Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another goodbye

My significant other's father died last week. It's always hard to say goodbye to someone you care about. His father and mother have been my only family since I've lived here. While we aren't legally married, I still consider his parents as my in-laws. It's been a tough few days. We've had our share of losses this year -- our dog, my uncle, a miscarriage, and now a father.
He was a good man, but I didn't get to know him well enough. He was sick for a long time, and we take comfort in knowing he's no longer in pain.
"When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes,
I will dry them all I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
"Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
"When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Why would someone voluntarily allow herself to have pin pushed into various parts of her body, including her ears and forehead? Because she’s willing to try it if it might help her become a mother. Don’t worry, I know how babies are made. But apparently, it’s kind of amazing that the human race hasn’t died off, considering how difficult it is for an egg to get impregnated, implant itself and then grow into a whole real-live human being. I’ve read that acupuncture can help the process along. And a good friend tried it while going through IVF. It can’t hurt — well, it can’t harm me. But it really doesn’t hurt all that much. It’s more of a bizarre sensation. Sometimes it feels like electricity. Sometimes it just feels like a small prick (minds out of the gutter people). And once all the needles are in, you get to lay perfectly still for 45 minutes. I have been known to drift off quite comfortably. I haven’t been having treatments long enough to know if they’ll actually help. But 45 minutes of uninterrupted, guilt-free napping? I can get behind that. Sometimes I see a little spot of blood or a small bruise at the needle site, but they hurt a lot less than the paper cuts I give myself on a regular basis or the stubbed toes from the bed frame in the middle of the night. And I’m 99.99% sure that paper cuts and stubbed toes do absolutely nothing to improve my chi and help me have a baby.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A new phase begins

I’ve been off the grid blogwise for awhile, but now I’m back.

After six months of trying to conceive, I got pregnant, only to miscarry a mere eight weeks later. Because I don’t know exactly what went wrong — through my own research as a cyberchondriac, I’ve determined that I had a blighted ovum and there’s nothing you can do about it — and I really don’t want to go through another miscarriage, I’ve decided to do everything I can to help my 39-year-old eggs along.

I started seeing an acupuncturist. I've been taking a regime of Chinese herbs (some more foul than you can imagine). I’ve been taking my basal body temperature daily (and getting frustrated at the lack of a digital thermometer that will actually work for more than one effing week). I've cut way way back on soda of any kind and am trying to watch what I eat (with varying degrees of success)

We've been told to wait to try to conceive for three months. By that time, I will be knocking on 40’s door. I used to think if I weren’t a mother by the time I was 40, I’d never be. Now, I know that if I really want to be a mom, I’m going to be one of those women who are mistaken for her kid’s grandma. And I’m ok with that. Funny to think that something I never thought I wanted is the one thing that totally occupies my thoughts now.

So, if you’re not interested in reading about my adventures in acupuncture or how disgusting ginseng tastes, you probably want to move along now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Even tough chicks get the blues

I’m a hard ass — or so I’ve been told. It takes more than a sappy movie or the death of some random wizard to make me cry. I’m not afraid to get dirty — or hurt. I’ll slide into third base and tear up the skin on my knee (I was safe, by the way). I’ll tear down a deck or dig up a stump. Growing up with three big brothers, I learned not to take anybody’s crap. I’m a tough chick.

So why do I feel so blue? Is it because the water building up behind the wall you’ve constructed finally wear it away and there’s no stopping the flood that follows? Is it because it’s sometimes all too much BS to deal with, and you just need a break from reality? Maybe it’s because loss is so hard, whether it’s a family member who’s been ill, a job or something you didn’t know you wanted until recently. Maybe it’s all of those things coming at the same time, and even if you’re a tough chick, you have to let go and be blue for a bit.

Pull myself up by my bootstraps? Suck it up? Sure I will. In a minute.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What I’m reading: “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Well, technically finished reading

I just finished reading “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The book was originally written way back in 1990 and I somehow missed it. That’s sad, because this is a book I would have read at least once a year for all of those 17 years. It’s funny — laugh-out-loud-in-public funny. It’s smart and well written. I’m putting in my Top Five All-Time Favorite Books. Yes, I liked it that much. I don’t want to say too much about the plot but I will tell you it’s about what happens when the Antichrist is raised by the wrong family. The battle between good and evil has never been so funny. Some of my favorite passages involve the Antichrist and the Hell-Hound. And make sure you read all the bits at the beginning — the authors’ notes and the list of players. It’s a great read.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

