Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Photo dump!

Kath asks:  Does this mean you won't get to wear the Mary Poppins costume?

In fact, it does not.  The party in question was conveniently on Saturday, so I was able to attend.  (And then I spent a good deal of Sunday washing the dress.  I'd never worn it outside the house before and, apparently, dragging a teensy bit of train behind you is the equivalent of being a human Swiffer.  I picked up a ton of dirt from just walking around on the patio at the party house.  OK, yeah, I also knocked over a can of Coke.  But nobody saw me and I cleaned it right up, so we'll pretend that never happened.)

I didn't bring a camera to the party.  I should have; everyone else did.  But I did capture a shot before I left, all decked out in the Mary outfit -- it's much like the last except now I have the carpetbag.  Said prop really sealed the deal -- everyone knew instantly who I was supposed to be.

Damn.  A bit blurry, but you get the idea.  (I'm working with different photo editing software, so it'll take some time till I'm back up to speed.)

I also wanted to show you exactly why I'm so proud of the hat.  I therefore give you...


and AFTER:

And ... and this one is really for my sister, who has never seen this particular look on me ... I straightened my hair for the day, because it is much easier to put in a bun when it's straight.  So, this is me with all my curls de-curled...

And that's all she wrote.  Back to curling up on the couch, wanting to take a short vacation from my body.

Let's see how long it takes my mom to call

I'm sick.

I saw it coming.

Last week, our secretary came in late on Tuesday, sounding awful, and was out the rest of the week, being sick.

She was back in the office on Monday.  Still sounded bad, but promising she's on antibiotics and therefore not contagious.

Our boss, who is off on vacation, called on Monday.  I needed to speak with our boss.  (It was fairly important.  It was a question that might give me an extra month to do some work.)

Here's the key:  he didn't call on the office line (from which he could easily be forwarded from the secretary's phone to my phone).  He called -- for whatever bizarre reason -- on our secretary's cell phone.  After she talked to him for ten minutes or so, she handed me her cell phone.

And I actually pondered it for a second or two.  I thought, I could just say, "Don't worry about it," and just ask him when he came back to the office later this week, thereby avoiding the germ-coated phone.  But we really needed to take care of this, so I took the phone and talked to him, and, yes, postponed the matter for a month.

Got back to my desk and proceeded to more-or-less wash my face with anti-bacterial hand gel, but that stuff's got limits.

Yesterday morning, woke up feeling fine.  Driving to work, I started feeling a little off.  (I actually googled this.  In my experience, the very first sign that I'm getting sick is a heightened sense of smell.  The internet refuses to back me up on it, saying, in fact, that some people get a reduction in their sense of smell when they get sick, but what does the internet know?)  So, heightened sense of smell, followed by general malaise.  I packed up a bunch of work (always hard to know (a) exactly how long one will be sick and (b) how productive one will be during this time), and drove home, stopping to pick up a quart and a half of chicken soup on the way.

Which, if you insert about 24 hours of sniffling, drinking tea, and generally feeling sorry for myself, brings us to today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Two and a half hours...

... is exactly how long it took to hook up the new computer!  (That would be the nice, pretty new Dell "small business" model running Windows XP, but running it a heck of a lot faster than my old computer.)

And when I say "hook up the new computer," I mean ...
- take apart the old computer
- bring an end table in the computer room
- re-set-up the old computer on the end table (so I can transport files via a four foot cable)
- unpack new computer
- hook up new computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speaker
- (do not hook up printer -- it's late and the power strip doesn't have room for it anyway)
- attach it to home network
- turn it on
- be amazed that it works and does, in fact, use the home network
- delete the surprisingly small amount of pre-installed software I didn't want (an added benefit of buying a "small business" machine rather than a "home" one)
- set the monitor resolution impossibly high as recommended
- notice how really, really tiny that makes all the text
- download Firefox
- set my internet options to make text bigger so I can see it on the high resolution screen
- set a coupla bookmarks
- download a picture for wallpaper
- notice that at the highest resolution available for the photo, it doesn't fill the aforementioned screen
- kick screen resolution back down to something human
- configure Outlook
- open Word -- be confused at how different the screen looks from whatever version of Word my office is still uses -- and I'd thought we were all current
- download the driver for my "PCTV To Go" and confirm that I can watch my TV on my computer
- consider messing with the resolution again

And finally ... and for me, this is a pretty big thing, NOT downloading AOL.  To be honest, I haven't used any non-web-based AOL content in years -- at least, not in any sense greater than just killing time.  I update the journal from the web, I handle email from the web -- everything else is just gravy.  And the more that gravy is ad-filled and system-freezing, the less I need it on my system.

