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Thought of the Week

Is it just me, or does everyone turn the kitchen faucet to cold water when running the garbage disposal?  If you have one. 

I don’t know why I always think I should do that, but I always have.  Is there a reason why it should be cold water?  Or is hot water fine?

1.  There has been (and continues to be) quite an earthquake swarm in Nevada.  According to (one of my favorite I-am-a-nerd-blogs) Eruptions: There is the interesting coincident that the focus of the swarm is near the Auroa Volcanic Field – however, Graham Kent from the director of the Nevada Seismological Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, doesn’t think a volcanic eruption is likely.  Eruptions blogger notes that Nevada has seen many earthquake swarms over the past few years (true, says I) and none have led to volcanic activity.

2.  Life is generally good.  Sweetie and I are enjoying our house and the endless list of projects (mostly his!) that come with it.  He is currently constructing two raised veggie boxes for me to plant our own crops.  I am very happy about this!  We inherited, in the backyard of this house, a couple of nice artichoke plants.  I have managed to not kill them yet and they are producing a nice little crop of artichokes.  Wonderful!  I picked three the other day, cooked them up, and served them with my mom’s patented (should be) artichoke dipping sauce.  Delicious! 

3.  Work is good and sometimes crazy.  True to form, my work and overlapping deadlines sometimes results in weeks like last week where I have to work 13 to 15 hours for a while.  Not true to my old (younger self) form, I can’t maintain that level of work/brain effort for very long.  I worked so hard for most of last week, I crashed on Friday.  Went to a meeting I couldn’t reschedule and then came home, hugged my Sweetie, wasted time on the computer, and went to see a movie.  We saw Hanna.  It was good, but not as good as I was expecting. Good, but I was expecting more there there.  But fine because, heck, I was NOT working. I won’t link to the movie trailer because I think it shows too much.  But I will link to a short clip featuring some of the brilliant soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers. That particular music piece was probably my favorite in the movie, but others were quite good.  If you like that sort of thing at all, you’d love the soundtrack.  Sweetie and I definitely appreciated the soundtrack. 

4.  I was thinking of writing a separate blog called “Why I don’t blog about Sarah Palin.”  But then I thought “Well, really.  I don’t blog much at all these days so that seems like a silly title.”  But there actually is a reason I don’t blog about her.  Not that I don’t read about her.  I do.  And there has been plenty to read about lately.  I could say all sorts of things.  The ridiculousness of her posing as some sort of political analyst for Fox News.  How much her reality show (and all the rest of her goings-on) does nothing to really promote the great state of Alaska since she resigned as Governor.  The hypocrisy of her daughter prancing around lecturing about abstinence while supported by a group that advertises abstinence with a close-to-pornographic picture of a young girl wrapped around a guy.  ?  Yeah, that makes sense.  We have to be hip for the young kids and then expect them to absorb a message completely opposite from the visual.  How I don’t really believe most of the conspiracy theories about Trig’s birth.  Mostly because I subscribe to the same belief for almost ALL conspiracy theories: If there were more than 3 people involved, it’s not very likely that a much-talked about conspiracy theory wouldn’t be able to provide proof by now.  I could throw in my two cents about her actions surrounding her son’s birth (was she trying to self-abort for 8 months, including the last few days? maybe).  All of these things (and much more) could have been separate blogs.  But I don’t bother.  Why?  Because when I wrote this, my main interest was that this dear country that I live in not make the horrendous mistake of electing this woman to any high office in this country.  Not in 2012.  Not ever.  I said I didn’t want her on the national stage.  There is nothing I can do about the fact she is all over the national airwaves.  There is nothing I can do about the fact that educated people I know seem to love and support her, blinded by her messages of Faith Faith Faith God God God, without realizing (or acknowledging) what a wicked truly twisted person lies beneath.  But as for high office, I don’t worry about it anymore.   She is a non-entity.  If she runs, it will be for the publicity and her own narcissistic satisfaction.  She is not a viable candidate.  Not for her potential scandals.  Not for her prostituting herself and her family for any amount of cash that can come her way.  And not because she can’t seem to form a coherent sentence on the fly.  But because of this:  She quit.  She quit, ladies and gentlemen.  She was elected to an executive office to serve a term for the voters who cast their ballot for her, and WHAT DID SHE DO?  She quit.  Game over.  Buh bye.  No excuses (should every potential lame duck executive quit??). What more do I, a mere blogger who talks about food as much as I talk about politics, need to say?  Pretty much nothing.  Why do I mention it now?  Because potential candidates are starting to proclaim their intentions right now and there may be another buildup of support for her.  And I may note it as it happens.  But do I honestly believe she has a snowball’s chance in a Texas wildfire to be elected President?  No.  And I trust that a large majority of people of this good country know this too.

