Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I need a new oven...or a new apartment. Whatever.

Today I spent a good long time flapping my gums with a co-worker on many topics, such as fried food, the benefits of the George Foreman grill, growing up in the 70's and the awesome toys we had then, the Slinky as a fashion accessory, Netflix vs. regular video stores, and macaroni and cheese. Then, nothing would do but I had to make macaroni and cheese for dinner. And I'm not talking Kraft, my friends; I mean the old-fashioned kind right out of the Betty Crocker cookbook, which is not the kind my Grandma Hattie used to make, but usually darn tasty all the same. I'm not sure what happened. Did it not bake long enough? (it did) Not enough cheese? (possibly) Too much milk? (also possible) I ate it anyway. It wasn't that bad, but not that good either.

I'm spending a quite evening reflecting on the past year and making plans for the next. I forgot to stop at Target so part of my plan is going to be hindered. Not to worry. I'm on it. However you are spending your New Year's Eve, have fun.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Loveliest Sister in the Whole USA

Is there anything in this world better than a sister? I don't think so.

Today is the birthday of my wonderful, beautiful, caring, patient, funny, smart, talented, creative, goofy, older (oops, did that slip out) sister, Kate! Have I mentioned how much I adore her? I do, very much. Big kisses and bigger hugs to you, my Katie. I love you a bushel and a peck.

PS. To the gals at Catherine's birthday bash, this is the song I was going on about. It's performed by Donna Fargo, not Melody--my mistake. Dig the 70's outfit.

(yeah, you've seen these pictures before, but really, could we be cuter together?)

Monday, December 29, 2008

I've been Stumbled Upon

Hey! Somebody Stumbled me. (ooo, dirty) I've had visitors from all over the place. Flower Mound, Texas; Naples, Florida, Washington Court House, Ohio; Berkeley Springs, West Virginia (Hey Jackson, I'm somebody) as well as such far flung locales as Buenos Aires, Seoul, Romania, and my favorite, Cebu (Phillipines).Why is it my favorite? Because it reminds me of the Veggie Tales Silly Songs Song of the Cebu (shut up, I have nieces and nephews). Go ahead and check it out. The song starts at the 1:40 mark. I dare you to not sing "Cebuuuuuuuuu" all day, or if you're like me, "achoo moo moo, achoo moo moo, achoo moo moo..." and "boo hoo moo moo..." (yeah, try to keep that one going).

As for my stumbling visitors, I hope you enjoyed your stay. Sorry I didn't have more to offer you. It's been slow lately. Stop by any time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday and sobbing

[subtitled: If a Frau buys your place of residence, move out as soon as possible. Do not be lulled by the cheap rent.]

Okay, so I don't really have a Frau Pita story to tell you all except this: Yesterday, as I was getting ready to join friends and bloggers at an awesome Boxing Day open house in which fabulous people ate delicious food and swilled fabulous hooch, Latina Gladys Kravitz came a-knocking on my door to tell me that "oh, the problem is back." The means that once again water leaked from my bathroom into her kitchen. You remember Frau fixing this problem herself a few months back. Gladys called the Frau who was coming over to have a look. Since a) I was on my way out; and b) I didn't feel like facing the Frau, I hurried got dressed, swiped some mascara on my lashes and dashed out the door leaving a key with the nosiest neighbor on God's green earth. I spent hours in the company of the aforementioned fabulous crowd and arrived home well into the evening, so as to avoid any possible Frau sighting. A quick survey of my home showed no obvious signs of Frau having been here. Gladys wasn't home so I couldn't ask her. This meant I was sure to see some Frau on Saturday and I hadn't avoided her at all just like my horoscope had said--something about partying will not make my problems go away. Pfft.

