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May 01, 2008

i owe you people something like an update

It has been a crazy week since I last posted.

Tuesday night we cleaned the house in preparation for an out-of-town guest. After we finished putting things away, vacuuming, and changing the sheets on the guest bed, we decided a shower was in order. Usually, since it's just the 2 of us, I turn on the shower, jump in and wash and step out, then DH jumps in and turns off the shower. Except the goddamned thing wouldn't turn off all the way. So hubby hauled out the tools and stripped the hot water handle back to the stem, then used pliers to get the stem turned off.

For those of you keeping score, this is the THIRD problem with the shower/tub handles since we bought the house. THIRD. By this time, however, it's well after midnight, and there's little that can be done except to get the water turned off and go to bed.

Wednesday, I got up and went to work, and then picked up my friend from the airport. We went straight from LAX to the beach, as she'd never put her tootsies in the Pacific. We had lunch at the Kettle (my favorite MB comfort food place) and then walked down to the waves. After goofing around for about 15 minutes and introducing her to the joys of squishing kelp bobbers, we walked back up to the car and made our way back to the casa. We got her gear stowed, watched some TV and went to choir rehearsal.

Thursday I dragged her to school with me, and she got to sit in for the final fetal pig lab of the year. Of course her patience was rewarded with a trip out to Melrose to shop at Fluevog and Kidrobot and lunch at Johnny Rocket's.

Friday we went to the Dodger game (Joe Torre Bobblehead night!).

Saturday was plumbing day 1. We took the access panel off the wall to see how difficult it would be to replace the diverter/valve/handle thingy. As usual, it wasn't that simple. As with the dishwasher, one plumbing job quickly became three, as we discovered that the water shutoff valves for the shower were broken OPEN. So we had to turn all of the house water off to replace those. AND we discovered that the shower would take a hell of a lot more work to replace... so we decided to cap the leaking valves and put the rest off, as we were having people over for a BBQ so that our friends could meet our guest. Much meat and wine took the edge off of the plumbing mess.

Sunday we went to see the Big Fat Rat. It turns out that was an excellent day to go. Not terribly hot, and not terribly crowded either. We rode all the big rides, and most of the smaller ones, too. The longest line we stood in was 45 minutes, for the Nemo submarines. Everything else was 20 minutes or less, including Indy! We had "linner" at the Blue Bayou (yum!) and went to Downtown Disney to the Lego Store via Monorail. We left at 9 because Monday is a work day, but everyone was exhausted by then anyway.

Monday was plumbing day 2. We fixed the valves and tackled the shower/diverter replacement. It quickly became evident that the geometry of the house made it IMPOSSIBLE to remove the pipes via the access panel. So we cut a hole in the side of the house! Extreme, but it was either that or rip out the fiberglass shower surround. And anyway, our house is covered in flat wood panels (1x 12's) with wood shingle siding attached, so what we cut out came out in one single piece (which we screwed back on when we were done). Once we could actually REACH the plumbing, the shower replacement was a piece of cake. And now it works great. YAY Hubby!

Tuesday was my class's final, and then another trip to Kidrobot and a tour of Hollywood Boulevard.

Wednesday I dropped my friend back at LAX, and our whirlwind week was over. Back to real life, and fast. I got a hell of a curve ball at work, and then I had to grade exams.

Today I finally got to do my ACTUAL job. Wow.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:28 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 05, 2008

My Baby turns 9 today

OK, so she's not my baby in the usual sense, but she IS my child. The favorite, the spoiled one, the one who gives me kisses and runs to see me when I come home every afternoon. She watches while I sleep and gets offended when her Daddy and I argue with each other. She loves books and kleenex (to eat) and cheese and chicken and eggs that escape from my breakfast burritos. She's Daddy's girl when he's got trail mix and Mommy's shadow whenever there's a glass of Dr. Pepper poured out. My 35 pound hot water bottle who loves the snow beyond reason and runs from rain drops. My "worth her weight in Molybdenum" hound who has cost me more than a fortune in tests and specialists and pills and special dog food, and finally human anti-rejection meds for an allergy that only took a move home to California to cure.

But for all that, we wouldn't trade a moment with our "border spaniel cocker collie" and all the ways she's spoiled us.

