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December 31, 2003

Rappy Am Happy

Rappy is here!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! And here is what we are doing:


Posted by Highwaygirl on 11:09 PM | Comments (15)

December 23, 2003

Meta (MAY-tuh)

Quickly, before I forget! Last night I dreamt of:

1. Running through fields with my friend Trina, on our way to somewhere. We got to a point where we had to run through a tunnel and I refused. I found people queued up in a line above the tunnel, asked if "this leads out" and was told that it did. So I got in line, and the line went through the audience of a children's show. I sat down, watched the last minute of the show, then bolted out the double doors when it was over.

2. This led to me running through a college campus. I was headed straight for a volleyball net, but at the last minute I veered to the left, did a "ring around the rosie" move around the net pole, then kept running. I ended up at a bus stop for students which looked suspiciously like the Gold line bus stop outside the Diffenbaugh Building at Florida State.

3. I was waiting at the bus stop with several other people, and then suddenly we were all sharing a car ride to wherever we were going. The car was being driven by Carson from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I am in the back seat. I look out the side window and say "that's going to turn into a tornado" and point at the line of black clouds in the distance. We drive a little, then I look out the back window and say "here they come!" Suddenly there are two tornados bearing down on us.

4. As they are about to pass on either side of the car, I shout, "HOLD ON!" and then all this debris and rain and dirt flies past so we can't see anything out the windows, and the car rocks back and forth. The visibility clears and we're heading straight for a big sign on the side of the road. Carson jerks the steering wheel to the right, and we end up in a parking lot. We pile out of the car and then a man approaches, throws a drivers license at one of the guys in the car, and yells at him for signing for the bar tab with a fake ID.

5. Later, I'm in the mall with a man who appears to be my boyfriend. We're looking at books. I find these big buffet servers for $3.59 apiece and pick up two. He picks up a book on Italian architecture. Then we're in Cooking Stadium from the Iron Chef show. He's doing prep work for the next competition. I'm sitting on the floor beside him, then someone brings us chairs. We sit in the chairs and then I put my right hand on his left thigh and start idling scratching it. He smiles and we have this conversation:

Him: What are you doing?
Me: I'm scratching your thigh. Because it subconsciously itches.

And then I woke up.

Weird, huh?

Thank you, everyone, for your support and good wishes about my stepdad. I left work early yesterday to go down and see him and my mom, and he's in reasonably good spirits. The positive news is that he has a cancer policy through AFLAC, so the fact that he'll be out of work for about a month will be offset by the money they'll get from the policy.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:54 AM | Comments (4)

December 22, 2003

Think Good Thoughts

My stepdad has prostate cancer.

It's not as localized as we'd hoped (it's on both sides of the prostate), but it doesn't appear to have spread outside of the prostate. So he's stage II (out of IV) on that, and the scale that grades how aggressive the tumor is came out to a 6 (on a scale of 2-10), so it's right in the middle - not slow growing (a 2), but not super aggressive either (a 10).

Now he has to decide between surgery or radiation. He's only seen a urologist so far, who recommended surgery, but the doctor also said that my stepdad should get a second opinion with a radiation oncologist. My stepdad has had a lot of problems with his heart and lungs, so radiation might be the better choice for him. The surgery would be major abdominal surgery (four days in the hospital, 4-6 weeks off work), which might be too risky considering his heart.

To sum things up: blah.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 12:20 PM | Comments (4)

The Gift of Kitties

I want to give my mom a framed photo of my cats for Christmas. I've got two shots that I took last night when the kitties were sitting together and looking pretty. Which do you think looks best?

Portrait 1:

Portrait 2:

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:11 AM | Comments (5)

In Bloom

Heh heh heh.

Which Orlando Bloom am I? Well, I am this Orlando Bloom:

Sexy Orlando

Let it be known, though, that I don't want to be Orlando. I just would like him to be my house boy.

(KaChing is to blame for this, btw.)

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:43 AM | Comments (1)

December 21, 2003

Cuckoo for Coco

I saw something very strange and upsetting this afternoon.

I went out to throw down some birdseed in the back yard, and I saw Coco (the brown and white pigeon in the middle) and her mate under the tree. So I started throwing down the seed, and Coco and her mate flew off toward the pond. I watched them go.

