Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bah friggin humbug

Usually this time of year you would find me skipping around singing some tune that nobody else knows. (Yes, I like to hum nonsense.) Not this year though. Some of this can be directly traced back to my lack of a trust fund.

I was happy to realize that I was going to be off work for four consecutive days. Then I looked at my bank balance. I had to call my stylist to cancel my appointment because I just didn't have the funds to go. My hair is tolerable currently but is not cute. Nothing puts me in a foul mood like having uncute hair. Uncute hair means that I cannot go out and flirt like I really should. Fortunately there are berets that are almost as cute as having cute hair. Although with the boots, jeans, and leather jacket, I start to think that I am some stylish 60s radical. Power to the people and all that.

The beret worked for me on Monday. Monday I decided to show up at this get together that people from my high school were having. I don't know why I went. Morbid curiousity? Most of these people were not my friends back then. In fact, I think that most thought that they were too cool for me. Little did they know. The surprising thing is that most of the women did not seem to remember by name but the guys did. Maybe that isn't that surprising actually. Back then I had more male friends than female ones. No, these were not boyfriends. I had three, count them three, dates in high school. Boys did not appreciate me until I turned 18 when I promptly began dating guys five to ten years older than myself.

Back to Monday. What make me think it was ok to have four large glasses of Bombay Sapphire and tonic? On an empty stomach, no less. The high school folks, being the old farts that they are, left as I was starting on my fourth. That gave me time to meet the other boys in the bar. I guess the guy was cute because I gave him my phone number. I know I gave him my phone number because he called three times after I left the bar to make sure I got home ok. I did -- eventually. On my way home I was inspired to stop at my fave bar. Ummm, didn't I realize that I had already had enough to drink? Apparently not. The bartender that night is the guy who I previously thought was an ass. Perhaps I was wrong. He came and sat next to me at the bar to chat. He didn't seem that bad after all. But I was drunk. What do I know?

I was supposed to head out on Tuesday with my old buddies, Jade and Emerald. (I didn't pick the names. They did long ago. Like guys were going to believe those were really their names. No one ever doubted my choice of Alex.) I had spent most of the morning dreaming of duck tacos. Then I called Jade at lunch to verify the time we were meeting.

"Oh yeah. I spoke with Emerald last week. I guess we forgot to call you. We're not going."

What??? Thanks for the phone call, ladies. I had already had a minor meltdown at work that morning and was looking forward to going out. It's just as well. I was too tired and hungover by the end of the day to go anywhere.

Yesterday was spent arguing with the Benefits department at work. I received a letter on Tuesday saying that my health coverage was being cancelled effective Janaury 1. Huh? Obviously these people did not realize how crucial having health insurance is when one is trying to drink one's self into oblivion. I mean that is one of the reasons why I have a grown-up job. That and the joke of a paycheck I receive. (It used to be good but now the bonuses are totally sucking.) They said that during open enrollment I had waived medical coverage. No, I didn't. Then they tried to tell me that because open enrollment had ended, they might not be able to change this situation. Why was I suddenly having "Take this job and shove it" going through my head? This morning they admitted it was a computer error. Apparently I was not the only one to whom this had happened and the situation had been corrected. Damn skippy it's been corrected. Otherwise, I'd have to get on the next flight to Baltimore...

Today I am feeling a little better. My dad is hoping to receive a bonus check next week from the partnership business he is involved in. Basically they sell stuff to utility companies. I would tell you more but it would bore you to tears. I cannot wait until he receives this check because I know that I will be receiving a portion of it in turn. I have also decided to go to the movies tonight. I cannot believe that I have not been to a movie since seeing Elizabethtown. Damn job is interfering with my movie viewing. Then I will probably head over for a few drinks. Not too many though. I do have to be at work at 9 tomorrow. Nothing is worse than dealing with small children in the early morning hours (anything before 11 is early) when one is hungover.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Seasons greetings!

I finally got around to my holiday baking on Saturday afternoon. Now, about 12 hours later, I am finally finishing up.

There is something about my use of the oven that draws the kittens to the kitchen. I have learned to leave the oven light on for them so that they do not burn their paws on the door.

Natasha had been napping but she was awakened by the sound of the camera when I took Boris's picture.

The main thing that I have to bake each year are teacakes using my grandmother's recipe. I realized as I was taking the dough out of the refrigerator that I had only put in half the amount of baking powder that is required. I guess that's what happens when you try to rely on your memory. And no, I had not had anything to drink prior to mixing the dough. My relatives won't care though. It's been two years since I have baked for Christmas. They will just be thrilled that I actually baked.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanakuh, a belated Happy Yule, and Happy Kwanzaa. (If I have forgotten a celebration that falls around this time of year, please let me know so that I can add it to my list in the future.)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Vienna Boys' Choir

Boris had to go today for the last of his vaccines. It is given in the form of nasal drops so I am looking forward to a lot more sneezing.

He just had to check out the exam room thoroughly. I guess there were a lot of interesting smells there.

Before we left the vet, I made the appointment for Boris's surgery. He is being optimistic about it and is hoping to make a career as one of the castrati. I tried to tell him that they no longer do that, but he rarely listens to me.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lost again

Last night I went to the basement to put my laundry into the dryer. When I returned, Natasha greeted me at the door but there was no Boris in sight. I heard him in the kitchen but didn't see him until I looked up.

Yes, this is the top of the cabinets. I pulled over a chair to get him down but then thought that y'all would like to see a photo before I rescued him

Friday, December 16, 2005

On vacation

OK. So I am not really on vacation. I just feel like it. I got into work this morning and realized that I really don't feel like working today. So I guess I will just pretend to do so. It's helpful that I am the only one in this morning. Hopefully someone else will be here around 1 or so. By then I should be completely starving and in great need of lunch.

I like to make lists. I am hoping to fill my morning with making lists about future posts -- the ones that will involve pictures. I also brought in the latest issue of Vanity Fair as well as a book. For what I get paid, I think they have already gotten their money's worth out of me for the month.

My boss has said that we can wear jeans into work next week. Then it will really feel like vacation. By the way, that is one of my peeves about this place -- the fact that we are not supposed to wear denim of any sort. When I was in the classroom, I lived in denim.

Well enough whining. Let me get back to my list making reading.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

May you all suffer with me

I decided it was time to share the suffering. I received the following in an email from a co-worker yesterday. Please scroll ahead to number 54 and then feel free to peruse the rest of the list.
You know that you have grown up in the 80's and early 90's if:

1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word "SIKE"
2. You watched the Pound Puppies.
3. You can sing the rap to the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", and can do the "Carlton."
4. Girls wore biker shorts under their skirts and felt stylishly sexy.
5. You yearned to be a member of the Baby-Sitters Club and tried to start a club of your own.
6. You owned those lil' Strawberry Shortcake pals scented dolls.
7. You know that "WHOA" comes from Joey on Blossom.
8. Two words: Hammer Pants
9. If you ever watched "Fraggle Rock."
10. You had plastic streamers on your handle bars... and "spokey-dokes" or playing cards on your spokes for that incredible sound effect.
11. You can sing the entire theme song to "Duck Tales" (Woo ooh!)
12. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.
13. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.
14. You saw the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" on the big screen...and still know the turtles names.
15. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.
16. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.
17. You played the game "MASH" (Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House).
18. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.
19. L.A. Gear....need I say more?
20. You wanted to change your name to "JEM" in Kindergarten. (She's truly outrageous.)
21. You remember reading "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" and all the Ramona books.
22. You know the profound meaning of "WAX ON, WAX OFF"
23. You wanted to be a Goonie.
24. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us...head-to-toe).
25. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted.
26. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.
27. You took lunch boxes to school... and traded Garbage Pail Kids in the schoolyard.
28. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.
29. You still get the urge to say "NOT" after every sentence.
30. You remember Hypercolor t-shirts.
31. Barbie and the Rockers was your favorite band.
32. You thought She-ra (Princess of Power!) and He-Man should hookup.
33. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.
34. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes. (neon colors)
35. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying "I know
you are, but what am I?"
36. You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up."
37. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.
38. You ever got seriously injured on a Slip and Slide.
39. You have ever played with a Skip-It.
40. You had or attended a birthday party at McDonalds.
41. You've gone through this nodding your head in agreement.
42. You remember "Popples."
43. "Don't worry, be happy."
44. You wore like, EIGHT pairs of socks over tights with high top Reeboks.
45. You wore socks scrunched down (and sometimes still do...getting yelled at by "younger hip" members of the family)
46. You remember boom boxes.. and walking around with one on your shoulder.
47. You remember watching both "Gremlins" movies.
48. You know what it meant to say "Care Bear Stare!!"
49. You remember watching "Rainbow Bright" and "My Little Pony Tales."
50. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.
51. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.
52. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool... and don't even flinch when people refer to them as "NKOTB".
53. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell."
54. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.
55. You just sang those words to yourself.
56. You remember watching Magic vs. Bird.
57. Homemade Levi shorts.. (the shorter the better)
58. You remember when mullets were cool!
59. You had a mullet!
60. You still sing "We are the World"
61. You tight rolled your jeans.
62. You owned a banana clip
63. You remember "Where's the Beef?"
64. You used to (and probably still do) say "What you talkin' about Willis?"
65. You had big hair and you knew how to use it.
66. You're still singing shot through the heart in your head, aren't you?

