8.31.2004

Here's another weird thing. I'm sitting there talking to my Grandma, mom is there too. Granted, Grandma's hearing isn't quite what it used to be but I was RIGHT NEXT TO HER, speaking clearly. Yet Mom felt the need to repeat everything I said, even though Grandma responded appropriately to just about everything and Grandma is a native English speaker. For the record, I was speaking relatively clear English.

Finally, I leaned over to mom and said "Mom, she knows English." That stopped it for a while. It was just strange.

I used a Sidekick to show Grandma pictures of my dogs. While we were looking, Amy IMed me and it vibrated, lighting up the wheel. Grandma was like "Ack! What's that? What'd I touch?" She then said that those devices are really "something."

Word, Grandma, word.

Mozart had Tourette's syndrome. Of course. It all makes sense.

I think I'm going to get a callous on my thumb from changing the channel every time a presidential ad comes on. Good Christ people, are votes really won with commercials? I dunno but they're sure trying here.

I am addicted to the Entertainment Wall. I can't leave. I've been out for the basics -- seeing my folks (who were stunned and thrilled when I showed up on the doorstep. Their dog had completely forgotten me and barked at me for a good long while, even as I petted him.) and of course visiting Grandma. But then I run right back here and lose myself in The Wall. What can I say? It's entertaining. And a real luxury to just veg in front of the TV while surfing the web and talking to you good people. All three of you.

I had a nice dinner with my folks last night, enjoying a Thai resturant that wasn't half-bad, considering that we're in the midwest. Afterwards, I dropped my parents off and drove over to get a milkshake from Steak N Shake, feeling very much like the junk food junkie as I brought it into my fine hotel room. I was a junk food junkie today when I had White Castle, also here at the room.

You may have noticed that I'm avoiding talking about Grandma. That's true. She was thrilled to see me but she's definitely gone downhill. She's so small now and the simplest things are hard, much moreso than seems fair, given the peaceful, respectful life she's led. She doesn't deserve to end her life in this way.

One crazy thing about TV here is how many freaking Presidential campaign ads there are. Every 5 seconds, it's Kerry this, Bush that. California is not a swing state, so we have almost none. This is a real culture shock. Not to mention the lack of racial and cultural diversity and the vast array of mullets.

8.30.2004

Greetings From Ohio
Yes, that's right, I'm coming to you live from lovely, humid Ohio. I am reminded once again that my hair is climatically suited to the west coast -- right now it's a flat frizzy mess. Fabulous!

I'm here because my grandma's health seems to be fading so I thought it would be good to visit her again, hopefully we'll play cards a few times this week. I'm staying at some version of a Marriott, my room features an Entertainment Wall with a 32" TV and a stereo. Not to mention the loveseat that I'm sitting on right now, watching that lovely TV while I surf the dang ol' Internet.

I haven't seen my parents yet, nor do they know I'm here. I guess I should power down the Entertainment Wall and head over to scare them out of their skins when I show up on the doorstep.

I've had a bit more time to think about the whole Seals thing and I'm surprised at how okay with it I am. The coach told me "You'll always be a Seal," but I realized something: I never really was. On the ice, yes, I felt very much a part of the group but off the ice, no, not really. I am disappointed that the coaches chose the potential of someone else over what I've proven already, I'm disappointed that whatever I've already shown was apparently not enough.

On the other hand, the three tryout sessions we had this year were really not fun. I found myself counting the minutes until we were done, feeling the sore on my leg where my shin guards rub grow larger and larger, wanting nothing more than to be done and to get out of Oakland. I don't doubt that sentiment manifested itself in my play, though I tried not to let it show.

Almost every game in every tournament we went to was laced with a great deal of pressure. More often than not, I'd be wanting the games to be over quickly so the pressure would lift. Never mind the intense partying that went on after the games -- I just can't keep up in that department.

Now, it's entirely possible that these are bitter rationalizations, that I'm just making the sort of excuses that would come so easy right now, "They don't want me, that's fine. I don't want them. They suck." But it's not like that. It's more like this: I set out to make the team, and I did. I had a great year and now that I'm not on the team, I'm actually sort of relieved. My Friday nights are free, I've got $800 more in my pocket and if I go to a tournament, it will be with a group I put together and will feature a great deal less pressure.

