Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want to.....

So this week at work was Crazy! The deadline for abstracts to be submitted for the National Neurotrauma Society Meeting in Orlando in July is coming up on May 15th and everyone in my lab has experiments going on which means I have about 1 million things to do every day to try and make everyone happy. Add that to the fact that my experiment isn't working so well, and you can see how my week maybe wasn't the best.

But it wasn't all bad. At least this week marked the return of some of my favorite shows from their Writer's Strike hiatuses (hiati? what is the plural of hiatus?). Numb3rs and Moonlight were back on Friday and Thursday saw the return of Supernatural (with a very funny episode, and one of my all time favorites) and Ugly Betty.

This week it's Betty's Birthday and she has planned and "perfect" birthday weekend getaway with Henry (her boyfriend who got his crazy ex-girlfriend Charlie pregnant). But, this being TV, we know that any "perfect" anything won't actually happen because, well, that would be boring, and boring doesn't make for good TV. So anyway, Charlie (the Baby Mama) shows up just in time to ruin Betty & Henry's plans. Betty gamely makes up a new itinerary, but Charlie manages to spoil that too by playing sick so Henry has to take her to the doctor. Because Henry has bailed on her, Betty's friend Gio tries to help her out, but his efforts fail as well and Betty end her birthday with no dinner, no fireworks, a failed carriage ride, and a dress covered in Hot Chocolate. No the best birthday ever.

I felt for Betty. I really did. Because I know what it's like to have a birthday where nothing goes right. I am the queen of bad birthdays.

For at least four years running I had some of the worst birthdays and birthday parties of anyone I knew. It became a joke with me and my friends that I was under some kind of birthday curse.

First, there was my freshman year of college where a group of friends and I decided to go out to Jacobson Park and ride the paddle boats. Great idea, right? Maybe not. First off, there were five of us and only two to a boat which meant someone got to be the odd man out. Now, logic would say that the birthday girl shouldn't have to ride alone, but unfortunately, that wasn't how tings worked out. Two of the people with me, Monica and John, were totally into each other. They weren't dating yet, but would be soon and so they went together in one boat. That left me, MaryAnne, and Nick to split up for the other boat. At that time, we thought Nick had a thing for MaryAnne (boy were we wrong there) and so MaryAnne insisted that she ride in the boat with Nick. That left me as the luck gal who got to ride alone.

Okay, no big deal. I can do this alone, right? Sure. And, while it was very tiring, it wasn't horrible. But then when it was time to leave, we all pulled our boats back to the dock. When they were getting out of their boat, somehow MaryAnne managed to trip and hurt her toe. It didn't seem like too big of a deal at the time, but we heard about that damn toe for the next three years.

The next year, I wisely said NO to the paddle boats. Instead, MaryAnne (who was now the VP of Fellowship for APO) planned a kayaking trip on the Kentucky Rive for the weekend of my birthday. I wasn't thrilled about the idea, but it sounded like it could be fun, so I let her bully me into going. Unfortunately, things didn't start well. That year was 2001 and my birthday is September 16th which made it 5 days post 9-11. After that, I had no interest in going anywhere except home. But, because if I didn't go, they wouldn't have enough people to get the group rate, I went. In fact, not only did I go, but I had to drive because no one else would.

The actually Kayaking trip was fun, and we were all tired when we got back, but the plan was to stay up until midnight and celebrate my birthday (since we were going to be getting up early the next day to leave). At midnight, however, Nick was sick and in bed, and everyone else was too drunk to care, so I ended up eating some "Birthday Cookies" by myself and then proceeded to sleep on the floor since there weren't enough beds for everyone.

The next year, I had planned a big dinner out and then a movie. It was going to be on a Monday night, so I wanted something low key but fun. MaryAnne, however, decided to plan an APO scavenger hunt that night and wouldn't hear of changing the day. And, since most of my friends at that point were in APO, we went scavenger hunting instead of to dinner and the movie got moved to another night (which also ended in disaster with me sitting by myself during the movie since the theater was packed and we couldn't find enough seats together.).

By my senior year (and my 21st birthday) I knew enough not to make big plans. I wanted a simple dinner out with some of my friends. They wanted to get me drunk since I was now 21 and legal. UK wanted me in class. I had an 8am physics exam the morning after my 21st birthday so needless to say, it was a quick dinner with friends and then I spent the rest of my night studying for my exam.

