Friday, November 30, 2007

My toes are currently not as happy as these toes . . . and I blame it on our fame obsessed culture.

So, 10 days ago, I was walking the dogs in the morning past the home of Ms. Sandra Bullock and Mr. Jesse James, when a car and driver pulled up (yes, every car that pulls up to a house has a driver, but I mean a Driver, you know, like a chaffeur guy), and the garage door started to open up. Of course, I am way too cool to actually just stand there and stare, so we proceeded down the road, with me being much more willing to let the dogs linger and sniff at every pee-soaked blade of grass. As we got a bit farther down the block, I had no choice but to keep looking over my shoulder, which lead to me stubbing my big toe - badly - on a raised section of the sidewalk. Well, sure, but I couldn't be expected to notice that, right? Except that the County has already painted the raised edge flourescent orange . . .

Anyways, 10 days later it is still KILLING me. . . . and I have no one to blame but myself and my nosiness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I didn't win the snowglobe pin, but I did win this snowglobe! God only knows why, but I have decided I need holiday snowglobes for my home this Christmas . . .

I used to do up my home and tree pretty nicely. I have a collection of Waterford and a few Radko ornaments. Then Hanna joined the family, and I decided I didn't want to worry about her breaking expensive items, so in the intervening few years, the nice ornaments remain packed, and instead, I have one box of holiday decorations I pull out each year with lights and cheap Target ornaments.

The truth is, that Hanna leaves the tree alone, but it's so dang easy to go the one box route . . .

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Only nine more hours until I find out if my maximum $5 bid will bring home this lovely snow globe pin from eBay.

I have quite a collection of holiday pins, and I also have about a half dozen holiday neckties, the only ties I own. Unfortunately the batteries in the light up tie and musical tune tie are dead . . .

Why yes, I do believe there is no such thing as a tacky holiday accessory . . .

Monday, November 26, 2007

I had a delightfully boring 4 days off from work.

Thanksgiving at Casa Diane was pretty low key. I did the cooking and mom brought 3 pies - 2 pumpkin and one peach - because they were only $2.95 each at Stater Bros. When I found out this was her plan for dessert, I got up extra early and baked a yummy carrot cake. Besides the fact that she made my brother's childhood friend cry by grilling him about his recent break up with a long term girlfriend, she was generally on prettty good behavior.

After eating too much on Thanksgiving, I have now stocked my fridge and pantry with tons of healthy (and mostly organic) food. I am hoping the high fiber Trader Joe's Cheerios will help soak up the excess butter in my veins.

The dogs and I went for long walks every day, which allowed me time for quite a lot of listening to books on tape. I finished Ulysses (and I do believe that audible is the way to go with this classic [and long] novel), and I am about half way through Slay Ride by Chris Grabenstein. I love, love, love Grabenstein's John Ceepak series (Tilt-A-Whirl, Whack-A-Mole and Mad Mouse) and Slay Ride, while not quite as lighthearted, is still very good.

I also watched Ocean's Thirteen. Ok, so it's not Academy Award material, and much of it makes no sense, but it is still quite entertaining.

Today, I am back at work earning the money to pay for my new television . . .

Happy Monday, all!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Diane bought herself this for Christmas, the day after Thanksgiving, on special, at Sears.

What is a 42 inch plasma HDTV, Alex?

It was on sale at a great price, and has great reviews from other buyers.

Yes, we're moving on up to the 21st century . . .

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!
The sparrows are enjoying an early meal. We'll be enjoying our dinner a little later. I hope everyone has much to be thankful for, and has a wonderful day!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A couple more photos from my trip to the Berkshires. Me, on the Appalachian Trail and a wildflower along the trail.

Tonight is the semi-finals for Dancing with the Stars: Helio Castroneves - awesome; Scary Spice - really good; Jenny Garth - vastly improved; and that clodhopper, Marie Osmond. Is she being kept around by the Latter Day Saints or all those old ladies who collect dolls from QVC?

The last few years, one of my resolutions has been to read 6 books/month, and I've actually read about 75 each year. Well, I've blown through that number this year, and just started my 93rd book - No Country for Old Men. My new goal is to start my 100th book by December 31.

