Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the decision at hand for New Orleans

The third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is this weekend and Mother Nature seems to think that the best way to celebrate this is to throw another hurricane at New Orleans. I've been watching this storm probably just as much as the actual residents of New Orleans, and other than the fact that I haven't run to WalMart in a frenzy to stock up on candles and tuna, I feel exactly the same as I did when I lived there and had to make the big decision of to evacuate or not to evacuate.

When I meet people and they find out that I left NOLA because of Katrina, many ask why so many people didn't evacuate. "If they knew it could be bad, why didn't they leave?" "Isn't it just irresponsible to stay?" "How could they just not go?" These are all valid questions and, honestly, I would rather people ask and get answers rather than just assuming that folks in NOLA are stupid and that's why they didn't leave. And trust me, some people do believe that NOLA residents are just dumb and have no problem telling me that. They usually follow this sentiment up with "People shouldn't be allowed to live in New Orleans in the first place." I usually follow this up with a polite "Fuck you, you arrogant asshat. I hope your hometown falls into a sinkhole soon." Bonus points to me for saying it with a big shit-eating grin on my face.

But honestly, deciding to evacuate is a huge decision. One I've wrestled with many times as an adult and I can say that coming to a decision never is easy. Yes, evacuating for every hurricane that is even a mild threat to NOLA would be the correct move, but in reality that will never happen. Evacuating is a huge expense. It's a hassle. It's time consuming. And a lot of the times it's totally pointless. Katrina has been the one time in my life that evacuating was the correct decision. Every other hurricane I experienced in my 25 years in NOLA either missed the city at the last minute or didn't bring with it more than a heavy rain and some wind. You can imagine how this would make you think twice about evacuating for every hurricane gunning towards the city.

The other problem with evacuating is the expense. Hurricanes can happen multiple times a summer, seriously there is no limit. If you evacuated for every one you're looking at huge amounts of money spent on all kinds of things: hotels, gas, food, and many other various expenses along the way. And let's not overlook the fact that if the hurricane misses the city, you could be out a day or more of work. That's money lost for many residents, especially ones that work on hourly pay scales. And for many of those people, that's money they can't afford to not make.

But losing a couple of days of work is really a small concern, considering that you could lose your job for evacuating. Many retail stores and restaurants are not sympathetic to people's needs to flee. If the business does not shut down for evacuations, you could be faulted as a "no show" for any shift that you're scheduled for. Same thing after evacuating; if the business opens and you're on your way back from Houston and can't make your Tuesday morning shift then you could be out a job. It's not fair, but it happens. I worked at a business that said we would be fired for not showing up if we chose to evacuate and didn't make our shifts. And when you need that income desperately, sometimes the easy decision is not to head out of town. Or to send your family and stay behind, hoping for the best.

Has this become an unfun blog post about a depressing topic? ding ding ding, we have a winner! Yes it has! Sorry. Go get a cookie if you've read this far. And go get me a drink because, dude, I neeeed one. And I swear I only have like one more point to make.

Right now Hurricane Gustav is just entering the Gulf of Mexico but if you started to call hotels in the typical cities people evacuate towards (Houston, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, etc) I bet you couldn't get a room anywhere. And if you could get a room, I bet they would only hold it for you for a couple of hours. One time, before Katrina, a hurricane was heading our way. I called Houston and booked a room, but the hotel told me they would only hold my room until 6pm on the day of the reservation. Problem was, I was not going to make it to Houston in that time frame. I offered to pay for the whole reservation up front, but they wouldn't allow it. The hotel staff told me that they can't hold reservations during times of evacuation because of such high demand. If I couldn't be there by 6pm, my room would go to someone standing in the lobby. I called a few other hotels, but no one else had rooms open. I decided not to evacuate because where would I go? I would have had to sleep in my car in Houston and that wasn't an option. And going past Houston wasn't an option because I needed to be able to get back to the city quickly to get back to work if the hurricane didn't do much damage. For many people that don't have family willing to take them in, leaving is hard. You don't know where you'll end up, you don't know if there will be room for you. You just don't know and sometimes that stops people dead in their tracks.

