Sunday, December 30, 2007

Halloween Road Kill

While organizing photos on my computer, I came across some forgotten Halloween photos that I failed to post. My favorite photo of 2007 is the orange blob image. It is of a halloween cake that Nephew received. I don't remember what it looked like before, but it looks pretty mad at having been dropped...

Oh, and that guy in the uniform is not in costume, in case anyone was wondering. He dresses like that all the time. And although it looks like a shakedown was taking place, Nephew did get his candy back from the Chief.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Photos, courtesy of JAY, circa 2004.
All of these were shot from the Denver apartment, a third-floor, low-rise in Capital Hill. Every window had a great view. The snow-on-the-mountains photo is for the transplanted Kansan photographer who asked (begged) for snow a few days ago (I hear the rain on the roof as I upload these photos, grrr), the sunset photo is for the officer of the law who is a connoisseur of sunsets and sunrises (I suppose the 6 to 6 shift supports your habit-imagine having this view every day), and the night time photo is for me and my family who should recognize this view as the one from my toilet (crazy, huh? Like I said, there were no bad views in this apartment, not even from the freakin’ bathroom).

Christmas Morning

Sister called this morning to give us their game plan for the day so we would know when to expect them and cook accordingly. In the background I could hear what sounded like the drum solo part of a concert going on in her living room. Nephew was playing the drum set that Santa had given him for Christmas. As sis made her way through the kitchen and out into the laundry room with the phone, the drumming became less and less pronounced. “He’s frustrated,” she said. “Why?” I asked. “He was watching a Dream Theatre DVD and sat down at the drum set so he could play along with the musicians and when he couldn’t, he dramatically threw himself across the set, proclaiming, “I can’t play like it!” Oh the melancholy-ness of being four years old on Christmas morning and unable to play drums like Mike Portnoy.

Extra holiday bonus material, courtesy of my friend, the conductor of a youth orchestra (it is a rant on Pachelbel):

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pop Art

Hils finally relented and painted one of my most disturbingly favorite images...the Piggly Wiggly. And what's even better, she gave this to me for Christmas. It now graces the very large and formerly blank wall in my office, the one I swore would be home to my subway poster of Miles Davis Kinda Blue. If I turn just the right way in my chair, I am able to look squarely at it (and I do). As a matter of fact, I caught myself gazing very fixedly upon it a number of times throughout the day yesterday. What is even more cool is that the pig is missing one eyebrow. Hils is going to fix it today (over my protestations-a one eyebrowed Piggly Wiggly is more of a conversation starter than a two-eyebrowed Piggly Wiggly). If she must, she'll have to do it in my office as I can't really let it out of my sight...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So Saith Sonic, So Saith the Lord...

Disconcerting new obsession of mine…tater tots. I was just at the Sonic in RBC and ordered a breakfast burrito meal, which consisted of a burrito, a pod of tater tots and a Coke (I can’t believe that I’m even admitting to having eaten these items). Now, for me, any kind of fast food meal must be commenced with the eating of the fried item first. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that fried items just don’t taste as good once they’ve cooled (not to mention the fact that they lose a lot of their crispiness if one doesn’t consume them fresh out of the fryer).

So, I was sitting there alone in my car, eating tater tots and thinking about how good they tasted. I mean, I’m really thinking about how good they tasted, even though I know that they would undoubtedly upset my stomach later in the day (my body no longer likes fried foods). They were so good in fact, I began reading the menu again, looking for other combos that featured tater tots with, or in them. I was aware that there was a southern trend of using tater tots in recipes, such as tater tot topped casseroles and tater tot omelets, but what about something like tater tot fried catfish? It seemed like a natural progression from chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken, right? Wasn’t the whole idea behind chicken fried anything was that you were creating a fried-chicken-like crust around some food product in order to provide a crispy crunch surrounding a moist center? I mean, maybe I was completely wrong about this (and I expect someone to correct me if I am) but I thought that was how it was written in the Bible.

There were no foods on the Sonic menu with tater tots cooked into the main part of the meal, but a number of meals where tater tots played a plum role in the presentation. In fact, all of the meal deals came with such weapons of mass destruction as fries, tots or onion rings (just like Iran, Iraq and North Korea or, what I refer to as the Axis of Fast Food Evil). I was horribly thrilled at their abundance on the menu and at how especially fine the tater tots were tasting at that moment, but I realized that I’d almost finished off the whole tot pod without having taken the first bite of my burrito.

