If you are among the 0.000001% of Americans (myself included) who will not be watching the Super Bowl, please ignore this message.
If you will be watching and you happen to not be a football fan, this post will clear everything up for you.
Update: This article is right on track. The commentators just said, "The Patriots' special teams are falling apart." Just like the article says!
It's that time again:
You have just won one million dollars:
1. Who do you call first?
Well, Kevin if he happened to not be around. Then probably some friends.
2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself?
I would also seriously consider a fancy-colored diamond, but I don't want to spend it all in one place.
3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else?
A Vandercook printing press. With some type to go with it. And some very large men to move it into my house (it weighs about a ton, and I'm not speaking euphemistically). That would be for Kevin, although I can't say I wouldn't enjoy it myself.
4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom?
You know, in this day and age, a million dollars isn't all that much. This would be a different question if it were a billion. Honestly, I wouldn't give it away. You can't start with some family members or friends without incurring jealousy. It's just not fair. I would throw a bigass party and invite everyone.
5. Do you invest any? If so, how?
I would definitely invest a lot of it. As far as how, I don't understand any of that and have no desire to learn. I'd hire a financial advisor and let him go to town with it.
Although I am very excited about our upcoming adventure, it was tough leaving San Jose behind. My nearly 5 years in San Jose was the longest I've spent in one area in the last 13 years. Sure, there are things I decidedly won't miss but I'm not going to dwell on the negative. Here are the things I will miss:
Phase 1: Move out of San Jose and get down to LA.
Phase 2: Final packing for Germany and getting out of LA
Phase 3: Making it to Germany in one piece, mit hund (with dog), and getting settled into the flat and getting back online
So I finally made it down to LA and am back online after my several day hiatus. Packing and moving out proved to be...shall we say...more of a challenge than we expected. Unfortunately Kevin's departure was seriously delayed and our now former landlord really jerked us around, but all of that is behind us now. Phew!
Poor Scout is completely traumatized. And it's just going to get worse when Kevin leaves on Sunday and then we leave the following week wearing the dreaded dog sweater. It might take her a whole day to get over it when we all reunite in Germany.
I had one last appointment with just about every doctor who's ever seen me in the Bay Area. They went well. My final appointment was today, to interrogate my ICD. Everything is perfect--the battery is in great shape, no events were recorded, no therapy was delivered (that's the clever euphamism they use to say "no big-ass shocks this time"), and if Marc is reading this he's going to call me on my passive sentences. Anyway, everything is as good as it could be and I'm all set for my 6 month adventure.
The next two days will be spent doing laundry, packing, and repacking while we make the final decision of what we want to haul to Germany vs. what is actually going to fit in our bags. This will be interesting. We are allowed two bags, 70 pounds each. For me, the dog is in addition to that so I get my full 140 pounds. I can't wait to land in Frankfurt and have to collect that 140 pounds, plus the dog, plus my backpack, plus my computer bag, and somehow get it all through customs. Let's hope I don't get inspected. I'll probably break down in tears and just hand over my marijuana to save them the trouble. I'm kidding. About the marijuana. The tears will probably happen if I do get stopped.
Anyway, I'll be updating regularly now that I'm back online until the 8th. Then hopefully I'll be back online a few days later.
It's Beg-For-Money-Week at my local NPR affiliate, KQED. I love KQED and yes, I'm a listener/subscriber. Still, I hate the pledge drive. As do the hosts. You can tell.
So yesterday during a pledge break they were talking about the $200 million dollar donation to NPR left by Joan Kroc and how that money goes to the NPR endowment and not actually to individual NPR affiliate stations, so your pledge is still needed.
Then the woman announcer started with the pledge amounts schtick: "You can start at our membership level of $40. If you pledge at the $120 level, which is only $10 a month, you get your choice of a promotional item from our KQED logo grab bag." Then the man cuts in: "If you pledge at the $200 million dollar level, you get all of the items in the grab bag!" woman cuts in: "Even the commuter mug!"
This will probably be my last entry (unless I squeeze one in tomorrow) until next weekend. Still packing here. I was very helpful today. I went to a baby shower.
This coming week I'll be staying with Dorothy until my doctor's appointment on Thursday. Dorothy lives in the dark ages and not only does she not have internet access, she doesn't even have a computer at home!! What kind of weirdo is that?! I don't know. Anyway, I'll be offline.
Then it's off to LA, then Hamburg or bust! I can't believe it's happening so fast. I hope the time there doesn't fly by like the last few months here have been.
Well this week has gone hurtling by at an alarming rate. We're still packing like crazy for our moving van date on Sunday. Tomorrow I have a baby shower I forgot about (hey, at least I didn't remember tomorrow evening!) and I have no gift, so I'm going to have to swing by Barnes and Noble on my way down there. Strangely enough, the location is off of East Dunne in Morgan Hill, very near where we lived down there.
