Saturday, July 31, 2010

Halloween in July

Yesterday went down as one of the most memorable and best days of my life. I have to say that the friendships I have made at work are priceless. Soon it'll be understood why.

Gracious, where do I begin? I guess at the beginning, so here goes:

Yesterday, Friday, July 30, was my last full day at work. The night before, one of my friends suggested meeting for breakfast before work. What a sweet way to start the day, I thought to myself.

After breakfast, we walk into our office lobby and K and L pull me into the Ladies Room with the words "trust us". Of course, I do. They don't let me near the mirror and tell me to put on these clothes:

They proceed to do my hair and put on what feels like a LOT of makeup and jewelry:

At this point I'm thinking, hilarious--I'm going to be dressed up for my last day like my birthday. And yes--they dressed me up as Jersey Shore's Snooki!

(thank you K!)

But wait. It gets better:

Besides pix from previous Halloweens, the poster says:
Today is your day.
We celebrate you, and all that you do.
If we had it our way,
we'd make you stay.
But since you must go,
we want you to know
how much you've changed us all.
So get dressed up
and go out with a BANG.
Let's celebrate your
favorite Holiday!!!

Dear Lord, I got so choked up. Have sweeter and kinder words been written? Not for me--I was ready to burst. On top of this, there was a huge Words with Friends layout on the office wall:

Love the adjustment--Words with Fran. Hee--get it?

Then it turns out a bunch of folks also got dressed up for Halloween in July--I almost cried my eyes out.

A slight tangent: they say that one of the key differences in British and American schools of drama is that in America, character is built from the inside out (history, life, etc.) while in England, character is built from the outside in (costume, physical traits, etc.) I think I should have been an actor in England because I'm pretty sure I became Snooki yesterday. Between the hairpiece, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and makeup (especially the ten layers of bronzer), the attitude and posture just flowed:

(thank you L!)

Can you see the gum practically falling out of mouth?

With "his" mullet and my poof--we'd make a hot couple on the Jersey Turnpike

Me and Johnny ready to kick a$$--no mercy!

One of my favorites is this friend's detail with the 3 headbands, fuschia leggings, and lavender leg warmers:

The best part? She went to the gas station totally dressed like this on the way to work and totally got the stare down by some suit in a BMW. When she acknowledged him with a friendly wave, he quickly averted his eyes and jammed into his car. So funny. In her honor, I went inside the grocery store to use the ATM dressed like this and could totally feel the eyes burning on me. Unfortunately, I didn't have the stones to turn around and acknowledge anyone like she did.

But I did get the proper recognition in Starbucks:

That's right, Snooki needs refreshment:

Best day at work EVER. Thank you EVERYBODY. I will truly miss you all.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Our days are numbered

here in Southern California. I have been in denial these last few months but our last weeks are finally here. We're moving to Columbia, South Carolina where Paul will be at the "real" USC--University of South Carolina.

We will miss our friends, the lovely weather, and Trader Joe's, but we look forward to new adventures on the East Coast.

So on that note, the girl's time has been filled with spending time with her friends--which also means sleepovers.

I fell asleep to the sounds of Rock Band and found this in the morning:

Of course I wondered why the couch cushions were everywhere but the couch, what had been in the dirty glasses (including the shot glasses) and plates on the table, and where the heck her friend was. Did she get upset in the middle of the night and her parents picked her up without waking me? Well, with a bit of exploring I found her: she was sleeping in that tented cubby hole next to the fireplace.

While I was at work, the girls apparently made lunch for themselves:

Yes, they made cupcakes for lunch.

I know. You want to nominate me for Mom of the Year.

Fortunately, we're able to see friends for a nice dinner before we go:

And perhaps share a margarita as well:

We're going to miss all of our friends in California!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Holey crap

Omigodomigodomigod. I totally have a divot in my finger. As I promised my kind nurses, I soaked my finger in hydrogen peroxide and watched it foam up and put a new band-aid on it.

Well, there goes my hand modeling career.

Good people

Some friends at work treated my holey finger much better than me. I had pretty much resigned myself to wrapping my finger in layers of paper towels and scotch tape to sop up the bleeding but L & M insisted on treating it with hydrogen peroxide and wrapping it up with gauze. Something about not getting it infected.

