. Turns out it wasn't a pinched nerve. Okay, says the resident, let's do a blood test for lupus. Nope. Wasn't lupus. This was where it started to get way scary.

The doc explained to me that we had eliminated all of the "easy" answers--testing for diabetes, lupus, a pinched nerve, he'd eliminated MS because my strength was good, etc. We were down to things like ALS (Lou Gehrig's disese) or a brain or spinal tumor, so it was time for MRIs. Somewhere I have a file where I wrote up all my impressions from inside the machine--thinking about writing it out was all that kept me sane in there. No, I'm not claustrophobic, it was BORING. 'Nuff said. Anyway, I had the MRIs on 2 successive nights, and then waited a week for answers. When my doc did have them, he called at home while I was at work.

After a night of freaking out, not sleeping, barfing, etc., I called my doctor's office the minute they opened on the 18th. The resident who'd been seeing me wasn't in, and my doctor wasn't in. I very carefully explained that I was going to work, and one of them needed to call me AT MY WORK NUMBER. When I got there, there was a message on the voice mail, left during my commute, asking me to call. When I did, the nurse asked me if I could come in right away--they had my test results.

Oh, not good. Any time they want you face-to-face, that's just not good. So I left work, flew over to the doc's office, and met with the resident and, for the first time, my primary care physician. After some distress when they saw that I was alone, and a little hemming and hawing about why I would think I had a brain tumor, my doc broke the news.

"You have multiple sclerosis."


"Are you okay?"

"Hmmm. Yes."

Of course, I wasn't, it just hadn't sunk in. I called my boss, told her, got permission to take the rest of the day off, went home, and cried. My tears were probably a 50/50 mix of relief that I didn't have ALS or a tumor and fear about what was in my future.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Two memes

One from Sherri:

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

And one from Jay:

RULES: Each player of this game starts off with 10 weird things/habits/little known facts about yourself. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 10 weird habits/things/little known facts as well as state this rule clearly. No tagbacks.

Okay, I don't know ten people to tag, so anyone who thinks this is kind of cool is welcome to do it.

1. My eyes change color from blue to green to grey depending on my mood and/or what I'm wearing.
2. I actually love my job most of the time.
3. I ordered five pooping reindeer for Christmas--four for presents and one for me.
4. I sing to my dogs, and they each have a special song.
5. I can't seem to write fiction right now. :(
6. My bath addiction is at odds with my dry skin, but the former always wins.
7. Despite my research into their love lives, I don't actually own all that many socks.
8. The ones I do own are sorted by color and arranged in rainbow order in the drawer.
9. The only time I've turned on the television in my bedroom in the last year was to see if it still worked.
10. I'm still not convinced that there isn't a mad duck living somewhere in my basement.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

O Torturous Torment!

No, I am not talking about the aches in my gluteus maximus and my right calf from two hours of mulching on Sunday.

Nor am I talking about trying to explain to a collections representative that a guardianship is more powerful than a mere power of attorney.

I'm certainly not talking about anything to do with Mr. Potato Dick.

I'm not even talking about the soul-searing anguish of discovering that I've put a hole in the heel of my neon-kitty socks.

No, I'm talking about the tortures of the damned. I have to sit here at work for another gross of minutes (yes, exactly 144 minutes) while at home, on my doorstop, is my LUSH order. It's sitting on my doorstep, lonely and waiting for me to come home, open it, sniff everything, sort all of my new stuff into the appropriate hidey-holes around the house, sigh longingly over the items I'm giving as gifts, and then, finally, take a bath with it!

This day will NEVER be over and I will NEVER get home to my Lush. *sob*

Okay, I managed to kill 4 minutes by blogging. I still want my Lush.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

For those using Google to find bathroom pictures

First of all, you'd be better off checking out the Kohler gallery than reading random blogs. Most of the nightmares are in the "Traditional" section--you've been warned.

Second, if you're really that curious about the bathroom of a stranger, here are before and after pictures of mine. For those of you who don't know me, my entire interior was swathed in 1970s Mylar wallpaper when I bought this house two years ago, and I'm removing it at a rate of one room per year.


