That's Right
Heather and I were discussing whether or not people know that I'm not really into hugging. Those who know me even a little bit well know that pretty much only Andreatan does the Touching of Liz. And I'm fine with that. But then I wondered what would happen if I started hugging people at random.

I started out by hugging the wall as we walked back to our desks, then a pillar, because it was lonely, lonely like the freeway sign in LA Story. I almost moved on to WhileSeated, but the transition from walls to people is a little much, don't you think?

This Is Why Technology Is Good
Because now, McDonald's is selling Rechargeable Gift Cards like the ones I've spent a zillion dollars on at Starbuck's, those dollars spent in a life that included caffeine. Here is where you can use them now, sorry to my peeps who live in places where you can't use them yet.

Where's My Roo
I dreamt that we were in a hotel room here in town (except of course that it wasn't San Jose, it was Some Other Town where we lived that was Not San Jose), I was farting around on my laptop, which was MUCH nicer than my current laptop. The phone rang, it was 2 guys from our hockey team saying that Rainie had gotten loose on the north end of town (which at this point might have been Columbus, which means she was near the busiest Waffle House in the country) but it was okay.

OKAY??? How could it POSSIBLY be okay that any of our dogs were gone, just gone? I set out on a quest to find our Roo and then promptly woke up. I let Rainie into our room, just to verify that in fact all was well in the land of Roo. And it was. Both her and Patrick licked Andrea's toes (yes, I've totally trained them to do this) and tried to get on our bed. Phew. Glad it was just a dream.


The Funniest Show Ever
And I say this only after acknowledging the greatness, the perfection of the now-defunct Mr. Show, it is time to usher in a new era of comedy, then show that I swear to you was written expressly for Jena, Andrea and I to laugh our asses off at. Week after week.

That's right, Arrested Development (which does feature David Cross of Mr. Show, so it's all okay, a direct descendant of Mr. Show) is now officially the funniest goddamn thing on teevee. Last night we had 2 episodes to watch and OMG I was about to wet myself for most of it.

Next week, Scott Baio stars as handsome lawyer Bob Loblaw. Say that out loud just once and you'll either appreciate the genius, or not.

MMMM, Tasty!
Last night I saw the funniest ad for BK's new breakfast sandwich. It features a manly lumberjack chopping down a tree. When the tree falls, behind it stands The King, who waits a second, then pulls out a sandwich from behind his back. Cut to a close-up of the sandwich's innards, which shows a huge layer of egg, followed by 'meat, meat, and then meat.' Wow.

The spot finishes with the lumberjack and The King logrolling. Yep, logrolling. Andrea and I were both cracking up, gathered around the teevee as the King got his roll on.

I couldn't find a pic of the actual ad but man, that plastic-ey headed King is one funny guy. Too bad I still don't really want to eat at BK.


More Good Stuff All Around
Aside from the fact that I feel like warmed ass on toast lately, many things are good. First and foremost is Mr. Gus, who is like as a New Man since starting his expensive arthritis medicine. Even asleep, he's more relaxed than he's been in a while. He talked to us (through a series of happy moans) for the first time in what seemed like FOREVER the other day. Naturally, we paused the TV so we could discuss the matter at hand with him. 'Gus, is that true?' 'Unnnnnnnnnhhhhhhh' 'Oh Gus, are you serious?' 'Unnnnnuuuuuuunnnnnhhh.' It's terrific and the guy is happier all around.

The A-Team 1 played our second game of the season last night against a new team of roller hockey folks. That means lots of enthusiasm, good shots and a shitload of offsides and falling down. The trick is to never go into the boards with such recent converts, just wait till they fall down, make sure they aren't going to trip you, then get the puck. It was all pretty fun until their strongest guy (who I recognize but cannot place) got into it with our strongest guy. One of their team told me our guy had been cheap and dirty all night. All I could say was 'wait till you meet the other teams. You'll be missing our guy then.'

We won 2-1, but it was totally fun. Andrea said it was painful to watch but I didn't notice, I was having a great time. I guess our fans get what they pay for...


Good News All Around
First, my new maroon team KICKS ASS. We just rule. Yesterday, we ruled 8-2. And we totally had a blast handing out the medicine. Wow.

Second, we took Gus to the vet on Saturday. He got some x-rays taken (that's right, he put the X in x-ray) and it was determined that he has arthritis. Aka, Old Man Disease. We got some expensive new pills that, in a mere 2 days, have brought our slow-but-steady guy back to us. I couldn't be happier, even if the pills are like $1 per pill (Dena or Melinda -- got a source for chewable Rimadyl?).