It was so small and cozy down in the bag, I almost hesitated to reach in for fear that I might wake it up from its nap. But, it was a burrito forgodsake! I opened it up, ate the end off of it so as to create a better receptacle for the salsa, doused it and took a bite. It was not as satisfying as the tater tots, but it did its job. With no more tots left, I turned the tot pod up and shook all of the tot grundies into my hand and ate them, because they were crunchy, and good too (so saith the Lord).

Quote of the day: "But, it looked like there were tots in the burrito..."

Reading: Naked by David Sedaris
Listening to: Andrew Bird (specifically, Tea & Thorazine)
Watching: Northern Exposure Season One (when I have time)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sacred Images?

It Could Happen, Part I

This was a little something I put together last year as a joke for the ladies with whom I was working at the time. They both were taking some time off at the holidays, and were leaving me alone in the Tech Services area. At one point, I believe that they considered finding me a sitter...and although I thought about it for the sake of this letter, I was not involved in the stealing of a fish from Broad Street. This may have only been funny to me and about three other people. Please forgive me if you are bored.

My Agenda While Dee and Tallulah Are Away Friday, December 22, 2006

7:30-9:00 Discard books for bookstore; try to get all videos out before 9:00am to avoid being knocked out of way by crazed-VHS-buying-patrons (didn’t they read in the New York Times that VHS is so yesterday?).

9:00-9:25 Collect All Sharpened Pencils.

9:25-10:00 15-Minute Break.

10:00-11:00 Make prank phone calls to all other departments w/in GPL. Also call Bobby Welch from untraceable phone and ask if he’s got Prince Albert in a can.

11:00-12:00 “Borrow” library director’s SUV; steal the six-foot, fiberglass prototype of the Broad Street Big Fish from the bench in front of the Hardin Center just to see if it can be stolen. Leave the premises. Call Bobby Welch back and ask him if he knows where his fish is.

12:00-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1:53 Practice breaking my best-time record on riding book cart down delivery ramp at back door.

1:53-2:27 Explain to the cops that I really work at the library when they arrive after being called on a disturbance involving someone riding a book cart down the delivery ramp at the back door of the library.

2:27-3:30 Practice throwing pencils into ceiling above Tallulah's desk.

3:30 Go home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hit Me Again, Harder This Time

Just got to work and opened up the grant file upon which I was working yesterday and there was NOTHING there. I'm looking around for a camera at this very moment and hoping that someone is going to jump out from behind the door and yell, "punked! The last two weeks have been a big joke! You can go back to your normal life now!" I'm way-ting...

Current theme song for my life:
Haitian Fight Song (II B.S)-Mingus
It has nice statements and responses.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Can Bank On It

A disgruntled patron called the Reference Department Saturday afternoon and left a message stating that he did not like the way his taxpayer's money was being spent at the library and that he was going to kill everyone who worked there, "you can bank on it." There were other things that he said as well, I'm sure, but once someone says something about killing, I tend to not hear anything else.

Now, lucky for us, he made the same call to the president of the United States, so he has been incarcerated. This is a troubled person who has had some dealings with the law before, someone I hope I never have the misfortune to meet.

To think that someone would make a threat like that over thoughts of his tax money being spent in a way with which he disagreed, and being unhappy that there are pictures in the newspaper of children enjoying themselves at the public library...I'm trying to think of ways in which to exact some type of revenge that are of a library nature, book press, exacto knife, lots of overdue fines for the rest of his life, permanent banning from the library...none of them instill the same amount of fear that a death threat can to a person who has, for the last two weeks been faced with the mortality of someone they love, someone who needs them to be around for support and help. I'm feeling a little vigilanteism coursing through my veins. Funny, I felt the same way when our apartment was broken into in Denver. I slept for three nights on the sofa facing the door which was pried open to access our home, in the hopes that the larcenist would return so that I would have a crack at the person who had made my home a place where I felt uncomfortable. I had very detailed fantasies of where the thief came back and I blinded him with my bare hands and pushed him out of our third-story low-rise, supposedly secure apartment-with-a-view window. I was comforted only by the passing of time and a poem that JAY passed out to our neighbors the following week when we did not get satisfactory answers from the super or the police concerning how this could have happened in a secure building. It eloquently captures the disorientation and the desperate need to respond when one is faced with threat. It is one of Steve Scafidi's best poems.

