29 June 2009

A break from the MJ

Okay, time for a non-MJ, non-grief-stricken, non-angry post.

What fits those categories? KNITTING! or something related - SPINNING!

To be honest, I haven't touched my spindles in quite awhile. I've been wanting to get back to it, especially now that it's warm out and there are only a few projects I can bear to work on in the heat. And the upcoming Tour de Fleece on Ravelry inspired me to get back to it (proud member of Team Hoar).

So, until TdF starts, I'm in training. Whilst at the laundromat this evening, I started spinning again.

Check it out! Here's a pic of my spindle (purchased at Rhinebeck) with some of my drafted roving (Romney). And here's a pic of my pre-plied yarn. Yay!

Open Letter

Joe Jackson:

Fuck off and die. Seriously.

I hated you before for making his life hellacious. I now hate your even more (which I didn't think possible) for making a mockery of his death.

1. How dare you chide and chastise the world for not acknowledging your son and his impact? He is THE GREATEST SELLING MUSICAL ARTIST OF ALL TIME. He has sold over 100 million albums.

2. How dare you start hawking your new venture on the red carpet of a show that was seriously changed and retuned in THREE DAYS to honour your recently deceased son?

3. How dare you answer a reporter's question about how your family is doing with "great - I'm doing pretty well" a fucking THREE DAYS after your son has died?

4. How dare you respond to a reporter commenting on how difficult to last few days must have been for your family with, "AND?"

5. How dare you use this platform to issue a statement about how you and Mrs. Jackson have "sole authority" over Michael's children?

I hate you. You are a shame and a disgrace to the Jackson family. I can only hope that God has special plans for you when you die. Until then, you need to hope you and I never cross paths. Hell hath no fury like a Michael Jackson fan scorned.


PS. Michael - screw you for dying and giving him this opportunity to exploit you. Okay, yeah - so I've reached the anger stage in my grieving. I'll take this sentiment back in a few days. I promise.

28 June 2009


Because of everything else going on in my life, I'm probably taking this a bit more seriously than I need to, and I'm aware I'm taking things to heart that I shouldn't be.


I am completely fucking over the Twitter thing. If you want me to know what's going on in your life, I hope you blog about it (or, you know, text me, call me, email me, write me a good old-fashioned letter). Because as of about five minutes ago, I've deleted all Twitter feeds from my Google Reader.

I find it annoying to read more replies than things of actual content that make sense to me without having to click through and reverse engineer a thread. I find it annoying to have to click through to read the end of the long twitter post. I find it annoying to have to click through to see a pic that someone has posted. It's all too fucking annoying and I'm over it.

ETA: Another example that pisses me off. Recently, a friend apparently Twittered about something. Since the Twitter feed doesn't happen in real time on Google Reader, I read all of the replies to the event before I read about the actual event from the person. Now, in this case, it didn't much matter. But if it was about an important event, I'd want to hear about it from the original source first.

Also, I just realised that I'm going to have to add back Mikey's Twitter feed or my mom will kill me.

Draw a Giraffe!

In non-MJ news, one guy bet that he could collect one million handdrawn giraffes by 2011.

Read about it here and go contribute.

Oh, and spread the word.

26 June 2009

Still doin' the D

The five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

Well, I'm still on the first "D." I keep waiting for the shows to explain that they've got it wrong. I keep waiting for the family to say "hey, guess what!" Last night, I asked someone, "Why do they keep saying he's dead??? Why would they do that???? Why would they report false news????"

This morning, I took a box of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins to the office. I explained to the group that it was a bribe. They got Munchkins in exchange for not talking about Michael. Because I just couldn't bear it anymore. After crying off and on all evening yesterday, crying myself to sleep, and waking up crying... I needed a break.

In the meantime, my minions were fast at work. I'd made a bunch of phone calls and email pleas last night to secure newspapers from across the country. I believe that I have papers from Southern California, Denver, Kansas City, Atlanta, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York headed my way. For my part, I got a copy of all three Philadelphia papers.