We got Gus out for the appointment by first letting all of the dogs into the front yard. There's always about a minute of sniffing, peeing all over plant material, then a pretty quick migration back into the house. I had snuck a leash into my pocket earlier so we were ready. Once the masses headed back in, leaving slow-moving Gus all alone, we snapped the leash on him and loaded him into the car.

Naturally, he stands up in the car for the ENTIRE TRIP, poking his head between the headrests, staring at us, swaying in the breeze with every corner. To his credit, he only fell once. Stud. He was a total trooper at the vet's, even though I got a little testy with the woman who said 'he has tumor,' pointing to the fairly large, benign growth on his side. I said 'yeah, we know,' and groused off. I mean, Jesus Christ people, do you think I'm blind? Gus is obviously not a seeing eye dog so seriously, shut up!

Afterwards, we headed over to Bill and Susan's so Gus could meet the babies (who are more like toddlers these days but we're in such denial about that that it's easier to still refer to them as 'the babies'). The girls got up from their nap and came out to greet him. He was a perfect gentleman (albeit a tired gentleman), let them touch him and try to share toys with him (we put all the stuffed animals up before they got up so Gus wouldn't be tempted by his personal crack). He just laid there enjoying the attention until I got up to pee. Their bathroom now features a baby gate with stuffed animals hanging from it. Fine if you're a toddler with more than a one-track mind, not so good if you're an old dog who LOVES stuffed toys more than anything in the world.

Gus tried valiantly to get the animals off the gate but was foiled when Susan busted him. Other than that, he was really well-behaved. We headed home before he pushed the envelope.

The A-Team 2 chalked up a solid tie on Saturday, and had a great time to boot (at least I did, hope you did too). Then, we were done for the night. Being home at 9 pm on a Saturday was nicer than I want to admit. But hey, even a girl on the go needs some downtime, too.


Friday Is SO In!
Cheddah and Andrea have me laughing so hard I'm crying at my desk, all alone, all by myself. There are tears, oh yes there are tears, followed by Cheddah's mispelling of CRAP -- 'dude, crap ends w/ P. Which OMG is totally funny. Because it usually does.'

Welcome to being overtired in my world.

Yep, I'm 11
Me: Oh cool, it's Friday
Heather: Yeah, Friday
Me (excitedly): You know what that means!
Heather: The weekend?
Me: Tomorrow is saTURDay
Heather: Sometimes I think you're 11

As soon as we got back to our desks, Viv send me this: Hurricane Rita wind swath chart resembles a human penis.

Yep, 11.

It's Not Always Easy
Sometime early this morning, we both woke up because of a non-normal dog noise. I couldn't figure it out but Andrea had it right on -- it was Gus, asking for help. The man had somehow slid under this chair we have and gotten stuck. This is where hardwood floors are not good for dogs, because they can get stuck under chairs in the middle of the night, requiring immediate assistance.

So I stumbled out there to rescue him and had to push the eager bassets out of the way -- they thought it was a Gus-themed party and wanted to get all up in Gus' grill during the extraction process. Thanks guys, I've got this one.

Gus and I have been through this particular maneuver a few times so now I have it down -- pull by the collar, don't touch his legs. He'll get up on his own once he's out. And get up he did, popping right up to walk in circles with a renewed sense of freedom.

And I just went back to bed.


In Case You Were Wondering
If you grep in the wrong directory, you won't find what you're looking for. You might find that there's no way you'll get what you need.

Travel Agent To The Stars
To my old pal Erik, on the Peppermill, in Reno:

Erik: I almost went to the peppermill in reno last week
Me: omg you should have
Erik: but when I went back to the site, they had sold out
I have to go there this fall, that's one of my priorities
I've never been! Liz: never! wow
it's so excellent
especially the pool Erik: I hear great things
Liz: stay in the motor lodge
you can look at the animatronic asses of goats Erik: no way
Liz: way
would i lie about something as sacred as animatronic goat asses?
Erik: surely not
Liz: that's right
Erik: so it's really a full-service resort

Meeting Room Hoo-Hah
Yes, I still sit directly in front of the world's most echo-ey conference room, which is often frequented by rude-ass people who make echo-ey phone calls on speaker phone with the door WIDE OPEN. Thanks, you rock.

