Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gone Fishin'

We're in Florida this week, having fun on the beach. Be back soon with pictures!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's All About Me

Note: I'll add the questions to this post as I have time. Newest additions will be at the bottom.


I done got interviewed by the fabulous KJ. She emailed me five questions that I will address here with profound, earth-shattering thoughts. So if you don't want to have your world rocked today, you might want to back away from the computer.

(I like KJ because she has a Magic Cottage in her backyard.)

(but don't go trying to buy LSD from her... it's not that kind of Magic Cottage)

(you weirdos)

Question One:

1. What is the best part of being a Librarian and what is the worst?

The best part is being overpaid and worshipped by people who don't even know me. Sort of like Justin Timberlake. Except my hair is longer and I've never slept with Britney Spears.

Be serious.

When I look back on my former career (social work), one of the best things about my current gig is that I have fairly predictable work hours. No overflowing case files, emergency pagers, or the like. I can usually count on leaving when I'm supposed to and not being bothered when I'm off-hours.

But since that probably isn't the passion-filled response you were expecting, I'll say this: I'm crazy about libraries. The smell, the feel, and what they stand for. In my opinion, intellectual freedom is one of the best things about living in this country. That is, our right as Americans to seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.

Without restriction.

Want to read a book about White Power? An anti-Bush newspaper article? A magazine that advocates the rights of gay and lesbian families?

Go ahead. I'll help you find it. It's your right.

And the worst thing?

The fucking copier.

Question Two:

If you could live wherever and however you wanted, without money being a factor, where would it be and what would you do?

I think I've mentioned in previous posts that this kind of question is difficult for me to answer. I will literally spend hours trying to think of the one answer that is completely true and representative of my feelings. I'm just neurotic that way. I think I'll just start with random bits and hope that it develops into something cohesive.

If money weren't a factor I wouldn't work full-time. I know that for sure. I love my job, and I know I'm incredibly lucky, especially when magazines are peppered with statistics that show that 60-80% of Americans are unhappy at work.

That said, I wish less of my time belonged to the organization I work for. Part-time would be ideal for me, but we live in a very expensive area, neither of us is in high-paying professions, and right now it doesn't make much sense for me not to work full-time when I'm perfectly able to do so.

Perhaps it has something to do with growing up military, but I like change. I often have the urge to move and live somplace new. So if money weren't a factor, we'd travel a lot, and would probably have houses in several locations. Probably something by the beach and a small house in the hills surrounding Florence, Italy.

And, of course, I'd spend most of my time on my farm, where I would easily be able to afford to have several more dogs, some goats, chickens, and pigs. I am very happy in the company of animals and could easily spend day after day caring for them. That's the best, most fun "work" I can imagine. I'd love to run a program there that would bring troubled people into healing relationships with animals.

Finally, I've always felt that Mike and I could be good foster parents, and I would welcome the opportunity to finally do that.

And lest you think that I'm just a nauseating do-gooder, I'd also buy a mint-condition '65 Ford Mustang convertible, hire a private masseuse, and eat at all the best restuarants in the world.

Question Three:

What makes you cry?

Pretty much everything, to be honest. I cry several times a week, for reasons happy and sad, understandable and ridiculous.

There are the obvious things, the major occasions: weddings, graduations, births, and deaths. There's also leaving someone I love at an airport. The evening news. Accidentally hitting a squirrel with my car. My husband putting a note in my lunch bag on a stressful work day. Two of Us, by the Beatles. The movie Life is Beautiful. My dog sleeping in a sunbeam. The cotton commercials (the touch, the feel of cotton!).

But sobbing lustily isn't my way; it's more of a sitting quietly, sniffling and taking little gulps of air while my eyes and nose leak. You know how movie stars look all pink and dewey and sweet when they cry? The best I can manage is wet and blotchy. With bonus black smears, if I'm wearing mascara.

Between the crying and the allergies, we go through loads of Kleenex at my house. Al Gore would not be pleased.

(note to self: buy some hankies)

Question Four:

How did you meet your husband and why did you marry him?

I met Mike in the early summer of 1994. In a library. How poetic!

We were friends for a few months, started dating that November, and have more or less been together ever since.

We got married on July 15, 2000. The wedding was in Virginia, the reception in DC. It was a lovely day. Except, you know, the humidity almost killed the out-of-towners.

I sort of explained why I married Mike in this post and this post, so I'll take the easy way out on this question. If there are missing details that simply MUST BE REVEALED or you won't be able to sleep a wink tonight, let me know. I certainly don't want to contribute to the national sleep deprivation epidemic.

Question Five:

What advice do you have for people who are unhappy?

Man, kj asks some hard stuff.