When I got home, I turned on the coverage again. The tears came flowed fast and furiously this time. But mostly in anger. The man has been dead for barely a day. And it took less than that for the media to start hurling around "child molestation," "financial trouble," and "possible drug abuse." How dare they. HOW DARE THEY????

Don't get me wrong. I don't expect the shows to act as if the sun shone out of his ass. But can we let the family and the fans grieve? Can we focus on celebrating his life before we focus on the negativity? ALL of us - every. single. person. has made mistakes in our lives, have been misunderstood, and have regretted actions and or decisions. But I fervently hope that when we pass, our survivors will focus on the triumphs and the successes. And why is Michael deserving of anything less? (To that end: To Brian Oxman - FUCK YOU.)

Earlier this evening, I was thisclose to going to New York and joining the crowd at the Apollo Theater. But I feared that if I went, I'd never come home. I'd be with people who got it. People who understood my grief and sorrow. And who doesn't want to leave that comforting feeling of being understood and accepted? I also felt like trying to leave there would be much like holding the hand of a person who dies... and not wanting to let go. Because when you let go, that's the end. It's Over. And it's Real.

So I stayed home. I watched coverage all evening. At one point, I tried to get away from it by watching something I had TiVoed. I started it up, and it ended up that what I THOUGHT I had TiVoed was pre-empted last night for a show about MJ and Farrah Fawcett. So I've been crying for most of the evening. My eyes are puffy and my vision is blurred. I forgot to eat.

I think it's interesting that I posted the lyrics to "Childhood" last night and called it his "most emotionally honest and autobiographical" work, because one of the interviews that I watched today was MJ telling people who have doubts about him to listen to that song because it was "the most honest song [I] have written, and it's the most autobiographical song [I] have written."

When I was a kid, I wore a single glove for awhile. Of course, I didn't have the proper type of glove. So I was the goober who went around wearing one winter glove. In the summer of Missouri. I practiced hours so I could moonwalk. I could do the move where he danced and then jumped onto his toes. I had his videos memorised.

I bought every album he put out. Okay - that's not true. I have every album. But some of the singles and remixes were gifts. I was regularly given gifts of the MJ ilk, and as a result I have most of his older stuff on vinyl. "Thriller" was my first LP and "We Are the World" was my first vinyl single (at least that wasn't a children's read-a-long book accompaniment).

I hope he knows that I always believed in him. I never believed any of the rumors or allegations. I don't know if he bleached his skin, and I could never find it in me to give a rat's ass, other than to worry that he might have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. And, as I've said time and time again, and as I will continue to say - I will never believe anyone on this Earth who tells me that he molested anyone. Ever.

But my greatest hope now is that he has peace. That he is happy. And that he knows he was loved.

I will leave you with Seth Green's quote: There are two kinds of people in the world - Michael Jackson fans and losers.

"Gone Too Soon"

Written by Larry Grossman
Composed by Buz Kohan
Performed by Michael Jackson

"Gone Too Soon"

Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

25 June 2009


I got home around 5:00 p.m. Mish told me that Michael Jackson had a heart attack. I started Googling. When I got internet confirmation that MJ experienced cardiac arrest (which is more serious than a heart attack), I immediately started crying.

I called Mom. She is one of few people who knows how much MJ means to me. We have a family rule - if you don't want a knock-down, drag-out fight, you don't say anything even approaching negative about MJ. The last fist fight I was in was about MJ. Someone said something about him being a child molester. I took a swing, then another, until my at-the-time boyfriend restrained me. NO ONE on this Earth will ever be able to convince me that he ever molested those kids. Don't even try. Seriously; don't.

Mom reminded me that all I could do was pray. So I did. A lot. Hard. Then Mish told me that TMZ was reporting his death. I refreshed the Google News page so much it accused me of being a bot and I had to verify my human-ness.

I am alternating between complete denial (I just told Kate that I'm waiting for the story that it's all a mistake) and sobbing hysterically.

I just posted the lyrics to one of my favourite songs of his, "Childhood." I believe this to be his more emotionally honest, autobiographical songs. When people try to tell me how "weird" he is, I point them to that song.

