June 30, 2004

 hall & oates

wow, what fun. i would have never guessed i could have had such a good time at alltel pavillion. (that place is disgusting on so many levels.)

we arrived late, barely in time for the average white band's encore, "pick up the pieces" (you were right about that, georg). then came michael mcdonald, who sorta bored me. he's got a nice enough voice, i guess... i just don't like what he does with it. ("i keep... forgettin'... we're not in love anymore..." bleah!) he played a few songs from his "recent motown album" which -for me- were cringeworthy.

still, it was really fun to people-watch. charo and i were rubbernecking, trying to take it all in. we were in the second row behind the VIP boxes... and no one was in front of us, so we had an unobstructed view. lots of skanky people to see.

anyway, hall & oates finally came out and at first i thought, "good god, they've aged badly" (darryl hall is almost 60!) but i think that's just because i've really only ever seen them on their airbrushed album covers. upon closer inspection (charo brought binoculars) they actually looked pretty good. especially john oates, who was wearing a very nice-fitting pair of jeans. hubba hubba.

darryl hall is a total doofus on stage. a showboat. he made little chompy motions with his hands as he sang "maneater", for instance. he jumped up & down in spastic ways during "a song from his most recent solo album... you should go out and get it."

i called lulu during "one on one" and let her listen over the phone. then i called joy during "sara samile". the rest of the time i just sat there with a big ol' grin on my face. it was such happy music.

then something weird happened. hall & oates brought both michael mcdonald and the average white band on stage with them. 16 people, total. lord, you haven't heard anything until you've heard michael mcdonald sing "your kiss is on my list". very, very strange.

they continued on for a few more songs this way, swapping vocals, with darryl hall singing lead on a doobie brothers song and whatnot, until they finally ended with a (too) long version of "hot fun in the summertime". then they waved from stage, disappeared behind the curtain, and the crowd clapped and shouted for more. but the lights came up and the monitors flashed "drive safely!" and we all kinda looked at each other like, "that's it? no encore??"

charo really wanted to hear "private eyes" (private eyes [clap] are watching you [clap clap] they see your evvvv-errrry move) and i really wanted to hear "rich girl". we pouted a little bit, then realized we'd had a really good time for free (plus the bonus of getting to stare at john oates' package) so... whaddya gonna do?

we got in the car and drove home listening to the CD of the hits they didn't play.

all in all, a very good time.

Posted by xta at 11:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2004


i'm about 90% cured, i think. the hot compresses work well for the rash on my face. i dampen a washcloth, set it in a bowl then nuke the sucker for about 20 seconds. it comes out of the microwave nice and steamy. after it has been on my face for a little while it cools off i put it back in for 10 seconds or so. repeat a dozen times. my face is feeling much better. in fact, it feels so good i might actually continue to do this after i'm cured.

on my way to work i pass a church that has a sign out front. slogan after pithy slogan appear on the sign. this week it says: "wanted - people to sit in slightly used chairs."

today i stopped in the supertarget and picked up a prepared salad for my lunch. it looked great! a whole breaded chicken breast sitting atop lots of green leafy lettuce, some red cabbage, shredded carrots, tomatoes & peppers, all crammed into a plastic 'to go' bowl. but when i opened it up at my desk i discovered that the chicken was chewy, there was twice as much cabbage as lettuce (it looked like purple confetti, there was so much) and the lettuce itself was wet and limp. very disappointing. you should be allowed to fully sample something like that before buying it. you know... like you do you with grapes in the produce section.

wednesday night i will be in row k at the hall & oates concert. (oops, the hall & oates, average white band and michael mcdonald concert.) we've got a vip parking pass, too. i tell ya, it pays to know someone who knows someone who knows someone. i'm going to have to really cram tomorrow and listen to all the hall & oates i can find. all i can think of right now is "maneater." (and not a single song by the other two bands leap to mind.) this should be interesting.

Posted by xta at 11:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2004

 allergies & dessert

so it turns out i'm allergic to my antibiotic. clindamycin.

last night i could not sleep at all. i didn't see any rash but i still itched all over my body, all night long. i finally got out of bed at 5am, desperate for something to do to keep my mind off the itching.

i knew there was no way i was going to be able to make it to work. i could barely keep my eyes open, i was so exhausted. but as the hours ticked by, i couldn't fall asleep, either. i finally took an antihistamine to try to knock myself out and stop the itching.

i managed a 2 hour nap around 4pm.

the rash/whiteheads on my face are only slightly better. they itch like hell, too.

it sucks that the illness kept me out of work, and now the medicine is keeping me out of work, too. sucks. there's too much going on right now for me to be away. i did as much as i could on my laptop from home today, but i would have gotten more done if i were actually at the office.

on a totally unrelated note (though i suppose it's still applicable to this discussion as it's making me feel so much better), i made a great batch of granita the other day, from a recipe given to me by kevin (dessert chef extraordinaire). it is very similar to the recipe on this page for "lime and mint granita", and tastes exactly like a frozen mojito.

ray said it tastes like summer in a spoon and i have to agree. it's intense, refreshing, and tasty enough to keep my mind off the itching. it was utterly simple to make, though time-consuming (you have to stir the mixture every hour as it freezes). now that i know how easy it was to make, i want to whip up other flavors as well.

