Monday, December 31, 2007

105 Payments Left to Go... 38 Years Old When I am Done with my Student Loans. WTF.

Never-ending Student Loans

Holy Student Loans, already. I never expected to be nearing 30 and still have over 10 grand in student loans left to pay off. It's a little ridiculous. I mean, I guess I should consider that I had 20K to start with so I've paid of like 9K in 7 years. But I feel like I'll be 40 and still paying student loans. I cannot imagine how people stuck with like 50-100K of student loans feel. They must feel absolutely crippled - how can you buy a house if you owe $75,000 in student loans? So I guess I am thankful for only having to borrow 20K, but it is certainly getting old. My plan is to kick up the payment amount once my smaller Perkins loan is paid off in a few months, but not done until 38 years old if I keep the same payments? Why in God's name did they give me a 15-year term and why did I agree to it? Sallie Mae sucks and my 22-year-old self was still a financial dumbass.

Back to His Clingy Self

Well, Friday morning, Rusty was still in pretty rough shape - I cleaned him up with hydrogen peroxide, gave him his antibiotic and went to work. L came home to find him bounding down the back slope, satellite dish bouncing around, knocking into things. The meds must have kicked in because Rusty is back to his velcro self. I'm happy he's feeling better but he is all-kinds of annoying again. It's just who he is. He follows you around, stuck to your left leg. Walks behind you, steps on the back of your flip flops (I have nearly face-planted several times because of this dog), steps on your feet, slobbers all over your clothes, blocks doorways because he wants to know your next move so he can be RIGHTNEXTTOYOU.

Yes, Rusty is back in the hiz-ouse. I suppose there is still the chance he has tumors or whatever else bad in his feet, but I am feeling more positive about the old man's prospects.

MySpace

Am I the only person in America under 30 without a MySpace page? I'm beginning to feel like the old fart who is falling out of touch with technology and society. Soon I won't know how to work the TV remotes.

Apparently, I am missing out on all kinds of opportunities to stalk former high school classmates. And I have to admit, I have internet stalking tendencies. So, I am intrigued by the idea. I have avoided the whole thing mostly because I wanted to be kind of "anti-establishment", if that makes any sense. I mean, high school was tolerable but I was not into the clique-ishness and I almost feel like MySpace has that vibe with the "friends" and getting "accepted" as a friend. It's like residual high school rejection fear or something. But the reality is, like 80% of my classmates from high school still live in the same town (a town that I would file in the top 5 worst cities in Massachusetts in terms of crime and poverty) so I can't really feel that much inadequacy. But I still do. Doh!

But I probably will still create a stupid MySpace page because the draw of being able to stalk is so much stronger than my high school fear of rejection by the cool crowd :0) I have problems.

The Zoo

I used to say that my favorite animal (other than the common canine) was the monkey -- any creature in the moneky family. But the meerkat just might be tied with the monkey. At the San Diego Zoo (which is an excellent zoo - it is massive), they have a meerkat habitat where you are literally 5-7 feet from them, out in the open. Someone with a long arm might be able reach out and touch them. And these meerkats are attention whores. They LOVE to just stand up on their hind legs and and take glamour shots for the camera.





I love them. I would have a pet meerkat if I could. Carry it around like those airhead celebs do in a little bag except I would be so much cooler because I would have a MEERKAT. They would all be jealous.

And the gorillas were pretty great as well. One young male was all about putting on a show for everyone. He was wrestling with his little brother, smiling and standing up and rapping on the windows at all the people watching, running around, bopping other gorillas on the head and arms. He even did a drive by whap on the head of the big silverback (the head honcho gorilla), which was ballsy, because the silverback was huge. They really have lot of human-like qualities. But I couldn't help feeling some sadness because it reminded me that they are being massacred in the Congo. I swear, if I could, I would take the killers of these majestic animals by the balls and turn them upside down like pinatas, spin them around by their scrotums. I sure hope there is karma in the world, because these people are despicable.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rusty, can You Get HBO with that Thing?

Well, the visit to the vet wasn't exactly ideal. I didn't walk out of there feeling very good. Rusty didn't walk out at all - he had to be carried. Not that he can't walk at all, but you can tell it's painful and it's not too hard to pick him up (at least for a grown man, it's a bit hard for me - he's almost 1/2 my weight).

Basically, I was on the right track with the antibiotics. Actually, it's the only track. If this doesn't clear up with twice-daily paw bathing with antibacterial shampoo and oral antibiotics, it's either a systemic fungal infection or tumors/cancer. The vet said there are no treatment options for the latter - at least he didn't recommend them because it would be "too much suffering" (as he put it - his English is so-so, I believe he is Korean) for a dog that is 12-14 years old. I would tend to agree. But it's a bummer because he is not "senile", he is still very mentally with it. He can see and hear ok (I mean, not perfectly, but he's old), he's got a steel trap bladder, and a happy disposition. As much as he has driven me crazy this year, the idea of putting him down is sad. Sure, when I found the trash strewn all over the first floor, and he was pooping out wrappers from getting into the Halloween candy, the thought - "when is he going to buy the farm" - crossed my mind. Now that it is a possibility, I am cursing that I even thought it, hoping that karma isn't biting me in the ass for having the thought. But I don't want him to suffer, so we will see how the next week or two go.

This morning, one paw looked a little better, the other didn't really look better, maybe marginally, but it still nasty, still some gross oozing. I'm not sure if the small improvement is from the antibiotics or the spaceman/satellite dish he has on his head that is stopping him from licking. Maybe it's both. It's day two of meds so I am thinking tomorrow it will really start kicking in. Once the infection is under control though, he may still have the swelling/lumps and then we'll have to go from there.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shoudn't Have Asked The Universe

Well, I shouldn't have asked the universe for the favor, because it either ignored me or decided I could handle more crap on my plate. Got home from yoga last night around 7:45 to find that Rusty's paws were much worse. He can barely walk. He is now putting all his weight on his broken paw (how much can the last remaining metacarpal take before it gives?) because the other paw has become very swollen and painful. It was oozing yellow puss (I know, great visual, but how else to describe). He brought a lot of that mess onto himself with his incessant licking, but I have to wonder if something else is afoot here (pun not intended).

I did my best to clean it up -- I was out of epsom salts so I used a little sea salt and very warm water to soak his paws for as long as he would let me (which was like 3 minutes each foot - not bad - he's actually very tolerant). Tried to clean them with hydrogen peroxide, which was tough because he really didn't like when I tried to gently get in between his toes/pads. Put lots of antibiotic ointment on them with a q-tip (which was also hard for him because I tried to get some of it in between), finally wrapped them up, loosely, in vet wrap (stretchy sticky gauzy wrap) and covered his paws with a pair of old socks. At some point during the night he pulled everything off (I knew he would), but I think he left them on for at least 3-4 hours. During the time I was awake. I got maybe 3.5 hours of sleep last night, so I am beat today (I have some nice-sized bags under my eyes). His paws didn't look much better in the morning. The only thing that maybe looked a little better was there was less puss. It was more red consistency what was coming out of his paws than yellow. So I hope I did some good with all that effort to clean them up.

Made an attempt to go to the vet this morning, but he didn't get in until 9:30, so the tech at the front at least got the OK from him to give me antibiotics for now, until this evening when we go in to see the doc. I wanted to get something into his system ASAP to help fight the infection. Poor guy, he was doing well, but now he's in a low spot. Makes me feel sad about getting old.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How does one Motivate on the day after Christmas?

The Stairway Sign

Everyday, I come into work, entering through the side door, and look at the sign that says "stairway". And everyday I am disgusted. Why? Oh, maybe because there are BOOGERS in between the raised letters. Green, crusty, nasty boogers. Who does that?! I mean, I hardly think it's a child - the sign is kind of high up, around chin level (ok, I know, not that high when you're 5 feet tall, but still). I work in an office building with ADULTS. A grown person decided to wipe his nose garbage on the sign for all to see.

And the other thing is - we have a cleaning crew in this building. So, yeah, wouldn't you think they'd clean that shit up? No, No. I have been here 4 months now and those boogs have been there the whole time. I suppose I could complain to our office manager who could complain to the cleaning company. But still, after 4 months (or more, mind you, this snot could be years old), one would think it would get cleaned up.

Enough Already

Poor Rusty, he is falling apart. Part of it is our fault for not doing another month-long round of weekly mitaban dipping this past summer, because his demodex is back with a vengeance - apparently exacerbated by the Prednisone the other vet gave last month for the rear paw licking-till-it-was-raw thing he kept doing (that was a long, probably grammatically incorrect sentence). On top of the demodectic mange that came back, he some how managed to break 3 of the 5 metacarpals (doggie fingers) in his left front paw. But with the mange, the doc didn't want to splint it since we have to do the wash and dip every week. With one "finger" intact it is sort-of splinted - an anatomical splint. I am just trying to have positive thoughts that he won't break the other metacarpal because then he wouldn't be able to use it at all, and his right back leg has never been good, he can't put much weight on it. At the moment, L has to carry all 55 pounds of him up and down the stairs in the mornings and evenings so he can sleep upstairs in his crate with us. I am debating moving the crate downstairs, but he's got some separation anxiety where he gets upset if he has to sleep alone.

So, more doggie drama. I suppose I should not be surprised. He is older than dirt (thus why some friends have coined him "old dirt"). He will probably continue to have some issue every couple months until he is shuffles off his mortal coil. As long as he is happy and isn't too uncomfortable, I can deal with his geriatric care. The one bonus is that he can't get into any trouble for a while - not more knocking over the trash and stealing food from the counters.

In addition to my dog falling apart, my father was in the emergency room for an eternity this past weekend. As expected, out in the boonies of Riverside County, the hospitals are a little over-capacity (the booming population growth far out-paced infrastructure like roads. schools, and hospitals).

For what should have taken maybe 6-8 hours (including the norm of hours spent in waiting), instead it took 14 hours (my emergency room visit for appendicitis took 7 hours - less than 12 hours after I arrived in, I was in surgery). Fourteen hours for a mild case of diverticulitis. And apparently, also, a UTI (which is interesting, I suppose if your immune system is depressed, perhaps UTIs are easier to get). So, yesterday was interesting. He did his best to cut down on beer consumption, but when you normally drink around 8 beers a day, that's a bit of a challenge. He ended up drinking one beer and some wine at the Christmas meal which is like 80% less than normal.