5.  If I can’t get my act together and blog more, I resolve to at least be better at reading, and hopefully chiming in at, other folks’ blogs. 

So, I’ve posted a few things that I miss about Maui.  I thought I should post a couple of positive things about my life away from Maui.

Paying bills.  Being able to pay bills is a very positive thing.  I am immensely happy to be paying off all my bills.  The last couple of years on Maui were slow ones for my side of the pay check contributions.  Work from California was barely trickling in and I was working less than half time for many months.  Bill balances were carried over, much to the consternation of Sweetie (and my father if he was watching me around that time).  I didn’t love it either, but it was easier for me (than Sweetie) to just ignore the monthly charges.  I fretted but felt that I would get my feet back under me eventually.

Now that I am back to a full-time job with a steady full-time paycheck, I am loving being able to pay my bills and start socking away money every month.  *sigh*  Nice.  Not that I don’t have new stresses from said full-time job.  But I remind myself how nice it is to pay off my bills.  And that helps.  I have a couple of personal loans I’m paying back and it feels good to be able to do that also.  I can still stress about money if I think about it.  Especially given the long list of house projects that Sweetie and I are compiling.  Some optional.  Some probably soon-to-be mandatory.  Think sewer pipes.  Fun times.  But at least I don’t feel overwhelmed on a weekly basis.

So, much as I miss the laid-back loveliness of island self-employed living, I can appreciate some of the benefits of the daily grind.  Given that I’ve landed in a nice workplace with some interesting projects to work on, I’ll keep my nose to it until the day I become a professional poker player.  ha! 

Don’t say goose.  I’m not goosing anyone around here. 

And is spruce even a word?  Or is it just used so much we all think it’s a word?

Let me jump over to one of my most-used links – Merriam-Webster.  Ah yes….spruce….”to make spruce.”  So helpful.  What’s that?  A link….see “spruce” defined for English-language learners.  And there’s a better definition….to make (someone or something) look cleaner, neater, or more attractive.  For English-language learners?  How about – for people who want a definition of the word that doesn’t include The Word?

Oh well.

*spruce* *spruce*

And oh – there goes my undiagnosed ADD, and I’m off to the next thing. 

Really, the only way to spruce up a dusty blog is to write in it.  And I shall.  Things like – trying again to keep track of the books that I’m reading, blog about the books that I’ve read, comment on news, warn you about impending earthquakes, maybe give a personal update more than twice a year, write about the fabulous food choices in Sacramento since I can no longer blog about fabulous food discoveries in Maui, write about how COLD it is anywhere other than Maui, rant, praise, and generally share some cynical views of the world around me.

Yeah – that stuff. 

And this is not the blog I started earlier tonight.   But it will do for now.

End of the Year 2010

Well well well.  If there is one thing that can shake me out of my blogging snooze, maybe it is the tried and true End of the Year meme.  I am inspired enough to continue the tradition so – Hello!  Sorry for the prolonged absence.  Let’s see if 2011 allows for a little more blogging time. 

 

Without further ado:

 

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Is it too early in the meme to mention buying a house?  I bought a house.

 

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I once made a New Year’s resolution to not worry about New Year’s resolutions.  Yeah.  I kept that one. 

 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes.

 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Define “close.”  Close enough to go to his funeral?  Yes.  Drat.  I came very close to having ONE year with no funerals. 

 

5. What countries did you visit?

U.S.A.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

A very warm pair of slippers.  I got a pair for Christmas but they need to be exchanged for a larger size.  California is COLD!

 

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don’t do numbers.  Numbers do not etch themselves upon my memory.

 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I think getting three different job offers was fairly reassuring. 

