Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I am FURIOUS with the fuckers over at Integrated Alarm Services. I called back in July, wanting to cancel my account with them because I never use the damn thing, and they told me "Oh, your contract doesn't expire until January 16, so you can either pay us a big ass block of money now to get out of the contract, or wait and send a letter and cancel it then." So I opted to cancel it later. They told me to send a letter 30 days before the contract expires. Fine, I sent off a fax today - yes, it's a couple days late, but it's JUST a couple days. Now they're telling me that I needed to send the letter 90 days before the contract expired. NINETY days. No. They are giving me the fucking runaround and I am sick of this shit. It's not like they didn't know I was going to cancel. They did have notice, y'all. I am FUCKING PISSED. I am considering actually changing my bank account to keep them from getting their grubby fucking hands on any more of my money. Haaaate!

And if that's not enough, Rugrat's GATE teacher is retiring in January, and nobody seems to know what's going to happen to the program. They're certainly not hiring anyone yet. They are taking this time to "re-evaluate" the program. Translation: they can't afford to do anything and they are stalling. Haaaate!

This is not a good day. Not good at all.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

CPSIL update

OK, CPSIL has gone off the deep end. Babydaddy tells me that she told PBIL she "made a mistake" when she left him. So she...wants to get back together now? After being separated for over a year. And after having vicious screaming matches with him all the time, in front of the kids. And after deciding that her kids are expendable and she doesn't want to deal with them anymore. And after making every excuse she could think of to get more money out of PBIL and at the same time spend less time with HER OWN CHILDREN.

And now she wants to get back together?

I hope PBIL tells her to go take a flying leap. The woman needs to be institutionalized.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Books, books & more books

Last year I started keeping track of the books I read. This year, so far, I've read 133 books (although seven of them I either did not finish, or am still reading). I knew I read a lot, but more than 11 books per month, on average, is probably a little excessive. Maybe I should cut back next year and do something a little more productive with my time, like keep up with housework or, maybe, find a date. Heh.

Anyhoo, the standouts on my list this year were (in the order I read them):
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini - this book was fabulous and heartbreaking
  • Something Borrowed and Something Blue, both by Emily Giffin - fun chick-lit fluff, but with substance; taken together, the books form two sides of the same story
  • A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey - not exactly non-fiction, but VERY well written and compelling
  • Undead & Unwed, by Mary Janice Davidson - another fun fluff piece, this time about a rather shallow young woman who becomes a vampire
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls - disturbing non-fiction memoir
  • Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger - a coming-of-age story about the bonds of family and duty
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving - another lovely coming-of-age story, focused on faith
  • A Dirty Job, Christopher Moore - more fun stuff: a man who becomes one of Death's helpers (Christopher Moore is always a good bet for offbeat, humorous "horror" stories)
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer - powerful story about a boy searching for clues to his father's past after he dies in the 9/11 attacks
  • Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro - creepy but hopeful at the same time
I hope one or more of these books ends up on your 2007 list, if you haven't read them all already!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pulp Fiction...the really short version

You must click here.

I laughed for a full five minutes after watching this. Because I am twelve years old.


Remember crazy pseudo-SIL (CPSIL)? I haven't talked to her in a year, at least. But the other day, Babydaddy told me her latest psychotic tale. She's decided that she "can't handle" her kids anymore and is foisting them off permanently on her ex-husband, my pseudo-BIL (PBIL). Apparently, CPSIL is convinced that the kids hate her, they don't appreciate anything she does for them, and she's certain something is wrong with A, the youngest, although the doctor has told her repeatedly that he is fine.

I have major, major issues with this. First of all, knowing CPSIL as I do, she's probably just got a boyfriend who doesn't want her kids around and so she's dumping them. Or maybe they just cramp her style - she can't go out and party as often as she'd like with her friends. Doesn't matter, really, the point is: you don't get to delete your kids from your life and still be considered a decent human being. Those poor little boys are being abandoned by their mother and her excuse for doing this is that they don't appreciate her? THEY ARE LITTLE KIDS. Of course they don't appreciate what she does for them, no child under the age of 18 appreciates what their parents do for them (you know, not until they move out and have to fend for themselves). That is no excuse. And they probably do act up more around her, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. She's high-strung, impatient, and obviously not responsible enough or emotionally invested enough in her children to put them first. I'm sure they pick up on that. But what REALLY galls me, what absolutely horrifies me, is that she was desperate to have children. She pushed PBIL into it, she went through fertility treatments to get pregnant with those little boys, and now she is ready to throw them away like they're trash. And what will happen to those boys when she decides in six months that she misses them, or (more likely) her parents guilt her into trying to get the boys back? It will completely fuck with their heads, and then she'll throw them away again when she gets tired of being a mommy.

I...have no words. Just NO FUCKING WORDS. She is inhuman. I hope PBIL gets sole custody of the boys and a restraining order against the bitch.

