Party like a college kid

December 27, 2009

After Christmas was the annual (although a first for Chris and I) Ugly Christmas Sweaters and Edward 40Hands Party. Here is how you play.

1. Find a safe venue with plenty of blankets and pillows so that no one has to drive home after the party.
2. Invite all your friends. Make sure they know that if they participate in the game they will be staying the night.
3. Beg, buy, or borrow an overly-festive sweater.
4. Purchase two 40-oz beers for yourself and any other players with whom you are supplying beverages.
5. Ignore the strange looks from the other people in line when you have to ask the gas station clerk to go in the back cooler for more 40's because you wiped out their selection in the front case.
6. Go to discount store and get duct tape, aspirin, and Gatorade.
7. Head to the party venue, put on your sweater, get out your 40's, and wait for the fun to begin.

Sweaters and 40s

You may notice from this photo that Chloe got to participate as well. She loved her sweater. Chris thought it robbed her of dignity, but I thought it was cute.  And festive.

Chloe 1

See how much she loves it?

Chloe 2

Yep, she just LOVED wearing that sweater.

Chloe 3

About halfway through the night, her sweater mysteriously "disappeared." I did not think she looked any more dignified, though.

It's Snowy in Iowa



Plus This:

xmas tree

Equals Christmas in Iowa.

Happy Holidays.

Product Advertisement Fail

December 25, 2009

On the drive from Kansas to Iowa, we stopped for gas and to pick up a little lunch.  See if you can figure out what is wrong with this picture:

signs 1

Got it yet? Here's a hint:

signs 3

That's right. For the low, low, price of just two quarters, you can get yourself an ice cream cone IN THE MIDDLE OF A BLIZZARD.

signs 2

Somebody at the McDonald's in the middle of Iowa must have had a sense of humor. 

(And yes, Chris said I was a weirdo for making him stop the car on the way out of the drive-thru so I could take these pictures.)

In Which we are not Smarter than a Coffeepot

December 23, 2009

Apparently my brother's coffee pot has "intelligent design."  I say this not because it is a special super-fancy coffee pot with lots of features, but because it outsmarted both myself and my husband.

It is in fact a pretty standard coffee pot, the only exception being that it is made by a different company than the one that made my coffee pot at home.  I stood in my brother's kitchen this morning, peering closely at the coffee pot, trying to figure out how to open the little compartment that you put the coffee grounds in.  After five minutes or so, Chris came over.  He couldn't figure it out either.

I gave up.  I figured if the coffee pot had outsmarted me, then I didn't deserve to have coffee that morning anyway.

My dad went over to have a crack at it, and of course figured out how to open the compartment within about 30 seconds.  At least Chris couldn't make fun of me, because he hadn't gotten the coffee pot open either.

Although when it came time to pour the coffee, I discovered its design maybe wasn't so intelligent.  In fact, it seemed to have the exact same design as every coffee pot I've ever encountered: leaky.  I don't understand why, but it is almost impossible to pour a cup of coffee from any coffee pot without losing a little to the countertop:


P.S.  Can you guess what company employs my brother?  Here's a hint: that's his coffee mug on the left.

Christmas in Kansas

On Sunday, we flew in to Manhattan (Kansas).  This is Chris's first visit to the city where I grew up, so I have big plans to show him all the sights.  So far we have seen the Kansas River:

Manhattan 2

We also saw the mall, downtown (all 4 blocks of it), and some of the new developments (we've now got a Bed Bath and Beyond, and a Best Buy).  Mostly, we have been hanging out with family and relaxing.

We did some Christmas shopping at the mall:

Xmas Tree Mall

And even got to see Santa while we were there.  What is it about Santa that seems to be universally intimidating to young kids?


I also took a trip to the local supermarket chain, Dillons.  Since we were buying a turkey, and having a Dillons card would save me about $8.00, I decided to sign myself up.  Even though I'll be here a total of 4 days and then never use it again.  Oh well, I'll just add it to my collection, I thought to myself.

As it turns out, the next day my sister-in-law and I had to run to the store again to get ingredients for Eggnog.  Actually, we had to run to three stores.  My sister-in-law was going all out, and she was making eggnog from scratch.  So we went to the Hy-Vee (Store #1).  The Hy-Vee had eggs, but they were out of heavy cream.  We stood there, looking sadly at the refrigerated display.  A lady standing next to us asked what we were making.  We told her, and her response was, "From scratch?  You know they sell that stuff pre-made?"

Pbbft.  Not as fun.  So we were off to Store #2, the Liquor Store (because FYI -- in Kansas you cannot buy liquor at the grocery store).  Liquor has its own special store, just to make sure you really have to go out of your way.

And then our eggnog-making trip was almost complete... we just needed some heavy cream.  So we went to the Dillons (Store #3).  As we were at the self-checkout paying for our heavy cream, I began digging around in my purse for the Dillons card.  The attendant approached us.

Attendant:  "Can I help you ladies?"
Me:  "Oh, I can't seem to find my Dillons card."
Attendant:  "Did you try putting in an alternate ID?  Your phone number?"
Me:  "Yeah, but it didn't recognize it.  I just got my card yesterday, so it's probably not in the system yet."
Attendant:  "Wait, you got your card yesterday, and you can't find it?"
Me:  "Um, yes."
Attendant:  "You're serious?  You just got it yesterday and you lost it already?"
Me:  "Yeah, what's your point?"

How to freak out your dental assistant

December 16, 2009

I had a dentist appointment today, and while I won't go so far as to say that I like going to the dentist, I will say that I don't mind it so much.  This is largely due to the fact that I have never had a cavity and therefore never been subject to the painful and tedious side of dentistry.

Everything looked good on my checkup, but I did need some work done to the sealants on my back molars.  The original plan was to sand down the sealants and apply new sealant without anesthetic.  This plan did not last very long.

So they gave me a shot to numb my upper and lower jaw and some topical stuff that they stuck into my mouth on Q-tip looking things.  And then we waited.

Since I've never had Novocaine before, I asked the dental assistant lady how long it was supposed to take.

"Your mouth will feel a little tingly, and when that subsides, then it should be numb."

"And what was that other stuff, the goo on Q-tips?  That was a topical anaesthetic?"

"Yes, that's a topical anaesthetic."

"It tastes kind of like air freshener."

She looks at me funny.  "You've eaten air freshener before?"

"Well, no, I mean... it tastes kind of coconut-y, but nasty, you know, like you would imagine air freshener would taste."

She is still looking at me kind of funny.

"You know, like those air fresheners that you hang in your car... at least it smells like that..."  This is not helping my case any.

"Pina Colada."  She takes pity on me and stops my rambling.

"Yeah, that's it."

There were a few moments of silence.

"Is it feeling tingly now?" she asks.

"Well, yeah, my jaw and chin on this side feel kind of tingly, but not completely numb.  Kind of like after you get punched in the mouth..."

She gives me another one of those funny looks and I hastily amend, "NOT that I've ever been punched in the mouth.  Or anything."

"I'm beginning to wonder about you," she says, and although her face was still smiling she scooted her rolly-chair a little farther away.

I decided it was best not to use any more metaphors to describe the level of effectiveness of my anesthetic, and kept quiet until the dentist returned to complete my dental work.

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

December 14, 2009

There is this commercial on TV now... I think it's for a discount department store?  It features a group of people drinking wine, eating hors d'oeuvres, laughing and chatting in their cocktail-party clothes, while candles on the table gently illuminate the fancy place settings. 

And every time I see it, I think, "I WANT TO BE AT THAT PARTY!  It looks like fun and it doesn't even involve objects that must be thrown, driven really fast, or smashed into each other."

