Friday, December 30, 2005

What Chocolate Santa?

There was one in the gift basket? Hmmm. Who would sneak a chocolate Santa out of the kitchen to eat it all by herself? Hey, it was hollow. Like all men. (Okay, maybe not all.)

So here I sit, attempting to wrangle a decent Income Statement out of this morass of transactions. I know! I can blog. So voila. And think of some New Year's Resolutions to break. I mean, follow.

1) Finish all projects started (please, the giggling and hooting is not only deafening but mean).

2) Finish most of all projects started or frog them once and for all.

3) Don't buy any more yarn. Unless, of course, I have to.

4) Don't buy any more books. Unless, of course, I have to.

5) Try to read at least 2 books on my TBR shelf for every book bought or checked out of the library. For some reason, this has gotten really out of hand. I don't think I've ever owned so many books (and hardbacks to boot) that I haven't read at least once.

6) READ the books in my book clubs. Why is it like High School English in that once a book was assigned I lost all interest in ever reading it? I want to read most of them. In fact, I've picked a few out. I suck.

7) Finish the book I'm reading before I pick up another. Mathsemantics by Edward MacNeal and The Hard Facts of the Grimm Fairy Tales by Maria Tatar are both fascinating books but I put them down one night (midway!) and picked up .......Tess of the D'ubervilles, at the moment. (Tess, incidentally, a December book club book choice. Since it is still December(right? I'm completely out of sync on dates lately) it's good).

8) Ummm, okay, all the normal stuff, lose weight, get in shape, eat healthily, try new recipes, try new things, go places, get out of my comfort zone (a degree or two, let's not blow up my life again just because it's been awhile), be nice, volunteer for a cause I believe in, yada yada yada.

9) Try not to burst into tears at inappropriate moments, but if I do, please just let me babble incoherently.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Love. Ick, phooey

Is this year almost over? I hope so. I've gone to a couple of movies lately (once upon a time I would see every movie released, but no more.) Mary Jo and I went to see Brokeback Mountain after my Christmas Eve service was over and I was somewhat dismayed and horrified to realize during the movie that it was a love story.

Yeah, how that could have escaped me I have no idea. I'm stupid? I wanted to see the movie? And no, it has nothing to do with the sex of the couple, it's the whole LOVE thing. I HATE love stories. Hate. Them. (Okay, it probably has to do with my three failed marriages and subsequent bitterness and cynicism over the lying phrase "I love you". But I digress.) But (and don't read this if you don't want to know the vague outline of the movie) at least it had the decency to end badly for pretty much everyone involved. (Read this part: Be true to yourself). It may have gone just as Ennis thought, but then, it might not have and love is hard enough to find, without throwing it away without even trying. It was just sad. Sad and a horrible, horrible waste of lives.

The other movie I saw was Syriana. All I'm really sure about the movie is that Big American Oil Interests are Evil and Ruthless, the Emir of Iran would rather have his playboy son rule and mollify the Americans than leave his country in the hands of his son that wanted to reform the area and that George Clooney is still hot in a beard but looks better without one. I'm not sure all the vignettes actually tied together as neatly as say, Traffic did, but it was an engrossing flick all the same. I hope that it's overstated a bit.

Hopefully Sheri and I will get to see Memoirs of a Geisha today. Please don't tell me it's a love story.

Last night I crawled into bed and fell asleep at 6 freaking 30 pm. Did I bound out of bed this morning? Heck no. I dragged myself out around 7am, which is late for me.

Do I have any knitting news? No. Not a stitch farther on a single project. I did find one truck bootie started and a stitch dropped on the (partially started) other one, but after attempting to fix one dropped stitch (garter stitch sucks to fix) only to find another, I frogged it and started over and discovered the stupid piece of yarn was too short which is probably why I quit in the first place.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Breaking the 10th Commandment

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cat(tle), nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Their cat? Who knew? And here I thought that could keep one of the commandments.

I thought Hezekiah was a stray when I first saw her 3 years ago. Sheba hated her but she looked so much like her that I pretty much fed and semi sheltered her (not allowed in the house with the aging and temperatmental Queen) because how could I let anyone who looked so much like my baby starve?

NOTE: Put a collar on your outdoor cats, willya? If nothing else, no one will co opt her accidentally (on purpose is another story) not to mention it would be nice to know if she's had her shots.