Now ... to figure out how to make the keyboard stop wobbling.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Unexpected Level of Customer Service

My credit card expires this month, so they sent me a new one.  It had one of those stickers on it with a number you have to call from your home phone in order to activate the card.  (Y'know, as a security measure, to make sure the card got to the right house.)

So, I pick up the phone and dial the number, expecting to hear the pre-recorded voice thank me for calling Citibank and telling me my card has now been activated.

Instead the computerized voice said:  "Hello, you sexy man."

Yeah.  Apparently the sex line is one digit off from the card activation line.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Thank you all for thinking I look like Mary Poppins -- as that was, indeed, the goal.

(Although, when I first put it on, I was afraid it looked more Eliza Doolittle.)

So, I'm feeling a bit relieved that it's identifiable in the absence of the two key props -- as I'm still not sure how well I'm going to do in terms of getting them.  Said props would be:  the parrot-handled umbrella and the carpetbag.

The parrot umbrella is the item that actually exists, but ships in two to four weeks.  (Thanks, Disney Store.)  And then I looked in my closet, and discovered that my own personal umbrella stash does not include a normal, straightforward, hook-on-the-top doorman-type-umbrella.  I've only got foldy ones.  So, other than dropping by Target and hoping for a cheap, old school black umbrella, prop number one is out.

Carpetbags are, at least, buyable -- but they're like $100 each, so to heck with that.  A coworker offered to loan me hers, which is awful sweet of her, but it's her actual purse.  I'm a little concerned about taking someone's use-every-day purse to a Halloween party where it could get stepped on, or beer-coated, or subject to some other disaster. 

And, frankly, after all the time and money I put into the hat, I'm running out of steam on this particular Halloween costume.

So, I'm pleased that the costume is identifiable even if I don't manage to get any of my props.  Thanks!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Who Do I Think I Am?

OK.  Thanks to all your help, I obtained the plastic boater hat, covered it with black fabric, wrapped some lace around it, and glued on silk daisies.  I'm rather proud of it, all things considered.

I realized, at this point, that I hadn't tried on the dress (around which this entire costume was based) in a couple years, so decided to give the entire ensemble a try.  The good news:  it fit.  (Actually, the slightly better news:  it was a little too loose.)  The bad news:  I had misremembered it slightly, so it's a bit less perfect for the costume as I'd hoped.

Now, as previously alluded to, there are, in fact, some props that will help pin down the identity I'm aiming for.  I don't have them yet.

Which raises the question:  can anyone figure out what the heck I'm going for, in the absence of any identifying props.

So.  Can you?

Note:  that is not a feather sticking out of the hat.  It's the top of my dry-erase board in the background

Any guesses?  Anyone? 

Oh my.

Remember this?  The $768 charge to QVC that I so did not make?

Just received in the mail, a card from QVC, thanking me for shipping with them and including my new membership number.  Also suggested I use my "registered e-mail address" next time I shop with them.

Translation:  The scumbag who stole my card number also knows my full name and address.

I called QVC to make sure the account was closed (and to also see if they had said scumbag's name and address for shipping purposes).  This required calling customer service.  I called customer service from my home phone.  Customer service rep immediately says, "Is this [my full name here]?" 

How did you know that?

"That's just what popped up on my screen."

This, too, is troubling.  I have call blocking, so QVC's called-ID should not be picking up my name.  Did the scumbag, I wonder, have my home phone number as well?

(If so, that would be extremely disconcerting, as the stolen card was my internet-only credit card, and I do not use my home phone number in internet transactions.)