During the renovation:


From frou-frou to plain jane. Any questions?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Dog Formerly Known As

I can only conclude that my elder dog has decided to change his name. After several days of observation, I have noted that I can call "Stormy" while he is four feet from me and he will not acknowledge even my existence. However, if I call "Dinner," he can hear me from forty feet. He is undoubtedly thinking that humans are stoopid, since it took me so long to figure out the name change. Still, I can have endless moments of entertainment by petting him and saying, "Good Dinner!"

Mom and I had a great time shopping last night. Gabriel Brothers had a very poor selection of boys' clothes, so I still don't have a Christmas or birthday present for Dip, but I had great luck in finding four outfits for Baby Mathgeek (who thankfully is too young to care that she's only getting clothes). I still haven't found anything for little little brother, so the van's going to leave for Texas without a present for him, and I'll keep on looking.

My Christmas list is still about halfway done. I did go over budget last night, but mostly because I found CHRISTMAS SOCKS. They are adorable beyond belief, so I had to get a pair for all of the Christmas boxes that will be going out. Yes, Sherri, Heather, Bri, this means you. No socks for the guys, which is probably a good idea--none of the guys I know are into "cute." I still need presents for: both of my younger brothers, Scarecrow, Dip, my oldest friend in the world and our law clerk. The last one will be easy, though--he adores candy. When VL's secretary handed out bags of Halloween candy, Snoopy spread his all over his desk and sorted it just like a little kid with his loot, and then ate his favorites last. Then he went back to work on the office candy dishes. I could hate him, I really could--he's 37 and way too slim for someone who snarks down all that sugar!

The only productive thing I did today was get a haircut. After a consultation with my stylist, I came to two conclusions. My surgeon was talking out his butt when he said my hair was thinning from the anesthesia (he was looking right at the one thin spot I've had since the late '90s) and cutting my hair shorter would only accentuate the roundness of my face. I'll have to wait until my weight loss shows on my face to go with a shorter cut. I had time beforehand to go buy the rabbit ears I need for my bedroom television, but I couldn't find a RadioShack anywhere in the shopping center clearly marked on the map. By the time I got home, I was in a "screw it" sort of mood and decided I didn't even want to call them. They can do without my ten dollars for another week. Hmpf.

Of course, all the laziness today means I'll pay for it tomorrow, but oh well. Worth it. :-)

Thursday, November 09, 2006


My Lush is still halfway to Ohio.

I'm halfway to getting over Mr. Potato Dick.

Literotica has deleted my stories but not my account--only halfway there.

I'm halfway through my Christmas list.

I don't like being halfway.

A quick giggle

Vegan Lawyer's hubby stopped by to trade cars with her, and while he was waiting for her, he chatted with me for a bit. She obviously had told him about the surgery, because he asked how I was doing (very well!) and if it was a big life change for me (yes, and a good one).

VL came out of her office, and as hubs wasn't quite sure how to end the conversation, he blurted "You have pretty hair" at me and left before I could even stammer out "Thank you!"

Made me grin.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Nah, not so much. Okay, we've elected the first Democratic administration in years, but the election results were not unmixed for me. A friend's husband lost his race for the state house, we're stuck with our oogy state senator, and we've got two more Repugnicans adding to the stranglehold on the state Supreme Court.

On the other hand, the library levy passed without my vote, school levies in a number of municipalities passed, and we've got a smart, scholarly new judge on the 9th District Court of Appeals.

Best of all, though, was that the Jay came up with a new name for me--I am now "Frog Goddess." I cherish this title and will wear it with pride.

I wish my Lush order weren't stuck in Illinois, though. Who knows what kind of cooties it will pick up? Bleargh.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Part of the great American process

Voting, not cheese food, although if you read labels, the making of the latter is also a great American process. I think that there are probably more stringent requirements for the making of cheese food products than there are to insure the fairness and accuracy of voting, but then, I've been a cynic since 2004, when one of Bush's biggest supporters (then and now our State Secretary) supervised an Ohio election riddled with errors and inaccuracies that nevertheless delivered us to Bush, all wrapped up in a pretty red ribbon. That same jerk is running for governor--may his campaign go down in flames! I'm also rather skeptical about the accuracy of our elections given that Diebold, the maker of the electronic voting machines, is a BIG presence in Ohio, and despite numerous tests where their machines have thrown up error after error, the state insists on every precinct using them.

Even though I don't believe in the accuracy of our elections, I get out and vote every year. This year's voting was just a huge exercise in frustration, though, starting from the moment I got out of my car at the polling place.

