Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm "working" at home today, (ok, sort of), and taking care of a few things. A local guy is replacing the old, rotting wood on my front porch. Here's the new wood.

When you live in a 60 year old beach house, you basically end up replacing it one board at a time, and the new wood on the porch is a big improvement.

I'm totally digging the cable pattern on this sweater, and how fast it is coming together.

While the rest of the country is buried in snow and ice, I had to take my car in today to get the AC fixed. It's 80 degrees today, (so the paint on the porch is drying really fast), and I'm heading out to my mom's tomorrow where it will be even hotter. Sam and I had breakfast near the mechanic's, then walked home.

I think I'll try to hitch a ride back . . . Sam is beat.

This weekend I'll be . . . making Valentines. I'm participating in a Valentine's Day card exchange on Knitters for Obama, and for some reason I thought I'd get on the home made card band wagon. Here's the thing though - this group is full of a lot of very creative and talented people. My cards look like a 3rd grader made them . . .

It's the thought that counts, right?

It's Super Bowl weekend, and I'm not all that interested. I hope the Steelers win, mostly because (1) I sort of like the Steelers; and (2) I don't like Kurt Warner and the Cardinals. Neither is enough to get me excited for the game. On the other hand, I'm loathe to ignore an excuse to drink a couple beers.

What do you have planned?

p.s. Since Sam is none to fired up for a walk back to the mechanic,

I'm inordinately proud of myself for deciding to take the bus instead of bumming a ride . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday afternoon, Sam and I went walking along the beach, and here Sam gets the chance to chase some birds. The weekend before was 80 degrees and the beach was packed with women in bikinis . . . this past weekend, not so much.

I'm zooming along with my sweater, (that's Sammy Sosa's nose in the bottom left),

and I'm trying to figure out why Freddy likes to sleep inside the metal ring at the top of his macrame ladder.

Flight of the Conchords is back on HBO. If you don't get HBO, hunt down this show on iTunes, or anywhere you can. The first season was jolly, and the second season is off to a rip-roaring start. I don't recall when I've laughed out loud so much in a room by myself as when I watched this past week's show. It's nothing more than silly, dead pan humor from a very talented cast. It's freakin' brilliant.

At the other end of the spectrum, I stumbled upon a few minutes of the Bus edition of "Rock of Love with Bret Michaels" today on tv. . . . I don't know how to say this in non-offensive language, so here goes. If you looked up "dumb whores" in the dictionary, there would be a photo of the entire cast. Better yet, look up "drunken dumb whores", and you'll find their biographies. I've never actually looked up "dumb whores" in the dictionary, but I have looked up (and used), "slattern."

I think it's important to expand one's vocabulary. This past week I incorporated (and used properly), "poppycock" in a legal brief. My next goal is to use the word "gobsmacked."

What are your vocabulary goals?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The rain they've been predicting all week has finally come to So Cal, but earlier this week, we were still experienceing spectacular sunsets.
This week has been interesting. Work has been stressful, and my evenings are filled with knitting, hanging out with Sam and Freddy, (who now eats from his seed mix! Way to go Freddy!), and watching videos on Check it out. I was able to download videos of episodes from a couple of my favorite British TV shows that are not yet available in the United States. Graboid offers some viewing for free, and then different priced plans.
I am making progress with my sweater; since it's knit in the round, it's delightfully mindless and quick.

On the bad news side of things, it looks like I'm going to have some surgery in late March that will require a hospital stay and some recovery time off work. My primary concern is that I'll be healed in time to go to Maui the last week of May. I've never had a hospital stay, and only had minor surgery on an out-patient basis.

I am not happy about this news.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Hussein Obama
p.s. Great speech!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I dvr'd the Obama We Are One Inaugral Celebration . . . . and it rocks!

  • National anthem performed by a military man opens the party.

  • Denzel Washington opens up the festivities invoking the memory of Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson (I saw him once in the Forum Club, he's a very handsome man).

  • The Boss, backed by a kick ass choir, rips through the Rising. Malia Obama snaps photos from the side of the stage.

  • Laura Linney and MLK III talk about FDR and JFK.

  • Mary J. Blige tears the roof off the place (ok, they are outside already) with Lean on Me

  • Jamie Foxx and Steve Carell, an odd coupling, talk about change, including Foxx's impersonation of Obama

  • Soul singer Bettye LaVette duets with Jon Bon Jovi. Bettye has an incredible voice, but Jon holds his own. (note to self - download some of her tunes off of iTunes)

  • Tom Hanks reads a very serious speech from Lincoln, accompanied by sort of overwraught music. Or he read a speech in a very serious, overwraught manner. Lighten up, guys! It's a party!

  • Marisa Tomei is quoting Ronald Reagan (?)

