Friday, February 29, 2008

Mayor of Simpleton

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE "The Mayor of Simpleton" by XTC. One of the DJs at WBER had a habit of playing this song during his air shift every week. That just happened to coincide with the time I would be driving myself to my violin lesson on the other side of town. The pop-chords would follow me as I winded through the back roads of Irondequoit, singing along.

I later found a cassette of Oranges & Lemons at the old Monroe Avenue location for Lakeshore Record Exchange. That tape got nearly worn out. It finally died after a passenger in my car put my box of cassette tapes in the back window, where they baked unnoticed in the summer sun. A sad ending for so many good mix tapes and regularly recorded tapes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

In A World Without Water

I'm back at work, again, today. I made it through Monday and then ended back on the couch for two more days under Matt and my boss' orders. I blame the arid-conditions of my work office for this. So I'm back with a vengeance today with my humidifier on high next to me and a couple bottles of water at ready. I WILL make it through today and the rest of the week!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An International Incident (Blog Share)

What started off as a lovely weekend trip to Canada hit a speed bump before we even made it across the border.

I've taken at least half a dozen trips to Canada. Sometimes the border lines are short and quick, sometimes long and slow.

That particular day, that lovely fall day, we breezed down the highway that led to the border. Then the traffic stopped. About two miles from the border. At about the same moment my stomach cramped sharply. I had to go #2. Soon. I spent the next half hour or so shifting uncomfortably in the passenger seat next to my husband. The traffic crawled about half the distance to the checkpoint. The checkpoint was within view...But still so far. The traffic was several lanes wide. It became unbearable. "I don't think I can wait", I whimpered to my husband. He produced a plastic bag "Can you do something with this?" There are lots of things I could do with a plastic bag, but none of them seemed relevant to the situation. I furrowed my brow at him and continued to try to position myself in a way that did not make me feel as though my colon were going to burst.

Another half hour passed, and we moved less than we had in the previous half hour. I couldn't take it anymore and began to ponder what indeed I could do with that plastic bag. I forced myself to wait (I guess my body LET me wait, because I don't think I was in a position to force anything at that point) until we were no longer next to the tractor trailer truck which would have had an amazing (horrible) view into our car and the whole terrible situation.

I positioned myself and the bag in such a position as to inconspicuously (I hope) do what I had to do. It wasn't the neatest thing in the world, but it could have been worse...Like if I didn't have the bag.

The event having passed (so to speak), I sat uncomfortably as we waited to finally approach the border patrol. The bag tucked beneath the seat, I prayed silently to God to not let the border agents find cause to search the vehicle. If they found that bag and its contents...Well, surely they would think we were sneaking in some sort of contraband in there...We'd be arrested in Canada for attempting to import a bag of fecal matter.

Thankfully, so thankfully, we made it across the border without incident. I was so nervous, I'm surprised the border agent didn't think we must be hiding something and search us just because. We stopped at a McDonalds just past the border so I could get cleaned up. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the handicapped stall taking care of the situation.

We eventually made it to our hotel...A very strange start to the trip indeed. My husband was incredibly kind and could have made me feel even more humiliated that I already did...But somehow he managed to make me feel better about the whole situation and we continued on to have a great trip. Unconditional love.
We have a name for the incident, sentimentally named after the border area.

The only #2 accident of my adult life, and it spanned a two country area.

Lesson to be learned - Always try to go to the bathroom before heading for the border. Even if you think you don't have to go.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Someone Will Be Taking Over This Blog Wednesday!

Now that the post title got your attention. I decided to give a project called Blog Share a try. It's being done by someone who is a friend of a friend. I have no idea who -r- is , but it doesn't really matter because I've gotten used to knowing weird, intimate details about people all over this world that I'll never meet just because I read their blogs.

So on Wednesday, there will be an anonymous post by someone on here. I ask you all to be nice and leave comments for him/her. I will be posting somewhere else that day. I don't know where yet and I ain't gonna tell either! That's part of the spirit of the project!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Viral Julia

I'm optimistic in saying that I'm at a turning point with this massive head cold that I've endured this week. I say this with some confidence since my doctor's office told me this morning that I was at the "climax" of the sickness and should start feeling better in three to five days. Wait. I've already had to deal with this for five days. Pauses. Damn.

