Friday, September 30, 2005

Bolts

Thursday, September 29, 2005

If There's Caffeine In Hell, We're Gonna Make It After All

This morning I had to take the Mr. to the airport. At 6 a.m. His flights often depart in the 7 a.m.-9 a.m. range, but this...this is cruel and unusual punishment. To his credit, he did offer to just drive himself and park, and I almost said, "OK! Have a great trip!", but I just couldn't do it.

After I dropped him off, I decided to go grocery shopping because, hey, I'm up and I have to do it today. No matter that I was still practically in a REM state. Between that and the fact that I didn't have a list with me like I usually do would normally prove to be a recipe for disaster. But the whole thing went pretty well, other than the fact that I kept misreading labels.

In the soda aisle, I was loading my cart up with whatever was on sale when I saw an orange Mountain Dew drink that said "Hellfire."

Hellfire? Did I really just see that? I wiped my eyes and looked again. No, Livewire.

But don't you think a drink called Hellfire would actually be pretty cool? Diet Hellfire? Hellfire (Now with Splenda!). Vanilla Hellfire? OK, that's a little ridiculous.

Cracks

I Love Jack White Like a Little Brother

Andy: Did you hear Jack White say "My big sister and I..."?

The Mr.: Yeah, I did!

Adam: Weird. He did it at the beginning and the end of the show.

Me: When are they planning to knock that off?

The Mr.: It's part of the act!

Me: But we all know. We've seen the marriage license. Just give it up already!

The Mr.: But they want you to wonder, they want to keep the mystery alive.

Andy: They exchange those looks onstage, and they make you wonder, are they brother and sister? Are they dating? What's going on there?

The Mr.: It's supposed to be dangerous and a little edgy.

Me: Incest is so edgy.

Adam (a musician): Man! Too bad I have two brothers.

Me: Hey! That could be even edgier.

Adam: True. People might say, 'Hey, I don't know man, but I heard maybe he and his brother used to date or something.'

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Between The iPod and This, the Awesomeness Is Too Much. Almost.

You get a new toy (in my case, a lens), you torture the dogs, and in one case, the house. Warning: Treats may have been used as a means of coercion in these pictures. The house isn't crazy about Snausages, though.




Please Note, I'm Not Really Insulting Yo Mama

Yesterday, we drove roughly 3 hours to see M. Ward, the Shins and the White Stripes. Maliavale recounts the show and everyone's impressions of it on her site. I just have to add that a) I am continually blown away that two people produce that sound, b) Jack White is a genius and I'd love to sit down and talk about music with him someday and soak up the knowledge. You can tell just by listening to him play that he knows his stuff, and he lets it all inform what he does and c) Jack White is hella cute. He can be as creepy as he wants, he doesn't scare me. As maliavale said, it wasn't the best show I've ever been to, but it was just straight-up rock and a good time was had by all. Especially by the stoned couple next to us, the female half of which was dancing like she was at a Dead concert.

Before we departed for the show, maliavale gave me two awesome birthday presents: slang flash cards and A Portrait of Yo Mama As a Young Man. "I read this in the store," she said, "and I thought my knees were going to buckle, I was laughing so hard." Is she ever right. I think I pulled an ab muscle from all the laughing before we even left the house. Yo Mama jokes, I think we can all agree, are tired. But these are just absurd and elevate them to a new level. I threw the book in my purse so we could read it on the way up. Somewhere around the D.C. Beltway, I took it out and attempted to read Yo Mama jokes out loud, but it's pretty hard when you're laughing so hard you're choking. Maliavale did a valiant job of staying on the road through all of this. I could barely remain sitting upright and cried my makeup right off, I was laughing so hard, so I'm not sure how she managed to not crash us all into a guardrail.

Anyway, yeah. You probably had to be there, so I'm spreading the joy. A new Yo Mama joke is going to appear in the sidebar just about daily. I hope you enjoy them!

Rock Star

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The! Amazing! Race!

I do believe I've written posts before trying to convince the rest of the planet to hop on The Amazing Race bandwagon. I've been successful in getting at least one convert for each of the last two seasons. Who are my next cult members? Please stand up.

I'm fully aware that most reality TV is total crap. I'm also fully aware that I watch a lot of crap. But I think I also know quality TV, and friends, The Amazing Race is no junk.

Sure, it's reality. Yeah, you watch people squabble. But you learn some geography. You learn a little culture. You learn about local customs. You see cinematography so gorgeous, your list of places you'd like to visit someday grows. You pick up some foreign phrases. And you get to look at Phil.

The Amazing Race has so many elements that make it exciting to watch, unlike Survivor, which can get kind of predictable after an alliance takes power. Forming an alliance might be 1/10th of the overall strategy in The Amazing Race. The winning team needs book smarts, street smarts, flexibility, cunning, to play well together (finally, a reality show where people who know how to get along usually do the best) and brawn.

I'm just sayin'.

Pipe

Please Please Please Let Me Let Me Let Me Get on the Arc Trainer

I'm a bit of a sneak at the gym. The limit on the cardio machines is 45 minutes, but I like to do a full hour. How to get around that? I'll tell you: If it's 10 a.m., I'll sign up for a machine at 10:15, because who is going to want to use a machine for only 15 minutes? Voila, le full hour. It's never very busy when I do this. In fact, I specifically time my visits to the gym to fall between 9 a.m. and noon most days so I can encounter as few other people as possible.

Yesterday, my strategy backfired.

