Sunday, December 23, 2007

no place like home

I notice I haven't posted for a while. Big surprise. It's not exactly a valid excuse (as I've been on the internets a bunch), but I am up in Washington visiting the folks for Christmas. Good thing I enjoy their company a bunch cuz I've pretty much been ditched by the niecelets. My brother left for California the day before yesterday (his traditional Christmas locale), though rumor has it I will get a visit on the rebound as they drive back home. Meanwhile my sister is working a bunch (I knew she'd be) and she's currently planning to spend Christmas with friends who live closer to her clinic. I'm trying to lure her to the homestead, but things aren't exactly warm and fuzzy between her and my mom so I don't blame her for staying away. Besides, she got it pretty rough in the family Christmas letter (that I write). Once she gets her copy things might not be so warm and fuzzy with me either... Sadly, she's also dealing with some unexpected kitty drama. She came home to discover a bouquet of poisonous lilies nibbled on by at least one of her six house cats. No word from the roommate yet about which cat might have done the snacking or when, so my sister took her two favorite cats to the ER. Even with intervention, there's no guarantee of survival. Now I'm feeling kinda bad about giving her a hard time in the letter...

So the grown ups took advantage and did the adult Christmas thing - exchanging unwrapped gifts early, over take out and/or leftovers. Dad reluctantly accepted his present yesterday - a new TV. It's twice the size of his old one. (That isn't saying much as the other was a mere 20".) The problem was that the new TV required considerable furniture rearranging. Poor Dad came home in the middle of the project. Plans had been drawn (on graph paper downloaded from the internets - I hope to scan them so you can share in the hilarity), couches were askew, girls were out spending the money... To his credit, Dad stepped up and participated in the shuffle. Mom's Amish armoire suffered a pretty significant ding on its way through the front door, but I reminded her that those who don't lift can't really bitch. Anyway, he missed a nap and has had to throw away a bunch of clutter, but he's admitted to being pleased now that the big items are in place and functioning (thanks to a last minute trip to Radio Shack). He doesn't buy our logic, but Mom and I feel that the TV was essentially free since we saved a thousand bucks by repurposing the armoire instead of picking up a new entertainment cabinet as originally planned.

Turns out installing the TV was easier than the learning curve on Mom's new coffee maker. Two of the first three pots she brewed resulted in a flood. It's actually kind of sad...

The highlight of my trip so far? A new "old tape" from my quotable Mom. After sinking into a chair after a particularly thankless night (the one time all three girls were here), she confided, "Being a mom sucks. And it just keeps on sucking."

There's no place like home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

oh, Canada

I don't normally think of myself as a big fan of Canada, but after attending a few Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Animation Festivals, I realized that many of the entries I enjoyed were produced by our neighbors to the north. It dawned on me that a country that actually pays its artists can't be all that bad. And, of course, I had an awesome time visiting my sister in Montreal when I was still in high school. I still have the hat the landed mysteriously on my lap at a frat party - it says "this bud's for you" but the Budweiser logo is replaced by a pot leaf. And my favorite veterinarian, Dr. Marty, is Canadian. In fact, sadly he's returned to his homeland, though he reports that the natives don't like that he acts "too American" whatever that means... And it was at the Canadian border that my dad's "border voice" was born. How fun would life be without Dad's border voice? Of course I hope he'll be more cautious in the future, now that the taser has become so popular...

But I believe that perhaps my favorite product of Canada is Kenny vs. Spenny, a show about two best friends who compete against each other in absurd challenges, the winner getting to humiliate the loser. I stumbled across them on cable a few years back but it seemed their fame was short lived. Now they are back with a vengeance thanks to the boys of South Park (their new executive producers). I just finished watching a few of their most recent episodes and found myself alternating between laughter and nausea. Now that's good television. I can't decide if "Who can eat the most meat?" was the most disgusting, or if "Who can drink the most beer?" was worse, thanks to the surprise twist at the end... And don't even get me started on "First guy to get a boner loses"...

Anyway, this week I will be traveling a little closer to Canada than I'd like. I leave Wednesday morning to visit the folks in Washington. Of course this means I am not at all packed. As if I can pack for that kind of cold, anyway. I only have California clothes. In fact, I'm realizing as I go through my faded, stained, and torn wardrobe, I don't even have California clothes. I have sloth clothes - totally inappropriate outside the privacy of one's own home. Sigh.

