Sunday, December 30, 2007

Flight Tracker

My son returned to Minnesota on Thursday. The cool thing is a friend of mine sent me a URL that does flight tracking, so I was able to check in and see the progress of his flight back.

You plug in the airline and the flight number and it has a map and the ETA of the flight to its destination. It was pretty awesome.

Yesterday, we drove to Dana Point, to pick up a brand new Karaoke machine for K. We got a $60 (retail price) machine for $30. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Craigslist? I was driving, and there was a bit of traffic congestion, and M (my husband) was completely losing it about the congestion. Granted the traffic was a little bit annoying to me, but more annoying was the every 30 second sound off my husband was making about it. Finally I told him that I was driving and I was not really that annoyed by it, and that I was more annoyed by him sounding off about it, so could he please stop. The drive went much better. He professes to love living here, but yet all he does is complain about traffic incessantly. Whatever.

I mean, really, this is southern California, the home of the 24 hour a day traffic report. There is ALWAYS bad traffic here. The sooner one accepts that fact, the easier it is to be able to move on and get to actually living life.

January 1st, 2008 will be a banner day here in California. This is when the "handsfree" law goes into effect. I can hardly wait. I swear to gods, the moment everyone buckles into the driver seat of their car, they open their cell phone and start calling people. Seriously. So here are all these idjits trying to maneuver their cars in tight parking lots, with one hand, whilst the other hand is busy texting, or otherwise operating their damned phones. I guess we are all going to end up looking like the Borg, with all the bluetooth headsets we will be wearing. What a fashion statement (rolling my eyes, here).

Looks like we are going to get hit with more winds, starting tonight through Wednesday. Which means that I will not be sleeping very well. Oh how I would love to not be terrified by the winds. PTSD is a splendor to be lived with (heavy dose of sarcasm here). Nothing like 72 hours of panic attacks to make a person feel ALIVE.

In other news, if the Redskins lose, and the Vikings win, the Vikings will go to the playoffs. Nothing like backing in. I hope the Redskins lose. I also hope the Saints win, so that if the Vikings lose, the Saints will get the Wildcard.

K, M, and I went to see Bee Movie yesterday at the $1.75 theatre. Cute movie. It was pretty much the whole Jerry Seinfeld schtick, but I enjoyed it. We will probably see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium on Tuesday, when movies at that theatre are $1.00.

Anyway, enough writing for today, unless something earth shattering happens.

Monday, December 24, 2007


My 16 year old son, S, who is finishing high school in Minnesota, arrived here yesterday. He will be here until the 27th. I am conflicted about some of this. I mean, I love and miss him so much when he is not here, but man, what is it with 16 year old boys?

Granted, I do not expect him to be "on" and social for 100% of his time here, but man, I like a little back and forth in my conversations. As far as I know, he is not confiding in any of the adults in his life, and I am included in that. Every conversation is like pulling teeth, me asking him about his life, and him giving not even the bare minimum of a response.

When do adolescents become actual human beings? I mean seriously, I practically ache for him when he is away, even though I know it was the right decision at that time. However, I hurt more, now that he is physically present, but obviously mentally and emotionally checked out. I know we have a few more days, and maybe he will actually talk to me before he leaves. At least that is what I hope will happen.

Now I know that I am painting teenagers with a broad brush here, and that I am sure there are some remarkable teenagers who DO communicate with the adults in their lives, and are not subject to the mood swings that terrorize many of them. My son is not one of those remarkable teenagers. My son is probably smack dab in the middle of the bell curve for average teen behavior. I just wish it did not suck so much. I am pretty sure it sucks for him too. I hated being a teenager, and there is not enough resources in the universe to make me go back and do even another single day as a teenager.

Being a mom sometimes hurts a lot.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Yesterday I got a call from my mom in Minnesota. I am so homesick right now. Yeah, I know, everyone is only a phone call away, but I miss seeing my family face to face. K had her First Grade Holiday Show yesterday. I videotaped the performance and will burn it to DVD for both sets of grandparents, but there is nothing like having them here to see it live.

I wish I would win the lottery, so I could buy a condo for my parents to stay in, so they could visit more often. I would also buy a condo to stay in when I visit Minnesota. How awesome would THAT be?

I know that there are more pressing problems in the world. And I probably have no right to complain, but there it is, I am sad and I ache for home. Pretty pathetic, huh?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What a Drag it is Getting Old

Today my arthritis and my artificial hip are complaining rather harshly. Especially my hip. Apparently my body is rebelling against the temperatures getting down to the low 40s (Fahrenheit) at night and only getting up to the mid 60s during the day. Now, it certainly is not as bad as what I would endure when the weather would change in Minnesota, but it is still painful.

I know I do not have it as bad as some, but not a day in my life goes by without physical pain. Everything I do is colored by pain, some days are far worse than others. I would love to be blessed with a few pain free days here and there. I really would. I am alive, I have survived much, and for all of that, I am truly grateful.

I think tonight might be a Vicodin night. I hate like hell to have to take them, but I know that at my pain level right now, I will not be able to sleep without it. And I need to sleep. The naproxen I take every day is just not touching it right now. GAAAAH. Sorry about the whining. Tonight is just not a happy time for me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Belated Hanukkah

My daughter informed me yesterday afternoon that she wants a dreidel and a menorah. This spurred a discussion about the fact that we are not Jewish, etc.

"But Mama, K (a boy from her class) is bringing his dreidel to school tomorrow. He is going to show us the dreidel game. I hope I get a chance to play."

Where would I get a dreidel and a menorah anyway? It is not like we are not already multi-cultural in this household. I have no problem teaching my daughter to honor the traditions of others, even if we do not follow those traditions.

I was talking to one of the other moms this morning when I dropped K (my daughter) off at school. I told her about K's desire. We chuckled about how I could convert to Judaism and become a Hanukkah and Passover Jew (an analog to the Christmas and Easter Catholic). I guess I prefer to find spirituality in my daily life, not at a temple or a church.

I did find quite ironic the story about the grocery store in New York City that had signs up next to their hams that said "Delicious for Chanukah". There is a complete and total disconnect there, and the fact that it was a grocer in NYC is more irony than I can handle in one sitting.