As I walked over to the signup sheets, I noticed a guy there adjusting his underwear. Class-y. I grabbed the signup sheet for the Arc Trainer, my new favorite toy. Since it was nearly 11 a.m., I signed up for 11:15. Just as I started to wander over to the machine, Underwear Guy hops on. The gym only one of these things right now. There was no one signed up before me, which means he's breaking the rules. But I'm certainly not going to tattle, seeing that I bend the rules a little myself. But as I got on the elliptical to kill some time, I thought, "Don't get too comfy on that machine, Undie Boy. I'm kicking your ass off at 11:15. You just don't know it yet."

The other thing about the gym is that I really, really dislike having confrontations there. I don't have too much trouble asserting myself elsewhere if I'm getting a load of crap, but usually because I can comfort myself with the knowledge that I'll never see most of those people again. These people at the gym, however, I see them every day. I don't want to kick someone off a machine one day and wind up lifting weights side by side in the free weight room the next. Hello, awkward? I'd just prefer us to all get along and work out in peace.

A few years ago, I had a bad experience with some guy who refused to get off a machine, even though he was 5 minutes past his time. He was also 150 lbs heavier and 3 feet taller than I was, so my only option was to stand there dumbly while he took his sweet time wrapping up his workout. I did make an effort to tell him that my time was just as important as his and I'd really appreciate it if he'd let me have the machine, but without making eye contact he said, "I'll be done when I'm done. You can wait." I still see him from time to time, and I just want to smack him with one of the fall issues of Vogue. When faced with the possibility that I might be called upon to assert myself at the gym, I panic.

The entire time I was on the elliptical, I stared at Underwear Guy, sizing him up, envisioning every possible scenario, preparing myself for the inevitable confrontation. Almost all of them involved him refusing to get off the machine, and me taking various courses of action to remedy this. I push him off. I grab his arm and hurl him to the floor. I grab a staff member and goad them into pushing him. I yell at him. I rally the rest of the people at the gym to form an angry mob. I hit the "reset" button on the machine. I crank the resistance up to 100 so he can't move his legs. I'm dreading it getting ugly, but if it must, it must.

11:15.

I step off the elliptical and mosey on over. "Excuse me," I chirp. "I signed up for this at 11:15."
"You did?!"
"Yes," I show him the signup sheet.
"Aw, damn! I signed up for the wrong time!"
"I've done that before. I'm sorry!"
"Let me clean off the machine for you."
"Thanks!"

Why do I get so worked up?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Jagged

I Wish I Had Been Able to Keep It

Yesterday as I was leaving My Favorite Upscale Discount Emporium, I saw Team Asset Protection swing into action with stunning precision, talking into their walkie-talkies, milling around urgently, eyes darting, whispering to one another. Exciting stuff. I wanted to hang around and see whose ass was going to be grass. It reminded me of this time that I worked in a store I'll call, oh, Zervyn's, and some girl there was caught shoplifting.

And while that's kind of an interesting story, I think a better story is the time I got some guy busted for trying to pass a counterfeit bill.

It happened when was working in the Student Union cafeteria as a cashier. See, the plan originally was for me not to work at all in college. I would work in the summers, save money, then stretch it out over two semesters while I focus on my, ahem, studies. The summer before my sophomore year, I managed to save in the neighborhood of $2,000. Then I was off to college with my ATM card and not a clue how to budget. I spent nearly all of that money before the first semester was even over. I made daily trips to the ATM, which magically spit out 20s as though they were candy, and as many as I wanted. It was the greatest thing! I bought the good cereal at the supermarket. I turned my nose up at the Ramen. I treated my friends to dinner. I bought lunch at school every day instead of brown-bagging it. We went to the movies, and not just the matinee. I kept no log of what I was spending or what my balance was. Oh, the fun times. Totally not in line with the average starving college student experience. I was living like a freaking Rockefeller.

Then my parents got wind of how low the balance on my account had gotten, and I think they may have wondered if I was doing drugs or had a gambling problem. They were pissed.
"But where did your money go?"
"I DON'T KNOW! I swear!"

I was ordered to get a job for the spring semester, and they reminded me that I'd be lucky if anyone hired me because competition for those glamorous on-campus jobs sure is fierce. I must have been a fantastic specimen, because I had no trouble getting work in the Student Union. It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. The hideous uniform was embarrassing, but I met dozens of people. Anytime I went to a party, people recognized me as "Student Union Girl" and came up to talk to me. For someone who usually stands in a corner doing a death grip on her drink in a room full of strangers, this was a godsend. There were regulars in my line. It was a really fun job.

One day, a man I didn't recognize came through my line. I rang up his food and gave him the total. He passed me a $20 bill. I started to put it in the drawer and make change when I noticed it looked really perfect. It had a sheen. It was crisp. The ink was just a little too green, too vibrant. I stared at it for a moment, then thought "Holy shit. This is a counterfeit. This is SO AWESOME!" I debated with myself. Do I want to make a scene? Will this guy kill me, or send someone to kill me from jail, if I tell someone? It's only $20, should I just make change and shut up? Can I keep the bill to show to my friends later? If I say nothing, I'll probably be fired. Ahhh, what do I do?! I opted to bust his ass.

"Excuse me, could you wait here? I'll be right back."
"Sure!"
What? He's waiting? I'd take off running if I were him.
I went back to my boss's office. "I think this is a fake bill."
"Wha...wha...huh? Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I mean, look at it."

She inspected it. "It does look funny." She called campus police. When they arrived, the guy was still there, and they pulled him off to a corner to begin the interrogation. I began to wonder whether he was truly not guilty, or just incredibly stupid. I went back to my register and worked while I listened to them speak to him. He denied knowing the bill was fake. I felt terrible -- what if he was telling the truth?

Still, you should have seen this bill. It wasn't exactly hand-drawn, but I have a hard time believing anyone could really not question whether it was real.

The police took him away, and I don't know what happened after that. A few hours later, one of the other employees found a duffel bag in the seating area. It was packed with hundreds more of the same bills.

