Sunday, September 28, 2008

Flying Monkeys

I like to walk around the hospital singing "da da da da dah da" - You know...the theme song for the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. One of the cardiologists I know was amused that I was singing that particular ditty, as he thinks I'm nice...too nice to think of myself as the Wicked Witch of the West. (Little does he know...) Anyway, in that conversation, we discovered that we both hated the flying monkeys. They scared the poop out of us when we were little kids. While we loved the movie, those damn flying monkeys...not so much.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran through McD's and got a happy meal. I really don't keep up with what they are giving away these days. Apparently, it's The Wizard of Oz and of all the possible characters...( I would have loved a witch or Dorothy or Toto or the tornado - ha ha), but no.

They gave me......a damn flying monkey.

Speaking of monkeys, I worked on the No Purl Monkeys at the Dallas STARS preseason game last night. The STARS need to zip it up a little. They did win the game, but their power play and penalty kill sucked. The regular season starts soon, and they have until then to clean up the roster by a third and get their act together.

The socks are my August project in my personal socks club. Yes, I realize that it is almost October.

My July socks are also not yet finished, but I am getting closer. I decided against doing a short row heel, because when I was ready to start the heel, I didn't have my instructions for one with me. Oh well...I still like the socks, even though a little bull's eye heel would have been cute.

Finally, here' my progress on the February Lady Sweater. I would have been further along, but this is the second time I've knitted the yoke. I didn't like the gauge on the size 6 needles and restarted the thing on 7s.

MK out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Burial Dress Watch, Day Six

The burial dress is safe and sound. My SIL was able to get onto the G today and she went to my momma's house. Not a drop of water had gotten in the house or in the garage. The electricity was working and the refrigerator was cold inside. I am also happy to report that the tea cookies my momma made the last time we were on the G for her after burial party (I cannot make this stuff up), although defrosted during the storm, were frozen once again. They are standing ready awaiting their call to action.

Y'all can rest easy now.

Good news for sure. I am so thankful and feel the need to pay it forward/give back - whatever you want to call it.

The Rosenberg Public Library holds a near and dear place in my heart. We didn't have a lot of extras when I was growing up, but we managed. I have always been a voracious reader...from the time Mrs. Stein taught me how to read in kindergarten - to this day, although most of my reading these days happens in spurts. A library card did not cost a penny; so, I had one and I used it liberally. Once, during a fight that I had with my brother, I hurled out the words: "Books are my friends!!!" As if that statement would make me seem less nerdy in a heated discussion that centered around his claims that I was basically a stay-at-home nerd.

The Library held all manner of programs that were free of charge. I remember one time, Michael Guckian invited me to join him and his mother (we were in middle school at the time) to attend a performance of selected scenes of one of Henry David Thoreau's works.

Some of my best afternoons were spent upstairs where the periodicals were kept - researching the subject of the week in Mrs. Robert's English Comp class when I was a senior in high school. I would pass the children's sections on the first floor on my way upstairs and think to myself that when I had children, I would bring them to the library and hopefully cultivate the love of books in them.

I was quite saddened to read that the children's collections at the Rosenberg Public Library were lost in the hurricane. The first floor flooded and everything got wet. I think I have identified one way to give back in this tragedy...I will become a friend to the Rosenberg Public Library.

MK out.

More Degrees of Thia Maria

For those of us who were lucky enough to know Thia Maria, we'd all agree that she was a force of nature - and not at all in a bad way. She was very active in the community and our church. She was also a businesswoman. Thia Maria owned the knit shop on the G. She taught me how to knit when I was about 6 or 7. When I was about 11, she would have Theo Demas pick me up on his way home from his half day at "The Wharf" on Saturdays and bring me to the shop. I would answer the phone, help restock, bag yarny purchases and generally breathe in all the yarn fumes. Then, more often than not, I would get to go home with her after the last customer would rush over, fresh from a game of Mah Jong, to get her fix of yarn to last her for the weekend. Frequently, I would get to spend the night. We would stay up late, long after Theo Demas had gone to bed, watching old movies and knitting or needlepointing.

Thia Maria's four kids are a few years or so older than me. When the first grandchild came along, it was my biggest delight when her parents would bring Stephanie over to visit her grandparents while I was there. Then came Stephanie's little brother, whom everyone called Baby Demo. (He was named after his grandfather.) To this day, people call him Baby or Little Demo. In fact, he just got married in June. When I got to the church, there he was standing in the back and it caught me by surprise. (I don't know why it would. Afterall, I was there to witness his nuptials, and his attendance would be expected.) "Baby Demo!" I exclaimed and gave him a big kiss before I helped my momma to our seats. Anyway, two more grandchildren came along - Angie and Marika - and both joined their cousins in being my baby dolls.

