Maybe I Should Call You Back Next Week

I think I'm too tired to put together any coherent thoughts about the Barenaked Ladies concert last night. I'll try to do so later, as well as go through the hundreds of photos I took. Some highlights included:
  • Excellent seats!
  • A great set, which included a wide range of old and new songs.
  • Goofy on-stage antics.
  • Meeting Nanette in person!

Since Ed Robertson talked about being dorky, maybe he'll come live with me here. (Thanks, Stan!)


Bleeding Heart

The blood donor center at work has a love-hate relationship with me. They love my blood and even call me up sometimes to come down and donate, which I can't always do. I have a fairly rare blood type, so they often have little or no supply. There are also some other "special properties" in my blood, which I don't fully understand, but that make it possible for it to be used for people with certain conditions such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia. It also got me a "Donor Buddy" card.

So yeah, my blood is all special and whatnot, but apparently my veins are kind of small and they don't like giving up my blood. Keeping this in mind, I really make an effort to super hydrate myself before donating, but invariably the tech has to stay with me and basically "hold" the big ass needle in my arm and watch to make sure the blood is still flowing. This seems to annoy them, but they say it's worth it for my precious A-negative.

I was able to successfully give up a pint yesterday, which brings me to my first gallon over the past few years. I was exhausted and not feeling so great last night, but I feel like it's a small price to pay for being able to do something so important. Not only did I get a warm, fuzzy feeling, but I got a t-shirt and had a great excuse to eat cookies and red meat.


I'm No Martha Stewart

Those of you who know me are aware that I rarely cook. Okay, that’s not entirely true if you call throwing a chicken breast in the toaster oven or heating up a pot of soup “cooking.” And baking is usually out of the question. I don’t know if I became inspired by the delicious brownies I made last week…even if they were from a box mix...but last night I not only baked an apple cake, which did come from a box, but required cutting apples, but also some homemade molasses sugar cookies that did not originate in powdered form in a rectangular cardboard storage device. I actually purchased a cookie sheet for the project. Since E and I essentially eloped all those many years ago, I never did the wedding gift registry thing and have crappy, hand-me-down kitchen supplies.

Anyway, I didn't stop with the baking, but also proceeded to make some homemade spicy chicken tortilla soup, complete with tortilla strips that I cut and baked. E loves this soup and has been requesting it for a while now. Since we started having cold nights recently, I thought the time was right. The soup was a hit and E ate several bowls of it. I wasn't too happy with the chicken I used, but it was okay. I made a double batch so there is quite a bit left over to eat on for the week.

The baked goods results were mixed. I brought the apple cake to work today and it got eaten. I think the top turned out just perfectly crunchy, but the rest of it was a bit too mushy. I'm not sure if it was undercooked or if that's just how that mix turns out. The cookies were the big experiment for me. They have always been my favorite of the cookies my mother bakes every holiday season. I've even had her make them and send them to me before. I way overcooked the first batch, which promptly went into the garbage. I made two dozen more and they were so-so. Much thicker and not as chewy as what Mom makes. *sigh*

I called my mom this morning to problem solve with her what I may have done wrong. The first mistake might have been not chilling the dough long enough. Her recipe said "several hours." I assumed three hours would be plenty, but apparently it wasn't. Also, I cooked it at the temperature according to her instructions. (I have a thermometer in my oven, so I know that was okay). Well, she chills her dough overnight and possibly bakes the cookies at 25 degrees less than on the recipe. The recipe that she wrote out by hand and mailed to me. I'm sorry, but I don't improvise or interpret real well in the kitchen. I need clear, specific instructions.

So, maybe I'm not cut out for all this kitchen domesticity, which was my original hypothesis. I will be giving the cookies at least one more go, using the revised recipe and see how they turn out. I brought those in to work also and did get two sincere compliments.

Season’s Greetings

I was impressed last year that I received my first holiday greeting card on December 1st. Well, this year, the first one arrived this past Friday. In both cases, the senders have kids, of course. Meanwhile, my house is a disaster and I still have pumpkins sitting out. I guess in order to gain knowledge and get organized you have to become a parent.

Bah humbug.


A Year Of Sundays Seems To Have Drifted Right By

I'm sad that the weekend is advancing so quickly to an end. We spent most of today shopping, of which I'm not a big fan, for bookshelves. In a desperate attempt to organize our house, we've concluded that we just need more storage, even with the purging plans we have. We came up pretty empty-handed, as our taste and space limitations are pretty specific.

The weekend has probably not felt like the long one it was since we slept most of Friday away. We did manage to make it to a midnight screening of Serenity at the Nuart Theatre. I hadn't been to that theater since it was renovated and it's really nice now. Even though the movie didn't start until 12:40am, it was a lot of fun. There was a really good turnout...even two guys dressed like Browncoats. I was tickled when much of the audience sang along to the instrumental bit of the Firefly theme song toward the beginning of the film. Yes, I have the dvd at home, but I'd never seen this movie on the big screen, which was a treat.

We also caught a flick on Saturday night--Singin' In The Rain. E is a member of the American Cinematheque and gets two free tickets to use during his birthday month. I really enjoyed the movie, which I had never seen. It's dated, but still very funny with entertaining dance numbers.

