Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hola Y'all!!!

Hola from Mexico City, where the altitude has me breathing short and gasping a bit! My plane touched down at about 2:30 local time and after standing in long lines to go through immigration and customs and then walking about 17 miles IN THE AIRPORT I finally got to the pedestrian bridge leading over the busy street to the Camino Real Aeropuerto Hotel.

The view from my room is . . . ummmm . . . OK, it's actually the airport but there are some really cool mountains behind it. In fact, could that flat topped mountain in the background on the left be a volcano???

So honestly I'm just a little disappointed with the view but still it's pretty cool and in the airport I actually stopped and asked a guy at a sandwich place "Perdon, donde esta Camino Real?" (I'm sure that isn't entirely correct but he got the gist of it and then of course he answered me in really fast crazy Spanish but at least he pointed and I ended up getting here so hey.
I think for tonight I'm going to go down and have dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. I've read it isn't too wise for a female to walk on the streets alone after dark and honestly I don't want to do too much walking until I get used to the altitude. Then a hot shower and some TV just out of curiousity.
More tomorrow unless the day in the office just kills me!

Friday, September 28, 2007

On Snakes and Knees and Having a Yard Guy

My knee is quite a bit better. I'm still hobbling around and when I sit for too long it gets stiff but I can see improvement. Still, the yard needed a good mowing this week and I knew I couldn't do it. I can go to the store, I can drive, I can put out a bit of pine mulch and pull the odd weed but I knew I couldn't even consider mowing the uneven expanse that is my yard.

OK and also I'm snot-blowing terrified about the snake still. Not many things terrify me but snakes make my butthole pull up inside me halfway to my lungs. I'd rather skydive. I'd rather bungee jump from the New River Gorge Bridge.

So I called Bennie. When I was in the wheelchair for 8 weeks in 2004 Bennie came and mowed my yard. He quoted me $25. I pay him $40. I know what a bitch it is to mow this yard and $40 is about right. When I was in Japan he did it again. His instructions were to drive by about every 10-14 days and only mow when it got to the point of looking seedy because I wanted people to think I was still here and I rarely mow before it looks seedy. So Bennie came today and mowed and edged and used the blower and my yard looks better than it has in 2 years!

I used to think the ultimate luxury would be to have a live in masseuse. Now I know it's to have a nice dependable person you can call to do your yard.

Tomorrow I pack for my big trip to Mexico. I hope I have clothing. Guess I won't be able to get away with telecommuter-wear.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Momma mirrors Phoebe

Y'all! I have effed up my right knee so bad I can't stand it. I got on the treadmill early last night to do about 30 minutes before I got in bed. I wanted to get in bed and read for an hour or two and then sleep like a baby and when I do 30 minutes on the treadmill before bed this is a guarantee so I put on a pot of water for a cup of relaxation tea and put on my sneakers and got on the treadmill.

I don't really know how it happened. The thingy pulled out of the emergency stop thing as a result of me swinging my arms and accidentally catching it and all of a sudden the treadmill stopped and I was still going 2.7 MPH and at the same time I think I stepped partially on the rail and so I fell - bad - face down on the floor in agony. Something in my right knee twisted and I spent about 5 minutes yelling out loud and thinking I would vomit from the pain. I am a klutz.

I managed to get the lights turned off and headed for bed. Took forever.

All night I turned in bed and woke myself up yelling in pain. This is BAD pain. This morning I woke up and put on an old leg brace which was far too small because it dates from when I weighed 135 and had really skinny legs. I could barely get it over my knee but still it helped and so when Rite Aid opened I went and bought a better fitting one. I am limping and icing and trying to gently flex my knee.

Yeah I should see a doctor. If I had my way I would have called my orthopoedist today but with my insurance in order to do this I would have to set an appt. with my primary care pill pusher who I am sure would prescribe about 5 pills, 4 of which are unnecessary and 3 of which are not covered by insurance, and wait 3 weeks and then beg for a referral. Not going that route. I have places to go!

Phoebe has a recheck tomorrow morning. I plan to go in and ask if Dr. Brown will x-ray me!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Esta. . . umm . . usted . . .

I'll be off to Mexico City next Sunday to assist in some situations there.

Another stamp in my passport. WOO HOO!

Hasta manana y'all.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Angels On My Mattress

I have the world's worst bed. Even when I lived in Japan and slept on the floor on a 1" thick futon it was no worse than sleeping in my queen-sized bed.

Backstory: When my ex and I split up 6 years ago he insisted on taking the bed because he was that kind of upstanding guy. I slept on the futon sofa for 6 months until I received my $235 State of Georgia tax refund in May. I immediately went to the Mattress King store and purchased the cheapest queen-sized bed I could find, for $250. Needless to say it was not anything remotely resembling a quality bed and 6 years later it's ready for Goodwill. However, with the upcoming stint in South America I see no reason to purchase a new bed at this time. When I finally do I want the best bed I can possibly afford and I want to bring it into a bedroom that has been freshly painted (and hopefully carpeted, if not hardwood) and I want to put it on a frame with a white iron headboard. If I'm going to be sanding and scraping and painting I don't want to be dealing with doing it around the best bed I can possibly afford.