Kate just asked me what about him made him so important to me. I think it's a few things. The most simplistic is that he was my first vinyl. "Thriller," if you must know. Even at a young age, I recognised genius - musical, lyrical, dancing genius. Pure, unadulterated genius.

But part of me also "got" him - at least inasmuch as one can get a person who one has never met. He had a fucked up childhood; so did I. He was robbed of his childhood; so was I. But he capitalised on his talent, and he went on to become succesful despite all of that. So, to a child who grew up with alcoholics, abusive parents, and bad role models all around - that was inspiring.

Some of his songs touched my soul. Some of his music lifted my spirits no matter my mood. Some of his lyrics made me cry.

I've said before that I tend to collect the homeless puppies. Even though he was much beloved by millions of people, I think he was my first homeless puppy.

The world has suffered an enormous loss.

I hope that he is at peace, something he rarely got in his life. I hope that he may rest now, with the serenity and dignity that is due him.


Written and composed by Michael Joseph Jackson


Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for the world that I come from
'Cause I've been looking around
In the lost and found of my heart...
No one understands me
They view it as such strange eccentricities...
'Cause I keep kidding around
Like a child, but pardon me...

People say I'm not okay
'Cause I love such elementary things...
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood
I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates in adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me,
Look within your heart then ask,
Have you seen my Childhood?

People say I'm strange that way
'Cause I love such elementary things,
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like fantastical stories to share
The dreams I would dare, watch me fly...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me.
The painful youth I've had

Have you seen my Childhood...

19 June 2009


The first thing I did when I went to work today was to see if my lab results were back yet. They were, and it was a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that my thyroid is, indeed, acting up. The good news is that I don't have a NEW health issue to worry about.

I'm very frustrated that since joining Weight Watchers, I'd lost a little over ten pounds. And in just over two weeks, I've gained almost all of it back. Weight gain is a pretty typical symptom, as are the other symptoms I've been experiencing: raspy voice, constant fatigue, feeling cold, depression, and inability to concentrate.

I called my endocrinologist and was told that her next available appointment was 02 October. I made the appointment, but decided to explore other options. I'll skip the details, but I was able to work out something with my endo. I faxed her my lab results, and she ordered my chart from the archives (I haven't seen her in 26 months). She'll decide if she feels comfortable just calling in a prescription for me or if she'll try to squeeze me in.

I hadn't seen her for so long because I've been euthyroid for awhile - meaning that although my antibodies were elevated, my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels were normal. This is a somewhat normal pattern for Hashimoto's patients - having an underactive thyroid, then the thyroid decides to do its job... hell, sometimes it even becomes *too* active. In fact, that's what happened to me. I eventually became hyperthyroid (rather than hypothyroid, which is how I usually present) before my thyroid decided to settle down and act right.

All of this makes me VERY happy that I decided to drop my calculus course a couple of weeks ago. Depending on how long it takes me to get in to see Dr. El-Hajj (and I LOVE her - she writes down all of her instructions and explanations; the patient goes home with the original and a carbon copy goes in the chart), this could get slightly worse before it gets better.

The doctor who wrote the order for the blood test told me today that he was impressed I was so tuned in to my body and was able to pinpoint the culprit. That was kind of nice to hear.

In the meantime, one of the things that typically plagues affects my interactions/relationships the most when I'm symptomatic is difficulty with memory. So please be patient with me as I try to remember to revert to some of my coping mechanisms - carrying my book with me at all times, writing copious notes/to-do lists, etc. If I forgot something, it's not personal; I promise.

And thanks for all of the support. I wouldn't know what to do without you!

18 June 2009

Le Sigh

Some of you know that 3.5 years ago, I got really sick. I was constantly tired. I couldn't walk anywhere. I couldn't speak. I passed out if I laughed too hard. My hair stopped growing. My periods stopped. I couldn't brush my hair without a break. I gained over 25 pounds in just over three months. My resting heartrate was sometimes around 130. My voice was raspy.

