Worst. Weekend. EVAR.

This had to be the worst weekend ever. And I mean ever. Kinda gross, too, so if you don't like reading about dry heaves and not-so-dry heaves, how about skipping to last Friday's entry?

Having just returned from Los Angeles and dealing somewhat with my condo and visiting (thankfully at Suzanne's request) Wook and Jon Hartzberg, I fed the dogs, ate some leftovers, and settled down to watch some tivo'd shows.

Around 11 pm, I started having that achy, sore, guess-what-you've-got-the-flu feeling. By 12:30, I was in the bathroom delivering the previously mentioned leftovers to the sewer system. With surprising ease, actually. I haven't vomited in a long time, maybe 10 years? But I don't ever remember being able to do the fake heave and have it trigger a real one.

Let it be known that I eat a lot of apples. When I'm at home, I have probably two a day. And with those apples, I eat a lot of peanut butter. Vitamin E, magnesium (important for day two of this exciting weekend), protein, what's not to love about peanut butter?

Tasting it coming back up.

The dry heaves started around 2:30, when the chicken leftovers wanted to come up, but couldn't quite make it back out of my intestines. Thankfully, they relented and came up. My intestinal tract was completely clear. At some point, when lying on the bathroom floor looking up, I thought about taking a picture of the bathroom from that particular vantage point. It would have made a nice addition to this post, but I couldn't get up to find the camera.

Ah well, at least I could go to sleep now that my stomach was empty.

But I didn't sleep well. I woke up at 3:16, 4:21, 5:38, 6:24, 7:37, 8:29, 9:30, 10:14 (you see where this is going right?), keeping the trend up until around 2:30 pm when I actually felt like getting out of bed.

As much as I wanted to do something with the day (strip wall paper, convert postnuke sites to drupal sites, finish an online rostering system, learn flash, read Reality Dysfunction), it wasn't going to happen. Instead, I watched all the tivo'd shows we had, and all the Alias DVDs we have that I hadn't watched yet. In told, 12 hours in a vegetative state, unable to do much other than wiggle my fingers to fast forward through the commercials.

The good thing of being unable to sleep on Friday night, was that I slept really, really well on Saturday night.

And woke up to a migraine at 10 am.

Up. Feed the dogs. Down a 800 mg ibuprofin. Back to bed to sleep off the blindness.

No such luck. I woke up at noon more blind than when I went back to bed. And really, really hungry. This time, I took a couple magnesium and B6 capsules (as a magnesium deficiency has been shown to be a contributor to migraines), had some juice, ate some toast and vegged for a couple hours hoping the pounding in my head would subside somewhat.

Fortunately, my eyes cleared up within the half hour (yay, Mg!). Unfortunately, Bella spent the whole freaking day with her whine, whine, whine, CHIRP! whine barking. I hate that whining. But the barking! Damned dog, stop the barking! Just shut up!

And Kris isn't expected home for another 5 hours. He's been gone since Friday afternoon on a ski trip. Did I mention that Jessica's breast cancer spread and she's on chemo? Or how about Kris' dad is heading in for triple bypass surgery? Yeah, found those out on Friday, too.

This has to be the worst weekend ever.

Curse you, Mike!

Conversation with Mike, about two weeks ago:

Mike: So, did you read that book I gave you?

Me: No, not yet.

Mike: Come on, it's been 6 months.

Me: I know. I haven't had time.

Mike: Find time.

Me: Yeah, yeah.

Mike: Okay, next trip you go on, take just that book. Don't take any magazines, just that book.

Me: What? I can't do that. I might get bored.

Mike: You won't get bored. Just that book.

Me: Okay, fine. I'll take just that book.

So, I went to Los Angeles today. Specifically, I went to Pasadena to attend the monthly Housing Association meeting. My condo has been flooded, and my property manager was getting nowhere with the Condo Complex property management company. I was hoping I could break the impasse and get things going on the roof repairs.