1. None of the cars pulling out would pause for the thirty seconds it would have taken me to cross the parking lot in front of them, so I had to stand in the rain and wait for a chance to get across the lot and inside.

2. Once in there, none of the tables were marked. Thankfully, I have a loud voice, and when I asked someone for 8-B, a gentleman in the longest (of course!) line told me that was 8-B.

3. When I looked in the mirror this morning, I thought I looked kinda pretty (new hairstyle). Unfortunately, the hottie in the line with me didn't seem to think so (at least, he didn't want to flirt back). And before anyone suggests it, he wasn't gay. No gay man would have been caught dead in those shoes.

4. My ballot (and those of my neighbors, but I don't care about them) didn't have the library levy on it. Evidently despite living in "The City of," I do not live inside the city and do not get to vote for "city issues." I now feel as if I have a $150,000 house on the wrong side of the tracks.

5. The printed instructions for submitting the completed ballot left out a key instruction, leading to much frustration on my part and on the part of the lady next to me.

6. I was late to work after all that mishegoss.

Ah well, at least I voted. Then, after work, I did another fall thing--I went and got my annual flu shot. Why should the state of Ohio be the only one to cause me pain today? :p

Monday, November 06, 2006

Yay for me!

Since July 5th: 62 lbs.
Since August 3rd: 56 lbs.
Since August 23rd: 50 lbs.
Since September 7th: 33 lbs.
Since October 1st: 16 lbs.
Since November 1st: 5 lbs.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I am so blessed in my friends. Many of you know that I got my trust and my heart broken, so I'm not going to go into that again. I just wanted to say thank you to all of the wonderful people who have supported me.

Mallie, who put up with me all day at the expense of her NaNo writing.
Rob and EA and Mark, who offered to beat up the guy who hurt me (or in one case, to "nuke Chicago").
The Scarecrow, who let me see that he does have a brain, he just hides it from most folks.
Mat and SJ and EL and Selena, who said they'd miss me.
Roxanne, who tried her best to make me stay, and accepted it (eventually) when I said I can't.
Mike, who offered hugs and changed his Yahoo av to cheer me up (I :heart: Pooter).
Vella & Lucky, who tried to figure out a way to get me to Texas for Turkey Day.

I am humbled and grateful to find that I have so many wonderful and supportive friends, and I hope that I shall deserve them someday.

Oh, and to the one who said, "I hope someday you will let me be your friend again," there is only one possible answer:

In your dreams, fuckwaffle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Snobservations again

First off, to whomever from "Chambers of Andrew Trollope QC, London, Lambeth" is surfing the interwebbinet looking for pictures of contemporary bathrooms--don't you have work to do? :p

To Bed, Bath and Beyond--you are NEVAH going to convince me that I should buy expensive cookware if you insist on showing pictures of it with BRUSSELS SPROUTS in it. Ewww, ewww, ewww, get those away from me!

To the sheriff of Summit County--dude, I voted for you because your predecessor was as corrupt as they come. Don't think one vote makes me A. a Republican or B. willing to accept your endorsements for other political offices. You just wasted thirty-nine cents plus the cost of your copier toner.

To Betty Montgomery--your track record as state auditor & state attorney is not good enough to compensate for the fact that you were a member of the state government in a position to supervise, question, and possibly even STOP Mr. Noe from plundering the Bureau of Worker's Compensation to the tune of several million dollars. I will not be voting for you or any other incumbent. I don't hate all politicians, the way your ad says, but I do hate your record of either stupidity or connivance.

And finally, to me--hey, stupid, you've got bruises on your leg and a sore neck & shoulders because you FELL Tuesday. In the cemetery, remember? Duh!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween melancholy

Yesterday was road trip day. Mom had a meeting in Steubenville, so I rode along and navigated. The directions came from Dad's brand-new map program, and were a bit confusing at the end, so she wound up being about fifteen minutes late. I dropped her off and visited the Fort Steuben mall, was fairly underwhelmed and returned to the parking lot to sit in the car and read magazines. When the meeting ended, we went to the post office, then lunch, then Mom dropped a bunch of paperwork off at the county court office.

