Monday, August 29, 2005

Eyebrows (hearts) Gary Panetta

Sing it, sistah! (Um ... brotha!)

To avoid its death, classical music must inject youth

(It would be a better headline if it was INFECTING youth rather than injecting it, but whatever.)

Eyebrows & her husband just bought season tickets to the Peoria Symphony today -- for $175 you can get seats for all 7 subscription concerts on the back part of the main floor. For $150 you can get tickets for 4 of 7. I was totally down with the $50 difference for our two ticket packages! That's a bargain, 3 extra live classical concerts for $25!

Anyway, look under my links for the Peoria Symphony and get yourself some tickets. The Peoria Symphony is shockingly good for a city of Peoria's size, and it's well worth the price of tickets. I'm particularly excited about the Gala opening concert on September 17, because I love the Russians and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" is one of my top three favorite pieces in the classical repetoire.

PS - my ass still hurts. A lot. And it's boring not being able to do much but lie on my stomach and read things. Like the world's worst romance novel. It's really, really, really bad. REALLY bad. Barely semi-literate bad. So bad I might have to review it.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Kiss My Ass - It Needs It

Continuing this week's theme of "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all," I have broken my tailbone.

I was going down a flight of narrow stairs at a friend's house, full glass of white wine in hand (which I had not started drinking because we were just then preparing to drink), my heel hit the edge of one of the steps, and my feet FLEW out from under me. I landed flat -- and HARD -- on my derriere on the stair, then bounced down two or three more. It's hard to remember how many, exactly, because I landed so hard I addled my brain. I also flung the entire glass of wine on the walls, ceiling, carpet, my clothing, my face, into my ear and eye ... everywhere but in my mouth, where it might have at least had some mild anesthetic affect.

My friend, who has seen me take pretty spectacular falls before, asked, "Are you all right?" She fully expected an embarrassed giggle and a, "Yep, I'm okay. Ow." -- my usual response to my tumbles. It took me a minute to gather my wits enough to even speak, and I said, in a plaintive tone, "No! I'm really not!" Not only was I in intense, nausea-inducing pain, but I had spilled an entire glass of wine, wasting like five good ounces of alcohol!

I slept on it in the hopes it was just a bruise (well, not on the tailbone - that would hurt - on the issue of the tailbone). Didn't help. Spent most of Sunday morning icing my tush. Helped, but not much. So we headed over to see the fine folks at OSF, and, after some quality time with the doctor, we have discovered that I have, in fact, busted my butt.

It turns out there's not a lot to do for a broken coccyx (heh heh ... coccyx) but to ice it, sit on a cushion with a hole in it, and take super painkillers. And not have sex or give birth. For like six weeks. And let me tell you, nothing looks cooler -- or sexier -- than walking around holding an icepack on your keyster.

The silver lining here really is the painkillers; not only do they make my hindquarters hurt so much less, but they've made the toothache a distant memory. (Frankly, falling down a flight of stairs on my rear so hard that I rattled my brain made me totally forget the toothache since I was seeing actual stars, but I do not reccommend this as a preferred toothache cure.) I was also pleased to discover that my bootylicious booty is actually not fat enough -- if it were fatter, it clearly would have provided enough padding for my little tumble down the staircase.

So now that I have some drugs in me, I have spent most of the evening fishing for sympathy and calling all my friends in the pastorate, because I sort-of feel like I've been waiting my whole entire life to say, in total seriousness:

"Please pray for my ass."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Spoliator Strikes Again


If you check the time on this post, you'll note I'm making it at 4 a.m. This is not because I am an early riser, nor even because I stayed up way too late playing stupid computer games or something equally fun.

No, this is because I have the killer toothache from hell. How Victorian is that? They still HAVE toothaches in this day and age?

It's the Spoliator tooth and his mate, which strike with pain on a semi-regular schedule, although never before with get-me-out-of-bed-unable-to-sleep pain. (Spoliator from a Jewish law term that basically means something that spoils via its teeth, and YES I named my tooth and YES I named it after an obscure theological term and if you have a problem with that I will set the Spoliator loose on you.)

Right now, I'm full of OTC painkillers and topical lidocaine, which has the perverse effect of making me very hungry. I'm trying to gum some crackers, and all I can think is that it's too bad I didn't make my First Communion ten or fifteen years earlier, when they didn't letting you chew the host yet (don't bite Jesus!), because that would have be excellent practice for this very awkward moment in mastication history.

