Baby Cheetah

Go World!

I have to say, Visa nailed it with their “Go World” motto for the games.  I am right there with them.  I SO love the Olympics and even if the USA is miles out of contention, I still get all kinds of twirled up for the other countries in the hunt.

I’m not sure my grin could have been wider at the end of the C2 canoe competition this afternoon – seriously, how could you NOT be happy for GBR in their unadulterated joy of getting medals?

Uchimura KILLED it in the men’s all around in gymnastics, Nguyen earned his silver like a boss, and Levya kicked ass for the USA bronze.  I can’t help but be giddy for all three.  (And I couldn’t help but notice that the guys tend to go high-five their competitors more than the ladies do.  Ladies, take a page.)

Sure, I would love it if it was USA!  24/7.  But we have a whole damn world out there giving it every last thing that they have.

And how can you not congratulate that?

Go World.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

College Credit: How to Seriously Piss Me Off 101…

1.  Say that my friend’s dog is fat after only hearing his breed & weight.  (Bonus asshat points if you have no understanding of the actual breed in question while maintaining that you have breed knowledge superiority and then continue to demonstrate that you have no clue about the breed by railing against his weight.)  If you took the time to listen to the other stats of the dog, you would know that he is taller and longer than you “thought he should be.”  He is a brick-shithouse of a hound that gets more workouts in during a week than I do.  (I should really hit the gym to change that stat.)  Solidly muscled dog with some wrinkly skin <> fat canine.

2.  Tell me that I hate Pit Bulls because I had the audacity to say that “Pit Bull” is an amalgamation of multiple acknowledged breeds and/or a common (and unfortunate) labeling of well-established Bully breeds due to breed intolerance.*

3.  Tell me that I hate Pit Bulls because I do not own one.  WTF?  Well, no, I don’t own a Pit Bull.  Because I already have a dog that I inherited when my Mom died and one dog is my personal dog-owning limit.  And no, he does not fall under the umbrella of Pit Bull by any stretch of the imagination.  This is like saying I hate Black Rhinos because I don’t have one living in my backyard.

4.  Tell me that I hate Pit Bulls because I would not go out of my way to adopt one, because I said, “I would look for a dog with a lower inherent prey-drive.”  What can I say, in my mind knowing what breeds/mixes will work well or not well for you and your family makes you a responsible dog owner and not a hater.

5.  Tell my other friend that you spent as much time on your hair as he did putting on a ballcap.  Talk about LIES!  Your head was a culmination of a good 20+ minutes of styling and product.

6.  This is really the most important part, when my friend is saying, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore because you’re stressing me out,” and you talk about “alleviating the situation” and I tell you, “Yes, by leaving” and you Still Don’t Get It and continue on your bloviating bovine ways…

Then you have achieved a 4.0 in Pissing Me Off 101.

*Friend who has a “Pit Bull” totally agreed with me on this point.  I’m not making this shit up!

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

Oh how I HATE shopping for clothes…

And it is not because of any body image issues.  I know I am long-legged and short-waisted and I’ve never had that nifty super-indented waistline.  I’m 95% OK with my current weight, I just need to do a bit of redistribution with what I have, which accounts for the 5% of dissatisfaction.  I know my “problem” spots, aka, “certain dress styles, even with a perfect fit, will look like hell on me.”

So, I’m just looking for a freaking dress that a) fits, b) is a “classic” style, c) is decently-tailored, and d) is understated.

Well, I might as well be looking for the Holy Grail.

I cannot remember the last time I seriously wished I could REALLY sew, but I certainly am wishing that now – I have a crazy good sewing machine that I have no idea how to use, and I have no doubt I could find a pattern that would actually work.  (There was a time where I could do a pair of pants with a set in waist, pockets, and hand-stitched invisible hem.  Those days were a good 25 years ago.)

Everything I laid eyes on today was hideously ugly thanks to horrific color combinations, or “looked spectacular until you decided to glue on flat plastic square “beads” on the neckline” which destroyed a perfect dress.

So, now I am at the point of, I’ll take b) and d) and hit up the amazing alteration gals at Guinea Road Cleaners to make it fit.

I just want an attractive dress that fits.  Why is that too much to ask?

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

In Which I Sing the Praises of an Awesome Local Little Brother

Heading home from the Friday evening Farmer’s Market and I’m thinking, “Yeah, I really need to get the car to Shell to get the A/C checked before we hit the beach cause it just ain’t what it used to be” and then looking down at the temperature gauge and seeing it redlining…

Hit “Call Donald” on cell phone.
“Hey, I need a big favor, I need you to meet me at the Shell station, my car is overheating!!  I’m at…umm, hell, I don’t even know exactly where I am*, I’m on Old Keene Mill, but I will meet you at the Shell station!”
“I’m on my way, don’t worry about it.”