I fell off the wagon cigarette-wise last weekend, and Mom caught me smoking, so that made for a bit of a quiet drive for a while (btw, I am now back on the wagon!) as we headed out of Steubenville for Pittsburgh. The directions for this leg of the trip were flawless, and at this point, it was still sunny and reasonably warm. The sky started to cloud up as we reached the Penn Hills section of Pittsburgh, and by the time we got to Great-Aunt Cathy's house, it was raining. We were in the house only long enough to look at some pictures and for Mom to show some to Aunt Cathy, then the three of us headed out to find the Allegheny County Memorial Park. Mom's cousin Mary Lou had provided excellent directions, and we didn't have any problem until the last intersection, which was a five-way and not well-marked. Mom asked at one of the gas stations, and we found the cemetery.

Having gotten there, Mom had to do a fair bit of driving around until we found the correct portion of the cemetery, and then the real looking started. As with most cemeteries these days, this one now allows only flush-to-the-ground markers, and Mom and I had to clear leaves off about fifty of them before I located our family (to Mr. Betts--I am very sorry I tripped over your headstone and fell on your grave. I slipped in the wet leaves and caught my foot on the edge. Please forgive me). I cleared the leaves off the family stones, and Mom escorted Aunt Cathy from the car to the plots. The most recent marker is my great-uncle Ed's, from last July. Aunt Cathy talked about how she met him after his discharge from the Army during WWII. My grandmother's parents, Hattie and William, are buried there, as are my mom's twin sisters. Joyce and Nancy were born in 1937, and Nancy was stillborn. Joyce died 8 months later of SIDS, and while I never spoke with my grandmother about this, it has to have shaped the rest of her life.

About half of my grandmother and grandfather's ashes are interred with the family. Grandpa wanted his ashes scattered over the Pacific outside of Santa Barbara, where he and my grandmother had so many lovely vacations. Gramma wanted both of them to be buried with the twins and the rest of the family. She wouldn't explicitly go against Grandpa's wishes, but she couldn't bring herself to carry them out, so Grandpa's ashes stayed in the hall closet for the eight or so years between his death and hers. When she died, Mom and her brothers did the sensible thing and divided up the ashes, burying half and scattering the other half. Aunt Cathy made a reference to the family legend of Grandpa's father, whose ashes were put on a train in Pittsburgh to be buried at the family farm in Ohio. When the grieving family got to the train station--no ashes. Great-grandpa may still be riding the rails to this day, and as he worked for the railroad all his adult life, it's fitting.

On the one hand, my trip to the cemetery made me oddly happy. I was glad to have some time with Aunt Cathy, who is amazingly sweet and pretty damn sharp for 84, and glad to have grown up in a close and loving family. On the other hand, a selfish part of me looked at all those joint headstones--"Harriet & William," "John & Mary," "Edward & Catherine," and just felt like such a failure for being the only one in the family to be unmarried. *sigh*

As I'm sitting here writing this, it just occurred to me that the opening scene of the first "Night of the Living Dead" opened with a visit to a Pennsylvania graveyard on a grey and gloomy day. I'm terribly pleased I didn't think of that yesterday while we were there!

We got lost several times on the way from the cemetery to the restaurant Aunt Cathy recommended for dinner, owing to the rain, the early darkness, some vagueness from Aunt Cathy (who drives very little these days) and some inattention from the driver as she and her aunt discussed their addiction to ice cream. Dinner was lovely, even if I did eat myself sick and the restaurant was full of Steeler's memorabilia. After we dropped Aunt Cathy off at home, we got lost again trying to find the PA turnpike, and when we did, it was pouring rain, the road was full of big trucks, and it was pretty scary. When we crossed the Ohio border, we both took a deep breath, which turned out to be a mistake, as someone must have hit or scared a skunk recently. Eww. Nonetheless, the trip was much easier from that point on--the rain even stopped!

We were at Mom & Dad's by 9:40, and I was home and drying my feet by 10. All in all, it was a good, if sad, Halloween day.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Certain kinds of nostalgia are good. I was thinking about Christmases past recently, remembering with some sadness the mouse on the clocktower in my former home town, a houseful of family and friends, how my brothers were pretty good kids most of the time and especially at Christmas. *grin*

Then I got home and got a clothing catalog all full of '70s retreads. Ewww. Gauchos were ugly then, they're ugly now. That kind of nostalgia you can keep far from me!

Right now, I'm listening to Kevin Gilbert's rock opera "Shaming of the True" and noticing how full it is of '80s references. I wonder if he would have updated it if he'd lived, how it would have sounded, who would have performed in the movie if there was one...

