Sunday, July 27th 2008

Dr. Meg alert AND don’t try this at home: A practical guide to cat enemas
posted @ 11:19 pm in [ - ]

I’ll be on KGNU again tomorrow from 12 - 3 MDT, dispensing terrible lifecoaching advice again. Feel free to listen at I know, just try and stop me!

In other news, Titania had a rough 24 hours, with two trips to the after-hours vet, some bloodwork, some worry and hope, and hundreds of pay-ya-later-baby dollars. She is now resting comfortably and on the mend. She’s almost herself again already, and we have scientific confirmation that she’s in fantastic shape.

Because Titania is 16 years old (the feline equivalent of being in her 80s), I got worried about her when she seemed to be in a lot of discomfort, throwing up a lot, and not interested in eating. It turned out she was just badly constipated, so we got her rehydrated, got some “stool softener” (you gotta love that euphemism), and took her home. This morning, she still wasn’t eating and didn’t seem to be feeling well at all. The vet gave her a full battery of tests and was impressed with how very well she was — except for being depressingly constipated. So he, er, handled that, and Titania is much like herself again. I bet she makes it to be old enough to drink legally. Not that she would — unless, of course, someone invents fish liqueur. Some Scandinavian, perhaps? Anyone who would eat ludefisk might…

Here’s the funny part. Okay, it was a little funny when I asked someone to irrigate my cat. It was really funny, though, when, as a piece of parting advice, the vet mentioned that it probably went without saying, but we should never try to administer an enema to a cat in the privacy of our own home. Apparently, human enemas contain ingredients that are potentially toxic to the feline bowel. No worries, we assured him, we would not be administering any home enemas to the cat. I didn’t know about the ingredient thing, but tell me that it doesn’t sound like a particularly potent similie: “Like giving a home enema to a cat.”

“How was the DMV today?” “Oh, it was like giving a home enema to a cat.”

“Geez, you look a little rough today. How was your night?” “I feel like I gave a home enema to a cat.”

“I heard you quit your job.” “Yeah, it was too much like giving a home enema to a cat, day after day after day…”

So there’s a piece of advice to get you in the mood for tomorrow’s lifecoaching: don’t try to give a home enema to a cat. Ask / bribe / beg a trained professional to handle it. Thanks, Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital! You were great, as always.

Friday, June 20th 2008

The Amazing Spidermans
posted @ 1:49 pm in [ ]

As I think y’all know, I’m an only child. As such, I’ve been entertaining myself for decades now, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Here’s the latest thing giving me the giggles.

I was watching TV or something months ago, and someone referred to the Spider-Man movies. The funny thing was, she pronounced it a little bid oddly. Instead of the usual “Spider-Man,” with emphasis more or less equally on the “Spi” and the “Man,” she said, “Spiderman,” emphasizing only the “Spi,” and giving the “a” a sort of schwa sound, hence making it sound like a surname: Goldman, Mossman, Spiderman. As in: “I’m here for the Spiderman bar mitzvah.”

Okay, that in itself cracked me up. But you know I can’t leave well enough alone.

“We had Herb and Rachel Spiderman over for dinner the other night.”

“Oh yeah? I love the Spidermans! They’re so amazing.”

I just go on and on about the Spidermans until I’m laughing so hard I have to stop. Then I go down to Sam Spiderman’s deli and have a nice egg salad.

Thursday, May 22nd 2008

Summer fun in the worst climate in America
posted @ 5:21 pm in [ ]

When people thoughtfully ask me if I’m cold, or if I want an umbrella, or if I’m otherwise climatically uncomfortable, I can respond with an enthusiastic, “Heck, no!” to be followed by, “This is nothing. I’m from the worst climate in America!” By which I mean: New England.

