Thursday, December 29, 2011


Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." And who am I to argue with a fellow Greek? There are SO MANY WAYS I can bore you, my dear readers, so let's get to it, shall we?

It's time for a list of the jobs I've had over the course of my life. I have not had to write a resume in over 20 years and most of these positions were not included on it anyway.

  • Babysitting, Sonoma, 1976: I started when I was 14, babysitting my cousins Xenophon and Socrates. Their parents ran a restaurant so they needed me to work on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I made a whopping $1 per hour but this was enough to cover my small needs, mostly purchases of record albums and singles. If I recall correctly, albums were priced about $4.99 so one night of babysitting paid for an album. I only did this job for a year because by sophomore year in high school there were football games and dances to go to on Friday nights.
  • Little League snack bar, Sonoma, 1977: I sold candy, drinks and hot dogs but this was a volunteer job that lasted only as long as my brother was playing Little League (one season?).
  • Arnold Field snack bar, Sonoma, 1978: I think I did this a couple of times during junior year of high school. I think the junior class was responsible for organizing the prom (?) so snack bar money went towards that. I remember this as a lot of fun because you were with your friends and you knew most of the customers too.
  • Community Infant Center, San Mateo, 1980: The summer before I began college I lived with my grandmother, aunt and uncle and got this job taking care of babies and toddlers as part of  CETA (Comprehensive Employment & Training Act, defined in an article I just Googled called "CETA: A '70s Government Jobs Program that didn't work"). This is probably about the time I decided I probably didn't want children of my own, although I changed my mind eventually and even then I only had one!
  • Kresge College Office, Santa Cruz, 1980-81: My first financial aid work study job was here. I started by filing papers into student files and progressed to making posters and serving appetizers at the college provost's party. The women I worked for were really nice and we shared sorrow the day after John Lennon was killed.
  • Porter College, Santa Cruz, 1982: My first janitorial position! This two week job involved cleaning all the dorm rooms after everyone left for the summer. Best part: working with Lady Chardonnay and finding things people left behind: a 1959 version of Risk (wooden pieces!) and a stack of hilarious porno novels. Sample line: "She stoked his lust furnace." They were AWESOME (I still have a couple of them.)
  • Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, 1982: I worked in food service, selling chocloate dipped ice cream cones, popcorn, nachos, hot dogs, pizza, and other carnival stuff. I could also sell beer and wine because I was over 18 (most of the workers were not) so I was assigned to the pizza place quite often since that was where the booze was sold. By the end of the summer I could hold 5 or 6 cones rather than just one at a time. A solid skill which should go on my next resume.
  • Stevenson College, Santa Cruz, 1983: Another 2 week dorm cleaning extravaganza. I have no real memories of it other than getting up early and walking across campus to get there.
  • International Relations Office, San Francisco State, 1983-85: Another work study office job where I answered phones, sorted professor mail, typed up and made dittos of tests (remember those?!, and acted as receptionist. There was a big deal made, security-wise, when Rabbi Kahane was to make a speech on campus via the International Relations department. Scary to consider because he was eventually assassinated in 1990.
  • San Francisco State dorms, SF, 1985-1986: I put all that great UCSC dorm cleaning experience to good use and did the same job at SFSU, cleaning Mary Ward, Mary Park and Verducci Halls. It was hard work but so much fun too. You really bond with your coworkers and blithely disdain the other work crews (cafeteria, reception, painters, etc...). Summer #1: A guy named Bill became obsessed with me (he later made a film about his obsession which I never saw but my friend Ruth did). Summer #2: I liked a guy named Joey who would completely ignore me when I paid any attention to him but then would vie for my attention if I ignored him. Whatever, Joey. Plus I was a supervisor this summer so I had keys to the roof and spent a bunch of time atop Verducci Hall with my friends. Sadly this dorm was damaged in the Loma Prieta quake and was pulled down via implosion.
  • Westamerica Bank, Novato, 1987: I got a starting position here processing checks into statements from 3 to 11 p.m. I had one of those counting machines and I would verify that the amount of checks to be included in the statement were all there. At Westamerica you couldn't apply for any in-house position until 6 months had passed. I had free days and used that to find a new job here...
  • Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa, 1987-91: In succession I was ATM Coordinator, Accounting Clerk, Junior Accountant and Senior Accountant. But the big thing about this job is that it introduced me to CPA Boy who got a job as a part-time teller even though he coveted MY job. Luckily a couple of the supervisors were already involved so they didn't harass us but it meant CPA Boy could never get a job in accounting because I couldn't supervise my boyfriend! So Redwood Credit Union led to my marriage and my son, HUGE parts of my life. (I think this is also about the time my two good friends from SFSU, Uncle Mikey and Modesto were working for financial institutions too. Ironic since I think we three ALL planned to be writers of some sort, not banking personnel! Uncle Mike and I exchanged some credit union promotional items; his cover letter is HILARIOUS. I may need to share that someday with my dear readers!)
  • Bank of Petaluma, Petaluma, 1991-99: I started here as Accounting Assistant and finished as Controller. I basically did the bank's bookkeeping. I liked the work but not the stress from my boss and his boss playing me against the other. In any case, BofP was about 2 years from getting gobbled up by a bigger company. Then that company got gobbled up by Wells Fargo. I would have lost my job anyway by 2001 because they moved the accounting to Palo Alto. The trouble is that there are not very many small banks anymore so there was really nowhere for me to go after this! My experience is not exactly "too big to fail" level!
  • Boy Scout Troop #74, Treasurer, 2005-11: I started this volunteer position for a mom out on maternity but it became (practically) permanent. I gave it up once my son aged out of scouting this year. I can't believe it's already been 6 months since I handed everything over!
Time will tell what future jobs I may hold (writer?!). All I know is I have all the work credits necessary to snag Social Security, assuming it still exists by the time I turn 67.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

