December 28, 2010

Somebody Else's Dirt

You know, there's something about moving into a "used" house. Most houses are used, so one really must get used to it, but I've always preferred a new house, new construction being crap aside.

The previous house in what Brian likes to call "Old Trees" (Webster Groves, MO) was a wonderful compromise for us. Brian likes a house with character, which is sure to come with some dirt alongside it.

We bought it in early 2006 in anticipation of Baby James' timely arrival and shortening Brian's commute to downtown St. Louis. We had previously lived in Maryland Heights, and the house really wasn't ideal for having children (or at least the way we lived in it wasn't - we would have had to move pretty much everything to get the nursery on the same floor), so we started looking. After dragging Brian's aunt and uncle - our realtors - all over tarnation (again, Webster Groves and the surrounding area), we finally found it.

The house was a nice mix of character and cleanliness. The character stemmed from the fact that the house was 80 something (perhaps 90 something) years old. The cleanliness: it had just been completely rehabbed.

So I got my new house with all new appliances, and Brian got his old house with character. It was heaven sans closets.

We have since moved - in September of 2009, we moved to my hometown to be closer to my mother. Our jobs made that opportunity easy, so we seized it. We have a lovely home, but I didn't get my new house. What I got was...other people's dirt.

There's character to it, I guess. I can certainly abide my own dirt or rust spots, but reviewing the mold in the caulk that someone else lived through makes me a bit...uneasy. I don't have those stories of how time passed and it grew there, and I can't seem to get it clean short of replacing it, and every night when I commence the dinner cooking routine, I have to stare at it, and it reminds me that I didn't put it there. A bit unsettling.

The same thing happens when I review the worn wood moulding/baseboards, and I miss some aspects of my new/old house that looked new. Strange quirk, maybe. Uneasy nostalgia unknown.

The Webster Groves house is still ours, unfortunately, and it's due to be showcased at some point on the HouseHunters program by HGTV. Brian believes that will be sometime in January - he regularly watches the website for programming previews. I miss the house and the fact that I found it easy to clean. My dirt always is.


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May 19, 2008

Jack Michael Noggle

Jack Michael Noggle was born at 2:34 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2008. Yet another reason I probably won't be resuming blogging (though if I'm up everyday at this hour, maybe I will) anytime soon. jack1hospital.jpg


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January 14, 2008

Has It Been That Long?

August 2007? Yikes. Probably not coming back anytime soon, though.

Brian and I are expecting boy #2 in early May. That, boy #1, church, and work keep me pretty busy. I tend to just share my opinions about the obnoxious things I find in the news and in life around the dinner table.

Boy #1 gives great responses such as "ble ble BLEH happy ble ble ball." It's affirming.

Hope all's well.


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July 09, 2007

Raining Like The Dog

So, today the husband, the boy, and I ran some errands. The weather was thundery and rain flirtatious, and he parked quite a distance from the Target - really quite a ways out in the parking lot in front of the next store over. I made some silly comment about the distance and the imminent rain, and that was that.

After shopping and paying for purchases, we prepared to step outside into the possible weather. And that's when Brian said it. He said, "I bet it's going to rain like the dog."

THE dog. Not cats and dogs. Not puppies. THE dog. I thought that was pretty amusing, ominous sky and all. Just a spitting of raindrops about 30 seconds after the comment as we stepped into the crosswalk in front of the store. But then the dog decided to bare its teeth.

SNARL. Downpour. Soaked baby. Soaked laughing baby. Soaked parents. LONG, long walk. Big raining dog. Who knew?

So, the upshot of this is, I guess, that if your spouse warns you of impending dog rain, especially if it's THE dog, please listen and insist on closer parking. Soaking wet family is worth a few laughs and a blog post, but, ultimately, a dry family in a dry vehicle is the better alternative.

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November 01, 2006

Come On Down

The baby eats at 11. The Price is Right comes on CBS at 11, so I've been tuning in for a few weeks here for the first half or so. It's the same as I remember it from my childhood, and that gives me a nice feeling - all that 70s glitz, and the only difference in Bob Barker is that he's got white hair and has a beating of Happy Gilmore under his belt.

So I read yesterday that he's retiring. That he's 83 years old (wow). That's just crazy - working until you're 83. On the other hand, can you name any other shows that have barely changed since the early 1970s? It was a nice feeling, briefly, watching the PiR on the big screen and knowing that the biggest change was the prices. The prize women are probably thinner, too. Have to look that up.


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August 12, 2006

Life's Focus

Been busy - Brian's blogging has to cover the household. But we took pictures tonight, and I thought I'd share. James/Jimmy at 6 weeks.


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July 03, 2006


James Raymond Noggle, the Swaddled.

BIG boy.


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April 27, 2006

Hip to be Pregnant?

This probably won't surprise you, but I'm not pregnant because "it's hip."

Who ARE these women? And why do they care?

"It's hip now to be pregnant," says Jill Siefert, a fashion stylist in San Francisco who recently added pregnancy styling to her business. "Everybody's doing it."

Of course, everybody's always done it. It's just that we're hearing about it so much more now -- especially RIGHT now. Take the latest cover of People (perhaps they should rename it Parents). Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, new parents of Suri, are flanked by Gwyneth Paltrow and newborn Moses, and Donald and Melania Trump with newborn Barron. Inside, Liv Tyler and Jon Stewart cavort with their respective offspring, Matt Damon awaits his, Brooke Shields talks about hers.

And this is only April. The coming months promise the birth of the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie baby, still in utero but already presumed unprecedentedly gorgeous. "Not since Jesus has a baby been so eagerly anticipated," New York magazine wrote.

The fascination seems to stem from our generation's desire to see celebrities as people just like us -- almost part of the family, says University of Mississippi magazine analyst Samir Husni: "All of a sudden the whole country has become an aunt and uncle to these babies."
Disgusting! Actually, I think the media are the only ones fascinated. My friendly circles certainly aren't talking about celebrity babies. Not a one's been mentioned in our infant care class, and, I promise, being pregnant has not made my body more fascinating to the point I want to be photographed in this state, clothed or unclothed. I'm just excited random people are clear it's a baby and not food reserves.

My pregnant body has a purpose. But believe you me, as soon as it's not pregnant, it's going to be pushing a jogging stroller and lifting a lot of weights. It's going to become reacquainted with a bike seat (as soon as is humanly possible), and it's going to be unpregnant looking as much as a 33 year-old new mom can be. My only boast is that my wedding ring still fits.


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April 06, 2006

How to Move Five Cats

There comes a time in every person's life when he or she must change residences. This is always a simpler proposition when one has no pets. Probably simpler when one has no children (and no children on the way). But what fun would that be?

Brian and I have five, count them, five cats. This squeaks by at the St. Louis County limit of legal (though we had to shun one favored municipality, Kirkwood, when looking for a new home; it has a "nuisance law" stating a household can contain only three cats. Pbhllllt!).

At the end of Saturday when our belongings had been transported from house A to house B (about 20 miles apart), Brian and I set off across the prairie (er, Interstate) to retrieve the herd.

We've talked about them in bits and pieces. There's John Galt, the oldest (yes, do follow the link), Tristan, Dominique the Conqueror (Niqi for short - refused to be photographed), Ajax (Ajax Rex according to Brian), and Aurora (Aurora McNaughty).

If you followed the link on Galt, you noted that he has a penchant for losing lots of bodily fluids and solids when put in a car. My vet gave me some kitty drugs in conservative half-pill doses, so we pill gunned Galt and Ajax (who is also fairly high strung) and set off on trip #1 with Dominique, Aurora, and Tristan in my car.

This was uneventful except for the part of herding the cats. Cats aren't stupid. They see carriers; they run. Earlier in the day we had penned them in one room - also not an easy task. But, once corralled and defeated, they were left with only their pathetic "mournful meow chorus," which they performed all the way to the new house. In key. Yes, that's the derivation of the word "caterwauling."

When we returned for trip 2, the medicine had sedated the tabbies indeed. Galt, who weighs more seemed a bit tired. Ajax was totally zonked - "aced" as the vet called it, after the drug. Trip 2 was completely uneventful due to the meds. Not even a chorus, really, for those two; maybe a Bob Dylan song.

All in all, not so bad. Niqi hid under the bed for a couple of days, but everyone else was curious and exploring their new space.

So, the answer of how to move five cats? I must say that it's drugs.


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April 04, 2006

Alive and Kicking (and being Kicked)

Sorry about lack of posting. Currently no Internet access except at work, though that should be remedied in a few days (that's also why Brian isn't posting).

Kid's coming along - likes to kick me when I'm sitting or resting. I think this is a good sign. I look like I swallowed a watermelon whole; again, probably normal.

I'll decide in the coming month or so whether to actually post or abandon the weblog. Blank screen - bad.


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January 22, 2006

Baby Update

I'm finally out of morning sickness (which was never really all that bad - just felt OFF, and it wasn't really just the morning) and in that "is she fat or she pregnant stage." I'm holding out another week for maternity clothes and getting by with rubber bands and loose shirts.

On Wednesday we will learn the baby's gender, and that's very, very exciting. I'm still waiting anxiously to be kicked (in any other context that's masochistic, yes).

Ironically, business travel has picked up, and I've had two trips in the last two months with the possibility of more to come. I'm really missing my former level of physical fitness (a distant memory) when it comes to heavy luggage, though I'm thoroughly amused by people who tell me I shouldn't lift anything.

I've put out a "no pink" alert to my mother who's very eager to shop for baby clothes. Red, purple, yellow, even blue for girls. But please don't pink my kid. I should be safe from this if we've got a boy.

I'll post gender (but I need to let Brian know first, so it may not be until Thurs).


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December 01, 2005

And a Bit of News

I'm still alive and well. Though not always feeling 100% of late, but that's ok. There's a little Noggle due to arrive on June 30, 2006.


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October 02, 2005

Adventure at the Hilton

Perhaps you've seen this story. Or perhaps you've seen this picture (Brian's site).

Brian and I spent the weekend in New York. As you might have guessed, we experienced a bit more excitement than planned yesterday when our hotel caught fire.
A fire in an electrical shaft at the Hilton New York hotel yesterday afternoon forced the evacuation of the 45-story Midtown building, sent 33 people to the hospital with smoke inhalation and shut down traffic on Avenue of Americas between West 51st and 54th Streets for more than three hours, the Fire Department said. No one was seriously injured.

The fire started about 4 p.m. as welders were performing maintenance, according to firefighters on the scene. It was limited to a shaft running the length of the building.

The smoke spread rapidly through the 2,017-room hotel through the ventilation system.

Hotel guests from the 8th to the 33rd floors said that the hallways were thick with smoke.
We were on the 29th floor taking a break from a visit to Central Park and a bit of shopping. We heard a noise in the hallway that sounded like kids playing. Then we heard a sound that MIGHT have been a distant fire alarm. Brian then remarked, "are the stairs right next to us?" And then the first fire engine pulled up. And, you guessed it, right at that time, we smelled smoke. Out the door we went.

29 floors down is a piece of cake if you don't have people in front of you. But some of the these people were a bit freaked out, and the Hilton employee directing traffic, as it were, had a nice firm voice that reminded the folks to keep moving (mush, mush). Brian and I added our encouragement. It had the smell of an electrical fire, and some floors were worse than others. Had to cover the nose and mouth on a few. We counted 9 or so fire engines outside the building when we emerged, and traffic was shut down for quite some time.

So we wandered around New York for a while until we were hungry, and we stopped at a restaurant and had a good meal and shared a bottle of wine. When we returned, the hotel was letting guests back in, but the elevators were severely backed up. Brian and I looked at each other, and I said, "stairs?" And he said, "stairs."

And so there were stairs, 29 flights. Which is way too fun on half a bottle of good wine and a very full belly. Thank goodness for physical fitness. When we arrived back at the hotel room, it was not fully ventilated - smell was still pretty acrid. The phones were dead, and we decided to pack up and find alternate lodging. Yes, you guessed it, 29 flights down with full luggage, which is much more of an exercise in resistance training - I have some sore shoulders today (as does Brian, I believe) - I had fully worked upper body the day before.

We ended up at the Times Square Hilton - a bit of gentle but firm "we're not staying here" did the trick on that one. Previous to this little adventure we'd had a nice trip, but I'm afraid this experience is a bit hard to trump as far as blog stories go.


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September 08, 2005

MS 150, Year 3

Well, it's that time of year again. And I think I'm ready.

Year One: Ride lost to woman moping at home about her swollen foot.
Year Two: Hills! Tired Heather.
Year Three: ?

I leave tomorrow morning after loading up the car with everything I need to take to Columbia, MO (don't forget the bike). Columbia's about 120 miles away, and it's where I lived before meeting Brian. So in a sense I'm kinda going home. One of many homes.

I'm ready, if Monday's 65 miles is any indication. Sunday's the wild card. I haven't done all that many back-to-back rides this year, but I've done a whole lot more weekday riding. My cardio conditioning is pretty strong. My legs are probably weaker than they've ever been since I've been riding.

The cause of the long, long bike ride is Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease with varying symptoms depending on severity. At the most positive, it's an expensive disease. If it's caught early, it can be treated with a lifelong drug regimen.

So, if posting's light for the next few days, it's because I'm collapsing after the ride. Wish me luck.


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August 13, 2005

Note to Self

When preparing for a 5 a.m. long bike ride, check the weather BEFORE you do anything eat breakfast. If it's supposed to rain all day, go back to bed Too late. (I can't stand to go to bed on a full stomach). So now it's wait until Brian gets up to ride the trainer (it's loud).


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March 23, 2005

But No One Defined the Boundaries of Porn...

I was driving to a dental appointment yesterday, so I was in my car during the 4:00 p.m. hour with the radio tuned to KMOX - the Paul Harris show.

Paul was conversing with a woman named Naomi Seligman from the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics about senators and congressfolk who accept money from instutitions whom the CfRE deem as distributors of porn - cable companies and hotel chains namely. The crux of the attack was that these aforementioned senators and congressfolk are hypocrites for their stances on Family Values when they accept such dirty money. Paul's job is to keep us interested, so it's a pretty good topic. Naomi's aim was to incite us to indignant mood. Senator Bond - who called in after being named - was clearly flustered - neither party's on-air argument skills left me feeling inspired. A whole lot of sputtering "he" and "she" instead of proper debate of "Senator Bond" or "Ms. Seligman." It sounded like a playground namecalling festival.

I turned the radio off when nearing the dental office, right in the middle of a whining Naomi mini-screed, but I'd like to address the title of this post. Senator Bond didn't, and I think that he should have.

What is porn? And who decides? Certainly some cable companies offer porn channels, and some hotel chains offer same. Naomi mentioned "Skinemax" in reference to the cable channel Cinemax. Do we dis Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon for their sales of sexually-related books? Newly bankrupt Penthouse and Larry Flynt were mentioned as non-questioned porn purveyors, but Seligman linked in General Motors because of its ownership of/affiliation with (I didn't catch which) with DirectTV. A stretch, at best.

Back to hypocrisy - cracking down on things that subvert family values (as porn was so defined by the senators and congressfolk) but still accepting money from these OBVIOUS (too bad there's not a sarcasm tag) porn purveyors. Somehow, it really falls flat without the acceptance of Seligman's definition of porn. She stated that Senator Bond and those grouped with him in this report should have taken extra steps so as not to accept monies from those affilitated with "porn" - including GM, Mariott, and several cable companies.

I just don't buy it. Someone working for the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics may be cheating on his or her spouse. Does that invalidate the whole Committee and its aims and goals? Of course not. As Senator Bond did point out, the money to his campaign was delivered via individuals and PACs, not the companies. Right back to it - GM and porn? Nope.

