Monthly Archives: December 2009

Love & Loathe — 12/29/09


* Time with family. It’s been nice having my mom here for this most special time of year.

* Keeping busy and going places. How on earth did I ever have time for a job?

* Driving around with family, loaded up with hot chocolate, and appreciating the Christmas decorations that so many of the neighborhoods around here put up. We really have some amazing stuff in these parts.

* Our neighbors. I wondered why, when I bought my home, I didn’t get the home in the upper part of our neighborhood and ended up with this one instead. Now I’m so glad I did. I love our neighbors.


* Getting sick. It’s been awhile and I thought the echinacea I’ve been taking this year must have helped my immune system. I mean, I missed the multiple rounds of germ infestations at work and several early rounds of family colds and flus. But this one hit me on Sunday and is going through me fast. Ugh. *snort* *cough*

* Being so tired and achy. Really, what do my shoulder and neck muscles have to do with my ears and sinuses being congested?

One Last Thing:

If you happen to watch the Rose Parade on New Year’s day, be looking for Tony on the Honda float (aka the Ship of Dreams). He’ll be on there, with his little, representing the Big Brothers of OC. I’ll be sitting in the grandstands with our parents. Exciting stuff, My People!



Filed under Love/Loathe

Love & Loathe — 12/22/09


* Fish freak outs. I mentioned that our little tank of guppies and tetras is infected with ick, which is a parasite that attaches itself to fish and infects their little bodies and eventually their gills and is just a terrible way for fish to die. I called my Fish Whisperer for reinforcement because we’re losing the little ones left and right.

He made an off hand comment to “make sure your big tank doesn’t get infected.” I laughed it off, because I use a smaller vacuum for the little tank and a big vacuum for the big tank. Plus, I sterilize all the tools with beyond-boiling-hot water after every tank change. But then… I realized that I had just used the small vacuum to clean my cycle tanks and did I sterilize? I don’t know, can’t remember, am sure I did, but do I want to take the risk? And what about the goldfish tank?

So, I spent a couple hours last night sterilizing all the tank tools, siphoning out and refilling the cycle tanks, changing the filters, turning the heaters up to 88°… GAH! GAH!! Damn parasites. *takes deep breath*


* My fish. Otherwise, all the stress I go through for them wouldn’t be worth it.

* That my mom may be arriving here this afternoon.

* Crockpot beef stew… I made some for my mom’s anticipated arrival yesterday. She can have some tonight instead. I believe there is nothing that says “I love you” after a super long trip better than homemade beef stew.

* King Leo Dark Chocolate Crunchy Peppermint Patties. I found these in the Walgreens in Iowa last week. True to form, I found something I love and, of course, they are a specialty, seasonal candy and not every Walgreens has them. Walgreens, you’ve been warned, the hunt is on.

* I spent way too much time on Sunday painting my nails like candy canes. Not perfect, but I love them.

* Our bird spent hours just hanging out and cuddling with us this past weekend.

* Squirrels eating peanuts.

* Birds on a wire. I don’t know why, but I love this. Probably wouldn’t be wise to park under them, though.

* Experiments. So, I told you I bought green bags and that so far I’ve been really impressed with them? I decided to conduct an experiment with a carrot. I put a carrot in the bag the day I bought the green bags, which was the week of 11/10/09. Yesterday I took the carrot out, it hadn’t gone soft or bendy, but when I sliced it open, here’s how it looked. It had holes in half of it. Kind of cool, huh?

One Last Thing…

I guess I could go on and on this week. I apparently have a lot of things on my mind. But I’ll take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas.

We hope your holidays are blessed beyond belief.


Filed under Kid Substitutes, Longbits, Love/Loathe


We had a great time in the local mountains. Snow was there… but apparently, after my visit to Iowa where they had below 0° temperatures, I really did believe our local snow was no big deal. I forgot to bring my coat, or even a jacket or sweatshirt. What’s even funnier to me is, I didn’t even get cold while walking around the town. Tony and I were a well-matched pair, him in his shorts and flip-flops and me without a jacket.

The little fish who had ick didn’t make it through the weekend. Poor thing. I hope the other one makes it, the ick’s not as bad as the other one was, so maybe it’s got a chance.

My mom’s on her way, she made it to Japan but her flight from Japan to the states got cancelled due to “aircraft servicing.” So she’s stuck in Japan. She’s at a hotel, I assume the airline is paying for it. Thing is, I tried calling and I can’t find where she’s registered… sooooo, maybe she’ll make it here for Christmas. I sure hope so. We have plans for her.

…and… I was gonna put some pictures up of the weekend but am now feeling lazy, so how ’bout I’ll see you tomorrow for this week’s Love/Loathe list?


