Archive for January, 2004

Jan 30 2004


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Surprise! I?m going to Florida!

I?ve never been before, but my sis, who is taking some much-needed R&R, persuaded me to join her there on Sunday for a few days. She says the beaches are beautiful, even prettier than the ones in SoCal, and I got an amazingly cheap airfare, especially considering that I just decided to go today.

Any talk about Mom or getting a job or any other real-life, grown-up-like stuff is banned while I?m there. We?re just going to lie on the beach and drink umbrella drinks. If I get too lazy to post while I?m there, I?ll get one of the cabana boys to do it for me, so entries will be something like:

“The beautiful Miss Suzy has not yet arrived on the beach today, but I have her favorite chair waiting for her. My only wish is her happiness.”

“The beautiful Miss Suzy surpassed her own personal best in drinking umbrella drinks yesterday, so she is now passed out in the shade with 20 paper umbrellas in her hair.”

“I am too busy flirting with the flirtatious Miss Suzy to write in her blog.”

The truth is that I?m only breaking my lifetime rule of not going to Florida because Colin promised me a bit part in his next movie, following the smash hit “Wat That Hook Gon Be”, and I?m gon collect on dat promise.

Sunshine, beaches, umbrella drinks, being a movie starlet ? what?s not to love?

I?m ready for my close-up, Mr. Moris.

15 responses so far

Jan 25 2004

The Ugly Side of Beauty

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The French have a saying (don’t they always?) which goes something like, “Il faut souffrir pour &ecirctre belle”, which means something like, “One has to suffer to be beautiful”. Anyone who’s ever had her eyebrows (or anything else) waxed or squeezed into control top pantyhose or worn high heels for an entire evening would agree.

Now, cosmetic surgery is kicking that whole thing up a notch. I think I’m for it, even though my niece has forbidden me to even botox (easy for her to say when she’s half my age and wrinkle-free), which isn’t really surgery at all. I wonder if botox is a gateway cosmetic procedure and just leads to harder things like liposuction and breast implants?

Anyway, I realize there are risks involved in all cosmetic surgery, ranging from disfigurement to death (which would be worse?), but until a good friend of mine had some real work done, I didn’t realize there were other unlovely consequences and weirdness that go along with it.

So, as a public service announcement to my faithful readers, I will let you in on the secrets I learned from her:

1. The operating table looked exactly like the ones they use to execute people, at least in the movies. How unnerving is that?

2. The IV hurts, both when they put the needle in and then the plastic thingie, even though they say it only “pinches”, but since they pretty much knock you out immediately the pain is as short-lived as the careers of most American Idol contestants.

3. If/when you wake up, you have a sore throat of strep-like proportions from the tube they put down your throat to keep your airway open while you’re knocked out. For several days, it’s like swallowing knives. Suggested remedy is gargling with salt water {{shudder}}.

4. You have to stay in bed for a week, which sounds like fun to someone as terminally lazy as I am, but my friend assures me that after the first couple of days when the anesthetic wears off and you start to feel better, boredom sets in. I can’t believe that sitting in bed idly flicking through fashion magazines and watching mindless TV while on prescription drugs could be that bad, but in the spirit of truthful journalism, I have to tell you that this is what she said.

Maybe the key here is to get lots of diversions set up beforehand: visits and phone calls from especially amusing friends and relations, CD’s you love, movies you love and/or have been meaning to watch but haven’t had time because of that stupid having to work thing, and possibly a visit or two from a stripper of the sex of your choice. How boring can that be? Oh, and someone to answer the door, bring you drinks, etc.

5. You can’t take a bath or shower for an entire week, a positively Gallic and gross length of time (can’t get the dressings wet).

6. At least for the procedure she had, you have to sleep sitting up for the whole week, too, like the Elephant Man, only slightly more attractive. And I do mean slightly (see #5 above). Apparently this is harder than you would think, even though they give you painkillers and valium, which has to be the fun part.

7. It’s like practicing for being old, which is pretty ironic, when you consider that the whole point of cosmetic surgery is to retain or create the illusion of youth. There are a zillion pills to take, several times a day; the bedridden thing; and the fact that when you venture out of bed, you have to walk around as slowly and carefully as if you were made of porcelain.

8. This is what I would probably find the worst part: no exercise for 4 to 6 weeks. Though she found it the perfect, cast-iron excuse not to go to the gym, and I bet a lot of people would. I think it would be worse than the boredom, which I truly believe could be kept at bay with good planning.

So there you have it. The risks of cosmetic surgery you never before considered (or at least I hadn’t). Maybe I’m not all that for it, after all.

