Friday, December 29, 2006

My Favourite Christmas Gifts

OK, I whined about how things were not as I was used to, but we had some extra-special gifts this year. The very best was that Kaylin, my beautiful grand-niece, was able to come for the day, and she introduced her new little brother to my sons and my cousin. My nephew's divorce gave me the opportunity to spend a whole day with my wonderful new grand-nephew RT3, and he decided he likes me.
For those of you who haven't seen me in action many years, I have a special talent- babies. Babies love me, and there isn't one I cannot get to sleep in 5 minutes when fussy or sick (except Buck who was nearly 4 years old before he slept thru the night. That's another story!)
Needless to say, once I was done cooking, with the tremendous help of Buck and Dan (who also did all the cleaning for the cat-allergic sector which is 90% of the family including me and Dan!), I had my baby buddy on my lap. He smiled and charmed the lot of us, and all my boys had a turn with him. The Elf hat was especially winsome.
Kaylie danced about in her velvet dress and all the boys played games and dolls with her. She wasn't shy and skipped about giving orders- boy, she is like a Kate clone!
Sue put her in charge of the Yankee Grab- everyone picks a number, chooses an anonymous gift, and can choose to swap with any opened gift; number 1 gets to choose from all the previous gifts at the end. She saved the last slip for her boyfriend Dan- and yes, it was #1. Rigged! We had a lot of laughs.
Buck's girlfriend came unexpectedly, so we were delighted to add her to the company.
The gift-opening was hectic, crazy and fun. Joe gave me a floating frame with four pictures of Ireland, all of them places I had been, and I swore they were pictures I took, but they were ones HE took, from the exact same angles. Dan agreed, it was so eerie that he had exactly the same views- it was so beautiful and I cannot wait to hang it.
Kate called and we passed the phone to every person before hanging up.
Since we ate so early, we had the place cleared up by 9 pm, so I finished wrapping. I was too tired for midnight Mass, I would have had to drive several towns to reach one. I rose early and went to church, and drank two pots of Kona coffee with Brendan while we waited for the others to wake. When they did, Dan started cooking bacon immediately, so we ended up eating our big breakfast first, and opening gifts after- another first! They all liked their gifts, and I liked mine very much. It just seemed that a great deal of thought was put into everyone's selections this year. For example, I got a NAPLEX study guide from Dan, the first three Lemony Snickets from Bren, and a grill from Buck! They loved their Hawaii shirts- Bren got one dyed from hemp, the others from volcanic ash, and all of them got a Kauai red dirt shirt. Lots of coffee, macadamia nuts, and useful things like socks, jeans, workwear for Bren, and Dan got a leather jacket. It was great happiness and relaxation.

The stuff is incidental and fun, but stuff is stuff. Spending the time creating our holiday meant the most. Buck took the time to get his grandmother discharged from hospital, and spent a whole day shopping with me, trying on coats, finding groceries, and a marathon vacuum job. Dan picked up Bren, peeled mountains of vegetables, cooked, cleaned, and came to my mom's follow-up appointment after the holiday. Bren pulled it all together, mopped floors, made coffee, and was there when I needed him, and popped in for turkey next day so we could re-hash the holiday. Joe and Elaine drove, drove and drove, sent lots of supportive emails, brought excellent desserts, and praised the lumpy mashed potatoes. Auntie served as the family matriarch, regally despite all the driving.
Rich drove a long way with an infant and a very excited child, and still had everything organized. And Sue and Ted visited my parents before coming up to our house, did a million errands, baked gluten-free meringues, bought wine, cheese, gluten-free crackers, and touched base every step of the way.

I was surrounded by people who loved me on Christmas, and this is what I needed most, and what I love best about Christmas.

Shona Nollaig Duit!

Three Strikes of Christmas!

This was a nice Christmas, but a weird Christmas. Everything bad always happens in threes. Kate started it all by moving to Hawaii and not being able to come home for Christmas. That was very upsetting to me even tho’ I got to spend Thanksgiving with her. I decided to make up for missing her by making her a stocking and mailing it in time for the holiday. Now, I am very craftsy, and had made a felt stocking for each child as it came along, but I didn’t want to ship her 1979 stocking out to the Pacific. So off to the store to fetch felt- of course, they are all sold out of red, and limited in colors. I ended up making a green stocking, and on it I put a volcano, a palm tree and the sea with little fishes- all the things we enjoyed together on my visit. I found some paper ribbon that made excellent palm leaves and ocean. I laughed out loud and took a picture when I was done. I also made her a huge felt tree to hang on her door, and glued ornaments and fake lights on it. I filled her sock with goofy stuff- I went on the theme of sight, sound, smell and taste of Christmas at home and so pine potpourri from the Christmas Tree Shop, Hebert Candy Mansion fudge, candy canes, a bracelet with jingle bells, a photo of the two of us all got stuffed in with a few gift cards. I hope to hell she got it in time- the post office said she should but their supplies got held up due to blizzards canceling planes.
We have our celebration on Christmas Eve: it used to be at my parents’ until my mom had knee surgery & we switched to rotating every year at the three daughters’ houses. My widowed Aunt Mae and her son always spent the Eve with us as well.
My dad requested that we have dinner really really early; his health is not great and he tires easily (the “sundowning effect” it’s called in geriatrics). It being my turn to host our family on Christmas Eve, I emailed the family our dinner time. One of my sisters and her family elected not to come; she had said last year she wasn’t coming, so her kids worked on Christmas Eve and they stayed home. Strike two!
Then my mom got really sick- I called one morning and my sister Sue was there. She said they needed to get Mom to the ER, so I hopped in my car, but by the time I pulled up she had called an ambulance. My mom was ashen grey and couldn’t catch her breath, never mind walk. The ER ran a bunch of tests and they figured it was flu (she DID get her shot), so they planned to send her home til they saw her walk to the bathroom for a urine specimen- it took half an hour to get her to the bathroom and she was so sick when she got there we had to get her right back on oxygen. They kept her four days- her culture was positive for a strain of flu that was not in the shot, so I suspect she picked it up at work in the Wang Center (damn those Rockettes!). It took me and Buck, a wheelchair and a walker to get her home- she refused to go to rehab and she really did think she was coming to my house. I put my foot down and said no- and my dad said he was staying home with her. I think he was really relieved because he gets so nervous going anywhere. Strike Three!
We all went in on Christmas Day to see them.

But I have never had a Christmas holiday dinner without my parents, all my kids, and my sisters and their kids before.
:( My family is more important to me than anything, but it just didn't happen for me the way we are used to. SO- we made the best possible Christmas we could, and enjoyed the loved ones who were there with us.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Ohmigod, it is SOOOOOOO good to not be hustling for a few weeks.
I am sleeping well, eating well, and ok, most nights I indulge in a good shiraz.