Oh, and CPSIL was trying to get PBIL to carry more than his share of the load before this, and she somehow used ME as an example -- something about how Babydaddy and I have things worked out, and how CPSIL and PBIL should do things differently (obviously something to her selfish advantage) because what works for us must work for them. I don't know what point she was trying to make, but she made it sound to PBIL like CPSIL and I are still great friends and talk all the time, Not happening. And for her to try and use me as leverage in her fight with PBIL is just totally fucked and completely irrelevant. What works for one family is not necessarily going to work for another family. And what she doesn't seem to get is that I LOVE MY SON and would NEVER abandon him, and both Babydaddy and I are committed to making things easy on Rugrat and therefore we get along and are flexible with each other. Plus Babydaddy is a good friend and a great person. Whereas CPSIL is completely fucking out of her mind.

That is all.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Vegas recap

I went to Vegas this past weekend for a reunion of sorts - a bunch of people that I used to work with all got together to get drunk and gamble and stuff.

I arrived just before 10 PM on Friday and waited at the airport for a while as the people I was meeting up with were all on delayed flights. We caught a cab together to our hotel (the Strat, way at the far end of the Strip) and dropped off our bags and jumped BACK in a cab to the Bellagio for our midnight meetup with the group. Had a few drinks, some late night food, and back to the hotel to sleep at around 4 AM.

Saturday morning I awoke bright and early at 8 AM, not even hung over. Yay! We cabbed down to the Luxor for a semi-group breakfast buffet, and then folks went their separate ways. I did a little shopping at the Venetian, then headed for the Mirage and my spa day with A, one of my old project managers. She and I got luxurious pedicures, then I hung out at the spa (AWESOME steam room) until my 4:30 massage. Took a shower, did my hair, then hopped a bus back to the Strat to change for the evening into the lovely lavender silk top I bought at BCBG that day. I got ready in ten minutes (I know!) and jumped in another cab with the guys at the Strat, and we went to Ellis Island for a BBQ dinner with the whole group. Fantastic BBQ, by the way. Juicy chicken, delish beans & corn on the cob. Plus microbrew beers that were pretty damn tasty. A group of us left Ellis after a couple hours and headed to Mandalay Bay to drink some more at House of Blues, and then watched the guys play Pai Gow (while we drank some more). Had a nice conversation with JL, who managed to fly in from LA after his motorcycle broke down and he missed his meetup with JW, who was driving from LA. Then we moved on to the Monte Carlo, which was kind of funky because I was following part of the group and didn't realize that they were heading back to sleep at their hotel - the Luxor. I ended up cabbing separately to the Monte Carlo and meeting up with the group again as they played...craps? Blackjack? I dunno. I put three dollars in a slot machine and drank some more. There was (obviously) lots of alcohol involved in this evening, but I don't think I embarrassed myself too much. ;-) Stumbled back to the room around 3, I think.

Sunday morning I woke up around 7 AM and couldn't get back to sleep because H was snoring like a truck driver. LOL. Grabbed some coffee and biscuits & gravy at the cafe in the Strat and then headed to the airport with a group of folks. The airport was a mob scene, but I managed to check in & get through security in about an hour. I got separated from the rest of the group and they didn't make it to the gate until it was almost time to board! And...that's it. Flight home was uneventful. I took a nap when I got home, and Ryan was wonderful - played quietly in his room while I slept for a couple hours. Then I went to bed early. Ahhh, bliss! Sleeping in my own bed...

Monday, November 27, 2006


Whose son is a freakin' genius? MINE! Rugrat was accepted into the Gifted & Talented Program last week. Students have to score 98% or higher on the exam to get in, and my kid did it! Wooohooo! Classes are held once a week - at another school, dammit - and it should be interesting to see what he thinks of it.

Yay, Rugrat! Way to go!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ha ha, suckas!

The Republicans are scrambling now...vows of "bipartisan cooperation" are being made all over, now that the Dems are back in town. House? We got it - hell, we ROUTED those muthas in red. Senate? They're still counting (and recounting) the votes in Montana & Virginia, but it's looking good, y'all. Real good for the folks in blue. end to the right-wingers running roughshod over the rest of us and our civil liberties.

And Rumsfeld resigned! Good lord, the joy just keeps on coming.

Two more years, y'all. Just two more years until we take back the White House.

And in other news, Britney finally, FINALLY lost 170 pounds of asshole and dumped that idiot K-Fed. I'm not a big Britney fan, but watching her sliding down the slippery slope from angelic, virginal teeny-bopper to sleazy, white trash, gum-poppin', Cheeto-eatin', overweight married mother of two was painful. Talk about disillusionment. In fact, I think it sort of mirrors the state of our nation. The last two years have been awful, but lo & behold, yesterday we pulled it out. We took the first decisive step towards turning it around - both the country and Britney.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Did you vote?

I cast my ballot this morning around 11 AM. I'm not going to get all "patriotic! woo-woo" on you, but I do think that it is a wonderful blessing to be able to vote. I'm not very active in politics - I don't go to city council meetings or anything - but I do believe that the ability to let your voice be heard, via voting, is an incredible honor and privilege. And a duty. It is your duty as a citizen of this country to learn about the issues on the ballot, to learn what the different politicians stand for (or purportedly stand for; we all know that once they gain office all bets are off), and to make the best choices based on your values and beliefs.