Turns out she belongs to the next door neighbors but she likes me better. Which is handy, because I've been sobbing into her fur off and on the last couple of weeks. She both makes me feel better and worse. But life does go on. It's disheartening and at the same time it's comforting but it's pretty much inevitable, I guess.

So, pictures. Not much knitting. Not much anything that took concentration. I did get farther on my Never To Be Finished 2nd sock but didn't finish "Of Course It's Not A Leftover Christmas Present Just Because Your Birthday Is In January" Vest for my dad (OCINALCPJBYBIIJ Vest. Huh. That's not much better as an acronym.) Yet. But hey, his birthday is in January. I should have it done by then. Surely.

Hezekiah in the rocking chair. I know it's raining. You can see it's raining. But does she want to move? No.

Darn. The blurry shot completely obliterates the fact that I wrap like a demented two year old. Seriously, packing tape was involved with the big package there. The lonely stocking on the far right is mine, and has been my only stocking all my life, my maternal grandmother made it for me. She was pretty crafty.

And here is Sheba on the daybed snoozing (and hiding) last month.

Mary Jo, my oldest friend, you may (or may not, Santa hat w/Mickey Mouse ears is a hell of a disguise) recognize her as a Child Advocate Lawyer in a few episodes in the original CSI series. We've been friends since kindergarden, can you believe it?

Look closely. Do you see someone napping in the vegetable bed? Does that look at all inviting to you? Hezekiah loves it there. She naps on the rim too. Weird little thing.

And here's my baby earlier in the month. She'd had an accident so she'd had a partial bath.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Things My Cat Made Me Do

1. Never, ever, close a door. Sheba was very John Wayne in The Quiet Man. "There will be no locked doors between us, Mary Kate!" Or y'know, me. I got out of the shower last Thursday and all the hot air was still in the room and the bathroom door was still closed. I've never been so sad to be warm.

2. Tilt all mirrors so that she could observe me at all times without actually having to look at me. Actually I caught her ostensibly ignoring me early on only to realize she was staring at me in the mirror. She loved mirrors.

3. Get up early. And here I had thought that I was naturally a morning person.

4. Hang out and watch TV, knit or read on the bed. It turns out that she liked to lounge around on the bed because she really did not approve of the new couch. At all. And I don't really like to sleep alone.

5. Sleep well knowing that the weird sounds in the house were somehow her, or that she would protect me from them. Now? God knows what that noise is.

6. Sleep well until she decided that she needed a snack at 3am that is. Which she generally announced by producing a sound that air raid sirens would envy.

Stupid things I miss:
  1. A mess in the hallway.
  2. Cat "treats" (hard kitty food) all over the bedspread and the side next to the wall.
  3. Not being able to make my bed until she decided to get up.
  4. Getting her fresh water for her bowl every time she decided she wanted a drink (often).
  5. "Airlifting" her on the bathroom sink so she could drink out of the faucet and watch me in the mirror.
  6. Not being able to walk a decent pace down the hallway or hopping madly around trying not to step on her when she insisted on preceding me.
  7. Not having kitty eyes boring into my back while I waste time on the computer that I could have spent anticipating her every need.

But life goes on. I would like to thank everyone who sent or gave me condolences, I really appreciate them. And everyone who managed not to tell me "She was a cat!" I commend you on your forebearance. Not to mention, the life you saved was your own.

*That mirror looks awful! When was the last time I cleaned it? I dunno, but it doesn't look like that IRL! And it won't when I get home either. Yuck.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Good Bye My Love

Sheba had a stroke Tuesday night and I had to put her to sleep yesterday. She was demanding, imperious, independent, wanted what she wanted and couldn't stand to have a door closed anywhere in her vicinity and I cannot believe how much I miss her. Well, yes, I can. After 20 years together, I feel like my heart has been ripped out.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

It turns out that it's not so much High Tea as it is many pieces of scones studded w/various fruits, roll ups and a pasta dish. What really surprised me was how rude most of the women were. Not the staff, but the patrons. Granted, it's an old home, the boutiques were arranged in the small rooms upstairs,the staircases are narrow, the tea was popular, the tables were tightly packed, but I heard more imperious demands than civil requests. Not so much as an "Oh, excuse me" in the bunch. While we were having our tea, I had one woman standing over me telling me that she had six in her party and that her table was in the corner. I gathered she couldn't get past my chair, but do you think she could have said something like "I'm sorry, the tables are arranged so that I can't get to my table, could you please stand up, move your chair and let us by?" Even that would have been nicer. To be completely fair to the woman, she might have been standing next to me fidgeting around and thought I was completely ignoring her, because she was standing on my blind side, but still. I'm not deaf. An "excuse me" would have alerted me.

On the other hand, lots of knitted items for sale. Felted purses, hats, headbands, ponchos, it was quite heartening.

I would post pictures of us, but since I, with bad grace, consented, barely to having one of the four of us taken by one of the Tea Servers, I didn't take any. It's not like when I was in my 20's and thought I looked terrible and fat but really wasn't. Now not only am I both, but old to boot. Do I want this on record? I think not.

How many days until Christmas? Oh, my God, it's two weeks from today. The vest fronts for my dad are still only halfway done and now he's saying things like he wants a cardigan. I'm not even sure I have enough yarn, but I might. Or, as he has always suspected, he might get this for his birthday. (January babies. Always think their Christmas presents are held over for their birthday. At least they don't get schoolclothes like I always did).

Friday, December 09, 2005

What Kind of an Elitist Are You?

What Kind of Elitist Are You?

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every book ever published. You are a fountain of endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and never fail to impress at a party.What people love: You can answer almost any question people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves.What people hate: You constantly correct their grammar and insult their paperbacks.
Take this quiz!

Of course I'm a Book and Language elitist. It's too bad that I'm a little shaky on some grammar rules or my life would be complete. The upside of getting a lovely head cold is that I've lounged around all day and between naps and emptying kleenex boxes, I finished reading Elements of Murder: A History of Poison, by John Emsley, Midsummer's Night's Scream by Jill Churchill and the new Aunt Dimity (Next of Kin) by Nancy Atherton. Do you see that prolific and most likely incorrect use of commas? So sad. Next up, Tess of the D'Ubervilles (Thomas Hardy)

The Christmas party was fun. Did not take a single picture. Didn't even think of it. We play that stealing presents game where you can either open a present from the stack on the table or steal one already opened. But not more than twice. I opened a Black & Decker (no, not a table saw, that would be a present from one of my exes) Kitchen Chopper, but alas, it was stolen. So I took, for the final time, a Starbucks mug and gift certificate. Score! It's the season of Egg Nog Lattes you know. The Chai ones are pretty good too.

High Tea at Shadelands Ranch tomorrow. It's one of the original homes in the Walnut Creek area and it used to be so much fun to go to, they had aerial photos from years back (we have a current airport and one that used to be on West St in Concord) and just tons of pictures, newpapers and memorbilia, but they found an original ......... Frank Lloyd Wright? In the attic and now they have big bucks and is suitably decked out and museum worthy. It's gorgeous, but I miss the old days of clambering around.

No knitting today. Don't quite have the physical dexterity thing down today.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wow, I Always Use the Same Titles

You know. Yuck. At last. Naming the days of the week. Whatever. My lone Christmas Party is tonight! Naturally I'm dreading it, but it's usually pretty fun, which is why I still go. Of course, today I'm sick. Sore throat, runny nose. And it's like, noon, and about the only thing I've managed to do - and that with a great deal of thought - is pretty much nothing. I had a nice succinct one line letter for a client, but I think they're going to want more. So demanding.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Playhouses and Christmas

Sheri's Christmas Theme Chandelier (notice the pink? Gorgeous)

Rachel's Yummy Birthday Brownies (she made for her Mom)


Complete with armchairs and a puppy! You can't see the bears playing checkers at the kitchen table by the door though. Oh. Maybe they're not playing checkers. Some board game. Aren't they cute? I still pine for the castle they had one year.

Firehouse Playhouse:

Interior Shot:

And the obligatory cat photo, Hezekiah deciding whether or not she should jump in my lap. There's ice all over the roofs and some of the frontyards (which is our definition of a snowstorm) so it's pretty much a slam dunk. But you gotta think about these things, ya know?

What Temperament Are You?

Oh, for the love of Mike. Why does it post pictures at the top? I have to work. I can't play all day, you know. I can't! And why only two? Some kind of limit?

You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.

You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.

You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.

You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.

Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.

You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.

You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.

From Creating Text(iles). She's a wonderful, descriptive writer (which, considering her profession, isn't all that surprising) but still. I want pictures of the apple headed siamese kittens. And Lila, the grown one. And Bear's Retreat.
Oooh, brooding and sulking. That sounds like the PERFECT occupation today. So much better than whining and moaning.
Oh, and the playhouse pictures from the Mt Diablo Habitat fundraiser at Blackhawk Plaza Dec 3rd:

Monday, December 05, 2005

What To Watch

Entertainment Weekly never gets it right. Or maybe that's why I all the shows I like always get cancelled. It's just me and some guy in a shack in the woods wearing tinfoil. Alas.

This week is a little skewed because of repeats and The Triangle on the Sci Fi channel, which I just have to watch. But three nights? Good thing Medium is a repeat, House is pre-empted for......something, and I'm not watching anything on Wednesdays much. (Okay, CSI-New York, but I tape it) Not even Lost, which I was fairly obsesive about last season but watched the premiere (two weeks later) and some of last week's show so far this season. If I care at all, I'll catch it on the DVD all at once, but I tend to lose interest if it's all tease no payoff. I was watching The Apprentice: Martha, but with Mom being sick and all, I lost a few episodes. Jim is still around? Good grief. I had more faith in Martha than that.

Last night, I almost missed Michael Buble's special, I didn't know it was was on PBS at 5pm last night! Luckily it's on Saturday at 8pm on KTEH, because otherwise I only got to see 20 minutes of it.

I was going to watch Cold Case but got caught up in Bruce Almighty. Funny movie. Why did I resist seeing it in the theater? So then I had to watch The Dead Zone Christmas special, and somewhere between all those, the Gingerbread Challenge at The Grove Park Inn on the Food Network. Those gingerbread houses are a wonder of engineering.

Fascinating, eh?

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Book Quiz

You're Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared
to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do
understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once
brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in
the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you
additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz

Huh. I really don't need a quiz telling me people don't think I make any sense. I can see it in their eyes. But vulgar? Moi? Not much.

That's just silly. Dreaming of being a Greek folk hero. When no one is looking I dream of having magical powers that I use (mostly) for good.

Yuck. Yesterday.

To start with, the Egg Nog Latte I got at the Starbucks that is actually on my way to work (instead of a two block detour) had spoiled Egg Nog in it. Yuck-o. Naturally I was driving to work when I discovered it, and late, so I just dumped the whole thing. Luckily I was expecting it to be hella hot, so I only sipped it, but still. Blech.

Then I get to work only to discover that I'd been elected to Picking Dad Up At the Tire Store at 10:30am (though if it had been my flat tire, I would have probably been sobbing like a baby). So I meet him there - only he's not there. He stepped in mud supervising the church signage and had to go home to change shoes. Come to think of it, Dad had a pretty yucky day yesterday too. He arrives shortly, we go to work, I agree to take him back to pick up his car (as if there was any doubt). All fine. His car is ready noonish, he has a client coming in one-ish, we go afterwards.

Only that made it about 2:30pm and I had to take my paycheck to my bank in Walnut Creek. The mob that was there Monday night? Was there yesterday too. So was the rain. In fact, the only difference was that it was light out.

I get to my bank.

I step out of my car.

Into a puddle that completely covers my foot (and sock and tennis shoe).


Do I just wade through the puddle (read: get the other foot equally sopping wet) or do I take my one sopping wet foot and move the car?

WTH. I waded.

Because Nordstrom's was close and? This was clearly Divine Providence giving me a second chance to buy the Ugg boots I so inexplicably desire. Who am I to fight Divine Providence? Here's where my day got better and I stopped angling for sympathy from friends, family and strangers. I bought lovely camel colored short Ugg boots that I can wear with my jeans (not so w/the high topped ones). They weren't the army green I wanted (although why, I'm not sure why because it's not like I own anything green.)

I took myself out to lunch (well, dinner. It was 4pm by then) at P F Changs. The downside of eating alone at a Chinese restaurant is that you can't split entrees, but the upside was that I got to eat a whole appetizer plate of their crab wontons all by myself and dip them into the sauce bowl, instead of daintily dripping it on the wonton or putting a little on my plate. Oh, the Alaskan salmon was AWESOME.

I came home and ripped back the wool hat. Of course. I VOW TO FINISH IT BY ...... 2005. Idiot me. Why did I frog it in the first place? It was almost perfect. Oh yeah, the almost part. Well, dang. If I had realized I would be knitting the equivalent of 100 million hats to get that one done, I would never have touched it.

This was Hezekiah this morning. (Well, no, really that's an old pic of her, but that's where she was and what she looked like this morning).