Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Don't tell anyone. I applied for a new job today.

It's not even that I am really interested in a new job. It's just... well, it was there. And it looked promising. And it had a real title (Editorial Assistant). And it's for a real company, so maybe there are medical AND dental benefits, sick time, and vacation/holidays. Of course, they might not give me Fridays off.

Could I live with that?

The posting asked for applicants to send in their salary requirements. I hate that. I danced around it (and I'm sure they know I was dancing) by stating that I wasn't married to any particular number with regards to salary, depending on what benefits were offered.

So, I applied. And if I don't hear back, well, I won't be too terribly disappointed. After all, I do like my Fridays off.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Last Days

Last week, I found out that my friend, Darlene, is dying and only has a couple of weeks to live. As soon as I heard, I knew I had to go see her. But knowing what I had to do and actually doing it were two different things.

Since I had a four-day weekend, I thought I would go down and visit her on Friday. I did not. Instead I visited Savers and Goodwill and tried to ignore the fact that my friend was in a hospice with only a few days left of her life.

On Saturday, Todd asked me if I was going to visit... I mumbled something about having to call her sister, and of course, did not. The energy I put into ignoring what I should have done on Friday wore me down. I was lethargic and spent most of the day at home, in my sweats, wondering when the best time to call Darlene's sister would be.

Sunday I woke up and just felt that I needed to get down to see Darlene. I didn't call her sister, who probably wasn't at home anyway. Instead, I called the hospice, discovered that I could come any time, and wrote down directions. I hopped into the shower, threw on some clothes, and drove down to Fair Oaks before I could rethink the trip.

The trip should've only taken me 2 hours and 11 minutes, but of course the directions I got were wrong. After driving aimlessly up and down Elkhorn/Greenback Blvd, I stopped at Long's and got a map. After locating the hospice on the map, I was back on the road and at the hospice at the 3 hour mark. The timing was probably good, as I got there after lunch.

Everyone I spoke to at the hospice seemed to know Darlene, so finding her room was not difficult. That didn't surprise me; with as many friends as Darlene has, I'm sure her room has been a hot spot of activity.

When I entered her room, her sister was there. I reintroduced myself, and Lynette guided me over to Darlene's bed, and placed me in her vision (apparently she is having trouble seeing, so in order for her to focus on me, I had to be directly in her sight area). Darlene had recognized my voice, so I thought the visit would go well.

I was wrong.

Not that the visit was a disaster; it wasn't. It was just very awkward at times. I talked with Darlene, and every time she offered up a bit of conversation, her speech would either just end or something odd would be inserted into a sentence. For example, she was telling me about her flowers, and then she said something like "and the bunny was so fluffy and it went down the trail..." In that instance, she stopped, looked confused and then said "I'm not sure why I said that." Sometimes, though, her speech would just fade out... and she looked confused as if wondering what she had been saying and why she had just said what she did.

Darlene looked so frail. It was heart-breaking to see her like that. I did notice, though, that her hands and feet were well manicured. Her sister was obviously taking good care of her.

Lynette was so matter of fact about things. In explaining to me why the room was so plain (there were rooms that were well-appointed and nicely decorated, but this wasn't one of them) she said that this is one of the rooms at the hospice in which only those who weren't going to last long stayed. She said the walls were bare so that they could be decorated with cards and posters and whatever the patient wanted.

I didn't stay long. I was afraid that I was tiring Darlene out, and she still had a visit from her son, daughter, and grandson to deal with later in the afternoon. I said good-bye, and left behind a small gift and card.

I thought I would cry, but I didn't. However, when saying good-bye, I did get teary-eyed. Darlene, though, said not to worry, that it was all in God's plan and she was at peace with it all.

That last part sums up Darlene best...she had accepted the certainty of death and faced it head on, no fear. True to herself, even to the end.

Darlene... I will miss you.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

On Jeans

I find jeans to be a strange phenomenon. After they're washed, they're tight as heck. After they've been on for a couple of hours, they've stretched out enough to be comfortable. Should that same pair of jeans be put on the next day, they seem to have grown, and the fit is no longer "perfect."