(just for the record, so I don't get accused of being irresponsible: I'm talking about general unhappiness, here, and not medical illnesses like clinical depression)

I would advise you to uncover the source of your unhappiness, and go from there. The real source. And if you're not sure what the real source is (which is not uncommon), that's what your friendly psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and counselors are for.

I would advise you to do something. Do something. Do something. Nothing will darken your particular shade of unhappiness more than the feeling of being at the world's mercy.

There's no pat answer for every person, but still. Do something. Take some time to think. Make a plan. Make an appointment. Make a list and check things off.


Yes, especially that last one. Sometimes there's no better cure for melancholy than climbing out of your own head and doing for others.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Father's Day

He used to make up the greatest stories for bedtime. Our favorites were about Mike Finn and his Husky, Poochie. They lived in Alaska and had lots of dog sledding adventures.
When he was on long trips as an Air Force pilot, he'd record himself telling the stories on tapes and mail them to us so we could listen to a few minutes each night.
He'd mail us letters from wherever he was. We delighted in the strange, colorful stamps that adorned the envelopes. There was always a piece of Juicy Fruit gum slipped inside, sometimes taped to the paper and decorated to look like a plane.
After Mike and I married and boarded the plane for our honeymoon, I opened up my carry-on and found a note from my dad telling me how proud he was. I sniffed the piece of Juicy Fruit and burst into tears.
He could push all three of us in the wheelbarrow.
He taught me to squeeze my peanut butter and jelly sandwich so I could lick the jelly off the sides, and that the curly potato chips tasted the best.
He would suddenly announce a craving for Heavenly Hash ice cream, and off to the store he would go, the three of us squealing in excitement. We would periodically inquire about the status of his cravings, just in case he wasn't aware that he was having one.
He sat up with me all night when I had the croup.
We built giant sand castles that awed everyone on Daytona Beach. Dad would kick small silver fish out of the ocean and we'd rush to rescue them from the sand and put them in our moat.
He taught me how to change my oil, my tires, and my spark plugs.
When my beloved doll got a rip in her arm, he sewed it with black thread and made a miniature splint.
He was a lifeguard, a fireman, an EMT, and a pilot.
He's also my dad.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You'll sleep on it and you'll like it, Mister.

Man, I am tired of talking about allergies. It’s been a constant topic of conversation on this blog and in my everyday life. Shut up, SHUT UP! I tell myself, and then I start talking about my fucking Nasonex again.

If I may analyze myself (and I always do), I think the preoccupation is due to the fact that I was raised by a father who never had allergies in any shape or form, and he couldn’t understand WHY my mother, brother and I were always sneezing and squinting through pinkish, watery eyes for nine months of the year.

So now that I finally have proof that I do indeed have a serious medical issue, one that has been tested and documented in an official-looking file? I feel vindicated. I am not of weak constitution; it’s not all in my head. I'm a football player who's scored a touch down and will not stop dancing obnoxiously in the end zone.

So let me just get it out of my system in one big sweep:

Dear Dad:

I am very allergic. To many things. Pills and sprays and drops and neti pots are required. Sometimes my eyes swell shut in a very unattractive way. But I do not blame you, since I inherited this from mom. I just want you to know that I have suffered.


p.s. My allergist said that moving all over the country as an Air Force brat probably didn’t help. Again, I do not blame you.

p.p.s. I am enclosing a copy of my test results. Peruse at your leisure.


Let’s talk about Crate and Barrel. I ordered a new bedspread from their website. This goes against every fiber of my being, because typically I would never buy something online (thereby incurring a shipping fee) when there is a real, brick-and-mortar location nearby. Unless there is some incredible discount to be had, which in this case, there wasn't.

But... I don’t know. I didn’t feel like driving there and fighting the traffic and finding a parking space and god almighty, I really am of weak constitution.

So I ordered the bedspread and two matching pillow shams, both of which said IN STOCK on the website. Soon thereafter I received an email saying that they were sending the pillow shams, but the bedspread was on BACKORDER.


I waited a week and the pillow shams arrived. I waited another week and still the bedspread status was BACKORDER. I'm a glutton for punishment, so I called customer service.

“Well,” the associate said. “We can’t tell you exactly when it will be available, we have to go through a process to determine that, but I’ll have someone call you in the next few days.”

No call. Another two weeks go by.

Grumble, grumble.

So I bit the bullet and planned to go to the Crate and Barrel store this Friday, where I would cancel the bedspread order, return the shams, and start from scratch. “Oh good,” my husband said. “I didn’t really like the color, anyway.”

“Well!” I said. “Nice of you to tell me a month later!”

So of course I open my email this morning and find a message from Crate and Barrel.

Good news!