(I don't know who these people are -------------------->
but they look like they're having a good time, except for those really uncomfortable chairs they have to sit in)

Don't get me wrong: redneck stuff is fun.  Well, the redneck stuff that I've done anyway.  Which is actually pretty mild as far as redneck goes.  I mean, NASCAR and country music and beer does not a redneck make.  You need to add a few things, like a mullet haircut and a t-shirt with the arms cut off, and subtract a few things, like, um, teeth, and then you get a redneck.

But I did live in a 38-foot fifth wheel for almost two years.

Let me repeat that.  I LIVED in a TRAILER for almost two YEARS.


You know that old saying, "You can live in your car, but you can't drive your house?"  Nuh-uh.  I could live in my house and drive my house.  

My husband did some fancy number-crunching with the budget and all the money we'd save, and how we'd be spending our living allowance on something we would eventually own instead of pissing it away on rent, blah blah blah.  I agreed to 8 months.

1 year and 8 months later, we finally retired the fifth wheel and moved into a rented house with some roommates.  I prefer to think of the fifth-wheel time as the "marriage test."  Because if two people can live together in a trailer with a dog and a cat, and then get up and go to work every day (at the same place) where our offices are so close they literally share a wall, and the husband can learn to deal with a closet allotment the size of a toaster (because, let's face it, the closet wasn't big to begin with) and the wife learns to deal with banged shins (because, let's face it, she's not graceful in normal-sized rooms), and these two people don't kill each other?  Ah, marital bliss.

The Price of Beauty

December 12, 2009

Q:   What is the difference between the $40 hair spray and the $9 hair spray?
A:   Whether or not you want to smell like a classy lady or a cheap hooker.

When one has to be at work at 6am to stand outside in the dark/early dawn for half an hour, having wet hair is a big downside (especially in the wintertime).  And getting up earlier to allow hair-drying time?  Ugh... I believe we've already established how I feel about the early morning hours.

So I have become a fan of the "dry shampoo."  It's basically really expensive baby powder in an aerosol spray can.  And for those of you not in the know, aside from its uses on baby's butts and making young actors look like old people in high school plays, baby powder is also good for reviving your hair to its freshly-washed look.  With the aerosol can, I can shower the night before, and just spray a quick pick-me-up in the morning.

The problem with the dry shampoo is that you can't find it in any old store.  And the only specialty stores I've found here don't carry the name brand stuff.  So I bought the knock-off stuff:


(Doesn't the pink-and-teal canister with the awkward flowers just scream class?)

Oh, boy, was that a mistake.  One tiny spritz of this stuff and the whole room smells like 20 teenage girls getting ready for their first prom.

Chris walks in the room and immediately asks, "Um honey, what is that? Did you get a new...um...perfume?"  And he says the word "perfume" with a kind of question in his voice and a pained look on his face.  I'm sure he is thinking something along the lines of please don't tell me you like that awful scent.  I reassure him that I, also, think it smells awful.  Kind of like somebody raided the perfume aisle at Wal-Mart, poured out the contents of every single bottle on to the floor, and then rolled around in the mixture.

Chris almost sighed in relief at this, since had I answered "Yes, it's my new perfume do you like it?" he would have been in a very tricky situation for any male: having to answer one of those lose-lose questions like "does this dress make me look fat?"  If he agreed, I'd be happy but he would have to smell that wretched scent for several days until the bottle "mysteriously disappeared", and if he disagreed, he wouldn't have to smell it but he would have to deal with a pissy wife.

I think we are both in agreement that the fancy stuff is worth every penny of that extra twenty dollars.

The Sniff Test

December 07, 2009

Chris and I have differing opinions on when food in the refrigerator is still edible.

For the most part, as long as the food item still passes the "sniff test," I figure it is still edible.  The only foods which don't get the sniff test: bread, and meat.  Bread does not get the sniff test because you can usually tell if it's bad long before you need to smell it.  It's either hard as a rock, moldy, or (if it's been long enough) hard and moldy.  Meat does not get the sniff test because the thought of eating rotten meat really, really, really, grosses me out.  Sometimes I throw away meat before the expiration date, if it's been open in my fridge long enough.

Chris openly mocks my "sniff test" but, hey, I made it through college without once getting food poisoning.  Although I hear that all it takes is one really good bout of food poisoning to change a person's mind about how soon is too soon to throw food away.

Chris, on the other hand, is a tosser.  If the food item is even slightly questionable -- in the trash it goes.  "Honey," he says, "we can afford to go to the store and buy more cheese.  You don't have to cut the moldy spot off and keep eating it."  And he then proceeds to throw away the moldy cheese, the bendable carrots, and the lettuce that was only slightly slimy on some of the leaves while I follow him to the trashcan wailing, "nooooo...I was going to eat those carrots, I swear!"

Okay, maybe it doesn't go down quite that dramatically.  But you get the picture.  So given our history, you would think Chris would've worked on his approach a little bit.  You know, try and let me down gently to expect that certain items in the refrigerator would be missing.  Nope, not my husband.  I walk into the kitchen tonight and am immediately bombarded with, "Honey, I cleaned out the fridge and I threw away EVERYTHING!"

Now, had he started with, "Honey, the fridge was getting a little crowded so I had to toss some things that were spoiled." I might have been a little more receptive.  But I was immediately on the defensive after hearing that he had tossed, as he put it, EVERYTHING!

"Like what did you throw away?"


"Um, okay..." since he won't give me specifics, I open the fridge and start digging frantically through the vegetable drawers.

"Where is my spinach?"

"It was slimy."

"No it was NOT.  I just bought it a few days ago!  I just ATE some YESTERDAY!"

"It was slimy.  Even our roommates saw that it was slimy."

"Whatever, so it magically got slimy overnight?  Hmph."

Chris holds up a tupperware container.  "How about this?  Can I throw this out?  It's been in the fridge forever."

I glanced at it.  "That's not mine.  I don't care if you toss it."

"Are you sure it isn't yours?  It looks like something you would eat."

It finally clicked, and I realized that was the Thai Stir-Fry Chicken that I cooked last month.  "Oh, yeah, maybe it was mine.  But you can toss it."

Chris laughed. "See, it's been so long that you don't even REMEMBER it."

I just rolled my eyes (because that last part was kind of true) and walked out of the kitchen, leaving him to his fun.  However now that I think about it, I don't recall seeing that half a red onion that was only barely dried out at the cut part and still good for dicing...

Why, oh why, do you taunt me food commercials?

December 06, 2009

So recently I joined a new gym.  I am super excited because this gym is very clean and does not smell like dirty socks, like my last gym did.  Also, I do not believe the homeless schizophrenic lady who dances at the corner of the AM-PM has a membership to this gym.  Maybe you think I'm joking.  No, there really is a homeless lady (at least, I think she is homeless since she spends 95% of her free time in front of the AM-PM) and she really is schizophrenic (it's like listening to a one-sided telephone conversation, only the other side isn't on the other line, it's in her head), she really does dance in front of the AM-PM (she wears her sports bra and shorts and has on headphones and dances to the music, on the sidewalk in front of the gas station) and she really is a member of my old gym.  As in, I hear her talking to herself in the ladies locker room and have to use equipment after her, member.

But enough about my old gym.  Let's talk about my new gym.  Aside from being clean, the people that go to this gym are a lot more serious about working out.  You see a lot of people who are in shape, and everyone who is there is actually working out.  At my old gym, there were a people who just wanted to say they went to the gym, so they spent their time wandering around amongst the equipment while texting on their cell phones.  My new gym is a lot more hard-core: they have this boot camp thing that's run by this guy who I think is super nice in real life but a total drill sergeant during boot camp time.  Boot camp involves very loud music and lots of yelling and really hard-core looking activities.  There is even one that involves shaking a large metal chain, which only adds to the noise and hard-core element.  Everybody is always sweaty and tired-looking, but they seem to enjoy it. 

