Friday, January 31, 2003

Oh my God, I just checked out Friday Group Therapy and it has been delayed until Sunday. The have suggested an alternative, check out the Saturday Sexual Liberation. No, No, I will not answer THOSE questions. Not that I'm a prude, just that I can't do that here.
For the Friday Five

1. As a child, who was your favorite superhero/heroine? Why? Captain Kangaroo (to me he was a superhero)

2. What was one thing you always wanted as a child but never got? A horse - I'm glad now I didn't

3. What's the furthest from home you've been? 3000 miles

4. What's one thing you've always wanted to learn but haven't yet? anything and everything

5. What are your plans for the weekend? work, read weblogs, write, walk, clean house, maybe catch a movie

The plain brown envelope arrived yesterday. It was sitting by the door when I got home from work. As I stooped to pick it up I heard frantic scratching noises on the other side of the door, sounds as if my docile little housecats had turned into raging tigers. I looked at the return address on the package. Sure enough the CatClaws order had arrived and Rusty and Minnie could smell it though the door.

I held the package close as I opened the door cautiously and stepped over the threshold thinking I could run straight for the kitchen and slide the pocket door closed before the attack. No such luck. Rusty was climbing up my pant leg before I got past the entry tile. Minnie tagged behind yowling like a cat with its tail stuck in a rat trap. I kicked a ball across the room hoping to distract the beasts. Rusty’s claws sunk deep into my thigh and Minnie yowled louder. I threw the package into the kitchen figuring that at least Minnie would chase after it and I’d have a chance to remove Rusty’s claws from my bloody thighs. Minnie took the bait; Rusty and I fought over the proper way to extract him from my pant leg. Once released, he raged into the kitchen.

As I searched through the cat toy basket for a couple of refillable mice, Rusty and Minnie tore into the CatClaws package. For a moment I debated whether I should just let them rip it apart and enjoy the contents but visions of extra fine, premium catnip from one end of the apartment to the other discouraged that behavior. Finally bolstering up my courage, I grabbed for the now shredded package. Four paws of claws clutched at my hands as I swiped the goods. I raced for the bathroom, slammed the door behind me and stood against the door. There were two distinct howls accompanied by head slamming bangs against the door. Then silence. Egaad, I thought I killed them. I took a deep breath, and before I could release it, the fierce attack scratches began again.

In my angst over having a bathroom door shredded beyond repair, I spilled more catnip into the sink than into the refillable mice. About the time the mouse bellies were full and sufficiently Velcro sealed the phone rang. Sure that it was the landlord inquiring about the commotion in apartment 106, I hastened to finish the job. Working up my courage, on my tiptoes, hand above my head, I opened the door just enough to toss out the ammunition. Rusty grabbed both mice, tore into the kitchen. Minnie sauntered into the bedroom with a nonchalant shrug. Twenty minutes later they were both sound asleep at the foot of my bed.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

How did you spend your 8760 hours last year? Here's how I spent mine:
2738- Sleeping
2250- Working
541- Playing around on the Computer Email, Internet, Games
365- Eating
365- Watching TV
364- Cooking, Doing Dishes
359- Writing
338- Reading
231- Walking
221- Other stuff you don't want to know
180- Pets & Vets
156- Socializing
156- Housework, Laundry, Ironing
114- Trains, Planes & Automobiles
92- Misc Errands
78- Meetings
76- Shopping
46- Sitting in coffee shops
24- Watching movies
24- Being sick
21- Gambling & Church
20- Waiting for doctors
1- Actual time with doctors
0- Writing Christmas cards

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Note to Big Brother - are we having fun yet?

According to my recent research (staying up half the night perusing random weblogs), 99% of the weblogs are daily postings of my-whatever-whenever-however-wherever , usually dribble of inconsequential merit. It’s all about “Me,” or what I call “Me-dom.”

To assist in this daily practice of Me-dom, there are several weblogs devoted to daily or weekly prompts, teasers, challenges, lists and miscellaneous musings. I found the term “meme” in my wanderings last night and suspect it refers to weblogs devoted to “me.”

