Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So then at the end of the run/walk, I realized that my right toes were numb. Again. Both of the chiropractors I see have been telling me to get new shoes from New Balance. The shoes I've been walking in are literally about 7 or 8 years old, but I think I only worn them about 5 times.
So anyway today I went to New Balance, where they actually FIT your feet. Turns out I was wearing shoes 1/2 size too small, and not wide enough in the toes. And when the fitter guy made me walk barefoot he said my left foot rolls in weird and had I injured that foot, and I was thinking that yeah, I broke it or sprained it bad bad bad or something my Freshman year of college, but I wouldn't go to the doctor and so I just wrapped it up in a ace bandage and borrowed crutches that were way too tall for me and hoped people would feel sorry for me and drive me to class a lot, which they mostly did.
And I'm thinking.....hmmm.......wonder that's why my hips are out of whack.
I opted for the New Balance shoes with "motion control" that supports your ankles and keeps your heels stable, and the inserts that are supposed to really help with your feet rolling inwards. Tomorrow I'll take them out for the 1st spin. I'm excited!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Andree cooked dinner for me one evening a couple of weeks ago when I was in NOLA. Yummy hot cheesy melty veggie wraps and tomato soup. She also finished my slip, took care of the baby, got the other 2 kids to bed, talked to me about 100 books....she's Super Mom. OK well Ben helped with the kids, too but she's still Super Mom.
Anyway I could spend hours looking through their books and at their artwork. Their house is the cutest New Orleans creole cottage. Blue with purple doors. The inside of the house is amazing and bright and cheery and vibrant. It fits them perfectly.
They have great art. This is a piece that they bought in an auction of children's art from the kids' school. Look closely - it's actually made up of torn up post-it notes that the kids used for notes in social studies class.
Lucy is walking around like crazy. She knows all her animal sounds (she pants when you ask her what a puppy says). And Andree taught her to say "Turtle". However, she will only say "Turtle" over the microphone attached to the kids' karaoke machine. And she says it very dramatically "TUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRTLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE". It's too cute.
Zachary had just gotten home from soccer, homework was done, and the kids spent the evening making really cool things out of clay, of which I forgot to take pictures.
I'm glad I'm finally making myself get out of my hotel room. I get way too reclusive, and I don't even realize how much I miss my friends. Thanks Arendt family!!
Monday, October 12, 2009
However, that walk was amazing. I saw 2 duck classes of some sort. As in, twice I saw a groups of about 20 ducks, all facing 1 other duck, like they were getting their morning instructions or doing roll call or saying the duck pledge or something. And near one of the groups, which looked like they were about to do swimming lessons in the pond by which they were standing, were two mother ducks and two little baby ducks having a morning snack in a little puddle, obviously having just walked big brother or big sister to school.
And the morning mist!! And the huge flock of Egrets hanging out in the Cedar trees in City Park Lake and flying in and out between the trees like it was a huge birdy airport! And the 6:30 morning people are SO NICE. I felt like I was part of an amazing, secret, 6:30 club.
Very few people had their dogs with them, and I assume it was for the same reason that I didn't have mine. #1 - I wanted to walk and meditate and not pick up poop. #2 - My dogs are nuts and would destroy the serenity of everyone's morning, and those 6:30 people are nice and smiley but I'm thinking they may just snap. I mean, it's damn early. Maybe they haven't had their coffee yet.
And...I've been reading like a crazy person so I'm just going to give you the list here and I'll write about some of them later. (a) = audiobook. Unabridged only, of course.
My Year in Iraq (a) - written by the guy who was the first head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Pro or con, this book sheds a lot of light on why progress over there is so incredibly slow. Reminds me of things I've watched about the justice system on some of the Carribbean Islands. The protocol of being nicey-nice with the leaders of opposing factions outweighs the decisions-making, and nobody wants to actually take responsibility for making a call.
The Regulators (a) - OK this was a little weird, but I liked it. Generally Stephen King just bugs the crap out of me. Too much detail. I need him to be constrained to a short story or the short-edition format of The Green Mile. For some reason I like all the Richard Bachman books though. Maybe he didn't feel free enough under that pseudonym to make a description of a room last 14 pages. Good for me.
