27 December 2010

A Christmas Foregone

So Christmas has come and gone and all and all it was a very good day. Truth be known, Andy and I consciously decided to forego Christmas this year. Half of the reason behind it was we knew that with a child joining the family, we would never again have the luxury of foregoing Christmas. The other half, as I told my friend earlier this week, is that with the move and the baby coming I just don’t have any room in my brain for anything else. Foregoing Christmas basically means that we sent out Christmas cards and nothing else. No tree went up, no stocking were hung on our shoddy 70’s black railing with care, and no presents were bought or wrapped. In hindsight, I probably should have told more people about the no presents thing as I felt like a right heel when we received a few gifts this year. There were a couple times when it was all, “this is an awesome gift, thank you so much! Sorry I only brought my appreciation for your thoughtfulness.”

On Christmas morning, Andy and I hung around in our pajamas doing chores. Eventually I got around to making the Bird’s Strawberry Trifle mix that I had bought to bring over to Dave’s later thus sending Andy out to the grocery store multiple times when I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed. I would like to issue a formal complaint to Bird’s Strawberry Trifle mix. While I can certainly work out a milliliters to cups conversion with great thanks to the internet, I do not know how much “About 700 ml” is, nor to I know what you mean (I’m talking to you Bird’s) exactly how much “some of” the milk is. When I complained to Andy about the directions on the box, he laughed at me stating that Bird’s was assuming I could decide for myself how runny I wanted my custard to be. If that is the case, Bird’s failed to realize that someone may have not had their delicious custard before and would have NO IDEA how runny one would enjoy their custard thus making “about” and “some of” the single handed worst cooking directions you could give to someone since the invention of the “pinch”. ANYHOW. I managed to make the trifle with some success after having to buy additional pound cake and whipped topping since the mix was severely lacking in these two items. Sadly, I failed to take a photo of my efforts so you will have to imagine that it was lovely looking.

It was a bit like this, but without the weird acorns on top.

Around 3 PM, Andy and I headed over to Dave’s apartment for the annual orphans’ dinner. I would say Maggie and Dave’s apartment, but Maggie went back to Wisconsin for Christmas and Dave’s father, Jim, was in from the UK I guess making it Dave and Jim’s apartment for the time being.

Dave gets out his aggressions on the poor bird...

...while Jim just flips me one.

Jim had made sausage rolls and since I was hungry and obviously pregnant, I ate three of them right off the bat prompting a day long joke of “where did all the sausage rolls go to – there was a least 50 more before Moe arrived”. Ha ha. Assholes. Eventually a bunch of other orphan Brits arrived (the only Americans being myself and McGurk’s girlfriend whose name I have since forgotten) and dinner was served.

Bish with beer and Andy doing his Sears Male Model shot.

McGurk with girlfriend (sorry I can't remember her name)

Look!  I do exist!

Me, attempting to show off 'the bump' but failing miserably due to the huge shirts I insist on wearing.

I tried to get everyone to sit down for a group dinner shot but they were being difficult. 

We stayed for about an hour after dinner, then stopped home, then headed out to the Harp since we had thought some of the group would be there. However, no one showed up so we just had some beers (O’Douls for me) and started to head home at 9 PM. While we were sitting in the Harp parking lot ready to leave, we got a call from Michele and Patrick inviting us over for a drink.

PATRICK: "Did you get it when the nose was blinking?  No?  Take it again!"

While we only intended to stay for one drink, we ended up staying quite a bit longer playing a board game and talking until Patrick kicked us out by falling asleep in his chair almost knocking his head on the coffee table. Can’t say we don’t know when our invite has run out!

PATRICK: "Please leave before I fall asleep on you."

I would have to say it was an awesome way to end our Days of Foregoing Christmas.

22 December 2010

I have no idea what to call this post so I'll just call it 'Ted'.

So it’s been raining a lot recently. I don’t suppose that means much to anyone outside of the Southern California or Sahara Desert region but it really is a bit of a Big Deal to us here. That’s mostly because nobody knows how to drive in Southern California, much less with a bit of rain. As well, everybody has holiday brain on so it’s just that much worse. I would also like to point out that Southern California has a whole isn’t equipped to deal with rain, no more than Philadelphia would be equipped to deal with a volcano-lava eruption so it’s been a sad state of affairs this past week as Poseidon has gone ahead and released the Krakken on our pansy asses.

While I could show you the flooding and the mud slides and the cars in sink holes and ditches or some poor ole lady walking to the bus stop getting soaked, I’ve instead decided to give you a bit of a personal visual that is pretty unimpressive compared to mud slides and sink holes but I’m too damn lazy to go searching for those types of photos online at the present moment. So here is our beverage bucket that we use to keep beer cold when we are having a BBQ. A week and a half ago, this bucket was empty:

I can see how impressed you are from here.

Here is a picture of the cat just because I felt stupid taking a picture of just the bucket:

Chloe wanted me to delete this photo because she said it made her look fat.  I refused.

It was raining pretty hard this past Sunday when Andy and I went to the Harp for the annual Christmas party as demonstrated by these two young lads who obviously have no clue what that crazy liquid shit is that is falling from the sky nor does the one know what the fuck a coat is.

The young lads of Southern California are mystified.

Andy and I are a tough sort of lot and our group as a whole would rather suffer a bit of blowing rain than go inside where one can’t smoke cigarette after cigarette in between doing shots and taking shit about young lads who don’t know what the fuck a coat is. We just all sat outside and Dealt with It. I tried to take pictures but everyone was hiding from the camera or making faces that I’m sure that once they were sober would not appreciate me posting on the internet so all I have is Andy being charming (as usual).

My prince...