10 responses so far

Jan 21 2004


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Today, my trainer was telling me that your face is the first place you lose weight, but the last place you gain it. Or, as she put it:

“If your face is fat, your ass is already there.”

Words of wisdom, n’est-ce pas?

And speaking of words: why do “flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing? Despite a perfectly useless degree in linguistics, I have no idea.

6 responses so far

Jan 20 2004

Loss of Liberty

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While reading the always entertaining and informative New Yorker with my coffee this morning, I discovered that although I, too, am always entertaining, there are egegrious lapses in my information department.

A small ad caught my eye (I always check out the ads in the New Yorker, since quite a lot of them are for vintage jewelry and I love to decide which pieces I’d buy if I were the Idle Rich Suzy I should be) and revealed the appalling fact that the Statue of Liberty has been closed for the past two years (actually, since the dark, dreadful day of September 11, 2001). Despite being almost as patriotic as Colin, and born in the great state of New York, and an avid reader of the New Yorker, I had no idea.

The Statue is arguably one of the great American icons, a symbol of what our nation stands for, and should be available to people all over the world to visit. If you need a fabulous gift idea, why not make a donation in the name of your friend or relation to help reopen the statue? Talk about a win/win: you reduce your shopping (and wrapping and mailing) stress, your recipient doesn’t end up with yet another object s/he doesn’t really need, and you’ll be part of history, helping to relight the torch of liberty so it shines once again as a beacon of hope. Or make a donation in your own name and bask in the reflected glory.

7 responses so far

Jan 18 2004


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While lying on the couch the other night, annoyed by the patient ticking of the 250+ year old grandfather clock – yes, the same one I went through hell to restore and ship here from England, and yes, I realize it’s perverse of me to resent this beautiful heirloom, but lack of sleep can change a girl’s priorities, especially in the dark watches of the night – I realized that we have far too many clocks.

There are clocks in every room, and I’m not including those on the many VCR’s and other appliances. There are three in the living room alone, though only one actually works. None of the clocks that do work agree on what time it is, either, so my sense of time when at home (and most of the time, come to think of it) is extremely approximate.

When my nephew was here at Christmas, he took a look around, noticed all the clocks with their individual sense of time, and said, “Cool. You have your own time zones.”

4 responses so far

Jan 16 2004


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Spending so much time in the country over the past few months has pretty much cured my fear of the dark. I’m still not its biggest fan, and I would still hesitate before walking into an abandoned house or a cemetery in the middle of the night, but I find I can’t sleep now if there’s too much light in a room.

All this country time seems to have made me more sensitive to noise, too, and I wake up more easily than ever.

Last night, I found myself an unwilling audience member at Snoreapalooza 2004. The featured act would not cease and desist no matter what methods I used to disencourage it, so I flounced out to the living room to sleep on the couch.

Once the flounce had worn off, I discovered that the majestic ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall was driving me crazy (not to mention the hourly chiming), so I couldn’t sleep there, either. I returned to bed, frustrated and cranky and unfit for sleep for several hours.

Early on the following morning, I was still enjoying my hard-won sleep when I was rudely awakened by Cleo playing with her mouse. When Cleo plays with her mouse, she feels the need to swear at it so loudly that you can hear it for miles. It’s one of the well-known San Francisco sounds, like fog horns and cable car bells.

In my semi-conscious state, I yelled at her to stop, still hopeful that I could go back to sleep. But no. She was as persistent as Snoreapalooza, so I finally gave up on the whole thing and got up. Whereupon she dropped the mouse and became as quiet as one.

Adrian may be right. Cats can be evil.

4 responses so far

Jan 15 2004


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I wake up slowly in the morning. Very slowly. I put the kettle on, grind the coffee, pour the boiling water onto the perfectly ground perfectly Caffe Trieste mocha java, and take it back to bed to read, drink my coffee, and contemplate the horror of being (technically) awake. Do not talk to me. I do not exist in a pre-caffeinated state. Disturb me at your peril.

This morning, I was happily reading the latest in Lemony Snicket’s delightful Series of Unfortunate Events – I love these books, because they are visually very appealing (important for the shallow among us), charmingly written, and the central characters have lives that are actually worse than mine – when the bulb in my reading lamp, conveniently located behind my left shoulder, suddenly exploded. It not only exploded for no apparent reason, it flew right out of the lamp and apparently vanished.

Not even Caffe Trieste wakes you up faster than that.

I had barely recovered from this unfortunate and shocking event when I heard the distinctive and horrifying sound of one of the Feline Five throwing up. However, when I tried to find the source of the cat creation, it was nowhere to be found. Undoubtedly, I’ll step in it with bare feet in the middle of the night.

Is it too late to change my mind about dogs?