For doing my part in enforcing the law, I was named Employee of the Month, which came with a gift certificate and a 20% discount at the student bookstore.

It wasn't exactly going to rocket me back to my Rockefeller days, but I took it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Shattered

Converted to black and white, and I cranked the contrast up to 11.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Ear of Wonkitude

The dogs are back! I need to get out and take some more pictures. Sunday, I promise.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

One Year, Plus One Day

Apparently, I forgot me and my blog's first anniversary. Well, not completely -- I actually had been thinking about it a month ago, but in all the birthday excitement, it slipped my mind and I neglected to acknowledge it. [Edited to add that perhaps I should have given some thanks to Darren and Maliavale for actually noticing this and pointing it out to me! They are way more astute than I am.] Thankfully, we don't sleep in the same bed or even share a room, so it really can't kick me out or do much of anything about it. Except perhaps up and delete my entire template and archives. Oh, please, let's not be hasty here. I will make amends with a list, which market research shows are reader friendly and fun to create.

A Year of Blogging By the Numbers

Number of posts, according to my profile: No idea, because my profile won't tell me

Estimated number of posts, according to me: Including pictures, 500

Number of times the word "totally" was used: 365

Number of times other words betraying my California roots have been used (including like, hella, awesome, freakin' and sweet): 600

Number of hella cool new friends I made: 2

Number of commenters banned by me through Haloscan because I didn't like their attitude: 1

Number of posts started, then abandoned for various reasons: 56

Number that are likely to show up when I'm good and ready: 1

Number of flame wars: 1

Hours spent in front of the computer composing posts, making blog "pretty" and general goofing around: I'm not ready to admit this to myself.

Number of glasses of wine or other drinks consumed immediately prior to or during blogging: 8. This is a pathetic number, and I vow to improve upon it in the next year.

Number of rats and assorted other squicky things that died in our house in the last year: one rat, that we know of, 76-ish bugs including one very giant flying cockroach.

Number of nights I slept in the guest room while the Mr. was out of town because I saw said giant flying cockroach sleeping on my pillow: 4

On a scale of 1-10, how fun being a guest in my house was: 9.5;, one point docked for the bug, but bonus points for the TV in the guest room, the comfy bed and the good coffee in the morning.

Number of family members told about the blog at its inception: 30-ish

Number of family members who regularly read the blog today: 5, I think?

Number of times the Mr. has posted, because originally this was supposed to be a co-blog, something we had both completely forgotten about, and now I don't really want to share, sorry: 0

MORE EDITS

I'm really starting to annoy myself, and possibly all of you. I should have put more thought into this post, but the truth is, I did it in about 10 minutes. While I was walking the dogs, it occurred to me that I didn't even mention the blog villains: Henry and Harry. How could I have forgotten them?

Number of times Henry has parked in front of our house: countless

Number of times I refused to leave the house to get dinner until I was sure Henry was home and had found another neighbor to inconvenience: 3

Number of times I have felt homicidal toward Henry: 12

Number of times I have referred to Henry as a effin m-effer: Daily (according to the Mr.)

Number of times we've pulled up just as that effin m-effer was taking our spot: 1

Number of dirty looks I've given him: 14

Number of times I've shaken my hands toward the heavens and yelled, "WHY?!!": 38

Number of times Harry has motioned to me for a cigarette as I'm making a right turn onto a busy street: 1

Number of times Harry has sat on our porch and had a glass of water: 2

Number of times that glass of water came from me: 0

Number of times that glass of water came from the Mr.: 2

Number of times Harry has banged on our door in the middle of the night looking for more water: 0...so far.

OK. If I think of anything else, I'll keep it to myself.

Cobblestones

This Is Neither Here Nor There, Really

I discovered this a few months ago, and always meant to write a little post about it. But first I need to ask: what is the deal with Google that when you do a search and there are no hits for it, they have their little spelling suggestion, so you click on that and there's nothing for that, either?

It's like that episode of "Friends" when Monica was trying to get hints from Phoebe about something that happened, and Phoebe is making her try to guess what it is:

Monica: Does it involve travel?
Phoebe: No!
Monica: Does it involve clogs?
Phoebe: Oh, wait, wait! Clogs, or claws?
Monica: Clogs.
Phoebe: No.
Monica: Claws?!
Phoebe: No.

Anyway.

So, every so often, someone's name will pop into my head and I'll Google them to see what they're up to. Most of them, I have no interest in contacting. A few months ago, the name of one of my many tormenters came up: J. Kerkorian. I'm leaving his first name off, because I don't need him Googling himself and finding me.

J. used to call me...ready?..."Trees." 'Cause, you know, I was so lonely that my only friends were the trees. Oh, that guy.

One day in seventh grade I was walking home from school, by myself, naturally. J. rode by on his skateboard and yelled, "Treeeeees! Hee, heee! She talks to the trees! What are you talking about with the trees? Treeeees!"

He passed me by and got about a block away when his skateboard slipped out from under him and he landed on his ass. It's a good thing he didn't look back, because he surely would have killed me when he saw me doubled over with laughter.

I Googled the guy. What is the meanest jerk in seventh grade up to these days?

Why, he's a minister.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Eyes

I know this week has been dog-heavy, but only because I took them to the park and shot a ton of photos. Normal non-canine content will resume momentarily.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Continuing With the Rust Theme

In Which One Childhood Scar is Healed. A Little.

"I saw your post the other day, the one about me singing to you in the morning."
"Oh, that. Yes."
"I ruined mornings for you?"
"You sure did!"
"Your brother says it always annoyed him, too."
"It really was freaky, mom."
"Oh, boy. I'm sorry. You poor kids."
"It's OK. Really."
"I don't know what's wrong with me! My roommates in college always hated me in the mornings, too. They were always yelling, 'Would you just shut up!?' I can't help it! I've always been a morning person."
"No worries, I still love you."
"Thanks."

