March 2003 News & Thoughts

Saturday, March 29th, 2003

MyBirthday2003.jpg (536661 bytes)This picture has a lot of “stuff” in it which is probably only interesting to me. But I want to be able to look at it again one day, so anyone who thinks they may be bored should go and study the Habershon Family Tree.

Still here? Can you spot the cat? That’s Mud. She’s 18, and in excellent health. Our other cat is Cindie. She’s about 12. She became very ill a while ago, and we thought she was going to die. She got thinner and thinner, and when we picked her up all we could feel were her bones. Anyway, Cindie is now recovering and is starting to put on some of the weight she lost. Unfortunately, though, she’s turned into a kitty terrorist. If we keep her bowl full she eats until she throws up, so we have to ration her with constant snacks throughout the day. Between those snacks she’s developed a nasty habit of not only jumping on the kitchen counter, but tipping over the Kroger rubbish bags that we use for . . . well . . . rubbish. So not only do we now have to make sure we wash all the dishes at night, we also broke down and bought our first pedal bin. You can see it in the picture. I’ve always been anti-bin because they only mean one more item to clean. But I think this is a magnificent pedal bin. It takes 13-gallon bags and it actually fit in the boot of my Mini when I brought it home from Target.

Still here? Well, you may notice the water containers above the pedal bin. John bought them when the terrorist alert went to high. It surprised me when he did this. He didn’t buy any duct tape, though. Our house is full of holes. I don’t know how long the water will sit on the counter. Maybe it’ll come in useful during the hurricane season.
You still reading? Well, yesterday was my birthday (my Randy Johnson birthday). This was the sight that greeted me when I got home. It was a good birthday, in spite of the fact that we’d shelved plans to go to Minute Maid Park for the Astros/White Sox exhibition game. Note that the wine is (was?) Australian. There were CDs in the pink packages. Paul McCartney’s “Back in the U.S.” double album, and Vladimir Ashkenazy playing three Beethoven piano sonatas. The larger blue package contained a tiny gift certificate for thirty (count’em . . . 30) yoga classes over ninety days. Whew! Am I going to be calm and flexible.

John hasn’t been well this week. I can’t remember when he last went to the doctor, but this time he actually made an appointment and kept it. The $512 he spent on the visit, tests, and prescriptions obviously did a world of good, and I’m happy to say he’s on the mend. That was all I really wanted for my birthday.

Time to upload and log off. I still have six-and-a-half papers to write and sixty yoga classes to attend, not to mention my fantasy Baseball draft starting on Thursday.

Friday, March 28th, 2003

I took an Anusara Yoga class last night. It was way too advanced for me but I modified some of the poses and got along quite happily in the back. That was until the instructor told everyone to turn sideways and I found myself at the front 🙁

I rashly purchased the unlimited 30-day package. Now to look for a sticky mat.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2003

I’m working in a town called “Liberty” tomorrow. Good name, huh?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2003

After my back surgery in 2001 I never went to rehab. or physical therapy or whatever they call it, mainly because my medical insurance didn’t cover it and the back surgeon never suggested it. In fact, when I went to have my stitches out, I sat in the waiting room for an hour, and when I finally saw him he told me to walk a lot and do the back exercises in “the red book.” “What red book?”, I asked. “Oh, you never got one? Have the nurse give you one on the way out,” he said, his mind already on the next patient.

So, over the next year I walked a lot, but got bored with the back exercises. And I turned stiffer than a board. The car accident made things worse, and I promised myself that as soon as I felt human again I’d start some kind of exercise program. Libby was telling me how much she enjoyed her yoga classes, and I kept that idea in the back of my mind. Then three weeks ago I was driving home from work and saw that a yoga centre had opened in the new plaza at Waugh and Allen Parkway. The thought crossed my mind that this was my chance, but I still did nothing. Then last Thursday a flyer arrived in the mail. The clincher was reading that anyone who walked, ran, or took a bus to their yoga class would be given a free bottle of water. Who was it that said we Habershons love a bargain?