I confirm that QVC does, in fact, have the scumbag's name and address (as the "shipping address" for the fraudulent purchases).  They won't give it to me, but if the police investigate, they'll happily fax it to them.

I wonder whether it's even worth calling my local police department to file a report.  My credit card company seems to be on the case -- they even took the charge off my bill before I even saw it.  I called them up to make sure they were going to "nail this guy to the wall."  They confirmed that they would. 

One last thing to check -- last April, TurboTax came with a free credit report monitoring service from Experian.  I signed up.  Logged in today to see if there was any unusual activity -- requests to open new cards, that sort of thing.  They said no, which means either that the idiot who has my name, address, and old card number hasn't got my social security number ... or that the free credit monitoring service blows.

Come to think of it, I think I'd better put a possible alert on my account with all three credit bureaus.

Nope, house not on fire

As a resident of Southern California, I should probably mention that my house is not, in fact, on fire.  The mountains near my home are apparently one of the few mountain ranges in Southern California not currently aflame, for which I am grateful.

I've a friend who was evacuated, though -- my closest involvement to things.  She said that before she left, she looked up and it looked like there was a volcano in front of her -- a sight she very much hopes not to see again.  She actually hit the road a good 20 minutes before the officials got out there with bullhorns and told everyone to get out.  She's back home now -- her fire being one of the ones they've apparently got under control.

I'm a bit worried about the others, though.  I heard on the radio that they've evacuated the town of Lake Arrowhead (where my sister got married) and all the surrounding towns.  Hundreds of houses destroyed, thousands more at risk -- and they don't seem to have the resources to fight this fire.  The guy on the news this evening was saying they've got a line of firefighters protecting the main street, but they can't protect any of the side streets 'cause they don't have the water.  This is not good.

Monday, October 22, 2007

There's No Justice

Viva Laughlin just got cancelled.

Let me be perfectly clear on this -- even I found this show unwatchable.  I like Hugh Jackman, I like musicals, I like mysteries -- I thought I would absolutely be in this show's target audience.  And I even thought the opening number wasn't bad.  But by the time Hugh Jackman was singing along with "Sympathy for the Devil" -- and the sound was mixed in such a way that we could hear Mick Jagger way more than Hugh Jackman and it looked just like a really crappy lip-sync -- well, I was ready to tune out.  Melanie Griffith's scenery-chewing pretty much sealed the deal.  I couldn't even make it through the first episode.  No, let me amend that.  I couldn't even make it through the first episode while I was doing something else.  It was just playing in the background and I had to turn it off.

What I'm trying to say here is:  it wasn't good.

But the injustice of it all, the real reason I'm blogging about this, and my general concern for what the cancellation of this show means about the Great American Viewing Public is this:

Cavemen is still on.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Computer, computer, computer

Found this article on cnet, which pretty much sums up my fears about Vista.  Or, more precisely, gives me a real live actual expert opinion for the gut feeling I've been having all along.

Then, today, my computer started giving me behavior that suggested it wants to be replaced.  I used my computer in the morning, then, when I ran out for lunch, I put it to sleep, rather than shutting it off.  Came home and moved the mouse -- which should wake it up.  It woke.  Sort of.  My wallpaper showed up.  No icons on top of it.  Just wallpaper.  I could move the mouse around, but there wasn't anything to click on.

Tried ctrl-alt-del.  Nada.  Pushed the power button the tower.  Zip.

This has happened before.  Actually, it's been surprisingly common with this computer.  The solution is to crawl under my desk and turn off the power via the line-splitter.  Power off.  Power on.  Computer turns on.  Icons appear.

I need to check an email on AOL.  Double-click on AOL.  Opens.  I sign in.  AOL gets in, then freezes before showing me the Welcome screen.  I ctrl-alt-del out of it.  Windows task manager takes a few minutes but then agrees that "this application has failed to respond."  Duh. 

I reopen AOL.  The process repeats.  I ctrl-alt-del out of that, too.

Give up and check the email via the internet.  Turn off computer.  It takes some time to shut down, deciding that an AOL piece of software is frozen.  (Duh again.)  I tell it to end the application and it finally shuts down.  Go out for the evening.