People here in Colorado, with its semi-arid, sunny, mild, near-bugless climate don’t really grasp the degree to which a climate can suck. I can tell them, but they don’t really get it. I can give them examples of my experiences with the cold, such as how my lip gloss used to freeze while I waited for the bus to my high school, and we’d break off bits of each other’s wet hair to annoy each other (sometimes big 80’s hair was more of a necessity), but then they’ll say something like, “Well, for some people, though, a really hot climate like Florida is a lot worse.” Yeah, well, New England gets that, too. Hence: the worst climate in America. The summer is hot and humid and muggy and buggy and gritty, and if it gets over 85 degrees, old people start dying.

A good way to cool off from the obscenely hot unpleasantness was always to go for a swim. The local swimming hole was a seasonally dammed-up brook. The brook in question was actually snow runoff that, when in its liquid state, would travel downhill. Using what resembled two metal horizontally-mounted captain’s wheels, the dam would be cranked shut shortly before Memorial Day so the pond could fill, and then opened again by Columbus Day, so that local men could retrieve the testicles that had frozen off and sunk to the frigid bottom when they had unwittingly gone swimming during the summer months.

Of course, other things besides testicles would be left over on the pond bed. Indeed, some testicles wouldn’t be there at all, reportedly having become lodged in their owners’ necks like goiters. Minimal trash from upstream, sure, but lost toys would be there, too. One time I found a gray plastic squid nearly a foot long. That was pretty cool. It became a favorite tub toy of mine, in part because I already knew it would sink to the bottom and lie in wait for small plastic tugboats — plastic tugboats of course being the natural prey of the plastic squid.

I suppose the terrible climate did make me tough, though. Plus, it was largely responsible for my discovery of the plastic squid. I’ve never found a plastic squid in Colorado.

Monday, January 7th 2008

Warm, jingly childhood memories
posted @ 9:24 am in [ ]

The cats really cleaned up this holiday season. Some folks who sent us packages remembered them, too. I admire that kind of memory and organization, because I rarely remember to get stuff for the furrier members of households. Well, furrier than my dad, anyway. If cats could write thank-you notes, I’m sure they would. They seem quite pleased with their substantial haul. My mom, as always, picked out some major winners.

One of the many entertaining items they received (from my auntie, who always knows what’s good) were the ever-popular Bizzy Balls. I am not making this up: Bizzy Balls are an honest-to-Jeebus mass-marketed cat toy that has been popular for decades. They’re hard plastic and have a small jingly bell inside. Jackie, who is especially partial to toys that rattle or make noise, is a huge fan.

Bizzy Balls have changed somewhat since I was a kid. They used to be two plastic hemispheres that looked like a small gridded globe with the bell inside. They are now more solid hemispheres with cutouts. This innovation’s primary effect seems to be a harder crunch when stepped on. Still, the sound of Bizzy Balls in the house brought back fond memories of my childhood cats batting them about on the hardwood floors of the house, followed by my dad accidentally stepping on the occasional Bizzy Ball, crushing it to bits, and the hilarity that would ensue. I’m not sure I can quite capture the experience here, but I’ll give it my best shot. Picture this sort of gentle, musical intermittent jingling…

Jingle, jingle, jingle jingle-jingle….

Jinglejinglejingle – Jingle — jingle jingle jingle jingle jingleingleingle

KA-RUNCH! “Goddammitt!”

I laughed so hard I almost peed myself, especially when my husband stepped on one of the new Bizzy Balls the other day, followed by a gruff F-bomb. Ah, a form of entertainment the whole household can enjoy.

Monday, November 12th 2007

Testing the jerk hypothesis
posted @ 11:48 am in [ - ]

I was at a party not too long ago where I had an opportunity for empirical research, and therefore, public service, thrust upon me. I was listening in polite sympathy to some jerk droning on about his crappy job. He began complaining about one co-worker in particular, and then he got kind of personal, talking about her always having PMS. He then expanded his criticism to a host of other women in his life and claimed they always had perpetual PMS as well.