I took along the book, The Reality Dysfunction, that Mike suggested over a year ago that I read (that I bought six months ago and hadn't read yet). When I sat down on the plane, I pulled out the book and started reading.

And stopped only to take care of business, reading every moment I could. Waiting for Cynthia, read the book. Waiting in the car for the lunatic to return, read the book. Waiting at the stoplight, out came the book. Suzannne went to the bathroom, out came the book.

Curse you, Mike! It's a good book! I'm hooked!

Driving the Wrong Way


If you must drive the wrong way down a one way street, drive very fast. You're going the wrong way, so get the fuck out of there.

I Guess Google Can Find Me Now.

I recently opened up my new site (this one!) to more people. Previously, only a few people read it (hi, Kris, Elizabeth and Michael!).

I finally linked where it is to the page, though I'd like to move it to the location of my old, old site. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, so I'm happy I did it. But I'm still a bit nervous. Not quite as much as I was with the launch, but still greater than zero.

The feedback has been quite positive, which makes me happy. This site is more for me than the Internet, but I'm glad that other people are enjoying it. I'm still debating whether or not to open up comments to anonymous users. I'm resisting mostly because of others' experiences with comment spam. If you want to post comments before I decide, create an account.

One of the most encouraging comments I've had about this site came from my friend Priyanka. She asked if I had written anything apart from this site, as she liked my writing style. Having talked to Mom about a couple book ideas, I think this encouragement might be just what I need to start on those ideas. I don't want to force the writing. Writing here is easy: I write what I'm thinking (scary thought). However, I've had a lot of dead time recently, flying back and forth from various places, waiting in line at various places, and the like, where I can write. I can use the book functionality of drupal to write (if I don't write longhand).

We'll see. Might be fun.

Or it might become one of those somedays.

We'd be boppin' right now

"If we weren't responsible adults, we would have had a sexual relationship."

A friend of several years recently made that comment to me during a close, late night conversation. It's stuck with me, and inspired the most recent "Letters to my Children" entry, "Crushes Are Okay, Your Actions Are What Matter".

I'm convinced everyone crushes and experiences that semi-obsessive thinking of someone, full of imaginings of and perhaps longing for the company of the object of crush. Lisa and I talked about crushes, about how they're normal, about as long as you recognize them for what they are, and don't do anything more than enjoy them, they can also be healthy.

Crushes can be small, lasting a meal or a day, or they can be overwhelming, lasting months, years or lifetimes. Yes, lifetimes. A retired friend of mine, who is in his seventies, has had a crush on a friend of his for near fifty years, most of his lifetime. Oh, sure, as adults we call it "respect" and not "desire." But it's the same thing: a crush. And having them is okay. If you enjoy the crush, feel the sexual tension, enjoy the company, and let it go at that, they can be wonderful. They can remind us of the joys of falling in love (on a smaller scale, but similar none-the-less), those giggly moments when little matters but that happy-little-flip-flop.

Because what is important is your reactions to the crush: what you do or don't do about them. Actually having them isn't important: they're normal. Trying to suppress them is nigh impossible, like trying to stop an avalanche mid-fall: it ain't gonna happen.

So, my friend's comment was dead on: we would have had a sexual relationship if both of us had been single at the same time. And it would have been a lot of fun. Imagining what would have happened is also okay, because I know, in the end, it won't be my friend who I go home to, who I sleep with, who I snuggle at night.

It'll be Kris, my best friend.

What? That's a 9?

I played my first poker game without Kris last night. Up to this point, I've always been with Kris, at various friends' houses. I've been able to watch him, let him take players out, then play directly against him instead. I've actually played only 4 times in my adult life, so the fact I won even one of those games is surprising to me.

And I need to thank my dad for teaching me how to play poker at age 5. Yay, Dad!