Today, while reading in bed and trying to stay warm because Oh My God it was 56 degrees in my living room, I heard people in the apartment next door. "Crap! Frau is here!" At the same moment, I was reading a particularly sad passage and crying a little and the phone rang. "Son a bitch I don't want to talk to her right now." But it wasn't the Frau. It was my Dad, who called because he was in the city waiting for one of his folks (Daddy drives limos) and to tell me of the death of my favorite uncle, Bill, (my mom's older brother and Dad's brother-in-law twice--Dad married Mom and Bill married Dad's sister). Not that I was particularly close to Uncle Bill since I was younger, but I liked him a lot and I know Mom will be sad. I wanted to call her as soon as Dad hung up but the Frau was still out front with the potential new neighbors and the book was making me weep uncontrollably. I mean, really, ugly sobs that leave your face blotchy. I heard car doors and the potential new neighbors drove off, followed by Frau, who still hasn't come in to fix whatever is causing the leak in Gladys' apartment. So, can I use my shower or not, because I have another fabulous shindig to go to tonight and I needs to shower.

Finally, I recommend--no, I insist--that you read "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" by Stephanie Kuehnert.This is the book that I read from 10pm to 2am, then woke up at 8am and finished reading today. This is the book that made me weep. This made me want to slap some characters and hug other characters and slap, then hug the main character more than once. This book made me gasp at a twist I did not see coming. So good. Soooo Good.

I don't think anyone is home downstairs. I'm going to chance the shower so I can go wish Catherine a Happy 34th Birthday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Closed Captioning for the technologically impaired

My friend, Criss, bought me an HD converter for my TV for Christmas. You may know I was boycotting the whole digital conversion thing on principle. I resented having to buy something in order to get free TV. What's with the government saying television has to be digital and those of us who choose not to spend our paychecks on cable have to get a converter. Bullshit!

So, yeah, I was going to be sans TV come February. Criss said she got it so that I could still want "America's Next Top Model" and keep my principles since I didn't pay for the converter. Anywho, I went home last night and hooked it up (after watching Jeopardy, of course). I followed the instructions completely. RF In, RF Out--Video In, Video Out, red and white audio cables to red and white audio connections. It couldn't be easier. Except that it's not that easy. While the picture is lovely when it's getting a good signal, which for now is only NBC and only when I have the antenna away from the TV and facing west, I have no sound. Wait, that's not entirely true. I have the most annoying droning hum. By turning my television volume up and then using the volume button on the converter's remote, I was able to make out some dialog, but not without the droning hum. I put it on mute, which toned down the drone a bit, but it was still there. I spent two hours switching cables this way and that and never got sound. I did, however, discover the closed captioning button and was able to watch "Law & Order: SVU."

The converter does have some cool features, like a zoom button and an info button like a cable box, and I'm sure once I get sound and find a place in the house that receives the best signal so I can get ABC, I'll be happy I have it. But for now, I'm frustrated. Is there anyone out there who has successfully hooked up their converter box and can give me advice? Or am I the last person in the world without cable (my non-TV watching friends, notwithstanding)? Who wants to come to my house and hook up my HD box? I will give you a Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe--or two.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My camera is broken and my phone finally sent photos

Waaahhh! I've been trying to post for a few days, but I wanted to include photos. My camera didn't work--dead batteries, I presumed. My cell phone, for whatever reason, refuses to send photos to my email*. I have no photos and my post won't really mean anything. So I'm stealing a photo from Ellen to tell you about my wicked awesome and dorky holiday hat for the WeHo SnB Holiday/Faith, Lori, Bridget, Catherine and Jenna Birthday party. Jenna won, too.My winning hat was made from items I found around the office on Thursday afternoon--a baseball cap, some red vinyl tablecloth, a poinsettia I swiped from someone's office door, candy canes from the finance department and the lights on the brim (which you can't really see) came from some bracelets we had leftover from a campaign. My prize for such mad creative skills was a darling mug from Starbucks that looks like cabled knitting. I immediately went home and filled it with hot tea.
Then I came home and started a gift for my Mom ('cause I'm like that). I knitted her a tattooed heart from this pattern. Then, because that was so quick, I thought I'd knit her up so footies to wear around the house and keep her toes warm--just those little peds things with the pom poms on their heels. It's not going as quickly as the heart so maybe they won't be ready for Christmas. Sorry Mommy.