The next thing I see is another bird - I don't know if it was a pigeon or not - fly out of the tree and after Coco. And it attacks her in mid-air and forces her down into the pond. Then it uses its feet to hold her down in the water.

Honestly? It scared me.

So I started screaming and yelling and waving my arms, and the attacking bird flew off. I'm sure it was only a few seconds, but it seemed so much longer. Coco popped her head up and flew off as well, but there were a lot of her feathers left behind in the water.

About an hour later I went back out and stood under the tree with a container of seed. Usually, the flock of pigeons I feed will fly over from the building where they nest when they see me under the tree. They fly to the roof of my building and watch me while I litter the ground with birdseed. About half the time they'll start coming down while I'm still throwing down the seed; it's not unheard of for me to be standing there with 20 pigeons within a few feet of me.

But this time, Coco wasn't with them. The flock has come back twice since, and still no Coco. I hope she's okay and just scared, rather than seriously hurt.

I also got my Christmas present from Roo today - the typewriter key initial necklace I was coveting from UncommonGoods.com! It is SUPER COOL and looks wonderful. I'm wearing it right now and plan to never take it off ever.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 05:49 PM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2003

Consumption (Conspicuous and Otherwise)

Well, I had a mighty fine day shopping with me mommy. We went to three malls and an outdoor shopping village. I capped my day with a visit to Super Target. Now I'm home, and ready to collapse from exhaustion.

Aaaaaaaand what did I buy? Not that much, actually. I picked up a mall gift card for my sister-in-law, an Illuminations travel candle in Poundcake (which is AWESOME), a bag of Old Fashioned Red Licorice from Harry & David, MAC Stubborn Brown Powerpoint eyeliner, a calendar for my dad, two sets of Yu-Gi-Oh action figures for my nephew, and a limited edition Yu-Gi-Oh game card tin for me. Or maybe it was for Alex. I'm not telling!

I also visited Tiffany & Co. and was told that yes, I can get the chain on the Elsa Peretti initial necklace extended as long as I want (yay!), but they are backordered until mid-January (boo!). Although I guess that really doesn't matter, because I wasn't going to buy mine until February/March anyway. So, yay!

We stopped for lunch at Olive Garden, and this was what I had:


It was just as good as it looks - the mashed potatoes were freaking AWESOME! - but I was forced to pick off the mushrooms. Plus, I now feel guilty for porking out (I also had two garlic breadsticks). But it was sooooooo goooooood and my weigh-in was this morning, so ... whatever!

*rolls around in Italian cheeses and cream sauce*

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:05 PM | Comments (3)


Look! A new galaxy! Isn't it pretty?


Its name is Messier81, and it's a distant (heh) relative of former Edmonton Oilers hockey player Mark Messier.

Last night I fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. Which I needed to do, because I felt like hell. Today I am going Christmas shopping with my mommy, so I'm starting the day with a good breakfast - two Eggo Nutri-Grain waffles, between which lies a thin schmear of natural peanut butter and sliced bananas, topped with a drizzle of butter-lite maple syrup.

Oh, and this story brings new meaning to the phrase "holiday spirit."

Posted by Highwaygirl on 08:42 AM | Comments (6)

December 19, 2003

Which Muppet Am I?

Normally I don't really like these quizzes, but this one is dead on!

You are Kermit the Frog.
You are reliable, responsible and caring.
And you have a habit of waving your arms
about maniacally.

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Highwaygirl on 05:43 PM | Comments (166)

December 18, 2003


I have to do this - my cat Caygeon is SO FREAKING CUTE.

(Be sure to expand the photo to full size.)

And for good measure, here's a decent photo of Dawsey!

Oops, forgot Otis Redding:


Otis is flaring, because he is infected with RAGE! Actually, he was seeing his reflection in the lens of my camera. And then he decided he didn't like the camera taking his soul, so he started darting around and I was unable to get a better photo of him.

I never knew Otie was Native American.

In other news, GoDaddy has been positively speedy since I got home from work. How long will it last?

Posted by Highwaygirl on 08:05 PM | Comments (1046)

Keep On Truckin'

ETA: This site may go down at any time, should I choose to switch web hosting providers. If that happens, I'll be back ASAP.

