Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My New Year's Resolutions:
1. Drive Less! Walk, ride my bike and take public transportation more!
2. Plant more trees and flowers, especially native vegetation.
3. Take a class or two. Especially, photography, tap dance, and something in an area that could be a future career, like library science or teaching.
4. Work less at night, and on weekends. Keep my home and work offices neater and better organized.
5. Stop sweating the small stuff, and remember that most everything is small stuff.
6. Do my best, but remember, that even doing your best does not always mean you'll come out on top.
7. Be less judgmental, and kinder to all those I encounter in life.
8. Be open to new friendships and to love.
9. Maintain a healthy life style and weight.
10. Drink better wine!
Any others I should add to the list????
Late additions -
11. Be creative! Write, knitting and other needle crafts, make jewelry, sew, work with mosaics.
12. Tame Freddy!

The last few years I've kept a list of all the books I read each year. My list for 2008:

  1. The Forgotten 500 – audio

  2. Almost Moon

  3. Plum Lucky – audio

  4. Old Wounds

  5. Justice Hall – audio

  6. Last Car to Elysian Fields – audio

  7. Three Cups of Tea – audio

  8. Death Notes

  9. Hornet Flight – audio

  10. Reservation Road – audio

  11. The October Circle

  12. The Adventure of the Priory School - audio

  13. A Thousand Splendid Suns – audio

  14. The Colony – audio

  15. Plum Lovin’ – audio

  16. The Lost Luggage Porter

  17. Call for the Dead – audio

  18. Casino Royale – audio

  19. The Haunting of Hill House – audio

  20. Heart of Darkness – audio

  21. The Journey of Crazy Horse - audio

  22. No Immunity – audio

  23. Mean Six

  24. Bootlegger’s Daughter – audio

  25. And Four To Go – audio

  26. Seven Up – audio

  27. The Book Thief – audio

  28. A Little Trouble with the Facts

  29. Hard Eight – audio

  30. To the Nines – audio

  31. A Dirty Job – audio

  32. Paula Spencer

  33. Brother Fish – audio

  34. Atonement – audio

  35. Death Comes for the Fat Man

  36. A Spot of Bother

  37. Please Pass the Guilt – audio

  38. Prisoner of Birth – audio

  39. Friend of the Devil – audio

  40. Dead Until Dark

  41. The Old Silent

  42. King Dork

  43. Getting Stoned With Savages

  44. Dust

  45. Ten Big Ones – audio

  46. Death of a Traveling Man – audio

  47. Eleven on Top – audio

  48. Twelve Sharp – audio

  49. Lean Mean Thirteen – audio

  50. Fearless Fourteen – audio

  51. For Your Eyes Only – audio

  52. Plot it Yourself – audio

  53. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - audio

  54. Thirteen Moons – audio

  55. One for the Money

  56. Chasing Darkness – audio

  57. The Mark – audio

  58. Two for the Dough

  59. Swan Peak – audio

  60. Three to Get Deadly

  61. The Unfinished Clue - audio

  62. High Five

  63. Mudbound

  64. A Cat Among the Pigeons - audio

  65. Tarzan of the Apes

  66. Hell Hole - audio

  67. The Ghost - audio

  68. Dead as a Doornail - audio

  69. Dead Ex

  70. Dumb Witness - audio

  71. Twilight - audio

  72. The Hollow - audio

  73. Poirot Investigates - audio

  74. The Secret of Chimneys - audio

  75. Caribbean Mystery

  76. The Miracle at Speedy Motors

  77. Nemesis

  78. Full House - audio

  79. Blood Trail - audio

  80. Youth in Revolt

  81. The Monkey Wrench Gang

  82. Dating Is Murder

  83. Taken at the Flood

  84. Winterkill - audio

  85. Black Like Me - audio

  86. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

  87. Dead Man’s Mirror - audio

  88. Visions of Sugar Plums - audio

  89. The Deadly Dance - audio

  90. Bloodsucking Fiends - audio

  91. What the Dead Know - audio

  92. Father Hunt - audio

  93. The Price of Butcher’s Meat

  94. Lullaby Town - audio

  95. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - audio

  96. The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday - audio

  97. A Most Wanted Man

  98. The Brass Verdict - audio

  99. The World According to Bertie

  100. The Raven in the Foregate - audio

  101. The Dragon’s Teeth - audio

  102. Walking it Off

  103. To Be a Villain - audio

  104. Death of a Scriptwriter - audio

  105. Home - audio

  106. Corduroy Mansions - audio

  107. The Private Patient

  108. The Overlook

  109. The Naming of the Dead - audio

  110. The Bone Garden

  111. Three Act Tragedy - audio

  112. Real Murders

I read alot of Janet Evanovich, and alot of Agatha Christie. I read some books that made me laugh out loud like King Dork, and some that made me think about history, like the Colony and the Journey of Crazy Horse. Overall, a good year of reading!