Stephanie and her husband live on the G. Her husband is an ER physician at UTMB. Stephanie and their two children evacuated, but B had to stay behind - although the hospitals were evacuated of patients and to date, are not officially open for business, as only a portion of the main hospital is running on generator power. Still, because some people chose to stay, and there are many people there in official capacities, there are plenty of minor emergencies that are being addressed tirelessly by B and his crew.

I spoke to Stephanie today for the first time since the storm. I had heard from my brother that her home was hit hard in the hurricane, and she directed me to a website with pictorial evidence. It is not pretty and my heart goes out to Stephanie and B. The power of that wind and storm surge was beyond belief. The hurricane-grade windows and doors were blown off with the framing. One wall is only studs.

The devastation in Galveston is very hit and miss. We are hearing more and more encouraging news about my momma's house. She lives hear the Yacht Basin. Friends that live on the water near the Yacht Basin and about a mile from my momma's house reportedly had five feet of water. Other friends who live two streets closer to the Yacht Basin from her had about an inch of water in their house. Stephanie informed me that my momma's neighbors, across the street and two houses down from her had no water in their home. My SIL told me that George, Stephanie's uncle, went by my momma's house today and as far as he could tell from the outside, he didn't think any water had gotten into her house. We continue to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, until someone actually gets into the house and knows for sure - but things look hopeful. I hope to speak with George myself tomorrow. I have to thank him for checking on the house, and to find out how his home fared.

Keep those thoughts and prayers coming for all the people touched by the storm.

MK out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned

Not knowing the status of my momma's home is enough to wear out a body. Yesterday, the Galveston city officials allowed people who owned businesses on the island to "look and leave." Essentially, they were to check out their business, safeguard a few things, and leave before the curfew started. Unfortunately, the volume of returnees was not considered. Recovery workers were stuck in traffic jams and could not get on the island on a timely basis. The residents were supposed to be allowed to return for a "look and leave" today, but it was cancelled last night, after yesterday's overwhelming response.

My SIL was able to get on the island yesterday. She rescued her cats and was reassured to find that, while water had gotten into her garage, none had gotten into her home. We still do not know how much water damage my momma's house sustained, but we do know that it is still standing.

Amid all this uncertainty, I have managed to stay caught up with work, and am getting pesky little chores done around the house.

I've also been to a few movies...

Transsiberian is a pretty good thriller set on a train crossing through Siberia – how original! Ben Kingsley (another movie with Ben!), Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer star in this film about an American couple riding on the train and who and befriend this other couple. Then, when Woody’s character accidentally gets left off the train during a stop, all kinds of sinister stuff starts to happen. It was good.

Bottle Shock is based on the true story of a contest in France between French and Californian wineries that put California wines on the map. Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman and Dennis Farina all star in this cute little movie.

The Women is a remake of the 1939 classic screen adaptation of Clare Booth Luce’s play about some society women friends who spend their time going to the beauty shop and to fashion shows, until they find out that one of them has a cheating husband. It's been updated a little to reflect that, even at the high society level, women can choose to work, to raise a family or to do both. Eva Mendez is no Joan Crawford, but she does a decent job as the home wrecker. It also stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Candice Bergen and a small, but big role by Bette Midler. It was cute, cute, cute…

Burn After Reading is not one of the Coen Brothers’ best efforts. Of course, it’s hard to top Fargo and O Brother Where Art Thou. Despite the movie's cynical little tone, Frances McDormand, George Clooney and Brad Pitt give great performances. They all looked like they were having a good time. Tilda Swinton is also in it. Her character is a cold, snobby bitch and I would guess that she had fun playing that role. Then, there's John Malkovich...It was good, but it could have been better.

Before a couple of the movies I've seen recently, a montage starts playing, and it is unclear - the first time one sees it - whether it is a preview or a commercial. Beautiful scenes and thought provoking images appear, and a voice-over discusses "the journey." This question is posed:
Does the person create the journey, or does the journey create the person?

Um...It's a Louis Vuitton ad.


MK out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An Ode to Excedrin Migraine

Oh little pills, you are the best.
You put my headache to the test.
And went it's gone, what can I say?
It's sure to be a better day.

And on the Hurricane Ike Aftermath front - Galveston residents will not be allowed to return to the island before Tuesday, possibly longer. The integrity of the causeway bridges have to be assured.

Knitting? Did someone say knitting? I gathered all the projects that I have going into one big bag. I will post pictures soon - when I am no longer in denial.

MK out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Riding Out the Storm

Back in the day, hurricanes were a source of entertainment. Well, not the hurricanes themselves, but the opportunity for getting together with people to ride out the storm.