Thankfully, now that college is over, the birthday curse seems to have been lifted some. I've had several decent birthdays in a row now. But believe you me, I know exactly how Betty felt when all her plans fell apart.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shake, Rattle, and Roll....

So this fine day began in a rather unusual manner. At about 5:40 this morning, I woke up to my bed shaking quite vigorously. My first thought (having been deeply asleep) was that someone had broken into my apartment and was standing at the foot of my bed shaking the mattress. Needless to say, this thought got my fully awake faster than just about anything else could have (except when I accidentally set my alarm to the buzzer instead of the radio and I think it is the fire alarm). I jumped up and reached for the baseball bat that I keep next to my bed in order to fight off this bandit who needed to wake me up before robbing me. Yes, I know it doesn't make much sense, but in my defense, I was asleep and dreaming about 10 seconds before that.

Once I figured out that no one was standing at the end of my bed (but the bed was still shaking) I next thought that maybe it was the neighbors which I share my bedroom wall with (the wall that my bed is on) playing music or banging or something really loudly and shaking my bed. To test this, I put my hand on the wall, but the wall wasn't moving (or rather, was moving with me). The thought crossed my mind that maybe this was an earthquake, but really, how many quakes do we get in Kentucky? About that time the shaking stopped so I lay back down and went back to sleep (it was early after all).

When my alarm went off later, I thought for a minute that maybe I had dreamed the whole thing. I do have a tendency to have very vivid dreams that scare me awake like my recurring dream that there are spiders in my bed and I have to turn on the light so I can kill them. (I usually wake up when I flip the light switch.) I thought that maybe I just dreamt my bed was shaking, and scared myself awake. It turns out, however, that I wasn't dreaming and there really was an earthquake at 5:37 this morning.

The quake was centered in Illinois, not too far from Evansville, Indiana, but was felt as far away as Atlanta and Chicago. I think it measured something like a 5.6 on the Richter scale, which isn't bad at all. Still, as scary as the whole thing was (invisible home intruders non-withstanding) I can't imagine what it would be like to be in a large quake that shakes things off the walls and moves furniture. I hope I never have to live through one like that. This morning was enough shaking for my lifetime.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Love The Whold World.....

While watching The Deadliest Catch last night on the Discovery Channel, I saw my new favorite commercial ever. It makes me smile (all except for the part where the guy is holding the giant spider).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nature's First Green Is Gold....

So, spring is finally here, although you wouldn't know it from the weather these days (a Freeze in April?!). With spring comes possibly the best thing that happens in Lexington all year--Keeneland! Well, okay it happens twice a year, but still, I love the spring meet most. Maybe it's because you get to see some of the Derby contenders run without the hassle of trying to actually go to the Derby. Or maybe it's just that I am so excited to see sun and warm after months of cold and snow that anything outdoors seems great.

But I do love Keeneland. And this past Saturday was the crown jewel in Keeneland's Spring meet, with the running of the Bluegrass Stakes--one of the Derby Preps and the only one held in Kentucky. Dad and Kathy came up and we all went out to the grand old track for a day at the races. It's wasn't the best weather--in fact it was so cold that eventually we had to move inside--but it was fun.

I normally don't bet much money, so I don't win much money ($2.00 per race is my norm). On Saturday, I went into the day with $20.00 to bet on the ponies. I cashed a few small tickets, so by the time the Bluegrass rolled around, I was only down about $6.00. In the spirit of the day, I decided to bet the rest of my $20.00 on the Bluegrass and see what happened. I knew I wanted to place a couple of win bets and a show bet or two, but I still had a few more dollars to spend, so I asked Jenny, Jenny, and Kathy to each pick a number between 1 and 12 (the number of horses in the race). Kathy picked 3, Jenny (friend) picked 5, and Jenny (sister) picked 8. My intention was to bet an exacta box with the horses they chose, but seeing as the 8 horse had odds of 67-1 at the time, I decided to place a Show bet on him, and do the others in a box with the 1 horse and the 7 horse who I liked a lot.

Once all the bets were placed, we went outside to watch the race. The 3 and the 5 came out early and went to the lead, which is normally a very very bad sign. This time, however, they stayed in the lead the entire way and finished 5-3. I placed a $14.00 bet and won $70.00. Very exciting. Not that any skill was involved in this winning at all, but still.......

I'll be going back to Keeneland on Thursday this week with a group from work (my boss pays us to go to the track!). Hopefully my good luck with continue.