Nobody likes to be cut or left out. I took that risk and it didn't work out. But I'm okay, just bummed.

8.28.2004

Sometimes, Your Best Just Isn't Enough
Tonight, I got to the final Seals tryout early. I stood at the side of the rink, accepting that there was a real possibility that it could be my last time skating there.

I was right. At the end of the night, our coach told me that he'd wait-listed me, that I needed to work on my backwards skating. With the boatload of new defensemen, my skills, which were good enough a year ago, when I was slower, were suddenly not good enough.

It's hard, no doubt. But I'm trying to see the good things. I could not have done more. My friday nights are again my own. I won't need to face the increasing disparity between the hard-core partying of my teammates and my own new-found lack of desire to party. I am free from the high pressure of the games themselves.

I'm still me, I'm just bummed.

8.26.2004

Buying a Car = A Huge Pain in the Ass
Truth: no matter what they say, every car salesman is a pain in the ass. I have no experience with car saleswomen, so I can't make any statements about them, as a group or as individuals. But every man = pain in the ass.

Having given up the idea of buying an RX-8, which would have been lovely fun but a practicality nightmare, I'm now back to my original thought: the Honda Element. I've looked into many similar cars, and in fact, right now, I'm renting a Toyota Matrix, which is fine an pretty cool, but really, not nearly as cool as the Element. Even if I don't surf.

So I'm dealing with CarsDirect. I think I'm ready to buy, though to be fair, I've hardly saved any money even though I knew this was coming. The truth is, I like having no car payment, even if it means I drive a car with one headlight that also makes some special pinging noises while it idles. But I'm growing sick of the little things that are making my car more 'quirky' by the day and don't want to put any more money into her.

They have found the exact model that I want, though it has a few extra options I wasn't looking for (Roof Rack and Side Rails) but would look cool. Naturally, to get it involves some hot dealer-to-dealer trade action so they're wanting me to commit RIGHT THIS INSTANT. Even though they waited over a week to get back to me.

They also want me to buy a LoJack theft recovery device ($695)(is this even worth considering? Email me if you've got an opinion), an extended warranty ($1037) (that starts after the manufacturer's warranty ends, 3 years or 36,000 miles from now so I'd be paying every month on something I can't even use for 3 years. Seems like a silly deal to me.) or, in lieu of LoJack, their little theft protection plan ($136 or $2/month. I still think I'd rather have a Starbuck's). All remind me of the undercoating bullshit that normal car dealers offer at the last minute.

But I digress. The guy wants me to decide RIGHT NOW as if there are no other cars in the world for me to choose from. In some ways, that's true, I'm pretty particular about what I want so there's some truth to that. But shit, man, lay off the sales pitch.

I'll probably get it this weekend, end the year-plus long quest that has been the Great Car Buying Adventure of 2003-2004 with me in a shiny new car.

Back in the Saddle Again
Last night, I made my triumphant return to being Liz Doughty, Master of Getting Dressed in Goalie Gear. Three months of physical therapy (and yes, I switched places after realizing that Campbell Physical Therapy had nothing to offer me. A look around at the patients made it clear that it's the place for folks with minor work-related stuff, not people who actually play sports, thought they claim to handle sports injuries. I mention their whole name in case someone is searching on them, then they can know that really, that place sucks. Don't go there. I moved to MORE Physical Therapy in San Jose and they've been awesome. My therapist has had me doing the actual motions of playing goalie, instead of just lying on a table while a steady stream of strangers without uniforms, bedside manner or nametags come in, throw ice on you and leave.) my effort paid off and I suited up again last night for a very mellow Green pickup game.

Skill-wise I think I'm just as bad as I was before but the important thing is, it didn't hurt. I got tired, yes, but no pain. Not even now.

Liz Doughty, be healed! And I am. My new blocker arrived last week, 5 months after I ordered it (it was supposed to take 6-8 weeks, don't even get me started on how freaking frustrating it was) but in the end it's about the coolest thing ever. Brian's Rage, intermediate, if you're wondering. Custom made for me, with LIZ DOW-TAY stitched on the side.