(SIDE NOTE: Don't worry about comments posting multiple times. My web host is screwed up. If you get timed out while commenting, it's not you. It's GoDaddy.com (bluh).)

I feel like I've been run over by a Mack truck. Not just any truck, but a MACK truck. One of those ginormous long tractor-trailer long-haul freight trucks that take up two lanes on the highway while driving 1,000 miles per hour. One of those.

Whole ... body ... aches! Eyes ... watering! Can't ... stop ... sniffling! (apologies to William Shatner)

I guess the flu shot really does work. Fortunately the swelling in my arm has gone down, and it no longer feels numb. Wish the rest of my body did feel numb, though.

I fell asleep around 7:30 last night, woke up briefly, didn't know where I was or what was going on, and decided that I didn't care enough to try and re-orient myself out of my disorientation, so I laid right back down and went back to sleep. Didn't brush my teeth (ew!). Didn't take out my contact lenses (ew! ew! ew!). Didn't really care.

I just called in a refill of my prescription inhaler.

I ate breakfast this morning, but now I wish I hadn't. Must go in search of some hot tea.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 08:05 AM | Comments (4)

December 16, 2003

Pretty Kitties

Caygeon looks pensive for the camera.

Dawsey offers his neck for a Caygeon-kiss.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 10:01 PM | Comments (1)

I Dream of Mickey

This is kind of weird - I had a vivid dream last night about one of my past cats, Mickey. I adopted Mickey from the Leon County Animal Control in Tallahassee, Fla. when I was at Florida State. She loved going outside when we were living at my mom's house after college. She liked it so much, in fact, that when I moved to Virginia I didn't take her with me, because I wanted her to still be able to go outside in the back yard with my stepdad to "help" him with his garden.

I did take Mickey with me when I moved to Raleigh in 2000. She died suddenly in March, 2001. She was 10 years old.

I buried her outside my living room window, where she liked to sit and watch the squirrels. I buried her in 40-degree weather in a driving rainstorm, underneath my bird feeder (a platform feeder with a cat shape for the stand). I was sick with a horrible chest cold for a month afterwards.

When I moved away, I left the bird feeder where it was. I took a photo of it, which I've kept all this time in my wallet.

Last night I dreamt that she and I were living at my mom's house. In my dream, we heard my mom's dog, Maggie, yelp, and rushed into the living room to find that Mickey has smacked at Maggie's nose. One of Mickey's nails was pulled out in the fracas, and Mickey was bleeding. So I picked her up and got an ice cube from the kitchen. I wrapped it in a washcloth and held it against Mickey's paw, to staunch the blood and help the swelling subside.

In my dream, she was purring the entire time.

I have no idea why my subconscious was thinking about Mickey last night. What a strange little subconscious I have. I'm sure there's a hidden meaning in there somewhere, but I have no idea what it might be. Do you?

Posted by Highwaygirl on 08:45 AM | Comments (3)

December 15, 2003

Bank None

A recap of Sunday's festivities:

The rain cleared by the time I got down to Alex's house, although it was still a grey, overcast day. But we had a very good time wishing Happy Birthday! wishes for Alex (who will be 8 on December 16).

I gave him a gift card to Barnes & Noble as well as a copy of Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World. I chose that title because it seemed like a nice story about a boy and his dad, and since Alex severely loves his dad, I thought this would be the best book to get him into Dahl (one of my favorite authors, for kids and adults alike).

My mom and stepdad got Alex a Yu-Gi-Oh! set - turns out that is the big thing with 8 year olds these days (so I know what I'm getting Alex for Christmas!). The set was of three Yu-Gi-Oh! characters, and all were fairly nasty looking - Pumpking King of the Pumpkins, Armored Zombie, and Crass Clown (think Pennywise from Stephen King's IT miniseries, only more pissed off. Much more).

My father's gift was a remote controlled airplane, which Alex wanted to fly right away. But alas, it needs a bigger area than his backyard, until he learns to control it properly.

Alex's mom and dad got him Mario Kart Double Dash, which Alex proceeded to kick my ass in. Twice.

We had cake (mmm, cake) and I picked six navel oranges from their tree (mmm, tree).

