Sunday, August 31, 2008

Anxiety dreams

Friday night: dreamed that I had giant zits in five different places on my face.

Saturday night: dreamed that the waterline into the house was broken and flooding the basement and when I finally got it shut off, I had no water for days.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Note to self

Idea for work pumpkin-carving contest: "I got a rock."

It's about time

I am so ready for this holiday weekend it's not even funny. Work has been full-tilt for the last three weeks, and while the overtime is good for my wallet, it's not so good for the rest of me. I ache everywhere and I'm hideously short on sleep.

My current book is my first ever looseleaf product, and it's difficult and different from the pocket parts and softbounds I've been doing for the last year. The difficulty has not been lessened by the fact that it's authored by a firm of lawyers who have taken for-bloody-ever to get their work in. Not only were they a month late with their first draft, they got their final changes in less than 48 hours before I was supposed to build the book.

My team coordinator did the senior editor review for me today, and she found so many little things that needed to be changed that she called Manufacturing and told them the book wouldn't be ready until Tuesday. So I get the weekend to catch up on my housecleaning and my sleep, and then first thing next week I get this monster finished and out of my hair for a week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


And hooray for that. It's 63° F right now, and I am happy to have a leetle cold front visiting. Plus, it's raining, so I don't have to go water my plants. The less I have to do at home, the better, because I am swamped at work.

My very first looseleaf publication builds on Friday, and of course, the idiot lawyers who are authoring it didn't get their final pages to me until mid-day today. It's four volumes with a CD, and I have to get it all done tomorrow so I can put it together on Friday. I'm seriously tempted to go smack these guys!

*deep breath*

Instead of thinking about work, I'm going to think about fall, which has always been my favorite season. I've always loved the look of the Harvest Moon, so I ordered the 2008 version of that scent from BPAL. As my darling Kogi always says, "It could smell like accord of ass and I'd still buy it" just for the associations with autumn. I want to smell like a fat round gold thing on a cold night!

Speaking of BPAL and associations, I keep running into phoenixes. I love BPAL (Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab) perfumes, my current favorite bath & body product scent is Phoenix from Julphia, our proprietary software at work is called Phoenix, I pass an office or something for the University of Phoenix every day on my way to work, and a new second-hand car dealership just opened up down the street from me called Phoenix Auto Sales. I can hear my little brother saying it's just coincidence (Hi, Captain Crossword!), but I can't shake the feeling that maybe it's more than that...

Friday, August 22, 2008

My brother, Billy Chapman

I promised I would write this story up, so here goes:

A decade or so ago, my middle brother and his wife had bought and moved into their first house. At the time, they had no kids, a cute little grey tiger cat and a cute big yellow Lab. The house was in a brand new development, so they had very few neighbors.

It was December, and cold. The big cute yellow Lab hadn't adjusted to the move very well and had had a number of accidents in the house (shut up Scott, lol). My sister-in-law left the Friday before Christmas to spend some time in New York with her family, and my brother remained in Columbus because he had to work.

On December 23rd, Billy came home from work, parked the car in the garage, opened the door to the kitchen and was immediately confronted with the results of the loss of canine self-control. He threw his keys on the kitchen table, grabbed the dog and hauled him outside. He was fairly upset at this point, but he really got mad when he discovered that he'd just locked himself out of the house.

So it's near Christmas, what few houses exist in their development are empty, and Billy is outside in the freezing December weather with an incontinent dog and no cell phone. He looks around the garage, grabs his wood axe, winds up and smashes it into the door frame so hard that he can hear the strike plate crash into the sliding glass doors on the other side of the kitchen. The door pops open, he goes in, cleans up the floor, calms down and has a quiet evening.

Around bedtime, he realizes he hasn't seen the cat all evening, and goes looking. He finds the poor thing wedged in the bathroom corner behind the toilet, trembling like mad. Little brother figures that Kitty was probably in the kitchen when he killed the doorframe, and spends a fair amount of time petting and soothing the poor little guy.