I will have you know that I had that song stuck in my head most of the day. It then segued into a Bon Jovi medley -- "Dead or Alive," "Living on a Prayer"... You get the point.

During the late 80s, I was in college. A part of the early 90s was that brief period of time that I spent in law school -- before I came to my senses. Maybe it was all the Aquanet Super Hold I used in the 80s. Who knows? All I know is that when I look at pictures of myself from that time period I am frightened by the fact that my hair looks bigger than the rest of my head. Oh, and some of the pictures do feature a side ponytail -- and I'm also usually wearing either a short jumper with biking shorts underneath or cutoff Levi's or Hammer pants -- but I had the pants before Hammer did.

I have a few issues with some of the things on the list. I mean He-Man and She-ra hooking up? I don't think so. She-ra could do much better than him. I stopped pondering about Smurfette around 1988 when a friend explained to me how she came to be. I believe this was on a study break during finals. The same friend used to try to irritate me by going around singing the Smurf song. I think later that day we read the Book of Revelations in its entirety as a study break. Then we were too freaked out to continue studying.

Thank you for allowing me to drag you along on my walk down memory lane. This whole thing has made me think of a possible series of future posts that will contain lots of photos. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Giving into peer pressure

You knew it was coming. I decided it was time for me to jump on the bandwagon. I mean Laurie and Jen did tag the world. So here goes...

TEN random things you might not know about me.
1. I was a deb. My college friends could not believe this. They thought I was too much of a feminist to participate in anything like this. I am the child of Southerners though and can be quite traditional at times.
2. As a result of #1, I can still do a full curtsy. I now use it as a sobriety check when out.
3. I often read while watching TV.
4. I like to eat my food before drinking my beverage usually.
5. I used to do counted cross stitch. I would still but finding good patterns has become harder.
6. I am really a shy person who learned how to overcompensate over the years.
7. There probably isn't a genre of music that I do not like. OK. I am not into Christian rock but that's about it.
8. I like to whine about gaining weight. OK. You knew that part. What you don't know is that most folks I know look at me like I am absolutely nuts because I have always worn a size 2 or 4. My neighbor and I have a pact. Shoot either of us if we ever get up to size 6. And no, I do not care that I am almost 40. Its one of my few vanities.
9. I have had the same best friend for over 30 years.
10. I am a tea drinker. I will drink coffee when I am at a restaurant or someone else's home. I keep coffee in my home for guest. When I am at home or at work though, it is all about tea. And I try to keep at least five different types from which to choose, my current fave being Lapsang Souchong.

NINE places I've visited.
1. Graceland - it was part of a cross-country drive
2. Every state along I-40 on the same cross-country drive
3. Barbados
4. London
5. Exeter
6. Puerto Vallarta
7. Mazatlan
8. A whole bunch of other places on the drive from SF to Puerto Vallarta
9. Occidental, CA - best known for its Italian restaurants

EIGHT ways to win my heart.
1. Remember the little things like my favorite candy to enjoy while watching a movie.
2. Giving me flowers just because.
3. Have a life beyond me and your job.
4. Be nice to your mother and animals (My grandma said this is the first thing to look for in a man.)
5. Be able to dance -- well.
6. Being chivalrous.
7. Be adventurous.
8. Accept me for who I am, not who you think I should be.

SEVEN things I want to do before I die.
1. Travel to every continent. Well maybe not Antartica.
2. Learn at least a couple more languages.
3. Learn how to tango.
4. Fall in love several more times.
5. Own a home with space for lots of animals. Not a crazy cat lady kind of place. I've just always loved animals and have dreamed since I was a little girl of having a place in which I could at least have cats, dogs, and horses.
6. Own something from Carolina Herrera.
7. Make a cake with a fondant icing and lots of pretty flowers. And it better look just like the photos you see in magazines.

SIX things I'm afraid of.
1. Spiders.
2. Pickup trucks with the Stars and Bars in the rear window.
3. Spiders.
4. Small-minded people with lots of power.
5. Spiders.
6. Oh yeah, and spiders.

FIVE things I don't like.
1. Nuts with the exception of peanuts, walnuts, and pecans. OK. Cashews are ok in cashew chicken but that is the only use I have for them.
2. Middle America.
3. Some of my co-workers.
4. Most new cars. Most of them look alike. Give me a classic car anytime. Like a '59 Corvette.
5. Uninformed and/or ignorant people. Kind of redundant as I believe that ignorance is often born out of a lack of information.

FOUR ways to turn me off.
1. Being close-minded.
2. Being condescending.
3. Being pretentious -- especially if you have no cause to be.
4. No fashion sense.

THREE Things I do everyday.
1. Read something -- a book, a magazine, something
2. Listen to music.
3. Think about food. It is often a major a production just to decide what I want to eat for at least one meal a day.

TWO things that make me happy.
1. Ice cream in the rain
2. Finding money that I had forgotten about in a jacket pocket. It means I can buy ice cream or maybe a book.

ONE thing on my mind right now.
Boris jumping on things he shouldn't -- the TV, the lamp cord, the printer, the stovetop, my back. Yes, he has been on all of these things in the time I was writing this post.

To those who haven't reponded to the worldwide tag, then considered yourself tagged once more.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A different look

Yes, I am feeling much better. I believe it was the sleep and gin that did it.

Part of the reason why I had to tell the folks at work that I could not work this weekend was because of my hair. It was time for something different. Now Jen, braids can be a time-saver on the daily basis but they take hours to put in and just as many to remove. Once out it also meant that it was time to re-color my hair. (I almost spelled it "colour" in honor of Gloria.) Yes, I color my hair and have done so since age 18. I come from a family that suffers from premature grey. The whole goal was to have the new look done in time to head out Saturday night. I mean, what is the use of fab hair if you can't show it off?

While unbraiding, I decided to check out the On Demand channel on my cable. It was filled with loads of cheesy 80s flicks. My fave in the viewing marathon was The Pick-up Artist. I thought it was pretty cool that Harry Dean Stanton played Molly Ringwald's dad in Pretty in Pink but this was even cooler. In this one Dennis Hopper plays her dad. Also a movie that contains Beastie Boys -- "Paul Revere" and "She's Crafty" -- in the soundtrack cannot be all bad. And while I am thinking of 80s music, I did try singing "The Glamorous Life" while I cleaned the litterboxes. Thank you for that suggestion, Laurie. It made the task much easier.

I almost wimped out on going out tonight but then I realized that I owed it to my readers to go out. I passed by my fave shop on my way and said that I would take a picture on my back home. I did not pass the window on foot on my way back so there is no photo. All I have to say is that it was the perfect dress for my bday party next year. (I still have to return library books tomorrow so there is still hope.) My fave bartender asked if I found my purse last week. He then gave me a free drink. I tipped him well. I would have just based on his looks. Yes, he is hot. Tonight I met an Aussie who is about two to three years younger than I am. We went to his place and he made me breakfast. He also has a really cute cat. After eating I made him drive me home. We are both regulars at the bar so future meetings may happen.

Until then, I am off to sleep.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Job choices

First of all, I would like to say that I believe that I am getting better. I slept til 10:30 this morning. I am usually up by 7:30 at the latest. Then I headed out to run errands -- Rubio's, the grocery store, and the library. There is something about illness that makes me crave either fish with lots of salsa or fish with lots of wasabe. Also key to recovery from a cold is the right beverage. My fave is limeade with a wee bit of gin. So much better than NyQuil. Finally I needed to return books and find some new reading material if I am going to rest.

I was going to post a photo for Gloria but my subjects flew off right as I was able to find a parking space. There is a UC research field near me. In the summer the field was filled with corn. I am afraid to ask what they were doing with the corn. Now that the field has been cut down, it is usually filled with Canadian geese. As I parked my car, I noticed that the geese were over me in v-formation. So much for the photo. I'm sure I'll get another opportunity this weekend though.

Now back to the post topic. I have always felt that the main reason why we work is so that we can pay for things in life that we want. There has to be balance though. What is the use of working for money only to not have the time to enjoy your earnings? A job is something that you do. It should not be a definition of who you are. When one has nothing else in one's life then one has allowed one's job to become the definition of who one is. It seems a shame. There is so much out in the world to enjoy.

I have recently decided that it was time to return to the classroom. I tend to work ten-hour days often. Thankfully I am an insomniac and have learned to function on four to six hours of sleep a night. Otherwise, I would not be able to fit in the rest of the things that I enjoy. If I go back to the classroom, I will be able to have adequate time for all the other things and not run myself down so much that I end up sick.