In completely unrelated to rain news, Andy and I bought our plane tickets this past weekend. We leave the sunny shores of California February 4th to head to the snowy shores of Milwaukee for 5 days. On February 9th, we leave the snowy shores of Wisconsin and head for our new home on the icy shores of Liverpool. With the tickets bought it feels Really Official and I’m starting to mentally go around the house regarding my things as Keep, Toss and Sell. The cat still has no takers for temporary 4 month housing though my mother has reluctantly offered to take her for 4 months if absolutely no one else will. My mom and Chloe are truly oil and water and I’m sure this arrangement will force Chloe to log onto Roommates.com to submit a full complaint of her living situation.

In case I’m absent until next week, I hope you all have a very pleasant holiday. Remember, there is no such thing as “too much booze” when it comes to Christmas, especially if it falls over the weekend.

17 December 2010

Friday's Pointless Point

I could also title this, "Why I Love the Internet".

More awesome randomness found here.  Also, if you find the chicken one, THAT'S what I want for Christmas.

15 December 2010


So this past weekend was pretty exciting* – or as exciting as my weekends are nowadays (read: not very). On Friday, I met Andy at the Harp and I had a celebratory little glass of red wine in honor of my visa being approved. Sadly, the Harp was pretty dead Friday night. Only American Dave was there hanging out with us and he didn’t get excited over the visa news. I didn’t take that to heart as Dave doesn’t really get “excited” about anything really; he’s a bit of a cool cat that rides motorcycles, wears cool motorcycle gear and has a fanny pack. Anyhow, Andy and I didn’t stay for long – we were home watching crap television by 7 PM. But hey! I was out on a Friday night – that’s exciting*!

On Saturday it was a lovely 82 degrees and the sun was shining and I just felt like taking a drive. I left Andy at home to finish up some of his chores and drove the Pacific Coast Highway south. I managed to get lost twice, ran into a bit of construction, got cut off by an aging hippie from Oregon driving a VW Eurovan, had an emergency pee at an out of the way coffee shop (which made me guilty enough to purchase a coffee even though it was the last thing I needed), got stuck at a non-arrow left turn lane for 20 minutes, and absolutely devoured a taco, enchilada, rice and beans like only a pregnant woman can at some crappy Mexican restaurant in Dana Point. It was awesome. Even with all that, it was 3 hours of blissful sunshine, looking at the ocean, and singing my heart out to my iPod until the battery went dead. Once I got back, Andy and I headed back to the Harp to see Patrick’s band play. Obviously when I say we saw Patrick’s band play, it really means we sat out on the patio talking with the group and telling Patrick how awesome he is when he came out during the band’s breaks. That’s how we roll.

On Sunday, we slept in late then lazed around in the morning watching crappy cable shows. I ended up getting suckered into watching this show on the Travel channel (or Food Network) about the best hot dogs in the United States. One of the segments was on Pink’s Hot Dogs up in Hollywood, which I’ve been meaning to go to for a long time but am always put off by the long line. Of course, watching the show made me hungry, so we rode our bikes to the Little Knight to watch the Packer game and have some breakfast.

Normally I would have stayed to watch the Packers, but as far as NFL games go, the Packer game last Sunday might as well have been watching two girls playing hopscotch. It was boring and dull and frustrating. We left before halftime, rode home, and tried to decide what to do. It was still a gorgeous day out weather wise, so I suggested we take another drive, which we did by ways of PCH going north.

What is there to say about taking a long, leisurely drive? We talked, and sang, and took loads of pee breaks (me). I started to make a joke of getting really excited every time we passed a Ralph’s. After an hour and a half, we were nearing LAX and I made the suggestion to Andy that since we had gone this far, why not drive all the way to Pink’s for some hot dogs? He agreed.

This is a true testament to not only how much Andy loves me but how much of an awesome husband he is just in general. First of all, Andy is a vegetarian. While Pink’s does offer a vegan dog, hot dogs as a whole are not topping Andy’s favorite food list. Second of all, he knew that we’d be waiting in line at Pink’s for at least a half an hour, if not more – and it was hot out. So take a guy who doesn’t like hot dogs or heat and make him not only drive for another hour to get to a hot dog place but make him stand in line for a half hour for a food he doesn’t even like in heat that he has a hard time tolerating. That’s love if I ever saw it. I’m a very lucky girl.

The Holy Grail of Hollywood Hot Dogs

The hell that is waiting in line for the Holy Grail of Hollywood hot dogs.

They had CAKE??  How did I miss that?

My awesome husband being a very good sport.

The bounty: The Patt Morrison Baja Veggie Dog & the Nacho Cheese with Chili Dog

After Pink’s, it took us another couple hours to get home with a few emergency pee breaks thrown in and a bunch of Los Angeles traffic. We were both exhausted by the time we made it back at 6:30 PM, but it was well worth it. It was a great day – and exciting*!

*(The term “exciting” will return to its normal meaning sometime in April 2011)

10 December 2010

Suddenly, it's a very good day.

It appears the Consulate reads my blog. I received the following 15 minutes ago via email:

"Your application has been approved and the visa has been issued.
Please check your visa immediately on receipt to ensure that we have completed your visa correctly. Please send details of any errors or omissions to complaintslavisa@fco.gov.uk ASAP."

I'm assuming that I'm still not going to get flowers, but honestly, I think I can forgive them.

Blighty, here we come...

09 December 2010

An update, if you could call it that.

Since this is now technically an expat blog, I figured I’d give you an update on how the process is going. The update is…there isn’t any. We are still waiting patiently for my Settlement Visa to be approved. It’s currently Business Day 25 of a projected 50 Business Day wait (half way!) and it’s not like the consulate is sending me flowers with a little note attached, “Sorry love! There are still 143 applications in front of you. Blimey! That’s a lot, innit?” While we could be approved tomorrow, we aren’t holding our breath. I think that we’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to pushing the leave date to mid-February as I don’t think we can take the risk of buying plane tickets and moving out of our apartment without the evidence that I’m clear to go.

As anxious as I am to get going already, truthfully I’m a bit grateful as it gives me another month of paychecks. I do miss my passport though. I feel a bit naked without it. It’s not like we can afford to spend a week in Mexico at this point in time, but I like the feeling of knowing I could if I wanted to. (This reminds me that I should tell you my Mexico story sometime.)