So, I’ve now been (make that “walked”) to three yoga classes. Restorative 60 minutes; Iyengar 60 minutes; and tonight Iyengar 90 minutes. Tomorrow I’ll try Anusara. The instructor told me to avoid Bikram and and Power Yoga until I was completely fit. Right now I can’t sit cross legged without discomfort and certainly can’t touch my toes. It’s going to be a long haul, but I’m hooked. Can’t wait to try the Hot Yoga.

It’s expensive at $15 a class. I’ll have to make a decision soon as to whether to buy my own mat and sign up for something more long-term. There’s a 90-day unlimited for $490 (ouch) and a yearly unlimited for $1,500 (ouch ouch ouch).
Thanks, Libby, for planting the seed. And you’re right about the part at the end. It’s great when it’s all over and you lie in the dark for ten minutes.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2003

I think you all know how I feel about this war. My feelings haven’t changed over the last week. Saddam Hussein is evil. And his soldiers are murderers. They pretend to surrender, and then kill their captors. They wear U.S. uniforms and kill civilians. They execute prisoners of war. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was their own bomb that exploded in the Baghdad market this morning.
I’m sorry, family, but Bush and Blair have, and always have had, my full support.

Sunday, March 16th, 2003

David has now e-mailed the rest of THE BOOK, so the onus is on me to get all the pages cropped and sized and up on the website. Our American ancestors have a long chapter and I should have it finished soon. Meanwhile, feast on Confederate soldiers, a Postmaster General, a Governor of Georgia, and . . . I might’ve guessed . . . a Habershon who was ripped off by a Frenchman.

Friday, March 14th, 2003

sally'sbookdedication.jpg (35752 bytes)Check this out! John‘s mum has just published her third book on St. Anselm. And she’s put me in the dedication and given me a signed copy. I feel very honoured.

For anyone who wants to buy it (HAH!), it will soon be on and is called: “St. Anselm and the Handmaidens of God,” by Sally N. Vaughn.

Now, back to my papers.

Friday, March 14th, 2003

MuckyDuckDeadEndAngels.jpg (466265 bytes)Great show by the Dead End Angels at the Mucky Duck
last night. Their first CD should be out in about six weeks.

And now for the weekend. No play for me. You read it here, folks. By Sunday night I intend to have finished three of my eight papers (80 pages total) which are due April 30th. I’ve started two of them and John’s not going to let me out of the house until they’re done. Meanwhile, he’s going to be fixing up the upstairs apartment so we can run an ad. and get some rental income coming in again.

Sunday, March 9th, 2003
When the Dead End Angels are famous, I’ll be able to say that I knew them back in the days when they played in supermarkets. Our drive to Austin yesterday was well worth it to listen to them for two and a half hours. This was the fourth time I’d taken a road trip to hear them, and each has been well worth it.

On Thursday they are actually coming to Houston! Luxury! They’ll be playing at my favourite venue, the Mucky Duck (best Scotch Eggs in town). Yesterday evening’s Central Market show finished at 9 p.m. I zipped around with a basket afterwards and packed up Wendy with fresh vegetables. We drove back to Houston and arrived home exactly at midnight.

John took pictures of the band — from left to right, Rick Poss, Craig Bagby, Scott Melott, and (hunk) Troy Wilson. Scott actually came and sat and talked with us during the break while he ate his green, healthy looking avocado-laden salad.

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Oh, did I mention that they’ll be in Houston at the Mucky Duck on Thursday? Come on out, loyal readers! This is a new band and you need to hear and see them before ticket prices rocket to $80 a seat.

Friday, March 7th, 2003

We headed out to El Campo last night to catch Roger Creager at Greek Bros. Restaurant. I’m not sure what was better, the music, the company, the food, the wine or the drive. Wendy looked very sweet parked outside amongst all the pickup trucks. I think I should get her a gun rack.

I’ve lived in Texas now for exactly twelve years, and my heart still melts when I see men in cowboy hats. Some of them posed for me; in fact, two of them actually gave John and me their hats and took a picture of us.

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Tonight, we rest. Tomorrow we’re going to Austin to see the Dead End Angels at Central Market.

