Monday, June 30, 2008

Poor Georgie



On Sunday, I went hiking with some of my agility friends at Thunderbird Park at 59th Ave and Pinnacle Peak. (We met at 5:00 am. Wow - that is early!) By the time we were finishing the loop, the trail was very busy.

Vickie took the lead with her two gorgeous Australian Shepherds, Conor and Kaylie, pictured here. These dogs are truly striking!

While we were hiking, two women passed by and said to Vickie, "Oh, what beautiful dogs!" As they then passed me, they called over their shoulder with considerably less enthusiasm, "And your dog is cute, too."

About 10 minutes later, we passed another couple who said to Vickie, "Oh, your dogs are so beautiful!". As they then passed me, they said, "And your dog is cute, too." Exact same verbiage as the other ladies.

I wonder if it is more insulting to be an after-thought or to be ignored altogether? Aw, poor Georgie. :) Sometimes you're just outclassed in the looks department. She may not be as pretty as those Aussies, but she is cute enough for me!

Despite the not-quite-genuine compliments, I think this hike was very good for Georgie. I have been working with her and she is very slowly getting over her belief that all humans are VERY SCARY. She remembered Terri and greeted her with hugs and kisses. She was friendly to Vickie and Cindi. It helped to have Vickie's dogs around, as Georgie loves dogs. A couple times she got spooked out by some VERY SCARY people - who to me looked exactly like the other people who she considered not scary, but must have had some evil dog-hating aura about them. One couple went by that caused her to put her tail between her legs and jump about a yard off the trail. But for the most part, she did very well with all the people we passed on the trails. When we stopped for water, she even tried to join a man who hiked by. Too prove her fickleness, however, when the same man passed us on the way down, Georgie judged him as VERY SCARY. Perhaps his backside was friendly and his frontside was scary? Poor Georgie.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Diamond-Maas Family Reunion

I hope you've got some time... this is gonna be a long one.

The Diamond-Maas Family (is it obvious that the
three tall people in the back are all spouses or fiances?
There is no "tall" in the Diamond-Maas genes)

I've been putting off writing this post because I knew it would be long, I knew there would be a lot of pictures I wanted to share (which means a lot of time cropping, editing, resizing) and when it comes down to it, I am quite lazy. As proficient as I've become at procrastinating, I finally decided that it could wait no longer, so here goes...

Last weekend was the Second Biennial (which means, as my friend Kristen and my father have pointed out, every two years as opposed to biannual, meaning twice a year) Diamond-Maas Family Reunion. The tradition was started by my spunky little grandma. She's the cutie-patootie white haired lady in purple, if you hadn't guessed. Every other year the host location moves up the family tree. Grandma hosted the inaugural event two years ago in our hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa. My dad, as the oldest of her children, was next in line so this year it was held in Springfield, Illinois where my parents live. Before I go any further I have to proclaim that the entire weekend was graced by the ABSOLUTE BEST WEATHER ever! Now, I love me a good Phoenix summer and I wouldn't trade Arizona for anything, but the weather in Springfield was perfect! It was the kind where you just wanted to be outside every minute of the day and night. It was low 80's, barely breezy, enough humidity to make my hair curly but not enough to be a bother and just so very comfortable. Then on Sunday evening, the clouds rolled in and you could see the rain and hear the thunder from the storms that passed by but didn't hit us. I loved it all.

The actual event was on Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I forgot to take pictures of that portion of the weekend - sorry about that. We had a private meeting room at the hotel for the day. We spent most of the day chatting and catching up with our Iowa and Kansas City relatives. My cousin, Jessi, brought along her fiance, Dave. Dave is awesome - a lot like Pat in many ways. They formed a strong bond over bass fishing. Pat gave him the nickname Poncho (long story) and I think they are now BFFs. A few of my relatives were unable to come for various reasons. Julie (another cousin) and Mike were part of the unlucky Iowans busily trying to wade out from their very-flooded homes. Another cousin was leaving the next day to study abroad in China. Or Japan. His brother is currently studying abroad in Japan. Or China. Between the two of them, they are busing exploring Asia. Hopefully we'll get a full turnout in 2010.