Lately though, almost all of my jeans have been tight, even after wearing them for a day. My thighs have seemed to bear the brunt of this tightness, and once freed from my jeans, display the battle scars of seams pressed in too tightly.

Imagine my surprise when I put on a pair of my not-quite-too-tight-but-almost jeans this morning. I expected that after a couple of hours, the seam pressure would be too much for me. But no, after 2.5 weeks of induction, these jeans feel pretty darn good, and dare I say it, comfortable.

Now granted, this is a pair I wore (just after washing) three weeks ago, and had to take off after a few hours because they were just too uncomfortable. I put them aside, and forgot about them until this morning. So, yes, they'd been stretched out just a tad... still... just a couple of weeks ago they wouldn't have been this comfortable.

And this is why I have a love/hate relationship with Atkins. Atkins, when done properly, works. Yet, I will confess to missing garlic cheese toast, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and baskets of bread. But when I put on these jeans, those sacrifices make it all worth it.

So, thank you Dr. Atkins for helping me to fit back into my jeans. Now if you can just get me into my favorite pair of Gap jeans, I would be so grateful that I'll never look at a piece of bread again with lust in my eyes.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Darlene was one of my first friends at the company I worked for in Fremont, CA. She took me under her wing, invited me to parties, placed me on the Activity Committee, and introduced me around. Older than me by about 20 years (in fact her oldest boy was my age), she treated me as if I was a daughter.

Sometimes Darlene could be annoying. Overbearing. She had opinions about everything, many of them uninformed. However, she was a workhorse, and she supported not one, not two, but three very demanding executives. She kept them all in line, on time, and organized. She made sure the President sent birthday cards to each employee, and wasn't afraid to stand up to him if he was sluffing off.

Darlene always was and still is a thoughtful person. She never missed anyone's birthday, and gave each employee (over 65 of them!) a birthday gift and a card on their special day. A gift she bought and picked out.

She decorated the office building for each and every holiday, from major ones (like Christmas) to minor ones (like Cinco de Mayo). She did this on her own time, after hours, and her decorations were always extravagant and whimsical. And, she made sure the Activity Committee had something fun planned for each holiday, from simple raffles to large parties.

Darlene was also very active in the community. When her kids were in school, she was a Scout Leader. Later, she was involved in a car group. And when I knew her, she was a community safety volunteer, and taught lifesaving classes.

A few years after I started working with Darlene, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it valiantly and cheerfully. She was not going to let it get the best of her, and she fought back with every ounce of strength she had. She took delight in wearing stylish wigs and didn't let on if she was scared.

Darlene retired the year before I left the company, determined to enjoy retirement to the fullest. I was there to feel her loss. Holidays were never the same without her, and birthdays went by unnoticed. It was lonely and lifeless at work without her.

We kept in touch; I even visited her once at her new home in Lincoln City. However, with all the relationship drama in my life recently, contact from me drifted off into nothingness. So imagine my shock when I received an email today from an old work friend to tell me that Darlene is dying of bone cancer and has MAYBE three weeks to live.

I'm shocked. And saddened beyond comprehension.

Every work place needs a Darlene. Every community needs a Darlene. And everybody needs a friend like Darlene.

I felt safe and happy, knowing she was around. And after receiving that email, I feel scared and lonely knowing she might not be around for long.

I wish everyone a Darlene in their life. And if you are lucky enough to have a Darlene, cherish her. She might not always be around.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Happy Anniversary

This Wednesday, hunky and I will celebrate eight years together with a counseling session. He also promised that if I'm still talking to him afterwards, we'll go out to dinner.

And if I'm not talking to him? Guess he's having cyanide for din-din.

Hair Apparent

You know your hair looks bad when even your mother, who's idea of dressing up is combing her hair and putting on her clean pair of Keds, comments on the length of your roots.

Well, luckily for mom, Debbie fixed my root problem and all is well with my scalp. At least for a few more weeks...

Netflix Joy

Yes, you read that right: Netflix joy. Sure, they've been screwing with me lately. A lot. Still, I have to hand it to them, they managed to send me two really good movies without much waiting on my part.

