Monday, December 31, 2007

Being Single, I'm Not One to Judge, But...

OK, it's New Year's Eve and I'm attached to a keyboard. I have a four-year-old and the stomach flu, so I'm all for uneventful evenings. I had high aspirations of writing meaningful things, but it's just not in the cards, stars, or in the air tonight.

And, well, things could be worse! Love me, love my dog? Did they have to send in a police dog?

Nude Couple Grapple Over Dog Near Shower

Monday, December 31, 2007

(12-31) 19:27 PST Bremerton, Wash. (AP) -- A 25-year-old woman was arrested for investigation of second-degree assault for getting into an argument with her boyfriend over whether his dog should be in the bathroom while the couple were taking a shower together.

A police report said the man, 26, wanted his dog to join them in the bathroom, but the woman objected on Thursday night.

The woman told her boyfriend that if the dog doesn't stay out, she didn't want to be his girlfriend anymore. He replied that maybe his next girlfriend would appreciate the dog more, and called her a name.

The police report said the woman punched him in the face several times and the man dislocated his shoulder after the naked couple grappled. He told police his girlfriend threw a picture frame, which broke and cut him.

The woman was taken to the Kitsap County Jail in Port Orchard. Bail has been set at $50,000.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ho Ho Oh Whatever!

I hereby admit to some degree of grinchdom. And I am the parent of a kid full of the wonder and energy of the holiday season. Were it not for that energy, I might go full grinch on y'all.

It's not so much that I don't want to celebrate the season. In fact, that's just it. I'd like to celebrate the season -- the coming of winter, the falling of leaves, the ice on the windshield, the crisp of the air, the changing of the year. I like to see the outside world get all cleaned up for spring. I like to think about what I learned (and didn't) during the year and what I want to do differently (be nicer to myself) or the same (veggies, exercise) in the coming year.

I also love getting holiday cards with obligatory letters. I love the lights. I love how all of those things that stretch my patience make my son's eyes light up.

We took him to Santa Cruz for the holiday lights train on the weekend. We ate kettle corn. We sang Christmas carols (see above admission to some degree of grinchdom). He told Santa he wants a real train to pull freight cars. I told him he should talk to Grampa Doug about full-size toys. He didn't get the joke (nor will most of you...).

@ and I went shopping the other day. He was pointing out things he wanted. He's four, he wants everything; it's a wonder he doesn't strain his arm with all the pointing... We sat down on the store floor to look at things and talk.

(Apparently, based on the looks I get, sitting on a store floor with a small child is really weird. I don't care. I'm going to talk with my kid, not at him from above.)

I talked to him about gifts. We decided that when he saw something he wanted, he'd think about who might like it as a gift. We bought a garden gnome candle for Jason (who happens to have a gnome tattooed on his chest), a dog ornament for Jeff and Katie (parents of Luke's best buddy, Butch), a tiny snow globe with Santa in it for X (clever kid, he gets to see it on his dad's tree), etc. You get the picture.

And then when he actually gave some of the gifts? Giant smiles as they opened them and giant smiles from them as well. Now there's a gift.

This morning he pointed out some of his toys and said that there's probably a baby who would like them because he's a "pretty big worker now."

Now there's another gift right there for me. I have one rad lad for a son.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

OK People, Enough. Quota Filled. Enough!

How do I say this without sounding cold, callous, inhuman, etc.? No more effing cancer. Six degrees of separation, percentage of friends/family affected, whatever!

It would be one thing if it were all of my Marlboro chain-smoking, 7-11 Big Gulp gimlet-drinking, toxic-waste bathing friends and relatives, but no, it's you healthy people! The exercising veggie eaters. The fresh air breathers. WTF people?!

Take a memo to your cells. Tell your cells I'm pissed. I've had all I can take and I can't take no more. Until I have to, then I will take what comes because you have to. I won't shrink away into the corner. I will drive you to where you need to be. I will buy your groceries. I will make you a damn meatloaf. I will stalk nurses in hospital hallways to make sure you get what you need. I will yell at the world on your behalf from the false privacy of my car. I will memorize your phone number and take your calls in the middle of meetings. I will.

The photo above has little do to with what I've written. I was thinking about the picture and was shocked to discover it was from 2004. I remember X, my brother, and I tried all the settings on my digital camera. Luke kept hoping for the flash to flash; I kept hoping I'd remembered to quell it. When I was taking the picture, the moon was an accessory. Now, the tree is the secondary element. It's the branches that get me.

