Monday, August 29, 2005

Sick, Sick, Sick

If you find a puddle of mucous on the sidewalk next to my headless corpse, you will know:

a) that my head has finally exploded from the pressure build-up of sinus goo; and

b) that I am finally free from the pain.

What makes this condition even more of a bummer is that I am having a very difficult time feeling sorry for myself while my nephew is in Bethesda Naval Hospital with two (2) non-functioning kidneys. He was in such bad shape on Friday that he was in intensive care, in an induced coma, on a respirator and fighting for his life.

The good news is that he is now off the respirator and able to withstand his dialysis treatments. My love and prayers go out to him. He's a sweet, talented kid who does not deserve this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

Painting, Wounding with Words, and an Ode to Skorts

I am painting again. No, not the exciting, bohemian, creative type of painting, but the arm-killing, elbow-injuring, ladder-teetering, paint-the-house type of painting. I'm not complaining; the house needed it badly. Another Washington winter and the thing could have vied for haunted-house-of-the-neighborhood status. Luckily, Drew is doing most of the heavy lifting and ladder-teetering, leaving me to do some edging, door-painting, and supervising.

The color took us a long time to decide on. Everything we really wanted to use turned muddy and awful-looking up against our house. The culprit was the roof shingles, which are an odd mixture of old-brick reddish and old-wood tannish. I finally came to the conclusion that to fight the roof color was a bad idea, and we would end up with one of those houses that just look icky for some reason that you just can't put your finger on. I went to the paint store, picked out the color of the roof to work from, then found a tan color that would coordinate with it nicely, and chose a nice, dark reddish brown for an accent color.

For some reason, the choice of tan was a hard one for Dean to accept. He wanted anything but tan. Don't ask me why tan affects him like that. We all have our color issues, I suppose. So when he came home from work and saw the new, vast expanse of tan, his anger at our indifference to his tan aversion must have forced him to use his words to wound. And he chose carefully. To me, he said the house looked awfully "fleshy." As if to intimate that I, an artist, could not tell that I had chosen the color of flesh to surround my house with. That's okay. I can accept his angry words.

For Drew, he chose to use the word "pink." The word most feared by he-man fire fighters. Drew took it more to heart than I did until I explained that Dean had just used the word that would cause him the most pain, as he was feeling such pain from the tanness. We must understand and sympathize.

Drew said he will feel much better when he moves out and doesn't have to look at it any more. There is that too. And the fact that we have gotten five compliments from neighbors - some that we didn't even know. Until now, I guess.

And now a word about skorts. Skorts rock. They are so much more worthy of a new fashion fling than the awful, awful capri (especially for those of us with a few inches less leg than others).
And they are so much more useful than that other word hybrid, the spork, which is neither a functioning fork or a spoon that won't, on occasion, give you an unintentional tongue piercing.

Skorts, for someone like me whose legs are slightly less fabulous than they were a few years ago, tend to hang a little longer than your average short, which makes me feel a little safer in them. For instance, while driving or riding in the car, I don't have to look down and see things jiggling that should never, ever be jiggling. However, it is short enough that it leaves the best leg parts out, for either viewing or cooling. And I can sit cross-legged on the floor and brush my dog or work in the garden without the danger of the skirt. I have three skort and I pretty much wear them interchangeably all summer. If I had four, I would have one more.

That's what I'm thinking.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Handy Tips for Cyclists

Things to avoid saying to your mom over the phone while at a race:

  • Where's the nearest hospital from here?
  • Hey, remember that tooth I just had fixed?
  • Well, my bike's okay.

Things to avoid leaving in the toilet:

  • suspicious-looking floating bits of shaving cream
  • bandaids
  • loogies that stick to the bowl that I have to remove, ahem, manually

If you live with someone who does your laundry even when she told you she wouldn't anymore:

  • Take the bags of Goo out of your jersey pockets.
  • Clothing with more holes than fabric become rags.
  • For God's sake, turn your bike shorts chamois-side IN.

Congrats, Dean, on a third in the kilo and a fourth in the Olympic sprint (2005 U-23 Track Cycling Nationals) from your Number One Athletic Supporter.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

News Update from LA

Dean is having fun at National Track Cycling Championships in LA this week. He didn't get into the finals in the Keirin (picture roller derby on bicycles with one gear and no brakes), but he had a good time making trouble for other racers (that's not really the point, but it's a bonus if you're a real Keirin rider).

The big news is a bronze medal in the Under-23 age category for the Kilo, the race that he hates so much he "retires" from it every time he finishes one. It's a kilometer time trial as fast as you can go. It's a too-long sprint, too-short endurance race that's like the dreaded 400 for runners. And besides, since it's a time trial, there's nobody else on the track to push around. Despite all the downsides, he's good at it any way. Unless he's retired again.

Tomorrow is the sprints, another race that he is a natural in, even though he hasn't necessarily trained for it this year.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

My Dog Loves Me With One Exception

This is Annie after a bath. She hates, hates baths.

Over the last two years, Annie the Smooth Collie has gone from fearing everything and running away at the slimmest sliver of open-door freedom to a happy, tail-wagging, toy-loving goofball.

