March 27, 2006

It's Not Even My Birthday!

Look what my DF (dear friend) got me, "just because!"

This should keep me occupied for a long time.

March 25, 2006

I Met "aka Monty"!

I met Monty, the famous blogger from The Daily Bitch! And I even got her autograph! Well, technically, I stole her driver's license from her purse while she was in the restroom, but hey - it has her signature on it! And it would have come in real handy if I'd been pulled over on the way home.

Sure was a fun night, and don't believe a word
Jules says about it!

OK, I'm off to bed. I know, I'm a lightweight, but I had to get home and get to sleep.

March 24, 2006

Before and After

My $20 garage-sale find. My $20 billion vacation project.

March 21, 2006

Almost exactly two years ago, I was in a fund-raising event called the MS150. It is an annual event, and takes place in many different cities. This particular event (at that time) was a bicycle ride from Dallas, up across the Red River into Oklahoma for a grand total of 150 miles. It took place on a Saturday and Sunday in May with the option to camp at a state park in Oklahoma. All for the good cause of raising money for Multiple Sclerosis. This was a great experience, and I personally raised about $4,000 for the charity. This particular year that I participated set a record for having the worst weather EVER for this event. People WAY fitter, and much more serious about cycling dropped out after the first 20 miles, since they were extremely cold. Hey, my body fat came in quite handy that day. Because I've been too lazy busy to write the last week or so, I have copied and pasted a letter that I wrote to the people that I had been hitting up for money before the event.

Dear Friends,

I just wanted to let you know that I survived my weekend bicycle ride, and I want to tell you about the experience.

What's the big idea calling this the MS150 ride? It should be called the MS160.3 ride - that's what my odometer said after the 2 day journey!

Day 1: My husband booted me and my gear out of his warm, dry pickup in Plano at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. It was very cold, raining, and the wind was strong and coming from the north. I rode for many miles in the rain, squinting from it splashing in my eyes and my feet, legs, and gloves were soaking wet. Even after the rain stopped it took a very long time for my shoes to go from sloshing to just damp. The lunch stop was in an elementary school where we were served Subway sandwiches. I overheard many people saying they were going to "sag" to the end. In fact, I guess that the organizers expected so many people to catch a ride from there, that they had about 3 school buses ready to haul people away. I was really beginning to worry when I heard several people that looked in much better shape than me say that they were quitting for the day. Many of them talked about the upcoming hills and being so cold. They were tired of fighting the wind. One of the volunteer motorcyclists said she'd been helping with this event for 18 years and that this was the worst year ever as far as weather was concerned. Every "sag wagon" that had passed me up to this point had a "full" sign in the window. I couldn't have quit if I'd wanted to. The MS150 organization's website called this ride a "2-day party on wheels" I felt like Private Benjamin when she showed up for boot camp and pulled her drill sergeant aside to explain "this is not the Army I signed up for." I signed up for the bike ride with the nice, warm weather where I can work on my tan. I signed up for the bike ride where the rest stops have Lazy-Boy recliners and good looking guys rubbing my legs while someone refills my water bottle with a refreshing margarita. That is MY idea of a 2-day party on wheels. OK, enough whining, I decided that I did not want to quit, I was determined to finish the miles on this first day. But I had this big fear of being alone out there on the country roads, lost for days. With my poor sense of direction and wandering mind, it really was a valid concern. The sun made its first appearance when I was about 5 miles from the first day's finish line. At least I finally had my shadow to keep me company! After crossing the finish line, they served me a big plate of hot spaghetti. Even though I'd eaten at every single rest stop along the way and wasn't a bit hungry, it was so appealing to have warm food. My husband and daughter whisked me away to a hotel for the night (CAMP and TENT are four letter words as far as I'm concerned).