And, oh, in case you're still reading and curious - Ms. Seligman's bio?

Naomi Seligman, Deputy Director Naomi Seligman serves as CREW's Deputy Director and Communications Director. Ms. Seligman has worked extensively as a communications professional developing and managing media strategies for campaigns, elected officials, and not-for-profit organizations. Most recently, Seligman was the communications director for Media Matters, a web-based, not-for-profit progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Prior to that, she served as the communications director for the Violence Policy Center, a gun control organization. She also has served as a press secretary in both the Senate and the House of Representatives and has functioned as director of outreach on the Small Business Committee.
Uh huh.


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February 24, 2005

A Very, Very Good Day

Tomorrow's likely not going to be a good day. But today - well, I'm sure enjoying today.

1) St. Louis County has put forth this. Chili's Chicken Crispers might someday not be a thing of the past. I'd better take up triathalons. Eww.

2) AIRWOLF IS COMING TO DVD! I think I let out a "Whoppeee" at work today. I have been waiting for this for forever.

3) Tristan's ear is healing!

I could go on and on. But I should probably get some work done :)


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February 20, 2005

iPod Shuffle

I am patiently awaiting my ordered iPod Shuffle. Anybody have one yet? I'm counting the days until it ships. Should be within the next week or two.


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December 12, 2004

Back, I Hope

Back, really. These past few weeks have been busy at work, and I expect more of the same, so I've been putting the Christmas stuff in high gear. We're done shopping except for 2 presents. I have 3/4 of my cookies made. And it's December 12th! I'm so proud.

But, yes, some things in my personal life have suffered. My poor blog has been vacant for something like two weeks. It's not as though I'm short of topics - I mean, what, with all of the gaudy combinations of Christmas lights/blow-up snowmen. That's at least a four-paragraph rant, no?

Truth is, with everything ALMOST ready for Christmas, I'm excited like a little kid. This is the first year in a long time that I've been kidlike. Probably also has to do with the fact that I'm in a community chorus, and last week we had our Christmas concert. There's nothing like singing to get you in the Christmas mood.

There's also this lovely Advent calendar that my mother made for me a couple of years ago. It's modeled off of one very similiar that we used to count down the days to Christmas when I was a kid. She personalized the ornaments (things like the trumpet and the ice skate). We don't have a tree because of the myriad cats, but we still manage a festive home.

Advent Calendar.jpg

To leave this post, Aurora wishes you a Merry Christmas (she signed the cookie with a paw). No, this one wasn't eaten or given.



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November 13, 2004

Dream a Little Dream

Not feeling too well upon awakening at 5:15 a.m. yesterday (headache), I went back to bed and slept until nearly 8. And here's what happened in my subconscious.

My family and I were gathered in Springfield, MO at someone's house, but not my mother's. It was a gift-giving occasion, probably Christmas. My mother gave me a photo book with pictures of me growing up - pictures I'd never seen before. I decided to walk home (to my mother's house) from the event. Not sure why.

The sky was ominous on the way. Out of nowhere, many - somewhere from 18 to 30 - tornadoes appeared on the horizon. Fearful, I took cover in a ditch.

As the tornadoes approached, it was quickly apparent that they were NOT tornadoes. They were lime green helicopters, and they were attacking. Suddenly, I was not alone but in a crowd of people and we were being taken prisoner by our attackers - the military from Great Britain.

The British soldiers wore lime green t-shirts and jean shorts. I'm not sure how I knew they were British.

Somehow I must've escaped because the dream shifted. I was then in a room with James Bond and a blond woman (whom I did not recognize). I was dating James Bond, you see (the Pierce Brosnan iteration). And I knew and had experienced the great British invasion. Someone must've discovered the location of Mr. Bond and company, because we were suddenly attacked by rushing snipers (why snipers would rush...I dunno. I must be playing too much Unreal Tournament). Fortunately, we were behind bars (didn't notice that before) and somehow able to hide. No one was injured in the sniper attack.

A member of the attacking party tried to firebomb us, but we were all able to quickly get behind the blast door (where did that come from?) and huddle around a large ice-cube driven device. Safe again.

The next attack was with a long device that looked like pruning shears, but they fit through the bars, and the user nearly caught me by the nose (I believe that was the inteded use for the implement). Again all of us were safe.

The next attack was the final straw for my relationship with Mr. Bond, though. The attackers captured my cat Ajax and were going to kill him. It was there that I lost it and began screaming. I somehow left - hopefully with the cat.

Doesn't make much sense, does it? But I guess the moral of the story is: don't mess with my cats.


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Born in a Small Town

I've been away a town where the only hotel didn't have Internet access, so sorry for the blank page.

The town was about the size of Sandusky, MI, which is where I spent years 7 to 11 1/2. It was a place where you could ride your bike to the library (unsupervised...I often did) and to piano lessons. In 3rd or 4th grade, I was old enough (and safe enough) to be left alone a couple of hours after school with a list of chores and a longer list of rules.

And this town had the small-town friendly thing going on, too. I've been in urban or demi-urban areas long enough that I'd forgotten what that was. EVERYONE said hello. People (okay, more men) looked you over curiously because you But they were friendly - oh were they friendly.

I learned about strangers' cats (and talked about my own) and chatted it up with a couple of airport employees about various things (including the Packers; I was in Wisconsin, after all).

But I'm home 2 days now and back to my citywary self. You don't acknowledge others and make eye contact - you just do your thing and get it done. Advantages to both.


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November 02, 2004


I just spent a near perfect evening with my husband. If President Bush secures a victory this evening, it'll top it off.

We went to Cafe Napoli in Clayton to celebrate my 13 years since cancer (as of yesterday, November 1st). I had three lovely glasses of the house Merlot (and have felt like singing ever since) and half an entree of chicken parmagiana. I also had a berry tart for dessert (and a bunch of water and a tasty spinach salad). Mmmm.

Then we went book shopping at the Clayton library. There is little else that I enjoy more than book shopping. The St. Louis County libraries offer hardbacks for sale at the whopping price of 50 cents each. Our closest library offers them for 25 cents - what a bargain! I picked up two books and a DVD for $2. Kinda offset the rather expensive dinner.

If you're a St. Louis area reader, I highly recommend Cafe Napoli. It meets my #1 criteria, which is non-smoking, and it is one very nice high-end restaurant. We dropped quite a bit of change, and I'm happy to do it again in a few months when it's not a special occasion and I have to paperrocksscissors with Brian about who is drinking and who is driving.

Just thought I'd share my happy mood.


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October 04, 2004

Where I've Been

Well, first it was Kansas City with Brian. Much eating, drinking, and book buying. A really good time and a weekend that we deserved - perhaps a reward for the full summer of bike training.

Then I took off Tuesday for the Ft. Lauderdale area on business. I was able to briefly visit some family members in North Palm beach, FL, which was hit by Jeanne. You'd see a row of palm trees, and one of them would be uprooted and lying by its side. Seemingly random. At least half of the traffic lights were out, some completely ripped from the poles. It was crazy. Thankfully, no property damage for my relatives.

Flying out of Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday was interesting. Remember the debate? Yes, it was in Coral Gables, but Senators Kerry and Edwards flew into Ft. Lauderdale. It would not surprise me if President Bush did as well. All traffic coming into Ft. Lauderdale and leaving it was delayed a half hour to 45 minutes, and that includes Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines. As we taxied out, I saw the Kerry/Edwards plane. Kinda neat - a symbol of democracy two planes over or something like that. A ways down and also in the "private" section of the airport, a much smaller plane was painted in such a way to root on President Bush.

Back on Friday, but we've been social fiends - two parties in two nights, and yesterday was couch time watching the Packers lose (and consoling my spouse).

Back and ready to blog. Got a bunch of food-related stuff queued up. Hope I can hit at least one of those when I get back from my evening activity.

Sorry for the nearly empty blog.

Oh, St. Louisans. Anyone looking for a cat? I have a friend who, unfortunately, has some converging life issues to the point where she cannot keep hers. The cat's name is Josie, and she's 9 years old. She's not been around other cats or really exposed to children from what I know. She's a bit shy, but I believe she let me scratch her once. Give me a hand finding her a home?


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August 31, 2004


For Brian, not me.

Though, if this were four years ago, I would've done Elizabeth Dole face for the camera and blog posting - hearkening back to when she had the Holy Man Morgan Fairchild renditioned face, if you know what I'm talking about. As it stands, Mrs. Dole looks a bit more her age these days and, well, not quite as parodyable. That would've been worth a pretty peck o' hits, though, and I stood ready.


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August 27, 2004


I'm not the most stable human right now. It's 7:28 on a Friday evening, and I'm WORKING. Why am I working? Well, at 3 p.m., I declared myself too frustrated to work and left for home. After a calming weightlifting session and a good dinner, I rededicated myself to the task at hand. Which is trying a somewhat difficult query in MySQL - difficult because I can't get the damned thing to work. I found the nice documentation on MySQL's site, and huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed (and threw stuffed animals...because that's my temperament) but just couldn't blow this house down.

And I'm madder now that I know why.

You see, the current production-level release of MySQL doesn't support subqueries - only the 4.1 beta release. Sorry, not taking beta into a client's production environment. See, this nice person told me so in very succinct words.

Unfortunately and obnoxiously, MySQL's online documentation is seemingly for the 4.1 product, even though it's still beta. Nowhere in red will you, the skimming reader who normally finds this part of the job a breeze, see the "you can't do this here text" or that the version documented is not the production version. It's. simply. not. there.

Pardon me while I deadrenalize over my wasted time I don't have. Even the cats are running away.


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July 16, 2004

Please Forgive Me, For I Have Not Posted

Not much anyway. Just returned last night from Buffalo, NY, and I brought the niceties of the weather back with me, meaning I'm probably riding this weekend instead of posting.

United Airlines was so kind to leave my luggage in DC while my plane travelled to Buffalo. This after leaving quite late - put me on the ground at about 7:35, and after waiting for luggage and filing a report, I didn't get to the hotel until 8:20 p.m. Malls close at about 9, and Heather's in jeans and needs to be wearing business casual clothing in the morning. That was fun. Bought the first skirt and pair of shoes that fit. Hotel shuttle took me to the grocery store next, where I replenished the Luna Bar supply and finally bought dinner. Oh, and I replaced all of my make-up. Never travel to a meeting in jeans; I have learned my lesson.

Luggage arrived at about 9:30 p.m., while I was at the grocery store, so everything did turn out all right. And I ate a buffalo wing the next day. Yum.

So I pray you continue visiting. I'll post as work breaks this weekend. Gotta catch up.


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June 16, 2004

Survey Says

Two nights ago, I answered the phone to find a computerized survey on the other end. It started asking me about my political beliefs, and it was pretty obvious the thing was slanted right because if you answered "yes" to the questions, they were all conservative beliefs.

I spewed forth a bunch of yesses. The last question was phrased strangely, though, probably because the sponsors of the survey were too cheap to program the survey to respond to anything but yes and no.

The last question asked, "Are you male?" I answered no, and I felt weird about it, as though that were somehow negative to the Republican party.

Just a thought.


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June 14, 2004

6/14/1989 - the 15th Anniversary

I posted about this last year - 6/14/89 being my first day in the working world. It's been 15 years. Wow.

Next week I am lucky enough to start a two-week vacation. I'm off work from 6/19/04 (Saturday) until 7/6/04 (the Tuesday I return). This is the longest vacation I've had since 1993, and I am really, really excited about it. More posting then, I'm sure.

The remainder of this week is dedicated to final preparations for Tour de Cure, a charity event to raise money to fight diabetes, which is Saturday. I'm wimping out and doing the 50 miles - not in shape enough to do the hundred, I don't believe. Still, that'll be a challenge. But it should be cool that day - high of 77. If only we can hold off the rain. Last year it was in the 90s.

Still time to donate (mom, here's the link).

(And many, many lots of thanks to Teresa, Mike, Harvey, Charles, and Victor.


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May 26, 2004


The St. Louis area, specifically Creve Coeur (where I work), has been ravaged by storms. Yesterday at about 2:00 p.m., the sky turned a whitish gray and spat out its first hail - dimes. It progressed to quarters, and then it treated us with assorted random golf balls. My coworkers and I watched from the window as the ice balls pinged our cars. (But not our bodies, thankfully - OW).

Oh, but that wasn't all. Soon, the weather turned violent instead of pissy, shredding most of the parking lot trees' leaves (and depositing them on our hail-stricken cars). The power went out, too, of course.

As soon as it was safe, I left - about 2:40. Home - which is 4 miles away, missed the hail storm. My car, with its new coat of leaves, probably scared the neighbors.

At approximately 4:30, a transformer blew (quite loudly) at the house. No power all night. No power in the home is good for my health...the gym had power. I spent the evening at the gym.

So this explains the no Noggle blogging for last evening. The power returned just before midnight. We had not turned off some of our lights, so the power's return was quite abrupt and shocking (to sleeping Noggles). The laundry picked back up again, the bedroom light illuminated, and various household electronic sounds occurred.

Today looks like more of the same - at least in terms of water falling from the sky and drenching the ground. And we're very, VERY lucky. The ground isn't saturated like some of the Wisconsin land we drove by over the weekend. I've seen pictures on the news of flooded neighborhoods in different parts of the midwest. Granted, the parking lot at work here DOES look like a forest floor in spots. Who says parking lots can't be parks? They share so many similar letters.

Good week to have the bike in the shop for a tune-up, too.


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May 14, 2004

Good News is Always Welcome

I just got off the phone with my ENT's (ear, nose, throat) nurse. I'm as healthy as can be, which was the best news possible and not what I was expecting.

A week and a half ago, I had my normal check-up on the parotid area. I mentioned some ear ringing and, more annoying, some "ocean ear" - what I describe it as anyway - a vibration of some sort that makes noise within my ear but doesn't actually hurt. This has been an off-and-on thing for a few months.

They ran a hearing test and determine that in my right ear I have moderate hearing loss in the top two ranges. Then, the doctor ordered an MRI to make sure there wasn't a tumor in the general area causing the hearing loss and the ringing/ocean. The doctor was pretty sure it's caused by the radiation, but the question is, I guess, whether it was caused by a tumor caused by radiation.

My body just lovvvves to make tumors. I've actually had 4 (if you don't count cysts, and if you do, it's up to 7). Only one was malignant, but with that kind of track record, the likelihood of a tumor seemed pretty real to me.

But no tumor. That means I can be something other than a ball of stress figuring out details of how to deal (like how would I wear my hair if it had to be shaved for surgery? How long would I be out of work? Would my muscles atrophy? Is there enough money in savings? Is hospital food healthy enough for me, blah blah blah). I don't have to deal with anything today but work. Phew.

Only point of contention now is whether I need a hearing aid. Audiologist said "no" when I had the appointment. The doctor seems to think otherwise. So there's still a bit of drama to unfold, but it's no longer the sort that a tv show might want to film.


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May 10, 2004

Design Flaw

I'm at the grocery store yesterday (Schnuck's - the one at which I refuse to buy meat now), and because I had only a couple of items, I decided to use self-checkout.

I have a six-pack of Black Cherry Propel and 3 cans of Hunt's Tomato Paste. I set my purse by the plastic bags (offered so that consumers can self bag their self-checked out goods). The "attendant" yaps at me that the purse is on the scale and is throwing off the computer. I yap back, "where does it go?"

She points to the left of the contraption. There's a metal shelf affixed there.

I don't know about you, ladies, but I'm happy to leave a can of corn or some tic tacs out of my line of sight for a few moments while I'm completing a transaction, but my purse is one big other story. No can do.

Not likely to use self-checkout at that store again.

(I think the only reasons we still go is that it's very close to home and offers cheap cat food and cheap cat litter.)


