Nov 30, 2006

It’s a riddle wrapped in an enigma, topped with chocolaty goodness

I love Christmas. (well, most of the time)
But you know the saying about one bad apple….
Well, I’m the bad apple.

I’m not sure why, but I have this thing about Christmas trees. I love them. I love the smell of them, the feel, the way they bring a little bit of the wilderness into the City Gal’s humble flat.

I’m allergic to ‘em.

Yep, allergic. Like breaking out in hives if I touch them allergic. (I’m also allergic to spores, molds, fungus, cat & dog dander, grass, milk, cow hair {it’s in carpet backing}…
Oh and really strong perfume.

So it’s simple: get an artificial tree.

Can’t do it.

And therein lays the problem.

What’s my deal? They look as good (sometimes better) than the real thing. Some come prelit, there’s half the decorating battle right there. But, being that I also really don’t have any place to store a tree, practically it doesn’t make much sense.
Moot point however, for whatever reason, I cannot bring myself to buy one.

Perhaps I should see a psychologist. I’m sure there’s some deep-rooted fear I have of the damn plastic things…maybe one fell on me (or I fell on it), scarring me for life.

Or maybe I’m just an idiot. You make the call.

Nov 28, 2006

the horror...the horror...

whilst reclining in my swiss cheese peeyamas, i read. i read books, i read magazines, i read blogs.

there's about 35-40 i read daily. most all have families (or work) and on weekends, i go through withdrawls when there's no new blog entries.

today - i was checking out Dooce's daily musings and today's entry involved the Family Dog - Chuck. he managed to escape his Human Oppressors and was missing for awhile before finally found.

and suddenly...i was eight years younger and dating Husband.

until we married, the Husband lived in San Diego county, first in La Mesa, then in Vista. we dated only on weekends, when i would take the train down on Friday nights.

the night we moved him in his new place, my brother in law heard a squalling coming from some bushes. there, suspended on the branches was a small, loud-mouthed black cat, about six weeks old. we checked around, and no one seemed to know the cat or where it belonged.


so now what? the brother in law couldn't take him. i certainly couldn't, my folks already had about four or so cats. the Husband protested that he certainly take the cat, after all he was allergic to cats. with all the sympathy i have, i told him he wasn't allergic and that he needed that cat.

we were at Ralphs @ 1:30 in the morning getting food, water & food bowls and a box. i drove back to the Husband's place, holding that small ball of fur in the palm of my hand, next to my heart, where he slept.

it was love at first sight. for both of us.

fast forward a year. on a Friday, the Husband headed off to work, then off to the train station to pick me up. we went out to dinner and made our plans for the weekend. we walked in to his apartment...

where's the cat?

we searched the place high & low. he was gone.

Brendan & i hunted around the area where the apartment was. we grabbed flashlights and searched in bushes, under cars, everywhere. we even drove over to a school behind the complex, where we ended up chasing a small black cat around for the better part of an hour.

i'm sure that cat is telling his great-grandkittens how one night two insane humans kept calling him Elvis and chasing him with lightsticks.

several hours later, we went home, convinced he was gone forever. never, in my life, have i cried myself to sleep. i did that night.

about midnight, the Husband decided to go out one more time & talk to the security guard to see if he had seen the Furball anywhere. he got over to the shack, when two glowing eyes caught the Husband's attention. he called out the cat's name.

a furry black comet zoomed past him, and up the stairs where he sat at the door, screaming the whole time "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?? DO YOU NOT REALIZE I HAVE BEEN OUTSIDE ALL DAY?! I HAD TO POOP IN THE WILD!!! THE WILD, DO YOU UNDERSTAND!

as best we can figure, when Brendan left for work that morning, Elvis sneaked out behind Brendan, deciding to spend a Big Day Out.

he just didn't realize how long that day would be.
and, of course, the Husband woke me up, with the cat, so i could cry some more.

this Furbaby is my baby. the only one i'm ever gonna have. he's smart. too smart. he knows the doorknob is his key to freedom..he stands up & paws at the doorknob and i know he's thinking "if i can get this dang thing open...FREEDOM IS MINE!"

apparently he's forgotten all about the horror of peeing outdoors.

i know he's just an animal. a pet. but i swear, the day he goes to the Great Cathouse in the Sky will kill me. like my dear April, Cyn and all my other friends who have them, they are our lives.

and even when he bites me on the ankle, when he snuggles with me...even when he's sitting on my lap, looking over my shoulder with a look on his furry face that convinces me that a knife-welding ax murder is behind me, waiting to do me in.

i wouldn't have him any other way.