And I tried not to be too cultish/preachy about the veggie-ness, but I did told him several times he need to eat more fiber - more fruit and vegetables. Diverticulitis is rare in countries where people have high-fiber diets (it's kind of common in the US). My parents say they eat some kind of vegetable every night, but I am thinking it might amount to 2 (maybe 3) servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Not enough, especially as you get older. 5-10 per day. 5 minimum. I think I make the 5, sometimes more (like today, I will probably eat 7-10 servings), but seeing as I don't eat meat anymore, that's the only way it gets done. If I were eating meat, it would be 5 and it would likely be no more than that.

Anyway, so everyone is falling apart. At least most of them men are, aside from my husband, thankfully. So, I would like to ask the universe to please not make anymore of us sick for now. At least until Rusty's paw is healed. Thank you.

Mystery Solved

Oh, and the unknown gifter of the countdown-from-Hell-key-chain is an old coworker from 2 jobs back. Finally, I know who it was! It was driving me crazy already.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Please, Make it Stop!

I'd say, on my list of things I hate are muscle twitches. It is misery to have a muscle twitch - one that won't cease for hours at a time. I've have a twitch in my shoulder that started this morning at like 8am and has been going for the last 2 hours. It's like my shoulder is having Turret's syndrome or something (which, by the way, during important meetings I always get the urge to yell something ridiculous out like I have Turret's. And then everyone would look at me like I was crazy. What is that?).

I have a feeling this devil twitch may have something to do with the ridiculously hot Bikram yoga class I went to last night. I've been to 6 classes thus far, none have felt as hot as this one. The thermostat registered 105 but it sure felt hotter than that. I mean, I was envisioning that an egg could cook very nicely on the floor of the yoga room, right next to my mat. It took much mental energy to make myself not leave the room. Just laying on the floor was a struggle. I don't believe I have ever sweat that much in my lifetime - so my guess is that I my sodium potassium (Na and K) levels are a wee-bit off kilter (I read somewhere that these twitches can be caused by something relating to Na-K levels). I probably left all my body's minerals and electrolytes on the floor over there and in my clothing (the small amount I was wearing because when I go to that class, I disregard all modesty and wear bike shorts and a sports bra. That's it. I don't care if people see my bell rolls when I fold over - it's too stinkin' hot for normal workout clothes). Holy Lord, it was hot. Now I know why I do mostly Hatha/Vinyasa yoga. I like the occasional sweat-fest, but several times a week of that is beyond my capacity.

And the giant pimple cyst is no better today - still hurts like the dickens, perhaps redder and more acute (smaller circle of redness but more acute pain). It's like that Family Guy episode where Chris's zit takes him hostage and grabs a gun to shoot hi dermatologist. That show rocks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hello, Second Nose

At an Christmas get-together this past weekend I remarked that my skin has been behaving remarkably well (cystic acne runs in my family and I have always had acne problems despite a course of accutane), and I believed it could be my new sans-meat diet that has been helping.

Well, the "not-so-fast-missy" gods must have heard me say this and decided to ruin my acne-free fun because directly under my already large nose, I am growing another one. I have a lovely red bump forming just under my septum. Isn't that lovely?

It's either the above mentioned "we'll-see-about-that" gods or maybe it's the 5 POUND BOX OF SEES CANDY that our office's property management company decided to give us for the holidays. I swear, this should not be allowed. I mean, just selling 80 ounces of candy in a box should be a crime. I have eaten somewhere in the ballpark of 10 chocolates in the last day or so. This is in addition to eating left-over Halloween candy someone decided to bring to the office.

And it hurts like a mo-fo. I am actually periodically "icing" it by sticking my cold diet coke can under my nose (I'm sure this looks really weird, but it's feels better when I put something cold on it).

I am so over this bad holiday eating - I am all set for January to come.

(And speaking of health/diet stuff, it was kind of a drag to watch both the twins on biggest loser win both prizes. I mean, both of them? 350,000? For some reason, I feel like that' s not fair - like a monopoly or something. Eh. So the finale was a little anti-climactic for me.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Spaceballs!? Oh, Shit. There Goes the Planet.

On Friday I received a package in the mail. Inside, I found a Backwards Bush count-down key chain and no indication of who sent it. It came directly from the distributer and no receipt indicating who had paid for it. So far, I am stumped. I thought maybe it was L because he had sent me the link of the Hilary nut-cracker and then also sent me the link of the count-down key chain. But he wasn't the mystery liberal gifter.

I then went to a Christmas party of an old co-worker who knows how much I dislike this president. He didn't sent it either, nor did anyone else at the shindig. My father thinks it could be either my grandmother or my Italian aunt. My grandmother also popped into my head as a potential because she has my new address and hates Bush more than I do. So hopefully tonight I will find out if she is the peddler of anti-GOP paraphernalia. Whoever it is will be getting a thank you card because it made my day, receiving that little piece of plastic, made in China, digital timer. I look at it a couple time a day. Right now we still have 399 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, and 33 seconds. It seems like an eternity - but I think it will go by faster starting next month when the caucuses and primaries come into full-swing. I can't wait!

What kind of cracked me up when I got this thing was how obvious my feelings are for this buffoon. Apparently, my distaste resonates pretty clearly, to people I don't even talk to very often. Am I that transparent? Apparently so. Do I care? Eh, not so much.

(And how about this? This is ridiculous.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bunny Hops, Careless Drivers, and Finally-Kicking-Bush-Out-Of-Washington Year 2008

Well, one of the moves in yoga that has eluded me for some time (at least a year) finally came together today when I attempted to demo it in class. I had prefaced it with the fact that I can only display the attempt since I have not mastered it yet. After a few attempts, up I went! Crazy!

At this point, you are wondering what the heck this bunny hop is. It is another way to enter handstand - urdvha mukha vrksasana. Instead of kicking up with one leg from down dog, you make a two-footed jump (bunny hop!) from down dog and go up. Of course, I still desperately need the wall, but maybe four months ago, this bunny hop thing was not happening. No sir. I would be there by the wall, just hopping in futility, exhausting my arms and abdominals. Seeing as I haven't practiced it at all in months, my explanation to how I was able to do it is either (1) the stepping up of my general yoga practice in the past months has strengthened my ability to do previously impossible poses, (2) it was a lucky try - perhaps the tilt of the earth and the alignment of the planets allowed me to get up as opposed to landing back on my feet with a thud.

So, I will be attempting this more from now on. It's also a stepping stone (at least in my semi-yoga-educated opinion) to being able to float up from down-dog and land feather-lightly either on my feet or behind. I have watched (in awe) Ashtanga practitioners do this and it would be fun to "float" just like that!

On a less positive note, I almost had a nasty accident this morning on my way to work. I was waiting at a red light, in the right-most lane with a large SUV on my left, who had stopped several feet ahead of the line. Light turns green, I start to go and hear someone honking repeatedly (I guess to warn me) - a millisecond later I am slamming on the brakes, stopping inches from a car that was running the red light. I stalled in the middle of the intersection (gotta love stick shift). I probably wouldn't even have been that close had the SUV not been blocking my left-hand view of the intersection. So, in case anyone is reading, stopping at the line is important! Not necessarily for you but for the people around you! It never occurred to me that if I stopped a little ahead of the line by mistake I could be endangering someone near me. So at least I was able to take that bit of knowledge away from this morning's almost accident (probably would have been kind of ugly).

I guess I had some good karma stored up somewhere. That and good reflexes.

And can you believe Obama and Clinton are neck and neck in both Iowa AND New Hampshire polls? I don't know what to think about it. I mean, I'm a little nervous about the primaries. I like Obama better than Clinton. I fear that Clinton is more electable, and also, maybe more experienced - plus she has Bill as her right-hand man and who isn't pining away for the 8 years we had before num-nuts dubya? So I am torn. Edwards is a no-go - for some reason, I'm not feeling him. He doesn't feel sincere enough. Obama just seems honest and straightforward. He's not playing too many games - he is likable. But young and inexperienced. So there is the conundrum. Hilary is able to do the job. I don't mind her. But I don't like her like I like Obama. I hope that internally, I am not being misogynistic - that subconsciously I am leaning towards the man because I don't believe a woman can do the job. I don't want to be that person. So I am torn :( We'll see. But I WON'T vote for Edwards even if he comes out on top of every primary leading up to California.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Over-Analysis?

It has been my practice to read a thoughtful passage from one of my meditation-esque book before I begin my class. While I do think this is nice (better than having nothing meaningful to say), I feel like I want to expound more upon my own personal experiences and inward exploration.

I have a fear, though, that several things will happen:

(1) I will sound like an idiot - like someone grasping for meaning and coming up listlessly short (or, like someone who smoked the wacky tabacky talking about "deep" stuff, but in reality he/she just sounds like they're high)

(2) I will run out of material! I mean I can talk until the cows come home, so, material that is not just rambling. Like, will I be able to, each week, have something meaningful to discuss without dragging out the kitchen sink of things that really are too personal to share with people you don't know that well (I mean, I don't need to scare people off).

(3) I will dig into myself and find that I am not the existentialistic person I always thought I was. I will find I am more 2-dimensional and flat than multi-dimensional.

Now the last fear I think has really come out more as I explore the study and practice of yoga. And also as I teach more, I seem to be conjuring up more insecurity about my ability to teach a good class. And I think it's more that I'm teaching in what I would consider more challenging environments. My "gym yoga" gig is feeling more and more like a chore (it doesn't help that I have to drive 15-20 minutes to get there and the pay is the worst of all my classes), and my studio gigs are feeling more challenging... So I am no longer feeling as much of the ego-boost I used to get from my large gym classes and additionally, I am feeling some insecurity as I embark to build strong studio classes.

Ah well. Non-attachment to attaining perfection and control is what I need -- to release the need to excel at everything. Anyone with advice on how to get there?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More Rain Tomorrow! Woo Hoo!