I Really Should Talk to My Family More Often

Conversation with my brother:
"Happybirthdaytoyouhappybirthdaytoyou..."
"Aw, thanks. What's up?"
"Oh, nothing much."
We chit chat for a few minutes, and then in response to something he tells me, I say, "That's freakin' whack."
"Whack?"
"Yes, whack."
"Whack."
"You've never heard this before?"
"No, I've heard it before. I just haven't heard you say it."
"Well, we don't really talk that much."
"True..."
He then lowers the phone and yells to his girlfriend, Bella Snow, "Hey, she says 'that's freakin' whack'! And she still says hella!" as though before my brother called, they had been discussing just what I'm saying these days and wondered whether I still sound Californian or have completely assimilated in the South.

That's hella freakin' whack. Y'all.

Remembrance of Birthdays Past

Today is my birthday (nananana, it's my birthday too!), and you know, birthdays are nice. But I don't really get worked up about them like I used to. Years ago, I would remind my family weeks in advance, drop thinly veiled hints for gift ideas and maybe make a couple of jokes about something absurdly extravagant that I would like, such as a chimpanzee or a jet plane. Or a chimpanzee flying a jet plane, like Virgil in "Project X." But now it's more like, "Oh? You say it's my birthday? Wait, how old am I? Oh, yes. Fun!"

I lost most of my excitement about them when I turned 21. After that, I just stopped counting. But in the years leading up to that magical milestone, I greeted every birthday with, "Today, I'm X. Only X more years until turning 21!" When I turned 20, I began counting down the days. "Only X more days until I can go to that Irish pub after classes and get drunk...legally!"

When I finally turned 21 on a Wednesday, I believe, I didn't hesitate. Me and some friends were at a bar playing dice waiting for the clock to strike midnight. The minute it did, I went up and my boyfriend at the time bought me my first fully legal drink. Then he said, "Let's go to other bars!" And so we hit every bar in the downtown San Jose area and I got a drink at each one after proudly flashing my ID.

I drank so much at my official 21st birthday party the following weekend that I wished my friend Jane a happy birthday after she had carried me to bed. "No, it's your birthday," she laughed.
"Oh. OK. Well, good night!"

My next notable birthday was my 30th a couple years ago. Thanks to the Mr.'s line of work, I've often had to celebrate alone, and I was especially determined not to spend a milestone birthday by myself. Some girlfriends and I made plans to rendezvous in Vegas that weekend. All hell broke loose a week before we left when the projections for Hurricane Isabel not only showed that it was coming right toward us, but hitting around the time our flight was scheduled to depart.

Jasclo and I had to scramble (the rest of the girls were coming from CA). We made a solemn vow, first, that not leaving was not an option and that we were going to do whatever it took. We found a flight leaving from another airport 3 hours away first thing in the morning, and changed our flights to the tune of $400. Ow, ow, ow. But we really did not want to stay in town for this. Our move turned out to be a good choice: the airline eventually reimbursed everyone who had to change a flight because of the hurricane.

The whole thing felt like it was a scene out of "Twister," us against the storm. We didn't breathe until the plane was safely in the air.

That trip to Vegas remains notable for two things: we learned that nine is the maximum number of people you can put in a Mustang Convertible (note that I didn't say "safely") and I lost $40 in a single hand at blackjack -- something about splitting aces and doubling down multiple times -- which was painful.

This year, I'm keeping it mellow. And, you'll be shocked to know, I've actually answered the phone several times this morning.

Just a Prop

A ball I saw in the park.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Shadow

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I Really Find Nyquil Delicious, Though

I've long had a knack for using products in a manner inconsistent with their labeling, which I believe is a federal offense. But I'm not doing it on purpose, I swear. That will be my defense in front of the judge. I'm also good at not reading the instructions. You would think I'd have learned my lesson with that in 9th grade when Mr. Lose passed out an exam at the start of class one day. I immediately wrote my name and dove right in. I remember glancing over at one of my classmates mid-quiz, and she was sitting with her hands folded over the paper, staring straight ahead. "Ooooh," I thought. "She's gonna flunk."

But it turns out that at the top of the quiz was written, "This is a test to see if you can follow instructions. All you need to do is sign your name. Do not answer any of the questions." Flunky girl had aced it.

A few weeks later in the same grade, I woke up with a little congestion one morning. I rooted around my grandmother's cabinet for some medicine. "Hmmm...lessee here. Nyquil? Why not? It's the sniffling sneezing coughing aching stuffy head fever medicine, yes?" I poured myself a shot and went on my way.

Cut to Earth Science. I hadn't just nodded off. I was completely, utterly, drooling-on-the-desk, talking-in-my-sleep passed out. My deskmate grabbed my arm and woke me up.
"Wow, are you all right?" he asked.
"I don't know what's wrong with me. I woke up this morning with a little cold, but maybe I'm really sick. I thought the Nyquil would help."
He snickered. "Nyquil? No wonder."
Yes, Nyquil. The nighttime sniffling sneezing coughing aching stuffy head fever so you can rest medicine.

And then there was the time I stayed up for 60 hours straight in college, with a little help from way too many No-Doz.

In 1999, my first apartment in this town had hardwood floors, which are way more common in this area than in California. The initial prospect of having them excited me. But these floors, they get dusty and dirty so easily. You vacuum, you Swiffer, you do all you can and yet, five minutes after you've cleaned, there are the dustbunnies again. They're giant pretty wooden magnets for nothing but the things. Hardwood floors are so much work sometimes that I repeatedly said that I never wanted to live in another place with them again as long as I lived, because cleaning that tiny apartment knocked me out. And look at us now: We have an entire house of the floors, in addition to two dogs who will forever ensure that our floors will never again exist without a thin layer of hair. I must be a masochist.

