Monthly Archives: August 2010

Love & Loathe — 08/26/10

Loathe:

* People who, when driving, don’t thoroughly check their blind spots for little cars like me. I blew my horns at a guy the other day for so long (first 30 seconds was for safety, last 30 seconds was because he was a jerk about it!) that I blew the fuse on my horns. Yes, horns. I have air horns in my little car… you thought I had an engine under the hood?

* Things are getting tense at work. My boss wants accountable people who are willing to step up and make a difference. He’s getting a lot of lackadaisical and unwilling responses from his reports. Not this report, nope, not me. I’ve learned you can’t lose the fear. If you lose the fear, you lose your job. I’m not sure where all this is going to end up, but I’m his sounding board, so I hear a whole lotta stuff.

* This hot weather is frying people’s brains. Seriously. Have you ever noticed that people seem to get dumber when the heat index goes up? Has there been a study done on that, I wonder?

* Junk mail. There just has to be a better way than all this paper trash companies send out.

Love:

* The smell of Scotch tape. It makes me think of wrapping Christmas presents for some reason. Also, 4 months until Christmas.

* Tony said “Hey” to Kobe Bryant today, walked past him at an outdoor mall in The OC. Guess Kobe’s not any taller than my Tony, but a whole lot buffer (according to Tony). Tony’s assessment of him makes me laugh. Kobe was heading into a theater with this gaggle of girls, two of the little girls in the picture are his daughters — we think he was taking them to see the new Toy Story movie. Cute, huh?

* I moved the two females who were hospitalized for the last three weeks back into the big tank. I love that they’re back in there, and I think they were ready, but these fish always make me feel helpless and ignorant, so I always question myself.

* Flight trackers online. What did we do before the Internet? Phone calls? How quaint.

* Radishes fresh from the earth.

* We’re “borrowing” a small plot of land from Tony’s parents this year for a tiny garden. We planted seeds for pumpkins, cantaloupe and radishes… and some other stuff that didn’t work out so well. It’s fun to go visit our little garden and see how things are growing!

One Last Thing:
I have no idea what the deal was, but there’s a laminated piece of paper in the women’s restroom at work that reads, “Avoid Contamination. Wash your hands.” It’s usually stuck on the back of the door, so when you exit the restroom, that’s what you see (along with the restroom cleaning log).

Over the last week, that sign was taped in the middle of the mirror between the sinks, over the hand towels, on the front of one of the stall doors, way up high on the back of the bathroom door, and now it’s back to its original resting spot.

I guess someone wasn’t washing her hands?

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Up & Down the Hill.

While you were here wishing us a Happy Anniversary, we were in San Francisco having dinner, riding the cable car and walking.

We’ve been to San Francisco a half dozen times together and we’ve never had the time to ride the cable car. Thus, our main goal this visit: Ride the freakin’ cable car, already!

We walked over to the Cable Car Museum from our hotel, and caught a ride on the cable car down to Union Square. They emptied the cars of all passengers there and reloaded them. We’d been shooting the breeze with the brake guy, so he told us to walk a block up and catch it there to ride it back. Except all the cars were full. So we shrugged and just kept walking, following the cable car route, walking, all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf, walking. If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, you can start smiling in amusement at us here. I’ll cue you at the appropriate time later for the laughter.

We got to Fisherman’s Wharf, and there were all the cable cars and the cable car guys taking their lunch breaks. The guy we’d been chatting with exclaimed, “Hey!” With a wave, he pointed at us, and then, “You didn’t WALK all the way from Union Square, did you?” We replied with much chirpyness, “Yep, it was great!” He was mightily impressed and we were pretty pleased with ourselves and our athletic prowess.

We walked over to Pier 39 and decided to grab a bite to eat for our own lunch. We were quite hungry given we’d just walked from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. And then… we made the mistake of sitting down while we ate… (cue for laughter here) and all our muscles froze in place. After lunch, we barely made a standing position, and then limped and gimped and hobbled (note I did NOT say “walked”) back to our hotel, where we proceeded to take a two hour nap. I guess you could say we drowned the loss of our athletic prowess in sleep?

I would normally declare a two hour nap on a Saturday afternoon decadent, however, given the state of our muscles, this nap was downgraded to the status of necessary. In fact, we could happily have made it into a 10 hour nap, except that would have smacked of admitting our age (one of us had a birthday this week, not naming names, but I’m pointing at him). No one our age wants to say truthfully that they went to bed for the night at 4pm because San Francisco kicked their a**.

After our nap, we managed to make it out to the Golden Gate Bridge for the sunset. If possible, I think one should always see the sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge. If not there, then definitely from Alcatraz island.

