28 December 2006

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Every time I come home I experience a myriad of emotions. It's like riding the Beast at King's Island.

After driving Cameron's truck in the rain with worn out windshield wiper blades for over six and a half hours on a trip that usually takes less than six hours, we arrived in Louisville at around 9:30 P.M. EST on Christmas evening. I called my mother's house and Christopher answered the phone. He passed me to Tina and then she passed me to my mother who I quickly explained that we didn't really have plans for the week, yet, but we did for Christmas night.

We continued through Louisville to New Albany to my Dad's house. We needed to go see him then because he was going to French Lick the next day and I wasn't sure when I'd be able to see him later in the week. As soon as we arrived, I had to take the dogs for a walk. I ended up standing in the rain for at least 20 minutes waiting for Billie to go. And, every time she'd get close to going something would distract her and we'd have to start all over again. A kid on a bike. Somebody walking by. An old maid coming out of her house with her dog -- I think demonstrating to me that she was watching me. I wanted to yell at her, "Thanks, cow. Congratulations. You, too, have a dog. And, no, I'm not casing your crappy house and am not interested in you. Go back in the house, clown." But, instead, I fussed at my baby girl, who then became more uncomfortable than she already was. Shame on me.

We eventually walked back to Daddy's house and visited for a couple of hours. We ate turkey and dressing, cheesecake and pickled-okra rollups. Those were fantastic. They're just like the rollups with ham, cream cheese and baby dill pickles but with pickled okra instead. We made plans to join him and his girlfriend for dinner Thursday (tonight) at Tumbleweed.

We left and got to Thom's new house in Jeffersonville at around 11:30. After catching up with Thom's roommate Reese, we got to bed sometime around 4:00 A.M.

Later Tuesday morning, I got up around 9:00 A.M. Reese had already taken the dogs outside and fed them, no doubt because Doris was whining at him while he tried to sleep. I spent a good part of the morning researching Louisville ad agencies. Typically, there are places with great clients and reputations to go along with it. And, there are others with sucky clients that seem like good places to work. My mother, stepfather and little brother have all worked in agencies around town. Doe. PriceWebber. Paul Schultz.

Cameron and I left the house around 11 A.M. to run some errands. Pep Boys for new wiper blades. The Home Depot for some gift cards. The liquor store. Another stop for a gift card. Around 6:30 we picked Thom up at the airport. He had finished several days flying and was arriving from Detroit. After we dropped him at his house we drove to Tina's for the evening. My youngest sister's house is always a beehive of activity. My nephews, Matt and Andrew, are members of a Christian rock band. They were practicing with their mates in the basement. Of course, I would be expected to say that they're really good -- but they are. My niece, Kayla, is growing so quickly. Or, perhaps that it seems that way because so much time passes between the times I see her. This is one of the reasons that I've been longing to return to Louisville. I missed out on the boys growing up and although I'm more involved with Kayla, I'm missing her, too.

We met Dan's brother who was visiting from outside Nashville. It was my first time meeting him and his two kids. He seemed perplexed, not fully understanding Cameron's and my relationship, but I'm sure that will be clarified for him sometime later.

Tina made a fantastic pork tenderloin. Because we had discussed how she might do it differently than she usually does while Cameron and I were navigating I-65 at a high rate of speed, I forgot to ask her how she ended up doing it. She explained that she usually roasts them in a bag, but thought she wouldn't this time. It was so tender, I'll bet she did. We talked for a bit. Ate dinner. Shared stories, photographs and Christmas gifts. We got to meet her new boxer, Daisy, and see Pebbles, her Bichon Frise. Sweet babies. Kayla showed me that she'd redecorated her room. We eventually left Tina's around 11:00 and headed back to Thom's. He had asked us not to stay out past midnight so that we could see him before turning in. He was only off work for one day during our visit. He's been one of my closest friends since sixth grade and we usually stay with him when we come home. If you knew Thom you would know that the new house is all he's talked about since we picked him up. I understand his excitement and am happy for him. But I don't have short-term memory loss. I usually only have to hear something once or twice before I'll remember it. Everything he's told me I've heard 4 or 5 times. Sometimes more. But, that's Thom and things wouldn't be right if they were different.

