Dec 31, 2005

wishes for 2006...

i always want more...
* more peace
* more time for things i love to do
* more time with the people i love
* more laughter
* more pictures of the nieces & newphews

and i want less...
* war - anywhere
* hate
* poundage
* self-doubt

May your dreams come true this new year. Peace out & in.

Dec 30, 2005

so it's official...

Tuesday i go back to work.

Now seriously, i can't complain. i have no reason to.

But being off for 2 1/2 months....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I have enjoyed it...once i got over the initial trauma from back surgery. Time to do what i wanted, what i needed and the ability to do it without pain.

That, my friends, has made it worth while. Worth most of the hassle from trying to get disability straightened out (still isn't), the physical therapy (still haven't started...just got approved last Friday - and my last doctor's appointment was 12/5), and well, everything.

I can honestly say, for all my nightmares, fears & trepidation, the decision to have the surgery was the best i've ever done.

So, as we approach 2006 - my wish for you, Gentle Reader, is this:
* wise decisions
* happy days
* lots of love and laughter

But most of all - peace.

Peace out.

Dec 27, 2005

if i'm begging for food -

how did i get so fat?

Subortinate. You can't help yourself. You are
probably a random stranger that came upon the
pack later on in your life. It took you long
enough to prove yourself to them. The pups beg
from you for food. You get hardly anything to
eat. You suck, basically. Get your act together
and rise above the subortinate position.

What kind of wolf are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Dec 26, 2005


just something to mull over, during these last waning days of '05.

personally, i love #5.


Number 10 - Life is sexually transmitted.
Number 9 - Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
Number 8 - Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.
Number 7 - Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
Number 6 - Some people are like a Slinky...not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.
Number 5 - Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
Number 4 - All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
Number 3 - Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?
Number 2 - In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
AND THE NUMBER 1 THOUGHT FOR 2006:We know exactly where one cow with mad-cow-disease is located among the millions of cows in America, but we haven't got a clue as to where thousands of illegal immigrants and terrorists are located. Maybe we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of immigration.

how was your Christmas?

ours was quiet. nice & quiet. had my parents over for dinner last night..and it was, well, nice and quiet.

found this, and thought i would's definitely something i'm going to work on for next year.

Somehow the command to love doesn't get through to us. We may confess that we lack a strong faith, but seldom do we admit that we are deficient in love. Perhaps we feel we're as loving as the next person, and maybe a little bit more.

After all, we're sensitive to the hurts of other people. Our hearts go out to battered wives and abused children when we read about them in the newspaper. We shift uneasily in front of our TVs when we see little children sobbing with hunger or sitting in silent despair beyond crying.
But deep inside we know that genuine caring reaches beyond feelings to action. Caring, like steam or electricity, isn't worth much unless something happens as a result of it. Love without deeds is useless, just as talent not demonstrated in creative ways is wasted. Both must be expressed or they are no better than a myth.

Because we can't do everything, we often don't do anything. If you want to be a loving person, don't start by taking on the needs of the whole world. Start with caring about one person and build from there.

You can't do everything, but you can do something. What you can do, you should do. Today, determine that in the power and grace of God you will do it. —Haddon Robinson

Dec 24, 2005

the Polar Express

unless you've been under a rock, i'm sure you've heard of the movie. computer animated, Tom Hanks in it, came out last year in theaters...

ever read the book?

i got hooked on it a few years ago. it was read aloud on a radio show i used to listen to, and after sobbing at the end of the book, i knew i had to own it.

OK, so we don't have kids of our own. so what?

this is not a children's book. this is a book of faith...regardless of what your faith is or isn't.

here's the synopsis for you rock people:

one night, a young boy is still awake on Christmas eve, waiting to hear Santa's sleigh. what he does hear, is the whistle of a train that is suddenly outside his house.

a train waiting to take him on a magical journey to the North Pole...the Polar Express.

once aboard the train, he finds it filled with kids from all around the world, all excited beyond words to see the real North Pole...and Santa. for Santa will choose one of them to receive the first gift of Christmas.

when they arrive at the North Pole, they are greeted by all of the elves gathered in the center of town for Santa's grand entrance and eventual departure on his rounds. when Santa appears to a deafening roar from the crowd, our hero is chosen by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas.

what do you think he chose?

the boy could have any gift he wanted. any toy in the world. but instead, he asked for one simple thing.

a silver bell from Santa's sleigh.

when the boy asked Santa, Santa smiled and hugged the boy. then he asks one of the elves to cut a bell from a reindeer's harness. the elf does so, tosses it up to Santa who holds the bell high above him & calls out, "the first gift of Christmas!"

a clock strikes midnight as Santa handed the bell to the boy, who puts the bell in his robe pocket. then, as quick as a wink, Santa and the reindeer are off on their rounds.

the children file back onto the Polar Express, and surrounding the boy, ask to see the bell. he reaches in his pocket...but only finds a hole. the bell is gone.

the train arrives at the boy's home. as he waves good bye to the train, the conductor says to the boy...

"Merry Christmas."

the next morning, the boy & his sister had opened their gifts when a small present is found behind the tree...when the boy opens it, he finds the bell...and a note:

"Found this on the seat of my sleigh. Fix that hole in your pocket." signed, "Mr. C"

the boy shakes the bell and it makes the most beautiful sound he or his sister had ever heard. but his mother says "oh, that's too's broken."

his parents had not heard a sound.

at one time, the boy's friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. even one year, his sister found she could not hear its sweet sound. and, the boy said, even though he had grown old, the bell still rings for him, as it does for all who truly believe.

i can still hear the bell. i still believe.

may you still hear the sweet sound of the bell.


what's totally no particular order....

Starbuck's peppermint mocha Frappachino

maid service (don't have it, but bloody wish i did)



reading blogs

Spike TV's marathon of James Bond movies for the next week. love Bond flicks.

picking up my already cooked Christmas dinner from Knott's Berry Farm

waiting in my truck for my already cooked Christmas dinner, drinking my Starbucks & talking to my best girlfriend ever

the fact that it's Christmas eve morning and the knowledge that i'm done

NORAD tracking Santa

i love that, especially.

so we don't have kids. doesn't matter, i love going online each year to track Santa. as of a few minutes ago, he was over the Taj Mahal.

i just think it's so cool, that, because of a phone number typo in a Sears ad which caused phone calls to Santa to be routed to NORAD instead, they started tracking Santa. I think it's cool that the commaning officer, who easily could have hung up on these kids calling for Santa, took the time to talk to them and had his men field the calls & let these kids know what was going on with Santa.

and a tradition was born.

so here i am, a 43 year old with no kids, excited to check out the NORAD website to see where St. Nick is now. so cool.

it reassures me that, in spite of the horrors of this world, there is still some magic out there.

sometimes, you just need to track Santa to find it.

Merry Christmas eve.

Dec 23, 2005

Wrapping like a fool....

Twos the night before the night before
and all through the flat
the only one stirring was
the chick in a Santa hat.

Wrapping gifts & goodies
for those we hold dear
and it's so late to realize
the Day's almost here.

When what to my wondering
eye should appear
- no more Christmas paper
only flowered ones here.

'O crap, o crud, o son of a smootch!"
i bellowed & blustered to only the cat
'no more paper to wrap
my dear mother's brooch!'

I have no intention
to go out to the store
for that would be suicide
and i'd like to live more.

So i'll wrap them in paper
of pink & purple blooms
it'll be quite festive
as they sit in the room.

Then i'll hear them exclaim
as i drive out of sight,
'your gifts were quite nice
but you wrap like a fright!'

not enough apologies in the world for Clement Moore.

may your paper never short. Happy day before the day before.

Dec 22, 2005

droppin' a dime on the neighbor...

and well you might wonder why.

we live in a pretty good complex. the occasional rowdy party but for the most part, OK.

until i woke up just before 3 a.m. to not only a stereo on sooooooooooo loud, that glass was vibrating, AND a TV on super loud, too.

turns out it was our downstairs neighbor. who's 65 years old.

so i went down. pounded on the door.

(hmmm. wonder why he can't hear me.)

so, i called the police. hate, hate, HATE doing that. feel like a squealer.

not to mention the fact that he's a nice man. but bloody hell. it's 3 o'clock in the morning.

but...what if he's, to quote a favorite commercial, "fallen & he can't get up?"

so i called the local police...non-emergency line only, folks.

few minutes later, i hear a knock on his door. twice. then the pounding.

stereo went off, then the tv.
i will say this, he has an eceletic taste in music. playing Christmas carols, then the BeeGees, then Outkast.

it's back on. albeit not as loud as before. but bloody hell.

bloody hell.

perhaps i need the cast from Riverdance upstairs in retaliation.

it's gonna be a long ol' night.