Day 2: Beautiful sunshine right from the start. It was quite an experience when they closed off the bridge so that all 1,900 of us cyclists could cross the Red River at the same time. The weather was nice, the scenery was awesome, but Susan was slow. At lunch on the second day, some of my teammates were patiently waiting for me to show up. When I finally arrived, one of them said, "Susan, I was worried about you!" I said, "You should be! I'm going so slow the buzzards are circling over me. I just hope I have the strength to fight them off!" On one hill I hit an all time low of 3 miles per hour - I didn't even know you could keep a bike upright at that speed. I'll never forget the 75 year old woman who smiled sweetly as she passed me and soon became just a dot on the horizon. Speaking of being left in the dust…for safety and courtesy, riders always announced "ON YOUR LEFT" as they passed. After awhile I felt like snarling at each one, "Yeah? Who ISN'T?" A teammate said that if I was so tired of hearing "on your left" I should crowd that side so they'd be forced to pass me on the right. I had a flat tire 16 miles from the finish. It was bound to happen as I had bragged earlier in the ride that I'd NEVER had a flat tire. On the plus side, five men stopped to help me! Oh wait, let's be honest. ONE man stopped to help me, then four of HIS teammates thought HE was down, so they stopped to help HIM! It took a mechanic from the roving Richardson Bike Mart van, though, to help me out as I needed a new inner tube and a new tire. He very kindly oiled my chain and adjusted a brake for me, too while he was there. I finally crossed the finish line - greeted by cheers from the volunteers and some great 70's music.

I am only kidding around, folks, I'm not really as negative as I may sound. I'm just trying to be funny. The truth is that I had a wonderful time - even on Saturday. It was exciting to be in that crowd of people, it was fun to be a part of the big event. And I know that I am very fortunate to be healthy enough to complete a trip like this. I have to be honest and tell you that I originally chose this event because it would be physically challenging for me. Only after I signed up for it did I start to realize how many people I knew that have Multiple Sclerosis or have family or friends affected by this disease. I really thought people would donate money for ME, because they are: a) proud of me, b) friends with me, or c) afraid I'll beat them up. Turns out it was d) none of the above. I received the most money from people who donated for the right reason - because the money goes to help people with Multiple Sclerosis. And these are the people I thought of every time I struggled up a hill.

Things I learned:

o Volunteers are very special people.
o Hills are good, because there's a side of them that allows you to rest, catch your breath and really enjoy the view.
o Falling off your bike is not quite as embarrassing as I'd imagined it would be (but just as painful as I expected).

For those of you who like numbers, here are a few statistics:

o The first day time from start to finish: 11 hours. Distance covered: 95+ miles.
o The second day time from start to finish: 8.5 hours. Distance covered: 65+ miles.
o Number of rest stops serving refreshments: 11. Pounds gained: 3.

March 15, 2006

My "memory foam" slippers have amnesia.


*What Would Poopie Do?

I am on vacation this week, and since my daughter is away on Spring Break, I thought I'd play around the house. I started off the week by painting my front door on Monday. Ah, but first I had to strip off the old dark, dark brown color that has been there since the beginning of time. I didn't realize there were so many decorative grooves in that darn door. With eight panels on it, and all kinds of grooves in each one, it was quite a chore. But fun. And I broke down and bought myself a "Mouse". My sander may not be as good as
hers but it sure is fun. Sad thing is that the bottom of it reminds me of an iron. ***shudder***

Now the door is painted with a lovely shade called "Mediterranean Sun."

Anyway, on to more fun. I have also changed out a shower head, started stripping my
vanity, and installed one of those soap dispensers in my kitchen sink. It's so cool! I always wanted to put something there, a sprayer or something, and then I saw this at Lowe's (where I've spent most of my vacation.)

The vanity is taking quite a bit longer than I thought it would, but it's still a lot of fun to work on. I have my daughter's radio plugged in outside, listening to KISS-FM. You know how they (or any top 40 station) play the same songs over, and over again? It cracks me up because while I'm out there stripping paint and working so hard on it, this song keeps coming on called, "I'm in Love With a Stripper." Yep, they're playin' my song!

