11.29.2003

In other news...
Today marks two years since Alice's passing. That's really all I can say about it, I'm determined not to make a mess of myself this year. Not because she doesn't deserve to have a fuss made in her memory -- she most certainly does -- but because other days are more important. May 27, the day we got her. Oct. 25, her birthday. Both count for more than that awful day 2 Novembers ago.

But here's to you Al. My world really is not the same without you.

Greetings from Ohio
My trip here was largely uneventful. First class was very nice, much like mutton, though not as swank as Business class from Seattle to Tokyo like we had last year. But then again, I wasn't going to China, it was just here, to Ohio, where it's cold and windy. I had my Thanksgiving dinner at 9 pm at the Waffle House. Nothing makes me want to stop and give thanks more than chili on top of my hash browns.

I saw minor league pro hockey last night -- $10 got me up against the glass and while I wholeheartedly support anyone willing to pursue the hockey dream, I have to admit that it was certainly a $10-a-seat level of play. It was $10 worth of fun, though.

Meant to go see the OSU women's hockey team play today but I somehow got sidetracked into helping my parents make a car reservation and buy some gifts over the Internet so I missed that. Oh well, they play again tomorrow.

Saw Grandma, for 98 she's looking pretty good, though I wanted to weep when I saw pictures of her from just a few years ago, before she got sick. She's quite different now -- the independent woman who could get around on her own is now confined to a la-z-boy, reliant on in-home care 24 hours a day and at the same time, lamenting the fact that her hair has become more grey, though as she put it, it's not as gray as some of those men on TV with white hair.

No, Grandma, it's not. You're far more good-looking than any man on TV. Even her beloved Silver Fox, Bob Barker.

11.26.2003

Travel Gods Have Smiled
Through no small miracle, I have been granted a free first-class upgrade for the longest part of my trip tomorrow, from San Jose to Chicago. That'll be me, strutting past you while you wait to board, on my way to the exciting world of bigass seats, cheese plates, free booze and my very own film selection.

Of course, that will also be me in Chicago, waiting to board the rear of the aircraft while you strut by me on your way to first class. I'll cast my eyes aside as I board, remembering the good times when I sat in those bigass seats.

But hey, I do love cheese.

11.25.2003

That Ain't No Garden Ho
Were I to write a post about seeing a prostitute, which I did not, that would be my title. Clever, ain't it?

That Time of Year
For a variety of reasons, Andrea and I have decided to divide and conquer the holidays this year. I suppose at the end of the week, we'll both be Masters of Holidays, or at least of Thanksgiving. Christmas remains a great mystery at this point, one that could go quite badly if some of the bullshit in the air doesn't get resolved by then. But again, that's not my story to tell, there.

So, back to Thanksgiving. Andrea took off this morning for New Jersey, land of snow and see futs. Naturally, her plane left at 6:40 am, so my job began at 5:30, when we woke up after a very full 3.5 hours of sleep. I hate waking up in the dark and even moreso than that, I hate saying goodbye to Andrea. We both get all sad and in the end, one of us is standing there at the curb while the other drives off.

Today, I was the driver.

I got to go back to bed, only after the bassets insisted that I call her to deliver a very important message. It went something like this:
Me: Okay, Rainie, go ahead
Rainie: mmmrroo (short)
Patrick: barooooooo! baroooo! (long)
Rainie: mmmrrooo, rooooooooo (short-long)
Patrick: barooo! baroo! (short short)
Gus: unnnnnhhhh(moaning, as he walks in circles around the room, toy in his mouth, even, and especially at 6 am) Me: we love you. Have a good trip.

I leave on Thursday. I had all these plans for being a wild y crazy bachelorette but in the end, here I am, having worked much of the day at school, back home, working on my Alice Sebold paper. Woo. Party Animal, that's me.

Andrea made it in okay and is settling in for her visit. The roos and I miss her very much already.

11.24.2003

Dr. Report
The preliminary results are in. I had a nice set of x-rays taken and the doctor thinks it's Rotator Cuff Tendonitis. I've had tendonitis before. It sucks, but you can play through it. And that's the important thing, don't you think? For now, I can still play and have a stack of free drugs.

The other part, the less good part is a little tougher to explain. I guess the shoulder is like the ankle, with a knobby bit sitting inside some sort of cup. Ankles don't move in as many directions as shoulders, so they have a deep cup to hold them in. Shoulders aren't blessed with that kind of cup. Their cup is more like a women's pelvic protector than a man's cup. On the shoulder, to compensate for this shallow cup, there's some sort of (here comes the medical term) jizz surrounding the ball. My jizz may have a problem, one that prevents it from properly holding the ball in place. So I'm going for an MRI as soon as the doctor can schedule me one. Woo. Jizz.

