Friday Randomness

I’m reading the new novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and at almost half way in, I’m loving it.  It’s the story of a Nigerian girl who comes to America to get an education, because the colleges in Nigeria keep closing down due to strikes.  She’s getting ready to go back to Nigeria, many years later, and see what the world there has for her…but right now we’re in flashbacks, her college life, trying to live as an American African (different from an African American), trying to pay for tuition and rent and so on.  Trying to overcome her self hatred at some of the things she has done.

I’m adjusting to live without soda.  I really think giving it up entirely is the way to go, because I have tried SO many times to cut down to one a day, and it never lasts more than a week or so.  Of course, I’m only a week and a half into this, but so far so good.

I’ve discovered something shocking.  I like tea.  Ted says that he thinks my problem, previously, was that I was only drinking crappy American tea, which can tend towards bitter.  I decided to try his tea, which he drinks the British way, with milk and sugar.  PGTips.  I had a cup yesterday, and a cup today, and I enjoyed both of them.  I’m not going to lie to you and say that if I were offered a choice between a nice cold coke or a cup of tea, I would choose the tea.  I wouldn’t.  But it’s nice in its own way.

I’m also adjusting to the standing desk.  My goal was 50/50 standing and sitting.  But the switching between the two isn’t as simple as I had hoped, so I’m standing most of the time, taking breaks to sit for meetings or phone calls or reviewing paper.  It’s fine most of the time, but at the end of the day, my feet hurt.  I’m wearing good shoes, I have carpet, I don’t know that I want to further clutter our office with padding that would make moving my chair a pain should I choose to use it.  Sometimes I just wish we had a bigger house.  Big enough that my desk could have two monitors, one high and one low, and I could switch between them at will.  Maybe that will actually happen (without moving) next year, when I’m scheduled to get a laptop for work.   We’ll see.

Stockton was nice last week.  I took Grandma and Aunt Flo to Red Lobster, and we had scampi and biscuits.  It was pretty darned good.  They wanted wine, so we had wine at noon, even though I hadn’t had breakfast.  Which made me realize, I was having wine for breakfast.  Oh well, I guess that’s not any more strange than scampi for breakfast, right?

Went to the funeral for Rosemary’s grandmother.  I didn’t know her well, I had only met her a few times.  But I was sad for Rosemary, who is so devastated, and loves her grandma so very much.  I got to talk to some friends from High School and get all caught up on their lives so far, so overall it was a really nice day.

I got some good news today, on the smaller scale of life, but it excited me nonetheless.  I’m not sure if I can tell you yet, so you’ll just have to wait.  Not as good as a wonderful new job, or a clean biopsy, or a trip to Paris or anything, but good.

Today I have to go shopping for a few Thanksgiving items.  Maya’s girl scout troop volunteers every year at a ‘Basket Brigade’, filling and delivering baskets of holiday items to families in need.  That’s tomorrow, so today I shop.

Other plans for the weekend?  Not many.  I need to make progress on my book…I have about 300 pages to go, and it’s a library book with a wait list, due next Saturday I think.

You?  Anything exciting going on this weekend?

Friday Randomness

Here it is, Friday morning.  I’m feeling both happy and sad today, and in a bit of a rush, so I’ll quickly tell you what’s going through my brain, and then move on.

  1. Sad.  My best friend’s grandma died this week.  She had a stroke a few weeks ago, and either something else came up, or she had another stroke.  One of my grandmas had a stroke the same week, and is doing fine and fully recovered.  Strange how life is.  (Also, they caught my grandma’s stroke while it was happening, I think, which makes a huge difference.)
  2. Happy, because I’m going to Stockton today for the funeral.  I’ll get to see my best friend and her family, and though the circumstances suck, it’s always nice to see her.
  3. Also, going to take Grandma and Aunt Flo to lunch while I’m in town.  Happy about that.  Where will they pick this time?  Marie Callenders?  Olive Garden?  Red Lobster?  Sizzler?  One never knows.
  4. Maya and I made this for dinner last night, and it was pretty tasty.  Mostly it tasted like mac & cheese with sausage thrown in.  You didn’t really taste the butternut squash as much as we expected.  So it was OK, but not fabulous.  Still, it counts in the happy camp, not the unhappy camp.
  5. We cancelled our newspaper subscription awhile ago because the price kept going up.  Not that I blame them, because with subscriptions down so much and people getting their news elsewhere, they have to bring in some money to pay the staff.  But we couldn’t afford it anymore.  Well, they offered us a 2 month deal that we couldn’t refuse, so we’re getting Fri – Sun papers for a little while.  Today was the first day, and I was happy to open the door and find a paper waiting for me.

OK, that’s it.  Gosh, in the heyday of blogging, they used to have something called a ‘Friday Five’, which was a quick meme that was usually just like this.  5 quick things going on in your life, then move on.  Though maybe it was more organized than that, I’m not sure.  I’m going to grab a Friday 5 for my picture, because blog posts are always more fun with a picture, right?

Friday Randomness

OK, it’s been awhile, so let’s just dive in, OK?

Last weekend, we went to a party that was held at the clubhouse of a fairly unique condo complex. I was in love, and Ted was in love on my behalf. This particular condo complex includes about 80 townhouses, 2 to 3 bedrooms, right on the border of Mt. Diablo. What makes this complex different is that they have stables right there on site, for approximately 40 horses. They also have people hired to clean stalls, and they feed the horses. They also have 4 riding areas, one covered, and an area where you train your horse on a lead. Gah, I want to live there. It’s probably 200k more than our place, very rare that places come available, and that’s no including the horse costs. But gosh, wouldn’t it be amazing to wake up in the morning hearing horses make horse noises, rather than BART (train) or the freeway noises, that we wake up to now?  I’d like to try it for awhile.

Gosh, I enjoyed the 4 days that BART was on strike the week of the 4th. I’m pro-labor, and it’s a lot easier to be so when their strike brings you peace and quiet in the morning.

San Francisco is hosting the America’s Cup. No one gives a crap. I know I don’t. Boy, that was a lot of money for something that we all knew no one cared about. Sigh.

This whole Trayvon Martin thing…I have to confess that I thought the jury being all women would mean guilty, because I thought they would want to protect their child, vs. men, who would want to protect their children in a different way. I was wrong, or else the law got in the way and the jury were limited by what was put before them and state specific rules. Either way, I sure wish he had gotten manslaughter. He had no business following that teen, no matter what else happened. He is an adult, and he shot a kid, and he didn’t need to.  End of story.  I keep hoping that this crap will go away, and the world will be a better place in which to live, but I’m starting to understand that that takes a lot of work, which sucks.

