Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Windy City HNT

I spent the past week in Chicago and thought I would show a couple shots of what the wind does to my hair. I have a lot of hair, the fun part was a lot of my surgeons have never seen it all because it is always shoved up under a hat. They got to see it in it's full glory all week long. I wore it curly a couple days and in these particular shots it is blown out by me, and fluffed out by the wind. This was taken late on Friday night after having sat through 8 hours of CME, an alumni reception and then dinner at Gino's East Pizzeria. I was tired so excuse the bags under my eyes. Soon after these were taken I crawled right into bed!

Happy HNT!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Too busy for an HNT

I had all the plans to shoot a windswept shot of my hair since I'm in the Windy City and my hair has been extra sexy this week because of that but this conference is a zoo! Yesterday I did 7.5 hours of lectures with a 40 minute lunch in the middle. Our prosthetic lab company took us out to dinner at a great seafood place on Navy Pier and after three drinks, an absurd amount of food and a cab ride back to my hotel I crashed hard core. Should have taken another belly picture and shown you all how full I was.

I'm going to wander through the pictures as time permits and I'll post next week. Happy HNT to everyone!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

You get what you ask for...

I have arrived in the Windy City and I'm on edge. I travel all the time for work but for the last week I have been edgy about this trip. I'm not sure why. First off, the location is an alternate because of Hurricane Katrina. We were originally suppose to be in New Orleans. So with the last minute moving of the meeting, hotels are a significant distant from the actual conference location. Yes, there are shuttles and I only have to walk half a block to get to my shuttle pick up, so no big deal. I have just been a bit on the uptight side about transportation issues and such.

Yesterday I got the list of "the" events for all of us from work so at least I have dinner every night but tonight and Sunday taken care of. A few cab rides here and there to get to various locations, all good. The ride from the airport to my hotel was interesting. My flight took 44 minutes. My airport transit took one hour and forty minutes! fine, I made it to my hotel, I had all my luggage nothing to worry about.

I'm weird when it comes to staying in a hotel. I move in...I unpack my suitcase, spread my personal stuff on the counter, organize the desk. I like to do those things as soon as I get here. i did all that. checked out the area recommendations for dinner and decided on the restaurant directly across the street (I can gaze on it's muraled wall from my hotel room). I'm in jeans, black boots, a white button down and a red suede jacket. My hair is in it's usual naturally curly out of control-ness and even a bit extra "pouffy" from the wind. I feel comfortably dressed up and okay to head to dinner on my own.

Anyone guess where this is going?

I ask for a table, it's a 20 minute wait, I'm hungry, I have to be up early tomorrow, I'll try the bar. This is a popular sports bar location and it's March Madness time. So it's busy. I find an empty seat at the end of the bar, take my seat, female bartender hooks me up with my brandy seven. I order a house specialty salad and a crab cake. I'm enjoying my food, working on my schedule for the week, watching the Gopher's game. There are 2 bar seats to my left open after a couple next to me left.

This disgustingly creepy man sees me at the end of the bar, sits down next to me and proceeds to make me feel the need to inhale my crab cake, pay my bill in cash, and get the hell out of dodge. I was so bothered I had to call my best friend when I got back to my hotel because I felt just disgusting. Think young 30 something looking mob member. He wasn't in a suit but he had that east coast big hair mob look to him.

He started drooling over my hair before he even sat down. I continued eating. He apologized but 5 seconds later was back at it. Offered to buy me a drink, I refused. Female bartender to the rescue...she recognizes him from somewhere (or pretends too). She tries to engage him in conversation but she's busy. He asked to eat some of my food. i said NO! He apologizes. 5 seconds later, he's back at it. I inhaled my food, paid my check, left my bartender a nice tip and scadaddled my way back to my room the whole time my skin was crawling. Did I mention that when I piled my plates to signal I was done he took my fork and was going to eat the salad I had left and when I exclaimed "that's disgusting!" at him, he offered to kiss me. I said no and he said "oh, but I'll kiss you on the lips".....EWWWWWWWW!!!

Here I was anxious about this trip for some reason, a bit on the uptight side about it and what do I get...a shuttle snaffu at the airport (had to wait 40 minutes because the company didn't plan ahead with extra buses), an hour and four minute commute from the airport, and then total sleeze makes my skin crawl at dinner! at least I have an excellent brandy seven flowing through my blood. I'm going to finish my schedule, set my alarm, and pray for a good night's sleep. I almost feel the need for a hot shower!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Restaurant Distraction

Friday night we bailed on the St Paddy's day whoopla and stayed "in" instead. Staying in included grilled cheese and spaghetti with meatless sauce (yeah, I know, the bishop gave us dispensation to eat cornbeef since it WAS St Paddy's day and all but I wasn't having cornbeef so I didn't feel like taking liberties with the rule bending). Anyway, after dinner we pulled out the hide-a-bed, got caught up in the NCAA tournament and were asleep by 9:30. Exciting, uh?

