Say Hello to Oblivion

December 6, 2008

The title of this entry is a quote from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It pretty much sums up my most vivid memory from last year’s holiday season, which is today’s Holidailies prompt.

After Christmas dinner at my sister’s house, most of the guests were in the living room watching I Am Legend.   At one point, my mother and Ex MIL began to converse, loudly, I might add.   It was very distracting, to say the least, and made it difficult to hear the movie.

Those who were sitting on the floor made a big show of moving closer to the television.  Then the volume was turned up.  Still, the talkers took no notice.  They were also oblivious to all the dirty looks and huffing and puffing and harumphing and teeth-sucking and heavy sighs.  Finally I blurted out, “People are trying to watch a movie!”   Only then did the two women become aware that they were being disruptive.

On the way home, Daniel told me that he enjoyed the oblivious behavior more than the movie.   He thought it was pretty comical.   In retrospect, I have to agree. The movie wasn’t very good, anyway.

Song of the Day:  Oblivion by Macy Gray

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A Jolly Holiday

May 26, 2008

First things first. I’m thrilled to report that I got the ink stain out of my jeans! The rubbing alcohol got rid of most of it, and hairspray took out the rest. Thanks for the great suggestions!

In other news, I’ve been having a really good Memorial Day weekend. It started on Friday with a trip to a thrift store with my cousin, Kathy. I got two pairs of paints, an L.L. Bean denim-colored linen jacket, an Eddie Bauer top, a hardcover book and the game, Pictionary (in like-new condition) all for the grand total of $11.50. Kathy and I topped the day off with a meal at a Middle Eastern restaurant.

The next evening, Daniel and I were invited to a lasagna dinner at my aunt’s house. (My mother cooked the lasagna, but her place is too small to host a gathering.) Somehow, the conversation turned to the Little Rascals, and then to Eddie Murphy’s SNL impersonation of Buckwheat. Too funny.

Yesterday, Kathy and I went to Rhinebeck to see the movie, Alexandra. We had lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant. Everything on the buffet is a gastronomical delight.

Today, we’re having a barbecue. Only a few people have been invited, and the food offerings will be simple – hamburgers, hot dogs, and my renowned potato salad. Tomorrow (I’ll be off work again, thanks to a give-back snow day), I’m hoping to relax. I’m also looking forward to a break from the itching, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon, even though the prednisone prescription runs out tomorrow.

Oh, I wanted to show you my new glasses. (They’re pretty similar to my old ones except that the new frames are black instead of brown.) This pic was taken on Friday, and I got my hair chopped off on Saturday (same style, but shorter in the back and on the sides), but I haven’t had a chance to take another photo, so this one will have to do for now.

I’d better get a move on. There’s a pile of mulch in my driveway that needs to be spread.

Song of the Day: Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins

Snow Angels

February 24, 2008

I didn’t see Sunshyn’s comment about praying for angels until I had already experienced two miraculous visitations. The first took place after I had just gone out to shovel. I hadn’t gotten very far when a car pulled over and parked in front of my house. I didn’t think anything of it until the driver opened his trunk, grabbed a shovel, and, without saying a word, set to work clearing the mess at the end of my driveway (courtesy of the snow plows). I was thunderstruck.

I walked over to express my appreciation, and to tell him how much his help meant to me because of my physical problems. He shooed me back in the house, saying he would finish the job and no thanks were necessary. He was happy to be of assistance. Imagine that.

Shortly afterwards, my cousin called to ask if I wanted to go to the movies. I was hesitant at first, because it had been my plan to go back to bed, but then I decided that getting out might do me some good.

While I was waiting for my cousin to pick me up, my mother arrived unexpectedly. She announced that she was there to shovel my driveway. I tried to talk her out of it, but she would not be deterred, heavy ice buildup notwithstanding.

I have a large driveway, and my mother was not able to do the whole thing, but what she did do amazed me. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got home later in the evening and saw that, not only had much of the snow been cleared, but the ice, as well. I am so grateful.

I’m really glad I agreed to go to the movies, by the way. Lars and the Real Girl is a delightful gem of a film. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

My cousin and I went to get something to eat after the movie. When we left the restaurant, I looked at the time and was surprised to discover that we had been in there for three hours. We did a lot of talking and laughing, and, of course, eating. I had a nice day.

It was late by the time I got home, and I was exhausted. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the good night’s sleep I was hoping for, thanks to a sharp, stabbing pain in my shoulder. At times, it was so bad I really thought a trip to the Emergency Room would be in the cards for today. This morning, however, the pain is more endurable. Still, I will have to see my primary care physician sometime soon to get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

Although the pain is more tolerable at this point, the fatigue is another story. I’m so tired I can’t think straight. Even more than yesterday, I wish I could spend the day in bed, but I can’t. I have to go to a wake for the father of my cousin’s wife. They came from Massachusetts for my brother’s calling hours, so I feel the need to put in an appearance.