Then I went over to my mom's house so she and I could lay the smack down on BankOne. Some of you heard my tale of woe in chat on Saturday - they raised my credit card (which is through my mom) APR, from 16.99% to 18.99%. The guy claimed the raise was to "remain competitive." Whatever.

So with my mom's Social Security number (for identification purposes) in hand, I called to talk to a "rate specialist." I get her on the phone, and our conversation goes like this:

Me: "I've been getting a lot of offers from other credit card companies with lower interest rates. I've had great service from BankOne, so I'd like to stay with you, but the difference in my current interest rate with these lower ones is quite significant."

Rate Specialist: "What kind of offers are you getting?"

Me, trying to think of a good interest rate: "They're for around 12.9%."

RS: "Well sure! We like to remain competitive (BUZZWORD ALERT!), so I'd be happy to lower your interest rate to 12.99%, that's blah blah blah variable prime blah blah higher on cash advances blah blah blah do you need balance transfers blah blah."

Me: "Thanks!" (internally, "DAMMIT, I should have asked for 8.9%!")

It was just that easy. I only wish I had noticed the rate hike back in July, when they did it.

The Illuminations Poundcake pillar candle I bought is making my living room smell lovely, and it's not even lit. Anyone know how to correct a candle that has started to "tunnel" (burn down the middle, not to the sides)?

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2003

Rainy Morning



Today is my nephew Alex's birthday party. I hope the rain doesn't dampen his spirits.

Also, I've spent too much money on holiday presents. And my hipbones hurt.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 09:53 AM | Comments (59)

December 13, 2003

Animal Planet

ETA: I forgot that there's some happy animal news today - Honey is coming home!

Aww, sad - Keiko has died. Why is this story making me tear up? He was just the Free Willy whale with the bent fin, after all. I think it was the part of the story that talked about Keiko's desire for human companionship that made me saddest. Poor, lonely whale. *sniff*

From the "Florida Is Messed Up" files - Pit Bulls Kill Elderly Woman. Color me NOT SURPRISED.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2003

Papa Bear

My dad sent me the cutest e-card ever. I love my dad.

Let me tell you a little about him. My dad used to read to me all the time when I was a kid. So much so that I was already reading by the time I got to kindergarten. My brother and I used to lay outside under the chaise lounge when my dad would catch a few rays (which is bad now ... bad!). There are numerous photos of my brother and I huddled together underneath the chaise lounge, with my dad oblivious to our presence beneath him.

My dad was an amazing father when I was in high school. I was a weird kid - I liked to shave the sides of my head, dye my hair all sorts of colors, spike it all up like Robert Smith, wear lots of eyeliner, lots of black, and lots of weird spider-themed jewelry. My dad's reaction? As long as I got good grades and followed his rules, he didn't care what color my hair was, or how many times I pierced my ears.

My curfew on the weekend was 2 a.m., and I had a car when I was 16. Those were amazing freedoms for a teenager, but they were borne out of the trust he had in me, and that I had earned.

My dad instilled in me a love of knowledge. My dad sent me money every month when I was in college so I could have my own apartment without needing to have a part-time job. He took out loans so I could focus on getting my degree and earning a high grade-point average, because he knew those things were going to be important when I entered the world of work.

My dad taught me one of the most important lessons I have ever learned - it is better to be respected than liked, if one must choose between the two. That belief has never steered me wrong, and I think about it often.

My dad helped me beat cancer. The only time I have heard my dad cry was when I called him on the phone to tell him that I had Hodgkin's disease. But he was unfailingly positive during my treatment, and especially after treatment, when I was so, so sick from the side effects of chemo - sicker than I ever felt from the actual cancer - and would question whether or not I was ever going to feel like a normal person again. He helped me embrace the concept of a "new normal," which was what I was going to have. And he was right.

My dad has always been willing to listen to me vent, or cry, or just question the world around me. He's always been there to give me advice. I don't always take it, but I love the fact that I know that I can always go to him for a wise opinion about almost any issue.

One of my favorite memories of my dad was when we were having a discussion about gun control. He asked me, "Do you favor gun control?" And I said, "It depends on what you mean by 'gun control'."

My dad said, "Julie, I respect you so much for saying that." That is, for not following some blind definition of the concept, but for questioning it.

