Update for Charla

Since my step-mom uses this blog as an update on what’s going on (or what I’m thinking about) and I’ve been really bad about posting lately, I thought I’d update her. My apologies to the rest of you who probably are a couple of seconds from yawning if you go much past this sentence.

Sam – A few weeks ago she had a set-back. The right side of her face became paralyzed (previously it was her left side). Fortunately, since we’d been through this on her left side with visits to the neorologist, cat scans, spinal taps – all that kind of fun, we got her to the vet immediately and the recovery has gone a lot faster. Sam still can’t blink with either eye. So poor Sam, four times a day we try to convince her that sitting patiently while we smear goop in her eyes is fun. Of course, the peanut butter covered pills help. Although, she’d prefer those to the eye full of goop. Sam’s left eye now blinks more regularly, but it’s not consistent. Despite all of this and the added trouble of the cats popping her every time she looks at them wrong, Sam is one of the happiest and goofiest little dogs around.

Bowling – April is the last month of bowling and I plan on ending as the worst bowler of the year. WOO HOOO! You see, we get a ranking list once a week and there’s my name right there towards the bottom. “Suckiest Bowler in the History of Our League: Beth”. The handout used to include a “Least Improved” listing, but someone thought that was a little mean and they removed it. Still, I know in my heart that my name is there in the software.

Work Stuffs – I’m in the process of working towards a CAPM certification and should have it by the middle of the summer. This is the first step to me eventually getting a PMP certification (I just need the hours). Basically, I’ll be an authority on acronyms and will have a lovely piece of heavy paper with my legal name on it (yippee). I’m hopeful it will also include one of those little gold embossed thingies to make it look all official like.

OtherStuffs

  • Anna lost a bet and will be treating me to a fun-filled vacation day in the next couple of months. YAY!
  • It’s still not too late to get your Dragon Con tickets (Aug. 28-Sep. 1) for my 40 1/2 birthday. Guests are signing up and so far it looks like a decent BSG turn-out. I’ll be the one cheering madly in the front.
  • Lance’s Band the Killer Crocs of Uganda is performing at Momo’s on April 5, 11pm
  • Colt, April & Jonathan celebrate their birthdays in April. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (Now I don’t owe you cards.)
  • I still need people to come help me design a garden and give me lawn advice!!! HELP ME PLEASE! (I’m not kidding.)
  • …and I’m plum out of updates

Birthday: The Models


Shadow Box
Originally uploaded by Beth Doughty

Those at my birthday may have noticed the picture below didn’t have the shadow box. This deserves special mention especially since one of us might have had a mini-meltdown at the birthday party over it.

You see, I have a rare phobia involving model robots in small spaces….
No wait… I’ll start at the beginning. A small story for my friends/family who were at my birthday since I couldn’t choke it out.

When my mother was growing up in the 40’s they lived in a big house with their grandmother, aunt, uncle and her cousin Philip. Mom & Philip did everything together so it was only natural that when Philip and his dad got together for model building that Mom would join them. Well, Uncle Phil explained to a young Mom that girls didn’t build models, which was a lot like saying “as soon as you’re on your own kid, you’re going to build as many models as you can get your hands on” and after being deeply offended that’s what she set about doing.

Mom has built all sorts of ships, shuttle craft and when the Star Wars phenomenon hit the 70’s she grabbed up these models – putting in more work than was called for on C3PO and possibly R2, but that’s actually not the original R2 that she put together – he disappeared – and somewhere in the 90’s we went on a mission to find a duplicate kit. These were the models I took with me for show-and-tell; the envy of all my classmates at the time. In fact, for that one day I was popular – everyone wanted to play with them. (Not that I was old enough in the 70’s to take them anywhere, mind you.) These are the models that always stood on her shelves even when she started to loose everything and had to drastically reduce what she owned to what she could fit into a single bedroom. I would say that of all the models my Mom built, and there were many impressive ones, these meant the most to her.

My cousin Kim used them in part of the display at the funeral to remind people of who Mom was and I remember Kim saying she wanted to do something special with them and I completely forgot about them.

Then my TWENTIETH birthday party came along and I’m pulling out gifts, working my way to opening my “Box o’ Beth” and get to this. Kim had placed Mom’s models in a shadow box, lit up the back with stars and there R2 and 3PO stood before me on the sands of Tattooine.