Good news, Maya got her drivers’ license!  She took the test last week, and passed, and then got her official license yesterday. Very exciting. And liberating. I’m busy with work right now, which means she can go to the grocery store for me, and also drive herself to her volunteer gig or to meet friends. I love it. Not so much the increase in our insurance premium.

I tried a new recipe last night. A few months ago, we went to dinner at a friend’s house, friends that happen to be vegan. We were served a delightful butternut squash ravioli. So this week, I told Maya I was going to make pasta, and she asked if I could call this friend for the recipe. I didn’t call, it was early in the morning when I wanted to go to the grocery store, and I happen to know this friend can’t go to sleep early, and that she doesn’t like to get up early, esp in the summer. So I found a recipe online. Result? Meh. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the same either.

My avocado trees aren’t doing very well, and I blame the fertilizer I bought, which is specifically for avocado trees. They started out fine, but then after I gave them the fertilizer, they boomed up and grew new leaves, which then browned and curled and fell off. Ugly. So I cut it down, and they’ve started new leaves, which one day look healthy and strong and the next day are brown and starting to curl. I hate that. They’re beautiful little trees, and even though I know they won’t grow fruit, I still want them to flourish.

Meals on Wheels was interesting this week.  I stopped and talked to the daughter of one of our clients, and she told me a little bit of her father’s story.  He was homeless for 30 years, and now his daughter is trying to keep him safe and fed and warm in a crappy apartment in a bad neighborhood.  This guy is so young, not quite 65, and he looks to me like Zonker Harris from Doonesbury.   He’s a Vietnam vet with terminal cancer in his neck, and when his daughter got a crappy apartment with him, because she can’t afford better, she took on not only his issues, but the constant visits of his homeless friends, who are pretty good at robbing them blind and taking advantage of them.  So now he’s trying to avoid them, but in doing so, he is hesitant to leave his house, and so is slipping into depression.  Wow.  Some people have lives that are a lot more complicated than mine, and I wish her well, absolutely.

Last, but by no means least, today is my beloved Mother in Law’s birthday.  I feel so very, very lucky to have a MIL that I love, and who loves me.  She loves my husband, and she adores my daughter.  She is fun to hang out with, makes me laugh, and has done a great job with her kids and her life in general.  I am very proud to be her daughter-in-law.  Happy Birthday, Ma!

Monday Randomness

We decided to start our weekend early, and went out to dinner, and then to the new Star Trek (link is to Ted’s review on his blog) movie on Thursday evening.  I like it when we do something like that during the week…though it can make for a tired Friday, it makes the weekend feel a bit longer.  I enjoyed the movie, and I’m glad we went to see it, but I didn’t LOVE it.  I think they did a really good job, but there was a sense of retreading an old story, rather than going in a new direction.

Saturday I decided to get my butt in gear and go to for a swim.  The pool where I go to swim opens at 11 on weekends, and I generally get there at opening time, hoping to miss the crowds.  This weekend I got a late start, and didn’t get there until about 11:40.  Guess what?  It was even less crowded.  I guess a lot of people try to get there at 11, so they can get their swim in, and then get on with their day.  This first group was starting to leave when I got there, so I never had to share my lane, which was great.  It felt really good, and reminded me why I really enjoy swimming.  Then I came home and got cleaned up, ran some errands, and sat down to watch the Preakness Stakes.  The coverage was all about Orb, Orb, Orb, no one else even need bother apply.  I was rooting for Mylute, because his jockey is Rosie Napravnik, and no woman jockey has yet won a Triple Crown race.  We girls have to stick together, right?  Well, Mylute didn’t win, but he did come in third, which is the first time a female jockey has placed in the top 3 in the Preakness.  And Orb came in 6th out of 9 horses, well behind the frontrunners.

I don’t watch a lot of horse racing.  The triple crown races, once in a great while the Breeders Cup.  Sometimes we go to Golden Gate Fields to watch a race live.  I really like watching, though.  The horses are SO pretty, and powerful, and so single minded.  Thoroughbreds are bred to run, to run fast, and to have the staying power to run that fast for over a mile, sometimes a mile and a half.  I like seeing how high-strung they are, though I likely wouldn’t want one as a pet.  Did you know that a race horse loses a LOT of weight in a race?  I’ve read everything from 40 lbs to 100 lbs.  Almost all of which is water weight.  It’s a huge exertion.  Which is perhaps why we haven’t had a Triple Crown since Affirmed won over Alydar in 1978.  I remember watching those races with my Grandpa, and being so excited, and having a small crush on Steve Cauthen (the Kid, they called him…he was barely 18 when he rode to victory).  There were 3 Triple Crowns in the 70s, with Secretariat (whose times are still the fastest for those races), Seattle Slew, and Affirmed.  Amazing horses, but I thought, this Triple Crown thing can’t be that difficult, can it?  If all of these horses are doing it all the time?  But going through 3 such major stakes races, with the exertion, the stress, the travel, and they’re only 3 years old.  It’s a huge deal.

Speaking of girl power (we were, weren’t we?  a little while ago?), we’re getting close to the end of the school year.  Maya’s English class has been working on anthologies all year, and Maya’s has been rooted in female authors.  They are compiling their anthologies into a notebook, and they are supposed to include a picture of themselves representing their theme.  Here’s Maya’s pic.  She looks darned good, wouldn’t you say?

Yes we can

Sunday was a no-sleep-in day, because Maya had to be at school at 8:30, as the school choir and band performed the National Anthem at the opening of the Oakland A’s home game.  Pretty exciting, though a long day.  They sounded GREAT, and we had seats in the shade, but I was still drooping by the 6th inning, so we left.  When we left it was 3-2 Kansas, and the game ended 4-3 A’s, so YAY!  Glad we won.  Glad I didn’t have to stay, though, because we came home and I had a lovely nap.

Friday Randomness

Happy Birthday to my wonderful super amazing husband, Ted!  I got confused last night and wrote, “Happy 38” on our calendar.  That’s 10 years ago.  To celebrate his birthday, Ted likes to go for special birthday rides on his bike.  One year over the Golden Gate Bridge, another year over near Benicia.   This year he wants to ride up in the Marin Headlands.  So I’m playing hookey from work, and I’ll drive in with him.  I don’t even have a bike, so I won’t be riding, but I’ll drop him off on the SF side of the GG Bridge, then I’ll drive over to Sausalito.  I’ll have a nice walk around there, and we’ll meet at Davey Jones Deli, which is a pretty fabulous deli counter in a bait shop there.  We’ll have the kind of casual lunch you can have in your bike clothes at a deli counter in a bait shop, and then come home.   Tomorrow is the birthday party, and since Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, the theme is Mexican food.  I’ll be making chicken and tomatillo tacos from the recipe below.