I haven't needed to try the boot camp yet because I got myself a personal trainer.  My trainer is awesome.  He really knows his stuff, and he is dedicated to his clients.  Even if you are not there for a training session, he will help you with your workout at the gym.  He's "that guy" at the gym -- the one that everybody comes up to asking advice about working out and nutrition and stuff.  Even after my first training session when I was sore for two days and winced every time I had to sit down, I still thought he was awesome.  I have a lot a faith that this guy is going to help me get back in shape.

But you want to know what doesn't help?  Television advertisements for food.  Friday evening I was at the gym, and I had snacked before my workout but it was too early for dinner.  I didn't really think I was hungry... until the commercials started on the gym TVs.  Who would have thought that EVERY SINGLE commercial just had to be about food?  Like Pavlov's dog, not only was I now hungry, but I wanted those delicious looking meals they kept talking about on the television.  It was like the TV gods knew I was trying to eat healthy, and while I was at the gym working out they would taunt me with images of all the delicious, unhealthy foods I was not eating at that exact moment.

The upside to seeing all those commercials while you are at the gym?  You can remember exactly how hard you worked that day, and so you don't want to destroy all your hard work for a slice of pepperoni pizza or a holiday cookie or fried chicken.  It just doesn't feel worth it, somehow.

Put Away Your Tinfoil!

November 29, 2009

People are silly.

Hollywood makes a movie and suddenly, everyone believes that the world is going to end in 2012?  I mean, it's all fine and good if you follow some sort of conspiracy theory based on Nostradamus' predictions or Mayan calendars or even actual scientific fact... but don't start jumping on the bandwagon because Hollywood tells you so!  I mean, c'mon, if everything Hollywood says is true, giant alien robots are secretly living amongst us, vampires are mostly-harmless tortured souls struggling against their evil nature while falling madly in love with teenage girls, and every bachelor party in Vegas ends up at the hotel room with a baby in the closet and a tiger in the bathroom.

I mean, I KNOW people who had their bachelor parties in Vegas, and I'm pretty sure there weren't any tigers involved.  Mostly sure, anyway.  I wasn't there, after all.

But here's the thing.  NASA comes out with a statement that basically says, "The world is not going to end in 2012 so please stop calling us."

Okay, my first question is, how do you find out the phone number for NASA?  Which is closely followed by my second question, why do you want to contact NASA anyway?  Even if they DID have the answers, and there WAS some sort of conspiracy theory, do you really think that after dozens of years of keeping this big fat secret, they would answer some random person's phone call with, "Oh, yeah, that.  Sure it's true.  Don't tell your friends."

No, I don't believe the world is going to end in 2012.  And you shouldn't either.  At least, not just because Hollywood says so.  Find some science, people, before you put on your tinfoil hats.

The Giving of Thanks

Ever since I was a kid, I made it a point to frequently remind myself of the blessings in my life.  I have a very clear memory of myself at eleven, sitting in my bedroom and mentally ticking off all the things I was thankful for.  And it wasn't even Thanksgiving.

I've continued the tradition throughout my twenties.  In college, I once spent several months being bummed over a particularly painful breakup.  At the same time, I had to deal with the aftermath of an auto accident that put my car in a rather shady auto shop being "repaired" for over six weeks.  I had to walk everywhere.  In the wintertime.  And it was finals.  To combat my blues, I made a list of all the things that I did have to be thankful for, and carried it around with me everywhere.  It helped to put a little perspective on the whole thing, like when I found out my car was going to be yet another week in the shop because, ahem, apparently some rats got to the sun visor when it was being stored in the back of their shop.  Not kidding.  Rats.  So, without further ado... My list.  (And I do so looove making lists).


My Husband.  (What kind of wife would I be if I didn't list him first?)

My Family.  Mom, Dad, Brother, Brother's Wife and Little Evyl (who is the sweetest little thing EVER).

My Family-by-marriage.  Chris's family is so cool.

My Friends.  I feel honored to know people who truly care about me.

My Job.  It may not be my dream job, but it's nothing to sneeze at, either.  And one should be especially thankful in this economy.

Of course, all the old standbys still apply: clean water, food on the table, money in my pocket, a roof over my head, and clothes to keep me warm.  And let's not forget the luxuries:  hot showers, chocolate-chip cookies, and movies-on-demand.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Race Day at the NASCARs

November 23, 2009

So, previously I mentioned that people-watching is one of my favorite pastimes at The Nascars. On Saturday night, A-Star, Fashion, Sassy, and I made our way to the “Speed Cantina”. For Fashion and Sassy, this was not only their first Nascar, but their first “wilderness” camping trip. Fashion wondered if she should bring a dress. Sassy brought her cowboy boots. Turns out, it didn’t matter what they wore, because the bar attire was anything-goes.

The bar party that night was 80’s themed -- but that translated into “wear any sort of costume because who really brings their leggings and hairspray to Nascar.”  Welcome to a NASCAR bar party:
  • There was a man wearing a plastic Viking helmet with a balloon tied to one of the horns.
  • There was a man in a giant fuzzy purple hat and pimp coat with a baseball-sized mardi gras bead necklace
  • There was a man with a detective mustache, and a hairstyle that hadn’t changed since the 80s, who was NOT in costume
  • And then…. There was a man in a giant, sparkly, turkey costume.

Because, you know, when I’m packing for Nascar I think, hmmm, now what I am going to wear to the bar on Saturday night? Jeans? No. T-shirt? No. Something a little more unique… I KNOW! My giant sparkly turkey costume!!!

So we cut a rug on the dance floor, and I gave the DJ his first tip of the night. The girls leaned over to request a song, and the DJ says, “Okay, here’s to Krista, my first tipper of the night!” .....And then he played “Single Ladies” by Beyonce. The DJ had misunderstood the girls’ request, so the dedication was a little awkward, because none of us were single.

Our biggest competition on the dance floor was a Chad Kroeger look-alike (well, I should say the drunken redneck version of Nickleback’s lead singer). He kept stumbling into us and spilling his drink on us, and generally being obnoxious. He couldn’t figure out why Sassy kept giving him the death glare. At one point, he informed Sassy that “her hair was invading his dance space” which earned him another Death Glare. Later on, he pushed his way into the front of the dance floor, knocked us out of the way, and then proceeded to drop to the ground and do ten pushups.


A-star made fun of him by doing mock situps on the dance floor. The DJ thought it was hilarious, but I was afraid the giant sparkly turkey or the old man with glow-stick in his water bottle might accidentally step on her, so we quickly aborted her efforts at mockery.

Finally, our ears were ringing and we were tired, so we left the bar and walked back to camp. The next day was race day, after all, and we had GOALS to meet.

Goal: sneak two cans of beer into the track. (It’s expensive in there!).
Status: Goal attained.

Goal: watch the entire race
Status: Not accomplished.

Goal: Fit in with the Nascar-folk
Status: Goal attained (mostly)

Goal: Buy the tackiest, most redneck-hick t-shirt possible, preferably with camoflauge, the driver’s face, an American flag, AND an eagle on it
Status: Goal attained.

I enjoyed my two tasty beers, Fashion discovered that the only dresses that are acceptable to wear at Nascar are the type of dresses she is too classy to wear, Sassy noticed several fellows with her same shirt that further proved she did indeed choose the tackiest one, and A-star…. Well, A-star fell asleep for the last 20 laps of the race. Actually, A-Star and Sassy and Orange County fell asleep. At the noisiest sporting event known to man. It was so funny, that random passer-by going up the stairs stopped to point and laugh.