Scout has not had such a great day. She had to get a blood test done so that I could get more Heartgard heartworm preventative. I have to say, the people at Heartgard are absolute geniuses. The medicine is delivered in a delicious meat snack and Scout can barely wait to take them. Too bad all dog meds aren't like this.
And to round off the week, here's the Friday Five:
At this moment, what is your favorite...
At this very moment, it would have to be "Unraveling" by Deb Talan. She's awesome.
Buffalo wings, baby! All the way!
3. ...tv show?
Don't watch it. But when I did, my favorite was West Wing.
Chocolate chip cookies
I love quotes but right at this moment, my favorite is this:
"I can't take this shit anymore" he said, mistakenly
I guess that's more of a punchline than a quote, but oh well.
Had another doctor appointment today--everyone and their uncle wants to see me before I leave.
Anyway, I left in plenty of time, but there was a huge, and I mean huge traffic backup. It went on for miles. We sat and crawled along, agonizingly. When I finally reached the accident I realized why there was such a backup. It was a gravel truck, completely overturned, straddling the center divide! The cab was on our side of the freeway with the load on the other side. There had obviously been a very large fire which was out by the time I got there. There were at least 5 flatbed tow trucks sitting around and I kept wondering "how are they going to get that thing off of there?"
Anyway, after this fascinating accident and an unpleasant encounter with a very rude and incompetent SUV driver, I arrived at my appointment 45 minutes late. It didn't help that when I got there, they had just closed the parking garage and rerouted us to the employee garage (the only bonus there was that it was free).
So I finally made it to the office 45 minutes late and met the world's snootiest receptionist. I really like this doctor, but the office staff are horrible. She made this big deal of saying loudly "You're 45 minutes late!!!" (heads turned). I tried to explain that there was a traffic accident and she actually got up out of her chair and walked away in the middle of my explanation, while I was still talking. She then made this big old deal about "I don't know if the doctor can even see you, with you being 45 minutes late" and wandered the office for 5 minutes trying to find a nurse to ask if the doctor could still see me.
Finally she said "well I'll check you in but don't be surprised if you're not seen." So she checks me in, and I'm sitting in the waiting room, and right in front of me she goes to one of the other office clerks and says "there's a patient who's 45 minutes late. She says there was an accident on the freeway." The other staff member snorted and shook her head with that "accident my ass" look. They both had a little chuckle.
Then, after sitting there for about 3 minutes, someone comes out and gives me a room. About 5 minutes after that, the doctor showed up. Well, I guess he was able to see me after all! The doctor was very nice, as usual, and took his time answering my questions. It put me in a much better mood.
You know, it doesn't take any more effort to be polite and respectful to someone. Why are you working in customer service if you hate people so much? Grrrrrrr.
As far as the accident, by the time I made it back to the scene the traffic had cleared up although the left two lanes were still closed. Amazingly they had gotten the truck off of the wall and the whole thing was sitting in the northbound side. Amazing. I looked for news of the accident but found nothing. Too bad, it would have made some great pictures.
You saw the movie, you loved it, you're culturally literate. I present to you...
What Not To Do During Return of the King
1. Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, "Wait... where the hell is Harry Potter?"
2. Block the entrance to the theater while screaming: "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" - After the movie, say "Lucas could have done it better."
3. Play a drinking game where you have to take a sip every time someone says: "The Ring."
4. Point and laugh whenever someone dies.
5. Ask everyone around you if they think Gandalf went to Hogwarts.
6. Finish off every one of Elrond's lines with "Mr. Anderson."
7. When Aragorn is crowned king, stand up and at the top of your lungs sing, "And I did it.... MY way...!"
8. Talk like Gollum all through the movie. At the end, bite off someone's finger and fall down the stairs.
9. Dress up as old ladies and reenact "The Battle of Helms Deep" Monty Python style.
10. When Denethor lights the fire, shout "Barbecue!"
11. In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout "RUN FOREST, RUN!"
12. Every time someone kills an Orc, yell: "That's what I'm Tolkien about!" See how long it takes before you get kicked out of the theatre.
13. During a wide shot of a battle, inquire, "Where's Waldo?"
14. Talk loudly about how you heard that there is a single frame of a nude Elf hidden somewhere in the movie.
15. Start an Orc sing-a-long.
16. Come to the premiere dressed as Frankenfurter and wander around looking terribly confused.
17. When they go in the paths of the dead, wait for tense moment and shout, "I see dead people!"
18. Imitate what you think a conversation between Gollum, Dobby and Yoda would be like.
19. Release a jar of daddy-long-legs into the theater during the Shelob scene.
20. Wonder out loud if Aragorn is going to run for governor of California.
21. When Shelob comes on, exclaim, "Man! Charlotte's really let herself go!"
Brilliant thanks to stupidevilbastard
Before we go any further, I have to know. Are you and I compatible?
