Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Allergic to My Watch

I have suddenly and inexplicably developed an allergic reaction to my stainless steel Fossil watch.  I know, it is ridiculous sounding, isn't it?  In fact, it's the stupidest allergy I've ever heard of.  

When I went to the doctor on Saturday (after being sick since the first week of November), I also showed her the bright red patches on my wrist under my watch.  Contact dermatitis, she said...I'm allergic to my watch.  

I like my watch.  I have to have a watch.  At work I monitor things in 10 minute increments and hour increments.  I must have a watch.  And what kind of a person becomes allergic to stainless steel?  Is that even possible?  

When the rash first started to appear a month ago, I thought I had gotten something on the watch, so I scrubbed it and cleaned it and put it in hydrogen peroxide and later bleached it and thoroughly cleaned it.  It didn't work.

So along with a host of other drugs that have me feeling much better (I can breathe and sleep and am not sneezing every 2 minutes and am getting over an infected head), I also have some cream stuff that I apply twice a day.  It seems to be helping, but I still wear my watch...I wrap my wrist in rolled gauze first, of course.  

So I'll need to buy a new watch, one that does not have stainless steel on it.

Any ideas?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In Loving Memory of Jimmy the Turtle

Yesterday I learned that Jimmy the Turtle died on Christmas Day.  

You may recall I turtle-sat Jimmy over Thanksgiving weekend while his Mom was visiting relatives out of town.  I have to admit I shed some tears when I found out because I know what it's like to lose a loved pet.  Jimmy's Mom was also still very upset when she told me.  I told her I had taken some pictures of Jimmy when he stayed with me, and I have just returned home from Walgreen's where I had this one and another made into 8x10s and a few smaller pics as well.   I think I'll find a nice frame for this one tomorrow and give them all to her on Monday.  Jimmy's Mom has a little boy of 2 1/2 who was surely devastated upon hearing the news.

Rest in Peace, Jimmy.  You were a good turtle boy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Christmas

I woke up too early yesterday, fully congested as usual, so I got up and tried to remedy that.  Sleep evaded me for a while, but I was finally able to fall to slumber again, thankfully.  At 10:45 I had to get up, shower, and make ready for driving to my parents' house.  

I thought I might not make it down the stairs with my bag, two bags of gifts, a vegetable tray, and my horn, but I did.  My legs and knees and feet are so sore from these past few weeks of running around the store that I did not want to have to climb up to the third floor again.

Traffic wasn't too bad, and I didn't see any cops, so I was able to drive swiftly.  We ate lunch at 1pm, and I realized I wasn't hungry.  I haven't really been hungry for a while, which is very unusual for me...too busy, I suppose.  I had some ham and a couple rolls and bypassed all the veggies and cranberry sauce and the cold mashed potatoes.  

I noticed my mother had gotten her hair highlighted, but didn't say anything, because that would detract from her melodramatic performance later in the meal about how no one notices her and how we all pick on her.  Hmmm, we each of us have our roles to play, I suppose.  When she started talking...again...about how she was so mistreated as a kid and how she's still scarred by it (no kidding), she completely does not see that she did the same to my sisters and me.  No, of course she doesn't.  So I pointed out her behavior and told her to stop it...again.

After the food was put away and the china washed, we all met in the living room to open presents.  There were 10 of us total.  Eight of us had decided last year that we would draw one name and only have to buy a gift for that one person plus my nephew.  The arbitrary spending limit was $50.  I had picked up some neat puzzles and games at my store when they went to $1 earlier this year, so his gifts were $5, and I made some of my Umm-Art for my sister, so all of Christmas cost me about $35.

After the gifts were open, my younger sister, who was sitting next to me, announced that she and her Um-er Allan got engaged the prior evening, on Chrismas Eve.  Awww, how sweet.  I must be an evil person because my first thought was, dear god, don't ask me to be a bridesmaid.  And it just now occurs to me that Charles' premonitory dream was right...through 2 degrees of separation, he knows someone who got engaged on Christmas Eve.  I've decided one thing.  I'm not wearing a dress.  Screw that.

I showed my family my bugle, and my two sisters played on it a bit.  Older sis played flute in band, and younger sis played flute then switched to horn after I made her.  I also held the horn so Nephew could try to play it.  He actually buzzed out a few notes and thought it was mighty keen.  Maybe he'll be interested in band some day.  He needs an activity like that to keep him focused and give him goals to work toward.