I do have some time before then, though. The 22 lb. Butterball turkey I bought at Sam’s club for 49 cents a pound is in the oven. (Lifting that sucker didn’t do my back and shoulder any good. With luck, Daniel will be home by the time it’s ready to come out.) The dogs have been fed and walked. Maybe I can get some more sleep before I have to get ready to go out… It’s worth a try, at any rate.

Song of the Day: Snow Angels by Kotoko

Start Me Up

February 3, 2008

The superintendent made a really bad call when he chose to not close our schools on Friday. I was terrified that I was going to fall as I inched my way home on treacherously icy sidewalks. Conditions were extremely hazardous.

There were over one hundred accidents in our area, the worst of which involved a vehicle and a sanding truck. That accident resulted in three fatalities – a 26 year old man, a 29 year old woman, and her 7 year old son. The woman’s 2 year old son survived the accident. My heart goes out to the families.

In more pleasant news, I went for a massage yesterday morning. This was my first session with this particular massage therapist. After taking my history, she remarked that the pain I am experiencing sounds like Piriformis Syndrome.

That’s the first I’ve ever even heard of such a thing. Apparently, the sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle. This diagnosis fits my symptoms, and I now find myself wondering why the many doctors and other medical experts I’ve seen over the past year have never mentioned it…

Lately, the pain has been excruciating. I have an appointment with the orthopedist on Wednesday to go over the most recent MRI results, so I’ll be sure to ask about Piriformis Syndrome at that time.

In spite of the increased pain, I pushed myself to go out with my cousin yesterday. We went to Rhinebeck,where our first stop was at an Indian restaurant for their buffet lunch. We sampled a little bit of everything, and boy was it good.

After lunch, we went to a thrift shop where I scored a great Jones New York sweater. When I looked at the fabric tag and saw that the sweater was made of 50% merino wool, 20% angora, 20% lambs wool and 10% nylon, I was afraid it would be too itchy. However, my cousin (who is a master knitter) explained that the high percentage of merino should eliminate the itch factor. I followed her suggestion that I try the sweater on, and was very pleased to find that it’s soft and comfortable, and not at all itchy. Hurray for thrift shops!

Next we headed over to Upstate Films to see “The Savages.” As usual, I was blown away by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance.

It was a long day, and I was pooped and aching when I got home. I crawled into bed with Duma Key, and read for a while. So far, I like the book, which is based on King’s short story, “Memory.”  It’s not his best, but not his worst, either.

So, the pain notwithstanding, yesterday was a good day. Unfortunately, today doesn’t appear to have the potential to shape up nearly as well. I really need to do some cleaning, but the pain is very sharp and distracting. Still, it will only get worse as the day progresses, so, if I’m going to get anything done, now is the time to start.

Song of the Day: Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones

And it Poured Sweet and Clear

December 31, 2007

I saw this end of the year meme over at Jeanette’s place, and decided to swipe it.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? Hung out with soap stars.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I don’t have any desire to beat myself up over failing to stick to them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? In August, my niece gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Brody Mark.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, but I continue to mourn the loss of my brother, Mark, who died in October 2006.

5. What countries did you visit? The only countries I visited in 2007 were in books and magazines.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Money.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? December 1st because that’s when I hung out with the aforementioned soap stars.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Making friends with soap stars.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not winning the lottery.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I continue to struggle with pain related to a herniated disc in the lumbar spine and related sciatica. The injury occurred on December 13, 2006.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Monavie! Since I started drinking the juice, I’ve noticed a renewed vitality, and my mental clarity has improved, as well. I no longer wake up at night because of acute arthritic pain in my left knee, or the excruciating leg and foot cramps that plagued me for so long.  It is also very exciting for me to have found something that relieves my Fibromyalgia symptoms after suffering for so many years. Yippee!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My daughters. Leigh has really stepped up, and her performance in college this year has been admirable. She is currently looking into transferring to another school for veterinary science. Rebecca has also excelled scholastically, and will be studying abroad in Australia next semester.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? George W. Bush.

14. Where did most of your money go? Mortgage payments and college tuition.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Hanging out with soap stars! (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Landslide by Stevie Nicks:

Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life
Mmm mmm I don’t know

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? About the same, give or take a few pounds.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer. I lost a fair amount of income due to being out on a work-related injury.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Reading. I blame my obsession with knitting for that.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Cleaning up Penny’s messes. She refuses to be house trained.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Like this.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007? Does my crush on Hugh Laurie count?

22. What was your favorite TV program? It’s a tie between General Hospital and House, the only shows I watch regularly.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, but I’m still mad at Brad Pitt.