We haven’t really done anything much in the way of packing or selling. Last weekend I did get a front hand brake installed on my beach cruiser. For months Andy has been going on about how coaster brakes are completely illegal in the UK which in turn would make me cry inside since I love my bike more than is probably normal for a 36 year old with butterflies and flowers on her bike. I did a bit of research though and found out that it’s not illegal to have coaster brakes; it’s just illegal to not have brakes on both the front and back wheel. We took my cruiser down to the bike shop and $15 later the most Awesomest Bike in the World (that has butterflies and flowers on it) is UK compliant. Of course, now I just have complete paranoia that my most awesome bike (with butterflies and flowers on it) will get stolen the first time I take it out in Liverpool but I suppose I’ll cross that sad lonely bridge when I come to it.

My cruiser on her maiden voyage.   See?  Awesome.  Who wouldn't want to steal this sweet ride?

Oh! I did do some shopping for dual voltage flat irons this afternoon since I’ve made the executive decision to risk a dual voltage US flat iron with a converter plug in the UK. I bought a flat iron at Argos last Christmas when we were there, shelling out 40 pounds for a hair appliance that had all the effectiveness of trying to straighten ones hair with two heated up toothpicks. 40 pounds! That’s like, a billion zillion US dollars! Figured I could risk spending $30 American dollars for the chance of silky luminous locks. That’s a farce really – my hair does not do well with moisture, something England has plenty of. Its hats, ponytails or butch haircuts til Oz I think.

So there, you are officially updated. And nary a swear word in sight.

07 December 2010

It's called a bandolier, but that's a boring name...

A conversation between Andy and myself last night while watching “The Good, the Bad, and the Weird”*:

ME: Do you think there will ever be a time when wearing a sash of bullets is a good idea?

ANDY: I doubt it.

ME: Well, you never know. I mean, what about an apocalypse? You might need a sash of bullets if there were zombies or whatever.

ANDY: Of course with an apocalypse a sash of bullets would probably be helpful.

ME: …like a wrist watch is now.

ANDY: I don’t wear a wrist watch.

ME: Exactly. Who says you have to wear a sash of bullets? It would be handy, sure, but you don’t have to. I mean, a sash of bullets is pretty heavy. It’s probably pretty poke-y in the skin-y.

ANDY: …depending on what kind of bullets you had.

ME: Shotgun bullets might be nice. Heavy, sure, but they come in that nice red color…I think I could match a blouse or two with that red.
I could totally match a purse with this.

*I don’t have a stenographer so some of this conversation may vary. The general gist is there.

30 November 2010

I need a new couch now

So this year’s Thanksgiving was rather uneventful. Andy and I went over to Maggie and Dave’s house, watched a couple of movies, ate some Thanksgiving dinner, and avoided bunny shit. The last item being the hardest feat of them all since the two rabbits my sister adopted a little over a week ago are not yet house broken. You would be amazed at the amount of shit a rabbit produces over the course of 5 hours. I could have built a fort with it all, if I was so inclined to handle shit long enough to model a structure out of it.

Rabbits: Serious Shit Machines

We actually left Maggie and Dave’s a bit earlier than we normally have. At the time I just chalked it up to being tired due to my “condition” and the lack of motivation to stay out since Old Fashions were off limits, but it turns out that I had, in fact, caught a really nasty cold. It never fails that during one of the year’s extended holidays (4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years) I will catch some sort of illness that renders my time off pointless. So this year was Thanksgiving and I’m saddened to say that save Bunny Shit Day, I was sleeping, trying to sleep, half asleep, mildly asleep, or watching TV for my 4 days of Not Having To Be At Work.

With 4 days straight on the couch with nothing but a remote control for entertainment, I have compiled the following list for you regarding my current musings on last week’s offering of cable television. Sorry, it’s all I got in the way of “Moe’s Current News”.

ITEM #1: There is, in fact, a certain amount of “Bridezillas” that you can watch and still be a sane human being. There does come a time (around the 6th or 7th episode) where you may find yourself siding with the bridezilla at the same time telling your cat that, “YO! It’s my fucking day bitch” when the cat tries to steal your seat on the couch. This is the point where you need to watch something else.

Just a bit misunderstood is all....it is her fucking day bitch.

ITEM #2: As much as I have a soft spot for Hanna-Barbera, the “Yogi Bear” movie – nay – even just the promo for the “Yogi Bear” movie - might be the most annoying fucking thing I have seen since Hannah Montana graced the airwaves. If I hear “razzle dazzle” one fucking more time (and I’m sure I will) I might just shot my television.

It pains me to actually post this, but you all need the evidence.

ITEM #3: Even though I saw “The Day After Tomorrow” in the theaters and immediately thought it was horrible, it doesn’t stop me from watching it anytime it’s on regular television. I’ve yet to figure out why this is. “Oh, “Day After Tomorrow”, I hate that movie. Let’s watch it.” It might be that I’m still in awe on how a pack of wolves survived the next ice age when every other living thing failed to do so.

Those crazy invincible wolves.  Well, their butts anyhow.

ITEM #4: I’m convinced that BBC America has lost all rights to all shows except ‘Law & Order: UK’, ‘Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares’ and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’.

ITEM #5: If movies from the 1980’s have taught me anything, it’s that nothing beats walking into the sunset with a kick ass power ballet playing in the background.

ITEM #6: How Adam Richman is not obese by now is beyond comprehension.

Chubby, yes...but not yet obese.  Whadda think?  Laxatives?

ITEM #7: I should really read more.

23 November 2010

I hope there's a horse this year

Happy Thursday everyone! Well, I know it’s technically Tuesday but since it’s a 3 day work week due to the Thanksgiving holiday on the real Thursday, it’s pretend Thursday today. Hurray. It’s hard to believe that its Thanksgiving week already, time recently has been going incredibly fast and horribly slow depending on what life changing event I happen to be focusing on at the moment.

