The Cat pulls a Houdini

December 27, 2010

You guys have met my cat right?

Let's just say she's an indoor cat who doesn't possess very many "street smarts."  And she's not much of a hunter, judging by her 25% success ratio with catching flies and moths.  Also, she's not very fast.  Or motivated.

Well we had some people over for a potluck/campfire/get-together type thing.  The cat was around most of the evening, hiding behind the end table and generally looking pissed about all the people who had invaded her space, although she would sometimes disappear and I would find her wandering in the garage or eating out of the dog's food dish, etc.

The next morning, I got up and started reading a book on my new Kindle.  After about an hour or so, I realized the cat had not yet come up to greet me and snuggle on my lap while I read.  This was unusual.

I searched.  And searched.  And searched.  The cat was nowhere to be found in the house, the backyard or the immediate neighborhood.  Chris helped me look.  Nothing.

Finally, we had to just wait it out... eventually she'd get hungry and come home, right?  She never wanders far, as she's petrified of the outdoors (other than eating the grasses that grow near the house) and there's really no food out there.  That she knows of.

Around two o'clock in the afternoon, Chris suggested I try the neighbors.  Their dog had been barking nonstop since we had gotten up, and usually we almost never heard the dog.  The thought had also occurred to me that perhaps the dog was barking at my cat, so I put on some shoes and headed over to meet my neighbors.

The neighbor, after he had established that I actually lived next door and wasn't just some freak show who wanted to wander around in his backyard for reasons unknown, became much friendlier and let me take a look-see in the backyard.  But not without first inferring that if the cat actually were in their backyard, the dog wouldn't just be barking at it, the dog would have eaten it and dragged the carcass to their back door as a belated Christmas present.  He didn't say that in so many words, of course, but that was the gist. Thanks, neighbor.

There was no cat in the backyard and, dejected, I wandered back to the house and attempted to finish reading my book.

About an hour later, the doorbell rings.  It's the neighbor.

"This cat of yours, does it have green eyes?  And longish red fur?"

"Yes!" I cried, barely letting him get his sentence out.

"I think we found her.  Hiding under our car in the driveway."

Which explained why the dog had been barking all day... the cat was clearly visible through the fence in her "hiding" spot underneath their car, but could not actually be reached by the dog, due to the fence separating them.  And, judging by how long the dog had been barking, the cat had been under there for at least a solid four hours.  (Why she didn't just run to our house - which happened to be in the opposite direction of the barking dog - I don't know.  I can only speculate that she was petrified with fear.)

As the neighbor and his daughter walked back to their house, I heard the daughter mutter good-naturedly under her breath, "maybe now that dog of ours will shut up."

And it did.  We didn't hear a peep out of that dog for the rest of the day.

The cat, however, was filthy.  So she got a bath.  Which she did not like very much.  (Her head looks very tiny when you wet down all the fluff and are left with just the fat cats).

She's forgiven me by now, but for the rest of the day we were treated to "angry cats":

Which didn't stop her from jumping on our laps and snuggling (as you can see). She just looked pissed off about it the whole time.

Because I have so much to be thankful for, and how awesome is the postal service

I'm going to take a pause for a moment to be totally serious.

Although I didn't get to spend this holiday season with family, I did get to spend it with some of my good friends.  And I am so thankful for how awesome they are.  (And to my friends that I didn't get to spend time with this holiday season -- you are also very awesome.)

I won't go on and on about how many things I have to be thankful for this holiday season, although friends and family are chief among them, but I will just say that I know I am very, very, lucky.

Now, on to the second part of this post: the post office.

I've gotten one of these "letters" before, and it never ceases to amuse me.

And here is what it says on the back:

In other words, oops, sorry we totally effed up your letter after accidentally running it over with a truck, sending it through a grinder, and then slapping it around a bit, but, hey, you still got it in your mailbox, right?!

Honestly, though, I respect the fact that they are still willing to send me the mail after they practically destroyed it.  I mean, they could've just made it "disappear" and I would have never been the wiser.

O potato, how shall I eat thee?

December 20, 2010

The week before thanksgiving, Chris, myself, and the roommate Payson decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner for everyone at work who was away from home or just wanted an excuse to hang out and eat.  The original invite list was small – but quickly outgrew our original stash of supplies (we can’t forget to invite so-and-so!).  Instead of one turkey we were going to need two, plus extra potatoes and more side dishes.

We put Payson in charge of buying more potatoes.  Would you like to guess how many potatoes he bought?  Here’s a clue: it’s one month later, and there’s still potatoes in our pantry.

Bless his heart, the guy bought three large bags of Russet potatoes (this is in addition to the bag of Russets that we already had, plus the large bag of Yukon Golds.)

In Payson’s defense, Chris did not give him a specific amount of potatoes to get.  And Payson knows, like I know, that Chris would much rather be over-prepared than stuck with not enough potatoes.

So a couple extra bags of potatoes (just to be on the safe side) it was.

Since then, we have had mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, roasted potatoes, home-fried potatoes and potato soup.  I am running out of things to make with potatoes. 

We tried to take some potatoes to our friend’s houses on Thanksgiving, but no one wanted them.  So far, we have decimated one bag and made it halfway through the second.  Luckily, the weather turned cold again so we were able to start round 2 of homemade potato soup.

