Tuesday, December 23, 2003

In the grand scale of the cosmos I'm not really sure what this means... but I feel that it's worth mentioning.

Last night my Dad (who passed away in 1996) came to me in a dream. He wanted to let me know that I should check all items in my house with an expiration date and make sure I throw away anything that had expired. He pulled out some old make-up and showed me that I shouldn't use it because it "went bad" in May. He then proceeded to open it, smell it, and throw it away.

I think we can all take a little something away from this. I tend to think that my Dad must be fairly serious about this, because he also came to me in a dream about a year ago to ask me if I had theft insurance on my car. Two weeks later my car was stolen. So heed the warning of this dream if you wish; perhaps it was advice meant only for me, but I figured, what the heck, it's the holiday season and I should share this wealth of knowledge.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Christmas time is always a little hectic, when I try to finish up those final details at the last minute everything else in my life seems to fall to pieces. I can't return phone calls, there's a mountain of clothes on the floor near the bed and periodicals just pile up. Last night I hit a breaking point. Too much to do and tired, Alex and I decided to go to the McDonald's drive through on our way home. I try not to eat there, but sometimes I just have to give in. I think the last time I had McDonald's food was in the summer of 2001, so I can sort of forgive myself. I also figured that they finally started putting chicken... I mean, white meat..... in the McNuggets, so I figured I would give it a go. We got to the drive through and realized we had 8 bucks, plenty. We got a #5 (all new white meat Nuggets), super sized (to share the drink and the fries) and a double cheeseburger.

The following are the things that astounded me as we ordered: A double cheeseburger is a dollar. You can get your meal regular, large or super sized. There are 3 kinds of chicken sandwiches to choose from.

We waited a while and finally got to the window where the guy told us we owed 4 dollars and some change. Hey, wait, that's too cheap. What did he think we ordered? A number 5 and 2 apple pies. That's when I realized that "super size" kind of sounds like "apple pies". Alex told him what we were supposed to be having and the guy says "Sorry, we're out of apple pies." A mediator steps in and starts yelling at window guy accusing him of deleting the order, he takes out a sheet of paper and taps it a lot while telling him "this is what this car was supposed to have", blah, blah, blah. Mediator man was actually pretty firm with window guy and told him to do a better job and pay more attention. Window guy apologized to mediator man (but between you and me, it didn't sound very sincere). Window guy took our money (6 and some change) proceeded to fill the bag and hand it over.

Here's what blew me away when we got our food: the size of a super sized drink. It's not a cup, it's a bucket. I can't even begin to imagine drinking that much of anything at one sitting. I don't even know why they make cups so big.

Then, I believe in an act of defiance, window guy gave us 2 sauces for the McNuggets. The sign on the window clearly states that you only get 1 sauce with a 6 pc. McNugget. That's when I knew that window guy was not really sorry for not paying more attention.

When we got home we unpacked the bag and there at the bottom was an apple pie.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I can't remember when I last went to a Toys R Us (I just hate giving my money to a big crappy toy store like that...), and if I had remembered how visually assaulting it was I probably would have not set foot in one again. I felt like I was dizzy from the moment the doors closed behind me, but I was on a mission to find the Ocean Wonders Fishbowl and I had come to far to stop now. The two sets of drums being used by toddlers at the doorway forced me into the store quickly. To escape the noise I noticed I could either go into the depths of the store or to the exit, which you can only get to by going through the depths of the store and back again. I didn't see anyone who seemed to be on staff (except the cashiers near the drums), so I was on my own. I looked up to see if there were signs above the aisles and that's when I realized there really weren't any aisles in this store, it's kind of broken up into sections, and it took me a while to catch on. I finally figured out the following: the pinker it got I was in a section of toys intended to be used by girls. If things started to talk to me and ask me to press them I was in the pre-school section. And if things had wheels and made loud noises I was in the toys intended for boys section. All I wanted was the fishbowl, there was no fishbowl section. After walking around in a giant circle for about 20 minutes I found the clothes and bottles and thought "if this stuff is for little bitty babies maybe the little bitty baby toys would be here too" and lo and behold there was an aisle, yes an actual aisle, of Fisher Price toys for kids 6 months to 2 years. Ahhhh. And the Fishbowl. There it is was. I did have to wait in line by the drums, but once I found what I wanted the drums and the kids banging them didn't seem that bad. However, the pink section will always remain bad.

Friday, December 05, 2003

by the way... I got the pie recipe from a cookbook, thinking it was all exclusive and fancy pants. But much like everything else, you can find it on the internet. Here's the recipe. Don't look at it if you ate the pie, because you'll never want to eat it again.
I ended up making three of those chocolate peanut butter pies... they were a hit, and somehow they got renamed "crack pie". We even took one down to LA with us, and because of Alex's handy work with a cooler, that pie stayed firm and in once piece overnight and through 8 hours of driving down the 5.
We drove halfway down to LA on Wednesday night and stayed in a hotel pretty close to Harris Ranch. Seemed like a good idea in theory, but if you've ever driven between LA and the Bay Area you know how bad that ranch can smell. If you haven't driven past there just picture miles and miles of cows all bunched up together in a mound of filth, there, now you've got it. I never knew it was possible for an entire town to smell like that or that town would be able to survive so close to such a huge number of cattle. We didn't realize we were surrounded by stench until we got into the center of Hanford and tried to find the hotel. Alex was driving and I was navigating, a disaster indeed. I got us all over the place except to the hotel. We agreed that we should switch it up and I would drive while Alex (not directionally challenged, like myself) read the map. At this point we opened our doors and I had to look around because I thought I was standing right next to a port-a-potty. It was bad. Possibly the worst smell I could imagine for such a cute little town. I figured it was just that street, must be something bad with the sewers... but then we got the hotel. different street, same smell. The room kept us pretty safe from the odor, but by morning I was pretty aware that cows outnumbered humans in this county and I was ready to go. We had a pretty pleasant drive the rest of the way and spent a nice Thanksgiving with Beret, Rob and little Jack.
On Friday we took Jack on his first Merry-Go-Round ride, his expression was a combination of confusion and terror, but never once did he cry. He's one tough cookie, and that's part of the reason we love him so much. We also had some fun in the playground (a very cool Universally Accessible Play Environment) there, which I had never been to before. It was crowded, but I thought it was really cool to see all sorts of families together... except for the parents on the cell phones, that was kind of sad to watch. Besides taking Jack to the park we relaxed a lot and ate too much. We headed back up to the Bay Area on Saturday and avoided some of the holiday traffic. I must admit that since I spend an average of 15 hours a week in the car (since I started working in San Mateo) I was feeling pretty irritated by 6pm on Saturday night. We made it home safe and sound and are currently suffering from massive head colds. I'm not sure if we're quite ready for further holiday festivities. Good thing we have 19 more days to recover.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