With all that said, WOOOO f'ing HOOO! Looks like the Dems are taking back the House...and the long, hard reign of the elephant will finally be over. For now, anyway.

Here's hoping for an Obama-Clinton ticket in '08!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Guess it's time to play catch-up. I haven't done much in the last month, just same-old same-old. I did meet an old friend in Livermore last weekend - someone I hadn't seen since high school. He has gorgeous eyes, but a jacked-up grill. I totally forgot about that. Plus right now he's pretty much starting over in life - no car, living in a friend's "spare" room, working a low-paying job, etc. It was nice to chat though, and catch up on the last fifteen (!) years. I found out a bunch of people I knew in high school are dead now. God, that's depressing.

Rugrat's going as Blade (a vampire, who's a vampire hunter) this year for Halloween. The obsession with all things monstrous continues. He started karate classes at the beginning of the month and he loves it. It also seems to be helping quite a bit with his bossy-ness and his acting out at daycare. There haven't been any issues now at daycare or school for almost a month. Thank goodness.

The weather's turned cold, suddenly. It was in the 80's just last week, and now all of the sudden it's not getting above the mid-60s. Freakin COLD at night, too.

Dad & stepmom moved to Arizona last weekend. They bought a place in an "active senior community" and sold their house and moved. Active senior community. Gah. Hard to think of my dad as retired, but there you go. Time marches on, I guess. And it does sound like a pretty damn cool place, what with their state-of-the-art computer lab and fully stocked woodworking and pottery rooms and all that. There's a full gym there, and just all kinds of rooms geared towards specific hobbies. It's all included in the homeowner's association fees, and guests get free access too, which rocks. But, damn. Now I'm the last one left in the bay area. Sister & Dad both in Arizona, Mom in SoCal, and I'm left here all alone. :-(

So for Thanksgiving this year, since we won't be at Dad's partaking of the fabulous gourmet feast, Rugrat and I are going to volunteer at a church-sponsored soup kitchen. It should be an interesting change of pace. And it means that I won't be making a huge T'giving dinner for just the two of us. I need to talk w/Babydaddy and find out what his plans are for T'giving.

And lastly, I'm heading off to Vegas in a month. The people I used to work with, at my last (now-defunct) company, are organizing an alumni reunion there, and it should be loads of fun. A weekend of booze & gambling & partying with some great folks, hopefully celebrating the Democrats retaking control of Congress and leading us out of the Valley of Darkness that has been the US for the past several years. VOTE, y'all!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Last night

I had a date last night (yes! on a Sunday!) with M, the bartender from Ruth's Chris. He's about five years younger than me, but we've always had good conversations about books, travel, etc. So I was looking forward to it. And...I don't know what it was. It was more like going out with a friend. It certainly didn't seem much like a date.

Exhibit #1 - he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Not a nice solid color t-shirt; it was like a skater/surfer logo t-shirt. Glad I didn't spend forever trying to figure out what to wear or anything. :-P

Exhibit #2 - I offered to pay for half of dinner and he let me. I've never had that happen before. I'm not totally bent about it or anything, but it was kind of unusual for a first date, I thought. He did pay for the tix for the comedy show, though, and for the 2 drinks at the show (I did not drink any alcohol, and he doesn't either, so it wasn't a whole lot of money, but still).

Exhibit #3 - When he dropped me off at my car, he just gave me a half-assed hug and told me to come by the bar sometime.

WTF? Was this a date? I mean, I know I don't date much anymore (OK, maybe a few times a year) but this just seemed odd. He was very subdued - he said he hasn't gotten much sleep lately and was tired, but I thought maybe he was just stoned. Heh.

Do I give off a weird vibe or something? I haven't had a really good date in a long, LONG time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Really really funny

This really is the funniest thing I've ever heard.

Cancel. The. Account.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Growing Up

Sometimes I forget that Rugrat is still just a little kid, and then all of the sudden he'll mispronounce something or use a word incorrectly. For instance, he was talking about something the other day and mentioned that it was made out of "concreek". "Concreek?" I asked. "Yes, like the backyard," he replied. "Oh, you mean concrete, as in 'our patio is made of concrete'." He insisted that the word was "concreeeeeek." He gets so offended when I correct him. It's as if I'm personally attacking his intelligence. Honestly, though, I'm just relieved to occasionally have a reminder that he's still young.

It's like his teeth. He's 7 1/2 now, and has only lost two bottom front teeth. None of the top ones are gone yet - they're barely even wiggly. Part of me longs for him to lose the top teeth and see how he's going to look with a full set of adult chompers...but the other part of me is so happy to just have my boy be a baby for a bit longer.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Guess I know why he's single

OK, I know why my date from Friday is 32 and still single. He's an asshole. A hard-drinkin' asshole. The date started out fine - a couple of beers and dinner at Pyramid. Then we went to play pool. And he just kept up with the drinking. And trying to pressure me to come home with him. And grabbing my ass. And giving everyone "constructive criticism" - including me, for my poor pool-playing skillz, and the BOUNCER, for god's sake, for actually having the temerity to ask people for their ID when they came in. Then we went to Nation's for some late night fries & a soda (I wanted more food in my belly before the drive home, after having those 2 beers plus a shot of tequila at the bar). Yes, the staff at Nation's was being weird, calling numbers all out of order and for some reason not making fries at an adequate rate. But is that a good reason for him to JUMP UP AND START YELLING AT THEM??? I think not.