Filed under I have Family, I Left Home for Awhile

This Week.

I had such a good visit with my aunt and uncle, it really was a blessing to see them. The only things I really wanted to do while there was visit my father’s grave and go to The Dodge House’s gift shop… and maybe wander through their little mall they have there. The rest of it, I just let my aunt set the schedule — it’s what she’s good at. Visiting them is kind of like going to camp, they set the schedule and it’s best for all involved if I just go along with it.

Because of the blizzard that went through there and dumped 12″ of snow the day before I arrived, it was impossible to find my father’s grave — something I hadn’t even thought about. So, we drove through the cemetery and waved in the general direction of where we thought it might be, and that was the best we could do.

The cemetery.

The gift shop at The Dodge House was having a 20% off sale, so that was a success. You know how I love sales.

On Monday, we had another weather day, so we canceled our lunch plans and stayed in. I asked if we could go through family photo albums, it seemed like a good cold weather thing to do. There were some really sweet moments, between sharing stories, thoughts and history behind the photos, I’d look up to see my aunt looking at me, observing me, as if she were searching for something. She would smile at me and I realized that she was seeing my father in me. She misses him. He shouldn’t have died so young.

The little boy in this picture is my dad, being held by his stepsister. Look at the car and the building in the background, interesting, eh?

Many of the pictures that she had of my childhood, or of family members who are now gone, were taken in her home. The thought fascinated me that her home really hasn’t changed so much throughout the years. Maybe the couch and chairs have been replaced, but they’ve been stationed in the same spot as their predecessor, giving the air of timelessness. I wouldn’t be surprised if even their phone number is the same as it was 40 years ago. But the people who come and go have aged and many have died. The pictures gave the misconception that if I walked out into the living room, I might really find my grandma sitting upon the couch by the Christmas tree.

In the chair, me and my brother. Somehow, I don’t think we’d fit in that chair together anymore, even if we wanted to.

I didn’t want to leave, but it is good to be home.

I followed up on an interview I’d had last week. I really wanted this particular job, they’re a really good company and have a great corporate culture. When I called, the HR person’s line went to voicemail, so I hung up and called the CFO, who I’d interviewed with. I learned a long time ago that following the rules (talking to the HR person) is usually unproductive. The CFO took my call, and I was sad to learn that they had chosen another person for the job. I told him I was disappointed, because I had felt that I had hit it off with him and everyone I had interviewed with. He validated my words, and then shared that they had made their decision based on budget (of course), but that I had made their decision really, really difficult, because they had really liked me… a lot.

He asked me if he could call me in the future if things didn’t work out with the person they hired. I told him I would be pleased to hear from him, because as a candidate, *I* don’t always base my decision on money, but I take into account corporate stability and personalities of the people for whom I work. I may find a job that pays me what I want, but if I’m not happy or the company goes under, then what do I have?

On a smaller scale, we have the misdelivered stamps-by-mail order issue that was finally resolved after several emails and phone calls and a trip to my post office. They gave my stamps to someone other than me, that person kept them, and it was looking as if I was going to have to dispute the charge with my credit card company. But yesterday the post office agreed to re-ship the order, so I’m grateful for that.

Tony restocked his little fish tank with neon tetras and guppies, for awhile there was one lonely tetra in there. Poor little thing, all its tankmates died around him. We ended up with a bonus fish, a little ghost shrimp (I don’t know what it’s really called), that the girl at the pet store accidentally caught and put in the bag and rather than try to get him back out gave up and gave him to us for free.

As luck would have it, the ghost guy is out right now, so you get to see him. He’s facing the left of the picture…

The only experience I’ve had with ghost shrimp was when I was helping my friend move his fish store last year. One of my assignments was to catch and move as many ghost shrimps as I could find in their tank. It was a near impossible feat, because those little buggers are transparent and move fast! Anyway, we’ve been more fascinated with our free tank addition than the other ones. Of course, last night I noticed that two of the tetras have ick, so I started them on a course of ick medication. The one has it pretty bad, I hope he makes it through the weekend.

This weekend we’re off to the mountains, mostly to relax before the holiday craziness begins. We’re hoping we’ll see a little bit of residual snow from the storm that moved through last week. Compared to where I just was, I’m sure it’ll look like child’s play to me.

My mom arrives from South Korea on Monday for her first stateside Christmas in we-can’t-remember-when… and then the fun will begin!


Filed under I have Family, I Left Home for Awhile, Kid Substitutes, Money Hump Building

Love & Loathe — 12/15/09

… the travel edition!