Come home.  Turn on computer.  Open Firefox (life is better since I ditched IE).  Very slow to open.  Open PCTVtoGo (my "not slingbox") so I can watch TV in the background.  PCTVtoGo tries to connect, but fails.  AOL is freezing up on me now, too.  Shut everything down but don't reboot.  Eventually, all programs decide to run, and I manage to have Firefox, PCTVtoGo, and AOL all working simultaneously the way G-d intended.

I spend time trying to seek out a new PC.  With the leads from the cnet article, I find which computer manufacturers will still sell an XP system.  Dell is the only one that has an XP option left for "home" computers, but their two XP home models don't have all the options I want.  Which means, basically, that I have to pretend to be a small business -- small businesses can still get XP systems from several different manufacturers.  (Rather amusingly, you can still get XP Home on a "small business" computer; you don't even have to buy XP Professional.)

The prices are comparable to home computers, so this seems a good option, until I'm over on the HP website, and I see that one its small business desktop advertises "up to 18 months lifecycle" and another has a lifecycle of "up to 9 months."  Nine months?  Are business PCs meant to crap out on you in less than a year?  Honestly, that doesn't seem like a really good plan.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh, the (costume) pressure

Thanks for all your advice on the hat.  Actually, I put together several of your ideas and came up with a reasonable solution.

I dropped by the fabric store and bought some craft glue and a yard of el-cheapo black polyester.  Figured I could get one of those plastic or styrofoam boater hats (also called "skimmers" apparently), cover it in black fabric, and be done.  I even bought a nice piece of ribbon to wrap around said hat.

Then went to Party City for to purchase one styrofoam or plastic boater hat.  Or any hat of similar shape.  I should note here that I have previously purchased hats of this type at stores of this type.

Party City offers thousands of Halloween costumes.  Which are apparently taking the place of all their normal merchandise, including the boater hats.  Not to be found anywhere.

Walked from one end of the mall to the other looking for a hat I could cover in black fabric.  Many hats.  Many ugly hats.  Many ugly expensive hats.  Nothing even vaguely skimmer-like.

Came home depressed.  Tried ebay again, now that I'd discovered the "skimmer" term.  Found someone selling three of said hats (in plastic) for five bucks.  Five more bucks for two-day shipping, and I should have the little buggers by Tuesday.  With that and all the decorating supplies, this hat is going to cost me $30.

That solved, I went over to the website selling the other prop.  You know, the I said I could easily get for $40.

I can still get it. 

It ships in two to four weeks.

This is not good. 

This costume needs two of three identifying props.  I've (hopefully) solved the hat problem, but now I've got to deal with the other two.  Neither can be found for a reasonable price, so I'm looking at trying to jury-rig one of them.

Something tells me it isn't going to be easy.

The Internet is Letting Me Down

(But first, thanks for the info on Vista.  Sadly, Wil, Mac is not an option for me, as my NotSlingbox is not Mac compatible.  Come to think of it, I can't imagine that it's Vista compatible either.)

OK.  I'm working on my Halloween costume.  I have the basics, but it needs some accessories/props to totally pin it down perfectly.  I'd say it needs at least two of three totally identifying accessories.

One, conveniently, is available for purchase for $40.  Am not happy about the cost, but at least it can be done.

As for the other two, I'm totally screwed.  One seems to cost over $100, so that's, y'know, out.

The other I can't seem to find, and it is way annoying me.  I need a hat.  A black hat.  A black straw hat.  A black straw hat with a small brim.  Actually, a relatively small black straw hat with a small brim.

Yeah, good luck with that.  I'm even willing to waffle on material (a relative small black hat with a small brim would work fine, even if not straw) and the usual suspects -- including internet hat stores and ebay -- are totally letting me down.  I can get the closest on eBay, but they want a lot of money.  Or, they don't want much money at all, but the auction ends too late for me to get said hat pre-Halloween party.

I usually can find pretty much anything on the internet, but this is definitely problematic. I was actually considering a straw-colored straw hat and a can of black spray paint.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Simple Question

Does Vista suck?

If so, how badly?