So yes! Thanksgiving - one of my least favorite holidays. To be fair, there aren’t many holidays I really enjoy outside of St. Patrick’s Day and my birthday – both which my work fails to recognize as valid holidays and thus forces me to use a vacation day in order to properly celebrate them. Thanksgiving of course is all about eating, watching football, and drinking as many brandy old fashions as possible to ease the pain of repeating to relatives on how well my job is going. I haven’t actually been back home for Thanksgiving in over 7 years so recently Thanksgiving has been just eating, watching football, and drinking as many brandy old fashions as possible before I pass out with apple pie smeared across my lips. It’s not a bad thing, this living 2000 miles from home.

Last year my sister, Maggie, came out to California to help watch Chloe for 2 weeks while Andy and I were visiting WI. She planned on staying for a little over a month, just as a little getaway, but ended up falling in love (with a boy, not with Chloe) and not leaving. When Thanksgiving rolled around last year I think we were both a bit excited to have a bit of family to celebrate the holiday with. I, being the one with the larger kitchen and an experienced Thanksgiving host, offered to cook up the Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Maggie offered to help cook. Everything sounded wonderful. What could possibly go wrong?

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls is what went wrong. I told you all a bit about it last year, but it’s been a year and the wounds have healed so I can get into it a bit more.

About an hour before the "incident".

By the time Maggie, Dave and Cousin Tony got to our house, I was well stressed out from trying to assemble the World’s Most Awesomest Thanksgiving Dinner and Maggie was a bit tipsy from playing Drunken Uno with Cousin Tony for most of the early afternoon. I might have also had PMS. Maggie had come up to me and asked me if she could help out with anything. I handed her the tube of crescent roll dough and a cookie sheet and told her she could start on those. I was currently stirring the cranberries when I turned around and noticed that she had simply open the tube of dough and plopped the whole roll on the sheet without separating them out into 12 individual crescents and was attempting to put them in the oven in one big doughy clump.

In my defense to the following, I tend to get overly excited and mean when I’m stressed. Upon seeing the dough turd, I yelled, “What the fuck are you doing? That’s not how you make crescent rolls!” Maggie, slightly drunk, got offended. “What? What’s wrong? How is this not right?” Maggie proceeded to mush down the doughy clump so it was a slightly flatter doughy clump in an exaggerated effort to appease me. I got irrationally livid (as I do when I’m already stressed and am now being mocked), grabbed the cookie sheet out of her hands mumbling, “Fine, I’ll do it myself!”

It gets a bit hazy what happened next, but at some point I ended up going upstairs to the bedroom to calm down. Of course, our bedroom is right over the kitchen and both windows were open so I fully heard Maggie complaining to everyone else about “not knowing what the fuck my problem was” and “why I was being such a bitch”. This got me even angrier and I ended up going downstairs and without saying a word, grabbed my keys and my purse and I left.

Which is how I ended up at Mutt Lynch’s on Thanksgiving night. Which is also how I ended up getting fantastically drunk wearing a turkey on my head, petting a real live horse, on Thanksgiving night. Besides the whole fight thing (which is now referred to as the Crescent Roll Incident) and the mess I had to clean up once I got home, not to mention the leftovers a full uneaten Thanksgiving meal creates, it was actually a pretty good Thanksgiving by the end.

I drank enough that night to make up for the fact that I can't drink this Thanksgiving. 

Andy of course disagrees. Andy did not have a fun time at all last Thanksgiving as he had two irrational pissed off girls at the beginning, and one sloppy drunk one at the end.

One can't be angry with a turkey on their head, can they?

Andy has banned me from ever making Thanksgiving dinner again. Bit harsh I think. But I relented and was fully prepared just to sit at home with a sandwich this Thanksgiving. That is until Maggie texted me to let me know that she’s hosting dinner at her and Dave’s this year. I texted her back and told her I hope she wouldn’t get angry if I didn’t offer to help cook (for the sake of peace). Which she replied, “No, we’re getting the dinner already pre-made from Vons.” Perfect. I still hope there’s no fucking crescent rolls.

18 November 2010

Chloe's Horrible Terrible No Good Day

Chloe had to go back to the vet yesterday for her follow up blood draw for the PETS passport. Chloe wasn’t having a very good day to begin with and the vet was just the icing on the cake.

In the mornings, we typically leave the back patio door open for about 45 minutes so that Chloe can get some outside time while we get ready for work. Obviously when we leave we shut the door because by 7 AM, Chloe is usually upstairs laying down for a nap – or what I like to call, leaving a bunch of cat hairs on my pillow. Yesterday morning was no different. At 7 AM I shut the door though I fully admit that I didn’t check for Chloe beforehand (she hides in the flower bed from time to time). Even though Andy went out for a smoke after I shut the door, he simply figured that since the door was already shut, I had known Chloe was inside and closed it again without checking to see where Chloe was.

Chloe of course was hiding in the flower bed.

Chloe is like all cats and likes to go where she wants when she wants. As much as she loves hanging out in the back yard, if she can’t get back inside once she’s out, she starts howling. Which she did…..for HOURS. The next door neighbor actually got worried and brought her over some water but Chloe just tried to attack her (I should mention that Chloe is very protective of her domain).

As a slight aside: Chloe has been trapped outside before, though not for nearly as long. What’s infuriating about her (and all cats) is that after howling and howling to get back inside, if you open up the door but then step outside yourself she’ll dart inside for a mere moment (probably to make sure no other animal has disturbed her things) and then will come outside again to hang out with you. It’s this whole, “Yeah, I really wanted to be out here anyway but don’t fucking close the door on me, I can’t sniff my stuff from out here if the door is closed.”

