Sunday, July 31, 2005

You Can Take the Girl Away from the Salmon, but You Can't Get the Salmon Off of the Girl

At least not without several vigorous handwashings.

I helped out last night (and the night before, and the afternoon and night before that) with a friend's wedding; actually it's her two older sisters I am closest to, and as the oldest one was doing a good deal of the work, it was her that I was working for and with. I did assorted tasks leading up to the wedding, but on the night of, I was put in charge of food distribution. It was me, a few other ladies, and a whole lot of delectables that had to be set out for 200 guests. Before the ceremony, I familiarized myself and my help with the locations of all the empty dishes that would be filled and gave loose instructions, those instructions being, "If something is getting empty, fill it up" and also, "If I ask you to take something out to the table, take it out to the table." I'm thorough.

What proved to be most difficult to keep up with were the fruit kabobs and the salmon. At one point, two ladies were filling kabob plates and hustling them out to the table, while I was kept on my toes cutting and transferring filets of salmon from oven to temporary dish to plate on the buffet, weaving in and out and around the guests all the while. Out of the oven, into the pan, slice, sprinkle, transfer. Lather, rinse, repeat. Dang, you wedding guests go through a lot of salmon. For a solid hour my life was all about the salmon, with a few rolls and chicken nuggets thrown in. Hats off to the ladies who kept up with everything else, because really, I don't think I could have done anything and still kept those guests in salmon. I was Salmon Girl, and I was...getting really tired. By the time everyone had gone through the line, I had cut and transferred so much salmon, that even after washing up, my hands still smelled like it. Even after I got home and got ready for bed, my hands still bore the aroma.

Sad part about all of this?

I don't even like salmon.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sometimes My Crazy Ideas Actually Turn Out To Be Good Ones

Some time ago, probably after, you know, smoking some crack or something, I told my mom that I thought it would be fun to take Jack and Mary Liz to Silver Dollar City. She remembered, of course, and later invited us to meet her, my dad, and my nephew Zach there for an overnight. We made the plans, she booked the hotel, and last Sunday at 12:30 I picked them up for our excursion.

They had a blast, and my head didn't explode the whole time, so I'd say that the trip was a success. In fact, I almost wished we'd had more time. When I dropped them off at home on Monday night, they were excited, and I was exhausted. I guess it was enough time after all...

ANYway, where was I? Oh, yes. The whole point of this post is to tell you that there are pictures in a nice little set over at my flickr page. If you've been visiting my photos on a regular basis, you've seen them already, but if not, scoot on over to the set by clicking here. Enjoy. And feel free to tell us we're adorable. We like that sort of thing.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Friend Tim Samoff is Like, Famous and Stuff

See?

That's a mention in the New York Times. Impressive!

Visit Tim's fabulous blog by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Emergency Procedure

Jack to Mary Liz: If you see a girl screaming and then she falls over and she's not breathing, don't just sit there and pray for her. Go to another place and dial 9 [pause] 1 [pause] 1. [longer pause] And don't dial 6-9-2, because I think that's a bad guy's number. Dial 9 [pause] 1 [pause] 1.

Good GRIEF, People

Apparently I can't leave this blog alone for long without all hell breaking loose. Or at least I can't leave it alone if I say something negative about America's favorite cyclist. But whatever. Here are the points I'd like to make:

1. I respect that some of you really like Lance Armstrong and admire him. I still reserve the right to wish he'd go away already. Of the two sides in the story of his family life, his is actually the one I've read. I think I've given him a fair shake, and by saying I don't like him, I am not discounting the good things he's done. I just don't value his celebrity, and I guess I'm not much on athletic achievement as a measure of a man or woman. Many great athletic achievements have been made by men (and women, gotta be fair) who are, in my opinion, in some (or many) ways, self-serving bastards. (Google Reinhold Messner, another object of my displeasure.) But that's my opinion, and I could be wrong. If my opinion on Lance (or Reinhold) ever changes, I'll eat crow and proclaim it here IN ALL CAPS JUST LIKE THIS.

2. As previously mentioned, there are two sides to every story. Which includes the "stories" in my comments section as well.

3. If you wrote a very long comment (or more than one), I am very sorry, but I've been a busy woman, and I just skimmed them. I've decided to do what I do when the kids argue in the car and turn up the radio while you work it out amongst yourselves. (Also, I said "hate mail" not "hate comments" or "hate one another's opinions.")

4. Behold, Mary Liz and I are cute. No, really, look at us in all our cuteness:

just try to say we are the cutest things EVER

Yes, it's a little blurry, but I think you can still tell how cute we really are. Also that we are riding bears. Bears! Cute!