I went shopping at Ross last night for something to wear to my hubby's office Christmas party. I completed in warp speed - I was in and out in about 30 minutes (including trying on 5 items!). Now, the Ross in my city is not exactly a bright and shiny place. It is very different from the Ross I used to frequent in Temecula. It's kind of dingy and very much in disarray. I had hoped to find some kind of interesting skirt - a skirt with pizazz. I was shocked to find that there weren't really any skirts - there were some in the clearance area (and the all sucked), but in the non-clearance area the skirts were mixed with pants which were mixed with jeans. And looking at the racks, it looked like mostly jeans. Goes to show you what kind of Ross this is -- further emphasized that is is not for the working professional woman (not even the business casual working woman).

Anyway, so I managed to locate a cute red top on clearance (6.99!) that I can at least use for the two very informal Christmas parties I have tomorrow. After a fruitless search in the pants/skirt area (why don't they just call it "bottoms", for Pete's sake), I zipped on over to the dresses area. The dresses were in as much of a mess as the rest of the place, and I almost gave up my search as it felt hopeless that I would find something un-hoochie-mama in my size. But I forged on ahead anyway because I am thorough! And wouldn't you know it, I found three dresses that worked! Crazy! I mean, I should have expected that knee-length dresses would work for me since I am short and pear-shaped; it's one of the few clothing items that I usually can wear without hemming and such, and the "skirt" portion of it works to conceal my larger bottom. Not to mention that I have short legs, so skirts are a crap shoot - I tried one at Target (I had high hopes for that skirt) and it made me feel like a hobbit, or perhaps a dwarf, since they have normal length torsos and short legs. It sat so stinkin' low on the hips (which I usually like but...) that the pleats began around the tops of my thighs and I just looked stumpy. Anyway, so with the dresses I ended up having a hard time picking one, so I bought two. They were so cheap I could justify it (19.99 and 25.99). And one of them is really cheeky - it's black with red polka dots, has an attached slip with red lace fringe that sticks out (very 40s), and a satin bow just below the boobage area. I think this is the Christmas party dress. I haven't worn something that fun since my feather boa and red satin Gap capris (alas, said pants were donated to the Salvation Army last year as I am 10 pounds than when I bought them in Dec 2000). The other dress is not as fun but still cute - it's red and the top part is halter-style with red satin straps. It fit so well that I figured if I didn't wear it this year, there's always next year. How often do you find a cute red dress that fits?! Come on! Now I just gotta make sure I maintain my weight so that I can wear it a year from now (Or lose. Lose would be nice, but I'll take maintain over a "poke in the eye with a stick" (where did this saying come from? It always cracks me up.)).

Monday, December 3, 2007

There was Ice on my Windshield this Morning! Very Un-Southern California! Humph!

Before I forget, this must be documented. Saturday night, after having dinner at Le Passage in Carlsbad (good French cuisine, the food was really good. Not ideal, though, for the non-meat eater that I'm trying to be--the menu was 80% meat-oriented--but there were a few options. And Wine was pricey, too. L's rack of lamb looked good, but I stuck to my salad which was excellent. Anyway.), we decided to watch Almost Famous, before hitting the sack. Another side note: I love that movie. I tend to forget how great it is until I see it again. It's just really well made and for anyone that is an "The Office" show fan - Dwight Shroot is in that movie! He has a very small part as a employee at Rolling Stone. Alright, let me get to the purpose of this post already. Jeez! I am the queen of digressions and non sequiturs - it's a window into the actual way my head works (which is all over the place).

So, around 10pm, the door bell rings.

Immediately, I think of the worst thing, that it's a bad person who wants to like rob us and/or kill us. Nikki starts barking up a storm at the front door so we have to answer it at this point. I peek through the little side window by the door and I see two guys, somewhere in the 16-20 age range, dressed in red Christmas onesies and Santa hats. Ok? I answer the door and they tell me they are playing a Christmas game where they are going house-to-house and they have to collect an item larger than the item they got at the last house (an item of inconsequence - that we don't need). So, I gave them the first thing I found in our office: a stuffed bear holding a red heart. They, in return, were supposed to give me the frozen Capri Sun (remember those?) they had gotten at the last house. I let them keep it because what the hell and I going to do with a frozen Capri Sun? I ask them why they are doing this and I get a totally bogus explanation: That they are having an AP Bio party and this is one of the games they are playing.

Right.

I'm surprised his pants didn't burst into flames right there in front of me. It reminded me of the scavenger hunts we would have to go on as new members of my sorority. AP Bio? No, I don't think so. It was probably an athletic team or fraternity hazing. And why they were in our neighborhood is beyond me - I suppose they could've been from Cal State San Marcos or Mira Costa College, they both have Greek organizations. All I know is I had a good laugh. I mean, just recalling the image of these two guys in red Christmas onesies cracks me up. Too bad I didn't get a picture.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What's this stuff falling from the sky? Oh yeah, rain.

Well, this certainly would have been helpful a month ago. It is raining in Southern California. No, not, drizzle or showers, but full-on rain, all-day. Umbrella-requiring rain! It's funny, because not only are California humans all confused by it, but so are our pets. Nikki ruined the last hour of my sleep from 5am to 6am because she was crying about the *scary* sound of rain on the tile roof, ala Chicken Little. THE SKY IS FALLING! Shaking like a leaf. Granted, now that we have almost no attic (good 'ol volume ceilings and skylights), it was probably the loudest rain on a roof I have heard, but seriously. This dog needs to get over loud noises and let me sleep. She it too much of a wuss.

Then this morning, they both refused to go outside in the rain to do their morning business. No, sir! You would think they were both the Wicked Witch of the West and they'd melt on the spot! So I had to run around rearranging the garage so they could have access to the doggie door when they finally reached the "I can't hold it anymore" point (which I hope they use and don't decide to do #2 on my garage floor).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tomorrow is Pay Day! Yay!

What interesting things do I have to tell you about today...

Well, last night I went to see one of my father's favorite bands from when he was in his 20s. Made the drive up to Anaheim which was not as painful as I had anticipated. Generally, you don't want to be on the 5 near Irvine during rush hour. But by 6pm, it was maybe a 10 minute delay. Anyway, I gret up hearing the Raspberries' songs, my father had (and still has) all their vinyls including the solo albums of the lead singer, Eric Carmen.

I have to say that Eric Carmen needs to re-think he hairdo/style. He very much resembled a female with the hair and eyebrows and such. I think he had a face lift - he had that slightly pulled lookup around the eyes and the man is 58. He should have *some* wrinkles. I only saw them around his neck. Anyway, the crowd was definitely in the 40-60 age range. A few people in their 20s and 30s, but I could have probably counted them on my hands. And I was sitting next to this hugest dork ever. He was pretty spastic during the whole thing. He would start doing air guitar in his seat during some of the songs and then switching to air drumming with his pretend sticks. I was having a really hard time not laughing at him. And he was highly sycophantic to the group. Like, he would make loud ejections, clearly so that the band could here him (it was a small crowd - we were maybe 30-40 feet from the stage). Like, dude, they don't know you and they're not going to think you're cool with the air guitar and "Go Raspberries!". It was like being next to a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Timberlake concert.

Anyway, overall, it was better than I expected and makes me think I could see if they've got a greatest hits album or something because I do like a lot of their stuff. Again, I'm the dork who likes 70s music (I have always liked the Bee Gees. It's all my father's fault. I blame/thank him).

Oh, and I went to the Starbucks in the Albertson's this morning and I saw an extremely odd sight. This woman was hanging out by the door and she looked like a hooker. A bad hooker. She was not a small woman and wearing weird clingy clothing (not alot of it, mind you). I wish I could have gotten a picture. The top was this like green leopard print and there was clearly no bra. And these things needed a bra - think small watermelons. I have average boobs and I wouldn't go without a bra in a shirt like that. Anyway, the left boob came down to about the navel region. The right boob, though, was strangely lifted. Like at normal boob height, defying gravity. So the asymmetry alone was something to... admire, in that train wreck sort of way (like, in my mind I was thinking, how did she get them to do that?). Shoulders exposed, and this pink skirt(?) that was all like askew, like a weird Stevie Nicks skirt, with the gypsy-like uneven edging. Smoking a cigarette, blue eyeshadow. Now, it's not "warm" in the morning here in November. It's like 45-50 degrees. And you're wearing that? At Albertsons? Outside? You must be a hooker. Or a someone with a several screws loose.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to the Grind. Ugh.

There's nothing like a extra-long weekend to make you feel no desire to go back to work and realize that you're not all that thrilled with your career choice. Now, I have no issue with my company, it's a good place to work. But there is nothing exciting about a corporate job. Pays the bills and then some, but fun, eh, not so much. So, it is begrudgingly that I drag my ass back to work. I suppose I should think positively. At least I don't work at my last job anymore where I would have probably had a nervous breakdown with the constant arbitrary "re-organization" of management (I swear, my dogs would have a better clue on who should lead than they do).

Turkey. Not Worth It.

So, I had a small amount of Turkey on T-day. And it was totally not worth it. I mean, if I'm going to "cheat" and eat meat, next time it's going to be something good. Like a burger. Not turkey. Plus, the husband had to give me shit about it, that it's disrespectful to other vegetarians that I ate meat. Whatever. I never said I was going 100%. To me, it doesn't have to be black and white. If I can reduce the amount of meat I eat by like 95% (which means I eat meat like 4 times a year or something), I feel like I am doing my part. I mean, to me, to make it black and white like that, is like saying, "Well, since I can't recycle every recyclable item I have, then forget it. Why recycle anything?" So, I try to ignore him because to me, that doesn't make sense. And I shouldn't need to eat meat just because he does -- I should be able to make my own food choices without feeling obligated to please him.

Blah blah blah. OK, I suppose it's time to get ready and start thinking happy thoughts, because it's this is starting out as a very "blah" week and I need to nip it in the bud, pronto!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Hazards of Being Short

I recently bought two tops for yoga - the stretchy types with the built in bra shelf - so that I could have better, more comfortable, attire for my practice (which is more active, Ashtanga & Vinyasa). Being a 1/4 inch shy of 5 feet, I am short. Only 1.75 inches over being able to join the LPA (Little People of America). Now--normally--tops are fine for me as I have a longer torso and shorter legs (the short legs thing makes pants shopping an exercise in futility. I have maybe 2 stores where I can shop shop for pants). Well. I guess the part of my torso that is longer does not include the region from my boobs to my shoulders. I had bent over to put my gear away in the cubby hole at the studio, then stood up and walked into the yoga room, all nonchalantly, completely unaware. I see this woman kind of like staring at me, and I look down and nearly all of my boob is out. Like top part of my areola is showing. Lovely. I then proceed through the first 30 minutes of class, compulsively adjusting my top so I don't flash my boob which nearly happened about 7 more times (and for some reason, it was the left boob that wanted out, right boob was mostly staying put. mostly). Finally, I take my headband I tie up the straps behind near the base of my neck. That worked out ok, but then my hair look ridiculous, with this funny crimp across the top. Way to have a centered practice. The only act of being "present" I had was making sure I didn't show my funbags to nine other people.

