Life thru the haze of cat hair.

Category Archives: Herb

Tonight, while at the hockey game (We sucked, we lost) I had a very enlightening experience. And this time, it wasn’t the fights. And there were a bunch. Good ones.

I digress.

Early on in the game, I’m there playing on my phone, and I notice 3 people coming in to sit in the row in front of us. Normally, I will look and move on. This time, there was a young-ish man helping a woman down the stairs. Naturally, I started to wonder – what happened to this girl. Was she mentally handicapped? Was she ill with a progressive disease? Was she in an accident?

I resumed watching the game. Occasionally, I would notice this girl flirting with the guy that helped her to her seat. And I noticed a modest engagement ring. My mind? Oh, I wonder if she got sick after they were engaged? I wonder if she had an accident after they were engaged? Either way, I thought, what a lovely man for not “giving up on her”. I had no idea.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking “My arthritis is acting up. This rots.”

Jump to the 3rd period.

Our team scored (that in and of itself was a miracle – did I mention they sucked tonight??) and the woman – who, I might add, had never stopped smiling and enjoying herself – turned, smiled at me and shook my hand. Then she turned and did the same to Herb.

Then, in short succession, 2 pucks came flying into the crowd, very close to where we were sitting. I noticed the woman flinch – understandably under the best of circumstances – and sort of lean in to her fiance’. She turned around to me and took off her hat and lifted her hair. Right along her hairline, she had a horrible scar. It was somewhat faded, but still very visible. Then she took my hand and put it on her head. I could feel the lumps and bumps of where the bone healed.

It was a little off-putting, but she was sweet. Then she took out her phone, and showed me a text. This woman? She had been driving when she was 16 and was hit so hard by a drunk driver that to this day? She has no memory of the accident. Her left side was crushed and she still wears a brace on her left leg and left wrist. Her vocal cords were damaged, so she cannot speak well. She is now 30.

Then she showed me a picture of herself with her fiance’. They looked very happy. She pulled up another text. (These weren’t really texts. It was more like her story, saved to her phone.) Anyhoo, this one said that she and her fiance’ had been dating for 2 weeks, when he found out he was being deployed to Iraq. So he asked her to marry him.

I KNOW!!

I said to him that he was a really good guy! He said he was just a really lucky one.

I KNOW!!

She showed me a few more pictures and was all girly. It was so cute.

Then her story said she didn’t remember the accident, and would love to find out who did this to her. Her family knows, but won’t tell her. Her fiance’ said it was because they don’t want her upset or to do something to the guy. The other driver was only 17, so I guess it is hard to find out anything about him.

I find that part odd. I can see the family keeping all the horrible details of the accident itself from her, but the other driver? They didn’t do anything to him? That’s odd.

The fiance’? He doesn’t know who the other driver is either, because he didn’t know her back then.

So. What have we learned? This woman, at 16, basically had her life taken from her. And yet, she is out in the world, living a happy life, and engaged to a lovely man. Who met her 2 years ago.

He didn’t see the “damaged” her. He saw a lovely woman who obviously has a love of life. She is in love.

So, while I sat there whining to myself about my arthritis, this couple and their friend were out, living. Sure, she is still angry about what happened to her. Sure, she would love to do something to the guy who did that to her. But she didn’t let that stop her. And he didn’t let it stop him.

It was really beautiful.

So the next time, my arthritis is acting up, or my tea is cold, or I slip on the ice, I need to think about Kelly and Bob*. The next time things don’t go really my way, I need to think about this couple.

Things in my life could be SO MUCH worse. But in all actuality? I have it pretty good. Compared to some others? My life is a  virtual fairy tale.

Thank you Kelly and Bob for teaching me that tonight.

*not their real names


Oh, hello. Come in and have a cookie.

Floating on the lake

day 5 of kayaking

listening to nothing

but the sound of sun shining.

The wind picked up

and I heard the sound

of the birch leaves

applauding my efforts.


Oh, hello! Come on in and have a whoopie pie. NOM NOM

I often find myself alone. I think it’s how I roll. And I like to tell myself that it’s ok. I’m ok with that.

But then I read other peoples’ blogs and see how introspective they are and how they face their “stuff” and move through it and come out stronger and, well, better than they were. And true to form, I start thinking about how I spend my time alone.

I don’t know if I can just sit. Just sit and be with myself. Not for very long anyway. I have to be doing something. Reading. Watching television. (Or at least have the TV on in the background.) Tooling around on the interwebs. Listening to the radio. Just anything.