Much to Matt's frustration, I'm a bad patient. I'll do the things I need to like taking meds, getting my fluids, trying to get adequate sleep, but I don't go down easy. It took about 3 people, including my boss, to convince me that it was a good idea that I stay home and rest nearly every day this week. While I was home, I fretted over the stuff that wasn't getting done like laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, or other various stuff. This is where Matt was a saint and took care of going to Wegmans and cleaning up the kitchen.

It's been hard doing nothing. Then again, I haven't had the energy to do much else other than sit on the couch and stare at my laptop. The idea of putting together a blog post a couple days ago was daunting. I still have crushing pain in my left sinus, but that's manageable compared to the sore throat/coughing/congested head/exhaustion I was feeling.

Regardless of the progress I've made, and I say that lightly, it's looking likely that I'll be out of commission for the weekend which means backing out of some things I planned to do and yet another week where I don't get to see Definitely, Maybe. I think the secret powers that be have conspired to keep me from seeing any chick flicks for the foreseeable future. I curse them.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sickies

My sinuses decided to declare war on me this weekend and started draining. I think some prolonged sleep overnight and generally taking it easy will fend off more serious illness, I still feel like someone punched me in the head a few times. Weirdly enough, hot tea does not seem to be helping with the pain in my throat. Tomato soup seems to have more soothing qualities, so I'm on my second "soup at hand" today. I should add that ibuprofen is helping marginally as well.

This is where I also let Galoot know that when he called me tonight, I was napping and having some sort of dream about Star Wars (prequel variety) and was thoroughly confused the whole time I was talking to him. My head was fuzzy enough that I was still trying to figure out how I managed to be sitting up and talking into my cell when he started talking about balls and crowns and dead things. I jest. Kinda.

Here's hoping I get scripts kind of early tonight so I can retire to my bed again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hockey In Jamestown Iced

The season for the Jamestown Vikings has been cut short. The Mid-Atlantic Hockey League had the following announcement on their site as of today:
2007-08 season will end early with Indiana Ice Miners declared League Champion
(Canton, Ohio). Mid-Atlantic Hockey League President Andrew Haines today announced that the 2007-08 season will be come to an end immediately in order to allow all member teams to re-organize for the 2008-09 season.

As a result of this announcement, the Indiana Ice Miners have been declared MAHL League Champion based on their amazing record setting regular season record of 31-1-0 and their consecutive victories record of twenty-six.

“As the majority owner of the MAHL, after consulting with the other team owners, coaches, and general managers, a difficult decision was made that it was necessary to re-organize the league and start working towards next season,” said MAHL President Andrew Haines. “We apologize to our fans and corporate partners for any inconvenience caused. This action was necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the league and we look forward to coming back much stronger for the 2008-09 season.”

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank the managers, coaches, and players for all of their efforts during this inaugural season,” Haines continued. It was the efforts of these people, as well as our fans, that made this abbreviated year a success and a building block for better things to come. We certainly had a good product on the ice and the quality of play was recognized by higher leagues.”

All remaining 2007-08 games have been cancelled. Tickets which have already been purchased on line for the remainder of the 2007-08 MAHL season can be refunded through ClicknPrint tickets and tickets purchased at the box office can be refunded at the local arena’s box office or a credit for use next season can be issued by contacting each individual team.

The Mid-Atlantic Hockey League was successful in establishing itself as a developmental league for the three professional “AA” leagues. The MAHL saw forty call-ups to the ECHL, CHL, and IHL this season. All MAHL players under contract are now considered free agents and are free and clear to contact teams in any other professional league regarding continuing their playing careers this season.

The MAHL will announce its 2007-08 award winners later this week along with its league-wide all-star team.

For additional information on the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League go to www.mahlhockey.com.


This stinks. I use the word "stink" because something just doesn't seem right. A lot of questions are circulating about what this really means. Stay posted.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Effectiveness of a New York State Program

Newspapers across the state are carrying stories today about Attorney General Tom DiNapoli's report on the effectiveness of the Empire Zone program.

Here's the full report.