One day you're 50 and thus halfway to 100

Here's a list of 100 people born in 1962. They will all be turning 50 in the coming year.
  • Adam Baldwin - actor, "Chuck" and "My Bodyguard" (No relation to Alec & his brothers)
  • Al Unser Jr - race car driver
  • Alison Arngrim - actress, Nellie Olsen on "Little House on the Prairie"
  • Ally Sheedy - actress, "Breakfast Club" and "War Games"
  • Alton Brown - food guru, "Good Eats"
  • Amy Chua - writer, Tiger mom
  • Amy Yasbeck - actress, John Ritter's widow
  • Andre Braugher - actor, "Homicide" and "Men of a Certain Age"
  • Andrew McCarthy - actor, "Pretty in Pink" and "Weekend at Bernie's"
  • Anthony Edwards - actor, "E.R." and "Top Gun"
  • Anthony Keidis - singer, Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Axl Rose - "singer", Guns N' Roses
  • Baz Luhrmann - director, "Moulin Rouge"
  • Billy Beane - Oakland A's manager, Moneyball guy
  • Bob Odenkirk - actor, "Mr. Show"
  • Brandon Cruz - actor, "Courtship of Eddie's Father"
  • Cary Elwes - actor, "Princess Bride"
  • Cheri Oteri - actress, "Saturday Night Live"
  • Chuck Palahniuk - writer, The Fight Club, Choke
  • Clark Gregg - actor, "New Adventures of Old Christine", married to Jennifer Grey
  • Clint Black - country musician, married to Lisa Hartman
  • Corey Hart - singer, "Sunglasses at Night"
  • Craig Ferguson - host, "Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson"
  • Craig Kilborn - host, "Late, Late Show"
  • Daphne Zuniga - actress, "Melrose Place" and "Spaceballs"
  • Darryl Strawberry - baseball player
  • David Fincher - director, "Social Network" and "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
  • Demi Moore - actress, "St. Elmo's Fire" and "G.I. Jane"
  • Dina Lohan - "mother" to Lindsey Lohan
  • Doug Flutie - quarterback
  • Eddie Izzard - comedian, actor, "The Riches"
  • Elizabeth Vargas - journalist, "World News Tonight"
  • Emilio Estevez - actor, "Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire"
  • Eriq LaSalle - actor, "E.R."
  • Evander Holyfield - boxer
  • Felicity Huffman - actress, "Desperate Housewives", married to William H. Macy
  • Flea - musician, Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Genie Francis - actress, "General Hospital", married to Jonathan Frakes
  • Gina Gershon - actress, "Showgirls" and "Bound"
  • Ginger Lynn - actress, adult films
  • Grant Show - actor, "Melrose Place"
  • Hector Camacho - boxer
  • Hunter Tylo - actress, "Bold & the Beautiful"
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee - track star
  • James Marsters - actor, Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" & "Angel"
  • James Michael Tyler - actor, Gunther on "Friends"
  • Janine Turner - actress, "Northern Exposure"
  • Jasmine Guy - actress, "Different Worlds"
  • Jeff Garlin - actor, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
  • Jeff Probst - host, "Survivor"