 

9. What was your biggest failure?

No big failures.  Just some disappointments.  Like my crappy poker stats at the end of the year.  *sigh* I would like to be in the top 25% out of almost 2 million players.  Which is still dismal compared to my 96% rating out of over one million players a couple of years ago.  But oh well.  72% this year.  Nothing I can do about it now. Stupid full-time job getting in the way of my poker playing.  *grumble*

 

Also, I and the medical establishment in Maui failed completely to alleviate any of my chronic issues this year.  Medical establishment – you suck (except maybe for that rather handsome ENT doc who actually figured one thing out).

 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No major illness, but yes indeedy – more body parts broke down again this year.  Arthritis diagnosed.  Inflamed larynx (I have pictures!).  Undiagnosed hip issue. Potentially uncooperative reproductive system.   It’s the joy of aging, folks.

 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

That would be the aforementioned HOUSE.

 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I gotta give a shout-out to my former co-workers this year.  I spent almost six months at my old workplace this year before I left again for another job.  The office has been a sinking ship and it’s been a weekly drama of people leaving, both voluntarily and involuntarily.  It’s been stressful, sad, frustrating, and just downright wrong to see a once very-highly-regarded office of professionals fade away.  But through it all, most of these folks have been supportive of each other while maintaining a (sometimes gallows-like) sense of humor. 

 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Some people at the old company who do not warrant celebration.   

 

14. Where did most of your money go?

See #s 1 & 11.

 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving back to California.  Hello family and friends.  We’re baaaack!!!!

 

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Hmmm….need to think about that a bit.

 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. Happier or sadder?  About the same, I think. 

 

2. Thinner or fatter?  Congrats to me.  This is one year I can say, without a doubt – fatter. 

Wait. 

No congrats to me.  Frak.

3. Richer or poorer?  About a hundred times poorer.  In cash. 

 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Surfing.

 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Working. 

 

20. How will you be spending Christmas/Hanukkah?

Sweetie and I spent it with family in the various places that our families are located.

 

21. How many one-night stands?

None.  We sold most of our furniture in Maui. 

 

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Leverage

AND – I rediscovered The Young Riders!  Yup.  That’s right – 1980s television goodness right there.

 

 

 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No hate in the 808 (or 916) brah. 

 

24. What was the best book you read?

Hmmm……the latest releases of the Fables trade paperbacks.  And, I have to say – I’m almost done with Atlas Shrugged and I’m glad I (almost) read it.  That’s probably a whole other blog.  

Fables.png

 

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Can I just change this to musical moments?  This year, I said good-bye to two of my all-time favorite bands, as both declared they are retiring. Sweetie just got me A-ha’s final album.  And Big Sis and I saw Scorpions live in concert.  Farewell, dear dudes.  That’s a lotta music between them (yes, A-ha produced more than one song in the 1980s….sheesh).

 

26. What did you want and get?

More time with family and friends.  A job with health insurance.  A house.

 

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Toy Story 3

 

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was, and still am today, 39.  Spent it with family and my former roomie and her family at mom’s house where she/we hosted a Chinese-fondue/hot pot dinner of awesomeness and yum.

 

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Winning a few more poker games to bring my stats up.

 

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Oh-my-lord-I-do-not-have-a-proper-wardrobe-for-cold-weather-ACKKKKKKK!

 

31. What kept you sane?

Who you callin’ “sane” Willis?

 

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I do not.

 

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The on-going legal sideshow surrounding Prop 8 here in California.  Never should have passed in the first place, and this whole debacle is embarrassing.  The midterm elections were also kind of amusing for the amount of people who honestly think anyone seeking higher office in this country is capable of steering Congress in some productive direction.  Oh, and Christine O’Donnell, for comedic relief. 

 

34. Who did you miss?

 A-ha.  I missed seeing them in concert.  Never did get to see them.  Boo hoo. 

 

35. Who was the best new person you met?

Well, it was significant that I met the five principals of the firm that I am now working for.  Good group of folks.

 

36. Did you fall in love in 2010?

All the time.

 

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

There’s always a better house somewhere down the road. 

 

37.  Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

 

Aloha Friday #159

 

Check out Aloha Friday over HERE

aloha banner

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too.

Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My question/statement is . . .

Besides the one you currently live in . . . Where’s your favorite US city?

