Building Furniture + Bad Cramps =
We started our really really fun furniture building project yesterday. Sand and re-paint the living room table, build a bench and bookshelves for the living room window, add another shelf to the laundry room, and re-paint the black wall by Sean's computer - also in the living room. With chalkboard paint! Then I got cramps and hated everyone.
Poor Sean got crammed in the back of my Honda with all the supplies, as he couldn't fit in the driver's seat. He took a picture of himself back there. We also managed to gouge a hole in the door panel on the passenger's side. We are thoroughly bummed.
We started by sanding the living room table and painting it again.

That was my view of Sean
Every time I turned around I laughed

Self-portrait (with my old
cracked UNLV Alumni sticker)
The chick at Lowe's said this paint was as black as you could get - kettle black. Looked gray to me (top left), but it did dry pretty dark. We wanted it flat so it wouldn't glare, so I guess I have to settle for this. We are coating it with a water-resistant semi-gloss which will bring out the black some more.
This morning Sean's boss brought over his table saw which helped greatly (thanks Kraig). Sean put together the boards (doubled so it's really sturdy) and sawed all the pieces for the bookshelves. The bookshelves split in a couple places but he glued it and clamped it and hopefully it will survive. Check out the dust flying!
Heather stopped by today after her consult for her tattoo (it's gonna be cool) and we worked on ideas for Christmas cards. It was then that I realized that the black wall by Sean's desk looked horrible and off I went to Lowe's to get some black chalkboard paint. I'm painting it Tuesday.
Somewhere in there tonight I made another batch of tortellini soup since we still had the tortellini in the freezer. Sean and James had quite the conversation at Central Market but I can't repeat it here. It was sassy.
Oh yeah, I got my haircut too. First haircut since cousin Laura cut it on our cruise - in July!
More pictures tomorrow. I have to put another coat of paint on the table now.

We love you too, CW.

Jeff stares down the lone pin

Kingpin Manny

Tara, Me, Manny
Wednesday night I went bowling at Leilani Lanes with the Bloggers - Mikey, John, Jeff, Manny, and Tara. I didn't bowl - I just watched and took pictures. Manny won both games, but he's a bowler - he even brought his own bowling ball, which should have been a sign.
After bowling we went to my house and I made a giant batch of hot cocoa for all of us, and we talked until midnight. After they left, Sean and I started chopping and sauteing the vegetables for the stuffing. We were up pretty late.

Thursday was Thanksgiving at Marc's apartment. My job was to bring chairs, which of course, I forgot. We got there and I saw the table setting and right away I remembered that I was in charge of chairs. We ended up eating in the living room.
We had tons of food. My corn casserole was so spicy we were sweating - and I had already cut the jalapeno portion in half.
Jon and Amy and Dawn joined us later and took family pictures.

Sans Chairs
(It wasn't easy to get them all to hold still and quit goofing off)
After dinner Jon and Sean went on a secret mission to get Amy's surprise early Christmas gift - a library card catalog dresser-thingy. He got it on Ebay and the guy lived in Maple Valley so it took up the rest of the night. She was thrilled with it!
Jon and Amy left for Hawaii early this morning.
This weekend Sean and I plan to build our new bench and bookshelves for the front window in our living room. It will take a few steps, but hopefully it will be done in time for our Blogger Christmas Party on the 10th.

Baby Critter!!
This is Louise (Thelma not pictured). She is a "Rex" rat (curly-haired) and she belongs to Meredith and Sara, who had a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Potluck Party last night. I held this baby girl for so long - she snuggles into my neck and gives me curly-whiskered kisses - and she lays flat on my shoulder and lets out a sigh when I pet her furry rat butt. She's the cutest little friend ever. I can't wait to go there again - they also have four cats, so I was busy petting and talking to animals all night.
We have some prep work for tonight - I found a recipe for stuffing done in a crock pot, so we'll just chop up those veggies tonight. Sean offered to help, but he'll be at a hockey game with Jon most of the night.
Our dinner will be at Marc's apartment (Jon's brother) along with Jon and Marc's parents, Earl and Lisa, and after dinner Jon, Amy, and Dawn (Marc's girlfriend) will join us. We are in charge of the stuffing, corn casserole, and sweet potato casserole. It's looking like we'll have a lot of leftovers. But I guess that's the point.
Jon and Amy leave for their ten-day cruise around Hawaii Friday. This is the trip they planned when they were forced to cancel their trip to Japan last year (war and SARS all at the same time).
I have a party to attend Sunday, but not many other plans. I have the feeling that this will be the last free weekend in a long time. It's like this every December, but I like it that way. Every month should be December.
I'll probably update tomorrow or Friday with pictures....