Dinner was a choice of prime rib, chicken or tilapia. Like the good Iowans we are, we all ordered the Prime Rib - rare. However, even though it was specified months before, there wasn't any rare to be had. As the food was served, everyone was surreptitiously eyeing the plates of their neighbors to see if that piece of meat was redder and bloodier than the one on their own plate. I think the server may have thought we were vampires. The one exception was Chris who got the fish. She married into the family so she can't help her abnormalities. We were very nice about this Diamond-Maas family faux pas (seriously though - fish over prime rib???) and didn't even mock her. Much.

Two of my siblings have children, 4 for my brother and 2 for my sister (One of them was asleep during picture taking time if you are confused when counting children in the photo above.) Since we had our own private room, the kids were free to run and play without disturbing other customers. I am ashamed to admit that though they are family, I feel as if I am "other customers". It's no secret that as a generality, I don't like kids - which is precisely why I have chosen not to have any. But this event proved that I also have a very low tolerance level for noise and activity that I am not a part of. This is somewhat counterintuitive since if I am a part of the noise and activity, I love the mayhem (just ask the "other customers" at our extracurricular book club dinners - people actually asked to be moved to a different section of the restaurant because we were so noisy last time. My apologies to those nice quiet-loving folks). Don't get me wrong - I honestly believe that each of my 6 nieces and nephews are awesome, beautiful, intelligent, interesting and funny children. I just prefer to interact with them one at a time, instead of being surrounded by 6 little whooping pint-sized people all at once. By the end of the night my nerves were raw and I couldn't relax. I stayed up reading until the wee hours of the morning in an attempt to calm myself enough for sleep.

We watched videos and photo slide shows. We played a get-to-know you game involving M-n-M's. Overall the event was a success and a good time was had. My dad is to be commended for planning a great party.

The next day everyone came to my parent's house for brunch. It was perfect! Lots of good food - especially my mom's rhubarb cake - mmmm, rhubarb! The plan was to eat, take a group photo and then play some croquet since that's what we used to do all the time at my grandma's when we were kids. However, Pat and Poncho couldn't stay away from the little pond across the street and fishing became the activity of the day. Everyone caught a fish, even me. My nephew, Matt, caught 15 fish (maybe more, I think he was losing count). He's squeamish about touching them, so Jessi sat on the bank and took them off the hook and threw them back in. Matt was such a prolific fisherman that two seconds later she'd be taking another off the line. I am very pleased to report that none of the children got on my nerves the entire day!

Here is Matt looking awfully nervous with the fish he's caught. Every time I tried to take the picture, he'd take a step back away from the fish.












Brett, Matt's dad and my brother, is also afraid of fish. Poncho/Dave was nice enough to take Brett's monster off the line for him and hold it for the photo. Brett wouldn't even touch it.












Here are some pictures of my parents' beautiful house. I LOVE this house. Their neighborhood is out in the county (corn fields on two sides of their lot) but they are only 10 minutes from town. They've got a full acre, which would give me plenty of room for my own agility course if I lived there!

And here are some photos of me and my siblings:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Agility Championships and The Amazing Race: Cosmically In Sync

Cosmically in sync in the way that neither of them want me, that is.

Last Friday this email was sent out by Jim Mills, fearless leader of DOCNA (the agility venue I compete in), to many agility competitors:
From: Jim Mills
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 10:42 AM
To:
Subject: DOCNA Championships Premium (Intern NAC qualification)

Our records show that you have completed the requirements of the North America Challenge at the Intern Level and are eligible to enter your choice of DOCNA 2008 Championships.

The premium and proposed schedule of events are available at www.docna.com.

Sadly, I was not one of the agility competitors who received this email. Despite many trials over the past year, Frankie and I did not qualify for Nationals. Again.

Just like with the Amazing Race, I am still proving that the saying: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" does NOT lead to "and eventually you will succeed."

But quitting is for the weak of heart and I am not weak-hearted! Frankie and I will be at every DOCNA trial all next year and maybe, just maybe, we'll qualify for the 2009 National Championships next time around. And maybe next year I'll get to be on the Amazing Race.

I do believe in miracles.

My Hopes Are Dashed

My self-imposed deadline to hear from the Amazing Race has come and gone. 15th time was not a charm. They still do not want me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This Doesn't Count Towards My 15 Minutes

It doesn't count as fame unless your name is mentioned or your likeness shown. Neither happened for me this time, though I was sitting next to fame in this story by my friend, Sarah Fenske. Sarah is a very talented journalist at the Phoenix New Times. In addition to her column, she also contributes to the New Times blogs. This one in particular is about the going-away dinner for our friend, Grace.

