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Monday, September 27, 2010

Bizarre Phone Call

I just got the weirdest call on my cell phone. It was from a restricted number, so I almost didn't answer it, since all of my friends and family that would normally be calling me at 10:30 at night are programmed into my cell phone.

So, wary to start with, I flip open the phone and say hello. The person on the other line doesn't give any type of greeting, but rather starts out with a question that I think was something along the lines of "is this number my daughter's phone?" Or at least, that's what it sounded like to me, so I answered, "I don't think so." (My attempt at being polite, as the caller was obviously neither my mother nor my father.)

Other person asks if I've been calling her daughter, so I ask, "who are you?" thinking that maybe it's a friend's mom, which still really wouldn't make any sense, since all of my friends are independent adults to can choose with whom they associate.

She then tells me that her daughter is 8 and has been getting phone calls from this number. I told her that I don't think so, because I haven't called anyone whose number I am not familiar with, and certainly not any 8 year olds. She must sense the defensiveness in my tone, as she says "I'm not trying to accuse you." (Sure sounded that way to me.) She said maybe it was a similar number (? - wouldn't the exact number show on the cell phone's memory?), and asked if this was a CA number, as she was in CA. I don't see what difference that makes, since I have not called her daughter and she never even identified herself.

The call pretty much ended there. I'm totally annoyed, because I do feel like I've been accused of something, even though I know I never called any strange 8 year olds, and I have the phone records to prove that I never contacted her daughter. Though I can totally see how the mother of an 8 year old receiving strange calls would be concerned (I certainly would be), where did she get my cell phone number? I hardly ever make any outgoing phone calls from my cell that aren't to the same basic 5 or 6 people. Bizarre, I tell you! I wonder if she got the area code wrong or something.

Urgh. I wonder what kind of weird-o paranoid message I would have gotten if I hadn't answered the phone.

The person then says, "I'm in CA, is this a CA number?"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Few Random Questions and Comments

I went to the grocery store tonight and purchased 11 items. After the cashier at the 15-items or less checkout line finished ringing up my purchases, I somehow ended up with 4 separate bags. Does that seem disproportional and/or wasteful to anyone else?

If my freezer door has that rubberized seal around it's perimeter to keep all of the cold air in, then how did all of those ants manage to cross the threshold in order to die inside? I'll spare you the photo that I somehow talked myself out of taking. But, yes, the ants have invaded.

Just how much do the couples that appear on Bridezillas get paid? And - how much of it is staged? I have a hard time imagining anything that could be considered enough compensation for me to consent to a TV show portraying me in the worst, most selfish light possible. The website states that the brides will be generously compensated. But what about everyone else involved in their wedding that ends up looking crazy on national television?

I received a $75 gift certificate to Amazon for my birthday (thanks Dad & AM!). Now, what do I spend it on? True Blood seasons or yarn/craft supplies? I'm torn!

Why does the thought of developing jowls as I age freak me out? Seriously, it is what I fear the most about aging. I guess I am more vain than I thought!

Random Commentary - I am so happy that Undercover Boss is back on TV. What a great show!

Final Comment - I've given up on the natural flea control attempts and am going to give Gracie her first spot-on treatment tonight. I am tired of the constant vigilance and of Gracie's physical attacks that signal the end of our nightly flea-combing session. My arms can't take any more abuse! And poor Gracie must still be getting bitten, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Festival Time

For a few years now I've been volunteering at the annual Walnut Festival in Walnut Creek. It's all Kristin's fault, as she is my connection to the festival...she had been on the board of directors for the Walnut Festival Association for a few years and got me into working with them behind the scenes. The Walnut Festival Association is a non-profit group that raises money for community projects and causes, as well as scholarships for local students. Aside from the annual Walnut Festival, the Association also holds an Annual Crab Feed (lots of fun!), Art on the Main (an art festival), and the annual Twilight Parade (not associated with the Stephanie Meyer franchise), among a few other events.