What can I say? All that dancing the night before… they were just plumb tuckered out.

Minor Details

November 22, 2009

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the small, teeny-tiny, almost-inconsequential snafu in our Nascar plans.  No big deal, really....

The flight out of our rural airport near LA was a little hurried.  In the space of an hour, the sky had darkened significantly, and the wind was picking up.  If it got much windier, we wouldn't be able to take off, so we hurried to get everything in order for flight.  We (or rather, Chris, I can't really take credit) made a smooth takeoff and were on our way to Phoenix.  We had a decent tail wind so the flight was going to be about 2 hours.

An hour passes.

Chris looks at me and asks in an offhand way, "You grabbed the Nascar tickets, right?"

The immediate look of complete and utter horror on my face was answer enough.


I kept waiting for him to crack a smile, say, hey just kidding, I grabbed them on the way out but HAHA wasn't that a funny joke?

Unfortunately, he was not joking.  And neither was I.  The tickets were in California... and we were halfway to Arizona.  We couldn't exactly turn around, either, because the weather back in California was only supposed to get worse, so making it in and out of that airport a second time would be a difficult feat.

"Well," Chris said (he was surprisingly calm after his initial outburst), "YOU are responsible for figuring out how we are getting in to Nascar." 

You see the thing is, it wasn't just our tickets I forgot.  It was all the tickets for our entire group of 8.  And yes, I could have pointed out the fact that Chris, also, forgot to grab the tickets off the kitchen counter.  However since the tickets were originally mailed to Arizona and it was my brilliant self who decided to take them back to California (despite Chris's advice otherwise), it therefore became my responsibility to bring the tickets back to Arizona.  Also, it's never a good idea to aggravate the pilot who's keeping you aloft at 10,000 feet.

To be honest, I completely forgot about the tickets.  I may have mentioned this in my previous post, but I'm not really going to Nascar to watch the race.  The tickets are rather inconsequential if you think about it that way. You know, one of those minor details.

I picked up my phone and began texting furiously.

For the most part, everyone's reaction was, OMG DID YOU TELL CHRIS YET?!

Luckily, roommate Payson was also going to Arizona that weekend.  He couldn't get the Friday off, so he was driving back instead of flying with us.  After several minutes of nail-biting, I got a hold of Payson.  He would bring the tickets when he left the next day.

We picked up Chris's Iowa friends and family from the airport Friday morning, then drove around completing various errands... getting firewood, grocery shopping, filling the RV propane and water tanks... etc.  Then we headed out to the racetrack, about an hour's drive from our side of town.

And what do you know, Payson had PERFECT timing.  And by perfect, I mean he left California and drove east until he reached the racetrack exit, and we left Phoenix and drove west until we reached the racetrack exit AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.  Literally, we pulled off onto the exit and he pulled off, coming from the other direction, right behind us.

Sweeeet.  Saved by the bell.  Or rather, a very, very, nice roommate.


November 18, 2009

My husband and I attended the NASCAR race last weekend.

So at this Nascar race thing, a bunch of guys get in cars with lots of advertisements painted on them, and they drive around in a circle about 300 times. It’s the big draw, apparently. But it is not why I go to The Nascars.

I go to The Nascars for the people-watching.

My husband’s sister, his cousin, his best friend, and his sister’s two friends flew out from the Midwest to join us at The Nascars. Two of our other friends who lived locally, Sleepy and Orange County, also joined us for a weekend of fun.  It was the first Nascar race for his sister’s friends, and unfortunately we forgot to lay out the ground rule to the newbies.

There is only one ground rule, and it is: Don’t Pay Attention to the Rif-Raf.

Camping at Nascar (and by “camping” I mean, parking our RV on a dirt parking lot) is as much a part of the event as the race itself. Hundreds of people spend the weekend or, for the hard core – the week –and it is essentially a giant party where no one has to worry about driving anywhere afterwards.

Due to the parking-lot arrangement, people are constantly walking by your campsite and, eventually, one of them will stumble in to your personal space. Since usually alcohol is involved, this stumbling is both figurative and literal.

You see, the thing is, most of the cool people have their own friends. That they are busy hanging out with. At their own campsite.

So you learn the art of deflection. You are polite (because it’s never a good idea to piss off a redneck), but impersonal (you don’t want them to feel welcome, either). In other words, don’t pay attention to the rif-raf.  Well since we forgot to debrief the newbies, Fashion and Sassy, they accidentally paid too much attention when our drunken neighbor wandered over to say hello.

“Hey,” he slurred, “can I hang out with you guys for a while? My friend had to go to the hospital so I don’t have anyone to hang out with.”

Fashion, in an attempt to be polite, feigned interest in his friend’s hospital story and -- just like that – he was perched on a camp chair telling us all about the many times he managed to catch himself on fire.  No, seriously. Rif-Raf has caught himself on fire not once – not twice – but THREE times. You see what I mean about the cool people having their own friends to hang out with.

“What, did you miss kindergarten through first grade?” Sassy interrupts. “You know, stop, drop, and roll?”

“Hey,” says Rif-Raf suddenly, “Does anyone have an iPhone charger? I need to call my friend in the hospital. He tripped and gashed his head open and he had to go to the ER.”

There was a pause, while the three of us with iPhone chargers fidgeted in silence. No one wanted to give the rif-raf an excuse to stay longer. Unfortunately, Chris’s sister, A-star, had never really gotten the debriefing either.

“Oh yeah,” she says helpfully, “I’ve got one!”

In between Rif-Raf's burn stories, we managed to pull Fashion and A-star aside and explain the cardinal rule of Nascar.  With Fashion there is no middle ground. She immediately began her campaign to rid us of Rif-Raf. A short while later, we went inside the RV to make ourselves some more... um... root beer floats... when Rif-Raf wandered in to check on his phone’s status.

“I don’t think it’s charging” he said, looking intently at his phone.

“Oh yeah, it’s charged.” Says Fashion in her best dismissive voice. She unplugs the phone and hands it to Rif-Raf. “Here you go.”

“But it’s not even turning on…” Even in his drunken state Rif-Raf could recognize that the phone hadn’t been plugged in long enough to charge.

“It’s charged.  Buh-bye.” And she all but shoved him out the door, phone in hand.

He went outside, looking confused. “I think they hate me,” he remarked to the guys sitting around the campfire, “and I didn’t even try to hit on them!”

Eveuntally Rif-Raf “got the hint” and wandered back to his own campsite. Later that night, his friend Stitches returned from the hospital.

Yes, that’s right. His friend WENT TO THE HOSPITAL and got SIX STITCHES on his forehead. And then RETURNED TO CAMP AT NASCAR.

Luckily, we did not see much of Rif-Raf and Stitches the rest of the weekend. I think it might have had something to do with “YourphoneischargedBUH-Bye.”

Maybe I Should Consider the Flu Shot

November 07, 2009

It's weird to think of "cold and flu" season when the weather is sunny, gorgeous, and a perfect 75 degrees with a light breeze. (Hey, I gotta get my digs in while I can. Summer here is hotter than that place with the fire and brimstone).

But it is. Cold and flu season, that is. I share a house with my husband and 3 roommates. They are ALL sick. To that effect, I have dissociated myself with them and have made 4 new friends:

Vitamins (C and Zinc)
Suppliments (echinacea, airborne, emergen-c)
Antibacterial soap

So far my new friends have been good to me.

It all started, as it usually does, with roommate #1 getting sick. Roomie #1, "Payson," thought it would be a good idea to hang out in the living room and cough while the boys (excuse me, "grown men") were watching football. Payson then, in his infinite wisdom, took some NyQuil and fell asleep on the couch. And snored very loudly. Instead of going to his room, where he could snore in peace and not contaminate the rest of us. (But football was on! Can't miss that!)