Dec 20, 2005

but it's a GOOD tired.

yeah, really.

now after the Melissa Huff story, i feel ashamed to complain about being tired.

so i won't.

i had a sudden surge of Christmas spirit. i made gifts for B's work. i made dream bars (a lovely concoction of graham cracker crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, coconut & nuts - drop me a note if you'd like the recipe). i made fudge (only after i found i was missing an ingredient & had to haul butt to the store). i made pumpkin bread. i started to make caramel corn, but i burned it, so i said tohellwidit. maybe later.

i also printed some new pictures from Don & Maureen's visit yesterday @ Seal Beach. we met them for lunch @ Ruby's, then Maureen & i played with the kids on the beach, and in the surf. i even sang to Erin (who's turning three this February) - "I Love You A Bushel & a Peck". the minute i finished, she put her hands over her ears & said "don't sing Aunt Balerie."

guess she knows talent when she hears it. and she didn't hear it. smart kid.

i am blessed beyond measure. i may not feel like decorating, but believe me -

it's Christmas in my heart.

peace on earth.

people suck.

i'm watching an article on the news about a family in Arcadia here in So. Cal.

Melissa Huff is 16 - she lost one of her legs in a car wreck.

just recently, some SOB stole her prosthetic leg.

no, i'm not kidding. it's right up there with the shmucks that stole a scooter chair from a woman with MS here in Long Beach.

well, then, probably the same bastards broke into the Huff's house.

they stole their Christmas gifts.

oh and trashed their house, too.

y'know, compared to these bastards, the Grinch is a freakin' angel.

if you feel led to help, here's info i got off the Fox11 website:
If you would like to help the family of Melissa Huff...the young girl who's prosthetic leg was stolen weeks ago and now their Christmas presents have been stolen you can make donations to:
The Family of Melissa Huff C/CDewitt, Algorri & Algorri25 East Union StreetPasadena, CA 91103(626) 568-4000

i say we show them that we cannot & will not let the bastards win.

you gotta see it to believe it...

ah, 'tis the Season for Excess.


tag-a-rama for the blog-a-rama...

i got tagged by Cyn.
this tag looks like a fun watch out. you may be next!! :o)

The rules for this particular tagging are as follows:Remove the blog name in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add yourself to the bottom slot.
1. Beth
2. Deanna (View of Life)
3. A Scrap of Life (Annette)
4. i am a coconut (Cynthia)
5.Random Thoughts (valerie)

Then you get to select five people to pass the love on to.
1. Becky
2. doodlebugmom
3. Tracey
4. Loni
5. Doug

Now, on to the questions!

What were you doing 10 years ago?
i started dating that Man o' Mine...let's hear it for new love!

What were you doing one year ago?
deciding if i wanted back decision i ever made!!

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. fudge
2. Haagan Daas vanilla ice cream with LOTS of hot fudge
3. mexican brownies
4. chips with homemade onion dip
5. Disneyland's chocolate chip cheesecake

3 songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. Rainbow Connection - yes, by Kermit the Frog
2. Standing Outside the Fire - Garth Brooks (yum, yum, yum. Tricia is a lucky girl)
3. Puppy Love (or pretty much anything in the Donny Osmond library)
4. Popular - from the "Wicked"soundtrack...still working on the others
5. I Feel Lucky - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Quit my job!!
2. Buy a home near the ocean.
3. Pay off the parents' home.
4. Pay off all our debts.
5. Travel all over the world. (me, too, cyn; me too)

Five bad habits:
1. Not exercising. Period. (that will change in '06)
2. Not eating better.
3. Not vaccuming. (after i win the lotto, there will be Merry Maids in our new home)
4. Putting off things.
5. Collecting scrapbook stuff instead of using them.

Five things you like doing:
1. Scrapbooking.
2. Reading.
3. Reading.
4. going to Disneyland with my husband.
5. Watching really cool or funny commercials. (did you not know i'm a wacko?!)

Five things you would never wear, buy, or get new again:
1. Ditto jeans.
2. Gouchos.
3. Socks with toes in them.
4. Wear pink, yellow & purple eyeshadow together (hey - it WAS the 80's).
5. Earth Shoes. (i am sooooooooooooooo old)

Five favorite toys:
1. my Canon Powershot
2. Brendan (wink, nudge).
3. my cd player (portable, in the car, wherever)
4. our laptop.
5. Post-Its photo paper.


Dec 19, 2005

weird stuff going on here....

no soapboxing. relax.

B went to bed early tonight. he's getting up @ 3 a.m. to go to a Christmas party for his old department. thrilled beyond belief, he is, that they invited him. he held firm to the conviction that they didn't like him. fooled you!

so, i'm watching the news. here in LA, an overseas flight (not sure from where) made a emergency landing...looks like there were tire troubles, multiple tire blowouts on takeoff.

now i'm hearing weird-ass noises.

most likely just the place settling. y'know. creaking. thumping. just weird. not normal.

but then when Elvis stops & looks over my someone's there.

stop, stop, stop. i HATE when you do that, cat.

hey. i am not about to turn around. if Freddy or Michael or whoever is back there, believe me, i do NOT want to see him before he dispatches me.

weird. hate that stuff.

think i'll run to bed like a little sissy girl & snuggle with my boys...the small furry one & the big snoring one.

peace. oh, and a silent night, too.

meanwhile, at the CKMB....

there's a lot of times i HATE being a girl.

besides that time.

B says i have too many guy genes in me. i hate shopping (i want to go in, club the sweater and drag it back to my cave. cannot stand picking out, trying on, etc). i cannot stand the snide horrible way girls talk about other girls. i like talking to guys too much; they talk sense.

sense. and none of this is making any.

this is ridiculous. these women acting like hens.

i thought we lived in a country where free speech was tolerated. apparently it's only tolerated if the majority agrees with you. or if they liked you.

i guess it doesn't matter, in the Grand Scheme of Things.

but they don't deserve to win.

peace. especially to the message board.

Dec 18, 2005

for those that asked...

nope, sorry. no dishwasher repair update. i wouldn't be surprised if a repairman wasn't called until after the New Year.

which brings us to today's Moral Question:
would it be wrong to serve Chrismas dinner on paper plates?

just a thought.

tis' the season.

Bah! Humbug!

now before you start with the nasty comments, let's get this straight:

i really do love Christmas.

it's a peaceful season. a season of joy.

a season of lights.

a season for me to work my bloody ass off.

there's cards to be made (or bought), signed & addressed.

presents to be planned, bought & wrapped.

holiday meals to be planned and cooked. then dishes to be washed.

boxes prepared & mailed to those not near.

nothing new, i know. this has been going on for years.

but i really feel like i'm on my own. all B has to do is buy my stuff.

all this hoopla sucks the joy out of my season. i don't want to celebrate, i just want it to be over.

or, i want a wife.

anyone else want to get on board?

Dec 15, 2005

appliance update...

for those of you that i'm sure were waiting with bated breath.

the plumber actually came today.

and guess what? he doesn't fix dishwashers.

dishwasher drainage is an appliance problem, not a plumbing problem (which i somewhat suspected).


i'm lazy. i'm washing dishes by hand and i don't like it.

stay tuned...

in other news....

heard in the news about the "Lucky 7" here in the O.C.? they won the big Mega Million jackpot. $315 million.

thatsa lotsa moolah.

well, now there's a guy who says he's played lotto with this group before, but he was off work the day they bought their lucky ticket. so, of course, this guy is suing for a piece of the action.

according to the L7's, he hasn't played with them in over a year. and if he wasn't there at work the day they bought the ticket, well, to quote one of the winners "that's the way the cookies crumble."

kinda havta agree. unless you have a standing agreement with your lotto group, if you snooze, you lose.

but i'd sure be kicking myself in the bum for the next 40 years if i missed an opportunity like $315 million.

Dec 14, 2005

tis' the season to lose your mind....

i mean, really.

was Ebenezer Scrooge so wrong?

maligned...misunderstood...misjudged...miss congeniality.

sorry. had to do that one.

i so love Christmas. the feeling the season brings...that there really could be peace on earth & goodwill to all.

the lights.

the sounds.

the music.

the shopping.

oh merciful heaven, deliver me from shopping.

it sucks. it blows. it's enough to drive even the most stout-hearted amonst us mad.

so if i had a chance, i wouldn't do it. well, except for shopping for the kids in our lives.

that's what puts it in to perspective for me. it's what i try to remember while i'm working on that bald spot in the back of my head, and the twitch in my eye gets worse.

tis the season. bah, humbug.

on to other news....

* the dishwasher is STILL broken with no word on when it will get fixed.

* i bought some paint cans & am playing with altering them.

* rented "Mr & Mrs Smith" love, love, LOVE this movie. say what you will about the whole Brad/Angelina/Jennifer trinity, this movie is fall-down funny. Angelina's character is soooo much smarter than Brad's, and that drives Brad's character absolutly bonkers.
B & i saw it in the theater (an unsusal move for us...both our work schedules makes that rather prohibitive) and laughed our asses off, while they stayed firmly planted on the edge of our tacky theater seats.

"you still alive, baby?"

only ten more shopping days. bah, humbug.

