Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tantrums and Mood Swings

I took another walk in the neighborhood and neither saw nor heard any of the canine persuasion this evening.
I fed the cat raw chicken last night, while I was preparing dinner at approximately 6 p.m., and tonight she harassed me the whole hour I was making dinner. Meow. No, I don't have any more chicken. Meow. No, I don't have any more chicken. Meow. Sorry, kitty. Meow. No more raw chicken. Meow. Nothing to offer but dry food. That didn't suit her at all. When dinner was finally ready, I sat down to eat it, and she suddenly figured out that the only available feast was the dry food sitting in her bowl. Now she's ignoring me. I'm her favorite when I give her meat.
I'm moving back into equilibrium again. I feel more myself today. I wasn't myself at work on Friday. I'm usually even-keeled, even-tempered, unaffected, amused and pleasant. I was not that person on Friday. It's really not like me to be suddenly moody, it's really not. I promise myself it's not.
Something happened to give me a jolt to make me feel that way, and I felt out of control of my mood. It is a bit of madness, but, thankfully, it only happens once in a great, great while. Maybe it's one of those remnants left over from childhood, when we let circumstances get the best of our emotions.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Retail Halloween

Shop, shopping, shopped. I've done more shopping for myself this weekend than I think I ever have, in all history. Now I have new shoes, new jackets, new shirts, and a new skirt. Six items. It feels excessive, as I usually only get one or two things at a time, about once every eight months or so. For some reason I'm wearing one size down. All I did was lose four measly pounds. Could I be any more self-involved?
I did make a few obligatory stops for the youngins to three Halloween costume stores, and despite my reluctance, trying on the 1950s and 1960s glasses was fun. I'm already tired of Halloween and I've got one month to go. I realize that a lot of women and female adolescents like to wear costumes that show off their assets in ways they usually can't get away with, but none of the costumes out there are creative. Most of them you can't even tell what they're supposed to be, with labels like "evening fire" or "moon woman" or "goddess of the night." I was trying to figure out if the people who owned the stores purchased only sexist costumes, or whether that was all that there was to order. The only costumes I've ever seen that I liked were worn by creative people who made their costumes, like Giant Styrofoam Eyeball Guy, or Giant Bottle of Ketchup, appearing with his friend, Giant Container of French Fries.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fighting a Losing Battle With Ghosts from the Past

It's hard to win when the ghosts from the past take the form of real people standing right in front of you, smiling and saying "hi," as if nothing bad ever happened (see yesterday's post about catty competition). It's kind of eerie.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Morning

No comments so far about why there can't be more love in the world. What is there to say?
I talked to the dog warden yesterday. He wanted to know how the dog bite on my butt is healing up. I said it's still colorful and still sore in one spot, but much better than it was last week. He said he is surprised that I still have any kind of side effects and that he's never had experience with someone who still felt the effects of a dog bite for more than 10 days and wanted to take another look at it. Hm.
I saw a brand new baby last night at the hospital. He is two days old and nameless thus far. Well, he does have a last name, but nothing else. He was tiny, and had a miniature baby I-V hooked up to his hand. It was all taped up to his left hand and he kept rubbing his face with it.
Today marks the end of a long stretch of beautiful, clear, crisp, sunny weather. I woke up to wet sidewalks and drizzly rain. Finally got to take advantage of 5-cent-coffee Fridays at the store on the corner.
I had a really good conversation with a co-worker yesterday. She gave me some good advice and finally made me feel better about having to face and deal with an unhappy situation that provides a lot of anxiety, having to do with the insecurity-driven, catty competition of some women who need to constantly boost their confidence by habitually luring someone else's love interest away. I never thought it would happen to me. I would have thought that, if it had, that I would not let it bother me, as we all have our own free will and I should accept that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ah, Connectivity.

Isn't it great when you randomly run into people you really like and haven't talked to in awhile? AND they're happy to see you, and you can tell? It just brightens up the whole day.
We all need each other. Why can't there be more love in the world?