I guess the point of all this is to justify my own weblog which has become sort of a trash bin of random entries with no relevance other than they happen to float into my mind on a particular day, sometimes with a little help from The Back Porch, Melanie's Monday Memories, This-or-That, The Thursday Thumb-Twiddler, 3 for Thursday, The Friday Five, Friday Group Therapy the Weekly Wrap-up and Saturday Scruples

So why would anyone want to read this weblog, much less bookmark it? Probably for the same reasons I often stay up half the night researching other weblogs:
Human interest
To laugh, to cry
To share the experience of life, and death
To learn
To entertain
Because it’s there

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

100 Things About Me

I wasn’t going to do this because I thought it was too much information to put out there in the public. Then I saw everyone else was doing it. When it comes right down to it we have a choice to select the 100 things that we want to share about ourselves. So here it is:

1. My favorite color is blue
2. My favorite pet is a cat, domestic, nothing fancy
3. Two cats own me
4. I eat the same thing for breakfast 360 days a year
5. I set my alarm for the same wake up time 200 days a year
6. The best pet I ever had was my first “Rusty” cat
7. I’ve had at least three “Rusty” cats
8. I drive a cranberry colored car
9. I read about one book a month
10. I read about four magazines a month
11. My favorite magazine right now is “The Sun”
12. I hiked up the highest mountain in the lower 48 states
13. I have spent 24 hours alone in the wilderness
14. I hate coconut
15. I love chocolate
16. I never screen my phone calls
17. I am founding queen of my local Red Hat Society
18. Twenty red hats hang on a rack in my living room
19. My favorite CD is Enya
20. My closet is too full but it is organized
21. I can’t stand clutter
22. My favorite movies are drama
23. I waste time playing Poppit
24. I wear bifocals
25. I am never late (well almost never)
26. I got a speeding ticket once
27. Houseplants die under my care
28. I don’t do drugs
29. I jumped out of an airplane once
30. My favorite days are sunny and warm
31. I waste time playing with Sims
32. I start projects and don’t always finish them
33. I can’t stand to see dirty dishes in the sink
34. I try not to collect anymore cat related items
35. My collect Dorothy Parker books but I haven’t read any of them
36. My favorite movie is Sound of Music
37. I took piano lessons for five years and still can’t play
38. I don’t dance
39. I go to church occasionally
40. My cats sleep with me
41. I suffer from excruciating back pain
42. My hair is turning gray
43. I earned my wrinkles
44. I forget to wear lipstick
45. I walk to work
46. My favorite grocery store is Trader Joes
47. I’m addicted to the internet
48. I drink coffee black
49. I only play the lottery if the jackpot is over $80,000,000
50. My first job was as a payroll clerk
51. I was a girl scout
52. I am the third child in my family
53. I learned how to knit and crochet from Grandma
54. I flunked driver training
55. I can’t carry a tune
56. I don’t understand poetry
57. I like Diet Coke better than Diet Pepsi
58. I eat hot dogs only once every six months
59. I eat a donut only once every six months
60. I am addicted to Jelly Bellys
61. I’ve watched All My Children for 29 years
62. I sometimes lie to telemarketers
63. I don’t wear high heels
64. I would wear jeans every day if I could get away with it
65. I like mountains better than the ocean
66. I sit near the back when I go to the movies
67. My favorite Semi-monthly periodical is BottomLine Personal
68. My favorite coffee drink is a Nonfat Latte
69. I don’t take vitamins
70. I love gadgets
71. My newspaper rubber band ball is my prize possession
72. I have a good sense of humor
73. I want to be cremated
74. I’ve never been to Europe
75. I still have my first Teddy Bear
76. I cheat when I do crossword puzzles
77. My favorite board game is Scrabble
78. My favorite card game is Cribbage
79. My brother always beats me no matter what game we play
80. I have no sense of direction
81. I believed my dad when he said artichoke hearts are bad for little girls
82. I ate my pet rabbit and thought it was chicken
83. My lucky number is 525
84. I like flannel sheets in the winter
85. I make my bed every morning
86. I read the morning paper every day while I eat breakfast
87. I must always be learning something
88. I prefer video poker over reel slot machines
89. I can’t stand liars
90. I can’t stand it when people leave lights on
91. Noise annoys me
92. I get impatient easily
93. I tend to be too sarcastic
94. I am too hard on myself
95. I pick on my husband compulsively
96. Hangnails and broken fingernails drive me nuts
97. My brother says he reads ALL my weblogs and I don't believe it (are you reading this Big Brother?)
98. I don’t like forwarded email
99. I thought I liked to make lists but now I am not sure
100. This list was a challenge for me to complete