What the hell- no exams, no rotation... I actually went to a CE course on hyponatremia last night, and yes, Sou, I could follow the whole thing (I wasn't rubbing thighs under the table with cute Greeks!). But the best part was hanging with my homies, Chris and Chris. How sad is this- we spoke very enthusiastically about the benefits of Vytorin. DiPiro rocks!

Today I spent a few hours distracting my pals at the American Cancer Society- I popped in to the office and did one on one with a number of former coworkers, including my sweet boss Z. I came armed with macadamia nut candy, and it was such a great visit-
haven't seen these folks in two years!!!

And now I believe you deserve more pictures from Hawaii. Enjoy, my peeps!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Aloha from Paradise (Mahalo, Sallie Mae!!!)

OK- I got a call from my daughter about the Friends and Family Plan her company offers, and she had a deal too good to pass up for Thanksgiving week. Consequently, I flew out to Hawaii and spent my Thanksgiving week on a cruise ship! This was so cool, but not without stress. I had a short time to plan, so I ended up finishing my rotation on Friday, finishing my abstract by midnight, packing on Saturday and then flying out Saturday night. During my layover in Oakland Ca, I finished all my PEMS work (pharmacy talk for homework) and napping, then off to Honolulu to land 1 pm Sunday. I checked into the ship- I had a luxury cabin with a balcony, the same VanGogh Starry night that I keep on my mantel, and a complimentary bottle of champagne! Kate and I took a walk just to keep me awake, and we saw Diamond Head off in the north. We sailed out in the evening. I had a hard time getting to sleep- every time I turned out the light it felt like someone was watching me, so I left my laptop on screensaver, just dim enough. I woke up in Kauai. Kate rented a car and we drove off to Waimea canyon "the Grand Canyon of Kauai". It was unbelievable. The next morning I headed up to see Wailua waterfall and drove thru plantations and cane fields to get there. We sailed at 1 pm past the Nepali coastline and I took pictures from my balcony as the sun set. It being Formal Night, we dined in the restaurant Crossings in our finery.
I woke up the next day in Hawai'i, the Big Island, in Hilo. We picked up our rental car and headed up to the Kilauea Volcano park, home of goddess Pele. The volcano crater is alive and smoking- you can drive around its 11 mile perimeter. You can hike down if you have more time, but we drove and walked out to the main sights. I had the second worst asthma attack of my life and gave thanks to the albuterol goddess (Thanks Beth!) from the sulphur- you couldn't smell it but the beta cells in your lings knew it was there! The locals leave leis and flowers for Pele to petition her for favours. We went to a lava tube made by water that evaporated out after an eruption, leaving a sizable tube behind. When we left Hilo, we cruised past the active volcanos at night and watched them from my balcony while the ambassadors chanted in Hawai'ian. You could see the lava spurting up on the shore from our vantage point at sea. Kate says it looks different every single week.
The next day we docked at Kona on the other side of the island. We decided to shuttle up to a beach, so we headed to a state park for the afternoon. The sand was black, volcanic sand that I wanted to bring back but was told no-go because of nematodes. I had brought Kate her snorkel gear, so she and Philip snorkelled while I tried to keep my balance on the rocky beach. Tropical fish of all colors swam past my ankes and both delighted and scared the hell out of me. I found a part of the beach that had a sandy bottom and hung there for a long time in the 70+ degree water. I have never been in water so warm without my rubber duckie. A woman standing near me stepped on a sea urchin and got some nasty spines stuck in her foot. We lunched at a restaurant near the ship before boarding. I talked with my family on cell and wished them happy holiday. We had our Thanksgiving dinner at Pacific Heights restaurant on the ship with all Kate's friends, and Leilani regaled us with Hawaiian stories. It was lovely.
Next morning found us in Maui, where Kate had rented us a car for the Road to Hana, a grueling gorgeous road along the cliff-hanging coast: 56 bridges, most of which were one-lane, and 617 curves & turns, most of which are hair-pin. Kate drove like she was playing Pole Position (she was always good at that game), and I gave the Imaginary Brake a good workout. We agreed that if I were driving, we'd probably still be on the road to Hana! I cannot begin to describe the untouched beauty this coastline represents. I understand why the locals don't commute into town! Kate described returning at night, and all the stars on this unlit road- I could imagine the splendour, but am glad I wasn't there in the dark. We got to the town and a kitty was right above us in the beach parking lot. I got some incredible photos while we waded around and stretched. We made good time on our way back.
We rose at 4 am and grabbed the car for a trip to Haleakala Peak for the sunrise; we drove a road that was all twists and turns in the dark. We got into the state park just after the choice parking lot closed so we headed to the next best lot. THEN I learn that we are over 10,000 feet up above sea level. I had on five layers and still I was shivering, it was 39 degrees F at the top. It was cloudy, so we did not get a spectacular tropical sunrise, but it was quite an awesome experience anyway. As the light increased, one could see the striations in the terrain around us; this is a volcanic peak, and the minerals spewed in past eruptions have definitive colors and shapes. You can see the two segments of Maui and the valley connecting them. A tour guide was pretty funny, commenting on taking the Griswolds' Christmas card photo. We had planned to take a short hike, but there was a warning sign stating unusual wasp activity had been noted so beware: without my EpiPen, I was reluctant to chance it, so down we drove for breakfast. On the drive down, I could not believe how high up we were; we went past such beautiful places. After a hearty meal, we grabbed our bathing suits and drove to Lahaina on the other side of the island. Kate knew of a beach that only the locals know about, you park in a lot near construction sites and hike thru a meadow, then come out on this incredible beach. The surf was very strong, but the water was great. Kate took a nap on the beach and I took a nearly-4-mile walk. I saw a couple my age being married on the beach near a hotel, with a Hawai'ian native presiding over their vows, and no one else but other vacationers to notice. Sailboats moored nearby, fishermen cast their hooks, and the sun shone and the waves rolled. We headed to town and did some shopping, Hilo Hattie's and the Crazy T-Shirt shop among others. We got back and returned our car before dinner and made good time.
In the morning we were back in Honolulu on Oahu. I checked out from the ship and we cabbed my stuff up to Waikiki where I had a hotel room reserved. We walked across the city to a mall to get Kate's computer fixed but the Apple store had a reservation policy. We made a reservation, and did some shopping. We had lunch and then I said goodbye to Kate, who needed to be back on board. I walked to Ala Moana beach and took some photos and dozed in the sun, then I kept the appointment and got her computer fixed. I met Kate back at Aloha Tower to return her laptop and enjoy a final glass of wine with her friends. The I walked all the way back to Waikiki beach, which was very enjoyable until it began to thunder and lightning (just before I got to the hotel).
I planned to have breakfast at a local spot, but a bus pulled up for Pearl Harbor, so I hopped aboard. I wanted to visit the Arizona Memorial and get my dad a hat to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the attack. It was such a somber and holy place- it was eerily quiet and you could sense the 1,777 souls around you. I took a lot of photos, and read every exhibit. I got back to my hotal and went online for a shuttle, then headed down to the beach for my last afternoon. I stayed til sunset on Kuhio Beach, and saw the beginning of the torchlighting show they do.
In the morning, the shuttle driver picked me up and was so personable and nice, he gave me a big hug at the airport when I left. My flights went very well- I made my connection in Oakland and caught the red-eye back. I got back the Wednesday morning after Thanksgiving, at about 8 am, and cabbed to my sister's to get my car. By the time I got home and made breakfast, I fell sound asleep watching tv with my tea mug in hand.
It felt so good to be home and sleeping in my own bed. I still can't believe I got to go, it all happened so fast. This was the trip of a lifetime.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallowed

I love this time of year. The surge of power as the year dies. This is the true new year, and I just do not understand why this is not new year for everyone.
The days grow darker, and I pull my house together in preparation. The screens come down the storms go in, the big old farm windows that lift in and out in season go in again- and the noise level goes waaaaay down (a very good thing).
The colours are glorious- this is New England, after all. The very quality of light changes, thinning and piercing. The skies are grey and the treeline is gold and orange and red. Mount Wachusett looms purple, watching over us in the distance. Nashoba Valley bursts with apples and pumpkins. The days are crisp, and the nights are nippy. Will fleece do, or will I turn on the heat and stop shivering? (Heat wins- when it gets to the thirties, heat always wins!) The clocks have changed, so now the morning rising involves the rosy sunrise. Now the drive home is with the purple western sky at my back, and the sky is dark when I pull into the drive. I light candles each night, five or more, and when I retire, I light a few candles while I read myself into dreams. This is the time to make light.
And this day is All Hallows Evening- the holiest day on the Celtic calendar. This morning, I touched the stones from Newgrange. I looked at the little brass dish with the triskele, full of stones from the floor of the holiest place in Druidom, and I charged myself on its energy. Everything I did today took second place to the undercurrent I felt.
The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest tonight. I guard myself, yet I open myself.
My grandmother told me how, as a child in 1870's Ireland, they brought food out to the graves of their ancestors as a mark of respect; and how the braver brought food out to the hill they called the faery rath. The faery rath was excavated in the 1970’s and proved to be the ancient temple at Newgrange, with its sisters at Knowth and Dowth; the holy temples built by my Neolithic ancestors 500 years before the pyramids. I felt in my bones what was done there- saining in birth and in death, the passage between the worlds, the light of both.
Here in America, the celebration is a dim mockery of the original holy day. Children disguise themselves from the spirits and souls of their ancestors, and don masks to keep the dead away. They demand sugar- food offerings from the living. That's cool, if a tad commercial. I pride myself that my children never needed to buy their disguises. We always had a ready supply that we utilized far more frequently than most of the neighbors. My dress-up box provided fun for a generation. I was not averse to the occasional disguise (my urban professional is a mark of pride- today I was told that the drug rep in the meeting I attended as a student thought I was a lawyer!)
My gifts awaken on this day. I smell, I sense, I see, I think, I hear, I touch, I sing. I lit candles, I placed a spotlight to my front door. I placed a table near the door with autumn leaves in a Celtic knotwork pewter vase, with a tin pail of candy and some small gourds upon it. The little ghouls clamor, and the big ghouls with their candy roar with laughter when I approve of their pillowcases- this is the night for sugar greed.
This is the night for demands to be met. This is the night for far vision. This is the night for holy candles. This is the night for guests to be accommodated- whatever world they come from.
On this night we acknowledge- the veil between the worlds is thinner than we like to think about from day to day. This is something I have known always- but on this night, the world agrees with me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A for Effort and B for Back to Square One

Started my second rotation this week in a large managed care facility. I think I am going to like this one as well.
Wrapped up my first rotation with an A+, which really shocked me since I thought I was awful at all the pharmacy entering and reimbursement stuff on the computer. The things I suck at were not the things Ralph thought would make a good pharmacist-the things I like and am good at- talking with the patients, showing them instead of telling them things, listening- he felt were a lot more important than remembering whether to hit enter, tab or function key. I miss them and know I will be back visiting as well as hanging w Heidi when I can. I will also miss #2 son dropping in for lunch nearly every week.
I had a call from Ditto- our friend who was my niece's college roommate. I used to IM them then we had a chat room they visited me in (hello Riverdance pals out there) so I got to know her and she's just like another member of the family at this point. She wanted to come up and visit for a night with a family member who had a crisis and needed a break. Buck cancelled his plans to go to Oktoberfest and we headed in to Boston. We had a really nice time, just had dinner and then we checked out Buck's apartment before coming home.
I woke at 5 am with my stomach churning- the food I had been served had been tainted somehow with gluten despite my discussion with the server about my food allergies. I was so sick I had to call in sick to work, which I had never done. I was relieved to find that a woman who trained me was on duty and could do the IVs that day. I have been sick since, it will take me weeks to heal. I am glad I went out but wish I had not eaten and I am not in a hurry to eat out again. I am annoyed to lose so much time walking- I had just gotten to a regular schedule. I am glad I didn't lose time to rotation, but my tail was dragging the whole last week. Back to square one.
I asked Buck to come mow my lawn and do some weeding since I was so wishy-washy, and then I pulled my back leaping to yank the cat back inside, so I am a real mess. My next-door neighbor pulled three bags of weeds from my walk, and Buck transplanted two mallows and a catmint to the front walk to help keep the weeds down (I needed some perennials there but can't afford to landscape yet). He mowed and took several trips to the dump with all the brush from all summer's weeding and trimming. I felt guilty not helping so I made a nice dinner. Pharmacy Son came home just as we were eating- and after all the work was done; perfect timing as usual. We watched a movie- I picked up all three Lord of the Rings movies recently as a birthday present for myself.
We went out on the Columbus Day holiday to shop- got Pharmacy Boy some new shoes for his crooked old feet, a belt, new sheets and a Celtics shirt- hey a boy only turns 21 once. He talked a bit about his new job- they have a managed care section so he does blisterpacking of a person's doses in some new machine. Sounded pretty cool.
So now I am in rotation #2 back in Worcester- can't believe it has moved so fast. It's been incredibly interesting so far. I am doing a lot of reading so trying to break it up with some music, brief walks around the office and spending time with the workers asking questions. Met a former coworker this am on my way in- she works on the same floor as me. Had lunch with an old friend from the neighborhood. This is going to be nice.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Ago on 9-11