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Boring Dog Stuff

My tail end is much better today, thank you. Still a little sore in one corner, and still colorful as ever where the dog's teeth crushed my flesh, but it feels good to feel better.
The owner of the dog who said she'd call back with the name of the homeowner's policy didn't call back, of course. Someone told me there was a story in the newspaper yesterday about someone's beloved pet dog getting run over and killed by a car in my neighborhood. It wasn't the dog that bit me. If I had a dog, I'd have a fence, and I'd keep that dog behind the fence, unless we were going for a walk, and then it would be confined to a leash.
I went for a walk yesterday, the first one I've taken in the neighborhood since the dog bite incident (I had company this time, and my friend had a rock). We went by one house with a dog in the yard, and it barked viciously at us (a doberman pinscher, I think), and tried to get to us by reaching to the top of the fence, but it wasn't able to leap over the fence to try to eat us.
I did not want to walk by the house of the dog that bit me, even though I haven't seen any dogs wandering out there since I was attacked.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Pet Is a Menace

Today the dog bite injury feels better. It's only sore in one spot. I think I see signs that the big bread-size, dark-purple contusion is possibly getting lighter. It feels like there may be a few scratches on it. Only half of it is sore now, which is a big improvement. I found out Friday the assailant dog is a German shepherd Akita mix.
On Friday I talked to the person who owns the dog that bit me. She apologized and offered to pay my ambulance expenses. I thanked her and told her I have not received a bill yet. I asked her if she could tell me the name of the home insurance policy she has so I can file a claim. She said she does not have homeowner's insurance. I asked her why she wouldn't have homeowner's insurance when she is selling her house. She said that's her boyfriend's house, not her house. I asked her if she could find out the name of the company that has his homeowner's policy, and she said she'd find out and call me back. I will be surprised if she does.
I'm not really a squeamish person, or someone who is afraid of a lot of things. But I've noticed that I am skiddish and unnaturally nervous when I hear noises right behind me, after the dog snuck up behind me and bit me. It seems a bit ridiculous to be affected like that. I keep trying to tell myself that this PTSD is only temporary and will pass.
This weekend I went to a restaurant I've been going to for about nine years. It used to be my favorite restaurant in town. Every time it's been excellent. Except this weekend. The first unusual thing happened when we got to the door. A paper sign said they no longer serve alcohol, which is odd for an Italian restaurant. The marinara sauce, which should be their greatest and most delicious asset, tasted as if it had been cooking for way too long, as if it had cooked down so much that it had burned. The outside of my calzone was charred, and everything was overcooked. It is the end of an era. It was all downhill.
This morning I watched Silent Hill. I had heard it was supposed to take place in our state. I thought it was a horror movie, but it was more of a thriller/mystery/horror/adventure. No comedy whatsoever. Not one funny thing happened. Not that I expected it to, it's just that it would not have hurt to throw in a few funny things for some levity, to make it a little like real life. It had an interesting story and it ended in a believable and satisfying way, but nothing about the story was realistic whatsoever. Granted, it was based on a video game and no one should have had expectations of it mimicking real life in any way.
Last night I started to watch Army of Darkness, but the person I was with thought watching it was something close to torture, I think, so I didn't get to watch the ending. Sometimes we compromise and it's like defeat, a tragedy. Sometimes I am alone and I like it.
It was peaceful in the house this weekend. I didn't hear the usual deafening squawking of the aggressive and noisy female parakeet, feeling relief as I just heard the peaceful chirpings of the nice male parakeet. It turns out she was dead.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chronicles of My Traumatic Injury