All grown up

We’ve talked about getting new furniture for awhile. We almost bought new furniture a couple of times. Finally this weekend, we agreed on living room furniture and made a purchase. Today, La-Z-Boy delivered that new furniture — a burgundy leather sofa and matching recliner. These two very nice pieces of furniture replace the futon that has graced our family room for the past couple of years and held the place of honor in my tiny apartment’s living room before that. We previously bought end tables at the unfinished furniture expo store and considered those our first real pieces of grown up furniture. Now — with the exception of a hand-me-down coffee table that will probably be relegated to the basement — our family room looks like a place where grown ups visit with other grown ups, sip wine in front of the fire and watch important television programs on PBS and CNN. Granted my boyfriend has already determined that the Playstation2 controller can reach the recliner, we usually watch the SciFi channel or Comedy Central, and we have a pretty extensive collection of Disney and Pixar movies, two entire seasons of Justice League and both Ultimate Avengers: The Movie and Ultimate Avengers 2 … so maybe not all grown up. But it’s a start.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What's in a name?

My boyfriend and I have been together for more than three years now. While we have no immediate intentions of marrying, we consider ourselves committed. Being in our 30s it sometimes feels strange to refer to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. But none of the other terms for committed relationships feel right either.

Significant other: Sounds so 90s — and fake.
Life partner: We’re not a gay couple.
Heterosexual life partner: We’re not Jay and Silent Bob.
Husband: If we’re not legally married, I’m not going to pretend. While I don’t necessarily want to get married, if I have the title, I want the rock. (And don’t start lecturing me about blood diamonds, because I’d be happy with an heirloom piece or a garnet, ruby, opal — even moissanite).
Lover: Ugh — sounds like we’re having an affair in a cheesy 80s novel.
Gentleman friend: Once we’re living in a retirement village, maybe.
The guy I’m shacking up with
The old ball and chain

Ok, so boyfriend sounds like we’re in high school, but it’s better than the alternatives.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Straightenin’ the curves

I caught an earworm this morning. In case you don’t know, an earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head. These insidious songs always seem to be ones to which you only know one verse, or just the chorus or — worst of all — a single word. So you can't even sing the song to try to get it out of your head. Sometimes it’s a jingle, like the Oscar Mayer wiener song. Sometimes it’s that song you hate that they keep playing over and over on the radio.

Inevitably, if you tell someone you have a song stuck in your head, they will say, “At least it’s not ‘It’s a Small World” or “At least it’s not ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart.” And next thing you know, you’re humming, “Turn around bright eyes. Every now and then I fall apart.”

This morning I was reading an article in Car & Driver comparing (tongue firmly in cheek) five iconic movie/TV cars. They included the Batmobile, the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” Mad Max’s Interceptor, Starky & Hutch’s car and The General Lee from “Dukes of Hazzard.” Wanna guess what song got stuck in my head after reading this article?

I watched the “Dukes of Hazzard” religiously as a young girl. My girlfriend and I were in love with the Duke boys — as I suppose most girls of the day were. But looking back, I know the show was cheesy at best and it no longer holds the same appeal. I don’t stop to watch it when I see it in reruns. (Although, I’ll admit John Schneider still looked pretty good when I happened to see him on “Smallville.”)

But just in case the song hasn’t wormed its way into your head, here are the lyrics:
Just some good ole boys
Never meanin’ no harm
Beats all you ever saw
Been in trouble with the law
Since the day they were born
Straightenin’ the curves
And flattenin’ the hills
Someday the mountain might get ’em
But the law never will
Makin’ their way
Any way they know how
That’s just a little bit more than the law will allow
Just some good ole' boys
Wouldn’t change if they could
Fightin’ the system like two modern-day Robin Hoods

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Incoming rant

Yesterday, I received an “important benefits information” package in the mail. According to the enclosed letter, I am required to fill out the accompanying form regarding my dependents. Here’s the thing, I have no dependents and the form reflects that. Still, I am required to fill in out, i.e. sign it, and mail it back in the prepaid envelope. As I’ve mentioned before, we recently experienced significant layoffs. I understand if there are ineligible dependents being covered it raises my insurance premiums. So sending out these mailings is a good thing in that respect. However (and this is a big one) there are computer programs that easily sort lists. It wouldn't be that difficult to determine which associates even have dependents. If an associate has no dependents, don’t waste the paper or postage to mail them this form.

And the best part? It saves me the time of having to read the letter and rant about it.