My preparations for the holiday are almost completed. I still have some tidying up to do before I bake cookies, but my shopping is almost done. I will be wrapping gifts tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Bulk Food Section

Since we moved here, I have been missing the bulk food section that is in many of the local supermarkets in Minnesota. Both Rainbow Foods and Cub Foods had items that could be bought in bulk, such as trail mixes, nuts, candies, etc. The only store, until today, that I had found that had such a thing here was Whole Foods (or more commonly known as Whole Paycheck). While I liked the selection of bulk items at Whole Paycheck, I hated the prices.

Today, after someone clued me in, I found Henry's Farmers Market. I went to the one in Costa Mesa. and I have found bulk food Nirvana. They have everything I could possibly want in that section and certainly dozens of items that I would NOT use. It is awesomeness. Bulk yellow popcorn can be had for $0.39 a pound. Corn flakes for $2.49 a pound, dried beans of all sorts and colors, rice, candies, granola, you name it. And at very very reasonable prices. And their produce is EXCELLENT and is budget priced as well. Why did I not know about this place until today?

Today, they had packages of 4 CFL lightbulbs for $1.99/pkg. I bought 3 packages. I am in the process of converting our incandescents over to CFLs, and 4 bulbs for 2 bucks is an AMAAAAAZING price. Even if they do not last seven years.

Since I was nearby, I also stopped at IKEA and found the PERFECT solution to the damn flyer problem (all the flyers and business cards on our front stoop). They had a chalkboard with a hot pocket that one can hang on the wall for $15. So I bought it and after I put it together, I hung it outside. We shall see if it works. If nothing else, folks can stop by and leave a note on the chalkboard if we are not home.

All in all a good day, even though I almost got killed on the 405 today. Why do people not look when they want to change lanes?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Took a Cool Drive Today

I took a drive through Santiago Canyon, near Silverado Canyon, and Modjeska Canyon. I have been wanting to drive back there for awhile now. I got to see where the Santiago Canyon fire was actually started. I was awed (in a bad way) by how much land was charred back there. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera along today, so I could not take pictures. I wish I had driven back there before the fire, because it looks like it would have been a beautiful drive.

Since I moved here, I have been aching for wide open spaces to go to, just to get away from the crowds around here. Now I have a place I can come to get away and clear my head. And the beginning of the canyon road is only about 10 miles from our house.

There is a Christmas tree farm back there too. I am not sure if they do the "cut your own" thing there, but it is good to know that it is back there.

While I was on the road, I passed the famous Saddleback Church (had never driven by it before). The place is gigantic. I have seen college campuses smaller than their complex. One of the roads leading up to the church campus is called "Purpose Drive", apparently after Pastor Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" book. Just that fact made me want to totally hurl. Hubris, anyone? What would Jesus think of Pastor Warren's lack of humility?

Winter in Southern California

The weather here in wintertime is so weird. Last night, the low temperature here was 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Today the high temperature is going to be 84. As I type this, it is literally warmer outside than it is in the house. In the summer, the opposite is true of the internal and external temperatures. I know we should probably put more insulation in the attic, and perhaps some insulation should be blown into the walls. I am sure that would solve some of the issue.

It rained big time on Friday. I was so happy to see the rain. I am even happier to see that the ash from the fires is finally washed away and is no longer in the air. I know that we now have to worry about mudslides in the foothills, but at least there is no longer a coating of ash and soot on every surface outside. I am still wiping ash from the surfaces inside the house, but that should subside now.

Yesterday when I was driving I saw something I have never seen before. Off in the distance, I could see that close to the ground was a very thick layer of smog, and above that was a layer of clear (clean?) air holding the smog down. It looked disgusting. We breathe that crap in every day here. If the smog is not a cry for the need of good and efficient public transit, I do not know what is. Ten million people living in a space that could maybe sustain three million, and it seems like even more people want to move here. That is, judging from all the real estate development going on here in Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, and Mission Viejo. One would think that the mortgage crisis and the bursting of the housing bubble would have slowed the development down, but it hasn't. Welcome to the corporate states of America.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What IS that Wet Stuff Coming Out of the Sky?

It is raining here today. And when I say rain, I do not mean the paltry, only get the road a little damp, type rain that most southern Californians are used to. I mean rain, real rain, like significant amounts of water is falling from the sky.

The ABC weather forecaster last night said that we were likely to only get about 1/10 of an inch of rain today. I sure wish I had a rain gauge because I believe we have had at least 1/2 inch since 7 AM. It is now almost 1:30 PM.

It has been raining constantly since early this morning. I am so happy to see it, because finally all the ash is getting washed out of the air and off the leaves. Only thing is, our storm sewers do not seem to be handling the amount of precipitation well, because there are veritable creeks forming right next to the curb and they threaten to flood over into the street. I hope that there are no mudslides as a result. Thankfully I do not live in the hills so I don't have to worry so much about mudslides, but I know some people that do.

This would be good sleeping weather.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Car Air Fresheners

Now, please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the point of having an air freshener in your car to help keep the air smelling fresh? I got a freebie air freshener (I can't even remember where I got it) and today I opened it up and hung it off my rear view mirror. I went back into the car a few hours later, and all I can say is P U.

That damn thing smelled like a cross between stale gingerbread and burnt marshmallows. WTF??? Now that smell is forever embedded in my brain. And my car doors have now been left open overnight in the garage, in the hopes that it airs out before I have to drive in the morning.


My Daughter's Thankfulness Assignment

This week for my daughter's sharing time, she was assigned to write two sentences about something she is thankful for. She wrote:

I am thankful for hugs. When someone is feeling sad, I can hug them and make them feel good.

I am so proud of her.

My Day at The Price is Right

Yesterday I went to see a taping of The Price is Right. I was with a group so we did not have to wait in the standby line. We had a reservation for the 4:00 taping.

We left Irvine at 10:00 AM because one never knows what the traffic into LA is going to be like and we had to be present at noon. Traffic was very smooth. We got to CBS and checked in with the group leader who said we had time to go have lunch. So we went to the LA Farmers Market for lunch (man that place has changed, and not for the better). A bunch of us ended up eating at Chipotle.

After we ate, we headed back to the studio and basically sat on a bench for awhile, got moved to another bench, had our IDs and SSNs checked, got our nametags, moved to yet another bench, and then went through the "interview". The "interview" consisted of one of the producers asking where you are from and what do you do. You have to be very enthusiastic, and memorable, so they know who to pick as contestants.

