Thursday, April 30, 2009

H1N1, Anyone?

Sunday night. Started feeling bad, like a fever was coming on. Took my temperature. Not because I thought I had Swine Flu Mexican Flu H1N1, but because I had a tennis match in the morning and wanted to call my teammates, if need be, and find a sub. But no temperature.

Monday morning. Wake with a sore throat. Lymph nodes feel swollen. Still no fever. Play tennis, only to get rained out, silently cursing the powers that be who ignored the meteriorologist's 60% chance of thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

On the way home, get the heroic idea of stopping by the grocery. Full throttle rain now. Get nearly soaked as I make my way across the giant parking lot. In my tennis skirt I shop, crocs and soggy socks, wet head, chilled by the air conditioning. (In cenral Texas, no matter what the weather, the air conditioning is on to near freezing. It was no different on this rainy Monday.) Load my rain soaked groceries into trunk. Proceed home to feel still worse. Take an allergy pill.

Tuesday morning. Still feeling bad. Take temperature again.

Brief aside: Getting ones hands on a thermometer, in my house, is no small feat. Not unlike wrestling The Ring from the hands of Gollum. My husband being Gollum, tired of tracking down the thermometer because "Nobody puts it back where it belongs!" "Nobody" meaning me. Gollum keeps it hidden in the high cliffs of his cave-closet. Each time I must climb those cliffs and snatch Gollum's preciousssssss.

But again, no temperature. Now assume a sinus infection is brewing and am not contagious. Fortunately, and uncharacteristically, a light day is scheduled at the office.

Wednesday morning. Still feeling bad. Full day scheduled, including evening appointments. Take a decongestant, an ibuprofen, and an allergy pill. By the time my 3rd-from-last client arrives, full symptom onset: head hurts, stuffy nose, watery eyes, coughing, and sucking down one throat lozenge after another.

Call to husband Gollum. Tells me the local news said mold spores are super high. Am allergic to mold spores. So here is my answer.

Wednesday night. Make mistake of opening email written by a Texas physician, forwarded to me by a friend who is a school administrator. The M.D. warns that he is hearing "privately" from the "CDC" and "Health Department" that this strain of flu is worse than "the media" is letting on. I won't go into the email's dire details, of which Gollum is ultra-cynical because of the homeopathic remedies suggested at the end of the email.

My eyes lock on the line which says this flu produces "a distinctive 'hoarseness'" in its "victims."

Attempt to clear throat and speak. Believe my voice has gotten distinctively "hoarse."

Mind races. Think back on relatively quiet weekend. Was I exposed to anyone who might have been carrying the flu?

Remember that Gollum and I went to a small Mexican restaurant for dinner on Saturday night. The wait staff were speaking Spanish.

Gollum now insists they were "Mexican Nationals" because of the familliar way they "pull their hair back in a tight pony tail" and "wear their shirts really, really tight across their stomaches." (WTF? Where does he get this?) I argue that they looked quite Americanized to me.

Uncertainty festering, I head to bed. Take an allergy pill, an ibuprofen, a decongestant, and two benadryls (to combat the decongestant's incomnia side effects).

Thursday morning. Wake from long night of stuffy nose, scratchy throat. Had strange and frustrating dreams that involved deciphering between deviated septums and non-deviated septums (I am confused, too. This is all I remember.) Get up and decide to cancel appointments for the day. The "hoarseness" in my voice is obvious to my clients. Am grateful for this validation of my need for a sick day.

Thursday afternoon. Here I lie on my sick-sofa, as our country waits on the verge of a flu-pandemic, wondering if I am the first and unknown case of an Anglo-American woman with H1N1 Influenza.

The link provided on the CDC website "Is it a Cold of the Flu" is not working (argh!) so no help there. I won't go to the doctor. I refuse to subject myself to "the look" from the receptionist and "the nod" between LPN and nurse practitioner which says, "another paranoid fool with too much time on her hands who thinks she has the swine flu."

So for now, cool heads will prevail. I am convinced, despite my hoarseness, and every flu symptom listed by the CDC except a fever, that I have a monster sized simple cold.

I will not send Gollum to the drugstore to buy a stash of face masks as recommended by the CDC. I did send him for Ricola throat lozenges, however, hoping he would remember that I like cherry flavor. But no, he brings lemon. I open one and feel as though I am sucking on lemon flavored amonia tablet. I will, however, wash my hands frequently, throw away my used tissues, drink a lot of water, and follow common sense guidelines.