It seems I will have to buy warm clothes soon enough, though. I am freaking out (just a little) cuz I see (on my on line law school forums) that the gal who is practically my "number twin" (same LSAT, similar GPA) just got into Harvard. This time next year that could actually be me. Yikes.

For now, though, I must return to the task at hand. Assembling belongings and preparing the kitties for abandonment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

happy birthday Bob & Chris

So most of the day passed before I realized it was actually December 12th. I know, what a luxury to have no idea what day it is. But all my bills are on auto pay and at least I knew it was Wednesday. That's the day Thai Boat is closed. Dammit.

Anyway, today is Bob Barker's birthday. Oh, Bob, I miss you so. Drew is okay, I guess, mocking the contestants and all, but still, he's no Bob. At least he knows that.

And, I learned just this year, today is Chris's birthday, my friend from high school. He's perhaps best remembered as our food critic, Won Ton John, though I like to remember him by his college fraternity nickname, Pledge Penis. Apparently he had to carry a dildo with him where ever he went. Oh, how glad am I that I never went Greek? Anyway, I sent him a few drunken emails (toasting to his honor, as is tradition) and am smiling now remembering good times long past...

And, of course, December 12th is the day we lost Erik's cousin, Kate, to a failed heart and lung transplant meant to combat her cystic fibrosis. Even though today is a sadiversary, I like any excuse to think of Kate. What a spitfire. It's really true that the good die young, though my siblings and I always hated how that sounded like an insult coming from my Dad (since we were, after all, still living and his favorite patients had passed...).

Anyhow, believe it or not, this week I got a little seal action. On Sunday I picked up Nobi. He was a regular Where's Waldo, hiding amongst the rocks. My crew was about to give up but then he moved and I spotted him. I told the callers that that is the hardest part (finding them), but as we carried him over countless rocks (one of my crew even fell down) I thought perhaps I had exaggerated... Again I have spared you the gory details, but he was shark bitten and then some. He's not on the current patient list so I'm thinking he's not still around. But with such a large wound, I'm okay with that.

On a happier note, yesterday I got to release a few fur seals and a sea lion. I didn't do much (just took pictures) but I had a grand time. This one is, I think, Farber, who took his sweet time making it down to the water. He wasn't as difficult as Rebelure (who was originally found in Tracey - very inland for those who are not familiar with the Bay Area). We finally let Rebelure back in his carrier just to carry him closer to shore, sparing him some of the confusion and much of the walk. He bolted the second sea water touched his fur, so I'm hoping he's okay. Anyway, it was a joy, reminding me that they don't all die...

And this week I completed a number of personal projects. 2007 is apparently the year of the personalized photo gift. Mostly I did a lot of hounding (needing other people's photos) and arranging and uploading. Sadly, this means I have done very little laundry folding or house cleaning. Poor Erik. I really don't know why he married me.

Oh, and yesterday? Yesterday I learned I am too poor to be this fat. I had finally broken down and resolved to resize my wedding ring (so I could enjoy it in the meanwhile and celebrate the sizing of it back down later...) only to find out that resizing platinum is, well, expensive. ("You don't ask how much it costs to tune up a Ferrari," says the jewelry store guy... Well, yeah, you do if you can't afford your Ferrari, I told him...) So now I have 205 new reasons to shed some weight.


Anyway, hooray for December 12th and for Bob and Chris and Kate. And for fur seals and sea lions and especially for pain meds. And for shiny diamonds on well loved pudgy fingers. For orange cats asleep in boxes and for scratched up faded photos.

I'm off now to work on the family Christmas letter, I guess. Mom hasn't set a due date, but I'm pretty sure I'm late. I leave in a week to go visit (brrr, cold) and I'd like to be done well before then.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

when the game is over

Oops, looks like most of another week has gotten away from me. I blogged a little each day, just not enough to publish. Let's see if I can pull it all together into something semi-coherent.