I was amazed at how many people in the standby line (not with any of the groups) appeared to be homeless or close to it. What is a homeless person going to do with a new set of Broyhill furniture?

They finally sent us through the security screening, took our cellphones (gave everyone a tag to pick it up later) and seated us in the studio. The studio is tiny, I was shocked at how small it is. It looks SO much bigger on TV.

Once we got seated, we were given directions by the announcer/producer guy (forgot his name) and then they started the show. One of the men in our group was one of the first four contestants called down, and he won the first prize (a set of camping equipment) and got to get up on stage with Drew Carey. The big prize he got to play for was a new Chevy Cobalt, and he won! He did not get on the showcase, but I think it was really cool that he won.

Our group was a mixture of people from different places (some from one church, some from a school's PTA, etc). So we all said we were from "South Orange County". Well Drew Carey made jokes about "South Orange County" all afternoon. He seemed to really enjoy what he is doing. He really interacted with the crowd. He is also very very witty, and quick with a comeback to stuff. Not that that is a big surprise, because of his background in standup, but it was fun to see. One of the guys in the crowd yelled "I love you, Drew!" and immediately he came back with "Let's just be friends!"

All in all it was pretty fun. A bunch of us are planning to go back again. Maybe I will be called to "COME ON DOWN!" next time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Malibu is Burning Again

Malibu is on fire for the third time in the 15 months I have been here. The Santa Ana winds are at it again, I am hoping that they can contain that fire and that no other fires crop up. I hate this. So far I am not too stressed since Malibu is like 50 miles from here, and the fire should not really affect our air quality here. But it is a reminder of what happened here, just one month ago. So far the fire, which started at about 3AM (it is about 9:20 right now) has burned about 2200 acres and 35 homes.

In baseball news, Angels fans are all a-tingle about Torii Hunter coming here. It allows them to use Garret Anderson as a DH more often.

We are planning a trip to Thai Town today, and to go see the Christmas lights in Griffith Park. We will not be anywhere near the fire when we go, so the air should not be too bad there.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Things You Do Not See in Minnesota

  • People with parrots on their shoulder in the grocery store
  • Prada dog bags
  • Six year old girls wearing makeup every single day of their life
  • Bentleys
  • Tree lots that advertise that they flock their trees
  • Baseball games in November

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Torii Hunter - Good News and Bad News

It is with sadness that I am writing this. Torii Hunter is no longer the center fielder for the Minnesota Twins. I knew this day was coming but man, this hurts. I hate Carl Pohlad. I really do.

The good news in this is that Torii Hunter is now with the Anaheim Angels. So every time I go to Anaheim Stadium, I do have a great chance of seeing him play. I am also glad that he did not end up with the White Sox. That would have truly broken my heart.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Text Messaging

In our preparations for the upcoming gluttony holiday, my husband called his sister, who is cooking the Thanksgiving Feast, to find out if we could bring the pies. She never called him back, which is pretty typical. (I am rolling my eyes, here). So, I took the bull by the horns this morning and text messaged her, asking whether she wanted us to bring pie. She texted me right back, saying, "Yes, that would be great!" (Again, I am rolling my eyes, here).

She only actually talks on the phone to her friends and my father-in-law, otherwise, she only communicates via text message to the rest of us. Normally, I do not do the text message thing, because it is an extra charge, but if she refuses to talk to us, what other recourse do we have?

I hate it when people do not call back, after receiving a voicemail. Particularly family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cold Weather Person in Warm Weather Holidays

Here it is, two days before Thanksgiving (my second Thanksgiving since moving here). It is 75 degrees outside, the sun is shining, the holiday is upon us, and I am so not feeling it. Spend 42 years in climates that actually have all four seasons, and then suddenly end up in a climate that has two seasons...mild and hot; and just try to get "festive" when it is nearly 80 degrees out. It just does not work.

I was walking through the schoolyard wearing a polo shirt and capri pants this morning, it was about 63 degrees out, and several people asked me why I was not cold. I love listening to the weather reports here and how lows in the 40s are seen as extremely cold. Of course I now hear about traffic reports in the Twin Cities and snicker about the fact that most Midwesterners have no concept of what really bad traffic truly is.

Oh well. We will be setting up our new to us artificial Christmas tree sometime this weekend. I am pretty excited. I will miss having a real tree (the fragrance is what I will miss), but I will not miss the annual expense, and the endless vacuuming of tree needles. I will also not miss stringing the lights every year, since our new to us tree is prelit!

Last year when I decorated, I felt like I was just going through the motions. I think I still feel that way. There is something about the very crisp winter air and the snow that gets me in the mood for the holidays. I think we need to take a trip up to Big Bear, or through the grapevine so I can actually see some snow, to reassure me.

There are some days that I miss Minnesota so much that I just ache. Today is one of those days. I wish the ache would just go away.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Air Pollution

Today in southern California we are experiencing a temperature inversion. Because of this, our air quality is really bad. My lungs are burning and feeling very heavy.

My daughter wanted to go outside to play today, but with the air as bad as it is, there is no way.

Could someone please remind me why everyone seems to want to live here. I am currently seeing far more downside than upside to living here today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

American Girl Place

A bunch of us moms went to American Girl Place at the Groves in Los Angeles this morning, while our children were toiling away at school. HO-LY Cow! I could live vicariously through my daughter to the tune of tens of thousands of dineros there. They have such incredibly cute things, and it is all so well merchandised. Too well merchandised.

K, my daughter, has an American Girl doll. We got one of the custom ones a couple of years ago at Christmas. She loves her doll. I do like the whole 'teach girls self-esteem and good character values' thing that go along with all of their stuff. It is refreshing to me, in a world full of Bratz dolls that there are still dolls that look like wholesome little girls. And there are story books that go with the main dolls they market.

I picked up an outfit for K's doll, a set of hair clips for K, and a birthday present for K's friend, whose party is next week. I dropped about 60 pictures of George Washington there. If I had it, I could have easily dropped 5 pictures of Ben Franklin. E-GAWDS!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Homework Homework Homework

My daughter is in first grade, and even in Kindergarten she had homework. The first week of school, the homework averaged about 70 minutes a night. I mark part of that up to not being in a routine for doing homework. But it was quite excessive. Now it averages about 30-35 minutes a night (not including the 15 minutes of daily reading required).