Disjointed thoughts, but that could be the result of the Vicodin. That stuff also gives me dreams so vivid they damn near qualify as hallucinations. It made the possum nightmare really bad Thursday night. *shudder* Hopefully, no dreams tonight, unless I am dreaming of someone buying out a Lush store's Christmas inventory for me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Embracing my inner whatever

Over the weekend, it was my inner drama queen, as I dealt with episodes of dizziness and was just positive it was the MS returning. Then I found out I've got an ear infection. *blush*

Earlier today, I embraced my inner cheapskate, as I whined about $210 worth of dog shots. Yes, it was time for the Annual Torturing of the Hounds. Dr. Bob said Bigfoot was a complete gentleman from start to finish, and Littlefoot behaved himself until it was time for the blood draw to test for heartworm, Lymes disease and erlichiosis. He decided Dr. Bob was going to use the needle to amputate his foot and he wasn't going to let it happen. Apparently, even though he was muzzled (at my insistence, the staff at the vet hospital have blanket permission to muzzle either of my dogs--they're too big to take chances with), he howled, thrashed, snarled and heaved his body all over the exam room. Brat.

Of my two former co-workers with MS-like symptoms, one apparently had some abnormalities in her spinal MRI and the other has no lesions whatsoever but disturbing symptoms. Both have follow-up appointments at the Cleveland Clinic, and hopefully will get some answers. I've had nothing but stellar care at the Mellen Center there (especially with Nurse Tardy retired *grin*). I wish them all the best and the amazing luck I have had.

Right now, I am embracing my inner raisin, after a long soak in the tub. It was, of course, a Lush bath, specifically one-fourth of a Blue Skies bubble bar. This one is pretty old--the nice blue color has faded, and there weren't many bubbles, but it still smelled great, and now so do I. And uh-oh, Lush has all kinds of new stuff out...good thing I don't have real credit cards, or I'd be embracing my inner bankrupt in about 20 minutes!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bulbs, baths and burnt boobs

Saturday was a beautiful fall day in Ohio. I woke up early, got a month's worth of grocery shopping done, then came home and planted my last sixty-two bulbs and seven perennials. After I'd thrown away my old tennis shoes (one of which actually fell off my right foot while I was gardening!), it was only noon and I decided I'd earned a very special bath.

I still had half a Ceridwen's Cauldron from Lush and my entire "crop" of lavender for this year (six sprigs). I opened up the muslin, added my lavender, and dropped the whole thing into the bath. It was just wonderful! Not only did I get all the moisturizing bath oil benefits, but I got to enjoy knowing a big part of the luscious scent came from my efforts in my garden. And since I planted two more lavender bushes (shrubs?), next year I'll have even more to play with.

The only problem with the whole day was when I bent over to pick something up off the bathroom floor and my right breast smacked onto the heated towel rack. It's not hot enough to burn if I brush my hand against the bare metal, but in this case, the body part hitting it was both more thin-skinned and pressed down from its own weight. Thankfully, a friend to whom I whined reminded me that there's a reason I keep that aloe plant which is about the size of a small warthog (not that I have measured a lot of warthogs, it's just an eyeball estimate). Repeated applications have made the burn a lot less uncomfortable than it could have been (it's a flattish oval about 2" long).

I sincerely hope that was the end of "Stupid Week" and not the beginning of new and more stupid things!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And now for something completely awful

When I woke up this morning, I couldn't find Littlefoot. He wasn't on my bed or on the rug beside the bed where he usually is. I looked in the guest bedroom, which is his third choice of sleeping area, but he wasn't there either. I gave up and headed to the breezeway to let Bigfoot out, and that's when I discovered that I'd left Littlefoot out on the chain all night long. He was thrilled to come in and eat breakfast, of course, and went willingly back out when it was time to feed Bigfoot. He's so sweet about everything that it just heaps coals of fire on my head. It doesn't help that I think Bigfoot tried to tell me that Littlefoot was still outside last night--he was whining and didn't want to settle down at all.

About four or five years ago, there was a story on the news about a woman who got tired of calling her dog to come inside and she went to bed. In the morning, she found the dog huddled against her back door, frozen to death. I had nightmares for months. And now I've done that, and it was sheer luck it wasn't freezing last night. I'm terrified it was a lapse due to the MS and that it will happen again on one of our sub-freezing Ohio nights, and I will be responsible for the death of my little JiffyPopButt.

