Friday, December 30, 2005

The End of an Era

Currently Reading: Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss

And which era is ending, you ask? Why the era of me not having a regular job. That era ended officially on Thursday when I started working at the Petco near the house. Yes, that's right, I'm working now at a pet store.

Just what exciting job am I doing at the pet store? I'm sure glad you asked that :-) I'm a dog bather. My official title is "Grooming Assistant" but what that mostly amounts to is that I wash and dry dogs.

I know what you're thinking, that it's a really sucky job but actually it's not so bad. For starters, me not being able to hear very well is actually a BENEFIT. Dogs make a lot of noise while they're waiting to have their bath and cut and don't get me started on how much noise the blowers and dryers make. I have no idea how the normal-hearing folks do it.

The pay is pretty good too. I get the larger amount between commissions and hourly wage. Hourly wage isn't that high but the commissions, WOW! You can earn some pretty decent money on the commissions.

Of course the best part about all this is that CC won't have to worry about money anymore. We'll now have more than enough to cover all the bills, plus the new bills from my surgery. And we'll be able to start saving as well.

Happy wife = happy bear :-)


Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Weekend; Lynne Truss

Currently Reading: Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss

Wow, did that weekend fly by or what? Seems like it was only yesterday that we were all worrying about having enough time to wrap all the presents and making sure we had presents for everyone. Now the presents are unwrapped; paper and boxes overflowing the trash cans. One holiday is over and another is right around the corner (unless you're Jewish or follow that Kwanzaa stuff).

So let's set the way-back machine and go over all the stuff I haven't been blogging about for the past 5 days. Yes, I took a break for the holidays, sue me :-)

Friday was the first day of CC's vacation so that's as good a place as any to start with. We did our food shopping early because I KNEW that the stores were going to be packed and I was right. From the size of the crowd I would say that CC wasn't the only one who had the day off :-)

My parents came by earlier to drop off their presents to us. We didn't open them until Christmas morning of course, but they wanted us to have them so we wouldn't have to wait until the afternoon on Christmas to open everything.

Friday was also my sister's birthday so we all got together at 6 for Chinese food. After dinner we came home and that was about it really. Nothing worth blogging about anyway.

Saturday was a little more eventful. We went to see Memoirs of a Geisha at 1 (just barely made it in time in fact. We sat down right as the opening credits were rolling). At 3 or 3:30 we went to a little Japanese place across the street from the theater. They have great food and we'd sort of planned on wanting Japanese food after the movie.

I don't know why the critics are being so hard on the film. Honestly, I thought it was great! Of course, having read the book I knew what to expect. Memoirs of a Geisha isn't what you'd call the definitive work on being a geisha. Hell it isn't even all true. I guess the easiest way to put it would be to compare it to another movie. Take any of your Vietnam movies. The things those soldiers encounter in your average Vietnam movie are NOT representative of the usual experience of soldiers from that war. Hell if they made it all accurate we'd be too bored. Writers string stories together, a little bit from what happened to this guy thrown in with what happened to this other guy. In the end you get a pretty interesting fiction but not a very accurate history (insert John Kerry-Vietnam joke here).

What the movie does do is put on one hell of a great visual show. You've got a group of really talented, really cool actors all wearing really great clothes and there's even a bit of a plot. Can't go wrong with that right? :-)

Yes, the story is a bit on the soap opera side of the romance scale but so what? What's wrong with having a happy ending? What's wrong with the bad guy characters being bad? Not everything in life is a shade of gray you know. Sometimes it's nice not to have a conflicted bad guy or a good guy with bad qualities.

I enjoyed it a lot. CC enjoyed it too. Everyone I know who's seen the movie has enjoyed it. Ignore the critics. They're all just trying to show their great outrage over Chinese actresses playing Japanese characters. What a load of rubbish. Michelle Yeoh had a great line about that. She asked why no one ever makes much of a fuss when an Irish actor plays English (as in Bond, James Bond) or when Irish play Scottish or the other way around. There's a lot of bad blood there too right? So why no fuss? You've got to admit, she's got a point.

We came home after eating and really didn't do much else worth note. It was Christmas Eve of course so naturally we were excited about that.

Sunday . . . where to begin? CC did a great job going over most of it. Yes, it's true, I was up at 5:30 on Sunday. Surprised myself in fact. I had planned on sleeping in until at least dawn but what the hell, it's Christmas right?