OW! THIS SHIT HURTS!
Friday night, the Seals played hard against Blue but came up quite short. We lost 6-0 but didn't give up until the end of the game. Halfway through the second period, my right shoulder started hurting. A lot. While this problem (shoulder hurting) is not new, the A Lot part is. Every breath caused more pain but for once, I really did dig down deep and come up big in the final, most painful minutes of the game.

Afterwards, I broke down a little around our loyal fans. I couldn't hold my gigantic looks-like-a-bright-yellow-turtle backpack any longer, it hurt my shoulder too much. Dana was nice enough to round up an ice pack for me (becoming, for a moment, that Nice Lady handing out Ice) and Jennie ran home to get me some painkillers. The pain did subside but I wondered how I'd do last night, when I was scheduled for a double-header, first as myself (a right defenseman) and then as a goalie (the one with all the pads).

The first game was okay, it hardly hurt at all. The second game was not too bad, though I let in a miserable 5 goals. We won't talk about that. Or you can, on your own blog, but I won't here.

After the adrenaline wore off, the pain creeped back in. I hardly slept last night, what between reliving the 5 goals and the pain, there just wasn't time.

This morning, I found a Sports Medicine doctor who has time to see me today, so I'm off at 1:30 for that. Andrea pointed out that it's possible I could be told to never play hockey again. I'm just not ready to face that possiblity yet.

11.21.2003

When I first moved here, in 1996, I bought myself a pair of Lucky Jeans, mostly because the inside of the fly says "Lucky You." My ex-girlfriend had a pair and I thought they were the niftiest damn things I'd ever seen. So I plunked down an astronomical $70 and got myself a pair. I wore them contstantly but they have virtually no signs of wear.

They were also the first thing I got too fat for, and they've been sitting on my shelf, carted around through 3 moves, ever since.

Today, I am insanely proud to report, they fit just fine once again. Let us all thank the fat gods, who are washing away my sins and returning me to the best jeans ever.

So...about a month ago, I was extremely frustrated with IKEA. My schedule sucked (24 hours a week, spread over 5 days. Do the math, you'll see how sucky that was) my job was extremely repetitive ("do you have your reciept? Great. Just give me your (credit card) and I'll credit you back. You're all set. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.) and, most importantly, my schoolwork was suffering. It turns out that I'm not so good at cranking out pages of anything (pages of anything=cousin of Fountains of Wayne) in just an hour or two after working part of the day. I need blocks of semi-quiet time.

But I digress.

I saw a posting on craig's list for a job selling shoes, at a specialty store down the street from my house. I've spent an awful lot of time selling shoes in my life, so I applied and eventually got the job. It pays less than IKEA but is close by. I put in my notice at IKEA and prepared to make the move.

Turns out, IKEA likes me. A lot. They offered to do my schedule right (24 hours=3 days a week) and float me around to some more interesting departments. I countered with wanting 2 weeks off, then going to 2 days a week through the end of school. They said yes, Liz, of course, Liz, whatever you want, just continue returning Poang chairs for us.

So... I haven't heard squat from the shoe store. I figure that they decided me being only available 2 days a week wasn't enough so I turned my focus to working at school (#1 priority, over all Poangs, Jussis, Magikers and even the famed Jerker) then straightening things out with IKEA.

Yesterday, they call, after over 2 weeks of no contact. I'm supposed to start today. Um. Hi. Were you ever going to tell me that? Now I'm trying to figure out what to tell them. Suggestions?

11.20.2003

Mr. Z is home with me, stoned out of his mind, but home. As he and I walked out of the vet's, I turned to them and said 'how wonderful is it, to be leaving with a live dog," Yes, yes it was nice. Z and I are off to take a nap, we've both had a long day.

My wishes came true: the vet just called. Z came through just fine and is starting to wake up. He got the full treatment, a nail trim, an in-depth ear cleaning and had the little csysts in his ears removed as well. She's a little worried about his labwork, he is borderline anemic and has a low thyroid level so he'll be starting on Soloxine, a drug we know well from Alice's days on it. Hopefully that will take care of everything and perk the old guy up a little bit.

But the important thing is that the old guy is still with us and doing fine. Thanks for that, whoever gave it to us.