Sarah's usual writing is a little more hard-hitting than the food blog. Her usual topics cover a lot of politics and political brew-hah-hahs involving sheriffs, attorney generals, congressmen and drunk (or not so drunk) drivers running afoul of our very strict drunk (or not so drunk) driving laws. Check out all of her articles here. Read a few, read them all! There are 104 of them to date, so you'd better get going!

Since I tend to shy away from politics and political brew-hah-hahs, my favorite article was the one about her getting a dog. Buckley is that dog and he is also that cute little border terrier I posted a picture of a few days ago. And since I know Buckley I feel that I am, yet again, very close to fame.

My NFBF is funny

In case you aren't reading the comments posted to my blog, I wanted to share this gem with you. From my NFBF on yesterday's post about my sore muscles:

"NFBF said...
No wonder they are sore. There are pink arrows in them."
What a funny guy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Down Side of Wakeboarding


OW! These muscles are so sore I can barely move:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Love Wakeboarding!

Pat and I spent the day at Bartlett Lake today with our friends Laura and Brad. This was the first time we've been out on the boat this season. I was reminded again how much I love wakeboarding. Our boat doesn't have a tower, so we wakeboard from the waterski hitch. We are very ghetto. I thought about using my gift from George and Uncle Sam towards installing a tower on the boat, but decided that putting the money towards our trip to Brazil would be a smarter decision. When our finances start to turn towards a surplus, Pat and I can think about getting a new boat. In the meantime I plan on enjoying the lake as often as I can with what we've got. Our crappy boat runs and it goes fast enough to pull us, so that is good enough for now.

And before I can think about towers and new boats, the first thing I really need to do is get over my fear of getting hurt and try some new things. My goal is to learn to switch my feet. I normally ride with my right foot forward. Towards the end of last season I tried to switch to left foot forward, but I wasn't paying attention to keeping the top of my board out of the water when switching, so the tip went under and I smacked face first into the water so hard that I was convinced I'd have two black eyes and a concussion. Luckily, I was not injured but I did end up with a severe aversion to trying it again.

I did manage to pull off a new trick today. I don't know what it's called (I really need to start hanging out with wakeboarding people who can teach me these things), but I balanced my board on top of the wake for a few seconds before crossing over. It was way easier than I thought it would be. The wake kind of scares me (Are you seeing a theme here?), so this was a major accomplishment.

I think part of what I like about wakeboarding is the fact that it scares me out of my wits. And even though it scares me, I'm still out there doing it. Every second I'm still standing is a huge thrill for me. Most of the time I'm out there, I'm screaming or holding my breath convinced I'm going to die. I love it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

NO! I DON'T KNOW ANYONE WHO WANTS A DOG!!

The other night a girl said to me, "You're a dog person - you'll be able to help me. I need to get rid of my dog, do you know anyone who wants a dog?"

She got the first part right. Yes, I am a dog person. I love my dogs. I love your dogs. I foster dogs for the Arizona Humane Society. I take my dogs to obedience and agility. I take them to daycare. I read dog blogs. I obsess about dogs. Yes, I am a dog person.

And because I am a dog person, I have been asked the above question approximately 30 times in the past year. And the askers are truly surprised when I say no. I would like to tell them how many times in the past year I have been asked, "You're a dog person, can you help me find a new dog?": 1 time. Though the actual question was "Would your current foster dog make a good boat dog for me?"

Do people think that I keep a waiting list of people who can't find a dog, no matter how hard they look? There is no such list and the reason is because the number of unwanted dogs FAR EXCEEDS the number of available homes. A quick count right now shows 60 dogs available at the Arizona Humane Society, 36 dogs at Arizona Animal Welfare League, 299 dogs available at Maricopa County Animal Control, 34 dogs already posted this morning before 10 am on Craigslist and 78 dogs posted yesterday. That is 507 unwanted dogs available RIGHT NOW, just in the Phoenix area. I did not count the numbers of dogs in various breed rescues, smaller shelters and organizations like HALO and RESCUE, though there are many. Add to that the number of dogs available from reputable breeders, backyard breeders, pet stores (god help us) and yahoos set up in front of the mall with litters of 5-week old pit bulls. So, I can truthfully say that if someone is looking for a dog, there is an over-abundance of dogs out there to choose from.

