Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's too loud and I'm too old

Disneyland. I haven't been there in a couple of years but my sister was in town and I had some free passes so we decided to go yesterday.

First off, I don't know when my equilibrium went out of whack but I get pretty ill from most rides--especially any that go in a circle. Second, I'm a total wiener when it comes to most rides deemed "thrilling", e.g. roller coasters. Third, I can be a pretty big crank when it comes to parking and lines.

Lucky for us it was a beautiful day to go and because it was a Tuesday--not so busy. I tried some rides for the first time: the Matterhorn, Indiana Jones ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Autopia, Star Tours, and the Mark Twain riverboat.

Velina really wanted to try Space Mountain and thankfully my sister volunteered to go with her. I bowed out due to a seared-in nightmare of a memory of trying Space Mountain in Disney World when I was 10. So I waited it out in the shade by the stroller parking with an elderly guy parked on an electric scooter with 2 purses and a sippy cup in his basket. My sister and Velina came out alive and my sister said because she was imagining it from my horrified 10 year old mind she got a touched freaked. Velina survived as well though she said it wasn't her favorite ride.

On the Pirates of the Caribbean ride--is there a story? I could not follow it for my life! I saw the Jack Sparrow character peeking around but what was with huge royal bed with the skeleton sleeping in it? It was like a loud, creepy version of the "it's a Small World" ride.

Plus I can't believe we waited 45 minutes for Autopia! That was the only long line and we thought, wow, it must be good. Ugh, how hard is it to keep your foot on the pedal? Am I that out of shape? I nearly strained a hammy keeping that car going.

Overall though, good day at Disney--got to ride the Matterhorn about 3-4 times and the Indiana Jones rides twice. It was beautiful weather where I would have been fine curled up on one of the park benches on Main Street. And of course, when you're with family having a good time, it's all good.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Where to begin?

Last week was my birthday (it's the same as Barbara Streisand's and for you kids in the house, the same as Kelly Clarkson) and it was just full.

Highlights and lowlights:

- getting randomly selected for the patdown at the airport
- weighing in at 164 pounds
- watching a near brawl at the Red Lobster
- my co-worker nearly get called out in a throwdown in the Rite Aid parking lot (don't worry, I had her back)
- a discussion on locker room nudity issues
- middle seat airplane seat issues
- thrifting in Sacramento
- my sister's visit
- awesome birthday dinner prepared by friends, including gifts!
- saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"
- hitting the used book store and birthday Thai lunch

Where to begin?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dymo for a good cause

As I continue to de-clutter and de-stash, I’ve realized that I’ve got quite a few Dymos. And with the encouragement of some friends who appreciate Dymos as well, I’d love to share them for a good cause.

My office has a Walk Team for this year’s Orange County AIDSWalk on May 10. A young woman shared her moving story at our kickoff lunch. She was a teenager when her single mom was diagnosed with AIDS. Becoming a caregiver for a parent is tough enough but to face that as a teenager (which frankly, is wrought with its own issues) must have been incredibly overwhelming. Plus it doesn't help that AIDS is still stigmatized... Through the programs OC AIDSWalks supports, she was able to get medical guidance for her mother, counseling, and support (including food). Her mother has passed away and this young woman is now in grad school. I am a registered Walker in hopes of being a part of the solution and help people like this young woman and all others affected by AIDS.

This is my fundraising page for OC AIDSWalk.

To provide crafty encouragement to donate (and for me to de-stash), I’ve got an old-school Dymo embossing label-maker with the cursive, vertical print, and horizontal block print wheels (pictured above--one of my favorites, the Mark 6) that I’m “raffling” off. Every $10 donation will be treated as a raffle ticket if you e-mail me or leave a comment to confirm that you want to be included in the raffle after you donate to my Walker web page. And when I reach $100 in donations this way, I’ll add another crafty prize—another Dymo probably, maybe some vintage goodies next (hopefully!)—so that the odds are 1 in 10. Pretty good odds for a pretty good cause.

If you’ve already donated and want to participate in the raffle—just e-mail me or leave a comment and I will totally include you. If you’d like to simply donate without participating in the raffle, of course, I welcome the support. If you’d simply like to share words of encouragement and cheer, I would truly appreciate that as well!