Roommate #2 (Let's call him Cue) and The Husband started getting worried about their own health. They didn't come out and say it, but I figured it out because Cue and the husband started taking Vitamin C like it was going out of style. And it takes a lot for a grown man to voluntairly take vitamins.

The next day, roommate #3 (Canook) was complaining that he was feeling ill. The Husband said, "Didn't I tell you to take some of that Vitamin C?"
"I did!"
"Yeah, one time."
"So? You said it would work".

To make a long story short, about the time Payson started feeling better, Cue, Canook and The Husband were feeling worse.

And then it was the weekend.

Do you want to know what brilliant thing happened next? Hmmm, let's see... How about going on a 12 hour car ride with el sicko #1 and #2, aka my husband and Canook. Yes, nothing better than trapping yourself in a car for 6 hrs each way with two individuals who are eating cough drops like candy and blowing their noses every 20 minutes.

I made sure to bring along my 4 new friends. I guess we'll find out exactly *how* good they are to me!

Halloween in Hollyweird

November 04, 2009

For Halloween this year, Chris and I stayed in California. I made plans with a co-worker to join her and some friends down in West Hollywood for the annual Halloween Carnival. And then I dragged my sweet, unsuspecting husband down to a party only slightly less flamboyant than the Gay Pride Parade. You think I'm joking. Oh, no, I am not. Thankfully, my co-worker's friends had been to Carnival before. They warned us ahead of time that we would probably see some bare butts. Well, more like they guaranteed it. And these would not be ladies' butts.

There were some very elaborate, beautiful costumes:

And some costumes that I did not take pictures of because there is no need to have a photographic record since you can't unsee them if you tried.  Also, they would probably be against Blogger's terms of service.  So we wandered around the street a while, admiring the creative costumes and just generally people-watching.  My favorite was the girl who was dressed in some sort of "sexy" costume and was suggestively posing for pictures.... right in front of the row of port-a-johns.  The blue rooms in the background took all the sexy out of that photo.  They also had a variety of stages set up along the street, some playing music, some having carnival-type shows:

I was surprised at the number of Lady Gaga costumes.  I counted at least 3, and there was a 4th woman who unwisely decided to be a platinum blonde in a hood and sunglasses and had to keep repeating, "For the last time, I am NOT Lady Gaga!"  Another popular costume was Balloon Boy -- the best ones had not only a large helium-filled balloon, but also carried signs reading, "Reality Show or Bust."  I also saw several Sookie Stackhouses, one of which was an actual waitress at the local bar/restaurant where we stopped for dinner.

And lest one forget that we are in California, we also saw this:


The business had their door open as we walked by, and I can verify -- that joint was authentic (no pun intended).

And last, but not least, our Celebrity Sighting.  I got to play a papparazzi!  Here are my very own photos:

Oooh look everyone here comes LaToya Jackson!  Make way says the three cops pushing their way through the crowd:

And then... wait for it... WAIT FOR IT... LaToya Jackson!

It's Like Riding a Bicycle

A new study was published that shows there may be a genetic reason that some people are bad drivers.  This does not bode well for me.  (Love you mom).

"Chris, there's a new study out that says bad driving may be genetic."

"Oh, so there may be a reason you're such a bad driver?"

"Don't be rude.  You just don't understand my driving style."

"I understand your style all right.  Your style is 'crappy.'"

Personally, I don't think I'm a bad driver.  But then again, who really thinks they are a bad driver?  It's supposed to be one of those inherent skills, like breathing or walking.  Nobody says, "Yeah, me, I'm bad at walking.  Can't seem to get the hang of that one-foot-in-front-of-the-other concept."  No, apparently you have to find this out from the passengers in your car, as they are screaming and grabbing on to anything with a handle while stomping on an imaginary brake pedal.  That's the first clue you might want to take a closer look at your skills.

Mary, Mary

November 02, 2009

I planted a garden:

And now it looks like:

But it's a race against time.  Winter is coming.  Grow little plants, grow!

EDIT: As I was preparing this post, Google's AdSense kept putting up links for "hydroponic grow tents".  Apparently the key words "grow" + "plants" = 420.  Who knew?

I'm not buying him a hearing aid...

...he did it to himself.

When Chris first bought the surround sound, he tested it out.  I was one floor up on the opposite side of the house, in the closet, and I could still tell what movie he was watching. (I was putting away laundry, in case anyone was wondering why I was hanging out in the closet).

Well, he now has decided he needs to show our roommates the awesome power of the surround sound.  Here I sit, minding my own business trolling the internet, when suddenly... I am transported to a front row seat at the world's largest movie theater.  And I am sitting in a different room of the house.

Not that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen doesn't make a great showcase for our new speaker system.  But I say, who needs more than one television when the surround sound on the first one is loud enough you can hear it in the ENTIRE HOUSE?

The High Desert Stock Photo

October 29, 2009

Just north of Los Angeles, if you drive up I-5 or I-14 across the pass, you come to what is known as the "High Desert".  It's also known as the Antelope Valley because there used to be herds of antelope in the valley.  Go figure. 

As much as I heart the beautiful desert of Phoenix, I am not a fan of this "high" desert.  It is not very pretty.  Basically, there is one month in the spring where there are lots of flowers and everyone takes pictures and then the summer hits and it's hot and all the flowers die.  This is where the standard "Joshua Tree in Silhouette" photo comes in.

The fine people of the Antelope Valley need something pretty to represent their desert when all the flowers are dead, and the next best thing is:

Joshua Tree

So I took my own "Joshua Tree in Silhouette."  You have to have at least one if you've been there!


October 17, 2009

I have a tendency to drop small, expensive electronic items.  A lot.  Mostly cell phones.  (I don't think I've dropped the iPod yet, although I can't say the same for my portable hard drive.)

Have you ever known someone who insists on carrying around their old, outdated cell phone because it is "so indestructible"?  And who then proceeds to prove that fact to all their friends by throwing it across a crowded bar, to bounce off a wall and land, unharmed and functional, on the floor?  No?  I can't be the only one who knows someone like this.

Well I should probably carry around one of those phones.  Except, they are not very cool looking.  (Trust me, Friend at the Bar may have had an indestructible phone, but he also looked like a huge goober any time he had to take a call.)

Instead, I opted for the standard Razor.  It was small, and I figured, more compact = less potential for destruction when dropped.

Let me tell you, that phone was a trooper.  After three years and many, many trips to the concrete, IT STILL WORKED.  I say "worked" because two months ago, it finally started showing its age.

At first, the speaker started sounding scratchy.  Then, the battery started running down really quickly.  Then, the phone stopped recognizing its battery all together.  So basically, it only worked if it was physically plugged into a wall outlet.  Which, of course, is counterproductive to the whole "portable telephone" design thing these cell phones are so popular for.

I took it to the store, and they offered to switch out the battery for free.  Sweet!  Except... they couldn't even get it to work when it was plugged in to the wall.  So I took it home and it sat on the desk for several weeks.  I finally decided it was time to retire the phone, so I plugged it in and turned it on, with the intentions of letting everyone know to contact me at my other phone number.  And, of course, the phone was miracuously "cured" and fully functional.  Dunno, I guess it's like when your car starts making a funny noise, only as soon as you get it to the dealership it won't make the noise anymore.  And the mechanic just looks at you like you're crazy.

But, hey, I've got a phone!

Backyard FAIL

October 08, 2009


On the bright side, at least we know the new sprinkler system is working!

The Couch Vortex

October 06, 2009

We love the New Couch. It is so big and cushy that once you sit down, the couch will suck you in to its Vortex of Comfort and you will never want to leave.