The bedspread you’ve been waiting a month for, the one your husband doesn’t even like, is on its way! Congratulations! And by the way, we’re charging you twenty bucks for shipping, which is more than it would have cost you to drive to the store, which you will now have to do anyway if you want to return the bedspread. Dummy.

p.s. We are sick of you and your fucking allergies. Check out our website for coordinating throw pillows.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Skin has been pricked, and you're to blame. You give dogs a bad name (a bad name).

I firmly believe that I'm not allergic to dogs. I believe this with all my heart despite:

1) The huge welt that the DOG allergen left on my forearm during my skin prick tests.

Reason to Disregard: Even doctors make mistakes. Probably she mixed a couple of them up and I'm really allergic to cockroaches. I mean, after the pricks both of my arms were completed covered with mounds and mounds of, mounds. I'm thinking that the cockroach welt must have spilled over into the designated dog area.


2) The mysterious fact that I've always had dogs, and I've always had allergies.

Reason to Disregard: Mere coincidence. Obviously if I've always had dogs, I can't be allergic to them. It's the fucking trees. And grass. And mold. Fuck you, nature. The End.

Bottom Line:

I've always had dogs, and I will continue to have dogs. Alex brings me more joy than just about anything, and even if I were allergic to him (which I am not), it is completely and utterly worth it. And someday I'll have more space and money and then I'll have ten dogs, and they'll all sleep on our bed.

"Ha ha ha!" I'll wheeze victoriously, as I sneeze and gasp and leave a slimy snot trail on the way to the bathroom.

Besides, could anyone really be allergic to such intelligence and cuteness?

Precious Moments eyes.

Stinky, wet, and completely in his element
during this weekend's hike.

Upside-down vampire teeth.

I finally got Alex on video doing his "commando" move, where he crawls on his belly, dragging his Kermit legs behind him. I'm thinking he's a little strange.

But still completely worth it.

(sorry, the video is really dark. Windowless hallway.)

Going Commando from Liz on Vimeo


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

At the allergist's office

Doctor: (studies chart) You have a dog, right?

Liz: Yes.

Doctor: Is he allowed in the bedroom?

Liz: Um, you could say that.

Doctor: (raises one eyebrow)

Liz: (miserably) Okay, he sleeps on our bed.

Doctor: (raises other eyebrow)

Liz: At the end of the bed. Not, like, under the covers.

Doctor: You might want to re-think that.

Liz: My sensitivity to dogs isn't as high as for the pollens and molds, though, right?

Doctor: (shows me the numbers)

Liz: Oh.

Doctor: Overall you're managing your symptoms pretty well now, but it would be a good idea to keep the dog out of the bed.

Liz: So I'm allergic to dogs and my husband is allergic to cats. What are we supposed to have? Fish?

Doctor: Or children.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Why do I do that?

1) I make a half pot of coffee and then drink from it for three or four days. That's disgusting. (but don't worry- I always wash everything thoroughly before we have guests. It's only myself I don't care about.)

2) On the other hand, I refuse to drink out of a wine glass that I used the night before. Or a wine glass that is smudgy. It just Bothers me. They must be washed with hot, soapy water and dried flawlessly with a clean dish towel. If I get a smudgy wine glass in a restaurant I freeze for several minutes and am unable to speak.

3) I am anal about my kitchen being clean (other than the coffee pot, obviously). I like shiny counters and floors. No crumbs or splatters on the stove. All dishes put away or in the dishwasher. On the other hand, my bedroom can sport tangled bedsheets, teetering bedside book piles and a huge laundry pile smack in the middle of the floor, and I don't even blink.

4) I walk around my car and check all four tires before I drive anywhere. If you ride with me I'll likely be too embarrassed to do this, but I'll think about flat tires multiple times on the way to our destination.

5) I sometimes skip my night dose of allergy meds because I don't like to take medication and I think, well, it can't hurt skip one dose. Then I wake up feeling like my sinuses are filled with pancake batter. It's really smart to pay a specialist a bazillion dollars and then ignore her advice, isn't it?

6) I drop socks and gloves "accidentally" because I know my dog loves to steal them.

7) I squeal and praise my plants when they produce blooms. I've also been known to high-five their leaves.

8) I have a picture of a pig doing a flying leap off the end of a dock. I've always enjoyed it because I like to imagine that this is what animals do when humans aren't around. One night we had friends over for dinner and one of them confessed that the pig looked like a pink, hairless baby rat from a distance. Now I can only think about naked baby rats when I look at it.

9) After Mike does the grocery shopping I like to identify the least and most expensive items on the list. The least expensive is usually a bunch of scallions. I always laugh if he buys blueberries, because then the receipt says BLUB.