* People who stop in the middle of doorways of public places to regroup or organize their belongings. This is always a pet peeve of mine, but even more so this time of year when stores are so busy. One selfish, thoughtless person can cause huge foot traffic jams.

* Jet lag.

* Packing and unpacking.


* How thoughtful and considerate people seemed to be in the town my aunt lives. I’ve never met so many friendly strangers!

* My aunt and uncle. I was startled to learn that they’ve been married 52 years this year. It’s absolutely fascinating to see how their marriage works — they each have a clearly defined role, know what’s expected of each other and they report in with each other throughout the day. Beyond that, they are each their own person with their own interests and are interested in the other’s life but not to the extent they want to control it. I love how they are with each other and I loved the time I spent with them.

* Sleep schedule boot camp — my aunt and uncle retire to bed early and rise early. Willingly. Because they want to. If I didn’t get my butt to bed, I was left feeling sleep deprived when 4:30 AM came along and the hosts were up and at ’em for the day. We’ll see how long my new and improved schedule lasts, now won’t we?

* Family picture albums and the stories behind the pictures.

* That I had great compatibility with my seat mates on all my flights.

One Last Thing:

On my journey home today, the plane had just landed in Las Vegas and we were 15-20 minutes early. Seemed to be a recurring theme for my trip, the pilot coming on and saying, “We’re ____ minutes early landing! Oopsie!” Yes, he really did say “oopsie.”

Anyway, so we’d just landed, and were early, except the pilot advised us that there had been a security breach in the terminal and none of the planes were leaving, so we didn’t have a gate.

I’d been “holding it” because I hate using the airplane bathrooms and had strategically rationed my liquids to make it to the airport’s restroom. However, facing an unknown indeterminate amount of tarmac time, the tempo in my bladder increased so that I couldn’t focus on anything but that. I waited a minute to observe the activity or, rather, the inactivity, at the five possible gates we were facing. I determined it would likely be awhile, so I got up to go to the bathroom.

The flight attendant looked askance at me, and I informed her that I needed to use the facilities. To which she replied, “Well, I can’t tell you no, but I do have to tell the guys (nodded her head toward the cockpit) that you’re in the bathroom.”

As if that would intimidate my bladder? I shrugged and said, “I have to go, soooo…” And in I went.

Now, let me tell you, there is nothing like trying to use an airplane toilet while under duress, knowing that the pilot and co-pilot know that there is a renegade passenger using the bathroom. For all I knew, if they got the go ahead to get to a gate, they might have to inform the tower that they can’t move because “we have a passenger using the facilities.” Wouldn’t THAT just be great. I’d have a black mark on my perfect bathroom scorecard.

It finally started, a little trickle, and then I realized that I had to go poop, too. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. Not only am I the renegade passenger, but I’m the renegade pooper! Fastest poop I ever pooped, let me tell you.

Upon returning to my seat, I was pleased to note that the same amount of inactivity was occurring at the gates, so my flagrant fragrance of the facilities had not been broadcast to the persons beyond the front of my own plane. At least someone had had movement.

After my layover in Vegas, I did make it home safely and it goes without saying, I suppose, that it’s good to be home and able to use my own bathrooms.


Filed under Longbits, Love/Loathe

Over Here.

I flew out yesterday to Nebraska to visit my aunt and uncle who live in Iowa. That was a long day, but all went well. I’m thinking a travel day is a day you want to go well, yes?

They had a blizzard the day before I arrived, so everything is blanketed in white. It was beautiful when the plane was landing, the slanting sun cast long shadows from the stark trees and glinted off windows, looking for all the world like jewels from a pirate’s treasure chest.

When we landed, the pilot said it was 20*F. I looked out the window to see drifts of snow and an airport worker dressed in shorts. I immediately thought of my husband, who wasn’t able to accompany me on this trip, who wears shorts and flip-flops in the snow. I’d just arrived, hadn’t even exited the plane, and a wave of homesickness hit me full force in the stomach.

The first night away from home is always the worst for me. I expect it and mentally prepare for it. Doesn’t make it any less frustrating to experience, though.

Tonight (Friday night) was a fancy dinner. I got to dress up and look all pretty. It was a fun thing to do, to go out on the town with my aunt and uncle. One funny observation, there was an older man going around with his digital camera taking self-portraits of himself with his friends. Somehow it was funny to see that… I mean, I’m used to seeing teenage kids doing it and knowing that picture will show up on Facebook, but an elderly person? I dunno, it was just fun to see that the self-portrait thing has crossed the age boundary, I guess.

It’s really good to be here with my aunt and uncle. They are dear to me and I enjoy them very much.

I hope you have a blessed weekend, as I plan to do.


