Sunday, May 31

Yay books!

Sundays ... don't they go by in a blink?
You wake up, you're all happy because you've got a whole day of whatever ahead of you, and then *poof* the day's gone, it's getting late, and you don't feel like you've accomplished a damn thing. Not that I had an incredible list, or even any driving motivation to get anything done. No, I just had a vague desire to do something fun/entertaining/productive, and ended up with none of the above. Tomorrow is a different animal, what with play class and the gym listed high on our agenda.
You know what I did do today though? I started a book. Not writing one (that would require that aforementioned motivation), but reading one. And you know which one? The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. Yep, the book that Andrea gave me two or three years ago for my birthday, is finally cracked, and living with a sticky note bookmark. I said to myself, "Well, we might as well get the 'Summer Reading List 2009,' off to a rollicking start by reading the book that's sheer size has intimidated me for years!" And now, I'm three chapters deep -- I, of course, opened it when there was a mere 25 minutes left of naptime -- and am about to go get some more reading done tonight. That comfy chair in my bedroom is calling me!

Friday, May 29

My backyard looks awesome

Well, I'm about to quadruple our water output for the next week. (Yay greenery!)
We got our grass installed this morning, and doesn't it look fabulous?! Do you know how often you water new sod for the first week it's in? Four times a day, you wet it thoroughly (but do not soak), first thing in the morning, around lunch, at 4 or so, and again at night. That's the first week. The second week, it needs water three times a day; the third week, twice a day; and the fourth week and the days thereafter, the grass needs only once a day watering. It'll be a labor of love though, because I adore my grassy knoll!
Of course, I'll be eager for a lower maintenance watering schedule when it's finally to that point. I won't lie: I'm excited for once-a-day watering and less water usage, but the end result will be TOTALLY worth it.
I'm told there are hose attachment sprinkler heads that have timers on them. I will invest in that lovely contraption soon. But until then, it's just me and my garden hose keeping the grass green, drinking and happy.

Less than a week to wait!

Here's a fun little article about one of my favorite fun little television shows: Burn Notice. Click here to read about why it's so awesome. Bask in its awesomeness, dears, as it returns next week!

Thursday, May 28

Old school, 80's movie reference! That's great!

So this morning, Sydney and I did something that could possibly be the coolest thing we've done together in a long time. We went to the movies. There's this program out here, called Summer Movie Fun, at the Harkins Theatres in the area, where kids and their parent(s) can see movies for super cheap throughout the summer. For $7 each, Sydney and I have seats in 10 movies over the next 10 weeks. This week's film was Space Chimps. I'm somewhat ashamed to tell you that I giggled through more parts of the movie than she did. She was all, "Mommy! Monkeys!" I'm all, "Dude; that's Axel F he's playing!"
The movies themselves range from the G rating to PG, and are both animated and live action. Next week's film is Nim's Island. That's a bit too mature for my little two-year-old, so we'll pass on that one. Sadly, the next week, we'll be in California, so we'll miss Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!.
I'm ridiculously excited about getting Sydney hooked on movies. I would love so much to have a little movie partner, who not only loves the movies themselves, but totally digs the experience, too. I can't wait for the next one!

Wednesday, May 27

I totally do this, too

JJ sent this remarkably appropriate cartoon to me this afternoon, and I must share it with you all. If you double-click it, you can see it bigger.
Also, I'm watching last night's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and it is a repeat that I swear I have already seen about four times. I knew, when I saw his tie (a lavender, mauve and slightly light blue confection), that this was, again, the Larry King episode. I hate it when the show goes into repeats for a week or so; I go into withdrawals for my snickering, satire- and sarcasm-laced news program.
Also, I just saw a Jack-in-the-Box commercial where the guy in the car asks for 99 tacos for 2 cents, instead of the proper order, which is two tacos for 99 cents. The funny "joke" is that the guy keeps getting confused, and giggles when the Jack on his dashboard asks him if he would really eat 99 tacos. What is really funny, is that the guy is so thinly acting the part of a stoned college kid in a drive-thru. That, my friends, is totally knowing your demographic.
Also, I got the new J.Crew catalog in the mail yesterday, so am eager to dig into it and see what I can't buy this month!

Cheaters! Conspiracy! I demand a recount!