Speaking of which, it's time for dinner… guess what's cooking?

Why do you taunt me, California Lottery?

December 15, 2010

I mean, really.  Somebody at the lottery print shop is probably having a good laugh at that.  Yeah, why don't we give out the closest possible number to a winner, without actually letting them win anything, of course.


Confessions of the directionally challenged

December 11, 2010

I went to the mall today, and found myself surprised by the crowds.  There were people directing traffic, there were police surveillance vans, and there were very long lines at the store registers.  I don’t know why I was surprised at this – I mean, it’s just two short weeks from Christmas.  Of course the mall is going to be a zoo.

Well, actually, I do know why I was so surprised.  It’s because sometimes I am phenomenally unobservant of the world around me.  I find myself constantly surprised about very predictable events:  holiday shoppers and rush hour traffic and the gas tank getting close to empty.  (It’s not on purpose but for whatever reason, every time the husband goes to get in the car after I’ve been driving it, he gets about two minutes from the house before the gas light comes on.  This is not very fun for him.)

Let’s face it, things like “foresight” and “advanced planning” are just not my forte.  Unless, of course, it has to do with work.  This is something that confuses the husband to no end. 

“I don’t understand,” he’ll say, “how at the office, you’re the girl who always remembers everything.  You can quote entire paragraphs out of reports, you can state the exact date three years ago that a certain event occurred, and you’ve made a reputation for yourself that you are always two steps ahead in thinking of the client’s needs.  And yet, at home, I’m lucky if you remember what time I asked you set the alarm.”

I always shrug because, really, I have no good answer for why this is.

I do try to explain to him that it’s not personal.  That sometimes there are things I don’t pay attention to or plan out that really would be to my benefit if I had.  Take, for instance, my chronic habit of looking up directions at the last minute.

Actually, and this is kind of a secret thing about myself but I guess not anymore since I’m posting it here, but I have a really bad habit of leaving for a new destination and getting about halfway there before I realize that I don’t actually know where I’m going.  As in, I don’t even have a frickin address to this place.  Like, I just get in my car and start driving in the general direction, because I haven’t thought ahead further than the first ten minutes of the journey.

This is how, one time about ten years ago when I was headed to my cousin’s bachelorette party I ended up driving around for three hours before I had to turn back home because I was operating on the mistaken assumption that where I was going was due east of my home, instead of north-east.  By the time I realized how far off course I had driven, my destination was so far away that the party would’ve been over by the time I arrived.

Yes, that’s right, I left the house with nothing more than a general sense of the direction in which I needed to travel.  Which, as it turns out, wasn’t even correct.

I think that is probably the most dramatic of the incidents, but it is certainly not the only one.  Although, with the advent of GPS-enabled smartphones, directions and a map are no more than a click away.  (And with my particular bad habit, this is a definite lifesaver.  We won’t go into how many times I’ve had to pull off to the side of the road and use this particular phone feature.)

Speaking of which, however, I’ve got a company Christmas party to get ready for.  And since I’ve never been to this place before, so I should probably look up the address and directions.  Before we leave the house.  Yeah, that would be a good idea.

Where the Buffalo Roam...

December 09, 2010

This is an article that was published in our campus newspaper when I was attending college there.  It was so hilarious, I laminated it and posted it to the wall of my dorm room, along with pictures of my family, a $1 tax refund check from the State of Michigan, and my class schedule.

Because, you know, you *might* see a 500 pound bison roaming the campus.  But don't worry, eventually campus officials will outsmart the very large, slow-moving animal.  Darn those bison and their excellent hiding skills.

Planes, Plumbers, and Automobiles (and a double post day)

I know I've been kind of lackadaisical on the blog thing lately.

It's not that things aren't exciting around these parts.  

I mean, Chris met the governor and we found out why our water bill was so high that the lady at the city public works almost fell out of her chair when she saw it and we hung Christmas lights and shorted out Christmas lights and bathed the dog a lot because for some reason she is smelly(er) than usual.  Also, I bought an outfit to wear to the company Christmas party and the cat peed on the white carpet we just had professionally shampooed after a house party tracked black dirt everywhere and tomorrow the plumber is coming to possibly tear up the foundation of our house to fix the leaky pipe.  Our pool is still mysteriously broken (which is completely unrelated to our water bill) and my tax preparer finally sent the rebuttal to the IRS as to why they should not revoke my first time homebuyer's credit so hopefully sometime before next year's taxes are due I might get last year's refund.  Chris learned a valuable lesson as to why it is important to make sure to screw the oil cap of the airplane on tightly and we got to see the emergency response vehicles at the airport in action and drive back to San Diego while they cleaned the oil off the plane.  And of course the car needs to be serviced and the rent is due.  Oh, but the weather around here has been beautiful.

And with that, I'm going to slack a little more.

I give you... a story about buffalo.  The animal (not the city in New York).

Stage Fright, of a sort

December 06, 2010

Between Phoenix and San Diego, there are two border patrol checkpoints.  For some inexplicable reason, I get nervous every time I drive through them.  I don’t know why.  I’m not doing anything illegal.  I don’t look suspicious.  They don’t have any reason to pull me over and, if they did, they wouldn’t find anything anyway. 

