Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Ties that Bind... or not...

I think most people would agree that i am pretty much an 'open book.' I don't think there is a lot that I hold back -- I like to have my say! There aren't many feelings I won't talk about; many topics off limits (ok, I'm not sure there are any topics off limit!); many things I'm not open to discussing.

Is this is a good or bad thing? I don't know that I have the answer to that. I'm sure it's one of those things that will come to me on my death bed... or maybe I'll see it as a glimpse of truth when my life flashes before my eyes in that split second I have to absorb a lifetime of images.

I've been thinking about how I feel towards a few people from my past -- people who had important roles in my life & who are no longer front & center in those places anymore. The reasons they aren't no longer in the forefront run the gamut: one left me with a broken heart; another left me with the same, but in a different way; still another has drifted away for reasons called 'life'.

There's this thing I do. I stay friends with ex-boyfriends. Yeah, that's right... even the whole who betrayed my trust & left me for another girl - him too. We still talk. I have been told that I *might* be a little nuts. Just a little. But, in my mind, if they were important enough to become part of my life, what else would I do? I don't throw out pictures from relationships that don't work out & I stay friends with exes.

So I've been thinking about a few people from my past. My BFF, AriCaVa, tells me how she can't keep up with all it takes to remain friends with those people you don't see all the time or talk to on a regular basis... or even those you don't have anything in common with. I wonder why I don't think like that. I don't mind the effort it takes (though I admit to some frustration with certain people) to keep a friendship going.

Wait. Maybe I should think about this. I don't really keep in touch with anyone I went to high school with. I supposed that's not a good testament of keeping up with those friends!

As I have been thinking about these 'pieces of my past', I find myself wanting to sort things out - including my feelings for said 'pieces'. But who is going to listen to that?

Me: Should I continue to be friends with them? Or should I just pretend like they are lost somewhere & no one can find them. No one can tell me what's going on in their lives. No one will be able to tell me how great their lives are since they dissed me. Sounds like a good plan.


Me: ok. how do i do that?

Perhaps the real problem is that each of these 'pieces' are pieces from my past - my life before Cop'er. While I don't pretend as though I didn't have a life until I met him, he wasn't there, so he doesn't know how the shift in these relationships affected me. He doesn't grasp the very real, very deep ways I was altered after those days. He only knows the me of now -- the me that was born of having gone through those experiences.

Of course, Cop'er would listen to me as I talked about it (see above for conversation), but I don't know that he's going to shed light into the dark places. I guess I am going to have to keep with the journal writing.

No... I won't be leaving those little tidbits out here for all to see. After all, a woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Leg-in-Limbo Chronicles

We knew it wouldn't be long... Not much time until... you know...
he started running around again.

Yes, Jakester is feeling quite a bit better. He's putting a little weight on his Leg-in-Limbo and he's not trying to snap my fingers off when i get near him. The pain patch came off & he's just finishing up the obligitory antibiotics he has to take.

I think he might be getting a little too used to the "posh life" he's living for 2 weeks. Since he can't do much rough-housing or wrestling with his siblings, he's been in O's sleeping spot while O has been with SydSyd. Sure, who's going to complain about sleeping on pillows and being carried up & down the stairs.

I know some days I'd like to have that kind of service.

When I took him out last night, I put him on the ground and he went to do his business. I happened to be standing at the bottom of the steps. He comes back to me, sits at my feet and looks up.

Ok. Climb them steps, boy! Let's see what you got going on!

Ha. I might as well have said "Jakester, can I carry you into the house?"

I picked him up & he settled in for a nice trip into the house. As soon as his 3 legs hit the floor he was racing to the cushy pillow he's taken over. (I hope Cop'er doesn't think he's gettin' a new one. I didn't tell him to give that one to the dog!)

Jakester still has another week+ with the stitches (that are still intact, but very well licked), so it's likely he's going to be carried around a bit more.

I just hope when he's 'good as new' he doesn't think I'll be carrying him around everywhere. If he has those thoughts, I'll just show him this:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Three Legs & One in Limbo

Jakester has been limping around the house for a few weeks. Cop'er & I thought it might be a pulled/strained muscle. Jakester is one of those crazy 'mutts' (technically he's the least 'mutt-like' in the house since he's a real, live Yorkie) that runs & runs. Could totally give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money! He didn't seem like he was in pain, so we just kept our eye on it. The limping seemed to get better, but after a few weeks of it, we decided to take him to the vet.

And the verdict was... $900, please.