2003: A Tooth Cleaning Oddessy commenced when I dropped Zeus off at the vet early this morning. While I was saying my goodbyes to him, not that he even looked back, just sauntered off toward the back, toward a new adventure, away from me, another family pulled up. Debbie the receptionist (all of the staff are famiy friends, Alice's legend looms large in Dr. Kate's office, even now) muttered something about PTS and I couldn't leave. PTS= put to sleep.

Why am I always there to see the families walk in, see them try to be strong when they know what they are about to do? The animals are sometimes resigned, or clearly in so much pain they can't really see. I think ahead to Friday, when the nice man from the pet cemetary will come by to pick up their bodies (he comes to my vet on Mondays, too).

So today, a middle-aged couple got out of their Jeep Cherokee and went around to the back. Much later, they started to walk in, the man at the front, the woman at the back, each holding a rolled-up towel around a portion of the dog's body. His name was Tucker, even with the help of both parents, he could hardly walk. His grey face, his red eyes stared past me as they came in, his people trying to be brave for Tucker's last walk.

Here's my silent wish that Tucker's journey was easy, that my Alice and his departed friends are greeting him now, that he can run as I imagine he once did, free of pain. I also wish that my Zeus will not join them today, that he will wake up from the anesthesia, ready for the wet food treat that I've told the staff he's welcome to have.

11.19.2003

I just noticed that the house is, indeed, very quiet. There are no telemarketers calling to sell me things I don't want, nor is that obnoxious foster dog inspiring my guys to do things that make noise. As I write, Zeus, Rainie and Gus are all curled up behind me on the futon, snoring like the little boogers that they are. And I, I have cranked out 4 pages of conference paper stuff, hopefully I can incorporate it into what I'd already written.

I think I'll celebrate with a hard-earned nap.

Here's where I stand: the longer I spend around english department types, the more energy I spend reading, writing and thinking about other people who have read, wrote and thought, the more I feel myself drawn to them, to the literary world. Which would be fine if I were strictly an english person these days, but I'm not. I'm first a member of the rec department and as such, I owe them some things. Like assignments (not that I've failed to turn any in, far from it, I'm getting an A there, too), my heart is simply not in them. I'm cranking out good work because I know how to not because I love to do the work.

If I'm going to take this much time off from my life, from the opportunity to have a 'career' (like those really matter in the end) then I need to make it count. Increasingly, that place looks to me like the english department.

I don't quite know what this means, though short-term I suspect that it will mean another semester of 2 eng classes and 1 red.

Having a really hard time writing a conference paper right now. I've been stuck on page 4 for a while, no progress in sight. Need to unlock the block...

I had the opportunity to see Alice Sebold speak last night. She was magnificent, real and funny, smart and charming, offering great insight into the writing process. It was better than the last couple of movies I've seen. Maybe I'm becoming a big literary geek and that's okay; maybe I should.

Once again, Rainie heralds the onset of winter by urinating indoors. I had forgotten this particularly pleasant habit, the knowing that because it's not 70 degrees and sunny outside, it's necessary to pee indoors. For Christ's sake, her name is Rainie, you'd think she could handle getting wet. I guess not.

If you're wondering how we know she's the culprit, I'll say only that having one girl dog makes this sort of thing pretty clear.

So now the house smells like pee and I'm constantly cleaning up pee or maniacally spraying Febreeze, hoping for the best. Please don't ask to come over right now. It smells. Thanks, Rainie. Happy winter to you too, sweetheart.

Now that I think of it, Alice used to do the same thing, though Al never really got used to the winter, she'd indiscriminately pee indoors all winter, creating that 'strong doggie odor' that our old (evil) landlord charged us extra for when we moved out of our last rental before crossing the threshold into homeownership.

Zeus goes in for a teeth cleaning tomorrow morning. We've put this off for far too long, largely because I'm afraid. The last dog we sent in for surgery didn't come out of it, leaving a gaping hole in my heart that will never fill in completely.

It's been almost 2 years since Alice's death. November 29 is the day, another thing that's hard to believe. I am grateful that her memory remains strong, that a large portion of the most acute pain has passed, that I can remember good things along with the loss now. But yes, I still miss her every day and have yet to go a day without thinking about her at least once.

Please keep Z in your thoughts tomorrow as he goes under the gas and the dental tools. I'll be worried until he's back home with us, being a pest.

11.14.2003

Yesterday, my very first girlfriend (term defined loosely; it was the kind of thing that, for me, solidified what I'd suspected -- that boobs and soft skin are, indeed, far preferable to dangly bits and hairyness, for her; denied what she'd suspected -- that we're all a little bit bisexual, that she could be just as happy mating with either gender. A touchstone for both of us, a turning toward for me, a turning away for her.) turned 33. I don't know where she is, though I heard that she's in our hometown still, married to a guy we went to high school with, but didn't know at the time.