I pulled this article off US, via Yahoo!'s OMG! page:

AT&T May Have Swayed Idol Outcome to Favor Kris Allen
The New York Times is reporting that American Idol's Kris Allen may have had a little help from AT&T, one of the Fox show's biggest corporate sponsors, in winning this year.
According to the Times, AT&T provided phones for free text-messaging services at two Allen parties in Arkansas on the night of the finals. Citing sources, The Times reports that AT&T reps showed party-goers how to "power text" -- cast 10 votes at the touch of a button -- which violates show rules.
Power texts, according to the Times, "have an exponentially greater effect on voting than do single text messages or calls to the shows toll-free phone lines."
No similar efforts appear to have been made to provide free texting services to Adam Lambert fans.
Angry Lambert supporters are now claiming in online chat boards that the competition's voting was rigged.
While Fox has yet to comment, AT&T issued the following statement: "In Arkansas, we were invited to attend the local watch parties organized by the community. A few local employees brought a small number of demo phones with them and provided texting tutorials to those who were interested."
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported on the possible skewed voting last week.

You know what this means, don't you? A recount for Gilles Marini in the Dancing with the Stars finale! A recount for Mel B. in that DWTS finale! Everyone I think should have won, and didn't, are now the victims of a CONSPIRACY brought on by AT&T designed to irritate me within the confines one of my cheesy, ridiculous television obsessions! A-ha!

Tuesday, May 26

I should just start wearing grown-up sandals

~ My new lawn is being installed tomorrow! Yay grass! The landscapers will be here between 7 and 7:30 a.m., and will come armed with shovels, tillers, pot soil and sod. How exciting! I'll be sure to turn on the misters for them, too, so they can cool off during breaks or whatever. I'm just so tickled to be getting my yard finally!
~ Brian and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button last night, and let me tell you, that one had me sobbing. I tend to cry quite often at movies, but some story lines (since I had my own baby), make me tear up more than ever before. That was the case last night. I enjoyed it though!
~ I just finished reading How to Have Style, by Issac Mizrahi, and I believe that I could really benefit from a visit by him and his team. I definitely fall into the "jeans for everything and anything" category, but would especially appreciate some insight into blouses, shirts and shoes. What makes it a bit harder, I think, for me in a warmer climate, is that there are always so many more choices when sweaters, coats, pants and dresses are thrown into the mix. Sadly, I am now stuck in a six-month summer cycle of clothing that consists of capris, t-shirts, skirts, camisoles and flip flops. I know, I know; there's a lot to be done with that, if I took the time to figure it out. Perhaps tomorrow, I will dress for the day, and not just "get dressed."
~ I feel, in a weird way, lighter, now that I have watched a load of movies, and read (okay, skimmed) through two of my nightstand books within one long weekend. You see what happens when I have no television commitments? It's fantastic! I'm one magazine away from being caught up on that pile, as well. Now, all I need is to start getting to bed at a decent hour again, and ... who knows? I could accomplish pretty much anything with eight hours of sleep, some gym time, more water intake, and a better diet.

Cripes! Just let them marry!

And once again, I am ridiculously disappointed in the people of the state of California. The state Supreme Court of California voted to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage, thereby restricting the civil rights of one group of people based on the religious beliefs of another. I'm flummoxed, quite frankly, that people will sit there and say that marriage is what God says it is, when it all should come down to what is a civil right. They're all, this country was founded on God. No, this country was founded on people living free and equally amongst each other. And, no, the founders weren't perfect. That's why the amendments regarding race and gender, among others, were constructed. But I'll say again, those amendments were signed into law to GRANT rights. How is it that in this day and age, people can still vote to RESTRICT the rights of a group of people? It's impossibly ignorant of them, in their righteousness, to believe that they are what is intended in the world, or more to the point, in God's "plan."
Could we PLEASE get this back on the ballot? I'll be happy to vote for same-sex marriage as often as possible, because eventually, it'll pass. And I just hope that I live to see the day when a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, can marry. And live happily ever after.

Monday, May 25

One weekend, three flicks

This weekend, I have already accomplished one of my very favorite things ever: the movie trifecta. I love seeing three movies in a weekend; it's awesome. They all were Netflix movies, so there wasn't any theater viewing, which is a drag, but still ... movies! Now, don't judge the Netflix selections: Australia (really long, but I have no idea what I would have taken out myself), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (these Underworld movies are a guilty pleasure of Brian's), and Yes Man (because it looked kind of funny, and because I kind of love Bradley Cooper).
And right now, I'm watching the last hour of Josie and the Pussycats, a movie from which I actually own the soundtrack. I won't lie to you about that. I really do own it. I bought it. In CD form. And I can rock out to it, too.

Saturday, May 23

Am I "on Twitter," or "a Twitt"?