And I will enjoy an unexpected afternoon of blogging.
UPDATE: If anyone wants to check the number of H1N1 flu cases verified by state, check at the CDC website, here.

Bikini Pig Tissue Box can be found, here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

formerly despised, a modern trend wins over, if only for one night

One weekend recently, on impulse, SAM and I stopped at a low rent dive bar. Not to be confused with our favoritest-ever dive, The Horseshoe Lounge, located just south of downtown. Yes, the one that inspired Austin songwriter, Slaid Cleves, to write this song.

On this particular night, it was the first evening since giving birth in a very long time where all three kids were out for the night. Ahh.

The seriously cheesy dive we visited shall remain unnamed. It's former name, I learned, was "The Stumble In" but let's call it Bubba's, because that's closer to it's actual name. Bubba's is a slight downgrade from
Giddy Ups, in case you ever have the pleasure of visiting deep south Austin.

We've lived in our house for almost ten years. Though Bubba's is within walking distance, we have only visited a couple of times. Stayed for one round each, as I recall. Largely due to sour smell eminating from run down industrial grade carpeting. That cheesy.

So on this night, as soon as we walked in, I remembered exactly why this has been a one-beer stop. Giant screen TV's. Loud 70's heavy metal rock screaming playing in the background. Ozzy Osborne, no less. The music? Forgiveable. It is a bar. The seven giant screen TV's? Not so much.

Bubba's is merely one in a string of establishments we've patronized lately that features TV everywhere you look. The electronic equivalent of torture waterboarding. For instance, a year ago we tried out a new wing bar. I lubs me some hot Buffalo wings if they're done just
right. The wings? Edible. Barely. The twenty five plasma TVs thundering down from every direction? Obnoxious.

Last summer? Similar tale. Family trip to Washington, DC. Time to kill before flight out of National. Find a large Irish themed eatery in a cheery neighborhood. Hostess leads us upstairs. Immediately we are assaulted by no less than 50 flat screens showing sporting events from every corner of the globe. Only now do I see the posted signs bragging their record number of flat screens. Time is critical. We take our seats. Thankfully the monitors are silent. Still, my family doesn't converse so much as recoil from furtive glances at each other's exposed nostrils.

Has it come to this? Can we not eat a meal or drink a beer without a television lunging down at us from their high perch like vultures awaiting road kill?

Back at Bubba's, we stay for another round because a band comes onstage that is surprisingly good. Southern rock with the right dose of slide guitar.

During the band's intermission, we turn and see that the giant screens start playing a round of trivia. The game where participants pay for the little blue consoles and vie for the highest score.

Every now and again I get a pleasant whiff of something. Is there an air freshner squirting up above? Cover for sour carpet smell? A quiet guy in a blue collar work shirt sits next to me, alone. A blue console sits before him. I start a conversation and lean in. Nope, not air freshner. It was his deoderant I was smelling. I wonder if he would be offended or flattered if I asked what brand because I liked the powdery scent. Instead I ask him about bar stool trivia protocol. Can non-paying neighbors participate or should tightwads keep our mouths shut? He says he welcomes any help he can get.

The game begins.

Country originally founded by prisoners?

D. Australia!

Author of "The Warden?"

C. Anthony Trollope!

Istanbul was originally known as?

B. Constantinople!

Which city is located below the equator?

A. Sydney!

Our newfound gaming partner is thrilled and blown away. He had never heard of Trollope. (I had recently started my first ever Trollope novel). Or Constantinople (asks us how it's pronounced). His score skyrockets to the top. Wins the round. Now I know how Jamal felt in Slumdog Millionaire. We high five and decide we are best buds for life.

But, sadly, it was all downhill from there. Our moment of glory was over. We're of little help in the next round. It's time to cut out. We say our goodbyes. He thanks us, and then yells, "Hey! Give me your phone number? Next time I play, can I call you?"

Ok, so jumbo screens have their place. But only on trivia night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

never forget a face?

Maybe you are a "super recognizer."

Dave Munger of Cognitive Daily asks if you recognize these four faces? They belong to "extremely famous individuals." If you can recognize all four, he says, "you just might be a super recognizer."

Munger writes, "a team of researchers led by Richard Russell" believe they have found a select group of people who have "an amazing ability to recognize faces." Might you belong to this group?