The big dog bite mark is quite remarkable in color. It changes every day. The colors are spreading out and the injury area is becoming larger and larger. The first day after the bite, it looked like a big pomegranate cut in half on the place where I sit down. The second day after the bite, it was red and pink and there appeared to be a blurry picture of a buddha in the middle of it. The third day after the bite, it was bigger and darker, with shades of black, dark purple, and a little yellow spot in the middle where buddha's belly used to be. Now it's about the size of a piece of bread, and is still very purple and dark. It still hurts. It hurts especially when I walk and when I sit down and when I stand and when I lay down. The dog warden gave me the number of the owner of the dog. I finally worked up the nerve to call her yesterday, and the message on her cell phone said the caller you are trying to reach is not accepting messages at this time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Being Healthy

I've agreed to participate in a wellness program at work. As a participant in the program, I have promised to drink 64 ounces of water a day, which is eight cups, and exercise for 30 minutes per day. Just three of us out of nine local people agreed to participate, and I just found out last week that the other two dropped out.
I've been happy to go out and have a reason to walk every day. Last night, as I was feeling the circulation running and getting out of breath going up, up, uphill, I thought about how good it made me feel, and how much good I was doing for my health, and hoping I would want to keep it up when the weather started to turn really cold.
I was winding my way home downhill last night around 8 p.m. or 8:05 p.m. as the sky was turning dark and my 30 minutes were almost up. I was approaching the house that usually has a dog outside of it, and last night it was sniffing in the ditch, as usual, across the street from its house. I've seen the dog there quite a few times. On another walk, we crossed paths and it wagged its tail and went the other way after it passed me. Last night, I stayed out of its way and walked downhill on the opposite side of the street. It had chased one of the members of my household all the way down the hill once, so I wasn't sure if it was all that friendly, so I was just trying to avoid it as much as possible without running and remaining calm and unafraid. I heard it following right behind me, so I turned around, and the second I turned around, it bit me on the part of my body where I sit down. I screamed, out of surprise and pain, and looked around for its owner, at the house where I know it lives. There was no one, and the dog started to growl and bark and act like it was going to bite me again. I looked around again and there was no one. Then I did what I learned from my grandmother, who always had dogs. I pointed my finger at it and yelled at it to go home, go home, go home, and it looked confused for a few seconds, did what I told it to do, and walked back to its house. Another guy was walking up the street and I told him what happened. He said he's walked by the house before and has seen the dog, but the owner of the dog had always been out there and called the dog back to the house when the dog approached him. He suggested I call the sheriff.
Then when I got home, my neighbor was outside and I told her what happened. She suggested I call the sheriff. So I did, and they told me to call the non-emergency 911 number, which is a seven-digit number and is nothing like 9-1-1. They dispatched an EMS technician and the dog warden. The EMS technician came and I had to show him my butt. I couldn't sit down. I had to wait another hour before the dog warden came. The dog warden told me he had to look at it too. It looks bad. It looks like there's a spot on there that resembles what I think leprosy would look like. It's about three inches tall and two inches wide and it has red marks all around. The dog warden explained that the dog didn't break the skin, but the redness was caused by the pinching where the dog's teeth came together on my skin. I guess my skin, or rather my big backside, sticks out too much back there. The dog warden went to the owner's house and cited the owner for "running at large." That's apparently the citation, but I guess it's "causing a dog to run at large," really. The dog warden called me back later to tell me the dog has had its rabies shots. He also said the owner wants me to call so she can apologize. The dog will be quarantined for 10 days for observation to make sure it does not have rabies. He told me he was required to tell me that I could get rabies shots, but there are five shots and each one costs around $3,000 each, so it might be a good idea to wait to see if the dog shows signs of having rabies while it's in quarantine.
I did sit down today. It feels like I'm sitting down on a baseball.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A change of scenery is always nice.