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh - actress, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Single White Female"
  • Jerry Rice - wide receiver for S.F. 49ers
  • Jim Carrey - actor, "Truman Show", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
  • Jimmy Baio - actor, "Soap"
  • Joan Cusack - actress, "Working Girl" and "Toy Story 2"
  • Jodie Foster - actress, "Silence of the Lambs" and "Nell"
  • Joe Queseda - comic book writer, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief
  • John Hannah - actor, "Four Weddings & a Funeral" and "Sliding Doors"
  • John Slattery - actor, "Mad Men"
  • Jon Bon Jovi - musician
  • Jon Stewart - host, "The Daily Show"
  • Karen Duffy - host, MTV, cancer survivor
  • Kelly Preston - actress, married to John Travolta
  • Abdullah - king of Jordan
  • Kristy McNichol - actress, "Family" and "Little Darlings"
  • Larry Wilmore - senior black correspondent, "The Daily Show"
  • Laura San Giacomo - actress, "Just Shoot Me" and "Sex, Lies & Videotape"
  • Lou Diamond Phillips - actor, "La Bamba"
  • Marcia Cross - actress, "Desperate Housewives" and "Melrose Place"
  • Mary Kay LeTourneau - sex offender
  • Matthew Broderick - actor, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "War Games"
  • MC Hammer - rapper, "U Can't Touch This"
  • Melissa Sue Anderson - actress, "Little House on the Prairie"
  • Michelle Shocked - musician
  • Mike Judge - creator, "Beavis & Butthead" and "King of the Hill"
  • Mike Rowe - host, "Dirty Jobs"
  • Miss Cleo - psychic, "Psychic Friends Network"
  • Nia Vardalos - actress, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"
  • Nick Rhodes - musician, Duran Duran
  • Patrick Cassidy - actor, brother to David & Shaun
  • Patrick Ewing - basketball player
  • Paula Abdul - host, dancer, "American Idol"
  • Ralph Fiennes - actor, "Shindler's List", Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter films
  • Rob Morrow - actor, "Northern Exposure"
  • Roger Bart - actor, Broadway star
  • Roger Clemons - baseball pitcher
  • Rosie O'Donnell - host, "Rosie" and "The View"
  • Sebastian Junger - writer, The Perfect Storm
  • Sheryl Crow - singer, "All I Wanna Do"
  • Star Jones - host, "The View"
  • Steve Carell - actor, "The Office, "40-Year Old Virgin"
  • Terence Trent D'Arby - singer, "Wishing Well"
  • Thomas Gibson - actor, "Dharma & Greg" and "Criminal Minds"
  • Tom Cruise - actor, "Top Gun" and "Risky Business"
  • Tom Kenny - actor, Spongebob Squarepants voice
  • Tommy Lee - musician, Motley Crue
  • Tracy Austin - tennis player
  • Victoria Gotti - mobster's daughter, "Growing Up Gotti"
  • Wesley Snipes - actor, "Blade"
  • Kelly Smith - writer of this blog (we can't all be celebrities)
There are a handful of people who were born in 1962 but have already passed away: Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter), Manute Bol (basketball player) and David Foster Wallace (writer).

