Friday, June 25, 2004

The End is HERE
Today is my last day at my job. It's all very exciting.

I have a lot to do today:

I've already taken care of the wearing of jeans and flip-flops. I can mark that off my list.

There's much throwing away of things yet to be done. It's surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Very, very liberating, rewarding, and just plain SWEET.

I'm boxing up a few things to take home with me. Things that I brought in with me when I started here, and need to be rescued back to my home.

Um, I have to email a lot. And play on the internet. Both VERY important.

I have to procure my free sandwich. This is possibly the most important thing I will do today.

I'll need to enjoy the last moments I may ever have in an office with a door that closes. Where I'm going, they've got this whole open-air configuration of desks thing going on. I do so love the door. That closes.

I also have to enjoy being a Director for these last few hours, as this will likely never happen again. I don't necessarily want to ever direct anything again. But it sure is fun to have all these business cards with 'Director' on it underneath my name. I plan to auction off the cards, as I have over half a box of them left. They're quite valuable.

I have to avoid a cake party. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting one, and that is GREAT for me. I do so hate cake parties.

I have to enjoy my last blogging at work. Further blogging will have to take place not at work. It will be an adjustment. But really, the blogging breaks at work were incorporated to get me through many tough days at this job. It's served me well. I will enjoy it one last time today.

There's so much more Very. Important. Stuff to do. I can't even think of it all.

I should say goodbye to some people. I guess. If I have time....

There's just so much to do! One of my busiest days ever....


ps: WOO-HOO!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Losing......ummm....... interest.
Lately I've wondered why we lose interest in things. Hobbies, people, activities, sports, whatever. What made us interested in the first place? And what changes that we one day realize we are no longer interested in it anymore?

There are lots of things I like to do, some more than others. I LOVE to sit outside on my patio and read a book. This is a relatively new activity that I've found great joy in, as I've only had a good reading patio for about a year. I can have a completely stress-filled day of crap at work and bad traffic. But if I make it home in time to sit outside and enjoy some sunlight and a book, I find great peace in that.

But how did I discover that I enjoy this? And what keeps me interested in making time for this? I guess I just tried it once and found that I enjoyed it, and I remember that when I think about what to do with my time.

Last year I was all about biking. Every spare moment that wasn't devoted to some sort of responsibility, I was on my bike. Outside in nature, or inside on the trainer. I was riding. I loved it. I found peace in that. And, I had GREAT legs...

This year, I still enjoy the biking. I love the exercise and getting outside, feeling like I'm going someplace. I especially love bike events, being around other bikers, dressed in the requisite assortment of spandex and brightly colored helmets, all sharing equally strange tan lines from hours in the sun in biking clothes. These are my people.

But I'm not as interested in biking as last year. Do I like it less? No. Am I as motivated to bike as much as possible and train for a big ride? Not really. It's fun, and one of my favorite things to do. But if it comes down to a choice between biking or sitting outside with a book, the book will probably win. That's where my interest is.

So what's the difference or relationship between interest and enjoyment? Or, interest and priorities? We are interested in things we don't necessarily do or have the opportunity to be exposed to often. I'm fascinated with Biblical history and have great interest in the historical aspects of scripture: timelines, geography, Biblical history as related to the history of the world, etc. My one trip to Israel several years ago had my nose in history books for several months afterwards. Am I less interested now? No. Do I enjoy it less? No. Do I make the time to spend reading or researching or travelling more as related to learning more about it? No. It's not a priority. It's just an interest.

I'm especially interested in this idea of losing interest when it comes to people. You'd think that if you are interested enough to begin getting to know someone, build a relationship, and spend time with a person, the interest would remain intact. Something peaked your interest in the first place, and kept you interested for awhile. If there is mutual interest, it would beg to reason that two interests are stronger than just one, so interest would not dissolve, right? Aside from things that may come up in a relationship, how does interest grow or lessen? Why do people lose interest in people? Admittedly, I can think of several people that I once interacted with on an almost daily basis. Now? Can't say I have the interest in talking to them anymore. Is that a poor reflection on me, or them? Is it bad, or lazy to lose interest? Especially with people? Does one interest need to be replaced with another? Or is losing interest just something that happens?

I've also noticed this lately with blogging. I still love my blog and plan to continue blogging until there's just nothing left to blog. But, I've realized lately that it's not as big of a priority as it used to be. It's not quite the novelty it once was for me. It's not quite as exciting or fun. It's still fun and I still love to write, especially to blog. But I'm finding I don't have to do it everyday. I used to look forward to writing here everyday, as one of the first parts of my day. Now, I sometimes don't notice it's been a day or two in between posts. I'm just not as interested in keeping up with the blog as obsessively as I did for the first year or so. It hasn't been a conscious realization. Just something that's happened.

Do I like it less? No. Not at all. This is great fun for me.

Is my interest in it changing a bit? I think, yes. Although I'm not sure what that means.

I still hope to one day be a writer. I am a writer. But I hope to one day make that my job. The thing that pays my bills. I have a very strong interest in that.

I must figure out how to not lose that interest, or at least get everything I want out of it before the interest goes away.


I'm 500 Today
My apologies for the light posting lately. Do not fear. I have not abandoned the blog. But, there's lots going on lately. Changes coming. It's been tough to focus on writing.

The biggest distraction has been that this post is my 500th post. I've felt pressure to make it a truly phenomenal post. I've typed here 499 times, and most of them have been good, or entertaining, or at least something to read.

But 500?? That one should be memorable. To mark the occasion.

So, I'd like to start with a clip show of all the highlights of 500 postings on Cynical Rantings. The good times, the bad times. From the beginning, til now.....

Ok, not really.

