Thursday, December 30, 2010

how much is enough?

so today . . . i replaced the lotion that the evil tsa agent stole from me, and it ended up costing me almost $30!

call me obsessive/compulsive if you must, but i just can't let it go. i was going to replace it while we were in portland, but then i saw the line at the cash register in bath and body works! not even the "50% off" and "only $3!" signs could entice me to stand in that line! so i came home, lotionless.

and then today, when we got done eating lunch (at rubio's, of course,) i stopped in at the bath and body works at the town center. the "50% off" and "only $3" signs were there, but thankfully, the long line was not. my first thought was, "great! $3! i can replace my lotion for just a few dollars." i looked at the selection of lotion i could buy for only $3, but i did not see white citrus (which was the scent of the lotion that was taken from me.) so i kept looking. at the 50% off table i found some delicious smelling stuff. and at 50% off, it was only $2.50--an even better deal!

...and it would have been a better deal, if it had been lotion. but it wasn't. it was anti-bacterial soap. this was not the first time i had mistaken soap for lotion. and it is not something i want to ever do again--it makes a big mess! (just ask diandra.) so i put the soap back in the bin and moved on...

i had left rollie in the car. i had told him i would only be a minute. i had told him i was not going to shop--i was just going to go in and buy a replacement bottle of lotion. i knew exactly what i was looking for. it should only take me a minute...

...but i quickly realized that it had been a loooooong time since i had been in a bath and body works store, and a lot had changed. they don't just carry lotion and shower gel anymore. they have shampoo and conditioner and body butter and spritzes and sprays and aromatherapy and LIP GLOSS! really. lip gloss. (somehow i think lip gloss belongs at ulta or sephora, not bath and body works.) and so it wasn't quite as simple as just running in, grabbing a bottle of lotion, and getting out. decisions were going to have to be made. and you know how i am about decisions...

i continued on... and then i found it--the white citrus lotion. and it was not on a sale rack--it was on the "new arrivals" rack. this did not bode well for my wallet. i picked it up, flipped it over, and looked at the price.


oh nonononono. i am not paying $10.50 for an 8 ounce bottle of lotion! now i was really annoyed. i hadn't had a $5 bottle of lotion confiscated--it was a $10.50 bottle!!!

in my mind, i was out $10.50.

but i was already in bath and body works, and i did need lotion, and i was surrounded by sale signs. so you know what happened next.

yes, i bought lotion. from the $3 sale rack. and it is the most wonderful smelling lotion i have ever had--"night blooming jasmine!" before i knew what was happening, four bottles had jumped into my arms. and then two bottles of body spray followed them! i decided i should go to the cash register before anything else took a flying leap toward me...

...because really, how much would be enough. my intent was only to replace the ONE bottle that was now in the possession of my favorite tsa agent. but they were on sale! really, really cheap!! and that made me think that maybe they would be discontinuing the delicious scent that i had just discovered! so maybe i should stock up... definitely i should stock up! but how much would be enough?

then i turned around and saw a whole bin of "night blooming jasmine" lotion. a whole bin!! i didn't have the last four bottles of lotion after all. now what was i going to do?!?! i couldn't afford to buy them all!

i decided i could spend my emergency $20. (i keep $20 hidden in my wallet for emergencies--you know, if i need gas or if i need to contribute to something at work or if i get unexpectedly asked to go to lunch... but i am finding that usually my emergencies are shopping related...) i was already holding four bottles of lotion and two bottles of body spray. i decided that would have to be enough. for now.

i went to the cash register and handed over my emergency $20. as i was walking out of the store, i walked right past the $10.50 white citrus lotion. i mentally added that to what i had just spent, and decided that my confiscated lotion had now cost me $30. because if they had just let me keep my lotion, i would not have had to go into bath and body works...

of course, that means i would also not have four bottles of lotion and two bottles of body spray of the most wonderful smelling scent either.maybe instead of a bill, i should send my tsa agent a thank you note!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ah, flying...

so today . . . we are headed home from our christmas trip to oregon. usually this means packing all our stuff the day before we leave, getting up before dark (but not really waking up,) dragging our sleeping bodies into the car, and then sleeping for several hours while rollie drives.

but this year we flew :) and we didn't have to leave for the airport until the middle of the afternoon. so we slept in, leisurely packed our stuff, and then ate lunch. rollie watched football, and i watched some HGTV (i don't have HGTV at home, so i'm sort of obsessed when i am anywhere that has it. i mean really, have you watched "house hunters?!?!")

packing to go back home on an airplane, after christmas presents and post-christmas shopping proved to be a little challenging. especially since diandra was also wedding shopping... she bought mosaic glass candles and purple christmas beads and heart-shaped ornaments and big round sparkly placemats for centerpieces. she kept coming into my room and saying, "mom, do you think you have room for this?" and mostly i did. but then a couple of times i had to say, "rollie, do you think you have room for this?" and thankfully, he did.

and then there was my wedding dress...

i think my wedding dress is one of the most beautiful dresses i have ever seen. timeless. classic. and a little bit sparkly (of course!) several years ago, my mom took it and had it all cleaned and preserved and packed in a pretty box. but the box is pretty big, and we have never had enough extra room to bring it home with us.

until we flew.

which is odd, i know, because you would think it would be easier to find room to take it home when we drive the suv. but when we drive the suv, we pack like we have unlimited room--even though we don't. when we fly, we know all our stuff has to fit into our suitcase (no extra bags of stuff can be stashed around our feet) so we pack lighter. and we flew on southwest, which let each one of us check two bags. for free! and since we only each brought ONE bag, we could check the dress.

this seemed like a great idea! until we got to the airport and tried to get our 3 suitcases, 2 carry-on bags and 1 dress box inside... (thankfully we didn't have a partridge in a pear tree.)

we schlumped all our stuff to the ticket counter. i admit that there was some rearranging, some tripping, and a close call with a revolving door, but we got there. we started checking our bags in. rollie's suitcase. my suitcase. diandra's suitcase. and then the box.

"what's in this box," the check-in person asked. we told her it was a wedding dress. "oh," she said, " it would be better if you could carry it on." that might be true, but the box was too big to carry on--why would she even suggest it?!? was she trying to get me into more trouble with the tsa?!?!

and then she said, "has this dress already been worn in the wedding?" it sounded innocent enough on the surface, but what it said to me was, "how terrible will it be if somehow the box gets crushed and pops open, and the dress gets caught on something and comes down the luggage shute in shreds?" now i was worried. she slapped a couple of orange "fragile" stickers on it, made me sign a waiver that said they were liable for loss, but not for damage, and sent it out to the plane...

i almost started hoping they would lose it...

on the way to the gate, i kept seeing oregon duck stuff. (in case you somehow didn't know, the ducks are playing for the national championship on january 10th. you should watch. they will win.) diandra had already acquired a duck sweatshirt, but i still didn't have one. we saw them all over the mall when we were shopping, but i had my eye on other things... now, though, we were in the airport headed home. and i was pretty sure if i didn't get a duck shirt before i got on the plane, i was going to be watching the championship game in the one green sweater i own. and it doesn't have a big yellow "O" on it! i was suddenly worried the ducks might lose if i didn't get a shirt. they might think i had no faith in them, or worse yet, didn't even care. so i walked back down the concourse, compared the different designs, and finally chose this i was ready to go home. (and if by some fluke, the ducks lose, it is on them--i've done my part...)

as we were sitting on the plane, waiting for our flight (which had already been delayed for an hour,) diandra saw them loading the luggage. they were not all that careful with our suitcases. our suitcases were flipping and flopping and smacking onto the luggage conveyor belt. but they respected the fragile stickers on the dress box, carefully laid it on the conveyor belt, and it arrived at lax in good shape. which is good, because we have plans for that dress!