The movies? Shopgirl and Last Holiday.

I read Shopgirl a few years ago, and of course developed my own mental image of what the characters should look like. Without going into much detail, let's just say they didn't look at all like Steve Martin or Claire Danes. So, when I first started watching the movie, I had trouble getting into it, because my mental images kept getting in the way.

Thankfully that only lasted about 15 minutes, and soon I was immersed in the story of Mirabelle & Roy & Jeremy. I hear the movie received tepid reviews, however I loved it. I even cried at the end, which means I was emotionally involved. I would give this movie two painted toes up.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from Last Holiday. I knew it starred Queen Latifah, but let's face it: while she's been in some great movies, she's also been in some awful ones as well. Still, it looked like a movie I might enjoy, so I put it in my cue. Let's just say, I wasn't disappointed.

Last Holiday is definitely a family movie. There is maybe two instances of cursing, and that's about it. The rest of the story is cute, and it never drags. Queen Latifah brings life to the main character, and LL Cool J is, as always, cool.

Next on my Netflix list: Rumor Has It. I can't hardly wait!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Keep On Truckin'

Boy, that Jennifer... she sure is tenacious. She decided to try a different tack with me today. Oh sure, she sent me her regular "Want to hook up tonight" email. However, knowing that I would like to make more money, she also sent me an email with the subject "Want to make more money at home working part-time?"

Um. Jennifer... if you're wondering if I want to make the more money the same way you do, working the graveyard shift from my bedroom with my legs up in the air, I have to give that one a pass. Thanks for thinking of me, though.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This and That

I've received lots of emails and snail mail from people who have been concerned about me. I have some very good friends; thank you all.

I haven't written much about what's going on as there isn't really anything new to say. Todd & I are still going to couples' counseling. We still bicker. He's still unsure as to whether or not he wants to be with me. I'm still fragile inside. And the beat goes on...

Two weeks ago, I spent a few days in the Bay Area because my dad underwent cataract surgery. He needed me to take him to the hospital, pick him up, and take him to his follow-up appointment the next day.

My dad is 70. He looks great; not a day over 69. But, this is the first time his age really hit me hard. What if something went wrong while he was under? What if he had a bad reaction to the medication? All those thoughts and their brothers just ran around my head. I was worried, but I didn't want to let on that I was worried.

The worry was all for naught. My dad recovered quickly from surgery; he was alert 10 minutes after it was over with. He also had no pain whatsoever. The only drawback is that Kaiser wouldn't change his prescription, as his eye might adjust a bit still, so it's easier for him to go without glasses than to wear his wonky prescription. That makes my mom nervous to no end, especially when he's behind the wheel (although I understand he has cut down on his driving jaunts).

This past weekend, I again went to the Bay Area to help my mom celebrate Mother's Day. It was a really great visit... short, though, as I wasn't able to leave until early (5 am) Saturday morning, and had to come back mid-day on Sunday. Maybe that's the key to family harmony: short visits.

I also started a new class: Runes. My Risting instructor is teaching it. I just love him to pieces. He's an excellent and learned instructor, and so passionate about magickal things.

Last but not least, the cottage... I'm still not sure what to do about it. I really should contact a realtor. At the very least, a realtor might be able to hook me up with a contractor that will really get the work done. That way, the cottage will be sellable.

Of course, there's always that "will we or won't we stay together" thing that makes me wonder if getting rid of the cottage is a wise move at this particular point in my life... but thinking about it just makes my head hurt.

Just Call Me Ringo

Today I played the air drums along with the radio's airing of Funkytown. Nobody clapped. What is wrong with people? Don't they recognize pure air drum genius when they see it?

Enough whining...Let's go to Funkytown!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Damn, Woman!"

Speaking of penises (oh come on now, you know you were), I have a somewhat interesting story to tell that doesn't have to do with me whatsoever, except for the fact that the star of the story told it to me (along with several others) in class last night.