Well, that’s not a hard question for me.  I’m a rural country mouse type of gal.  I grew up in a small agricultural town.  As I’ve mentioned before, I always seem to end up living on the edge of any town I end up in.  On the edge, close to open sky and open space.  When I see the word “City” I think of real cities.  Big city lights.  Lots of people.  Dense development.  Urban nature.  Cities have their appeal.  I suppose Sacramento would be considered a big city compared to where I grew up.  I’d prefer to live here than many other cities in the nation.  But, if I were to choose my favorite “city”, I would always pick:

 

San Francisco

 

Quirky city by the Bay.   You captured my heart long ago.  I could not possibly live there because I’m a Heidi-type gal who would wilt and wither away if I was surrounded on all sides by concrete development.  But I love ya, S.F.  I’ve seen L.A., Honolulu, Paris, Zurich, London.  Hmmmm….I do like London. 

But San Francisco, you got my vote. 

Hodgepodge

It’s late and I should be in bed, so I’ll just throw out a random hodgepodge of brain spew.

Finding myself back in my old company, which I left several years ago right after a merger/acquisition, I am somewhat amused to be plopped right back into a newly-announced merger/acquisition. If I hadn’t left, I could say I’ve worked in the same building for 12.5 years, yet have worked for three different companies. Not too unoriginal in this day and age of consolidation and the death of small companies. Sad. Interesting. Could be good. Good be bad. We shall see.

I learned of the death today of Senator Ted Stevens and, among other things, thought of the blog I wrote a few years ago about Senators Larry Craig and Ted Stevens. I can’t say that Mr. Stevens was someone I admired in any way, shape, or form. But tragic accidental deaths are sad, and I send my condolences into the ether in the general direction of his family and friends. I feel almost bad that I ended that blog referring to another anti-environment Congressperson who died tragically in a moving-vehicle accident. But only as bad as either one of them ever felt about the eradication of many many species of animals living on Earth.

Am I the only one that noted that last week, during the exact same time we had a large solar flare hit the planet, we have 6 earthquakes over 6.0 in magnitude in less than 36 hours? I check the USGS site almost every day. That is not quite normal. But don’t worry. My co-worker who specializes in geology, hydrology, and hazards just laughed at me when I mentioned the correlation to her.

It’s August 10 (yesterday was 8-9-10) and I’m pretty sure I’ve spent over half the year apart from my husband. *sigh* Even for us, that’s quite a large percentage. But I spent a bunch of time in California looking for a job while he was working in Hawai’i. Then, we both moved over here in July and he has spent half of July in another state working. He just left tonight for a 2-day class in the Bay Area. I should be used to saying goodbye. And I shouldn’t worry because I can easily spend 12+ hours at work the next couple of days. But you know what? It still sucks.

I know I’m pretty bad about spending time on this blog updating y’all about what is really going on with me. That was the original intent of the blog. But I haven’t been very good at it. Here’s an update – Sweetie and I are home-shopping. It’s fun. And slightly exhausting. And nerve-wracking. I’ve discovered what I’m sure every other house-hunter in the world has – at this point in time, I wish my Super Power was “Being Able to Mix and Match All the Best Things from Several Different Houses Into the PERFECT House for Me.”

*sigh* Tis not to be. This one has a fabulous kitchen but crap construction. This one has a pool but an ugly backyard. This one is sooooooo cute and soooooo unique, but there is no way I can fit more than one piece of furniture in the living room. This one has great inner space but is in a less-than-desirable-location. And on and on and on. Right now, I think our favorite candidate house is one with: some awesome space inside (large living area); some super-awesome funky-cool details (70’s-like entryway, room partition and fireplace (looks way better than it sounds); and an incredible backyard; but also has a small very outdated kitchen and location issues (a little too close to the freeway). I’m thinking we can live with the drawbacks. Assuming we buy new appliances. But I don’t know. Do we throw out an offer to nab it now? Or do we keep shopping around in hopes of finding something better?

Don’t know. We’ll figure it out. I’m going to do more recon – try and drive around during different times of the day and get a better feel for the neighborhood and noise. Sweetie does NOT understand me when I try and explain that I get “feelings” from houses. I’m not talking ghost-of-your-dead-dog-in-the-backyard or anything like that. I just get feelings about the general flow of a house. Dare I say energy? No, I better not. But I get feelings as to whether or not *I* would be happy in a space. And I need to listen to those feelings because, as much as I liked many things about the house my parents moved into after I went to college, I could NEVER EVER sleep well in it. Even for me, it was bad. But I would only visit. I can’t live in a house that is like that every day. Anyway. Feelings. Sweetie doesn’t get it. But it’s another check-mark in my brain. And this house may get a positive mark.