The school my daughter goes to sends homework folders home on a weekly basis. The folder comes home on Monday (or Tuesday if they have Monday off) and is due on Friday. The teacher assigns what she wants done each day. Our routine has been to get the week's homework (except for the reading, of course) done in two days rather than four. I know I am pushing it with my daughter's attention span, but the homework is work for me too, and there are other things, i.e. dance, play dates, etc. that I want to do after school.

My daughter is really doing well in school. She is keeping up (she is one of the youngest kids in the class - so sometimes her focus wanders). She is respectful and works hard. I am really proud of her.

Last year, when my daughter was enrolled in Kindergarten, she was put in the late Kindergarten group (the more advanced children) because she was already reading. Toward the end of the school year, her teacher wanted her to move down to the early group because she was not keeping up with the worksheets given in class. I dug my heels in and did not allow her to be moved down. I think her teacher had several names on the list of kids to ask to be moved down, and not one of them moved. I heard from another parent that she had asked to have their child moved down as well. How I handled it was I upped my volunteer hours in the classroom, and requested that the work that my daughter did not finish in class be sent home and worked on at home.

Her teacher this year, is not worried about the volume of work she gets done, as long as she knows the material. I am so grateful that my daughter got her as a teacher. This teacher is requiring the children to write sentences for each of the words of the week. This is an area that I have been working with my daughter on. I am glad for the assigned homework that addresses this for her. I am noticing that since the sentences have been assigned, she is finding it much easier to come up with ideas to write about. That was an issue last year, especially during journal time.

My daughter is still very compliant about doing her homework, thank the gods. She is resistant about other things, but the homework, she is happy to do when asked.

Precocious Children are Scary

Last night, we were meeting my husband's extended family at a restaurant in Westminster for dinner. I was planning on taking the 5 to the 22, but once I got on the 5, it was clear that my judgment was flawed.

My daughter asked, "Why aren't we moving?"

I replied, "There is an accident up ahead on the freeway."

My daughter responded, "Well, Mama, why didn't we take the 405?"

A very good question in deed. I think my daughter is 6 going on 16 sometimes. It scares me that she has figured out that the 5 and the 405 by us go relatively in the same direction. Next time I am planning a trip, I will consult her about which freeway to take.

Monday, November 12, 2007

We Met Our Goal

The lemonade stand was a complete success. Our group raised $200 exactly, for the Santiago Fire Relief fund.

Today Team Kids (the main group that coordinated this project) had an event at the Irvine City Hall. There were firefighters, police officers, the mayor and other city dignitaries present. The kids all got to get their photos taken with the firefighters, write thank you notes to them, and eat pizza. It was a pretty cool event.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lemon AID

One of our friends in the neighborhood organized a Lemonade stand to raise funds for the Santiago Fire Relief fund. It was done in coordination with Team Kids, the Irvine PTA and Families Forward. We baked some chocolate chip cookies and brought them and helped with the sales this afternoon.

It was a gloomy day, kind of chilly (for California - for me, chilly just does not happen when it is over 60 degrees Fahrenheit). All in all, the children had a great time. We sold a lot of cookies and lemonade. Many people just gave donations and did not want the refreshments. My daughter's Kindergarten teacher came by and donated some money, and enjoyed a cookie. Our goal was to raise $200. My friend is counting the money and will email us the final take. I do know that we were close to the $200 toward the end.

In addition to the Halloween candy, we now have left over chocolate chip cookies. I am never going to lose this 15 pounds!

In other news, my Vikings did terrible against the Packers. How can they look so good one week (last week against the Chargers) and do so terrible the next? Of course, the announcers commenced their Brett Favre worship way too early in the game. I am thinking, from now on, when the Vikings play the Packers, I should turn the sound off and just watch the play on the field. Only turn the sound on for when the referee is making announcements. That could work, right?

Yesterday, we went to the Los Angeles Toy District. It was fourteen blocks of mostly toy wholesalers. Pretty much a lot of it was cheap plastic stuff. One wonders how much lead paint can be contained in a fourteen block area. We did not buy any toys, but we got our daughter a new dance backpack (Hello Kitty - tag said it was licensed, I am thinking, at the price we got it, there is no way Sanrio gave their permission), a High School Musical t-shirt, and some pretty new hair clips. We also got a beach umbrella for $7.00. After we tired of the shopping, we took the Metro to Thai Town and had lunch, and browsed through the Thai markets. We almost got nailed, walking across Hollywood Blvd, when in the crosswalk. Almost all the cars stopped fine, except for one. SCREEEEEEEEEEEEECH! Not a sound I want to hear when I am in the crosswalk. Oh well, no harm done.

Friday, November 9, 2007

My Head is Officially Exploding

The other day I posted a burn photo, and I guess I should be glad I actually took them and got a few good ones. Apparently, the Irvine Company (the company that does all of the real estate development and property management here), in its infinite quest to make a buck, has gone to Portola Springs (one of the newest neighborhoods - that has many homes for sale), and painted the charred areas green. Yes, I understand the fire was a buzz kill, and probably hurt sales quite a bit, but, how about a little truth in advertising?

If you live near the foothills, or in a canyon, your house is likely to be in the line of fire, maybe not this year, or next year, but chances are, in any given 10-15 years, you are likely to have to abandon your house and hope that the firefighters can contain the fire before it consumes your house. Painting the area green does not take that risk away.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Mission in Life: Eat all the Halloween Candy

Today is the first day since Halloween that I have not had a single piece of Halloween candy. Today I replaced the candy with the pumpkin muffins my daughter's Brownie troop baked. There is some nutritional value in them, right?

I am not saying that I will not eat any Halloween candy today, since I will probably not go to bed for another 2 hours or so.

It has been a really, really busy day. I volunteered at school this morning. While I was there, the principal "invited" me to the Wednesday afternoon staff meeting. He wanted to have parents and students there to help come up with a school vision. They just created a mission statement for the school. This principal is new to the school and is very enthusiastic. I think the ink is not quite dry on his PhD as well, thus the mission/vision statement thing. I am thinking it is not a bad thing though, as the previous leadership at that school had things pretty stagnant.