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March 15, 2004

Back From Warmer, Non-Working Days

If you read Brian, you know that we spent Wednesday through Saturday (flying back Sunday) in and around West Palm Beach, FL. It's one of my favorite vacation spots - know my way around, even.

The time away was idyllic. I took a laptop but only used it for fun, really. Of course, world nastiness (the deaths of 9 in Fresno; the deaths of many more in Madrid) occurred in hyperbolic fashion while we were gone, so it's not like one can truly escape.

But we certainly tried. Ate a lot of good food that will ensure immediate future biker shorts wearing will be embarrassing. Drank a decent amount of watered-down beach cocktailage. Split a bottle of wine with Brian only to later discover that ordering same wine by the glass was considerably cheaper. Got sunburned only while driving in the convertable. Walked at/in/around the ocean's edge. Squealed appropriately at unexpected large waves. Removed large amounts of sand from my being.

But, today, back at work. I vowed during this vacation that the world will not end if I work less (on average). That I NEED to work less so that my only activities are more than less-than-necessary gym attendance, a blog entry every day or two, and much inactive drooling braindead and bodydead Netflix watching.

Oh, and one of the best parts. Florida restaurants are non-smoking. It seemed like all of the general Singer Island/North Palm Beach/Lake Park area was populated by non-smoking residents. The air was not chewy.

Not St. Louis, of course. Back to Earth.


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February 24, 2004

Sinking in the Lack of Book Review Sand

So, if you read Brian, you know that he writes a review of every book he reads. Not a bad practice, I do say so myself. Matter of fact, I, too, tried to do the same, and now I find I'm about 12 books behind since the last review I wrote back in November, I believe.. Yes, I read quite a bit, too.

Why does this matter? It matters because Brian gets fun and interesting e-mail from AUTHORS. Yes, seriously, he does. Just yesterday he got a message from the author of this book he reviewed.

And it was nice, an, "oh thanks for reviewing me." He found it while Googling himself, and the text of the e-mail was so cute - almost as if he was embarrassed to be Googling himself. Dude, start a blog! Narcissism. Embrace it. WE ALL GOOGLE OURSELVES. Like, y'know, several times daily. Well, maybe that's only me. [clears throat]

So, up and coming in the next few weeks - reviews for these fine tomes.
Note, Mr. Craig, we chronic self-Googlers also exaggerate; clearly, 7 books is not 12. I am sparing my audience of things such as Professional VB.NET 2nd Edition...for now.

Then, there's the in progress stack.

Then, we have the in-progress books. And, soon, of course, The 50 Best (and Worst) Business Deals

Oh, Linda Barnes, Google yourself. I love your work and was very excited to see that the next Carlotta Carlyle book is out next month (in a couple of weeks! SQUEAL). Very excited indeed. I plan to be in Boston in the next few months; let's do lunch.

I think before I can get Robert B. Parker's attention, Brian and I need to put in a few more mega sessions at the gym so that we can prove to the grand master Parker that we use our copy of Sports Illustrated Training With Weights ever so religiously (well, it is an input...) I'm flipping through the book - yep, very familiar. But in case the venerated Parker is a Google hound, give us a ring, we'll pick up lunch at the Ritz.

I think that's enough obnoxiousness for a morning. No, I must give you one more thing. I have a Book Mark Award (yes, it's spelled that way). It has a grape scratch-and-sniff sticker on it that says "Very Good." It also says "You've Read 25 books." The 25 is written in with red pen.

I'd suspect this book mark (sic) is 20 plus years old. It's signed "Heather I" on the back in cursive. I tend to keep things.


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February 16, 2004

The Louis Armstrong Jazz Award

Back when I was in high school, the band director had some plaques in his office. One was the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award plaque which showed a dark bronze something - not sure what you call it - a likeness maybe? It was of his head and shoulders, and it had been hanging in the office for quite some time. Evidently, several years before I arrived at the school, the award ceased to be awarded (for lack of a better term). No jazz band - no need for a jazz award.

Louis' likeness on the plaque was a bit loose, too. So, as my own personal amusement, every time I would go in that office and be left to my own devices for a few moments, I'd turn him upside down. He was easy enough to right again, so no harm done. And it was kind of a dead plaque.

But, right before my senior year, my band director retired. That brought in a new band director, one with an affinity for jazz. And, seeing as I was primarily a trumpet player, I signed up. I was okay - just okay. My range on trumpet's not really suited for jazz. But I'll spoil it for you - I got the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for 1989 - 1990. No, really, I did. Here's how.

We did this rendition of When I Fall In Love - you probably know it as a song from the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack. It had a flute solo in it, and, well, that was my secondary instrument, the one I actually played when I entered high school (but that's another long story that someday maybe I'll tell). So, sure, I'll play your flute solo, band director...and play trumpet on the rest of the songs.

If you're muscially inclined in the woodwind/brass arena, you'll know this is more difficult than it originally sounds, difficult to make both instruments (especially flute after playing trumpet) sound as they should. The embouchure (or mouth formation) for the two instruments is quite different - so much so that when I played piccolo for the high school's production of The Wiz the year before, I gave my trumpet up for a week before the performances. It was probably that act (the flute/trumpet switch for the solo) and the difficulty thereof that landed me the award.

Now someday I have to go back to see if my name's engraved. And the direction ole Louis faces, of course.



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January 04, 2004

Open and Closed

And so this evening, I'm on the phone with the Venerable Mother, and we're talking about jury duty. Which she has tomorrow. Here in St. Louis, it's done pretty efficiently. I actually served in September of 2002 on a two-day trial.

So we're discussing the particulars of our different Missouri counties, and somehow I mentioned the voir dire process and what they asked me. One of the questions was "Do you believe that a person can be in chronic pain?"

The answer is yes. And I believe that my answer of "yes" is the only thing that kept me on the jury panel. And the reason for the yes is that my father had some pretty bad back problems stemming from multiple things including a back surgery around 1981. He was diganosed with arachnoiditis, retired early, and had to complete a daily regimen of exercises just to slow the increase in symptoms. But this is actually a digression. My mother asked me about me and TMJ, which is a byproduct of the parotid surgery (only on the right side). "Naaaa," I said. I've really only had about one month or so where it was anywhere near chronic. Strangely, that was in 1994 - a couple of years after the surgery, so I'm not sure it makes any sense.

The point of all this, you ask? Well, I said to the Venerable Mother, "It really only hurts to the point of being excruciating when I'm at the dentist and have to keep my mouth open for an hour or more."

And she said, "Well, it hurts when I have to keep my mouth closed for an hour or more." For, you see, folks, my mother is QUITE the talker.

Much laughter ensued, and I said, "Can I quote you on that?" And she said, "sure."

And there you have it. Immortalized.


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December 16, 2003

"That's Not Really Saddam Hussein" and Other Travel Stories

Warning - another of Heather's disjointed travel stories. Kinda like this one.

So I'm flying out of Lambert this morning, and an old lady (who's wearing salmon-colored slacks and has six great-grandchildren she's never met but is about to) says to me while gesturing to CNN broadcasting from above:

"They say they got him, that Saddam Hussein. But I don't think they did." "Hmm" I say - very noncomittal, and much more interested in my imminent breakfast. "He has so many that look like him, you know," she continues.

And I think - wow, what a fun conspiracy that would be. Double #247, come on down! You're the next contestant in the DNA is Gonna Be Right!


So I fly into New Hampshire to rent a car and drive into Massachusetts (did I spell that right?). And in the airport, I notice a Dunkin' Donuts. "Got to make the donuts." Yeah, that. St. Louis has driven them outta town with Donut King taking over the previous locations. Also, of course, there's Krispy Kreme, and some of the groceries make their own. I shouldn't discount the local donutteries (like University City Donuts). But Dunkin' Donuts - maker of the best apple fritter ever. I noted it.

I drove 40 some odd miles to get to my destination, and, I kid you not, I must've seen EIGHT to TEN freakin' roadside free-standing Dunkin' Donuts shops. It's amazing. I saw more Dunkin' Donuts than I saw Subways. Than McDonald's. How do they survive?

Walgreen's is kinda like that in Missouri. My mother has this theory that the stores are just pods sent from outer space. Phoom! A new Walgreen's. "Hey, wait, Bob, was that drugstore there last week?" Me, I have a sound effect for it. If you've ever played Civilization III, the sound effect is the noise that's made when you turn your settler into a city. If you haven't played, get thee to Best Buy, spend $10, and get the game. At least then you'll have a point of reference for this silly post.

I'm sitting in the business center of my hotel, not having connectivity in my room. Because of this, posting will be sporadic or nonexistent for the next few days.

And if you don't hear from me by Friday, assume one of those Dunkin' Donuts stores ate me to feed its profits. Or something.


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December 11, 2003

Candy-Coated, Baby

Brian and I both work full time. We sometimes talk about the not-too-distant future when perhaps this will not be necessary. I'm not sure who started it, but the euphemism for the non-worker is the one who "sits" (or lies) "on the couch and eats bon-bons all day."

Of course, in recent years, that's been amended (if the person of reference is me) to "sit on the couch and eat bon-bons for 10% of the day and spend the rest of the day working 'em off." Yeah.

At any rate, last evening, we had the bon-bon discussion for some reason. And I said, "what is a bon-bon?"

And Brian intimated that he thinks it's a little individual ice cream treat. Later, of course, after I'd looked up the definition, he CLAIMED that this was not the ONLY kind of bon-bon, but rather it was HIS mental bon-bon. Or something.

To me, a bon-bon is a chocolate-covered cherry candy or something like that. And, realistically, I could probably down six or so without feeling sick, but, OY, that seventh one might just do me in.

In a non-related discussion that I referred to today while conversing with Hans, I had a joke with a friend that overeating different foods led to said non-burned calories appearing en masse as attached to one body part. Like, y'know, fudge goes to your nose. He said that the Nutri-Grain billboards have helped him avoid Cinnabons and their Siren calls at airports. Not bad, eh? (And in a non-related note direct to Hans, gotta love this good software design.) Someone call in [suspenseful music] The Tester.

Wow, I'm all over the place tonight. Blogging overdose. So, back on topic. Now YOU know what a bon-bon is. And you know what it signifies in the Noggle household. And how to keep it off your middle finger? Good-good.


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December 02, 2003

The Grinning Masturbator

Yes, this week I'm starting early, hoping to post a script on the wall of the Champagne Room.

It was a cool October day in 1994. Yes, really, it was, but I was still wearing a really, really short dress (which I still have and wear). I was casually dating a young man - this being my senior year of college - and I had taken him out for his, heh, 19th birthday earlier that day. I was also wearing rather high heels (because said young man was 6'5" 'em tall).

I normally had class that lasted up until almost 4:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I'm certain this was a Tuesday or a Thursday. But, no, not this day. For some reason my late class was cancelled, so I was walking across the street (which was done using an underpass) and into the "nicest" parking lot on campus. It cost $65 a year to park there, and I had splurged, seeing as this was my last semester of college, fall of '94.

My car was near the back of the lot, which faced Elm Street, so this perhaps can be filed under Nightmare on, but it's just too damned funny.

I approached the car, and I was on the same row as it but walking west. Heels slow a woman down, so when I heard a car behind me, I figured I was in its way and stepped to the right.

The car did not pass.

I have this uncanny sense sometimes. Do you? Do you just KNOW when something's not quite right? Or when someone is watching you a bit too intently for your comfort?

I turned my head to the left, and driving slowly alongside me was a bearded man (dark hair, dark beard). His automobile was a current (at that time) tan coupe, a Camry or something. He was smiling...oh was he smiling. And he was in motion, even if his car was really, well, not.

And y'know what? He wasn't wearing any pants. And that wasn't the stick shift and a moving "OK" sign. Yeah - he's grinning pretty madly - as if it's normal for a dark-bearded man to be lying (driving) in wait to stun me with his original rendition of air penis. I mean, WHAT THE HELL!

Well, what's a girl to do? Original reaction was just shock, I said "Oh Shit!" There was no one around to hear me, but I didn't feel like I was in any immediate danger, so I did a logical thing (besides laughing hysterically) - I walked toward other people instead of tipping this guy off as to which car was mine.

And I didn't look back.

I went to work - American National Property and Casual Insurance. ANPAC. I mentioned to the girls and ladies there what had just happened, and they all said, "report the guy!" That hadn't even come across my mind, but, yeah, I could've been a 16 year-old or something, or easily shocked. That could really have bothered me instead of eliciting the "Oh Shit!" response.

So, I'm living with my parents that semester. I come home, and they've got some company - can't remember who. I tell my story, crack my mother up, and she agrees I should report the guy. So I do on the next day, and campus' police system has had other complaints for a man fitting a similar description.

Some time passes, probably a year. I've actually moved to Columbia, MO at this point and am enrolled in grad school and working as a legal secretary. My mother calls me at work. Campus police gave her a ring trying to find me to see if I can come on down and look at some mug shots, attempt to identify the guy. I tell her, "sure." She said the officer explained who he was and why he was calling, and she said, "oh, you mean the grinning masturbator?" At which point he tried to keep his composure but let slip a few chuckles.

So, call me they did - at work. And the officer said, "do you think you could identify him? And I said, "clothed or unclothed?"

Turns out, the pictures that they offered me a few weeks later when I went home for a weekend were not the guy. But, hey, great story, no?

And I really don't like dark beards. I think all dark-beareded men must own some stashed away, uh, stained? 1994 tan coupe or 10. Sorry Harvey, but now you have the whole story why Heather doesn't like bearded dudes.


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November 20, 2003

Just Another Thursday Night

I met my first "other blogger" this evening, none other than the eloquent Virginia Postrel. Actually, it was more like Brian and Heather Noggle fawning over Virigina Postrel, who was speaking at the Junior League here in the St. Louis area with her newest book, The Substance of Style, as the featured topic. I'll be reviewing the book over the weekend, likely, and I'll include a review of the presentation as well. I have about 60 pages remaining to finish reading.

Well, the whole thing went more like, y'know, the hobbyist musician who tells Billy Joel, "Hi, I play piano, too." I mentioned that I had a weblog, and Viriginia says, "oh, what's it called?"


"Oh, I've seen that."


But back to this picture thing. This isn't an especially representative picture of either of us. My hair doesn't usually look like it's been featured in a nuclear war, and Virginia carries a lot more presence in her photographs, which I'm certain usually feature stronger backgrounds than the still-life waiter, but you take what you can. (A couple of rules here - any mention of my shoulders had better include the word "awe" in them in regard to their 41 1/2 inch breadth, and there will be no caption contests. Ms. Postrel, I'm certain, agrees).



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November 02, 2003

Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 5

And this is it - the end.

Part One is located here.
Part Two is located here.
Part Three is located here.
Part Four is located here

Recovery is supposed to be the easy part after an experience such as what I've outlined, but there was little more than a "Phew, it's over" initially. After the final radiation treatment, I realized that within three days I really didn't feel any better. I was still dropping weight when I should not have been. I was still fatigued and "sunburned."

I forgot to mention last post that the other side effect I experienced was some hair loss. Everything in the radiation field vanished in unsightly clumps during weeks three and four. I had long enough hair to cover the missing hair in most circumstances, but for work I had to secure my hair back. This led to some creative coiffures (to say the least). Remember those banana clips from the 80s? I would secure my hair with one of those, and then pull the longer hair out over the missing (and the newly showing tattoos that were in the hairline), and it ALMOST looked normal. Unless, of course, you were lucky enough to be treated to my unrevised scar at the drive-through. KFC patrons of almost 12 years ago, I'm sorry about that. Kinda.

