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Not exactly as planned
Monday, July 30, 2007 - 09:15 a.m.

A little over a year ago, I had a small adventure with an infection from a fire ant bite that caused a creepy red streak to worm its way across my foot and up my leg. The doctors said it was cellulitis and the antibiotics they gave me cleared it up, magically, overnight. It was a weird experience, but over quickly.

Well, yesterday evening, I noticed that my arm, which had been mauled by mosquitoes on Saturday, wasn't feeling so great. It was hot and one of the bites was pretty painful. And when I looked at the back of my arm, what did I see? Why, exactly the same damn thing: a creepy red line dropping down from a ring around the bite and circling back to crawl up my arm.

That teeny tiny mosquito, like the fire ant before him, had his revenge.

At least this time I caught it before it got as bad as the foot, because that hurt like a mofo. Two doses of antibiotics later, the arm looks almost completely well again. But now I have to somehow squeeze in a doctor appointment, when I'm supposed to be in the field all day, with my boss, starting at 10:00. Even better, I'm leaving for Dallas tomorrow, so it's not like I can postpone anything. So today is totally thrown into disarray, and the boss is inconvenienced, and really, I was stressed out enough already.

Also, the people at the doctor's office? Not so nice to me on the phone this morning.

How can something so small cause so much trouble?

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9 hours later
Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 09:37 p.m.

I just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And although I might have teared up there at the end (maybe), and even though my opinion might change after I've digested things for a while, right now I am completely and totally satisfied with the end of the series.

And because I'm not a book-spoiling, fun-ruining asshole, that's all I have to say about that.

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The Benefit of the Doubt
Friday, July 20, 2007 - 01:37 p.m.

If I had to pick one candidate out there, if I had to vote right now, off the cuff, I'd pick Barack Obama.

I get into a lot of political arguments (not, you understand, to be confused with debates), and all too often I tend to categorize the people who attack, then fail to back up their positions as "moronic" or "needing to be sterilized." I find it difficult to really apologize for that, because if you’re going to argue, you’d better be right and you’d better have the facts and/or the logic to prove it, but I admit it doesn’t exactly make me a nice person. But while I maintain that people are often dumb, at least I have never accused anyone of deliberately seeking to destroy America. I firmly believe that even the people I disagree with are at least motivated by a sincere desire to see this country succeed. I might question their intelligence, but I won’t question their motives.

I think it's fair to say that no one in this country wants to demoralize the troops. No one wants al Qaeda to attack another city. No one wants to see our economy crumble or our jobs disappear. Everyone wants their children to have a good education, good health, and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. By and large, we should be able to admit that we all have the same ultimate goals.

So nothing upsets me more than this habit both sides have (although one somewhat more than the other) of implying that their opponents harbor a desire to see the country fail. Sure, some politicians are shortsighted and greedy, and will put their agenda before the agenda of the country. And many are just illogical, knee-jerk reactionaries without the ability (or the desire) to think their opinions through. But in the end, I think everyone at least wants what's best for the country, even if they can't decide just what that might be. And to imply or even outright state that someone "hates America" or is deliberately "emboldening the enemy" is inexcusable.

It’s also frustrating. So when someone like Barack Obama comes along, someone who believes that we can build on our common values and goals and have a civil debate in our government and our society, it’s refreshing. And even more than refreshing, it’s incredibly compelling. There’s something to be said for hope.

The ideals at the core of the American experience, and the values that bind us together despite our differences, remain alive in the hearts and minds of most Americans.

…I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. For it is the predictability of our current political debate that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face. It is what keeps us locked in "either/or" thinking: the notion that we can only have big government or no government; the assumption that we must either tolerate 46 million uninsured or embrace "socialized medicine."

It is such partisanship that has turned Americans off. What is needed is a broad majority who are re-engaged and who see their own self-interest as inextricably linked to the interest of others.

- Senator Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

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Give me the news
Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 04:48 p.m.