Dec 13, 2005

mechanical fun...

absolutely LOVE mechanics.

no, not the repairers, the actual inner-workings of all things mechanical.

y' that need fixing...(which mine doesn't, knock wood)
...lights that burn out...
...dishwashers that flood the kitchen....
...stopped up - wait.

go back to that third one.

dishwashers that flood the kitchen.

that was us last night.

dinner was done. dishes brought in to kitchen when i saw a BOATLOAD of foam on the floor, and a nice waterfall spewing from the bottom of our dishwasher.

there was a string of profanties from me (well, OK, just one, but it was the BIG ONE). and a request for towels (the mop just wasn't cutting it). once everything was dried up, and the water bailed out of the bottom of the dishwasher, B tried to see what was going on with it.

apparently something is clogging the drain. so today, we call the assistant manager.

ah, the joy of apartment living.

well, actually, i don't have a problem with that. i LOVE the fact that if something breaks down, it's someone else's problem to fix, not mine.


at my complex, it's, well...complex.

the actual managers don't actually live here. it's a married couple, a little younger than us, but live up in northern California, where she either manages or owns a fitness center. so, the assistant managers (who by all accounts are the real managers) are in charge.

here's where it gets bizarre.

the assistant managers are an older couple. she was always doing everything. sweeping, handling problems, working her ass off. seriously. he sat on his ass. rumor has it that by noon, he was smashed. he always called B "babe."


she passed away last month. hadn't been well for about a year. she was a good person, not only for working, but in her soul.

not much to say about him.

but today, we'll try to get ahold of him before he's too snockered.

i don't need another flood.

Dec 10, 2005

steppin' out of my comfort zone...

one thing i will miss, when i go back to work, is being able to craft as long as i want.

such a chick thing. usually not in my makeup.

but i'm loving it.

made the box for everyone in my workgroup, embossed in front, tied with ribbon, made lightbulbs from Sizzix...filled 'em with candy.

the tag is also from Sizzix, paper pieced a snowman together, attached to a tag cut from tagboard, painted & even though you can't see it, sanded the edges for a distressed look. this is for the Sizzix Masterpiece contest. this is SO out of my comfort zone, entering a contest.

lastly, made some gift card holders. some for me, some for my mom.

not shown, but still big on my mind...i've entered Scrapworks' design team contest.

not sure why (ego, probably), but lately i've been feeling that what i've been doing is as good as what i've seen in CK or SS magazines.

i know this doesn't matter to many, but i'm just so damn proud of myself. stepping out of my comfort zone is pretty bloody big. especially for me.

of course, it would be soooooooooooooooo cool if i did win any of them. of course, i know the chances are probably not in my favor.

but i'll never know unless i try. and it's true that i could fail. but it's better to love & lost than never to have loved at all, right?

i'll keep you posted.

too many people, but it's OK...

WAY too many people at my Favorite Place on was wall-to-wall people & they eventually closed the Park for a while.

doesn't matter. i love these two kids. J was our flower girl, her brother, C, was only seven months old when we got married.

it's not ego when i say, they love me, too.

i thank God for them in our lives. i thank God that Kristie shares them with us.

Dec 9, 2005

WHAT is WRONG with ME?!

i have done nothing but sleep all day.


i woke up about 7:30 this a.m....turned on the news...

and fell asleep.

woke up about 9-ish....

fell asleep again.

B came home from the Friday a.m. meeting @ his work. we had lunch. he left to head to work.

fell asleep again.

woke up about an hour ago.

i don't feel sick. just tired.

completely wiped out.

but for some reason, i want steak.

"eat beef, eat beef, eat a big ol' steer..."

need to recover...and quick.

maybe this is God's way of having me rest up before the big Disneyland day.

time for a nap.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dec 8, 2005

the three f's

not those f words.


found this on Cyn's page...a friend reminded her of the three F's: friends, family, faith.

it reminded me, too.

sometimes, well - most of the time, especially during this time of year, i feel completely alone.

doesn't everyone at some point?

but i feel like i'm the only one who can possibly shop for presents, for food, for whatever. to be the only one who can coordinate family get-togethers, wrap, decorate, etc.

the only one who can either make or buy Christmas cards, sign, address, buy stamps, take to the Post Office...

you get the idea. i'm sure you've felt the same way.

friends, family, faith.

so what can pull it all together? well, how about this.

A Charlie Brown Christmas. remember? ol' CB was wondering if there was anyone who could tell him what Christmas is really all about. then Linus recited the passage from Luke...
"...and behold, there was suddenly a Heavenly Host in the heavens, praising God and saying
'Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth; peace - good will towards men.' " Then Linus turns to Charlie Brown & says, simply:

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

perspective. that's what i need.

it doesn't matter to me if you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah, or nothing.

whatever and however you celebrate, what matters is that you have to realize that there's something bigger than you.

tis' the Season. celebrate.


Dec 7, 2005

how to tell you're Irish - a simple test

the following is stolen from Patrick's blog.

comments in italic are my own.

groove on.

1)You will never play professional basketball.
2) You swear very well. (probably too well)
3) At least one of your cousins holds political office.
4) You think you sing very well. (if only they created "American Idol - Senior Edition" after all, i am over 30)
5) You have no idea how to make a long story short (amen, brother, amen)
6) You are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf.
7) There isn't a huge difference between losing your temper and killing someone.
8) Much of your food was boiled.
9) You have never hit your head on the ceiling.
10) You spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling.
11) You're strangely poetic after a few beers.
12) You're, therefore, poetic a lot.
13) You will be punched for no good reason...a lot.
14) Some punches directed at you are legacies from past generations.
15) Your sister will punch you because your brother punched her.
16) Many of your sisters are Catherine, Elizabeth or Mary....and one is Mary Catherine Elizabeth.
17) Someone in your family is incredibly cheap. It is more than likely you. (my lord. it's like you've known me all my life!)
18) You may not know the words, but that doesn't stop you from singing. (duh. see #4)
19) You can't wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start talking.
20) "Irish Stew" is the euphemism for "boiled leftovers from the fridge."
21) You're not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent, you make up for in frequency. (you're not the first to tell me that)
22) There wasn't a huge difference between your last wake and your last keg party.
23) You are, or know someone, named "Murph" (yep. my husband's nom de plume when we go out for dinner. our last name is damn near impossible to get right on the first try)
.24) If you don't know Murph, then you know Mac, if you don't know Murph or Mac, then you know Sully, and you'll probably also know Sully McMurphy.
25) You are genetically incapable of keeping a secret. (true. Christmas & birthday presents are torture for me)
26) Your parents were on a first name basis with everyone at the local emergency room.
27) And last but not least... Being Irish means... your attention span is so short that ... oh, forget it.

now what were we talking about again?

mark your calendars...

i'll be @ Disneyland this Saturday with three of my favorite best friend & her two kids. no "good" rides for me because of my back, but it'll be soooo much fun.

pictures galore & gallons of Christmas spirit. it just flows at Disneyland this time of year.

i love it.

ah, the fun of it all...

in the midst of making ornaments for work, i ran out of ink in my printer. to Office Depot.

i was amazed, walking in - they had a greeter who asked how i was, waited for an answer, then asked what i needed. THEN, she walked me over to the aisle where the cartridges were.

wow. customer service.

then.....i went to a scrapbook store over by my work. this store is notorious for having no customer service...i often say i could fall down dead in an aisle & the girls there would just step over me.

not today.

i was again greeted as i came in, then asked if i needed help finding something.


i honestly didn't know what to say. (and for me, that's something) i stammered out something that had to have made sense, then went to the register.

shockaroo #2 - the girl at the counter was smiling & helpful, too.


sad, huh. that this society is surprised by good customer service...y'know, the way it used to be.

enough of that. i'm starting to sound like my grandmother.

if you scrap, have you checked out The Big Picture Scrapbooking yet? it's gonna be great. beyond great, actually. i cannot wait to sign up for these classes. Donna's class sound beyond incredible!

oh what fun it is!

Dec 6, 2005

good morning, yesterday.....

so i was thinking about my day yesterday...a really good day.

started off by getting a TON of laundry done. saw a crawler on the a.m. news about "...Information Services Directories"

hmmmm...i work for a phone directory company.

oh well. never saw it again.

went to the neurosurgeon. found out that 1) i have a really, really weak back. 2) i HAVE to lose weight this time, or i will just reinjure my back & 3) THIS time there will be a steel rod implanted.


he also truly explained what happened to me. now, if he had done that at our first meeting, i wouldn't have felt like i wanted to beat him for being an insensitive dolt. i won't go into the detail he did, except to say that what happened is a cyst was formed out of the cushioning fluids we all have around our spine. it in turn, pushed against a disk, causing it to herniate & press into the nerve.

we are fearfully & wonderfully made.

so - long story even longer, i'm joining Weight Watchers this weekend. pray for me.

leave the doctor's, decide to stop by work to tell my boss that i won't be back till next year. yep, the doctor has written me out till 01/06. (oh and i FINALLY start PT in two weeks)

get to work & everyone is strangely subdued..even for a Monday.

here's why. remember the news crawler i mentioned earlier? well, that was MY company, and our parent is looking to divest my division.

oh. joy.

needless to say, there was a LOT of scared faces. all i could think was "how ironic..i finally get promoted and this happens." and how typical, for the company to announce something like this right before the Holidays. they've done this before, when we had a lay-off about three years ago. who is thinking when they do this?

i worry. not for myself, but for my friend who's the single mom, making house payments. but, i truly believe, even if the company got sold in January, it would take a year or more to have everything run through Washington to ensure no conflict of interests, etc.

step two for me...take classes. learn Photoshop, InDesign et al.


then Brendan & i drove down to Oceanside/Vista in northern San Diego county. B lived here before we married & it so feels like home to me. had a great lunch of pan-fried lo-mein @ Riceadle (think rice & noodle), then i got to visit my other favorite scrapbook shop, then we had Coldstone for dessert (might as well get it all in now before Saturday).

in spite of it - all in all a good day.

so - 2006 will be a turning point for me. new challenges. new opportunities.

and with any luck, a new wardrobe. in a smaller size.

it's frickin' freezing, Mr. Bigglesworth....