Great presents this year. CC won't say what they were but there's nothing really stopping me :-) I got some DVD sets from my family plus a set of what you'd call old-fashioned games. For those of you young'uns that means games that don't plug into anything. Games where you throw dice and move pieces around a board. Games that I can list my win-loss record for on the side bar :-)

Got a great sweater! I look COOL in that thing. Nice and comfy too, which is a nice change in a sweater :-) Usually the sweaters that look the best on me are bulky or itchy or something. Anything but comfortable.

CC got me comics! Not just ANY comics mind you, but some that I've been looking for. No, I'm not one of those weird comic geeks that runs around calling them GRAPHIC NOVELS and wearing black and smelling funny. There are some really great books out there now, mostly from Marvel. You've got the reprints of the old comics, which is wonderful. They come in softcover books about an inch thick or so and they usually have an entire year's worth of issues. My favorites are The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, The X-Men and, at the top of the list, or at least in a tie with the X-Men are the Fantastic Four. Oh I love reading those old FF comics.

Anway, I had volumes 1 and 3 but not 2. 2, for some reason, is hard to find in stores. CC tracked it down through Amazon and got me a copy. She also got a copy of the new version of The Inhumans. The Fantastic Four run into them in one of the early issues. Johnny Storm developes a crush on Crystal and follows her and through a series of unfortunate events, the FF end up finding the Inhumans which means that the Inhumans now have to move. Yes, I know, it's corny, soap opera stuff but I still love it :-)

We also have some new appliances in the house. CC got her fancy, pod coffee maker. That thing makes coffee QUICK. I really don't know how the thing works but just making a guess, I'd say it has something to do with heating the water up under pressure. One of them physics things I vaguely remember from high school says something about water heating up faster under pressure. Doesn't really matter. What does matter is that she really loves it and uses it and it makes good coffee (for her of course. I can't stand coffee myself and stick with tea).

And we have a grill now. We've been wanting to grill. In the summer all you have to do to smell burning meat is step outside. Grilling is big in these parts but the city has a law against grilling on the balcony of an apartment. Makes sense. That's how a LOT of fires start. Next best thing is an electric grill, which we got for Christmas :-)

And the dishes. Ah, how glorious. When we moved in we had one set of dishes. That's service for four people. We got another set, same pattern, so now it's service for 8. More importantly, it means we don't have to run the dishwasher quite so often because we've run out of bowls or plates or something. You've got to love THAT :-)

CC is a bit of a Beatles fan. She also plays the keyboard for fun. When we got the keyboard (it's written up in a previous post somewhere) she got a HUGE book of songs. She loves that book but what she really loves to do is play Beatles songs. So, I got her a book of JUST Beatles songs. It has all the popular ones, all the favorites, it even has all the songs that left you scratching your head asking, "What?" She's been playing keyboard quite a bit this weekend. Two hours or more on Sunday and another 2 hours or more this morning. She's one happy bunny :-)

It was a slow day today (Monday). Part of me was still trying to make up for lost sleep. The other part of me was so used to being active that it wasn't sure it was supposed to rest. Plus, tomorrow we all have to go back to what we were doing before the holidays, at least for a few more days. That means back to work or looking for work or avoiding work, whichever you were doing before. It's sort of like the last day of summer vacation when you're a kid. You're not sure how to spend the time but you know you need to do SOMETHING.

I did know that I was NOT going to take down Christmas decorations. Sorry but for me, the rule is that they stay up until after New Year's. THEN they can come down and be boxed up and so forth. We only get a few weeks of these nice decorations so I really want to enjoy them while I can.

Today we had a domino re-match. I won on Sunday and won again quite handily, thank you :-) I have to be smug and brag about this because let's face it, CC is REALLY whupping my butt at Boggle :-) I also taught her how to play Pachisi. That one came down to one roll, literally. In the end, she had three pieces home, I had three pieces home and we both had our fourth piece sitting two spaces from home. It came down to who rolled a 2 first and that was me :-)

After that, we watched a little TV, had lunch, then we took a nice long walk along the Wolf River which is across the street from the apartment complex. There's a long nature trail down there that is very scenic. It probably looks even nicer in the spring when the trees have leaves on them but it was still pretty scenic for winter.