I happen to think I might be one. Not the least because, while watching rented movies at home, I'm the annoying viewer who must ruin everyone's good time find the controls, stop and rewind, while asking, "Who IS that woman? I know that face! What have I seen her in before?" I usually guess by the end of the film and I'm usually always right.

Write your answers on a piece of paper, then post in my comment section. Or you can post your comment on Munger's site, here. Compare your answers to the correct ones, promised to be posted later this evening at Cognitive Daily.
I will update this blog when the correct answers are posted. So check back to see if we're right.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

edward, take off your clothes

Not long ago I gave my daughters the Twilight movie for their birthday.

Moms frequently complain about the inconvenience of raising kids? Well, purchasing a Twilight DVD is one of those times when the sleepless nights pay off.

The girls loved the movie. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked director Catherine Hardwicke's adaptation. With a small budget and virtually all unknown actors, she pulled it off. I thought she captured some of the steaminess that is Edward's allure. Added bonus: the director, screenplay writer and book author are all women. Twilight has made box office history.

In a previous post I complained that Bella's character was, well, pathetic. I'm happy to report, however, she improved on the screen. Gone was the perpetual whine about how beautiful and perfect Edward was, the stumbling and clutziness, the passive female deferring to the strong, mysterious male, the girl so willing to take care of her dad.

Hardwicke stayed close to many other details in the book, though. I love the way she portrayed Victoria, James and Laurent. Although I was disappointed in Victoria's strawberry blonde hair. What happened to the "fiery red" described countless times by Meyers?

My main complaint is that Edward needed more of a vampirish wardrobe. Here are a few vampy suggestions to the wardrobe department for the sequels:

1. Nothing too Bella Lugosi-esque. Just something besides that tired wrinkled blue shirt and drab ill-fitting gray coat. I mean, what was that about?

2. Nixay this Members Only throwback:

Please. This would do nothing to tempt me to stick my neck out, even if immortality and all-night-sex comes with the package.

3. More black.

4. More upturned collar.

Yeah, like that.

5. Low slung jeans. Not this:

But this:

With the black belt and boots. A little black goes a long way in vampire fantasy.

As for Bella? Keep her as is. Earthy. Natural. Comfortable in cotton and denim. You know, the real woman look.

Was it just me? Or did Edward's wardrobe seriously interfere with anyone else's vision of hawtness?

For a more indepth review, check out what Roger Ebert has to say, here. I also found a hilarious "rejected screenplay" that hits the nail on the head, here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

when sex goes national


"A million liberals reaching simultaneous orgasm?" Did he say?

Want to join in?

Leonard Pitts, Jr. will tell you, here, because he tells it so well.

image source, here

Sunday, April 12, 2009

oh for peeps sake

I almost forgot ... the Washington Post annual Peep Show.

My top three:

#9 - R.e.s.p.e.e.p. my hat

#25 - Peeps on the run

#34 - Purple tunnel of peeps

The Post picked this winner. How about you, reader? Which diorama is your favorite?

image source

Friday, April 10, 2009

true confessions in parenting

BERNTHIS recently listed her top ten winners of the best "how I traumatized my kid" stories. Naturally when I read her original post requesting submissions, I couldn't even remember if I had any kids, let alone harrowing stories about my parenting.

But today, for some reason, a memory came tumbling back. Must have been our weekend trip to Grandma's that did it, with the twins' loud bickering in the back seat and me adding to the cacaphony by twisting in my seat, yelling as loud as I could, "Shut the fuck up!" "Stop all the yelling!" This was over who belonged to a perfectly white, unused tissue laying between them. A single unfolded tissue takes up a lot of room, you know.

So back to my story of how I traumatized my child. This was an earlier trip to the other Grandma, when the twins were too young to bicker but old enough to whine. My husband and I were traveling on a cross country flight with our three kids: our son who had just turned four and our twin daughters, 9 months old, on our laps. Yah. Good times.

You're probably picturing a three-seat-across airplane row: Mom and Dad each holding a baby in their lap, and their smiling son sitting between.

Yeah, so was I. But it was not to be. Airlines had (still have?) some obscure rule that didn't allow five occupants in a three seater row. Whatever. So instead, we had to draw straws for which (lucky) parent got to sit with only one baby and which (very unlucky) parent got to sit, several rows away, with one baby in lap and a squirmy four year old in the seat next to her.
Short straw would be mine.