And last week, the other top was almost as bad, but at least I didn't flash part of my nipple. Before Ashtanga practice I had to have the teacher tie up the back of that one with a rubber band.

Needless to say, the sewing kit is coming out and I will have to perform some reconstructive surgery on the strap portions of these tops.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Patiently Awaiting the Winter Solstice...

Pooping out Wrappers

You know that saying/story/whatever about aging and how you go from infant to adult and then essentially back to infancy? Well, clearly Rusty is following this path. I swear I have a puppy on my hands, not as rambunctious but equally destructive and aggravating. So it's like having a puppy without the "fun" of having a puppy. The latest fiasco was Saturday. We were gone on a rare shopping trip for about 3-4 hours and we left them inside since it was going to be dark when we got back. Well, good 'ol Rusty managed to find the bag of candy on the dining room table. I am 95% certain it wasn't Nikki since she too small to reach up there. It probably wans't in his reach, either (though it was probably close since he can rest his doggy-chin on the table). He must have pulled the runner (because I found it shifted) until the bag was in reach and then dragged it to the floor. We came home to candy scattered around the living and dining room. Wrappers and such all over.

I found that pretty much all of the mini Snickers were gone as well as the Kit-Kats and Nutrageous-es (how does one pluralize Nutrageous?). Gone, no wrappers left over. Hmmm. Yeah.

So, for Rusty, he has been pooping out wrappers since Saturday. Nikki, on the other hand, is a smaller dog, so she has been alternating between pooping out some and urping up the rest. This morning she barfed up some wrappers and an intact Strawberry Laffy Taffy, still in its wrapper.
I am hoping by the end of the week it'll be out of their systems. I am not in the mood for more vet visits courtesy of Rusty, the Most Aggravating Dog Ever.


At least it wasn't a Total Wash.

I thought for a moment my options from my previous company were going to expire underwater. My trade window opened up in late October, and literally the day previous, I had 3 dollars per share to exercise. The next day, the windows opens, and it drops below my strike price. So like 1000 bucks gone. Poof!

However, I noticed yesterday that it was around $1.50 over my strike price and I quickly nabbed it. Figured, take it now, don't get greedy over 100 bucks and get left with nothing when they expire (in less than two weeks).

So it looks like I will at least get several hundred out of it which is nice. Better than a poke in the eye with a stick :o)


What's with all the Petersons?

This is odd. First, it's Tyler Peterson that shot up teenagers at a late night house party in Michigan and then shot himself back in October. Then there's Kelsey Peterson, the 26 year old teacher who ran off with her 13 year-old former student to Mexico. Next, it's Drew Peterson who looks like he may have killed his last two wives. And let's not forget Scott Peterson who was convicted of killing his wife (Laci Peterson) and unborn child.

Does anyone else this this is really a funky coincidence?

Monday, November 5, 2007

It's November Already?

Halloween - Out of Candy by 7:30pm

Well, as expected, our neighborhood turned out to be even more active than out old neighborhood up in the Inland Empire. We bought about 10 bags or so of candy - 20 bucks worth. It was gone by 7:30pm. I got home around 7:45pm from teaching the two classes at the Y, and I swear, I had to drive less than 20 mph down the street out of fear that I would run someone over. There were that many people still out.

Now, from what I remember as a kid, 8pm was usually the cutoff time where only the read die-hards were still out. After 7:30pm, our light was off and we still got at least 3 rings of the doorbell. One came past 9pm. 9pm? Are you kidding me? That's a little much.

So I guess next year we'd better buy more or we can just be all ba-humbug and just buy the same amount :o) Let someone else break the bank for Halloween.


Fear of the Office Soda Machine

We get free beverages at work, dispensed by a standard vending machine. You just push a button and out comes what you want. Cool, right?

Except sometimes, without warning, it will decide to spit out a second different can of soda. Each time I go to get my Diet Coke fix, I have this fear that a can of Mountain Dew will come barreling down as I reach my hand in to take my Diet Coke. So when it comes time to pull the can out, I do it as fast as I possibly can. Like the Boogie Man Soda Machine will break my fingers with a V8, and then I'll have to somehow explain the absurd injury and people will think I am a nut job.


On the iPod...

Well, I spent most of the weekend loading up the pod. It now has close to 4 gigs on there -- 750+ songs. I've got Toad the Wet Sprocket's Dulcinea playing at the moment. Whatever happened to these guys? They have good stuff.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Here!

And the box it comes in is smaller than my hand. I love Apple's minimalistic packaging. They are so good at marketing and design, it makes me want to buy all that is Apple. That's how they suck you in and get you to buy their stuff even if it is generally 20% more expensive than the non-Apple comparable model. Thankfully, I have fiscal restraint.

Anyway, the bummer is that I can't play with my new toy until like 8pm tonight because I agreed to sub yet more yoga classes this week. So I can only look longingly at the cute little package and count down the hours.

The other funny thing with the iPod was how it got here. Apple Store shipped it directly from China (Shenzhen). So the FedEx tracking system showed Shenzhen as the origin. It then stopped in Anchorage, Alaska. About an hour later, it was sent to Indianapolis, Indiana. Four hours later, it got security clearance (since it's an Int'l package) and went to San Diego. It arrived in Carlsbad on my desk just 4 hours after it landed in California. This package moved around so fast, it is crazy. It began its journey around 2pm PT in China on Monday and arrived before 10am PT on Wednesday. China --> Alaska --> Indiana --> California in less than 44 hours. Many props to FedEx.

(And I chose to engrave my Red Nano with a quote from A. J. Muste: "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way." I had to use something with meaning because I am a dork. I also thought about "Party Like It's Inaguration Day 2009", but then I thought that if Giuliani somehow gets elected President I would be annoyed whenever I looked at the back of my iPod.)

How Low Can You Go?

That is a good question for the US Dollar. One Canadian Dollar now gets you 1.0602 USD (this is insanity since only 5 years ago $1 CAN was about $0.65 US). Oil is up to $95 a barrel. However, we are still not in a recession... which is interesting. But we are still cutting rates. Now, I've been confused by our economy before, but my level of confusion is at an all-time high, and it's not because I know diddly-squat about money. I do have a minor in Economics, so I am not a complete idiot when it comes to this stuff.

Anyway, I am perplexed. The dollar is doing REALLY badly. Inflation is a threat (and I can see it as a consumer -- prices have risen quite a bit in the last year or so on basics like food). The GDP has yet to contract (it even grew 3.9% last quarter).

So why are we cutting rates?

The only rationalization I can come to for cutting rates is the sub-prime mortgage cluster-f*ck. The only way to stop it from becoming a gigantor black hole sucking down everything in it's proximity is to keep rates low so lenders/banks can continue to operate. The Fed must feel that the sub-prime debacle could have VERY icky consequences if they don't do something to keep it under control. For most of middle-class America, our biggest asset is our house. If that plummets in value, it's like impoverishing the middle-class, who are really supporting the economy through consumption of goods and services (cute little iPod... 6 more hours).

But even with my layman's assessment, I am still scratching my head at the situation. And I still believe that if we could just get out of Iraq, and stop spending SO MUCH MONEY, we would see our economy improve.

Oh well. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Or maybe I am on to something. But why do I even think about these things? Other people can just go about their day not worrying about 1/2 the stuff I worry about. Not me. The noggin is going, going, going. Topic A [connect --> jump] Topic B [jump] Topic C [jump] Topic M [jump] Banana [jump] Potassium [jump] Sodium [jump] Cottage Cheese [jump] lunch [jump] ... you get my point.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let's Go Red Sox!

My aching everything.

Seriously. The fires forced me to take a week-long break from yoga. I went to a Saturday morning class (intermediate/advanced) at one of the studios where I teach and holy moly. I am still sore 2 days later with no apparent relief in sight (I almost wrote "site". Nice. Good thing for my Ivy League education). I mean, the way my back feels you'd think my weekend was spent carrying a goat on my back up a large mountain.

So, as I have said before, it is bad to take long breaks from yoga as when you get back you are in for a world of hurt [it is good hurt though :o) ].

And my muscles better suck it up because I am scheduled to teach 4 classes in the next 2 days. (Update: possibly 6 in 3 days. The Y coordinator left me a vm asking about teaching two on Halloween... wait that is 8 in 4 days since I have 2 on Thursday. Crap. You will need to peel me off my bed on Friday morning because I won't have the energy to do it myself).

(for the love of Pete. shortly after writing this I got ANOTHER call about subbing on Halloween at LA Fitness. At least I could say no to that because I am already on the hook at the Y. I should have some kids quick so that I have an excuse not to sub for EVERYONE on Halloween.)


The Caramel Apples That Were Not

Well, in my infinite wisdom (and also in the interest of saving a buck), I chose not to use pre-made caramels (those little squares with the clear wrapper) for the apple-dipping. I had found this recipe which looked oh-so-simple (just light brown suger, butter, and water. No double-boiler, etc). Well, it was crap. It never attained any kind of gooey or even remotely sticky consistency that it needs to be able to STICK to the apple. It was like water brown sugar. I thought maybe if I let it sit, it will congeal. No. Nothing. It just started crystallizing and looking like really bad melted Vermont Maple-Syrup candy (I miss that stuff! Used to get some whenever we went to New Hampshire for the family fall hiking trip).

So no apples. I am a little bummed. However, I am not all pissy about it which is good. I think maybe 4 or 5 years ago I might have gotten all annoyed with myself, but I let it go, mostly. And what am I taking away from this? That next time I must use the little square caramels because I am not Martha Stewart and am not able to create gooey caramel from scratch.


