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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Shoppers Beware!

Also a warning to anyone thinking of getting short-term retail employment for the holidays. Who would have thought this is what the job might entail...

http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_11195127?source=most_viewed

And in Marin County, no less! This just goes to show that money doesn't buy class, manners, or common sense!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Good Old Saint Nick

Check out the headline of the article below:How inappropriate for those poor little kiddies!

Okay, I know the article is really about how to explain to kids why they're not each getting their individual Wii because Mommy did a little too much investing in the real estate market...No, it doesn't actually say that - just that kids may be disappointed in their gifts this year due to parents' inability to shell out the massive cash in order to buy their love. Hmm...still it's not as detailed as that. Maybe I should've written this article?

Anyway, here is a link to the full article, if anyone is interested in letting the kids down easy: http://www.ajc.com/services/content/atlanta-holiday-guide/stories/2008/12/04/talking_to_kids_holiday.html

***Warning - this is the part where my Catholic upbringing and beliefs become very apparent. If you will be offended by any religious content, don't bother reading any further.***

In all seriousness, although the article does have some good suggestions, I don't agree with all of it, but that may be due to my religious upbringing. I think my biggest problem with it is that it completely ignores the true meaning of Christmas.

If you can't afford the pricy demands of your children, why not simply bring the season back to its roots and explain the reason that we celebrate in the first place? Tell the story of Jesus's birth (you don't have to wait for Christmas Day to do this), and celebrate Advent (which is 4 weeks of preparing for the arrival of our Lord). Also teach the kids about Epiphany (the day the wise men arrived bearing gifts, and also the end of the 12 days of Christmas), which is January 6th.

How about explaining the origins of Santa with your children. Saint Nicholas was a Catholic Bishop whose acts of charity for those in need was legendary. Here are some links to more info on the Saint: Saint Nicholas, Ways to Honor St. Nick, St. Nicholas Center. There's also a children's book that can help to convey the origins of Santa to young children: The Real Story of Santa Claus

Originally, honoring Saint Nicholas by giving gifts to others was centered around his feast day, December 6 (tomorrow!), not Christmas. The gift giving has since migrated across the calendar a bit to Christmas Day, and in transit has spiralled way out of control. Maybe the state of the current economy is affording us (as a society) with the opportunity to teach our children what is really important - not money and material goods, but love, family, support and charity. This is the perfect time to start, as there are so many people now in need. We can also teach children the difference between wants and needs, while still having a happy Christmas. Instill in them the belief that Christmas is about giving, not receiving. It's about sharing our joy and happiness. After all, on Christmas, God gave us the greatest gift of all.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to stop giving the children gifts - not at all. Just don't max out any credit cards to satisfy their every whim. There's no need to fall into debt for anything that isn't a necessity. But something does not have to be expensive to be a good gift or to be appreciated. And we need to stop judging our own worth based on what others have. We need to stop raising self-centered brats with feelings of entitlement. Buy what you can afford. One day your kids will have to go out and earn a living, and if they have always had everything handed to them, they will not be prepared to support themselves.

And since that's probably a bit in the future, right now maybe we should just tell them that Saint Nick had to focus on the families that were truly in need this year, and your family is already blessed with what you have. (I do believe I heard this from my own single income, 4 child family in my younger days, and I managed to survive!)

As for Santa Claus, let the kids keep believing. I do.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Last Chance!

Well, I just wanted to get the word out one more time...and then you won't have to read any more of my appeals for cash (probably...). The StepOut to Fight Diabetes Walk is tomorrow morning. I have to get up extra early, which for me may be more of a challenge than the 6 mile walk itself. So, one last link to my donations page before I toddle off to bed. I have already set the coffee maker to auto brew at 7am, in the hopes that the scent of freshly brewed coffee will entice me out of my sleep cocoon.

Wish me luck!

Thank you to all of my supporters!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Steppin' Out, With My Baby

Or rather, with Kristin's baby...

The StepOut to Fight Diabetes Walk is this Sunday, and my friends and I are rarin' to go!
My team's fundraising efforts have been going great! The team has expanded to 7 people (including Kristin's 5mo old), and with the expansion, our team fundraising goal was raised to $2,000. So far, with the help of all of you generous donors (you know who you are), we have collectively reached 82% of our goal with $1,630 in donations! If you look at the Top Teams box on the right side of the San Jose Event's home page, you'll see our team on the list!! (Our team name is Kristin's Team.) Not too shabby for only 7 people, if I do say so myself (and I do).

I have exceeded my original personal goal of $500, but am reaching higher! I have reset my personal goal to $700, and am already at 79%! If you would like to contribute, there's still time! Just click this link to donate or join the team. Thank you so much to all of those who have given to this cause (and to those who have offered support in any way).

You may want to see if your company matches charitable contributions and you could double your donation. If you are unable to personally donate to my campaign, please forward this message and/or my website to your friends and family on my behalf. Or consider joining my team and walking with us in San Jose! I just found out that we can have "ghost walkers," which means that if you don't live locally, you can still join our team and either walk the same distance on your own in your town, or walk in one of the other StepOut locations.

I'm also still donating 50% of the proceeds of any of my Etsy sales to the fundraiser, if you see anything there that strikes your fancy!

Again, I really appreciate all of your help and support! Thank you very much!

Please help my team reach our final goal of $2,000 by Sunday. Every little bit helps.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Looks

Firstly, I've changed the appearance of my blog a bit. I was attempting to get the new Layouts feature to work on Blogger, but for some reason didn't have the required Button where it is supposed to be. So, this may change again...keep posted.