I'm a generally unf***witted, liberal, tight as f***, pathetically simple-minded, dribbling child!
See how compatible you are with me!
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey
I was running all over like crazy today but I don't seem to be too tired, which is good. I had one last visit with my cardiologist. I love my cardiologist. Not only because he made me better, but because he made me famous in his office. Everyone knows me. "Hi Shelby! I gotcha checked in!" says CeeCee, the receptionist. "Hi Shelby, how are you feeling?" says a nurse walking by. "Hey Shelby" says the weight/blood pressure/heart rate nurse. This is what you get for being a fabulous success story. I do have one more cardiology appointment, this time to check my ICD, so I'll be back in the office next week, but this was my last visit with Dr. Schroeder.
I also got my hair cut. I got a cute bob. It looks very European, very Amelie. It will be easy for my hair to grow out this way too, and I shouldn't have a problem describing the style to a German (or British, if we go to London for haircuts) stylist. Ah, but a good stylist is like...is like...is like a good stylist. Worth their weight in gold. Jennifer's the best!
Two things, both about Howard Dean. First, given our lack of television watching, I missed the Iowa Caucuses last night. Can't say that I'm too broken up over it, but today I read on the net that Howard Dean made quite the speech. In fact, according to different sources, he "had a complete meltdown," "sounded like a WWF wrestler." and his "unearthly squawk" sounded like "the last angry cry of the last dodo bird."
Thanks to the power of the web, I got to hear this squawk just as if I'd been there myself. In fact, some people even put it to music like a dance remix. The best is the one from James Lileks whose blog is one of my absolute favorites. Click on the link to hear
Lileks' YEEEEEEEEAAAAAGGGGHHHHH Remix. It's hilarious.
The second thing is one of Dean's catchphrases, "People-powered Howard." Now for those of you who remember Schoolhouse Rock, the cadence of this phrase always makes me think of one of the Schoolhouse Rock songs. Yes, every time I hear "People-powered Howard" I start singing "Inter-planet Janet." You know, same number of syllables, same rhyme scheme.
Just had to get that off of my chest. Now back to our regularly scheduled, politics-free Shelby's Life and Whatnot.
There's a new virus going around, called "Bagle" or "Beagle." Like many viruses, this one comes as an email with the subject line "Hi," random characters in the body of the email, and an attachment with a .exe extenstion. As always, never click on an attachment unless you know who it's coming from and that it's safe.
But on to the real issue. "Beagle" indeed! The merry little hound who loves to sniff, snack, and snooze! How dare they use the name of such a noble canine companion. Everybody knows that a beagle would never harm anyone. Everybody knows that a beagle would never do the bidding of spammers trying to collect email addresses and turn unsuspecting private computers into automated spamming machines. Beagles just want love! And food. Also food. And don't forget the food. I'm appalled. These people should be stopped and made to rename their virus to "Cocker Spaniel" or "Maltese" or something. Horrible people.
What is the middle name of the first person you ever slept with?
I don't think it was ever discussed.
What kind of underwear are you wearing and what color?
Those good old tighty whities
What is the song you want played at your funeral?
I'm particular to Eva Cassidy's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow right now, but you know, what do I care? I'm dead! Play something you like. Actually I do have one restriction: no Amazing Grace. I loathe that song with the hatred of a thousand years.
What would your last meal be before getting executed?
Buffalo wings with blue cheese dipping sauce, Velveeta mac and cheese, garlic bread, and a little bit of lasagna
Beatles or Stones?
If you had to pick one person on earth who should die, who would it be?
Well I'm really hoping that I have this obscenely rich relative who likes me better than anyone else and is going to bestow his/her entire fortune on me. I would want that person to die.
The person whose problems you would never want to hear again?
Cathy, from the comic strip Cathy. I hate that comic strip with a passion, and her problems are always the same. Fortunately I can avoid Cathy's problems by not reading the comic strip. Don't you wish it were like that with some people?
What is the thing most important to you (as far as physical) about the preferred sex?
Do you secretly hate some of your friendsters but are too nice to reject them?
No. I don't have room in my life for people I can't stand. It's hard enough to maintain a friendship and super-easy to just let the unpleasant ones drift off.
If you could have any super power what would it be?
Favorite hangover cure?
Before you go to bed, take two advil and drink a lot of water. This works almost every time.
How many drinks does it take to get you drunk?
Depends on the type of drink.
Favorite Outkast lyric?
