There's a conference call going on from the cube behind me. Three folks are gathered there, with someone on the phone. First, I must question the wisdom in this, since we have many many conference rooms around the building as well as little Phone Booths for your calling convenience.

But fine, here they are, gathered as if waiting for a miracle. Whoever they're talking to is at his computer, typing as he talks, then just typing. So I'm hearing the clack of keys over the phone line. Clack clack clack. Clack clack clack.

My brain is on fire! Stop the clacking!


I did go to visit my friends at the Mazda dealership last night. I wanted to know how badly they were planning to screw me if I traded my Passat in, as well as how close we could get to the deal listed in the paper.

Salesguy #1, Keith, kicks ass. He's the floor manager or something like that. The moment we rolled up to the dealership, he approached us and I must have shot him the Look of Death because he backed right off and told us to ask if we had any questions. Through the whole process he's been your typical cheesy sales guy, but also understood my reluctance to come into the showroom and sit down.

Salesguy #2, John, knows a lot about the car but does not kick ass. He's clearly a lot more desperate to make the sale, regardless of what I'm talking about. Last night I asked him to just give me an idea of how much I'd get for my car. I was quite clear in my intention: "Hi John, I can't stay here very long tonight and I'm not going to make a deal this evening but I'd like to know the following..." He went through a silly checklist (the one where they pretend like they're acutally looking at the car, really it's just a ploy to wear you down while you're waiting, imho) then we walked in and looked on kbb.com, something I'd done already at home. He came up with the same numbers I had then started talking about "making this deal tonight" and when I wasn't looking, went to the back and got one of those ridiculous four-square sheets.

I pretty much spat on the sheet and told Keith that I wouldn't be using one of those tonight. At that point, I bailed, chit-chatting with Keith about lease programs and down payments, etc. As soon as John left the room, I told Keith I'd like to finish the deal with him. There's no way I'm going to get bullied by a desperate sales guy, not when I have a paid-off car and no real rush.

As I was leaving, I told Keith I'd be back soon. Transparent John said "before the end of the month?" and Keith stepped up with "Whenever you're ready,"

I'm going to do the nitty-gritty over the phone, without being held hostage inside the showroom and without a four-square screwing. The whole thing, even when drawing it out like this into less painful chunks, sorta makes me wish buying a car was like shopping at Fry's: one price, no haggle, no bullshit.


I think I'm going to try and hammer out a deal for the RX8 tonight. Stay tuned...

Fact: People Don't Change
People who are a very large pain in your ass at one point may vary over time in the amount of pain they cause your ass, but their default behavior will always be some degree of ass pain. So don't count on them to be any different than who they are and plan accordingly.

Sometimes, in my willingness to give everyone a chance (usually too many chances) I forget this and am surprised when the true colors come out.

Not that there's anything wrong with being a pain in the ass. I fully admit that to some people, I'm that colossal pain in the ass, but in this case I'm talking about a couple of people who drift along that line of pain for me, who are sometimes tolerable and almost nice and at other times are so rude/mean/unkind/inconsiderate to me or people I care about that I have to stop and remember that rule.

If they rub you wrong on day one, they'll probably do it on day 500 as well. Just be ready so you're not surprised.


Building a good team is tough. You can pick a bunch of strangers and wind up with something that just doesn't work (see the A-Team's first season), you can pick a bunch of your friends, regardless of skill level and just resign yourself to winning once in a while but still having fun (see the A-Team 2's first season) and you can, over several years, bring together a group that plays well together but isn't necessarily a bunch of friends beyond the bench (see the A-Team 1 this season, we're still in first place!!).

As the A-Team 2 prepares to roll into our second season, I find myself in a weird position. People have heard how much fun we're having and have asked to join. Technically, we're out of room right now, but I'm expecting that we'll lose a few folks to other teams for the winter (mostly my Seals bretheren. I, too will be losing one team for the winter, assuming I make the Seals again. Right now, that looks like the women's league.) so I'm trying to figure out how to decide who can join. I know, nice problem to have, especially for team with a lousy record.