It's just cool that I've had 500 things to say. Ever. At all.

I hope to have at least 500 more.

Thanks for reading... all .... 500... posts.


Friday, June 18, 2004

I hope the grass is greener...
Change is always scary for me. I don't know if it's scarier when change happens and I have no control over it, or if it's just as scary when I play a part in making things happen towards change.

Either way, things are about to change for The Tyrant.

I managed to get myself a new job. It's been a long search, with lots of help and lots of prayer, off and on over the past couple of years. I currently work in a homeless shelter, and to put it simply and as nicely as possible, it's been less than an ideal situation for me. You'll find a smattering of rantings about some aspects of life at the shelter throughout my blog archives on the right. I've learned a lot, I definitely see good things happening here towards helping homelessness. But I discovered a long time ago that this was not the place for me to be longterm. It's been a struggle of conscience vs. the reality of my personal limits.

And it just hasn't been easy finding a new place to go. I'm not even really sure what I do. Besides blog....

But, at long last, I have found a new job at an advertising agency. The job will be pretty much the reverse side of what I do now, handling advertising programs for clients instead of being the client. I can only hope that the grass is truly greener there, as it appears to be from this side of the fence, and as we all hope for the new things in our lives. Especially these days when jobs are so hard to come by and many people don't have a job of any kind, I hope that by leaving one steady job for a new opportunity leads to what I've hoped for: a better overall situation.

I'm anxious to be finished here, as my heart has not been in this job for quite some time now. I still have next week here, then I'm free! But even though I am ready to move on and leave this behind, I will miss one thing for sure.....

My sandwich.

This is the best sandwich ever. I swear to you.

Today, I purchased my last sandwich. It is the final sandwich on my second sandwich card, which hereby earns me a free sandwich the next time I go for a sandwich.

I have one week to receive my free sandwich. After next week I won't work near enough to the sandwich shop to justify the free-ness of the sandwich.

It's all very exciting. I loves me some free, and I loves me some sandwich. The timing could not be more perfect for the free sandwich to commemorate my departure from the realm of the sandwich shop.

I can only hope there is an equally good sandwich at a sandwich shop near my new job. Perhaps even better.... to go with the greener grass.

Mmmmmmm...... sandwich......


Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Price is sooo Right
I've been at home sick for the past two days. I guess it was 'sick'. There was no projectile anything. Just some stomach pain that I'm sure greatly resembled the pain of childbirth, yet today I find myself still (thankfully) with no children. It's been a mystery.

But the two days at home gave me the opportunity to watch one of my all time favorite shows, The Price is Right. I love this show so much that I may be jealous of people who get to go to the show in person.

Sadly, there was no Plinko during these two days of TPIR. But I love so many other things about the show that I've been able to forgive Bob for the lack of Plinko.

Yesterday, a woman on the show had the name of Oregon. Yes, as in what we commonly know to be the name of a state. Only on TPIR will you find such creativity in the names of people. It's sooo great.

I love how excited people get to be there, and to hear their name called. One lady (it may have been Oregon) screamed the entire way down the aisle and shook the entire time she was giving bids on items. Like this was the most exciting thing she had ever done in her entire life. Anywhere else? This would be extremely annoying. On TPIR? It makes for good tv.

I also love the prizes, which have gotten much better over the years. They used to be cheaper cars, like Ford Escorts, and obvious poor-quality dinette sets and whatnot. Now, there are sometimes higher quality things. Better cars. It's a little less trailer trash. But still, the beauty of it is that it is sometimes still kinda trailer trash. The orange striped couch from yesterday was wee bit low rent for my tastes. But you can bet if I'd been there to win it, I'd proudly display it in my home. It's a treasure. From TPIR.

The best part of the prizes is when they pair two objects together. Like, a chandelier with Bayer. Or, a lawn mower with arthritis cream. Who thinks of this stuff? It's sooo great. And makes things trickier, I'm sure.

As I laid huddled on the couch for two days, watching TPIR, I began to think of TPIR as related to life. Of course, it could have been the pain-induced delirium talking. And this is a really bizarre take on life, not all of it making sense. But, here's a bit of what I thought about.

Sometimes when life brings us new opportunities (ie: TPIR calling us to 'come on down!') we get really excited. It seems too good to be true. We work at it for awhile, making some bids on what we see before us, and sometimes we do well enough to make it past that first obstacle and onto the next game. The excitement increases. We are moving ahead!

But sometimes, we don't. We bid and we try and we work hard. But we stay at Contestants Row. This isn't our game. It's the end of the show for us. But it's not the only show. We just have to find our show. Or learn that maybe we don't belong on a show at all. It was a one-time adventure and we have other things to do. And that's ok.

But if we make it past Contestants Row, we are presented with the next obstacle. We're even more excited because we see more shiney things that could be ours if we make the right choices, if the price is right. It's all about choices.

Of course, in this game of TPIR, even if your choices don't lead you to 'a new car!' or to that dinette set, you still have the opportunity for the final showcase. You still get to spin the Big Wheel. It's not cut and dry. It's not pass or fail. It's not even really linear or progressive, since you could win absolutely nothing all day but still end up with the big prize at the end. No matter what choices you make here, there's still a second chance to win something. Even if it's not what you had your eye on in the first place, or what you expected. You can still claim the ultimate prize.

In fact, you don't even know what you could win. If you spin the Big Wheel correctly, and you are chosen to move on, the prize ahead is a mystery. You know you want it. But you don't know what it is. And really, the Big Wheel takes the choice out of it for a moment. You have to trust the Wheel to spin and land in the right spot. You really have no control. You made the choices in the beginning, and win or lose it got you to where you are now. But now you have to believe in the Big Wheel to carry you through to the next level.

