Monthly Archives: December 2010

Love & Loathe – 12/30/10

Loathe:

* Seasonal gym crowders. They’ll start showing up next week and either thinning up and sticking to it (yay!), or thinning out to return next January (boo!), by February. Please, if “getting in shape” is on your resolution list, stick to it! It’s so worth it. Don’t be a seasonal statistic.

Love:

* Theme parks without crowds. I read, horrified, that Disneyland closed twice this week due to reaching maximum capacity. Hard to believe how few people were there when we went last week (4 popular rides in the 2 hours we were there, walked right on 3 of them and a 5 minute wait for 1), and how many people “maximum capacity” might be (2 hour waits for each of the rides we rode) in a place so big. Disneyland on a day like that does not sound like the happiest place on earth to me.

* Well placed encouragement. Fish Whisperer says my female cichlid is well on her way to being better and commended me on doing a great job. I’m not usually needy for praise (yes, I am!!) but sometimes, like in this situation, I had been feeling very discouraged and overwhelmed, and his encouragement meant a lot to me.

* Snug is feeling better. I came home last night and he was out from his self-isolation, weaving himself around the kitchen table legs. I scratched his ears a bit, which he leaned into, and then I went upstairs to change clothes. (Back story: For the last couple days, I had been storing a special bowl of food in my rolltop desk that I would bring out and feed him from to keep his sick face out of the “public” food bowl.) When I went upstairs, Tony said he started hearing weird clinking noises and he couldn’t figure out where they were coming from — you see, I had forgotten to close my desk, and Snug took it upon himself to hop up there and feed himself. Snug had been so sick, I wasn’t even certain he had known where I was hiding it. Obviously, he had noticed. Even funnier, there had only been about four morsels of food left in that bowl. Tony pointed out succinctly, “Not anymore…”

* Holiday euphoria. I love the relaxed and easy attitude that everyone has at work when a short work week is book-ended by 4 day weekends. I really wish it could be like that throughout the year. I’ll miss it next week…

* Unused sick time and cool bosses. Both of my bosses told me to leave early, but I fully intended to work my full day today. Then I discovered that I had two hours of unused sick time leftover for this year. Sick time is a “use it or lose it” deal. So, I gave them a heads-up, finished up my work, and after 6 hours on the clock told them that I suddenly felt unwell. They both laughed and encouraged me to please “take care” of myself.

* Facing a 4-day weekend. I love this moment right now and wish I could stop time just to hold this anticipation in my hands a bit longer.

One Last Thing:

It’s been quite a year here in the House of JammieJ. When I looked down the binoculars last January toward the end of this year, I saw something completely different. In fact, those pretty pictures I saw in my binoculars turned into an upside down kaleidoscope with pieces everywhere. Several times throughout the year.

Hope and joy have actually been pretty difficult for me to hold onto this year, which eased open the doors of depression and anger. Oddly, last night driving home from work, I felt something that I’m vaguely thinking might be… hope. Hope that next year will be different for us. The cynic in me is standing back, arms crossed, with a bit of a nasty weathered smile splitting its face, trying to stamp it out like wineries do to their grapes. But sometimes the cynic is wrong and, sometimes, through the stomping comes the greatest juice that an oenophile has ever tasted.

That’s what I’m hoping 2011 will be for all of us.

Tony somehow scored free tickets to the Lakers game tomorrow night. Assuming that they’re legitimate (they should be, but I’m always suspicious of free), looks like we’ll be trying to touch the back of Kobe’s head on New Year’s eve. If you watch the game, look for us. We’ll be the two goofheads wearing purple jerseys in honor of our team. I’m sure you’ll recognize us!

With that, I wish you a Happy New Year!

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Pets and Cobbler

It was an easy drive into and home from work today. Once on the freeway, I didn’t tap the brakes at all until I was ready to exit. Unheard of in this part of California at those times of the day. I guess a lot of people are taking this week off, and I’m glad. It means a quiet week at work and no traffic.

If today was an indicator, it truly will be a quiet week at work. It will be the perfect week to take care of all those little projects that get set aside due to necessary bigger, more urgent projects.

Fish Whisperer says the hospitalized fish will make it. Actually, what he wrote was, “If you didn’t notice it, she would have been dead by now.” I had asked if the wound is supposed to look like her scales had fallen off and she has an open sore looking thing. He wrote other stuff, but that one sentence in his reply is pretty succinct, I think. So she’s still hospitalized and we’re still working on getting her better.