Posted by xta at 10:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2004


saturday night i went to the nc symphony's summerfest concert as an official representative of the station. this means not only did i have to help man the table of station propaganda, but i also had to make announcements from stage.

a lot of people use the logic of, "oh, you talk to hundreds of thousands of people every day when you're on-air... therefore making stage announcements shouldn't be a big deal." the difference is that when i'm on-air i don't see anyone. i might as well be talking to myself. but when i'm doing something like this i can see thousands of people in front of me. looking at me. probably analyzing what i'm wearing and how much i weigh. i had to take shayne with me for moral support.

thankfully, i've done this twice before so i wasn't as terrified as i had been in the past. the trick is not following the script that the symphony wants me to read. reading *anything* results in certain death on stage. so i take the script with me, but i ad lib. a lot.

i think it went ok.

the worst thing was the sweat. it was extraordinarily humid last night and combined with my nerves i was, um, glowing quite a lot. before i left the house i had gone to the trouble of making sure i looked good... lots of anti-frizz junk in my hair, make-up, jewelry. but after 10 minutes i think all of my efforts (except the jewelry) were decimated.

in fact, when i got home i noticed that my face had broken out into a million little whiteheads. it was utterly disgusting. in fact it continues to be disgusting. i've put hot compresses on my face, just to try to steam my pores open, but it still looks grody.

the more i think about it, though, the more i'm unsure that the sweating and the makeup were the culprits. the antibiotic that my mom sent me for my unspeakable illness last week could possibly be causing this, i suppose. but i just don't know. i still have several days left of the medication... i guess if more of my body breaks out in whiteheads (it's not a rash) i'll have my answer.

in the meantime i feel like a total teenager with this acne.

this morning, despite the horrid complexion, ray & i went to see farenheit 9/11. i don't think there's an objective way i can review the content of this movie, but i will say it's probably michael moore's best film yet... because he pretty much stays out of the way. he does the narration, of course, and throws in some unnecessarily campy stuff, but unlike his other movies he only does one big ambush scene. (his ambush of charlton heston in bowling for columbine totally turned me off. i completely agreed with the message of the movie, but i thought moore discredited his whole argument with low tactics like that.)

anyway, the crowd was huge. the crowd for the showing after ours was even more huge. there were activists handing out fliers afterward and it actually seemed like a vital, engaged community right there in front of the carolina theatre. let's hope that holds up.

Posted by xta at 10:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2004

 ron brown

last night at the ADF i saw Ron Brown's company, EVIDENCE.

brown's choreography is so complex, so constantly full of motion that i couldn't stop wondering how those dancers remember all the steps. for each piece there must've been 10,000 moves to commit to memory. there's no way my brain can't hold all that information... some days i can barely remember how to put one foot in front of the other.

when i worked at ADF years ago, there was a woman on faculty who studied "memory for movement." what a fascinating concept... how dancers learn and remember sequences of movement.

i guess the closest correlation to my own life were my years in marching band. we'd learn little sections of the number, do it over and over again, then piece that portion together with a section we learned the day before. sheer repetition. but there's got to be a better system for professional dancers...

so my mind drifts from the performance as i think about all of this, then snaps back to watching this sea of endlessly energetic bodies. but then as i start watching again i begin to think about how someone who joins this company 10 years from now is going to learn this complex series of movements.

i've heard about dance notation, but i just can't wrap my brain around how it works. you can't write it down on manuscript paper like a musical composition... that's the only kind of notation i understand.

it's apparent that my mind drifted a lot during ron brown's performance last night, but i still loved the show. there was just so much to think about. (and i haven't even begun to address the message of the pieces... liberation, oppression, grace, salvation.

good stuff.

oh, we went to international delights for dinner. they have fresh watermelon juice. it's phenomenal.