Kim, I will never be able to express how much this gift meant to me – how incredibly thoughtful – how deeply it touched me. Thank you!

Birthday Loot


Loot
Originally uploaded by Beth Doughty

My grandmother was a firm believer that you didn’t go around bragging about your gifts. The kid next door might have only gotten handpainted rocks and a Chia Pet compared to your Solid Gold album featuring Dionne Warwick (well, not mine because that would make me VERY old and I just turned 20 – who was Shawn Cassidy? I have no clue, I never had a poster. *cough*) Of course, my grandmother also had some crazed notions about how girls wouldn’t date if they showed the slightest signs of intelligence either, so I take what my grandmother taught me with a huge grain of salt. In other words, I’m about to brag.

That there, that there up above, that’s a sample – something I’d like to call the best birthday presents ever. What you’re looking at represents poems, pictures, CDs, comics, haikus, original drawings, original stories, food and a fresh wreath of pine – all of it from my friends and family for my TWENTIETH birthday.

By far, I have the best friends and family a person could ask for and since I have this blahg, I have to brag on them. This was one of those occasions that I will never be able to properly express how grateful I am for all of them.

Thanks guys, for giving me so much of yourselves for my birthday. It was by far the best birthday EVAH!

A Meaningful Question

In college, everyone had “that” professor – the one person who did more than most to introduce them to a new world view, shape their ideas, get them excited and inspired about education. I was lucky in that I had three: Dr. Louis H. Mackey, who taught me a little about Ethics, Dr. Michael Adams who tried to teach me Advanced Expository Writing (blame him – he’s the one who passed me) and Dr. Richard C. C. Kim who got me so excited about Political Science that I thought I should make it my major. Little did I know that what he taught me had more to do with philosophy than politics.

I took every class that Dr. Kim taught, sitting at his feet in my mind trying to absorb everything he said. I wasn’t Dr. Kim’s best student by far, but that didn’t stop me from eagerly anticipating each class in a vain attempt to will myself to be more like Dr. Kim. He was one of “those” professors – the one other students warned you not to take, but you knew better than to heed their warnings. With his offbeat teaching style and radical views, he was a far cry above the professors who merely wanted you to “read chapter 3 and answer the questions at the end of the section.” In fact, most of my core beliefs about politics and political philosophy come from this man and his out of print book “Kimbrations: Reflections of a Philistine”.

We students spent a lot of time in “Plato’s Cave” (a room filled with articles and books set aside by Dr. Kim to study politics and philosophy) looking for truths and looking for meaningful questions. To Dr. Kim, a meaningful question was not “how are you doing?” (He would argue that the person who asked had no actual interest in how you were actually doing, he just wanted to hear the word “fine” so he could shuffle down the hall and be done with the social obligation.) In fact, if you made the mistake and asked Dr. Kim how he was doing, he would tell you exactly how he was doing, which was always a bit startling because it was never “fine” or “well”. Dr. Kim’s example of a bad question would be, “what color is my underwear?” He would state (and I hope I’m doing this justice after 20 years) that because it was a very answerable question, it was not worthy of being asked. The kinds of questions he was looking for took some thought. Those were good questions; the kind that forced you to think.

What this all is leading to is my birthday and the present that I want from my friends/family. Since it’s a 0 birthday, I’m allowed to do something a little different. I want to ask my friends and family a few questions that they answer and give to me as a birthday present, but I’m stumbling because I can’t think of truly “good” questions. I want something beyond those e-mail chains of “What is your favorite color?” “What is your favorite movie?” or “What color is your underwear?” – while they are arguably interesting (depending on whose asking) they don’t really tell me much about you. I want to know you.

So, I’m asking you as my readers. What is a good question to you? (Seth? Tony? Lori? Pam?) – something Dr. Kim or the metaphoric blind man, Johnny Alameda, that Dr. Kim invoked in many a class, would see as good.

Save the Date (Unofficial Version)

It’s creeping up on my birthday again and it’s a big one – one of those that end in a big fat 0.
This birthday is going to be celebrated in two parts – the first part will be devoid of the big “to-do” – no one has to skate (unless they want to!) or bowl and there won’t be a “bag of mystery” to select prizes from. NOPE! (I promise we’ll get back to that next year.) In fact, this first part will actually be held on a Saturday instead of the traditional Tuesday.