In my ambition to be more domestically creative I attempted to make a peanut butter chocolate pie Sunday night. It struck me that I should do this at around 10pm, and since I already had all the ingredients I decided to go for it. Who needs to get to bed early when you have pie?
This pie took me about 2 hours to make. It really shouldn't have taken that long, but the list of wacky things wasted my time included items such as: trying to use a tinfoil cake pan instead of a pie pan, beating heavy cream by hand instead of using the electric mixer, and making crumbs from graham crackers in the blender. I like to call it ghetto cooking, where I follow the directions to a point, but then I kind of do things my own way, which I always think is the quick and dirty way to do it, but it actually takes me longer and inevitably makes whatever I'm making look kind of crappy. I haven't tasted the pie yet, but Alex and many of my co-workers have and assure me that it is delicious. Although I haven't eaten an actual piece I probably ingested about 3000 calories of raw ingredients while I was making it. The contents of the pie go a little something like this - some graham crackers, lots of butter, tons of sugar, peanut butter, cream cheese, chocolate and an obscene amount of heavy whipping cream. Watch everyone get sick from it tonight and come and kick my ass tomorrow. Oh well. I have to make 2 more tonight for Thanksgiving. That will make it virtually impossible for me to ever eat a slice because I'll be thoroughly disgusted by the idea of this pie by around 9:00 tonight. Weight loss by cooking... look out Dr. Phil, I may have a new plan.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I've been struggling with insomnia lately, and sadly I turn to my fine friend - TV (accompanied by cheap cable) for comfort. Unfortunately the only things I can find on TV right now are Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. Disappointing, to say the least. Entertaining? Hardly. I was amused with Britney for a while, but now it's just sad. I begrudgingly admit that I watched the Diane Sawyer interview. It was terrible. Diane asked "This has been a hard year for you, hasn't it?" Britney responded with a yeah and a lip tremble, which turned into "ewwww" (for the 10th million time in the interview) and began to cry. She then asked them to shut the cameras off because it embarrassed her. Could it have embarrassed her more than the wig she wore to kick off the football season? that thing was bad. I've decided to not watch anymore crap about Britney, if I can help it, but I did read this hi-larious review in yesterday's paper.
While not being able to sleep I've acquainted myself with some music videos, since MTV and VH1 actually do play videos... between 2 and 4 am. Right now I'm digging on Beyonce's Baby Boy. Especially because that little modern dance break down in the middle of the song where she throws a bunch of sand down her bikini top. I can't say I understand why she did it, but it makes me laugh every time.
I also took a little time to get to know the Clay Aiken video. I watched it twice, I think that should do it. It's one of those videos where he has a stage in the middle of LA, and as he sings his totally awesome song people gather all around his stage... to enjoy his way cool image. My favorite part is the heavy metal looking dude kind of watching Clay, and then kind of looking away, like he knows he shouldn't be watching Clay. I think we can all relate to that, especially once you have watched the video (and admitted it to everyone).

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Things finally feel like they are starting to turn around for me. We got the car back. I have the possibility of a pretty kick ass job lined up. Zach the cat is cuter than ever. I started a tap class on Monday. I fit into most of my pants. Life is pretty good.
I've been in a great mood this week (despite some bouts with insomnia) and even though I constantly find a stream of ants coming out of some random places in my kitchen I don't want to run away screaming. Zach woke us up at 3am to let us know that his bowl was pulsing with ants on Wednesday morning. I must say that he is one smart cat, he really knows how to send a message out when he wants me out of bed, I got the full treatment - everything from forehead licking to a meaningful dance on the ribs. However, I started to wonder how smart he really was when I finally got up to see what he wanted and he runs to his food bowl and sticks his giant noggin in there and starts chowing down on food covered with ants. If it didn't bother him enough to get him to stop eating it then why did he get me up? Maybe he was making a statement "I'll eat this if I have to, see what you put me through?" Or maybe he's been watching too much Fear Factor and wanted to show me he's game for a reality TV show. At any rate it helped us to stop the ants before they got to the people food, so thanks Zach, for a job well done!
While driving home on Tuesday I found a new (crappy) radio station, that was playing holiday music. Apparently they started this at the beginning of November and will continue through the holidays. I thought to myself - what kind of psycho would listen to this now? it's not even December yet. As I pulled into my parking spot after an hour drive home the answer to my question was pretty clear. I am the psycho. I guess there is something comforting about Christmas music for me, kind of like a big plate of macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes. It means that I'll most likely be getting some gifts soon, and who doesn't like that? I'll probably get some Christmas cards from friends I haven't heard from in a while. But I think above all I like holiday music because I know all the words and I can sing along. Nothing makes time fly on an hour commute like crooning with Bing Crosby and Dean Martin. I know this isn't for everyone, but if you're feeling kind of down, especially at work, you might want to give some thought to a little holiday tune. And if it doesn't work for you perhaps you can take pleasure in knowing that you have annoyed others in your immediate vicinity....

Monday, November 17, 2003

Writing about cars. Never thought it would come to that. But I think I'm past it now, it's all over. I got the Saturn back and it's driving better than ever. Back to the same old low ridin', teal, stained seat form of transportation and happy to be there. Alex replaced all the inside panels with a successful trip to two different Pick and Pulls, he even found them in the same color. He also bought a new club (number 3) and I use it EVERY TIME. People at work make fun of me, but that's okay, because I bet they haven't had their car stolen, twice. I'll take the good natured ribbing to be able to have the chance to run my own piece of crap into the ground.
This weekend Alex and I, along with RM and Greg went to Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. Not really as good as the last time I went, which was probably about 7 or 8 years ago. A lot of low brow stuff repeated over and over and I couldn't really understand why everyone was laughing. Lest you think I am trying to be all high falootin', please understand that I appreciate potty humor as much as the next guy, but I have to draw the line somewhere. At least we went to the Parkway to see it so we had pizza, nachos and beer to amuse us when the cartoons were lame. RM actually fell asleep for the last 15 or 20 minutes and was not too sad about catching a little shut eye. We also had a drink before the movie at Baggy's By the Lake, which is now Alex's favorite bar. Julianne showed it to me when we saw the less than stellar My Big Fat Greek Wedding. So it seems to me that the formula is: bad movie at Parkway + drink at Baggy's= okay evening, because at least we had a drink at Baggy's.
The rest of the weekend was pretty much about a fuzzy blue and gray scarf that I'm working on. I put some really crappy TV and bad Netflix movies on and made a dent in the couch while knitting away. There's something very rewarding about making stuff. It's neat that you can teach yourself to knit from a book (and help from Rachel) and then have a product to show for your efforts just weeks later. Unlike exercise the gratification is almost instant and everyone seems to notice how much progress you've made. Also, a scarf always fits, no matter how much weight you gain.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Is it wrong to like being behind the wheel of an SUV? Is it bad to feel empowered for having a height advantage? I'm feeling guilty for my new found love of bigger cars. Perhaps it's only temporary, a crush, puppy love. I noticed while driving my new rental (a Ford Escape) over the vast San Mateo Bridge that I am now part of a special group. I like to call it the "we are better than all the cars lower than us. ha ha ha!" group. I didn't want this car, I didn't ask for this car, but now I'm driving it.
We had the Saturn back for one day. For one day everything was back to normal, but I knew it was too good to be true, especially when I gave the car a little gas on my way to work and it felt like I ran over a giant rock or someone hit me from behind. I was driving on the 880 and I gave Alex a call (over the scream of the Saturn engine) to tell him I missed the Grand Prix. Maybe the car understood what I was saying. Maybe the universe didn't want me to love a white guido-mobile. Whatever it was, the car started bucking, it felt like it was going to stall at any given moment. I became an instant basket case. Anyone who has ever driven with me can vouch for this; I'm a nervous driver to begin with. White knuckles come with the territory. An upset stomach while driving through personally unchartered land is par for the course. The questions started reeling in my head... Where am I going to pull over when I stall out on the bridge? How many cars will rear end me when I stall out at the toll booth? You know, typical nervous driver questions, because it's always best to prepare for the worst, or at least make yourself sick about it. That's the way my family taught me to do things. It goes a little something like this: you make yourself crazy with worry because then if things turn out okay you feel great. If things were sort of bad then they could have been worse. And if things turn out the way you dreaded at least you were prepared. I'm not saying this is rational behavior, I'm just letting you in on the old family secret of working yourself into an unnecessary frenzy.
I made it to work safely with a dry mouth and nausea. I decided not to think about the car again until I was going to leave for the night. 5:30 came around and I took a deep breath and got into the drivers seat. Smooth sailing for the first 2 miles and then the rest of the ride home resembled a rodeo. I drove in the slow lane, with my hazard lights on as trucks passed me. Humiliating.
I took the Saturn back this morning, and after an extremely uncomfortable 25 minutes of driving around with a mechanic waiting for the bucking thing to happen while he was driving (it mildly happened once and I became that crazy high maintenance lady shrieking "There! There it is! That's it! Did you feel it?!") he told me the car needed a tune up. I told him that he should fix it because this never happened before the car was stolen. It went back and forth for awhile, but once the gals in the office chimed in it worked out to my advantage. They called the rental car people for me and a nice guy named Cornell picked me up from the auto body shop. He liked to talk and ask questions and said "dang" a lot. I liked him. He drove me to the Enterprise and gave me this small SUV.
So now I'm back to where I was a month ago, except this time I have an even bigger car. And I have to admit that after driving around in a car that practically scrapes the asphalt (yeah, that's right, I'm talking about you Saturn) it's kind of nice to be up there with the elite force. I know, I'm taking it back tomorrow, so get off my case, okay?

Friday, November 07, 2003

Because I thought that yesterday was going to be the last day with the Grand Prix (which I think I may have grown to like) I figured I should end it on an ironic note and decided to listen to the Smiths on the way into work. (see, get it, guido-mobile playing teen angst music. ha ha ha) I also figured that this might be the only chance this car will have to play some fab 80's tunes. The extra time it took me to find those dusty CDs is what won me my free ticket into the front of the freeway parade on my morning commute:
As I'm driving down the 880 a cop suddenly speeds out of nowhere and starts swerving all over the place. Right in front of me and the other 4 lanes of traffic. Cars start driving wacky all around me. People are stopping short, pulling over to the right. I just keep going; I'm from the school of thought that you look more guilty if you stop whatever you're doing right away, it's best just to just keep on the path your on and ease into whatever it is you're supposed to be doing. Probably not a good choice in this case, but old habits die hard. Then my mind gets to racing... Can a cop pull you over by swerving in front of you? I've never been pulled over before, is this how it's done? How fast am I going? It's this rental car, isn't it?
Then I realize that he's trying to slow all the traffic down. Okay, now I get it. Easy peasy. Just keep it slow. Stay in the zone with the cop, I can do this. After about 15 minutes of going 20 mph it starts to feel weird to me. My mind starts racing again... how will I know when to speed up? is everyone behind me wishing I would go faster? can I go faster? the cop is all the way to the right now, does that mean I can go?
I'm not really a big fan of driving to begin with and I especially don't like being at the head of a huge line of traffic . It's a lot of responsibility. It's a lot of pressure in this particular car, too. If I were in the Saturn it wouldn't be a problem, when people see someone in a teal '93 piece of crap they think "oh, well, what can you expect, I'll just blow around them". But in a white Pontiac it's a whole new game. "we build excitement" is a lot to live up to. It was time for me to make a bold move. As Alex once said "hey, I just drive the way the car tells me to."
I'll try now, the cop seems to be pulling to the right a little more, the lights are on, but the siren is off ... a little gas and this lane will be fired up again. Oooo, not so - says the cop as he races in front of me and turns the siren on. I almost hit him. Smooooth. Real smooth. Another 10 minutes go by. Still rockin' out with the Smiths. I start to laugh, because I'm in a fabulous car parade on the 880, cruising through Oakland at 20mph with the Smiths in a white Pontiac. I try the speed up trick a few more times, almost hit the cop a few more times - now I'm living large. We do build excitement, baby! This car wants me to be a rebel, so bring it, I can't let those behind me down.
I finally get to a bunch of road flares, apparently there had been some sort of accident earlier in the morning. The parade is over and the cop is gone.

I still got to work on time and sadly enough it wasn't my last day with the Pontiac. I'm stuck with that monster for one more weekend.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

and as it turns out our haunted house kicked some serious ass. A great cast, some crazy masks and a lot of plastic from Home Depot made quite a stir in our little corner of the Village.
Keith and I started setting stuff up around 11am. Of course I took the day off, because if I have the choice between making some cash or scaring some kids it's pretty clear what the better choice is. We got most of the plastic stapled to the ceiling - we created a little path from the front door all the way through the kitchen and out the back door. With some orange lights in the living room and some not so great black lights in the kitchen it looked pretty neat in the dark. RM and Judy came over around 2 and got to the cobwebs, which I thank them gratefully for, because that stuff is a real pain in the ass. RM and I busted out some Rosco-glo paint and I did the obligatory graveyard with ghosts and trees (classic WT) and RM did some eyes. It would have been cool if we had some good black lights, but for 1.25 what can you expect?
Long story short, there were 11 of us working our wonders at the house of horrors and we all found our comfortable zone just about the time it started winding down. Next year we'll have it goin' on.
These were the highlights:
*Keith looked remarkably like a Latin man in his clear plastic mask
*my chicken mask was much funnier than anticipated
*two little girls said "we like you, chicken lady" to me
*RM liked to mix it up a little and would greet guest with such brilliant phrases as "welcome to New Jersey!" or "Prepare to be mildly frightened"
* Alex knew exactly what shirt to pull from his closet as soon as I gave him his mask, the kids referred to him as "devil man"
*Judy could scream louder than any of the kids
*Loeb is really good at hissing
*only two mild injuries; Alex got punched in the face, I got a pitchfork to the eye
*the best "customer" was the little football player who fell down in fear and dropped all his candy, then couldn't decide whether to run or pick up his candy
Around 9pm we packed it in and had some beer and Chinese food.
All in all I would say that we succeeded in bringing a little of that down home white trash into our haunted house, so mission accomplished. And unlike the Bushies, I really mean it!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

We're prepping for Halloween, doing a little haunted house action for the kiddles in the University Village. As if the rows and rows of townhouses aren't scary enough. I'm thinking it's going to turn out okay, but since I am a natural worrier I have thoughts of the following: what if a kid gets hurt? lawsuit? will this give kids nightmares? will I be burning cruel memories into their tender brains? will angry parents come and find me the day after Halloween to complain? Will the guilt be worth it?
But of course I'm still going through with it. Our buddy Keith is up from LA, a professional in the scary business... he's good at getting you to jump. So far we've hung the lights, done all the shopping and figured out the layout, now we just need to get it up and running.
Brings back memories of Spooky World, a classic white trash Halloween activity. Now, I ain't putting Spooky World down, I'm just saying you have to have a little of the WT (isn't it funny that WT can mean both white trash and wide track?) in your blood to really enjoy the wonder of Spooky World. My uncle used to take me and my sister there, and I admit I found it on the scary side, but mostly because of the patrons. If you're looking to see some fine mullets this is the place to go, my friend. I'm assuming that most folks like to indulge in a little drink or smoke before heading over to this horror theme park, but I found it intoxicating all by itself. From a blacklit haunted house staffed with fluorescent clowns to the Celebrity Barn it says "klass" all the way. The first year we went we were lucky enough to see celebrities Linda Blair and Tiny Tim (God rest his soul). I'm not quite sure why they do the celebrity thing there, because it's not what draws the crowd in... just go to the website and take a gander at who they are calling celebrities this year. That's scary right there. At any rate those memories will always be close to my heart; there's nothing like a guy chasing you with a chainsaw while you're on a hayride, or an alien sneaking up behind you while you're waiting in line for said hayride.
I don't think our haunted house in Albany can ever compare to good ol' Spooky World, but I might have a chance to bring a little WT into this Halloween. Trash bags, check. Black lights, check......

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

what a week... once again overbooked and crazy, but that's better than overworked and crazy, so sign me up for another week.
This past weekend Alex and I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with Max and Julianne. It included such items as a delicious dinner, a trip to Healdsburg, a concert of classical music and a very memorable "lost hour" between the hour of 2am and 2am on Sunday.