*my phone works again thanks to the sage advice of one of my co-workers who said, "take the battery out and then put it back in." It worked!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Heads Up for tomorrow

Tomorrow, December 18th, is "Day Without A (disposable) Bag!" Check out this flier from our friends in the 23rd Senate district (see, I'm working) for details on how you can benefit from bringing your own reusable bags when you shop tomorrow.

[edit] Oops! How could I forget to wish my beautiful niece, Elyse (aka Lisi), a very happy 19th birthday. Happy Birthday, my little doll.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Laurie Ann, the Red-nosed Executive Assistant

I felt fine all weekend. My sister, who had the nerve to wake me up on Saturday and then make fun of my sexy "just woke up" voice, coughed in my ear (because she's sick). So guess what? I'm sick now! Thanks, Kathleen!

Okay, it's not really Kate's fault; I just like to tease. Everyone in the office is getting sick and it was just a matter of time before it made its way down the hall to my office. But first thing Monday? Give me a break! I woke up with my nose all red and bulbous. I think that was due to a spider bite, as I also had a suspicious bump on the end. My naturally pink cheeks are pinker than usual and my head is all floaty. Today I have a killer headache, which may or may not be caused by my ponytail being too tight.

Bottom line: I'm sick and I don't like it one bit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A tragic end to a brief friendship

As much as I wanted to wait and let Andi at Floyd's do the job, my roots were out of hand and, oh, the gray. So, I dyed my hair with the box of hair color I had in the cupboard and hoped for the best. After 30 minutes (not long enough, apparently, as I still have gray hairs, damn it), I turned the water on and stepped into the shower. I pulled the curtain closed and saw a movement. Looking down, I found my friendly spider circling the drain. I turned the water off and tried to save him, but it was too late.

Goodbye, Mr. Spider. I'll miss you

I think I need a pet.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What do you want, Mr. Spider?

Yesterday, as I stepped out of the shower and reached for my towel, I found a spider gazing back at me. I gently shook him onto the shower curtain and dried my hair. Later, before I left the bathroom, I saw him on the toilet paper roll. I wished him a good day and left for work.

I came home and went to the potty. As I leaned in to wash my hands, Mr. Spider was hanging right in front of my face. "Well, Hi there," I said. (actually, I may have shrieked first, but then I said "hi." I took hold of his web and moved him to the wall so I could wash my hands and face. When I went back to brush my teeth, he was on the shelf where my toothbrush sits. What could he want to tell me? Why is this little spider so hellbent on getting my attention?

Does he need a little TLC?

Does he know something I don't know?

Or is he just being neighborly?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

WikiHow--You're a girl's best friend

On my Google homepage, I have the "How to of the day" feature. Every day I have three "How to" articles to read. They range from the silly (How to be nice) to the downright informative (How to increase your retirement funds) to the kind of thing you always wanted to know but didn't know who to ask (How to ride a mechanical bull without embarrassing yourself). Today's, though--today's is just priceless information. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: HOW TO SUPPRESS YOUR GAG REFLEX


