Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A piece of my weekend.

I suppose, if I'm being completely honest, I'd miss this if we moved.

Not that we're planning on moving anytime soon, but you know, the whole being able to hop on our bikes and ride down to the beach thing is a pretty strong reason to stay.

And where else would we be able to ride our bikes past rows of multi-million dollar houses and play which one should we buy today? 'Cause, you know, we totally have the millions. We just can't agree on the house. Yeah, that's it. We're just livin' the dream.

The Husband led me down to the wedge. (Or is it The Wedge? With caps?) Okay, I had to Google. (How sad is that? I LIVE HERE.) Here's the link in case you're interested. There's a video, too, and may I just say that those surfers are freaking nuts.

Actually, I thought The Wedge was a PLACE, but turns out it's a wave. Not really sure how that works, 'cause aren't all waves different? How do you go to a wave?

After seeing the video, I realize that these waves are really very tame, but the water was so beautiful. And the beach so peaceful, most people having chosen the more easily accessible areas. And by "easily accessible" I mean they wanted to be close to the bars. And I can't say I blame them.

We were out on our bikes for five hours. Five. And here's the big difference between The Husband and me. When we got home, the first thing I did was get in the shower and then immediately take a two-hour nap. Because FIVE HOURS.

The Husband's first order of business was to go jump in the pool. And then go meet up with "the guys" to play a little poker. He was out all day. Nonstop. Like the energizer bunny. After my nap, I was a total zombie. Well, not enough of one to prevent me from picking up J for a quick frozen yogurt trip, but still. I was exhausted.

And why can't I stop watching these birds? There's just something about them, the way they advance and retreat in their endless effort to find food. Or maybe that's just what they want us to think. Maybe they really are just dipping their toes in and running away again when they realize how freaking cold it is. Like children. (Or my husband.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Take a look at this face. (The hardest one I've written to date.)

Ignore the prime real estate up top, the disproportionately sized nose, the crazy left eye that’s always larger than its counterpart, my ridiculously pale complexion (you'd think I was dead or something), and the pointy chin.

Notice anything different?

Okay, I’ll tell you. My face… is HAIRLESS.

This is not an easy thing for me to talk about. For ten years (TEN!) I've gone through great pains to keep this problem hidden. But, in the last week, I've started noticing the improvement I was afraid I might never see. Not because I didn’t think the treatments would work, but because I was warned at my first appointment that even though I was a “good candidate,” the cause could be hormonal and something that wouldn't be affected by laser hair removal.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s it? Laser hair removal? THAT WAS THE BIG SECRET?

And to that I say, YOU SO DON’T UNDERSTAND.

This was not a few random stray hairs that some women complain about. This was thick, dark mutant hair that grew across my lip, chin, and randomly across my cheeks and down my neck. And the monsters would grow back nearly as fast as I could destroy them.

I spent a solid forty minutes each morning plucking and trimming, too afraid to ever try shaving (God forbid it make the situation worse) and too nervous and embarrassed to try waxing.

Forty minutes. Do you know how much time that is? Do you know how much time I've wasted on this over the last ten years?! (And, in case you're interested, that's 2,433 hours or 101 WHOLE DAYS lost forever.)

I’ve wanted to get laser hair removal for as long as I can remember. But, again, I'm a procrastinator. An excuse-maker. A fucking lazy-ass. What finally lit the fire? Several weeks ago, I had this thought. What if I’m in a car accident? What if I’m hospitalized for days or weeks or months? What if I’m in a coma and I wake up to find I’ve grown a full BEARD?!

I’d be horrified. I’d have to move to a new state. No, a new COUNTRY. Because even though I knew I wasn‘t fooling anyone, I’d convinced myself that I kept said problem a secret. I’d leave the house each day and tell myself it wasn’t THAT BAD, no one could really tell, no one was really looking close enough.

No, I wasn’t hiding it. Most people are just too polite to say anything. It’s only children that feel totally comfortable saying, “Hey, you have a moustache!” Because kids don’t hear that painfully embarrassed screaming inside your head. They can’t sense your desperation to bury your head, no, your ENTIRE BEING, in the ground you stand upon.


My aesthetician is a wonderful women named Suzanne. She is sweet and kind and reassuring and when my eyes began to water during the last treatment, she thought I was crying and almost cried herself. I love her and may have to name my first born after her. Boy or girl. I’m not even kidding.

At my first appointment, she told me I’d have to stop tweezing and start shaving. Because hair grows in cycles. And the follicle has to be actively growing hair in order for the laser to work. Hearing her say this nearly sent me into a panic attack. I didn’t want to shave. I was horrified that I’d walk around with a five o’clock shadow on my face. Damn it, I’M NOT A MAN.

Turns out, it really wasn’t that bad (oh, except for the humiliated and feeling very unfeminine part). At least, it wasn’t that bad after the first few awkward days, during which you could have heard me curse and mutter “this so isn’t fair” quite often.

The treatments themselves are painful. The laser feels like hot rubber bands slapping against your skin. Thankfully, it only lasts a few minutes. I have three more treatments to go, if necessary. And I've seen such amazing results since the last treatment that I wouldn't be surprised if I only needed one more.

Three treatments to finally rid myself of this agonizing problem. That's a total of forty-five minutes. Spending forty-five minutes in painful laser hair removal over the course of three months has freed me from spending forty minutes EVERY DAY plucking hair OUT OF MY FACE.

I have felt such an abundance of relief over the last few days, it's almost overwhelming and difficult to describe. It's truly an amazing feeling knowing that I can wake up and face my husband each morning without worrying what I look like (well, except for my monstrous hair).

I can travel ANYWHERE and not worry about how I'll "get ready" each morning or how much time will be wasted while we could be out and about.

I don't have to worry about what someone might feel if they touch my face. (Not that I really want anyone touching my face, but damn it, THEY CAN IF THEY WANT TO. God knows I've spent quite a bit of time feeling it myself and reveling in it's new soft, smooth texture.)

I'll never again have to listen to The Husband nag me about how long it takes for me to get ready to go anywhere. Because now? It's only takes me FIVE FREAKING MINUTES. I'm not even exaggerating.

And I won't even have to worry about being in car accident. (Well... except for the obvious reasons.)

This... this is the most reassured and confident I have felt in a long, long time. Ten years, to be exact.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seven honest things.

One of my favorite people tagged me with an Honest Scrap award. I think blog awards are really sweet and fun. I think they connect virtual strangers in a very unique way. It's one of the things I really love about blogging.

However, I personally don't often participate because one, I don't like to leave people out, and two, once I feel at all forced to do something, I go running in the opposite direction. But I like the idea behind this one. I mean, I could talk about myself all day long. And it was fun to come up with things that I haven't yet shared with you. So, here you go. You're welcome.

I smile and say hello to coworkers when I pass them in the hallway. (I'm polite like that.) (And I find it INCREDIBLY FUCKING RUDE when others don't do the same.) But I find myself still smiling for a long time after I've moved on. I have to actually tell myself to stop. And it's not like I was all that happy to see them. No, my thoughts have completely moved on to another subject, yet I'm still smiling like a fool. By myself. What's awesome is when I look up with a shit-eating grin on my face to find someone staring at me.

I am constantly imagining how conversations will go. I think about what I'll say and how I'll say it. And I move my lips along with the conversation. I'm not even kidding. (And, no, I don't do this while reading.) So, yeah, I basically walk around like I'm talking to myself.

I talk and think about vomiting a lot. I really don't understand it. Whenever I eat something new, I think will this make me throw up? When The Husband hugs me, I always pretend to vomit on him if he squeezes too hard.

Once, at the grocery store, I said, "I think I'm gonna RALPH!" and then The Husband said, "Who's Ralph?" This made me laugh. Later, while still at the store, I said, "I think I'm gonna HURL!" And before he could respond, I yelled, "Who's HURL!?" This made me laugh uncontrollably. (I have a lacking sense of humor, but I make myself laugh constantly. The Husband says it's not funny if you laugh at your own jokes. I know, secretly, he finds me hysterical.)

I only read romance novels. I know I've already told you how much I enjoy them, but in all seriousness, I ONLY READ ROMANCE NOVELS. I try reading others. Actually, I have knocked back a couple of Sidney Sheldon books (I love love loved If Tomorrow Comes and Best Laid Plans) and I've even read Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen which I thoroughly enjoyed, but these days I don't even bother looking at other genres.

I'm sure many people would say I'm missing out, but they entertain me and make me happy. Even as a teenager, I read books by Richie Tankersley Cusick and Christopher Pike because there was always that little spark of innocent romance between the two main characters that'd make me sigh and my young, inexperienced heart go pitter-pat. I am a total sucker for a love story.

I check the locks in our apartment multiple times each night. I'm not sure if this is due to an undiagnosed case of OCD or if it's just a lingering habit from my childhood, but I can't seem to help myself. When I was a teenager, I was always the last to go to bed. My step-dad would say goodnight and ask me to lock up. But, even then, I'd check the locks, like, three or four times.

Once while my younger brother lived with us in Monterey, he came home and left the front door open. And I mean OPEN. I had heard him come in and, even though I tried to reassure myself he was responsible and locked the door, I couldn't get the nagging suspicion out of my head. Finally, unable to sleep, I went downstairs just to check and found the door wide open and our old, fat cat wandering around outside.

I find it impossible to use random numbers while editing pictures in Photoshop. They MUST be multiples of 5. For example: if I'm adjusting the brightness, the level has to be set to 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. Not 12. Not 18. Not 27. If I'm adjusting the exposure, the level has to be set to 25, 50, 75, etc. Sometimes while in the Raw editor, I'll click on "auto" to see what settings Photoshop chooses. If I like them (which I rarely do) I'll keep them, but not before adjusting the values to the nearest multiple of 5. (Because God forbid my recovery slider be set to something crazy like 17.)

I went to three different high schools within my freshman and sophomore years. As soon as I turned 16, I took the California High School Proficiency Exam and received my diploma equivalent. I then took two very light semesters at a junior college and haven't been back since. Now, ten years later, I am preparing to register for a couple of classes come Fall and I'm terrified and excited all at the same time. I could care less about a degree. I just want to learn.

That's all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

White chocolate fudge-filled oat cups.

A few days ago, I was on the phone with my older sister and she sent me packing on a guilt trip that only a mother can accomplish.

She said, “Go bake something.”

To which I began screaming maniacally about my ever-expanding hips.

Then she said, “Every time you post pictures of something you’ve made, your nieces and nephews get a yummy treat. How can you deprive them?

I called her a dirty word and hung up on her.

No, not really. But she wouldn’t let me change the subject. I had been wanting to make fudge (I had grand ideas about a swirling chocolate and peanut butter fudge), but I didn’t have all the ingredients I’d need and I wasn’t about to spend a small fortune at the store just so I could make fudge to take pictures of so my nieces and nephews could have a treat. I don’t care how cute they are. (They are pretty damn cute.)

She told me to bake something with whatever I had on hand. She said she had faith in me and then said “we’ll be waiting.” Bitch.

So, grumbling, I opened my pantry, found two bags of white chocolate chips I had forgotten about and started browsing for a recipe. Almost immediately, I stumbled upon this one. I had seen it before, had been interested before, and since I had everything I needed, I figured now was as good a time as any.

And they. Are. Were. Awesome.

I was concerned that the oat cups would be too salty. A whole teaspoon sounded extreme and when I tasted the dough, I thought, surely, it had to be a typo.

It wasn’t. But once the oat cups are filled with that sweet fudge, it totally cuts the saltiness. It’s a wonderful combination. And the cranberries? For those of you who don’t go for fruit in your desserts (you know who you are), you can hardly taste them. I’d say you could even omit them, but I think they add a little something that you wouldn’t want to take away.

They were seriously delicious. This girl?

Ate more than I can remember. (Like the nail polish?) I made the mistake of baking these after I got home from my last day of work before the weekend. Which means there was no one to pass them along to the next day. Which means they sat in my fridge all weekend. Which means I continued to eat them until, fed up, I finally threw the last remaining few in the garbage. IT HAD TO BE DONE. (Don’t judge me.) (Yes, I know that’s wasteful, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do… especially if she’s trying to lose, or at least maintain, her weight.) (I assure you, I don’t make it a habit.)

In case you couldn’t tell, the little fudge-filled oat cups really were delicious. Although, unless I can find a way to make these that doesn’t require the tedious work of molding cups and filling them, spoonful by spoonful, I’m not sure I’ll make them again.

Well, let’s not get hasty.

Oat Cups
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped fine

(Note: I found that this recipe makes about 24 cups, which is perfect if you have a 24-cup mini muffin tin. I had a LOT of leftover fudge. Next time I will halve the filling recipe. But that’s just me. Please don’t yell at me if you decide to follow my lead and it turns out disastrous. Thank you.)
2 cups chopped white chocolate
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° and grease your mini muffin tin. (I used the spray stuff.)

Beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the oatmeal, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined. Add chopped cranberries and walnuts (optional) and mix until incorporated.

Drop dough by tablespoon into the prepared wells of your mini muffin tin. Using a tart press or the back of a teaspoons press down on the crust mixture until the crust is formed into a small well. (I used my fingers.) Bake for 5-6 minutes.

While crusts are baking make the fudge filling by heating the milk and chips over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Remove the partially baked crusts from oven (they should not be brown). If they’ve puffed up during baking, gently press them back down to form a well. (I used my fingers, burned them, and then used the back of my half-teaspoon.)

Fill each mini crust with fudge, being careful not to get any on the mini muffin tin or it will burn. Return to oven and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Chill for 20 minutes or until firm.

Using a sharp knife, gently pry the Fudge Cups out of the tin. They should pop out if you greased properly and the cups are firm.

(My sister... she told me to bake something. She didn't say it had to be easy.)

(Printer-friendly version of the recipe.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The ducks.

The Husband and I walked to Starbucks the other day. My camera sat, neglected, on a chair beside the door and we both looked down at it as we slipped into our shoes.

"Do you want to bring your camera?" he asked.

I sighed. "No," I said, "I don't. I just don't want to touch it today."

"But what about your photo project?"

To which I cursed vehemently and declared, "I quit that stupid project! I just don't want to take a picture every. single. day."

And then I stormed out of the house never to be heard from again.

No, not really.

We left, sans camera, and began the walk down the long driveway that led out of our apartments.

Of course, as soon as we stepped outside the gate, The Husband froze.

"Honey, look."

A family of ducks. Just walking waddling down the drive. And underneath the gate.

I think they were looking for the pool.

I love baby ducks. Well, I love anything mini. Especially those little mini bottles of booze. So cute!

In case you were wondering, I did sprint back to the apartment for my camera. Cursing the whole way. And I got a cramp, thank you very much.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When it comes to TV, I'm a teenaged boy.

This squirming bundle of cuteness was baptized on Sunday. The Husband was appointed Godfather which means I’ve had to endure my fair share of the all time worst Godfather impressions since then. Why do men do this? Is it programmed into their DNA?

There was, naturally, a party afterwards to celebrate. There’s nothing I like more than a loud party full of people I don’t know. (Please note the sarcasm.)

It’s not so much the party that bothers me (although The Husband is such a social butterfly that I often find myself standing somewhere, alone, wondering who to talk to now), but the arriving and departing that I find torturous.

I never know quite what to do upon greeting everyone. Are we going to hug? Shake hands? Swap spit? Grope each other? WHAT SHOULD I BE PREPARED FOR?

And the leaving… having to seek people out to say your goodbye’s and thank you’s and drive safely’s. More hugging. Someone save me.

The chit-chat in between, I don’t mind too much. Although, the camera has become quite the nuisance in that department. Now conversations revolve around what kind of camera is that? How many focal points does it have? Can I touch it? (I kid you not, this is a real conversation I had with another guest on Sunday.)

People, it’s a CAMERA. You have one, too. Mine’s just bigger.

There usually comes a point during most parties where I’ve had just the right amounts of time and tequila to find me feeling comfortable and, I’d even go so far as to say, having a good time. The conversation is easy and relaxed and those dreadful farewells are in the distant future…

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get there on Sunday. I keep telling The Husband he should carry tequila and candy with him at all times, just in case, but he laughs like I’m telling a joke. (Now I know how Stewie feels.) (You know, because no one ever takes him seriously.) (You’d know this if you watched Family Guy.) (Please watch Family Guy.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Today I hate my life.

I hate that my actions, or lack thereof, caused my husband to get inappropriately involved with another woman. (I know I’m not responsible, but…)

I hate that, because of the choices he made, I’m now suspicious of every fucking move he makes.

I hate that I’m afraid to ever bring anything up for fear that he might get mad and twist my words and suddenly I’m the bad guy.

I hate that his subconscious mind is causing him to act out in a way I could never have expected.

I hate that, because of it, he’s embarrassed and doesn’t want to talk about it. (I'm his wife.)

I hate that, when confronted and questioned, his first reaction is to lie or avoid the truth.

I hate that our recent history gets rehashed every time we have a serious conversation about our relationship.

I hate that all of our serious relationship talks always include the phrase “if this works out…”

I hate that the thought “I wish he would just leave me” sometimes crosses my mind when I have to confront his frustration and impatience over pain he caused.

I hate feeling happy… and constantly worrying that he doesn’t feel the same.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Standing on your feet for eight hours is brutal.

Standing on your feet for more than one is brutal.

Okay, don't be a baby.

My back aches. I'm getting old.

But not as old as my husband. Thank God.

Shit. Jon's birthday is on Saturday.

I can't believe he wants a cake instead of cake balls. I mean, bites. Cake bites.

Mmmm. Cake.

I haven't baked anything in a long time.

I wish I didn't feel so overwhelmed lately.

Didn't I take this job so I wouldn't be overwhelmed?

I wonder if I'll be laid off.

I wonder if I'll be fired for blogging.

I wish I was a better writer.

I wish I didn't feel like I ran out of things to say as soon as I moved to WordPress.

I wish I was better at making people feel better.

I'm too sensitive.

I get it from my mother.

My mother, who acted as if I'd just kicked a puppy, when I said I didn't enjoy sailing.

Actually, I didn't even say I didn't enjoy sailing.

But I suppose it was pretty obvious when I kept saying "maybe" and "we'll see" when she asked if I'd go again.

I can't believe she bought a boat.

I got seasick.

I didn't think I was prone to seasickness.

I guess it only makes sense. I get carsick all the time.

But I've been on boats before and never felt sick.

Well, not sailboats.

Fuck, that thing bounced around a lot.

If I'm getting on a boat again, I'd rather it be on a lake.

I wonder if we'll ever move to Minnesota.

We could buy a house in Minnesota.

God, we'll never be able to afford a house in California.

And we're about to go into so much debt getting Jon's teeth fixed. Repaired. Replaced.

I need to make a dentist appointment.

And a counseling appointment.

I wish there were never any awkward moments.

Sometimes my life feels like one big awkward moment.

Like today, when I accidentally referred to my male boss as a "mom." You stupid idiot.

Well, he kind of acts like a woman.

I will totally be fired for this.

As long as I'm making as much as Dooce when the time comes.

Oh wait. Ads. WordPress. Maybe not.

Why does it bother me so much that I'm no longer running BlogHer ads?

Who really flippin' cares?

The money it would cost to be able to run ads on the blog would far outweigh that which I'd earn.

That's just dumb.

Why is it so important to me to feel as if I belong?

I wish I didn't like candy so much.

Seriously, I wish I didn't.

Being able to cross 'my weight' off the list of things to worry about would be a tremendous relief.

I'm hungry.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Maybe it wasn't as bad as all that. But close.

My brain has officially stopped functioning.

Maybe it's because I've been going to bed too late.

Or it could be that I've just finished working nine days straight, which I'm totally not used to. I've worked in the hospitality industry for nine years, the first seven of which were spent on my feet. For the last two, I've been no less than blessed with a desk job that would make most people want to shove pencils through their eyes, but which I happen to love.

It could be that, due to our less-than-comfortable staffing levels, I've spent most of the last nine days back on my feet, checking people in and out of the hotel, fielding complaints, butting heads with irritable sales managers, and making myself available to help ease the emotional turmoil of two twenty-year-olds who's positions have just been eliminated (thanks a lot, Economy).

It might be that when I do finally get home, instead of doing something to rest or relax like TAKE A NAP, I've buried myself under my laptop in a mad and determined effort to get here. (And CSS? Not flippin' easy. In fact, I think it stands for Can't See Straight... as in, once you're done. Or give up.) This goes on for some time, until The Husband finally forces me to fold up my ironing board desk so he can get in bed.

It's then that I realize I've failed to upload or post any photos. And why it bothers me so much to say "this just wasn't the right time to start this project" I don't know.

If it's none of that, then it might be that I still insist on reading before falling asleep. And unlike most people I know who say reading puts them to sleep, it does the exact opposite for me.

So, for the last nine days I've felt rushed, tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed. And only some of that has been brought on by myself. I am really looking forward to the next four days off (minus the two hours I'll have to work on Saturday morning). In fact, I'm thinking it's been much too long since I've baked anything. But that'll have to wait until after The Nap.

I'm curious. What emotion would best describe the last nine days of your life?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Project FAIL... and welcome home.

There were clouds in the sky this evening. Not the most abnormal thing you've ever heard of, I'm sure, but it sort of is for these beach cities. The clouds just don't hang around for long what with the wind and all.

When I saw the sun begin sinking towards the Pacific, I thought I might be in for a treat and, well, it's been a while since I've gone running off to chase a sunset.

Although it was pretty and the walk refreshing... it wasn't quite what I'd hoped for. I hung around for a while, then jumped back in the car. Truth be told, there was a maple donut at home that I had been daydreaming about All. Freaking. Day. I kid you not.

So, let's just state the obvious here and get it out in the open. I missed a day of Project 365. Not even a week in and I've missed a day. Well, I've been working a lot. And I've been fairly obsessed with getting this here blog moved (you did notice the move, right?) and, finally, at ten-thirty last night, I realized I was missing something.

If it makes you feel any better, I did grab my camera. And I wandered around my apartment, hoping something would spark my interest. I almost took a picture of my work area where "work area" equals the ironing board I pull up to the end of the bed so I can sit and watch TV as I work on my laptop. I thought it was amusing, but... sometimes that stuff doesn't translate.

I took some more pictures of the cats.

I took a picture of my ice cream, thinking maybe it would spark conversation about our nightly habits and/or rituals. For example, I can't go to bed without a bowl of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with chocolate chips. (Although, after the amazing donut I had for dinner, I'll probably skip the ice cream tonight. I said "probably," not definitely.) At least, that's the current dessert obsession. (And my current breakfast obsession? Oatmeal with brown sugar and a piece of dry wheat toast spread with strawberry jam. But it has to be homemade oatmeal... like, on a pot, not from a packet.) (I don't know why I think you want to know this stuff.)

After I was done taking all these half-assed pictures, I knew I wouldn't post them. They were lame. And I'd rather miss a day than post junk.

Tomorrow is my last day of work for the week. I have my appointment Thursday morning and when I get home, I'm going to nap like no one has ever napped before. It will be the nap by which all future naps are judged... and found lacking. I may not get out of bed until The Husband gets home from work and that's only 'cause he's loud and inconsiderate of people when they're sleeping. (No, not really, but actually... he sorta is.)

And about this whole WordPress thing? Well... I think we'll be very happy here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I certainly haven't given you much, have I?

Peeps, I'm tired. This morning I found it nearly painful to get out of bed. I felt as if I'd sucked down eight margaritas then went for a swim in quicksand. Finally, finally, after snoozing the alarm too many times to count and being poked at and shaken by The Husband, I got up and on with it.

But it wasn't pleasant for anyone involved.

On Thursday I go back for my second appointment at the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery. (I like to say their whole name. It sounds important.) I made up for taking Thursday and Friday off by working this past weekend. Which means I will sleepwalk my way into the office tomorrow on what will be day seven of nine.

This really wouldn't be so bad if I didn't currently find myself in a pattern of staying up too late each night to finish "just one more page." So, yes, it's entirely my fault. (And to anyone with young children, anyone who has to work before eight a.m., anyone who doesn't have the opportunity to sleep as much as I do... I apologize. But that doesn't change the fact that I feel physically exhausted.)

So, why am I still up writing? Because I love you. And because I realized I hadn't yet taken a picture today. And I came this close to saying "forget it"... and then decided to stick with it. 'Cause I really should try to finish something.

And because I look at this blog as a type of modern day scrapbook and I want to have these posts and pictures to look back on in the future. I want to look back on this one of our girl Mercedes and remember she was "middle aged" in this photo. And I want to remember what a shock it was to realize that just days before said photo was taken. She's only seven, but in cat years... And I want to remember how sweet she was at this age, how she used to curl up on my lap and then, in sleep, how she'd stretch out in the nook of my own outstretched legs.

I need to remember this, because when we first adopted her? She was nearly two years old and for a solid six months I was this close to giving her up. 'Cause she was freaking batshit crazy.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

And the cat pictures start now.

Our kids used to be "outdoors." But we changed that a year or two ago when our girl, Mercedes, wound up at the vet for unknown reasons. A three-day hospital stay and two-thousand dollars later and we decided that we wouldn't risk it anymore. They're safer indoors.

But that doesn't mean they don't still follow us to the door, just hoping to get outside. Of course, on the rare occasions when they've managed to escape, they both freeze on the patio, totally nervous and unsure of what to do next. Say their name and they bolt right back inside.

And Luke (above) is the biggest fraidy cat of all.

This vicious circle makes me want to hurl.

There is a possibility that during the last few months I’ve become overly sensitive to The Husband’s behavior. (Shocking, I know.) I don’t think I watch his every move like a hawk, but it’s certainly possible. I wouldn’t put it past me. I am quite neurotic these days. And I expected to be paranoid, but I must say it’s really starting to annoy me. And The Husband? Totally. not. helping. For example…

This morning, as I stumbled my way back to bed after snoozing my alarm, I noticed him coming out of my closet. We each have our own. He keeps a couple of his things in mine; a small toolbox, some old pairs of shoes… but certainly not anything he’d need at seven a.m. on a Saturday.

Although, had he come out with some tools, I suppose I would have left well enough alone considering he has plans to work on my car today. (My poor car made the most pathetic sound two nights ago when I tried to start it. This was awful not just because I absolutely love my car, but I was leaving to get frozen yogurt. Sigh.)

But The Husband didn’t come out carrying tools. Or anything else for that matter. No, he just got right back into bed. So, what the fuck was he doing?

And I know what you’re thinking. Stephanie, what could he possibly have been doing wrong in a closet? Come on, get a grip! Relax!

But, I can’t help it. Especially when he responds to my inquiry with “no reason.” That’s it. Just two words. Two measly little words that explain zilch.

Well, people don’t wander in and out of closets for no reason! There had to be a reason. And he won’t share it with me. This can only lead me to believe that he’s hiding something from me. Again.

So, here we go. Again.

I’m paranoid and suspicious. I’m sitting here obsessing over what he could have possibly been doing in my closet. And all these horrible feelings? The insecurities and what-ifs? They’re bringing back all the feelings that I experienced after finding inappropriate text messages and pictures and realizing that he was involved, hoping to become more involved, with another woman.

Which then leads me to wonder: does this ever get easier? Or will I really go on feeling like this FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's only day two?

I have no idea if there are rules to this Project 365 thing. I didn't do any enough research before I started. But if it gets me picking up my camera and practicing this photography thing, then I'm all for it.

And, hey, it gives me something to share while I'm consumed with fixing Blogger's issues. (I curse you, Blogger.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fine. Here. But when I give up and quit and you call me a failure, I'm going to say "I told you so!"

Alternate title: 1/365

They planted all different kinds of vibrant flowers in front of our apartment and now there's no denying that Spring is here and Summer is fast approaching. They're so cheerful and the ones above? My favorite.

I was hoping to go out and capture some pretty sun flare, but... it wasn't happening. Sigh. (I guess that means my camera sensor is pretty clean, though, so that's something.) (Yeah, I guess sun flare is a result of the sun reflecting off dust on your camera's sensor.) (Or maybe I just need lots and lots of practice.) (Here I go with the parenthesis abuse.)

Anyway. Can I talk comments for a second? I've deleted the BlogHer ads in my sidebar. I'm trying to eliminate, or just figure out, the problem. So, maybe give it another try? Let me know how it goes?

If this is the problem some of you are experiencing...

...all I can say is I've come across this same error message on many other blogs, but as soon as I hit the "post comment" button again, it goes right through. That has to be a Blogger issue. (Right???)

If it's something else entirely, I'm toast.

Goodbye forever.

(Not really.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mother Nature has the worst case of PMS ever. And Blogger hates me.

At two a.m. this morning, I woke up to the mother of all thunderstorms. Except, I didn’t realize it was thunder. No, I thought it was the Big One. It was so loud that I immediately bolted out of bed before I was fully awake and ran for something (God knows what) because I thought it was an earthquake.

The Husband was waking up as I went running from the room.

“Honey, wha…?” He started to ask as I ran past him.

“I don’t want to be IN HERE if that’s AN EARTHQUAKE!”

See, our bedroom is built over parking spaces. All that’s holding us, and the apartment above us, from plunging to our death, are these old, skinny pillars. And I have a possibly irrational fear that, when the Big One hits, the entire apartment building will come crashing down around us. (Or, on top of us, naturally.)

It only took a second to realize it wasn’t the Big One. Or even a small one. It was a storm. A totally unanticipated storm. And I’ve never heard thunder like that in. my. life. It seemed as if it was right on top of us. Lightning would strike, then, a split second later, thunder would come raging through, loud and angry.

I like me a good thunderstorm, but I couldn’t even enjoy this one. It was too loud. I was too half asleep. I kept hearing my mother’s voice in my head telling me it’s the end of the world!

The lightning and thunder only lasted a few minutes. Then the rain came. And it was possessed.

We got back into bed, thinking the worst was over. Then, over the pouring, pelting rain, we could just barely hear Mother Nature laughing maniacally and yelling “GOTCHA!”

At the next, and worst, boom of thunder, we (and most of the surrounding area) lost power.

Not cool, Mother Nature. Not cool.

I’m afraid of the dark. (Go ahead and laugh. It’s okay. I won’t cry. Much.) Luckily, I wasn’t alone. Had I been, I’m sure I would have become a quivering mass of fear, huddled in the center of my bed and clinging to our cats. This is something I’ve thought about often. (I’m only slightly neurotic.) (No, actually, this is why I have candles and a lighter next to the bed, within arms reach.) (Please don’t leave me.)

(How do you feel about over-using parentheses?)

I spent the next powerless 45-minutes sleepless and reading by candlelight. It would have been kinda cool if I had been able to keep my mind focused on the book and off Armageddon.

So. Yeah. That was my night. On another note…

Peeps, I need help. My blog’s broken. I don’t know how or why or what... I just know that it is. A couple of good Samaritans have contacted me recently to give me a heads up that they can no longer leave comments when once they could.

Both of these people are using two different types of computers and two different web browsers, so as much as I’d love to blame a specific entity, that’s obviously not the problem. The only other thing I can think of is that I’ve recently added other third-party code (BlogHer, Feed Burner) to this here blog and I wonder if one of those caused a glitch?

This is really bothering me. And not just because I love comments (although I do) but because I don’t want my blog acting like a stubborn two-year-old.

Any suggestions? (And if you’re one of those who can’t comment (sob) please send me an e-mail… chocolateandwhine at gmail dot com. I’ll love you forever.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In which I ramble on and on about really stupid stuff… and Twilight.

Do you know what really, really, chaps my hide? When people steal.

I bring bottled water to work with me. I buy a case of it at Costco, lug the damn thing in, and, knowing that people are just downright evil by nature, I hide it. I hide a few bottles in the back of my bottom desk drawer and the rest in a box. A box because it looks like something I’d keep old files in.

Recently someone figured it out and my stash has been depleted. I have no idea who’s been taking them, but it makes me really… sad. (And mad, but that’s a given.) I don’t think it’d bother me so much if they’d at least leave a note and say hey, I took a bottle of water, hope you don’t mind! ‘Cause, honestly peeps? I wouldn’t.

But this sneaky stealing behind my back really bothers me. Or maybe it’s just ‘cause that friggin’ case of water is so damn heavy. Or maybe it’s ‘cause now I know I can’t keep water here anymore, except for the few bottles I can squeeze into the bottom drawer. Either way, I’m pissed.

I don’t even care about the money! It’s five bucks for the case. Big deal. It’s the principal of the matter, damn it.

Man, I’m really steamed.

(Deep breath.)

Okay, I’m thinking about starting Project 365. Come on, you’ve heard of it. Take a picture every day for an entire year? Except, for me, it’d be more like Project 245 ‘cause I never finish what I start. (Sigh.) In fact, I can’t believe I’ve maintained this here blog for as long as I have. Which means, now that I’ve said that, you’ll never hear from me again.

I kid! (I hope.)

So… Project 365. Anyone interested in starting it with me? I warn you now, I’ll probably let you down. I mean, I’ll try really hard not to, but here’s what’ll happen. I’ll jump off to a really great start. Then, after a few weeks (possibly just days), the photos will start to get all ho-hum. Then you’ll start to see a bunch of cat pictures. And I’ll tell you no, really, I just took these today! but really? I dug them out of my hard drive. And then I’ll go out of town for a few days and I’ll just pretend like the whole thing never happened. And maybe someone will say what about Project 365? And I’ll act like you’re crazy and what the heck are you talking about?

Eventually, I’ll have to change my name, my url, everything… pick up a new identity and start over. It’ll be like Blogger Protection Program.

And the kicker? One day, a few months into my new blog, I’ll think hey, I really want to try doing that 365 thing again.

And the madness will start all over. I’m awesome that way.

So, what do you say? Any takers?

Can we talk about Twilight again? Just for a moment? (Or an hour?)

I know I already posted this, but I can’t resist putting it up again. And talking it to death.

I hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointment, but I am so excited for this movie. (I know, shocking.) But a BIGGER BUDGET means better effects, right? I was worried about how they’d accomplish certain things in the second movie (especially after the first one, which we all know I LOVED, had some iffy special effects) but after seeing Jacob’s transformation in the preview? Oh, Holy Mother of God, why isn’t this movie out yet?!

I was talking to J on the phone last night and we were both squealing like girls when she said, “Oh, my God, Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black) looks SO HOT!”

To which I said, “Oh, my God, I KNOW! He looks freaking AMAZING!”

Then she said, in all seriousness, “He’s totally TOO YOUNG FOR YOU, but don’t worry, I won’t say that!”



Feeling like a child molester? Priceless.

So many of those brief scenes in the trailer look just how I’d pictured it in my mind. That’s important to me. I just hope that I’m not getting my hopes too high.

I only have LESS THAN SIX MONTHS to obsess about it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sugar Cookies... and some other stuff.

The Husband and I went for a bike ride Saturday afternoon once I finished work. We went searching for a used bookstore in Huntington Beach that a recent commenter recommended. After getting lost and huffing and puffing and peddling up more hills than I count (God, I'm outta shape)... we finally found it.

And it's going out of business.

So, I walked back out with just one book. But it only cost me a dollar. (Boo-yah!) Then we rode back home, picked up some lovely strawberries at a roadside stand, stopped for frozen yogurt (The Husband knows what's good for him), more hills...

By the time we got home, I was dead. No, not really, but I was pretty much a zombie for the rest of the night. (Especially after my too-hot shower. Why do I do that every time?) Which is okay, 'cause The Husband flipped on an Ice Road Truckers marathon and I got totally hooked.

Yesterday we went down to the swap meet. They have a couple of used book vendors there and I was able to find the second and third books of a trilogy I just started. Yes, another Nora Roberts series. So sue me.

I also managed to take time out of my busy schedule to snap a few pictures of the sugar cookies I made last week. (And by "busy" I mean I had nothing else to do, naturally.) I know what you're thinking. Sugar cookies? Really? That's so... boring.

Well, I love sugar cookies. I especially love the giant ones they sell in the grocery store that come in all different shapes and are decorated in all different colors.

Also, there's this little shop a few block away called Cookies In Bloom. They sell bouquets of sugar cookies. They're gorgeous. We went in to poke around last weekend and I almost bought a cookie shaped like a castle that was decorated with different shades of pink icing, but I was afraid to ask how much it was and The Husband was giving me the stink eye, so what could I do but go home and make my own?

(I tried to convince The Husband to send me a bouquet of cookies for our eighth anniversary (first date, not marriage) which was the next day, but apparently eight years only gets you a smile and slap on the ass. Pfffsht.)

I absolutely detest rolling cookie dough. But this time? Wasn't so bad, actually. Maybe it was because I separated and shaped my dough into square-like slabs before chilling.

Or maybe it was because, in the past, I've rolled my cookie dough to death, making these super-thin cookies that would break the minute you picked one up. Don't ask me why. I just thought that's how it was done. And this time I made them thick. Almost a half-inch thick. And they were wonderful!

I was going to leave it at plain white icing (I wasn't feeling too ambitious), but then felt guilty for not doing more. So, I did green and yellow stripes... you know, for Spring and all. (Yeah, still wasn't feeling too ambitious.) But who cares, 'cause they were awesome.

Here's the recipe I use (just in case there's anyone left in the universe that doesn't have a trusty sugar cookie recipe):

3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar

1. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg and milk nice and slow; continue to beat.
4. Very slowly add flour. When the dough pulls away from the sides, it’s done.
5. Separate dough into two different slabs, cover, and chill for at least two hours.

Now, I wrap my dough in parchment paper before chilling. This way, when it comes out of the fridge, I can roll it out while it's still on the parchment. (I tape the corners to the counter to prevent it from sliding around.) I sprinkle powdered sugar on the dough and rolling pin instead of flour. Then bake at 375 degrees for about nine minutes or, you know, until golden brown.

For the royal icing: beat together two egg whites and two teaspoons lemon juice until frothy. Add three cups of powdered sugar and mix until glossy and stiff peaks form (five to seven minutes).

God, I love these cookies. (You can go here for a printer-friendly version of the recipe.)

So, peeps, how was your weekend?

You’re welcome.