Attack of the moths

It’s that time of year again in Southern Colorado: The miller moths have returned to wreak havoc. This little article helps explain the scientific aspects of the critters: http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Pests/millers.htm But the truth is these so-called moths are much more dangerous than they appear. They’ll hide in the folds of your bed covers so when you turn down the bed at night they fly out — right into your face — flapping their leathery little wings against your skin. It gives me the heebie jeebies like nothing else, with the exception of June bugs back in Illinois. Those buggers could mimic a baked bean like nobody’s business — don’t ask.

The miller moth’s random flight pattern and attraction to lights makes it hard to swat them. Once I’ve managed to knock one down — or better yet, actually kill one — I have to collect the carcass right away or my dog makes a meal of it. It’s a quick clean up but rather disgusting. My dog eats enough bugs, including grasshoppers, flies and even bees. She keeps trying to eat the pill bugs even though the taste is obviously not to her liking. She’ll pick one up, spit it out, shake her head in distaste and then pick the bug right back up again. Silly pooch.

The entertaining aspect of the moths return is watching the swallows swoop and dive to catch the moths at intersections. It’s a mystery to me why the bugs seem to congregate at busy intersections, but it helps me pass the time at red lights. If I could keep the moths out of my bed and away from my head, maybe they wouldn’t be so bad. If they start mimicking picnic foods, I’m in big trouble.

Monday, May 21, 2007

And now they're gone

Less than a week after auto-flushing toilets were installed in the ladies room at work, they have been removed. Trial run that didn't work out? Sample toilets? Who knows. I only hope the labor didn't cost anything. Good Grief.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The dangers of static cling

Today, a co-worker was walking along the hallway toward me. As she turned a corner before reaching me, I noticed something fall behind her. At first I thought it was a hair scrunchie, although she’s not the hair scrunchie type. Then I realized what it actually was — a pair of black thong panties. Apparently they had stuck to her shirt or inside her pant leg and fell out as she walked through the office. I picked them up (I assume they were clean) and surreptitiously returned them to her. Because I’m immature, I have been giggling about this for the past six hours. I can only imagine if someone else had picked them up and turned them into lost and found. I think the company-wide email would read something like this: “If you’ve lost a pair of black thong panties, you can claim them at the reception desk.”

The moral of the story: use plenty of fabric softener and always sort your clothes carefully.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Budget cuts and self-flushing toilets

A few months ago my company laid off 30 people due to budget cuts. It was tough all over. The very next Monday, there were seven open positions listed on the internal job site. It seemed to me that there may have been someone laid off who would have an interest in one of those positions. Maybe not the best fit for everyone, but some people might have wanted to stay with the company regardless. Not the best timing in any case.

Today, we have brand new faucets in the ladies room and fancy self-flushing toilets. I love modern conveniences, but whose salary paid for me to not have to flush a toilet? And don’t talk to me about capital improvements and how salaries come out of a different budget. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, and it pisses me off.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spring Fever

It snowed again yesterday – enough to cover the grass and flowers and close school. I didn’t think it was enough to close any schools, except maybe the mountain or rural schools. At the risk of sounding much older than I actually am, kids today are spoiled. When I was a kid (ooh, that does make me sound old), we had to get almost a foot of snow before schools closed. And they never closed school before it started snowing – you know, just in case a blizzard hits.

Around here, schools are on a two-hour delay for a dusting of snow and any more than that results in a closure. And they have actually closed schools for the threat of a winter storm. I’m not kidding. I remember walking to grade school in near white-out conditions (uphill both ways, and I liked it). I’m sure it was worse in my fourth-grade mind than it actually was, but I remember lots of snow in my childhood but very few snow days off school.

Here’s the thing, I don’t really think it’s wimpy kids. I think it’s parents who either don’t want to deal with the weather or remember trudging through the snow as a kid and don’t want to put their own kids through it. I can relate to the first one, but I guess I subscribe to my parents’ school of thought: If I had to do it, you have to do. That probably sounds harsh, but on the plus side, we didn’t have to do it if Mom and Dad didn’t. Dad didn’t like lima beans, so we didn’t have to eat them – same with peas and tuna casserole. Seemed fair to me. But what do I know? I’m not a parent. My kid would probably be the one who shows up in school in a swimsuit and cowboy boots with leftover sushi in her Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Geek fest

Stargate SG-1 returns tonight for the beginning of its final season. I don't think the series ever garnered critical acclaim and maybe never was a huge ratings winner. But its fan base is loyal and it has always been a fun show. I'm looking forward to the next two and a half months of Fridays.

