Sunday, May 25, 2008

Maybe we can sneak him in?

This movie trailer is causing quite a commotion in the Chickenbone Jones household today. Really, how could you go wrong with lyrics like "We're the real hot dogs, YO, HOLD THE BUN!"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Let's turn this bad boy around

I'm pleased to report that in an effort to make the universe stop being so mean, I have performed three selfless deeds, one of which was petrifying and therefore practically heroic.

First (and least scary) I nominated my friend Robyn's funny blog post for Five Star Friday. If you don't know what Five Star Friday is, that's sad for you. Because it's a collection of highly entertaining blog entries, posted (when? WHEN?) each Friday, and it's great reading if you're a short-timer who must pretend to be working for at least another half-hour before she can leave early in a respectable manner. The founder of Five Star Friday is none other than good ol' Schmutzie.

Then last night, because my husband was tied up in a meeting, I showed up 90 minutes early to Indiana Jones and held our place in the nerd line all by myself. New pet peeve: Dummies who show up to a movie premiere as big as Indy and then gawk and squeal and pretend to be horrified by the long lines. Pipe down and move it along, rookies.

Finally, this morning I spied a large daddy longlegs spider crawling near the baseboard in the kitchen. I might not have noticed if it weren't for Chickenbone trying earnestly to give it a kiss. I quickly grabbed a glass and placed it over the spider, who freaked out and started going that scary huffy-puffy thing daddy longlegs do when they're agitated. It wouldn't crawl into the glass, though, and I was afraid to move around too much for fear of accidentally crushing one of its wee legs. So there I was, squatting for like 10 minutes, tapping the glass, scootching it around, and swatting away the dog who wanted NOTHING MORE IN LIFE than to lick this spider. Eventually I reached over to the counter and grabbed a magazine, worked one of the pages under the rim, and coaxed the spider into the cup. Then I walked (calmly, but veryveryveryquickly) outside and set the lad free.

Turns out that old ladies in parking lots? WAY scarier than spiders.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Not stressed enough. Must have car accident.

So I had a bit of an auto mishap yesterday, which is cool, because lately I just can't get enough of feeling my nerves rattle around inside my skull.

It happened at Trader Joe's, in an area of the parking lot that is very poorly designed. So poorly designed, in fact, that upon parking there I thought, "Gosh, I really shouldn't park here. This spot! It is so poorly designed!"

Trouble is, there's no wiggle room when backing out of this particular row of spaces. So the moment you pooch out even a teeny bit, you are basically in the dead center of oncoming traffic. As I was backing out (slowly, and after having checked my mirrors AND craned my neck around to check both sides) I heard a crunch. There in my rear-view mirror was this older-model black Cherokee. And speaking as the most careful backer-outer you ever met, I can assure you that car was SO NOT THERE BEFORE. I think she was going too fast, and because of two big SUVs shielding my car from her view, neither of us saw the other coming.

The other driver, who looked like she could be somebody's very nice grandma, immediately hopped out of her car, mad as a hornet. She waved her finger at me and yelled that I'd pay for this. Then she hissed "Bitch!" and called 911 on her cell phone. Hmm, overreact much? The damage honestly wasn't bad. There were some scuff marks on the side of her car, while I definitely took the brunt of it, with big scratches and some chipped paint on my rear bumper. Making things even more chaotic, this broad left her vehicle right where it was, blocking all the traffic in that lane. So while she was throwing her tantrum, there was a steadily growing line of cars filled with honking, swearing drivers hollering at her to get out of the way, as the blazing midday sun beat down on everyone. It was AWESOME.

The woman calmed down after a cop came by and said, no, ma'am, there is nothing I can do about this, and also could you please move your shit out of this lane of traffic. After she parked her car, this lady (who kept repeating how she initially "wanted to kill" me) admitted it was a horrible parking lot and that we simply had no way of seeing each other. She called her daughter, who came down and agreed that we should probably just part ways and each take care of our own damage, as opposed to filing insurance claims. And so I went home and fixed myself a cocktail.

Later that afternoon, though, my brother convinced me to alert my insurance company anyhow, even if I don't plan to use my coverage. Because who knows if this woman is going to go home and decide she has whiplash or something. So I did, and poof! Now there is an accident claim, and my insurance company sent me a helpful e-mail saying that everything is most definitely my fault. And just now, the lady's insurance guy called me and wants to know what happened, so obviously my company called her company, and now she probably thinks I am a big, fat double-crosser!

I am having a hard time cheering up from all of this. My trusty "it could be worse" line is currently out of gas. Also, whenever I stop worrying about the car stuff, I revive my worry about the TB stuff. Oh, a neat update there is that the principal at the school where I'll work, who has been there for decades, said I'm just the second person she knows of to test positive for tuberculosis. In decades. WOE IS ME, LITTLE BLOG AUDIENCE. WOE IS ME.

Wait, I know -- maybe I should just quit my job and run off to Mexico! How's June sound? Cancun, you say? A vacation that includes the most patient husband in the world, plus lots and lots of tequila? Swell idea. Consider it done.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Must add blog label called "unfortunate medical updates"

I don't see a way to ease into this comfortably, so, uh, well, evidently I have been infected with tuberculosis. Earlier this week I went to the county clinic (had to get tested for my new job) and they injected a little something under the skin on my left forearm to see if my body would react. This morning I went back for the doctor to "read" the results, which were positive. Or, more accurately, they were a furrowed brow, a tilt of the head, and a "Hmm, this isn't good."