Five years go on 9-11 I was 3500 years away. Having yearned for Ireland my whole life, and heightened this yearning on my 1974 trip, I was spending my dream with my daughter, the best of company. My journal reminds me: on our way home from northern Ireland, we had stayed the night in Castlemane and had a magnificent dinner before retiring in a B&B. We rose on a glorious September day; the sky was brilliant blue and the air crisp and clean and fresh. We travelled down to Royal Meath, land of my ancestors. We climbed Slane hill and closed our eyes to imagine Patrick lighting a bonfire at twilight on Bealtane, to the dismay of Druid chieftains and ollaves- the nation would never be the same again.We travelled into the outskirts of Navan; in the countryside we stumbled on an artisan shop. Captivated by the craftmanship of Aine the proprietor of Imram (Journey), I purchased a beautiful handwoven woolen shawl of eggplant colour (who knew the bedroom in my little country farmhouse purchased later would be the exact colour?). I also bought a hand-chiseled Celtic cross by a phenomenal artist who also dabbled in the construction of curragh (Imram Curragh Mael Duin is a favourite book). We journeyed on to the Newgrange Center at the heart of the Boyne Valley. My Nana had described this as a fairy hill, where they left food offerings on Samhain each year in the 1870-s and 1880's when she was growing up. In the 1970's when I was there, it was being excavated. We entered the Visitor Center at Newgrange on September 11, 2001.
The center awed us. A series of massive stone structures circa 5000-3500 ad, built 500 years before the pyramids; Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. We learned the history and looked at the exhibits, and then we took the bus out to the main structure at Newgrange. We entered the structure and climbed down the long ramp to the center. Looking up at the domed ceiling, you can see the huge slabs of stone that fit precisely and securely, spirals and symbols carved deeply into the stone. The sense of awe and holiness was overwhelming. The docent cut the lights to demonstrate the phenomenon of the morning light of the December solstice illuminating the inner chamber. The stone basin she said they did not know the purpose of, and in my head popped the thought "It's a saining basin, don't be silly", knowing without knowing how I knew. When we exited, I walked widdershins three times around its perimeter, each time bowing in recognition of the four airts. How did that homage remain within me?
The bus then took us to Knowth, a series of smaller yet similar building. We photographed the shapes, the carvings, the positioning of these smaller buildings. One such building had a tunnel beneath, and we were invited to go down. No one volunteered, so, with a laugh, I went below the earth. Deep beneath the stone roof, I sat in the dim light on the gravel, smelling the earth and drinking deep the loamy scent of the air near the river. "This", I thought, "This is where I come from." How far back do we go? I go that far, and this is sure, I knelt in awe of all the universe that moment. I crawled back to the surface on my hands and knees, Kate took a picture of me emerging from the gloom. And as we walked among the ruins there, a docent named Emer came over and said to me "You are Americans, right? There has been an attack on America..." Her girlfriend was calling from town to describe what she was seeing on television. Disbelieving, I listened to the third hand report.
On the bus back to the center, the driver had the radio on, with live reports from New York. Not a soul could say a word- dead silence, and knowing, sorrowful glances from the other Americans.
I was in the holiest place of my antiquity at the moment of the greatest atrocity of my birth country. I was beneath the holy ground when the towers fell.
We checked into a B&B in Athlumney in Navan. We walked to Athlumney cemetery, past the remnant of Athlumney Castle. We did not find our sleeping family there, they rest elsewhere, but some of the wrought iron crosses were so obviously manufactured by Gus Curtis, my cousin the blacksmith. We walked the streets where my Nana walked so many years before and clung to the connection in our grief.
I wrote that night about the great joy of that day- the sense of connection with generations of women before me, and the generations my daughter represented stretching into the future. I wrote about our shock, our grief, our fears for the family behind in the US. I dreamed myself back in the dust and shock of the IRA bombing I had lived through in 1974. I saw myself reaching through the dust in the ruined building to the salvation of the policeman who led us to safety and sunlight. I woke with the taste and smell of stone dust in my mouth and nostrils.
The next day was my birthday, and I wrote about our day, our travels, our attempts to reach our family in the communications void. Boston was under siege and shut down. New York was devastated- a war zone. We could not imagine the loss of life on that scale. I ended my 9-12 journal entry with these words:"I know we will never be the same again-ever."
Five years ago, I was 3500 years away- and that was more real to me than the events taking place in realtime.
May the Lord bless you and keep you and perpetual light shine upon you. Amen.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I go walking...

When I was on vacation, I started walking 2 miles a day with my BIL- desperately needed on my part. Shades of Bridget Jones, I find myself at an all-time weight high and the trousers are tight, but the kicker was the vacation photos. "Oh what a gift the giftie gie us/ to see ourselves as others see us" Robert Burns.
My first rotation is like a dream- this pharmacy is slow, the people have time to talk and teach, and they like me to work 10 am to 6 pm. Thus, I can rise by 7, hit the road by 7:30 and be back in time to shower and dress professionally, white coat included. So- Tuesday thru Friday this past week, I did 2 miles walking, and jogged 0.5 miles (0.25 at a time). Seeing as I missed walking for two days- one from work and one from Hurricane Ernesto's rain, I walked 5 miles today. I am glad I have the opportunity to do this early in the am most days.
I always managed my weight and fitness issues by jogging so it is feeling good to get back into a routine. I need to add some other workout, including weight-bearing and abs, and I need to get better about nutrition. I hope the rotation year affords me the opportunity to do this.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

quickie post

Short post- first two days on rotation went very well- REALLY like the folks. Slow location- 200 Rx per week (remember last rotation was 650 qd on Mon and Fri). Have been studying top 200 since this place is organized differently than last rotation/current work.
Miss my vacation already. Miss the salt air, miss seeing my nephew and his daughter, miss hanging w my sister and walking daily w her hubby. Glad to be back w the kitties & vice versa. Have been trying to walk 2 miles a day, started on vaca and hoping to keep up. Said good-bye to Mr JellyBelly- no more beans til Xmas. Let's hope to see a thinner, smarter, new & improved BA.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Spouting, Seals and Three Perfect Beach Days

