Thursday, December 21, 2006


Help! My grandmother's house doesn't have internet access! I'm feeling all jittery with the detox!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bad luck in threes

What is it that they say about things coming in threes? Like Raiders of the Lost Ark movies or the number of successful Baldwin brothers. Well after Kitty dying and then Margaret's purse getting stolen, I was bracing myself for the worst... like a fiery plane crash, catching eczema from the person sitting next to me on the plane, or having the missionaries hassle me in the Salt Lake airport (Shudder). Perhaps I was being too pessimistic. Last night while we were packing, a major wind storm blew into Portland and knocked our power out. While stumbling around the house and packing our luggage by flashlight, I was hoping that if was the third in our current string of bad luck, I don't mind it one bit. Plus think of all the money it saved us in electricity charges!

We're waiting in the airport right now, and contrary to previous trips, I think I only forgot one thing. Of course it was the materials to bake a kransekake (a almond cookie that has a secret ingredient that makes you crave it unmercifully until its all eaten, even if that means eating half of it by yourself... and that secret ingredient is POWDERED sugar!). Anyway, last night when I called my grandmother and aunt they reminded me of all the baking to be done next week and I thanked them for reminding me to pack the materials for the Norwegian treat. Well, in the ensuing chaos of the power outage I totally spaced it. And I can't even bake my famous Jack Daniels-infused fruitcake as a replacement, since the closest place in Utah to get Jack Daniels is Wyoming! Oh well, there's always Christmas Cap'n Crunch marshmallow squares.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I feel so violated

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ready for 2006 to be over. During the course of the year, we've had some not so optimal things happen to us, and we thought that Kitty dying was on par... closing out the year exactly how we expect. Well, the Fates had more store for us. Last night, while Margaret was in the throes of grief while we buried Kitty, she (understandably) didn't notice that she'd left her purse on the porch. This morning, I got a call from Visa asking about suspicious charges, including Western Union wire transfers, cell phone subscription applications, a sporting goods store (gasp). The rep asked, "are you sure that your wife didn't get you a Christmas present at the sporting goods store." I was thinking, "Lady, the LAST place Margaret would find me something I wanted for Christmas would be a sporting goods store!" Anyway, I had to use the morning cancelling our credit cards, Costco card, etc. It makes me so mad that someone exploited our grief like that. And right before Christmas, too. Hope you have a Merry Frickin' Christmas you bastard!

Now I'm going to be learily experiencing these last few weeks of 2006. What else can go wrong? (Great... and we're FLYING to Utah!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Complete and utter dependence on technology

Okay, I have no idea how humanity survived without cell phones and the internets! Over the holidays, a group of mission friends are planning a get-together and without the 700 emails back and forth that the planning has generated so far, we probably wouldn't be able to pull it off. And I'm sure that on the evening of the event, we'll all burn several hundred minutes of talk time on our cell phones.

And to think that I survived in college without a cell phone. (The fact that the rates were about $3 per minute helped make that decision a little easier!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cativity Scene

Ahh, nothing says the birth of Christ like a pack of cats. And I just love the sassy pink shawl on Meow-ry's annoying neighbor Mrs. Snuggles that shows off her perky ears. The three wise cats are looking especially pious (unless they can see an injured bird that is making its way toward the stable). The fat one even brought some Meow Mix in an urn for the special occasion! And just get a load of that adorable kitten sleeping in the manger. All together, now... awwwww.

You can buy yours here.


They say waiting is the hardest part. I'll say. I totally dreaded coming home to a dead Kitty yesterday after work, but she was still ticking. After pampering her all evening, we put her back outside in her heated box. This morning, Margaret and I fought over who would have to go check to see if she survived the night. I ended up checking, and sure enough, she slowly made her way out of her box. Now I can go back to biting my nails throughout the day, not knowing what I'll come home to.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hello Kitty

Eight years ago when we moved into our house, we thought that it was the time to commit to getting a pet. We figured that it would be a great learning experience to prepare us to have children. In our thinking, by learning how to care for a cat, we would be learning valuable parenting skills... like remembering to change the litterbox, deciding whether or not to declaw, the trials of hairballs, etc. We didn't want to get a kitten, so picked out a cat at the pound... she was an older cat--the vet said about 7 years old. She wasn't very affectionate, in fact if you petted her in a manner she didn't like, she'd nip you (lesson one about being a parent). Since she was older, and who knows what her background was, she didn't really have a name she'd respond to. We eventually decided on Hello Kitty. The first night we had her home, she was sitting on our bed and Margaret noticed that Kitty was staring at the wall. Just as she said, "what are you staring at Kitty?" she felt warm liquid run through the down comforter onto her! Strike One! After a few weeks, we realized that we were going to be completely unsuccessful in breaking Kitty of her habit of completely shredding our furniture. Strike Two! Finally after some family visited and they all had severe allergic responses in our house (enough to have to stay at another friend's house because one of them couldn't breathe!) Strike Three! We kicked her out of the house and she became an outdoor cat. (So much for gaining parental wisdom... generally Child Protective Services frowns on people making their children live outside when they misbehave.)

