July 30, 2005

 thanks, alicia...

i had managed to put loco-pops out of my head until someone in the comments of the vasectomy post suggested i treat ray to popsicles as he recovers.

thanks a lot. i was doing so well...

...but what was i to do? ray had heard that there was a chocolate orange flavor (one of his favorite combinations) so i had to go get one for him. or maybe two for him. no, three. and three for me. no, two for me and four for him.

it was a long decision-making process.

anyway, they had several new flavors which i will now review for you:

1) white chocolate peanut butter

holy mother of god, this is the best fucking popsicle on earth! it tastes like cold fudge. stupefyingly rich. i had to force myself stop myself after 3 bites and let ray finish it... i could feel myself gaining weight just being near it. o so decadent. i shall dream of this loco pop every night until i die.

2) pineapple basil

this so SO much better than the pineapple mint! it's not sugar-free, though, as the pineapple mint was, which is sad. but summer (the popsicle maker) told me that because her pineapple is so naturally sweet, the pineapple-flavored popsicles actually have very little added sugar. so i don't feel too bad for having devoured a large one.

man, that was good. i can still taste the basil on the back of my tongue... it's the perfect complement to the fruit. whoda thunk? not me. summer is a genius.

(oh, by the way, summer also said that the very berry is relatively low in sugar, too. she also said she was going to try to make a sugar-free hibiscus for me! woo!!)

3) ginger cream

whoa. this tastes like an ultra-creamy cream soda. or something. if i didn't know what this flavor was, i don't think i would guess that it was ginger. but it's really, really good.

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July 29, 2005

 i, tall and straight and fine

now that the diet is well under way, it's time for me to focus on another body-related issue: my posture.

i saw myself on video yesterday. a reasonable person would have thought i was a hunchback.

i'm sitting here now, in an ergonimcally correct office chair, with my back rigid and my shoulders pulled back. i turn my head to look at my profile in the window and i look pretty good. but then i let go of that pose and sit comfortably and i look a mess. like my spine was made of spaghetti. (and not even al dente.)

what's the best way to correct this? phonebooks on the head? a metal rod in my spine? or is it just too late? maybe i should have done what my teachers asked of me back in elementary school and stood up straight... perhaps now, in my late 30s, i'm just too far gone.

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July 28, 2005

 today's post will contain no photos

yesterday morning i spent a little over an hour in a waiting room while ray had a vasectomy. i barely had time to get through this week's issue of "entertainment weekly."

since the day i met him ray has been adamant about not wanting children. and in the time we've been together (almost 6 years now) i've come to the same conclusion about myself.

so over the last few months, as it's become clear that i should get my IUD removed, we each had a consultation about sterilization procedures. i learned that tubal ligation is serious business, with general anesthesia and a puffed-up belly-full of gas. it's surgery, with a recovery room and everything. ray learned that vasectomy only requires local anesthesia and a couple of tiny incisions. after amassing all the facts, ray quickly volunteered to be the one to get snipped.

yesterday when he emerged from the bowels of the clinic after the procedure, he was fully dressed, walking normally, and aside from being a little freaked out over how quickly the whole thing happened he was emotionally steady as well. we made an appointment for a follow-up lab (gotta check to make sure all those sperm have actually DIED! DIED! DIED!) three months from now, then drove to the drugstore to get his prescription filled (tylenol with codeine).

he's only taken one of those pills. he says he's in no pain... a little discomfort from a bit of swelling, maybe, but definitely not pain. when i woke up this morning he was loading the dishwasher and feeding the cats. he's supposed to be "off his feet" for 48 hours, but so far i've only seen him be still when he was napping yesterday afternoon.

he's off work until monday, and has been told not to do anything strenuous for a week. and it's going to be a while before he can get on a bike again (which is his only means of transportation), so i'll be carting him around a lot.

which is something i'm all too glad to do for him.

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July 26, 2005

 overall, i am proud of durham


the durham convention and visitors bureau just released some interesting survey results about how area residents feel about durham.

for what it's worth, i had to google "mcdougald" to found out where it was. (it's a public housing site near NCCU.) i used to live in walltown (the "distressed" area mentioned in the survey intro), which is located just north of duke's east campus.