What else is there on this Friday morning?  Well, today is also Nance’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Nance!  I hope you have some delicious pie to celebrate!

Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby!  I love the Kentucky Derby, and I hope I remember to watch.  I’m rooting for Mylute, mainly because his jockey is a woman, and no woman has ever won the Kentucky Derby.  Yet.

Saw this headline in the local paper this morning, and said, “JESUS”.  Not in a religious way, but in an ‘Crap, REALLY?” way.  Our local Very Expensive Bridge project is SO crazy expensive, and it’s hard to know how dangerous these kind of errors are.  I do know that a few months ago, they installed a bunch of huge bolts that are part of the earthquake safety feature of the bridge, and many many bolts broke.  The real problem with the bolts appears to be something about them not really liking water.  Nice on a bridge.  Not exactly instilling confidence.

Finished a book the other day that I really really liked.  I’ll have to write about it, maybe on Sunday.   Saw ‘Life of Pi’ on On Demand last night.  It sure was a beautiful film.  I wanted the tiger story to be the real one.  Sigh.

I hope you have a super fabulous weekend, and I’ll try to write more soon.  Maybe.

Friday Randomness

  • We went to see ‘From Up On Poppy Hill‘ last weekend, which is the latest film by the creator of Spirited Away, Ponyo, and My Neighbor Totoro. This film is different from the others in that there are no supernatural forces or characters at work. Rather, this is a story about two teenagers in Japan at the lead-up to the 1964 Olympics, and deals with the juxtaposition of tradition vs. modernism at that time. It was very sweet, very enjoyable, and I recommend it, though the ending was a bit abrupt. I do like all of these films, quite a bit.
  • Is Obama an idiot for suggesting that the answer to our problems is to cut Social Security, or is he plotting how to make the entire country say, “OH HELL, NO!”  Personally, I think it’s a bit of the idiot, because he’s so darned eager to capitulate to the Republicans, it makes me kind of sick.
  • When we hear stories about children who are obese, whose parents feed them whatever and don’t pay attention to the fact that they’re poisoning themselves, somehow child protective  services gets involved.  Yet look at this girl, who is underweight, and it’s a different story.  The girl has eaten nothing but ramen noodles for the last 13 years, they say she has the health of an 80 year old, she’s got more chemicals and salt and crap in her than could ever be deemed normal, and yet, does anyone get involved?  I don’t think so.
  • Allergies are crappy, right?  Right.  I’m suffering this morning.  Whilst out at the grocery store, I was chatting with the checker, and she said she saw an allergist a few years ago, who said that if you take a 24 hour allergy pill, you should take them at bedtime rather than in the morning.  This is because allergens in the air generally peak at around 3am, so if you take your pill before bed, your pill will be at its most effective when allergens are at their peak, so you’ll be better prepared, vs. trying to play catch-up by taking the pills when the allergens have already hit you.
  • Dishonest tip of the day.  If you buy the good Parmesan cheese,Parmigiano-Reggiano, it is often sold by the pound. I have recently found that if you dig through the various wedges at your local grocery store, there are sometimes wedges that are mislabled, and clearly weigh more than they are marked, so it’s like getting some free cheese. At $15 – $19 a pound, this can make at least a bit of a difference. I doubt that they would actually want you to bring this to their attention, as it would mean more work for them. That’s my justification at least.
  • Maya went from simple wisdom tooth extraction to dry socket, which means we have to apply a clove oil goopy Vaseline ointment to the socket twice a day.  Not easy to do, as she still can’t open her mouth completely.  Poor kid.
  • Tomorrow is the junior prom!  Gah.  I’ll have a picture for you next week, of Maya in her pretty dress.  Nowadays due to provisional drivers licenses, driving curfews, and perhaps trying to keep the kids from drinking, they are taken from school to prom site and home again in a chartered bus.  Also different from when I was a teen is that if a person doesn’t have a date, it’s perfectly socially acceptable to go stag.  A lot of kids are doing just that.  I think if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s probably more fun, less pressure, to go and just dance and hang out with your friends.

Friday Randomness

This week was Spring Break for Maya, and I decided to take the week off from work as well. I’ve been with my company for 12 years now, with one 5 month hiatus when I was laid off, and I accrue vacation time pretty quickly, but we’re not allowed to have a lot on the books, so I take a random Friday off here and there, but once in awhile I need to take a week off.

The week started off busy busy busy. Friday I had errands galore to run, as we had a houseful of teens coming over on Saturday to help Maya celebrate her birthday. Then we went to dinner and a movie as our family celebration. We went to the see ‘The Host‘, which was OK, but if you’re compelled to see it, I’d wait for the DVD. It wasn’t as bad as I feared, but not as good as it could have been.

Saturday was the party, which meant busy in the morning getting ready, then relaxing upstairs and getting caught up on ‘Girls‘ via HBO on the computer upstairs, while the teens had their fun downstairs. We watched almost the whole season in one afternoon, which really isn’t that difficult, as there were only maybe 10 1/2 hour episodes. I really do like that show, I’ll admit it.

Sunday was Easter, and we went for a family brunch at Ted’s parents’ house. It was a relaxing day, but still managed to feel a little busy.

Monday I went to Stockton to try to get my Grandma set up with a Kindle. She is having trouble reading, and her doctor suggested it. We’ll see if it sticks. She really does like the idea of it, but she was confused by the technology, has never handled anything more complicated than a TV remote, and had trouble remembering how to turn the page. I hope it works out for her. If not, maybe large print books from the library will be a better match.

Tuesday was the big day, when Maya went and got her wisdom teeth out. She wanted to go under, which Ted and I were not thrilled about, but she did fine. We got her home, fed her, gave her painkillers, and sent her to bed. I had to keep checking on her, because I was paranoid that she would choke on the gauze that was packed in around her gums, and be too drugged up to wake up. Thankfully, she survived. Then the following day, I saw this story, which freaked me the hell out. I think if I had seen the story first, I wouldn’t have let her go to sleep until the gauze was out of her mouth. I probably wouldn’t have let her go under in the first place, actually.  Ted and I both had our wisdom teeth out without going under, so we know it’s fine.  And maybe that would be good advice.

Other than the teeth coming out, Tuesday was a much needed lazy day for me after the busy busy busy from before. Nice.

I’ve become friends with Denise, who is the mom of one of Maya’s friends from school. We’ve gone as families to dinner a couple of times, we went over to their house for dinner a few weeks ago, and now Denise and I have been taking walks together. On a work day, we just walk on the trail around here, but since I’m off of work this week, we’ve gone up to the Lafayette Reservoir a couple of times for a walk around the perimeter, which is a really nice walk.  That’s where my ‘Wordless Wednesday’ pictures were taken.