Three beauties in a row! What more can a vacationer ask for? All with temps about 78 degrees F, water temp of 63-65F and mild ocean breezes. Day one and two- not a cloud above us, but we could see clouds over Boston on the horizon from the beach. Day 3 was hazy but sun broke thru continuously, and Mother Nature put on a show.
We happened to be on the Cape. I would never recommend it as a vacation place- it's way too far , there's no garbage pickup, the water pressure sucks and it's way too expensive. Sand in the bathing suit sucks, and all you can eat is fish. We call it Fifi-land for reasons I shall not disclose. Go somewhere else. Really. I hear California is nice. Disney gets good reviews.
Anyhow- we go there sometimes. And when we are there, we force ourselves to go to the beach. (Driving in traffic is much more fun than sitting in the sun listening to other people's kids scream and throw rocks at each other. Take a drive. You'll be glad you listened to me and did not visit the beach.) This time, for a miracle, there were clear skies, perfect tides, and regular breezes, which I understand only happens every hundred years. Usually in August on the Cape, people are shovelling their driveways.
So we're sitting on the sand swiping at sand fleas and enjoying the Jim Jones mass suicide of thousands of little silver fish that committed mass suicide the night before just to see how many sand flies they could attract. The balmy breezes are punctuated by the whistles of exasperated lifeguards trying to corral morons who choose to wear swim noodles and bubbles so the rip tides can take them out even further, and watching the yahoos drive boats right up on the sand (yes, we DO think it must be bad for the boat, but after a twelve-pack it must seem like a REALLY good idea. One group of yahoos was actually throwing rocks at each other for sport, but they all survived this Darwinian pasttime, much to our chagrin). Anyhow, we're reading the books we've put off all year when Sue says "is that a spout?"
Yeah, sure, Sue, Moby Dick came by to finish off the little silver fish the terns have missed. Then right in front of me, whoosh, up goes the kind of spout I have only ever seen on the National Geographic or the Discovery Channel. Thar she blows!
This whale with a huge sense of humor and impecable dramatic timing then cavorted for over an hour right in front of us. Since we were the geeks with the telescope AND binoculars, the whole group of us was up like a shot, and this whale played with us visually. People around us began to stop and watch as well. When I had my turn with the binocs, I saw it spout, then roll on its side and slowly, idly roll across my line of vision and then down beneath the waves. I never saw it fluke its tail, but this critter played the crowd. A boat would go near and stop- nothing. Ten minutes would go by and the disappointed yahoos would head away, then it would spout again. It was pretty entertaining- endangered species messing with the heads of yahoos with too much money. You didn't need binocs, but I am glad I got a really good look at my first whale. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. (I hear Disney is nicer, especially the Hall of Presidents.)
In the lulls between spouts, a seal mom with a couple of pups would surface further down the beach and give us something else to amuse ourselves with. It's pup season, and they will land periodically to rest, so people are supposed to stay away and not stress them out (they get stressed, they get sick, then they die, and it's all your fault, damn yahoos). It was really nice to watch them but sad to see the yahoos eyeing them and thinking about coats.
We watched the whales and seals for over an hour- our friends stayed with the binocs for another hour after we left and the show continued- they saw TWO whales (we suspected there were 2).
Just to rack up the wildlife, over the three days we saw a common loon (eating a big fish), red-necked loon, all kinds of terns and gulls, and a peregrine falcon winging in from over the ocean. Ted says the peregrine is such a strong flier it doesn't depend on thermals, so unlike other hawks, you will see it come in from over the sea.
The feeder was frequented by goldfinches, cardinals, the occasional jay, chickadees, tufted titmice and house finches, along with a few straggling mourning doves. I stepped out on Day 2 and a juvenile fledgling cardinal was hopping right by the steps- he seemed to have a limp, and when he tried to fly up on the feeder, he fell off because he couldn't grip with his feet properly. We felt sorry for him so Ted threw some seed under the feeder, and he set to. When we got home from the beach, he was gone and either he encountered a miracle or he ended up as redtail dessert. Survival of the fittest.
Anyhow, the beach was just what I needed after the past year. I may go back down for a few days, but then again, I may shake the sand out of my bathing suit and head off to Disney. I hear it's the best vacation spot in the world. Really. Wanna go?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hanging in the Hood

I like my neighborhood, though I admit that usually I just sleep there. I have these two women who live by me who are passionate animal owners and animal activists; to sum, we are all three officially crazy cat ladies. We all like to garden, and we all admit we don't spend enough time gardening, playing with out pets or socializing with each other.
Enter newest neighbor; a dynamo of activity and a powerhouse of positivity. She is so delighted to own her own home, and is constantly working on it. So she came up with an idea, and approached all of us with it..."We all have a million projects we'd like to do, and alone, it's pretty daunting trying to accomplish even a fraction of them. What if we designate one weekend a month, and all of us work together on one woman's project?" DUUUUH! Why didn't we think of that before?
I promised as soon as school's didactic ended, I was in. This weekend, I went in to visit my dad (Mom went to Atlantic City to gamble away the inheritance, so I promised to visit and keep him company) and jog around Castle Island. I came home and glanced over to my neighbor kitty-corner to me- there were The Gals, painting away on the picket fence. "Tom Sawyer!" I hollered. "Aaaargh! I hate that analogy- it sounds like I'm manipulating them!" she grimaced. Not to me- I think all Tom's friend's happily forked over things to be part of the action- where the fun was taking place. The side yard had been weeded and mown, and Jackie the corgi was racing about in happiness. Being a corner property, there is a LOT of picket. I raced in for a change of grubby clothes and grabbed a brush.
They had missed contacting me as I ran about doing errands, and had started at 8 am with the yard work. The Designated Male Person (her beau) had been scraping the chipped paint on the fence and porch, Dynamo woman cleared the yard and everyone else filled in. I got there about 5 ish and painted til about 7:40, then we started again at 10 next morning. Some guy walking by said "you remind me of Tom Sawyer!" and after he left the Beau laughed and said "If he only knew you're the neighbor and the owner is inside right now..."
It ended up that the fence was not finished- we quit after 2pm Sunday as we all had dump runs and errands. But the whole point is, this was a huge task that she couldn't begin on her own- but knowing that helping hands were available, we all made such a dent that the rest will be do-able. And I know if I see her out there, I'll be grabbing the brush again.
I don't get to hang around and talk much. But if I can accomplish something that not only benefits a friend, but also makes the neighborhood and town a more beautiful place. How can you not like that?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

twenty (million) questions

ok many more than twenty... I loved Kate's questions so I decided to steal them. It is a great way to sum yourself up, but I don't round off well, I have too many decimal places.

So, you want to know about me.

:Name:: Karen, aka BheanAnfa (I love my old nick, still known as BA in some circles)

::Single or Taken:: Very happily single.

::Sex:: On occasion.

::Siblings:: Two sisters. I don't see them enough.

::Eye color:: very blue, covered with tinted glasses because I am myopic AND light-sensitive.

::Hair color: Brown. Darker than it used to be, I was a blond child.

::Shoe size:: 9; big. You know what they say about people with big feet... (they wear big shoes.)

::Height:: 5' 8"

::Righty or lefty:: Bothy but mostly righty. I paint left-handed and plaster with both. Go figure.

::Can you make a dollar in change right now: most likely. My pocketbook is full of change and I pick up pennies if Lincoln is showing (bad luck if you don't!).