It's true power, however, was best demonstrated this past weekend.  We had some friends over to watch football, and our one friend made the mistake of sitting smack dab in the center of the Vortex of Comfort.

It, LITERALLY, took him five minutes to get out of the couch.  He had to struggle quite a bit to un-wedge himself from the corner and find his way back to standing on the floor.

I have included a picture of the couch, and the approximate location of its vortex (swirly circle):

The other thing in the picture that the arrow is pointing to?  That orb-looking thing?  Those appear in almost half of the photos taken in that room of the house.  With both of my cameras.  And other people's cameras.  For as many years as I have been taking photos in that house.  The scientific theory would be dust spots.  Or, you could go paranormal and call them ghosts.  Regardless of your theory, it is pretty crazy how they continuously show up in photos of that room.

Happy Birthday to me

September 29, 2009

Last week was my 29th birthday.  Or, as I kept telling my friends, "The first of many 29th birthdays to come."

There wasn't a big to-do because, frankly, I just wanted to hang out at a nice restaurant with my friends.  I had a delicious Italian meal, topped off with Tiramisu for dessert.  I was actually too stuffed to eat more than a bite of the Tiramisu, so it was boxed up and we sent it home with our roommate to put in the fridge, since we were going out to the bar and she was going straight home.  The next morning when I was looking for the Tiramisu (anyone who says it's not a breakfast food is just LYING -- there's totally, like, coffee in it.) I discovered that it was not in our refrigerator.  So I came to the logical conclusion that somewhere between Buca Di Beppo and our house, the Tiramisu met some Horrible Tragic Accident, and my roommate just had to put it out of its misery, a.k.a. eat it.  (I haven't asked her, but I'm sure she'd agree to that theory).

In other news, Chris and I bought a new couch for our living room.  We were debating between two different styles, one which Chris really liked and one which I really liked.

Chris said, "I'll make you a deal.  If you get the couch you want, then I can get the new TV that I want."


Yeah, that's pretty much a win-win situation for me.  I get the couch I want and a new TV.  Happy Birthday to me!

Diet Fail

September 21, 2009

While browsing at the local bookstore, I came across this:

Flat! Belly! Diet! Journal!
Refreshing, warm, sugary, yummy coffee with whipped cream and chocolate syrup and about a gazillion calories...

It's the equivalent of hanging a picture of a very delicious-looking cake at the Weight Watchers meeting.


Say What?!

September 16, 2009

Every so often, I overhear people say things that are unintentionally funny. Here's a collection of great quotes from the last few months:

“Aren’t they looking for you at the school?”
-A customer, speaking to her young-looking waiter at the Olive Garden

“You need to get rid of that Twilight Princess, yo. You’re playing ‘T’ for ‘Teen’ man.”
-Relationship advice from one guy to another at the Home Depot

“I wanted to get off on the right foot… I just had to decide which foot!”
-A new acquaintance, on what type of first impression he wanted to make at a party

"You can open up that can of worms and you can’t put it back in the box.”
-On why it wouldn’t be a good idea to broach a certain topic, from a co-worker who obviously isn’t too familiar with his parables

“I consider myself a fairly smart people...”
-One of my friends, who shall remain nameless because I want us to stay friends

“I don’t want my company to send me to Canada, because they shouldn’t need me to travel overseas.”
-Another one of my friends. Also nameless

“The moon is closer than Florida because you can see the moon, and you can’t see Florida.”
-Yes, someone actually said this. And no, it was not one of my friends (which is a good thing because that kind of stupidity on a regular basis would make my brain hurt).

“This thing changes like my underwear!”
-One of my bosses, frustrated by the pace and timing of a project.

(As a side note, I should mention that my friends really are smart people. Even smart people say dumb things sometimes.)

Loud Crashing Noise

September 15, 2009

On Friday the house shook. It was around 5:30 (5:48, to be exact) and suddenly I heard a loud crashing and/or rattling coming from upstairs. At first, I thought maybe a piece of furniture had fallen over. You know, because furniture randomly does that. But it was a better thought than the alternative – an intruder! The dog barked and turned in circles a couple of times before deciding there was no threat.

I was not so convinced. I went upstairs, hesitantly searching the bedroom. No one in the closet, the bathroom, under the bed. Okay, coast clear in my bedroom. So I shrugged it off and forgot about it, to the point where I didn’t remember to even tell Chris about my momentary panic.

Listening to the radio Monday morning, I finally put two and two together. That “crash” was the sonic boom from the Space Shuttle Atlantis as it passed into the atmosphere over the California coast. Atlantis landed just a short ways north at Edwards Air Force base.

San Diego in the Summertime

September 08, 2009

Chris and I spent the Labor Day weekend in San Diego.  Well, Chris went fishing on Saturday and then I met up with him for the rest of the weekend.

I will start out with one thought:  Big Truck + Southern California = NOT FUN.  Try squeezing *your* 25-foot long F-350 around a U-shaped turn designed for a mini cooper, and see if you agree.  (It only took me about 15 minutes and a 20-point turn, by the wa y)

Chris caught some fishes on  his trip, about 7 of them to be exact.  (We need to start researching recipes for tuna!)  And then, to add a sense of irony to the weekend, we spent Sunday visting Sea World, where sea life is, predictably, not killed by sport fishermen.

We saw Sea Turtles:


Non-Edible Fishes (well, you could eat them but SeaWorld kind of frowns on that in their park):


Sea Lions:

Sea Lion



AND... as a very special treat... a baby dolphin that had just been born the day before. It was less than 24 hours old.

Baby Dolphin

We saw Shamu, penguins, sharks, sting rays, and a lot of other sea life, etc etc.  We got to feed the sting rays and touch the pet-store variety sharks, which was fun.

SeaWorld also has a Clydesdale exhibit, which we were puzzled about for a while (umm, horses do not live in water, last I checked...) until we learned that SeaWorld is owned by Budweiser. Then it all made sense.

While in San Diego we also spent time at the beach, and managed to capture a beautiful sunset:

San Diego 0742

I could totally live there.  Well, that is, if I had a smaller car.


September 04, 2009

When I was in college, I paid for tuition by waiting tables.  One of the restaurants I worked at was a fancy steakhouse.  (This was mildly ironic, since I don't eat steak.)  Anyway, as my Employee of the Month prize - they based this on the number of sales you had in a month - I won a free bottle of red wine.

This wine was the 2002 J. Lohr Vineyards "Wildflower" ValdiguiƩ.

(Oh my god.  I just realized that was SIX YEARS ago.)

So, anyway, six years ago I took that wine to a dinner party at my cousin's house.  I had just graduated college, was in the process of packing up all my belongings to move to L.A., and my tiny car was so full with my stuff that I couldn't see out any of the windows except the front and the driver's side.  Which of course meant it was an excellent time to take a little freeway trip over to San Francisco.  The whole drive I kept waiting for the police to pull me over for having all my windows blacked out with sweaters and cooking pots.

I made it safely, and we all sat around my cousin's kitchen table admiring the wine and wondering what kind it was.  Red, obviously.  But we couldn't figure out what type of red.  It didn't say "Cabernet" or "Merlot" on it, so we were pretty much at a loss.  We drank it anyway... and it was delicious.

After I drove the hour and a half back to Davis, I went asking the Internet Gods for answers.  I had never heard of the ValdiguiĆ© grape before, but now I had my very own special wine that I could bring to the wine parties of all my Napa friends and Viticulture majors and not look nearly as ridiculous as the time I brought the screw-top bottle of Muscat.  (Want to make wine snobs laugh at you?  Bring a cheap bottle of dessert wine to their little party).