Lamb (Christopher Moore) - This is one I will definitely be writing about because..LOVed it! Fun and thought-provoking.
Everyman (a) (Philip Roth)- I was interested in Philip Roth because he wrote a couple of award winners. This wasn't one of them, but it was $4 or something @ B&N one day. It was ok. Very John Updike. Or was John Updike very Philip Roth?
Everything is Illuminated - Another one by Johnathon Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). LOVED this story too. It's one I could see myself reading again at some point, and I rarely read things twice. Very rarely. Maybe I'll tell you some things about this one.
She Got Up Off the Couch - Lamb kicked off a memoir jag for me. This one was the typical "my childhood sucked and blah blah blah", but it had some fun parts and was decently written.
Last Car to Elysian Fields (a) - James Lee Burke isn't a terrible writer, but this isn't something I would waste my reading time on unless in included references to places I recognize. This one didn't quite make me want to poke my eyes out, but if my other audiobooks had come in the mail yet I would have probably just dropped this one.
The Weight of Water (a) - The weight of this book must have been pretty light because when I finally, drearily, got to the very end and to the "surprise" ending, I realized I had already read this years ago and thought it was equally dumb.
Crime and Punishment (a) - Yep. I listened to the entire, unabridged book in honor of my neighbor, Whitney, who loves the author so much she named her cat Fyo. It was GREAT. I loved it. I understand why it's a classic. And I'm very glad I listened to it rather than read it because I think it was much easier for my brain to process and sort out all those Russian names. Thanks Whitney!
Driving with Dead People - Another memoir. Another oh my childhood wah wah wah.
The Glass Castle - OK now this memoir was worthwhile. I really liked it. This girl went through some STUFF. Her parents were literally nuts. This is a good read.
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove - My least favorite Christopher Moore book thus far, but still a fun read.
Three Junes (a) - Nothing like what I expected. I actually really liked it. It made me want to take daily walks even thought I'm not a book-store-owning-New-York-gay-man. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Death be Not Proud - I'm a little reluctant to write what I really thought about this book. I don't want to seem callous. But...with all the other end-of-life memoirs out there I don't really get why this is the one that is considered such a classic. It's on like every best-books list I've seen. I mean, it's moving. I was moved. It's touching. It's sort of a good depiction of a New-York high brow lifestyle in the 1940's. I just think there are better ones out there. And John Gunther's writing is both irritating and addictive to me. I find myself speaking and writing much more formally in the last 2 days, which may not be a bad thing.
So......that's the reading list for July and August 2009. I'm putting Lamb and Everything is Illuminated and Crime and Punishment high on the all-time favorites list.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Minutes walked (35). Music (Coldplay). Amazingly shaped oak trees (7). Monorail kitties (1). Kitties sitting in the rain staring under houses (1). Kitties sitting under porte-cocheres staring forlornly at the kitchen door (1). Potential serial killers (0). Men with little fussy dogs (2). Brightly painted metal turtle planters (1). Fecal fountains (1). Sunrises (1 - ok didn't actually see it, but it was dark when I started and light when I finished).
I'm also eating way better. Taking my lunch to work most days. Painting more. Reading a ton. Feeling so much better.
How? Prayer. I prayed for it. And will continue to. I think I may actually learn to love mornings.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Lori: "I don't cook with wine. It's expensive".
Me: "Buy $4 wine. It cooks up fine."
Somebody else: "I heard the rule was that you shouldn't cook with any wine you wouldn't drink."
Lauren: "My rule is that I won't cook with anything I wouldn't drink.....in college."
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I've been thinking about posting something about this movie for awhile, but I just haven't had the right words, and I've been thinking that with the upcoming 4 year anniversary of Katrina, now is a perfect time to ask you to do what you need to do to obtain and watch this movie.