Sometimes they just wave you through and sometimes they ask a few simple questions.  They are usually along the lines of “are you a US citizen?” and “where are you headed to?”

I’m pretty good at the first one.  And given the frequency that I travel through these checkpoints headed to the same place every time, you would think I’d be good at the second one.

You would think.

We pull up to the checkpoint this morning.  The Border Patrol agent looks in our car and glances at us.

“Are you a US Citizen?”

“Yes.”  I reply, easily.

“Where are you headed to?”

And for some reason, at this moment, my mind goes blank.

“Uhh…California.” I stutter.  Given as we are already in Califorina, this isn’t exactly the answer he is looking for.

“Specifically,” he says slowly, “where in California are you headed.”

My mind is still a blank slate.  I glance helplessly at Chris while in my mind I am cheeping at him, “helphelphelp.”  There is an awkward pause and then Chris and I answer at the same time, “San Diego.”

He nods and waves us on.

Chris turns to me.  “Really?  I mean, really?  You do realize that we are already in California.”

“I got nervous!”

“Of the Border Patrol Agent?  He looks about twenty and he couldn’t weigh more than 130 pounds soaking wet.”

“Not of him, I just get nervous in general.  It’s like taking a quiz.  I worry about giving the wrong answer.”

“It’s not like they’re hard questions.  And they ask the same ones every time.”

I guess I better practice up, seeing as how I’ll be driving through these checkpoints often in the next year or so.

The Cat is HUNGRYS

November 29, 2010

This is how it usually works.  Chris and I finish eating our dinner, and set the plates down on the coffee table until the next person gets up.

The cat is suddenly our best friend.  She sits on our laps, purring.

PURR PURR PURR (while inside her little feline brain, she is thinking, mmm that plate of leftover food looks tasty how can i get me some.)

So she tries the sneak attack.  It goes like this:

Much plotting ensues.  She purrs to distract us from her true purpose.

She inches closer while we are absorbed in our television watching.

Closer still...
And then she pulls a "teenage boy on a movie date" in which she nonchalantly pretends to stretch and yawn while at the same time getting her grubby little paws closer to the prize.

This is how she envisioned it.  nom nom nom.

Unfortunately for her, SHE IS NOT THAT SNEAKY.  She only got to the "grubby paws" stage before we shooed her off the couch and cleared the dishes to the sink...


How much do you love Chihuahuas?

November 23, 2010

Probably not as much as THIS PERSON:

Who needs wallpaper when you've got a collection of magazine photos and some Christmas lights???!

Memoir Mondays: Texas Learned Me a Few Things

November 08, 2010

Courtesy of Travis at I Like to Fish, it's time for an installment of "Memoir Mondays."

Now that I am, of course, an experienced professional in my line of work, I thought I would share this story from my early days in the business.

San Antonio, Texas, 2006

Remember the good old days of college? Where you didn't take a class before 10am, and if you had to take that 7am or 8am Chem class, you just sat in the back and slept through the lecture? And no one noticed?

Yeah, ummm... doesn't work so well in the "real world". Case in point:

Monday afternoon I attempt to fly to San Antonio. Also on the plane - ticket holders to the Mavs/Spurs semifinals playoff game that night. (This is important to the story later). Get on plane. A-ok! Sit next to skinny people with good hygiene. A-ok! Plane begins taxiing. A-ok! Plane makes loud noises and starts shaking. Not ok! Plane is stopped and returns to gate.

Fast-forward 45 minutes. Flight attendant says there is a problem with the "air ducts" and we are going to switch planes. Original arrival time in San Antonio: 6:45pm. New arrival time in San Antonio: 9pm. Tip-off for the Mavs/Spurs game: 7:30pm. But don't worry. They'll give us updates on the game.

I think I knew the score of that game better than the basketball games I actually attend. There is Bald Guy with the Fancy Cell Phone who shouts out the score every 2 seconds until the plane leaves the gate and he must shut the phone off. In the air, we get an update from the captain every 20 minutes or so, mostly saying, "I think the score is...". Oh, really, are you just guessing or do you actually know the score? Upon landing, Bald Guy with Fancy Cell Phone resumes shouting out the score every 2 seconds until it is his time to leave the plane. Walk by sports bar at airport, score is announced. Get on shuttle bus to car rental, the game is on the radio (really loud). Get in rental car, drive to checkout stand. Security tells us the score of the game. I'm getting the feeling they like the Spurs in San Antonio?

Important "bid meeting" with multiple important people and our competitors on Tuesday. 8am, downtown. If we want parking, we need to leave by 6:45. Which means I must get up at 5:45 to look presentible and manage a small breakfast. FYI: that's 3:45 am Phoenix time.

I manage 1/2 cup of weak coffee at breakfast before it is time to leave. Lulled into a false sense of security by the promise of more coffee at our destination, I don't attempt to chug more caffiene. Upon arrival, no such coffee is available. There weren't even donughts.

So, to make a long story short, after about an hour of sitting in a dimly-lit room at 6am (my time) and listening to some people talk about some stuff... I started to nod off. I fought the impending sleep with everything I had. I was trying so hard to hold my eyes open my vision was swimming. I would be taking notes and all of a sudden realize my pen was no longer forming intelligible words. I hoped perhaps no one had noticed. Did I mention this is my first bid meeting, representing my whole company in front of not only the contracting officers (the company that will hire us if our job bid wins) but also all our competitors for the job?