After dinner, several of the UPA board of directors and staff wanted to play a game of poker. Push came to shove, and we had Dave Raflo (UPA Open Division National Director), Todd Demetriades (board member), Joshua Greenough (National College Director, pronounced Gree-NO!), Michael Degnan (UPA Media Director), Mike Payne (board member), Jeff Dunbar (board member), Kyle Weisbrod (UPA Youth Organizer), and me. Count 'em: seven men and one woman, which completely tickled Sandie, the UPA Executive Director, and many of the female board members.

I explained to everyone that I didn't know how well I played, because I always play with Kris, he takes out all the other players, and I take out him. So, I win, but not by playing against other players. Kris knows I'm an aggressive player, but none of these players did. I say "Did." They do now.

My biggest problem in playing well is playing too aggressively against another aggressive player. Lisa, for example, very, very rarely bluffs. So trying to buy the pot against her won't work, you have to fold when she goes in aggressively.

Since I didn't know how anyone plays, or the level of skill with any of the players, I played conservatively. The first five or six hands I looked at the flop and folded immediately, if I even made it to the flop. I bid aggressively when other players showed lack of strength in their hands, but otherwise did little playing.

I recently watched a poker tournament (hard not to given that Kris has about a dozen shows Tivo'd), where one player made it to the final two at the final table before showing any hands. No one knew his cards. No one knew if he were bluffing or had a strong hand. No one could read this guy because he gave them no clues. I liked the mystery around this guy.

I decided to play that way last night, which frustrated a few of the other players, I think. The person that calls does not have to show his cards. The caller can also ask the other person to show his cards first, then fold or otherwise not show cards himself. There were several times when I called another bidder, he said, "Let's see 'em!" and I had to remind him I called, and therefore he had to show, I didn't.

So, the table was Todd, Dave, Joshua, Michael, Mike, Jeff, Kyle and I, around in that order. The game was the first time Todd had played No Limit Texas Hold'em (I had to ask if the game was no limit or not, because it affected my betting - a question that sent up red flags to everyone that I had played before). We played a couple open hands and started playing for real.

I won a hand and was doing okay. Dave went out first, taken out by Kyle. Mike wasn't getting the cards and lost most of his stack to the blinds. Todd's stack was getting low, because he didn't appear to care much, just enjoying the game. Kyle, ah, poor Kyle.

Joshua and Kyle were both playing a board showing a pair of sixes on the turn. Kyle started betting hard when the last card showed a 9. Joshua matched him, also betting hard. When it was oll over, Kyle called Joshua, who showed pocket 7s. Kyle threw down his cards: an ace and an eight, claimed a pair of eights over Joshua's 7s, and started reaching for the pot. When we pointed out the final card was a 9 and not an 8, and he lost the hand, he asked, "What? That's a 9? I thought it was a 8. That's a 9? Aw, man." Joshua ended up taking out Kyle in the next hand.

Down to 6.

Todd went out next, which wasn't surprising, as he wasn't playing seriously. Down to 5. The remaining players all seemed to be experienced players. It seemed we all knew what we were doing. The blinds and bad breaks eventually broke Mike Payne next, leaving Jeff, me, Joshua and Michael.

I was the short stack at this point. I bullied a couple hands and bought the pots, which started the jokes. The jokes included comments that no one knew my hands. So, Jeff decided his goal was to see my cards. I started intimdating him by looking at his stack sizes and betting his stacks (i.e. if he had a stack of 7 black chips, my bet was 7 chips). In the middle of some hand, Jeff said, "I'm going to see your hand." As I sat to the left of him, I pushed all in to force him, "I'm not going to make it cheap."

He laughed.

Then folded.

One hand I played, perhaps foolishly, ultimately not, had a straight draw on it. I had a 4 and a 7 in my hand, and made it to the turn. The community cards included a 5 and a 6, so I had an open-ended straight draw. Joshua bet heavy, Michael called, and I had to decide if I would wait for the river. I folded and was bitter when the river was a 3. I had a straight. And I folded. ARgH! Joshua and Michael kept betting hard, and Joshua eventually called. I don't recall what Michael had, but Joshua showed an 8 high straight and won the hand. If I had stayed in with that straight, I would have pushed all in, and lost. It would have been a bitter, bitter lost.