I've been wanting to post for the last few days, but I just couldn't seem to get my thoughts in order. There's a lot I've felt like putting my two cents in on, but it's just not coming together. I thought I could manage something today, but then I was totally distracted by the wonderful world of Catbook and, well, time kind of got away from me. (It's Facebook for Cats. How could I possibly resist?)

So instead, I suppose I'll just yak about my ankle some more. Because I am the LIFE of the party, oh yeah.

I saw the doc Monday, and after looking at the MRI and ordering another X-ray, he decided that the cause of all the trouble is *drumroll* two bones hitting each other when I land a jump or squat or walk or think about walking or whatever. He believes the tibia and the talus (I think that's right) are whacking together because my ankle is freakishly flexible, and now there's a bit of scar tissue built up in the space. And that's what's causing all the swelling and the aching and the occasional godawful lighting hot pain that shoots up my leg and leaves me hanging off the nearest light fixture.

So there you have it! Problem...identified?

The treatment however, is far less satisfactory than the "wave-the-magic-wand-poof-all-better" approach I'd hoped for. H told me to stay off of it for three months and give dance a shot in the Fall, then if it still hurts, call the ankle specialist and we'll see about getting it scoped to remove the scar tissue.

In short, things will continue to suck.

On a totally different subject, you know those clever new Valspar commercials where they take a square out of nature and it turns into a paint chip? Am I the only one who is annoyed by the fact that NONE of the paint chips even approach being the same color as the scene they theoretically came out of?

Yes? Oh. Okay.

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That's pretty much the EXACT DEFINITION
Monday, July 16, 2007 - 08:48 a.m.

Friday morning I happened to catch a segment on the proposed Huntsville city ordinance that would allow the police to impound a vehicle if it's found that the driver doesn't have a license or insurance. That part is okay, I guess, although details on the proposed ordinance are surprisingly hard to find. The part that I had to rewind and listen to again (twice) was this gem of a quote:

"'s not racial profiling, it's not targeting, it's simply responding to the huge increase in a number of Hispanic drivers in the Huntsville-Madison county area."

- Rex Reynolds, Director of Public Safety for Huntsville

Okay, folks, here's a tip: if you're going to explicitly state that a policy isn't race-motivated, you should probably NOT mention a specific race in the same breath.

I mean, he could have used "unlicensed" or "uninsured" or even "illegal." As it was, he basically said, "It's not a race thing, we're just worried about the Beaners."

Good thing he’s the Director of Public Safety, and not Public Relations.

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Apparently he really IS holier than thou
Thursday, July 12, 2007 - 02:03 p.m.

A while back Governor Bob declared June 30 through July 7 as "Days of Prayer for Rain" in Alabama. At the time I thought it was a pretty obnoxious thing to do. After all, I'm fairly certain that the farmers, who for three months had been watching their livelihood shrivel up and die right before their very eyes, were already praying for rain, as were a good many other people. But Bob being Bob, he just had to give it his stamp of approval, make it his idea. I’m not sure if he genuinely felt that people who weren’t already praying would be moved by his declaration or if he just wanted the Jesus points. Either way, it’s officially in the government record and I…I might have mocked it. Maybe even a lot.

But now I guess the joke's on me, because in the last two weeks, it's started raining almost every other day. We've accumulated nearly four inches this week alone. The grass is green, the cotton has suddenly sprung up at least six inches, and yesterday I even saw a rainbow.

And of course, in many minds, the "Days of Prayer for Rain" get the credit. I guess God just wasn’t listening before. It's a good thing we have Governor Bob here to put some oomph behind our prayers. Now if we could only get him to institute a "Days of Prayer for Better Health Care, Education, and Roadways," we’d be in business.

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I'm a little offended
Monday, July 9, 2007 - 04:12 p.m.

I never expected Barack Obama to actually come to Huntsville, Alabama, but since he WAS here today, it sure would've been nice if hadn't cost $1,000 to see him speak. Fundraising is good and all, but since a large part of his donations have come in small amounts from ordinary people, you'd think he'd make some time to speak to the rest of us. I suppose I could drive down to Birmingham to listen to him tonight, but when it comes to Birmingham, I’d really prefer to stay home and drive bamboo shoots under my finger nails. No, I think I’ll just wait until Obama comes back to Huntsville, an event currently scheduled for the day after Cobie’s goats sprout wings and Lucifer himself offers me a ride in his sleigh.

