Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So, today we have an all pet post!

As you can see, Splish, my 10 plus year old goldfish is doing swimingly. For more than a decade we've followed a tank cleaning ritual where I catch him in my hand, and put him in a dish while his tank is cleaned. Our other big bonding moments occur when I come into the kitchen in the morning, and he swims to the side of his tank and waits to be fed. It may not seem like much, but any time I walk by his tank and he's "resting" I start to panic that he has died.

It's not exactly freezing in So Cal, but Sam likes to keep warm and snuggled under the covers. Here she is this morning trying desperately to ignore me.
And while Hanna is a bit more subdued than she used to be, she still is plenty peppy when a treat awaits.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I've ranted and raved many times on this blog about my slightly obsessive affection for the HBO tv show The Wire. Sure, I think it is the best tv show ever, but it also is the show that keeps on giving. While I was re-watching the early seasons, I notice that Detective Bunk Moreland was reading a mystery novel by Laura Lippman. Since this was a pretty obvious placement, I was intrigued enough to look her up, and lo and behold, she is the wife of David Chase, the show's creator. I just finished listening to her novel, What the Dead Know, and I have to say, I didn't see the twist coming - at all.

The story line is as follows:

Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop?

I don't want to give anything away, but if there are any fellow mystery lovers out there, give this one a read!

Oh, and today I read that most of the cast of the Wire is campaigning for Obama in North Carolina today - Obama '08!!!!

Last weekend's round up -

  • Jenny Craig weigh in - down 7.6 pounds

  • walked 5 miles Saturday

  • stopped in the pub for my football picks

  • drank two beers

  • joined in on the discussion about how outraged we all get by "Yes on 8" signs and bumperstickers

  • took a nap on the couch with Sam

  • did 5 miles on Sunday, and added in a few bouts of running

  • went to Hennessey's for my new favorite salad

  • went to Michael's to buy supplies for holiday crafting

  • worked on my Monkey socks

  • caught up on some dvr'd shows

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Five days and counting, and my Obama car magnet has yet to be stolen or defaced!

It even survived the car wash.

My new favorite store for women's clothing is New York & Co. - good prices, the pants come in a "Tall" version, and the pants fit me well. I'm pleased to say I bought two pairs today - on sale - and reduced to $15/pair, and that I bought them in a size smaller than last time!

Weather has been kind of strange here in Mayberry-by-the-Sea; foggy in the mornings, but quite warm during the day. Last night about 3 am brought a cacophony of sounds. First a car alarm that woke me up, but when that stopped, I could hear the surf pounding on the shore . . . that was a much nicer sound to listen to the in the dark.

Hanna has tossed aside her old tendency to rise with the sun. Now we rise WAY before the sun. She's been getting me up about 5 am, and here's the thing. Because I know she has to go to the bathroom more often because of her increased thirst and hunger, and I know she is also always hungry, I'm letting her boss me around at times when I would have just told her to go away. So basically, Hanna is really working that whole "hey, I have cancer" angle.

My weekend is looking pretty open and free, and it won't be a disaster if I don't work, so I'm looking forward to some good leisure time.

Anybody going to a Halloween party this weekend, and if you are, what is your costume?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Check out this video on the election from Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, and Andy Griffith here. It's pretty funny.

So what's up this week? We got word yesterday that a big project I'd worked on came back with an excellent result! My boss and the client are very, very happy.

In about 2 1/2 weeks, I'll be making my semi-annual pilgrimage to worship at the feet of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend. Yep, the Who are coming to LA in early November and will be playing at the Nokia Theater, a venue I've never been to before. Please, please, please let them play Love Reign O'er Me. With Paul Newman no longer with us, Daltrey gets my vote for sexy senior citizen.
Here they are performing another favorite, Baba O'Riley at the Concert for New York just after 9/11. Those members of the NYFD clearly dig the Who as much as I do.

And here we are in New Orleans, at LaFitte's Bar - established in 1762. There are a few upgrades, but it is still lit at night primarily by candles. When you take a mule drawn carriage ride through the city, they pull up in front of LaFitte's, and a waiter comes out and takes your drink order. (Daiquiri, please!).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So, the good news is that even with an intervening 5 day trip to New Orleans, I dropped .8 lbs over the last two weeks. Sure, it's not a huge amount, but better than going the other way. Thankfully, we did a lot of walking . . . My total weight loss is now 6 lbs.