Anyhow, thankfully Andy came back home around noon because we had some apartment inspection going on. Can I mention again that Chloe doesn’t like strangers? Can I mention how much she doesn’t like strangers in her domain? So yeah – 5 hours stuck in the garden followed by strangers roaming about her house. Not a bad enough day for you yet Chloe? Let’s go to the vet!

The vet had given us some sedatives to give to her to make her more manageable but like catnip, they were completely useless on her. That means, of course, that she got gassed again. I brought my camera along this time for the exact purpose of showing Chloe in the gassing box but this time the vet didn’t even try to take her out of her box in front of us, instead choosing to take Chloe to the back room where I’m assuming they clubbed her over the head with a wet fish then took naked photos of her to put on the internet. So I’m sorry, these are the only photos I got:

Chloe before the gassing.

Bored in the waiting room, we take meaningful photo montages about a man and his dog.

It wasn’t until we were out in the lobby paying that I noticed that they had to shave part of her chest to draw the blood properly. So now Chloe has been: locked outside in the garden, had strangers roaming her house, taken to the vet, gassed, embarrassing naked pictures on the Internet AND she looks like she was attacked by a 7 year old boy with a shaving kit.

 "What's next?   Are you going to put me in the washer for a spin cycle?  Mew."

16 November 2010

This is probably why I've never been tagged...

I've been tagged by Liz at ItBeLiz to take part in a tag post and answer a few random questions. I’m actually quite stoked about this (thank you Liz!). Because this is my damn blog, I fully intend to tell you why.

I read a lot of blogs. It’s a bad habit I picked up from a co-worker back in 1998 when he introduced me to pamie.com. “Someone’s online diary? Shut up! That’s awesome! “ I have about 25 or so that I read and have bookmarked at any given time. Because I have so many that I follow, I tend to be pretty strict on how long I’ll wait for someone to update. My general rule is that I’ll stop reading if the blogger hasn’t updated in a month. The ones I have been reading for years and the ones that are just too damn good not to be patient with, I’ll hold out for.

One thing that I’ve noticed in all my years of blog reading is that some blogs tend to be tied to one another. What I mean is that some blog writers are friends with other blog writers either by knowing them in person or from meeting them through the blog. People with popular blogs (i.e. Pamie.com) tend to have loads of blogger friends and these blogger friends tend to tag each other willy nilly like tagging is the next Pog craze or something. Even though I’ve been writing in a blog for the last 10 years (fuuuuuuuuck), I’ve never been a popular blog. I’m going to attribute this to the fact that I keep changing domains every 4 years and not because my writing is subpar *sarcastic font*. (Not that I’m striving to be a popular blog with the all important goal of getting a book deal - can you imagine the book’s title? It would probably be “FUCK: Why hopefully my mother doesn’t read this fucking book”.)

SO YES! Non-popular blog = No blogger friends = No tagging. With Liz tagging me I now feel like I’ve dipped my toe in some weird secret cult where everything is awesome. Of course, because I still have an unpopular blog, there’s no one I can legitimately tag back that hasn’t already been tagged, but I’m going to tag a blog I stumbled upon recently anyhow and hope to God she doesn’t think I’m a weird stalker person. To be fair, I am a bit of a weirdo, but I left my stalker days behind when Alasdair Gillis only sent me back a form letter instead of a handwritten letter where he declared his love like I was expecting.

Go ahead and break my heart, chicken lover.

But enough faffing about...

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Paste these rules on your blog post.
3. Respond to the following prompts (in bold).
4. Add a prompt of your own and answer it. .
5. Tag a few other bloggers at the bottom of the post.

1) The best investment you ever made:
My bartender’s license. Being a bartender actually led to me getting a technology job without a college education (score!). I also made a crapload of friends, learned a new sport, and to this day I still know how to make an awesome Bloody Mary.

2) If you could’ve written any book, directed any movie, and composed any song, which three would you pick:
Book: “Sean and David’s Long Drive” by Sean Condon. The book that made me realize that travel writing can actually be humorous instead of tedious.
Movie: “Clash of the Titans” (the 1981 version) – I would have made an optional ‘skip past the scary Medusa bit’ for the kids if I directed this one.
Song: “I’ve Been Everywhere” – Johnny Cash. I haven’t yet, but would like to think that on my deathbed I could confidently sing this.

AHHHHHHH!!!  Terrible clay animation still freaks the shit out of me.

3) Weirdest quirk:
At any time I feel like I’ve jinxed myself (for example: driving along and thinking, “I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in awhile.”) I will use my fist to “knock on” my head (“wood”) to undo the jinx.

4) One wish immediately granted:
To immediately be able to read, write and speak every language in the world. Maybe the universe if we ever get around to needing it.

5) Most expensive hobby:
I’d say travel but everyone has said that already. I’ll say gnomes...TRAVEL gnomes.

6) An inexhaustible gift-card at which store:
Amazon, definitely. I think they sell live body parts on Amazon.

7) In another lifetime, you’d be:
Burned at the stake. I always think how cool it would be to live in another era only to realize that with my trucker’s mouth, I’d be killed by an angry mob before I hit 18.

8) The most famous/interesting member of your family tree:
Not my direct family, but my step mother’s family – John Billington was the first person hanged in America.

9) What would you say to your teenage self?
Study! History isn’t going to learn itself. Oh, and lay off the Aquanet will you? You shouldn’t be able to store shit in your bangs.

10) What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lucille Ball, but less dead.

Tagging Melissa. (I’m not a stalker!)

10 November 2010

Lies, lies, and some more lies

OK, I lied. One last little thing about pregnancy, or some advice really.

If you plan on getting yourself knocked up anytime in the near future, please let me recommend that you go get all your dental work done now. Don’t put off that cleaning or that weird thing in your molar that you think might be a cavity. Get that shit taken care of now. If it’s a bit too late for that because you went to that rave two months ago even though you knew damn well you’re too damn old to be going to raves and you just happen to shag that hot guy wearing day glo earrings in the nasty women’s toilet with no toilet paper and a distinct smell of Johnson’s baby oil and got yourself all sorts of “with child”, then I’m sorry, that advice will be no use to you because now it’s Too Late.

