Friday, February 25, 2011

Snowstorm Coziness

Buddha is even zen when he's covered in snow
Well, the LA basin might get snow.  Seriously, the Hollywood Sign might get a little dusting.  Snow hasn't accumulated in LA since 1949.  It's pretty exciting stuff.  The news crews are having a field day with it - they hear Fritz at NBC 4 say that snow is coming, and they immediately get tingles.

Up here in the mountains we're expecting two feet or so, and blizzard conditions with winds up to 90mph.  It started snowing about 4 hours ago, and has already dropped several inches.  Right now we're just getting out all the emergency stuff in case the electricity goes out, charging phones and cameras for the same reason, and making sure we have enough firewood in the house drying out to keep a fire going for several days, just in case the heat goes out.  It's all pretty exciting.  J is more worried than excited, but I'm not.  I'm just getting cozy with my hot chocolate, my cats, and my book, and am glad that there's nowhere I absolutely have to be until Tuesday.  Time for some serious hunkering down and coziness.

Stay warm, everybody!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Due Dates and Snowstorms

Snowflakes and Butterflies
Today is Baby Teysko's due date.  The week before we lost him, in early October, we bought a giant Jeep because we live in the mountains, and we'd been through three winters up here without a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and we didn't want to tempt fate by trying to make it a 4th, especially when we were due in February.  We bought the Jeep on a Wednesday.  On Friday we went out on a Date Night in it, even though it's a gas guzzler, just to try it out.  I wore a long-sleeved red t-shirt that said, "Baby makes the belly go round" and J rubbed my tummy a lot - I was starting to really pop out.  On Tuesday he was gone, my little butterfly baby who sits on my shoulder and tells me not to cry because he's still with me, and I'll get to hug him someday.

This past weekend we got a major snowstorm, and we kept talking about how great it was that we had the Jeep, considering that this is when Baby T was due.  But it's silly thinking.  It doesn't matter now because we don't have to go to a hospital to bring a baby into the world.  We just went to Redbox to get movies, and felt smug because we could return them without having to shovel the berm, and could just plow over it.

My baby boy, I love you so much, and I'm so sad that you're not here with us.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ode to Brand Loyalty to Borders

I'm a little bummed today because Borders filed for bankruptcy.  I am a creature of habit, and mostly I have brand loyalty, not out of an emotional connection to the brand itself, but simply because I'm lazy. With Borders, though, it's different.  I'm attached to the brand.  I have a history with Borders.  And I'm sad that the internet is wrecking it for them, even though I'm partly to blame for that, seeing as how I haven't gone into a Borders since September.

In the fall of 1993, the strip mall across the street from the big Park City Mall was rumored to be getting a Borders Book Store.  My mom had a friend in Delaware, who knew of a Borders in Newcastle, and she said they were awesome.  They had big comfy chairs, and you could read books without anyone yelling at you.  There would be lots of magazines, and even a coffee shop!  How freaking cool would that be!  I knew immediately that I needed to be a part of this entity.

I'd be like Becca, on Life Goes On, in the episodes where she worked at a used bookstore, wearing her super-cool little pixie booties and climbed up ladders to retrieve rare books while listening to jazz and drinking espresso.  I didn't even know what espresso was, but I knew I wanted some.

So for the next couple of months I watched and watched.  Every time I went to the mall, I would drive past the place where Borders was supposed to go.  I watched them put up the sign.  At that time it read simply, "Borders Book Shop."   There was none of this "Books and Music" stuff.  Just books.  Nothing fancy.

Eventually, Borders opened.

I went in, and was immediately overwhelmed.  There were so many books.  So many sections.  So many aisles.  So many chairs!  How to navigate a place like this?  And the coffee bar!  I didn't know how to order coffee, but man, was it trendy.  There were multiple roasts, and it was super-expensive, so I knew it had to be cool.  I grabbed a couple of magazines, and drank my first cup of French Vanilla, and was awake until 3am.

I asked at the customer service desk whether they were hiring.  I wanted to live in this magical place of books that smelled like hazelnut, that was for sure.  The woman told me they weren't, but I should ask at the cafe, because maybe they were there.  So I walked back over and asked Michelle if I could work there, and she let me fill out an application.  They weren't right then, but when the holidays came, they might be.