I’ll pull the winner(s) of the raffle (hopefully raffles) on Sunday, May 11!

Stashing it Forward - Winners

I’m happy to say that tobina and becca are getting the vintage and scrap packages from the Stashing It Forward post! Tobina and Becca, e-mail me your shipping addresses at and I’ll get these out to you.

On a sweet note

I picked up 4 shelf units (2 Bennos for DVDs and 2 Expedits) from Ikea. In my head I was going to assemble everything, finish de-cluttering, clean the house top to bottom, and possibly sew some curtains, before my friends Pat and Janet, and their son Dec came to visit from Queens. Though my efforts were continuous, at about T-4 hours, I had to settle for 2 units assembled and de-cluttering what was visible to visitors who came in the front door. And believe it or not, Pat insisted I leave the skeleton on the front porch. Wish granted.

But check out what they gave me for my birthday coming up:

Has anyone received one of these? It's an awesome box full of:

Candy from when I was a kid!

Man this brought me back. I almost wanted to just preserve it but Velina busted into the Fun Dip and Paul had the Chic-O-Stix and Cherry Heads. And I cracked open the chocolate Necco wafers. I'll probably save the Razzle, Bottle Caps, and bubble gum cigarettes for last.

What a sweet way to end the weekend...thanks Pat & Janet & Declan!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How did that Asian transvestite get in my car?

So I didn’t wear my suit to that meeting. I wore an acceptable, less formal effort. To polish everything off, I decided to wear makeup. I don’t wear any makeup normally, which started in college as a feminist stand against the Man and Man-centric society but now is probably more of case of laziness. Later, I used to have a set “face” when I would go out on auditions, but since I haven’t gone on an audition in over 5 years, I’m a little out of practice. When I saw my reflection as I was getting into my car, I initially felt a set of acrylic nails short of hopping on the stage in some Asian drag queen revue. Willing to write it off as the equivalent of seeing rain when expecting sun, and too lazy to figure out what to adjust, I drive off to work.

On the whole though, I think most people feel I’m better with face paint than without it. And because I don’t wear makeup everyday, the day I do put on a face, the reaction I get is the equivalent of those fashion Don’ts who get made over into fashion Do’s (oooo, you look great with color on your face, it slims down your jowls, you look less like a potato with a bad weave, blah, blah, blah). To a degree, I know people are trying to encourage me to wear makeup more often and join the ranks of mature, respectable corporate society. But dang, I’m so lazy.

And with a body to match. I got on the scale and it said 161.5. After a week of cardio, hitting the weights, and cutting my caloric intake, I gained a pound. I know, I know, muscle weighs more than fat, your body is adjusting, you’re probably retaining water…gaaaaaahhhh! I’m going to seriously lose my shizzle if I don’t shed some funkin' weight for all this funkin' effort.

To end this post on a positive note, I'm heading out to an Ikea mission as part of my de-cluttering strategy. I have got to make headway on at least one thing.

Friday, April 18, 2008

When did this happen?

Whoever said losing weight ain’t easy because, hey, you didn’t put on the pounds overnight, ha, ha, right? Because I’d have to correct that person, it ain’t easy because it ain’t nearly as delicious and lazy losing the weight than it is putting it on. And then I’d punch the smug bastard in the face.

I’m participating in a fundraising Walk at work and there are pictures from last year’s walk posted around the office. When I see pictures of my big face in these pictures, it’s like staring at a pumpkin with eyes. You know when a baby makes a person out of those big, chunky Lego Big Blocs? That’s my body, except not as toned.

I considered putting on a suit today, as I was actually going out and interfacing with other people for my company. And since I hadn’t worn it in over a year, it was still shrouded in a dry cleaner bag. When I lifted the plastic up, I absolutely panicked when I saw a tag plainly stating “8”. As in size 8. As opposed to the tag on the pants I currently wear that plainly state “14”. I couldn’t even get the pants around my a$$. It was like trying to put a watermelon in a ziploc baggie. Holy crap, when did this happen?

