Friday, July 30, 2010

Operation High School Reunion

Tomorrow is my 20-year high school reunion.  Can you say, "Old as Mold?"  Yeah. I'm old as mold.  But what's older than mold?  Dirt?  Spouse is older than me -- a lot older than me -- so perhaps that makes me old as mold and him old as dirt.

Anyway, I haven't decided yet if I'm going.  I'm kind of about 80% convinced that I should go.  If you knew me, and maybe how different I am now, you'd think it rather bizarre that I'm entertaining such nonsense.  The day I graduated from that dreadful high school, I vowed then and there, that I would never go back.  Ever.

Yet here I am.  Entertaining such nonsense, thinking about going back.

Thing is, I've been stabbed with a sense of nostalgia lately.  Either that or the boob-lift, tummy tuck, 1200 units of botox, and collagen implants in the lips have deemed me ready.  (Kidding!  I didn't do any of that.  But I do have a new dress...)

So I think I'm gonna go.  Mostly because of the blog commentary I can come up with afterward.  I mean, can you imagine?  The stories?  The photos?  Should be interesting fer sure.

I must prepare myself, however.  For I have changed considerably.  Someone will prolly point their wrinkly fingers at me and say (in their best Goofy dialect), "Hey.  Remember that one time (not at band camp) when you drank a pint of Southern Comfort and went to a basketball game?"

And you know what I'm gonna say to that?  "I don't remember doing either."

Stay tuned.  Anyone have any good high school confessions?  Or reunion stories?  Do share.

-

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Looters

Get a load of what happens when you run with people who frequent lululemon's loot:

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You show up wearing (mostly) the same outfit. Rabid on the left; active-wear fashionista and supreme being of buffness on the right.  Folks, meet Tebbie.  Tebbie is strong.  Tebbie is smart.  Tebbie is funny.  But most of all, Tebbie is FAST.  Fast, fit, funny, fly, Tebbie.

Also notice the sunrise this morning:

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The last few mornings have produced the most spectacular sunrises I've yet to see.  These mornings are the ones that remind me all about why I get up at the sub 5:00am hour.

-

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday Tune, vol 48 - July's Departed

Guess what? It's Wednesday not Tuesday. This means that you're getting your Tuesday Tunes on Wednesday.  Oops.  Hehehehe.  As you have all figured out by now, we've dedicated the departing Tuesday of each month to tunes of those that departed in that month. Monday night, being the eve of the departing Tuesday for July, I marched on up to Vera's house and demanded that she provide the songs of the departed for the month of July.  (I didn't really march, it was more of a meander, but marched sounds more task-oriented-like.)

Vera, in her usual organized and dependable fashion, provided a CD the next morning. Which means I had all of Tuesday to pass on July's departed to you all everybody. It didn't make it. Did you notice?

I have the excuse of all excuses for my busy Tuesday that was so busy that I couldn't get you the departed playlist. Ready for my excuse? So my sweet mom, monikered "Summy," had a stroke on June 25. That was 33 days ago. She's been in the hospital since. Thirty-three days in a hospital is a lotta days. In dog years that's something like 33 thousand. Yesterday, instead of working on the July departed post, I was helping my mom walk 330 feet! What are the odds of that? Walking 330 feet on your 33rd day in the hospital. Of course, I have a thing for the number three, so naturally these types of things will light a spark in one of my thinking hemispheres.

We're so proud of her progress. The stroke ended up taking her entire left side, but's it's slowing waking up. We couldn't be more grateful. Actually, there's always room for more gratitude (always!), but I don't recall being this grateful, like, ever. Summy's been working with a neurological rehab team that has gone above and beyond. They've stretched her boundaries as comfortably as possible, and more importantly, they've kept her laughing. Rehab rocks, folks. Rehab rocks.

On Thursday, Summy is coming home for reals! We're so excited. She's beside herself and ready for the at-home luxuries that include high-def TV, privacy, and real food.  She plans to continue extensive rehab with that same rockin' rehab team, but she's ready to have a real life again.


And so it is, on this fine Wednesday, you get July's Departed.  Thanks again Vera for the research!

Azalea - Louis  Armstrong (heart failure)
Boat On The River - Styx (RIP drummer John Panozzo, cirrhosis)
Boogie Shoes - KC and Sunshine Band (RIP guitarist Jerome Smith, smashed by bulldozer)
It's All Over Now - Rolling Stones (RIP Brian Jones, drowning)
Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie... - Long John Baldry (chest infection)
Eye - Smashing Pumpkins (RIP Jonathan Mekvoin, overdose)
The Hustle - Van McCoy (heart attack)
Cats In The Cradle - Harry Chapin (car accident)
In The Living Years -  Mike and the Mechanics (RIP Paul Young, unknown)
Jungle Boogie - Parliament  (RIP Ray Davis, respiratory failure)
Lovin' You - Minnie Riperton (cancer)
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 - Franz Liszt (pneumonia)
Puff The Magic Dragon - Mamas and The Papas (Cass Elliot, heart attack)
Slow An' Easy - Whitesnake (RIP Mel Galley, cancer)
Sookie, Sookie - Steppenwolf (RIP Rushton Moreve, car accident)
Ball and Chain - Big Mama Thornton (heart failure)
Come Rain or Come Shine - Billie Holiday (cirrhosis)
Hard Time Gettin' Started - Eddie Boyd (natural causes)
Mother In Law - Ernie K. Doe (liver disease)
Oh Girl - The Chi-Lites (RIP Eugene Record, cancer)
People Are Strange  - The Doors (RIP Jim Morrison, heart attack in the tub, I heart Jim Morrison!)
Precious And Few - Climax Blues Band (RIP Colin Copper, cancer)
Smokin' In The Boys' Room - Brownsville Station (RIP Cub Coda, diabetes)
Oboe Concerto in C, RV 447, minuet - Antonio Vivaldi (internal infection)

-

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fabian is the new Fabulous

The Tour is over.  I'm depressed. Is anyone else depressed? The day after the Paris finale is always the hardest. I always mope about the house, dragging the feet and throwing the dishes, all because the days will no longer have any suspense. I like suspense. If I were a Soap Opera gal, I'd be into the Soaps because of the suspense. Especially if that suspense featured some bicycle races. Anyone know if there are any Soaps out there disguised as bicycle races? I mean, aside from Junkie's blog?