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kinda glad it's over

The things I liked about Christmas:
  • Seeing my brothers, Everest & K2
    • Also special recognition because they helped clean and cook!
  • Seeing my in-laws
  • Opening presents
  • Having scrumptious meals (prime rib was particularly wonderful!)
The things I didn't like about Christmas:
  • The fact that this was our first Christmas without Mom
  • Ev's wife, F Bear, couldn't make it up because she is doin' poorly (Get well, F Bear!!)
  • The rush from place to place over the 2 day period
  • Overeating

But now it's over and time to turn to other things, namely, I am turning freakin' fifty in less than two months. Ugh. Double ugh.

I'm trying to think of some way to commemorate this via my blog so stay tuned. I don't think it will be as mundane as a "50 years, 50 accomplishments" type thing because I can't even imagine how I'd come up with 50 accomplishments.

In the meantime, I will clean up my office and plan for the rest of the week. This will include taking down and putting away Christmas decorations, having lunch with an old high school friend, and figuring out more topics to write about on this blog. Books? Movies? All that and more!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Well, crap!

I bought a new bathroom scale today because my old one is so wishy-washy on our uneven floors. I try to weigh in the same spot but I'm not sure it makes much of a difference. The new one is digital and weighs in increments of .2 rather than just .5. And I am like 7 pounds heavier on it!


So now I don't know what my weight REALLY is. I do know that I have still lost 17 pounds. But I was so close to getting into the next "decade" of loss (when the middle number goes down, that is) and now I am UP to last month's decade. Crapola.

In exciting yogurt news, the Trader Joe's Organic Vanilla definitely earns an A+ on (real!) vanilla flavor but a D- because I can POUR it onto my cereal. I just don't like my yogurt to be runny. I KNOW it doesn't really matter; it's just that I don't like it to immediately run to the bottom of the cereal bowl. I'm a wacko, what can I say?

My brother K1 arrives tomorrow (at my dad's). My other brother, K2, arrives Thursday evening. I may be picking him up at the airport.

A million more gifts to wrap so this is short!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are you whelmed?!

December is one of the months of the year when I feel most unappreciated by the men I live with: CPA Boy and The Boy. (The other months are January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November. Ha!) (Our seven male rats all appreciate me but only for the morsels of food I serve them. Still, it's nice to be...well, you know, appreciated.)

I don't quite know why that is, or why it seems to annoy me more NOW than at other times. I guess it's a combination of A) time passing and B) them just not caring about the things I care about.

As for A, The Boy is now, technically, a grown-up. He is over the whole miracle of Christmas (like Sally Brown he really just wants cash from Santa, preferably in $50s and $100s) and if there are decorations or festive treats, fine. If there are aren't, that's fine too. Meanwhile CPA Boy is all partnered up at his firm and that means that he works way more than he did a few years ago when he was just a minion. I think he would probably agree with The Boy about the decorations and treats. (Plus he needs to get minions of his own at work!)

And B, well, do men really care one way or the other if the house is decorated? If left to them to do the decorating I know it wouldn't get done. Or would it? Since they assume I will do it then there's no need for them to worry about it. Would they plan festive treats? Maybe they would if I wasn't here to do it.

For example, CPA Boy and I use to write the Christmas letter together. One of us wrote it and then the other would edit and it would go back and forth until it was perfected. (Funny aside: my family always assumed *I* did all the writing; his family always assumed HE did all the writing. But we always did it together!) Once he was too busy to do this I soldiered on. I think I did it for one more year. And then stopped.

When you are in charge of everything but buying your own presents it gets pretty overwhelming.

Not once has Christmas season been whelming.

I shop for almost every single gift, wrap gifts, cook, decorate, plan the social calendar (granted, not that tough since it's almost always the same), and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day trying to make sure that my husband and two brothers don't get irritated or lose their tempers. I am pretty sure this is why I have loathed Christmas for the past several years. It's EXHAUSTING.

Now I am plunging into the season not caring one iota (or any other Greek letter) whether the menfolk get irritated or not. I can't prevent it nor is it about me. (Thanks, therapy!)

I am not sure if what I am after is thanks. I don't think that's it. I guess there's some sort of intangible validation I'm after and I can't even define it to myself. All I know is that I'm ready to hit the road (maybe tag along with my bro to go hang out in So Cal with my sis-in-law for awhile) and see if any one even notices I'm gone.

