August 31, 2005

Somewhat soggy spirits

With all the terribly tragic news and images emerging yesterday and today in the wake of Katrina, I haven't felt much like whipping up any helpings of useless drivel, which is all I could come up with when contemplating it. I do have a funny story to relate, but now doesn't seem like the time.

I also don't feel like it's necessary to comment more on the situation other than encourage you to give either money or blood, or both, to disaster relief efforts if you can. I think those of us whose employers will match such monetary donations especially have an obligation to take advantage of it and enable that little bit more to go where it's needed.

Given all that, I decided there would be nothing better to lift my spirits than some gratuitous catblogging. Hopefully some of you will feel likewise. So here's a new shot of Finn, who I swear gets bigger daily.

August 28, 2005

"Attention shoppers, we have a special on 'foot in mouth' in aisle 3."

Overheard in the dairy products aisle of the supermarket:

Woman shopping for cheese - "That's not right. Two for seven dollars is three-fifty each. Didn't you go to high school?"

Clerk helping her, very quietly - "No."

Woman - "Oh."

*awkward silence*

Woman - "Sorry about that."


Reporting on eavesdropped conversations is territory covered well and enduringly by In Passing... so I've resisted doing it here. But this one was too good to pass up. The woman's embarrassment was almost palpable.

August 25, 2005

Faked out

I thought I had something to say and I'd do a post. Turns out, I didn't. Oh well.

Have a lovely weekend.

August 22, 2005


This may very well have been the highlight of my weekend:

Catnapping with Phineas Fog

Friday we settled on a name and we spent the rest of the weekend trying to get Finn used to his new moniker. I believe that at the moment he thinks "Finn" actually means "treat," but I think it will eventually sink in. He is a complete whore for the treats that came in the little package of goodies provided by the woman who had been his foster mom and it's the only thing I've found that will lure him out of his favorite hiding place -- inside the family room couch. He's so small that he's found a way to actually climb in the back of the thing, and it's nearly impossible to get him out otherwise.

Saturday I was laying on the living room couch and playing with him while he was on the floor. After a long while I turned on my back because my arm was getting tired and, after contemplating it for a moment, to my surprise he leapt up and snuggled in between my feet. We both settled in for a nice afternoon catnap, and it was just such a thrill for me because he didn't need to be enticed into coming up or staying where we were both so comfy. We've bonded pretty quickly and he has this way of looking up at me and holding my gaze when he's curled next to me, kneading my arm or leg like crazy, that just melts me. Yup, it's love.

To any literature purists who are thinking about kvetching over the name, he's not actually named after the character whose name you think I'm mangling. We'd already chosen Phineas and I added Fog (with one "g") because of his color and his ability to come and go like a mist. If anything, he's more like Huck Finn because he's such a rascal.

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the last post with such nice things to say and some name suggestions. A couple of them were actually under consideration, but none of them, or any of the ones I'd originally come up with before he arrived, really fit his personality. Phineas just clicked for us more than the rest, and Finn it is.

Coming in second on the weekend highlight meter was going to see "March of the Penguins." What a good movie. Although if the semi-wasted chick one seat over from me said/moaned, "Ohhhh, they're sooo cuuuuute," one more time, I was going to have to learn over and smack her...hard. Yes, they're penguins, they're waddling around, they're cute; they're always cute and we all know it. Shut the hell up and let Morgan Freeman tell the story, dimwit. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, pick a hot day and go into the nice, air-conditioned theater and watch a very well-done movie wrapped in ice. And cute penguins.

August 18, 2005

And the big news is...

I'm a mom!

Okay, no, not the way you first imagined when you read that. I think even I, who's not that into sharing personal information, just might have mentioned it if I were going to have a baby.

My new little one is an as-yet-unnamed kitty cat all my own! After spending the last two hours trying to wear him out a bit so that we'll both get a good night's sleep and in order to get a decent picture of him not in motion, I finally prevailed.

Please say hello to [Insert name here]

If you've been reading here at all for a while, you know that my family's cat is Peri, who I adore but who doesn't live with me. I decided it was time to have a furball here at my place, too, and just recently started looking.

You'll note that both Peri and The Nameless One are grey cats; I definitely have an affinity with them more than other kinds of cats for some reason. Nameless, however, is completely grey; there's not a spot of white on him anywhere and the darkish bands you can see on his legs in the picture aren't really visible in regular (non-flash) light.

He is a bundle of curious energy, but he's a lot more social and willing to approach people than Peri has ever been. That didn't stop him from wigging out a little when he first got here and he demonstrated that he sure can hide something good! But once he calmed down and settled in a bit, it became clear that he's a little lovebug and it has taken me even longer than normal to write this because he keeps coming over for a bit of snuggling and petting. And who can resist that?