It's sort of been under control for a while, though Heather, WhileSeated and I still have to get up and close the goddamn door, along with handing out a polite shusshing. Okay, fine. Even though we're ALL GROWNUPS here, I can live with that.

But today, oh today the Conference Hootenany was out of control, even for this room, even for this bunch of grownups. One loud person with an accent (which of course makes loud speak either more annoying or funny, there is no in-between) came in and started making speaker-phone calls, shouting at people "ARE YOU COMING? ARE YOU COMING?"

As some of this person's meetingmates began to walk by, it became clear that there was some Great Confusion about where The Meeting Was To Be Held, and then a lot more shouting about said location. After much shouting and more loud phone calls, I finally get off my ass to close the door. Again. And say to Loud Person, who said 'sorry,' 'yeah, that was REALLY loud.'

They're still in there, meeting, but with the door closed I can only make out half of what they're saying.

Because I Seem To Be Void Of Original Ideas
7 Things I Plan to Do Before I Die:

  1. Make, then have the world's most amazing child.
  2. Not fuck said child up so badly that s/he needs therapy to repair what I've done.
  3. Skate in Blue.
  4. Live in a clean house for more than one day.
  5. Go to Europe
  6. Stand up for myself Every Time it's needed, not just when I'm feeling like it's worth the effort
Hmm, that's only 6.

Things I CAN Do:

  1. Talk. A lot.
  2. Make witty comments about poo
  3. Play ice hockey with some small degree of skill
  4. Gather a group of great folks, take them to a new city and play some fun hockey
  5. Blatantly skip meetings
  6. Watch TV in bed
  7. Stand up in a vast, echo-ey church and make the hardest speech of my life before my entire family, my Grandma's body and the world
Things I CANNOT Do:

  1. Confront people who I really should, even though they've been serious assholes to me
  2. Eat prunes
  3. Draw worth shit (but I do make a nice stick figure, if I may say so myself)
  4. Math of any kind
  5. Lie
  6. Make promises (instead, I'll just do what I say I'm going to do. A small difference, I know, but a critical one to me.)
  7. Put up with people being assholes to each other for no reason other than their own selfish interests
Things That Attract Me to the Opposite Sex

Nothing. My ass likes chicks.

Things I Say Most Often:

  1. DUDE!
  2. HOLY SHIT! (must change this before said child joins the world)
  3. Oh my god
  4. That's crap
  5. That's absolute crap
  6. Man...
  7. Or similar
Celebrity Crushes

  1. Angelina Jolie, now that she's long past that creepy shit with her brother
  2. Jodie Foster, always and forever
  3. Uma Thurman
  4. Cammi Granato
  5. Mia Hamm


Wonder Woman, Indeed
Directly from Carol: I wanted to share today’s good news: the marrow biopsy came back clean and she is now officially in remission and moving to the next phase of treatment! This is a huge relief as you can imagine, and while she’s not exactly out of the woods yet, it’s an encouraging sign.

Hoooray for Carol's mom!!!!! Keep on healing, sister! Yarr!

How To Liven Up A Board Meeting
Tell your (now almost former) fellow board members that in honor of talk like a pirate day, all cries of 'yea' and 'nay' should be replaced with 'yarr' and 'narr.'

Read my first longer-than-one-page piece of fiction in class yesterday. I'm thrilled to report that one guy said he had nothing to say about it, that it was that good (or really, that he just wasn't paying attention), the other folks had very good suggestions not unlike the notes I'd made to myself (c'mon, Liz, that sounds like a load of shit...) and the icing on the cake was my esteemed, excellent teacher saying that my writing has improved. A lot.

Thank you, thank you. You made my day.


The Return Of The Scootah
Little Scooter is back with us, this time until his quarantine period ends and he can go to Japan with his family. The poor guy is miserable -- and we've got 4 months to go. I feel SO BAD for him.

He slept right outside our door last night, on the floor. If that's going to be his spot, the least we can do is get the man a bed.

This Makes Two
After Saturday night's A-Team 2 game, we strolled past Tom Shane, who was playing his heart out on the South Rink, laughing at the idea of launching a protest about those horrible radio ads (if you live in a place where they're not on the air, you are LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY). Andrea screamed "HI TOM!" Sparky laughed, I laughed and we wandered out into the lobby.

There was a huge crowd on the center rink, gathered around a player who was laying down. Most of the time, this means someone has just broken an ankle or fucked up their shoulder. Yes, serious, but not awful.