This is sometimes the process who have to go through when adopting a pet from a rescue group like the Humane Society. Since you can't see a dog's past, and she obviously can't tell you what she's been through, all you can see at first is potential, and all you can use to coaxe it out of her is patience and kindness.

Now Annie loves the whole family. She loves to sniff the boy smells from Drew and Dean (and any male visitor), rub her face and snort along the couch after a good meal, catch her toys unaware and give them a dramatic, if slow-motion shake (wouldn't want to wrench our neck muscles, now would we?), and prance after tennis balls in the back yard. She acts very much like a teenage modelling hopeful, always seeming to be aware of how she looks (with the exception of the occasional public satisfaction a private itch), fixing her hair with a shake, picking up her feet in a hackneyed Lipizzaner-Stallionesque prance when fetching toys, and giving boys a little backwards glance when offering her booty for a booty-scratch.

The only vestiges left of a difficult few early years are the complete absence of any licking behavior (obviously forbidden in a previous life) and some anxiety at mealtime (no happy wiggling or even drawing too near the dinner-preparer).

She also loves her morning walk, although she doesn't jump and wiggle about like normal dogs (also a possible leftover from unhappy days), but waits patiently for me to get ready with a look of desperation on her face, like she is afraid that, after taking her along for the last 800 walks, I am going to decide to leave her home this time. Once safely outside with leash and poop bags, she sniffs the dog messages left by earlier walkers, carefully chooses her own message-leaving spots, and leaves her messages as daintily as possible (even though the more solid messages get deposited in the poop bag every time), and hopes for the one walk in ten where someone will see her and admire her and pet her and let her smell them. Yes!

After her walk, I leave her at the house and take off for a run. I tried running with Annie but quickly realized that she does not understand the concept. Why run when you can walk? Why walk when you can sniff? Why sniff when you can lay in this patch of shady grass?

When I get back from the house, sweet Annie is gone and Freak Dog has taken her place. It seems because every 6 weeks or so I come home from running and give the dog a bath before bathing myself, now every time I come home from running is Danger Time. Annie fears baths more than mean cats and will do anything to avoid them.

I don't know what the big deal is. I use warm water, and the tub floor is nonslip so she has a good foothold, and the shampoo gets massaged into her coat like my hair dresser does to me then charges me for it. If she only knew the cold hose treatment that old Shelby used to endure after a bad case of intestinal upset that left his long Collie fur with too many poopy Klingons (cling-ons for you non-Trekkies) to be allowed inside, she would be grateful for the upgrade. Instead she freaks out.

Usually I can just let her outside and that way she feels safe from the bath monster. This morning, Drew was working on the house, prepping it for the big painting job, and had all the fence gates open, so outside was out. This makes her even more nervous, because she figures that that means its bath-time for sure and goes sprinting down the basement stairs. Whatever. A momentary freak-out once a day is better than the former continually freaked bundle of nerves that she used to be. I'll take that.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I Shall Try Not to Say Shall

The "Shall" had to go. It was way too prissy.

Mean People Suck

Something about competition, and I don't necessarily mean competition for money or power, it could be competition for your name at the top of a list of grown men racing around in a circle on their bikes, but something about competition makes some people mean. It's kind of like giving alcohol to certain people who become mean drunks. Some people are mean competitors.

And one mean competitor can spoil the day for a hundred happy-go-lucky competitors. In fact, it can spoil more then a day, because a mean loser can simmer for days, and then lash out at relatively innocent bystanders.

Does this sound like you? Then knock it off.

Does it sound like someone you know? Then tell them to take up coin collecting.

Today's Band Names:

Rogue Lemming
Tansy Ragwort

Monday, August 01, 2005

Don't Bother Reading This

Having kids is mighty rewarding, I'm sure. Otherwise, who would do it? It's too painful. And not just the first few hours.

Having kids is like doubling the amount of your own skin, only you have no control over how much of it gets scraped off; doubling the number of your bones, without the ability to keep them whole; doubling your own car on the road, without being able to keep the drunks and road ragers off of them, or even know where that other car is.

The worst part is seeing that skin get scraped off, seeing that heart get thumped, seeing those bones break, I can't even imagine the worse things and won't try.

The good parts are great, I just can't recall them right now, because I'm in one of those moods. I think I'm coming down with something. So best not to come too close. And you're excused from reading this downer.

So here's a joke instead, courtesy of the Car Talk guys:

Seems a guy (lets call him Drew) goes to see a new dentist. While he waits, he checks out the obligatory diplomas on the wall and notices that the dentist graduated college about 25 years ago, about the same time he did. And come to think of it, his name did sound familiar; in fact Drew went to high school with a guy with that same name. But once he meets the dentist, he realizes that this guy is way too old to be the same age - he is balding, has a gut, and look at the wrinkles in his face! But hey, just to be sure he asks the dentist where he went to school. The dentist says Vernonia High School. So Drew says, "I think you were in my class." So the dentist says, "Really? What class did you teach?"

Ha-ha! We feel better already!