Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I can't believe I finally succeeded!

From Singles 2009

and now, maybe, we'll have a quiet bedroom!

Back for a visit!

From Singles 2009

All grown up! Well, mostly. It is still impossible to get a photo. The boy just won't stop! (Note tail.) He's up to 3.6 kg which is exactly double the weight he was when I saw him last. (I hadn't seen him since he had his stitches removed and found a new home.) We had have a serious talk with his new family about getting Frankie neutered. I guess there is someone out there who thought he should be a father...but, as cute as he is, he did have a congenital problem that you wouldn't wish on any puppy. Most such puppies don't get a free fix-up from some soft hearted vets. Frankie needs to remain one of a kind.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fear of Flying

From Singles 2009

"What happens when people die?" I asked her.

"They don't really die" she said. "They go back into the earth and after a while they get born again, as grass or maybe even as tomatoes."

I've really taken a detour from Burke. This is the problem with the intersection of me and the Brisbane library. At our local branch they have, I believe, two titles by James Lee Burke. So, on my quest to read the collection in order I need to make timely requests from the greater library system to please deliver a book to Chermside library. In the mean time, I find myself tempted to stray. And, "Fear of Flying" fit exactly into that temptation paradigm. First, it was actually a recorded book - and those don't really count as cheating on Burke. Secondly, recently I read "Tipping the Velvet" - lesbian erotic fiction so I thought it was maybe time to read some heterosexual erotic fiction.
But maybe I already was a hostage. The hostage of my fantasies. The hostage of my fears. The hostage of my false definitions. What did it mean to be a woman, anyway? If it meant being what Randy was or what my mother was, than I didn't want it. If it meant seething resentment and giving lectures of the joys of childbearing, then I didn't want it. Far better to be an intellectual nun than that!

But the intellectual nun was no fun either. She had no juice. And, what were the alternatives? Why didn't someone show me the alternatives?

Except, it really isn't. Despite what it says on the "jacket". Despite the amount of sexual activity and the heavy population of "f" and "c" words. Rather, it is a novel about a woman's search for herself. A search conducted in psychoanalysis, in sexual and romantic relationships, with her family and her lovers, in the revolutionary 1960s. Born to an artistic mother in the 1940's who was frustrated by her "choice" to raise her children rather than pursue her art, Isadora internalized the messages of her mother (you can be yourself or you can be a wife and mother) and "good girl" messages of the 1950's America she grew up in.
"...But there it is: I want everyone to love me".
"You lose," Adrian said.
"I know but my knowing doesn't change anything. Why doesn't my knowing ever change anything?"

The middle of the book dragged a bit for me, possibly because this isn't the best sort of book to be just listening to - action is much better for that. It was a fascinating exploration of that time, of being a woman (then/now), and of psychoanalysis (and of how psychoanalytic theory views women.) It has been years and years and years now since I've had to teach personality theory and so it was fun to be reminded of those "heady" ideas. Someday, I'm thinking, I'll read this again.

I can't believe I never thought of this!

I need to get married again! Who wants to join me??

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just to show you can't trust ANYONE

From Singles 2009

She is waiting to come inside! Trojan cocker bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dexter by Design

From Singles 2009

'First things first' has always been my motto, mostly because it makes absolutely no sense- after all, if first things were second or third, they wouldn't be first things, would they?

Let's see, I think this is book 4 and it is a vast improvement over book 3. We've got a real bad guy, an amusing cameo from our friend Sgt. Doakes, art!, and fun family interaction between Dexter and his kids. I must say that these are the most fun children I've encountered in recent (literary) history. (Of course, I have a really terrible memory for things I've read, watched, heard, said or done... but otherwise - top notch!) If you haven't read or seen anything from Dexter - Miami's serial-killer, forensic blood splatter expert - I need to tell you that these children who he's now married into (onto, what would the preposition be?) are damaged like he was as a child. They are little sociopaths. (Undoubtedly, that makes them more fun to read about than to spend time with.) Dexter recognizes what they are and they have made an arrangement that he will teach them to channel their blood-lust in the way that his adoptive father, Harry, taught him. They are eager. Pushy, at times.