The search is still young. I’m sure I’ll have a different story to tell in a week. There’s your update for now.

Aloha and good-night.

I don’t think I can explain this without sounding demented so I’ll just say, sometimes on my evening walks I think to myself: “I miss those squashed frogs in Maui.”

Walking around my neighborhood in Maui, either up the hill or into town, I was sure to see an almost paper-thin shell of a frog from time to time. There they were – on the road, the side of the road, in the gutter.

I’m not saying I like seeing poor smooshed frogs on the road, but it was amusing to me how incredibly flat they were. I think frogs are the flattest roadkill in the world. Usually, by the time I see them, there are no guts involved. It’s just something that looks like a cardboard cutout of a frog on the ground. It’s kind of funny. Right? Funny.

Nowadays, I walk around the flat terrain and sometimes, up ahead in my field of vision, I will see something flatly splayed out on the road or sidewalk ahead of me. I walk towards it thinking I will again be amazed and amused by the sight of a poor unfortunate frog. But no. It’s just a rag or something like that. Boring.

Compulsions

Compulsions.  We all have them.  At least one or two.  What’s yours?

Mine is door locking.  At home.  I don’t worry so  much about car doors.  I have a friend that does.  Check and rechecks them.  Will check them, walk half-way across a parking lot and then run back to check again.  Silly huh? 

But at home?  I’m the same.  I’m a compulsive door-locker at the end of the day.  I guess I don’t trust people enough to leave my home doors unlocked.  My sister may disagree with me as she has had words with me about leaving mom’s garage door open.  But, generally, I run to my front door to lock it.  At night, I check my doors.  Then, I check them again.  Before I go to bed, I check them again.  Occasionally, I’ll jump back out of bed to check again.  If I’m home and Sweetie walks out the door, I lock it after him.  If he forgets something and tries to run back in, he’ll walk right back to the door and *whack* into it as he finds out that I have, indeed, locked the door right after him.  While staying with my mom, I know she sometimes like to keep a sliding glass door open at night to cool off the house.  Security-wise she is probably ok since she is surrounded by neighbors and the screen door has a lock.  I try and respect her choice.  I try and ignore it.  I do.  Sometimes I succeed.  But most of the time?  Nope.  Can’t do it.  I run to the offending door and squeak it shut after Mom goes to bed. 

Not that I don’t miss a door sometimes.  I do.  Usually not the front door.  But I woke up one morning a while ago to realize that I didn’t check the doors the night before and Sweetie left the garage door open all night.  This just feeds and fertilizes my natural compulsion to check and recheck. 

I think there are a couple of seeds to this compulsion.  One is probably from my father who was generally quite security conscious.  The other has to do, I think, with my sleep paralysis.  Since I sometimes panic because I fear that someone has crept into my home while I am paralyzed, it helps me to know for sure that I’ve checked all the doors and someone can’t just walk in without my hearing.  Not that this helps most of the time, but that’s still partly where it comes from. 

As compulsions go, I don’t think mine is the most irritating.  Sweetie can laugh at me as I open the garage door for the 5th time in a night to recheck the garage door.  But other than running the risk of waking someone up from loud creaky doors closing, I don’t think I’m hurting anyone. 

And yes, by “funny,” I mean excruciatingly irritating.

You would think that – after someone spends several days with little sleep at night and reaches the point where she can’t finish a sentence and her brain is mushy enough to be mistaken for cottage cheese – well, you would think she would easily fall asleep the instant she falls back into bed.

You would think that. 

You might think that if you’ve never experienced the joys of insomnia firsthand.  If you don’t understand how it works.  If you think that logic enters into it. 

But the truth is that in sleep, as with many things in life, there are no guarantees.  There is no “supposed to.”  Should does not equal could.  You take what you get and roll with it.  That’s what you do.  I know other people worry for me and I appreciate it.  I keep looking for that surefire solution and I’ll keep a diligent lookout for it for as long as it takes.  But I roll with it.

Meanwhile, I memorize a lot of interesting things while trying to dull myself to sleep.  May come in useful someday. 

See?  Benefits.