Came home and that was about it for the day. CC went to take a nap at around 4:30 or so. It's now almost 8 and she's still asleep. Quite honestly, I think she's down for the night. Maybe she'll wake up for a snack later but she won't stay up for long. She's probably worn out from the weekend, poor thing. She needed it though. For four whole days she did almost NO office work. That always feels good :-)

So there you have it, our Christmas. Don't expect a big blog entry like this for New Year's though. I've never really done much for New Year's and neither has CC. Maybe if my parent's have everyone over we'll go there but otherwise, it's looking like we'll spend it here. I'll keep you posted of course. :-)


One gift I got that wasn't on any of my lists is the latest book by Lynne Truss. For those who don't know, or don't recognize her name, she wrote a REALLY funny book about proper grammer usage called Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It's all about REALLY bad punctuation errors, tense errors, that sort of thing. Some people call it being overly-picky with language but hey, the rules are there for a reason.

Her new book is called Talk to the Hand. The sub-title says it all: The utter bloody rudeness of the world today, or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door.

I've only read the introductory chapter but I already know this is going to be a favorite of mine. It came out a few months ago so it's certainly available wherever you are. If you're in a book store, try and find it and have a look. You might enjoy it :-)


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Adorable Wife

Currently Reading: The Once And Future King by T. H. White

My wife's been doing some adorable things lately. Not on purpose, but by simply being herself :-)

It's winter. She's cold. I have a big, poofy, down jacket. It's blue so I nicknamed it Big Blue. Big Blue is a REALLY warm coat. In fact, it's SO warm that I usually only wear it a few times a year. Naturally, when CC moved over I let her use it because she's cold a LOT more often than I am.

Today she wore Big Blue to work. Now, when I say she wore it to work, I don't just mean that she wore it during the trip to work, took it off, hung it up and went to work. No, she wore it to work. Up the elevator. Into the office. At the computer.

Can you just imagine how cute she looked, swallowed up by a big down jacket, hood up and everything! That's my wife, such a cutie pie :-)

This being the Christmas season, she's also displaying one of her other cute habits: impatience with presents. She's REALLY bad at waiting for holidays or birthdays to open her presents. She wants to know what they are NOW. She tries to get the information out of me and more often than not, she's successful.

Her latest attempt was pretty funny. She's asked for one of those new coffee makers that use a little pod of coffee and brews it under high pressure so it takes almost NO time to make. We're sitting on the sofa the other day watching TV and she says to me, all sweet-like, "Honey, you know how when I get presents I like to use them right away right? Well, just so I can be prepared, will I need to buy coffee pods when we go shopping?"

You'll be happy to know that I didn't fall for it this time. I mean, goodness we've only got a week left right? She can wait that long I'm sure. :-)

Oh, we WERE allowed to open ONE present early. Judy and John sent us their presents, which got here a few days ago. One of them was marked to be opened on the 21st so naturally we opened it up. Hey, we had to follow the instructions right? :-)

Well, we've been big fans of the Painted Pony figurines. Judy got us on those back when we got married. We have three of them . . . or rather I should say we HAD three of them. Now we have a fourth! Oh and it's a PRETTY one too, it's all done up for Christmas! I'll try and get CC to post a picture. It's REALLY lovely. We didn't know where to put it at first so we juggled the decorations a little bit so it fit on the TV where everyone can see it. Can't wait to show that one off :-)

Just 3 more shopping days until Christmas folks. I must say though, if you don't have to, you'll REALLY want to avoid the malls on Saturday. Hell just to be safe, better avoid any place that sells stuff. It's going to be crazy out there.

Be safe!


Some of you may have noticed the little running tab on our Boggle games. Regular readers probably remember I mentioned that I was going to keep track of the wins and losses. Notice how I'm NOT getting any better? Pretty sad actually, I've been practicing online and she STILL whupped my butt tonight. She was on SUCH a roll that she managed to beat me in 3 rounds.

I did get a LITTLE revenge last night when we played Monopoly but it's somewhat hollow. She'd never played the game before and is still getting the hang of it. Besides, Monopoly is as much luck as it is skill anyway. If you roll bad, and she was rolling bad, you don't get to buy the better properties. And if you're REALLY lucky, like I was, you somehow manage to skip over all those hotels (and she had some hotels out there waiting for me). I'll be adding more as soon as we get more games to play.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Slow Time; Knocked Up Fish

Currently Reading: The Once And Future King by T. H. White

This happens every year. The week before Christmas is slow time. I'm not quite sure how the physics works but right around the Winter Solstice, right around Christmas, time, as we know it, slows down to a crawl!