::Who are your closest friends:: I have several close friends and a boatload of good friends. My oldest and dearest are Melissa, Joan, MaryEllen, Gail and Sue. My school pals are Tran, Michelle, Eva, Ryan, Francois, Crispy, and Chris, but I am good friends with many others also. I am also blessed with some great neighbors right now. And we can't forget cousins- a whole 'nother category. I like my kids pretty much too.


::Kind of pants:: Jeans. I got married in jeans- always said I would and I did.

::Number:: 12, then any odd number. I always park in odd-numbered spaces.

::Animal:: Sorcha is my heart's delight. Cujo is my buddy, and Damhnait adores me but the other cats and she have issues.

::Drink: Tea.

::Alcoholic Drink:Pina colada, or shiraz or Pouilly Fuisse.

::Sport:: To go see- hockey, ice skating. To do- skiing.

::Month:: September. I love fall.

::Cartoon:: Right now, I am totally amused by Robot Chicken.
Have You Ever..

::Given anyone a bath?: I have four kids- of course. I also worked in a nursing home so I have buffed a lot of aged flesh. I had to bathe a dead body for the undertaker once- I was glad I had prepared him, because his daughter came up to the nursing home to see him before he was taken out and I had made him clean & presentable.

::Smoked?:: I didn't smoke for many years but when I did it was 2-3 packs a day. I quit when my niece was born.

::Bungee Jump?:: Don't THINK so...

::Made yourself throw-up?:: I have a phobia about vomiting- if I throw up, I am really really sick. I threw up all day the day I moved. I hear Buck did, too.

::Put your tongue on a frozen pole:: no but I dared the neighborhood tough girl Ronnie to do it and she did- the only time I saw her cry.

::Broken a bone:: a finger and a toe

::Played truth or dare:: we called it something different when I was a kid. I preferred kickball.

::Been in a police car:: nope.

::Been on a plane:: several times

::Came close to dying:: Yes.

::Been in a sauna: Yes

::Been in a hot tub::Yes, but I kind of view them as bacterial stews.

::Swam in the ocean:: As frequently as seasonable possible.

::Fallen asleep in school: I played a lot of Bejeweled during Kelly's crappy pharmacoeconomics classes. That was to keep awake, so does it count? (I still got a B)

::Ran away?:: Yes, with my turtles in my pocket. I was very misunderstood.

::Broken someone's heart:: I certainly hope so, but I don't think he had a real heart. If he does, I hope it's diseased. (actually it stopped because he is dead, so I guess maybe he did have one.)

::Cried when someone died:: More times than I like to count.

::Cried in school:: In sixth grade. Like I said,
I was very misunderstood.

::Fell off your chair:: Usually when engraving and getting up and down a million times, then sitting down and the chair has moved. And when the bat was in my workshop.

::Sat by the phone all night waiting for someone to call?:: Usually it involves a hospital and a girl hit by a vehicle.

::Saved AIM convos:: No- I don't usually IM much anymore.

::Used someone:: Depends on your definition- maliciously- no. But I have used my connections with people to get things done- that's how public health works, and why I was good at it. Sometimes it's easier to accomplish things because you have established relationships of trust. That sounds like politics, doesn't it.

What is...
::Your good luck charm?:: I don't really carry a good luck charm, but I have an object of my Nana's I don't like to be without. I also have a St John-Paul medal my mom gave me that I keep with me a lot. He's not technically a saint yet, but trust me, he will be. I also found these wood-shavings from a saint's tree in my car- we bought them in Ireland when we got stuck there after 9-11, and they are supposed to protect your journeys from harm (I also have AAA, so I hedge my bets with saints).

::Best song you ever heard:: Ned of the Hill, the Connie Dover version. It stops me cold, and then I have it in my head for weeks. I also believe One by U2, is one of the greatest songs ever written. Legend of Cathain by Grant Lee Phillips sticks in my head the same way.

::What's your room like:: It's purple- even the ceiling. I LOVE my purple room. I need to hang more art in there but I have my Deidre painting where I can see it every day. It's so cozy and warm, and all the kitties like it too.

::What is beside you?:: My Sorcha but she just saw Dev and she is growling.

::Last thing you ate: Egg & cheese on a gluten-free French roll with a cup of tea. Yum!

::What kind of shampoo do you use?:: Whatever big jug is on sale- this stuff is coconut.
Ever Had...

::Chicken pox:: We had all the childhood diseases.

::Sore Throat:: Postnasal drip from allergies sucks.

::Stitches:: A few times.
Do You...

::Believe in love at first sight:: Yes. I also believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy (but Bren is afraid of Jack Frost).

::Like picnics:: We just had one in Montreal.

::Like school:: Would I put myself thru this insane pace if I didn't? I always wanted to go back to school, and I did it. I just wish it were more fun and less stress, but I'm not a young whippersnapper with lots of energy anymore.

::What schools have you gone to:: Benjamin Dean, Gate of Heaven, Boston State, Anna Maria College, Wachusett Community College, UMass Lowell, and Mass College of Pharmacy. I also lectured for UMass Medical School students once on barriers and access to healthcare for indigent and minority women.

::Who was the last person you called:: Sue

::Who was the last person you slow danced with:: I don't remember, but I danced at Demis & Azita's wedding two weeks ago and it was a blast.

::Who makes you smile: My kitties. And my niece Kaylie.


::Did you last yell at:: Dan. He wouldn't shut up. Are you surprised?

::Broke your heart:: I refuse to break.

::Told you they loved you?:: Sorcha, I just got a kiss. Also my sister Sue.

:Who's your loudest friend?:: Francois. No contest. I have recordings to prove it.

::Do you like filling these out:: It's occasionally fun to every now and then- I just sent one out via email and got some funny responses.

::Do you wear contact lenses or glasses:: Glasses- used to do contacts. Wish I could do Laser surgery.

::Do you get along with your family:: for the most part.

::What are you listening to right now?:: Maire Ni Domnhaill

::Gotten any awards:: Several.

::What car do you wish to have: One that never needs repair.

::Good driver?:: Sure, but pass me because I don't go over the speed limit...Parking is another story.

::Good singer?:: Yes, but I wish my voice was strong and carried well- it's thin and reedy.

::Have a lava lamp?:: Nope.

::How many remote controls are in your house? Too many. Buck bought a universal remote and chucked the old tv remote so now we can't program in the time anymore, which basically negates programmed recording- you have to sit and record. Not that I do- I make Dan and Kate do it.

:: What do you dream about?:: My sleep dreams are vivid and weird. My daydreams usually involve graduating and no more exams.

:: When you last showered:: yesterday and will in a few hours when I finish assembling my bookcase and organizing all the books and vacuuming..

:: Scary or Funny Movies:: Funny, but some scary are good, like "Sixth Sense". I hate stupid funny, love clever funny.