Anyway, Pledge is good for dusting, right? Why, yes, yes, it is. It repels dust, it shines, it smells nice, what's not to love? I sprayed some on a section of floor, then Swiffered it to smooth and polish. As I crossed the floor to work on the next section, I slipped and fell. Yeah. Pledge makes shit slippery. Don't use it on your floors. Maybe it says somewhere on the bottle. I didn't look.

Who's got the bail money?

Dear Summer,

Your lease is almost up, yet I see no evidence that you've even thought about packing. Where are the boxes? If you go to the bookstores, they will gladly give you boxes for free if money is an issue. Can I assist in any way? I have lots of packing tape and newspaper with which to protect your valuables.

Aren't you supposed to be heading to Australia soon? If you wait until the last minute to pack or pack without a list subdivided by category, you might wind up forgetting something. Like your toothbrush. Or worse, your passport.

It's been real, but it's time for you to get out.

XOXO

Do Over

Every so often, I hear about something someone did at a wedding that is so astoundingly awesome and original that I blurt out, "I want a do over!"

But this one. Oh, man. This one takes the cake. It's so cool, I can't stand it, and when the Mr. gets home, I'm going to suggest that we put on our wedding gear, hop on a plane and go do it. I'm pretty sure I can get him to say yes if I ask him while he's reading the sports section.

My mom's cousin's niece (got that?) and her new husband jumped into Lake Tahoe after their wedding this July. In her dress. In his tux. And the pictures are amazing.

Someday, I am going to jump in a lake in a fancy dress. Mark my words.

Dinner Hours

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Oh, Balls

Friday, September 16, 2005

Just "Stop That"

Maliavale's post about crimes against grammarmanity reminded me of the time I was in Hawaii with my family a few years ago and my now sister-in-law and I stumbled across a sign at an outdoor market that read:

WE ACCEPT "CREDIT CARDS"

I promptly proposed that we find some paper, write "American Express" on it and try to offer it as payment. "But you said you accept 'credit cards.' This is a 'credit card.' "

The Conversation Continues

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Paul Giamatti Will Be Disappointed

So, yeah, I had a little wine last night. The Mr. and I had another couple over for dinner. He knew the girl from when they both lived in Kansas, and she happens to live here now and works as a lawyer and they hadn't seen each other since they were kids. Now, I don't know what it is about lawyers, but I am completely intimidated by them. One of my aunts is a lawyer, and even though she has never given me reason to feel this way, I feel like she is listening to everything I say and either thinking I sound incredibly stupid or she's mentally going over the flaws in my logic. Please, don't mind me and my issues. Lawyers just scare me.

When the Mr. told me this girl was a lawyer, I suddenly worried that this was going to be a really awkward evening consisting of me either saying stupid thing after stupid thing or me not saying anything, thus completely avoiding the risk of saying any stupid things. So, I spent much of the day not only worrying about this, but about the issue of whether the four of us would even have any chemistry and manage to spend a few hours together that didn't suck.

Anyway, Lynn and Brian arrived at our house and I immediately felt comfortable around them and proceeded to act fairly normal. They're both really smart and friendly, which was such a relief, I poured myself a nice, big glass of merlot to celebrate. Lynn had a glass, too. And then we each had another glass. Here's where Lynn demonstrated that she is, in fact, smarter than me: she stopped. I think the low point for me was when I opened a bottle of pinot grigio after we had polished off the merlot and didn't even rinse the little bit of merlot out of the old glass. Klassy with a K, that is me.

Thankfully, I called it quits after that. As they were driving away, I wondered if they were saying, "We are never going back there again!"

Rust Never Sleeps

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I've Got A Flair for Coloring My Hair

Do you see the highlights? Do you? They're the caramel-ly bits in my hair.

We Are The Sons of No One

PEOPLE.

If you are ever worried about some sort social interaction with someone you don't know, just have a glass of wine or 4 or, I don't know, 8. It makes you really charming and agreeable.

I think.

Sweet Jesus, thank god for backspace and spell check.

OK, perhaps I will post the picture. I should do it while I don't care how stupid I look.

Holy shit, I had way too much wine tonight.

Oh, Lord

Taking pictures of yourself to show off your new awesome not-at-all-showy-but-just-right highlights feels more narcissistic than the very existence of your blog itself. And now I can't bring myself to post one, because, come on, this is ridiculous. I've had enough self-love for one afternoon.

But making goofy faces to see how they look sure is fun.

P.S. No e-mail with the subject line "***MAJOR CONCERT INFO!!!!!****" should ever lead off with "Ashlee Simpson!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wires

Don't Meet Me In the Morning

This morning, the Mr. came into our bedroom and cheerily announced, "OK! TIME TO GET UP!" I pulled the pillow over my head to drown him out. "TIME TO GET UP!"

I sat up and said, "Why? It's 9:30. Why do I have to get up?" and then I threw myself back down and covered my head.

"No, no...I said, 'Rufus, it's time to go out!' " Hey, it sounds kind of the same.

But the damage had already been done. I tried to close my eyes, but all I could think about was the way my mother used to burst into my room in the morning and sing her little mornin'-lovin' heart out. Before we joined the Mormon church when I was eight, she had one standard:

Good morning to you! Good morning to you!
You look like a monkey,
You smell like one, too!

