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Eight and a half pounds

May. 3rd, 2006 | 11:37 pm

That's how much I gained between my last two doctor's appointments, less than three weeks apart. How is that even possible?!?

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Alas Poor Kellie

Apr. 27th, 2006 | 11:42 pm

Aww, I will miss her.

She probably wasn't the best singer remaining on American Idol, and none of the others deserved to go (except maybe Taylor).  But I loved how Kellie always said something interesting -- calamari or salmon or "I'm a mink?"   On paper, it's hard to see how she was so likeable -- that "dumb blonde" routine normally grates on my nerves.  (Speaking of "on paper," she claimed to not know what "on paper" meant when Simon said that "on paper" her performance of Bohemian Rhapsody should have been a disaster . . . but wasn't!).  Every week, I thought, "This is going to get old."  But it didn't.  Amazingly, she never seemed inauthentic. I'm interested to see where life takes her.

But the rest of these contestants -- it's pretty late in the game, and I'm still having trouble getting excited about any of them.  Last year I was a huge fan of Bo -- watching him sing left me giddy like a 13-year-old.  I ordered a "Sugar Money" t-shirt from his band's website, and I even went to the American Idol tour when it came to Tampa.  To make this even more pathetic, I went to the concert by myself, since none of my family/friends were interested! (Great seat too -- check out this picture I took of Bo and his antics with the microphone stand!)

And before Bo, I loved Fantasia -- her performance of Summertime gave me goosebumps.  But this year?  We're down to five, and I've only called and voted twice -- once for Katherine and once for Elliott.  Here's where I am:
Paris -- she is so polished and smooth and such a performer at such a young age -- but I feel like all this masks, rather than reveals, her personality. And "Memories of the way we were?" -- it seems like you have to be much older to sing that song wistfully.  No matter how mean the judges are, she says "Thank you" in a baby voice. Very professional -- but I want to see some fire!

Taylor -- I have to admit I liked him when he did that cool bluesy stuff in his auditions; he reminded me of someone you'd hear in a bar in New Orleans; but he has been Idolized, and seems less and less authentic.

Chris -- yeah he's talented, and good looking, and I love the story of his family and the way his wife said how he deserved to make it, but he seems to take himself so seriously that it's a turn off.  Intense can be good -- but does he ever loosen up? 

Katherine -- okay okay okay I admit it.  The biggest reason I like Katherine is because the Princess of Moderation said that Katherine's personality is similar to mine!  But she can sing!

Elliott -- he vaguely reminds me of my brother! Elliott got a sympathy vote from me the other week when Simon said his performance lacked personality. I think Elliott has fine personality -- and now that he has been glammed up by the stylists, he reminds me of Richard Harris playing King Arthur in the Camelot musical. 

So Elliott and Katherine -- I like them -- but . . . c'mon!  I want to be swept away!  I just don't look forward to Tuesday nights the way I used to!  Hope somebody captures my imagination in the next week or two.

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Stay away from the Forbidden Fruit

Apr. 24th, 2006 | 02:51 pm

This is not a happy story.

Today I went to the Apple store with my iPod mini.  My second iPod mini, to be more accurate.  My first iPod mini died less than six months after my husband gave it to me for Christmas, and Apple charged me $30 shipping to get my second brand new iPod mini in July.  Well, this second iPod mini first lost its sound on one side (no matter which headphones you use) and now lost its sound altogether.  Since it has been less than a year since I got my second brand new iPod mini, I figured we'd be safe under Apple's warranty.

I figured wrong.

I should have known.  This is Apple we're talking about, after all.  Think about Adam and Eve -- what got them in trouble?  Eating an apple.  (Actually, the Bible never says what fruit it is -- but you always see them painted with an apple, don't you?)  The miserable responses I got from Apple today confirms it -- Apple is the devil's fruit!

The man that um -- "helped" -- me was wearing a black shirt that said "genius."  "Genius" is apparently what you call someone who eats from the Tree of Knowledge.  Apple apparently employs loads of these "geniuses" -- they even call their "help" desk a "genius bar" (I suppose it would be more disingenous if they called it a "help" desk, since little "help" issued forth).

In any event, the grand "genius" said that I would have to buy a new unit. I said, "Why would I want to buy a new unit, when neither of my first two units lasted a year?" He said, "I'm very sorry you feel that way." He said that about ten times.  I said, "How can you keep selling these things if they have so many problems?"  He said, "I have two at home that work fine."  Well, Mr. Genius.  Here and here and here and here are stories of a lot more that *don't* work fine.

So spread the word -- stay away from the forbidden fruit!  It's too late for this friend of mine, who recently bought himself an iPod.  Yes yes, I know how he feels -- I was enchanted too -- the tiny size, the massive storage, the adorable little inscription.  But that's how the devil works, isn't it?  Enticing us with appealing things?

But take a bite of the Apple, and then you'll see the worm!

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Bark at the Park

Apr. 23rd, 2006 | 08:07 pm

Today, my dog Max came with me to a minor league baseball game in Clearwater. The team had a "Bark at the Park" promotion -- proceeds from dog tickets went to benefit the humane society. You had to buy dogs real baseball tickets that said "Admit One Dog."

It was a great event -- they had free frozen treats for the dogs and buckets of water for the dogs everywhere. They set aside three dog-free sections for people who didn't want dogs next to them, but it seemed almost everyone had a dog there!

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Puff puff puff

Apr. 12th, 2006 | 05:47 pm

My body feels like Babe Ruth's nose -- a big bulbous thing that dwarfs everything around it.