Posted by xta at 2:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

 we love to see you smile

i didn't feel like having tacos last night.

it was really weird, just driving by the taco stand and not stopping. because it's become a tradition... my divaville tacos.

but i wanted a hamburger. i rarely crave a specific food like that (and never hamburgers) so i obeyed my inner carnivore and went to hardee's (only a few hundred yards from the taco stand).

i waited in the slowest drive-thru lane in the history of drive-thru lanes, and when i pulled up to the window (slightly panicked that i wouldn't make it to divaville in time) the poor girl in the window looked so scattered that i instantly had pity on her. she thanked me profusely for being so patient... she said that she was running the "front line" (whatever that is) as well as the drive-thru.

when i got to the station all of the furniture in the lounge was messed up. the coffee table was on the couch. the countless mail bins were stacked together and lying on their side on another sofa. the room had a slightly funky smell, too, which the dj after me also commented on.

it's probably best not to ask questions.

after i got home from XDU i discovered a highly-anticipated netflix DVD in the mail: volume one of the muppet show! ray and i sat right down and watched both the steve martin and the carol burnett episodes. i was already grinning ear-to-ear after only watching the intro. ("it's time to play the music, it's time to dress up right...")

i'd forgotten about so many of the muppets!! scooter, the little yarn-haired guy who runs the backstage area; sam the eagle, who wanted only quality entertainment on the show; dr. bunsen honeydew (i didn't see beaker) and rowlf the piano-playing, floppy-eared dog. how i missed you all!!

i've got the rest of the available DVDs in my netflix queue now and my guess is that you'll see me smile quite a lot over these next few weeks.

speaking of smiling, i downloaded a couple of songs by boston ("smokin'", "more than a feeling", "rock and roll band") and played them for ray last night. i watched him turn into a 10-year-old kid right in front of my eyes. boston was the first album he bought with his own money as a kid (mine was "get lucky" by loverboy) and he said he must've listened to that album hundreds of times.

it was something to see... he remembered all the words, all the guitar solos (air guitar!), and when the extended improv bits would get especially "swirly". it was a beautiful sight.

Posted by xta at 2:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2004


last night's ADF performance was my favorite so far. a nice balance of humor and amazingly agile dancing. the company was "keigwin & co." and in addition to dancing to several classical music selections (sung by the lovely cecilia bartoli) the company also used bill withers ("ain't no sunshine"), etta james ("at last"), cyndi lauper ("change of heart"), pat benetar ("we belong") and bette midler ("the rose").

i mean, even if the dancing had sucked i would have still enjoyed the performance since it seems to have renewed my love for cyndi lauper. i feel so bad that i've ignored her all these years. a co-worker just told me that she's got an album of jazz standards out now (jeez, everyone's doing that!). anyone heard it?

one of the interesting things about the company last night that no one talked about was the large female dancer. the majority of the dancers were young, svelte, muscular and very strong. but there was one woman who weighed about as much as i do (i'm guessing) and though she could move pretty well (much better than me, for sure) she still wasn't as flexible as the others.

normally i would salute this "casting". but in this case i couldn't take my eyes off of her... to the exclusion of the others, i would analyze her movements while she was on stage. she was my focus, and i didn't like that. i secretly wished she would be like the others.

i remember that bill t. jones used to set dances on a very large, squat, bald man several years ago... but for some reason that didn't distract me so much.

i hate how this makes me sound.

* * *

so, my boyfriend ray is a genius. have i mentioned that lately? he is. a certified genius. i may have mentioned (did i?) that he's running for office this fall. if you live in NC district 20, you should vote for him... he's very interested in returning government to the people's hands.

well, he's been blogging during the course of his campaign and his most recent entry is pure brilliance. it's about how you & i can fight electronic voting, come election day. here, just read it.

* * *

a co-worker just bought buster bars for everyone. i don't know about you, but dairy queen isn't even on my menu-radar anymore. i rarely think of the place, but now, having just completed this chocolatey, peanuty thing-on-a-stick, a flood of memories are coming back.

when we were all much, much younger my dad would occasionally take the whole family for a night out on the town. it always consisted of the same thing: a round of putt-putt, then dessert at dairy queen. they were right next to each other, so after you tapped your bright green ball into the final tunnel which is the 18th hole you could just walk a few paces and order your ice cream.

i always loved the buster bar and the peanut buster parfait. i think my dad would always get a plain, small dipped-cone. and i'm pretty sure rob was always a fan of the blizzard and mister misty.

it's funny how such a small thing (chocolate, ice cream & peanuts) can trigger such distant memories. maybe that's why i like golf so much now... maybe i think there will always be ice cream at the end.

* * *

also, you should be in the habit by now... divaville airs tonight from 6-8pm.