"So," Deutsch said relentlessly, "what brings you to Scouting, Cody?"
Cody glanced at me. I smiled, and he turned back to Deutsch "Have fun," he said, his small, deadpan face looking like he was at a funeral.
"Great," said Deutsch. "Scouting should be fun. But there's a serious part, too. You can learn about all kinds of cool things. Is there anything special you really want to learn about, Cody?"
"Animal carving," Cody said, and I had to fight not fall out of my tiny chair...

Black comedy. Its all me.

Happy Birthday, Kevin!

a bit late getting this published! Happy Day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's here! It's here!

From Singles 2009

A BIG THANK YOU to the Pet Photobooth people!!!!!


Kevin and I have just finished watching both the Judd Apatow television sitcoms "Undeclared" and "Freaks and Geeks" as well as the first two seasons of "The Big Bang Theory". We have had a really good time.

TBBT is a gift from Georgia. She introduced Kevin to the program when he stayed with them in Columbus this year. As people with significant geek quotas (though Kevin scoffs at mine) we particularly enjoy Sheldon - though we've discussed that Kevin really should try to refrain from embracing too much of Sheldon's approach to humanity. We are troubled by the character of Penny who lives next door. How is it that she, as a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory, can afford to live alone in this apartment building while Sheldon, an employed physicist, needs a roommate to make the rent? OK. Their apartment is bigger...but really. In addition, who really believes that Leonard could be happy with Penny? And, where are the smart and normal (though I'm happy to see Sara Gilbert, again) women??

"Undeclared" - had an aborted single season in 2001 when I was living in Fayetteville. I really enjoyed the show and wanted to share it with Kevin. After the first couple of episodes, however, he noted that perhaps I was more nostalgic having had a much better time in college (university for you Australians). And, I admitted that I also had great memories of teaching college freshmen. Still, Kevin loves me and he persevered and ended up attached to the show. The characters are honest and vulnerable and the last couple of episodes are very, very, very funny.

"Freaks and Geeks" - was one of my Christmas gifts to Kevin. I had read a review of the best DVDs from 2008 and picked out this plus "Frisky Dingo" (and I believe I've already told you what a HUGE hit that was this us.) Like "Undeclared", it took several episodes for us to warm up to it - but we ultimately found it to be, again like "Undeclared", touching and funny and the performances excellent.

Now, Kevin has never been a fan of Apatow films, but we think we've figured it out. Maybe he'll just need to watch them for about 8 hours straight to get into the groove - or Apatow will have to write 8 hour movies.

Anyway, we're going to miss Sam, Neil, Bill, Lindsay, Kim, Daniel, Nick and Ken...Steven, Lizzie, Rachael, Lloyd, Ron and Marshall...but, we know how it would ultimately end-

with a large spaceship descending and an imposing woman asking them "where are their clothes"?

Doing what I can to advance feminism in The Great Down Under

Twice in the last two weeks I have been completing a form orally: once in a local health food store (Newsletter! Discounts!) and most recently when checking into the hospital.

Given name?
Is that Miss or Mrs?"

To which I reply, after a moment of confusion, "I don't use either of those titles."

And, I am met with stunned silence as the poor woman (in both cases) tries to figure out what that could mean and what she should do next.

I don't get involved in a discussion. I just remain title-less - are titles really necessary in this day and age? Particularly for the purpose of a newsletter?? Or, in the case of the hospital, because she pushed for a title but seemed to have none to offer, I chose Dr. Really, I should have chosen Ms and if I could go back and do it again, I would.

These people need to be introduced to the concept that a woman's status does not have to be defined by her relationship to a man. "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." (I am doing what I can in my little corner of the world where EVERY woman who calls in to the clinic gets the title Ms slapped on her little least when I answer the phone.)

Furthermore, it would make no sense in their patriarchic paradigm for me to be either Miss D or Mrs D.... if Miss defines an unmarried woman and Mrs refers back to the man to whom she is married.

There is one exception- a shout out to my friend and colleague Dr. Gates - to whom I shall always be Mrs D.

I have survived!

From Singles 2009

I have just returned from the hospital where I didn't just get a bone marrow biopsy, but I scored an abdominal ultrasound, an ECG, a blood pressure, and the opportunity to have 15 vials of blood drawn. I decided to approach the entire day with an attitude of curiosity. That helped.

I learned that having an IV catheter burns a little, even when nothing is being injected and that when something it, that something feels interestingly cool.

