Saturday, December 30, 2006


Dammit to hell, is there no justice in the world?? If there were, I would not simultaneously need both wrinkle cream AND acne cream. I awoke this morning to find that I had sprouted a couple of “appendages” on my forehead overnight. When is this going to stop? Shouldn’t there be an age past which a person should not have to deal with a “blemish” problem? Like maybe the age when your whole face is sagging and you start growing your grandma’s jowls? Will I be 90 years old, in a rest home, my face a roadmap of wrinkles and jowls hanging down around my collar bone, with a big pimple on my forehead or on the end of my nose? At that point, I know I won’t have the dexterity or the visual acuity to pop it or apply the Clearasil, and then what will I do? Just sit there, mentally begging some underpaid orderly to put me out of my misery, probably. All the other feeble old ladies will be laughing behind my back. It’s going to be just awful.

In honor of the impending new year and my resolve to have a better attitude, I’ve decided to take the “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” approach. Since it appears they’ll be around for a while, and I am otherwise bereft of offspring, I’ve decided to give them names. Diddleton Nimrod, the outgoing one, sits proudly directly between my eyes, while the more bashful Razmick Fernando is snuggled comfortably up against my left eyebrow. I’ll try to post the baby pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Geeks

As I sit in the living room and look around at our Christmas decor, I can see that we are clearly not traditionalists. We’ve got Yoda on top of the tree and Slag has left the George W. Bush action figure that I got him for Xmas in a very rude and compromising position under the tree. There’s not an angel to be found. No candy canes. No nativity scenes. No Santas except for the dancing, singing Santa in boots and a cowboy hat that sings a reindeer song to the tune of the theme from Rawhide while twirling a rope. I don’t remember who, but I know that had to be a gift from someone in my family. Whenever one of my relatives sees something that might be cowboy or Texas-related, they buy it and send it to Slag, as if we don’t already have enough western-style stuff here in Texas. I will say that the cowboy Santa is one of the better cowboy-themed things we’ve received. It’s pretty funny, though the theme from Rawhide can get a little annoying after you’ve heard it for the 117th time.

The centerpiece to me, though, is the Simpson’s ™ Christmas Village. It’s more fun than all the other decorations combined. Here’s a look before it goes back into the closet until next year.

We are Christmas geeks. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Slag and I have always had very different biological clocks. He rarely goes to bed before 2am. I can fall alseep on the couch at 9:30pm. We do our best to keep them somewhat synchronized, but it’s always a battle.

Well, the inevitable has finally happened. After nearly ten years together, our International Date Lines have officially crossed. He came to bed this morning at 5am, about 15 minutes after I woke up for the day. Being the loving wife that I am, I did stay in bed and keep it warm until he was settled in, so we got about 3 minutes under the same covers.

I'm not sure what this is going to mean for the future. The big question now is, how long do I let him sleep? I'm suddenly feeling so powerful....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Narcotic Shopping

I’ve never really liked shopping much. In fact, I hate almost everything about it. I hate dealing with the traffic. I hate driving around in a 10-acre mall parking lot looking for a space and getting stuck behind some doofus who stops and waits for a lady with 100 pounds of merchandise and two small children to strap into her minivan before she will vacate the spot that the doofus in front of me wants badly and is willing to stop traffic to get. I hate threading my way through hoards of lollygaggers who are strolling just a little slower than the rate an average iceberg advances. Two hours is my limit for any mall visit, and that gets pared down to one hour if it’s a Saturday afternoon and the mall is too crowded to walk normally. I can tell it’s time to go when I start visualizing myself screaming at and kicking the shins of the loitering people who are taking up space in my immediate vicinity and WILL NOT get out of my way. Generally, I shop as little as I can and still remain fed and clothed.

This has always been a baffling situation for my mother. My mother is a black-belt shopper. She has shopping strength and endurance unequaled in this hemisphere. She keeps a complete inventory of her closet in her head and always knows if she needs something or if those shoes will go with her blue dress. She can literally shop for 12 straight hours, stopping only for a coke and a pee break once in a while. I know it’s a bit of a disappointment to her that I don’t share her enthusiasm. She wistfully tells me stories of the shopping adventures she and her mother had, first hitting the downtown stores and staying until they closed, and then heading to the mall in the burbs and closing it down too. I know shopping is one of the highest and best forms of female bonding there is, but I just can’t do it. Somehow the shopping gene didn’t get passed on to me. I think she sometimes wonders if I’m really her child.

She and my step-father were here for a visit last weekend, and the two of us decided to go out to do a little shopping Saturday afternoon while the guys were off doing guy stuff. Yes, that would be the Saturday afternoon before the Christmas holiday begins. Probably the busiest shopping day in the whole year, with the exception of the Friday after Thanksgiving, a day during which I don’t leave the house for any reason. I was afraid of what might happen.

