Friday, March 31, 2006

The Einstein of cats

When I went up to go to bed last night, I saw that the top drawer of my dresser was pulled out about half-way, and there was underwear strewn all over the floor, plus, there was underwear on top of the dresser. It looked like someone had been looking for something, pulling things out of the drawer and just throwing them and letting them lay where they landed. I would have thought that I'd been robbed, but I'm pretty sure it was Dinah.

I went into the office and got Bob and told him that I wanted to show him something, just in case it was something that he had done for some reason. He said that he had done some of my laundry, and had put some things in that drawer, but that he knew he had closed the drawer, and he certainly didn't leave everything the way I found it. I should have taken a picture. It was pretty impressive.

Yesterday when I was in the bathroom getting ready for work, Dinah had been working industriously to open up the cabinet under the sink. She worked and worked and worked, and when she didn't have any luck on the larger cabinet doors, she moved over and tried one of the smaller ones for awhile. She wasn't successful, but I have no doubt that one morning we'll walk in and find q-tips and nail polish and all matter of things scattered across the bathroom floor.

We'd seen her working on my dresser before, but she had never before been successful in opening a drawer. I wonder if it was a one-time thing, or if she'll start doing it all the time. My guess is that now that she mastered it, she'll move on to something else.

Another thing she does is she'll go into the bathroom and pull my towel off the towel rack so she can lie on it. But she doesn't just pull it down, she has to pull it down just so, so that it falls around, and over, her. In order to accomplish this, she stands on her back legs and insinuates herself into the towel between the folds. Sometimes she doesn't get it right the first time--if she gets into the towel between the front and the back, it doesn't work right, it just falls in a heap.

If she starts to pull it and it isn't right, she realizes it and stops, comes down, and then goes back up again in the right place. She very carefully pulls at it until it starts to fall, then she crouches down on the floor and lets it billow down around her, then she curls up inside.

Pyewacket has tried it, too. She's seen Dinah doing it, and she tries to emulate her, but she doesn't really understand the mechanics of it. She can pull a towel down, but she just does it by brute force, then looks surprised when it doesn't do what it does when Dinah pulls it down.

Bob says Pyewacket is sweet, but not very bright. Dinah, on the other hand, is the Einstein of cats.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Last night I watched Robots. I was excited when it first came out, because it looked so wonderful, but I never went to the theater to see it. It's really hard for me to make myself go see animated films--it seems like kind of a waste of time to me. I remember making Bob go see The Nightmare Before Christmas with me, but I think that's probably the last one I saw in a theater.

I wanted to buy it on DVD, but just couldn't spend $20 on it, but Amazon finally put it on sale for $9.97, so I went ahead and ordered it last week, and sat down with Dinah to watch it on the laptop last night (she snuggles in under my arm and watches whatever is on the screen--I thought she would probably enjoy it because of the bright colors and the movement, and whether she did or not, I don't know, but she stuck there with me through the whole thing).

I really enjoyed it. It's so beautiful--sort of a combination of futuristic and vintage--a slightly decaying, degraded future, maybe. The story starts out with a young robot family--the father is, literally, a dishwasher--"making" a baby. Making it with a box of parts and a screwdriver. The little robot grows up, and, as times are tough, has to make do with hand-me-down parts. When he reaches young adulthood, he decides to go out into the world and make his fortune as an inventor, meets up with some sweet down-at-the-heels characters and some evil ones as well. I wasn't really as interested in the story as in the look of it, but I thought the story wasn't bad. Sort of simplistic, I guess. The selling point for me was just being able to watch the wonderful colors and animation.

When Bob bought me the eMac, he also bought me a .Mac account. It seemed like an unnecessary extravagance, but I really did enjoy it -- I didn't use the email address, but I used the backup capability, and I enjoyed being able to sync my Safari bookmarks between my computer at home and the one at the office.

It expired about a year ago, and I just felt like I could justify the expense, so I didn't renew it. It just seemed unnecessary, but I really did miss it . . .