Well, my cold therapy is calling to me. Just thought I'd give y'all something to think about.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

We're sick

Boris and I now both have colds. It has not been pleasant. I would go lie down but that just means that Boris will stand on my stomach and sneeze in my face. I think he's still mad about the refrigerator. I will write more when I have a bit more energy. For now, I think I will crawl into bed and slip into a coma.

Monday, December 5, 2005

My heart stopped tonight

... or why I realized that I should never be allowed to have children.

Tonight I lost Boris. I realized this when I sat down to relax after spraying odor and stain control stuff on the area of the carpeting that Boris had decided to use as toilet paper.

Normally at this point in the evening Boris and Natasha would be busy chasing each other around the apartment. Instead it was just Natasha plaintively wailing. Sometimes they like to hide from each other so after five minutes of Natasha's wailing, I decided to help her look for him. Natasha and I searched every conceivable hiding place at least twice. Boris was nowhere to be found. I then took a stroll through the building on the off chance that he had escaped. I knew this wasn't really possible because the last time I had opened the door was before spraying the carpet. I even went to look around inside.

Natasha was eagerly awaiting my report when I returned. I had to tell her that Boris was gone and that I desperately needed a second glass of wine. That's when I remembered seeing Boris the last time. He had been hovering around me while I had poured a glass of Riesling. I remember thinking, "No. He couldn't possibly be..." I ran to the refrigerator because if all else failed I could pour myself another glass of wine. There sitting on the bottom shelf of the fridge was Boris.

I certainly hope this has taught him to stop being so nosy around the refrigerator.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Party, party, party

San Diego was OK. It was work after all. I had to sit through four days of classes on sales. The worst part is that the classes started at 8. Who's the freak who set up that schedule. I don't even have to be at work that friggin early in the morning. Needless to say, I consumed large amounts of coffee. By Thursday night the women in my class decided that it was time for us to head out. Besides it was the woman from Utah's birthday. Ummm ... no alcohol? No caffeine? That wasn't too hard to figure out. These women's choice for an outing was a country and western place. You can all stop laughing now. I was the first one on the dancefloor in the place. Actually it was more like I was dragged onto the floor. This nice older guy (I would put him at 50-something) asked me to dance. He then worked his way through our group until he hit the woman who was around his age. They spent the rest of the evening chatting. On the ride back to the hotel, she shared that he is a highway patrol officer. Huh. Maybe I should have hung onto that one. I mean a uniform and handcuffs...

I ended up spending a couple of hours hanging out at the San Diego airport until my flight. That was the start of the liquid dinner. When my ride got near my apartment, we suddenly had the brilliant idea going out for more drinks. Who cares that I was supposed to be at work by 9 on Saturday? I did make it to work on time though. On my way home from work last night, I toyed with the idea of going out again but then I came to my senses. After a couple of glasses of wine at home, I passed out. I must say I feel much more rested now. I still have partying in the blood though. I'm off next weekend so maybe I'll just start on Thursday night.

I have also started planning my birthday party for next year. Yes, I know that it is months away. I figure that you only turn 40 once though -- or is that turn 29 twelve times? I spoke with a friend last week and she gave me even more ideas to go with the theme. Still need to find a location for the party though.

Non-party related news -- still hearing from the Belgian. (OK. So maybe that is party related since I met him after several cocktails.) He still sends daily emails. Last week he decided that since I like language so much, he would send me one written in Dutch. Isn't that sweet? Never mind that I do not understand a single word of Dutch. Fortunately one of the women in the training class does and was able to translate for me. He is also planning a return trip in early Spring. I had hoped to leave town around then. Guess I won't now.

Well, I believe the cocktail hour has started. Off to see what kind of mixers I have.

Saturday, December 3, 2005


I made it back home last night. I have never been so happy to get home as I was last night. That might be why I had the liquid dinner -- not a good idea. It is also not good that I had it while out at a bar and then like an idiot misplaced my purse. I really should not be allowed to carry a purse when drinking.

It was also not good to have a liquid dinner seeing as I am working today. Showing up at 9 a.m. was extremely harsh this morning. And who is the idiot who scheduled a vet visit for Boris this morning meaning I had to be up even earlier so I could drop him off? Oh yeah. That would be me. I just wish this last kid would hurry up and finish his diagnostic assessment so that I can go home and go back to bed. Oh yeah. Guess I should pick up Boris first.

Guess I will get back to my online training on preventing harrassment in the workplace.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It must be a Virgo thing

I cannot believe that the holiday weekend is over already.

Last night I delivered leftovers to my aunt. She is partial to turkey wings so I had saved them for her. Before going to her house, I met a friend at my aunt's favorite restaurant. This meant that I also had to pick up an order of their curried chicken noodle soup, my aunt's favorite.

My aunt and I discussed a number of things including the party invite for this week that I turned down. When I told her who was having the holiday party, she responded, "I don't know. I think I might have found a way to make it work." This was after I explained to her that San Diego to Santa Monica was at least a four hour drive roundtrip. Guess she thinks like Gloria.

The last thing we talked about before I left was my birthday next year. She agrees with me that I will be truly entitled to dinner at French Laundry although I also mentioned Fifth Floor. And of course my aunt also threw Chez Panisse into the mix. (At dinner, my friend agreed that we should try to milk our birthdays next year for all we can.) We also agreed that I should have a huge party. We're pretty sure about the theme but need to figure out the venue. She has some ideas and is going to do some research.

Well, seeing as I am only at work for a few hours today, I suppose I should actually get some work done. I'm off this evening to San Diego for training. Thank goodness. I just read the weather report -- rain all week up here. It's not hot in San Diego but at least it looks like it will be dry. I'll catch you up on all of the fun and excitement at the end of the week.

Friday, November 25, 2005

In recovery

I decided to forego the family thing yesterday. If you have had the pleasure to spend a holiday with my relatives, you would completely understand. Each year I drop a holiday off the list. Now we are down to birthdays and Christmas.

I love holiday food and so cooked for myself. The kittens carefully supervised everything from the kitchen floor. Each found a place to watch the turkey in the oven. It could have also been all the heat being generated by the oven.

I tried a high temperature method this year. Next time I will tent the breast with foil much sooner.

It's not really Thanksgiving unless one makes an utter pig of one's self. I promptly entered a food coma after consuming this food. I am currently trying to work up the energy to go and partake of the leftovers.

I think this photo of Boris taken after I finished eating sums up the feeling around here. I didn't even have room to try the pumpkin pie my neighbor gave me. Perhaps today...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Greetings from the kittens

The kittens are hard to capture in a photo because they usually move so fast. Therefore, I have provided shots of what they do when they are not busy chasing each other.

Have a happy Turkey Day! We will be eating ourselves into a coma here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I actually love the holiday season.

OK. I will finally admit it here. Yes, I do indeed love the holiday season. Well, parts of it at least. What annoys me is getting together with relatives whom I can barely tolerate the rest of the year. Oh, and the pleasure of sitting in my car for hours just so I can hang out with these folks for a day. If it was just the men in the family, it probably wouldn't be so bad but the women on my dad's side of the family (the only family I have in California) can be downright bitchy. I think I can trace the problem back to the fact that most of these folks love the book, The Art of War. This is why I have reached a compromise with my dad. I spend Christmas with him. Any other holiday depends on my mood.

Thanksgiving in the past was spent at my dad's cousin's house as she is only about a 20 minute drive away. Last year I passed on that to go to a friend's house instead. Much more fun. We all cooked the dinner together while drinking copious amounts of wine and bourbon.

This year I haven't received one of those kinds of invitations. I'd probably pass though. All I want to do this Thanksgiving is to sit in front of the TV with the kittens. This brings me to another one of my Thanksgiving traditions. Years ago I realized that even if you leave with a plate of leftovers, it is not nearly enough. Days later I would find myself longing for turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches only to not have any around. That is when I started purchasing a small bird and making all of the fixings.

I went out this weekend and bought all of the ingredients for my traditional Turkey Day feast. The only thing up in the air is what type of dessert to prepare this year. I'll probably also be making a care package. My aunt -- one the cattiest women in the family but I still love her even though I know she says some of the most horrid things about me behind my back -- does not really cook. She is also going in this week to have a lump removed. (Yes, it is cancerous.) So I figure one of the best ways to recover from surgery is to have a nice home-cooked meal. It is also part of my master plan to show that I really am a better person than she is. You gotta keep the enemies close. I mean, how else will I ever be able to take over the world?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Old movies

Last night I was watching Funny Face and it got me to thinking. I grew up on old movies. I am an only child and there weren't a lot of kids my age in the neighborhood when I was growing up. Then there were the rainy days. On those rainy Saturdays, I knew there was no leaving the house. That's when my movie obsession started.