25 pounds is what happened. God, when did I become a cliché? I used to resemble a lean, mean, kick-butt machine. Now I’m a scrapbooking mother who natters on about once being a lean, mean, kick-but machine.

I’ll weigh myself in the morning. Last week I was 160.5. I’ve been exercising and trying to consume less chocolate, butter, and peanuts. My target is 140, though frankly, I’ll take 145. Man, this better pay off or I’m going to drown my sorrows in a bucket of Fluf and peanut butter.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Menthol Cigarettes of Mints

I used to smoke. To be honest, I totally miss it. I started in college for the nicotine kick, cramming for exams. But in the end I loved the activity of smoking. In New York, when you’re waiting for people to show up at bar or restaurant, it’s the perfect waiting activity. You’re not just sitting there, craning your neck like a loser with a is that them? Is that them? No, it’s not them…look on your face. It’s better than reading a book or paper because you’re not constantly looking up to see if your friends finally arrived. (The best smoke of the day, by the way, was the after-a-good-meal-smoke and the late-evening-wind-down-before-sleep smoke.)

Man, I miss smoking. I’ll shortcut through the chronic bronchitis, the gross reekiness of it (including, but not limited to, breath, teeth, clothes, hair, and hands), the way it sucks your skin ragged, and how it’s simply bad for you. After years of regular smoking to social smoking, I quit cold complete turkey about 4-5 years ago.

One of the irritating things I remember about smoking was once you pulled out a pack, people come out of the woodwork asking you to spare a cigarette for them. In general, you conceded, hoping for good smoker karma if you were ever empty-handed. But when you were down to your last two or three, it was totally grating.

Then I discovered the slacker-proof cigarette. One night at a show at Continental, I asked this friend Ben for a smoke and he pulled out a pack of Menthol cigarettes. I said ewwww, man, when did you start smoking Menthols? And he explained he started because he was sick of people bumming cigarettes: you want people to stop snaking your smokes? Smoke menthols. Nobody wants to smoke them. Needless to say, it worked on me but I couldn’t bring myself to get hooked on menthol cigarettes.

Now I discovered these:

To be clear, mints and candy don't have that My Precious level of stinginess that cigarettes have. I don’t mind sharing them, but I, myself, can go through an entire tin of mints or candy in one drive or sitting, like a bowl of pretzels. These Liquorice Altoids are the ultimate pace mint. I can only have one at a time...for a long time. My tongue is numb for about 10 minutes. I’ve had this same tin for months.

I initially bought them thinking, I like black Twizzlers so I should probably enjoy liquorice flavored mints. Well I discovered that real liquorice is a lot more hardcore than black Twizzlers. It’s like saying I could win NASCAR because I know how to drive stick.

Anyhoo, if you're with me, you're welcome to try these out yourself and see if you can handle more than one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Working with Mozart

I finally persuaded Linda, sick with the flu after taking care of her sick son all week, to show me how to make a tote bag:

Doesn't it look straight out of store? A really fancy tote bag store? And look:

It's lined! Wouldn't you pay like, a hundred bucks for this?

The wild thing is that Linda totally intuited the whole thing. I thought she was going to show me some pattern and we'd follow the steps. But she just said, what size do you want? And points to various tote bags she's made by "figuring it out". Remember the movie "Amadeus"? She was like Mozart, just saying you'll want to do this...And I'd ask why and she'd say it's hard to explain but you'll see in the end..And so on. It was like that scene where Salieri has found some music Mozart is working on and Salieri marvels at the heavenly oboe note coming in from nowhere, follows the composition, and jealously deems Mozart's work brilliant. Like that, but instead I have a fabulous tote bag!