But this time was different. I couldn't quite figure out what was going on until it all clicked -- the ref was doing CPR. CPR. At the rink. Holy shit. Apparently the guy had just keeled over while was playing -- no warning or anything. The ref worked on him for 10 minutes until the fire department came. Now, the fire department is no doubt used to responding to the melee of broken ankles and fucked up shoulders, so ONCE AGAIN they entered the rink at their own goddamn pace, stopping to put blocks behind the wheels of the truck before grabbing their medical shit and coming in.

One of the fallen man's teammates met them at the door and said 'please hurry, this is serious,' but it wasn't until they saw the guy lying there that they FINALLY started to hurry. Yes, I understand that if a guy has been unconscious, not breathing for 10 minutes, he's probably not coming back and the 30 seconds delay in the firefighters response probably made no difference in how it played out, but for those of us who were gathered around, collectively trying with every ounce of strength we had to put just one breath back into his body, to will him to sputter and cough, to sit back up again and be fine, those 30 seconds made a world of difference.

The paramedics arrived shortly after the firefighters and they all gathered round him. They did more CPR, then shocked him at least 4 times, each time leaving all of us hopeful for a split second, because hey, he moved. But with each passing second his arms turned more and more blue and though we all hoped and prayed for a miracle, it got more and more clear that one wouldn't be coming.

Eventually they wheeled him off the ice, leaving a trail of debris and heartache in their wake. He came off right by me, I saw his lifeless face, his closed eyes, his blue hands. He was gone, not 45 minutes after he arrived at the rink to play the first game of the new season.

I don't even know his name, I just know that he played my sport and now he's dead.

Four years ago, the same thing happened to a guy who was 29 years old. We were there for that, too. Chad had had a hole in his heart that was fixed when he was a baby. He'd been told not to do anything strenuous but he chose to play hockey anyway. In September, 2001, he scored a goal and dropped dead right afterwards.


I Tell You What
I had NO IDEA that downtown San Jose is a totally hopping place on Saturday nights. We went to the Melting Pot, this fondue restaurant, to celebrate Andrea's birthday with some of her oldest friends. The whole thing took 4 freaking hours. For dinner. Gals like us, we're used to being in and out of restaurants in about an hour -- 4 hours is some crazy ass shit.

The food was tasty but it took FOREVER. Or about 4 hours. That part I did not enjoy. Nor did I enjoy the way the place wasa crawling with drunk youngsters. Having been a drunk youngster (aka Unruly Boozer) more than a few times myself, I do understand the attraction, but wow. The place was packed with short-skirted women who were more than halfway towards being blotto.

Afterwards, when we finally esacaped that table, we noticed that first street was PACKED with youth. In their cars. Doing nothing. Just driving. And stopping, and talking, and driving some more. For blocks and blocks, car after car was lined up to do nothing.

And here I thought I grew up in a town with nothing to do. This takes the cake. Or maybe I'm just so much of a geezer that I don't get it.


Smells Like Ass
Heather and I were making our twice-daily (only once on Fridays) foray to load our water glasses with ice when, in the main lobby, a funny smell hit us in the olefactories. 'What is that?' 'Smells like ammonia' 'Or like a woman who hasn't bathed in a LONG TIME.' 'Or fish.'

We turn the corner and discover that the cafeteria had served a trio of fish items today. That's some powerful grouper, I tell you what.

A Thousand Tuesdays
Okay, not a thousand, but many many Tuesdays I have done a drive-by visit to see the twins before heading up to Belmont for some hockey or another, whether it was bench coaching (longer visit since I didn't have to get dressed), coaching a practice or playing a game, I always stayed as long or longer than I possibly could, enjoying every moment with the girls.

And then I'd leave, knowing that Susan should have been coming with me to play her own game or skate in her own practice. But next Tuesday, there will be a practice and there will be Susan! at the practice. And maybe, just maybe, if I stop by, I can both visit the girls *and* go to hockey with Susan.

Looking For Some Fun
My work buddy randomly got a brochure for the Black Bear Jambooree, which is on the way to Dollywood. Looks like good times!


Almost Four Years
Turns out the actual date is 9/27 but Gus won't mind if I share this early. Four years ago we were walking through the shelter, on our way to see some youngish lab mixes who the shelter worker thought we could help. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this big old houndish dog shaking like a leaf, lying on an old braided rug. I dutifully looked at the lab mixes but then asked about the big dog. Was anyone coming for him? When was he available? Did he have any chance of getting adopted?