Anyhow, we had these little break-out groups to discuss our 'dreams' for the school. All the parents were in one group, and there were three groups of teachers/staff, and one group of students (5th and 6th graders). One of the parents happens to be a teacher in another district. Every idea we parents came up with, she argued with us about. I really got kind of snarky toward the end of the thing, because she seemed to want only her voice and vision to be heard from our group. I think she should have gone into one of the teacher groups because of her profession and her lack of wanting to work with us lowly parents. I liked the rest of the parents that were there. In fact, most of them are becoming friends.

The Brownie troop had their re-dedication/investiture ceremony today. When it was my daughter's turn to light her candle, she was terrified that she would burn herself. I just realized that it is the first time that she has ever lit a candle by herself. She is so funny, how can she be so fearless about some things (wanting a Tarantula) and so frightened of others?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Burn Area

I took a drive today to see and take photos of the burn area close to our house. The fire got even closer to us than I originally thought. That was a rather sobering thought, especially since before this fire, I was operating under the illusion that the fires in the foothills would never reach us because we were too far away from them.

I had originally thought the fire had not crossed a certain major thoroughfare, but it had. Scary.

The fire actually did burn in an area that used to be base housing for the Marines at the El Toro Marine Base. If El Toro had actually still been open, I wonder if the federal government would have handled the fire any differently. Things that make me go hmm.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Way Too Much Halloween Candy

Don't you just love this time of year? The Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years season, ripe with ways to tempt you away from your "food program" (I refuse to use the word 'diet').

Not only did my daughter get a lot of candy while trick or treating, but we only had 6 kids (including my daughter) come to our door to beg. So we have most of a large bag of candy from that, plus all the candy my daughter brought home.

I will end up eating most of it, because I go through these nasty hormonal eating spurts. Plus I have been using the steroid inhaler for my asthma because of the fires and the poor air quality. If you want to lose weight, don't go on steroids. They make you ravenously hungry (or at least they do that to me).

Of course right after the "holiday season eating extravaganza" will be the "time to guilt you sorry-ass people back into shape after you gluttonously gorged yourselves sick during the holidays". GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I hate that.

I do not have so much to worry about, weight wise. I am over 6 feet tall, and the most I have ever weighed was around 210. But there are 15 pounds that I would like to lose (and can, if I put the effort into it). But I hate the whole binge-deprivation-binge cycle that is encouraged by the media. Yes I can make choices. Yes I have ultimate responsibility for my choices. I just don't like the negative reinforcement of the environment.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Giving Back

I am feeling a pull to do something for the firefighters who have toiled so valiantly against the fire here in Orange County and the fires elsewhere. But I do not know what they need. I am thinking that I may buy a couple cases of bottled water and drop them off at one of the fire stations. I know it is not much, but I really feel the need to do something for them. After all, they did put themselves in harms way to save lives and property.

Maybe I will even bake some cookies for them. I have to do something.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

(Twins Baseball) A Step in the Right Direction

The Twins exercised Joe Nathan's option for the 2008 season. Thank you Baseball Gods. Nathan is a fantastic closer (when he actually gets a chance to get out there and close!) and it is good to see that the Twins are doing what they can to keep their bullpen strong.

Torii Hunter is about to file for free agency. I will cry when he goes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Torii Hunter and somehow center field will not be the same without him. I wish Carl Pohlad, who is far far richer than George Steinbrenner, would cowboy up some cash to keep #48 at our center field baggie. Torii Hunter has been the heart and soul of the team, much like his predecessor in center field (Kirby Puckett) was. Say what you want about Puckett's off the field incidents, but anyone who understands baseball can tell you that on the field, Puckett was one of a kind and truly played his heart out.

I watched Torii Hunter's last home game as a Twin on TV (I wish I could have been at the dome, but it is an 1800 mile drive to get there). I cried in the top of the 9th inning when they pulled him out of the game, and when he came out of the dugout and tipped his cap. Torii, please do not go. Carl, please do not let him go.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

One of Those Days

Two days in a row now, I have had 'one of those days'. Yesterday, my daughter was almost late to school because I sat in the parking lot waiting for cars to move so I could actually park my car and walk her back. Right after that I went to the grocery store. Grabbed a cart, picked out some produce. After that I left the cart for no more than two minutes while I went looking for some things in the aisle (I do not like to take the cart down the aisles - because invariably someone parks their cart cross ways and blocks the aisle). About the time that I left the cart, there was a store manager asking if I needed help finding anything, and I said I did not. He asked me if I was sure about that...(what the heck???).

So I go on about my business, find the stuff I wanted, and came back to find that my cart was gone. I went to the front of the store and that same manager had taken my cart (he saw me with it in the first place) because he assumed it was abandoned. Good grief, wait 15 minutes, if it is still there, it is abandoned, but three minutes tops? I was so angry. I have had my shopping cart taken from me in stores more times than I can count. Usually the cart taken is empty, so it is not such a pain. But I had hand picked some apples and bananas, so I was royally upset.

Today, I feel blah. I lack hope today. Don't quite know why, but I do. I have been dealing with some chronic issues, which I do not care to divulge online. Suffice to say that I am lacking the emotional strength and fortitude to deal capably with the situation. I am depressed and the situation is not resolving at all. I feel really defeated. I wish I could be optimistic about this but I cannot.

Depression is an awful thing. I hate the hopelessness and the defeat. Perhaps tomorrow I will feel better, but today I just do not. I am just tired, tired, tired. And I cannot get any traction in this and other areas of my life.

I know, once the air quality gets better, that I will probably get better and more hopeful, emotionally, but dang, I am tired of waiting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trunk or Treating

We got invited to a "Trunk or Treating" event that was held today at the local Mormon church. Basically, the deal is, instead of going door to door, the kids go from car trunk to car trunk in a parking lot. The church served hot dogs and punch, and the kids got to be outside in their costumes and collect loot.

What was really cool, was that it was not limited to the members of the church. In fact, my friend that told me about it happens to be Jewish. She said that her family has been going to this thing for years.

So my daughter put on her costume, I grabbed a bag of Halloween candy, and we headed for the church. We handed out candy, and my daughter collected candy. Seems pretty win-win to me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Phantom got My Daughter

This morning, on our front door, was taped a note that said, "Boo, We Got You!" with a ghost picture on it. Along with the note was a treat bag filled with candy and other Halloween goodies (bat erasers and bat straws anyone?).