All of my experience says to pick on personality first, skills second because someone who plays well but screams at or demeans at their teammates is no damn fun. That said, I think I'm about to have to make a couple of hard choices about next season.

And We're Back
As usual, Disneyland was tons of fun. The new Hollywood Tower of Terror rocked, it was scary, entertaining and just rad all around. On the way from the airport to the hotel, we stopped at Hawk Hockey, the real life version of our good friends, Hockey Monkey where Andrea finally found a pair of skates that fit her well. Despite being all amped up on Vicodin from having part of his toe removed the day before, a casualty of wearing too-tight skates for all of his life, the sales guy still knew his stuff and brought out skates that he knew would work for her. She wound up with the Bauer 8090, something we never would have thought to choose for her.

Since we were there...I had him suggest some skates for me. Turns out that my foot isn't wide at all, that the pain I've been feeling (again, even with the Pro Tacks I bought last fall) is from them being too wide! Who knew? I tried on a bunch too, something I can't do here since none of our local stores carry boy's sizes of high-end skates. This place had 5 models for me to try, and in the end I got the Bauer 8000, a similar, yet more silvery model than Andrea's.

We're both pretty stoked, mainly because we actually got fitted properly and whaddya know, that makes a big difference.

The park visit was splendid, as are all Disney visits, but the skates were just as exciting as seeing Andrea seiously consider kicking Goofy, per Viv's request.


Did I mention that we're going to Disneyland tomorrow? Woo!

Still Sanford and Son
A conversation last night with a guy from the towing company that was supposed to pick up Andrea's car led me to believe that he'd be there at 9 am today to pick up the car. Andrea said her goodbyes and I waited around for moral support. But by 9:30, there was still no sign of him. Another call to the towing place, facilitated by a nice lady with solid English skills revealed that the man I spoke to had in fact (in his mind, anyway) told me to call back at nine.

Guess I missed that in the translation. Somewhere between him saying '9 o clock' and me saying 'So, you'll pick up the car at 9 am tomorrow, right?' the lines were crossed. It's one of those times that makes me wish I knew Spanish. So I can arrange for services and purchase what I think I'm getting.

While I embrace the multi-cultural nature of where we live, once in a while, I'd like to speak to someone in the service industry who's fluent in English, especially when it involves waiting for someone to arrive at my house. Or, conversely, have the Guvenator declare that Spanish is the official language and we should all get off our asses to learn it.


The Passing of BJ
I just heard that one of my three loyal readers, Greg, lost his sweet mixed-breed guy, BJ (Brings Joy) last night. BJ was fifteen, but I know that it's never enough. I trust that Alice has already introduced BJ to the buffet and is showing him around as we speak.

I think Weezy has already found a home with a guy who would give her to his wife as a gift. He's restoring an old 280Z now, but the wife has a Jetta and has wanted a Squareback forever. Sounds like he'd appreciate Weezy (the wife's car's name is Zippy) and give her the kind of love she deserves.

No doubt, I will cry when she leaves, but once she's gone I can stop humming the Sanford and Son theme when I look at our driveway.


No Longer Sanford and Son
I can admit it now: for the last year Andrea and I have each had non-running cars in the driveway. On some level, it adds to the particular charm of our ghetto hood, but on another, it's a reminder of how we've failed our vehicles.

With the imminent arrival of the RX-8, it's time to admit that the old beauties have to go to a better place. To that end, she's arranged for the junkyard to take the Volvo and I've taken the bold step of listing Weezy on Craig's List.

If you're looking for a project car and promise to love Weezy properly, email me and we'll arrange a meeting. She can't just go to anyone.

We went back to visit the RX-8 again last night, after I had a long chat at Physical Therapy with Fred, who owns the one that inspired all this sports car nonsense for me. He's had his for a year and adores it, loves it, and would have talked about it all night if I didn't have to pee so bad. I learned that it's actually pretty easy to get his young daughter into her carseat in the backseat, thanks to the suicide doors, that there are software updates that need to be done and that he spends much of his time listening to the engine instead of the stero. Though I can't see myself ever doing the last one, he still did a hell of a sales job, considering that I was already sold on it.