In other news, I finally have an MRI scheduled and I have an appointment with an orthopedist. I guess Blue Cross finally decided that while it was great fun to make me spend $400 and five weeks on not-helpful physical therapy, they might as well get around to allowing my doctor to do her job. Anyway, hopefully this will be the month we solve the medical mystery that is my ankle. A diagnosis other than “eww, squishy” is what I’m looking for here.

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I'm as suprised as you
Thursday, July 5, 2007 - 02:46 p.m.

I have a confession to make. I love America's Got Talent. LOVE. IT.

Not the show so much, but the acts. We Tivo it so we can fast forward through the judges’ yapping and the cheesy intro segments and get straight to the good part. Because much to my surprise, America really DOES have talent.

Yeah, during the auditions, there are the one that make you cringe. I physically cannot stand to watch someone embarrass themselves on national TV. Just ask Todd. Whenever some poor deluded sap steps up on stage and begins the process of utterly humiliating themselves, I have to bury my face in the nearest throw pillow and cram my fingers in my ears, because oh, the shame. I feel it for them. If it were possible, I would dissolve into the floor on their behalf. This is why I have never watched American Idol.

But the good ones? Oh man, some of them awesome. And so many acts have been unique. This season there’s been a talking rabbit, a ventriloquist singing Etta James, men dancing on silts, and acrobatic cats, just to name a few. Some of the singers have been amazing (Cas Haley, anyone?), and I always love a good magic show. I was hoping there would be at least one or two ballet acts, but the cats more than made up for that disappointment. (What? They were shoulder-trained.)

As far as the judges go, much to my surprise, I actually like Piers and Sharon. While Piers is harsh, he’s usually not wrong, and Sharon has been surprisingly insightful with several of the contestants. It’s the Hoff I can’t stand, him and his homophobic tantrums. Although it IS amusing to watch him squirm at the particularly flamboyant types, like he thinks “teh gay” might be contagious or something.

But anyway, the show is now at the top of our Tivo list, coming in even above our beloved Daily Show. My love for Jon Stewart is not diminished, no, but merely overshadowed by my love for knife-juggling, gymnastics, and mullet-sporting redneck tenors.

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Back from the beach
Tuesday, July 3, 2007 - 12:51 p.m.

I didn't mean to vanish entirely for nearly two weeks but my vacation was so utterly, blissfully uneventful, there was simply nothing to write about. We spent the last week relaxing in Ocean Isle, North Carolina with my mother's family, and I can't even begin to tell you how much I needed that vacation. We did exactly nothing except swim, eat, sleep, read, and play cards, and it was WONDERFUL. The weather was gorgeous, the surf was rough, and the food was plentiful. If that's not a great vacation, I don't know what is.

Friday, Todd and I left Ocean Isle and drove the three hours to Chocowinity to visit his dad. We were joined on Saturday by Todd's sister and her family and there was more swimming, eating, and playing cards. Somewhere in there, I think we agreed to adopt Todd's dad's cat in the near future (not my fault). Yesterday's 10 and a half hour drive was kind of a downer, but even that went better than expected.

Of course, now it's back to work, and holy cow, it's a good thing I'm all relaxed, because DAMN. Perhaps you recall how I was bitching about the drought and how it was never going to rain here again? Well, Sunday evening we got nearly four inches of rain here at the office. And our roof, the one that's been worked on three times in the last year? Well, it kind of collapsed under the weight of all the collected rainwater, and flooded the entire front of our building. So today there are fans and dehumidifiers and miles of tubing and more fans and more dehumidifiers and even more fans, and the noise is really quite deafening. Oh yeah, and because the water ran into the floor vents and collapsed all of our ductwork, we also have no air conditioning. ROCK ON.

But let me tell you, vacation was great.

And now, pictures!

The view from the deck of our rental house

The view from the deck at night

All the cousins (with the exception of my sister) with the grandparents

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