Saturday, October 18, 2008


I am trying to figure this out. Here in southern California, we have an array of bugs I had never experienced up on the tundras of Minnesota. The most notable of which is the palmetto bug. Now for those of you who do not KNOW the palmetto bug, do not let the innocuous name fool you. Palmetto bugs are, in essence, gigantic flying cockroaches. We are talking 3 to 4 inch long flying cockroaches. Cockroaches that, if so inclined, could probably eat your children. EEWWWWW. And I used to think June Bugs were bad.

Anyhow, we also have a large family of crickets that wander in and out of our garage. Every once in awhile we get a stray cricket in the house, and other than the racket, the crickets are no big whoop. The palmetto bugs, on the other hand, EEWWWWWW! Maybe once every few months, one of the big, nasty, ugly, disgusting, gross, abominable, foul, awful, icky, revolting, vile and gruesome creatures finds its way into the house. And my reaction to them is NOT pretty.

Well, our daughter, K, whenever she sees a cricket, she goes running to her dad and says, "Daddy, cricket!" and M comes to chase the cricket, catch it, and release it back outside. Whenever she sees a palmetto bug, she comes to me and screams, "MAMA! ICKY BUG!!!!" Even when her dad is home. How the hell does this work, that I, the person who is most revolted by the palmetto bugs, have the demand for disposal of the foetid creature placed on me??? It is NOT fair!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Here We Go Again

Today was the first Santa Ana Wind incident of this fall season. Of course there are like 18 active wildfires here in Southern California. Most of them are suspected to be arson. What the hell is wrong with people.

One of the fires destroyed an entire trailer park up near the San Fernando Valley. So far there are two human fatalities and one dog has died. And there may be one more human fatality. This crap is ugly.

San Fernando high school is among the shelters available to those who have been evacuated.

I can tell I am not going to sleep tonight.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good News and Bad News

Today was the day I was on call to appear in court to testify against the thugs that "allegedly" stole my purse. I did not sleep well last night, due to nerves and stress.

All day long I had my cell phone next to me awaiting the call. At about 4:30 I called in to make sure the case had not been continued to another court calendar.

The woman who answered the phone told me that one of the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges. That is the good news.

The bad news is the other defendant jumped bail and now has a warrant out for her arrest, after which it is very likely that I will receive yet another subpoena in the mail, calling me to make arrangements to be available to testify.

Thing is, I did not see anything. I was not aware that my purse was gone (it was stolen out of my car which was parked in our garage - the garage door opener had been tripped that day). I did not discover it was missing until probably 4 hours after it happened. In my humble and not legally educated opinion, I have nothing to testify to.

Oh well. I am sure I will get all worked up about this again at some later date when they find her.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


My daughter plays AYSO soccer. She is on a 7U team (7 years and under). Part of the deal with AYSO is how good sportsmanship is emphasized. Per their Players Code:

Play for the fun of it, not just to please your parents or coach!
Play by the rules.

Never argue with or complain about the referee’s calls or decisions.

Control your temper and most of all, resist the temptation to retaliate when you feel you have been wronged.

Concentrate on playing soccer and affecting the outcome of the game with your best effort. Work equally hard for your team as for yourself.

Be a good sport. Cheer all good plays, whether it is your team’s or your opponent’s.

Treat all players as you yourself would like to be treated.

Remember that the goals of the game are to have fun, improve your skills, and feel good. Don’t be a show-off or a "ball hog".

Cooperate with your coaches, teammates, opponents, and the referees - there cannot be any soccer games without them.

The bold emphasis is mine. K's team lost the game 5-2, but that was not the upsetting part. About midway through the first quarter, K was on defense, and one of the girls on the other team told her and two of her teammates that K's team stinks. I could tell just by looking at K's face that something was wrong, but did not find out what until the quarter break. K was crying. I told K's coach what had happened (and thankfully the second quarter was K's time to sit out). He let the referee know, who let the other team's coach know.

