Don't Be Sad 'Cause Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

As you may have gathered from my post title, Ami did not win his 3rd Hamster Ball Derby that he competed in today. To say that he even "competed" is a bit of an exaggeration. Even though he's been running around in his ball like crazy at home and training on a track, he didn't budge during the race. It was pathetic. There were a lot more hamsters in today's event than in the previous two, so he was immediately eliminated.

I'm so glad no one came out to cheer on my inert little rodent.


What's In My Bag?

Last summer, I showed you what was in my purse. In addition to a purse, I usually carry a tote or messenger bag to work. Today, it was a black bag that E got for me at a Scion event. No photos (too lazy), just a list:
  • 9"x11" sketch book (essentially empty)
  • Delta Society Team Training Manual
  • Envelope of Rusty's medical forms and vet receipts
  • Bark magazine-April 2007
  • Dog Fancy magazine-May 2007
  • A bookmark from a friend that she got during a recent trip to Cuba
  • Paste magazine-April 2007
  • L. A. Times Calendar Weekend with Rainn Wilson-03/22/07
  • My Go Ami Go tote bag
  • Partial package of yellow bunny Peeps® that a co-worker gave me
  • 1/4 of a Diet Coke®
  • Starbucks coupons that can only be used in May
  • Lart's 3-in-1 Book (sketch, to do, notes) (small)
  • No One Cares What You Had For Lunch-blog idea book
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Postcard from one of my high schools asking me to update my info
  • A lemon
  • A red gel pen
  • Spiral notebook (medium with dogs on it)
  • Referral for a chest Xray. I still need to schedule that.
  • Another reminder from my high school
  • The World According To Humphrey-book about a hamster
  • Printout of an email with my password for a discussion forum
What kind of crap do you carry around?


All Of My Kids Have Four Legs

I know some people get upset when others compare their pets to children. I get that. I do. Though some comparisons can be made, it is obviously not the same. However, I do find it amusing that while Jenn was being awakened by her crying baby at 4:30 this morning, Rusty was jumping on my face, which is his way of telling me he needs to go out. It is not a pleasant way to wake up and it was windy and damn cold outside. It does beat the alternative of him taking a crap in the house.


I'm A Sweepstakes Winner Or Something Like That

Here we go again. More embarrassing photos from 1985/86. Drill Team was a big deal in Texas and making the team was very exciting for me. Instead of regular P.E. class in 9th grade, I had "Drill Team Training." Over the course of the year we prepared to try out for the team. I made it and regret that I only had one year at that school.


The photo on the left was taken at home, in one of our old uniforms. And without the hideous makeup we had to wear. We were required to wear blue eyeshadow and red lipstick. Eek. There were a lot of other rules too, like no underwear under our uniforms. There was an "underwear check" before performances. Besides performing at the football games, we went to summer camp and to competition in the Spring.

drilltm3 copy

We performed four routines in a statewide competition in early '86. I made it into all four routines. We did really well and won "Sweepstakes," meaning we placed first in each of the categories we had entered. The photo above was taken during our highkick routine, which I think was to "Gloria." I'm under the arrow. The girls in the white uniforms were officers.

drilltm4 copy

We made the local paper. If you click on the photo above, you can see it larger. It's weird to think that nine years to the day of that article being published, I got married. It was a far thought from my mind at the time.

I found a couple of things in the notebook I passed back and forth with a friend related to drill team. She was also a member, but did not go to the competition, so I was kind of updating her.
Kristi wasn't a grouch at practice. I was shocked. We booted Susan and LaTonya out of the dance. They're so unreliable! It was a "group decision." Well I need to call Carol for some legwarmers and I have a shitload of homework to do.

I don't know about "Gloria." I'll probably go ahead and be in it. We're going to suck at contest. These routines look like SHIT!

We're going to miss the pep rally Friday 'cos of San Marcos. BUMMER! But since we'll be on pep rally schedule we'll leave during 6th and I won't have to get eligibility for Alg. since I'm failing.*

SWEEPSTAKES! Can you believe it?
*I'm not sure if I was actually failing Algebra, or if I was just being dramatic.
See, like I've said before, I've always been a dork.


Give Peeps® A Chance

So, I don't have any co-workers who will discuss the season finale of Battlestar Galactica with me, but we will bond in other ways. I've discovered that several people, who I actually like, share my love of Peeps®. When I picked up a prescription earlier tonight, I stocked up on some of the sugar-coated marshmallowy bunnies and chicks. I even left them in my car so I wouldn't be tempted to eat them before getting to work.