I look forward to being a green goalie again. I'm not sure if I'll be skating out or not, I think it depends on if I make the Seals again. The other night, I was straightening up my jersey/sock area when I wistfully held up my red jersey and said "This was the last time I really had fun in the women's league." Trying to make my peace with that and figuring out where to go from here.

Part of getting back to the fun centers on finishing up as a member of the board. It's just become too hostile, too complicated for me to make the kind of positive impact I'm used to making. I come away from meetings feeling beaten down, when I've presented even the smallest things for discussion. But I'm doing everything I can to make it to the end of my term (January, technically February) because I committed to it and I think I'm still doing some good things for my division.

Funny how things change, isn't it?

8.25.2004

School started today. I'm taking classes in the Human Performance (HUP) department because Recreation has run out of classes that aren't toursim or therapeutic recreation for me to take. I had thought I'd move into HUP but doing so would require me to take many many more classes than I have left in Rec. On the way to my class, I bumped into the new Grad Advisor, who assured me that I could count the HUP classes toward the Rec and be done much sooner.

So I'll probably do that.

The class I had today should be interesting -- Sociology of Sport. It's an undergrad class which means what you think it does -- lots of kids who are in college for the first time, not geezers like me. And the class is huge! Like 35 people, a lot more than the 8-10 I'm used to in grad classes. It's gonna be interesting, that's for sure.

8.24.2004

Last night the A-Team 1 had another hard-earned shutout against the Mug Shots. This time, there was no fighting, no third man in and no scary Terry coming out of nowhere to blindside the ref and my guy. It was just a hard-fought game. The two goals were absolutely lovely, examples of patience and calmness.

With that, we move on to the finals, Sunday at 3:30. If you've never seen the A-Team play, this could be a fun game to come and watch. And it's in the daylight, which is kinda different for us.

8.23.2004

Home Improvement Lesson #103: It Doesn't Have to be a Major Public Work
When we first moved in to our fine abode, we spent the better part of a month sanding, painting, and stressing before we moved in. I think the memory of that stress (combined w/ the stress of what still ranks as the worst job ever) has prevented us from doing a whole hell of a lot since.

But recently, we've started to figure out that not everything has to be a major project. Adding a little flora and trimming the weeds, er, front lawn, can go a long way. Which leads me to this:

Home Improvement Lesson #104: Do NOT pull the little string on the weed wacker past the opening on the wacker cover and if you do, for Chrissake, stand back from the thing when you turn it on
Because that little plastic string goes about a million miles an hour and can cut the shit out of your ankle.

Not that I know.

We Did Our Best
Or, the A-Team 2 ran out of steam. We played our friends the Ice Monkeys last night in our first ever playoff game. Yes, all the teams made playoffs but still, it's nice to go, even if everyone else goes, too. We held them off for a good long time but when the onslaught of goals began, we ran out of steam.

They won 6-0 but everyone played their hearts out. Or at least we were all very sweaty afterwards. Now, on to next season. We're losing a few people, for a variety of reasons (I get knocked over too much, Money, I think I'm too good for this team even though I don't really do much out there, etc) so we'll be having a bit of a lineup change that so far, looks like we'll be a little short on offense.

I have to remember that my goal here is to play with my friends and to give some true EEE players (note the subtle difference between actual beginners and some of my teammates, many of whom have played for a long time) an opportunity to play. I just don't want to get crushed in the process all the time.

This weekend I found an old A-Team scoresheet from 2002, when we lost 12-0. It's never been that bad for the A-Team 2, so I guess we're actually ahead of schedule.

8.21.2004

So Not Cool
Last night was week two of Seals tryouts. As a returning player, I have absolutely no illusions that my place on the team is secure, they're always trying to get the best team possible and I'm certainly not the fastest or flashiest skater out there. I doubt I ever will be. The first week a lot of weaker skaters come out and most of the stronger gals weren't there. Last night we had a bigger crowd and a much harder skate. I was feeling reasonably confident but that was all destroyed when I heard that they were going to have to cut some of the returning skaters.