The wine is rather difficult to find, your typical grocery store or liquor store won't carry it.  You usually have to go to someplace that specifically sells wines.

Which is why I was jumping for joy at my local Albertson's today.

They not only have my wine, but they have it on sale.  For $8.99. 

According to J. Lohr's website, ValdiguiĆ© "is a vibrant, red-purple in color with bright aromas of boysenberry, Bing cherry, raspberry and banana. The fruit complexion on the palate is equally bright, dominated by boysenberry and raspberry." What this means to us humans: it's surprisingly light and fruity-tasting for a red wine.  Think Pinot Noir meets Merlot, with just a bit of sweetness.  Yum.

Is That a Rooster, or...?

September 03, 2009

Los Angeles is suffering from a crisis. No, it’s not state’s largest fire since 1897, with a smoke cloud seen all the way from Vegas to Denver (seriously). It’s not the post-Michael-Jackson music industry, the increasing prevalence of gang activity, or the dead bodies and trash floating out in to the Pacific Ocean from the Los Angeles River. Nor is it the fact that taxpayers received IOU’s, the animal shelters are overcrowded, and Renee Zellweger was in a car crash. (read: minor fender bender with no injuries. Renee spotted for the first time since accident! The headlines screamed the next day, like it was a surprise she managed to drag herself out of bed after that “harrowing” experience.)

No, no, the crisis is: Roosters. More specifically, multiple roosters.

Apparently, having more than one rooster is a threat to public safety. Not to mention all that annoying crowing at the early dawn hours!

Okay, I see two main flaws in this logic.

1) If it’s early enough, and I’m sleeping, a dozen roosters are not going to wake me up. Unless you live in a tent, or your neighbor has some sort of rooster factory, are you really going to “wake up” because of the roosters? Heck, I lived in a 38-foot trailer and our neighbors had roosters, turkeys, horses, dogs and a DONKEY and it did not wake me up in the morning.

And, 2) If the noises from two roosters are going to wake you up, then probably one rooster will do the trick as well.

Of course, as with anything in L.A. movie stars (the rooster kind) are exempt. So don't worry, everyone, there will be a Charlotte's Web: the Sequel.

The main criticism of this new law is, of course, enforcement. But apparently the empty echoing of the city’s coffers is a big incentive, and the city has been traipsing the town citing people for zoning laws that they haven’t enforced, like ever, so it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine they will fine you until the cows come home (or the roosters leave).

Here’s the take home: in L.A., you need a permit for everything. If you do not have a permit, assume you need one and, at some point some city inspector will come by and you will be fined.

(Sidebar: Per Title 10, Chapter 28, Section 60 of the City Code, you do NOT need a permit or license for having a pet Marmoset monkey. Also, Squirrels. Just FYI. You know, in case you were thinking about getting a pet monkey.)

The Station Fire

September 02, 2009

In the immortal words of Bad Religion, "Los Angeles is Burning."

Many, many thanks to all the firefighters, pilots, volunteers, and others working to extinguish the flames and keep us safe.

The local Valley Fair

September 01, 2009

This past weekend, Chris and I went to the fair. Fairs are good for a lot of things, namely:

Fair Food, Spending lots of money to win large, chintzy stuffed animals, Fair Food, People watching (e.g. the lady with the pink hair that quite honestly could’ve been mistaken for cotton candy), Barnyard animals, Brightly-colored spinny rides, and (did I mention?) Fair food.

Chris and I also played three rounds of bingo for lucrative $10 prizes (we didn’t win), and contemplated the skee-ball game, except it took tickets instead of cash. Which sounded like too much work, walking all the way over to the ticket booth. And then, I forced Chris to dress in a long, black, woolen coat in 105 degree heat so that we could take one of those “old-timey” photos in which I was a card-carrying saloon girl who loves the Jack Daniels and Chris was a cowboy just in from the “range” with his hat and coat and plastic rifle.

Really, though, the best part of the fair is the one part we didn’t really indulge in. The food. We just weren’t very hungry. But I do have something to say about the fair food.
I am all for variety. And I am all for experimenting and developing new sorts of fair foods (hello, deep fried Twinkies). But some things are just not fair food.

Examples of good, wholesome fair food:
*Cotton Candy
*Funnel Cakes
*Corn Dogs
*BBQ meat of mysterious origin
*Deep Fried Twinkies, and their cousin, the Deep Fried Snickers Bar
*Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
*Popcorn, Kettle Korn, Corn on the Cob

Stuff that is NOT fair food:
*Thai Iced Teas

That is not to say that I don’t find food such as tacos and falafel very tasty. And most days, I would pay good money for a Thai Iced Tea. (Mmm, tasty orange-colored tea and cream deliciousness…it’s fifth on my list of favorite foods, right after pizza, guacamole, hummus, and chocolate chip cookies.)

But that doesn’t mean they belong at the fair.

Oh, and also I held a baby chick and it fell asleep in my hands and it was the cutest thing ever and then on my way out I told the prize-winning turkey that he should enjoy it while he could because he was probably going to have some bad luck in November.

The History of NASCAR

August 25, 2009

During a recent car trip from Phoenix to L.A., I drove while Chris took a nap in the passenger seat. Since I was in command of the vehicle, this meant I had control of the iPod. I could force Chris to listen to NPR and various other "nerdy" podcasts while he was, essentially, trapped in our moving vehicle. I think this is partly why he fell asleep, because it was either slip into unconsciousness or jump out of the car a la 007 only to land in the middle of the desert next those signs that read, “State Prison. Do Not Pick Up Hitchikers.”

After I was tired of NPR, the next academic podcast that I forced my husband to listen to was “How Stuff Works,” from the “Stuff You Should Know” franchise. He had slept through most of NPR but he was staring to wake up at this point.

Today’s Stuff: How Moonshine Works (Click here for the full article by Ed Grabianowski)

It’s a fascinating enough enterprise, but one portion of the podcast really caught my attention.

Basically, it said that Bootleggers – the folks who smuggle(d) moonshine – became very mechanically adept in order to make their cars fast enough to outrun the police. This ability “created a culture of car lovers in the southern United States that eventually grew into the popular NASCAR racing series”.

I looked over at my husband. He was staring off into space, awake but drowsy enough that he apparently missed the significance of what we had just heard.

The hosts of the podcast continued: “In fact, the winner of the first ever NASCAR race had used the same car to make a bootleg run just a week earlier.”

And there you have it: INDISPUTABLE PROOF that NASCAR was founded by hillbillies and rednecks who love their booze.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just sayin’.


Early Bird I'm Not

August 18, 2009

I am not a morning person.

This does not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, I'm sure. I just need a little "warm up" time, you know, like your car does on a cold day.

I just want to idle a while, not having to say anything, do anything particularly difficult, listen to anything, or basically, have any human contact for the first twenty minutes or so after I wake up. Is that so much to ask?

My husband persists (despite the fact that he knows better) on trying to talk to me when I first wake up, asking tiresome questions like, "what time is it?" "did you reset the alarm?" and "why don't I have any pillows on my side of the bed?". I think he secretly hopes that if he sets a standard of early-morning conversation, somehow it will make me more of a morning person.

Well, husband, since you're probably reading this, it's not going to work. Ever. Just don't ask me any questions until I've had my coffee, and no one has to get hurt.

Which leads me to my job, and the crappy part about my job. I have to wake up early. And I mean, before-the-sun early. I tell you, there is something very wrong about getting up for work when it's still dark out. Although I should definitely say that I'm thankful for my job. It's just that it would be super fantastic if it started at... say... actual morningtime, instead of a quarter till the butt-crack of dawn.