Another thing about radiation - after a while, you can smell it. At first I thought I smelled the radiation itself, and then, after a while, I was fairly sure I was smelling my skin burn. I explained this to a boyfriend years later, and he said that I was smelling ozone, a byproduct of the process. Who knows, really, and I'm not sure it's important, but it's a very distinct smell. And I cannot STAND to have my head immobilized. I didn't enter this affair with claustrophobia, but I left it with a twinge.

But what happens when you're healing is almost worse than the radiation because it's mental. You start to question everything. Did that really happen to me? No, really, did it? Was it that bad - as bad as I remember? Can I really call that "cancer?"

And then the guilt. Remembering the man with no nose and the little cosmetic "tent" to cover it. Remembering some of the people I met in the waiting room for radiation. One man was going in at the same time for lung cancer radiation. He and his female companion - presumably his wife - still smoked. And it was obvious that they smoked immediately before the appointment, as they smelled hideous. I wanted to smack these people and then shake them until their eyes wobbled. Hello, here's the clue phone. Take the call. YOUR BODY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. It's merely a machine. And machines break down. If you don't maintain them, they may fall apart, and, the unspoken part about this is that when the machines fall apart, there ain't no fixing the computer therein. You MUST MAINTAIN. Otherwise, why waste the money on radiation. Just go home and smoke and die.

And then I was angry (okay, I was probably a bit angry the whole way through but too exhausted to notice). I was angry at all of those people who failed to take care of themselves but faced no ramifications for their actions. I was angry at all of the purported "friends" I had who didn't bother to call or write, even though they were in the same city. I was angry with people who had normal problems like break-ups and failing grades.

I was envious. My mother was teaching, and she had all of these people who were gushing wonderful support in her general direction. Cards, letters, phone calls, I had a big wonking scar, a peeling face, and a Nintendo with which to wile away the days while I was regaining strength. Whoop-di-damned-do. If I let myself, I can still be quite bitter.

And then I was panicked and depressed. Yes, strangely, the recovery part of this whole mess was indeed the worst. Who was I? Had I changed? Could I even remember who I was before this whole ordeal? As the taste buds came back, I began to widen my palette. Potato chips and Doritos were soon all right - within about three weeks (a veritable array of health food, no?) And with eating myself out of starvation mode, I gained weight. What woman wants to gain weight? Not this one, even when her body was borderline emaciated. What IS a body image when the mind's as messed as mine was. I was too weak to really exercise, and I was gaining at a rate of a couple of pounds a week.

At about five weeks past the last date of radiation, I had my first "normal" experience with food. We were sitting in a restaurant in Florida, and I suspected that I would soon be able to taste things normally, so I asked for an appetizer of mozzarella cheese sticks with marinara. And, yes, the appetizer tasted normal. A sign of true recovery.

Eventually, I returned to work at KFC - probably just a bit before this. I worked from the end of March through the long dull summer, and I returned to marching band and classes in August. I'd been practicing my trumpet as best I could from late March on through, and with the help of some fake saliva when trumpet needs became overly intense, I was able to play fairly well. I have never regained the tightness of embouchure that produces an exemplary brass instrument tone, but the fluidity of my tongue and other important parts in playing an instrument was actually increased now that it was unhindered by the gargantuan tumor. Fake saliva kinda tastes like the yeast in bread dough. You get used to it.

In December of 1992, I had plastic surgery to reduce the surface area of the scar. This was my mother's idea, and it was one of the wisest decisions of my adult life. I came out of the surgery wearing steri strips, no stitches. Within two weeks, even though the area was still angry, there was a marked difference. Eleven years later, the thing is about a quarter to half the width that it was, and it no longer protrudes. Instead, it lies in the crease of my neck. I wear my hair up probably half the time - always at the gym. I don't think many people notice.

There are other physical deformities and issues that remain from having one side of my face cut open and laid across the other side. I have a dent where the gland was removed - a divot. If you catch me from the proper angle in a photograph, this is pretty apparent. My two ears are different, also. One, the left (normal side) is quite a bit longer than the other. And, about a year ago, I had to have most of the teeth on my right side "appended to" because of the changes in chewing I've adapted over these years to compensate for the changes in my facial structure. It's amazing that the dentist can do this - it's completely changed my bite. And it'll likely have to be done again at some point. On one tooth, I had worn all the way through the enamel with the course of normal use.

With some time, I began to see myself as normal, which is a large step in the emotional recovery. Most of the anger went away when I was able to busy myself with classes and work and "normal" activities. Romance and other early 20s life experiences became a part of my life.

And the years passed.

I hope I'm a better person because of what I've been throughm and I also hope that I can help others who have the same fears, the same anger, and the same scars. But you never really know - no experience is the same.

I did this for me because I've wanted to write it for some time now. Thank you for reading.


Posted by hln at 12:03 AM | Comments (8)

October 30, 2003

Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 4

I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is

Part One is located here.
Part Two is located here.
Part Three is located here.

Sometime during the week of January 6, 1992, I attended a radiation preparation appointment. You might not think that a lot of preliminary work goes into something like radiation treatment, but you'd be mistaken. For one, the field of radiation for me would be a significant portion the right side of my face, extending well into my hair, toward the back of my head. My neck all the way to my thyroid on the right side was also in the field.

One of the first items to be done was tattooing. I have six of these puppies. Basically, you are "marked" so that your field can be realigned from day to day, and these marks are permanent. Early in the process, I learned, lines would be drawn on my skin each day, sort of connecting the tattoos, to aid the process. I had been concerned I'd have to walk around with lines semi-permanently drawn on my face for six weeks, but that turned out to be unnecessary with this process. Since the tattoos are just tiny green dots, each just felt like a shot, and then it was over. Six times. Over.

Then, it was time to make the mold so that my head would lie immobilized during each session. This proved problematic after a couple of tries and scrapped molds, but we quickly learned that my neck was flexible enough to lie flat consistently without a mold. Then, we practiced the process strapping my head in place, probably trying to lessen the freak-out factor on radiation commencement day.

During the consultation we reviewed the possible and probable side effects of the radiation. The list is extensive, including nagging persistent sore throat, skin irritation akin to a very bad sunburn, mouth sores, loss of appetite, changes in taste, general malaise, and difficulty swallowing.

I can best explain the general malaise part as an athletic "bonk." You're exhausted. Your head isn't with your body, and, while you're not necessarily hungry (you may even be nauseated), you feel like you haven't an ounce of energy in your body. But I didn't know that yet.

There was some good news. A good portion of my facial function was back. I began to talk more normally and smile, and this would improve eventually to normal facial function and about half of the numbness remaining after the surgery.

And then it was the 13th. I was working full time at my long-time job, shift manager at KFC. We were short on management at the time, so, since I was not going back to school for that semester, I was managing four to five day shifts during the week. I opted for very early morning radiation at 7 a.m., so I could finish the process, arrive at work, wash off the markings, and begin a "normal" day. I tried to keep everything as normal as possible.

Radiation takes about 15 minutes each day. This includes preparation, morning greetings (the social aspect of any medical procedure when you see the same people consistently), and unstrapping/leaving. The actual radiation treatment process took less than a minute, I believe that process being the point where I'm strapped under the linear accelerator and the machine is running.

That first week, I felt all right. I had no appetite, but other than that, I was able to function normally. I lost 6 pounds and was barked at for this behavior, but I was able to gain a couple back during the next week or at least hold steady, so it didn't seem so bad.

It was during the third week that life began to change fairly dramatically. Somehow, I had mentally settled into working-not-school mode, and that was just "life." I seem to be able to adjust fairly quickly to most things, and I'd say this qualifies as a quick adjustment. But, during the third week, I sat down in the KFC office to eat a snack of cherry pie (mmm, healthy!). I grabbed a fork, opened the package, and then took the first bite.

Salt. And a hint of cherry.

I was fairly disbelieving, so I tried again. Perhaps someone was playing a joke. No. Salt.

This will mess with your head.

Needless to say, I didn't finish the piece of pie. Over the next few days I would lose ALL sense of taste but salt. Water = salt. Lettuce = salt. Salt = salt.

I learned a lot of food things pertaining to my new strange condition by trial and error. I learned that purified water tasted MOSTLY normal. So did hot dogs because they have a hint of salt. I could eat one hot dog and then the sheer emotional effort of eating became to be too much. I learned I could tolerate grilled cheese sandwiches. And breaded mushrooms. This was over the course of the next two weeks.

I was supposed to be consuming 2500 calories a day - the ideal being a mostly healthy diet with a lot of lean protein. As the days passed over the third through fifth weeks - even as I discovered the things I could force myself to eat - I was lucky to be consuming 1000 - 1200, and those were by sheer force. Oh, and by the third week I was plagued by a constant sore throat which continued to worsen to the point of dreading to swallow. Vitamins were soon out of the question.

Essentially, I was starving myself. It wasn't on purpose, but I wasn't hungry, and I certainly did not WANT to eat because eating was such an exasperating experience. But, as a result of the process of not really feeding myself in addition to the "general malaise" brought on by the radiation left me unable to work (too weak) in the middle of the process. There was at one point also talk of IV feedings, but I found the hot dogs and grilled cheese right about this point and was able to avoid that.

I don't remember too much of the time frame between the fourth and sixth weeks both because of illness and the similarity of one day to the next. I know that I had an appointment with Dr. Wolfe and that he asked me if I had started to sweat while eating. I was confused - this was a new thought, and it hadn't yet happened. That's where he mentioned Frye's syndrome why it might occur, and darn it, it popped up the NEXT DAY.

I had to take a Thursday and Friday off of treatment because my skin was too irritated to continue. This pushed the "end date" of radiation into early March.

Which came eventually, and though radiation was over, I experienced much of "what they don't tell you." What they don't tell you is fairly important, like, these side effects you experience don't go away when radiation ends. Like, you'll feel them for another six weeks, and eventually and slowly you'll return to normal function. I was very optimistic during the first three weeks that in three more weeks it would all be over. At the end of radiation, it was very apparent that only my morning appointments were ceasing, not the sore throat, eating issues, and "general malaise."


Posted by hln at 08:29 AM

October 29, 2003

Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 3

I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is Part One is located here.
Part Two is located here.

Gilda Radner once said that there isn't a thing funny about cancer. Or something like that. She would later die from the disease.

Not all forms of cancer are a death sentence, of course. Some are mere hindrances, and others give a person a life extension of sorts - five years, ten years, six months. Children get cancer; athletes get cancer, and grandmothers get cancer. It seems that often there's no rhyme or reason to most cases. Environment and heredity play parts as well.

But, if you had told me that at 19, even after such a rare surgery for a large tumor, that I would have to also be among those who "got cancer," I still wouldn't have believed you. It did not sink in immediately, really. I went to dinner with my parents since my father was at the appointment and the hospital/doctor's office was pretty much adjacent to my parents' home.

Dr. Wolfe had recommended a follow-up visit with a cancer clinic, MD Anderson in Houston, TX. We made plans to visit in mid December and did. Houston is Texas' largest city, but it seemed a large blur, like everything that preceded it, because of the trip's reason. I don't remember much of Houston but the cancer clinic and the Olive Garden in which we ate. The trip was scheduled for three days, I believe, but the visit at the clinic lasted only one, and a course of treatment was set - radiation therapy.

Dr. Wolfe and these follow-up physicians all agreed that it was likely that all of the cancer was removed with the surgery. The radiation is an extra measure to ensure that nothing, if anything remains, spreads. The cancer was encapsulated within the tumor, so that was an especially good thing. In order to administer radiation to a patient's head and neck, though, there must be little risk to future serious problems with his or her teeth. Radiation kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, and radiation to the teeth will diminish or kill the possibility of bone regeneration to protect against infection. Basically, if you lose a tooth, glands called osteoblasts will produce bone cell material to seal off the area and reduce risk of infection. If I lose a tooth, then it's a bit of a crap shoot all the way to the worst case, which is osteoradionecrosis. So, there was some debate about two or four of my back teeth - whether or not they should be pulled because of their proximity to each other, I believe. Also, one doctor recommended a mouth stint to cover the teeth on the right-hand side and shield them from as many harmful rays as was possible.

My wisdom teeth were still in place - hadn't come in yet. So, one of the first items of business was to schedule a removal date for them, which would be immediately after Christmas of 1991. Radiation would last a total of 6 weeks, 5 treatments a week with weekends off. This would total 30 treatments. There would, of course be side effects. The list was fairly comprehensive of what could go wrong, temporarily or permanently. And then, of course, there was a risk of a second cancer later in life CAUSED by the radiation because I was so young. But, the incidence of return of the cancer was just too high to gamble and NOT do the radiation.

After the appointments, or in between some (I can't remember), we sat in the treatment facility's cafeteria to eat a light meal. This afforded some good people watching, though it's not quite the same as at the airport or watching strollers around a city's downtown.

I saw a man who had no remaining nose. I saw other people, varying ages but mostly older, accompanied by friends and mostly relatives. The notable aspects of the disease in various stages and severity.

Treatment in Houston was an option, but my parents and I felt that Springfield, MO, which is where I lived and attended school, was large enough to provide good treatment, and we opted to return home and commence treatment there a few weeks after the wisdom teeth incisions had healed. It was at this point that I was faced with a decision. Would the course of treatment be so much that it would affect my ability to continue in school that semester? Should I take a reduced class schedule, or should I take the semester completely off, thus taking off that additional possible pressure and stress. So much facing me for the short term was unknown.


Posted by hln at 08:19 AM

October 28, 2003

Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 2

I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is

Part One is located here.

I was in the hospital until midday on November 2nd. This is not very long considering the duration and seriousness of the surgery, but you get better care at home anyway. I was sent home with a prescription for Percocet, my drain (because it went where I went), 27 staples holding the incision together (forgot to mention those, didn't I), and whatever else my parents brought with us. I actually don't remember what that would be.

The first few days are a blur. I know there was a lot of Nintendo played under the influence of Percocet, and I know that relearning to sleep was interesting, to say the least. The numbness isn't like when you go to the dentist - at least mine isn't. This is all external, not internal, and it affects my face from about the midway point from my cheek near my nose to my ear. The ear is completely numb. Part of my face can detect cold, and everything detects pressure, even though it's numb.

Showering was an adventure. I basically had to shower backwards (face away from water) with my mother holding the drain over the shower door. We laughed through it because it took twice as long as a shower should, and, well, what else can you do? The drain came out on Wednesday or so, I think, so it wasn't that many days of incapacitated showering.

On Thursday, I decided I was going to class. Why on earth would I do that, you ask? That's a good question. The answer is: I didn't want to miss my Economics class, you know, the one where the professor didn't uderstand the meaning of the word "tumor." My poor face was still quite swollen, but well fixed hair covered that pretty well. The turtleneck obscured the Frankenstein neck, and if I cut down on the Percocet, I could actually sort of function. My kind father drove me to school (since I couldn't do that yet), and I sat in the back of the Economics class and listened to the professor explain the results of the test.

After class ended, I walked up to the front of the room, purposefully waited until just about everyone had left, and asked for the professor's attention. I said (with half of my face, of course), "Well, I had it done!" And I bared my neck - a 27-stapled, still slightly bleeding swollen mess. He turned slightly green and then recovered. In the end, he double counted my final and didn't make me take the test I missed. And it's a fond memory.

I returned to the dorm on Sunday, a week and two days after the surgery, starting to rebuild my life. I took a walk at the track - a couple of miles - a thinking walk. Classes would be normal for the most part. Well, not really. I was a music major - a trumpet player. You need your whole face for that. Same thing with my low brass class. I still attended, but I couldn't do much. For marching band, I just held the trumpet for the remainder of the semester and marched my spot. You do what you can.

That first week back, I had some trouble eating. The area where the parotid used to be decided to painful every time I tried to eat. It was actually quite excruciating to the point where I could only sneak in a few bites and then had to abandon the effort. But, this lasted only for a week, and then that too was just a memory.