I'm keeping the black jelly beans all to myself though. Seriously.


I Give You Squirrel

In lieu of a real post, here's a recent squirrel photo. I've been as busy as these little rodents the past couple of days and just have not had time to collect my thoughts and write something potentially interesting.

Hey You!


Is There A Tooth Fairy For Dogs?

Apparently, I want to ensure that my veterinarian's kid goes to a good college. It seems like I've been at the animal hospital every week lately. I was up early this morning to take Rusty in for some dental work. He had a deep cleaning and five teeth extracted. I knew a couple that were loose were going to be pulled, but did not realize so many would come out.

When I picked Rusty up, later in the evening, he was still pretty loopy from the anesthesia. He freaked out during the whole car ride home. He's doing fine now and has been pretty perky. He has been able to keep a small meal down and is now kind of sleepy again.

Post-op Rusty

My fears of his snout and mouth looking deformed did not come true. He is as adorable as ever. Not that it would matter. I'd still love him.


Dwight: You Ever Watch Battlestar Galactica?
No? Well, You're An Idiot

Great news!

I'm really looking forward to the finale this coming Sunday!


"Dunder Mifflin, this is Jodi..."

Went to Scranton today. It was rainy and kind of cold, like you'd expect.


See more photos here. Read about it here and here.


Break It Down Again

Having recovered from that awful illness I had last month, life is back to its good, busy self. Besides the fact that I've had a headache since last Thursday, things are okay. A few highlights from the past week or so:
  • I already wrote about This American Life Live. I need to download this weekend's radio show, which will include bits of the entire six-city tour. Listen if you get a chance.
  • There was a new member at my book club meeting and I don't think he got the idea that most of us just hadn't finished (or even read, in my case) the book we were supposed to be discussing. He kept wanting to steer the conversation back to the book, which made some of us giggle. We aren't always so lazy, I swear, but it has been known to happen.
  • We attended the last night of the 2007 William S. Paley TV Fest, which was a panel on The Simpsons. I usually attend several of the events, but only went to three this year, which I suppose I was lucky to do. There were major ticketing issues this year and many of us loyal members got royally screwed. The MT&R did what they could to make it up to some folks, but not others. We did get comped in to The Office panel, which was lots of fun. Click here for a review of that night. We barely got into Heroes. I'm pretty sure a friend of mine didn't and ended up leaving. I haven't told her yet that there were four empty seats in my row, right in the center for entire night. Yet, E and I couldn't even sit together. Hmm. Hopefully, they will get their act together for 2008.
  • I was pleasantly surprised to actually have a nice meal of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes on St. Patrick's Day. I found out with a bit of short notice that we'd been invited to a birthday party that afternoon. I was under the impression it was a barbecue and was fantasizing about having a grilled hot dog or burger. So, it was a nice treat to have the other, which was delicious.
  • We followed up the afternoon birthday party with a bowling birthday party, which turned out to be much more fun than I had anticipated. (You should have come, Ren!) It also made me realize how much I miss one of my friends who I rarely see anymore.
  • There has also been a lot of time spent parked in front of the tv to catch up on The Office. We completed the Season 1 and 2 DVDs, including most of the special features (we skipped a few commentary tracks). We've watched the first four or five shows of the current season (gotta love the internets) and if all goes as planned, I'll be completely caught up by Tuesday April 5th. E and I are both obsessed!
  • E and I ventured out with Rusty The Dog today. First, we went to the Best Friends Pet Adoption in Burbank. No, we aren't getting another pet, anytime soon, but it's fun to check out the animals and some of the vendors. The rabbits were really adorable. I swear, if I didn't have to work full time, I would have a menagerie. After the pet fair, we thought it'd be nice to go for a drive and take Rusty to the Hydrant Cafe, which we'd been to before in Venice. Well, apparently it has been a long time since we went because it turns out that it is gone. Bummer, but we decided to walk along the Venice Beach Boardwalk instead, which is always entertaining. Rusty certainly had a great day and is snoring now.

Rusty hanging out at Venice Beach.


Don't Stand So Close To Rockville

10:29 PM

Text Message from my 20-year old brother, Kyle:

Who do you like more...The Police or R.E.M.? Mom and I are debating.

I responded:

I don't know. They are both so different. It would be like picking your favorite kid. Oh, I'm seeing The Police twice this summer.

10:48 PM (from Kyle):

I know! You're so lucky!