I was talking to coworkers on Saturday. They were shocked that I appreciated the Three Stooges as women rarely like their brand of slapstick. (Ummm. Isn't that part of the reason the Lethal Weapon series was so popular?) I explained that I grew up around men who think that the Three Stooges are great. They are also known to have long discussions on which Looney Tunes character is truly the greatest. Mix into this a love of George Carlin, the Godfather trilogy, and anything with Clint Eastwood ... Well, you get the point.

When I wasn't around the men in the family, I drowned myself in old Hollywood horror and musicals. For years I thought that Marilyn Monroe was the epitome of female beauty and I hated myself. Then a magical thing happened when I was 10. I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's. So Holly Golightly isn't the nicest of people but she looked fabulous. Even more important, Audrey Hepburn was a stick. This was of great importance to a girl who was the tallest in her class -- and often teased for it. In second grade my nickname at school became "Mama Longlegs" because I was "just like a Daddy Longlegs spider" but a girl. I grew quickly so I had virtually no eye-hand coordination. This meant that I was guaranteed to be picked last for PE. Elementary school was a painful experience. Junior high and high school were not much more of an improvement.

Then I went to college. It was like family friends had promised, the most wonderful place on Earth. I purposefully decided to go to a college at which I didn't know anyone. I knew that I could completely reinvent myself. (By the way, I think I did a great job of doing such. Ask the guys who were at my high school reunion last year.) I knew that I had truly made the transformation when the Dean told me one day my sophomore year that I reminded her of Audrey Hepburn. I can't remember my full outfit but I do remember that I was wearing black leggings and ballet flats. I was also wearing a great straw hat. The dean's comment is one of the greatest compliments I have ever been given.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I hate turning down invites

The week after Thanksgiving I have to go to San Diego for a training class for work. One of my coworkers forwarded to me an Evite he received from a place he had interned. He figured San Diego was close enough to Santa Monica. He also talked to the person arranging the party who said that she would be more than happy to put me on the guest list if I wanted to attend. The problem is that the party is on a Thursday night and the last day of my class in San Diego starts at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. I kept debating whether it was worth the drive. I guess I must be getting old because ten years ago I wouldn't have even bothered with the debate.

So now Gloria and Jen can be mad at me because, of course, I would have tried to find a way to get the two of them on the guest list as well.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A new toy

Back to the frivolous...

I was watching a rerun of the Tyra Banks show on Monday morning. They were showing various photography related gadgets. The first item they showed was this cellphone. I must have this phone. I called my wireless carrier. They will be carrying the phone but apparently it is so new that they cannot even tell me the pricing for it. *sigh*

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Leaving on a jet plane

So the Belgian boy left today. I suppose he is somewhere over North America currently. Eh. Trying to think about it makes my brain hurt.

He stopped by last night to say hello, not goodbye. We chatted and watched the cats. It was also handy to have him around so I didn't have to carry the jumbo tub of kitty litter in for once.

He dreaded leaving because he really likes it here. He did mention something about it being between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius at home as opposed to the unseasonable 22 or so it has been around here for the last week. He wants to come back. He also asked when I am going to Belgium. (No, it has not previously been on my list of places to visit.)

When I got up this morning, I had an email waiting for me saying how nice it had been meeting me and that he will keep in touch. Of course, I will keep you all posted on what happens next.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thank you, Laurie

The age spectrum and where one should date on it have always been kind of assumptions for me. It's also a topic upon which I have had numerous conversations in the past.

I met a woman in a bar who said the range should be plus or minus three years. Her theory was that you would share a lot of cultural references with someone within this range as you were both in high school at the same time. If you go outside of this range, it is a bit more difficult. You might be presented with blank stares when you mention a favorite song or movie from your youth. I like to think of this as the Hey Nineteen effect. It just dawned on me that I may have lost some of you with that reference.

My college roommate feels that one should only date those within a ten-year span of one's self. I have generally stuck to this rule. Of course this only applies once one has reached one's thirties. To do so in one's twenties could lead to criminal prosecution.

In college I dated one guy who was about eight or nine years older than I. He could be condescending at times. I don't think he did it on purpose. He just assumed that because I was younger, there were things I just wouldn't know. This has been the common experience in dating those who are older.

The other thing about dating older in one's thirties is that you start coming across the men who have been burned one time too many. I went out with this one guy earlier this year who was about five years older than I. I think he was afraid that women were trying to take advantage of him because he said that although he was willing to pay on dates, he expected the woman to pick up the check just as often. Then again, maybe he was cheap. OK. He was cheap. I stopped returning his calls after he told me that $25 was a ridiculous amount to pay for a bottle of wine.

The guys who have managed to stay around longer have always been younger. The last guy I seriously dated is four years younger than I am. We broke up years ago (he has this issue about moving out of his parents's house) but we have remained friends. Usually when I head to SoCal, we head out to dinner and a movie -- his treat. What's impressive is that he doesn't even have a job. (That was another issue with him. It also explains why he lives with his parents.)

I dated another guy who was eight years younger for a few months. He was a carpenter from Ireland. I know it was the accent that sold me. The relationship ended when he moved to Australia. It was nice being around someone who actually cared about my opinion.

A couple of years ago, my mom called me after watching an episode of Oprah. The whole show was on how women should start dating down the age spectrum instead of up it. My mom was excited and thought that she was telling me something new. I calmly looked at her and said, "Most of the guys I have dated over the past few years have been younger."

I guess it all goes back to this young man I met about five years ago. He was a bartender in my then favorite bar. Everytime I came in, he would try to ask me out and I would decline. When he asked me why, I replied, "Honey, you are just too young." (He was 21.) The next time he saw me, he said, "You know what the problem is? You keep dating guys around your age. They don't know how to treat women right. Us younger guys do." His explanation was that older guys are more concerned about themselves than the women they date, whereas younger guys will go all out to make sure you're happy. Maybe it's because they are just so happy you are with them.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Just call me Demi Moore

The Belgian is still around. That's why I am writing this post from work. I'll probably see him again tonight and won't have the privacy to write a post.

He stopped by last night and I forced him to watch Desperate Housewives with me. Apparently it is one of his mother's favorite shows but she has never subjected him to watching it. In the middle of the show, he asked me why I did not have a boyfriend. I always hate that question. Natasha, being the cheap slut that she is, promptly curled up in his lap and went to sleep. She only does this men. When women show up, she hisses and spits a lot. Actually she didn't really seem to like Hallway Boy that much.

I forgot to mention that the Belgian is 25. I verified this by looking at his passport. Oh, and if any of you care, he's a Pisces. When I shared this tidbit with my neighbor (I went by to visit her in between visits from the Belgian. Yes, he came by on two separate occasions yesterday.), she asked if I lied about my age. Ummmm, no. Was I supposed to? Anyway, feel free to do the math.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Return of the partygirl

So I didn't make it out on Friday night. The kittens tricked me into taking a nap instead. They have a way of doing that.

I did make it out on Saturday night though. I really had no choice as I had already paid for the tickets. I went with the girls to see a comedy show -- D.L. Hughley to be exact. Of course the girls have little ones at home so that meant that we went to the first show. I was home by 11 and that was entirely too early to call it a night. Besides I had on one of my favorite skirts. I realized over the weekend that there are clothing items that I miss because they are just not appropriate to wear to work.

When I put on the skirt, I thought about my aunt in Savannah. She always asks, "And why are you wearing that?" whenever I make these kind of fashion choices. The corect answer is, "Because I can."

One of my friends had parked at my place and was heading home. I asked her to drop me off at my fave bar on her way home. She decided to come in and then proceeded to complain. Her taste tends to be rather ghetto fab and she hates anything that takes her out of her element. Surprisingly she got into when I explained that even if it isn't your scene, you can always find some form of entertainment somehow. Even if it's just making fun of everyone else's outfits. She actually stayed past last call.

I ended up meeting a visiting Belgian firefighter. Unfortunately he goes home on Thursday. He emailed but of course I was still asleep. Perhaps I'll seem him later. Then again the kittens are saying that today could be another good day for a nap or two and there is a Gilmore Girls marathon.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I want it all

To continue from the last post, I guess what I really miss was the rock'n'roll life I used to have. When I made the career change, I made a lifestyle change as well. One can party til the wee hours of the morning and still be functional in front of a computer the next day. It is much more difficult to do this when one is faced with 28 11-year-olds at 8:30 in the morning though.

I am always quick to share the party memories but not the more recent ones. Jen was correct; I will never forget the hugs. When one kid calls me a bitch, I just remember the hugs I received from the others.