It was nice to end the holiday weekend with a nice dinner with a couple of good friends at one of our favorite restaurants. The four of us had eaten there together last May or June and we were seated at the same table. It sort of felt like we were continuing that dinner, months later.

Now I'm settling in with some hot tea, watching the hamster run around on his track, and getting ready to catch up on some things Tivo has been saving for us. Basically, I'm doing everything I can to hold on to Sunday, and postpone Monday, for as long as I can.


A Very Disney Thanksgiving

I'm so thankful we were in town this year and were able to resume our many-year tradition of spending the day with good friends at Disneyland. "Why Disneyland?" many people ask. It's something that a friend of E's, Wendy, who he has known since he was a kid, and her friend Jeff started a long time ago. Neither of them have family in Southern California and they travel for Christmas, so they launched an "orphans" day at none other than The Happiest Place on Earth. We joined them for the first time back in 1995, I think. We've missed a few...once I went to see my family, another year E got severe food poisoning the night before, and then of course last year, we traveled back East for E's 20th high school reunion. I was really, really excited to rejoin Wendy and Jeff this year!

Another thing people say when hearing about our odd holiday plans is, "Oh, the park must be empty on Thanksgiving!" Um, no. I've heard and been told by Disneyland employees cast members that Thanksgiving is in the top 3 busiest days of the year. What we have noticed though is that around 6pm, there is some crowd thinning and then a mass exodus after the nightly fireworks. This year's crowd seemed somewhat light overall though. We walked right on to most of the laugh-in-the-dark rides. Of course, Peter Pan still had a ginormous line, up until midnight, which I just don't get. We did go on it, for a change, spending our last half hour at the park in line. It was worth it as it is a cute ride, but why does it always have the longest line? Can anyone explain that to me?

Over the years the size of our Thanksgiving group has varied, from just the four of us, to 10 or 12 people. For a few years, a friend of mine from high school was living in the area, so he and his wife joined us. One of the most memorable occasions was when four English guys who worked for the software company E was working for at the time, experienced Disneyland with us. They were slain by the It's A Small World ride (we take anyone who has never been to the park before on the scariest ride there).

This past Thursday, we had a nice group of six people. Wendy's niece from Philly, Julia, joined us, as did my friend Cheryl. Julia had come with us a couple of years ago and apparently we didn't scare her off with our silliness and dorkiness. Cheryl was our Disneyland virgin, so yes, we tortured her with a go on It's A Really Repetitive And Annoying Ride. I sure do hope that Ren checked her voice mail because, being the good friend that I am, that's when I called her to wish her a Happy Turkey Day.

Highlights of the adventure-filled day included accidentally catching the parade and seeing the Presidentially pardoned turkeys, Flyer and Fryer, practically walking on to several rides due to relatively short lines (we didn't even really use the Fast Pass system very much at all as there just wasn't a need), laughing ourselves silly at our Jungle Cruise driver...he was really dorky and funny, checking out the updated-with-Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, watching the fireworks and snow, getting some great seats for Fantasmic, near perfect weather, and generally acting like big kids, laughing and giggling ourselves silly. I did observe a lot of people who just don't seem to loosen up and have a good time at Disneyland and I don't get that. At all. Stop scowling and find your laughin' place people! You paid at least $60 to get in, make it worth it!

Another inquiry I get is, "Well, what are you going to eat?" It's not that big of a deal to me. Thanksgiving has definitely come to mean more to me about the company I'm with than the food I stuff into my face. The meals have varied over the years from Mickey cheeseburgers to barbecued ribs to a nice feast at the Blue Bayou. As you can now make advanced reservations over the phone and I didn't call until a week and a half ago, the Blue Bayou was a no-go. Wendy made a reservation at a place just outside the park, but we decided to optimize our time and have dinner at one of the cafeteria style places in New Orleans Square. I went with the traditional meal, which included turkey, andouille sausage stuffing, green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. It was all quite delicious. I was able to snag the last piece of pumpkin pie, which is the Thanksgiving staple I truly cherish.

That of course leads me to The Great Pumpkin Pie Incident of 2006, where I ended up with pie on my face, quite literally. I'd really had my heart set on a slice of pumpkin pie and had gone on about it for quite some time. I was nearly devastated when it looked like they'd run out, but they managed to find one last slice for me. So, we're all enjoying our dinner and E started taunting me, saying things like, "Too bad you're too full to eat that pie," or holding up his fork and pointing it toward my dessert. I'm not sure what came over me, but I got really protective of this piece of pie, picked it up, and proceeded to lick know, like a little kid does so his sibling won't touch his food. Well, it would have been clever if the pie hadn't flipped off the plate, landing on my shoulder/in my hair/on my face. Yeah, I'm an ass. Of course this was also the moment when everyone, who were previously engaged in their own conversations, turned to look at me. We laughed about it for hours. In the end, I gave E the very last bite of the pie. Naturally it was the piece with the most spit on it.

