Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry & Happy

We're on our way for several days of family and Christmassy fun. A bunch of driving, then family, family, family, then more driving.

I hope you all have a happy Christmas, however you celebrate.

BTW—40 is fine. I'm actually looking forward to my 40s.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Early Birthday to Me!

One of the challenges with having a birthday so close to Christmas is that it often gets lumped up with all the other festivities. Though, considering grandma's birthday is actually Christmas Day, I really shouldn't complain. Anyhow, my co-workers in the editorial department decided to surprise me with a birthday celebration today before people start fleeing the office for the holidays.

I received a nice card, with some wonderful birthday wishes, and a yum-yum-yummy, ri-ri-rich chocolate mousse cake. The conversation turned astrological as we were enjoying the cake.

In a normal year, my birthday falls on the winter solstice. But this year, not only is my birthday on the solstice, but there's a full moon, a lunar eclipse, and Mercury is in retrograde. And it's the big Four-Oh, not that there's anything astrological about that.

I never realized how closely me co-workers follow astrology, but I've been hearing about this Mercury in retrograde thing all month. Apparently it never leads to any good.

Anyhow, we decided the confluence of these events was either going to be very auspicious, or very disastrous. After stashing the entire half cake that was leftover in the fridge so I could bring it home to share with Scoob, I started looking up some of the astrological websites that were recommended.

Dudes, it is not good. I shouldn't even bother getting out of bed on Tuesday.

From Michael Lutin:
Here you are trying your best to fortify and stabilize your whole life, and the very house you are living in seems like a sand castle at the edge of the sea at as the tide comes rolling in. Maybe you won’t exactly look back on this scene someday and laugh about it, mainly because the bolt from the blue that has struck your family has repercussions that will last for years and years.

Oooookay. Nothing here about the eclipse and other events specifically, but it is certainly not making me feel any better about the serious family health issues from earlier in the week.

Then there's this from Susan Miller:
Romantically, the total eclipse of the moon on December 21 in Gemini at 29 degrees could bring emotional drama, especially if you were born near the end of your sign from December 17- 21. [Yo, Dec. 21, here] The focus will be a serious relationship, in love or business...

One reason this month's December 21 eclipse could prove to be troublesome is that it will fall directly on the solstice, which means it will be more powerful than most eclipses. Solstice points represent the life force, so it's very strong - and we haven't had an eclipse this powerful since 2001. Another reason I expect trouble is that Uranus will act up in a big way, for he will be in tight, challenging position to the Sun and moon.

The whole area of real estate and property is being brought into the discussion of the eclipse because Uranus will be so active on December 21, and Uranus is currently in your fourth house of home. As a result of this eclipse, you may move to a new address, or a family member may create news, and in both cases, this would happen quite out of the blue. If you are currently living with your sweetheart, you may suddenly decide to move out.

This home and property sector rules not only physical property you buy, sell, or lease, but also the people with whom you share your space (romantic lover, roommate, or immediate family). It rules also the people you hire to help you with your space (contractors, decorators, or maintenance help) or people who you deal with to maintain, sell, or do other things for your space (buyers, sellers, tenants, landlord, or broker). This house also rules your parents or adoptive parents, for your fourth house of home is considered the "cradle of life." One of these individuals listed here may be an important big focus now.

Oh, and I didn't copy is here, but there's also something about Venus being in my House of Secrets and I shouldn't be surprised if a secret is exposed sometime between the eclipse (Dec. 21) and mid-January. Those of you that know my news can see how that may be problematic. Then there's the whole "cradle of life"/family thing. Again.

You know, a smart person would just stop reading these things. But now I'm kind of dreading my birthday and I'm thinking that curling up in bed with a cup of tea and some of that leftover birthday cake might not be such a bad decision. But, of course, there's just one slight problem with that plan...

Where the hell did my cake go?
I left a whole half of a cake!

Someone at the office apparently thought the cake was going to get tossed out with the Friday night fridge purge and took it upon themselves to liberate the cake. I particularly like that fact that they left me a few crumbs and the empty box in the fridge. No one has owned up to it yet.