I think that's one of the things I like most about myself - my desire to question the world around me.

I got that from my dad.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:59 PM | Comments (12)

December 10, 2003

Hey Little Sister

I don't understand the whole fascination with Trista and Ryan and I don't think I really want to.

Maybe it's because I'm not a wedding person; I don't get excited for other people's weddings - either abstractly or when asked to attend - and I don't want a formal wedding myself. So the idea of obsessing over flowers and table settings and dresses and hairpieces and music and whatever just holds no meaning for me.

Plus, Trista is a weird name, and Ryan looks rather whipped. I just think my hours are more well spent on other endeavors. Like counting the hairs on my forearm.

Chefgracegeorge sent me a very interesting link - turns out I'm not the only person in love with their FAPs.

And look at the pretty kitties!


Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:23 PM | Comments (1)

December 09, 2003


So I was talking to my gay friend John today, and as I walked past him after we finished our conversation he exclaimed:

Your ass looks FABULOUS in those pants!

I do believe that only gay men can get away with comments like that.

So what did I do? I ran right out to the mall and bought another pair of FAPs - Fabulous Ass Pants. This pair is in khaki; the original FAPs are black. I also bought a pair of the FAPs in black in a smaller size, because God knows they won't still be in stock when I lose more weight. And dammit, my ass needs these pants.

If I turned around and looked at my butt, I bet it would be clamoring for the FAPs.

There's also this one black shirt I have that I think makes my ... um ... chest look really good. And I feel especially cute in my Swell pajama pants (both pair!).

Is "pair" or "pairs" correct in that usage?

Everyone should have a few special items of clothing that just make them feel wonderful, unstoppable, unbeatable whenever they wear them. Like Overg and his suits. And you in your ...

Oh! Before I forget - can someone please reprogram me to both enjoy and crave exercise? Because I don't, and I really should.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:36 PM | Comments (5)

December 08, 2003

The Simple Life

NO, not that crappy surreality show on FOX.

Sometimes less is more, and cheaper is better. Tonight I strayed from my aforementioned grocery list to buy Alberto VO5 Strawberries & Cream shampoo and conditioner. I used it during my nightly shower, and I am telling you - it smells FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. The shampoo smells exactly like Philosophy Strawberry Milkshake 3-in-1.

Only, y'know, 95 percent cheaper. Because the VO5? Is EIGHTY CENTS a bottle at Wal-Mart. The conditioner is merely average, but I can guarantee you that from this moment on, my bathroom will always have a bottle of this shampoo around.

I am in love. Blissfully, unadulterately, in love. Oh, and the VO5 Pina Colada shampoo/conditioner? Also fabulous.

So this started me thinking – what other cheap things do I really like? Well, there's Wet 'N Wild lipliners (99 big cents). St. Ives Energizing Citrus body wash (less than $2, it's the one product that I horde beneath my bathroom sink - four bottles and counting!). And Dove Sensitive Skin beauty bar (two bars for two bucks).

What am I forgetting?

And can someone please stop me from buying candles? I bought three more tonight (an ENORMOUS three-wick Candle-Lite Old Town Market candle in Lemon Pie) and two little Airwick candles in Grandma's Cookies. I am currently burning the Pier 1 Caramel Butter pilar candle in the living room that I bought Sunday, and in the bathroom I'm burning the last vestiges of the Bath & Body Works Grapefruit Aromatherapy candle (which kinda sucks, and is totally not worth the price - don't buy it).

Not to mention that I just spent about $100 on candles from Illuminations (but those were mostly for gifts!) [/rationalization]

I think I might have a problem. Maybe.

Posted by Julie on 09:34 PM | Comments (9)

Into the Abyss

Otherwise known as Super Wal-Mart. But it's the only place I can get everything on my list:

shredded carrots
Canadian bacon
turkey pepperoni
Healthy Choice dinners
wheat bread
Crest Whitestrips - 7-day type
blue cheese
             Smuckers natural peanut butter
Ziplocs - Holiday version
wreath holder for door
cat food
Crest cinnamon toothpaste
chicken broth
cottage cheese

In other news, my Celtic knot bra is fitting so much better these days.