Secondly, I've decided that I'll be donating 1/2 of the proceeds from my Etsy sales to my Step Out to Fight Diabetes campaign. In keeping with that, I've listed a new item, below:

This is Lucine - a half moon shaped shawl. I really liked this pattern (thank you to Lion Brand - and yes, I checked with the company about copyright, and I am allowed to sell the finished product) and am thinking about making one for me... Check out the listing for more photos and a better description.

In other news, I've planned a trip to Denver to visit my good friend Joie in mid-October. I'm excited. I've only ever walked through the Denver airport, aside from standing at the Four Corners once as a child. I think we'll have a lot of fun.

Friday, September 26, 2008

For Anne

That's Kristin's mother-in-law, not my aunt.

In any case, I've been promising to post this video of Kristin's daughter dancing, and I guess it's about time I did it. Here you go! (Isn't she adorable?)


video

Thursday, September 18, 2008

PSA - Please Read

Some of you may know that diabetes runs in my family. I always figured that if I ended up with any kind of serious diagnosis, that’s what it would be. My grandfather had it, my brother now has it, and I believe that a few members of my more extended family also had the diagnosis. I also know quite a few friends and co-workers that have been affected personally by this disease.

Did you know that 23.6 million children and adults in the U.S. suffer from diabetes? Currently, about 1 in 10 American adults has the disease. Nearly ¼ of adults and children in the U.S. living with diabetes are unaware that they have it.

Diabetes also can lead to other health issues, including cardiovascular problems (which affected my own grandfather later in his life after living with diabetes), kidney failure, blindness, and more.

So, in honor and support of my affected friends and family, I have decided to participate in the Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes campaign. I have joined Kristin's team and have committed to walking 10k in San Jose this October.

This is a fundraiser, so you know I’m going to have to ask for your financial support. J Please consider giving to the cause. Proceeds will be used to fund diabetes research, education and advocacy. I have set my personal fundraising goal at $500, but am hoping to exceed it. Every little bit helps, so please think about it.

Please click here to check out my Step Out web page. From here you can choose to sponsor me or join my team and walk with us!

(Or, you can go to the Step Out homepage and find a walk near you. There are also volunteer opportunities for those unable to participate in the walk itself, but still want to help out.)

If you’re still reading, thank you for getting this far!! And thank you in advance for supporting me in this important cause!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Busy Weeks

Hello all. Here's a bit of a madcap Monday post to catch everyone up on what little has been going on with me.

I flew back to NY earlier this month for my annual family picnic, and got to spend some good times with my extended maternal family. I found out some interesting family history, like how my great-aunt was a model in Hollywood for a while before returning to NY and reconciling with her husband, or how my great grandfather originally wanted to settle in CA, but my great-grandmother's sister got them to settle in Canastota, NY instead. Of course, the family had fun with these two tidbits, spinning out tales of how we could have been the Gallo family or Hollywood celebutantes... I'm not complaining though, I think we all turned out pretty well.

Two weekends ago I went to the annual Day in the Zone concert in Sacramento with my friend Kerri. Lifehouse and Daughtry were the big headliners. Kerri and her friend Kathy are devoted Daughtry fans, so we'd had our tickets for months ahead of time. Unfortunately, Kathy had to leave before Daughtry went on. So, I played with my digital camera and snagged a bit of video for her. See below...I tried to upload the final 2 songs that I had captured, but the clip was too large and crashed my computer.
video

Let me know if the video works (it's my first time uploading one). Forgive me if the picture is a bit shaky.

This past weekend, I went out to see an old local band (that has broken up, since they're not all locals anymore). Saturday I ended up as my friend Jodie's emergency date for a mutual friend's wedding. I ended up missing the ceremony (I was called an hour and a half before the wedding was to start, and it's almost an hour away...so I scrambled together an outfit, slapped on some makeup, and ran out the door), but the reception was really nice. It wasn't awkward either, since I do know the groom and a few other guests (like my friend Kristin and her husband, who suggested to Jodie that she call me when she found out Jodie's husband stayed home sick). I got some cute video of Kristin's husband dancing with their 4 month old, and Kristin making her laugh. I may post it here, but I'll warn you all that it's sideways. I don't know how to turn it, if there's a way at all.

Anyway, that's it for now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

True Story...

I worked from home today, making Gracie one very happy kitty. Given my schedule of freedom for the day, I decided to take a walk around to the shopping center and swing back to the mailbox to get mail and reload my laundry card (no need to hoard all the quarters now - isn't technology nifty?)

So, I'm walking back from the mailboxes, icy delicious Starbucks latte in hand, and this dude is sitting outside of his apartment and says hello - okay, neighbors being friendly…so I say hello.

Then he keeps talking. "Do you live here?"

Um, isn't it obvious? I've got a huge handful of mail and I'm cutting across the parking lot…"Yes."

"Cool, how long have you lived here?"

Oh God, why did I stop walking? "8 years."

"8 years, wow."

Then he proceeds to tell me that the complex is trying to kick him out for no reason, and he's a good guy that mostly keeps to himself, and asks if I'm willing to sign a petition to let him stay. So, naturally, I am thinking to myself that he probably doesn't pay his rent on time, or the neighbors complain all the time, or he's dealing drugs from his kitchen, or something…and I really don't want to sign his "petition," which is crudely drawn up on an envelope, of all things.