Wednesday and Thursday were lazing about mostly.  Went to Berkeley for a little while and walked around a grocery store.  Made some salmon with pesto.  Watched ‘12 Monkeys‘.  It’s been relaxing and quiet.  What does the rest of my time off store for me?  More lazing around with Maya, as she’s not miss energy right now.  Going to try a new recipe or two.  Maybe a movie.  Perhaps some reading of library books.  Not sure what else, which is actually fine with me.

Friday Randomness

Friday again…what’s new pussycat? I hope you’re well. I haven’t been around here much lately, and it’s not because life is so darned exciting that I haven’t the time, or so darned horrid that I can’t manage it. It’s just how it’s been lately, I guess. The spirit hasn’t moved me. But it’s moving me a bit now, so I’ll give you some random ‘Thinking About…” type stuff, OK?

Maya and her chorale group from school sang at a swanky fundraiser last night at our local swanky rep center. The fundraiser was to raise money for the city education foundation, which spends its money on crazy, extravagant things like librarian salaries, English and math tutoring, counselors, etc. It was swanky, though, so we didn’t buy tickets. Instead, we spent a couple of hours at the local bookstore (Barnes & Noble…all of our independent places have closed down), and then we walked over to Starbucks and had a cup, and relaxed. We went over to the theater at the time they were supposed to finish, and they hadn’t gone on stage yet. So we went inside out of the sprinkling rain, and waited in the lobby. We were there for a little while, listening to the performance being piped in, when we got the great idea to try to sneak in and see them. They performed 2 songs, and we sneaked in about 1/3 way through the second song, so we didn’t see much, but they were GREAT. It was lovely to see her on a big time stage like that, and they really sounded good. Fun.

I was tempted by several books at the bookstore, but I decided to get them from the library instead. I know the bookstore needs my money, but I need it more than they do, and I trust myself to put it to better use than they would.  So…the books I put on hold to read are:

You can easily see that at $15 – $25 each at my local B&N, this was going to break the bank.  So I did the right thing.  I was a bit nonplussed to pop over to the library website upon our return home to find that I am 1st in line for several books at one time.  I hate that feeling, having many library books come at me all at once.  I feel like I have to rush through them and get them back for the next person.*  Then I realized, duh, if I’m #1 in line for them, there is no one waiting, so I can renew them if I don’t finish in time.  That was a relief.  I’m very much looking forward to some good reading time in my near future.

I’ve read Gatsby before, of course, but not since high school, and all I really remember is laughing at my teacher’s massive crush on Robert Redford, which I did not understand, because he’s old and everything.  I have a vague recollection of not liking the story much, but maybe this time I’ll enjoy it more?  I want to read that one first or second, because I’d like to have it more freshly in mind before I see the new film adaptation that comes out in May.  Actually, looking at that sentence, I realize I have more time than I thought I did.  That’s a good thing, too.

I’ve read other books by Chevalier, Patchett, and Pamuk, and liked them all quite a bit, so I’m looking forward to reading these newer efforts.  The others just caught my eye for whatever reason.

Maya is taking the SAT tomorrow.  I don’t envy her that, but I do know that she’ll do well, and be relieved when it is OVER.  This whole college thing is stressing her out.  She doesn’t really know much of what she wants to do with her life, or where she wants to go to college.  She’s thinking about teaching, and about some kind of journalism.  I know she’d be successful at both, assuming there are still jobs in journalism in the next 10 – 20 years.  I know the face of journalism is changing rapidly, but people still need to read and write, right?  I sure hope so.

I’m going to lunch with Dorothy today.  I miss her blog.  I’m happy to see her pretty face, though, which is even better than her blog.  But her blog was pretty funny.  I do miss the days when so many of my real life friends and family were blogging.

Ted and I went to see Side Effects last weekend.  Rumor has it that Steven Soderbergh is getting out of feature films or something to that effect, and this is his last big film.  I hope that’s not true, that he takes a much needed rest for a few years, but comes back to it, because I am definitely a fan of his work.  I’m not saying I’ve seen every film he’s made, or that I’ve loved every one that I have seen, but I did love Sex, Lies, and Videotape way back when, and have enjoyed many of his films since.   I would say that Side Effects was among the better films in his catalog.  It’s a twisty turny suspense type film, and not really what I expected it to be at all.  I generally try not to read reviews of a movie before I see it, because I find if they hate the movie, it dampens my enjoyment, and I notice the things that they mention.  So I won’t say more about this one, except that the performances were really good, the story was interesting and kept me guessing, and I came out of the theater really glad we had seen it.  If you get a chance, I highly recommend it.

What else…not much.  Watched an episode of The West Wing on Netflix the other day, and I’m thinking I’d like to re-watch that series.  It’s a nice place to spend some time.  Last weekend was girl scout cookies, and now we’re done with that for the year.  It’s dry dry dry here, though it did sprinkle today.  California needs a wet, wet spring, and we almost never get that.  If you know of any rain dances, please, do one for us.

Happy Friday, and have a great weekend!

*Saturday evening update…went to the library today, and 5 books I had put on hold were there.  Guess I’ll be reading a bunch in the next few weeks, yeah?

Small Victories & Occasional Randomness

I went to the store the other day, in need of a new pair of jeans.  I have a certain brand and cut that I like, and alas, they are phasing that cut out.  No big pile with four washes from which to choose, which is how it was the last time I went to the store.   So I looked all over, dug through pile after pile, and the only pair I found was 7 sizes too big.  Rats.  Every other pair in the store was a stupid low rise cut, meaning I can’t bend over without people knowing what kind of underwear I have on.  I don’t like that, and I doubt anyone who would be forced to see my crack would like it, either.  I’m not a plumber.  When I came home, I tried the online store, and look, they still have them!  Plus, a coupon for 30% off!  So I get my jeans, and save money.  I hope I don’t regret only buying one pair.  Perhaps I should have bought two.  But since they’re going away, I kind of think it might be a good idea to look around and see what else is out there.