Granted, there are a number of returning skaters who are slower/less good at coming to practice/don't willingly play defense than I am but I'm still nervous as hell. Some of those returning have been away from the team for a year or more and at least to me, it showed. I'm hoping my improved confidence and shot-blocking ability was apparent last night.

Of all the teams I'm on, the Seals has been the one that means the most. It's proven that I can, in fact, do anything I set my mind to. To not be part of it again would be so sad.

They want us all to come out again next week and you bet your ass I'll be there for that tryout, too. Just to show that if nothing else, you can count on me to be the Girl Who Always Shows Up.

8.18.2004

It's in the Water
All of a sudden all of our friends are pregnant, have small babies or are getting ready to get knocked up. I think we've all crossed that magic age/stability line where it's the next step in our collective lives. To that end, we're actually getting pressure from some of our friends to do the same (no comment as of now on our plans for bringing little Murray Tan into the world, thankyouverymuch).

Most likely, we won't get that kind of pressure from either of our families, since you know, we're gay, and therefore shouldn't be encouraged to reproduce, so it's actually very very sweet to hear it from anyone at all, when I'd never expected to. Especially someone as sweet as that Jeannette. Even if she's not my mom, it still means more than I can explain to know that in her eyes (and some of y'alls) we're just two people who love each other and by rights should get crackin on being parents.

It's hard to explain just how much discrimination we face for being gay, for being who we are (which, I can assure you for the thousandth time, is just not that exciting, certainly not worth your time to protest, as if a bunch of assholes holding up signs can change who I am any more than those signs have the power to turn my hair blonde or transform me into a size 6). My parents still don't tell people that I have a partner, my extended family has all but blown me off (Liz who? And Andrea, who's that? Certainly not someone we should include on prefunctory Christmas cards or engraved invitations) and yes, I've lost a couple of old friends because of it.

Yo! I'm the same person you loved or hated for as long as you've known me. Please explain to me, in layman's terms what is so damned bad about me loving the sweetest person ever, yes a woman with whom I share a love that surpasses anything I could have imagined?

Years ago I told my dad I intend to have a child, or perhaps a whole flock of them. Or two. He told me he just 'didn't approve.' I've never forgotten that. How could I?

I've had a decent case of writer's block this summer. Enjoying my down time, I guess. But every time I start to write fiction I get all pissed off because it's always way too autobiographical, way more than I intend and I stop writing. I think the trick is to just keep writing (just keep writing, writing, writing, the same way we just keep skating, skating) and then weed out the totally obvious and uninteresting shit later.

I know this, I really do. It's just that sometimes, I forget or it seems so glaring that I'm not interested. But really, who do I know better than I know me? May as well use everything I know as the starting point. It's easier than doing research.

She Shoots, She Scores!
At last night's green game, I was coaching Andrea's team and talking about patience. How even though it's easy to forget, you almost always have a split second longer than you think to make a decision about what to do. The first time this advice worked, Robin scored a beautiful goal (her fifth of the season), lifting it about waist high. That was cool, but the second and third times it worked it was in the best way ever!

Why? Because Andrea Tan took an extra second, looked up, aimed and scored while playing defense!!!! She has this amazing hard shot, the force of it was enough to make the goalie's stick lift up just high enough for the puck to scoot through. Not once, but twice!!!

I jumped up and down like a madwoman, thrilled for her. She got the game puck, as she should. I couldn't be more proud! Woo!!! Andreatan rules!

8.17.2004

The LizDoughty Initiative
At work, we're spending a lot of time in our en_us directory. Any site that's localized for other countries may use something like this to feed all that special content out to the world. I figure, since we're using that directory all the time, why not call it what it is?

Rest of World, I give you the Enus directory. Pronounced: Eeenuss. Yes, it rhymes with that other word. My co-workers are resisting but I look forward to the day when I overhear them say "It's in your enus."

Heh.

8.16.2004

In A Funk And every song that comes on the iPod is depressing in some way. Reminds me of people I used to love, who I no longer know (hey, Marcia, hey Michelle, are you dead? I still think about you now and then. Do you think of me?), all that's come and gone through my heart in the last year or so.

