Saturday, June 30, 2007

Vive la France!

I have no idea what time it is... wait, um... Duh, my step-mum's wonderfully compact mini-laptop says it's 6:09 pm, Central time in the U.S., and the satellite TV console here in our flat says it's 1 am here. I really should go to bed - and I will, after I share a couple pics...

This first one shows the SPECTACULAR view from the front room window of the flat we're staying in...
Yeah, that big spire-like thing is the EIFFEL TOWER!?!
only a mere 3.5 blocks away!
[CORRECTION: After a couple days, we realized exactly where we were situated, less than 1 block away from the Champ de Mars!]

This one was taken in London, not far from Trafalgar Square, not more than a couple horus after the car bomb threat had passed. I wanted a picture of me taken with the guardsman's horsey for my honey-man.
Notice the sign to my left, just behind me? (Click on it for a larger image) That poor horse was frothing at the mouth and anxiously biting his bridle...
Hopefully, more later - - after my 2nd full day, I've got gobs and gobs of photos already, but they upload rather slowly, and I'm so pooped, I gotta get some shut eye for Versailles (sp?) tomorrow!

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Suppressing Auto-Mode with Success" or "Baby-Ready Kitties"

I got home from work by 6:15 pm and we made a simple and delicious dinner in less than 20 minutes for our friends and their two AHHDORAHBUL chilun', ages 2 and 5.

[SEMI-RELATED, KINDA LONG TANGENT: Ever since I brought Otis and Owen home in October 2003, the very day they became my boys, I've been preparing them, training them for babies - - No, they're both boys and fixed, I know. I'm talking about MY babies; human babies yet to be born! In order to desensitize the kitties for the abuse a baby will certainly dish out someday, Oattie and Owen's training has entailed all kinds of imposed mauling; touching of the nosies, aggressive tummy and back rubs, grabbing and holding of kitty paws, light tugs on the ears and tail, full on squashing and manhandling of kitty ears, smothering squeezes, long, unrelenting hugs, chasings, touching via human feet (Yes, and by doing so, they will accept the touch of any foot, just like a hand, allowing themselves to be petted by feet!), and loud squealing... I've practiced all this and then some, built up over time in order to reach "The Ultimate State of Baby-readiness": The ability to be held beneath their forelegs with their lower bodies facing forward and left to dangle, as they're carried about in the same position.

Before tonight, I had thought Otis was almost close to graduating as a fully 'baby-ready' kitty, as I can do all the aforementioned, including the ability to carry him around, holding an arm beneath his forelegs, lower body hanging and he's
almost totally relaxed, all except for the toes of one paw, stiffly splayed! And Owen, he has come far and beyond what I'd ever possibly hoped for, especially during his latest year-long stint in L.A., living with my honey-man and the angel boy-O! He's like a different kitty!?! He used to be the kitty who'd sit within one foot of you, but get up and walk off if you dared to touch him - - and now? He'll waltz right over and lay directly on top of your feet! Even still, I didn't believe he was ready to even remain in the same room with a baby, yet tonight, I was proved flat wrong! And I am a proud Mama, indeed!

My boys were perfect lil' fuzzy dahrlings! Oattie in particular (not as fast as Owen), put up with squeezing, squealing, and constant chasing from room to room, up and down the stairs, and was even laid on at some point! AND sure enough, he was picked up TWICE by the 2 year old, and carried for at least 10 feet the first time and he did nothing by hang like a rag doll! I was soooo pleased! No hissing, no scratching, no growling; He was PURRFECT! And Owen never even left the room once! He even spread himself out on the kitchen floor amongst 7 pairs of feet and could actually be heard purring!?! My boys are baby-ready! END OF TANGENT]
After dinner, we all went to Sheridan's Frozen Custard for dee-zert (drooling again at the thought of it), and my sister met us there, who later followed us home, with the angel boy-O in her new car, so she could come see the boy-O's finished bedroom (Finally, in that I finally finished it!), and to also see the red, light-weight trench I'd bought for Europe from Nordstrom's Rack (originally $120, on sale for 24 BUCKS!?!), so she could give me her fashion approval and/or disapproval (it's a go! = she liked it).

After my sister left, I then helped the boy-O with his bath and cut his hair and got him to bed by 9pm (kinda late for him)... and since then, while my honey-man's been working in his home-office, I replanted some things in new, bigger pots for the backyard, shot off some work-related emails, and I wrote this... and now, I'm off to take my shower and go to bed and it's just before midnight! Not bad!

