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.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Family defined

"Family" is not limited to those to whom you are related by blood; instead it extends to include those with whom you share such a close relationship that the word "friendship" does not suffice. I learned this growing up and still believe in it.

When I was eight, my parents decided to divorce. (For the sake of accuracy, let me correct that last statement. My mother decided to divorce my dad. My dad went along with it.) After the divorce, my parents were busy dealing with their own pain; they hardly had time to notice mine. (Maybe my mother did but I know for a fact that my father didn't. He and Korbel brandy had become intimate friends by that time. I stopped visiting him on a regular basis around age 12.) Thankfully my parents had these best friends who lived a few houses away. I came to call them "my real parents."

My real parents were everything that my parents weren't. First of all, they were still married. Mom came home every night and cooked dinner. After the divorce, my mother had stopped cooking on a regular basis. She often ate a big lunch and wasn't hungry at dinnertime. When we'd get home, she turn to me and say, "I'm not hungry and I don't feel like cooking. You should call your mother." I would. Mom upon hearing me asking what was for dinner would answer, "We're having spaghetti (or whatever dish) tonight. It will be ready in a half hour. See you then." It didn't hurt that Mom was a wonderful cook.

Mom and Dad moved in down the street when I was six. At the time they had one son. By the time I started high school they had three boys and had decided to stop having children. They had kept on trying because they wanted a girl. I got to be the daughter that they had always wanted. In fact, Dad still introduces me to people as his daughter to this day.

When I turned 15, I was anxious to start driving -- legally that is. My first driving lesson was actually at age 13. I had hopped into my father's car to start it. He climbed into the passenger seat and said, "Drive." I ended up bending the front axel when I hit a curb trying to park. My mother thought it was hilarious. I was terrified to get behind the wheel of a car for a long time after that but also relished the freedom that driving could give me. The first time I went out to practice with my mother ended with my mother screaming and me near tears. That's when Dad stepped in. He calmly taught me how to drive. I still remember him pulling the plastic garbage cans out onto the street so that I could learn how to parallel park.

Then there was age 17. This is an incidence of which I rarely speak. That was the year I was a deb. A few days before the ball, I found out that there was a great possibility that my father would not be able to present me. (He hadn't done the community service on his DUI or something like that so there was a warrant out on him.) I was devastated. That's when Dad stepped in. He told me that I shouldn't worry. If all else failed, he would present me. My father somehow eluded jail that weekend and was there to present me. That reminds me; I should ask him how he pulled that off. I never have.

At 19 I returned home from college for the summer. I was working fulltime and discovering the underground club scene in San Francisco. I dreamed of heading to New York so that I could check out places like Limelight. One night my mother told me that I couldn't go out. I figured I was an adult and snuck out of the house. (I know -- sneaking is so not being an adult.) When I returned home, she threw me out. I ended up living with Mom and Dad for the rest of the summer before returning to college. In that time I saw my mother once. I did not see her again until Winter Break.

Last weekend I went to my stepmother's birthday party. I caught a ride with Mom and Dad. I figured that as I was not driving, I could have a few drinks. I forgot that I really hadn't eaten all day. Now I have keys to Mom and Dad's house as well as a standing dinner engagement. I told Gloria that I suddenly feel like I'm in the Gilmore Girls.

Sunday I didn't go on a long drive. Instead I tried out my new DVD recorder. (Why have DVR if you can't keep the stuff for eternity?) By the time I finished with that, it was time to head over for my weekly obligation. Mom had defrosted all kinds of stuff. She had cooked rice, fresh corn on the cob, broccoli, two kinds of fish, chicken, and ribs. Dad is retiring at the end of the month so I went to work on his laptop moving files that he wants to keep. In the process, I showed their granddaughter who lives with them a few tricks on the computer. (Last school year I tutored her in math. Now she thinks math is great.) At the end of the evening, I went home with a full stomach and a fuller wallet. I tried to turn down the money but they insisted that they would have paid anyone else to work on their computers. In fact they did in the past and after looking over the computers, the guy didn't do half the stuff that he should have.