This year was my favorite yet for there was excitement and suspense galore. You just never knew what would happen next, did you...?! And it was so close! To the bitter end it was a close one.

This is my ninth tour. All those newby schmucks racing their second and third tours have nothing on me, for I've arm-chair raced nine tours. Actually, arm-chair racing isn't the right method of participation, because I don't ever sit in an arm-chair. Mostly it's because I don't have an arm-chair.

My tour participation has been more along the lines of laundry-folding, bathroom-cleaning, breakfast-makin', and toy-pickupin'.  I've found that the Tour, with the posh addition of a DVR, provides the ultimate in multi-taskery. Here's how it works: You turn on all the TVs in the house; for us that's two. Then you go about your day doing various tasks, listening and watching. When something exciting happens, you stop for a bit and watch. And when something really exciting happens, or if by some unseen fortune you actually miss the excitement, you rewind the DVR and watch it again and again.  Or even again!

I tell you what, the Tour singlehandedly allows me to turn the entire month of July into a giant display of pitiful productivity. But life isn't about being productive, right? I don't need to remind you all that life isn't about producing stuff. ('Cause if it were (was?) I would have produced more kids.)

Anyway, being my ninth Tour 'n all, I've noticed that the Tours have all run together from year to year. Aside from the big stuff -- like Landis winning, then testing on the positive for testosterone, or Jens dragging his face along a mountain road -- I don't recall much. Goes without saying, then, that I cannot categorize specific events into the correctly corresponding year. This is why, friends and fellow Frenchmen, you get a Rabid recap.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Alberto Contador won yellow with Andy Schleck just 38 seconds behind. Schleck won white (for fastest youngin'), green (sprint points winner) went to Alessandro Petacchi, and mountain points or polka dot went to Anthony Charteau.


- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Floyd Landis tattie tailed on professional cyclists everywhere, insisting that cyclist are, and have been, using performance enhancing substances -- highly illegal substances. This is also the year that the entire field of riders looked mortal. Serious. They all looked tired. And run down. Their eyes were just screaming, "it's too hard without the EPO! I can't do it without the EPO." Compare 'n contrast with subsequent years, they all looked like machines. Fire-breathing, hill-climbing, dragon machines. 'Cept Andy. He doesn't look any different. He's so white and pure. That's why he won white. It's all because of his purity.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: I decided that Andy Schleck would marry one of my daughters. My daughters had been promised earlier to Shaun White and Apollo Ono. Now they'll both hafta fight over Andy. Maybe one of them can have Frank?  Not sure how Frank will feel about being the sloppy seconds.  I 'spose he'll just hafta deal.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Frank Schleck crashed in one of the early stages, broke a collar bone, and needed surgery. This usually means the rider is out. Although it would be way cool to have one of them go forth with surgical proceedings and show up the next day to race. That, as we know, is a total pipe dream now because they're all mortal again.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Schleck attacked on a climb, Contador couldn't respond and Andy gained mega time. Like 31 seconds mega. That was prolly the best stage of the whole race. It was Stage 8, Station des Rousses -- Morzine-Avoriaz. This stage deserves it's own post, but I'm not going to give it it's own post 'cause no one will read it. The tatics of this one were pure genius. Jens Voigt was sent ahead by Sexobank (hehe harhar) so that he'd already be ahead to help Andy attack. Meanwhile, back at team Asstana (hehe harhar) Alexander Vinnie Vinokourov was sent ahead as a rabbit for the peel-a-ton (hehe harhar) to follow. No one knew who's plan was what!

That stage was Soap Opera fer sure. Andy ended up winning the stage and Cadel Evans ended up in yellow for briefs (hehe harhar) even though he crashed and cracked his poor elbow. Oh and Armstrong crashed three times, due to what the announcers are calling "bad luck." But whatever. We all know luck had nothing to do with it. We all know that the EPO kept Army from crashing all those years.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: I tried to explain Stage 8 (see just above) to Radracer and Hillene on a run. After twenty minutes of my recap theatrics, Rad says, "Are we talking about Lost or the Tour de France? 'Cause I'm lost."

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Schleck dropped a chain while trying to attack. Yawn. I'm so tired of that one now.  Can you say overdone and said?  Even by me?

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Mark Renshaw was removed from the Tour for head-butting the competition.  This occurred at the finish of stage question mark. (I'm too lazy to look it up and doubt I'll care next year. 'Sides since we're talking about Marks, figured we'd mention the question mark.) Mark Renshaw is a lead-out man for Mark Cavendish.  Many were so afeared that Cavendish wouldn't win any more stages because Renny was out of the picture.  Oh how they were wrong!  Oh!  How! They! Were! Wrong!

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Mark Cavendish won five stages. Come on Mark, can't you do better next year? That's only, like, 20%.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Team Footon-Servetto had fleshy-colored jerseys and sharts.  They almost look naked.  Almost.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Denis Menchov's phantasmagorical time trial performance landed him on the podium.  Just barely ahead of Sammy Sanchez.

- The 2010 Tour de France, was the year that: Fabian became the new Fabulous.  From now on, whenever I call something fabulous, I'm going to call it fabian in its stead.  Fabian Cancellera not only managed to win both time trials with stupendous triumph, he also managed to make me slobber.  A lot. Like, Labrador slobber.  Just look at those legs.  Just look at them.  Go get yourself a beverage and return, so as you can ogle that sensational posterior properly.

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Photo taken from Big Picture.  Better click that Big Picture link for more!