I taught sixth grade English and social studies my first year. I had a total of 75 students in three classes. At the end of the first marking period, I decided to let the students know what their grades. My second class had 25 students. As I told the last student his grade, I scanned the room and realized that I was missing a child. I found her curled up in a ball under her desk. She was sobbing uncontrollably. She was receiving F's in my classes. Seeing her crying made me want to cry. I sat down on the floor next to her and finally managed to coax her out. I explained why she had received the F's. I then asked what was worse -- receiving the F's or having to take home a report card that contained F's. As I thought, it was the latter. I told her that we were going to make a plan so that she would not receive a grade like that again. She was then to explain all of this to her parents as she gave them the report card. After report cards came out, I asked her how things had gone at home. She said that her parents were disappointed by the grades but they weren't nearly as upset as she had thought they would be. Why? Because she had explained that she had already talked to me and that we had come up with a plan so that this would never happen again. By the end of the school year she was receiving A's in my classes. I know that I will never forget her.

That summer I worked in a third grade class teaching science and math. When my university supervisor came to observe, one student announced that she used to hate math but no longer does thanks to my teaching. I told my supervisor that I obviously had not paid that child nearly enough. What I most remember about this little girl is that she also required at least one hug a day. I remember walking through the school garden and telling them what all the different plants were. O remember the wonder on their faces as I broke off a mint leaf, crushed between my fingers, and told them to smell it. I remember receiving stickers on a regular basis. I remember the little boys who were braver than I was and would remove the crayfish for me. (Some of them -- the crayfish -- were downright vicious.) I remember steeling myself before the kids arrived at school because I knew that I would have to remove snails from the terrarium for that week's science class. I remember the kids's initial disgust with the snails and that by the end of the week the kids were letting the snails crawl up their arms.

I could talk about the year I taught eighth grade English and American history but that year is filled with a lot of painful memories. I do still receive the occasional email from students I had during that year. They like to tell me about their high school experiences or to ask for help on a homework assignment. I became known as the English teacher who liked math and who would gladly help a student with his or her Algebra homework.

Now I work at a tutoring center. Sometimes I miss being in the classroom. Then I have days like last Friday. One of my current students had her dad drive her to the center after school because she had just gotten her report card and wanted to show it to me. Last year this girl was barely passing classes. She had received three B's; the rest of the report card was A's.

So somedays I miss my old party lifestyle. Then I remember how although I was often smiling, I really wasn't happy. I'm a lot happier now. It's just that when you've been one person for so long, it can be kind of hard to let it all go. I am still known as the wild child in my family. Perhaps my little cousin, who just turned 21, will pick up the torch. Then again, she's going to need a great deal of coaching to reach my level of wildness. That's why I'm heading out this weekend -- drinks tonight, comedy show tomorrow. Who says that you can't have it all? ;-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Sometimes I miss my old job

Reading over the comments to my last post, I suddenly started feeling nostalgic. Eons ago, or so it seems, I worked for a wireless provider in the real estate and construction department. Actually I would probably still be there if they had not done the reorganization that would have led to my layoff. (I managed to find another job shortly before I would have been laid off. No, I did not want to stick it out for the severance as this was all shortly after September 11.) The whole layoff thing became a catalyst in my re-examination of my life and I ended up taking a whole new career path. Other contributing elements to the change were a number of deaths in the family, my father's heart attack, and of course September 11. 2001 was not a very good year.

Back to today's topic. Because of the nature of my department, we made a number of contributions, both charitable and political. It eventually became a part of my job to show up to events. I remember one afternoon receiving a phone call from my boss in which he said, "I had completely forgotten but there is a fundraiser for X who is running for SF DA. There are not enough people coming and we need more bodies there. Can you stop off on your way home? Free food and drinks..." By the way, my boss frequently forgot about these things. This is why I eventually had access to his Outlook calendar. This is why I also frequently received calls from politicians or their staff members. They knew that I would remember. They also knew that I would nag my boss if necessary.

Not only were there wonderful lunches, dinners, cocktails parties -- you get the point -- but then there was the holiday season. I also had to interact with the vendors on a regular basis. Most years I did not really care what my family gave me for Christmas because I had already received so many great gifts at work. The gifts alone made my aunt question why I would ever leave that job.

In my current job these things would never happen. Now I get excited because a grandmother has baked me some peanut butter cookies. Guess it's better than never receiving any kind of a thank you.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Royal visit

So Prince Charles and Camilla have arrived in the Bay area. Tonight's news coverage included showing them attending Beach Blanket Babylon. The most disturbing sight was that they were greeted at Club Fugazi by Gavin Newsom and his wife. His wife? What about the divorce?

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Coworkers are still irritating

One of the joys of being a manager is that this week I have to do annual performance reviews. Anyone who knows me well knows that I can be a perfectionist. This means that I expect the best from myself -- and those around me as well.

I knew that the review process was going to be sticky as soon as I started receiving the self-reviews I had asked my co-workers to complete. Apparently they are all exceptional employees with absolutely no flaws. When I told this to a friend, she said, "I guess it would be inappropriate to start the review by saying, 'Gosh. I never realized that I work with Mary Poppins.'"

The first review I gave did not go well. After 45 minutes of discussion, I guess this employee still was not satisfied. She simply cannot comprehend how she can merely "meet expectations." She has requested yet another meeting to discuss her review further. I wanted to shout, "Let it go, already. You are becoming annoying now." My friend pointed out that this woman has obviously never worked in a corporate setting. Otherwise she would be pleased with a review that consists of mostly "meets expectations" with a few "above average" thrown in.

May the last few reviews I do today and tomorrow not be as draining.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Coworkers can be irritating

As you all know, yesterday was Halloween, one of the coolest holidays in the year in my opinion. My coworkers do not necessarily share this opinion. I got to overhear many conversations in which they once more demonstrated their general ignorance. I debated about whether I really wanted to post this but then I decided what the heck.

Before I get into yesterday's conversations, I must go back to a conversation I heard over the summer. One woman was telling one of the men that she reads the Harry Potter books even though they are basically evil. She then went onto explain that Pagans are using the books as recruiting tools. Huh? That's the first I've ever heard of that.

Monday was filled with discussions about the Satanic implications of Halloween. I felt like screaming, "You fools. Satanists and Wiccans are not the same. Wiccans do not believe in the concept of Satan so how can a Wiccan holiday be Satanic?" One coworker went onto explain that her pastor said that it is OK to celebrate Halloween because by dressing up they are belittling the importance of the holiday. Once more, huh?

Don't they realize that it's not particularly smart to irritate one's supervisor? They are just so clueless. I am also of the firm belief that religion and politics should not be discussed in the workplace unless you are absolutely sure of your audience. When I worked for a wireless company, we frequently discussed politics as our department made a number of political contributions.

On a happier note, I went to the last night of my beginning Portuguese class after work. We had loads of food and sang Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto songs. The intermediate class starts next week.

Monday, October 31, 2005

I must be getting old

Today I suddenly remembered something that I had meant to include in yesterday's post. It was actually the reason why I was writing the post, or at least it was my original inspiration. I still can't believe that I forgot.

I have always been one to multitask. That meant that while I was painting, I needed to be doing something else. About two months ago, I bought a DVD recorder. The goal was to transfer all of these wonderful movies I have been saving on the DVR to DVD. The problem is that to do this, one must actually play the movie as this is a real-time recording. Which brings me to Sunday.

I thought I'd also add a couple of new photos so that you can get a better idea about the color.

No, I still haven't moved the furniture back. I wanted to make sure everything was dry.

One of the movies I had been putting off transferring is Lagaan. Now don't get me wrong. I love this movie. That's why I wanted it on DVD. The problem is the movie is three hours forty-five minutes long. It's hard for me to find time to actually sit down for that long. Actually a friend and I once joked that at points in the movie, one begins to think that one is watching a cricket match that is being played in real-time. It all worked perfectly. I hit the record button, painted my room, and returned to watch the last hour or so of the movie.

Thinking of the movie, made me think of The Iowa Baseball Confederacy. Then I began to wonder why this book had not been turned into a movie. I mean Shoeless Joe was made into a movie. I guess baseball movies aren't in fashion now.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A listing post

After I wrote the title to this post, I instantly thought of Quinn's ... but this is not that kind of post. However, if you are ever in Oakland on a Thursday night, you should check them out. Nothing like a Thursday night at Quinn's.

I have spent this weekend being clawed in various ways. Currently Boris is sitting next to me as I type. I would move him but I still have the memory of claws in my back a couple of days ago as I sat at the computer. Actually I think the wounds have just started throbbing once more. This is all while the little bugger is trying to put new wounds on me.

I would like to think that I have had a highly productive weekend.

1) I started on my new exercise regimen. Denise Austin kicked my butt. A co-worker (my former boss but now she's been promoted) said that Denise is old school. I really don't care. All I want is someone who inspires me to get off of my butt and to exercise. The kittens thought that I was playing with them. Natasha quickly realized that I wasn't but Boris as quick. When I started doing crunches, Boris decided that it was a good time for a nap -- on my stomach. There are no pictures of this which caused my aunt great disappointment. I thought about quitting but then decided that if it wasn't bothering him, I would just keep going. Under the Denise plan, Sunday is a day of rest. It wasn't one for me but I'll get to that later.

