Sunday, February 26, 2006

Heather Will Be Busy

My company's annual client conference will be going on in downtown Austin over the next few days, so I will be busy. Busier than normal, anyway. I'm checking into the hotel that the conference is in to get a few more hours of sleep between 6:30 registration table duties through to midnight (or later) schmoozing with clients. I am likely to be so tired and hungover after the next three days to not actually be able to type any entries for a while after that (or maybe that will be all I have brain power to do).

I just wanted to let you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the planet, but I will be MIA for a while. Never fear -- the randomness that is my blog will return soon enough.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Another Accident

Last night, on my way home from work, I saw all kinds of flashing lights at the same spot as the last accident I saw. The only car I saw was spun around backwards, and messed up pretty good. It was a very distinctive car -- white with a big red triangle on the hood. I had seen it earlier in my commute home, dashing past me as I started on my way north. Twenty minutes later, I found that the owner got what he/she had coming.

Now, normally, I am sympathetic to people in car accidents. I've been in enough to know how much of a pain they are (even if you're not in physical pain). But in this case, I had no sympathy. Instead, I muttered under breath, "See,if you'd just let me in back there, things would have been fine."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shiner Update

I know I haven't spoken about the dog lately, so I thought I'd provide a bit of an update. After eating me out of house and home -- I mean, eating my house and home -- he's settled down quite a bit. I am tentatively calling him housetrained (no accidents in 2 days). He is not jumping up on people anymore, and we've found better outlets for his energy during the day when we're not home. Here's hoping he's done chewing on random fluffy things around the house. I'm running out of fluffy things for him to find.

Speaking of fluffy things...

A feral cat was in our back yard when we let Shiner out this evening. The cat ran immediately for the fence to get away, but Shiner was a little too fast, and caught up before the cat escaped. When I got to him, he had the cat by the neck and was shaking it furiously. I got his attention, and the cat managed to get away. That may be the end of our feral cat problems in our yard. And, I think I can safely declare Shiner "Not Cat Friendly." Danger to all cat-kind seems more appropriate.

This probably confirms something we suspected about Shiner's background. As a shelter rescue whose tatoos are illegible, we don't have anything definitive about the kennel where he was bred or any racing history. And since most kennels keep a pretty good handle on their animals, we thought he might have been a coursing dog. In racetrack racing, dogs are baited with a mechanical rabbit (usually just a tail attached to the inside of the oval), and they chase that, but don't catch it. In illegal coursing, the owners use live rabbits in an open field. The dog who catches/kills the rabbit is the winner. These dogs tend to be less able to happily coexist with small animals and maybe children.

I better see if I can't find a really strong muzzle for him before I attempt the introduction to small children. And maybe I shouldn't warn their mothers that I'm experimenting with their kids. I wonder, after 5 dogs, if my neighbor realizes how many times I've tried her son out as my small child measuring stick. Is that wrong? If I told people that I was testing with their kids, would anyone let me find out if this dog is okay to be adopted to a family with children?

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Godfather

My husband became a godfather yesterday. There is a lot of irony to this, since he hasn't been to church in almost two years. Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought the point of this kind of role was one of a spiritual nature. I do know that people without any religious connection use the term, but in this case it is being bestowed in a church as part of a baptism. He promised to keep this little baby in his prayers and to make sure he learned all the important tenets of Christianity. I just hope they weren't completely empty promises.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Schizophrenia Runs Rampant

Looking over just a few months of blog entries, I've figured out my problem. I have no one topic to focus on. I run my mouth, er, fingers over whatever random topic comes to mind. I've read blogs that can be characterized by one topic, and ones that tend to stick with 3-5 topics that maybe even go together. These seem coherent. Almost like novels that flow from chapter to chapter. But not mine. I am left to assume that the disorganization on the screen is a reflection of the disorganization in my mind, and that led me to the conclusion that I'm schizophrenic.