By the time we left Anaheim, at 1am, we were all super-exhausted, but quite contented. Luckily there was no traffic and we sped home, fed the dogs, and were passed out by 2:30. I had to get up around 9:00am to feed Daizy, but promptly returned to bed once I was home and slept until about 3:30pm. E got up at 4. I was that special kind of tired that I'm sure new parents experience and that I can only handle a couple of times a year.

I do still have my fantasy Thanksgiving where serve friends buttered toast, popcorn, jelly beans, and pretzel sticks...on plates that I toss to them. All the while, my pets will be preparing a fabulous turkey for us to eat when everyone leaves to go to Charlie Brown's grandmother's condo. For now, Disneyland will more than do. Click here to see photos from the day.


I'm not sure if I'll get around to posting about Thanksgiving adventures (including "The Great Pumpkin Pie Incident of 2006") today or not. I'm am very exhausted and am on my way to walk my friends' dog, for the second time today, and partake in lots of caffeine. I haven't even uploaded any of my photos yet, but hey, the whole weekend is ahead of me.


I'll Sleep On It's A Small World

Here I am...wide awake. This generally happens the night before our Thanksgiving adventure at Disneyland. I left work a tiny bit early, but the traffic was pretty bad, so I still didn't get home until about 6:30. I did some laundry, messed around on the computer, ate dinner while watching a drunk Kiefer Sutherland attack a Christmas tree (not very Jack Bauer like), walked and feed Daizy, got cash, filled the car up with gas, and then poked around online some more while watching this week's Taye Break. I sent E to bed so I have a chance of waking him up in a few hours and then proceeded to pick up any clutter that might be enticing to the dogs to eat (Cosette) or pee on (Little Guy). I even let Ami run around in his ball.

My camera and cell phone batteries are charged, my bag is cleaned out and packed with only essentials, and my clothing is laid out. All I have left to do is set 4 or 5 alarms and get a little shut eye. Full report, hopefully with photos, on Friday. Eat some turkey and pumpkin pie for me!


Giving Thanks

A few of the things for which I am thankful. In photos:

Eric and Jodi
Eric and Me

Bongo Booth

My 3 Dogs
Little Guy, Rusty, and Cosette

Family (some of it)
My parents and brothers

Dorky friends Jill and Stacie

Hi Ami!

My New Ride

My New Camera
My camera

Rusty Overlooking Hollywood
L.A., my city

Convict Lake, near Mammoth

Sunset With Bird
Sunset at Westward Beach

There are many, many other things that I really appreciate, but just don't have photos handy. Good friends, new and old, in real life and online. A few more family members. My health, my career, and my home.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it. I'll be spending the day with Eric and some friends at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Castle @ Night


Why Do People Like Dogs So Much?

A good friend recently sent me an email stating that she was enjoying the daily updates, since I've been blogging every day this month. I thanked her and promptly asked her for topic suggestions, as sometimes I'm at a loss. She offered some good ones, many that I don't think I have the ability to tackle, but there is one I'm pretty sure I know a little bit about:

Why do people like dogs so much?

Little Guy
Little Guy

I understand that this is a genuine question my friend tries to wrap her head around. She is not a dog person, at all. I remember her being pretty blunt when we added a second canine to our family and asked me point blank, "Why would you want another one?" I obviously can not relate to her feelings regarding dogs, but it does make sense to me in observing interests that others have that I just don't "get."

Why do people like dogs so much?


My love of dogs has ebbed, flowed, and evolved over the years. I had some less-than-positive situations when I was younger and have only become a "crazy dog lady" as an adult. Here are some of the reasons, and in no particular order except for how they pop into my brain, of why many people like love dogs so much:
  • Let's start with the obvious. Dogs are cute to many of us. Sure, we all have our own definitions as to what breeds or features are appealing, just as we all have different rules of human attractiveness. For instance, I tend to prefer canines that have fox type faces (pointed ears, long snouts) and long fur.
  • Dogs need us, they give us a purpose. A lot of us have the strong desire and/or need to care for other living beings, but do not necessarily yet have or ever want human children. So, we get pets...often dogs, and possibly even jobs that help attain that goal.
  • Maintaining wellness is really important for everyone. Our four-legged furry friends are masters at helping us do this. Not only do they get us up off the couch to stroll around the block or take a hike, but they can decrease our stress and blood pressure, as well as alleviate loneliness and isolation. I know if I've had a stressful day at work and don't feel like interacting with people, coming home and hugging my dogs is quite therapeutic.
  • Dogs break down social barriers for many of us. It's a known fact that if you go out in the world with a dog, you will have more social interaction than if you are alone. Others will smile and perhaps even talk to you. They may ask to pet your dog. It's a nice ice breaker to enter into a conversation that may have never taken place. There is a reason that there are singles events at dog parks and web sites like this. Dog="social lubricant."
  • Dogs remind us to play. Well, they often demand it and we remember that it is fun and important to be silly and laugh. You don't even need fancy toys. Just relax and follow your dog's lead.
  • Sensory input is really important. A dog can provide so much of that from being something soft to pet to being a warm body snuggled up against you. My dog Little Guy will hop on my lap and nestle the top of his head under my chin. It is the best.
  • Do you ever need to get something off of your mind or practice saying something difficult? Well, a dog can be a great listener. They aren't so good at giving feedback, but that's okay. The point is to be able to talk and not get an opinion back.
  • The love of a dog is unconditional. Dogs don't care what political affiliations or religious beliefs you have. They don't care if you take a shower or not. You can gain 90 pounds and they'll still love you. We are constantly judged by others, and even ourselves, but not by our faithful canine companions. Now, they may get a little irritable if you don't feed them one day, but that's an easy one to resolve.