Two weeks later, Michelle calls me.  They're hiring for the holidays, and would I like to come in for an interview?  You bet your almond biscotti I would!

And thus began my almost-career as a foam-sculptor, and my love affair with vanilla lattes.  Coffee shops were still brand new then, so I would sometimes feel embarrassed charging my fellow country-bumpkins $4 for coffee and a muffin, but we were all so taken with our trendiness that mostly people didn't mind paying.  I got a 30% discount on books, and was able to borrow any book as long as I returned it in sale-able shape (which meant usually hardbacks).  I got free brewed coffee and soda, and a 50% discount on food and espresso drinks.

When I lived in England, I used to go to Borders all the time.  By this point they had music - those little listening booths where you could listen to CD's.  I was broke, but every few days I would pop into the Borders on Charing Cross Road and listen to CD's for a couple of hours after work.  The last time I was in the UK, all the Borders stores there were closed already, including the massive one in Cambridge, where I bought an Enigma CD a week before I moved back home, and listened to on repeat for a good six months.

Later, living in the US again, I would go to Borders to buy foreign papers like the Guardian, which would arrive a week late, but was still fun to look at, if only for the ads.

Other Notable Borders Moments:

- in 1996 I drove across the country on an ill-advised trip to chase an inappropriate guy I'd met on the internet.  I found myself in San Francisco with hardly any money, with no friends, and realized how stupid the whole guy-chasing scene was.  I spent most of the trip hanging out in the Borders in Pleasanton, where I displayed my pay stub and got free drinks and food.

- in 1998 I met Enya at the Borders on 57th street in NYC.

- in 1999 I had broken up with my boyfriend and was living alone in LA for the first time, totally broke.  But the bus would take me right to the Borders on Third Street across from the Beverly Center where I would listen to CDs and daydream about another inappropriate Englishman with whom I was infatuated and was getting to know on AOL Chat (damn internet).

- I spent most of 2000-2002 in the Borders on Charing Cross Road, brainstorming with my friend Stacey, in between naps, how we could start a holding company to take over the world.

- In 2002 I met Paulo Coehlo at the Borders on Oxford Street and he told me I should be a Warrior of Light with him.

- In 2003 I was getting ready to leave NYC for Nashville, and was going to have my own place for the first time in years.  I was stoked to nest.  That fall I was at the California Library Association conference in Ontario, CA.  I rented a car and drove to LA to see friends after the exhibits closed each night.  On the way back to the hotel one night, I stopped at the Borders in Claremont, along the 10, and bought a bunch of Olivia magnets for the refrigerator I would have in a month or so.

- Two years later, I bought my now-hubby a Sudoku book at that very same Borders.  By this time I was living in LA again, and we had just started dating.  He was in class in Pomona, and I was hanging out at Borders waiting for him to get done so we could grab dinner and make out.  I thought I'd be romantic and get him a math puzzle book.

- In 2007 I bought the final Harry Potter book at the midnight party in the Glendale Borders.  I went in the morning and stood in line to get my number, so I was something like number 115 (I still have the bracelet in the book) and was able to get out of there and get home to start reading by about 2am.

- On September 24 2010, the week before I got sick, and 2 weeks before I lost Baby T, we had a mother/son night out (I was 19 weeks pregnant, and feeling good for the first time in a long time).  We went to the Borders in Rancho Cucamonga and I drank hot chocolate, and looked at children's books, and even read a few of them out loud to my tummy, which was beginning to pop.  This evening was one of my favorite times in my pregnancy, and I will always remember it.  

Borders, I hope you can pull your stuff together.  I promise to visit you more, and not use the internet for everything.  When you send me good coupons, I will use them, even if it's only to buy blank Paperchase notebooks and pens.   Because I don't like the idea of life without you, and if that means that I have to spend some money buying junk I don't really need, so be it.  I buy other junk I don't need that doesn't mean nearly as much to me as you do.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Don't mess with me when I'm Crotchety!

Like I said yesterday, J and I are both super-sick at the moment.  Not the kind of sick where you can still function and do easy things like, oh, washing the dishes.  No, we're the kind of sick where, when I threw up on the floor overnight on Thursday, we threw a towel over it, and still haven't cleaned that mess up yet (in my defense, it was all just the cranberry juice I was drinking overnight, so it's just going to be a nasty carpet stain - it's not like there's solid particles of puke there or something).

We're also crabby.

Which is shining a light on the fact that I'm becoming slightly more crabby and crotchety as I get older.  Here's a fun example:

We live in the mountains, and our neighbors on both sides are part-timers (ie, they come up in the summer, or they come up once a month).  Hence, we get used to being on our own.  Plus, beyond the house to our right is all national forest where the bears live, so we get used to the quiet, and we like it.  We like our neighbors when they're up too, you know, but we kind of have this thing, like we own the entire place, and when they come up, they're kind of infringing on our space.

So J's mom came up to help us for a few days last week, seeing as how we're so sick (she's an angel), and we had parked one of the cars in the neighbor's lot so she had a place to park.  Then she left on Friday afternoon and we went back to sleeping.  Until we look out our open bedroom window (a giant window which we always keep open because there's no one living over there to see anything, duh) and there are strangers walking up and down the neighbor's steps.  And, they had the nerve to park us in.

Well, this just sets us both off.  Now we have to close our blinds for strangers?  And who said they could come up and park us in, in a driveway that's not ours, anyway?

J texts the neighbor:  "are you guys renting out your cabin to strangers for weekends now or something?"
He calls immediately, having no idea what's going on or what we mean.  J tells him there are two cars worth of people, and lots of cases of beer, walking up his steps at that very moment.  He makes some calls, and then texts back, "friends of friends."

Who does that?  Who says, "hey, I hear you have friends who have a place in the mountains.  Do you think they'd let us stay there, even though we never met them, cuz, you know, we want to go snowboarding?"

And then, who says yes to that?

So all weekend we had to close our bedroom blinds because friends of friends were inhabiting the neighbors' cabin.  Plus, I couldn't take my lovely Sunday-afternoon-lots-of-light-streaming-in bath that I love because their kitchen window looks right down into our bathroom.


Plus, I've used up all the kleenexes in the entire house, and am now using toilet paper to blow my nose.  And it hurts, dammit.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A post including Rugby, Marijuana, and Funny Local News

J and I are both suffering with the flu, so I don't have much to say at the moment.
But this is my new favorite video.

With the whole being sick thing, time is going by really, really, slow.

I am seriously never going to get sick of that.

In other news, it appears to be rugby season. The Six Nations tournament(?) is on BBC America, and I saw Scotland get their butts whooped by Wales today. I really don't get rugby. I don't understand the rules. I don't understand the scrum. I just don't get it. And this is coming from someone who understands the rules of cricket.

From what I can make out, rugby appears to be a mashup of other sports, including wrestling, football, and cheerleading. All done without helmets or pads. I don't have to understand the rules to know that I would not want to be on the bottom of the pile of those guys. Seriously, they feel no pain. Half the players were bleeding at the end of the match today and didn't even seem to notice.

By way of example, I searched in google images for "tough Rugby player" and one of the first results is:

Compare to the same search, but insert "football" for "rugby".  One of the top results is:

So, yeah, based on my unscientific google-imaging, I'm going with the rugby players as the craziest nutjobs in the sporting world.

Peace out, people.  I'm going back to snotting all over my hubby now.  We so have this romance thing down.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This is your brain on meditation

So I've been meditating a lot lately.  It's an effort to reduce stress and be more disciplined with my thoughts.  I downloaded a bunch of guided meditations from itunes and have been doing them every day for the past week.  They're half an hour, with a nice soothing woman's voice taking me on a journey to my own perfect healing sanctuary where I can imagine healing light infusing my dna with perfection.

Look, I'm totally hip with the power of the brain to work all kinds of miracles for the body.  I've read the Louise Hay books, heard the stories of people being cured of cancer through meditation, yada yada.  I'm a believer already.  But I'm so totally ADD, the idea of focusing for half an hour on this woman's voice, and the images she makes me think of, without letting my mind that's a challenge.  That's in part why I'm doing it - to get more control over my thoughts and my constant need to be amused by shiny new things.

So here's the thought process from my meditation this morning:

I'm kind of tired.
This lady has a nice voice.
I could do these meditations in bed.
But then I'd probably fall back asleep.
I wonder if she does commercials on the radio?  She totally could.
I should google her and see if she's a voice over artist.
I need to google what happened to the other guy in Linkin Park.  They looked all different on SNL.
Dana Carvey is getting old.
Oh.  Man.  I should focus.  Ok.  Focus.
Where did that cat come from?
Is it cheating if I pet the cat?
Surely petting a purring cat is meditative?
Yes, but then I could get the Petting Purring Cats guided meditation, and not this one.
I wonder if incense would help.
When I say incense, I'm always afraid I'm going to say incest instead.
Or insect, which wouldn't be as bad.
Ok, healing sanctuary.  Lots of pillows I can relax into.  Seeing my future.  Golden light.  Got it.  Focusing.
I really want some French toast.  I bet I could make it.  It's not that hard to make.  I mean, it's just egg, right?
My head itches.
I hope I don't have lice.
In second grade somebody got lice and we all had to get our hair combed with these really scratchy tiny combs.
I wonder why my mom always gave me perms.
My hair is naturally straight, and perms always made it so hard to comb through.
I haven't brushed my hair in 4 months.  Wash and go, that's me.
You'd think she'd have gone with the easy route of letting it be straight and low-maintenance.
Maybe it was an 80's thing.
The 80's were really awful.
I mean, who invented jelly bracelets anyway?  Yuck.
Peter Cetera is so much hotter today than he was in the 80's.
I really want some french toast.  Can french toast be dinner?
Wait, what's going on?

....and on it went, for 30 minutes.

Let's hope this meditation thing can calm my brain.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Silver Hair

I noticed my first gray hair about a year ago.  On the crown of my head, right at my part.  At the time, I blamed it on the fact that I perpetually wear my sunglasses up on the top of my head, and I talked myself into believing that it was somehow related to the little plastic nose-piece things resting right there - I don't know how that would take the color out of your hair, but it sounded good at the time.

Alas, there are now about 10 of them.  Rather, there were 10 of them, because I plucked last night.  I've got to be careful with that, though - I wound up pulling out a few good ones, too, and I don't want to do that.  J says that when you pull a white hair, three more come back in its place, but I think that's baloney.  I did kind of make myself dizzy with all the looking up at the crown of my head in the mirror, though.

When I pulled each wiry hair out, I studied it.  These bristly, colorless strands, the first sign of my mortality. How can something so little screw around with my head so much?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I wrote another Grief Blog post over on Open Salon and it got another Editor's Pick.  If I didn't know better, I'd think that I was suddenly becoming their Miscarriage Girl.  I guess that's an honor?  Nah, it is, and if it gets more people aware of the fact that 1 in 4 women lose a pregnancy, then it's good.

It's Saturday, and I had a long week, so the highlight of my day was a walk around the lake.  Then I started to get caught up on laundry, now that we have our super-fancy singing washer and dryer.  Nothing is hipper than washing blankets that cats puked on which have been sitting in a corner for 2 weeks because you don't want to take that hot mess to the laundromat.

Now I'm laughing at this collection of the funniest texts from parents.  My favorite: Dad: "Got new phone.  Plesa send me your text message address."  Text message address?  What is that?

'Member the old days of email when addresses were crazy long?  My first email address was or something like that.  Then in college we got email addresses that included our social security numbers - I don't know which genius thought that one up.  'Member hotmail?  That was the first time you could get web mail that was short.  But everybody thought you were saying hot-male when you gave them your email address.  And that pun would get so old.

All right, it's almost 11 and I've got some laundry to change over.  I so totally know how to party these days.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Things I'm Giving to the Thrift Store: Target Bag Edition

Bag available at the thrift store.  Cat napping on the bed.

This week, I'm getting rid of this lavender Mossimo tote from Target.  Here's the story on it:

I bought it in January 2005 in Nashvegas at the Target in Franklin.  There was another Target north of me, close to where I bought my Aveo, but I didn't like that one as much.  So this came from Franklin.  I remember it was dreary and cold, and I thought the lavender would cheer me up.  I used it right away as a laptop bag at ALA Midwinter, which was in Boston that year (incidentally, it was in Boston last year, too, but I didn't use this bag then).  

On the same shopping trip when I got this bag, I used a bookstore gift card that my boyfriend at the time had given me for Christmas.  You know a guy's not going to work out when he gives you a gift card for Christmas.  I mean, I'm all for gift cards.  And Lord knows, I enjoy shopping, so gift cards are usually good.  But from a boyfriend?  On your first Christmas together?  Does anything scream "I didn't really take the time to think about what you might like on this, our first major holiday together, and plus I was kind of in a hurry and you're not worth spending more than five minutes gift shopping for," more than a gift card? 

I actually really like this bag.  It's a perfect size.  It has lots of pockets.  It's a springtime color that you don't see that often.  It popped when I wore it with all black.  

But, you see, the reason I haven't used this bag in over five years is:  In 2006, I found a black widow spider living in it.  

Oh man, I screamed.  J took it outside and took care of it, and he said he'd never seen such a big spider.  To this day, I'm afraid that I might open some pocket, and a fang-toothed hairy eight-legged spider is going to jump out and poison me with her venom.  

Like that bag is extra attractive to spiders or something.  I don't know.  

Anyway, I just can't bring myself to use it anymore.  It's been hanging on my wall for years, with me thinking I might get over my arachnid fear someday and wear it, but it's not gonna happen.  I just can't reach into it for anything without getting freaked out anymore.

Since I had to dig through an old hard drive to find this picture, I found some other ones of Little Wrigley when she was a Baby.

So for the second day in a row:  Cute Cat Pictures.   Awwwwwwww.  They were scanned from 'real' pictures...'member them?  You had to take film to get developed?  What a hassle!  They aren't good quality, but looking at these reminds me why I still clean up her poop.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cat Protesters

You know what I like?  I like going to sleep with lots of wind and freezing temperatures and getting all snuggly in my jammies, and then coming down the hill and going for a lunchtime walk to get a frappuccino past blooming rose bushes and tulips.  Ahhh...

You know what else I like?

I like cats.  And I especially like cats who know how to take a stand for democracy.  Once you get the kitten vote, you're done.

But really, how freaking cute is that?  Bin Laden and all the suicide bombers should take note - you can get a lot more sympathetic attention for your cause if you put signs around kittens than if you blow people up.  Just a tip, you know, cuz I'm all for the free exchange of ideas and information.

OOoh!  And the final thing I like is our new washer and dryer, courtesy of my in-laws when our old one broke (I can't complain too much - it came with the house).  Shit really hit the fan a few weeks ago - the washer and dryer, the hot water heater - good thing we still had heat!  We've been laundromatting it for 4 weeks now (well, J has), but those days are done.  Lowes came yesterday and delivered a nice new fancy stackable front load washer and dryer that plays songs when you turn it on.  Luxury!  I've always wanted a washer and dryer that sang to me.  I just didn't know it.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Funny Stupid Commercials: Education Connection Edition

I've started watching Millionaire Matchmaker pretty regularly lately.  I stopped buying US Weekly, so this has become my indulgence.  I have a kind of warm-fuzzy memory of it.  I watched it in the hospital on the day after I lost Baby T, during the 90 minutes or so when J went home to get me new clothes and feed the cats.  During that time I took a shower, and changed the channel from the Ax-Men marathon that J and I had been watching all morning on the history channel (or, as he likes to call it, the Redneck Channel - all those shows about swamp people, ice road truckers, and ax-men...where's the history???).  I wanted something completely mindless, and on came this loud, annoying matchmaker chick on Bravo, setting up people on dates in between yelling at them and telling them that they were crap.  It made me laugh when I really needed to.

While watching my new favorite show tonight, I saw what has to be, without a doubt, the stupidest commercial for an online college website I have ever, ever, ever seen.  J and I were staring at the TV, openmouthed, barely able to make a sound until the very end when we just started snorting.

So, instead of Funny Local News, this week I'm going to give you Funny Stupid Commercials.  I feel so bad for that actress.  She probably was late for rent, and this was the first job her agent could get for her.  Poor thing.  She's probably been waiting tables in some west hollywood place for three years, and she finally gets a break, and this is what it is.  Well, it is what it is.