My other fish in the big tank are all acting neurotic right now and it’s driving me mad. At a time when I’m trying to keep an eye on them to ensure they’re not contracting this fungus, and they’ve all adopted Mr. White’s neuroticism toward the tank light. Oh, haven’t I told you that he’s afraid of the tank light? Been that way since he was a baby. The light comes on and he goes into panic mode trying to find a hiding spot, and now he takes all the other fish with him. How can I see them if they’re all clustered in the corner like koi at feeding time?

It’s times like these, when everything about them seems so stressful, that I wonder why I keep these fish.

Now, poor little Snug has a cold. He’s walking around with a stuffy nose, sniffing with every step he takes, and then lets out these great big sneezes, and his poor eyes are running. It’s so pathetic. He’s seeking me out for snuggles over Tug, which is very unusual. He’s eating and hydrated, and if he stops one of those things (eating or drinking), or gets a fever, I’ll take him in right away. But for now, I think the cold just has to run its course. Poor little guy. He sounds so miserable.

Christmas was nice. We had family time with Tony’s close family on Christmas eve. Christmas morning was lovely with just each other — as we do every year. Christmas afternoon was spent with the larger part of Tony’s family. Also on Christmas eve, we went over to a family friend’s house. They have many desserts (desserts!!) and snack-type things, and oysters. Oysters are big there (not for me, though). In addition to all that, the host was giving away guavas this year. I took a couple of them, she noticed my interest in them and loaded me up with a bag full of them. I didn’t protest.

They’re pretty tart, so not too good for simple snacking. Instead, tonight I made guava cobbler… it is absolutely delicious. I can attest to that, because I didn’t think to take a picture of it until after I’d already helped myself to a healthy-sized serving. The recipe would work well for any tart fruit, I’m thinking. I should have thrown in an apple or two, but didn’t think of it until the guavas were already nearly ready to go into the baking dish.

Hey! What am I doing here? It’s not Thursday, and look at me rambling on…

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Filed under Longbits, Money Hump Building

Love & Loathe — 12/23/10

Loathe:

* She has some blue spots in her soft black eyes, standard for her age, or so I’m told. She’s my eldest female cichlid. I noted that she was acting oddly last week and when I did my tank change on Sunday, she had a dark spot on her side so I moved her into the hospital tank. I’m told by Fish Whisperer that it’s an extremely aggressive, highly contagious fungus. I’m medicating her, but it’s progressed to a horrible looking injury. I may lose her and, if the other fish contract it, well… (sigh)

Love:

* The people I work with were very kind in their generosity to me this Christmas. I am touched and humbled… I had no expectations of that. In addition to his “gift” generosity, one of my bosses also baked me a loaf of pumpkin bread. It is spectacularly delicious!

* My company made that “extra day off” rumor come true. It was nice to be able to run errands and take care of stuff today, like getting fish tank supplies and then doing a 70% water change in the big tank to boost the other fishies immune systems.

* Golden Spoon was the yogurt place involved in my debit card fiasco a couple weeks ago. To try and help me out, when I called her that afternoon she refunded the $2 charge on my debit card. When I gave her the new card number, she refused to charge it, said it was no big deal. Today I stopped and gave them extra money. I know the amount involved wasn’t that much money, but their kindness meant a lot to me that day.

* We went to Disneyland last night. I was chilly and wet, I had a pulled muscle in my upper thigh, Tony’s shoes were slipping, and yet we had the absolute best time. There were barely any people there. We saw the fireworks from behind the castle (I had a case of severe swivel head trying to see them all), we rode four of our favorite rides, sang along with the Christmas songs they were playing and just laughed and laughed with each other. Going was so worth it.

* I had steak gumbo in a bread bowl for the first time last night at Disneyland. First time for any kind of gumbo, truth be told. It was so good. Tony had clam chowder. It was a perfect warmer from the inside-out for the chilly, breath-seeing weather we were walking around in.
Look at the steam coming off of that!

Tony’s clam chowder…

* My new cookie dough scooper. It plops the perfect amount out every time and I don’t have to get my fingers or hands in the dough. I bought it at Target for $3. Best $3 self-gift ever. Even funnier, after I’d picked mine up I overheard a couple wandering the kitchen accessories aisle looking for one. I walked over, handed them mine, walked back over to the seasonal aisle and picked up another one. Totally cool moment.

One Last Thing:

One of the vendors at work arranged to have a canister of pistachios sent to me. It shipped straight from the pistachio company, with the FedEx label bearing the name of the guy who shipped it and the company information.