For Katrina jparks and I went back and forth about evacuating. We had friends in Houston to stay with if needed (and we ended up doing just that), and we had the money to evacuate, but still we thought long and hard about it. At first we weren't going to leave our house. Then we were going to stay with my mom in the suburbs. Finally we decided to get the hell out. Had we stayed in our house, bad things would have happened to us. Had we stayed at my mom's, we would have physically been fine, but without power or water and we would have been forced to leave anyway. Getting out for Katrina was the right decision and one that many people just couldn't make.

I hope that people continue to watch Gustav and take the hard lessons from Katrina into account when making their plans. It's not an easy decision to leave, but if Gustav stays on it's path (which it might not. there's plenty of time for it to turn. turn, you bastard TURN), it will be the correct one.

But what do I know? I'm just a New Orleans girl stuck in California.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

no love for August

At the beginning of this month I was going to write a post about how much I hate August, but I never could come up with the reason for the hate. Sure August is hot, there's not a holiday in it, and it's back to school time (which means Girl Scouts is starting up soon), but those aren't reasons to really hate the month the way I do. I've spent the past 26 days trying to put my finger on where my hatred for it comes from and all I've got is that August sucks.

I could take the easy route and say that Hurricane Katrina happened in August and yeah, that did suck and so damn you August! But I'm not convinced it's that. The hurricane hit so late in the month that my life didn't really turn to shit until September. And I have no ill feeling about September. If anything, I like September more because it means August is gone. Goodbye August, don't let September hit you in the ass on the way out!

Last August jparks and I moved into our house, and I feel like I should be able to look back on it and remember August of 07 fondly. We bought a house! It's the ultimate adult purchase! It's the foundation I needed to start building my family! And yet, it doesn't make me like August any more than I did previously. In fact, when I look back on August of last year all I can remember is getting really frustrated with various painters and puking while movers slowly packed my apartment into a van. I bet none of that would have happened if I had moved in October. (which is my favorite month. Yay October! I love you like a fat kid I love cake)

The moral of the story is that August just sucks. It sucks for no good reason, other than the fact that some month has to be my least favorite and August won that title. I guess I better starting planning now to not get pregnant in December because dammit, I will not have an August baby. That child would be a cross between Damien, Rosemary's Baby, and The Problem Child and, seeing as how it's going to have some of jparks DNA, my child will not need any extra help being a handful.

Monday, August 25, 2008

warning: this was written while I was tired

On Sunday I set out to run 18 miles. Unfortunately I did not actually complete the full 18 miles. At mile 10 my knee started to hurt but I was about 4 miles from my car. My options were either I plow through the pain and run back to the car or die on a bench on the side of the road. I can honestly say that the bench might have been the smarter option but I'm dumb so I ran back to my car. I ended up finishing the day with only 14 miles completed and, since I had set out to do more than that, I wasn't allowed to have a post run doughnut. My running rules suck. I think I need a backup treat for days when I don't run as far as I had wanted. Something as tasty as a doughnut, but not as indulgent. Does such a thing exist?

After my morning of running, jparks and I headed to a birthday dinner for a friend's daughter. I warned our hosts that I might eat them out of house and home and I don't think I let them down. They had a lovely heirloom tomato salad and I think I ate about half of it. And it was meant for 9 people. I probably should have been embarrassed by my rapid consumption of all the food but HUNGRY.

After eating myself sick, the hunger was replaced by TIRED. Not like, "gee, I could take a nap" tired, it was more like "I can't function as a human, please come lower me onto the toilet and then lift me off of it, because that much work is too much" tired. Once we got home I resisted sleep as much as possible and, like a toddler, I got myself all worked up about something and started the irrational kind of crying that jparks can't help but laugh at. I'm fairly certain I was all worked up because I realized I had been giving Lily exactly half as much medicine as she was supposed to get and that's why she's still sick. Hi, I suck as a dog mom, imagine how awesome I'm going to be as a human mom. And that thought was enough to make me cry big, wet, can't catch my breath tears.