Sunday was, well, sad. I watched the Big Game (between Cal and Stanford) on TV and, of course, we lost, breaking a five year winning streak. I shouldn't be surprised. Every single year I attended Cal we lost, after all. The one time I actually showed up to watch the Game in person, in fact, has gone down in history as one of our more notable defeats. It was 1990 and we were winning, that is until Stanford scored 9 points in the last 12 seconds of the game. They started with a touchdown, now trailing us by one point, but failed to make the 2 point conversion. In premature joy, Cal fans (not me, though I recognized at least one face in the crowd) rushed the field, embracing victory and causing our team to incur a sizable penalty. The loss of field position, combined with Stanford's recovery of the onside kick, resulted in a Stanford field goal. Perhaps I should do my team a favor and stay away?

Anyway, after the game, though I honestly wasn't in the mood to drink (I know, weird, eh?) I found myself singing my old college drinking song (the official version is here though this one has the final verse as I learned it...) particularly the part that goes, "when the game is over we will buy a keg of booze, we will drink to California till we wobble in our shoes..." I like how it can be interpreted two ways - either we drink to celebrate or we drink to commiserate. Mostly I am impressed / embarrassed to admit that the drinking song is the one thing I have truly retained since my college days.

Even though I wasn't drinking, I managed to miss the sunset. Instead I found myself running around my front yard trying to catch a chicken. I wasn't entirely surprised to see a chicken in my yard (I know I have a neighbor that keeps them) and I was even less surprised she successfully eluded us. The hen disappeared into some thick brush and soon even the cats gave up tracking her. I haven't seen her since but she'd been out two nights already so I'd like to think she is having the time of her life. I'd also like to think that OC has the good sense not to try to eat her as I imagine she can inflict some serious damage...

I was in the mood to drink by Monday morning, however. Kitty Wake Up Hour (also known as dawn) began early that day, around 3 am. I tried to ignore the intermittent kitty noises (skirmishes mainly, cleverly timed to coincide with each time I fell back asleep) but by 5 am I knew resistance was futile. Cursing my kitties, rolling over for one more chance at escape, I cut myself in the chin with my thumbnail. Bleeding, I decided it was time to get up. Later I punished by Monkey (the chief instigator) by driving him a whole mile to the nearest vet clinic to verify his microchip was working (it was) and afterwards I did the drinking I didn't feel like doing Sunday. My afternoon nap cured most of my ill will (after all, napping overcomes wrath), but I could not summon the inspiration to take an evening walk.

Tuesday I was prepared for Kitty Wake Up Hour, having gone to bed quite early Monday, and I even woke up feeling industrious. I did some chores before Erik got home (fed hummingbirds, cleaned house) which made me grumpy, apparently. Erik asked me, laughing, if I was angry and if I needed some oatmeal. I did. It turned out I needed even more than oatmeal. Apparently I needed to bake cookies (a double batch, cuz what's the point of making all that mess and noise for less?) and later I even made Tuna Noodle. I love Tuna Noodle. Where Twix is the candy of love, Tuna Noodle is the food of love. The irony is my mom first came up with the recipe in an attempt to punish my dad. Turns out he loved it and it became a family favorite. I haven't made it in what seems like ages. I don't like eating tuna (I don't believe any of it is truly dolphin safe) but I had some on hand to help increase the liquid in OC's diet. By the way, I only ever buy white albacore cuz the one thing I have retained from my 10th grade social studies teacher, Mr. Lalicata (who once worked in a tuna factory), is that anything less is just not worth eating. He didn't give us any details, but the look on his face told us we didn't want to know. The only other thing I recall from Mr. Lalicata's class was that he once stayed home sick and we were assigned a scary substitute teacher, Mr. Mubarak, who talked to us incessantly throughout our test. None of us were surprised to see Mr. Mubarak on the news a few days later. Apparently he (allegedly) stole his kids and fled to the middle east.

Anyway, Tuesday I tried to take my evening walk but I found the beach flooded by an extremely high tide. You might think I would've consulted a tide book, but no. Instead I kept driving to different beaches thinking somehow they might be experiencing a different tide? Frustrated, I walked a frontage road for a while, but not really long enough.

So today I ate cookies and leftovers and I caught up on some Christmas tasks. I have also killed all too much time on the internets, finding this cool pumpkin and this one, too. I was amused to learn that Erik's been killing time at work playing this game. As for Wednesday's walk, well, it hasn't happened yet. But the sunset's looking spectacular so I am off to savor it.