Instead, it was a brilliant fold!

Eventually, the blinds ate Jeff's stacks and a bad break had him down to 4 chips. Both Joshua and I were in for the hand to take him out. I won the hand, taking out Jeff, and getting a few more chips from Joshua.

Down to 3, and I'm in the money. We were splitting the $20 buy-in, $160 pot as $100 - $40 - $20. If nothing else, the $20 I was worried about in the beginning was coming back to me. I'm playing for free at this point.

Joshua and Michael went back and forth, with big stacks. I was still the short stack when I bet to see the flop with 5 and 7 of hearts in my hand. When the flop came and I saw the 4, 6 and 8, I went all in. Michael folded and Joshua called. I showed my cards, he showed his and had a pair. After a moment, he realized I had flopped a straight, and the pain showed on his face. The turn and the river were good to me, and I doubled up, making Joshua the short stack, and me the chip leader.

Joshua and Michael went back and forth with Michael taking Joshua out a few hands later (Michael had a pair of 8s, Joshua had a pair of 7s). I kept getting the absolute worst cards. I think I got a 2 and something less than 8 about 5 hands in a row. I used the time to see how the two of them bet. At this point, I think Joshua was playing to beat the player, and not actually playing the cards. I could be wrong, but he called a couple hands that I wouldn't have called. And Michael would play only hands that were fairly sure winners. He'd play when he could win, and folded when he couldn't.

Down to 2. At a minimum, I'm doubling my buy-in money.

Michael and I played for a bit. I soon realized that if I tried to bully, and he had the cards, he wouldn't be bullied. Good to note. At one point, I foolishly called some hand and lost. I called it even though Michael was betting heavy. He won and doubled up. A few hands later, there was a K high straight draw that matched my pocket K, but I didn't see the straight draw. At this point, I think it was 1:00 am, and I was tired. I didn't see the straight draw. Michael doubled up again.

Somewhere around this hand, I realized I was making the exact same mistake Joshua had made: I was playing the player, not the cards. I reverted back to my old style: playing only when I had cards; eat away at his chips with a few low hands; forcing him to show, without showing my cards. When the flop came with low cards but matched my pocket 9, I went all in. I was still chip leader, by about 50%, so I could keep playing, but I was tired, and wanted to be done. I think I might have conceded after the hand if I lost, because I was tired. I made some such comment to Joshua, who was dealing for us, which Michael overheard. Perhaps sensing weakness, perhaps realizing the club in his hand matched the three clubs on the board which I missed again, Michael called, going all in also. I showed my pair of 9s.

"A pair of 9s? Who goes all in with a pair of 9s?" Michael asked, and jumped up to pace back and forth. Joshua did a great job of building tension, and pointing out the flush draw Michael had. Whoops.

But sometimes you have to gamble. And that's what I did.

And won.

Cold Air Ponders...


Just wondering: if it's cold enough to see your breath, if you fart, will you see it, too?

Hi, VA!

Who does this?


Sandie and I wandered into the Starbucks nearest to the Office Depot where she was printing up the UPA staff reports for the annual board of directors meeting. We sat down with our food items and started talking. After a while, I noticed the guy sitting next to Sandie. He was reading "Hopeless Romantics".

A guy. Sitting in a Starbucks corner. Reading Hopeless Romantics.

Is this supposed to make him attractive to women because he's the sensitive type?

Sandie and I eventually made it into work. On our walk from the car to the office, we passed a woman walking to the coffee shop next to the UPA. She was wearing heeled sandals. Now, that's not in and of itself particularly unusual. Except we're in Boulder, Colorado.

And it's 21° outside.

She's in sandals. She's walking across ice and through snowbanks in sandals.