I learned that if you leave a tourniquet on during a blood draw you can affect the results of Calcium measurement - and maybe more. I'm not sure that we can use that information since our human tourniquets are helping restrain our patients and keep the vein in one place. Plus, we never draw more than 3 small vials of blood.

I learned there are yellow topped and pink topped tubes.

I was surprised that a person would order 4 blue top coagulation test samples and then not actually do a coagulation test before doing a bone marrow biopsy.

My ECG is normal. My blood pressure 124 over 62 and my pulse was 70.

With concentrated deep breathing I am able to maintain my 02 saturation at 100%. Without this it tends to be 98%.

Of the biopsy itself, I remember NOTHING. I was a bit alarmed when my doctor came in draped in a plastic apron reminiscent of what a butcher might wear. I don't remember much beyond noting that the midazolam, like the saline flush, only felt cool and that I wasn't feeling relaxed or sleepy.

Then, I woke up.

Other observations:

Weird-o lunches served. No wonder type 2 diabetes is rampant. Four quarter sandwich wedges- egg salad (YUCK), turkey, ham, cheese. In true Aussie form these sandwiches were slathered in butter on both slices of bread and had one or two narrow slices of meat. (I took the meat/cheese off and whatever vegetable bits and put them all on one sandwich wedge.) Side dishes: bread pudding and vanilla ice cream - gluten free. (WTF? Why worry about gluten after the rest of that meal???) Apple juice to drink and coffee/tea.

How hard is it to spell Ann without an e?? The country is vowel happy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tomorrow is the big day

I have my bone marrow biopsy. I am supposed to arrive at 9 - but I'll be there about 7 AM. Eager.

I am expecting to be there until mid afternoon. Not sure when I will get any results.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This makes me laugh

From photo a day

though very quietly and only when no one is watching. I've put this bouquet in the an old spice jar - that used to contain thyme.

Open house at Guide Dogs

Every day I drive to work I pass Queensland's Guide Dog breeding/training facility. So, since they were having an open house last Sunday, I thought I'd like to go. We arrived too late to see any of the performances - but got to tour a kennel, see yellow labbie puppies playing, watch a 15 minute Guide Dogs video (which we could have purchased but failed to do so). We also picked up some of their secret training tips:
From Singles 2009

1. They frighten puppies into submission by threatening to feed them to clowns
From Singles 2009

2. or with scary yellow eyed, disco dancing construction workers.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Books, books, books

I've fallen behind here. Nothing new about that whether the topic is my blog, my letter writing, or my housework. And so, while Kevin does his hour of devotion to his most recent cool project and I wait to start our together time of "Dominion Intrigue" and "Freaks and Geeks", I'm going to try to get myself caught up in a hurry. Note to self: Be brief.

So, first: the books.

...manners are of more importance than morals, and , in its opinion, the highest respectability is of much less value than the possession of a good chef. And, after all, it is a very poor consolation to be told that the man who has given one a bad dinner, or poor wine, is irreproachable in his private life. Even the cardinal virtues cannot atone for half-cold entrees.

Kevin picked me up a copy of Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" while he was shopping at the big "Lifeline" used book sale. First, just let me say : I liked the book. I enjoyed the story, the concept, and Wilde's witticisms.


I liked the book but found it to be tedious at times. The action doesn't really start until about page 100: and that is page 100 of a 250 page book. And, while I appreciated a number of Wilde's observations, after page 150, when the action slows down again, there are places where paragraph after paragraph we are reading lists. "An example?" you ask as you have obviously not read "Dorian Gray". Well, everybody knows that Dorian Gray remains ever youthful in appearance and so, what is an immortal to do (if that immortal has lots of money) but study and/or collect things; and, from the top of page 156 to the bottom of page 158 you can read a description of some of those jewels. I must admit on more than one occasion I committed the sin of skimming.