Maybe no one will notice.

Well, judging by the fact that I was teased about my "naptime" by no less that four people, THEY NOTICED.

Aside from the rude awakening (figuratively, of course!) that the real world is not like college, I learned a few other things while in Texas.

1. It IS possible to use the following sentence when addressing people in a professional setting: "Now if y'all are here for the bid why don't y'alls just come over this way and I'll show y'all where to go." That's right, three y'alls in one sentence.

2. Texas has it's own special Bud light bottle with some sort of Texas star business instead of the usual eagle. That's right, folks, Texas is so great it gets its own BEER BOTTLE!

3. There's nothing that will add more excitement to your day then hearing, "Now when we drive down this back road to get to the job site, the guy that lives on one of the ranches is a little crazy, and somtimes he comes out and chases us down with his shotgun. If that happens, just stay in your car. We'll keep driving, and he shouldn't shoot."

And they were serious.

Things That Drive Me Crazy

November 07, 2010

Everybody has their pet peeves.  For some people, it's important things, like "people who don't tip" or "people who chew loudly" or "people who don't use their turn signals when they specifically know you're trying to follow them to an unknown destination."  Oh, wait, that last one's definitely one of mine.

But I also have one really weird pet peeve.  It's the stupidest thing ever, and yet it bothers me.  A lot.

I hate it when people use the microwave, stop it before the timer is done, and then they DON'T HIT THE BUTTON TO CLEAR THE DISPLAY.

What if I want to know what time it is?  I look at the microwave display, and instead of giving me useful information it's blinking 00:23.  Or, what if I want to cook something?  I have to clear it out myself first.

This is not a new thing.  This has been on my list of top pet peeves for many years.  I once didn't speak to my roommate for two days because she had repeatedly left the microwave timer un-cleared.  Only, it was such a dumb reason to be angry that I never told her why I was so upset and in fact, I'm not all that sure she even noticed I wasn't speaking to her.

But what makes it worse is the microwave in our new rental house.  It has some sort of fancy vent that pops open whenever the microwave is in use.  Or, in other words, any time the microwave timer is on, this vent bit thingie is sticking out.  Which means that if you don't clear the timer after your food is done, the vent bit thingie will continue to stick out indefinitely.

So now I don't know what time it is AND the vent is open for no useful reason.  *sigh*

Elk Jerky

November 05, 2010

I was sitting at my desk the other day, when one of my colleagues stopped by and said he had brought me something.

He then set an object down on my desk that vaguely resembled a collection of small dog poops, saran-wrapped and vacuum sealed.

I eyed it with a mixture of fear, confusion, and disgust.

"What is it?"

"It's elk jerky."

The disgust faded, but the confusion remained.

"Elk jerky?"

"Yes, remember when I went elk hunting last season, and you asked me to bring you some elk jerky, but I forgot?  Well, here's your elk jerky."

There was a short pause.  Then the lightbulb clicked.  When he took vacation last year to do some elk hunting I had requested some of the spoils.  It was kind of one of those things, though.  As in, oh yeah you're going fishing, well bring me back some salmon!  and then, later, what!!! you forgot my salmon! when they come back from their fishing trip and want to eat all the salmon themselves.  Only, it was elk.  And I wasn't entirely sure I wanted it in the first place.

"You look a little scared," he said.

"I am a little scared."

"Well, if you don't want it, give it to [our other co-worker] Barney.  He'll eat it."

"Oh noooo," I said, "I'm going to at least try it." I mean, c'mon.  How often do you have the opportunity to taste elk?!

Which is why, at this very moment, I have a vacuum sealed  bag of very genuine elk jerky in my kitchen.  All I have to say is, be careful what you ask for.  You just might get it.

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2010

They were so pretty I almost didn't want to carve them up.

But I did.


Come fly with me

October 27, 2010

Well, technically, I should say come fly with me and my husband, since we'd need him to actually pilot the plane.

Maybe now you're thinking:

OMG you have a PLANE!  That is so totally awesome.  You must be like, rich, or something!  OMG a PLANE!

And while I absolutely love our plane and am very thankful to have it in our lives... I must mention a few things first.  It is not a fancy corporate jet, in fact, it is not a jet at all.  It is a single-engine prop plane.  It travels at about 130 knots on average.  (1 knot = 1.15 mph... thank you Orange County Chopper for that handy piece of knowledge)  Which in plane speed goes something like "weeeennnnnhhhhhh" rather than "woooosh".  Oh, and, also, it was built in 1957.

But we love the plane.  And since I don't think I've ever posted a picture of our plane on here: 


And since I'm sharing, here's what the beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds looks like from 9,500 feet:


Four Favorites Friday

October 22, 2010

In no particular order, here are my four favorites of the day:

1) Favorite customer service rep:  The lady at the speedy checkout line at Wal-Mart who actually knew the definition of the word "speedy."  AND she was super nice.
2) Favorite commercial:  The Snickers "Grocery Store Lady" Halloween ad
3) Favorite new artist: The Maine
4) Favorite pet moment: When I feed the cat and she is so absolutely ecstatic about dinnertime that she is literally purring while she is eating.

And there you have it.

Instructions FAIL

October 18, 2010

It really should say, "Read this BEFORE adjusting your Equa 2 chair."