Right now I imagine Norman running for his wet bar for a very strong martini, fearing that this will be the start of non-stop catblogging from me. I don't think that's going to be case, but he'll certainly be making the occassional appearance here, especially to celebrate once we've settled on a name. (Which I think will be soon.) As he has now fallen asleep under the air hockey table -- for kitty exercise those laser pointers are the best! -- we'll close the book on him for tonight.

In other news, The Sling is (mostly) off. Yay! I got the all-clear from the doctor to taper off its use, as the fracture is healing quite nicely and should be pretty much be all knitted together in another three weeks. Physical therapy to work on flexibility and strength will last about that long, too. It was very nice to sleep normally last night, even though the shoulder gets a bit achy from time to time. Let's hope that pretty much closes the book on "Mo Takes a Fall," too.

August 16, 2005

Something's coming, something good...

Actually, I think it's something pretty damned great. But, as far as I know, the song doesn't say anything about "pretty damned great" and I do like to try to be accurate.

I'm not all that superstitious, but I'm leery of spilling the beans before it actually happens in case it, well, doesn't happen. Tune in later this week to see what has me all worked up. If you give half a damn, that is.

In the meantime, the following is a blogger public service announcement:

Have you found yourself wondering what blogging really means to you and whether it's actually worth posting? Have you thought about throwing in the towel and picking back up your sugar packet collecting hobby instead? Have you looked at your own posts and felt torn between nausea, anger, and indifference?

Maybe it's time to take a good hard look in the monitor and see whether you're suffering from Blog Depression. Please click on the link for a handy pamphlet on a growing problem that could affect you.

The first step toward recovery is admitting that there's a problem. The second step is blogging about it.

There is a way back, let us be a part of your recovery. And let those innocent sugar packets stay in restaurants and diners where they belong.

August 12, 2005

I was a happy, happy girl today

We did it!

Kaysar is back in the Big Brother 6 house after a landslide vote made him "America's Choice."

Thank you thank you thank you to those of you who were kind enough to vote for him on my behalf, especially those of you who have no interest in the game and just did it for me.

We were part of over 82% out of over 5 million votes that put him back in there to make the game interesting again.

I had planned to say a bit more about it, but there's been a little twist to my own reality show, the one called "Mo Takes a Fall."

After 2+ weeks of being the supporting actor who's doing all of the work and getting none of the attention, my right hand has declared "No más." This afternoon my wrist finally gave out and is very painful.

Ice, Tylenol, topical lidocaine, Vicodin; it's so inflamed that nothing is touching it just yet. I took two Vicodin and about 15 minutes ago it "hit" everywhere else, and my head is swimming a bit, but the wrist? No different. So now I get to sleep not only with my left arm in The Sling, but my right arm in my brace. Lucky me.

As I need to give it a rest for a while (most especially from the keyboard) if you want to go read something new from me, please go visit my third guest-blogging effort sometime this weekend. I've contributed a short diatribe about Donald Trump to Fat Dude's Summer of Secrets "The 26 Most Annoying People of Planet Earth" over at Fat Eye for the Skinny Guy.

Have a lovely, and pain-free, weekend.

August 10, 2005

The Sling: Week Three

So this is the long-ago promised memento from my visit last week to the doctor. This is the initial x-ray from which they made my diagnosis. They process and evaulate all their x-rays on computer now, and he had a piece of ordinary paper with a copy of it for me. I had a hell of a time getting it into a format that I could use here, but The Best Brother in the Whole Wide World flexed some of his geek prowess and helped me figure it out.

The arrow I inserted points to that skiiiiiny little line running diagonally across top portion of the bone -- the greater tuberosity of the humerus, in case you were wondering -- which is where the actual break is. Such a little thing, so much trouble. From what I've read, it's a fairly common injury when people fall with an arm outstretched; but that's our instinct, to catch ourselves.

Today marks the start of week three in the sling, and I have to say I'm pretty tired of wearing it already. They can't really keep you in it for much longer than three weeks without risking a frozen shoulder, which can be even more of a pain in the ass, I understand. So next week it's back to the doctor for more x-rays and the start of physical therapy. I'm wondering whether they'll want to see all the little tricks I've learned in manipulating my arm without causing pain, but allowing me to do the things a girl needs to do on a daily basis. Ponytails don't just make themselves, you know, and I've found that it's very difficult for someone else to learn how to do it for you if they've never had to do it before. No, you're right, they probably won't want to hear about that.