Anyway, after becoming an outdoor cat, she also became a neighborhood cat. She was constantly at the neighbors' houses getting attention and food... most likely the latter. She did mellow over time... she didn't automatically nip people who petted her. In fact whenever she would hear people walking down the sidewalk, she'd make a beeline to the front of the house and flop on her side, expecting a petting session, which she usually got. I remember one time that we overheard some people walking by late at night say "Oh my gosh! Is that fluff or fat?" We knew they were talking about Kitty! One summer when we were taking care of our niece, we set up a swimming pool outside, and since we have a hot and cold water faucet outside, we would just give her baths outside (hopefully Child Protective Services wouldn't frown on that... even though it WAS a little white trash). Well once, our niece decided that Kitty needed a bath, too and threw her into the pool. After that, Kitty never did get within arm's reach of our niece again.

Kitty was a constant source of grief for us when we would leave town, as we have the annoying propensity to completely forget to arrange for a neighbor to feed her while we were away. I can remember several frantic times trying to arrange for feedings while we were already on our vacation. Fortunately she was never too at risk for starving, with how freely she would drop hints at the neighbors' porches.

I think Kitty trained in the Gandhi school of conflict resolution, because she was COMPLETELY non-aggressive. No matter if the animal stealing her food was a neighborhood stray cat, a raccoon, or family of opossums, she would just passively sit back an observe the theft from a distance. I swear half the cat food we've bought over the years has gone to other cats or vermin.

Well, now the point of this entry... which I've been stalling writing about. A couple of days ago, Kitty started acting very lethargic. She hasn't eaten hardly anything in the past two days, and just wants to sleep all the time. I'm worried that she won't make it through the week. I set up a little bed in the house for her to sleep in while we're at home, just to make her more comfortable. Through all this all these feelings of regrets are flooding over me. Regrets at having not taken her to the vet more often. Not letting her in the house to lay on the furnace vent more often. Not spending more time with her. Not wanting her to die, but not wanting her to suffer. We've never lived in the house without Kitty being there and that makes me so sad. I guess in the end, she did end up teaching us more about being a parent than I'd anticipated.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Pearls before swine

I saw this in the comics this morning and have to admit I feel like this sometimes:

"I'm dividing all of humanity into two lists, which I'm calling 'People I don't like' and 'People I can't stand'."

"Oh, that's very cynical... you need to make a third list of people you like and give it a nice little title."

"Hmm... you're right... I'll call it 'Future disappointments'."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dying of curiosity

Last night I came home to find out that my grandmother had called completely curious about which one of her grandchildren was the Robo-tripper discussed in yesterday's post. She was relieved to find out that it was one of my second or third cousins, probably those kids from that no-good black sheep in the family.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Utah AHEAD of the curve

I was surprised to see this headline in the paper this morning: "Youth's latest cheap high: cough medicine." The article states: "A new study concludes that robo-tripping is sharply on the rise among teenagers." What surprised me was that kids in Utah have been abusing Robotussin for years. Sure the state is backwards in regards to gender equality, progressive politics, and sex education, but at least they're ahead of the curve in finding a loophole in the Mormon prohibition of alcohol. Despite the culture equating alcoholic beverages with a ticket to Hell, those rascally teenagers found a readily available alternative that is easy to fool parents about. Robo-tripping (getting high off Robotussin) has been popular in Utah since at least the early 90's. I remember some of my cousins from rural Utah... and I mean almost AMISH rural... telling me about major parties the high schoolers would throw where they gathered to drink cough syrup. In fact it was such a problem there that a policeman was assigned to that very problem, which invariably came up every weekend. His task was so well known that he was dubbed "Robo Cop," not because of the metal plate in his head that he got in 'Nam, but because he was always on the prowl for Robotussin.