So family to me is a feeling you get -- of being safe, of someone caring. It doesn't matter if the person is related to you or not.

(By the way, I know this is probably much more serious than my usual posts. It's just the kind of mood I've been in lately. Bear with me.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Couch potato memories

I awoke with nothing concrete to do today but to go check on a friend's computer. I figured that I was also invited to dinner so that this could wait until later in the day. The question then became, "What to do with the rest of my day?" I mean, I now have a new cute 'do; it deserves to be seen.

I started off channel surfing and was sucked into an episode of Biography. I guess I was feeling a bit nostalgic after receiving DDJ's latest email. (I already have a full collection of 80s music seeing as those were my high school and college days, but thanx anyway.) This episode of Biography was on the Bee Gees. They even showed Andy Gibb. I still remember sitting around the TV at my twin's (She wasn't really my twin but people always confused the two of us from childhood through college. My dad even once mistook her for me when he saw her at the mall once.) slumber party in 6th grade and screaming with the other girls when Andy appeared on whatever show to sing I Just Want to Be Your Everything. By the end of the Biography episode, I was tempted to pull out my copies of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and Spirits Having Flown -- both on vinyl of course.

Nothing beats a little walk down memory day to start off a slow Sunday morning.

Another thought -- When I was writing the title of this post, I almost used the word "reminiscing" but then that's linked to a whole other set of memories.

Guess I'm off to take that drive that Gloria suggested.

The best laid plans

So there it was -- Saturday morning and I was looking forward to my girls night out. When I called on Friday to confirm my appointment, I had been told that the stylist would be one hour later than my original appointment time. This was no problem. I arrived at the shop on time for my new appointment time. Alas, no stylist present. It took another half hour to show up.

Now all of this would be fine if I was going out with anyone but Jade. Ever since she had the two kids, she likes to go out rather early. Our plan was to meet at 7:30. Eventually I called her to say that it was looking like it would be more like 8:30. This was too late for her and so we postponed for next weekend. I see it is now time to officially strip her of her membership in the Partygirl Union. I told the stylist this after hanging up the phone. We agreed. No self-respecting person goes out on a Saturday night before 9 p.m.

I would have gone out on my own when I got home, but decided I really should stay in as I had been up for over 24 hours. I got home and had a Thai noodle salad from Trader Joe's with a glass of wine. I then promptly entered a coma. Now I'm fully refreshed and itching for something to do.

Friday, September 16, 2005

CL Revisited

The weekend is finally here and not soon enough. I started the day by taking Natasha to the vet. The vet suggested that in the future they may have to sedate her. Yes, she was that charming as she received her shots wearing a kitty muzzle. At least when it was time to leave, she did not fight me about getting back into the carrier.

Tomorrow I have a hair appointment. Nothing like a fresh do to inspire a girl to hit the town. I have also arranged for a girls night out with my best friend. We were supposed to be going to a party but we think it has been postponed. My friend has not heard from the party host. We think he may be in Louisiana currently since he is a firefighter. (That is the appeal of his parties -- wall-to-wall firefighters.) Now we have to find other ways to get into trouble. Not too much trouble though. My friends are married and have kids. Fun for them is picking out guys for me. I think the occasion just may call for the leather pants.

Yes, I am finally getting to the title. I called my boss today because I had forgotten to leave behind a couple of notes before I left last night. She started talking about her boyfriend. They have been together for ten months. I also know from other conversations that they have been looking at engagement rings. Today I found out that she met him through CL. She said that she had to go through quite a few freaks and losers before finding him. I was beginning to think that successful relationships through CL was just an urban legend. Maybe it's time to rethink the CL thing.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tea and wine

That is what my weekend was filled with. Perhaps there should have been more of the first than the second.

It all started when I was at work on Friday. I was so tired and didn't have any tea at work. I went outside to walk around and to have a cigarette. I ran into one of the women from the shop next to my job. They carry mostly antiques. She too was having a cigarette. (I have always found it interesting how smoking can be a starting point for friendship.) When I mentioned my lack of caffeine, she ran into the shop and presented me with a tin.