I amused myself with thoughts of what that guy’s official title might be… Shipper of Pistachios? Germack Culinary Nut Sender? Or, how about simply “The Nut Sender”… the latter is generic enough that I’m thinking the guy wouldn’t have very many nutty co-workers, and how handy would that be?

Here’s hoping you have a Merry Christmas, filled with all the fun nuts you can handle!

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Filed under Best Husband, Love/Loathe

Love & Loathe – 12/16/10 (late)

It was dinner with friends the night of the 16th that kept me from you, My People. I know you don’t begrudge me that enjoyment, but I wasn’t here and I know you missed me. I did think of you, and I’m here now. Does that make it better?

Let’s find out what’s going on in my life this week, shall we?

Loathe:

* The bank saga continued from last week with a climax of me memorizing the PIN to the ATM card, but then forgetting the ATM card in the ATM machine. Then I ordered a new ATM card, at the cost of $10 (which I can’t get them to waive). I think I’m just going to give up and go back to my online money control. All this hard cash stuff is apparently over my head.

* Our homeowners association determined that December would be a good month to have the homes in our community powerwashed and painted, and have roofing repairs done. So we came home one day to find that they had disconnected all my plants in my back yard from their irrigation lines, moved them away from the house, tromped all over our Christmas decorations on the ground (busting the blowers and stakes) and powerwashed a few of the decorations on our house (shorting one of them out). Put another mark on the Impotent Fury chalkboard.

* I’m really, really having a tough time finding the Christmas spirit this year. I’m angry with God for several reasons, and it’s admittedly tough to have the Christmas spirit when I have an “F/U” attitude toward the Reason for the Season. I’m working on processing this, and maybe someday I’ll share, but this whole vendor thing is just the cherry on top.

Love:

* Every Friday, my company has breakfast brought in for their employees. I don’t know what kind of bagel this is, and I’m not much of a bagel fan, but I love this bagel. They don’t always bring it in, but it’s the only kind I’ll eat.

* The rain. It’s raining now and I’m hoping it will rain nonstop for the next three weeks. That would keep those painters and roofers away from my plants and our Christmas decorations. I guess a gun would, too, but that might land me in jail.

* Tony found these in Walmart. I think they are just adorable and they have Santa hats with jingle bells! The soap inside of them is really nice, too.

* Kindle for PC for free. No one told me you don’t have to have a Kindle in order to read Kindle books! I am so thrilled! I downloaded the Kindle for PC app on my netbook, and now I can read any offered Kindle book in electronic format without having yet another electronic device to find a plug for its charger or lug along when I go places. Or pay shipping on ordered books and have to wait. Or pay exorbitant prices at the snooty bookstores around here. I love, love, love this!

One Last Thing:

While we were out on the 16th, our friend’s brother pulled out his wallet and told us that he had made it. Out of duct tape. Oh, I know, all duct tape jokes aside, look at this thing and the detail that went into it.

And think about how sticky duct tape is, and then imagine making pockets for credit cards, identification cards, cash, etc. He said it takes him about an hour to turn one out and he can customize them to whatever needs a person has.

Me? If I tried to make one of those, I’m thinking I’d be stuck to the ATM machine, along with my ATM card, crying until they took me away to a loony bin.

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Love & Loathe – 12/09/10

Loathe:

* Banks that are too big for their britches, which is kind of how I feel about Chase right now. They gobbled up WAMU, which is one of three banks I’ve been with for years and years. Now I’m in the throes of disillusionment with them. I sense a change a’coming…

* Companies who insidiously raise their prices every few months by a couple dollars. Cox Internet, I’m looking at you right now. Internet was $38 a month and now it’s $41? Surely there’s a cheaper high-speed option or am I stuck with them since they have the unfair monopoly on this geographical area?

* Blue credit and debit cards. I got my new credit card in the mail, since the old one expired, and they changed the card’s color to blue. The same exact blue of all the other credit cards I have. My card is PLATINUM level, and has been platinum colored to match the level for all the years I’ve had this card. Why are they changing it to BLUE? (See “One Last Thing” below as to why this is such a big deal to me.)

* I woke up with a sore throat this morning. Why, oh why does getting sick always, always, always coincide with my period?

Love:

* There’s a rumor that we may get another day off around Christmas at my company. A morale booster type of thing. I gotta say, just the rumor of it is already boosting my morale.

* Tony fixed the drains in our bathroom sinks tonight… the stopper came out of mine about a year ago. The stopper came out of his two nights ago. Also, he found a better hair filter for the bathtub drain. I love having good drains.

* The lady who trims my hair. She is such a perfectionist. She takes extra time to ensure that my hair is even and that I’m happy with it. I love people who take pride in their work.

