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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Spirit

I'm am now fully immersed in the Christmas spirit. :) I can indulge myself now that Thanksgiving is over, too. Unfortunately, I was completely unable to find any of my Christmas CDs for the past 4 days (granted, I was away from home for 3 of those days). I went down to the storage unit and pulled out the Christmas decorations. The first thing I did (after searching the boxes for my elusive CDs) was hang the wreath I got on sale a year or so ago. I love this thing...

And, after calling my mother and asking her if she had moved my cds when she was up here cleaning last February, I found a bag of CDs that I'd removed from my old car a few months ago, and promptly forgotten about. So, tomorrow I will have my music! Hehe...

Speaking of Christmas music, I was suggesting some good albums to my mother tonight on the phone. It went something like this:

Me: I really like the Bare Naked Ladies Christmas album, but I'm not sure you would.

Mom: (laughter) I'm not sure I should have that case lying around the house.

Me: (laughter) It's not perverse or anything. They aren't naked on the cover. It's just some dangling balls or something.

Total Silence followed by laughing...

Me: That sounded really bad. Did I just say that to my mother?

Mom: Yes it did sound bad.

And there was more, but I've already forgotten it. Good thing my mother has a good sense of humor! (And yes, I already told her I was blogging this! We were both laughing about the whole thing.)

Now, on a completely different topic - I took this adorable picture of my little brother this weekend. Doesn't he look innocent? Ha! He's such a camera ham! 2 seconds before I took this picture, he was hurling rocks and chunks of dirt against the metal barn wall, making what had to be horrible reverberating noises for my dad and brother who were inside putting up the center roof.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Late Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a happy holiday, and a few good days away from work. I was busy driving around to see Mom and then Dad. And, since I didn't have anyone to feed the cat while I was gone for 4 days, I brought the cat with me. (Mom's idea...)

So, here's what I learned about my sweet little kitty:

1) She does NOT like travelling... to the point where if she stopped yowling for more than 4 seconds, I started to wonder if she was still breathing. (Seriously - the entire way in the car.)

2) She does not get carsick or relieve herself in the carrier. (Yay! My old cat Blackie used to vomit at least once during every car trip - even short ones.)

3) Gracie does not like being closed into a small bedroom with her food and litter box. (She was fine at Mom's, where she had a good sized bedroom and access to the jack and jill bathroom. When she was alone in the bedroom at Dad's for 2 hours, she clawed a naked strip into the carpet under the door...I feel bad about that, as now Dad's carpet is pretty much ruined. And I closed her in the room because she's afraid of the dogs. Poor kitty - I think she was terrorized when she was still a stray. She's fine with people, even my 2 year old brother who is obsessed with cats, and repeatedly yells "kitty" up close to her head. But, she's terrified of other animals. Otherwise, she'd have had free reign in both houses.)

4) My sweet little kitty is morbidly obese! I guess I must overfeed her...When I got her, she was underweight, and slowly gained. I guess she didn't stop gaining...and I see her daily so I didn't really notice. I think I will cut her wet food consumption down to half a can a day instead of a full one. Dad suggested I get her weight loss formula food too. Maybe I will do a search on cat nutrition and figure out what she should be getting daily. I "free feed" her, so she always has dry food. Am I a bad cat mom?

Well, back to work tomorrow. So, that being said, I should already be in bed! (It appears that Gracie is happy to be home, messy as it is...she is sprinting across the living room and into and out of the bedrooms.)

I also changed to the Google Blogger, so I hope it doesn't screw up anything about my page.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Road Trip

I realize that I have not been posting very regularly lately. Life has been rather hectic with the car issues, the court anxiety (which is now over, and it's so good to be able to breathe again!), work and family stuff. I'm pretty sure you can all relate.

I left for my father's house last Friday night, directly after work. They were celebrating Thanksgiving early with my stepmother's family, and rolling my Dad's birthday celebration into it as well. (Dad is hitting a landmark this year. Now, Dad's birthday isn't actually until the 27th, so I'm heading out there again this weekend, and taking Monday off to be there.) Okay, so, not totally directly after work. I stopped to get gas for the car, and caffeine for the body…And I managed to finish my Grande Peppermint Mocha (with half the peppermint to cut down the sweet factor) about a half hour into my usual 2 1/2 hour drive. Unfortunately, I am afraid that my actions that night may have caused an accident… I had gone about 44.1 miles (the car has a trip meter - gotta love it!) when I saw the tail lights ahead of me. They weren't moving…and neither were the row of lights in front of them. So, I stopped safely behind the row of cars, assuming that the drawbridge was up, causing the back-up, and happy that I didn't have to go to the bathroom yet, after all that coffee.