The First Annual Seattle Bloggers White Elephant Potluck Dinner Party is in the planning.
If I don't know you yet, better start now.
(And yes, I am crazy)

Dress/outfit, size 8ish, warm (not sleeveless), to borrow for a December wedding. Please send picture.
Too poor for any more weddings. I have one outfit picked out, but if I could borrow something different, that would be cool.

Heather and Zach took me to see "Love Actually" while Sean played volleyball. Sean hadn't really played in, oh, five years, but he's still up and walking so that's a good sign. He had to buy a pair of shoes on the way there, and he still needs knee pads, since we can't find his (and that could be a blessing because I think they're the same ones from when we went to UNLV. Eeeww yuck I hope I'm wrong.)
I thought "Love Actually" would be a bit cheesy in its cheeriness, but it was a great film. I laughed out loud in a few parts, and felt happy-tears welling up in a couple parts. And I don't think I'm a movie crier. (Am I? The end of "She's Having a Baby" gets me every time, but I can't think of any others....)
Sean made pasta for me tonight and it tasted like BLT sandwiches. It was fettuccine, a cream cheese/onion sauce, tomatoes, and toasted walnuts. And I had it with toast just to confuse my taste buds more. I'm not complaining - it was good! BLT pasta!
Tomorrow I think I'll hunker down and try one or two new cookie recipes - holidays around the corner and all. Any recommendations? Family favorites? Lead the way....

Chris Delay and his wife Irene are in town so they came over Friday to visit. Sean and Chris made a fabulous meal of steak tacos with rice and beans, and we played Settlers (big surprise). I also made the ugliest cupcakes I've ever made.
The rest of the weekend I paced the house trying to find something to do. Sean was satisfied playing Command and Conquer on his computer, but I was antsy, and it was freezing cold outside. I was annoying.
I finally settled on renting a movie - I rented White Oleander because I just finished the book. The movie was missing about 70% of the story, so I found it difficult to appreciate. I guess if you never read the book you wouldn't know what you were missing, but the content that was removed was pivotal to the character's development so it seemed empty to me. I also think that Claire should have been played by Olivia Williams (Rushmore teacher/ Sixth Sense wife) - that's how I pictured her while I was reading the book - certainly not Renee Zellweger.
Speaking of Zellweger, Down with Love is worth the rent for the costume and set design alone.

Day old chocolate frosting + blue dye = metallic green

Irene, Dominique, Chris
Some pretty major fish psychology last night - it was fascinating. The guy on top - he's dying. He's practically see-through, and having a rough time staying upright. At one point he laid down on the bottom of the tank and we said "Won't be long now" but no! His friends came along and nudged him back up, and they stayed with him all night - for hours, nudging him along and steering him back and forth. Those pink fish rarely spend so much time together in a pack, but last night they were inseparable. I fed them brine shrimp (a treat) and they all ate like crazy, but our sick man just hovered along, not eating a thing even if it was right in front of him.
This morning I avoided getting out of bed because I knew he would be dead by this morning, and he was. Sean netted him out.
He was five years old - not bad for a tank fish.
On to happier things from last night, okay?
We made Heather's Tortellini Soup
Saute 1/2 an onion and 3 cloves minced garlic in 3 Tbsp. olive oil until clear - about 2-3 minutes.
Add 1/4 c. red wine or balsamic vinegar, and some salt & pepper
Add a can of chopped tomatoes (with juices) and lay 2-3 c. fresh spinach (i.e. a few handfuls) on top, bring to a boil
Add 4 cans broth (we did 1/2 chicken and 1/2 veggie broth), bring to a boil again
Add a small package (2 cups?) of cheese tortellini, cover, bring to a boil, stir, and simmer about 15 minutes.
Season with thyme, basil, oregano, whatever you got. You can also add whatever veggies you like to the soup with the canned tomatoes. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Served with sourdough toast

