Wednesday, December 12, 2007

RIP Zodiac


Zodiac had been sick for awhile. Three years ago, he had a small tumor removed from his chest and, though our veterinarian thought they got it all, last year it showed up again. This time it was very aggressive and I was told there was nothing we could do about it. Up until last Friday, Zodiac seemed to be doing pretty well. He wasn't as active and he had some coughing episodes but for the most part seemed like a happy cat. Last Friday he retired into my bathroom cabinet and slept there, not eating or drinking much. Yesterday he seemed a little perkier and even tried to eat. But then this morning at 4:30 he woke me up with a few loud meows. I went into the bathroom to discover he'd tried to get out but couldn't walk. I picked him up and he stopped meowing but I could tell he was having trouble breathing. So I held him for about 5 minutes as he took fewer, longer breaths. And then he was gone.

We got Zodiac 14 years ago from the litter of a friend's cat. Debra picked him out and named him. She chose Zodiac as his name because our friend was very much into astrology, not because the kitten seemed like a crazed killer. Far from it, Zodiac was a sweet lovable cat. At the time, we had another cat, Blue, and she made sure he knew who was boss. Even after he grew to twice her size, he let her bat at him and push him away from the food dish. If Zodiac didn't gobble his food down, Blue would finish her own and then run over and eat whatever he hadn't finished yet. But he always forgave her and they lived together for 8 years. When Blue died Zodiac looked for her for days and cried so much about being alone that Debra and I went back to our friend's house, where there was another new litter, and we picked out Diva so Zodiac would have a friend.

Zodiac slept at the foot of my bed and always came up to let me know when it was breakfast time. He was a chubby cat until a year ago when his illness started to impact him. Throughout his illness, Zodiac always ate and that is why I knew it was close to the end when he decided he couldn't eat anymore.

I will miss Zodiac. I'll miss him greeting me at the door each night (to let me know it's dinner time). I'll miss how he sat behind me on the couch at night while I worked or watched TV. Sometimes he'd come up behind me and pull my hair. I don't know if that was him being annoying or some cat signal of love, but I'll miss it. I'll even miss him waking me up in the morning.

RIP Zodiac. I like to think you're off playing with your old friend Blue.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Hands of Time

Moms Hands.jpg

Every once in awhile, I'll be doing something completely mundane and suddenly the hands in front of me belong to my mom. Tonight I was sitting at a stoplight during my trip home from work and, for a few seconds, Mom was there with me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Prodigy Child

Interesting article about some famous prodigies written to entertain a non-prodigy like me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

My daughter and I have our Thanksgiving on the Wednesday before the official holiday; it is a tradition we started when she was in college. We invite people who have family Thanksgiving Day plans or no plans and we serve BBQ salmon since we know everyone will get their fill of turkey the next day. We maintain tradition with the side dishes by serving white trash starchy foods; green bean casserole, dressing, mashed potatoes, spoon corn bread and cranberry sauce are regular fare. And of course pumpkin and pecan pie. I sometimes make a mince pie but I'm the only one who really likes it so, like this year, I often skip it. We also serve some green salad and plain broccoli just to make ourselves feel nutritionally sound. Wine flows.

This year we'll have between 10-15 people and they'll start arriving around 3. Drop in if you're in the neighborhood. While you're waiting for the food you can read this article about an odd duck who seems like she'd be fun to have dinner with. My favorite part:

That was a few years and a million somebody elses ago. Jules is in preschool now -- and (as we go to press) still single, though she has been seeing one Mr. Bennett Orenstein, who is not only potty-trained but was recently awarded a medal for swimming with his face in the water

Monday, November 19, 2007

What Should I Rent

Listening to NPR on the way to work this morning, I learned about a new website which recommends movies based on a profile you provide. I went to the site, answered a bunch of questions about myself and then got a recommendation. whattorent doesn't require you to provide an email address but does ask you to set a login name just so they can remember you when you return.

After I answered the questions, I asked for a recommendation, indicating I wanted something which matches my usual movie. I could have chosen to get a recommendation for something a little or a lot different than I would normally choose. The suggested movie is for The Five Obstructions. I have not yet seen it and so will probably rent it. I'll let you know how it works out.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

NPR Funny

Listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR this weekend I heard:

"Bush saying he's waiting to make more decisions on Iraq until he hears what Petreus says, is like Edgar Begen saying he's waiting to hear what Charlie McCarthy thinks."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bad Writer, Bad Writer

"LaVerne was undeniably underdressed for this frigid weather; her black, rain-soaked tank top offered no protection and seemed to cling to her torso out of sheer rage, while her tie-dyed boa scarf hung lifeless around her neck like a giant, exhausted, pipe cleaner recently discarded after near-criminal overuse by an obviously sadistic (and rather flamboyant) plumber."