It was soon time for staple removal. I saw Terminator 2 in 1994 in the theater, and I remember laughing when Sarah Connor removes the bullets from the Governor's back and drops them in a metal thing. Ching! Ching! That's what staple removal sounds like, so the movie had a whole separate meaning for me. No pain, though. Left some funny railroad tracks in my neck for a week.

And everything seemed to be on track for healing and adjusting. Until it wasn't. I had a doctor's appointment to discuss pathology results one night after class. I decided to walk from campus to the appointment, which was about five miles and right by my parents' house. This was something I did fairly frequently, get some exercise and go see my parents, and then one of them would return me to the dorm.

My father met me at the appointment. I don't remember much about it because the only remarkable thing was the drastic change in what I saw the next few months of my life to be. The pathology had come back, and the suspicious section was indeed malignant.


Posted by hln at 12:00 AM

October 27, 2003


Travelling - safe in California, in a part of the state that is not burning, thankfully.

The flight was jam packed - maybe two empty seats. I sat between two gentlemen, all three of us plugging away on our laptops. All three of us taller than the average human (well, I'm probably the average man's height, but that still doesn't make for airline comfort).

A three-hour flight is actually a good, productive length. The one-hour flights basically leave you room to read an article or two or three chapters in a book. I like to watch take-off and landing...and basically anything else I can see out of a plane.

I retrieved my luggage, following the Heather rule that every other woman should heed. Do not pack your luggage to be heavier than what you can lift and carry by yourself. This is actually a newer rule, and possibly nothing has changed but my strength. I digress. (What was the point of that paragraph? I think I'll leave it anyway).

And so it came to pass that I found a cab to take me to the hotel. The driver was a Russian immigrant. I didn't pick up on that until he spoke. He asked me what my accent was. Funny, I have an accent? I guess so. A mix if Michigan and Missouri. Perhaps "ten" comes out a little less like tehhhhn and more like tihhhn. I hope not, but it's possible.

And so I asked him where he was from, and he said "Russia, sad to say." I asked how long he had been in the US, and he said 33 months. You or I, we would've probably said, oh, about a year and a half. Or just over a year. This man knew to the month and told me so.

Then, the obvious question: "How do you like California?" He said, "California is like heaven." And he said, "Were you born in the US?" I said, "yes." He said, "Lucky." And then he reiterated, "I'm from Russia, sad to say."

Unfortunately, at this point we were on the freeway, and talking wasn't much of an option. My hearing isn't so great when there's lots of background noise, and he was concentrating on the road and the cell phone that would occasionally ring and into which he would occasionally respond in Russian (I'm guessing).

I met a grateful man today. I've given it some thought. He loves this country. I do, too.

No matter where I travel in America, it's still America. I've seen about half of the states, and while there are some obvious differences, there are more similarities. Such was illustrated again in slow motion to me when I took an afternoon walk from the hotel out into a residential area.

It started as a quest to find the eventual dinner restaurant, which I was never able to do. I was just itching for a bike because the roads are perfect for cycling. Wide enough to share with the cars. The weather, too. But, alas, no bike. Just Heather and her tennis shoes and a time limit because of the midday California sun.

I put in about 2 1/2 miles in just over a half an hour, I'd guess. I passed Electronic Arts and Oracle, and then I found myself in a completely residential neighborhood complete with a child in a green shirt piloting a skateboard. It seemed like Florida because that's something I can compare it to, but there were no palm trees. And then it just seemed like another day in another city that is still America.

And so few of us notice it, sad to say.


Posted by hln at 07:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Story of the Wayward Parotid Gland

All stories have a beginning and supposedly an end. I'm not sure where or if this one ends, but I want to tell it now, twelve years later. It begins in the fall of 1991. I was 19 and a sophomore in college.

I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is

UPDATE: Since this is now finally all written, and it's been linked to, I'm coming in after the fact to add the links to the other posts. Thanks for reading.

Part Two is located here.
Part Three is located here.
Part Four is located here
Part Five is located here

In late August of 1991, I noticed a bump on the right side of my face, down near the jaw. There was no pain associated with it, but over the next couple of weeks it continued to grow. My fatherss birthday was September 26th, and I was eating dinner with my parents when I pointed out the bump and asked for advice. Brows furrowed, and we decided as a group that I would make an appointment with my mother's family doctor.

And thus it came to pass. The doctor provided a similar reaction to that of my parents. Specialist, she said.

This is how I came to know Dr. James Wolfe, whom I believe has retired now. In mid October of 1991, I met with Dr. Wolfe and he pronounced this bump, which had grown in the four weeks since I had noticed it, a tumor. I was expecting a cyst. My body likes to produce those for some reason, and a tumor was out of the question at 19. The next word was "biopsy," of course, and Dr. Wolfe sent for another doctor or member of the medical staff who returned with a long needle. They performed a fine needle aspiration (several, actually) and sent me on my way. This is NOT a procedure for the needle squeamish.

The offending gland was the right parotid gland, which, hopefully is something you've never heard of. Billy Bob Thornton's character in Bandits actually thinks he has a problem with one of his partoid glands (he's a hypochondriac), but he mispronounces it as PARotid. It's paROTid. Just a bit of trivia. You, normal human, have six salivary glands, three pairs. These are the parotid, the sublingual, and the submaxillary. The function of the parotid gland is to add the water to the saliva mix.

A week or two later, we discussed the results of the biopsy. Benign. Of course, right? Who has cancer at 19? No pain - not even discomfort at the site. At that point we also decided that, obviously, the tumor must come out. This is late October -I believe a Monday. We scheduled surgery for Friday, November 1, 1991.

And then it all became very real. To get to the tumor, Dr. Wolfe would have to make a six to eight-inch incision. I would likely experience several side effects, including limited to no movement in portions of the right side of my face for an unknown period of time, possibly up to six months. Any numbness or lack of movement I was still experiencing at that time would probably be permanent. I had thought this would be a little one to two-inch slice in my face, pop the offending mass out, and stitch me up. No.

That week, I made arrangements with all of my professors to be out for the following week, possibly beyond. All were very understanding save one. My Economics professor said, "well, if you're going to miss more than one class, you may want to drop. I suppose he didn't understand the word "tumor." You'll enjoy what I do to this man later.

I also bought several turtlenecks.

I moved back home for the recovery period. I had been living on campus, but my parents lived in the same city, and coming home only made sense. On Halloween, the night before the surgery, I remembered thinking and knowing that my life was going to change forever on the following day but not knowing at all what to make of it.

Surgery comes early in Cox South hospital for those whose operations might last all day. And I was one of them. I don't much remember the sequence of events that morning, but I do remember the fuzzy general anesthesia haze. It's usually the same - the spinning clock once you notice where you are, the voices of the medical staff in their communications with others. The extreme chill. The first words from a nurse when he or she notices you're fighting the effects of the anesthesia. Nausea. Lack of control.

I later learned, when I was fully conscious, that the surgery took six and a half hours. That the tumor was not just a little bump, but rather it was a mass the size of three-and-a-half golf balls. That it was wrapped all around my facial nerve, and that somehow, some way, Dr. Wolfe managed to save most of the nerve's function. Oh, and that there was a suspicious "section" within the tumor that would require some significant testing by pathology.

One word to well-thinking visitors. The day of major surgery is not the best time to visit. The patient is likely to be highly nauseated, mildly to heavily disoriented, and just plain tired. I had many caring visitors that evening, most of whom were scurried away gently by my mother after a short visit as I needed to take yet another trip to the restroom. Violent retching and facial surgery are not good bedfellows, either.

And it was then that I saw it, of course. Horribly swollen face from all of the trauma. The very non-natural drain positioned in the middle of the incision. The non-moving right side of my mouth when I tried to speak, and the long purple wound starting from next to the right ear and travelling around underneath it to take residence in a crease in my neck, following same to the bottom of the neck. It looked like a worm that'd been washed up by rain. Purple and angry. But, considering all alternatives, not bad at all.


Posted by hln at 12:00 PM

October 24, 2003

Soreness and Hindsight

Some words of wisdom for you.

Men have more testosterone than women. We all know this - it makes them physically stronger than the female sex. I failed to remember that last evening.

Tuesday and Thursday evenings were Noggles-working-same-body-parts nights at the gym. On Tuesday, we worked our chests, and here I'm smart - I KNOW I'm not as strong as he is. Really, I do. We worked free weights - barbell that night. Put on the Heather weights, took them off, put on the Brian weights, blah blah blah. From incline to flat to decline presses and then pec flyes with a machine. This went well, but the disparity was apparent. I worked up to 60 or 65 pounds on the flat press, don't remember (bar plus 7 1/2 on each side or bar plus 10s). Brian's considerably stronger than that with his chest.

So, fine. Where I get into trouble is legs. My legs can really take some punishment, and, well, I tried to keep up with him. And, for the most part, I did. Mostly, er, ow.

We did a leg press machine, plate loaded. Started at 220 pounds - 15 reps I think. Then just kept adding 20 and slightly dropping reps. Up to 240. Up to 260. Knees back to almost touching chest. Then Brian jumped to 280, and, on my 4th set, I stayed at 270 and squeezed out 5 reps before I declared the legs to be jello. Then we went and did another press, an angled one (more emphasis on quads and thighs). Less weight here, but three solid sets at something like 180, 200, and 220. That's guessing, but I'm sure it's close and may be low.

Then hamstrings, calf muscles, and quads. We both wobbled out of there.

A day later, I can tell I'm going to be sore like I haven't been in weeks tomorrow. Was it worth it? Hell yeah. (Plus, now you know I can lift more than the average dude with my legs but definitely not my chest). Actually, about two weeks ago, I had a guy comment exactly that to me - that I was lifting more weight than him. I never know if that's true incredulity or general flirting, but I smile and am nice but curt (if that's possible) and serious still the same. All business at the gym unless I'm actually working with Brian, and then I loosen up a bit.

And, ladies, if you're fearing you'll bulk up if you lift heavy weights - don't. Remember this pic?

Tomorrow's agenda is my back, and probably no bike ride.


Posted by hln at 09:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 23, 2003

Quick Thoughts

Got George Clinton's "Sloppy Second Chance to Make a First Impression" going through my mind. Can't find the lyrics, but the title's the gist of the song.

Today's my three-year anniversary with my current company, and I have to say things have gone well. I'm in the tech industry, and thanks to some good timing and a solid company, I've not felt the dot com bust or really any of the pain experienced by the sudden glut of technologically capable workers who are or have been recently in the job-seeking realm.

So, I have my review today. I decide to dress nicely (something other than the normal jeans). Since the esteemed spouse has been working a new job that requires him to iron everything but his underwear, the iron and ironing board are usually nearby. Not today, no. I find the iron, but I don't ever uncover the hiding place of the board. So, hey, a dresser works, right? Problem: iron (plugged in) will not reach the dresser. And curious cats abound. So I take out the pants and splay them across the dresser all while the iron is heating atop a bookcase (I have moved the clock radio out of the way).

When I feel the iron may be hot enough to commence ironing, I unplug it, iron one pant leg, and then, as the iron seems to be cooling down, I replug the iron in, shoo the white cat away from the general direction of my black pants (why is it NEVER the black cat that wants to sit on your black pants), and kinda rinse, lather, repeat the whole section.

Today may be...disjointed.


Posted by hln at 06:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2003

The Mustard Story

Okay. When I was 22, I was a single female living alone in Columbia, MO working full time and going to grad school. I had a weird-looking neighbor who lived in the apartment above me. The guys, two brothers, who were in the apartment across from me had mentioned to me that the guy was weird.

Often, I’d hear things crashing in his apartment. One morning at about 6:00 a.m., I heard a loud BOOOM! CRASH! I wasn’t due to wake up yet, and I was pissy about this, so I yelled “what the hell!”

That night, after work, I was doing some laundry, and the laundry area for the apartment complex was very close to my apartment – just around the corner, really. I was carrying laundry back, and this man emerged from his apartment screaming “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID! I KNOW WHAT YOU DID! AND I CALLED THE POLICE!”

He has this long, gray hair, and his face is all scrunched up, and he’s just livid. I think I’m carrying my whites. I don’t remember what I said to him, but I went back into my apartment pretty shaken up, set down my laundry, and tried to figure out what to do.

The easy solution was to visit the two guys across the way who had once said, if you ever need anything… So I did. I knocked, they opened the door, and I related the story. One said, call the police.

I did. From there.

The police come. They go and talk to the man. They come back over to the guys’ apartment. They say, “He accuses you of putting mustard on his door this morning.”

Which, of course, I did not do. First, I despise mustard. I don't own any unless I'm planning a cookout or something where others who like the condiment may wish to partake of it. That wasn't the case in my small apartment. No mustard.

I was so shocked that I laughed, and then I related my story, and the officers said, "do you want to press charges." I was pretty taken aback by that - I mean, for what? So, no, I did not.

At the time, I worked for a bunch of attorneys. I told my boss, one of the attorneys, the story the next day. He said, "Do you want to send him a letter?" I said, "Hell yes." And he said, "You write it. I'll sign it."

And thus this came to pass. The letter basically said, "Leave my client alone."

This was probably a Wednesday. On Friday, I was out most of the day in Jefferson City at a workers' comp seminar. When I returned to the office, and the reception staff was quite abuzz. The main receptionist said that a man with long gray hair stormed into the office holding the letter, but all he did was shake it within a closed fist - he never spoke, but he appeared to be shouting. And then he left.

The next week, the man complained to the apartment manager about my noise levels (HA), who did not take it seriously but did come to "talk with me."

And that was really the end of it. I avoided him. He probably avoided me, too, but that was easier with me avoiding him.

Turns out, though, that the man was having a lot of stress in his life - had throat cancer at the time. The noise was that he was dropping weights on the floor (bad form, dude), so there was no violence occurring at 6 a.m. save his weight dropping. The throat cancer was why he couldn't speak when he was in the law office. And he was actually a minister. Strange strange strange.

The mustard? Who knows. Wasn't me.

Posted by hln at 07:30 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 18, 2003

Cleaning the Office

So, I have spent pretty much ALL day ripping apart my office and reorganizing/throwing things away (since I'm in that frame of mind for some reason).

I found a Thighmaster PLUS in the closet. And I laughed and laughed. And threw it out.

I hope you smiled. That's from college. How naive I was. Spot training. Ha!


Posted by hln at 05:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 04, 2003

Blogiversary - Brian!

Tomorrow is Brian's 6th month Blogiversary, and mine follows a short five days afterward.

Please visit him - he's a better writer than I, and if he'd just MARKET himself a little more (you know, comments, RSS feed, at the very least), I think he'd be surpassing my readership by leaps and bounds.

Of course, he doesn't post an over-the-shoulder-in-black-dress flirtatious pic, either, as he often points out.

I told him he could borrow the dress, and I'm pretty handy with the digital camera.


Posted by hln at 12:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 26, 2003

Talking Trash

Tuesday night I had a dream about trash. In the dream, I was working at KFC, must've been college. And I fixated on the trash in the restaurant within the dream. I can still smell the trash there if I think about it - a mix of vinegary cole slaw sauce remnants, the scrapings off of the trays that held the chicken, too-old mashed potatoes, and, if you're in the "back," chicken blood.

That's not the point of this post, though. When I awakened on Wednesday morning, I spent five additional minutes thinking about trash because of the dream.

My father was a collector of non-trashy trash. You know, that stuff that should be thrown out but one doesn't have the heart to do it? It's not going to rot or anything, so there's nothing that would necessitate throwing it a way. He was a true pack rat. I have a bit of that in me but not as extreme. I'm going to illustrate.