I hope that's true and that you're happy. I'd still love to hear from you sometime, but if I don't, wherever you are, Michelle, Happy 33rd.

Goddamn, we're getting old. Weren't we just 16 the other day, me learning to drive stick in that 1980 Corolla wagon, you learning to be an expert co-pilot?

11.13.2003

Once again, The Onion comes up big with Mom Finds out about Blog. Which leads me into a dicey discussion. What do you do when the people you write about find your blog, when they see things I've written about them and assume that because I'm being honest, that I meant to hurt them?

The answer? I don't know.

I feel strongly that I have every right to write whatever I choose here. That said, I filter myself very carefully, leaving out parts that would identify people who wouldn't want to be identified and to tone down things that happened between us that I may have perceived as hurtful, regardless of your intent.

For those who know me well in real life (honestly, about 3 of you, and that's who I write this for), you know that my dearest virtue is honesty, that I'll go to great lengths to avoid lying. You also know that it would take a great wrong done unto me in order for me to speak maliciously about or towards someone in a public forum like this blog.

This blog is not the New York Times or CNN. Hordes of people do not stream to this site every day via well-placed ads on other sites or to follow a well-earned repuation for accurate news reporting the way visitors to NYT and CNN would. They come here because they know me, or know of me, and want to know what I'm up to. If you're here, you're somehow interested in what I have to say.

What I'm trying to tell you, my 3 dear readers and the rest of you, is that whatever I say here is merely my interpretation of things that happen in my world. As you would with any other narrator, take my words with a grain of salt. If you were with me, and I wrote about the event, I could well have remembered parts of it differently than you. You're welcome to write your own version on your own blog. That's the power we all have.

Nothing I say here is intended to be malicious or mean-spirited. Nothing. This blog is merely a re-counting of my own experience and sometimes, that involves mixing in the good with the bad. An experience that might have been great for you could have been terrible for me. Rather than be upset with me for telling it like I saw it, I'd urge you to stop and think, to consider how very painful it must have been for me in order to come back and write something that spills a part of my soul here, for my 3 readers, and the rest of you, to see.

I'm sure you've read between the lines by now. I hope this message gets to the 3 readers who need to see it, because I just don't know how else to say it.

I hope this also explains why I've been kind of quiet lately. There are a number of things going on in my life besides school and work, many of those things suck. A lot. But they're not my story to tell, they're someone else's.

11.11.2003

There are a few hard things about grad school: not having enough time to do the quality of work I'd like to be doing, thinking all the time, so much that I often have a headache, wondering if I'll ever fully grasp the differences between MLA and APA style. But the hardest one is taking a critical look at some of my favorite authors (still knee-deep in projects based on Alice Sebold's work), at the exquisite way they construct a sentence. Immediately after this activity, I am usually struck by a wave of inadequacy. I can never write like them.

What I would tell myself, were I not myself, is that I don't have to write like them. Alice Sebold already has a corner on the market, as far as being Alice Sebold goes. There's a place out there for Liz Doughty's original work (a place larger and slightly more well-paying than this blog), I just need to find it. But right now, I'm telling myself that; I find that I'm just not listening.

I am so ready for this fucking foster dog to go away. She's very high-energy and makes our dogs spazzy and loud in her presense. I've had the hardest time writing since she's been here, with the end of the semester approaching, I'm really starting to get stressed out about not having a room of my own to write in. Let's hope the school decides I can have the lottery money for a laptop, then I can make the library or other quiet, dog-free places my own personal writing space.

Today, I am not that comfortable in my own skin. Nothing I put on seemed to fit right. Did I re-shape myself during the night last night?

It must be said that immediately after knocking the woman in the photo (below) over, I stood there, legs apart, looming over her like the Angel of Death (or at least the Angel of Just Knocked Your Ass Over). She stared up at me with this astonished look on her face. I looked at her, stepped over her and ran to get the puck, which was now loose.

In better stories, I would've taken that puck, ran it coast to coast and scored. In this story, the real story, I got it out of the zone. But I still knocked her over.

11.10.2003

For more fine photos of the team in action, check out this fine link. These nice people take pictures during each of the games and allow you to buy Liz Doughty trading cards if you'd like.


My Proudest Hockey Moment
Liz Doughty, flattener of the other team, not getter of penalties.