It seems I've successfully suppressed my auto-mode!

Cue the High Powered Brit Pop!

As of today, I have 3 full days before I'll fly out with my sister this Thursday morning for London, but as of last Friday, I'd already entered my high-gear auto-mode! This is not good! Auto-mode shouldn't kick in until, like, late tonight or tomorrow!?!

Let me explain: Typical for me, about 2 to 3 days before some major trip or some big event [EXAMPLES of a "Big Event": The angel boy-O's birthday party or any holiday that requires some preparation, like Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving.], I kind of go into this automatic, super hyper, super excited mode of operation that involves many, many errands,
lots and lots of cleaning, and very, very little sleep... The latter mention is the not so good part of auto-mode.

For instance, this last Saturday, I stayed up until 6:30 am, Sunday morning, and when I did finally go to sleep at SIX THIRTY AY EM, I only slept until 10 am, and I did NOT take a nap at any point thereafter, still operating in "auto-mode."

Now to be clear here, my auto-mode is NOT the result of any procrastination on my part, nor does it really ever involve the actually necessary, preparative plans for the relevant trip/event: I usually have everything in mind and ready to go, far, far in advance for the upcoming trip/event. In fact, it's often ridiculous, how "in advance" I can consider some things (to a fault), as I'm very much a in-the-future kind of thinker (to a fault), but what happens is I fill in ALL MY TIME in between my necessary trip/event plans AND THEN SOME, simply because I am just soooo freakin' excited, I can't settle down to go to sleep! ANOTHER IMPORTANT POINT re: Auto-mode: It is NOT something I try to do = I am just that wired outta my mind with excitement! Like this morning at work, my hands were shaking as I typed my follow-up emails, I had so much energy, and I felt like I could run 'round the block a couple dozen times. The very night before any anticipated trip/event? It's not at all uncommon for me to be unable to sleep at all... so I'll be up all night, and start the trip/event on ZERO sleep, and amazingly, I will be totally fine, on top of things, happy and cheery = A-OKAY, PERFECTLY FINE... until it's allll over and that's when I finally crash and sleep for a full day.

So what did I do until 6:30 am? [BE FOREWARNED: You really should skip this next part!]

Some BACKGROUND INFO: Well, my boys (not Otis & Owen, but my honey-man and the angel boy-O) were camping together an hour away, up at Mt. Charleston for the weekend (a lovely minimum 15-20 degrees cooler than the Vegas Valley), so, jazzed about my trip or not, I had to occupy myself in their absence [Reveal: That was just a feeble attempt to justify what I'm about to share].

And soooo, what all did I do? Starting Saturday morning,
I went to Home Depot, I went to Target, I went to Kmart, I went to Nordstrom's Rack, and I went to Michael's Arts & Crafts, I tried to arrange a silk flower arrangement for my kitchen pot shelves, I washed all the bedsheets, I washed my honey-man's down pillow, I then went to see a girlfriend visiting from out of state from noon-ish until 7 pm, then I measured and hung a couple picture clusters on our walls, I hung my framed set of tulips from The Met, I re-organized everything under our bed, I fixed the lamp shades of our bedroom side table lamps and set 'em up (since I could finally reach the power outlet on the wall behind the head of our bed), I dusted, I shook and vacuumed rugs, I vacuumed the whole house and stairs (the stairs took forever, having to work in slow-motion w/my hernia), I swept the back patio, I trimmed kitty claws, I trimmed my nails and toes, I washed 2 different loads of bathroom towels (reds vs. the green), I washed my synthetic darks, I washed our cotton darks, I washed all the kitchen towels, rags and cloth dinner napkins, I swept, dust-mopped, and wet-mopped, I took a shower and I tried to go to bed and laid there thinking about more stuff to do (around 1 am), I got up 15 minutes later and trimmed my still-wet hair, I washed and ironed the angel boy-O's new bedroom curtains, I reaffixed the glow-in-the-dark stars that had fallen off the boy-O's bedroom ceiling, I spray-glued protective felt on the back of 16 one-square-ft. cork squares to be mounted on the wall beneath the angel boy-O's loft bed, just above his desk (and I would have nailed them up, had it not been 2 am!), I cleaned all the bathrooms (not a vigorous activity when one regularly uses shower spray and cleans with 'Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover' cleaning agent from Arm & Hammer - LOVE THE STUFF! - If you haven't already, find it, buy it and try it!), I re-caulked the annoying drippy spot at the bottom right corner of our shower door, I emptied all 5 trash cans located throughout the house and washed them all out, I found new homes for the original contents of the 6 Sterilite drawers I'd dumped the day before so my honey-man could use them for his office closet, I tried again to go to bed (around 4 am), but got right back up, and collected enough stuff for another bag of Goodwill donations, I polished 4 pairs of black shoes, including my honey-man's beloved cowboy boots, and I did pack everything for Europe except my toiletries, but only after I first tried on all my planned outfits (Yes, I am a big geek, but I had to plan to a 'T' since I'm only taking a 22" carry-on bag for a 2 week trip!)... and when I realized the kitties had quit trying to follow me around the house and the sun was up, well beyond rising, I made myself go to bed at 6:30 am... and I woke up at 8 am and made myself go back to sleep until I woke at 10 am (whew!).