Let me put this in perspective.  I do not intend to upgrade an XP machine to Vista.  But, over the next, say, year, I'll be in the market for a new computer, and I'm hesitant to buy a system running Vista as I've heard not really good things about it.  I just have a bad Vista Vibe.  XP systems are still available (especially from Dell), but I need to know if buying a system running XP is a technologically stupid move.  Basically, is the world going to eventually catch on to Vista (making an XP purchase ultimately obsolete) or are enough people so pissed off at Vista that buying it would be a waste of money?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Two bucks

I went to the theatre tonight.  (I do that.)

Drove there about a half hour early, in order to negotiate the underground parking lot (with the thousand other cars sharing the space).  There was a long line of cars waiting to pay for the privilege of getting in.  The line ran pretty much all the way down to the street to the next intersection.  It was so long, that when I made a left turn from that intersection, there was barely room for my car in the line -- I was nearly sitting there exposed with the back of my car in the way of oncoming traffic.

As I inched along, waiting patiently in line, a car in the next lane was signalling to get into the line.  I hadn't watched him so wasn't sure whether he'd just been trying to bypass the bulk of the line -- or if he'd got stuck in the wrong lane by turning when there was no room in the line.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt (and the benefit of the fact I still had 20 minutes), and let him in right in front of me.  He waved.  I waved back.  Usual transaction completed.

About five minutes later, I actually got into the parking garage.  By this time, I had my eight dollar fee all ready in my hand (because, as the sign says, if you have your money ready, it will speed the line along).  Parking guy says to me, "Six more dollars."  I look at him like he's joking.  Dude, I'm giving you eight dollars; parking is not fourteen.  He repeats it, "I need six dollars more."  I push my eight dollars toward him.  He takes six of it and folds two back in my hand.  "The man in that car," he says, pointing to the dude I'd let in, "paid two dollars for you."

Put a smile on my face for the next few hours.  Amazing what two bucks can do.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The mall

In my last post, I referenced going to the mall this weekend.

This isn't just any mall trip.  It's my "take a day when most other people don't have the day off, stay overnight at a hotel near an outlet mall, and shop your brains out all day long" trip.  I've been doing this for a couple years now -- either on Columbus Day or Veterans Day -- to get a good start on my holiday shopping before all hell breaks loose.

I returned to the mall of last year -- Ontario Mills Mall.  Its website says it is something like the largest indoor mall west of the Mississippi.  It doesn't have just two or four or even six anchor stores.  The mall is divided into ten different "neighborhoods" and each one has an anchor.  What I'm trying to say here is:  big mall.

About 1/4 of the way in, I reached the first Shopping Cart stand.  This is where (for the low, low price of $3) you can rent a big ol' shopping cart from the same company that rents luggage carts at the airport.  And I hadn't really bought anything yet, so the shopping cart seemed like an unnecessary expense.

This is not a mistake I will make again.

By the time I hit the next shopping cart stand, I was loaded down with five shopping bags -- and the stand was empty!  Some meanie had rented all the damn carts.  I ended up trudging a couple more "neighborhoods" around the mall to get to the next stand, so I could rent a cart.  I then had to backtrack to hit all those stores -- I hate backtracking, but it was totally necessary.

This time through the mall, I also went in the opposite direction from how I did it last year -- this was because by the time I got to the stores at the end of my circuit, I was too pooped to really shop heavily in them.  So, this time, I spread my business around a bit and went the other way.

Was disappointed that one "specialty" store where I'd bought some presents last year has now closed -- was a shame as I'd been counting on them for a few gifts this time.  Other than that, though, things worked out fairly well (although slightly better for me for than for gift-giving).

I got to the mall when it opened at 10:00.  Including a stop for lunch (at the Rainforest Cafe -- somewhere in neighborhood 6), I left over nine hours later.  The shopping bag was loaded down with:

Three dresses
Two skirts
Four pairs of shoes
Two pairs of socks
A lovely 3/4-length wool/cashmere coat (took them forever at Burlington Coat Factory to find the price for it, as it didn't have a tag)


Presents for "Law Student"
Presents for "Wife" (of "Couple")
 for "Husband"
Presents for my sister and her husband
Presents for the two clerks of court who work for our Division
Presents for a friend's baby (you know who you are)

.... I think that's it, although I might be forgetting something.  Took me about 20 minutes just to unload the car and get all that crap up to my condo.