Then randomly, "You have pretty eyes…and pretty hair. And a pretty shirt. I like butterflies. What's your name? Oh, my first crush was on a Tami, in 4th grade. Actually, she had a bigger crush on me." (Just to clarify, my shirt does have butterflies on it today, or I would have started running right then...of course, his mention of the butterflies implies that he was looking at my chest.)

And...He must have changed A LOT from 4th grade, because now I am really uncomfortable and divert his attention to the kitten crawling up under his back fender.

"Oh, that's booboo. I'm a Yogi. Do you do yoga?" Oh my, is this dude on something? He looks like he has chewing tobacco between his teeth, which doesn't strike me as very yoga-y, and neither does his physique. So, basically, to get away, I sign my first name only on the "petition" because I don't want the complex managers to know which resident signed (and of course, by the looks of his shoddy document, I don't think they will take him seriously, which I almost told him, but didn't, because I just wanted to get back to my apartment).

So, after my hasty signing, I tell him I'm working from home today and really need to get back.

"Hey, wait. I want to give you something," he says as he runs into his apartment. I am a bit leery now… So he comes back with a Yoga DVD and tells me it's great, and it's perfect for me because I work from home and it's in 10 minute segments. Gee, thanks…okay… I did say thank you, and left him to accost the next unwitting resident to pass by. I left the DVD in the laundry room…maybe someone else will want it. It had some sort of milky splotch staining the front cover. It looks like wax, so I'm telling myself that's what it was! I proceeded to wash my hands really well (he also insisted on shaking my hand, though he had an open cut on his index finger that I deftly avoided) before touching my laundry!

So, now I'm wondering the real reason management wants him out. And I really didn't want to sign the petition, because for all I know he's a criminal in hiding, and that's why he keeps to himself!! More likely, his lease was up and they lined up renters that would pay a higher rental amount. But still...

Weird...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Holy Crap, she's posting!!

Hello everyone. I hope you all had fun long weekends and that none of you were forced to work over the holiday. I headed up to Sacramento for most of the weekend and hung out with my friend Kerri and her family, then spent Saturday with my Mom and the step-family.

Lots of games were involved (card and board, not mental), and it was all quite fun. I have determined that my mother has a strong tendency to believe anything I say, as evidenced by her constant choosing of my wrong answers to Beyond Balderdash. (The edition we played had dates as a category instead of laughable laws, which sounds like a better category, if you ask me!)

In other news, I am still following the WW plan (except for weekends, when I'm not tracking, but still trying to exercise and make smarter food choices). I have lost 4.4 pounds in the last 3 weeks. It is a good start, and I will keep it up! (I am determined...again!) In keeping with this, I was inspired to actually turn on my oven and cook last week! (Before this current heat wave hit.)

teaser photo
A co-worker brought in a giant lawn bag full of fresh rosemary clippings, which also contributed to my culinary inspiration. Visit here for the recipe.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today (June 19) is my awesome, supportive mother's birthday, so let's all wish her a great one!

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Diet Revisited

Okay, it's day one back on the diet - I tracked all my food today (did not get in my daily oil or all of my veggies, but at least I'm trying), and even...are you sitting down? I even exercised!!

After last week's weigh in disaster, I decided that I needed to forcibly push myself back on track...I'm weak though, so not sure the wheels are firmly on the track yet. We'll find out if it moves or not... Anyway, I bought a new exercise DVD - Pilates Core Challenge. Apparently, this is not a workout for the beginner! I got through 20 minutes and thought I was going to die. I think I will go back to my easy beginner's Pilates video (VHS) until I build up a bit of strength and endurance. Wish me luck. I am hoping that I don't give up on the exercise!

In honor of day one of diet determination (couldn't start over the weekend, you know...it was father's day, and Dad was barbecuing), I took the below quiz. Note that it says I am 59% Chunky...should I be offended??

Your Score: BROWNIE BATTER!



You scored 81% SWEET, 59% CHUNKY, and 62% UNIQUE!





brownie batter ice cream with a rich brownie batter swirl

Mmmm....you are a very sweet mix indeed! You are warm, loving, and caring to all those around you, but you're not boring in the least! You have a wild streak and a creative, unique streak, too. You are a great friend, an interesting person, and you know how to have fun without ending up crouching over a toilet bowl. Nice!

Link: The Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Flavor Test written by weered1 on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(weered1)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Rant

Is it me, or are retail salespeople becoming more rude? Actually, I think I may be over-reacting due to the craptastic day I had at work. I'm sure tonight's Hallmark trip just pushed me over the edge...

So, after an okay morning and a nice lunch hour, I received a litany of snarky emails from the boss, which soured the day. I hit the Weight Watcher's meeting to weigh in, and am now only 15 pounds lighter than I was at my heaviest. The diet has been completely derailed. I blame work stress (which is awful) and my complete lack of will-power. That, and I am so sick of tracking everything I eat. I hate it. I measured myself for yet another bridesmaid's dress the other day and had to order a 12. (I had tried on the dress a few months ago, but David's Bridal didn't write my size down in the file. So, that was a pointless waste of gas.) I haven't been that size in years, so that made me unhappy too.