Jakey, the youngster that he's not, has a torn tendon in his hind leg. Obviously he was in pain, right? That's why he was limping? Well, the vet said, no, it wasn't that he was in pain, it was that his little leg was like a wet noodle. Whenever Jakester put weight on it, it would crumble and he'd tilt to the point of falling over.

Ok, that's better than thinking he was in pain.

This tendon problem wasn't one of those things that might get better with time. It needed immediate action... Immediate in the sense that he was scheduled a few days later.

Yesterday was that day. Cop'er had to take a little extra time getting to work via a side trip to drop the poor limbo'd-leg guy off at the vet's office. Jakey hadn't had any food or water since midnight the night before, so for his sake, i hope he was scheduled for an early surgery!

I called the vet's office around 3pm to find out how the little guy fared. The receptionist asked for my name & I gave her Cop'er's (though it's not because I didn't know my own, for those of you who were about to say that!).

"Oh, Jake!" the receptionist said.

Hmmm... he's notorious already? Hasn't even been there 24 hours!

After a long wait on the line--where I checked several time to ensure I hadn't been disconnected--she comes back to say that Jakester is fine. She checked with the doc and went to his kennel... he was just groggy from the drugs.

Ahhhh. I like when things go smoothly. You know, because pets are like kids and I'm like a mom.

Jakey would have to suffer through a night away from the posh digs he's used to. Maybe it was a bigger challenge for his companion, SydSyd. She's used to havin' her guy sleep with her every night & doesn't like when he's gone.
Cop'er picked Jakester up from the vet's office this afternoon. When I finally arrived home, I found him sleeping on a pillow in the den, leg shaved, pain patch on his back & looking like he just came in from a long night of drinking.

I have seen him up & around, so I know, in fact, he can move. He's definitely three legged with one leg in limbo! He's scarffed down cheese & is still doped up on pain meds. I wonder if he's going to remember any of this...
Cop'er is 'taking GOOOOOOD care' of Mr. Jakey.. In reality, I don't know who is taking care of who.

The Jakester has to keep his stitches in for 14 days. During those 14 days, he's not allowed to act like a madman--no running around in the yard barking at the neighbors, no rough-housing with the other pups, no jumping off furniture like one of the cats... you know, I'm really not sure how he's going to be held back. Sure, right now he's high on meds, but when they are done...
Uh oh. We could be in trouble!

Monday, March 22, 2010

40 Years never looked so good

Yesterday we (me, Sister Fantanimal, Sister KidEduc8r, FlyRunner and ChildPilot [my other cousin, Cyndi]) threw a surprise party for mi madre and mi padre's 40th Anniversary.

(If you don't know whether I typed that correctly, yes, I said 40 years)

Mi padre knew about the party b/c we needed him to confirm his time off. He wasn't scheduled to be off this weekend, but mi madre requested for him to take the day so they could celebrate their anniversary.

Mi madre didn't want a party, didn't want us to spend the money (though we did offer to do so!), so she opted for a family vacation (still under construction). We didn't want thee big accomplishment to go by without recognition, so that's when we decided to plan a smaller party without her knowledge.

This sounds like an easy task. If any of your have trying to coordinate all the details of a surprise gathering before, you'll know what i'm talking about. With the guest(s) of honor in the dark, they inevitably throw up road blocks and detours that you could not have seen coming. I'd say the biggest one we had to deal with was when mi madre decided she would invite all her oldest friends and family (aka all the guests for the surprise party) to a brunch at the famous Jefferson Hotel.

I can not even begin to tell you how the (already confirmed party guests) felt about having to turn mi madre & mi padre down for a celebration at the hotel. They didn't want to hurt her feeling, but they secretly knew she's see them later. Luckily, they took it well & a couple of their oldest friends even went along for the event and still showed up later for the party. Talk about dedication!

We decorated with flowers & spring-colored items since their anniversary happened to fall on the first weekend of Spring - and what a glorious Spring weekend it was!

Mi madre & mi padre arrived at the ChildPilot's house (where the party was hosted) just in time. The first words we heard were "Why are all these cars we know here?" followed by the whole group yelling "Happy Anniversary". While mi padre had the "I knew all along" (which he did) face, mi madre reflected her surprise as her eyes flew open wide and started to tear a little.

Don't you love it when a surprise goes off without a hitch????

The usual amount of "did you know?", "were there clues?", "did he spill the beans?" could be overheard through the afternoon. Lots of camera flashes, lots of laughs & lots of love keep the guests on the surprise party high.