Then I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Basically, I was hypothyroid. For those of you who don't know a lot about the thyroid, the thyroid is like the thermostat of the body. And my thermostat decided it didn't need to tell my body to regulate itself. I was started on thyroid hormone replacement, and (as my endocrinologist predicted) it took me about 1.5 years to feel completely normal again.

Since I dropped my calc class, I've been exhausted. Not exactly how I expected to feel; I kind of thought I'd have MORE energy, be MORE rested, etc. I've noticed in the past few days that if I talk for more than about ten minutes, my voice gets kind of raspy. I've gained over four pounds in the past two weeks.

So I called the M.D. in my department at work and asked him to write a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) order for me. He brought it to a meeting we had this af, and I went to the lab after the meeting. My blood was drawn and I'm waiting for the results now.

On one hand, if my thyroid is acting up again, that's a good result. It's the devil I know, and going back to taking Synthroid every day won't be a huge burden (considering how many other pills I pop every day anyway). But it'll be a bummer that things are acting up again since it will take awhile for things to get back to normal. OTOH, if it's NOT my thyroid, that will suck because it will mean it's something ELSE. Something NEW.

So I guess I'm rooting for my thyroid acting up. Yay.

Lab results should be in tonight or tomorrow.

Candi Wrappers are here!

Go check out Cristi's (that's turtlegirl76 to you Ravelers) new sock pattern, released last night! She had a contest to name the pattern, and "Candi" featured heavily among the entries, as they were designed/created for her sister Candi.

The pattern is a Ravelry download for only $5.00! And 20% of the sales of the pattern will go to this charity. So you aren't just buying another pattern - you're donating to charity!

15 June 2009

In which I throw myself a pity party

(Teal deer alert!)

Yeah, that's right. A pity party for one. Well, actually, you can join in if you'd like. Just bring something to knit or spin. Or eat. Preferably something cheesy (for eating, not for knitting or spinning).

Today at work didn't start out great. (Actually, those of you who are on the Chase forum on Rav can skip this part as I'm too lazy to type it all out again.)

(Note: Names were coded to protect the absent, the innocent, and teh studip)…

Me: Who is going to do blah blah for Co-worker #1?
CW2: I will
CW3: Wha..?
Me: Okay.

I then hand CW2 the stuff for CW1 and CW2.
I hand CW3 the stuff for CW3.

An hour later…
CW3: What units does CW1 have?
CW2: Here’s the chart, but why?
CW3: Well, I was going to do her MDRO stuf.
Me: …
CW2: Oh. I’ve been doing it. It’s taken care of.
CW3: Oh, so you got this (confidential information) patient?
CW2: Where was that?
CW3: Here. See? EDAD.
CW2: Uh - that’s not (confidential information); that’s “Emergency Admit.” That’s your unit.
Me: …
CW3: Oh, uh-huh, yeah. Okay.

About a month ago, my boss and I made the decision to password protect some of the data and graphs that I am responsible for compiling, analysing, and interpreting every month. I campaigned for this because CW3 consistently goes into said graphs and changes things around. This stuff goes out to bigwigs over MY name. So I get very testy about people changing things around, especially when said things are reported to the CDC and PA DOH.

Well, about an hour after the above exchange, I discovered that CW3 decided to play around in some OTHER graphs that I put together every month. So now I'm going to have to spend time locking 18 more graphs because some people suck at life.

For exactly TWO WEEKS now, I've been asking for something we'll call DDs. Each unit is supposed to turn their DDs into my department every month. DDs are something that are counted each day. So if the units are doing this properly, they should be able to turn in their sheet of DDs on the first of the month. Until last month, the DDs went to our administrative assistant, who has since been laid off. So now the DDs have become my responsibility.

About a week ago, I started getting antsy about the DDs. I had about half of them, with no sign of the others. I NEED the DDs because they go into a document that I am responsible for turning in on the first Monday after the first two full weeks of the month (in other words, for June it was due TODAY). By the time I left the office on Friday, we were waiting for DDs from two more units - one was promised by 8:00 a.m. today (the person who had then was on vacation, but had been contacted and SWORE she'd get them to us as soon as she walked in the building today - she did). The other one (we'll call him K) said he had the DDs in his hand and would fax them right away.