OK - so it's not as cold as say where my two best friends live...Reno & the High Desert here in So. Cal. in Reno there was a frost warning for last night (dang!) and in Hesperia it was 32 degrees @ 8:30 pm, with a low of 14.

that, Gentle Reader, is cold to me.

mind you, when i was in Reno last, and talking to my Mom, she was complaining about how cold it was in Long Beach...the high was 64. phhhhht. wussy.

call me when it starts snowing.

going home, we drove through Donner summit. at one point, it was 32, and the rain coming down was slushy ice when it hit our windshield.

that is TRULY cold.

now, before DoodleBugMom & Becky begin sending me hate mail because they live in truly cold places, remember: i was born & raised in So. Cal. we basically have three seasons: winter, spring & summer. now, when my mom moved here from Oregon some 43 odd years ago, her first winter here was spent laughing at all the natives of California, bitching about "how cold it was." in the northern part of Oregon where she's from, it got cold. snow cold. her first winter she hardly wore a jacket.

that was over by the next winter.

so what does all this have to do with the price of tea? not a bloody thing.

just that i was thinking about how snugger warm i am right my Uggs on, my SuperWarmFuzzyRobe & a flannel quilt made by my mom. oh, and a fire burning in our (gas)fireplace.


Dec 2, 2005

another blast from the past...

so it's Friday night. i should be working on Christmas presents and submittals for a design team i'm trying out for.

but i'm not. i'm watching a slice from my childhood (and my favorite, right next to "A Charlie Brown Christmas": "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town."
(altho' thankfully ABC cut Jessica's solo...i couldn't stand that part & even as a kid felt like it had no place in the program)

i love this show. love, love, love.

what i hate is some of the commercials.

now remember, i'm becoming one of those chicks who cries at (almost) everything. Hallmark commericals? bring out the Kleenix. but, all you have to do is add a Christmas & kid sentiment, and it's all over with.

i'm sure it's because of the whole no kids thing.

have mercy, i'm choking up already.

having been reading Cyn's blog, you may or may not know of her current struggles with infertility. i dropped her a note, just to let her know that God never closes a door without opening a's just that sometimes we're at the wrong door. and although this is the time of year where i positivly ache for a family of our own, i have to remember...

i may be knocking at the wrong door.

all is calm. all is bright.

Dec 1, 2005

and they called it puppy love...

with apologies to Donny.

the newest addition to my sister-in-law's family. a 52 day old golden retreiver puppy named Rocket J. Booster. his new older brother isn't sure what to make of him, but dang is he ever so cute.

i want a puppy. but the Cat would kill me. and the puppy.

ah, puppy love.

ain't it grand?

Nov 30, 2005

i always suspected as much...

OMG...Becky! i'm just as anal-retentive as you!!! No wonder we get along, sistah!!!

tell me how you turned out...

Nov 28, 2005

well, i WOULD be home, but...

Mother Nature had other ideas.

Started snowing this a.m..

No driving for us.

City girl out taking pictures.

I so am from Southern California.


But it's beautiful when it snows in Reno.

Nov 21, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

We regret to announce that Random Thoughts will be on hiatus for a few days to celebrate the roasting of a giant bird.

Be thankful - be safe. Whether you go over the rivers & through the woods, or up the 395.

Have fun. i'll see y'all next week.

Tryptophan Rules!

Nov 20, 2005

i know why i'm still awake...why are you?

so it's almost midnight.

i'm still awake.

charliehorse in my left leg...just enough to let me know it's there & irritating.

went to Toys R Us & dropped about $140 in cash & prizes for the Niece & Nephew's Christmas. i have the feeling Uncle Brendan & Aunt Balerie are going to be HUGE heros this year.

i LOVE toy shopping for kids. love, love, love the feeling that, most of the time, what we get is gonna go over huge.

i remember that with my mom. any gifts she got me, as a kid (with the exception of the non-purchase of the Valerie doll...but that's another blog) just...well, ROCKED.

she was totally cool. every toy she got me was cool.

i wanna be that cool. not that it's soooooooo important to give kids what they want every time, i know it isn't.

i just wanna be the cool auntie that these kids want to spend time with. even though B & i are "old."

my best friend, Kristie, has two of the coolest kids on the planet. J, now 13, was 5 when B & i married; she was our flower girl.

these two kids LOVE Disneyland (knew there was a reason why they rocked!). but, more important to my ego...they LOVE to go to Disneyland with ME.


couldn't figure that out. after all, i'm older than their mom. and in that world, people, that's OLD.

then, one day, Kristie laid it on the table for me. i, according to her kids, was more like a huge kid than an adult.

right on.

as a kid (and even now), i never had much use for most grown-ups. they usually ruined everything. but, time munches on. i grew up.

sort of.

but, Disneyland is still one of my favorite places to go. matter of fact, i'm now thinking of ways i can coerce my husband into going tomorrow...if only for a few hours.

but to realize that these kids would rather go with me, old as i am, to Disneyland than any other adult...


if i can't be that kind of parent, at least i can be that kind of auntie.

life's good.

Nov 18, 2005

Happy Friday

(ah, but every day is a Friday, since i've been off!)

about to head off to the TressTamer, desperately need a cut & color refresher.

not much going on today....OH! i did get a letter from the state disability people; my SS# was (finally) corrected & they have actually shown my wages. could a check be possibly far behind?
keep your fingers crossed. i need to get some Christmas shopping done before we head out for Thanksgiving.

stupid factoid of the day: the can opener was invented 48 years after canned food was introduced.

rock on.

Nov 17, 2005

this is totally cool!

as hard to belive as it may be, i never saw "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" as a kid.

actually never saw a lot of movies as a kid - but i certainly made up for it as an "adult."

so, when i finally did see WW&TCF, i was almost horrified. what a scary-ass movie! Gene Wilder, while beyond insane & brilliant, was the best part of the movie..the rest, i thought, was almost a nightmare.

today, i rented Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. wow. this is a great movie. there's just enough "darkness" in it to keep it still a fantasy, but not nearly as disturbing as WW was to me.

and as for Johnny friend has been in love with him for years...i'm kinda seeing why. not that he's so handsome in this movie, but there's something about the roles he chooses...

what a great movie. i so need this for Christmas.

in other news...

got a letter from SDI today, with a correct SS# and wages. finally.

could a check be far off? stay tuned.

happy, happy, joy, joy.

Nov 16, 2005

if only...

wonder what Santa would do if he got this wish list...

if only...

* i were a size 12

* i could create cards & scrapbook pages like i want

* i could take pictures & write as good as i think i do

* we could have babies

* i didn't need to dye my hair (not that i do...nooooooo)

* i could be an actress (a real one, not a Drama Queen)

* hot fudge sundaes had no calories

* ditto Mexican Brownies

* my marriage was puuurrrrfect

* ditto life

* there really could be Peace on Earth

'nuff said.

wanna play?

seen this traveling around, so i thought i'd give it a shot...enjoy!
(p.s. - if you put this on your blog, let me know - i wanna see your answers!)

2 names you go by:
Val (HATE it, tho')
Valley / Valshmal

2 parts of your heritage:
(which means i'm pale & drunk)

2 things that scare you:
HUGE barking dogs

2 everyday essentials:
Clinique's moisturing gel
Juice City smoothies

2 fave bands/artists:
Garth Brooks
Sheryl Crow

2 favorite songs
ANYTHING on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack
Standing Outside the Fire - Garth Brooks

2 things you want in a relationship (other than true love):
Eagerness to take out the trash and give massages. (amen, Cyn, amen)

2 favorite hobbies:
Duh. (again - thanks, Cyn!)

2 things you want really badly:
to see "Wicked"
kids (well, ain't gonna happen)

2 places you want to go on vacation:

2 things you want to do before you die:
travel to every continent
be a size 10/12

2 ways in which you are a true girl:
love, love, LOVE manicures/pedicures
ditto spa days

2 things you are thinking about right now:
how am i gonna survive a drive to Reno
what am i gonna bring to Reno for Thanksgiving

2 stores you shop at:
2 many scrapbook stores to count (ha!)

2 people guaranteed to make you laugh:
Bill Engvall
George W. (ooh! political smackdown!)

Nov 14, 2005

i'm just so damn proud (sniff)!

took this with my new telephoto lens, too...

one of the eaves @ Disneyland's Main St. Train Station.

Christmas is already here...and i have no shopping done.

bah, humbug!

full moon over Anaheim...

trying out a new lens for my camera today...only wish i could've gotten more detail.

we went to Disneyland for a little bit - i just wanted to try out my new lenses & had such a good time taking pictures.

next stop - Reno & pictures of really cute kids.

Nov 12, 2005

i always suspected as much...