  • James Taylor is singing Shower the People you Love with Love, and wearing a Russian peasant hat. But here comes John Legend and Jennifer Nettles (note to self, google Jennifer Nettles). There are also two unidentified back up singers. Everyone is in fine voice. I just noticed how handsome John Legend is.

  • Joe Biden speaks about the dignity of work. I don't disagree, but I'd still like to win the lottery.

  • John Mellencamp sings Pink Houses, which is my favorite Mellencamp song.

  • Queen Latifah better not be wearing real fur on that collar. (PETA?) But her story about Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt and racism is a good one.

  • Josh Groban - the guy who made my new favorite Xmas album - sings My Country Tis of Thee - accompanied by Heather Hadley and the Gay Men's Chorus.

  • George Lopez and Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar go to White Castle - wtf?). Kal is a good speaker, or maybe I'm still remembering Tom Hanks. Obama's niece is sound asleep.

  • Herbie Hancock, and Sheryl Crow doing One Love. Little Sasha Obama does not appear to have developed an appreciation (yet) for the great Bob Marley. Sheryl Crow is well into her 40s and looks phenomenal.
  • Tiger Woods? I thought he was a republican? He talks about the military. Someone should have told Tiger this was a Nike commercial so that he'd unstiff a bit. He introduces the US Naval Academy Glee Club, singing with somebody Fleming, who apparently is an opera singer. She could be singing without a mike and we still wouldn't be able to hear the glee club.
  • Jack Black - amazingly dressed up, along with Rosario Dawson, talking about various presidents saving parts of the country for national parks - Lincoln, who saved Yosemite, and Teddy Roosevelt expanding Yellowstone and doubling the number of National Parks. Too bad Bush just signed an executive order that could desecrate the Grand Canyon.
  • Garth Brooks! American Pie! Obama sings along. Garth needs to move on to relaxed fit jeans. Garth sings Shout! An odd choice, but he pulls it off. I'm always pleasantly surprised when a country singer is a liberal.
  • Ashley Judd and Forrest Whitaker. Both are moving and emotional. I love Ashley for proudly marching in pro-choice gatherings wearing a t-shirt that says "This is what a feminist looks like."
  • Usher, Shakira and Stevie Wonder doing Higher Ground. Usher exhorts the crowd to stand up, oddly enough since no one besides the Obama and Biden families have seats, and they are already standing and rocking out, except the niece who is still asleep. Here's hoping Shakira belly dances a bit.
  • Samuel L. Jackson - who knows what he's going to say, but who's going to disagree. He pays tribute to Rosa Parks and MLK Jr.
  • U2!!!!!!! Knitters for Obama were all aflutter because Bono is wearing fingerless gloves. I've never seen the boys so happy. I think the Edge is wearing a new watch cap to celebrate the occasion. Bono does an Israeli/Palestinian shout out he probably didn't clear with the handlers first. The niece is awake! Bono is one of the few performers to address Obama (or O'Bama) and Biden directly. Seriously, I've been following U2 for 30 years, and have seen them live probably 10 times, and never seen them so giddy.
  • Barack Obama!!!! Ok, I love this dude, but he's kind of being a downer. Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam are in the back slitting their wrists. Wait! He's getting to the uplifing part. He leaves the stage and Malia tells him "it was good."
  • The legendary Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen do Woody Guthrie's This Land Is My Land, along with Pete's grandson. Pete is playing the banjo, and wearing a knitted cap that has the knitting community all aflutter.
  • Beyonce is wearing ridiculous shoes, but sings the hell out of America the Beautiful. Malia takes photos.
  • Malia gets a kiss from Denzel. I hope she's not planning to wash that cheek.

Sigh . . .

Things are quiet at the office today, and I've been able to take advantage of that by doing some time consuming, but boring, tasks.

I spent my lunch break working on the crossword, and as you can see from the stains, eating turkey chili. Having lined myself with paper towels, I didn't get any of the chili on my shirt, or new sweater. Will miracles never cease?

Sam and I walked 5 miles on both Saturday and Sunday, and were both pretty beat by yesterday afternoon.

I was similarly positioned, albeit on the love seat.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I don't want anyone to get too excited, but we are making progress with Freddy. I bought some new food bowls that I've placed at (what seems to me to be) better locations in his cage, and Freddy has tried out some sunflower seeds and other goodies from his seed mix. As of yet, I don't think he's eaten any of his nutritious pellets that are supposed to be the primary staple of his diet. Baby steps.
Today's fresh fruit is pineapple!

My latest iTunes appplication purchase ($9.99! which is pretty high for the apps), is iBird Western that is supposed to allow you to identify over 700 birds of the western states, and even plays the songs and calls. The graphics are very good.