At the end of the game, the teams all line up and high five each other, but there were no apologies from any of the girls, nor the coaches. I know I should let it go, but I am really angry.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I can't shut my mind off

My mind is obsessing about earthquakes the past few days. I keep wondering when the big one is going to hit. We are also going to have our first Santa Ana Winds on Sunday, which is another worrisome thing for me. We did not lose anything in the Santiago Canyon fire, but that beast sure came way too close to us. When they start sounding the "voluntary evacuation" alarms, it is way to close for comfort. I guess these anxieties are nothing a prescription for trazodone couldn't help. I really should get back to the doctor to get something for the depression and anxiety. It really does stop me in my tracks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


My daughter came home from school today with a new necklace. Her friend at school gave it to her. It is half of a "Best Friends" heart. K and her friend are not in the same class this year, and for the last month of last year, her friend was out of the country. I am so glad that K's friend came back and is in the same school as K. I was really touched by the gift to K.

It is looking more and more like I am going to have to have a hysterectomy. My internal female organs are waging a war against me, and the situation is becoming untenable. As of two years ago, I did not have cancer, I do not have fibroids, I just hemorrhage for weeks at a time (sorry to be so damned graphic). I am having difficulty keeping a handle on my depression.

Yesterday, I missed my Tuesday morning breakfast with my friends because of other pressing business. They thought that I may have been upset that I showed up last week and no one else was there. I wasn't. It gave me an opportunity to have some good face to face time with K before school started. Anyhow, apparently in my absence, my friends have planned for my surgery. They are planning on bringing breakfast, cooking dinners and taking K to school when I cannot drive. I am so deeply touched by this. Seriously. When I was talking to S (my friend) today, she told me that they were going to totally impose on my life. We chuckled, because she knows that I have big difficulty asking for help.

I also ran into one of my other friends whose daughter was on both K's softball and swim teams this summer. She told me that I had better call her if I need anything at all.

I got a subpoena in the mail today. It totally freaked me out. Apparently the theft ring that stole my purse are starting to have their days in court. I am feeling rather apprehensive about this, part of me is like "Yeah, man, burn baby burn!" while another part of me feels exceedingly vulnerable. Plus the wording of the subpoena "commanding" to appear in court is, to say the least, offputting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spontaneous Amusement Park

We had an earthquake today. The magnitude was 5.4 and the epicenter was in Chino Hills. My estimation is that Chino Hills is about 18 miles away (as the crow flies). It hit at 11:42 this morning. We have been having aftershocks ever since, ranging in magnitude from 2 to 3.8. I am really not amused by this.

The earthquake was a "roller" rather than a "crash" (my terminology). I estimate that it lasted about 45 seconds. It seemed like an eternity. I was out with some of my friends at a local McDonald's, and apparently I lost all color and gripped the table. I started to cry. I must have looked like a complete ninny. Thankfully my friends were there and calmed me down. Sheesh.

Now all the networks have gone into "all earthquake all the time" mode, which is NOT helping. I think earthquakes are the Earth's way of telling people that we should NOT live here.

The initial reports were saying that it was a 5.8 magnitude, but they downgraded it to 5.4 (whodahell determines that anyway?). I was doing okay until the CalTech seismologist, during the press conference made mention that she was not sure if this was a "pre-shock" or not.


My anxiety level is now in hyperdrive. Really trying to keep it together for my daughter, no need to freak her out. I know it was not "The Big One". But the thought of "The Big One" completely frightens me.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Check out what I came face to face with this morning.

OK, so it was not this very Spider (because at 6:30 in the morning I am almost always without my camera). But there was a Black Widow Spider on the wheel of my trash can, in my garage.

I am still freaked about this. I gingerly rolled the trash can out to the street (it is trash day here in north MasterPlanistan). I was bare footed, so stepping on the beastly thing was not an option. I was ready to just completely firebomb the garage after seeing the precious specimen.

I only hope she was as terrified of me as I am of her. I usually like spiders, but venomous spiders that can KILL me and my family, I am not a huge fan of. Something to be said for self preservation and all that.

I am now afraid to go into my garage.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

American Cancer Society - Relay for Life

Today I am participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. It is a 24 hour event, where people walk laps, camp out, and raise funds for the ACS. I will be walking in the Survivor's Lap.