A little bit of background music first, please: I belong to the local metaphysical store's Yahoo! group. Members of the group belong to several different pagan communities in the area; it's sort of a melting pot of local pagans, if you will. So, for a few weeks before Beltane, there was all kinds of talk about the different Beltane rituals happening in the area (not to mention arguments over whose would be better, blah, blah, blah).

A guy in my class is also on the list. This guy, we shall call him Dudley, lives out of his van, and believe me, it shows. He's probably about 300 pounds, has very few teeth, wears clothes that are torn and ragged, and kind of... smells. Bad. Still, he's really intelligent, and while people may not always agree with him, he is able to answer just about anyone's question about anything pagan-related.

Anyway, during the Beltane discussions it came out that one group was holding their ritual indoors this year, because the normal outdoor spot was too difficult to get to, given that there was still a lot of snow and ice up there. Dudley chimed in that the indoor ritual held no interest for him; that Beltane was a sexually-charged ritual, and he wouldn't get to experience the sweet sounds of sex he heard last year.

Well. You would’ve thought he flashed the whole group by the response. People assumed he was looking to troll the ritual for a sex partner, and they got nasty about it. "Dudley, who'd even want to have sex with you, you stinky, homeless, toothless man?" Even after Dudley explained himself by stating that there was a couple near last year's campsite who had noisy sex, which instead of deterring from the celebration actually seemed to add to it, people still got on his case. One of the moderators (my instructor) had to put a stop to the abuse.

Now, it was even clear to prudish me that he wasn't going to the Beltane ritual for sex. Yet, people just wanted to read what they wanted to read, and a part of me wondered if they were just looking for yet another reason to chastise this guy. And, after my instructors demand that it all stop, it did... sort of.

Cut to last night's class. Dudley was late, and when he came in, he was noisy and boisterous and almost giddy. He apologized to the class several times for his giggling. When class was over, he asked our instructor if he could take over to spill some good news... to tell us why he was so happy. Our instructor said yes.

Dudley began telling us about a situation that happened at work that day. The story centered on visitors at the worksite, a small, diminutive man and a tall, Amazonian woman. The man, clearly dominant, bossed the woman around all day. Dudley said he couldn't quite figure out their relationship, as the woman didn't seem to be submissive, yet she put up with this tiny guy's antics. However, at lunchtime, the small man and Amazonian woman began to argue in the lunchroom.

Dudley started to leave, and happened to walk behind the small man just as he raised up his hand to whack the woman. Dudley moved quickly, grabbed the man's arm from behind and said "Oh no you don't." The man struggled and yelled and said he could treat his woman any way he liked. The woman was crying, and Dudley suggested that she leave. She did.

Dudley's boss came in and when the small man began to make accusations, the boss just ignored him and asked Dudley if he needed any help in subduing the small man. Dudley said no, he had it under control. The man finally stopped struggling and so he was freed to go back to work.

After work, Dudley walked over to the 7/11 to use the pay phone to call our instructor. While he was placing the call, serendipitously the couple he'd seen at work drove by in a car. It was clear that they were arguing. Soon, the car pulled over and dropped the woman off. She slammed the door, and began to hitch a ride.

Dudley walked over to her and asked if he could give her a ride. She said sure, and she was glad to see him, because she never did get a chance to thank him properly for stepping in earlier. Dudley said no problem, and drove her home.

When they got to her place, she invited him up and said she really wanted to thank him properly. However, before she did, she felt he should know that she was a transsexual. Dudley's response? "Damn, woman! Who did your surgery? You look wonderful!" Then he followed her up, and let her thank him "properly." I take it she didn't write him a note...

Anyway, he was clearly happy, and most everyone in class congratulated him on his conquest. After all, it's true... there is someone for everyone. Even a Beltane cast-out.

Go Dudley!

Am I Lonely Tonight?

I have to hand it to Jennifer. She sure is persistant. Not a day goes by when I don't get 5-8 emails from her, asking if I want to hook up. The thing is, if Jennifer had been paying any attention to me at all, she'd know I wasn't into girls.

It's my penis. It confuses them every time.

Day 3

Let me tell you, induction is not for the weak. On today's menu of symptoms, I have a migraine, hunger, and strong lethargy. However, there is good news: I weigh two pounds less than I did on Monday.