“Do you know how many women actually suffer from PMS?” I asked. He admitted he didn’t. In truth, estimates vary wildly, but most sources not explicitly trying to sell women something put the range between 10 and 20 percent. Jerkwad seemed surprised by that statistic.

“How come ALL the women I know seem to have it?” he countered.

“Hmm,” I said, considering the proposition thoughtfully, “It seems the common denominator there is you. Have you considered that perhaps you just have a particular talent for pissing women off? Might be a theory worth considering.”

“It’s not a theory,” he sneered at me, “it’s just a stupid hypothesis.”

“It’s a theory now,” I replied with a wry smile and was careful to just barely catch his toe under my high-heeled shoe as I walked away.

Hooray for positivism!

Monday, October 29th 2007

The glamourous life of a model
posted @ 7:34 pm in [ ]

I spent yesterday afternoon and today being a hair model at a product show. I’ve done it before, and the nice people I worked with called me about the casting, which is good: repeat business. A few of the models I worked with last time were there, too.

The glamourous part of being a model is the part everyone sees: you get your hair done, your makeup done, you walk across the stage, you pose… There’s a lot that people don’t see, though, and it wasn’t what I expected — which is not a complaint or anything — it’s actually fine by me, and kind of interesting.

The deal is that, when you’re a model, you’re sort of a living prop. On the first afternoon, if you get cast, they color your hair, and sometimes cut it. This time, I my hair got cut the first afternoon. Last time, it got cut and styled on stage during the show. If you get your hair cut on stage, you’ll spend maybe 20 - 30 minutes there. If not, maybe only 10 minutes. The whole rest of the time (8 - 10 hours on the day of the show, plus some of the 3 - 5 hours the afternoon before), you are either being prepped (that is, you are the object of preppage) or you’re idle, but you must be right where you are expected to be found at all times, go where you’re told to go, when you’re told to go there, and be doing what you’re told to be doing. You don’t have a big-picture view of what’s going on, so the folks who do give you simple instructions, and you just have to follow them and be flexible and not worry about it. As a prop, getting up and walking away or not being ready when you’re needed would be disastrous.

Many models have a hard time sitting quietly and doing nothing — they want to be entertained. Today, we had a really sweet setup backstage where we had some snacks, a TV and some DVDs to watch in a sort of indoor tent, which I referred to as “the model corral.” I had a big ol’ pile of grading, so I worked on that in between getting my hair styled, restyled, and touched up, and having my makeup done. I really liked having the time to get that stuff done, and I really like getting my makeup done.

So my day went like this: I got up at 6 so I could be at the facility before 8. Before 9, I was dressed (their short, low-cut black dress, my black leggings, black shoes, and BLAM! push-up bra), had my initial hair styling, and was waiting for makeup. The models who would be on stage before me were getting their makeup done first, which makes lots of sense. I got my makeup just before lunch, and hung out grading in the model corral until then. We got lunch after the audience did, so they wouldn’t see us (it would wreck the drama of the surprise). It was a flippin’ phenomenal spread of a buffet. Before lunch, I got touched up a bit. After lunch, I got my makeup and hair touched up again, did my initial five minutes on stage where my hair color was presented and discussed, as was my style. Then I went back to the model corral for more grading. Toward the end of the show, I came back out onstage and my cut was discussed for a bit. Then I finished my grading, and at the very end of the show, I went out to the lobby where the attendees (licensed professionals in the beauty industry) were, so they could check out my hair at close range if they wished. Then the nice people I worked with thanked me for coming and sent me home with a cute goodie bag of upscale beauty products. That was around 4. I expect I’ll be getting a check pretty soon, too. So that’s all great stuff: check, goodies, free cut, color, style and makeup from high-profile folks who really know what they’re doing. All in all, a nice way to spend the day.

I think what surprises me most about modeling is that, although it is the height of glamourous jobs, it’s arguably a somewhat boring job most of the time. That suits me personally, because I have so much crap to do. I got a lot done today. I find being a living prop rather enjoyable.