There has been a constant drip drip drip coming from our bathroom vanity, and our water bill went up this last time.  Neither Ted nor I are plumbers (as I mentioned above), nor do we play one on TV, but at the same time, a drippy faucet seems like it should be solvable without calling a plumber and paying $75.  Friday was my day off, and Ted replaced our bathroom shower head a few months ago, so I felt like, perhaps, if he can do it, I might be able to do it, too.  I looked online, and saw a video that showed how to remove the faucet, but blurred through the complicated inner workings.  Mostly it said, take it apart, take the parts with you to the hardware store to match them correctly, then come home and put them back in where you found them, and voila, problem solved.  Well, that’s a mighty optimistic telling of how it could go, isn’t it?  I was able to get it pulled partially apart, but not completely.  I wasn’t sure whether to fight it and break it, or if maybe I needed a tool.  So I took some pictures and went to the hardware store.  There, they told me that it was difficult to disassemble because of hard water deposits, and I should just yank on it.  OK.  Back home, and now Ted’s here (he was out giving Maya a driving lesson on the freeways, which I am happy enough to miss…they make me nervous), so he just gives the darned thing one yank, and off it comes.  Yay for big man strength!  Back to the hardware store I go, with the spigot or whatever it’s called, but I didn’t bring the washer.  So they sell me what they think might fit, and back home I go.  I put it back together, with Ted’s help, though again, neither of us are plumbers.  Get everything put back together, turn the water on, and out it comes…even though the spigot is turned off.  Not working at all.  Drats.  Turn it off.  Take it apart.  Look at the washer, which has a hole that is slightly bigger than the hole in the original washer.  I wonder if that matters.  I don’t know.  Back to the hardware store I go, this time with my worn out parts, where they dig around and find yet another kit, with a washer that looks much more like mine than the first one.  Back home. Put it together.  Run water.  No better.  What’s wrong?  Could it be that I have the spring/washer combination put together backwards?  Ted pulls apart the other side of the sink to see, and yes, it does indeed appear that way.  So we try it again.  YAYYY!! This time, it worked.  No more dripping faucet.  No more wondering how much it’s costing me to have it drip, and thinking about the dry January we’ve had, and thus far, dry February as well, so the guilt of wasted water.  And it only cost me $3, four hours, and 3 trips to the hardware store.

Lots of construction around here, jackhammering apart our swimming pool. That was fun. Working from home has its benefits, but listening to someone jackhammer your pool for 5 continuous hours is not one of them. After they tore it apart, thankfully, they put it back together, re-tiled, re-plastered, and filled it with water. Then, walking by the other day, there’s this new sign. WTF? The thing is, even though we live in a condo complex, which is sort of private property, it is not one person’s property. So the pool is subject to all kind of county regulations. Like when they made us add new tiles a year or two ago, to add ‘ft’ to the ‘4’ and ‘6’ on the sides of the pool. Homeowner money had to go to adding signs to tell us that it was feet, not meters, even though diving isn’t allowed anyway. Frustrating. Anyway, I’m assuming that the sign is a county regulation, so we have no choice but to put it up, no matter how disgusting it is to walk past every day.

Awhile ago I mentioned that I have an avocado tree that needs a bigger pot.  I had contemplated going and asking some people down the street if they’d be interested in selling me their lovely blue glazed planters, and I actually did knock on their door once, but they didn’t answer.  I’ve noticed more often lately that even when people are home, they sometimes just don’t answer the door.  That’s their right, I suppose, but I find it a bit odd.  Anyway, I considered leaving them a note with my phone number, but after knocking, I went and played a bit with the planters, and GOSH they were heavy.  I tried to imagine them with a small tree inside, and I lost my will.  So on the first of my three trips to the hardware store yesterday, I picked up a huge plastic planter and a bag of potting soil, and after we finished fixing the faucet, I re-potted the avocado.  My fantasy is that someday we’ll get fruit off of it, but I’m not getting my hopes up too high.

Valentine’s Day can be a busy, horrid day to eat in a restaurant. There are three days that I do NOT like going to restaurants in a year, and they are: 1. Valentine’s Day 2. Mother’s Day 3. New Year’s Eve. Too crowded; special, expensive menus; harried service; grumpy customers, due to the first three items, plus you probably had a reservation and still had to wait 45 minutes for a table. We don’t go out to eat on any of these days. But we do celebrate, which means some kind of yummy feast. February is mid to late winter, which is prime crab season in NorCal, so we decided to have one of our favorite meals…cracked crab roasted with garlic, butter, more garlic, and more butter, and noodles, with garlic, butter, olive oil, and a few more things. Gah, it was good. Ted had his beloved bok choy, and Maya and I had salad, as we do not belove bok choy. Then, to top it all off, Ted made an amazing apple cake that I think we’ll be having for Thanksgiving this year, because it was SO delicious. Really, really good.  If you behave, perhaps I’ll post the recipe for you.

Today I’m off to give blood.  Back in November when my grandma fell and broke herself up, she had to have some blood, and I’ve been meaning to do it since then.  Other weekend plans, holidays, and sore throats have foiled my best laid plans, but today I’m all clear.  Eat a big breakfast so I don’t pass out, go give blood, and then come home and maybe have a nap, which is usually just what I want after giving blood.  I’d like to see a movie this weekend, but I still have two more days, so no rush, right?  Nice.   OH, I forgot to tell you, my Grandma is home!  She’s healed well enough that she is now home again, no longer on the schedule of the nursing home, taking their pills and doing exercises, all of that.  I hope she keeps up some of the exercises…stronger muscles make for a less wobbly Grandma, one who is less likely to fall down and break anything.  What a relief!  Yay Grandma!

Friday Randomness

Happy Friday Everyone!  We finished watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey this week. Agggghhh! How can it be over already? I know, you’re probably saying, “But I’ve only seen 3 episodes thus far, how can you have seen all 7 plus the Christmas Special?” The answer my friend is that I donated money to my local PBS station, and they sent me the DVD. I will not give any plot spoilers, but I will tell you that the LOOK of the show is much better on DVD than it is on broadcast TV. This was a big season in many ways, but I recommend not googling anything, since those in the U.K. have already seen and posted all about the plot points.

This is finals week at Maya’s high school, which has somehow thrown everything off in my brain. Well, not EVERYTHING, but she gets out at 12:20 every day, instead of 4ish, and it’s confusing to my poor noggin. Luckily, she finished yesterday, and has today off, so we can all get back to normal soonly.

Except…that I’m taking Monday off. No real reason, except that I want to, and I happen to think that MLK day SHOULD be a paid holiday. So for me, it is. How do you like me now? I know, I’m in a sassy mood.
Wednesday was my Grandma’s 90th birthday. Go, Grandma! When I spoke to her on Wednesday evening, she told me that she intends to live to 100, and that she wants a party for her 100th birthday. Allrightythen. Call the neighbors. In the meantime, she is still in the assisted living facility (appt for x-rays to determine when she can start putting weight on her cracked pelvis is this week, so we’re hoping she’ll be home soonish), so we are having a small family party on Sunday. I’m making a chocolate cake for her, and I’m tormenting myself with the ‘bake from scratch or use a mix’ dilemma. It’s not that I am afraid of baking, really. It’s just that those mixes have such consistent results, and I’m not sure what will happen if I bake from scratch. OK, maybe I am afraid of baking. It’s so damn precise. I did find a recipe online for a cake mix cake, where you buy a box of mix, and doctor it up with some extra ingredients to make it moist and yummy. I may try that, and if it turns out, you know you’ll learn all about it here.