My mother and father have a house with a large attic. About four months after my father died, my mother asked Brian and me to come down with Brian's truck and remove the items still located in the attic. I balked at this a bit, knowing what a chore this would be; my poor mother had NO idea.

So after doing a few other various chores around her house and yard on an April Saturday morning in 2001, we decided to tackle the attic, the storage part of which is located above the garage. There's a pull-down ladder that you extend and then climb up. The item removal line went from Brian in the attic to Heather on the lowest step to Heather's mother who stood a bit to the right of the ladder.

The stuff just kept coming. At first it was funny - you know, like, when we pulled out the first of three toilets. Because we moved a lot as a family, there was a truckload (we know - we hauled it!) of recyclable cardboard moving boxes). There were all of the toys/stuffed animals/books that I kept from childhood. There was some furniture. It took HOURS. HOURS! And it seemed like it would never end.

In the end (that eventually came), though, it was a truckload that my mother and Brian took to the local dump, a truckload of recycling, and a truckload of items Brian and I brought home with us.

Three truckloads of stuff in the attic. We cleaned out the garage, too, and in so doing, my mother moved a board resting against the back garage wall and rediscovered the spot where my father was once too overzealous in backing his boat into the garage. He was always "going to fix that."

And we laughed and sighed. It's obviously not important, all of the little things left undone - not like you choose to suddenly die at 62. I think bringing down the trash/recycling really helped clearly define some of what my father was about, something I have in me, too. That strange unwillingness to let go of certain things, a wistfulness attached to a thing or twelve - maybe recognized as such, most likely not.

My father would've been 65 today. Perhaps that's the dream, or why I connected the dream with THAT particular trash. That day, though it was a whole lot of work, is one of the most memorable days of my adult life. And that comes a couple of years later after some serious reflection and can be reduced to a sentence.

It's hard to let go.

James Allen Igert, 9/26/1938 - 12/6/2000.


Posted by hln at 07:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 13, 2003


I file all of the household papers, and for the last six months to a year or so I've been putting off the task of cleaning out the filing cabinets, having done it about a year ago and the things are STILL stuffed with paper.

Paper we don't necessarily need.

So, today, Brian and I journeyed to Office Depot and bought a little $9.99 shredder.

I've found some interesting things today in those files. I've discarded (to the toothed shredding machine I have not yet named) any old bills that have my maiden name on them (seeing as I've been married close to 4 1/2 years, y'know) - things like that. All the ancient bank statements and pay stubs - things you don't want to THROW away because they're just too personal.

I find this extremely liberating - like - perhaps there's something symbolic about this, some quasi-renewal, a purge of things unnecessary. A silly sort of catharsis. I'm working on filling up my third trash bag of colorful (though mostly white) recyclable material. Wahoo! No more filing dread, and perhaps I can organize my life a bit. I predict I'll have five bags full before I'm done.


Posted by hln at 10:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 06, 2003

Disappointment Afoot

I'll quote Dante from Clerks, "I'm not even supposed to BE here today."

By this I mean home.

Today is the MS 150. In Columbia, MO, not St. Louis. I'm in St. Louis. Home.

This post will get really personal. I don't often do that, and I probably won't do that again until November 1, 2003. If it's too much or uninteresting, well, there are other things noted below, or you could go reread the PETA post that will eventually be above this. Or the Blogger/Blogspot rant that will shortly follow that.

Yesterday was Friday, the day before the event. I had planned to leave work between 12:30 and 1:30 to go home, pack, get bike (can't forget the bike), grab all other necessities, and head out to Columbia for the MS 150. I was nervous/excited. Okay, I was nearly manic.

At about 9:15, I walked over to Starbucks with a bunch of the guys from work, three of whom are on my MS 150 team, so we talked about the ensuing ride a bit. We returned to work at about 9:30. I had noticed a twinge in my middle toe on my left foot about halfway back from Starbucks.

My toes are really close together, and if I don't really keep abreast of the toenail length, occasionally one toenail will cut into its adjacent toe, sometimes drawing blood. I took off the shoe and sock to check on it. The little guy was painful to the touch - seemed to be the case, but no blood yet. Having no clippers on hand, and wanting to make sure it didn't get any worse, I did what I thought to be the wisest thing. I bit the edge off so it would not exacerbate the irritated part. Once, in June, I thought I'd be really wise and just tear off the offending part of the toenail. I got the WHOLE toenail, so I decided not to try to do that again.

Time passes. I'm working. At about 10:30, the thing is throbbing. I mention this in mild complaint fashion to my coworkers. Hans stops by and mentions that I might want to stop at Walgreen's to get a cushion for it so that the 5 - 6 hours of cycling on Saturday doesn't irritate it too much for me to function as a cyclist on Sunday.

By 11:30, the pain has doubled. I take off the sock and shoe yet again and pronounce myself with a toe infection. I call the doctor, wise woman that I am. Luckily, the nurse practitioner can see me today - at 1:30.

I eat lunch - read the blogs of all of you good people who occasionally stop by to see mine. That takes my mind off it some. I get up to wash my salad bowl, and by this point, I really can't walk without torturous pain. I freak out accordingly, take my cell phone outside, and try to call Brian.

Who just happens to be at lunch. (Imagine that - it's lunchtime). I call my mother because she always helps. Between limping/pacing and talking to her, I pass the time between lunch and the appointment. Brian also returns my call.

I drive to the appointment (yes, across the street). After about a fifteen-minute wait, I'm deposited in the little doctor's room, and I remove my sock and shoe and prop up my ailing toe.

Said ailing toe is red, inflamed, swollen, and there's a pencil-width line of what I perceived to be infection that runs from the toe 3/4 of the way up to my ankle.

Whoa, okay. No wonder that hurt. Thing is, this manifested itself in the period between 9:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Very scary, and of course, a very disheartening sight considering my weekend plans.

I unfortunately have a nice long wait for the nurse practitioner, or at least it seemed. I call my mother again and have a "feel sorry for self" session. The NP arrives. She frowns at my foot. I fill her in between gasps of tears that I'm supposed to ride the MS 150 this weekend. She's not a cyclist I learn later (most people probably aren't), and probably didn't understand, but she can tell I'm certainly upset, and it ain't about the pain.

She asks for the chronicle of events. So I give it, matter of fact. 9:30 onset, 1:45 (probably now 2:00 p.m., this is how it looks). I explain the part about the toenail problem I have - the cutting thing, and I mention biting off the end of the toenail. She completely loses control with laughter. This is contagious. I start laughing too, not sure why she's laughing. She said, "you can put your foot to your mouth?" I said, "well, yeah" and then demonstrated by bringing a leg up and setting my foot to my cheek. Which made her laugh even harder. So, a moment of levity. I guess everybody can't do that.

She leaves me be again to find my doctor.

The time alone sets the emotional roller coaster in motion. I am supposed to be the person to collect our jerseys and ferry them over to some of the guys at their hotel. I call Hans and attempt (in snivelling fashion) to explain that I'm not a likely candidate for this task any longer. Not sure how much of the info I actually got to him because the doctor arrived and I pretty much abruptly terminated the phone call.

The doctor is my normal doctor, so he has a general feel for my personality and my training, and I've probably mentioned the cycling to him. I explain the event of this weekend. He frowns.

He said, "do you clip in?" I said, "yeah." He frowns again.

He gives my foot that doctorly stare and judgment, "mmmHmmm." He then pronounces it a strep infection and then proceeds to give me a set of instructions that he repeats no fewer than three times.

  1. This is a very virulent infection. I am going to give you the strongest antibiotic there is in pill form. Take this every 12 hours. It will kill ALL of the bacteria in your body.
  2. If the infection increases, go to the hospital for IV antibiotics. (He repeats #1, so I really get this more like 6 times instead of 3).
  3. You can ride. It will hurt horribly. You won't worsen it by riding. However, the antibiotics will give you diarrhea, which should dissipate by Sunday.
  4. (Repeat #2).
Well, that's a lot of information to take in. I'm sure that's why he repeated it so many times. I sit in the office waffling. The nurse practitioner leaves and retrieves the medicine, Augmentin XR, which is amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium. 1000 mg per dose, twice a day.

2 grams a day.

I eventually gather my new medicine and limp out. The drive home produces a tug-of-war match in my head between Reason and Emotion. They're both pretty battered right now. Reason agrees with the nurse practitioner and Brian, who want me to stay home and ensure I get better. Emotion keeps calling me a wimp and a loser for even attempting to listen to Reason. See, I don't have the devil and the angel on the shoulder. I have Reason and Emotion. Good enough, I guess.

I return home and take the medicine with food, as instructed. And then I decide to be cycling Cinderella. My bike shoes are lying by the couch. I slip them on. I stand. No way. There's absolutely no way.

150 miles will take me between 10 and 12 hours of actual cycling time to do. At a cadence (RPM) of, oh, say 90, that's...5400 cycles per hour, meaning at least 54000 revolutions. Jabbing pain with each.

So, no MS 150 - the compromise possibility is an MS 75. I tell myself this as I call my friend Susan, whose husband is the captain of the team. Susan, I'm not going to be there. Here's why. This finally sinks in, and she takes the jersey distribution responsibility off my hands. I feel like a wimpy heel.

I next call Sheryl, wife of Adam, at whose home I am slated to crash for the next two days. I explain the predicament. I let Emotion have the phone for about 3 minutes during that explanation. She says to me, "Take pictures. Put them on your blog." I get a good laugh out of that. And do what she says.

I'm kind enough to not post them in the main spot, but if you're my mother, curious, or have already pronounced me a wimp, you may want to visit footpics. I have yesterday's and today's up. The pictures serve as fantastic objective evidence when I need to stop beating myself up.

The other funny and rational thing I did was take a black Sharpie and mark the point on my ankle past which the infection cannot go without necessitating a trip to the friendly local hospital. Thankfully, it does not seem to be spreading. The redness from it is a bit wider in my foot near the toe, and my toe is forming a pus bomb (yucky, I know) in the middle on the side/top that's about as wide/tall as a thumbtack.

What now? Research. I got online and looked up strep infections that were not of the throat. I found that Ed Belfour, goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs, missed at least a game for a strep-infected thumb. I felt a bit better. Hockey players don't miss games very often.

So, terrible timing = no MS 150. Only good news? It didn't happen today. If it had happened today, I probably would have ridden through the pain, had a horrible time, and had the infection crawling into my leg instead of merely my foot. And, there's a century planned for the end of the month. It'll take the place symbolically of this ride. It's the best I can do.

More good news? If Blogger ever comes back, more blogging. And I get to keep my foot.


Posted by hln at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2003

We are "Wired" and not "Wireless" in the Home

We are "Wired" and not "Wireless" in the Home

Wireless seems such a painless and proper choice when you're looking at my house - two stories, a split-level ranch. But, soon after we bought the house, we took on (read: Brian wired, and Heather tried to help) the CAT5ing of the Noggle home.

I learned some new words that weekend. One of the ones I can repeat is PVC pipe.

Brian has always decried all things wireless (except stereos) because of the security risks they pose. It's nice to see a detailed article about this. Paranoia justified.


Posted by hln at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2003

A Tribute to My Father, James A. Igert

It's Father's Day, 2003. I last had occasion to gift-give on Father's Day in 2000, of course not realizing that this would be the case. We humans don't know these things. I gave him a fishing-themed remote control apparatus, and I learned that he did indeed enjoy it.

Our parents impart so much knowledge to us, but with my father's special way of providing guidance, I really didn't see too much of him in me until I was a few years into adulthood. Every time I curb my type A personality and tell it to take a rest, that's my father speaking. And he does so gently, usually in a silent and reserved fashion, at least that's the behavior of his visage in my head.

My father was a peacemaker and a simple but honest person. He preferred the outdoors and tried to teach me so many of the things I would like to know now but didn't have the patience for at earlier ages. My gardening stint of late is descended from my father's experience and success with gardens when I was younger. He planted a lot of corn, tomatoes for my mother and me, green and wax beans (which he peppered every night with generic pepper because he swore this kept the rabbits at bay), watermelon, and piles and piles of strawberries. I remember blisters from preparing these strawberries every late May.

When I was a child in Michigan, my father would construct an ice rink in our back yard every winter. And he'd use it, too. There would be dad and daughter, twirling on skates on our rink, radio rigged outside to pipe in the music of the day. He'd build sled runs out of snow and ice them down with the water hose to provide that extra sledding thrill.

And in the summers, there was softball, something he always encouraged. Any skill I have I can attribute to his working with me.

It's hard to synthesize the general memories into a short blog post. The only gift I could think to give would be another long, long day fishing, maybe 13 years ago.


Posted by hln at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2003


Today is an anniversary. On 6/14/1989, I commenced employment with KFC (my first job), then always known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, where I would stay for nearly five years.

And I have been working ever since. There have been three short hiatuses (hiati?) - one of about six weeks while recovering from treatment for a serious illness; one for about 8 weeks to try to adjust to returning to college after said illness; and one for two-and-a-half weeks between the KFC job and a job at American National Property and Casualty (ANPAC), where I would serve as a low-paid, fast-typing transcriptionist.

That's 14 years, folks. Fourteen solid years of working - through the end of high school, through college. Through grad school. I am 30 years old, and already I have amassed enough "quarters" to qualify for a social security payout (should said system continue to exist (ha) when I am 62).

So, this last week and a half that I have not been working (vacation, so relax - I'm not about to refute myself), I have taken some time to reflect on the items that grace my resume and be thankful that I can stake such a claim in a time of tech sector upheaval and uncertainty.

I remember my first night of work very well. I made biscuits for three hours. This duty required that one empty biscuit mix, milk, and a big blue tube of shortening into a big-ass bowl. Then, turn on the mixer (which was against company policy - you had to be 18). Let it mix its allotted time. Flour the board during the mixing time, and ensure that you have a scraper and a good biscuit cutter and white plastic rolling pin on hand. Line four to six trays with baking sheets (paper). After the mixer has completed its task, move the bowl (quite heavy) to the biscuit-assembly table. Flour hands. Grab gob of dough. Place gob on board (which has an upraised rim of about 1/4 inch - so clever). Roll dough. Flour biscuit cutter, and commence cutting. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I wasn't so fast on my first night, favoring perfection and cleanliness to efficiency. Not so wise in the restaurant business on a busy Friday night. When you're manning the biscuit station, you also need to bake the biscuits on command. Never forget to set the timer, either. Customers prefer biscuits to hockey pucks. I was blamed my first night of work for failing to set the timer, though, honestly, I believe this was someone else's mistake. Still, difficult to forget the outcome and the scowl of the Shift Manager.

There are so many things to be learned in the restaurant business. I can multitask while cooking with the best of them, sometimes to the point that I have the table set, salads made, a main dish, and one or two side dishes ready at the same time (oh, and I've cleaned up all of the dishes from preparation, too). And I'm a fiend at cookie baking time around the holidays. I made something like 62 dozen this year - took pictures and everything. If anyone wants a cooking time management seminar, I'm your gal.

I eventually moved into management with KFC. Actually, this happened about as early as it could - shortly after I turned 18, my freshman year of college. In my desire to avoid my college roommates (mostly because of their abhorrent housekeeping), I often would work more than one really should on a "school night." Grades were always good, though, because I valued that. In Springfield, MO, there were 6 KFCs. I worked in all of them, usually as a fill-in manager. There were two stores in not-so-good parts of town, and there was one that was borderline. I knew all the crews and the secret to making it all work. And this applies everywhere, I believe (not that I've been management since the KFC days) - jump in and do every bit as much work as the workers beside you, and then do your work.

My thing was always mopping. And this was cool because just about everyone else HATED mopping, but it was a have-to daily chore. The kitchen equivalent was scrub brushing the back floor. This too, is something in which I took great pleasure and would help out if the cook was behind. I also always put away the stock when it came in - some heavy box toting if I ever saw any.

