Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I need an intervention

I have needs.  Knitting needs.  I have gifts to knit, and projects that must be started because they are wonderful and must be knit.  And, I may be a little ADD.  

I wanted to knit a sweater vest for my baby nephew (grand nephew? great nephew?  He's my niece's son)  I needed size 5 and 6 circulars to do so.  I knew I must have them somewhere in the great mess that is my knitting area.  

This is after I straightened it up a bit.
So, I began searching through every bag and collected all my needles. If they were stagnant on a project that hadn't seen daylight since the Clinton administration, they were ripped out of the stitches.  I was ruthless. I also started collecting yarn for the next Stitch n Bitch swap.  

I sat down, watched Midnight in Paris, and sorted all the DPNs by size, then labeled them and cataloged them for future reference.  Do I have Size 8s? Why yes, plenty.  And now I know exactly where to find them.  (I used old fortunes from fortune cookies as the wrappers in most cases).  

Then, I moved on to the circulars, where I found the necessary 5s and 6s, flagged them and put them all in plastic bags.  
I have far too many size 8s, 16"

The straight and DPNs were placed in separate wine bottle tubes (you know, like you use as gifts?), and the circulars where placed in a larger plastic bag.  Phew.  

All this and I managed to knit up about 6 inches of vest.  Oh, and I accidentally threw away some cable needles, but a bit of digging in the garbage saved the day. Double Phew! They were the Knit Picks Harmony ones.  

Now, I think I need shelves and boxes for the yarn.  It's a mess in there.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A message from Claudette and me

It's Election Day, and that always reminds me of that time my former roommate and I gave our County Treasurer a facelift.  I wrote about it here in 2008.  It was one of my favorite times and also one of my last hurrahs as a 20-something.  That is why today, when I Googled images of my buddy Claudette to give her the 2012 treatment, I was overwhelmingly proud to find this as the second result.

I finally feel like I'm living up to my family's reputation.

Ah, poor Claudette.  I'm sorry, ma'am. You've done a fine job as Monroe County's Treasurer.  But, just because I can and because it's important, here's a little message from Claudette on this Election Day 2012.

You know what you have to do. Vote, my friends. Vote your little hearts out.  

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Internet, I love you.

I read this cartoon (see below)

Which lead me to search for images of Count Chocula, since we weren't allowed to eat those cereals growing up and I therefore have no frame of reference.  That search brought me to this...

...which is delightful.  I dare you to look at Count Chocula now and not think Liberace.  Who knew CC was such a dandy?  And to drive the point home, I found this...

...which looks like he's saying, "FAB-ulous!"  

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Don't you hate this?

You know when you're the only woman in a meeting and you feel something, so you excuse yourself to go to the ladies room and discover that your period decided to show up. And since you weren't really expecting it you don't have any feminine hygiene products on you.  So, you fold up some toilet paper and tuck it in the crotch of your pantaloons and hope it holds for the rest of the meeting. And then the meeting stretches on forever, like an hour more.  And then, when you finally get a chance to run downstairs to the little store in the lobby, it's closed. So, you go to the restaurant whose owner also runs the little store and you ask her if the girl running the store will be back soon and she shouts at you from behind the counter, "Why? What you need?"  But you can't answer her back because you don't want to shout, "I got my lady problems and I don't have no pads, gurl."  So, you quietly say you can wait if she's coming back soon, but then you find out she's not coming back soon because one of the employees called in sick so she's covering the coffee stand in front of the building, which is also owned by the same people.  So, you go outside and talk to the daughter who's running the coffee stand and quietly whisper, "heeeey, I, um, need to get some Kotex." But she has to wait for the other girl to come back from break, so you wait a little while.  And then the nice daughter comes and saves you by opening the store for you to buy some waaaay overpriced pads, and double bags them so you're not embarrassed when you get back to the office.  You know that?   Yeah, I hate when that happens.

Monday, October 01, 2012

One Saturday at the car repair shop...

On Saturday, I spent the better part of the day waiting for my car to get new brakes and an oil change.  What follows is a series of texts between my friend and me concerning a somewhat handsome and nerdy guy who was also waiting around the waiting room.  I named him Beards Magee (because he had a beard). 

His knees were seriously knobby as all get out, but I couldn't snap a decent picture to illustrate this point.  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Laurie Ann Snicket's Series of Stupid Mistakes

I don't know what is wrong with me today but I have made one stupid mistake after another.  Stupid, because the mistakes I made are things I'm usually pretty anal about.  Not today.  

I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.  Let's just start there.  I was plagued with nightmares, none of which I can remember at this point, but I went to bed with the moon still high in the west, then woke up at 7am with the sun in my eyes.  I decided to read a little and fired up my beloved Kindle, which oddly had no name*, and dove in.  Two hours later, my mind began to drift**.  Laundry was piling up. So, with a sigh, I placed my beloved Kindle carefully into it's padded case, and gathered clothes.  Just before leaving the house, I crawled across the bed to turn off the window fan.  That's when I heard a pop...or was it a crack. A cracky pop. Or, a poppy crack.  Whatever it was, the sound was horrifying. I knew immediately the source of said soun; my beloved Kindle, post-mortemly named Ken, was under my left hand and now, he's stuck on Jules Verne for eternity.  Normally, when I'm done reading, I put Ken in his case and place it on the shelf of my nightstand.  Today, I left him on the bed, and then tossed the covers back, thereby covering Mr. Kindle.  I guess this makes the case for always making the bed, but I doubt I'll change.

I had a quick and thorough cry over my now-dead Kindle (truth be told, I'm still devastated), then headed out. I'll make a quick stop at McDonalds, then over to the Burbank Michael's for Halloween costume supplies, then back to Hollywood for the laundry.  In the McD's parking lot, I was waiting for some guy to do a 3-point turn, when a Range Rover started backing up right into my car.  Who backs up without even looking in a mirror?  And I assume the driver didn't look at all because my car is not so small that it wouldn't have shown up in either the right or left side mirrors, even if it's too short to show up in the rear mirror.  I honked.  It kept coming.  I honked more.  The driver taking forever to make a 3-point turn gave me the finger.  I reached my hand out the window and banged on the spare tire of the Range Rover.  It was that close.  He pulled forward and so did I.