Okay, I'm assuming that Outkast is a musical group? I honestly don't listen to the radio or watch TV so I'm terribly culturally behind. And I actually don't care that much.
Hair color you most like someone you're dating to have?
Blonde, so we can have nice little Aryan children. Oh wait, Kevin's a brunette. Darn.
If you had to be blind or deaf?
Deaf. I'm a huge klutz even with my eyesight and if I were blind I'd fall down a flight of stairs or run into traffic or something the very first day. I don't think I would adjust well.
Do you have any psychiatric problems?
Siblings that should go to rehab?
Nope, my one and only sibling is awesome.
Least favorite month?
Probably January. There's the big letdown from Christmas and it's still winter and will be for a while. Nothing happens in January.
First movie you can remember seeing as a kid?
Bambi, I think.
Favorite person in the whole world?
When's the last time you went on a date?
We're married without children. Practically every day is a date! We do a good job of spending quality time together and go out to eat fairly often.
Do you like violent movies or dirty movies?
Not really. I can't watch gore, especially horror (which is ironic because I have no problems reading it). Dirty movies don't do much for me.
Fall or spring?
It depends. In California it's Spring because it starts to get warm and the flowers come out. Anywhere it snows, it's Fall, because the leaves are pretty. But the real reson is because anywhere it snows, Spring is a soggy, drippy, muddy mess. Ick.
Person you most wish you hadn't made out with?
This guy at a fraternity party. That was a mistake.
If you are straight, what person of the same sex would you do it with?
Sandra Bullock. Or Gwyneth Paltrow.
Where do you want to live when you are old and brittle?
Some happy little retirement community someplace warm. Palm Desert is nice.
Who is the person you can count on most?
Kevin. I have never met or heard of anyone better.
If you could date any celebrity past or present, time and age are not factors?
Hard to say. Maybe Sean Connery in his James Bond days, or Harrison Ford as Han Solo.
What books have you pretended you've read?
You know, it's funny, but most classics I have not read and it's not like I lie or anything but I do tend to pretend I've read them. I have two degrees in literature and managed to avoid British Literature almost entirely. In fact, on one of my grad school applications I had to list every upper division lit class I'd ever taken. I thought this would be ridiculously difficult and sat down with my transcripts to decode the abbreviations (Intro Gr. Ro. Lit--uhhhh, oh yeah, Greek and Roman literature). Sadly I realized I had taken shockingly few literature classes. Particularly in grad school. The degree requirements were so strange I took this very eclectic mix of classes. Anyway, as a result I have avoided many of the famous classic books, like War and Peace or Grapes of Wrath. A few are on my list to read now, but most, I could care less about.
What's a word you would use to describe your life?
Favorite drinking game?
F*** Your Buddy. It's a very simple card game and is fun to play even if you're not drinking. In college Three Man (a dice game) was my favorite.
What did you dream last night?
I dreamt I was visiting an island of retired famous people. The guy giving me a tour said "Spiderman lives here. Captain America. And Satan."
Mostly I like singers instead of bands. Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, Catie Curtis, Deb Talan are all on my hit list right now.
My friend Holly is an MBA student and is conducting some research for a class. She has a very short survey up on the web and needs some responses. The subject is all-natural cleaning products and whether you'd be willing to buy them. Could you help her out? You can go directly to the survey here. Thanks!
The garage sale was done by 12:30 because we basically ran out of stuff to sell. We're down to three small boxes of various things to take to Goodwill. I'd say we sold 98% of our stuff. And the best part is that we made more money than any of us would have ever guessed. After I counted the money and got over the shock I was like "wow, we should do this more often!" And here I was, worried that no one would want our castoffs. In the middle of the sale, our landlord showed up with some people who wanted to look at the house. We gave them a tour and everything, and then our landlord went out and bought 4 items from us! I thought that was pretty funny. We sold all of our big items with no problems--the computer desk, computer chairs, metal garage shelving, and the sofabed. Our living room looks like a completely different room without the sofa, and Scout is looking all over the house for it. Now we have to really start packing in earnest. We've got exactly one week left here. Of course, due to some poor planning on my part, we move out on the 26th and I have a doctor's appointment on the 29th. Oops. Luckily my friend Dorothy graciously agreed to host me while Kevin and Scout will go down South. Then, it's Germany!!!
Well things are moving along swimmingly. It's only 10:00 and we've already sold about 75% of our stuff. We may get the whole day off! Most importantly, we sold the big stuff (couch, computer desk). Now we need to find someone to buy the BBQ and we'll be all set.
It's Friday Five time!
1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?
I'm afraid mine is exceedingly lame right now, not to mention out of date, but it's:
My email has changed! I am now Shelby[at]happybeagle.com
Please update your address books and visit us on the web at www.happybeagle.com
2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?