I myself had a brush with the seedy underworld of cough medicine abuse in Utah. One time, my roommate was pretty sick so I took him to the grocery store to get some cold medicine. We were standing there looking at all the options when some guy came in and grabbed a couple of botles of the store brand equivalent to Robotussin non-creatively called "Tussin." He told us, "This is the good shit." Always open to the endorsement of teen drug abusers, my roommate bought some. He decided to take the meds before we got home, and without a spoon to measure it, he just drank some straight from the bottle... and by some I mean almost half of it. By the time we got back to the apartment, he was so drunk he could barely make it up the stairs. He was staggering along, with me trying to support his tottering frame, all the while him slurring incomprehensible phrases. The gossip mill at the apartment complex hadn't had so much fodder since a couple months prior when some guy tried to kill himself by ODing on Tylenol. Evidently he liked the feeling, because the rest of the bottle was gone by the next day.

After I read today's article, I'm feeling so in-the-know in knowing about this "new" trend almost ten years before it became popular. Maybe I'll have to call my Utah cousins and find out what the latest thing in drugs is. (Now THAT'S a sentence you probably thought you'd never read!)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Artic blast

I swear! I have no idea how I was able to survive two years in the frigid temperatures of deepest, darkest Norway. Yesterday at that photography shoot, I eventually couldn't feel my hands or feet. At one point I just had to mash my fingers in the general area of the camera button in the hopes that it would be able to take a picture.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Small-town Oregon

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was going on and on about looking forward to getting out of Portland? Come on, don't you remember me talking about how cold it was, how wet it was, how annoying the pet owners who treat their animals as child surrogates were? Jeesh, I can't believe you'd forget. I'm totally insulted. (Now don't go back through the archives, because I may have been talking about it to someone in the REAL WORLD. Yes, I still do communicate away from the Internet.) Well, anyway, needless to say, I've been itching to get out of town, and last week I got notified at work that, lo and behold, I needed to do some business travel. Yay! My boss told me I needed to go out in the field and take some pictures of blah blah blah interview some people doing some stuff and to make sure that I blah blah blah Rufus, Oregon. Wha? Did he just say RUFUS? Now normally I love getting out of the office. There's only so much monitor radiation I can stand and I'm sure I'm well past my annual dosage. In fact that's why my tan hasn't faded yet, despite months of dreary weather. Anyway, while I normally look forward to the business trips to New York, Buenos Aires, or Rome (three cities I've YET to be sent to... what's up with THAT?!), I really wasn't looking forward to an overnight stay in Rufus, Oregon. Yes, RUFUS... the city just one step classier than Marmot, Oregon. Surprisingly enough, there is a hotel here and its not just some scary RV park where I'd have to park the company car and not get any sleep all night, holding a shiv in case anyone tried to break in. As it is, I'll get to hold a shiv in the comfort of a warm bed. Fortunately the walls are so thin that if something does happen, people on all three sides of me will be able to hear my cries for help.

Actually, the place can't be all that bad... it has wireless Internet, microwave, and satellite tv. My HOUSE only has two of the three, so I'm in the lap of luxury.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Educational subconsciousness

Each night when I go to bed, and just as the codeine, Nyquil, or whatever downer du jour I'm taking is kicking in, I tell my brain, "I fed you with plenty of tv during the day, so you'd better entertain me while I'm sleeping." Normally this isn't a problem; in fact you should hear some of the adventures I've had in my dreams. The latest involves a kryptonite knife-wielding lunatic that was trying to stab me because I was Superman... but I'll recount that story later. Well, every once in a while, my brain will trick me me into LEARNING something. The things I've been taught are pretty hit or miss, though. Every useful bit of learning, like that showing up to work naked isn't as embarrassing as it would seem and is actually quite liberating, is counterbalanced with something not as useful, like if you hold onto the magic lightbulb REALLY tighly, you can FLY! Well, last night was a first in that my subconscious reminded me of an accident I was involved with that I had evidently repressed. For the past few days, my foot has been hurting off and on. Initially, I was worried that it might be cancer or, worse BUNIONS (actually I don't know what a bunion is, but the horror of that word sounds worse than cancer!). Mind you it hasn't been bad enough to see a doctor, or buy that Freedom-rider 6000 electric wheelchair I've been eyeing, but still. Anyway, last night I dreamt that I was on the bus and Arnold Schwarzenegger got on. Everything was going smoothly until the bus driver had to slam on the brakes because a giant Amazon woman was making grilled cheese sandwiches in the middle of the road. The resulting lurch propelled the Governator to lose his balance and stomp on my foot as he caught himself. When I woke up, I realized that that was why my foot had been hurting! Not because Ahh-nold had done it, but another passenger had; and we lurched because of a car cutting us off, not because of a warrior maiden making lunch, but you get the connection. Needless to say, when I remembered the incident, I was greatly relieved. Now I know that my injury is just a broken bone and not the debilitating and embarrassing curse of bunions. (Although I won't cancel my order for the Freedom-rider 6000... you never know when one of those will come in handy.)