I got to the drive-thru speaker, placed my order, and drove to the first window.  I turned to reach into my purse--MY PURSE!!! WHERE'S MY PURSE??  It's in the trunk with your dirty laundry, idiot.  So, I had to get out of my car (in the drive thru lane), open my trunk, get my purse, get back in the car, fumble for my wallet, die of embarrassment, get my food, and move on.  

The Michael's trip went well, except for the high cost of costume supplies, and I was off to the laundry.  I didn't have a lot of cash, so I decided to conserve washers.  Don't tell my Mom (I'm hoping she was watching one of my other siblings), but I didn't separate my light and dark shirts. I threw them in together, which is okay if you use a cold wash.  The rinse cycle on the first washer came and went.  The rinse cycle on the second washer came and went.  I stood there, Downy at the ready, and still no rinse cycle for the third washer.  Why not? Oh, maybe because I didn't turn it on.  It was underwear, so normal wash, push on--sigh.  This will set my laundry time back at least 45 minutes.  First washer done; jeans in dryer.  Second washer done; undies in dryer.  Third washer.....OH MY GOD! I just washed my lights and darks in WARM.  Fortunately, only one shirt was ruined.  

And would you look at this  park job.I'm surprised the car to my right could fit at all.  I'm usually a very good  parker. 
Upon leaving the laundromat, I dropped my phone under my car seat and had to contort myself to get it. I've decided not to touch anything else this evening. I'm not cooking. I'm not knitting. I'm just going to sit here***.  

*It's odd because I name everything.  My car, my phone, my iPod, my plants, my drop spindle (for spinning straw into gold).  
**The book is set in England. Our WeHo Stitch n Bitch Halloween theme is Great Britain. Ideas began forming.
***That sounds really awful. I may watch some movies, if I don't break the DVD player...shhhh, I didn't say that.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I want to like it, but they've broken my rules.

Regular readers of my irregular blog know I have one gigantic pet peeve about movies and TV shows--realism when using actual places.  I stopped watching 24 when Kiefer told some guys he'd meet them in West LA in 15 minutes...while in traffic near Hollywood and Highland.  Dude, you're not even going to make it to Sunset Boulevard in 15 minutes.  (Angelenos are nodding with me right now; those of you from out of town will have to trust me on the ridiculousness of that scenario).  I got annoyed with The Office when that one lady was driving from Scranton to the Lehigh Valley for Lamaze.  And don't get me started on The Happening.    

Now, I love me some Dystopia, and I had high hopes for Revolution,  the new show on NBC.  Power goes out; people have to survive without modern conveniences.  Bring it on! I can allow for some creative license, given that we don't know what would really happen.  But then they did it--they showed scenes from around the nation of what has happened since the power went out.  Mind you, the power has only been out for 15 years.  I'll let you think about that for a second.  15 years.  That's nothing.  Any parent can tell you how quickly 15 years passes.  

So, in 15 years without electricity, nature has completely taken over major cities.  Major citie, whose only grass and trees was in parks, now have trees and plants growing on the very top floors of high rises.  What?  
[click for larger size]
So, we're supposed to believe that this Ferris wheel is intact, but the Golden Gate Bridge (see top photo, in the background) is destroyed.  Ferris wheels are held together with freaking cotter pins!  

The swing set in the foreground is good, including the rubber seats, but the St. Louis Gateway Arch is falling apart.  I repeat--15 years!!!!  

I started thinking about my home town and the places that have been abandoned for a long time, just to get some perspective.  Here is the old International Boiler Works building, which shut down in 1992.  

Aside from the graffiti, it's in pretty good shape.  Beams appear sturdy, the roof is sound, and the grass has not taken over inside yet.  In fact, the outside looks pretty good, too, broken windows notwithstanding.
That's 20 years of no electricity.  Methinks the creators of Revolution should have reined in the CGI guys a bit.

Don't get me started about the asthmatic little brother, whom she's soooo worried about, but who appears to be a strapping lad of at least 17 years old and fully capable of taking care of himself.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

And now we know why you've never seen a unicorn

Just in time for Halloween, and someone's birthday, I give you this delightfully creepy item.

I love this because it's super creepy, and because it totally looks like the disembodied baby hands are playing air guitar.  

Nooooo, not the unicorns!!!!!  I'm afraid so.  

These and many other items which will surely lead to nightmares can be found at the Little Bubble Etsy shop.  I am in no way affiliated with said shop, nor have I been asked for endorsement. I just think their stuff is great, in a "good luck trying to sleep tonight" kind of way.   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time zones, whatever.

Did you know you can check out library books on your electronic reading devices? (I was going to say Kindle, but you may have something different and I don't want to alienate anyone)  You can! It's a pretty simple affair, too, and you have your standard three weeks to read the book before it magically disappears from your device.*  Well, I am all about checking out books from my library rather than buying, and if I can do that on my Kindle, then all the better.  The selection isn't awesome, but I managed to find some good books that I've been meaning to read.  

Unfortunately, everyone else has been meaning to read them, too. I put a hold on several and was thrilled to receive this email today.

The following title is now available for check out and will be held for you for 4 days (96 hours) from the time this email was sent:

Fool: A Novel by: Christopher Moore eBook
Please visit the Los Angeles Public Library website and select the 'My Waiting List' link from the 'My e-Media Account' page. From there, you'll be able to add this title to your cart and proceed to check out. If you do not check this title out within 4 days (96 hours), the hold on this title will expire. Please note the time sent is EST (Eastern Standard Time). Your hold will expire 3 hours earlier in PST (Pacific Standard Time).