Filed under I have Family, I Left Home for Awhile

Love & Loathe – 12/08/09


*Insomnia and being tired. I’m doing OK now, but it was really sucking a couple days ago. *YAWN*

* Barking dogs. I hate that *almost* as much as much as I hate coughing.


* Rain. It rained yesterday. Poured, actually. I loved every second of it.

* I particularly loved that I didn’t need to drive anywhere yesterday. I even managed to hitch a ride with my husband to the gym, so my car stayed nice and dry. I had momentary sadness for all those poor people who were likely stuck on the freeway. First real rain of the season is always a doozie, you know.

* Decorating the house for Christmas while it was raining outside. That was really nice.

* It’s cold, but sunny today. Tug came inside from being out in the cat run earlier. He smelled like winter and had a hot spot on his butt where the sun was warming him.

* Tony picked up this remote control light switch for the floor lamp I’ve had stuck in a corner in our entryway for years. The plug attached to the switch is in a weird place and that’s where the lamp had to live because of that. Now, NOW, the lamp can live ANYWHERE in our house and I just love that. It’s all about the simple things, My People. Surely you’ve figured that out by now, right?

One Last Thing:

Pictures are always good…


View from my desk…

Around the corner from me…

Nativity corner… that is one big camel, eh?

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…

The tree…

Typically, I set this little display up at my job…

No help at all, and they were asking for a raise. As if!


Filed under Love/Loathe

I Go On & On.

The Holidays are officially here. It’s December. Finally. Tony has been so excited. Every little new decorating thing I do, like putting our Christmas comforter on the bed and he notices and yells, “IT’S CHRISTMAS! YOU CAN’T HIDE IT FROM ME ANYMORE!!” Ahh, how I love that man.

When I was doing my fish tank changes on Friday, I got the wild hair to move the big tank. Problem was, I’d just refilled the tank when the idea arrived in my head, so I had to wait. And then realized that I’d have to put the Christmas tree up AFTER I did the tank move, because the tree needs to go in the corner that tank is vacating.

So I had to wait until today to do the tank move, for a couple of reasons… one being water cycling and the other being I was too busy yesterday.

We visited a local historical park yesterday, the same park we visited last year, if you remember. They have a one room schoolhouse, a tiny church, an adobe house, another house that’s like a farmhouse, a little library… it’s like a little bitty town and is really quaint. Every year they set up crafts for the kiddies, carolers come out and sing and Santa hangs out. It’s really cool.

Last night, we attended a Christmas party for my car club. We had a great time eating and visiting with everyone. The one thing I don’t think I’ll do again, and I forget every year, so I’m documenting it here for posterity’s sake: I don’t like participating in gift exchange/stealing games. I’m too much of a control freak and there’s too much of a chance that someone will want what I picked (if it’s cool) or won’t want what I picked (if it’s lame) and I spend all the time being stressed out about it. Last night I picked a $25 gas card and breathed in terror everytime someone got close to me! There were two other gas cards that were gifted, and those cards got stolen twice… somehow, I managed to leave without mine being stolen once. I don’t know how, but talk about being stressed out! GAH!

Anyway, I should be writing out Christmas cards or putting up the tree (now that the tank is moved), so off I go…


Filed under Life Encompasses Me, Who I am

Love & Loathe – 12/01/09


* My birthday month is over.

* The radio station I listen to started playing Christmas music ONE WEEK BEFORE Thanksgiving. I was irritated by that until I remembered that they STOP playing Christmas music at 11:59 on 12/25. Backwards to me, they should play Christmas music AFTER Christmas, I think.

* The bizarre overreaction of a certain family member to a request to meet for coffee. If the fair had a contest for Weird Family Members, I think this particular one would win all the ribbons available.

* All the big bills that come due in December — like property tax, auto insurance, to name a couple. Ugh.


* Seasonal flavored coffee. Pumpkin Spice and Eggnog flavors are what I’ve had so far. So good.

* Doing things I would never have thought to do and loving it. Like a taking hike in the marsh areas of the Orange County coastlands.

* Slide on toilet paper dispensers.

* Reading the Twilight books. I really enjoyed them.

* My cat, Tug. He is so loyal and responsive to me. I call his name and wherever he is, he comes running with a purr-meow. I love that and I love him. I’m so glad we found each other and can’t believe that it was seven years ago. Thanksgiving of 2002 I found him in Texas, he grabbed me, didn’t let go, and I flew him home to California.

(This is his “Let me on your lap so I can knead you” look.)

One Last Thing:

Speaking of Texas, and all the good things there, my mom and I will be visiting the Houston area the end of January. If you happen to be in the area and want to hook up, let me know and we’ll see if we can coordinate.


Filed under I have Family, I have Friends, Love/Loathe