Now, I already went and had lung X-rays that confirm I do not have ACTIVE tuberculosis. So I'm not contagious, I feel fine, and I can still go work at a school. This just means I have been exposed. But, there is dormant bacteria snoozing somewhere in my body, and my doctor is urging me to take a nine-month course of powerful medication to kill it. During those nine months, I can neither drink alcohol nor get pregnant. Which is unfortunate, since in the coming year I was definitely planning on doing at least one of those, if not switching to the other. If you catch my drift. Also, the medication could do serious damage to my nerves or my liver. Fun!

OK, look, I know it could be worse, and lots of people suffer lots of things that, you know, actually make them feel quite ill. But right now I just feel really super pissed off. I have VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS with the idea of taking my perfectly healthy body and putting it through such suffering for such a long period of time. But my doctor also said that if/when my immune system ever starts to decline, that's when little sleeping TB monsters can wake up and start chomping on my lungs. And if that happens when I'm older, I'm basically screwed, since they don't give this medication to older folks. So that's why I should do the crazy treatment now, when I am -- according to medical standards, at least -- "young."

What I love, though, is how not only can they NOT guarantee that the treatment will work, THEY CAN'T EVEN GUARANTEE I HAVE THE BACTERIA. They just think I PROBABLY do. And that the treatment SHOULD work. And then I was like "So, what if I do the whole treatment, and get through the whole nine months, and then I accidentally walk past someone who coughs the TB germs back in my face? Will I just get it AGAIN?" The doctor nods. In theory, he says, yes. You could. Greeeeeeat. Perfect.

I'm mad. Super mad. And also frightened. I told my aunt, who was all "Stop crying! Don't be upset! We just need to do research! We need to find some answers!" And I'm like, dude, googling "tuberculosis" will SO not get me anywhere. There will only be more confusion, more scary words and scenarios, more questions with no answers. OK, just now I actually did a search on "tuberculosis" to see if I was right, and sure enough I got through about three paragraphs of the wikipedia entry before I squinched my eyes shut, clapped my hands over my ears, and started yelling "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!"

OK, so what to do next. Well, in my family, when things like this happen, we turn to our good friend, the sense of humor. Sal has already started referring to me as "Consumption Junction." And I have decided to make my disease more hip by referring to it as "vintage." Oh, I also made up this joke:

(Who's there?)
(TB who?)

See, things are gonna be just FINE.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Eating our fruits and veggies

I was unpacking groceries yesterday when I heard a knock on the door. It was a woman with a cart full of freshly picked strawberries. She wanted to sell me an entire flat, but I am cheap and wanted just one small carton. We split the difference, and I bought three containers for $6. It was such a bargain (and delivered right to my doorstep, even!) that I figured they might not be very good. Uh, wrong. They are to die for. They're plump and juicy, and they taste like they have been swirled in pure sugar.

Sometimes I get really worked up over fresh fruits and vegetables. Like, check this out: About an hour after the strawberry lady left, I washed dirt out of the spinach I bought at the store. Dirt, WHICH INCLUDED A LIVE BUG, right from the very ground in which the spinach was born! Things like fresh-from-the-earth spinach are why I will never, ever, ever move out of California.

Evidently I'm not the only one in the family who appreciates fine produce. When I wasn't looking, Chickenbone grabbed a strawberry out of the cartons, which were sitting on the coffee table. I made a short video of him trying to get the strawberry to play with him. It gets a little slow in minute two, after he meticulously bites off the tiny green leaves, one by one. But he does a trick at the end, so keep watching!

Chickenbone and the strawberry from Amy on Vimeo.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why I had champagne for dinner last night

First reason: Today ends a three-month weight-loss contest at work. So I couldn't very well eat ACTUAL FOOD the night before final weigh-in. The good news is I lost 15 pounds in the contest, maybe good enough for 3rd or 4th place. And in a field of more than 20 men, I think that's awfully respectable.

Second reason: Yesterday I put in my notice at the newspaper, because I got a new job. A sparkling new job! Here's the announcement that went out to the staff last night:

-----Original Message-----
From: Fong, Katharine
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2008 11:33 PM
Subject: amy pizarro

We’re sad to let you know that Amy is leaving the Merc at the end of the month to take a job as public relations director with Presentation High School in San Jose. Amy says it’s been her dream to work with students and teachers at just such a school – well known for its educational excellence and nurturing environment.

Amy began at the Mercury News as a sports designer/copy editor six years ago, quickly showing her editors that she was organized, hard-working and able to handle just about any task. She was soon tapped to become preps editor, improving our coverage both in print and online. Amy was part of getting our high school blog up and running, she edited and designed the All-Mercury News prep sections and worked with online folks to develop Web forms where coaches can send in stats from games, a technological breakthrough that we had craved for years.

Amy spent much of last year on the Rethinking team, and was critical in our development of the Play! section many of you heard about. Say what you will about where Rethinking ended up, but Amy's creativity, drive and determination to push for new ideas was critical within the group.

Most recently, Amy has served (ha! get it?) as our Food+Wine and Home+Garden editor. For those of you who know Amy well, you know how easy it is to get her to laugh at a pun.

Amy’s departure leaves an opening for a F+W/H+G editor. If you're interested, please talk to Katharine as soon as possible. Thanks.

Kevin and Katharine

UPDATE: Happiness stage over; now paralyzed by fear, realizing I went and got myself a job I haven't the faintest idea how to do.