::Chocolate or Vanilla:: Vanilla!

::Rootbeer or Dr.Pepper:: Water. Lemon wedge, please.

:Skiing or Boarding:: Skiing.

::Summer or winter?:: I love the four seasons. I don't favour summer or winter, but I adore fall best and don't care for mud season. I love my garden in spring.

::Silver or Gold?:: Silver.

::Sprite or 7up?:: Water.
Lemon wedge, please. I don't know why people spend a fortune on colored, flavoured water.

::Coffee or tea:: Tea, but one Dunkin Donuts coffee a day is ok.

::Phone or in person:: In person, but phone has to do it when you're in school.

::Are you oldest, middle, youngest:: Youngest. It took them two tries to get it right. Boy were they surprised.

::Indoor or outdoor:: Outdoor in the spring and summer.
Indoor mostly in the winter, but I love being out skiing and I don't feel cold the same once I've been on the mountain. I like walking the beach in the winter when no one is out.

::Diamond or pearl:: Both. I like my diamond band and I like my pearls. I like my sapphire ring too, but I am just as happy wearing my Celtic knot jewelry that isn't precious. I don't want to collect precious stones, I just like wearing things that are pretty.
Today have you:

::Talk to someone you liked:: Yes- Eva called to say she missed me and catch up, and Tran left me a message so I need to call her back.

::Bought something:: Nope- but yesterday I bought a bookshelf, and some toothpaste and toilet paper at Target. The day before, Dan and I went to Nashua- he got some clothes, I got a couple gifts and we couldn't decided on a grill.

::Got sick:: Nope, thank God.

::Sang:: I am listening to Irish music- what do you think?

::Talked to an ex:: Nope and hope I never have to.

::Missed someone:: Kate. Now I have time to fart around and she's on the other side of the world. Ditto has promised to come join me.
Last person who:

::Saw you cry:: LOL Professor Carol asked me how I was doing with exams and I said "Fine" and burst into tears and startled the shit out of both of us. It was pretty funny. Amazing what stress can do to you.

::Made you cry:: Whichever professors wrote that freaking Medchem/Pcol exam.

::Went to the movies with:: Kate. She found ten bucks when we were leaving.

::You went to the mall with:: Dan- Sunday. We couldn't believe how every mall is the same and sells all the same stupid crap.

::Ever been in a fight with your pet:: Sorcha hates when I trim matted fur off but she forgives me. Cujo's bites and scratches are not about anger- he only bites you if you are worthy enough to play with him. Dev just adores me but she still runs if you approach her- she has to approach you.

::Been to California:: Nope, but I promised Tran and Tony I will visit.

::Been to Mexico:: Nope- maybe I will go when I visit CA.

::Been to Canada:: Montreal last May, and have been all over Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, and Ontario to Port Colbourne and Niagara!

::Been to Europe:: Ireland several times! London once for a summer.

::Do you have a crush on someone:: I am too old for that crap, but I still think Bono is cute. I like Mel Gibson and wish he wasn't nuts. He's heading into Tom Cruise territory.

::What book are you reading now?:: The Throne of Scone. It's a re-read but my eyes are so tired and so is my brain.

::Best feeling in the world:: Having all my kids and nieces and nephews together and hearing them laugh together.

::Worst feeling in the world:: When the doctor says "All we can do right now is hope for the best..." Seeing a paddywagon pull away with someone you love inside. Bruises caused by someone you loved very much.

::Future KIDS names:: I don't get to pick future names for kids, just cats. I got to pick my favourites. Actually, I would have liked to give my kids REALLY Irish names, but it wasn't just my choice.

::Do you sleep with a stuffed animal:: Nope, I sleep with the real thing. And Cujo snores.

::What's under your bed:: Maybe a stray dust bunny. Feng shui dictates that the stuff under your bed keeps you awake at night and disturbs your dreams. It also makes it harder to vacuum.

::Favorite Location:: Dingle Penninsula- Gap of Dunloe and Conor Pass. I also really loved Donegal, but then again, I haven't made it to Connemara.

::Piercing/Tattoos:: Pierced ears, done my myself at age 13 with an ice cube while no one was home.

::What are you scared of:: Bills and being unemployed.

::Who do you really hate?:: Hmm- that's pretty powerful. People who make and detonate bombs. People who invade homes and assault the inhabitants. People who make money off the persecution of others.

::Have you ever liked someone you didn't have a chance with?:: No.

::Have you ever cried:: Everyone cries in their lifetimes. I do it seldom because it frustrates me and I'd rather use that energy making things better. So I clean instead.

::Are you lonely right now:: I don't get lonely much- I like my own company. The only time I really feel lonely is going to Irish music events on my own because no one else I hang with likes that stuff. And once I get there I get so into it, I don't care because I am so glad I went.

::Song that's stuck in your head right now:: The soundtrack to "the Brothers MacMullen"- an instrumental version of the Sarah MacLachlan song "I Will Remember You"

::Have you ever played strip poker:: Nope.

::Have you ever been on radio/TV: Yes. Bozo rocks! I also did a cable tv show for ACS.

::Have you ever been in a mosh-pit:: Yes but I didn't mosh. Brendan and Buck did.

::Ever liked someone but thought they never noticed you?:: Maybe when I was 12.

::Last person you talked to on the phone?:: Eva

::Are you to shy to ask someone out?::I have been too busy to go out, so now that I have some time, I assure you I will not be shy.

::Hugs or Kisses?::Both.

::Butter, Plain or Salted popcorn?: Butter and lots of salt.

::Dogs or Cats?:: Cats- I love dogs but they require so much more work.

::Have you ever fired a gun?:: Yes.

::How many pillows do you sleep with?:: One -I have a light one I'll put over my face if I want to sleep later and it's too bright.

:: Who are you missing right now?:: Kate- she's the farthest away.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Study-free weekend

