Archive for category Rant

I never thought I’d say this.

There’s a Barbie doll I wouldn’t mind getting for Christmas.


Picture Fun for Friday

Thanks to Jennifer at Open Book, I have a nice toy to share!

How it’s done:

* Answer each of the questions below.
* Surf over to Flickr and type your answers (one at a time) into the search bar.
* From the choice of pictures shown only on the front page, click the one that moves you (edited to add: unless they are lousy, in which case dig a little deeper).
* Once the page with your picture opens, copy the URL.
* Surf over to the Mosaic Maker, set up your mosaic, and paste inyour URLs.
* Click “Create!”
* Save the image, upload it to your favorite picture site (if it’s not Flickr), and blog away.

Here are the questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. Where would you go on your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. Choose one word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name?


A cheap Mondrian.

All this time and the best I give you is a damn meme? Yes, yes I do. I’m a sucker for colors and this Personal DNA thing has them in spades.

Do I feel guilty and want to promise something exciting and new in the future? I’ll leave you to make that judgment.

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Recent searches carried out by myself in pursuit of immediately critical information

From newest to oldest:
“gay pride penguin”
“fantasy baseball 101″
“cross-quarter day”
“steve zissou” (image search)
“super nintendo harvest moon”

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Feeling the demographic tug.

I joined a gym.

There’s a little tag on my keys. I now know how to program the elliptical machines. I’ve seen how to get the extra “burn” at the end of a series of reps. Hell, I even know the difference between the adductor and the abductor machines.

This is vile stuff. Taking exercise is, for me, an admittance of weakness. My daily life is not sufficiently strenuous physically, so I must stimulate my muscles in a fluorescent-lit space? How… bourgeoisie. Detached. Dishonorable. Removed from the process of living, as it were.

I’d much rather be of the same mind as Peter O’Toole: “The only exercise I get these days is walking behind the coffins of my friends who took exercise.”

Despite this feeling, the extra *ahem* gravitas of age was made apparent during our recent trip to New York. I’ve spent a lot of time there roaming the streets and it felt great to see some familiar neighborhoods and even more familiar faces. Until the next day, that is. I’d forgotten how many stairs are involved between subways, brownstones, and everything else.

Add to that the realization that I drive to work in a ten year old minivan, sit at a desk, then come home to sit with the parrots—lo, I am not the great urban farmer/laborer/naturalist. I knit and watch baseball and occasionally walk two blocks to the garden to fight the good fight against Bermuda grass.

One can be complacent about one’s slide into increased mass and middle age just so long. Eventually something will happen that pricks the ego, and you can sit there and stew or get up and learn how to use the tricep machine. There’s also this “spinning” thing that’s promised to kick my ass. I got my New York attitude in shape while I was up there, so I’m ready to take on anything.

Even the treadmill.


The most beautiful thing I’ve seen all week.

Driven past the limits of typical behavior, exhausted, wet, and not able to wash and dry a load of laundry in the house since the 11th of June–this is the most wondrous sight. Both doors open the same way. They are stacked, as intended. The vent connects to the back and to the wall at the same time. More magical than unicorn kisses.

The move was, or rather is, a strange test of wits and skill. The fact that it has rained or threatened with vile humidity the whole time has not made the situation any easier. Weekends are no longer great lazy stretches occasionally interspersed with an errand or two (not that they were really like that before, but I digress).

The last stretch of this can at least be accomplished in clean, dry clothing.


Just in case…

If any of you have been deceived by my prose into thinking that I’m graceful and naturally adept in social situations, I’d like to point out that last night I knocked an entire glass of (hot) ginger bubble tea on my companion and her things. Thankfully she was not burned and the staff took it in stride. In a questionable but kind act of judgment, they even made me another tea.


Hometown Hijinx

There’s nothing like seeing one’s hometown in the news, with headlines frothing and the solemn frown of the State’s Attorney General bearing down. Saratoga Springs has known its share of scandal through the years, but tampering with the sacred springs is a new one.

My fraudulent townsfolk have been diluting the local spring water with (*shock & horror*) tap water. Heated tap water. This cocktail is sold as a bath at $25 for a half hour soak. The mineral water is brownish and effervesces naturally. Once you overcome the strangeness of the color, you can relax and enjoy one of the most luxurious and civilized thirty minutes in recent memory. Admittedly I’m biased, but this reporter concurs (I recommend a listen, so that you can hear the water and the sound of indignant local politicos).