The wind is picking up in great gusts all that enters its path. We entered the movie theater to watch Wall-E, leaving behind a bright, sunny day, and exited the theater to an overcast sky and warm, strong gusts of wind that turned all the leaves on the trees upside down.
I heard so many good reports about Wall-E. The critics loved it. The people who aren't professional critics loved it. When I saw the previews, I thought it looked like it would be annoying and couldn't imagine that it would have much merit.
I put all my faith in the people who said good things about it. In fact, there was nothing bad said about it. How could I not?
I'm still waiting for a good movie to watch. How can a movie about robots that have feelings be good? That's right, I said robots THAT have feelings, not robots WHO have feelings. They're not "who"s at all. I didn't like that Wall-E looked realistic, but that the people looked like cartoons. The best part was at the end, as the credits were rolling. Peter Gabriel's passionate and calming voice came on, and countless styles of drawing and painting depicted the whole rest of the story that you want to see, that you will imagine after the movie ends. That was the best part. People walked out during that.
The rest of the weekend was spent running down to the hometown and back and then to Pittsburgh. There were quick stops to Trader Joe's, a pet store, Buca di Beppo's, and an actual mall. At the mall I bought stuff for other people. Some stuff I bought for myself included some Indian food and ginger granola from Trader Joe's. I also bought some brownie mix that requires only that you add yogurt to it and then bake it. Hm. I was too curious to resist. A man asked us at two different times if we could give him 70 cents.
I got to go out and do stuff and see stuff. Now I feel better.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I went on a tour of the eighth grade today, through seven ... or was it eight? ... class periods, lasting eight minutes each. Oh, the horror. Parents were saying "hi" to each other in the halls. Some parents snubbed one another. Now I remember why I was depressed in school. It is so painfully obvious when one chooses to snub another, or gush over one but not another. To feel invisible ... well, the teachers always liked me, anyway ... they looked at me and smiled, glad that someone appeared as if they were paying attention and interested. I'm glad my preview/glimpse back into the eighth grade has reached its end. As my high school English teacher told me, the agony of being slighted is the blight of the sensitive person, among other tragedies.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Lots of seasonal things are happening. The ants are retreating to their hiding places. The leaves are falling and starting to turn colors. There's a chill in the air at night. Someone gave me six ears of corn from their garden!
I went to a restaurant and watched a little bit of a two-person's band's performance of a song that advocated for parents not only teach their children to "just say yes," but to help them with it. There were some teenage girls in the crowd who looked bored and as if their parents had dragged them there. They spent their time rolling their eyes, putting their heads down and texting on their phones. When the chorus came on of "parents, get your kids high, get your kids high," they sat up straight and their faces showed expressions of shock and horror. I probably would have had the same reaction at their ages.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Saw Henry Poole