To Whoever Set My Truck On Fire
But let us be friends awhile and understand our differences
are small and that they float like dust in sunny rooms
and let us settle into the good work of being strangers
simply who have something to say in the middle of the night
for you have said something that interests me--something of flames,
footsteps and the hard heavy charge of an engine gunning away
into the June cool of four in the morning here in West Virginia
where last night I woke to the sound of a door slamming,
five or six fading footsteps, and through the window saw
my impossible truck bright orange like a maverick sun and
ran--I did--panicked in my underwear bobbling the dumb
extinguisher too complex it seemed for putting out fires
and so grabbed a skillet and jumped about like one
needing to piss while the faucet like honey issued its slow
sweet water and you I noticed then were watching
from your idling car far enough away I could not make
your plate number but you could see me--half naked
figuring out the puzzle of a fire thirty seconds from
a dream never to be remembered while the local chaos
of a growing fire crackled through the books and boots
burning in my truck, you bastard, you watched as I sprayed
finally the flames with a gardenhose under the moon
and yes I cut what was surely a ridiculous figure there
and worsened it later that morning after the bored police
drove home lazily and I stalked the road in front of my house
with an ax in my hand and walked into the road after
every car to memorize the plates of who might have done this:
LB 7329, NT 7663, and you may have passed by--
I don't know--you may have passed by as I committed
the innocent numbers of neighbors to memory and maybe
you were miles away and I, like the woodsman of fairy tales,
threatened all with my bright ax shining with the evil
joy of vengeance and mad hunger to bring harm--heavy
harm--to the coward who did this and if I find you,
my friend, I promise you I will lay the sharp blade deep
into your body until the humid grabbing hands of what must be
death have mercy and take you away from the constant
murderous swinging my mind makes my words make
swinging down on your body and may your children
weep a thousand tears at your small and bewildered grave.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Parking Lot Pas de Deux or Hi, I'm Tracy!

One of my dearest and oldest friends, The Senator, waltzed into my office on 7 December at approximately 3PM and asked me if I wanted to go see the Alabama Ballet’s The Nutcracker in B’ham on Saturday. I vacillated on whether or not to go because of Dad just being out of the hospital and all, but after talking with Mum, decided to go. You see, I wanted so badly to see this version of The Nutcracker because the Alabama Ballet was one of only six companies this year to have the rights to perform Balanchine’s version (choreography and story much more child-friendly than Baryshnikov’s adult verson). Balanchine happens to be my all-time favorite, classic choreographer. He was pretty good at what he did. So good in fact, he was responsible for pairing Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev together in the 60’s, thereby establishing what I believe to be THE quintessential ballet partnership of all time (another favorite partnership of mine, not of Balanchine’s making, was Baryshnikov and Kirkland-if you see the famous early 80’s production of The Nutcracker with those two in it and you will never want to see anyone else in the roles of the Nutcracker and Clara).

It was so nice to be back in a city with noise and traffic and sidewalks! In typical fashion, running late to the opening curtain, we literally had to run around the BJCC to find the correct entrance. Upper Tier, right smack in the middle (my favorite spot), great view! Was thrilled with this particular Heir Drosselmeyer; he was vampire-like with black hair and white skin and flew about the stage like a clock pendulum, black cape flapping like bat wings. The children in the audience were speechless at the sight (it was almost frightening and worked very well for building suspense). Clara was played by an absolute doll of a girl, diminutive and fetching, with beautiful technique (Jacqueline Cannon, who will probably become a principal in the company one day). And the Nutcracker was a fine danseur, but looked like post-surgery, post-eighties Michael Jackson in the face (were those his REAL cheekbones and was that his REAL nose? I tried to not think of this as I watched him dance, but it was his face after all, which was quite hard to avoid looking at).

It was a delightful production, mice and spice and soldiers cavorting about (youngsters and preschoolers who are notoriously unpredictable on stage, but huge crowd pleasers with their accidental stepping on each others’ tails and exaggerated helping-of-each-other-up-when-you-fall sort of behavior). If any of you blog readers have a chance to go see this production, please do. And take your children with you. It is a wonderful ballet to introduce young girls and boys to the dance world with.

A fun and extraordinarily distracting day (especially because I was miss-introduced as Tracy early on, and everyone purposefully continued to call me by that name all day). My thanks to the Senator, his staff and his company’s business trips!

Post Script: Notice the jazz hand of The Senator and the "I'm trying to hold my turnout" look on my face. Parking Lot Security was watching us closely (because we looked like professional dancers?).