i've decided i love to fly! i don't love wrestling my bags through the airport. i don't love going through security. i don't love delayed flights. i don't love peanuts (oh, for the days when you got a real snack!) but i do love to fly. i love being in the airport. i love checking out the food options. i love getting on the plane and having someone bring me a drink. i love getting to my destination in just a few hours. i love not having to worry about car trouble, roads closed due to snow, and sleeping in the pretzel position.

in fact, i think we may have started a new tradition this year :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

it's christmas eve!

so today . . . is my second blog anniversary. it is also christmas eve.

in hindsight, perhaps that was not the best time to actually start a blog. because now, every year on christmas eve, i feel this pressure to produce an amazing anniversary blog. but by the time i sit down to write, my brain is all full of christmasy thoughts instead of bloggy ones.

if i was more organized, i would write some sort of yearly retrospective a week or two before christmas and have it all ready to post on christmas eve. but clearly, i am not that organized.

so this year, i am just going to leave you with a picture of my mom's tree. because i am sitting here in her living room, looking at her beautiful tree, and enjoying this moment.i know this moment isn't going to last. in a few days i will go back home, pick up my real life, and move on. but tonight, i am enjoying the feeling of contentment that sitting in front of my mom's christmas tree always seems to bring.

i hope all of you are able to find some peace and joy during this holiday season.

happy christmas eve!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a travel day...

so today . . . we flew to portland. for christmas :)

we have never flown to portland for christmas before. usually we drive. even though we moved to southern california, which is about a 17 hour drive away, still we drive.

but this year, because of some last minute scheduling issues, we realized that we were either going to spend most of our vacation riding in the car, or we needed to get on a plane...

so i spent last saturday on the internet, trying to find a flight that would work with our time schedule, had three seats available, and didn't require us to sell a car in order to purchase the tickets! considering that it was just a week before christmas, this proved to be an almost impossible task, but finally, southwest airlines came to our rescue.

we got tickets. but that was just the first of several problems... the next problem was packing. because when we drive, we drive our suv which has lots and lots of room. and we take way more stuff than we need. and we have plenty of room for bulky presents. and we take lots of snacks (because we are in the car for 17 hours!) but when we fly, we have limited space.

do you remember what i bought my nephew for christmas?

yes, this was going to be a problem. probably the decision to drive or fly should really be made before any of the shopping is done. because if flying is going to be the mode of transportation chosen, we either need to buy small gifts (dvds for everyone!) or shop online and have everything delivered to my mom's house (thus requiring her to stay withing 50 feet of her front door for a month, just in case something has to be signed for...)

and then there is the issue of boots and coats. in southern california, we wear boots and coats for fashion. but when traveling to the north, boots and coats become a necessity if we don't want to turn into popsicles. and so packing becomes a battle. we are conditioned to think, "these boots go with this outfit, and these other boots go with this other outfit..." and pretty soon we are looking at taking five different pairs of boots for a week long trip. which is ridiculous. especially since we also have to make room in our suitcase for a warm coat. and five scarves.

i managed to narrow it down to only two pairs of boots. but the turtle pillow pet still had to fly to portland in rollie's bag...

this morning we arrived at the airport, checked our luggage, and headed to security. let me just say, security is a whole different ball game than it was last summer. we took off our coats and shoes first, which seemed reasonable to me. and then the tsa agent said to diandra, "do you have a shirt on under that sweatshirt?" i thought that was a little personal, but they told her she either had to take off the sweatshirt or get patted down. she took off the sweatshirt.

then it was my turn. they made me take off my extra sweater AND the scarf around my neck. really? what could i possibly hide in my scarf?!?!? i guess i am not creative enough to be a terrorist, since i couldn't think of a thing... but apparently this was not obvious to the tsa agents. i made it through the scanner without incident, but my carry-on bag did not. "they have to search your bag," diandra said. "ok," i said. i wasn't worried. i figured i was just passenger number 25 or something. but that tsa agent opened my bag and went into it like he had a treasure map! he held up my brand new bottle of hand lotion--the new bottle of lotion i had just received from one of my students as a christmas gift. "this exceeds the acceptable limits for liquids," he said. i couldn't believe it! he was going to confiscate my brand new bottle of lotion! i said, "but i just got that!" "do you have any checked luggage," he asked? "you could put it in there." well yes, of course i have checked luggage! it is christmas! i am traveling to oregon, where the high temperatures in the next week might not exceed 60 degrees!! i had to pack boots and coats and sweaters! and christmas gifts!!!! besides, that wasn't going to help me--my checked bag was probably already on it's way to the airplane...

i had no other option than to say good-bye to the lotion and be glad they weren't confiscating my apple bread...

we still had a couple of hours to kill before our flight left. we went to our terminal, laid claim to a couple of chairs, and then rollie and diandra went off in search of food. i tried to sleep. i had only slept two and a half hours the night before, so i put my purse in my lap, my feet on my carry-on bag, my other arm through rollie's back pack, and used his coat for a pillow. no one was going to walk off with our stuff, even if i fell asleep!

i didn't fall asleep.

i was soooo tired, but sleep just would not come. maybe it was the incessant security announcements ("don't leave your stuff unattended, blah, blah, blah...") maybe it was the crush of people trying (some with limited success--there were a lot of delayed flights) to get home for christmas. maybe it was the hunger signals my stomach started sending me right after rollie and diandra left. maybe it was my brain, which would not shut up!!! maybe it was all of the above. but my nap never materialized...

when diandra and rollie came back to guard the stuff, i went for food. i almost stopped at mcdonald's. but, being me, i had to see all the options before i made a choice. so i walked clear to the other end of the terminal. back past security. and there was my favorite tsa agent. with my lotion. he was tossing it up into the air and catching it. tossing it up into the air and catching it. tossing it up into the air and catching it. over and over again.

clearly, it was not a bomb...

it was quite a day.

our plane was late.

our luggage was wet.

our flight attendant was bald. (but it's ok, because he had a selection of hats--santa hat, reindeer antlers, and a lighted christmas tree with micky mouse santa ornaments--yes, he wore that on his head!)

but we made it home safely. and quickly.

and the good news is, at least in portland, it wasn't raining...

Monday, December 20, 2010

our sunshine goes a.w.o.l.

so today . . . rollie said, "i think maybe i will turn off the sprinklers."

we are drowning here. drowning. you know that song... "it never rains in california..." well, generally that is true. but the song goes on to say, "but girl, don't they warn ya, it pooooouuurs, man, it pours." and it is pouring! as my friend jessica says, "it is pouring pandas and lions!" (i'm not sure exactly what that means. i don't know if it is a cultural phrase or just her take on the rain. but it is certainly raining more ferociously than cats and dogs!!)

i try not to blog about the weather too often, and i have resisted for the last four days! but it is still raining--hard, oregon rain--and i cannot stay silent any longer!


rain is necessary. i know that. and california people are always complaining about water shortages. so we really shouldn't be whining about a little rain.

but we aren't having "a little" rain. we are having buckets of rain.

the streets are flooding. there is standing water in the grass. parking lots are mine fields of puddles. water is seeping through the cement block walls at school and leaking into some of the classrooms. it is a nightmare.