Whoa. TPIR is...... deep.

Many of us lose at this point. Here, the game is no longer for us. We made if further than some, but this is as far as we go here. We try to do too much to influence the Big Wheel, spinning too hard or or not enough. The Big Wheel has other things in mind for us. Did it let us down? Some might see it that way. But, at least we got to spin it. Many don't have that honor. And for just a moment, we let go and let it lead the way. We've had our moment of fame and excitement. We've been on tv. We've kissed Bob on the cheek. We've made it further in this game than many other contestants. But now the Wheel says it's time to go, to search for another game.

So we go. And that's okay.

But, some of us make it past this point. The Big Wheel takes two of us through to face off in the final Showcase Showdown. This is the ultimate prize!! And now the choice is ours again. We decide which prize to bid on, and how much to bid.

Some of us are prepared for this type of pressure and decision. Some of us aren't. During one of my days at home, I saw a young kid make it to the Showcase. He was presented with an amazing prize package. There was a car or truck and a bunch of stuff. He scored big time. But, he lacked experience. He's probably never even bought a car before. He guessed way too low, and lost everything. He blew it, because the other contestant wasn't very close to her Actual Retail Price, either. But she won because his margin of error was ridiculously large. He chose wrong.

But did he lose? Not really. He may not have been ready for such a big prize and decision at that time. But he did win money on the Big Wheel. And he chose well enough to make it that far, anyway. Given more experience, he might have done better. But does that mean he shouldn't have been there? Hard to say. Sometimes we are faced with things we may not feel ready for, even though life may have us there for a reason.

And so, in my pain-induced delirium, I saw a lot of my life in TPIR over the past two days. Choices that lead one way or another. Decisions I made that were poor, and some that were great. Things that are not at all linear, don't make sense to have led me to one point or another, yet there I was. Faced with more choices, sometimes choosing well, other times completely blowing it. Times when I have to let go and trust in something Bigger to lead me to the next level, or turn me in a different direction. Times when I don't have control.

Sometimes it's exciting, and I end up with the mower and the athritis cream, or the spa, or the moped. Do I really need this? Who cares! I won it! And it's exciting! Sometimes I get to play the game I want to play, like Plinko. It doesn't matter as much to me if I win this, but I got to play what I've wanted to play and that's the point. But sometimes, I haven't learned enough, yet, to make a better decision. And I choose poorly. Or I have to play a game I don't enjoy. There are tears and disappointment when things don't work out the way I plan or hope for. I watch that Yodeling Guy fall off the cliff, and I feel as though I fell off right after him. I don't choose well, or the Wheel leads me another direction than where I thought I was headed.

But I got my few minutes of fame. I made an ugly t-shirt to wear on the air that says, "My Granny and I drove 2108 miles to see Bob... and all I had to wear was this ugly t-shirt!" I got to kiss Bob on the cheek. I had the opportunity.

The experience was worthwhile, or at the least, memorable. I learned looking back what may have been a better choice, or that the price of shampoo is less than $3.99, or that the Pontiac Grand Prix I lost didn't come with a CD player anyway.

And, even if I won everything, or lost it all, I have a new direction now.

TP is soooo R.


Monday, June 14, 2004

I love a good deal.
And by 'love', I mean almost can't pass up.

I am always on the look-out for bargains, things on sale, coupons, etc. Every week when I go to the grocery store, I look for the rotating list of ten or so things that I buy, and I get the things that are on sale, or two for a dollar, if I need them. If I need them but they are not on sale, chances are I will wait, not buy it, and do without it for the week. Because I know that in a week or so, it will be on sale again.

I'm that cheap. And I am determined to never let stores get the better of me by paying full price for anything.

One of my favorite things to play the Bargain Game with is Coke. I loves me some Coke. Whoever invented it is likely my most favorite inventor of things. Ever.

When a six-pack of the plastic bottles of Coke is not on sale, however, I do not buy it. Unless it is an absolute, Coke-withdrawal emergency. Coke is not technically a necessity, so I can justify not buying it if it's not on sale. Unless I'm having a Coke Episode in which I need Coke. But I rarely, if ever, let that happen.

Why? Because I buy things on sale and I stock up. I always have it. It's part of the game.

Now, usually I find that when Coke is on sale at the grocery store, it's two six-packs for five dollars. This is a good deal. I will buy this.

One time a few weeks ago, I arrived at the store to see that Cokes were four for nine dollars. Now, I can't do math while in a grocery store, but to me this seemed like a great deal. Is it the same as two for five dollars? Is it better? It can't be worse. But no one on earth really knows. On a weekend morning at the grocery store when I'm still too groggy to calculate things, it seems like a good deal.

I bought four. For the deal.

Yesterday, I arrived at the grocery store to discover that the Cokes were..... five for ten dollars.

Holy cow.

This was like, the mecca of good deals for Coke.

Now, did I need that much Coke? Thirty bottles of Coke?


Would I even know what to do with that much Coke?


Is it really a good deal? Better than four for nine dollars?

Couldn't say for sure.

But, it seemed like a good deal. I had to do it.

So yesterday at the store, I bought three bananas, two apples, grated cheese, and five six-packs of Coke.

I feel good about it.

It was a good deal.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

I'm Peculiar-ly Popular
So apparently my Tyrant Store is listed as the 6th most popular blog store out of 75 blog stores.

That's pretty impressive, in my opinion.

However, what's more impressive is the amount of sales that one would think would coincide with being such a popular store is, well, not coinciding. I haven't noticed many sales, nor money pouring into my pockets from sales. So is it popular based only on the number of people who look at it, enjoy looking at the pretty stuff, but yet still refuse to buy anything??