So, more dates with this guy.

And by the way, when I left at 1 AM to head home, where did he go? To nearby Farringdon's - for another drink. Good lord.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What can you say about a month?

Goodness, it's been a while since I last updated. Last weekend, over the 4th, Rugrat and I went to Santa Cruz to visit some old friends of mine (and their little rugrats), and to frolic on the beach and play at the boardwalk. It was fun, but I always seem to be so exhausted by the end of these little solo trips with Rugrat. There's just no break at all from the constant chatter. And of COURSE I got a sunburn. A real good one. Even after spraying on the magical Neutrogena SPF 45. Dammit!

The party jinx is still in effect, I see. The June book club meeting consisted of me and one other person -- not the same person as last time, but I think she may have had her baby, so I won't hold it against her. ;-) But this time I got smart and the book club meeting was held at Panera, a bakery/coffee shop nearby. So I didn't spend oodles of time cooking/cleaning/etc.

Father's day was nice, although Babydaddy was a no-show since he was busy unpacking (or at least that was his excuse). My father & stepmom came, however, and we pigged out (no pun intended) on pork tenderloin with chipotle sauce, fresh green beans, cheese & crackers, spinach/artichoke dip, vanilla ice cream with macerated berries, and plenty of wine & beer.

I got the most bitchin' cell phone. Yeah, I said it. Bitchin'. You wanna make somethin' of it? Heh. Anyway, it's a Motorola Razr. This is the first time I've ever paid money for a cell phone, y'all. I have always, in the past, gotten the "free" one that was available through my phone company. So I ran right out and bought a Bluetooth USB plugin thingy, and when the phone came (joy!) I uploaded my own ringtones, that I created using my MP3s and free Audacity software. Man, that's good stuff. My default cell phone ring is now the theme song to Kim Possible. Yes, the cartoon. Yes, I'm a dork. No, I don't care if you laugh at me.

And tonight I have a date! I actually have two guys in the works. One is a pipe layer (that is just MADE for jokes, y'all) that I'm kind of meh about, and the other one (the one I'm seeing tonight) is in the remodeling/construction biz and is very cute, just my age, and a book geek. Cross your fingers for me! It's about time the boyfriend drought ended.

Monday, June 05, 2006

All My(stic) Children

Good lord, I didn't think it was possible for anyone to abuse the Mystic Tan as badly as Walt Willey (Jack). But today, Leven Rambin (Lily) looked absolutely freakish. What, did she go in to get married and get a complimentary tanning session (or twenty) along with her wedding vows? She looked like Ross in that episode of Friends where he goes to the tanning salon and gets tanned only on one side...about a dozen times!

I really think that the faux-tanning is getting completely out of hand on television in general. What's wrong with looking natural? Alicia Minshew (Kendall) is gorgeous, and she's got that milky skin. So does Eden Riegel (Binks). They are downright pale, and incredibly beautiful nonetheless. There's no reason for abuse of the FakeBake. Orange looks lovely on pumpkins, but not so much on people. If you MUST faux-tan, PLEASE, for the love of God, do it MINIMALLY. Like, ONE session per week or two. Not twenty sessions in a day.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Babydaddy is slacking. His brother has sold the house, although it hasn't closed escrow yet, and Babydaddy needs to be out as soon as they sign the papers. Brother has already rented a house and moved in. Babydaddy? Has not found a place yet, although he's been looking for a month. WTF? And now he's living in this empty house, with NO washer/dryer and NO refrigerator. So he just wants me to pick up Rugrat all the time at school and bring him home with me, I mean, I don't want to make Rugrat suffer for his daddy's sloth, but damn, Babydaddy needs to get off his ass and get things done. No REFRIGERATOR, for fuck's sake. Jesus.

And where is he moving to? WC, which is a 30 minute drive. And when he finally finds a place and moves there, he's decided that it would be ever so much easier if I kept Rugrat every day during the week and he just had him every other weekend. And maybe he'd pick him up a couple times during the week and take him out to dinner so I could "have the evening off." And he thinks that this will be essentially the same as our current setup. Which? No. It is not. It means I am getting up early every single weekday to drop off Rugrat at school. It means I have to be at home every weeknight by 8:30, so that Rugrat can sleep here. It means I have to pack his lunch every morning, feed him breakfast, deal with all the dirty laundry and the bathtime and the book-reading before bed.