So I've gone ahead and restored my Twitter account. This is due to the fact that I found out that one of my favorite actors tweeted something about working on the second season of his show, and I felt all left out because I didn't know that he was on Twitter. So here I sit, having restored the account. My plan, so as to keep the Twitter at a minimal distance in my head, is to not update my own tweets that often, and just check out my Twitter home page regularly to see what my people are up to.
And you know what else (in a twist that may be what saves my sanity from this whole thing), my phone, the fantastic AT&T iPhone, is not supported by Twitter, and thereby, can not receive the tweets via text message. That's the best news for me, I think. That way, Twitter works on MY schedule, and I will not be subject to jumping every time my phone gets a text. I'll know that when I get a text, it'll be for me, and not from Ashton Kutcher (who I'm actually not following because he tweets so much) talking about what he's watching on television.

Thursday, May 21

Soon, I'll have my own grassy knoll

How do you like your random? With a squiggly line for an introduction to each bit? Granted.
~ I met with a landscaper this afternoon to discuss my backyard. He told me I'd have an estimate in my e-mail inbox this evening, but sadly, it has not appeared yet. Brian fears it'll be about a thousand dollars. That tells me that I could get away with anything up to $750.
~ FURNITURE ALERT! The curio cabinet will be mine! I have brokered the deal, and it was accepted. Awesome! Saturday is the day, and the morning is the time. Then, I'll get to play with filling it all day! I'm such a freak about that stuff, you know, and it will take me at least all day Saturday, and probably a couple little tweaks throughout the day on Sunday to get it perfect.
~ I bought cheesy stuff at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Honestly, you'd be surprised at the ridiculous "As Seen on TV," product I picked up: the click and stick LED lights that I put in my closet so I could see my shoes better; and the airtight, vacuum-sealed clothing storage bags for the winter jackets in our coat closet. And I put all those things into use today, too. Not a one of my little projects is left for tomorrow.
~ I am giddy over this story I heard on the news today: A couple in Australia, who asked to have $10,000 transferred from one account to another, was instead the recipient of a crazy clerical error that deposited $10 million. The next day, when the bank tried to fix the error, it found that the couple had withdrawn the money -- all of it -- and was gone. They had closed up their little shop, and taken off. I'm feeling very envious of this, and say, good for them that they could just decide to do this, do it, and then just disappear. It's really quite fantastic.
~ I also baked a batch of brownies. They were not "special," unfortunately, but Brian has eaten a whole row already anyway. I wanted to see how well our oven would handle the culinary difficulty that is my brownies. Brownies sound super yummy right now. Hmmm. I'm going to go ahead and finish this post so I can go get myself one to eat, too.

Wednesday, May 20

Baby loves her "ZOO ANIMOS!"

Sydney and I hit the zoo today, for what will probably be the last time until this fall ... or November ... whichever comes first. Today is one of the last of the 90-degree days for the summer, and I thought the best way to celebrate that would be to walk around the zoo, in the sun, still in the heat, and get all sweaty looking at the lions, cheetahs and elephants. Sydney had a fantastic time, and that's all that matters. Her favorite part though, may be the dancing water fountain, in which I allowed about 30 minutes of crazy running around. It's always a good thing to have the child drop, soaking wet and smiling, into a stroller for the trip back to the car.
I've got a guy from a landscaping company coming by the house tomorrow afternoon to give me an estimate on taking care of the backyard. Can you smell our defeat? Yeah, I just decided that Brian and I were never going to get that piece of land all cleaned up, tilled and sodded in any timely fashion, so it would be better to rely on the professionals to get the job done.

Tuesday, May 19

It's almost as bad as Mel B.'s loss

Okay, I'm just going to declare it right here, right now: SHENANIGANS! I don't dislike Shawn Johnson. In fact, she's adorable, and I was totally rooting for her last summer. She's an amazing competitor, and obviously worked really hard in this competition. That being said, I do not think she should have won the mirrorball trophy on Dancing with the Stars tonight. I don't care that it was the closest margin of difference between first and second place ever. I don't care that, whatever, she's America's Sweetheart. (This is the part where, in my heart, I begin to get embarrassed by how much this is bothering me.) There is just no way that she was the better dancer in the ballroom tonight. The person who should have won is Gilles Marini, who went from "naked guy in the Sex and the City movie," to a name that people recognize. And to have Melissa Rycroft shuttled off as third place? Travesty! I feel so awful for Tony Davolani! He so deserves a win on this show!
On the flip side, and even though I'm pretty irritated about how it ended, I feel a heavy sigh of relief that my weekly weird obsession is over for a few months. And actually, I've been breathing a bit easier as every one of my shows broadcasts its season finale. As much as I hate not having my little stories to occupy me, I also love not having my little stories to occupy me. I feel like this summer, I might actually make it through my Summer Reading List. I MIGHT, I said! I make no promises!