Today rolled around. By noon, still no sign of DDs from K. To make a long story short, at 3:15 p.m., he finally said that "[his] clerk lost them." So now the data for his unit, all of the units like his, and the hospital will be fucked for this month, this quarter, and this fiscal year.

Then I go to the chiropracter for a follow-up visit from last week. This is a chiropracter I used to see a long time ago, but stopped when I started back to school and my health insurance there didn't cover him. However, last week, my hips started acting up again, so I went to see him. Basically, my sacroiliac joint is angry. This is the joint that moves when women give birth. It's at the back of the pelvic bowl and there's just to the side of the spine on each side. So I'm in pain whether I'm lying down, sitting up, or walking.

The chiro asked me how I was doing, and I told him that I hurt. A lot. He put heat on my back, then tried to adjust me. He adjusted one hip, then he asked me to roll over so he could do the other one. As has happened several times in the past week, I couldn't do it. I got to my back and was in too much pain to keep going. So he rolled me over and stretched my hip rather than adjusting it. In the end, he decided to ice me down for awhile. Then he scheduled me to come back tomorrow for some massage therapy before seeing him again. He told me to make sure I used plenty of ice tonight.

So on the way home, I picked up some water ice. That's what he meant, right??? (For you non-locals, water ice is sort of like a sno-cone, but much smoother in texture and a more intense flavour.)

(Side note: For those of you worried he's making me come back just to get my money - this is a doc who refuses to take your entire co-pay if your co-pay is over $15. And who rolls the massage therapy visit and chiro visit into one bill so you only pay one co-pay even if you see both of them.)

08 June 2009

Knitting Notes

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to receive a Pop Rocks chocolate bar and some stitch markers from Mel. I won't rehash the backstory here and now, but it all originated with a Ravelry train wreck.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a great picture of Mel's stitch markers, but here's a mediocre picture of them.

I can only pray that Mel will forgive me for such a bad picture of her absolutely BEAUTIFUL and ADORABLE work! I really love the stitch markers that designate the left- and right-side of the work.

If you want to see good pictures of her work, please visit her etsy site, which is located here.

And speaking of Mel, she's just been through a bit of a mess on Ravelry. I am happy to say that it's been sorted out, thanks in part to TPTB (the powers that be). So why am I telling you about it? Because a yarn store owner behaved badly. And I want people to know about it. For the full details, see this entry in Mel's blog.

And in non-Mel-related knitting news, I thought some of you would appreciate this recent exchange between Brook and me on IM:

Brook: weavolution.com Like rav for weavers. Just for future reference. ;) (i just signed up)
me: I'm not a weaver!!! And you're not turning me into one!!!!!
Brook: you said that about spinning
me: Shaddup
Brook: :D

07 June 2009

Not all fun and games

I've been struggling with the decision of whether to post this. I wanted to because I tend to post about what's going on in my life and this definitely qualifies. But I was hesitant because I know someone people from Ravelry take a peek, and I'm not sure that a post of this ilk is what they'd expect. They probably expect to see some FO pics, some yarn pics, and hear some funny little knitastrophe anecdote.

So, I'll warn you now... if that's what you expect and you'll be disappointed by anything else, then you probably shouldn't keep reading this post. Because, in the end, I've decided that, dammit, it's my blog and I'll post what I want to let out into the world.

As many of you know, I am a rape survivor. I was raped by my mom's second husband, after several years of being molested by him. He had helped my mom raise me since I was four years old.

I've been in therapy for years, and I've dealt with the rape several times before. It tends to be an issue that shows up in waves - sometimes I need to talk about it a LOT and other times I can go for quite awhile without needing to process it.

Without going into a lot of detail right now (mostly because it's past 1:00 a.m.), I'll just say that some current events in my life have me reprocessing (yet again) the rape. I'm back to sitting in my therapist's office crying and processing and asking the hard questions that, really, have no answer. And never will.