I understand that because I am a dog person, people think I know other dog people and therefore I should know someone who wants a dog. But let me tell you something about the other dog people I know. Just like me, they have reached their capacity on the number of dogs they have time and space for. Dog people do everything they can for and with the dogs to whom they have committed themselves. We do not have the time or space to take in every dog whose original owners give up on them. Of the 15 or so other dog people I know, that would be 33 dogs we'd each have to add to our homes just to take care of today's unwanted dogs.

I understand that because I am a dog person, it is reasonable to come to me for information about dogs. Unfortunately these "do you know anyone?" people aren't coming to me for information, they just want to get rid of their dog. If they truly wanted information:
* I would gladly tell them about crate training (no, you don't need to get rid of your dog because he chews the furniture when you are gone)
* I will be thrilled to refer them a wonderful obedience program (no, you don't need to get rid of your dog because he jumps/barks/runs away),
* I would even make sure that obedience program is reasonably priced (no, you don't have to get rid of your dog because you can't afford a $1000 training program),
* I would more than willingly give them a bunch of information on how to get their dog started in agility (no, you don't have to get rid of your dog because he has too much energy).
* I would also love to give them information on doggie daycares and dog walkers (no, you don't have to get rid of your dog because you're gone all day).
* And I would even give them information on the steps required to turn your dog over to the Arizona Humane Society, though I'll be screaming inside my head, "A dog is a lifetime commitment! You made a commitment to that dog!"

And to sum it all up - If I did know someone who wanted a dog (which I repeat, I DO NOT), I would have them adopt my lovely foster, Scarlet. Instead, like all my fosters, I'll turn her back into the shelter and cross my fingers and my toes that the perfect family comes for her.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thank You Craig (and your little list, too)

I hosted book club at my house tonight. Our book club meetings are always a highlight of my month. I am constantly amazed by the awesome group of girls that form this club. I am awed by the intelligence, the sense of humor, the vivaciousness and the openness of these women. I am so privileged to be a part of this. I LOVE BOOK CLUB!

The book club started three years ago with a posting on Craigslist. The girl that started the group only stayed with it for three or four months. I think she might have been intimidated by the ease in which the rest of us fell so quickly into a comfort level of friendship that surpassed the boundaries she had set for herself and her club. After her departure, the rest of us kept meeting and something truly wonderful was created. Random people answering a random posting brought us all together. Since then, these girls have become true friends to me and to each other. When a couple of our lovely ladies moved away, another Craigslist posting brought us some new members and thus, new friends. I love Craig and his list, for without him and his list, I would never have met this spectacular group.

I am feeling bittersweet right now since two more of the core, original group are moving away from us. We are going to miss Lili and Grace with all the power of our book-reading souls. Texas and California will be much better places very soon.

To keep up my spirits, I will now list all the other good things that Craig and his list have given to me:

1) Georgie - I was looking for a doggie friend for Frankie and she was "free to good home"
2) Income - my roommates and my rental house tenants always come from Craigslist
3) Friendships - a few of my roommates (Punit and Laura - I'm looking at you here) have become great and lasting friends
4) A hockey goalie - he posted on Craigslist, we needed a goalie, we were lucky to get him.
5) Furniture - both bought and sold
6) A paying gig as Curious George - a very fun opportunity that proved I WOULD make a great mascot!

Time for a confession here:
7) A second book club (this is a test to see which of my original book club girls read my blog. I meant to confess about my infidelity at tonight's book club meeting, but the conversation never went in that direction). Since Craig and his list brought together such a wonderful group of ladies, I tried to replicate the magic with a co-ed book club. There certainly was some magic as this book club brought us a guy actually named Craig - though I'm pretty sure he is not the namesake of Craigslist. This co-ed group is also wonderful, though it lacks the history that brings me to the pinnacle of adoration I feel for my original book club.

So, thank you Craig (and your little list, too)! You are kind of like Santa Claus. May you continue to bring joy to all!