Why do you love dogs? If you claim that you don't like them at all, I invite you to spend 5 minutes with Rusty. He's changed minds before.


I've Got A Case Of The Mondays

The weekend was good. Very busy with very little sleep. So, today I am paying for it and feeling really tired. It probably doesn't help that I started my day by being taken for a walk by a large, strong pitbull mix! I'll give you some of the highlights from the past few days:
  • On Friday night, we saw Casino Royale, as I briefly mentioned in a previous entry. I'm definitely not what you would call a James Bond aficionado, but I really enjoyed this movie. The casting was great and the action was exciting and not campy like in many Bond flicks.
  • I worked for a few hours on Saturday, instead of 10 like I normally do, which was nice. I was out in time to see the Swazzle puppet production B.A.R.K. The Robot Dog. I was very excited to see it, as one of the characters was modeled after my hamster. It was a very cute and funny show. Tinker, the hamster, stole it, of course.
  • After napping from 9:30pm to 11:00pm on Saturday, we went to The Tomorrow Show at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. We go to this fairly often, but being a variety comedy show, it is always different. I was excited to see Jello Biafra, who performed a couple of very political and one related to music. The guest who intrigued E was Hans Fjellestad, who directed the film Moog. He performed some weird music. Not bad for $5. The show ran really long though and we didn't get to bed until 3:30am.
  • We slept for a few hours and then got up early on Sunday for the 30th Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade. We took Rusty with us and met up with a couple of friends. I've uploaded some of the hundreds of photos I took to my flickr site.
  • In lieu of a much-needed nap, I ended up baking brownies (!) to take to some other friends' house who invited us to dinner. Of course that entailed going to the store for ingredients. I was skeptical, but they actually turned out pretty tasty.
  • Before dinner, we met up with our hosts for the free Sunday night Asssscat show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood. That's another case of never knowing quite what you're going to get, but it got pretty out-of-hand last night. Funny, as usual, but really bizarre in ways I'm not prepared to discuss.
  • It was fun to end the weekend with a yummy homemade meal in the company of good friends. And the brownies were indeed a hit.


Cheaters Never Win And Winners Never Cheat

Whatever. Since I'm not officially a NaBloPoMo participant, I'm gonna cheat a little. It's technically Monday, as it's a little after midnight. I just got home and have had very limited time to post this weekend. Possible review of highlights during my lunch break. Now, I'm going to bed. I have to get up extra early this week to see this dog on my way to work.



Busy Weekend

No time for a real post tonight, so here's a photo of Ami:

So Cute

If you haven't already, check out and do the survey in my last post. Oh, not that you asked, but I do approve of the new James Bond. Very much so.


Snarky Dork...Who's There?

Since I am curious about who wanders by this site, I'm totally copying Nanette and asking a few questions of readers passing through. A few of you comment at least semi-regularly and a couple of you read and either comment via email or in person. Whether willing to admit it or not, everyone loves comments and that includes me. So, let me know who you are and feel free to never make your presence known again.
  • Male or female?
  • Age?
  • Where do you live?
  • Do you have your own blog?
  • If this is your first time here, how did you find my blog?
  • Do you know me in real life?


Taye Break

I watched the 2-hour premiere of Taye Day Break last night, not just because my friend Tim works on show and emailed everyone to watch it, but more for Taye Diggs. I love that man! I've had the Tivo set up to record it as long as I've been able to. The show was okay, not completely original, but I was entertained and will continue to watch. Hell, I'd probably watch Taye Diggs watching paint dry, but that is beside the point. I'm intrigued enough that I want to tune in again to find out more. Also, Adam Baldwin, Jayne from Firefly, is a cast member, which is a nice bonus.


I Will Collect You And Capture You

Anyone who knows me, at least a little bit, understands that I can obsess. Whether it's hamsters, Duran Duran, tote bags, Firefly, or the color orange. I could go on, but I won't. (Just don't even think about leaving anything in my new car! Yes, you know who you are).

One of my latest obsessions is photographing the squirrels who are frequenting my front yard and trees and fencing. We've always had a lot of squirrel activity in the back yard, which my dog Little Guy loves telling the entire neighborhood about. For the last few months, I've noticed not only more bushy-tailed critters out front, but also lots of peanut shells all over my driveway. Turns out that my neighbor installed a squirrel feeder that she keeps stocked with peanuts. Lots of yummy peanuts.

I've had a lot of misses in my attempts to capture these fast rodents. Luckily, I have a really good optical zoom on my camera and that comes in handy. We've had a few staredowns and I get ready to snap and they run. I think there are mainly two who are hanging out in the front, but I don't know for sure. And no, I haven't named them. Yet.