5. In order that I might get all the hateration out of the way, and so that if you're going to egg my apartment, you can do it now so I can clean it up and move on with the rest of my life: I also can't stand Tom Petty or Lenny Kravitz and I wish they'd both just go away and keep their songs off the air and out of my grocery store. The sound of their music makes me want to vomit. Deal with THAT, why don't ya?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

You Can Send Me Hate Mail If You Want

I can't stand Lance Armstrong. I know he's a great athlete, extraordinary, really, and he's done a lot for people with cancer through his foundation, but I just can't get over the whole "divorcing my wife, mother to my three children, very sad, blah, blah, blah, single, but not for long because hey! Sheryl Crow!" thing. I know a lot of people are willing to overlook this, and I'm sure there are two sides to every story, but I think he put his family life on the line in favor of being a better athlete, and I just don't respect that at all. I don't care if he wins his seventh Tour de France; in fact, I was kind of hoping he wouldn't. Actually, I didn't want him to win his sixth. So there.

Sorry, Lance fans.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Yes, I Have Sunk This Low

I don't think I've ever paid money to join a fan club. A fan club. For money. I joined. For real. And I think I get a free poster and maybe some wristbands or something.

But it's a worthy cause, and I mean it. The John Mayer Trio will be playing at the Uptown in September, and guess who is opening? Guess! Guess! Guess! Who has the number one spot on my iTunes Play Count? Who did I drive all the way to Boulder to see? Who? Who? YES! Ray "Freaking Awesome Live Show" LaMontagne. Two of my favorite artists! In one venue! On the same night! And it's a much smaller venue than "Give Us All Your Money, We Want More" Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, which I loathe with my entire being.

So I joined John Mayer's fan club so that I can get the pre-sale tickets. I'm such a lame-o.

Anybody want to go with me? I'm serious. Let me know. Uh, by Tuesday. Next Tuesday. The 26th. 11am. I'd love to have some company, so long as you don't mind hanging out with a LAME-O.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Push Cart? CHECK! Plastic Baggie for my Head? CHECK! Apparent Cat Obsession? DOUBLE CHECK!

I couldn't let Shiz stand alone as the only crazy cat lady. I'm here to join the club. With pride. I will now talk about my cat and bore you with pictures, pretending that you'll think they are so cute and couldn't you just die from all that cuteness on one web page.

Ahem.

This is Phae when she was just a wee tiny kitten who was afraid to get down off the arm of the sofa:

baby phae

For an entire week prior to this, she had holed up under the sofa, and I had laid on my side next to it, with a handful of tuna, arm extended to where she could just barely not reach it. As the week wore on, I moved farther and farther away, and she was forced to emerge or go tuna-less. Once she was out, she was out, and she proceeded to learn to climb up on all the furniture, including my bed, where she would settle herself on my pillow as if she were making herself into a furry little hat for me.

She still does that sometimes. Can you see why I love her?

cat and mouse

She also lets me do pretty much anything to her, including forcing her into elaborate interpretive dances and other animal imitations (she does a spectacular bear imitation, if I do say so myself). She'll let me carry her around in awkward positions for extended periods of time. She's kind of a ho for some lovin', to be honest, and if I'll pet her, she'll let me do as I please. I love this about her.

I also love the way she curls up against my back at night when I've turned the air conditioner up too high.

phae, sinister feline

So when she got sick a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't know if it was serious or not, I took her to the Big Dollar Vet (aka Mission MedVet) after hours. I was having a hard time anyway, and I couldn't stand the thought of losing her.

restful phae

And so I put my MasterCard in my pocket, and I braved the scary basement all alone to get her cardboard carrier out, and we went to the vet. They gave her a kitty IV and checked her out, told me she'd live, and then they sent her home with me. I've never been so relieved in all my life.

Along with the kitty, I also brought home a sheet of instructions and a packet of pills to be administered twice a day for two weeks. We finished her dosage today, and we are both pleased. Not only are we done with the struggle, but I am proud to say that of all the times she bit me as I was shoving her pill into her mouth, she only broke the skin once. Now that's a good kitty.

end of the day conversation

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Announcement! Announcement! Announcement!

I, Mary, have finally (drumroll, please)..............................filed my bills.

Thank you, thank you very much.

I found a bill in the pile from February 2nd. Is that bad? Or do you think I was a little hasty in filing? Could I have maybe waited until August?

Whatever the case, the job is done. Later this same evening I went on to do my dishes and eat cookies for dinner. Extraordinary accomplishments for sure.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Gimme Back My Money


making citibank work for me
Originally uploaded by marymuses.
I'm not a big fan of credit cards. Let's start there. I've gotten into a lot of trouble with them, and getting out is not easy or pleasant. I thought about cutting them all up and throwing them away until I realized something:

They'll give you things for using that card. Things like MONEY. I just made $51.22.