You are Snoopy!"> Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by

Nov 11, 2005

ooooooh - organization!

well, i have traveled over the many points of Buena Park today (OK, i only went to 5 stores) on a Quest: to find index card dividers & Cropper Hopper's vertical paper dividers.

i'm 0 for 2.

i went to Office Depot & Walgreens trying to find the dividers. all i can find are laminated ones or ones with laminated tabs. all i want are dull, boring cardstock ones to try one of the projects in Donna's book. oh well. tomorrow begins again, right?

now for the Cropper Hopper.


no luck there either. and the fine folks at my local Michaels were as helpful as...well...

i sometimes wonder if that's on the job description for these people. not just at Michaels, but anywhere. "whatever you do, as an employee of this store, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES HELP THE CUSTOMER. never mind the fact that their purchases help pay your salary. ignore them and on the occasions when you must help, be as short and as curt as ever."


so, at Office Depot, i found vinyl folders for work orders. 9"x12". so i got them, some labels, and spent about 40 minutes, sitting on the floor (which hurt like hell, believe me) & sorted my papers by colors. i know...i could order them online. but i want 'em, and i want 'em now.

now i feel like my papers really are organized. but i still (surprisingly) have more cardstock than patterned paper.


on to my other rant for the day.

got another letter from the Good People that administer the state disability claims.

it is my firm belief that when Michaels employees leave, they go to state disability offices.

the letter says, again, that i am not eligible for disability because my employer pays my full amount of salary.

no, no, no, no, no. they don't.

i'm only getting 1/2 my salary now. i really could use the rest of my pay.

oh, and did i mention they still have my SS# wrong? bloody hell.

thankfully (only for them) i have between now & Monday to calm myself down.

i realize these are just minor speed bumps. but it's the most absolute frustrating thing. just gives me the worst headache today. it's taken 4 Aleve to feel better.

but it's Friday - and heaven knows i don't want to start the weekend on a bad note.
go out & have some fun this weekend.

and if you see those index card dividers, let me know, willya?

peace out & rock on. : )

why do we create?

so this a.m., i was checking out my myriad of blogs that i love....and i found this on Loni's blog.

the question of the day: why do you create.

there's so many reasons why i think i participate in this insanity called scrapbooking because even though my favorite subject all through school was art, i was told on more than one occasion, to "stick to writing."

unfortunately my writing ain't dat great.

but i digress. again.

i create to fulfill a need in my soul. a need that i cannot get filled from any other source. as a long-time reader of this mindless drivel knows, we don't have kids, so all these albums will end up going to a niece or nephew. that, sometimes, hurts. not that i think that no one but one's children can love scrapbooks created by someone other than their parent, but, well...i guess it's just not the same.

scrapbooking evokes a feeling i can never describe.
the way i feel when a project is complete.
happy, but sad.

but i love the feeling.
to create.
to enjoy.
to be.
that's why i do it.

Nov 10, 2005

for those of a "certain age..."

how many of you remember any of these?

EasyBake/Suzy Homemaker ovens....Crissy & Velvet Dolls...Dawn dolls...klackers..."hi" signs...Knit Magic...Sew Magic...Colorforms...Liddle Kiddles...Jewelry Kiddles...Donny & Marie...Shaun Cassidy...the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries...the DeFranco Family..."Billy, Don't Be A Hero"..."Muskrat Love"..."The Streak"...Saturday Night Live - Bass-o-Matic "mmmm - that's good bass!"...

there's more. but at my advanced age, i don't have the energy to add 'em. it's nap time.

Nov 7, 2005

in case you were interested...

this is one of the albums i'm working on that's from Donna's book...sorry it's a little dark, when i put the flash on, it washed everything out. oh well, you get the idea. Donna's is, of course COMPLETELY better than mine, but i thought this wasn't too bad. thanks for looking & i'd love to hear your critique!

is there a 12-step program for scrappers?

something like..."hi, my name is Valerie & i scrap"?

decided to spend some time tonight cleaning up my corner of the 2nd bedroom.
we have a two bedroom place, and the smaller room is an office/kitty/scrapping room (kitty, because his box is in there. won't fit in the bathroom). so i had worked on a project, then found some papers i had bought but not put away.

40 minutes later...

oh dear Scrapbooking Powers that Be. say it isn't so.

i have 5 of those Cropper Hopper vertical paper holders (for those that don't know they're about 12" high by about 4"wide & they hold scrapbooking papers. for those that don't care, please skip down). three are filled with different colors of patterned paper, one with tall embellishments, letters, etc. one is (after tonight) completely filled with cardstock.

oh dear.

after i whispered "i should never buy paper again," i decided to start on organizing my ribbon & fibers.

i won't even go into what i had.

i had no idea i even had that much.

what is wrong with me? am i that sick, that all i do is buy products & do nothing with them?

OK, not entirely true...i have been working on some little albums stolen from Donna's book.
but mercy...i had NO idea i have this much stuff.

so see, i feel better. step one is admitting i have a problem. step two is trying to stay away from the siren call of Bazzil, Basic Grey, GinerationX & ImaginationStation.

step three is actually using this stuff.

stop me before i buy again. i hear there's a sale at Michaels.

Nov 6, 2005

happy Sunday morning

and welcome to another Lovely Day in Paradise!

or, another Beautiful Day under the Smogberry Trees.

i love Sundays here...even though it's 9:30 a.m., not many are up in the complex, so it's very quiet. the Husband is still in bed (he got home very late..1a.m. from work), and the cat is snuggled on the top (yes, top) of the recliner that i'm sitting in.

yep. life's good.

ooooooooooooooooooooooo. found out yesterday that Donna Downey is coming to teach some classes in Irvine. not until January, but she's coming! i'm so excited, and am counting the days till the store opens up registration. then, baby, i am SO there.

still congested (for those of you following my flu status), but at least i don't feel like walking crud.

oh .....more good news: Disneyland is starting the Christmas season early (i'd say just like the mall, but they started at Halloween)...November 11. it's my favorite time to be at my favorite place...and no one decorates like they do. it always puts me in the seasonal frame of mind...the tree, the decorations, the lights, the music...for whatever reason, it always recharges my batteries & i feel ready to face the insanity of the season head on. maybe i can talk the Husband into taking me..only during the week, though. we could rent another wheelchair, but i'm afraid he'll try to dump me on Main St. like he did last time (crossing the street, and got the wheels caught in the trolly tracks. stopped the chair cold, but i was almost flying!).

may your days be merry & bright.

Nov 5, 2005

where have all my juices gone?

pull your mind out of the gutter.

i refer to my creative juices.

every night this week, i've spent minimum of two hours in the office/scrap/crap room, working on one project or another (certainly not my wedding album, which i should be working on).

but not tonight. for whatever reason, i just can't get it together.

i've measured wrong. ever hear of the old saw: Measure twice, cut once? i'm a big believer.


i've measured wrong. twice. and only found out after i've cut once.


so i limped back into the living room (yes, limped. back ain't cooperating in the Feel
Good Department today). put on The Simpsons season 6 DVD.

have mercy. i'm sick of that, too.

can't be that i have cabin fever. i still am snotty (head-wise, not personality. but some would say that i am that, as well). feel kinda puny.

i don't wanna go out, but i can't stay here.


ah well, i'll try it again. head on back in & put on Disco Saturday Night on the local radio dial.

maybe i can boogie my way into creativeness. peace out.

Nov 3, 2005

getting sentimental..again.

for some reason, i started thinking about more icons of my childhood gone forever.

anyone remember Japanese Village & Deer Park in Buena Park? i remember thinking it was so cool to get a pearl AND feed deer.

what about Santa's Village up near Big Bear? i remember getting lost in the hall of mirrors.

Marineland in Palos Verdes? i remember going with my mom & grandma and spending untold dimes riding on this huge slide. sheesh. the thought of climing up those stairs again puts my back in a spasm.

the original Pike in Long Beach? sorry, can't help you there. living with my great auntie as a child, i wasn't allowed to go there. her thought was that i was going to get stuck with a needle & become a heroin addict. (yes, she did live in a strange world)

so many memories.

hmmm....this ain't right...

it's not bad enough that my back hurts...but now i'm sick.


got a lovely case of the legs ache & i'm completely full of snot. gotta love it.

on the other hand.....
a friend at work emailed me photos from Halloween @ work. i would never have recognized some of the folks on our management team!

last year i went as Britney after a blonde wig, a pair of hip huggers & a cig. fat Britney. total trailer trash. hey, i won most humorous costume. this year i could've been Miss Frankenback.

speaking of...the scar is still nasty looking. called the doctor the other day because it was really red (call me paranoid...but never having had back surgery before...) and they calmed me down. then the mail came in & i was told by the State of California's Glorious Employment Development Department that i was ineligible for state disability benefits. why? certainly not because i've been at my job for 18 years....

because the EDD typed my social security number in wrong.

isn't that nice?

so, after a short 40 minutes on the phone, it got straightened out...but will take 7-10 business days to do so.

so frustrating. i'm rather easily stressed these days, so this bothers the beejeebers outta me.

on the bright side...

tuesday i spent most of the night in the craft/office working on a project i found in Donna Downey's "Yes, It's a Scrapbook!" book. i love that book. i love her. her ideas are totally cool...and she's actually emailed me in answer to some of my comments on her blog.

she's very cool.

and the project (a mini album made out of old cd's) i thought turned out really cool. i'll post a picture tomorrow.

time for Typhoid Mary Frankenback to go to sleep. peace out.