Enjoying The Peanuts

Snacking In The Tree

Glorious Peanut


The First Rule Of Book Club Is... do not talk about Book Club. Well, that's just according to a silly t-shirt I have, so I'm going to talk, at least a little bit, about my book club. I really enjoy the group of people that get together on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Something that may be somewhat unique is that we are a mixed gender group, often 50/50. Tonight we had 7 men and 5 women.

Our reading selections vary and often involve topics such as religion, science, or philosophy. As I mentioned before, not everyone in the group finishes the book before we meet. Sometimes what we pick is not as good as we thought or had heard. Other times, people are just too busy in their lives to complete it. My problem is that I'm often reading more than one thing at a time. And I'm a slow reader.

As I've heard is true with other book clubs, we start our discussion based around the current read. The conversation then drifts from there onto various other topics of interest. This evening we talked about all kinds of things from the recent elections to population growth in America to the past and current social and economic climate in Cuba.

Our meeting wraps up with future selections. Various members make suggestions and we vote. I've dubbed our club "The Laziest Book Club Ever," as someone will ask,"Well, how thick is that book?", "Is there a movie we can watch?" (yes, we've done that!), or the snarky question I asked tonight, "Yeah, well how big is the font?"

One member summed it up best though when he said, "It's like picking what we're not going to read next." I am making a solemn effort to read ALL of the next one though, as the author is coming to our December gathering and I'll be really embarrassed if I haven't finished!


Hit Me With Your Best Shot

My roommate and I had gotten tickets to see Pat Benatar at an on-campus concert in October of 1988. Well, her boyfriend, from Canada, was staying another night, so I invited this guy I was sort of seeing. If you said his name kind of fast, it sounded like you were saying the name of three different people and perhaps gave the impression of being a bit slutty.

I only vaguely remember the show itself. I don't think it was bad, but nothing stands out in my memory. What I do recall quite well though is watching this dude repeatedly hang an airbrushed sign, only to have security make him take it down. That, of all things, stuck with me.

Fast forward to a little over a year later, when E and I started going out. He transferred to Ithaca College our sophomore year. I think I was telling him about going to the Pat Benatar show and he told me he was there too. He told me about his longtime friend from home who was a huge Benetar fan. G was an artist and always made things for her when he went to her concerts. Turns out that was G with the banner and E was with him!

It's a small, strange little world, eh?

In The Meantime

I may or may not relate a concert tale later today.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my photo and haiku tribute to my lovely dog Cosette, who turns 14 today. I sometimes get sad as I see the signs of aging, but she is happy and pretty healthy right now.


Treasure Bought And Found

Today was gorgeous...mid-70's, fairly clear air with blue sky and a few wispy clouds. We took advantage of the weather and went to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which we hadn't been to in months. E was looking for old photos for a stereoscope he picked up recently. Most of the ones we found were a bit pricey, so the only thing he bought was a tin toy ray gun at the bargain price of $5. I was searching for a megaphone, just to photograph, but didn't find that or anything I wanted to purchase. It's pretty typical to see a celebrity or two browsing the aisles and indeed, we saw Illeana Douglas there this afternoon. Oh, and there is usually some kind of "theme" or things we see repeatedly throughout the venue. Sometimes it's stuffed deer heads or decoy ducks. This time it was monkeys and cowboy boots. I really hoped to find a monkey wearing cowboy boots before we had to leave, but it didn't happen.

"Shorty," Rose Bowl Flea Market greeter

After just about walking our feet off on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, we headed over to the Heritage Square Museum. I'm not sure that a lot of people know about it. We only discovered it recently, when E was driving south on the 110 Freeway from Pasadena and noticed several Victorian structures off to his left. Heritage Square has eight buildings that were originally located elsewhere in Los Angeles. Some have been restored, while others have not. We went on a group tour, which allowed entrance into several of the buildings. It was fascinating and educational. I definitely recommend it for anyone who is interested in local architecture dating back to 1850. We were inspired to follow our tour with a drive to historic West Adams to look at the architecture in that area. Another recommened place to visit and see some stunning, restored Victorian residences is Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights.

The Hale House, Heritage Square


Packrats R Us

Today is E's 39th birthday. He's not thrilled to be entering the last year of his 30's, but he's dealing. I want to publicly wish him a Happy Birthday. He's a brilliant, funny, nerdy guy who is also a very loving and supportive husband. I know that I drive him far crazier than he does me, and I really appreciate that he puts up with me after all these years.

We've spent most of the day cleaning out our garage. It's actually a pretty good feeling to throw things out. Our recycling bin is so full now that I tried to move it and it almost tipped over. We still have a ways to go. It's a cycle:
  • Clean out the garage.
  • Move crap from the house into the garage.
  • When the house becomes full again, purge the garage.
A neverending cycle.

E's in the shower now and I think we'll go out to dinner. We kind of had a birthday dinner last night and have some fun things planned for tomorrow. It's weird to think that next year, he'll be in his 40's and my parents will still only be in their 50's (the early half for my step-dad).


It's A Stretch

Being a little short on time, I'm really reaching for my daily post.

I was finally able to transfer my personalized plates from my old Jetta to my new car, Serenity, today! I removed the paper with the temporary information from my front window. I feel like she's now complete!