Monday, January 27, 2003

I got a new toy...

I couldn't help it...

I just had to get one...

So here it is (Rusty is the one checking it out to make sure it works right)

It's an hp photosmart 230 and it really does print great pictures. Now if only I had one of those new digital cameras.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

This is the weekend to prune your roses.

My father had a knack for growing roses, a gigantic green thumb. He planted the original rose garden at the Community Church of Monterey Peninsula which attracts visitors from all over the bay area. Dad would have been 87 on January 24th. While he is no longer walking the garden path on this earth, his birthday remains forever on my calendar as the day that the roses must be pruned.

Much to my consternation, I have not inherited the ability to grow even a turnip and my attempts at rose gardening so far have been fruitless endeavors resulting in spindly branches, small aphid ridden leaves and a couple of puny blossoms. Yesterday I attacked my one and only miniature rose plant with kitchen scissors leaving a rather pitiful looking half dozen mini-bare stalks. I'll believe in Miracles (as in Miracle Grow) if it generates anywhere near the abundance of blossoms it had last summer when I brought it home from the nursery.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Just so I would stop ranting about health care and HMOs I looked around other weblogs for ideas to write about. I found a couple of resources: The Friday Five with this exercise.

Answer the following five questions in your own weblog. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post or just leave your answers in this post's comments section.

1. What is one thing you don't like about your body?
The roll of fat on my lower abdomen that doesn't go away no matter how much weight I lose or what exercises I do.
2. What are two things you love about your body?
My light blue eyes
I can't find a second thing to "love"
3. What are three things you want to change about your home?
The carpet (but I'm living in an apartment)
Add a couple of plants
Find the perfect piece of art to hang above my sofa
4. What are four books you want to read this year?
A good start would be four books I bought last year that I haven't read Yet:
I Know This Much is True - Wally Lamb
Hard Laughter - Anne Lamott
Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Unicorn - Iris Murdoch
5. What are five promises you have kept to yourself?
Not to be so sarcastic
To give up coffee
Be nicer to my husband
Work harder at work
Join a writing group

The I found this one Friday Group Therapy 2.04

1. How do you feel about your weight?
I am not overweight but I worry when I gain a couple of pounds
2. Have you ever been on a diet?
Weight Watchers - I lost 30 pounds 2 years ago and have gained back 10
3. What are your typical eating habits?
I try to eat healthy but lately have been making some poor selections. It was partially due to the overload of Christmas goodies. Last night I went to Trader Joes to stock up on healthy snacks.
4. What is your favorite food?
Chocolate - isn't everybodies?
5. What is your least favorite food?
Coconut - I can't stand it in anything, not even a slight hint of flavoring
6. What is your favorite dessert?
Chocolate, in any form
7. What is your favorite restaurant & your favorite fast food place? Why?
Fast food I try to stay away from but when necessary I usually go for Baja Fresh just because there is one near me and has some healthy choices.
I don't have a favorite restaurant - being in the Bay Area there is an unlimited supply.

Extra Credit: Try to eat better this week. Tell us how it goes. If you already eat reasonably well. Indulge yourself in a guilty pleasure. Tell us how it goes.

Having gone back to a weight watchers meeting this morning for a motivational boost I think I'll make some reasonable choices this week. I'll probably go back every Saturday for a while until I get back on track

Friday, January 24, 2003

More ranting on the health care front: Answering Machines

It seems to me that the latest protocol for medical practice office administration is to have an automatic answering mechanism that forces patients who call in to go through six menus of options, punch in nine different codes each followed by the “pound sign”, and end up in someone’s voice mail box.