After much sobbing and "waaaa, I suck! Dog protective services is going to come take Lily away!" jparks knocked me out with some tylenol with codeine (my prescription is about to run out and it is seriously good for the night after a long run. How do I get more without seeming like a junkie? I mean, you can't really ask a doctor for more tylenol with codeine, can you?) I slept a full night, dead to the world, but still woke up this morning feeling like I could sleep some more. I got through my day at work with no additional caffeine, but it was a long, tedious day and I routinely felt like I was about to fall asleep on my keyboard.

I'm home now and, after about two sips of wine, I feel like I'm about to pass out on the couch. I've given Lily her correct dose of medicine and cleaned up the dinner dishes so I see no reason not to go to bed, even thought it's still early. (8:30 early to be exact) This is definitely the one side effect of running I never saw coming, the constant exhaustion. Who would have thought long distance running would take so damn much out of you.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

once he's housebroken he gets more treats

Here's what happens when you're too busy to put the dog treats into the pet treat jar:

jparks: "Those cookies you bought don't taste good."

me: "What cookies?"

"The ones in the plastic bag on the counter"

"Hon, those aren't cookies. They're dog treats for Lily."

"Oh, well that explains why it tasted so gross"

"Are you still hungry? Should I grab Lily's kibble, put it in a Cocoa Puffs box and let you have some cereal?"

"Leave me alone!"

"If I put a frilly toothpick in a Snausage will you eat it for an appetizer?"


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

aww shucks, you guys are nice

Man, I didn't know you would all be so accepting of my incoherent whining. I'm impressed! Maybe I'll whine all the time from now on. It was hoooootttt today. I was sweeeeaating. Whiiiiiiine.

Kidding. I'll cut that shit out now. It was even annoying to me.

Today has been a little bit better. Lily went to the vet and was diagnosed as having an upper respiratory infection. She got a shot, which I had to hold her during (okay, I lied, will whine one more time. She was so pathetic when she got the shot. She yipped and cried and it broke my heaaaaart) and some medicine to take for about a week. I bribed her with peanut butter when we got home so she would forgive me for holding her during the shot. That dog owns me.

Then jparks went to the doctor for a mole and the doctor was all "You might have cancer" so that is fun. I'm totally not freaking out about this yet, I'm waiting until they slice a piece of his leg off and do a biopsy on it. Then I might freak out, so if you see a post that's just "ejhrgniwrotnviegwhcwng CANCER cwioehfcngoegurghn JPARKS neirncgovtbcrnfoxewg!" you'll know what's going on.

After that bit o'fun I went to the doctor (we were all about medical treatment today in the Parks household) and had an xray done of my knee. Since falling at BlogHer last month, I've had some pain in it when I run. And then the day after running. And then anytime I encounter stairs. The xrays showed nothing and now the doctor wants me to spend money, out of pocket, for an MRI. When I asked how much money we were talking about he said "Not too bad, about $1000. A real athlete like Mr. Phelps would spend that on his knee in a heartbeat." Uh, Mr. Doctor, I am not Mr. Phelps. I do not have enough money to fill a swimming pool, then do laps in it to break the world record for fastest 100m butterfly in a pile of $100 bills. Mr. Doctor told me to think about it overnight. Do you guys think that if I concentrate really hard, a spare $1000 will appear in my checking account? Also, can I concentrate and get a pony?

I also wore cute shoes today which helped lift my emo mood and I had this:
diet coke and red vines
You might say eww, but I say yum.

Also, my hair is looking awesome and the guy at the Border's coffeeshop gave me an extra shot of espresso in my latte. I'm fairly certain it was thanks to my cleavage. So, yay for boobies!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I'm having a sort of "woe is me" type day today and you people out there in internetland will just have to suffer through it. Am sorry. But, WOE IS ME.

Some switch was flipped in me last night and I woke up this morning feeling an awful lot of disconnect between how my life is and how I think my life should be. I know it's normal to feel like your life should be more fabulous than it actually is and while I normally say "yes, please more fabulous!" this time it's not that.