All manner of people flock there for the water, and each spring has a reputation for different health effects. I used to take empty bottles and fill them at a particular spring reknowned for its clear and fresh taste. Some even contain trace amounts of radon and lithium, a sure cure to whatever may ail you (the ones containing radon are labeled, have no fear). The majority of the springs are clustered in Saratoga Spa State Park. Go there if you ever get the chance–it’s spectacularly beautiful nature and the summer home of the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra.

The posturing and cries for wrongs to be righted is but the state representatives’ way of showing off their plumage for the first time in the spring, eager to court the opinion of a winter-weary populace.

I say that everyone should just take a nice bath and relax.


Where did those two weeks go?

My mother worked in the office with my great grandfather, patriarch of the family business. He confided in her that the months passed by like weeks. Sitting at the peak of 80 years old, I can see where perspectives shift.

In any case, the past two weeks have been spent in furious activity, emotional tension, and geographical exploration. In other words, looking at houses to purchase. Yongi and I seek to become landed gentry, and damn if it’s not a complicated process. A friend joked that we should get in a house before the next season of wheat needs to be sewn, lest we be obligated to help the landlord through the harvest.

If I ever get my hands on some property, I promise to plant some wheat in honor of our “freedom” (as mortgages are anything but free).


Not “a trial space to sit at the bar”

WARNING: This post contains reference to poop. Read no further without acknowledging the suffering and dedication of she who made it possible to blog about such things, the mighty Dooce. Continue at your peril!

For the past week I’ve been extremely nauseous, hence the lack of content here and in other parts of my life. I finally made it in to the doctor yesterday to see what was wrong. It doesn’t take too long for any clinical analysis of gut trouble to include words that aren’t welcome at the dinner table, and often it involves going on at length about the size, color, and consistency of poop. Yongi was there as moral support and also as a memory prompt.

As the doctor probed my abdomen, eagerly pressing all of the tender bits in different ways to see if there was a different reaction—no, it all hurts, thank you—she sugested a number of different causes for my ailment. The only way to figure out which way was best involved a stool sample.

That would be the cue to stop reading if you’re squeamish
. It only gets worse.

We went over to the lab to get the “collection kit”. There’s a vial, what looks like a margerine tub, a sheet of instructions, and a popsicle stick. These are in a plastic baggie labeled POISON and BIOHAZARD.

I’d done stool samples before as a result of a bit of colitis a few years ago, so I wasn’t horrified. Call it more a shade of displeasure, really. The lab assistant explained that I had to fill the vial all the way and that the sample had to immediately be placed on ice and brought back as soon as possible. Everything got put in a nondescript brown bag and we were sent on our merry way.

Yes, you read that right. I was asked to bring back poop on ice.

My body refused to cooperate with providing the poop. I went in to work the next day, and of course this is when I feel that I am ready to give a sample. I excuse myself by telling my boss “I have to leave for some lab work” and race home to seize the moment.

Poop collection is a delicate art involving cling film, the collection vial, a not-so-helpful popsicle stick and (apparently in some cases) an ice-filled container, all juggled while you have to go to the bathroom. The poop cannot come into contact with urine, so unlike the gag of covering the whole toilet with cling film, you should leave an area where the urine can bypass the whole “collection area”. Most likely, it will still pool on the film and then you’ll have to clean it up and replace the film (all while doing the bathroom dance). I’m not sure what the margerine tub is for, but it sat as a silent witness to the entire debacle.

Finally, the big moment. The sample is prepared, labeled with date and time of manufacture, and put in the identifying plastic baggie with a few ice cubes. All this is all put in another container (the only disposable thing I could find, from takeout Chinese soup) with more ice. I clean up the bathroom, grab my stool sample, and head back to the lab.

There are few travel companions that make one wish to avoid any contact with others as much as a stool sample. I drove along casting wary glaces its way, in case it should slip off the seat and onto the floor. Poop on ice, in a car!

Once back at the clinic, I took the plastic container all the way through to the lab area in back. I figured that everyone had to know that my ice-filled plastic container was really poop, and that I would be shunned by anyone who saw me.

The lab receptionist asked, “May I help you?”
“Yes,” I replied, as if I were some kind of perverse Fed Ex deliveryperson, “where shall I leave my stool sample?”
The receptionist pointed to the furthest corner of the desk. I set my soup container there, and walked back out.

Once back to the car I called Yongi in triumph.

In any case, I should have results tomorrow. No matter what they tell me, they cannot diminish the pride of having to deliver poop on ice.