Last night Jason had his Beaujolais Nouveau party which is becoming an annual tradition. He had quite a spread - pity I snarfed too much food at Six Arms previously. We left early so I could make it home in time to watch Robert Romano* die on ER (apologies to whoever tapes the show as I may have just ruined it for you).
This morning we woke up to snow - again! And this time it was sealed with a batch of frozen rain! Good times! I'm guessing it will be melted by this afternoon since it's very bright and sunny outside.
Chris Delay is in town so he and his wife are coming over for dinner if all goes as planned. Sean said he's hiding the cupcakes so he doesn't have to share any. Nice.

Beaujolais Party Spread

Jason who was this chick? I liked her!
*And now for some nerdiness....
I found out that Paul McCrane (Robert Romano from ER) played the gay guy in Fame, and I wanted to find out what else he's been in.
He was the guy who asked Rocky to sign his head-cast in Rocky II.
He died in the movie Purple Hearts.
He was the older brother in the Hotel New Hampshire.
He was a bad guy in Robocop.
He played Guard Trout in the Shawshank Redemption.
And! And! He was one of the lead characters in Cop Rock!!
And he was also Leonard Betts on the X Files. (the talking head)
This concludes your Paul McCrane lesson for the day. You're welcome.


Hotel New Hampshire

Rocky II

Seattle Snow Pictures!!
Sean's alarm went off this morning to the news talking about snow in Seattle. I rolled over to look out the window and the sun wasn't up yet, but you could certainly tell that everything was covered with snow. I nudged Hobbes and pointed out the window, and he walked over to the windowsill, purring as he looked outside.
By the time I woke up, the snow was melting at a fast pace. I took these pictures around 7:30 a.m., but it was a lot more beautiful an hour earlier. I was late for work because I had to scrape the snow off my car.
This is the new ditch that you may remember from last year. I think I'll send the originals of these pictures to the guy in charge of this project with the city. I have his e-mail somewhere. Maybe they can use them in a publication or something.

Why I was late for work

The top of our patio (inside looking up)
Yesterday Sean and I spent a few hours on his resume, cover letter, and application for that job I mentioned. We e-mailed it all late last night.
Tonight is the monthly Blogger Meet-up. Tara and I will attend to sign autographs.
Also, as of Monday, Enetation's comments have been extremely wonky and I am aware of it and there isn't much I can do until they get the problem fixed. Just keep trying - I'll be here.

I love that the blog world (or as Styro calls it, Blogaslovakia) keeps getting smaller. I love that we're meeting in person, and I love that I received the coolest e-mail ever from a reader who discovered me in the Seattle Times, and she's a regular reader, and she has eleven kids. How cool is that?! I love that I had breakfast and a slow latte with Erica. I love that I'm gathering addresses for Christmas cards. (Hey - all of you - I may have your address but do I have your birthday??)
I was interviewed for an article about blogging in the Tacoma newspaper and I find that Tara is in the same article! (Oh, and Lion? I just blogged about sandwiches yesterday - it works for me.)
This morning was Hello Dollies for breakfast and finishing White Oleander. It's been dumping rain for 24 hours and it's night even during the day. I'm hot tea and flannel pajamas and cat draped on my arm. I'm not going anywhere but I'm not tired enough to nap. I'm hands that stay cold no matter what I'm doing. I will probably start another book. I will fry some green onions in oil and eat them with my hands like a little kid eating spaghetti. I will hang out in Blogasloviakia today. I will work on Sean's resume for this job that he could actually like. I will actually water the houseplants. I will bake Sean his yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
I'm happy that it's raining.