I don't know which pisses me off more, that someone (or more than one) took what clearly didn't belong to them, or that they left the freakin' empty box behind!

I think my eclipse has started early. And Day 1 is imminent.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Finally winding down from a phone call with my mom (mom) and am about to head to bed, but I wanted to post a quick update. I talked with my mom (step-mom) earlier and my sister was moved out of ICU this afternoon, so that is good. Though from what I understand, her roomie in ICU was detoxing and creating quite the fuss between yelling/swearing/throwing things and being otherwise abusive. She was really pissed when sis got her own room. I can only imagine what she did then.

But, anyhow, this isn't an update about the crazy meth addict. Now that sis is out of ICU she can text and facebook, and whatnot, so I spent a good portion of the evening testing her hand-eye coordination while on pain meds by having a text conversation. Heh. Well, I was worried she might be winded and a little short of breath for a phone call what with the hole in her lung.

So the leak in sis's lung has apparently sealed itself—okay, can I just say, when a doctor tells me something has "resolved" itself, I'm always a little hesitant to take it at face value. Okay. So she's no longer leaking air and can breathe easier, but there's still a lot of air trapped in her body and that still has her in a great deal of pain. They're keeping her another night for observation and are hoping the air will dissipate (read "resolve") on its own. She thinks she could go home tomorrow.

I also learned this afternoon that sis forgot to turn in her paperwork to enroll in her company's health insurance plan. After she gets this bill, I'm guessing she never forgets again. Yeah, sis, if you could see me, I'd be giving you the look.

Dad's got a clean bill of health from his doctor. Turns out I was needlessly worried about him. Well, not needlessly, but just late to the daddy worry party. He actually relapsed with his pneumonia a week ago and today was his follow-up appointment from that. No one tells me anything. Probably because I'm such a worry wart.

So anyhow, I'm wishing it were Friday night instead of Wednesday so I could sleep in tomorrow. But I'll probably head up to Eureka on Friday after work for a quick visit. Maybe I'll even pick up some Dilly Bars on the way. To share with Bungee.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Well, I was going to write about more tushie related news, but that will have to wait. I'm having a minor meltdown tonight. I went from happily addressing the last of my Christmas cards (sending some out for the first time in several years) and baking brownies for the annual bake sale at work tomorrow to being beside myself with worry.

I texted my sister yesterday looking for an uncle's address and she said she would give it to me only if I signed her name to the card, too. Ha ha. So when I texted her today whether she was serious (because I would totally forge her name on the card), her reply was "I don't care... I'm in the hospital." FTW?!

Finally mom calls to tell me what's going on. It seems she's had a bad cough  for a couple of days and then today she started to feel really bad. Mom finally took her to the hospital when her lips turned blue and she fainted in the middle of her apartment. After x-rays, the doctor says she has air leaking into her chest cavity.

I'm guessing she was coughing so hard she some how ruptured something. The doctors can't tell if the air is coming from her lung or esophagus right now, but they have her on oxygen and morphine and are keeping her overnight.

On the same call, mom tells me that dad appears to be having a relapse with his pneumonia. He's having trouble staying warm again and is having some chest pains. So he's hauling his tushie back to his doctor tomorrow instead of heading to where my mom and sister are.

And I've been told to stay put until we know more. So here I am, at 2:30am, having my freak out/meltdown. Because that's what I do. I worry. Mom says she'll call tomorrow with an update, and I've already got a bag packed and ready to go. I'll toss it in the car with me when I leave for work in the morning.

I have got to relax, though, and get some sleep. Especially if I think I may need to drive up to Eureka.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let’s Talk Tushie

Okay, so I noticed something while we were in North Carolina and it's been kicking around in my head ever since. Not one single public restroom I went into offered toilet seat liners. I know, huh. Of all the things I could possibly obsess over, I choose toilet seat liners.

Anyhow, it got me thinking. At what point in my life did toilet seat liners become a necessity? Was there a moment when my tushie became too royal to sit on the throne without that ever-so-thin piece of tissue paper separating it from the seat?