On February 5, 1987, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was Stage IIA, and was treated with mantle radiation. Many of my health issues stem from the long term effects of the radiation.

My fundraising page is here if you would like to make a donation in my name. Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Common Sense - Not So Common Anymore

Yesterday, my daughter had her last softball game. Nice day for a game, a bit overcast, but the weather was on the cool side. Her game was at 8:30 AM, so most of the parents either bought coffee at the snackbar or brought their own. I had a cup of the snackbar coffee, which I set down underneath my chair in the dugout (I bring a chair because I cannot sit in a bleacher seat for any length of time without serious pain). Since I was the bench coach for the team, I get to sit in the dugout.

One of the assistant coaches set his thermal mug of coffee down on the bench seat in the dugout at the bottom of the second inning of play (we were the home team) with the admonition, "don't spill my coffee."

These are five and six year old girls. They climb up on the ledges, climb the chainlink "walls" of the dugout, and otherwise do NOT stay still for more than 3 seconds at a time. I was busy keeping my lineup going, making sure the girls got helmets on and ready to bat. All of a sudden, at the end of the inning, one of the girls... you guessed it, knocked over the coffee. It spilled all over the place, but mostly in my daughter's "street" shoes (she wears cleats when playing, but her regular shoes were under her seat in the dugout), coffee also spilled all over my daughter's glove, etc. etc. etc.

So in addition to trying to get the catcher's gear on one of the girls, I had to wipe down K's glove, and while I was doing that, Mr. Coffee comes back in and starts complaining about how his coffee got spilled.

It took everything in my being not to yell, "You were the [insert curseword here] dumbass who put a cup of coffee on the bench with energetic children. You could have put your coffee in the corner of the dugout and a can guaran[insert curseword here]tee you that it would not have spilled, and I would not have had to wipe your sticky-ass coffee off my daughter's glove and out of her "street" shoes!"

The stupid, it hurts.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Air Show

We went to the airshow at March AFB yesterday. The weather was beautiful (a bit cool even, which is saying something for Riverside County CA). The Thunderbirds were the headline act, and there were several biplane acts and two parachute acts. There was even a wing walker (not enough money in the world to get me to do that - I have difficulty even getting on a commercial jet).

Here are some photos I took of the Thunderbirds.

Here is one I took of the C-17 demonstration.

I really need a good digital SLR camera with a fast lens to get better shots of the planes and stuff. My point and shoot digital's shutter lags just a bit too much to be able to do the feats of aerodynamics justice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

But It Is a Dry Heat

If I ever hear the phrase in my title for today's post again... I may have to hurt something. As far as I am concerned, anything over 85 degrees Fahrenheit is dang hot. Seriously. Especially in mid-April.

Saturday the high temperature here was 97, and yesterday's high was 102. Not good, not good at all. We did not turn on the air conditioning yet, since the temperature was only 84 today and the forecast for tomorrow is 68. At night I have been opening the patio door and had the fan on full blast. Thankfully the temperature at night is much more livable. Unlike last summer when we had unusually high humidity. That is the ONLY good thing about dry heat, at night because the humidity is not there to hold the heat, the temperature goes down to the high 50s.

It is hard to beat the heat when it is 100 degrees.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ahhhh Baseball is Back

Baseball, glorious baseball.

I watched the Twins home opener on FSN West (all the other feeds were blacked out because it was Angels at Twins). It was Torii Hunter's first game back at the Metrodome in an Angels' uniform. The crowd cheered enthusiastically for him when he was introduced and he looked like he appreciated it. It was a great game to watch.

Last year's Twins team, and the year before, for that matter, struggled in the first innings of games. It seemed as if most of the teams got to the Twins early in the game and there were many games that the Twins never could recover from the first inning. Today's game was not like that at all. The Angels went down in order in the first inning, and the Twins in the bottom were able to score a run.

The final score was 3-2 Twins. Torii Hunter went 0 fer in his first game back. But Torii's bat has always been on the streaky side. And since he is on a team with the free-swinging Vladimir Guerrero, he may tend to pick up those bad habits. Carlos Gomez played very well in center field. The kid has incredible range out there. Only time will tell if he is a center fielder in the model of Kirby Puckett and Torii Hunter, but I sure enjoyed watching him out there.

Livan Hernandez pitched an absolute gem of a game. He went a full seven innings, which kind of surprised me. Not that he is not durable, or anything, just that it is early in the season and often times managers will pull a pitcher after six. Pat Neshek came in and pitched the 8th, not entirely an uneventful inning but he worked himself out of a jam with only one run scoring. Neshek's delivery is unorthodox, to say the least, but it is really fun to watch a sidearmer throw. Nathan closed it down in the top of the ninth with his typical dramatic flair.

I kept score on a piece of notebook paper. When I made up the score sheet, I deliberately only drew the lines for eight at bat innings for the Twins. I figured if I drew the ninth inning, they would have to bat in the ninth. I am almost as superstitious as a lot of ball players.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Looks like we are getting a bona fide thunderstorm here in the OC today. This is a really rare occasion, the natives are probably hiding in their closets saying, "WTF?" Me, I am practically giddy about it. I love a good electrical storm. Something about it is really cleansing to me. I especially love how green everything is after the storm. It is as if vibrant green paint came out of the sky with the rain.

I just heard thunder a minute ago. It was cool.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Photos from Opening Day

Here are some Opening Day softball photos. It was a beautiful day for a ball game.

The girls had a wonderful time. The ball bounced around the infield a lot, the throws were rather errant, and there were flying bats. I love watching the development of ball players. At the end of the game our coach had the girls do a "2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate" cheer for the other team. Since no score is kept at this level, both teams won. I was very happy to see our coach emphasizing good sportsmanship.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Love the Smell of Agrilime in the Morning

Today was opening day for the Irvine Girls Softball league. My daughter is on a 6U team, and this was her first experience playing a team sport. IGSA does opening day up in a rather large way. All the teams met up at 8 am today at the park right next to city hall. They had their photos taken, the teams got to march onto the main stadium field in a parade, there was a "motivational" speaker (essentially a former softball star from the area who had obtained a full ride athletic scholarship to the University of Washington). A local dermatologist gave an "importance of sunscreen" speech, and all sorts of other fanfare. It was pretty cool, albeit over the top compared to the youth sports scene in Minnesota.

In 6U, the girls bat off a tee, they all come up to bat each inning, and they all play in the field. I have volunteered to be the bench coach for the girls. It is quite a thing to see, having 12 girls in the field. The ball still bounces around for like half a minute, even with all those girls out there. No score is kept, of course, since it is about teaching the girls how to play the game. K had a fantastic time and immediately after the game, she told me she wants to play next year. Her team is named the Blue Dolphins. And, of course, there is another Blue Dolphins team in the 6U class (big grin). There are six teams in all in the 6U league, and out of the six teams there are a total of only 4 unique team names. There are two Angels teams in 6U as well (chuckle). Our Blue Dolphins team wears royal blue, and the other Blue Dolphins team wears aqua blue.

The uniforms are really really nice, albeit quite large. K could wear her jersey as a dress, and needs to wear something underneath it because the neckline plunges a bit deeply. We can't have any Janet Jackson moments here. The socks that came with the uniforms are a tie dye royal blue and white. The girls look very cute in them. Even if they do clash with the pink helmets, the pink gloves and the pink and black cleats!

Friday, March 7, 2008


Today, I had the opportunity to drive by the foothills near us that were engulfed with the fires back in October. I was very pleased to see how green everything was, and that there were wild flowers blooming in orange, purple and yellow. It was not nearly as green and vibrant last spring. The green of spring is one thing I miss from back home. Every April and May in Minnesota, I always enjoyed watching the trees bud, and everything turn green. I think it only gets really green here in the spring after we have had a lot of rain, like we have had this year. Otherwise, it has not seemed to get as vibrant. I also miss the blue sky. We have so much smog here that the sky is never really blue.