Speaking of Fabian.  I'm totally confused about this time trial business.  What makes one good at time trialling?  And why doesn't that time trial ability transfer into mountains and/or sprinting?  Anyone?


P.S. Did I miss any tour stories worth reporting on the recap?  (This is where you insert a comment, I say "oh yeah!" and add it to the list.)

P.P.S. Check out the new label!  Compliments of Vera's uglier half, Stu.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New York

Hey, so, did you know I'm running the New York Marathon?  Cool, right?  You betcha it's cool.  And get this:  I'm also on the Official Super-Bad-n-Bitchin Team ING!  (ING is the official sponsor and so they have an official Super-Bad-n-Bitchin Team.  It's too bad I'm on the official team because I know someone instead of because I'm Super-Bad-n-Bithin myself.)

It's all so very bitchin.  And you know what else is bitchin?  The word bitchin.  It just is.  But then I have a thing for words -- extra especially words that are kinda crude.  Not way crude, mind you, but kinda crude.

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you about the New York (again) is because Fatty at www.fatcyclist.com has 10 spots for runners at the New York.  Do you want to run the New York?  But didn't qualify or make the lottery?  Fatty can help you if you help him.  I believe you can get a spot if you raise some money for cancer.  Want more info?  Well then go get more info!

Then we can run the New York together and be Super-Bad-n-Bitchin.


p.s.  Speaking of Super-Bad-n-Bitchin, I've done some running with Fatty's wife, who he adoringly refers to as "The Runner."  Sometimes I feel the need to tell Fatty that she needs more than just "The Runner." My only suggestions are FatRunner or Fatty's Runner but something tells me that either of those suggestions won't be welcomed too warmly.  Oh and The Runner told me way back a while ago that she and Fatty were doing the New York.  AND!  I kept it a secret.  I'm good with secrets like that.  If I like you, that is... buwah hah hah hah!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bawl and Chain

As was eluded to on Monday's post, Stage 15 of the Tour de France was a bad day for Andy Schleck. Bad, bad, day. To recap, Andy Schleck was leading the Tour de France ahead of Alberto Contador by 31 seconds. On the final climb of Stage 15, Schleck attacked, dropped a chain, and was forced to dismount and fix the chain himself. Contador, being the self-serving wienie that he is, took advantage of the situation and rode on. At the end of the stage, Contador was ahead of Schleck by 8 seconds.

You see, bicycle racing has some unspoken rules of etiquette. Many circles believe that if the current leader of a race crashes, or has been struck with a case of mechanical bad luck, it's not appropriate to attack. The unspoken rules state that it is best to ease-off a bit (not necessarily stop) until the leader can recover from the crash or mechanical issue. (Due to my arm-chair-only participation, I'm not all that versed on what these etiquettes are all about, so maybe some of you can enlighten us all.)

This little dilemma of ethics has brought on quite the controversy. As conversations have unraveled, it appears the carnage brought forth by the events, and the opinions that lie thereupon, may end the friendship of Versus announcers Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett. (Either that or it's me capitalizing on the drama. Again.)

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Get a load of the dialogue between Sherwan and Liggett during Stage 16's pre-race show:

Phil: "He didn't have any choice, in my opinion. I've got no problems with what Contador did whatsover. Look, what do you want -- the Tour de France as a bike race or do we have to wait for everybody who has a problem?"

Paul: "When you're riding a bike, Phil, if somebody stops, halfway up a climb, you know they haven't stopped physically. [Phil constantly talks over Paul here] You'd know they haven't stopped physically. And that is not a physical stop, that is a mechanical stop. And I'm sorry, I've been a professional bike rider and I know, when someone has a mechanical..."

Phil: "I've been a professional bike racer myself, Paul, and at that moment in time..."

Paul: "Yeah, but you've never ridden the tour, Phil. You've never been in that situation!"

Phil: "Well, no, I haven't. But I've been in other tours Paul."

Paul: "Like which?"

Phil: "The Tour of Ireland, for instance."


Girls, girls, girls!!! Pipe down!

During the conversation, Phil did make a couple of excellent points.  One of which was the participation and standings of Sammy Sanchez and Denis Menchov.  Contador and Schleck aren't the only guys racing the tour.  If Menchov and Sanchez continued to attack after Schleck's chain dropped, Contador would need to follow them.  If Contador did wait for Schleck, Menchov and Sanchez could likely ride themselves into winning.

The other comment Phil made was this, "You can't keep stopping when it goes wrong for your rival. That would be silly."  He's right.  If the racers stopped for every little mishap, it would cease to be a race.    

In this particular blunder, however, we're talking about Alberto Contador.   A man, who, in my humblest of opinions, has proven himself a wienie.  A short...  skinny... wienie.

Do I need to mention that a short, skinny wienie is worthless?

-

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Tune, vol 47 - Binkie Nigh-Nigh

Warning: Mommy Memoir ahead!

They say hind-sight is 20/20, but I've found there is something much more clear and definitely more crisp than the 20/20 brought forth by hind-sight.  Do you know what that is? It's nostalgia.  Nostalgia is 20/0 (or whatever.)  Nastalgia is better than perfect.

The way I see it, people can be divided cleanly into two types with the use of some sorting criteria (criterium?)  For example, you can sort people into two-types based on those who like Neil Diamond and those who do not and you can also sort people based on their preference for Van Halen lead-out men.  I'm sure I've sorted people into crisp clean categories on other occasions, but cannot recollect when and where.

Today I dreamt up yet another way to classify people:  Binkie or No Binkie?

I'm not asking you to sort yourself based on whether you had the opportunity to partake of the pacifier.  I'm asking more about your tolerance for the succulent tranquilizer, the one in which parents often use to conciliate a crabby crawler.

So which is it?  Do you dig or not dig the binkie?

We dig (dug, actually) the binkie.  This self-sorted settlement is an educated one for we were blessed with a child of each classification.  We had both a binkie babe and a howler that could not be hushed by a synthetic nipple.  Yahoo #1 was the howler; Yahoo #2 was the binkie babe.