Anxiously Awaiting my Little Red Gadget

After pining away at iPods for at least a year, we have finally purchased the new Nano. Yay! I am kind of happy with my exercised restraint though because had we bought them only a few months back, we would have had our knickers in a bunch, fit-to-be-tied, etc, because the newer ones are way cooler, and the 8GB model is now $199 as opposed to the $249 is used to be (and only came in black!).

So, I am not going to obsess and check the order status online in a compulsive manner.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stop, Drop, and Roll? No? Run for Your Life? Yes?

Waiting for the smoke to clear...

As I watched the Sox win the Pennant, we were notified via scrolling text there were two major fires in SD county, one at something like 2000 acres and the other at 5000 acres. That's big but when I thought back to every fire season we have had, it was nothing, so I said, well, it's not good, but still small so, not to worry. It was miles and miles away, east of Ramona.

I woke up the next morning to the beginning of Armageddon. Oceanside still looked peaceful and calm, blue skies. Drove to work in Carlsbad, saw a huge red cloud and found out the office was closed because the area might be evacuated. The 3 days the followed were kinda frightening. And tiring. Monday evening, I set my cell phone alarm to go off at 1am, 3am, and 5am so that I could turn on the TV and see if we were going to be evacuated or not. Tuesday night, I checked at 2:30am and 6am. Needless to say that even though I wasn't at work, it was not a day off. It was fairly exhausting, the whole thing. I was happy to get back to work and out of the house.

We were lucky that we didn't have to evacuate; but it was awfully close (about 1 mile from the border of a mandatory evacuation area). I am really thankful that I have my house, because there are too many families in San Diego County that lost theirs. It is just crazy to look at the huge list of homes lost, especially, the number of homes in Rancho Bernardo. It's like entire streets were wiped out. Looking at the maps it is just astonishing -- the vastness of the space that was burned. I one point on Tuesday, when the winds would not let up, I had a small internal panic attack that EVERYTHING in San Diego would burn down making it near impossible to get money out of bankrupt insurance companies in order to rebuild. And I don't it was that irrational of a thought when you look at how fast and far the fire moved in just one evening.

I am still waiting for the air quality to improve. We are unlucky in O'side as our air is probably the worst in the county (aside from areas where the fire is active). I had been keeping the pups in the house all week, but today, I had to leave the dogs out because [dun, dun, DUUUNNNN!!!] Rusty struck again.

Trash Strewn About the House

Yes, I am tired of this old dog. He is a pain in the ass. He decided to use a trick he learned outside a few months back. Knocked over our kitchen trash can (which is no small feat, it's tall and not that light), and the two of them went through every piece of trash. Ate and licked the inside of everything. Nikki (and I know it was her because the evidence was on her spot on the couch) took one of those soy-milk style cartons that had been filled with Butternut Squash Apple Soup, ripped it apart with her little teeth and licked every square millimeter. They even licked the inside of potato chip bags. And from this morning's walk, it was clear Rusty was the one that ate the red pepper remnants (that couldn't have felt good coming out. Not that he doesn't deserve it).

So, they will have to deal with the particulate in the air at this point. If my kitchen dreams ever come true, I will have my trash hidden away in an under-the-counter cabinet. But I fear that with the new rash of people that will be rebuilding, my plan might be delayed (unless I jump on the wagon RIGHT AWAY - and I think I will begin calling contracts as soon as this weekend).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Timing Chain! Now we do the Dance of Joy!

[Channeling Balki Bartokomous] (spelling?)

I had originally thought that L's car would need a super-expensive timing belt replacement before the end of the year, so I had started bugging co-workers about their mechanics (since I am NOT going to the dealer again. Last 60K service on the Sentra cost $453! No, they didn't do anything special. Only replace oil, oil filter, air filter, and engine coolant. The rest was "inspection" labor, which is total crap).

Anyway, then I checked online to see the Nissan maintenance schedule and the only models requiring timing belt replacement was the Xterra and the Frontier... hmmm... So, I asked Google different combinations of the words "timing", "belt", "chain", and "sentra", and I find that '04 Sentras have timing chains! Woo Hoo! Why am I so happy? Chains rarely ever require replacement - they are hardy! Usually last at least 200K miles (basically, the life of the car). So, yay! At least $500 (probably more) that does not need to be spent on vehicle expenses.


Popcorn. Why are you taunting me?

A couple times a week, towards the end of the work day, someone in the office makes popcorn and it drives me crazy. Crazy in that I want to eat it (in large quantities). And it's funny because I never crave popcorn. It's only when I smell it. It's got an addictive aroma. I heard on the Stern show a few weeks back that some kind of weird lung disorder was related to inhaling too much popcorn steam. They were talking about how this guy ate at least 1 bag or more per day of microwave popcorn, and each time he made it he would pull it out of the microsave, open it up, and inhale the steam (clearly, this man has issues). He ended up with some kind of funky, severe lung problem. As soon as he stopped doing his pseudo-cocaine popcorn-steam snort, his symptoms faded away (and he lost significant weight - go figure. 500+ less calories a day of popcorn). So, anyway, this popcorn smell appears to be addictive, IMO. I can still smell it now, but at least it's lessening and I am no longer wanting to scarf down a whole bag.


And when I find some time later this week, I will bitch about the California bottle redemption situation. It is very high up in the rankings of my pet peeves.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where is my Concentration? Why is it Only Tuesday?

"Tenemous un regalo para ustedes." Ooh, so formal with the "ustedes"

Somehow, I have gotten onto some kind of Hispanic phone spam deal where they keep trying to call me and tell me they a gift for me. I haven't listened to the whole message yet; partly because I am paranoid they will somehow steal my identity, or charge me something because I inadvertently agreed to it by not speaking and listening to the whole message. I know. It's ludicrous. If they call a fourth time I may just listen, brush up on my Spanish.

What is interesting (at least to me, maybe this will turn out to be common knowledge for everyone else), is that the recording waits for audible input. This last time it called (attempt #3), I opened my cell without speaking, and "they" didn't say anything either. I tried a soft whistle. Nothing. Then I said "hello", and the Spanish dude started up about his "regalo" that he wants to give me.

I don't need your gift, Senor. I don’t care it if it in your pants. Thank you.

(And the number that shows up is a 763 area code. Google tells me this is Minnesota... Minnesota? Are they assuming by default that a Los Angeles area code must mean I am Mexican and speak Spanish? Is someone hawking my phone number? See, there goes the paranoia again!)


Girl Scout Nuts?

When did Girl Scouts start selling nuts? The daughter of a co-worker is hawking (that is my word today) these nuts, or at least, her dad is via order form in the caf (I am relieved it isn't a walk-around-office-and-ask-people because then you feel bad saying no). Anyway, when did this nuts thing start? I remember just doing the cookies. And the last 2 years, the nuts have come around. (Last year, hubby's friend was visiting and answered the door – it was a girl scout selling those nuts. So he bought some, but they wouldn't take his money until they delivered them. So we were stuck with the nut bill. I mean, it was like 12 bucks or something and hey were good, but I would rather save the $12 and go with the cookies).

And, apparently, the troop only gets 25% of the proceeds of selling the nuts. I think that's kind of bogus. Where does the rest go? I mean, these items are not cheap, so where does the rest of the money go?

I think I shall (“shall” is very underused, don’t you think?) wait for the cookies in the spring. I hear they are now trans-fat free, and I am all about the Samoas (thank god, L (the hubby) doesn't like coconut. All mine!)

Don't Leave the Country. Else You may have to declare bankruptcy when you get back.

The US Dollar is now worth less than the Canadian Dollar (well, as of September 28th.. It reached a 31-year high last Friday). Amazing. You know how in the back of books and such, the Canadian price is always higher? It’s this way for a good reason. Over the past 30 years, the CAN dollar has always been worth significantly less. As of today, $1 CAN gets you $1.02 US. Wow. Seriously. Forget Europe. 1 US gets you .70 Euros. 5 years ago it was around 1:1. Five years ago, 1 Canadian dollar got you about 65 US cents. Is anyone else scared? Or is it just me?

I think we are in for a recession, my friends. It's really sucky (I know, I am so sophisticated with my adjectives). Oil is ridiculous ($88 a barrel?), which means gas is back to being ridiculous ($3.something/gal), and the housing market still sucks like a Dyson. Or maybe it sucks like an Oreck. Certainly sucks more powerfully than a Hoover. Anyway, this is not good news. Surely, another rate cut is in store. And the dollar again will fall deeper into the crapper (which could make next year's obligatory trip to Italy require a 3rd mortgage. Which I won’t be able to get because we are in one of the worst credit crunches in history.). Ho hum. Thank you, George. You're the best.

(Oh, and I the “ba humbug” in me just walked into the break room, and caved and bought some Girl Scout peanut brittle.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time to Make Caramel Apples! Woo Hoo!

Boy, I Really Do Like Pulled Pork. Help! Internal Conflict!

Today I will be faced with the choice to eat very tasty BBQ meat or to abstain and possibly look like a fussy, annoying coworker.

I can't decide what to do. I had told myself I would allow occasional meat (special events, etc), and this is a chance to mingle with co-workers and get some camraderie going, so I suppose it is a noble cause. But I am definitely torn. Eh, I don't know. I'm really liking that so far I have stuck to this no meat thing - I didn't think I could really do it, but it's been fine. I haven't been faced with Sushi yet or Thanksgiving, so that will be another story. I have already said I will not give up sushi, but since we go like 4 times a year, I don't feel all that bad about it. And Thanksgiving, well, I am already planning to eat Turkey, so anyway. What that has to do with today... well, I suppose I am faced with the fact that I am making exceptions and whether or not that is acceptable at all if I am really giving up meat and fish.

This Blog.com... Eh, Not So Much

And I really am not liking this blog site very much. I may need to move my stuff over to another one.

(1) It tends to be slow sometimes in updating. I am thinking they definitely are not equipped to handle load or their systems suck
(2) I can't really customize the blog that much. They do give you free storage space which is excellent, but the customizing part of the blog is crappy. I mean, I know my way around HTML and CSS pretty well. Other blog sites let you actually get into the code and modify it. Here, I am hozed. So I am stuck with certain elements which is kinda bogus.

So I may move it and then just post the address up. I don't know.


