Friday, December 15, 2006

Wise Men

John and I were gazing in astonishment at some of the things sold in the Frontgate catalog. On the page next to the $400 cashmere pajamas was a jewelry box the size of a piece of furniture. It included a compartment designed to hold your entire collection of watches.

"Who needs 5 different watches?" I asked.

"Wise man say: He who have one watch always know what time it is. He who have two watch never sure," John responded.

"Are you that wise man?"

"I'm one of the wise men, but not that wise man. There are seven of us."


"Three of us brought gifts to the baby Jesus, three of us are ZZ Top, and then there's me."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The sun really DOES shine after a B+

although it's not shining today. Fall has rolled into town. Dark clouds hover and threaten rain (but rarely deliver), the temperature has plummeted to the high sixties, and fire places across the neighborhood are roaring. What wimps! The women at the symphony last night wore fur - I saw them with my own two eyes.

It's the kind of weather that makes me want to put on a bulky sweater and thick socks, open up all the windows, crawl under a blanket and read. (Which is a good thing because I have plenty of reading to do!) It reminds me of college when Jen and I shared a small one bedroom apartment. And our late night study sessions which M would join around 9. M always brought decadent treats designed as motivation and reward for making it through the endurance study session. Most of the time, though, we'd end up eating our treats while watching Friends (it was in its heyday) and then falling asleep on our books.

Another fall, another semester of studying. The 'mere 70 pages' we were assigned in week one was no ordinary 70 pages. I had to read each case 5 times before I could figure out who actually won. The topic was jurisdiction and the cases started with Pennoyer v Neff - words said to strike fear into the heart of even veteran lawyers. I started reading Sunday night and by class had read only three of the five case, but the three I did read I meticulously briefed - which turned into its on discouraging fact in a way. The cases I had struggled over, read and re-read, repeatedly consulted the dictionary and law dictionary about our professor summed up in two sentences a piece. The following week was our first exam.


Here's a mere tidbit of the exam: "Joe runs a corporation headquartered in South Carolina, though he has sales people across the country. He owns a vacation cottage in California which he sometimes uses for work, but he lives in Road Island. A customer of his bought JoeCompany product in California and is now suing in that state. Does the court there have jurisdiction?"

And so begins the attempt to weed out the uncertainties and apply the case law to the various scenarios that could be created from the multitude of possible resolutions to the different uncertainties. That was a nice sentence, wasn't it? Well, that's what it was like to read these cases, minus the Latin! And if like me, you throw up your hands at some those uncertainties and make some darned assumptions so that there's a chance you can answer the question in less than 6 pages, you get a B+.

And the worst thing is, I knew I was making this mistake WHILE I was doing it. (There's a name for that isn't there?!?!)

So now, for almost a week John has had to listen to the moaning and groaning of a B+ student. It goes something like this:

Deep, guttural, painful moan bellows out of the bedroom. "KK, are you alright?!" John shouts as he makes his way down the hall. And I reply "I AM A B+ STUDENT."

"John, I can't get the TiVO to do what I want. But then again...I AM only a B+ student."

This has gone on for days, but it's lessoning now as we prepare to study NIED. For you non-lawyers out there, that stands for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Duress!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Math to Wow Your Friends - Part 3

There is an island containing two types of people:

knights who always tell the truth and knaves who always lie.

You visit the island and are approached by two natives who speak to you as follows:

A says: B s a knight.

B says: A and I are of opposite type.

What are A and B?

answer coming Tuesday...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pre-Law Chronicle

About two years ago I casually mentioned to our neighbor that I'm interested in the practice of law. His eyes widened and he said 'You should take my class.'

Besides being a philosophy professor my neighbor is also a lawyer, and he teaches a class to expose undergraduates to the reality of law school. Finally this semester our schedules meshed, and I attend his class each Wednesday afternoon.

We've now met three times.

Here are my thoughts the morning after our first meeting:

It was FASCINATING. As I promised Jen I would, I sat on my hand for the first 15 minutes, trying to blend in. But it proved to much for me – I had so many questions! If both the federal and state courts have jurisdiction how do you decide where to try your case? Where would your odds be best?

We considered the process of filing a lawsuit and began a discussion of how jurisdiction is determined. We also spoke with a third year law student who works part time in the law school admissions office. Her stories about the clinics the school offers were amazing - students at her school get an opportunity to practice law (supervised of course) as a public defender, child advocate, prosecutor, you name it – all while gaining class credit.

But then she said that taking the LSAT isn't fun. Are you kidding me? The LSAT is one big logic test. I TEACH logic. And dare I admit? I used to work LSAT problems for fun.

For homework we were told to read four cases, roughly seventy pages in Introduction to Legal Method and Process by Berch, Berch and Spritzer, part of the American Casebook Series.

II coming soon!

New Beginning

Today Annie woke me at 7am for our morning walk. We strolled past all of the usual places, old houses, tall palm trees, our favorite dogs and cats. One house we walk past every morning is an older home, humble but perfectly maintained with two huge oak trees and inviting green lawn. In its front window hangs a small cloth banner with a single gold star in the middle, denoting a family member who serves in the military.

As I approached, a car pulled up the curb and a beautiful young girl emerged holding a bouquet of flowers. She was smartly dressed in a black skirt, lavender sweater set and simple black sandals with a one inch heel. Just as she stepped from her car a young man in blue jeans and an army t-shirt ran from the house to kiss her. They whispered and then he took her hand and guided her to the house. As they walked I heard him say, "Everybody's awake and they're really excited to meet you."

Just then she glanced back with a look of apprehension that turned to determination.

I couldn't help being excited myself!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hi Mom, How’s the porn?

My eyes just about popped out of my head when I heard John say that to Billie Sue. She spends several hours a day on the internet researching her genealogy, but until a few weeks ago she didn’t even know how to send an email. Now her computer’s infected with spywear.

“John, I didn’t want to call Jasmine [the local daughter-in-law and computer resource] because I didn’t want her to have to see this. But then I thought, ‘NO! This might be the really bad stuff the FBI is arrests people for!’ So I called her.’

Monday, September 18, 2006

How great is THAT?!

From the BBC:

Hundreds of Paris Hilton albums have been tampered with in the latest stunt by "guerrilla artist" Banksy.
Banksy has replaced Hilton's CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?
He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog's head.
A spokeswoman for Banksy said he had doctored 500 copies of her debut album Paris in 48 record shops across the UK.
She told the BBC News website: "He switched the CDs in store, so he took the old ones out and put his version in."
It might be that there will be some people who agree with his views on the Paris Hilton album
HMV spokesmanBut he left the original barcode so people could buy the CD without realising it had been interfered with.
Banksy is notorious for his secretive and subversive stunts such as sneaking doctored versions of classic paintings into major art galleries.
His spokeswoman said he had tampered with the CDs in branches of HMV and Virgin as well as independent record stores.
He visited cities including Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and London, she added.
A spokesman for HMV said the chain had recovered seven CDs from two Brighton shops but was unaware that other locations were affected.
Artistic leeway
No customers had complained or returned a doctored version, he said.
"It's not the type of behaviour you'd want to see happening very often," he said.
"I guess you can give an individual such as Banksy a little bit of leeway for his own particular brand of artistic engagement.
"Often people might have a view on something but feel they can't always express it, but it's down to the likes of Banksy to say often what people think about things.
"And it might be that there will be some people who agree with his views on the Paris Hilton album."
A spokesman for Virgin Megastores said staff were searching for affected CDs but it was proving hard to find them all.
"I have to take my hat off - it's a very good stunt," he added.