Since January of 2004, I have spent nearly every weekend studying. At first, I was working full-time and taking 5 courses, 2 online & 3 with labs after lecture- 5 til 10 pm three nights a week. Friday nights I vegged but Saturdays after morning tea I went right to the books doing online macroeconomics coursework, calculus problems, read the chem and physics assignments for the week, and did the pre-labs.
When summer came, I did O-Chem 4 nights a week with a few Friday lectures to make up the time requirements- two lab nights, two-three lectures. I got up at 5 to do the pre-labs and homeworks before work, and seldom got home before 11 pm. It was grueling.
When I got into the grad program and quit my job, Saturdays were my cleaning mornings and study afternoons, and Sundays were study. I generally got to school by 8 and seldom left before 10 and then read all weekend. At the end of the first year, I finally took the job my friend had pestered me about. He is director of pharmacy at an acute care hospital, and he likes to hire students. I came onboard to work every other weekend. I had to study in a more structured manner- no farting off at all after work and the weekend off I hit the books, but the first quarter I pulled great grades. It was doable on my rotation, but when I started 2nd year coursework, I started floundering big-time. I cut down in January to two days a month, and had Sundays to study. I pulled the grades up and acquitted myself quite well.
Quitting my job and borrowing money to live on was like stepping off a cliff and assuming I could fly. No matter what I did or how well, the mortgage, the furnace, the damp basement, the drafts in the sunporch, the lawn needing mowing, the shovelling of the drive, all hung over my shoulder whispering that there was not enough time, they needed attention. I gave them only what I could spare in moments. As my friend Francois said to me repeatedly, "failure is not an option." He was right- we had too much at stake to lose, and to blow it, we could blame on no one but ourselves.
So by dint of constant hard work, drumming details into my brain over every spare minute, even in the car during my commute, I did it. I succeeded and passed the didactic. Last week was my first week off, traditionally when I catch up on housework and errands. I went to a cookout, a wedding, and started the rounds of catching up- got my annual PPD, got back online, started organizing all my schoolwork, and clearing up, took my mom to visit an old friend for a day and actually watched a movie. I heard from several friends, and called several more. I spent a day vegging and took a 4 hour nap in the 100 degree heat.
This weekend I do not study. I swear I will not touch a book that weighs more than a few ounces (the Keltiad series is easing me back into fiction). After work yesterday I spent the evening on the couch with Pinot Grigio and the Red Sox (Pharmacy Son had the clicker and I was too tired to argue). Today, I shall shop. OK, today I shall shop after I do the laundry, the litterboxes, the dump run and put away some of the crap in the kitchen. But the point is, after three years of non-stop grinding, I don't have to hit the books. I can't tell you how good that feels.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Useful Things to Do In A Heat Wave

This is very good weather for arranging your photo album, balancing your checkbook and organizing your files- all activities that make you feel like you've accomplished something without expending much energy. Bonus points for doing it in an air-conditioned room.

Today, that is what I did- bankbook, wrote out August bills, and then I started organizing all my school stuff. I unpacked all the junk I stored at campus in the kitchen, locker, bags and car (I am famous for having nearly everything you need within reach). I need to buy a bookcase and arrange all my pharmacy texts and notes- I liked Prof Simard's recommendation (courtesy his son) to put each topic into its own binder, and Mike upped it by adding his pharmacology/medchem notes of same topic in with it. I love stealing great ideas! Between Pharmacy Son and myself, I think we can fill a whole bookcase, and I can give Pharmacy Son his own shelf for the gangster books he collects. I don't think he needs any books this year, again- the Drug-Induced Disease course I took electively is mandatory in his program, and he has OTC this year too. I plan to buy a bookcase when we go to buy the new grill I promised the boy. I also promised self a trip to Christmas Tree Shop but that's hard to do with the boy unless he needs stuff too. Everyone hates to shop with me because I meander aimlessly around the store. I don't shop often, that's why I like to meander.

I had a notice from my insurance that my car insurance had been reinstated so I spent some time on the phone with them. Twice this has happened- I never get the cancellation notice but I get the re-instatement. How odd. I just dripped sarcasm all over the keyboard but I wiped it up with a spare cat. Verizon claimed I didn't pay them for last month but they cashed the check. After fifteen minutes listening to robots playing techno-jingle music, I gave up and scribbled a note on next month's bill. And my main accomplishment of the day (drumroll) was- getting back on the internet!!! I ordered DSL but they put back my old dial-up service to tide me over because they are sick of listening to me complain that they didn't send the reminder to the email address I requested even tho they said it was quite doable. They're getting my business, they should keep me happy.

So now I am on the net working on my blog. What a great thing to do in a heat wave!!!

What NOT to do- jog, heavy cleaning, baking cakes, things that make you hot.
What TO do- make a blog, organize papers, draw out a garden for next year, fill out financial paperwork, start online payment accounts and give the kitties lots of cold water (Cujo likes an ice cube but is dubious about lemon slices).

Happy birthday, Banfhlaith Kathleen! You were born on a day this hot.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pirates, Penguins and Indian Dancers

My weekend officially began at 3 pm Thursday at the end of final exam week. We went to one of the millyard pubs for a few, then took Ryan out to dinner for his birthday (belatedly). What a huge relief to be done- all the previous days' results were posted so we all knew we passed. Yahoo! P3!!!!! June 15 is the graduation date and that will be one bigass party!
Friday, Chris V had a big cookout at his place. I spent part of the day at the campus, so I carpooled in with Michelle- boy, is it country where he lives! We had such a good time, though we missed the swimming and sun, arriving as we did at the height of the thunderstorm. We laughed and ate, and danced. The girls did some dancing so I taught the MCP Riverdance set a slip jig! Eva did a documentary of Nana 's stirring rendition of how Frank and his Amy got together, followed by Frank's version, which was much less dramatic. We got Crispy and Brendan to tell how they met, and recorded that for posterity too. Saturday was Demis and Azita's wedding reception- the Indian dancing was incredible, the food was awesome, and the company was excellent- Buck and MeyDee, Dan and Amanda, Camel and Liz and their new roommmates Mike and his girlfriend Helena (who looks like Helen of Troy in a gold gown). We had this guy at our table that noone knew- I felt kind of bad for him. He never said a word to us, but just smiled, ate and left. They kept calling him the wedding crasher. I can't download my pictures yet but I will. We all danced- Indian music is so easy to dance to and everybody looks graceful. All the girls except beautiful Helena were in little black cocktail dresses (moi included, Jones New York find of the day), and everyone else was in brilliantly colored gorgeous saris and dresses. Next time I need to find something colorful and flowy! The wedding was in Cambridge so I stayed at Sue and Ted's. We spent the day on the porch just vegging and enjoying the breeze. When we moved it inside, I decided to check my email, then I checked Kate's blog, then I decided to start a blog as well. I am sure it will NOT be as exciting as London and Hawaii, but enough interesting things keep happening to me that are worth mentioning. OK here is my last thing, which is interesting: Truong drove us back to campus after Ryan's dinner Thursday. We were stopped at a light and I said "Dude, am I really really drunk or is the guy in the car next to you a pirate?" Truong looked over and sure enough, this guy was in a three-corner big black hat with a bushy beard and glasses. When we pointed it out to Michelle, she started rolling up all the windows like he was going to board our little white car and steal our treasure chest. When I was telling this to the kids at the wedding, Liz said there was actually an event by a radio station where people were encouraged to dress up like pirates. Who knew? Then they made fun of Buck who went to a party and it was a pirate or penguin party, so they apparently taped him up with duct tape to be a penguin and he got really drunk and went home after removing most of the tape. I love a party with a good theme. Sue is cooking burgers and I am hungry so I am outa here.
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