In earlier years ('earlier' meaning my early to mid-twenties - - ahhh, my 20s ~ good riddance!), my going into auto-mode would ensure I'd be sick by the time I was in the midst of my eagerly anticipated trip/event. I think there was at least a 4 to 5-year span during which I was sick every Christmas, on into New Year's Day, but for the last few years, I've learned to better pace myself and to suppress my auto-mode - - NO, really! I have been far worse than this! But right now, with this trip? Starting into auto-mode 6 days before I leave?!? - - sooooo not good. At this point, however, after Saturday's marathon of errands and cleaning (and more errands done on Sunday with my out-of-towner friend), I'm not sure what more I can do between now and Thursday morning... although I do have another list made already!

As for the title of this post, whenever I find myself in auto-mode, I tend to favor Brit Pop
(that's young British rock bands, NOT Britney Spears, although she is a secret indulgence of mine) as my background busy-music .

P.S. The only time I had any caffeine that Saturday into Sunday AM was when my friend and I shared a small 3 cup pot of coffee around 5 pm with the cupcakes we'd bought from the Cupcakery! That was it. Otherwise, the high is all natural!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

If Price is an Indicator...

With the exception of my newly purchased TARGET wedding dress, if price is any indicator, I have fabulous taste when it comes to shoes!

In an earlier convo on the phone with Wendy, the angel boy-O's delightful mum, we got on the subject of wedding plans and ideas (Wendy is a wonderful idea generator!), and continuing on that topic, once off the phone, I decided to peruse the web for a moment, looking for the bridal shoes I have in mind for myself...

I want Ivory colored 3.5 - 4.0" Mary Jane heels with a button strap and rounded toe (I'm not joking)... Very much like this, but with a button strap (to match the buttons at the back of my dress, duh! - - not that it'd be terribly noticeable) and a titch taller because I don't want to have to hem 5 different layers of bridal dress material to keep it from dragging on the floor...

My very first search result:
Manolo Blahniks for $695

Similar search results:
Christian Louboutin = $710
Miu Miu = $430
Beatrix Ong = $470
Delman = $375
Kate Spade = $295
Cynthia Rowley = $270
Stuart Weitzman = $270

Um, I don't think the bride's shoes should cost more than the wedding dress, eh?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"You got it from where? Are you joking?"

This is just sooooo me (although I'm not sure yet if that's a good thing or not, but it's true): My old boss came to my office last week to chew some fat, and told me he'd heard a story that morning on NPR on his way to work and that he just had to tell me about it.

So I got online that same afternoon and placed my order... And upon finally waking up, Monday afternoon, my honey-man told me I should go downstairs to see what had been delivered already...

My wedding dress!!! ~ FROM TARGET!!!
And lemme' tell ya, it's just lovely and it fits me purrrfectly (although the short veil was disappointing and will soon be returned),
AND it cost less than $180, including shipping!

Tonight I may (or not) be given the definite 'yay' or 'nay' when my friend Ry-Ry comes over to see it - - (and to also watch So You Think You Can Dance with me!)

P.S. Despite etiquette, my honey-man has seen it already with me in it, and he loved it, and told me it fit perfectly and was quite flattering, and I do believe him,
(he's always honest about what works or not for my figure, bless him),
BUHHT, I could wear a potato sack and he'd still like me!