Nov 27, 2006

just hangin' in my pee-yamas.

the Husband laughs, but my idea of comfy is getting in my pee-yamas (read: pyjamas. it's how my husband pronounces it, has for years).

sweats are good, but for all-out comfort, nothing for me beats getting in my oh-so-comfy nightclothes, and throwing on a pair of Uggs boots. and if it's really cold (OK - cold for California), throw on a robe.

the Husband, however, derides my choice of nighttime attire.

i do believe that most guys have this fantasy of us girls in poofy, foofy, black lacy, two inches wide pieces of nothing.

i, however, prefer nightshirts, shorts, tops & pants made out of jersey.


my favorite, is a t-shirt & short set. i got it from my best friend for my bridal shower nine years ago.

what can i say. i have a weakness for the classics.

these things looks like hell. i mean, if i were to wear them in public, i would probably start getting spare change from passers-by. there are holes everywhere. Husband says they look like Swiss cheese. i say they're aero-dynamic.

it's not to say i don't have pretty nighties. i do...and have actually worn them. however, since Brendan has been working night, then swing shifts, i've gone to bed by myself. and selfishly, i dress for me. and if i were any comfier, it'd be illegal.

marriage, they say, is give & take. it's all about the compromise. some days you're in charge, some days your mate is.

i, however, will always be in charge of my pee-yamas.

Nov 24, 2006


as Christmas card...and my cat going nutso over my shoe.

it's best not to ask too many questions.

the inside of the card is "may your season be merry"

the rumors are true.

tryptophan really does work.

yesterday, we went to my mom's...bringing dinner from Knott's of course. (funny story about picking up our dinner...more on that later) oh, and a bottle of pinot grigio. yum.

Husband & i carved up the turkey after we got it home, before we headed over the overpass & through the counties. i made fresh whipped cream and creamed corn (yum! the only good thing i ever got from my soon-to-be-ex-sister-in-law) and brought it all over to mom's.

after eating, we headed into the living room for a traditional TV watching: James Bond movies on SpikeTV...then headed home.

where we promptly fell asleep on the couch & recliner under flannel rag quilts. we both slept till midnight, where we decided to go to bed.


i eschew the Black Friday sales. going out into that kind of insanity just makes me want to hurt someone...either myself or them, and i ain't a-goin' to jail for them. so, Husband & i spent a lazy morning with breakfast & coffee with the oh-so-yummy CoffeeMate Peppermint Mocha.


i also finished 25 Christmas cards. i'm not nearly as talented or productive as Jolene, but i like 'em. pictures will come in the next issue.

did i also mention i played hooky Tuesday? went to the [Happiest ] Merriest Place on Earth with Kristie & her kids. love, love love that place. even as cranky as i get, that place never fails to put me in a good mood.

oh, and they also make a dang good peppermint mocha coffee.

i also found out that on New Year's eve, one of the restaurants in the Park is offering a really yummy dinner of steak & seared lump crab cakes. best.meal.evah!
however, i will not participate...we did New Year's out there one year with friends of ours, and it was, without a doubt, the most horrible experience of my life. way too many people and way too much insanity.

besides, our tradition for New Year's eve, going back to our dating days, is going to a Benihana-style restaurant. Husband actually had planned on proposing at one, but got cold feet when one of the other women sitting at our table had the biggest mouth ever. totally a loudmouth.
ended up waiting until midnight while watching Dick Clark...and i was playing solitaire on the computer.

so romantic.

but once again...i'm all over the highway. and not using my turn signal. like most other Californians.

here's hoping your holiday was everything you wanted it to be.

oh - and only 30 more shopping days until Christmas.