Why was an email from the LOS ANGELES public library sent EST?  Forgetting the fact that it  was really sent in EDT, why mention the time zone at all?  The time stamp on the email is local time, so why does it matter?  96 hours from 12:00am in New York is the same time as 96 hours from 9:00pm in LA.  Hmmm.
I'm excited about the book, though. I love me some Christopher Moore.

*I'm assuming here. I read the first book I checked out in one night and haven't checked on it since, so I'm not sure if it's still on there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Journalism 101

On my Google homepage, I have a box that presents three top stories from the Los Angeles Times that day. The first story today was about a woman having been bitten by a pet monkey.  Here's the article; it's not long

A Javan macaque monkey being kept as a pet and living on a diet that included Frosted Flakes and juice has been quarantined after it bit a Paso Robles woman multiple times on the hand and arm.
The monkey, which authorities said was being kept illegally as a pet, attacked the woman Aug. 29, inflicting several severe bites to her arm and fingers.
The hospital where the woman was treated reported the incident to San Luis Obispo County Division of Animal Services on Sept. 5, Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson said.
“This kind of animal is never meant to be kept domestically. It is illegal," Anderson said. "It lived on a diet including Frosted Flakes and juice. We strongly discourage the keeping of any such animal."
He added: "And that is entirely the wrong kind of diet.”
The monkey is now quarantined for 60 days at Zoo to You, a conservation group that handles rescued animals.
Anderson said the California Department of Fish and Game is investigation and has the power to seek charges against the monkey's owner for unlawful possession of a restricted species.
The macaque delivers a dog-like bite and can do severe damage, he said.
-- Richard Winton, LATimes 

In my brief stint as a Journalism major, we were taught the five rules, starting with answer Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How in the first couple of sentences and save the extraneous information for the following paragraphs.  Start with the relevant details, then fill in the things like "she was an avid swimmer."  And while the first sentence certainly answers those, putting the monkey's diet in the first sentence makes it seem like that is an important detail.  
What--was bitten
Where--Paso Robles
When--August 29th
How--by a monkey
Why--probably because they were feeding it fucking Frosted Flakes and it wanted meat.
In fact, the writer, as well as the Animal Services Manager, seem really hung up on what the monkey was eating rather than the woman's health.  Even the headline on the Google page reflects this:

I think they're missing the really important detail.  Frosted Flakes is entirely the wrong kind of diet for ANY primate, not just macaque monkeys.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Curiouser and curiouser

Longtime fans know that there has been speculation (mostly from my friends) that I sleepwalk or even sleep drive, possibly both and possibly in an alternate dimension. You can read about it here, here, and here.
Now, I'm just convinced that my block is somehow like the island in LOST and I just need to accept that strange things happen here and act like it's normal.

Last night, I got home around 10:50.  There was no parking on my street, because some assholes haven't taken their trashcans in from last week and it's trash day again, but that's a rant for another day.  So, no parking, decided to try the perpendicular street, which is usually quite full, both sides, but worth a look see.  Surprisingly, it was not full. Not full, as in it was COMPLETELY EMPTY.  Not a car in sight on either side of the road.  I looked for one of those Temporary No Parking signs, but didn't see anything. I tilted my head like a dog staring at a ceiling fan and tried to remember if it was Monday or Tuesday (it wasn't), but then realized that that didn't matter because street cleaning is 10am to 1pm and all the cars are usually moved by then.  Why was the street empty?? Did the rapture only happen on that street? And why would the rapture take cars, unless it was Car Rapture.  Frankly, I was baffled, but also, I was tired and couldn't be bothered. I didn't want to risk parking there, lest there be something foul at work, and I parked on Wilcox at a metered space that needs to be vacated by 8am.  

I woke early, got myself together and headed to my car just in time to avoid a ticket.  Let me back up a second here.  Last night, I went to a movie with some friends.  I distinctly remember looking at my back bumper because there were two Nissan Sentras parked side by side, and I looked to make sure I was leaning on MY car.  My parking permit was firmly affixed to my car.  This morning, something told me to look at the parking sticker before getting in my car.  I don't know why, I just had a feeling or something.  The sticker has half peeled off.  I scored the sticker with a blade, and they weren't able to get it all off without tearing it, so they gave up.  That's not the weird part. That just pissed me off.  

The weird part was, when I got in the car, the radio was on (I'd been listening to the iPod on the way home) and the parking brake was on.  Now, I don't use the parking brake unless I'm on a hill, which I assure you I was not.  I remember my actions as I got out to the car last night specifically because I had grocery bags to grab, and my purse, and my knitting was falling out. I know I did NOT apply the parking brake.  I even tried to think if someone my purse strap had grabbed the brake and it got pulled up as I got out of the car, but no, I put the strap on my shoulder before looping the grocery bag up on my shoulder, so there's no way that happened.  My co-worker Michael thinks some responsible car thieves borrowed my car, parked it back where I had it, and applied the brake because they're cautious.  Or, my other personality is at it again.  Strange indeed.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Those therapy bills are going to be expensive

Earlier today, I went to the ladies room here at work, and a woman was in a stall with her child speaking in Spanish.  I originally thought she was speaking to the child, but it became clear that she was on a cell phone. I sat. I peed. I got ready to wipe, when low and behold a small head popped under the door of my stall, followed by a small body, completely ignoring my cries of "No, don't come in here."  I had to open the door and shoo him out, which wasn't easy because our stalls are small and I am most certainly not.  Since I was in a wiping position (use your imagination) when he crawled in, I'm sure he got a glimpse of more than he bargained for.  I hope he doesn't have nightmares.

Also, I couldn't help but notice, as I gave the tyke a meaningful shove out the door and continued about my business, that the mother's conversation had stopped and that she was quiet.  Dead quiet.  Nary a peep.  Not even so much as a "get back over here" to her wayward child.  The silence continued as I washed my hands and left.  