2) I cleaned like a demon. On Thursday night I ran into my neighbor and one of her friends on the way into the building. They ended up in my place. I was ashamed. I awoke early on Friday to clean and ended up doing five loads of laundry. I also put the back issues of cooking magazines in their proper place.

3) I stopped by my mom's house. She has returned to Mexico and the soonest that I will see her is March. That's only if she decides to file her taxes on time. Otherwise, I won't see her until next summer. I am hoping for the latter. As the house is basically unoccupied, she asked me to unplug the refrigerator. This means that I did some shopping from her fridge before I actually went shopping. The best item was a pound of frozen Blue crabmeat.

4) I went shopping. I got the kittens more food and picked up a few items for myself. On my Saturday out, I stopped at Bevmo and picked up this cute glass with my Bombay Sapphire. I think I'll have to get at least one more because I think that glasses should be in pairs.

5) Before I went to BevMo, I stopped at OSH. I had been thinking of painting my bedroom. Then I discovered that they had paint on sale -- and the last day of the sale was Saturday. That meant I had to buy the paint right then and there. Once I got the paint home, I realized that I had to paint immediately. If I didn't, I would have to wait at least two weeks before I had time to paint. I think the color is really pretty. I'll post another photo once the furniture is back in place.

6) I remembered after painting that I wanted to go to the library today. They're holding an item for me. Unfortunately I remembered this about five minutes before closing time and it takes me at least ten minutes to walk to the library.

7) I am sitting here typing this list of things while getting ready to head out to a friend's going away. She's a post-doc, like my neighbor(actually I met her through my neighbor). She has accepted a job in Australia. I have already begged her to take me with her. So now I have to head off for one more appeal...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A little self restraint

We are always receiving challenges at work to reach certain targets. In July my then boss and I received one of these challenges. (We needed to bring our accounts receivable down below a certain percentage level of revenue.) We met the challenge and have been patiently waiting for our reward, a $100 gift card. (Money has always motivated me quite a bit. Perhaps that's why I took a job in which at least half of my salary is based upon hitting target numbers each month.)

Today I finally received my gift card. I suddenly thought of all the places I could go shopping. There were so many. Then I remembered the horoscope from yesterday and had a minor epiphany. I need to enroll in my intermediate Portuguese class that costs $97 in the next week. It suddenly dawned on me that this would be the perfect use of the card. I mean I can't buy any new clothes until the DVD I ordered from Barnes and Noble shows up. If the customer reviews are true, this means that I won't be ready to go clothes shopping again until sometime shortly before the Christmas holidays. Oh, and for those of you who have been wondering, I am working towards getting into all of the size 2 and 4 clothes that currently inhabit my closet. Oh, and yes, I know that I am far from fat but I have spent years building this wardrobe. There are pieces that I will never be able to replace in a larger size.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Retail therapy denied

Every now and then I like to read my horoscope. Here is today's.

Whether you're at the mall, that boutique you've been dying to peruse or just at your desk visiting a great new online shopping site for the very first time, try not to have your credit card within reach. Your willpower won't be at its very peak at the moment, and just a minute's walk across the house to your wallet could make the difference between a year's worth of finance charges vs. a pat on the back in two days -- which is about when this urge will have passed.

How wrong is that? How did they know that I have the Anthropologie gift catalog sitting on my desk? The one thing that they don't know is that I have no intention of buying anymore clothes until I drop a few pounds or at least a couple of inches. What I am desperately looking for is a workout dvd. I don't care what they say. I'm buying it when I find it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The bag

Is is synchronicity or what? It all started on Tuesday night while I was at my mom's house.

When I got there, Gilmore Girls was just starting up. On this past week's episode Rory received a Birkin from her boyfriend. My mom turned to me and asked, "What's a Birkin?" My first thought was under what rock has she been living. Then I remembered that my mother has not been one to keep up with what's hot and what's not. (Don't tell her this though. She likes to think that she knows all about such things.) I explained, "It's a very expensive, highly desireable Hermes bag." I received a puzzled look and decided to give up there. If I told her that Carolina Herrera is one of my favorite designers, I'd probably get the same look.

Then I was doing my usual blog reading today. (I know. I know. I need to do laundry. I need to start packing up stuff in my bedroom if I really plan to paint it. There are a lot of things that I should have been doing.) I saw that Gloria managed to slip in a reference to the much beloved bag in the comments to her latest post.

Finally, I just started reading Everyone Worth Knowing. There is a section discussing -- yes, you guessed it -- the Birkin. The poor main character is apparently much like my mother.

I am beginning to wonder if I am ever going to escape the bag. Or perhaps this is a sign that I am about to receive one soon? (You don't have to laugh so loud.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Depression sets in

Yes, I am feeling a bit depressed. Why? It all started this morning while I was getting ready to go to work.

I have gotten into a rut as to what I chose to wear to work each day. Of course this will all soon because we are supposed to be changing over to uniforms. In the meantime I must continue to search my closet for something appropriate to wear. Today I decided to get out of the rut. I pulled out a skirt that I haven't worn in sometime to discover that it no longer fits. I could get it on but I could not fasten the button at the waist. Yes, I tried sucking it in. It did not work. That is when the depression started to set in.

I discussed this to a coworker. She asked if this is something I have experienced before. Never. In fact I have spent most of my adult life fighting to keep the pounds on. This is uncharted territory for me. I have worn the same size for at least 20 years. I cannot afford to replace a wardrobe that I have spent many years acquiring. Besides there is the vanity/pride angle. I refuse to buy the next size up.

I realize that anyone who has actually met me might not have much sympathy. It's just that we all have the things that we will not bulge on. I remember talking to former coworkers a few years ago. These women were talking about the plastic surgery they would have performed as the lines appeared on their faces. I do not mind the lines. One of my best friends from high school recently told me that they add character. (She's a stage actress.) I just don't want to gain weight.

Perhaps I will end up like my stepmother, having tummy tuck after tummy tuck. I don't think that's really the answer. The answer is that I need to get off of my butt and become more active. I know that I have gained the weight in this last year. This is the first year that I have had a fairly sedentary job. There was the slight weight gain when I stopped going out dancing a few times a week. That was tolerable because my clothes still fit. This is not. The real challenge is to find a way to exercise (and no, I do not do gyms) that I can fit into my crazy work schedule.

sigh I am sure I will find an answer.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My day (literally)

My day started early with a phone call from my dad at something like 7:30 a.m. asking if I wanted to go with his friend to a football game. My dad should have known better. I have never really been a football fan. Now if it had been baseball, I probably would not have minded the call as much.

Then my mother called. The first question was why I didn't take any leftovers home with me last night. The next was whether I was heading over today. Ummmm. I was just there last night. Nope.

Third call was from the niece of an aunt by marriage. She is visiting a friend in this area before she heads for Hawaii tomorrow. I had no intention of getting in my car so seeing her was out of the question as well.

What I did do:

1) Watched chick flicks on cable -- When Harry Met Sally and Here on Earth.

2) Went shopping at Andronico's where I managed to resist everything in the cheese case. (Yes, I did actually walk past it.) I was not there for cheese but for Twinings tea and Schweppes, both of which were on sale. I don't think you can have too much of either.

3) Unloaded groceries at home and did some light cleaning. Now the kittens can kick more litter out on the floor around the litterboxes.

4) Much to the kittens's dismay, I quickly headed back out the door to make it to the theater just in time to see the previews before settling in to watch Elizabethtown. I had to see it. I have always been a huge fan of Cameron Crowe. Just sent an email to my ex because I am sure he has seen it and I needed to discuss it with someone.

Previews are a big part of my moving going experience. I hate going to the movies with my mom because we usually miss some of the previews when we arrive. She also believes in talking through the previews and the first ten or so minutes of the movie -- about stuff not related to what is on screen. If you are going to talk to me, let it be about what is on-screen. Otherwise, shut up.

The other thrill was having popcorn, red vines, and cherry coke. I don't buy soda at home except to use as a mixer. The one place in which I will allow myself to have soda without alcohol is the movie theater.

5) Came back home with plans of cooking dinner but then realized that I was kind of full from the popcorn and red vines. We're having Indian summer around here though. Therefore, I decided that there is nothing wrong with a mojito while I debate the dinner thing. (Picked up the ingredients on my shopping foray.)

Perhaps it sounds boring. The cool thing for me was I got to spend the whole day doing exactly what I wanted to do instead of trying to make someone else happy. I don't do this nearly enough. I might have to schedule in more days like this in the future.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The return of Melrose Place

Not long after moving into my building, I started referring to it as Melrose Place in conversations thanks to the antics of my neighbors. I am glad that I am now able to contribute personally to this. Even though I haven't quite figured out which character I am, as I told my neighbor, I refuse to be the demented Kimberly. I assured her that I have intention of trying to blow the place up.