I love CPA Boy and The Boy anyway but not the excess load of work that December brings. Ugh.That's what this is REALLY about: I'm a lazy being and December is MORE WORK and I don't really think it matters to guys!

Plus, we aren't even religious and I guess I think it's weird that we use Christmas as a time to buy stuff for each other (I really am all about the birthday!).

I have lost 17 pounds overall and there's still not a shred of difference except my wedding ring is no longer tight. THAT is good news. In general I am focused only on the next pound but I think it will probably be at least another 25 pounds before any real noticeable difference will occur.

Sunday, December 11, 2011 weird.

I was thinking about time last night. WHILE I was trying to fall asleep. One thing leads to another in my crazy, racing brain and it takes FOREVER before I actually get to sleep.

I was thinking: I will turn 50 in a couple of months. (And it's starting to kinda freak me out a little, btw.) Which means I have about 25-30 good (I hope?) years left. Sounds like a reasonably lengthy period of time, right? Then I subtracted, to see where I was 25-30 years ago. And, obviously, the answer was 20-25 years old.

How can this be? I remember being 20 as if it were yesterday! The last 30 years have FLOWN by. I don't like it.

For example, it seems like I worked my summer job at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for quite a long time. Nope, it was only 2 months. And again I thought, How can this BE? But it was a mere two months. I started July 4th weekend and finished on Labor Day weekend. But I remember that particular summer so very well and it seems impossible that it was almost 30 years ago!

Example 2: In May of this year, the week my mom was in the hospital seemed to last forever as I was experiencing it. Once she died that week seemed to have flown by. And now 7 months have passed. So quickly.

Example 3: My grandparents are all gone now. I never got to know my dad's dad as he passed away a few years before I was born (which really sucks because, by all accounts, he was a gentle, wonderful man and I would have LOVED to have memories of him!). But the other 3 died in 1984, 1987 and 1992. And I can see and hear them so clearly in my head that I don't understand that it could be 27, 24 and 19 years since they've left us.

Last example: I was thinking about my son, who is now 18. Let's say he gets married and has kids about the same time I did. I will be in my 60s when any of this happens. Weird. But right now I still think "60s" sounds old. And yet it's just over 10 years away. And that time will pass so fast!


So it comes back to one thing: you just need to make the most of your time NOW.

Okay, two things: don't freak out about these things as I try to fall asleep.

YOGURT UPDATE!!! I am trying out Trader Joe's low-fat organic vanilla bean this week. It list "vanilla bean" as an actual ingredient so that's something. Generally I try to avoid things that are organic, only because sometimes I think it is just an excuse to jack up the price. Is "organic" even regulated by the FDA anyway?! Review coming after I eat it for a few days...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Books and Other Important Things

I use a web site called Paperback Swap and I love it a LOT. I list the books I no longer wish to keep and mail them out (via inexpensive media rate postage) as they are requested. Then I order books I want and they get mailed to me.

For each book I send out I earn a "credit" and for each book I order I spend a "credit." Sometimes members of PBS talk about how the books are free, but other members will correct them and say they are not free because it costs an average of $2.50 to mail a book and there is a side market where people can buy and sell excess credits.

Right now I have about 20 credits sitting there waiting for books on my Wish List to come up. For example, a book like The Help currently has 2183 wishers! I actually have that book but I am not sure I want to give it up without reading it one more time. Anyway, as books get mailed out one moves up the Wish List line and books come at random times. Sometimes I have waited for over 2 years for a book!

Once I receive a book it's mine to keep. I can read it and repost it or keep it forever. Mostly I repost. I find it handier than checking out books at the library (although I do that too) because when library books come up you pretty much need to read them in that 3 weeks you have them checked out (and maybe a renewal of another 3 weeks). New releases can only be kept for a week and can't be renewed so I ended up returning books I had been waiting months for without ever reading them!