Although I have tolerance - and one might even say love - for this mollifying modus operandi, I do have limited license for the suckling age of the binkie beholder.  I'm not a fan of little ones who transmit verbal tidings through their plastic piece.  It's mostly because I enjoy the toddler talk. I enjoy how little ones fabricate sentences and ideas.  If a toddler is chewing on a plastic consoler, then, well, I don't get to hear the silly things they come up with.  It's as simple as that.

So when Yahoo #2 (our one 'n only Binkie Babe) began to speak words, we initiated a limitation on pacifier privileges.  The poor child could only have his oracle opiate at bed and nap time.  I don't remember there being a particular struggle with this.  I do know, however, that bed time became AMAZING.  We'd take Yahoo #2 to his crib and throw in a binkie or two.  He'd then proceed to dive in, shove the pacifier into his mouth, roll back his eyes, moan a syllable or two, then conk for hours.

That there ritual became known as "Binkie Nigh-Nigh."  We still call bed time Binkie Nigh-Nigh, even though that Binkie got Stinkie and has since been extracted from the residence.

I figured that it was high time I made us a bed time playlist.  So that's what today's Tuesday Tunes are:  The Bed Time Playlist.  And since we refer to bed time as Binkie Nigh-Nigh, the playlist is titled:


Binkie Nigh-Nigh
The Golden Age - Beck
Jesus to a Child  - George Michael
Silence  - Matisyahu
Dreamboat Annie  - Heart
One Magic Kiss - Brandi Carlile
Foofie - Hans Zimmer
Everything'll Be Alright (Will's Lullaby) - Joshua Radin
Lullaby For The First Born - Acoustic Alchemy
Dreams On Fire - A.R. Rahman
All That Matters - Mark Knopfler
Little One - Beck
Damien Dreams - Jeremy Enigk
A Pillow Of Winds - Pink Floyd
Caravan Of Dreams - Acoustic Alchemy
Reading In Bed - Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
Sleep On It Tonight - Morcheeba Feat. Thomas Dybdahl
Sleep - The Dandy Warhols
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - George Michael
Golden Slumbers - The Beatles
Sweet Dreams - Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins
Good Night - The Beatles
A Special Gift - Love Reprise
Bella's Lullaby - Carter Burwell
Dreaming With A Broken Heart -John Mayer
An American Dream - Love and Rockets
Soma - Smashing Pumpkins
The Dream Of The Dolphin - Enigma
Dreamland - Mary Chapin Carpenter
Through The Morning, Through The Night - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
All My Dreams - Miss Hansen
Lady Daydream - Twin Sister
The Post War Dream - Pink Floyd
Goodnight Goodnight - Spiritualized
Lonely Nights - Chris Isaak
Sleepless - The Decemberists
Lullaby - The Cure
Can You Feel The Love Tonight? - Elton John
Goodnight, Travel Well - The Killers
Breeze Black Night - The Ditty Bops
Thank the Lord for the Night Time - Neil Diamond
God Bless And Goodnight - Morcheeba
Nights in White Satin (Single Edit) - The Moody Blues
Here Comes the Sun - Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor


And from Moe:

Evening Prayer from Hansel Gretel
Are You Sleeping - Harry Nilsson
I'm Only Sleeping - The Beatles
Transylvanian Lullaby from Young Frankenstein
The Dream - Moody Blues
Lover's Lullaby - Janis Ian

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He always had to have a two - one to suck on and one to hold.  
A result of women having two, perhaps?  See how nostalgia made me see that clearly?  


-

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ah Crap.

*** Tour de France Spoiler Alert ***

Have you watched today's Stage? If you HAVE NOT and you wish for it to be a surprise, then go away. (But come back tomorrow.)


I'm seriously bummed.  Not only because Schleck had chain issues and lost the yellow jersey, but because I wasn't there to push Schleck's bum up the hill.

I'm going next year.  Just in case.

-

Rabid Cooking: Pankies

Hey remember, like, a few months ago, I started a series of posts called Rabid Cooking?  I posted one measly recipe for The Hot Dog Man and called it a series.  Lame, right?  Right!  Well folks, today I plan to make an honest woman out of those supposed "series of posts" by adding another.


Pankies
It's a cookie!  No... it's a pancake!  No, wait... it's a pankie! Pankies!

Step 1: Preheat pan or griddle to medium-ish.  (Griddle?  That word griddle is a funny word.) 

Step 2: Acquire Coach's Multigrain Pancake Mix

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Step 3: Beat eggs in water according to directions on package

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Step 3.5: Oh yeah! You were making bread.  The bread dough is done kneading, so shape dough into loaves and place in pans. You do this because you're a mom and part of being a mom is doing eight things at once. You don't have the luxury of just making pankies by themselves. Or bread loaves by themselves. You must do both at the same time. While you're at it, make a few phone calls and review the processes for claiming farm income on a tax return using Schedule F.

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Step 4: Add egg/water concoction to dry pancake mix. Mix and let sit 5 minutes.

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Step 5: Spoon cookie-sized drops of batter on pan

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Step 6: Sprinkle chocolate chips on pankies

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Step 7: Cook until bubbly, then flip.

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Step 7.5: Bread is done raising. Put in oven.

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Step 8: Cook Pankies until finished. Remove from pan and assemble on plates.

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Step 9: Feed to young. Make sure you serve the Pankies on your signature Andy Warhol Marilyns.  Also note stylish bedhead of Yahoos.

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Step 9.5: Bread is done. Remove from oven.

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Step 10: Throw dishes in the sink and leave 'em there 'til it's time for the Yahoos to practice the piano. Then you can do dishes and help them practice all while dusting and vacuuming.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Runner's Whorehouse

Today, at precisely 1:38pm MDT, UPS delivered a package from the Whorehouse,  the Running Whorehouse.  Do you run?  Do you buy running gear?  Then you must become in-the-know about this Running Whorehouse.