4 responses so far

Jan 13 2004

Fired Up

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Back in civilization (for now). No dogs, no Mom. Just cats and the city (new HBO series?). Mom is amusing herself by baffling the doctors with her will to live, so unless you hear otherwise, it is, as Talking Heads put it, same as it ever was.

Pretty much the first thing I did, after going through a week’s worth of mail, doing laundry, and other assorted domestic tasks that had accumulated during my absence, was go to the gym. Of course, it magically banished my stress, and my trainer got a good laugh out of my concussion Christmas.

While I was away, San Francisco got itself the first female fire chief in its history. Though I’m not a fan of the new mayor (and even less of the old one) and voted hopefully for his opponent, the great Matt Gonzalez, I think this is a great choice. Now all we need is a woman President. Hillary, are you listening?

We could use some good news in the fire department, since the Governator’s planning to cut the funding for fire departments all over California. Yes, in the wake of the worst fire in California’s history. Don’t tell me there’s no other way to balance the budget.

Fun fire trivia: my brother, who is a volunteer firefighter, told me that San Francisco is the only city in America to use wooden ladders. Everyone else uses metal ones, so San Francisco’s have to be specially made. Couture ladders! He says it’s because of all the overhead tram and streetcar wires. Not a good combo with metal. Oh, his town voted to tax themselves on a per house, per year basis to help fund their fire department.

7 responses so far

Jan 09 2004


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Faithful readers will recall how John and I got landed with Mom?s cat. If you?re curious about how that?s working out, her life is still pretty much like a hunted gazelle on the Nature Channel, with our cats chasing her and/or hissing at her, when they bother to acknowledge her presence at all. After 6 months. I have serious doubts about whether they will ever accept her.

Anyway, the challenge (is thatever a good word?) of having the cat is nothing compared to what Megan has dealt with for more months than either of us care to count, and it?s not just because I have problems counting. In addition to Mom, she has no fewer than three dogs in her petite maison. All of them Mom?s. All of them completely untrained and/or neurotic and stinky. They have put me off dogs for life other than Jed the Wonder Dog, who isn?t really a dog. She?s in a class by herself. She?s Jed.

Being around these hell hounds recently has made me realize that dogs are much like children*. If you don?t train them properly when they?re young, they become incurable assholes. Well-trained dogs and well-trained children are as rare as a flawless 2+ carat diamond. Both dogs and children have an unfortunate propensity to pooping and peeing in the house. Both tend to be on the stinky side if not regularly cleaned up by grown-ups. Both tend to be loud (barking or whining dog = howling baby or tantrum-throwing child). Both require excessive amounts of attention, and you have to worry about both of them reproducing at an inopportune time and try to prevent it at all costs.

On the one hand, you don?t have to send your dog to college or pay for its wedding. On the other hand, children tend not to lick you or smell your lower regions with immoderate enthusiasm, though they are, in their younger stages, also prone to jumping on you at inconvenient times and demanding to be fed.

As if battling my non-nurturing nature wasn?t enough, every night it?s as if someone opened a can of dogs and sprayed them all over the floor. I?m convinced that the dogs, though intellectually challenged (see? It?s never positive), conspire to lie between me and the stove, which has to be fed several times a night (keep the home fires burning!) and the table where Mom?s personal pharmacy is (it would be worth a junkie?s while to find his/her way to this isolated place), with which Mom has to be fed several times a night.

The country darkness combined with several nights? worth of sleep deprivation (being woken up every 1-2 hours, every night, and then trying desperately to get back to sleep before being yanked out of it yet again) makes it difficult to maneuver my way without adding to my budding scar collection, and I can say with complete honesty that I?m completely sick of tripping over them and/or climbing over them in the watches of the night.

I am also sick of being a dog doorman (doorperson?) at any hour of the day or night, as they whine to be let out or bark to be let back in. Better than walking them, but not much. And then there?s my personal favorite, the late night Wake?n?Shake, in which the dog(s) lean against the couch I?m trying to sleep on and have loud, intimate and vigorous yet ineffective baths with such ferocity that it?s as if they?re trying to reproduce the ?89 quake by shaking the couch as hard as they can, waking me up yet again.

Can I go home yet? Nurse Suzy and Frontier Suzy need to retire. In every sense of the word.

*Of course, some among you may also have Wonder Dogs (such as Kelly and Candi) and/or Wonder Children (such as Mike & Jennifer), but I haven?t met most of them (yet). So no offense meant. And I realize I?m a cat person and (in most cases) baby-intolerant and therefore prejudiced.