Nov 22, 2006


things i'm thankful no paticular order:
  • my family-both close & extended, mine & his
  • my Husband
  • my furbaby, even though i'm the only one who loves him
  • my camera - love taking pictures
  • my blessings
  • Knott's Berry Farm for actually cooking my Thanksgiving dinner
  • my sister-in-law for starting me on this insane road called scrapbooking
  • people who can make me laugh (and you know who you are)
  • music
  • books
  • the World Wide Web. love it, hate it - how did we ever survive without it?
  • my friends - both local & cyber...for you, who writes comments, who writes blogs i read that make me laugh, cry and think.

thank you.

thank you for sharing a part of your heart, your soul and your time with me.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 21, 2006

weather or not...

here's what's not right:

it's November.
Thanksgiving is only two days away.
yesterday it was 90 degrees.

90 degrees!!!

that just ain't right.

it's Thanksgiving, for cripes sake. it should be cool. crisp. i should be in sweatshirts & warm, nubby sweaters.

not feeling warm & sweaty.

i understand i shouldn't complain. but i just want it to be cooler.

once again: to feel the holiday groove, the weather should cooperate.


Poor O.J.

Got his book & TV deal pulled.


i feel bad.

But not that bad.


Nov 20, 2006

just another happy day in paradise...

a blow-by-numbing blow of the day:

Today is the day Husband has not one, but three interviews. One @ 8, 9:30 & 1:30. Wife is against the 8am interview...has been trying to talk Husband into cancelling it, but Husband is convinced he can pull all three off.

Husband leaves @ 6:30 to drive down 30 minutes. It's drive time, so it makes sense.

Wife leaves also @ 6:30 to head to work.

7:25 - Husband calls Wife, mad as hell because the traffic is an utter & complete nightmare. He's only driven 5 miles.

7:35 - Husband calls Wife again. Twice as mad as hell. He is no closer than he was before.

7:45 - Husband calls Wife again. He is speechless with rage. He's no closer than before. He decides to call 8am interview to cancel. Problem: the company's headquarters is in Ohio. They will not give Husband a local number to reach anyone. He ends up calling Ohio, to relay the message to the local office.

8:00 - 8am interview calls Husband again. They insist on meeting with him today. They understand his 2nd appointment is @ 9:30 and will get him out in time.

8:10 - Husband arrives at appointment & is ushered into a conference room.

8:15 - Husband waits.

8:25 - Husband waits.

8:30 - Still waiting.

8:31 - Checks watch. Waits. Wonders if the office held a fire drill & everyone has left the building.

8:32 - Drums fingers impatiently on table.

8:35 - Leaves the office. Cannot find anyone to let them know that he has to leave to make another appointment. Decides they were all abducted by aliens. Calls Ohio to leave them a message.

9:00 - Calls Wife to vent frustration.

9:30 - Husband has two of three interviews. It goes well.

11:00 - Leaves interview, changes clothes. Has lunch. Relaxes. Heads over to interview 3 of 3.

1:30 - Meets Big Wigs for 3rd interview. This is the job he really wants. The president of the company leaves the interview by telling Husband "I'm looking forward to working with you."
Final word should come down next week.

7-3:30 - Wife works. Company has become a stand-alone company. Had a flag lowering/raising ceremony.

3:31 - Wife hauls butt out of work to head over to hair appointment.

3:45 - 5:25 - Wife gets hair fixed. Looks right purty, too.

5:26 - Wife leaves salon, exhausted by work, and Husband's problems. Wants a drink, but realizes there is no more beer in the house. Is there tequila? Yes, but shooters are out of the question (no limes) and no mix to make margaritas.

5:50 - Wife arrives at home, Husband suggests they go out for pizza. Wife takes the offer.

7:30 - Husband & Wife arrive back at casa. Husband is in recliner, cat on his lap, snoring coming out of his mouth. Cat seems to be OK with it.

8:00 - Wife watches Good Eats. Realizes how much she LOVES Alton Brown. He cooks.

8:30 - Wife decides to blog day's events and bore to tears her readers.