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Time sure flies

I began working at my current position in November 2006, and started driving my current route to work in May 2007 after we moved to a new location.  There's a house on a particular stretch that always caught my eye. I get stuck at the light in front of this house all the time.  It's a lovely old house with a circular driveway, which I adore, but what really caught my attention was the family.  One morning, the mom was heading to the car with a toddler in her arms, tucked him into the car seat, kissed the dad* goodbye, and drove off.  They are what my sister used to refer to as "The Pretty Family."  The scene was just so sweet, yet so mundane that it stuck with me.  

Over the years, I noticed some changes.  Mom got a new car (a Mercedes wagon).  Dad must have gotten a new job or a new schedule because he was leaving at the same time now. The little one was growing.  It was kind of like watching a very long, very slow movie montage of years passing.  But, like all things that you see every day, I eventually stopped noticing the pretty family on the corner.  Until today.  I was stuck through two lights and watched the mom apply sunscreen on a now very grown up child.  I swear, the kid looked like he was about eight or nine, although he couldn't be more than six--six and a half tops.  There's a dog now, too.  And my first thought was, "aww, look at how big he's gotten," followed immediately by "Holy Crap! How long have I been driving this route? That kid is practically in High School."  

It doesn't feel like five years. How can time have passed by so quickly?  

Monday, August 06, 2012

Ravellenic Games--Endurance Knitting Made Fun

If you're a knitter, you've heard of the Ravellenic Games.  If you're not a knitter, you've probably heard of the brouhaha over knitters using the word "Olympics" and thought, "whatever Grandma."  This post is about knitting, and also about my being an idiot.  Fun for everyone.

So, last time we held a Knitting Competition Whose Name Was Changed was for the Winter Olympics of 2010.  I captained my team. I encouraged, I got them psyched.  And then a tragedy happened and I couldn't compete.  Well, I could have, but I was kind of preoccupied and didn't get any knitting done.  This time, Summer Olympics 2012, I was ready. I said, "I WILL complete my projects. I WILL lead my team to victory." Victory over what? I don't know. 

I cast on for some fingerless mitts and finished the first one in record time.  Mitt #2 took a little longer, but still pretty quickly considering my usual finish time.  Here's what they look like, unblocked.  I'm very happy with them. 

Yes, that time is correct.  By the time I was done weaving in the ends, it was 6:30am. I immediately cast on for my next project, as I was already behind schedule.  The next project just happened to be the Parseltongue Hat by Tiny Owl Knits.  I got a few rows in then decided I'd sleep a bit before heading over to Lauren's for a little Team WeHo Knit-a-thon.  I went to bed at 7:50am and set my alarm for Noon.  My sister called at 8:07am.  One thing led to another and I only got about an hour and 45 minutes of sleep before heading out to knit.  At Lauren's I made the statement that I "wasn't feeling the cables."  I should have listened to that feeling.  I came home, picked up my knitting and trudged on.  On about row 26, just before the snakes start, but after two rows of cables had already been done, I noticed something was off.  If the pattern says *P2, K12* and you repeat between * and *, shouldn't one end with a K12 and not a P2?  I started looking it over for mistakes and found this.  

Do you see that piece of yarn stretched across?  That's where I skipped an entire needle while working on the double points, or about 24 stitches.  It's about six rows down.  Balls!!  It's such a rookie mistake.  I started to unknit them, because no one wants to try to rip back and pick up stitches when cables are involved.  I unknit one round, which included cables and found that no only had I missed those 24 stitches, the cables I had just knit were completely wonky.  Some were twisted the wrong way, one was just slipped and not knit, one--well, I don't even know what I did wrong on that one, but it took me 20 minutes to figure it out.  In the end, I just ripped the whole thing out and started over, but AFTER I got a good night's sleep.  

Whoever said knitting was relaxing was full of crap.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Comic Con!!

Saturday, we got up early to drive to San Diego.  Luck was upon us, as we didn't run into too much traffic and made good time.  We parked at the hotel, and hopped on the shuttle to the San Diego Convention Center.  Our badges were for Sunday only, so we could only do outside stuffs on Saturday.  We walked and walked and walked.  It was hot and we were tired so we ended up back at the hotel early, where the Mae (we have a tendency to put "the" in front of names in my family) (also, Mary is called Mae sometimes) promptly fell asleep.  In fact, all of us were asleep by 10pm.

Sunday, we hit the road at 7am in order to get to the Hall H line bright and early.  Clearly, however, not early enough.  Some folks were in line at 5:00am.  The Hall H line was the longest line I've ever seen, or stood in.  Christina and I were interested in the Fringe Panel at 10am.  Mary wanted the Merlin panel at 10:30am, and the Dr. Who panel at 12:30, but we convinced her to get in line with us and sit through Fringe.  Good thing, too, as we missed Fringe altogether. Christina went for breakfast.  Mary and I sat through the Supernatural panel for Dr. Who.  Breaking News! I think I love Dr. Who and I've never even seen it.  Maybe I just love Matt Smith.  Anyway, I've Netflixed all the past episodes (recent past, not 60's past).

We walked the exhibit hall floor for a bit, Mary bought a Firefly t-shirt, and then we waited in line (short one) for a Harry Potter panel. Then, off to home, tired but happy.  

Happy girl waiting for Harry Potter panel

Now, my girl is back home already.  I missed her as soon as she went up the escalator.  Thanks for coming to Comic Con with me, Mary.  I love you to pieces.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Too Soon!!!

So, my niece Mary came to see me.  Well, okay, she came to see Comic Con, but since I was her adult supervision, she was forced to spend time with me, too.  Nah, she wasn't forced. We had a blast together. 