Stargate Atlantis returns tonight as well, as does a new series called Painkiller Jane that I'll probably check out. I'm curious because Sci Fi has been pretty good with its new series lately. The Dresden Files has been my favorite show lately (its season finale is Sunday if you're interested). Although this season of Battlestar Gallactica was too much Gallactica and not enough Battle. The season finale was great but most of the season left me cold.

So, here's hoping Sci Fi Fridays are all I ever hoped for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Zombie love

As I've mentioned before, I have a certain love for movies about the living dead or others of their ilk. Scary, funny, campy, cheesy - I don't care. I love them.

Coming soon:
28 Weeks Later - the sequel to 28 Days Later (not the movie about Sandra Bullock in rehab). Six months have passed and it's time to repopulate London. You just know something goes wrong. I can't find an official site, so here it is at IMDB: http://imdb.com/title/tt0463854/
Black Sheep - Killer sheep. 'Nuff said. Seriously, just watch the trailer:
Fido - I just saw this mentioned in passing at www.pajiba.com and had to check it out. Zombies have been domesticated - you just know something goes wrong! Here's the site: www.fidothemovie.com

I can't wait! Wee!

UPDATE: Here's the official site of 28 Weeks Later (with a trailer): www.foxatomic.com/#28wkstrailer

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dude looks like a lady

Flipping through channels last night (yes, I should get a life), I came across a program on TLC called, “Supersize She.” And like when encountering a train wreck, I couldn’t look away.

One complaint the lady bodybuilders had was that most people don’t consider them feminine because of their muscles. Honey, it’s not the muscles. If your face looks like a man’s face and your voice sounds like a man’s voice and your body looks like a man’s body, you’re not feminine. Well, you’re not feminine looking anyway. At one point, the woman we’re following watches a video of her much younger self competing. Here she still looked like a woman. She was muscular but still had female-looking features. She even says, “Look how cute my face was.”

All I could think was how this kind of obsession must be something like anorexia. They aren’t healthy – they say so themselves. They starve themselves before competitions, forgoing even water so their muscles will pop. Then, minutes before the competition, they gorge on sugary foods so their veins will bulge out.

I don’t like the way male bodybuilders look, so this isn’t about what a woman’s body should look like. And, I’m not going to say we should be happy with the body we have – no one really is. But obsession is never good and wanting to be thought of as feminine and then working so hard to look masculine, just seems wrong to me. And, I don’t think a woman can achieve that body type without some pharmaceutical help. The acne was one indication. The deep voices and aggressive behavior were another.

On the other hand, she set a goal for herself and worked hard to reach it. I wish I could be so driven.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Have a cookie

I have a bit of an obsession with zombies (or the living dead if you prefer that term). It started many years ago when, as a kid, I happened to catch a little gem of a movie called “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” – it’s real, look it up. It was awful, but the idea of the dead rising stuck with me. Since then, whenever I saw a movie about zombies, I would inevitably have nightmares about being attacked, narrowly escaping or waking just before the bite. As silly as these dreams seem in the light of day, it doesn't change the fact that I would wake in a sweat with my heart pounding. In recent years, I have decided to take this nightmare-inducing subject head on. Face your fears, right?

So I have, with some great results and some dismal results. I have watched “Dead Alive,” “Army of Darkness,” “Night of the Living Dead,” both versions of “Dawn of the Dead” (yeah, I liked the new one, even if zombies shouldn’t be able to run), “Day of the Dead,” “Land of the Dead,” “Shaun of the Dead” (probably my all-time favorite movie), “Resident Evil” and its sequel (maybe not “zombies” per se but still), “28 Days Later” (again, not living dead but the same idea), “Zombie Lake” (a hilariously bad 80s French flick) and most recently “Zombie Planet.”

“Zombie Planet” seemed to have a lot of potential for cheesy living-dead goodness. Unfortunately it was poorly executed. It would have been better if it had been about 75 minutes long rather than its painful 119 minutes.

The premise is awesome – scientists created an enzyme that eliminates cravings for carbohydrates (think extreme Atkins Diet). But something went terribly wrong and the users of this pill started craving red meat to the point they didn’t care where it came from – raw meat, cooked meat, Fifi! Then they die and reanimate and start attacking others, who (as it normally works with zombie films) also die and reanimate, until the whole world is overrun by the living dead. It could have been so cool. The bad acting and the amateurish production quality didn’t bother me as much as the rambling story and the “Beyond Thunderdome” rip off. There is one actor who, at first, seemed fairly natural. He’s not great but he seems to be doing ok until about halfway through. The director must have pulled him aside and said, “Dammit man! We need more acting!”