Posted by xta at 2:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 23, 2004

 adolescent trauma, continued...

there are really only a couple other adolescent physical traumas that immediately come to mind. (though i'm sure there are countless others repressed into the dark regions of my noggin.)

one is The First Bra. at age 10 you definitely get made fun of if you have a bra, but the catch-22 is that you also get made fun of if you don't. the girls who have developed early (me) get their straps snapped (and the boys rightly get punched in the gut), but the slower girls get made fun of for not being faster.

i remember walking home from elementary school one day with a group of 'popular girls' (i o-so-badly wanted to be popular, but i was a little too big and bumbly to really fit in) when one of our male classmates rode his bike up behind us. he somehow knew i was the only one in the group with a bra, and pulled the straps. hard. i was so embarrassed i about cried. i think the popular girls laughed. looking back, i'll just assume they were laughing out of jealousy... i'm sure they wanted bras, too.


so less than a year after getting my first bra i got my first period, at age 11. luckily that first one came when my mom was around and could explain the whole thing to me, but the second one i wasn't prepared for. (they don't really teach you to keep 28-day calendars in middle school.)

i remember i was on the school bus, on the way home at the end of the day. there were only a few kids left on the bus and we were all being goofy, stretching out on empty seats. i was in the back row, lying down on one seat and streching my body across the aisle and resting my legs on the opposite seat.

i also remember being in that semi-reclined state and looking down the length of my body at my white pants... specifically the crotch area that was now spanning the aisle of the bus (neat!)... and noticing a big, obvious red splotch.

my face quickly turned an equal shade of red and i recoiled my body and sat properly in the seat for the rest of the ride home.

Posted by xta at 2:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2004

 the tree excuse

i'm feeling 99% better now. thank you for your concern. my mom wants to send me a prescription for antibiotics (she's a nurse practitioner... very handy) but i'm not sure i even need them now. probably can't hurt, though.

ray and my mom were the only ones unfortunate enough to learn the specifics of the illness. i don't want to inflict the details on anyone else. really... be glad you don't know.

when i was in grade school i got a giant whitehead on the tip of my nose. it was horrid!! i was only 10 years old, too, which made it a zillion times worse... no one in fifth grade even knew what zits were yet. (i was only a year from getting my first period, so i suppose my body was in major hormonal churn.)

at recess a couple of kids wanted to know what had happened to my nose. they really did want to know, but i also knew they were going to make fun of me no matter what my answer was. so i lied.

"i ran into a tree," i said, as convincingly as possible.

i guess they believed me. either that or the thought of such a ridiculous act of clumsiness dumbfounded them and they left me alone.

the thing is, i can't even think up a good lie to tell you about my recent ickiness, so just imagine i ran into a tree and feel the appropriate amount of pity for me.

now i've got myself thinking about other torturous moments from grade school... i think i might have to blog a short series on adolescent humiliation.

Posted by xta at 3:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2004

 despite it all, i did call my dad today

today i was supposed to feed moses for the last time (mary takes over tomorrow) and then visit with shayne & dave in the afternoon. neither of these things were accomplished, though, because some weird things are going on with my body and i've felt terrible all day long. (moses did get fed... by ray.)

the specific ailment is horrifying and disgusting, so i won't go into it. i will say, though, that it's hard for me to move around. ray's been bringing me water and toast just so i won't have to get out of bed. i also took a 4 hour nap this afternoon which NEVER happens. as a general rule i hate naps... they totally mess with the schedule of the day (i mean, look at me now... it's 2am and i'm not tired at all) and i end up feeling worse because of them.

however, today's nap was just right. i actually felt a little better at the end of it. but the good vibes got chucked out the window when i watched "life as a house" and cried my girly eyes out. the headache came back and i started feeling, um, bad again.

i do not hold this against kevin kline personally.

i feel certain i won't go to work tomorrow. not only because i'm sure i won't get to bed until the time i'm actually supposed to be there, but also because i'm sure my range of motion will not have improved by then.

the tricky thing is that i was supposed to carpool with annie in the morning. she's got an appointment to drop off her truck at honda specialists and i was going to drive us to work. but since i've decided not to go to work, i've instead planned out an elaborate scheme... ray will take my car and meet her at the shop. annie will then drive ray --in my car-- to his office, drop him off, then drive my car to work. repeat in reverse at the end of the day.

what throws this plan into jeopardy is that annie doesn't know about it yet. i emailed her earlier this evening, but didn't hear back. i suppose i should have called. but then she would have asked about my specific ailment and i'd be too embarrassed to tell her.

so, we'll see how this goes in the morning. hopefully everyone will get to where they need to be.

in an ideal world, i'd try to see a doctor tomorrow. but as i'll be carless, this won't happen. i guess i'll just try to schedule an appointment for tuesday instead.

Posted by xta at 2:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2004

 pizza & dance

so i've learned where the pizza palace is going to be moving. guess road, up near carver. to a place affectionately called "the dome".

this is all i know.

deb & i went by the pizza palace after an ADF performance on saturday night. we were the last customers in the place, slipping in before they closed. it was nice & quiet... giving us ample opportunity to bitch to each other about the lack of travel in our lives.

but... ADF. i'm a fan of modern dance. i worked for the ADF for several years back in the mid-90s, and after i left i kept coming back for the performances. each season i see just about every company that comes through here. some truly remarkable stuff happens during the summers here in durham.

it's such a great thing, ADF, that i would like to do a little summary of each of the upcoming companies in order to entice you to go. i would essentially just be copying a lot of information from the ADF website, though, so you should just go there yourself and read up on what's happening over the next few weeks.

if you need added incentive, i have a couple of extra tickets this season. if you're really nice to me i might be able to take you to a show. i've also got a "buy one, get one free" voucher that i can give away, too.