Did anyone else see this really weird thing on the internets? Jeans that moisturize and reduce cellulite? As much as I’d like to have gorgeous, dewy legs with nary a dimple, I doubt very much that a pair of jeans is going to accomplish that where diet and exercise will not. Also? What kind of freaky chemicals are they putting in dem jeans? Freaky.

Ted saw one of those articles that I was complaining about, the ones that say how to save money by cutting out things that most of us have already cut out.  Maybe eat some leftovers once in awhile so you don’t waste SO MUCH food.  That kind of thing.  This one, however, actually had one handy tip.  They said you can buy discount movie tickets in bulk.  I know that you can do that at Costco, but we don’t have a Costco account.  I looked online, and wow, you can buy tickets online for $3 less than they cost at the theater!  How’s that for awesome?  If you go to the movies fairly regularly, which we do, this might be a good savings.  We haven’t done it yet, so I don’t know if you get them in the mail or print them or what, so I don’t know if you could buy it now and then hit the next showing of your chosen flick.   The three theaters that are closest to us are all Cinemark, so I look at their website, and found savings here.

I’m so sick of insurance. I really want single payer, where everyone takes it, and everyone is covered, and there are no issues. I know many disagree and say no way, but I do! We changed insurance companies, effective the first of the year. I had an eye exam last week, and when I called to schedule it, I told the receptionist that we have new insurance, but I didn’t have my card yet. She told me to be sure to call, because that way they could verify that they indeed accept said insurance. So, I did. However, I spoke to a different person this time, who said no, that’s a PPO, and there’s no need to give us the number or further info. OK. So I went in and had my exam, and then they looked at my card, and figured out, damn, they don’t take this card. SO, instead of an exam that would cost me $10, I got an exam that will cost me $228.00. I know that technically it is MY responsibility to figure this stuff out, and that I will have to pay, but I am NOT happy about it. Grrr.

Ted was in a fender bender last week…some guy in a tall truck (like one that a plumber would drive…because this was a plumber) ran the light, turning left directly into Ted’s path. Ted slowed, honked, and the guy sped on his way. The guy BEHIND the plumber could not see the light, because the plumber truck was too tall, and so he ALSO ran the light. And he ran into Ted. Or really, the car. Poor car. Which is now looking like a 2 week repair job, because they have to order parts and paint parts and so on. The insurance company gave us a loaner, which is good, but I miss our car.

Last weekend, Ted and I went for a walk, stopped for breakfast, and discovered an actual video store! Independently owned and operated! I guess they’ve been in business for something like 35 years, but they only moved to this location somewhat recently, after we had given up on all of our video stores closing up, and gone over to Netflix. I’ll admit, I liked perusing the aisles and seeing their categories…foreign films, classic movies, top 100 box office, academy award winners, etc. We signed up and will give it a go. I cancelled Netflix for DVD, but kept the streaming, as we do tend to use that a lot.

OK, that’s it for now. Have a fabulous weekend, take Monday off if you want, maybe watch some of the inauguration. Disgusting how much they’re spending, and that Obama is selling his face time, just like he said he would not do. Sometimes I truly hate politics and those who smell like politicians.

Friday Randomness

Jumping right on in here….

I enjoyed my time off from work.  Sunday we had some friends over that we haven’t seen in ages.  There’s something about having kids who are in school and sports and trying to support them, that doesn’t leave one with much time, so it can be hard to get together.  Then there’s work, which is also a huge time suck.  So between the work and the commuting and the kids and so on, we haven’t seen them in awhile.  Finally we did.    I made a huge meatloaf, we laughed and ate and relaxed.  It was excellent.

Also, went to Stockton to see my Grandma.  She’s still in the rehab facility after breaking her wrist and cracking her pelvis.  But wow, she looks amazing, SO strong, so much better.  This is a woman with osteoporosis so bad that she broke her hip at 40, who has broken other bones several times since then.  She lost her first husband at 24 or 25, her first child at 24.  Lost her second husband at 65.  Lost her second child at 72.  Lost her third child at 85.  Now she turns 90 later this month, and I have no doubt whatsoever that she’ll be up and about again pretty soon, even if that does mean using a walker instead of a cane.  She impresses the hell out of me.  There are few people so determined, and yet in such a soft shell, looking so delicate and helpless.  Ha.  Like a Steel Magnolia, I guess, except she was born in California.

Had my birthday on Monday.  I turned 47.  I’m thinking I should just start calling myself 50, right?  I can just use rounding.  I’m 50 from now until I’m actually 55, and then I’ll be 60.  Just round up or down, and people will either think I’m young looking or old looking, who knows.  I bought myself a birthday gift, a new swim suit, which I badly needed.  SO glad to have it.  Then I went for an hour swim, which felt great.   We went out for a delicious lunch downtown.  A luxury in our little (OK, medium) town.  Then we had more friends over for dinner, my friend Marilee and her husband Paul, who brighten up every room they enter.  it was lovely.  Ted made an amazing beef curry.  Yum.  So good for dinner, and then again for lunch the next day.

Tuesday was New Years Day…mostly relaxed, took down our Christmas decorations.  I’ll admit, I really like that day.  I love Christmas, I love decorating the house, I love the tree, I love it all.  But I also love the clean, open feeling of having all of that stuff GONE.

Then it was back to work…fine.  Whatever.  Thursday was my Meals on Wheels day, and YAY!!! The two women I was most worried about are back on my route!  Can you believe it???  I guess they bumped a lot of people, and then it turned out, they bumped too many, so there was room again.  I cannot tell you how happy I was to see their names on the list Thursday morning, or how happy I was to see their faces and give them hugs when I delivered their meals.  It felt like a great beginning to the new year.

Thursday and Friday were more busy busy days with work.  The IRS put out new withholding tables maybe 6 hours after Obama signed legislation, which was great.  We worked through the night and into Friday to get the changes out to our clients, which felt good, too.

Tomorrow is Saturday.  I have a girl scout cookie meeting (can you believe it’s almost cookie time again?), and maybe I’ll go for a swim, we’ll see.  Hoping to go to dinner with some friends.

Oh, Maya has been getting us into Dr. Who recently, and Downton Abbey starts on Sunday.  Ack!  Cannot wait.

Friday Randomness

Well, I made it to the end of NaBloPoMo, and I only missed one day, when I couldn’t get onto my blog to post. I’ve resorted to memes, Wordless Wednesday, and recipes. Then again, I like all of those things. I’ve enjoyed having that blog part of my brain tuned in. Like when something at least mildly interesting happens, and you think, “oh, that’s great for the blog!”