I'm having too much fun here, I honestly do not want to go back to work. Ever. But I don't see that I have much choice, so darn.

Oh well, at least I have a few more days to goof around here.

March 12, 2006

&*^%$@'n DPS

Screw you Texas Department of Public Safety.

As of 3/10/06 10:59 p.m. I had to give up bragging rights of "I haven't had a speeding ticket since I was nineteen years old!"

Screw you, you little mean officer that gave me the ticket.

I'm not saying I didn't deserve it, but she didn't have to be so rude about it. I was nice and polite to her after she pulled me over. She kept saying ma'am to me like she wanted it to seem like she was being being respectful, but really she was a total bitch. The way she grilled me about where I was going and why? (home, cuz I'm tired) and where had I been and why? (to Oklahoma to drop off my daughter at a friend's house) geez - I so wanted to say on a drug run, but I could tell she had no sense of humor. But you'd think I had been, the way she asked me those questions. What's with all the small talk anyway? Did she think that if I had been up to no good, I'd just spill my guts and tell her?

She said I was going 73. I politely said to her, "No, I was going 70." She said that the speed limit is 65. No, the speed limit was 70, I know. I'd seen the sign. People, did you know that the speed limit is 65 at night??? And apparently it's not just a suggestion. I guess I have seen those signs, but the last time I remember actually reading the sign below the speed limit, it was meant for trucks. Really, I'm not kidding, I think the sign below the speed limit used to be a separate speed limit for trucks. OK, maybe I imagined that, or maybe it was 20 years ago. Anyway, I guess I have to admit that I've been ignoring the black 65 mph sign posted below the white 70 mph sign. So I was speeding. But I was going 70, dammit, not 73 like she said!

In no way was I rude, or argumentative nasty. Sgt. Shrimp (most 10 year olds are bigger than this woman - so OK, I'm jealous) came back from her car with my license and my insurance paper and a citation! I said, "Can't I just have a warning, please? I was barely over!" "Eight over", she snapped. (FIVE!)

I should get some good-girl points. Points that would reduce the number of "miles over" the speed limit. One point for each of the following:

1 - I was trying to follow the speed limit, that's how I know I was going 70 because I looked at the speedometer so often to check. So one point for trying.

2 - I had my seatbelt on. Like a good and responsible law-abiding citizen. So one point for the seatbelt and my safety consciousness.

3 - I not only carry auto insurance (unlike half of Texas drivers*) but I had proof of it!

4 - I was not drinking, nor had I been for days! (But only because I had been sick with an unconfirmed case of bird-flu.)

5 - I was not chatting on my cell phone. (Well, not when she caught me speeding, but once or twice before, and immediately after.)

I could stop right here, because I KNOW I was going 70, not 73, but she's got the guns. Real and radar, and who can argue with them? So... I'll keep knocking off "miles over" by racking up three more points:

6 - Current drivers' license. (well, except for an outdated picture) Seriously, I know people who never bother to change the address on their license. Mine has my current address, it is not expired, and it has a way-cool "M" in the class meaning I can legally drive a motorcycle. Which has nothing to do with speeding, I know, but I think proves my case that I have a tendency to always often follow the law!

7 - Current tags! One more point, see?

8 - Current inspection sticker. Further proof that I am a law-abiding citizen who deserved a warning, not a citation!!!!

Now we're right back down to 65 mph (62, dammit!) so you can take your ticket back, please!

*a statistic I pulled out of my ass thin air, I cannot vouch for its accuracy.

March 09, 2006

I Been a Berry Sick Girl

I have been home alone for three days. Sick for the whole time. I hate it when I have to spend too much time alone with myself; I'm not very good company. I'm always nagging, criticizing, bringing up the past, and just generally putting myself down nonstop. Gosh, what is my problem? What have I got against me? I mean what have I ever done to myself to deserve being treated this way?