More Puppies

As promised, here is a picture of my friend Sarah's little border terrier, Buckley. He may be coming with her to my house tonight for book club. Isn't he sweet?

On Sunday night I went to the dog park with my friend, Jamie. He brought Gia, his roommate's 4 month old pit bull puppy. These pictures don't do justice to her coloring - she is the same beautiful silver-blue as a weimeraner and her eyes are a color that I don't know the name of - kind of a translucent green. She made sure to say hi to every person at the dog park and was voted Miss Congeniality. Her best dog-bud of the evening was Spike, a 5 month old Great Dane (who, incidentally, drinks by sticking his entire head into the water bucket). Gia is very energetic and playful, so my only hope of getting a picture of her face was when she stopped to itch:
Wrestling with Spike:

On Friday night my friend Nicole brought over Spinato's - my FAVORITE pizza. Almost as exciting as Spinato's - she brought Violet. Violet and Scarlet wrestled for hours. They were only interrupted by the multiple occasions of Violet falling into the pool. Most dogs panic and flail around when they fall in the pool, but not Violet. The first time she went in head-first while getting a drink of water. She was so much the opposite of a panicked dog that instead of flailing, she very calmly sank, heading head-first to the very bottom of the pool. The humans started to panic but before we could act, little Violet righted herself and calmly swam back up to the surface where we directed her to the steps and she got out on her own. The instinctual love of water is definitely present in this Lab! I'm pretty sure the other 10 times she ended up in the pool that evening weren't really accidents, only designed to look that way. Here is a picture of Violet and Scarlet wrestling. Please notice Georgie in the background. She is guarding that tennis ball. She is trying a decoy effect, hoping that by creating some distance and then looking non-interested, she can again lure Violet into her trap: Violet approaches the ball, Georgie attacks. Fun for everyone! Well, except Violet.
I believe Scarlet has chewed off Violet's head:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Maven Sessions

Come on girls! Maven Sessions are coming to Phoenix! If you want to learn to wakeboard or learn to be a better wakeboarder, this is for you. I have registered for the clinic on Monday, August 25th in the afternoon. Who's joining me? Register NOW because they only take 6 people in each time slot. (Edited to add: If you want to know how this went, read all about it HERE)

From their website:

Maven Session Event Details

The Maven Sessions are a nation-wide tour of wake sports clinics for women and girls taught by the Maven Pro athletes. We invite all ages and levels to join us! This will be the 3rd year of the tour and it keeps getting better! Last year’s tour we met over 800 ladies ranging from ages of 4 yrs old to 61 yrs old. We taught a few girls their first inverts and got hundreds of beginners up on a wakeboard for their very first time. Our goals in the Maven Sessions are to grow your confidence on the water, teach you proper body position to help you progress, educate you on board shape and design, and to help you network with other local girls who love to ride.


I am very optimistic that this is going to be me very soon:


Event Recap HERE

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mini Updates

  1. My husband is on a cruise with the guys this weekend (yeah, yeah, I know). Every once in a while I enjoy the freedom of a weekend alone. Last night Nicole brought her puppy over to play. Then I stayed up late reading. In my own bed. With the dogs! As they say...when the cat's away...

  2. How much would you pay for a good night's sleep? How about close to $5,000? A bit steep, maybe? I think it's a fine price to pay. Last week our air conditioner fan broke and it was HOT. We had fans and the windows open, but it was too hot to sleep. Now that we have gone significantly further into debt with the purchase of a new AC unit, I'm sleeping much better.

  3. I really miss my NFBFs. I would like them to come home now.

  4. Scarlet (the name stuck) is doing very well. She's learned to sit, she's pretty close to perfecting down and she had a blast playing with the puppy last night. Today she ever-so-sweetly took a nap with her nose resting on the kitty's back. Awww, so cute! Of course, she was tired from countless hours of trying to swallow the kitty whole.

  5. I spent $50 on a dog brush. I've heard all about the FURminator, but just couldn't bring myself to believe the hype. Now I have to say: Believe The Hype! The money is worth it! I spent hours today brushing every animal in the house. I couldn't believe how much fur was hiding there. Crazy. Now I've got svelte, non-shedding pets. Until tomorrow when I brush them again - just for the fun of it!