Often, I find myself wishing to quiet the noise in my head. Just to ssshhhhhh. But I can’t seem to do it. I’ve tried meditating. I can last about 31 seconds. I’ve tried turning everything off and just hearing… nothing. But then I think of all the things I “have” to do.

So, what *is* that? What is it in my head that I am afraid to face? Why can I not turn off the television instead of watching repeats of shows I’ve seen 13 times at least? Why, if I do turn off the TV, do I immediately pick up a book? Why, when I finish said book, I *immediately* pick up another one, without allowing myself to let the first one settle? Why am I afraid?

Why am I afraid to look too closely? What happened that I can’t, or won’t, face? What if there is nothing that I am not facing? What if I am just so vapid that I don’t actually have deep thoughts or a hidden past? What if I actually run out of questions to ask or my question mark key breaks? (Just seeing if you are still reading…)

I don’t know the answer. I certainly won’t come up with it now, while I have TweetDeck on in the other tab, the hockey game on the television and my brother texting me updates from another hockey game. Maybe I’ll be able to spend some time this coming weekend cogitating on my dilemma. I just know that I don’t want to live my life afraid. If something is holding me back, I want to face it and to get all the great things that are coming to me. Life is full of wonder – I just don’t want to be full of wonder about myself.


Oh, hello! I haven’t been here in so long! You must be starved! I have a full breakfast buffet for you. Anything you want. Help yourself, or ask a server.

Part of the reason I haven’t been around is that I was sick of myself whining. OMG. Shut up already, self! So I wanted to be in a better mind-frame. Well, that and I really didn’t have anything to say. As usual. So here are some random things to tide you through.

*****

My brother, Herb, did something for me on Friday last that is going to change my life. (No, it’s nothing dirty. Gross, you pigs.) I asked him for a HUGE favor and felt like a HUGE asshole while doing it. For the very fact that my life had come to the point where I had to ask it. And, do you know what? He did it. With no questions. No judgement. No scorn. And because of what he so generously did, my life is about to get infinitely better. I won’t tell you what he did, or what I asked for, but I will tell you that right now, my big brother? Is my hero. Also, I have had 4 awesome days in a row! Big change for me and it’s all due to Herb’s awesomeness.

*****

I have become obsessed with the show “Lie To Me”, thanks to Netflix. I hadn’t watched it when it was first on, but I’m looking for it now. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about this guy, Cal Lightman, played by Tim Roth, and his company who analyze microexpressions on people’s faces to determine if they are lying and why. You know those times when you are talking to people and you think you see a flash of something on their face, but you don’t know what it is? These guys see it too and can tell you what it means. It’s so fascinating! Kelli Williams is in it too. IDK what else she has been in, but I find that I really like her acting. I’ve never seen Tim Roth in anything either, and find him odd, but I guess he’s perfect for the role. Check it out.

*****

So, on Twitter, there are always people giving something away. I’m pretty sure I bitched about it here before. (It’s how I roll.) But, evidently, I entered a giveaway by an actual person (not a company) for a Coach bag. Yesterday, I got an email from Sweetney LETTING ME KNOW I HAD WON!!! OMG! I was so excited!! I only vaguely remember entering the contest, so I’m not entirely sure what I did to win, but SQUEEEEEE!!! I was going to post a picture of it, but the security-nazis at work have mucked up wordpress, so I can’t. But I will when I get it. YAY!!! (And thank you again, Sweetney!!)

*****

The season of Celebrity Fit Club just ended, and whoda thunk that Kevin Federline would end up being my favorite. He seems like a pretty cool guy, especially when I was expecting a cocky, punk jerk. Most of them looked so much better. I still hate Nicole – what a biznatch!!  But now I can look forward to the next round.

*****

OH! And speaking of reality “celebrities”…. Guess who started following me on Twitter? Kendra from Celebrity Rehab/Sober House, whatever. She followed me first. It’s my little brush with fame. So, I’m following her back. So far her tweets are very nice. I hope she stays sober.

*****

Okay. That’s it for now. I guess I should go to work.


Oh, hello! Come in and have a sandwich.

I was raised a Catholic. But this is not a post about religion. I don’t like to talk about religion with people. It’s too squishy a topic. Too much chance for people to get really pissy and offended.