Posted by Julie on 03:48 PM | Comments (7)

December 06, 2003

Mission: Disoriented

I took a ... I don't know how long it was now, three hours maybe? ... nap, and I woke up thinking someone was shooting at me. I was the passenger in a truck where the passenger side door wouldn't close, and "Sean" wouldn't stop driving recklessly and throwing me against the door. Sean was not aka Pimp Diddy or P. Daddy or whatever the hell that guy is/was called, because in my dreams Sean was white.

Oh, the Potato and Canadian Bacon Chowder? AM GOOD. Read on for the recipe.


Weight Watchers POINTSŪ value | 2
Servings | 8
Preparation Time | 25 min
Cooking Time | 360 min
Level of Difficulty | Easy

2 cup potato(es), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large carrot(s), diced
1 cup leek(s), chopped, white part only
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
4 cup chicken broth, fat-free
1/2 cup uncooked barley, pearl
1 tsp bay leaf, crumbled or 1 whole leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 oz cooked canadian-style bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
2 fl oz fat-free half-and-half cream

1. In a slow cooker, combine potatoes, carrots, leek, garlic, chicken broth, barley, bay leaf, thyme, pepper and Canadian bacon. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables and barley are tender.

2. Stir in evaporated milk and half-and-half and heat through uncovered, about 10 minutes. Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.

I added a cup of frozen corn to this with 30 minutes remaining in the first stage of cooking time (so I bumped up the Points value in my tracker to 2.5 to overcompensate for the addition). I put a little bit of shredded cheese on the top of my serving and it added a nice bit of flavor. The barley helps thicken the chowder and really isn't noticeable as barley in the end product.

Posted by Julie on 10:37 PM | Comments (3)


I've had a productive morning.

I went to Albertsons early to get leeks, packaging tape, and laundry detergent. Came home, completely changed out the cats' litter box, used the tape to seal four packages I needed to mail (*waves at KaChing*), chatted with Teem a little bit before she left for the airport/Germany (*SOB*), went back out to the Post Office - which had a line out the door - and mailed the packages, came home and chopped up the leeks and the potatoes and the carrots and the Canadian bacon and put everything together in the crock pot to make the Potato and Canadian Bacon Chowder that we will be having for dinner.

Yes, we. As in me and you. Come over at 7, and bring whatever you want to drink.

While I was cooking I fed the birds. When I was finished cooking, I fed myself (bologna and jarlesberg cheese sammich).

This afternoon I plan on cleaning out my closet. A lot of stuff no longer fits, especially my winter jackets. I realized this last night as I was hanging up me new pants, and it sort of bummed me out. I know I should be happy, but when I look at all of the clothes in my closet I just see a lot of money for things I can't wear any more. And I don't want to buy more clothes when I'm not at my target weight yet. But I hate not having much to wear that looks good on me, and all of my favorite pieces - my Mossimo pinstriped and coffee brown pants, my chocolate brown corduroy jacket - are no longer usable, dammit.

Stop rolling your eyes at me!

Posted by Julie on 01:15 PM | Comments (4)


I have a bit of an obsession.

But can you blame me?

Posted by Julie on 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

December 05, 2003

With Or Without You

I can't liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive..
With or without youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu...

I'm listening to The Best of U2: 1980-1990 at work this morning, and I'd forgotten how much I love early U2. Later U2, not as much (although I do love many songs on All That You Can't Leave Behind). So I'm flipping through the CD booklet, and the music is reminding me how great songs like "With or Without You" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "The Unforgettable Fire" are, but the photos in the liner notes are reminding me how HOT Larry Mullen Jr. is/was/always shall be. Damnation!

*touches Larry Mullen Jr. and is burned*

I had the good fortune to see U2 in concert once. It was during the tour for The Unforgettable Fire, so I guess it was about 1985 and I was 15. It was at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, and my friend Kim (don't remember her last name) was a year older and had a car, so she drove. We got there super early because we - me, Kim and Dina (Merrill?) - fancied ourselves as groupies. Awwww, yeah. I've been backstage many a time in my day.

We didn't get backstage that day, though. But we were very close to the front of the line, so when the doors opened we were able to rush in and get fourth-row seats on the floor. Yep, general admission. The floor was covered with rows of plastic chairs that were bound together at the edges.