Friday, December 7, 2007


Dad was released late Monday evening. I like this photo most because we were waiting alone together. About an hour before, Dad had been told that he was getting to go home, this after thinking most of the day that he would be released on Tuesday. Mom had gone ahead to fluff the nest. We knew that he had a couple of hours left in the hospital because he still had that ever-so-helpful IV in his neck (when removed, the patient has to recline for forty-five minutes before rising), and was waiting for the novel that would be his post-surgery instructions and prescriptions. Dad was super happy at this moment. The food tasted pretty good to him and he had real pants on for the first time in five days. I love the Bill Clinton thumbs-up he's giving me.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Good night with Dad last night. Chest-tubes out, catheter out. Some time after dinner, I had Nurse Deb show me how to unhook his oxygen from the wall and hook him to the oxygen on the wheelchair so that we could go for a stroll when he wanted. The set up is like this: oxygen is hooked to the back of the wheelchair, heart pillow is placed in the seat (just in case he needs it), Dad gets behind the wheelchair and pushes it around the hall until he gets tired. I accidentally gave him a bit of a tougher workout last night by forgetting and leaving the wheelchair breaks on. I’m still saying some Our Fathers for that.

I can tell he’s feeling better by the number of times he gets up and the conversations we are having about the news. We are in agreement on the impact of political candidates’ infidelities on their ability to be efficient leaders and whose business those infidelities are (none, and no one except those involved).

Was able to catch a flick last night while sitting with Dad. I had earlier in the day purchased a copy of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang because it was a well-received independent film and it had Robert Downy, Jr. in it (what a glorious actor). Oh man, I can’t believe that I had missed this film (no, I guess I can believe that I missed it, because I’m sure it never had a showing in Gadrock). I highly recommend it to anyone who likes brilliant dialogue and film-noir send-ups. I warn you to stop the film and use the loo about halfway through so that you don’t pee on yourself when you see the accidental finger-chopping-off scene (it’s true, someone’s finger accidentally gets lopped off in the most hilarious way and I am racked with laughter right now just thinking about it). It has what some folks would call gratuitous nudity and lots of cursing (two things of which I’m not personally opposed to), therefore, I will never be able to show it at the library (it is now lumped with some of my other non-library-appropriate favorites like Snatch, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, etc.).

I must ring off now. I’m tired and have to try to get some shut-eye so that I can make it back to the hospital in the AM. Also, I’m having great difficulty concentrating right now. I am currently sitting in my car in the parking lot of the local library, taking advantage of the wi-fi so that I can upload to my blog in a timely fashion. Across the street is a house that is ostentatiously decked out in holiday illumination and is playing the bleeding Carpenter’s Christmas album at a bloody awful volume (those of you who work at the library and the po-lice department know what I’m talking about). Occasionally, the monotony is broken up with Tchiakovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Funny, I used to like that song.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Dad is healing well; all of his incisions are so perfect in their cleanness. We have yet to see the big incision on his chest, but the ones on his leg and neck are very thin, tight looking and have no redness or swelling. Dad heals well, always has. He’s following orders quite well, drinking water when we give it to him (we need more output, if you know what I mean), performing his breathing exercises when it’s asked of him and walking the halls when the nurses make him. He’s quite good at the walking-the-halls thing, going farther down the hall with each venture. He’s always been a travelin’ man, he’s just a little slower on these trips.

So, I’m thankful for good pain medication and for people who respond well to it. Dad happens to be one of those people who responds within five minutes of receiving meds. Sometimes he waits a little longer to ask for it though. I can tell when he needs it by the way he breathes-short, shallow and sometimes, not at all. One of the major functions of the pain meds is for him to relax and breathe deeply. I believe the other function of the pain medication is to prevent him from remembering that he had a full body shave before the surgery. Shaving is quite necessary in this instance, as well as the pain medication, for if you are a man and have ever shaved your body for aerodynamics (biking and swimming—you men who have done this know who you are, and so do I) and then allowed the hair to grow back, it is not a pleasant experience. Your entire body feels like what I would imagine the antlers of a male elk in the spring would feel like, itchy (I don’t know this for sure, as I’ve never asked a male elk what his antlers feel like in the spring). But, the aerodynamic quality of the whole shaving thing is pretty cool. As a matter of fact, I think this little detail may put Dad at an advantage over some of the other patients on the eighth floor. I’m envisioning hallway races and bookies taking bets…I’ll place my money on the Irishman.