On with the tale. As you know from my previous post, I headed out Thursday night, had several cocktails, and met a bunch of boys. Now let me pick up where I left off. The aforementioned bachelor #2 whom my neighbor and I have now dubbed "Hallway Boy" felt the need to walk me home. (I walk to the bar because I don't feel like moving my car and am usually not in condition to drive at the end of the evening.) He was cute so I let him walk along with me. We got to my apartment and he came in. After talking a bit, he had to leave -- something about having to go to work. I was talking to him at the door when I realized the cats were trying to make a break for it. I stepped in the hallway and meant to pull the door partially shut to contain the cats. Instead I shut the door completely. Of course my keys were inside. To add to the situation, Natasha being the quick creature that she is had managed to make it out the door as I was shutting it. Thankfully my neighbor has keys. I knocked on her door a couple of times but didn't get an answer. I thought it might have something to do with the fact that it was 3 a.m. I handed Natasha to Hallway Boy and went out the front door, leaving it ajar. Why? So I could try knocking on my neighbor's bedroom window. I then went back in and tried her door again. She gave me my keys and I apologized profusely. The boy went on his way after the phone number exchange.

Last night over wine my neighbor filled in the rest of the story. She had heard me knocking at the door and had managed to tiptoe to the door by the time I went to knock on her bedroom window. What she saw upon looking out the peephole was Hallway Boy fighting to hold onto Natasha. Her first thought was where was I. She then started to think that perhaps Hallway Boy had killed me off and was now using Natasha as a lure to get into her apartment. As she watched, Hallway Boy lost his grip on Natasha and she managed to climb to the top of the door jamb where she remained until I re-entered the building. My neighbor said this tale got loads of laughs when she went out for beers after work. I think their were also some questions about our sanity. My neighbor and I have agreed -- Hallway Boy will never call unless he is into totally insane women.

On a sadder Melrose note, my neighbor then shared that she had heard from the boy who used to live upstairs. Apparently he has leukemia or something like that. He called her a few days ago looking for comfort but then he had to hang up because his girlfriend was calling on the other line. My neighbor thinks that she will head to NYC, where he now lives, soon to make sure he is OK.

Oh, and I did talk to bachelor #1 last night. He has since changed his mind about inviting me to the event on Sunday as he will be working. He said, "I would have to leave you on your own because I will be busy working. And you are so pretty, you will probably be surrounded by guys." Well, duh. Isn't that why I would go to something like that?

Friday, October 14, 2005

The inner partygirl

I have felt like I have been stifling a part of myself for months. Now I know that it is true.

Right before I left work tonight, I checked the entertainment schedule for my fave bar. All I can say is that it is a good thing I decided to show up tonight.

Bachelor #1 is the manager for the band tonight. How cool is that? Besides, he properly worshipped the ground upon which I walk.

Then there is bachelor #2 who is the complete hottie. The man could start a four alarm fire on his own. (No, I do not have photos but if he turns out to be a keeper, I promise you that I will.)

I could mention bachelors #3 and #4 but that would be pointless. I took their drinks and blew them off in the bar. C'est la vie.

I thought that life at 39 would suck but I have discovered that it only gets better.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Trivial matters

On my way home from work it suddenly dawned on me that I do not have to get up at the crack of dawn on Wednesdays or Thursdays. This means that I am free to go out on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I decided to take advantage of this tonight. I mean except for the party on Saturday, I really haven't been out in over a month. How will I ever expect to keep up my membership in the partygirl union with attendance like that?

Tuesday nights are quiz night at my fave bar. I was going to leave just as the quiz was starting up but got sucked in by a question in the first round. I just had to ask one of the teams seated near me what they had given for their answer. We all agreed on the answer and so were sure that it was correct. They then asked me to join their team as the next round started. (They had been perplexed by one of the questions that I answered easily.) We ended up in fourth place. We could have done better if they had only trusted me on one of the questions in the final round. The question was "What was the highest grossing movie with adjustments for inflation?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm it.

I have been tagged by Gloria so here goes. I am supposed to list five idiosyncracies. Only five?

1. I am a collector.
This is not a positive thing. This is just a nice way of saying that I am a packrat. Like the typical Cancer, I have great difficulty in letting go. This is not limited to possessions. Oh no. I like to collect people too. Why else would I still be friends with the ex? The breakup was painful and I cried for months. Well maybe one month. Then I acted out. This involved lots of dancing on bars and all the other fun things you do when you have lots to drink. One day I realized that I was in the fastlane to self destruction and could only keep going at this pace for another year tops. That's when the ex became my friend again. I just couldn't imagine him not being a part of my life in some way. It's kind of how I feel about my Paddington bear and the box of Nancy Drew mysteries.

2. As as result of being a packrat, I believe in organized chaos.
I am a control freak. Everything has it's place. The biggest example of this is the flatware. Flatware should not be just thrown into the appropriate slot in the drawer. No. It must be neatly and precisely stacked within its space. If it is not, then I will have to stand there and rearrange it. This behavior used to drive my mom nuts when I was in high school. She has learned now though and stacks her flatware in a similar manner. I say similar because she has still has not mastered the symmetry of the teaspoon stacks. (She owns extra teaspoons and so they have to be placed in two stacks. Does she care that one stack contains 7 while the other contains 9? Of course not. It just about sends me over the edge.)

3. I should have been a librarian.
I have a large collection of books and music. There is order here as well.

Music is alphabetized by artist. If there are multiple recordings from a single artist, then they must be in chronological order.

Books are organized similarly. However, books are first sorted by genre and then alphabetized. Just like the music, multiple works from the same author must be in chronological order. When in doubt I use the copyright dates. This was lots of fun when I had to put the 30 or so Agatha Christie novels I own in order. Sometimes I mix them up just for the satisfaction of putting them back in order.

Visitors are free to remove music or books from the shelves. They are not allowed to put said items back though as they will invariably put them in the wrong place. Of course if you want to drive me mad, then go ahead and do it.

4. I remember "useless" information.
This makes me a prime candidate to be on Jeopardy. Why do I remember the stuff? Who knows. Perhaps it's because in childhood my father and I bonded over our knowledge of trivia. (I am still the only person who can beat him at Trivial Pursuit.) Now I justify it because it gives me lots to talk about at cocktail parties.

5. I don't do lines.
I will wait in lines if I really must. I just don't believe that some of us should have to. If I can find a way to get around waiting in a line, then I'll do it. OK. There are some limitations but you get the idea. Perhaps it's an inflated sense of self that leads me to it. I have shocked friends with this tendency in the past. They seem to think that I am such a nice person. I am. I just don't feel the need to mix with the "little people" at times. Isn't that what VIP is for? (Feel free to call me a bitch. I like to think of it as a compliment.) Perhaps I just did too much clubbing in the 80s when it was easy to get an inflated ego. It was after all the accessory to have back then.

Enough about me already. Guess it's my turn to tag someone else. Guess the only one who is left is Joe. I would tag Daniel but he doesn't seem to be reading much these days.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Shaken or stirred?

As promised, here is the dress.

Fortunately the party was as fabulous as the dress. Unfortunately I had to leave the party at 1 a.m. -- the misfortune in going with my neighbor. However, she doesn't drink much (one drink the whole night) so she was the designated driver.

I was accused of being Brazilian (sorry but I just started learning Portuguese a few weeks ago) as well as being Cuban. What I really regret is not getting a picture of the guest of honor from New Zealand. The man can mix a very nice cocktail. We started off with Mojitos and then went on to Cosmos. He works in the wine industry, or perhaps it was food. I think I have met my future husband.

Women at the party asked what was my secret as I have obviously tapped into some fountain of youth. I told them the secret was Ivory soap, lots of drinking and smoking, and an attempt to eat as healthy as possible. I will also curtail the party scene if I feel that I need more sleep. Be warned though. I sleep no more than six hours a night if I am not sick. As the saying goes, "I'll sleep when I'm dead.'

I think I'm going to crawl back to the futon and clutch the remote. My head is killing me. If only the kittens would stop running across me.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Why can't there be 30 hours in a day?

I feel as if I have been remiss in posting over this past week. Perhaps it's because I have been. I suppose that is a good thing because it means that I have been busy.

The whirlwind of activity started last Saturday. My cousin, who already has a cute little boy, is expecting a little girl around the end of this month. Her sister-in-law threw her a baby shower last Saturday afternoon. All I can say is that all of the little girl stuff was just too precious for words. I think I will have to borrow the kid occasionally. (I have decided at this point in my life that there is no need to have children of my own if I can occasionally borrow kids from friends and relatives.)

Then it was off to change clothes to go to a retirement party for my real dad. My mother takes entirely too long to get ready so we missed the cocktail hour. Thankfully there was wine with dinner. Dad worked for a car manufacturer so the party was held at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum. There were so many lovely cars there. Oh, and the food was delish as well. The surprise was that the company was not paying for the party. Apparently they do not believe in retirement parties. Instead a number of dad's customers (he worked in sales) paid for the party. They also provided the gift -- a membership to the Pipe Club of London and a one-week trip for mom and dad to London. Dad will get to be a guest of the club during their trip. He has been an avid pipe smoker for as long as I can remember and says that he may open a shop now that he is retired.