She would run around the room, her eyes all bright and cheery, dancing and clapping, ripping the covers off my bed and taking utter delight in my increasing anger. After we joined the Mormon church, she picked up a new catalog with which to torture me. Whereas the Catholics have droning, solemn hymns that don't really lend themselves to torturing your child at the crack of dawn, the Mormons have some totally catchy ditties that still find themselves stuck in my head years later. I've said goodbye to the church, but the songs, they remain. Each morning before school, mom employed every one of them over the course of the year, not because she was super into it but only because she knew it drove me crazy:

The Lord said to Noah, "There's gonna be a floody, floody."
The Lord said to Noah, "There's gonna be a floody floody."
Get those children (CLAP!) out of the muddy, muddy
Children of the Lord

and

I hope they send me on a mission
when I have grown a foot or two
I hope to be a missionary
to teach and preach and work
as missionaries do!

It's kind of a cop-out to blame your parents for everything wrong in your life, but I totally blame my mom for why I'm not a morning person at all.

Patchwork

Monday, September 12, 2005

1805

But Don't Wear Fanny Packs, Please

I always try to carry a book with me. This is primarily because I'm almost always early or right on time, and if I'm ever late, it's not my fault. Maliavale has tried many a time to beat me somewhere, and attempted to claim (a totally false) victory when Trish, Brian and Aubrie were in town. Here's the thing with babies: it seems they make you late for everything. It's a big, giant production in which not only two fully grown adults are attempting to leave the house with matching shoes, but they're also trying to dress a baby and equip said baby with all the tools necessary to address any and all conceivable needs that may arise during the excursion. And Aubrie is a good baby. Very easy to please. She loves my singing voice, which proves my point if you've ever heard me sing. I shudder to think about Cranky Baby.

So, anyway. We had plans to meet the crew for lunch at noon, but noon came and went, and I was still sitting on the couch ready to go, trying to remain calm and patient. Trish and Brian were still gathering baby paraphernalia and getting ready themselves. At 12:20, we piled in the car and I called some cell phones and alerted everyone that we were on our way, taking special care to blame this on Trish and Brian. I have a reputation to uphold here, so I have to find the scapegoats where I can get them. When we finally arrived at the restaurant, I walked in and maliavale declared, "Finally! I beat you somewhere!"
"What!? That doesn't count! I had no control over this!"
"I'm taking it."
"It doesn't count. It's not my fault. Not my fault!"
She needs to beat me fair and square, and this was neither. Try again, maliavale, when there aren't unpredictable babies involved! But I will say that had I been in charge of what to bring for the baby, it would be: a bottle, one serving of formula (OK, maybe two), two diapers and a pacifier to quiet the complaining. That's what you're going to get, kid, and you're gonna like it. This is why I don't have babies.

The "bring along a book" thing stems from an ill-fated trip to Disneyland in 1990. My stepbrother Glenn and I didn't want to see the Electrical Parade, so we split off from the rest of the family to go ride "It's A Small World." It started off well enough. We hummed along with the little dancing dolls, made fun of some of their expressions, and then it happened. We caught up with the boat in front and came to a stop. The boat behind us smacked into ours, hurling us forward.

And then we sat there and waited. And waited.
"It's a smallll world after all!"
Waiting.
"It's a world of laughter a world of tears..."
Still waiting.
"It's a world of hope and a world of fears..."
Oh my God.
"There's so much that we share that it's time we're aware..."
Help.
"IT'S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALLLL!"
Meep.

Twenty minutes later, we hadn't moved an inch. We were still there, listening to this horrible, wicked song on loop with these insane dancing dolls who began to take on a menacing appearance. Any minute, they were going to hop off their little pedestals, do-si-do into our boats and eat each and every one of us alive while singing about diversity, then afterward, they'd do a little pas de bouree and a kick-ball change and can-can on over to the next victim until we were all devoured. They were little dancing, singing, multilingual Chuckie dolls.

I looked over at Glenn to see if he was as close to losing his mind as I was. He was hunched over in his seat, engrossed in the Indiana Jones book he had taken out of his day-glo green fanny pack (I warned you this was 1990, didn't I?).
"You brought a book?"
"Well, yeah," he shrugged.
"What made you think to bring a book to Disneyland?"
"You never know."
To self: "Dammit! That's brilliant!"

Forty-five minutes after we had stopped, we were still sitting there when we saw people up ahead starting to climb out of their boats and walk out.
"Glenn, people are leaving."
"We can't get out of these boats! We'll get busted."
"We can't stay here and listen to this. It's insane. I never want to hear this song again."
"Me, either. OK. Let's hurry. Hurry! Run!"
We hopped out and made our way to the exit via the walkways behind the set, which was almost as fascinating as the time we were in Space Mountain and the lights kicked on. Man, that is one very wussy roller coaster when you can actually see it. I could see it in everyone's eyes: "This is what we've been screaming over?" Behind "It's a Small World" it's more like "It's A Plywood and Finishing Nails World."

We found the exit and took off running to find our parents at the parade. On the way, we swore up and down we'd never go on "It's A Small World" again. To this day, I haven't.

When we located our parents, my stepmom was visibly annoyed. "Where have you guys been?"
"Oh, God. You don't even want to know."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Third Verse, Different From the First

Just Getting This On The Record

Carrot Top gives me the heebie jeebies.

Rust

Friday, September 09, 2005

Finally

Do you know how long I've been trying to get this shot? Nabby likes to chew her balls in half, then walk around with the remaining half like so. It's hysterical, as you can see. Yet, every time she does it, she will drop the ball as soon as I get out the camera, as she prefers to stick her wet nose all over the lens above all activities except eating. We've tried sticking it on her nose to get a picture, but she would have none of that. This is her world, we're just living in it. You got that memo, right?

The other night, we were walking up the stairs and I happened to have my camera in hand. She went right for the ball and I got the shot just before she dropped it. But I got you, sucka.