I gave the Pets with Tourette's to my younger sister, and it got passed around to everyone.  All but my Aunt thought it was hysterical.  I'd never seen my older sister laugh so much or my parents turn so red in the face!

I ran around the back yard with my nephew, and then we all decided to go home.

It was a nice day, all in all.  Today I work and need to go now to get ready for it.  Have a good day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two More Days

Yes, just two more days until Christmas, and I am glad for it.  The entire world decided to wait until Sunday to start their shopping, which means that sometimes my store is so crowded it's difficult to maneuver from place to place.  

My M.O. this time of year is to be friendly but quick.  I don't have the time to hear you talk about the 4 possible morning shows where you think you saw/heard/learned of a book that might have been written by a man or a woman on the topic of history.  You gotta give me something to go on.

There are 15 other people behind you that want help, too, and they might have come prepared, so don't make the world wait for you.  If you want a recommendation and ask for it, then take it graciously when I recommend it.  After all, you had no idea what to buy Aunt Sally anyway, and I just gave you a perfectly appropriate recommendation, so you're already better off than you were.  Just take it and wrap it and give it to her and be thankful I helped you out of a predicament.

And while you're at it, don't even think of giving my staff a hard time.  If I sense one bit of trouble coming out of you, we're going to have a chat, and you're not going to like the result.  There really is only so fast a person can ring on a register, there really are only so many phone calls a staff can field while also taking care of online reserves, not to mention all the people that are physically in the store.  Don't give my staff the evil eye when you see them walking to the bathrooms or the office area to take a break.  My store is over 30,000 square feet.  I'd like to see you run around that all day and not get tired.

And now...

Thank you if you were courteous and patient.  Thank you if you came prepared with a list.  Thank you for not getting mad when told we're sold out of something that all bookstores on earth are out of, and the publisher is out of as well.  Thank you for appreciating when I make a thoughtful and appropriate recommendation.  Thank you for donating a new book to the book drive for the children's home.  Thank you for trying to pick up after your kids, spouse, parents, friends.  Thank you for wiping off the toilet seat and the sink counter.  Thank you for complimenting my staff.  Thank you for shopping at my store and helping support the local economy.

Merry Christmas.   

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Did Not Do

Christmas cards this year.  I'm tired and I haven't felt right/good/healthy since October, so I didn't do them.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Bought Me a Bugle

A pretty one.  When it arrives I'll post pics.  It's used, but a new one costs $1010, which is more than I'm willing to pay right now.

Hooray for me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pets with Tourette's

I found THIS book in my humor section on Saturday.  It has a parental advisory on it, so of course I opened it to see what the deal was.  I took a look and started laughing so hard that I brought all the copies to a table at the front of the store...I sold them all in 30 minutes.

It's so vile and inappropriate and dirty...and it's awesome!  Who can resist laughing at a photo of a cute bunny with a quotation bubble above his head housing naughty phrases?

Apparently, this is the American version of the book.  The authors are British, and there is the original British version with different naughty words and phrases in it...search the title on youtube for a short snippet on it.

Too damn funny, really.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All About It

I'm just about half dead from fatigue...perhaps I'm 3/5 dead...that's almost half, right?  So, this will either be incoherent, sleepily pleasant to read, or unfathomably insightful.  Let's try for something in the middle, eh?

I had trouble getting to sleep Friday night because I was so excited about going to drum corps rehearsal Saturday morning.  I finally got about 5 hours of sleep, then got up and ready (I even ate breakfast, holy cow!) and drove to UTA to try to find the Fine Arts building.  As luck would have it, multiple graduation ceremonies were going on that day, and it took me 15 minutes to find a parking spot, by which time I had no idea where the Fine Arts building was.  So I just started walking in my best-guess direction and came across a lady who pointed me in a more refined direction.  Then I saw a kid in a high school band jacket and knew I was getting close.  The kid directed me into a set of doors, and then I found my way.  