In other news, I can happily report that my car is back safe in my garage, freshly detailed, and freshly scrubbed of any crunches.

Monday, May 18

Get me my red car back!

The rumor is that I get my car back tomorrow. Thank goodness! I can't wait to get that little, red angel back in my garage! Have I told you how much I HATE this Dodge Avenger? Also, I don't think I like the guy at the body shop. He told me Thursday morning that he would call me back that afternoon with a better time estimate, but he never did call me back, even on Friday. This morning, I called him, and was told, kind of dickishly like I was seriously inconveniencing him, that it was being polished as we spoke and that I should be driving it at some point tomorrow. All I can say is this: Get me back my frickin' car so I can move on to whatever happens to be the next disaster.
p.s. Isn't it funny how I hate a white car, but the only images I liked from the VW web site are of white cars? Ack!

And this is how this silly show is determined to make me choose between my two favorite stars. There are five votes allowed. I am required (in my head) to use them all; to not would be blasphemy. So, who gets the last vote?
My Dancing with the Stars voting (5 votes allowed):
Gilles Marini ~ 2 votes.
Melissa Rycroft ~ 3 votes.
Shawn Johnson ~ 0 votes.
It's not that I don't like the little Olympic champion, it's just that I prefer Gilles or Melissa for the win. How, you wonder, did I decide who gets the last vote? I assigned them numbers -- Gilles, 1 through 5; Melissa, 6 through 10 -- and asked Brian to pick a number between 1 and 10. He chose eight, so the final vote (per Brian's choice!) went to Melissa. I'm happy with that because I feel like Melissa is getting the short end of the judging stick lately, and also, because her partner, Tony, just totally deserves to win, too.

Sunday, May 17

Burn Notice: June 4, True Blood: June 14

ITEM!: Check out the little girl who showed the boys how it's done this weekend!! Rachel Alexandra is the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years, and she did so beautifully! Yay girls!
ITEM!: Brian and I finally got out to see a movie this weekend! We saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and enjoyed it very much. So many times though, I wonder if I really enjoyed the movie as much as I thought I did, or if it's just the sheer joy of getting out of the house without the kid for an afternoon. Next weekend, I'm hoping to get a viewing of Star Trek on my agenda.
ITEM!: Sydney's balloon from Red Robin just descended from the ceiling in the living room to tickle Brian's ear with its ribbon right at a tension-building scene in his scary movie, thereby scaring the hell out of him. He just came in here to tell me. I decided to add it to the blog.
ITEM!: So there's some TV stuff going on recently. It's that time of year when the networks all figure out which of my fantasy lives will be renewed for next year, or which will be canceled, thus breaking my heart a little bit. I say, thankfully, that Chuck will be back next year (I was, actually, really hoping to hear this bit of news! I love this show!), as will Castle, Dancing with the Stars, Lost, 30 Rock, Heroes, The Office, and Gossip Girl. (It looks like my Mondays, if the schedules are to stay the same, would again be crazy with the DVRs.) Not everything is happy though. Only one of my shows, The Mentalist, is not yet totally committed to be back, but according to my source, it's a sure thing to return. Sadly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been canceled. I missed the last four episodes, so that kind of makes me a bad fan of the show, but they're all still on my DVR. I'll be watching them soon so I know what happened, and then can bitch about the ending to it all.
And just when I thought that summer approaching meant that my television viewing would be at a standstill, and that I could possibly dig into the books that were on last year's Summer Reading List, I'm seeing advertisements for both Burn Notice and True Blood returning in June. I do love my TV, but honestly, I don't know if I'd rather there was nothing to watch. ... ... ... ... Hmmmm.... ... ... Yeah, you know I'll be excited to see them. [Insert internal negotiations and bargaining here.] It's only two nights out of the week after all, and for only an hour each, too.

Friday, May 15

"Is it LOCKED? ... That's funny!"

I was a little nervous this afternoon when I thought about what I might blog about tonight. I had tossed out all my cheesy ideas, and was getting comfortable with the notion that I might not blog about anything again this evening. And as my day progressed, I was really worried that nothing at all interesting would occur to us. Then, it happened:
You know that moment when you reach out to re-open the door from the outside, and realize that, by virtue of the handle's inability to turn, you've just locked yourself in the backyard and out of the house?
Oh, and it wasn't me. It was Brian who closed the door all the way, in angry response to Sydney's 15 minutes of continuous whining and prodding to get us outside to walk in the dirt with her. I was sitting in the patio chair, she was standing in the dirt, and Brian reached over to open the door to go back inside. ACK! Hey, guess what? It was locked! I, of course, had the brilliant idea: "Sydney, honey? Will you climb through the doggy door and open the door for Mommy and Daddy?" She climbed through fine ... and even turned the knob from the inside a whole lot ... but it was the little lock in the handle itself that had been inexplicably tripped. And no matter how I tried to explain it -- from my own awkward perch, head and one shoulder through the doggy door myself -- she couldn't make those little fingers understand what I meant her to do for us. Following that, there were several trips in and out for both her and the dogs, none of them quite understanding why Brian and I couldn't get inside, nor why Daddy was getting so upset. I was a couple inches from the handle myself, stretched as much as I could be from my uncomfortable position, and with the help of the barbecue tools holder (you use what's available in that situation, people. B and I were another 10 minutes from getting all MacGuyver ... or breaking a window), I was able to finally muscle the door handle to open. And the entire experience only took about 30 minutes!
To my credit, I giggled throughout the whole thing. I knew that, worst-case scenario, we would break a window pane, have to clean up the glass, and then have it replaced. Big deal. Brian, on the other hand, was getting increasingly irritable at the entire situation. Sydney was brilliant throughout, and did so great crawling back and forth through the door! I will though, have a HUGE bruise on my back and shoulder from where I moved against, shoved into, and rested all my torso on, the doggy door edges. I think I will take an Advil before I go to bed. If there's a bruise though, I'll have Brian take a picture of it for you all!
Advice for the next time you visit Kimmie's house: Be sure the handle lock is horizontal, my dears! Otherwise, you'll be trying to explain the door's locking mechanism to a toddler who really just wants to jerk the handle up and down!

p.s. This picture is of Sydney crawling through the doggy door at Mom's house. Who knew that this cute trick would become a helpful and potentially sanity-saving ability? We'll have to start training on the locks though...

Wednesday, May 13

Until January, I'm lost

I really can't believe that I have to wait so long to see what happens next on Lost. I feel like I've done a good job of not chatting up the show too much this season (even though it has been awesome), but tonight was the season finale. While I love that next season is the final season, and that the show's creators and producers can plan that far ahead to be sure that we're all happy with what we find out, I admit that I'm already feeling a little melancholy about it being over. You know how when Friends was over, we were all, "What the hell do I watch on Thursday nights now?" That will totally be how I feel once Lost is done. Of course, there is still the little matter of the nine months I have to wait for the next season anyway, and how I'll somehow manage to get through that time. So yes, I know I'll survive once the show is over, but come on, isn't the fun of it all in the waiting to find out what happens next?
Does the bomb plan work?
Will they all land safely in L.A.?
Or is everyone still stuck on the island but maybe now in the same time period?
I must know!!

On a completely different note, check out these rings. Not surprisingly, I really like them all. But where would you wear something like these? To the mall? Dinner at Chili's? A niece's graduation? I totally would, you know. I totally would.
A Christie's employee wears a sapphire (33.23 carats) and diamond ring by Repossi (left); a 30.52 carat diamond ring (D colour, Flawless) (center); and a Fancy Intense Yellow diamond ring (57.02 carats) (right) during an auction preview in Geneva May 4, 2009. The rings will be on sale May 11 in Geneva and are expected to reach between $220,000 and $270,000; $2,500,000 and $ 3,000,000; and $970,000 and $1,150,000
. -- Reuters

Tuesday, May 12

I really do hate it ... "rrrrrrrrrrrr"

ITEM!: And finally, all is right in my crazy, little dancing world! Ty Murray got the cowboy boot tonight on Dancing with the Stars, and I'm pretty pleased with that outcome. I've only been verbally hoping for that for weeks. You remember the last season I watched when I correctly picked every celebrity to be knocked out that night? Well, this season definitely is not like that one.
ITEM!: The update on the LA Fitness situation: I ended up having to cancel my membership at the one gym, with the cancellation form postmarked by the 8th of May to avoid the next billing cycle, and starting a new one at the local gym, which I did today. And (another!) finally, I can start going to the gym again! I miss the treadmill so much! And the daycare also is an awesome thing for us in the afternoon. Happy activity in a cool environment? Yay!
ITEM!: I dropped my car off at the body shop this morning. The guy couldn't give me an estimate on how long the repair would take (huh? Whatever.), but said he'd call this afternoon or tomorrow morning (I guess it's tomorrow). Naively, I think that since they're really just replacing the hood, it can't possibly take too long. And let me just say, I HATE driving this Dodge Avenger. First of all, when you press down hard on the accelerator, it hardly goes fast at all. It kinda just goes, "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr," and speeds up like a hamster on a wheel. Second, the dashboard looks like the inside of what you'd find in an adult-sized Tonka truck. Third (almost the worst of all elements), it's white. Four, it smells very much like an old woman; the perfume, the detergent, the denture cream, the hair dye. I can not WAIT to get my car back!