This year, for the first time, Kristin convinced me to volunteer at the Twilight Parade. I ended up working the registration booth before the start of the parade, signing in the groups of participants. After the start of the parade, Kristin and I high-tailed it to the end of the parade route, speed-walking past the marching bands, antique model-A's and the motorcycles surrounding the Huey Helicopter being towed down South Main Street, all the while wearing atrocious bright orange vests to designate us as parade staff. I keep waiting to spot us in the background of someone's rough YouTube footage, but haven't yet (Whew!). Once at the end of the route, we stood around with the cops waving the participants through the blocked off intersection, trying to keep the parade moving without a bottleneck at the end. You know, it's difficult to convince people that they're allowed to run a red light in front of a plethora of policemen, even though the roads are blocked off to all other traffic... Even when they're going about 2 miles per hour.

It was pretty fun, and I'll probably do it again next year. I got to see a lot of the groups practicing their routines before the start of the parade, and talked to a few of them during registration. It was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes and to meet some of the people. I also learned about Blue Star Moms, who were chosen as the Grand Marshals of this year's parade. They are a non-profit, non-political, non-discriminatory organization that provides care packages to the troops, as well as additional support services. Check out the link for more details, or to donate items to be included in a care package. I might never have heard of them if I hadn't worked at the parade...

This coming weekend, I'm scheduled to volunteer at the Walnut Festival on Saturday afternoon. I've also roped my friend Kerri into it, since she'll be in the area visiting and has never been to the festival. If any of you local readers want to dedicate a few hours to the community, click here to send an email to the Walnut Festival Association or call the office at (925) 935-6766. They can definitely use your help on either Saturday or Sunday. (As an incentive, I believe you'll get in for free and have access to their hospitality area.) If you sign up to volunteer, drop me a line and let me know - I'd love to see you there!

Now, while you debate the question of volunteering, you can peruse a few of the photos I managed to snap while working the parade last weekend. (I was mostly busy, so didn't get too many.)

Who you gonna call? I know it's a Vintage Ambulance, but it sure does look like the Ghostbuster's car...

Well, you don't see that everyday...


I believe I was mid-sprint when I snapped this one...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What a Crock!

Fall foliage photo that I took in Denver, CO

(My apologies if I've already used that title in the past...)

Fall is coming, and it really felt like it today. It was downright cold by the time I left work this evening. Although Mr. Weatherman (name has been changed to maintain anonymity) says that it will warm up again soon, I'm already looking forward to switching to my fall/winter wardrobe. I'm done with this paltry excuse for a summer and ready for a real season. And since we only really have 2 here in CA, bring on the fall! Besides, my car needs a bath and I have a cute new umbrella (thanks Kerri!), so bring on the rain, too!

I am also looking forward to soup and stew weather, and all those fall veggies (hello butternut squash and pumpkin!). I was thinking about that this weekend while staring at the empty crock pot on my counter. It just doesn't feel right using it during the summer (I know people do it, but I tend to use it more October-March). So, I need to start stock-piling some healthy crock pot recipes to be put to use once the weather really starts cooling down.

Lo and behold... One of the first facebook posts I spied this evening was my friend linking to This blog belongs to Karen, who challenged herself to cooking in her crock pot for 365 days in a row with no repeated recipes. Check it out - it's worth it! I need to re-peruse the entries for cooking ideas. She didn't stop after her year was up either, and continues to add recipes and post new entries. Today she's having a contest for a cookbook giveaway. See here for how to enter.

In the meantime...since it's still officially summer, I think I have to go have some ice cream...and enjoy the arrival of new episodes of my favorite TV shows!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sucked In

You may have noticed that I didn't blog much last week. My explanation? I got sucked into True Blood, Season 1. I had toyed with the idea of downloading the series from iTunes, but wasn't sure if it would be too gory for me, and didn't want to cough up the cash and then not be able to even get through an episode. I have read most of the books (I still need to read the last 2...), and they are fun stuff.

Since I don't get HBO, I had reserved the complete series at the library months ago, and it was finally available and ready for me on Wednesday (a good day - out of work early for a doctor's appointment that went well, True Blood showed up and I got 20% off of my take out Thai Food - downside was the pound I gained at WW).

So, I watched all 12 (not enough) True Blood episodes over 5 days. I'm sure I would have finished them all sooner, but I had to show up for work during the week, and I did some volunteer work on Saturday. And it does have a lot of blood, but I rarely had to look away. I'd say it's probably on a par (gore-wise) with Gray's Anatomy, which I have to look away from sometimes, too.

I was pleasantly surprised with how humorous and relatively light the show is. I'm glad it's not overly dark and melodramatic. Now I may have to go back and re-read the first few books, since there were things I just don't remember (which may or may not actually be in the books...but again, I just can't remember). Oh yeah, and I love TV Sam, even though he is a little over-jealous. TV Bill leaves something to be desired... And speaking of desire, I was not expecting all the sex on this show. I don't think there's quite as much in the books, but then, that's probably why it's on HBO and not NBC. Not that I'm complaining...

I went ahead and reserved the second season from the library, but I won't get it nearly soon enough. As of yesterday afternoon, I was number 202 in line on the holds list. They have 14 copies in circulation in my library, it'll be a while. Unless of course anyone wants to donate. Anyone?

In the meantime, I think I'll re-watch the series at least once before I return it to the library. I'm going to see how it is with the commentary turned on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Official...

I'm old.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I can no longer say I'm in my early thirties, since I'm smack in the middle now. And who knew I'd start falling apart so fast only 1 day into 35?

On Friday, I started experiencing some mild pain/aches at the base of my neck, between my shoulder blades, radiating mildly to my left elbow. I blamed (and still do) the ergonomically incorrectness of my current desk. It didn't last long though, and only happened a few times that day. It was pretty rare on Saturday, too. (Probably because I was still only in my early thirties.)

I didn't notice it too much yesterday, except for when I picked up and transported the watermelon to the family dinner birthday shindig. (Luckily, my step-brother got to the house at the same time as I did, and volunteered to carry it in. Sucker!) Then I couldn't find a comfortable position when I was trying to go to sleep...every movement seemed to trigger the feeling, which is more annoying than painful, but still not pleasant.

So, since it was appearing to be gradually getting worse this morning, I decided to make an appointment to see my doctor. And I did, using the online appointment center and choosing the soonest available appointment. I ran it by my boss and was taking off from work early to make my late afternoon appointment. I was feeling all good about not putting it off until the pain got bad, and was happy that I'd most likely be getting home early to cook up something healthy for dinner. (My boss had told me I didn't have to come back in after the appointment.)

I got up to the check-in desk a few minutes late, but not many, and was happy to see that there were no patients waiting. That never happens! Then after I handed my insurance card to the nurse (or whatever position mans that desk) and told her who I was there to see, she gave me kind of a funny look and turned to her computer.

Then my newfound elderly status came into play...

At least she was nice about know you have to be careful with the mentally instable. You just never know how they'll react.

It turns out that my appointment wasn't for today. It's not until Wednesday!!! I checked my appointment time when I made it, and before I left the office. How did I never look at the date? DUH! So in addition to what I think is probably a pinched nerve, I am also losing my mind!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect...

Or in this case, practice makes slightly better than barely trying...

As you may know, I have a slight yarn addiction. This has led to an accumulation of yarn-related items, including fun little magazines with ideas for projects (and actual projects, too). While flipping through the latest issue of Knit Simple (it sounded like it might fit my very limited knitting skill level), I found the section of nature inspired afghans. There are 3 afghans shown, all of which are pieced motifs. I thought I'd try out two of these motifs to practice increasing and decreasing, which I've been kind of afraid of, since I am not great at fixing my mistakes unless it's a straight knit or purl row.

I used some spare cheap-o cotton yarn I had laying around (Sugar 'n Cream, I think - the label is long gone) to whip up the 2 motifs over the weekend. The originals look like this and this. Here are my 2 attempts:

I had to rip out both of them at least once after the first few rows... I was convinced that the falling leaves one (the more diamond shaped one) was misshapen and supposed to be square, but then looked at the original photo more clearly. Looks like I didn't screw it up after all!

I was actually pretty proud of my results, even though the gauge on the square one is totally and noticeably uneven.

I gave these to my little brother Gino, who kept asking me if knitting was hard (only, he kept pronouncing it "nipping," and I kept correcting him). At one point, he said he wished he knew how to knit. Maybe I'll try to teach him next time I'm there. I didn't have a spare set of needles on me this time, or I would have given it a shot.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Tinkering Around

I decided to spend my long weekend at my father's house, and was lucky enough to have my boss come through on Friday around noon to tell us all to leave early. A good start to the weekend! For once, I was able to make it to Dad's in time for dinner.

On Saturday morning, the local fire station was having a fundraiser and yard sale at the station. My father took my little brother over there early in the morning and came home with this:
The find of the Century!

Dad was very excited that he found this full set of Tinkertoys in the original packaging, plus a giant old mayonnaise jar (I'm talking Costco sized!) of more old Tinkertoy parts. The fun is his childhood, for only $1!! The original directions were in the canister, with another set in the jar. It looks like they've been in someone's attic or garage for a few good storms...The instructions are dated 1942.
Gino builds his own house.

Gino couldn't wait to play with these (who needs computers?) and is lucky that Dad actually let him, since Dad is afraid that Gino will destroy them. Yes, they've survived 70 years of use, but can they survive Gino? It's doubtful, since just now, as I was writing this blog entry, he came running over to show me a piece that broke...
Disaster Strikes in Tinker Town!

I keep trying to explain to Gino that these are Daddy's toys, and he needs to be very careful with them. Somehow, I don't think it's sinking into his 6 year old mind. Silly kid seems to think they're his! He has made quite a few interesting items, including a feeding bin like the ones at the barn, an "electricity building" with a windmill, and lots of attached squares... He has also already managed to whack himself in the face with a stick that he was spinning in front of himself. I tried to warn him, but to no avail...

Needless to say, that $1 has been well spent. And as you can see, Gino is not the only one enjoying them.
Move it kid, Daddy's playing!

In addition to his childhood memories, Dad also picked up an old crochet book for me (the books were all free), some little puzzles for Gino, and a dinner bell that I believe he will soon live to regret. I did drag Gino back later in the day to get a peek at the free books, but didn't find any other craft books worth the price tag (pretty bad, when the price is $0). I did grab a Debbie Macomber book (The Shop on Blossom Street) that I hadn't read and a book of crossword puzzles, but didn't find any items to rival the Tinkertoys...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Just Call Me June...

...because I am just busting out all over. And in more ways than one.

I was having one of those days where you know you're really not any heavier than the day before, but you feel like you've gained 10 pounds overnight. This is probably due to the fact that I actually have gained about 10 pounds over the last 6 months (or less). Add that to the fact that I was wearing a pair of pants at least a half of a size too small today (poor planning on my part and a sure sign that I need to go shopping again), that has a metal buckle sewn into the waistband... I was sitting at my desk fantasizing about being able to finally take them off! That buckle was just digging into my flesh all day long. I'm surprised I'm not actually bruised.

So, in addition to feeling like an uber-chunk all day, I also have this giant pimple (not a flea bite even) smack in the middle of my forehead, the likes of which I don't think I've seen since high school. How incredibly attractive!

*sigh* I need to work my diet and shake these 10 pounds. I can feel the difference, and I don't like it! The random adult break-outs I will just have to deal with, because they probably are going to keep happening.