I'll confess that I lost my poise a bit when they were treating it as it's difficult for me to see myself bleed from a cut. Or as they might say, I was a screaming baby begging them to just put a band-aid on it--I'd be fine! The other hard part was when they were whispering to each other and I would catch the words like "hole", "divot", "stitches", but the final prognosis was that if I kept it clean I wouldn't have to get stitches. Amen to that.

Great start

Looks like today is starting much better than yesterday. Found this waiting for me when I got to work:

Thanks V!


A hole in my car (though so excited to get a stereo in my car!):

Holes in my ceiling (though plumber finally found the leak):

Hole in my finger (though totally scared to look at it after blindly strapping on a bandage to stop the bleeding):

Starting to get some stress pimples and feeling a bit through the wringer (though pondering if I should brush my hair regularly):

Tomorrow will hopefully be better...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lights on

Well apparently, there are TWO fuse boxes in my car and a friend at work, Papa Bear, helped me find the burnt out fuse (the break is the where the fuse burned out):

Unfortunately, I had to wait till dusk to test it out but around 7, here is off:

And on:

Success! On top of that, Papa Bear said he could help me upgrade the stereo in the car (currently only the radio works). So excited.

Don't tell him, but here's a hint of what I got for him and his Mama Bear (but not their cubs) to thank him for his generous saintly help:


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lights out

The dashboard lights on my 1992 Honda Accord went out the other night while I was driving. The headlights still worked, but I couldn't tell if how fast I was going--though I did discern that I was still in "D". I played with the brightness dial to no avail. A little searching on the web said it may be a fuse. I pulled open the box but none of the labels said it affected my panel lights:

So what's a girl to do?

I pull ALL of them out. But they all seem fine:

Not the dimmer switch or blown fuse. Suggestions, anybody?

The Kids are All Right

I went to see The Kids are All Right with my friend and her mom. A slight digression--we went to Veggie Grill for dinner and I tried out the organic Mothership wheat beer brewed with spices:

With the promise of spices and "organic" in the name, I was excited to try this wheat beer. Unfortunately it proved disappointing. Apparently though, I was supposed to pour the beer in a glass to get the proper mixing of the spices (instead of drinking straight out of the bottle as I did) so perhaps I should give it another try. My friend had the chili and sweet potato fries, which is exactly what she ordered when we went to Native Foods a few days ago for lunch:

It should be noted that she is not a vegetarian at all and normally avoids these establishments. As a generous friend she makes an occasional exception for me. Anyhoo, for the non-vegetarians in SoCal, she says the chili is better at Native Foods but the sweet potato fries are better at Veggie Grill.

When we went to see the movie, I sat between my friend and her mom. The obvious bright side--I'm right in the middle of the candy-sharing flow: Junior Mints to my left, Twizzlers to my right, with Whoppers in the cup holder. On the flip side, for a movie about family dynamics when kids of lesbians find their sperm donor father, this movie has a lot of naked hetero sex scenes. A LOT of them (and one fairly explicit scene of the moms getting it on). Enough to awkwardly stop the candy-sharing flow.

On a slight tangent, I have to say Mark Ruffalo is really comfortable dropping trou for extended scenes for his characters. Like a young Ewan MacGregor. Or a male version of Kate Winslet. I feel like half the movies I've seen with Ruffalo have featured him bottomless. But regardless, I do enjoy his work (and MacGregor's and Winslet's).

On another note, I was totally appreciating how Annette Bening has not had any work done on her face. Talk about aging gracefully--and gorgeously. I would take her face over Megan Fox's or Heidi Montag's any day. Plus Bening delivers an outstanding performance--a fully realized character where we see her flaws and the emotion she goes through. Thank God for her real face. I wouldn't be surprised if she got nominated for a Globe or even an Oscar.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie a lot. It wasn't deeply profound but it hit issues and let us watch as they unfolded. It was well-written and the cast, as a whole, was super. Giving this one a B+.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Of Christopher Nolan's movies, I have seen Memento, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and now Inception. He has been a writer and director for all these and I have to give him ridiculous credit for the vision he has for his movies. With the exception of Memento, to my eye, the worlds he has created have enough anachronisms that you're not sure if the story is set in the past, present, some dystopic future, or a parallel universe. I have absolutely been sucked into the worlds he has created on the screen and Inception is the latest one where I have become lost in. I cannot say that I'd want to live in any of the worlds he has created but I am in awe of him for putting such a viscerally and visually perceptive one onscreen.