It started when, over the weekend, Lily got sick. She seems to have some sort of cold complete with sneezing and spraying jparks' laptop screen with doggie snot which is way cute, but needs to be stopped. I want to take her to the vet, but when do I have time for it? Oh yeah, that's right, I don't. I could take her to the emergency vet after work, but really, for a cold? I don't even want to think about how much that would cost. I went ahead and made her an appointment for tomorrow morning, which yay she's going to get medical treatment, but boo my boss isn't going to be happy when I come in late and then leave early for my doctor appointment that afternoon.

Today I had a hair appointment during lunch. I wanted to get to work on time so I wouldn't feel guilty about taking a long lunch (hair stylist is 45 minutes, round trip away, from my office) but of course, I overslept and was late to work. Now I have to work late to make up the time I was gone, which means that I'll be late getting home, which means that I'll be so hungry when I get home that I'll end up getting take out instead of cooking.

Which brings me right to my next complaint: I am so sick of take out. Since buying our house, jparks and I have been strapped for cash. One thing that would really help us save money is if we cooked at home, but I don't have time for it. I'm sure someone outside of my mind and body could look at my schedule and tell me how I can fit in cooking (hello, crock pot) but right now it seems impossible. This take out thing has been gnawing away at me for some time, but I keep my mouth shut because sometimes the internal gnawing is easier than fixing the problem. Jparks will only eat sit down restaurant take out; fast food is out of the question. And while I see his point, fast food = big ass, I can't help but cringe every time we spend $20 to $40 on dinner. It should not cost this much to feed two people.

Some other little things that I feel like I should have time for but I just don't are: having the carpets cleaned, putting away the laundry (the pile is currently worse than ever before), taking the dog for a walk that lasts more than 5 minutes, watching the three netflix movies that we've had at our house since April, moving the pictures from the sd card to the computer, actually opening Photoshop, going to Costco to buy toilet paper, and, oh my god, so many more.

I am just feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by how much time work takes and how little time I have left over for my life. Overwhelmed that I want to have a kidlet, but how am I supposed to do that when I can't even find time to take the dog to the vet? Overwhelmed because I feel like I'm some how mismanaging my time, when I don't honestly think I am. Overwhelmed that I'm not getting to enjoy life, that I'm just trudging through it, working for a prize that I won't ever win.

Right now, I'll pass on the fabulousness if I could just have some success. Something that could confirm that all of this time spent at work isn't pointless. Something that makes the growing pile of laundry worthwhile. Something that tells me I shouldn't just come to work tomorrow and quit. "Hi bosses, I need to turn in my two weeks' notice. The reason? Well, my life, it sucks and I blame you. Also, this job is a joke." And I'll take a small success, even just a week's worth of home cooked meals. Or some clean underwear in my drawer.

I don't need more fabulous, I just need more manageable. Is that an unreasonable request?

Please don't get the wrong idea about jparks. Yes, he could cook, clean, and walk the dog but he works more than me. And if one of us really needs to be focused on work, it's him because he is our family cash cow. Moo, honey, MOO. Also, in a month you'll be all "wasn't she just whining about how her life sucks? I quit this blog!" I apologize now for it. I am lame. Regular broadcasting will return tomorrow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

stream of conscience blogging. wheeeee!

I had this whole blog post typed out and somehow I deleted it. It was this totally random stream of conscience post that I could not recreate, even if my life depended on it. Instead here's what I im'ed to Whitney when I realized what I had done:


But my head, it did not explode. It is waiting for jparks to give me the "You should be typing your posts in google docs where nothing can go wrong ever and your life will be perfect and you will shit gold coins that you can use to buy shoes" so that it can explode all over him and he will have to clean it up. Serves you right jparks, keep your mouth shut and stop using your damn words. Go scrub my brains off the living room wall.

Here's the last part of the post that somehow didn't get deleted. It is the most boring part. Figures.

Hey, you know what's fun? Putting your husband up against one of your best friends in a "who can make the most accurate looking avatar of me" contest!
avatar throwdown!
Whitney made the avatar on the left, jparks made the one of the right. Well, which one looks more like me?
I just can't tell.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

my Olympic aspiration

Like every other person in the world, I currently have Olympic fever. I've been tivo'ing all kinds of random sports (weightlifting! Who knew it was enjoyable to watch!) and just can't get enough. I'm totally hating Susan right now and have been playing a fun Where's Waldo type game called "Can You Find Susan In The Crowds?" Thus far I'm losing, but I know she's there somewhere, I just need to keep looking.