Actually, it's the Running Warehouse, but whorehouse is more fun to say.  I have an unhealthy relationship with that word "whore."  Not unhealthy in a got-herpes-and-gone-to-Korea kind of unhealthy, but more of a wow-that-word-sure-is-fun-to-say-and-holler-at-people-especially-Spouse kind of unhealthy.

Go ahead, say it:  Whore. Whore. Whore. Whore.  Doesn't that just feel awesome?  Say it again!  Whore!

I'll tell you what provides more fun 'n frolic than saying the word "whore," it's getting a package from the Running Store Fer Whores, also known as, the Running Warehouse.  Opening a package from the Whorehouse always makes the eyeballs roll back, toes curl, and gleek glands glisten.  See for yourself:

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Notice the Brooks Ghost.  Those babes were $40 off!  Forty bucks is a lot of bucks.

Now didn't that just make your eyeballs roll back, toes curl, and gleek glands glisten?  I know, right?!  Want more toe-curling action?  Let's tell you about a secret. The Running Whorehouse doesn't charge sales tax* and provides free two-day shipping** to any and all.   Plus, there's more.  If you go to www.runningwarehouse.com, click on "Team Discounts" at the top, then enter "CP20", you'll get 15% off everything.  Fifteen big percentages off everything!  (Well, everything that isn't Mizuno or Asics.) 

Look at me share the love for my favorite red-light-district-cat-house.

*Make sure you claim that unpaid sales tax on your state tax return.  Cause, you know, it's the law and whatnot to declare purchases made out of state and pay state taxes on those purchases.  This is called the Use Tax.  Mr. Lifein360, I can't help you for I know nothing of Canadian tax laws.


**Free shipping evidently applies to those in the contiguous United States, as my friends in Canada have so properly pointed out.

As if the Whorehouse delivery isn't enough, I'm in a current state of Luluphoria.  Luluphoria is what happens when you've got yourself an in-transit package from Lululemon.  Luluphoria not only produces the eyeball roll, toe curl, gleak gland flurry, but the tongue tends to hang out the mouth and to one side.  Limply.  

-

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hajj Podge Part 2

A few days ago, I started that one Hajj Podge post.  The purpose of this post was to combine my scattered notes, thoughts and whatnot into one single entry.  On top of this list of scattered thoughts was Abdul (Spouse's coworker) and his plans to attend the Hajj this year.  As I was looking into this Hajj business, I realized I had no idea what the Hajj was all about.  Figured that some of you might be in the same boat.  Did you know that I see us all in the same boat?  Isn't that quaint?  I mean, if you're reading this, we prolly have enough in common that we'd be on the same boat.  Like the Titanic.  Or perhaps a Malibu Wakesetter 24/7 LSV.

Anyway, the plan for the last Hajj Podge post was to list little tidbits of info about a few things I've taken an inquisitive interest upon.  However, the Hajj cannot be explained in one little paragraph for it is a complicated process.  I also have this theory that the best way to learn about something is to write about it.  And being as I wanted to learn about the Hajj, I wrote about it.  That's what this blog is about, mostly. It's one, big, fat, research project in the which I challenge myself to relay info from other sources without plagiarizing.  I also have this goofy self-imposed challenge to include a word I've never used before.  As time goes on, and as I've used most of the many words out there, the challenge becomes more and more querulous with each passing post.

Enough about me.  Let's move on to my thoughts.

Led Fed
Driving to my run the other day, I was fed by the Led.  Led fed.  That's where you listen to Led Zeppelin and it somehow ends up in your stomach.  I find it was better than the best of carbohydrates.  I ran fast that day and I pay tribute to the sustain of some Zepplain.  My favorite album of late is In Through The Out Door.  That album has  All Of My Love, I'm Gonna Crawl and In The Evening.  What's your favorite Zeppelin album right now?  I say "right now" because I'm assuming you're as moody as I am. (Remember, same boat?) This means it prolly changes.  Often.  Sometimes I surprise myself, however, with an element of consistency in my moodiness.  For example, my favorite Zeppelin tune is When The Levee Breaks.  I think this tune has been my favorite for some time.  But only if it's loud.  And has lots of base.

Deflated
This was the summer I was going to learn how to mountain bike.  Mountain biking requires all sorts of skills and even more sorts of guts.  So this was the year I was going to get some skills and even more guts.

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It's not going to happen, however, and it has nothing to do with the 18 stickers acquired in each tube (damn canal and thank you Spouse for fixing 'em!)  Suddenly, I'm totally out of time.  I mean, totally.  Like I've never been stretched this thin, like, ever.  I'm considering the quitting of the job.  Which is a bummer because, like, where will I get the cash for my fancy running shoes?

Lay Me Down In The Tall Grass
Speaking of the sticker spin, I was on this one (bike) ride.  It was the last week of school and was heading home.  To get home I had to get on this canal which just-so-happens to run by a high school which just-so-happens to be near a large grassy field.  A grassy field used to farm something.  Tall grass, perhaps.  So as I rode by, I startled a couple of sluffing high-schoolers rolling around in that tall grass, half-naked.  If I didn't have toget home for kindergarten car-pool, I would have jumped off my bike and chased 'em back to school.  Yes, I'm that kind of mom.  I will interrupt the coitus and insist on the returning of education.  And if it there's no education to return to, I will insist that it's wrapped.

Schleck Trek
The Tour is alive and kicking.  Did you know that? What with us being in the same boat, you prolly already knew that.  Our Fourth of July traditions always include the watching of boys on bicycles in France.  Last year, I admitted as much, and Megan sent me France's national anthem through itunes.  Also called me a frog.  Hey, it's not my fault the Tour's opening days are always on the Fourth of July!