The visual weight is compounded by the emotional weight threaded in the story lines. Of his movies I've seen the protagonist is wrestling with the loss of a loved one, his role in her demise, and the ensuing guilt. This journey always hooks me and I can't help but wonder why this is a common theme in Nolan's movies--though a tip of the hat in that each movie handles it differently.

I'm not sure if I could even give a decent summary of this movie--given that the subject and world is intertwined with dreams, I'm not sure if I knew which scenes were supposed to be grounded in reality. You walk in accepting the fact that this is a world where dream espionage is a common corporate threat. If you've seen commercials or trailers for this movie, you know it's visually arresting. The characters are all fascinating and I ended up just accepting the theories they put out as fact and science or else I know I'd fall behind trying to question why their posits are true or not. At this point I'm still wondering if seeing it more than once would clarify anything.

Overall I'd give this movie an A-. When a movie stays in my mind for a while after I've seen it, I can't help but rate it highly. But it's been staying in my mind like a dream I've been trying to figure out and I'm not sure if that's good thing or not.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Salt Water Cleanse Redux

I told my friend that the Salt Water Cleanse was a fail. She looked at me, dead serious, that I needed to do it again, correctly. She theorized that the water wasn't warm enough, that I didn't drink the quart of salt water fast enough or that I needed a higher dose of salt. She said that she'd get the salt on her lunch break and she'd handhold me through the ingestion after work. She convinced me when she said that I shouldn't have that quart of salt water from the night before sitting in my body. And truth be told, at first I was fine with my salt water tolerance--hey I can swim in the ocean with my mouth open! But eventually I had been bothered with the thought that I drank a quart of salt water and it was just lolling through my body, seasoning my organs, with some eventual consequence to come.

So after 5pm, she has two cups lined up by the microwave. She heats the first cup mixes in some salt. Did I mention how this is really the worst part? I barely choked down the the first cup--only somewhat encouraged by my friend's urging to "slam it"--and I asked her how many cups I was going to have to drink. She said "four". And after a pause said "...more after this one".

I looked at her with what I'm sure had to be an expression of despair. She had upped the dosage of salt and this first cup of salt water tasted like the cup had been tipped into a part of the ocean after whales had been mating and/or urinating in it. Or that she had simply scooped up a mugful of water from a tank at SeaWorld. It felt like an April Fool's joke gone awry. I eyed my friend suspiciously. But at this point I felt I had stepped into the point of no return. I resolved to go through with it.

After the 2nd cup, I told her this was crazy, I couldn't do this.

After the 3rd cup, I called her a liar and said I had drunk at least 4 cups by now and asked her why she hated me so much.

After the 4th cup, I swore I was drowning.

After the 5th cup, I was pretty confident I just did something unethical to my body. Or illegal. If you've ever seen a documentary on folks who get lost in the ocean, you know that the one who makes the bad desperate decision to drink the ocean water goes delirious, if not fatally berserk. Well I'm pretty sure I was marginally getting there. Because of the quart of salt water in me from the night before, I now had over TWO quarts of salt water in me, forming stalactites in my heart and brain. I started to panic that I'd end up in the emergency room. And like those people who show up with objects stuck in their orifices, like a marble up their nose (or worse), how would I explain that I had voluntarily done this to myself? I swore I could feel the brine pickling my organs as it coursed through my body.

Fortunately, within 20 minutes, I started to feel a lot more action happening in my stomach than the night before--a good sign that things were going to be different this time. And they were. And within an hour, I was spending a good half hour, on and off, expelling the salt water and everything else that was in its path.

Honestly, the exit of the salt water was a LOT easier than the entry. After all, the time is spent sitting down. Even though one doesn't quite know how long it would last (to which I'd say give yourself a 30-60 minute cushion of access to the bathroom and privacy--if you want to keep your dignity), it certainly wasn't as uncomfortable or painful like after a night of tequila and spicy nachos.

Now whether I truly benefited from this "salt water cleanse" remains to be seen. I wouldn't say I felt lighter and cleaned out, despite the time spent on the toilet. And this morning I woke up to a potato staring back at me in the mirror as I managed to retain a ton of water in my face and body from the excess salt intake. Which of course made me question how much sodium I took in.