If you read in the news tomorrow about a crazy Peoria woman crashing her car through a dentist's office, that will be me, if the dentist can't see me at the ass crack of dawn. Or earlier.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Help Is on the Way!

Sorry about that crap profile block up there ^^^^. It randomly appeared while I was editing links in the sidebar there <<<<----- and now I can't get rid of it. I've called in my html help posse (that would be Star, linked on the sidebar there too, under LinkBacks) so hopefully the suckage should decrease asap.


2 Meals a Day, Plus Snacks

I woke up yesterday morning and the cats were going berserk. My husband was up and out of the house before me, as usual, and had left me a note saying he had fed them, but the cats clearly disagreed. They were going bonkers around the food container, meowing like crazy, acting like insane cats. In their minds, the only benefits to being owned are that 1) food appears twice a day on a predictable schedule and 2) we introduced them to fleece blankets. They're like, "Ohhh, fleece! This is so much better than that time you put your cashmere sweater down on the bed for thirty seconds while you found the right bra and our shedding radars heard the sweet, sweet sound of cashmere knit from two floors away, and we galloped up two flights of stairs, raced into the bedroom, and leaped on your sweater so that by the time you turned around, we had managed to divest 50 cubic inches of cat fur on your brand-new, never-worn, very costly cashmere sweater. Fleece is SO much better than that!"

The food, however, is far more important in the grand scheme of things. Both my cats were strays before they came to us, so regular meals appearing at predictable times is crucial to their sense of well-being - and my sleep. I finally gave in and dumped a little extra food in the half-full bowls (as long as I add three or four kibble to the bowl, they think they've been fed), and they immediately ate breakfast #2 and calmed down.

I talked to my husband later that day, and it turned out he'd fed them at TWO IN THE MORNING on his way out the door (!) because he had two major filings due that day and couldn't sleep anyway for thinking about them. I told him about the cats waking me up complaining and going crazy until I fed them again.

"But I fed them!" he protested.

"Yes," I agreed. "But apparently feeding them at 2 a.m. is a bonus snack and doesn't count as a meal in their little pea brains."


That night, Mr. McGee went to bed early, clearly exhausted, and Orange Cat followed him up. Orange Cat loves sleeping people. They're warm and stay still.

When I came up an hour or two later, Orange Cat was firmly ensconced on my side of the bed and gave me the dirtiest look, like, "You seriously think I'm letting you get in bed next to your husband when I've claimed this nice warm spot already? You snooze, you lose, sister - you should have come up an hour ago and staked out your place!"

There was much meowy complaining when I moved his fat butt. I may not have as fully developed a look-of-death as Orange Cat does, but I do outweigh him considerably.

(All was forgiven in 20 minutes, of course, after he decided that I had suffered sufficient scorn and noticed that now I was providing a nice warm body to curl up next to. I do think he sat on my bladder on purpose at 5 o'clock this morning, though. Revenge served cold and all that.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Nerd Hole Deluxe

My husband and I have been redecorating our basement, or - as well call it - the nerd hole. The nerd hole is home to our two TVs (as they are banished from the "social" parts of the house so the TV isn't the focus of our lives or entertaining), the DVDs, the X-Box, 8 floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stuffed and overflowing with books, a 4-foot-square chess table, Mr. McGee's D&D paraphernalia, and so forth. It's where we indulge in our nerdiest passions.

The nerd hole was basically our repository of college furniture, until we caught a pair of $30 simple, black-and-silver TV stands at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for back-to-school. Once our TVs were finally side-by-side on matching TV stands (so you can watch a movie and play X-Box at the same time, DUH!), we suddenly just had to do the basement mod. $100 of Target chic later and a trip to the Mission Mart to pick up a seriously 60s grandma's-basement-type chair in bright, bright orange, it was perfect. Perfect - except that we now had a grandma chair, a beat-up recliner, and the world's smallest loveseat. (Seriously. It's all of 10 inches off the floor and wide enough for two people with skinny asses who don't eat fast foot.) With all this beautiful mod-ness - mod carpet, mod pillows, mod baskets for blankets and DVDs, mod blankets - and the Star Wars Original Trilogy Reissue movie posters up on the wall and the Lord of The Rings posters ready to hang and the boxes finally all unpacked, we needed real seating. The kind you can lie down on while you watch movies or even - close your eyes, mom - SNUGGLE on.