Friday a few of us at JA went to Zao, a noodle restaurant that I really like. I took Mom there last month and the service was atrocious. The same server was working Friday as well, but thankfully we avoided him.

Tofu fries, green tea, and bowls o' plenty

Me & Chris
Friday night we made these fantasmalicious sandwiches using the slow cooker. Here it is:
Put in a crock pot:
One big hunk of beef rump, a can of beer, a packet of Lipton's dry onion soup, beef broth, and a can of french onion soup. We also threw in some garlic cloves. Slow cook all day. (You can add onions too, but we forgot.)
Break up the meat but keep it in the juice - use a slotted spoon to serve - on crusty toasty bread with sharp white cheddar. Use the juice for au jus.
The leftovers were just as good.

Hobbes on the fridge
Saturday we did some cleaning, and I made a batch of Hello Dollies per request from Johnston Architects.
Saturday night was Stacy's Chili Party, which is a yearly tradition. There were four or five batches of different chilis, plus many batches of cornbread and desserts. Her apartment was packed. I met some new and interesting people and Sean drank large amounts of wine.
Sunday we saw a matinee (thankfully) of the Matrix and *so* many lines made me cringe.
Matrix Spoiler Alert until the pictures:
• Go Neo. I knew Neo would save us. I have faith in Neo. This is for Neo! Neo can do it. Puke.
• Someone looks at Trinity and says "She's in love". Someone looks at Neo and says "He's in love." Puke.
They held hands while flying the spaceship thingie. It was so.... Disney.
The one scene where Neo cries, he's wearing a blindfold. Like the producers said "Okay Keanu, here's the scene where you cry." And Keanu said "Whoa" and they said "Okay, we'll let you wear a blindfold then."
10,000 spraying bullets directly at a body until finally one hits. They did a great job hacking up the concrete everywhere they went, though.
Trinity doing a cartwheel to get through the subway turnstile. Why? And when she did it it made a "whoosh" sound. Maybe it was her plastic trenchcoat.
The guy got the girl, and I'm happy. I don't need another two movies to prove their perfect love. I didn't need to see (in last Matrix) Trinity and Neo making love with those outlets instead of nipples. That just made me sad. And awkward.
I thought the first Matrix had a good enough ending, so I will always love the first movie. I don't think I need the other two.

Party Crowd at Stacy's Chili Party

I *heart* Osama

Why is he making that face?

Busy Kitchen
Last night after the Matrix Heather made us a yummy dinner and we played Seafarers - Sean crushed us.
Joe called us a couple times from Hawaii. He got a new digital camera so he's been taking pictures. While he was on the phone with me he started laughing, and explained that he was walking down this path with benches and lots of people and pigeons, and some guy caught one of the pigeons with his hand. He said it was totally weird - the guy just reached out and had a hold of the pigeon. Then we said good-bye and he hung up his cell phone, put it in a box, and mailed it to me. So I will have a cell phone in about a week! New toy!!

Loreto and Sean

I took this picture in the movie theater!
This weekend we saw Elf (I took Sean to see it with me this time), went to Stacy's Chili Party, saw the Matrix with the Germans, and went to Heather's for dinner and Seafarers (another expansion version of Settlers). Other than that, the weekend was grocery shopping, many phone calls, cleaning the fish tank, and reading White Oleander.
I have some pictures that I'll put up tomorrow but now it's Sunday night and I need to get some sleep.

• I am updating my contacts. I want your name, address, phone number, birthday, etc. All of you. Yes. All of you. I am a contact information freak. *AND* if I ever get organized y'all are getting a little something-something from Santa Seattle this year.
• It's "a whole other." There is no such word as "nother." Another is "an other". Even Kolja, who's been over here from Germany for just over a year, said this the other night. "Well, that's a whole nother issue..." and I thought he is officially americanized.
• I need a haircut. Bad.