Nov 1, 2005

it's the end of an era...sort of.

another relic of my childhood, down the tubes.

Movieland Wax Museum opened May 1962...same time i did. i remember it being a part of my mom, God bless her, would use an entire week of vacation taking me to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Japanese Village & Deer Park and Movieland.

last time i remember going was back in the 70's. i remember an attraction called The Black Box. don't remember for sure what all it entailed, but the commercial always made me was a girl named Rosemary Kabbibbe and the tag line was "The lights are on, but nobody's home."

oh for the memories.

B wanted to go on Sunday, but the line to buy tickets was going around the building. i don't think so. so we shot for Monday, which was better.

it was still crowded, but not as bad as Sunday would've been. took about 2 hrs to go through the entire exhibits. took pictures of every single figure...

made me sad. not that this was such a killer attraction, and if you saw some of the figures, oy.
you could tell that some were 43 years old. dang. i looked better than some of 'em. i guess i'm sad because i just feel old. places i wanted to show my niece & nephew are gone or going.

but every generation has to have their Sacred Places, i guess. one day, some generations will mourn the loss of Vans' Skate Park.

i guess.

Oct 28, 2005

anyone got a copy of Blogging for Dummies?

I so need it. i keep seeing other blogs that are SO much better than mine, but can i figure out the commands to do that?


oh, went to the doctor today. they took out the staples.

except that they weren't staples. they were suters.


dammit all. that hurt more than any pain i had after the surgery!

but on the bright side, i don't have the maxi-pad of a bandage on my back.

i asked the PA (all the doctors were out) if i could see it before she took 'em out. for whatever reason, she wouldn't show me. maybe she thought i would throw up. does she not realize i like watching (most) surgeries on TV?

so the suters are out, and surgi-strips are on.

which means again: no shower for 24 hours.

what the hell?!

oh well, what's one more day.

at least then i can start walking more...i want to head off to the track at the college to do some walking. i want to really try & lose some weight this time, so when i do go back to work, everyone says "wow!"

oh yeah, and for my health, blah, blah, blah.

so i guess i need Blogging for Dummies & Losing Weight for Lazy Dummies.

peace out.

Oct 26, 2005

i can't wait!

now that i've whined about the husband....

i won a set of lenses for my digital camera on ebay! a wide-angle & a telephoto. i absolutely cannot wait till they get here!

my only worry...the seller is on the East Coast of Florida. i sent her an email yesterday, not necessarily because of my goodies, but i was worried that she sustained heavy damage. hopefully not.

i have another friend who lives outside Cape Canaveral...they survived Wilma with only a few extra loads of towels & some trash & palm fronds on their lawn. Jules, from the CKMB still is without power...yikes. phone service, but no power. does that make sense?

i cannot wait to get these new'll give me something new to play with!

and i'm grateful to God that that's the only thing i have to worry about.

does anyone understand guys?

i'm looking for guidance.

B made an appointment with the dentist for 9 a.m. he calls me at 10:30, and is there still. found out he needs two crowns & a deep cleaning. so he decided to do half of the cleaning & one of the crowns today.

what th'....?

i don't get it! if it isn't manditory that you do it immediately, why not wait? he still has to go to work today; i might have planned to do it on his day off, but that's me.

so great. now i have to worry about him driving home after all that.

why do men do what they do?

and for purely selfish reasons, this ain't gonna be pretty on the ol' budget. granted, with insurance, my surgery won't cost us much, but if i am off till next year, i worry how that could effect my pay, if STD or the State decide not to pay for the additional time off.

oh brother.

the silver lining, is that the Dentist told B he wouldn't bill him till next year...thankfully that will make it smoother on insurance, and B can up his FRP to pay for it.

but sheesh. what was he thinking?

the world may never know

Oct 25, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Baby...Gotcha on my Miiii-nddd

(you know i'm old when i quote songs from the late 70's)

Brendan -
Eight years ago today, we said i do.
Eight years later, i still will.
In spite of the pain.
In spite of the infertility issues.
In spite of the every day boredom of married life.
I would do it again...but only if i can do it with you.

I love you baby. Thanks for being my rock. Thanks for being you.

Oct 24, 2005

well, nobody told me about THIS.

what do you do when you start to feel better but can't do anything about it?

my back feels better. i want to do a little more (not much, i know) but my body won't let me do much of anything. now, add some PMS to the mix...

bloody hell.

the Husband is at Blockbuster now getting videos. there is absolutely NOTHING on TV during daytime.

i know it'll get better after i get the stitches out. i'll be able to move & escape this place.

but in the meantime...

save me from myself!

Oct 23, 2005

did this before i went into the hospital

it's my niece & newphew @ Christmas last year. i was playing around with some filters & effects in PictureIt! just for fun.

i like drugs...oh yes i dooooooooooooooo

again. not having that much pain, but i do feel so much more relaxed. occasionally i get this weird sensation...not exactly pain, but not comfortable, either. i'm still so amazed that a) there's no pain in my leg any more and b) how good i really do feel. but before you start lecturing, i'm taking it VERY EASY.

on the home front, last night was B's first night back at work since the surgery. i went between "whoopee!" and "ohdeargodinheavenwhatthehellamithinking?!" but it went really well...
Elvis the Wunderkat has stayed in my lap most of the time. he's a good kitty (in spite of what my mom says). i am lucky.

well, yesterday afternoon, i woke up from one of my many naps to someone knocking at our door. i look out the peephole (yes, it did take about a year to get up!) to see my downstairs neighbor, here to check on me & to bring a pizza from Domino's.

not a leftover pizza. a whole pizza.


i didn't tell him i haven't been eating a whole lot of solid foods, been pretty much sticking with jello, broth & juices. (WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU DON"T WANT THAT MUCH INFO!) the thought of straining at the pot just scares the beejeebers outta me.

well...after listening to the pizza call me with it's sirine song, i finally said the hell with it.

i ate two pieces.

i may pay for it today (but maybe not, i took a Colace), but lordy was it good.

don't worry, i was really good this a.m. i ate a piece of toast with jello.

food? eh. it doesn't interest me right now. which will be good for the diet.

i just cannot wait till they remove the staples. and i can take a shower.

that's way better than pizza.

Oct 21, 2005

good, good. surprisingly good!

I'm amazed how good i feel.

Had the surgery Wednesday. Turned out i not only had a herniated disk, but also a cyst on the disk that they had to remove. So now i'm paranoid about screwing things up, because if i do, it's back to the hospital, flat on my chest for a week while they drain the cyst.

But i digress.

Surgery went pretty dang smoothly. And again, i'm surprised how good i feel! Not much pain, and there's no pain at all in my right leg (where i had all the pain before). I also got these huge thigh-highs to help combat blood clots.

Again, i digress.

So far the diet has consisted of broth, jello and Popscicles. Yum. Oh well, doing anything other than peeing would hurt like hell.

The roommate was OK. She was an older woman who had a gallbladder surgery, and was nice to talk to, but wasn't very nice ( i thought) to the staff. Never said "please" or "thank you" to any of the nurses or staff there. I didn't think that was nice...these people work hard to be kind to people at some of the worst times of their lives. A kind word goes a l-o-n-g way, right?

Behold - the Queen of Digress!

Got home about 5pm yesterday and have been in our recliner ever since.

Brendan has been quite patient...he usually isn't the nursey type...his usual M.O. is to "throw some dirt on it, and get back in the game." But he's been really good, getting me jello, water, whatever i need. He even though enough to go to the medical supply store & rent a walker (for support when i do get out of the recliner) & a potty booster (do i need to explain that?).

He also got paperwork i need from the doctor today to send to the company that administers our STD. Took a look and imagine my surprise when i saw the date to return to work. 12/30/05.


Yikes. i wasn't expecting that. Minimum 6 weeks, possibly 8. But December 30th?

(although it would help with my Christmas shopping)

guess i'll just have to wait & see.

So thanks for your prayers, good thoughts & karma. Keep 'em coming. Moving up & down sucks big time (as you can imagine).

See you soon...

Oct 18, 2005

Can you believe it's finally here?

I can't.

I can't believe that by this time tomorrow night, this whole nightmare with my back will - hopefully - be over.


I check in the hospital @ 6a.m. tomorrow; surgery is scheduled for 7:30a.m.


Here's the "fun" part of my day today. I had my pre-op tests yesterday & was told to call today between 1-4pm for the final time for my surgery. So i call.

My name is not on the surgery roster.

What the...

Nope. I'm not on the list for surgery. "Call us after 3" they say.

I call again. Nope. No one knows anything.

Am i cursed? I really need to NOT have this kind of stress. Sheesh.

So i called my doctor after calling the hospital AGAIN.

The doctors office apologizes most profusly. They also acknowledge that this kind of stress i don't need. But i am scheduled for tomorrow @ 7:30a.m.

No doubt.

So, by this time tomorrow i'll be vicadened outta my gourd & won't care a fig about anything.

Except that it's over.

I'll be back in a few weeks. Peace out!

Oct 14, 2005

what am i doing?