A Tucson highlight was Friday's visit to AMARC, "the Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Center, a joint service facility managed by the US Air Force Material Command located in the town of Tucson, Arizona, USA." We first visited the Pima Air & Space Museum across the street. I'd been there before with my parents, who do not share my affinity for looking at planes, so I was eager to get back there and really take my time looking at Things (aka Planes). We saw all there was to see, then boarded the bus to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, home to AMARC. Andrea and Meena were wiped out, they fell asleep before we got past 'Celebrity Row' (a cousin, no doubt, of Contestant's Row), where one of each kind of aircraft they have at AMARC is on display. They missed the other side of the street, where the planes are decapitated for parts. All was fascinating. Despite my extreme fatigue, I stayed awake so I didn't miss a thing.

A lot of very exciting things have happened lately. One of them is a new job, working 10 hours a week in the English Department office at school. Today was my first official day of work (though I didn't know it until I got there, I thought we were just going to talk about my hours). I am now:
Liz Doughty, Master of Making Copies
Collator of MFA Thesis proposals
Accepter of official MFA handiwork

So far, I am not:
Liz Doughty, bringer of coffee
buyer of gifts for your wife
collector of dry cleaning

Though later in the week, I may be
Liz Doughty, helper of dinner set-up for visiting poets

Which I think is okay. I have no plans to fawn over this poet, but rather to see if he has any good things to say about living a writer's life, things that I haven't figured out already.

Tucson Report
This tournament was much better than the last one. We won 2 out of our 4 games, handily losing to 2 better teams and handily dominating over 2 lesser teams. 4 games in two days, with the last two yesterday morning at 8:15 and 11:30. The only saving grace was that the other team had slightly less rest between games than we did. The group was very mellow, not much agression on the bench, though plenty on the ice (I broke the seal on penalties, starting off with a tripping call 4 minutes into the first game, thank you thank you).

Our fans were once again fantastic, thanks to Andrea (and her lovely hotel blanket), Walt and Dena for cheering us to both victory and defeat. No matter how badly we did, it was comforting to see them there, cheering us on to the brutal or triumphant end.

We just got in, I'm exhausted but pleased that this tourney didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth.

11.06.2003

That Smell
I guess it's spring cleaning time, even though it's now going on winter. I'm home today, getting ready for our Tucson trip (we leave at 7:45 am tomorrow), doing the traditional 'dont-let-the-dogsitter-see-how-we-really-live' dance. This includes dishes. Hey kids, learn from my mistake -- if you leave any kind of food, plus water, in your sink it will rot and make the nastiest stink you can imagine. Well, maybe dead people smell worse but this was a close second. More than once, I was forced to stop and turn my head so I didn't vomit from the stench.

The good news? It's all clean now and we promise to never do that again. I'm also cleaning the rest of the house, and unearthed no less than 10 empty gatorade containers from under the sofa. Chalk those up to the hidden life of dogs, where they do their own thing (in this case, take the containers off the counter when we're not home) and hide the evidence under the couch.

Okay, back to cleaning. Aren't you jealous?

11.03.2003

I'm writing a grant application to get lottery money from school to buy a laptop. Have any of the three of you loyal readers been through any kind of grant process? Please drop me a line if you have any suggestions about what to/what not to include in this application. I have to address the following:
Description of how and when the funds will be used.
In the case of equipment, description and cost.
Intended instructional application (to surf porn during class, of course)
Benefits to program/students/faculty
Plesae help!

I am the worst dog mommy in the world. The worst. Before going to play pickup at lunch today, I went to the garage to get my goalie gear. The dogs followed me in, as usual. There's no good excuse for what happened next.

I forgot Patrick, left my little boy trapped in the garage while I was gone. When I came home, I couldn't find him. When he wasn't there to greet me at the door, I had visions of him collapsed in the backyard, paralyzed by a cluster of seizures that wouldn't stop (I had no visions of him, a basset hound, jumping the fence) or worse. I ran out to the yard. No Patrick. I ran to the garage, flung open the door and there, there he was, scared as hell, bolting past me to get back into the house. He'd peed all over the garage and may have had a seizure or two out there but he seems okay right now. The other dogs are dutifully checking him for injuries/new, unrecognizable smells

Meanwhile, I'm rightfully beating myself up for being the worst mommy in the world. Sorry, Pat.

Why did we buy a digital camera before we had dogs? What was the point?

Another burning question: why is Rainie so fascinated with the bathtub? She's in there right now, when I look later I know I'll see little pawprints in it.