8:56 - Wife calls it a night. Husband still snoring. Cat seems to be OK with it.

spam, spam, spam, spam

when i think of spam - i think of two things: Monty Python and a really yummy broiled sammich my mom makes with spam, cheese, tomato sauce, onions & olives.

usually don't think of penile implants. or larger boobs. or even getting on board with the hottest stock deal ever.

however, that's what clogs my Bulk email box day after day after day...


they're getting really clever, those sneaky spammers. the sender's name has a first AND a last name, and lately the subject line tries to get personal "hi val its clariese."

first off, i don't know anyone named Clarisse. secondly, it wouldn't be spelled wrong if i did. third, most of my friends know that the proper usage is "it's" not "its".

not to mention that the majority of my friends, even my perpetually drunk ones, know i personally have no need for penile implants. oh sure, i've been occasionally accused of having balls, but rest assured they're limited to the tennis balls i still have in my car for my back.

or if Andre Agassi wants a quick pick-up game of tennis.

then i saw on the news this a.m. that the newest thing is that you get a phone call, and your caller id says "Hometown Bank" or some such thing. the recording states they are calling from account verification and asks you to input your bank account number. after you do, guess what? you just got ripped off for all your cash.

nice. let's hope the geniuses that came up with this scheme get condos in hell right next to O.J.

that, my friends, would be karma coming home to roost.

happy Monday.

(p.s. - prayers today, please for the Husband...he has three (count 'em!) three interviews today - and let's hope and pray one results in a job offer. he's completely miserable at the current job and needs a fresh start.)

Nov 17, 2006

not exactly a heavy news day...

but did i ever mention my Latin name?
Dorkus Malorkus.

why, you may ask, O Gentle Reader?

Because i fell.

On my bum.

In public.

And i cried.

Husband and i have been trying to go for walkies on Mondays...usually we do the big circle..up around Knott's, which ends up being about a mile.

So we're walking, probably about 3/4 of the way around, when...

i step off a handicapped accessible curb. and yes, i do realize the irony in that.

Never having been the most graceful sent to years of ballet, and all for naught. The clumsy child grew into an equally clumsy adult.

Hit the ground hard...even rolled a little. Kicked the Husband in the back of the leg. Nothing broken, except my pride. But i still have a lump on my leg that is tender.

It's a miracle i've lived this long, i tell you what.

in other news...
  • did more Christmas shopping for the young'uns today...i do believe i'm almost done. my goal is to be finished with all toy shopping before Black Friday...i can stand the other shopping, but not toys.
  • i cannot stand to hear one more story about the Liar Formerly Known as OJ. and what the *%$#@! is Fox & the publisher thinking by publishing & airing this claptrap? Sheesh.
  • i need to start on my cards this weekend. i've felt puny all week, fighting some bug. So the creative juices just ain't there.
  • i need a pedicure. NOW.

Have a grand weekend.

Nov 15, 2006

just when i think i'm jaded...

saw this headline - "O.J. Simpson to discuss killings"
just when you think you've seen everything....
holy frejoles. i am disturbed beyond belief.
you think of a lot of weird things at three a.m.

  • Keith Urban is soooo cute. most of the time. CMT had a Top Ten video special of his videos and even though some are good, some ain't. and he looks better in some than others.
  • Shark is a great show. James Woods rocks in this show - and as an actor in general.
  • people are, for the most part, bright & good. unfortunately it's the stupid and bad ones that get the most press.
  • my neighbors vary between totally cool and complete schmucks. the other night, we heard banging and talking - and both were loud and went on for 45 minutes. turns out the next door neighbors were moving a sofa & a love seat out of their apartment. and moved them both down to the TRASH BINS.

aren't people swell? they can't call Goodwill or someone to donate their furniture to, they have to make a bunch of noise & then leave it for trash.

by the way - it's currently 4a.m., i've been up since 3, and yet someone near me has been up as long as i have and is making as much noise as if it were much later in the day.

i feel sorry for whoever lives right next door to them.

so - if you can believe, Thanksgiving is next week. Christmas is right around the corner. i have not started my cards or any shopping. i have, however, purchased my dinner for Thanksgiving.

Knott's Berry Farm offers Turkey in a Box or Ham in a Box - all for about $60. my Husband looooooooves the turkey, so guess what i got. the meal comes with a fully cooked turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls, butter, jam, corn, sweet potatoes, bread & butter pickles AND a pie. the best part? all i have to do is drive up, they bring me a cup of coffee, and someone brings out a huge box & puts it in my car.

this is my idea of cooking.

we've also purchased our airline tickets for Christmas - off to Reno. the day after we bought the tickets, my sister in law & i were talking, when the Niece wanted to talk to me.