And then yesterday I picked up the August 2009 edition of Where Y'at ( a local NOLA monthly mag), and there is a great review of the movie by Drew Platt. Y'all know how I'm not one to reinvent the wheel, so some of his comments:
"The first thing that attracted me to this documentary was obviously seeing the storm through another’s eyes. However, when I watched the film I realized it was about much more than that. It’s about the moral obligations one deals with when a disaster occurs. You realize you must help yourself but it’s also important to help those around you. The courage and determination shown by the film’s leading lady, Kimberly, is nothing short of astounding. With her supportive husband Scott at her side, Kimberly sees a chance to start again. In a scene where she raps with one of her recordings, she totally vents all the feelings she has kept inside in order to help the people around her. This scene starts innocently enough but it will sneak up on you. . . and when it hits, it hits hard.
Trouble the Water is a film that will truly stand the test of time not only for its historic importance but also for how it beautifully captures the human condition and what we can adapt to when it comes to our home and our families. "
No, I'm not making excuses for people who looted big-screen TV's. Those of you that know me know that I'm much more on the "get a damn job" end of the social responsibility spectrum. But existing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina changed me. It made me find some empathy that I didn't know I had. And this movie sort of congealed that empathy into something I can define and hold onto better.
Please watch this movie. And when you do, open your mind and think not only the events in this movie, but the world-view in general from the perspective of someone like Kim. Crack-addict mother dead when she was 13, everyone around her dropping out of school, no one in her known world "getting out" of the poverty cycle, so it doesn't even necessarily occur to her as an option.
Can you assume how YOU would react if you had no education, no support system, and no resources? I mean REALLY no resources. What if you weren't only taking care of yourself, but little kids, old people, people who are sick, people who are scared? Do you know what fear is? Yeah, you've slept a few nights with no electricity, and it sucked big-time, but have you slept a few nights with no electricity, in a city you've never been out of, with no idea how you were going to get food, medicine, or basics like TOILET PAPER, SOAP.....or even clean water, hearing shots in the night that's unimaginably dark? Would you get angry and perhaps lose your composure if you saw that someone, especially someone charged with the duty of protecting citizens, had the resources to literally pull you out of the water and wouldn't? Would you worry about property destruction, or would you break out the windows of the third story classroom of a high school you found your way into to get some relief from the 100+ degree heat and NO air movement at all? What would you do about a bathroom for those kids, elderly, and sick who hadn't had proper nutrition or hydration, and maybe medication for days when there's no running water? How would you set up that classroom to get away from the rats, snakes, ants, and spiders that were also trying to find dry spots?
No these aren't pretty questions, but they are questions that I think many, many people don't think about. And I understand that. I was flooded in my apartment in New Orleans for 3 days in 1995. I had seen a million floods on the TV News, but until then, it never OCCURRED to me how FILTHY that water is, and that every rodent and insect that lives in the ground or under the ground is scrambling for safety too.
So this post is long enough. But really. Watch it. Think about it. K?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I promise I'll finish blogging the vacay, but I'm taking a break to talk about the fun evening I had with Andree and her whiz kids. They came over to my hotel in NOLA, took me out to dinner at Superior Grill, and then we went swimming in the very cool little courtyard pool here.
The kids told me all about school, they started last week. They are both thrilled that they will be getting to do "real" science experiments this year. Zachary said he even may get to dissect a frog (ugh). Lainey has added Chinese to her French classes, and of course all of their regular classes are taught in Spanish. So I guess that will make her quad-lingual? I don't even know the right word for it.
Lucy is taking her first steps, knows what an elephant says (there was a picture of one in the elevator), and can tell you how old she is.
I picked us killer cupcakes from Sucre for desert, and before we went into a sugar coma Andree cut out a pattern to make me a slip so that I don't continue to scandalize the accounting world with my see-through brown skirt.
I'm so lucky to have Andree. There have been various years of me being reclusive and not keeping in touch, but she's always made the effort to be a good friend. Plus, she's brilliant and hilarious. My favorite things ;)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Why only a chance? Well....because Sarah is 9.999 months pregnant with Pickens baby #3 and had her last o.b. appointed this morning. BUT good for us - nothing was going on with P3 so she was able to make the drive over. Unfortunately, Chris had to work.
Jason and I got a lazy start, took the dogs to the SPA, picked up Mandi, and got to the gardens right at lunchtime. Sarah drove up about 10 minutes after we got there, and then we had lunch in the cafe.