And if you want to see the winner of the bad writing contest. click here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

More SF Adventures

Today is my last day here in beautiful San Francisco. The conference ends at noon and AM and I will go to the Beach Chalet for a long lunch. Maybe we'll visit the beach afterwards. Then AM will drop me at BART and I'll be on my way back to Las Vegas.

Two nights ago we ate at Boulevard. The food was excellent, equally as good as the food at Aziza. Last night we ate at Hunan's which was good spicy Chinese food. After our other meals, this was definitely mundane. Not bad a all, just not WOW! food. I'm so spoiled.

Two nights ago was also the night the fire alarm went off at 3. O'clock. A. M. Yes, A.M.! My fellow floor mates (only our floor got alarmed) and I trudged down the emergency stairs and stood on the street until the fire department came and declared a false alarm. Then we went back to bed. Of course by then the adrenaline had me fully awake. The next day I complained bitterly to the hotel manager. Not about the alarm which wasn't the hotel's fault but about the complete lack of response by the hotel staff. I asked one doorman if we had to stay outside and he said yes. Then I realized someone else was going in and asked another staff person and they said we could go in the lobby but the elevators were not functioning. I told the front desk clerk lots of others were outside not knowing they could come in. He did nothing. Nothing. Then another guest finally figured out the elevators were functioning again. The staff never made any announcements, never explained the problem. It was a dismal performance. Bad Hotel Nikko. Bad, bad, bad Hotel Nikko. Oh, is my Hotel Nikko post getting higher up on search engines? No? Well then, you could help by linking to this post with a Hotel Nikko link.

Monday, May 7, 2007

All SF All The Time

Another great day in San Francisco. AM picked me up about 9:30 and we went off to the Ferry Plaza. There we got a delicious smoked salmon platter and had brunch sitting outside by the ferry dock. We meandered through the shops and tasted olive oils. Then it was off to Beach Blanket Babylon. We learned from AM’s friend that just showing up wasn’t a great idea so we phoned first and reserved two seats. It’s a good thing we did. The line started in front of the theater over an hour before the show and seating started about 45 minutes before the show. We got a perfect view first row seat for a fabulous show. The songs are funny, irreverent and not at all politically correct. They do a great job keeping the show current. There was even a lyric about Paris Hilton going to jail and I think that verdict was just handed down a couple of days ago.

After the show we headed to North Beach and had a nice glass of wine at The Blarney Stone, a little Irish pub near the restaurant. We listened to the brogue of the people around us and watched part of the Giant game. Then we met Ilmar at Aziza, a Moroccan restaurant. The food was even better than Saturday’s. We shared a delicious escalar, some couscous, some Mediterranean spreads and fava beans. It was all excellent.

Today I will spend most of my day in workshops and then meet AM for dinner for some more good food. If the food is better than last night's I’ll reach nirvana

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart

I'm here in the city that owns part of my heart. San Francisco! I'm attending a conference Monday thru Wednesday so I came into town early to enjoy the city. I got another great Priceline deal at the Hilton in the Financial District. My room look pretty much like the one in the picture on the front page but I have two beds. I'm sitting at the desk with a great view of the bay and Coit Tower. In a bit, my Aunt Mary is coming to pick me up and we're going to Ferry Plaza where we will browse little shops and find some place to have brunch. Then we're going to see if we can get tickets on short notice to see Beach Blanket Babylon. If there tickets available, we'll see the show, otherwise we'll find something else to do. Because it is San Francisco! There is always something to do.

The weather is beautiful though a little warm for natives I think. For a Las Vegan, it is perfect walking around weather. Yesterday I BARTed to the Embarcadero where AM picked me up and we went to SFMOMA to see the Picasso exhibit. The exhibit has Picasso exhibited with other American artists who drew from his work. Wonderful! After the museum visit, we headed off to our local watering hole of choice, Harry's Bar, for a glass of wine. Then we walked a couple of miles to meet up with one of my favorite people, Ilmar, and had dinner at Canteen. Dinner was superb. We shared some ceviche and I had the bass -- melt in your mouth bass. The food and the company was the best. After dinner we walked to a local coffee shop and chatted for hours. Finally, we had to say goodnight and I grabbed a cab back to my hotel - how SF is that?

And now I'm telling you about it. Later today, I move to the conference hotel. Hotel Nikko looks just as nice as my Hilton. I didn't have to get a priceline deal because work is paying. Yay! Mary and Ilmar and I will be exploring more restaurants in the coming days. I'll fill you in.