I mean, wouldn't it be a bit awkward to try and read something attached to the bottom of the chair while sitting on the top of it?

The Great Banana Mystery

October 16, 2010

It first happened in 2003.  I had just graduated college, picked up stakes and moved to Los Angeles to "live the dream."  (I never did make it as a Hollywood actress, but I guess you actually have to go to auditions to make that happen).

Anyway, on my fairly limited budget (did I mention that I did not have a job lined up when I moved?) I bought some groceries, including a small bunch of bananas.

After putting away the groceries and making myself a light dinner, I went to bed.

The next morning, I woke up and decided that a banana would make an excellent breakfast food.  But when I looked at the bananas, sitting innocently on the counter where I had left them, they had developed what appeared to be dozens of little brown spots all over.  In a word - Eww.

This was very mysterious.  I wondered if perhaps Los Angeles had some aggressive breed of nocturnal fruit fly?  I threw away the bananas and went to the store to buy a can of Raid.

It took me four months and two apartments before I finally discovered the real cause of the mysterious overnight banana disease.

It was my cat.

(I know, I bet you thought it really was the enormous night-feeding fruit flies).

Seriously, though, bananas are to my cat what cocaine is to a drug-sniffing dog.  She has some sort of impressive "banana-radar".  She is drawn to the scent of an unopened banana the way that most cats are drawn to catnip.

Of course, she doesn't actually want to actually eat the banana. Just munch on the outside for a bit.  And it is quite specific to bananas, not any other kind of fruit.

My bananas have to go straight from my car to the microwave or the pantry. If I try hiding the bananas (for example, on top of the fridge behind the stacks of recipe books where I have never seen her go) she finds them. If I even walk in to the kitchen with a dozen grocery bags and set them down for a second, she will hone in unerringly on the one bag that has the bananas.

The strange part isn't that she won't eat the bananas. That's actually pretty normal for a cat. Fruit is, after all, basically sugars. Cats have a genetic deficiency that prevents their brains from liking sugar (and before you go thinking I'm all smart, I looked it up on the internets). The strange part is that her banana fetish serves absolutely no purpose.

Then again, neither does chewing on flip-flops, pawing at glass cabinet doors, rolling in dirty socks, or licking vertical blind slats. I guess I will never understand.

Weirder than leaving my keys in the fridge

October 10, 2010

I do sometimes make fun of my husband in this blog.  But I try to keep it a little bit balanced, like when I told about how I leave my keys in the fridge.... intentionally.  Since I figure I am a bit overdue for some self-ridicule, I thought to share this story.

The other day, I stopped by the house on my lunch break.  Since I work about 5 minutes from where I live, this is easily accomplished within my allotted lunch break. I made myself a sandwich, then sat down on the couch to enjoy my lunch.  I had my phone nearby so that I could be available for any important work phone calls or emails.  After some time, I had finished my lunch and went to gather up my things and leave.

I couldn't find my phone.

The logical conclusion was that it had fallen between the couch cushions.  I tore the couch apart (twice), searched the entire house, tried retracing my steps - all to no avail.  Since I had no spare phone with which I could call myself, I finally gave up with the thought that I would look for it later that evening when I was off work.

I got off work, and went in to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water.  After I was done drinking, I walked over to the dishwasher to put load the dirty glass.

I opened the dishwasher.  And there was my phone.

Yes, it's true.  In a moment of absentmindedness, apparently, I put my phone away in the dishwasher.  My. phone. was. in. the. dishwasher.

As I sit here writing this post, my husband is looking over my shoulder.  "What is that you're typing?" he asks.  "All that < ahref > stuff?  What's with all the a's?"

"It's just html code.  For inserting links and stuff."

"Ohhhhh.... YOU'RE A NERD!"

"You take that back!  I was going to write a nice blog post where I didn't make fun of you but now you ruined it!"

"I don't care," he said, "you make fun of me anyway."

"Well," I exclaimed, "it's just basic computer stuff!"

"NERDY NERDY NERDY!" and then, mimicking me in an unflattering manner, "It's just basic html code... It's just basic NERDINESS."

So, just for that, I am going to make fun of him in the very next post.  And that's a promise.

The Hangover

October 05, 2010

I don't know whether it was pager-friendly, but the hotel that we stayed at in Vegas did have an actual telephone bank:

Okay, so I don't know what's up with the, like, 2 phones.  But nonetheless the sign declares it a telephone bank!!!

Cats and Dogs are friends

Look at how far they've come.  They can almost tolerate sitting next to each other.

My first annual 29th birthday

September 22, 2010

I turned 30 today.  Or, as I am fondly calling it, I celebrated the first anniversary of my 29th birthday.

I told Chris that I had one request for my birthday.

ME:  I want a fancy cake for my birthday.
CHRIS:  (putting his head at a funny angle and looking confused) Fancy cake?
ME:  Ya, like the pretty ones they do on the food network shows.
CHRIS:  Oh, so not a Costco cake?
ME:  No, not a Costco cake.  I want one from a fancy cake store.  You know, one of those places that only sells cakes and cupcakes and other sorts of pastries.
CHRIS:  They have places like that?

Chris (and I had no doubt he would) came through with not just one beautiful cake but two:

Happy Birthday to me.  And thanks to my husband for the fancy (and delicious) cakes!!!