Six Arms last night


Snowy said "Make these cookies".
So I did.
A few days ago we got a notice from the bank that a check had bounced - from my account. I never write checks, for this reason. Every time I write a check, it gets deposited a week later when the money's gone, then I pay $22 at the bank for the overdraft fee. Plus the fees wherever I wrote the check.
I don't have duplicates of my check - stupid, I know, but I only write about one check every few months, so it wasn't worth getting a new box of checks.
When this notice arrived, I had no idea where I had written the check. And I knew that made me look very irresponsible.
Today, I got a call from Eagle Laundry. "You bounce a check? From my store?" And at last the mystery was solved, and right away I said "What do I owe you?" I owe $54 cash. He's charging me the original check amount ($32) and a fee ($22). And the bank charged me $22.
I got two comforters cleaned, right before Mom came to visit last month. That was exactly a month ago. And now it cost me $76 to clean two comforters (not even dry-clean - just in those big washer & dryers at a laundromat).
I wish my checks could be printed with a disclaimer: Void if not cashed within 48 hours of written date.
P.S. I keep forgetting to tell you - I actually saw my Hot Hot Heat video on MTV the other night - about the last three beats of it. Just barely enough time for me to jolt forward and say "There's me! oh."

Yesterday I noticed Hobbes was paying attention to something on the ground out on the patio. I wanted to see what he caught so I went out there to see - and it was this earthworm. Nowhere near any dirt or happy worm home. Even worse, he was completely covered in lint and hair - like he managed to get tangled up in the exhaust area for our dryer vent. He was about 6 inches long and completely dry - but kinda moving. I couldn't figure out why he had so much cat hair on him - how did he get to the middle of the patio? Did Hobbes get him from elsewhere?
I scooped him up and placed him in our big outdoor spiderplant pot, hoping he could scrape himself clean with some good crumbly dirt. But alas, about 30 minutes later, I checked on him (guilt was creeping in), and he was still on the top of the dirt, completely still.
I picked him up and brought him into our bathroom. I set him on the counter while I got the water to the same temperature as a lovely summer rain, and put him, dry and hairy, in my hands and cupped him into the water.
He squirmed, he squiggled, I could tell where his head was because he stretched it up out of the water and shook off what he could. He did that cool move that they do where the muscle moves all the way over his body. What didn't come off in the water, I untangled myself, trying not to pinch him (some of the hair had wrapped tight around him). It was so fun I did it again just to let him dance in my hand in the cupped water.
When we were done, and he was smooth and shiny and slimy, I carried him into the backyard to figure out where to put him. He wove around my fingers - he wrapped himself around my hand.
He loved me.
Or she. Whatever.
It now lives in the little square plot by our patio that is home to a honeysuckle plant, a bazillion worms, and lots of roly-polys.
Don't make fun of me.

Everyone, this is my Book Group.
Book Group, Everyone.
Been kinda quiet today - sorry.
Made a Cast Page for Joe, although it isn't linked up yet. I miss him already. Also updated Dad's Cast Page and the Gen 3 Cast Page. I fixed the Vegas page - that had been bugging me for a while, since it's kinda historical. We went to Vegas with Amy just weeks after she and Jon were introduced. It has the first pictures taken of them together. It's like their documented zerost anniversary. (Zerord?)

Dawn and I spent Thursday at Stanford's for lunch, Cold Stone Creamery for dessert, and Old Navy and IKEA to walk it all off. I found the jeans I was looking for on clearance for $9.99 and Dawn found the start of her curtain designs for her new apartment.
Then I taught her how to play Settlers.
Happy employee
Too Much!
Christmas at IKEA!!

Jon and Amy (she made that scarf - I'm jealous)

The giddy Elf goers
After eating even MORE at Six Arms that night, I rushed home to watch ER. Alexandra reminded me that I never watched my tape of ER last week, so when the new episode was over, I watched the tape of last week. It was a Bob Newhart evening, as he starred in both episodes.
Friday I talked Josh & Emily into seeing Elf with me. I could NOT have been happier with the film. Yeah, it was a sappy Christmas flick, but the cast made it just perfect. And who's in the movie with Will Ferrell? Why, Bob Newhart.
Saturday Sean and I did a bunch of yard work - planting bulbs and mulching and spreading straw over the garden in the pool. Then he made dinner and we both made tarts. Aren't we exciting?
Today I'm going to my first book club meeting - Heather got me in! We read Fat Bald Jeff, and it was just okay. I've read about four books in the past week and the only one that I actually liked was Last Things. Someone tell me what to read that's either gripping or funny. And no murder mysteries.
Hey even better - put it on the message board in "books".