And as I talked about moving with a friend tonight and she expressed her reluctance to move somewhere without a family member within a reasonable distance…  When I took a second to think about it, I totally understood her misgivings, after my, “HEEEY, Little Brother, I need some help!!!!!!” experience this afternoon.

Little brothers are awesome, especially when they come to the garage and pick up you and your farmers market haul – all while knowing they will be your transportation for an entire holiday weekend.  I consider myself insanely lucky.

*I was at Springfield Plaza when I called, but my brain simply refused to believe that I knew the name of the shopping center I had just passed.  For the most part, I do know the geography of my very local region.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

End of an era

My grandmother passed away yesterday morning.  After a a Monday, “This may very well be it” phone call.  Followed by a Tuesday morning “Yeah, about that, she’s having breakfast” phone call.  At which point we just figured it was a new baseline/plateau.  Then I got the Wednesday phone call saying she was gone.

The overwhelming emotion in the house is relief.  Dementia is a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and it was her worst nightmare.  I’m glad she is finally free of it.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

$640,000,000

That’s a nice amount of zeros.

Taking the cash option, then taxes, then splitting it with my brother, I’d be sitting on 80 million dollars.  Of course I bought a few tickets.

Knock off a couple of million for a beach house and some remodeling to this house.  Maybe upgrade the car.  Throw the rest into a CD ladder and even after taxes on that income, the costs of maintaining two households, I’m figuring about 30K a month in disposable income.  I honestly am having a hard time figuring out how I would spend it.  (Though really, I should be given a chance to try.  Really.)

I just can’t see much different in my day to day life.  Maybe more dinners at fancy places in DC, cause I could also afford getting a car & driver to get me to DC.  Some traveling.  Get a suite instead of a cheap room when I go out of town.  No more flying coach, ever.  More champagne.

Even with 4 expensive trips a year, there’s still a lot left over – easily 20K.  I think there would be a LOT of people I could help with that.  Now, THAT would be fun.

ETA: In further fantasy math, the lump sum option is $462M and after all the machinations and if I threw it all into a 7 year CD with my bank at 2.5% instead of a ladder, it’s more like 118K disposable income a month…

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

Well, I’m not sure what to even think of this…

If the reports are correct, Beyonce Knowles gave birth to her baby girl this evening, which is wonderful cause babies are awesome.  (Especially when they’re not mine.  Cause I don’t think it’s a spectacular idea to have my DNA scattered about.  One of me is quite enough.)

What bothers me a bit is the rumor that she was able to rent out an entire floor of the hospital for 1.3 million dollars.  I don’t know how many rooms that is at Lenox Hill Hospital, but I don’t like the idea that people who may have needed one of those rooms couldn’t get one because they were basically outbid…  I understand her desire for privacy, but any people who may have actually *needed* a room on that floor probably wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about who may or may not have been down the hallway, because they may have been more concerned with getting medical care.  My other rumination on this is that if you’re THAT concerned about privacy and you’ve got that kind of money to spend, why not just have a birthing room set up at home?

Where I’m especially conflicted is that I’ve essentially done the same thing with my grandmother in the past 17 months, which makes me just as much of an asshole.  And I’d rather not be, but there you go.  Until this month, my grandmother been a single resident in a semi-private room – what the care center bills as a “suite”.  Did she need a suite?  Absofreakinloutely not.  But she landed in  one when she got there, I wasn’t smart enough to tell them to move her to a regular private room immediately, and by the time I figured it out, moving her would have been detrimental to  her mental health.  (She’s now to a point where moving her to the regular room across the hall won’t bother her.  She is now in the room across the hall.)  So, much like Beyonce, I managed to have my grandmother taking up two beds rather than one, and someone might have needed that other bed, especially since it would have been at a semi-private rate.

I’m still mad at myself that my decisions basically took up a bed in the care center that someone else may have needed.  Beyonce pretty much cleared out the entire wing.

If this isn’t a sign that there is something not quite right with health care, I’m not sure what is.  I have no problem with being able to get what you need.  But my grandmother never needed a suite, but because she could pay for it, screw anyone else that may have needed that other bed.  And Beyonce didn’t need the whole floor, but because she could pay for it, screw anyone that may have needed one of those rooms.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

Welcome 2012!

Still nice and shiny and I’ve done well to not poke it too much lest it get smudged.  I’m counting today as the real New Year’s Day since there is outdoor hockey being played.

Can’t say I’m sitting here thinking, “Gosh, 2011 was so great, I wish it could have been longer!”  (Been a LONG time since that thought was in my head at the turn of a year…)  Perfectly content to have this one in the rear-view mirror.