Truly, though, we really had the best time. San Francisco is such a fun and beautiful place, and while our home was experiencing a summertime heatwave, the weather where we were was a perfect 70°F. Some drizzle/fog in the evenings, but warmed up right nice during the day. Awesome.

We also had a bit of warm reminiscent memories, for we stayed at the same hotel where we stayed the very first time we went to San Francisco together back in 2004. We enjoyed it just as much this time as we did then. They charge a bit more now than they did then and, personally, I think they charge more now than they should. Thing is, they have a great central location and they know it.

I guess I should also mention that I’ve never been to Chinatown there. Now, I don’t know what exactly I thought Chinatown was, so my ignorance (or lack of aforethought), and Tony’s desire to please attributed to yet another long walk on already stressed leg muscles. So, we get to Chinatown and we’re “walking” along slowly, feeling all the while that we’re about a second and a half from being pick-pocketed and I turn to Tony and say, “I guess I’m not much in the mood for shopping?” And he’s all, “That’s pretty much what Chinatown is, babe, shopping.” To which I responded with a grunt. I put the venture to good use, though, because I was on the lookout for Thee Dried Plums. While there were dried plums aplenty, and I didn’t find Thee Dried Plums, there were the scariest looking dried WHOLE FISH and dried WHOLE other stuff that smelled really nasty. I’m still shuddering over those dried whole fish. After that experience, we came the conclusion that Thee Dried Plums must have been homemade — they were simply too good to have been purchased somewhere.

The flights were fairly non-eventful, memories bountiful and enjoyment of each other top on the list — just the way we like it.

P.S.1 — I didn’t even mention the most delicious strawberry cheesecake we were given for free for our anniversary, did I?
P.S.2 — Or that we saw Tony’s twin (everyone has a twin, right?) playing hoops Saturday morning. Tony even said the guy looked like him, which really means there was a similarity. So weird.
P.S.3 — There is a store called Chocolate Heaven at Pier 39 — it really is. They even have chocolate pasta in there.

P.S.4 — We walked past several enclosed fern gardens (glorious!) and a 20′ tall wall of wild blackberries (unbelievable!).

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Filed under Best Husband, I did something Special, I Left Home for Awhile, I Stimulate the Economy

Love & Loathe – 08/19/10

Loathe:

* Packing for trips. I remember as a teenager it really wasn’t a big deal at all. I was such a well-traveled young thing. Somewhere in my 20’s, trip preparation turned into a huge, overwhelming monster filled with anxiety attacks so bad that I couldn’t even watch Expedia commercials on TV without feeling the start of an attack. In 2006, I finally conquered that anxiety, but trip preparation is still fraught with tension and stress for me — not something I enjoy. (sigh)

Love:

* York Peppermint Patties.

* Driving on the freeway yesterday morning in stop and go traffic, I was overpowered by the smell of fertilizer for about a mile. I love, love, love that there are still agricultural areas in this urban sprawl of Orange County.

* My weekly early day at work — Thursdays. Since I implemented my early day a few months ago, on those days, I’ve not yet encountered traffic in the morning, although I can see where it will start getting sticky. I love no traffic! When I get to work, it’s so quiet that first hour I’m there. I love quiet! Plus, the toilets are all clean and the lids are still up — first butt on the toilet seat for the day? Awesome!

* My new GYN’s office called me yesterday. Freaked me right out, because in all my years, the only time a doctor’s office calls is if something is abnormal. Turns out, they just wanted to ask me if I’d had a chance to schedule my mammogram, because they wanted to put it on their calendar to follow-up on getting a copy of the report. I’m taking this new doctor/patient relationship step-by-step, and I must say that was one mark in their favor.

One Last Thing:

Tomorrow, the 20th, marks our 5th wedding anniversary. In some ways, I can’t believe that we’ve only been married for 5 years. But in other ways, we fit each other so well it seems as if I can’t remember, or don’t want to remember, a time that we weren’t part of each other’s lives.

I joked with a friend the other night that I haven’t taken his last name because I’m a bitter and stingy person. In order to wear his family’s last name, one has to be kind, understanding and generous — so not me! All joking aside, though, Tony’s patience and love for me are healing balms to my emotionally injured self, and his kindness and generosity are inspirations to me. He truly cares about the people in his life and I am incredibly blessed that I am at the top of his list.

It’s been a rough year for us, given our miscarriage, loss of a loved family member, and job situations, and there are times when I wonder why things have to be so hard. But as tough as it has been, and still is, he is the only person in this world I want by my side — whatever we may go through.

We entrusted each other with our hearts 5 years ago. A better decision we could not have made.

We are so very blessed. Happy Anniversary to us.

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Love & Loathe – 08/12/10

Loathe:

* The kneading thing that cats do. I don’t care if they do it to a pillow, it’s even kind of cute then. But my stomach or upper thigh? Irritating… and painful. Tug is the biggest violator, and ends up either getting his claws trimmed or heavily smooshed when he tries it.