All these years that I've been watching the Tour, I've been pulling for a Schleck.  Andy Schleck or Frank Schleck.  I want a Schleck to win.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's because Schleck is fun to say.  Or maybe it's because Frank and Andy are each other's help-meet.  Who knows.  But I like the Schlecks.  Maybe it's because I have envy for their brotherly love -- for their cooperative nature.  Heck, their web site is www.frankandandyschleck.com not www.frankschleck.com and a matching www.andyschleck.com, but together with a www.frankandandyschleck.com.  Sadly, Frank (Schleck) crashed in one the beginning stages of the tour and is out with a broken collar bone.  Doubtful if Andy can do it without Frank, but what do I know.  There is one thing I'm sure of, however.  I'm tired of the commentators talking about Armstrong and Contador.  Good grief.  Those two are drama queens.  I would know because I have a drama queen for a sister.

The Polka Dot Whore
While we're on the subject of the Tour de France, let's get into the fashion associated with it,  One of my favorite parts of the tour is the podium ceremonies.  I like watching them.  I like the glee on each rider's face as they scan the crowd and soak it all in, as if it's their last.  Sometimes I cry.  (But keep that little tidbit of in our boat, kay?)

Another great part of the podium ritual is the models who present the award and the clothing they wear.  It's France.  France is full of bee-you-ti-ful people.  And fashions that excel.  They all smoke, however, but that's beside the point.  But France.... France is full of the hottest of the hottest.  I've been there, you know... so I know all about France and it's hotness.  This year, I'm aghast at the hideousness of the clothes these models have been required to wear.  Not only are they bland, they're terrifically bland.  There's one exception to this, however.  It's the polka dot dresses (for the models that present the winner of the combined mountain points for the tour.)  These polka dot dresses aren't bland.  Oh no sir-ee.  They are just plain frightful.  See for yourself:

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(Thanks, Ryan for the image! Image taken from Versus)

 Last year's dresses were awesome.  See for yourself.

Deparaded
The Yahoos have never been to a parade.  Isn't that sad?  Call the authorities if you must.  I prefer to use my microscopic cache of patience on matters of construction.  Like skiing.  And piano.  And helping my mom.

Sugar Psychosis
Speaking of my mom.  She's a valiant knight in shining armor and the princess with the pea.  I'm so very proud of her tenacity.  Learning to walk again is no picnic, especially at age 67.  We are all learning a bunch.  For example, we've all learned an interesting side effect associated with a brian injury.   Somehow, when the synapses aren't firing right and there's been a fair amount of bleeding, the body has trouble regulating blood sugar.  So now Summy (ma's name of nick) gets to have her finger pricked to test blood sugar levels and insulin when necessary.  Now.  You'd think that the hospital people would know that the types of food you eat have a direct association with blood sugar, wouldn't you?  I mean they are hospital people.  They should know that ingested sugary carbs equals increased sugary blood.

Well it appears that the hospital people don't know that because they keep sending her food full of sugary carbs. For example, the other day at dinner, they sent her pork, rice, milk, juice -- and here's the kicker -- a giant piece of chocolate mouse cake, layered with cream cheese and oreo cookie crust.  The nutrition sheet sent with the meal reported the carb content of that mouse cake at 76 grams of carbs.  76 grams!  Made us laugh.  Even Summy was in chuckles over it.  Did she eat the cake?  No.  She's smart and knows how to do this stuff on her own.  Incidentally, every meal they send includes some sugary starchy treat.

Summy Normal
In order to remove a blood clot from your brain, the hospital people must shave the head and slice it wide open.  That's what happened to Summy.  They shaved her bald and installed an awesome frankenstein-esque scar that goes from crown to neck.  Even gave her 30 staples.  Incidentally, she looks a bit different from when she had a head full of finely coiffed locks.  My sister's kids came to visit yesterday and were a tad reserved about the visitation.  While speaking to one of his parents (can't remember which), I overheard one of them say, "But I can see her brain!!!"

Bool On or Off
To change subjects entirely, I'm going to make an itunes request.  Any of you in itunes development?  Or better yet, itunes product managing?  I want the ability to form playlists using boolean attributes.  For example, I want a playlist with all songs in the "Rock" genre except for all from Styx (blah), REO (ick) and Foreigner (yawn) songs.  Another example is all songs in the classical genre except Debussy.  (You know, 'cause Debussy requires a specific mood.)  And while we're requesting stuff from itunes, I want to suggest a field attribute called "explicit."  And then I want to have a playlist that includes everything except those songs marked explicit.  Ask me about the time the whole neighborhood was over and the shuffle produced a tune from the Kick A$$ soundtrack.  Not pretty.  There were children.

Scratch and Win
While I'm on the subject of itunes, did you know it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago?  It was.  And I had a couple of people send me itunes gift cards.  These itunes gift cards are the neatest thing since  that nifty pineapple coring gadget.  For those of you unschooled on this itunes gift stuff, let me explain how it works:  On the back of these cards, there's a silver strip that reads, "scratch off gently with coin to reveal code."  So you scratch off the silver strip, gently with a coin, to reveal the magic code.  Then you open itunes, click on itunes store then click "redeem."  From there you enter the magic code and watch your account balance go up and up and up.  It's magically delicious.  It's like gambling that pays all the time.  It's like those dumb scratch and win cards you would get as a kid, scratch frantically and never win, only this time you win!  Win!  Wooden, is what those cards are.  Full-on wooden.

The Cow Whisperer
Have I told you about the Cow Whisperer?  She's this tiny 100lb hot thing that runs with us.  We call her Downhill Diva because she can go down hill faster than anyone I know. Downhill Diva is also the Cow Whisperer.  This is because she was raised on a dairy farm with cows and knows how to handle cows.  I do not know how to handle cows.  I'm scared to death of cows. While running here and there, we will come upon a herd or two of cows.  Usually happens once or twice a year.  I know those cows can smell my fear and look at me as if I'm their next lunch.  Downhill Diva always rescues me from the cows.  She claps her hands, gives those bovines the stare-down, and gruffly hollers something like "Get along!  Move out!"  It's pretty cool to watch.