So, after the poo day (yes, I am mature) and weigh-in, I decided to hit Hallmark to get some packaging for the Father's Day gifts I got for Dad. So, I'm tooling around the store, and then at about 8:10 (I'd already been there a while, mind you) I was looking at some mugs in the front, and the teenager (I'm assuming) standing by the door with another customer, looks at me and says, "Um, we're actually closed? We close at 8?" (I hate it when people speak in all questions. Gee, if you're that unsure, maybe I can convince you otherwise.) So, I look at her and say, "I've been here a while." And she tells me I'd better pay quick then. (I didn't care for the way she said that!)

Anyway, part of what irritated me about this statement was the fact that I'd already been in the store for nearly a half hour and had merchandise in my hand. I had not even been acknowledged by the sales staff. Had they come around the store, which isn't that big to begin with, they would have known there were still people shopping. I've been there in the past, where they check to see if people are there about 5 or 10 minutes before closing and gently remind them that they will be closing. I wouldn't have been annoyed, if she had simply phrased it all differently.

Urgh, definitely over-reacting. I mean, she probably gets minimum wage and wants to go home. But is that an excuse for having no manners?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hot Chocolate, Baby!

I took another fun test over at OkCupid...(still addicted to those gosh darned quizzes), and it told me that if I were a beverage, I'd be hot chocolate. I kind of like this description of me...what do you think? (I ask, because some of you know me quite well...) Also, if you end up taking the quiz, let me know what it tells you.




Your Score: Hot Chocolate


If you were a drink, you'd be 34% alternative, 28% caustic and 41% playful. Mmm, tasty.



So, we all know that people aren't beverages, and trying to drink other people won't end well for anyone. If you were a drink, though, I think you'd be Hot Chocolate.

Hot chocolate is that lovely middle-ground in comfort drinks - the perfect choice when you're feeling a bit unsure and you want something safe. I mean, come on, it's chocolate. What's not to like? Even the lactose-intolerant and diabetic people of the world can appreciate you now, since so many new varieties of milk and chocolate are available now. Your comforting, composed demeanour makes you a hit at coffee shops everywhere.

In other words, you measured as more popular than alternative. This may mean your tastes are a little more mainstream, that you tend more to the right than the left, or that your style is just a little bit safer.

You also measured as more gentle than caustic. This may mean that you're a less aggressive person, that you're generally calmer than most people, and that you are better at keeping a level head in most situations.

Finally, you measured as somewhere in between serious and playful. This may mean that you have found a good balance between being introspective and analytical, and being a bit more outgoing and silly. It may also mean your sex drive registers somewhere towards the centre. I had to group both of these areas under one variable.

Finally, for those of you who would love to know what other drinks you could have scored has... I couldn't fit all the links here, but feel free to jump across to my journal here to see all 27 possible results. You're welcome to let me know what you thought of the test, too!



The Beverage Identity Test written by runyoshirun on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(runyoshirun)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Long Weekend

Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a nice relaxing, or eventful (depending on what floats your boat) weekend. Mine was kind of relaxing, rather uneventful, and rather boring. I came down with a cold last weekend, and have been trying to kick it ever since. The congestion is mostly gone, my ears are nearly clear, but I'm still coughing a bit and my voice is decidedly lower. Urgh. So, I didn't go to my youngest step-brother's high school graduation party that was yesterday, and I didn't go visit Kristin and the baby (just in case I am still contagious).

But, since I am feeling a bit better (even though the energy lags, and there's occasional coughing), I wandered over to Kohl's for their Memorial Day Sale. Mainly because all luggage is on sale for at least 50% off, and I've been using old (and ugly) hand me down luggage for the last decade. I've been thinking about buying a new set of luggage for years, but it's expensive, and I'm cheap... You know, the luggage I have been using has wheels, but it's the old-fashioned, attach the strap and pull kind. If I bother trying to wheel it around with the strap, it just ends up falling over.

So, I bought a brand-spanking new 4-piece set of luggage (in royal purple - that should make it easier to spot on the luggage carousel), for $59! I am rather proud of myself. I hope it's of good quality - but I didn't want to pay the ridiculously high amounts for a single piece of a more well-known brand (the American Tourister and Dockers were double and triple the prices for just one item). Anyway, here's what I got (the online photo makes the purple look like navy, but trust me, it's not).

I'm so easily satisfied, aren't I? I also got a mini-coffee maker (4-cup), a beach towel (realized last summer that I didn't have one!) and 2 cute casual t-shirts. In total, I ended up spending just $10 over the original price of the luggage set. I love me a good sale!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shameless Plug

Hey there everyone. I wanted to send an internet shout out for my friend (and cohort in craft crime) Moriah, who has just started her own Etsy shop: BeadyEyeLass. She has also started her own blog to go with it.

She has reinspired me on the jewelry front. I've been making crocheted necklaces, but haven't listed any for sale, since I'm still trying to work out the best way to finish off the closures. So far I have liked the way they are coming out though.

Please take a look at Moriah's sites! She will appreciate it!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Welcome to Nicholas

It's baby-time around here, I think... I just got word that my cousin and his wife had a healthy baby boy yesterday afternoon. So, congratulations Chris & Jen! And welcome to the world Nicholas!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Don't Worry!

Sorry I've been away so long. I've actually been really busy, considering I have no social life... Long story short - my friend Kristin has been in and out of the hospital for the last few weeks with mild pre-eclampsia, and I've been helping her out with her wedding coordinating business. I took over 2 weddings that she had scheduled for this month - the first one with short notice (2 days!) in Berkeley, and today in Walnut Creek. That, taxes, Easter, work, etc. has kept me pretty busy, and I've just not really felt like sitting down to write much.