  6. I did quit hockey - sort of. I am on the sub list so if I get a hankerin' to play, I can still do so, but I am off the core roster. The deciding factor came in the last game of the season, after I had already been responsible for 4 goals against. The puck was dropped on a face off to the left of our goalie. Both centers hit the puck at the same time causing it to go straight up in the air. A big part of hockey is instinct and acting on that instinct. The correct instinct in this case would be to swat at the puck with your glove and knock it away from the opponents. My instinct - that I acted on - was to duck and cover. Because it might hurt if a slow-moving puck hit my helmet?? How embarrassing. The puck landed at my opponent's feet and he was free and clear to neatly flick it into the net. 5 goals against in one game is pretty conclusive evidence that I will never be good at hockey. And at that point, it ceases to be fun.

  7. This posting was supposed to be a numbered list, but came out instead with little flower bullets.

Busy Builder

About 2 years ago I bought some agility equipment that required assembly. When I picked up the goods, I had a bunch of shrink-wrapped bundles of PVC. It looked awfully confusing and I was feeling awfully lazy, so I just stored the bundles on the side of the house.

A few weeks ago we had a late Thursday night hockey game and Pat was taking a nap. I needed something to occupy my time and keep me awake until 9:40 pm when we could finally leave for the game. I wanted to practice agility with Frankie, since Thursday is usually my class night, but alas, I had no equipment...

I opened up the bundles of PVC and set about putting them together. It was kind of fun - like a puzzle without a box lid to look at. Part of the challenge was that I had no idea what each PVC bundle was supposed to be. Was it a jump? Weave poles? Did this bundle go with that bundle? I didn't even remember what or how many pieces of equipment I had bought. Oooh, a mystery!

I admit that a few times I had to go online to see what homemade agility equipment was supposed to look like, to help me figure out what I had. In the end, I had 2 jumps, a set of 6 weaves and a tire jump. Add a little hockey tape to the poles and voila!

Now if I can figure out how to get Frankie's attention away from the birds that fly low and land on those branches right above his head, maybe we can do some training!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Something's Wrong With Me

My friend Elaine's blog is entitled "Too Much Information". Today, I'm going to go with that theme and share what might be TMI for you. You've been warned.



Menstrual cramps suck. I'm sure all you girls can agree with this. Once a month for the past 20+ years I have bemoaned the fact that I was born female. But now each month, I'm not only bemoaning, I am also puking. Yep - for three months in a row as soon as those cramps start up, I start puking. It's horrible. And it can only mean that there is something wrong with me. After 20+ years of "normal" pain, this just can't be right.

The first time it happened I attributed it to an unhealthy, and possibly illegal, amount of ibuprofin consumption and not eating enough to handle such high quantities of pills. I figured Pat would give me a big "told you so" since he doesn't understand the need to take 5 pills and then take 3 more just a few hours later, continuously all day. It came at an unfortunate time - my mother and sister were flying in to visit me. I left work early, called Pat and asked him to leave work early, too. You see, I had not yet taken my car to be vacuumed and it would certainly not be okay to pick up my family with all that dog hair floating around. Pat is a lovely man and was able to get the car ready in time to meet Mom and Anne, while I stayed at home puking every hour. I thought I might be feeling a little better by early afternoon - I'd already puked four times, how much more could there be in me? So, I went along with Pat to the airport. Alas, I was not better and I got to experience the joy of puking in an airport bathroom. I don't recommend it. Then, about seven hours after it started, I really was all better. We went out for Mexican food to celebrate.

So the next month I made sure to eat properly, cut back on the chocolate and drink lots of water and only take 2 ibuprofen as the packaging requests you to do. Unfortunately, this did nothing to help the pain and it did nothing to prevent the puking. Another full day spent laying on the floor of my bathroom. If the pain wasn't going to drive me over the edge, the dripping of the shower threatened to do so. I seriously contemplated going to Urgent Care, but couldn't bring myself to get up off the floor. Six hours later, I was all better. I celebrated by packing up the dogs and going to an agility trial in Pinetop the next day.

But now I was worried because this was actually my body responding to itself, not to an overdose of ibuprofen. Though I have tons of sick time accrued, it really isn't going to work for me to call in sick once a month, every month. I went to the doctor for my not-quite-as-yearly-as-it-should-be yearly exam. She agreed that this was not normal for me. Her recommendation was that perhaps it was if I managed the pain better, I might not get the nausea. She prescribed me some Vicadin. I wasn't sure how I would react to Vicadin - it really isn't much better to miss work because I am knocked out than it is to miss work because I'm sick.