Monday, May 11

"Sure, I'll just sit here while you fly..."

The space shuttle Atlantis launched today for another repair mission to the Hubble space telescope. I didn't see it in real time on television, but I did watch it this afternoon online. It's such a cool thing ... really. The other cool thing is that the shuttle Endeavour is on the second launch pad and ready to go in case there is an incident and the astronauts need to be rescued. The International Space Station is in a completely different orbit and would be no help should an accident occur, and the other shuttle would be their only help. Which is an incredibly cool aspect to this entire mission.
Here's a picture of Endeavour resting comfortably on its pad as Atlantis launches.

Tonight was the semifinal round of competition on Dancing with the Stars, the most ridiculous of my television obsessions. And if there is any justice in the world, Ty Murray will be going home tomorrow night. It's an absolute travesty that he's actually still in this game. He's just ... awful. You know what else is awful? How crazy subjective the judges' voting is in regards to Melissa Rycroft. I thought she rocked the house on both her dances, and the judges came back with random criticisms like she didn't look like she was enjoying the dance. Or that she was too floaty, or fluid, or something. I think they were looking for a reason to judge her low. As for my other favorite contestant, Gilles Marini, he was awesome with a capital "AWE." Again, this may be the finals of my dreams and worst nightmares: I love both the competitors, and I don't want one to have to lose.
My DWTS voting (5 votes allowed):
Gilles Marini ~ 2 votes.
Melissa Rycroft ~ 2 votes.
Shawn Johnson ~ 1 vote.
Ty Murray ~ 0 votes.

Sunday, May 10

Moms are awesome

What a lovely Mother's Day it was today! I had a mocha and a croissant for breakfast; I got a trip to Target and the purchase of a deck box for my patio; I had a yummy lunch at Blanco; and I took a nap on the sofa with both my boys, Oliver and Brian, while Sydney slept in her crib and Daisy snored on the floor. For dinner, a perfectly delicious BLT from Subway. Brian also installed a misting system on the patio, making it nicer to sit outside. (It actually does!) Now, all we need to do is finish that frickin' grass!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the moms out there!

I'd happily do it again!

I'm going to cheat on tonight's post by including part of an article from
Have I told you that I was lucky enough to climb the steps to the crown of the Statue of Liberty? I made my mommy make the climb, too. (Just another one of those things that I made her do that she'd probably thank me for now.) It truly is an amazing view of the city and water from there. I'm glad that they are finally reopening it!!
From The crown of the Statue of Liberty will re-open to tourists on July 4, the Interior Department said Friday. The crown was closed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, for safety and security reasons.
The National Park Service closed the attraction amid worries that it would be difficult for visitors to evacuate quickly in the event of an emergency. Visitors must climb a narrow 168-step double-helix spiral staircase to get to the crown. Since the closing, tourists have been able to visit other parts of the statue.
The federal government planned to give "America a special gift" by re-opening the crown, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. "We are once again inviting the public to celebrate our great nation and the hope and opportunity it symbolizes by climbing to Lady Liberty's crown for a unique view of New York Harbor, where the forebears of millions of American families first saw the world," he said in a statement.
Access to the crown will be limited to 10 people at a time, guided by a National Park Service ranger.
"We cannot eliminate all the risk of climbing to the crown, but we are taking steps to make it safer," Salazar said.
The measures include raising the handrails on the spiral staircase and stationing rangers throughout the Statue to help visitors.

The Statue of Liberty will be open for the next two years, then closed again for "work on a long-term solution that will improve safety and security permanently," according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
I heard somewhere that visitors will be selected via lottery to be able to visit the crown. That's crappy, but maybe that'll be different by the time we take Sydney there for a trek up the stairs.