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 can't get next to you

did you hear that the rolling stones are coming to duke?

i've never really been a fan, but if i could justify the $160 ticket price i might go just for the experience.

but i have a feeling i'll be able to hear the show (muddy, booming) from my backyard anyway.

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July 25, 2005

 you say why, i say i don't know

i have attended three going-away parties in the last three weekends.

i am spent, exhausted, and emotionally drained.

you people need to stop moving away.

just cut it out.

no one else is allowed to leave.

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July 24, 2005

 odd living things


i spent part of the day on saturday replacing the sky pencil i bought back in may, which has since died under my care. i originally bought it to help spruce up the front porch, but when it turned brown i think it just ended up making me look like i had gotten trapped under something heavy indoors.

my faux shamrock [zoom] and coleus [zoom] are doing well, though, so in reality i'm sure the neighbors probably still think i'm alive.

anyway, to replace the sky pencil i bought two things: a new hosta [zoom] called "sum and substance" which i really love, and a weird-looking thing called "flying dragon" [zoom]. it's actually not too friendly-looking --did you look at that close-up photo??-- as it is covered with incredibly impressive thorns. still, i was drawn to it in all its scraggly oddness. it's supposed to have orange fruit in the fall, and the tag said that the "stems provide unique winter interest."

when all the new stuff had been potted and arranged on the porch, i still felt like something was missing. i wanted to put some kind of art on the wall next to the door.

i scratched my head for a minute, then ran inside, took sarah & georg's beautiful housewarming gift (a blue & green tiled mirror) out of the kitchen and mounted it on the wall outside. and i LOVE it.

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July 22, 2005

 melty popsicle

so, because of the d-word (almost 10 pounds lost, btw), i've cut way back on my loco-pop intake.

i still eat them, don't get me wrong, but i only go about once a week now and generally choose from the sugar-free flavors (which currently are pineapple mint and something like strawberry-orange-nectarine).

if i go with friends i'll always taste their sugary flavors (chocolate orange... mmmm) and not feel guilty about sampling. i'll even order a full-blown "paleta del agua" if it's fruit-based. i'm not depriving myself, believe me. i've simply cut way, way back.

but this morning as i was making breakfast i thought, "hey! i could use my milk/protein serving and my fruit serving to make a faux popsicle!" so i did.

one of loco-pops' early flavors was blueberry lemon cream. so for breakfast i mixed up a cup of milk, 3/4 cup of blueberries, and a shot of lemon juice with some ice in the blender. yum!!

one of my favorite loco-pops is cantaloupe ginger. i think i could try that too (omitting the milk, of course... blecch).

my morning melted popsicle made me ridiculously happy.

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July 21, 2005


ray said, "like the gal at work yesterday who found a laundered crumpled $10 bill in her pocket that she forgot she had. bonus!" i had forgotten that i had a stash of frequent flier miles. i was totally psyched. the trip to toronto that i thought was going to suck $400 out of my bank account only ended up costing $40.

i have two step-sisters in toronto who i rarely get the opportunity to see. they're older than me; we never lived under the same roof. but whenever i do see them (usually at funerals, it seems) we all end up laughing together. they're great fun. their men are a hoot, too. i've wanted to visit them for such a long time. i finally put it on my list of "must do"s for 2005.

so i'll be traveling to canada at the end of september. i can't wait!