Max and I get to meet up with a high school friend of ours, John (or Johnny, as I like to call him) every once in a while. He is part of a string quartet and when he breezes through town we're always lucky to hear from him and get free tickets to his concerts. He met up with us in the East Bay, convenient and close to home .... we all had dinner at Nizza la Bella which will now be one of my favorites, and dangerous, because I can walk to it from my apartment. We then headed over to the Albatross for some drinks and to meet some other folks from high school. It was a more than a little wacky when Matt, a prom date from 1988, came in and said hello. That's just the kind of thing you don't think about everyday, especially when you're all the way across the country from where you grew up. I really don't remember the prom that well, but I do remember that I wore white pumps and a crazy lavender dress that didn't really fit me. I stuffed my bra in an attempt to even things out and while dancing a tissue worked it's way free. I wouldn't have noticed it, but luckily everyone on the dance floor was eager to point it out. Did I mention that I had a short hair and a rat tail that went down to the small of my back? I dressed it up with a little silver bow that night. A class act, all the way. Needless to say it was a little awkward to meet up with people I haven't seen for about 15 years in a loud bar on a Friday night, but I made it, with the awesome assistance of Julianne, who is the best at striking up conversations... I'm the worst at that.

The next day was a little bit of relaxing, a little bit of packing and a lot of sweating. I always forget how hot it gets out here in October. We (Alex and I along with Max and Julianne) headed up to Healdsburg around 2:30, had a smooth drive in the Grand Prix (maybe our last weekend with the WideTrack). Our first stop was in Santa Rosa to check into our hotel for the evening. Hey, don't be too harsh in judging the Motel 6, it was cheap. While we were putting our things in the room and taking turns in the bathroom I heard a little bell ringing outside, and apparently so did Alex. Because the next thing I know he's running downstairs while shouting "ice cream man!" Lo and behold there was a dude on a bike with a cart attached, brilliant! Lime popsicles and ice cream sandwiches as hard as a rock from being so cold. mmmmmm. See what I'm sayin' about the Motel 6, it's got some unexpected charm. After our ice cream break it was back on the road to Healdsburg.
We did a little window shopping when we got there, checked out how cheap some of the real estate is up there and then had some dinner. Not a lot of ambiance, but as Max said "when you come into a place like this you know you're in America" With the classic rock playing and the game on in the background I would have to agree. The beer was quite tasty, but the jalapeno poppers could be a lot spicier. As you can tell I'm not a food critic, just a lover of all things fried.
The concert was at a church not too far from where we ate. We got there in enough time to see the preshow discussion and learn a little about the pieces we would be hearing. Johnny, as always, was witty and knew how to get a chuckle out of the crowd. The concert itself was fabulous, and not being a music critic either, I'll just leave it at that. Watching people perform classical music takes it to a whole different level. I highly recommend it.
After the concert we attended a little reception at Seghesio, had some wine, cheese and crackers and got to hang out with Johnny a little bit more. Then it was back to the Motel 6.
We watched a little SNL and then all 4 of us dozed off. At around 2am, the beginning of the "lost hour" of daylight savings time, I heard a little ruckus coming from the room next door... the one closest to the headboard, of course. It was a woman, apparently having a fantastic time. And then it stopped. And then she was having a fantastic time again. And then it stopped. And again. I think I fell asleep between these joyous moments, but there were at least 5 distinct moments of pleasure. After the 5th one I had to wonder if she was alone, because all I could hear was her moaning, perhaps she was some sort of loner. She didn't even shout out a name... Then I was awake, wondering what would happen next. Finally a dude chimes in, I felt a little better knowing she wasn't alone. But it concerned me a little, because this was going on for at least an hour. An hour or more. Could it go on much longer, I hope not. Anyways, once he gets a little louder she shouts out "yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes....." until it finally stops. Now I'm thinking I can finally get to sleep with all this exciting business out of the way. But I can't, because the minute it's over she starts talking, and talking, and talking. In Spanish, so I couldn't understand her, which took all the fun right out for me. She talked for about 45 minutes, I can't imagine about what, and the guy was quiet once more. I see a recurring theme in their relationship, and I don't even know them. Alex turned over (he never woke up during this extravaganza) and put his arm around me and I finally got back to sleep.
The next morning Julianne and I asked each other if we heard the late night lovin'. I didn't realize that she was awake, too. We could have had a good laugh, but alas, the lost hour was indeed lost.
We had breakfast in Healdsburg and then headed to Preston Vineyards for the http://www.prestonvineyards.com/site/jug-wine.html of wine you can only get on Sundays. Tasted a little wine and then drove over to Cline. Max is a member so he picked up his wine while Julianne, Alex and I looked for turtles in their pond. Then it was home again.
A nice weekend, although hot and I could have used a little more sleep. So mystery couple of Motel 6... kudos to you for making the most of your lost hour, because turning those clocks back only happens once a year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The thieves knew what they wanted, I like to picture them with a list in hand, something written neatly in cursive on a "from the desk of..." notepad:
Things to get from old Saturn today ~ catalytic converter, pipe, muffler, rear bumper, interior center panel, various and random parts of air filter, battery cover, air filter cover, manual, pennies covered in spilled soda, map of San Francisco and an anti theft club.

And there you have it, they were able to cross everything off their list. Does it exceed the value of the car? But of course! But that's okay, this body shop knows us now and they know what cheap skates we are. Used parts? Bring em on! Hey, here's a little something from the pick and pull down the street, we could use that. And thus a car is reborn.
I have to admit the manual missing hurt my heart a little, because it had Geraldine Ethel's actual signature, but I think I'll be okay.

So things are looking up, it seems as though we'll have the car back soon, and the cable guy actually came on Saturday... and he rocked my world by doing a little something he called "my special trick". My special trick allows me to now watch crap like Trading Spaces, I Love the 80's and Queer Eye (which I've never seen before) for the same low price of cheap-ass cable.

I'm starting to wonder if it's true that for everything the Universe takes from me (I know, I'm dealing with material objects here, but allow me to be shallow this week, it feels good) I get something kind of cool back. Now I'm just waiting for that dream job...

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Last night Alex and I had a blast! First we had a little visit to the Emeryville police station and then took an exciting trip down memory lane by stopping off at the Richmond police station. That's right, they found Geraldine, the wayward Saturn. She's impounded right now, and will remain so until Monday when the insurance company will set her free. We don't know what she looks like yet and the police report doesn't give away too much information, but she seems to be okay. The only part that worries me a little is the section of paperwork for tire condition says "fair" and the section for hubcaps says "none". Whether that means Saturn hubcaps are insignificant enough to not even count as hubcabs or that the hubcaps are actually missing I'm not sure. And the "fair" tires could go either way. I mean, who really looks at tires? Sure they were new, but I didn't say we paid a lot for them.
Found in Richmond, just like last time, I'm starting to wonder if, in fact, the car is not being stolen, but instead running away. Perhaps it longs to be in Richmond. Maybe she has some friends there that she can't be away from. Maybe I'll start driving over there a few times a week so the car won't feel the need to stray there on her own... at inconvenient times.
I would bet money that the club I should have used to protect the car from the theft will be missing, so I'll buy another one once I get the car back. This will make number 3. Is that enough to learn my lesson? I'll let you know.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Last night I got home (after a smooth ride in the Grand Prix) to find that I had no cable. This happens about 2 times a week, and it's annoying, but when you only pay 13 bucks a month what can you expect? So I get the cable company on the horn and I'm on hold for about 45 minutes. I use the speaker phone feature and while listening to hold music make myself a nice bowl of pasta, special spicy marinara sauce by Alex, melt a little goat cheese on top. I'm just about done with my meal when a (and I use the term loosely) customer service representive comes on the line. Barely able to understand what she's saying, because speaking clearly doesn't seem to be a priorty for her, I try to explain that I have cable on one tv, but not on the other, and this has happened before, blah, blah, blah. She goes through the obligatory "is your tv on channel 3? do you have a cable box? turn your vcr on, now turn it off, anything now?" this process takes about 20 minutes with all my "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" interruptions, now bringing my time on the phone with ComCast just over an hour. Finally I tell her that I know how to work my cable, but my cable isn't working, so it's her turn to tell me what she can do. She tells me she can have a service tech out to see me on Thursday between 9 and 4. Will that work? ummmmm, lemme think. nah, I should probably go to work. "well, you see, maam, the service techs work in a cycle of 5 days, so if you don't take this appointment tomorrow you'll have to wait 5 days." Now I'm starting to feel the blood pressure rise. Silence. I finally tell her that I'll wait 5 days. Silence. "hello?" Silence. "helloooo?" ahhh, there she is, trying to find a time on the computer. Okay, she can have someone out to see me on October 25, but she can't give me a time, so basically just anytime that day. hmmmmm. lemme think.... I tell her that I will need to speak to a manager. Silence. Continued silence. I hang up.
Then I started thinking about how mad I am about no cable, about the crappy customer service rep, about the car, about my job, about not being able to spend more time with Alex because of school, about missing my family, about the WideTrack. It was at that point I gave my most dramatic performance since the "chicken dinner fling" of '95 (which landed me in therapy for 2 years). I needed a release - stupidly, I gave my bowl (with the rest of my dinner inside) a toss. I know, you're thinking, meh, not so dramatic. Oh, contraire! That toss hit the edge of the couch just right, something about the fork still in there... that bowl burst. Unknown to me before that time, the bowl was glass. It burst into thousands of itty-bitty pieces, sending gemelli into the living room closet from under the door. Sauce somehow made it onto the wall behind me, as high as 9 feet. Small slivers of the bowl were found in the bathroom down the hall.
I like to think that it wasn't because I threw the bowl that it broke, I like to think that all the anger and frustration that I've been harboring for the past 2 years found it's way into the bowl and the bowl just couldn't take the pressure and it exploded. You know, like a sci-fi film.
I looked away when I heard the shattering sound and walked to the other end of the room. Alex was pretty close to the scene of the crime. I turned back to witness the horror that used to be our living room. "It wasn't supposed to do that." Alex and I chuckled, because it was funny and absurd and disgusting.
I spent the next two hours cleaning the couch and rugs and floors and bookshelves and walls and ceiling. It felt good. It was nice to have a problem I could solve. Sure, I can think of a million other ways that I could have blown off some steam. At least half of them would be less messy. But I have no regrets about the bowl. I think it was just what I needed; a bizarre action followed by a tedious consequence that made me really focus on something that was finally in my control.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

and when i feel blue about my car getting stolen i just think to myself... at least i'm not this guy

I'm driving around in a Pontiac Grand Prix now. It's the most guido thing I've ever been a part of. I'm not a Pontiac fan and I've always had this joke that Pontiacs are for tacky girls from Florida who wear their clothes too tight. This might prove my theory. Although Alex has a good time driving it (maybe too good of a time) I would have to pass it up if it were offered to me again. Not that I'm saying I would rather have a Ford Escort or a Geo Metro, I'm just saying I'm not sure if wider really is better. I'm a little unnerved by the "WideTrack", which the display eagerly reminds me is the coolest feature of the automobile every time I put the key in. The WideTrack makes me feel like I might hit the car next to me, the WideTrack makes it nearly impossible to fit in a parking spot, the WideTrack disables me from picking up items dropped on the passengers side while driving. I was in the zone with the Saturn. With an hour commute (each way) everyday I've started a little game called "what can I do while I'm driving to distract me from the traffic so when it actually starts moving is when I get mad". I would do things like reprogram my radio stations, so they were in order, from talk to pop. Or see if I could actually use my lipliner effectively and look fabulous. One time I put 6 new numbers in my cell phone. I wasn't an unsafe driver, just managing my time. Now due to WideTrack the game is off. I can't do anything but look at the road and hope I don't hit the jersey barrier. God forbid I'm flanked by cars, that requires concentration I haven't used since the SATs. Greg and I carpooled today and I had the challenge of conversation while WideTracking. I did okay, but there were a few times I got the sweaty palm.
The automatic door locks and window might make up for it in the long run, and seeing that it is fully covered by our insurance I really shouldn't complain. and did I mention the bonus? Alex asked me if I wanted to check out the trunk, cause you gotta see how big it is... and he pops it open and there are all these bags. At first I thought they were surprises for me, but as it turns out it's just stuff left over from the last renter. Things like sneaker boots with 3 inch spiked heels, a curling iron and a bag full of underwear that smells like smoke. mmmmmm. Surprise! the Saturn was never this exciting.

Monday, October 13, 2003

having your car stolen a second time rocks even more!

it's been awhile, and although I could write about a lot of things that have happened in the past 2 weeks I would much rather whine about my car being stolen.

That's right, it's the second time this year, and to tell you the truth, it feels just about as bad as the first time it was stolen. Last time it was El Cerrito, a parking lot outside of Albertsons. Please, take my car, I'll be in the store for 22 minutes. Sure it's only worth 2000 bucks and will completely inconvience me for the next year it takes to save for another car and deal with the insurance company. But let me tell you, it comes complete with dry cleaning in the trunk and birthday presents in the back seat. oh, no, no, I insist, you must take the 2 maglights and those earrings, too. Spare change, it's all yours. If I could just get the car back with some minimal damage in 4-6 weeks that would be swell.

I learned my lesson after that. Keep a clean car, and always use the club. Unless I forget to use the club and go in Barnes and Noble in Emeryville for 45 minutes. So at least this time along with a car with over 103000 on it all they got was a 9 dollar cellphone charger and a FasTrak. Well, screw you, theify, I cancelled the FasTrak... try to cross that bridge for free now, ya bastard. The shame of it all is the four brand new tires, so young at only 3 days old, and the new brakes.

I try to put a positive spin on it, like "well, at least they'll be safe when they peel out of the parking lot!" or "I hope they get a good price on those tires like we did!" but lets face it... I'm pretty pissed off.

The Bay Area has not been kind to me when it comes to cars, or jobs, or living situations. Sometimes I feel pretty sad about my luck, but I am thankful that Alex and I have friends like Greg who will pick us up at midnight when a police officer (I won't mention any names, but his initials are Dante Diotalevi) didn't offer us poor, helpless victims a ride home. I'm happy that Alex and I can get a little aggro about how much this sucks one minute and then laugh our asses off when we think about how the security officers in the mall asked me if the car was stolen because of the stereo, or perhaps my custom rims.

I have a feeling that we won't be seeing the car again this time. Getting it back once was wacky enough, but I think we're pushing our luck now. So I won't bid a fond farwell to Geraldine Ethel just yet, but I have a feeling in my heart that it's time to let go. I'll begin my 3 weeks of mourning today; those memories of your stained, low seats, the front right speaker to the factory issue radio that's always been blown, the whining sound you made when I started you up in the morning...
I can't go on, I think I have something in my eye. please excuse me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

i think i ate too much. that's got to be the worst feeling in the world. okay, maybe not the worst, but it's pretty bad. i feel like i should take a nap... greg suggested i go to the bathroom, sean said "no, greg, that's just a guy thing." i then confessed at how it's a mom thing, too, and told them how my mother would always say "well, just take a book in and try, just try". i laughed, and then my face turned red. embarrassing, yet so funny.

I was talking to Sean today about what a bad kid I was growing up and I think I'm going to take a little time to apoligize to my sister. I beat her up somethin' awful when we were kids, and back then I never felt bad about it, but I sure do now. I can't really remember all the incidents, but I do recall a time when I punched her in the stomach so hard it made her sick, another time I scratched her on each side of her face and she had to go to school with my ugly nail marks on her face. I have vague memories of chasing her with a steak knife. Terrible. When I think about it now it makes me sad, I had so much rage I clearly thought it was okay to treat somebody like that. And the worst part is that she always wanted to talk it through and sometimes wouldn't even fight back. No, the worst part is that I don't ever remember being punished for the things that I did. I'm sorry.
what was I thinking?
Once I got past fighting with my sister I moved on to sassing my mother, always a worthwhile hobby while in 8th grade. I got pretty good at it. I know my mother heard it all, but she did a damn fine job of ignoring it. Except for the day I became princess of the universe. You see, the most important 13 year old in the world simply cannot have a calculator that the whole family has used. It was USED! I needed it for math class, we all had to bring one in, and I refused to be embarrassed by that scratched up thing. It was solar powered, what if the lights went out? It was supposed to have all sorts of neat functions and this was a piece of crap. Just numbers and a display. Was it from Sears? The buttons weren't even big enough, look, I can hit two at the same time, I'll fail math! It didn't even have a name brand. My father would have to take me to get another one when he got home, and since this calculator was the only one at my immediate disposal there was no way I was even going to think about doing my homework. I couldn't do my homework with THAT!
That was the beginning of the end. I stormed up to my room, gleeful that I was victorious and would be receiving a new calculator posthaste. I flopped down on my bed grinning to the ceiling when the red, raging face of my mother suddenly hovered over me. She thrust the calculator in my face and said "This is what you'll be taking to school with you!" I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out, it was then I realized that my mother wasn't hovering over me... she was sitting on me, cutting off my air supply like an anaconda. She went on and on about how that calculator would be only calculator I would ever get and I better hope I don't break or lose it. All I really remember is that I couldn't believe my mother was SITTING ON ME. and she kind of spit when she was shouting.
Sure, I deserved it, I was a total brat. I can't believe my mother never hit me.
After the incident I took a safety pin and carved my initials in the metal face of that calculator, even though it was still the "family" calculator, that would show them.
I got in trouble for that, too.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

and so another week goes by and I realize that I still don't have a routine down. I want to get up early and do pilates, make a healthy lunch to take to work, have a productive day at work, come home, have a nice dinner, do something relaxing and then go to bed at a reasonable hour. Actually, after putting that in writing it doesn't look so appealing, but neither does what I'm actually doing... which is spending a lot of time just sitting in bed thinking about what I should be doing, watching too much TV and going to bed way too late. I guess I should give it a little more time, it's only been 3 weeks at the new job and I still get cranky about that commute.
I actually spent a lot of last week angry, mostly because I had a cold, I did a fair amount of belly aching about how miserable my life is. I feel better today and with the tell tale sign of the end of a cold, the always elegant peeling nose, I think that I should note some things that make me feel happy, because I shouldn't spend any more time being negative.

* the fact that my cat doesn't know how to meow, but opens his mouth like he's trying
* the man at the toll booth who wears novelty glasses and always asks if you need a receipt
* Alex
* mashed potatoes
* Jack Black
* clean sheets
* Puffs Plus tissues with lotion
* packages from my Mom, especially when I'm not expecting them
* Old Navy pajama bottoms
* pictures of my nephew
* living close to the ocean
* shoes
* tomatoes and basil from our porch garden

there, I feel better now.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Apparently my new hobby is completely over scheduling myself in my free time. And I kick ass at it because last week I booked so much to do that I'm a little dizzy on the recovery and I may be a little dehydrated.
I guess I figure if I have to sit in a car for about 2 hours everyday I should fill in every cranny of free time with FUN. That's right, you heard me, I said that I AM GOING TO HAVE FUN.

So last weekend... it wouldn't be a weekend if I didn't kick it off by wasting all my hard earned money on meals out that I can't afford. Friday night it was Montero's with Alex, Max and Julianne. A good time and good food (and lots of it) was had by all. Although those chips tend to be a bit greeeezy and Max had to take one for the team... he went to the restroom and got paper towels because the wait staff simply couldn't get any napkins to us for the first 20 minutes we sat there. They pretty were busy, it was Salsa Dance Night, after all. I ate way too much food and then we hung out at M and J's place. Somehow we ended up watching all the different shopping networks you can get with the dish and it turned out to be pretty hilarious. This was my favorite item.

Saturday was the YABA treasure hunt with RM and our other team members Amy and Cort (we were "4 Angry Monkeys"). Greg and I took the BART in together, but he was in a whole other league, so we made it a point not to speak to each other once we arrived. Actually we lost each other in a sea of 300 or so people. From the administrative side of the race I would say it was a disaster, but the puzzles were fun... at least the ones that we got to. I could go in to great and many details about the race, but because I haven't written in a week and I know I'm headed for major finger crampage already I'll just sum it up: we solved some puzzles, some that were kind of hard, then we walked. We walked a lot. We walked all over San Francisco and messed up a few times, so we walked some more. And then we were at the halfway point. Where they gave us more puzzles, which meant more walking. Here's where my massive over scheduling hurt me; I had to be home at 6pm to go to opening night of Much Ado About Nothing... when we reached the halfway point it was about 3:30. The race ended at 5, so we still had a fighting chance. Okay, I didn't really think that, but I did want to finish the race out. Alas, I stranded my team members (but they were okay with it) at Embarcadero and took BART home. I'm not sure how we did, but considering it was my first one of these thingies I felt pretty good about making it halfway. I had a more fun than I thought I would and I liked being an Angry Monkey for the day.

Then it was home to shower and go to CalShakes. Sara, who is in the show, is staying with us and her boyfriend flew in from Alaska, so we had a merry little group of me, Alex, Jeff (the boyfriend) and Rachel (mutual friend to me and Jeff). I like CalShakes because you're outside, and we were fortunate enough to have some fab weather. But I also like it because you can bring your own supplies and eat and drink before, and during, the show. It's pretty great to be able to have a nice bottle of wine while you enjoy a show. I won't say a lot about the show, because mama always says that if you don' have something nice to say don't say anything at all. No, it wasn't bad and there were some super performances, but it wasn't my cup o' tea. We hung out afterwards and schmoozed a little, you know, the opening night kind of schmoozing, and then home again home again jiggity-jig.

Sunday I drove Alex to work/school at 8:30am, always the prompt student, and then gave Wil a call to see what he was up to. Brunch in the city it was. So I crossed the bridge and ate a deee-licious salsa omelet at Kate's Kitchen and then somehow ended up spending the rest of the day in the city. IĆ¢€™m glad I had a sweatshirt on (by default, you see, I had never really gotten dressed that day, my outfit was a variation on my pajamas) because our last stop turned out to be Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park. Even though the rest of the city was sunny and warm, the park was fogged in and we were freezing our bippies off while sitting on the wet grass without even a towel. I need to know when I'm going to attend one of these events, because I'm a planner by nature and instead of enjoying the comedy (which was hard with some of those warm up comics) I couldn't stop thinking about all the things I could have brought with me. I was also thinking "can anyone tell these are my pajamas?" all day, but as it turns out when you walk around on Haight street no one really gives a shit. Finally at around 3:00 I decided it was time to go home, because my ass was wet, I was pretty darn cold and I wasn't even laughing that much. Did I mention that one of the comedians was the woman who does the Pine Sol ads? yep, it's true. I went home, picked up Alex, we got some Chinese food from our favorite place and had a nice dinner with Sara and Jeff. wheh, what a weekend.

The beginning of the week goes something like: drive, work, drive, eat, sleep. Repeat as necessary. Wednesday was kind of fun because I went to the opening of Les Liaisons Dangereuses at A.C.T.. I also got lost while driving into the city. That kind of sucked, but on the up-side of getting lost goes a little something like this: Wil directed me (via cell phone, yes, it was hands free) to some cheap parking and I realized I knew where I was at one point because I had been there during YABA. See, my week is coming full circle. I wasn't crazy about the show at ACT, that's two in a row, is this why I left theatre? The ironic thing is I've seen more theatre in the past week than I did for the last two years, when I was working in one.

Thursday is always exciting... when it's the season premiere of Survivor! And everyone can give me crap if they want, but I don't care what they say, Survivor rocks and I'm going to watch it until Jeff Probst shrivels up and dies.

Friday... which now means the end of the week to me, opposed to my last job, when I was on call all the time, and Friday meant nothing. Greg and I carpooled to work, which was nice, because my voice is starting to get a little hoarse from singing like a rock star on my way to and fro work. Friday evening Alex and I met up with Mike, who always makes me laugh, at the Albatross. We had a few beers, thought about playing darts, Greg joined us with his super cool dog and we laughed a lot.

This Saturday was a day to relax, Alex and I got up at 10:30, ate breakfast, read the paper, gave the cat a bath (okay, maybe that wasn't too relaxing), and then did some window shopping. A much needed day together. RM and Greg came over later on and we drank wine, played games and ate Chinese food. We even pondered the possibility of Bingo again... I don't think I can avoid it forever.

Today is a day to clean. Now that's what I'm talking about, I think I'm back in the rut once again, and maybe I don't mind so much.

So even though I thought I did myself a huge disservice by packing my schedule so tight for a week that I couldn't even zip it up, I had a great time and I have no regrets with my choice of leaving my last job. I'm starting to like it out here, and that feels nice for a change.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

welcome to the working week...
I guess it takes a lot more out of me than I remember. And gosh, I only was out of work for five weeks. Any longer and I just should have retired, because this work week is wearing me thin. I gotta get back into the groove. The 45 minute commute (each way) isn't something to write home about (although I can rock out and fantasize about how fab I would be at karaoke). After 45 minutes in the rattling Saturn I'm faced with training for a job that has never existed, so no one really knows/wants to train me. I kind of feel like I'm "self-training". And this is the third job in a row where I've had to do this. I was thinking that my skin got thick enough after the first two times that this time shouldn't really stun me, but I'm down for the count. The challenge has proved to be worthy, and I won't be defeated, but I could use a cheerleader. Or a mascot.
On the positive side: OFFICE SUPPLIES! I can go into a room (that's right, not a closet, a whole room) and get whatever sort of office supplies I want. No, I'm not joking. Tammy took me down there and I was a little modist to start out, but once she got a box for me and started throwing stuff in herself there was no stopping me. I was on a roll. And that was only Monday. I resisted going back down there on Wednesday, because twice on Tuesday felt a little shameful. But there I was again today. What!? I needed binders, which, by the way, are not in the supply room, it's a whole seperate location. I have no shame when it comes to a Sharpie and a nice legal pad.

So working isn't so bad, I'm liking it and I think I'll keep going in. I mean, what the hell, they're gonna pay me, right?

right?

My boss told me I look "over enthusiastic" in my ID picture. I can think of a handful of things that might be worse.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Yesterday Alex and I drove over to SCRAP to check out what kind of junk we could get. We walked out empty handed, but had a lot of fun looking around at stuff. It was a little overwhelming, mostly because I didn't even have a project in mind. So we spent about a hour in there poking around at carpet samples and busted tiles. Then we drove around the city, thinking we might give Chinatown a shot, but came to find out that there was some sort of festival going on and parking was a bitch. It was too bad we didn't think to take the BART because it looked like a lot of fun. I really wanted to go to Chinatown because they have this kick-ass (illegal)chalk that keeps those t-tiny ants away. I love the chalk, sorry EPA, I'm gonna keep using this stuff. One time I saw a trail of ants getting bigger and closer to the porch door leading into the kitchen, so I thought I should nip it in the bud. I drew a semi-circle around the corner all the ants were coming from and then wrote "ant free zone". Okay, maybe that was a little on the malicious side. The next day I was watering the plants and was surprised to find mass carnage within my witty semi-circle. I felt terrible. It always felt okay to get 'em when they were near the cat food on in my stuff, but this was pointless and I felt bad for at least seven minutes.
So no Chinatown or miraculous insecticide chalk for us on Saturday, but we did end up driving to Russian Hill to have a little lunch and then we were back home to do a big bunch of nothing. Watched some bad TV and thought about going to a movie. Sometimes you just have lounge.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

My last official day of unemployment wasn't a complete bust with thanks to some of my friends. Mostly RM, who called me on Thursday and asked if we should do something on Friday.
I started my day with a slice of pizza, a cup o' coffee and the news and cartoons of the SF Chronicle, then I thought about doing laundry, but didn't. Finally took a shower and headed out for lunch with Julianne and Max. We met up at la Mediterrane, which is one of my favorites. Although, I must admit, that nothing can beat a cheeseburger and coffee for lunch, I would eat it everyday if I could, but that would be disgusting. After lunch I came home and did the dishes, which I hadn’t done all week. Those ones at the bottom of the pile were really gross. I also got rid of that left over salmon from a few weeks ago and some moldy cheese. Awesome.
Then RM called from the BART, I went to pick him up and got stuck behind this really old dude who, of course, was picking up his wife at the same BART stop. I did some deep breathing to relax myself and kept the road rage under control. Unlike the other day when I decided that it was appropriate to honk and shout out "what’s your damage?!" to someone who apparently was learning how to drive. sorry ‘bout that. RM and I couldn't decide what movie to see, and ended up seeing Thirteen. I knew the film wouldn’t be uplifting, but I wasn’t expecting that. The performances were great, but I thought the downward spiral was little too deep and I didn’t have enough time to recover. I also thought they drove the same point home a little too much. Not a good choice for a "summer movie", but no one claimed that it would be, so perhaps we should have gone with Uptown Girls. Or would that have been more depressing?
RM was into the idea of Bingo and for some reason that scared me. Maybe because I can’t see in the windows of the bingo parlor, maybe because I never see anyone go in or out or maybe because they take Visa and MasterCard. I had this picture of us walking in there and all these old ladies would start laughing at us, wondering what these whipper snappers wanted anyways? What are we doing on their turf. It would be like a gang war. but safety in numbers… there would be four of us, me, RM, Alex and Greg, would that be enough?
Alex was home when we got back from the movie and Greg joined us later. We ate, thought about bingo, and then ended up playing some of the board games that Greg keeps in his car. That’s what I love about Greg (among other things… like getting me a job), he keeps games in his car. We played two train games, RM winning most, if not all of the time. It was a nice way to end my month of nothing.
I have to admit, thinking about it today, I’m a little sad that we bailed on the bingo.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Okay. I got another job, so the month off is over and I welcome the work week back into my life. There are only so many things I can search on Google, I’m ready to be productive for pay.

my last official day off is tomorrow… what should I do? I’m sure that something uneventful will take place. I can count on me for that.

I found myself watching Oprah today. I try really hard not to do that, because I’m not a fan, and frankly her fans kind of scare me. Oprah has become an industry and that bothers me. Does she have to be on the cover of her magazine every month? Perhaps that’s what sells it, but I don’t see the draw. I also get irritated when I want to buy a book and it has that lame “O” of approval on it. I’m glad Oprah got everyone reading more, but the seal of approval isn’t what makes me buy it. A few years ago I bought I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and after riding the train a few times with it I realized that I was embarrassed and needed to cover my O of shame. I chose to use a sticker of a smiling strawberry and blueberry holding hands, for some reason I thought that this would be better than the golden O. Anyways, the show today was a handful of inspiring weight loss stories. Some people had lost 300 pounds. Incredible. I was forced to watch it because I was in awe of the success of these people. And all these people thanked Oprah because she inspired them to lose the weight, so can she really be that bad? I have to admit that I shed a tear or two, but when I saw Oprah cry I thought “Oh, cut it out, you’re so full of crap!” But then I realized… maybe I’m too hard on Oprah, deep inside that one woman industry is another weight loss success story, and maybe she remembers the pain. So I’ll let my grudge go (for today), but I won’t take that sticker off my book.

whoa, if I'm not mistaken that was an earthquake.

Usually my cat gives me a swift hit to the face when an earthquake is on the way, but he was still sleeping this time. I guess he’s getting to old to be the natural disaster patrol. When we lived in LA he was always ready, I could depend on him to wake me from a sound sleep.
I have the wacky news station on in the background, and it’s pretty funny because they’re trying to make the most of this and asking people to call in. So far it’s been 6 old women saying that they were lying in bed reading and they thought a truck was going down the street. “No, nothing fell off the walls, no, I didn’t hear anything.” Perhaps they should get back to the news, after all Ah-nold had a new ad air today... doesn't anyone want to talk about that?



