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We’re making enchiladas tonight for dinner, both because we haven’t had them in forever, but also because Elizabeth and Sydney are coming over. Elizabeth is taking care of our beasts cats while we’re gone so she needs to be shown where pertinent items (especially carpet cleaner) are, and Sydney just got back from vacation so this is our only chance to hang out before I leave for vacation.

I went and bought all the ingredients last night, and have had little enough to do at work today (okay, little enough to do after about 2:30pm) that I’ve mostly been sitting here salivating. Just one meeting to get through, then two errands, and then I can head home and start cooking.

Whee!

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That the Dodgers and Joe Torre are IN the playoffs, and the Steinbreners (via the Yankees) are OUT.

Okay, okay, John’s a Yankee fan, and he’d have like to see them in, and I’d have liked to see them in for him, but still.

But when you let your manager go, not because he took you to the post-season umpzillion times, but because he didn’t win you another World Series? And when you do so by offering him a contract that is so insulting that he basically has to turn you down to keep any sort of dignity?

It’s wrong. And no offense, but it’s the player’s job to win. Joe Torre can only manage so well if they aren’t hitting or catching or whatnot. This is, I feel, something that is wrong in general in sports. Granted, at the college level, you can’t really take away scholarships or kick kids out of school for lack of wins, but it’s the principle of the thing.

Any other team would probably have been ecstatic to make it to the post-season so often. Such as the Dodgers. And so they snapped him up.

Thus, to see the Dodgers and Torre get in? And the Steinbreners left out for the firs time in however long?

Sweet justice.

Not that I’m at all mentally vindictive about things like this or anything…

They came yesterday.

Beginning result: It’s too bad the Victoria’s Secret model bodies don’t come with them.

Ah well, I knew this was a possibility. I’m not nearly as tall, and way more rounded. But I’m better than I was two years ago!

The first one: Looks good on top–I have enough to fill it out, but it’s still somewhat supportive. It ties behind and above, so I can determine exactly how I want it to fit. I think that’s key. The bottom? I pudge a bit around the top. Sure sign that the sales lady who talked me into a Medium should have gone ahead and let me order the Large. I’m taking it to Cara’s tomorrow night for a girl opinion of whether I should send it back to get the different size. John’s response was, “I’ve seen you naked so I’m not judging!” No help there.

The second one (in grape): The bottom was about the same. The top? Was meant to push up or something, and I’m just not the right … shape? size? I dunno, but it just doesn’t look right. John agreed (which actually made me feel a bit better about his approval of the other one). So it’s going with me to Cara’s to see if she fits it better, and if not, it’s heading back. It’s also “grape” and “grape” is not the purple that it looked like online.

End result: Feeling a bit low about my stomach pudge, and renewing the determination to re-lose the 8lbs I’ve gained since January, and possibly a few more. Stress eating is never a good answer to things, apparently. However, the first one, either with the current bottom or a larger one, is going with me on vacation. It will be worn. I trust my friends.

Good thing, too, eh?

How, you ask??

Here’s how: The cats had fleas awhile back (and thanks again for the advice on how to get rid of them). We treated them for 3 months and called it good.

The gray cat sort of stopped grooming himself while we were treating him, and we figured he didn’t like the taste of the flea meds. After he didn’t resume, though, we got worried.

We brushed him. No luck.

So we bathed him. Even less luck.

And yes, we’re both still sporting battle wounds.

As John was taking the cats to the vet the next day for their shots, he asked the vet about it. She couldn’t find anything wrong with him.

So she shaved him.

But only the area where his fur was matted and knotted. And only enough to get the clumps out. So it’s all a bit ragged, and he’s just the funniest looking cat.

Poor guy. We’ve had fun laughing at him, but he’s super soft where he’s been shaved, so he’s gotten lots of petting to make up for the laughing.

The Gray Cat...Shaved

The Gray Cat...Shaved

Guilt: Realizing that the company you just sent a nasty email to about how their product doesn’t work and you’d like some explanations right! damn! now! is located in Houston, Texas.

Gratitude: Realizing the company sent said product on a Thursday, specifically the Thursday mere hours before the pre-Ike storm started to hit.

Sorry about that, guys!

Does anyone out there know what a four parameter logistic curve-fit is?