Now I have a shelf full of books waiting for me to get to them. I have been a member of PBS for almost 4 years and I find that my reading habits have changed because of it. I think I am saving money in some ways because I used to buy books (mainly at Borders or Amazon), read them and then put them in the giveaway pile. Crazy! But that meant that I actually read fewer new books overall and still had tons of time to re-read my favorites. Now I don't seem to re-read much at all since I have so many new books to read on my shelf. It's an embarrassment of riches in books but there just aren't enough hours in the day to get to them all. Not with magazines thrown in and the regular TV watching I do! Oh well. I will get to them as I can!

I was annoyed today though because a PBS member to who I had mailed a book on November 17 sent me a personal messages asking if I'd mailed the book. Yes, I replied, on November 17. (The PBS system gives it 4 weeks because Media rate can be slow since it's the last mail to ship and now the holiday season is here, so some books sit for weeks before getting delivered.) Today I get another PM saying, "I still haven't received the book." I didn't even answer this one because what could I say? I mailed it but I don't know how long it will take to get to Maryland! Sheesh! Then tonight I checked and the book had been marked "received". Much ado about nothing. Three weeks for a Media rate package is about right this time of year.

Meanwhile, my favorite TV show of the moment is going on some sort of vague hiatus on NBC. I LOVE "Community"!!! Tonight was the Christmas episode and they parodied "Glee" (apparently the two shows film next door to each other). I'm so sad it (and "Cougar Town", a show often mentioned on "Community") won't be back on TV any time soon.

I am really starting to love "Once Upon a Time" though so there's that. Some of the shows I watch are finishing up their seasons this month: "Boardwalk Empire", "American Horror Story", and "Terra Nova" (which is finally getting interesting). "Dancing with the Stars" is done until March, and "Survivor" will come back in February. Then "Mad Men" and "Game of Thrones" will start up again. And maybe even "Community" and "Cougar Town"? I can hope!

Tomorrow I will pay all the bills related to the stitches I had put in my pinkie finger in September. It has cost about $3,000!!! That's $750 per stitch, ridiculous! Next time I said I will slap a Band-Aid on it and walk it off! Until I pass out from blood loss. Then, hey! Ambulance ride! I bet that's inexpensive.

I am a pretty good Christmas present shopper. My family calls me The Present Whisperer sometimes. All you need to do is pay attention to what people say and then use it to choose gifts. Easy.

But what I really like to do is BUY STUFF FOR MYSELF so this time of year is always hard to get through. I have to make lists of things I want (again, easy, because I always want lots of stuff) and then WAIT. And maybe I get some of the list items for Christmas, which is nice of course, but then I get to WAIT again until after my birthday in February. It's just too long to go without buying stuff for myself!!!

And to clear up something I mentioned in the "eyebrow" post: I might like buying makeup if it wasn't SO FREAKIN' EXPENSIVE!!!! I actually love the Sephora store but just to buy simple items and you've spent over $100. So I tend to get bath gel or nail polish (I bought some spiffy purple polish for my toes but I still haven't put it on!). Since my dear BF Lady Chardonnay enjoys the whole makeup whirl (and can probably steer me to some affordable items!) I am hoping she will shop with me next summer during our Fabulous 50 (though she'll still be a youthful 49 at the time) trip. Are we still on, Lady C? I need help!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Good Vanilla Yogurt is Hard to Find!

I'm on a mission! I eat my very yummy Trader Joe's Vanilla Almond Clusters and Trader Joe's Vanilla Almond Just the Clusters mixed with vanilla yogurt for breakfast most mornings. I use the two cereals mixed together because it turns out I like the basic cereal more than the "just the clusters" one. Mixing them together is a sensible way to get through the box.

In any case, vanilla yogurt always seems to be hard to find at the store. I tried Yoplait's French Vanilla and it was okay. I then tried the Raley's Sunnyside Farms brand and it was very generic. Then I tried Trader Joe's Vanilla Yogurt and I don't really like it that much. It doesn't have real vanilla and it's kind of goopy. But I have one or two more containers left to eat my way through before I buy more.

I didn't think to check the ingredients on the first two brands I tried so I don't know if they had real vanilla in them. As I searched the Internet for vanilla yogurt taste tests the consensus seemed to be to just add vanilla extract to plain yogurt. I am not a fan of plain yogurt so I am not sure if this will work for me. Plus I really don't want to "make" yogurt in the morning! Yes, yes, I realize we're talking about adding a spoonful of vanilla to the plain yogurt and stirring, simple. But it's one more step I shouldn't need to make! So the Great Vanilla Yogurt hunt begins!

Meanwhile, most of the decorations are on the Christmas tree. I still need to finish up and do the rest of the decorating. Because our new little tree is so small (only 4.5 feet tall!) I have several strands of snowman garland left. I put some on the stairway banister so far. I'll see where else I can use the rest tomorrow.

But first up tomorrow is driving with my dad to see my aunt at her assisted living home down in San Mateo. That takes up the bulk of the day because we always stop at her house first so Dad can get the mail my cousin has collected. Then we usually get lunch at McDonald's and then visit with my aunt for about 45 minutes. It's getting harder because she can't remember things too well anymore. But my cousin took her to a neurologist and they made some changes so she's moving around and walking. Last month she wasn't doing hardly any walking on her own.

My dieting is going well so this is the time it's easiest to avoid temptation. When you make no progress it is so easy to say, "Well, I'm not losing weight anyway so I may as well eat...." I have been very good when shopping for Christmas goodies (stocking stuffers and the like). I usually make several baked goods before Christmas and I'm trying to figure out the ideal strategy so I won't be tempted. One way might be to make things I'm not crazy about. Say, peanut better fudge instead of regular fudge. Or lemon bars. I like those things okay but I can do without them. My fave thing I always make for the holidays has a brownie base, topped with marshmallows to get all melty. Then you put on a layer that includes melted chocolate chips, rice crispies and peanut butter. YUM! So if I make this, maybe a small batch or not at all. Like I said, if the weight loss is showing signs of life it is much easier to say no to things. Time will tell.

I guess my goal is to actually be able to wear blue jeans again. I haven't worn jeans since before I was pregnant in 1992! I think this will be a good thing to shoot for!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Ratties!!

We have babies! Four itty bitty baby rats each only slightly larger than a walnut. They are absolutely adorable. We have named them after characters from "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine": Quark, Rom, Nog and Brunt. We are still trying to calm them down so I didn't want to startle them with the camera flash just yet so pictures of our new ratties will be forthcoming.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I got crabs! (No, not that kind...)

Yesterday was the first day that fresh Dungeness Crab was available in our neck of the woods. The season was delayed by the usual impasse over the price setting between the crabbers and the wholesalers. Anyway, I got 6 of these to pick clean tomorrow!

Some will be dinner and some will be frozen for crab cakes/crab dip later in the month. Yum!

Then tomorrow afternoon CPA Boy and I are driving to a Sonoma pet shop to choose some new rats to add to our family. We may get 2, 3, or 4, depending upon my husband's tender heart when it comes to baby rats.

Once we know how many then we can start picking out names. For a pair I thought of Wiggins and Tudball but apparently I'm the only human in the world to get the reference! I referred to a couple of our current rats as Heckle and Jeckle and CPA Boy extrapolated Heckle, Jeckle and Hyde.

So, yeah, the names are a work in progress! Our current babies, who are currently quite elderly in rat years, are Kirk, Ernie & Burt. Sadly, Spock died young. Past ratties were Fred & George, Calvina & Hobbie, Wallace & Gromit, and Cocoa & Puff. I thought Calvina & Hobbie were boy rats but they turned out to be girls. We prefer the boys because they will explore some but then they like to settle down and nap on your lap. The girls NEVER stop moving and they leave pee trails as they go. Yuck.

Meanwhile, in surly teen news, The Boy got a speeding ticket last month on his way back from his astronomy lab in Lake Sonoma. He was going 95 MPH and no, NOT a typo. I don't think I've EVER gone that fast in a car!

Don't know what the deal is with him these days. A mother worries but she is also ready to kick his butt out! In the meantime (due to the "mark-on-wall/lying") he does not have use of my car anymore. Time will tell if that privilege will return... In the meantime he has a $480 ticket and he is not eligible for traffic school because he was going too far over the speed limit. Ya think?!

Off to bed!