Sunday, July 30, 2006

Gimme' Sum Bizkits!

Last night, my honey-man and I had made 'plans to go out' for dinner. Where we'd end up, we weren't sure... but we'd chosen, I think, 3 different possibilities before walking out the door...

BACKGROUND INFO: We don't eat out for dinner a whole lot -maybe twice a month is all. I say "is all" for the fact that I understand most of my friends go out for dinner about twice a week, comparatively. As for us, however, the best way I can explain our behavior is to say we'd rather spend (or save) our money on/for other things. Yet, if we decide to go out, we want to be sure that #1) it's really good (why pay to eat out if there's something better to eat at home?), and #2) we're not always going to the same places over and over ~ we want to try NEW things, BUT we're too frugal to run blind into just any eating establishment.

Sooooo, about a month ago, we bought a ZAGAT guide for Los Angeles restaurants, and I swear, we've looked at every single page twice over, highlighting in yellow the listings below $35/person that score in at least the low to high 20's for the 'food' rating. Of course, admittedly, we're always aiming for something along the lines of $15/person or less with a '24' food rating. You'd be surprised how many 'cheap' but GUHOOOD places there are! [SEMI-RELATED TANGENT: Even though each listing estimates the cost per person, we've been able to figure out that between the two of us, we usually spend $5-20 less, since we rarely order appetizers or drinks... just don't need that much food! END OF TANGENT.]

Once we've gone to a place found we'd found in the Zagat guide, we highlight over the yellow with green. And considering how infrequently we go out, changing over the yellow to green will be a long process.

So yeah, last night, we left home with THREE places to try... Three for the fact that one of the first we'd chosen in Larchmont, we called and they were booked for the entire evening. As back up, we'd chosen some cuban restaurant called Versailles (a misleading name, don't you think? - my honey-man's been there before, to 2 other different locations of theirs, but not me) and a peruvian joint, in case Versailles was packed. Already, this story is longer than it needs be, so I'll get to the point...

On our way to Versailles, driving down Manchester, I saw 'IT' and literally, I clutched the dashboard and squawked... "Roscoe's House of Chicken n' Waffles!!!" One U-turn and a quick pull of the parking break, we found ourselves at the original Roscoe's located in west L.A. proper, surrounded by red neon and some of the most artery cloggin' cusine imaginable! I soooo wish I'd had my camera... the butter for our waffles? At first glance, as our waitress approached with our loaded plates, I thought it was ice cream! FOUR HUNORMOUS SCOOPS! Like fountain scoop-size scoops!?! I don't think I stopped giggling for more than 1 minute, unless I was chewing...

Now where is that green highlighter?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Resignation Rescinded

Something I could mention - - I've rescinded my final resignation date, meaning I will not be leaving my job on August 31st. Why renig on our decision to resign? It was actually my honey-man's idea...

See, this is how it started: A few weeks ago, the week before my bridal shower, I think, I was on my way to meet some friends for lunch, and I was on the cell with my honey-man, telling him how my boss and I had just looked at our travel schedules for the remainder of July and into August, and we had determined that we'd have maybe 4 solid days to work together to refill my position by August 31st...

Mmmkay, the submission of my resignation date was to serve two purposes; 1) Get my butt to L.A. if I hadn't gotten a job by then, and 2) It would give HR the license to not only announce the upcoming vacancy of my position ahead of time, but to also initiate a formal search for a suitable replacement hire before I left. Well, the aforementioned 4 days for a rehire search ain't gunna work for anyone. Plus, there's the fact that once I'd announced my resignation date (an action which was entirely contrary to my original assurances given to my father that I would NOT move before securing a job), um, the decision has since proven itself to be MEGA ULTRA STRESSFUL.

But honestly, before my honey-man said anything about going back to the original plan (again, that'd be to stay here until I secure a job in L.A.), I hadn't once thought to change my resignation date - sure, I was totally freakin' out with all the insecurity and sheer panic, actually planning to give up my health benefits for NO JOB, but I'd made the decision to resign and I was gunna resign on August 31st. Of course, if I could score a freakin' job in L.A. before then, I'd leave before then...

Ho hum. Yeah, so unless I get a job, I'm gunna be here... I hadn't thought I'd still be here.

Guilty Confession #2

Last night, around 10PM Pacific time, while my friend Ryan and I both sat on the couch, each with a phone in hand, I hungrily dialed the following numbers as fast as I could, before the phone lines were absolutely jammed:


Now if you don't recognize these numbers? I am SOOOOO NOT going to explain a bit of it.
This admission alone is enough, thanks!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ka ka ka Camping!

We went CAMPING last weekend - and I'm still riding high off it! ~ even after the mega emotional shake-up on Sunday, when driving back to Vegas. We just had TOO. MUCH. FUN! It also happened to be one of California's hottest summer weekends thus far, BUHHT our campsite, chosen totally blind, online at random by my honey-man (meaning we had ZIPPO- ZERO IDEA as to what we were gunna get before we got there) was PERFECTLY shaded with a couple large trees and generous bushes (wild flowering baby's breath!) creating a great deal of privacy compared to other campsites and well spaced from other campers. It also had a rather large open area for the fire pit.

Most importantly, our campsite was placed beside a sweet little river (a 'creek' by midwestern standards) for our cool-down pleasure/needs and pure enjoyment. It even had several thigh-deep, even above waist-deep pools for tooling and floating about. It was like a lil' oasis.

Another delightful aspect of our trip was that there wasn't any visible smog! Only 2 hours from L.A. and the air seemed clear - a trek up the mountain revealed we were still enveloped, BUHHT it wasn't even half as bad as back in the city, that's for sure. The skies were GORRRgeous and the stars at night? We'd sit beside one another in our camp chairs by our campfire, well past 11pm, necks craned backwards, staring up into the starry heavens! All weekend long, we felt truly fortunate - - even when the weekend temperature proved to be a bit unkind.

Our 2nd night though, sitting by the fire once again (I soooo LOVE campfires! - and fire in general), with the angel boy-O already fast asleep inside the tent, we both suddenly thought and spoke aloud at the same time,
"It's so hot still - what time is it?" We then both had the same idea and went to the Matrix to check the time and the exterior thermometer's reading - it was after 10:30 at night and it was 94 degrees?!? A couple hours later, we retired to the tent for some shut eye and the rest of that night was miserably hot and sweaty - - Even still, we had a splendidly successful camping experience!

One of the many things I love most about camping - besides all the wildlife, the hiking and trails, campfires and camp lanterns, flashlights, sleeping outside, the starry nights, the sounds of the outdoors, both day and night, all the fresh air - is camp out food!!! I love camping snacks and camp cooking! Trail mix! Tinfoil dinners! BBQ beans! Hot chocolate! Campfire angel cake! Granola! Fruit leathers! Thick French toast! Very-bad- for-you fatty fried breakfast meats! Campstove scrambled eggs! Smores! Roasted Marshmellows! Banana Boats! Roasted Veggie kabobs! Fruit salad! When we were preparing our foodstuffs the night before our trip, most happily (in a kinda neurotic way), I filled several itty-bitty so-cute mini-storage containers with minute measurements of whatever = butter, mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, ketchup, shredded cheddar, peanut butter, blueberry jam, french toast spice, creamer, ground coffee and instant coffee (in case the aluminum camp percolator was a bust ~ And it didn't turn out to be! It was great!), and small bottles of milk and maple syrup, each with a "cool core" column of that blue icey stuff kept in the center - ? - do you know what I mean? Anyhow, I love the outdoor cooking aspect of camping A LOT! If I had to rank what I love most about camping, I'm not sure I could do it... I do know though that after ANY kind of camping trip, I rediscover my deep, deep appreciation for clean running water and indoor plumbing.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

"Forget the Hiatus" or "Counting Lucky Stars!"

First of all, this whole bloggin' hiatus? Kinda necessary, but not as much as I had thought - explanation to follow later in the week...

2nd of all, we went camping in Cali this past weekend; me, mah honey-man and the angel boy-O, camping together for the first time! - will write more about this soon.

But more pressing than 'first of all' or '2nd of all,' although I'm about to go to bed, I'm still stunned, reeling from a most harrowing experience I must share.
BACKGROUND INFO: As a rule, whenever I'm on a road trip somewhere, I try hard not to exceed more than 15 mph over the speed limit. Why not just drive the speed limit? I'm not gunna answer that - geesh! Anyhow, to be more exact, I usually hover about 12-13 over the limit... SEMI-RELATED TANGENT: However, whenever traveling through Utah or Idaho, it's more like 8-10 mph over. And in Wyoming? No more than 7 mph over the limit, not EVER! And when I'm traveling in Nebraska, Iowa or Illinois? ...there are far too many explanations and stories to offer here, but I won't go into any of that. So anyhow, the 'background info.' continues: The speed limit between Vegas and L.A. is 70 mph, so I usually drive about 83 mph.

Now, see if you can picture this: I had just gotten off the phone with my honey-man, having reached Barstow, CA - my half-way point between L.A. and Vegas. Maybe 2 minutes before I'd hung up with him, I saw a white car coming up from behind me and fast. Before the approaching car would need to slow down at all, I moved into the middle lane and out of its way, allowing the speed demon to pass. It was a Grand Am and man, it was blazing! Now, if I was driving at 83 mph, you know it had to have been going faster... Keep that in mind.

Once the Grand Am had passed me, I was off the phone and coming up on a Budget rental truck, so I casually moved back into the far left lane, preparing to pass it. Then, looking further ahead on the road, by a distance of maybe 12-14 car lengths, I watched that same Grand Am suddenly swerve and move towards the soft, narrow left shoulder of the hwy. In a split second, having met the left shoulder, its rear end twisted 'round from the back right, towards its front, to then see the front right of the car catch, allowing the back left of the car to lift into the air, spinning the car round even more, so that its headlights were aimed in my direction for a mere nanosecond, to then watch the car's front driver's side flip up and then over for 2 and a half rotations, across the width of the 3-lane hwy, smashing into the upward slant of the far right shoulder's embankment.

The dirt stirred high up into the air from the left and right shoulders of the hwy had created an enormous cloud of dust, and before I came to a complete stop on the right shoulder, in the very midst of that dust cloud, I wasn't sure what I'd see, nor was I sure I'd even make it to the side of the road. It was remarkable, just how FAST the dust did settle though. For me, I first saw that the Budget rental truck I'd been about to pass on my right, moments before the accident, had stopped only 25 feet or so in front of me, and its driver was already outside, fumbling with the blue hwy emergency call box located a mere 10 feet away from the steaming Grand Am. I then saw that the Grand Am was resting on the length of its passenger side, its headlights (they were missing actually, along with the entire front bumper) aimed toward me. The windshield was smashed inward and I couldn't see anyone inside from where I was, but it looked as though the engine was still running.

Now keep in mind, ALL OF THIS happened in a matter of seconds: Before I had my parking break set, I had already punched the button for my car's hazard lights and had located my cell phone, a beach towel from the back seat and a hefty tub-size package of wet wipes. Then I was out my car door and running as fast as I could (wearing sandals), carrying with me the things I had grabbed, expecting the worst. Running past the rental truck driver, who was now only standing by the emergency call box, gawking at me, I yelled at him to please come help me.

Having reached what was the left side of where the Grand AM was, it was clear that the engine was still on, but I couldn't immediately see if anyone was in the car, even if all the side car windows had been smashed out. The Grand AM's interior was caked with red desert dirt and lined with shards and pieces of broken glass. Then I heard her, sobbing hard and loudly. A woman caked in the same red desert dirt, all powdery from head to toe, was crawling from the backseat towards the entirely smashed out back window. I ran around towards the rear of the car, where I discovered a man, head shaved (I could see all kinds of bloody nicks around his head), who was also caked in the same powdery dirt, standing as if he'd just straightened up, his eyes blinking madly, and he looked as though he was going into shock.

The rental truck driver then came to my side, and once I began asking questions (more like shouting, but not quite), we both tried to determine if either of the two were seriously hurt, if they thought they'd broken any bones, etc. etc. and we tried to help the woman out of the Grand Am, pulling her up from the back window of the car. And as she stood, still sobbing (understandably!), she and her man insisted that they were okay - and looking them over, despite all the dirt, all I could see was scrapes and cuts. Nothing deep. Nothing major. They were, by potentially-fatal-auto-accident standards, perfectly fine.

By that moment, more people had stopped at the scene, but no one had turned off the Grand Am. The sound of the engine and the still blaring stereo, coupled with the smell of burning antifreeze brought this fact back to my attention. I looked around to see maybe 5 new people within reach, all grown adult men, most gravitating towards the still sobbing (understandably!) woman, asking her if she was all right, although the guy (presumably the woman's significant other, who was also crying by that time) was the one in worse shape. I had already given the towel and wipes to the dusty couple, insisting they both sit down on the ground, and had also grabbed a man who had run up to me, insisting he had a veritable first-aid center in the back of his SUV if needed. I asked him to please help get our dusty couple to sit down, and then I stood and turned to grab the rental truck driver, but saw that someone was finally back on the emergency call box, shouting out the pertinent questions - - What kind of car is this? What's the closest mile marker? What happened? What went wrong? Are you sure they're okay? No broken bones? They didn't break anything? No bones?!?

I then announced the obvious - "The car engine's is still running!"

Absolutely no one made a move...

Next thing I know, I'm jumping to dive through the broken driver's window, battling with a fully deployed airbag, trying to turn the damn car off. It took two 'dives' to do it. No one tried to help - ???

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before I forget to mention this, absolutely NO ONE was else was hit by the Grand AM when it violently tumbled across the highway; everyone else passed by without further incident. How that is, I have NO idea.

So, what had happened? The Grand Am couple were
#1 DRIVING WAY TOO FRICKIN' FAST, and #2 doing so ON A SPARE TIRE!?!? located at the rear of the driver's side??? - ya know, one of those wienie lil' donut spares you're not supposed to use going any faster than 35 mph? But what triggered the accident was that #3 their front driver's tire blew, and #4 after the inital blow, moving immediately to the left shoulder before first slowing down at all, when those two bad tires hit the softness of the left shoulder, their sheer speed and the momentum of the car's right side spun the car around and it flipped and flipped.

Once the man talking on the emergency call box had completed his call and the Grand Am couple had wiped their faces clean, about to start on the scapes and cuts they had all over their their legs and arms, I stood there for a moment, staring at them. I stepped forward and crouched in front of them both, and starting to cry, I said (more like choked) very slowly, "You guys are sooo lucky."

And then, shaking still from all the adrenaline, I walked back to my car and left.

Of course, I called my honey-man as soon as I had successfully merged into the backed up traffic, back on the hwy. It was difficult to speak - - they were so lucky. They were so lucky. And I was stunned; at how so many people stopped, but so few made a move to actually help. And they were so lucky.

The rest of my drive home to Vegas, I cried off and on, relieved and amazed that no one else, including myself, had been hurt at all. And in my head, I recounted all the times I've witnessed the occurence of an auto-related accident and all the times I've found myself in the midst of an accident scene. There are many stories to tell. And I'm counting my lucky stars.

Monday, July 17, 2006

And My Favorite Bridal Shower Gift...

Just hafta to make a note here...
My bridal shower was sooooo WONDERFUL! It was PURRRFECT! And my favorite shower gift??? It was given to me from my friends, Kim and Poppy = the most complete gathering of ALL my Vegas friends, all of them together ~ all there for me! That was the BEST gift they could give me! And boy, do I feel uber loved! THANK YOU GIRLS!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Blogging Hiatus has begun, BUT...

...I've had this one sitting in my drafts for several weeks, and I'm just gunna post it, cuz I just have to...

My friend Poppy and I, we instant-message one another while at work (moderately), and the weekend before the 4th of July, I think it was, I wrote to her and asked her what she had going for the weekend. She wrote back, telling me she had plans to paint her two-year old's bedroom, and then, what in her mind was only a joke, she asked if I wanted to come over and help paint... The rest of our AIM convo went something like this...

Me: paint?
Me: did you say PAINT?
Me: painting?!? you're gunna paint!?!
Me: did you ASK ME to PAINT?
Me: will you let me?!?! will you let me paint?
Me: I LOVE TO PAINT! You have NO IDEA how much!
Me: so can I?
Me: huh? huh? can I? can I paint? can I?
Me: I would SOOOOO love to come over and paint! YES? can I?!?
Her: you're scaring me...

So, we spent that Saturday painting from 10 am-ish until 5 pm-ish and we had a TOTAL ABSOLUTE BLAST (I love to paint!) and it was uber fun! And WE DID A GOOD JOB, WELL DONE! Check it! ~ Click on images for a larger view, if you're that interested!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Gazillion Posts, Unposted

I've got a gazillion posts written up in my head, each unposted thus far... I think I may have to take a bit of a blogging hiatus... For one, I'm very busy trying to prepare my office for my leaving for L.A., all while searching for a new job in L.A.... And two, I'm searching for a new job in L.A. ...Um, did I tell ya that I'm searching for a job in L.A.? And that I had no idea a job search could be THIS PAINFUL!?!? And um, yeah, I'm searching for a job AND trying to have some fun this summer. * sigh * So far, it's been a bitty bit taxing on the ol' psyche. However, although I've written really NOTHING about it (taken a bit off track by the unexpected deaths of my poor fishies), my 4th of July weekend was absolutely GRAND, and EVERYTHING we did was quite encouraging. [TRANSLATION: It was pleasant enough that I believe I could live in L.A. and possibly maintain some sanity, even though I WILL NEVER GET OVER HOW FREAKIN' EXPENSIVE AS HELL EVERYTHING IS and the traffic is utterly INSANE.... although neither of those two fACTS are news to anyone.] I still hope to share some of my holiday weekend here, but it'll have to wait. For now, I'll lay off the ALL CAPS... at least for one full sentence before I do it again.

Remaining set plans for the summer: 1) My sister just arrived in Vegas for her new job, with plans to take some grad classes in the fall, and I hope she and I will be spending some significant time together before I have to leave... yes, she moves here, and now I'm leaving? How much does THAT suck?
2) My bridal shower is this coming Saturday (BIG SMILE). My Vegas girlfriends, Kim and Poppy wanted to throw one here, sooner than later, in case I were to actually find a job and leave Vegas before my resignation date of August 31st.
3) The weekend of the 20th, we're going CAMPING with the angel boy-O in tow ~ I'm absolutely STOKED OUTTA MY MIND!
4) We recently lined up our flights for Montreal in August ~ Woo-hoo! Yup, we're goin' back, ya know, seeing that my honey-man's ENTIRE family lives there and we figure it'd be nice for me and them to spend more time together before I marry the honey-man. We'll be gone the 11th thru the 20th! And as one should suspect, I've acquired about a dozen different French language audio CDs, which I now listen to in my car on the way to work and on trips to L.A., at my desk (like right now) and on my Nano. So far, all that I can say consistently [beyond some French basic basics like 'Yes' and 'No,' 'Please' and 'Thank You,' 'Good morning' and Goodnight,' my numbers and days of the week, 'Can you speak English,' and 'I don't understand,' and 'I don't know, I don't care,' (the latter being my favorite), etc. etc.] is "May I have a glass of milk?" That's it. Oh, and "You have a handsome car."
5) My parents will be in Vegas once I get back from Montreal and I'll take MORE time off from my soon-to-be-no-more beloved job to spend some time with them.
6) Move to Los Angeles...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It is Not Idleness...

"Resting is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under a tree on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." - J. Lubbock

I would suspect that if there were such a thing as former lives, Lubbock had been a cat...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sweetest Sympathies

I don't have my camera with me, but more importantly, I'll share the Sympathy card that was written with the lovely flowers just delivered to my office:

"We're sorry for your loss, sweetie. You took good care of your fishies and they had a great life with you. We're sure they're happily flipping their fins in the great ocean beyond.
Love, _____ & ____ ."

Sent by my honey-man and the angel boy-O.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm a Terrible Mother

I just got back to Vegas from a most wonderful weekend in L.A. - - and I feel like utter crap now...
I opened the door to what has been "my bedroom" in my aunt's home for the last month, and the smell hit me like a brick... and I couldn't hear any running water... and immediately, I looked to the back corner of the room to see my fishtank completely dark, the water cloudy, opaque and rusty in color... And I burst into tears.

Although two days before I'd left town, I had explained to my aunt that the fishtank was THE ONLY THING powered in the room by the light switch, over the past weekend, before she left for Oregon, she must have gone in there for something and flicked the light switch by habit on her way out, closing the door behind her. Even though I had tried to prevent a potential accident-waiting-to-happen, by letting her know about the tank and the light switch, I should have never placed the tank in that corner with the nearest outlet dependent upon the light switch.

I'm absolutely mortified, to think of how the ammonia level must have risen in the tank to a toxic measure, slowly killing my poor pretty Pauline, piggy-boy Moffet, baby Rocky and Stud Jr. They were at least 5 years old - I'd had them for 5 years. I just buried them in the backyard at the base of a rose bush. And bawled the whole time. And then I cleaned out their tank. And bawled the whole time.

I feel terrible.