That's not very impressive, in my opinion.

Buying stuff will make the Tyrant happy. It's good stuff (ask my friends and family who I 'encourage' to wear/use/have the stuff). And the proceeds go to things that help me be able to keep writing here, for your entertainment.

There's new stuff. The prices are lower. It's all good.


Reality TV Wins Again
or, More Reasons Why Nothing Is Ever Dull With My Friends

Following is the harrowing (and possibly long) tale of a wacky adventure. There was bad weather, injury, a trip to the ER, and of course, much hilarity ensuing the entire time.

But the most important part is that my loyalty and devotion to reality TV came through and made the whole debacle worthwhile.

It all began with a planned group outing to a baseball game. However, weather prevented this from taking place, as it has been raining here for days. And as we convened to begin our trek to the game, the rains came harder. So, we scrapped said baseball plan and decided to instead migrate for the playing of some indoor volleyball. Much excitement abounded. We loves us some volleyball.

But of course, all great adventures must begin with food. We were hungry. So before heading on our way to volleyball, we forged ahead through the torrential downpour to a fastfood establishment for a quick bite to eat. We ran into the building through the rain, as though running makes you any less wet.

It doesn't.

I quickly made my way to the restroom, and then quickly re-emerged, as this fastfood restroom wasn't the most pleasant smelling restroom I've ever used. But it sufficed.

Upon my emergence from the restroom, Friend A immediately grabbed me and 'asked' me to join her again in the restroom. Um, I was just in there. And it stinks!

Suddenly I became a bit frightened. What was so important, nay, life-threatening that I couldn't be told about it outside of the restroom? Where there were witnesses? What was about to take place here??

Well, Friend A apparently had acquired an injury during the 2.4 minutes I left her to enjoy some time in the restroom. It seemed she had opened the door to the restaurant and immediately used the door to do some serious-looking damage to her little pinky toe.

She told me the story. Then..... she showed me the toe.

Good heavens......... is it supposed to be sticking out like that???

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of feet or toes. I hate them. I firmly believe people shouldn't have them. So, not only was I looking at a toe on a foot, it was a toe that was quickly swelling, turning purple, and sticking out at an odd angle from her foot. I mean, Friend A has nice toes as far as toes go. But this toe was GROSS!

I sensed this was an actual injury. And the pain I read on her face helped me further deduce that this toe did, in fact, hurt a lot. We had a problem.

It was time for action.

Friend A suggested a trip to the hospital. I made sure she was serious (she was), then assessed that our evening's second plan would now have to be scrapped for a third plan- trip to ER. We exited the restroom to explain the 'toe-mergency' to our other friends who now had food and were happily eating, unaware of the 'toe-jam' we were now in. We gathered food and belongings, and made our way through the rain back out to the car.

After much confusion about who needed their car, what to do with extra cars, which hospital to go to, and other superfluous details, Friend A and I were on our way to the emergency room. Baseball, volleyball, and now ER. What a strange turn of events.

Now, I've been to more than my fair share of hospitals and ERs in my many years of being around. I've also watched more than my fair share of episodes of ER. I generally know what to expect when in a hospital situation, so in that sense I can be handy to have around. Hospitals are not my favorite place, but I know them. I know the way of the hospital. Let's do this thing.

I dropped Friend A off at the Emergency entrance, so as not to make her hobble from the parking garage, then I went to park the car. I found her inside as she was filling out paperwork. Somehow she had managed to hobble in on the bad toe and communicate to the ER people that she was in need of medical attention...

As I entered the hospital and prepared myself for ER Response 101, I suddenly realized this was the nicest, quietest, most non-ER-like emergency room I'd ever seen. And it was completely unlike the show ER. I'd even venture to say it was fancy. No George Clooney. No Noah Wylie, or Dr. Kovac. And not only that, I'm usually on the other side of an ER visit. In fact, this was the first time I'd ever delivered anyone to the ER. I'm always the one being delivered in my experience with hospital visits. What an odd turn of events! It's a whole new experience! Score....

Finally, all those years of crazy hospital visits as a kid and bizarre ER visits as an adult would finally pay off. I mean, I practically majored in hospital! I totally knew what to do! It had all come down to this moment. I would rise to the occasion.

The other half of our earlier baseball-volleyball contingent called to see what they could do to help. I suddenly remember that the toe-ing happened pre ordering of food for me. I also remembered that I was very, very hungry. So, I placed an order for burgers and our dear friends would soon be making a hospital visit to feed the hungry and the hurting. Me and Friend A. We have good friends. Who bring food. Friend C and Friend L.

But alas, Friend A was soon called to the inner sanction of the ER. We hardly waited at all. Um... what about the food? It's on the way! But since I had no idea where we were now going, and this was clearly a toe-mergency that could not afford waiting for food to arrive, I called the Food Friends and sadly cancelled the burger order. We were now going where no burger could likely go.

The ER Examining Area. Or something.

We followed a group of people to an elevator and rode up a floor-ish. This was odd to me. They herded us through in a group-type fashion, as though all of our emergencies could be handled in a group-type fashion. Toes, coughing, other unknown communicable diseases. Sure! Load everyone up in an in-escapable elevator where our germs and toes will intermingle! It's the ER! We know what we're doing! I actually wasn't sick or injured. But going to the ER Elevator likely made me contract something. I'll let you know as soon as it materializes.

After the elevator, however, we were led to a room. With a bed. Seriously, we just got our own room. This had never happened to me in an ER. This never happens on the show ER. I'm usually lucky to get a bed with a curtain divider so people don't have to see me suffer. But now we had our own room. Or the toe, did actually. It wasn't my room. I was just along for the ride.