If you are knocked up already and you were smart enough to get your dental shit taken care of beforehand, please promise me you’ll be extra special careful not to fuck up your teeth. And if you happen to make it the full 9 months without biting into the recommended snack of an apple (falls under the 80 servings of fruit and veggies a pregnant woman is to consume daily) only to lose your god damn filling in the process, count yourself lucky. Because the one thing the dentist will not give a pregnant woman is local anesthetic.

Oh, it looks bad...but trust me, you want this.

Fillings and replacing a filling requires the dentist to drill into the tooth so that the filling stuff has something to “stick to”. (I don’t know what this filling stuff is actually made of, I’m assuming it’s similar to the hard candy your grandma has sitting in a glass dish by the television since 1968.) Drilling into a tooth will mean that at some point the dentist will locate the one nerve in your mouth that somehow controls your bladder and the urge to kick people in the nuts.

Good for kicking.

While the dentist has the hated drill in his grubby paws, you will ask tenderly, “will this hurt?” and the dentist will lie and say, “not too badly”. He’ll then look away for a moment in guilt, realizing he just lied to a pregnant woman (the worst kind of lying EVER), and will correct himself by saying, “it will hurt for 5 seconds. Can you do 5 seconds?” Because you like to pretend you are Tough Shit you will say, “of course I can take 5 seconds of pain”. At second number 1, you realize that you are the biggest pussy ever and that this pain you are feeling now must be worse than sawing off your arm with a dull pocket knife OH MY GOD. At second number 2, you pee yourself and think about the banana you will be sticking in the dentist’s tail pipe. At second number 3 your leg starts jerking looking for some balls to kick and by second number 4 you grab the drill from your mouth and use it to poke out the dentist’s eye. OK, that’s not actually true. By second number 4, the dentist is actually done drilling (he lied again!)(you can forgive him for this lie as long as that drill gets set out to sea). The rest of the appointment will go fine but part of you vows never to go to the dentist again even if all your teeth start coming out in little shards.

The moral of this story is: Apples are evil.

09 November 2010

Don't you just HATE posts about babies?

We had the gender determining ultrasound today (well, it was really a “check if all the bits, not just the gender determining one, is OK” scan and I’m thrilled to report that all the bits are in fact OK). It appears that we are having a no-doubts-about-it boy. Seriously, the penis practically slapped me upside the head it was so blatantly obvious on the screen. That didn’t stop me from asking the technician, “Are you sure?” though. I’d actually have the balls (ha!) to post the picture of my son’s endowment if I wasn’t somewhat fearful that by doing so would somehow convince him to become a porn star later in life. “I don’t know why you’re so upset Mom, you’ve had my penis on display before I was even born.”

So yes! A boy. I’m in a bit of shock due to the fact that I had been convinced that I was having a girl. Truth be told, I was convinced that I would have a girl even before I got pregnant so perhaps it was more wishful thinking than it was “mother’s insight”. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle a boy. I was really looking forward to having a girl who would be nice and quiet and who would like to draw and play with stuffed bunnies instead of a boy who is going to sleep with a pile of dirt and scream “poopie” from 6 AM to 9 PM and ram monster trucks into my ankles and who will think that bugs are like, The Best Thing Ever. Boys are loud, energetic, and messy. Those three things are totally against what I stand for. Oh why oh why can’t I give birth to a 60 year old librarian?

There's still a chance, right?

I already told Andy that I’m going to spend the next 18 years following my son around with a Dustbuster.

Who throws nuts and bolts around?  Oh, that's right...BOYS.

Before I get hate mail – or hate comments – I’m actually very happy (shocked, but happy). The baby is doing great. Nice and healthy, which is all I could ever ask for (well, that and a million dollars which I don’t mind admitting that I would totally get pregnant for again if I could somehow shoot $100 bills out of my crotch). I just need to wrap my head around having a boy.

Because this isn’t a pregnancy\baby blog, this is most likely the last pregnancy\baby centric post you smart-enough-not-to-have-children readers will have to sit through until I pop this thing out, I have to get one last pregnancy\baby thing off my mind. I’ll be done with this topic for the time being then – cross my fingers, hope to pie.

The thing I really need to get off my chest is the people who assume that since I’m breeding now, I will want to continue to breed forever and ever until my uterus falls out. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had discussions (read: arguments) about this with. This child I’m carrying around now? It’s the last one that will grace my insides. I DO NOT WANT MORE THAN ONE CHILD. I don’t know why people find this so hard to believe. Like since I’ve done it once, surely I’d want to do it again! You know, I almost drowned once – boogie boarding in the Pacific, which to be fair is about as pleasant as being pregnant, and I’m telling you, I don’t want to do it again. I wanted one kid, one kid to grow and teach all my bad habits to, and then let it be. I didn’t grow up thinking that being a mom (and just a mom) was what I was destined to do. Having a single child gives you the flexibility to be a great mom and also have a life of your own. It’s not going to be, “Johnny’s* got soccer at 5, then Jenny’s dance lesson at 6, then I’ve got to get the baby to the doctor to check out the rash”; it’s going to be, “Johnny’s got soccer at 5 but he’s spending the night over at his friend’s house, so sure, I can meet you for a couple of drinks later tonight.” I might actually be somewhat delusional about my flexibility once my son is older (I’ve never done this before, remember?) but I’m certainly not delusional about my feelings about having more than one kid. So you out there! Stop your fucking smuggy-smugness, “oh, just wait – once you have one, you’ll want more.” Bite me. I DON’T WANT MORE THAN ONE CHILD.

Just so I don’t offend anyone, I would like to say in all seriousness that I know that there are mothers out there with more than one child who manage to have a very full life (career and personal) outside of motherhood. I admire and respect those women more than I can say. I wish I could be like them, I really do.

*We are not fucking naming our son ‘Johnny’.