Honestly I don't remember. Although I wasn't dumb enough to write KIT (keep in touch) and BFF (best friends forever). When I graduated I knew I was spending the summer at camp and moving to Indiana and hopefully was never coming back.
3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?
Well I named my car "Ophelia" and had some plates that said "Ophelea" but I was lame and never picked them up from the DMV. Prior to that I had a plate with the nickname of my last car: HPYBBY (Happy Baby)
4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?
Sure, we got a picture frame for our wedding with our names on it. Can't think of anything else.
5. What would you like your epitaph to be?
"She had fun."
So we're holding this garage sale tomorrow. Mom and Grandma came up from LA to help out, thank God. Today we priced everything. I was surprised at some of the prices we put on (too low, I thought) but you know, if the stuff sells, then I'm happy. That 25 cents more than I had yesterday!
Well I sure feel better after getting all of those applications in the mail. Some excitement coming up though. Tonight we're taking our friend Anita out to dinner at Berkeley's most famous restaurant, Chez Panisse. We've been talking about going to Chez Panisse for, oh, three years or so now and we're finally doing it. It will be a joint celebration of my finishing my applications and Anita's graduation from law school (which happened over six months ago--well, we try).
Also tonight, Mom and Grandma are flying up from LA and Palm Springs, respectively, to assist with our garage sale taking place on Saturday. Let's hope it doesn't rain! Grandma is an experienced garage seller, having sold a number of garages...oh, wait. Anyway, Grandma has the experience we lack (mainly in determining pricing). We plan to spend tomorrow pricing items and then holding the sale.
Sunday is our Tschuss! party. Sorry, I don't have the German fonts that Kevin does. Come one, come all to celebrate our departure from the Bay Area!
In preparation for the garage sale, we're going through boxes. One of mine was
dumped given to me by Mom and it was full of crap nostalgic items, such as a billion and a half pictures from my high school years, mainly my time on the flag team, some awards I won, papers I wrote (including a paper titled "Holden, Huck, and Atticus"), and a bunch of stuff from my freshman year at Purdue. Most of it went into the trash recycling. Still, there's a lot left to go through. I hate packing.
I have finished my grad school applications! I even got my little oopsy from yesterday cleared up. It's a good day in the Hogan household!
Well there was a bit of a snafu on one of the grad school applications, but I'm hoping it will come out all right in the end. On the good side, I got one more done today so I'm down to two!
Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm on a roll. 4 down, 3 to go. And I have to say that so far San Diego State wins the award for the least complicated application. We won't mention who the opposite winner is.
Watch out baybee, I'm on the prowl. Rrrrrrrorw!
Looks like I won't be visiting Dallas anytime soon.
Just finished another graduate school application (complete except for a self addressed postcard which I haven't gotten yet). That's 3 down, 4 to go!
I'm getting headaches, and I don't know if I'm coming down with something or if it's just stress related. Or both. I feel fine otherwise (health-wise) so I suspect they may be tension headaches. Oh well, Advil is doing a good job of knocking them out so I can't complain too much.
Unfortunately, my sleep patterns are all out of whack. I stayed up until a ridiculous hour last night worrying about the stupidest things, like things that are totally out of my control, or things like "What if the terrorists drop a nuclear bomb on San Francisco and all of my friends die and we're trapped in our house with radioactive fallout over our heads and a contaminated water supply? Would I still be able to blog in these conditions?" Okay, maybe not the last thing. Anyway, I seriously need to get a grip on reality. Hopefully tonight will be better.
These grad school applications are really stressing me out. It's funny because I never realized what an impact stress had on my life until I didn't have it anymore. I used to be so wound up at IBM that I never even recognized I was stressed. Then suddenly, after I stopped working and after I started feeling better and stopped stressing out about my heart, all kinds of good things happened. My acne cleared up, my canker sores went away, very few headaches, all kinds of things. My attitude got a lot more positive (well I did work on that consciously, but it worked) and I just felt better and more hopeful about life. Now that I am back in a stressful situation, I'm more moody and irritable, headaches have returned, and I expect to get a big old pimple on my nose or something. Luckily this stress is short-term. I'm looking forward to going back to my reduced stress life.
There are many things to laugh at in this story, but there's one thing funnier than everything else. Is it the fact that they smashed the car into the store several times? Is it the fact that they did this at 4:30 am? Is it the fact that they hunted through several brands of cigarettes to find their favorite brand? No. Click below to see the funniest thing...
"It's not like he took so many that he could go out and resale it," [Police Captain] Bowman said.
Resale? Is that phonetic?