(we interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for this mindless rant)

what am i thinking, having back surgery?! why am i allowing a total stranger to cut into my spine? why is it so bloody important to not be in pain? i have vicaden! there are drugs that can and mostly do help!

so why am i doing this?

i hate vicaden. i hate pain. i have nerve damage (not that this will fix that). this back thing is affecting other parts of my body, that i won't get in to. why am i doing this?

i want to feel normal. i want to feel like i did before May '04, which is when i originally injured it.

but i want it over. there's nothing that can happen to me that i haven't already dreamed of.

let the games begin.
(we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.)

Happy Friday

It's the last weekend before surgery. And i've noticed i'm SUPER cranky & short with everyone.
Even though i don't feel anxious, apparently i am. Wigged out a little last night, crying, etc.

I just want it over with, but i don't want to do it, either.


On to more depressing subjects...if you're in the LA area, you've probably heard about the USC student who allegedly gave birth, then left the baby in the dumpster to die. This isn't helping my mood at all.

I believe in God. I truly believe there's a Higher Plan for everyone's life, and that some day, when we go to Heaven, it will all become clear.


i fail to see the Big Picture right now. How can it be that i am not allowed to have a baby, when this child would have a good & loving home, and this chick can leave her baby to die.

I just don't get it. I'm angry. Angry & hurt. I just don't get it.

And probably never will.

Have a great weekend everyone....make a difference in someone's life today!

Oct 10, 2005

blah, blah, blah.

Hmmm. Didn't think it had been as long as it has since I last posted.

What to talk about?

Probably nothing.

Surgery next week.

Cat meowing at all hours. Won't let me sleep.

Work, work, work.

Good dinner tonight. Husband made carne asada, I made spanish rice & heated some refried beans. Yum.

It's the bottom of the 8th. Angels are STILL ahead. Go Anaheim. (yes, Anaheim. don't give me this crap that they are the Los Angeles Angels. LA's got their own team. The Angels are ours. Anaheim.)

Thinking about submitting a layout to a magazine. Can't decide whether to send it to Scrapbooks, Etc or Simple Scrapbooks.

Yesterday, the Husband & I drove down to San Diego for the day. So cool. I love San Diego.
He got back Saturday from Michigan. His best friend's mom passed away two weeks ago. She was a second mom to Brendan, and a really wonderful woman. I'll miss her & her wonderful energy.

Once again, a lot of nothing about nothing.

May all your Mondays be bright.

Oct 1, 2005

Recipe time

OK - Julia Child i'm not. Alton Brown i am most definately not. But i do like to cook.

And after finding a killer chicken curry recipe on Cathy's blog, i thought it only fair i share my most favorite, absolutely killer recipe for:

Mexican Brownies.

(stop. they have cinnamon in 'em. not anything else)


DISCLAIMER: These Are Not For The Dieter. These Are Full-Blooded, Calorie-Laden Bits Of Goodness From The Chocolate Godesses.

Mexican Brownies

1 stick margarine
5 tbs cocoa
1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup water

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

1 stick margarine
5 tbs milk
4 tbs cocoa
1 entire box of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine margarine, cocoa, Crisco & 1 cup water - bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine flour & sugar. Stir well, then slowly pour hot mixture over flour/sugar combo & mix well. Add buttermilk, cinnamon, baking soda, eggs, vanilla & salt. Mix well, pour into a 9x13 (or bigger) pan. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Let cool for 20 minutes. While cooling, combine first 3 ingredients of frosting, after margarine has melted, add vanilla & powdered sugar - mix well till smooth (i use my hand mixer, it really works well & i get to lick the beaters!), then pour over brownies.

Let cool completely, get out the cold milk & enjoy.

boo, dammit.

that's the punchline from one of my favorite, sort of naughty jokes.

here's the Readers' Digest condensed version.
a recently married couple are on their way to their hotel for their honeymoon night. as they drive, they see two dogs doing...well, what a boy & girl dog will do (again, people, please spay & neuter your pets). the new bride, being a naive sort, asks hubby what they are doing. he responds that the boy dog is scaring the girl dog. after a minute or so, our lovely bride says "honey will you scare me like that?" "sure!" he responds enthusiastically, pulls over & they have at it.

several minutes later, the blushing bride asks her husband to scare her again. "OK" he responds, but less enthusiastically. they pull over again.

fifteen minutes goes by, as they continue to drive down the road. once again, the bride says "honey, scare me again!" exhausted, her husband turns to her and says, "boo, dammit."

i'm not looking to be scared right now. i'm about to rant.

we live across the street from Knott's Berry Farm, a really cool little amusement park here in So. Cal. B & i got married there (they have the coolest little church that was built in the early 20th century {still seems weird to say "early 20th century}) and had our reception there.

every October, they turn the park into Knott's Scary Farm. the Halloween Haunt is, without a doubt, the scariest Halloween party around. they creep out the rides, they have people in the rides just jump out at you. they have mazes. the place will scare the beejeebeers outta you.

B & i used to go, until about two years ago, when we realized we were old enough to be a parent to the average age group. talk about depression. 'sides, he works nights & weekends; makes it difficult to go. and i'm too chicken to go by myself.

my rant is that we are so close, it blows trying to get anywhere around Knott's.

we have a few favorite restaurants on the other side of the park. traffic gets soooooooooooo bad, a 5 minute drive has taken 30 minutes. ugggh.

so, it's simple, i guess. don't go anywhere near the park on Thursday-Sunday.

boo, dammit.

Sep 30, 2005


Or, Confessions of an Obsessed Woman.

Went online again last night, looking for more info about the upcoming back surgery.

Like i've posted earlier, although it's been hotternhell here in So. Cal. (and the whole bloody state is about to burn up), the great thing about my vacation week is that i haven't taken any pain pills in almost four days.


That, my friends, is sweet.

Back to the obsession.

So i found a website that showed animation of the procedure. It was so amazing...especially the part where they brought out the "chompers" (i'm sure that's the proper medical term) and removed the part of the disk that's herniated.

What i don't get, is that most of the websites i've checked out, describe the surgery as outpatient. My neurosurgeon is keeping me overnight. I'm not complaining; i just wonder why. Different strokes for different folks, i guess.

Then in the mail yesterday, i got a jury duty summons.

Jury duty.


Before i got married, i lived in Long Beach. Every time i got called for jury duty (which was every year) i ALWAYS ended up going to downtown L.A. If you don't think driving that every day was fun...

Well, once the fine folks in Orange County found me, i've traveled from Newport to Santa Ana to Fullerton. At least Fullerton is closer to my home. But this time, i am a call in juror.

Only problem? I start 11/11. Surgery is 10/19. I don't go back to work at the earliest until 11/30.


So i've called & rescheduled for January.

Dang. I better be better by then.

Peace out.

Sep 28, 2005

just not in the mood

for anything.

i just don't want to do anything. first off, it's been really hot here. today, at one point, it was 107. yuck.

secondly, i really thought i would be doing a lot of scrapping. not a bit. haven't even walked in the room, except to clean Elvis' box. woo-hoo.

third, i woke up this a.m. feeling like crud. sore throat. bit of a headcold. went out to breakfast with B...that didn't even help. napped a bit this afternoon. still feel tired.

but, and this is a REALLY GOOD THING, i haven't taken a vicaden in the last two days.

that is something to celebrate.

B goes to the doctor tomorrow - he'll take a look at B's finger & see how it's doing. he still complains about how his chest hurts. no pain with the finger, just the chest. thankfully he didn't crack any ribs on his death-defying stunt.

i'm bummed i've only got two more days off. i've never felt more exhausted.

i guess i need a vacation.

Sep 26, 2005

the best laid plans...

oft' go to hell in a handbasket.

I'm home right now. I should be in Mexico, drinking beer & eating lobster.

But nooooooooooooo.

It's Saturday night. B & i are up in Hesperia, at our friends. We have eaten steak (yum), seen fireworks & are gathering in the living room for a yak fest.

And here's where it goes to hell in a handbasket.

Someone comes running in, saying something that sounds like "your husband broke his finger."

Broken finger? Brendan? Nahhh.

Here he comes, his face the color of concrete. My friend's mom, another Valerie, is behind him. He has a towel over his hand, and i see blood.

Blood. Not good.

So, believe it or not, i MAKE him sit down. He was just standing there. So i pulled back the towel and thought, "hey, this doesn't look too bad."

Then he turned his hand over.

(here comes the gross part)

There's a laceration about 1/2 long, and deep. How deep? Deep enough so i can see his bone.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To The Hospital We Go.

I won't give a blow by blow of all 5 hours there in Emergency. Sufficed it to say he got 5 stitches, and luckily, didn't break it, only dislocated it. One or two good pulls by a cute blonde PA and he was good to go. Literally. A tetanus shot & antibiotics followed.

So needless to say, we decided against Mexico.

But how did this happen? My darling, wonderful, usually intelligent husband decided he was going to ride TWO Razor scooters at once. Hit a rock. Down you fall.


If there's a lesson to learn (and there is), it's don't think you're Evel Knevel at 45. It ain't gonna happen. All you'll get is a trip to emergency.

And 5 stitches.

Sep 23, 2005

Just a few more hours

and i'll be right home to you.

