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...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the rest of the story

so today . . . i was thinking about the whole "rollie chases bass amp across parking lot, but to no avail as amp hits porsche despite his best efforts at stopping it" incident. some of you have been wondering how things turned out. so as requested, here is the rest of the story. and of course, i had to put it into a top ten list.


10. the lawyer actually turned out to be very nice.

9. the porsche wasn't new. but it was newly restored.

8. it was, however, new enough to have an alarm system. or an alarm system was part of the restoration. because when the amp smacked into the car, the alarm went off. and kept going. and going. and going. fortunately there was no one in the parking lot. although, that kind of begs the question, how effective is a car alarm if it goes off and no one comes...

7. the spot where the amp hit had been previously hit, and repaired. that's why a big chunk fell off.

6. since the porsche had just been restored, the owner understandably wanted to take it back to the shop that had done the restoration. that seemed reasonable to us--if we were in his situation, that is what we would want to do too. so we had an estimate in just a couple of days.

5. the estimate is not in the thousands of dollars--it is only a few hundred dollars. (i hesitate to use the word "only" in front of the words "hundreds of dollars," but the fact is, that repair bill could easily have been in the thousands if it had been a brand new car.)

4. our car insurance probably won't cover it. but the church's insurance probably will, since it was a church activity. although, it will make the premiums go up, so we may not submit it to the insurance.

3. the amp is fine. it is big and heavy and solid. it was turned so that a corner is what hit the porsche. that may have resulted in more damage to the car, but probably also in less damage to the amp--like none. you can't even tell that it went on an adventure...

2. rollie is fine. this may seem obvious, but i can't help but wonder what would have happened if he had been able to catch up with the amp. that thing was moving FAST! and as i said, it is heavy! would he have been able to stop it? would it have thrown him over and onto the porsche? would it have flipped him onto the pavement and run over him? so many questions...

and the number one thing i didn't tell you before...

1. rollie never did play his bass guitar. so as it turns out, the whole thing could have been avoided--if we had just left the amp at home and gone in my car...

and there it is. just another one of those things that seems to have happened for no reason other than to supply material for a blog. or two :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

or maybe just deerskin pants?

so today . . . we started talking about thanksgiving at school.

it is a little hard to get into the spirit of the holiday when it is so warm outside, but temperatures have cooled slightly, so we are making the best of it...

i always start the discussion about thanksgiving by talking about native americans. four- and five-year olds tend to think of american indians as loin-cloth wearing men with feathered headbands whose only mode of communication is that sound they can make by fluttering their hands over their mouths (a sound, btw, that drives me CRAZY when my kids do it!) while riding really fast horses... so i always start out by discussing what native american life was like, and how the tribes were different.

i was explaining that where they lived determined their lifestyle--what kind of homes they had, what they ate, what they wore, how they lived. we had discussed housing (wood in the pacific northwest, adobe in the south,) food (fish and seafood for those tribes on the ocean, wild animals and crops for those who didn't live near the water,) and finally got to clothing. i said, "the people who lived where it was cold needed warmer clothes, so they would leave the fur on the animal skins they used for their clothes." we talked about that for a while, and then i asked, "so what do you think the tribes who lived where it was hot wore."

and one precious child raised his hand and said, "sunglasses!"

california kids... :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


so today . . . diandra is in oregon for a few days. that girl has been flying a lot lately, but today it was a little different.

i was at school when the first text arrived. she just wanted me to know she had made it to the airport and was through security. she had about an hour before she left. then i got this text:

"oprah is about to get off a plane at my gate. there are news cameras everywhere."

i responded by telling her to get out her camera and take pictures! i thought she could just blend right in with all the media people...

living in the los angeles metropolitan area means we have a fair chance at celebrity sightings whenever we go out. but clearly we don't go out to the right places at the right times, considering we have lived here ten years and my only sighting was tara lipinski (who still makes me mad!! michele kwan soooo deserved that gold medal!!!) so, while i had a hard time picturing oprah flying in on a regular airliner, i figured it was possible...