Hot for Pot(s)
Each year, the gang and I do a special run in a canyon called Diamond Fork.  We call it the Hot Pot run.  Diamond Fork is a sub-canyon within the canyon of Spanish Fork.  Towards the top of this Diamond Fork canyon, there's a trailhead system called Three Forks.  It's spectacular.  We run up one fork for about 6 miles, then turn left on to a road called Sheep Creek, and run 5 more miles on Sheep Creek (pronounced "crick" by the locals.)  After five gruesomely hot and hilly miles we turn left on the Fifth Water trailhead and run down 6 miles.  Two miles from the bottom, there's some hot pots.  A hot pot is a pot that is made hot by a hot spring.  It's not really a pot, however. It's a little basin type thing that a sulfur-powered hot spring runs into.

This year, there were a couple of things to note about the Hot Pot run.  First, there weren't any naked people at the pots.  I was so disappointed for there are always naked people in the hot pots.  Second, The Cow Whisperer was chased by a mooing cow for a whole mile.  That cow was mad.  Prolly had PMS.  And now, The Cow Whisperer just might be as scared of cows as I am.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hajj Podge

Today's post is inspired by two things:  1) The fact that I have a brain full of mush that needs to escape and 2) The annual Hajj.  If you remember from your comparative religion course, Comparative Religion 101, you'll recall that the Hajj is the annual event in the which persons of the Muslim faith make the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  This Hajj event is one that takes place over the course of several days and the days are not the same each year.  For 2010, the Hajj is expected to fall between November 14th and 18th.  All Muslims who are able to afford the expense are encouraged to attend this pilgrimage at least once in their life time.  They say 13 million people attend the Hajj each year.

The ritual of the annual Hajj is often associated with the Islamic prophet Muhammed, but evidently folks have been making the trek since way before Muhammed -- like thousands of years before Muhammed, when a gent named Abraham was alive and kicking.  The Muslims refer to this Abraham as Ibrahim.

Here's how the Hajj works, you and your closest friends and relatives gather together in Mecca.  Once there, you all proceed in performing the rituals associated with the pilgrimage.  These rituals include:

  • Walking seven times, counter-clockwise, around the Ka'bah or Kaaba.  The Kaaba, the most sacred of sites in Islam, is a cube-esque, granite, black building that was built by Abraham.   There's a mosque built around this Kaaba.  Walking around it seven times clock-wise acts as the Muslim direction of prayer.
  • Kissing the Black Stone in the corner of the Kaaba.  This black stone is located inside the Kaaba at the east cornerstone and is considered a Muslim relic that dates back to Adam and Eve.
  • Running back and forth between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah.  This one is so very interesting to me, mostly because it involves running.  Islamic tradition dictates that God commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) to leave his wife Hagar and their son Ismael alone in the desert as a means to test their faith.  The desert between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah is the site for this test of faith.  Being as Al-Safa and Al-Marwah were both located on the top of hills, Hagar left the infant son and would go from one hill to the other looking down in the valley for provisions.  After she found nothing, she returned to the child to find that  a spring had spontaneously erupted at the base of the child's feet.  This spring is now known as the Zamzam Well.
  • Drinking from the Zamzam Well.  See explanation above.
  • Visiting the plains of Mount Arafat.  The Mount Arafat is a granite hill located east of Mecca.  The Muslims believe that Muhammed presented the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims at the end of his life.  Muslim Pilgrims making the trek will spend the afternoon here on the ninth day.  The day is important.  If they aren't present at Mount Arafat on the afternoon of the ninth day, the Hajj pilgrimage is null and void.
  • Throwing stones in a ritual called The Stoning of the Devil.  Pilgrims making the pilgrimage are required to gather stones the night before the stoning at a place called Muzdalifah.  On the day of stoning, Muslims "pelt" walls called jamarat that represent the Devil.  This ritual is performed on the 10th day.
  • Shaving their heads.
  • Sacrificing an animal.
  • Celebrating four days of a festival called Eid al-Adha.  The Eid al-Adha is a world-wide festival that commemorates Abraham's obedience.   As the story goes, Abraham was instructed by God to sacrifice his son.  Abraham responded as God had requested.  God, seeing Abraham's obedience, allowed him to sacrifice a ram instead of his son.  The Eid al-Adha is a time that Muslims gather together as family and friends to show gratitude for things like shelter and food.

Why the sudden interest in the Hajj?  It's simple really.  Spouse has this friendly coworker in India.  His name is Abdul.  Abdul looks like an Indian Jemaine Clement.  Abdul is Abdul's real name.  I can say Abdul's real name because India has over a million Abduls.  Telling you about Abdul, using his real name, has no safety significance, because I dare you to find him.  I've also done some research on my analytics.  I get roughly three periodic hits each month from India.  It's prolly Abdul and two others.

Anyway, I've met Abdul and he happens to be my favorite.  (Sorry Utkarsh, Chetin, Yashi and Ranjan!) He's always smiling and is prolly the friendliest chap on the planet.  Whenever Spouse is talking on the tele with Abdul, Abdul always, and thoughtfully, inquires about the medical state of my mom (she's getting a little better every day, by the way -- currently in rehab and we expect a discharge is two-three weeks.)  

Right now, as we speak, Abdul is making plans for the Hajj pilgrimage this year with his family and new bride.  Doesn't that sound fun?  I want to go.  I would seriously go.  I keep thinking I should ask Abdul if I can be the family photographer.  I'd go and take pictures until my fingers turn calloused and purple.

Do you think Mormons can go?  I'm looking for a Mormons to Mecca trip on Expedia.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tuesday Tune, vol 46 - Mustard

Mustard is the condiment of life. Truly, truly. There is no better option for the dressing of food. The Spouse might argue that butter is the best for dressing, but I conquer -- with passion, vigor and vim -- that mustard is the condiment of life.  (The spice of life is Nutella. But that's a whole 'nother post.)

Mustard is heaven on earth.

It even says so in the New Testament Bible.  Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to the mustard seed.  And wow, if that doesn't just set me straight for the prolonged renewal of my current religious persuasion, nothing will.