Yeah, I know. I am lucky to be Mom's favorite kid. ;-)


1986 Me

The year was 1986. I was in the second half of 10th grade in Texas, near Houston. My parents and younger siblings (including the one that wasn't quite born yet) had already moved to our new home in Pennsylvania, but I got to stay behind with some friends of my parents to finish out the school year. J had worked with my step-dad. He and his wife, M, didn't have kids yet and I thought they were pretty cool. For adults. I visited Austin for the first and only time in my life with M and really liked it. It's the one place in Texas I would definitely go back to, if I ever get a chance.

1986 Me

That's a photo of me that M took during our visit to that city. I think that might have been on the steps of the Texas State Capital. I was wearing my uniform, which consisted of men's thrift store shirts and Converse high tops. Underneath the bangs, my hair was shaved pretty short. I had to get the local barber to do it. Even though my Mom had given me permission, the woman who cut our hair refused to do it.

1986 Me

While staying with J&M, I had a banquet to attend for my Drill Team. The theme was "Pretty In Pink." I love the song, I love the movie, but at the time, I really hated the color. Also, the thought of wearing a dress mortified me. So, M and I found this green number at a second-hand shop and she modified it for me. Just for fun, we took some goofy photos of how I would have really liked to attended the event. That is, wearing my shades and my other Converse high tops, the red ones with paint spattered all over them. And mismatched socks, of course. (J&M have a "thing" for plastic yard flamingos, which explains the one I'm holding).

So, you see, I've always been a dork. And as if these photos aren't proof enough, here is a brief excerpt (one of the few not about Sting) from a notebook my friend Kelley and I passed back and forth at the time:
Sorry! I feel bad about waiting so long to write but w/exams, moving, etc. there hasn't been much time. Yes! M has "Daydream Believer" on one of her Monkees records. He He He. Yes T----- M---- was on the Seawall Sunday but then, he always is on weekends. So did you enjoy "Party Out of Bounds?" I think Kristi got mad because I was dancing w/Paul, Jenny, etc. It's just I don't see them (except Jenny) very often so you know. You understand don't you?
I went on to quote some song lyrics that I don't even recognize (and can't find online)* and to talk about a professional football player that we had a crush on. Oh, and at the end I wrote, "Save the Texas Prairie Chicken!" I was really into the Monkees at that time. Like I said--dork.

*After some more searching, I found what the lyrics are supposed to be. I'm starting to see a "misquoted lyrics" post in my future.


Go Out And Get Some Fresh Air

When I was a kid, I played outdoors a lot. I climbed trees, rode my bike, dug holes in the dirt. A couple of my friends had a wooded area near their house and we had great fun running and hiding in there. Other friends had trampolines and swing sets. It's not that I didn't play inside. I did. I loved my Barbies and I watched tv. How else would I have known how to play Charlie's Angels outside? (I was always Sabrina).

It makes me sad that a lot of kids live such indoor lives now. Granted, the children I work with mostly live in urban areas, which aren't necessarily safe and don't usually have yards. Los Angeles does have a lot of wonderful parks, but you need to have someone take you there, which a lot of the youngsters don't have.

What did you like to do as a kid?

**Update @ 10:00pm: I talked to my sister earlier, who claims to have no memories of childhood whatsoever. I can assure you she played outside too. I neglected to mention that we did also go swimming a lot, either in the Chesapeake Bay or the pool where some friends were members. And yes, Legos, board and card games, and tape recorders used for commercials and news broadcasts were favorite indoor activities too.


Happy Birthday Rusty!

Birthday Boy

Six years ago today Rusty became part of our family.
He was about a year old, so I just made it his birthday.


This American Life Live

I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of This American Life. The sometimes sweet, often absurd, and at times heart wrenching tales of, by, and for ordinary people move me. I can often be found laughing or crying, sometimes during the same episode, and usually in my car. I could listen to Ira Glass all day long. Something about his voice, his wit, his compassion, and that infectious giggle of his mesmerizes me.

I felt so lucky to go to the live This American Life event that was staged last night at UCLA. It was the last stop of a six city promotional tour for the upcoming companion television show. The night was amazing and magical. Watching Ira do his thing deepened my appreciation for him. He comes off as a bit nerdy and self-conscious in a down-to-earth way.

Aside from clips from the tv series, some of which will not actually air, we were treated to monologues on the theme "What I Learned From TV" by very talented and funny This American Life contributors Sarah Vowell, the adorable John Hodgman, and Dan Savage. There was also music and performance by the outstanding Ok Go (yeah, the treadmill guys!)