The weddings went pretty well, and today's couple was very happy with how everything turned out. Also the funniest toast ever made...by the Maid of Honor. Good thing they had a videographer, because her speech was hilarious...and possibly wine-induced.

Kristin's cousin was working today as my assistant at the reception, and told me that Kristin had the baby this afternoon! So, congratulations to Kristin and Shannon, who are now the proud (and tired after 30 hours of labor) parents of a little baby girl!

Now, I'm off to sleep myself...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Party Peeps

Now we know what those crazy chicks do in the off season...

On less crazy topics (or maybe more so), I just (seconds ago) received an invitation to my 15yr high school reunion. When did I get so old?? I want to go, but I'm not sure. When I went to the 10yr reunion, it was like I became that same insecure shy kid all over again. I've grown a lot since high school, but what is it about the same old people that makes me retreat back into myself?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This one's for Joie


Your Score: DENVER!


You scored 34% Style, 18% Climate, and 48% Culture!



You are Denver, Colorado. Denver is the largest city in Colorado, the state capital, and the seat of Denver County. It lies at the foot of the Rocky Mountains at the junction of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Today, Denver is an important communications, transportation, manufacturing, and agribusiness hub. Telecommunications and biomedical technology are two of the largest industries; construction, real estate, and retail trade are among the fastest-growing industries. The city is also home to many environmental organizations, including federal government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hm, probably not very interesting to you since you're a little low on the 'culture' scale. You don't like heat much, and prefer cool weather and a landscape filled with majestic mountains. You may not be one for city life, and prefer a slower pace. You are sporty and adventurous, but not one to partake in typical 'higher class' activities, like the opera, and that's just fine. Not all culture is bad though, and you might even find that you enjoy a good play now and then if you give it a chance :)

Link: The Which Major U.S. City Are You? Test written by weeredII on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(weeredII)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Update

I just realized that it's been a long time since I wrote anything in here. So, here's what's been occupying my time...

I am a little too addicted to OKCupid, for which I completely blame Dagny. I created an account so I could take the Which Winnie the Pooh Character are You test (I'm Eeyore), and now I'm a test-a-holic. And I've pulled a friend or two down with me...You know who you are.

They've shifted us to the first floor at work, for the time being. So, my department, as well as all the others left still employed in the building, are now all sitting in one wing in the building. The rest of the place is being emptied out before our eyes by a couple of incredibly obnoxious used office furniture liquidators.

I'm helping to plan a baby shower for Kristin, which will be next Saturday. I have decided on what to make for dessert, and need to finalize the games, but have to re-connect with my co-conspirator first.

I haven't done anything with my Etsy shop since the new year. Not very ambitious of me, I know. I have made a few iPod cases (first one for me), and sold one to a co-worker. I should probably try posting one to Etsy to see if it might sell.

Another new obsession, which is Kerri's fault, is a newfound Jane Austen appreciation. She's gotten me hooked on the PBS Jane Austen movies, and I just finished The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, which is a fictionalized romance written like a memoir. It was very good, and I would recommend it to Austen fans. Now, the next step is to read some of Austen's novels, as opposed to just watching all the movies!

And I realized about an hour ago, when I turned on the TV and saw the time, that I had forgotten to reset my clocks last night! Whoops! And I knew it was this weekend, too. So, had I not fallen prey to my TV addiction, I'd have shown up for mass tonight an hour late.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Origins

Check out the quote I found here online: "The term altruism was coined by the 19th century sociologist Auguste Comte and is derived from the Latin “alteri” or "the others”. It describes an unselfish attention to the needs of others."

Finally, I know what my last name means. I did have an Italian waiter once tell me it meant "this or that." I like the above better, since I can tie it to altruism.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm a Lady!

No wait, just Lady:



Your Score: Lady


You scored 28 Kindness, 68 Morality, and 36 Wisdom!



A high level of morality and integrity is congruent with your personality. Your high level of justice and sense of how the world should be can make you seem snobbish or too black and white in your behavior and judgments. You may succumb to the fault of judging a book by its cover. Remember that sometimes a person's best traits are not immediately noticed. Your sense of goodness and morality leaves you a strong and loyal friend. Try spending some time with Beast for compatibility.

Link: The Which Disney Character Are You Test written by dakotaguy on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don't Waste Your Time

I watched Sofia Coppola's version of Marie Antionette this evening. Well...I am highly grateful that I didn't pay full price to see it in a theatre, or even to rent it! (God bless the public library.)

I had read some bad reviews of the movie before watching it (quite a while before), but was still interested, because I thought it was a neat concept. History set to modern music. A lot of the reviewers were bothered by the rock music, modern speech, etc. None of that bothered me, since I knew it was Coppola's vision. The part of her vision that ruined the film for me was the mind-numbing drawn out slowness...

Yes, the scenery and costuming are visually stunning. Yes, we all know how it ends. But really, how do you make the French Revolution so completely devoid of action? Not to mention the rest of the movie leading up to that part. I was really surprised to be this bored by this movie... And yet, I made myself watch the whole thing.

Sorry all...it is just so rare for me to get so little enjoyment out of a film!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

No Seriously...

VD can kill you! (Or at least cause some physical harm...)

BAD CANDY!

Brings new meaning to "get the lead out." Yeah, I'm inappropriate.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Here it is again...

I'll spare you all the annual rant, but wanted to drop in and say Happy Freakin' VD to all my buddies, attached or not. And, bitter as I am, I have a tiny little sweet side, so I took the below VD themed quiz. Sorry if it's a repeat...