No, Not 'Femmeral,' but "Femoral"

For the past several months, I've been experiencing a persistent and annoying tenderness... Just a few weeks ago, I had a couple sonograms done (both kinds, if you know what I mean), and it was discovered that my right ovary is strangely "plump," nearly 3 cm wider than the left, and that I have bilateral ovarian cysts, one the size of my thumb, but either gynecological issue was cleared as the possible cause of this particular pain.

Over the past weekend, feeling greater pain than ever before, we discovered something that felt like the side of a small, firm egg-shape protruding from the muscle tissues in the far left area of my lower abdominals (see the lovely diagram I found online?), and whenever the angel boy-O would fiercely hug me about the waist, I wound up bent over and gasping... Sooo, on Monday, I stayed home from work having slept horribly (more like not at all) that Sunday night, and I went to the doctor's office first thing, and upon returning home, I slept from 10:30 am until almost 4 pm, and still went to bed by 9 pm. After work last night, on a 2nd appointment, I went again to the doctor's office and found out I had a temperature of 100.7 (why they didn't catch that on Monday, I don't know - - my honey-man had told me for days that I had felt like a nuclear reactor), and was told I have a femoral hernia and it can only be fixed with surgery... and I leave for London a week from tomorrow.

Thankfully, the hernia -although no fun at all- isn't bad enough to warrant the cancellation of my Europe trip... I can still go, but have to get some blood work done tonight and get a CAT scan before I leave, so I can schedule my surgery for as soon as I'm back.

So until then, no hiking, no running, nor jogging (like I ever go running? ha!), no swimming (our pool opens next week), no yoga (whhaaaah!), no deep bending (no more litter box duty for me! - although it won't be an issue while I'm gone anyhow), no squatting (the alternative to bending - totally litter box duty exempt!), no lifting of anything more than 30 lbs (um, what about my luggage?), no wrestling (on the stairs nor with the boy-O, tickle fighting), and no bedroom play (*sniff, sniff*).

It could be A LOT worse. How about a strangulated hernia? Fun stuff, indeed!

Why I Love Mah Honey-Man ~ Reason 11

Because it took less than 3 weeks for him to think and say aloud, "It's only 98 degrees," as if such a temperature measurement indicated it was cool outside.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Foiled Again!

My long-time-had Amish Friendship CAKE starter had recently died a dreadful death, due to my own negligence (sniff, sniff) ... and so, I had made the promise to start fresh and create a new batch of starter...

After 8 days' time, only 2 left to go before I could make some yummy Amish Friendship CAKE with it, my Otis (I didn't actually see him do it, but it had to be Otis!) nibbled the starter's Ziploc bag!?! NEVER EVER have either of the kitties attacked the Amish Friendship CAKE starter, not ever!?!?

And to do so now? When I was trying to start my starter, anew? and with only 2 friggin' days left?

Fooey. Lil' fuzzy bastards.

Must. start. over. AGAIN.

MORE and MORE Cute Fuzzies (as always)!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Needs vs. Wants

A strange thing has happened...

For the first time, we move into a home we own (or well, CORRECTION: a home the bank owns) and we have MORE THAN ENOUGH stuff in it already, but suddenly, there's all these things we didn't have, that we've never ever needed before, that we've happily lived without for years and years, but now? - now we gotta have 'em!?! Since moving in and beginning the process of setting up house, a ridiculously loooong list has emerged; it's a list of items we want for our new home, some that we've [I've] already purchased since moving in and other items we still plan to eventually purchase [SIDE NOTE: The following is more like a record for me than anything else - - oh, except it's shameful too - - like a nice reality check from hell as to how much money one can blow on WHATEVER when you buy a home!?!]:

The Powder Room (my first "It's all Done!" room): Blue lidded trash can, White toilet seat cover, Square blue and green braided rug, White tumbler, White soap dish, Blue plunger (not that it being blue was at all important in my purchase decision) with white cover...

The Angel Boy-O's Bathroom (my 2nd "It's all Done!" room): Green lidded trash can, Striped bathroom rug for tub, Green bathroom rug for sink, Mr. Bubble (a must!), Watermelon no-tears no-tangles shampoo, Johnson & Johnson Baby Body Wash, Small shower caddy, Vinyl shower curtain (and the kitties have already chewed holes into it, where the weights are enclosed in the vinyl), Decorative metal curtain rings, One white bracket shelf for CD stereo...