I'm not sure why I was in such awe, but I honestly spent most of the night close to tears. I laughed a lot, but I felt like I was part of something special that was somehow personal at the same time. This American Life is one of those things that I usually enjoy alone while in my car or my kitchen. I can't help feel like Ira Glass and his guests are talking just to me.

Will It Be A Three-peat?

Ami will compete in his third Hamster Ball Derby on the 31st. He won first place in the last two, so I'm curious to see if he can do it again.

Ami And His Blue Ribbon

He'll be competing in Burbank, if anyone is interested in cheering him on!


The Kennel

The Kennel
Click image to enlarge


Warm Fuzzy Feelings

I'm a little burned out on listening to NPR or other talk radio in the car, like I normally do. I pulled out and dusted off the non-iPod mp3 player yesterday and got a wonderful random mix for the drive home. Sometimes the songs just align so perfectly.

  • "I Will Follow You Into The Dark"--Death Cab for Cutie
  • "Unconditional"-- The Bravery
  • "Save Me"-- Aimee Mann
  • "Radiate"-- Fleming & John
  • "River Valley-- Moxy Früvous
  • "Better Things"--The Kinks
  • "Starman"-- David Bowie

It was so enjoyable that I had to write it down as soon as I got home.

And yes, I am lucky to have a short commute.


Brush Your Teeth Ch Ch Ch Ch, Ch Ch Ch Ch...

I never thought I'd be relearning how to brush my teeth at age 36. However, we recently invested in those fancy sonic toothbrushes and I'm having a heck of a time! Maybe I'm just a motor moron, but I'm definitely finding learning this new skill to be a challenge. If you see me with a big toothpaste stain on my shirt, you'll know why. And I can be comforted in knowing that I've effectively removed supragingival plaque.


Call Me Unpatriotic

I don't get American Idol.
I don't like American Idol.
I don't want to talk about American Idol.

What the hell is wrong with me?


After a crappy start to the week yesterday, I got a reprieve. Due to my PDA recently crashing, and the fact that I rarely back it up, I totally forgot that I have to work this coming weekend. The upside to that is that I have today off! So, I got a bit of rest and took Little Guy to the vet.


My sweet, soft-as-a-bunny Little Guy has been limping off and on for a good two weeks. Sometimes, he wouldn't put weight on his rear left leg at all and he's had spasms of his left hindquarter too. Since it wasn't going away, I wanted to get it checked out.

Little Guy on crate arrest.

Luckily, the news is good. It seems his hip was partially dislocated and the vet thinks she put it back in when she was examining him. His Xrays were fine, so we were sent home with an anti-inflammatory and 10 days of "strict rest." So, Squirrel Patrol in the back yard will be left solely up to Rusty for now, as Little Guy will be spending most of his time in his crate.

Rusty, Chief Squirrel Patrol Officer


Monday Monday

I slept about 2 hours last night. At the most.

It's not making my first day back to work any easier. At all.


On Rejoining The Human Race

It started yesterday. When I woke up, I left the bedroom and even moved my laptop back into the den. Then later that evening, I showered, put on a little makeup, and left my house for the first time in a week. Well, I'd been out to the back yard with the dogs and moved my car once, but I actually left my property. And it felt pretty good! I was armed with cough drops and tissues. I survived and even dare to say, had fun. Maybe more on that later.

I slept pretty well last night too, without the aid of codeine, and decided to run a few errands this afternoon. I got my bangs trimmed, returned some chairs to a friend, dropped a couple of bags of clothing off at Goodwill, and picked up some dog food. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it felt great to drive around with windows down while listening to a special pledge-drive version of This American Life. Oh, how I've missed driving my little car!

I returned home with grand plans of a back yard photo shoot with the dogs, multiple loads of laundry, and house straightening. I got out my camera and lenses and immediately put them away. I started one load of laundry, but the house remains a bit of a mess. Frankly, my outing exhausted me and reminded me that I'm not quite 100% well yet.

Dread about returning to work on Monday is already starting to set in. Even though I am feeling much better, I do still have quite a cough, which worsens when I talk a lot or do physical activity. My job involves a lot of talking and quite a bit of physical activity, much of it strenuous at times. Also, I think I'm returning to the start of two of the nine pending maternity leaves, so I'll probably have extra work on my plate.

I think I'll embark on a well-deserved nap. The laundry can wait.


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