(Dear grammarians appalled at the plethora of sentences for which prepositions are the last word: Breathe deeply, center yourselves, and get over it.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Touching the Bases

Literal Bases
After tonight's softball game, my son and I performed our ritual of running the bases together. He does this with a massive smile on his face, though he does tend to slow a bit between third and home. (Ah, but this gives me hope that he will actually sleep when we get home...)

We played kickball in p.e. in first grade. I was on third base. They told me to go home! I did. All the way -- to my house. Apparently, it's not called fourth base. The first of many experiences along those lines.

I spent a long time with a relatively abject fear of embarrassment. Now, strangely or not, I embrace it every week by playing softball. I'm not good at softball, which is exactly why I play. I play to prove to myself that it doesn't matter that I'm not good at it. I play to prove to myself that I can fail with an audience. I play to prove to myself that I have nothing to prove.

(By the way, I did hit the ball today.)

Not-So-Literal Bases
Lately, everything seems like a big box o' details, tasks, checklists, steps to reach the next box, or to at least be able to recycle an empty box among the many in need of attention.

First base: I filed for divorce a few weeks ago. I initially had reasons for waiting -- X needed to get settled, his mom passed away, he had a hangnail. None of these reasons came from him. I manufactured them with the best of intent, then just couldn't get my act together until I actually blocked time on my calendar. None of this has to do with second-guessing the decision. But now I've filed the papers with the court.

Second base: Next step was to serve him with the papers, which has to be done by a third party. My mom, son, X, and I went out for lunch on Sunday while my mom was visiting. When we got back to the house, I handed her the papers and asked her to hand them to him. (Everyone was forewarned and fully in support of the process, so to speak.) Done deal.

Later that evening, X and I took our son to see the holiday light display at Vasona. The smile on that kid's face can make the most jaded adult second-guess any doubts of Santa's existence.

Third base will be arbitration and writing up of the legal agreements. Fourth base (!) will be the official decree of the most amicable divorce known to the County of Santa Clara. We've ended the marriage, yet retained the friendship that was the foundation of our relationship and continue our partnership as parents.

Other Bases
Getting through the holidays, planning a vacation (I've idiotically stopped accruing vacation), working on my house, reminding myself to slow down, and on and on.

More boxes with little tasks in them. Hammer out the tasks, recycle the metaphorical boxes.

Touch the bases.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!

Sometimes a spot is just a spot. Or it's not. In this case, 'twas not a spot. Or it was, but upon further examination, it wasn't.

When my dad had his bone scan after his diagnosis from the biopsy, they found a spot, which they then x-rayed and determined was nothing after all. Meaning, the cancer is not in his bones. Which is good news. Damn good news.

This reality shit is exhausting. The physical exhaustion from the weekend was honestly cleansing. It felt much like I did after playing weekend soccer tournaments back in the days before the titanium toe. I'm fairly certain most people think I'm nuts, but I'm fairly certain they probably thought that before I answered the "What did you do this weekend?" question.

The exhausting part is all of the little lists in my head. Things to do, buy, decide. Work things, errand things, house things, dad things, and occasionally even me things. Apparently I have a habit of putting that list in the incorrect order. Ah, but 'tis easier to click through things that don't actually have any required emotion attached. (Kid things always leads the list, but that, now that, is not an exhausting list. That is the best list of all.)

And then, inexplicably, I have these people in my life who remind me that my list isn't always in the right order. And they say these really weird things like, "Yes, but how are you?" and "Are you going to be able to sleep or are you making lists in your head?" I like those people. They cut through my bullshit. And, inexplicably, I let them.

Today's exhaustion was knowing that while I was in San Jose at the dentist hearing, "Wow, that must really hurt, give it a couple of weeks to see if the nerve retracts on its own...", my dad was in Placerville at his doctor learning about "the spot."

Patience is good. HA.
Focus on work to kill time until you can get an answer. HA HA.
Care deeply about a page oh-so-close to the heart of a marketing guy not showing as high as he wants in Google. HA HA HA.
And oh yes, HA.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ah, Grasshopper

"I like grasshoppers because they catch the mean bugs in their wings and eat them.
Then they spit them out and put them in jail where they can't fly into my eyes.
Yeah, I like grasshoppers. They're my buddies.
They protect me from the bad guy bugs."
--@, Nov '07

As if "Adventures in Shredded Soy Cheese" on the kitchen floor wasn't enough. Or even the color commentary as Benny and George the lizards fought fires in the hallway. @ had one heck of a creative day.