I registered and met Sarah, the mellophone section leader, with whom I had exchanged a couple emails.  She was bright and friendly and welcoming.  Then I learned that rehearsal was delayed a bit because of the parking situation and because the equipment truck wasn't there.  After piddling around and doing nothing useful for a while, they decided to get going.  We had a brief introductory meeting in the recital hall, then we all moved to the band hall for stretching and conditioning.  The stretching was good.  The conditioning was strenuous for me, but it didn't completely kick my ass, so this is a good thing.  I need to get on a cardio routine asap!  

I made it a point during stretching/conditioning to stay on the side of the room with the color guard.  A corps can be so cliquey, with very distinct groups of guard, percussion, and brass (and of course sub-groups within that), and I don't want to be cliquey.  No one knew me yet, or knew who/what I was, so it was a good opportunity to hang near the people I won't get as much time with later.  

If I could give some feedback to the caption heads and knew it would be well received (I don't know them yet, so I can't tell that yet) I would advise them to be more inclusive of new people.  Certainly no one was mean or rude, but neither were they exceptionally welcoming, aside from section leader Sarah.  Perhaps because I'm in the service industry, my perspective is different than it would be had I stayed in the music/marching realm.  Regardless, if a corps is trying to build a full hornline, they need to make newbies feel special.  And so, I'm going to make a point of being very welcoming and inquisitive and show interest in new people at future rehearsals.

After a short break, the guard left to do their thing, and brass and percussion worked on marching basics.  Oh my how I had forgotten how fundamentals kill the calves and feet.  It is MUCH more strenuous to stay standing in one place at full attention than it is walking around my store all day long.  My body is very different from when I last marched, and my balance is way off.  My brain remembers what it needs to do, for the most part...even 14 years later...but getting my muscles to execute that is a challenge.  I did fairly well when we were breaking down the forward march, but I'm going to need to practice the backwards march a whole heckuva lot. 

It's funny how familiar all this feels.  I can't say it's all comfortable...that only comes with hours and hours of practice.  I can say that the first time we hit the 'set' position, my brain and body recognized it as something familiar.  

Getting back into the practice of executing very specific instructions, such as "we're going 16 counts, vocalizing in 8s, each line leaving 8 counts after the prior line, remember to vocalize the push off and the close, and subdivide as well" while still trying to have good posture and march correctly...well, that was a blast from the past.

It was all those little things coming back into my mind again.  I had a lot of 'oh yeah, I remember that thing' moments.  It was very nostalgic for me.  My calves and feet still hurt, by the way!

We broke for lunch, and finally the instruments came.  There was a problem with the vehicle that was sent to tow the equipment truck, so several people had to go take their personal vehicles to fetch the equipment.  I had brought my white gloves and my melli mouthpiece, and I got to play a mellophone bugle for the first time in almost 19 years.  I can't believe it has been half a lifetime since I marched drum corps, and slightly less than that since I've played any instrument or marched at all.  Wow.

We practiced breathing, horns up, and played a few warm up exercises.  Then I had to leave to go to work.  I couldn't take the horn with me, and I missed their working on the ballad for the show, but I'll get all that on January 10th when I'm able to stay for the entire day.

It felt good, playing again, though I was just a few steps above total-suckage.  The horn felt good and right in my hands, and the whole experience made me smile.  I hated to leave.  

I've even found a horn on ebay and placed a bid.  Hopefully, I'll win it and can have my own horn to practice on before next camp.  I think if I practice even an hour a day, I'll be up to a decent level by January 10th.

Well, I think that's all for now.  I have to get to bed.   

Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday--First Drum Corps Rehearsal

The rehearsal is set from 9-7, but since I work from 3-after midnight, I'll only be able to attend part of it.  

It's going to make for a really long day for me, but I'm super-excited.  

I told my staff today that I was going to march drum corps again, and they were very interested in it and what it involves and where they could see me perform.  

I found my old mellophone mouthpiece, polished all the tarnish off of it, and have been buzzing away for a few days on it.  I wonder how long it will take me to get my embouchure back in fighting form...weeks?  months?

As far as the physical part of marching...well, I'm anticipating a world of pain tomorrow.  I'm so out of shape, cardio-wise, that I'm going to be hating life for a while.

The advantage of marching this type of corps is that we're almost all adults, and the instructors will not be yelling at us like they did when I marched a DCI corps at the age of 19.  Yelling doesn't yield results in this case.

Well, I need to get to bed.