I'm pretty sure this is a house finch.

I finished up this sweater this weekend, using yarn that I bought in NYC last June. This yarn is Aruacania, which is infamous for having a pretty wide color variance between skeins, but I swear the color changes aren't so obvious when you're wearing the sweater. Particularly, if you avoid standing still in bright sunlight. You can try to avoid this by using two skeins at a time and alternating rows, and maybe I'll try that trick next time. It fits well, and it's pretty, and is almost the same color as the last sweater I finished. Perhaps it's time to mix up my color palette. Yesterday I started another sweater, which hopefully will come out looking like this

It's another gorgeous day here, and we'll be off for a long walk in a bit. That is, if I can get Noodles up and out of bed. It didn't take long for us to give up rising with the sun in Hanna's absence . . . .

Happy Sunday, all!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sudafed is my friend . . .

While the rest of the country is trying to stay warm, Californians are trying to stop sneezing, and to start breathing again. The warm temperatures and Santa Ana winds play havoc with everybody's sinuses . . . which translates for me into an excuse to eat nothing but spicy foods.

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen . . . for the millions of people out there like me that spend most of their TV viewing time watching re-runs of Murder She Wrote, you'll be excited to learn that Angela Lansbury is returning to Broadway in a revival of Blithe Spirits. Needless to say, I'm already planning a trip to NYC. And yes, I am serious.

Speaking of sinuses, here is my dilemma. On days when my nose is feeling iffy, one remedy I regularly employ is to put about a 1/2 jar worth of Vick's Vapor Rub up each nostril. While it really does help, it also tends to make me look as if I perpetually have a snotty nose. Is it worth the trade off? So far, I say yes. If I found out a great guy declined to ask me to dinner on account of my pseudo boogers, I may have to re-think this remedy.

Tonight, President Bush gives his farewell (and none too soon), address to the nation:

Bush and his loyal backers (read: Dick Cheney), see his record this way: He kept the country safe from attack after terrorism redefined his presidency, cut taxes, freed the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, reformed education, oversaw 52 straight months of job growth, acted decisively when the economy tanked, stuck to principle no matter what his poll numbers, retooled the military and improved federal crisis management after the worst U.S. natural disaster happened on his watch.

To his critics, (read: everybody not named Cheney, Dick), Bush wasted the world's goodwill after the Sept. 11 attacks, got the nation into a catastrophic and avoidable Iraq war, presided over a staggering 2.6 million jobs lost in 2008, ran up debt, reacted slowly to Hurricane Katrina, did more dividing than uniting and refused to listen to the will of the people.

I'm going with door number 2. And don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Sam enjoys the sunny weather during our walk along Bolsa Chica today by rolling all over a worm that she found in the grass . . .

Although I had to work for a couple of hours today, overall I had a good weekend. Sam and I went to lunch yesterday at Henneseys in Seal Beach. I wasn't sure how Sam would deal with being slightly separated from me, with her leash tied to a railing, and her sitting on the sidewalk. Turns out she was quite content sitting there, and greeting all the passersby.

A fella we know and his big white male pit bull stopped by, and every little kid who went by stopped to pet her. It was pretty funny to see that 90 percent of people passing by talk to a dog sitting there by herself. As I was enjoying my lunch, I noticed Sam lunge at something and turned to see the biggest freakin' (but mellow) rottweiler that I have ever seen. His head was as big as Sam. Good move, Noodles! (Until yesterday, the biggest rotties I'd seen were the muzzled police dogs patrolling the tourist areas in Lima, Peru. They did not appear to be mellow).

We went on our long walk kind of late, and this was the sunset on the way home yesterday.

I know it's only been two weeks, but we are making progress with Freddy. I've now seen him drink water, and yesterday he ate some of the fresh orange slice I put in his cage. To be a successful parrotlet parent, I'm supposed to be encouraging him to eat an impossibly complex and diverse diet. A certain percentage of pellets, a smaller percentage of seed mix, augmented with treats like millet seed sprays and fresh fruits and vegies. He has two dishes - that go untouched - containing the pellets and seed mix, but so far, his diet is 99.9% millet seed and .1 % fresh orange.
Last night I met some friends at a local bar to listen to some music and to dance a bit. It was fun! Made a yummy frittata recipe from a recipe by Rachael Ray, had lunch with my niece, watched (most of) the crappy Chargers game, and now I'm watching Nero Wolfe dvd and knitting a sweater with the yarn I bought in NYC last June.
Back to work tomorrow . . . hope you had a good weekend, too.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sam makes her "scary face" as we wrestle . . .

  • TGIF! The weather is supposed to be high '70s at the beach this weekend, and I plan to get out and enjoy the outdoors, with some long walks or hikes along the coast and in the wetlands.