then entertainment tonight showed up. clearly something out of the ordinary and ET-worthy was about to happen...

when the airplane arrived at the gate, it said "oprah's farewell season" on it.
and the people started to get off. but there was no oprah.

there was, however, one really happy guy who had just won a trip around the world--compliments of oprah--1.2 million miles!

when diandra realized she was going to be flying out on that plane, we got excited. all i could think was prizes, prizes, prizes! because while i don't really watch oprah, i don't live in a cave! i know that she is very generous, and she loves to give stuff away. so surely if you fly on her airplane, you are going to get off with more stuff than you got on with...

i told everyone at school, "diandra is on oprah's plane, and they are giving away prizes!" i called my mom in portland, "diandra is on oprah's plane, and they are giving away prizes! make sure you watch entertainment tonight--you might see her in the background!" the truth is, i didn't know anything about this plane. i was just putting together bits and pieces of information until i had concocted quite a scenario...

my brain went into overdrive. maybe diandra would win a trip around the world! that would be exciting--although she would probably take javi instead of me... maybe it would be a trip around the world for four people, and we would all get to go! because, after all, surely oprah would want the winner to get to share the experience with the people they loved!

that was a pretty big prize--maybe she wouldn't win that one. but surely she would win something. surely oprah wouldn't just give away one prize per flight. she would want happy people getting off her plane. and prizes make for happy people...

ok, so maybe she would win an ipad. ipads are kind of the big electronic thing right now. and oprah gives away cool electronics all the time. so maybe she would get an ipad. or maybe they wouldn't be giving away the actual ipads. maybe they would just give away gift certificates for one. but she was going to be in southern oregon for the next few days--would she be able to find an apple store? or would she have to wait until she came home... maybe she could use it online...

or maybe everyone wouldn't get ipads. they aren't terribly expensive, but i suppose if you are giving them to everyone who flies on your plane, the cost would add up. so maybe only a few people would get ipads. but then what would everyone else get? because really, if only some people get prizes, other people are not going to get off oprah's plan feeling happy!

and on and on and on it went in my head. i kept watching my phone for updates. i knew diandra would text me as soon as she hit the ground--that is part of our flying code. it got later and later. she finally texted me and said they had just landed in san francisco, and she had to change planes for the next part of her trip. she had to get off the oprah plane, and there had been no prizes :(

i couldn't believe it! how could oprah not give out prizes on her plane?!?! there should at least have been some commemorative souvenier! i mean, how many people are going to get the opportunity to ride on oprah's plane?!?! it would be nice to have a little something as a reminder... like an ipad... or a travel mug...

and then i thought, "why do i think oprah has to hand out prizes?" no one who bought a ticket for that flight today expected anything out of the ordinary when they booked their flight. it was just supposed to be an airplane full of people on their way somewhere. and yet, as soon as oprah's name was attached to it, i expected more. i expected prizes and surprises. i expected extravagance. i expected the unexpected.

she has sort of trained us to think that way...

so, diandra didn't see oprah. she didn't win a prize. she did, however, experience the unexpected--while waiting to board her flight from san francisco to medford, she saw one of her elementary school friends who was going to be on the same flight! how they recognized each other after all this time, i do not know, but they did.

and really, that was probably much more exciting than seeing oprah today anyway.

(although, if an ipad had been thrown into the mix...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

i'm sure it must be fall somewhere...

so today . . . it is HOT! the santa ana winds are blowing, and it was over 95 degrees today. and in case you aren't paying attention, it is NOVEMBER!!!

i love southern california. love. it. and a big part of the reason is our moderate weather. we have about ten really hot days and five rainy days a year--the rest of the days are between 65 and 85 degrees. how can a person complain about that?!?!

oh just watch me... i have a whole list of complaints! ten, as a matter of fact :)


#10. the halloween chocolate will melt. it was just three days ago that tiny children (and some not so tiny children,) walked around after dark threatening their neighbors if they didn't get candy. i was at target last week, so i know that almost all halloween candy either has a chocolate coating or a chocolate center or is totally 100% chocolate with no distracting substances added. but chocolate doesn't respond well to heat. and since i can't believe that all that candy has already been eaten--although i am sure a lot of it has been--it is sitting on kitchen counters all over southern california, melting...

#9. it doesn't feel like fall. you know what i mean--that crispness in the air, a little bit of frost now and then, red and yellow leaves... ok, i can't blame the lack of colored leaves on the heat. probably. but it doesn't feel like pumpkin patch weather--it feels like water slide weather! and so...

#8. i can't use the fireplace. i love having a fire in the fireplace, but wood is precious here, so our fire is made from burning gas rather than burning wood. we do have trees, but you have to drive a bit of a distance to see wild ones. and since californians seem to prefer to let their trees burn naturally, you don't see too many wood burning fireplaces here. and that's ok with me. i would much rather turn a switch and light a match, than haul and stack wood. besides, can you imagine the spiders that would live in a wood pile?!?!?!? which brings me to...

#7. the spiders are confused. (this point is diandra's. she is somewhat spider-phobic. and when i say somewhat, i mean completely and totally, to hysterical proportions...) diandra says the spiders don't know what to do with this unseasonably warm weather. she says when it is warm they stay outside, but when it turns cold they migrate inside, looking for more moderate temperatures. and we did have a few cool days, so according to diandra, all the spiders have moved inside. but now that it has warmed up, they are coming out where we can see them--still inside, but out in plain sight. needless to say, she is somewhat skittish right now. she thinks the spiders are everywhere. and i have heard the screams to prove it!

#6. our tans have faded. and yet when it is this hot, you can't run around in long sleeves and tights and boots! there is a reason that arms and legs are bare in the summer time and not in the dead of winter. have you heard the term "winter white?" yeah, well it isn't just a sweater color--it is also the color of my legs by mid-october. these are the times i wish that the ethnic skeletons in my closet would make themselves known. i was sitting across the room from a filipino guy wearing shorts tonight at bible study, and i couldn't help but think, "i wish my legs were that nice caramel color in november..."

#5. my allergies are activated. the reason it is so hot is because of those blasted santa ana winds! and when the winds blow, it stirs up all sorts of stuff into the air--stuff that makes my nose run and my eyes itch. i don't like it when my nose runs and my eyes itch. when my nose runs and my eyes itch, all i want to do is curl up in bed and sleep--preferably in front of the fireplace. which i can't use, because it is too hot! (see #8)

#4. diandra is dying in her jeep. diandra has a very cool jeep wrangler. it has monster tires. the top and windows zip off so she can enjoy the socal sunshine. the boys are all jealous (which, as everyone knows, is the important thing about a vehicle!) it is the car of her dreams! unless we have unseasonably hot weather. because one thing the jeep does not have is air-conditioning. we warned her. she said it would be fine--after all, the whole top comes off! we tried to tell her that there would be times when she wanted a/c, but all she wanted was that jeep! so now she has it. and she still loves it. but when fall "arrives" and she zips the top back on, and then the santa anas blow, it gets kind of toasty inside.

#3. i can't decide what to wear. this might not sound like such a big deal, but there are issues here! (see #6) even though technically it is fall, if i try to wear fall clothing, i am going to die of heat! but summer clothing just seems wrong (although i saw several people in shorts and tank tops today.) and when you are a person that gets out of bed 15 minutes before you have to leave for work on some mornings, not knowing what clothes to throw on your body wastes precious time, making you late. my compromise (to deal with #6) is bare arms, covered legs. but it isn't as easy as it sounds.

#2. i feel the need for iced drinks, but the red cups have reportedly arrived at starbucks. that means it is time for seasonal drinks! i am not really a starbucks person, but a couple of years ago i discovered the joys of a peppermint white chocolate mocha. i even went out in a snowstorm to get one! (and not a california snowstorm either--it was an oregon "don't go out unless there is an emergency" snowstorm.) and don't tell me just to get my seasonal drink in iced form, because you cannot drink a pumpkin spice latte if there isn't some steam rising from it. really. (although an iced peppermint white chocolate mocha might not be bad... )

and the number 1 reason that it shouldn't be 95 degrees in november is...

#1. it's too hot to get into the garage and get out the christmas decorations. "what?!?!" you may be thinking, "wait, isn't this blog about ridiculously hot weather in november?? why is she talking about christmas decorations??" because, at our house we prefer to put the christmas tree up before thanksgiving, and this year diandra has requested that it we put it up extra early--like in a week or two. we do this for a couple of reasons, but mostly because we love our christmas decorations. and since december has been getting busier and busier for us, the only way we really get to sit and enjoy the beauty is to put it up early. but don't worry--it isn't like the tree is in the front window.

as you can see, this unseasonably hot weather is annoying me. thankfully we are supposed to be back to our regular fall temperatures (65-70) by the weekend--back to our sweaters, boots, hot drinks, and a fire in the fireplace.

maybe we will even brave the garage and get out those christmas decorations...

Monday, November 1, 2010

to help or not to help...

so today . . . i am beginning to see why people will spend a ridiculous amount of money for a pair of toms shoes--aside from the humanitarian reasons...

i am not a fan of toms shoes. i know that for every pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to a needy child. and i admire that. but if we really want to put shoes on children's feet, maybe instead of buying a 38th pair of shoes for ourselves, we should donate the money and give several pairs of shoes to needy children! besides they are ugly--the shoes, not the children.

diandra, however, is a fan. she got her first pair several months ago. they were olive green, and she raved about how comfortable they were. she wore them all the time. then she bought a gold pair to wear when she shoots weddings. and then a black pair for their versatility.

and three lucky children got new shoes. yay!!!

but toms shoes are ugly. they come in a myriad of colors, but the style is always the same--pieced canvas uppers in a squarish shape with a thin rubbery sole. they are not cute or stylish. they are plain and flat. and i'll bet a huge percentage of people under the age of 30 have more than one pair...

diandra's black pair finally got dirty enough that she decided they should be washed. i didn't know they could be washed, and i admit i was a little uneasy tossing them into the washing machine. but they looked ok when they came out, and i thought they were fine. until today.

today diandra said, "mom, i need you to do something for me." i did not immediately say ok, because "something" covers a very broad range of tasks. so instead i said, "oh?" that is my standard non-committal reply. "yes," she said, "i need you to wear these shoes for me."

my first thought? YAY!! because i have been the happy recipient of more than one pair of boots from my darling daughter. and not just boots--my favorite jeans came from her, as well as several tops and jackets that she no longer wanted. in fact, i could probably just "shop" in her closet and never have to go to the mall again...

then she said, "when we washed these black tom's shoes, i think they shrunk a little bit and now they are too tight for my feet. but if you wear them..." and now i am thinking, "ok, i am going to have my own pair of ugly tom's shoes," but she continued, "... then they will stretch out a bit, and then i can wear them and they will be fine!" oh.

talk about a roller coaster of emotions...

i put the shrunken canvas shoes on my feet, and they fit me perfectly. and i was surprised to find that they were very comfortable--lightweight uppers and cushy inside. but they were still ugly. there is no way to get around that--no matter how comfortable they are, they are still ugly.

and yet, they are starting to grow on me. i've been wearing them around all evening, you know, just to help diandra out. i find that i like the way they feel on my feet. they are comfortable. they are flexible. they almost feel like i'm not wearing any shoes at all! i'm thinking that maybe if i attached a rhinestone pin to add a little pizazz... because, you know, if they don't stretch out enough, then they will be too tight for diandra...

maybe the olive green ones need to be washed as well.