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!