0 miles and 20 minutes later, the mocha wanted out. And around this time I knew we'd be there for a while, as the medevac (how do you spell that?) helicopter had whizzed overhead and landed somewhere up the road. Countless cop cars had passed on the shoulder, and an emergency response vehicle or two. I said a little prayer for the accident victims, figuring it must have been pretty bad, with all the response vehicles passing by.

0 miles and 45 minutes later, I seriously considered hitting the hazards and making friends with the grasses along the side of the highway. I was having thoughts that it might be okay, since it's pitch black out there past the headlight ranges…then the other side of that thought hit - if they can't see me, I can't see anyone else who might be out there. Plus the conviction that as soon as I'm out the car door and hidden in the dark recesses of the side of the road, the accident will suddenly be clear and traffic will be flowing again…with mine being the car causing the backup problem now… Then the thought that trumped them all - I can't squat - I've never been able to do that successfully, so why would it be any different now? So…0 mi, 1hr 15 minutes later, I'm still in the car, starting to feel ill because I have to go so bad, and the 2nd FM band of my new car radio has been set with all the stations worth listening to in this no-man's land stretch of highway 12 on which I am apparently going to live out my days. My days being highly numbered, as my bladder will surely explode before we start moving again… And the guilt that this whole accident, which in reality I know I had absolutely nothing to do with, probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't downed 16 oz of deliciously caffeinated beverage before hitting the road that night… (I'm a freak, I know.)

0.1 mile and an hour later, the medevac copter took off and flew away, leaving me to figure that if the victims are off scene, maybe the vehicles will be off to the side of the road by now and we'll start moving. My imminent fear of bladder explosion fades a tad and I start to relax a little (not too much of course - I'm still dealing with a pressing situation after all). And hey, I've gone a whole 0.1 mile in the last hour - things are looking up!

0.2 miles and an hour and 15 minutes later, the semi in front of me (which has had its hazards on for the last 20 minutes, to the point where I wasn't sure the driver was still in the vehicle anymore) started to move ahead. I put my car back into drive and have never been so happy to be moving at the breakneck speed of 10mph. Passing the tow trucks that were still blocking traffic in the other direction, I couldn't help but wonder about the condition of the victims - the one car was smashed up like an accordian, and the other one wasn't looking so great either. And I am no rubbernecker - I am always afraid that I will see something I don't want to see. Plus, the ruined cars and wreckage makes me think about my sister's accident (which of course I did not actually see), and brings back a lot of pain and sadness. I didn't check out the news later either, because I wasn't sure I wanted to know what happened. (I'm a coward.)

Anyway, I drove about 5 miles before coming to a KFC/Taco Bell, next to an ARCO, figuring one of them had to have a bathroom. Well the KFC had a sign at the door stating the lobby area (that's what they call the inside of the place?) was closed at 9pm. Of course it was 9:04…so I walked over to the ARCO, which displayed a big old sign stating there were no public restrooms. I swear I was ready to cry as I trudged back to my car. Then I saw someone walk into the KFC…the door was unlocked so I was going in! Thank God! And I have a feeling that a lot of other people that had been in that traffic jam ended up there as well, since there was no one there when I arrived, but there was a line when I left…and the restaurant wasn't even open.

After that, the rest of the ride was a breeze. Unfortunately for my father, I had left my cell phone charging on my kitchen counter at home…which I had told him earlier that day. And when I rolled into his driveway at 10:30 pm (4hrs after I left Novato), my stepmother was saying how worried he had been. I would have called if I'd had my phone… (Another cause of the accident? Yeah, yeah, I know…I am not the Earth's Axis.)

The weekend itself was good though. And the ride home was the usual 2 1/2 hours, with no problems.

Hopefully, all will be smooth sailing this weekend.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Accent on Speech

Okay, those of you who have heard me speak realize that although I've lived in CA for over half of my life, I never really lost my Buffalo, NY accent. (I don't always hear it myself, but that's okay, my co-workers and friends like to remind me.) I was thinking about this the other day when I had to take the car in and get a rental. The clerk behind the Enterprise counter looked at me and said, "You're not from here, are you? What's that accent?" He must be pretty sensitive to accents, because I really don't think mine is that strong... so we ended up chatting a bit about regional differences. Like me sounding midwestern even though I'm from NY, when people expect that all New Yorkers should sound like they're from Brooklyn. (And by the come so few people on Ugly Betty sound like they're from NYC? I can understand the people in the magazine office...but what about Betty's family?)