It's a start on the holidays, anyway.  Hopefully, I can do all the rest online and won't have to brave a mall again until January.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Great Shoe Purge of Aught-Seven

I cleaned out my closet today.  It was a rather more optimistic occurrence than the last time I did this -- which was when I'd put on a ton of weight and tossed all my "thin clothes" in an act of acceptance.  Of course, I subsequently a lot of the weight -- which is terrific -- and now I don't have any thin clothes to wear.  I'm still not sorry I did it, though.  I think I needed to really accept that I was fat, and throw out all the clothes that were nowhere near fitting, in order to motivate myself to make a change.

Besides, now that I've lost the weight, I can buy myself a whole bunch of new clothes.

So, today's closet purge, from the clothing point of view, was rather more fun, as I packed up lots of stuff that was now too big to wear.  I mean, on the one hand, great that I have to pin the waistbands of my skirts.  On the other hand, y'know, probably shouldn't walk around the office with my skirts obviously pinned.  It lacks a certain ... professionalism.  So, all the too big stuff goes into storage.  (Just in case I need it again.)

But the real come-face-to-face-with-reality part of tonight's event was the throwing out of the shoes.  Now, I spent six weeks of this year in a damn "Frankenboot" aircast.  And a lot more time wearing various and sundry ankle braces.  And, you know what?  After all that time in the aircast, my ankle was better -- and then I wore the wrong pair of shoes and it went out again, pretty much killing six freakin' weeks in a stormtrooper boot in one day.  It isn't worth it -- I don't care how cute the damn shoes are, they've got to go.  So, the mules that put too much stress on the ankle -- tossed.  Also anything with a strap that inconveniently presses against the weak point -- tossed.  Come to think of it, all those pumps with the pointy heel that it's really easy to lose balance on and twist the ankle again -- gone, gone, gone and gone.  The boots that I was wearing when I twisted the ankle in the first place -- exactly why am I still keeping those?  And while I'm at it, the few pair of shoes that are actually a 1/2-size too big that I was talked into by some salesdude who said I could get by with sticking an insert under the insole -- gone as well.  Life's too short (and ankle is too fragile) to mess around with shoes that don't fit.  And of the few remaining pairs ... yeah, the ones with all the leather rubbed off in spots?  Time to replace them, too.

By the time I was done, I had more than half of my shoes in the trash pile.  And totally accepted that I have an officially wonky ankle that I'm just going to have to make some adjustments for.

... good thing I'm planning to hit the mall this weekend.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Um, ... no.

Yesterday, a pre-recorded phone call from the people at Citibank fraud alerts.  They'd like me to call back about suspicious charges.

(Of course, the first thing I do is verify that the phone number is legit -- as this strikes me as an amusing way to get someone's account information.  But the number is kosher, so I give 'em a call.)

Did I make a $768.00 charge to QVC?

QVC?  $768?  I'm pretty sure I would have remembered that.  I mean, I've been toying with the idea of buying something from QVC (one of them Fuller brushes that cleans out the lint trap in your dryer), but I'm pretty darned sure that (a) I didn't buy it and (b) it wasn't no $768.

They cancelled the card.  I'll get a new one in ten days.

Today I called them up again to see if I could maybe put a rush on the new card.  I can't.  But while I was on the line with them, we went into a little more detail on which charges I did and did not make.

Apple iTunes store?





Maybe.  How much?  A small charge authorizing a new account.

Oh hell no.

My most recent legitimate charge appears to be to a political campaign.  (A friend asked, in lieu of birthday presents, that we donate to the campaign of the candidate of her choice.  As I have nothing against said candidate, and might even throw my vote in that direction, I made a small contribution.)  In any event, I'd be extremely surprised if people running for POTUS didn't have satisfactory encryption on their websites.