My mother's best friend, whom I called Thia Maria, lived with her husband in a big house on the "west end" of Galveston. We lived on the "east end." My father, being in the merchant marines, shipped out quite regularly, and Thia Maria took us under her wing. We were included in all manner of holidays and celebrations. Gloom and danger from impending hurricanes were no exception. Theo Demas, her husband, was dispatched by Thia Maria to swing by on his way home from "The Wharf," to pick us up and bring us to their house. One year, I remember, my brother and I were so sad that my mother declared that our cat would be left behind in our house. We got to Thia Maria's and spent the afternoon lamenting our problem until Theo Demas was dispatched to our house with one of us to gather the cat and bring him to the safety of the house on Denver. Nevermind the fact that, if Galveston had been hit by a big one, the chances were that none of us would have survived, let alone the cat.

In my recollection, before this weekend, there were only two really bad hurricanes that hit Galveston. I don't remember Carla, (I was about 2) but anyone can read about that storm. The next one was Alicia, and I was out of college and had just moved to Dallas at the time, living the high life of a bachelorette. Woo hoo. So, luckily for us, all those hurricane parties at Thia Maria's turned out to be alot of wind and rain, a few trees down here and there, the normal flooding of the usual spots on the island and no loss of life.

Enter Hurricane Ike. The local CBS affiliate in Houston, KHOU-TV, has been broadcasting continuously on the Weather Channel since yesterday. The dangerous thing about Ike has been its size and the size of the storm surge it has been pushing ahead of it. There was some flooding way down the island by yesterday morning, before the wind and rain actual made it. The eye of the storm didn't hit Galveston until 2:00 this morning. Right now, the stupid thing is passing over Huntsville. The outer bands of the storm are still dumping water on Galveston.

The media is a two-edged sword. While they are masters at creating hype and frenzy, with the technology we have today, they do disseminate a few valuable facts here and there. Despite all the tracking equipment, projections from meteorologists and warnings from city officials that rescue would be difficult at best and likely nonexistent during the height of the storm, there were quite a few people who chose to stay behind.

My mother still has a house down there. I've shared this tidbit by e-mail to a few friends: She does not care that her house might have been destroyed. She's worried that she has left her burial dress down there hanging in the closet. (Oh yeah, that's the first thing I would pack when I'm getting ready to go anywhere.)

Hope you are yours are safe and dry.

MK out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Elegy means...

...a song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentations.

I was far from sorrowful today. Despite the clouds and impending arrival of Hurricane Ike, I had the best day that I've had in a couple of weeks. Work has been really demanding since I returned from the end-of-summer-vacation. I was ready for a break after the first day back...

I showed up at the first hospital, looked at my patient list, checked labs, finished dictations and determined that our part was complete for all the patients on the list. I drove over to the second hospital and the only two patients on that list were both undergoing endoscopic procedures today; so, I didn't have to see either of them. I conferred with the boss and I was free! It was 12:30, and I was done for the day. That hasn't happened in quite a while.

I ate a quick lunch and headed out to go see a movie.

I chose to see Elegy, in which Ben Kingsley plays a professor who has never quite grown up. He has a habit of dating his much younger students, after grades are turned in, of course. Enter Consuela, played by Penelope Cruz. He is instantly enthralled and the two become involved. The prof has a longtime girlfriend, Patricia Clarkson, whom he continues to see while he is seeing Consuela. Dennis Hopper plays his best friend. It was really good.

I've seen two other films in theaters recently:

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (I love saying the name), starring Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson and Javier Bardem, is about two friends who decide to spend the summer in Barcelona. They meet a charismatic artist (Bardem) and they become the targets of his affections. It was good.

Brideshead Revisited is the big screen adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel about forbidden love, set in England before WWII. The martriarch of the family, Lady Marchmain, is played by Emma Thompson. She is excellent in the role. Comparisons have been to the 11-hour mini series starring Jeremy Irons. The movie has not faired well against the mini series; however, to me, it's like comparing apples to oranges. I have never seen the mini series, but despite that, I really liked the film. The characters were very complex and interesting. The story was great, the roles were well acted and the cinematography was beautiful. It is a great film.

Until next time...

MK out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Six Random Things About Me

My friend Nancy tagged me for this meme. Here goes:

1. I took singing lessons before I got into PA school, just so if someone should happen to "catch" me singing, he or she wouldn't run away covering their ears from the horror of it.*


2. I am an Olympics purist. I think that the Olympics should include just track and field. I do not think that any sport that involves a ball, a puck, a stick, a racquet, a sled - you get the idea - should be a part of the Olympics. I do make allowances for swimming and gymnastics.