Now, I know some of you will say "just hover," but I must admit—I am incapable of the hover. Or the squat. Whenever I try to do either, I'm so concerned that I'll go all over the place that I tense up, making it just that more likely that I'll go all over the place.

I have, on rare occasion managed the assisted squat, but that only works when there's something behind me I can place my hand on for support. Call it performance anxiety. I think it's genetic. My sister can't do it either.

But I digress. Back to my tushie. So, my tushie hasn't always been so pampered. I don't recall using toilet seat liners in public restrooms when I lived in Oregon. I remember them being available in most restrooms, but I never understood why someone would need to use them except on rare occasion.

I mean, studies have shown that phone receivers, door handles, and shopping carts carry more germs than toilet seats, so other than the every so often I would need to go and the only toilet available had dribbles on the seat, I never used a liner.

I've used outhouses and never felt the need for a liner. An air freshener maybe, but not a liner.

So when did my tushie become such a namby pamby? I think the liner thing became habit for me while living in San Jose. After one too many times of sitting on a wet seat. You know that moment, just after the tushie settles, when you realize "aw, crap! the seat's wet!" But what are you going to do? Contact's already been made. It's not like you can reverse time and choose a different toilet.

So this seemed to happen to me a lot after moving to California, and at some point I must have decided that a preemptive toilet seat tissue was the best strategy. I don't know what the difference is between Oregonians and Californians that makes one groups' women more capable of pissing in the pot, so to speak, without making a mess. But there it is.

I do have a theory, though. Immigrants. I couldn't for the life of me understand why I would find footprints on the toilet seats in public restrooms here. And just so you know, any seat with a footprint received a preemptive toilet seat liner from me.

I finally solved the footprint mystery when I traveled to Chiapas, Mexico, several years ago and had to use a community outhouse.

The community outhouse was a large walled wooden outbuilding with a raised bench, and the bench had several holes cut into to with no seats. I could plainly see where people had missed the holes, so there was no way in hell I was planting this tushie on that bench. Then I noticed the local women would stand on the bench, hike up their skirts, and squat over the holes.

Okay, so we've already discussed my shortcomings when it comes to squatting. It's a life skill I've never put much effort towards mastering. Though I will say that moment on that trip really made me question whether I might need to resort my priorities. I did finally manage to use the latrine after begging a travel companion to help me keep my balance; she was laughing the whole time. Hey, it's not nice to make fun of people's disabilities.

Anyhow, that's when I figured out how/why the footprints were on the public toilets at home. I understand this is the traditional method for using public facilities in India, China, and other parts of Asia as well. So, given the high density of immigrants in the Bay Area from those areas, the footprints and the accompanying wet spots suddenly made so much more sense. Still disgusting, but no longer perplexing.

Anyhow, that's my theory. Mind you there's not a shred of scientific data to back that up. But there it is just the same. Maybe I should apply for a federal grant and study the situation.

I thought "those crazy Californian" when they mandated toilet seat covers here. Oh, yeah. You better believe it. It's a health code violation here if a public restroom does not provide those toilet seat liners. And now that I've really thought this thing through (there must have been something better I could have done with the time, but I didn't, and I can't get it back so I figured I'd share my ramblings with you! It's your lucky day!), I understand why.

I mean everyone bitches about California being a nanny state, including me, but seeing as how they can't very well regulate and enforce how we all takes a piss without some serious invasion of privacy issues, they decided to mandate the toilet seat tissue. I'd say that's the better call.

So, back to the beginning of this post. Since toilet seat tissues are mandated here, it was a bit of a shock not to see them at all while in North Carolina and my tushie reluctantly became reacquainted with the public domain. And you know what, it wasn't that bad. I didn't have a single bad tushie experience and got used to it after the first couple times. Soon I was wondering what in the world I had been fussing over. Then I came home.

I don't know about you, but my first stop when getting off a plane is the restroom. (Don't even get me started on the in-flight restrooms. Emergencies only!) So there I am at Oakland International Airport, facing the throne in the restroom, having an internal conversation with my tushie:

ME: Look. It can't be that bad. You've gone without a liner for an entire week.
TUSHIE: Not by my choice!
ME: Yes, but still, nothing bad happened.
TUSHIE: Says you! I was traumatized, TRAUMATIZED I tell you, every time we sat down!
ME: But you've made such good progress. You know the first week is always the hardest when kicking a habit. You've already made it through the toughest part.
TUSHIE: But look at it. The liner's right there. It's practically begging to be used.
ME: Think of all the trees we'll save if we swear off using liners from now on.
TUSHIE: Trees my ass! Even if we used 20 of those tissuey things every time we go it wouldn't kill an entire tree in our lifetime. Put the liner on now, dammit! We have to pee!
ME: You don't have an ass…you are the ass. Now shut it and sit down!
TUSHIE: I'd sooner piss down our leg than sit on that seat without a liner!
ME: I've got the brain! You're just the bum. Now sit on it!
ME: Awww, crap. It's wet.
TUSHIE: Told you!

Will I become one of those people who travel with toilet seat liners folded neatly in my purse? I seriously doubt it. Though I may look into a GoGirl. Think about it. What woman hasn't encountered the dreaded gas station or fast food restaurant bathroom and wished she could pee standing up? Because I don't care how many toilet seat covers you layer, you're still not going to want to go there.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Some Randomness

So, someone swiped my coffee cup at work the other day. It was my own fault, really, for leaving it in the dish drainer to dry. There's nothing terribly distinctive about it, so no one would know it was mine, but I've been using the same cup since I started working here in 2004 and I've grown rather attached to it. Now I'm looking for a replacement cup and I found this. Basically there's a hole in the bottom of the cup and only the owner has the plug to fill it and make the cup useful. So anyone else trying to steal use my cup would wind up with hot coffee on their hand/arm/leg. Nope, there's nothing passive aggressive about that.

I skimmed through this article about people who are drawn to underpaying jobs. I don't think they've "discovered" a new disorder, but I do think it is symptomatic of low self-esteem and confidence, fear of failure, and just general laziness. Just another reason why I'm so proud of my sis for putting herself out there and taking a chance. She's been working at a small law firm for the past several months instead of retail and she loves it. Her work is engaging, fulfilling, and challenging and it's absolutely wonderful to watch her whole self blossom. Love you sis!

Though, honestly, I didn't like the researcher's tone, which seemed to say that all people everywhere should be striving for high-paying jobs. Sometimes these types of jobs are just what you need, like when you're trying to earn some extra cash around the holidays or when you're not the primary breadwinner in a household with children. Anyhow, it was still interesting.

Have you ever wondered how environmentally kosher the area you live in is? (Can you even use kosher like that in a sentence? Maybe I've coined a new phrase.) Well, you can find out by entering your zip code at the Scorecard website. The website generates an environmental report by county and you can find out how your county (or a county you may move to) stacks up environmentally with other counties. Scorecard also provides reports on the top polluters in the county. Fascinating to have all this information available at my fingertips. And depressing to see just how little we've accomplished when it comes to protecting the places we call home.

And now, a few ways you can help others in need this holiday season without lifting a finger. Well, okay, you will have to lift a finger (those keys won't type by themselves!), but you won't be exerting yourself. And I'm all about helping others while inconveniencing myself as little as possible.

This one's for all you frequent fliers out there—every time you use Facebook Places to check in at a Southwest Airlines airport, Southwest will donate $1 to the Make a Wish Foundation. Read about it here.

Now that it's December, it's also bellringer season. The Salvation Army has totally embraced technology to help meet their $3,000,000 fundraising goal. I recently downloaded the Salvation Army Christmas Music app from iTunes for $2.99. $1 of my purchase goes directly to the Salvation Army and in return, I get a great selection of Christmas music arranged in multiple genre playlists like Children's, Instrumental, Soul/Jazz, Oldies, and more.

The Salvation Army understands that not everyone wants to stand outside in the cold ringing the donation bell, and now you can help support the cause and stay toasty warm by heading to the Online Red Kettle where you can create your own iconic red kettle online and invite people to donate.

They've also created a fun bellringer app available for free through iTunes. So go ahead, ring my bell.