End of pregnancy\baby talk, I swear. Just to prove my earnestness in that, here is a picture of the cat:

 The damn cat trying to steal some of Andy's ice cream.   Hey!  At least it's not a baby picture.

03 November 2010

50 business days!? FFS!

Just received:

Dear Applicant;

We have received your application at the UK Border Agency in Los Angeles and it is currently being processed.

Please note UK Border Agency service standards for all applications are: to complete 90 per cent of visa applications (except settlement categories) in not more than three weeks, 98 per cent in six weeks and 100 per cent in 12 weeks.

The current estimated processing time in Los Angeles for UK visa applications (except settlement applications) is 5 - 15 working days plus return mail time, however in certain cases it is necessary to make additional enquiries on an application which will extend the processing time.
The current estimated processing time in Los Angeles for UK settlement applications is 50 business days from the date of this email.

You will receive a further e-mail advising you of the outcome of your application in due course. This e-mail will also provide you with the UPS tracking details of your return package.

The UK Border Agency strongly recommends that you do not purchase flights or make other travel arrangements until you have been granted any requisite visas and physically received your passport.

Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive, the Los Angeles Visa Section is unable to respond to status enquiries.  Further information on UK visa services is available at www.visainfoservices.com

Once you have received your package back from us we would be grateful if you would complete our Customer Satisfaction Survey at: http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/features/survey


UK Border Agency, Los Angeles

That's 10 weeks for anyone that is counting.  We plan on leaving the 2nd-3rd week of January.  That's cutting it pretty damn close if you ask me.

The One with the Biometrics Appointment

I’m going to try to get this post out because I think it’s important that I do (sadly more for me for memory purposes than for you, whom I usually try to entertain).   Unfortunately I am working on 4 ½ hours of sleep (more on that later) so as much as I want to write a concise recount of yesterday my mind is tending to slip into a monotone whine of, “I’m so tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired.”   This post might not make any sense but I’m too tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired to proofread it so expect an apology post later.   This is actually a bit dangerous since I’m dyslexic and I tend to misspell words, leave bits of sentences out all together or my personal favorite, substitute one word for another.    If I happen to have a sentence below that reads: “Sitting in a char I was that only one getting a pizza” please self translate that to: “Sitting in a chair I realized I was the only one getting a visa.”

SO!  Yesterday I went for my biometrics appointment.   This account is not going to serve much purpose to anyone who isn’t getting their UK visa in Southern California, though I can’t imagine your personal account will be too much different.   It is, at its heart, dealing with US Government employees.

Andy prepped me the night before telling me that the best place to park was in the back of the building in Santa Ana.   He said that there was underground parking but depending on the time of day, parking in the back was only $1-2 dollars, if not free.   I didn’t have any cash on me, so I stole two bucks from his wallet in preparation.   The next day I managed to find the building and back of building parking just fine but I was a little dismayed that the parking attendant informed me that it was $1 per 20 minutes.   Although the parking attendant was very flirty, he still wasn’t able to tell me how long this fingerprinting was going to take nor could he move me to the front of the line as much as I batted my eyelashes.  I had a few quarters in my car so I decided to risk parking there anyhow.  It was fingerprinting – seriously, how long does that take?

 Cool, but nothing like the fingerprinting they did.

Walking in, the security guard asked me if I had a cell phone or other recording device (no) and checked me in.  That is, he circled a number on a sheet of paper and told me to wait in the back row of chairs.  That is important by the way – you must sit in the back row of chairs or else you will get yelled at (I may or may not know this by experience).   The whole basis of this office’s sorting system is where you are sat.  

While sitting in the back row, you have to wait for the receptionist to get back from his lunch or taking a crap or getting a pedicure or where ever the fuck he was for 20 minutes ($1!) so that he can stamp your biometrics appointment confirmation sheet and give you a ticker-tape number which at first you are happy to realize is only 13 numbers away from the current number until you realize that it take them 5 minutes to get through each number.   (That may be a run on sentence.  Fuck it. )  You are then instructed to sit in the first or 2nd row of chairs.   Please don’t sit in the back row as you will get yelled at.   Please also don’t announce “for fuck’s sake!” when you are asked to move from the back row to the 1st or 2nd rows while giving a sarcastic look and a sarcastic thumbs up to the security guard because they might not let you leave or they might take away your passport.  Most likely though, it will just make sitting there a bit more uncomfortable when you realize how much of an asshole you’ve just been.

 The only type of "thumbs up" you should do at your Biometrics appointment

I continued to wait in the first row of chairs for another hour ($3!).    During my hour I quickly realized that I was the only one there who was attempting to get a visa to get the hell out of this country instead of trying to get a green card in order to stay.  Of course, I may have changed a few of the immigrants minds by announcing, “for fuck’s sake!” when all I had to do was sit in a different row of chairs.  

After all of time and eternity (I’m happy to announce I had a healthy baby girl who has since grown up and gone to college, as well as three boys via Emmanuel who I was sitting next to in row #1) my number was finally called.   They took my fingerprints and a photo (my hair, I might add, looked FANTASTIC before I went in – after an hour of getting yelled at for chair rows it turned into a flat mess) and I was free to go.   3 minutes.  That’s all it took.    Well, an hour and 23 minutes.   

 This was more like it actually was.  I'd like to congratulate the guy who managed to get a camera in past security.

By the way, I only had $4 total in quarters but I flirted my way with the parking attendant to let the last dollar slide.   I’m not proud of this and I certainly felt a bit dirty afterward but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do when she doesn’t have the last fucking dollar to pay for parking.