The boy had a good week so I had promised I would take him out to dinner to celebrate. The restaurant we wanted to go to had an hour and a half wait on Friday night (hence, the staying in) so we tried again on Saturday. I even managed to get all dressed up; literally, I got out the heels, wore a skirt, etc. This place we like to go has a great atmosphere. If you ever get to this neck of the woods, try City Cafe (locals know it was the "old Henry Wellington's"). Think small, warm, jazzy feel with great food. A nice wine selection, live music (jazzy soul, one man gigs usually). All in all, a place we like to unwind at. I felt it fit the bill for a bit of R&R before we both jump into two very busy weeks.

After a mere 15 minute wait we were seated near the back of the room, about two tables from the night's entertainment. I happened to be familiar with him and was excited to have one more bonus for the night....that is, until we sat down. The easy, warm atmosphere was cut by the grinding shriek of the woman sitting one table over and directly in front of the guitarist. We initially contributed the shear volume of her voice to be a compensation for her being not far from directly in front of said artist's speaker. OKay, fine, she's trying to make herself heard. Wrong!

The entertainment took his first break and the music stopped. The voice. Well, let's just say it didn't go away. It was one of those grinding, harsh, voices of opinion. I tried to ignore it. Really, I did. I was sitting next to a breathtakingly handsome man, we had a glass of Pinot Grigio to warm ourselves, and I had an amazing palette of food in front of me. But how do you ignore The Voice that is berating the betrayal of a Harry Potter Quidditch match in the book versus the movie, then agonizing over the criticism she received for not having financially contributed to her church, and finally in great detail explaining the joy her husband would receive if he could alternate orgasmic moments with her with the smoothness of a nice chocolate shake, only to finish his shake to another round with her. I am NOT KIDDING that point the last few bites of my Thai Curry Salmon nearly went spewing across the room! Even the boy couldn't ignore that little tidbit of the conversation.

I felt bad for the live entertainment. I like the performer, I work with his wife, and know he's a quiet type that enjoys his music; it had to be difficult for him to ignore her. I was happy to be enjoying a fine dinner with my other half after a long hard week and a lot of worry. At least we had a laugh or two, it's good for the soul right? Too bad it was at The Voice's expensive. In spite of their check coming as our meals arrived she was still standing near the exit when we had finished our meals and yes, her voice was echoing down the street as we got in our cars.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Irish HNT

Second only to Halloween, St Patrick's Day is my favorite holiday. I was born in October but I was born with a good bit of Irish running through my blood. So, because I'm a strong, proud Irish woman I'm feeling a bit more adventurous than I have in the past.

I am presenting to you my least favorite body midsection. It's a bit on the soft side, but definitely curvy, and "in progress". In the past year I have made my middle my mission. There is a bit of definition (look south of the shamrock) and there will be more to come. I also included a "bonus" shot at the bottom. Look while you can, I'm not sure how long the last shot will stay up but what the hell...

Monday, March 13, 2006

First time in a long time...

I'm about to go to bed but I wanted to celebrate the night's sleep I got last night first. If you read this regularly you know I don't sleep well. Usually at the beginning of the week i have so much going on that my mind just won't slow down enough for me to stay asleep. And then, by the end of the week I'm so exhausted that I crash by 9 on Friday night. It was starting to affect my relationship due to the crazy snoring I'm prone to when I become sleep deprived and finally do crash.

About a month ago I got a new internal med doc who truly listened to my concerns. She prescribed me a medication I hadn't tried yet and one that is also highly adjustable depending on how it works or doesn't work for me. However, when I got the prescription I was taking a ton of cold medications and I didn't want to combine them. It wasn't until last week that I tried the new meds.
I used it three nights last week at the lowest dose. The dose ranges from 7.5 mg all the way up to 30 mg. The 7.5 didn't do anything.

So last night I took 15 mg and for the first time in a really long time once I fell asleep I did NOT wake up until my alarm went off. Sweet bliss! In fact, when my alarm went off I woke sort of startled because I wasn't "expecting" it. I'm so use to waking up every 20-30 minutes from about 2:30 am on that I usually "know" when my alarm is going off. And...I didn't have that hangover/headache feeling some other sleeping meds have caused in the past!

So even though my alarm went off at 5:15 I didn't care because I had slept the whole night! Wow! That's what that feels like.