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July 20, 2005

 ceiling fan


after fighting with my old ceiling fan for weeks, i finally decided to get my butt in gear and buy a new one. the old fan was ugly, noisy and on the "slow" setting it would often just stop altogether.

so after waking up on yet another morning covered in sweat (the damn thing having come to a halt overnight) i vowed to do something about it. i went to the HD after work, quickly chose the most contemporary-looking model that was under $100, and set to work.

i wished i had thought to blog the whole installation process, but i was too focused on my mission. the box said "easy to install! anyone can do it!" but having never replaced a ceiling fan before i figured i was in for an all-night adventure.

and i was right. it took about 3 hours.

about half that time was spent getting the old one down. since i was not the one who installed it, i didn't know which screws to loosen first. i've seen countless home improvement shows where the whole fan comes down as one unit but that definitely wasn't possible in my case. the blades had to come off, then the upper collar, then i had to release it from the mounting bracket. the entire time, little crumbs of plaster were falling in my face. yum.

once the old fan was down (and my rug covered with dust) i sat and read the new fan's installation instructions cover to cover. this is a new strategy for me, actually... i usually read step one, then perform step one, read step two, then perform step two. this method has gotten my butt in trouble more times than i'd care to share, and since i was dealing with something heavy, with the potential to send large currents of electricity through my body, i decided to be thorough. just this once.

though i must say, i'm no stranger to wiring light fixtures. i've done it in my hall, twice in the kitchen, and even on random lamps. i felt so sure of myself, in fact, that i didn't turn off the breaker this time. i just shut off the light switch and kept the black & white wires away from each other. i felt like a pro... a pro living on the edge.

and i did the whole thing myself, carefully, making sure i had all the connections secure and all the screws tightened. i even lifted that damn 50-pound motor into place myself. and when i pressed the remote control it all worked. nothing fell, nothing wobbled, and i had the reward of a silent, cool breeze.

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July 19, 2005


clumsy.gifi am obsessed with "this american life." i've downloaded countless episodes to my ipod and have been listening to them on my commute. the show is so wonderful... i sometimes find myself crying in the car, or --more often-- laughing to myself. my time on the road is now an experience and is wholly rejuvenating.

on one particular episode, artist/author jeffrey brown "reads" some of the comics in his graphic novel, "clumsy." i fell in love with his book instantly, just hearing him describe the frames. (here are three pages from the book: 1, 2, 3.) his stories so touched me that at the end of that particular commute i ran in the office and went straight to his website and ordered the book.

i've never been a big comic book fan. about 10 years ago i had a mild interest in "hate", but other than that comics have been largely off my radar. i feel weird even calling "clumsy" a comic book... each page is one simple autobiographical vignette, focusing on the smallest moments of his relationship with his girlfriend. it is one of the most straightforward, lovely things i've read in a long time. his drawings are a bit crude, which makes the poignancy really hit home; you feel like it could be your story, because you draw that badly, too.

but it's not really bad drawing... it just looks like it. he's actually quite the artist, beautifully capturing pained expressions and feelings of joy.

i'm going to stop talking about this now, because i feel myself on the verge of getting too mushy. i hope you'll order a copy of "clumsy", or at least ask to borrow mine. it's heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

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July 18, 2005

 at my signal, unleash hell

shoe_toe.JPGi think i mentioned a couple of weeks ago that i'd ordered two new pairs of shoes. i had been looking for a replacement for my old, grungy black flip-flops, and when i couldn't find anything on zappos i went googling.

i found a site called ChicWideShoes.com and my jaw nearly dropped to the floor. there were brands and styles there i'd never seen before! (and believe me, that's saying something.) i easily found two pairs that would work, and ordered them both. they arrived on friday, and while i knew that i'd be keeping one pair from the moment i slipped it on (so comfy!), i had reservations about the other pair. they're the ones pictured to the right.

i spent the weekend putting these on and taking them off, then putting them on again and standing in front of a mirror with a camera (resulting in several fuzzy photos), before i finally decided to keep this pair, too.

i wore them to work today, and one of my co-workers said i looked roman. that was almost enough to make me send them back, but then i thought about russell crowe and how good he looked as a gladiator.

what do you think?