  1. Breathe through your nose. Taking a nasal decongestant beforehand can help clear the nasal passageways and facilitate breathing, if your nose is congested.
  2. Lift both of your legs, if you're sitting or lying down on your back. Tightening your abdominal muscles might help stop gagging.
  3. Numb your soft palate. When an object touches the soft palate (the back of the roof of your mouth), that's what triggers the gag reflex. You can use a throat spray that uses numbing to relieve sore throat pain, or a gel that's normally used to relieve tooth pain. The effects should last for about an hour, and your soft palate will be less sensitive.
  4. Put a little table salt on your tongue.
  5. Hum. You might find that it's difficult to gag and hum at the same time. [So that's where that term came from]
  6. Beware the gag reflex in the morning. Some people report that they're more likely to gag earlier in the day. Try to schedule the gag-inducing activity for the late afternoon or evening instead. [My absolute favorite sentence--ever.]
  7. Relax. The gag reflex is triggered by a combination of psychology and physiology. For some people, the psychology will play a larger role. Maybe you've had a traumatizing experience in the past, or in general, you have a fear of loss of control. Some of the steps above, such as controlled breathing, will help. You may also want to practice some form of meditation, and communicate with whoever is causing the gag reflex [mom said not to talk with my mouth full], until you feel confident that they will stop doing whatever they're doing as soon as you let them know. In more extreme situations, some people turn to hypnosis.
  8. Disengage your gag reflex. By gradually getting your soft palate accustomed to being touched, you can minimize the gag reflex, or perhaps even get rid of it completely. This is the first step that sword swallowers must take and it does require effort and patience over time:

    • Find out where your gag reflex starts. This can be done by simply using your toothbrush to brush your tongue. The point nearest the front of your tongue that makes you gag is where you want to concentrate.
    • Brush your tongue right where your gag begins. Yes, you'll gag. It will be unpleasant, but not for long. Spend about 10 seconds brushing that area (and gagging), and call it a night.
    • Repeat the process over the next few nights in the exact same spot. You'll notice you gag less each time you do it.
    • Increase the brushing area. Once you can touch your toothbrush on that spot without gagging, it's time to move the toothbrush further back. Try brushing 1/4-1/2 inch behind where your gag used to begin. This is your new starting point. Repeat the process as you did in the first spot.
    • Continue moving the brush further. Each time you move the toothbrush back, your gag has been desensitized in the previous spot. Keep moving it further and further back until you've reached the furthest visual point of your tongue. Eventually, the toothbrush will come in contact with the soft palate, if it hasn't already.
    • Be persistent. This whole process should take approximately a month to complete. When it's all said and done, you should be able to have a doctor swab the back of your throat without gagging. You might have to re-do the process from time to time, as your reflex may return if you don't.


  • Don't eat right before the activity that tends to trigger the gag reflex, to minimize the chances of vomiting.
  • Try to smile when you feel like gagging. This may help to suppress the urge to gag.
I know. I'm a dirty girl.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Jamie does me proud

When the boss came in today, she asked me to deliver some packages to a house in La Crescenta. "LA CRESCENTA," my head screamed. "Jamie will never make it." The boss said I could take her car, but seriously, I'd rather be stuck on the side of the freeway with Jamie than risk an accident in the boss's car. I figured I'd just stay in the slow lane and keep it under 60. Mind you I had no idea where La Crescenta was except that that's where my former Tower boss lives. The boss said, "It's like, Pasadena." Well, I don't know much, but I know it is definitely NOT Pasadena. I googled. I printed. I gathered the packages and hit the road at 1pm.
I took the 2 all the way to Foothill Blvd, then up to the street toward the house. And up and up and up and--Holy Cow--this woman lives on the top of the freakin' mountain. No, really. Waaaay up to the top of the mountain, past the signs warning of mountain lion attacks in the area, I slowly made my way--past Pine Cone Road, Pine Glen Road, Pinelawn Drive, Pine-sol Way (just kidding), but honestly, could they think of more Pine names? When I turned onto her road, I went up further into the mountain. Her house was at the end of the street. Damn! But do you know what? My Jamie, poor little banged up, birth defect engine, Jamie, made it all the way to the top of that mountain without a hitch. And then she made it back down. Down was a whole lot easier.