On Christmas Eve, Billy drives up to my folks' house, Annabel comes in from New York, we have a lovely Christmas and they leave a day or so later. A week after they get home, they wake up one morning to find giant clumps of fur everywhere, and a cat who is one-half to three-quarters bald.

So they rush Kitty to the vet, and three doctors, two techs and a student intern all rush around looking things up in books, doing blood tests, asking questions until finally my brother says, in a very very small voice,

"Erm, if something scared him really badly, could that cause this?"

"Oh, of course, stress-related alopecia" says the vet. "Why, did something scare him?"

"Maybe." says little brother, still in that small voice.

So that is the story of how my younger brother literally scared the fur off his cat (who did go on to live a pretty long and full life).

Oh, and the name Billy Chapman is from Silent Night, Deadly Night

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Snobservations

To my friend Doc:

You have spent entirely too much time with nuns. A grouping of objects, such as my rubber ducks in my fountain, is not a "shrine to duckies." Similarly, the arrangement of photos on my credenze is not a "shrine to nieces and nephews" and the four bookcases together in the library is not a "book altar." Get out more and add some more secular words to your vocabulary.

And while we are on the subject of my duck collection, I don't care if you don't like my Dead Duck. Ordinarily, I would take "sick" and "nasty" as compliments, but I did not like the tone with which you used those words. He's sick in an adorable fashion, so there!

To Darth CS at my pharmacy:

Dude, if you've got some sort of medical condition that makes you a mouth-breather, I'm of the opinion that you need to re-think the whole headset and microphone idea. About fifteen different times during the phone call today I expected to hear "Jammies. I am your...pharmacist."

Second, just because you are a pharmacy does not mean that you are immune from the federal regulations requiring that you not charge someone's card until the merchandise is ready to ship. I will dispute this both under The Fair Credit Billing Act and The Electronic Funds Transfer Act and expect your company to behave towards your customers as any merchant is required to behave.

To my co-workers:

I understand being reserved, I really do. When I'm not online, I'm really rather shy. But when someone who has been on our team for years is going to another team, is it so much to ask that we take her to lunch? Suck it up and donate 90 minutes of your precious time and $15 and we'll all go to Applebee's. Sheesh.

There. I feel much better.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

R.I.P. Congresswoman Jones

Family, hospital confirm congresswoman's death
Posted by Plain Dealer staff August 20, 2008 19:03PM

• Plain Dealer comment: Remembering Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an editorial | Jeff Darcy's view
• 2007 profile: Great expectations for Tubbs Jones
• Brain aneurysms are particularly risky
• Her career and legacy
• Tributes: Blog comments
• Photo gallery from the news conference
• Send your condolences

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones' family and officials at Huron Hospital have announced that the five-term congresswoman has died.
She was 58.

This is the statement:

Tubbs Jones Family, Huron Hospital and Cleveland Clinic
August 20, 2008 - 6:40 p.m.

"Throughout the course of the day and into this evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones' medical condition declined. Medical doctors and neurosurgeons from Huron Hospital and Cleveland Clinic sadly report that at 6:12 p.m. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones died.

She dedicated her life in public service to helping others and will continue to do so through organ donations.

Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time."

Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died after suffering a burst brain aneurysm.

Tubbs Jones, 58, served as a Cuyahoga County judge and prosecutor before succeeding U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes. She served five terms in Congress and was expected to easily win her sixth in November.

Ohio has lost one of our true shining lights.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Littlefoot, my eternal puppy

It's hard to believe Littlefoot will be twelve years old in October. From the moment I met him as an abandoned fifteen-month-old puppy, he has been a warm-hearted, cuddly, playful fuzzball. My brother described him once as "all blonde, no brains," and a former boyfriend gifted him with the name "Jiffy Pop Butt."

He's part Chow, part German Shepard, all puppy. He likes to catch soap bubbles, tries to eat bees, loves dissecting squeaky toys and will follow anyone who seems as if they might pet him some time in the next year.