Now, I don't want anyone to think this party was a 'piece of cake' to put together - there was lots of sweat & effort involved! We made all the food ourselves, with the exception of the super duper cake from the bakery, and that was a nice opportunity to spend time with my family. That time had its own kind of fun!

These shots should give you an idea of the memorable time we had!
Here's hopin' for another 40 years together... though don't be expecting another party!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Day trip to Ireland

Cop'er & I met AriCaVa & her brood at the Irish Festival in Church Hill today. We had a late start, b/c... well... you know, it was the morning. Plus, Cop'er didn't know he was 'invited' to go until I woke him up to get the day started.

When we got there & were parking the car, Cop'er mentioned "Kilts aren't Irish, are they?" (as we watched a kilted gent gross the street). Now, this got me thinking. I am assuming the name is just that, a name. "Irish" was obviously encompassing everything that could have been English, Scottish & Irish. After all, those bagpipes weren't Irish either & i would have hated to miss out on those!

We ended up checking out all the little tents they had set up. I can't lie - we did come home with some things. Even Cop'er didn't come back empty handed!

We tried some traditional Irish food... spiral fries???

ok, maybe not from thee Emerald Isle.

Jelly & Otoño Poco recognized us, but weren't too keen on being separated from Mommy. I can't say that I blame them! There were millions of people there! I'd have been worried about being separated too!

Fine... I MIGHT have exaggerated a little about the amount of people there. In my estimates, there were a million. Obviously, I have an imagination.

By the time we sampled the Irish fare and pilfered the Irish jewels, AriCaVa & her clan were long gone for naptime in a land far, far away. That meant it was time for Cop'er & I to make our exit.

The weather was be-u-tee-ful. You couldn't have asked for better! It was 77 in the car when we were leaving & it really felt like one of those days you are thankful to be alive.

Cop'er drove me down to Pony Pasture (a park, not some overt sexual reference) and we took in sights of the James River & many very pricey houses overlooking it. We have long discussed our 'retirement' and can agree that we want to live on the water somewhere. I think one of those houses might be added to the list! What a view!

In case you weren't keeping up on these things, today is the first day of spring... & what a glorious day it is! I hope there are many more just like this to come!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring has Sprung

"Spring has sprung. The grass is riz. I wonder where the little birdies is."

That is something mi madre has been saying to us since we were kids (granted, that was fairly recently for my siblings!). I wonder if she knows it's not correct grammar...

The little green blades of perennial surprise have finally unwrapped their little gifts. Hello, daffodil! Where have you been hiding all winter long? However did you survive under all those many inches of snow? I don't know how, but here you are in all your yellow glory! How fresh (though fresh not as a daisy) and alive you are looking!

Though fall is my favorite season, I'd say spring is likely the 2nd fav. Considering it's the thing that drives away winter, it's not hard to imagine why. Winter never fails to fool with its dastardly trick. You know the one, you look out the window and it's a beautiful day. Cloudless sky and brightly shining sun indicate the kind of day that people rush out to spend time in.

Not so much... did i mention that by 'warm' I meant it's 40-degrees outside? I did say winter was dastardly!

Spring, on the other hand, is sweet and kind. It actually gives us that warm that not only looks inviting, but is inviting. Today the temperature was in the low 70s--people were out wearing their inappropriate clothing already! Ahhh, yes... a prelude to the season that is summer.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why Pets are Like Children

Obviously, I don't have kids - unless you count the 5 pets we have. If you are a follower of my blog, you will have already been introduced to our 2 cats (RoxyAnn & Moodles) and our 3 dogs (SydSyd, Jakester and O).

More often than not, Cop'er & I find ourselves as referee, loving parent, disciplinarian and good cop/bad cop (neither comes more naturally than the other for Cop'er, by the way). There's always a fight to break up, teasing to end, loving to administer, baths to give, meals to make, punishment to dole out, messes to clean up, toys to put back, sitters to be lined up. Like I said, pets are like kids.

A few of our "kids" have very distinct personality traits... O likes to sleep in the bed with us at night. He whines at Cop'er's feet until he's carried into the bed to sleep with his Mommy. I can't complain - he's very well behaved when it's sleepy-time. He also like to use the bed for other purposes... burying bones.

Lil Guy as a pup - what a cutie!
Every so often, Cop'er gives the kids a dog bone triat (Alpo, the large variety) to keep 'em busy (aka quiet). Well, O isn't very interested in actually eating the bone. He just carries it around in his mouth, whining to Cop'er for a lift to get in the bed. Once in the bed, he's bound for the blankets. He drops the bone in the midst of the pile and digs, digs, digs until the bone is "buried." There's no telling how many little treasures we might have sleeping with us.