No, Wednesday and No were the answers. Fine, I said, hardly bothering to check with Andrea because I knew she knew what had to be done. We'll be back on Wednesday.

So we went back and they brought out this REALLY tall dog who was still shaking like a leaf. Alice was with us and she had no idea what to make of this giant -- she never really did and chose to stay out of his way for the 2 months we had left with her. Not that we had any idea about that then, we probably wouldn't have brought him home had we known how short her time with us was.

Gus shook for about a month. The first night he stood still, except for the shaking, while Andrea and I gave him a flea dip, she picked fleas off EVERY part of him. Yes, that includes his nards, which I assure you were gigantic. He was SO skinny and so tired but oh so very much in love with our couch. We tried to place him but I think we both knew that the big guy was with us for good. After Alice died, we made it official and he's been here ever since.

Happy 4 years, Gus. We love you, too.

I Wonder How Long This Will Take
At work today they gave us some sort of nifty gifts to celebrate a certain anniversary of our company. I'd say more but the whole point is that you not figure out where that is and I not get fired for all the bitching I do about ClearCase.

I'm wondering how long it will take to see these items on eBay....

Highlights From Band
I know what you're thinking -- band? That cannot possibly be interesting enough to blog about, let alone for me to waste 1 minuet of my time reading about. But I assure you that it was totally funny.

It was my first rehearsal of the season. Last week, my ass was too tired from our Orlando excitement to go. Over the summer, our esteemed President and our Conductor found themselves in possession of a shitload of sheet music that they couldn't wait to share. The President bought his off of eBay, that magical place where all kinds of crap (carp too, probably) can be bought for $3.50. The Conductor was handed 2 giant boxes by some guy he works with. I'm sure the sheet music fell off a truck.

Anyway, last night we played the first of the eBay pieces. It was described as 'atonal,' featuring a lot of 'tone clusters of 3s and 6s.' What that really means is that in general, it was some young composer who wanted to re-invent the wheel and leave out uneccessary crap like melody and rhythm. Granted, some of the great composers of our day have written atonal stuff and pulled it off, but following in their wake is an inevitable bunch of hacks.

Which brings me to our eBay special. It was called Prayers From Space and man, was that shit atonal and melody-free, circa 1972! The beauty of atonality (especially the $3.50 variety) is that you can play any note you want and the overall result is the same. A few times, I did that, much to my own amusement.

And then we hit the drum solo, which our percussionist played extremely well. Despite his best abilities, the truth about that drum solo is that it sounded exactly like bad disco. It inspired me to hold up my hand as if I was striking a lighter the way one might at a heavy metal concert. It then inspired the guy next to me (who is usually very quiet) to start chanting 'ieieieieieieieieieie' in tune to the music.

It was all I could do to not pee my pants, I was laughing so hard. I cannot wait to hear what else we've got coming our way.

Later, our Conductor said 'Next is, American Civil War Fantasy," to which I replied "I'm having one now! The smell of wet wool....oooh." which made a different sax player than the tribal screamer laugh until I thought he was going to cry.


You'll Be Pleased To Know
That I somehow managed to get out of the house this morning without incident.

I'm Sure You Were On The Edge Of Your Seat
About how it would go when one of us stopped being so furious we couldn't speak when we called Thomas to call him out on lying to us and not taking care of the dogs, in addition to the boxes of crap left in our basement.

I broke down first and called last night, though it made my blood boil to think of doing so. I did it anyway because I'm totally sick of pending drama hanging over my head. Which means that if you're due for a bitch slap from me, you'd better duck because it's coming your way.

Anyway, he had no idea there was anything left. Said he'd 'check it out.' I told him he'd need to come over and get it, to name a time for which he wouldn't be late. I also mentioned that we knew he'd lied to us and asked him why he'd done so. He tried to lie again, saying he'd come in real late but he had stayed over. Sorry, kid, the watchful eyes of the neighbors trump your lying ass.

I told him in as many ways as I could come up with that I was disappointed, hurt, disrespected and angry at him. No response. I asked if I would even get an apology -- got the same kind of mumbled 'sorry' he's been handing out since he was 9 and we first met him.

I ended by saying that I hoped someday somebody would disrespect him like he'd done us, then he'd know how shitty it feels. He said he'd see me Saturday at 1.