Kevin cued me in on the fine are of flinging which has been sadly lacking in my own life though I hope to take a page from Wilde and reintroduce it with gusto.
Lord Henry flung himself down on the divan

Lord Henry flung himself down into a large wicker arm-chair

the painter flung himself down on a sofa

Then he lit a cigarette, and flung himself down on the sofa

she flung herself at his feet

Then he rose from the table, lit a cigarette, and flung himself down on a luxuriously-cushioned couch

he flung himself into the rickety chair

"The Forgotten" by Faye Kellerman and "4th of July" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

The master bedroom had its own deck and its own cerulean view. The bed was a king and dressed with white lace pillows piled high over a while down-filled comforter. Very serene except for the black powder all over the walls and bed frame, not to mention the dead body smashed up against the wall. It spoiled the Zen effect.
- from "The Forgotten"

OK. Kevin knows, and you should too, I really like a gruesome crime novel. I'm not a psychopath, really. I cut my teeth on horror as a kid and then matured into crime/mystery/thriller. But now, I feel like I've been ruined by James Lee Burke. Now, I want some lyrical prose, some three dimensional characters, and a really, really, really bad-ass villain. I can let the first two of these cravings drop a bit, however, when I'm listening to a book on tape. (Or, CD for those who demand the literal truth.) Then, page turning (so to speak) suspense and action will come a long way in satisfying me.

A long way, but not ALL THE WAY.

Both "The Forgotten" and "4th of July" were easy enough to listen to. In both cases I was happy to sit in the car an extra few minutes to hear a bit more of the story. In both books the crimes were sufficiently disturbing, but in both books I was woefully disappointed by the bad guys.


Really, I expect so much more from James "Kiss the Girls" Patterson. All I can think is that Patterson has always wanted to write for "Murder She Wrote". Lindsay leaves San Fransisco for a break (why is not really important) and not only does she find that in this little seaside village where she's recuperating there has been a series of murders, but that these murders resemble one of her first unsolved cases "John Doe #24". Then, in perfect "Scooby Doo" fashion we're introduced to a slimy ex-porn star and a helpful, handsome, flirtatious mechanic. Which is the bad guy?? Do I have to tell you? Wasn't the "Scooby Doo" hint enough?

In "The Forgotten" we get a horrendous vandalism of a synagogue followed by some gory murders. There's lots of talk of Nazi atrocities, concentration camps, hate groups...but in the end the murders are linked with helping rich kids cheat on college entrance exams!!!!!!!!!! Ooooo. Scary.

And, one more thing... WHAT or WHO is "The Forgotten"???????????????

Maybe it is time to request the next Burke novel...

and rethink horror.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In memory

From Friends blog entry

Wishing only lightness and joy to those passing over the rainbow bridge - particularly Winnie, Tayla, and Sayura. And, peace to those left behind. It has been a sad week.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Reason #7

From Singles 2009

It may be hard to ever leave Australia... though I guess it would work if I were leaving it to move to Italy.


Do you remember "The Jerk"? Steve Martin's character has left home. "I'm somebody! I'm somebody!" he exclaims. His name is in the telephone book.

Well, that is sort of the way I felt this morning. I was supposed to be doing my exercise but instead I was surfing the web. Every once in a while I do an odd search and this morning I was looking for photographs from home. "Versailles, Ohio".

For such a little place there are a surprising number of images. Lots of photos from an "old schools" project. Photographs of Brown's "Sweet Shop". Photographs of Ultimate Frisbee players enjoying "Poultry Days".

Then, I stumbled upon this. A short film included in the Los Angeles Comedy Festival including Fred Willard (!) called "Versailles".
Trapped by fate in the dismal nightmare that is Versailles Ohio, hopelessly damaged siblings Colin Tickler (David Hunt) and Summer Tickler-Hoogerhyde (Eve Gordon) are making a last ditch attempt at celebrity with a public access sports talk show financed by Summer's devoted husband Hoyt (Fred Willard).

Part talk-show, part commercial for Hoyt's sporting goods store, their weekly show "You're In Sports" is a comic Apocalypse Now, a journey up the river of human despair that starts sick and just gets sicker. Having finally landed a regional sports celebrity guest, Eddie Leeper, star left fielder for the Central Ohio Eagles, delays force them to take on local badminton legend Robert Sprague (Tom McGowan), deal with a love triangle and confront childhood demons in the form of a sock puppet named Honeybump.

That would be MY Versailles!!!!

Somehow, I must see this! I'm thinking this evening I should contact the film's director or the Comedy Festival Czar and suggest that they REALLY need to screen the film next year at Poultry Days.

My guess is that they would come away disappointed with all the comedy they missed by not doing their homework first!

Now, if you haven't done it yet, go watch the trailer. !! Go! Now!!

And, if you have never been to Versailles, you might want to know that this wasn't filmed there. We don't have pull in parking. We aren't NEARLY as big as this mythical town.

But, still....... WE'RE SOMEBODY!!!!!!