Those kids are too darn cute. Alex was cracking us up because he has learned to fake burp and then say "excuse me". Emelyn is feeling all of her 2-years-old and was letting us know exactly what she DID and DID NOT want. It was funny.
Lunch was fun and the kids were good, and then it was off to see the flowers!
The Gardens are actually pretty new, built in the early 2000's. I think the place has great potential. The established areas are really beautiful, and there's lots of room for expansion.
The children's area is huge and amazing. Sarah said she'd definitely come back with the kids. They could spend all day there with all the different water features, sand play, and other activities. Emelyn was interested in the statues of the animals, especially the dragons. Alex was interested in the animal tracks they have on the ground that are part of a game for the older children, and he spent the rest of the day looking for tracks.
By the late afternoon, we saw pretty much all there was to see. The kids were great, but it was hot and time for a break. They missed their afternoon naps, and I think Sarah keeps them in a pretty regular routine. We all decided that ice cream was in order. By the time we drove to the ice cream place down the street, the kiddos were zonked out and we couldn't bring ourselves to wake them, so Sarah went on home. She said Alex woke up as soon as they drove in the drive-way at home wanting ice cream!
So Mandi, Jason and I got ice cream anyway (hey it's vacation and we did a lot of walking and sweating), then went and picked up the dogs. They did great and the people were so nice. On our way out of the SPA, one of the staff noticed our Louisiana tags. Turns out she was down after Katrina to volunteer at the coliseum @ LSU that was set up as a pet evacuation shelter - same place Jason and I volunteered! We probably saw her there several times. SMALL WORLD, huh?
The main things I learned today were: Michigan can occasionally get hot, and Jason and I need to make more of an effort to spend time with Mandi, Chris, Sarah and the kids. It was so great to visit with them and just watch the kids run and play and explore.
Now we are back at the hotel about to get dinner. Tomorrow it's on to Gaylord!
P.S. Lots of vacay pics linked on the right ---------->
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Called Mandy and Bobby and they came over for dinner. When we opened the door of the hotel room to let them in Schaffer high-tailed it and was all the way down the hall when Jason caught him. He acts deaf and half the time blind and when he wants to jet, he is GONE.
We just ordered pizza and hung out and talked. Tomorrow Meijer Gardens!
Earlier I went up to the parking lot to see if I could get an internet signal, and I saw a girl walking around in front of the hotel entrance with headphones, a big sound collector thingy, and some other cool equipment. Of course I couldn't resist asking what she was doing.
She was recording insect calls, and she let me wear the headphones and wield the sound collector thingy. It was amazing what I could hear! She's working on her Ph.D, and they are collecting and comparing insect calls to try to determine what is random and what is call-and-answer. Sounded pretty neat-o!
Other random tid-bits from the day.....the housekeeper was out around the cabins when we came back from the tour and took the dogs out for a walk, and she looked at Greta and said "that's the oddest looking dog I've ever seen." Poor Poo.
Some of the people in other cabins had already met Greta and Schaffer and made comments about her size and such. She tends to garner attention. Jason and I rode into town for some Mexican food for dinner and when we came back, some of the people from the other cabins were hanging around outside. As soon as I beeped the car alarm, Greta started WIGGING OUT in the cabin (barking like a lunatic) and we said OMG I hope she wasn't doing that the whole time we were gone, and one of the guys who had been amazed by her laughed and said "Nah - but while yall were gone she jumped out the window, ran into the woods, took down a deer, and has it all grilled up waiting for yall."...
Our tour guide, Michael, was just goofy enough to be perfect for my vintage-y, camp-y vacation theme. He led us all through the caves with silly stories and lots of great information and history. Jason and I, being the nerds that we are, eventually made our way to the front of the line so that we wouldn't miss any tidbits of info.
We got to see lots of the cave. The Star Chamber, the old tuberculosis hospital, evidence of ancient people from like 4000 years ago...on and on. The lantern light made it especially great (even though we couldn't take photos). The walls really just seemed to disappear in some places. That darn cave is HUGE....MAMMOTH even!!