In the bag was another note, basically instructing us to fill up three treat bags, and take them to three of my daughter's friends' houses to keep the thing going.

Normally I hate this sort of thing, but, hey, there were treats involved, and it was so fun getting the treat bags together, and dropping them off. (We may have gotten caught at one house - eek). I do like the "anonymous giving" aspect of it. And my daughter had a blast. Especially knowing we may have gotten caught.

In a HUGE way, the whole thing made me feel good. I was happy that someone thought of my daughter in this way. That counts for a lot, especially since, sometimes I feel like we do not fit in here.

The air quality today is better. The sky is not that sickly orange tinged color it has been all week. (I thought the green skies before the tornado were sickly looking, they are, but the orangey sky seems to hang on longer term).

I hope the air quality improves enough to go trick or treating on Wednesday. I know the kid has been looking forward to it all month.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rain, Blessed Rain

It is drizzling a bit this morning. I have never been so happy to see rain in my entire life. And I am always happy to see rain here in California because it happens so very rarely.

This rain certainly will not be enough to eliminate our drought deficit. But I do know that even if no rain falls on the fire, the humidity will help the firefighters get control of it. The fire has now burned 38,000 acres, is in the Cleveland National Forest, and is heading to Corona. I know a few people in Corona, and am hoping they stay safe.

Last night we got Thai food, because I am so congested. The chiles and spices seemed to help break it all up a little. Our daughter seems to be weathering this bad air better than I am. Thank goodness for that.

Since there was no school yesterday, another mom and myself met up at one of the indoor malls (many malls are completely outdoors here - except for the actual stores). Our kids got to walk around, play in the play area at Pottery Barn, and jump around on the little floor projection area. They got to get some of that excess pent up energy out that they have not been able to channel for almost a week.

Today is a good day. Thank you Higher Power, for the rain.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Our Freeways

Our freeway system here is massive. Most freeways here have at least 5 lanes going each way and often there is still gridlock with that. There are two speeds for most of the freeways here, parking lot, or 85 mph. I cannot believe how fast people drive here when the freeways are moving. Back in the midwest, I would be considered a lead foot. Out here I need to stay to the right because everyone here is passing me. And it appears as if the CHP does not pull anyone over for speeds less than 100 mph.

Our Air Quality is Getting Worse

The winds have pretty much died down for now, but somehow the air is worse today. Yesterday afternoon was about the best the air has been since the fire started on Sunday afternoon. But now it is clearly worse. It looks like fog, only it is smoke, soot, and ash. And the char smell is leaching into the house again. I have towels at all the door jambs to stop it, but it clearly is not enough.

My daughter's school was cancelled for today. We will probably head to an indoor mall later, because the air quality is likely to be better there.

Have I said today how much I want this to be over?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I picked up my 23 year chip at my meeting today. Something the 12 step programs have taught me is that I can only do what is in front of me. That fact has been brought back in spades this week. I am powerless over the Santiago Canyon Fire. I am powerless over the Santa Ana Winds. However, faced with these things, I am NOT powerless over my choices with regard to the externals.

I am choosing to do everything in my power to make sure my family and I are safe. I am choosing to have a better day today than I did yesterday. Yesterday my emotional state hit critical mass. It really was not pretty. I had very little patience with everything yesterday. Today I am better.

My asthma symptoms are getting a little worse, but I know what to do to take care of myself around it. I hate sucking on my inhaler with the passion of a million suns. I hate how it makes me feel all jittery. But I know that without it, I could end up in the hospital on oxygen, and, quite frankly, I am useless there.

The air is starting to look a little better here. I am thinking my asthma worsening is just the cumulative effect of breathing in this noxious mix for days on end. My mind has come up with fantasies of torturing the waste of human skin that deliberately set this fire. I mean really, what did the person think? "Oh gee, today is a good day to set this fire, it will get maximum effect because of the weather forecast!"

I just got a phone call from my daughter's teacher. The school district has decided to cancel school for tomorrow. Ay yi yi. In retrospect, they probably could have cancelled school all week. I am glad she called me, though. So I can come up with a plan for what to do tomorrow. Perhaps we will go to one of the play land type places in one of the local indoor shopping malls.

In happier news, I have been starting to teach my daughter how to play piano (wanted to see if she would take to it before I paid the big bucks for lessons). She has been practicing every day, and seems to be enjoying it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My new heroes

I know the photo is pixellated, but I wanted to express my appreciation and gratitude for Orange County's and all of California's Bravest.

I am in awe of what you all do, and mere words fail to express my thankfulness.

Stay safe out there. Thank you for keeping us safe here.

Looks like we may get a reprieve from this long nightmare

The fire by us has a name now (probably as of yesterday or the day before). It is being called the Santiago Canyon Fire. At this point, the authorities are saying it is about 50% contained. The worst of it seems to have settled over the Foothill Ranch, Modjeska Canyon, and Trabuco Canyon. It is no longer aiming at Irvine.

Soot and ash covers everything outside. The sky here is gray-brown. My lungs are tight and feel like they have lost elasticity. I am staying indoors for the most part.

I had to go to Trader Joe's today because we were running out of milk. It was like a ghost town in there. No one is going out, except for going to work or school. I have never seen the shopping areas so deserted.

The school district has stopped all outdoor activities for the school children, until the air quality improves. All of the kids have ants in their pants, because they have no outlet for their natural energy. Meanwhile, it seems as if all of the parents are about to run out of their energy reserves, due to the stress of this whole thing.

All of our eyes are bloodshot, I am on "firestorm overload". I can only watch about 2 minutes of the coverage now without wanting to throw bricks at the television. Thankfully the local affiliates of the major networks have stopped the 24/7 coverage of it.

I have a low grade headache, I am sure it is from reduced oxygen in the air.

Yesterday it got up to 99 degrees outside, today it is 95. I cannot imagine how hot the inside of all that firefighting gear gets when the ambient temperature is this hot outside.

Many of us are sleep deprived. I know I am. I do not so much sleep, as I just collapse at the end of the day and spend a few hours unconscious, only to wake up, not feeling rested at all, to get up and do it all over again.

One tiny sliver of a good thing in all this...I have not had to bend over to pick up all the flyers and business cards at my front door this week. Apparently the flyer runners do not work during wildfires.