Throughout the next couple of hours the toe was seen by no less than seven people. An administrator came in with paperwork, then left us for awhile. A nurse came in and asked a few questions, looked at the toe, barely touched the toe with one finger, and determined that x-rays would be needed. A doctor came in, repeated what the nurse had just said, didn't touch the toe, then left.

We waited. For the x-ray portion of our evening.

And of course, the waiting was accented by the ever-present, sticky-outy toe. It was just there. Couldn't get away from it. It stared at us. The toe.

I began to get ancy. I mean, I was totally up for a night in the ER for my friend. No question there. And sure, there was TV. Oddly enough, Scrubs was on. We watched that. It seemed appropriate. And almost as funny as our current toe-venture. But then, I needed to roam. And I realized this was my time to do the job my Dad always did for me in the hospital- entertain.

Granted, I was likely more entertaing to myself than to Friend A as she suffered with toe pain. But I started playing with stuff. Things I shouldn't touch, but were begging to be played with. I discovered the latex gloves, which were purple, and by far the most interesting latex gloves I'd ever seen. I had to have some! Not only for fun, but for the sake of the germs. I mean, these 'professionals' kept touching the toe without the use of gloves. But me? Even though I was going nowhere near the toe, I wanted to be germ-conscious. Safety first. I wore the purple gloves.

But soon, wearing them wasn't enough. I needed more. So, I blew one up like a giant hand. It was great! A giant purple hand! But sadly, it sprung a hole. And I determined that these purple gloves were faulty and not suitable for intense trauma situations in the ER. Stupid, crappy purple gloves.

Eventually I wandered to the door and noticed that not two steps away was a door that was marked 'X-Ray'. What??? It's right there!!! I was just about to grab Friend A and take her in to do the x-ray myself, when X-Ray Man arrived to take her himself. It's just as well. I'd seen enough of the toe already.

Now, since Friend A was obviously the one in need of the bed throughout our time in the room, she'd had it. But with her gone to X-Ray, the bed was now free. And lonely. I knew I should wait in the room for her to get back, rather than go with her. This I learned in all my years of being taken away for x-rays while my parents couldn't go. I'd watch them disappear as they wheeled me away in a wheelchair. It's heartbreaking, really...

And incidentally, they made her walk to X-Ray. Does this make sense? Hi, she has a foot injury??? Get her a wheelchair, for goodness sakes!

Anyway, I took advantage of the bed and laid upon it. I felt I earned it. For the moment. It was nice. It didn't do anything exciting. But it was better than the hard chair in the corner.

It took a strangely long amount of time for the x-ray to finish. And I say 'strangely' because the ER on this night was virtually empty. Why things were taking so long, I had no idea. I'd watched a few other 'emergency' people come and go in the other rooms on this hall of 'emergency rooms'. But in all reality, this funky toe was the big 'trauma' in the ER last night. I mean, had we not been there with the toe, they would have been completely bored with nothing at all to do. They seemed determined to keep us and the toe long enough for everyone on the trauma team to have a look and do something 'important' related to the toe.

Friend A came back from X-Ray with the news that yes, in fact, she had broken the toe. Now, I could have told her that just by looking at it protrude in an abnormal fashion, as I'd been staring at it for the last couple of hours. I mean, in my experience with my own broken toes, you see that it's not quite right, you tape it up, and you hobble on your way. But fortunately, the x-ray confirmed my diagnosis of Friend A's toe: Broken toe.

It would require tape, the wearing of an orthopedic shoe, and possibly pulling it out in some weird way to make it straight again. Friend A was not happy about this. Mostly about the ugly shoe, though.

So, now we waited for the taping of the toe. I had long since run out of interesting things to do for entertainment, stopping short of modeling the open-air gowns I found in the cabinet of the room. So we mourned the news of inactivity and orthopedic shoe-wearing at the fault of The Toe. We gave it the mourning it deserved.

Soon, the Toe Taper came in to supply the toe with tape and a lovely blue orthpedic shoe. He was nice enough, deftly cutting the tape, and ceremoniously applying the tape to two toes, with great fanfare. One toe being the sticky-outy toe, the other being the support toe. Friend A bravely endured the pain. I watched. She winced. I watched the toe. It was toe-like. After all, I felt at this point that the toe and I had bonded. We had a connection. I would even go so far as to say I now have joint custody of the toe.

As I also watched the Toe Taper (who I'm sure went to many years of school to learn to tape a toe), I began to think he looked kinda familiar. Did I know him? Not sure. Where had I seen him? Not sure. He left. I still wasn't sure.

Soon the nurse came back and after another thorough examination in which she didn't touch the toe or anything near it, she determined that the orthopedic shoe was too small for the foot. A larger one was needed. We would have to wait.

So, Toe Taper came back again after awhile with a larger shoe. It seemed his toe taping skills did not carry over into his shoe fitting skills. But he quickly rectified the situation with the replacement of an appropriately fitting, but still really, really ridiculously blue and ugly shoe.

I still couldn't figure out why he looked familiar.

But, we left the hospital, finally got some food, and I took Friend A home.

Then, it hit me. That toe taping guy had been on TV! His nametag read 'Brook', and the spelling of his name like that stuck out to me as different. I was sure I'd seen him on a reality show of some sort. And of course, this was highly unbelieveable and absurd. But I knew it had to be true. I am not to be questioned when it comes to reality tv. I got on the computer to do some research for my unbelieving friends, who had now gathered in honor of the toe-mergency.

I began to think through all of the reality tv I'd watched over the past few years. It definitely seemed like he had been on a show awhile back, and probably one of those 'bachelor-ish' shows. I searched the internet for any of those shows I could think of.