Restaurant

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Salt

I Tried to Resist Sounding Like My Grandfather, But I Just Couldn't Do It

Last night, I ordered myself some Chinese food and... wait. I just realized something. What is it about Chinese food that inspires such monogamy? I mean, I always get shrimp and broccoli with a side of steamed dumplings, and I don't deviate from that, ever. Is this true of most people? You've got your standard and that's it? It reminds me of that episode of "Sex and the City" when Miranda thinks the girl at the Chinese place is laughing at her because her order is always the same and because, she fears, her life is so boring that the girl must be mocking it.

Even when the Mr. orders, he usually gets beef with broccoli. But I have to give him bonus points for at least trying to date other dishes.
"Lemme see the takeout menu," he says.
I hand it to him. That is, if I haven't thrown it out in a cleaning fit.
"Hmmm. Hum. Phhhhh. Let's see here. What did I have last time?"
"Beef with broccoli."
"Ummmm. Chicken...no...maybe shrimp...er. How about a small beef with broccoli?"
"You don't say?"

Anyway, this isn't my point. So, I got my order of shrimp with broccoli and a side of steamed dumplings. And, for dessert, the fortune cookie.

Ah, the fortune cookie. Or as I've taken to calling it, the what-a-load-of-crap cookie, because that's usually what I say after reading the non-fortune and throwing it down in disgust. As much as you can throw the world's tiniest piece of paper down. What has been with these things for the last 10 years? They're dispensing something, and it's not fortunes. How are platitudes like, "Wise is the man who saves his pennies" or "People like it when you're nice" supposed to help me? What a ripoff! I want little nuggets about the future. Give me something to look forward to, give me a little spoiler about life, no alert necessary. I want "You will win the lottery within the next year and not have to pay taxes on it because of some obscure loophole that your accountant mother-in-law totally knows about" or "Invest all your money in Initech stock. Trust us."

Why, when I was a kid, fortune cookies were fun! We would read ours, then pass them all around the table to see what was going to happen to everyone. Then we would make up a song on the spot about our fortunes and break into a synchronized dance right there in the Chinese restaurant. It was a regular Broadway production. Kids these days, they don't know what they missed. They don't know what fortune cookies used to be able to do. They could inspire you to be great.

But last night it finally happened. I got an actual fortune!

Framed by the ubiquitous smilies were: "Good things are coming to you in due course of time."

It's no lottery, but it's good enough for me. What is it, what is it, what is it?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's Not the Eyes That Are the Windows

If you ever want to know how I'm doing, just look at my nails.

When things are going well, they're manicured, they're a sensible medium length, the cuticles are all nice-like, the polish isn't too chipped. I don't blame chippy polish on my inner condition so much as I do on the quality of nailpolish to be found around here. Either I'm doing something wrong, or the best any polish manufacturer can do is guarantee 12 hours without chipping. It's not like I'm out rock climbing, so what is the deal?

Right now, my nails are hideous. I'd post a picture, but it's just gross what I do to them. When I'm stressed out or nervous about something, I pick. I pick and I pick until there is nothing left but bloody stumps. My cuticles are scabbed over. My nails are ridged and raggedy at the tips, hangnails sticking out at all angles. The polish is a faded layer of pink, hearkening back to a distant, happier time.

It doesn't take much to go from good nails to bad nails. All I need is five minutes of turmoil to destroy a month's worth of shiny happy nails. Some people have their stress balls and punching bags; I've got my nails, with me at all times, always at the ready for gnawing.

Locks

Wow

Being poor is...

Internets, You're Back

Do you know how bored I've been all weekend? I spent most of it sitting around in a stupor, going from site to site hitting refresh. "Update...update...update...puh-leeeese update." I replayed parts of Office Space and the Donnie episode of "Just Shoot Me" in my head about 15 times to keep myself amused. Green quarter! Look what happened while you were gone. I went insane.

Only about three of my favorite non-news sites updated. The rest of you...you just took off. I knew I was finally out of the woods when I saw that dooce updated last night. Thank you, thank you.

Tell me about your long weekends. What is that like? Did you have a BBQ? Not only was I bored, I didn't even get any potato salad.

Don't disappear on me like this again, you hear me? At least not until Thanksgiving. If there is a repeat performance, I shall never forgive you.

OK, I know it's not your job to keep me entertained, but really, it is.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Pointy

There Will Be Naps

Rufus would like to wish you a Happy Labor Day and suggests you don't do any of that labor crap.

I'm a Psychosomatic Sister Running Around Without a Leash

I wouldn't consider myself a hypochodriac. Oh, sure, I've been known to read the DSM-IV and convince myself I am, in fact, completely insane. I've thumbed through the Physician's Desk Reference and diagnosed myself with five separate exotic and rare illnesses, in all cases but mine found only on Easter Island and which are going to send me to an early grave.

But on the unusual occasion that I'm sick or injured for real, it usually doesn't slow me down. It doesn't make my head spin with worry over just what it could be, could I be dying? Should I have X-rays done of my chest? Do we need to operate here? I've been known to hit the gym when I have a cold, which I admit isn't very nice for my fellow gym-goers, but I don't think it's nice the way some of them leave puddles of sweat all over the machines and leave me to wipe it up, or the way there always seems to be some He-Man tool screaming in my ear as he lifts too much weight. So, um, take that. I will give you a cold! My knees are often in some bit of discomfort, but the best remedy is to pop some Aleve and continue exercising, yes? Or perhaps not.

That is, most ailments don't slow me down or concern me. There are three that bother me just a little bit because I feel like they should have happened by now, and well, I'm still waiting. Any little thing happens, and I begin to worry. A lot. I'm being kept in suspense here, and I don't like it one bit.

