Sunday, August 24, 2003

So "The Karate Kid" is on ESPN Classic. Who I even had this channel? I loved this movie when it first came out. I thought Daniel Laruso/Ralph Macchio was the best looking guy ever. You know when you played MASH and got to have celebrity candidate for the husband category? (Half a dozen of my male friends all just went "Huh?") Yeah, he was always my first pick. Followed by Kirk Cameron.


I forgot that all the bullies wore black sweatsuits with skeletons painted on them.

You know, I find watching this now that Daniel Laruso is really short and dorky and that whole Crane Defense Kick thing isn't nearly as dramatic as I remembered, but overall, it's much more endearing than I remembered, too. Did you realize Mrs. Miagi died in childbirth in a relocation camp in California during WWII? Me, neither. Probably the result of my being 5 when this movie was made and 9 when we got a VCR. :)

Ah, well... Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Hmm. Am home sick today. I have a cough and the beginnings of what could be a nasty cold, so I just took today off. I am laying in my bed with air conditioner on full blast. Ah, life's simpler pleasures.

My life has been so busy these past few weeks. I have, for the first time, purchased my own car. It's a black 1999 toyota corolla. It's fun for me because I don't have to glue the rear view mirror back on every 6 weeks, the dome light works, and for the first time in my life, I have a car with power windows and locks and headlights that blink when I hit the lock button on my keychain. This is going to save me so much time when I can't find my car in the mall parking lot.

This feels good. It feels right. I can make it work with money stuff. It's mine, on my own. I researched it, did all the legwork and negotiated and shopped around and re-negotiated and finally took it home. I think I got a pretty good deal on it. If anything, I got a more than FAIR deal on it, and I wasn't a push over, and I resisted all their "aggressive, pressure, buy it today" sales tactics, and even if i could have haggled for a lower price, the learning experience I had, doing it all on my own, is more valuable than any additional savings.

I have never named a car; never wanted to name one. Wanda the Honda, Jarvis, Ronald Mark Karen, Adolf, Lester the Land Yacht, the Tam Tam-Pontiac o' Death: none of them belonged to me. I thought about calling the car Ruby. But it's black, and Onyx doesn't suit it. Black Beauty was my favorite book when I was 10, but that's too cheesy. While Ginger suits the car's "personality," (carality? Automobiliality?)- I should add that Ginger was the white horse who was Black Beauty's friend who was beaten by her owner and finally, mercifully killed in a carriage accident- that is so not the Carma (okay, the puns are just running painfully amok here) I want to cast on this car. I am going to drive it carefully, not dribble diet coke on everything, or let my cat out of his carrier for any reason in it. I am debating using air freshener at all in it so that the air conditioner doesn't get that sickly sweet perfume build up smell in it. I think its name wants to be Ruby. But I don't know.

Fall always feels like the New Year to me. I say this every year, but Rosh Hashanah is dead-on perfectly timed for me. I got new shoes (70% off- nine bucks!), a new car (well, new to me), re-folded my all my drawers, finished some projects I've been carrying around (some for more than a year), organized my closets and under the sink, donated a few summer and fall clothes to charity that I just do not and will not ever wear, a new boss (they actually appointed a real, live photo editor at my job) with new plans for a new approach that resembles working for a real newspaper.

Being a diehard band geek, I have always associated, "Eight to a Hand," the first, universal warmup exercises that all marching percussion units start with at every rehearsal, with anticipation, the sense of that good things are coming soon. Especially since college, that basic, clear, dut dut dut dut dut dut dut dut, is the sound of change, progress, new friends, a new start, a fresh binder and crisp new notebook paper, bright blue skies with big fluffy clouds and so many good things. And pretty soon, the Nournal Wews Jeeklies will be "Applaud"-ing autumn, and the NRHS drumline will be warming up.

Monday, August 18, 2003

So... yeah, long time, no post.

Everything has been moving so freakin' fast since I left, and then returned from, vacation. I had my first work evaluation, which went very well, although the jury is still out on the raise. Or, er, the judge? Yeah. We'll see. But I'm touched by the good things they said.

The black-out was pretty awful for me, actually. I was going to try and make it funny and write all about it, but you know? It was like, the worst night of my life. No Manhattan star-gazing, pool parties by torch/flashlight or ecological epiphanies for this girl. I have long since known we are plundering our energy sources, and it was just- miserable and scary.

Yeah, but all is back to normal. I'm feeling efficient and busy and tired. Mmm. Bed time!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

In 1994, I went on a long trip. One afternoon, on said trip, I was watching TV in a hotel room while a friend of mine (with whom 95% of my readers attended high school; hint- she played the drums) was throwing stuff in a backpack so we could venture out to find the only Subway fast food store in Sydney. She worked at Subway in Manheim, and she promised someone she would get her picture taken in Australia's then only Subway eating a Vegemite Sandwich Combo Meal. Anyway, her hotel room's TV was stuck on one channel featuring a Madeline cartoon, and we kept hearing the theme song ("I'm MAD-e-line! I'm MAD-e-line!") over and over again, until Trip Friend started singing, “In-SAN-ity! In-SAN-ity!” which, on very chaotic days, gets stuck in my head, even these 9 years later.