Towards the end, the path was TOUGH. I'd say VERTICAL in a couple of spots. Jason and I did fine, but wow we were tired at the end. And walking out of a 54 degree cave after 3 hours was like walking into a wall of steam.
OH! And at the very end of the tour was saw one little Teeny Tiny bat hanging from the ceiling. He was too cute.
My favorite parts were definitely the star chamber and the stories about how they did tours during the late 1800's. We could still see the paths they built way back then in a lot of places, and considering they DRESSED UP to go on these vacation tours, in heels and dresses and suits and such, I don't know how in the world they walked on those paths. They were just big rocks placed pretty precariously.
This was the perfect start to this vacation. Exactly what I had in mind. Good fun, a little silly, and just overall a good experience that Jason and I BOTH really enjoyed.
Jason and I are both enjoying the quiet reading time, but it's still hot, so we got up early, took cool showers, and went and got breakfast @ the hotel cafe. Yummy breakfast. Back to the cabin, walked the dogs, then set out on a hike around the park with the schnauzers.
It was supposed to be a very easy, short hike, but I think we took a wrong turn. The last 1/2 of the hike was almost vertical and it was HOT and humid. I got a little worried about Schaffer and thought maybe I needed to carry him, but we took a short break and he was ok.
It was a beautiful hike, though. The trails in the park are really well marked and maintained. We saw several deer and even a little baby fawn. We got to see where the River Styx runs out of Mammoth Cave, which was cool.
Now Jason and the doggies are taking a nap under the ceiling fan. For the afternoon, Jason and I have signed up for the Violet City Lantern tour. This is a 3-hour tour using only lantern-light, so it's supposed to be like is was back in the 1800's. Should be exciting!!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Schaffer moped the whole time I was packing, looking at me pathetically, like I was leaving and never coming back. I kept telling him we were going to see America! But he wasn’t buying it.
Left Saturday morning about 8. I bought dog harnesses that connect to the seatbelts hoping that this would keep the dogs safe and out of the front seat. We didn’t even get on the interstate before we took them off. The dogs were getting so twisted in the seatbelt straps that we were sure somebody was going to break a leg. So the dogs free-floated in the back seat.
This was Greta’s first trip anywhere in the new CR-V. Schaffer’s only been in it once. Stopped for red bull and sunflower seeds…the breakfast of Champions. Mapquest told us to go through Memphis, but when we got in the car, the Geronimo (my Dad’s vernacular) said go through Birmingham. Who are we to argue with Geronimo?
At about the 2.5 hour mark, we passed by a pack of no less than 30 motorcycles. Greta apparently has a deep, personal issue with motorcycles, because she wigged out 30 times
Later in the day, we passed a motorcycle stalled on the side of the road with no rider. When she saw it, she had sort of a mini-wig out, figured out there was no person on it, and just stared at it dumbfounded.
Schaffer spent the entire 12 hours napping or standing with his paws on the door handle looking out the window. He seemed to love the mountains and rode looking almost constantly as soon as we hit Birmingham.
Greta spent the ride napping SOME, or either laying with her head resting on the edge of her folded up crate or on one of our shoulders looking out the windshield.
We only stopped with them twice. At the 3 hour mark in Alabama somewhere, we got out of the car and took a 15 minute walk. It was HOT as HELL and it really wore them out. It was good for us to move around too. We got them out of the car again at about the 7 hour mark and let them walk around some, and then we didn’t stop again until we got to the hotel.
Jason and I took turns driving and except for a relatively short Glen Beck interlude, we listened to the Classic Vinyl station on XM radio. I studied for a test I need to take for CPE credits on Understanding the Basics of Mortgage Fraud, and I would have gone ahead and taken the test if I had had a #2 pencil for the scantron. Maybe I’ll take it tomorrow evening.
So as we got closer to the hotel, I started getting more and more anxious about the accommodations.
And now that we are here, I’m still a little anxious. It’s cute. It’s clean. It’s HOT (89 or something). There’s no AC. The windows are all screened and open. The ceiling fans are on high. Jason fell asleep early, he was wiped out. I went to the parking lot and tried to get an internet signal.