So we had us some dinner then headed back to the dealer for what you might call a conjugal visit with the car. This time, we brought a hockey stick with us, because what would be the point if I couldn't take at least my crap (yes, I've officially given up on the idea of being the carpool driver to hockey. Sorry girls, you'll just have to count on me for gas money or rides in my car to places that don't require us to bring large bags of gear. You'll thank me, I swear...), but the good news is, it fits! Not as easily as sticks fit in Andrea's car, but hey, I'll make it work. I will, by golly.

Tonight, I'm going back to talk numbers, then leave without the car. You bet your ass I'm stringing this out. I will not sit through any kind of marathon session at the dealer, where you're there for so long that the deal gets worse and worse but you get more and more frustrated so at the end you just sign the thing so you can take the fucking car and get outta there. The guy was nice enough to offer to do the deal outside. I just may take him up on that.


In other news, I finally found the car for me. The Mazda RX-8. No, really. I, Liz Doughty, long-time driver of completely practical cars, am going to be the proud leaser of a sports car. I drove it yesterday with a smile on my face the entire time, then giggled about it the rest of the day.

Yes, I admit that I drive like a grandma, so the power and all that shit is probably wasted on me in some way. But who cares? The car makes me giggle, and I deserve to giggle.

The Hobbling
I played 3 games yesterday, the second time ever and the second week in a row I've had that many. Frankly, it's about 1.5 too many. By the third game, I was tired and not too interested in the outcome, which isn't the kind of player I aspire to be.

I still played hard, hard enough to block about a million shots, especially from this one guy whose slapshot doesn't belong in EEE (the lowest possible co-ed level). It just doesn't. I blocked a few of them early in the game, using the smart pieces of my equipment (i.e. anything on my front) but with about a minute and a half to go, I saw him wind up for the millionth time and realized that he had a clear shot so I ran to him, thinking 'this is about to hurt,' knowing that I couldn't get there in time to line up with any of the right spots.

The good news? I blocked the shot. He did not score.

The bad news? I blocked the shot with the back of my calf, which has some protection but, well, not nearly enough. It hit with a force unlike any other shot I've ever blocked (consider on average, I block about 5-8 shots per game, at close range), instantly hobbling me. But I did not fall down for the free injury whistle (those generally take far too long to get, unless my arm has been ripped off and I'm left with a stump, I'll wait for a good opportunity to change instead), I instead tried to throw the puck out of the zone, silently willing Jean to get it OUT OUT OUT so I could hobble to the bench.

Eventually, I got to change and quickly learned how to limp across the ice. Today, I have the largest welt ever and every step hurts.

Yeah, but I blocked the shot.


Last night, we took my visiting co-worker out for dinner to celebrate her last night here before she goes back to Omaha to do the work she'd been training to do for the last 7 weeks. She got to meet Andrea and the Nettes, which prompted her to stop by my desk on her way out to say that Andrea is extremely cute and "what a find!"

You're goddamned right.

Am I Nuts?
Last month, I ordered some new socks for the A-Team 1 and 2. They were pretty sporty, had 3 identical-sized stripes instead of the 2 different sizes that everyone else has. The socks came and lo and behold, the stripes are actually 2 different sizes, just like everyone else has.

I waited far too long to call and in addition to being stuck with 30 pairs of the wrong socks (to the tune of $350), the guy was trying to convince me that the stripes pictured on the website were in fact different sizes.

I urge you to see for yourself: #210 and #211, what I thought we were getting compared to #506. That does look different, doesn't it?

In the meantime, does anyone want some green socks with non-equal stripes? Drop me a line if you do.


I think the weekend's excitement has caught up with me at last. Last night I totally collapsed right after a particularly grueling Physical Therapy session, and today I feel like crap.