So anyway. I have done countless things to try to make my bed more comfortable. I started with your average mattress pad. A year later when I could afford it (things were extremely tight back then folks - I considered kleenex to be a luxury item) I purchased one of those foam egg crate toppers to put on top of the mattress pad. A bit of an improvement but still not the heaven that bed should be. A few years ago I found a feather mattress-topper on and put THAT on top of the egg crate foam thing. So now I have 3 mattress toppers and I'm still waking up in the middle of the night with lower back pain.

Last weekend I was reading one of my regular blogs and got a tip that had a memory foam mattress topper on incredible sale - any size for $39-something. People. I have priced these things in stores all over Atlanta and have never seen one for less than $130. I never bought because why spend $130 to improve a $250 bed? Why not suffer and save that $130 and instead of buying a new $700 bed splurge on an $830 bed? When I saw this very affordable memory foam topper I immediately bought it. I tracked it all the way from Palo Alto CA and when it was delivered I immediately put it on my shit bed.


I am now sleeping in the arms of Jesus Himself.

Last night it finally dipped down into the high 50's and I had to get an extra blanket for the bed so today when I changed the sheets I pulled my space-bagged down comforter out of the closet and put it on the bed. It's only now just noon and all I can think about is getting in bed tonight! Maybe I'll take a nap.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Obvious Post

When I was a kid it was the Kennedy assassination. Anyone more than 10 years older than me got the question "Where were you when it happened?" And everyone could describe it down to the finest detail.

Now the day of reference is 9/11.

I was driving to work on a crisp early autumn day. I had the truck radio on and as I took a right from Sydney Marcus Blvd onto Piedmont Ave in Buckhead there was a report that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I thought that was pretty disturbing to hear on the way to work on such a beautiful morning.

Shortly after I arrived at work the pub manager came up and asked me if I had heard about the plane crash and I told him I had. He told me there was another one. I immediately closed up the office and went down to the pub and sat in front of the TV not believing what I was seeing.

Eventually I made it back up to the office and turned on the radio and when I heard about the fourth crash I packed up my things and left. By that time they were starting to say words like "attack" and "terrorist" so I came home numb and the only thing I could think to do was to put out my flag. Then I turned on the TV and tried to understand.

My husband came home from work and immediately began berating me for being stupid enough to worry about something that had nothing to do with us. And I knew on that exact day that I couldn't be married to him anymore. (In all honesty it had been building to this from maybe a year before we were engaged but this was the straw and I wonder how it took me 10 weeks to finally kick him out).

So September 11 is my Kennedy. And I hope and pray that nobody ever has another 9/11 or Kennedy or MLK.

I also hope that whatever your beliefs you will send thoughts/prayers/love to the innocent people who died on this day and their friends and family. And I hope those same thoughts/prayers/love will go out for the greater number of people who have lost their lives since in the name of retaliation initiated by the WORST President this country has ever seen.

Please visit and sign the petition. Six years is far too long for this to go on.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Le Mont Saint Michel

I'm a huge fan of stumbleupon thanks to sister Susannah the new age nun and finder of all things cool on the internet. Weekend mornings my routine involves sipping my coffee while stumbling for about an hour before I get to the tasks at hand. It's a fun luxury which beats reading the daily murder report in the morning news.

Today I stumbled upon this:

When I was 13 we moved from Milwaukee to Morgantown WV. As an "outsider" I was put in classes with "learning deficient" students and was using textbooks I used in classes two years before. I think the third day of class I came home and told my parents if they didn't get me the hell out of Morgantown I would drop out and get a job as a cashier at Murphy's Mart. The next year I went to Mercersburg Academy - a boarding school in southcentral Pennsylvania but I still had to deal with a year at Morgantown Junior High which was pretty brutal.

I was tested and evaluated finally thanks to my folks and having had a year of French in Milwaukee I was put in a high school French class. Every day I would leave the Jr. High and walk the maybe mile to the high school to have my French class with older kids who I think might have been threatened by me. In the spring of that year the school offered a trip to England and France which was announced in class. My parents were teachers and there wasn't a lot of budget room for something like this but I told them about it and they made it happen. I still have no remembrance of the cost - not a whole lot but a whole lot for a family of five who were living on the salaries of two teachers. They sent me!

The wisest advice they gave me when I left was to NOT see England and France through the lens of the camera but to experience it with my own eyes. This advice has served me well since.

So I went. I went with much older kids (they were at least 3 years older than me - 15 or 16 to my 13).