The next morning, after asking if my laptop was permanently attached to my body, Thom called Norma at Renslow's Bargain Barn to ask if we could get a special opening on a day she's normally closed. She agreed. So, after the battery ran down on my MacBook I took a shower and we left for White Castle. YIPPIE!

According to my mother, White Castle is the first restaurant I ever ate in. I was in a stroller and was given a cup of pickles in a paper condiment cup while she and my Aunt Barbara ate their small, hot, square burgers. That location was at Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road in Louisville. (If you look at this excuse for a blog with any regularity I've probably told this story before). Unfortunately it was razed to make way for a lovely Valvoline Instant Oil Change a few years after I moved to Memphis. This trip would have us stopping at the Highway 62 location in Jeffersonville for 6 White Castles (with mustard, ketchup, pickles and onion), crinkle-cut fries and a large Big Red, each, for Cameron and me. Thom ordered four fish with cheese. A block away, we discovered only one fish in the bag and no straws. A U-turn and a few more minutes in the drive-thru lane, we had Thom's fish, two straws and were on our way to Vienna to see Norma and rummage through her store.

We visited with Norma for a little bit and scrounged around. I found a turquoise melamine tray with "cruising the Mississippi" on a banner that crossed the tray diagonally with small illustrations of St. Louis on both ends and a black metal tole tray with painted dogwoods I plan to put on the chest of drawers in the guest room. Lastly, I picked up a 12-sided mason jar with spring closure that matches the taller one we have at home to keep angel hair pasta in. This one will be perfect for shell or elbow macaroni. Thom was disappointed in finding only an old Taylor wall thermometer.

He went to take a nap while Cameron and I watched "A Prairie Home Companion" when we got back to his place. Before the movie started, we discussed what we might do for dinner. In case you can't tell, I have this thing for restaurants in which grew up eating. Among the few that haven't closed or been replaced with lesser institutions like Valvoline Instant Oil Change, we try to rotate our choices each time we visit -- except with White Castle -- it's an every visit stop. Kingfish for panfried oysters, Tumbleweed for anything good in TexMex, Moby Dick for good, fast seafood and fried okra. Kaelin's or the Bristol Bar & Grille every once in a while for a great burger. And in the case of the latter, artichoke fritters with remoulade sauce, California club salads with Harry's famous dressing, and Bristol burgers on English muffins with bleu cheese and grilled onions with burgundy sauce.

When it comes to pizza though, growing up, it was always Pizza King on Eastern Boulevard in Clarksville. Housed in a former drive-through convenience mart or drive-thru dry cleaner -- I think convenience mart and Thom thinks dry cleaner -- an oddly shaped building with angled wing-like awnings over an "A" shaped frame with sliding glass doors on either side, plate glass on the front and brick box in the back. It was barely large enough for two people to stand at the counter at the same time. But the pizza was incredible. Thin crusted, the sausage pizza was loaded with an even layer of rosemary-rich Italian sausage that had been properly broken up into a fine grain -- not like the sausage rocks that Pizza Hut and Papa John's use. It was cut into squares instead of wedges, and instead of boxes, the pizzas arrived on a cardboard disk inside a paper bag that had been folded in such a way to "tent" the pizza and keep it warm.

When I got a little older and moved to Louisville, it wasn't long before I learned about Impellezeri's -- home of the 35 lb. pizza. This became my pizza place until Mrs. Impellezeri died a few years back and the restaurant closed. So, now that Impellizeri's was gone and the Pizza King we'd always driven 20 minutes for as children was replaced with a car wash, I was on a quest for another of the original locations. A new location in a relatively new strip mall on Charlestown Road in New Albany has trains that deliver beverages to your table if you're sitting in a booth. But I was looking for a no-frills version like the one I remembered. It would be the sort of place with wooden disks attached to the wall to indicate the size of the 10, 14 or 16 inch-pizzas they offer. I found it a mile or so from Thom's house on Highway 62, again, in Jeffersonville. The pizza comes in a box now, but thankfully, the familiar "King" was on the lid and it carried the sausage pizza I remembered so well from my early childhood in the late sixties.