Just a few more pounds to go before I (hopefully) fit back into my favorite pair of jeans. But because I'm a logical kind of gal, I do have a backup plan: get another pair of favorite jeans, just in case.

Sounds like a trip to Savers is in order.


I don't understand extreme fandom. While I can get caught up in TV shows occasionally (and will even fess up to owning the Barbie and Ken "Mulder & Scully" dolls from my XF fandays), my love for celebrities, music, shows, movies and authors never gets to an intense level.

As I've complained about mentioned before, my co-worker Michelle went on a two-week vacation to England. What I might not have mentioned is why she took days off without pay to do so: she is a Darren Hayes fan.

Now, I've never heard of this Darren Hayes before. And, quite frankly, even though she mentions him often, I still haven't really heard of him. I haven't heard any of his music or come across Darren Hayes stuff on the 'Net. However, it doesn't matter that I haven't heard of him. Michelle not only has, but she is stalker-ish in her love of him.

And it's that stalker-ishness that lead her to England. I don't understand the details... I do know that she has a website dedicated to him, and that she is also an active member of his fan club. I believe it is through these two connections that she was given an opportunity to get VIP seats to his concert in England.

Concert? Did I write "concert" in the singular? Well, yes, because that's initially what I thought was happening. But no, it turns out that she followed him from gig to gig for two weeks in England. And this isn't the first time she's done so, either.

I just don't get it, much in the same way I never quite got the Dead Heads, who spent nomadic lives following the Dead around from concert venue to concert venue. Or the way some people get it in their mind that certain celebrities are their soul mates, even though they've never even met.

I sometimes wonder where extreme fandom comes from. This desire to just plunk most of ones time and energy into the lives of celebrities (or movies. Or TV shows. Or...). For example, I never really "got" fanfic. Yeah, I know... fans write fiction stories using their favorite characters from TV shows or movies. But... I don't see the point in it. For one, the stories often replace what the essence of the show or movie is about with often inferior setups, storylines and characters. Of course, more often than not the author fantasizes that they are the hero (or the love interest). I can kind of understand that, I guess... but still, it seems like a waste of talent, time and energy to me.

The same with fan websites. In the beginning days of the Internet, I think fan-based sites served a purpose. The 'Net wasn't quite that popular yet, so these sites served as places for fans to keep abreast of the latest news, new releases, etc. However, now that most TV shows, movies, and celebs themselves have their own sites, fan sites seem trite and silly; pathetic homage to people who, in most cases, aren't worthy of such worship. Seriously, how many Britney Spears websites does the Internet need?

I went over to Michelle's fansite for Darren Hayes. It's kind of cheesy and definitely has that "homemade by geocities" look to it. As I looked at the first page, I saw this proclamation of love for Darren, based on some song he has out about being "good enough." She holds him up on a pedestal because he once sang about body image.

Well, I can't fault her for that... it's better than some Brit singing "You're Beautiful" over and over again. I mean, yeah, like that has substance. Still... the whole fan scene is a strange one to view from afar. She talks about him like he's her best friend, she worships him like he's the Second Coming, and she surrounds herself with pics of him... on her desk, on her computer, even has a bumper sticker on her car.

Even though she acts like a 14-year-old with regards to Mr. Hayes, I can forgive her that, though, because she did come back from England. And I do need her here, Darren Hayes pictures or not.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day 2

It's Day 2 of induction, and all I want to do is take a nap.

I'm tired. Worn out. Day 1 kicked my cellulite-ridden ass. I ended up with a migraine I couldn't shake, and fell asleep early in an effort to just sleep through it.

Apparently I did, because I woke up this morning at 4:05 am, sleepy but headache-less.

I went back to sleep (yeah, you really didn't think I was getting up at 4:05 am, did ya?), and woke up at the regular time feeling somewhat refreshed.

That didn't last long. Before I knew it, I felt like I could just fall asleep for a lifetime.

Somehow, some way, I dragged myself into work. Early, in fact. I had my low-carb breakfast, and now I'm counting the hours until I can have my mid-morning snack. My stomach is growling. My eyelids are heavy. My cellulite is still here. At least my headache is staying away.