Why do so many people leave that temporary license on their front window once they've already gotten their plates? And why does it bother me?


This Is Going Nowhere

First of all, a Happy Birthday shout-out to Ren! I'm hoping that her time with her parents is fabulous. I'm giddy about the present I got for her (that she probably won't get until next week) and I hope she likes it. She may indeed smack me, but oh well, I will have probably deserved it.

So, Nathan Fillion on Lost last night! That was a nice treat. Does he get drugged in every show he's on? I can't say I'm too upset about the "break" the show is taking until February. It has been okay this season, but it has also been annoying in oh, so many ways.

I got a surprise gift today from my buddy Cheryl. How cool is that? It's a "Give Peeps A Chance" t-shirt...I absolutely love it! I'm not sure I can fit into the tiny little thing, but probably will after the next 20 or 30 pounds go.

I had intended to write about something completely different today, but I'm not feeling very well and it's distracting me. I've had some stomach issues for the past few days and then this morning while I was walking down the stairs from the 7th floor of the parking garage, I suddenly experienced a massive spasm in the middle of my back. This is not an issue I normally have. Ever. It's pretty sore and making me really grumpy. It's also making it really difficult to do a lot of my job. So those are my excuses for this disjointed, rambling entry. I'm off to lie on the floor for a bit.


Quality Rodent Time

A friend at work asked me today if I still like my hamster. WTF? Of course I still like him! I told her that I actually kind of miss him because I haven't had a chance to play with him very much for the past couple of weeks. This led to loud exclamations such as "You are the biggest dork I know!" Yeah, yeah I get that at least once a week. This same friend and another co-worker started talking about what horrible experiences they had with hamsters. They were clearly traumatized. I guess I got a good one.

I was able to take Ami out of his cage tonight and let him run around in the bathtub a bit. Here are a couple of videos. The first is Ami stuffing broccoli into his cheek pouches. In the other one, he is nibbling on a tiny corn cob. And yes, Jenn, that is the little dish I won in one of your contests. I'm sorry.

The Lunchtime Shuffle

I've done it before, but am again posting a shuffle list of what comes up randomly on my non-iPod mp3 player. I was amused in the car this morning because it seemed to really like Duran Duran. Then the last song, as I pulled into the parking garage at work, was Barenaked Ladies covering "The Reflex."

Here's a random selection of 25 of my 4,253 songs:
  • "E-Bow The Letter" by R.E.M
  • "Born To Be A Dancer" by The Kaiser Chiefs
  • "#9 Dream" by John Lennon
  • "Faster Than Light" by Duran Duran (still feeling the love, I guess)
  • "Stay" (live version) by Lisa Loeb
  • "Stay (Wasting Time)" by Dave Matthews Band
  • "Runaway" by Me First and The Gimme Gimmes
  • "Loose Translation" by The New Pornographers
  • "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" by James Taylor
  • "(They Long To Be) Close To You" by The Cranberries
  • "Signal To Noise" by Peter Gabriel
  • "Pop Song '89" by R.E.M.
  • "Police On My Back" by The Clash
  • "The Rafters" by Moby
  • "Late" by Ben Folds
  • "In The Lowlands" by Crowded House
  • "Jolly Beggardude" by Great Big Sea
  • "The Disappointed" by XTC
  • "Helena" by Nickel Creek
  • "It's A Free World Baby" by R.E.M.
  • "If I Had $1,000,000" by Barenaked Ladies
  • "Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol
  • "Enterlude" by The Killers
  • "Bring On The Dancing Horses" by Echo & The Bunnymen
  • "Title and Registration" by Death Cab For Cutie

Apparently, the player is now into R.E.M. I'm really surprised that The Cure didn't come up, as they have been every time I'm in my car lately. Since I'm such a dork, I do get a kick out of the fact that two songs called "Stay" came up back-to-back. As for the mood I'm in right now, I would have probably skipped a majority of those songs.


Only One Sticker For Me Today

I was the first person to vote at my polling place this morning. The workers there seemed a little low on the IQ scale. The woman whose job was simply giving you an "I Voted" sticker before you left got really flustered and didn't know what to do! (She was not alone in the room, as most of them were scrambling and bumbling). Anyway, I did my civic duty and exercised my right (not 'privilege' as the President called it) and yes, even got my sticker. Hopefully, my votes will be counted as intended. I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but if you check out Hacking Democracy, you will see some convincing evidence that what you mark on your ballot may not translate to the reported results.

I had a chance to earn yet another sticker to display proudly on my shirt today. I received a call from our Blood Donor Center. A baby in the hospital where I work really needs some and they don't have any of our type to transfuse. However, my iron was a tad low, so I was rejected. I'm not surprised and should have known, considering where I am in my cycle. I feel bad for the baby and really hope someone else can help her out.


One Deep Breath: Share The Story

I took a break from my Monday "concert memory" post last week. I'm going to go for two birds with this one and also use it as my entry for this week's one deep breath haiku challenge. The prompt is "share the story" and we are encouraged to tell a tale in the form of haibun, which is poetic prose interspersed with haiku. Excuse my prose for not being so "poetic."