Posted by xta at 12:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2004

 the backbone's connected to the shoe bone...

so, ever since i started watching what not to wear last fall i have come under the influence of heeled, pointy-toed shoes. i bought many pairs last winter and feel my life is more, um, rich because of it.

however, it is now summertime (in case you hadn't noticed) and it's hard to find heeled, pointy-toed sandals that don't look out of place next to all the bare skin that gets shown this time of year. (remember my lack of A/C in the car... i will never wear jeans or long pants in this mucky heat.)

consequently, i have resigned myself to wearing casual, not-quite-as-flattering, low-heeled shoes this season. and aside from the obvious fashion differences i've noticed a physical difference, too: my back hurts.

now, there are plenty of sources out there that extoll the virtues of flat-heeled shoes... how they're supposed to be better on your feet, knees and legs than heeled shoes. (not to mention how difficult it can be just to walk in heels.)

but for some reason --and maybe i'm just an anatomical freak in this way-- flat heeled shoes make my back hurt something fierce. at the end of the day all i want to do is lay flat on the ground. but with heels i feel like i could stand up all the livelong day. sure, the balls of my feet might be a little tender, but it's a price i'm willing to pay in order to not feel like my vertabrae are collapsing upon each other. i've concocted this theory that heels make my back feel better because they force me to stand up a little straighter. better posture. but with flats i'm all low to the ground and slouchy.

the terrible truth right now is that the only shoes that i find i can wear to work comfortably right now are the ones in the photo above. the fact my feet are swelling so bad while i'm sitting at my desk, plus the obnoxious heat lately, has made these sandals the shoe of choice. i think they probably look pretty terrible, but at least they're comfortable.

god, clinton & stacy would kill me if they heard me say that.

Posted by xta at 11:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 17, 2004

 roxi, smiley and moses

i told you i was going to post a lot of baby pictures. isn't she gorgeous?

i spoke with rob very briefly last night; it sounds like things are going pretty well for their little family. some headaches with the breast feeding, but otherwise splendiferous. i called just as roxi was finishing up a bottle and i heard my first baby noises... she sounded like a slurpy robot. maybe that was just the cell connection.

i'm posting from my new ibook, by the way. it's been a difficult adjustment to the new operating system... i've been working with macs all of my computing life and OS X is far and away the biggest transition i've ever had to make. in fact, if i catch myself trying to switch applications by clicking in the top right corner one more time i'm going to have to have a word with myself.

the design of the computer isn't nearly as friendly as my old blueberry ibook... i find the sharp front edge kind of cuts into my wrists as i type. plus the apple logo is upside down from my old blueberry, so i find myself trying to open the laptop on the wrong end every time.

aside from those minor irritations everything else works beautifully. the computer literally anticipates my every move. when i want to use an ethernet LAN it knows what it needs to do to set that up without me even having to touch a single control panel. and when i go home and use the wireless network it hooks itself up for me. it's pretty smart, this little machine. (i have named him "smiley". a photo of david byrne is the machine's icon.)

in other news, all of my friends are gone. well, not all of them... but lisa is on her way to roswell, charo is in rural new york at a film festival, and mary is on a business trip to pennsylvania.

i was hanging out at lisa's house last night, feeding her cat, moses, and watching season two of "the office" when all of a sudden i got bitten. hard. by the cat. i guess i was giving moses too much attention and he decided he wanted to see me bleed.

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June 16, 2004

 my car

well, i think i finally decided to get the A/C in my car fixed.

i watched joy practically melt in front of me last friday while we were driving around doing errands in my black, hot car... that was so sad. it made me think about what the heat has been doing to me over the years... i've been exhausting myself, riding around, sweating buckets, in the swampy north carolina heat & humidity. of course i've also been inflicting my poor passengers with awful discomfort, too. (those that are brave enough to ride with me, that is... i always make a disclaimer up front: "remember! i have no air conditioning!!" most people are smart and back away.)

anyway, i took my car to the shop today to get my brakes looked at, and i told them to go ahead and fix the A/C, too... if the brakes weren't going to cost too much.

of course i jinxed myself with that last phrase. because OF COURSE the brakes are going to cost too much.

around $300 to be precise. i need a new master cylinder.

and because of all the work that entails, they won't have time to even touch my A/C today. which is probably ok, because after a $300 repair do i really need to go and spend an additional $700 on air conditioning? no. especially when i'd have to put it on my credit card.

maybe this was meant to be. maybe i'm not supposed to have air conditioning. (remember how my whole heating & cooling system went out shortly i bought my house last year?) maybe this just is god's way of telling me to prepare for an eventual eternity in hell. "get used to the heat, lady... it's gonna be hot down there."