I hope more than anything that he finds his way in the world but for now, I'd like him to steer clear of us and our misguided generosity.


I Was Just Thinking
That the best thing to happen at Grandma's funeral (other than the fact that to some extent, we put the Fun in Funeral) was that Zawod showed up, then cracked me up, even when we were supposed to be sad.

Grandma used to get a huge kick out of Zawod and I together -- she'd say "there go the laughing people" as we sat there cracking ourselves up about something, anything, on the verge of peeing our pants. It wasn't quite that out of control that warm day in April, but it was close enough.

Grandma got the drift. The laughing people were in the house, celebrating her.

Morning Not Easy, Day 2
After another night of not terrific sleep (wtf???) that included bolting to pee at 4 am, some doggie drama at some unknown time, fretting at 6 am, though this time I've vowed to offset it by reading uncompelling fiction to put myself back to sleep, I stumbled out of bed at like 9, sweaty and still very tired. Oops.

Finally, I'm up, I'm dressed, I'm ready for another great day at the office when I see it. 2 HUGE piles of the nastiest looking dog puke I've ever seen. And let me assure you my friends, I have seen some nasty looking dog puke in my day. The sight of it put me over the edge and I had to call for backup. Andrea came running to my aid, praise Jesus. I followed up with the after-clean up.

We're not sure who it was. Probably Gus. Whoever it was, the little furry guy isn't feeling so hot today, even though they were all totally up in our bidness for the cleanup effort.

The good news: I did manage to open Andrea's car successfully this morning. Thank you, thank you.

Has Hell Frozen Over?
Bush: 'I take responsibility'. I think I'm out of 'what?'s.


Good Use Of The Internet
This map of New Orleans shows which areas are still flooded and which have dried out.

Thank You, I Love You
There's this new show called Starved which is pretty freaking funny. Last night (I'm sure it aired sometime last week, the miracle of TiVo means I don't know when anything is actually on) we saw an episode where one of the characters, this guy who's anorexic compulsive and loves chocolate cake falls for a hottie yoga teacher. She tells him to tell every person who annoys him or who he resents (for this guy, that's just about the entire world) "Thank you, I love you."

I think that's a terrific slogan and I just may adopt it, wandering the halls of my life saying it to random people who have no idea what I'm talking about.

Do You Think Anyone Would Notice
If I just crawled under my desk for a wee nap? Maybe people wouldn't but I don't really want our furry rodent friends to find me tasty and convenient down there, sort of like a gigantic beef jerky for mice.

Man Oh Man
I hardly did anything this weekend but I have stumbled into Monday feeling quite tired. So tired that just getting to my car this morning was a calamity of errors. First, I'm convinced my purse is in my car so I don't need to borrow Andrea's keys to move her car from our stunningly large yet worth over $600,000 driveway. I stumble out to Betty to retrieve my purse, only to find that it's not there. It's in Andrea's car. Argh!

Go inside, ask Andrea where her keys are (for 9 years they have been kept in a variety of locations so it's best to ask, however now she's finally hung up a keyhanger thingie so poof they're right by the door.). Get keys, open car, leave keys inside house, stumble to car as Rainie tries to edge her way out of the house. Get to Andrea's car just in time to hear this weird clicking noise, that apparently in Andrea's car-speak means 'you're out of luck, sucker!' and locks the car.

Stumble back to the house, get greeted by some very enthusiastic dogs who have completely forgotten that I was just there about 2 minutes ago, use the beep thing to open Andrea's car yet again, then run (okay, walk briskly) to her car, retrieve my purse, use my own key to her car to start it, move it into the street for 5 seconds, start Betty, move Betty to the street for 5 additional seconds, then return Andrea's car to it's rightful place in the driveway.

At this point I've worked up a sweat and am absolutely ready to go back to bed, even though lately that bed is not helping me get the proper amount or quality of rest that I need.


It's Not Clear Case's Fault
That I just spent over an hour running a process for our team only to be DENIED completion at the last second. But it still sucks anyway. I would have just gone home if I'd known my efforts would be wasted.

You Would Think
That I'd have some good excuse for how damn tired I am. But other than coming off a terrific vacation and jet lag, I'm out.