I'm tempted to say "I forgot how bad induction was," but that wouldn't be a true statement. The fact is, I never forgot how bad induction was. Remembering is what kept me from doing it again for such a long time, even when I noticed that I couldn't get my favorite pair of jeans over my newly plumped thighs. At some point, though, when I realized that more exercise wasn't working, and calorie reduction was futile, I decided that - as bad as it was - I was going back to my roots.

No, not those roots. Debbie, my hairstylist, is taking care of those next week. No, my Atkins roots. The basics. After all, it could be some latent food allergy that is preventing me from losing the pounds, or perhaps I just don't function well on 45-50 carbs a day.

Whatever the case, induction should give my metabolism the kick-start it needs, and maybe, just maybe, that favorite pair of jeans will be mine again.

Until then, I think I would just like to sleep for the next two weeks. That seems to be the easiest way to get through induction, doncha think?

Monday, May 08, 2006

I'll Throttle Ya!

When I first joined Netflix a few months ago, I hadn't heard of "throttling." Now, however, I know too well what it is.

I joined Netflix mostly to rent episodes of TV shows on DVD. My local Hollywood Video has a very small selection of only the most popular shows. However, less trendy shows, like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Degrassi Junior High and The O.C. (I know! Go figure! I thought that was trendy!) aren't in their stock. So, after I joined, I gleefully filled up my queue with all the TV shows I've wanted to see.

At first, Netflix was bliss. No sooner than I returned a DVD, I got another one in the mail. However, after two months of that, Netflix began to "throttle" me.

First, they began by letting me know they received the DVD I sent back, however wouldn't be shipping my next one until later in the week. Then, they began sending me items in my queue out of order. Now they won't even acknowledge receipt of DVDs from me until the end of the week. (Since they have a distribution center here in Reno, any DVDs I send them on Friday or Saturday are processed as received on Monday. However, due to throttling, they won't even acknowledge the receipt until Thursday or Friday.)

Today is a prime example. They should've received Degrassi Junior High, Season 3 Disc 3 today in the mail. Oh, I'm sure they did. But, according to them, the DVD is still at my house. Because they now view me as a heavy renter, they won't ackonwledge receipt until at least Wednesday, but more likely Thursday (based on past performance). And it just makes me want to scream.

I'm not a heavy renter. I can't be, under my plan. In fact, there are few times that I would ever receive more than 9 DVDs a month. But, they feel as if I'm taking advantage of their plan, so they are making me wait for processing and sending.


Todd tells me to just quit, but again... it's better than I can get through the local neighborhood Hollywood, which doesn't carry most of what I want to watch, anyway. And while Blockbuster has a good plan (in store rentals free, as well as online for cost), they only have 30 distribution centers, which means that processing time will be much slower... not to mention that they also throttle their customers.

Greencine promises "no throttling," but their service is much more expensive and their inventory limited. They're one to watch - hopefully in time they'll get bigger - but for now, they just won't do.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to curse Netflix and greedily watch my Degrassi episodes as they're meted out to me in their Pony Express timeline.

I feel weak for putting up with their antics, but if I want to find out what happens to Spike and Wheels next, I've just got to buck up and deal.

Big Mama's Thighs

It was bound to happen. After all, I am a woman of a certain age. However, I was hoping it wouldn't... and yet, here it is, right on my thighs for everyone to see.

What is it? Weight. Flabby, unwanted, cellulite-ridden weight.

I worked hard to get it off, and it's back. I haven't been cheating. I haven't strayed off the Atkins' path. And yet, here it is. Back again.

I am so disheartened about this. I keep my carb level down. I exercise. And still the pounds have managed to creep onto my thighs and buttocks.

So, as a last ditch effort to excise the poundage, I started induction. Again.

I had hoped I'd never see the likes of "20 carbs a day, no coffee" again. Yet, here I am on my first day, counting carbs and listening to my stomach growl like a fiend.

I suppose it'll all be worth it if it works. And if it doesn't, I'll take a knife and excise the fat myself.