Anyway, all this accent related thinking led me to the following quiz. I've taken an accent quiz before, that said I spoke general American English. I think this one is more accurate.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
North Central
The South
The West
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Thank God it's Over.

Today was my court date for the speeding ticket fiasco of 2006. I arrived at the courthouse a full half hour early. For all of you who know me at all, you know this is highly unusual! I was just so worried that I'd sleep through my alarm and miss the my body decided it would wake up an hour before the alarm was set to go off and not let me go back to sleep.

So then I had to wait outside the closed doors to the courtroom for 1/2 hour before they unlocked the room. During the wait, I met a young girl who seemed very nice and was waiting there with her mother. I figured she was contesting a speeding ticket or something...but, once the judge (who was 20 minutes late due to an accident on I-80) got in and started calling up the criminal arraignments, this sweet looking girl was up there for violation of parole! DUI charges with jail time, of which she had only served 4 days of the 6 required. I guess you really can't judge a book by it's cover!

Anyway, I was the first traffic case called, so I stepped up to the podium and calmly stated my tale of woe...The judge looked in my file and stated that she believed that I was never notified of the actual appearance date, as it was crossed out in red marker with a later date written in. I pled no contest to the speeding ticket itself (as I was attempting to pay it and attend traffic school in the first place). So, the judge lowered my total fine for the ticket to $60, dropping the collection fees as well. And I can take traffic school to get it off my record. Phew!!

Now, I can breathe again!

And after paying my fine (after the court fee, admin fee and traffic school fee, it was $119 - still saved me $379 smackers!), I walked out of the building and was met with a shocking and horrifying sight... The woman walking a few paces ahead of me was wearing what at first glance looked like a normal outfit - white cotton jacket/shirt, cropped jeans...keep it comes...FLAMINGO PINK patent leather (maybe pleather - I certainly didn't touch them!) stilleto heeled boots!! Why??? Was that why she was in court? Was she pulled in by the fashion police? (And judging by most of the other attendees in court this morning, there truly is no such thing...)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cars & Chaos

Well, here's where I recap the weekend (and apologize for not posting in a week). I'll try to keep this rather short (because I'm tired, need to hit the sack, and it's been a long weekend).

I ended up taking Friday off so that I could go car shopping with my father (he works on the weekends, but had Friday off). We met up in Folsom - he and my stepmother and baby brother were up in the area to take their boxer to a clinic (side note - the poor dog is not doing well, and he's going on chemo).

My ride up to Folsom in the Neon was bumpy and by the time I got to the restaurant where we were meeting for lunch, I did not feel well. I couldn't tell if I was carsick from the uneven ride or if I was nervous about looking at and hopefully buying a car. So, I picked at my caesar salad and made faces at Gino to get him to laugh. I did feel a lot better by the time we finished though. Dad had convinced me to look at the Hyundai dealership, since Consumer reports had good things to say about their newer stuff, and the deals were pretty excellent. I was pretty set against that idea when I first heard it, since Hyundai's have had a pretty bad rap in the past. But, I did a little research and found some reassuring materials online about quality and safety. I was still pretty convinced that we'd get there and I'd hate the cars, and we'd move on.

I was pleasantly surprised though, and really did like the Elantras, did some test drives, and ended up settling on the 2006 Elantra GT. I was the most comfortable in it, and it provides a nice smooth ride. I only hope I didn't buy too impulsively, but I would be worried about that with anything I settled on. (Believe me...I know how I am.) And the warranties are excellent. So, I hope that I'm still happy with it in a week, month, year. :)

Saturday, I was still able to meet up with Kristy, Lori and Marissa to start assembling afghan squares into actual afghans for the GrandmotherPurl Project. They were all very nice, and I'd say we had a pretty good time. (At least I enjoyed it, and was satisfied that they weren't all going to end up murdering me and stashing my body under a pile of handknits - well, I should know no knitter would do it. The handknits would get ruined!) We started by measuring and sorting the squares (piles of 8" square, piles of smaller than 8", and larger than 8"). This will make a few blankets...LOTS of squares. We narrowed it down to which ones would go in the first blanket and how they'd be arranged, and then we got to stitchin'. Here's a peek.

This is what the squares looked like (for the most part) laid out for the whole first afghan. I took this after we'd started stitching though.

There was no way we would finish, but we knew that. So, when it came time to pack it up and go our separate ways, we thought we should take some progress photos. Here's Marissa (left) and Kristy (right) trying on their handiwork. (If my sucky camera had taken the photo when I wanted it to, that afghan piece would have still been draped over Kristy's head).And here's the final shot with all of us and our completed pieces. (I counted all the squares in each of our pieces, and yes, I'm the slowest seamer! :( I was afraid of that.)