The Tables Have Turned
There's a conference room right behind me which seems to get a shitload of traffic. When we first moved over here, it was pretty quiet so it was like having our own little seating area. We whooped it up, hooted, hollered, danced the riverdance, all in our little cocoon of semi-privacy. But things are on the move here on the computer internet so poof, insta-traffic in what must be the loudest, most echo-ey conference room that was ever built. We were taking turns at closing the door, following said closing with an exasperated look at the inhabitants but the problem was mostly solved when I printed up a sign reminding people to close the damn door:

Well, today, Heather and I were discussing the recent, unwanted arrival of a mouse in our work area with another co-worker when the people in the conference room decided WE were too loud and closed the door so they couldn't hear us.

Back at ya, people!


Fire Up The Prayer Engine
I must report that Eric's progress is amazing -- he is scheduled to WALK out of the hospital under his own power this week after 103 days inside of it. The man never ceases to amaze me and his bad self remains an inspiration.

That's the good news. And now for the bad.

Carol's mom has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia. She's starting chemo now and seems to be responding well to it but holy shit that is NOT okay. Carol's set up a blog about her mom's progress so check out Wonder Woman and please please please fire up the prayer/good thoughts engine for her.

What The F?
We spent 6 days wandering around Disney's finest theme parks and I emerged with barely the start of a blister, thanks to the excellent (free) care in the form of bandaids given out by the good people at Disney First Aid, who were kind enough to throw some bandaids at me while a guy was having chest pains in the next room.

But now, we've been home for 2 days and that once-just-starting blister is now a throbbing mess. This after 2 days of pretty much just sitting on my ass at work, then at home, hardly walking on it at all. Heh?

I was informed that there's now a term limit for division coordinators in our league, and because of that, I'm out as of next month. I've been in the position for 2.5 years and I like to think I've done some good for the division, for the league.

But the timing couldn't be better and now, even though I'm not leaving on my own terms, I'm still free from the drama and pain that has marked a good portion of my time on the board.

Free! Free!

So Much Going On
Okay, not really. I'm in total denial about our vacation being over, about hockey evals starting tomorrow, about Thomas having ever lived with us. I think I'm just still tired from jet lag or from walking around the amazing wonderful string of Disney parks for a week.

Last night, we were watching TV, minding our own business when all of a sudden, I had to pee. I started to head toward our room (the bathroom is between the bedrooms so you have to go through one of them to get there) then realized HOLY SHIT! I can go through The Office, or the room formerly known as Thomas' room. And go through that room I did, strutting merrily to do my bidness. We've mostly gotten the smell (young manfunk combined with a continual stream of rotting food. Oh how I wish I were kidding....) out and I think we've realized that the computer hutch we got when this whole fiasco began is something we just don't need. We also had bought a bunch of furniture from Thomas' mom and it's just sitting in our garage.

I don't want any of it in our house. Don't want any reminders of how used I feel now, how used I felt the whole time he was with us. Andrea keeps reminding me that it was the right thing, that the kid had no place to go, but man, I feel absolutely used just the same.

As my Grandma used to say, Thanks a lot. Look for that furniture to be on Craig's list shortly...


Lovely Parting Gifts
Now that Thomas has his crap out of the room (which I will now, once again lovingly refer to as 'The Office') we have a special parting gift: ants. Oh gee, thanks. Maybe there's no correlation but in the 5 years we've lived in this house, I've not seen any ants and now there are ants.

Well, We're Back
For starters, I uploaded all of the pics I took and put them in a set for you. Now you can say 'nice set!'

Halfway through our trip, we discovered that Thomas (who had assured me he would sleep over at our house while we were gone) was, in fact *not* staying over with the dogs. Meaning that our severely epileptic boy Patrick, who is prone to seizing when we're on vacation, was left unattended for EVERY SINGLE NIGHT that we were gone. T followed up this performance by lying to us and saying he was there (yep, we had our neighbors spy keep an eye on the place. Nice, real fucking nice, kid. When we got home, we discovered that he's moved out of his room and only has a few boxes in the basement left before his departure is complete. Way to end strong, thanks for helping us out when we helped you out.

But on to better things. There were hardly any lines at any of the park. Oddly enough, only yesterday afternoon did the Magic Kingdom start to get crowded, just in time for us to hop aboard the monorail and head out of town. The planned meals worked out so well that we added some more along the way: The Liberty Tree Tavern, which pretty much sucked.

It's this colonial joint, the employees dress in appropriate garb (plus Sketchers, in one case) and did this whole routine when your table was ready: "Hear ye! Hear ye! Let it be known that we are now seating the Nardness family from the great state of Vermont!" which was charming until we'd sat there for 45 fucking minutes waiting to be heard, ye. Our table was right over an a/c vent so we were FREEZING while we ate our medley of dried-out American foods and meats.