(on the positive side, the kids at school are napping really well!)

our dogs are freaked out! we just had a new patio cover installed, and the rain hitting that corrugated plastic is really, really loud! they do NOT want to go outside. for any reason. they go stand at the doggie door and wistfully look outside. finally, when they can't stand it any longer, they make a mad dash for the edge of the patio, and then race back in. and jump into our laps, wet feet and all!

i do not remember rain like this before. but when i went back and reread my weather blogs (to make sure i wasn't writing too much of the same thing,) i saw that we did have a storm last january. it lasted a week, and there are five blog posts to prove it! so maybe this isn't so unusual. maybe this is just our annual winter storm.

i don't mind a little rain. really, i don't. but we are getting ready to spend a week in oregon for christmas, and i have checked their weather. it is going to rain. the whole time we are there! by the time this is over, i will have had to wear my one pair of relatively waterproof footwear for almost two weeks. two weeks!! my feet are not happy about this. my wardrobe is not happy about this. my other shoes are not happy about this.

all this rain is just being wasted now, anyway. the ground is saturated! i am seriously worried that the palm trees are going to start falling over...

sigh. i miss the sun...

Friday, December 17, 2010

the christmas evil julie won...

so today . . . my eyes fell on the tiny box. temptation loomed. but my past sins quickly flashed before my eyes, and i managed to walk away...

i blame diandra. she is the source of my temptation.

we are having christmas tomorrow. i know the rest of you will be celebrating a week from now, but we always have christmas early, because we always travel "home" for christmas. diandra finished up her shopping and wrapping this afternoon, and tonight she walked into the family room with a tiny box. "this is your christmas present," she said. "don't open it!"

ok, first of all if she hadn't told me it was my christmas present, i probably wouldn't have even noticed it. but the problem is, it is in a tiny, decorative box. this means there is no wrapping paper, or more importantly, no tape, to keep me out! i could easily sneak a peek, and she would never know.

except she knows me.

"mom, really, can i trust you not to peek?" i, of course, assure her she can trust me not to peek. and yet, still she looks at me with eyes that say, "i know your mouth is saying i can trust you, but your eyes are saying 'get out of here right this minute so i can peek in that tiny little box!'"

i assure her again that i will not open the box. i am pretty sure she doesn't believe me, but she sets the box on top of the other presents underneath our invisible christmas tree, and we move on.

i totally forgot about the box. i was trying to book plane tickets to go home. (which always makes me a little sick. because you know, once you book those tickets, you can't change your mind. and there are so many things to consider...) but then, before i went up to bed, i was picking up a few things. and that's when it happened. my eyes fell on the box. and it called to me... "just one little peek. you are going to open me in less than 12 hours anyway. you know you want to..."

while good julie was fighting with evil julie about the box, i remembered another christmas... a long time ago...

i was probably 9 or 10 years old, and i loved presents! i could hardly stand not knowing what was in them. and this particular year, my brother (who was 6 or 7,) had purchased a gift for me with his own money, and he seemed really excited about it. he could hardly wait for me to open it.

this made me extra curious.

while my little brother occasionally made me crazy (someday i will write about the ice skating party incident,) he had a very soft heart. every time we would play the card game 'war,' i would win. because if i started losing, all i had to do was act sad, and he would start stacking the deck in my favor. i, of course, would pretend that i didn't see him doing this. every time there was a war, he would slip me three high cards and then play a 2 or a 3. and he would continue to do this, until i would finally win.

(fine, call me manipulative. i choose to think of it as teaching my little brother compassion and kindness.)

so when he was so excited about the gift he had for me, i knew it was going to be something spectacular. and i just couldn't wait!

i tried. i tried to ignore it. and when that didn't work, i tried shaking it and squeezing it. and when that didn't work, i did the unthinkable...

on christmas eve, after everyone was asleep, i sneaked out to the christmas tree and picked up the package. i examined how it had been wrapped by six year old fingers. i checked to see how much tape he had used. and after carefully inspecting it, i decided i could safely unwrap it and then rewrap it, and no one would know.

and so i did. and no one knew. i looked through the clear plastic lid of the box to see 12 tiny pastel colored soaps shaped like animals. i carefully untaped and opened the lid and took out the tiny soaps (taking careful note of how they had been arranged in the box.) i admired them for a few minutes, then put them back and meticulously rewrapped the gift, and went back to bed.

when christmas morning arrived, i found myself avoiding my brother's gift. he was so excited, but i was afraid. i was afraid that everyone would somehow know that i had peeked and ruined the surprise. finally it was time. i slowly opened the package and feigned surprise. i took the soaps out and smelled them and lined them up, and i am pretty sure no one knew what i had done. but i knew i had cheated my brother out of the joy of seeing my real reaction to his gift. he didn't know it, but i did. and it made a difference. to me.

i don't remember ever peeking at another gift. i am still wildly curious about what is inside all the boxes and bags, and i still pick them up and shake them and squeeze them. but that christmas i learned that sharing in the excitement and anticipation of the giver is what makes the gift significant.

so, although that tiny box is still trying to lure me across the room, i will resist and go to bed. because whatever is in there was chosen by my daughter with love. she wants to see my reaction. and unlike my 6 year old brother, she will know if i have peeked.

especially since i think there is a possibility that she might have booby-trapped it...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the thrill of victory!

so today . . . i accomplished the impossible--i found and bought a turtle pillow pet. and i only paid the suggested retail price of $19.96!

my nephew wants a pillow pet for christmas. and not just any pillow pet--he wants a turtle. his mother has looked for one. his grandmother has looked for one. but the only turtle pillow pets to be found were on the internet for $40!

so, of course, i decided to try and find one.

yesterday i looked at my local walmart. they had a whole bin of pillow pets--penguins, dolphins, and pandas. but not one turtle. and then today i heard that my friend jessica was interested in pillow pets. i tracked her down, told her what i was looking for, and asked her to let me know if she found one...

...and she did. at the mall right by my house. it was $35! BUT she said it was a limited edition, and that is why it was more expensive. i decided to do some further internet searching...

i found the official pillow pets website. the turtle was listed as "temporarily out of stock," just like the frog and the pig. there was no mention of anything special or limited about the turtle. i deduced that the kiosk person probably just kicked the price up because the turtle was popular, and they had one. i guess that is ok, but i was not going to pay that inflated price! at least, not until i was out of options.

my next idea was to try the "as seen on tv" store, since these cute little pillows were originally sold on tv. of course, that meant getting in my car and driving to a different mall. which i did. because i was on a mission. i endured holiday shopping traffic, finally found a parking space, and went in. i walked into the "as seen on tv" store and saw a pile of pillow pets--again, penguins, dolphins, and pandas. (apparently penguins, dolphins, and pandas are not as desirable as turtles, frogs, and pigs.) i desperately asked the sales clerk if any place else in the mall might have any more pillow pets. he said no. and then he asked what i was looking for. when i said the turtle, he told me that he had just seen one at walmart. "just seen one?" i asked, "like in the last day or two, or a couple of weeks ago." "just a couple of days ago," he said.

ok, there was no guarantee that it would still be there, but i had to check it out. i got directions to the walmart where he had seen the turtle, and was a little alarmed to find that it was quite a distance away. i was getting further and further from home, and did i mention that i had to be back at school by 6:00 tonight for our christmas program? yep. i checked my watch, and decided that if traffic wasn't too bad, i might make it. so once again, i got in my car, endured holiday shopping traffic, and headed for yet another walmart.

this particular walmart turned out to be a superstore--you know, the ones that also have a grocery store in them? and so the layout was totally different from my neighborhood walmart, which was somewhat disorienting. i wandered quickly about until i found the toy section. and there, at the end of an aisle, was a huge bin half-filled with pillow pets. and right on the top was a turtle--the only turtle in the bin, as it turned out.

i grabbed that turtle, checked for all the proper tags (to be sure it was a real pillow pet,) paid for it, and quickly secured it in my trunk. then i fist-pumped in the air. uh huh, i did! i felt powerful, invincible. i had found the elusive turtle pillow pet and only paid the suggested retail price of $19.96. i could do anything! i was wonder woman!!