I'm fine. Really. Just recovering from bird-flu. Of course I am a big hypochondriac and didn't have any idea what I was going to be sick from next until TSB put that suggestion into my comments. Thanks, dear.

Any other suggestions? I'm feeling much better now.

March 06, 2006

Guys, Listen Up...

Gentlemen, let me explain something to you. If you work in a cubicle, you need to understand something about those walls. Cubicle walls were designed so that I won't have to look across my desk and see your finger up your big, hairy nose. And they also come in handy so you won't have to see me picking the wedgie from my butt-crack. (Another example of me stating the obvious; where else would a wedgie be?) Cubicle walls are there to fool you into thinking you have a teensy bit of privacy. But hey, even I know that a girl can't always reach up under her blouse to make a wardrobe adjustment without a tall neighbor peeking over, or a gawker walking by the opening to see in the "door". So they're not even perfect for blocking out visuals. Now here's where the lesson comes in, so please... pay attention, guys. Cubicle walls are not soundproof. I can hear every breath you take, every fart you make. Seriously. Cut out the farts. Especially the ones where you let out a little happy sigh afterwards. Cut out the farts or someone will have to die. Don't try hiding it with a fake cough. Or following it by making a loud raspberry noise with your mouth trying to fool me into thinking that was the first sound I heard, too. I'm serious. Stop farting at work. Walk down the hall to the restroom, or hold it in all day like I do.

March 05, 2006

Thinking about how easy it was to pick up and hold that little bird reminded me of some other instances with picking up animals. With small animals, I have a tendency to scoop them up into my arms, and think later. Sometimes that works out OK, and sometimes it doesn't.

A couple of years ago, I was jogging along a path on the Rowlett Creek Preserve. These paths are mostly meant for off-road bicyclists, but if you're careful to watch out, you can also walk or run on the trails. I was jogging along one time when I saw a rabbit by the path. I expected it to take off and run away, but it didn't. I went by it, with it sitting literally inches from the path. So I walked back to it and bent down and scooped it up. Only after I picked it up, held it to my chest and started petting it did I think about how crazy that was. It could have scratched me and bitten me. This wasn't somebody's pet, it was a plain brown bunny like you see out in the wild. I didn't notice any injuries, it wasn't listless like it was sick or dying. But I assumed it had to be, or why else would it let me hold it? I carried that thing, petting it for about 15-20 minutes as I walked along the trail. Even a sick or dying animal will struggle and fight some, I thought, but this one didn't. As I neared the parking lot, I realized I couldn't take it home with me, so I turned around to take it back to where I found it. When I set the bunny down, he hopped away like there wasn't a thing in the world wrong with him.

The animals I mostly try to hold, are of course cats. Sometimes with good results, like the time my daughter and her girlfriend were struggling with a crazy kitten that wanted to escape them in fear. I took the cat from the little girl and it was suddenly calm. The girls called me the cat whisperer.

But I can recall a couple more instances when that didn't work out so well for me. One was when I went outside several years ago and discovered that kittens had been born in our boat. Kittens are cute, so I was thrilled. I reached down inside the boat and grabbed one to pull it out. It took several bloody seconds for my hands to receive the "Let GO!" message that my brain was trying to send them.

Another incident not only didn't turn out well, but I'd actually been warned beforehand. It was a beautiful sunny day, I was visiting my brother. He lived north of Houston on some heavily wooded acreage. The cat he fed was lying on the picnic table, enjoying a nap in the sun. Notice I called her the "cat he fed" not "his cat". Because even though this cat would come up to the house to eat every night, it was a little on the wild side. I sat down at the table and petted the cat and she was purring like mad. My brother walked by me on his way into the house and said, "Don't pick up that cat." I said OK then continued to pet the cat. Even got my hairbrush out of the car and brushed it. The cat was enjoying this very much. She would purr, rub up against me, and just want more. I finally couldn't stand it any more, I had to pick her up. I really wasn't trying to be defiant. I wasn't going to try to prove to my brother it could be done. It was different than that. It was just an uncontrollable urge. I had to hold that cat. So I picked her up, and once again proved that none of my body parts listen to my brain when it really matters. Several seconds later as I ran into my brother again on my way into the house, he looked at me and immediately said, "You picked up the cat, didn't you?" I'm not sure what gave me away, the stunned look on my face, or the bloody gashes on my chest, arm, and shoulder.