I missed saying happy blogaversary to Thinking About. I started blogging back in November of 2005, because all the cool kids were doing it, and it seemed like fun. I don’t think I could have guessed that I would make real friends here, some of whom I’ve not met yet in real life.

Grandma is doing better. She is out of the hospital, in a convalescent home for the next month-ish, until she can walk again. She’s going to be using a walker from now on. At least I hope so. She uses a cane, but it doesn’t stabilize her enough, and she loses her balance so easily these days.

Everyone on FB is talking about how pretty the full moon is. It’s cloudy and raining here, which is fine with me. I love a pretty full moon, but I love rain even more.

Ted came down with a cold last weekend, which means that I’ve come down with it now. Blech. I hope Maya doesn’t catch it. I am glad that it waited to infect our household until after Thanksgiving, and after I had a chance to see Grandma, too.

We’re dipping our toes slowly into the Christmas thing. Ted bought some poinsettias the other day, our boyscout neighbor delivered the wreath we ordered, and I’ve put out our little lighted snowmen. I know a lot of people decorate for Christmas right after Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving was so early this year, it seems ridiculous to put up the tree for at least another week. Maybe in time for Hanukkah. I know, we’re weird.

Speaking of Hanukkah, it looks like the first night is on a Saturday this year, which means I’ll have a little time for cooking. Maya and I are going to make homemade applesauce this year, instead of jarred stuff, for our latkes. You know that local TV show Ted has been directing and editing lately? He just finished working on a Hanukkah episode, and he edits at his desk, which is right next to my desk, so I’ve heard the apple vendor talking about apples and how to make good sauce. I’ll clue you in now: the ratio is 2-1-1. 2 sweet apples (like a Fuji perhaps), 1 tart apple (think Granny Smith), and another tart apple that is a separate variety from the first (maybe Pink Lady). I’ve only made apple sauce once or twice before, and I did know the trick of using more than one kind, but I’d never heard the ratio before. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I caved and donated money to my local PBS station (it was giving day, after all). I do regularly give them a little money, but this time the gift with purchase was too good to pass up, so I increased by donation. Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Sadly, it won’t get here before Christmas, or before the season starts, but it will get here just after the beginning of the season, so I can watch it quickly if I want to, and tease my friends on FB about what I already know that they don’t.

I’m sure there’s more I could tell you…but my stupid head cold has my head all blocked up and I can’t think. Happy NaBloPoMo to Ally Bean, who soldiered through with me. 🙂

Friday Randomness

Friday already?  Wow.  That’s crazy.  OK, here we go.

  1. I adore the fact that Obama won.  I keep hearing how our economy is on the mend, things are getting better, all of that.  I want Obama to get credit.  I don’t necessarily think that the President actually has much power to make jobs and fix the economy.  But if Obama is in the White House while it happens, then he gets credit, and hopefully the next election will also go well.  If Romney were in the White House, he would get credit, and the next election might go his way.  I don’t like that.  Then of course there’s the whole pro-choice thing, and who we get as a supreme court justice.  Then of course there’s the fact that I like Obama, and I feel like although he is far more moderate than I am, at least he’s closer to my values than Romney and the extreme right wing that was working to pull him to the dark side.   So yay.
  2. Maya has been driving all week.  She’s starting to get a feel for the boundaries of the car and where they are.  Ted’s been great, taking her out to drive after school in the afternoons.  The more practice, the better.  I do wish that we had a more rural environment for her to learn in, but at the same time, this is where she lives, so I guess it’s good that she learns here.
  3. Lincoln is coming out today, or maybe next week, depending on where you live.  I’m looking forward to seeing it.  The first review I’ve seen is the SF Chronicle, which says it’s AWESOME.  Groovy, I’m in.  Also the new James Bond review.  Not a fan of Bond movies, but they can be fun, so if others in the house want to go, I’ll go.
  4. Work is crazy busy.  We’re going into year end, with states changing their withholding tables and so on.  My job is to update computer software with the changes, so our clients’ employees will have correct withholding.  Plus I get to do busy work for a project that is going on.  Plus I get to do two aspects of my coworker’s job, since she was laid off in May.  So I’m busy.  Trying to put aside time for exercise and so on, but it’s not easy.
  5. We went from mid-80s this week, to cool and rainy.  I love it. Not a fan of the hot, and when it comes to November, not even a fan of the medium hot. I want cool or cold.  And I feel so fortunate to be here, safe and warm, not affected by first Sandy and then the snow and (real) cold.  My heart goes out to those people who have lost loved ones, to those who are without power and in a difficult situation right now.
  6. Anyone reading a good book?  I’m trying to get into Tracks, by Louise Erdrich.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but I find myself watching reruns of old TV shows instead of reading.  Like M*A*S*H and Cosby Show.  Not a good sign.  I don’t do much nonfiction, so keep that in mind if you’re going to recommend a book. 🙂

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday Randomness

Did anyone notice that it’s November?  Thinking maybe I’ll try for NaBloPoMo this year.  A few years ago, it was more difficult for me to restrict myself to a post a day, and now it’s crazy for me to post two days in a row.  So let’s see if I can rise to the challenge.  We’ll start with some randomness, shall we?

Maya took her written driving test on Tuesday, and passed, so now she has her permit.  I don’t know what the laws are in your state, but here, that means she has to take 3 driving lessons (2 hours each), drive at least 50 hours for practice, and wait 6 months before she can take the driving test.  Then, during her first year with her license, she cannot drive anyone under the age of 18 in her car.  Sorry, but no wonder kids are waiting longer to get their licenses…I remember so fondly driving all over Stockton in my friend Rosemary’s little convertible MG.  I don’t know if this law is genius (teens are easily distracted) or spoiling all of the fun (because, duh, driving around with your friends is FUN).

This weekend is the end of Daylight Saving, where we turn the clocks back and get an extra hour of sleep.  Except I’m old and can’t often sleep later than normal, so I’m not sure that will help.  I’ll admit, I like Daylight Saving.  Not the transition, because that sucks in both spring and fall, but the light evenings, I like that a lot.  I’ll be sorry to see it go.

It’s also getting cooler…not cold like in some parts of the country, but cooler.  Not so much thought has to be put into ‘can I get a nice walk in before it gets hot?’  I’m glad for that.