Watching all of these incredible athletes has really inspired me to want to go to the Olympics someday. And, while going as a spectator would be awesome, going as an athlete would be even better and I think it's totally doable. I say that with total respect to the real athletes because I'm going to go as a heart warming story that the sportscasters will laugh about and say "Can you believe she's here! That's a true Olympic dream coming true!"

Here's what I think needs to happen for me to go to the Olympics:

  • Move to a tiny country that never sends athletes

  • Pick an individual sport to participate in. I'm thinking maybe rowing or diving. No, scratch diving, a belly flop from that height would suck. Maybe archery

  • Have tiny new homeland send me to the Olympics. Offer to pay for part of it as that only seems fair

  • Have Project Runway design my Opening Ceremony Outfit.

  • Change my mind about the outfits when this comes down the runway

  • Make myself a fan favorite by cheering back at the crowds and kissing the ass of every reporter I talk to

  • Go to my event. Fail miserably. But smile a lot and cheer for myself, because YAY, I AM AT THE OLYMPICS

  • I could be talked into a team event if I can find others that want to go to the Olympics with me but don't want to win. Maybe we could form a rowing team. Or a synchronized swimming team (BEST IDEA YET). We could have the best bathing suits and do synchronized swimmers perform to music, because we could perform to something fun and awesome. I'm open to suggestions.

    Who wants in on my brilliant plan?

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    cringe, cat style

    I have recently discovered that Molly, my emo cat, has been writing poetry. I asked her if she would like to share any with you guys and she picked this one.

    "I am no lolcat" by Molly Parks

    I am no
    happy, carefree, captioned
    I am aware of
    the pain of living
    and I know
    I will never nom a cheeseburger

    I have no invisible bike
    no invisible sandwich
    You've never offered them
    to me
    How do you know that
    I wouldn't love to have them?
    Why do you hate me?

    I has no flavor
    No catnip taste left
    on my pink tongue
    No kitty treats
    lingering in my teeth
    Now I has a flavor
    it's salty from my tears

    This monorail cat
    is leaving the station
    I'm heading to a place
    with fewer stupid animals
    This monorail cat
    isn't accepting riders
    Alone suits me just fine

    I am no
    don't mock me
    by laughing at my pain
    it's impossible to be
    you'll never understand

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    keep the cuteness at bay

    Hey, you know what's fun? Watching me have a melt down! And how do you watch me have a melt down? Easy, tell me you're pregnant and then walk me past a teacup chihuahua puppy that needs a home, is wrapped in a baby blanket, and is wearing a tutu. INSTANT PILE OF REGAN MUSH THAT CAN'T FUNCTION AS A HUMAN.

    My ovaries and tear ducts were screaming "TAKE THE PUPPY!" so loudly I barely could my brain saying "slowly back away from the puppy!" Thank god common sense took over and I was able to step away from the cutest pile of tan fur who would have made an excellent sibling to Lily dog.

    On a related note, I can't be held accountable if you bring a baby near me today and I make a mad dash for the nearest exit while holding it.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    yes, really I hate it

    This will be the first in an irregularly appearing series call "yes, I really hate it" in which I tell you about something I hate that everyone else loves. And then you can try to change my mind and I'll pretend that having my mind changed is an option. Fun!

    Today I was killing time before a Giants game at Borders when I saw the Christopher Moore book, You Suck, marked down on clearance. I picked it up and was almost about to check out with it when I remembered just how much I hated Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. With a shudder I put You Suck back on the clearance table, because I was fairly certain it would suck.

    Awhile ago I picked up Lamb because everyone I know raved about that book. When I worked at Barnes and Noble it would end up on the staff rec wall at least every other month. When I told people I hadn't read it they would gasp and tell me that I must read it right that second. Since I tend to shy away from things that I. Have. To. Do. I resisted reading Lamb for awhile, mainly so that when I did read it, all of the hype about it would be far from my judgmental mind. And yet, I still thought the book was meh.