[Via Dean's World]
Today is International Day of The Very Good Looking, Beautiful and Damn Attractive People, so send this message to someone you think fits this description. Please do not send it back to me as I have already received over fifty thousand messages and my in-box is jammed full.
I love Christmas cards. I love sending them, I love receiving them, everything about it. Unfortunately, there comes a time, after Christmas, when you must decide what to do with them. Read: throw them away.
It's such a shame. We got some wonderful cards this year. A few gorgeous homemade ones, lots of pictures (can't believe how fast those kids are growing!), and letters, of course.
I love letters. What a great way to keep up with people. And they're fun too. For example, there's one letter in which our friend passive aggressively uses the Christmas letter to air her grievances against her ex-husband. That one's fun. And then there's the letter from my freshman year roommate. She has her three kids draw on the back of the letter and label each drawing. This year we got "a snowman with a spider on his hat" from her youngest. And we can't forget the list of our friend's top ten moments of the year, including this little anecdote:
Mom tells son, who is wearing a very sporty jacket, blue jeans, and very cute and trendy black sneaker shoes, that he looks cool like the Fonz. He responds with a very sad look, "I don't want to look like the Fonz. I want to look like Mr. Rogers!"
But unfortunately, Christmas is over, and it's time to decide what to do with the cards. I'm very sad about this.
Hooray! I've completed one grad school application. Only 5 to go! Right now it's just a matter of assembling all of the pieces but boy, some schools sure make it difficult. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do!
Arg! So I had to order my GRE test scores for the graduate schools to which I'm applying. The GRE is administered by ETS, an organization that does its very best to be as difficult as possible. First of all, to order your scores, you either mail in the form and it takes some hugely long time to process, or you call the special number and order them electronically. Mind you, the telephone system is entirely automated. As in there is no human involvement.
You do, however, have to call during business hours to use the phone service. Yes, that's right. You have to call during business hours to use a totally automated phone service. Explain the necessity of that!
Then when you get on the phone you have to enter 1 so many times I think I wore out the button on my phone. It went like this:
Enter 1 to select an institution
You have selected to enter an institution. Press 1 if this is correct.
Enter the four digit institution code
You have entered XXXX (pause) The University of Blahblah. Press 1 if this is correct.
Now enter the four digit department code
You have entered XXXX. Press 1 if this is correct.
Press 1 if you would like to send this institution your GRE General test score.
You have selected 1 to send this institution your GRE General test scores. Press 1 if this is correct.
And so on. It runs through the whole shebang for every possible option. Like press 1 to enter your credit card. Then enter your credit card. Then it reads back your credit card to you, and you have to press 1 if it's correct. Then you press 1 again to authorize ETS to charge your credit card. It's positively infuriating. Boy am I glad that's over.
We call this "Oh my God, what is this thing on me???"
A side view of the whole sweater. Isn't it cute?
Scout is undergoing some very serious torture right now. And she's so darned cute about it! Today we received her new dog sweater. As I explained before, she's never had a real dog sweater, at least not one that goes over her head and onto her legs. The sweater is adorable with a rugby-type design, green with a blue stripe and purple cuffs and neck. So Kevin calls over the very unsuspecting dog and I easily slipped the sweater over her head and paws. Then she froze. I mean she wouldn't move at all. It was like "If I stay very very still, maybe this thing will go away." She got a look of anguish on her face and was not very happy. It was so cute I couldn't stop laughing. Well she hates to be laughed at too so that didn't help things. She refused to eat a biscuit but did accept two small meat snacks. She then ran around rubbing herself on the floor trying to get the sweater off. Now she's just sitting there looking distressed. I think we'll leave it on for a while and put it on a couple more times before she really has to wear it, which is on the plane, which will be traumatic enough in itself. Kevin took a couple of pictures in her cute little sweater so I'll link them when he puts them up.
Today has been a good day. I got the best night's sleep last night. The night before I was tossing and turning and plagued with bad dreams, but last night was just great.
I did have an unplanned doctor visit. I'd been having some chest pain the last day or so. It keeps coming and going and showing up in different spots. I've had this pain before and the doctor said it wasn't a big deal and didn't do anything about it last time. It always went away before so I wasn't worried, but this time it stuck around for a while. So I called the doctor this morning and he had an opening (or created one for me, actually) this afternoon so I went in. He thinks I'm having some joint pain and inflammation where the ribs meet the sternum. All symptoms seem to point to that (more pain when laying down, more pain with pressure on the area, the area that hurts). He prescribed some Celebrex to take for a week and then I'll follow up with him in two weeks. Nothing to worry about!
Well now there's a quiz where you can find out! Go take it at:
Keep in mind that there is partial credit for partially correct answers. Since the quiz doesn't give the correct answers (let alone the partially correct answers), I've included them in the extended entry below. Do not reveal the rest of this message until you've taken the quiz!