The Red Rockers opened. I don't remember anything about them other than that I think they had a decent single at the time, "China." Wait, it's all coming back to me now (ewww, Celine). I think that song went something like:

China, Chiiiiiiiinaaaaaaa
Calling out to history
Is that the way it will always be?

Or something like that. I'm definitely hearing the melody of the chorus in my head.

So, Red Rockers get off the stage, and then the audience is all whipped into a frenzy for the boys from Ireland. People stand up on the seats of their chairs. We do too. U2 starts playing and everyone starts jumping around and chair dancing and pogoing all over the place.

Then people start standing on the backs of the chairs. The plastic chairs. Pretty soon, the backs of the chairs buckle under the weight, so that the backs of the chairs are now bent backwards and are parallel to the seat. Which basically eliminated the space that had once been between the rows of chairs.

Then that happens in every row, until you've basically got several hundred people jumping around and chair dancing and pogoing on an elevated, shaky floor made of bent plastic chairs. Balancing? Very difficult. Falling? Very easy.

And we did. Several times. Then people started pushing and surging forward and stepping on the fallen and pushing and stepping and surging and not thinking and shoving and pressing and screaming and dancing and pushing and surging until ...

We're pushed tight up against the stage. I can't breathe, and my back hurts, but it doesn't matter because THERE'S LARRY MULLEN JR. AND OH MY GOD IS HE CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE.

Ah, "Bad" just started playing on this CD. This is such a beautiful song.

If I could, I would
Let it go...
Posted by Julie on 10:32 AM | Comments (5)

December 04, 2003

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

This is the day that will not end
It goes on and on my friend...

This day is DRAGGING. I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, only without the ability to create ice sculpture and the witty remarks about a truck-driving rodent ("Don't drive angry!").

So. Who do you think is getting the boot on Survivor: Pearl Islands tonight? My pick is ABB - Anyone But Burton. You see, we needs the eye candy now that our sentimental favorite (Rupert) is gone. Right?

And even odds on Johnny Fairplay *shudder* saying something reprehensible.

Posted by Julie on 03:56 PM | Comments (9)

NICE, Dawsey

I just fed the cats, and then from behind me I hear the HORK-HORK-HORK of a cat getting ready to throw up.

And it's Dawsey, throwing up everything he just ate. All over the Christmas-y throw rug in the foyer.

Perfect way to start the day.

Posted by Julie on 06:53 AM | Comments (3)

December 03, 2003

Honk Konk

Two things:

First, I need your help. Specifically I need ideas about how to finance grad school without a whole bunch o' money lying around. Scholarships, grants, loans - any insight into any of it? Has anyone worked full time while going to grad school and lived? Is there anyone who wants to pay me to just be me?

And second, because I was commanded:

TanMarie6: Say, poor poor teem and she's the greatest we all love her teem teem teem

Teem! Teem Forever! *raises kitten*

Posted by Julie on 09:20 PM | Comments (5)

December 02, 2003

O Frabjous Day!

Callooh! Callay!

I had a lil' chat with our Director of Operations this morning, to ask whether or not the updating of a personal journal was off-limits under the internet usage policy (as I had been told by someone else). Happily, it is not! They are more concerned with the time spent on non-work sites, rather than the type of non-work sites being visited (within reason. I think they're pretty much against porn and eBay no matter what).

Porn and eBay should be the title of a book, or an album.

So anyway, I am allowed to update this site, as long as I don't abuse the priviledge. Heavens forfend! I would never do such a thing!

I also got confirmation that the "secureserver" part of Movable Type's URL was not an issue. So, yay! Overg again has meaning to his life!

In other happy news, my new Primaloft comforter is the shiznit, the season 2 Alias DVD box set comes out today (not buying, hoping to get for Christmas), as does Pirates of the Caribbean (ditto).

I have a question for you – do you think that everyone, at least once in their lives, should experience being fired? I've never been fired, so I'm wondering if there's anything positive about it. I have been laid off, and there were definitely some good things about that experience.

Oh, a few other things:

  • How did I miss LeRoy from Fame dying last month?

  • Pearl barley is found in the section with the dried beans


Posted by Julie on 01:20 PM | Comments (10)

The Remedy

I think I've figured it out. No, not the meaning of life, or how to achieve world peace, or end hunger. Nothing that grand.