Posted by xta at 1:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2004

 my knees suck

for the last year or so i've noticed that my knees are going bad. it's hard to walk down stairs... that's the worst thing. i can go up stairs just fine, but going down is torture. isn't that weird?

i thought it was weird.

my doctor says it's normal, though, for women "my age". he even gave me a pamphlet. his prescription: take glucosamine and lose weight. i'm actively doing one of those things.

so anyway, i can avoid stairs pretty well. only one of my friends lives in a house that requires the use of a staircase, thankfully. so it's not like this is a daily, insurmountable problem. just an occasional irritation.

but lately... let's say over the last 2 or 3 months... something else has been happening with my knees quite regularly. if i sit too long in a chair with my knees bent at a 90-degree angle i actually begin to experience strong discomfort. my knees start to get this weird pressure in them and my feet swell up. it's terrible to experience pain just from sitting... i mean, who's the bozo that thought up human anatomy, anyway??!?

this horrible knee-pressure is happening right now, as i type. as soon as i post this i'm going to get up and walk around the building... that usually helps. if i could put my feet up, that would help too. (of course my boss would probably think i was slacking off if she caught me with my feet up on the desk.)

Posted by xta at 3:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2004


this picture is so sweet it about melts my heart every time i see it...

because i was so busy blogging about joy last week, i barely had any time to talk about my new niece, roxi. (that's right... no "e".)

i've been phoning my brother & lulu almost every day, and everything seems to be going swimmingly with their little family. given the newness of all of this, it's a little hard to believe... i thought babies were nothing but headaches from the minute you brought them home. but roxi seems to be eating, sleeping and pooping without any trouble at all.

plus, she's cute as a button.

i'm counting the nanoseconds until i fly out to visit them (for a week, mid-july).

Posted by xta at 8:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2004

 fun with joy, the final day

this is what happens after you have too many mojitos. :-)

i made about 4 batches last night --enough for a few people to have one or two-- and everyone who consumed them got incredibly tipsy. like, even more tipsy than usual.

and it's not like there wasn't plenty of food. people were gobbling down cocktail weenies like crazy. so, generally speaking, there was plenty of ballast to offset the mojitos.

still, there were a couple of adverse reactions... the most tragic of which was the accidental creation of a terrible, terrible mint julep after white wine was mistaken for simple syrup. only phil was brave enough to drink it (and i only saw him take one sip). before the other glass was discarded, ray decided to immortalize the nasty drink by naming it "the dumpster".

aside from that unfortunate incident the mojitos were yummy and gave joy a good time (some might say too good), and i know she appreciated having a party thrown in her honor.

today the three of us got up late and had a slow morning... then she got on a plane back to phoenix. we had a really fun week, and i am so glad my cousin & i got the chance to get to know each other a little better.

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June 11, 2004

 fun with joy, day 6 (continued)

thursday night:
mary joined us up at divaville, and we all split a bottle of white wine. one of joy's co-workers called from arizona; he was listening online and watching the webcam.

afterwards we went back to mary's front porch and had another bottle of wine.

are you sensing a theme?

when we came back home i made joy some bacon grease popcorn, which brought back a bunch of childhood memories.

and then we passed out.

tonight we're having a big party for her. (if you want to come and i forgot to invite you, email me and i'll send you directions.)

Posted by xta at 4:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2004

 fun with joy, day 6

joy is sitting right next to me in the studio right now and i'm afraid she's bored out of her mind. classical music may not be her thing, i'm afraid. (plus i keep the lights really dim in here and i think she's considering a nap.)

in just a couple of hours we'll be up at divaville which will be a more energetic setting. in fact, i'm threatening to put her on the air.

so... listen, won't you? 6-8pm.

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 fun with joy, days 4 & 5

i go to work and joy drives to vass to visit her brother. she spends the night and drives back first thing in the morning.