Yes, I gave him extra cuddles all day, and even let him breathe stinky dog breath in my face.

And just to complete my day as the world's worst dog owner, I trimmed toenails just now, and clipped the quick on one of Bigfoot's nails. He bled all over the kitchen floor before I got some flour on the bleeding and a sock on his paw. He's six feet from me, looking at the sock and then me, and sulking. Nobody sulks like this dog--he deserves an Oscar.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A rare serious moment

On the drive home today, I was listening to the radio and snobserving the Stepford wife in the SUV behind me. People who pull and stroke one lock of hair make me a little nervous, especially when they're behind my little four-banger with a two-ton behemoth. My attention was drawn to the radio when an awful political ad came on.

It seems that something called "America's PAC" thinks that by dragging up Margaret Sanger's involvement with eugenics at the turn of the last century, they can claim the Democrats are trying to euthanize African-Americans. I sincerely hope that the rest of my fellow Buckeyes can see this for the desperate move of our very corrupt Republican incumbents, and resist the smear tactics.

Oh, and it's very interesting that the website of the group sponsoring this disgusting ad has been "having technical issues" for the last three days, just since the ad started airing. Slimeballs.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Stats

Random stats from a random day.

Ounces of water consumed: 32 (yes, I know, I know)

Pounds lost this week: 1 :(

Bulbs planted: 45 allium, 16 white muscari, 30 daffodils

Bulbs left to plant: 15 Spring Starflowers, 20 Lavender Mountain Lilies, 15 Cool Shades Dutch Irises, 12 Azure Alliums and 25 Blue Grape Hyacinths.

Plants safely in the ground: 1 foxglove

Plants still to be planted: 1 hosta, 2 lavender, 3 lambs' ears.

Flower beds mowed & sprayed with Round-Up: 6.

Friendly-fire casualties of said Round-Up: 1 creeping phlox, 1 heirloom white lamium. :(

Chipmunks seen and conversed with: 2

Houseplants brought in: 12 (including a Norfolk pine which reaches my breastbone and has about fifty pounds of soil in the pot).

Houseplants still in garage & needing to be brought in: 5 (4 giant moose-like geraniums that are older than my nephews and one giant spider plant, even older).

Story rankings for "Night of the Darned": #1 on Literotica's Top List of Humor & Satire stories, #13 on Literotica's Top List of all stories.

Showers taken: 1 (including all the weekly girly stuff like exfoliating, deep-conditioning and hair removal).

Cuts sustained while shaving: 2 (one of which wouldn't stop bleeding for ages, ew).

Files backed up: 75.

Floors swept or vacuumed: 4

Friends flirted with: Lots. :D

A Sunday that is probably of interest only to me, but I had fun!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Another 45 bulbs I forgot I ordered arrived today.

As of right now, this weekend I shall need to plant:

178 bulbs
2 lavender shrubs
1 white foxglove
3 lambs' ears
1 hosta

and bring in all the houseplants that are sitting in my garage marinating in spray-on bugkiller.

And I'm still thinking that next year, I need some of Mom's white columbines.

My name is Jammies, and I'm a gardening addict.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I should not be allowed in Home Depot without a chaperone.

Sunday evening, I ran out to pick up a few items. I stopped at two craft stores and got some things I needed, then went to Home Depot. I wasn't expecting to spend more than $10, as all I needed was one bag of sand and two bags of limestone gravel.

Unfortunately, they had perennials on sale, so I got three lambs' ears, two lavender plants and a foxglove. I looked at a pussy willow, but put it back because it was $25. When I got to the register, there was a sign saying "33% off all trees, shrubs and bushes," so I went back and got the pussy willow, which wound up being $17.

I planted the pussy willow tonight, and now I have three lambs' ears, two lavender plants, a foxglove and one hundred and thirty three bulbs to plant before we get a really hard frost.