* My company is switching health insurance companies come the first of the year. In reviewing the new benefits plan, I’m thinking this actually might work out in my favor. Not totally, you understand, but enough to make me perk up a little bit.

One Last Thing:

You wouldn’t think the color of a credit card would matter much, but you would be thinking wrong. See, yesterday at lunch, not being used to the new BLUE card, I gave two vendors the wrong BLUE card, which triggered an insane domino effect of events.

The “wrong blue card” is connected to an account that we’re closing out. My simple error overdrew that account by $22. I was notified immediately via email, so I called the vendors and requested that they cancel and recharge the correct card (which they did), but the refunds didn’t show up right away.

So after work I went to the ATM to draw cash out of one of my other accounts which I cleverly intended to deposit into the overdrawn account. Except I never use my debit card for that other account, and they change the PIN on that card every time they send me a new one (which they also did a few months ago… a blue one) so I didn’t know my PIN.

So… I’m standing there at the ATM, befuddled as to why the PIN I thought was correct isn’t working and *TADA* my period hit with a vengeance and, in two seconds flat, flooded through the protection I was wearing. Oh, but it gets better.

So I go home and ask Tony if he can spot me some dough until today. He kindly said “sure,” because he’s the kind of guy that would give me the moon even if he didn’t have it to give. So, I then temporarily transferred funds from Tony’s account and the account I screwed up was then fine.

EXCEPT a charge he’d made three days ago hadn’t cleared his account, wasn’t in the pending area at all, but it cleared this morning, and that overdrew HIS account. So today he went and made a deposit from another account to cover my $22 error and the resulting $34 NSF fee.

I was on the verge of tears for a bit there last night, but now as I’m typing this out I’m sitting here laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

Imagine, if you will, being the customer service rep at the bank and getting my call today wherein I explained all of this and then ended it with a plaintive, “All I wanted was a hair trim and a yogurt and look what I did.” Needless to say, she credited the $34 back. At that point, I’m not sure if she felt sorry for me, or if she was just afraid of what would happen to her if she contributed to the endless list of stuff that followed my simple color error.

Karma, you know.

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Filed under He Fixes Things, Health/Endo, Love/Loathe, Sometimes I have to laugh

Love & Loathe — 12/02/10

Loathe:

* This headache that I’ve had since Monday night. It’s one of those lingering ones that hangs out at varying levels of intensity. I think it’s sinus related, because food, hydration, sleep or pain meds don’t cure it. Also, I have a weird mental reaction to headaches in that I convince myself it must be because of dehydration, so I overhydrate. which means that I do lots of peeing while having a headache. Aren’t you glad you know that about me?

* Everyone at work has a cold in various stages. What on earth did you people do? Spend Thanksgiving with a bunch of sick people? And how am I supposed to stay healthy when all of y’all are haawwwing all over my work space?

Love:

* Productivity, even while being off my feet. Christmas cards got written and held for mailing until the 1st of December (thankyouverymuch!). I got pictures downloaded off my SD card (but not uploaded to the Internet). I reformatted and reloaded my primary flash drive (had a corruption problem). Oh, and let’s not forget about reading the first 4 Harry Potter books.

* Weirdly uncrowded theater. We had a date afternoon on Sunday and went and saw the new Harry Potter movie. Initially we were gonna go to the 3:15pm showing, but opened the theater door and stared, horrified, at all the people wedged in there, elbow-to-elbow. Went to the 3:45pm showing instead, and there were maybe 20 people in there. So I stretched out across four seats and watched the movie as if I were at home in my living room.

* We had a fancy meeting yesterday at work. For the fancy meeting, fancy food was ordered. This concoction is a chocolate chip covered strawberry. Have you ever seen such a thing before?

One Last Thing:
Christmas decorations are showing up… I saw this one on top of a high-rise building when I was leaving work last night. It gave me a moment of happy. Obviously. Because I took this picture to share with you.

We’ll be digging our decorations out this weekend. I’m half excited and half terrified… I’m fairly certain the stuff multiplies during the year while it’s hiding under the stairs, because there’s always more stuff than what I remembered having.

Maybe someday, we’ll do scaled back Christmas decorating … when meeting neighbors for the first time (still happens, even after 5 years here) the first question is, “Which house do you live in?” And when I say, “The house that gets over-decorated for Christmas,” they always reply, “Oh, we love that house! That’s you??”

So, yeah, scaled back decorating? Ha. Right.

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Filed under Love/Loathe, We Love to Decorate