Who does these things?

Wander, Indiana

Indiana is a foreign place. It used to be comfortable. It used to be familiar. It used to be home. It is none of that now. It is a foreign place, full of memories, hauntings, and longings of the past.

It's also where my dad lives. And my two best childhood friends. And as much as I run from this place, I keep coming back. Part of me wants to stop anything in the town from changing, keep it the same, keep it as my childhood memory had it. As if that would be a Good Thing ®.

I'm here to visit with Jessica. She recently had surgery and I wanted to visit with her, cheer her up if I could. I met her daughter Gabby for the first time. Damn, that little girl is cute! She's cute in pictures, but incredibly adorable in person. She likes posing for the camera, is a total girly girl, has lots of pink and purple clothing and the high squeaky voice of young girls. She's 5 and I can't believe this waif of a thing will be in kindergarden this year.

Jessica is doing well. She's still in pain from the surgery. Having never actually had surgery, I can only imagine how the loss of mobility can hamper one's disposition. Jess was definitely in good spirits, though, which is way more than I would be if the situation was reversed.

Jessica's husband David came home with Gabby while I was there. After Gabby and I played with the eyeToy (must get one of these, it's hysterical), and she wandered off, David, Jess and I took a trip down memory lane. And it was quite the entertaining road.

We talked about

    Mr. Neitart and Jane Carter, the junior high school teacher caught having an affair with a 9th grader, Jane. Mrs. Neitart was my 2-4th grade art teacher
    Anne Satterlee, her mom owns LifeStyles, some knick-knack store downtown. Anne was always matter-of-fact to me.
    Donna Hardick, who is an office manager in town, and once told someone (and I overheard) that she lived on the fourth floor of the (now) Best Western on 30 near 2
    Bonnie Nuest, who was a cute classmate of ours, but who is now overweight and nearly unrecognizable, not that I would be able to recognize her, as the only memory I truly have of her is of her with BJ when I went to pick him up from Kindergarden and walk home with him. That would make Bonnie and I all of 9 years old.
    Loren Huck, who is now married and living in France, working as a chef. Jess's memory of him is from a field trip to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (my favorite place when I was growing up!). He brought a sardine sandwich for lunch and was told he had to get off the bus to eat it. My memory of him was passing him on Joliet when I ran (literally) into town (I was grounded) to mail a contest entry (which I won 3rd place in). He was running the opposite way and waved as we passed. Odd that I can't find him anywhere on Google.
    John Pinkerton, who Jess thinks died a few years ago, but I didn't realize. He was a good friend of my dad growing up, and I knew him as Pinky. Brother Chris had a class with him, though I didn't. Pinky's dog was Pepper. His wife was Jane. He had two girls and taught at the high school.
    Pat S (hell if I can spell his last name), whose brother went to culinary school and opened the restaurant Dish in town.
    John Walsh, who I had the biggest crush on in 9th grade. He dated a cousin of Jessica's that year. :\ Turns out, he became an EMT (comes from a long line of firemen, apparently), and was involved in an accident that killed someone. I think David said alcohol was involved, but he didn't say how. Walsh was unable to continue driving ambulences, and is now a mechanic, married somewhere with two boys.

To this day, I don't understand why I didn't have a boyfriend in junior high school. I'm sure someone will tell me what was up. Probably because I was incredibly shy, but only until someone talked to me. Bah. What a horrible point in life. I'm just glad I made it through (with my love of math and science still in tact).

Those were rough years, better left as memories.

If I had me one of those


I'm always entertained by what people think they would do if they had the equipment of the opposite gender. Men invariably say, "If I had two boobs, I'd never leave the house." Women say pretty much the same, "If I had a penis, I'd never leave the house." The assumption being they would be so thrilled at this new piece of equipment, they would just play with it all day, entertaining themselves.

Me? First thing I'd do if I had a penis?

I'd write my name in the snow.