"Um, Aunt Balerie? Do you think you could come to my house for Christmas?"

i said yes - i would come out for Christmas. i heard a gasp, then "she said yes!"

then..."um, could you bring Uncle Brendan with you?"

that i can do, my love. that i can do.

Nov 11, 2006

did i get old?

or is it just them?

check these out...and see if you don't suddenly feel real old. i know i do.
Shaun Cassidy - then & now (gah - i loved him in the Hardy Boys. even saw him in concert)

Donny Osmond - back when i used to tape the "Donny & Marie" show with a cassette tape recorder next to the speaker on our tv. and now, on Broadway.
Sean Connery - as Bond and well...still easy on the eyes.
so if they got old(er), does that mean i did, too? that i'm not the apple cheeked cutie-patootie i was (if i ever was)?
well, duh. but i so love living in denial.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog... bring a rerun from Memorial Day 2006. In honor of my step-pop, my nephew in law, my friend's son currently serving in Iraq, and to all the men & women serving in the military - laying their lives on the line every day.

this is my step-pop, Ed. he turned 80 earlier this month. Ed fought in WW2, and was on the beach at Normandy on D-Day. He's never seen "Saving Private Ryan" - didn't see any need to, because the movie was only a remake of the original.
And he was there.

He doesn't like to talk about WW2. Occasionally a story will come out, but it seems to be one of those things that stays in. It kills me. Being a total history fiend, i want to know more about a time in our history from someone who lived it. From a scrapbooking perspective, well, same thing. It's a layout dying to be made.

Yesterday was my Mom's birthday. Knowing we were having dinner with them, my husband asked me to make a card for Ed, thanking him for his service to our country. He wrote a little something, and we gave it to him at dinner last night.He laughed at first (which of course made me feel real good!), but as he read what Brendan wrote, it sobered him up. Then, he thanked the husband.

As Tom Brokaw put it, they were the Greatest Generation. And they're vanishing as rapidly as the rain forest...and it's more of a loss.

Today is Memorial Day. In 1971, Congress passed the law that made it a three day weekend. In 1971, it likely ceased to truly be a Day of Remembrance and became the First Three Day Weekend of Summer. But i remember. Because i see a reason for it at least once a week.
So, for all those, past & present that served our country - the husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons & daughters that gave their lives. Take a moment before the BBQ fires up to remember.
And, to quote R. Lee Emery from the Hubb's favorite show Mail Call: Semper Fi. Carry On.

introducing new legislature.

i am about to introduce legislature that will change the landscape of America.


Shall campaign volunteers/employees be required to remove all advertising regarding their candidate, regardless of voter outcome, or be charged $50 for each sign remaining?

oh yeah.

iffn i had thought about it before, i would've taken a picture of the median by our house. it's at least a third of a mile of a sea of "elect Joe Blow" signs. and heaven forbid if there's a fence.
there was a gas station by our place, now going through the usual "lie fallow" rules for a few years...and of course, there's a chain link fence around it. usually, it's home to Little League sign up signs, PeeWee football notices as well as "Jim's YOUR Handyman - call 555-8729(cell)".

now, though, it's a sea of voting demands. and the election was almost a week ago.

so - that's what i want to do. how hard could it be? all they'd have to do is the day or so after the election, anyone who worked for the campaign would need to go & take down all the damn signs they put up.

then i can work on my next plan: getting rid of all the whining, yapping politicians that are currently clogging the evening newscasts.

just doing my part to Keep America Beautiful.

Nov 8, 2006

that's LOSER with all caps.

oh my freaking gosh.

did i not say that she needed to cut bait and run?

whoda thunk it?

guess what? she ain't as dumb as she appears.

go Britney.

the people spoke -

the elections are done...well, at least until next year.

Ali's husband, Chris, was elected to the Oregon House of Reps. What a road lies before that family.

now, will someone from each of the people that ran for office or campaigned for or against each proposition please take your signs down?

it's like living in a Burma-Shave Twilight Zone nightmare.