It doesn't seem to matter how busy I am, if it's the week leading up to Christmas, nothing takes as long as it used to. A trip to the store which would normally take an hour suddenly only takes 5 minutes. Reading a book? Well if a chapter usually took 30 minutes for you to digest, you can bet you'll have that baby put away in 10 minutes flat.

I bet if I looked out the window right now I'd see leaves falling in slow motion :-)

And it's not like I've been sitting here just waiting for Christmas to come. Friday was PACKED with little things to do as we prepared for the big cookie frosting festival. Then Saturday WAS the cookie frosting festival. Sunday CC and I went to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (excellent film by the way). That movie was 2 and a half hours long and we STILL got home with plenty of time to spare in the day.

Yesterday I finished up all the things around the house that hadn't gotten done already. Wrapped presents, baked MORE cookies (this time oatmeal) and even with all that thrown in there I had time to read several chapters of The Once and Future King and even watch TV.

I know there's something going on out there with time. I can feel it. :-)


My guppy got knocked up. No wait, let's be fair, she was knocked up when I got her. Oh yes, it's true. I thought maybe she just had an eating problem or something and had put on some weight. She also liked to wear big coats around the tank but I thought she was just used to warmer water, you know?

No, it's true, she was knocked up. I looked last night, skinny as the male guppy. Then I see something odd in the fake plants. Two EYES floating around in there. Apparently baby guppies are pretty much all eyes. They're like 80% eyes. Must be because the other fish will eat them. Having big eyes allows them to see who's eating them so that when they are reincarnated, they can come back for revenge :-)

Anyway, I have no idea how many sets of eyes are hiding in the tank. Could be 2, could be more. Could be they've all been eaten and are planning to come back some time next year as a poor, helpless kitten that finds itself stranded on our doorstep needing a home. We shall see :-)


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This Side of Graceland

Currently Reading: The Once And Future King by T. H. White

Men and women have different ideas about what "good decorating" is. This is something that is VERY apparent during the Christmas season when we all drag down the decorations from the attic or out of the closet to make things a little more festive around the house.

You've seen our decorations by now, I'm sure, over at CC's blog. She's put up some nice pictures of our "tasteful" decorations and I have to admit, it really does look nice around here. The general theme she's looking for is "expensive department store" in red and gold :-)

Yeah, it looks nice, don't get me wrong but I'm a guy. Guys have a totally different sense when it comes to these things. Granted, most of the time it's more like a LACK of sense or a very BAD sense, but I choose to label it as DIFFERENT because that's MUCH more polite :-) That's not to say that we are all bad at decorating. I'm pretty good at it myself. But I must say that guys are more likely to decorate a room purely based on just how tacky they can make it look :-)

Which brings me to the back porch :-)

I would like to preface this by saying that from the ground, our third-floor balcony porch looks pretty good actually. Things don't look over-the-top unless you're actually standing up there in the middle of everything. I'd also like to point out that even in our own building and our own apartment complex there are MUCH worse decorations out there. Besides, what I did out there yesterday I did on PURPOSE. I was TRYING to make our porch look like the most glittery thing this side of Graceland :-)

Picture a generic porch in an apartment building. Picture this in your mind because I'm not going to go out there in the cold, wet weather and take a picture for you. If you want to see this you either have to use your imagination or drag your butt on over for a visit :-)

Now, picture the porch. On either side you have sort of Greek/Roman pillars. Between those pillars there is a green, metal, iron fence. Nothing elaborate, just straight bars running up and down, about 3 feet high. Door to the apartment is on the back wall at the far left.

Wrapped around both pillars you will find VERY red tinsel. You've probably seen it at Walmart. It's RED and it's SHINY. Around and around it goes making the pillars look like giant candy canes . . . if you take off your glasses or recently got hit in the head and your vision is blurry :-)

In the middle of the fence you'll find a small wreath. Simple. Dare I say, elegant? Of course that whole image is TOTALLY thrown off by all the garland that comes flying out from behind it. Red and silver, the red being leftover from wrapping the pillars, it's flying out like wings all the way to the ends of the fence. I suppose you could say it looks a bit like bunting, but thin.

