Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just a Taste...

...of the fun we've been having with Auntie Lisa.

Our plans to go to the antique swap meet thwarted, we ate meat instead. More specifically, delicious pastrami sammiches from the Hat.

We spent close to two hours in Nordstrom Rack, trying things on (including every sequin and sequined related dress I could get my hands on.) I did not buy the flowery mumu with the bejeweled neckline.

But I did buy this turban. Grandma Pat told me to. Lisa did not buy her fluff hat.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Working From Home Fail

I figured it out. There is something worse than getting up at 6am to make the train. And it's not getting up at 4:45 to hit the gym before going to the train.

It's being woken up an hour earlier than necessary on work from home day because the cat is throwing up on the sheet, next to my sleeping head. Dammit Lu.

The upside is that now that we are homeowners, we have our own washer and dryer, so the sheets are already on their way to clean.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Los Angeles Nature Photos.

We survived the storm! And now, the air is clear, birds are chirping, and sunshine fills like a gift. Yes, we are babies in Southern California.

We didn't end up going to see the concert on Saturday - Harper Simon pulled out, and we weren't interested in seeing the main headliner, so Tim went and saw some dumb movie with his boyfriends, and I took Amtrak up to LA to hang out my girlfriends. I was able to take the Metro right over to Hollywood and Highland, meet my friend after her shift at work and then head off for an evening of girl chat, dinner and coffee. It was perfect! I also felt a little devious using my Metrolink pass for all of the free weekend travel - it was like I was getting away with something! The train definitely makes me want to stab myself directly in the brain sometimes, but sometimes it is so handy and helpful. It's definitely easier than driving up to see my friends, and recently I've been able to sucker other friends into meeting me for dinner downtown, and then driving me to the train station so I can take the 8:30 train home. I know. I am clever.

Tomorrow Sara is turning 27. I am currently baking her a poison cake. I'm sorry, did I say poison? I meant caramel. Yeah, caramel. Auntie Lisa is going to be in town and I foresee pedicures in our future. Should be good! (no boys allowed, of course. Unless they have charm bracelets.)

A funny story: I woke up in the middle of the night last night, facing the middle of the bed. I realized that Lulu was laying with her back against my knees, and her front all curled up against Tim's back. Tim was the little spoon! Thor was MIA - probably off being weird somewhere.

A few "nature" photos:

For those of you who don't know, the LA River is completely encased in concrete. It's a dirty little trickle most of the time. Here's a shot from Saturday. It's a rushing stream! And so beautiful!

A little bit of cityscape on my way to the subway stop.

Snow on the mountains behind the old El Toro Marine base. The snow has really been amazingly pretty.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Image via NASA - this is apparently what the storm looks like from space. It's been a little bananas here in SoCal, because despite the fact that the area is the site for many a national disaster, there seems to be very little infrastructure in place to deal with all of it.

Here's a crummy picture of today's mid-morning hail.

Yesterday, because of the squalls, and the threats to the freeways, etc etc we were all allowed to work from home. And since today is my new working from home day, I worked from home today as well. It's nice to get the three (THREE!) extra hours of sleep, and spend the day in formal home office wear (ie pajamas. Or, when I shower at lunchtime, a clean pair of pajamas.) The only real problem is when kitties want to sleep on my mouse-driving hand.

This is what it looks like in my lap when I'm editing a paper copy of something. Then I end up having to push Lulu a little farther down my legs so I can get my laptop back into my lap. That lasts until my knees protest (she is kind of a chunkins.)

The good news is that our little house is standing strong in the storms. Nothing's leaking and nothing's flooded. My big worry has been the tree on the side of the yard, but it's fine. I went and checked yesterday and did find an empty vodka bottle laying underneath it (apparently the rats have been drinking in the ivy?) I am glad we got it trimmed a few months ago - no telling how all of the overgrowth would have done in this nuttiness.

Tonight Tim and I are off to see a movie, and then tomorrow night it's up to LA to see Harper Simon (Paul Simon's son) live and in concert. Very exciting! And then we will hydroplane all the way back home.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

News Flash.

Midwesterners: do you want to know what happens when there is a tornado warning in Southern California? EVERYONE FREAKS OUT EVEN WORSE THAN THEY ARE ALREADY FREAKING OUT BECAUSE IT'S RAINING!

Meanwhile, I roll my eyes and remember the time that David and I flooded his car while driving around during a torrential downpour/tornado warning. We were having a good time up until the point that the water level came over the hood.