because this wasn't just shopping, people. this was war, and i had won! i had found the thing they said didn't exist, and made it mine. bwahahahaha!

and the spoils of war? one happy little boy on christmas morning :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

tan lines... what to do, what to do...

so today . . . i realized i am out of the habit of blogging every day.

but then, you already knew that, didn't you ;)

i'm not quite sure how this happened. i guess i can mostly blame it on my weakened physical condition, which weakened my mental capacities, which made it nearly impossible to blog!

i thought about it. a lot. but when it came time to put "words on paper," so to speak, it just didn't happen. but i did have a lot of thoughts, which even resulted in some blog attempts. which will probably show up in the future when my brain power is turned back on, and i can finish them.

but what worries me is being out of the blogging habit. i like to blog. i don't want to stop. but i am having trouble getting started again. so i am going to ease back into it by reposting something i wrote a couple of years ago on myspace, before i had a "real" blog. i chose this particular one to post today, because it was HOT! i know it is december, but it was over 80 degrees here. and let me tell you, when you are standing out on the playground, in the sun, waiting for your turn to go on a break, your mind kind of wanders...

this blog was originally posted on myspace thursday, march 13, 2008.

so today i am out on the playground, watching the kids in my class run around and annoy each other--because that is what they do. they call it playing, but it isn’t really--they just interact with each other until somebody does something unforgivable like touching someone’s hair, and then it begins: "i’m telling teacher" "sorry" "well, i’m telling teacher" "i SAID i was SORRY" "TEACHERRRRRR!!!" "SORRY! SORRY! SORRYYYYY!!!" so, you know, there are days that i just can’t listen to it, and i admit it--even though i am watching them, i mentally check out. There will be no help from the teacher today unless you are bleeding, so just go play! have fun! sheesh!

maybe i need a vacation.

ok, anyway, while all this was going on in the background, i was enjoying the sunshine. it was only supposed to get up to 74 today, but i am sure it was warmer than that, because even i felt hot. so i am standing there in my short-sleeved shirt (because it WAS going to be 74 after all) and the thought occurs to me "what if my arms get tan?" now normally you might think this would be a good thing with summer coming. but my shirt was not sleeveless--it had SHORT sleeves. so if my arms do get tan while i put in my time on the playground, my shoulders and upper arms are going to be white--and believe me that is the part that needs tanning the most! so now i don’t know what to do--do i just go with the lower arm tan and try to catch the rest up later, or do i go stand in the shade for now and wait until sleeveless shirt weather to hang out in the sun. you see, these are the sort of random thoughts that come to a person sometimes. i know there are other more important things i could think about, and maybe should, but sometimes i just don’t want to think about global warming (unless it is warming my face.) so my mind settles for dealing with the little questions that pop into my head, like should i go stand in the shade . . .

it is really easy for one's mind to wander when standing in unseasonably warm sunshine. there is just something relaxing (yes, even on a playground full of rowdy children,) and a little bit decadent about getting to wear short sleeves in the middle of december.

have i mentioned lately how much i love living in southern california...?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"closed for repairs..."

so today . . . ACK!! I HAVE TO BLOG!!!

it has been a week since i last blogged. i don't very often go that long without writing something! but my blogging brain seems to be out of commission.

it has been a busy week, and i have been trying to find time to rest and get better after my ordeal last week. stuff has happened and i thought, "oh, i could blog that," but then when i sit down to write, it all just sounds very ordinary. so i hit the save button (just in case what i wrote can someday be salvaged,) and go to bed.

tonight i was determined to write something. i started early. then i ate a banana, and my intestinal system reminded me that i've been sick. so i sat on the couch and caught up on my blog reading. then it was time to go get dinner. then diandra came home, and i lost two more hours--but in a nice way :) i looked at the clock, remembered about blogging, but instead i went into the kitchen and boiled some eggs for rollie. now it is 11:00. and i have to go to school early tomorrow for parent conferences. so once again, i didn't get a funny, entertaining blog written...

but at least i wrote something. at least you know i am still breathing. at least there is a promise of more blogs to come...

...but probably not tomorrow. tomorrow is wednesday, which is my weekly never-ending day...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

with my last bit of mental energy...

so today . . .

i am tired.

i am sick.

but i have drugs. :)

(the good kind, not the illegal kind. although, since i live in california, apparently now some of the illegal kind are also the good kind... but that is not the kind i am talking about.)

i am staying home from work tomorrow. to sleep. to mainline liquids. and to adjust to the new drugs. i am hoping one day will be enough, because i didn't spend today at work--i spent it at urgent care. being poked with needles. getting rehydrated. lying under warm blankets--yes, i was the warm blanket hog at kaiser today.

i've been here before, so i know that in a week or so i am going to be feeling much better. the trick is doing everything the doctor said to do. i'm not going to lie--a few days in the hospital sounded like a pretty good idea this morning. at least in the hospital i wouldn't have to remember everything the doctor said... AND they bring you food and drinks... AND they have hgtv... AND no one wants anything from you... well, except small amounts of blood occasionally.

but i am apparently not that sick.

curses! foiled again!!

it is taking all my brain power to stay upright and alert, so there isn't much left over for blogging today. but modern medicine is a miracle, and i am sure i will be back to my usual verbose self soon.

so be warned. or happy. i guess it all depends on how you feel about hearing every little detail of my life...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

home again, home again...

so today . . . we are home. from las vegas. i am sooooo tired. and there is laundry... so much laundry...

i sort of blogged in my head today as we came home, but now i am just too tired to write it all down. instead, i am going to bed. usually i choose blogging over sleep, but not tonight. tonight sleep wins.

maybe tomorrow i will blog about today. or maybe i will write the wrap-up blog to our little adventure. because there were some things that happened that didn't make it into the other blogs--not because they weren't funny, but because they would have hijacked the purpose of the blog...

yes my blogs have a purpose!! i don't just sit down and ramble on about my day!!! i know that sometimes (like now :) ) it might seem like i do, but i don't. every day i leave stuff out that doesn't fit in. surprised to hear that, are you?? well, it is true.

although now i am rambling. that is what happens when i am so tired that the thought of walking up to get into bed is almost too much to contemplate.


Friday, November 26, 2010

things to do, places to go...

so today . . . we got seriously down to business and found a wedding venue. i think. i am pretty sure...

diandra and i did a lot of internet searching for a venue for her wedding. it is going to be in las vegas, but she doesn't want it to be a "vegas" wedding. that narrows the choices considerably. thank goodness! i am of the opinion that most of the wedding chapels here look more like funeral parlors. they are draped in hundreds of yards of white satin with enough clear twinkle lights to power a third world country, and so many fake flowers and greenery that my allergies feel threatened. let's just say, this is kind of how i picture death.

not a good feel for a wedding.

we had four places to check out. we sat in the car, making a plan. where should we go first...? we decided on the premium outlet mall--which was not on our original plan. our original plan was to GET SERIOUS and do wedding stuff today! but we ALWAYS shop on black friday. so we decided to skip the three venues that were going to charge astronomical fees if we chose NOT to use their photographer, and headed for the premium outlet mall :)

we "shopped" for a bit, ate some lunch, checked out a really great venue, and then found our way to the neon boneyard.

diandra is in love with the neon boneyard. it is the place where old neon signs go to die. it is visually very interesting, and having pictures taken there was the first wedding decision she made. we thought it might be good if we knew where it was before she tried to make a timeline for her wedding day. so we followed the gps... and ended up in an empty abandoned building's parking lot. "this can't be right," she said. um, no, i'm pretty sure it is not right...

so she did something to the gps, it gave us different directions, and soon we were there. of course it was closed, but you could still see through the gate. diandra wanted to look through the gate, but it isn't in the very best part of town. but it was daylight. we looked around, and saw that there was no one close by. and came up with a plan...

i parked on the street as close to the gate as i could get without putting the suv into four-wheel drive and climbing onto the sidewalk. i kept the engine running. diandra left her door open. she ran to the gate and snapped a few pictures. i played lookout, ready to yell in case anyone started our way. diandra was prepared to dive headfirst into the car and hang on tight, if necessary, while i made a fast getaway...

fortunately, it was not necessary.

we were on las vegas blvd, but a long way from the strip. we decided to take the boulevard all the way back to our hotel instead of going on the freeway, and i am so glad we did! yes, there was a lot of traffic. yes, we saw a seedier side of town. but we also got to see some of those places you just see in location shots of las vegas. it was interesting to put all the pieces together into one picture.

we went back to our hotel to meet rollie for dinner, only to find out that the ducks game was on. (i would say oregon ducks, just to be clear, but if you have any knowlege of college football--ANY knowlege--you know who the ducks are!) so diandra and i decided to make good use of the time by going across the street to... shop.

(lest you think all we do is buy stuff, we didn't actually make very many purchases. we went in a lot of stores, picked up a lot of stuff, put it back, and moved on. there are a lot of very exclusive, expensive stores here. we have these same stores at home, but we don't spend much time in them, because they are a bit beyond our pay grade. but it was still fun to look...)

we hadn't been in this particular mall yet, and we didn't have a lot of time. and yet somehow, we got horribly turned around! when it was time to go, we couldn't find our way out of the building. and i don't mean we couldn't find where we came in--we couldn't find any exits at all!!

i tend to get a little claustrophobic from time to time, and this just about did me in! it didn't matter that we were in a huge mall with high ceilings. it didn't matter that it wasn't all that crowded. the problem was, we were trapped! there was no way out!!

it was the elevator all over again...

we finally found a door that led outside, and we took it! we looked around, and knew we were on a different side of the mall than where we came in. we didn't care! at least we had escaped!! i looked above the mall at the names on the tall buildings, and figured out where we were. sort of. and then we started walking. again.

we walked, and we walked, and we walked, until our hotel came into view. when we got on the bridge going across the street where i could look around, i realized we had walked almost all the way around the mall. THE MALL!! and the almost funny thing is, if we had turned left instead of right when we came out, we would have been much closer to finding our way home. much closer.

our feet and legs hate us.

i usually have an exceptionally good sense of direction in shopping malls and their parking lots. but apparently las vegas is oriented differently, because i seem to be having trouble finding my way out of places. for some reason, when we get in these shopping areas, my sense of direction leaves me. completely. i think it is all part of some evil plot...

we did, however, find the world's largest forever 21 store in the world! IN THE WORLD!! and as we found out, the world's largest forever 21 store makes it almost impossible to buy anything! who can even think when surrounded by so many choices. but it was ok--it was only 9:00--we figured we had a couple of hours to navigate the store before closing time. and then we found out that the store closed at 10:00. P.M!!!

are you kidding me?!?!? the forever 21 that is a mile from our house stays open that late. we are on the las vegas strip!! where are the shops that stay open all night?!?! what is the matter with these people!!!

it turned out ok, though. i think i found a dress for diandra's wedding--yes, at forever 21! and when we went in to the mall the second time, we paid closer attention to where we came in, and so we didn't have any trouble finding our way home.

we went over the river and through the woods and back to our room, where we found rollie--still watching football. on espn. a channel that we don't have at home.

i guess las vegas does have something for everyone...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

i think we may have walked a marathon...

so today . . . we walked.

we walked and we walked and we walked. we ate our thanksgiving meal. and then we walked and walked and walked some more.

the reason we are in las vegas is to scope out wedding venues for diandra's wedding this spring. this seemed like a good time to come, since we would have three days free, and none of us would have to take any time off from work.

apparently half a million other people thought it would also be a good time to visit las vagas...

there are a lot of people here. a lot! but i digress...

my plan was to do the wedding stuff today, while rollie camped out in our room and watched football. then i thought we could do fun stuff tomorrow before leaving to go home on saturday. but my plan was thwarted when the venues we wanted to check out were mostly closed today. this is vegas baby! i thought everything was open all the time! i was wrong again.

so instead we walked up and down the strip--twice--and around and around and around in the hotel shops. we stopped to sit--twice just to rest and twice to eat. and that is all. you cannot even imagine how our feet and legs feel now that we are back "home" on our cushy beds. i fully expect to wake up screaming in the night from muscle cramps. doesn't that sound like fun???

i should clarify that diandra and i did most of the walking. oddly, rollie was not interested in walking and walking and walking. which is probably just as well. because when he walks with us in crowds of people, he can't help but do his secret service routine--stand tall, eyes moving above everyone else, slowly, side to side, anticipating trouble. (i personally think he is secretly hoping for trouble so he can go into his black belt ninja stuff. he says that is not true--he just wants to be prepared, you know, just in case. but i still think he is always hoping his black belt ninja stuff will one day come in handy...)

we started out this morning (and i use that term loosely,) headed for the bellagio. it is thanksgiving, and my friend wendy said we HAD to eat at the bellagio buffet. so that was our plan. diandra and i took the circuitous route through the caesar's palace shops while rollie took the direct route. he arrived first even though he left a couple of hours after we did. he texted us (thank goodness for cell phones!) and said there was a line. he was not exaggerating. there was a LINE! a line that zigzagged like toy story 3 at disneyland, and then went around a corner. i think it would have taken us the rest of the day to get in there. i like to eat, but standing in line for hours and hours was just not my idea of fun for today. so we got out of line and went on a search for food that could be immediately ours! we tried outback steak house, but we were too early. i was ready to settle for mcdonald's. really! i mean, it wouldn't be the first time we had eaten fast food on thanksgiving day... but we settled on panda express and pizza. i knew it was meant to be, when a table opened up right in front of us!

after lunch we decided it was time for coats. did i mention that it is coooold here? it wasn't too bad earlier in the day when the sun was shining on us. but by the middle of the afternoon, we either had to get our coats or turn into human popsicles. and that is when i made a terrible error in judgement--i decided i wanted to walk all the way to the end of the strip to the excaliber hotel. diandra reluctantly went with me. it got colder. it got dark. we went up long flights of stairs to cross walkways across the busy streets. we took a few more pictures. and finally we arrived!the colored turrets were beautiful. the hotel? not so much. it wasn't exactly what i expected. at all. and now, we had to walk all the way back. and it was colder. and darker. but we huddled together and just kept walking. and walking. and walking.

we were going to go shopping in the morning before doing the wedding stuff (which is why we came here in the first place--but it is easy to forget that when we are busy having so much fun!) it is black friday, and we ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go shopping early in the morning on black friday.

but not this year. this year we are sort of exhausted. and sore! we are thinking of spending black friday on the internet. and we still have to get the wedding stuff done...

...because i am not sure i have the energy for another weekend in vegas!

at least, not until after christmas ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a thanksgiving trip...

so today . . . we are in las vegas.

and i am not going to blog about my packing ordeal (you can thank me later,) or my school feast for 44 (which went surprisingly well.) i am instead going to blog about las vegas!

getting here was less trouble than i thought it would be. we were able to leave early in the afternoon, and while there were some traffic issues, most of the trip was fine. (i say this, having slept most of the way here...) it is a looooong desolate trip across the desert.

we didn't have any trouble finding las vegas. we just got on the freeway and drove until we ran into it. but finding our hotel was another matter. we have a gps, but sometimes it is a little hard to know exactly where she wants us to turn! and so we missed the first turn. she recalculated the route, and then we missed the next turn. let me just say, it doesn't take long to get away from the shimmer and shine of the strip and into the darkness... but we kept working at it and finally arrived at our hotel.

and then there was the parking.

i am not totally convinced that they have as many parking spaces as they have rooms. they have a lot of rooms. we are on the 33rd floor. but the parking structure only looks like it is 4 levels high! this seems like a problem to me. we ended up on the third level, and played parking lot shark until we found a spot. (of course, as always, diandra prayed for a spot. which turned out to be a good idea, because there were a lot of cars cruising for parking places...)

we decided to leave our stuff in the car until we got checked in. that turned out to be one of our better ideas today, because there was a LINE to check in--one of those zig-zaggy lines like at disneyland! when we had our room keys in hand, we went back out to retrieve our luggage.

did i mention how cold it is here?

yes, we were piling on coats and hats and scarves... and i was carrying my trusty polar fleece blanket. we entered the hotel from the parking structure and got in an elevator--only to discover that it didn't go where we wanted to go. i find this odd, but you can't just get into any elevator and go to any floor. so we got out and went to another elevator. a tiny one. a really tiny one. it was barely bigger than a large sized shower! and we had to use it, because for some strange reason the escalator was stopped. and we had luggage. so we got on--all three of us with our luggage. we filled up the space pretty well. and THEN a lady got on with a toddler-filled stroller and another small child. the doors closed, diandra pressed the right button. and nothing happened.

NOTHING HAPPENED! we were in a teeny tiny elevator with a woman and two small children, and we were not moving. diandra pressed the button again. "i don't think we are moving," she said. "are we stuck in here?" "no," i said, pressing the button repeatedly, "no, we aren't stuck."


i continued to press the button. finally i felt a little movement. finally the doors opened and we were free! it took every ounce of self-control that i possess to let that mom and her two kids get off the elevator first. if those doors had started to close, i would have thrown diandra between them in a heartbeat! i love my daughter, but if it meant the difference between being in that elevator with the doors open or closed, i would have thrown her under the bus without a second thought! (sorry, diandra... i love you...)

after unpacking and eating, diandra and i were not yet ready to call it a night. rollie was. so we left him in the room with netflix and headed out. our plan was to go across the street to the venetian hotel and look at the shops. the problem with that plan was that we had to go outside. and we didn't have our coats. because we didn't know that was going to be our plan when we left the room...

so out we went. and did i mention how COLD it was?!?!?! and not only was it cold, but the wind was blowing like mad! my phone said the "real feel" temperature was 38 degrees! and we didn't have our coats on. we did have on sweaters, but it wasn't enough. and yet, we stopped and took pictures. outside. repeatedly. because that is what we do...we got into the venetian hotel and were suddenly glad that we didn't have coats. it was pretty warm inside. we hadn't gone far when we saw a sign with the shop hours on it. i thought everything here would be open all the time, but it isn't. the shops close at 11:00 p.m! this was news to us, and a little bit disappointing since we didn't venture out until 10:00. but it was enough time to take more pictures and get lost. that hotel is a labyrinth! a labyrinth with a river and gondolas running through it!yeah, i kind of love it :)

so, we are spending this thanksgiving in one of the most self-indulgent cities in the world. we are going to be surrounded by people spending a lot of money and probably making some bad choices. it is going to be interesting. but i can tell after today, it is also going to be a lot of fun!

because one of the things i am most thankful for is my family. this year we are all together, just the three of us. and we will be together in a way that we are not when we are at home. i am thankful for that opportunity, because my favorite people are the ones who are related to me! and i get to spend the next three days discovering new and interesting things with them.

"we may be small, but we are mighty!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

misc. midnight thoughts...

so today . . . it is almost midnight, and i haven't blogged.

i planned to blog today. one has been rolling around in my head about packing for our trip tomorrow. i've probably blogged about packing before, though, and as i said, it is almost midnight. so i am going to sleep. i will blog about packing tomorrow... maybe while we are sitting in traffic on our way to las vegas. i am pretty sure it will be a parking lot, so i will need something to distract me.

besides, i need my sleep tonight. tomorrow is our thanksgiving feast. there will be 44 people in my classroom for lunch. yes, 44. tomorrow we are not only feeding our students, but also their parents, grandparents, tiny siblings, and apparently whoever else wants to come along. i anticipate chaos. i don't do well in chaos. this is one of the few times i wish i had mood altering drugs--the kind that make you relaxed and happy--like nitrous oxide... i love nitrous oxide...

i am kind of wishing for a snow day. my mom had a snow day today. in fact, according to what i read on facebook, all of oregon had a snow day today! i think i should have a snow day tomorrow. then i wouldn't have to "feast" with 44 people in my classroom. i wouldn't even have to pack! i could just sit in front of the fire with a festive beverage and my book...

snow. in southern california. for thanksgiving.

it could happen...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

i am nice! so why does my body hate me?!?!?!

so today . . . has been a difficult day. actually, it has been a difficult several days. but there's no need for you all to worry, i am just fighting with my body. and losing.

there are times when i hate my physical structure--not for the obvious reasons that might leap into your mind, but because sometimes my body just rebels against me! and for no good reason, i might add! i try to take care of it. i feed it, i clean it, i clothe it.--well, ok, i don't exercise it much, but you would think it would be grateful that i don't tire it out and make it all sore and achy! it seems to me that the least it could do in return is to function properly. but right now it chooses not to. sometimes it tricks me by beginning to act normally. so then i act normally. and then it zaps me!! mean, mean, mean!!!

i keep thinking it will finally get tired of tormenting me and settle down and behave... so i try to just wait it out. i'm a bit stubborn. i think i can win this stare-down! but now i am getting tired of fighting it--especially since i seem to be losing. so, i guess i am going to have to go see a doctor...

i'm not a fan of going to see the doctor. i just want to go in, tell them quickly what is wrong, get some pills to fix me right up, and leave. but that is never what happens! they always ask me a bunch of questions--questions that i have no answers for. they want me to have tests--tests i have no time for. i know it is all a necessary evil, and i am glad that i have wonderful insurance that pays for it all. it is just so inconvenient... and time consuming... and energy sapping...

but i think perhaps i have put it off as long as i can. christmas is coming, and i am going north to visit my family. my mother will be able to tell if i am not well (of course, it would be harder for her to tell if i didn't blog about it! hi mom!) so in a week, when we get back from las vegas, i will make a doctor appointment. and go. and see if my doctor can smack my body back into line...

...because clearly it isn't paying any attention to what i think.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

an identity crisis--no, not mine!

so today . . . i got this email from payless shoes:

Introducing the Payless bath & beauty collections by Unforgettable Moments and zoe&zac!‏

yes, you read that right. payless shoes will now be selling beauty and skin care products.

i am somewhat perplexed by this. i thought this was a shoe store. typically shoe stores sell... well... shoes. when they started selling socks and handbags, i thought, ok, i can kind of see the connection between socks and handbags and shoes. but then they started selling jewelry. and now, beauty products!

i admit that i have occasionally looked at the jewelry. i can't help it. it sparkles. but none of it has come home with me.
and if i need beauty products, i am either going to go to shopping tv or ulta--payless shoes will never be able to compete with their selection. besides, there is just something wrong about buying beauty products in a shoe store!

i think some stores may be experiencing an identity crisis. maybe our current economic situation is fueling this diversification. a few months ago i got a flyer in the mail announcing that target would now be selling food. and not the kind of food they have always had--the snack foods, or the "oh no, we are out of milk" foods, or the"aaaggghhhhh! i'm on my way home from work and need something in a box that i can microwave for dinner and i have to stop at target anyway" kinds of foods. apparently now they are going to carry real food, just like the grocery store.

i know that some wal-marts have been doing this for a while--combining a grocery store with an all-purpose type store. but target?? no! leave my target alone!!

i love target. it is kind of my "go to" store. sadly, it is a well known fact that a person cannot go into a target and come out with only what was on their list. it is impossible! there are just too many choices. and they are genius at store layout. the most direct route from the door to the m&m's leads you right past the clothes. looking for toothpaste? better keep your blinders on or you will end up in cosmetics. socks and underwear? located just across the aisle from shoes--which are temptingly displayed on the ends of the rows. and just when you think you have successfully completed the gauntlet and emerged victorious with only those items on your list, you have to go to a cash register--the purgatory of impulse purchases. dvds, magazines, individual serving sized bags of chips (just sitting there taunting you with their crunchy, salty goodness... "don't feel guilty. just get one bag. your clothes will still fit--yes, those clothes you are buying that you didn't come in here to buy. they will still fit. i promise...") not to mention items from the $1 section, all clamor for a spot on the conveyor belt...

so real grocery store type food in target is going to be a problem for me.

first of all, i am concerned with what will be eliminated from their inventory to make room for this new section. personally, i think they could get rid of all kitchen items--except for toasters. and maybe the men's clothing section. i mean, really. do you know any men who shop at target?? the only men i ever see in there are... ok, i never see any men in there. i think target is sort of a 'girl's only' type store. men are going to buy their electronics online, their clothes at the mall (if you can get them to go!) and, well, do they buy anything else?!?

i guess as long as they don't decrease the electronics department, or women's clothes, shoes, and accessories, i will cope...

one afternoon diandra and i were headed to target for something (i don't know what we were going to get, and it doesn't even matter, because we were going to end up buying different stuff anyway,) and we discovered that those geniuses of store layout had struck again--because the food section was right in front of the doors and across the aisle from the clothes. and it looked pretty good! i thought the food would be priced at convenience store prices, but we were surprised to see that it was about the same as at the grocery store. we wandered through and bought quite a few things that we needed... no really, they were things we needed. unlike some of our target purchases. we got bananas, and hot pockets, and yogurt, and raisins, and lunchables.

ok, mostly diandra bought food. but i looked at what they had and found that i could buy most of my non-costco food items at target now...

...which is going to be an issue. because while it is very convenient for me to go to target, it holds so many more shopping traps than food 4 less.

but who knows. it may be just a matter of time before i can stop off at payless shoes for my groceries. they could make room, by eliminating the jewelry and beauty sections...

Monday, November 15, 2010

another step closer...

so today . . . MY NEW GLASSES CAME!!!!

ok, well sort of. the frames came. do you remember on friday when i said i spent almost half an hour on the phone with customer service and they promised my frames would be delivered today? well, they delivered on their promise...

so this morning, there i was, slogging my way through music time. i lead music every monday. this is not my favorite part of the day. i don't think it is the kids' favorite part either, but it is part of our curriculum, so we do it--day after day after day. some days are fun. the kids really get into the music and we dance and sing, and it is kind of fun. and then there are other days... the days when all they want to do is lay on a table or talk to their friends or annoy the kid standing next to them. yeah, those are the days i dread.

today was kind of a middle of the road day. most of the kids were engaged, some of them were smiling at me, but i was feeling a bit sluggish and slow--monday mornings tend to be like that. and then the director walked in with a small box. at first i didn't know what she was saying... sometimes we have communication issues--she is chinese and has a bit of an accent, and my hearing is not perfect. and of course, this morning while she was telling me about the box, we also had music blaring. she repeated herself repeatedly, until finally i got it! my glasses had arrived!!

i was so excited. suddenly i felt a bit better. i finished up music time, sat the kids on the rug, and grabbed the scissors to open the box. we talked about when i fell and how my glasses broke. i took them off my face and demonstrated how broken they were. the kids were excited to see what was in the box, so we opened it. and inside was another box. we opened that one, and inside that was a case. we opened that up and inside that was a cleaning cloth, and then finally the long awaited glasses!

the kids all ooohed and aaaahed.

they are so great--the kids, i mean! if i am excited about something, they will get excited too. i finally sent them off to work and put my box away.

temporarily. but i kept thinking about them. and taking them out and looking at them. pretty soon, i took off my broken glasses and put the new ones on--even though they only had plain, clear lenses in them. they were so comfortable. and beautiful.

but i couldn't see very well. that was kind of a problem. so i put them back in their box and did some more work.

at lunch time i got them out again, just to look at them. i really, really like them.

after school, i took them to kaiser for lenses. i didn't get my exam at kaiser, because i needed an immediate appointment (i thought--that was a month ago! it is a good thing rollie managed to sort of fix the broken ones!) i took a number, waited my turn, and finally sat down at a desk with an optician.

he did not like me. i think he was offended that i had my exam someplace else. he squinted at my prescription. he questioned me about it. he acted like it couldn't possibly be right. i was starting to think i should have just paid $5 more and had another exam... he kept reaching into the inside of his lab coat, and i thought, "what is he doing?!?!?!" he finally came out with a pack of gum--which he then chewed. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! (i mean, i didn't want a piece of his gum, but i think it might have been better to wait at least until i wasn't looking...) he cautioned me that the lab might destroy my beautiful new frames (they'd better not!!!) he told me it would probably take at least two weeks to get them back, since i didn't choose one of their frames. i am telling you, he did not like me. he finally sent me to the cashier (gulp!) and then sent me on my way.

so. apparently i will have my new glasses in two weeks. i, of course, expect they will be ready in three days. which means i am going to be disappointed every day for week and a half after that, until they show up. i do not really have hope that the prescription will be right--the optician has shaken my confidence in that. and i did not get the transition lens, so i am going to have to get sunglasses. and soon...

...because we are going to las vegas for thanksgiving. and rollie says he is going to read by the pool while diandra and i run around doing wedding stuff.

diandra and i. running around doing wedding stuff. in las vegas.

you can hardly wait for those blogs, can you...


Saturday, November 13, 2010

"dude! i need some wicked cool shades..."

so today . . . was a perfect day in the o.c! and lucky for us, once again the planets aligned juuuust right so that we could go to the swap meet!

(i am just going to warn you, this is probably going to be a photo-heavy blog. so if you don't want to see a thousand pictures of sunglasses, you might want to log off right now.)

as you know, we love the orange county swap meet. i don't know why--it just sucks money out of our pockets. but we always have a fun time. and we always have an agenda...

today's agenda was mostly rollie's. he went to the eye doctor last week and is giving contact lenses a try for the first time. they are giving him fits, but he is doing his best to adjust to them, because he is concerned about his ability to see the basket when he plays basketball. (you notice his reason has nothing to do with anything even remotely humanitarian. it isn't like he is going through all this agony to save the world...) and so, now he needs sunglasses--really cool sunglasses--(which i think might also be a factor in the whole contact lenses vs. glasses debate.)

before we made it to the end of the first row at the swap meet, he had already bagged four pair of sunglasses, diandra had three pair, and even i had one. (i only bought one, because they were 2 for $10 and diandra had an odd number...)
it wasn't as easy as it sounds though. we had trouble before we even left the driveway. somehow diandra was in the car first, but when i walked out, she was already making a sad face. i whipped out my camera to take a picture... only to realize i didn't have my camera! thankfully, we were still in the driveway. i went into the house, retrieved my camera, and pointed it at her. but by then she was smiling... i tried to get her to make the sad face again, pressed the shutter on my camera... and nothing happened. as always, i pressed it over and over and over again, before finally giving in to the thought that my batteries must be dead. so, i went back into the house for fresh batteries... which also didn't work. now i was starting to get worried. i took the batteries out and put them back in again. i turned the camera off and on and off and on. and then i finally realized... my camera was set for viewing photos, not taking them.

maybe i should just choose a care facility now...

we finally made it out of the driveway, stopped at mcdonald's for an unhealthy breakfast, and made it to the swap meet by about 9:30--which may be the latest we have ever arrived at the swap meet. ever.

we have a set pattern for shopping the swap meet, but today when we walked in, there was a booth with sunglasses right in front of us. so instead of turning right and going up and down the rows in an orderly fashion, we went down the center aisle! i would have thought rollie would get hives over such a brash move, until i realized that we were following him straight to the center aisle...

at the first sunglasses booth, he was like a kid in a candy store. when you have worn glasses to correct your vision for your entire adult life, wearing regular sunglasses seems to be an unattainable luxury. you look at the cool sunglasses in the store, knowing you will never be able to wear them, (unless you are me, in which case you try to make the cool sunglasses fit over your regular glasses... with mostly disastrous results.) and so this was his first opportunity to put sunglasses directly on his face.

it was hysterical. he would put a pair on, look at us with a big smile on his face and say, "what about these?" to which one or the other, or sometimes both of us would reply with some form of "no." he had some very specific ideas about what he wanted, but we were mainly concerned with how they looked. rollie was all about function, and we were the style police. then diandra said, "here, try these!" this worked much better. we would choose glasses (and when i say "we" i mostly mean diandra,) and then rollie would try them on to see if he liked them.

by the end of the first row we had purchased eight pairs of sunglasses, (well, when they are only $5 a pair...) i had spent all my money (not just on sunglasses,) and diandra was ready for a soda. this was not our typical day at the o.c. swap meet!

rollie and i sat at a table while diandra bought a soda, and this is what happened.doesn't he look happy?did i mention how excited rollie was to have normal sunglasses? and lest you think he went a bit overboard, he was quick to inform me that each pair of glasses served a different function--one was for very bright light, one was for partially cloudy days, one was for driving the convertible on the freeway (the wind, you know...) and the last pair? ok, that was just because he liked the blue lenses :)

these are my new sunglasses. it is kind of hard to see it in this picture, but the side edges are all sparkly!! let me just say that i succumbed to peer pressure when buying these glasses. first of all, i do not wear contacts, so sunglasses are an issue for me. but these fit pretty well over my regular glasses, they were jeweled, and diandra said, "come on mom, get them!" so i did. (have i mentioned that i have very little sales resistance? especially on items costing less than $10?) and yes i was wearing a tank top--it was a beautiful day! rollie even wore shorts!!

as soon as we got home, rollie left to do an errand.
i think maybe he just wanted to take his favorite new sunglasses for a test drive...

Friday, November 12, 2010

a dress, some shoes... oh, and a momentary lapse...

so today . . . diandra and i went shopping for a wedding dress.

this is not the first time we have gone. typically we go in, choose several dresses, diandra tries them on and looks beautiful in every one, and then we leave. dressless.

but today was different. today we went to a different shop--"castle for brides." this is not a shop we probably would have found on our own, but we went today because they were giving away free wedding dresses to women who are in the military or engaged to men serving in the middle east. we thought free was a pretty good price, so diandra made an appointment.

when we arrived, we were told that they had given away 60 dresses yesterday! our expectations immediately fell. if 60 dresses were already gone, what would be left? we looked over the remaining 30 dresses, but none were the right size. since we had driven all the way to huntington beach though, we decided to look at the other dresses in the store. we went into the dressing room with three--one i chose (that was on the sale rack for $200,) one diandra chose, and one we both liked.

she started with the dress i chose.

ok, can i just say here that i wasn't in love with the dress! but i felt kind of bad, because the people who worked at the store got so excited when someone found a free dress! and we hadn't found one, but they seemed like they would be just as happy if we left with a discounted one. so, you know, i said "just try it on..." so she did.

it was a mistake. clearly.

but we did go home with a dress today--a beautiful dress. she was happy, i was happy, even the salespeople were happy. we walked out of the store happy, happy, happy. until we tried to put the dress in the trunk of my car...

...because for some reason, my car beeper wouldn't unlock my car or open the trunk. and of course, ignoring albert einstein, i tried it over and over and over again. i was afraid to try unlocking it with the key in case it set the alarm off--because i wouldn't know how to make it stop!

in our family, when we come up against a situation where we don't have any answers, we pray. and so diandra prayed, tried the beeper again, and it still didn't work. "what the heck," she said, "praying always works!" only this time it didn't.

i called rollie, and he said to try the lock--eventually the alarm would stop. (and he should know, after his recent experience with a car alarm going off...) so i stuck the key in the lock, but it wouldn't turn.

we were in trouble. i was thinking that the battery on my beeper must be dead, but i couldn't figure out how to open up the key fob to play with the battery. i didn't know if AAA could help or not, since the problem was with the alarm system.

and i was getting hot!

i was out of options. so i prayed again. and then i had a thought... (coincidence? i think not!)

i went over to where i had dumped my handbag on some grass, checked in the outside pocket, and guess what i found? yep, my car key.

i had been trying to open my car with rollie's car key.

i know, i belong in a home... but i used his key this morning to get gas money out of his car, and for some reason (i blame my usual morning rush,) i didn't put it back on the key rack--i put it in my pocket. and when it was time for us to leave, i just reached in my pocket for a key. and i found one. only it was rollie's.

this is the problem with both of us driving mazdas...

we finally got the trunk open, and diandra put her dress in--or i should say, attempted to put it in. it is a little bit fluffy, and there was some air in the bag. it looked like a giant piece of bubble gum was about to explode!! but she kept at it and finally got it all contained.we headed back home and met rollie for lunch.

rollie was having his own "special" kind of day. he had been at home all morning while workers ripped out an old sliding glass door and installed a new one. (yes, it will be nice to have a door that can be opened and closed without the strength of superman, but it is noisy getting it done!) we met at rubio's, (we are NOT predictable--we are consistent) and sat outside to eat, because a)it was a lovely day, and b)all the tables inside were taken. he was looking forward to a break from the construction noise at home. but sadly, there was construction noise at rubio's! they are in the process of re-doing the outdoor seating area, and today appeared to be "electric tool day." so we ate lunch, and yelled to each other... and when we were finished, i sent rollie's extra car key home with him. it was just too risky to put it back in my pocket.

after lunch diandra was still feeling wedding happy! she has been unable to make any decisions, and today she found a dress, so she felt like riding that wave right on into shoe shopping...

we went to dsw shoe warehouse. oh. my. goodness. if you want to know where shoe heaven is, just find your nearest dsw shoe warehouse. rows and rows and rows of shoes... and today she found these--could there be more perfect wedding shoes?!?!?! she put them on and wore them all around the store, because i wanted to be sure she could actually walk in them.

(oh, our little flip-flop girl has come a long way from her high school graduation when she wore heels for the first time...)

we were standing in line to pay, and she just kept getting happier. so i took another picture. because that is what i do. she said, "mom! we aren't in the bridal store anymore. people will think we are weird."seriously?!?! in l.a.?!?! are you kidding me?!?!?! we are nowhere near the weird end of the scale...

while she paid, i went to the front of the store and made a phone call to check on my new glasses. it has been a week since i ordered them, and they are still not here!! and in the back of my mind, i am a little worried that i have been scammed, so i needed to check. someone did answer the phone (ok, it was actually a machine,) and they put me on hold. and i held. and held. and held. for 27 minutes! i was starting to believe that i had been scammed, and this is how they dealt with phone calls--unending hold! but at least they were polite scammers--they thanked me for my patience about 42 times...

and diandra waited, her joy at her purchases barely contained, so i took one more picture.this was not the end of the wedding shopping today, but it did turn out to be the end of the wedding buying. for today. we came home and started shopping for venues. in las vegas.

oh. my. goodness. i think that is a blog for another day...