I feel for the people in New Jersey, New York, and elsewhere, affected by Superstorm Sandy.  Ugh.  It’s frustrating and inconvenient and painful for everyone without power, but especially for the elderly and those on medical equipment that requires electricity.  I heard the other day on NPR about a couple…they live on the 7th floor of a building in Manhattan, without power.  They didn’t evacuate, because the husband’s health is delicate and moving him is extremely risky.  So they took their chances, and now they are dependent upon friends and neighbors, who are bringing them batteries (car batteries, other kinds of batteries, etc.) to keep his ventilator going.  This has to be extremely stressful.  My heart goes out to these people.

I’m so glad to not live in a swing state.  Ugh.  I feel for the people being inundated by robocalls and political ads all damn day.  We have our state propositions, but that’s pretty much it.  Yes on 30, no on 32, yes on 34, yes on 37, no on 38.  The end.

Maybe I’ll post again tomorrow.  You all know that quantity often signals a lack of quality, so there may be some crummy posts in the next 29 days.  I hope not, because then, what’s the point.  But we’ll see.  Have a lovely weekend!

Friday Randomness

Happy Friday, Everyone! A 3-day weekend is upon us, so let’s celebrate Labor, the Labor movement and all that it’s given us, and a bit of rest from our own Labor.

I signed up for a free trial of AmazonPrime last month, and one nice thing that you get for your annual fee of $79 is free streaming of a lot of TV and movies. Not the new good stuff, but a lot of other things. I won’t renew past the 1 month free trial, because we already pay for OnDemand and Netflix, and I suspect there’s a lot of crossover. One show that they have on AmazonPrime that they don’t have on the other services is Season 4 of thirtysomething.

I was hooked on this show back when it was in its first run on TV, and I watched the episodes again when they were on Lifetime for a few years after that.  I think it was the first TV show that I fell in love with as an adult, outside of my mother’s house.  It feels different, right?  It felt very grown up to watch something that my mom may or may not have even known about, but certainly didn’t care about.  The first 3 seasons are available via DVD through Netflix, but season 4 was produced for DVD in an Amazon exclusive, I think. For a little while, you could watch SOME of the episodes on Netflix streaming, but many were not available, and now they’re all gone. I just realized that I could watch them here the other day, and my free trial ends on Monday, so I’m watching episodes back to back. It’s a good season. I had forgotten how innovative the show in general was at the time. Gay men in bed together (considered so racy that the episode in question wasn’t ever shown on repeats, and 5 advertisers pulled from the show, even though they didn’t even kiss or touch). The trials of working women. The trials of stay at home women.  The trials of being successful in your work, and in not being so successful.  The stress of providing for your family.  I don’t remember seeing these issues on TV much before this.  I love it, and I love the late 80s clothes and hair.  The big earrings.  Melissa with her one earring and her asymmetric hair (a look I loved, and tried a few times, but I didn’t have the curls, so it wasn’t just right for me.)  So fun.

I’m trying to teach my brother-in-law how to cook a few dishes. He tends to eat the same 3 or 4 dishes, and he’s bored to tears of them, but isn’t really comfortable in the kitchen. So far we’ve covered Chicken Piccata and Rib Eye Steak with Tomato Basil Relish, which is basically a bruschetta with steak instead of toasted bread. Delicious. It’s fun to show him, and I hope he begins to feel more comfortable with cooking.

I saw this article, and I can’t help but think that, unlike a real astronomical sight, a blue moon is purely a matter of human timekeeping. Mars, Venus, and Mercury lined up? A meteor shower? Those are pretty special. And any full moon is indeed beautiful (and they wake me up in the morning, shining brightly through my window), but they’re just a figment of our imagination, a matter of how we keep time. This full moon looks the same as the one earlier this month, and the same as the one next month. If we kept time from one moon to another (every 28 days), they wouldn’t occur at all. But then, there’s the poetry in the fact that Neil Armstrong was laid to rest today, on the date of a full moon, the day every month when we see more of the moon than any other time. That’s touching, and makes this blue moon a bit more special to me.

I got the DVD of The Grapes of Wrath from the library. I think we’ll watch it one day this weekend. I want Maya to watch with us, but she’s not so sure, because she didn’t really enjoy the book. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s young, or if it’s the writing. I hated Steinbeck at her age, though to be fair, all I’d read was The Red Pony. Wait, no, I also read, Of Mice and Men, which I liked OK, and she hated. I’m guessing she’ll bail. Maybe she’ll be more interested when she’s older. I didn’t read The Grapes of Wrath until I was in my late 30s or early 40s (within the last 5-8 years), and I loved it.

I’m looking forward to the elections being OVER this fall. I hate the phone calls. We have caller ID on our phones downstairs, but the one in our bedroom (aka, my office, where I sit all day) is circa 1988. So the only way to avoid the political calls is to not answer the phone, which is an option I’m not happy about. I’m glad we don’t watch a lot of network TV, at least not live. We do watch shows on OnDemand, which sometimes has no commercials, and even when there are commercials, there aren’t as many. I’m hoping no political commercials that I can’t fast forward through. Ted watched more of the Republican Convention than I did, and he paid for it in the form of nightmares of Romney being elected. I felt superior in my decision to go to bed early. 😉

There’s a wasp nest in our parking lot. Technically in the rocks to the side. They’re kind of swarming around, and yesterday 2 kids and one adult were stung. I hope that an exterminator gets out here soon.

There’s a handyman coming to work here next week. We need his help for a few little jobs that have been sitting there, bugging us. Ted and I can fix some things, but not others, and these are beyond our skills, sadly.

Giving blood tomorrow morning. Gross.*

I went to lunch today with my coworkers. We all work from home, at least those of us who live in California. We don’t get together very often, so it was nice to see everyone and catch up on our more personal stuff. I’m stuffed with Mexican food, though, so I’m thinking dinner will be nada for me. It was nice.

That’s it for me. Have a lovely weekend. Take a minute to stop and think of the labor movement, and what it means to you. I’m thankful for all that the unions and the movement fight for…workers rights, safe workplace, 40 hour workweek, etc.

*Updated on Sunday afternoon to tell you that my issue with giving blood is basically that I hate needles, I hate blood, and I’ve had  a couple of uncomfortable experiences with it that psyche me out for future donations.  So this time, I decided to use the power of positive thinking, not let myself get so freaked out by it, and breathe more.  Know what?  It worked.  The needle going in stung a bit, but not for long.  The needle BEING in was gross, as always (that thought in my head that there’s a big needle in my arm, draining out my blood, which is powered by the pumping of my heart…it’s almost enough to make me faint…so I tried to not think about it), but it wasn’t painful.  I got a good seat, which means right next to the radio, which was distracting, and made me think that maybe next time I’ll bring my iPod.  It was over quickly, and I had that great feeling of having helped people, REALLY helped.  Plus, they have teen volunteers in the cantina area, who will bring you OJ or whatever, which is sweet.  Overall, a positive experience.  You know, except for the blood part.