He's got a digestive system that can take the same exact food Bigfoot eats and turn it into fishy breath and weapons-grade farts. He sheds constantly and profusely. Not only does he refuse to allow me to trim his nails, one time at the vet's he came out of anesthesia when the nail clippers touched the first toenail.

He's the only dog I know who watches tv with fierce concentration when there is a dog on the screen. He even reacts to cartoon dogs like Lady & the Tramp or Santa's Little Helper from "The Simpsons."

When I am sad, he's always there to ask for petting, chase a toy, catch bubbles or just lie next to my chair. In fact, he is never far from me.

His sweetness of face is matched only by his sweetness of heart.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bigfoot, my heart dog

My apologies--the dogs are fine, this is me trying to be foresighted.

With surprising prescience, Zayrina asked me last night if I had any pre-need funeral arrangements made for the 'Foots. I do, sort of. I haven't pre-paid for cremation, but I've talked with Kogi about custom urns for their ashes. I'll provide the words and pictures, and she'll make them for me.

I keep coming back to this window, writing something, letting Blogger save it, and then backspacing over it. For all of my education, all of my reading, all of the talking that comes so easily to me, I can't seem to find the right words to describe my dogs, and to some extent, I can't make it real that they will need these words written someday.

Bigfoot has been with me since he was five months old. He was rejected by the family that adopted him from a shelter on the grounds of being "too big." He was fifty pounds and in that gangly teenage stage when I adopted him. His legs were so long and his feet so large that he looked like half a spider. From the first, he slept on my bed. When he was fussing, I'd sing to him--Jimmy Buffett's "Death of an Unpopular Poet." I still sing that to him on the nights when he can't seem to settle down to sleep and is pacing restlessly around my room crying.

He tried to bite my ex on our first date and I didn't listen to him--silly me. I could have saved myself a few years of hurt had I taken my dog's advice. All the times the jackass abused me (never physically), Bigfoot was there for me. I've soaked his fur with tears and never once has he let me down.

He's done two MS walks with me, pulling me through my first one in a freezing rain back when I weighed well over three hundred pounds. He's lightened my heart with a million silly antics, and made me crazy with his genius for opening things like cabinets, closets, cupboards and the refrigerator.

I can say all of this, and I can't properly describe the soul in Bigfoot, my heart dog, the one who is so much a part of me that I will miss him forever when he is gone. I am exasperated and miserable that I can't seem to sum up what a perfect dog he is even when he isn't being perfect.

Eight hours later, I give up. This will have to do for now, and tomorrow I shall endeavor to describe Littlefoot.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Every time I think I've got my Giant List Of Greed complete, Erin comes up with something new and wonderful. So far, she's made a pirate sock zombie, a samurai sock zombie and now sock zombie puppets, all available on her Etsy store.

This one was a custom order, but I seriously want her to sell them on Etsy now:

A cat zombie. How freaking adorable is that?

I wonder if I could get a discount for referring all my crazy BPALz?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I'm still struggling with my book and my deadline, but tonight I can't seem to focus on any one thing. If I start to read, I get bored within ten pages. If I'm on the Lush forum, I'm bored within half a thread. I don't even know what kind of bath I want.


Monday, August 11, 2008

I am so tired of the drama.

Not people, the weather. In the last week, four thunderstorms have come through my little city. There has been enough thunder to scare Littlefoot into trying to live inside my right pant leg, enough lightning to fry every piece of electronics on my street, and less than one inch of rain. It's frustrating when I think I'm going to get a night off of watering, but after all the sound and fury I still have to get outside with the hose.

Stupid global weirding.

On the other hand, my tomatoes are coming along nicely, and when they are ripe, it will be time to take the last pound of thick-cut peppered bacon out of the freezer and cook it up for sammiches.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Skindecent saved my life last night


I'll tell the story in a moment, but I have to preface it by telling Scott that if he makes one freaking comment about inside dogs, I will burst into tears and kick him sharply on the ankles. Stuff happens, I need to vent about it, and I don't want any extra grief. So there!