Sometimes, it's just too much. I need some kind of a break. Maui?

Saturday, I scored the prettiest goal of my life. The puck was loose in the neutral zone. I didn't think, I just ran (well, skated) to it, through it, picked it up and went all the way to the net, through 3 people, deking like I knew how (I don't really) then waiting that crucial extra second for the goalie to move, all the while moving my feet so she didn't know what to expect. I guess she wasn't looking when I popped it up into the space between her leg pad and the post.

My teammates said it looked like I'd done that a thousand times but that was just the first. I tried to re-create it yesterday in both A-Team games, with no luck, though I did get an assist on Meena's goal in the A-Team 1 game, making this my first 5 point season. (All assists in co-ed. Goals are hopefully coming soon.)

This marks the first time I've been able to shoot a nice high shot while on the move. Woo!

A combination of an emotionally draining weekend, 3 games in two days and the dogs deciding to serenade us at 6:30 and 7:30 am has left me something of a mess. I'm just wiped out and have been unable to concentrate on my assigned work tasks. I've been able to explain stuff to my co-worker and have a reasonably successfull meeting with my boss, but that's about it. I want to just go back to bed and start over tomorrow.

8.12.2004

I've been asked to point out that Jeannette only started singing the Sanford and Son theme song re: my driveway after I gave her the idea to do so. Implicit within that idea was apparently permission to sing the song anytime I mentioned the driveway, extra cars, junkyards or 'restorative work'.

This morning, I took Andrea to the train station. She's been making an effort to train rather than drive and I wholeheartedly support that effort and am of course happy to be her transportation service provider. I was about a block away when she called because she realized she'd forgotten her keys so I went home to get them for her.

The dogs were all confused and barked like I was a stranger, since it couldn't possibly be me after only like 5 minutes. Once they realized that it was, in fact, me, they got very excited. Gus was the slowest on the uptake, but once he figured it out, he RAN to get a toy so he could carry it around while walking in circles for me.

Yup, that's my boy.

8.11.2004

Farewell, my sweet blue Weezy.
You were the best air-cooled car.
May your new home rule.

Alice. You're gone, too.
My heart will always hurt when
Remembering that.

Weezy and Alice.
Two silly sweet girls who made
Me laugh and smile. Love.

And now, Jeannette no longer has any right to sing the Sanford and Son theme song in reference to our house. That's also an acheivement.

This morning, I woke up at 6:45 to arrange a tow truck for Weezy. The nice lady at AAA had told me that it could take up to two hours to get someone out here, since she's not on fire or blocking traffic. Her new owner (a nice guy who plans to restore her for his wife to drive) paid for her this weekend and we were waiting to figure out where she'd go so I had an extra couple of days with her. Fully expecting to wait those couple hours, I planned to go back to bed after I placed the order. Much to my surpise, the truck arrived in about 20 minutes. No sleep.

I went outside to move my Passat out of the way and help Weezy get loaded up. From her backseat, I pulled out the spec sheet for when she was shrink-wrapped and a green blanket I kept in there for Alice to sit on. The blanket was covered in Al hair. It's probably the last thing in our lives with any quantity of her lovely hairs left on it. While the nice tow truck lady loaded Weezy up, I stood in front of the house, holding that blanket as if what? As if Alice would magically appear just because I was missing her so much. Dude, if that was true, she would have re-appeared a million times already.

As Weezy started to jerk her way down the driveway and onto the flatbed, I lost it. There, with the morning dew all around me, holding the blanket full of Alice hair, the feeling of failure set in. That somehow I couldn't treat this loyal old car right, and more importantly, that I couldn't save Alice.

Weezy rolled down the street, on to what damn well better be greener pastures as I stood there in the breaking dawn, holding onto that green blanket. After she turned the corner, I went back inside and cried, reliving good Al and Weezy memories with Andrea until it was time to rush to work for a meeting that ended up being silly.

Bye, Al. Bye, Weezy. I loved you both. I may not have always done the right thing for you, but I always did my best and I always did anything for you out of love.