I've got another set of this stuff flying from the middle of the ceiling too, by the way, so you've got THREE runs of this stuff going across the patio. It's all VERY bright and VERY glittery and VERY Vegas baby, YEAH! :-)

Now, to set off this display, I've run a string of colored Christmas lights around the whole thing. Picture a big, multi-colored rectangle of lights. Place that big rectangle around all the shiny stuff. That's our porch :-)

Fabulously Festive :-)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas, All Weekend Long

Just Finished Reading: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

The Christmas season got fired up in a big way this weekend. Spent the whole weekend involved in Christmas activities and you know, it was pretty damn fun.

First up was Friday's surprise package from Judy and John. Judy has a WHOLE bunch of Christmas decorations she's accumulated over the years and now that CC and I are living on our own, she's taken it upon herself to share those things with us. It's a mutually beneficial arrangment you see. We get Christmas decorations. She gets closet space :-)

In Friday's package were two deer. They're made out of a clear, plastic, resin sort of stuff. Looks like glass but it's not as heavy and probably nowhere near as fragile. We've set them up on the coffee table.

Saturday was almost entirely Christmas. In the morning, we cleaned up the apartment a bit to get ready for decorating. In the afternoon, we went over to my parents' house to retrieve the Christmas decorations.

Originally we'd planned to get them on Sunday but it occured to me that if we picked them up Saturday afternoon, we'd have the whole day Sunday to do the actual decorating which means we'd be done over the weekend and we could just enjoy it after that. And so, in one day we went from having almost no Christmas decorations at all to having WAY more than we know what to do with. Seriously, I'd forgotten there was so much and we actually had to leave a few things at the house because there wasn't room in the truck. I'll sort through it all eventually and get it into some sort of organized chaos :-)

While we were over there, I ended up hanging the Christmas lights. I wasn't planning on doing it you know. I was thinking that, this being my first year on my own for Christmas, I might actually avoid the ladder climbing. That was my first though at least. Didn't work out that way. All these years, I've been the only one to hang the lights on the house so no one else knew what pattern they went up in or how they were attached to the house. So up I went and down, and up and down, over and over again until they were finished. Not sure how they look though. We left before the sun went down so I never got a chance to see them lit. :-)

Saturday night was CC's boss' Christmas party. It's a big, family thing with games for the kids and prizes and presents and Santa and even a sleigh ride. We got there around 7ish and the party was in full swing. Kids everywhere, parents enjoying watching the kids play, parents enjoying the free-flowing open bar :-) There was also a lot of really good food and we had a great time.

After all the kid stuff was done, the parents gathered in the front sitting room, kids in the back watching a movie. We got in a big circle and drew numbers for a gift exchange. It worked like this, you pick a present in the order of your number. You can either open the present you picked from under the tree or you could steal someone else's present and then THEY would go and pick a present from under the tree. Works great if you're the last person to pick. You can pretty much see what's available and go with it. Me? Number 1. That's right, I went first.

My pick was this really nice, ceramic cake-serving dish. It was raised up on a pedistal, very Christmasy and it came complete with some sort of little cake-like cookie. So naturally I did't get to keep it. Hell I didn't even get a chance to look at the cookies because the very next person to pick stole my platter. Not that we could say much. CC's boss was the next person :-) She really wanted that platter I guess :-)

We went home with a decorative basket that we've put in the bathroom to hold bath salts, a sushi serving set and a B.B. King Christmas CD. Not bad :-)

There was one guy I was starting to feel sorry for. I think he had every gift he picked stolen by someone else. First thing he got was a rather nice tea set. Lots of different types in a nice storage box. That didn't last long. So his next pick was a bottle of wine which promptly got taken by someone else. Then he got a massage pillow. He had that for a little longer but it got taken too. Then he got the sushi set which CC ended up taking. :-)

Sunday was decorating day. I'm not going into detail about the decorations. CC's taken pictures so I'll let her post those to her blog. You can see the results of our efforts when she has them finished.