Go leave a message on the message boards. Do it. E-mail me if you're not signed up yet.
It's virtually impossible to get out of bed on mornings like these. I suppose it could be worse - it could be raining, but that's not in the forecast until next week.
Today Dawn and I head out to find fixins at IKEA for her new apartment. Being that I'm the pro at removing doors and replacing them with curtains, that's at the top of our list of projects.
I re-did my links page again. Sorry, folks, I'm fickle. Check out Gizmodo, in the first column. Totally fun stuff. Well, for geeks.


They are calling the weather a "cold snap" (and I picture an icy cloud snapping in my face going "Aw, snap!"). Temps in the 40's and 20's at night. Autumn lasted maybe two weeks. I don't mind the weather, really, but it does make me crave gingerbread cookies, and I'm ready to put up my Christmas tree any day now. Is that wrong?
Since I just updated last night, I didn't have any pictures for today, so I just dug into the ole miscellaneous file (oh yeah - there's tons more) and found this. It's from my 1986-87 junior year at Clark High in Las Vegas.
Yes, that's a tail, dyed black and braided. I had that thing for years.
I considered photoshopping out the gold, tangled chains. Ugh.
Before you rip me to shreds, show me what you looked like in 11th grade.
The Coldplay live CD is great - it was $22 at Sonic Boom Records, and it includes a 40-minute DVD of concert footage, and a lame-o, unnecessary CD-rom on the CD with some photos of the band.
Now go here and help some kittens. Really.


Canadian Settlers is not the same. The rules are a bit different, like "Don't Mess with Jason" and "Shane can trade anything". It was nice to actually spend an evening with Jason and Shane - well, actually the whole day, but the boys watched Kill Bill and I don't remember what I did instead, then we all hooked up again that evening. Jason's band, Hint Hint, played at the Knitting Factory in New York for CMJ last week. Sounds like a pretty cool experience.
Went to Fremont with my neighbor Sylvia tonight and got the new Coldplay Live CD/DVD. My Tuesday night now has meaning.

Mimi Smartypants is home with her new baby!! See her past three entries.

I did do scarily well! It's my upbringing.
Okay, that, and a constant diet of MTV in my forming years. If you take this test (click image), note: she counts against misspellings.
I think - well, I'm pretty sure - I will put the message board on the "news" page. Then the "news" page will become the "index" page. I'm telling you this because some of you link to my news page when you link to me, which won't make much sense pretty soon.
I will still keep the message board members only.
Oh yeah, here's Heather's re-cap of the Halloween party at the mansion - she got some better pictures than mine.
(That was a bad sentence - "she's got some thar them there...")


Happy Halloween past.

Germans say goodbye
Joe left for Antarctica, then called Saturday night to say they haven't left yet, but they ship off tomorrow morning (weather problems? Dunno)
I snuck in his room Friday morning to take a picture with him in case I didn't see him that night.


Coffee Crew, Crew

My Assistant

"More messy"

American Gothic
It's good to have a husband that can help you curl your hair while you do your makeup. I put loads and loads of makeup on my face, all the while complaining how cold I was going to be. Sean was a workhorse getting himself ready as well, including wearing pantyhose and a wig and makeup.
We went to two parties this weekend - both of which are featured here.
The forecast called for temperatures in the 20's and snow, but thankfully it just rained. It is very cold, though.
Friday night we got home around midnight and I took a long boiling shower, thankful to scrub away all the makeup and hairspray. I just couldn't take another night of it, so instead on Saturday night I wore pajamas and rollers in my hair. Yeah, it's an easy cop-out, but I was so warm and comfortable it was worth it.