And how to plot a standard curve using one?

G*ogle is failing me. It really is.

Stupid math. Stupid necessary math.

So here’s the deal: I’m a wee bit afraid of snakes.

Okay, okay, I’m completely and utterly and psychotically afraid of them. All of them. Even the small ones. Even garter snakes.

ALL OF THEM.

VERY, VERY AFRAID.

I’ve had this problem as long as I can remember, and no, I’ve never been attacked or bitten or even really threatened. And it’s not that I’m afraid of that–no, I’m afraid of the damn things themselves. My brain rarely makes it past “snake!” and on towards “poison! constriction! what fun!”.

I’d figured, for the longest time, that I was afraid of them due to the following memory: When I was about 5, I went to a birthday party at the zoo, and we got taken behind the scenes to see some of the baby animals or animals that weren’t on display. At the time, there was a large boa of some sort there. I remember some adult taking my hand and forcing me to touch it, probably to make me realize it wasn’t slimy or going to hurt me in any way. I remember being absolutely terrified of it.

I mentioned this to my parents, and my mom said that that person? Was her. And I was already terrified even before she made me touch it.

The only possible explanation she or my dad had was that when I was a couple months old, they’d been out hiking in the deserts around Tucson and had seen some fairly rare rattlesnake. Now, my dad’s a reptile person–he works with lizards and has always liked them and snakes. So, naturally, they wanted to get a bit closer to see it. I was in a little backpack thing on my dad’s back, and apparently just started screaming my head off. (Clearly I was smart back then–who’d willingly want to get closer to a rattlesnake??) My parents think that the backpack or a diaper pin or something poked me, and now I associate that pain with seeing the snake. Possibility.

So in general, I’ve avoid snakes like one might avoid the black plaque. Let’s just say that The Crocodile Hunter wasn’t my favorite program on TV, eh?

This fear generally manifested itself irrationally–I actually went to see Anaconda when it came out (brilliant, I know–my earlier brains had deserted me in the face of peer pressure and a lack of any other summer movies worth seeing), and had to get up and walk out of the theater, but not until I’d left fingernail scars on the arms of the two people on either side of me.

When I’d be flipping through TV channels, if I came across a snake, I tended to scream, cry, hyperventilate a bit, throw the remote away and press myself as far back into the sofa as possible. This usually resulted in John coming and turning off the TV with equal parts exasperation (WHY would you throw the remote away? WHY not just change the channel?) and sympathy (It’s okay, it’s gone, stop crying).

It wasn’t fun, but it didn’t really impair my life in anyway.

Then, if you remember, there were snakes galore up in Chico in May when we (Amelia and I) rode the Wildflower Ride. There were two snakes encountered on that trip–one crossing the road while I was driving, and one (dead) on the side of the road. Neither experience went very well, let’s just say.

And my reaction to the dead one that I biked past? Was to swerve out into the road, far away from it. Aside from the general crying/screaming/hyperventilating, swerving out into the road on a bike is not a good idea. I’m just sayin’. If there had been cars, I know that wouldn’t have stopped me. This was too instinctive, too “get far away right damn now”, to control. I just went.

And that was a bit terrifying to realize. A dead snake, or even a live snake that I bike past, hopefully isn’t going to do me too much damage. A car, on the other hand? Will do a lot of damage to a biker.

General safety point number 2: We’re going on vacation next week with Nate and Shelly, James F and Cara, James M and Rae and Aaron. We’re going on a dive vacation, to be specific. And we’re going to a place that has… sea snakes.

So, if my instinctive panic-reaction (prior to any sensible rational reaction about 10-20 seconds later) is to get as far away as possible, there are two options. One: I’ll turn and swim away at torpedo speed. Two: I’ll use my low pressure inflator button to shoot for the surface at rocket launch speed, possible bursting my lungs or giving myself an air embolism or giving myself decompression sickness in doing so.

Like arguing with a car while you’re on a bike, these are all things best avoided. Death is not really preferable to a snake encounter, no matter what the irrational part of my brain says.

So it was decided, in company with John and Amelia, that phobia therapy was in my immediate future. Luckily, Student Health is (not) equipped to deal with this. Bah.