However, the fact that I think hockey, basketball or beach volleyball should not be Olympic sports does not deter me from watching any of the competitions.

3. I took several masters level classes in fashion design a while back. I have no delusions of trying out for Project Runway.

4. I would like to perform in community theater someday...but not sing.

5. I would like to meet Stevie Nicks in real life.

6. My toenails have to be painted at all times. My fingernails don't.

*I wouldn't recommend you trying to "catch" me singing anytime soon.

Tag...You're it!



Jorge - (as if he reads my blog)




MK out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to School

The Kid started school two weeks ago. It's his senior year. Did that stop me from taking a picture to document the first day of a new school year? ("Mo-o-om! I gotta go," he said, as he stopped for me to snap the picture.)

I would seriously consider changing my name, (Dr. Funk...Paging Dr. Funk), s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y.

MK out.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Balcony is Open

Despite my travels and concert-watching, I have managed to watch a few movies here and there. The season for movie watching is about to heat up; so, I thought I should catch up with my reviews of DVDs that I watched in July and August.

In Bonneville, Arvilla (Jessica Lange), with the help of her friends (Joan Allen and Kathy Bates), sets out on the arduous task of delivering her husband’s ashes to her stepdaughter; so that Francine (Christine Baranski) can bury him next to her mother. Arvilla knows that her husband wants his ashes scattered, but she has no choice, because without a will saying otherwise, Francine owns the house where Arvilla lives, and she has threatened to kick Arvilla out of the home if she doesn’t comply. It was pretty cute, in a dark humor sort of way.

Cassandra’s Dream is a Woody Allen film about two brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewen McGregor) who enlist the aide of their rich uncle (Tom Wilkinson) to settle gambling debts and provide seed money for a business venture. Uncle Howard has a request of the boys in return. It ends up tearing the brothers apart. It was pretty good.

21 – Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and Jim Sturgess star in this film about counting cards and cracking the code on the way to winning big at blackjack in Vegas. It was definitely entertaining.

The Bucket List – Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freemen are two terminally ill men from different walks of life who meet in the hospital. Freeman’s character introduces the idea of a bucket list – the things one would want to do before “kicking the bucket.” Nicholson’s character – a wealthy man – decides to fund the adventures the two men put on their lists. It was really, really good.

Definitely, Maybe – A little girl (Abigail Breslin) wants to know the story about her father’s past relationships; so, he changes the names and tells her about the three important women in his life – one of whom is her mother – and she has to try to figure out which one.

Penelope is a cute, little renter about a girl whose family was cursed long ago. It seems that the next girl born to the family would have a pig’s snout for a nose. Penelope was the unlucky family member in whom the curse was expressed. Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon, Catherine O’Hara, James McAvoy and Peter Dinklage all star in this film.

Chalk is a mockumentary set in an Austin, TX high school. It focuses on four teachers, one of whom is brand new and very insecure. The gym teacher, who is female, spends her time making sure everyone knows that she is not gay. It was a little quirky, but definitely a renter.

Trust the Man – Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Eva Mendes, Ellen Barkin and Garry Shandling star in this relationship movie about how breaking up can be harder than staying together. It was okay…there were some amusing moments…definitely a renter.

Shine a Light is a documentary by (the Oscar Winning Director) Martin Scorsese that is centered around concert footage filmed during a two-night engagement at the Beacon Theater in NYC as part of the Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang tour. Two things that are hysterical – snippets of interviews with each member of the band from the 1960s and the Keith Richards, in general. The Kid and I agreed that he looks as if he could be a character in the Pirate’s of the Caribbean movies. The Kid thinks that Johnny Depp may have patterned his Captain Jack Sparrow character after ole Keith.

Bella is about a life-changing experience for an international soccer star as he is on his way to signing a big-dollar contract. Years later, he meets a struggling waitress and changes her life. I think that it is a beautiful story, but I think it was too nuanced in places and the screenplay did not adequately explain the most pivotal part of the whole film. Still, it is good and worth watching.

Bee Movie is an animated movie, produced by and starring Jerry Seinfeld’s voice in the lead role of Barry B. Benson. Barry has just graduated from bee college and is rather miffed that his only job opportunities have to do with making honey. He also resents that humans appear to be stealing the product out from under the bees; so, he attempts to sue the human race. It was cute. Many big name actors lent their voices for the characters: John Goodman, Megan Mullally, Rene Zellweger, Sting, Kathy Bates, Chris Rock, Larry King, Oprah Winfrey…the list goes on.

Under the Same Moon tackles the difficult social issue in America about illegal aliens. A mother, who crossed the border from Mexico, is working hard in California to make enough money to bring her son across. When granny dies, the kid makes it across on his own to go find his mother. It was very good and entertaining.

MK out.