And I found this. It's an interview with Brook Pemberton, and if you remember from the season of The Bachelorette with Trista, he was the cowboy from Dallas that got booted and called Trista 'shallow'. Yes, the interview talks about him being in construction, but if you read all the way down the page, at the bottom he says he wants to go to school to be a radiologist. Obviously, toe taping is a step in that direction.

Upon seeing this article Friend A has confirmed that Brook Pemberton is, in fact, the guy who taped her toe last night. She could care less. But to me, it made the whole evening worthwhile. Next to rescuing a toe in need, of course.

Really, if you think of all that had to happen for us to be in toe-taping proximity with a former Bachelor, it's pretty amazing. But the truth of it is, these Bachelors are just drawn to me.

I can't help it.

And I thank my friends for allowing me such fun adventures.

Medical Disclaimer: No other toes were hurt in the making of this story, or in the reporting of the toe-mergency on this blog. The sticky-outy toe should be fine in 2-4 weeks.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

AAA Boykott
I decided today that I am boycotting all businesses that mispell words in an effort to be cute or grab attention.


Ok, I can't think of any more examples. But I saw "Kleen" today and I was really annoyed by it.

I'm also annoyed by businesses that name whatever they do with as many 'a's as it takes to place them closer to the front of listings, even though the 'a's have nothing to do with what they do.

"AAA Tire"
"AAA Lawn Care"
"AAAAAAAAAAA Pet Grooming Services"
"AaBc Gutter Cleaning Servics"
"AAAABBBBCCCCQQQQ Proofreading and Carpet Cleaning Services"

I mean, it could be the worst Pet Grooming Services out of all the other Pet Grooming services listed. But with 108 'a's in front of the name, it's likely to be picked, since it will come near the front of the pack when searching through the phone book for such services as these.

Annoying. And hereby boycotted by me.

Also annoying? Random letters that don't mean anything.

"Ebl Plumbers"
"Pftdq Landscaping"

What does that mean?? No one knows!! Therefore, boycotted.

I don't have high standards for much of anything. I just ask not to be annoyed if I need you to fix my air-conditioner.


Monday, June 07, 2004

Sometimes I just kinda stumble through my life....
This weekend was one of those weekend when I just kinda stumbled around through everything. Or so it felt. I had a lot to do, things to catch up on. It was one of those weekend where I got a lot those things done, but not necessarily in the way I planned them.

When things start going like this, I think of my dad. I love this. He and I are a lot alike when it comes to our approach to doing things. We see something that needs to be done, we asses the tools or skills we have to do it, and we get after it. Eventually we usually find we chose wisely the method of which to undertake the task. Or, we have to dig further into our arsenal of 'ok, what if I try this, with the thing, attached to the other thing, and then pull here....' We tend to make stuff up as we go. We're inventive like that.

Having lots to do this weekend, since I was unable to accomplish anything more useful than getting sunburned at the lake last weekend, I had to use my time creatively. I had a few hours in between getting home from work and when I needed to be at my evening's activity, so I decided to attempt the mowing of my lawn in that amount of time. Simple enough, right?

I usually mow every week. I enjoy a neat, well-kept lawn. But I didn't mow last week due to not being home to mow. Thusly, my lawn had two weeks' worth of growth. Not only that, we've had a lot of rain lately. And by 'a lot', I mean torrential downpours nearly everyday. Consequently, the grass was frighteningly out of control. It was beautifully green and thick, mind you. But I underestimated what this meant for my lawn-mowing experience.

So I began with the weed-whacker. I hate this thing. But it's a necessity. I didn't get very far before I had to reload the trim line, due to an abnormally thick amount of turf creeping out over the edges of my driveway and sidewalk. The weed-whacking turned into a major chore. It took a long, long time. I stumbled around with the extension cord and the weeds and the turf flying everywhere. I'm sure it was quite a sight.

But once I finished, I was ready to mow. It usually doesn't take long to mow. Back and forth. No big deal. I've done it plenty of times.

However, as I mowed toward the middle of the yard, the grass got really, really, ridiculously thick. So thick, in fact, that my self-propelled mower was unable to self-propel it or myself. I actually had to push. You'd think I was mowing through a thick rainforest jungle. The self-propel feature was powerless against the foliage.

The mower, apparently, was growing weary of the struggle fast than I, because it decided to just stop. It quit. Many times. The thick grass would get caught up underneath and it would just lose the will to keep turning its blade to cut. I had to back the mower away from the pile of grass, pull the cord again, restart the mower, then pick up where we left off. Many, many times. I quickly figured out that this was going to take a long, long time.

I usually mow without the grass catcher, as I've been told to do. But I suddenly remembered that I do, in fact, have a grass catcher. And these piles of grass that the mower was leaving all of the lawn probably wasn't the best way to go at the moment. I decided that maybe if I bag the grass, it would get stuck in less piles, and would prevent the mower blades from getting stuck in the piles of grass underneath. This had to be the answer. So I grabbed the bag, attached it, and continued on my way.

But, the grass was also still kinda wet from all the rain. So it didn't really get sucked into the bag very well. It tended to get stuck in the opening to the bag, but not actually make it very far into the bag. It still left giant clumps of grass clippings directly underneath the mower, which still caused the mower to lose it's will to power through. More backing and restarting.

Soon I had most of a mowed lawn, but still not all. And I should have been finished long ago. I would not have time to also mow the backyard. I had giant clumps of grass everywhere that had already been mowed. I still had a ways to go. And I was very, very tired of fighting with the grass and the mower. But I couldn't quit now! I mowed on.

Eventually, I finished. It was glorious. Freshly cut grass..... and piles of grass everywhere. So much grass.....