Having the very last piece of documentation I needed to submit my paperwork to the British Consulate in Los Angeles (which was the Biometrics Appointment Sheet stamped), I rushed to the mailing services and posted my package for overnight.   Now begins the Great Wait where I do nothing except worry that I fucked something up on my paperwork and have to do the whole thing over again.  Which brings us to my 4 ½ hours of sleep…

I woke up at 3 o’clock last night with the sudden thought that the passport picture I gave them was too big.   I don’t know why this popped in my head, but there it was.  I analyzed it over and over – mentally comparing the size of my face against all the other passport photos I’ve ever had  - and convinced myself that my gigantic head would never meet the strict rules and regulation posted by the British National Passport Picture Nazis.   When I finally talked myself down and realized I was being paranoid, I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep.    I’m so tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired.

28 October 2010

Thursday's Pointless Post

I'm having the sort of day where this seems really funny:

I'm hoping that he has the mind to leave me his tank.  I want something to stick my feet in.

26 October 2010

The Big Bear post that was.

Just to prove how relaxed we were, Andy and I slept in until 8:30 on Saturday morning in Big Bear. This is a rare thing for us as I tend to start flopping about the minute the sun rises. If I’m to be honest (and maybe a bit gross), most weekends I’m cursed with the dreaded trifecta. The trifecta in my world is the waking up at 6 AM to pee. In the midst of falling back to sleep after my pee, I’ll realize that I have to actually – you know – take the kids to the park (or whatever euphemism you want to use) and so I get up again to do that. After that’s all taken care of I’m a bit more awake than before so trying to get back to dreamland is tough, especially since the tri of the trifecta is about to hit. That of course is hunger. If my stomach isn’t growling too badly, I can usually sneak in another hour of light sleeping. That usually doesn’t happen and by 6:30 AM I’ll be downstairs eating some Raisin Bran wishing “How Clean Is Your House?” isn’t the one thing that is on when I’m trying to digest food. Of course the cat, who is very insistent that everyone be up at the exact same time lest there is a fire or a shortage of cat kibble, will start walking all over Andy until he gets up. This is why most Saturday mornings you will find both Andy and I laying on the couch at 7 AM wondering what the fuck we are going to do until 11 AM when the rest of the world decides to join us (in being awake, not being on the couch – our couch isn’t that big).

That was a long fucking paragraph to stress to you how relaxed we were. I hope you enjoyed it.

Big Bear Frontier: Our hotel (cabin? resort?).   Sadly, I did not sleep in the covered wagon.

After getting up, we spent a leisurely couple hours getting ready. And by getting ready, I mean watching the tail end of “the Hangover” followed by the tail end of “Men in Black II” and eating oatmeal raisin cookies. By 10:30 we were ready for some real food and walked up the road from some breakfast.

I should mention the nature, shouldn’t I? There was some. Nature that is. Um…it smelled really fresh…pine tree like? Uh, there were some boulder type things, and the lake, and the trees like I mentioned earlier….oh, and it was so pleasantly cold. I wore a jacket – for warmth!

A Christmas tree with toilet cleaning products on it.  That's nature-y, right?

After breakfast we walked around Big Bear Village (“the Willage”) for a couple hours where I dragged Andy into loads of tourist shops looking at kitschy things with ‘Big Bear’ written all over them. Technically I was looking for a hat to wear because my ears were cold and I can never seem to remember to bring one the 18,000 hats I have at home with me anytime we go somewhere.

The Moose Hat

The sad deer hat

By the way, I determined that you can’t have a proper shop in Big Bear unless you have a big carved bear made from wood in front of your store. A little helpful advice from your friend Moe for those of you thinking you might want to open a kitschy store that sells stuff with ‘Big Bear’ written all over it anytime in the near future.

Because I'm so helpful, I'm even pointing you to the right direction to get your wooden bear sculpture.

Around noon, we ended up walking back to the hotel (cabin? resort?) to grab the car so we could take a pleasant, relaxing drive around the lake. On the other side of the lake from Big Bear there’s this small little town called Fawnskin. I remarked to Andy that ‘Fawnskin’ was kind of a sick name to call a town. He agreed, “It’s a bit like calling something Babypelt, isn’t it?” I can attest that there isn’t much going on in Fawnskin. I did get excited for a moment when we passed ‘Fawn Park’ thinking to myself that it had to be this wonderful fantastic place where you could go and pet baby deer, but I was sadly disappointed it was only for human children. I mean, I doubt they would kick a fawn out if it happened to wander in the park, but if I were a fawn, I’d be staying the fuck away from Fawnskin at any cost.

After our drive, we headed back to the Willage to see if we could rent a boat. I will say right now that if there’s a body of water that I haven’t been on, I’ll want to go on it. I love being on a boat. It’s one of my Most Favorite Things. I’d totally own a boat if I was rich and I wasn’t worried that people would keep begging me to take them out on my boat like I always do to people who have boats (sorry Patrick & Michele). The first marina we went to was only renting a 10 seater pontoon boat for $110 an hour. Since we failed to bring our 8 friends with us, we walked a half mile down the road to the next marina who was thankfully renting a scary 4-person aluminum fishing boat for $45 for 2 hours – life vests included! We were so in.

I think Andy looks wicked handsome in this shot.  He's always handsome but maybe it's the motor in his hands that really brings it out.

The two hour boat ride was by far the best bit of the whole weekend. Andy drove most of the time being very safe and avoiding other boats and making sure to put the white flag up when we just stopped to float along. When Andy asked if I wanted to drive, I said, “hell yeah!” and proceeded to put the motor at full capacity, driving in circles so our little scary aluminum boat bounced through the wake getting us wet. I was giggling the entire time.

The hat I decided on.  I know, I look like a Conehead.  I would have gotten the moose hat but it didn't cover my ears.

The rest of the weekend was fun, but boring to blog about – we had dinner, we went to go see “Red” (see that movie, it’s awesome), soaked in our room’s hot tub, and then spent the rest of the evening the same as before – junk food and HBO. It was exactly what we needed.

(I would like to say that even though Andy was such a granny driving up the mountains, he certainly wasn’t coming down. The road was clear, the weather nice, and Andy drove perfectly….that is to say, fast. He passed other cars! I was so proud.)