Yesterday was the test day. I went to work and the cramps hadn't started. I was very excited that perhaps I was cured! Then a little bit of cramps, so I took a Vicadin. I found that I could work through the pain-killer high, though it was challenging. If I could just close my eyes.... Then, uh-oh! Nauseau hits. I go home. I spend the next six hours between my real bed and my bed on the floor of the bathroom. Hmmm, the shower isn't dripping anymore. The Vicadin helped me sleep through most of the day, but any time I moved I felt like I could puke. I did only puke once, so that was an improvement. Seven hours later, I was all better - just a little woozy from the drugs. I went to play soccer to celebrate. (I had agreed to sub for the team and if I didn't play, they would have had to forfeit. I didn't run at all, just stayed back on D. We lost in overtime and that goal was partially my fault. Perhaps I should have let them forfeit.)

Now it's time to make another doctor's appointment and get this figured out. When my busy events season starts in the fall, I won't have the luxury of being able to go home sick. I predict lots of doctor's visits in my future.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yesterday I Got So Old I Felt Like I Could Cry

Alternate post title: Robert Smith Will Always Love Me

Thanks to two great friends, I went to see the Cure concert last night. Nicole, friend #1, was gracious enough to be seven months pregnant, not sleeping at all, having long days at work and thus ending up too tired and grumpy at the end of the day to want to use her Cure concert tickets. (Isn't she thoughtful??) Jamie, friend #2, is spontaneous enough to say yes when I call him at 5:30 pm to see if he's up for a concert after our 6:20 pm soccer game.

The Cure is the one band I missed seeing back in the day when I was young and cool. Better late than never.

Right when we walked into the venue, I looked around and just couldn't believe how old everyone was. They were all OLD, you know - the same age as me. I can't believe how old I've gotten. When did that happen? When the band played In Between Days, which starts with "Yesterday I got so old", Jamie and I just looked at each other and said, "Yep." That pretty much sums it up. I no longer feel any need to look up old high school and college acquaintances, because I'm pretty sure that this crowd was a cross-section of them all. They are just as middle-aged and ordinary as I am.

Of course, there were a lot of freaks there, but not in the male eye-makeup wearing manner that you might have seen at a Cure concert 20 years ago. I'm talking more along the lines of this guy:


He sang every song at the top of his lungs and danced wildly all night. I wonder if back in the day he had teased hair and lipstick like Robert Smith? I'm guessing yes and that it kills him that male pattern baldness took over. However, he was having the time of his life and I made Jamie pretend to take a picture of me so that I could capture his pure joy on camera.

Then there was this guy: Yes, that IS a pony tail growing out of the back of his bald skull. His likeness to Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show kept me entertained most of the night. I couldn't get a good angle shot of him, but seriously. They are twins.And lastly was this freak:
Ew. She was in Row 31. THIRTY ONE rows away from the stage, yet she thought flashing the band would be a good idea. She also had on this necklace. I'm pretty sure she was at the wrong concert.

The tickets that we bought from Nicole were awesome. If you go to the Dodge Theater and you can't get front row, you should definitely get Row 32 in Section 4, especially if you are short. It's the last row on the main floor and the sound booth is right behind you. When everyone in the 31 rows in front of you stands up, you can stand on the seat of your chair and lean against the wall of the sound booth and see everything perfectly! Here's the view (If you click the photo to enlarge it, you'll get a better idea):
I can't believe how good Robert Smith sounded. His voice has not changed at all. The band played for 3 1/2 hours with only a very little break for the stupid encore cheering tradition. They played a lot of the old stuff, but not necessarily the old stuff I really wanted to hear. Missing was Love Cats, (I really wanted to hear that I am "wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, pretty") Let's Go To Bed and Why Can't I Be You? There was no keyboardist, so these songs might not have been quite the same anyway. I also would have liked to hear Letter to Elise. The songs I was pleased to hear were the standbys of Boys Don't Cry (though I'm pretty sure he messed up the lyrics), Hot, Hot, Hot and Killing An Arab. And thankfully they did not play Friday I'm in Love.