Before she came, I kept debating going right from the airport to the beach, since it's so close, or going to the beach another day. I consulted the 5-day forecast, which said that Thursday would be the hottest day last week, so I said, "Beach on Thursday."  Oh, also before she came, I may have made these statements to her: "LA is super sunny. It doesn't rain in July. It gets chilly at night."  Guess which of those was a lie?  Trick question--they were all lies last week.  Thursday was cold and gray. It rained! And she never ended up needing the jacket I made her bring.  However, I was correct about needing sunscreen and reminding her to put it on every day.  So, there's that. 

Happy girl at LAX
Mary arrived on Wednesday, which turned out to be the hottest day, and we walked Hollywood Blvd, then went to the 99cents store (she thought I was kidding when I said we were going there).  After that, we were kind of beat, so we just stayed in for the night. I was going to suggest a trip to the Red Box, but nerdy girl, spying my DVD collection,  shyly asked, "Um, can we watch Firefly?"  Of course!!!  And thus, I have made her a Firefly fan.  Also, she pretty much memorized that annoying theme song on the first episode and kept singing it to me.  

Thursday, well, you know.  We went to the beach after all, and I tried to convince her and myself that the marine layer would burn off.  However, after 30 minutes I couldn't deny the fact that it was 65 degrees and windy, and my poor little girl's teeth were chattering.  We did have a lovely moment in which she read me a story from The Tales of Beedle the Bard.  After we came home and showered, we headed over to Burbank for dinner and a movie.  We saw Brave and cried.  It's so good.

at the beach
Remember back in, oh, 2009 or something when I talked about starting a tour service for time-strapped tourists?  Friday proved that I really should look into that.  We had things to do. She wanted to visit the Getty because a woman in Illinois told her about it, and we needed to find a fruit guy so she could taste fruta like her sister did on her visit to LA.  I wanted to talk her someplace nice for lunch.  Mission accepted.  Since we hadn't seen a fruit man yet (really, LA?), I took her to the one place I know I'll always find a fruit man--across the street from my office.  Fruit procured, we headed to the Central Library so I could show her MY favorite place.  
Mary at the library

Library done, we headed to the Getty Museum, where we admired the still-gray view, the Klimt exhibit, and the earliest known example of photo bombing. 
Gardens at Getty Center

check out the guy in the back
Then, off to a late lunch (or early dinner) at The Newsroom.  Finally, after attempting to visit Gallery 1988 for the Arrested Development-themed art exhibit (for the second time), we went to the Griffith Observatory and caught a show at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, after admiring the night (but still hazy) view of LA.  Phew! I'm tired.  
Mary indulged me with a cheesy pose.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about Comic Con!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Last Night (and the night before, and the night before that)

My niece Mary is coming to town!!!!!  I'm so excited.  I love seeing LA through new eyes.  I love showing off the sites and sounds of my city.  Know what I don't like? Cleaning.  Now, I know, she's 16 and according to her Mom, used to being messy.  But I'm NOT 16, so it's a little embarrassing to have her come to my house and have my room like exactly like hers.  

Now, I've known she was coming for quite some time.  Like Christmas, maybe before.  She's coming out so we can go to Comic Con together.  You know, Comic Con, who's tickets went on sale in January or February? Yeah, so I've had plenty of warning.  But I'm a Master Procrastinator, and I didn't start any proper cleaning until last weekend when I cleaned the hell out of my kitchen.  But Wednesday seemed so far away then.  

Cut to Saturday when I suddenly realized that I have four days to really, really clean my apartment, rearrange the sun room/yarn room/guest area, and try to get the vacuum to make some kind of sucking motions.  And Laundry! And wash my car!  OMG, I'll never finish!!! And with that declaration, I didn't.  I kept willing myself to do more, but the sofa's siren call was too much.  

So, last night, I sat down and decided I'd done enough.  I piled all the yarn on one side of the room, leaving enough space for the futon to unfold, and I shall give her the option of sleeping on the sofa if she'd like.  I vacuumed as best as I could.  Then, I went to Subway for a sandwich, and 7-11 for ice cream (Drumsticks are 2/$3).  When I got home, I settled down for a night of movies. 

I'm sure Mary won't mind. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Venus is in transit, as if traffic wasn't bad enough

Hey, Space Nerds! I hope you didn't throw away your pinhole devices from the partial eclipse a few weeks ago, because you’re going to need them tomorrow to view a once in a lifetime event.  No, really.  This event won’t happen again until December 2117—105 years from now.  What is this spectacular event? Venus (the planet, not the goddess) will pass in front of the sun!

Okay, so it’s not exciting enough to make you gasp and run for your astronomy books*, but it’s still pretty cool.  Also, it take a really, really, REALLY long time to pass, so you’ve got plenty of time to check it out. 
Here’s the details of when to look and what it will look like.  It’s basically a tiny dot on the Sun. 

Doesn't it make the sun look like a lopsided pirate? Arrgh!
photo courtesy of these guys.

So, tomorrow around 2pm, it starts up top, and by 8:45pm, it’ll be done.  Say it with me now--"Wow!"

Not as big a deal as an eclipse, but I'm kind of excited to check it out.  That's just me.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Oh LA Drivers, you continually surprise me. And yet, you don't, really.

Curb Sneakers*--we've all encountered them. They're the sneaky bastards that pull up alongside of you on the right, presumably to make a right turn. Then, when the light turns green, they floor it to cut in ahead of you.  I'm usually wary of any car on my right, even when the lane is clearly marked "right turn only." (I'm looking at you, intersection of Beverly Blvd and Wilton Place)  Depending on my mood, I'll either floor it and make sure they can't cut in front of me, or I'll hang back and let them go. 

This morning, while sitting at the light at Sunset and Gower, a woman pulled up next to me on the right. There was a horn beeping, but since I was at a red light and not doing anything beep worthy, I ignored it.  Finally, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  I looked over and the woman to my right was waving at me.  I opened my window.  "I'm really late for work. Can I cut in front of you?" she asked.  So many responses crowded my brain looking for expression.  "Lady, we're all late for work."  "Is one car length going to make a difference?"  "You're late, so you're taking Sunset Blvd??"  "Do I look like a poky driver?" "What?? You're asking permission???"  Instead, I just waved her on.  The light turned green and she took off like a shot.