In addition to lizards, cheese, and grasshoppers... He supervised my morning housecleaning (from his stepladder perch while wearing his bike helmet) and afternoon cooking (apple pie and chicken enchiladas to stock the freezer). He helped with the shopping ("Mommy, I want to get daddy a Bob the Builder t-shirt for his birthday"). He sat blissfully calm during his haircut while every other little boy in the place was screaming like a banshee in a beartrap.

Oh, and before putting on his jam-jams, my little goofball walked into the kitchen wearing nothing but the giant felt flower head I made to wear for Halloween when he was one and dressed as a bee.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Retreat to Monosyllabic Stupor

There may be something to the monosyllabic stupor idea. Certainly less responsibility. After all, if compound words are impossible, then surely no one can expect complex multiclause sentences or thoughts from my muddled brain.

Today's annoying realization? What I thought was the normal thundering descent of seasonal allergies upon my sinuses is a cold. Which ticks me off. Or, to be more grammatically correct about it, it "ticks off me." Yes, it's annoying to feel crummy (or have the "creeping crud," as my dad says). It's tiring, frustrating, and all of that, but I'm most annoyed because it's my own dang fault.

(No, I did not imitate Phoebe from Friends in an attempt to get my singing voice all sexy and low. And if you've seen that episode, rest assured that is not how I got sick! And if you know me at all, you know I CANNOT sing. Twenty years of Girl Scouts and I still sound like something caught in bear trap.)

Back to our regularly scheduled blog entry...

Although I didn't seek out the germs that are now vigorously tap-dancing above my left eye while wearing steel-toed workboots, I practically sent them an embossed invitation. Here we go folks, I'm going to work too hard, stress too much, move too fast, sleep too little, put up with getting verbally body slammed, and just throw open the barn doors for all of those things that thrive on exhausted minds and bodies.

In college, I got sick right after finals every semester. Like clockwork. I often had Kleenex in tow for spring break. I'd push myself to the limit and then as soon as my body got a chance to sit on a metaphorical park bench and check out a few passing clouds? WHAMMO!

I'm 39 years old. I should know better by now. HA!!! Old dog. New trick. Self-care. HA! Honestly, I am better at it than I once was. Or I thought I'd improved. But then I looked at my vacation balance online. Maxed out. No, I haven't used it all. I've stopped accruing because I haven't taken enough. I think the scientific term is dumbass.

All the self-deprecation in the world won't cure the common cold or buy a plane ticket to a warm beach. Or even a snowy mountain. Or a warm desert.

Once this cold finishes kicking my ass, I need to join in and schedule vacation time. Plan escape. Book a massage. Lose my to-do list (but not the one from this paragraph). Slow the HECK down. Ugh. Alas. Waaaah.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Emergence from Monosyllabic Stupor

I'm not quite sure when I'll get back to big words. Or complex sentences with internal punctuation. I'm tired. Quite tired. On too many levels.

The good news is that I am not learning the ins and outs of life at Starbucks, which means I successfully completed a major project at work. The project was exhausting, but energizing. I got to play a significant part in seeing something prominent emerge from a blank piece of paper. In a VERY short time. It's not so much, "look what I did" as "wow, it worked."

It has been a rough few weeks. There's work, but then there's that real life thing too. I've been spending a lot of energy being the protector, caretaker, advocate, etc. Don't get me wrong, it's part of what makes me tick. When Y went to the hospital, it was automatic to me that I should be there to make sure she had what she needed. And before I left each night, I wanted to be damn sure the nurses had her pain meds figured out.

But I'm tired and staying up late three weeks running because my mind is going too quickly to sleep. (In fact, I'm writing now in hopes of draining my brain of the circling thoughts likely to prevent snoozing.)

I spent much of yesterday in a panic. I'd been calling my dad for a few days and he wasn't returning my calls. Not a terribly big deal, except that I usually know when he's not going to be home and I knew he got biopsy results on Friday. I don't panic easily. After leaving a message that said, "call me within two hours or I'm driving up there to find you," he called.