It's only 9 pm now but I had an early start and also put in two hours at the gym. My laundry is folded, the kitchen clean, my calendar updated, so I'm going to bed. Let's see if I can get two good night's worth of sleep in a row...i'm happy dancing my way to the bedroom (and the boy isn't even their waiting).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Groovy baby!

The eyes have it...Last night, the boy's realtor hosted his annual appreciate party, complete with a theme. 1970's revisited. I got to wear blue eye shadow, two-toned leather platform boots and polyester!! Check out the pictures and reminence a bit.

We participated in the YMCA dance contest and for our efforts were rewarded with our own copy of the Rochester On Board Monopoly game.

I LOVED the boots. These may make a second or third appearance. Other than being uncomfortable they definitely gave the outfit some mojo.

I had to do the Farrah Fawcett curls for the night too. Now this picture was taken five hours after they were first done and I'm exhaused so I look like crap but the hair still looks good. The boy actually liked the throwback curls.

So, you have to all answer a question for me...does the boy look like Nicolas Cage? There was a table of late 30-early 40 somethings that were just fascinated with him. He even gave autographs. Don'tcha just love the orange top and tan suit? Beyond groovy!

I'm on the phone with Os making sure that Apollo 13 happened sometime in the 1970's because I felt my outfit looked like something the wives were wearing in the movie. The mirror makes the shots look hazy but you get the idea.

This is my friend from work and her boyfriend who also happen to be the event photographer. Thought I would turn the camera around on him. Don't they look awesome?

These are the pictures of those participating in an Austin Powers type look and a couple Sonny and Cher's. PLEASE PLEASE take a close up of the chick on the far left with the pink hat. I swear she is either a guy, or USE to be a guy!

Overall it was a sweet party! The feet are paying for it and for the record, polyester does not breath. I may have to reuse a couple of these pics for an HNT!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

With this kiss...

With this kiss...

With these lips...

It was these lips that uttered "I Love You" and meant it forever. When the courage finally came and the comfort level was there, they said it. They meant it...the mind that controls these lips believed when you said those three words you said them, believed in them, and lived them. "I do" was followed by "a kiss" and with those words was a binding promise spoken with these lips. Forever and ever.

These lips said "NO!" the night it all fell apart. They quivered. They mumbled over and over, "but i love you", "but I love you". Eventually just air passed these lips, words lost.

now, these lips feel "i love you" but they are physically incapable of saying it. the scars have mostly healed, the days go by with fewer and fewer thoughts of what was. These lips tell my best friends "i love you" but not the new people in my life, especially not that special person in my life. The mind knows it, the heart feels it, but the lips can't speak it. The words run through the mind, these lips whisper it when the room is empty. But they can't....will they ever?

these lips kiss tenderly, they kiss with passion, they kiss when hurt, when happy, they can physically express emotion but still won't form the words. these lips tell stories, these lips offer healing, these lips fall silent to listen, these lips shout with joy. these lips want to touch many, they wish to kiss their own baby, they want to profess their love for that one, but can the words that pass them be trusted again?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Slippery Sunday

Is it a sign of age when you nearly roll your car off an on-ramp and all you do is sit there long enough to say, "oh, glad I didn't" before turning your car around and driving off again?

Yesterday was a glorious 47 degree March day. This morning was an equally messy raining snowing mess.

I drove the boyfriend to the airport at 9 this morning and as I made the turn to get back onto the main highway on the on ramp at only 10-15 mph my car slid into a gracefull 180 and then pulled out into a beautiful side skid until the passenger side tires went off the pavement onto the grass. This was an on ramp off an overpass. that means the "down" was a steep roll to the highway below. A mere 6 to 10 inches longer skid and I would have rolled my way down.

So did I scream? Nope. Did i hit the break? NEVER! Did I close my eyes and pray? Nada.

I let the wheel spin slowly in my hand, took my foot off the pedals, slipped the shifter into 2nd while I was spinning and as the skid ensued I reached over to make sure I had my purse in hand so when I was hanging upside down in a few short seconds I would be able to reach my cell phone. Crazy, uh?

When I realized I had stopped, I peered out and over the passenger window to look down the embankment, kinda of sighed "uhm" and said to myself, "you better turn your car around, you are sitting the wrong way on the ramp". I pressed the gas lightly to see if I would move, it did so I carefully manipulated the remainder of the 360 I needed with my hazards on and continued on down the ramp to the highway.