I'm hoping to make a few for a fundraiser--fortunately for me, I understood Linda's logic and hope to crank some out this weekend in various sizes. Wish me luck--

Monday, April 14, 2008

Stashing it Forward

Given that I was de-cluttering this weekend, it was a huge sign that Emily Falconbridge posted about "Stashing it Forward": taking from the abundance of her stash of scrapbook supplies and gifting it to someone who really needs it, i.e. who has NO budget for art/scrap supplies. I remember being in this situation and the thrill of getting new artsy stuff. So I decided to the same thing. One thing I chose to release was this:

A spiffy vintage Dymo labeler with not only the regular horizontal print wheel, but also the vertical and script wheel. And a case--that's what makes it spiffy! With some vintage Dymo tapes of course. So far, I have a vintage group of stuff:

Besides the labeler and tapes, there is also some vintage valentines, wrapping paper, sheet music, buttons, game sheets, plastic charms, ribbon, and cake far.

I also have a huge pile of purely scrapbook stuff (acid-free/lignin-free):

This batch of stuff includes a huge stack of patterned paper, acrylic stamps, stickers, rubons, embellies, etc., from Autumn Leaves, Scrapworks, Making Memories, Scenic Route, Creative Imagination, Jenni Bowlin, Three Bugs in a Rug (to name a few).

I have two batches because I know some folks wish to stick to only acid-free/lignin free product when scrapping so I separated the vintage stuff from the scrapping stuff. To honor the original intent of this particular RAK, I'm inviting anyone who has no budget/money for supplies to comment in this post (as well as your preference for the Vintage or Scrap Stash if you have one) and we'll pull a name at random next Monday, April 21, 2008.

If you're diggin' what you see but you don't "qualify", I'm thinking of another way to give away from my stash as I continue to de-clutter. Because I'm not close to being done. So please check back in!

In terms of where I am overall in de-cluttering: we made huge progress (so far 2 garbage bags full and a lot of boxes) just in my daughter's room alone but I feel like I'm only making the slightest dent. But I'm going to keep on trucking!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Here we go

I caught a part of a "Friends" rerun where Phoebe's date is ridiculously optimistic in every single situation, whether discouraging or just banal. Ultimately it drives her crazy and she confronts him. He says in his defense, "I'm just a positive person." And she responds, "No, I'm a positive person. You're like Santa Claus on Prozac. At Disneyland. Getting laid."

Well, I have to say I'm pretty fired up for this weekend. I don't want to jinx anything but on my agenda (if nothing goes wrong, knock wood): I'm going to learn how to make a tote bag, take my mother-in-law out for her birthday dinner at a restaurant slated as the best Indian food in Orange County, and de-clutter. Man, I'm really looking forward to getting organized.

I'll have freshly emptied garbage and recycling bins by tonight. Weekend here I come!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Paper Adventure Week 14: Looking Forward

So the prompt for Week 14 of Elise Blaha's Paper Adventure was Looking Forward to something in April. Getting the odious task of preparing the tax return done was a great lift off my shoulders. Now I'm looking forward to checking the other stuff off my list.

You know when you ask some friends, does this shirt make me look fat? And they say, Yes. And your hair isn't helping either. When are you going to get it cut?

I totally appreciate the candor. And usually, it's something I knew all along. Except when a friend tells me I have something in my teeth, then I'm like, yeesh, how long did you wait to tell me?! That's when I really need them to tell me stuff.

Anyhoo, I have a couple of friends pretty much tell me that my house is in serious need of de-cluttering (again, tell me something I don't know!) But it's to the point where they're volunteering to give up a Saturday to help me do it. Well, I do have visitors coming in to town later this month so maybe...

Bottom line--with or without them, next item: de-clutter. In April, dammit!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go

Man, this blows. I don’t know where in my head I thought we might be getting some huge refund. We got a decent federal return, but as soon as I hit the info for the State return, I saw the Turbo Tax number go red. And it wasn't pretty. On top of that that, we have to make estimated payments for 2008.

Well, at least one thing is done.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On the bright side

Memphis lost in overtime. Sooo close to winning in regulation. Poor Memphis. And no Wii money for me.

On the bright side, I started my taxes. I'm not sure how much further I have to go but I got through income and charity donations. I'm aiming to finish tonight.

Also, I can share a variation of my sweet and easy favors:

As you probably know by now, I'm a Dymo addict and have tons of old-school Dymo stuff. So I was psyched when Jamie and Michelle discovered the joys of Dymo. So I shared some Dymo love: I sent them a few rolls in vintage colors (purple, orange, yellow, gold, and my fave, avocado) last week.