So, Lent starts tomorrow. Or as they say in the church “The Season of Lent”. It always starts on the Wednesday after Mardi Gras, the Wednesday also known as Ash Wednesday. Now, being raised in the Catholic church, having gone through all the sacraments, years of Catechism, one would think that I would have some idea as to what the meaning of Lent is. But sadly, no. I know it’s something important, but I’ve got nothing.

Anyhoo. Growing up, we always had to “give up” something for Lent. I think it was a way to sacrifice and an attempt to make life better. Basically, we always gave up candy. I remember having a shoebox, into which went every piece of candy and gum I got for the next 40 days. “The Season” ended on Easter Sunday with a candy gorge. So not the point, I know, but that’s what happened.

Then in college, I absolutely lived on Tab and Reese’s. (Yes, Tab. Don’t judge. It’s awesome!) So that year, I gave up soda. Tab, Diet Coke, everything. Nothing fizzy. At Easter, the sister gave me a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke. It was so GROSS!! (Try that experiment – go several weeks without soda, then have some. You’ll be off soda.)

A couple of years ago, I gave up drinking. (I KNOW!) For the most part, it wasn’t difficult. Except at hockey games. I love a beer at the games. That part sucked, but I made it through the 40 days with no problem.

This year, Herb and I are going to give up drinking, EXCEPT at hockey games. No hard alcohol. No wine. No beer. Easy peasy. But I am also going to give up chips. Well, salty snacks – chips, Cheetos, etc. It seems to be a weakness, so as a way to improve my health, I want to add to the “this is what I’m giving up” list. It should be interesting while I’m PMSing, but it’s only 40 days. Right? RIGHT?

At this point, for me, Lent has nothing to do with religion. It’s sort of like New Year’s day – it’s a way to jumpstart a self-improvement plan and get remotivated. Any excuse to start over, right? Rewrite the path you are on.

Wish me luck.


Oh, hello! Lovely salad today. Dressing on the side.

I used to be fun. Honest.

Back in the day, I would get dressed up and go out with my friends. We’d drink, and dance, and laugh, and pick up boys (who wanted to be men.) The night would be considered young at 10pm. Heck, we wouldn’t even leave the house until after 10.  That was back when people could still smoke in bars – you’d come home reeking of cigarettes, and need to take a shower. Sleep (or pass out) for a few hours, then start making plans to do it all again.

But, somewhere along the way, my fun got broken. I’ve been trying to figure out what happened to it, and when, but the thought of going out and being jostled in a loud, too crowded bar holds all the appeal of the cats chewing my toes off. Maybe it’s a function of getting older, or the after effects of being betrayed by the above mentioned friends, or the result of acquiring more mature friends, or being more choosy with who I do consider a friend, but my fun seems to be gone.  (I know I previously described how I suck at the whole “I wanna be your friend” thing, so I won’t go there.)(Okay, just one thing about that – if someone calls to go to lunch or dinner or whatever, and I am not *completely* sure they are among my handful of friends? I experience something that can only be described as a mild panic attack. Seriously. WTF is wrong with me??)

Now, it seems that “going out” is more around the happy hour time frame. A lovely night is home, with a book. Dinner out? I’d love for it to be done by 8pm. Bed? On a school night, I like nothing more than to be in bed by 9, reading. Weekends? It’s later, but still not the crazy early morning hours of the next day. It’s a very low-key, comfortable existence.

But the more I think about my fun and what happened to it, I realize that what I have really *is* just an existence. Sure, it’s comfortable, it works (sort of), it’s somewhat lonely, but I’m not really *living*. I do have fun when I go out with my true friends. Or when I go to the hockey games with Herb. I really do. But how do I get out of my head, stop over analyzing every word/look/gesture with the ones who haven’t forced their way in. (And let’s face it – they do have to force their way in. And for those that have? Thank goat they did. I cherish them.)

Maybe once I stop expecting the worst from people, or suspecting the worst of myself, I will be able to find the instructions and fix my fun. I just hope that all the years of sweeping it into the corner, and moving it from one apartment to another, from one state to another, and finally to this house, haven’t permanently crushed it. I suspect the pieces have been pretty disintegrated and crushed, but maybe not irreparably harmed. Hopefully, with a little bottle of self-love, a healthy-sized box of kind words, and a final rinse-off of trust, my fun will re-emerge as some shadow of its former self. Maybe then, I will be able to water it daily, play it good music, feed it good food, and have it return stronger than before.  To be clear, I have no desire to relive the crazy days of leaving the house at 10pm and driving home (usually drunk. I know. You don’t have to say it. I KNOW!) several hours later. But I do want to not be suspicious of people and their motives. I do want to know that I have something to offer/contribute. I do want to hear myself laugh until my tum hurts.