Since this weekend, it seems like someone has hooked me up to an airpump and is puffing me up when I'm not looking. Puff. Puff. There go my cheekbones. Puff. Puff. My wrinkles too (well that's a positive). Puff. Puff. Good God -- you can actually outgrow maternity clothes?!

When I walk around now, people make eye-contact with my belly, not with my eyes.

I can no longer wear my wedding ring -- it got tighter and tighter until I pulled it off, scared by stories of pregnant women who have to have their rings cut off.

Doing agility with my dog yesterday left me so sore that I had trouble sleeping at night and trouble walking today.

I bump into everything. During a trip to the mall yesterday, I knocked over a whole rack of maternity pants, and sent three pairs of sunglasses flying when I hit an accessories stand.

I am grateful that my baby is in there and is growing. He/she gave such a kick a few minutes ago that it caused the desk chair to jolt. And we're starting to interact -- I was poking around my belly last night, trying to figure out if he/she was head-up or head-down, and I felt something (a foot?) and pressed -- and BOOM! He/she kicked back! It surprised me so much that I laughed out loud.

And I've been reading to him/her -- he/she gets Psalm 139 at night: "O LORD, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. . . . You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth." And today, I was listening to the radio on the way to work, and turned it up when a good song came on, so he/she could hear.

So I should be grateful for all these changes to my body that help him/her grow. But it scares me to think that I have 10-plus weeks to go! If I have trouble moving around now, what's going to happen to me in a month or two? Will my body ever go back to normal?

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Go Gators!

Apr. 3rd, 2006 | 05:14 pm

It's great . . . to be . . . a Florida Gator!

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Back in Florida

Mar. 24th, 2006 | 09:02 am

. . . arrived last night at midnight.

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Rome pics

Mar. 21st, 2006 | 09:29 pm

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This is as close as I thought I'd get to the pope. See that banner hanging from the second window from the right on the top? That's the pope giving his Sunday blessing.

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This is how close we actually got to him. This is him on the way in, right before he came over to bless the baby next to my dad.

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And this is him on the way out of Mass.

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This is the view from the outlook on the dome on top of St. Peter's. 339 steps to get up there. My dad said I shouldn't try it while pregnant, but I figured if I did it, the little one would have a better chance of growing up to be a mountain climber. (And I saw a woman more pregnant than me up there too!)

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Here's the Coliseum -- beautiful sun! Everything glowed.

You weren't supposed to take pictures of the crypt where the monks sculpted things out of bones, but here's a link where you can see some pictures of that.

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Hello from Rome

Mar. 19th, 2006 | 07:26 pm

Writing from an Internet cafe in Rome . . .

My dad and I arrived on Thursday night, and I'll post more details and pictures of the whole trip when I get home. But I wanted to write quickly about our crazy morning.

We woke up, had breakfast at the hotel, and walked to St. Peter's to see what time Mass would be. There was a huge line to get in. Huge. Wrapped halfway around the outside plaza. We dutifully got in line, and just as we passed through security, the bells were ringing. We barely made it into the doors of the church, and the Swiss guards pulled a barrier in front of us. So we were stuck in the back part of the church, but it looked like they were making preparations for a procession right in front of us. From behind a screen, you could catch glimpses of people in purple robes, those funny pointed hats, and you could see (and smell) the incense going up toward the ceiling.

We were right against the barrier, so we had a front-row view as the procession began. And as we got to the end of the procession we saw . . . Pope Benedict!

He came over and blessed a baby right next to my dad. We could have touched him! I was too flustered to get a good picture, but I hope I got a passable one (it looks like it might be out of focus). Once he passed, they reopened the barrier and let us find seats. I'm glad I got to see him close up with the procession, because during the Mass, it looked like he was a football field away -- a tiny little dot up there that you could only identify as the pope because people kept handing him his hat and staff.

Anyway, it was very cool to hear him say Mass. What a lucky accident!

We also went on a tour of the catacombs this afternoon, and that was pretty neat. My other favorite from this trip is pretty morbid -- the crypt of a church we visited yesterday, where Capuchin monks made sculptures and chandeliers and flowers out of human bones (including the skulls of deceased brothers). Very wild. One skull, for instance, looked like it was trying to fly -- shoulder blades sprouted out of the side of the head like little wings.

Will save the rest of the highlights for when I get home!

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Ireland pics

Mar. 9th, 2006 | 11:58 pm

A few pictures from Ireland . . .

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Here's me and Molly Malone.

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We kept seeing this advertisement all over. Apparently, it means, "This sandwich is not for girly men. Only MANLY men may eat the double quarter pounder with cheese."

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On the rail tour trip we took to the west coast of Ireland, we stopped by Bunratty Castle. This is the castle . . .

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And this is the fertility symbol inside the castle. See the woman having the baby? She's squatting -- just like the Bradley Method says -- let gravity help you! It makes no sense to be on your back in bed with your feet up!

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The Cliffs of Moher -- the best part of the trip!

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Me at the cliffs!

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I wish you could see the birds -- they circled around along the cliffs, but they were so far away they didn't show up in my pictures.

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If NASA wanted to fake a lunar landing, this would be a good spot. It's called the Burren, and though it looks barren, it's not -- the sun heats the rocks, and with the warm currents nearby, the grass grows here eleven months out of the year, so farmers send their cows here in the winter. So strange to see cows grazing in these rocky fields!

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