Also at the end of the quiz it asks for your email address to find out the answers. I strongly suspect this just signs you up for all kinds of spam, so do NOT give them your email address. Just return to this entry to find out the answers.
Have you taken the quiz yet? You better have, you cheater!
Q1. Where am I moving to in February
Correct answer: Hamburg, Germany.
Partial credit for Los Angeles, CA (I'll be living there for 9 days before going to Hamburg).
Partial credit for Munich, Germany (at least you got the country right)
Q2. What one movie can I quote all of the lines from?
Correct answer: The Princess Bride.
No partial credit on this one. I've never seen the Bride of Chucky.
Q3. What is my favorite beverage?
Correct answer: Red wine.
Partial credit: hot chocolate and root beer
If you guessed eggnog or grapefruit juice, I shall have to disown you as a friend.
Q4. My first job out of grad school involved a specific industry. What industry was it?
Correct answer: Heavy Duty Trucking for Karmak, Inc.
Partial credit: Academia. I still had a teaching position and taught one course while working at Karmak.
Q5. What color are my eyes?
Correct answer: greenish-brown
Partial credit: green
Partial credit: brown
Q6. What type of stuffed animal do I sleep with?
Correct answer: a Snoopy
Partial credit: a ratty old teddy bear (Teddy was replaced by Snoopy about 3 years ago)
Q7. I grew up near the...
Correct answer: beach (about 1.5 miles away)
Partial credit: mountains (about 2 and 1/2 hours away)
Q8. What is my favorite pasta-type dish?
Correct answer: Macaroni and cheese--all the way baby. If I'd included lasagna, it would have been a tie. So I left it off to simplify things.
Partial credit: Fettucini Alfredo. I like that a lot too.
Q9. Scout is what breed of dog?
Correct answer: Beagle, of course!
Partial credit: Miniature Harrier. There actually is no such thing as a miniature harrier. A full sized harrier is a hound that looks like a large beagle. One time when I was applying for apartments I came across a management company who allowed dogs but had certain breeds on their "no" list. I found out that beagle was one of the outlawed dogs, so at the next place I claimed that Scout was a miniature harrier. It wasn't on their "no" list so we got in!
Q10. Which of the following was NOT one of my majors in college?
Correct answer: Theater
No partial credit on this one. I was never a French major on its own but for a semester at Albion I was an English/French double major.
Hope you enjoyed my quiz! Make one of your own and let me know where it is!
You have to read this article, and especially see the picture. You know those "claw" games where there are stuffed animals and you control the claw trying to pick one up? Well a 7 year old kid managed to crawl inside the machine through the little chute where the toys come out when you win. Seriously. His dad was on the payphone, turned and looked, and there's the kid inside the machine, sitting atop the stuffed animals. I mean how is that even possible? The fire department called in a locksmith who set the boy free. You've got to see the picture, it's worth a thousand words.
Well as Kevin reported, we finally got Zach's rock tumbler. I know he'll be excited to get it, and it will stand out because it's coming later than the rest of his gifts. Which was our intention. Yeah, yeah, that's it.
Kevin's last gift arrived from England while we were away. I purchased a stuffed Gromit from Wallace and Gromit, claymation animated cartoons from the creators of Chicken Run. I thought I was being so original. Little did I know, Kevin already has a Gromit doll! Oops! So now he has a Gromit guarding his desk at work and we have a Gromit on the desk at home. He's really very cute, and his ears look just like Kevin's Grandparent's dog Spooky.
My Uncle Ted was diagnosed with lung cancer. Fortunately his doctors are being aggressive and started treatment right away. He's going to need chemotherapy as well as radiation, but hopefully we'll nip this right in the bud. Healing thoughts would be appreciated.
Those of you out there in shelbysblog-land hopefully remember my previous rant against findingking.com, a seller of jeweller's supplies who does business on eBay as 'findingking'.
(Short story: I purchased a rock tumbler from them on eBay, hoping to give it to my brother as a Christmas present. Two weeks after winning the auction, I was despairing of seeing either my money or the rock tumbler ...)
Today: a positive resolution! Read on for the rest of the story.
Now that we're back in San Jose, today I went to see Sonny, our neighbor who helpfully watches our porch for left packages while we're away. One of the packages awaiting our return was the rock tumbler!
'Susana' - the findingking representative who had told me that the rock tumbler shipped on 12/19 - had told me the truth, more or less. The findingking invoice inside the box listed the shipping date as the 19th - however, UPS didn't actually get the box until the 22nd. The box arrived in San Jose on the 29th.