* That Wrigley discontinued their cinnamon flavored Extra gum. I know. What is my obsession with discontinued things? The thing is, they really did the cinnamon flavor right (strong, with a bit of a kick and the flavor lasted) and, yeah, other companies make cinnamon gum but it’s a pathetic, wimpy cinnamon flavor. Trident, I’m looking at you!

* None of our cats won the calendar contest. Not even as a runner up. Pssshaw! I mean, did you see the picture of all our cats lined up at the door? Who has a picture of 5 cats like that except us? That’s right — no one! The only logical conclusion then is that the contest was obviously rigged! Just like beauty pageants are… not that I’m bitter about that. Not at all. The beauty pageant was 20 years ago. Silly of you to think that I’d be bitter about something from 20 years ago. HA!

Moving on…

Love:

* You may recall that at the U2 concert last year, some dude stepped on my flip-flops and broke one of them. I finally decided it was time to replace them, and I found these at Target. They did require a bit of breaking in, and $15 a pair is a little expensive for my budget (buyer’s guilt), but I do have a job now (yay!) (justification!), and they’re now the most comfortable shoes I own. Sunday night when I took them off after the weekend, I morosely proclaimed, “Bye favorite shoes, I’ll see you next weekend!” Yes, I talk to inanimate objects and I love these flip flops!

* I got my annual GYN appointment out of the way this month. At some point I’ll write a post about why I changed GYN’s yet again this year, and why I had to change my GP, whom I loved, in order to change GYN’s. It’s a very convoluted tale, but I’m hoping (as I have the last two years) that I finally found a GYN I can trust. So, the annual is out of the way and next year, because of my age, I get to look forward to a rectal exam — isn’t that nice?

* The two isolated female fish appear to be getting better every day, nearing their D-Day of going back into the big tank. A couple weeks ago, that was a scary thing, but nowadays, things seem to be much, much calmer in the big tank. I attribute that 100% to the mirrors I attached to the side of the tank. The mirror trick apparently works for Tony, too.

* Garden salads. I simply love them.

One Last Thing:

Ummm, who wants some orange juice with their Oreos?

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Poor Fish Girl.

It’s kind of like watching an abusive relationship play itself out, right before my eyes. Except, it’s accepted, because it’s an expected behavior in their species. Mr. White is the abusive husband, and the females are his abused wives.

Cichlids are described as being “aggressive” and “not for beginners.”

The females routinely get knocked around, beat up, injured, and on Friday, murdered. Mr. White body slammed her so hard, she hit and lifted the tank cover, and flew out the back of the tank. She eventually ended up on the entryway tiles and died. Tony found her when he came home from work on Friday. He called me to tell me and later said it was one of the toughest phone calls he’s ever made.

I fed her that morning and didn’t know it’d be the last time I’d get to watch her eat.
(She’s on the left, “kissing” under the feeder ring…)

They’ve lived in this tank for 4 1/2 years and we’ve never had one of them come out of the tank. I know it can happen, I’ve been around fish enough to know that. But when I do my water changes, I leave them unattended for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, with the tank covers off, while I refill my water jugs, and they’re fine. Never had a problem. It’s a total fluke that this happened and such a senseless loss of life.

Shortly after I bought the tank in February of 2006, I came home to find one of the cats sitting on top of the cover. I noted to Tony that if that cat managed to somehow fall in, he would drown or electrocute himself — and kill everyone in the tank in the process. In response, Tony built a cover over the cover, so the cats couldn’t see to get up on top of the tank.

We were so intent on keeping things out, we had no idea we needed to reinforce the covers to keep the fish in. Tony did that this weekend.

The whole point of having the male (Mr. White) in the big tank is for breeding purposes, but it appears that Mr. White is sterile. So, I spoke to my Fish Whisperer, because I want him to keep a look-out for another Mr. Blue. Fish Whisperer said he’d help me look for a Mr. Blue, but recommended putting a mirror up against the tank while Mr. White is still in there. Apparently him seeing his reflection will make him think there’s another male in the tank, and that is supposed to soothe him. Or something like that. Even weirder is, Fish Whisperer was right — as usual. Within seconds of putting the mirror against the tank, he noticed it, he was afraid of it. Within a couple hours, he was contentedly checking himself out, hanging out with his reflection like it was a long lost buddy. Weird.

How does Fish Whisperer know this stuff?

I cried when I buried her on Friday, the female Mr. White murdered. She was one of four albino fry that I hand-picked to keep and raise (out of the 300 baby fish born four years ago). She was the one who, when I introduced a new food, took all of it in her mouth and took off for the corner of the tank, swallowing and swallowing, hogging it all to herself. She was the smallest of them all, and yet when I held her in my hands to bury her, I realized the tank must distort their size, for she was much larger than I had thought she was.