We've gotten very at work lately, though, and I'm having a lot of meetings. I haven't missed anything due to not having it recorded, but I decided that it would be well worth it just to go ahead and renew the account. That way I could synchronize my calendars at work and at home, put files on my iDisk that I can access both at home and at work, and get some sort of organization going. In a perfect world, maybe I would go home and not think about work, but I at least need to know what I'm going to be doing the next day.

There's also an online backup utility, and while I'm pretty good about doing backups monthly, a little overkill in that area wouldn't be a bad idea.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

What I'm watching

Friday is my television night; most nights I don't turn it on at all, but on Friday night I watch several hours' worth. The current line up is What Not to Wear, Law and Order: SVU, Monk, and House. Law and Order has been on so long now, and it's on so often that I never have any idea whether I'm actually seeing something from the current season or not, and I seldom see the same episode twice, so it doesn't really matter, although my favorite character is the detective played by Ice T. Why do I like him so much? I have no idea. But I'm always disappointed when he isn't on the show.

I had never seen What Not to Wear until the episode with Megan Slankard, and then I only watched it because David was on it. And then after that I probably didn't watch it for a year or more, but lately I've started watching it every week; probably because I just realized that it's on on Friday nights, and that works into my Friday viewing schedule.

I don't necessarily think that they do all that great a job of "making over" the women on the show; what I think is more interesting, and more worthwhile, is the confidence that the women seem to gain in themselves. The hosts do make fun of the guests' clothes, but they never make fun of their bodies, which I think is important--they never tell anyone that they're too fat, too skinny, whatever--they just very matter-of-factly tell them what kinds of clothes will flatter their body type, what to do to minimize a not-so-great feature or emphasize a good one.

They find something attractive about every woman, and they tell them all that they're beautiful, and I like that.

Friday night there was also a special show--What Not to Underwear. The guests were three schoolteachers with very different body types, and they learned what kinds of foundation garments to wear to make their bodies look better, to make their clothes look better. I thought all three women were so lovely, and so brave, and I really enjoyed the show.

I can't stand to watch the kind of reality show where the "contestants" are made to feel badly about themselves. This show, at least, seems to make pretty much everyone feel better about themselves. And I do keep reminding myself when they're making fun of someone's wardrobe that they're also paying each person $5,000 for the privilege. That would take some of the sting out of it, I imagine.

I've been enjoying watching movies lately, too. Last night I watched one of my favorites: Grosse Pointe Blank. In it, John Cusack plays a contract kiiller who has an assignment to kill someone in his old hometown, so he takes the opportunity to look up an old girlfriend and attend his high school reunion the same weekend. Dan Ackroyd is in it, too, playing another assassin. Oh, and Joan Cusack is also in it, playing her brother's secretary/office manager, and Jeremy Piven, whom I like for no rational reason (I actually think he reminds me of one of my brothers-in-law), plays an old high school buddy.

Other movies I've been watching lately:

Terminal. When this movie first came out, I was anxious to see it because I love airports, and I love the idea of living somewhere like an airport, secretly or otherwise (I also have always had this secret story in my head about living in a department store . . .). But after I saw the trailers, I lost interest. I've never been a huge fan of Tom Hanks, and the accent he was using for the movie seemed so contrived that I just couldn't see it. So I passed. Then, one weekend when Bob was out of town and I was wandering around Blockbuster looking for something to rent, I rented it, and I loved it.

I ended up buying it last weekend so I could watch it whenever I wanted to, and I watched it again this weekend. It's just kind of a sweet movie; my laugh-out-loud moment is when the Indian man is juggling as their "entertainment" at dinner. The movie is flawed, of course--the weakest link, I think, is Catherine Zeta-Jones as the love interest--but it's a movie that I really enjoy.

Christmas With the Kranks. I loved John Grisham's book, Skipping Christmas, and I love Christmas movies, so I knew I would love this one, and I do. I kind of like Tim Allen, and I like Jamie Lee Curtis a lot (SO brave for doing the tanning salon/bikini scene!). I totally lucked out and got this movie for $.80 at Half Price Books a couple of weeks ago. It was on the clearance table for a dollar, and they were having a 20% off everything sale, so with tax it came to 86 cents! It was a pre-viewed rental copy, I think, and figured if it was junk, I wouldn't be out much, but it was fine.