I also decided to post this here because I've ALWAYS been very open about the rape and its effects on me (why hide from it when I kick-started a move to change Missouri law because of what happened to me and had to write in testimony for the legislative records?). I want other victims to know that it doesn't always have to be the bottomless pit that it sometimes feels like, and I want people who aren't victims to not pity me. I guess it comes down to wanting to be seen as a strong survivor, not as a weak victim.

Anyway, another reason for posting is because, frankly, I could use the support of my friends. It's not that I need to discuss the details with all of you individually, but I could certainly make do with an extra hug here and there, a meaningful "no, really - how ARE you doing?", and some understanding if I'm a bit... distracted.


06 June 2009

The Race That Wasn't: Part III

As promised, some of the pics of the people I met during Non-Race Day.

Here's Taz. I met him waiting for Scott Speed's autograph. He's a Junior fan. His wife is a Kyle fan. Their 14-year-old son is a Scott fan. (I like how James' trailer is in the reflection.)

Here's a Martin Truex, Jr., impersonator. I thought it was very gracious of him to decline to sign a boy's hat. After Not-Truex went into the trailer, several of us argued (in a friendly manner) about whether it was or was not Truex. We said that if it WAS, he had CLEARLY lost a lot of weight. And then Taz reminded us that the camera adds ten pounds. Then we decided it was NOT him when we sent a scout to the front of Truex's trailer where he saw of pic of Truex with Not-Truex. So, I present to you... Not Truex:

We also saw someone who likes Kyle WAAAAAAY more than I do:

During the rain delay, there was a ton of people watching to do. I present to you Dancing Cowboy. Mom and I first spotted him when he made his way to his seat whilst drinking his can o' beer. Yes, we're walking down the row to the seat, but Must. Drink. Beer. They played songs for a bit, and he and his brew had a little dance going on. Mom and I agreed that he seemed attractive... at least from the back. From the back, he reminded me of Hank Williams, Jr. Anyway, here he is:

At the end of our row and then in the seat in front of him were the two Tattoo Guys. Mom and I refer to each of them as Tattoo Guy; I guess they're interchangeable in our minds. I wasn't able to get a picture of them that showed everything. The guy with the suspenders had multiple piercings and a tattoo that spanned the entirety of his sizeable belly. I will say that these guys were extremely nice and polite. When Mom was making her way out of the seats with her bags, Tattoo Guy asked her if she needed help. When I came down the stairs and was making my way back to the seats one time (carrying at least three bags), he asked if he could help me. There were also people during the rain delay who asked to take their picture, and both Tattoo Guys were very good-natured about the whole thing. They posed for pics, they took pics, etc. I didn't realise this at the time, or I'd have gotten in line (Mom told me later). I was busy feeling clever about kinnearing everyone.

And Fred Flintstone was at the race:

And, finally... Drunk Guy. I met Drunk Guy when we came back to our seats when we THOUGHT the race was going to get started. FOOLS! I looked under my seat to find my French fries (they were in a baggie), but no fries. I was annoyed - I mean, who steals FRIES??? And Drunk Guy in a slow Southern accent. "Oh hey - I stole your fries." The guys he was with (in the row behind Drunk Guy and me) are going, "Give her her fries back, man!" I told Drunk Guy he could have the fries, and he said, "No, really? Are you sure?" I said, "Who's your favourite driver?" "Tony Stewart." And I snatched the fries back. The guys all laughed, I took a fry and ate it, then I sealed the bag back up, and told the guy he could have them. He said, "No - they're yours. Well played. But can I defend my choice?"

I gave him the raised eyebrow look. He explained that when he started following NASCAR, he was told he needed a favourite driver. He didn't know who to choose, but said that his favourite colour is orange and his favourite number is 20. So he was told to pick Tony as his favourite. In the end, I let him have the fries. But, for posterity's sake, I got a pic of what his friends did to his back. Note to self: never let drunk people draw on me with a Sharpie.