With the help of the internet, I learned that I ingested 8400 mg of sodium last night, and 4800 mg the night before. The recommended daily allowance is less than 1000 mg per day. I pretty much crammed in two weeks worth of sodium in a 24 hour time span.

So I'm off to drink a ton of water to help dilute the salt in my body. I guess there is at least one benefit.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Salt Water Cleanse

A friend at work has been encouraging me to try a salt water cleanse for a while. It's basically drinking a quart of salt water and it's supposed to clean out your system and all the junk in it as it passes (and EXITS) through your digestive system. She gave me the right amount of sea salt and instructions and I decided to give it a go last night after ice cream.

First of all, drinking this salt water was disgustingly hard. You know that scene in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" when Harry (under Dumbledore's instruction) is forcing Dumbledore to drink that crappy liquid when they're in that scary cave and Dumbledore is begging him to stop? That's what it was like. I had to pour out this quart of water into a drinking glass, forcing myself to finish it, then pour another glass. Multiple times. It felt like endless punishment.

When I finished I waited. My friend and others who tried it said it took about an hour before I'd feel the need to go to the bathroom and let the salt water work its cleansing magic.

Unfortunately, it appears I have a high enough tolerance to salt water where, except for a few tummy gurgles, I never hit that peak and that explosive purge of all the junk in my system never came. I went to sleep pretty disappointed.

Worse, waking up I realized that my tolerance to salt water wasn't high enough to extinguish my crazy thirst when I woke up as I literally was drinking out of my bathroom faucet when I woke up. And even worse, it did not diminish my ability to retain water and bloat up. I woke up this morning looking like I spent the night crying while eating bacon and potato chips. Now I'm off to find the loosest pants and hope I can squeeze my puffy feet into my shoes.

Salt Water Cleanse (for me): EPIC fail.


Even though the "heat wave" here in SoCal has finally abated, we went to half-price float day here:

Strickland's is not a froyo place but actually a homemade ice cream place, which basically means we went in the totally opposite direction as it's much more dense and caloric than frozen yogurt. Which makes for a really good root beer float:

Especially when you get to the melty bottom:

Still delicious even when there isn't a heat wave!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The girl and I went to see Grown-ups. We were hooked as soon as we saw the commercial where the daughter shrieks in embarrassment as her dad is surrounded by telltale blue dye in a water park pool indicating that he's "made a sissy".

With expectations like those, you'd think we'd be easy to please. Unfortunately, with the exception of "arrow roulette" and the "getting wasted" scene (which was also in the commercial) I was pretty disappointed or worse--bored. When did Adam Sandler movies get so talky? So many jokes fell flat that I wondered if I was overhearing a bunch of inside jokes between the actors. If it wasn't for the farting mother-in-law and pratfalls in pies or poop, my daughter would have been bored too.

I rate this movie a C+. The plus is a nod to Mr. Sandler for giving his props to New England with an extensive scene in Woodman's restaurant.

Barring that, I think I'll go look to see if The Water Boy is playing on cable.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Keeping cool on the patio

Another way to keep cool is with a cocktail (or two) with friends in the shade.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Keeping cool at the pool

Still in our "heat wave" here in So Cal, so after doing our chores, the girl and decided to hit the pool to cool off. Unbelievably, we had the pool to ourselves--perhaps smarter folks were waiting for the afternoon when the water itself wasn't so warm? We jumped in and it was like bathwater. Velina said there was a trick to make it feel cooler.

First spend time in the hot tub:

And heat up:

Then jump into the regular pool and it'll feel cooler:


Such a smart girl.

Thanks for the poem, Opa

Opa occasionally sends me stuff through the mail which I love. Let's face it, personal and fun stuff is always a super surprise in a mailbox full of bills, solicitations, and junk. Sometimes it's a card, sometimes it's funny captions, or an interesting article. This time he included a poem by Ted Kooser, a Nebraskan who is a former US Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer-winning poet:

The poem was written for his friend Emily who eventually succumbed to cancer. As both Opa and I have lost significant people in our lives to cancer, this poem really spoke to me and moved me to tears--it captures that odd combination of hope, loss, and peace when you know you're losing someone.

Thanks for sharing Opa.