And I still haven’t started my first paper.

Friday, March 7th, 2003

For those with no time to keep up, here’s where the UN Security Council stands regarding war with Iraq. This square from the BBC website has a mine of information in it.

I wonder what it will look like next week?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2003

I got caught today, Callie (yes, I know you’re a loyal reader). I was sitting at the lights at 610 and Woodway and saw a man walking on the edge of the feeder carrying a gas can. He looked completely stressed and upset as he walked towards my car. I rolled down my window. “Oh, please, you need to help me. I ran out of gas about a mile back. My family is sitting in the car, and I only have seventeen cents. Could you please help me”?

It crossed my mind that he was just panhandling, but he looked so wet and desperate. I couldn’t just roll up my window and not help him if he was genuine. So I asked to see his driver’s license. “Huh”? he said. “Yes. Your driver’s license. Show me your driver’s license and I’ll give you some money,” I said, reaching for my wallet. He reached into his pocket and pulled out rather a nice looking wallet. There was no license, but the look of humiliation in his eyes was more than I could stand.
I gave him five dollars, and drove off feeling like pond scum.

Tuesday, March 4th, 2003

I knew it!

Monday, March 3rd, 2003

Happy 21st birthday, William! I checked to see who else was born on March 3rd and came up with:

Graham Bell (inventor) 1847
Masamune Hakucho (inventor) 1979
Conrad Aiken (poet) 1905
Adolph Hitler (politician) 1905
Jean Harlow (actress) 1911
Jance Garfat (musical artist) 1944
Robyn Hitchcock (musical artist) 1953
Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee (athlete) 1962
Herschel Walker (athlete) 1962
Tone-Loc (musical artist) 1966
John Bingham (musical artist) 1969
Ronan Keating (musical artist) 1977

Sunday, March 2nd, 2003

Callie e-mailed me a link to this article from today’s Houston Chronicle. It’s written by a woman who grew up in Iraq.

Saturday, March 1st, 2003

I’ve just been rummaging through my desk looking for a good picture of the March Habershon of the Month (to be announced shortly), and came across my 1981 Saudi Driver’s License. This gave me the privilege of driving anywhere within a 10-mile radius of my house, within the Aramco camp fences. This has to be a collector’s item; I doubt very much if they issue licenses to women over there any more. Wonder if I could sell it on EBay?

I have to say, however, that I did once drive for about ten miles outside the fences, from Dhahran to Dammam (with a male passenger, in case we had to make a sudden switch). That was back in 1975 when the Saudis turned a blind eye to most things. I also used to ride my Yamaha 360 dirt bike in the dunes. I’d get past the guard at the gate wearing a large, long-sleeved shirt, and my hair tucked inside my helmet. That was until someone reported me — fortunately to the Aramco Security Department (who let me off with a warning) and not the Saudi Police.

Saturday, March 1st, 2003

FCoFirehouse022703.jpg (211352 bytes)Too much to do and not enough time. I tried to get a paid holiday on Monday, which is Texas Independence Day, but my boss wasn’t biting. The good news, however, is that next week is Spring Break so I don’t have to go to any classes, only start working on my term papers.

We went back to the Firehouse Saloon on Thursday night to hearRodgerWilkoStephanie022703.jpg (157866 bytes) Rodger Wilko (John‘s picture of Stephanie on the right) again, and were also treated to a cool opening band called “F.Co.” (photo by John on left). The band’s lead singer, who was very cute, assured me that the name isn’t rude — it’s short for Fayetteville County. So there.

Kevin brought a friend/colleague (Dan) from Calgary with him. His enthusiasm for everything was infectious. I love it when people visit Houston and really seem to like the place and genuinely enjoy themselves. Dan’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and I actually stayed at the Firehouse until 2 a.m. Not a good idea on a night before a work day, especially as I wanted to hear Michael Fracasso at Anderson Fair the next night.

My tired body made it to work, though, and as soon as I got home I went back to bed and slept three hours. Then we headed out to Anderson Fair. Bummer bummer bummer, Michael wasn’t performing. He’s in the hospital.