I noticed her zooming ahead, weaving in and out of the middle and right lanes.  I couldn't help thinking of those commercials--better to lose a minute of your life than your life in a minute. Maybe the work she was late for was something, like, heart surgeon and there was a patient waiting for her. I hope she made it all right. I'm still a little taken aback by her asking permission.  I guess manners aren't dead after all.

*Credit where credit is due:  I first heard this term from Dan Novy. I'm not sure if he coined it, but it makes me laugh and I use it liberally.  Thanks, Dan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Whimsically Dark

Deb over at San Diego Momma challenged us to write a short story inspired by this photo, using the word "empty."  This is very first drafty and totally unedited.  Be nice to me.

This scene reminds me of Delaware Water Gap, and makes me kind of homesick.

Kerri took several deep gulping breaths and willed herself to calm down.  How long had she been sitting on the shore? Long enough for her jeans to soak through from sitting too close to the marshy edge. Long enough for the sun to raise high in the sky.  Not long enough to stop crying, however.  Her shaking hands patted her pockets for a pack of cigarettes, which she left on the coffee table of the now empty house over on Jefferson Island.  Suddenly she remembered all the other things she left on Jefferson Island--her purse, her clothes, HIS clothes, and everything else that tied her to that life.  “Fuck! I have to go back,” she thought.  She wiped the tears, which seemed to flood steadily down her cheeks, and stood. 

She walked back to the canoe, the squishy shoreline sucking at her Keds®, and climbed in. Kerri hated the double-sided oar that her husband bought late last summer after he accidentally lost one while fishing. “What’s wrong with two oars?” she thought.  “It’s not a kayak, dumb ass.”  Slowly, she made her way back to the island, thanking God it was still early enough in the season that hardly any of the summer residents were in yet.  Most of those homes were on the far side of the island anyway.  There was Mr. Myles, who was a year-round resident, but his house was set up far enough back from the shore that unless he was really watching the river, he wouldn’t notice her coming.  She decided to skirt the shore until just across from her house, just in case he was really watching the river.  This meant rowing upstream, but the river was fairly calm in this section and the rowing was not difficult.  This also meant she’d avoid passing over Charles, who by now should have hit the bottom.  “I should have weighted him.  He’s big, but even fat guys float.”  She said a silent prayer that by the time Charles surfaced, she’d be long gone. It was hard enough getting him in the canoe and then subsequently out of the canoe.  The extra weight would have been too much.

“By the shores of Gitche Gumee,” she said to no one. “by the shining Big-Sea-Water.”  She giggled to herself; in her head, she heard Bugs Bunny reciting these lines.  She searched her brain for the rest of the poem. “Daughter of the moon, Nokomis….aw, screw you, Longfellow.”  Kerri’s breathing had returned to normal.  She sighed deeply and began mentally preparing for the days ahead, the trip back to the city by Greyhound (must leave Charles’s keys behind), the new ID, the flight, and a thousand other details.  Lists were good. Lists were calming.  Soon, she began to sing, “She’s the daughter of Rosie O’Grady. A regular old-fashioned girl.”   

Friday, May 18, 2012

Burning Ring of Fire

Has anyone else been having one of those weeks?  I swear I have not been on time once all week. Nor have I left the office at a decent hour, except on Thursday when I left at 6:40 to go to the Farmer's Market for knitting.  And this week was Jeopardy's Power Players Week.  I've missed all the good match-ups. If I leave right now, I might get home in time to see Anderson Cooper play. Maybe he'll have a giggle fit again.

Yesterday, as I was driving up my street, I accidentally bumped side mirrors with a parked car.  I stopped and did the right thing--left a note. But, sheesh, what a great way to start the day.  

Anyway, I'm really just stopping in here to remind everyone in the California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and southern Utah areas to look for the Annular Eclipse on Sunday.  It's known as a "ring of fire" because of the appearance.

Los Angeles will not get the full effect as in the photo, but we should see the sun covered about 85%. Other parts of the United States will see a partial eclipse of much smaller proportions.  The maximum eclipse will occur around 6:38pm, but it starts at 5:24 and ends around 7:40.  Here's a great LA Times article telling you the best ways to view the eclipse.  

Why is this so exciting?  Well, we don't get to see many eclipses here in So Cal, particularly one with this much coverage.  Head to a higher elevation for the best view and have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Very superstitious

Last night, on the way from my car to my house, a black cat ran out from somewhere near my porch, paused in the middle of the street, and then disappeared by the police garage.  I kept walking.  As I climbed the stairs to my porch, I heard a meow behind me and turned to find little black cat sitting on the sidewalk staring at me.  "Hello, Kitten," I said.  He came closer.  "What are you up to?" I inquired as I opened the front door.  The cat came up the walk to my porch and started to climb up.  

"Sorry, Kitten," I said. "I have allergies and asthma. I can't invite you in."  He paused with his front paws on the bottom step, and peered past me up the stairs to my apartment.  He sure was a pretty cat, but I guess he understood because he meowed one more time, turned, and ran back across the street to the police station.  So far, my luck has not changed.

In my head I named him Pyewacket, even though I know Pye was a siamese cat.

Apropos of nothing, except that I laughed a little too much over this:

Friday, May 04, 2012

Be excellent to each other

We had a co-worker named David, who was in charge of inventory and supplies.  He was funny, snarky, kind-hearted, generous, and at times, a huge pain in the ass.  But you couldn't really be mad at David, because everything he did, he did for the good of the company.  If he hassled you about spending, it was because he wanted us to have more money to spend on the kids.  If he was a pain about purchasing, it was because he wanted you to be a better shopper and look for deals.  David didn't beat around the bush, either. He was blunt but fair.  He'd shake his head at those of us who'd bicker in the hallways.  "Feel the love," he said, sarcastically.