Learn more about our new hero Bansky here

Biking to Work

Riding my bike to work has been interesting.

I've made the acquaintance of several nice people - other cyclists and a couple of motorists.

I've nearly been hit twice - which resulted in a bit of yelling on my part.

And last week I saw my favorite TV star.

But probably the most interesting thing is what happened today. I was stopped at a red light and a fellow biker pulled up along side of me.

"I just want you to know," he said, "when I get married, I want my wife to look just like you."

What a complement! Even if it did come from a homeless man missing his two front teeth.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

So I told my girlfriend T about this great tile I had seen. It said:

I think I'll just skip my medicine today and surprise everyone!

Then T said that one of her favorite saying has always been:

Men are like tiles - lay them right the first time and you can walk all over them.

Got any tile jokes of your own?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I See Buckeyes

Yesterday we flew to Austin to watch #2 ranked Texas take on #1 ranked Ohio State at the Daryl K. Royal Texas Memorial Football Stadium. This is the biggest football event to take place in Austin – ever – as two storied programs with the top rankings meet during the second week of the season. Planes into Austin were packed. Thirty thousand buckeyes have made their way here even though The University gave them only 4,000 seats for the game.

My plane was filled with burnt orange shirts, caps, even luggage, and as I got only the last leg of my flight, it was even filled with a little red. I made my way down the aisle, trading Hook ‘em’s at every step and found my seat – right smack dab next to the enemy.

A big burly black man about 6’5” 250lbs, who looked like he could snap a man’s neck with no more effort than popping his knuckles, stood and let me take the middle seat beside him. I grunted my apprehension/appreciation stored my burnt orange back in the overhead and sat down beside him.

“You have tickets to the game?” I ventured. Texans are never rude.

“Of course,” he sounded surprised by the question.

“I heard a bunch of Buckeyes are coming just to show support. You guys have rented out the entire Erwin Center (basketball arena) for your pep rally.”

“No kidding,” now he was really surprised.

We were quiet for a bit, and then I leaned over to quietly confess, “I’m a little nervous.”

For the first time he really looked at me, then he said in a slow soothing voice, “Ah, it’ll be alright.”

“It will?”

“Yeah,” he let the word linger there to comfort me.

For a moment we were distracted by other passengers, and I got the strange impression that he was so kind to me because he thought I just admitted that I was afraid to fly.

“No, I’m not nervous about flying. I’m nervous -”

“About the game. I know. To tell you the truth,” he whispered, “I’m nervous too. I’m just trying not to show it. Putting up a brave front.”
At that moment a longhorn sat down in front of us. He turned and asked my Buckeye, “Excited about the game?”

He was speechless.

“We’re cool,” I said.

“Yeah. We’re cool,” he echoed. And so I befriended a Buckeye.

When I John about my adventure (he was on a different flight) he was flabbergasted. “Consorting with the enemy! I thought you were a better judge of character than that!”
I just smiled. Maybe I’ll see my Buckeye at the game.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It’s no secret that Texans ain’t too fond of Californians

“They dress funny, talk funny, and sure as hell eat funny. I mean, who the hell ever heard of eating raw fish?” you might hear a Texan ask.

Never mind that the same things could be said of them with their cowboy boots, starched Wranglers, belt buckles and Stetsons and their insistence that a meal isn’t a meal unless you’ve eaten a dead animal.

Though I was born and raised in Texas and still feel an undeniable, intrinsic attraction to its ways, I am unabashedly more at home in California. I blend in seamlessly with the tank-top, flip-flop wearing, sushi-eating, liberal view-espousing crowd.

So it is with a different perspective that I see and enjoy my native state when I return.

After our wedding we spent a few days at a B&B in the hill country. Our private cabin opened out to a field where we watched the deer each evening. In the morning we could hear distant cows bray and quail coo. This little B&B boasted a renowned chef who’s been featured in publications such as Gourmet Magazine. Each morning we were delighted and stunned by what he considered breakfast: three courses, every one with generous portions of devastatingly rich concoctions. That’s when it occurred to me that Texans are trying to kill Californians with butter!

“This morning we’ll start with strawberries and blueberries in heavy cream and your choice of an almond Basque tart or a raspberry lemon scone served with butter, jams and thick cream. Then for breakfast [as if that other stuff were a mere crumb] we have your choice of pancakes with hot maple syrup and our homemade pork sausage or a cheese and mushroom frittata served with mashed potatoes [with butter] and bacon.”

Each morning I plowed through the fruit, the pastry [which I’m sure contained an entire stick of butter per serving] and as much of the actual breakfast as I could manage. And each morning I had to make a mad dash back to the cabin because I was utterly sick to my stomach from the richness of the meal.

Not to worry, though. We rounded out our meals of butter and heavy cream with generous helpings barbeque and beans. When we found one barbeque join that served canned green beans I sat down and ate an entire heaping mound of them all by myself.

Needless to say, I’m glad to be back home in California - where I can finally get a cup of coffee with skim milk instead of cream.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Favorite Wedding Moment #7

This isn’t exactly a favorite moment but it’s a continuation in the wedding cup size saga, so I thought I should include it.

Recap: Bought beautiful sleek wedding dress and had first fitting. Exercised like crazy to look good in sleek dress and went second fitting. The bust of the dress seemed to have ballooned – the only place, apparently, that I had lost any weight.

As fate would have it, the day before we flew to Austin I stopped by the neighborhood boutique to show the owner the amazing necklace her dad (the neighborhood jeweler) had made for me. We chitchatted and I told her about the ironic turn in events of my cup size. She grabbed a little pink box off the counter and handed me the miracle of plastic boobs. “Here, try these. They’re even grope tested!” she said.

So those were packed in the suitcase along with everything else. And as I dressed for the wedding I slipped them in my dress (where my previous larger boobs used to be) and marveled at myself in the mirror. For the first time in my life I had cleavage. I wanted to keep standing in front of the mirror groping my own amazing new boobs, but somebody was saying something about taking pictures and I had to go.

The plastic contraptions served me well all through the pre-wedding photos, the ceremony, the first dance, and the dinner. All until I took a moment to slip outside with John. When we came back inside we were whisked to the stage for toasts and then off to cut the cake and greet the guests. As we walked back toward the dance floor my hand brushed waist where I felt the unmistakable bulge of a very grope-able plastic boob.

I ran to the back of the room grabbing the photographer on my way to act as my shield. I reached inside, readjusted, restored the cleavage and asked, “Was that there while you photographed the cake and toasts?” “I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out,” she said wide-eyed.

The pictures will be available on September 25th.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Favorite Wedding Moment #6

My girlfriend M rolled her 86 year-old wheel-chair bound grandpa over to see me.

“KK, I have something to say to you,” he said in his slow, deliberate Alabama way. And then, drawing out the end of each phrase he said,

I hope you have the ability
To keep your agility
To maintain your virility
Until your senility.

Then he sat back proud and just beamed with a smile stretching ear to ear.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Favorite Wedding Moment #2-5

One of John’s friends after meeting Billie Sue for the first time:

“John, I got a chance to talk to your mom at the barbeque, and she went on and on telling me how different the two of you are. But the whole time I felt like I was talking to you.”

My dad in his toast:

"I want to wish you both good luck - especially John."

The very first thing my cousin's boyfriend said to me after the ceremony:

"How did the quarterbacks look at the scrimmage this morning?"

John's brother after our first dance:

"If Dad had known that you two were going to dance like that, he would have stayed alive for the wedding."
John said not to worry, King Richard had the best seat in the house.

One of John's best friends when he saw me in my wedding gown for the very first time:

Thanks alot Bill.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Favorite Wedding Moment #1

John’s three-year-old nephew had been told to ‘behave at the wedding’ so many times that whenever he saw John’s mom he’d shout, “Granny, I’ll be good at the wedding!” And he was. I’m not sure that anyone enjoyed our wedding more than he did.

He went with his mom and dad and granny to try on his tails before the big day. He shimmied on his dress pants and dress shirt and then his bow tie. “You look handsome Drake,” granny fawned. “No. Not yet,” he was adamant. He slipped on his silver vest. “Not yet,” he warned. Then he put on his black coat with tails, launched a huge smile and said, “NOW I’m handsome.”

The night of the wedding he danced almost every dance, never taking off his coat. The next day he asked, “Can we go to KK’s and John’s wedding again today?”

My goddaughter Rachel, who is also three, was equally thrilled to be in the wedding. So much so, that in the days leading up to it she referred to it as her wedding. “Mommy, when do we get to go to my wedding,” she’d ask.

At the rehearsal she was none too sure of the little boys who were traipsing around. I asked the five-year-old later, “Why were you chasing Rachel?” “Because she wouldn’t hold my hand,” he answered. But something magical must have happened because after that they were inseparable. They held hands at the rehearsal dinner and at the pool the next day – he showed off his canon ball and she showed off her goggles.

There was actually a plan of who would walk with whom down the aisle, but we were prepared to witness almost anything during the real event. As it turned out my two-year-old goddaughter walked down the aisle with her mom Jen, my five year-old cutie walked down with John’s two oldest nephews, and the two three-year-olds accompanied each other.

The aisle has two short sets of steps and at the first one Drake let go of Rachel’s hand and jumped down all three steps at once. Then he did a little dance and finally caught up with Rachel who was sprinkling petals nicely along her way. When she reached the front, she turned her basket upside down and shook it to make sure not a petal was left. Then she kicked off her shoes and sat down right next to the preacher. Meanwhile Drake said, “Now I’m going to walk down again with KK and her daddy,” and before anyone could stop him he was blasting back up the aisle. His dad’s face dropped and he silently mouthed Stop Him but to no avail. John’s friend Rob started whispering, “he’s at the 50, the 40, the 30, he may Go. All. The. Way! Oh – stopped at the 10 yard line,” where he was scooped up into his mom’s arms.

That was a tough act to follow!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I am told that it was a lovely wedding.

That the ceremony was sweet and touching, that the brides maids and groomsmen cried. That the flower girls and their little boy escorts were adorable. That the reception was a blast – the food and cake and swing band divine. That is was the best wedding people had ever attended.

For me it’s all rather a blur – there was nervousness, love and wonder, excitement and dazzling dancing, a whirlwind of people, a couple bites of food, tears, a mad dash for our waiting car, more tears, relief and exhaustion.

I am thrilled and honored to be married to my John. I know that we will love and cherish each other for all the days to come. That together we will share in and support each other through whatever life may bring. I have married the best man I have ever known.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

John's bathroom

On Friday the contractor installed the toilet in our new bathroom. John was thrilled to see the gleaming white beacon when he got home. We marveled at it; we flushed it; we tried it out for size. (I must say it does have a very form-fitting seat.) We played with the lid and seat. (Without realizing it I had ordered a model with an automatically closing lid and seat. I think it might actually make John keep the lid down just for the shear novelty of it.) Later that evening I couldn’t find him or the day’s paper.

“Where are you? What are you doing?” I shouted.

“I’m in the bathroom. Reading.”

“You’re just sitting in there reading?”

“Yep. I paid nineteen thousand dollars for this bathroom, I sure as hell am going to get my money’s worth out of it!”

Friday, August 04, 2006

Wedding Dreams

As the days till the wedding evaporate, my dreams about the wedding are becoming more frequent. Here's a taste of my mind's moonlight wanderings.

I stepped into my wedding shoes and the heels shrank - from a sexy three and half inches down to a mere half inch. With no time to spare I grabbed my laptop and headed straight to Stuart Weitzman. But my wireless card wasn't working and Tim Allen was too busy playing balderdash with his friends to help me. Don't even ask why I was at the tool man's house. I struggled in vain until I woke. Lucky for me my shoes are still a stunning 3 1/2 inches tall.

Monday, July 24, 2006

For the love of God, PUT ON A SHIRT

I can stand the heat.

I can even stand the humidity.

But what I absolutely cannot stand is one more sight of a droopy, bulging, hairy, neon white naked chest.

I know the heat can make some people do crazy things like walk around outside with no shirt on. So if you're one of those people, please let me help you.


Of course, if you look like this, none of the above comments apply.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

For Your Understanding

I will never have children.

I have suffered three periods of major depression, each time more severe than the last. My most recent experience changed me in a fundamental way. I no longer expect happiness to outweigh misery. I no longer see life without knowing that the heaviness of depression awaits me. I fully expect it to return, and one day to take me with it. I am born of this earth and I will struggle to survive, but I would never wish ‘life’ upon another.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I Have Become My Father

If it were up to me, I never would have done it. But John insisted.

And so this week the miracle of air conditioning appeared in our home. It is a truly glorious, blessed thing that simply cannot be appreciated by those who have never gone without.

We set it to 68 and stood mesmerized in front of the vent as our hair and clothes were blown by a massive rush of cold air. I went around the house drawing curtains, shutting off vents and closing the doors to empty rooms, turning off lights, and tightly securing doors and windows. I refused to let even the tiniest wayward lick heat into our dreamy comfort.

“Shut that door, you’re letting the cold air out!” I yelled to John.

With fear in his eyes I heard him say, “I’ve created a monster.”

Pre-Marriage Test #245: Remodel Your Bathroom

Make sure that:
It’s the only bathroom in your house with a shower
You do it exactly one month before your large out-of-state wedding.

Our front bathroom no longer exists. In its place are a few beams, a view of the roof above them and the earth below. Among other things this means that John and I are now sharing one bathroom with its quaint little 1929-built cast iron bathtub. John’s first strategy to avoid the bathtub was to be out of town for the entire renovation. When that failed he planned to limit his baths to once a week. Luckily, that one failed too.

On Saturday morning I heard the water running and some splashing and a few loud thumps, so I gingerly tiptoed down the hall and peeked into the bathroom. John sat there, his knees crumpled up to his chest, wedged into the little tub, with a grimace on his face.

He said he felt like a cowboy in an old Western sitting in a metal tub, being forced to bathe by the womenfolk.

“Is there anything I can get you?” I offered.

“Ma’am, water is for horses. What I need is whisky!”

Friday, July 14, 2006

Could Somebody Please Explain This to Me?

These two plants have been living together and thriving together since Christmas. They're the same variety, were planted at the same time in the same sunny location, get watered the same amount, mulched the same amount, loved the same amount. Then last week the one on the left shriveled into a despondent, crunchy, brown mess and died. The one on the right continues to thrive.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

God Bless Google Talk

Jen and I live thousands of miles apart, but we visit each other's living rooms every afternoon.

KK: Great Dooce today!

Jen: Yes, I know.

KK: I just read the Tech Weekly article – I can’t believe she gets paid to blog!

Jen: Nice right.

KK: I want to go watch TV right now but I can't find the remote control - panic!

Jen: THIS is why you need a kid

KK: You mean - to make the kid find it right? Not to make me watch less TV?

Jen: Neither. To change the channel for you.

Jen: Is it a problem that I just asked my neighbor for a beer to marinate a steak in, and instead of using it for the marinade, I used vinegar and drank the beer

KK: I love you Jen.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Prenup

Back when John and I were first getting to know each other his brother got married. Somehow the topic of prenuptial agreements came up and we started talking about whether either of us were the kind of person who would want a pre-nup before we married. All very hypothetical. John said absolutely! His brother has one and so will he. I said absolutely not. I didn’t want to marry someone if we believed we needed a contingency plan.

Time went by, and then John and I began dating, fell in love, moved in together. Now here we are five years later planning a massive, insane, fabulous wedding.

A couple of months ago I was joking with my good friend Steve that John seemed to have forgotten all about the pre-nup - to which Steve quickly replied that he’d be sure to remind him!

Yesterday out of the blue John said, “We still need to do our pre-nup.”

I decided to play it cool. “Would you like me to write it in purple glitter pen? Like I did back when you were my boss and seduced me and I wrote that I wouldn’t sue you for sexual harassment?”

“Yeah, like that.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dancing is making love to music…

Or so says Frank Sinatra.

John couldn’t find a better way to show me how much he loves me.

“Sometimes I feel like my feet aren’t connected to the rest of my body,” he tells me. “You mean I have to move my arms AND my feet and the same time?” he asks.

Two to three times a week, for the past four weeks John and I have been taking private ballroom dancing lessons. This was our deal. John wanted a big wedding; I wanted to elope. So I agreed on a huge bash, and he agreed to a swing band and dancing lessons.

Why men are so averse to learning to dance is beyond me. Don’t they know that women love a man who can dance? Don’t they know that dancing is making love to music?

John threw himself whole-heartedly into the lessons. He signed us up for the maximum number we could possibly attend before our wedding. He bought a book on ballroom dancing that he reads at breakfast and before bed. He brings his video camera and tripod to each of our lessons so that he can capture what we’re learning.

I know this doesn’t come easily to him. And I’m simply amazed at his patience and perseverance. I certainly know how much he loves me.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Poet

This weekend our fabulous neighbors threw us a wedding shower. We had a delightful time sitting on the patio overlooking the canyon sharing food and fun and presents with all of our neighborhood friends.

We especially enjoyed getting to know two former neighbors: Rose and Wayne. Rose is a study in serenity; calm and poised with a most endearing smile. Her husband Wayne is a rough and tumble sort, an ‘old fart from Texas’ as he calls himself. Throughout the afternoon he regaled us with stories of growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. And at one point, with his voice low and crackly he recited this poem.

The Devil in Texas

The devil, we're told, in hell was chained,
And a thousand years he there remained,
And he never complained, nor did he groan,
But determined to start a hell of his own
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained to a prison pen.

So he asked the Lord if He had on hand
Anything left when He made the land.
The Lord said, "Yes, I had plenty on hand,
But I left it down on the
Rio Grande.
The fact is old boy, the stuff is so poor,
I don't think you could use it in hell any more."

But the devil went down to look at the truck,
And said if it came as a gift, he was stuck;
For after examining it careful and well
He concluded the place was too dry for hell.
So in order to get it off His hands
God promised the devil to water the lands.

For he had some water, or rather some dregs,
A regular cathartic that smelt like bad eggs.
Hence the deal was closed and the deed was given,
And the Lord went back to His place in Heaven.
and the devil said, "I have all that is needed
To make a good hell," and thus he succeeded.

He began to put thorns on all the trees,
And he mixed the sand with millions of fleas,
He scattered tarantulas along all the roads,
Put thorns on the cacti and horns on the toads;
He lengthened the horns of the
Texas steers
And put an addition on jack rabbits' ears.

He put little devils in the broncho steed
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.
The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
The sand burrs prevail, so do the ants,
And those that sit down need half soles on their pants.

The devil then said that throughout the land
He'd manage to keep up the devil's own brand,
And all would be mavericks unless they bore
The marks of scratches and bites by the score.
The heat in the summer is a hundred and ten,
Too hot for the devil and too hot for men.

The wild boar roams through the black chaparral,
It's a hell of a place he has for a hell;
The red pepper grows by the bank of the brook,
The Mexicans use it in all that they cook.
Just dine with a Mexican and then you will shout,
"I've a hell on the inside as well as without."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I've Lost Weight!

Thanks to the running, the biking, the interminable dog walking, and the DDRing, I've lost weight in one place - my boobs.

The roll around my middle hasn't budged a bit, but now my wedding dress is too big in the bust.

I just can't win.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Kate Moss? Who’s Kate Moss?

My friend Jen wrote this fabulous piece on her blog. But I had to admit that I didn’t know who Kate Moss is. “You need to get your nose out of Scientific American and read People Magazine for a change,” she said.

“Can I help it if my favorite magazines are The Economist, Wired, and Texas Monthly?”

“Hey, I’ve seen a Cosmo at your place.”

“That was John’s. Whenever I hear riotous laughter coming from the bathroom, I know he’s in there reading Cosmo. The only downside are the sex tip articles. He’ll come out saying, ‘They're right on about #4, #22, and #80! In fact, I'll circle some for you, if you like.’”

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Blogging at It’s Best

A girl left her Sidekick in a taxi, and when the thief refused to give it back, she started this website. It’s a hilarious journey through the ramblings of moronic crooks. The internet community pitched in, identified the bad guys and ultimately got them arrested.

If you think that sounds good, then you’ve got to read this . Guy bought a computer on eBay. The computer didn’t work, but it contained a fully functionally and fully loaded hard drive. So the customer started a blog filled with all the personal, confidential, and highly embarrassing tidbits of the computer con artist.



Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Finally I slept through the night – until the purring furnace jumped under the covers at 5am and started nuzzling my chin with his nose.

Finally I was able to sit and read without distraction – it helped that Texas Monthly arrived yesterday.

Finally I was able to relax in peace, instead of pacing the floor each evening.


Because I rode my bike. I attached a wicker basket to my handle bars, peddled down the street to the bike shop where I bought a lock, and then I started exploring. I rode all over the neighborhood. Twice. Then I rode to the store for milk, to a fancy pet store for the kids, and to a sushi shop a few miles away. It felt wonderful.

I still can’t run as far as our 60 year old president of the United States, but I’m getting there. And I’m having lots of fun while I’m at it. Tomorrow I think I’ll bicycle to the beach.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Confessions of a Pulp Fiction Reader

John brought one home from his last flight; said the guy in the next seat gave it to him. I found a couple more at the store and surreptitiously placed them in my basket. I can no longer deny it – I’m a Carl Hiaassen fan. His books are perfect for summer vacation – raucous, light-hearted adventures filled with mystery, good, evil, sometimes love and always hilarity.

Besides reading, I’m spending my days preparing for class, watching movies with my buddy Frank, and focusing on the homestretch of wedding season. Eight weeks to go. Quarter Pounders with cheese are but a distant memory; pass the salad please. Jogging, DDR, dancing, whatever it takes – I shall look smashing in that straight, sleek wedding dress that shows every single curve. (What was I thinking?!)

Despite all of this effort, I have friends that tempt me with the most amazing treats. This one was so good, I asked for the recipe. So, for all y’all out there who aren’t trying to squeeze into some insanely gorgeous white dress, eat some for me.

Chocolate Walnut Pralines

½ cup butter (one stick)

½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 pkg semi sweet baking chocolate (8 squares), coarsely chopped

1 cup walnuts, chopped

35 saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Play crackers in a single layer on a foil-lined baking pan.

Heat butter and sugar in saucepan on medium-high heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Bring to a boil; boil 3 minutes without stirring. Pour over crackers.

Bake 7 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with copped chocolate; let stand 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate evenly over ingredients in pan; sprinkle with walnuts.

Cool. Break into pieces.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Best Conversation Overheard in Texas

I was at The University of Texas Co-op bookstore this weekend, and two men were in line at the register. The cashier nonchalantly said to the first one, “I think we could have a good year this year, if no more dumbasses get themselves thrown in jail.”
“Yeah, what a dumbass," agreed the first customer.
Then the second in line, “If that dumbass could have stayed out of trouble for just two more years he’d have himself a nice NFL contract.”
And then all three in unison, “Dumbass!”

Poor Texas Longhorn football fans and poor Romance Taylor.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Bride’s Maids Dress

Jen: We think we have found the perfect dress. But is it okay with you if it’s strapless?

KK: Of course. Why are you even asking?

Jen has the physique of a goddess – she’s absolutely stunning.

Jen: My new tattoo will show.

KK: What tattoo is that?

Jen: The one that almost made my husband divorce me.

KK: Ah, sounds interesting.

Jen: It’s the names of my two little girls and my husband and it’s on the back of my shoulder.

KK: Well now you have to wear the strapless dress.

I can just hear Billie Sue now…

Did you know that your friend has a TATTOO?!

Yeah. And see that black man over there? That’s her husband!

Jen: She might faint.

KK: No, she’ll be too excited by the scandal to miss any of it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Welcome to Texas

I landed in the Great State on Thursday. Today my mom and I toured the wedding site, visited the caterer, the florist, and the photographer. Nordstrom’s and the baker are planned for tomorrow.

Going anywhere in Austin means a lot of driving.

My mom is a nervous driver. The kind who speeds up just to put on her brakes. And then brakes several times at one stop because she’s not sure she braked hard enough the first time. If her passengers don’t have whiplash, then she hasn’t done her job properly. The kind who won’t switch lanes until there’s not another car anywhere in the vicinity of where she wants to be. In a busy town like Austin, that causes quite a bit of stress, cussing, starting, and of course more breaking.

At one point, I eagerly volunteered to take over the driving responsibility, explaining that my carsickness was on the verge of causing a very big mess in the front seat.

And that’s when I remembered that mom is a nervous driver even when she isn’t driving. On our way home we were heading down Slaughter Lane to eventually go south on interstate 35. She was very helpful about providing directions.

“KK, you need to get in the right hand lane before we reach the highway. “ (One mile from the highway.)

“You need to get in the right hand lane before we reach the highway.“ (10 blocks from the highway.)

“You need to get in the right hand lane before we reach the highway.” (3 blocks from the highway.)

“Take a right, right here, right here.” (At the highway.)

I’m glad she said something, I had no idea what that big sign with the markings I35-S and the arrow to the right meant. I might have accidentally rolled my eyes, because then she said,

“Okay smart-ass. And don’t you dare go writing this in your blog.”

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Semester is Over!

We could all use a little rest.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Burnt Orange Lunatic Fringe

John unpacked from his recent trip to Texas. We have a routine for things like this – I sit and wait and he brings me surprises one by one. The first surprise was a heavy plastic bag filled with chunks of concrete.

“Parts of the Daryl K. Royal Texas Memorial Football Stadium,” he says with wonder.

The second surprise was another bag of chunks of concrete stadium.

“I packed these in two separate suitcases in case the airline lost one.”

Then he went on to unveil a dozen new Longhorn t-shirts, a dvd set of the entire 2005 football season and separate dvd of the national championship game (which we promptly watched again.)

Part way through he tells me the story of sharing the stadium artifacts with his brother.

“What’s that? Pieces of the Berlin Wall?” his brother asked.

“No. Pieces of the Daryl K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium.”

“Even better!”

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Living Up to My Name

The moniker HAD to go.


I got to school early - 9:30 - and whiled away time at my desk. I was eager to get the test started but why show up an hour early? At thirty minutes till test time, I just couldn't stand it - I went to the classroom. Everyone was waiting. Wow - I can't believe they got there so early. People started telling me that there was no test today, that the dean showed up and cancelled it.

The exam didn't start at 11. I wasn't 30 minutes early, I was 30 minutes late.


I woke from my recurring nightmare - the one where I forget to go to class. I don't just forget once, apparently I've been forgetting all semester. So I make my way through this maze of stairways with cobwebs and stray kitties and try to find the classroom. All the while I'm trying to figure out when I last saw them, how long its been since I last went to this class, how I'm going to tell Charlie the department chair, what I'm going to tell the dean.

Today, A.M.P. could stand for the Abashed and Morose Professor

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Invitations

I think they’re gorgeous. But then again, I designed them.

John says they look like funeral notices.

Our colors are black, white and pewter, so doesn’t it make sense that our invitations are too?

Billie Sue called as soon as hers arrived.

Billie Sue: You’re future brother-in-law doesn’t like them. But Jennifer says that they’re fitting. And … I think they’re just fine. They are one hundred percent okay.

John: Why doesn’t Glenn like them?

Billie Sue: Because of the black. I think he was hoping they’d be burnt orange.

John: With a Hook ’Em Horns on them?!

Billie Sue: Yeah.

Billie Sue: Hey KK, if John doesn’t pick out his tuxedo in time, the guys can just wear University of Texas shirts.

KK: No.

John: Oh come on.

KK: No. No burnt orange invitations, no UT shirts, and definitely no –

John: You still don’t want cheerleaders at the reception?


John and Billie Sue howl in laughter.

What am I getting myself into?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

No one thought John would marry

Not his brother, not his mother and certainly not any of his friends.

In fact back when I lived with Billie Sue she said, “KK, you need to dump him. John’s never going to marry you.”

But I had faith.

For a couple more years I waited patiently. Then one new year’s eve he wrapped me in his arms, looked into my eyes and told me how much he loves me. So I said, “Want to marry me?”

My question took both of by surprise, because even though I’d been thinking such thoughts, I’d never before let them cross my lips.

He accepted and now we’re engaged. I love being engaged - so much excitement, so much to look forward to. But the relatives, I learned, aren’t as keen on the engagement as I am. They actually want the marriage that it presages.

My plan of an infinite engagement or a quick wedding in Vegas were quashed and we started planning a large, formal wedding. Planning rolled along smoothly and quietly for a while. Too quietly, in fact. We reserved a site, hired a caterer, florist, musicians, and photographer, bought dresses, shoes and tuxedos, found a preacher, created a guest list, and ordered invitations. I was efficiently steering us toward a beautiful day.

And then Billie Sue went to a baby shower for a friend of ours in Texas. This friend is the sister of John’s best friend. Naturally our wedding came up in conversation. “We haven’t heard anything about the wedding, so we figured it’s off,” said the best friend to John’s mom.

Imagine the cataclysm this caused in Billie Sue’s heart. Next to the birth of her grandson, this is the biggest event in her life. She’s been shopping for a dress since the moment she heard we’re engaged.

Billie Sue called John’s brother, who was no help. Mom, I told you I wouldn’t believe they’re getting married until I see it with my very own eyes.”

Then she called us. John was out of the country and I was working in the garden, neither of us were near our cell phone.

With her tender heart beating she phoned my dad, “Jim, did you hear that the wedding’s off?” And he just about had a stroke.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One day last week we were working on the list of people to invite to our wedding…

KK: John, your mother said she only wanted to invite 50 people, but each week she sends me more names. She currently wants to invite 130 people.

John: Let me see that list. He grabs it from my hands.

John: I don’t even know who some of these people are!

So, we call Billie Sue.

John: Mom, who are Mr. and Mrs. MacMerter?

Billie Sue: They lived next door to us in Marshall when you were born.

John: We moved away from Marshall when I was one year old. Have I ever seen them since?

Billie Sue: Your brother used to play with their kids when he was little.

John: Mom, have I ever seen them since I was a year old?

Billie Sue: No.

KK: They’re OFF the list!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend 2006

Annie and Sunshine enjoy Memorial Day together. And Piper enjoys herself.


The Stare-Down

Back to Resting


Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Perfect Shoe

In one hour today I bought a new dishwasher and the perfect pair of shoes. It occurred to me after purchasing the shoes that they weren't that far in price from many of the dishwashers I'd seen. So I asked myself the obvious question: If I could only afford one which would I buy? That was an easy one!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Uncle Alfonz died today

He was my mom’s favorite uncle. They used to chase each other through the house with wooden spoons battling imaginary sword fights. Inevitably someone would end up on top of the table, someone beneath and they would fight it out, wooden handles flying through the air.

Tante Max tells the story best. Each night for weeks, air raid sirens had been going off forcing the neighborhood into bomb shelters. But this night, word came to evacuate. People piled onto the train, clinging to whatever they could from their former, orderly lives. During the trip they were repeatedly forced to flee from the train into nearby ravines whenever bombers passed overhead. By morning they had made it safely into the countryside.

After their night of terror they knocked on a farmer’s door. The burly, gruff man agreed to give them shelter in exchange for their work on the farm, and he set them to work immediately.

For two years my family lived in a one room shed at the back of the farmer’s property, while World War II raged throughout Europe. They sewed their clothes out of flour sacks, they ate only vegetables and bread. When the war finally ended and they were able to get the luxury of butter, Grandma sat down and ate an entire stick slice by slice.

The war had destroyed their previous lives, their homes, their business. But slowly they recreated themselves in a different part of Germany. My mom’s mom fell in love with an American soldier and became an American citizen along with her daughter.

My mom flies to Germany tomorrow to say farewell to her favorite uncle.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I’m good at it, darned good, but John takes the cake.

Last week we finished John’s expense reports for 2005. His reimbursement won’t be enough to pay for the wedding, but it will be enough to build us a fine new bathroom.

My first Expense Report Experience with John came just a year or so into our relationship. The company where we were working instituted a new policy – that expenses had be submitted within 90 days of incurring. This threw John into a tizzy, a whirl of tender stresses. He flew to his home in the Bay Area and collected a box full of receipts.

Keeping the receipts is not John’s difficulty, because John keeps just about everything. In his three bedroom house in San Jose one entire room and half of the garage was devoted to boxes of uncertain treasures. When we moved in together I made a brave effort to sort through those treasures – the shock and appall from my discoveries is too monumental to describe here. Let’s just say that some of the highlights include

1) A letter to the newspaper editor of his hometown that he wrote in 12th grade in which he threatened to sue the school district if they changed the method for calculating GPA’s prior to his graduation. He was slated to be valedictorian, after all.

2) The profile of his ideal mate, which he completed for a dating service while he lived in Chicago – being a non-smoker was his main requirement. Such high standards! I feel so special.

3) A hideous ceramic bowl/vase object painted in pink and greens and yellows with hula dancers in grass skirts. I think he pilfered it from a bar in a fancy hotel during one of his sales conferences. I vaguely remember a story about one his sales reps sneaking it out in a baby stroller. I am such a proud girlfriend.

The point is, in that box he brought home, John had every single receipt he had collected in his five years on the job with this company. All we had to do was sort through them, order them by date, match them with the correct business trip, tape them to blank pieces of paper and document each one in an excel spreadsheet. It took us four weeks of evenings and weekends, plus the help of two secretaries who were assigned to the project.

When the head of business services realized the magnitude of the expense reports soon to cross her desk, she had the company begin allocating money with which to reimburse John.

In the end, they paid him over a $100,000. “Hey, it’s better than I would have done if I’d invested that money in the market!” was John’s sole rationalization. And he may be right.

I have a feeling this post will earn me some hate mail, especially from that character who calls himself Johntex.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sudan, Tattoos and a Furry Helmet

One of the things I love about my college is the plethora of interesting people I come into contact with.

This morning I was talking with a student of mine who is from Sudan. I discovered that he speaks four languages and that his father has three wives. As we were walking across campus we overheard a group of girls chatting, he pointed towards them and said, ‘Those girls are from Somalia.’

It was a pretty glum day today, bad news kept crossing my desk. So I decided the heck with it, I broke free of my office and left to soak up some sun before my evening class. I followed the path to my car and ended up walking behind a young fellow with a colorful tattoo that covered his entire right calf. “I’ve never seen a hibiscus flower on a tattoo before.” “Really?” he asked incredulous. “I’ve got them all over.” “That’s nice,” was all I could think to say.

A motorcycle was parked behind my car, and strapped to its handlebars was a helmet. The rider had outfitted it with a furry striped tail and two floppy ears.

People are amazing.

Check out the cool wedding photographer we hired:

Monday, May 22, 2006


Jen is one of the most fabulous women I know, and I’m proud to say, one of my very best friends. Last week I told her about a new blog I’d discovered called . I think my exact words were, ‘Go there RIGHT NOW and start reading!’ So of course she did.

The next day she told me she’s about to get fired because she can’t tear herself away from the internet. We both agreed that Heather B. Armstrong, the author of Dooce, should be our own personal friend.

KK: Jen, are you teaching summer school?

Jen: Hell no.

KK: Good, then you’ll have time to blog. I think you owe it to yourself [read us] to explore your fascination with Picaso and how it could ruin your marriage.

Jen: I don’t think I’m strong enough. I mean, I couldn’t handle getting hate-mail like Dooce does.

KK: Oh please, I DREAM of getting hate-mail. That would mean that more than six people read what I write and even cared enough to comment. Why can’t I get hate-mail?

Jen: I think you have to be more controversial.

So here goes:

This House of Love is Built for Five

Not too long after John and I moved in together, we started calling our little apartment the House of Love. It was because of the way we made each other feel, each having so much faith in and support for the other. We made a home together where we were safe from whatever craziness life brought, where we would always find love, support, warmth and happiness.

One day a couple of years ago while I was visiting my friend Jen in Texas, we spotted a stray kitten scampering through the yard. We chased it down, which was no easy task even though it had a broken leg, brought it inside and fed it milk and tuna. That night Jen provisioned me with a make-shift litter box, food dishes and more tuna and dropped me off at the motel where my mom and I were staying. I called John the next day and said, ‘I’ve got a kitten in my purse,’ and without missing a beat he asked, ‘Is she cute?’ Piper was three weeks old then, now she’s a glorious, graceful big cat.

Next came Annie. She was a little gray mass hiding under my neighbor’s car after being attacked by a coyote. We took Annie to the vet, who operated on her, and brought home a shy and weary little creature. That same night Annie started following me wherever I went. John faithfully cleaned Annie’s wounds three times a day, while I petted her head and tried not to look at the blood. Nowadays Annie still follows me around the house and I follow her when she takes me for brisk three mile walks.

Then came Sunny, and you know all about him. The vet’s report is in: he shall live to poop another day. It turns out that he has a rather bad case of a rather ordinary parasite. We increased the dosage of the medicine he’s already on, and we’re hoping to have this resolved in a week.

None of these kiddoes was expected, and each one has brought an unimaginable amount of joy. Each time I think my heart can’t getting any bigger, that I couldn’t love any more, it does, and I do. I love these creatures, and their odd proclivities, dearly, and I feel very, very lucky to have them. I know this probably sounds silly to those of you with real, human babies. But this is as close as it gets for me. I’m not all that interested in being a mom to the human variety.

I do, though, relish my role as fairy god mother to two gorgeous little girls. I like to play with them, spoil them, buy them presents, and then be able to hand them back to mom when they start to cry. Just the other day I bought my two-year-old a new book. It’s of the small, three by five variety, with chew-proof cardboard pages. It’s called Baby, Mix Me a Drink, and each page contains a full color illustration of how to make the perfect mixed drink for each family member – martini for Mommy, pina-colada for Daddy, hot toddy for Granny, and so on. So you see, my gifts are both educational and practical. Soon, my little munchkin will be adorable AND handy behind the bar. I hope she’s practicing, because I’m coming to visit in June!

KK: How was that? Was that better?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tuesdays and Thursdays aren’t bad either

Usually they’re good. Very, very good. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I don’t teach until 3:30pm, which leaves my mornings free to do whatever I can dream up. Okay, I don’t often get more creative than crawling back into bed with my coffee and a good book once John leaves for work. But that IS one of my favorite things.

This Thursday included another one of my favorite things, going to see my marvelous hair dresser Keri. There are a few things you should know about my visits to Keri. The first is that I often put a note on the inside of the front door to remind me of any extra errands I need to run each day. So, the day before seeing Keri, there’s usually a note up there that reads HAIR in big block letters. This is also my little way of ensuring that I receive the appropriate complements when John gets home.

One week I flew out the door without taking the note with me, partly to make John aware of my new found radiance. That particular evening John came home and we began the normal evening rituals – making dinner, discussing our days, playing with Annie and Piper. I waited patiently for my complements to begin. Finally out of desperation I pointed to the note on the door. “You forgot to get your hair cut!” John shouted.

That’s another one I’m not letting him forget.

Believe it or not, it was a hair stylist that signified a serious progression in our relationship. John also gets his hair done by Keri. He likes all of the perks that come with a trip to an Aveda salon, like the shoulder, neck and scalp massage, the scented oil aromatherapy, the great hair products and the ability of an Aveda stylist like Keri to make him look, as he says, ‘edgy’. One day about four years ago John picked me up from the airport at the end of a week long business trip to Argentina. I was exhausted, but tan, happy, and carrying a couple of well chosen souvenirs, including a very sexy pair of shoes. (In my opinion, Argentinean women have perfected the art of sex appeal, and my male co-workers seemed to agree.)

John had an appointment that morning at an Aveda salon along the coast, and I decided to ride along with the hope that they would be able to work me in. I could tell that John was a little uneasy with my idea. “It’s just that I don’t like to share my hair stylist with someone I’m dating.” Now I was confused. “If we broke up, we couldn’t both keep going to the same stylist. And I don’t want to lose her.” I must have giggled. “I think it’s a reasonable precaution,” he continued. And so this simple outing had turned into a make-or-break moment for our relationship.

In the end John made the noble, brave decision, and we’ve been using the same hair dresser ever since. Clearly he made the right choice. Soon, Keri will be working her magic to make us both look perfect for our wedding day.

This week, John noticed my hair. We’re in high romance mode, soaking up the sweetness until John leaves again on Sunday.

Poop update: I collected a sample, and the vet sent it to a lab for analysis. We should know something later today.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Black Fly in My Chardonnay

I wish I were joking. After two sips, it landed, wings waterlogged, helpless, drowning in my delicious indulgence. So I was forced to switch to a different mood enhancer. By then the coffee was ready. I enjoyed a slow cup, a bowl of cereal, and a couple stories in the morning paper.

The day before my soon-to-be mother in law had none-too-delicately reminded me that whatever parasite Sunny has is probably communicable to Annie and Piper. THEY COULD ALL DIE, she told me. Oh God. So far, Annie’s eaten at least one of the kitten’s poops, Sunny’s used Piper’s litter box, they’ve all played and licked each other. Did I mention that Sunny got behind John’s beloved entertainment system (most people would consider a 52inch TV large, John considers that merely computer-monitor-size, just to help you put this ‘system’ of his in perspective) and pooped on all of his cables? I discovered that when I noticed Annie and Piper uncharacteristically routing around back there. Anyway, chance for infection was high and I had to take immediate, drastic action!

Fortified, I grabbed Annie and we made for the local pet store, making a brief detour to a new grocery store where I stocked up with 18 jars of baby food, which at our current rate was enough for three days.

At the pet store I decided I’d had enough shit-cleaning and refused to tackle the disgusting task of decontaminating Piper’s litter box. She’d simply get a new one. (Yes I know I am contributing to our city’s overflowing landfill!) I picked out a Buddha Dome for Piper and a more straightforward fully enclosed container for Sunny. (He wasted no time in spreading his poop on the inside walls as soon as I put it in his room.) I grabbed a play toy for Sunny, paw wipes and some pig ears for Annie, crammed all of this into the passenger side of my two-seater, put Annie on my lap and headed home.

Back at home my Gift-From-God (aka Olga, the housekeeper) was cleaning our shower. No matter, I didn’t have time anyway. I dished out the new litter boxes, toys and treats, washed my face, brushed my teeth, pulled on a tank top, a pair of hiking pants, my flip flops, and most importantly a hat. (I couldn’t remember the last time I’d shampooed. God, if having a human baby is anywhere near as tiring as having a kitten baby, you can count me out!) I spread on copious amounts of deodorant, some perfume, and drove to class.

On Mondays and Wednesdays I must deal with my inherited hooligans. I’m happy to report that I have scared them into submission! They actually complemented me on my camouflage costume and cheerily soaked up three hours of algebra and geometry.

Once class was over, I still had to prepare my lecture notes for the evening’s calculus class and meet with students during office hours. Is it a bad sign that, as an education professional, I sometimes pray that no students show up? My prayer rarely seems to work, but it did this day. I must have made the homework too easy.

As soon as I finished my lesson, I rushed home, petted each of the three kids and was about to drive back to school when I saw John’s taxi arrive. I can’t tell you how glad I am that he’s home.

I’ll skip the rest and just say that calculus flew by, John’s smitten with the new kitten, and I’m in heaven now that John’s home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ah Wednesdays, one of my favorite days of the week

Or so I was about to write. When I woke this morning I discovered that Sunny’s condition had worsened over night. He now has very little chance of making it to the litter box in time, even though he and it are never more than 9 feet apart.

I cleaned up the droplets that followed wherever he went, fed him yet another bottle of baby food. By now I’ve depleted my grocer’s supply of strained meat Gerber jars and have to find a new store to pillage this morning.

I made coffee, I opened the drapes, I stepped outside and got the paper. And then I thought about Churchill. You know, he started each day with a Scotch (though he did somehow make it last till noon.) I selected a perfect Riedel glass and poured in (a modest amount) a 1997 Stag’s Leap Chardonnay. Perfect.

Now Wednesday may once again be one of my favorite days of the week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ah Mondays, one of my favorite days of the week

Mondays are the day that I meet my buddy Frank for a matinee at our local movie theatre. Frank is a self-described physics geek, movie buff and misanthrope. Only the first two are true though, he’s one of the nicest people I know. Often our stroll to main street necessitates a stop at the pub before the movie, where we order a gin and tonic for Frank and a Guinness for me. Sometimes the movie necessitates another stop at the pub before the walk home. This week we were running a bit late so we compromised and sipped canned Guinness taken from the fridge on the way out the door.

It was an odd flick, slap-stick, made funnier by the aforementioned Guinness. Adam & Steve, a love story between two gay men, who were star-crossed lovers in the 80’s and rediscovered each other in the present day. Posey Parker played an prickly-yet-adorable side-kick; it’s probably worth seeing just for her. I left feeling inspired by love and giddy from the last two dance numbers. If only life were like musicals, where we could break into choreographed singing routines and mend our troubles with a tune.

Once home for the evening, I made myself a salad and hosted online office hours for my calculus students. Then I was off to bed to read The Last Lion, a biography of Winston Churchill, and before I knew it I was singing and dancing in my sleep, dreaming about Tuesday.

Monday, May 15, 2006

One Sunny Week

It’s been one week since Sunny came to live with us. During this time my feelings have ranged from desperation, awe, disgust, delight, and finally love. John gets home in four days to discover Sunny first hand. But it’s already too late, Sunny is here to stay.

Last Sunday he slept and hid and then peed and pooped on a stack of John’s old t-shirts. (John doesn’t know about this yet, and I’m not so sure he needs to.) I shut my eyes to the problem and instead took a drive up the coast to a fu-fu pet shop where I paid far too much for some quite adorable non-necessities. I rationalized it with the thought that I’m a middle-aged woman with no kids in sight (nor desired) who ought to at least be able to spoil her cat! When I returned he was still exhausted, scared and rather bewildered by his new circumstances. But my purchase of a carpeted triangle wedge cubby hole with multiple-sized windows, attached fake mice and a coating of catnip was a real winner. His time in my study was over, though. His pooping indiscretion had earned him a stay in the all tile boy’s bathroom. (It also lacks t-shirts.)

On Monday Sunny was well rested and ready to play. I built him a huge playpen out of heavy cardboard so that he could be in the living room with us without the fear of being attacked by Piper or eaten by Annie. That amused and contained him for about a day.

On Tuesday he broke free. This meant he could only be in the living room under strict supervision. Annie had to be on her leash and Piper watched at all times. Plus he still hadn’t mastered the litter box, so I required him to make frequent trips to the boy’s bathroom to become reacquainted with it. In all of my years of stray cat adoption, I have never known a cat not to immediately adapt to the litter box. Every one of my cats (and I’m afraid that’s no small number) has instinctively known to use it and had no more than a single accident. Whoever had Sunny before me must have paper trained him, because when I gave him a piece of tissue paper to play with it, he immediately peed on it!

Tuesday was also Sunny’s first visit to the vet where he received a near perfect bill of health, a vaccine, and an antibiotic to help with his outrageously pernicious, unimaginably vile smelling and un-litter-box-contained diarrhea. The vet also suggested I feed him only strained turkey baby food until he recovered, which smells almost as bad as the diarrhea!

None of this slowed him down though. Sunny was absolutely delighted by life and the wealth of play toys he discovered in his new home, like a scrap of paper that had fallen to the floor, my laptop cable, the leaves on the houseplant and Piper’s tail. He performed acrobatic maneuvers that amazed the rest of us, literaly somersaulting through the air, hoisting himself up on the couch, dangling from the cushions on the dinning room chairs, and loping down the hall like a kangaroo. Annie and Piper each thought themselves in hell. Annie because she had discovered the perfect chew toy but wasn’t allowed to eat it, and Piper because she couldn’t seem to escape this cheery, playful, indefatigable little beast.

And so went Wednesday and Thursday. During this time Piper’s hissing became less frequent, and though Annie still licked her lips when she saw Sunny, she occasionally had moments of calm in his presence. On one of these days I discovered that Sunny and Piper could in fact tolerate each other without my refereeing. (I ‘discovered’ this when I accidentally closed Piper in the same room with Sunny while I went off to school.) That was a huge step forward. However, Sunny still couldn’t sleep through the night, and the rest of us were becoming exhausted.

On one of these days (perhaps induced by sleep deprivation) I declared Sunny litter box trained and did not confine him to the bathroom that night. Annie and I went off to bed, shut the door to our room, and slept straight through to morning. I woke to discover my down comforter, which seems to reside on a living room couch, covered in diarrhea. Dear God, surely I am made for more than picking up poop! I already had to clean Piper’s litter box, Sunny’s litter box and litter box surroundings (I think sometimes he hangs his butt out over the edge), and pick up after Annie when we go for a walk. And now this! I recovered from my melt down, cleaned up and returned Sunny to the bathroom to pay for my parenting mistakes.

Friday was another day. By then Annie was rather used to traversing the house attached to my hip, and Piper had stopped hissing. Annie no longer acted as if she would die if she didn’t get to eat Sunny, but like she might simply stroke-out instead. Meanwhile Sunny got promoted to larger digs, back to my study, and John’s bathroom got a thorough cleaning so that it would be ready for his return.

On Saturday I came to the conclusion that all of our lives would be much less stressful if instead of having the four of us simultaneously occupy the living room, I rotated who was allowed in at any given time. Being the epitome of queenly behavior, Piper was always welcome, as was I. Annie and Sunny got to take turns.

By Sunday I was even better at this rotation scheduling and was able to enjoy more discoveries about Sunny. I watched him and Piper play chase and hide-and-seek. Piper and I used to play those games! I learned just how much Sunny likes his belly rubbed, his face nuzzled and his paws played with. I got to rub Annie’s tummy again, too, because she wasn’t always sitting in wait for Sunny. The vet warned me to keep a close eye on Annie until Sunny is bigger than a rat and can defend himself against Ann's inescable terrier genetics. And I will.

I also have more time for myself. Today I finished writing my last final exam for the semester, selected new textbooks for the fall, and had enough energy to lengthen my run to two miles. And those t-shirts? They are once again clean and fresh smelling, and I’m almost half way through turning them into a t-shirt quilt for John. Now that should be enough to make him forgive Sunny, don’t you think?