I know there are hundreds of thousands of people who have it a whole lot worse than I do in this situation. I feel deep empathy for them. I also feel extremely grateful that we were spared the nightmare of losing everything.

Monday, October 22, 2007

We are safe, for now

Right now, it appears as if the fire is blowing away from us. We are going to find someplace away from the smoke this evening, so we can breathe. We have not had to evacuate.

I have never seen smoke so thick.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We Watered the Roof

Well, the ash is falling from the sky, and it is very thick around here. We went out and watered the roof. I even got the ladder out and *gasp* climbed it to water the taller part. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am terribly afraid of heights.

My husband is still too heavy to climb the ladder (he has lost 50 pounds in the past few months, but he is still over 250 pounds and that just is not safe on the old aluminum ladder we have). So up the ladder I went. *shudder*

We should probably water the back fence too, since it is wood, and in dire need of a Thompson's seal job.

If you are inclined to pray, please pray for us, I am very frightened.

The ash in the air here is thick!

The fire is crossing into the settlements. We just watered the roof.

God, I hate this.

My House Smells Like a Campfire

Well, just 3 miles ESE of us, a brushfire has started. It has put up a plume of smoke that brought darkness to the late afternoon sky. I believe we are not in any danger of burning up, however, our air quality is going to be really bad for the duration of this fire.

Curse you, Santa Ana Winds.

I am not sure how much of the fire is contained. I sure hope it is contained soon.

My eyes are burning, my lungs are burning, and yet the winds still blow.

Santa Ana Winds

This is my second Santa Ana Wind season here in southern California. Today we are having sustained winds of 25-35 mph with gusts up to 80 mph (74 mph is considered category 1 hurricane force). I do not think I will ever get used to this. Back in Minnesota, when there are strong wind storms (yes they come with thunderstorms), people are told to go to their basements until the storm passes. There are no basements here. Besides that, today is Sunday, this "storm" is supposed to last until Tuesday night. Can't hole up in the basement for 3 days...

There is a wildfire in Malibu today. The winds are making it almost impossible to get any control of the fire, Several buildings have been totally lost already, and this fire has only been burning for a few hours. The Malibu Presbyterian Church is gone, Malibu Castle (Hodge Castle) is gone, the students and faculty at Pepperdine University have all been evacuated to the cafeteria. Even a few houses on the beach front are burning.

Something I learned last year during the Santa Ana Wind season is that a lot of the wild fires (at least around here) appear to be arson fires. Things like that make me question humanity, seriously.

We live a few miles from the foothills, and the foothills are where the fire danger is the highest. We are far enough away that our house would not be affected by any fires up there. This past spring there was a fair sized wildfire in Anaheim Hills (about 8-10 miles away as the crow flies). Our air quality, which is questionable anyway, became very poor. I am thankful, though, that we are not likely to need to evacuate.

I guess it is time to start the steroid inhalers for both my daughter and I. I sure do not want to have the smoke from the fires to trigger any serious asthma attacks.

In other news, today is my 23 year sobriety anniversary. What a long strange trip it's been.

Friday, October 19, 2007


My daughter, who is afraid of all things creepy and crawly (insects, spiders, etc.), informed me today that at school, in her classroom, they have a tarantula, and the teacher told the kids that they could take it home with them for a few days if they have permission from their parents. She has decided that she wants to take the tarantula home. Okay, my head is exploding. And in addition to that, she told me that she would like to go get our own tarantula to have as a pet.

I said to her, "But you are the one that gets all freaked out when there is a daddy-long-legs in the bathroom, and won't go to the bathroom until Daddy or I get the spider out of the bathroom."

"But I LIKE the tarantula, Mama," she replied.

You can't make this stuff up. Seriously. Now, we have been thinking about getting kittens next spring. So I told her that I was not sure if tarantulas and cats could coexist. Her response?

"Mama, I want a tarantula."

Funny thing - I am not at all squeamish about having a tarantula in the house. In fact, the idea of it amuses me in a rather perverse way.

I want to run amok

Right now, for reasons that I do not wish to divulge online, I just want to get in my car and drive to wherever it takes me. I won't do it, I have responsibilities here, but, damn, the thought of being able to do that is just so delicious right now.

I think I need a mom's night out. I was talking to some of the other mom's this morning, at school, after the kids had gone in, and a few of them were feeling the same way. I am going to try and arrange something in the next week or so, to get out and just be adults for awhile.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I have the attention span of a gnat

I am a strange person sometimes. I spend my life bouncing from partially finished project to partially finished project. I have four sewing projects in varying stages (two skirts, a blouse, and the ongoing patches that need to be sewn to my daughter's Brownie uniform - yes I know they are iron on, but when I followed directions for ironing stuff on, my iron melted the garment, so now I sew them on), one knitting project, and of course the ongoing household and laundry that needs doing.

Case in point, I was on the computer, when *ding* my brain went off and remembered that I need to sew the "pumpkin patch" badge on LittleTallDrink's uniform. But first I had to remember where the patch was. Which led to cleaning out my car. Once I got my car cleaned out, I realized that the patch was probably in my backpack, so I cleaned out my backpack. I could not find it, so I searched through my purse. It was not in my purse.

Then I went into my sewing room and laid out pattern pieces for the two skirts I am making. Got those laid out and decided to dig, once more, into my backpack, and voila - there it was. Now I have to go find where LittleTallDrink put her Brownie vest, so I can get it all pinned on. Thus, here I am, back at the computer.

If I could manage to focus for more than 30 seconds on something, I could rule the world.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Life has a way of changing one's choices.

About a year and a half ago, my aunt's long time boyfriend (they have been together for about 20 years) contracted meningitis and things were very dicey for about 2 months in the hospital. It was a really trying time for my aunt because she was not his wife, he has grown children from a previous marriage (the children deferred to her judgment in this situation), and a former wife, who did not wish to defer to my aunt's judgment as far as his care went.

Flash back to my wedding day, over 7 years ago, and it was my aunt that actually caught the bouquet. Both her and her boyfriend were adamant that they were never going to ruin what they have by getting married. We all gave them a good ribbing for a long time afterward about the bouquet and that it was destiny.