Friday, October 19th 2007

Waving off death
posted @ 6:15 pm in [ ]

In dance class Wednesday night, my dance teacher had a heart attack. We didn’t know it was a heart attack at the time — she was just very dizzy and clearly didn’t feel well. She’s been abnormally healthy her whole life and has been dancing for something like 75 years. One of the other longtime students and I took her to the emergency room, where she was admitted, and stabilized, and got lots of medical attention and what-not. We hung out until we were sure she was going to be okay, and then we found out the next day that it had been a heart attack, and a damn good thing we got her to the hospital when we did.

The odd thing is that I feel like I figured out there was a serious problem the same way a pet would. I’ve been taking dance class with her — multiple classes a week — for nearly 10 years, and I worked for her at her dance studio for several of those years, too. I consider her to be like my family. She was very pale and not moving like herself, even when I’ve seen her in pain. I also thought that if she were considering going to the hospital even for a second, she probably thought she was in real trouble. What really clinched it for me, though, was that she didn’t smell right. Not bad or anything, just not right. I imagine those are the ways my cats know when I’m not okay, and they come and try to take care of me in their own way.

Anyway, the upshot is that I almost lost somebody important this week and that it came out okay. I’m very relieved, and I’m glad that if something like that was going to happen that it happened during class when there were lots of folks around her to help.

Monday, September 17th 2007

Wherefore art thou, Roessler?
posted @ 6:22 am in [ - ]

Since I told the chaos society to which I belong about my brand new sick ink, I’ve gotten a lot of support, curiosity, and interest in it, which is nice. One colleague asked whether my choice of design was mathematical or artistic, and what significance it held for me, adding, “Often we choose tattoos as anchors, to remind us of one of the characteristics about us, that we have tendency to forget, and the body location is an indication of how private or public we want to be about that characteristic.” I hadn’t fully articulated those things until I responded, but I kinda like how it came out.

Sure, it’s a pretty personal thing, but I announced it to this community in no small part because y’all share this whole part of my intellectual life that most other folks don’t. It’s low enough on my back that I’d have to expose myself a bit (but not pornographically) in public to show it, but high enough that the point peeks out of my waistband like the tip of the iceberg.

Not surprisingly, it was both a mathematical and an artistic decision. I’ve always dug strange attractors, and how much more descriptive they are than, say, the “worm” of a line diagram. In practical terms, they’re also simple and contained enough to draw, which would not be the case with, say, a good, bold, graphical representation of a Julia set. This particular one is the graph of a wave, and those of you who know me well know what an ocean-enthusiastic creature I am (yeah, in that way, living in Denver is a little rough: tidal-wave free for 70 million years, whoo-hoo!). I’ve even occasionally used the alias “sea-girl” when writing saucy poetry, a reference to my favorite poem in the English language, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” including the ending, “’til human voices wake us and we drown,” a reminder that the primal ocean voice within can keep us afloat and that sometimes faith/belief/illusion/truth/mythmaking is the more beneficial side to our nature — that sometimes what we choose to believe is what keeps us buoyant (true, the overall context is that the speaker is afraid of death and loneliness, but let’s face it, he probably wouldn’t be if he could just leave himself alone, stop worrying about what other people think of him and accept death, often symbolized by the ocean, including Odysseus’ “wine-dark sea”…) — a sentiment that has kept me from being swept under in the more traditional halls of academia as I pursue my faith in nonlinear dynamics. Given its orientation (spike to the top, fold-above-bump to the right) and center spiral, it also looked a little like a seashell to me in a conch-meets-nautilus kind of way. Given that general shape, I think its placement alongside my favorite curve also accentuates it nicely.