I think I've figured out what's wrong with me.

Have you ever felt an ongoing sense of cognitive dissonance? Something is "wrong" but you don't know what it is. You just know that something is off. Something is not quite right.

When it starts its only mildly annoying, like a mosquito bite – scratch it a few times and forget it.

And then the days turn into weeks, which become months, and all of a sudden something happens - maybe it's something seemingly insignificant, like a rough day at work, or a disagreement with a friend. Or maybe it comes to you in one of those momentous revelations people have when they're standing in the shower or taking out the trash.

Mine came last night, when I was brushing my teeth.

Here's what I've figured out:

I was given a second chance and I'm not doing anything with it.

Well, let me rephrase that – I'm not using my second chance in a way that makes me feel like I'm honoring my good fortune in getting that second chance. The fact that I'm not doing something that I, personally, feel has meaning (meaning beyond myself, I mean) ... well at this point, it seems offensive to me. It feels like an affront. Not to God, but to myself.

I should be doing more.

I know I should be doing more.

My life should mean more.

I should be more.

More than what I am. Definitely more than what I feel like I'm (not) becoming.

My challenge is one of inertia. I'm comfortable. I'm not miserable with my life; in fact I'm mostly happy. I've got nothing forcing me to make any changes, and quite honestly, it's easier not to change anything. I mean, I've already had my life changed in a large way through something that was completely out of my control. Why would I willingly make the choice to do that again?

But then I remember – that experience changed me so much for the better. I know it sounds incongruous, but ... most of the time I feel very fortunate to have had cancer when I was 26. Blessed. Lucky, even.

I'm laughing as I read this. I must be insane, right? I was lucky to have had cancer? Certainly, when my lungs stage a rebellion, I rue the day that I ever had to have Hodgkin's disease.

But overall? It's been one of the best things to ever happen to me.

So why am I not using everything I learned from that experience? Why I am not taking the experience and using it to not only make my own life better, but the lives of others? I look at job postings online on the weekends, and every time I run across one that involves helping cancer patients I think about the time when I was volunteering at Duke Cancer Center in the Cancer Patient Support Program. I think about how happy that made me, and how for the first time since I had been sick – maybe for the first time ever – I felt like I was doing what I was meant to do with my life.

I felt like my life had a purpose.

I want to feel like that again.

Posted by Julie on 10:38 AM | Comments (4)

December 01, 2003

Bad News and ... Bad News


The management at work is cracking down on company internet usage. Which is well within reason. However, I've been told by one person that I can no longer use my alloted internet time to update this site. Something about how "secureserver" is in the URL for the Movable Type interface that I use to perform automated updates to this site.


In the email that was sent to employees, there was not a specific reference to "updating online journals" being something that was specifically forbidden. But, it also wasn't one of the things expressly allowed.

What does this mean for us? It means we might be seeing a lot less of each other in the very near future.

Yeah, I'm a little bit ... bothered. You'd think I had gone to a restaurant down the street for lunch, gotten rip-roaringly drunk, told my supervisor when they called that I was too drunk to come back at the moment, and then never bothered coming back to work at all.

But yeah, updating a journal? Much worse.

What I need is a BlackBerry, or some other wireless internet device that will let me update my site without using any of the company's hardware.

In other news, I am apparently deathly allergic to duck down. I bought a new comforter tonight – a Primaloft Sateen Comforter – and it is truly wonderful. I have a feeling it will be worth every penny I paid for it.

I also found another tart burner at Bed Bath & Beyond for the low, low price of $5. Yay!

But I digress. So I get home after work, and after grocery shopping, and I go into my bedroom to take the flannel duvet cover off my current down comforter, heretofore known as the Down Comforter of Impending, Suffocating Death. I get it off, and within three minutes my lungs are squinching up and I'm wheezing.

That's the really bad type of allergy for me. The allergies that make me sneeze and have nasal issues are annoying, but not of too much concern. The ones that go to my lungs? Very, very bad. I've been puffing away on my inhaler since then.

And to add insult to injury – the grocery store didn't have leeks! Damn you, Publix! Damn you to hell!!!

Posted by Julie on 08:07 PM | Comments (5)