Nov 7, 2006

it's a strange, strange world.

yes, kids - it's a weird world we live in.

it's bad enough just watching the news: death, destruction, mayhem, and a puppy that saves the lives of everyone in the house.

but when the two biggest stories are Faith Hill making a joke about losing (thank heavens. i get tired of everyone playing the gracious loser) and Britney finally getting K-Fedup and dumping his ass.


think i'll watch some real news. Geraldo or Springer have got to be on one of these channels.

and we're out!

So after spending a-l-l d-a-y in a courtroom, i'm free.

We sat while fellow perspective jurors were questioned and some released. Some tried to be released (like the one juror origially from Cuba, who said she's been in America longer "than Ricky & Lucy. " Then, when she was accepted as part of the jury, raised her hand to disqualify herself because she "didn't understand english all well." The judge just chuckled and said she didn't do too badly up to this point, so she was staying.)

i have decided that if i'm ever arrested for a crime, i'm going to plead guilty. i don't think i want a jury of my peers, because the peers i was with yesterday weren't quite that bright. Or, maybe they were brighter than i thought and just played dumb well.

In other news...
* today is election day. Go vote. i'm thrilled that after today, the phone calls & bazillions of mail telling us to vote their way will end.

*the Personal Assistant for my niece (aka her mother, my sister in law)placed a call to us last night on behalf of the niece. Poor Husband...usually, he's the one the niece wants to talk to and she totally has him wrapped around her cute little finger. Not tonight. There's a new kid in town, and brother it's me. Yep, little angel wanted to talk to Aunt Balery. She also wants me to come over Thursday. Not sure why it has to be Thursday, but hey...when a three yr.old. speaks, of course i obey.

It just won't be Thursday.

Back to the grind. Don't forget to vote.

Nov 6, 2006

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

So today - i'm off to jury duty.


i'm not a big fan of hearkens back to the days of me as a SingleGirl when jury duty meant spending a whole bloody week driving back & forth to downtown L.A.

That sucked.

But, since getting married & moving to our current locale, i gotta admit, i love the "one day/one trial" situation. (of course, just after i did get married, L.A. changed over to the one day/one trial, too.) i also love that i don't have to drive 30 miles/40 minutes(or longer depending on L.A. traffic) to jury duty, only about 15-20 minutes to the courthouse.

(You can also add this to my Things i Will Never Understand list: why in the world was i always sent to downtown L.A., when there was a perfectly good court in my then hometown - again, only 15-20 minutes away?!)

And, thanks to the wackos out there, who feel it's truly better to shoot/stab their attorney/soon to be ex/whatever. Thanks for being koo-koo enough to keep me from bringing embroidery scissors to court. No needlework for me. So i'm bringing a backpack with a couple of new magazines and a new book that i should finish today.

Oh, and if you're reading this, and have a court date today where they are choosing your out for the redhead with an attitude.

(p.s. - before you start sending me nasty emails/comments - let me just say: of course i believe one is innocent until proven guilty. yes, i want impartial jurors if i were on trial. i've served on juries before, and the System works - albeit slowly. i just don't like going.)

Nov 2, 2006

trying to get an attitude

an attitude of gratitude, that is.

November, Louisa May Alcott wrote in "Little Women," is a most disagreeable month.

i don't think so.

i love November..actually Fall & Winter are my favorite seasons. the air is cool, crisp, not quite cold. Christmas is just around the corner. yum-o.

Thanksgiving is almost here as well..and i, as usual, will be ordering my dinner from Knott's, and just heat everything up come Turkey day.

i just don't feel the vibe.

see, this whole "grown-up" thing? i don't like it. i don't want to be a kid, (well, OK, sometimes i do)but a simpler, easier time would be nice. so instead of thinking of all the things i have to be grateful for, all i can think of are:
  • the stress of marriage
  • stress of work
  • stress of my parents getting older
  • feeling like i'm in a rut
  • wishing the whole baby thing was different

most of the time, i'm good with my life. i have a good life, a great husband, wonderful friends both in real time and in cyberland (hi april! hi linda! hi cyn! hi melissa-who-doesn't-think-i-mean-her! hi jolene!). i am blessed beyond reason.

and yet...

well...Ms. Alcott thought November was a disagreeable month. OingoBoingo said "nothing lasts forever." and neither will this attitude.

thanks for riding this out with me.