Saturday, July 31, 2004

Hey, lookit me! I'm old!

34 as of yesterday, to be precise. No secrets on this blog....

I like to think i share my birthday month with thousands of Brood X cicadas; not again til I'm 51, what a thought! Anyway, it was lovely, I bought some perennials for my yard, went to lunch with my mom, went to a baseball game with Karen and Andy, saw some fireworks, had a great time. Tonight I'll be going out with a few friends, including the now-infamous Rat Girl and Butterfly Woman. Tiptop in the loot department, got a bike helmet and a Camelbak, a David Sedaris book and a set of handkerchiefs. What more could a girl ask for?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Dep-itty Do Dah Day

Pictures can be found here. The before picture is me about a month ago, doing my monkey face. The after pictures are one wet, with gel still glimmering on my bonnie brown hair, and the other is after it's dried and gotten mucked around a bit. In the background of the latter is my hammock, which is right now the best thing I own. (Well, other than the bottle of Dep, of course.) I've had this hammock since I went to Brazil in 2000; I bought it because everyone there sleeps in hammocks all the time--at least in small villages in Amazonas, which is where we were. So, romantically, I thought I would use it to kick back on the boat we were in. Then I realized that all the hammock hooks on the boat were right over the sides; while our Amazonian boat dudes cheerfully swung their hammocks from these hooks each night, I was confident that any attempt to mount a hammock hung in this fashion would end with me dropping about 20 feet straight down into the dark waters of the Rio Negro, never to be seen again. Undaunted, I brought it home to my rental house whose yard contained.... One. Tree. You see the problem. So when I moved here I was all about the hammock again, plenty of large trees here. So large, in fact, that I would have had to drill a huge eyebolt into them to secure the hammock since there were no branches at the proper height. Once again, I failed--didn't want to drill, and didn't trust the hardware I might have used to secure it. Now, finally, Restoration Hardware has come to my rescue with a miracle product: Tree Straps. With no harm to either tree, I am now swinging blissfully outdoors in my authentic Amazonian hammock on a daily basis. It rules.

(By the way, MLE, this is your cue to say, "My god, Cathy, you haven't aged a day since college!" Since I don't think we've actually seen each other since 1991.... Or at least, don't say "My God, Cathy, what happened to you....")

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Behold, the Power of Gel....

Pardon the lengthy pause. Just presume that had I been blogging in the last couple weeks, the posts would have been titled as follows: "It was hot at work today." "Why won't it rain? I hate watering plants. It was hot at work!" "I found a $100 bill in the street, so I'm probably going to die soon." and "Jesus, it's hot."

I'm pretty OCD about my hair. Actually, I'm pretty OCD about a lot of things, but that's another story. (At least I'm not OCD about watering the petunias on the trellises at work--wait, that's ANOTHER other story. Rewind. Hair.) My haircut hasn't changed substantially in quite some time, and I tend to obsess just a little about its length and shagginess level.... But the summer weather has conspired against me, as you can see in all those posts I didn't write; I finally decided it was time to get my hair cut short. Not super short, but a lot shorter than I usually do. It's sad how freaked I was at this prospect before I finally did it--would my ears show? Would they look stupid? Would >I< look stupid? Would people point and laugh? Rationally, of course I know no one except me gives a crap what my hair looks like, but irrationally it's right up there with, say, the Space Program and Oprah's Book Club. So I bit the bullet, got the cut, and you know, it looked just fine! And felt cool, which was key.

Well, the next thing I knew, the trickle of change led to a rivulet of styling gel. Two friends, who we'll refer to here as Rat Girl and Butterfly Woman (sort of to protect their identities, but mostly because it makes them sound like really lame superheroes) took me to Target, stood me in front of the hair products section, and forced me to select gel.
ME: How about this one? It says "Sports" on it!
BW: No.
ME: How about this one? It's in a cool shaped bottle!
RG: No! Be serious.
ME: Hey, this one is purple! Can I--
Eventually, the proper gel was selected--in an odd coincidence with previous posts, the one I chose was orange--and we went back to RG's house to sculpt me out. I have a powerful aversion to anything that reminds me of those horrible makeover slumber parties in 7th grade where they'd pick the one girl who didn't wear makeup (me) and hold her down while they "fixed her up." But I trust the dynamic duo, stifled the tiny flame of internal panic, and let them do my hair. It was fun. Admittedly I look kind of like the dudes from "Grease," in the Go Greased Lightnin' number... But I kinda like it. It's worth 2 extra minutes in the morning and a glob of orange non-sport "Dep" gel. So we'll see how long it lasts.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Gardens, 911.