How freakin lame is that?


Why the Hell Would We Need an Amendment?
First off, I'm thrilled to see that at least for now, the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage has been defeated. But the fact that it's being proposed at all makes me ask why it's necessary.

Sen. Rick Santorum says, "I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance. Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?"

Um, please tell me how that equates for you? It's one thing if you need to call me names, tell me I'm going to hell for something that's simply a part of who I am, to have parents who are ashamed of this part of my life, to have to listen as people make homophobic comments, but it's quite another if you allude to gay marriage being a terrorist act.

That is just ridiculous. If I were legally married to Andrea, what exactly would that change for anyone but her and I? It might make it a little tougher for my parents to answer when aquaintences ask if I'm married (currently, they say no, which is a big sticking point, as you might imagine), it might give us a few more rights, but I assure you, me becoming Mrs. Andrea Tan wouldn't do a goddamned thing to impact national security.

It all goes back to one thing: some people aren't happy unless they're at war with someone. Right now, for some Republicans, some conservatives, that someone is me. No, not necessarily LizDoughty me, but with millions of law-abiding, tax-paying gay people just like me who, by the way, feed the fund that pays the salaries of the senators who are pushing this issue.

The Hamilton and Beyond
At long last, the new toilet installation has been completed, transforming a small corner of our bathroom into a more modern, smooth-running machine. The Toilet Experience has opened my eyes to one reality of home improvement: you don't have to do it all at once. Before the Hamilton, I had this vision that getting anything changed in our house would be a huge endeavor that required us to board the dogs for weeks on end, missing walls and lack of plumbing. But it doesn't have to be like that, we can do one thing at a time and enjoy the slow, steady progress without completely rendering our little house useless.

Yesterday, the Hamilton, tomorrow the vanity, the kitchen sink or god knows what. Chuck did a great job and even fixed our screen door so you don't have to hit it to get it to open. Email me if you need a good, reliable handyman, I'll hook you up with the Mighty Chuck.


The Hamilton
With the demise of our toilet (I should point out that it was, in theory, repairable, I just chose to invest in a brand-new, defect and icky stain-free model) came the exciting event: the purchase and installation of The Hamilton by American Standard. Chuck (who is also our goalie, I wonder how we got any work done on our house before we played hockey -- our appraisal was expertly done by Jean from the A-Team 2, our fence built by Mary from the women's league and now the Hamilton, installed by Chuck, goalie for both A-Teams) has been at it for most of the day since naturally there's something messed up with the right flange.

But I brought him a sandwich at lunch and heard it flush, I did. He's caulking it now, hopefully when we get home tonight, the Hamilton will be waiting for me in all of it's one-piece operational glory.


I just wrote the word "Cheeba" in an email about a bug.

Tone-Loc still rocks after all these years. "Cheeba Cheeba" is playing on my iPod right now and man, that shit is good.

Fritz, you out there, singing along with me right now? I can hear you crooning along, can see Yvonne dancing as we sang to her. Those were the days, weren't they? A lot of the time, they were, yup.

Exhaustion has set in. Between the relay and the 3 hockey games I played yesterday, I not only got a lot of use out of my feet, I used enough energy that even after a good night's sleep, I am totally pooped right now.

And speaking of pooped, this morning I was all set to flush our janky little toilet when the thing let me down, refusing to flush. I'm standing there, half-asleep and confused, pushing the handle over and over waiting for something to happen. But nothing did. Not until I opened the top and lifted the lever that connects to the rubber gasket thingie and gave a big ole shout out of thanks to Jesus for the great whooshing sound that followed.

It has inspired me to call our trusty plumber (and goalie) Chuck to come and install a new one tomorrow. We're going to pick it out tonight. The thought of having our very own brand-new, stain-free crapper, one untouched by anyone's ass but ours, gives me a unique kind of glee that just might make you think I'm a little weird.

This is Just Plain Creepy
I got this gem in my email today:
"Someone who knows you is trying to share experiences and opinions about you in our online community.