Fortunately, though, I have a blower. Yes, a power blower. It's the greatest invention ever. Forget ever needing a broom! I just plug in the blower and blow everything away!

Except, apparently, large piles of wet grass. Oh, and did I mention the wind picked up right about now?

I began to blow the grass off the driveway, which usually is a small enough amount so that it's easily blown back onto the lawn. This is healthy for the lawn, apparently. And it works out nicely for me. No bagging or sweeping necessary.

But the more grass I blew with the blower, the more it just sort of heaved around in big piles everywhere. There was no place for it to go. And the wind kept un-blowing in the opposite direction of where I needed the grass to be blown. I was certain at that point that all of my neighbors were watching my 'Dance of the Wind-Blown Grass Clippings' from inside their houses, pointing and laughing at their crazy neighbor who was mowing her lawn and fighting grass in the wind on a Friday night.

After I used the blower for way longer than I needed to figure out that this plan was a lost cause (I was determined to win with the blower, refusing to admit defeat), I remembered that I do, in fact, have a broom. And sometimes I guess you do need a broom. I also have an old kitchen trash can that I use in the garage now. I decided to push the piles of wet grass clippings around with the broom, lay the trash can over on its side, scoop the clippings into the trash can, then place a trash bag over the can while tipping it into the bag, thereby depositing the grass clippings into the bag to be discarded.

A brilliant plan. Using my available resources.

So this is what I did. And it actually worked. Of course, by this time neighbors were 'out walking their dogs' past my house, which I am sure was just a ploy to get a close-up view of the action in my yard. I'm nothing if not a neighbor who puts on a good show for anyone who may be watching.

The rest of my weekend was much the same. Starting a task then realizing I'd gone about it in a way that wasn't quite working well, then having to re-adjust with what was available in my house or garage.

Some thoughtful individual had spray painted graffiti onto the back side of my nice new wooden fence, and I had been asked by the city to clean it up. What likely took 10.7 seconds to paint onto my fence took me an hour and a half of scrubbing with toxic chemicals to remove from my fence. By the end of the chore I had the water hose, rubber gloves, brillo pads, and old wash rags involved in the process. I even broke a shoe in all the scrubbing mayhem. But I am now an expert in the removal of spray paint from a wood surface.

Then I embarked on the project of keeping the birds out of my fig tree and away from my figs that I intend to pick and turn into preserves when they get ripe next month. Last year, the birds won the figs before I could get to them. This year, I intend to win. But how does one keep birds out of the world's largest fig tree??

I can always count on my mom for good, or perhaps just creative, suggestions to these types of situations. She's a faithful watcher of HGTV and had just happened to see a show about this type of problem. Her solution for me was to string those shiny disposable pie plates into the tree, which would scare away the birds and save the figs. Simple enough.

And quite festive. And/or fashionable, too. I almost suspected she was just telling me this to see if I'd be crazy enough to put pie plates in my fig tree, as though to ward off an alien attack or something. But I decided instead to trust that mom knows best.

So I did this. I bought pie plates and string, grabbed a hammer and nail, and began poking holes and stringing pie plates. Like I'd never done before. Because I hadn't. Ever. Why would I? It's a strange thing to do.

Then, I began climbing amongst my gargantuan tree to selectively place the pie plates in the most useful locations as to scare away the birds in the best possible way. I was determined to save my figs. With reflective pie plates.

But as I climbed around in the tree, I noticed a part of the tree in the back that was very, very dead. How did I discover this? I stepped on a branch that broke. A large branch. It really, really broke. Good thing I'm quite agile. I might still be trapped in the depths of my tree where no one would hear me call for help.... except the birds. Eating my figs.

So, this meant I needed to clear out the dead wood, which was now leaning on the good wood, and threatening to damage the very figs I was trying to save. Fortunately, I have a few pieces of lumberjacking equipment. For just such an occasion.

I got my limb clippers and a saw. I've never used a saw before in my life, but I have one. I decided this might be a good time to use it.

I climbed back into the tree and began cutting. I stumbled around with my sharp cutting devices, scraping and cutting myself on limbs, getting hit in the face with giant fig leaves, getting figs all up in my hair. It felt like a whole lot of hands groping at me. I'm pretty sure I never want to be touched again. Too much touching...

But eventually I chopped enough limbs to where I felt like I'd gotten all of the dead part I could possibly get. I began hauling out the limbs, getting hit in the face with more leaves and figs each time I went in and out of the tree. I bagged up the limbs and put them out of the way.


I took a break and sat at my patio table to watch the pie plates work their magic on the bird-scaring-away.

I watched one bird fly directly into a plate, hit it loudly, and fly right back out of the tree. Scared. Score.....

Then I watched five more birds fly into the tree and make themselves at home with a figgy snack.


Ok, so if I tie the other thingy to the stuff, then use the something or other with the thing, and I pull here with the do-hickey and the whatsit, then........


Thursday, June 03, 2004

I'm new here.
I don't usually do fast food for dinner, but a few times lately I've had too much to do in my evenings to make it home and make dinner, as I prefer. So, I've recently re-discovered Sonic, and the goodness that is a Sonic burger. So good, yet so cheap.

Last night I had to visit Sonic to grab dinner. I've also recently discovered that not only does Sonic bring the food to your car, they also have a drive-thru. This is a new discovery for me. I've been really perplexed by the drive-thru at Sonic, since they bring your food to you anyway. But last night I decided to try the drive-thru experience at Sonic. It promised to be an adventure.

I ordered my burger with a side of tots (my appetizer, of course), all of which came to the amount of $3.77. I got out a $5 bill and pulled up behind the car in front of me at the window. I waited. To approach the window, as I was told to do by the voice in the ordering box. Standard drive-thru procedure.