Now, I'm a highly-functioning schizophrenic, in that I can hold down a job and generally maintain friendships. I haven't needed drugs to control my disease or hospitalization to keep me from killing anyone or harming myself. But there it is -- with no focus, there must be something wrong with me.

Or maybe, I'm a hypochondriac labeler.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I Cannot...

My company has a beginner level flag football team, and we had our first game tonight. Let me give you the run-down on the things I have (re)discovered I don't do well.
  • Catch a pass. I apparently am incapable of catching a football thrown to me from as little as three feet away.

  • Throw a ball. I managed a weak lateral once, but there are no beautiful spirals being thrown from my hand.

  • Catch a punt. I came close twice, but no actual catch.

  • Run the ball. In my one carry tonight (a basic handoff play), I lost five yards for the team. Couldn't even get back to the line of scrimmage.

  • Protect my quarterback. I believe he was sacked 4 times on my watch.

  • Tackle. I had quite the time trying to actually get the flag, and the one time I did, I pulled the player's flag before she caught the ball, making it harder for another team member to find the other flag to bring her down.

Conveniently, it looks like I'm capable of snapping, so I might still have a future on the team. And they need four girls on the field at all times. Maybe next time we can score at least once, and finish out the game without the refs declaring a mercy rule ending to the madness.

There are a couple of things to be aware of in Heather-land: I'm not big, I'm not fast, and I have no depth perception. Not sure what made me think I could play football (and, ha ha, as a center no less??). I also always wonder about the other teams in a beginner league. They always seem like they've played before, and are just trying to clean up in the easy league. Maybe we really are that bad, so it's a good thing we all still have our day jobs.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Alert: Further Basketball Commentary

Today, another Big 12 coach appears to be reaching imminent dismissal. Eddie Sutton, coach of Oklahoma State for the last ... well, for forever, has been cited for drunk driving in an accident last week. So, while he is recuperating from the accident, the administration is deciding when to end his season.

I am certainly not justifying his behavior. I'm only commenting to wonder what is happening to the coaches in my conference? Why are they making themselves targets for mid-season removal? Are they trying to prove that the Big 12 sucks this year? Are they hoping to ensure that only the winner of the conference will get to go to the Tournament?

I do realize that my Aggies are barely marginal this year, and we'd be lucky to be picked up for any post-season anything. But I would hate for us to finally have a good record, finishing fourth in the conference or something, and then not get to go to the Tournament. I suppose that's the breaks when the conference isn't very good this year.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Alert: Basketball Commentary

Big announcement in Big 12 basketball today: Quin Snyder is resigning. After scrutiny from the NCAA last season and popular desire for him to get fired due to the number of losses in the last two seasons, Snyder and Mizzou have reached an agreement and his resignation is effective immediately. Now, it's bad enough to leave in disgrace. And worse to leave in the middle of the season. But now their acting head coach is Melvin Watkins. Now, Watkins had a great record at UNC-Charlotte, and I'm sure he knew what he was doing there. However, he couldn't do much with the 6 years he was at Texas A&M (his last season saw an abysmal 0-16 conference record leading to his dismissal). Not sure if he can coach in the Big 12. They haven't name him their permanent coach, yet, but it seems likely (otherwise why would they have picked him up last year -- head coaches don't go back to being assistants without some assurances). I hope he is able to do more in that environment than he was at A&M. And then again, maybe I don't. Two guaranteed wins each year would be nice. A&M would be more than happy to take Missouri's spot of late as 5th or 6th in the Big 12 each year, with a good chance to go to the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, the loss of "Coach Q" on the sidelines makes me sad, almost as sad as he made me when he cut his curly hair shorter. He's been the best looking college coach I've seen for a long time (even with his shorter hair), and I hope he's back soon. He doesn't seem to be a bad coach, and his players certainly seemed to want to play hard for him. So, it would seem he has a future, and I have a chance to keep watching.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Shiner Joins the Household

No, not the beer. Though there might be a few bottles in the fridge.