After devouring too much pizza, we watched "Confidence". It was a mobster/grifter/cheater type movie starring one of my favorite actors, Ed Burns. So handsome. The film seemed to drag along in places, but it was engaging enough. I've never seen Dustin Hoffman look so disgusting. His gums were green. He was gross and perfectly suited to his disgusting character. We got to bed around 1 A.M.

Today, we went to Bernie's Bargain Barn, which while it's name is similar to Renslow's, it's nothing like it. Where Renslow's is two barns where finding something is like finding buried treasure, Bernie's is a huge, clean, well-organized place. Although I found some great things at Bernie's I prefer the atmosphere of Renslow's. Plus, Norma is at Renslow's -- she'd make anyplace worth visiting.

Later, we met my mother and stepfather (who I sometimes refer to as "bonus" father) and sister for a few frames of bowling on the dryest lanes I've encountered in recent history, Blackiston Lanes. Talk about bad, my scores were consistently 40 to 60 pins below my average. But it was fun. It was the second time my mother has met Cameron. And, they actually appeared to be having a good time talking to each other. I have been waiting for this day for 14 years. And rather that go into all that now, I'm just glad it happened today.

After our goodbyes, I came back to Terrace Heights to shower and prepare to meet my father and his new (at least to me) girlfriend, Michelle at Tumbleweed for dinner. Cameron had eaten too much at the bowling lanes, and was tired, so he stayed behind. I really liked Michelle. We discovered during conversation that we not only knew many of the same people, but that we'd both worked at some of the same places many years ago.

I'll elaborate on the last two or three paragraphs later, but now it's 10:33, Eastern, my back hurts and I'm tired. I'm going to research the new bridges that are going to be built from Indiana to Kentucky over the Ohio River. Then, I'm taking my girls upstairs, kissing Cameron goodnight and I'm going to get more that 4 or 5 hours' sleep tonight.

Pleasant dreams and here's to a great fifth day of Christmas.

20 December 2006

God Bless You

This post is for Matt v2.0:

It's been a few days since I last checked in on you. I cannot tell you how much I admire your efforts to reinvent yourself and change the way you live life from this day forward (regardless of which day it is). I understand "one day at a time". I am galvanized by your spirit and your zeal for achieving everything that you can possibly achieve. Sometimes I have felt as if I needed to go down the same road you've chosen. Sometimes I try. In some ways I'm committed.

I am grateful to you for making me open my eyes. And, to you I say, do what you have to do to preserve yourself and the goals you are setting for your life. Bravo, you.

It hurts me to see that someone has said something in a response to one of your posts that might make you recoil. I know that we all go through change at our own pace and to be healthy we need to limit input from people that don't get it. And, there are people who will never "get it" who think it's perfectly acceptable to make comments whether they're appropriate or not.

To that, I say you are amazing. I figure that there are thousands of people who wish they could make the commitment to change that you have. Don't let anyone take that away from you.

Keep working toward what you know is best for you. I know God is blessing you. And, if ripping out all of your knit-one, perl-twos (now you know I don't know how to knit) causes you to start over (or look at a situation from a new perspective), it's what's meant to be. You can only become more brilliant from here.

xoxo d

Has the Ellipsis Fairy Cast a Spell on Me?

I'm not really fond of ellipses. Or exclamation points. Or, anything dramatic in copy. In fact, I lose commas when I can. Addresses don't need commas. Spaces suffice with the advent of two-letter abbreviations for states. Plus, graphically-speaking, unnecessary decenders just plain old suck.

So, in the interest of preserving my virtue, don't pay attention to the titles of the next two posts.

This message is brought to you by the sane half of dminmem's brain, trying desperately to take over both spheres. (The more creative side will always win, so this is a loser's lament.)

I Forgot to Mention...

The 9:30 A.M. presentation originally scheduled for this morning was postponed until 10 January 2007. No specific time, as yet.

No less harrowing, we're just deer in the headlights, now, instead of deer through the windshield.


There's a Light...