One would think that that would be enough for a single weekend but no. I had to go out on Sunday to explore the neighborhood. It was time for the Third Annual Spice of Life Festival. Lots of food, crafts, and music. And all within walking distance of home. I would have taken photos but then my mom would have asked why. Then she would have asked, "What is a blog?" In other words, too much trouble. Perhaps next year.

The rest of the week has been spent at work. I got a new boss on Monday. Don't ask how many it has been in the last year. I think I am starting to lose count. There are electricians here today doing a bunch of rewiring and making lots of noise. I cannot wait for tomorrow afternoon. (I have to work tomorrow so my weekend doesn't really start until about 3 p.m. tomorrow.) I do know that I will have a couple of interesting things coming up though.

Tomorrow evening this post-doc I know is having a cocktail party. Well, at least my neighbor says it's a cocktail party. I know what to wear too. My mom talked me into buying this Jones New York silk chiffon dress last weekend. Actually there wasn't a great deal of arm-twisting involved. It was my size and it had been marked down from $150 to $26. It seemed like a no-brainer. (Yes, Gloria, in my next post I will be sure to include a photo.) Next week a woman I know from Tribe will be in town. I think she is coming for the Bioneers convention. It should be interesting to talk to her as she has just returned home to New Orleans from the Dallas area. Oh, and she's a chef. A bit further off is a class I have to attend for work. It seems that I am being "forced" to go to San Diego at the end of November.

Stay tuned for party details...

Friday, September 30, 2005

Can't we all get along?

Boris had his first visit to the vet today. It went perfectly. He does not have to be weighed in the carrier because he is perfectly willing to stand still on the scale. He had two shots without a single sound. Maybe it's a male thing.

The vet's office I use is inside of PetSmart and the vet was running late. That meant loads of shopping time. I first went to get the bucket of kitty litter because with two cats I now realize that I will have to buy the stuff in bulk. Then I saw the tree. I figured the kids needed a climbing toy -- they like to climb on my stuff so much. I am also giving the LitterLocker a try because, hey, it was on sale. Oh, and they had Natasha's favorite canned food on sale. Then I picked up The Bubbler. It's a water bowl that has a pump for aeration. Natasha loves it as much as kids love a fountain on a hot day. By the time she finished, half the water was on the kitchen floor. (Sorry but no photo. I didn't think about it until it was too late.)

After spending so much on the kids, I felt the need to stop at the grocery store. I wasn't going to buy the crack cheese but I figured that I deserved it because (1) I had spent so much on the kittens and (2) I had had such a crappy week at work this week. Actually work wasn't completely crappy. I did have the one parent conference during which the mom cried tears of joy because her son had shown so much improvement. As long as I remember that, then I think I can continue working there. Let me just put it this way. I was so stressed out and hating my job by Thursday that I was starting to weigh the alternatives.

After getting home with all my purchases, and Boris, I decided that it was time that the kittens finally spent some time together. Natasha still likes to hiss at Boris occasionally but except for that one swat on the head, she hasn't done anything to him. In fact the three of us curled up for a nap this afternoon while watching Desperately Seeking Susan. There is hope.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Only 48 to go

His name is Boris. (What else would I name him?) Yesterday I started the process of trying to introduce him to the household. Needless to say, Natasha has not been too thrilled with the idea. I hope she changes her mind over the next few days. He's just too cute to send back.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Day of the Living Dead

Yesterday was my worst day at work ever. The place where I work used to be owned by a franchisee. Corporate took over at the beginning of July. That has meant a number of changes. The last major change is the conversion of one of our main databases to another software.

The conversion was supposed to take place next week, or so I had been told. My boss had received an email about the conversion but had been unable to open any of the attachments that gave all of the details. She wasn't too worried because the conversion was taking place next week. Somehow she found out around 6 p.m. last night that the change would be happening over night. That meant that all data needed to be cleaned up before we left for the night as the new software would not allow us to make any of these changes. We had barely started on making these corrections and I still had two parent conferences scheduled for the evening. We worked steadily and finished sometime around 11:30 last night. I then drove 30 minutes to get home.

Today I had to open. That means that I needed to be here at 9. It was probably more like 9:10 or so when I arrived. I feel like a complete zombie. The bad part is that I have to be in tomorrow as well. I am foreseeing some good coma sleep tonight.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Death of the corkscrew

I decided that I deserved a glass of wine tonight after a long day at work. The problem was that I had no wine at home, meaning I would have to stop on my way home. That meant my fave place -- Andronico's.

I was tired though and the wine aisle was overwhelming. I decided to stick to a basic, something that wouldn't require a great deal of thought. That's when I saw a fave standby -- but it was different. The cork had been replaced with a screwtop cap. I will miss the days of pulling the cork out of the bottle and chuckling as I read "Better Reds than dead," imprinted on the side of the cork.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The family saga continues

I was going to discuss the Portuguese class I have been taking but decided to wait until I learn a bit more. Thank you for the comments on the last post. It just goes to show that the old saying is true -- Write what you know best. I guess I've always known it in the back of my mind. I had just forgotten that the most entertaining stories are those about my family.

When I was in high school, I joked to my mother that I was going to become a writer for soaps. I was going to base storylines on my family; they can be much more interesting than the average soap often. I was going to say that I was rather embarrassed when my mother shared this with the rest of her side of the family but I just realized that I am getting my stories mixed up. What was embarrassing was when my mother shared one of my observations of the family.

"This family could take up a whole ward at a psych hospital. The only question is who will be admitted first."

Fortunately my family, being the twisted Southerners that they are, found humor in this. We still have discussions on who is going in first. There are also discussions on what the doctor's diagnosis of whoever this unfortunate (fortunate?) person is. If you had told me at age 16 that one statement would end up supplying the family with over 20 years of entertainment, I would not have believed you.

With that, let me continue on with the warm and fuzzy stories. Besides having the ever-so-wonderful "real parents" in my life, I also had my dad's mother. My grandmother was the oldest of 12 children. She and my grandfather then had ten children of their own. My parents (the biological ones) thought that it was important that I know my family; they also wanted a vacation. Therefore, I was shipped off to the Southern states for six weeks almost every summer through age 15.

My grandmother lived on the family farm primarily until I was 12 or so. The farm is somewhere between 1,700 and 1,800 acres. My grandfather primarily raised hogs and grew cotton. My uncle took over after my grandfather's death and replaced the cotton crop with soy beans. We didn't really have any neighbors so going into town every couple of weeks or so was a treat.

My day consisted of getting up before dawn to have breakfast with my grandfather and my older cousin. (He cooked his own and looked forward to the company in the summer.) He thought it was impressive that girls were up at that hour. As soon as he left the house, we would go back to bed. Then we would get back up with everyone else for a second breakfast.

Sometime between breakfast and dinner, I would proclaim to my grandmother that I was bored. There was always one response to that. "Let me find you a book to read." I read Twain, Aesop's Fables, Greek mythology and Shakespeare to name a few.

My reading list was later supplemented with other studies -- specifically cooking. My grandmother was a wonderful cook, an even more wonderful baker. There was always a freshly baked dessert for after dinner. I eventually became her assistant in the kitchen. Part of the reason I did this was that the assistant usually got the bowl and beaters. My grandmother would also bake miniature cakes of the cake she was preparing. The assistant got first dibs on these as well.

She bought me a cookbook when I wanted to learn more. I still remember preparing dinner one night with recipes selected from the book. Of course my grandmother supervised the whole operation, giving me pointers on how to improve. My mother asked me upon returning home at the end of that summer if I had learned how to cook. I answered, "No."

My parents were sure that I would starve to death my freshman year of college. Instead I returned home seven pounds heavier. My mother was shocked. When she talked to my grandmother over the summer, she expressed her shock. My grandmother replied, "But she's known how to cook for some time and is quite good." That ended my days of never preparing meals at my mother's house.

My grandmother was a dear friend who I spoke to often. During freshman year if I wasn't sure about a recipe, I could call her and she would walk me through it over the phone. She also served as a counselor (After my grandfather's death she returned to college and completed her B.A. in sociology.) so that I had an outlet for the insanity of my parents.

My grandmother died five years ago. I am the only one in the family who has a number of the recipes that have become family favorites. The main one of these is her recipe for tea cakes. (Jen and Gloria, when I feel up to baking again, I will be sure to send you some.) I keep trying to pass these recipes along to other family members. Some have accepted but then refuse to try again after the first attempt. They keep saying, "When I make it, it doesn't taste right. You make them right." This is why I had no problem in receiving the mixer from my dad for my birthday this year.

So even though most of my family is nuts, there have been some pretty wonderful people in it as well. OK. Even some of the nuttier ones are wonderful in their own way.