5 responses so far

Jan 07 2004

Green Acres

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Here at Green Acres (and I do mean green, since it only rains here in the winter, and yeah, it?s winter, and yeah, it?s raining), there is no cell phone service and no TV unless you have a satellite dish. These two phenomena may well be related, but I neither know nor care ? they both fall into the category of “I just want it to work and I don?t care how”, like cars ? but what it means for us is that we have to keep renting DVD?s and videos in the Big Town to entertain bedridden Mom.

The Big Town (approximate population 5,000), is where they keep all the non-picturesque necessities of life, like Safeway, the DMV, the police station, the hospital, and the video store. It?s about half an hour?s drive each way, so we try to rent as many videos (and run as many errands) as we can to make the voyage worth it.

One of our recent rentals was Sex & the City, Season 4. In one episode, Charlotte sets up Anthony, her wedding gown designer, with her friend Stanford. Anthony asks Charlotte who would play Stanford in a movie before accepting the date*, and since I have too much time on my hands and am too self-centered anyway, it made me wonder: who would play Me in a movie? And who would play You?

*Charlotte said “Ed Harris”, and when Anthony met Stanford, he snapped at Charlotte, “Try Ed “I have no hair-is”. The set-up was not a success. They seldom are.

4 responses so far

Jan 05 2004

Country Mile

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It was 33 fun-filled degrees when I woke up this morning. Yikes!

I can tell my brother & sister are hardy frontier types, whereas I am and will always be a city girl. They’re way more used to the cold than I am.

Mom was released from the hospital on Friday, and we?re taking care of her at my sister’s house. She’s bedridden, but we have a hospital bed and the oxygen machine in the living room. I’m sleeping on the couch just a couple of feet away, so Mom can wake me up at night when she needs anything (Nurse Suzy – scary!). After I get her what she needs, I check the fire and throw another log on if needed – the house is heated by wood stove – to make sure she stays warm (Frontier Suzy – even scarier!).

The home help person is coming this afternoon to give Mom a sponge bath. Apparently, they have some magical way to wash your hair while you’re in bed, which should be interesting to see. Also the hospice person is coming by to see how we’re doing and what we need. There’s a lot of support in the little community up here.

I had to laugh when my sister was giving the hospice lady directions to her house. You know you’re in the country when your directions include things like “You’ll pass the 5.25 mile marker, and turn left at the white mailbox. You’ll pass a garden with a cow skull on the gate and then a water tower. Turn left at the water tower. If you pass a house on the right, you’ve gone too far.”

7 responses so far

Jan 03 2004


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Back home, briefly. Ran around all day taking care of things that had accumulated during my week+ absence at the trailer park (I had only planned to be gone for 3 or 4 days). Wasted all day Friday sitting around the house waiting for the post office to deliver a package. They didn’t. The annoyingness of this was rendered even more annoying by these factors:

1. We already knew that it was something made by John’s 6 year old great-nephew, so it has no street or resale value, yet it was sent certified mail and had to be signed for. Yes, I realize that there is sentimental value involved, but my sentiment is: just throw it in the mail like we do. You’ll get it. We always do. Get it?

2. The post office left a pink slip (only slightly better than getting one at work) while I was away notifying us that they had the hostage. John called them to confirm that they would exchange the victim for either of our signatures, but it would be sometime on Friday. Unlike cable guys, post office people don’t give you a “window” of time when they’ll show up. They just do. Or not.

3. Since I remain unemployable, I was the one who waited, and you know how patient I am. All day I kept thinking of all the stuff I had to do and how I couldn’t do it. Really, really boring. And you know how much I love being bored.

4. We went to the post office today to pick the damned thing up, and were not asked to sign anything.

I’m heading back up north to the country, since we’re once more on Mom Alert. Two days at home should be enough for anyone, right?

4 responses so far

Jan 02 2004


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Mom has finally been removed from Intensive Care and is now in the general hospital population. So she’s still in the hospital, but it’s, relatively speaking, hospital lite. Still hospital, though. And we’re still on the rollercoaster. Once you get on this ride, you can never get off, it seems.

While the black eye and carpet burn I gave myself for my very own Christmas concussion are fading, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a rakish scar above my left eyebrow*.

The real story of how I got it just isn’t amusing enough for me, and I know I will be asked by those not in possession of the dull facts how I allowed such a thing to happen, and I want to be prepared with an entertaining anecdote. So I’m asking you for ideas for a better story. So far, I like my nephew’s suggestion:

“If I told you how I got it, I’d have to kill you.”

But as usual, I want more. So lay it on me!

*No waxing or facials for a while for the gravity-challenged, I guess, no matter how badly they are needed. Maybe lower grooming standards are de rigueur among the trailer trash set anyway.

10 responses so far