It was in the midst of the three hour flight. Having already OD'd on the treats we packed for the ride, my son became extremely antsy. I had become extremely tired and impatient. Climbing up onto his window seat, he was flinging himself into the headrest of the seat in front of him. My scoldings and pleadings and bribes were not helping. I wracked my fbrain. I used to run therapy groups for abusive and neglectful parents, for gawdssake. Surely I could come up with something.

That's when my ingenius ploy began.

I told my son, "If you don't sit quietly in your seat, I will push that orange button."

"Then what happens?" He asked.

"The lady will come and yell at you."

His eyes got wide. "Oh." He sat back down in his chair. I leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and allowed myself a small smile of victory.

A few minutes later he was back at it. This time the inhabitant of the seat in front of him, an older lady with the teased frosted hair and a strong frown line, turned. In that exasperated way, she first looked at him, then at me, as if to say, "Control your little brat!"

So this time I whispered to him, "If you don't sit quietly in your seat, I will push that orange button and the lady will come and take you to the little room at the back of the plane."

He scrambled across my lap and leaned his head into the aisle.


I pointed to the (imaginary) door at the back of the plane."

"Oh." Eyes wider. A few moments of quiet. I could only wonder what was going through his little head.
There followed, of course, more squirming. More flinging. More irritated sighs and neck shirks from the disgruntled frost head.

I continued in my desperation. "And the room is completely dark. Pitch black."
But two minutes later he was undeterred.
"And she'll leave you there all by yourself," I warned.
One minute later.

"And there are lots of spiders in the dark room," I hissed.
The spiders did it. He sat quietly for the remainder of the flight (taxiing to the terminal by this point).

Years later, at a neighborhood barbeque, the host, a fellow mom, educator, and friend, pulled up a lawn chair next to me and said, "So tell me about the room in the back of airplanes. You know, the one with all the spiders?"


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

how will you take your adam?

I haven't posted about American Idol in awhile, I guess because who gives a flip what I think I wasn't all that excited about the offerings the last season or two.

But the current season? I'm excited. (I know, get a life, right?)

American Idol is packed with talent. Originally I was pulling for Megan (not to be confused with calling in and voting) because I liked her unique, jazzy, riffy style. (In the picture? That's a tatoo arm, not a sleeve).

But she pretty much dropped the ball, again and again, especially her last number. I love Bob Marley but she picked one of his least known songs, "Turn Your Lights Down Low."

Let's put it this way: Her performance didn't generate any new fans for the Marley family.
I was hoping she'd pick Maria Muldaur's, Midnight at the Oasis, or something by Phoebe Snow. But oh well. Too late now.

So at this point for me? It's all about Adam. He's got the whole package: amazing voice range (is that alto?) and a look that says sexy rock star.

I just can't decide which Adam I like fueling my fantasy looking at best:

Picture 1: Emo

Picture 2: Elvis

Picture 3: Soul Patch

How about you, reader? Which Adam revs your engine? Take the poll:

Sunday, April 05, 2009

the heartland DOES have a heart

On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled to allow same-sex marriage to stand.

"Basic fairness and constitutional equal protection were the linchpins of Friday’s historic Iowa Supreme Court ruling that overturned a 10-year-old ban on same-sex marriage and puts Iowa squarely in the center of the nation’s debate over gay rights."

Read the full story in the DesMoines Register, here.

And if there are any Iowa readers who wish to support same sex marriage rights? Click here for instructions to contact Governor Culver and tell him how you feel.

Friday, April 03, 2009

I do (so want your health insurance)

Marry him for his health insurance plan? BernThis posted about a couple who did just that. It's becoming almost commonplace these days.

My husband's first marriage? They tied the knot in his hospital room. A marriage destined for good times, right?

He needed emergency abdominal surgery for a chronic illness and her health insurance (group) had a much lower deductable than his (individual). So they moved their wedding date AND the location. Eventually both insurance plans kicked in and they made out like bandits. Nice wedding gift (unlike my wedding gift from hell).

I believe this double-coverage windfall has been nixed by the crafty (we make the money here, not you) health insurance industry but it worked for them.

And me? Wife number two? All I have to show for it is a husband with a scarred belly and a mediocre story for my blog.

martha's tips for spring queefing

I was blogging last night with the TV turned onto South Park. The volume was muted. I looked up and this is what I saw. I couldn't find the remote so I was left thinking, WTF? Til now.

This SouthPark clip was originally posted

So, Martha fans, how are you readying your queef for spring?