Glad they're enjoying them!

Hope everyone can stay on the bright side this week--

Monday, April 7, 2008

Time to get it in gear

Argh--still did not do my taxes yet! Yeesh, I'm like a kid in school, procrastinating on this onerous task when I should just DO IT. Pathetic.

Okay. Baby steps. Tonight, I vow to at least install TurboTax.

On the Yay-me side, I did exercise yesterday and I plan to do it again tonight.

Happy Monday all!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Feeling lucky?

Can you share some with me?

I went to play Bingo (yes, B-I-N-G-O) with some friends down at Viejas Casino. I came soooo close to winning a game--my last number was coming up but someone called Bingo before the number was called.

Also, I'm in a March Madness pool. I had bet on UCLA vs. Kansas for the championship with UCLA to win, but it's Kansas vs. Memphis. Oddly enough, as no one picked Memphis to win the championship, if Memphis wins, I win the pool. Crazy, right?

Well I need some crazy luck. Go Memphis!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Time to exercise

I took this gym class the other day. I hadn’t exercised in ages but I like this particular class because it’s easy to follow, a good workout, and the music is catchy. There was a substitute instructor this time who, if I didn’t know any better, was auditioning to some invisible surveillance camera proving she’s tough enough for the job. God, she was a sadist. High on energy and endorphins, low on sense and sympathy.

The class is usually simple but she added complicated moves to work us harder, which made the workout pretty miserable. She'd urge, Come on, keep pushing! We want to lose our love handles! while pointing to her bony ribs.

And it wasn’t just me feeling it. The women who work out in the front who could practically be substitute instructors themselves were grimacing in irritation at the new stuff the substitute was throwing in. I know, I was muttering telepathically to them, I want to punch her too.

After what felt like forever curling some barbell, she giggles, oh, I’m sorry I lost count! Thankfully my exhaustion prevented me from hurling the barbell like a javelin at her to stop her unexhausted chirping.

Anyhoo, I made it through without killing her or myself. I'm sure she was real proud of herself for running such a tough class--she probably treated herself to some ice water and sliced apples.

Man, I’m just too out of shape.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hey it's April 3rd!

Happy Birthday Heidi!
(Posh and Becks wish you the best!)
(Oh, and Daniel Craig, too.)
(And I think Viggo Mortensen wrote a poem about you.)

April Fool

There's a reality show on the TVLand channel called "High School Reunion" where a group of folks from the same high school (now in their forties) live in a house together. The tag line is "It's high school all over again!"

Who would sign up for that?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sweet and Easy - No Fooling

My first tutorial! Something sweet...

I put some jelly beans (from the awesome post-Easter sales) in a ziplock sandwich bag. The snack bags that are a third the height would be better but I haven't seen those around lately. Squeeze out the air and zip the bag close.

Then take some pattern paper cut to the width of the bag by twice the height of the final cover height. Was that worded in a very confusing way? If so, I think the pix might help. Here I used some Creative Memories Storybox papers, which are precut like photo mats: 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". These are perfect for this project. I used a border punch (alternatively I've used decorative scissors, like scallop cut) along the edges after folding in half, lengthwise.

Then I folded down the top of the bag, so it would fit under the decorative cover.

Then I stapled the cover fairly close to center--I try to staple through the zipper portion of the bag for extra stability. If you want, you can staple a couple of times on the ziplock bag (again along the zipper portion) before stapling the cover on.

I printed labels using Word (and WordArt for the circular printing). My current fave fonts: Circus Ornate ("sweet") and Loki Cola ("you rule") from I printed two different ones for both sides of the cover.

Then I placed the labels over the staple (in the front and back).

Wha la! Check out these sweet sweets!

I made a basket of these for a fundraiser thank you gift. I've also done a version of these for my sister-in-law's wedding as wedding favors. You could make your own die-cuts (for example, die cut hearts or other themed shapes) or other embellishments instead of labels but printing out labels really makes the process quicker when you're making over ten of these.

So, next time you're looking to make sweet and easy (especially on the wallet) favors or gifts, try making a set of these!