Since it was lunch time, I stopped at a strip mall for some eats. KFC, Pizza, Weight Watchers...way to go, La Canada Flintridge. My favorite part? Drive-thru Milk Store!!
I was hoping it would take hours to run this errand so I could just go home, but it only took an hour. Rats! That's okay, I chose to be happy today no matter what so I had a good day.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I are dumb

I was coming home today and really had a craving for Jack in the Box egg rolls. I know. Sacrilege! But I do love me The Box. However, I had to pee really, really, REALLY bad and sitting in a drive-thru was going to end tragically. So I parked the car at home, ran inside to pee, and walked over to Jack in the Box. I knew I'd only be gone a few minutes, so I didn't lock the deadbolt. I also didn't take my purse because I had a $20 bill in my pocket.

When I returned home, I reached into my pocket and found my work keys, not my house keys. Balls!!! Oh, crappity crap crap!! I looked at the window that I had to smash in January when the valet lost my house keys and subsequently paid $200 to replace. Then I looked at the pane above it, which already has a crack. I really didn't feel like dropping another $200. I sat on the porch and pondered the situation. At least I had egg rolls and a pumpkin pie milkshake.

I turned my work keys over and over in my hand. What was I thinking? I always--ALWAYS--check for my keys before leaving. Now I'm left outside without a jacket with these six worthless office keys and two silver keys which I don't remember ever using. Wait. These two silver keys, which look exactly alike, are incredibly similar to house keys. Maybe...

I stuck a key in the lock and it did nothing. I tried the other key. Hooray!! It was my house key!!! I guess I'm not such an idiot after all. I must have, in some inspired moment, decided to put the house key on there just in case. I still don't know what the other silver key is for, probably my friend Tami's house, but who cares? I made it inside.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hosanna, Indeed.

I received an email today from Nederlander Marketing--an ad for tickets to see "Jesus Christ, Superstar" at the Wilshire Theater starring Ted Neely. Yes, THE Ted Neely, the one who played Jesus in the film--IN 1973!!!! Holy Crap! A quick check with IMDB shows Mr. Neely to be a ripe 65 years old. I don't want to be accused of age discrimination but, um, Jesus died at 33 for crying out loud (yeah, I almost said "for Christ's sake"*). So I was lamenting this fact (the inappropriate casting, not the death of Jesus) to my nephew, The Roy, who had this to say: "He's lived twice as long as Jesus! That's like, two for the price of one! Twice the Christ, Just as Nice!" I love him. (The Roy...and the Jesus)

Isn't Ted over this role by now? I mean, seriously, dude, you've been playing Jesus for 35 years. You were age-appropriate when you made the film. Now it's just sad. It's time to hang up the robe, kick off the sandals and retire.

*I guess I did say it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Really, it's better if I don't

I cannot make a mix tape (or CD as it were). My friend Pablo made me a mix CD a long time ago. Terry made me one, too. Then, a few weeks ago, Criss made two CDs (one for me and one for Pablo) and gave us both a copy of each. This prompted Pablo to say, "Hey, where's my CD? You owe me one." I'm way behind, but really, he should be thanking me.

Here's the problem--my taste in music is: a) kind of eclectic; b) a little boring for most people due to its mellowness; and c) somewhat embarrassing for its cheese factor. Seriously. "Superhits of the 70's" anyone? I've got 'em. "Josie and The Pussycats" soundtrack? Yep, I got that one too. One day I'm all about the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the next it's all Jim Croce, all the time. I love musicals but I kind of dig Andrew WK too. So what do I put on a mix tape? What does one put on a mix tape? Is it supposed to be the music you like or the music the recipient likes? Should there always be a theme? How do you decide the order of the songs? Yeah, this is why I suck as a girlfriend too. I'm clueless.

Well, I made a CD for Pablo tonight but I'm sure he's going to hate it. It's acoustic guitar heavy with maybe three or four rock tunes and very male oriented with only a few gals. I almost included a song by Gonzo (of Muppet show fame) that is one of my all-time favorites, but I decided against it. As for the order of songs? I couldn't decide and just went alphabetically, which may lead to some jarring transitions. Hopefully, word will spread about my mix tape deficiency and no one will ask me again. (psst...pass it on)