Monday, November 30, 2009


Raise your hand if you’ve ever eaten a cookie with the little silver balls like this one…


OK, now raise your hand if you’ve ever died from eating a cookie with the little silver balls on it? Anyone?

Apparently, here in California, dying because of eating these edible decorations is a concern.

Growing up (in CA) we decorated our cookies and cakes using dragées (the fancy French word for the silver balls). They were my favorite part of decorating.

I will be attending a cookie swap party in a couple of weeks so this afternoon I dug out my sugar cookie recipe and thought about what shapes and decorations I would use for this batch. Since the cookie party sounds fancy I thought it would be fun to add some dragées to dress up the cookies a bit.

I found bottles of them for sale online but every site stated that they would not ship to California. After further research I found that there was a lawsuit filed in CA about 6 years ago to stop the sale of these little silver balls for “the public good”. Ironically, there has never been a death linked to the little silver balls. The other 49 states still sell them as “decoration only” while in Europe they are classified as a “food item”. Certainly most of Europe is healthier than we are so my question is…Are you kidding me? So millions and millions of cigarette-related deaths without a ban on sales vs. zero dragée deaths with a ban on sales. Yah, that makes perfect sense to me.

So here is my dilemma…I could order them and have them sent to a friend out of state or have a friend purchase them and send them to me, but I would essentially be breaking the law. I even went on ebay thinking that individual sellers wouldn’t worry about this kind of thing, but I was wrong. This statement even accompanied one of the dragée listings
If you buy these dragees and have a California address we'll file a dispute for malicious buying

Wow! That’s hard core. Even if I was able to get a hold of some of this contraband, I am a little bit worried about the other cookie party goers. Would one of them call the cops on me? Would I be charged with intent to distribute an illegal substance?

I wanted to make my cookies pretty, but whatever, that’s not really the point anymore. I’m so appalled that, in California’s current state of dysfunction, this would even be an issue. Talk about not making sense!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Want Leftovers!

For Thanksgiving this year, my family celebrated earlier in the week. About 7 members traveled to Egypt on Thanksgiving day so in order to be together we planned our delicious turkey meal before they left.

When celebrating at someone else’s house, leftovers can be iffy. Usually I end up with a couple of small, Ziploc baggies to take home with me. No matter how small, I REALLY enjoy that turkey sandwich the next day.

This year however, the host (my cousin) was one of the travelers leaving for 2 weeks and therefore didn’t prepare a butt-load of food as is usually prepared. After everyone ate “Thanksgiving” dinner, there was hardly anything left. So, unfortunately, that meant no leftover turkey sandwich for me! How selfish of them.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has arrived,
A time to be thankful,
With turkey and gravy,
And don’t forget the mashed potatoes.

There are many things to be thankful for,
Like family, friends, and regular pay,
But most of all I’m thankful
To not participate in “Black Friday”.

Tons of deals and specials
At Target, Walmart, and Kohls too
Beginning at 5am, 4am, 3am!
Get out of town! How can that be true?

I’ll be spending my last day of vacation,
Because Monday’s so close I dread,
Sleeping in until noon,
Being crowd free, and shopping online instead.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 23, 2009

A Car Named Jimmy

A friend of mine left for a visit to the East Coast this weekend, which got me thinking about my own time living on the other side of the country.

I lived in New England for 8 years – 4 during college and 4 more afterwards. I loved living back East, even in the winter. In fact, the fall and winter were my favorite seasons back there. However, being a SoCal girl, I wasn’t very good a driving in the winter. Since I lived in the “sea coast” area, our winters were not terribly snowy like they are more inland, but they did get very icy. Driving in the ice scared me. My reliable Honda was great, but I wanted something made for that kind of weather. So over time I saved my money in order to buy a “new to me” car.

My dad came out to visit one fall and he took me to buy my first car. (On a side note, my dad was useless at the dealership; not a good wheeler-dealer at all, but that’s another story.) I did however end up with my Jimmy. (Which could be one of the reasons why my dad was not so into this car buying thing being a Ford man and all).


I loved this “new to me” car very, very much. It was so pretty, I sat up much higher than the Honda, and it had 4-wheel drive which I was hoping would help me out in the winter.

Winter came slowly, but when it finally arrived I felt I was ready to face it in my new car. One evening after work it was put to the test. I was devastated though as I drove home and slipped and slid around on the snowy road more than I ever had in my Honda. I was so worried that I got myself into debt for a car that didn’t really work in the snow. I was even more worried about having to to tell my dad that my non-Ford wasn’t working out so well.