But go I did, for 6 sessions. We mostly talked about snakes, although at my first session the guy wanted to know all about my family and my relationships, my medical history, if I’d had any thoughts of suicide, etc, etc, etc. I appreciate his thoroughness, but really? Snakes, buddy.

Step one was to buy a large toy snake, which John did for me. He was 5 feet long, blue, fluffy, and had purple eyelashes. I named him Jake, as in Jake the Fake Snake. Since then, I’ve decided that Jake may be female (see above, Re: eyelashes) but oh well. Jake wasn’t too bad, although he gave me the willies at first. Then the therapist decided if Jake was sort of okay, we’d move on to step two: watch a video.

Unfortunately, the first one he pulled up on Y*uT*be was of an anaconda (see above, Re: Anaconda the movie) that had crawled into someone’s livestock pen, eaten a member of the livestock (goat? sheep?) and now was too big to crawl back out of the pen BECAUSE IT HAD A FREAKIN’ GOAT OR SHEEP INSIDE IT!!!! Needless to say, this did not go well. I’m not sure what the people in the rooms on either side of us thought, but I think I did prove my point to the therapist that this was irrational and debilitating at times.

So we took a step back to pictures, and eventually to videos, and eventually, on my 6th visit, I made it through 6:30 of a 7 minute video of a guy playing with a 14-foot King Cobra. I kid you not. Google it. The thing is damn scary. The guy says that it’s highly venomous, though not at the top, but given it’s size, it probably packs enough venom to be the single most deadly snake out there. And he’s playing with it. And his dream in life has been to touch one on the head. Which he does.

Umm, I’m so not there. But hey, I watched most of it, right?

Since then, I haven’t had too much exposure, other than attempting to visit the snake that I recently found out lives next door to James and Cara. It wasn’t home (or at least, it’s owner wasn’t), so that may be the plan for this Saturday. There had also been a plan to visit the SF Reptile House, but that was nixed when we did the math of gas prices+time+(theoretically) easily accessible snake next door.

And last night, when the snake came on in the show? (The show about mold–WTF?? I think it was a metaphor for how fast mold can strike, maybe? Still, WTF??) I tensed, I shook a bit, but that was about it. There was no screaming, no crying, no hard breathing, no real panic.

All of this bodes well, but the real test will be when I see one in the ocean. Let’s just say that my fingers are crossed, and I’m feeling sort of maybe okay with this.

Tell me, if you were watching Modern Marvels: Mold, would you have expected to see a rattlesnake strike at the screen????

That said, apparently the phobia therapy is working better than I thought. No screaming was involved, and really only a mild jump.

I bought my first bikini today. Ever.

I’ve never had the confidence in my body to do so before, although I’ve worn plenty of tankinis–they make bathrooms on boats easier.

Cara brought up the idea a couple weeks ago. We’re all going on vacation together soon, and will be spending plenty of time diving and laying on the beach. Her points were: we aren’t going to judge each other, our significant others sure aren’t going to be judging us (or at least, they won’t be finding us lacking when they do), and we’ll be pretty much alone on our little desert island, so all the other people who might be judging us will be far, far away.

Shelly and I had to agree with that logic, so today, we headed to the mall to look around. Cara ended up being sick and missing the adventure, but Shelly and I still had fun. She ended up with a cute little red number and matching skirt, and we both bought cover-ups that look crocheted. They’re rather see-through, and thus show off the swimsuits underneath, but they cover-up enough that I feel pretty comfortable in mine. At least enough to possibly go to dinner in it if we come straight from the beach.

I tried on a bunch of different suits, but the place we were at was ridiculously expensive and the sales ladies were ridiculously pushy about selling. Although I didn’t buy anything, I did try on ones equivalent to the ones I ordered from VS’s.com when I got home. Thus, I have a pretty idea how they’ll look on my body, which definitely probably doesn’t match the model’s bodies online. Eh, so long as I feel I look good, it’s okay, right? This might be a good step in the whole self-confidence in my body and myself and my life thing. I hope.

They arrive Thursday. We’ll see how I actually look in them. And whether I actually have the balls (breasts?) to wear them on the beach in a week and a half.

We’re 2-0 at home, 0-2 on the road.

This means we’ll beat USC again this year, right?

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