Well, yesterday, in the mail, was an invitation to their upcoming nuptials. To say I was shocked is certainly understating it. They were so sure that they were not going to get married. After talking to my mom today, one of the reasons for the change of heart was the fact that, legally, they would not be allowed to make any of the kinds of decisions one has to make in hospitals without the marriage certificate.

Congratulations go to my aunt and her soon to be husband. I am sure you will live a long and happy life together.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

This graphic cracks me up.

When speaking of freeways here in southern California, people refer to them using the definite article, as in The 5, The 57, The 22, etc. A friend of mine sent me this graphic. And it makes me laugh every time I see it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Becoming Accustomed

I am still trying to get used to this climate. I have been living in California for just a bit over a year and I am still not used to how warm it is most of the time. Today, the high temperature was ~80*. This time of year in Minnesota, the high temperature is usually in the upper 50s or low 60s. It seems strange to me to wear shorts and short sleeved tops this late into the year.

The other thing that is strange here is the fact that there is virtually no afterglow when the sun sets. The sky goes from bright to dark in a manner of minutes here. Back east, the darkness comes on more gradually. I am not entirely sure why that is, perhaps it is a function of how close we are to sea level here, compared to the Midwest. Who knows? All I know is that the sun just set, a minute ago, and in 5 minutes it will be pitch black.

I spent the afternoon with a few of my new friends here, at the park with our kids. It is difficult sometimes, having only been here for a year, knowing that my 20-30 year friendships are all back there, and making new friends as an adult can be really hard. But I am making friends, and it is fun when we can all get together and talk, while our kids are playing in the park. I have actually learned a lot about myself this past year, moving away from the old and incorporating the new. It has not always been fun.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Rant about our healthcare system

About a month ago, I had a trip to the local ER, because I thought I was having a heart attack. I was not, thank goodness.

I just got the "explanation of benefits" from our health care plan in the mail. The total original bill was for just over $4,600. The disallowed charges were around $4,200, leaving a balance paid by my plan (minus my copay) of around $400.

Now, had I not had health care coverage, the hospital would have billed me for the whole $4,600. But my insurance company only has to pay less than 1/10 of the final bill? How the hell does that work?

In my next life, I am coming back as the CEO of an HMO.

In Box

I am seriously considering putting up an "In Box" or "Hot File Pocket" right next to my front door. At least 3 times a week people come through the neighborhood with flyers and business cards hawking services ranging from new windows (look at the house bub, we have brand new windows, fool), carpet cleaning, painting, maid services, to a service that comes out to CLEAN YOUR GARBAGE CANS(!). I guess that form of marketing must work because they kill an awful lot of trees doing it.

Personally, if I am in need of services, I would ask a neighbor if they have anyone they would suggest, rather than these people who litter up my front stoop with their nonsense. I know it is minor, but it is an annoyance of mine.

I figure if I put up the box and somehow get these people to start using it, I may not have to bend over to pick up the papers that invariably fall on the ground when I open my front door. As it is, I have a "recycle bin" next to my front door, where I put all those flyers, brochures, and business cards.

Please, people, advertise in the phone book like everyone else.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Primaries are coming, The Primaries are coming.

Did I mention that I live in Orange County, California? Some days I think I am the only Democrat here. And I am having a difficult time making a decision as to who to support in the Presidential Primary in 120 days. Can I have parts of all the Democrats running?

I wanted to support Wesley Clark, but it is clear that he is not in the race. BAAAAAH. In the absence of Clark, I am leaning very strongly toward John Edwards. Most of what I am reading about him and hearing him say resonates with me. I am not ready to believe the nomination is going to be handed to Hillary Clinton.

Anyhow, the political message boards are starting to get very hot, because of the upcoming primaries. Amazing how politics gets peoples knickers in a twist.

Only thing I know for sure, I am so ready to be done with W.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


I am so bummed that the Cubs got swept. And so did the Angels. At least the Indians look like they are going to beat the Yankees. My husband is a die hard Angels fan and lets just say darkness has descended upon our home tonight.

D-Backs and Rockies? In the NLCS? Who'da thunk it? At this point I want to see a Rockies versus Indians World Series with the Rockies winning it all. I am fickle like that, I want the Cubs to break their curse, but I do not want the Indians to break theirs...I have a serious resentment against Casey Blake. He reached new levels of suckitude when he played for the Twins, but since he has been with the Indians, it is as if he is almost All Star quality. GRRR.

Beautiful Sunday Morning

I know, I am up early this morning, but it could not be more beautiful today. The sun is out, the weather is mild (in the 60s right now) and there is a nice breeze. I know around my area there are red flag warnings due to the drought but right here, right now, it is almost perfect.

Daughter and I are going to a birthday party for one of her friends today. The party is being held at a movie theatre. I am thinking that they are showing "Ratatouille" (the movie theatre is one of those bargain theatres). I love movies.

I love the crisp air of fall. It is a rarity here in SoCal. Just like rainstorms are a rarity. I love to get outside and dance in the rain here. People here think I am crazy. I am not sure they are entirely wrong about that. Weather things I miss from Minnesota: thunderstorms and snow. Yes, I know, I can drive up into the mountains if I want to see snow in the winter, but it is just not the same as being able to build a snowman in my front yard.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Welcome everyone.

I suppose I should introduce myself. I am a midwesterner living in California. I live in a "planned community" thus the moniker "Master Planistan". My midwestern sensibilities are assaulted here on almost a daily basis. For example, just when I think I have seen it all, someone decides to go shopping at Albertson's with his damned PARROT on his shoulder... now, I have nothing against birds, but I don't want them in my grocery store when I am shopping for produce.

I am married, and a stay at home mom. I have a daughter in elementary school and a son in high school. My son is finishing high school in the midwest and is seriously considering attending college out here. I am also an independent consultant for a family game company. Play a game with me?

I am an absolute baseball nut. My favorite major league team is the Minnesota Twins. I don't know about anyone else, but since I am sure Carl Pohlad is not going to pony up for Torii Hunter, I am going to miss him a lot. I am disappointed that the Twins did not get into the playoffs this year, but there is always next year. Since they did not make the playoffs, I am rooting for the Chicago Cubs (they have to break the curse sometime...). I live about 10 miles from Angel Stadium of Anaheim, of Orange County, of California, of the United States of America, of North America, of the Northern Hemisphere, of Earth. So I am kind of rooting for the Angels too.

Meh, enough about me for now.