Right before vacation, I finished up Black Like Me, as an audible book. It was published in 1961, and is a book every person should read. In 1959, John Howard Griffin, a white man from Texas, took some skin darkening medication , and for six weeks, lived in Louisiana and Mississippi* as a black man in the segregated South. Suddenly he had to deal with "hate stares", being called a n****r, being unable to obtain lodging, food, water, or employment from most establishments, and being forced to walk miles to find a restroom he was permitted to use.

We may be on the verge (fingers crossed), of electing a black man as president, but racism in this country still exists. I highly recommend this book for everyone to read.
Was anyone else offended by John McCain's dismissive use of air quotes around women's "health" during the debate this week when discussing abortion? I'd like to thank the senator for making it clear to women around the country what he truly thinks of us all.
McCain managed to keep his anger under control long enough to participate in the traditional roast at the Alfred E. Smith dinner this week. I didn't realize that this is a long standing tradition; while the charity dinner is held every year, during presidential election years, the two candidates are the featured speakers. They give (hopefully) humorous, self-deprecating, roast-style speeches, and both candidates scored big laughs. McCain really does possess good timing and a great dead pan delivery.
Obama was also very funny. My favorite line - "My greatest weakness? I might be too awesome."
And finally, on the not good news side of things, an ultrasound showed that Nanners' lymph nodes have gotten larger, a sign that the chemo isn't working. We're trying a different drug, but it may be time to switch from treatment mode, to keeping her comfortable for as long as possible mode.
* Yes, I did sing the spelling as I typed

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Orleans turned out to be fun, overall. My camera wasn't working, so I don't have much in the way of photos, except for a few that I took with my iPhone.
Things were looking a bit bleak when we spent the first night there on Bourbon Street in the world's loudest night club, and Gal in Charge insisted on taking photos of all of us at every bar and restaurant that we wandered into. After an hour or so at the night club, I just moved to the front of the club where I could sit in a chair with a back, play with my iPhone, and watch the baseball playoffs on the tvs.
The rest of the trip was pretty smooth sailing after that - I just kind of did my own thing. There were five of us - two that just wanted to party hardy on Bourbon Street, two of us that preferred to find things unique to New Orleans - like checking out some jazz clubs - and one gal that split her time between the two rival factions. I had a lot of fun at the Spotted Cat jazz club and the Preservation Hall.
Since I was generally home pretty early, I'd get up earlier than the rest of the group in the morning and head over by myself to Cafe du Monde for coffee and beignets. I'm just not use to spending that much time with other people, so I loved my alone time.A couple of hours later, I'd hook up with the others. They'd be hungry for lunch, and look askance at me when I'd order a Bloody Mary.
We did get our palms read by Phil at The House of Voodoo,
And we took a carriage ride to check out some local sights. It's hard to tell, but the mule is wearing a New Orleans Saints hat. Did I mention that the Oakland Raiders were in town to play the Saints? And that the town, and our plane there, were chocked full of Raiders fans? Who knew so many of them are permitted to cross state lines.

The last day we visited the oldest cemetery in New Orleans - all the graves are above ground. I'm not sure why the people in this statue are all headless.I did get to sample a crawfish poboy, a muffaletta, gumbo, red beans and rice, daiquiris, and raw oysters. We also had a wonderful steak dinner at the Orleans Grapevine. We also took the ferry to Algiers, and the streetcar to the Garden District.

So, while I probably won't join them again next year, I did enjoy myself, and enjoyed the City of New Orleans.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Today is street sweeping day in my neighborhood, which means all cars have to be off of certain streets by 8 am. I moved my car about 7, but had some difficulty finding a good place to park. I found a parking spot on Pacific Coast Highway, and went home to get ready for work. By the time I got to my car about 8:45, I was in the midst of what passes for a three alarm fire in my neck of the woods. This photo is taken sitting in my car. That's a fire engine to my right, another is behind it, there at least 3 more up ahead, and one off to my left. No fire, as far as I could tell, (and I'd walked past the subject building about 7 am with the dogs), but plenty of fire trucks.
With the help of a neighbor to direct me, I was able to squeeze my car through there, and head off to work.
Thanks to everyone for their support regarding my upcoming trip. Gal in Charge just walked by my office and reminded me that will be on a plane in 48 hours. I can hardly wait. Plus, my seat is not directly adjacent to the other gals, and no matter how much I protest, I guarantee they will be those annoying people on planes who try to make people switch seats so that some group can all sit together.
Clearly, I am not a group-type person. Clearly, my plan to finish The Monkey Wrench Gang and start the new John LeCarre thriller is not going to pan out . . .
Thanks to Sage for suggesting Crabby Jacks - anyone else have a favorite place to eat or visit in New Orleans?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I leave Friday for New Orleans, and I have sort of mixed emotions. I'm going with 4 other women who drink like I'm a teetotaler. I generally limit the amount of time I spend with them on a weekend, because I just don't have the time or inclination to spend all day in a dark bar, and then keep drinking into the night. While I probably could have hung with them 10 - 15 years ago, I'm not sure I even want to try any more. And even back in my party hardy days, the drinking usually revolved around some activity - like golfing, Rams' games and Kings' games.
On the one hand, I agreed to go because I figured I could use a do nothing weekend of debauchery as a contrast to my usual vacations - Yellowstone to wolf watch, hiking through the Berkshires, sight seeing in NYC, or kicking back in Maui. On the other hand, now that the time is here, I keep looking for an excuse to back out. I don't think I can come up with one and preserve my friendships, so off I go.
The gal in charge likes to travel cheaply, so the odds of my getting to go to any decent restaurants are zero and none. She likes to eat hot dogs from the Lucky Dogs carts almost exclusively. I have lobbied one other woman into insisting we go at least one morning to Cafe du Monde for beignets. Gal in charge also goes every year to the same palm reader/psychic. I generally dread her trips to New Orleans because of the hour long descriptions of what he said and how dead on he is. I may get my fortune told, but I'll insist on being alone with him. She won't like that, but I can't bear to have her telling everyone with ears or the ability to lip read what he said about me. Let's just say that discretion is NOT her middle name.
The good news is that the trip is almost for free. My airfare has been paid for by one of the bosses to thank me for a project, and although we can't stay at Gal in charge's time share due to Gustav damage, the hotel we're staying in is cheap.
I've also been told exactly what to pack - shorts for Saturday, capris for the other days, black jeans and nicer top for one evening. As a passive-aggressive act of rebellion, I plan to ignore this list. Plus, I have one pair of capris and they are white. Clearly, there is a reason I usually travel alone.
Anywhoo, I'm sure it will be fun, but I'm already dreading the hangover.

Monday, October 06, 2008

So here is my yesterday in a nutshell -

Went for a nice, long walk along Bolsa Chica State Park (ignore my finger in the photo).

The advantage of taking along my iPhone is that I was able to check out the NFL scores and see how crappy I was doing in my pool. Actually, at one point I was in first place, and then all my teams tanked (nice last five minutes, Houston!), and I did ridiculously bad. Bottom line, I have lost all my NFL mojo. Where is Austin Powers when you need him?
But hope springs eternal, so I'll keep plugging along.

When I got home, I started up a new pair of socks, in the "Monkey" pattern.

The colorway is a special Obama colorway called "Audacity" hand dyed by one of the talented ladies of Knitters for Obama. KFO has raised about $30,000 for Obama, and the total is still rising.

Noodles took advantage of the lazy day for a long nap.

And the Angels actually beat the Sox in extra innings!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The week in review . . .
Hanna did fine with her chemo, and as usual, charmed the chemo doctor and her staff. The doctor called her "the dog who smiles". We're going to cut back to chemo every other week, and hopefully, she will continue to thrive.
She's still ravenously hungry from the steroids, and I try to fill her up with vegetables. Oddly enough, this is the same strategy they use at Jenny Craig - they call it "volumizing". Hanna and I call it bullshit. Hanna eats her broccoli raw; for me, it's steamed.
I'm sick to my stomach over the Angels nose dive in the face of playing a series against the Red Sox.
I have rodents visiting again out on my deck in amongst the overgrown plants and dropped bird seed. While I can hear it or them out on the deck while we're all in bed, the great yellow hunter and the great red and white hunter don't seem to think it's worth investigating. I get up from bed, turn on the light and walk outside to chase them off . . . alone. So the electric rat trap and mouse bait are in play again around the house.
I'm off for a long walk to hopefully improve on my .2 lb. (!) weight loss from last week, though according to their (Jenny Craig's) measurements, I've lost 4.5 inches in the last month.
How was your week?