There's still a lot more to be done, so if you are involved (or wanted to be), you can still send your squares to Kristy (address on the main site for the knit-a-long) for a bit longer. I know she wants it all done before Thanksgiving though, so don't wait too long!

Saturday, after we finished with the afghan stuff, I ran by the car dealership where my lost Lumina is resting in peace for the moment and collected my personal belongings from inside. Now most of the stuff from that car is hidden in the hatchback of my new car. :) I also left a message for the technician to fax me an itemized estimate for the damage. My stepfather was wondering if he could fix it himself (or someone he knows - he has Chevy connections) and let my step-brother, who is 17, drive it. It needs a lot of work before it would be safe for a new driver... (the driver's side mirror is not functional...nor is it currently adjustable...or even truly attached really). But that technician is out until Tuesday, so I won't get it quite yet.

Then, I ran home (okay, I took the car) and grabbed the books I needed to return to the library - perused the stacks for some good reads, and headed to church afterwards. And, in case you are wondering, I did not have any zipper dilemmas this time.

Today, I headed out for lunch with some friends at Sweet Tomatoes, where we ended up sitting and chatting for almost 4 hours. It had been a little while since we'd all gotten together. Then I hung out with Kristin and her husband for a while before heading home. And then I ended up here...

Now...the weekend ends...and I can go back to work tomorrow and relax. (Yeah, relax...what is that again?) I have to go to court on Tuesday morning about that speeding ticket I got way way back in April. I'm bizarrely calm right now, but have a feeling I'll start freaking out again somewhere tomorrow afternoon...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Eulogy for a Friend

When I dropped her off this morning, I never imagined it would be our last ride together. I knew she wasn't feeling like herself over the last week, but I didn't think it would be this bad. And then I got the came late this afternoon and the news wasn't good. Tears sprang to my eyes, as the initial panic rose and I wondered where to go from here. How do you move on quickly? You have no choice in the matter. You either move on or stay stagnant and unmoving... Rooted forever in one place.

But it's hard to take the necessary steps when you have just lost a good friend. After all, she was there for me over the years, every time I needed her. True, I manipulated her as best as I could, but what can I say? I'm only human, and can be rather selfish when it comes down to it. But I tried to do what I could for her when she needed TLC. And for the most part, she treated me with the utmost in kindness and comfort. She always offered a warm respite from the cold, a dry haven in the rain, or a spot for a quick nap. She offered to give rides to my friends on late nights and accompanied us all through quite a few adventures.

Not to say we didn't have our differences here and there. Like the time earlier this year when I was trying to be responsible, but she didn't want to stop. It took an intervention, but after about a week I convinced her to get some help and the healing had begun. Then later this year, she left me stranded without a ride home in the parking lot. Granted, it was the parking lot of my apartment complex, and only a 5 minute walk for me to get home. Of course, I had to call in an expert to help us communicate the next day. But after I gave her a little extra attention, she came around.

I guess those were all warning signs, and I should have seen this coming. Especially this past week, when she kept getting hot under the collar. I was just waiting for her to blow her top. I just thought it might be prevented. I tried to give her space and time to cool off. But I have to realize that when it's time, it's time. And she and I had a good run, there's no denying that. At least I get to see her at least one more time to say goodbye...I need to pick up her personal effects, and let me tell you, that girl travelled with a lot of baggage... But all that said, I will miss her and will keep her in my memory.

In Memorium
Chevy Lumina
You shall be missed
Donations will be accepted for those generous enough to give in order to honor her memory...(j/k - okay, not really - I'm poor! Need money...okay, that's not helping.)
Does anyone have any tips for buying a car? I need all the help I can get. I don't even know where to start! (And the car overheated this morning, so I dropped it off at the dealership. Word from them is that repairs are in the neighborhood of $4,000...which is probably more than the car is worth at this point.) Makes, models? Anything...I'm desperate...(don't tell the salespeople that though)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ruff, Ruff, Meow...

You Are: 50% Dog, 50% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.
You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.
And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Do you see the resemblance?

I've seen this on a few blogs, and was curious enough to try it out myself...What do you think? Do you see any shared features? I see a bit of chin here, bone structure there...but some of these women are just gorgeous...and then there's me... (Why am I so down on my looks all the time?) Oh, and I had to shrink the image down a bit, so I hope it isn't distorted. Speaking of distortion, that photo of me is about 2 years old, with my hair the shortest it's ever been!