He had been at the hospital getting a bone scan. Why? Well, they can't define a course of treatment until they're sure it (the now-diagnosed cancer) isn't also elsewhere. He gets results from the scan in a couple of weeks. WEEKS.

It's a brick to the side of the head -- my dad has cancer, but they don't know how much. I don't think he's scared as much as pissed. Being an engineer, he was fascinated by the full-body bone scan because he'll be able to see any past injuries, arthritis, or other damage -- hopefully none of it due to rogue cells being assholes.

Yes, prostate cancer is pretty treatable and generally slow-moving. But my brain isn't ready for that comfortable logic yet. It's just telling me my dad has cancer. And I'm both scared and pissed. And it's not often you'll see me admit either one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Departure of a Lizard

Sometimes you're faced with situations that, well, it's likely no one you know will ever have to face themselves. And sometimes those things are life-changing. And other times they're just freakin' weird.

Case in point: Walked into my back yard Saturday afternoon and found a four-foot lizard. An iguana named Iggy, to be more precise. Unfortunately, Iggy was deceased. And unfortunately, I had to figure out what to do with Iggy before @ also discovered this little bit of Wild Kingdom (brought to you by Mutual of Omaha) in the back yard. Where's that safari jacket when I need it?

After the WTF moment passed, I removed said reptile from the lawn and fairly nicely packaged it for the neighbor so that, when she returned from her latest experimentation with mind-altering chemicals, she could bond with her green friend before disposing of it.

I considered a few alternatives, including leaving it on the hood of her car, but realized that the car has actually been missing for a week or so. And the porch wasn't an option because it's really not in her 87-year-old grandmother's best interest to discover a lizard carcass on the porch (although, obviously, the thought crossed my mind). Tweaker girl thoughtfully buried the thing pretty much on the property line under my bedroom window. Fabulous.

It escapes me how someone -- chemically "enhanced" or not -- thinks iguanas should have the same free-range status as chickens in Petaluma. And then how that person is surprised that the week-long AWOL iguana is deceased after entering a yard with two eighty-pound dogs (who, to their credit, did not maul it, but definitely had a foreleg in its departure from this realm).

Add it to my list of weird skills: chocolate souffle creation, chainsaw operation, baseboard installation, and now, lizard disposal(ation).

Monday, October 1, 2007


@ and I have a running commentary about chickens. When I don't know how to answer him, I bring in the chickens. He likes me to incorporate chickens into his bedtime stories. Sometimes he makes it very clear that I am, indeed, a "big mean chicken." When he barks, I cluck back at him and he generally replies with, "Quit bok-bokking mama!" (So then I meow and wind up going through a litany of other animal noises until I give up and return to the rusted trusted barnyard fowl.)

With @'s brother, it's hawks. The relationship is different. I don't get to play the verbal games. But I see hawks in odd places. Or, it's possible the hawks were always there and I didn't see them.

Shortly after the boys were born, a young hawk moved into in our neighborhood -- in the mix of Silicon Valley's freeways, expressways, and Starbucks. At first he seemed to spend a lot of time going from tree to tree as if trying to find other hawks or get his bearings. Eventually he settled into a routine and in the early evenings would spend time in the front-yard mulberry tree or a nearby neighbor's tree before moving on. I haven't seen him in a couple of years, but it was nice to have him around.
  • I found feathers while I was pregnant.
  • When X and I got married, a red-tailed hawk circled above us at the end of the ceremony.
  • A pair of hawks live in the eucalyptus trees that border the parking lot at work and I had my desk reconfigured so I can face that way.
And then there are the random hawks that just seem to be "around." As soon as the boys were born, I had an unexplained feeling that feathers and N were connected. And it eventually evolved to hawks.

For N's birthday, I got a hawk of my own. It's a tattoo. He's already always with me in my heart, but he has no grave, no memorial. I wear a necklace that represents both @ and N. But I've always needed something that marked N's impact -- gave him a greater presence than my internal grief. Some people might think it's drastic or odd, but there's something truly comforting about having him as part of me again, physically.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

5,000-pound Friday

The guy pictured here is my new best friend. I can't remember his name, but in a relationship like this, do names really matter?

I had a horrid week. A week that just got worse like the compounding daily interest on a very bad short-term loan. It was capped off by some arrogant, self-important, female-fearing twit who opted to rip into me about the work I do and suggest that I was in the wrong job, should be removed from my clients, am a complete failure in any sort of collaborative work, and probably wasn't even a nice person anyway. Ouch.