On the plus side it would be a great movie for a drunken night with friends. I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more with beers and the ’bots.

By the way, plans are in the works to make a movie version of “World War Z." I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Like a rock

Monday I’m going to drive the “all-new Chevy Silverado” … again. I drove this behemoth pick-up back in November. This time it will be a Duramax Diesel so it’s completely different, except not really. I’m not looking forward to this test drive, because, as I’ve said, I already drove this truck, and I don’t really like Chevrolets.

I’m not sure where the abhorrence comes from, but I can’t get excited about any Chevy model. Even a Corvette – fast as it is – leaves me numb. My dad has always driven Buicks – LeSabres or Skylarks until those were discontinued. While Chevys and Buicks are cousins, I never really disliked the Buick; I just always thought of it as a “Dad Car.”

My own history with cars is a mixed bag: two Fords, two Plymouths, a Mitsubishi, a Jeep and my new Honda. I’ve owned foreign cars, domestic cars, compact cars, SUVs and even a pick-up. And, yes, there was something about driving around in a big ol’ Ford F-150. But the world is a different place than it was in 2000. I’m not going to get all preachy about the environment but who really needs a vehicle of this size unless he’s a cowboy pulling his horse trailer or a farmer hauling feed to his cattle? Really? Maybe a construction company foreman or someone who is carrying large loads everyday. But a pick-up doesn’t make sense for the average city dweller. Do we need an open bed to bring home groceries? Seems like a bad idea. Taking the kids to school? Umm. No. Yet, when I drove this vehicle before the salesman told me that 75 percent of the people who buy the Silverado buy it for personal use. Wow.

Mom always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Sorry Mom.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What I'm reading

After looking at a friend’s Web site and reading her literary reviews, I got to thinking about my own life as a bookworm. I currently have four partially-read books lying under my nightstand. I’m reading all of them in bits and pieces – some more than others. I also have a pile of books to be read and a long list of books I plan to read.

The books under my nightstand are:
• “Lady Blackrobes: Missionaries in the Heart of Indian Country” by Irene Mahoney – an interesting subject but written in such a dry manner, with letters to and from the bishops and nuns involved, that I’m having a hard time getting through more than a few pages at a time.
• “Notes from a Big Country” by Bill Bryson – in one volume with “Notes from a Small Island.” I ready “Notes from a Small Island” quickly, enjoying the passages about parts of England I visited last year. “Notes from a Big Country” is about Bryson moving back to the U.S. and writing about the country and his experiences for people in England. Bryson is funny and a great story teller, but I guess I’d rather read about England. As the chapters were actually written as stand-alone articles, I don’t feel bad only reading one or two every few days or so.
• “Clarkson on Cars” by Jeremy Clarkson – the host of Top Gear has been writing about cars for a lot longer than I have and I aspire to be as witty and scathing. (No chance I’ll ever be as big – the man is over 6’ 5” tall!) Again the chapters were written as stand-alone articles for British newspapers, so I read one or two when I need a laugh or just want to imagine being in England again. Clarkson is a hoot, even if all of the humor doesn’t directly translate to American.
• “Hidden Prey” by John Sandford – part of his long list of “Prey” books featuring investigator Lucas Davenport. A mystery/thriller with twists and turns and the (for some reason I can’t explain) likable Davenport, I consider the “Prey” books brain candy. Sandford can weave a tale and, as I said, I really like Davenport. I’ll probably have this one done by next week.

On deck:
• “Ship Fever” by Andrea Barrett – a collection of stories that won the National Book Award in 1996.
• “Human Traces” by Sebastian Faulks – Faulks wrote “Birdsong,” a book about World War I which I read recently and thoroughly enjoyed.
• “The Double” by Jose Saramago – Saramago wrote the Nobel Prize-winning “Blindness,” which was a tough read but a great book. I’ve read mixed reviews about “The Double,” so we’ll see.
• “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy – I loved “All the Pretty Horses” but have never been able to get through “Blood Meridian.” I’ve heard really good things about this book and just ordered it from Amazon.com.
• “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks – I’ll let the title of this one speak for itself.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I got a new car!