We did London and then took the ferry from South Hampton to Le Havre (cool pre-Chunnel trip). We did the Loire Valley and saw all the Chateaux. I don't remember a lot of it now but I do remember almost every detail of Mont St. Michel. OK. I remember the walk up to the monastery and kiosks selling 35 mm film and Mt. St. Michel patches (I still have them in my sewing kit). I remember the restaurant where we were served fresh mussels cooked in pure butter. My older fellow travelers turned up their noses because it wasn't McDonalds and so I had them all for me (the mussels that is - so delicious I can still remember the taste)!

Truly I wasn't old enough to fully appreciate this trip but to this day I am thankful that my parents sacrificed to send me. Some day I will go back and I am sure I will see and appreciate the things that my subsequent education prepared me to appreciate.

I also had a laugh today. I stumbled upon a site that analyzed my blog in detail and it turns out it is most suited to readers who have at least one year of graduate school! Since I have two years and a masters degree (diploma hanging beside my toilet) I guess I am lowering myself. I think it is the copious use of "fuck." Or maybe the copious use of "copious."

Note to self: Use bigger words.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

On Shoes, Culture, Customs, and Stinky Feet

When I lived in Japan each of the three apartments I occupied had a list of house rules. The number one rule in all three was to remove shoes in the entryway before entering the apartment. All 3 places provided slippers for convenience. I thought it was really quaint and since I was totally sold on living as much as possible in the Japanese way I complied. In one year there were maybe 4 times when I walked in having to pee so bad that I ignored it. Japanese homes ALWAYS have an entry vestibule equipped with a shoe storage cabinet. Shoes are not kept in the bedroom closet but in this cabinet. If a workman comes into your home they take off their shoes immediately. If you are shipping 8 boxes back to the states before you move back the delivery company man takes off his shoes, walks 6 feet to grab two of them, walks to the door, puts his shoes back on, and repeats this four times. One simply does not wear shoes in the home.

I asked a co-worker about this and the explanation is that it keeps street dirt from entering the purity of the home.

Japan has a very high suicide rate and what I found interesting is that suicides always remove their shoes before jumping in front of the train. I suppose they don't want to carry the dirt of this world into the next. In an odd and bizarre way this makes complete sense to me. They can tell the difference between accidental deaths and suicides because of the empty shoes on the train platforms.

When I returned to the US I brought this custom back with me. (The soe thing not the suicide thing) Mostly it was because I had gotten in the habit. I keep a pair of slippers by the door and when I come in the shoes come off and the slippers go on. I still haven't found my perfect Japanese shoe storage unit yet but I'll keep looking!

After almost 2 years back why do I do this? OK - here are a few scenarios. You put on some sneakers and go to the ball game. During the ball game you go to the bathroom maybe twice. By the time you get back to your house you have walked through engine grease in the parking lot, spit (or worse), pee, dropped kleenexes, snot, pesticides, pollen, etc. Your sneakers have deep waffle soles. Do you really think WIPING YOUR FEET a few times on the doormat will remove all the bacteria, germs, DNA, etc? You walk through your kitchen, living room, up the stairs, and deposit the shoes in your closet. That stuff is still in the soles of those shoes, now closed up in your closet where all your clothing lives.
The next time you wear them you're on your way out of the house and track around your bedroom getting ready. Then you have to pee so you track them on into the bathroom where next time you get out of the shower all warm and damp and relaxed you will walk around picking all that stuff back up on your bare feet!

No I am not a germaphobe. I don't even own a bottle of hand sanitizer. I let my cats drink out of my water cup. I tend to mop my kitchen about a week after it really needs it. I'm not obsessive. But this removing the shoes thing makes such total sense to me. I've done a bit of research and it is the absolute norm in Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, Russia, Scandinavia, and part of the US where things get muddy and boots are required. Not so weird.

There is the awkward thing about asking guests to remove their shoes. Providing a little basket of bootie socks is a necessity in this situation. I have few visitors but in the case of those who have been here since I replaced my entry/mudroom/kitchen flooring I will admit I have really wanted to ask them to remove their shoes. I am thinking of making this an absolute rule.

Which bring me to stinky shoes. When I finally throw away a pair of shoes it isn't necessarily because they are worn but because they are stinky. My feet don't stink (I think) but when I have worn a pair of shoes for 17 years (kidding) they start to stink. Foremost among the stinky shoes is my Birkenstock sandals. Last week, having just thrown away three pair of good leather shoes that had a little more life in them only because they were stinky, I read something. Take a pair of stinky shoes, put them in a zip-lock bag (not necessary to close) and put them in the freezer for 24 - 36 hours. The stink will disappear for months until it builds up again. My beloved Birkenstock sandals are now in deep freeze and I will test them and let you know the results.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I fergot!