02 June 2009

The Race That Wasn't: Part II

Okay, I know this is a one long-ass post, but stick with it. The end is pretty good. :)

Sunday: We got to the track shortly after 10:00 a.m. Mom was psyched that we got to park between the drag strip and the dirt track. She isn’t much for the dragsters, but she LOVES her some dirt track racing. Since the gates opened at 11:00 a.m., and they were handing out grab bags to the first 50,000 in the gates, I campaigned for walking straight to the gates and waiting in line, then checking out Souvenir Alley and the hospitality village. We decided to leave some of the stuff in the car (scanners, headsets, evening clothing such as jackets, etc.), which we would pick up later when we dropped off our buys and free samples.

We got to the gates and only had to wait about 20 minutes for them to open. We got our bags, then hit Souvenir Alley. People bought things. I’m sure you’ll be SHOCKED to hear that I bought something at Robby’s trailer and at James’ trailer. Sara was kind enough to buy me something at Kyle’s trailer. I bought Mom for Christmas a Mikey hooded sweatshirt that she picked out. I told her she could wear it that night, but then it had to go home to get wrapped for Christmas [cue more foreshadowing music].

As per usual, while strolling through Souvenir Alley, we saw the notices for the autograph sessions: Robby Gordon at 2:00 p.m., Scott Speed at 2:00 p.m., Toast at 2:00 p.m., David Ragan from 2:25-2:45. I planned my course of action: Scott Speed at 2:00 p.m., then a mad dash to Robby. Much as a I adore David, I only had my hat for him to sign, and he’d already signed it last year. And I didn’t feel like buying something at his trailer just for him to sign. Mom and Sara had exhausted Souvenir Alley, so I sent them on ahead to Hospitality Village and we agreed to meet up later after I was done being an autograph hound.

While I was in line for Scott, Sara texted me that Kyle was making an appearance at the Toyota exhibit at 3:00 p.m. By this time, the guy in front of me in Scott’s line and I were fast friends. Taz explained to me that his 14-year-old’s favourite driver is Scott, his favourite driver is Junior, and my favourite driver is KyleCarlJamesRobbyToddScott. So when Sara texted me, I called Mom, we came up with new meet-up plans, and I told Taz about Kyle’s appearance. He and I planned to sprint over to the Toyota exhibit together, but he later got a call from his wife, and he had to go somewhere else. Clearly, his wife is not as dedicated of a Kyle fan as I am! :P

I got Scott autograph on my hat and on a hero card. Taz took a pic of the two of us, and Scott was gracious enough to stand up and lean over the tall counter as much as possible to get both of us in the same shot. I thanked Taz, grabbed my camera from him, and literally ran to the street to cross to Hospitality Village. As I was crossing the street, I had my hat in my hand (no time to put it in the bag!) and several people commented on “what a busy girl [I’d] been.” Ha!

I got to the Toyota exhibit at 2:18 (sorry, Robby - sacrifices have to be made!). I asked Lisa, the nice exhibit lady where Kyle would be and if he would be signing autographs or if this was just a photo op. She said he MIGHT sign some stuff on the way in/out, but it wasn’t an autograph session. She also told me where to camp out to wait for him. Unfortunately, I had to wait through Denny Hamlin’s appearance, but it was relatively painless as he used the race simulators to race against fans - and he only won one of the two heats. *snicker*

Finally, Kyle’s timeslot arrived and we waited... and waited... and waited. (Note: next time Toyota people tell you Kyle may appear a few minutes early, remember the key word “MAY.”) Unfortunately, instead of Kyle, we got the rain. So the place I had painstakingly staked out for over 45 minutes was useless as they decided to move where Kyle would speak. The woman standing next to me and I got Lisa’s attention and made a big to-do about how we’d been there for over an hour waiting. She went to see what she could do for us, but came back and said that he wouldn’t be signing any autographs for anyone.

At that point, I decided to abandon the “And what about pictures since the people who have been dutifully waiting here in the back of the exhibit area to see him are now the furthest away from the staging area in the front” argument in lieu of using my petite size to wiggle my way into the audience. As several of you have seen from my Picasa album, I managed to get nearly 20 pics of him. It’s also nice to know that when you’re short and you’re literally doing the “if I jump and click at just the right moment, maybe I’ll get a decent shot” thing, people around you will offer to take pics for you. Yay for friendly, nice, tall, Kyle fans!