8.10.2004

The last two days, I've been unable to publish. What's up with that?

The Little Team That Could
Last night, the A-Team 2 played our best game ever. Every single player contributed, feet were moving, passes were connecting and as usual we cheered every good move. Some folks had the best moves I've ever seen them do. Our core group was there, we were missing our big scorer and a couple of our strongest defenseman and yet, the team really became a team, proving to me once again that I don't need ringers to build a team. In fact, I think it's easier to do without them because then everyone knows their place -- one cog in the wheel. (It's a cheesy metaphor but bear with me because it is accurate) Everyone's role is a little different, but they're all equal in the end. At least they were last night. Every single one of us played hard, every player pulled their weight on every shift and in the end, we emerged, the Bad News Bears once again, with a rousing 6-1 victory.

Moments like that, games like that remind me why it's so cool to be part of a team. Thanks, A-Team 2! You guys rock! And man, can you giggle on the bench.

8.09.2004

Sigh
Friday afternoon I got very very close to making a deal on the RX-8 when reality struck. All at once, I realized that while the car is super-duper bitchin, it's also really really not practical at all on about a million levels. Or at least two. It's hard to get big bulky items in and out of. Not a big deal, unless of course you play hockey and have four dogs. The other is that it's freakin expensive. Too much so for my comfort level.

So in the end, I think I'm going to get a Mazda 3, which is still hip but infinitely more practical, or a Toyota Matrix, which is also good on both of those counts. Neither are as hip as the RX-8 but neither would give me great anxiety.

I had a bad feeling that my fiscal conservativism would win out in the end. Maybe I'll go get a tattoo or a weird piercing, to reclaim my wild wide. Oh wait, you can't reclaim what you never had. Damn.

8.06.2004

This morning, I felt the urge to read my beaglebuddies mailing list for the first time in a long time and found that one of the elder statesman beagles had recently died. Out of that, came this.

Years ago, when I was a different person entirely, I was very much a part of this list. This wonderful group of people, many of whom I'm thrilled to say I know in person as well as through emails, became a lifeline for me over the years. I just happened to read the digest today and saw Susan's horrible news about losing Murf. I wanted to share how grief has been for me, Susan, and give thanks for the support I've found in this group over the years.

First, we struggled with my mom's beagle, Buddy, being diagnosed with incurable cancer (he went on to beat that incarnation of the disease, our miracle man, then succumb to lung cancer just last summer, 4 years after he should have left us) then with the hard but sweet choice to adopt and love an ailing 13+ year old beagle named Ellie, who we had 6 months, 8 days with and finally, but not least, my Alice.

Alice was the beagle to end all beagles. Smart, funny, desperate for a treat, she was my soul mate the moment I became her mom in May of 1999. She was 9 years old but I naively beleived that my skills as a devoted pet mom would make Al beat the odds and live forever. Or at least until she was 20. She and I were the best of friends.

But Alice had another true love: food. This love of hers caused us all kinds of problems. We didn't know what she got into, though it was always food in some sense of the word, we never knew if it was fish food, cheese, chocolate, pizza dough, hard candy or an entire bag of M & M's. Okay, the M & M's, we knew since we caught her, tail wagging, with the empty bag at her feet.

If you asked her who was "Number 1" she'd lift up her paw to tell you who was boss. But we knew that.

Please don't think for a moment that we left any of these things laying around for her to get into. She could push a chair across a carpeted room over to the table, climb on it then leap onto the table to get what she wanted. Sealed boxes were no challenge for Al. Same goes for trash cans. Because of her repeated adventures with unknown food, we had to force her to vomit one too many times and she eventually battled peumonia for over a year. Three different times that year, we almost lost her and three different times, we didn't. The last one was the worst, she spent the weekend at the emergency vet, racking up a $1200 bill that many of our non-dog friends questioned the wisdom of paying. But our Beagle Buddies didn't question that. The group understood why we'd pay it, if it meant Alice would be okay.