A futon became my life-goal. Nice futons are expensive - cheap futons HURT. But I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on a futon (I'm down to just one of each anyway; I already spent an arm and a leg on gas). I wanted to be able to sit on it comfortably and sleep on it when the need arose - like, say, when it's above 90 degrees for FORTY DAYS in the summer and your master bedroom gets crap A/C circulation and stays stinky hot.

UFS to the rescue, of course. Saw a $129 futon AND 8" pad in their ad. Went right out and bought one. The UFS folks looked at me like I was crazy loading this thing into my little sedan. I think I'm maybe the last person in America who doesn't own a minivan, SUV, or pickup just for hauling stuff around, and it's like every retail establishment in the country has already forgotten that people used to haul mattresses and couches home in tiny little sedans! But I got it loaded and escaped UFS before dark (God forbid you be in the warehouse part of downtown Peoria after dark!), got home, and built the futon.

Here's why the futon was on sale for $129: WORST. INSTRUCTIONS. EVER.

After a few errors (due to the worst instructions ever), I got my futon built. It's comfy. I napped on it. Awesome. We discussed futon covers, and agreed that khaki was the way to go, as our super-shedding cat sheds white, and black was clearly not going to work. He walks into the living room when I'm about to leave to go to court in my ever-so-professional black suit, and from 15 feet away he shoots white hair, like a porcupine shoots quills, all over my suit. I prefer not to know that my furniture is sporting that level of cat hair, because there's just not much I can do about it. So khaki it is.

Except that super-shedding Orange Cat has refused to go in the basement since he took one look at all the moved and new furniture, and galloped upstairs. He steadfastly insists on sleeping under the dining room table on one of the chairs, and refuses to come down at all, even when we're watching movies and sitting still for hours on end so he can get lots and lots and lots of scratching behind the ears. Won't do it. He always hates new furniture and things being moved around, but it's been four days now and he still won't go back in the nerd hole. Too much new stuff at once, clearly.

You never know with that new furniture. It might be hungry for cat.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Crazy Times

Eyebrows has been busy - hitting the Hilary Duff concert (I'm the coolest 8-year-old girl on the block!), moderately overindulging at a wedding, reliving her college days with a visiting friend to the horror of Mr. McGee, contemplating the culinary possibilities of eggplant - so she promises to write something entertaining soon about at least one of the above.

In the meantime, you can check out the new theory of Intelligent Design that Eyebrows has decided to espouse.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Oh, wait ...

We have a long peninsular counter in our kitchen, with an eat-in spot. We hardly ever use it to eat at, or for food prep, but it's right next to the back door as we come in from the garage, so it serves as a dump zone for my purse, my husband's take-home work, and anything we happen to bring in from our cars.

Mr. McGee has a habit of dropping things in strange places (and then frequently forgetting where he put them), or of getting distracted mid-task and leaving anything that was in his hands at the moment of distraction on the nearest flat surface. We're getting ready for a houseguest this weekend, so I've reminded Mr. McGee to pick up after himself and try to clean a little every day (because we both hate doing major last-minute clean-ups, blah blah Heloise blah).

So imagine my chagrin when I come into the kitchen today and discover his SWEATY MAN-SHIRT sitting on my kitchen counter!

"What is WRONG with him?" I demanded of the room at large. "Who leaves a sweaty workout shirt on the kitchen counter when it's five more steps to either the basement stairs or the laundry chute? Who thinks this is a good idea?"

Much disgruntled, I snatched the shirt and spun on my heel to march it right to the laundry chute.

"Oh, wait ..." I said to myself, as I glanced at the shirt I was about to send down the chute. "This is MY shirt. Huh. I wonder why I left my sweaty workout shirt on the kitchen counter. Who does that?"

Me, apparently. Oh well. I was about to clean the counter anyway, and maybe I'll give Mr. McGee a pass the next time he leaves something in a weird and annoying place.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I was talking to my mom on the phone last night, and about fifteen minutes into the conversation, I could tell she wasn't really listening to me anymore --

Because I use EXACTLY THE SAME VOICE when I'm not listening to my husband and I'm just making appeasing noises to make him think I am.

I'm on to your tricks, mom!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Pickles, Ice Cream, and Eggs

I stopped by the supermarket today to pick up the handful of things I hadn't bought yesterday - things which my husband was mighty incensed I had forgotten.