What happens when you live in Arizona

September 20, 2010

Chris and I were driving home one night with the sun roof open, enjoying the breeze.  We could hear the quiet sounds of tires on asphalt, smell the faint scent of sprinklers running, watch the orange glow of street lights as we passed them, and feel the evening breeze as it rushed through the car.

Chris leaned back in the seat and commented, "wow it sure is nice out tonight."

"Yes," I agreed, "what a cool breeze tonight."

"By the way," asked my husband, "what is the temperature right now?"

I glanced at the temperature gauge on the dash.

"Oh.... it says 95."

Only in Arizona would you mistake 95 degrees for a "cool evening breeze."

Are you serious right now?

September 18, 2010

Chris and I went to the wedding of some good friends of ours this past weekend.  It was beautiful and touching and......

The minister has finished telling us about how love is patient and kind and then she announces that it is time to bless the rings.

All of a sudden, the groom has a panicked look on his face.

He starts patting his hands on his jacket pockets, frantically searching for -- you guessed it -- the rings.

There is an awkward pause.  The groom, having searched his pockets for the third time, looks helplessly at his best man.

The minister looks from the groom, to the best man, to the bride, who is standing with a shocked look on her face.

"Are you serious right now?"  the minister finally interjects.

"Can we just skip this part?" asks the bride, trying to see the humor in the situation.  "I knew I should have given the rings to my maid of honor, but she didn't have pockets in her dress!"

Thankfully, the bride did have a good sense of humor.  After the bride and groom solicited two "loaner" rings from some wedding guests, the ceremony was able to continue.  And it was beautiful.  And, I'm guessing, an evening that they will always remember.  At least the groom will always remember.  If I were the bride, I would never let him live that down.

(And yes, they did eventually find the rings.)

Who knew pools were so complicated?

Today, we discovered why our pool has been so cloudy-looking lately:

And in case anyone is confused about what they are seeing, this is what our pool filter is SUPPOSED to look like:

We contemplated buying a new one, and then we discovered how much they cost.

If anyone ever tells you owning a pool is cheap and/or easy, they are lying.  Just FYI.

Dive Bars and Beers

August 29, 2010


#5:  A pitcher of beer only costs $7.00

#4: There is a giant gaping hole behind the toilet (not to mention those curtains)

#3: The fancy artwork is screwed into the wall with half a handful of screws they don't even try to hide

#2: The pool table doubles as a beer pong table

And, finally...

#1: the sink is propped up with a 2x4

Maybe you ask what could possibly entice one to frequent this establishment?  Proximity to the house, that's what.

Gah.  I just looked at the floor below that sink in the picture one more time. 

New house, new bills

August 24, 2010

Chris:  Hey, can I throw this away?

Me:  What is it?

Chris:  The SDG&E bill I just paid online.

Me:  No, give it here please.

Chris:  Why?

Me:  Library card.

Chris looked at me and, with that look on his face that says, I love you honey and you are so adorable but sometimes I think we inhabit a completely different universe, and said aloud, "Heh, you're a nerd."

And if you do not know why I need a copy of a recent bill with my name on it for my first library card in this city, then you are not a nerd and you do not belong in our secret club.

And if you do, well, kudos to you.  As for me, I'm off to read a book...

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

August 22, 2010

Summertime has both wonderful things and not-so-wonderful things.  Here are a few from the past couple days:

Ripe watermelon, straight from the field...

With hotter temperatures, fire season is in full swing...

For anyone who doesn't know, July in San Diego was one of the coolest on record. August started out the same way - threatening to break 100-year-old records of the lowest daytime high temperature. Granted, that is about 65 degrees - which in no way is something to complain about.

But all of that changed last week when Mother Nature said, fooled you little peons, just as you started getting comfortable in your light jackets and cool breezes, now it's suddenly going to be the HOT! ah ha ha ha! In contrast to July (and, really, most of the summer), August has brought a "heat wave" that is now breaking record highs, instead of record lows.

Now, I'm fairly hip with the 100+ weather, having survived many summers in Phoenix. However, it is amazing how quickly one's tolerance for the heat dissipates when, suddenly, the air conditioning goes out.


Last Tuesday, the AC at the office turned off, right about at the hottest portion of the day. Meh. We call air conditioning guy. He comes out, says he's not sure what's wrong but it doesn't look like the unit is getting any power and we probably need a $1300 part to fix it. Probably.

Wednesday, he comes out, replaces the part, and.... still no AC. Did I mention how difficult it is to concentrate on work inside a building that is maintaining a toasty 89 degrees? Everyone's walking around the office in their socks, shirt collars unbuttoned, sweat on their brows. Temperaments are, at best, testy and at worst, downright cranky.

Thursday, the husband of one of my co-workers stops by the office. Being a sort of handy guy, he climbs up to the roof to check out the AC unit. He climbs back down in less than two minutes and proclaims, "I found your problem."

Turns out, the landlord had the energy company install one of those "Super Saver Energy Boxes" that turns your electricity useage off during peak (aka the hottest) hours of the day. Which explains why the AC was working in the morning, but mysteriously turned off at the same time every day.

You would have thought the AC repairman would have looked for that. I mean, if your computer wasn't working, wouldn't the first thing you do be to check and make sure it's plugged in?