The movie (and the book) is about a couple who decide to "skip Christmas" -- their daughter has left the country to join the Peace Corps, they always spend WAY too much money on Christmas, and what if they just skipped it all and took a cruise instead? Of course, it doesn't work out smoothly, but it's a lot of fun. Dan Ackroyd is in this one, too.

Blast From the Past. It seemed like every time I went to the gym on Saturday, this movie would be on television, but I always seemed to see the same part, and never saw the whole thing. I like Brendan Frasier a lot (I really like the Mummy movies), so I bought this one without ever having seen the rest of it. It's silly, of course, but I like it a lot. It's the story of a couple (Cissy Spacek and Christopher Walken) who build a fallout shelter in the 50's; Walken is a scientist. They go down in the shelter after hearing Kennedy's speech about the Bay of Pigs, and coincidentally, an airplane crashes into their house while they're down there.

They assume that the US has been bombed, and they don't come back up for 35 years--the half-life of atomic radiation, I believe. In the meantime, they've had a child (Frasier) who has lived his entire life in the shelter, so all of his experience has been as if he's lived his whole life in the 50's. Quite a culture shock. Another sweet movie.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I'm working from home today after a terrible night. I guess it was food poisoning. I ate lunch at work yesterday, then about twenty minutes later I started feeling really strange. I was in a meeting, and I excused myself, and got up and walked around, and walked out onto the deck for a little fresh air. It felt like maybe indigestion or heartburn or something, just extremely uncomfortable.

I went back into the meeting and apologized, and said I was going to have to leave. I grabbed my stuff, shut down the computer, and drove home with the windows open, praying I could make it. I got home, and spent the next twelve hours being violently ill. Bob talked to John, who told him to go get me some Gatorade, which he did, and I sipped that as much as I could. The cats curled up on the bed with me and kept me company.

I guess it must have been food poisoning, but the scary thing is that I ate food I brought from home--a grilled chicken breast and homemade vegetable soup. But both of them had been in the refrigerator for about a week, so I guess it could have been that. Also, I had handled raw chicken that morning--I'd put some in a marinade for Bob to cook later--so even though I washed my hands, I guess I may have touched something . . . Hard to imagine that it's that toxic, but who knows?

This is the third time that I've gotten food poisoning in the last couple of years; I always thought I could eat just about anything, but maybe not anymore. The two other times were after eating in restaurants.

I finally got to sleep around midnight, and woke up at 3:00 a.m. feeling mostly normal--a huge relief. I thought about going in to work, then decided to stay home and work from here, just in case I started feeling bad again, but I haven't. Apart from the sore muscles. So far today I've eaten a Cup-o-Noodles (ramen) and a chicken and noodle cup thing that you add water to . . . I'm afraid to eat anything, really. I've been drinking a lot of Gatorade. What I really feel like I want is some chocolate, but there isn't any in the house . . .

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Saturday, March 11, 2006


I'm sitting up in bed with the laptop and the cats. Bob is away this weekend, goose hunting with John and Craig.

I woke up WAY too early, of course -- it seems like any time that I actually have the opportunity to sleep late, I can't. I woke up at 6:30, but forced myself to stay in bed. I can't get up at 6:30 on Saturday! (Although last weekend I got up at 7:30 on Saturday because I had to take Dinah to the vet. I hated having to set the alarm on a Saturday!) I did go back to sleep, but woke up again at 8:30 because Pyewacket was banging on the window screen to get my attention.

I yelled at her, and consisdered throwing a pillow at her, but figured I'd knock the lamp off the table . . . So I got up and went downstairs to get the laptop, and saw that their food bowl was empty, so maybe that was the cause of the tantrum.

I've talked to the vet a few times about limiting their food intake, and last weekend I talked to him about it again (I had to take Dinah in for the quarterly (now bi-monthly) anal gland thing). He said that the right amount of dry food is a half cup per cat per 24 hours, so a cup for both of them. They've been doing pretty well, and it hasn't seemed to be a problem at all, but I guess maybe since it was Friday night they lived it up and ate it all . . .

