Please help improve the blog by taking the poll to the right. Thanks!

January 29, 2007

My Mystery Shopper

This past weekend I had a most unusual Mystery Shopper
at my Yard Sale: Figaro, the neighbor's white cat.

Poor Figgy has been in one too many dust-ups in the hood. One of his ears now hangs an inch lower than the undamaged one and keeps getting infected. His coat is dirty and he looks skinny and unwell so I didn't have the heart to chase him off the premises Saturday amidst the preparations.

Making himself at home on a pile of linens near the doll furniture, he slept through the first crush of shoppers for a good twenty minutes. Then he awoke and did the cat-weave through the Christmas lamps and glassware and dog-eared paperbacks down the length of three long banquet tables placed end to end, jam-packed with stuff. He made it without touching or rattling a single item, including two large nativity sets and a Christmas village complete with little people.

There he came to rest for awhile for a good paw-cleaning session and another brief snooze. The Christmas ornaments didn't even tempt him, so soon with that aloof cat's grace, he was gone, my Mystery Shopper. He didn't even drop a quarter on a Jamaican straw handbag, green Christmas votive, or doggie Valentine tin. His loss, another bargain shopper's gain.

Next sale I'd better remember to lay in the catnip.

The Softer Side of Miss Snark

Today I received a reply to yesterday's email to Miss Snark, the famous literary agent. It was my cleverly designed ploy - which failed by the way - to get into her blog by inquiring on the absence of George Clooney and the presence of one llama-looking creature on her sidebar.

Turns out the little brown creature is not a llama but a baby alpaca and he's on the sidebar because she thinks he's cute, so there, you heard it here first, there is a softer side to the divine stiletto-heeled, gin-slugging Miss Snark. And no, George Clooney has not been supplanted by a newborn alpaca.

January 15, 2007

12 Steps Please

I need a 12-Step program.

No really, one for the directionally impaired like me.

It started in my childhood where I could never read a compass in Girl Scouts. It worsened when I hit sixth grade and had to start changing classes. I kept losing my classrooms and was always late to class until I finally learned the routes.

Then God help me when I started driving. I'd have to repeat directions fifteen times to be sure I could remember them. It seemed so easy for other people- go east on First Avenue three blocks then north on Carter Street 1.5 miles, turn right onto Morgan, third house on the left. So simple an idiot could find it. Except me.

Evidently when God was handing out directional good sense, he forgot to put that tiny bit of magnetite in my head. Geese got it, turtles got it, my brothers got it but not me. As a result I'm chronically lost.

Mapquest is my best friend- I should buy some stock in it since I've used it enough that it probably goes "Oh no, not her again!" each time I sign in. If only I had a nickel for every visit, I'd be well on my way to a life of luxury.

All this getting lost business is why I'm so excited about the new GPS systems. Every time I turn around there's a new one being advertised. If I buy one I won't be getting lost anymore. But what would be the fun in that? No more scenic routes, adventures, or happy discoveries. I'm really attached to my directional style. Hmm, maybe I do need that 12-Step program after all.

January 08, 2007

Pleasant Author's Surprise!

Today I had a pleasant surprise as I checked my pathetic MySpace page for email. There was a new comment there from an Internet sort-of friend Simon Haynes, shown left.

Simon is an Australian author who writes the Hal Spacejock series of science fiction novels, amusing romps that are both selling well and well regarded in the fiction community.

He dropped me a line in response to a note I left on his blog about liking some marketing done for his latest book. He's sending me a copy of one of his books! I felt like I'd won the lotto with 4 picks or something. Hopefully it will be signed! Can't wait for the mail from Australia...

January 03, 2007

Now C'mon Guys

"Drawing Impairment Predicts COPD Mortality"

(Medscape- you must be a member to view the article there but anyone may join)

"An inability to "copy drawings with landmarks," a standard feature of neuropsychological tests, is associated with an increased risk of death in patients with severe COPD, according to a report in the December issue of Chest."

Now c'mon guys, let's get real. I thought this article was a practical joke when I saw the headline but it's deadly -sorry I couldn't help myself- serious.

I'm far from being dead but I cop to a severe inability to copy drawings with landmarks even on my best days at any age. Let me state it more strongly. If I were to channel Leonardo da Vinci I still wouldn't be able to draw anything with landmarks. I max out at stick figures on gallows, and even those look pretty crappy.

Put a drawing pencil in my hand and I freeze, reverting to four years old and that jumbo crayon. Figures of people have eyes on the side of their heads and noses in the vicinity of their left shoulders. Houses have that squiggle of smoke coming from a pointy roof and crosses in something sort of like a square for window panes. Doors are more like hobbit holes. And poor doggies or kitties look like cotton balls on toothpicks tapping their way through the scenery.

Draw? Not I. So does that make me ready to die? I don't think so. I think you need to tie your statistics to something called common sense instead of nonsense, then we'll talk about valid prognosticators of mortality.

January 01, 2007

The Diet Blues

As promised -or threatened- here are my thoughts on dieting, influenced by recent events in my life.

On December 20th I made my annual pilgrimage to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, to check on the status of my lungs. I have COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a progressive disease, slowly (usually) worsening with time. I rely on experts like my doctors to tell me where I'm at as far as possibly needing a lung transplant.

This year although my numbers were worse than last year's, I still do not meet the criteria for transplant, thank goodness. But I got some bad news too. If I were to crash and burn number-wise through a sudden worsening of my lungs, I still would not qualify for transplant. The culprit? My weight.

Overweight is associated with poor prognosis for lung transplant, from the surgery itself to the long, physically demanding recovery afterwards. So I have to lose some thirty-plus pounds just to meet the minimum standard for my height. I have to meet this goal weight just in case I run into a problem down the road. I've seen two friends this year go from relatively fine one day to hospitalized and in one case dead in the period of a week. So I have to be proactive.

I foresee an extended period of carrot and celery sticks with a side of major lifestyle changes tossed in for good measure. So I turn to humor for inspiration, hence the poem. If you have any good ones, please send them my way! My grumbling stomach will appreciate it. Weight Watchers and South Beach, here I come!