This year we’re looking at hanging out in a steak house for a couple of hours. Yes, since it’s a 0 birthday, I get to have barely cooked cow with a side of cow and cow sprinkles. If you’re sensitive about cow eating, I’m sorry, but cows are yummy and with the right sauce I’d dare say they’re heaven. Mmm cow, how I love thee. You can have a roll.

I’m announcing this now because you need to cancel plans with your own families over the holidays; you can see them next year. Better still, fly/drive/run on Sunday because this is going to be on December 22nd.

Now in case you can’t make it. That’s ok. As you all know, I don’t hold a grudge. No sirree… I’m a completely understanding individual. I mean, it’s not like it’s a BIRTHDAY THAT ENDS IN A 0 – HOORAY I MADE IT THIS FAR kind of thing. Still, I’ll give you option 2 – my REAL celebration. Dragoncon 2008, which happens over Labor Day. I’m giving you 11 months notice to save money, save up vacation leave and to get your tickets now for only $50 (if purchased by November 15.)

Who doesn’t want to see my hoot and holler over the cast of Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Star Trek, Firefly, Ghost Hunters, MythBusters and … err Happy Days, because nothing says SciFi like Joanie, Ralph Malph and Pottsy. My goal: picture WITH Adam Baldwin and I will try to not make an ass of myself by telling him I wanted him to be My Bodyguard since 7th grade. (In fact, I need to start saying that as my mantra so I don’t embarrass any of you that actually can go.)

So, there it is – SAVE THE DATES! Real Save the Dates coming soon!

PS. If you read the blog (and I know your face), I want you to be there so no guff giving if the e-mail ball gets dropped; I’m an airhead. Just ask me for the location and be ready for COWWWWWW (or pork or salmon… if you must insult me on my birthday).

An Irish Prayer

An Irish Prayer

May those who love us, love us;
and those who don’t love us,
may God turn their hearts;
and if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
may he turn their ankles
so we’ll know them by their limping.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

For those with a Second Life account (they’re free) – the traditional birthday festivities will be virtual this year – from 6-9pm CST (I know I’m not alone when I say I’ll miss the good food and drinks). So, have some beer at the ready and send your good wishes to Mod Faulkner.

Bowling for Trolls


I’m a huge drama queen when it comes to my birthday. Everyone knows it and I freely admit it – since I acknowledge it, it makes my irrational behavior acceptable.

See, I’m a Christmas baby. Yes, born on the actual day – 8:52 am – Mom thought it was food poisoning from something she ate the night before. On that morning, I burst out at 7 lbs. ½ oz., 21”, with a full head of hair and big issues. From 8:53 on I had to share my birthday with the world. The problem was only compounded by being an only child. You see, we’re naturally selfish if you listen to any pop-psychologist. So, it’s really not my fault, I mean what is? (another thing I learned from pop-psychology).

As a Christmas baby you have to learn to compromise. Birthdays have to be held a few weeks in advance because no one can come on the actual day. Family frequently forgets it’s your birthday at gatherings on the actual day. It’s just hard to feel special. (I discount any time I get to whip out my driver’s license and hear “oooh, Christmas!”)

For the last 9 years I’ve had an annual skate party and every year I swear up and down it’s the very last one. As I explained to Jay, “no one ever comes” and then he counted out 8 people who showed up at the last one – really uncool, because in Beth’s new math 8 some how got remembered as maybe 3 or 4.

Well, this year was it for me. No more birthday parties. I was throwing in the towel. My grand plan was to count the cards I didn’t receive and throw a pity party for one.

That’s when April stepped in. “If I throw you a birthday party, will you agree to have it?” Sure. “How many people will have to be there for you to actually feel like it’s a birthday party?” I think I begrudgingly said 10. (Like I said, I’m a HUGE DRAMA QUEEN about my birthday. I did NOT say I’m a rational human being… ever.)

Today I got the e-Vite (an e-Vite that I didn’t make for once) which completely made my day. In the hottest pink background possible (love it) I read about “Beth’s Birthday Bowl-a-Thon” and “Bowling for Trolls” with promises that if you bowled a strike or spare you got to “get a prize from the bag of mystery”. How can you resist a “bag of mystery”?

April, you crack me up and you completely made my day. Thank you, my wonderful friend. And another thank you for babysitting me through the years and for listening to all of my ridiculous birthday whining (yeah, yeah, thanks to the rest of you who listen to it, too).