The purpose of this email is to inform you that a posting has been made about you at our website. This is email is not commercial in nature.

You may view the posting here:

If there's something you'd like to know, feel free to ask me directly using the Speak to Liz link at your right (this goes to an AIM window) or email me. No need to post your questions on a creepy-ass forum like that one.

Gives me the heebee-jeebees just thinking about it.

The Relay for Life was sweet, hard, fun and overwhelming all at the same time. I probably walked a total of 10 miles, laughed a fair amount (especially in the wee hours of the morning when I was too tired to sleep and couldn't stop laughing at the thought of the StrongBad clock saying the time in his soothing voice) and yes, cried.

The track was lined with over 6000 luminarias, each a tribute to a cancer survivor or honoring someone who died from the disease. I'd be walking along when I'd notice one of my own (my Grandpa's and Ellie's were placed sort of away from the bulk of mine so they took me by surprise almost every time I walked past), remember something about the pain of losing them (a pain that remains as intense as when they first died, it's just less immediate now) and be reminded why I was there. To honor them and hope that my friends who are fighting now can beat this thing.

It was absolutely worth doing, I'd do it again.


Getting Ready for the Relay
I've spent the morning making Luminarias for everyone who donated to the Relay for Life in honor of someone else. It's been hard to see so many names of so many loved ones who are now gone, hard to realize that I knew far too many of these people. But the walk, and your donations are a tribute to who they were and what they meant to each of us. Know that your loved ones will have their own little memorial tomorrow and that I'm thinking of them all.

Here are a couple of the ones I did for my own family members:


Good God
Last night, we were trimming most of the dogs nails (Gus is special in this department and needs a little more time so we're saving him for later) and cleaning ears (Gus included) when I noticed a HUGE lump on Patrick's shoulder. It turned out to be about 4 cm across, HUGE indeed.

I spent much of last night fretting about it, worried that it was cancer, that it would be another long-term illness for him to have to deal with (okay, for us to deal with since Pat himself is oblivious to most things), that we'd start down the road to losing yet another of our crew. Just when I can almost talk about Alice, especially about how robbed I feel about the way her life ended, how I wasn't there with her, how it happened so fast, without crying. Almost, but not quite. Turns out that particular kind of heartache stays close to the surface.

We got into the vet early this morning and it anticlimactically turned out to be a reaction to the vaccine, officially making this particular round of annual shots The Great Vaccination Fiasco of 2004.


Woo! Blue!
I got to play in my third blue game last night, finally playing D with Heidi. I had a blast and I think, did pretty well. I fully accept that I may never be as skilled as some of the folks in blue who have played hockey for like their whole lives, but soon, I think I'll be ready to play with them in blue all the time.

Because, honestly, maroon is getting boring. As usual, this would be easier to support without looking like an ass if I scored a million goals in maroon, but hey, I play D for a team that hardly scores, what do you expect? In the lower levels, when the opposing D on my side gets the puck, they're likely to do 1 thing: send it up the strong side, towards me. That's my cue to keep it in at at the blue line. At the higher levels like blue, like the tournament teams the Seals face, that person is more likely to recognize that she could 1. send it up the strong side towards me, 2. stop, skate behind the net then send it up the other side, 3. make a pass up the middle after she's looked to see her teammate waiting for that pass or 4. skate it up toward the other end. At this point, I'd rather face someone who knows those options rather than just the one.

So, I'm doing everything I can to get ready for Seals tryouts next month, and I guess for Blue tryouts in September. Wish me luck.


Liz Doughty, Master of Shooting Accuracy
When I made my triumphant return to playing hocket at Redwood City last month, it was just in time to select people for the skills competition, which is a lot like the NHL all-star version. Except that it's a lot slower and less accurate.

I had enough confidence in my skills as a shooter to volunteer myself to represent the Desert Theives in the Shooting Accuracy/Rapid Fire event. We also had just barely enough people to cover all the events.