Crappity Crap Crap
I am late for work again
At least it's friday

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pet Peeve #49: Drivers Who Stop Too Close to My Rear Bumper on an Incline

Why Sometimes I Should Be More Selfish

Thursday evening consisted of a wild-goose chase. I had agreed to sub for a yoga class two towns away after I had already taught a morning and lunch-time class. (Note that the prior evening, I subjected myself to 90 minutes of Bikram yoga which turned out to be better than the previous time I went, I think because I hydrated like crazy during the day). I was pretty tired and worn out, but she was in a bind (or so my "boss" said the instructor was), so I agreed.

It ends up taking me over 40 minutes to get there because of traffic; every f'ing light is red, my left knee is screaming from the constant up and down shifting and I end up about 5-7 minutes late. I have never been to this branch, so I am running around (literally, I was running) the gym like a maniac, looking for the aerobic room and I finally find it (after getting a bunch of really strange looks from people) and there is a kickboxing class going on!! So I immediately think: "oh it's because I'm late, they threw in another class". No. Not the case. I go over and talk to the front-desk girl and yoga isn't even on the schedule. The last class was 4:30 and there isn't yoga at 7pm at all on any day as far as she can see.

So, I'm kind of peeved. I call her cell phone, and of course, no answer. I leave a message asking "Did I misunderstand something? Was there a different day or location I was supposed to sub? Please call me back".

It is now 4 days later and no phone call, no email. I mean, after sending someone to sub for a non-existent class on short notice, wouldn't you apologize or explain? It's madness. My previous coordinator when I was up in the IE would never have done that. She would have responded with some kind of explanation and/or apology. Completely unprofessional.


Shi-Tzu in the Back of a Pick Up Truck


Now, normally, when you see dogs in the back of pickups, it's normally something like a lab, or some other big, strapping dog. But I saw a Shi-Tzu in the back of a black pickup last week and it just struck me as really funny. Shi-tzus are like 12-15 pounds. A small, toy breed. A lap dog. Doesn't take up alot of space. So to see this guy hanging out in the bed of the truck, clearly loving it, was definitely something to smile at. Another indicator that little dogs think they are big dogs.


"Estates"

Did you ever notice that faily often, mobile home park names are termed "Estates"? It cracks me up. The last one I saw was "Palomar West Estates". And you look at the mobiles and they are on fairly small plots of land. So what part of them is actually estate-like? Not the land. Clearly not the structure (and you can't argue that a permanent foundation under the mobile makes a difference). I mean, talk about trying to make yourself feel better about living in a mobile home development by calling it an "estate". It's like that funny reverse psychology that the Bush Administration uses like "Healthy Forests", and "Clear Skies" (which was actually more cutting down of trees and weaker environmental standards). I mean, at least calling mobile homes, "Estates", is just delusional for the people living there and doesn't hurt the global population. Ah well. 469 days until Inauguration 2009.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Car's CD Player Shit the Bed Again... But Anyway...

Sunday Night Random Visit

I was grilling my veggies for my pasta salad brown bag lunch (this being the product of my vegetarianism attemp, which is going ok, btw) when the door bell rang. And as usual, we both groaned and got annoyed that people would actually be bothering us (yes, we can be quite anti-social). Luckily, the hubby answered the door (I was in the middle of flipping stuff, I was figuring it was someone trying to sell something since the dogs were inside, so Nikki couldn't be in the neighbor's yard again).

Turns out the original owners of the house, now living in Texas, wanted to see the house, which I though was odd. Anyway, onward. So, the mother was in the service and was stationed at Pendleton which was why they lived in our house for 5 years. I think the visit was mostly to show their kids (son and daughter) the first house they lived in since they probably don't rememer it too much. And what was really a doozy was they said they were in Oceanside because their son just got off an aircraft carrier, the Nimitz. He looked like maybe 16. I was like "how old are you?" Nineteen. Already in the military, following in his mother's footsteps. It took until later for me to realize how crazy it is that this kid still looks like a baby and could be sent to Iraq to die. It's really sad. I'll tell ya, I am so ready for this war to be over (which leads me to a side note that I may be leaning ever-so-slightly over to the Obama side... I read an article that reiterated what he said in a speech several months before we invaded Iraq and he was completely on the money. We are in the exact situation he described. He had the intelligence to know that and the balls to say it!).

Poor Britney

I feel pretty bad for Britney. If she was a lowly D-list celebrity like Shar Jackson (K-Fed's previous chick he had kids with), there would be no way in hell he would be fighting for custody. Britney is a cash cow for him, it's terrible. And she is a complete mess. I think she has some kind of psychological issue that could need medication. I mean, she was a hard enough worker to get to where she is now, she must have some kind of work ethic and sense of responsibility. But it's getting obscured by something. Either it's drugs or she's mentally ill. Either way, I hope she gets it together because Kevin Federline does not deserve to get anymore of her money.

Distaste for Authority... And the Questioning of the Arbitrary

I have come to the conclusion that in general, I don't like to take orders. And it's not that I like that about myself, I mean, at work I get tasks presented to me in as professional a manner as anything, but inside, I just wish I could say no. Isn't that funny? I mean it's probably pretty common and has something to do with being a control freak. I am able, for the most part, to keep it internal, but it's like 75% of the time, I get that teenage angst feeling. I need to work on it.

And my two cents on project managment... I am incapable of keeping my mouth shut when I hear something that doesn't make sense to me. I am working on a project that has no defined timeline, no documented tasks with estimates, no design docs, nothing. The project management is somewhat of a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants situation. So, at a meeting, a question arose, oh, can we get this one part done by this date? So I can't help but wonder: And then what? What significance does that date have without a plan for anythng else? We can't use this piece anywhere on it's own and as new things get done that I am depending on, I break that piece and put it back together. So what purpose does it have to say "we did this" without a clear direction of what next? I suppose I get frustrated with deadlines that get plucked out of the air when we really could have a defined schedule if someone put a day or two of analysis into it. Then there would be a published plan and it would provide some transparency to the process and the folks that are stakeholders in the product...

ho hum.

ba humbug.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

2008: Just Around the Corner (Thank God! I though it would never come)

The Forum Shopping Center...

I decided to check out the Panera in Carlsbad on Friday during my lunch hour (rather than driving to San Marcos - it's about the same distance). Anyway, it's in the Forum Shopping Center which is quite shi-shi. I have been there a few times, most notably to go to the Ashtanga Yoga Center to practice with the master Tim Miller. So, I go, thinking it can't be too busy, most people are at work, so it's probably a work crowd since businesses are plentiful in the surrounding area.

Well, I was wrong. Every 3rd person was a 30-something trendy moms and baby. I'll tell you, for some reason, I wanted to shrink into a corner. For sure, these women are predominantly stay-at-home moms who's husbands make bank, so they can stay home with the baby and go to lunch at the Forum. Don't ask me why I felt insecure by this, because I should feel some kind of pride in the fact that I work, but the reality is that I can never be a stay-at-home mom. We wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage. So, I suppose part of me feels like substandard in some way - like a lowly middle-class scrub who has to work to live.

Reading "Recently" Updated Blogs

One of the funnier things to do is read the "recently updated blogs". Basically, the majority of the blogs have been teenaged girls writing a buch of crap. One was all love poems to her boyfriend. And then in the comments, the boyfriend would comment that "no I love you more." I mean, that takes corny to an entirely new level.

The others had a general lack of punctuation and capitalization (which I wonder, is that them being lazy and not feeling like hitting the "Shift" key, or are US teenagers really that screwed as far as education?), and didn't have much point. I mean, hey, if they were to read my crap they'd probably be b like OMG, this chick is so old and boring. going 2 the mall now. toodles.

It also seems like they speak in texting language. You know, like you have a limited number of characters you can send, so you scrunch words and use numbers of stuff and use too many acronyms. So much for writing comprehensive sentences and a paragraph with some flow to it.

Heather Montag: An Example of Why, Generally Speaking, Life is not Fair

Basically, the only reason this chick has any fame whatsoever is because she ended up at the same school as Lauren Conrad of Laguna Beach, and became friends with her, thus planting her into to the MTV show "The Hills". Now, I'm not saying she's a bad person or whatever, she could be extremely nice, for all I know. (Actually, I kind of like watching the Hills even though I know it's completely mindless. It goes along the lines of liking to read trash magazines like US Weekly, and In Touch. I am somewhat embarrassed at the fact that I find pleasure in reading/watching this stuff). Anyway, so yesterday I come home and I find the hubby on the laptop and he's chuckling at something. He's like "you know that chick from the Hills?", and there she was in all her horrific lip synch-ing glory. I could sing better than her with strep throat.

That's right, she has a single and a record deal. WTF. This is why I say that sometimes Life Is Not Fair.

(And if you do end up watching that video clip, check out Spencer Pratt (her fiance) in the back. He looks ridiculous. Never mind her dance moves - I mean, I can't dance at all, but she looks pretty darn awkward if you ask me).

Friday, September 28, 2007

Roar Lions Roar

My Alma Mater in the News Again. And Again it's Controversial.

Last time it was some less than becoming student behavior at the Columbia College Republicans' Minuteman Forum, which, I admit, was pretty childish considering it's an ivy league school (they basically boo'd and heckled speakers and made a ruckus). However, I was still happy to see that the students actually care about politics enough to do *something* (albeit immature), and thank God they were on the side of the "good guys" :o)

This time it's the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad. While I was impressed that Columbia chose to invite him, it did seem a little odd. What was more weird was Bolliger's introduction. He basically bashed the guy that he invited, which was strange. I mean, hey, this dude, Ahmadinejad, is completely delusional (no homosexuals in Iran? Right.) and a good chunk of the stuff he was spewing was most likely "propaganda" to promote Iran as a cosmopolitan society (women have the utmost freedom? Doesn't appear that homosexuals do, though. So much for that forward-thinking, open society). That being said, you don't invite someone and then bash him in his introduction. It's bad manners.

Anyway, after reading some articles on the talk, I feel no better about the Middle East. The only luke-warm thing I read was that Ahmadinejad is convinced that Iraq doesn't need our help. Good! Let's get the f**k out of there! Our dollar is in the shitter. The economy is teetering on the ledge of a tall building, about to commit recession suicide -- but we need to spend another 190 billion dollars on this "war"? Let's listen to the only somewhat sane thing this crazy mo-fo dictator said and get the hell out of there already.