24. What was the best book you read? See #18. I have  read some  books, but can’t think of any worth mentioning… Oh, wait! I know! Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Allison Krauss

26. What did you want and get? A gift certificate for 3 one-hour massages!

27. What did you want and not get? Money.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I haven’t seen many movies – in fact, the only one I can remember seeing at the theater is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I didn’t do anything except turn 53 years old.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? MONEY! (Another pattern?)

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

Viking helmets are in.

32. What kept you sane? Getting to be insane at work.


33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
See # 21.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? The assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

35. Who did you miss? My brother, Mark.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I’ll bet you thought I was going to say soap star Bradford Anderson, didn’t you? While I am  delighted to have met him, the best new person I met in 2007 was LA. I’m also very glad to have been able to meet Mary and Joe, and my Bradford buddy, Allison. It was a very  good year for making friends.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. I learned that it is very important to make sure there is more life in my life.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

But now the days grow short,
I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life
as vintage wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs,
and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year.

I wish all of you many blessings that pour sweet and clear in the New Year, and always.

Happy 2008!

Song of the Day: It Was a Very Good Year  by Frank Sinatra

Having missed too many movies that I’ve wanted to see over the years, I finally succumbed to the Netflix craze.  Don’t ask me why, but I started with “Sid & Nancy” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091954/) a film I had already seen when it was first released in 1986.  I’ve always wanted to watch it with my daughter, Leigh, so she could get some idea of what the REAL punk scene was like, and this seemed to be as good a time as any.  Halfway through the flick, the DVD started to skip, and then it froze.  We had to fast forward through an entire scene before we could get the DVD to work properly again. 

The same thing happened with the next movie I watched, “Reefer Madness,the Musical.” (http://www.reefermadness.org/)  However, I didn’t have any problems with  “Monster’s Ball, (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285742/) or  “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (http://chocolatefactorymovie.warnerbros.com/ ), and felt hopeful that the problems with the previous DVDs were isolated incidents that wouldn’t be repeated any time soon. Silly me.

Last night, I wanted to watch a movie in bed, so Daniel popped “Life is Beautiful” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/ ) into the DVD player while I made myself comfortable. It was very frustrating to discover that I couldn’t read the subtitles, which were white and often displayed against a light background.  I’ll try again some other time in a different room where I can sit closer to the television set, but last night I felt like doing my movie viewing from a reclining position.  Daniel ejected the “Life is Beautiful” DVD and replaced it with “The Pianist.” (http://www.thepianist-themovie.com/)

Because of the subject matter (a Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II), this movie is painful to watch, and I had invested quite a bit of emotional energy into it when the DVD began to sputter and stop. Fast forwarding didn’t help this time, so I had to give up and accept that there would be no movie watching from the comfort of my bed this night.  Grumble.

There are currently sixty movies in my queue, but the fact that three out of the six DVDs I’ve rented from Netflix had this skipping/stopping problem does not exactly inspire confidence in the service. Has anyone else had this kind of trouble? 

Since I mentioned “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” I have to say that, as much as I love me some Johnny Depp, I prefer the Gene Wilder ( http://freespace.virgin.net/rusty.goffe/Image11.gif )  version of the film. In my opinion, Wilder’s portrayal of Willy Wonka was brilliantly understated, while Depp’s Wonka (http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/images/MK-AE769_CHARLI07132005182431.jpg ) is a bit over the top.  That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the remake.  It is visually stunning, and there was much that I did appreciate about Depp’s performance.  Also, the music is fun, although I like the original Oompa Loompa songs better. Actually, I like EVERYTHING about the original Oompa Loompas better.

For some reason, my oldest daughter, Rebecca, was (and still is) afraid of the original Oompa Loompas. She finds them to be very creepy. (She’s also freaked out by E.T., but that’s neither here nor there.) About a year ago, I felt mischievous, and sneakily switched the wallpaper on Rebecca’s laptop to This picture (http://www.codehappy.net/mimage/wonka029.jpg ) of the Oompa Loompas. Then I sat back and waited for the shriek that was soon to be heard.  Hey, at my age, you gotta get your cheap thrills whatever way you can.

Anyway, in my search for Oompa Loompa photos, I came across a Craigs List advertisement for “Free Oompa Loompas – As is” (http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/37212544.html) and and an Oompa Loompa dating service. (http://www.nuclearblender.com/oompa/) There truly is something for everybody to be found on the Internet.

Back to Netflix – I’ll next be looking forward to watching “Ray,” (http://www.raymovie.com/index.php) and “Walk the Line” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358273/), but the movie I really can’t wait to see is “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” (http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/index.html ) DVD release is scheduled for February 28th, and is listed at the top of my queue.  Listen up, Netflix.  The DVD had better arrive in playable condition or this means war!

Song of the Day: Oompa Loompa Song From Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

OOMPA LOOMPA DOOMPADEE DOO

I’VE GOT A PERFECT PUZZLE FOR YOU

OOMPA LOOMPA, DOOMPADAH DEE

IF YOU ARE WISE YOU’LL LISTEN ME