I only had to fire one person. Said person walked out on me - can't remember why, and, well, obviously, you can't allow that to happen. I know I threatened, and when he made his choice (because all choices need to have consequences, good or bad), I immediately made sure I had my boss' backing. Fired dude did not return.

I'll stop now so I don't take you through the travails of transcription and legal secretaryhood. But, after those positions, I hopped into HR and then into IT, where I remain gainfully employed and typing faster than a human should.

I'll never starve, though, with all o' those skillz.


Posted by hln at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2003

Ah, Homeownership

Ah, Homeownership

Brian and I picked a really good time NOT to be in Chicago.

Today, June 10th, marked an unhappy day for walk-out basement owners in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

I was playing the happy housewife (which is QUITE demanding, I have learned), as I have for the majority of the past two days. Dinner was cooking, and I had some spare time to work in an abdominal workout downstairs. It was about 5:30 p.m., a gentle beginning to a good end of a productive day. Sarah Brightman was telling me that it's "Time to Say Goodbye," and gentle thunder was crackling, highlighting the slyly torrential, but yet seemingly calm, steady rain.

As I finished, I stretched and stood, facing the door, I noticed a dark streak that looked suspiciously like liquid emanating from near said glass door. Upon further, harried inspection, my fears were confirmed. Instant backyard pool in a bad, baaaaaaaaaad, bad place.

Now, this has happened before. This, actually, has happened three times previously. We have taken many steps to ensure that said nasty occurrence does not grace our property again, but, alas, the storm was so sudden and strong enough that even our safeguards of multiple grates were circumvented by the deities of rain.

Get husband. Shriek appropriately. Husband enters the great outdoors and wades into the foot deep (I kid you not) water awaiting its turn to join the swirling masses of the sewer. Husband bales the water and clears the drain. Wife re-enters the home, gathers all towels in the cabinet, and begins indoor water removal. The toilet becomes a critical stopgap in saving the Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine (new this month!) strewn carelessly on the bathroom floor from immediate drowning.

Ten minutes earlier, we could have stopped the whole thing. Ten minutes later, we'd have a bona fide mess. Three days earlier - I shudder to think, as we were out of town.

As far as heart-rate-raising calamities go, not so bad.

The two trees that flank the back of the house - soon to be ancient history. Gentlemen, start your chainsaws. We've learned this lesson one too many times.


Posted by hln at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2003

So Long, Charter Communications

For the past several years, Brian and I have been cable TV customers, receiving the service mostly for St. Louis Blues hockey coverage, and, more recently, the digital music package which contains a really good Big Band channel.

St. Louis previously sported two major cable companies, AT & T and Charter. Most of the city and the county were serviced by Charter, but the Maryland Heights area where we reside was covered by AT & T. Charter acquired the territory some time ago. Somehow, with Charter, we were grandfathered into a package that contained an obscene number of channels but cost only $40 or so a month. Eventually, this package was raised to the $56.83 a month that we've been paying for about a year now. I actually called to see if we could get our package reduced to only the channels we used, and the customer service representative with whom I spoke laughed and said it would cost more to get what we wanted and that our package was normally priced quite a bit higher.

Well, yesterday, I got the news from Charter that continuing coverage at this level would require a $90 payment from the Noggles to the cable company each month. No way. Brian and I discussed the service and decided to drop it altogether. First, my focus on hockey has diminished for my own after-work pursuits in the athletic direction. So, no longer is there an every-night desire to follow puck and stick across ice on the television. Also, we have a lovely 100 CD changer in the room with the television; we can supply our own varied Big Band music to our hearts' content. So, bye bye cable. Cable TV shouldn't cost more than electricity.

Also, the gym has cable. Hockey game = 3 hours of cardio. Our favorite sports bar has cable = 3 hours of cocktails and fries.

Ah, balance.


Posted by hln at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2003

The Three Things I Learned in Home Economics Class

Yesterday, I was thinking about my 8th grade home ec class. This was a required class - it or metal shop. I took home ec only because I have an intense dislike of fire, and so shop was out of the question.

I'd best get to the point and enumerate said three things.

1) I learned to sew and stuff a pillow, and I learned how to make a short-sleeved shirt. I still have the pillow, so I guess that's a "deliverable" from home ec. The shirt, well, I'm not sure where that went. I know I wore it to the spelling bee in 9th grade, so perhaps that spelling bee memory is what made me think of home ec. I have since, sadly, unlearned any sewing tricks of the trade; I have no natural talent to carry me through in this regard, either.

2) I learned how to make pudding to please my spouse. Chocolate, no less. Might I expound on how much I despise pudding? Really, I despise it. I'd much rather clean cat litter for an hour. I have always despised pudding, and so making pudding FROM SCRATCH was not exactly a pleasant experience for me, but it was obviously memorable. I'm sure I have repressed any pudding-making skill I might have acquired.

3) Ah, the big one. I learned that Del Monte peaches are of higher quality than generic, store-brand peaches. Wow! Isn't that a revelation? A 13 year-old girl needs to know these things. Someday she may have a family to feed.

I espouse the peach theory purported by my home ec teacher, though. The generic ones were ratty looking and possessed a gravelly texture. The Del Monte peaches were oh-so smooth and delectable. Mmmm.

Thus concludes your home ec lesson for the day. Incidentally, I learned to cook at home, and I'm quite good. I learned to clean by default; my mother wanted every surface of her home "plate" clean. Yes, that means it could serve as a plate in a pinch. It's just that sewing thing...


Posted by hln at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2003

Oh, THAT Appointment

Today was the yearly visit to every woman's most necessary doctor. And, yes, it should be at least once a year. There are so many humorous things to impart about this experience that I'm not exactly sure where to start.

But start I must. My gynecologist's name is Dr. Mormol. Yes, that rhymes with normal, and he is. I once had a Dr. Patterson, and he was one of the jumpiest individuals I've ever met. I'm not sure how he was able to stop bouncing long enough to perform an exam. I always used to bump into him at the grocery store, too, and then have to explain to my shopping companions, oh, that's my gynecologist.

Before that, I had a Dr. Walker, I believe. I change doctors when I move to different cities, so this explains the veritable doctor palette; it's not a gynecologist for every mood. Dr. Walker made every woman who came to see him, regardless of reason, take a pregnancy test. Men, you may know this, you may not, but the easiest pregnancy test is a urine sample. So, that's what you did before you saw the doctor - you filled your cup. Me, I had it easy. They were always happy to see me. This is from my pre-marriage years, so my maiden name was Igert, and they put the initials on the cup. Heather + Igert = HI. Ah, the friendly urine sample. Dr. Walker also put big posters that said "RELAX" on his ceiling. I suppose this was meant to calm you if you stared at them long enough.

But, today, there I was with Dr. Mormol, and we were talking bikes. Bikes are good - we have that bike ownership thing in common, so you really don't even notice anything else when you're carrying on a "well, how many times have you fallen because of those blasted toe clips" conversation. It was as if we were discussing our common experiences while sitting on a bus or a Metrolink car. But, no, of course, that was not actually the case. Didn't matter, though. By the time I realized everything was complete, Dr. Mormol had left me to go do doctorish things while I dressed myself.

And after I had accomplished the clothing feat, I found myself with extra time before the good doctor returned. What kind of trouble can I get in, you ask? Well, it became time to check out the literature for the Nuvaring method of contraception. I mean, we're talking piles of literature and pictures in this exam room. What's a girl to do?

And what do you think of this thing? First thing I think of is, it looks like a gummi worm. Can you imagine your small child consuming your Nuvaring? Hmm, ewww. Look, mommy, gummi! I believe there is some BrianJ lore that would support childhood consumption of mother's birth control pills, but I may have that confused with his consumption of the family's jade plant (or two). Also, can't you (if you're female) imagine all the guff you'd get bringing that thing home. Random men probably scoff, beat their chests, and call themselves Lords of the Ring.

So that was my adventure of the day. It beat the code I conquered, and, thankfully, I'm healthy, so I'll likely not repeat it soon. I don't get the intended response from the lovely kissing folks graphic, either. What I think about is, ewww, in a moment she'll be chewing on her hair.


Posted by hln at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2003

The Search for the Sympathy Card

My Aunt Lee died last week, or perhaps it was late the week before, but I don't mean to steal and permutate (is that a word) a line from The Stranger, so I will continue. I didn't really know my aunt Lee, having probably last seen her when I was 7 or 8. She was my Uncle Dick's wife of many years, my uncle being my father's older brother. I have a very small family, and the thing to do here is to send a sympathy card to my uncle, correct?

I begin this task late on a Sunday evening, in time to place the card, which will be of course difficult to write, into Monday's outgoing mail. I retrieved my card stash out of the credenza, and here's what I found.

1) I found a sympathy card. It was addressed to me, though, so it wasn't quite what I needed or expected.
2) Enough Christmas cards to last me until 2007. I have them from the American Heart Association. More from the Humane Society. Some purchased Shoebox cards.
3) A postcard of a family of five on pogo sticks (each on an individual stick). Why?!?
4) Two orangish grey kittens on cards that say "Thank You."
5) Cards depicting Native Americans with horses. Where did I get these and why?
6) A St. Patrick's Day card (with tacky green envelope) that says "On Reilly, McManus, Male and O'Malley" and depicts reindeer pulling leprachaun Santa and a pot of gold.
7) Finally, a card that says "With Heartfelt Sympathy" and a gentle message.

Just what is our culture's obssession with greeting and other cards? I suppose it's not really proper to call a sympathy card a "greeting" card. I'm not really big on them, but for a person who professes that, I sure do store my share of them for several occasions.

Now, I just need to decide who gets the pogo stick postcard. And find the right words for both.


Posted by hln at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2003

And MORE Mail

This one is dated "Wednesday Morning." Any and all Wednesdays. It starts:

    Dear Mrs. Noggle, I don't want to believe you've abandoned the Republican Party, but I have to ask...Have you given up?
Why, yes, I gave it up for lent.
    Our records show we have not yet received your 2003 Republican National Committee membership contribution!
Your records would be correct, sir. I bet if your computer took the time, it would notice that it didn't receive 2002, didn't receive 2001, etc.
    As the Treasurer of the RNC, I know our Party's success depends directly on grassroots leaders like you, Mrs. Noggle.
Diggity-do! Really? I like my leadership role. I don't send money; I occasionally give you my vote, actually, more often than not. You send me letters that feed me grapes all the while chastizing my poor performance as a cash cow.
    So I am surprised and concerned because I know how generously you have helped in the past and how instrumental your support was to our historic victories in 2002.
Lovely. My vote counts.

So, while you're at it, Republican party, please stop sending correspondence to the Nobbles. I promise they don't live here. And President Bush, since you're "counting on me," perhaps on Thursday morning you can give me a call and we'll discuss the country. I'll be waiting.

Oh, I almost missed this gem:

    With our majorities in the U.S. House and Senate razor thin, the Democrats and their liberal special interest allies will obstruct and delay every chance they get. We cannot allow them to succeed!
How does one obstruct a chance or delay it? Oh, and, yes, the rallying cry. Earth will be ours!


Posted by hln at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

More mail! Cooking Club of America

DON'T SEND MONEY. It's not necessary.

Yet. Buhahahahaha. I love these little scolding letters with their tones of "you bad dog if you don't join/send us [more] money."

Directive: "Just mail your Acknowledgement (notice capitalization - deified!) in the postage-paid envelope. Then put the enclosed card in your wallet."

And, just what happens if I defy this order? My wallet refuses!

Warning: "If you don't let us know within 14 days, Club rules require me to remove your name from our membership roll. So please do it now."

Hmm, really. Is that so. Is there a reason, then, why my refrigerator sports two previous magnets from your "charter" club that I have never joined. Smirk along to the music now. The third magnet is just itching to join in.

It's important you red this entire letter

Oh, obviously. Cooking Club of America - you will save the world, no? Donate a few pineapples in my name, please.

The rest is just drivel in cookingese. I'll not bore you. Let's go on to the next piece of mail.


Posted by hln at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

dressbarn - Mail to Brian

I'm a dressbarn customer. I admit it. I even have the credit card. So, whyowhy did these bozos (read: dressbarn's computer system) send the $10 off coupon to BRIAN NOGGLE.

I fear this. I'm certain he would look smashing in some pastels, though. Perhaps we'll go to the sale together.


Posted by hln at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2003

Thank You, Gainpro

I'll tell you what Gainpro grows. It's hits! But, if you're visiting this site to enlarge your penis, I'm afraid you're out of luck.


Posted by hln at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2003

And Speaking of Gardening As

As I drove to work this morning, I noted the new fully-grown yellow and purple tulips gracing the median of one of Creve Coeur's finest streets. I thought, hmm. Tax dollars hard hard at work. It reminded me of about a year ago when Brian and I were in Chicago to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This was May, and Chicago has some pretty well-kept and manicured flowers lining its sidewalks and streets. But, this being May, meant spring flowers were no longer fashionable, I suppose. At around 6:00 p.m. city workers were hard at, well, work, REMOVING the perfect tulips in favor of some fresher, more summery, replacements. Everywhere we walked was strewn (well, okay, they were in piles) with uprooted tulips.

Now, forgive me if you must, but I was APPALLED. I can see ripping out dried, dead used-to-be flowery plumage, but perhaps the citizens of Chicago would be better served (if one can prove that flowers/plants SERVE) with plants that last all season or whose lifespans persist from year to year.

But, hey, who ever said minutiae government made any sense. I'm going to go eat some state grapes now.


Posted by hln at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2003

My Green (and Purple) Thumb

Today, Sunday April 27, marked a momentous occasion. My esteemed spouse was bitten by the gardening bug (which we pray was not radioactive). And because of said proclamation that we should "buy some flowers," we loaded our selves and debit card into the blue truck made for hauling things and ventured to the local greenhouse. Which was closed. The truck pulling in before us noticed this first, and we followed it to Schmittel's Nursery just down the road in the more rural part of Earth City which really means it's more of a flood plain.

Somewhere in the middle of choosing annuals, the same bug (which must've travelled with us in the truck) bit me as well. Chomp! Hey, I think we need some herbs. I think we need a LOT of herbs. OreganoParsleyThymeSageTarragonBasil squared.

We spent our fair fortune and returned home to stash the plants and begin part two of our journey - the Home Depot. The great orange emporium was so full of plants and folks and folks buying plants that we bilked the system and bought our planting supplies INDOORS (what a concept). Brian was even so stealthy as to filch mulch from another cart that was masquerading as a mulch display (honest).

And then we returned home to face the daunting reality of where to put all this stuff. We had our cedar borders, our two bags of potting soil, our bag of topsoil, our gardening tools, our annuals, our herbs, and our intrepid faith that man (and woman) would prevail over plant.

And it did, er, we did.

It's mostly planted. The mailbox sports eight new smiling plants and a beautiful coat of decorative rock. The ghetto door (smirk, Adam, please) is flanked by two faux pottery long planting boxes filled with beauteous (read: not dead) flowering plants. Heather's herbs sit in more of our favored faux pots, all in a row.

The roses are planted and should bear bloom before 2007.

The purple thumb, you ask? Well, that's a reality. Thank you, softball practice. Ow.


Posted by hln at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2003

Thank you, Hotmail

And today's praise goes to Hotmail for providing content for this session.

I have a hotmail e-mail account. So does every Joe and his pet emu, so this is not an amazing revelation. Last evening the former Roommate (before there was the Husband, there was the Roommate) for some reason presented a charming, witty tirade about all of the "Enlarge Your Penis! e-mails he receives. I decided to begin my foray into my empirical evidence inbox of yore - the Hotmail account.