Logically, I know the guy has some sort of issue with me or the rest of the planet. Or he's completely stoned on the fictional kool-aid of a pathological liar in the near vicinity (who does exist, by the way). Logically, I know he's wrong.

But after a week of multiple challenging conversations, communication judgment errors on my part, and an overall haze of bad attitudes roaming the environment... I left the office early. Quickly and not gracefully. I had to drop off something for someone in another building and pretty much lost it and had to go outside and recompose myself on the balcony before being able to speak.

(No one is supposed to know that I actually have human emotions. Any revelation of this fact to outsiders will result in immediate revocation of blog-reading privileges and a sudden increase in campaign donation solicitations from the republican party.)

The good news, beyond my logical brain eventually kicking the ass of my emotional brain after I got the proper amount of oxygen in my system, Linkin Park in my auditory canal, and primal screaming in the car...

The good news is I have friends who, when my logical brain has gone temporarily AWOL, remind me that I'm not actually the beyatch I claim to be, that guys with shrunken anatomy will generally attempt a verbal take-down on a woman they consider intimidating, that I am good at what I do and people appreciate it, and that I shouldn't have to take that kind of crap.

And my friend the rhino? After all of the fecal matter that hit the oscillating device during the week, @ and I had the opportunity to feed a 5,000-pound Asian Rhino carrots and celery at a members' event at the SF Zoo. He's a massive, thick-skinned, not exactly cuddly looking, beast (terms potentially also used to describe me at times, if not by others, by myself). He's all of those things and oh-so-gently took a carrot from @'s hand and let me put a stalk of celery in his formidable craw. And that brief but amazing moment will soon be the only specific thing I remember from this week.

I will always remember that I have great friends who will back me up, mock the people who pick on me, rant and rave in my defense, write on their arms to make me laugh when I'm convinced it's not possible, and send me virtual hugs via e-mail with promises of real ones next time I see them. Yes, even prickly little me appreciates a good hug now & then. Who knew?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Return of the Snail Buddy

Generally, I like it when @ makes new friends. And I like that he loves to be outside and is curious about the plants and critters that populate the yard. But, everything has its limits.

Take this morning, for instance. The wee boy opted to use the blissful nine minutes between right-handed alarm clock snooze-button bashing to leap on to the bed and steal one of my pillows. OK, fine. I skipped my morning push-up, crunch, etc. ritual, so I should have been up anyway, but stealing my pillow while I'm groggy can be dangerous.

After we sorted out that the pillow thief was relatively benign, we agreed that said thief would snuggle up with said pillow in my bed while I took my shower. A hunch told me that he would not indeed be in the same spot in which I left him upon my emergence from the shower. However... when the dog barged in and the wee boy knocked on the shower door with "Mama, look what I got" I really wasn't expecting to see a snail. But, that's indeed what was attempting to stare through the textured glass. "I got a snail buddy!"

After a brief but meaningful chat about not going outside without me, he graciously took his buddy outside to the porch, but apparently didn't give him enough of a head start to the garden (preferably the neighbor's garden, really), so snail buddy crossed the threshold to return to the house at least two more times. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to teach snail buddies to fly (see previous "snail" posts).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Beatles

This morning, @ was looking at CDs in the rack and pulled out two Beatles anthologies, asking what the music was. I told him that it was the Beatles.

"Oh," he says. "The ones from the car show."

Fuddled, muddled, and suddenly astounded. "You're right, the band from the car show we went to with Grampa Doug."

A YEAR AGO, a (very good) Beatles tribute band played at the annual car show where my dad lives. A YEAR AGO. @ was two and a half then and the band probably played for two hours max during a long, hot, chaotic day filled with cars, trailers, engines, people, dogs, music, hot dogs, playgrounds, motorcycles, and such.

So, of course, we listened to the Beatles this morning.

At the moment, he's measuring the porch. I bought him his very own tape measure this afternoon. I measured the porch to build a deck a couple of weeks ago and ever since, tape measures are suddenly something more than the ever-present boxes on his daddy's hip pocket.

The other day X was here and @ said he wanted to be a carpenter. There was an immediate chorus of, "No way, you're going to college" in perfect unison. (X is a carpenter and we're definitely on the same page in terms of parenting, despite the end of the marriage.)