I miss my fun. I hope it hasn’t given up all hope. After all, I did keep it with me for all this time, despite my neglect. That should count for something, right?

 


Oh, hello! Have some chocolate covered potato chips.

I LOVE HOCKEY!!

There. I’ve said it. I should clarify that I like hockey live. Hockey on television is boring. I think it’s because of the tedious announcers.

For the past 4+ years or so, Herb and I have had half season tickets to our local AHL team. There are 40 home games, and we have tickets for 20 of them.  We get the same seats every time. Ours are located right behind the penalty boxes. They are great seats.

Our team, the Pirates, used to be the farm team of the Mighty Ducks. But for whatever reason, they broke ties, and that group of young men went to play in Iowa. (?? I know!). Last year, we became affiliated with the Sabres. It was sad at first, but the new team was so good! They play well together – like a real team. There is one player, Nathan Gerbe, who you would not initially think of as a professional hockey player. He’s only 5’6″, which is very small for a hockey player. But he is AWESOME! He’s zoomy fast and never backs down from anyone. It’s  great to watch him play. Then there is the goalie – Enroth. He is phenomenal. And he’s only 21.  It’s astounding.

We have a game tonight. They started the season out not well. But we’re hoping for a win tonight. We both have our fan jerseys, and I have my pom-pom. I can’t wait.


Oh, hello! Come in and have some chips and dip.

It seems winter has come to our little neck of the woods. Yes, I know it is only October 4. But jeepers, it has been COLD around here lately. Saturday was cold enough that I actually contemplated turning the heat on. I don’t normally touch the heat until November, but I was so cold. So, instead, I grabbed a book and hunkered down on the sofa, bundled in a sweater and socks, under a blanket. Then 20 pounds of cat came over and made themselves comfortable. I was snuggly in no time.

Now that it seems kayaking season is over, I’ve been thinking about what to do this winter to get myself off the sofa. I’ve been thinking about snowshoeing for a few years. Previously, Satan wouldn’t go, due to myriad excuses. I think now, Herb would be more open to trying it. I do hear it’s a lot of hard work, but it will get me moving. That’s the goal.

Yesterday was the day I switched out my summer clothes for winter clothes. Lots of laundry to make sure everything is fresh. I do love a good sweater, but it makes me sad that another warm weather season is past. Is it me or has Twitter lost some of its appeal? It seems like there are fewer people “playing” on there than there used to be. I tried out following all the people who were following me that I wasn’t following. But, as much as I like them, I don’t have anything in common with all the “mommies” and cannot relate to many of their posts. They are lovely people, but kids are out of my realm.

Does anyone listen to audio books? I got started with them because I HATE commercial radio. The morning DJs and their insipid blather in the mornings make me uber stabby. I tried to listen again last week, but, let’s see. One day, on the 6 stations I have preset, I heard 1 song. 1. And it was Queen. I love Queen, but, and correct me if I’m wrong because I don’t listen to the radio very often, but I’m pretty sure that there have been songs produced since Queen was first popular.

Anyhoo, audio books. Most of them I like a lot. I can’t listen to the abridged versions. Those aren’t good. And the narrator makes a HUGE difference. If their voice is too whiny or sing-songy or flat, I can’t listen. I also don’t count those in the total of books I’ve read for the year. I mean, I’m actively listening, but not officially reading.

Alright. This post has no point. And is quite boring. So I’ll stop my ramblings now. I need more dip, anyway.


Oh hello! Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. Have some noodle salad.

Several years ago, when my brother Herb was still with Satan, we had all talked about learning to kayak and/or buying them. We went to a local sporting goods store which offered “outdoor sports training” and tried out some kayaks. Herb and I thought it was great fun. Satan decided she didn’t like to get wet. Or leave the house without showering and putting on a full face of make up. And doing her hair. She also didn’t like to sweat. So instead, we continued on with the same old thing – they would leave their house on weekends at around 2, after Satan had vacuumed (again), done at least 2 loads of laundry, had 1/2 pot of coffee, cleaned the stove, and gotten ready. Then they would swing by to pick me up, do Satan’s errands which she couldn’t seem to do during the week, and then go somewhere so Satan could drink we could eat.