Oh, and just a heads up, this next weekend we're having a cookie frosting party. It serves two purposes. First, we get to show off our decorations. Second, we get someone to frost our Christmas cookies for us :-) The whole family will be over and we'll all have lots of fun. There will be coffee for the old folks and hot chocolate for the young ones, the young at heart, and those of us who just think coffee is nasty :-)


Boggles my mind. We picked up a Boggle set last week. CC and I like playing Boggle. It's more fun with just the two of us. Less pressure, more fun. Well, right now I am 0 for 2 at Boggle. I tend to start strong, build up a decent lead, then lose in the last few rounds. It's happened twice now and I'm starting to think CC's just toying with me :-) She let's me win a little so I don't feel bad and then BAM! She lowers the hammer and puts me out of my misery :-)

So, in the spirit of seeing just how bad I am at Boggle and sharing that with the known universe, I'm going to post my Boggle record in the sidebar over there. Try not to laugh if it takes me a while to actually WIN a game :-)


Friday, December 09, 2005

Holiday Madness

Just Finished Reading: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

I think the cold weather is freezing a lot of brains out there. I've been watching the papers and the news online for the past few weeks. It's a madhouse out there!

It started off right after Thanksgiving. People were getting into fights and trampling others just to get into Walmart stores to buy cheap presents. Yes, it is true that there were repeat incidents a few days later when Microsoft released their new video game system, but that makes it worse, not better. At least one could argue that the after Thanksgiving crowd was trying to save money. The Microsoft mob was just trying to be the first to have an Xbox 360.

Every week I've seen at least one story lamenting the holiday season. We're becoming quite good at complaining about the holidays. I'm thinking there must be some sort of file in the office of every newspaper that contains humbug news. Each year they just pull it out at the right time, whip out an article and publish an easy filler story. Such "news" stories are usually about stolen decorations, damaged Christmas displays, stolen presents, factories closing right before Christmas, troops on foreign soil, psycho world leaders who hate us just in time for the holidays, etc.

Hell there's already enough pressure to try and create the perfect holiday moment, we really don't need any more do we? Every year it gets just a little worse, the pressure. You see the TV commercials, the ads in the newspapers, they always want to "help you find that perfect gift for that special someone." Do they ever help anyone . . . other than themselves I mean? You'll notice that most fo the time these "helpful" gifts are available for a limited time and they also tend to be on the expensive side. Of course, they also usually come with a little financing option thus making the gift that keeps on giving also equal the gift that you keep on paying for :-)

Two more weeks left until Christmas. We've got most of our shopping done, thank God. Unfortunately we have NONE of our mailing done yet which means I've got at least one long wait at the post office ahead of me. We're already receiving Christmas cards in the mail so I know we're behind. Hopefully our cards will make it on time but I'm pretty sure some of them will be late. Sorry about that folks.

There it is again, more of that holiday pressure. It's tough to deal with. You get into a race with everyone else. You keep on trying to out-do everyone else but also yourself. Did you give so-and-so a better present last year? And how does their gift compare to the present you gave to that other person? You don't want to appear as though you like person A more than person B do you? And then there's the really BAD moment that comes when you get the dreaded SURPRISE present. That's the gift that comes from someone YOU didn't get a gift for. Been there. That's when you try to be believable while saying that you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet and so you haven't gotten that person's gift but you will, and soon (probably right after they leave). Makes you wonder if there are people out there who give surprise gifts on purpose just to be mean :-)

About all you can really do at this time of year is remember the people who mean the most to you. Get them a gift that you put a little thought into and hope for the best. That's what I try to do. Notice I said TRY to do. I don't always succeed. I get caught up in the whole race the same as everyone else.

Two more weeks and then we all will shift gears to trying to come up with shallow resolutions we'll break 3 days after New Year's. And buying discount Christmas decorations. And cheap wrapping paper. And getting on with whatever it was we were doing back in November when the holiday madness struck us :-)


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Toast To The Dogs; Showing Signs Of Age

Currently Reading: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

This always seems to happen to me on days like this. Maybe it happens to you too, let's find out.

Ok, it's cold out. No shocker there. It's cold all over the country today. I was out walking the dogs in this cold weather and naturally my ears and nose were especially cold. Came back, started to warm up. Fed the dogs. Sat down to breakfast.

That's when it happened.


Notice that this sneeze attack didn't happen when I got home. Didn't happen when I took off my coat and stuff. Didn't happen as I fed the dogs or even as I got breafast ready. No, this sneeze attack waited until I was sitting down, at the table, mouth full of food.