We feed them Eukanuba weight control formula and they seem to like it fine. It's only available at the pet stores, of course, and it's sort of expensive, but they're doing well on it and (fingers crossed) no one seems to be having any food-related problems at the moment. The vet has said he thinks it's important to find one food and stick with it and not change it, so we've done that for a few years now, and they don't seem to be throwing up as much as they used to, at least.

I stopped at PetSmart to buy food last night, because there was only about a cup left in the container, and when I stepped out into the parking lot, there was the most amazing sunset. I took a cameraphone picture before I remembered that I had the other camera in my bag. I took it out and took about 50 pictures standing in the parking lot. I'm sure people thought I was nuts, but I couldn't let the opportunity go by.

I even had plenty of time to experiment with the settings on the camera.

Kurt--he's a photographer--has been helping me figure out some of the settings, but there's a lot to learn. It needs to become second-nature, I guess, because right now I have to think too much about it--or actually, forget to think about it--and most of the time I just want to snap a picture. But it was kind of fun to be out there with no place that I really needed to be, and to have nature cooperate with the beautiful sunset that lasted long enough that I could play around with it. Looking at the pictures now, I guess it was only about ten minutes; I took 40 pictures in that ten minutes, though, and I left them on the camera so I can analyze what I actually did to take them.

iPhoto shows a little info, but not everything. I wonder if there's some setting in my camera that is preventing all the detail from being transferred?? I'll have to look into that.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

5 Things

I like lists.

Five movies:

  • Grosse Pointe Blank
  • Star Wars Episode II: The Phantom Menace
  • Love Actually
  • Guarding Tess
  • Serenity

Five television shows:

  • House
  • Monk
  • Law & Order: SVU
  • Stargate
  • What Not to Wear

Five cancelled television shows:

  • Joan of Arcadia
  • West Wing
  • Touching Evil
  • Nash Bridges
  • Firefly

Five albums:

  • Marc Cohn - Marc Cohn
  • Wishbones - David Knopfler
  • Solo Acoustic - Jackson Browne
  • Our Eternal Ghosts - Deadman
  • Pilgrim - Eric Clapton

Five songs:

  • Too Many Angels - Jackson Browne
  • If God Could Make the Angels - David Knopfler
  • From Galway to Graceland - Richard Thompson
  • When the Music's Not Forgotten - Deadman
  • Silver Thunderbird - Marc Cohn

Five books:

  • Ladder of Years - Anne Tyler
  • American Gods - Neil Gaiman
  • Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
  • Timeline - Michael Crichton
  • The Glass Harmonica - Louise Marley

Next five random songs on my iPod:

  • Barricades of Heaven - Jackson Browne
  • Overture Redux (Le Nozze Di Figaro) - East Village Opera Company
  • 4U (Rabbit Song) - David Knopfler
  • When You Come Back Down - Nickel Creek
  • La Contestacion - Los Lonely Boys

Five food items:

  • Guacamole
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Banana peppers
  • Chocolate

Five alcoholic beverages:

  • Bloody Mary
  • Margarita
  • Kir
  • Daquiri
  • Asti Spumanti

Five scents:

  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Lemon
  • Sandalwood
  • Rosemary

Five scented products:

  • Indigo Wild Confetti Zum Bar
  • Clinique Aromatics Elixir
  • Aveeno Stress Relief Body Lotion
  • Bath & Body Works White Tea & Ginger Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap
  • Bath & Body Works Mango Mandarin Creamy Body Wash

Five skin care products:

  • Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser
  • Clinique Facial Soap
  • Clinique Clarifying Lotion
  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturing Lotion
  • Clinique Moisture On-Call

Five Clinique lipstick shades:

  • Colour Surge Bare Brilliance Pink Beach
  • Colour Surge Bare Brilliance Waterviolet
  • Colour Surge Bare Brilliance Blushing Coral
  • Glosswear for Lips Air Kiss
  • Almost Lipstick Black Honey

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Friday, March 03, 2006


If there was ever a quality that I wished I had, and don't, it would be grace. I try to live my life with grace, and I guess I mean that in the larger sense, as in, I don't know, being gentle and quiet and dignified . . . accepting disappointments with grace, not being loud or obnoxious or crude . . . but physical grace? Not so much.