The night she came home from that weekend stay, she was so tired, I woke up, touched her and thought she was dead. After that, I didn't sleep a full night until she died later that fall, waking up two and three times to check if she was breathing. At some point, she seemed to get that pinched nerve in her neck that so many beagles get. It was causing her a lot of pain and eventually, it became a slipped disc that turned her head to the side permanently. It seemed a miracle when a neck x-ray showed her lungs being clear for the first time in almost a year.

Within the span of a week, her neck became worse and worse, until the last day, she woke up screaming in pain. She ate on our bed, leaving a single piece of kibble behind. As far as I know, that's the only meal Alice didn't finish. I rushed her to the vet for the third time that week, practically screaming at the receptionist "THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH ALICE" knowing in my heart that it couldn't be fixed. Hoping I was wrong.

Our vet arranged for a specialist to do the surgery on her neck and a vet tech volunteered to drive Alice there (why I didn't take Alice myself, I'm still not sure.) When I put her in the car, she screamed again and I started crying, a sinking feeling in my heart. I walked away and went to work, where I waited by the phone for any news (and consenting to pay up to $6000 for the surgery) at all. That afternoon, I got the worst phone call ever. This strange doctor telling me that Alice had come through the neck surgery just fine, but wasn't waking up. Did I want them to stop CPR. No, you idiots, don't ever stop. But I didn't say that. I told my co-workers I had to go, that she was gone and I had to say good-bye. I drove 90 miles an hour in the carpool lane to get there where her still-warm body was waiting for me. Later, we heard that she had GME, a rare brain infection that would have killed her soon after the surgery did.

It's been almost three years since that day and this is the first time I've ever put it all together. I still cry if you say her name, I wear her picture on the back of my hockey helmet (printing a new one every time the ice gets on it and blurs it) and right after she died, I started wearing jersey #1 when I play. Usually, I don't tell people why that's my number. It's between me and Al.

I miss her every day and though the pain isn't always as gut-wrenching as it was that long winter of 2001, it's still there, ready to come to the surface. I think it may always be. You just can't love like that without grief like this.

Since her death, I've been away from that list. For a long time, seeing the posts from people who had known Alice in real life (and boy, did she get around!)was just too hard. Eventually, I just stopped reading but still subscribed. Today, I felt the urge to read and was saddened to see that Murf had died.

Murf, too, shared a deep love for food and a knack for stealing hearts with Al. They had a stand-offish kind of friendship in real life (Al was like that with most dogs) and I can only trust that Alice has already welcomed Murf and shown him around her personal buffet, introducing him to her best friend, the Baron of Beef.

About six months after she died, I had a dream where she was free from her food needs, and she was happy. Relieved to be free of that driving obsession, free to just love me and run around. I hope that's the truth, that she's having a blast at the Bridge. And of course, that she's waiting there for me.

We still have one beagle, Zeus, who is about 11 now and in perfect health. We joke that he'll outlive all of us but it's probably true. He'll be the world's oldest beagle, there to ring in the next century. We also have a sweet 12 ish year old pointer mix, Gus and two sweet, funny, obnoxious basset hound siblings who are 3 and 1/2, Rainie and Patrick. I love them all very much but I just don't see how anything could compare to what Alice and I had. I think you only get that once in a lifetime.

8.05.2004

Got the call to sub blue last night (I should mention that I actually had the call to sub maroon the night before and had a blast) with about an hour's notice. Hockey ho that I am, I of course ran home, got my gear together and sprinted to the rink. We had a whopping 8 skaters, and they had me play forward, something I don't normally do. I did my best and we won 6-0, though naturally I didn't score. I did have a couple of decent shots but mostly, I think my value was in being open for a pass or drawing 2 of their players onto me so my team could do something good.

While totally fun, definitely a hard skate, it was also a very long game. Despite my low comfort level at forward, I gave it my all and I'm told that I fit in, skill and speed-wise.

That makes me wonder if I should try out for blue in the fall. Whenever I move up, it will be to the top of the women's league, there will be nowhere else for me to go after that. I also know that right now, blue seems a lot more appealing, because of game play, because I know a lot more people there. The only reason I wouldn't try out (other than the fact that like most people, I get all nervous at tryouts) is that I'm not 100% sure I'd make it. The last thing I want is to try out, then not move up. Wouldn't that be embarassing?