My daughter is getting over pneumonia. It has been a heckuva week and a half around here. She has been to the doctor's office, the urgent care, and the ER over at CHOC since February 27th. She had the influenza, and because she has asthma, it ended up turning into pneumonia. We spent last Saturday night in the ER because her fever was not responding to either Tylenol or Motrin. Plus her breathing had deteriorated. They took a chest x-ray, and sure enough, she had pneumonia. She missed 5 days of school and is really behind on her homework, but she is doing so much better than she was a week ago.

At CHOC, they triage the children through St. Joseph's Hospital ER(which is connected), and when we got there the waiting room was overflowing. I thought we would be waiting for hours just to be triaged. While we were waiting to be called back (we got called back within 20 minutes of arriving), K threw up. Poor thing. So we had to get the janitor out there to clean up, because we did not get her to the trash can in time. Later she apologized for throwing up on my leg (she was concerned about that). I told her that she did not need to worry about that at all, that I just wanted her to get better.

I was really impressed with all but one of the CHOC ER staff. The nurses, the resident physician, the attending physician, and one out of two of the respiratory therapists were awesome. The other respiratory therapist contradicted what everyone else was saying by telling me that K's lungs were perfectly clear. Everyone else had told us that her lungs had crackles and I could see that her intercostal and neck muscles were retracting while she was breathing. Her sats were at 92%, so I know she was not getting very much oxygen, and here is this RT, talking out his rear end about how K's lungs were clear. It was certainly unprofessional to say the least, since he contradicted two MDs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I have been fighting it for years, but I finally broke down and ordered bifocals (actually progressives) on Saturday. My eyes do not focus on near stuff, they do not focus on far stuff, and some days are worse than others. I was to the point that I could not take it anymore so I went to Lens Crafters and had my eyes examined. As far as glasses goes, Lens Crafters did not have anything I liked (and they were not amused that I decided not to get my glasses there). So I went to Target optical. After my eye care insurance, my out of pocket on my glasses was about $225. If I had gotten the glasses that the sales person at Lens Crafters wanted me to get, I would have spent about $500 out of pocket. Yes, I have to wait a week for my glasses, but I found a pair that works on my face (I can't wear square lenses - they look hideous on me), they have a magnetic clip on sunglass, the frame is titanium (I react to nickel), and the frame did not cost $320. I was really disappointed in the selection at Lens Crafters, Target optical was about 1/5 the square footage of the Lens Crafters I went to, and had a better variety of frames to choose from. Plus the woman at Target did not hit me with serious attitude when I was looking through the selections.

Sometimes getting one's glasses within an hour is not worth the extra money.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Blog

I have started a new blog, in addition to this one. The new one is intended to list the restaurants in Orange County, California that offer free kids meals with a paid adult. There are a lot of places that give free kids meals, and it would be nice to have the information all in one location. I may expand it to include southern LA, western San Bernardino and Riverside, and northern San Diego counties, eventually.

The URL to the new blog is

To those who have kids and are around the OC, enjoy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Starry Starry Night

Tonight was Family Astronomy Night at K's school. The local astronomy society every year brings a bunch of telescopes of varying sizes to the back lot at the school and the kids (and parents) get to view the night sky through the scopes. Tonight we got to see the Orion Nebula, Mars and a few other constellations through the telescopes. Our weather, for this event, was atrocious. It is extremely windy out, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. I have so much sand in my eyes. It was cool to see the stars up closer than you can with the naked eye.

I would love to have a giant telescope in the desert, away from the city lights. Imagine what one could see out there.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Gym

I have been going to the gym three times a week for the past 3 weeks. Instead of losing weight, I am gaining weight. How does THAT work?

I went a couple of times in late October, once with my husband, and once by myself to get the "orientation" meeting with a personal trainer. This "orientation" consisted of asking questions about my health (valid), getting my weight (valid), figuring out my BMI (valid), calculating my body fat percentage (valid), showing me 3 or 4 machines (valid), doing some stretches (valid), and then going into the hard sell about how I should spend more a year for personal training services than I do for the actual gym membership (NOT valid). I tried to ask on three separate occasions if I could just see a trainer for an hour every 3 months or so, just to fine tune my workout. The trainer/used car salesperson completely dodged the question and kept telling me what a good deal the training package would be for me. It angered me enough to keep me away for almost two months.