I bought a new car this weekend. It's a 2007 Honda Element and it's the first time I've ever bought a brand new car all by myself. It's also the most money I've ever spent in my life. So, while I'm excited and can't wait to go pick it up, I'm scared witless about all that money. I know I'll stop being scared once I'm driving around in my new car, listening to my new radio, not worrying about whether it's going to start in the morning or when I leave work. Anybody want to buy my old Jeep?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day

The outdoor thermometer read -2 this morning. I don’t care where you’re from, that’s damn cold. Now, I know that in about four months, I’ll be bitching that it’s too hot to sleep. And really I do prefer cold to hot. When it’s cold, you can bundle up, put on a sweater, wrap yourself in a blanket, snuggle. When it’s hot, you can get naked and still be hot. You can get in a pool and still be hot. And please don’t think about snuggling when it’s hot. I’m already sweaty I don’t need your sweat on me too.

But minus 2 gets inside your sweater, it gets under the blanket. Snuggling must be done fully clothed, preferably with wool socks and flannel jammies and a down comforter. The sun doesn’t even want to come out in this kind of cold. Evenings are spent huddled under a blanket with a cup of tea – not that that’s a bad thing. But now I understand the need to hibernate.

This morning, good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow, which is supposed to mean an early spring. The furry little bastard had better be right. While I still have some skiing to do, I’m ready for some warmer weather. And besides, I’d hate to live this day over and over and over again.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Three things that made me smile today

  1. A lady in leather mom jeans in the locker room at my gym
  2. Two dogs happily chasing each other with abandon in a yard on the way back to work
  3. A guy on a Gob-style scooter riding it down a busy street

Come dancing

I recently wrote a story about dance lessons for brides and grooms to be. During the course of my interviews, one of the dance studio owners/instructors invited me to come to a group lesson, on the house. My patient and devoted boyfriend and I took him up on the offer last night.

The studio is located in a crumbling strip mall — the kind of place where you find Asian markets and pawn shops. But it was bright and open inside, with a beautifully polished dance floor. A crowd was waiting for the lesson to begin. There must have been 50 or more people, many of them men there on their own and several couples younger than us.

The instructor — a roundish, middle-aged man, who certainly didn’t look like a dancer — was quite light on his feet. He separated the men and women on either side of him. We learned the basic steps that way and then joined our partners across the room. Couples who came together got to dance together all evening. Singles switched out because there were more men than women. (Maybe it’s a good place to meet someone nice.)

We learned the Fox Trot, dancing a bit without any music. We learned the dance frame and the steps with our partners. Then we danced to music – some Sinatra. We learned a couple of turns, and the instructor gave pointers and tips to individuals who needed it. We learned not to watch our feet and to be offset so we didn’t walk on each other. We didn’t snark at each other when we made a mistake and found ourselves smiling and laughing quite a bit.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

And speaking of dogs

I debated whether to write about this or not, but it's pretty funny so here goes ...

The other night my pets were kind of wound up - following me around and being obnoxious. I came out of a room into the hall, with the dog and cat scurrying along in front of me. The dog grabbed the cat - yes, grabbed - and started humping him. I yelled at her to stop and he tried to run off, but the dog grabbed him again from the front this time. I yelled some more and the cat eventually got away. I don't know about him but I'm scarred by the incident. Not only was it inter-species attempted rape - it was a female dog and a male cat. I'm thinking about calling a pet psychic. Don't you judge me.

What I’m reading

I’m reading “Notes From a Small Island” by Bill Bryson right now. It’s about the author's time in England and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. I almost blew Diet Coke through my nose while reading this in my company’s break room: “But it was one of those names only British people have – Colin Crapspray or Bertram Pantyshield.” My friend from England assures me she never met anyone with such names but my juvenile sense of humor found it hilarious.

After reading “A Good Dog” by Jon Katz – which, I’m not ashamed to say, made me weep openly for a good 10 minutes – I needed some good guffaws. It’s ultimately uplifting and a quick, enjoyable read. Perhaps a bit sentimental, but I challenge anyone who has ever had a beloved pet to not get sentimental about that pet. And if you’ve ever had to make the decision to put a pet to sleep, “A Good Dog” will definitely bring on the waterworks – and well worth the cry.

After “Notes From a Small Island,” I plan to move on to “Notes From a Big Country” and then one of several new books I bought before and after Christmas. I have a pile of books I bought at our company’s (really cheap) book sale and received two Barnes & Noble gift cards. If it keeps on snowing each weekend like it has, I’ll have plenty of time to get through my pile.