This afternoon I was leaning over to pick something up off the floor--I think it was a squashed cashew--and my chair tipped over, and I ended up on the floor. I was hoping that it had happened quietly enough that no one heard, but of course, Dave called from the next office, "Are you okay?" and I was laughing, and couldn't say anything, so he rushed over. And Kurt came over, too, and Stephanie . . . I just sat there on the floor, picking up the cashew bits and trying to look like, "Hey, I meant to do that!"

No dice, though. I guess the overturned chair gave me away. Dave picked me up off the floor, and then picked up my chair, and he said, "I liked the way you were trying to be all nonchalant." And that made me laugh again, and Bob called right at that instant, and I was laughing so hard that I couldn't speak.

Laughter like that is good for you, I just wish I didn't have to fall out of my chair to achieve it.

One night last week I was walking out to the parking lot with Jeff, and talking, and not really paying attention to what my feet were doing, and I fell over my own feet. And Dave reminded me of the time I few months ago when I was walking out of his office and fell over Simon and crashed into the opposite wall.

I tend to try to look at these things as warning signals that I should be paying more attention to what I'm doing. It usually does work--I'm very aware every time I walk down the stairs at home--it only took falling down them twice to make an impression. And I try to be aware of where Simon is when I'm walking out of Dave's office, and in the parking lot, I try to be aware of all these round seedpods about the size of a walnut--when you step on one, it's like stepping on a marble.

And I guess now I need to be aware that my chair isn't exactly stable, and I can fall right out of it. Somebody said, "Did you lean over too far?" Now that would have been even more embarrassing.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I really enjoyed my two weeks with the Olympics. I didn't really watch a lot--certainly not anywhere near the amount of coverage that was actually broadcast--probably only about two hours a night. I did enjoy it, though. There were a couple of people who remarked in the comments that they had started watching the Olympics this year to see what I was talking about, and ended up enjoying them, too.

As I said earlier, I probably enjoy the side stories about the athletes as much as, or more than, the actual competitions. I enjoyed watching Apolo Anton Ohno. He's a cute guy, of course, and easy to watch, but he seems pretty down-to-earth and normal, and while confident, doesn't seem to have the swelled head that so many of the athletes tend to get.

I hated to see the downhill skiing crashes, and I gasped when the female skiier's newly-operated-on knee blew out on her run; and I agree with Picabo Street in her article about the Ski Team--Julia Mancuso's tiara and Resi Stiegler's pearls and tiger ears--what's up with that? I'm sure that there is lots of stuff that goes on in the Olympic Village that we wouldn't care to know about, but for the most part, the athletes comport themselves with dignity and professionalism during their events.

I have to admit that I did enjoy the snowboarding "kids," though -- their sport seems to lend itself more to showing off rather than true professionalism--although I know that they are obviously professionals and athletes. Lindsey Jacobellis's unfortunate fall while she was seemingly on her way to a gold medal is hard to criticize--hotdogging is part of the sport, more so than the (mostly) serious downhill skiers.

Anyway, in a couple of years I'll have the Summer Olympics to look forward to. Beijing should be interesting.

John sent me a CD with his Mexico pictures, and there were a few more that I thought I'd share. Bob at the Marina either before or after their fishing trip:

Another photo from the restaurant downtown:

And Bob and Craig at the little outdoor bar in the middle of a group of shops in downtown PV:

I had a little meltdown when we were shopping that day. The only one of the trip, I think, so I suppose that's not bad. I had made the rounds of the little shops, and found a bracelet in one of them that I wanted. But I wanted to look at everything else first before I decided, then I couldn't remember which shop it was in, and couldn't find it again. And Bob was bored, and ready to leave, and tired of waiting for me. Of course, it's impossible to shop when you know someone is waiting for you, and I got a little bit upset.

But we went and had a snack and drinks, and I found a bracelet later in a different shop--not like the one I'd seen earlier, but actually probably more suited to me--and Bob bought me the terracotta sun ornament that I showed earlier, and everything was fine.

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