* joy gets back from vass incredibly early (9am, maybe?), only mildly scarred from getting seriously lost in downtown durham.
* joy cooks me bacon & eggs for breakfast.
* we waste some time on the computers, then meet phil for lunch at the pizza palace. (i think i got faye to tell me where the new location is going to be, but i'm afraid to divulge it for fear i'll jinx it all...)
* rob calls during lunch to talk about roxi. it makes me very happy.
* after lunch joy & i walk down ninth street, stopping in cozy to look at all the pretty things. the woman behind the counter recognizes me (she's a friend of adam mckible's; i hate that i don't really remember her). i compliment her beautiful necklace: "did you get that here?" she says no, she got it at kohl's.
* joy and i drive to kohl's. it just so happens that today is the last day of a "buy one, get one free" sale. we take full advantage of it. many shoes, skirts, purses and capris are purchased. only one beautiful necklace, though.
* giddy from our bounty, we do a quick driving tour down franklin street and into carrboro just show joy how the other half lives.
* on the way back home we stop at caffe driade for caffeine in the woods. much good conversation is had.
* then back home for a home-made dinner (salmon cakes, cous-cous, corn on the cob & salad), then 3 episodes of "the office" on DVD.

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June 8, 2004

 fun with joy, days 2 & 3

* nice loungey breakfast on the back patio with joy
* lunch at cosmic cantina (where she couldn't even finish her burrito it's so big)
* grocery shopping at wellspring
* durham bulls game, where joy laughed incredibly hard at the kid sumo wrestlers between innings
* a late-night failed attempt to buy "the sound of music" on DVD
* a late-night successful wine-sipping on mary's porch

* iced coffees and long conversation at ooh-la-latte
* a trying-on of zillions of stylish frames at specs
* lunch at mad hatter cafe (where we determined our cute waiter was gay)
* picked up package at UPS center in scary part of town
* grocery shopping for dinner (joy made homemade salsa & chicken enchiladas that ROCKED!!)
* gang all went to see "supersize me"...
* ...and afterward we all vow to get up early and go walking in the morning.

Posted by xta at 12:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 6, 2004

 roxie and joy

a couple of big things have happened in the last 24 hours.

the new baby is the biggest one. rob is still with lulu in the hospital; she's recovering from an unexpected c-section. (it seems that she never fully dialated during labor, and this became the final solution.) i think she'll probably be discharged on monday or tuesday.

little roxie is apparently healthy and beautiful. i cannot wait to see some photos. i'm going to bore you all with endless baby pictures, i'm sure. i've never been an aunt before; i really want to be a cool one. (what sort of things should i plan to ensure my status as "cool aunt christa"??)

the birth happened while my cousin, joy, was on an airplane on her way here from phoenix. she got off the plane and found out it had happened while she was eating peanuts at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

so joy is here for a week. we're gonna bum around durham, visit chapel hill, and check out a couple of radio stations while she's here. oh, and a durham bulls game this evening, maybe a movie at the drive-in, and a party in her honor on friday night.

i'm already having a good time with her; we have never done anything like this... intensive time together. she's really cool, though, and i enjoy being with her.

over dinner last night at pop's, she mentioned that she didn't like the title of "first cousin once removed"... that's what she is to little baby roxie. she wants to be "aunt joy" instead. since i am technically the only "real" aunt this child has, rob told her to get my permission first. :)

i see no problem with having someone like joy being my co-aunt. i think she can help me be cool.

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June 5, 2004

 i'm an aunt!

at 11:01am (mountain time) on saturday, june 5, lulu and my brother, rob delivered roxanne olivia wessel into this world.

6 pounds, 14 ounces. red hair & blue eyes.

i'm so happy i could bust wide open.

Posted by xta at 4:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 3, 2004

 to sweat or not to sweat... a sticky question

for the last umpteen years the A/C in my car has been broken. back then, after it stopped working, i had a mechanic speculate about repairing it. he estimated it would cost $1,500.

$1,500 is, to me, a lot of money. especially given that the car is so old (it was born in 1990). during those first few sweaty weeks i figured, "how long is this car gonna last, anyway? i can sweat out a summer or two without air conditioning!"

well, i'm here to tell you... hondas last for FRIGGIN' EVER.

i mean, jezus.

i estimate i've put about 100,000 miles on the car since the A/C pooped out. that's 4 times around the earth. (measuring, of course, at the equator... the hottest part!!) and this damned car is showing absolutely no signs of dying, either.

normally, this would be good news. i'm proud of my car's longevity. but i'm at a crossroads now, trying to figure out how much more time, money and sweat i should give it. i was willing to put in a new clutch in a couple of years ago ($500). i'm willing to do new brakes, or tires, or even an alternator or something.

because things break. a $500 repair is still less than 2 or 3 car payments. i still come out ahead in the end.

well, i took the car to get a big tune up last week and my mechanic casually mentioned the A/C. he said he can run a test on it for $68 that would tell him exactly what's wrong.

i said, "i know what's wrong... several years ago another mechanic told me that the inside of the compressor was flaking off and was clogging up the works... and that it would cost $1500 to fix it."

looking at him, you could tell that he was having a hard time stifling his laughter.

"flaking off??!?"