Your Candy Heart Says "First Kiss"

You're a true romantic who brings an innocent hope to each new relationship.
You see the good in every person you date, and you relish each step of falling in love.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a romantic dinner your sweetie cooks for you

Your flirting style: friendly and sweet

What turns you off: cynics who don't believe in romance

Why you're hot: you always keep the romance alive

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Victory is Mine!

I hope everyone enjoyed Superbowl Sunday, whether you were watching the game, or avoiding it. I went over to Kristin's, house to hang out and watch the game with her & her husband.

I was actually paying attention this year, for once. And all because I joined the office football pool for the first time. I bought 3 squares, and didn't expect any return. But, this was the first time I had ever been hoping neither team would score...that's actually how I won. Yep, twice even! I won with the final score of the 2nd quarter at Giants 3 to Patriots 7. $25. Then, when no points were scored throughout the 3rd quarter, I won another $50!

I never win anything. Which may be why I rarely gamble. I'm glad my luck has turned, at least briefly. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Financial Woes

Alternately titled: "Why I will always be poor"

I checked my online banking site before leaving work today (to see if tomorrow's paycheck had been deposited, which it had not), and went into the bill pay service to check the newest bills and schedule a few payments. My new electric bill had arrived and I almost had a heart attack when I looked at it. $113!! Did I mention that my apartment is less than 900sf? This is the highest it has ever been and I am wondering if there's a problem with my meter. It was high last month too, but not like this. And I tried to view the detailed bill, but there was an (all too convenient) error with the PG&E billing site. I probably have the paper bill somewhere in my house, but may have filed it somewhere this weekend while sorting through old mail.

Then, I checked my mailbox when I got home and had a notice from the DMV that my registration check was not honored by the bank. And this was a 2nd notice (when I never saw a 1st). After I returned to my apartment, feeling ill and annoyed (the current PMS situation does not help), I did actually find the 1st statement, which they sent right around Christmas and I had not noticed (stupid of me and I can't blame them for that). Then I checked my online bank statement history and lo and behold, there is no withdrawal for the registration payment that should have hit the bank in November.

I'm not blaming the bank for this one (nor am I blaming myself). I place the blame directly on the DMV online payment site. This was the first time I had paid my registration online, and I'm thinking it will also be the last. I don't understand how I received my registration stickers when the payment wasn't honored. I had no notice of returned check (wire request?) from the bank (which I would have received along with a fee, I am positive). So I conclude that there was some error with the site, which could have been mine, but I doubt it, since I triple check the account numbers every time I have to enter them manually. I don't think the bank ever received the payment request.

Damn. So, tomorrow I guess I will spend my lunch hour getting a certified check from the bank (since I'm being treated like a criminal and the DMV won't accept a personal check), then heading over to the DMV to pay in person. And, because of this error, I have to pay extra late fees and a service fee. It's about $70 more than I originally owed when I attempted to pay it online on the due date.

But I apparently have at least one friend on my side. I received a check from my good buddy Victoria (she's got a secret, you know), for a whopping $0.60. Looks like I overpaid on my last bill. And don't think I won't cash it either!

Now, I'm feeling better after my relaxing hot shower, and am going to go post in the The Cooking Corner.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Random Bits

I may have been imagining things, or perhaps experiencing a sleep to waking hallucination, but I could swear that my cat Gracie looked up at me and winked this morning. You know, with one eye… Maybe she knows something I don't?

I worked from home today, which Gracie seems to enjoy, since she gets all this extra attention from me. You know, I think she thinks it's a game to complete an obstacle course over my open file and lap…Jump on lap, from lap to writing area directly over moving pen in my hand, back to floor by my hand. Repeat. A lot.

Around 3pm today, I started hearing what sounded like very bad drumming, or even worse guitar strumming. I was convinced it was one of the downstairs neighbors messing around, and thought to myself that it wouldn't be annoying if they were any good…then I opened the back door to check on where it was coming from and realized that it was actually the high school marching band practicing. Gracing wandered out on the balcony in the light drizzle, intrigued. With the door open it didn't sound so bad, but it was way too cold out today to leave it open. The noise was distracting, so I decided it was time to use my iPod… I hope my bad singing along didn't bother my neighbors...

Now she's smiling! And searching for the band...

Later, there will be some actual honest-to-goodness baking going on. Yes, in my apartment even. We're having yet another pot-luck tomorrow at work, with a breakfast theme. I found a recipe in an old Weight Watcher's cookbook for Pumpkin-Apple Bread, so thought I'd try it out. Don't worry, the cookbook is recent enough that it's a normal recipe without anything weird in it…like the old WW cookbooks my mother had. I'm still trying to decide between a loaf and mini-muffins though. I had most of the ingredients on hand, so only needed to run out and pick up a few things at lunch today (like buttermilk and eggs), and was actually motivated to start when I got home. (The kitchen is actually really clean and organized right now, thanks to my mother's weekend visit and our collaborative efforts - what a difference it makes!) But, work got in the way…does it count as a work-related duty to bake for the departmental pot-luck?

If the recipe is any good, I'll share it in the recipe blog. I haven't posted there in forever, and it's about time!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jury Update

I didn't realize so many people were waiting for the outcome of my jury status...Oddly enough, I received a few comments, and emails asking about it. So, here's the story. (Sorry Christyn, you've heard all of this already...)