Was Here. Or is it Henry Poole Is Here? I cannot recall.
Last night I fell asleep watching Looking for Kitty, a movie starring Ed Burns, who also directed the movie. I thought it looked like a Woody Allen movie. There was a scene in Looking for Kitty that took place in the exact spot where Alan Alda's character in Crimes and Misdemeanors sat on a bench and talked about "bending the truth, and not breaking it" in order for comedic material to be funny. I know that because that's where I stopped and later re-started watching Crimes and Misdemeanors about two weeks ago. I expected "Looking for Kitty" to be a story that was interesting because of Kitty's disappearance, where she ended up, and the private detective's possibly amusing and colorful journey he had tracking her down. Instead, it was a more realistic story about Kitty's husband's soul-searching and epiphany he had while with the private investigator. And there were some other distractions thrown in, so that it wasn't completely one dimensional, like effectively portraying various characters' feelings of loneliness. As it usually goes when I fall asleep watching a movie at home, I finish it the next morning out of hope that it ends well and the need for the satisfaction of knowing that I won't be curious about missing a stellar ending. I read later about Ed Burns's style being known for his replication of Woody Allen's style.
When I got to the theater last night, my friend said to the person who sells the tickets, "Henry Poole ........ is here?" to which the ticket seller replied, "Yes, it's here." He didn't smile so I don't think he was trying to be funny.
If I had watched Henry Poole at home, I might have fallen asleep as well, so it's probably good that I watched it at the theater. I went to the elderly theater, where the sound didn't work for the first 10 minutes and we just had to read lips while one of the only other couple behind us got up to complain. You'd think they would've started the movie over again so we could have caught the beginning, but they didn't. This was one of the few times I wasn't late for the movie. You can't be late for the movies at the elderly theater, because the film you came to see has one or fewer previews.
Henry Poole stars Luke Wilson as Henry Poole and Radha Mitchell as his neighbor. My friend watching the movie knows of Radha Mitchell through his hometown connections, so that always adds a little bit of interest to a movie. Maybe not for me, since I don't have those same connections ... one of the things I liked about the movie was the close-ups of the faces. Close-ups are good. You see a lot of things you wouldn't ordinarily see -- the lines around a person's eyes, the perfection of a child's face, the wide-open, innocent eyes of a little girl, and the details of the two-day shadow of Luke Wilson's beard. Good stuff. Besides the face close-ups, there was the theme of the movie, about learning to look at things in a positive and hopeful light. My friend kept making jokes about whether the movie was going to make a person believe in god, to which I replied, "which one?" not knowing how to respond, and finally persuading him that I didn't feel that the movie was supposed to make a person believe in god, but just to have faith in goodness and a positive attitude. I'm pretty sure Henry Poole didn't end up believing in god at the end of the movie, I think he just learned that he was ready to embrace life and make the best of it.
Recently, someone insisted to me that I had to try Jell-O cake. You make the cake and pour Jell-O in liquid form on it. Then you put it in the refrigerator for two hours. Then you put whipped cream on top. I decided to give it a try, even though I don't particularly like cakes made from cake mixes, or stawberry-flavored gelatin. Lime, however, is a different story. She said lime Jell-O wouldn't be good on cake. So, in two hours, I'll see if she is right. I don't like artificial strawberry flavor, either. I don't know why I wasted my time. I just want to experience things I haven't experienced before. Then I'll know. Such is my zest for life. Insisting on finishing movies and trying recipes I don't think will be good but am just curious about.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

To Be or Not To Be

There's something so inwardly depressing about working at a place where co-workers who retire from that place have worked there for the last 30 years or so, or they've already been working there for 30 years or so ... they may have been excessively happy and may have found it meaningful and challenging work, but I always see myself as that person and I think I would be disappointed in myself that I didn't make an effort to find a way to make a living doing something I love or that I had aspired to do. Maybe it helps explain why some people seem pretty ecstatic about retiring. They can finally do something they choose to do that they love. I remember at one job, a guy who liked to tell everyone he'd worked there for 27 years (it would be 35 years now, unless he's retired), and he'd pull the young newcomers aside, every one of them, and tell them they/we don't want to be stuck there for 27 years like him, and that they/we should go apply up the road for a federal job and be a janitor and it would be way better than staying there for 27 years like he did. As far as I know, I don't think anyone ever took his advice.
Since about March, I've come across disappointment after disappointment at my job, and it's really been getting to me. I'm just wondering if I can turn it into a more positive environment, and if I should work harder and smarter. I think of all the other jobs out there, and not a lot appeals to me. Maybe I've always been too selective. I'm so selective that eventually I give up and figure that every choice has its positives and negatives and end up randomly selecting whatever sounds good at the time. I guess you'd call that wafting in and out of existentialism.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A water adventure

We arrived home late last night from our vacation destination, which was an isle above Erie. Someone asked me today if the isle is new. I know the isle has been there for quite awhile, so, no, it's not a new isle. It became designated as a state park in 1921. It was first inhabited by Native Americans, and then the English took over and used it as a place to build ships in the early 1800s. Not new at all. There's an "environmental center" and welcome center at the entrance to the isle that explains the history, has an overlook tower, a little cafe, and a gift shop. If we were smart, we would have gone to the welcome center on Day 1 so we could have picked up a map and known what to look for. The isle contains beaches, trails, places to rent bikes, a monument, and a couple small lighthouses. The Lake Erie water wasn't too cold. The sandy beaches had small waves, seashells and seagulls, and, therefore, all the family was happy.