OK. So I was sitting here kind of blankly watching TV after a long day and I had this great post on my mind that I wanted to write so booted up the laptop which is old and moves slowly and now 15 minutes later I cannot for the life of me remember any of the fine points.

Basically it boiled down to age. How is it possible I am 45 and other than a few age-looking things I don't feel it? At all? I still think it's impossible that I could possibly be over 35. I'm still considering a tattoo (very small and EXTREMELY inconspicuous but a tattoo nonetheless - but rest easy Mom and Dad - no thoughts of piercings). Tonight I had dinner with a former co-worker. NOT a date, just time to catch up and enjoy good food and be social for two people who are essentially and happily loners but who have similar personalities and like to get together once in a while to eat and talk. I think what I like most about "R" is that I never have to feel like I need to put forth any kind of effort. Conversation is easy and laughter flows freely. A totally enjoyable evening. Just a getting together with a friend I admire and enjoy and therefore cherish.

But I got back home and washed my face and saw it in the mirror and kind of freaked out. Somehow I think I have gotten to be 45 and no one consulted me. When I left I thought I looked kind of decent in a really informal way. When I got home I saw bad hair, wrinkles, bad clothing AND DRAG ROT!!!!! . . what's that about?

Is this because I am in fact ageist even againt myself? And ultimately is this discrimination focused against myself? I don't feel it ever for anyone else except those boys who wear their pants down at their thighs so their underpants show about 6". That makes me crazy. What a stupid fucking thing.

With no direction whatsoever these are my thoughts for tonight and so I post even though I don't recall the reason for living through the reboot of this fucking lame laptop.

You just HAD to know I would use "fuck," right? Because I am and will always be gaga.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


It has been brutally hot here in the Atlanta area for the past 3 weeks. Also until the past week there has been no rain. Which means I haven't gotten out into the yard. For the first two weeks of August there was no grass growth - in fact it turned brown and crunchy. Then we started getting a bit of regular afternoon rainshowers so it got scraggly looking but was still far too hot to mow. For the past week my yard has looked like crap on toast so today I decided I would mow. It was only getting up to about 82 today and I can handle 82. I can even handle 85 or 90. I cannot handle 107.

I had my coffee and stumbled-upon a bit and then pulled the mower out of the shed, wiped off the squirrel poop, and began in the front yard. When I was ALMOST finished I turned the mower for the final strip in front and on the sidewalk in front of me was a FUCKING SNAKE. Please excuse my language.

I am obviously a total animal person. I believe every living creature has a place on this good earth. I co-habit with spiders and they don't bother me. If they are in my way I move them outside otherwise I let them live happily in whatever corner they choose and when they move on I wipe down the webs. I've seen mice in my house a couple of times and I look at them and wish them good luck in a house with 4 cats. Bears, sharks, wolves, coyote . . . they are all a part of this planet's need and they all have their place. I do not fear them but I do respect them.

Snakes on the other hand? OK maybe they have a planetary place but IT ISN'T MY FUCKING YARD Y'ALL!!! Please excuse my language again but SNAKE and FUCK go together. They horrify me. They terrify me. Even one 3" baby green snake that doesn't even know it's a FUCKING SNAKE yet throws me into an agoraphobic fit that lasts weeks if not months. A couple of months ago I purchased a cheap pair of work boots at Target for the sole (hahaha - I made a funny) purpose of working in the yard because plastic clogs are no good for keeping snakes from crawling up my legs. Nevermind that I rarely see a snake. In order for me to feel safe I knew I needed BOOTS.

So today I was out in my boots (with 2 pair of socks on for extra snake bite protection). I got 90% of the front yard done and this slithering 8" menace slithered out of my yard. I couldn't just stop with only a few feet of grass left to mow. The whole yard overgrown is far less tacky than leaving one little patch undone. I will not be tacky. So I chased this hellish creature with the lawnmower and in the back of my mind I though "Hell. It's only a 2 foot snake and just a baby but Mommy (16 feet long) is certainly around ready to eat me." Successfully the 8 foot snake was chased into the road where it stopped and for once I was grateful for the traffic. I think it got hit but I can't see the carnage from the porch so I'm still freaked out.

I have showered but since I was within 3 yards of this nightmare I am sure I have at least 3 showers ahead of me before dark.

I never got to the backyard.

Susannah and Joey on TV!!!

Y'all! Sister Page lives in Cleveland, Sister Susannah (the new age nun) lives in Pittsburgh, and my 'rents reside in northern WV. They are all within a 3 hour (max) drive of each other but here I am in Atlanta and so I don't see them nearly as much as I would like to.

In a skype session with Mom this week she mentioned that Sister Susannah and nephew Joey were part of a health segment on a local TV news station. I really wanted to see it so I just now looked to see if I could find it on the internet and lo and behold it was there!

Susannah and Joey and at the very beginning of the segment and Susannah is interviewed early on.

How cool is that?