If the patient is lucky enough to end up with the correct voice mailbox, the usual greeting is “You have reached the message center for ______. I am sorry but I am either away from my desk right now assisting patients or on another line. Please leave your name, phone number, the name of the doctor you normally see, the reason for your call, and what date and time is convenient for your next appointment. Please don’t leave multiple messages because due to the high volume of calls, it may delay our response.”

If luck further holds out, the patient actually receives a call back. I never seem to have such luck.

In December I placed a follow up call to my orthopedic surgeon as to the status of an MRI authorization that was supposedly requested in early November. No one called me back. Not wanting to leave multiple messages and delay a response I dutifully waited until January to call in again. This time I actually got a return call from a young lady who apologized profusely that my request had been misfiled but she assured me that an urgent request would be made that very day. Two weeks later I received a denial for the MRI. At least I know there was an attempt made. Two days ago I made a follow up call to the same doctors office regarding the denial. No response has come yet. So the question is, if I call back again today am I guilty of leaving multiple messages? What is the protocol? #########

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

My rant for today:

Dear HMO Provider,

Thanks a lot for once again denying the authorization request for an MRI. I guess you don't quite understand the excruciating back pain I suffer whenever I move in certain directions. I must always be on guard to avoid moving in any way that might exasperate the pain.

I don't quite understand the denial. As per your last communique I did go see an orthopedic surgeon. It was my understanding that this would lead to approval if he deemed the MRI to be necessary. Now you are once again telling me I need to take more conservative measures - pop some anti-inflammatories and do four to six weeks of physical therapy.

Need I remind you that I have had prescriptions for all the anti-inflammatories that are allowed per my HMO plan? I have also paid out of my own pocket for anti-inflammatories that aren't covered by my HMO plan. They don’t work.

I should also remind you that I already did the physical therapy rituals. I have dutifully done all the exercises to the best of my ability. I also attended back school where I learned how to sit, stand, walk, sleep, brush my teeth, vacuum, lift, and get in and out of bed.

I have spent hundreds of dollars of my own money for heat therapy, cold packs, back chairs (an antigravity recliner and an ergonomically correct office chair), relaxation tapes, back exercise videos and books, special pillows and mattresses, chiropractors, massages, therapies and gooey blue stuff.

To think that five years ago I carried a 40 pound backpack up to the top of the tallest mountain in the lower US and today I can't even carry a 5 pound sack of potatoes home from the grocery store. I used to hike but now I walk slowly and methodically, as if on eggshells, because the slightest twist or slip sends immense jolts of pain through my spine.

I'm going to be a grandma soon. I'll not be able to hold that little baby boy for fear of dropping him if he innocently inflicts a painful jab. When he crawls I'll not be able to get down on the floor to play with him. When he walks those first steps towards me, I hope he understands why I can’t bend down and hug him.

Everyday every movement from the moment I get out of bed in the morning is mindfully thought out to prevent the excruciating pain. I can't tell you how many times I have been in a grocery store line, elevator or on public transportation and cringed in response to a slight nudge of someone near me. Sneezes, coughs and hearty laughter trigger instant agony.

I don't know what I expect from the MRI. I know it won't cure the problem. But I sure as heck think it's only fair that I at least get the authorization for procedures needed for an accurate diagnosis. At least then I would know what to expect for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I’m having a problem with this blog thing. In the beginning I blogged only on weekends and in the evening, after 5pm. I was careful to blog only for a few minutes. Then one evening I stayed up until 2am checking out blogs and setting up more blogs (one is never enough you know). I started going to work five minutes early to sign on for a quick blog check. I spent every break and lunch hour blogging. Now I keep the blogger sites open all day behind spreadsheets so I can check in anytime there is a free moment or when the boss isn’t looking. I go home, turn on the computer and search the internet for more blogs. I watch TV behind blogs. I eat while blogging. I dream about blogs. I think about blogs in the shower. If I’m not writing blog I’m reading blog. I can’t stop. I don’t want to stop. My husband has suggested writing to Dr. Phil. Maybe tomorrow. I’ve got to catch up on my blogs now.