Soon, a girl employee came out of Sonic and walked over to my car with a bag of food. It was my food. But I was still sitting behind the car in front of me at the drive-thru window, so I became even more perplexed at the Sonic drive-thru system. Why bring the food to me in the drive-thru, when I will soon be at the window? The beauty of the drive-thru is that you drive through and they hand you the food. If I wanted them to bring the food to my car, I'd go park in one of the stalls where they bring the food to you.

Whatever this crazy Sonic system was, someone was at my car with food, and that's all I really wanted anyway.

I took the food and handed the girl the $5 bill. She then walked back inside the Sonic building. Why she came out without any change, I'm not quite sure. But I anticipated the car in front of me would soon move out of the way and it would be my turn at the window, even though I already had my food and had given some girl my money. What would I do then??

After quite awhile, the car in front of me was still there, and the girl had not returned with my change, yet. I waited, all the while smelling the delicious burger and tots that awaited me. Finally, the girl came back.

She handed me $2.23 in change. Um, too much change.

I looked at her and said, "Is this right?"

She looked at me with great puzzlement on her face.

I asked her, "Wasn't the total $3.77?"

She said yes.

I then said, "Well then you only owe me $1.23, not $2.23."

I don't know why I was feeling particularly honest at this moment, but I was.

The girl then replied, "Oh. Well, I'm new here." She took the extra dollar I was holding out for her, and walked away.

Now, my question is, even if she was not new, would the math have changed? If she was not new but still handed me too much change, would that have then been okay? Is her newness at Sonic directly related to the amount of correctly calculated change she should give to customers? If she had been at Sonic for a year, would the math have been a factor in the same transaction? What does Sonic or being new have to do with the principles of math, anyway?

I'm going to start saying "I'm new here" any time math becomes an issue.

It seems to be the excuse that withstands all other logic or reason.

Especially when math loses.


PS: All math calculations in the above posting were calculated using a calculator, in case my own math skills were very, very wrong. And because I'm not actually new here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Fun with Sun.... burn
They say people with light skin, reddish-dark hair, and blue eyes are most susceptible to the harmfully sunny sun.

I'm here to confess to the world that this fact is, in fact, very, very true.

I've always been one to sunburn easily. And not just slightly pink. No, when I go for the sunburn I go all the way. Red, red, and more red.

I blister, I peel. It hurts. It's not pretty. Although afterwards I'm sometimes left with a decent tan.

It's not like I do this on purpose. I know the dangers of the sun. I do what I can to combat the sun. Sunscreen, more sunscreen, and then when I've slathered all the sunscreen I think I can possibly wear, I slather more. I gain at least twenty pounds just in sunscreen when preparing for being in the out of doors. I don't wear floppy hats or long sleeves. I get too hot. And then outdoor fun is not so much fun.

But, the sun is determined to break through the sunscreen barrier, and it does. Just about any time I'm outside. And the thing is, I really like to be outside. I prefer outside to inside. So what's a really, really ridiculously white girl to do when in the sun? It's been a life-long struggle.

When my sister and I were little, we were pretty much constantly sunburned. We have pictures of the two of us in our swimsuits, smiling as big as we can, both sunburned beyond recognition. It's funny and cute. We all laugh at how cute and silly we are, all the while ignoring the fact that it's a terrible thing for kids to get that sunburned so often. And, you don't get to see what happened after the picture. For after the picture came the reality of what the sun had done to us poor abused children. It hurt. It made GIGANTIC blisters. It peeled. Our clothes stuck to us. It left giant freckles. It wasn't good for the skin.

I will be amazed one day when I go to a dermatologist and I am allowed to leave without the news that I've had skin cancer since the age of five.

So this past weekend I went to the lake with some friends and family of one of the friends. I can't very well avoid lake fun just because the sun will be out. The sun comes out everyday! So I knew it would be another sun-intensive weekend, and I would likely hurt when it was time to go home.

Day One on the boat was cloudy to start. This is soooooooo deceptive. I hate putting on sunscreen. I hate smelling like sunscreen. Yet I know better than to be out in cloudy weather on a lake riding in a white boat without at least seven layers of sunscreen. But, I did anyway. I rode in the boat. With minimal sunscreen. Spray on sunscreen that I sprayed on while the boat was in action.

I learned later that very little of the windblown sunscreen made it onto my skin. And the stuff that did make it made nice spray splotches. A few hours later, I looked quite polka-dottish. It was festive. And good for conversation, to say the least.

The next day I was lured onto the boat again, this time in full sun. I was already quite burnt, but I didn't want to forego lake festivities. However, I was smarter this time. I slathered up with sunscreen before getting on the boat. Front and back. More than one layer. This time, I was ready for sun.

Ready, that is, for more sunburn. To be completely accurate.

After Day Two on the boat, much of me was more red than not red. The sunscreen shield of protection did very little to make the sun not be on my skin. I was so red it hurt to wear clothes. Or to touch air.

Air hurts.

Plus, it wasn't a pretty pattern. It's just hard to tan (or in my case, burn) evenly on a boat. The front of me was scorched, my knees had some random redness, and some of my back and shoulders were a lovely shade of deep red. Everywhere else was still mostly white. I looked like a polka-dotted candy cane.

Now, being a few days after the burn, I'm still in pain. I'm still red. Things are still sticking to me. I can only take cold showers. I'm a human heater.

It was a great trip to the lake. I have no regrets about going and being on the boat as much as I was on the boat. In fact, I will have a lasting burn pattern to always remember it by. Good times....

At least one day if all of my skin finally falls off from the sun abuse, I won't have to worry about sunburn anymore...