We stayed at the Magic Kingdom until closing time that night. While us happy parkgoers streamed out of the park, the Go The Hell Home Mickey stood on the platform below the train station and talked to the park goers, bidding them a good night though we know he was thinking "hey kids, it's really hot inside this costume, could you please leave???"

We spent the next day at the Animal Kingdom, enjoying the safari of Africa and a bad-idea 2 trips on the water ride, since we weren't wet enough after the first ride. We got drenched just in time to get drenched again in a long-lasting thunderstorm. We arrived at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Boma, the African buffet, after waiting for over an hour in the bat house at the Animal Kingdom.

After the slightly odd, yet warm dinner, we went promptly back to the hotel and fell asleep at like 9 pm.

We also did some silly things:

And tried on a lot of hats:

We hit all the parks including both water parks, where I enjoyed the beginnings of a very special sunburn on just my upper arms. Sexy. We also hit DisneyQuest, this crazy interactive place with a billion standup video games and these huge VR games like Pirates and the Jungle Cruise. While at Downtown Disney, I was able to ride the skiff not once, but twice, so all was well. What I couldn't get over was the sheer number of people videotaping their loved ones shopping at Downtown Disney. At least 100 times that day, I found myself walking in front of some yahoo aiming his camera at junior, who was undoubtedly eating a popsicle in front of a store. Huh?

The last night we went back to 'Ohana to see our Hawaiian-themed cousins and eat more tasty meats. It wasn't quite as good as the first night (our 'cousin'/server Debbie was a bit of a pill) but it was still good times, good times. That place kicks every other Disney restaurant's ass.

It was a terrific vacation, I'm so glad we went. We wrapped it up with our 9th anniversary, which was yesterday. I can't think of a better way to have spent it than with our friends Mickey and his homies.


All I can say about today is that it ended with a largely horrible dinner at Hooters.


More Disney Fun
Today was Epcot, which included the Chefs De France, which was pretty tasty. We got up late thanks to a VERY LOUD family that came in at 2:35 in the goddamn morning then shouted in the hallway about who was sleeping where, including someone named Alicia. Thanks, folks, for that. So we watched more news about the folks in New Orleans, a horrific scene that stuns me even now, after watching it on the news all week. A whole city? Gone? Huh? Thousands of American citizens forgotten? How the fuck does that happen in this day and age?

So we stayed up watching the coverage, then ended up sleeping in a bit. That made us late for lunch and unable to spend all that much time in Future World before riding the skiff over to France for our tasty lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon touring the world, getting drenched by yet another (not surprising but still a challenge) rainstorm.

Rounded out the day with Test Track and Ellen's Energy thingie. Tomorrow is Blizzard Beach and MGM, with dinner at the Brown Derby. We're back to Ohana for our last night on Monday. That was by far the tastiest most fun place we've eaten, may as well do it again.


We Have Arrived
So far, the trip has been All Good, save today's sudden and long-lasting torrential downpour that left us holed up in the bat viewing house at the Animal Kingdom. This, after we'd just bought new, dry clothes to replace our soaking wet ones after the water ride. But it's all good.

The plane ride was A-OK, both flights were on time and on the second flight I managed to wrangle a whole row of seats to my bad self. We arrived in time to check into our mid-priced hotel, take a fabulous nap, then head over to 'Ohana for dinner. That was the best meal I've had at Disney, tasty and fun, everyone calls you 'cousin.' We were there just in time for the fireworks, which we magically had a front-row table for! Walked around on the beach at the Polyenisian afterwards and settled into being here.

Yesterday was the Magic Kingdom, which was ridiculously uncrowded. We walked onto everything, except our priority seat for the Liberty Tree Tavern. We sat there for almost an hour, watching family after family go back for a huge plate of dry meats and unearthly orange mac and cheese before we were FINALLY called back to eat. Not too impressed with that eatery but the park is sheer magic.

The Animal Kingdom was also not crowded and we buzzed our way through it until the rain came, bringing with it Thunder and Lightning, which are No Fun. We were totally late for our dinner reservation at Boma but they still managed to get us in. Again, nothing (it seems) can top 'Ohana but Boma was way closer than the Liberty Tree. Tasty. And now we're both so cold from all the rain that the only real option for tonight is to sit our asses around the hotel room and watch TV from underneath blankets.