My opinion? A pretty good program got fucked up. Some of the empire zones in the state fucked it up by abusing it. Some businesses made it worse by finding every loophole they could and exploiting it. We won't get into what the state did with it. Meanwhile, the empire zones that have tried to live by the law and run the program as it was intended suffer.

Just feeling bitter today.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Spaces

Even though our home and property isn't blessed with a lot of yard space, we have almost an overabundance of interior living space. Because of this, it was rather easy to just shove excess stuff into a small room off the living room. The room had been used as an office by the previous owners, and they had even left their old metal desk and a shelving unit they cobbled together using old desk-particle board materials.

On and off, I've said I would like to use this smaller space for my own office. Matt has overwhelmingly claimed the upstairs office for all his online RPG pursuits. I find it rather hard to keep track of stuff up there even though we do have a couple filing cabinets in the closet. Last week, I got the promise from Matt to carry items out of the office and put them in the attic for storage or the basement, where they will be eventually shipped outside for that elusive garage sale.

So it began on Friday night. Here is a before picture I took while sitting on the floor of the closet that's accessed by going through the little room.

















After I moved everything I wanted out of the office into our living room, I began unscrewing the bolts that held together shelves. I would have kept them if they didn't look so shoddy. Plus, they were built in a way that kept me from opening the desk drawers.
















On Saturday, Matt carried out the heavier stuff like the treadmill and the old shelves. I sat under the metal desk to take this picture of the cleared space.
















The cool part about reclaiming this room is that it took care of some issues in other rooms. I moved a bookcase we had in the dining room into the new office and was able to give some books a new home. They had been scattered over various places in the house before because we couldn't keep them on the shelves in the dog's room. Well, we could but Buddy and Zak have occasionally shown their displeasure with us when we were busy and not home a lot by destroying several paperbacks and a few hardcovers.
















Sunday, I made some "final" touches by hanging some curtains (sheers because it's a dark room), moving some files to the desk, arranged desk supplies, and arranged some decorative pieces. One of my favorite things on my desk that I've never had a place for before is a wicker/woven lamp that my dad made. I needed something that gave off some additional light, and it has a cool, retro look.

As I sit at the desk and type this, my dogs are laying under the desk and behind me. A couple candles are lit to my right, their flickering light being caught in the reflection of a stained glass mirror on my left that needs to be hung. I have a wool blanket covering my legs because there is a little draft from the window behind the desk that looks out into our enclosed porch. Earlier today, it was a joy to re-write my news stories and look at the snow blowing outside.

A final note on the clutter that had occupied the place I'm now sitting, the treadmill remains in this room, but pushed into the far corner. I'd really like to make that corner my violin practice space. Anyone with means to haul away a heavy piece of fitness equipment want a treadmill for a reasonable price?

I Know These Guys

I love today's Zits cartoon because I had friends like that in high school, and today, that would sit around and make snarky comments. I love that Pierce (guy in last frame) totally calls them on their shit.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sharp Elegance

Watching this clip, it would seem that some frames were removed to make the dance more precise and fast, but I get the impression that it is more a case of technical wonder. The full movie can be bought here


HT Neatorama

The W(h)ine Press

Even though I have the best intentions of not living up to the expectations that I will turn into a raging hormone once a month or so, sometimes it's just necessary. Yesterday was a good reason because that little "friend" was the cause for some angst.

Since I'm in my early 30s, I figure it's good policy to try to take care of my health. Plus, I'd just feel guilty if I didn't with everything that Matt has done to get himself healthy over the past 9 months. Add to that the fact that we actually have reasonably priced health insurance, and I'm left with no excuse. So last month, I scheduled my annual physical which was to happen yesterday.

I don't know any woman who actually enjoys this physical. You have to completely disrobe and put on something the size of a pillow case to give your doctor better access to feeling you up. Okay, I exaggerate. There's no "Hand That Rocks The Cradle" crap that happens, but that scene scarred me enough that I didn't watch the rest of the movie. Anyway, I can think of much more pleasant sensations than the feeling of a plastic contraption being stuck in you and cranked open so that a long Q-tip can be stuck in and scrapped about. Then the doctor does the the manual poke and prod to make sure everything is where it's supposed to be. At least, I think that's what she's doing.