Another very distinct personality is Moodles. He's the baby cat in our family. And by 'baby' I mean the youngest cat, 8 years old. He also sleeps in the bed with us - on the other side of me. He likes to stretch his paws out until he's touching my face. i don't think he knows he still has claws & they kinda hurt sometimes. The little quirk he has is climbing on my nightstand, knocking the lampshade over & over making it tap, tap, tap on the wall beside the bed. Talk about annoying things to hear at 3am!

The kid with the over-the-top trait would have to be RoxyAnn. She's full-fledged animal dominator of the house. She doesn't like the dogs, but puts up with O. She scraps with SydSyd & bops Jakester on the head. She takes nothin' from no one. I think that might even include me & Cop'er! Early in the morning, RIGHT BEFORE we are ready to get up - you know those precious moments of quiet you savor before the day starts - she is on the dresser. You'd think she would just chill, enjoy the quiet herself, but she doesn't. She cleverly paws all the bottles, boxes, trinkets, etc on top of the dresser until they fall over (bang!) or fall to the floor (crash). She does it over & over until I get out of bed, trick her into coming closer to me & throw her out the room. That is not the right way to wake up in the morning - especially on a Monday... or the weekend!

Of course, they all have their good & bad days. Sometimes they are great kids - full of sweetness & love. Sometimes they are the devil's spawn & there is nothing you can do but call it a night. At this point in my life - childless - I still feel like I get a little 'taste' of what it's like. And sometimes, I'm ok with having kids that let me sleep in late on the weekend!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stretched Thin

I started writing TV-related articles for a few weeks ago. They like for you to write at least 2-3 articles a week. I don't think i can cut the mustard though! I feel stretched thin... overworked & under (way under) paid.

It's just too much like work. I can't come up with interesting articles that involve both TV & Richmond. Small city-living Richmond? Not to mention, several 'big' shows are winding up their regular seasons... doesn't equate to tons of material to write about.

So i feel that i am at a crossroads... to keep or not to keep... Do i give it the old college try & work on more articles? Or do i shrug my shoulders, call it a loss & do other things with my time?

It's not a hard decision to tell you the truth. I'd rather get paid nada & use my time to add content to my bloggy here and take photos with my new toy. With the spring season just around the corner (spring back on your clocks this weekend!), it's calling me for more outdoor activities. Of course, this is only after having taken the appropriate allergy precautions.

I saw the beginnings of perinnials in the yard this weekend... those little blades of green signaling the renewal we all look forward to after a long, cold (very snowy) winter. I'm excited at the prospect of shooting more pics of scenes that aren't covered in snow or hibernating for the winter. My camera is anxious to show it's stuff!

I wonder if i should read the manual first...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Layla Grace

For the past several weeks I have been following (along with tens of thousands of others) the story of little Layla Grace. Layla is but 2 years old and fighting a viscous stage 4 neuroblastoma. When her parents, Ryan and Shanna, were given the grim prognosis that she would not have much longer on earth, they took her home to live her last days in surroundings she loved.

Layla's last few weeks were chronicled by her parents on both Twitter and her blog. I have seen the number of followers increase into the 40 thousands over the last week and am amazed at the numbers. This is no movie or television star who is trying to outdo another with the most 'followers'. This is a little girl who has no idea the ripple effect she's having throughout the world.

Through the tweets & blogs, those of us who have been praying for Layla have been able to feel, in a small way, we were able to send our thoughts through this online community. I have marveled at the open, honest way her parents have walked through the painful journey as they watched Layla become weaker, uncomfortable, knowing there was nothing they could do but whisper of the pride & love they have for her.

Sadly, Layla Grace lost her courageous battle this morning. While Heaven has another beautiful angel, I know that this world as lost one as well. Sleep well, Layla Grace.

A Day at the Movies

I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm pretty competitive. However, not at sports. I'm all about intellectual and creative competition. This past week we had the '1st Annual Oscars Guessing Game' - or something like that. All i knew was it gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts on who would win the 'big 6 Oscars' out there & put me in the midst of a competition. What could be better?

The 'big 6 Oscars' would be:
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actress
Best Actor
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress

I'm sure you have heard of a little (highest grossing ever) movie called "Avatar." This little movie was expected to sweep several of the big awards including Best Picture & Best Director - they do kind of go hand-in-hand!