I was having a good day today until the train broke down in Anaheim and was delayed a half hour. Kitties, get mommy a beer.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Three Day Weekend!

Woo hoo for a three day weekend! I foresee a lot of sitting around and relaxing, for sure.

I personally have had kind of a rough week. The train was over an hour late leaving Union Station one night, which means I come home and have basically enough time to drop my bags and have something to eat, and then I have to go to bed so that I won't be zonked when the alarm goes off at 6am the next morning. On Tuesday night I was up for awhile in the middle of the night after smashing my toe on my trunk on the way to the bathroom at 2am. Anyways, whine whine whine, a rough week. I have to be honest, my four hour commute is really starting to suck my will to live and cramping my life (as in, I have absolutely no life.) And yes, I love my job, it's important to me to work there, but not important enough to have absolutely no life outside of getting to work, working and then coming home.

So, I talked to our HR Director and my boss yesterday, and they've agreed that there's no reason that I can't work from home one day a week. From now on, I will be spending Fridays in my pajamas, writing grants from home. I'm so excited and grateful. I don't want to resign, and they don't want me to either, so I'm glad we could compromise.

A funny story. This week, we both the following patio set from someone off Craigslist:
Cute, right? Needs a new paint job, but otherwise darling. We bought it from an older, foreign man, who as I was picking up one of the chairs goes, "you have baby?" and then sort of looks at my midsection. I had to reassure him that I do not, in fact, have baby. Needless to say, I came home and spent some time looking at myself in the mirror with my stomach stuck out and sucked in. I don't think I look like I have baby. But a few more situps couldn't hurt, I suppose. I think he was asking more in that "are you sure you can carry that, little lady?" way.

Here's a bonus picture from "a day in the life." Kitties love to be in the bathroom with us at bedtime. Lulu loves to get petted while also laying on a rug (whether in the bathroom or the kitchen) and Thory enjoys drinking directly from the sink. All I want to do is get ready and go to sleep, but they want all of the loving I can give them at the last minute.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas is Saved!

So, my husband gave me a cheese knife for Christmas. A very nice cheese knife, but com'n, we have only been married for four years. Surely the romance can not be so far gone, can it? But today, he saved the day. I've been saying for years that the one thing I wanted when we bought a house was a video game called Dance Dance Revolution. We couldn't have it in our apartment because you have to dance on this mat, in time with the beat of the video game, and I would hate to be stomping around with people beneath us. But now there is no one below ground, so we can do what we want! Tim managed to find a version of DDR that works with our current technology and tonight we danced it up.

Tim used to play DDR in college with his roommate. It was slightly homoerotic, and I made fun of him for always having to change into shorts to play. Well, nothing has changed except for his DDR partner. And please don't mind the black socks. He thinks he's European. You may also notice Lulu in the foreground. The DDR box was her present.

We had a nice weekend - bought some patio furniture from craiglist, had family dinner on Sunday night, suckered my dad into paying for my best friend's 30th birthday dinner on Saturday night by showing up at his favorite restaurant, relaxed a little. Also, having bought a little artwork for our house, I went to Aaron Brothers and rampaged through the one cent sale. Check this baby out.

That's right. Squirrel city. I came home today and the cats had knocked almost every pretty off my dresser. Less than helpful. There were charm bracelets everywhere!

As a parting shot, here's what the train station looks like at 7:15am, before the sun has fully risen. Oh, the thrilling life I lead!

In other news, we're currently watching a Prince video on VH1, and Tim goes "Prince is a really great dancer." I'll just leave it at that.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Last Holiday Memory

You know what's funnier than being lovingly mean to a cat? Being lovingly mean to an old cat.

This is Chuckhead Bobo Thiel, aka Chuckie, Chuckie Ruckles or Big Chuck Bunny. Some of you may have known the Thiel family for years but never seen him. That's okay. He may be getting more docile in his old age, but he's still paranoid and stupid. And if you stay overnight at the house, remember to shut the downstairs bathroom door, or he'll take a dump on the bathmat to let my mom know that he's not pleased with the fact that she invited houseguests into his lair.

He is not really feeling the holiday spirit. The good news is that both mom and I agree that we don't think this is his last Christmas. Sure, he's 15 years old, but he's still got a lot of life in him. It's not like Christmas 2001, which we all knew was 17 year old Sparky's Christmas. That year, when I got up from the table to go grab something out of the kitchen during dinner, I came back to find him on my chair, eating scraps of roast beast off of my plate. I put him on the floor, but later in the meal he climbed up on the table and (cat haters please stop reading)... started eating roast directly off of the serving platter. Did we stop him? Did we yell at him? Of course not! We are crazy cat people! We got out our cameras and took pictures of him. And then when dad finally voiced his objections, we moved him and a chunk of meat off into the kitchen. Sorry Chuckie, since we don't anticipate you expiring during 2010, you'll have to suffer the hat and get denied the fancy snacks, my friend.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Quick Pic.

This morning's view from the front yard.

The view from the backyard, at 6:45am.

We made burgers on the grill tonight. No one was killed or maimed. I also used my new cheese knife to cut up some cheeses for our burgers, and Tim had bacon on his. Very fancy fancy. I did, however, managed to ram my car into the coffee table into the garage, which in turn rammed into the little shelving unit and broke the door. The car and the coffee table were unscatched, as was I. I swear, I am losing my freaking mind.

First day back at work was good though!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Few More Firsts!

We are really starting to live in this house, it's true.

Last night I decided it would be nice to have a fire in our fire place for the first time. We have a gas log, so I figured, how hard can this be? Tim got a new lighter in his stocking so it's on! Except, I managed to create a fireball that burnt off part of my eyebrows and most of my eyelashes. It's funny and I am joking about it because thank God, my vanity was the only thing injured. I did freak out and stand in the kitchen with shaking legs for quite awhile. But then I recovered and sat in front of the fireplace for awhile, reading a book. I am going to have to coat on the mascara for awhile, but all is well. And now I know better.

Secondly, we raked the backyard for the first time with our new rake. So take that, those who thing we are crap at yardwork (we totally are, but it works for us.) The entire time we were out there, we were being harassed by our little friend Jonesy. I think his parents are out of town, so we gave him a handful of food and told him to scat.

I have also decided that if the neighbors aren't going to drag out the welcome wagon to me, I will bring it to them, as a midwesterner. I made a batch of cookies yesterday and took some up the street to Kerry, a cool girl my age-ish that mom met a couple of weeks ago and thought was great. She let mom use her green bin, which is the way into mom's heart. Kerry has three little kids and just moved here from Utah, so she and I are going to be new friends. I am also going to bring cookies to our next door neighbors (whom I have still not met) but they don't appear to be home today. The cookies can wait in the fridge - I am coming for you, next door folks! I just think it's weird not to at least come over and say hello.

I can't believe our holiday break is almost over. The thought makes me want to throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum, though I know once I see my delightful coworkers on Monday I will be happy as a clam. I did check my work email this week, and found out that we got a $20,000 grant - so that starts off my year quite nicely. Between that and getting up at 7 to go to kickboxing this morning, I am on a roll!

Friday, January 1, 2010

How We Rang In New Years Eve!

Tim and I knew that it was going to be hard to top the celebrations we had last year for NYE, while in Scotland. Not many American parties have organized dances, which is a shame. Being an hour's drive away from most of our friends makes it hard to host or attend a party, so we decided to celebrate just the two of us at home and try out some of our new appliances.

Tim and Dad managed to get our grill working - turns out it's natural gas and hooks up directly to a valve on the side of the house. Because we are fancy, high-quality folks, we grilled hot dogs. We also made some bacon and got some cheese and had bacon wrapped, cheese covered hot dogs. They were DELICIOUS. I used our new to us toaster oven to toast the buns, and it was quite fabulous.

Then we laid around and watched movies - (500) Days of Summer and a Fred & Ginger number. At 10 we went and walked around the neighborhood so that we wouldn't fall asleep. And then we were in bed shortly after midnight. Exciting life!

The other good news is that our bedframe finally arrived! It's like we have a real grown up bedroom now. The bad news is that it's higher than I expected, and I'm willing to bet that someday when I am huge and pregnant, I'm going to have to get me a little bed side step stool. We left my trunk in the front because Lulu can't jump up without grunting mightily.

It's so nice. I LOVE it. Just a word to the wise though, it's high enough that even if you're only five three (and a half) inches tall, if you jump on the bed, you'll hit your head on the ceiling.

Our tasty cheap champers, and the cute little squirrel wine topper that we received from friends of ours.

Tim's a-grilling!

I'm a'toasting!

The amazingly delicious result!

Me and our kitty friends. They are in love with our red fleecy blanket (a gift from our realtor.) And yes, for those of you who knew me when I was two, I do still enjoy sniffing cat tails.