Yes, I got there on time...technically. Jury duty began at 8am, and I was parked in the jury specified lot by 7:54am (irritated already that it took me 15 minutes to be able to turn left onto the street to take me to the lot...not a good intersection - no stop sign or light, and plenty of traffic going straight!). I had to walk a block or two to get to the courthouse and then remembered the security issue (you know, when I saw the two very slow moving lines that ended with the metal detector right inside the doors). Luckily, I was not even close to the only juror still standing in line to get in. There were quite a few of us out there, clutching our little summonses and complaining about the traffic near the parking lot.

Once in, I found the jury assembly room, which was much larger than I had expected and kind of reminded me of a lecture hall from college (only with a much more current color scheme, and a section to the side with tables and chairs). It was pretty packed, but I found a seat before the welcome talk began and continued reading the book that Moriah's mom had given me on vacation (Four to Score, by Janet Evanovich).

Good thing I brought it along, because it was a few hours before the judge came in to discuss what case the jury selection was for, and how she was handling the selection. Instead of hauling us all into the courtroom to begin calling up groups of jurors, we had to either file a hardship for the judge to review or fill out a questionnaire if we were not going to try to get out of it. Those that filled out the questionnaire were dismissed, but told to come back on Tuesday morning for the actual jury selection. But, since it was this case, it hit a bit close to home for me, so I filled out the hardship questionnaire. I didn't think I could handle it, because of my sister's fatal accident years ago, and didn't think I could be impartial. So, that's what I said (with a bit more detail for the judge).

It took a few more hours for the judge to review all of the hardship requests (which was most of the prospective jurors that had reported that morning), but finally someone came in and started making the announcements of who was dismissed, and handing out the letters for our employers. Mine was one of the last 20 names called, after a psyche-out from the lady reading off the names. (She put down her last sheet of paper and announced that was it for the hardships, then said she was just joking...not funny!)

So, I went to work afterwards, but really didn't get anything done, since everyone was asking me about it, and I'm a bit of a talker...this included at least a half hour (if not more) spent discussing jury/trial stuff with my boss.

Anyway, I don't have to go for the selection tomorrow, which is a relief. I really was worried that I'd be called for it, and have to sit through 4 weeks of trial (which is the estimated length of the trial) and look at photographic evidence of the crash scene and victim's families' testimony. Just thinking about it brings up too many memories and emotions of my sister's crash, and knowing what my family went through, I'd probably be in constant tears in the jury box. Which leaves little sympathy for the defendant, though his defense is stating he is developmentally delayed and had a seizure causing him to lose control of his car. (From the article, it doesn't sound like there's a really a delay, but rather a seizure disorder of some sort...that was not diagnosed until after the crash - very odd...)

Anyway, I'm glad the decision for this one is not on my shoulders. I'd hate for this trial to end in a hung jury again, since it has previously, and this is the re-trial.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Holding Court

Sort of...I need to appear for jury duty tomorrow. It's funny, because before I checked the court website last night, I had a very strong feeling that I'd have to appear. Much to my surprise, I was still on telephone stand-by. This was soon eclipsed by the losing of the keys incident.

I don't so much mind that I have to appear...I suppose I'm due, since with the many summons's that I've received, I've never once (until now) had to actually appear. I don't really know what to expect, other than probably a long wait in the jury assembly room which may or may not amount to anything. I don't really want to be chosen for a case, but it's not my decision. We'll see what happens...

What I do mind though...my group has to be there at 8am. :( I so don't do mornings, as you all know, but I will make this work. No staying up late tonight! (Which I shouldn't be doing anyway.) The next group that was called doesn't have to show until 1pm. Why couldn't that have been my group?

Anyway, I'm off to work on the great Christyn's baby blanket and watch what I think is the newest episode of Project Runway...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Panic at the Cubicle

More like panic in the restroom, but I didn't want the title to give you all the wrong idea.

I am a moron. Okay, maybe I'm being a little hard on myself. I should rephrase that with a less self-deprecatory slant... I make poor handbag choices.

I'm writing this post from work, at 7pm. Yep, because I stranded myself here. Not on purpose of course. It's totally my purse's fault. My accessories are out to get me.

I was ready to leave the office at 6:15, after packing all of my necessary files to take home with me, since I'm scheduled to work from home tomorrow. So far so good. (For those who don't know yet - my usual hours are 9am-6pm, so I wasn't really lingering that long.) I headed to my last stop - potty time (my mother trained me well). I completed washing my hands with the cheap stinky soap they are now supplying (I never knew soap could smell so unpleasant, but this stuff does!), and went to pull my car keys out of my purse.

Now, I know I put them in my purse this morning after getting out of the car, because I distinctly remember double-checking to make sure I didn't lock them in the car. I'm not sure what good this does, since I have usually already locked said car prior to making sure the keys were on me. Anyway, they are not where I remember placing them. The problem was, I didn't drive anywhere today. I went to pick up some cheesecakes with Christyn at lunch, and she drove. (No, I did not have cheesecake for lunch, but the thought did cross my mind. And Christyn's.)

So I rummage through my purse searching. Nothing. Check the coat pockets - nothing. Check my jeans pockets - nothing. Now really, what sense did checking my jeans have? If my keys had been in my pockets, I'd have been in pain a while ago, and it would have been obvious.

Trying not to panic, but figuring that I could call the Hyundai road assistance number if necessary to let me in the car (and hopefully start it for me?), I head back over to my cubicle to see if maybe I took out the keys when I pulled out my jury summons earlier. (Which I do not have to appear for tomorrow, but have to check again tomorrow night for a possible Thursday appearance.) No keys at the desk.