"yes, flaking off. at least that's what he said at the time..."

suffice to say, i had the $68 test run today. it took my sweet, loving mechanics more than 3 hours to figure out what the problem was, and i'm happy to report that nothing whatsoever is flaking off.

here's the report of what is wrong:

evaporator ($338.36)
expansion valve ($57.02)
a/c thermostat ($112.27)
receiver/dryer ($44.12)
labor ($206.00)

Posted by xta at 9:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

 yay for me

last night was a good night.

after a string of bad, icky, PMSy days it was wonderful having a string of things go right.

#1 - i bought a cute denim skirt. now, this may seem like nothing, but it's worth noting that i don't wear skirts. like, ever. i'm not known for my overly-girly appearance. but dear lisa convinced me that i needed a skirt in my wardrobe... and i found one, sitting innocently on a rack in target.

the best thing about it (if i can trust you with a secret) is that it's not actually a skirt. it's a skort. which is a totally dumb name for the best invention the world has ever seen. it looks like a skirt, but beneath the illusion is a pair of built-in shorts! this is pure genius for ladies with sizeable thighs... no chafing! rah!

#2 - i fixed the floor lamp by merely installing a new socket. very easy, very cheap. plus, i didn't die!

#3 - bolstered by the above success, i installed the ikea fixture, too! also pretty easy, though made more challenging by the presence of a ladder and aging knees. also, a question for the electrically-savvy... the wiring in my house is old and i have no grounding wires anywhere. this new fixture, of course, has a green grounding wire, which is basically useless to me. i just shoved it up in the ceiling without attaching it to anything... is that bad?

the new fixture is very bright halogen light, which will take some getting used to. the other down-side is that it leaves exposed an unpainted circle on the ceiling where the old fixture was. so next time you're at my house, don't look up. please.

#4 - this is the big one... my new ibook arrived! i've been wanting a new computer for about, oh... forever, and in a fit of fiscal irresponsibility last week i just went ahead and took the plunge. (it was made slightly less frightening when i realized i knew someone who worked for apple. i mooched his discount.)

so i'll be spending the next 10 months or so getting used to OS X. it's a crazy new world... things look very bubbly. i was so tickled with the machine that i took it to bed with me and watched the "girl with a pearl earring" on DVD with it. i lay on my side in bed and turned the computer on its side, too. i suppose that's either really, really cute or really, really pathetic. but i'm too happy to care which.

Posted by xta at 1:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 2, 2004


so last night i go to turn on the lamp in the dining room, and as soon as i twist the knob the light bulb blows out.

that's happened to all of us before, right? no biggie. i grabbed another light bulb, screwed it in, then turned the knob... but got nothing. darkness. hrm.

i'm embarrassed to admit the number of unsuccessful combinations i tried (light bulbs, lamps, outlets) before i finally realized that the breaker had been tripped and that's why i wasn't getting anything to work. duh.

so i flipped the breaker back on and with a new bulb in the socket i tried the original lamp again. POOF! that light bulb blows out too, and the breaker tripped again. this isn't good.

at this point ray becomes interested. he suspects a short somewhere in the wiring, which seems logical. but we're curious to know what exactly causes the breaker to flip... is it simply turning on the lamp? perhaps screwing in a bulb? so the testing begins... i unplug the lamp and unscrew the bulb, then turn the breaker back on.

the first test tells us everything we need to know. simply plugging the lamp into the wall causes the breaker to flip. crazy.

so ray and i start disassembling the lamp. ray is looking for cat-chewed areas on the cord. he finds nothing. i examine the bulb socket... and wonder what that little silver doo-dad is in there. it's attached, but it looks kinda rough.

we compare it to a doo-dad in an operable lamp and notice there is a slight difference between the two. the good lamp's doo-dad looks much smoother.

and now that i'm on this trail, i notice the first light bulb... the one that blew out when i twisted the knob the first time. it has a black singe mark and a small hole in the silver, threaded part. it looks like the electricity burned through it, right in the spot where it rested against the doo-dad.

so the doo-dad must be the culprit... mystery is solved. (at least the mystery about what was causing the short... how it got that way is another thing altogether.) i'm feeling ambitious, so i'm going to the home depot after work to purchase a new socket. i'll try to repair the lamp myself tonight.

this could be interesting. if i can do this without killing myself, i can probably install the new lighting fixture i got from ikea! :-)

Posted by xta at 2:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 1, 2004

 shrek 2

shrek 2 isn't all that. i loved the first one; it caught me by surprise how sweet it was. but i think the sequel was built up too much... i've been hearing nothing but rave reviews, so it's easy to be let down.

sure, i laughed out loud a couple of times, but there were about 4-too-many fart jokes for me. 'course it's a kids movie, so you've gotta keep the 6-year-olds entertained. right?

but more than that, shrek 2 was just too jokey. not innocently funny like the first one was.

still, the popcorn was good.

Posted by xta at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack