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.