"No pickles?" Quothe an unhappy Mr. McGee, who is the only pickle eater in the house and didn't tell me we ran out. And God forbid Mr. McGee not have enough ice cream!

An older woman behind me saw my purchases, and asked, "Pickles, ice cream, and eggs? Are you pregnant?"

"No," I replied. "But it's possible my husband is."

Door! And Other Observations

So yesterday I was busy pondering how I had just burned my stomach on a hot frying pan (shirt crept up while leaning over the stove), and I managed to walk face-first into my glass storm door.

It was all my poor husband could do not to explode with glee.

"You and the birds," he said. "It's you and the birds."

I can't help it. I'm just that kind of clumsy.


The massive drought - wherein enormous bands of thunderstorms moving across the entire state split over Peoria County and join back together once they pass us, like some kind of Bugs Bunny rainstorm - means that my plants are doing poorly, but the crabgrass is going gangbusters. It's so bad I may have to call one of those grass-poison places, where they come dump horrible chemicals on your lawn to make it green.

We've actually lost our patio to the weeds. They've completely taken over. I have no control whatsoever. The uprising has won. The Weed Coup of 2005 has been successful.

Meanwhile, my poor herbs are all dead, a combination of it being so hot and dry that they required watering three times a day in their pots (which I quickly gave up on) and of Evil Cat's depredations. Evil Cat is a neighborhood semi-stray who LOVES my yard. We named him Evil Cat because when we moved in, he took particular joy out of tormenting my cats through the windows and making them get all big and poofy and hissy. Well, he eats all my catnip, and to get to the pot, which is a large one, he climbs up all my other herbs. Which he sometimes tastes on his way to the catnip.

And speaking of Backyard Wild Kingdom, there's a pair of bunnies out my window right this very second doing it like, well, bunnies.

I think I need a dog.


The regulator on my car window broke. It happened to a different window earlier in the year; now it's my back right window that's broken. I taped it up about three weeks ago with packaging tape, and have managed to not yet get to the dealer to have it repaired. Fixing regulators costs a lot. And the thing is, it makes me feel more secure when my car is a little ghetto. I mean, who's going to steal a car that looks like crap? What kind of stereo could possibly be in that kind of car?


I have wanted a scooter for ages. It's just cool on so many levels. My friend down the street has acquired a yellow-and-white one, and we've decided I have to get one so we can start a scooter gang. I've already given her her gang name: Banana Cream Pie. We'll be the coolest people at the motorcycle bar.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Illinois State Goverment: Nickle and Diming Citizens to Ruin

It's kind-of annoying that to renew my license plates online, I have to pay a $1.75 convenience fee, when clearly they're saving employee time and money by not having to manually open the mailed envelope, manually process the payment, and manually enter the information. The computer does all the work, but it costs me $1.75? I hate it when companies and/or state agencies charge ME for saving them money.

I would have mailed it in but the official envelope you have to use that they sent me got just destroyed in the mail and clearly would not keep my check enclosed in it. And I don't think they like you to tape them up since they have to send the pages into computers and eventually back to you. The other option is to go to the DMV, and it's worth a lot more to me than $1.75 to avoid the DMV, particularly in the stinky summer heat.

Why Did the Melon Get Married?

Because he can't elope, of course.

We have discovered that my orange cat, Sherman, is crazy for cantaloupe. He's not very interested in people-food generally - he likes to lick the bowl after we eat ice cream, and he does go a little nuts after my yogurt - but generally he's not into it. He's a mellow cat anyway, sleeps a lot, purrs a lot, snores a lot. Not very active.

Then he smelled the cantaloupe.

He was trying to climb up my husband to get to the cantaloupe. My husband extended his arm up above his head to keep the bowl away ... and Sherman kept trying to climb.

We finally gave in and gave Sherman a little piece on the floor. Sometimes the smell just intrigues them and they don't actually want to eat it. Oh no. Sherman WOLFED down that little orange bit of melon, and started climbing my husband again for more. This kept up until all the cantaloupe was gone.

My other cat could not have cared less.

This is particularly funny because my parents also have an orange cat, Riley, who's a cantaloupe freak. He goes dumpster diving (okay, kitchen-trash-can diving) to get at cantaloupe rinds. Fruit salad cannot be left on the table unattended, even if it's covered. He will chew through plastic to get at cantaloupe.

It must be something in the genes. Whatever it is that makes them orange makes them want to eat orange, fleshy melon. Mmmm, cantaloupe!