p.s. My little quail friend never showed back up. I'm going to go on believing that he found his way home and lived happily ever after.

March 03, 2006

Coturnix Quail

I rushed home from work today, eager to find my new little friend. The good news is that I didn't find any pile of feathers or a little dead body around. The bad news is, I didn't find my little friend at all. Now I'm worried that if he dies it will be my fault for sticking him back outside. "Birdmeister" identified him as a Coturnix Quail in the comments of my last post. Every picture I've googled of that bird is just like what I held. And everything I've read about it since explains why it was so tame. Based on the amount of bird dookey on the inside and the outside of my windowsill, this bird was well fed before it found its way to me. That's not even counting the times he pooped on my shirt.


I can't believe what a dork I am for getting so attached to a little bird. I really liked him, and I so wish he'd come back in the window tonight.

March 02, 2006

Look What The Cat Dragged In

I was lounging around on the couch watching CSI, surrounded by Girl Scout cookies and I kept hearing a strange noise. I assumed it was the cat, and then I saw this creature walking along, very calmly toward me on the living room floor, talons clicking with each step. Either it walked right in my open bedroom window, or the cat "helped" it in. So after holding it in my lap for the rest of the show, I finally put it back on the window ledge to set it free. The cat helped it again. So now he (she?) is perched up on my chest and has been for over an hour. I'm trying to research what kind it is. I want to put it back out, but the last time I did, Cowboy George was determined to eat him. It was easier to catch the bird again and bring him in to safety than to catch the cat and shut the window. What is it, does anyone recognize it? And why (I know I am retarded) is there a baby bird this early? I thought birds were born in spring. He has plenty of feathers, he isn't itty bitty. He's very calm and lets me pet him and stroke his head. I don't want him to die, but I think he will if I stick him back out the window. Awww, he just climbed up near my shoulder and is snuggling with me! Birds don't snuggle, what is this thing????

* * * Friday morning update. Last night, once I was able to get the cat back in the house, I put my new birdie friend back outside. My first waking thought was "Oh, I hope he's still alive!" (What a lie, my first thought was "I gotta pee!")

So I slung back the curtain, and there he was, perched on the sill again. He had hopped out of the homemade nest I built him. Oh, too good for my hand-selected cardboard box and the pillow case I lined it with? Hmmmm, I know, it's because I had also pulled off my shirt that I'd been wearing while holding you. It needed to be washed anyway, so I threw it in the box to keep you warm. Anyway, I'm thankful my little birdie buddy is stil alive. I held him on my lap this morning (mostly just to annoy Cowboy George) then put him back outside. So unless the neighborhood cats get him, he should be OK. I hope!

I Rock!

Armed with only a screwdriver and a glass of wine, I installed one of these on my front door, BY MYSELF. I know that isn't a big deal to many of you, but it is not as easy to change out a lock as it might seem. And those instructions that come with things like this are like reading a foreign language. Ooops, turn it over there's the English translation. Really, even that version it is difficult to follow.

Now no more pesky keys for my daughter to have to keep up with...

And I can set two different security codes on it. So, say if I had any money for a housekeeper, or a handyman, I could give them that code, then change it whenever I felt like it, preserving the code my family and I will use.

I am really proud of myself for installing it, but am still puzzled how it managed to look straight and even on the outside, but the contraption on the inside of the door turned out to be all cattywompus.