Or would it? Hard to say. I'm going to keep thinking on it. If I skate maroon this winter and I have an A-Team conflict, I'd choose the A-Team every time. But if I was in blue, I'd probably choose blue. At any rate, I had a blast last night and my legs are still tired today.

8.04.2004

The Best News Ever
This May, the two most amazing, sweet, lovely twin girls were born to a dear friend of ours. Since their arrival, we've been over to visit them at least once a week, getting some amazing snapshots of growth. Just two weeks ago, we got spontaneous smiles from both girls. Talk about a thrill!

These girls are the first babies Andrea's spent time around as an adult and she's enjoying them way more than I'd dared to hope for. I know, I know, they are, in fact, the cutest babies ever so of course Andrea would fall in love with them, too.

Last week, the worst thing ever happened. Long story short, what seemed like a minor infection on R turned into a serious concern that she had cancer. Cancer! They aren't even 3 months old. That simply cannot be possible. Just last week I got to watch R try to pull her sister's hair out, then punch her in the face, grinning her toothless grin all the while.

For five days, we worried, we cried, we worried, we bought them a shitload of new outfits (the only thing more fun than buying baby clothes is buying two of each), we waited for news, cursed God or whoever could make this happen to someone so young and then we cried some more. I learned everything the Internet had to offer about that particular kind of cancer while little R underwent more tests, general anesthesia, a short hospital stay and more tests.

Finally, late yesterday, we heard the best news ever. Ever. It's a blood clot. Just a blood clot. Not a tumor, not anything that could possibly cause any real harm to one of the World's Cutest Babies. Just a stupidass blood clot that sent the world into a tizzy for five long, agonizing days. She'll be fine. She is fine. In fact, she's probably still wondering what all the fuss was about.

I haven't bought the car yet for a few reasons.
  1. I'm convinced that the longer I make the sales guy wait, the more he'll back down and the better deal I'll get. Do not try to tell me any different, I'm convinced of this, though I know in my heart it's probably not true.
  2. I'm waiting for Weezy to go to her new home, completely removing the Sanford and Son label from our driveway at long last. Hopefully that will happen on Saturday.
  3. Right now, I'm just too busy to go deal with the dealer.
Excuses? Maybe. The hardest part of this was just choosing the car, now that I've done that I feel like I can wait until the time is right. While most dealers would rather have you rush in to buy a car the very instant you decide it's the one for you, I'd rather be as prepared to buy something this expensive as possible.

Crap, is that another sign of being a grownup? Some vague sense of fiscal responsibility?

8.03.2004

Not the Best Spam Ever, But Still Good
Subject: :) you can not save the world by quitting smoking but to save your self
You're only making fools of yourselves, continued the boy, wrathfully

My cold/allergies/whatever this is seems to be getting worse, not better. Does not compute.

I must be feeling better, I just sang spontaneously to Carol over the cube wall. Of course, I think it was so muted that she didn't hear it, but still. I came, I sat, I sang.

The Nyquil worked wonders for me last night, I slept all the way through for the first time in 3 days. Unfortunately, Andrea did not.

8.02.2004

My nose is starting to run from the other nostril. Is that a sign of progress, or regression?

In other news, I've had two people come to look at Weezy, and the inevitable has happened: one of them wants to buy her. He's bringing the money this weekend and she'll leave our family of junked cars forever. I'm a little sad but I've made my peace with my failings as a restorative VW artist and am ready to enter the small but enthusiastic legion of RX-8 owners.

Plagued by what seems like allergies and more worry than usual, I've hardly been able to sleep the last couple of nights. I toss and turn, deafened by the cachophony of popping bones that are ushering me into middle age. Two mornings now, I have woken up no more rested than when I went to bed. That's just no fun.

Nyquil, here I come.

AMY FRITZ! YOU ROCK! Mad mad mad props to Amy Fritz for finishing the SF Marathon yesterday in an astounding 5:18:19. I'm speechless, other than, dude, I'm so freakin proud. You (and your high-mileage feet) rule!