I know a lot of people have been asking themselves, "So what's wrong with Cathy? She hasn't injured herself or released a dangerous animal at the zoo in months!" I know, it's disappointing. I made up for it Friday, though, by self-inflicting an injury messy enough to require an accident report and a trip to the first aid office. Jane's first question: Was there an animal involved? No. Now that I'm working full time in the Gardens, I seldom have those rich opportunities to fall into animal enclosures that last summer afforded me. Mundanely, I caught my finger in the door to West Receiving, removing a small circle of skin and causing me to bleed profusely. I thought I'd actually broken it, because it hurt like a...well, it hurt a whole lot. I stumbled back through the door, gripping my finger with my other hand, tears mingling with the sweat on my face (it was plenty hot here Friday, and I'd been out planting red, white, and blue petunias for the holiday weekend. Curse you, patriotic spirit of the 4th!) Anyway, so my coworker, Susan, is one of the nicest people I've ever worked with. She's a Christian, and disapproves of obscenity, so I try very hard when I'm around her to curb my natural tendencies toward profane utterance. I drop into a chair, blood dripping from my hand, teeth clenched, and Susan is going, "You look like you're going to faint! Are you OK? I'll call security. We'll take you to Summit (the occupational health clinic) right away and get it x-rayed!" I didn't want to tell her that the reason I looked so agonized was not just the extreme pain in my hand, or the sight of blood--I don't faint--but because I was trying so hard to supress the torrent of obscenity which would, under other circumstances, have been flooding from my lips.

All's well, though, no x-ray needed, just bandages and antibiotic ointment. Maybe next time I'll have a butterfly related injury for you all.... but this time, just a door.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Supersize THIS....

I'm never eating fast food again. Seriously. In the space of two weeks I've gone completely off it. This is a result of an impulse buy at Borders, and having gone to see a movie for the first time since Return of the King came out in December. This is going to be hard.... But honest to god! Yeesh.

I picked up Fast Food Nation when I was shopping for father's day presents at Borders. This was a testament to the power of product placement; it was right on the corner of a gondola en route to the cashwrap, faced out in a bulk stack, with a bright colored cover. I didn't plan to buy anything for myself on the way in; on the way out, I was a tool. So I bought it (though I see by my link above that I could have bought it for $8 less used on Amazon....damn) and have been horribly entranced by its sordid tales of the history of fast food culture and the deplorable state of the meatpacking industry in America. While there is a certain amount of sensationalism in its tone, and a lot of bashing of "Republicans in Congress" as if a) they were a homogenous entity, and b) Democrats weren't also responsible for the passage of much of the harmful legislation he details, it's still a frightening, fascinating book. All I can say is, read it. Give it to your friends when you're done with it. And then go out and buy some fresh produce and a new cookbook.

"Supersize Me", if you haven't heard of it, is a documentary film by a guy who went on an All-McDonalds diet for 30 days, in order to disprove the company's assertion that there is no direct link between eating their food and ill health. Of course we all know that fast food isn't great for you, but many Americans still eat it 4-5 times a week. Eating McDonalds 21 times a week for 4 weeks is excessive (some would say nuts, including the filmmaker's vegan girlfriend) but it does demonstrate a very clear link between the food and overall health. He gains 20 lbs. His liver begins to malfunction. His sex drive drops. His moods swing. It's excessive, but hey--so is America.

On that happy note, I'm off to Chicago for the Taste. I plan to gorge myself on all foods not fast; it's worth the 3 hour drive.