It's all about the low credit limit and a little bit of self-control. Every time I make a purchase, I'm helping Citibank give back some of the money they've robbed from me over the years.

Nothing like sticking it to the man and walking straight to the bank.

(Disclaimer: If you have no self-control, don't try this. You'll need to be able to pay off your balance every month in order to stick it to the man and take back some money. Otherwise, sorry, but you'll be paying more interest than you're getting back on your dividend check. Be smart.)

A Note From the Complaints Department

There are only four cosmic sprinkles on the cosmic brownie I just dropped in my bag as a movie snack. Um, excuse me, Little Debbie, but four sprinkles is just not cosmic enough for me.

Really, Winning the Friend Version of the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes is Much Better Than Winning the Real Thing

I have the most wonderful friends.

I also have cosmic brownies and chocolate milk, thanks to one of those wonderful friends, who gave to me so extravagantly even though she isn't even close to being made of money.

I have had company whenever I wanted or needed it. I am so grateful for that.

And cute new shoes, thanks to my mom. See:

cute.  new.  shoes.

They look perfectly adorable and sound just lovely on my hardwood floors. I heart them.

Oh, and one more thing: doughnut holes. With powdered sugar so I can get it all over my shirt. Perfect.

It's the little things that make me happy. Truly.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Repeat Offender

You know how there are some people that have a fabulous music collection and they pretty much listen to everything? They're the type that put their iPod on shuffle and are perfectly happy with all the song selections. In their iTunes Play Count, everything has similar numbers. They would never, ever, EVER annoy their neighbors by playing the same song over and over and over and over and over and over and, well, OVER.

I'm not one of those people.

Boy do I love that repeat function. I can turn a song on and listen to it for HOURS. Over and over and over and...you get the picture. Thus some songs on my Play Count have no number at all (indicating that they haven't been listened to at all since being loaded into iTunes sometime last fall) and one lucky winner currently has the number 131 proudly displayed. (It's Shelter by Ray LaMontagne, in case you were wondering.)

I guess it's one of the things that comforts me most, or that makes me smile on a day that is just so-so, just playing a certain song over and over again. Lately, there have been two.

1. I'm Yours, by Jason Mraz. Available through iTunes (exclusively, I think) on the Wordplay EP, this is just a sweet little song. At the end he sings a round with himself (tricky!). I can't say exactly why this song gets so much repeat play, but I can tell you that it's simple and light and easy to sing along to. Maybe that's just all I need in a song. If you're familiar with Mraz, or even if you're not, you may want to check it out.

2. Hush Now (Stella's Tarantella), by Over the Rhine. Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler continue to impress me not only with their music but with who they are. A couple of years ago, they dropped everything, including their tour, because their marriage was falling apart. They gave up everything else to go home and salvage something they weren't sure of anymore. To me, that speaks not only of incredible character, but also of hope. When I listen to this album, I think of that kind of hope. I think of how impressive it is, in an age when people throw away marriage so easily, that they were willing to do what it took, to leave everything else in the lurch to get back to each other. And here they are, dancing together in song, a beautiful little statement about how what is lost may yet be found.

I've lost a lot of things over the years; maybe some of them I've never had at all. Some things, I'm hoping, may yet be found. At least I'm ready to start looking. Even if I have to leave everything else in the lurch.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Onward and...Onward?? I Guess We'll See...

In a few minutes I leave for my first visit to my new counselor. In reality, she's not new; I met her once when I was fifteen, when I was forced to cancel plans with my very best friend in order to attend a family counseling session. She was counseling my brother at the time, and later counseled him again. From where I sit, it looks like he's much better for his time with her. I'm glad to be seeing her, thankful that she knows already some things about my family, that it won't be all new.

And she...is excited!!!! With lots of exclamation points!!!!!!! She sounded downright exuberant when I spoke with her on the phone today. She gave me the rates, told me how to get to her office, and then expressed over and over again how excited! she! is! to! begin! this! process! And I thought, "Wow. Well at least one of us is getting some genuine joy from my trauma."

Here I go...

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

Today I had a really bad day. To be honest, I wanted to die. I'm not the type to kill myself, but I wasn't going to argue if death stopped for me. I am not blaming any one situation, which I want to make clear for those of you who know me and know about my life. There was a catalyst, sure, but the catalyst had less to do with my breakdown than the years of pent up hurt did. It just happened to be the last straw--that one small straw which broke the proverbial camel's back. But boy did that back need breaking.