Wish me luck, and I'll write a post of how it went after I get home from work late late tomorrow night.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's a Me Me Me Me World

Today at work some poor lady had a seizure and collapsed in my store.  We called 911 and an employee of mine and I stayed with the lady on the floor as we awaited the paramedics' arrival.  It turns out that this employee is a former field medic and EMT, which I did not know, and I have dealt with people having seizures in my various stores before, so we had the situation under control.  

And so this lady is on the floor, breathing but unresponsive, and this employee and I are on the ground with her, and a couple of looky-lous pass by and stare.  I don't really have a problem with that...people will stare at the unexpected.  But then this young lady, maybe late teens/early 20s, stops and says, "Are you helping someone feel better?", to which I responded, "Yes".  

But then...yes, then...

This young lady says to us, "Are those bookcases the only cooking books you have?  Because I'm looking for a book called the Vegan Lunch Box, and I couldn't find the Vegan Lunch Box, so can you help me find the Vegan Lunch Box?"  Oh, yes she did.  She did indeed basically ask us to get up off the floor, leave the seizing woman all alone, and help her find her book.  Yup.  She did.

I directed this young lady to the information desk, but then one of my sellers noticed what was happening and offered to help this young lady.  

We were shocked.  We were appalled.   But really, we were not surprised.  

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blast From My Past

I've been thinking about it for a long time, and I think the time is right.

I've decided to do THIS.


My chops are gone, I'm way out of shape, and it's gonna kick my ass, but I love it and I miss it.  So, I'm going to do it.

Go check out the website and let me know if you have any questions.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Some Day I'll...

Finish my "Hell at Sea" story.

Complete my adventures to the TX State Fair in October.

Be able to explain adequately why I really like Christmas carols.

Look at the word 'accommodation' and think it looks right.

Be happy with what I have rather than unhappy with what I don't.

and other stuff.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Last night one of my friends (a newly promoted GM) took me to dinner to ask me advice about a couple people on her staff.  She has just taken over the store I left 6 months ago, after the guy I 'swapped stores' with left the company (thank god for that).  We talked shop, had a nice Tex-Mex meal, and made fun of the OVERLY LOUD AND RACOUS guy sitting with a large birthday party.  Damn, he was loud.  It was freezing cold last night...easily -7876546 degrees, but the food and our lively conversation kept us warm (not to mention the enclosed patio with the heater right by our table).

Today in a bit I am going to another friend's house from where we will go see the movie Twilight.  This will be my once-a-year outing to a movie theatre.  Hopefully, since the kids are all in school, there won't be any annoying chatter or cell phone usage, and few people at all in the theatre.  Then we plan on making dinner...possibly pizza.  Other folks will hopefully join us for the dinner portion of the day, and we always have a good time.  

And off topic, I bought the cutest-ever unmentionables the other day.  If you don't know what unmentionables are, then you'll just have to figure it out.  It's a phrase I learned from one of my college roommates, and it just tickles me to use it.  One of my favorite stores what having a Thanksgiving weekend of BOGO on practically everything in the store, which was perfect timing, because I was down to a perilously low one item of unmentionables for the top part.  The items I bought are cute, cute, cute!  I have never been so excited about unmentionables before.  It's so silly, the things that excite me.

I must go now to get ready for my day.  I hope yours is groovy, too.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Beedle Bard & Other Thoughts

We stayed open past midnight tonight to sell Beedle Bard.  It's now 1:36am, and I have to be back at work at 7am.  We have a home office visitor at 9am.  

Regarding the Guy:

You're totally right about the "He's Just Not That Into You".  I read that book when it first came out, and so many people poo-poo'd it, but I thought it made some good obvious points.  Basically, if a Guy is really into you, nothing will stand in his way.  I can't really blame someone for not wanting to make 'big changes' to see me, but since I have a car and could just as easily drive to him, I think in the end it probably has less to do with that and more to do with he doesn't like me as much as he thought he did at first.  

Still, it's kinda crappy knowing that someone thinks I'm not worth the effort.

But I still have my family, my friends, and all you wonderful people who are so good to me.  Thanks be to all of you.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Jimmy the Turtle

Here's Jimmy the Turtle.  Isn't he adorable?  He's lounging on my chair at home in this picture.
And here he is checking out the floor in my office at work.  What a cutie pie.