    I wish I could tell you exactly what about Lamb didn't transform me into a ravenous Christopher Moore fan; all I can say is that the book really didn't do it for me. I didn't laugh once, much less laugh out loud. I ended up zoning out while I was reading, seeing the words, but not absorbing them, and had to go back and reread parts. If I like a book, even a tiny bit, I do not zone out. I might reread a part, but it's because it was some awesome I couldn't take it all in the first time.

    I don't know if my lack of biblical knowledge ruined the book for me. I mean, I know the basic story in the Bible, but I haven't studied the text as throughly as some people. I found that Lamb dragged on and I actually felt like reading the Bible might be more interesting. For me it was a letdown and has turned me off of Christopher Moore's other books. Some people probably think I'm missing out but I think I'm the smart one, using my reading time to read real quality literature.

    Now feel free to tell me just how wrong I am.

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    I'm a runner!

    Have you heard? I ran quite a bit this weekend. It was exciting! Yay me! Okay, enough self congratulations, I think we all understand just how awesome I am.

    The race started at something crazy like 5am, but my wave didn't start until 5:55. Woohoo for sleeping in! But sleeping in meant only sleeping until 5, which totally sucked. When the wakeup call came for our room, I rolled over to jparks and asked him if I could just skip the race. He said no and then proceeded to give me a half-assed "You can do it speech!" Had he actually been awake I bet the speech would have been whole-assed. I took a quick bath to warm up my muscles and then forced down a peanut butter bagel. I was gagging between bites because I am not capable of eating that early in the morning and this cracked jparks up. gag dry heave gag bite chew swallow gag dry heave gag The day was not off to a promising start.


    As soon as we got to our hotel lobby I started having serious doubts. I considered moving to the wave after mine because there was no way I could finish in the time I had estimated. I considered dropping out of the race because it was scary. And because I am a wuss. And I really wanted to go back to bed. But jparks gave me another "You can do it speech!" and he actually seemed to mean this one, so I took my place in line. But not before telling him to keep his cell phone close by so when the medics call to tell him I've fallen off the Golden Gate he would hear it ring.

    The start of the race was uneventful, which is probably good. We ran down The Embarcadero, past Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Mason, through Crissy Field to the Golden Gate Bridge. These were all parts of the city that I had never run past before and, since it was still early, there was a calm around them that actually made the race relaxing. I know, relaxing? Yeah, for reals.

    As I made the climb to the Golden Gate Bridge I was hit with a wave of anxiety. People had told me that the bridge would be so crowded that all the runners would be shoulder to shoulder with no room for error. Someone else told me that the joints on the bridge were really slippery and if you fall on them, you'll just get trampled. All I could think about as I made my way towards the bridge was how clumsy I am. I knew for certain I would be slipping and causing a big race backup. As soon as I got to the start of the bridge I could see how wrong my expectations were: we all had plenty of room to run and the joints were fine. In fact, the Golden Gate Bridge was my favorite part of the race. We had a great view of the city, the wind was perfect, and I'd never crossed the Bridge on foot before. It was amazing.

    Upon exiting the bridge we moved into a pretty hilly part of the city, and since I was not prepared for hills, I ended up walking up them. I am okay with that. In the future I will run more hills as part of my training, but if I still feel like I need to walk some of the hills during my full marathon, I will be okay with that.

    The race ended in Golden Gate Park, which is almost my home terrain as I do my long runs there weekly. At the finish line we were given heat retaining blankets and our finisher medals. I was not expecting a medal so that was really exciting! See, I'm excited:

    i haz a medal!

    Jparks and I didn't hang around the finish line very long as I was requesting a doughnut and I knew this was one time that jparks could not deny me it. By the end of the day I was very tired but very proud of myself. Completing the half has renewed my desire to run the full. Being a part of a group of runners felt great. I honestly think that from here on out I will be a runner. So long as my nipples don't start to bleed.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    check me out!

    race results!

    Details to come soon, after a night of sleep and a day where I don't have to run one damn step. Click on the picture for notes.