I definitely should not be allowed unchaperoned in Home Depot. *blush*

Monday, October 09, 2006

For me

Since July 5th: 50 lbs.
Since August 3rd: 44 lbs.
Since August 23rd: 38 lbs.
Since September 7th: 21 lbs.
Since October 1st: 4 lbs.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Day at the Fair

Stan Hywet's Ohio Mart, to be precise. Aside from a few panicked moments at the beginning of the day when Mom couldn't find the credit card she'd given me to use at OfficeMax (I had put it in a safe place, oops), it was a wonderful day. We got to Stan Hywet bright and early, and chatted while we waited in line to get in. The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and slightly cool. When they opened up, we went past all the junk food, and Mom headed straight for the bathroom (ahh, the joys of that third cup of coffee). There were three tents of booths, and at the very first one, Mom found Christmas presents for herself and all three of us. I did learn my lesson from the Savannah journal, and so I won't say any more and spoil a surprise for Bookworm Mathgeek. I did get her Christmas present from me, too, though. *grin*

I snagged some small gifts for Amy and Mallie, all of Mom's Christmas presents, and a Steelers piggybank and suncatcher for Marcia (who I like even if she is peculiar enough to root for the Steelers). Susan's done, Princess Bookworm is done, I have a great idea for Dad, another great idea for Chip, and Mallie and Jay are done. I have no idea what I'm getting either of my brothers (suggestions welcome). I've got one teeny present for sister-in-law Annabel, but I need more. Baby Mathgeek will be pretty easy--one year old is too young to say, "Awww, bummer, clothes!" Dip is difficult because I don't know exactly what kind of toys he's into right now. I foresee a long talk with his mom in the future (when she has some time to talk on the phone, which may wind up being AFTER Christmas, lol).

Mom and I spent 4 hours at Ohio Mart rather than the two we'd intended, and we both agreed that it was time well spent. Mom even thanked me for nagging her into going. :-D

Next year, we'll probably plan for a whole day, and I will for sure bring my tote bag instead of a teeny little purse!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Slow news day

Well, for me, not for Fox News (which, btw, keeps identifying Mark Foley as a Democrat instead of a Republican).

So, in the grand tradition of Scott and Brendan, here are some of the ways people find my blog:

canine ear exterior swelling fluid

Ugh. Your dog has a hematoma. Take him or her to the vet and have it lanced. Poor dog and poor you.

Canei Wine.

Ick. Eww. If you're willing to drink this stuff, you're too damn young to drink. Turn off the computer and go get your Mommy to fix you some hot chocolate.

Literotica author Colleen Thomas.

I'm sorry. Colleen died on May 26, 2006. There is more information in a thread on the Literotica message board where she posted.

Literotica Kitty Foreman.

Ick. Eww. If you are looking for celebrity porn involving Kitty Foreman, get away from me, that's all I have to say. Ewwwww!

Kellbran caramel popcorn.

Sorry, they don't have a website, I've looked. But you can buy it at Quaker Square in Akron.

Why Heparin bruises.

Because it thins your blood, and then your blood oozes out under your skin. I think. I'm not a nurse. :p

Mixing Darvocet and Phenergan.

My surgeon didn't have a problem with it. Maybe you should ask an actual doctor instead of looking for medical information in random blogs?

That's all for now--I'm off for an exciting dinner of Lean Cuisine fettucine alfredo.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Literotica's Halloween contest has begun and my story has posted!

None of this is work-safe, but for anyone who is interested, it is here: Night of the Darned.

Getting my paws muddy

Yesterday morning was exhausting, but will definitely be worth it in the spring. Of the 233 bulbs I ordered last spring when I got my tax refund, 100 arrived the day I came home from surgery, and have been residing in my refrigerator. Last weekend, I planted sixty-odd bulbs from The Works from White Flower Farm, and yesterday I got out and planted the rest. It helped to have my new bulb planter this week, and it helped that the ground was softish from all the rain we've been having. I even wore my new yellow poncho over my sweats, and I'm fairly sure I looked like a giant demented duck.

*note to self* Do not run muddy paws through head-fur while gardening, no matter how much said fur is getting in your eyes!

Next weekend is reserved for weeding and mulching. I need to get out there and empty the trailer which is full of mulch, wash it out and put it away for the winter. By the weekend of the thirteenth, I should have the rest of my bulbs from Breck's, including the Blue Magic Garden, which is going in the back yard and the Pink Daffodil Collection and the White Magic Muscari, both of which are going in the new round bed in the front yard. Next fall, I definitely want to get an estimate for brush-hogging out the wilderness that is the west-side strip of my property. The kid next door isn't much interested in landscaping, so whether that strip is entirely on my property or only partially, I don't think he'll care when I ask him if I can clean it up. It will have to be a landscaping company, though, as there are both daffodils and bluebells planted in there, and I don't want to lose those, just the weeds, weed trees and dead wood. I'd also like to keep the blackberries in the wayback for the deer, the birds and me. Unfortunately, there's some big-leafed weed with burrs that's spread in the last two years, so I definitely need a pro to help out.