The Halti/Gentle Leader

One of my many (I am not even sure how many I have, probably a ba-jillion) pet peeves is people's ignorant reactions to the halti collar. Now, we all know, that a good number of dogs pull when they are taken for a walk. They get so excited they could care less about who is on the other end of the leash and the pull like a maniac, choking themselves, god-awful noises, like you are killing them. They do it to themselves. Anyway, this makes for a crappy walking experience. So, the Halti collar to the rescue. Stops them from pulling because pulling just leads them to turn their heads towards you, which is pointless, yes?

Unfortunately, people not educated on dogs and training think its a muzzle. I cannot tell you how many times people stop with looks of apprehension at my 25 pound Miniature Australian Shepherd. I mean, seriously, she has a really small jaw. Dogs like her were not bred to do damage via biting. They are for herding, so the most they can do is nip (which is why she is screwed if they ever gets into a serious dog fight - she can't do diddly squat). One time these teenagers looks at my two pups with their haltis on as she walked by and whined "please don't kill me". Are you serious? And just yesterday this Asian lady stopped in her tracks like Nikki was an attack dog.

If you just look at the collar with some common sense you'll see that it couldn't possibly be a muzzle. Their jaws are free to bite and eat whatever they please! Bah!

At least it's Friday!!! And Pay Day! And the one day a week I allow myself to splurge on Starbucks! Woo hoo!

Oh, it's the little things in life. Doesn't take much to please me, I guess :o)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Should Probably Be Mopping the Floor, But Instead, Procrastination

So I know there's a "Crazy Cat Lady" but I feel like I have the potential to become the "Crazy Dog Lady"

Last weekend I impulsively decided to foster a dog (like 2 wasn't enough). But I couldn't help it - seriously, this dog is so cute in the dorkiest way. He is likely a German Shorthaired Pointer and Saluki (or Whippet) mix which is about a weird of a cross as it gets. His face is too funny - it looks like he got punched in the nose or slammed into a wall because his nose is like a 1/2 inch off center. And his mouth appears to be too small to hold all his teeth because they are so crooked. But such a cutie and a good boy. Hopefully he gets a good home (though secretly I kind of want him to stick around the rescue until I have the bandwith to handle another dog or when Rusty finally buys the farm).

On Repeat is...

my newest music addiction, Sara Bareilles. I tend to be one of those borderline OCD types where I can listen to the same song over and over again. Repeat was made for me. Anyway, the whole darn album is good. Love Song was what reeled me in though - heard is randomly on Sirius 9, the Pulse. When I hear artists like her (and Norah Jones, Corrinne Bailey Rae, Colie Callait, etc) it kind of makes me wish that I had pursued music. I enjoy it more than being a programmer! And I swear I'm happy as a clam doing karaoke (not to mention that I have all that Piano under my belt). But the fact of the matter is it would have been alot of hard work and perhaps I am not willing to be that uncomfortable. I don't want to be strapped for cash all the time and without health insurance because I can't have a real job due to the time necessary to try to cultivate a musical career. And I was raised to value money and security more so that doing something that perhaps I would enjoy more...

I am typing this on my new Mac Mini!

Yup, I succumbed and bought it. I am on a mission to remove my depedency on Microsoft. It's not like it's great stuff and the virus stuff is a pain in the ass. Plus, as a Java programmer, they produce the only real viable enterprise-level framework that can perhaps compete with Java EE. To me, it's not as good as Java since you have to pay for it (and then pay some more, and some more, etc) and it has to be run on servers running Microsoft operating systems (pay some more). Screw that. Java is free, run on whatever you got.

Vegeteraran?

I think I need to suck it up and just do it. Last night we were watching a DVR's 60 minutes and the were talking about sharks and all the hoopla with attacks and such. They also talked about how expensive shark fins are and though it's illegal in most countries to "harvest" them, sell them, the sharks are usually caught in international waters where there is no law. They showed some footage of "fishermen" (that's a nice term for them, I can think of more appropriate words to descrive these people) catching them and just cutting off their fins (alive, mind you) and then just dumping them back in to die. It really disgusted me the disrespect for life. I mean, I think I would be less disgusted if they actually used the whole animal, I mean, they sell shark meat. It is abhorrent to me to leave them to die like that -- if that animal is giving it's live to you so you can eat, then use the whole animal, not just 5% of it's body and leave the rest to rot. So please skip the shark fin soup if you're in China.

And Can't Forget This! ArgsafLsga!@!#!#JHJLK. F'ing Red Sox

Are pulling another September choke, going from 5.5 games ahead a few weeks ago to only 1.5 ahead. Well today it's 2.5 games ahead. And at least the Yankees are losing to Tampa bay -- looks like they came back in the 8th inning to take the lead. He he. Well, we'll see because if the Red Sox will their division they may still choke. Can't get your hopes up with them -- at least I can't.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just for Shits and Giggles

As I suspected, no one is reading this drivel, confirmed by my daily stats. Oh well. Perhaps if I tell people about it, someone will actually read it. ho hum.

Anyway.

A. First Soy Milk, Now Bank of America

It's interesting how cashier-type people love to give me advice on my everyday choices. First it was the soy milk, this time it was my banking choice.

I go to the Post Office (note that I have no beef with USPS folk, seeing as I am the daughter of a lifer letter-carrier) to cash a money order and they only have $100 (no small bills totaling $100 apparently). I say, "oh, ok, I'll just deposit it in the bank", so then she tells me I can just give the money order as-is to the bank and they will deposit it. Now the last time I was at a Bank of America ATM, they had this nifty, though scary, new deposit system that doesn't involve envelopes - it just scans your check or cash and tells you how much it is and you confirm the deposit amount(s). There was no money order deposit option, just cash or check. So I tell her this and she mentions going to a teller, and tell her I can't because our account type doesn't have free-human-teller visits, you gotta pay a fee.

That leads to another passerby clerk chiming in: "So the question is, why are you with Bank of America? ... Wamu has no-fee checking... [blah blah blah]"

Um, ok. You are a secret Wamu guerilla marketer? Yes?

I go on to explain that it's what my husband had and we just merged, them, blah blah. And Wamu isn't really fee-free, because I've had them before and they charge you miscellaneous things here and there (like depositing more than "n" rolls of coins!)... blah blah [let's move on, no?]

"Is your husband in the military?" (not completely out of the blue since Camp Pendleton is just down the road, but still)

"No, no, he's not in the military".

"Oh I was going to say: Navy Federal!"

Is this the anti-Bank-of-America headquarters? I steered clear of asking why she was so against B of A; I didn't want to open that can of crazy.

I must have "Need help with trivial decisions" written on my forehead.

Either that or this town is full of people that strongly couple their personal identity with their milk-substitute and/or banking choices.

B. Netbank in the Crapper

Yes, it is. It has nearly been flushed completely down. It's like a turd that floats there, lingering, having not gone down the first time.

And if it were not that I compulsively check our finances, I probably wouldn't have known any different. I was logging into online banking and noticed a link about selling their deposit assets to EverBank... And I'm thinking "Why"? Well, turns out their stock has been booted from the regular exchange for being under a dollar per share for an extended period of time. It's at a whopping 8 cents a share. Thank God for the the FDIC insuring deposit accounts up to 100K or else I'd be seriously worried about my money. I'm already marginally worried as it's a substantial amount of cash (at least to me, a working-class scrub), so I've started to transition to Capital One. Crazy though, that had I not seen that link, I would never have poked around further and found out they are a 1 star out of 5 stars on the "Safe and Sound" scale. (note that when I opened the account back in 2001, they were a 3 or 4 according to BankRate.com so they have really taken a shit everywhere).

C. "Starbucks".equals("DrugDealer")? (ok, maybe an exaggeration)

I used to be someone who never drank coffee. Like never ever. A good part of the reason was that I am lactose-intolerant and I can't drink it black, so just not an option. One day I try a soy-latte with a sugar-free syrup. I have no idea why I walked into Starbucks that day, I have completely forgotten the catalyst but it's been months now that I've been drinking some form of coffee nearly every day. I feel like perhaps I'm addicted (?). To curtail costs, I've even brought in soy milk to the office so I can have office coffee rather than spending 3.50/day.

I mean Starbucks in particular, to me, is a pseudo-drug-dealer, in a way. If I weren't the frugal gal that I am and were more flippant with a few bucks a day, I wouldn't even bother with work coffee. They would have me hook-line-and-sinker, shelling out (... $3.50*22days...=) 77 bucks a month! That, my friend, is significant. So I work to whittle it down to perhaps ($3.50*7 days=) 24.50 :o)

D. Britney Brough-ha-ha

This was really interesting to watch. I was actually looking forward to seeing her give a good "Britney" performance because as much as I outwardly show disdain for her and her music, I secretly kind of like her, in some dorky pre-teen-esque kind of way.

But oh, was it bad. I coudln't figure out if she was nervous, stoned, and just didn't give a F**K. I also think that it's time to stop wearing the next-to-nothing outfits. Not that I have anything to say about her body because, in reality, it's better than mine. BUT! If you choose to wear almost nothing, you are going to be ripped to pieces by the media if you are not in the shape of your life. I think she needs to tweak her idea of what is "sexy" to include more than being practically naked.

E. Biggest Loser! Yipee!

Only a few words here. I love this show. Love it. That is all.

F. Sub-terranian Irrigation Systems

We are becoming regular experts on sprinkler systems. Ok, perhaps not experts, but at least able to fix basic issues without calling a landscape dude who would probably charge us 50-100 bucks. Of course, is we assign a dollar value to hours spent, perhaps it's more than paying someone, but still. Even if you pay someone you have to be at the house while he works and then are you really going to spend those hours "making money"? Or sitting in from of the TV scratching your ass? Yeah.

G. Differin/Retin-A not covered over age 25... Perhaps I can classify my Chin as a dependent born after 1982

When I read this line in my new health insurance policy I was annoyed, if not feeling repressed by the "man". Adult acne in women in the 30s is extremely common. Though I am still, by only months, in my 20s, I have acne. And it's a problem - I am tired of my chin breaking out on a weekly basis. So, if I go to a dermatologist he can't prescribe these skin medications because I'm over 25?! That is bullshit if I have ever heard it. And it's yet another example of hour f**ked up our healthcare system is. Insurance companies find every which way to Sunday not to have to pay for something. It's bogus.