But, 2011 wasn’t all bad.  Got on the road to being a full fledged history nerd.  Only 1 trip to Phoenix that was “OMG, oh shit gotta find a flight NOW!!”  Not once did my phone ring at 3AM with my grandmother on the other end asking, “Are you sure you did my taxes right?”  I’m sure there were other things, but I can’t think of them right now.

The downsides were many trips to PHX, which while they are getting easier, still wear me out.  My grandmother is in a pretty bad way at this point – general consensus of the nurses is 1-2 months.  Given my grandmother’s adherence to such timelines so far, I’m still planning on being back in April & August.

Though the chances are high that I’ll be making my final trip to PHX this year, there are good things ahead.  Registered for two more classes this semester.  Hitting the beach again!  Lots of resolutions made that will likely be broken in a week.

So, here’s to 2012 going well.

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.
Baby Cheetah

Culture Clash!

And this one has actually has nothing to do with me and my grandmother!

Every other year we’ve been in PHX for Christmas, we leave on the 30th in the morning, and as such, we miss the influx of bowl game fans coming to whatever bowl game is being held at the UoPHX Stadium next to the hotel.  Given that I am not leaving until tomorrow morning and even though the Fiesta Bowl isn’t until the 2nd, there has been a decidedly noticeable increase in hotel guests who have decided to make a long weekend of it with pre-game golfing and such.

Not a shocking development by any means – heck, I’d do the same if GMU somehow found itself in the Fiesta Bowl.  And as such, the college football fans have arrived.  (Has the Fiesta Bowl always been on the 2nd?  I thought it had been a New Year’s Day game – is this the BCS continuing to screw things up or am I just remembering wrong?)

So, there is an influx of fans deciding to make a drinking and golfing weekend of it leading up to the game and staying at the hotel.  Can’t say I blame them, the weather is pretty decent.  I will tell you right now, if there were any Stanford fans staying at the hotel, I couldn’t pick them out of a lineup, cause they’re just quietly enjoying the weekend.  Can’t quite say the same for the Oklahoma State fans – several of which I ran into this evening during my postprandial Cabernet.  The Quote Of The Night goes to the gentleman to my right who said, “We’re from West Texas, you have to grade us on a curve.”

No shit, Sherlock.  Still, no biggie.

However, there was also a wedding reception this evening at the hotel.  A Muslim Ethiopian/Somali wedding reception.  With some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous dresses I have seen in my lifetime.  Seriously – when I headed out for dinner, a half dozen ladies were walking in and I was just stunned by the dresses and I got caught just staring like an idiot and one of the ladies said, “Hi! Happy New Year’s!” and I found most of my voice and (likely sounded like an awed 8 year old) – “You have the most beautiful dresses I have EVER seen!  They’re just… GORGEOUS!”  They were more than happy to tell me that they were traditional Ethiopian dresses (though they really need to add “formalwear” to that “traditional” tag, cause I’m fairly certain these don’t get worn while getting dinner together.)  Seriously, these dresses crossed the lines from “lovely” to “works of art”.  (In talking to some of the younger gals later in the courtyard, I have now discovered that there is a pretty big Somali community in PHX.  Never would have guessed it.)

Now, let’s consider the “grade us on a curve” group and “happy wedding reception”…

Yes, there were some snarky comments from the West Texas contingent as some of the wedding party went back & forth through the lobby.

In a true moment of clarity, I realized going with what would be considered the “Northern Liberal Elite” (of which I am only 2 of the 3) route would do nothing, and my brain said, “It’s time for the ‘Bless Your Heart’ approach*” – cause any southerner knows it means, “You dumbass.”  When the next snarky comment came up, I just went, “Now darlin’, you just need to HUSH!  They are having a wedding and everyone deserves a fun wedding and reception and they’re just all having fun.  So you just hush up now.”

And damned if that didn’t work – if in no small part cause the wives then piled on to boot.  +1 for basically going with “Sheldon Cooper, don’t make me call your mother” maneuver.

Seriously folks, different doesn’t mean anything but different – and if you take the time to talk to people, you’ll find more similarities than you realize, like when I joked with the first ladies I saw this evening that they outclassed my jeans, they said, “But your jeans are more comfortable!”  Or when I was talking to the gals in the courtyard, I was helping them lookout for relatives that would be annoyed that they were hiding out and smoking.

We’re all just people mucking our way through the same mess.  So, be nice.

*While I don’t technically qualify as a Southerner and as such cannot legitimately use the “Bless Your Heart” approach, I spent enough summers with my grandparents in Atlanta to learn how to use it…

Originally posted at CafeChatNoir.net.