So, now I am without internet credit card (annoying as their are two internet purchases I want to immediately make) and will eventually have to find myself a notary so's I can swear or affirm with all due solemnity that these charges SO aren't mine.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Only Funny if You Watched "Pushing Daisies"

So, I went over Couple's place for dinner and "Pushing Daisies."  I was about five minutes late -- all things considered, it's a wonder it was only five minutes.  (First, the road between me and the freeway was blocked when I left work; second, there was a tanker truck filling up the gas station when I stopped for gas; third, when I stopped at the grocery store to pick up dessert, the stupid parking ticket machine did not read my validation and I had to back up and go to the guy in the little booth, wasting further valuable time.)

Anyway, I missed the first five minutes of the show.  Wife and Law Student filled me in, but I'd had the good sense to DVR it, so I thought I'd check the recording when I got home.

And when I watched it, I took note of the names in the credits.  I said things like, "Hey!  That was Swoosie Kurtz!"  And I noticed Jim Dale's name in the credits.  And I thought, "Who did he play?"  And I watched the first five minutes, and I didn't see him in that bit.  And I watched about a half hour of the show again -- mostly to catch some of the lines I'd missed ('cause we had been talking when we'd watched it), but also because I was still trying to spot Jim Dale in that thing.  I mean, he's a 70ish white guy, and I didn't see any 70ish white guys in there at all.  But he was undeniably in the opening credits.

It wasn't until about, oh, two-thirds of the way through the episode, when I started asking myself, "What has he done lately, anyhow?" -- that I realized his part on the show.  Man, I'm slow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Friend Back at Home (Yay!)

My friend/neighbor is back home from surgery, having been released from the hospital today.  I think that once you prove to them you can make from the bed to the bathroom (and back again), they pack you up and send you on your merry way (even if you're shouting, "but I have insurance!").

I needn't have worried about figuring out what I should or should not do in this situation.  See, there's four of us who actually form an odd little pseudo-family.  My neighbor and her husband (who we'll call Couple) are about ten years older than I am, and they have a daughter who is off at college.  Now, about three years ago, a law student moved in downstairs from me.  She lives alone (her parents are in the midwest someplace), and since she's away from her parents and Couple is away from their daughter ... well, they seem to fill spaces in each other's lives, and Law Student is a regular guest at Couple's dinner table.

I fit in somewhere between them age-wise -- almost directly in the middle, come to think of it.  I'm actually more a friend of Couple (well, Wife) than I am of Law Student -- but we spend a lot of time together as a foursome, and it's pretty much expected that if some of us are going to grab some dinner or see a movie, we'll ask the others to go along.  Things just sort of evolved that way.

Law Student (who probably needs a new title, seeing as she graduated this year) was away on a major post-bar-exam vacation and just came back the week before Wife's surgery, and, in retrospect, I'm really amazed at how our bizarre little group came together on this one.  While Wife was in the hospital, Law Student and I were responsible for making sure Husband actually ate (we had visions of him sitting at the dinner table, work spread out all around him, with a half gallon of ice cream and a spoon), so we went out for dinner with him every night, and got the story on how Wife was doing at the hospital.  (We also just naturally started sharing tasks -- I told her I'd take care of ordering flowers for Wife -- and it reminded me of how my sister and I deal with presents for our parents.)  The other day, we ran errands together and drove over to visit Wife in the hospital.

Today, I didn't leave work till about 7:00.  Law Student had called me earlier to let me knowWife was out of the hospital, so I called Law Student before I left to see how Wife was doing.  She asks why I'm not home yet.  She was making dinner and they were waiting for me.  So I high-tailed it home and we all gathered in Couple's living room, to watch the "Dancing With the Stars" results show and eat meatloaf.  (And Law Student made mushrooms just for me.  That girl is too sweet.)  When we finished eating, I cleared the plates and filled Couple's dishwasher just as naturally as if it were my own house, and we hung out until Wife was tired and ready for bed.

A few more weeks of this and we might have it down.

I will never, ever, ever say this aloud, and I am somewhat annoyed at myself for even thinking it, but there's this teensy little part of me that thinks that maybe there was a reason I didn't sell my condo and ended up stuck in this building for another year.  Maybe right now, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.