My job at the time paid just pennies, so a few nights a week I also bartended. I had regular customers that I got to know well and after the first snow the guys wanted to know how my car faired. I told them my story about the slipping and sliding. This was the gist of the conversation…
Me: It was scarier than it ever was in my Honda. I thought the 4-wheel drive was supposed to make it better.
The guys: That is strange. The 4-wheel drive should be better than the little car. How do you put it into 4-wheel drive? Is there a button or something.
Me: There are some buttons, one that says 4-wheel high and one that says 4-wheel low.
The guys: Which one did you push?
Me: I didn’t push any of them.
The guys: (Laughter)

You see, the Jimmy was in rear-wheel drive all the time unless I put it into 4-wheel drive, pushing one of the buttons. Of course, rear-wheel drive is much worse than front wheel drive in winter weather. Seriously, how was I supposed to know that being from SoCal. Once they showed me how to work it, my car worked like a dream in the snow.

I miss that car. (More Jimmy stories to come.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts Big

  • As if President Obama didn’t already have enough criticism, he had go and bow in respect to Japan’s leader. Stupid, stupid man. Certainly this IS the most important thing that is going on in the world. I’m so glad the news is focused on this issue.
  • This week is taking FOREVER! I always think the week before a vacation will be great…the end is in sight. However, every time it seems as if the week goes on and on.
  • The weather is finally cooling off here in SoCal, thank goodness! It is starting to feel like fall. In fact I got to wear a pair of my new boots just this week.
  • Speaking of new boots, Grandma J asked for pictures of my newly purchased Zappos boots.

    boots3 boots2


  • I’m happy that the weather is changing not only so I can wear my new boots, but also because I plan on decorating my house for Christmas during my Thanksgiving week off. It was going to be really hard to decorate for Christmas when it was 90 degrees outside.

Friday, November 13, 2009

As Fancy As Proust

Back in the day, questionnaires like this one were popular party games. Proust himself participated in this “game” on two separate occasions and his answers were eventually published in Andre Maurois's Proust: Portrait of a Genius. Vanity Fair magazine uses it as it’s monthly interview questions. Faiqa recently published her answers and I’m copying her – her post, not her answers.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
No worries
What is your greatest fear?
Being without any family.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Impatience AND Judgmental
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Being inconsiderate of others AND laziness/apathy
Which living person do you most admire?
I’m never able to answer this question. I don’t know. There are different qualities that I admire in different individuals and qualities that I don’t admire in those same individuals. There isn’t any one person who I look up to as the person I want to be. I think that’s a good thing.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My housekeeper
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
I don’t know. I think you can make a pretty strong case for most of them.
On what occasion do you lie?
As much as possible Some white lies that might help me or someone else, but that never hurt others (at least I don’t think I do)
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
The shorter answer would be to “What do you like about your appearance?”
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Considerate/Sense of Humor
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Considerate/Sense of Humor
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
”Ya know”, “Oh My God!”, “Are you serious?”, “I know!”
Which talent would you most like to have?
musical, languages
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
My dog – she has such a good life
Where would you most like to live?
Looking at water
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t think I have one.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Going through escrow
What is your favorite occupation?
I don’t know if this means my favorite of my occupations or just any occupation…I’ve been reading a book about Frank Lloyd Wright and I think architecture seems pretty neat – merging of art and science. I’d also have to say a job where international travel is required.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Hard working
What do you most value in your friends?
fun and reliability
Who are your favorite writers?
Marian Keyes, Roddy Doyle, Nick Hornby
Who is your hero of fiction?
Liesel Meminger – The Book Thief
What is it that you most dislike?
Mayo and being photographed
What is your greatest regret?
That I didn’t live out of the country before I had responsibilities like a job and a mortgage
How would you like to die?
In my sleep – fine one day, dead the next
What is your motto?
From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere. - Dr. Seuss

I tag everyone to play along!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writer’s Workshop #9 – Just Punishment

My parents were pretty strong disciplinarians when I was growing up. Both were teachers and they had high expectations of my behavior. Overall I was a good kid. Sometimes however, this might come to you as a surprise for those of you who know me in real life, I could have an “attitude”. That was my biggest behavior problem. Being the only child, I spent most of my childhood with my parents. In the tweens and teen years, they drove me nuts. Add in some hormones and that was quite a mix.

I know I was a brat and I don’t wish a teenage daughter like me on anyone. One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell about this period of time starts out with me and my room. I was messy. Never gross messy – I didn’t leave dirty dishes or food in my room – but I left clothes everywhere. This drove my mom crazy and her craziness drove my dad crazy.

After one particularly heated discussion about my messy room where “It’s my room and I should be able to keep it the way I want it!” and “I can’t believe you!” were screamed for the millionth time my dad got so mad and marched upstairs to take care of the situation.