I took everything out of my purse, and pockets, and they are nowhere. Visualizing my poor sad keys abandoned at the parking lot of John & Jill's Cheesecakes, where I bent down to pick up a dollar (free money!) earlier, I made a last ditch effort and called Christyn to check her passenger seat.

Hallelujah! There they sat, in the footwell of her car. They must have fallen out of my purse while we were driving. (Here's the purse connection - if I could choose a purse that actually zipped closed, this might not happen. On the other hand, I've had zip closure purses and always fill them to the point of un-zip-ability, so that solution is out.)

Of course, my first thought was to tell her not to drive all the way back down here, and to offer instead to meet her halfway. Duh! Can't start car without the keys. So, she was loading her car with grocieries when I talked to her, and had to run home quickly before heading back here. I feel bad for inconveniencing her - I totally owe her big time now. So, this post is dedicated to Christyn! Right now, her happiness is KEY! (haha...I crack me up.)

Maybe I should finish up that baby blanket I meant to finish before her 6 month old was born...(it's actually in progress now, again! Third time is a charm, right?)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Vacation Update - Part I

Hi all. Yes, I'm back from my vacation, but just now getting around to updating the blog.

After checking all of the weather/traffic info last Friday, I headed out of my house around 3:45pm, after the worst was over. Unfortunately, after I was already on the road, Hwy 17 was closed down. It didn't sound like it would be closed for long, but it wasn't open yet when I got over to it. That was okay though, since my friend and her parents were stranded in San Jose with the road closed and all.

So, it took me 2x as long to get to Santa Cruz than it should have, but at least I made it there safely.

Then there was all of the stumbling around in the dark. Santa Cruz had been without power since 8am on Friday, and it didn't come on until 6:20am Saturday (I know this was the time, because I looked at my watch when the living room light went on and the printer woke me up making noise...).

Moriah and her husband and sister and I all hit the local diner for breakfast, then headed back to Merideth's house to wait for the parents to pick us up. We were on the road around 11:30am, and drove through the steady drizzle to Rancho Arroyo, where we spent the night in Moriah's grandmother's old farm house.

We got a pretty early start on Sunday morning, and made it to Anaheim around 1pm. It was too early to check into the hotel, so we gathered our tickets and headed into the park. First we hit the Matterhorn, where there was a small line, and Moriah's parents promptly abandoned us for good seats when only 2 were available (they were given a hard time about this for some time...). Here's the back of their heads as they start their family fun without the rest of the family.


We also hit the Haunted Mansion on Sunday, since it was going to be closed starting Monday, so it was our only chance. It was decorated for Christmas, inside and out.


It was pretty neat that it was all done up as the Nightmare Before Christmas, but I think I prefer it the normal way (my favorite, you know).

We stopped at a taco shop in Downtown Disney for a light mid-afternoon snack before heading back to the hotel to actually check in. It started to lightly sprinkle as we finished eating. By the time we were done checking in to the hotel, it was raining pretty steadily, but we didn't let it stop us. We bundled up and headed back out.

I have never been to Disneyland when the lines were so short! It was like we owned the whole park. (I don't know if I could ever go back in the middle of summer - we didn't wait over 20 minutes for anything until the very last night.) The Christmas decorations were really great too - here is the best shot I could get (in the dark and through the rain) of Cinderella's Castle.

More later - I have a lot of pictures to mess with still and need to send them out to Moriah to share with her family.

**Special thanks to Jill, who sent me a long email of park tips. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to read it until getting back, since all the power was off in SC before we left. Jill- we did actually eat at that Mexican place you mentioned.**

Friday, January 04, 2008

Rarin' to Go

Well, I had planned to leave around 1pm for the first leg of my journey...but the whipping winds outside my window have waylaid me. I decided I'd push it back an hour or two until the major advisories were lifted, and hope that none of my roads are closed. I re-checked the weather channel and the local/bay area traffic, and it looks like the worst has cleared, so I'm venturing out. Wish me luck!

I just hope my friends' flight was able to land okay!

I'll be back in a week.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Count Down to Disney!

3 more days until Disney Land! Uh, that's if I'm counting right...I believe our reservations are for the 6th-9th, but I'm off of work starting Friday, so I can drive down to my friend's parents' house. I'll be spending the night there before we all drive down together on Saturday.

And no Dad...I haven't figured out the new GPS unit yet (um, it very possibly may still be in the box, just as you oh so brilliantly guessed in your email). I am planning on setting it up and downloading the necessities tomorrow night, and then test-running it on the way to Moriah's parents' place. I've done the drive a few times before (it's pretty straightforward), and have good directions from Moriah, so I think it would be a good time to test it.

Okay, so I haven't been down to DisneyLand in years (since that time I went with your family, Kerri!). Does anyone have any must see advice for me on the stuff that may not have been there in 2003? (The re-vamped Pirates ride is a must-do already...along with my usual haunts - which includes the Haunted Mansion - my favorite.)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

I hope everyone had fun ushering in the New Year. Here's the only shot of me from the night with my friend Kristin, taken before midnight. You can't really tell, but the hats do say Happy New Year on them. And I'm trying to see if she's stopped making faces at the camera, which is the exact moment her husband chose to snap the photo. (I would have done the same, I am sure!)

So - here's to a whole new year of fun, good health, great friends and happy families!