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July 15, 2005

 moment of zen

jonstewart.jpgi dreamt about jon stewart.

we were at a taping of his show, and hung around afterwards like giggly groupies. for some reason --maybe he thought the two of us were laughing appropriately (not too much, not to little) at his jokes-- he invited us back to his house after the show ended. and by "us", i mean me and some faceless, namless person who seems to appear in my dreams with alarming frequency.

it was totally chill hanging out with jon, too. at his house. with his wife. they just left us alone to roam around, basically. we wandered around from room to room --everything tastefully decorated, not ostentatious-- and knowing he wouldn't mind, we gawked over the books on his shelves and casually picked through the papers on his desk. we then looked out the window at the crowd of people (other groupies who were not as lucky as i) gathered beyond the driveway at the closed iron gate.

at one point in the dream, the gate got opened (through accident or malfeasance, i don't know) and hundreds of people came streaming up to the front door. they just milled around, though... they were too respectful of jon to bother him too much.

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July 14, 2005

 me too

here's what i feel like:

i feel like i have a secret, and this secret is overriding every other thought in my brain.

it's not really a secret, though. i tell people about it all the time -- in person. it's just that i haven't told the internet about it yet, and so it still feels like a bit of a secret in some way.

keeping this out of blogland is creating a big backlog in my head, though. like, i can't figure out a way to blog about anything else until i blog about this. (yesterday's post was simply a manifestation of the secret, as a matter of fact.)

and really, the secret itself is no big deal. truly.

so the secret is this: i'm on a diet.

see? no big whoop. it's just that i was reluctant to post anything about it here because it seems like it would be weird for me to write about dieting. i don't know why. and really... it's not that interesting, is it? see... you're bored already.

anyway, i really want to move on and start thinking about the other things piling up in my noggin, so i'll go ahead and talk a little about the diet and be done with it. if you catch me mentioning this again, though, please slap me on the hand.

i started this diet on monday. (i'm not going to tell you what diet it is --sorry-- because someone always seems to have something bad to say about whatever diet you choose) and it's going well. i'm very happy about it so far. it's easy, and i'm making progress. 4.5 pounds in 3 days, as a matter of fact. yippee for me!

the truth of the matter is, i can't stop counting calories. i've replaced my loco pop addiction with a calorie-counting addiction. (it could be worse, i suppose.) in following this new diet plan to a "t", i seem to be keeping my intake to 1200 calories or less with little effort. and the pounds roll off.


ok, that's enough on the subject. let's hope i can now start thinking about something else.

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July 13, 2005

 uncompensated testimonial

us_soda_sfcreams_th.jpgoh my god. i am in love.

while on a healthy-shopping kick in target the other day, i put lettuce and cucumbers in my basket then i veered into the soda aisle to look for interesting diet drinks.

behold! the most amazing zero-calorie soda on earth! jones sugar-free cream soda!

actually, this is almost too sweet for my taste, but it has none of that cruddy aftertaste that regular diet soda has. i can't wait to try their other sugar-free flavors: watermelon, tangerine, twisted lime, and of course the standard root beer, among others. (the sugar-free and "mid-calorie" flavors seem to encompass almost half of their total output.)

the more i read about this "jones soda" company, the more i love them. they take photo submissions from their customers, choose their favorites and plaster them on their bottles. they also donate a portion of the revenue from their sugar-free sodas to the american diabetes association.

jones sodas started out as a kind of renegade company, it seems... putting their own coolers in skate and surf shops. now they're carried in places like target, kroger, barnes & noble, and world market.

a friend even told me today (after i made her taste my cream soda) that beyonce (or someone like that... i get all of those scantily-clad singers confused) demands jones sodas in her performance contracts. and i see from googling "jones soda" that this kooky company put out several thanksgiving-flavored (sugar-free) sodas last year: green bean casserole, mashed potato, turkey & gravy. soda. all of it soda.

am i being too weird about this? i think i love this company. i'm probably being suckered in some huge, obvious way... but i think the jones soda founder is canadian, so it's all good, right?

besides, this will help curb my loco pop addiction for the time being.