I love the eReader on my iPhone. I can lay in bed on a cold, dark morning and still read in the quiet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I think it's best to start 2009 with a clean slate, so I have a confession to make. Last night I watched 5 straight episodes of Season 4 of Project Runway. When I turned on the TV, it was already on BravoTV, and was an episode in which the designers made prom dresses for some snotty teenage girls from a Catholic School in New Jersey.

While I appreciate that the judges feel that they should be frank in their criticisms of the designers, I'm dying to know who thought it would be a good idea to have the teenagers stand there while the judges discussed how awful they looked in the dresses that they will presumably be wearing on a date:
"She looks totally washed out in that color"
"She looks like she's 45 in that style"
"The shape is not flattering to her figure."

Good times.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Louie ate baby Jesus . . .

In Louie's defense, the nativity scene is very tiny, and is made out of baked dough. Louie's mom came over yesterday afternoon for knitting and Pinot Grigio drinking. A very nice way to spend a couple of hours.

I'm at work today, one of the few, and trying to figure out how early I can bolt out of here to head home and hang with Sam and Freddy.

Ah, the holidays . . .

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hard to tell, but we are making progress with Freddy. I can sit near his cage without him getting riled up, but so far, putting my hand (or a camera), in the cage is a no go. But you can see how pretty he is! The bits of blue on his head, wings and tail are signs that he is, indeed, a he.

He loves his millet treats, but so far, doesn't seem too interested in his high priced pellet formula or fortified seed mix. I'll pick him up some apples at the store.

Sam and I did five mile walks both Friday and Saturday, and we're trying to get pumped up to do it again.

Other than walking and doing a bit of grocery shopping, my big plans include acclimating Freddy, watching football, reading and/or knitting.
I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Meet Freddy!I've been thinking for awhile about adding a bird to the family, and today, we brought home Freddy, the Pacific Parrotlet.

According to Wikipedia:

Parrotlets are a species of the smallest New World parrots, comprising three genera. One of these genera, Forpus, is growing in popularity within the world of aviculture, raising interest in the group as a whole.

Parrotlets are very small, with a stocky build and a broad tail, much like the lovebird species of East Africa and fig parrot and pygmy parrot species of Australasia. At 4½–5 inches(11-12cm) long, they are the smallest kind of parrot in the world.

One of the most common species kept as pets is the Pacific Parrotlet. The wild type coloring for this species is green, but several color mutations have been discovered through selective breeding. Parrotlets are sexually dimorphic, meaning males can be distinguished from females. Males have markings of cobalt blue on their head, wings and tail. Females generally lack these blue markings

Speech and training

They can learn more than 10–15 words and can "whistle" songs well. They have about the same speaking and whistling capabilities of a cockatiel. They are also very good learners for commands such as "step up", "kiss-kiss", "step down", and other small commands. Some parrotlets can learn advanced tricks, but not as advanced as a Macaw or an African Grey Parrot. Having the ability to speak does not necessarily mean a bird will speak; it depends on the specific bird's personality.


These feisty little birds should not be overlooked in favor of more widely known types of birds; any Parrotlet owner will tell you that these birds possess all the intelligence and attitude of the largest of macaws. These birds are fairly quiet companions, making them ideal for those who live in apartments or condominiums. Males are more likely to talk than female parrotlets.


The most commonly kept parrotlet in aviculture is by far the Pacific Parrotlet, which now has several color mutations such as yellow, blue, lutino and white. The Mexican, Spectacled, and Yellow-Faced are also fairly common pets. Their popularity as pets has grown due to their small size and large personalities. Parrotlets are commonly known as playful birds that enjoy chewing as much as their larger Amazon Parrot counterparts. Being highly intelligent and active parrots, Parrolets must have ample opportunities to play and exercise. Environmental enrichment must be made a part of their lives as to prevent boredom. Parrotlets keep themselves more than occupied when left alone for several hours, so long as they are provided with an array of chewable and destructible toys to play with. However, when their keepers get home, they often greet them with lovely chirps and whistles to let them know they want attention.

Sam and I are doing our best to make Freddy feel welcome. He has a cool new cage, and lots of toys to play with. He definitely needs some taming, but he's an awfully cute little guy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

After a very busy day yesterday, Sam was forced to endure a bath this morning. Normally, I wouldn't bathe her when it is so cold out, but SOMEONE rolled in poo this morning while we were out for a walk. To get even, she decided she'd lay on my favorite sweater to keep warm after the bath. I added the blanket so that she would stop looking pitiful and shivering.