So. I took a deep breath and, as usual, vowed to try not to turn into an irritable, whiney 5-year-old at any point during the day, despite the fact that I already had a sinus headache and would be doing all the driving and the chances that I would be able keep the vow weren’t looking good. I knew I needed to take some preventative measures. First, I needed to address the thing that invariably causes the worst of the whining, sore feet. If my feet are OK, I can usually carry on. Once the feet get tired, I’m done and nothing can be done about it. With that in mind, I put on the most comfortable shoes that I own: my running shoes. I knew that this would make my running purist friends gasp in horror. How could I could I even consider shortening the life of my expensive running shoes by wearing them as street shoes?? Whatever. The shoes aren’t getting a whole lot of wear lately anyway, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Second, the sinus headache had to be dealt with. A couple of ibuprophen? Won’t even knock a dent in it. Three ibuprophen? That would work for a little while, but I knew it wouldn’t last. Over-the-counter stuff would only push the headache back a little. I needed something that would blow it to smithereens. On a lark, I popped a Vicodin left over from my kidney stone travails last year. Yeah, I knew it was expired, but I was feeling reckless.

We loaded ourselves into the car and set out. Within half an hour, I had a light Vicodin buzz. It may be just a coincidence, but what followed was the thing I least expected, the thing that still leaves me dumbfounded. It was, without a doubt, the most pleasant afternoon of shopping in the history of my life ever. EVER.

It was a Saturday afternoon before Christmas and everything was totally fine! We circled parking lots in search of free spaces. We went in and out of stores crowded with dallying people. We stood in lines. We sampled “peppermint bark” and “warm mulled apple cider.” And I was fine! I hummed along with the incessant Christmas music. I was agreeable and charming. I cracked jokes while we waited in a checkout line about a mile long behind a woman who was certain that the $1.99 ceramic Santa Claus coffee mug she picked up had been marked 40% off and then decided she didn’t want it when she was proven mistaken. My feet didn’t hurt. My back didn’t hurt. I didn’t grumble. I had no urge to punt that obnoxious singing, dancing snowman into next week. I actually enjoyed myself. I think there may even have been a little female bonding. I still don’t believe it. And I’m totally happy that, of all people, my mother was the one there to share it with me. I wanted to go “See, see, I AM a normal human being sometimes. I really am!”

The only disturbing thing is that it took a narcotic to get me to behave like a normal human while shopping. I never understood the attraction of opiates until now. They really do make everything better, at least for a little while. I’m thinking it’s probably a good thing that I only have a couple pills left. But hey, I did have a headache.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Special

I think I’ve finally found the origins of all my depression issues. In the last week, purely by coincidence, I’ve had a chance to see a couple of much-loved, animated Christmas specials from my childhood: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” As a child, in the days before DVDs, or even VCRs, we carefully scheduled our evenings around the airing of the specials, so we wouldn’t miss a single second. Dinner was eaten, baths were taken, jammies were donned, all well in advance of the appointed time, so we could sit transfixed and unmoving, with our little mouths hanging open, watching Charlie Brown or the Grinch. Oh, and when we got the color TV, the whole experience was even more thrilling! Just imagine our delight at seeing the Grinch in his natural green fur.

Watching them as an adult, however, I’m mostly just appalled at the quantity of melancholy dished out by those two, short 30-minute shows aimed at small children. What were the creators thinking?

When I was a kid, I always felt really sad for Charlie Brown and the little Christmas tree he bought that nobody liked. Why did all the other kids have to be so mean about it? Yeah, yeah, I know they came around in the end. They decorated the tree and everybody sang and made up, but that was only about the last two minutes of the show. For the first 28 minutes of the show Charlie was all sad because nobody sent him any Christmas cards and nobody liked him and nobody liked his tree. Two minutes of group love just can’t make up for 28 minutes of gloom. And Charlie is clearly a classic depressive personality. Somebody get that kid some Prozac before he hangs himself.

And while we’re talking about sad things, why was the Grinch so mean to his little dog? His sweet, friendly little dog who only wanted to be loved?? Even today, as an adult, it caused me emotional distress when the Grinch got out the whip and made him pull that big, heavy sled. An old wound was ripped open, right there in the den. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.

(Sob). Somebody get ME some Prozac too.

OK, enough with the sad stuff. What’s up with Cindy Lou Who? I never noticed until today that she doesn’t look like any of the other Whos. All the others look like the normal Dr. Seuss characters, you know, a freaky cross between a Care Bear and a Troll doll. Cindy Lou looks like a normal, albeit animated, human child, complete with a head full of blond hair and big blue eyes. Oh, except for the ANTENNA she has growing out of the top of her head. If the Grinch didn’t predate Star Trek, I’d swear she was an Andorian rip-off. What are the antenna for? Why don’t all the Whos have antenna?? I’m glad I didn’t notice that as a kid, or I might really have some issues.