I showed up Saturday night with low expectations, though I'd heard that people often win with 1-2 hits so in the back of my mind, I thought maybe I could do well. There were about 20 people there, from Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and the Women's league, a mix of men and women, but mostly men. We were to catch 6 passes in front of a goalie, 3 from each corner, then shoot. After that we were to shoot on a net with a big plastic blocker in the front of it, with 7 holes cut out to represent the places you're most likely to score on a goalie. We got 5 pucks there, making a total of 11.

For about 30 minutes, I just watched person after person get up there and make 0,1 or 2 shots. Total, between the goalie and the target. I was the last woman to go and I skated up to the slot, totally relaxed. The passes from the corner were really good, right on the tape, so I caught them all, lined up, aimed, then shot. My first shot went in, over the goalie's shoulder. The next two didn't but the fourth one did, right through the five hole between the goalie's legs. I left the goalie area with 2 points under my belt.

Over at the target, I took my time again and again got my first shot in, halfway up the left side. Making the first one is a great psychological boost. I missed the next two but made the fourth again, this time hitting the upper right hand corner. That gave me a total of four points, a number that I was pretty sure was more than anyone else.

I watched the few remaining folks get the usual 0,1 or 2 total and I knew I'd won it. I think I'm still in shock. I don't consider myself a scorer, mainly because I usually play defense and don't have a strong enough shot to get in that far from the point. But apparently, I have some skill at predicting where the goalie will move and some accuracy in my shot.

My prize package included some great stuff but the most important thing is that I, Liz Doughty, who just started playing less than 4 years ago, who never did sports as a kid, rolled in and beat both men and women in this contest. If you were a winner all your life, maybe something like this wouldn't mean much, but to me, it means a whole lot.


In case you're following Rainie's plight on Andrea's blog, here's the current report: I picked her up at lunch. She came out of the back with a little clown face, her cheeks are all puffed up and though she looks very funny (and smells like the vet's office) she's okay. When we got home, she promtly put all of the boys back in their place as her bitch.


One Crazy Night
The good things: the red team I coach, Red Fury, played two great games this week. Sunday's was a hard-fought tie, they played so well that day that I was beaming with pride, hoping that they'd continue the upward trend.

And they did, winning their second game ever last night with a 5-1 victory. I am so proud of the way they have come together, changing from a bunch of individuals into a team, a real team that passes, makes plays, protects their goalie and yes, scores goals. They started the season off kinda rough, with some clashes on the bench that made for not that much fun for everyone. I did the right thing and stepped in, removing the coach (yes, replacing that coach with myself) and moving a couple of players to other teams. While an option would have been to leave things as they were and hope for the best, I'm glad I took the harder road and made those changes early in the season. Rock on, Red Fury! (and the three other teams, who are also better off from these changes).

The bad things: I missed the Caltrain. I was sitting on the platform, reading my Newsweek, waiting for the train to come up from the south, like it always does. I saw a freight train come by, waved at the conductors, and waited, ignoring the train that had come in from the north, presuming that it would continue south to Tamien like all Caltrains do.

But it didn't. The motherfucker sat there, doors open, for a few minutes, then headed back north just as I put the whole picture together. So I drove up to meet Andrea for dinner, then go on to coach.

That's not the worst thing that happened last night. I wish it was, because at least the image of me oblivious to the departing train is kinda funny.

When we got home from the game, we were watching TV, minding our own business, when I looked over to see Patrick in the throes of a seizure. It wasn't as big as some he's had, but it was the first time he pooped in the process. Yum. He was totally confused afterwards, kept wandering behind the couch like he was looking for something and whining.

I suspect that the little guy has been catching a taste of the pills we hide in his food, then spitting them out. I would, too, but unfortunately this is the price you pay for not taking them. We're just going to have to watch more carefully when he eats, which is at least funny to watch since his ears get in the way and he has no idea that he could just lift his head to get them out of the way. Instead he sort of pushes the food around with his head and follows his ear around the bowl. Silly P.

Stop having those damn seizures, would ya?