We would have stayed in bed a bit longer, but a mourning dove managed to find its way into the house, even though the door was only a bit ajar for Sam. Fortunately, when I opened the door all the way, it escaped, unharmed.

Christmas was nice, but I'm glad it's over. I got a really nice new coffee maker from my brother that has a grinder, so I'll be off to buy some good coffee beans today.

The weather was wild yesterday, but it's a pretty day today, and I'm hoping for a nice long walk later.

I hope you all survived Xmas, too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It looks like a rainy Christmas Eve is ahead of us, so Sam and I are heading out for a walk while we have the chance. We went to Sports Chalet today and bought an annual pass for the National Forest, so weather permitting, we might go for a hike in the Cleveland National Forest on Friday. The Irish Stew simmering in the crock pot smells wonderful, and I have way too much food for tomorrow.

I wish for you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hannukah!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sam and I did five miles along the coast today, and walked part of it along the beach, when it was a very low tide. It was a lovely day. Not too cold, and not too crowded.
I'm tied for the lead in the pub football pool, so fingers crossed for the last two games. The Chargers beat Tampa Bay and Buffalo beat Denver, so the winner of the AFC West will be determined next week when the Chargers play Denver. Yeah, the Chargers have had a terrible season but I'm thrilled they still have a chance to make the playoffs. Go Bolts!
On the NFC side, I gotta root for the Atlanta Falcons. A year after they were left for dead by the Michael Vick debacle, they are in the playoffs with QB Matt Ryan.
I finally decorated my tree today - two weeks after I bought it. Yep, it's been that kind of month.
Have I mentioned that I've become obsessed with cheese? Goat cheese particularly, followed by brie served with mango chutney. I'd eat it three meals a day, but even I know that's a bit much.
Short work week . . . . yeah, the holidays!

Is it time to move to a new town when you run into two guys you've dated in the past within 20 minutes?
Yesterday, while my car was being smog-checked, (it passed!), Sam and I walked to a nearby coffee hut to pass the time. I had a white chocolate mocha, Sam had a milkbone, and whined incessantly at the man at the next table who failed to share his bagel with her.
While we were sitting there, I looked up only to see Joe, a guy I dated a few times about 14 years ago. Turned out he wasn't really divorced from his wife . . .
Then, as we were walking back to the mechanic, I saw Bob pull into the parking lot with his dog. Bob and I had a fling about 12 years ago - he's ten years younger than me, and we've stayed friends over the years. I talked to him for a few minutes while the dogs played.
The bottom line? I was glad that I bothered to shower and put on make up before I headed out to the mechanic . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas plans are starting to come together -

Christmas eve, my mother and I are going out to dinner at a local restaurant. Then my mom wants to come back to my place to open "a few" gifts. She also plans on having a full gift exchange on Christmas morning. This means that I need to have enough presents for my mom so that she has gifts to open both days. So, this weekend I'll have to pick up a few odds and ends for gifts.

I've decided on the following for Christmas day food - Overnight Caramel French Toast and bacon for breakfast, and slow cooker Irish Stew for later in the day. This way, I can do most of my grocery shopping this weekend.

Work has been horribly busy and stressful, and I'm hoping to have a long weekend, by taking off the 24, 25 and 26.

The good news is that I've been too busy to eat much - dinner this week has been good cheese, bread and a glass of wine - not exactly Jenny Craig cuisine, but it has paid off, and my total weight loss is now . . . 12.4 lbs!
Alright, off to get my car smog checked. Hope you all have good things planned for today,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More rain today, and I'm happy to have it. These are the reasons I'm always glad to see rain coming down in Southern California:
1. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve State Park.
If we get enough rain, I can enjoy this again, in the Spring

2. The Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Rain brings foliage for the bunnies

3. The Cleveland National Forest

Rain brings water to the creeks running through it, and lots of pretty wildflowers

Monday, December 15, 2008

Man, was it raining cats and dogs this morning. Noodles and I lingered in bed for as long as possible, before heading out for the day. To remind us of nicer weather days, here's a photo of Hanna and me from our recent boating expedition! (Sam is at the end of the red leash in my hand).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A late season orange rose.
It took more than 3 months, but I finally made it over the hump of 10 lbs., and my weight loss so far is 10.8 lbs.! I can't really complain about how long it took, since I pretty much take the weekends off, and eat what I want.

It's been cold the last two days, or "sweater weather" as we like to call it.