Of course, they did play Lovesong and here is Robert Smith telling me that he will always love me. Awww.
video
Sorry about the crap audio, you can only do so much with a little camera.

Overall I would say it was a good show. I'm very happy that I went. I can now check off "Be in the same room as Robert Smith" from my list of things to do before I die.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Meet the NFBFs

One of my best friends has made it very clear that he is not to be named or pictured on my blog. In light of this I have christened him my Nameless Faceless Best Friend, or NFBF. After 15 years of friendship, I thought I knew everything about him, but maybe my NFBF has something to hide that I don't know about. Hmmm. I'll have to do some investigating! His wife, my other best friend, has not been quite so clear but out of respect to the male half of the couple, she will share his new moniker.

The reason that I bring up the NFBFs today is because I am missing them dreadfully. Every year at the beginning of June they take their NFBF offspring on vacation. This year, in addition to the usual result of leaving our soccer teams scrambling for a goalie and sending my life into a general malaise without their presence, Mrs. NFBF has left me the job of taking care of her foster cats.

The plan was for the kittens to be returned to the shelter before their vacation, but the kitties weren't quite big enough to go up for adoption. Every day I walk over to the NFBF house to feed and play with the kittens and Mama Cat. Tired of being torn to shreds as they climb up my legs, I have trimmed all their little claws. None of the kittens enjoyed this one bit, but since I am no longer coming home with multiple itchy, allergicly-reacting scratches all over my legs and hands, I feel that the kitten-torture was well worth it. I have brushed Mama Cat to get rid of the tangles that grew into her fur from neglecting herself while taking care of her babies. (So, Mr. and Mrs. NFBF - rest assured that all is well in your absence.)

Eight more days til their return. I am counting.



Sunday, June 1, 2008

Frankie's Cool Tricks

Frankie can look sad on command. Wanna see?
video

He can also answer the very important question of his gender:

video

Lilipalooza


Lili, the fearless leader of our book club (and the lovely redhead in the pink and black dress above) is leaving us to return to Austin, Texas. Though we love her, we feel a little tiny prick of hatred at being deserted. We may not be as big as Texas, but we are certainly as loud as Texas. Isn't that worth something? We've given her three good years and this is how she repays us?

Last night was her going-away party, aptly named Lilipalooza. Another good name would have been Lambda Iota Lambda Iota frat night, since towards the end it started to somewhat resemble a frat party, with the main differences being 1) the spankings were not administered with a paddle (they were barehanded) and 2) instead of a run-down frat house, the party was hosted at a gorgeous, fancy-schmancy house in North Scottsdale. (Thanks, Mari!)

The night did not have a good start, as the directions provided on the evite weren't really the directions to the party. Despite arguing for a good long time with the security guards at Silver Leaf, I was not allowed into that neighborhood to search for the house Google wanted me to go to. After a few frustrated calls, I finally got directions to a neighborhood that doesn't even share major cross streets with the neighborhood to which I had been directed. The correct neighborhood had a nice security guard, though one with no sense of direction, and she sent me on another wild goose chase. ERGH! If I didn't think so highly of Lili, I would have given up and gone home. Luckily I finally found the party (and I was LATE! LATE! "Jill" and "late" are two words that are not usually mentioned together without the word "never" separating them). The company of the book club girls and their spouses was enough to buoy my foul mood, and those foul moods of the other drivers who experienced my same fate. I think alcohol might have helped a lot of them and while I wasn't partaking in the mood-enhancing elixirs, I was eating a lot of fresh raspberries. Mmmmm, raspberries.

The party was a huge success. I think it was fun enough that Lili has decided that her friends and family in Austin have nothing on us here in Phoenix. (Right, Lili? You have decided to stay, right? Right??) We all gave Lili gifts of our favorite childhood books in honor of her upcoming adoption from China. I think Wayne might have been a little confused about the gift theme since he gave her a book of "You Might Be a Redneck" jokes or something like that. Or perhaps that really is what his parents read to him at bedtime.

The frat party started when the jello shots came out. And like real shots, they came in a syringe. And yes, as mentioned before, there really was spanking. I will expound on that just enough to say that my only involvement was as photographer.

Lili, we will miss you!




Here is the food table before I devoured the raspberries. I may have eaten more than my fair share of the shrimp, too.