So, I've more or less mastered driving one-armed (including parallel parking!), one-armed dressing and grooming, one-armed eating, and getting through the workday one-armed. I'm still struggling with one-handed typing, though, and at this point I'm pretty regularly cheating because I just can't stand it. (Like now.) It's like being forced to crawl after you've become a master runner.

Anyway, the best parts of my day are when I get to take the sling off and do some little exercises, and just give it a little break (no pun intended) from being strung up like that for the rest of the day. If you think kicking off your shoes at the end of a long day feels good, follow that with shrugging out of piece of cotton that can feel like it's strangling you, and you will know joy.

August 05, 2005

Ready. Aim. Bullseye.


Just thinking about it gives me a little thrill. Going there makes me smile. Strolling the aisles gives me a little zip and can honestly lift my mood on a bad day. Can't explain it, it just is. I've mentioned it before, I know, but I don't think I really conveyed the whole of it.

And I didn't know there were other people out there like me. But there are, there are. There's even a name for people us. I'm proud to admit that I, too, am a Slave to Target.

I really didn't think that I would ever be inclined to mention this, let alone offer up proof, but finding that site has inspired me, and I have a little anecdote from my big trip back in May.

Now, even though I didn't blog much about the actual trip, you know I loved going to Yellowstone. I enjoyed getting there, I enjoyed the stops along the way, I loved the animals and flora, I even loved the rain and crazy weather that dogged us. I enjoyed trying new restaurants and hotels. I loved the geysers, the mudpots and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I loved traipsing around fireswept vistas, and valleys surrounded by bison that were, by turns, scary, adorable, and awe-inspiring.

But even when I was out there being Nature Girl, taking tons pictures of anything that moved and a whole bunch of things that didn't, finding bison chips charming and bison jams amusing, there was still a part of me that wondered, "When do I get to shop?" Not gift shops, those are like being a hamster on an overpriced wheel. Therapeutic, take-my-time, see-what's-new-and-exciting shopping. (I've lost about half of you by this point, haven't I?) Just that inner voice giving me a bit of longing, nothing more.

Then we took a day away from the park and went to Bozeman, Montana. Now, you would have had to be there to understand why simply going there was funny to us, but apart from that it was a neat day. We went to the Museum of the Rockies and spent hours wandering around there, soaking up the displays on dinosaurs, the Lewis & Clark trail, the geology of the area, women in rodeo, frontier life, and the Native American culture.

By the time we stumbled out of there it was past time for lunch and we were terrifically hungry. With mere instinct and quivering stomachs to guide us (since the AAA Tour Book wasn't giving us jack), we found our way downtown and discovered a totally fantastic place for beer and pizza, the MacKenzie River Pizza Co., where we had a great meal in a fun setting. I highly recommend it if you're in the area (and be sure to visit the restrooms).

Sated, tired and happy, it was time to figure out what to do with the rest of our time there. By this time my allergies were giving me a lot of grief and I really needed to buy a pillow sans dust mites. In a situation like that, the thoughts of a woman like me naturally turn to...Target. It's just where I tend to go first to buy those kinds of things. We asked our waiter if there was one in town and, lo and behold, there was. So off we went, in search of the red bullseye.

I didn't realize until we pulled into the parking lot how excited I was about this little detour. I got out of the car and, I swear, my first thought was "I'm home!" I must admit, that startled even me a bit, but it didn't slow me down. See:

I really wasn't planning on having the first-ever picture I posted of myself here being, um, from that particular angle, but it's real, it's honest, and I think it really captures the moment. I call it "Maura Returning to the Mother Ship."

So now you know. I'm slavishly devoted to Target, I'd rather shop there than most anywhere else and, well, let's face it, Target could call me its bitch and I don't think I'd have much of an argument against that.

Right now it's time for a good night's sleep. Big day tomorrow. There's some shopping I need to do.

August 04, 2005

Random act of (self-motivated) kindness

Do something nice today for your favorite temporary cripple, won't you? Pretty please?

Consider taking one minute and going here. Just select the button under the picture labelled Kaysar and click on "Submit My Vote."

That's it! No filling out forms, no supplying any personal information, no resulting spam.

Even if you aren't a Big Brother fan...or you aren't much of a reality show fan...or you actually really hate the whole genre...but you don't hate me...please go, right now! You can do a nice, simple thing and I'd consider it a personal favor.

I'd be so grateful, in fact, that there might be something in it for you.

That's right, if you go before next Wednesday at noon (Pacific time) and vote to send Kaysar back into the Big Brother 6 house, then come back here and tell me you did it, you could get one of two prizes of free iTunes downloads.