Sunday, August 31, 2003

what an end to my week. It's been a little crazy, and I only have myself to blame.
You see, there's this bar, Martuni's, and whenever I go there I seem to get into some sort of stupor. Knowing very well that I had a job interview on Friday morning at 11:00am I proceeded to down 2 drinks, which at this fine establishment is the equivalent to 4 drinks. Did I mention that I didn't eat any dinner? What a swell idea! By the time we decided to depart I think I might have shared some thoughts (with my outside voice) about some of the open mic singers and swapped a few inappropriate comments about my former job to my replacement and my friend who still works there. I shared a cab to the BART with the replacement fella and have no recollection of the conversation we might, or might not have had. I do remember giving him an inexplicable hug and kiss on the cheek for making sure I got to the BART safely. I also remember almost falling down the stairs of the BART. Knowing if I would get on the right train was quite an ordeal and I think I might checked my palm pilot with the BART schedule 87 times. When my Superman (a.k.a. brilliant husband) came to pick me up at the BART station I had to pee so badly that I wasn't sure if we should stop somewhere on the road or if I should just wait ... I made it home, but it wasn't pleasant.

Now let me set this straight, I'm not writing about this because I'm proud of it (although I think it's comical and tragic at the same time). I'm actually quite ashamed. It's embarrassing and I feel like if I write it down I'll feel like I'm absolved from my guilt. I think the saddest thing is that I followed just about the same sequence of events the last time I went to this very same bar. So my solution is to do to one of the following a) never show my face in Martuni's again b) never go to Martuni's with these two gentlemen again b) tell the wait staff when I walk in there that I have a problem with this place and please only give me one drink c) if I exhibit this wretched behavior again I should at least get up and sing a song at the piano, giving others the chance to make fun of me.

Needless to say, I was quite ill the next day and almost didn't make it to my interview. It was a humbling experience and I hope to never repeat it. After all my bitching and moaning about not having a job I go and try to ruin the chance I have at getting one. And I also have to say that if it weren't for my brilliant husband I would have never made it through Friday at all. He really knows how to take a hangover and turn it into a day of accomplishments. I didn't know I could learn so much from him about such things, but this relationship just keeps on giving.

So I've learned my lesson, and walk away from this experience with a little less dignity than I had a week ago and a new box of Pepto Bismol in my medicine cabinet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Our power was out for a good portion of the day yesterday, which was actually kind of nice. I had gone out to lunch with a friend from my old job and when I got home I couldn't do anything really productive around the house so I sat outside and painted for a little bit, which I probably wouldn't have done if I could have been vacuuming, or on the computer...etc. I have made it a rule that since being unemployed I can only watch a maximum of 2 hours of TV a day, otherwise I would probably be sitting there all day. (but I don't count movies, I can't let my Netflix go to waste!) When I was a kid my Mom used to let us watch 2 hours of television a day and my sister and I would use the TV page that came in the paper on Sundays to choose very carefully, sometimes I would use a blue pen to circle what I wanted to watch. I remember that I never watched cartoons when I got home from school because if I wasted my hours in the afternoon I would miss out on Happy Days or Laverne and Shirley or, god forbid, Charlie's Angels. I used to love that show even though I don't think that I ever stayed awake during an entire episode, I guess I just wanted to fit in. I was reading the paper this morning and saw something about this product to let you monitor how much time your kid is spending on the computer or TV. I'm a little unclear on this though, I mean couldn't you just tell them to turn it off? And do you need to get one of these units for each appliance that your child might abuse? I think that it's a pretty good tool for kids that are home by themselves a lot, but it makes me a little sad to think that parents have to turn to these gadgets instead of a mutual relationship of trust and respect with thier children. I also think that the cartoon on the website is a little creepy, and the motto "it's hard to argue with a box"... no doubt, but don't you think that the kids will still argue with the parents who control the box? I don't have any kids, so I suppose I shouldn't pass judgement, but I remember "the look" from my Mom would work wonders, no gadget needed.
While I'm on the subject of TV I'm just going to get this out of the way now... I love reality TV. It's a secret (not so much so now) shame of mine. There was a point when I would watch every reality show that came on, at least the first episode, to see if it was any good. But thankfully I'm past that stage and I've narrowed it down to few. I must admit that I did watch Meet My Folks the other night. It's terrible. The best thing about that show is the lie detector guy who shows up in the last 15 minutes. The lie detector test itself is lame, but the dude who runs the machine totally rocks my world. He has a killer comb-over and he laughs at not only the bad questions but will frequently chuckle when someone lies. I hope that someday he busts out into a hardy guffaw. But more than that I hope that I'm never driven to watch that show again.... it's really bad.

Monday, August 25, 2003

for some reason today was my angry day. Angry when I got out of bed, angry when I took a shower, at the store, in the parking lot (but that a given). I'm not sure why I'm this angry but I feel a little resentful today and I'm kind of regretting quitting my job. Don't get me wrong, I hated that job. I'm glad that I don't have to clean up after actors and I'm glad that I don't have to take people to and fro in a dirty company car, but I miss the companionship that I had in an office everyday. I miss the structure to my day and I miss being able to feel free at the end of the day. Yeah, I know, I'm free all day right now, but it's different when you sit at a desk all day and dream about the things you'll do when you go home and when you actually are at home all day.
When I see or talk to my friends from my old job I secretly want to hear them say "yeah, this place is really falling apart without you" or "it's just not the same now that you're gone, I think I might leave, too" okay, maybe not that drastic, but it's always nice to know when you've made a lasting impression and things really aren't the same without you. Doesn't everybody want that? I never imagined when I quit a job I hated it would make me feel so bad.
So I guess that's the root of the anger. And I try to get myself out and moving around and seeing new things everyday, but I really am unadventurous and I think that I may need a little guidance.
I also feel a little bad because I think my cat has caught on to the fact that I'm angry - he's been hiding under the bed all day and I can't get him out. It's okay when it just messes with my day, but this poor cat has no where else to go. Sorry, buddy.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Today was the first time I experienced a hot day in San Francisco. Not that I spend a lot of time over there, because after all, I live in the East Bay, and for some reason find it crippling to cross the bridge. I met up with my pal Wil and we did some window shopping while sweating. I think it's the first time I've sweat (without being on a treadmill or rowing machine) since we moved out here two years ago. We stopped in the first store that was open and I thought something was wrong with me because I picked up a bag I thought was kind of neat and suddenly sweat was pouring down my face. I thought to myself "I don't like this bag that much", it's clearly been a while since I've dealt with any kind of heat. Nevertheless, I thought the sweating was okay, because I miss the summers in Boston. A little sweat helps me to remember what season it is. I still find it a little confusing when I can eat Thanksgiving dinner on my patio with a t-shirt on.
The window shopping was pretty fun, but I got to feeling a little sad, being jobless and all. Even though I couldn't afford most of that stuff when I had a job there was at least the potential. Now it's just a giant wish list of things that I don't really need. Things like glassware and vases and books. Coffee table books. We don't even have a coffee table.

Friday, August 22, 2003

and thus begins my attempt to journal all that is not exciting.
I rearranged the storage closet in the apartment. it's Anti-Procrastination week .so I figured what better time than now to put the vacuum and ironing board in places that are easy to get to. good times. I also washed a lot of dishes, had some friends over for dinner last night. Really missing a dishwasher...

I'm not very hungry, but I'm thinking about going to Taco Bell. I really can't think of a better way to "buy a vote" for the recall election.

Since being unemployed I'm really reaching for things to do. I've never had this much time off in between jobs and/or school and it's been hard for me come up with my own stuff to do... instead of having my day planned out for me. I know I should be enjoying this time, but I'm finding that relaxing is not something I excel at. Maybe I need some slacker training or something. I remember when I was working I would dream about things I would do if I had free time. So here's the free time, now what do I do?