Monday, January 30, 2006

New blog for Leo

While the Suburban Masquerade is on hiatus, I have started a new blog to chronicle my cat Leo's ongoing health challenges -- My Name is Leo.

It's strictly for anyone who has ever loved a pet. Who knows, it may end up being informative, inspiring and/or uplifting. Or maybe it'll just be depressing. We'll see...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Short Hiatus

A mere two months ago, I was blogging about the death of my cat Zeke. And now his brother Leo (same litter -- "brother" isn't some kind of goofy humanization of my pets) is going through his own health crisis.

I've always been turned off by people that call their cats their babies, or consider themselves "mom" or "dad" to their pets. That said, I love this cat so much -- which is understandable because he is the COOLEST CAT EVER.

This morning, with catnip -"Oh yeah, I'm the (neutered) man"

Leo's got all the best qualities of a dog (affectionate, loves attention) and all the best cat qualities (elegance, low maintenance and good breath.) He's gorgeous too, even at 12 years old. He "talks"- with a whole range of vocalizations that tell me exactly what's going on in his little feline head. Plus, he gives neck massages (okay, they're not good massages, and I know it's some kind of instinctive kneading thing, but he gets credit anyway.)

Yesterday we found out that what looked like an infection due to dental problems is most likely a jaw tumor, with the vet uttering the dreaded "may have to put him down."

But this morning, he's eating again (after a couple whiffs of that kitty ganja known as catnip.) And I'm determined to make Leo the world's most spoiled cat for as long as he's able to stay happily on this planet.

All to say that I'm going to be taking a little break from the blog so I can devote that extra time to petting, scratching & enjoying every purr.

See ya when I feel like being a smart ass again...

Friday, January 20, 2006

For Sale: One (1) Like New Kidney Stone MIB - Cheap!

For Sale: One slightly-used vintage 1994 Radio Announcer Kidney Stone, in its original lab-issued plastic canister.

Evidently there is a market for such things. After all, William Shatner got big bucks for his stone.

So I thought, well, I've got some perfectly fine calcium oxalate in my bedside table drawer...

I'm willing to part with it for a mere 2-grand or so, which is basically what it cost me to have the little bugger removed from the cozy home it had made for itself in my urinary tract system. That's a real bargain compared to the $25,000 Capt. Kirk's went for.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is actually only part of the original stone. The rock that caused all my misery was broken into small pieces by sound waves after I was suspended in a cloth sleeve and lowered into a metal tub of water while wearing paper underwear. Oh yeah, it was a blast.

For those who have never experienced the joy of the kidney stone, let me give you some highlights.

The pain woke me up from a dead sleep. Could it be a back spasm? Female problem? Oh, perhaps the pissing blood is a sign we need to go to the hospital...?

I was actually eager to drop trou in an emergency room to get a painkiller shot in the butt. It may be the one and only time I didn't mind showing my ass to a stranger. I was happy even though said painkiller shot compelled me to immediately vomit into the little sink in the room. It was that kind of pain.

Well, I needn't go into all the gory details, but a series of indignities followed. Much worse than childbirth.

Hint: if an urologist suggests inserting a stent into your ureter, politely decline.

And the souvenir of my adventure into the land of the urinary tract can be all yours for a just a couple grand! Heck, I'll even throw in the little plastic funnel sieve I had to pee in to catch it.

Paypal gladly accepted.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Expiration Date of the Xmas Tree

I'm lucky to be married to someone I agree with 90-percent of the time. That's why it makes our differences of opinion even more shocking.

But we don't fight per se, we engage in heated discussions (AKA "Here's why you're wrong.")

Sometimes things gets pretty interesting, as in our running debate regarding whether the majority of Americans have sex with the lights on or off.

And sometimes it's about the expiration date of Christmas trees.

Over the weekend, as I was meticulously (because everything I do I try to do meticulously) taking Christmas ornaments off the tree, my husband thanked me for doing so -- because he'd been meaning to, but hadn't found the time. He added that it had been bugging him to still have the tree up at this late date.

"What do you mean? It's only January 14th -- and my parents sometimes have their tree up until February." (Alright, that's nuts. I mean, one year my mom even decorated her tree with a Valentine's theme to justify its longevity. But when you're used to nuts it seems normal.)

Let the fight, er debate, begin...

Turns out my husband is a wanting-a-tree-up-and-decorated-all-December person, and I am a wanting-a-tree-decorated-the week-before-Christmas-thru-mid-January person (and that's really only because this is the last week our town picks up trees.) And somehow the marriage has survived ten years!

How could it be we are just discovering this difference? Probably because with two young kids, we never had the time to ever get anything done until the last minute anyway. And that suited me just fine.

My favorite fire hazard, shortly before dismantling

But now that the topic was breached, I told him I thought it detracted from the "specialness" of Christmas to have the tree up too early. I like the idea of putting the decorations on the tree the week before Christmas, as a prelude to the actual festivities (yeah, we're nothing but festive here.)

Adding to my aversion to the early tree is the relatively recent practice of stores putting up their Christmas decorations on or about November 1st (which totally pisses me off. I mean, anybody remember that little day called "Thanksgiving"? )

So blame retail -- because the early appearance of the decorated tree taunts me with, "I'm here all sparkly and festive and why the hell isn't your Christmas shopping isn't done yet, you freakin' slacker?!"

But once Christmas with all its heinous preparation is over, the tree becomes a way of prolonging the holiday spirit ... something to gaze at adoringly while savoring the mass quantities of dark chocolate that one's 90-percent-of-the-time-right husband was kind enough to stuff one's stocking full of.