(with many apologies to KISS & "Beth")

In roughly 9 3/4 hours, i will be on vacation.


No real plans. Husband is off Sunday & Monday normally. He's actually taken off Saturday so we can go to a BBQ thrown by dear friends of ours. What we may do afterwards is still up in the air..Temecula casino & winery? Puerto Nuevo, Mexico? San Diego?
Let's face it, closer may win. With gas prices the way they are now, even a closer trip could cost as much as a long trip.

In some ways, i'm really bummed. Having married a man who has travelled & loves to do so (goody for me!), i've travelled more in our marriage than in my entire life to that point. No kidding.

I've always looked forward to our vacations. We discuss, discuss, discuss. Final plans are made, along with reservations. And then in October, we're off for another week's adventure.

Not this year. Not with the surgery.

But no more surgery talk here.

I'm on vacation. See ya in a week.

Sep 22, 2005

irrevelant facts

1) i have a square freckle

2) i love baseball

3) i always wanted to be a writer

4) when i was very little, i wanted a younger brother or sister. i would re-invented myself as Tommy (or Valerie. depended on my mood)

5) i'm 43. i still love PopTarts, Lucky Charms & Spaghetti-O's

6) my favorite candy bar EVER was a Marathon bar , it was a foot long braded chocolate covered dee-lite

7) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation & Mythbusters are two of my favorite shows

8) as a kid, i won a contest for two years in a row that made me Queen of the Circus

9) as Queen of said circus, i met Mel Torme

10) Brendan & i were each contestants on To Tell The Truth. we both fooled most everyone

11) as a frustrated writer, i would create screenplays. i probably still have them in storage

12) i took ballet lessons for about 5 years, and piano lessons for 13 years

13) still can't dance, don't play well

14) i HATE reality TV (i know, i'm weird)

15) i love reading

16) i love scrapbooking

17) i still enjoy counted cross stitch (even though i scrap more)

18) i have had an annual pass for Disneyland for most of my 30's. i just renewed it this year after a (almost) 3 year absence

19) i met both my best friend & my husband at Disneyland (actually, Husband & i had our first date..a BLIND Disneyland)

20) i want to be Jimmy Buffet. i want to live on an island & have my life be one long vacation.

21) on my 21st birthday, i DID NOT GET CARDED. first time to buy legal beer, and didn't get carded. dang.

22) in high school i was listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students

23) i have 5 newphews, 4 neices, 1 each great newphew & neice (this with no blood siblings)

24) i had 10 pen pals in 6th grade

25) when i finally met a pen pal, i got so excited i fainted

26) i love James Bond movies

27) i would love to be a hermit (with some access to shopping, scrapbook stores, and beer)

28) at 11, i cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner by myself from scratch

28) i didn't travel outside of California until after i got married

29) in high school, i was a staff writer for the newspaper for the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls

30) i can't wait to visit Hawaii

31) as a kid, i practically had every Barbie & Barbie product known to man (or girl) kind

32) Your Message Here

33) favorite ice cream ever: Haagen Daas vanilla

34) i have been in love with Donny Osmond since i was 12 (my husband knows. he doesn't care)

35) my age when we got married

36) my current favorite place on the planet is Catalina Island

37) favorite color: colbolt blue

38) my favorite jewelry is silver

39) favorite things to wear: capris & tees

40) when i got my dream car...a Blazer (cuz i can't afford a BMW 325i)

41) the age when i realized i would never get pregnant

42) i also love Alton Brown of Good Eats

43) my best age right now. (sorry, Oprah)

Sep 21, 2005

Just a few more days...

...and i'm on vacation for a whole week.

(see? even my cat is excited)

i originally had the week planned for Thanksgiving, but with the surgery, not sure how i'm gonna feel about a l-o-n-g road trip to Reno & my sister-in-law's.

At my work, for as long as i've been there, i get about 5 weeks off. It's a very good thing. Just a pain to carry it over to the next year & use it by June..or lose it.

So i've decided to take off time before the surgery & try to relax. I even talked the husband into taking an extra day so we can do something. Anything. San Diego. Mexico.
Hey, i'll even take a trip to the Morongo Casino in Palm Springs.

I'm channeling the Go-Go's now...Vacation's all i ever wanted.
A week of fun, scrapping & whatever.

Sep 20, 2005

It's 1984...Again.

I'm having such an 80's moment. I've been hooked, line & sinkered into "Red Dawn."

Remember that movie? Yep, the first time Patrick Swazey & Jennifer Gray were in a film together (and you thought it was "Dirty Dancing").

This movie is completely hokey. And so filled with propaganda, being that it was in the middle of the Cold War. Yay America, Boo Everyone Else. That was the entire message (?) of that movie.

I remember seeing it for the first time in the theater, and being completely terrified that the movie's premise would actually happen. That we would be invaded by the communists.

What a dork i was back then...barely in my 20's. Hey, to me, "The Day After" was a news broadcast, not a made-for-TV movie.

Well, i'm older, but probably not much smarter.

Hey, at least i don't believe everything i read. Or see on TV.

California Dreamin'....

...on such a weird daaaaayyyyy

Ok so no one is gonna mistake me for either a Mama or a Papa. I can dream.

As any of you Southern Californians (and last night) was Totally Weird Weather. Well, weird for here, anyways.

Thunder. Lightning. Rain.

Really, no big thing.

Unless you live here in So. Cal.

Weather, real weather, is almost unheard of here. Hey, when you can be wearing shorts on most Christmas', weather just really isn't a priority. Or an inconvenience.

And in comparison to what's going on in New Orleans & now the Keys, this is nothing.

But people (especially where i work) totally freaked today. Every crash of thunder, especially the big ones, made everyone bob up like prairie dogs. It made me laugh after awhile.

I wonder what they would do if they had to live through Katrina.

Sep 19, 2005

30 Days Hath September...

and in exactly one month from day, hopefully, my back ordeal will be over. i'm scheduled for the microlumbar diskectomy @ 7:30am on 10/19. and while I'm thrilled beyond words at the thought of being pain-free, the thought of someone cutting into my spine....uuugggghhhhh.

i've been doing research on the surgery...takes about an hour, i could go home that day (but i know i won't). physical therapy possibly 3x a week. time off work: 6-8 weeks.

wow. never been off that long. it'll be weird (once i start feeling better) to be at home.

I'm scared. my mind is playing with all the "what ifs": what if I'm off longer...what if something goes wrong....what if i get an infection....

what if.

now logically, i know. i know what the odds are, and how good the outcome should be. this surgery has a 95% success rate. that's pretty good, i think.

it's just that, like the rest of you, i hate the unknown.

i just want it done.

and no more what if's

Sep 18, 2005

i need a nap.

can't though.

one of my (many) "things", is if i fall asleep after 3pm, i can't sleep at night.

and i'm not sleeping all that great at night, either. too much stress about the back surgery (four weeks and one day and counting). i know it's a good thing, and i'll be better off afterwards, but just getting here....mercy, mercy, mercy.

but today is different. i'm wiped out. up too late (didn't get home till after 1am...that' LATE for me!). went with some girlfriends to the Martini Blues, a dinner/bar/place - two stages. we have a contractor at work in a band, so we checked them out. you can, too....The Undecided in a word: they ROCKED! Deborah is the lead singer (and our contractor)...her voice is what would happen if Bonnie Raitt & Melissa Ethridge had a love child. sooooooooo soulful. gritty. but tender & longing when needed.

i'm a baby. i was up way too late. i like my sleep.

but it was fun hanging out with my friends. it was way cool listening to a band crank out some tasty tunes.

Sep 17, 2005

it's too bloody early

i really need to get a wiggle on...gotta be at work @ 6 & haven't showered.

and although i HATE getting up early, there's something so soothing about being up @ 4:30 on a Saturday, (which is when i got up) and no one else is up. the entire complex is silent. makes me feel like i'm the only one here...which is a pretty good feeling.

which brings me to my desert island theory.

the more i see of "society" here in southern California, the more i want my own desert island. or my own mountain.

oh sure, i'd miss people....eventually. but i just get tired of it all, and of "them" out there, i guess.

it's one of the things i do like about B's current shift...i get lots of "me" time.

nice, nice, nice.

but now, it's off to work & deal with "them."


Sep 16, 2005

i'm too #%@*!$ old for this...

allow me to be a pouty girl for just a few minutes....

now, reading over my last post, it does seem like the wrong thing to do...whining about trivial things when there really are important & horrible things going on in this world, but this is really starting to bug me.

if you've read any of my previous posts (and if you have, you ain't telling me!), you know one of my favorite places to be is the Creating Keepsakes message board. lately's starting to be a drag.

most of the girls that frequent the board are cool. they share your joys & pains & are willing to hear what you have to say. but lately, i've noticed that anytime i post, no one responds. others get tons of responses, but not me.

i realize that sounds whiney. and it is. but i really thought the clique thing ended in junior & high schools.

waaaah. boo hoo.

so suck it up, throw some dirt on it and get back in the game.

i'm just tired of it. play with everyone, or don't play at all. it brings back too many horrible memories of junior high.

thanks for reading this far. it'll get better, i just want it to be better now, not later.

and i never want anyone to feel like an outsider.