Some background information…In the house we lived in at the time my room was one of two rooms that faced the street. Both of these rooms had a sliding glass door out to a balcony which looked over the front yard and driveway.

My dad came into my room as my mom and I were fighting about my piles. He opened up my sliding glass door, scooped up an armful of clothes, walked out to the balcony, and flung them over the side. At first I gasped and then the drama kicked in and I started crying, “Stop it!” Instead, he picked up another armful and threw those over as well.

There were clothes everywhere! Hanging off the balcony, from tree branches, in the planter boxes, draped over rocks, and strewn over the driveway and grass. I don’t know what I was more mortified about at the time – him throwing my clothes or what the neighbors thought. I ran downstairs and tried to scoop them up as quickly as possible. It was so embarrassing.

That incident took care of the messy room issue for a little while. When it reared it’s ugly head again, my mom finally compromised. As long as I kept my door closed and did my own laundry, she agreed not to hound me about my room. Not sure if that was the result my dad had in mind, but at least the arguments about it stopped after that.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts Big
  • I don’t like Sundays.  I don’t think I ever have or ever will.  By choice, I don’t do anything on Sundays.  I prefer to stay in my jammies, catch up on my recorded shows, and hope the day doesn’t go by too fast.  However, since my dad died, Sunday is the day that I usually miss him the most.  Probably because I’m not preoccupied with work, or errands, or whatever else I am doing. 
  • I had another back incident last night.  I have had one every week or so for the last couple of months.  I think they are lower back spasms of some kind but they make me feel sick to my stomach as well.  They seem to start right around the time I’m going to bed and then I spend about 2-3 hours writhing around in pain.  I thought I had narrowed it down to days when I sat down too much, but yesterday I didn’t do much sitting around at all.  So now I’m perplexed. 
  • I am so looking forward to my week of vacation for Thanksgiving.  My class is FINALLY starting to settle down and we’re getting things done, but it was a painful and tiring process getting there.  They wore me out and I need a break.
  •   I met up with another high school friend who I reconnected with through facebook.  We met for coffee this weekend and it was a lot of fun to catch up.  I’ve given FB a bad time, but I have to admit that even though it was a bit overwhelming at first, I’m starting to settle in with it.
  • Have you shopped on yet?  OMG!  It is shoe heaven.  Over the last couple of weeks I have been on a mission to find a cute pair or boots that fit well.  That’s how I discovered Zappos.  You can order as many pairs as you want with free shipping, try them on, wear them until you know if they work or not, and then send them back with free return shipping.  I did that a few weeks back and found a great pair of boots in brown.  I then wanted a pair in black so I ordered some more with the same free shipping.  However I got an email right afterwards stating that since I was such a good customer they were upgrading me to overnight shipping, for free!  Like I said, Heaven!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Gross Story Which Really Wasn’t

Copy of Picture 016This is my dog Koho. She’s the coolest dog in the world.

This story actually began last Wednesday when I spent most of the day sitting down from about 8 am until about 7 PM as I was out at meetings for most of the day and was not teaching. Since I am turning into an elderly person, that night I had the worst back ache and couldn’t fall asleep until very early the next morning. Which meant that I was exhausted on Thursday. Just remember that as you read the rest of the story.

Thursday night I crashed into bed and was out like a light before my head hit the pillow. I was so tired. In the middle of the night I was awaken by my dog coughing on the bed next to me. I sat up because it kind of sounded like she was actually vomiting. In my exhaustion I looked over in the dark, just lit by the streets light outside, and found that she actually had puked white nastiness on the bed, about a foot away from where I was sleeping. I have to admit that in my sleep deprivation I seriously contemplated letting her and the puke stay there because I was so tired. But a clearer head prevailed, and I got out of bed and shooed Koho off as well. Luckily, my comforter has a duvet cover on it so, with my eyes closed, I unbuttoned the cover, rolled it up, dumped it on the bathroom floor, vowing to take care of it in the morning. I got back into bed and fell back to sleep.

The next morning, still feeling slightly annoyed that my sleep had been interrupted. I got ready for work and then carried the soiled comforter cover down to the garage. I opened it up to see if I needed to remove any undigested food (I know, gross) before throwing it in the washing machine. As I did, I had a hard time finding where it was. I looked and turned it and looked again and again. There wasn’t any sign of the puke?!?! I washed it anyways and left for work.

That night when I went to bed, I realize that Koho had actually just been coughing. As the light from outside shown into my dark bedroom, the pattern of my bedding shown brightly.
2623889208_f0e1f20176_o I realized that the white of the pattern was what looked like dog puke to me in the middle of the night. I was relieved to know that I hadn’t really contemplated sleeping next to dog vomit.