Does anyone else watch "Chuck", Monday nights on NBC? It's my favorite new show - a fun mix of dry humor and the spy game.

I booked my next trip - wolf watching in Yellowstone in January. Yes, it will be cold. This time we'll be staying in old ranch cabins right in the park. That's the good news. The bad news? The showers and toilets are in a separate building, hence, flashlights are encouraged: "Sometimes bison move among the ranch buildings and are very dark and hard to see at night. You don't want to bump into a bison."

Should be very interesting . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pansies are one of my very favorite flowers.

Random facts about my weekend . . .

I had my hair cut and colored. I almost feel like I should hideaway after a hair appointment, but because it looks good, not bad. The problem is, that everyone is so exuberantly enthusiastic about how good my hair looks (for a change), and I don't know how to tell them that it won't look good again until another 6 weeks pass, and I go back to the salon. Perhaps I should spend more time styling it on a daily basis . . . ha! like that is going to happen.

I screwed up my lace knitting shawl for the class that both LA and I are taking. I can't decide whether to just start over, or wait until Tuesday to see if the teacher can help me fix it. The mistake was a dumb one, and I am very irritated with myself. . . . sigh . . . I think I'll work on Noodles' dog sweater instead. I've finished the body, and just need to add the "sleeves" and trim.

Thanksgiving is at my house again. I did my shopping, and I should be good to go for Thursday . . .

For some odd reason, I am jonesing to make a Carrot Cake today . . .

The Chargers are stinking up the field in Jacksonville . . .

Watchinc QVC yesterday, I got some ideas for pearl necklaces and matching earrings to make as gifts for Xmas, and today I bought the sterling silver components and pearls to make them from an online supply site . . .

Last night I watched Prime Suspect, The Final Act, the BBC series starring Helen Mirren, and it was seriously depressing, but so well done . . .

I'm back to watching DVDs on my laptop. The DVD player my brother got me for my birthday doesn't work, and I don't have the heart to tell him . . .

Alright, I'm off to take advantage of the rest of the day . . . it's kind of gloomy here in So Cal, but I think it would behoove me (and the dogs) to get out and get some exercise!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Meet Emmitt, our new pal at Casa Diane. Some how, he managed to fly to the second story deck yesterday while I was at work, and then injure himself so he couldn't fly away. He came to our attention when he hopped into the kitchen and then scurried back outside.

Apparently, he had hurt one of his wings; he could get a couple feet of height but that was it. He was very quick on his feet, however, so didn't seem to be otherwise ill. In fact, he was quick enough to escape being caught in a towel.

What to do? I closed off the doors to the deck so the dogs wouldn't bug him (or in Hanna's case, eat him), and I put out bird seed and water in low dishes. As night time fell, I wasn't sure if he'd be warm enough, so I put an old t-shirt in the corner. All I could find on the internet was the suggestion to catch injured birds with a towel, then put them in a covered box with airholes and a towel. The plan was to see if he could recover overnight, and if not, another attempt to catch him and release him in the Lantana jungle downstairs where lots of sparrows live, and where he could find shelter until he heals.

But I was pleased to find that he was gone this morning, apparently having healed enough to fly away . . . Emmitt we hardly knew ye!

And the roses are in bloom!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yesterday, my order from arrived. As you can see, I went a little crazy. A couple of the items have been sitting in my "shopping cart" for awhile, and I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy them: a DVD of the Who performing Quadrophenia in concert (one of my all time favorite concerts, and one of my favorite albums); and a biography of James Herriot , written by his son.
If you're not familiar with Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small" series, I highly recommend the books. Herriot was a veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930's (and for many years thereafter), and his tales of small town life are wonderful. I read them all many years ago, and last year I listened to the series - they are some of best books around to experience as an audible book.
I also bought a few new mysteries by authors I have not read before, but learned about at
Reviewed by Liz. Here's hoping for a rainy day this weekend where I can lay on the couch with a blanket and a good book!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How disturbing is this report?