The time had arrived. I was set to see my first "real" Barenaked Ladies show. The others before were great, but not full concerts. Butterflies danced excitedly in my stomach that spring of 1996. I planned what to wear and learned all the songs. I knew it would be special.

We located a great spot to stand. Good view of the stage. I impatiently listened to the opening band. Come on already! The lights dimmed and the fans screamed. I danced and I sang. Listening to the music, watching the antics, I did not notice the drunk guy get onto the stage.

Caught up in the fun
I did not see him diving
Then flat on my back

He dove off of the stage and landed right on me. Knocked the wind out of me. Scared me a bit too. With help, I managed to get to my feet. The show went on. I was shaken, but will never forget Ed, on guitar, mouthing to me, "Are you okay?" I was and I wasn't.

My night had become more memorable than planned. For the last part of the show, I was a bit distracted. Noticed in the paper that they were playing a venue further south the next day. I thought it would be nice to truly enjoy an entire concert from start to finish.

Decided last minute
To go to San Diego
For another show

The best part of course
Was meeting the band after
Just down to earth guys

Me and Ed
Me and Ed Robertson, Tower Records, 1996

I've seen Barenaked Ladies perform live several times since. They always put on a great show, but there is something about that one at the American Legion Hall in Hollywood that I will always remember. It was back when fans still threw "Kraft Dinner" during "If I Had A Million Dollars" and I remember having macaroni imprints on my legs and back. It was during that song that the guy dove on top of me. I was distracted by Steve Page who was dancing around with an umbrella on stage. A couple of friends were further back in the theater and said they saw the crowd near the stage part as the guy jumped, but it took me by complete surprise. I got to laugh with the band about the next night, which was great fun.

Hopefully nothing of that variety will happen at the on November 29th!


If You Like To Laugh...

...go see Borat! It is hilarious! I always loved the Borat segments the best on Da Ali G Show, which HBO is re-airing tomorrow in case you've never seen it. The movie was laugh-out-loud funny. According to an upcoming article [spoiler alert] in Newsweek, there is a rumor that people over 35 will not find the film to be funny. As much as I hate to admit that I am over 35 (just barely!), I'm happy to report that it's just not true. I think humorless people who don't "get" satire (of any age) will not think it's funny and may even be offended. All I have to say to that is open your eyes and lighten up. Besides, laughter is good for your health.

While not officially participating in NaBloPoMo, I am striving to do at least a post-a-day in November. I imagine that on some days, like today, I'll end up with more than one due to my night owl tendencies (see previous).

Like A Fungus

I'm not hungry right now, but I'm going to eat my words. I've bad-mouthed 30 Rock, declaring it "not funny." However, I just watched the past two weeks' episodes and yeah, it's growing on me. I actually laughed out loud a couple times. I noticed two big differences in these shows from the previous ones. No Jane Krakowski and limited Tracy Morgan. Not only was the interplay between Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin quite amusing, but the weakest link was missing and the most annoying person on the show was somewhat subdued with minimal screen time.

Anyone up for a one-minute dance party?


Out Of The Closet

I finally bit the bullet and cleaned out my closet today. A much overdue task. I'm sure there are plenty of you who are neat and tidy all the time and can not comprehend the closet that becomes a hulking disaster that can no longer be closed. Here's a sampling of finds:
  • A pair of chunky-heeled brown shoes that I'd forgotten that I own.
  • An adapter for E's headphones that he "lost" two years ago.
  • Four brand new pair of socks, still in the bag from Target.
  • 15 tampons in various purses and bags.
  • My smallest black purse that I've been missing for several months.
  • A pair of strappy black heels that I really like and had forgotten.
  • $1.76 in change, mostly pennies.
  • 2 lipsticks and 1 chapstick.
  • 2 mine and one a friend's.
  • Wrapping paper decorated with raw meat.
  • 2 rolls of scotch tape. One of them is in a Coro Coro Kuririn (Sanrio hamster) dispenser.
  • 2 asthma inhalers. Good place for them if I ever need them, eh?
  • 2 lollipops (still in their wrappers).
  • 9 AA batteries.
  • 3 doggie poop bags.
  • A pair of 3D glasses from a screening of Monster House.
  • A blonde wig.
I threw out a few pair of trashed shoes and lots of dry cleaning bags. My shoes are all neatly lined up. My big issues is bags. I have a lot. I actually like and still use quite a few of them. I stowed some tote bags in the garage with luggage, neatened up the bags I want to be accessible, and filled a Trader Joe's bag with several I'm taking to Goodwill.

I feel a sense of accomplishment. Now on to the rest of the pig sty house!


November Has Arrived

Birthday flowers ordered for Mom...check

Birthday card signed and put out to mail (it will be late)...check

Front lawn Halloween decorations put away until next year...check

Now on to planning last minute details for tonight's costume. I realized I need to get some black nail polish and some control-top stockings.

Since I didn't manage to take any photos of our awesome decor on Halloween night, I snapped a few before cleaning up today. Of course it's not the same in daylight without the fog and flashing lights.