And what really really chaps my hide is this: I never wanted to move out here. I wanted to move closer to WC, back when I sold my townhouse three or four years ago. WC has better schools, nicer neighborhoods, great restaurants and bars, clubs, etc. Here? It is fucking suburban hell. Families everywhere, crappy chain restaurants, no single life, and now the fucking ghetto is taking over the city, with the Section 8 housing and the pissy fucking teenagers everywhere. But I moved out here. And why? Because Babydaddy moved out here, and it was going to be easier and better for Rugrat if we lived close together, what with school and daycare and all that. And now he's fucking deserting us and moving to WC, where I WANTED TO LIVE IN THE FIRST PLACE, and my house is losing value and the market is drying up and I am just sick to fucking death of this whole thing.

Goddammit. Fucking asshole.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Party Jinx

I am pretty sure I have a party jinx. Whenever I throw a party, invite people over for a get-together, whatever...if it's not family, they don't come. I had ONE person come to the book club meeting last night. Three people emailed to cancel the morning OF the meeting (like they didn't know it was coming up? Even though they got a reminder email a week ago?). Two other people just didn't bother. Whatever.

I, of course, spent the better part of two days cooking & cleaning. I bought $40 worth of wine. I made fantastic food: caramelized onion & goat cheese tarts, prosciutto & gruyere pinwheels, stuffed mushrooms, lacy almond cookies with fresh fruit. And now? I have half a bottle of wine leftover in the fridge (because the one woman who showed up was 8 months pregnant and I had to drink the wine alone), and I gorged myself on mushrooms last night so I wouldn't have to throw them away. I have a couple of the onion & goat cheese things left, and I sent the other lady home with most of the remaining pinwheels, half the cookies, and all the fruit. It's not like I can just keep this stuff around - I'm leaving for Washington tomorrow, for a family reunion.

I am never throwing a party again. It's just not worth the stress.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 4-oz log fresh goat cheese
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
Minced fresh thyme (couple teaspoons, I guess. "Just eyeball it," as Rachael would say)
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425°.

In a heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onions, salt & pepper to taste, then cook over medium heat for a long time, stirring occasionally, until they get golden brown and caramelized. You can throw in a little sugar if you want (maybe a tablespoon), while the onions are cooking. This helps them caramelize and makes them even sweeter.

When the onions are done, roll out your puff pastry sheet until it's about 18" x 11". Trim off any uneven edges, and then cut into squares about 2-3" on each side. You don't have to get all anal about it, just make roughly the same size/shape for each tart. Put the puff pastry squares on cookie sheets (I use silpats with mine) and with a fork, gently pierce the squares at about half-inch intervals, leaving about a 3/4" border all around that is un-pierced. When you pierce the pastry, that part doesn't puff up; the unpierced part will puff up and make a pretty square border around the filling.

Put a little of the onions and goat cheese in the middle of each square, and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Bake for 15 minutes, until the puff pastry is, well, puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature. They're good either way.

Prosciutto & Gruyere Pinwheels

1/2 lb thinly sliced prosciutto
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten with a little water

Roll out the puff pastry sheet until it's about 18" x 11". Trim off any uneven edges so that it's a rectangle. Starting at the side closest to you, which should be a wide edge, lay strips of prosciutto on the pastry until it's all covered, leaving about a half-inch to an inch of the edge farthest from you uncovered. Sprinkle the Gruyere cheese on top. Then just roll the sheet up until you get almost to the end. Brush the bare edge with the egg wash, the finish rolling. Wrap the entire roll in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for at least half an hour (up to a day or two, if you are making this ahead of time).

Preheat oven to 425°.

After the roll is chilled, pull it out and slice it into circles about 3/4" thick. Lay them down on a parchment- or silpat-lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up a bit. These are also tasty warm or at room temp.

Stuffed Mushrooms
This is such a "whatever" recipe; the amounts below are really just guesses.

1 lb white button mushrooms (bigger ones are better)
4 Tbsp butter
Olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh minced herbs (thyme, sage, marjoram, whatever you like)
Salt & pepper to taste
Saltines, crushed
1/4 c shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400°, or thereabouts. 425° is fine.

Gently clean the mushrooms (do NOT run under water) with a damp cloth. Pop off the stems and set aside. Lay out the mushroom caps, bottoms up, on a cookie sheet.

Over medium heat in a skillet, melt the butter and add a little olive oil, maybe a couple tablespoons. Chop the reserved mushroom stems finely. Add the shallot to the pan, then a minute or two later add the garlic and the mushrooms. Saute for a couple minutes, then throw in the herbs and salt & pepper. It should be pretty loose at this point, with lots of butter and oil. Add in enough cracker crumbs to soak up the liquid and bind it all together. I can't give you an exact amount here, sorry. It's just one of those things. If it gets too dry, add a little more olive oil. Cook it for another minute or so to keep the crackers from tasting too raw.

With a spoon, push the filling into the mushroom caps, mounding it up slightly. Really kind of pack it in and on top of the mushroom. You should have just about exactly the right amount to fill all your mushroom caps. Sprinkle the mushrooms with shredded Parmesan and then pop it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, until the mushrooms are giving off their liquid and are cooked through, but still a little bit firm to the bite. For the last minute or two, turn on the broiler to brown the tops. Serve immediately.

Party Jinx

I am pretty sure I have a party jinx. Whenever I throw a party, invite people over for a get-together, whatever...if it's not family, they don't come. I had ONE person come to the book club meeting last night. Three people emailed to cancel the morning OF the meeting (like they didn't know it was coming up? Even though they got a reminder email a week ago?). Two other people just didn't bother. Whatever.

I, of course, spent the better part of two days cooking & cleaning. I bought $40 worth of wine. I made fantastic food: caramelized onion & goat cheese tarts, prosciutto & gruyere pinwheels, stuffed mushrooms, lacy almond cookies with fresh fruit. And now? I have half a bottle of wine leftover in the fridge (because the one woman who showed up was 8 months pregnant and I had to drink the wine alone), and I gorged myself on mushrooms last night so I wouldn't have to throw them away. I have a couple of the onion & goat cheese things left, and I sent the other lady home with most of the remaining pinwheels, half the cookies, and all the fruit. It's not like I can just keep this stuff around - I'm leaving for Washington tomorrow, for the family reunion thing.

I am never throwing a party again. It's just not worth the stress.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Book club!

I've started a book club! We've got 7 members, and our first meeting is coming up a week from Thursday. I am so excited, y'all!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Could I BE any more stupid?

About a week ago, I was getting ready to go out with friends on Friday night, when I managed to lock myself out of the house. Great. Lovely. Had to go across the street and borrow the neighbor's phone (AND phonebook) to call a locksmith because Babydaddy's phone was going straight to voicemail (he's got a spare key for me...somewhere). About an hour later, the locksmith finally shows up, opens up my house in about 5 minutes, and hands me a bill for $130. Greeeeeat.

So, this last Friday (yes, exactly one week after the first lockout incident), I decided to go out front to await the Bee Man and escape the kamikaze bees in my house. And what did I do? What, oh what, did I do?



Of course Babydaddy was on his way to LA with his brother. Literally, on the Grapevine, and could not help. And I was due to pick up the Rugrat at daycare in a half hour. And there I was, locked out again, this time in my slippers, in the pouring rain. So Babydaddy called his mom, who graciously picked up Rugrat and dropped him off here, where I was still waiting for the locksmith. Bee Guy showed up shortly after I get locked out, and sprayed his lovely bee-killing powder in my house, but since I don't have my purse with me, he says he'll bill me for the service (and I truly love that guy, he was SO sweet). An hour and a half after I call the locksmith (who said he'd be here in 45 minutes), he finally shows up, opens my door, and charges me $60. At least I found a cheaper locksmith this time. *sigh*

I swear to God, those Manolos I bought at Christmastime have truly vaporized at least half of my brain cells. Twice?? In one week?? How much of a loser could I BE?

Anyhoo, once I finally got in the house again, Rugrat & I grabbed our stuff and hauled ass outta there, headed for drive-through food and then my dad's house. I had many, many glasses of scotch that night (celebrating both my stupidity and Dad's decision to retire), and woke up painfully hungover.

Needless to say, I did get a spare key and hide it this weekend, FINALLY. Only takes $200 to smarten me up, I guess. Maybe I should sell those Manolos on eBay after all.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Holy Fucking Crap!!!!

What did I do to deserve this kind of karma?

I have a swarm of bees flying in through my kitchen stove vent. They are coming out through the recessed kitchen lights.


I called pest control - they won't do it. It's not covered in their liability insurance, apparently. So I had to call a beekeeper. They'll do it, but it will cost me $240 dollars, and they won't be out until late this afternoon/early evening. Greeeeeaaaat.

In the meantime, I haven't had anything to eat for lunch because I'm too chicken to go in the kitchen while they're all diving out of the lights. You can HEAR them buzzing aorund in the ceiling. It is freaky as hell. So I'm holed up in my office, trying to stay away from them.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


The rain has cleared up - for a few days anyway; we're supposed to get more this weekend unfortunately - and now, just when I'm enjoying my backyard in all its wildly overgrown, sunny splendor, I've discovered that we've got a wasp problem.

Not a fat, lazy, buzzing bumblebee problem. A wasp problem. As in: silent, evil, elongated flying things that seem to be strangely attracted to the old wooden adirondack chairs in my backyard, the chairs I love to sit on while I'm smoking. Scary things that can sting you over & over & over again, without pulling their insides out through their butt (unlike bumblebees, which will think twice about stinging you because it is a kamikaze mission for them).

Thankfully, they haven't stung me yet. In fact, I've never been stung by a bee of any kind. But it's really making me nervous to sit out back for my periodic cigarette break.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Tax Man

That time of year again...taxes. I hate doing taxes. And I hate waiting for Babydaddy to do HIS taxes, so that we can figure out if it's more advantageous for me to take the Head of Household status or him (depending on who has the larger difference in refund amount). It's always me, so I always end up as HoH. But every year I have to wait for him to do his taxes so that we can figure it out, and every year he waits until the last minute. My taxes have been done for a few weeks (thank you, TurboTax!) but I have been waiting to file until I hear from him. It would be so nice, just once, to file really early and get that refund in February or March, but nooooo...gotta wait until the very last freaking second, even though we both get refunds, because Babydaddy is a procrastinator extraordinaire. I mean, I hate sitting down with the forms and the receipts and all that and doing it, because it's a boring couple of hours entering in numbers and going through all the ridiculous questions that never pertain to me (farm equipment?), but still...that $5K would be much better off earning interest for an extra month or two.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I cannot take it. The rain is driving me batshit crazy. And on top of that, we went on daylight savings time this last weekend, and I'm exhausted. I feel like I'm coming down with a cold or the flu or something. I mean, seriously, why are we still doing this? It's barbaric! It's simply ridiculous and totally unnecessary. And it causes accidents because people are tired.

But mostly I'm just sick of the rain. We've already exceeded our average rainfall for April. Less than a week into the month and we're OVER our average amount. That is just wrong, folks. Looks like there won't be any relief from it for the next few weeks either. I am so ready for summer - even spring! I'd welcome spring right now. Even though I'll be sick as a dog with allergies this year - at least it means SUNSHINE!!!!

Oh, and I am sore from yoga last night. Yikes! Learned the "salutation to the moon" though, and that's a good short routine that I can do a couple times a day to de-stress.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Surprise! More rain...

OK, the rain is really starting to get to me. We've had more than 20 days of rain this month. And if you believe the online forecasts, it's not going to get any better in April. I believe the weeds in my backyard now outnumber the actual blades of grass. The biggest ones are about three feet tall. The yard hasn't been mowed in six months.

But the worst part is the depression...when the weather is like this, all I want to do is crawl back into bed and snore the day away. Seriously, who has energy when it's overcast and cold and rainy all the time? Well, I guess people in Seattle do...but I live in California for a reason. And that reason is: NO RAIN. Or at least not much of it. You know, maybe two or three months of "winter," where it rains for a few days and then we get two or three weeks of sun before the next "storm." This year, we've shattered rainfall records, and the Sierras have gotten dumped with feet upon feet upon feet of snow. I guess I could be happy about it if I liked skiing or snowboarding or something. But what I like to do is go out and drink with my friends. Or maybe go dancing. What I don't like to do is sit on my couch moaning about the fact that we've got yet ANOTHER rainy day and if I go outside my hair is going to frizz like crazy and so why even bother blow-drying? And my rainy day coat is an ugly light-blue hooded parka thing, which is not in any way, shape, or form able to be construed as "cool." So if I wear the raincoat, I am fugly. If I wear the black wool coat, my head gets soaked, and see above re: frizz. Not to mention the loveliness that is non-waterproof mascara when you're slogging through a downpour.

God, I'm just freakin' DONE already. Bring on the sunshine, dammit!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


The Tamiflu has given me a yeast infection. Arrrrgggghhhhh!


Mom came to visit this past weekend. We had a nice time, although the weather suuuuucked and Rugrat was being a pill. But we still got to have some nice chats. Mom, citing a need to not sit on her ass all day, ended up doing my dishes and laundry all weekend. While it was certainly welcome, I did feel just the teeensiest bit guilty at her doing all the scut work around here. However, I didn't spend the *whole* weekend on my butt -- I made dinner Saturday & Sunday, and whipped up a luscious maple cake for Aunt L, who came over to visit for a little while Sunday night to celebrate her birthday (actual b'day was a few days before).

I'm done with the sick thing now, except for a lingering dry cough occasionally. I did manage to spread the love though - Babydaddy came down with it last week and was looking like hell. In fact, he didn't even take Rugrat to school on Friday because he couldn't drag his ass outta bed. Rugrat hasn't gotten sick (knock on wood) although he did have a weird pink rashy-thing around his eye Friday night. I thought he might be coming down with pink eye since that eye was all watery and drippy. Of course I had to drag him to the airport to pick up Mom at 8:30, and damned if he wasn't the whiniest thing on two legs. "Mommy, I'm cooooold." "Mommy, I'm thirsty." "Mommy, I can't walk." Blah blah blah. Yeah, OK, so it was bedtime - but still! He was in TEARS at the airport, and I was feeling like the world's worst mother. And it wasn't that cold. I knew he was feeling really crappy when he fell asleep in the car on the way home - only ten minutes into the drive and he was out like a light! So Saturday I decided to try Benadryl for the drippy pink eye, and lo & behold, he was cured. It must have just been an allergy thing. Very weird.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What happened to February?

It's been over a month since I've posted...I can't believe how time flies.

The house remodeling is nearly done (well, at least the downstairs). The bathroom is done, with everything new except for the toilet. The kitchen is almost done as well - new lighting, flooring, paint, sink, and...almost all the countertops. Stupid IDIOTS keep screwing up the bar. We ordered the bar countertop at home depot, along with everything else. The bar was to be 80.75 inches long. They delivered it (along with rest of the countertops) several weeks ago...but the bar was only 80 inches long. Even though it said quite clearly on both the original order AND the shipping manifest: 80.75 inches. So Babydaddy & I went over to Home Depot and told them that they sent the wrong size. Of course they got all confused and it took a good half hour to straighten them out, but they sent off the order again. Two weeks later, the new bar was delivered: 80 inches AGAIN! Are those people on dope? And if they are, can they get me some? Because it must be some good shit. So they called again this last Tuesday, wanting to ship it out (only a week later this time) and I asked the girl, is it 80.75 inches this time? And she's all, let me check. So I hold on for fifteen minutes while she putzes around, smokes a doob, and gets back on the line to say, "Oh, sorry, I was looking at the old manifest; yours should be in next week." Sigh.