The U.S. government said the number of Americans who went hungry in 2006 was held in check at 35 million people from the prior year, but food advocacy groups said on Wednesday more needs to be done. Overall, 35.52 million people, including 12.63 million children, went hungry compared with 35.13 million in 2005. The survey was conducted in December 2006 and represented 294 million people, an increase of 2.5 million from 2005. Food advocacy groups said the figures showed the United States was not doing enough to combat hunger, and feared conditions could worsen. "As costs for food, energy, and housing continue to rise and wages stagnate or decline, households are finding themselves increasingly strapped," said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. "This may mean even worse numbers in 2007."

And meanwhile, The War in Iraq Has Cost us $468,686,263,273 to date.

Instead, we could have hired 8,122,392 additional public school teachers for one year.

Instead, we could have built 4,220,081 additional housing units.

Instead, we could have paid for 62,077,690 children to attend a year of Head Start.

Instead, we could have insured 280,650,675 children for one year.

Instead, we could have provided 22,720,900students four-year scholarships at public universities.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday night at our house . . .

Samantha models her new sweater (in progress) . . .

Hanna snores . . .

I had a nice Saturday, even though it included 1. eating crow, and 2. having my ego brought back to earth.

Once in a while, when I am at the local nail shop getting a pedicure, I also have my eyebrows waxed. Even though I always tell them in pidgin english "not too thin", after a few months of untrained Vietnamese immigrants pouring hot wax on my forehead, my eyebrows started to resemble those of Greta Garbo. Granted, if I was a beautiful, foreign movie star in the 1940s (or Joan Crawford), I may have been able to pull it off. Since I am none of those things, I was beginning to look ridiculous. So I ventured back to "Martha", the best eyebrow lady around, did my mea culpa, listened to her "tsk, tsk" about my eyebrows, and I am back on the road to having the remaining brows shaped in a (semi-) appealing arch.

Then I stopped by the local pub to put in my NFL picks for the week, and enjoy a lovely wine spritzer. I endured a fair amount of ribbing from the locals about just giving the money directly to me, until Ron walked in. While I was beginning to think I could quit my day job and just make a living betting football in Vegas, what with my two wins this season, I learned that Ron has won the pool THREE times, including last week. He's about 80 years old.

Good news, I'm still the high bidder on the Jerry O'Connell photo!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why, you may ask have I posted a photo of actor Jerry O'Connell today? Allow me to explain. The SPCALA is having a celebrity "swag" auction to raise much needed funds, and one of the items is an autographed photo of Mr. O'Connell. I am currently the high bidder. Wish me luck, and if I win, I have no idea what I'll do with it.

Scotty the Lab (pictured to the right) is coming to hang out and play with the girls today. He is very sweet and goofy, and he can even get Hanna to play with him. Hopefully, he will wear her out, and that will make my day and night much more relaxing.

The dog stew is simmering, and I'm to the market to pick up some people food. On the menu this weekend, Spicy Chicken Cakes with Horseradish Aioli and Kung Pao Chicken. Obviously, my long term goal to go vegetarian has been delayed one more week.

It's time to start thinking about holiday gifts, and the last few years I have given jewelry I've made to the women in my life. (No doubt, the men thank their lucky stars that I'm not big on jewelry for men). It's time to design some earrings, and shop online for the gemstones and sterling components . . .

Other than that . . . Happy Saturday, all!

Friday, November 09, 2007


Any big plans for the weekend? My handyman is (supposedly) coming by this weekend to take care of some odds and ends around the house. My contribution will be to pick up some fall flowers at a nursery, and replant some of the pots and planters around the house.

Above is a photo of Hanna from a few years ago . . . that aloe vera plant in the corner is about double that size now . . . . oh, and Hanna is about 10 lbs. lighter, thanks to her homemade dog food diet.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

And from today's episode of the Twilight Zone - 2007 . . . .

True story - Authorities in Orange County are working to recover the remains of a 24-year-old Anaheim man who was killed Wednesday in a wood chipper accident in Tustin.The tree service worker "was standing at the back end of the chipper, throwing branches into it with his co-workers nearby," said Sgt. Pat Welch of the Tustin Police Department."One of them looked over, and he was gone."

I have always been afraid of power tools - especially chain saws. I have a (maybe not so irrational) belief that they have a mind of their own and will kill you or seriously maim you, given the opportunity. This incident is not going to get me to add a jigsaw to my holiday wish list.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Today I got word that I achieved a really, really good result for a client, and the client is thrilled - so I got that going for me this week.