Saturday, September 15th 2007

At long last, Roessler
posted @ 8:37 am in [ ]

Some of you know that, for years now, I have been looking in vain for someone to put a tattoo of a Roessler attractor, one of my very favorite chaotic objects, on my lower back. You can see what one looks like here, second picture down. The one I wanted is oriented a little differently, sort of from above, with the point facing up and the fold below it. I finally found the right artist last night, in my very own neighborhood, while I was waiting for a cool coffee shop, where a friend was DJing, to open. So yes, readers, friends (and mom), I got some wicked sick ink last night. I’ll post a pic when it heals up a bit.

Did it hurt like a bastard? Eh, it wasn’t too bad. I thought it would hurt more than it did, and after a while, the skin got a little numb like it does when you pluck your eyebrows a bunch. It hurt a lot less than my early pointe classes, and it definitely hurt less than getting my ears pierced (although it was much more sustained). There were a handful of moments where it hurt enough to make me kind of squeeze my eyes shut, but never enough for any crying, screaming, or bite sticks or anything. I read a book through most of it, and the pain wasn’t enough to adversely affect my comprehension. Before they started, I asked the inky staff if they had any pain management advice for me, and they basically suggested I go to my happy place and breathe through it. I thought that turned out to be entirely sufficient. All in all, I’ve asked people to do things to me that were more painful than that. It stings a little bit today, but it’s nothing like the deep tissue bruises I’ve sustained from the occasional bike crash.

Am I sorry? Nah. I’ve wanted a tattoo nearly half my life, and I’ve wanted this Roessler for the last 8 -10 years, so I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on it. I think there are people who get tattoos and people who don’t, and that I’ve always been one of the former, but just couldn’t find the right artist until last night. One of the first things I did when I got home was email the chaos society list I subscribe to.

Thanks, Dave at Celebrity Tattoo, for showing the sack to do it — and for doing a kickass job at that!

Saturday, June 30th 2007

Discovering what “no” means
posted @ 8:41 pm in [ ]

I used to have this really cool dance friend — let’s call him Luke. It’s a cooler name than he ultimately deserved, but initially it would have fit okay. Luke used to dance at the studio where I worked and took class. We got paired up in occasional performances, probably because he was tall enough for me. He was a lot of fun, too… Until an organization I would consider to be a white-collar cult got a hold of him. Then he got really weird. He tried to get me to come along to some of their meetings, but I wasn’t interested and didn’t have the time for even one more thing in my life then. Had I been pressed any further or more obnoxiously about it, I would undoubtedly have replied, “No thanks, I don’t need [creepy white-collar cult] because my daddy likes me.”

Anyway, the fun part of all this weirdness was that Luke would go through these various phases while he was in training to assume some sort of leadership role (Kool-Aid tray bearer, perhaps? Not sure exactly). At one point, he asked me some sort of really odd question (which alas, now eludes me) and when I looked at him quizzically, he explained that he had to make “unreasonable requests” of people so he could determine “what ‘no’ means” to him.

Huh, I thought, that is a damn useful exercise. It’s good for discovering what’s jacked up about one’s particular psyche and poking into one’s personal baggage, and also, what a great writing exercise! For my money, there’s nothing harder to teach than comedy writing, but what a fantastic jumping-off point. I set to work on that baby right away.

On a poigniant note, “No” for Luke had some pretty profound rejection attached to it, and got him to work through some tough stuff, which I certainly respected. On a much goofier one, “No” for me apparently means, “Hey, maybe later, Meg! Nothing personal — you still rock!” I immediately spouted off an array of unreasonble requests. Mind if I date your dad? How about I spank you on the courthouse steps? Drive me to Flagstaff tonight, will ya? I’m putting this rabid squirrel on your head, okay? Can I have a kidney?

The last time I heard from Luke, he was far too evolved to spend much time emailing people who had not yet been transformed into full-fledged wankmonkeys. He sent me a naked picture of some female friend of his. Poor naked girl. Apparently, he got past his concerns about unreasonableness. At what cost, though? Sheesh, what a wank.

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