Also done: new fireplace surround (slate tile - yay!) and mantel custom-built by Babydaddy. New six-panel doors - painted & almost all new doorhandles installed. Bought some tumbled stone mosaic tile for the backsplash in the kitchen, which just came in yesterday at HD. The end is in sight....I'll just take a break for a while and then we'll tackle the upstairs bathrooms, which should be fairly quick & easy.

Last month there were two birthdays: Babydaddy's, and my friend K's. For Babydaddy, I made him a special dinner. His requests? "Something with cauliflower, some asparagus, some pasta (so Rugrat will have something he'll eat), and some meat." He bought some delicious pork chops from Kinder's and I seared & roasted them. I made roasted asparagus with sea salt & pepper & olive oil, and cauliflower au gratin (which was super-yummy), and pasta with sauteed crimini mushrooms and olive oil & spices. Oh, and I got him a cheesecake too - his favorite.

For K's birthday, last weekend, we went to Vegas. We drove out and stayed at the casino where her mom works, and went to a couple of clubs. We had a bunch of stuff comped - free dinner one night, loads of free drinks, free hotel room. We also got VIP entrance (no line, no cover) at the clubs we went to. It was awesome (and cheap!). The club we went to on Friday was amazing, too - Body English in the Hard Rock casino. I have never seen so many gorgeous people in one place - that casino was just CRAWLING with hotties! Oh, and I saw Z & N (my step-siblings) at the Hard Rock -- they live in Vegas so they came out to meet us for drinks. The club on Saturday, Jet at the Mirage, sucked though. The DJ was awful, and we were tired and sore from the night before. Oh well, can't be fabulous all the time, I guess.

Unfortunately, between the super-dry air of Vegas and all the alcohol, I ran down my immune system pretty hard and when I came back home I got hit with a vicious flu bug. With a temp of 103, I went to the Doctor's office on Tuesday afternoon and got a prescription for Tamiflu. This is my new favorite thing. I took some that night, and by the following morning I had nearly recovered. Little to no fever, body aches all gone - just stuck with the stuffy nose & cough that sounds like I'm an emphysema patient. I decided to try & do some work today since things are so busy, but I'm feeling really beat now. I'm definitely going to shut down early and take a long nap this afternoon.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Crazy kid

Rugrat's teacher just called me. He just started back "on track" today, and she called me up, very concerned. She said that he'd told her this whole detailed story about his baby brother who'd died in a fire at home when Rugrat and I went to the grocery store. He had a name for the kid and everything! She said at first she thought he was just telling a story, and then he started to convince her that it was true because he had so many details...and then as she continued asking him questions about it, he started pausing more...and she realized that it was, after all, just a story. Then he said that it wasn't a baby brother, that it was a baby sister. Finally, he said that he'd heard the story from a friend.


I assured her that all is well, that he doesn't have - and never has had - any siblings; that he lives with cousins half the time but none of them have DIED, fer chrissakes.

What a strange kid. On the plus side, that's an amazing imagination he's got.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Turmoil...of a different sort

OK, the job turmoil is over. I talked to CurrentBoss and he said he really didn't want to lose me, and offered me a 10% raise. Sweet! This covers my monthly deficit & then some. So I backed out of the other job, and things have calmed down now on that front.

On the other hand, turmoil. Babydaddy is out of work now, having left the body shop and his brother's asshole ways. So he offered to come work on my house while he's got all this free time, and I jumped at the chance. He's really good with this stuff, and I was happy to get things moving finally. So for the last couple of weeks I've had no downstairs bathroom. First he ripped out all the old crap, and we shopped for a new sink & light fixture & faucets and all that other good stuff. He had to do some drywall stuff because the old light fixture was one of those fugly flourescent things in the ceiling. But it's all coming together's painted and the new light fixture is in, and the new mirror is up. Flooring will be going in later today (a nice stone-looking vinyl tile), and I'll have a toilet downstairs again either tonight or tomorrow. Yay!

In the meantime, he's also been working on the kitchen. He ripped out the ugly (again, flourescent) light fixture and put in recessed cans, which look great and put off a lot more light. I bought some laminate tile-look flooring (it's a lot nicer than it sounds) and that should be going down in a day or two. AND he started ripping up my countertops. The horrible white tile will soon be gone! Woohoo! For the time being, I'm keeping the cabinets I've got and just buying a laminate (granite-look) countertop. Eventually I'll replace the cabinets, because the ones I have now don't give me nearly enough storage space, and at that point I'll spring for the nice granite countertops. But this will at least tide me over and make the place look a lot nicer in the meantime.