Number One: I had this nagging pain in my right abdomen for two days over the weekend [it's since abated], and all I can think is, "Appendicitis. I've got appendicitis. It's going to burst. Just like in that episode of 'Roseanne' where one minute, Darlene is playing softball like a carefree child, the next she's near death after her appendix explodes."

I mean, why does it feel like everyone else has had appendicitis except me? Am I doing something wrong? Was it because I liked lima beans as a child? I don't really want it, but I do wish I had had it when I was younger just to get the damn thing out of the way. I was once told that if I did, in fact, have appendicitis, any pressure in this region would cause me to nearly pass out from the pain. So, that's the standard diagnostic test I administer to myself and I remain standing every single time, much to my equal relief and disappointment. One of these days, I know it, I'm going to collapse in a heap. I just hope it doesn't ruin my weekend.

Number Two: In elementary school, the cool thing to do was have your tonsils taken out. True to my certified nerd status, I never had the operation. Always a step behind, that was me. I've heard rumors that you get ice cream afterward. Is this true? If so, I am jealous. I would gladly suffer through a routine operation if afterward it meant unlimited ice cream and a comfy bed afterward. For the last few decades, every sore throat has been suspect. I'll run to the mirror and "Ahhhhhh" to see if my tonsils are inflamed. I'm not sure what, exactly, this is supposed to look like. But I'm looking.

Number Three: Most of all, I fear the migraine headache, and not without reason. Every headache could be the precursor to the worst headache of my life. My grandmother and mom both get them (or used to, before the advent of great and lovely pharmaceuticals). If any of you have seen the misery these things can bring on, you understand my terror here. These sons of bitches are hereditary. While we were growing up, if mom or grandma had one, they would retreat to the room in the back of the house, close the blinds and cover their eyes. We had to tiptoe and whisper until they finally emerged, often a few days later. I never minded being sick as a kid, as long as I still got to watch "Solid Gold." I remember one year I got the flu and practically passed out at the drugstore, all I asked was, "I still get to watch 'Solid Gold,' right, mom?"

But this migraine stuff. Yeeeow. Laying there in the dark with nothing to distract you from the pain -- not even Marilyn McCoo or the dancers in white doing acrobatics to "Open Arms" by Journey -- is about the least fun I can think of.

Excuse me, my throat is starting to hurt a little. I'm going to go investigate. This could be it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

To the Guy Who Looked Like Eric Stoltz Circa Pulp Fiction and Smelled Like Weed Sitting In Front Of His House

Hey, you know what's not a compliment? When I'm walking my dogs by your house, and you come up to me and gesture to Nabby and say, "Yeah, that dog with more white? Boy, she is cute!"

I mean, she is cute, and she appreciates the compliment. Sometimes, I think she's a little too aware of how cute she is, 'cause you should try to see her wriggle her way out of a scolding. We've never actually punished her, because you just can't. Oh, we've tried. Lord, have we tried.

But, you ass, you just insulted the other dog, the perfectly adorable and sweet Rufus, he of the Wonk Ear of Irresistibility.

If you don't have something nice to say about both dogs, just keep it to yourself.

P.S. Your breath reeked of alcohol, too. I mean, come on. It was 3 in the afternoon!

Train Station

Another one of my favorite buildings here.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Rust

I, Nabbalicious

Jurgen Nation nailed me with this one.

  1. Name as it appears on birth certificate: My first name, middle name and maiden name. All of which I kept after getting married, and I tacked on the new last name. Having two middle names? Kind of a pain in the ass. No one ever gets it right.
  2. Nicknames: The only one I would reveal here is Hayday Hay, which is how I pronounced my name as a toddler.
  3. Place of Birth: Chicago, IL
  4. Favorite food: Pizza, fries, burritos. You know, healthy crap.
  5. Ever been to Africa?: This is such a random question, but no.
  6. Love someone so much it hurts: Don't tell me what to do!
  7. Been in a car accident: No.
  8. Croutons or bacon bits: Croutons.
  9. Favorite day of the week: Tuesday, because it's the first day of my "weekend." If I worked a normal schedule, I've always had a thing for Thursday. It's like pre-Friday. Actually, this is more of a holdover from college, since I would purposely not schedule any classes on Fridays so I could get a 3-day weekend.
  10. Favorite restaurant: A local seafood joint and a local pizza joint.
  11. Favorite sport to watch: Hockey.
  12. Favorite drink for summer: Cider, margaritas; Winter: Irish coffee, cider.
  13. Favorite ice cream: Phish Food, Cherry Garcia.
  14. Disney or Warner Bros: Disney.
  15. Favorite fast food: Jack in the Box, In n' Out.
  16. What color is your bedroom carpet: Hardwood floor.
  17. How many times did you fail your driver's test: 0, but I barely passed it.
  18. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail: I was tagged for this!
  19. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card: I prefer not to max out my card. OK, OK, I'll play along. I guess Target, since it's many stores in one; or Nordstrom, if I just want awesome clothes and shoes.
  20. What do you do most often when you are bored: Sleep, surf the internets, read.
  21. What time is Bedtime: Anywhere from 12-2:30 a.m.
  22. Favorite TV shows: The Amazing Race, Survivor, Veronica Mars, Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage. You know, I'll just stop right here. Of all time, that would be Cupid (with Jeremy Piven) and Freaks and Geeks.
  23. Last person/s you went to dinner with: The Mr.
  24. Ford or Chevy: Honda.
  25. What are you listening to right now: As I'm typing this, the Pixies.
  26. What is your favorite color: I like greens, pinks, black, burgundy.
  27. Lake, ocean or river: The ocean, if it's clean and shark-free.
  28. How many tattoos do you have? None.
  29. Have you ever run out of gas: Never!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ducky Dale