And now I’m lying here….actually getting sleepy between the heat, the constant sound of the insect calls, and the sound of Greta panting….
(the Zoloft and ambien didn’t hurt…)
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Chantilly Berry cake from Whole Foods
So far I'm really liking how it's progressing.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
You guessed it.....NIKOLA TESLA.
I just turned and looked at Jason. He never looked at me....just held up 4 fingers and smirked.
Friday, July 10, 2009
So yeah, it was worth reading. But it makes me want to read Cryptonomicon again...
Also read SHORT HISTORY OF A SMALL PLACE, a book my friend Sandy recommended. First book by T.R. Pearson that I've read. Loved it!
THE KNOWN WORLD - wow this was great too. Well written (obviously - it won the Pulitzer), but I liked it because it told stories of slavery from a different perspective. Slaves owned by other former slaves who bought themselves out of slavery, and then bought slaves. Interesting, and sure made me think about some of the long-term ramifications of slavery in general. Primarily, the breaking up of families.
SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET (audio) - This was abridged, which just annoys me. I'm sure it would be interesting to hear the whole thing. Maybe one day I'll read it.
INTERPRETER OF MALADIES - This one was out of stock, so I still haven't read it.
FERMATA - A long, long time ago, I read a book called MEZANNINE by Nicholson Baker. I didn't remember what it was really about, but I've always remembered that I liked it a lot. I did remember that the whole book took place while this guy was riding down the escalator , and that it talked tons about minutia. Like...staplers. And drinking straws. So anyway, FERMATA did have some of those characteristics. It's quite risque, though, which is fine with me to an extent but I didn't expect it. It's about this guy who can stop and start time, and he's the only one that can move around during that time. And the things he does during that time.
MY YEAR IN IRAQ - by the guy that was the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority - the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. I thought it was very interesting. Made me want to read more about Sadam. Dude was NUTS.
COLD SASSY TREE - Another good summer, Southern book. Heard about it for a million years...glad I finally read it.
Yesterday I was reading "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (which I am LOVING), and there was a reference to Nikola Tesla. I hadn't heard that name in a million years, and couldn't remember what he did. I asked Jason, and he remembered.
This afternoon, I looked on to Google, and the artwork for the day was in honor of Tesla's birthday.
And tonight, we are watching KNOWING (which sux by the way) and the cause of ALL the problems is......
"A 100 micro TESLA wave of radiation...."
I wonder if Tesla is trying to contact me FROM THE BEYOND for something...
I wiki'd him and found out that he "did things in threes, and was adamant about staying in a hotel room with a number divisible by three. Tesla was also noted to be physically revolted by jewelry, notably pearl earrings. Tesla was obsessed with pigeons, ordering special seeds for the pigeons he fed in Central Park and even bringing some into his hotel room with him."
I love quirky.
Planning the 2009 vacay for the beginning of August! Starting to really get a little excited. We have decided to go up to Michigan to visit Jason's family, and so I can see some of the state that I haven't experienced.
What I want for SURE out of this vacation is:
Lots and lots of SWIMMING in CLEAR, un-chlorinated water.
To build a sandcastle on the beach.
To see Schaffer's tail wag (he has a hard time - it's not very movable - but beaches usually do it)
To walk in the woods.
To sit by a campfire.
To eat HEALTHY and purge my body of all the chemicals I feed it.
To exercise every day, but in fun ways like swimming and hiking.
To try camping. In a tent.
Jason spent his childhood summers @ a cabin on Black Lake. His tales of those trips, along with the fact that it's been 457 degrees here all summer and I feel like I've been a total hermit, have made me want to get OUTSIDE. Hopefully there will be cooler weather and fewer bugs!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
LORI: I'm about to say something really mean.
LORI: I hope there's as big of a fight over Micheal Jackson's body as there was over Anna Nicole's. That was amazing.
ME: You are so wrong. Didn't he want to be frozen or something?
LORI: I don't think he has much say in the matter at this point.
Yeah... she and I were both glued to the TV for the whole Anna Nicole thing, the whole Britney-Going-Nuts thing, etc. etc. So I'm sure we'll be glued to this too. There's bound to be drama.