I'm pleased that the tumbler finally got here; I'm sorry that I wasn't able to give it to Zach on Christmas (not to mention that now I get to pay for shipping again, as I send it to him instead of bringing it down with us). I certainly won't do business with findingking/Phoenix Jewellers Supplies again - the small amount of money that I saved by going with this so-called "Power Seller" wasn't worth the frustration.
[ADDENDUM, 11/29/2005: A 'secret' findingking number — other than the customer sevice numbers that they publish on their Web site — used to be available in the user comments below. However, apparently so many frustrated people, searching for another avenue to resolve their shipping complaints, used that number that the findingking people got upset and reported me to eBay. Now eBay has given me a 24-hour ultimatum: remove the phone numbers, or my account is suspended. (Would that my eBay complaints receive such a speedy and forceful resolution!) So, there we are. It's been almost two years since I last dealt with findingking, but it seems like they're still dishing out the customer 'service' that made me frustrated enough to write this entry.]
Germany will present an English language book challenge. As in there are none. So we're trying to collect paperbacks to bring along. Unfortunately, I'm at a loss as to what I want to read. It's very unusual for me, but all of the books I currently want happen to be hardback. I've tried getting some older books by favorite authors, but I keep hitting brick walls. The trouble is that I love contemporary fiction but usually devour books as soon as they come out so I've read all of the newer ones from 2002, especially award winners. So this is where you come in. I need book suggestions! A few guidelines:
Other than that, all suggestions appreciated! Leave a comment (the Talk To Me! link) or send an email to shelby[at]happybeagle.com.
Well I slept most of the day. Don't really know why--I guess I was just very tired. Traveling all day like yesterday can really take it out of you.
We went to Petco to spend Scout's Christmas giftcard on a new sweater for her to wear in Germany. I say "new sweater" as if she had an old one. Nope. When she was a little puppy in Missouri I made her a sweatshirt out of fleece. I couldn't afford a real sweater and didn't think I'd be able to get it over her head anyway, so I designed a sweatshirt that velcroed up the back with little holes for her paws. I'm not sure where it went. I mean I know where it went--it went on the dog. What I mean is that I think I've lost it. Haven't seen it in at least 5 years. So anyway, she needs a new sweater both for the cold temperatures in Hamburg and particularly for the plane ride. Although she will be in a heated compartment, I think it's probably going to be pretty cold anyway. Considering the cabin is heated as well and I always need a blanket on board. So anyway, off we went to Petco only to find no dog sweaters! Sure there were three boxes on the floor with dog sweater packages, but no actual sweaters in the packages. How weird is that? I guess Petco figures if you didn't buy it for Christmas you aren't getting one. Well we ended up ordering one online, in sporty horizontal stripes. Hopefully it won't be too much work to get it on.
Only a day late today!
What one thing are you most looking forward to . . .
Going to bed. It's very cold here in the back room and I can't wait to snuggle under the covers.
2. ...over the next week?
Finishing my grad school applications. I have almost all the pieces in place, I just need to fill out forms, personalize the personal statement, collate, and send everything in.
3. ...this year?
Moving to Germany.
4. ...over the next five years?
Becoming a successful, published author.
5. ...for the rest of your life?
Being happy with Kevin.
We've returned from the mountains. In fact, we've returned to San Jose to find our house intact and standing. Phew! The mountains were great. Very relaxing, even if all of our stuff now smells like fireplace. Eau d'fireplace. It's the newest thing.
There was a little snow when we arrived, which turns Scout into an absolute puppy. Just released from her restricted activity (due to back injury) she got to jump, run, frolic, and gambol to her heart's desire. Green Valley Lake also has some quality people living there--Kevin and Scout saw 5 beagles! Unfortunately it didn't snow any more while we were there, and on Friday when we left it was a huge downpour of rain. Still, we made it without any mudslides or problems.
New Year's Eve was very relaxing. I finished my book early in the trip and got sucked into watching TV. The TV there got two channels, which is two more than we get in San Jose. I did, however, choose to watch the end of a Bowl game (don't ask which one, I don't know) rather than watching Dharma and Greg. I have some standards, after all.
All in all we had a great Christmas. We headed out after Christmas to spend some of our giftcards. At Target I got underwear, socks, and new windshield wipers. Just what I wanted! Kevin got some new dress shoes at Robinson's May, which he desperately needed as he's worn through the soles on his old shoes. Barnes and Noble was pretty picked-through so we spent some of our gift cards online instead.
Lots of stuff to do now that we're home. We're preparing for our garage sale (you know, the one we were going to have when we moved in here last year!) and our going-away party. I'm finishing up my grad school applications and getting those out the door (quite a task). And most importantly, we're packing everything up for storage. Kevin already has 16 boxes of books. Just books. And that's not all of them, either. I guess we're big readers :).