Is it going to rain or not? I walk to work this morning. It doesn’t feel like it’s raining so I opt not to put up my ratty old umbrella. Half a block later I can’t see through my glasses. I can feel my hair curling. So I relent. I press the quick release button on the umbrella. The umbrella lurches open, spokes only partially extended, the fabric drooping like a wet circus tent. I reach into the center spindle for that thumb-pinching gadget that releases the spokes. It nabs my thumb as I toy with it. Finally it gives and I’m under the shelter of an ugly gray tent. Meanwhile I am distracted for a second too long. My foot lands in a four-inch puddle left from last night’s storm. I resist the urge to shout unladylike expletives. I wonder if I should have driven the two blocks to work today. Then I remember. This is one of those days where you turn on your windshield wipers to the tune of a blackboard screech and blindly aim, through pea soup windows, for the middle of the road.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Happy MLK Day. Also, happy Robert E. Lee Day. They happened to have shared the same birthday. How about that?

My cats don't recognize any holidays. I was the recipient of multiple nudges at 6:30 am this morning. How is it that Miss Minnie Poopalot and Mr. Rusty seem to know that Saturday and Sunday are sleep in days but when Monday rolls around they're both ready for the work week to begin?

Sunday, January 19, 2003

A few days ago I mentioned that one of my cyberspace friends died in a car wreck. Now I find that there may be some discrepancy here. Apparently it is kind of a fad for internet people to "die" or "disappear" all in the interest of gaining attention. The members of this particular group became suspicious when no one responded to condolence offerings. Then the rumors started. There is no news article in the small town newspaper where this person supposedly lived and died, no obituary either. A person who shares the name with the "dead person" was the recipient of phone calls from nosy internet buddies of the "dead person". She claims her sister used her name but then again she claims to know nothing about her sisters death. Anyway this goes on and on with new rumors everyday in the "dead persons" forum further infuriorating the denizens of this clan.

The internet is full of deceptions. For me, my life plays out like a midnight soap opera. I have no need to do any more than slightly embellish true life experiences which may sound fictional at times but in no way do I intend to deceive anyone wishing to follow these episodes. Tune in or tune out. I hope I don't have to die or disappear to gain attention.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Thank you Hestia for creating a link to my page. I am thrilled to be included in your entourage.

Meanwhile, I spent a lovely day today with the RHS Molls of which I happen to be Queen.

Sound Effects

I found a dangerous new toy in my AOL preferences last night. I was clicking through buttons and discovered a plethora of character icons, emoticons, wallpaper and sound effects.

I opted for a cat theme, maybe because Minnie was peacefully purring in my lap, maybe just because I tend to gravitate toward feline themes. The cat print wall paper installed, no problem. That was pretty cool. I stroked Minnie. She purred.

My shy cat icon peaked around the corner into the sidebar of my screen. Satisfied that it reflected my current mood I stroked Minnie. She purred.

A row of blue faced cat emoticons replaced the default yellow smiley faces. Another stroke down Minnies back. Another purr.

On to the sound effects. Minnie's ears twitched as I checked out meow number one. With meow number two Minnie looked at the computer in distain. By meow number five she sat up in my lap and sniffed at the monitor. With a rebellious paw she whacked at the keyboard. Out of the speakers came a loud screeching howl, Minnie leaped over the monitor and was out of my office in a flash but not before she deeply imbedded her hind claws into my thighs.