By the Saturday night deadline, I had submitted the following selections for my winners:
Best Picture - Avatar
Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow
Best Actress - Sandra Bullock
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique

Eager to see how i did on the results, i stayed up waaayyyy past my bedtime (it was the Oscars, after all. They never end on time!).I was hootin' & hollerin' from my perch every time a new winner on my list was named. In the end, I was quite pleased with myself & a little braggy about the fact that i named 5 of the 6 winners!!!! That's right... who knew I was that good???

Ok, i guess it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. I have this other "freaky" thing that i can do. Whenever anyone asks me to guess a quantity, for example, "Guess how much these shoes cost?"

I say: "$63"

Inevitably, a shocked look comes across their face and they divulge what i already knew... i was within $2 of the correct price. I think it takes a little wind out of their sail.

This has happened to me with my boss, Ka-Kuh, (not his real name. duh.), Cop'er, and several others. I think i might finally be harnessing the psychic powers we all (are said to) have. It's just a matter of time until i know what you are thinking without you having to say a word.

BTW, if you were wondering how the rest of my office faired... I was the winner.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Side Effects to the HLC

I’ve been doing this HLC (healthy lifestyle change) for 8 weeks now. I have definitely seen some good things change, but there have been other more subtle—and irksome—transformations that have occurred.

Anytime you modify your eating habits, you run the risk of other things being modified to (including your wallet!). Case in point—I have an irritation under my wedding rings. They call it “wedding ring dermatitis” & it’s not nearly as uncommon as you might think. It manifests itself in an itchy, almost rash-like, raised area on my skin directly under my rings.

This has been going on for many weeks. I have tried the usual things—leaving them off to let my skin “air out”; drying my hands completely; using hydrocortisone cream; staying away from the hand soap at work (it’s very harsh!) in lieu of hand sanitizer. None of those things were the magic cure. As a matter of fact, just when I think it’s gone and put my rings back on—it’s baaaaaaaaaaack.

Another ‘side effect’ of the HLC is that my deodorant is not working as it once did!

… I know… I need to solve this problem ASAP! Not to worry, I’m on it. I’m in the midst of testing right now. Oh, yeah, perhaps you need to keep a safe distance…

As I was saying, my deodorant is not keeping things under control. The odd thing is that I have been using this same brand for YEARS (Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman) with no problems. Now, in the past few weeks, this issue has been evident. **I thought, at first, it was a fluke—forgot to put deodorant on that day—but it was not the case.**

When I ended up taking my rings off again today, I decided I was going to have to do more research into what might be the cause of the wedding ring dermatitis might be. I noticed in my doctoring online that many articles mentioned “pH balance” being off & having reactions to metals because of that.

Well… well… well...

You don’t say… changes to your pH balance can be directly affected by modification to your diet. Know anyone who has changed altered their eating habits lately? Say… about 8 weeks ago?

Not only that, but a change in pH balance can also affect the way your body reacts to/works with deodorant!!!

Now, I’m sure it’s not bad dealing with all those things when you take into consideration that I am extending my life by doing the HLC. However, it is a bit frustrating to not wear the bling (believe me, I have heard it from Cop’er too!). And let’s not even go into the problems with deodorant not working!

This is almost enough to make me wake the sleeping French Fry Monster inside… almost…

Monday, March 1, 2010

Perhaps a new career?

I don't know if you have noticed, but I like to write. It's not just in this blog either. I also write notes, write letters, write poems... Now, I'm writing articles.

It all began a few days ago... (well, not the writing, but the article part).

AriCaVa started writing articles about Landscape Design in the Richmond area for Sounded interesting... so I talked to her about it. They are always looking for writers for the area you live in and they have a variety of topics you can write on. All you have to do is select what you are interested in writing about and submit your prose samples. "The powers that be" review your submissions & let you know if you are "in."

It's a little like joining a special group - a club that not all are invited to join. Actually, it was a flashback to portfolio review in college!

My sample article was about... you'll never guess... General Hospital. Yeah, the soap opera. I must have done good because they invited me onboard to write for them!!!

Now, I'm going to be the Richmond TV Examiner. Shocked that I am going to write about TV??? I doubt it. It's something that I tend to work into my life just about every day. Thus far I have written 2 articles, one about Americal Idol/Ellen's first week; the other about The Bachelor Season Finale.

Based on several criteria, you can actually earn MONEY by writing these articles. (Don't come claiming I owe you money, it's not that much!). I haven't really figured out what i need to do to rake in the $5/week, but I'm working on it. If you see my article link - click, it. Humor me.