Friday, May 8

It makes me want to scream LOUDLY

How's this for a crappy capper on a bad week? I got hit-and-runned yesterday morning. (I simply could not blog about it last night. I was so upset! But Sydney and I are fine.) I was stopped behind a big construction truck at a red light, and it rolled back into the hood of my car. I hopped out to get the driver's attention, and as I got almost to the cab, the light turned green and he, and the four or five cars ahead of him, started to move forward. By the time I got back in the car to move forward and catch up to him, the light turned red again, and the truck ran straight through the light! I didn't run the light to follow him (the more responsible action, so says my mom), and ended up losing him in the ensuing traffic. Irritatingly, I didn't get the license plate either. Damn it, I was so distracted by the shock and awe of this ridiculous act! Anyway, I'm dealing with the insurance company now, and am waiting for a visit from a claims adjuster to look at the car. On the good side of this, the car is drivable, and seems to be running just fine. I'd have posted a picture of the hood for you all, but I really don't have the heart to take one. Grr. I told Brian that I felt so violated, like someone just walked up to me, punched me in the face, and then walked away ... happily and jauntily ... with a frickin' spring in their step.

Wednesday, May 6

Miles for mascara? Magnificent!

A couple years ago, my American Airlines miles were in danger of expiring. I called the airline, and for a 250-mile donation to charity, I was able to hold on to my more than 80,000 miles. This year, when the notification that my miles were due to expire again (I have got to get traveling again!) arrived, I was kinda lazy about my options, knowing that the 250-mile donation would be totally worth it. Guess what, though? The donation has gone up, from 250 miles to 1,000 miles! Yikes! No! I spent some time on the phone with the customer service representative, and she suggested that I just do some online shopping through their website vendors. "Buy an iTunes card or something. The account needs to show just some activity. That'll do it, and you can keep your miles," she said. So I did a little hunting and searching ... and shopping ... and in buying the brown mascara I was going to buy anyway, I got to keep my miles, and in fact, earned some more! What an easy and effective way to deal with this particular predicament!

No more "bionic booty"

Well, I'm surprised that Lil' Kim was given her walking papers last night. I mean, I knew that she wouldn't make it into the finals of Dancing with the Stars, as her fan base just isn't strong enough, but I certainly did think that she would outlast Ty Murray, who is an awful dancer. It's wrong, on several levels, that Ty is still in this competition. Lil' Kim was a serous threat to my wish of a Gilles and Melissa final night competition. The only threat now is Shawn Johnson, who does have a large fan base voting for her.
p.s. And I hate the phrase "bionic booty."

Tuesday, May 5

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

There's a flamenco dancing outfit, and a can-can outfit, and both look somewhat festive for this day's avatar, but neither one is particularly right for a Mexican holiday. (A holiday that, apparently, isn't even really celebrated in Mexico. At least, that's what I read this morning. It's more of a cultural acknowledgment holiday here in the United States, I guess.) So, I decided to roll with the mariachi outfit. Sadly, there will be no margaritas for Kimmie tonight. I'm still strangely repulsed by alcohol. I blame saki.

Monday, May 4

Finally, it's the Auntie Donna post

So my weekend is over, my family has returned to its places of residence, and life here has started to move forward again. It's kinda late on this Monday night, and I've had the same thought rolling through my head all day yesterday and today.
I would consider it a personal favor if no one I love would die within the next several years. I can't say it any plainer than that. Mom and I have had a really rough couple years, and we could really use a respite from death. It's almost ... almost ... worthy of a punchline how our family has been drastically reduced over the last several months, due almost entirely to heart attack, cancer and stroke. The year 2009 was supposed to be our year without death. Mom was right; the worst thing to happen this year should have been her turning 60. A ridiculous consolation is that the year can only go up from here.
Am I speaking to anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about? An unflinching statement to tell you where I'm coming from: My lovely, wonderful Auntie Donna died a few weeks ago. She was 55, way too young to be leaving us, and has left an incredibly large hole in our hearts.
My cousin, Jessica, assumed that I would be saying something at Donna's "Celebration of Life," last Saturday. She told me that whatever I said would be wonderful. She seemed surprised when I told her that I wouldn't be reading anything I'd written. Truthfully, I've been afraid of writing about Auntie Donna. Once it's in words, it just seems so ... final. Having typed it out, even right now, and when I'm not even done, I feel like my head is already wading through the emotional aftermath of this latest devastation, and preparing me for whatever is coming next.
And as much as I want to scream out against "getting over it" and moving on, I know, again, from experience, that I will ... that we all will ... and that we will be able to laugh again. And that there will be some days, eventually, when we won't think of her periodically. But right now, I feel cheated. I mean, talk about having a member of your clique ripped away from you. Donna was a founding member of our "In Crowd," and it sucks right out loud that she'll no longer be able to go to Disneyland with us, or share dirty stories, or eat yummy food, or laugh really loud at something ridiculous I've said just to make her laugh really loud.
Who knows how we'll be getting through this one, my dears. We will, make no mistake about that, but I won't lie about the impact. I think we're a bit more bloodied and scarred then we've been before.
So there it is. Check out the lower left column of the blog for a dedication to my Auntie Donna, who was a tremendously dedicated reader.
But, before I finish, let me get you all a little fired up with me.
Here's my irritation and frustration with one of Donna's former coworkers, let's call her Candice, who visited Donna in the ICU and Hospice (specifically against the family's wishes as spelled out in a company-wide e-mail), and then had the nuts ... absolute nuts ... to question what we, as the family, were telling everyone, and wondered if she, herself, could involve an attorney against us. Um, WTF? I should have said something to this woman at Saturday's event, when she showed up, made nice to us, and then proceeded to spew vitriol on one of Donna's closest friends. I certainly hope that this woman never has to make the decisions we had to make that weekend, because she has no idea the pain and anguish involved with them. If she does know and has had to make those decisions, shame on her for adding to our pain. But if not, and she ever is put in that position, I hope she gains a real understanding for what we went through, and can then put some perspective and sympathy in her poodle haircut-covered head. Bitch.