  • I have bought 4 books on parrots/parrotlets and I have no idea how to get Freddy to eat something besides his millet seed sprays. According to all 4 books, this means I am a failure as a parrotlet owner. I can't confirm that he ever drinks water, but I assume he'd be dead if the answer is no.

  • There is a picture in one book of a parrotlet identical to Freddy, and the author says it is a female. I'm not convinced, but his/her full name may be Winifred, rather than Frederic.

  • I have been in a bad mood for most of the week, primarily at work, but I did snap at my brother a couple of times. I have no particular excuse for this behavior.

  • My good moods have existed while I've been at home with Sam and Freddy, watching Midsomer Murder DVDs, knitting, reading and drinking wine - if only this would pay the bills.

  • My brother is going to install some additional lighting in my front room so that I can read or knit or see my hand in front of my face more than a few hours a day.

  • The kids and I have been spending alot of time in my bedroom because it's easy to heat, and Freddy is there and we're still working on taming him. Sam and I sit in a chair next to his cage while I talk to him, and Freddy eats - you guessed it - millet seed.

  • I've been reading alot of books - the Hamish Macbeth series by MC Beaton and the Detective Rebus seried by Ian Rankin - set in Scotland. I really, really want to go on a trip to the West Scotland Highlands next summer.

  • Any fans of "The Wire" won't be surprised by this news item: "BALTIMORE – Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted Friday on charges that she accepted illegal gifts during her time as mayor and City Council president, including travel, fur coats and gift cards intended for the poor that she allegedly used instead for a holiday shopping spree."

  • I'm a big fan of "Dexter", and knew that the actor who plays Dexter has been dating the actress who plays his sister. They recently married, but when I saw this photo of the happy couple, all I could think of was, "guess he's not a boob man."

That is all.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

As I noted below, dealing with Dell is always a challenge. The good news is that I am not the victim of identity theft. Here's the story.
A few years back, I bought my mother a wireless capable laptop from Dell, which she wanted, but never even took out of the box. Eventually, the laptop was re-gifted to my brother - the aforementioned "Thomas". Tom recently contacted Dell to order some accessories for the computer, and he, of course, gave them his contact information. Dell, however, not to be foiled by updated information, keeps notifying me regarding the delivery, since I was the original purchaser of the computer . . . five years ago.
Thanks, Dell!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Technology is NOT my friend . . .
On my way to work I drove through the Bank of America ATM to deposit a rent check. It has one of those fancy-schmancy ATMs that read the check, and that does not require an envelope. Imagine my surprise when it took the check, but told me it couldn't process my deposit, nor could it return the check. Thoughtfully, a phone number was provided.
I drove to the front of the bank and went on inside. Checking the computer, the teller could confirm that they had no record of me making a deposit. Turns out that the check fell through some crevice, and had to be fished out of the back of the ATM. It all turned out ok, but what would have happened if the bank had been closed when I made the deposit?
Over the weekend, I received an electronic phone message from Dell, notifying me that my order would be delayed and would ship on January 9. Only problem? I didn't place an order with Dell. I cancelled my account with Dell about 3 years ago, after I learned that there is no possible way to reach a Dell representative by phone who can assist you with any problem. My fear was that I'd been the victim of identity theft. I sent Dell an email, and left a voice mail message with their delayed shipping department.
After receiving a response to my email, (which failed to address my concerns), I called the phone number provided. I did eventually reach a person in India, who, when I explained my concerns, transferred me to another extension, where I was informed by a recording that the system was down, and to call back in a few hours.
This morning I got another phone call - electronic - from Dell. This one asked me to confirm that I was "Thomas" and gave me the option of saying they had called the wrong number.
What are the odds that this has been resolved?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Saddleback Mountain in the distance viewed across PCH and the Bolsa Chica wetlands. I took this on our 6 mile (!) walk today.

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed having long weekends the past two weeks, and am NOT looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. I've spent the extra time walking alot with Sam, reading alot, and doing a fair amount of knitting. I've even done some cleaning and organizing. Needless to say, my eating habits have not been all that great lately, so after eating "Chernobyl" hot wings and drinking cold schooners of beer yesterday, I'm trying to move back towards healthier eating for 2009.

Freddy is getting used to his new home, and is losing some of his fear of me. I can put my hand in his cage to change his millet seed or his water, and he won't scamper to the back of the cage. He won't let me bring it too close to him yet though.

I took down the tree and the decorations, and my other must do for today is to clean the fish tank. DONE!

I was on pins and needles, but the Chargers managed to pull off a big victory over the Colts yesterday, and move on to the next round of the playoffs!

And what are you up to today?