After that, we headed in to the track area to eat. We then found our seats (well, first we found someone else’s seat), which happened to seat me next to two people from Philly! And the woman’s family is from Wichita, Kansas! Small world, eh? I also met two nice people behind us from Mississippi. It’s one of the things I adore about NASCAR events - you meet all these wonderful people. True, you’ll probably NEVER see them again, but who cares.

We then sat through nearly TWO HOURS of pre-race festivities, exhibiting military... things. Mom and I were not happy that LMS ganked part of their stuff from last fall’s Kansas race, such as the aircraft carrier delivering the pace car, but whatev. And, as the NASCAR fans know, that was all we got to see. We never saw pace laps, we never saw a green flag, and we certainly saw no pit stops.

At 8:30 p.m. EDT, the race was called with a noon start on Monday. Mom and I both flew out on Monday. We talked and decided to go ahead and go home and file the event insurance claim to try to recoup some our money, rather than spend more money to change our flights. Getting money back trumps spending more money, see?

But the day ended with the discovery that the car keys had been lost along the way. When we got to the car, Mom called AAA, and they sent someone out to rekey Sara’s car. Locksmith got there at 2:00 a.m. Now, scroll back up to see what time they called the race. Go ahead; I’ll wait. Yep, that’s right - from the time the race was called to the time we got in a car - 5.5 hours.

In the interim, we sought shelter in a small hallway leading to a women’s restroom. Mostly we entertained ourselves, but we also inherited the duty of telling people, “Sorry, the bathroom’s locked,” which was generally followed by “Yes, we’re serious.”

Those of you who know me or who have spoken on the phone with me since then know I’ve spent some time crying about this trip. If it could go wrong, it did. Awesome Mother’s Day present, Min; well done.

Mom and I did get to sit in the airport together for awhile after we both checked in (different airlines, different terminals). And we concocted The Plan (with apologies to Brook and Alex). Mom even called Dale (her husband) to explain The Plan. (Small bit of background before I tell you about The Plan - once I told Mom her Mother’s Day present from me was a ticket to the Coca-Cola 600, Dale paid for her flight down and back as her birthday present.)

Mom called Dale and got the answering machine.
Mom to machine: Hi Dale, it’s me. Just wanted to make sure you’re coming to get me tonight. We didn’t change our flight so I’ll be at the airport tonight at 11:15 p.m. But Min and I have a plan for next year. We think you should take us to the All-Star Race and the 600 next year and we’ll spend the week in between going to the garages and touring the area, since I got robbed of my birthday present AND my Mother’s Day present this year..
Me whispering to Mom: And your daughter won’t stop crying
Mom to machine: And my daughter won’t stop crying. And you probably won’t even get this message until you’re home from the airport with me, so BYE!

Here’s where the story gets even better. I get to work on Tuesday, and my boss wants to know what’s wrong. I start to cry and she has me come in her office, close the door, and tell her the story of the Worst Mother’s Day Gift ever. She hugs me, tells me that as a mom, she knows that it meant more to my mom to see me for a few days than whether she got to see the race. She asks me when I’ll see my mom again. I tell her, “In October, for the Kansas race.” Boss gets weird look on her face. I say, “What?”

Well, it seems that because the nurses’ and techs’ contracts expire at the end of September, the hospital is planning for the event of a strike. Therefore, NO vacation days are being granted between 15 September and somewhere in the middle of November. If the unions approve new contracts before then, people can take vacation. I explained to the boss that I already had plane tickets, and she said that should be okay. SHOULD be okay. I explain to my boss that if I get screwed out of ALL THREE races in one year, I’m going to be one unhappy camper.

Then I pulled it together, explained The Plan for next year, and asked for a week and a half off to go to Charlotte. And she approved it. WIN!!!!

Next blog post: The more colourful people I met at LMS.