So if they have excuses up the wazoo that allow them to not cover things, I should be able to claim my chin separate from the rest of my body since it appears to be in it's own universe.

I. Be Thankful You Don't Have to Eat Your Pet

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/09/14/pets.zimbabwe.ap/index.html

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ok, OUCH!?

1. The Cure is a Shot in the Ass

Well turns out my pancreatitis really wasn't pancreatitis . Are we suprised? No. Anyway, I went into urgent care on the Sunday following my self-diagnosis as the pain was still there and not improving. I get every test they can probably do at that urgent care facility - EKG (which was like nothing but some thingies pasted to parts of your body and you sit there for maybe 5 seconds and that's it. Very anti-climactic.), blood test, urine test, ribe cage x-ray, etc. They conclude it's something muscular (after 3 hours of this). At this point, I'm feeling a little sheepish with my internal organ failure theory. Anyway, so the nurse tells me the doctor has prescribed a pain medicine shot (torodol) along with a prescription for NSAIDS. She tells me that it can burn so the best place to deliver the shot is in my hip (which is really the upper part of my butt). OK. Expose the upper part of my ass, here comes the shot. Holy Ow! Wow. I mean, at first you feel the pinch, ok, whatever. But then a wave of burning pain in your "hip" comes about 3 seconds later and lasts a good minute. Believe it or not , it is now 10 days later and when I press on the area, it hurts. And this pain stuff took an hour to do any good for my back/side pain. Seemed like a good way to take my mind of the back pain and deflect it to my butt.

Anyway, it is better now, not completely, but mostly. I can go back to my Ashtanga yoga and teaching without grimacing so it's close to 100% in my book.

2. To Obama or Not to Obama.

Where to begin. I am really at a loss on what to think about the upcoming primary. I am not gungo-ho AT ALL about any of the candidates. I wish Gore would just ante-up and get into the race already. Basically, 8 years of dubya have made me extremely risk-averse. And by that I mean, I am scared to back a candidate that mainstream America might not accept (i.e. woman or African American). We are a country that has so far to go on social equality - sure the metropolitan areas are a different story where diversity is more prevalent. However, the rest of the country consists of small towns that are predominantly white and Christian. Will they vote for a woman? Not sure, especially if she is Hillary Clinton. A black man? Again, not sure. So I am gun shy on the both of them.

The thing with Obama is that there is alot of "buzz" surrounding him. He is the "hip" candidate - he is in his early 40s, intelligent and handsome, focused and driven. R&B and rap industry artists name drop him in songs - I mean, while it's refreshing and kinda cool - is it viable? And by that I mean, is this publicity we are seeing from Hollywood and the music industry truly a reflection of sustainable popularity that will result in a candidate with the ability to beat a white, Christian Republican male?

This is the rub. I really don't know that I want to vote for Edwards but the thought of 4 more years with a Republican president makes me seriously consider it.

3. Latest Home Improvement Idea (I must say, I am v. proud of this one!)

I would post a Visio diagram of my latest idea if I could but I don't have it and the new company computer doesn't have it either :o( It's ok though, my drawings are pretty good! Anyway, I think the best improvement project is a kitchen expansion - a small addition to the first floor adjacent to the dining room and nook area. It'll be an extra 130 sf which by just $/sf adds close to 40K in home value, but I am hoping the project will cost 25K or less (since we would be doing alot of the work ourselves, like installing the cabinets and tile counters, as well as tiling the floors - these are items that cost alot in labor!). So, when the new job settles a little I will see about getting some estimates from general contractors on how much a "just walls with electric and plumbing rough-ins" 130 sf addition would cost. I am hopeful it is doable because I am desperately in need of more space in the kitchen (it's like 80 sf right now) and it's really cramped in the dining "nook" area (with the dog food bin and bowls and such). Then pool will be after that (hoping that the addition will add enough value to the house that a 3rd mortgage or a refi of the 2nd will result in some additional capital (without maxing out to 100% LTV - want to keep it at 90% LTV) that could be used for the backyard pool project).

4. The Neighbors are Nocturnal... [harumph!]

Yeah, we thought it was just their rambunctious, inconsiderate, college-aged son that was going to be disturbing our sleep at 1am with parties but in reality he is more considerate than his middle-aged parents. He chose to have his loud get-together on a Saturday night when it's not that bad to be kept up because you can catch up on Sunday. His parents, instead, chose to do it on a Thursday night (um, work night!!!?). Apparently, their daughter and 2 young children arrived that night and they just HAD to use the pool... at MIDNIGHT! It's great to be sound asleep, in REM sleep no less, and be woken up by yelling little boys. Now, she had mentioned that the previous owners did not like it when they had "night swims". Um, to me, a "night swim" is not 1am nor does it involve yelling. That's just rude.

So, at this point, if my dogs bother them with barking during the daylight hours, they can EAT ME because I have to put up with "night swimming".

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Viva [insert inappropriate reference here]!

1. State of the economy - another recession? Already? what?

This is how I know that I am still a youngin'. The reality is that the economy cycles. It is not completely whack that we are on the brink of another recession because the last one was nearly 7 years ago (and the one previous to that was somewhere in the 92-94 timeframe from what I've been reading, so 7-10 years, about right). But to me, it feels like it just happened - and boy, do I remember the last one. Everything is all bright and shiney, all dot-com-ey, yay! there was Webvan and Kozmo, Yahoo stock was $400 a share, and then WHAP! all to crap. Laid off 6 months out of school. And then laid off again 1 year after that. So, understandably, recessions give me serious agita, like a pavlovian response. I already have a predisposition of imagining the absolute worst outcome of every situation, so this looming recession compounded with starting the new job soon, is not ideal. Luckily, I am pretty good and talking myself out of the illogical. Sometimes. (see #3)

2. Soy Industry= Evil Empire. Right.

The last time we went to Trader Joe's they were all out of the TJ's brand vanilla soy milk. Now, I am lactose intolerant, mostly with milk, cream, and ice cream (yogurt and cheese thankfully are ok) so I generally use soy milk for cereal. And I will have tofu on occasion and tempeh. From what I have read, soy can be excellent for heart health, lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides. The list goes on, but I figure, hey, why not eat some more soy, sounds like it's good for me.

Anyway, so, like usual, the cashier asks if I was able to find everything I needed. I mentioned that yeah, but all the TJ's brand vanilla soy milk was out. She says that it's not really good for you anyway and goes on a monologue about it's all going to come out that soy is bad for you, it caused her to have pre-menopause, her chemist friends have said it's bad, etc, etc, etc, and etc. I mention that there is alot of research out there indicating there are many benefits to soy. She says that it's the soy producers/industry (like it's a huge money industry) creating the hype and it's all going to come out, and that people in Asia really don't eat that much soy, it's an exaggeration. (Now, the pre-menopause comment is really curious to me because soy generally increases the levels of estrogen in your body, and menopause is the decrease of estrogen, so usually, people will intake soy to HELP their menopausal symptoms. So I didn't get that one, that soy caused her pre-menopause, unless the estrogen level increase caused her body to respond with higher levels of testosterone, but that seems like a stretch. Anyway, I digress)

Now, I did not ask for Trader Joe's cashier opinion of the true health benefits of soy and generally, when I hear this type of alarmist argument I tend not to take seriously the words spewing from the person's mouth. To me, it's similar to the discussions I would have with Atkin's diet fanatics, that the sugar industry is so huge and it's putting out bad press about atkins, suger is the devil, etc. To me, when it comes to food - it's moderation. If you overdo anything when it comes to eating, you are asking for trouble. I am not going to cut any food group out of my diet because of some study funded by biased groups with hidden agendas. I will eat soy, salt, bread, carbs, candy. All in moderation. Whatever. (unless of course, said food item gives me gastrointestinal distress - like whipped cream. We all want me to avoid whipped cream, at least if you are within 20 feet of me).

3. Mild Pancreatitis or Moderate Hypochondria?

I had some weird discomfort on the left side of my back around the bottom of my ribcage last night. I went to bed, woke up and it's worse (more like pain when I dip my left shoulder down - shortening the left side of my torso). Well, this made me think of all my internal organs and narrowed down the pancreas on the left side. I mean, the symptoms, the risk factors, causes, I don't really fit the bill entirely. I am not an alcoholic (though I did have a few miller lites last night), I am not overweight, I eat alot of fiber, have a low-fat diet high in carbs, low in meat, my glucose levels have been fine the last 4 years of blood tests at work. But I can't help wondering if I have pancreatic cancer or something. I know, talk about finding the absolute worst case scenario to dwell on (it's probably the worst cancer you can get along with esophageal cancer).

Anyway, it's still possible I pulled something yesterday and I'm sore, or I have something milder like gallstones causing very mild pacreatitis. Either way, I am well overdue for an all-out physical (it's been something like 10 years), and if this pain gets worse or stays the same over the next few days, I will probably hit a walk-in or something. But for now, I am just going to plan on getting a standard physical in the next couple of weeks (after I start the new job), bring my company bloodwork in, and get some of my likely absurd conclusions cleared up.

4. The Ridiculousness of Viagra Commericials. I mean Really.

I turned on CNN the other morning (tangent: because I am trying to get with the program and know a little about what's going on in the rest of the country and world) while unloading the dishwasher and feeding the dogs. I see this commercial on where they are singing verses set to "Viva Last Vegas" and it's like a bunch of dudes in like a garage-blues-rock band. One guy is playing the piano on a Story & Clark upright grand. I'm like, "interesting, cool instruments". They get to the chorus: "Viva Viagra!"

What? Seriously?

I don't get that. Why in God's Holy Name would you sing "Viva Viagra". I mean, all that makes me think is that you guys are a bunch of losers who can't get it up. It's not flattering. At All. They all need to stop. Viagra, Cialis, the other one with the stupid 50's commercials with the dude in the pool who loses his shorts and then all the ladies look at his weiner and smile.

It's getting a little much all this tv promotion relating to erectile dysfunction. For the love of Pete, just quit it already. We all know it's an issue - so is my hypochondria or pancreatitis, do you see a bunch of commericials on that? Throw me a bone here, people.

5. And, finally, I love DMB's #41

I had forgotten how much I loved it until it just came on now courtesy of Hubby. Definitely my favorte Dave Matthews song.