Remember Frank N. Furter? Hopefully you do.

We used to go the Vogue Theater in St. Matthews (Louisville) at Midnight on Saturday nights to throw hot dogs every time his name was mentioned. Or, rolls of toilet paper anytime anyone in the movie would say, "Dr. Scott." Pieces of toast, playing cards and many other items were tossed at other points during the weekly screenings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

If you are too young to remember, don't watch the movie on a cable-accessed screening. Look for a theatre that's playing it. It's the only way to see the movie that pretty much launched the career of Susan Sarandon. Unfortunately, Tim Curry didn't get much of a boost, but he at least had some memorable roles (in my idiot opinion). And, apparently, according to IMDB, lots of voiceover work in animated roles and two yet unreleased features that are in post-production.

That was a tangent. Sorry.

The light I was initially referring to is the one where I believe I have addressed the last Christmas card I will address this year. Thanks to some encouraging words from my friend (I think it's OK to say this -- it's still new to us) GBoogie, it's time to let go. I have now had the time to clean up after myself. Since Cameron is gone I can blame nobody but myself for eating crap for the last week and having empty pizza boxes to throw out. When he's home I make sure to do my best to provide appealing, nutritious and different meals. God knows, eating on the road is no picnic. (No, I'm not wearing an apron and pearls). But, when he's gone I can fully sustain myself on leftovers and a bit of stir-fry. Lately, though, who has time to do even a little stir-fry?

After avoiding any type of fast food for the previous four months (excepting maybe 3 or 4 times), I have committed sacrilege on my well being during the last week by consuming Wendy's (twice), Pei Wei (twice), Burger King (today), Back Yard Burger (yesterday lunch) and finally a whole pizza (a small spicy italian last night from Papa John's). Talk about knocking the crap out of losing 15 pounds... and not needing any laxative the next day.

Sorry. Just had to say it. I feel like I've been sitting on the shop-vac.

Anyway, I am going to venture out to the garage and peek in the freezer. Surely I'll find something that resembles healthful eating -- I usually make extra of whatever for just such an occasion. And I can actually take a breath knowing that the remainder of shopping I have to do is minimal, that I have a few gifts to wrap, and, SURELY the packages I've been waiting for will arrive tomorrow.

Pleasant dreams. Cool Yule (more on that to come). Merry Christmas to all.

19 December 2006

The Table is Full

If you've spent any time looking at these posts you've probably guessed that I don't usually have anything really significant to say. Sometimes I do, though. This may or may not be one of those times.

It's a place where I come when I feel like writing, whether it's for joy or pain, love or hate, ranting or raving, remembering or forgetting. Or, voicing my opinion on a myriad of things all over the map.

Maybe this isn't an ideal use of my time or this space. But, for now, it's what it is.

Right now, I am on the verge of tears. Anger. Pain. Disbelief. I am begging for understanding on how any parent could do this to their child.

I followed a link from our internal website to the headlines on

I was reared in the Christian faith. I believe that the Church's teachings leave a lot on the table. Fortunately, in my early twenties I met someone who I encouraged me to look beyond the Church and understand the truth in God's message.

Fast forward a few years (don't ask) and I believe that in one way or another those of us who believe in a supreme being or higher power are more than likely worshiping the same God. We just call that God by different names. Outside of religious fanatics that believe that it's their duty to rid the world of evil (it is not -- the Bible tells me so), we all are instructed in whatever language to love unconditionally. It's something I struggle with in many ways big and small every day of my life. Part of what "unconditional" includes is forgiving.

When I see things like the story above, I cannot. I'll never understand how a Judge could sentence this monster of a parent to anything other than the maximum penalty allowed by law. She has altered the course of this little girl's life forever.

She should feel privileged that she was able to take parenting classes and vocational training. Unfortunately, her daughter paid for those classes.

I think she should spend the rest of her life making license plates and praying that her daughter can find the help she needs to function in society. I pray that my feelings are justified in that I am happy the appeals judges disagreed with the decision.

18 December 2006

Yep. Spazz.

How 80's is that? Doesn't matter. That's what I am tonight and here's why.