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July 12, 2005

 i'm not trolling... honestly.

can i vent for a minute?

i've been thinking about this off and on since saturday night and i feel like i just need to get it off my chest:

raleigh people are irritating

there. i feel better.

at the wusses show saturday night at kings i encountered some of the most obnoxious, disrespectful people i've had the pleasure to witness. these raleigh people were shouting drunkenly, not caring that non-raleigh people were trying to listen to the music. (and very good music, at that!) they were obnoxiously disregarding the concept of personal space -- i got roughly jostled and bumped countless times, and beer spilled on my shoes twice. and i was wearing flip-flops.

charo even got ashed on. i saw what looked like dandruff on her shirt and when i flicked it off her shoulders she scowled and said that the person who stood behind where she was sitting had decided to use her back as an ashtray.

i see shows in raleigh too infrequently for me to really make a statement like "raleigh people are irritating" and have it actually mean anything, but honestly -- i never see durham crowds acting like that. or chapel hill crowds, even. (sleazefest excepted.)

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July 11, 2005

 here in my car i feel safest of all

this morning on my 20-mile commute on a stretch of 2-lane state highway i found myself behind an old green pickup truck which was not doing a good job of staying between the lines. every few miles the truck would drift off to the right, not dropping its speed at all, kicking up dusty dirt on the shoulder. the truck would then drift back into the lane as if nothing happened. only once did it drift to the left, and lucky for the driver that was a center turn lane with no oncoming cars.

he (i'm assuming it was a he) was going faster than i was (which is saying something), and was tailgating a verizon truck for a while. the verizon truck pulled off into a gas station at one point, and he came very close to plowing into its rear end. he seemed unfazed and sped ahead. i watched him drift off the road a half-dozen more times (even using the shoulder to pass someone, perhaps accidentally) before we got separated at a stoplight.

throughout this spectacle i was thinking about calling 911 from my cell phone. i still wonder whether i should have.

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July 10, 2005

 i'm ready for my close up

(660k .mov)

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July 8, 2005

 everybody's high on consolation

my brother, rob, left this morning. he's gone. i cried.

lulu & roxi stuck around for a few more hours, waiting for lulu's mom to drive down from richmond, pick them up, and drive them to the grandparents' house.

so now they're gone, too. and i cried.

but i'm not sobbing the way i do when i leave them all at once. at the end of a visit to the tusselwuppers' homestead in colorado i'm a complete wreck. i cry for days and days.

not so this time. maybe it's the gradualness of their departure. one leaves, then another. and in fact, lulu & roxi are still in town (the grandparents live here in durham) and there's a chance i might see them again... so knowing they aren't FULLY gone helps, too, i think.

and maybe having had them visit ME in durham eases the pain as well -- when i leave colorado, i'm also leaving a wonderful vacation... the mountains, the golf, the lazing about. when i leave their house there's a difficult re-entry into my regular life.

which raises an interesting question: is it better to leave, or to be left? i, personally, seem to better adapt to being left.

so anyway... i'm sad, but i'm not devasatated like i usually am.

still, if i could make a wish and blow out some candles, i'd wish that we could all live closer to each other so that we could completely eliminate "goodbye" from our vocabularies.

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July 7, 2005

 things i'm looking forward to:

  • the arrival of two new pairs of shoes (both in black) from a newly-discovered source. woot!

  • seeing the tusselwuppers again this evening.

  • popsicles

  • kooky hip-hop modern dance (tonight - saturday @ ADF)

  • wendy's reading at the regulator (friday night at 7pm)

  • mykull's party afterward

  • a wedding in duke gardens saturday evening

  • more popsicles (did i mention that the owners know me by name now?)

  • drinking at the federal with the ventrils, just before they leave town forever (boo!)

  • the wusses and haulin' oates at king's, saturday night (long live the little river band!!)

  • sleeping for a very long time

    Posted by xta at 12:43 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
  • July 6, 2005

     it's not cool to have so many problems

    i have an incredible sunburn
    go back to the beach, where such things aren't noteworthy

    i miss my family
    go back to the beach, where they are

    i am in margarita withdrawl
    go back to the beach, where the queen of 'ritas lives

    too many other things going on; can't go back to the beach
    family will be back in durham thursday. must stock up on vodka.

    Posted by xta at 2:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 4, 2005

     sweet and sandy

    Posted by xta at 9:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 1, 2005

     sweet and salty

    Posted by xta at 4:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack