(not the teenage kind)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cricket (or It's A Small World After All)

Stephanie and I are at No Bar. It is early and we are the only ones there except for the owner/bartender Paul and a guy who is in the back room playing pool. A young woman walks in and looks around.

YW: Oh, there's no one here. I'm supposed to meet someone.

Sits down with me and Stephanie.

YW: What are you guys doing?

Me/Steph: Drinking gin gimlets and martinis. Blah, blah, blah.

At some point young woman introduces herself. Her name is Cricket.

Cricket: (seeing the guy playing pool): There is someone here.

Me: Who are you looking for?

Cricket: Do you know that guys name?

Me: No, but I'll scream it for you.

Guy playing pool walks into the room.

Cricket: Are you Vince?

Vince: Cricket?

They hug.

Me: Wait a minute. Is this a first date?

Cricket: Yeah, and now everyone knows and I'm soooo embarrassed.

Me: Wait a minute. You just met each other and you're hugging? Don't worry. This bar is like Vegas. It all stays right here.

Cricket: That's good because last time I was here I made a total ass of myself.

Paul: Oh, yeah, I remember you. (kidding)

Cricket and Vince go to sit at the bar. Steph and I continue drinking.

Me to Steph: I don't see it happening with Cricket and Vince. There's something about him. Actually it's his shirt. I don't like his shirt.

Me to Paul: We would like to order another round but we want you to know that after this round we are going to walk across the street and have dinner at Poquito Mas. You do not have to worry about the drinking and driving thing.

Paul: I really appreciate that because that is the big downside of what I do. I love owning this bar but sometimes people just shouldn't be driving when they leave here and I have tried everything but they insist. The men are the worse.

After this round, Stephanie and I get up to go to Poquito Mas. But first we feel we must check and see how Cricket and Vince are doing on their date. The bar, by the way, is now completely hopping.

Cricket: You're leaving? It's so early.

Me: We're old. This is my bedtime. Past my bedtime (it's around 8:30.)

We exchange business cards.

Me (whispering): How's the date going?

Cricket: Um, okay...(nervous laugh.)

Me: So did you guys meet on-line?

Cricket: Yeah, do you think there's anything wrong with that?

Me: No, no, that's how my sister met her husband. So what do you do?

Cricket: I'm a personal assistant to an actor, a real estate investor, and an actress. Actually I had a call back today and there was so much traffic on the 405 I called and told them I couldn't make it. I think everyone is really mad at me.

Me: Well, if you're blowing off call backs maybe you don't really want to be an actress that much. (Wow, when did I get so scary analytical hostile psychological?)

We start talking about the real estate. She tells me about her property and I tell her about my two condos in North Carolina.

Cricket: Wait a minute. You're not by any chance a Marshall Reddick investor, are you?

Me: I am!

Cricket: I recognized those places as Marshall Reddick areas. Do you know Kristi Dietz?

Me: Kristi Dietz! She is how this whole thing started. I took a class with her at Valley College. I love Kristi!

Cricket: I work for Kristi!

We could have gone on and on. But Vince and Stephanie (well, mainly Stephanie) were making conversation about our real estate nerdiness so we decided we would arrange our own meeting at No Bar and discuss strategy. Really, I loved Cricket though because she was young and smart and independent. And she made it clear that in these real estate deals there can be no loyalties, you have to just make the smart and right deal for yourself. I asked her if interest only loans made her nervous and her answer started with the sentence "any savvy investor would understand...." and then she started quoting real estate stats and, bottom line, no they don't make her nervous because she knows what she's doing. She is in control.

Steph and I went to Poquito Mas.

Me: What kind of name is Cricket? Is that her stage name?

We examine her business card. There is a sticker that says "Cricket" adhered to the front.

Steph: Pull that sticker off.

I peel the sticker back. Her name is Sharon.

How does it happen that someone like me who is not particularly friendly goes to a very trendy bar quite early so as not to run into the trendy people and ends up talking to a young enough to be my daughter trendy person? And how does it happen that for no reason at all we trade business cards like we're really ever going to talk to each other again because how could we possibly have anything in common? And then how does it happen that all of a sudden at the last minute we find out that we do have this major thing in common?

I'm telling you, cliches exist for a reason. Yep, it is a very, very, very small world.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Trip Preparation

I am trying to get everything together to leave next week for Des Moines to visit 97 year old Aunt Mary but things just keep not working out right. First, I ordered some trashy paperbacks for the plane and, well actually, for the entire visit from amazon.com. Not trashy, trashy but Sophie Kinsella trashy. I came home one evening and there was a delivery notice from the United States Post Office saying they needed my signature to deliver my amazon.com order.

This has never happened before. And I said so on the note that I wrote back with my signature, telling them to bring the package back ASAP and leave it on the porch. And then it didn't come and it didn't come and finally on Saturday I saw Pete, the mailman, who said that he was on vacation last week and this was the first he had heard of the package. He said that really he is supposed to get my signature for those amazon.com deliveries but that he is a rebel and that is why I have never had to sign before. "Well, you just keep on rebeling," I said. "Because I don't think I should have to sign for those packages." He promised to deliver the box to me on Monday.

On Monday there was no box but a note on one of my catalogs from Pete in which he promised to bring the box on Tuesday. And he did. Which hopefully means that my note about never before having signed for an amazon.com order did not get him fired for being a rebel. So I open the box all excited and there are my trashy paperbacks except they are hardcovers. How did that happen? Amazon.com totally messed me up by offering me some two for one deal that I thought was paperback. I can't travel with trashy hardcovers! What am I going to do?

My second obstacle is getting the Ativan prescription renewed. Remember, I get to take three now for plane rides. People have told me I get very boring after taking just one. Kruthless is going to love meeting up with me in Denver. So, anyway, I call the doctor's office and some smarmy guy looks up my records and says "Now don't be disappointed if she denies the prescription. You haven't been in here in almost two years." And I say "Well, I've talked to her on the phone." And he says, "I'm just letting you know so you won't be surprised. There is a possibility she'll want to see you before she'll refill the prescription." I am so glad that they are now training phone answerers on the requirements for refilling prescriptions once a year for people who are afraid to fly.

As of this morning, the Sav-on drugstore says that the prescription has not been called in but the doctor's office says it has. We will never know the truth. The Sav-on drugstore people are on it. I wish they were rebels like Pete and would just refill my prescription. It's not like I'm asking for a new one every day.

Other trip preparations are faring much better. Along with the box from amazon.com yesterday there was another box from Paul Frank. If you have been keeping up, you will remember this post. Well, Kruthless came through and mailed me the bag for my half-birthday! It will be perfect for the hot hot humidness of Des Moines. Also, I have given up on my poker obsession (we knew it wouldn't last!) in exchange for my new Sudoku obsession. Sudoku is this puzzle in the L.A. Times. I am not sure when they introduced it but I just started playing and it turns out that Kruthless has cut a bunch of them out and is going to bring them to Des Moines!

Trashy hardcovers, ativan refill, new purse, sudoku - I'm getting there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Rainbow Family

Last Saturday I did my Union Station docenting for a group called Professionals for CASA, CASA being another organization that I have volunteered with for over 10 years now. In my years as a child advocate for CASA and other organizations I have met some wonderful foster parents and some bad ones. Some great kids and some really difficult kids. But I was unprepared for the weirdness that showed up on my tour and am trying to figure out whether to say something to my CASA supervisor.

Because I really don't know the full story. And most of it is just gut feeling. There was this family on the tour with kids who were either adopted or foster kids. Each family member was a different ethnicity - dad was white, mom was asian, daughter (age around 12) was black, and son (age around 10) was hispanic. We will call them the Rainbow family.

Father Rainbow had to have been in his seventies, or maybe his eighties, or maybe he was a hundred and five. And he was loopy. He kept mumbling things to me during the tour. While I was leading the tour. Before we started, he told me they had to leave early because Daughter Rainbow was singing in some program. He then tried to get her to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" for all of us. She got all mad and attiudey with him and then accidentally spilled her drink all over her white tank top which said "Baby Girl." She wore big sunglasses during the whole tour.

Father Rainbow introduced Son Rainbow as "the one who always gets lost." And I could see how this could happen. I brought along another docent because there were thirty people and we switched roles in the middle so I was responsible for wrangling the crowd. Which turned into wrangling the Rainbow family because at one point the tour went one way and Son Rainbow went another, right past Mother Rainbow, right past Daughter Rainbow, right past a security guard to an area where he was not supposed to go. And here's where my two volunteer worlds collided. Because the Los Angeles Conservancy docent in me wanted to act all chippy and cheery and like everything was okay and let's get back to the group but the CASA in me wanted to call the Department of Children and Family Services and get Daughter and Son Rainbow away from Father and Mother Rainbow.

The Rainbow family did not leave early as promised and Father Rainbow continued to mumble inanely to me about the Red Car and trolleys and tra la la until the very end. And then at the very, very end he thanked me, shook my hand, and kissed my cheek. Yuck! Rainbow family. Very scary.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Two Dog Night

Slumber party at my house. My neighbor went out of town and asked me to look after his dog, Tank. Tank is a beautiful blue-eyed Siberian Husky and I have known him since he was a puppy. I had just bought my house and the hardwood floors were newly done and the whole place painted. My mom and I were bringing in some boxes when this fast ball of fur came running past us and almost into the house. I completely forgot my fear of unknown dogs because I was overtaken with the fear of the ruining of the hardwood floors and the picture of white dog hair adhering to my newly painted walls. My neighbor managed to stop Tank before he got in the house. But that is Tank. He is constantly wandering the neighborhood, very sociable, running into people's houses and backyards. In fact, one of my neighbor's friends around the corner once called the police thinking they had an intruder. It was Tank stopping by for a visit. And Tank and my neighbor were like the best of buddies, going everywhere together - Home Depot, the bank, camping, hiking, biking, roller bladeing. Tank had his own room in my neighbor's house with a doggy door to the outside and the walls painted especially for him.

But things changed about two years ago when my neighbor got married and Tank turned into his second best buddy. And now four months ago they had a baby and the baby took over Tank's room and now he has no doggy door. And, according to my neighbor, Tank prefers to sleep outside because there is just too much new baby commotion indoors. So when he asked me to take care of Tank all he wanted me to do was go by in the mornings and feed him and the rest of the day and night he said Tank would just be fine hanging out in his backyard.

Okay, it is hot, hot, heat in the Valley right now. So I'm having dinner with some friends on the night before my first morning of Tank duty. Neighbor fed Tank in the morning and then left. I start talking to my friends about Tank and about how it is 92 degrees out at 7:00 at night and shouldn't I just bring Tank over to sleep. And one of the friends says that she can not believe that Tank would prefer being outside away from the family because dogs love being with the pack. I decide I am going to bring Tank over for a slumber party.

And I will say right now that I am very disappointed with my neighbor and his wife because where Tank's food bowl is? Completely blocked by two strollers. How did they think he was going to get to his food? How did they think I was going to get to the food? People...

I would not call the slumber party a rousing success. Tank spent the night by the door whimpering to go home. (Hey, that reminds me of someone in my own family whose name will go unmentioned.) My pup spent the night protecting his territory - me - and I felt like I had grown a hot, furry shadow. I will say that the first thing Tank did when he got here was drink two bowls of water so I did do my part in contributing to the hydrating of the Tankster. I brought Tank home at 6 this morning and he wanted to go into his backyard immediately. I let him out and he did not look back.

Who is having fun at the happy, happy slumber party with cool, cool air conditioning? Apparently, nobody! And who takes worse pictures than me? Apparently, nobody again! Maybe it's the camera...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Crazy Cat Lady Next Door

So. This post may not sit right with the major cat lovers out there. Or maybe you will understand. Here's the story:

When I bought my house over seven years ago it turned out that the lady next door (let us just call her Mollie) had a bazillion cats. This is an accurate count as it was told to me by my neighbor two doors down on the other side who happens to be a CPA. And, if that wasn't enough, it was also told to me by a contractor who did work on my laundry room and happened to look over the wall into her yard and saw the cats lounging in their house and in their pool. Birth control? Not in Mollie's vocabulary. This was before the arrival of my pup and these cats had no boundaries. So I would look out the kitchen window in the morning at my lovely and new backyard and there would be invaders. Tons of them. Cats just peeing and pooing and acting like they owned the place.

And the breed of these cats was Siamese or some were probably Siamese mutts because the breed was just breeding and breeding. And you know those are some noisy cats. Sometimes in the middle of the night noisy. And things went from bad to worse because the cats started invading the front with their peeing and crawling on my car and my backyard and front yard starting smelling terrible. And then they started bringing me little presents at the front door. A hair ball. Or vomit (or is a hair ball and vomit the same things? See, I am just not a cat person). Or pee. Or worse. And the mailman would leave my oversized mail on the front step and my catalogs and stuff started turning into the cat's litter boxes. And one day the present one of them left on the doorstep was a dead rat.

Everytime one of these presents got left, Iwould march to Mollie's door and make her clean things up. And she was quite sweet about it. But here's the thing...I would knock on her door and just the smell on her porch would make me almost vomit. And then she would open the door and I would have to take ten steps away from the overpowering smell. And then all day that smell would be in my nose. And one day even her Sparkletts guy saw me in front of my house and came up to me and started complaining about the stinky cats.

I kept buying this product from the pet store that is supposed to keep cats from wanting to use your yard as a litter box but it cost me lots of time and money and did not really work. A friend of mine wanted to give a Siamese cat or two to her mother and I thought Mollie would be overjoyed to find such a good home for two out of the bazillion cats but she got very vague on me and did not relinquish any cats. Things got so bad that a co-worker told me how you can kill cats without any trace of what you had done and I actually started to consider it. Kidding. Kidding. I would never.

But then I got the pup. And he did a darn good job of keeping the cats out of the backyard. But his existence did not entirely alleviate the odor problem they were causing in the front and side. And then a friend came to visit who is a major cat lover and saw the scrawny and sad condition of these cats because no one can properly care and feed a bazillion cats and she immediately called the authorities to report the situation. I do not know if the authorities actually came or if Mollie realized she was in over her head or what but the number of cats seemed to drop significantly down from the original bazillion and stopped being such a nightmare problem.

But don't be thinking that things are now completely hunky-dory. Mollie's house is not in good condition and for one she allowed this tree in her backyard to grow and grow and grow and it started lifting the concrete around her cats' pool and her cats' house and she still just let it grow and grow and grow until finally it started lifting the concrete in my garage and I had to arrange and pay for the removal of said tree. But not before the tree also started pulling apart the fence that separated our properties so just this past January I also had to arrange and pay for the rebuilding of that. When the contractor and I went over to talk about the fence he said that her roof was very old and asked if it was leaking and she said, "Oh, I don't know, maybe in the attic." Then he told her that her roof was the old kind of material and was an extreme fire hazard. Then he told her that she could make a ton of money if she sold her house and bought a nice, easy condo and she said she could not do that because she had four (ha!) cats. I told her she should buy a ranch in New Mexico.

A couple of weeks ago when I had my guests over in the new backyard, one of the guests kept talking about a familiar smell. I kept offering up suggestions like "gardenias?" or "magnolias?" or "orange tree?" As she was walking down the driveway to go home, she exclaimed, "Oh, I know what it is. Cat pee."

Yep. The cats are back. And they are hot and cranky. And let's just say that there is a newborn baby living on the other side and another newborn baby right next to that and those two newborn babies put together don't make anywhere near as much noise as those cry-baby cats. In the middle of the night. And they are getting bold. They are trying to sneak behind the pup, who is now seven years old and not as on top of things as he once was, and getting into the backyard. And climbing on my car. They have not yet graduated to leaving me presents. And they better be careful because I still know how to find the guy with the cat killing recipe. Kidding. Kidding. Please don't make nasty comments.....I would never.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Painless Monday

Well, more like less pain Monday. The knee is a little better but I want you to know that Aleve is no longer my friend. That is because I weighed myself and I have gained five pounds in five minutes. I looked up the side effects of Aleve and one of them is "rapid weight gain." I'll say. Someday someone needs to explain to me how a medicine that you take to reduce swelling also turns you into a walking water balloon. I am going cold turkey with the knee pain. I don't mean to be vain or anything but I need to be able to fit in my clothes so I can go to work and make money for my poker - whoops, I mean mortgage.

In other news, it appears that I am a major trendsetter (if you define trendsetting as developing an interest in something approximately one week before it becomes popular to the masses.) For the last two days there have been articles in the Los Angeles Times about poker. Just remember, you heard it here first.

Also, not only is the yarn store near my work on Six Feet Under but last night the actor from this post was on the show. Coincidence? Hmmm.....

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More Pain Saturday

Do not read this until you have read the previous post.

The Aleve is wearing off and according to the instructions I can not have more for another two hours. What to do? Wine? And whine? I think so. And Celebrity Poker. Oh, wow, can't there just be a Celebrity Poker channel so I can just devote my life to watching Celebrity Poker? Oh, man, Paul Rudd just went "all in," what am I doing on this blog?

The pain has moved. It is now sort of on the left side of my knee but maybe a little higher than that. It is hard to stand up and sit down and get comfortable. I need my Aleve.

On a happy note, my new sprinkler guy rocks....he wants to go in with me to buy my neighbor (the cat lady's) house. Not the first one to offer. Whole 'nother blog posting.


It is not even noon and yet so much is going on today. It really started yesterday afternoon. I went for a little walk at lunchtime, just doing some errands, not a monster walk at all. By the afternoon, my left knee starting hurting. Not badly. I can hardly explain. It just felt tight but if I got up and walked around I was fine. But things changed by the evening. By evening, I was in pain. The whole right side of my left knee hurt terribly whenever I moved. To walk, I had to limp. I could not get comfortable. I tried elevating the knee and a cold pad and then I finally took Ativan so I could at least fall asleep.

In the morning, everything was worse. I was hopping around the house. Standing up and sitting down was excrutiating. I was wondering if I should go to the emergency hospital. Or at least see if my dad would lend me one of his canes. Or wait until Monday and go to my regular doctor. The downside of that is I have this managed care coverage where I need to go to my primary physician who will then take care of the problem or refer me on to a specialist. The only thing is that the time I fractured my foot, my primary care physician, not being a fractured foot specialist, misread my xray. Long story but not good for the healing of the fracture. But, love you, my managed care. And, love you, my doctor and do not want to have to remind you of the fractured foot incident so just refer me to that nice orthopedic guy now, okay? Anyway, that's how things were going around in my mind this morning.

I did some internet research and it sounded like every and all knee problems benefit from elevation, hot or cold, and an anti-inflammatory. So I took a large dose of my very favorite over the counter drug, Aleve.

By now, the cleaning lady had arrived. And she brought a massive amount of teenagers with her. Well, actually, it was only three but you know how teenagers can fill a room and my house is really small. And even though there was all this helping going on, I found that the only way to deal with the knee pain was to stay standing so I started washing dishes and cleaning too. And eventually the Alleve did start working. I won't say the pain was gone but I was no longer subsumed by it and my mind was tricked into thinking I could walk without limping. You know what I mean?

And then the Brink's alarm guy came to test my system. And, sadly, my system failed its test. Which was especially sad for me, my cleaning lady and her helpers, my pup, and all the neighbors because the Brink's guy had to test and retest which meant setting off the alarm ad nauseum. And we will all be going for our hearing test next weeks. Turns out the wires in the smoke alarm were loose. Turns out I have been paying extra for the special platinum service which makes fixing the wires in the smoke alarm free. Yay me and my extra paying.

And then the sprinkler guy came. Because when I got back from vacation there was a note from the pup's sitter telling about the screwed up sprinklers and how instead of watering the lawn, one sprinkler is creating a river running down my driveway and another sprinkler is cleaning my bedroom window. But meanwhile all the grass and flowers are dying. I love my new sprinkler guy that I got out of the yellow pages because he is going to make everything right and pretty again even though he has to work in ninety degree weather to do so.

Fortunately my mother stopped by right around this time because I needed to discuss my medical emergency with someone. She agreed that it did not sound or look like I needed to have knee surgery today but pointed out that bending my legs to sit in a regular chair was not something that someone in my condition should be doing. She said I needed to keep my legs elevated for the rest of the day and avoid bending my knees.

Which was a bit of a bummer because I had planned to go see "Happy Endings." But instead I did what I think anyone in my position would do and went to the market and spent an inordinate amount of money on cut-up fruit. And resigned myself to spending the afternoon and evening with my feet up, eating cut-up fruit, drinking wine, watching celebrity poker, and playing the poker on-line. Maybe get some reading done as well.

Whew, I am exhausted....remember this is a recap of everything that has happened BEFORE NOON. Time to nap. And only four more hours until I can take my next Aleve.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My New Obsession

You might have noticed I haven't been blogging a lot lately. That is because I have a new obsession that is taking all my computer time. It is evil. Here's what happened:

On Saturday, I was flipping channels on the TV and started watching Celebrity Poker. I've never seen Celebrity Poker before and they were playing Texas Hold 'Em and they had Camryn Manheim and Brandi Chastain and a couple of other celebrities I have never heard of. But it was fascinating. And looked so easy and fun on the TV when you know what everyone's cards are.

When the show was over I picked up the latest issue of the New Yorker and the very first article was about Texas Hold 'Em and these "kids" who are bazillionaires from playing the game. And you don't even have to go to college or be a genius to become a bazillionaire from playing Texas Hold 'Em. You just need to know what you are doing. And they talked about the old school players who count the cards and the up and comers who are more about the psychology of the game. Oh, and as one of the bazillionaires pointed out, playing Texas Hold 'Em is no more risky than the stock market. And then they made a little joke about Texas Hold 'Em being a far more ethical way of making money (you know, versus those Corporate CEOs who are weeping because they have to go to jail for 25 years just for causing all those people to lose their life savings. Poor Corporate CEO.)

That night I went to a party and they had gambling tables set up and one of the tables was Texas Hold 'Em. I sat down and my very first hand was a Full House. And then I realized. These three events in the same day (Celebrity Poker on TV, Poker article in the New Yorker, Poker table at the party) were not a coincidence. Someone was trying to tell me that I was meant to be a professional Texas Hold 'Em player.

I drove home from the party and immediately got on-line. And before anyone (i.e. mom, dad, sister, etc.) starts worrying that I am going to lose my house, so far I have only been using the play money (okay, maybe the "so far" part of the sentence should make you a little worried). The on-line poker people give you $1,000 to start and you find a game and click on any empty chair you want. Depending on where you sit, you are assigned a persona. My first persona was a fat, bald guy with a cigar. He was very laid back. I was happy to be him. And I won, won, won. It is so fun because you get to figure out the betting habits of the others at your table and there is some on-line chatting going on during the game. I do not participate because I am concentrating like mad. But some people even try to goad you on. Anyway, I went to bed on Saturday night with over $800 in winnings.

I woke up early Sunday morning and brought the laptop into bed to start winning more. Only I lost, lost, lost. And had to replenish my $1,000. But losing is good because that is how you learn. I learned that I can be very stubborn and I started betting lots and lots of money when I did not really have anything good in my hand just because I hated the person who kept raising the stakes. And because it was not real money.

But I learn from my mistakes and I am here to tell you that as of now I have over $2,000 in my pot and I have learned to play a far more conservative game. And I have realized that I really need to have a strategy. And I should be ordering books and going to Vegas and watching more Celebrity poker and even watching the old counting cards pros. See? Don't really have time for all this blogging stuff. But no worries, trust me, I lose interest in things pretty quickly so don't be surprised if I'm back here tomorrow and Texas Hold 'Em and I have broken up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Send Karl Rove A Pink Slip

Karl Rove illegally and dangerously "outed" a CIA operative. Click on this link and send him a pink slip. Bush's brain (rent this film!) must be excised now.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I'm Back

And I'm sure you're wondering how the plane ride home went. We need closure. Let me start by telling you that the day I had to climb aboard the plane was the same day of the bombing in London. Not that this made me any more nervous than I usually am. Really, my fear of flying has nothing at all to do with terrorists. Although there was a moment when I almost called don dokken to ask if he would mind driving a little further than the Burbank Airport to pick me up.

So the drinking started prior to leaving for the airport and, lucky for me, there was actually a bar right across the way from my departure gate. And they had a special on half bottles of champagne. It was just like having Sofia Minis at the Burbank Airport only none of the deviousness of having to sneak the cans in or illegally opening them in the middle of the airport.

And things were hopping in the bar at the San Francisco airport. Some tourists from New Orleans walked in demanding to know why they had not seen hide nor hair of Rice-a-Roni (you know, the SAN FRANCISCO treat.) The locals told them that they had lived there for blah, blah, blah years and had never tasted the stuff. So there you go. Rice-a-roni? San Francisco treat? Bunch of malarkey.

I checked my bags in at the San Francisco airport which was very unlike me. I usually like to keep my baggage close. Especially because I had just bought three really cute outfits and it seemed so soon for us to separate. But we did. And there must be something about baggage pickup areas that calm me down because as I was waiting for my suitcase, this little girl pointed to me and said to her grandmother, "Is that a statue?" I kid you not.

Now, I saw that she was pointing to me and starting to say something so you know how you think you know what someone is going to say and you prepare an answer in your mind and then blurt it out before you realize that what they said was not what you thought they were going to say at all? I thought so. So you can clearly understand why my response to being called a statue was "Yeah, I wish." Don't ask me what I thought this was going to be a response to. Just remember the champagne at the San Francisco airport.

Well, anyway, the important thing is that I'm home safe and sound. And now that I know that standing in the baggage claim area rids me of my usual jitters and impatience, I just might start spending more time there. Cheaper than a massage.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Wine Tasting 101

First rule: Forget about Napa (except for Cakebread and Sofia Minis). Sonoma is the place. It is less touristy, less fussy, more beautiful, and you will find many hidden treasures. They take time to educate people about the wine and they like hiring retirees so come visit me there very soon. I'll be right here.

Second rule: Hire someone to drive you around. It is a big place with over 100 wineries. Everyone should be able to enjoy the scenery and drink all the wine. Eliminate the need for a designated driver. And for those celebrating their 21st birthday, do not settle for a van, insist on a towncar.

Third rule: Take notes. Otherwise you will forget which wine goes with the chocolate and which you are supposed to save for when certain people that you are wine tasting with come to visit and which would be right for the company coming next week. And what to serve with what.

Fourth rule: Go to the Raymond Burr Winery for the orchids, not the wine. Go to Ferrari-Carano winery for the gardens, not the wine.

(Note: This is the only photo from the trip I am allowed to publish....seriously, I have been threatened with legal action if I do not comply.)

Fifth rule: Don't stay in the busy town of Healdsburg. Go to the Old Crocker Inn in Cloverdale and you can sit on the almost wraparound porch and drink wine and watch deer grazing and hear a live rock concert from the nearby campground and eat delicious food cooked and baked by the proprietors. Or you could sit by the pool and allow the other guests to have a splashing contest whereby the person who jumps in the water and gets the most water on you while you are trying to sunbathe wins. But be sure to get part of the winnings. And it is perfectly okay to be paid with wine.

Sixth rule: Visit Lou Preston on Sunday when he is pouring the jug wine. Or just go to his blog anytime.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Notes From The Road

First off, the Sofia Mini Plan worked like a dream. The only downside was that I had my Blackberry with me and after the first Sofia Mini felt I had to email the world with how successful the Sofia mini plan was and apparently there were some typos in some of the many emails which prompted some to think they needed to call for an intervention. Thank goodness I have divulged my whereabouts to hardly anyone (and, Mom, just because I called you last night and asked if you believe in God and something about a frozen leg does NOT mean that the drinking of the Sofia minis has continued in any way. Welcome home!)

This has been a very educational trip so far. For one, did you know that Raymond Burr was gay? And, for another, did you know that if you are trying to make coffee and there is a four step list of instructions that if you skip step 3 because you assume someone else has taken care of it, you are not going to get a good cup of coffee? I didn't think so.

Happy 4th of July....

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Sofia Mini Plan

It's flying day and you all know how I feel about that. But I have a plan. And, no, it's not Ativan Times Three because it is a short flight and I don't want to be all wiped out when I get there. And it's not drinking at the airport bar because they don't open until noon and that is just about when my plane will be boarding.

Some people suggested I make bloody marys and bring them in a thermos but being that I am on vacation and lazy the idea of going to buy a thermos and then buying the bloody mary fixings and then mixing it all up seemed like too much work. And too many things to remember and carry. I need ultra, ultra simple for travel. I also thought about buying the little airplane vodka bottles and a little can of tomato juice and bringing the cup with me and just mixing everything right there in the waiting area of the Burbank airport.

While at home packing last night, the dilemma solved itself. I remembered that I had this in my refrigerator:

I would like to thank Mr. Francis Ford Coppola and his daughter, Sofia, for inventing the perfect pre-flight solution: Sofia Mini. It is champagne (really good champagne!) in a can with a straw and everything. See, that's the straw, adhered to the left of that cute little pink little can. And I can put at least two, if not all four in my purse.

Not to say this plan is worry free. (By the way, at the same time those aforementioned bullets were found, there was also found a book called "How To Control Worry." It has been donated to me and certain members of my family.) Worry One is whether or not they will let soda cans go through security or allow them on the plane (because what if I just want to drink one in the waiting area and one on board?). Now, I have discussed this issue with The Sage who points out that he has been on planes before and ordered Diet Cokes and they pull out a soda can and open it and give it to him. So he in his infinite wisdom thinks they will clear security.

Worry Two is regarding the legality of just popping open some champagne and drinking it in the middle of the waiting area at the Burbank airport. Here The Sage was most helpful again. He said "Legal, schmegal, who cares? You're just like your mother, always worried about breaking the law." (And he recommended I start reading that "How To Control Worry" book RIGHT NOW.) He also pointed out that there are no champagne police patrolling the Burbank airport. And if they were? Who cares? And then I pointed out that I was doing a public service to the pilot, flight attendant, and most especially the lucky person who will get to sit next to me by drinking my Sofia minis. I will be sure to point that out to the champagne police.

I guess the bloody mary thermos would be more discreet but now I have my heart set on Sofia. Champagne just seems the fun, light way to start a vacation. Speaking of which, there will most likely be no blogging for the next many days while I'm gone. I will be in touch when I get back and, in the meantime, if you hear about a crazy lady getting arrested at the Burbank airport by the champagne police or about a pink can of champagne exploding in the air, you will have the inside story.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Febreze and Me

If you are keeping up, you will have read about my watermelon spillage dilemma and Jill's solution in the comments to use Febreze. I admit I had heard of Febreze but was not really familiar with what it was and when I went to the Gelson's to pick some up I was surprised to find that it is in a squirt bottle. I really must have had it mixed up with something else because I was picturing a tissue type product like Bounce.

I was intrigued by the verbiage on the bottle which says that Febreze "surrounds odours and sweeps them away." What's with the fancy odor spelling? And how exactly does a liquid that you spray from a bottle surround and sweep all by itself? The answer to the last question is actually on their website. And it has something to do with molecules. Very scientific.

I was so excited that I wanted to start spraying right there in the Gelson's parking lot. But then I thought I should be careful because I had purchased food for dinner and what if I accidentally sprayed Febreze on it and the molecules surrounded and swept away my food. Oh, and to digress for just one moment....they now have to ask at all the markets when you buy food if you are going to be eating it there or taking it home because if you eat it there you have to pay tax like at a restaurant. I think this has been on the books for years but all the markets in my neighborhood got busted on it at the same time.

I got home and brought my food on the porch and then the spraying began. They recommend using a sweeping motion and spraying over all fabric everywhere. Someone should buy those Febreze people a broom, they are so into the sweeping. I will keep you in suspense no longer. The Febreze spraying ceremony was a huge success. Now, this could be because as I was spraying I found some spots that I had neglected to notice before so there were actually still watermelon seeds in the car which I removed. So it could be a combo of Febreze and eliminating the cause. But I fell in love with the Febreze. And I could not sleep until I had sprayed all the fabrics in my house.

And for those who might be worried about any chemicals and the pup, I checked the ingredients and it says "water, alcohol, odor (here they spelled it not fancy) eliminator derived from corn, fragrance." Harmless. I gotta go spray his beds.

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