The only thing I could think of as I sat in front of my computer crying was that I wanted my mom. I didn't even know why--I've never really been able to tell her anything--but I wanted her. So I called her and I told her to come. And then I knew exactly why, suddenly, I needed her. It was because, after all these years, I needed to tell her the truth. I needed her to know the truth about my life.

From the ratty chair in the living room, where I sat with William the Small Blue Hippo, I confessed to the big hole inside that I'd been carrying around for years, maybe my whole life, the big hole that I'd tried to fill with everything but what made it, which is the lack of a connection with my dad, and also with her. I told her that I felt like I couldn't touch them, like I couldn't tell them what my life had been like, that there were so many things I couldn't say because I was afraid. Afraid of hurting them, afraid of offending them, afraid of them feeling ashamed of the daughter they have. I told her about the long string of men who had come and gone, about wanting to die, about desperately needing some help. She moved from the couch to the coffee table, close enough to touch me, and told me some things of her own. And then she hugged me. A lot. And it felt good.

I'll be seeing a counselor soon. I wanted you to know that, too. It's important to me that I get better. It's important to me that I learn how to live.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Experiment: Month Seven

For those of you who have been following along for awhile, you know what I'm writing about when I give you these updates every month on or around the eleventh. For the full scoop, you can go back to December 11 and read "Inventory". I'm too lazy, and tired, honestly, to go fetch the link myself.

This last month has perhaps been the most challenging of all. I've had some financial ills and some personal ills and some just plain inconveniences. But it's been good for me. I've seen many small miracles, not the least of which was finally understanding how to graciously receive. I can't say I've mastered it yet, but I'm beginning to understand a little better how to say, "Yes, thank you, I would love it if you would buy me dinner" without feeling ashamed and also, "I'm lonely and a little sad, what are you doing tonight?" I am learning how to allow others to fill my needs without feeling bad about having them.

Some of you who are reading are those who have filled my needs, and I would like to say a special thank you. You know who you are--you who have bought me dinners, you who have brought things when I could bring nothing, you who have encouraged me along the way. You, especially you, who have welcomed me in when I needed your kind hearts more than I needed anything else. I am humbled by the way I am so generously loved.

Thank you, with many thousands of thanks, and may this eighth month of my little experiment see us all prosper in the ways that are most important. Bless you, one and all.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

For What It's Worth

I extend my thoughts, prayers, and condolences towards London. I pray comfort for those who have lost someone they love, healing for those who are injured, and justice for those who would be so unkind as to bring hurt into the world on purpose. And as far as that last one goes, I'm not just talking about the terrorists.

May London be soothed.

As for you, count your blessings, will you? It is a good day to be thankful simply to be safe and alive, and for that thankfulness to spur us to extend our hearts and hands to others.

Bah. And also: Meh. And maybe: Humbug. (But I think that last one is just for displays of Christmas-type displeasure.)

And also? Mission MedVet is for SUCKAHS. They should put it at the bottom of the discharge paper:

In addition to the instructions above, in which we have inserted your cat's name to make it seem as if we drew these up just for her, we would like to add the following: Your cat did not pee in a manner that would allow urinalysis, though we understand she did pee small bits all over your clean sheets and the liner of her kitty crate. Since you would not consent to pay for a $165 x-ray to rule out kidney stones, we're sending you and your straining, blood-peeing cat home with antibiotics we're assuming she needs. Thanks for being worried enough to believe us when we said it was an emergency so you should definitely bring her in right away, even though neither a UTI or kidney stones can actually kill her overnight. Please pay us $143.69 of your hard-earned, non-existent cash. Thank you for your business, SUCKAH.

Paging Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, come in Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. I NEED YOU PUBLISHER'S CLEARINGHOUSE SWEEPSTAKES.

(On a side note: Crappy week, send love. Thanks.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Advisory: Please Hide All Chocolate and Chocolate Type Products

First, I want to point out that that one car in the parking lot next door has the cutest horn sound ever. Truly. It honks its little honk every night when its owner puts it to sleep, and it is unbearably cute. If I ever get a new car, I want one with a horn just like that.

Next, the chocolate. Let me just admit that I made brownies for the express purpose of licking out the brownie batter in the bowl, that I left extra batter in the bowl to satisfy my immediate need, and when the actual brownies emerge from the oven, I will definitely not be paying any attention to the part of the instructions that read, "Cut and serve when completely cooled." As if. I've finished off a bag of milk chocolate chips and the remains of a carton of Edy's Grand Light French Silk Ice Cream just waiting for these suckers to finish baking.

It's not very interesting, but there it is. Guard your cabinets, people; I'm coming for your chocolate next.

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Blog Is Born

Let's give a great big marymuses welcome to Todd's brand new blog!!!!

Welcome to the blog-o-rama, Todd.