I still have my pumpkin, which I just adore, on my front porch. Pumpkins are not just for Halloween, but represent autumn in general to me. While I don't really participate in a traditional Thanksgiving anymore, one of my favorite things about the holiday is pumpkin pie. I guess that's why I was so confounded to go into a Coffee Bean last night (I got a gift card!) to finally try out one of those pumpkin spiced drinks only to find they are no longer on the menu. Their attitude seems to be: Halloween is over, it's now Christmas and we have peppermint. Now, I love me some peppermint, but I don't need it on November 2nd, when I'm in the mood for some pumpkin spice and nutmeg. I was very annoyed.


I certainly is starting to look a bit more like Fall outside, but is quite warm today and is going to be up in the 80's all weekend, I hear. As long as it doesn't rain, I'll be perfectly content.


Feeling Like A Zombie

How can I be so tired today? I barely made it through my workday yesterday on 3 hours of sleep. I went home and instead of going to a free screening of Cars and Q&A with John Lassiter, I opted to get some much needed shut-eye. I went to sleep around 7:00 pm and planned to get up around 10:30 to eat and watch Lost. The latter didn't happen and I slept and slept, barely able to get up this morning. In fact, I didn't get up until about 7:40 am, ten minutes after I'm supposed to arrive at work.

I'm leaving early today to go to the dentist. It's looking like I might even be able to squeeze in a little nap. Pathetic! I actually feel really hot and weird too, so am possibly fighting off some germies. I was sick on Monday, but it seemed more allergy related. I've had my flu shot, so hopefully that's warding off anything that serious.

At this rate, I won't even have to use make up for my zombie Raggedy Ann costume.


Halloween Wrap Up

I survived one of my favorite, albeit longest, days of the year for me...Halloween! I love Halloween and was up at 6am and didn't return to my bed until 3am this morning. Twenty-one hours of good times.

As I noted before, Halloween is a very big deal at my workplace. I work with children, so we do up things in a fun, festive way and avoid scary. Fine by me. My department's theme was "A Day At The Zoo." Everyone (except for that one person, yeah, that one) went all out. We had zebras, a giraffe, monkeys, tigers, zoo keepers, a bear, butterflies, a peacock, a penquin, a cougar, a kangaroo, and a couple of gorillas. I found a sweet gorilla costume that was cheap and fit me quite well, in spite of being a child size. In case you didn't know, I'm short, very short. I'm only 5 feet tall. That's it. No inches. The gorilla suit was nicely lined and pretty loose fitting. I'd say it was quite comfortable, just damn hot! Well, one of my few male co-workers, who is at least six-foot-five wore the exact same costume in the exact same size! This is one of the photos I wish I had uploaded already! The ankles of the suit were up around his knees and I know he had another person check to make sure it didn't look obsene, if you get what I mean. What a jackass. Hilarious though. As usual, we won the "Kids' Choice" award for the best trick-or-treating booth. We go all out...for the kids...and they show their appreciation.


I raced home, a little early, just before 6pm. I was already exhausted and a bit exasperated to see so many kids out already. Ack! E was scrambling to get the last minute sound and light touches to our decor up and running. Our grave yard turned out really good this year, complete with fog and lights that flashed along with scary sounds. We got one "Oh snap!" and one "This is the best yard we've seen!" The trick-or-treaters arrived at such a steady rate that I panicked and ran out to get more candy. Of course we now have tons of leftovers, which is exactly what I did not want to happen. We had some nicely costumed, very polite youngsters who came by, but I am considering posting some "rules" for the-rest-of-them next year:
  1. Wear a costume. Come're going to knock on my door, expecting free candy and not make any effort? It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. Just show that you tried. (This would be an acceptable exception!)
  2. Say 'Trick or Treat.' It's customary and fun. Don't just hold your bag up and stare at me.
  3. Say 'Thank You' instead of looking at me like "Is that it?" with your bag still open. Yes, that's scram!
  4. I don't condone giving candy to infants. (Besides, I know it's really for you, fat ass!)
  5. One Stop Shopping. There are lots of houses in the neighborhood. Do you think I don't recognize you from an hour ago?
  6. Give A Hoot...Don't Pollute. Please don't eat the candy I give you in my driveway and then leave the wrapper there. Disgusting. (Thanks to co-worker S for reminding me of this one!)

Once the trick-or-treating died down, pun intended, we went over the hill to West Hollywood for the huge, annual carnaval. E went all out this year and put together a Ro-Man costume from the film Robot Monster. He purchased a gorilla suit for the body and constructed a papier mache helmet, that was pretty darn close to the original one. We saw the actual original helmet this past Sunday and he took photos for reference. I ended up feeling a bit like one of those handlers for the Disneyland costumed characters as E's helmet was fogging up and he had a bit of trouble seeing. It was fun to have some people recognize the costume and take pictures of him. I was originally going to wear a 50's-style outfit and 3D glasses, but it was kind of cold and I was kind of lazy, so I just wore my gorilla suit again. We followed up the carnaval with a late dinner at the Nova Express Cafe, where E's Ro-Man was a big hit.


Halloween will continue for me later this week with a party on Friday. I'm going to break out one of my three costumes from last year.


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