Sam is adjusting well to being the only dog. She went with me again yesterday to the pub for football picks and lunch. The pub doesn't serve lunch, but the local restaurants deliver there. We shared a Chinese Chicken Salad, and I made arrangements with a local construction worker to do some work on my front deck.

Tonight is the season finale of Dexter, and this might be the best season yet. Today is football, doing a bit of work, and maybe decoating the tree.

I hope all of you are having a good weekend too!

Friday, December 12, 2008

When the tide gets really high in the Harbor, PCH tends to flood. It's only a bit flooded here, but on a good day, I've seen folks kayaking down the street.

This week has been hell, from a work perspective. Every day I've been slammed, yet accomplished none of the things on my list that had to be done. From now until December 23rd will be bad, but I'm hopeful the week between Xmas and New Years may be slightly better.

My plans for the weekend are:

  • decorate the tree

  • put up my outdoor lights

  • walk with Sam

  • buy Target gift cards for needy kids

  • get in the NFL pool

  • knit, (and drink wine), with my neighbor, the mother of Louie, the rat terrier

On a sad note, I picked up Hanna's ashes from the Vet today. Now I have the remains for both Bailey the cat, and Hanna. When I am cremated and made into an Eternal Reef, I'll have their ashes added to mine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coolest thing happened this morning as Sam and I headed out for our walk. The bushes along the side of my house attract scores (literally) of sparrows and finches. Here, some of them sit atop the aloe vera, ready to burrow inside if danger appears. A local hawk has figured this out too, so as we walked by, we came upon the hawk sitting on the trash can, waiting for birds to emerge. The hawk was probably about 6 feet away from us. I've never seen one that close up and it was very cool!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

(The paperwhite bulbs are back in bloom and smell heavenly).
Sam and I celebrated my new weight loss total of 9.8 lbs., by over indulging in good food and drink yesterday. For breakfast we split a breakfast burrito at Nick’s Deli.
We later stopped in the local pub for a beer while we submitted our football pool picks, (my brother won the pool last week, and 250 dollars), did a bunch of Christmas shopping, then went to the place on the Harbor with outdoor seating, so dogs are welcome. Lots of boats were decorated with lights for the holiday parade. There we enjoyed a glass of pinot grigio, a steamed artichoke and some chicken potstickers. No one gave us a second glance since there was a male Scotty named Sam who was actually sitting in a chair at the table with his people, wearing a paper napkin around his neck, and patiently waiting for bites of a hamburger patty.
So, after that day of feasting, today we got up early and walked 4 miles along the coast. Here, Miss Noodles leads the charge.
Today, was more holiday shopping, and and I bought my tree, though it's not getting decorated today.
My present to myself arrived this weekend - a Bose docking station for my iPhone/iPod - that didn't cost me a dime! (I used my American Express Rewards Points). The sound is truly amazing!
Work will be hectic this week, but my house smells like Christmas, and I can listen to good music, so I got that going for me!
How as your weekend?

Friday, December 05, 2008

So things are a bit quieter around Casa Diane with just Sam and me. Samantha is taking full advantage of the opportunity to sleep in instead of rising with the sun as Hanna insisted. We've been going on some nice long and brisk walks which had gone on the back burner as Hanna's health failed.
Thanks to everyone for your kind words and thoughts.
Work is busy, and I also hope to do some holiday shopping this weekend. I also signed up for a card exchange with Knitters for Obama (just 15 members, not all 4000!), and I'd like to get those cards sent out this weekend.
I went on my first holiday dinner this week to the Winery in Tustin, and enjoyed some good company, good wine and good food.
Oh, and the Chargers beat the Raiders, so there's a reason to celebrate.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rest in peace, Hanna.

2/26/00 - 12/1/08

This is the view from my lap for most of the weekend. Louie as close as possible, (he'd be happy to sit on your head if it was only a bit softer), and Samantha far enough away from him that he can't swat at her head to try to get her to play.

I hope everyone had a good weekend; I did. I watched a few movies - Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, (seriously, Spielberg? a freakin' space ship?), Kit Kittridge, (which was surprisingly good, and given it's setting - the depression, sadly applicable today), and Iron Man (love Robert Downey, Jr.; could do without Gwyneth Paltrow).
Yesterday, my niece and I headed into LA to see Spring Awakening at the Ahmanson. I saw it in NYC, but my niece wanted to see it, and we both really enjoyed it. Brief nudity and simulated masturbation made it just scandalous enough to titillate a 19 year old. She couldn't wait to tell her friends all about it.
If anyone knows of any careers with 3 day work weeks and 4 day weekends, please let me know!