So after a quick call to the energy company the "Super Saver" was disabled and, theortically, we were going to have air condition again. Friday proved the energy company to be liars and for our building, once again, to be hot. Nothing like being on the top floor of an only moderately-insulated converted warehouse building. It was cooler outside than in.

Who knows what next week will bring... I miss you, air conditioning, please come back.

I think he just wanted a new phone...

August 16, 2010

iPhone, meet rock.

Rock, meet iPhone.

(To give it credit, it did pretty much still work.  It didn't actually ring, so if you weren't paying attention it was easy to miss a call.  And we did have to tape it up so that the husband wasn't getting glass shards in his fingers.)

But it was slowly dying machine and the end was inevitable.

And now you know how my husband came to have a brand new phone.

Solution-less Puzzle

August 03, 2010

I have been spending a lot of time lately developing my relationship with Southwest Airlines.  Aside from all the fun and games that comes along with frequent flyer-ship, I've spent enough time reading Spirit magazine to realize that the July issue of the crossword puzzle was missing half of the clues for the "down" column.  This made me reminisce on another solution-less puzzle that I came across during my college days.

I have always been a big fan of Dots candy.  You know, the gumdrops that come in the yellow box.  I don't know if they still do, but they used to come with little mazes and puzzles on the back side of the box.  Well, one day back in 2001, I met a maze that had no solution.

I tried to solve this maze.  I tried.  And tried.  And tried.

Finally, I gave up.  There absolutely was no solution to this maze.  In my despair, I sent a copy of the un-solvable maze along with a letter to the Dots corporation.  (And the address wasn't on the box, either... I went to quite a bit of trouble over the whole thing).

I didn't really expect a response.

Turns out, I got one:

Tootsie Roll Industries

Some poor consumer relations lady actually had to write a letter that said, "we apologize for any undue concern the solution-less puzzle may have called."   Okay, thanks, but I wasn't that concerned!

The 2010 US Air Guitar Championships

July 29, 2010

Okay, folks, this business is real.  And it's serious.

There is a competition for people to demonstrate their air guitar skills.  They are judged on how accurately their fingers play the imaginary notes on the imaginary guitar and for a number of other things as well.  (By all accounts, they do not need to plug their imaginary guitars inot imaginary amps, however).  And there are big prizes and hotel stays and all kinds of fancy schwag for the big-time air guitarers (air guitar artists?  What is the terminology here?)

ESPN provides coverage (granted, it's probably on, like, ESPN 8, but still)

It is worldwide.

There is merchandise.

There are costumes (photo credit: Zach McNees).

People stand in line to buy tickets to these events.

A co-worker of Chris's heard about this competition and said, "Is this for real?  Gee, I was in a band when I was younger and broke, and you mean to tell me that I could have skipped spending all that money on guitars and amps and stuff, and just become a professional air guitar player?"

I'm not judging here.  I'm just saying.

I just wanted to buy some stamps

July 28, 2010

I was in line at the post office today, waiting to purchase some stamps. There were two postal workers at the counter, and only a handful of people in line. It should have been a short wait. Unfortunately, it was apparently the day that all the “special” people fulfill their postal needs, because the entire time I was there, one of the workers was helping the same customer. Shortly after I walked in, the second worker finished helping someone mail a package, and the man in front of me went up to the counter. He had a small CD in a plastic case, which he placed on the counter.

“Can you tell me,” he said in his crochety-old-man voice, “what it would take to mail this?”

The postal lady looked at it and replied, politely, “you would need to get an envelope for it sir.”

“Where can I get an envelope? You-all have them back there?”

“Well we have some along our wall over there for purchase, you could probably get away with one of the small padded envelopes.”

Because I was standing between the envelopes and the crochety old man, I grabbed the envelope in question and handed it to the postal worker.

“How much is it?” he asked petulantly.

“It’s $1.26 sir.”

He became agitated. “ONE DOLLAR AND TWENTY SIX CENTS?! For an envelope?”

“You did ask me how to mail it. I’m just telling you how you can do that.” The postal lady replied, in a surprisingly even and respectful tone.

“What if I just put it in a regular envelope? How much are those?”

“I wouldn’t recommend it, sir. Those are for mailing letters. This one is for mailing packages.”

“All right then, how much’s gonna cost me to mail it?”

“Where are you sending it to, sir?”

“Well, I don’t have the address.”

“Um, so you didn’t want to mail it?”

“No, I just wanted to know how to mail it. And how much.”

“Okay, well I have to have a zip code to tell you how much it’s going to cost. Do you know approximately where it’s going?”

“Michigandia.” There was a pause while the postal lady gave him a blank stare. “You know, lower Michigan, upper Indiana.”

She set the package and the envelope on the scale, typed a few things into the computer and said, “That will be $1.76 to mail your package.”

The man let out an exasperated sigh and put his head in his hands. “One dollar and seventy six cents?” he muttered loudly, looking at the floor.

“Do you want to mail it, or not?” the postal lady responded, still alarmingly polite. “That’s what you have to pay.”

“So that’s, what, $1.76 to mail the package?”

“Well sir, you still would have to buy the envelope.”

“And how much was that?”


The math here was obviously quite beyond him, and the postal lady wasn’t inclined at this point to help him out, so there was another long pause while they both stared at each other.