This causes me to ponder a bit...the first time I ended up in the ditch I was 14, I had had my driver's license for about 6 months, my car for about 4 and I came around a gravel curve too fast, fishtailed, braked way hard, fouoght the skid and stopped in the opposite ditch. No car damage, not even a steep ditch, just needed to put my foot back on the gas and head home. NOPE!!! I flew out of the car, sprinted the 1/2 mile to the neighbor crying my eyes out because Mom was going to kill me. No one was one so I started hyperventilating my way back to the car where another neighbor had already stopped and was backing my car out for me. I'm now almost 3o and that neighbor has never mentioned a word about my panic mode that morning and the first words out of my mom's mouth were "is the car okay".

Guess I learned a lot in the last 14 years. And I sweat only much bigger stuff now. I better go, I have to go back to the church for the second time today in this wet nasty mess. Pray for me :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A sign of faith

I'm Catholic. Growing up we were the family that was 20 minutes early to church EVERY Sunday. I attended CCD K-12 and my confirmation program was 2 hours every week for two years before I was confirmed. I can remember cowering outside the confessional booth in second grade waiting to make me "first confession". I don't remember what I confessed but I know that I had this horrible scowling priest that terrified me and made me feel the need to tell him my deepest darkest sins like the time I squashed the mosquito that was chewing on my arm because if I didn't tell him that I "had killed" I wasn't going to heaven.

I remember first Communion when the twins in my class turned around in unison to make a "yuck" face at the congregation after they tasted the wine.

I remember how Archbishop Charles meeting with us at 7 in the morning on our confirmation day calmly and kindly reminding us that this was OUR choice, if we didn't want to be confirmed, if we didn't feel ready, if we wanted to explore more it as it was OUR choice. THAT is the moment my Catholic faith took it's room to run and did.

This is a sign of my faith. The revelry in New Orleans is calmed down, Fat Tuesday has left the city not only the destruction of Katrina to clean up but the confetti, beads, and booze left overs of those troopers that made it there to party. That means today the faithful gathered to begin the season of Lent. Not by any means the most spectacular of religious periods. Lent is a period of introspection, sacrifice (more than just sweets), and preparation for what I have come to believe is the most fabulous of weeks...Holy Week. To mark this period of preparation we mark ourselves with the ashes of the previous year's palms to remind us that from dust we came and from dust we shall return, a sign to remind ourselves to turn away from sin.

I loved the way this picture turned out. It shows a few things about me. My eyes are closed, not in prayer but in an "I'm about to fall asleep but I have to get this picture taken" closed. The hair...that's what it looks like after spending 10 hours scrunched under a surgical scrub cap. But at the same time, it's peaceful. The cross barely a smudge in places, darker in others. Just like one's times, solid and strong. At others, questionable and fragile. Those are the charicteristics of my faith reinterated through the experience of Jesus as fully human during Holy Week...from his march into Jeruselum with trumpets blaring and palms waving when really it was a set-up to give the government cause to "bring him in" as we would say these days to the panic and then awestruck joy in his empty tomb on Easter morning.

My best friend from high school has called me a "left wing" Catholic. I think it fits. I chose that morning in April of my junior year of high school to confirm my beliefs in the Catholic faith but i DIDN'T claim to agree with ALL that is the Catholic law and tradition. Archbishop Charles instilled in me the ability to be comfortable with questioning my faith. I ended up studying "faith"; I say "faith" and not religion because a very wise Father Peoples told us in Theology 101 never to ask another person's their "religion", ask them what "faith" they are. I chose to study Theology in addition to Biology in college...yup, I studied both Darwin and Genesis and have beliefs and doubts in both.

I have chosen to be a Catholic of exploration. I am fascinated by beliefs and faiths and value systems of all those that claim any of them. A faith is a set of values, traditions, laws, and experiences that one can find comfort in. A Catholic tradition is that...a tradition that has expanded from a basic story composed of both historic fact and fables that teach lessons. That's MY definition. I have argued with some of those laws, have a tendency to relate more to the "human" Jesus (even think he very well could have had a "relationship" with Mary Magdalene...he was human and male, right?), and take great joy in celebrating Holy Week at the end of Lent because it allows me to have a focused set of masses, rituals, and stories (fact and fiction) that you can relate to the human experience still, friendships, betrayal, suffering, hope.

So there, a bit more about the personal side of me. I'm Catholic, I don't go to church EVERY Sunday. I'm Catholic but I disagree with some of the "laws". I'm Catholic but think Jesus COULD of had a girlfriend. I'm Catholic and female and I don't think women should be priests. Wow, lots to argue with me about, uh?

But more importantly I hope the picture represents a peaceful, kind being that grew up with enough moral qualities that she turned out to be a not so bad person. Whatever your "faith", take pride in it, learn about it, question why it is the way it is, have the courage to try to change things about it if it doesn't seem right, and find the comfort you need in it.

Happy HNT to all.