If personal trainers want to have the respect due professionals, they should not whore themselves out like that. Because of the courses I took in college, I have more than a nodding acquaintance with principles of human physiology, and so I am not stupid. I hate being treated like I am stupid.

I know that the exercise is supposed to make me more energetic, but that "feature" is slow to kick in for me. So far, all I am is tired and sore. I am not overdoing it, I am increasing my activity slowly, and increasing weight in a manageable manner. But all I am is tired and hungry. Oh well, this too shall pass.

Here is what I have been doing (sample two weeks) 1M Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Lats, Chest, Pectorals, and 25 minutes on the bike at 70-80% capacity (Avg HR between 140-150). 1W Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Hip Abductors, Hip Adductors, Lower Back, Abs, Obliques, and 25 minutes on the bike. 1F same as 1M. 2M same as 1W. 2W same is 1M, 2F same as 1W.

I think I need to add one more cardio session in each week, so that I am going 4 times a week, assuring that I am allowing my body to recover, and that I am not overdoing it. I have to be concerned with a number of issues. First, I have asthma, and must be cognizant of my breathing. Second, I have a heart murmur, and some mitral valve regurgitation, so I need to keep my heart rate in check. Thirdly, I have to make sure that what I am doing is not putting too much of a load on my artificial hip. Finally, I need to be careful with my lower back, strengthening it slowly, so I do not re-injure it (I have had back surgery).

The thing I hate the most is that it takes so much time to start seeing any real results. I know it has not been that long, but I wish there were noticeable signs I could see. I am motivated by results, and the results are slow in showing up.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Looky Lou-ing

I saw snow today, real snow. Not up close or anything but there is a lot of it up on the mountains just beyond our foothills. I am certain the folks driving north on the 5 today were absolutely thrilled with my gawking at the snow. Some people do the Looky Lou thing at car accidents, others at the Highway Patrol pullover. Me, I Looky Lou at snow, because I ache for it.

Someone needs to send a memo to folks driving in southern California about "slower traffic keep right". Invariably I end up in the left lane behind the complete buffoon that wants to go 40 when the rest of the traffic around him is going 65. This is to ALL of you out there who do that, if you want to go 40 on the freeway, please, oh, please, have mercy on the rest of us and do it in the far right lane, where you are supposed to. There is nothing like the bottleneck that one person going 15-20 mph slower than the rest of the traffic can cause.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy to Be a Flatlander

We live in a "bowl" between the bluffs near the shore and the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. Today, I am very grateful that we live in this bowl. They are predicting that we will be getting 3-5 inches + rain over the next few days, and that those areas that were burnt in the fires are now in danger of serious mudslides. We are not in the canyon, we are not in the canyon, we are not in the canyon.

I have not heard whether folks will be evacuated from there, if it were me, I would high tail it the heck out of there and wait till the storms pass. Really scary. But we are lucky, we do have a few places we can go. Not everyone is that fortunate.

Today is Caucus day in Iowa. I am following it with some interest. Some of the candidates, particularly on the GOP side of things, really scare the bejesus out of me. Huckelberry Hound, er Huckabee, Ghouliani er 911 911 911 er Giuliani, and Willard Git, er Mitt Romney, most notably. On the Democratic Party's side, I will vote for whomever is nominated, but I would prefer that our candidate be John Edwards. The things I have heard him talk about are resonating strongly with me.

Our Primary is February 5. And we have not only a presidential candidate to choose, but we also get to choose the ballot propositions. Ballot propositions are a way that the California Assembly can weasle out of having to make the tough decisions and votes that they were elected to make. I would love to put up a proposition that forces the assembly to actually vote on stuff, and not just vote to make it a ballot proposition. Never did anyone do less with more than the California Assembly.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

I want to wish all the readers of this blog a prosperous, healthy and fulfilling New Year. May your opportunities be plentiful, and your joy immense.

We went out for dim sum this morning. I am not sure I will ever need to eat again in this lifetime. I am not sure what the dish is called, but my favorite dish that I ate today was a shrimp wrapped in a wonton and deep fried. YUMMMMMMMM. I ate like 6 of those puppies.