I never use this thing. I have it because I have an MS Passport, and so it collects nothing but random solicitations (oh, most definitely) from folks (and computers) I do not know. Lately, I've been good enough to keep it fairly bereft of said treasures, but I should have enough from my three-days-since-cleaning stash to bring forth some juice.

So, just how many penis enlargement e-mails does Heather have? Well...

There are 40 e-mails not denoted as Junk Mail. The inbox was last purged on April 23, 2003. This should be good.

Jackpot - first one. This one's clever. It tells me in a subject line that the server is down. Oh, yo, but no no no, the message states another tale: Gainpro will take your sex life to new levels... Guaranteed! Your penis will grow up to 3 inches. Thanks, random human, or whoever borrowed or made up your e-mail address, but no thanks. Penises don't look good on women.

Same e-mail with a "Lets work this out" (sic) subject. Then, "You forgot to answer" and then "I know all that" and "Why wouldn't you just give it to me." "Cheer me up." "Remember that chick." "Did you lose it?" "Remember that lady?" (I was ready for this one).

9 of my 40 e-mails were about Gainpro and my non-existent penis. Let's learn about Gainpro, which seems to have a corner on the PE market, at least this week. Perhaps Google's Zeitgeist section will have it topping the charts.

Could it be this? (Link safe for children and emus belonging to Joe).

Alas, no lovely home page marketing our featured product. There is a lovely link to an IP address with some CGI action going on in the background. Think I'll pass.

The other e-mails, you ask? Well, a few more oriented toward using the newly enlarged specimen of note, a bunch about refinancing, a fat buster/cellulite blocker, some human growth hormone advertisements, and a boootiful locket the vendor encourages that I purchase for my mother for Mother's Day. Awww.


Posted by hln at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2003

It Blows Away Your Vic-20

Ah, do you remember your first computer with such fondness and loving tribute as I obviously do? If so, read on fellow geek.

My first computer was a Commodore 64, and it arrived in my hands at Christmastime of 1983. I was 11 and enraptured with my fun microcomputer classes held after school on the state-of-the-art Radio Shack TRS 80s. I had the power to make lines of text scroll ad infinitum...well, until someone nobler than I pressed BREAK.

Remember this?

20 GOTO 10

Oh yeah.

The computer came with no means of saving programs, so many a Saturday I spent typing the program that turned my C64 into a piano-like keyboard just to play Mary Had a Little Lamb or some such nonsense. Then my parents purchased the master contraption - the DATASETTE!

And then there was persistence.

The most interesting thing I wrote with the C64 was something that quizzed me with countries and capitals for the various continents. It even spat out a grade card according to my performance at that given time and modified how many questions it fed me (and in what order) at my whim as a user.

Then, sometime in 1985 I believe, we purchased the printer. It was a Blue Chip Daisy Wheel contraption, and it output far superior text than those dot matrix bozos. I had the best typed papers in class. At some point, the disk drive beckoned, and our package was complete.

This computer remained in my home as the main computer all throughout high school. Only in 1991 did my family acknowledge that perhaps it was time to join the revolution and upgrade. The family pet, as it were, was sold to my father's former secretary for help in running her household.

Lunch is over - but one more thought. Change that screen text color to Cyan!

What power. GOSUB Work.


Posted by hln at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2003

Shut Your Seed-Cracking Beak

Sometimes life is just a bit too ethereal for even me. After the drive-thru house closing that Brian and I attended today, we opted to dine at the house of Regina vinegar and pepper, since it is close to work. I was working over my starter salad with my fork, enhancing each bit with equal parts of lettuce, croutons, tomatoes, and cheese, when he quipped this little thoughtpiece.

"I bet you wouldn't have married me if I had a seed-cracking beak."

What the hell?

I think I snorted and asked him to repeat. He did, and I had heard correctly the first time.

I'm sure I crinkled up my nose and conveyed the proper quizzical countenance and continued eating.

At some point, I realized, this makes a perfect insult. When someone's jaws are too freely flowing, you can always say "just shut your seed-cracking beak." But you must do this with a straight face, of course.

Seed-cracking beak face isn't too bad either. Remember that one for the drivers yapping on their cell phones.

And so the esteemed spouse days to me after reading this, "You're making life with me to be a bit more surreal than it needs to be." And his justification for this comment is this: "I was probably talking about my flesh rending teeth." And then, "I was eating a salad, and we were talking about becoming Vegan!" And then, the pinnacle: "Honest, I can connect this all up to sanity!" I love instant messenger.

The rest of the story: so, okay, there probably was some context of teeth and their uses, but that beak thing is a pretty good stretch - almost the splits. The Vegan thing? He couldn't do it - he'd have to give up butter, and that would be torture.

DOUBLE Addendum
Oh, and robins do not have seed-cracking beaks, they have worm-stabbing beaks; I learned this today.


Posted by hln at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2003

He shoots! He scores! (And

He shoots! He scores! (And the other team goes home for a long summer)

There's nothing really like playoff hockey. Take, for instance, the game playing itself out right now on my family room television. The Maple Leafs of Toronto are thrashing the infidel Flyers of Philadelphia. Oh, wait, I'm in the United States, not Oceania or Iraq. It's 4-1 Flyers over the Maple Leafs right now, and Eddie "the Eagle" Belfour is probably not going to be hugging his Stanley cup on the Tilt-a-Whirl again in this year's celebratory commercial.

At any rate, I was about to explain the thrill, which, of course, I really can't; that's part of the thrill. Hockey is a great sport to live vicariously, mostly because it's so full of speed, strength, coordination, and skill - it's soccer on steroids. Goals are hard to come by, and momentum shifts can spell doom or ecstasy. And then you add the playoff element. Playoff hockey series are best of seven. So, four wins advances your team to the next round. And playoff hockey games continue until someone wins the game. Games may go into double, triple, even quadruple overtime, leaving many fans and players alike in a zombie-like daze the next day. Oh, and that seven-game thing? Teams muster up a lot of animosity for each other by about the third game, so you're in for some serious entertainment.

Tonight's games are all game 7s, meaning it ends here, folks. Thankfully (or sadly), I'm a bit under the weather, and so the lure of a tight game will lose to the plain, simple, practical fact that I must deposit myself in my warm bed at the exact moment that I am tired enough to strap on a Breathe-Right menthol strip, chug some Nyquil, and hope for sweet dreams.

Still, let me emphasize that again. It all ends here. It'll end for Philadelphia or Toronto. It'll end for Minnesota or Colorado. And it'll end for Vancouver or St. Louis. If I have to bet on one of these teams to win, it'll be Colorado. If Colorado doesn't win, this creative chap will proffer forth more clever invective like he did this morning. Newspapers in St. Louis have presented the disapproving parent tone, but no one's calling for the coach's head on a platter...yet. Perhaps that'll be tomorrow or around the stroke of midnight tonight if the Note can't pull through its major funk.

But, come tomorrow, eight teams will remain in the hunt for Lord Stanley's cup. If the Blues do bow out early, I will have more time on my hands to do things like write and exercise. But I really don't need that time until June - mid June, really...really...really.


Posted by hln at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2003

Nails R' Us

My husband and I attended a 30th birthday party for a friend yesterday. We were to meet at a Mexican restaurant in a strip mall at approximately 3:45 p.m. We arrived at 3:30, and we put that free 15 minutes to creative use.

First, we noticed how no one dared to park when stopping by the dry cleaning store. Instead cars and SUVs alike were left unattended in what we dubbed the fire lane as lazy patrons scuttled inside for what they knew to be a quick trip to pick up mom's best dress or Sadie's favorite pink shirt. Nevermind it was nearly 70 degrees and no sight of rain. Nevermind that the parking places were a mere 30 paces...

This amused us, but it didn't require our full attention, and we thus turned that toward something more interesting. Parked in a medium-sized strip mall situated smack dab in middle America, we noted not one, but two, full-service nail salons. (Yes, we were parked, and so were they. What a clever turn o' phrase!)

I'm not talking about spas or hair and nails and eyebrows and massage places. These stores specialized only in nails. Now, I wish someone would explain this to me. I've never had my nails done. Is it expensive? How do these place stay in business? From which crevasses in the earth bubbles up the customer base for such establishments?

I'm so confused.


Posted by hln at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2003

So What's Your Car Handle Made Of, Anyway

I drive a Mitsubishi Eclipse. It's red, and I bought it when it was a year old and cheaper than a new Taurus. And this is how I justify my 1999 bright-red slow-moving (but curvy) automatic (not stick shift) sports car, complete with rounded high spoiler soon to make shopping for a bike rack a nightmare.

I bought my beloved car in late 2000, taking delivery of it just before Thanksgiving. I had to haggle for it, too, hooboy. "Car's got racing wheels," the salesman quipped. "Car's gotta have wheels...," Heather quipped. Shopping for a car is shopping for a car. Everyone's got a story. I'll save the story of the smarmy Taurus salesman for another day. Today's topic is something along the lines of "it ain't as good as it used to be" (like I would know?)

In July of 2002, when I had owned the Eclipse for just shy of two years, I surveyed the sweltering summer day and took preparations to enter my car. One would suspect this would not pose much of a challenge, as I had already invoked my remote keyless entry and unlocked my car. This is July, so just a gentle tug on the handle will do. Lift the handle, and, vamoose. Handle in hand - car door unmoved.

Now, it's July, as I have mentioned. It's not January 3rd, and the car door is not frozen to the remainder of the car. I applied no more pressure than I would have to pet one of the cats who make their home with us. And, yet, I rendered my driver's side door inoperable from the outside.

Months pass. Never one to let circumstance bog me down, I learn to enter the car in grand adept fashion from the passenger side. Finally, it nears the fateful time when one must face the government's requirements to renew the license (cue the music, please), and I decide to fix this problem.

Car handle is made of cheap plastic. How much does a plastic car handle cost, you ask? I answer: a new [cheap] plastic car handle costs approximately 230 dollars. Yes, it does. No, my extended warranty does not cover this. Wow, fun. Insert fuss and frown directed at serviceman.

I'm not sure there's a moral to this story. In a self-righteous huff, I paid my bill and drove my now-whole car to its home, vowing with venemous acclamation to fire off a letter to Mitsubishi (including the handle in the package) detailing my displeasure with the situation. Two months have passed, and laziness has prevailed.

Inertia, sadly, is occasionally mightier (or more safe) than the pen and the sword. And how's that door functioning now, you ask? Well, it opens. But you'd best not try to open it with a key; the security trigger's locked to on, and you'll get an earful.

I'm always good for that.


Posted by hln at 10:31 PM | Comments (1)

April 13, 2003

Turkey Vanquished

I left the country alone; no worries.

This year, I was asked on a last-minute basis to host Christmas, so on a snowy Christmas Eve I ventured to the local supermarket and purchased a 13.88 pound turkey to serve as the main course of the next day's feast.

Christmas of 2002 was too snowy for any of our relatives to venture to our suburban home, so instead I roasted a chicken and placed said turkey in the handy downstairs freezer (that I bought to freeze meat and individual servings of dessert, but I will get to that in later installments).

It is now April. That nagging home manager that sometimes surfaces to the forefront of my mind nagged at me about the long-frozen turkey. It was decided in the Noggle household that Sunday, April 13, 2003 will be the day of the turkey roast. So, on Thursday, we ceremoniously pulled the bird from the freezer and placed it on a plate in the center of the refrigerator like any other good soon-to-be-turkey-roasting individuals.

The day arrived! After my relaxed morning, I tackled the turkey, thinking to myself, "I remember how to do this from Thanksgiving..." Yeah, right. I begged the taller human in the household for his assistance in retrieving the turkey pan (conveniently housed above the cabinets). I sprayed said pan with cooking spray. I set the bird center stage in my kitchen sink, and I put the knife to the plastic Honeysuckle White wrap (hereafter known as the HWW). I discarded the HWW.

The turkey was strangely impaled with a menacing metal implement. I fiddled with this, sensing that its placement would hinder me from properly washing and preparing my Sunday dinner. Said implement refused to budge. I cursed. I pleaded. I stomped. It remained.

I believe I did a jerky pirouette.

Spunky weekend housewife then got the bright idea to refer to the discarded HWW. Washed hands. Read package - push down on funky implement. Wow, RTFM. How many times do I give that advice and then fail to follow the same? Push the left leg, girl - to the music now. Lift and push and lift and push, and, it...will...not...budge.


Wash hands, for they are cold as the dead bird.


Inject sense of self with a dose of rationality. I AM stronger than a dead turkey, and, indeed, somehow, after a bunch of fidgeting and other non-specified-on-package movement, I was able to loosen the implement (whose use I have still not yet determined) enough to clean the turkey's cavity by the legs).

Commence cleaning. It is at this point that I notice that the other portion of the cavity is stuffed with the giblets. Remove giblets. Ewww appropriately, for they are in a bag. The remaining contents are slightly frozen. Insert hand. Ewww. I should explain - poultry should have no effect on me, for I have gutted more chickens than I have eaten with my five years of experience at KFC. But, I should also note, chickens are not normally stuffed with their necks. And this bird's neck was slightly frozen to its other cavity.

It was at this point that my husband, who had thus done a wonderful job of cheerleading, peered over the Sunday morning paper. The sight must've transfixed him - It was, I am certain, most amusing. I said, "Have you seen Aliens?" He replied that, indeed, he had. I said, do you remember, the alien birth scene from Ripley's stomach? And he viewed with a straight countenance as I brought forth the neck from the cavity. If only I had mood music.

It's all downhill from here, baby. Wash bird. Ensure it's appropriately gutted and no other unexpected body parts lurk for later emergence. Season bird. Plunk in oven. Live the life of leisure as the rest of the week's meals cook in a gentle timed manner.

Bleach the hell outta the sink.

And my day was complete.


Posted by hln at 08:49 PM

April 12, 2003

So Who Took My Name?

So who took my name? (This thing's gonna say it's coming from stlbrianj - nope. Account config issues is all.)

Usually, it's pretty safe to assume that angelweave is going to be open. Not here, though, I guess. I must go read my predecessor...if only she or he existed. So, I shall be forced to use the active version of my normal name instead.

What is angelweave? Google will tell you that it's a carpet backing; no, that isn't a political term. Maybe I can get some for my Sims' home. All of those parties wreak havoc on their carpeting.

Someone else used it in a poem. Thankfully, that particular poem isn't as painful as the one above it; actually, it has a nice thought to it.

Oh, and someone is selling math and science textbooks using the same name. This is definitely not me.

I promise not to rant over anything too controversial the first five posts, so perhaps I should keep everything PC until at least...Monday.

Oh, wait, my husband just called Faith Hill "Wraith Hill" - what a riot!

Almost forgot - here's the namesake.


at nine o'clock the kilgore pub
holds its ritual service for the
evening flock. and one by one
we pile inside, form phalanxes
of thirsty souls who relinquish luck's
change barely spared from charon,
the landlord, and ex-wives. and
greedy eyes radarscope for fresher faces
and plead their novice rhetoric
to bartending juries.

and i thought i saw you watching me watch
you on the night when toothless harry made
snow angels on the window glass so
passersby might stop to chat. but all
they did was point and laugh and
inside we prayed to vodkagod and proffered
thanks for ice cubes and homes and
practiced restraint of wayward arms of
inner truth.

there's a novel or a poem in
sunken cheeks and too-weak drinks and
seldom-noticed-corner-hogging spiders that
seduce tonight's prey in showy webs and seem
to dance with table legs after my fourth drink.

and i dub myself a still-life snow angel,
arms outstretched in something's breathy fog --
frozen pale with all sides splayed under frosted
showcase glass.

and until i meet you in unclaimed corners
(and replenish womanthreads)

i go home a lady.



Posted by hln at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)