Earlier today, @ was explaining very carefully how he was rebuilding the dog house by removing all of the old wood, replacing it with new wood, and nailing everything in. The dog house is molded plastic, but... he was very detailed and careful in the placement of nails. He'd hold one, tap it twice with the hammer, then move it over and tap it again. He likes watch the progress on Jeff's house down the street, then test it out what he's seen on the dog house here.

A year ago. The Beatles. Dang. Maybe he knows where my mom put her keys in 1982.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Two Dog Night

Luke is having a slumber party. His bestest buddy Butch is here. Butch belongs to Jeff and Katie down the street. He and Luke can chase each other, wrassle, and otherwise convince the uninitiated that there's about to be bloodshed. If I open my front door, Luke tries to bolt to Butch's house. If Jeff and Katie open theirs, Butch bolts over here. I swear they have cell phones; it's as if they can hear the respective doors open three houses away.

I'm trying to decide whether the two knuckleheads can both sleep in the house tonight. They're alternately chilling and then remembering that they're nuts. Luke is nosing a chair across the dining room and Butch is trying to figure out why. It's like watching a cartoon, at least until one attempts to mount the other. Then it's more like Animal Planet.

It's good to get insight into your friends' lives. Unfortunately, I now have insight into Jeff's knee. Butch is here because Jeff and Katie are at the hospital. I was home this afternoon and heard Jeff shout. Then I heard him again. He's spending the summer adding on to his house, doing much of the work himself. When I got down the street, I asked if he was pissed off or hurt. Then he showed me his leg. Something happened with a saw. That's as graphic as I'm going to get. Katie was on the way, so I sat with him to try to keep him calm and make sure he didn't go into shock or pass out.

He's at the hospital, they've started the antibiotics, and at last report they were waiting to go into radiology to identify how much damage there is and what to do next.

I stayed calm when I was with him, with his in-laws, and with Katie. And then I came home and lost it. I've seen other injuries. I've seen a soccer teammate's head when it needed nearly 100 stitches to close. But three hours later, I'm still shaky.

Maybe it's because it was just him and me sitting on the porch.
Maybe it's because he and Katie are my friends.
Maybe it's because he talked about never playing volleyball again and I know what it's like to lose something like that (soccer).
Maybe it's because everything we went through with @ makes things like this so much more real.

But I also know I'm fortunate to have people who watch out for me. I called X, and because he lives near the hospital he went check on Jeff, then called me with details. I sent an "I gotta get this into words and outta my system" e-mail to a friend from school and he called to make sure I was OK and just talk to me for a bit (he knows I always say I'm OK, he knows that sometimes I'm completely full of sh**).

And now I have these two moronic canines slowly considering settling down, which gives me something to watch and to wish that, perhaps for a few hours, I could be as ignorant and happy as they are.

Here's to having good friends and dumb dogs.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gremlin, Defined

No doubt about it, my son is a character. Unfortunately, this weekend he chose to be a character from an as-yet-unwritten story about gremlins who take over the universe while laughing maniacally and peeing on the front lawn. Honestly, I don't think he felt well. He fought naps like they were a upstart nation invading his precious homeland. I think he said, "I don't want to" more times today than in his entire life thus far.

On the plus side, he helped wash my car and pick tomatoes from the garden. He's convinced we need to eat the pumpkins (two are orange) and was very excited to see that several new ones made an appearance in the garden while we were gone last week. The coolest part of it is that he planted the pumpkin vine and the darn thing is amazingly healthy and prolific.

He has an interesting ability to distinguish "snail buddies" from "yucky snails," each of which meet a different fate. The yucky snails are taught to fly (usually unsuccessfully) and the snail buddies are carefully placed somewhere safe from trampling dog feet. I, personally, have no idea how to tell which is which, so my snail flight lessons are always conducted without the wee boy in view.

As for me...

I survived a week in Anaheim at the annual company user group dealie. I had a product launch that nearly killed me--it's good that it was a con call instead of a face-to-face when the IT guy suggested I tell the "speakers" in the product announcement press conference not to mention the products. Prior to the press conference, the CEO mentioned the release in his keynote. (Sure, let me page him mid keynote and make sure he doesn't say anything... That's job security...)
The press conference was at 10:00a.
The pages? Live at 9:56a.
Respirations? Resumed at 10:07a.
Blood pressure? Normalized by noon.
Headache? Next morning, definitely.