“Fine,” he said, throwing a five dollar bill on the counter. “I’d like to buy $1.76 in stamps.”

At this point, I had finally met my personal limit on the amount of inane conversation and line-waiting that I could handle for one day. The poor postal lady was still searching through her books of stamps to find some combination that added up to $1.76 when I turned around and walked out, empty-handed.

A delicious, quivering cup of coffee

July 27, 2010

It's funny, but the busier your life is, the less it seems like you have to write about.  I mean, there were cool job things and stressful job things and moving into a new house and traveling to Vegas and Phoenix and San Diego and Phoenix and San Diego and Vegas and Phoenix and Phoenix and... anyway.  So I am filling the space using a trick that the talented Allie over at Hyperbole and a Half once employed: What does Urban Dictionary think of me?  I'll tell you what...

All right, Urban Dictionary. I'm down with that.  I'm amazing and beautiful and I have a high tolerance for dealing with my husb-- ahem, bullshit.  ALSO, I'm "super sexy cool."  All very true things.

Hmmm.  I studied biology and oceanography in college, and this is new to me.  Of course, I did not attend college in Canada.  And as we always tell my boss (who is Canadian), you never know what those crazy canuks will say.

This one is both TOTALLY AWESOME and TOTALLY CREEPY at the same time.  I mean, I'm not entirely comfortable with my name being used as some sort of slang for something you eat.  There's just a little Jeffery Dahlmer in that.  But the description? quivering! delicious! rare! Where can I get this fabled Italian coffee delicousness?  New Jersey?  Well, bummer.  That's a bit far from the west coast.

So my question is this:  can anyone in New Jersey confirm that there is actually a coffee called a krista?

Five Question Friday

July 16, 2010

1. Do you collect anything?
Books.  (Not really intentionally, I just buy them and read them and then never take them to a used book store so they just.. well, pile up.) 

2. Name 3 celebrities that you find good looking.
Aren't most of them?  I thought that was requirement #1, or at least somewhere before requirement #57, "acting skills"

3. Do you have any scars? If so, what's the story behind them?
A dog bite, a bicycle accident, and that one time I was shaving my legs with a new razor blade.

4. What is a food that you like to eat, but others might think it's gross or weird?
I LOVE hummus.  I mean, I lovelovelove hummus.  I could eat hummus all day, every day.

5. Have you ever seen a tornado in real life?
I spent my formative years in Kansas.  What do you think?

Acts of Desperation

July 14, 2010

It should be common knowledge by now that the cat is on a diet.

Which, of course, she hates.

We have an automatic feeder for her, set to go off at 6pm every evening and dispense 1/4 cup of cat food.  Every evening, at 5pm, Maia can be found sitting patiently next to the feeder, and she will sit there for an hour until it makes the magic noise at 6pm which means the food is about to fall into the bowl.

Sometimes, however, she gets a little desperate.  Like a little kid at a candy machine, she knows where the food is -- she can see it -- she just can't get to it.  She has discovered, after months of valiant effort, that if she shoves her paw just far enough into the dispenser, it will release a little morsel or two of cat food.

It is now fairly common for me to come upon the cat, paw and face stuffed into the food opening, looking for just... one... more... morsel...



Making a Cake

July 12, 2010

Reason #1,293 why I will probably not be able to make a career out of cake-baking:


My decorating skills lack finesse.

Small Town Americana

July 10, 2010

As I mentioned earlier, Chris and I spent the Fourth of July weekend up near Flagstaff, Arizona.  We rented a cabin with some friends in the tiny, tiny, town of Parks.

And it turns out, we came just in time to see THE event of Parks... the 4th of July Parade.

I truly, honestly, don't think you could get more small-town cliche than this.  It was quaint.  It was fantastic.

They started the morning with a free pancake breakfast over at the school.  The parade was scheduled for 1pm, and by 11am people were setting up lawn chairs along old Route 66.  There was BBQing and loud country music playing.  There were politicians out campaigning in their fine flannels and cowboy boots and hats, kissing babies and passing out flyers.  There was a community yard sale at the Shell station and a bake sale down the street.  (They donated all the unsold food stuffs to the elderly gentleman that runs the 76 station). 

And yes, in case you caught that, there are two gas stations in town.  Only one of them actually sells gas, though.  The other is more of a mini-mart, selling ice cream bars and beer, canned goods and toiletries, including a bar of dove soap for 49 cents that looked like it had been there since the price of a bar of soap really was 49 cents.

My friend and I rode our bikes down the community yard sale/BBQ cookout/Shell station, and went inside for some water.  As we were paying for our drinks, the man running the cash register got a phone call.

"Yes, the parade starts at 1pm.... it's over about 1:15... no it does not go down any side streets, have you seen any side streets? Where do you think you are?"

He rolled his eyes and smiled as he hung up the phone.  "Tourists."


They probably spent hours decorating

Nearly everyone was wearing some kind of patriotic headband...

The parade is starting!  The parade is starting!

The local sheriff passes out candy to the kids

There were tractors...

And fancy decorated trucks...

And chickens...

And prize-winning llamas...

Old cars

And cowboys

Fire trucks, firemen, and dogs...

And then it was over. Happy Birthday, America. XOXO, Parks, Arizona.