Saturday, October 24, 2015

Speaking of Vacations....

Someone alert Kimberly-Clark!  The world's Kleenex usage this coming week will be dramastically (that's a combo of drastically and dramatically) reduced due to the fact that Mom and I will be leaving the Tri-State area (a/k/a allergy central) and going to the beach for a few days.

As a side note, when I first started working at the law firm, a couple of things struck me as being FAB-BOO about my (then) new job there - keep in mind this was 15 years ago and it was a much simpler, more innocent time - one was that at the new firm, we were able to send faxes from our desk, a feat which, at that time, the old firm's IT Department had yet to master; and B) the firm provided Kleenex for the employees.  There may have been other things, but they aren't germane to today's post, so...

 I'm rather snotty.  Any given day, ask me how I am, the honest answer could easily be, "I'm snotty."  Of course, that's both senses of the word!  I don't know what it is about Southern Indiana, but I have continuous post-nasal drip along with not smelling very good... hmm..  not smelling well?  I can't breathe!  I do bathe, so I don't smell bad, I smell good, between the shampoo/conditioner, body wash, hair spray and (sometimes) perfume, I smell sort of like a fruit salad!  Mom is snotty too, but only really in the phlegmy use of the word.

The point here is that I am leaving the land of pollen and ... hmm.. I'm leaving to go to the beach - where I firmly believe I was meant to live.  There's something about the sound of the waves pounding the beach, and feel of sand under my soft, nicely exfoliated feet.  I don't really care for seafood unless it comes in a can or from sea captains (Cap't D's) or prirates (Long John Silver), but
in this day and age, that's not a problem.

Sometime late spring or early summer, I was whining because I had all these vacation days to use or lose (I know, #firstworldproblems) and no where to go, nothing to do.  So whoever it was I was whining to said, "So go somewhere."  And I was like.  Okay!  I pulled up the hotel in Orange Beach, AL where I went last time and had such a good trip to check the rates and pick which week I wanted to eyeball.  Last time was perfect - it was the last full week of October.  The weather was great!  The hotel was sparsely populated, and Rose had a very nice time.

Meanwhile, Brittney, a girl I work with, asked
why don't I just rent a condo.  I'd never really dug too much into that, but she gave me a couple of websites to try and I started snooping.  I found what I hope to be a really nice condo, on the beach - in fact, it is NEXT DOOR to the aforementioned hotel! - and the price, all totaled, is like $10 more than the exact same time would be at the hotel, plus, no people.  Now at the hotel, I could get a free breakfast, but I can buy a box of Cocoa Puffs and a half gallon of milk for under $6.  AND at the condo I would have access to a refrigerator; whereas at the hotel, I would not.  A fridge is important since I never leave a restaurant without a to-go box.  I live on leftovers.  And last time, at every place I went, I'd feel horrible about the amount of food I was leaving on my plate.  So I crossed my piggies and put down a deposit!

The condo sleeps six and I know that my general main reason for going to the beach is to get away from people.  But I started thinking that I could invite someone to go with.  First I asked my BFF Jennifer - her hubs passed away earlier this year and I thought maybe she could use some time away life.  But for reasons that are none of your business, she couldn't go.  Then I thought about some other people - they couldn't or didn't want to go.  Meanwhile, Mom is assuming that I'm going with someone and not just myself.  I'm her baby girl, and her favorite child, and she worries about me, despite the fact that I'm 47!  But I worry about her and she's even older, so I try not to let it annoy me.

At some point, a conversation was held and she realized I was going alone and, after another conversation during which I told her several times "you are invited if you'd like to have a nice trip to the beach, but if you're going because you don't want me to go alone, you are NOT invited!", Mom was going to go with me.  Of course it was just like the next day, by now it was in July, and I was having lunch with my Latin
expert Kathy and when we were discussing whether or not she thought her 18 year old would be willing to cat-sit for us again, I had an epiphany that I should invite her to go with.  Her response was that she'd love to go, but, you know, she had all these children at home.  So my second brilliant thought was, the
condo sleeps six, bring the three younger ones with us!  I'm thinking that at first, she thought I'd sprung something - anyone who knows me knows that I do NOT like children.  Not just specific children.  Children in general.  In fact, in a previous life, the only way I could
be talked into helping with Vacation Bible School at my church was to be promised a job where I would have no contact with children.  But Kathy's children are abnormally good children.  I like them.  And they think I'm the bee's knees!  So I was serious.

She said the kids would love it, if I was sure, (Duh!), and that she'd have to talk it over with the hubs, but pending his agreement (to having a week alone in his own home?  Again, I say DUH!), YES!  His answer was yes and plans began.  At first, Kathy said that she'd wait a while to tell the girls, since it was several months away.  As of my writing this, they still don't know and it's become a challenge to make it to the end without letting it slip!  The plan as of right now is to tell them as they're getting into the Party Van!  I can't wait to see their reactions!

Of course, I explained to my co-vacationers that three things that I ALWAYS do on my trips to the beach, and they are non-negotiable, and they (the co-vacationers) can join me or not, their choice.  1) I always take a dolphin cruise, I love it.  Don't care if I see any dolphins.  I just enjoy being on the water with the wind in my hair, watching the view; B) I always go to Old Time Pottery in Foley.  I adore roaming up and down the aisles of the store and the closest one to home is in Greenwood, south of Indy, so when I'm beachin' it, I make a trip to Foley for some OTP!; and finally, I always hit Souvenir City.  I've never been rich - and I say that knowing full well that there are millions of people worse off than me, and I thank God for what he's blessed me with.  My point is, when it comes to souvenirs, the cheaper and tackier, the better.  And no, odds are they don't have much that I haven't seen and not bought before, but still, I enjoy going there.  Plus, the entrance to the store is through the mouth of a giant shark!  (See picture - from Dec. 2005 when me and the 'Rents went there)

(NOTE: I looked up Souvenir City's website in order to put a link above, and I noticed that you get a free koozie with every online order!)

So FINALLY, the day has arrived and I can't wait!  On my last day at work, not one but two people felt compelled to rain on my parade by telling me there's a hurricane where I'm going.  Of course, the hurricane is actually in the Pacific, on the totally opposite side of Mexico, and it may just be rain that affects the trip.  But what bothers me if why people can't just be happy for someone.  I know someone who, if you say you're going to go get a professional mani/pedi, they will insist on telling you all about how they know someone who had to have their finger/toe amputated because of gangrene!  Sigh.  Just get me out of here!

I'm not concerned if it rains while I'm there.  I have an umbrella and unless we're talking gale-force winds, I enjoy walking in the rain.  But I'm taking my iPod, iPad, and laptop, so I'm sure I'll be able to farm, or blog, or watch my Doctor Who shows.  Or, I can work on that murder mystery.  Maybe I can kill off thinly-veiled version of that co-worker!  I can see myself now, slaving away on the book...

Friday, October 23, 2015

You Can't Fight Fate

No matter what you do, no matter what you say
When it's meant to be it's gonna be that way.
                                   - Taylor Dayne

Not to get all existential up in there, but I don't really believe in "Fate."  However, I'm thinking that the world was really trying to tell me something the past couple of days.

Tuesday was Carrie (Boss Lady #1)'s birthday; Thursday was Mark (Boss Man #1)'s birthday; and Saturday was/is another attorney's birthday.  Since I'm not rolling in the dough, and I'm lazy, the other attorney's assistant and I collectively decided to just bring food in on one day.  I knew that Carrie, being a woman and an adult, would be ok with the plan.  The other two, being men,... well..

We decided to do the food on Thursday.  So I, at least, didn't have to worry about any manly angst over there not being any hoopla over "my birthday!"

Anywho, Tuesday, I talked with Carrie regarding her preferences vis-à-vis what I might bring in.  She was flexible, but said she really liked my lemon cake.  I am well known for my lemon cake in these parts, you know.  Then I asked Mark if he had any preferences.  Now you have to keep in mind that a week ago, he came out of his office and said, "Do you know what next Thursday is?"  Another thing to keep in mind is that it is a rare birthday that passes by on which someone in our firm doesn't bring something edible!  So back to Mark's preferences.  His response was, "Oh, you don't have to do anything for my birthday."

Regular readers know that my patience level has been tested of late due to pharmaceutical exploits, so they won't be surprised to hear that I almost leapt from my chair, over my desk, and throttled him.  Fortunately for him, his wife, and their family, I didn't want to waste the energy.  So I rolled my eyes and said, "Mark.  We are going to bring food in.  That is a given.  Now, if you imagine me bringing in food, what is it I'm bringing in?"  His response:  "Cake."  That's good.  I can work with "cake."  I said, "Ok, do you have a special request?  Like, I can do a lemon cake (hint, hint), or I make a mean Upside-Down German Chocolate cake..."  Before I could finish my sentence, I had seen his eyes flash at the prospect of the UDGC.  He got a winsome sort of look on his face and said, "well, your lemon cake is good... there's no chocolate in it.... but either would be good."

On my lunch hour, I planned on going out and buying cat food for the livestock and hitting Target because in their ad this week they had Count Chocula which at some point in the past 20 years went from being a regularly available cereal (of the chocolaty-sugarbomb variety) to being a seasonal item that only comes out at Halloween.  What's up with that??  Where was I?  Oh, so I'm roaming around Target and it occurs to me, DUH!, while I'm here, I should buy the ingredients for the cake.  I dig out my phone with the lovely Pepperplate app which holds all of my painstakingly collected recipes from over the years.  I find the recipe for the UDGC cake and head down the aisle.

The first item, a German chocolate cake mix.  In the buggy.  Next, coconut.  I don't know if we have coconut.  I'll call mom.  As I'm calling her, talking to her, finding out from her that yes, we have plenty of coconut, I put a bag of coconut in the buggy.  Pecans, I know we have plenty.  Next, cream cheese - don't think we have any, make a mental note to get some when I get to that part of the store.  I gaze through the rest of the recipe.  Margarine.  Note sure we have enough, better get some.  Powdered sugar, I'm sure we have plenty.  I head toward the check out, nabbing a package of cream cheese on my way.  A success!

So I get back to the office and tell the other assistant that works with me here in the Labor pod that I picked up the ingredients for my cake.  "The lemon cake?" she asks.  I'm like, "no, the UDGC."  She points out that I told her that I'd decided to make the lemon cake.

Sigh.  Fortunately for Carrie, she said she'd make the lemon cake if I gave her my recipe.  Deal!

That evening, I get home with the shopping.  Mom helps me put away the stuff and she sees the coconut.  "Why did you get coconut?  I told you we had a full bag.  Do you not remember our telephone conversation?"  Of course I remembered it.  I just obviously wasn't listening.

Wednesday, I'm on my way home, gotta make the cake.  As I'm driving, I remember I never got the margarine.  So I called Mom to ask if we have enough.  She snarkily asks, "If I tell you we do, are you going to stop and buy more?"  We don't have enough.  I tell her I'll stop and pick some up. 

I get home and start making the cake.  Coconut and pecans in the pan.  Make the cake mix.  Pour it over the stuff in the pan.  Melt the margarine and cream cheese.  Get the powdered sugar.  I need a whole box.  Hmm no box, just a piece of a bag.  I know from previous experience that the box is about 2 1/2 cups.  There is 1 1/2 cups in the bag.  I'm in my pj's and do NOT want to go back to the store.   Is Mark worth this?

Epiphany hits.  I call my friend Lori who recently purchased, with her hubs, a condo in my building.  Praise God, she had some powdered sugar I could borrow!  We're cooking with gas, baby!

I get the cake into the oven.  Then I start looking for the cookie sheet/jelly roll pan that I use to put the cake on when it's done - remember, it's upside down, so I can't leave it in the pan I'm baking it in.  Can't find it.  Mom and I turn the house upside down (figuratively, of course) - it's not here.   But that's ok.  We have other (much larger) cookie sheets and one of them will work.

By 10:30, I'm tired of waiting for the cake to cool so I can do the flippy thing, and I want to go to bed.  So I do it anyway.  Of course the cake comes out beautifully.  All the good gooey stuff stays in the pan.  Mental note, next time, use parchment paper.  After scooping all the goo out and spreading it on the cake, it looks like a toddler was playing in it, but I'm going to bed.  It will be better in the morning.

Morning.  It doesn't look better and I'm wondering why it is I like this cake.  I get it to work and apologize for how it looks (see below), but promise that it tastes good.  And it did!  One bite and I'm reminded of its deliciousosityness and once I find that jelly roll pan, and get all the ingredients, I'll make another one!

The birthday spread was quite a success.  Mark got what he wanted - there were four cakes, as well as other stuff.  Everyone gained about 4.2 lbs as a result.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Non Schio et Non Curro

First, let me explain the title.  According to my Latin expert, it literally translates as “don’t know, don’t care.”  (If your Latin expert says differently, then... non curro.)

I asked my Latin expert, a/k/a my friend Kathy, to translate "don't know, don't care" into Latin for me because I'm been wanting personal motto, in Latin, of course, because all good mottos are in Latin.  As a family, we Bargers generally have the family motto of "Go when you can."  I.e., if there's an opportunity to go potty, don't pass it up.  So I had her translate that into Latin for me - she came up with Carpe ad Urinarium” - Literally, “seize the place of urination.”  But I wanted my own personal motto to be less potty-related.  I failed to come up with anything that suited me better.

Lately, though, my not caring has really been amped up.  

I take Paxil - freely admit it, like I freely admit I'm not a natural red head.  In fact, I told my doctor (the one who I loved and who retired on me) that he'd have to take my Paxil from my cold, dead hands when he suggested that we might wean me off of it.  He of course did not know the pre-Paxil Rose, so he can be forgiven for making a bad call there.

I don't really remember too much about the pre-Paxil Rose either.  I do recall that she was an unhappy, impatient bitch.  This recollection has been recently reinforced.  Wrote a blog about it.  Want to hear it?  Here it goes...

I get my prescriptions through a mail order company.  The refills come every 90 days... or do they?  The answer to that is "NO."  I know this because over the years, I've collected quite a stash of my meds.  Don't get excited, there's nothing really "good."  But each time they send me a refill, I'd poor what was left of the prior refill into the bottle, so I'd only have one bottle, right?  Well, then I had so much left over that it didn't fit into one bottle.  Then two.  I have quite a stash of Prilosec since I've been taking it since my surgery in April 2011.  That's neither here or there.  My stash of Paxil was smaller, but still I had plenty.  The problem arose, I'm going to say about 5 weeks ago when I was refilling my weekly pill holder and my bottle of Paxil was empty.  I got up to go find my hoard and I couldn't find it.  According to the, now, empty bottle, I was supposed to get a refill early/mid October.  Hmm.. what to do? 

I know that Paxil is one of those drugs that you're not supposed to go cold turkey with.  Wasn't sure why exactly; thought maybe it made you turn into a werewolf or something.  Now, I had a doctor's appointment set for early October and I really didn't want to have to go see her before then just for this.  (Of course I'm sure I could have called the office and had them call in a refill for me, but I don't really like using the telephone.)  Fortunately when I was scrummaging around in my bathroom cabinets looking for the aforementioned missing hoard, I found a couple of blue blister packs of an old prescription.  By old I mean they were 20mg instead of the 30 mg I've been on for a while now.  The label said it was expired (I can't remember by how much, but I'm sure I've been on my current dosage for at least 3-4 years).  However, my previous experience in the pharmaceutical profession told me that at worst they just might be slightly less effective.  My experience as a former math wizard and my understanding of the law of averages told me that if I took 1 20mg pill on odd days and 2 20mg pills on even days, then I'd be getting an average daily dose of 30mg.  So that's what I did.

In retrospect, I can see that my outlook was slowly getting, um... sour; I was becoming less patient with others.  The words "I hate people," while still being generally true...

Forgive me.  I have to rant for a moment on the subject of me hating people.  Last night on Wheel of Fortune this woman won every single puzzle, not letting the other two contestants win anything.  Going into what turned out to be the next to last puzzle, she had approx. $30K versus their $1K and $2K, respectively.  And keep in mind, you get $1K just for showing up!  The guy in the middle works hard and all but fills in the puzzle, just had the poor luck of hitting a Lose a Turn on the wheel, and the skank proceeds to finish off the puzzle winning another $14K!  So, going into the final puzzle (before like the FINAL puzzle), she had over $40K!  In this puzzle, you know, Pat Sajak spins and whatever he lands on, they add $1K to, so if he lands on $200, it's $1,200 a letter.  So last night, he spins and lands on the $5K spot; it's $6K per letter.  The puzzle was called "On the Map" and it was:
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
__ __ __ __ __ __ __

The guy in the middle goes first and guesses something like a "T" and there aren't any.  So that woman guesses an "S" and there are three of them, so the puzzle now looks like:
__ __ __ S S __ __ S
__ __ __ __ __ __ __
She then proceeds to guess "Brussels Belgium," and won the round!  She could have been gracious and taken a dive.  She was going to the FINAL round anyway!  I did the math!  After taking the S's out of play, even if just one of the other two got ALL of the remaining consonants (and what are the odds?), without spending $250 a pop on vowels, that player STILL would not have been going to the FINAL round!  I'm yelling at the television that I hate this woman.  Obviously the other two would have liked to have won something!  Would it have hurt her to throw one of them a bone!?  ARRGHH!!@!

I apologize.  I am done with my rant.  But you can see that even when on an even keel, I can really not like people.  Anyway, the words were coming out of my mouth more often than usual.  I was feeling tired and generally unhappy.  (Now, to anyone out there who may have recognized these changes in me and, as they're reading this, are thinking, "Duh! You were being a bitch!", keep it to yourself.  Just because it's the truth, (and a truth I've already grasped, BTW), doesn't mean it won't hurt my feels to hear it.)

After almost a month of taking my "altered" prescription of pills, I had my doctor's appointment and I mentioned to her that I needed it to be refilled.  No problem, she sent off the refill order and I continued with my "altered" schedule until I received the refill.  A week later, I was in Carmel having my semi-annual appointment with my doctors there and the discussion somehow came around to my, shall I say, emotional state.  The doctor suggested that I might want to discuss "adjusting" my prescription with my regular doctor.  Of course as previously discussed, I had just seen my doctor and really didn't want to go back.

During the three and half hour drive back home from Indy, I contemplated what she said and it occurred to me that my 20/40 scheme may not have been as brilliant as I'd thought.  The refill didn't arrive in the mail, though, for another five days, so I had a little while longer to think about it and further my descent into emotional wackadooity.  But as soon as possible, I resumed my normal programming.  

Tuesday, I was talking to Carrie (Boss-lady #1) and I don't recall how the topic came up but we were discussing our current mutual lack of patience of late and I told her my story.  She questioned whether the pills, having been past their expiration date, were even effective... pointing out that I might have in fact been going cold turkey.  I exerted some of my considerable Google skills trying to investigate whether or not taking expired Paxil was wise.  I didn't find anything.  All of this has reinforced the "cold, dead hand" thing, though.

And now that I've got the prescribed doses of Paxil coursing through my system, I'm feeling much better.  Not feeling homicidal.  I have less fatigue.  I guess I'm back to my usual Abby Normal.  That doesn't change my motto, though.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Problem Solved! Next Up, World Peace!

As I have whined before, I no longer have BBC America as an option in my cable package.  According to WOW!, BBC America raised the rates it was charging the cable companies so much that it was cost-prohibitive for WOW! to even offer it anymore. 

It was really going to be a problem, though, starting in September when the new season of Doctor Who started.  I've discussed my Whovian roots before and I truly enjoy watching it.  I even enjoy watching old episodes on Netflix - like when I was home sick with the stomach flu earlier in September, I laid on the couch watching an entire season - it was the season with the astronaut killing the Doctor in the beginning and the episode "Let's Kill Hitler!", which is always good funsies -- "You've got a time machine, I've got a gun. What the hell. Let's kill Hitler!"

So I've already suffered through missing the new (now past) seasons of The Musketeers and Orphan Black and will have to figure out when/if they'll be available for viewing on either Netflix or Amazon Prime.  BBC America even had the audacity to come up with a couple of new series for the fall season that looked very enjoyable.  But I could NOT miss the Doctor!

So starting earlier in the summer, I was investigating ways (both legal and possibly not so legal) that I could get my Who on.  My first thought was to find someone who has BBC America and talk them into letting me borrow their login info, so I could watch it online.  That didn't work because the only people who I know who have BBC America don't have or know how to find login info.  Now, of the two people in question, Holly might have been able to record the episodes for me (later I found out she no longer has a DVD recorder, so no)... or I could go visit my Aunt and watch the episodes at her house.  'Nuff said.  Next option.

I have some co-workers and a friend (who shall remain nameless for legal reasons) who get their TV watching through possibly less-than-legal means via the internet.  I was given the names of several websites through which I would probably be able to get my Who on.  Unfortunately, I'm sort of a wuss and don't like to ride on the ruff edge of life (internetly-speaking) so I would go the the main website and generally search for "Doctor Who," but then I'd be too cowardly to click on anything else because my laptop leans toward being slow already!  I don't want it to get infected.

Then, like blinkin' beacon, two things happened!  First, Holly showed up at our house - I don't recall why.  Hmm..  anyway, and she was bearing a (I want to say belated, but I could be wrong and don't want to besmirch her) birthday card and (more importantly for the purposes of this blog) a gift card to iTunes!!  The second momentous occurrence was that I was reading an article online entitled "How to Watch the New Season of Doctor Who if You Don't Have BBC America!" - or something like that.  There were several suggestions, the gist of all was basically that at that time (I don't know if it was a special or if it was the regular price), you could buy a season pass to watch the whole season on iTunes (or other places, too) for like $23.  Gee, and me sitting here on a $25 gift card!

So now, each Sunday morning, after the new episode airs on Saturday evening, I receive a lovely email from iTunes advising me that there's a new episode available for me to download.  And, if the cats wake me up early enough, which has NOT been a problem, I even have time to sit down and watch it while drinking my coffee before church!  I have even found me a couple of pairs of Doctor Who socks to wear while watching.  The socks in this picture are extra long and look like the scarf of the Fourth Doctor.

Now that the major dilemma of my summer has been resolved, I'm ready to move on to something else.  Like what will I do next season!?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Hurray!! ... And you killed him!" - Baldrick

In our previous episode, I was describing one of my favorite episodes of Blackadder.  Again, I'm going to start on a totally different topic, but you will eventually see how it all relates back.

So in church, the Pastor is currently doing a series on the book of Acts.  In the past month or so, he's been preaching on the section of Acts 3:1 - 4:4.  Each Sunday, generally, between the songs and the sermon, someone reads aloud the passage of the day.  And, this is a whole chapter plus, so it took several weeks to get through it all.  So each Sunday someone would get up and read Acts 3:1 - 4:4.

Anyone who knows me knows that I can be easily distracted - by dust motes, something sparkly, anything really.  So you won't be surprised to hear that every Sunday during the reading of this passage, and specifically these three verses:  

13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.  
14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 
15 You killed the author of life, ..... (Acts 3:13-15, NIV).

So in my mind I would hear "And you killed him!"  Which brings me back around to Blackadder.  At the end of their incarceration, Blackadder and Baldrick are, in fact, rescued by the Scarlet Pimpernel who, it turns out was one of Prince George's idiot friends with whom Blackadder made the original bet.  By means I'm not going to go into, (you can read the entire transcript of the episode here: Nob and Nobility) Blackadder gets his hands on some suicide pills and this happens - [watch the video]


It would be all I could do, those mornings in church, to not repeat, "And you killed him!" in my best Baldrick-like voice and giggle.  Fortunately, during that month, I was in the sound booth, so if I had giggled, no one but the others in the sound booth would have known, and they already know I'm weird.

So as you can see, since the early 80's, the Scarlet Pimpernel has affected my outlook on life.  I even have a tattoo of the Scarlet Pimpernel - the flower, not the person, of course.  People assume it's a rose because of my name, and if I care about their being informed, I'll advise them what it truly is, but otherwise...   And there's [REDACTED] at the office who has made less than appropriate comments about it, considering its placement (over my heart, so to speak), but that's another story.

I guess this wraps up my Scarlet Pimpernel story.  I'll try to come up with something new for next time.  Just let me jump in this corner first....

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Yes, I shall certainly choose revolutionary France for my holiday again next year." - Baldrick

As we continue in our historical perspective on the Scarlet Pimpernel and its moulding (note the British spelling) of my life, we zoom forward to the early 1990's.  In this chapter of the story, the sister that wasn't involved in the repetitive viewing of the movie plays an integral part.  (Although her comment to the last blog entry was that she "came home over summer!" and that yes she was a party of the viewing.  My bad, remember, I was only 13 at the time, and I can barely remember yesterday!)

Picture the scene.  It's my birthday.  Or maybe Christmas.  I don't remember that part exactly.  Either way, Haley integrally gets me the video(s) of a heretofore unknown (to Rose at least) British television show - Blackadder.  As I recall the story, she tried to get me the first season, but it was on back order or something, so she gave me the third season first, I don't recall why or if the second season wasn't an option.  Eventually she got me all four seasons.  Again, I had never heard of it, but she assured me I would enjoy.  So I settled down on a cold winter's night (or hot summer's evening, depending on when this took place), and my life was transformed.

The show, starring Rowan Atkinson as the eponymous character, Blackadder.  In the first season, set in the 1480's, he's Prince Edmund, second son of the King.  In the second season, set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603), he's Edmund, Lord Blackadder - an adviser to the Queen.  By the time the third season comes around, set in the late 1700's and early 1800's, Blackadder is now butler to Prince George,
the Prince Regent, played by Hugh Laurie.  If you're a fan of House, but have never seen Hugh Laurie as Prince George, be warned, the characters are NOTHING alike.  (See pics below this paragraph.)   The fourth and final season takes place during World War I, and Blackadder is just a Captain in the trenches on the western front. 

In each season he has this servant/underling/general dogsbody named Baldrick ("I'm having dung for dinner tonight!") who usually in each episode will come out with "I have a cunning plan..." and usually the plan is incredibly stupid - for example, at one point when they are in prison, his plan for them to escape is:  

Baldrick:  We do .. nothing.
Blackadder:  Yep, that's another world-beater.

Baldrick:  Wait, I haven't finished.  We do nothing until our heads have actually been cut off...

Blackadder:  ... and then we spring into action?

Baldrick:  Exactly!  You know how, when you cut a chicken's head off, it runs round and round the farmyard?

Blackadder:  Yes-s-s-s-s....

Baldrick:  Well, we wait until our heads have been cut off, then we run round and round the farmyard, out the farm gate, and escape.

As you may or may not know, the Brits don't have the usual 20-ish episodes in a season like we do.  Therefore, each season of Blackadder consists of only six 30-minute shows.  I would kill for there to have been more!  The third season is my all-time favorite.  I'm not sure if it's because it is the best, or because it was my first exposure to it, or what, but although I own the entire Blackadder collection on DVD (having bought them to replace the VHS's that Haley got me 20+ years ago), the only season I have bought and downloaded to my iPad for the occasional comfort-viewing, is season 3.

I realize that all of this has had nothing to do with the Scarlet Pimpernel, but bear with me.  Episode 3 - Nob and Nobility takes place during the time of the French Revolution and it seems the English people are enamoured with the Scarlet Pimpernel (or, as Baldrick calls him, the "Scarlet Pimple").  Our hero, Blackadder, doesn't understand, commenting, 

...What has this fellow done? -- apart from pop over to France to grab a few French knobs from the ineffectual clutches of some malnourished whingeing lefties, taking the opportunity while there, no doubt, to pick up some really good cheap wine and some of their marvelous open-fruit flans...  Doesn't anyone know? We hate the French! We fight wars against them! Did all those men die in vain on the field at Agincourt? Was the man who burned Joan of Arc simply wasting good matches?

So Blackadder ends up making a bet with some of Prince George's idiot friends that he can sneak into France and rescue an aristocrat, and show up with him at the French embassy ball.  However, Blackadder doesn't intend to actually go to France ("'s incredibly dangerous there!"), he intends to hire an obviously French aristocrat who's down on his luck to pretend that he rescued him.  Blackadder and Baldrick spend the following week enjoying themselves - Baldrick points out that he "... shall certainly choose revolutionary France for [his] holiday again next year."  Then they go to find their "rescued" French person - hilarity ensues and they end up jailed by an "evil [French] revolutionary", during which time the aforementioned conversation regarding Baldrick's "cunning plan" to get them out takes place.

This looks like I can either stop here and finish up in part three, or I could wrap it up too quickly in this entry.  I'm going with the first option so...


Friday, October 9, 2015

Sophie Has Left the Onesie!

I know you're going to remember that my precious little girl, Sophie has been having skin issues on her tummy resulting in her overgrooming the area and her having to wear the cone of shame and then be mercifully transferred to a onesie

Before I go into Sophie's exciting (recent) adventure, let me paws (hahahaha!) to tell you about Breaking Cat News a webcomic by Georgia Dunn - it's about her three cats, and other hangers on, as they have news updates about the odd comings and goings of the "People" in their life.  I've found this comic recently, and I cannot express how much joy it gives me.  The other day I was reading the back catalog of comics and I came across this one that was pretty much on topic re: today's topic, (i.e, Sophie).  Enjoy.  (Oh, the white cat is Lupin, the black cat is Puck, and Elvis is the Siamese in the cone.)
Of course one of my concerns about Sophie being in the cone of shame, and then the Onesie, was the ridicule she would receive from her housemates.  Myself included.  She was darned funny in that cone!  I tried to get video of her loping around the condo like a drunken sailor, but I was laughing too hard, and the lighting conditions in the condo that evening were not conducive to producing viral-quality video. 

Anyway, back to the present.  Over the summer, my baby's poor little belly would get better and then get worse.  We went to the vet again during one of the flare-ups, and the doctor basically said this condition - eosinophilic disease - is chronic and she may fight it for the remainder of her life.  As to the instant problem, though, we either deal with it, or we have surgery to remove the area. 

After almost losing her five years ago, I took out a pet insurance policy on Sophie, so the cost would be minimal (assuming insurance paid).  Also I figured the stress and trauma for a finite amount of time for surgery would be less than the stress and trauma of us continually having to nab her and shove her in and out of the Onesie and spray the stuff on her little area.  Plus, if we went ahead and had her surgery, she could recupe and be (sort of) back to normal for Emily when she comes over and cat/condo sits for us at the end of the month when we go to the beach.  I mean, she's being gracious enough to watch the cats for us, the least we could do would be to not make her deal with Sophie and the Onesie!

So the surgery was on!  But first she had to get over the immediate flare-up.  Once that spot cooled down, we had our surgery.  A couple of months ago, I read online about this vet's office that would send a text (with picture) to the owner from the pet once it was out of surgery.  I thought, oh, that's nice!, never thinking that anyone in our house would be having surgery.  While Sophie's vets office did not send me a text or a pic, they did call me to let me know she was out and doing fine, which I thought was very nice.

The surgery was on a Friday.  We chose that day because then I could be home to monitor her over the weekend.  We quarantined her in the upstairs bedroom, and I slept up there with her.  I don't think Gizmo - her litter mate/main source of stress (as only siblings truly can be) - fully understood why not only was I sleeping in a totally different room, but I'd shut him out.  He slept (and tossed a hairball in protest) on the carpet outside the upstairs bedroom door.  I only gave her pain meds Friday night, and then again Saturday morning, mostly to help her sleep and rest, so I could sleep and rest!  I can't afford to have my cat become a drug addict any more than I can afford for me to become one!  Plus, it's just not easy getting oral meds down a cat's throat!  I have the scars to prove it!

The weather that Saturday and Sunday was perfect and when we weren't doing other higher priority stuff, me and the kids were on the balcony lolling in the sunshine.  (Not that the kids ever have higher priority stuff!)  Sophie joined us Sunday, even sleeping in my lap. 

She got her stitches out last Friday, meaning that she could once and for all exit the Onesie!  I told mom that I'd gotten so used to seeing her in cammo that I wouldn't see her when I'd look into a room or  wherever.  Of course, she is solid black, so even in daylight, she blends in with shadows and such.

We now seem to have gotten over our surgery.  Basically she had a little tummy tuck, they used the skin from that floppy area left over as a result of when she was spayed to cover the area they removed.  I'm gonna miss that wobbly bit, though.  It was always so cute swaying in the breeze as she'd jog down the hallway.  Sigh.  Now, though, I can look forward to the beach without the guilt of leaving her!  (Yeah!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sink Me!

Back in the halcyon days of 1982, the Barger family had been on the VCR bandwagon for a while because Dad worked for RCA and when VCR’s first came out in the mid-to late-70’s, he was able to get one and pay for it through payroll deduction.   Consequently, when the “Made for TV” movie of the book, The Scarlet Pimpernel, starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour was advertised, we set said VCR to record the movie.  I’m guessing that we were away from the house for some reason the night it was on because I don’t know why else we would have recorded it – I doubt we had a premonition of the vital importance the movie would play in our lives – and it wasn’t like now where I record everything just in case I’m not going to be able to watch it live. 

Now, some of you out there may know the story.  We recorded this movie, mostly because at the time I had a thing for Anthony Andrews similar to the thing I currently have for Gerard Butler.  We watched it - it’s a really enjoyable movie!  And we watched it again.  And again.  When I say “we,” I’m pretty much referring to me and Holly, who was, even though she was “away” at UE, she was close enough to be home every so often, and you have to remember, kids, this was back in the days before cable.  There were literally the three networks and PBS.  So if there was nothing on, “Hey, let’s watch the Scarlet Pimpernel!”

For those of you who either a) know that I have another sister; or b) are savvy enough to have read my Cast of Characters on the right of this page, yes, there is another sister - Haley.  But she went “away” to school at DePauw in Greencastle and I know from my own painful, personal experience, having attended DPU for a couple of years myself, it was too far for casual visits home (or vice versa – humpf!).  I’m sure we shared this Masterpiece-of-Made-for-TV-Moviedom with Haley, but I don’t recall that she quite appreciated it (at least not at the time) for the work of art that it truly is.  I am sure that she has since drunk the Kool-Aid and adores the movie like the rest of the family, but…  My point is, I’m not purposefully excluding her from this story.  Back to the main plot.  

Now, for a little background, as it were, regarding The Scarlet Pimpernel:
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a piece of “classical literature.”  As we’ve discussed previously, I’m shallow, so I don’t really like “deep” thoughts or the type of literature that inspires them.  But this is my kind of “literature” with “the odd death-defying leap and a modest amount of dental torture” along with beheadings and such.  Written by the Baroness Emma Orczy.  It takes place during the French Revolution.  Oddly enough, another of my favorite pieces of “literature” takes place during this time period – A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – so I’m thinking that makes me a blood-thirsty thing.  Hmm.. another topic for therapy?  Or, maybe I should just start a list of words that describe me.  I’ve got two so far:  “shallow” and “blood-thirsty.”   

Anyway, the hero is Sir Percy, an Englishman, who disguises himself and his band of merry men and traipses into Revolutionary France and rescues some of the French aristocrats from getting their noggins knocked off on the guillotine.  Meanwhile he meets and falls in love with a French actress, marries her, thinks she had someone sent to the chopper, so he has to hide his true (?) identity from her lest she send him to the chopper.  Misunderstandings ensue until it all comes out in the end.  (NOTE: I do NOT like books/stories/movies, etc that do not end happily.)

Enough background, back to the future!  Or, 1982.  Holly and I, and probably some varying combo of the ‘Rents proceed to watch this movie time and time again.  I can’t really say how many times we watched it through completely, I’d guess about 20 times, knowing that it was probably more like between 5 and 10.  At some point, Dad said that enough was enough and decreed that we were going to tape over this movie.  Now, keep in mind, it was a three hour movie (with commercials).  At first, we might have taped over the first hour (say, for example, an episode of Magnum PI).  Later, we would watch that episode of Magnum, and when it was over, the movie would pick up an hour into it, and we’d watch it to the end!  I have no clue how long this went on or how many times we proceeded to watch the continuously shortened.   I do know that at one point, there was only 15 minutes of the movie left.  The thing was, after enough time went by, it got to the point where we didn't realize which tape it was, so whenever we came across those precious 15 minutes, there was joy and happy laughter, and we’d plop down immediately and finish the movie.  Ultimately, the whole movie was taped over or the tape shredded or whatever.  Obviously I now own it on DVD.

I’m not the type of person who can quote movies or television shows.  I’ve always been sort of in awe of people who can.  I have a lot of esoterica in my brain, but there's no room for memorizing stuff like that.  However, this is one movie that I can quote – one of my favorite quotes being, “..the north country in the middle of the night?  How bizarre.”  (I realize that probably meant nothing to most of you, but certain members of my family were chuckling as they read that.)
One other cool aspect of the movie is that it stars an incredibly young looking Ian McKellen.  To many, he may be Gandalf and/or Magneto.  To me he's the baddie who gets outwitted by the Scarlet Pimpernel!

There is more to my epic tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel, but I'm thinking this may be better as a two-parter, so I'll just end it here with a final quote from the movie:

They seek him here.   
They seek him there. 
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.  
Is he in Heaven? Or is he in Hell?  
 That damned, elusive Pimpernel!