He also supplied the entire office with snacks, even though he didn't eat them.  There were always chips-- Cheetos, Doritos, Ruffles--soda pop, cereal and milk, the occasional fruit, and once a month or so, donuts.  We joked that David was fattening us up for the Zombie apocalypse, to ensure that he was faster than the rest of us. If David knew you liked a certain food, he'd make sure to pick some up. There was always a box of Froot Loops for D. And every October, throughout the whole month, I'd come to work to find mystery bags of candy corn on my desk, as if the Candy Corn Fairy had visited in the night.  I love me some candy corn and David knew it.  He brought us movie passes and shared DVDs. He cooked the turkey for our staff Thanksgiving, and baked the richest chocolate cake ever--it required at least two glasses of milk.

On Wednesday, in the middle of a meeting, David collapsed.  The staff administered CPR, the paramedics did what they could, but David passed away.  He had been sick for some time, although you'd never have known it because he never complained or acted sick. He truly believed in the work we do, the benefit our students derive from the programs we have, and the people here who work make it all happen.  He loved us and we loved him.  And now, we miss him terribly. 

Yesterday, as we all tried to come to grips with our loss, we talked about the last conversation we had with him, and every one of us ended on a positive note. So, that's what we're taking away from this tragedy.  End your conversations on a positive note. And feel the love.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Breathe deep the gathering gloom

It's one of those mornings where you wake up all cozy and snug, the room is still dark, and you can just feel the gloom outside without even looking at the window. Days like this remind of one thing--"Nights in White Satin." 

Deb over at San Diego Momma prompted us to write about the songs that defined our life, and I wasn't going to do it because I couldn't think of anything. The Moody Blues changed that.  Rainy days remind me of "Nights in White Satin" because when I was growing up back in Pennsyltucky, the local rock radio station seemed to always play this song on cold, wet mornings. Whenever I hear this song, I am immediately taken back to my old bedroom--the purple bedspread, my sister's tidy side of the room and my not-so-tidy side--and listening to my brother's radio from across the hall while burying myself deeper under the covers to prolong the morning. Sometimes, I'm transported even further back to when I was sick and Mom would let me sleep in her bed all day listening to the clock radio.  But always, I think of cold gray mornings.

I've always thought the song was kind of depressing, but I also find it comforting, like a big fluffy blanket. So, when the rain is falling and I'm driving to work, the first thing I do (after turning on the lights and buckling up) is search the iPod for some Moody Blues.  And the rest of the day takes care of itself. 

Rain on the windshield and "Nights in White Satin" on the iPod.  All is right in the world.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Draw Something: You win some; you lose some

I am, like tons of you, addicted to Draw Something.  I love how creative (or not) some people are.  Like one of the players I draw with makes the most detailed drawings. I leave it to the last minute to guess because I want to see what she draws.  Then there's another "artist" who drew to crossed light sabers and wrote "Star Wars character."  Wtf? Which one?!?!  Sometimes you draw something you think everyone would get and come up empty.  And sometimes you just need to pass.

Anyway, I need some validation.  What do you see here?

Because I drew this and it's perfect as far as I'm concerned.  I mean, not perfect as in I need to be in a gallery, but certainly guessable.  So, what do you see? What's your guess? I need to know I'm not delusional.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And then my button popped off

It's been one of those weeks. It started with my doing something really dumb. Everyone suggested I should lie about it but that felt disingenuous. Plus, it's just so dumb. 

So, on Sunday, I was taking care of some beauty regimen stuff and watching the hockey playoffs at the same time.  Oh, I may have been online, too. Multi-tasking is my specialty.  Anywho, I put a cream all over my neck and upper lip (for removing those pesky hairs that pop up on your chin and neck when you're a woman of a certain age), and then went back into the living room to watch some hockey.  The game got good.  It was Flyers vs. Penguins--a home state rivalry.  Before I knew it, I'd left the cream on much longer than the recommended "do not leave on longer than x minutes."  (the fact that I don't know how many minutes I was supposed to leave it on is also indicative of the dumb factor)

What happens when you leave a caustic substance on your neck too long?  This: 
Ouchy scalded flesh of shame

Yes, that's a big ol' nasty chemical burn on my neck and it sure is pretty.  Fortunately, I'm a woman with several tattoos and always have A+D ointment in my medicine cabinet.  I have been applying it throughout the week and it looks much better now.  But it's so itchy that my co-worker David has threatened to fit me with a cone to stop me from scratching it.  Girl from Mars! Girl from Mars!* (side note: I love that song)

When your week starts that good, it has to get better, right?  Or not.  Parking ticket.  Late to work.  Burned my eggs when making dinner.  And today, the button on my pants popped off.  At least it didn't hit me in the eye.  

For my knitters, I'll see you all next week.  I need to go home and sew my button back on. 

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Sad Laurie is Sad, but Happy Chair is Happy

I'm only kind of sad. I'm more annoyed and frustrated, so no worries.  However, have you seen the Happy Chair is Happy site?  It's in conjunction with our friends over at I Can Haz Cheezburger. I'm a sucker for anthropomorphism, so this plays right into my hands.  I mean, I name everything.  Do you remember the IKEA commercials with the old lamp that gets put in the trash?  It's little lampy head turned up to the window where it used to live where a new lamp is sitting breaks my heart every time.*  So, basically, this site is a collection of inanimate objects that look like they have faces, and fun captions.  Here are just some of my favorites.

I'd be so pee-shy with that overhead.

They are such happy little ghosts.

It says "Ni" too.

He needs a Tums.

You see? I can't be helped.  You should go ahead and waste a few hours there, too.  It'll make you smile or you're dead inside.