Shiner is a two-year-old brindle greyhound that just came to live with us this morning. We are fostering him to figure him out and hopefully find him a great home in the process. This is one of the first dogs I've ever worked with that is straight from the kennel to a home. Adjusting them to pet life from the racing world can be difficult. I'll let you know if anything particularly amusing occurs during the first few weeks. Otherwise it will likely be the accidents and the chewing and the general acclamation to living as a pet and not in a crate.

He seems to mostly be in pretty good shape. He's got some dry skin, and he's really skinny. Now, greyhounds look skinny anyway to people that are familiar with other big dogs like labs and retrievers. You are supposed to be able to see two ribs -- any less than that, and they are fat and bearing too much weight on their little legs. I can see 7 of Shiner's ribs. So, some fattening is in his future.

He was neutered 2 weeks ago, so at some point, I'm supposed to check and see if his stitches have already been removed, and take them out if not. Hmmmm...Welcome to the spread 'em...and I need my scissors. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another Year Older, And Deeper in Debt

Today is the point of no return. We can no longer cancel the enormous refinance we just did to take out some money and do some work on the house. So, we went from having paid down our mortgage pretty decently to suddenly owing more than we purchased the house for in the first place. Ah, the American Dream lives -- to build more and more debt over life.

Really, this is a good move for us. We are planning some significant changes to the house that will make it more liveable and interesting, and likely to sell better in the future. Regardless, they're the kinds of things that need to be done for us to enjoy living here again. And it just doesn't make sense to move since we might only be here in Austin one more year. Yes, I know -- it doesn't make sense to dump a bunch of money in if we're going to move soon either, but we're considering being landlords, so it may not be a complete waste. Either way, there is restless energy that needs to go into some level of change, and this is a better investment than other ways to use up that kind of energy.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Personal Mayhem Diaries

Scars are journals of some of the bad things that happen in our lives. They chronicle accidents and surgeries and physical pain in life. Here's the way my scar diary might describe my life.


When my owner was just over a year old, she was jumping on the bed, fell off, and landed on her rocking goat (don't ask -- her parents were hippies). The goat apparently had a loose nail that went through her lower lip and ripped a nice lip separation. Besides being hippies, her parents were apparently also too young and uninformed to get me stitched up. Now I am ragged-looking, but I get paler with time.

In 3rd grade, Heather was in a bicycle accident. She was racing a friend back to her house, going opposite sides of the block toward the far corner. She thought she'd be smart (like any good 8-year-old), and took a shortcut through the alley. The very gravelly alley. The knee took a few bits of gravel for a snack, and now I'm here, looking a bit like a mouth to tell the tale.

If you look at her left foot (not the movie), you'll see where she had another bike accident the next year, when I was born. She was following the same friend from the previous story when the friend stopped suddenly. Heather couldn't stop in time, and the pedal cut a nice gash in the top of her foot. She was wearing jellies at the time, so the top of the foot was exposed. I was certain I needed stitches, but again, her parents wouldn't help me. I tell them now that I would be smaller if they would have cared about medical attention for me.

I am found on the outside of Heather's right ankle. She was learning to shave. And she didn't do so well. I'm actually darker than the neighboring skin. I was the first scar to do that.

On the insides of both elbows, we are not trackmarks from Heather's heroin addiction. Regardless of any bad jokes she might try to tell, don't believe her. Instead, we are from half a dozen whole blood donations and probably 20 plasma sales. She apparently had to start selling plasma because she was in college, and was broke. The right arm was significantly juicier, so our colony is larger there.

On her left hip you'll find me, a more recent member of the family. At least I get to say that I'm the only visible scar that was created by the medical community. And there were still no stitches.

Heather is still quite the klutz. While cooking dinner at Thanksgiving, the large turkey and the small oven converged to create me on her left forearm. There were three burns during the cooking of that turkey, but I was the only one good enough to cause a scar. And, I have the distinction of being the latest scar so far.