I've got two codes, one for three downloads, another for one download. Just leave a comment to tell me you voted and say "Enter me!" After the results of the vote are announced on Thursday, I will do a drawing from all the names of people who voted (honor system here, folks) and are interested. The first name drawn will get the three songs, the second name drawn will get one.

Plus, find one other computer to vote from, come back and leave another comment and you'll get a second entry. Send a friend who has never commented here before (who tells me you sent them and has a valid e-mail address) to say they voted and you'll get a third and final entry. It has to be done in that order and only one prize per person.

I know some of you are iPod freaks and you could make good use of a few free downloads. So you help get my favorite houseguest back into the BB6 house and I could put some tunes in your head. What a deal.

August 03, 2005

The Sling: Week Two

Yup, one week down and, as it turns out, another two to go. That kind of sucks, as I was really hoping it would be only one more.

I had a follow-up appoinment today and it was so quick it almost made my head spin. The doctor was very nice and, first thing, fixed The Sling that, apparently, I hadn't been wearing properly. No one told me there was a right way and a wrong way; they strapped the sucker on and sent me on my Vicodin-induced way. Kind of would have been nice to have been doing it correctly from the start, but that's water under the shoulder at this point, I suppose.

He gave me a few other tips, talked about pain meds and exercises to keep the arm from stiffening up, ordered a course of physical therapy for me, told me what to expect in terms of regaining my range of motion in that arm (it will never be 100% again), and said see you in two weeks when we'll take some more x-rays.

He never actually made me feel like he was rushing me, but I swear, it was over so fast that I can't say for certain that I could pick him out of a lineup mere hours later. I do remember he was good-looking, but that's about all. Welcome to healthcare in the 21st century, eh? I have no issues with my provider (I really like it overall), so it's not like I'm griping about it. I just wonder about the little someone taking the time, oh, say, a week ago, to adjust the strap on this thing so that it was doing the most good...and where they've gone when it comes to our health. It's as though we've been trained over time to expect less and less.

But I digress. I did get a little momento from my oh-so-brief checkup today, and if it pans out I may be able to share it with you tomorrow. I'd hoped to do it tonight but that whole "work" thing kind of got in the way, and now hopefully we'll all just have something to look forward to.

Well, "look forward to" more than your next physical at least , I promise.

August 02, 2005

A Very Special Referral

Most of you know I'm a big fan of TVgasm and have been for a long time. I've been honored to be on their list of links for quite a while and if I weren't such a procrastinator I would try to get a gig writing for them. There's only so much TV they can cover on their own, after all, and they have been adding contributors recently. I would have loved tackling this last season of the recently completed "Average Joe." Maybe one day I'll get my act together enough to...nah, who am I kidding?

Anyway, Copygodd, a great friend of The Ping, is not a procrastinator and, though I don't quite know how he finds the time to be as prolific as he is (check out his list of "Offsite Labs" -- he writes for all of them!), he is also now writing a weekly recap for TVgasm. Please go check out his latest offering, as I feel a bit of pride for having "led" him to the site and thereby contributed slightly to his new, higher profile. (That site gets hits like you wouldn't believe.)

And if anyone can come back and explain to me what the hell he's talking about, I'd appreciate it.

August 01, 2005

A glimpse of the SJ Grand Prix

Ah, the promise of it all.

Street course racing in beautiful, sunny California, right here in my town. So much hoopla, so much anticipation.

This was about as much of a view of the actual race that we got to see:

That's the car of Sebastien Bourdais, the leader for 95% of the race and the eventual winner.

But a lot more of it was like this for us:

Please note that those photos were taken about 1-2 seconds apart. (See how the people haven't moved an inch?)

Those cars haul ass, even with the streets being as narrow and, apparently, as bumpy as they were. If you check it out, that article does a really good job of summing up the frustrations of the weekend. (The only thing he doesn't mention is how hot it was out there.) My favorite line, from one of the drivers describing his feeling about the course: "'I am riding motorcycles since I was 2 1/2 and I've never screamed like I was screaming Friday' during practice."

I have to admit, it wasn't all that I hoped it would be -- and I'm PISSED that they messed up with the tickets and they re-sold our seats to someone else as a "reward" for buying ours early -- but I'm glad that overall it was considered a success. Not perfect, by any means, but it looks like they'll have a chance to fix some of the missteps and host it again next year.

I managed to spend hours down there and not have anyone drop me to my knees with an ill-timed bump, I didn't get sunburned and my ears didn't hurt afterward, so from that perspective, it was a personal success, too.

But my heart still belongs to Formula One.