My downstairs neighbor/tenant had his kitchen sink back up. Unfortunately, it connects to the sink in the garage where the washing machine drains. The drain guy unstuck the drain pretty easily, but now my garage smells like dead fish. I'm not yet sure if this is because of the drain, or if something has actually died in there.

This all happened on Monday and Tuesday, so when my housekeeper came on Tuesday morning, she couldn't do any washing. She's such a nice lady that she offered to come back on Saturday to wash my clothes. I told her that wasn't necessary, but I realize now that she took my dirty sheets with her to wash, to make sure there will be another set of clean sheets to put on the bed next week. Talk about good service . . . she has been working for me for years, and the dogs love her too.

The Writers Guild strike has made me realize how little network tv I actually watch. One show that I do turn into occasionally (and am watching as I write this) is Criminal Minds. It's creepy in a Vincent Price sort of way. The only new show I have watched more than once is Chuck - sure it's goofy, but pretty good. In all honesty though, I can't say it will really affect my life much if tv production is shut down.

My handyman is coming by Saturday for some upkeep . . . maybe he can find what is stinking up the garage . . .

And my goal for tomorrow is to eat less candy than I ate today.

Monday, November 05, 2007

As you can see from this Sunday morning photograph, Miss Samantha Jane Noodles is none too excited about A. the time change; and B. the recent cooler weather. I can't do much about the time, but I decided it was time to make her a new sweater.
Originally, it was going to be knit up in SD Charger blue and gold, but since I bought the yarn after the game Sunday, it is instead being knit in a lovely fuchsia and violet. This is the neck and the beginning of the body. Next up, I'll bind off two openings for her front legs where the "sleeves" will be attached. I know it sounds/looks/seems lame, but she really does love her sweaters.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I picked up my pool winnings yesterday, and in the last month I have added nearly 400 dollars to my vacation coffee can. This is just about enough money for a deposit on a return to Yellowstone for Wolf Watching in January.
The couple that guided the trip last year are offering a trip this January through their own company. We will stay in old cabins right in Yellowstone, and this trip will be a bit more active (more snowshoeing!) and take us farther into the back country to see the wildlife. Since I now have all the gear and clothes for freezing temperatures, I'll be good to go!
Next week, LA and I start a lace shawl knitting class. Needless to say, once we complete our (sort of) matching shawls, I will insist we both wear them whenever we are in the same room.
Did you remember to turn back your clocks? I forgot my bedside clock automatically re-sets, so I almost set it back twice, and mistakenly thought I had gotten up an hour earlier than I had.
I watched Blades of Glory last night. Yes, it is kind of (ok, really) dumb, but pretty funny too. Will Ferrell is so good at being silly, and Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are hilarious.
I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday, and go Chargers!
Addendum - with the Chargers piss poor showing against the Vikings, I have been knocked out of my Suicide Pool (No, it doesn't mean I'm going to commit suicide - it means each week you must pick a new team to win, and if you lose that game, you are knocked out). It costs 20 bucks to enter, and the winnings are about $5,000 - or in my case - the cash to pay for that dream safari to Botswana.
The Chargers are my team, and I don't have the language skills to describe the team's performance without swearing alot, but I'll give it a go. QB Philip Rivers was bumbling. The coaching was inept. The defense, especially the tackling and coverage, was lacksadaisical. Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates were underutilized. On the positive side, punter Mike Scifres played a helluva game, and Antonio Cromartie set an NFL record with a 109 yard run for a TD. Oh well, maybe I'll win the lottery.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I confess . . . I am in a funk. Work is busy and stressful, not much is going on in my personal life, and I haven't felt all that great.

I need to do something this weekend to try to break out and cheer up.

On the calendar for this weekend: late lunch with the family, and tonight I am invited to a Halloween party, but don't much feel like going. I brought work home, and need to spend some time there, or next week will be as stressful as this one was . . . . Ok, none of those seem to the ticket . . . . Maybe a long walk? Or a bike ride? Shopping for a treat for myself? Going to a movie?

Any suggestions? What do you do to cheer yourself up? And thanks for listening to me whine.