The Angel Boy-O's Bedroom (nothing done yet, waiting for his arrival THIS SATURDAY!):
PAINT AND MORE PAINT! Blue! Kelly green! Orange! and Purple!
3 red IKEA Lack shelves
Pair of Madras curtains (to be sewn by me)
Curtain rod (actually, I did go ahead and buy that already!)
Custom-sized pull-down, black-out window shade (whatever those are called!)

Master Bathroom: Green bathroom runner rug, Green bathroom shower rug, Cream potty room rug, Cream toilet seat cover, Peachy metal magazine rack (for mah honey-man), Green metal above-toilet storage rack, Small curtain rod, One cream curtain, Pair of green sheer drapes, 6 Red brick bath towels,
2 Red brick hand towels, 4 Soft red hand towels, 6 Red brick washcloths, Dark, lidden basket to hide from sight my misc. make-up I have that I never use, Wall-mounted make-up mirror (all my house-sitting has spoiled me! I wanted one of my own, Dianne!), a 2nd wall loop for my hand towels (the last two items, I haven't hung yet, so this room ain't "It's all Done" just yet)...

Master Bedroom: Pair of green panel drapes, Pair of long cream sheer drapes, Pair of camel sheer drapes, Pair of brass leaf pull-backs, Brass leaf curtain rod, Pair of curtain rods, 2 spiral light bulbs, an additional 'tall hamper' for the closet

The Kitchen: 2 sets of yellow tiered cafe curtains, Pair of curtain rods, Fabric to re-cover kitchen chairs, Poppy design bowl, platter and small serving dish, 3 decorative metal hanging plate racks, Pair of wooden plate stands, Pair of metal plate stands, Cup hanging hooks, 4 'helper' pantry shelves, Dust mop, Red silicon sink mat, Silicon sink divider, Dishwasher detergent, Clorox Sanitizing Spray

Yet to be purchased: 2-3 barstools, Refinish kitchen table and chairs, New chair padding so I can re-cover the kitchen chairs

The Living Room: has been bought yet, but a BIG 'wish list' item for my honey-man = a 42" flat screen wall-mounted HDTV... on the list of our priorities, from A to Z, this is a 'Z' item.

Yet to be purchased: Window coverings in general - - we have none and have no clue what kind we want, Large basket for blankets, a 2nd cracked glass touch lamp to replace the one I broke last year when I moved out of my apartment.

The Miscellaneous: Laundry drying rack (like the one my sister has, that I'd been coveting for months), Back-of-Door canvas shoe rack, Carbon monoxide detector...

The Backyard: We haven't bought anything yet, except a really mean lookin', totally kick-butt grill cleaning metal bristle-brushy thingy...

Yet to be purchased: Anything green that grows in the ground!?!, One white basque (Thank you for the spelling, Kati!) climbing rose, One sterling rosebush, One yellow rosebush, One flaming peach rosebush, ummmm, anything remotely green that grows in the ground?!?
, a drip system so we can keep alive the green stuff we hope to someday plant, Copper fire bowl with stand, Curved bench that matches the fire bowl, Umbrella table with 4 chairs and an umbrella, Install pavers in the NW corner on which the aforementioned, desired umbrella table would be placed...


Friday, June 01, 2007

His Stuff v. Her Stuff - - The Battle Begins!

Wednesday night, when my honey-man returned to Vegas to stay, for the first time ever, we found ourselves trying to deal with the unpacking of my honey-man's stuff. At first, in his office, we were well focused (although he fought the inevitable, as to the inevitable placement of his desk). Moving downstairs though, the battle of 'His Stuff versus Her Stuff' began, as we tried to determine how to arrange our shared living space - -

OH and lucky for us, I happened to be in a generally foul, hormonally possessed mood, and my honey-man? Well, he was demonstrating his most loving ability to maintain his infinite patience whenever I'm feeling hormonal in the 'bad,' unwelcome way. Bless him.

The issue: What the hell should we do with his beloved couch.

I want it to sit at an angle. He wants it square against the wall.
The possible result of either positioning, well, I won't get into that.

Anyhow, while hashing it out, at one point I had looked away from him and as I turned round to face him again, he was writing the word 'NO' in the air, knowing this was what I was about to tell him in response to his latest suggestion. The comedy of the moment became very clear... and the next day, I giggled throughout the day, recounting how and for how long we had bickered. I just keep seeing him with his face all stern and pouty, writing the word 'NO' in the air...

It was great fun!