Look at how pretty they look. It just didn't seem right to open it. It also didn't seem right that there were two sachets in there for a total cost of $4.50. I had to open the tin because this was obviously the best tea around. I don't know if I would say it was the best but it was pretty tasty.

I had to work on Saturday too. I went straight from work to my "real parents's" home so that I could catch a ride with them to Sack of tomatoes. The occasion was my stepmother's birthday. Here's where the wine comes in. As part of the festivities, my dad had his buddy from Vision Cellars there. Gloria would love the diamonds that Mac's wife was trying to blind us with. Needless to say I had quite a bit of the 2002 Pinot Noir. So much so that I just could not motivate today to head out to the Solano Stroll. Maybe next year...

Friday, September 9, 2005

Young love

Since I am still chuckling over this, I felt the need to share this story.

Yesterday one of my students returned after taking the summer off. He is now in 8th grade but could pass for at least 10th grade. His grandfather told me last school year that there was a 16-year-old girl down the street from them who desperately wanted to date the boy.

Apparently said heartthrob started a new school this year. Here is his take on the first few days of school.

"On the first day I didn't really know anyone. On the second day I had a girlfriend. By the third day my girlfriend had a fight with another girl because the other girl wanted to date me."

What will happen when he gets old enough to hang out in bars?

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

As promised

Upon arriving in Thousand Oaks this past weekend, I had to make a stop at Long's. While wandering the store, I came across this sign.

I have never seen this wording in NorCal. Shrew and I tried to figure out just what they meant by "New Age Drinks." We're still not really sure. My thought is that they mean the Sobe and other similar drinks. All I know is that when we went to Ralph's on Sunday, they had similar signage.

If you have any insight, we'd greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

No photo

Ms. Natasha has survived her surgery. In fact she's currently playing and worrying me to death. What if she rips her stitches trying to jump on the kitchen counter?

I had thought of taking a photo but then decided that if I looked like she did, I wouldn't want anyone taking my photo. I expected that her belly would be shaved but both her front paws and her neck? What's up with that?

I also received a confirmation when I picked her up tonight. Apparently the vet realized that she was going into heat when he opened her up. Guess that explains all the hissing and spitting over the past week or so. She was also doing these super jumps at the doorknob. (I think she was trying to turn the doorknob so that she could get out.)

I do have a photo to post from my trip to SoCal -- something that has been bothering. That will be another day though.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Just what I needed

I finally feel rested. Just in time to deal with taking Natasha to the vet tomorrow morning.

The weekend was great. Went to a party on Friday night. It was a wine tasting for a 50th birthday. That reminds me. I still need to ask the hostess what numbers 3 and 5 were so that I can purchase them. The thing I keep wondering about the house is why would one ever need three baby grands.

Saturday I headed with my friend, Shrew, into Santa Monica to meet Jen. She looks like her pictures and is very sweet. Then it was off to Pasadena to see Pera Palas. After that, I just relaxed for the rest of the weekend.

I was a bit miffed because my flight was delayed from LAX. (They had a fuel spill and had to change gates.) It worked out though. At the BART station, I ran into a friend who was just returning from Australia.

Well, guess it's off to play with the crying cat and to get ready to go to work tomorrow. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

A busy week

Most of my week has consisted of working. I am now officially off for the weekend. I just finished dinner. (I'd describe it but it's actually kind of boring.) Unfortunately I am really tired and still have to pack. I'm off to southern California for the weekend. I have determined that I need to be out the door around 9 tomorrow morning. That means either I pack tonight or I get up really early tomorrow to pack.

On other fronts, Natasha has decided to start speaking to me once more. She was highly upset after receiving three shots on Tuesday. Actually the vet tech said that everything went downhill after they took her temperature. My thought is that I probably would have reacted in the same way. She'll probably be mad again when I return on Monday. Oh well. She can keep the feeling when I drop her off Tuesday morning for her surgery.