1. I'm not done Christmas shopping.

2. I haven't wrapped anything that I've already purchased.

3. I haven't finished mailing Christmas cards because my address book is stuck somewhere between Mac OS9 and OSX Tiger (which doesn't run OS9 applications like the OSX jaguar, panther, whatever version that I have at work that doesn't have the most updated Now Up-to-Date information like the old disconnected Mac G3 that lives in the attic now. I am having to go through at least two years worth of old filed e-mails to find up-to-date information -- and working while at work makes this difficult.

4. I don't know whether the presentation we're supposed to make at 9:30 Wednesday is postponed until the second week of January, as it should be. There was talk of that, but no answer as yet. We have had less than a week to pull magic out of thin air. And those of you who know me know that I am only using that phrase to be polite. I am taking Christmas week off, so presenting later will be difficult enough to accomplish.

5. I am still waiting for delivery of several gifts that I ordered well before the cutoff date.

6. I have been awake since 4 a.m. (I got up to spend a few minutes with Cameron and to move my car so he could leave on a 5-day trip). Of course, neither of us had enough rest. Unfortunately for us, there was a call from scheduling, around 8:40 p.m., informing us that Cameron had been assigned a trip for which he was ineligible earlier in the day, due to seniority issues. Apparently the asshole who was initially assigned the trip called in sick right after their assignment. Then another dick pulled the same stunt. And, as I have mentioned in the past, Cameron does what he agreed to do when he accepted his job 17 years ago.

Wouldn't it be nice if, after being assigned a project, I could suddenly feign illness in order to pawn the task off on someone else?

"Oh. I'm sick. I won't be able to complete this crappy project for the moron who doesn't know the difference between good marketing strategy and his wife's opinion. Oh, she took an art class? Isn't that grand...

Sorry. I'm just tired. It's midnight and I should be concentrating on the other things I've listed above. But my penmanship get's sloppy after hours of handwriting, and we can't have that. I should be in bed, but I haven't posted for a while. And after reading the rant above, perhaps I should have waited.

But maybe it's good to get it on "paper" and clear my head.

So, in the interest of clearing negative energy and working toward the positive, one last bitch. Then I have to go to bed.

Last Sunday night (not last night but the week before) was the last week of the first half of the season for our bowling league. Going into it, we had been in first place for more than eight weeks and only needed to win 2 games to keep our ranking. We won the first game. But that was the only one.

Now, we're in second after losing by one game to let's just say a generally disliked team of dykes. (One of them is always nice and we like her -- I wouldn't call her a dyke. The remaining three are comprised of: a complete bitch, someone similar to Sally Field's character in the 1976 movie Sybill, and, finally, one whose disposition is about as engaging as yesterday's mashed potatoes.) And, talk about attitude when things don't go their way. While it may sound as if I am a blood-and-guts competitor, I am not. Nor is the rest of my team. While everyone likes to, we don't always win. But we don't let that detract from the camaraderie that we like to share. Not these chicks. They were very "un-fun" at the beginning of the second game. Whatever. (That's our team name, too.)

This, after the fact that we have more total pins than any other team on the league.
Anyway, last night was the first of the second half. And, we bowled very well. All of us. I am very pleased with my 196, 211, and 244.

Pleasant dreams to all, and to all a good night.

07 December 2006


Not in the true sense of the word, but in as much as one can love an inanimate object, this arrived today.


04 December 2006

Monday, Monday

Oh, what I would give to be home in bed. I've been fighting sinus and upper respiratory problems since the day after Thanksgiving. Yesterday was my last Zithromax day. I'm still on two other prescriptions for a few more days and am keeping my fingers crossed that I'm over this soon.

It's Christmas and I need to be busy, yet I haven't had the energy. There are cards to fill out and mail. Gifts to purchase and wrap. Travel plans need to be made.

Maybe I should double up on my vitamins.

Today concludes my fifth week not smoking. The patches are starting to really irritate my skin to the point that I have what looks like small squarish chemical burns where the patches have been adhered. But it looks like those disappear after a couple days.

I'm going to do my best to have a great Monday. I hope you do, too.