If you think there's some mental steeling that happens before an appointment like this, you'd be right. I was ready. I had gone over all the new family ailments to inform my doctor about so she could track whether I was going down similar paths. I was prepared. I also was worried. The week leading up to my appointment, I had all the classic Julia PMS symptoms. I thought, "I'm never on time. This will hold off. I can make it to Friday!"

Alas. Friday morning, my body decided to have a laugh. I should have called my doctor's office at that point, but I assumed they would just do the other bits of my physical like looking at my uvula and trying to determine if my eye sight was still 20/20. I dutifully trudged to the office, signed in, and sat down to wait for them to call my name. I waited. Watched a stream of hacking, feverish, snot-ridden humanity pass by and into the examination rooms. 15 minutes passed. 20 minutes. Finally, after 35 minutes, the physician's assistant called me back.

It started well. I weighed in about ten pounds less than the previous year. My blood pressure was 114/62. There were no concerned looks when the PA listened to my heart, until she put down her stethoscope and asked, "And the first day of your last period was?" I looked at her and sighed, "Today."

"Oh no. We can't do the pap then! Oh no!" She frowned sympathetically. "You're the second one this has happened to today. We have to reschedule you."

I sighed again, pulled my boots back on, and followed her out to see the lady with the schedule.

Saint Patrick's Day is the new appointment.


----------------
Now playing: Frank Sinatra - I've Got You Under My Skin

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Baked Apples with Vanilla Yogurt

I have the luxury of being able to go home on lunch because I live so close to where I work. Today, I was trying to figure out what I could eat that would add some fiber to my diet since I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. Yes, I know it's a little late to be trying to eat healthy but at least I try.

As I looked through my refrigerator, I started getting depressed about having to eat all "cold" foods for lunch. It's cold outside, and I really didn't feel like yogurt, a cheese stick, and a banana. Plus, there was the fiber issue. Then, as I remembered that we had some apples I had my "ah ha!" moment.

What ensued next could only be described as Julia channeling the food gods, or her mother. Here's the recipe:

1 - medium sized apple
1 - 1-serving size container of Wegman's Probiotic Vanilla Super Yogurt
cinnamon
butter

Slice the apple and place in microwavable bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place several thin pats of butter on top. Cover and heat in the microwave for 1 minute, 30 seconds (cooking times will vary). When it's done, spoon the yogurt on top and serve.

I swear to god it's like a dessert, but much better for you. I'm happily warm and full now.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

American Rhapsody

My paczki run yesterday morning involved a bit of rain and travels through what qualifies as "rush hour" in this city. As my wipers clicked back and forth on my windshield, a familiar clarinet glissando brayed across my speakers into a smart rendering of Rhapsody In Blue by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. At the part recognized by most as the United Airlines commercial, I turned onto South Main Street and could see all of downtown Jamestown before me. A crane rose high above the city to the left where the latest new structure was being built. Cars hastily splashed by me filled with people making their way into the city center. The music demanded progress and the city responded with movement.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

VIP Chautauqua: Tara Eastman and Artist Share

Tara recently received some much deserved recognition for her efforts in putting together the Artist Share events that I've participated in here and there over the past six months. James Reed, the news producer and weather guy for Cable 8 News, featured Tara in two segments of his "VIP Chautauqua" package that airs on Thursdays on Time Warner Channel 8 here in Jamestown.

Give it a watch and see what you've been missing. Plus, this video represents my Internet debut in terms of that crazy violin thing I do from time to time.

It's Time For Paczkis!


In honor of Fat Tuesday, I decided to send the floor I work on into a sugar coma this morning. Ecklof's Bakery, a local Swedish bakery, is one of the largest local producers of paczki this time of year.









Here is Amanda, another Polish co-worker, trying to decide which paczki she will devour. The bakery was already low on black raspberry, so I got 4 black raspberry, 4 red raspberry, and 4 custard.









Back at my desk, I made a mess of a black raspberry, sugar-coated concoction along with some hot tea I brought in to stave off a post-doughnut crash.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Four Seasons In One Day

We had ice, rain, and snow today. I'd swear I saw a spit of sun, but I suspect it was a hallucination.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...