And so, toast, to my dogs :-)

To most of us, that's a bit gross. I sneezed toast all over my dogs. But you won't hear any complaints out of them. Far as they were concerned, that means table scraps for free :-)


Alrighty, you want to know if you're getting old or not? Here are two signs that mean you are, for sure, getting old.

If you hurt yourself just by reaching into the refrigerator, you're getting old. No joke, last night I was putting away soy sauce. I took the bottle off the counter, turned, reached out to the fridge, put the bottle on the top shelf where it always goes and OW OW OW OW OW OW OW! Some sort of weird back cramp. I was standing there thinking, "What the HELL is this? I'm pulling a muscle by putting away soy sauce?"

If you are actually interested in watching The Weather Channel for more than 10 minutes, you're getting old. That's right, I actually watched The Weather Channel this morning during breakfast. I did it voluntarily. I did it with full knowledge that there are many other available channels for me to watch. And I was interested in it! At first, I put it on to see when/if we were going to get the snow they were talking about earlier in the week. Then I felt myself drawn into the drama of the snows in Denver. Then the tropical update! Then the drive time commute! Next thing I know I'm sneezing toast all over the dogs :-)


Monday, December 05, 2005

Ice, Ice Baby

Currently Reading: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Oh yeah, we've all been there haven't we?

Well I guess you could say that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Just like the song says. It's one of those things where you have to take the good with the bad.

For example, it may LOOK really nice outside when the snow is gently drifting to the ground, covering everything in a nice, clean blanket of white. Oh yes, so very peaceful. But it's an entirely different experience when you actually have to GO somewhere in that mess. We've been lucky so far in Memphis. It hasn't been cold enough for snow. There was a very SLIM chance last night and there's another chance on Thursday but the most we'll probably get is really cold temperatures, maybe a little ice. It's the sort of thing I never used to really care about much until we moved into this third-floor apartment. Now I'm thinking about all those stairs and how easy it would be for them to ice up.

Lots of Christmas decorations around out there too. Our little suburb is one of those that likes to decorate. All the telephone poles have big wreaths on them. Scattered around town you see these HUGE nutcrackers. It's very nice to see them get into the spirit. It sort of balances out all those stories you hear in the news these days of people who sue their city to keep all of that Christmas stuff out.

I read a really funny letter to the editor online today. The person suggested that those folks who aren't christian and who don't want to celebrate Christmas, what they should do is just go to work instead of taking the holiday off. I never really thought about it but DAMN that's a pretty big double standard isn't it? The same people who complain and bitch about the holidays are the same people who are the first out of the office when their Christmas vacation starts.

I was out doing some shopping this weekend. Had to pick up few presents. We're pulling double duty this month because in addition to Christmas, we also have my sister's birthday and my mother's birthday. Actually, and I keep forgetting to mention this, but my sister really should go to Japan this time of year. Her birthday falls on The Emperor's Birthday. Betcha THEY make a big deal about the 23rd :-) My mother, she was lucky. Born one day before they bombed Pearl Harbor. Well no, make that, she was born on the 6th. She wasn't born in 1941. Point is, her birthday doesn't fall on Pearl Harbor day, which would be pretty depressing.

But I digress. I was talking about how it looks like Christmas out there. Feels like it too. I was out walking the dogs this morning, came around one of the buildings and the wind just CUT right through me. I froze. The dogs are looking back at me wondering why papa is suddenly walking like Frakenstein's monster. Wind like that, it doesn't matter what you're wearing. Whatever you wear it never seems thick enough. One thing is certain, when I walk them later tonight, I'm going to have a few more layers of clothing on.

Now that I think about it, CC's boss is having her Christmas party this Saturday. Good and bad here. On the good side, she puts on a great party. Great food, the works. She's going to have a sleigh ride (Ok, it's a pony and the sleigh is on wheels but it looks really nice) and there's going to be Santa and a gift exchange. On the downside, it means I'll have to get a haircut. Lots of hair has really helped me stay warm out there. Plus, well, it may be cold outside on Saturday. Sleigh ride might not be as fun in the cold and CC gets cold REALLY easy still. Poor thing still hasn't really gotten used to an actual winter. A few more years and maybe she'll be ok with it.

Right now the weather tells me it's sunny and 36 degrees out. You look at that, look out the window and see it and it just doesn't seem possible. It looks so nice and WARM out there. 36 degrees. Makes me cold just writing about it :-)