This week has been killer, and I can't wait to lay on the beach. Last Wednesday was an unbelievable day, in the manner of Unbelievable Days that only seem to happen to me. It started off so well, I should have been suspicious.

I got up before I had to, read the paper, gave Bella a long, "smell whatever you want unless it's visibly disgusting" style walk (we almost never have time for that in the mornings), and gloated a little to myself as I climbed the stairs to my apartment that I had 20 minutes to get to my first assignment 10 minutes away. This was the Kiss of Death.

My key broke in the lock. I just turned it gently and it broke right off. It was like it melted or something. (It didn't, really, but it was such a smooth movement that that’s what it felt like.) So, luckily, I had my cell phone, and I called my associate scheduler person to tell her to tell the reporter I was supposed to be meeting to sit tight, I would be there as soonas I could. Got her voice mail. Damn.

I couldn't leave the dog running free up and down the stairs, obviously, if only because it's 95 degrees and completely unventilated, not to mention that this is the day my new neighbors (with a toddler) were supposed to bring stuff by and start moving in. I couldn't take the dog with me and lock her in the car, and I didn't have my camera gear anyway.

So I left Bella in the hallway, figuring it would take longer for her to have a heat stroke than it would for me to shimmy up the fire escape and go through the kitchen window where I could open the stuck door with the key sliver from the other side. I ran into my landlord at the back of the house, who hates it when we break into our own apartments by shimmying the fire escape.

So HE decided to break into my apartment by shimmying up the fire escape, which always scares the shit out of me because he is a.) 70 b.) mostly deaf c.) not so good with the English and I would have no idea what to tell 911 what hurts most if he fell but managed to not lose consciousness and d.) sometimes he climbs up wearing a trash bag to check the roof during rain storms, which is scary, not just because he's a senior citizen and the stairs are slippery in the rain, but also because the unexpected appearance of a drenched old man wearing a trashbag outside my third story window is, well, scary.

After three explanations that no, my dog will NOT bite him if he goes through the window, because she is stuck in the hallway, and no, the broken key is not in the door from the porch, but rather in the door at the top of the stairs to my personal apartment, which is why the dog is in the hallway (Repeat. Repeat.), he goes through the window. I go around, go up the stairs, wait by the stuck door, holding the dog's leash. Landlord flings open the door, saying, "You fixed it!" while I try to explain, again, that the door from the porch is NOT the problem, THIS door is. Repeat. Repeat.

As I am pointing to the sliver of key in the lock and holding up the broken one, I realize that Landlord probably left the window open from the fire escape open, which means, at this point, Fred has either a.) made a break for freedom and is perching precariously in the gutter staring at a bug or b.) started to gnaw on the plant he loves (the leaves of which make cats sick) that lives on the fire escape since he can't leave it alone.

I go tearing into the kitchen, pull Fred away from the poisonous plant, shove him in the bathroom, yank Bella (now barking her fool head off at the man hitting the lock with a hammer) away from the Landlord, put her in her crate, give her her water bowl, check Fred's eyes to make sure they aren't dilating, they aren't, put him, his litterbox and water in the office, turn the air conditioner on turbo, explain that yes, I have a spare key that will open this lock once you bang the sliver out, oh yes, thank you! Thank you! Yes, I have a spare key, yes, an extra one, no, the broken one was not the only one I have. Yes. A whole other key. I will be fine. Yes. Thanks! (Repeat. Repeat.)

A bunch of other things happened throughout the day. I planned to tell you about them, as some of them are quite funny, but considering that all of the craziness I described above transpired in less than fifteen minutes, I'll skip it. You should get a pretty accurate idea of my day if you just the sing word “insanity” to the tune of the Madeline cartoon theme song out loud to your self right now.

Ready, everyone? “In-SAN-ity, in-SAN-ity! In-SAN-ity, in-SAN-ity!”

Eleven hours later, I return to my apartment to find a sliver-less lock. I use my spare key, and took my dog for a walk.

I should mention that there is a Rogue Skunk in my neighborhood. I think Bella thinks that the skunk is a cat, albeit one that smells most interestingly different from Fred. Fred is a Cat! Fred is a Friend! Friends are Fun! Cats mean Fun! I want to be friends with the Cat! Fun! Cat! Fun! Cat! Cat!

We’ve had a couple of near misses with Rogue Skunk, to the point where I actually stocked up on hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Two nights previous, the dog started to pull me toward a neighbor’s yard. I was facing the other way, but whirled around in time to see Rogue Skunk, still 30 feet away, getting up on his front paws into a headstand. That time, we took off, (actually I screamed into my cell phone first-sorry, Alissa), and all was well.

Not so lucky this time. Bella stuck her face in a bush, and the skunk leapt out, hitting us first a warning shot, which was still pretty bad. It wasn’t so terrible that I couldn’t take her back into the house, although we traumatized Fred with the stankiness, who went hissing and spitting into a corner, all spikey Halloween cat style.

One hour, five bathes (lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. You can sing that if you want), a bottle of peroxide and 2 boxes of baking soda later, she went back into her crate for the second long stretch of time that day. Fred got unlimited Whiska Lickins’ and the foot of my bed to himself.

And another day began.