My Dancing with the Stars voting (5 votes allowed):
Gilles Marini ~ 2 votes. I am loving this guy, you all, and that has nothing at all to do with the fact that Sex and the City: The Movie has been on HBO lately, and in the scene where he's showering, you get a profile view of his penis.
Melissa Rycroft ~ 2 votes. I'm so pleased that Melissa came back this week and performed with a vengeance. I also really like that she was able to toss Jewel's "perform live or stop competing" random threat back in her face.
Shawn Johnson ~ 1 vote. Someone had to get that last vote, and I'm not ready to choose between Melissa and Gilles yet, so Shawn is the lucky recipient.
Lil' Kim and Ty Murray ~ 0 votes. Honestly, I think it's time for either one of these two to leave tomorrow night. My money is on Ty.

Sunday, May 3

I kinda fear my list ... wouldn't you?

As is my normal routine, I spent a portion of this afternoon preparing my random list of thing s to get done this week. Very interesting, I'm sure you can imagine.
Phone calls: L.A. Fitness ~ My normal gym is too far from the new house, and there is another L.A. Fitness right down the street from the new house. Apparently, "corporate" frowns on allowing members to switch from one local gym to a different local gym. It seems that "they" may try to make this difficult for me. Let's go with the first phone call and see. City of Scottsdale ~ I want a new, clean trash receptacle. Is that going to be a big deal? The UPS Store ~ Mom says that the local UPS Store has a bin (complete with a peace-of-mind ensuring lock) to collect papers for shredding from customers. I want to know if they're charging for this service.
Errands: Famous Footwear ~ A return to make, but not for me, because I didn't buy them. Target ~ Another return, though I will definitely hold on to the merchandise credit on this one. Coinstar kiosk ~ It's time to change in the change for dollars! Yay me! Dry cleaners ~ I've been driving around with all our cleaning in the back seat for a week. It simply must be done, just so I can have the other side of my back seat back again.
Activities: Of course, we've got our play class tomorrow morning, and hopefully, lunch on Tuesday with Nicole and Ella. But I think Sydney and I will make a trip to the zoo on Wednesday, too. It's getting too hot to do much outside, and will be so for the next several months very soon, so I'd love to make another quick walk through our lovely zoo.
Beyond all those things, my very real goal is to start living a normal life in our house. We've been here for a month and I still don't feel like it's a home yet. Sure, it's all put together, and I've got a fantastic list of stuff to buy, but we haven't established our routine here yet.
See? Very interesting stuff on the blog tonight.

Friday, May 1

Cactus is as cactus does

We spread Auntie Donna's ashes in the state park this morning. ... That's an absolutely, totally illegal thing to do, by the way, so be careful. ... We found a beautiful saguaro cactus that she would have loved to look at, and, after checking our surroundings for anyone who could blow the whistle on us, did a quick, but thoughtful, dumping of the ashes around the base of the plant. Per her wishes, we first spread the ashes of her cat, Jamima, and then each of us poured some of hers on the ground beneath the cactus. Then, we watered them so they'd both soak in and not just blow away, and then we hugged, and then we left. Sounds solemn, right? Not so much when accompanied by three kids who would scream, "LIZARD!!" and then go chasing the small reptile whenever they saw one moving along the ground. Still, it was a lovely walk, cactus hunt, moment and trek back to the cars. She'd have approved.