Matthew 13:31 and 32
31  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Matthew 17:20
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be dimpossible unto you.

See?!  Mustard is heaven on earth.

When it comes to mustard, I don't limit myself to classic yellow. Although classic yellow is best for bedecking a braut, it is not the only species of mustard found in our fridge. There's honey dijon, sweet hot, cilantro lime, simple dijon chardonnay, chunky-seeded stone ground, horseradish, and Yahoo #1's favorite: jalapeno.

As is customary in the 'Tah (Utah), we participate in food storage. That's where you store food. The idea is to rotate this stored food and keep a few months on hand, "just in case." Now, being as you should only store food that you eat, we consider it necessary to store mustard. A natural disaster without mustard would become a whole new natural disaster.

We were all at the grocery yesterday. And while trapsing through this isle and that, Yahoo #1 mentioned that we were almost out of his favorite jalapeno mustard. So we made our way to the mustard that just-so-happens to be housed between the pickles and the ketchup. (Don't get me started on ketchup. Ketchup is gross. Do yourself a favor and put a tomato on whatever it is you insist on putting ketchup on.)

While gawking and drooling over the many possible mustard combinations, I completed a mental inventory of the mustard stock pile in our basement. I realized we were almost out of everything and decided to add a mustard or two to the collection.  Here's what the cart looked like:

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Now doesn't that make your mouth water? On this particular mustard foray, we found a new species, one that shall be a keeper. It's cranberry. Don't knock it 'til you try it.)

And so it is, on this fine Tuesday, that I present you with the Mustard Playlist.

Mean Mr. Mustard - The Beatles
Vinegar and Salt - Hooverphonic
Mustard Gas - The Dear Hunter
Seed Of Wonder - Jesca Hoop
Mustard - Kilgore Trout (no youtube for this one)
Too Old to Cut the Mustard - Ernest Tubb and Red Foley
Mustard Seed - Damion Suomi
Mustard - The Red Tops (no youtube for this one)

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Frabjous Day

Summy has been in the Intensive Care Unit for a week now.  Things are finally starting to improve and appear on the up.  This is good news! Fair, fabulous and joyous in fact.

Frabjous.

I've spent a fair amount of time at the hospital these last few days.  Hospitals are great places for people watching, so naturally I thought a few days at the hospital would provide all sorts of material suitable for commentary.  However, I've discovered something:  In order for me to observe and comment, I need to either be a) fired up about something or b) laughing.  Turns out that having my precious little Ma in ICU provides neither the fire nor the laughter.

I'm rather surprised by this phenomenon.  It's understandable that the usual chuckles would be absent, but it's the not-getting-fired-up about it all that has me surprised.  My emotions are limited to a dull ache.  I guess that in order to get fired up about something, you need an obvious opponent.  Like a dragon.

Last night, while sitting in the ICU waiting room -- a room packed full of those suffering for loved ones -- it became clear that we all share that same dull ache.  No fire, just ache. It's an ache that comes from the unknown.  An uncertain future.  No one has a clear understanding of what they're fighting.

In the left corner of this waiting room, there's a group who's son? husband? brother? uncle? friend? was injured seriously in a work-related accident.  Their tears are interrupted occasionally with laughter brought upon by the verbal recollection of antics from his heathy days or with smiles that dote upon the cooing of a visiting baby.  Slight rays of hope can be seen when comments are made along the lines of "he wiggled his left fingers today!" This injured one is Summy's next door neighbor.  He has been asleep for his entire stay.

The right-corner of this waiting room houses a healthy bunch.  This right-corner has been their corner for days.  They have a constant flow of family and friends coming in to their right-hand territory to dine on pizza, burgers and ice cream.  The family clown is providing comfort through humor as he orchestrates a baby/wedding shower trivia contest.  What was Susie's first album?  Was it a) Billy Joel's Cold Sprint Harbor, b) Led Zeppelin IV or c) The Sesame Street Monsters!  An unmarried aunt is entertaining the young ones with puzzles and picture books.  Her brother talks about breaking in his new fishing pole.

Behind us we have a family in the same situation as ours.  A young grandma with a stroke.  They quietly observe the party bunch in the right corner.

There are other small groups like ours that come in and out.  They bring the kids with electronic gadgets that facilitate baby sitting via games and movies.  They come to this waiting room, as a break from the hospital bed of their loved one, to make phone calls, cry unhindered, and breath.

The carpets in this room are stained and worn thin from 24-7 eating and worrying.

While I was waiting for my turn to visit my mom (the ICU people won't let more than two visitors in at a time), I watched my little Yahoos as they took in the disaster of that Transformer's 2 flick.  Am I the only one that thinks this movie a disaster?  Anyway, I watched their expressions and sighed a bit of relief for mom was doing much better today.  Eating and complaining.  Demanding two sandwiches for night time -- just in case.  Watching Wimbledon, and, in her new husky voice, declaring passion for Serena's ability to "kick butt" and "wow look at her red panties."

This is where I thought, "Today is a frabjous day!" which led to the mental dissection of that term "Frabjous Day."  Why, exactly, did the the little White Rabbit and the Hatter and the Tweedle Brothers declare the day that Alice has to fight the Jabberwocky as "Frabjous Day?"  They all knew the future.  They all knew that Alice would come to fight this beast; this dragon.  And yet they still referred to the day of its happening as "Frabjous."  Those Lewis Carroll characters were fired up and ready to support their fighter.  So much so, that they declared it a "Frabjous Day."  Why do you think they were all so fired up and hopeful?

It's prolly because they knew exactly what they were fighting - a giant, beastie, dragon-like creature named the Jabberwocky.  A beast with "jaws that bite" and "claws that catch" and "eyes of flame, that came whiffling through the tulgey wood, and burbled as it came." 

We humans in the ICU waiting room do not know what we're fighting.  That's why we get the dull ache.

O Frabjous Day!  Callooh Callay!

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