This morning Rusty is sitting in my lap as I write. Think I'll stay away from the sound effects.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Afghans & Dr. Phil

I finished the baby blue afghan last night. It was my Dr. Phil project. While knitting it I learned how to look good when I feel fat, lose weight when I am fat, understand those who truly are fat, hang up my clothes, clean my closets, stop obsessing over house cleaning, act sexy and attract men (20 years too late), stop yelling and critiquing, forgive & forget, understand my runaway daughter (a little too late for this one, besides I had no daughters), allow myself some slack, allow those around me some slack, raise responsible children, dress my age, stick to a budget even if I must get rid of pets, accept my wrinkles and figure out when divorce is appropriate. The end result: a slightly imperfect afghan and a soon-to-be grandma who better buy more yarn and stay tuned in.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Having finished my Nanowrimo novel last November and, not wanting to let go of my contacts with some “over forty” comrades, I recently joined up with the Michigan Nanowrimo forum. I’ll admit I have not been very conscientious in keeping up with this group. Now I feel guilty. A couple of days ago I got a message that the person who started the forum died in a car wreck on New Years. How sad that I didn’t maintain my correspondence with this dear lady. It’s a strange emptiness I feel in this loss – the loss of a cyberspace friend – it might be cyberspace but she touched my life just the same.

Speaking of cyberspace, I emailed a friend recently and told her “Egaad, I am a Blogger.” She emailed back, “What is a Blogger? It’s not in my dictionary.” I tried to look it up in my Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary CD – it’s not there. I checked the references on Yahoo – it’s not there. Even the “Free Online Dictionary of Computing” and “Whatis?” websites had no definition. After further research I finally found this at :

BLOG Jargon. (n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly-accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

I stand corrected. I am a web logger. Now I must go and do my daily updates to the other five blogs. Do you think I suffer from OCBD? (Obsessive Compulsive Blog Disorder)

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Some of my favorite quotes come from PowerQuotes . This is todays:

"The past is behind, learn from it;
The future is ahead, prepare for it;
The present is here, live in it."

- Thomas Monson, Mormon Church Leader

P.S. Powerquotes is free!!!
I Declare This Day to Be ______________
Just because I said so. And because I wanted to create another blog.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

What if?

If I knew then what I know now…would I have done things differently?

I find I am not unique in asking myself this question. In fact, I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t wondered how it could have been “if only.”

Irma Bombeck wrote a piece shortly before she died, “If I had My Life to Live Over,” listing things she would have done differently. In the poem “Warning” Jenny Joseph tells us what she will do when she is old. Under the tracks at the Rockridge BART station in Oakland there is a wall of tiles hand-painted by those who lost all their possessions in the Oakland hills fire. One of them suggests, “Use your best china everyday.”

We can’t change the past. We can’t go back and do it all over again. But, with a little help from those who have been there-done that, we can practice today, before it’s too late.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003


Daily Prompt: The next time you skip a writing session, write five reasons for doing so. Now, write a sentence or two explaining why each excuse is not good enough.

1. The sun was out and it was a warm, beautiful day.
I tend to write on gloomy, rainy days and then the writing reflects an overcast, downright depressing mood. These days of glorious sunshine between the winter storms, need to be celebrated, cherished, and enjoyed but at the end of the day, when the sun sets, the inspiration and wonderful feelings need to be shared. It’s all about balance.

2. I didn’t want to sit at my computer.
Well I did find time to sit at the computer and check my email which took an unusually long time due to the fact that the DSL service seemed to be slower than the original modem days. Besides, sitting at the computer is not an excuse to avoid writing. Sharpen those pencils and bring out that old yellowed notebook. Better yet take the notebook, find a warm sunshiny place and write there.

3. I had no “alone” time.
This is a boundary excuse. Set a time to be alone. Make it known that I need a break. And in the event that the break doesn’t come, then share the activity. If it bores the people in my life, so be it. They will find something else to do and I’ll be alone.

4. I had too many errands to do.
It’s time to put off until tomorrow what doesn’t have to be accomplished today. Was it really that important to visit six stores just to find the perfect soup bowls because I decided I might want to make split pea soup this weekend?

5. I spent too much time updating my website.
This is the weakest excuse of all. First of all, why do this on a day when DSL service is so tweaked that I ended up signing on the old fashioned modem way? Who reads my web pages anyway?

Monday, January 06, 2003

I Am a Grandma!

Maximus arrived Friday weighing in at just a little over seven pounds