I’m fully aware that I could have opted to do something else, but I like hanging out with Herb. And I like to go out to lunch on occasion too. But I was getting tired of always having to plan everything around alcohol. Drinking is also all well and good, but jeepers, can we do something else??

The last winter that Satan was around, I said that I thought it would be cool if we got snow shoes and got out and did something in the fresh air. Herb seemed into it, but Satan doesn’t like to be cold. *sigh*

Flash forward to this summer. Satan is gone. Herb is now with a lovely person. Let’s call her….Spice. (Get it? Herb and spice? No? hmmm…) Anyhoo, Spice has to work every other weekend. So Herb has some free time. He also got a bonus over the summer and invested in….. drum roll…. KAYAKS!! WOOT!!!

The first time we went this summer, we went to a little pond. We were both a little wobbly and tippy, but quickly got the hang of it, to some degree. Neither of us could paddle straight – or float straight for that matter! Being the lazy person that I am, my shoulders and arms were toast, very quickly. Then we went the next day, to a bigger pond. Still ridiculously sore, and uncoordinated, but we both realized that THIS was the way to spend sunny summer days. NOT sitting inside cleaning or running errands.

We’ve been a handful of times since that first weekend. Herb spends every other weekend with Spice. (still nothing? huh…). Each time, we get better and more confident and have tried larger ponds and lakes.

This past weekend? We decided to try THE BIG ONE! The lake everyone boats on. The lake our water supply comes from. The lake with more boats, jet skis, canoes and kayaks that we’d ever seen. On the busiest weekend of the summer. Yeah. Good thinking. *eye roll*

So we head out early. It’s a gorgeous sunny day. We have lunch and water and beer and lots and lots of sunscreen. We get there, put the kayaks in the water and set off. So far so good. “Hey cool, we should paddle around those islands!” “yeah, let’s do it on the way back” “k”.

It’s a bit rougher out there than we’ve seen, but nothing we can’t handle. We paddle up one side of the lake, looking at the ducks and trees and camps. We went for about an hour and a half. Then we stopped at a sand bar, where there were a lot of people sunning themselves or bringing in their boats to stop for lunch. We swam for a while, had lunch and rested.

Then we get back in to go further. Onward we go up further into the lake. There are a LOT of boats now and the wake is getting higher. But we pressed on. We traveled that way for about another hour-ish, then turned back. By this point, the waves were practically white-caps due to the number of boats going by. We were both exhausted, but kept going.  We even went by a whole flock of tufted ducks. They looked almost like loons, but they were brown with tufts of feathers off the back of the head. Tufted Duck This is the closest picture I can find. But the real ones were way prettier.

Almost back, we decide Hey! Let’s go across to the island! Yeah. From where we were, to get to the island, we had to go across “open” water, across the boat lane, across the jet ski lane. No protection of the shallower water. No protection of the shore. And off we went. For about 30 minutes we paddled. Hard. I lost feeling in my hands from gripping the oar. We both decided our shoulders were burning. Finally!! We made it. Um. Yeah. That was fun. Kinda. NOT.

The waves from the boats were pushing my boat into the shore and I almost got washed up onto the rocks. But halfway around the island, we discovered such calm water that we floated for a while then. We made our way back towards the car. We had to wait at the bridge for 5 or 6 boats to go under first, then we went under and back to the car.  We were out for about 4 and a half hours. Whew!

Long day. But the weather was perfect. The exercise was great. The water was warm. We had a lot of fun. I did feel badly that after all of that, Herb had to drive down to Spice’s house for the evening. Spice lives about an hour +/- away. UGH. I was toast. I don’t know how he made it. 

But the best part? After that adventure, we decided that we would be able to make it out to one of the coastal islands next summer. Ocean! There is a lovely restaurant out there that we could have lunch at. FUN!

Oh, and if you are wondering why Herb doesn’t go kayaking with Spice? It’s because she is not a strong swimmer and is a little bit afraid of it. I still think she would be fine and have a blast, but Herb doesn’t want to push her. She would have probably died out on THE BIG ONE with us, but the smaller ones would have been great for her.

So there you go. My new favorite thing to do. Kayak. If you have been kayaking before, you know. If you haven’t, and you have the opportunity, GO! You don’t really need to be a strong swimmer if you stay on the lakes and wear a life vest. (I consider myself a strong swimmer and still wear one, because you just never know what could happen.) Try it. You may find yourself with a new favorite thing to do, too.