Isn’t it amazing how 25 little years of cynicism can completely alter the whole Christmas special experience?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Out Cold

My body has always responded poorly to prolonged contact with needles. By “responds poorly,” I mean I tend to pass out cold and create a scene. I don’t know why. I’m not afraid of needles particularly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like getting stuck any more than the next person, but the thought of it doesn’t make me tremble and sweat or anything. It’s like my body just reacts however it wants, without consulting me. More than anything it just pisses me off. I’m not into dramatic scenes. I do not want to get “the vapors” and swoon in public like Scarlett O’Hara. I don’t have a delicate constitution. I don’t, dammit.

I’m usually fine with having a needle in my arm for the normal amount of time it takes to draw a vial or two of blood. I don’t look and I concentrate on just breathing and everyone gets through it without incident. Anything longer than that, and the odds that I’m going to lose consciousness increase dramatically. I’ve passed out a couple of times getting blood drawn. The first time it happened while an inexperienced phlebotomist dug around in my arm with a needle for an extended period of time, looking for a vein. The second time I keeled over after a vein couldn’t be located in one arm and I had to be stuck a second time in the other arm. In both cases, I tried to let the person working on me know that something was amiss, but I don’t know if I got anything more than a mumble out before sliding to the floor.

Then there’s the issue of donating blood. Hard as it may be to believe for anyone who knows me now, for the first 25 or so years of my life, I didn’t weigh enough to give blood. I lived on chocolate and Frosted Mini-Wheats and my weight hovered right around 100 pounds, more if I was in an emotionally stable phase, and less if I wasn’t. So, I was really excited when I finally met the minimum weight requirement and got to participate in the blood drives at work.

The first time I gave blood, everything seemed fine. I gave my pint and was relaxing with an Oreo and a cup of juice with all the other blood-givers. The next thing I know, I’m waking up on the floor with about 5 heads in my field of vision. People were shaking me and putting cold cloths on my forehead and there was quite a display. Thankfully somebody grabbed the cup of juice out of my hand before I hit the floor. No juice was spilled.

The second time, I went out just after the needle had been removed from my arm, while I was still in the recliner chair. This time the scene wasn’t quite as big because I didn’t collapse onto the floor, but it still caused some scurrying. After I passed out the third time, I mentioned to one of the nurse-type people that I had passed out every time I had given blood and was wondering why that was.

She patted me on the arm and said, “Honey, your heart’s in the right place, but maybe you shouldn’t try to do this anymore.”

The subtext: “Please stop coming down here and causing trouble for us.”

My blood-giving ended then and there.

And that brings us to today. Today I went to the dentist to get a couple of old fillings replaced. One of them has been causing me some pain and the dentist suggested replacing both of them because they’re right next to each other and about the same age. Well, you know what they do before they drill your teeth, right? They give you a shot of Novocain. A shot.

So you know where this is going, don’t you? That’s right. I passed out cold, right there in the dentist’s chair, after getting a shot of Novocain. I knew it was coming, and I know I told the assistant person that I was feeling woozy. I woke up with a blood pressure cuff on my arm and an oxygen mask on my face and at least three heads hovering above me. Apparently this happens sometimes, which is why they were so prepared. Who knew that a dentist needed to keep a blood pressure cuff handy? I didn’t until today. I’ve gotten plenty of Novocain shots before for dental work, but I’ve never lost consciousness over it until today. Apparently I’m becoming more sensitive in my old age. By the time I’m 60 I’ll probably faint at the sight of nail clippers or a tongue depressor.

Anyway, after about 20 minutes I felt normal again, and we went ahead with the filling replacement. I’ll have to say that the new fillings look pretty good. The old fillings were silver, but the new ones are tooth-colored and don’t even look fillings. All in all, I’m satisfied. But a little embarrassed. Why does everything have to be so complicated? Sigh.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yoda Has Arrived

Last night Slag and I hauled the fake Christmas tree out of the attic, put it together and strung lights on it without any cross words passing between us! Woohoo! It’s the start to a successful Christmas season.

We were pooped after the lights, so the decorations will have to wait until tonight. We had to at least put Yoda in his place of honor at the top of the tree, though. Plus, as you can see, he’s pretty integrated with the light installation.

--------------------------- photo courtesy of Slag

Yoda has been with us since our first Christmas together, living in sin. We spent an entire Saturday driving around town, looking for something fun to top our tree. Slag was hoping for some sort of Clash-of-the-Titans-ish action figure that we could make into a Zeus, but we never found anything that was big enough. I was thinking that Elvis would be cool, but the only Elvis figures we found were multi-hundred dollar Limited Edition type things that neither of us wanted to invest in. At the end of the day, we ended up in a local head shop that carries lots of cool toys, and there we saw the perfect thing: a rubber Yoda hand-puppet. He was the correct size and he fit down on top of the tree like he was made for it. After all these years, he still smells like the funky incense they burn in the store.

Welcome back Yoda!

“When 900 years you reach, look as good, you will not.”