There is one bonus: sunrise. It's kind of cool to wach the sun break over the horizon. Even better if I've set the timer on coffee machine the night before and get to sip on a warm cup of joe while watching the sun rise and not having to talk to anyone... but, hey, that's just me.


Not really the end of the world

August 17, 2009

Whenever I hear Chris say, "Honey, you are a very smart, intelligent woman... but every once in a while..." I know I probably should have thought through whatever I just said before I said it aloud.

Like tonight. We were flipping through the television channels and came across that new Discovery show The Colony.

"What's it about?" our roommate asked.

"It's a bunch of people who have to rebuild civilization after the end of the world and stuff."

We discuss the show for a few minutes more, while the lady onscreen spends a LOT of time making a punching bag out of some chains, dirt, and a vinyl sack (really? a punching bag? because that's the first thing I would try to make right after I survived Armageddon).

A pause, and then I ask, "Do they know they're participating in a reality show, or do they actually believe it's the end of the world?"

Both the roommate and my husband give me THE LOOK. THE LOOK means, "did she really just ask that question?"

"Aw, honey," says my husband, laughing, "You are a very smart, intelligent woman... but sometimes..." He continues, "Yes, honey the Discovery Channel convinced them all it was the end of the world. "

"They're just waiting for Kevin Costner to deliver the mail," the roommate chimes in.

Chris continues, "Discovery Channel told the people, don't mind all these cameras. And, oh by the way here's a big sign that says THE COLONY maybe that's what you should call your new civilization."

Note to self: you don't always have to voice your thoughts right away. Sometimes it's best to let them settle first. Weed out the dumb ones and all before you share them with the world. Or, at least, your husband.


August 03, 2009

Today was pick-the-dog-up-from-the-kennel day.

As I walked in, two of the staffers were just about to leave for the day, and they were at the front chatting with the girl behind the desk about work stuff. All three all smiled and greeted me when I came in. I told them I was there to pick up Chloe, and one of the girls went back to get her while I paid.

You can always tell when they’re walking out with your dog, because all the other dogs in the kennel start barking. So I can hear them coming … and then…

I see a brown streak go by, running down the hallway behind the front desk. Quickly followed by the diminutive girl sent to fetch my dog.

“Chloe, come back here!”

Chloe has managed to wriggle out of her collar and immediately proceeds to run like crazy for whatever destination her little doggy brain has fixated on.

One of the other girls standing by the front desk steps into the hallway with the intentions of blocking Chloe’s path and forcing her capture. Like a slippery fish, Chloe eludes her.

At this point, I’ve paid, and the girl behind the desk has now joined the other two in their effort to capture my dog. The hallway dead-ends at a closed door, and the three of them come at her but she bolts, managing to elude all of them, and sneaks by headed for the other end of the hallway. They follow. She hits another roadblock, turns around, and runs past them, back down the hallway in the direction she came from.

I feel a bit like I’m watching a tennis match. Or a Wiley E Coyote cartoon, with my dog starring as the roadrunner.

They have her outnumbered 3 to 1, and my dog is winning.

“Chloe,” I shout sternly, thinking that her owner’s voice might actually make her obedient, “come here.”

She completely ignores me, and continues running in a crazy zig-zag across the kennel with the three girls chasing after her, one of them holding up her collar like she’s a cowboy about to lasso a calf.

Finally, two of them manage to hold down my dog while the third fastens her collar. They hand her off to me, but the collar’s still too loose and within minutes she’s free again, this time running in circles around the lobby.

We readjust her collar and one of the girls gets it back on while I hold down Chloe. This time she’s not getting free.

“Thanks …” I shout as I bolt out the door, wanting to get the dog outside and in the truck before she causes any more havoc.

Seated in the backseat, Chloe pants heavily. I look at her, “well, you need to listen to those nice ladies at the kennel.”

She just continues to pant, looking at me with those innocent chocolate brown eyes, “Who, me?”

Bachelorette Shocker!

July 28, 2009

Wait a minute.


Am I missing something here?

“Bachelorette Shocker: Emotions Fly as Jillian Harris is Forced to Choose One Guy.”

Oh my. You mean she couldn’t choose two of them? Or three? You mean she can only agree to marry ONE PERSON? What a shock. Who would’ve thought that the Bachelorette must eliminate her pool of men down to just one lucky guy? What a surprising twist to the show’s original premise.

Personally, the only positive thing that ever came out of that show was Trista and Ryan. Both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette lost all credibility for me after several seasons of people agreeing to marry, only to break the engagement two weeks after the final episode airs and they are no longer contractually obligated to pretend to be together.

Don’t get me wrong, you certainly can’t blame someone for not committing to marriage after only knowing the other person for a reality show TV season. But it seems, at this point, that it's just a glorified dating show. There are no consequences if they don’t really marry the person they choose. I think the show would be a lot more fun if they were contractually obligated to get married and stay married for at least a year. It would put a whole lot more weight on the final decision.

They should do that next season. The headline could read, “Bachelorette Shocker: The Bachelorette is Forced to Wed the Guy She Agrees to Marry at the End of the Show.”

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

July 15, 2009

I thought we were having an earthquake today. I was sitting at the stoplight waiting for the green, when I heard a loud rumbling noise and the air freshener hanging from my rearview mirror started to sway.

It was not an earthquake.

It was a young-ish "gentleman" driving something resembling a 1987 Cadillac with ridiculously large rims, the windows rolled down and – apparently – a stereo system juiced enough to make the dash on my half-ton pickup rattle.

I’d bet $20 bucks it has hydraulics, too.


July 14, 2009

No disrespect to the deceased here, but I'M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT MICHAEL JACKSON.

And really, CNN, this news is on par with global warming and the plight of our troops in Afghanistan???

(Even my googly-eyes are shocked).

The Finale: Camping Miracles

July 13, 2009

Next to our campfire, left behind by the previous campers, was a giant log. Someone had obviously dragged it there, with the intentions of burning it, because there was a tie strap still twined around it. They had gone to a lot of trouble to get that giant log next to the campfire, but never ended up burning it.

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(can is for scale)

We had a theory. We figured they had been sitting around the campfire late at night (there was almost definitely alcohol involved) and two or more of them had decided that burning a giant log was the thing to do. In their late night fervor and alcohol-muddled reasoning, it seemed like a brilliant idea. They set off, tow rope in hand, to go collect a giant log. Probably by the time they got back two hours later, stumbling along with a giant tree stump dragging behind them, their friends were all asleep/passed out, and the log-draggers lost their enthusiasm and went to bed themselves. The next morning when everyone got up it suddenly did not seem like such a brilliant idea. So the log was left next to the campfire, for us to find.

The boys took one look at it and said: “Lets burn it.”

We were all highly doubtful that the log would actually burn. Especially after the Great Flood of 2009, in which the log was not covered to protect it from the rain.

But since there weren’t going to be any fireworks this Fourth, we decided, “What the heck, let’s go for it.”

The boys were in charge of the log burning, as it was their idea. They were more than happy about this. We decided that we would wait until the night of the Fourth, as sort of a celebratory thing. A bonfire tribute to Lady Liberty and a grand finale for the last night of our camping trip.

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(working out the logistics of moving the log)

In yet another camping miracle, the log not only burned, but made a perfect campfire. It was rather hot, at first (we all had to move our chairs back about five feet), but it burned steadily and without the constant need for more fuel. We could enjoy it and not have to ever get up for more firewood.

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Slowly, the evening slipped into night. An almost-full-moon came out, shining silvery through the trees and the mist, coyotes howled in the distance, classic rock played quietly on the radio, and everyone sat around an effortlessly burning campfire in perfectly temperate weather. And as beautifully as it began, the Fourth of July came to a close.

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