Today's chores are entirely indoor. I need to climb Mount Laundry and reduce it to nothing, and since Literotica's Halloween contest has started, I need to get a jump on reading stories and check obsessively to see if mine has been posted yet. I'm pretty damn impressed with "Night of the Darned" and for once, I even came up with a decent tagline (Some socks are going to dye). I was going to go to the grocery store, but I did a quick inventory, and I've got everything I need, and since I only lost two pounds last week, I decided I'm better off not being tempted to buy things I don't need because I'm discouraged about where I am weight-wise. I'll just run up and down the stairs doing laundry instead! :-D

Monday, September 25, 2006

Not Thunder

I caught lilbittyblackkitty tonight in the humane trap and called the other Pamela. Any worries I'd had about psychos looking to collect black kitties for Halloween ended when she sat down in the driveway in front of the trap for 20 minutes and talked to the kitty to reassure him. Her husband came over from work, and we locked the dogs in the house and took the trap into the breezeway. We let the kitty out, and he ran all over, trying to find a way out. After a few minutes, when he'd wedged himself onto the plant stand next to the window, he let Tim pet him and eventually pick him up. That was when we saw the white blaze on his tummy, which meant that he wasn't Thunder. However, he relaxed in Pamela's arms, and clung to her shirt with his front paws. After a few words and a lot of looks, the way you get with married couples, Tim told me they were adopting this little sweetie pie, even if it wasn't Thunder. They left, having promised to keep me posted via e-mail, and I went out to the garage, and picked up the empty plate.

I am going to miss talking to lilbittyblackkitty. *sigh*

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Self Indulgence & Self Abuse

Self indulgence: Falling asleep under a 300 thread count, sateen-finished sheet; a fluffy, soft, light microfleece blanket; a puffy cotton comforter and a fuzzy acrylic throw, savoring the weight and warmth in a chilly bedroom.

Self abuse: Having to climb out from under the blankets when the alarm shrills in the frigid pre-dawn.

Self indulgence: Spending my tax refund on 230 flower bulbs.

Self abuse: Having to be outside on a fall morning when it's pouring rain and only managing to get sixty of the bulbs planted before my muscles scream that they hate me and want me to die, and waking up the next morning with a screaming back.

Self indulgence: A bubbly, frothy, warm bath full of Epsom salts and cinnamon-scented Lush goodness.

Self abuse: Slipping just slightly getting out of the tub and adding a painful hip bruise to the assorted aches from gardening.

Self indulgence: Having two big cuddly fuzzy dogs who love me and think I'm the best thing ever.

Self abuse: Trying to vacuum undercoat off the indoor/outdoor carpet in the breezeway.

Self indulgence: Singing to a restless puppymonster to sleep so he'll quit crying and settle down.

Self abuse: Then being unable to go to sleep myself, and lying in bed hating the snores emanating from said puppymonster.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Evidently, lilblackkitty is quite the adventurer. I responded to an ad in the local paper, and a very sweet young couple came out to the house today to see the kitty. They live south of Akron, but they both work at the tv station up the street, and they're pretty sure it's their kitty who's been living in my yard since August. They think he hitched a ride in the bed of their pickup one day when they went to work, then hopped out and wandered off.

Unfortunately, he's a skittish little booger. Apparently, he was to start with, but after over a month in my yard, with dogs, groundhogs, traffic, Josh on the lawnmower and deer to startle him, he's exceptionally nervous now. So at the moment, there's an unset humane trap in the driveway, with a dish of food in it. Every day, I'm going to push the food a little farther back in the trap, and the minute I have the fugitive caught, I'm going to call his owner and send his little butt home. Well, not so little after a month of eating Kitten Chow. ;)

There are two odd things--first is that Thunder's name is so close to Bigfoot's real name, Thunderstorm. The second is that Thunder's owner and I have the same first name. Maybe he was meant to wind up here, I don't know. I just know I'm glad he'll be going home safely before Halloween and before the snow flies. :)