My significant other's argument had something to do with the entire month of December being the "Christmas season" and that it was depressing to keep the tree up after the first week of January.

At least I think that was what he said...I was too busy keeping my fingers in my ears and humming loudly to know for sure.

Meanwhile, both our children came to me separately as I was denuding the tree and expressed their disappointment that the decorations couldn't be up longer. To which I said -- go tell your dad what you just told me.

Which may not prove that I'm right, but only that I think like a grade-schooler. Hey, I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ohmigaaawd..., did ya hear? Brad! Angelina! Baby!...

The big story on the national morning shows today seemed to be that Angelina Jolie is with child, and the fetus has Brad Pitt's genetic code written all over it.

Well, bless her little partially-lasered-off Billy Bob tattoos. You mean Angelina and Brad are really more than just friends?

If I cared any less...well, what is the smallest particle known to man? (Physics students or Stephen Hawking feel free to chime in here) Whatever that eensy-weensy particle is, I care less than that.

What is the fascination with Bradgelina (or whatever their hybrid name is)? I mean, Angelina was kinda interesting back in the good old days when she was wearing a vial of blood around her neck and making out with her brother on the red carpet.

But lately...yawn...all that adopting orphan nonsense...the earnest interviews...humanitarian photo ops...

And isn't it funny how one can get away with being semi-nuts if that one has a smokin' bod and lips with their own zip code?

The only difference between Angelina and your crazy aunt with the 20 cats is...ok...there are a lot of differences, but let's just say that if your crazy aunt looked like Jolie, she wouldn't have to resort to living with her felines who will eat her when she dies alone and unnoticed. She could be certifiable and still have a line of men waiting to explore her, um, eccentricities.

I won't even go into Brad. For reasons I can sum up with just one word: "Troy."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Bad Sign

It may be time to start laying off the Jesus jokes...after my 6-year-old posted this on her bedroom door:

(But aren't the little faces inside the 6s cute?)

There is an innocent explanation -- she was giving our bedrooms "addresses" based on the age of the occupants. I won't tell you the master bedroom address, except to say it was a 6-digit number.

I think I'd bettter go now and check her hairline for any evidence of numbers burned into her scalp.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Great Panty Experiment

Faithful readers will recall my thoughtful exploration of the phenomenom commonly referred to as the Visible Panty Line (VPL).

Informal polling seemed to confirm that most men really couldn't care less if an underpant outline graces a lady's bottom. (Interestingly, men always seemed to want to advance the notion of "going commando" but I believe that had nothing to do with VPL.)

In the name of scientific analysis, and evidently nothing better to do, I decided to take it upon myself to dig deeper into the VPL issue.

First, I managed to work a "thong vs. panty" discussion into any number of family holiday gatherings. Compared to the hot-button topics of religion and politics, conversing about unmentionables is not all that difficult a subject to negotiate. (Warning: Try at you own risk. Dangers include finding out your father's panty preference and that you are the one responsible for turning your senior citizen mom onto the thong in the first place. Side effects include lingering unpleasant mental images.)

I did NOT bring VPL up with my In-laws at our Christmas Eve get together -- however, at that function, my daughter piped up with (as we were opening our gifts) "My mom always gets underpants for Christmas."

Nervous laughter ensued.

But she is correct - Santa always seems to put some sort of holiday-themed undies into my stocking each year. (He also likes to shop at Old Navy, evidently.) And somewhere the undergarment powers-that-be have decreed that Santa's face does not belong on a thong. So all the xmas undies are regular bikini pants.

So, when the red panties covered with little snowmen and the green undies with the cartoon reindeer appeared in my stocking this year, I figured it was a sign that perhaps I should actually wear them this year.

If only in the name of research, I vowed to put aside the thongs for an entire week...and see what would happen.

It's kinda like a panty version of Supersize Me -- except here, hopefully, my unmentionables aren't actually supersized (yet...)

So, I worked my way through the undies -- from the mini Santa heads...through the gingerbread the ones with dilated-pupil drummer-child and the pack animal that looks vaguely like a chihuahua (my favorite!)

The process forced me to actually look at my butt in a mirror -- something I generally avoid for my own mental health.

The VPL was actually not too visible while wearing jeans. In workout pants (AKA yoga pants)...well...not a pretty sight. Luckily, it was a holiday week, and the gym was not on the to-do list.

And you know what -- the full-size were more comfortable. Evidently sometime since my 1999 pregnancy (the last time I gave up the thong) there have been incredible scientific advances in undergarment elastic.

And as far as I know, no one pointed, snickered or ran away screaming after seeing the faint outline of a panty gracing my derriere. Not any more than usual anyway.

Somehow, this knowledge seems especially liberating.

I can't say I won't revert to my itsy-bitsy undie ways -- however, it's nice to know there is an acceptable option, especially for jeans and days involving butt-covering coats.

Today I have vanquished the thong -- tomorrow the underwire!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Holy Trinity -- New! Improved!

This photo topped an article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer -- the story was about Paula Brown, the soon-to-be ex-mayor of Darby, PA.

Brown has been a highly entertaining mayor -- especially 2004's standoff where she barricaded herself in her office for several days because the city council was planning on evicting her from her office by changing the locks. (Long story...)

But what got my attention was the picture hanging over her head:

A holy trio: Jesus...what appears to be a pope...and J.F.K.


I just don't get it. Twelve years of Catholic school, and I just don't get it.

What do the unidentified Pope & J.F.K. have in common? That Jesus thinks they're both groovy?

Now, if it was Sinatra, J.F.K. and Jesus, that I'd understand.