*Don't get me started on the one with the broken cow creamer. I actually bought a cow creamer at a yard sale because of this commercial.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Never underestimate the importance of great hair

You've seen the commercials. Melissa Gilbert, Alyssa Milano, Jennie Garth, Ming-na, and many more all swear by it.  I'd been intrigued from the start, but the cost, oh, the cost was so deterring.  What am I talking about? I'm talking about WEN cream hair cleanser (don't you dare say shampoo).  The commercials show the before pictures, with each model's hair looking flat or flyaway or straw-like. 
courtesy of Guthie-Renker
Then, Chaz Dean, Miracle Worker, applies his super WEN cleanser and Voila! The hair--it is beautiful!  I'm was a little skeptical, but the claims are so convincing.  I am here to tell you--it's all true.  

I bid on and won a big beauty box at our fall fundraiser that included a starter kit of WEN.  I was super excited and noticed my hair was softer and shinier right away.  I don't usually blow dry my hair, which is naturally curly-adjacent, so it's always a little messy looking, but it was soft to the touch and you, if you were so inclined, would be able to run your fingers through it with no problem.  

But today, I was in a big hurry as all my instruments of waking had failed me, so I just grabbed the shampoo that I still had in the shower and washed it and conditioned it.  I did grab a squirt of WEN as a leave-in, but fat lot of good that did me.  In the commercial, they show Alyssa Milano having shampooed with regular stuff, and after with WEN. 
courtesy of Guthie-Renker
The photo on the left? That's exactly what my hair looks like today.  It's rough to the touch, super frizzy, and just plain not pretty.  

Is it pricey? A little, but not so terrible that I can't work it into my budget. Plus, you can get deals on Amazon and QVC.  
Does it really make a difference? Abso-frigging-lutely!  No, seriously, I am never using that shampoo again.  Even unstyled, my hair on WEN is a thousand times better than without.  

As dorky as it sounds, yes, I'm a WEN girl.  


Friday, March 23, 2012

Hollywood is the strangest place in the world.

I just got home (10:14pm) and the strangest thing happened. I'm still kind of unnerved by it.  I parked my car and as I was getting out, noticed a man walking down the street looking a little sketchy.  I locked the car and rather than get up on the sidewalk, I walked down toward my house in the street.  "Hey, can I ask you a question?" he said.  Still safely in the street I said, "sure."  

"What would you do if you were feeling suicidal?" he asked.  I answered, "I don't know. I've never felt suicidal. I probably wouldn't commit suicide though." I'll admit, it was a little flippant.  "No kidding," he said, "but I mean, for real. What should I do? I have all these feelings and I'm afraid that if I call 9-1-1, they'll put me in jail for trying to kill someone. But I'm just feeling so crazy."  At this point, I noticed he was shaking and his voice started to crack.  "I don't know what to do. And I can't even call 9-1-1 because I have to charge my phone."  He started to cry.  "What should I do?"  

Since I live diagonally across the street from the police station, I suggested he go talk to the police.  They will probably get the paramedics to take him to a hospital.  "But they'll put me in jail!" he sobbed.  "No," I said, "they'll take you to the hospital where you can get the help you need."
"But I'm afraid. What do I say to them?"  So, I told him to tell the police exactly what he told me.  They are trained to help and will get him to the hospital.  "But what if they don't?" by now, he was shaking like a leaf and had his arms wrapped around himself.  While I didn't think he was a threat, I was still wary, so I continued to walk in the street and walked past my house. I walked with him to the corner and told him, "okay, the police station is right there.  I'm going to stand here and watch to make sure you're alright." 

"I don't know what to say," he told me.  I looked at him, really looked, for the first time and thought how young he looked. Maybe not young as much as extremely vulnerable.  "You've been really brave so far. You told me and I'm a stranger.  You can tell them.  They'll be able to help you more than I can."  He doubled over and sobbed for a few minutes. I waited for him to gain control. He straightened up, nodded, and crossed the street into the police station.  I turned and went home. 

I hope I did the right thing. I hope they helped him and didn't just write him off as drunk or on drugs. He swore to me that he was not high on anything. Mostly I hope he's okay.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sorry, Bev. Sandy's not for sale.

I found this note on my car this morning.  I'm puzzled by the emphasis on car, as if I'd somehow be confused and think she was asking me to buy my private jet.   The other emphases (Hi and Hm) are no less puzzling.  

Hm, indeed, Beverly. Hmm.....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I saved the yarn

Healthy Choice makes this new line of frozen entrees that steam cook and are delicious.  You don't poke the plastic cover; you just pop it in the microwave and the trapped steam escapes with a weird whistling sound.  I guess I never really thought about why it didn't just explode. I guess I just assumed it was magic.  But, I'm sure you all know that in order for the steam to escape with that weird whistling sound, there has to be a tiny opening somewhere.  And there was--somewhere.

Do you want to know how I discovered it?  I was running late today and just tossed the frozen entree, Sesame Glazed Chicken, in my knitting bag and ran to work. Once I got here, I was pulled into one thing and another and forgot--FORGOT--to put the frozen entree in the freezer at work.  So it thawed, and the delicious sesame sauce made its way out of whatever tiny opening allows the steam to escape and into the bottom of my knitting bag.  Unfortunately, I didn't notice this until I grabbed the bag, tossed the entree in the microwave, and headed for the front desk for my hour of coverage. I set the back on the marble counter and noticed it was saturated.  "Oh, the thawing left condensation in the bag."  Then I touched it and it was sticky. Ewww.  It smelled delicious, though.  I found some paper towels, a wet wipe, and carefully unpacked the bag.  The yarn, Thank God, was on top and was safe from sauce.  Everything else needed to be wiped down and dried.  The bag is machine washable, too, so no tragedy there.  

The real tragedy was the food.  Without the delicious sesame sauce, the chicken and rice were overcooked and barely palatable.  

This is what it's supposed to look like.  This is not at all what it looked like when I was done.
courtesy of