This has been a difficult and draining week at work. I've got one book that is the first revised edition in seven years, and another where the authors wanted an extra month to get us really lame content revisions and the head office wants us to still have it out by August 30th. Add to that my night-of-not-sleeping thanks to Ophelia's canine soulmate, and it's been hard.

Last night, I came home, had coffee, let the dogs in & out and fed them, ate dinner myself and went to water the plants. To do that, I have to bypass my fancypants new water softener, which involves a trip to the basement.

Down in the front half of the basement, aka the dogs' half, there are two room-sized pieces of carpet from when Mom & I re-did the bedrooms. They are down there because I felt guilty locking my dogs up on concrete floors all day. In the last 3 or so years, there have been some accidents, but I've cleaned up right away and it hasn't been too awful.

That is, until yesterday. When I went downstairs, I could both smell and see that someone had been very sick on both pieces of carpet. I switched the water over, zipped out and watered the tomatoes, then went back downstairs to deal with the mess.

On closer examination, it was very clear that the carpet was unsalvageable this time. Back upstairs I went, and then I returned to the basement with my good snips. I grabbed a couple of rags, cleaned up what I could, and then cut both pieces of carpet in half. Then came the bad part.

I had to get the carpet upstairs and out last night, because my trash pickup was early this morning, my city will only take one room's worth of carpet per pickup, and I didn't want all of it sitting around until next week. Not only was the carpet disgusting, it hadn't aged well--years in the basement had cause the backing to dry up into thoroughly rough and scratchy burlap.

By the time I had wrestled three of the four pieces upstairs, I was filthy, sodden with sweat, itching from head to toes and still had to get the blue pieces out to the curb. After I'd done so, all I wanted to do was remove all of my skin and hair from my body and grow in new stuff.

There was no way I was taking a bath in that condition, so I rummaged around in my bathroom cupboard, found a sugar scrub and bath cream in Pillow Fight scent from Skindecent, used it in a cool shower, and finally felt clean and human.

Then my dad called. When I told him what I'd been up to, he said in a very sweet and slightly chiding voice that he would have come over to help. I told him I knew that, but it needed to be done right away, and I wasn't going to haul him out of the house just to help me deal with something that was the fault of my dogs. He said he'd try to recover from the hurt feelings. ;)

We had a lot of thunder, lightning and wind last night, plus a teensy amount of rain. My plants didn't get any extra water, but my trash can got knocked over, the cardboard I had out for the recycling truck got wet, and the carpet got unrolled and wet. Bless them, the trash guys picked everything up anyway, and next week I will be securing the carpet with duct tape.

I'll get the last piece out of the basement after I duct tape it first so it doesn't unroll on the stairs, and then all I have to worry about is Kentucky tort law!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Separated at birth...

My Littlefoot and Mallie's Ophelia. Nevermind that one is a brown dog and the other is a tuxedo cat. They both have the ability to transform ordinary pet food into fumes which violate the Geneva Convention, they both have too much fur, and both of them get to sleep after keeping their owners up all night.

Whatever made Bigfoot sick last week, he got better (no, he wasn't a newt). Littlefoot is the sick one this week, and last night, he woke me up every ninety minutes wanting to go out. Because there's a certain amount of adrenalin involved in having a dog bark in your ear in the middle of the night and knowing it's going to be a race to make it to the back door before said dog explodes, every time it happened I lost about 30 minutes of sleep.

Like his spiritual twin, Littlefoot slept all day. I had to wrestle with civil jury instructions and coding of same.

Monday, August 04, 2008

JammiesFest Day Four: Sunday, July 20th

Also known as "The Day Jammies is Sad Because Everyone Leaves."


I've been putting off writing this entry because just remembering the day everyone left is enough to make me sad. Plus, with the exception of a quick webcam view of The Mango, not much happened beyond everyone packing and leaving.

Things were taken, things were forgotten, hugs were exchanged and pictures were taken, and after I dropped the last guest off at the bus station, it was a very quiet and sober evening.

I still miss everyone, but I'm already making plans for JammiesFest '09.