And isn’t that the way of life and death… when someone dies, the loss is always larger than you think it will be.


(Look below the momma fish at the rocks. Look closer. It’s not all rocks, there are baby fish there, one of those was the one who died on Friday.)

Growing up… still babies, though.

She is in the forefront, swimming alongside Mr. White…

I still have the two females who I isolated in a hospital tank (they each had a fish equivalent of a human black eye), they are looking much better and I’m hoping to put them back in the big tank in a week or two. I type that with a dose of optimism and confidence that I’m a little leery about feeling, just so you know.

*All images in this post can be clicked and enlarged.

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Love & Loathe – 08/05/10

Loathe:

* That 2 of my cichlids are sick — an injury related illness compounded by a clogged filter. I isolated them in a hospital tank, fixed the problem in the big tank, but much of my time this week has been consumed with water changes for their tank and the goldfish tank. Oh, the goldfish? Yeah, them too. But theirs is related to not fully eradicating a parasite that they brought home with them 2 or 3 months ago when we bought them. My obsession, beyond my normal obsession with this, is that I simply don’t want any more loss of life this year, not if I can do something to stop it.

* Gossiping. I’m typically not much of a gossiper, but for some reason I find myself being tempted to be drawn into it at work a lot these days. I really, really loathe that, and am constantly tamping down the desire to participate. Most days I’m successful, but some days I fail and I feel dirty.

Love:

* Miatas. It makes me happy to see another one driving on the freeway or down the street. I know, that’s such a surprise to you.

* Going to the county fair.

* My tiny little cactus bloomed this week. Love this little guy.

* I do love red nail polish, but this is my absolute favorite polish of all time. Of course, it’s been discontinued, so I use it sparingly as a treat to myself. It looks plain and unassuming until the sunlight hits it, and then turns it into glittering rainbows. I share this so that if you see me at a stoplight staring at my fingertips, you’ll know it’s not a wart that I’m ogling from all angles!

* Sorry to my vegetarian friends (look away now!!), but I love a good deal on meat. Here we have our Fred Flintstone steak, nearly 4 pounds of London Broil for only $6.30. The thing was HUGE, delicious and fed both of us for 3 meals.

* The new purse I bought at the fair. Tony went to get my camera out of it this week and told me it was a very confusing purse. Maybe it was the way he said it, but for some reason, that made me laugh.

One Last Thing:

Litter Robot (also known as the Death Star cat box in our home) was having a photo contest for cats. On a whim, I decided to submit some pictures, because we clearly have some of the most adorable cats on the planet. Yes, cuter even than yours. Plus, we could really use a free Litter Robot — with 5 cats, of course we could. Well, the cats could, as for me and my butt, we will be using the toilet.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share a few of the pictures I submitted, because I know you have nothing better to do than look at MY adorable cats! Here’s hoping we win.
(Click image to view slideshow!)

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Not Fair Fair.

Over the weekend, we made our annual trek to the county fair. Our first order of business is always to ride an elephant, provided by Have Trunk Will Travel. The money spent for that ride goes to support the elephants, and since I love elephants almost as much as I love cats, I feel it’s money well spent. This year we rode Kitty.

Oddly, there weren’t as many people at the fair the day we went as we remember from previous years. We usually visit the petting area (goats and more goats) and we feed and pet the goats (did I mention goats?). This year, there were so many people in the petting area that there was a really long line waiting to get in. It was absurdly crowded in there, so I pointed and said, “Hey, that’s where all the people are!”

A highlight for us was a new exhibit called the “Ice Museum.” There were several sculptures on exhibit, all carved of ice! It was 20°F in the showroom (brrrr, cold!), so if in the picture I look a little tense (or like I have to pee) you’ll know why.

Outside the ice museum was an artist who was sculpting this statue out of butter. This here is his butterbutt, and if you look closely, you might see his butterhole.

That thing up front there? I’ll let you name that.

I overheard the butter sculptor tell someone that last week he sculpted a Venus out of chocolate. I’m sure there’s something Freudian in that, right?

We were going to eat bad Fair Food, but I just couldn’t do it. Corn on the cob, a chicken skewer, and Dippin’ Dots for dessert were my indulgences of choice. I don’t remember what Tony had, other than a really huge pretzel that turned more heads than I did as a teenager! HA!

Of course, there was the garden and livestock area — this little piggy and that little piggy — they look like toes! Born on July 18th. Awwwww. Little oinkers.

Not sure what the point of this was, and it’s kind of an odd picture. It’s a watermelon that was encased in a plastic box. May I point out that it’s outgrowing its box?

It’s just not fair that the Fair only comes once a year!

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