I love you, my Princess.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:22 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

May 06, 2008


that's what it looks like outside, and it's kinda how I feel. Now, today wasn't a bad day, not by any stretch, at least not so far, but it was just kinda blah.

I went to therapy today, which was good. Cold, once I got out of the pool, but good. As usual, my PT kicked my pathetic ass. I was doing leg lifts in the deep end. Ever used a Roman chair? You know, the one with the arm rests and grips and you hang from them and use your lower abs to lift your legs? Yeah. It ain't any easier using floating dumbbells to hold yourself steady in the water and raise your legs. Even if the water makes your legs weight less. I feel like I did 500 sit ups instead of 2 sets of 10 of right, center, left, center.

After therapy I showered and changed and went to work. Whereupon I was handed a nasty project with the deadline ASAP. And then I had to show someone how to work the AV system in one of the classrooms so we could get it set up for a speaker. A speaker, who, by the way I had to go listen to for an hour, when I could have been working on the aforementioned project from hell.

So yeah, blah. Just blah. And I get to spend this evening working on crap I don't want to do. But it is somewhat important, so I'll make sure it gets done.

And I'm tired. More mentally than physically. It's the end of the school year, university politics is eating my soul, and feel like my therapy should be having more obvious effects than it is. I need a vacation, but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

I think I'm gonna curl up with a blanket and a puppy or two and just try to turn my brain off for a while.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 13, 2008

Dear Idiots

I know you can read this. You stole my laptop, and if you're not the complete idiot that your botched job of breaking in to my house would seem to suggest, you've found this page by now.

Just know this, you left enough of yourself behind that the cops should be knocking on your door soon.

So just bring back the laptop and we'll call it even. Leave it on the front porch. I'll let the cops know you did the right thing.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:29 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

a brief update

After consultation with the insurance folks, it's not worth putting in a claim, so I guess Uncle Sam's $1200 is going into the buy-me-a-laptop fund.

Wonderful dude was just here and replaced the window for $75. Sunset Glass in Pasadena. I can highly recommend them! And he was over an hour early. Took him about 20 minutes to get the old glass out and cut and seat the new pane.

So that's that. I changed all my passwords for my accounts and set a password with the bank, so nobody can access my stuff. I also signed on with Lifelock for a year's monitoring of my credit. They were actually recommended to us by both one of the cops who came last night and my parents' insurance guy, who has handled their accounts for years and is a good dude. So money well spent, I suppose.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 15, 2008

replaced but not forgotten

I just ordered me a new laptop. It's the faster baby brother of what I just had stolen from me. I know a lot of people aren't Vaio fans, but the SZ Series is the best combo of light and fast that I could find, since I am SUCH the power-head when it comes to my computers. I prefer to buy more than I need and run it into the ground (over about 6 years). I also need it as light as possible, since the RA dictates that heavy = BAD.

I loved my Vaio so much, there was never a choice.

Oh, and did I mention it has XP!!!!!! Not Vista!!! YAYYYYYYYYY!

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:48 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 19, 2008

I don't know whether to be proud or ashamed....

Skin Disease or Dungeons and Dragons Character?

Score: 100% (16 out of 16)

h/t Contagion
Posted by caltechgirl at 10:48 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 20, 2008

I like fast...

MY NEW LAPTOP CAME TODAY!!!!!!! It was supposed to arrive tomorrow but it came today!!!!

Busy setting it up and re-downloading all my happy programs. I already copied my (oldish) Firefox profile from hubby's computer and have set that up. Then firewall, virus scan, ad blockers, image manipulation software, Google talk and Nvu.

And I need to get my Office disks and Roxio and some games. Almost there!


Posted by caltechgirl at 07:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 23, 2008

Life's lessons

You think things are going along just great. You even take a few moments to thank the man upstairs for your blessings, to smell the roses and recognize that life is indeed very sweet.

You think you are prepared. Yeah right. As Brahms says in his Requiem (mvmt. 3),

... in a moment.. a moment... in the twinkling of an eye...
Things change. And you are changed. And it doesn't matter how small or how silly it seems, in the grand scheme, the world is fundamentally altered in that one moment.

It's confession time for me. Over the last week I have again retreated into my personal shell. I've been avoiding you. Well, ok, I've been avoiding everybody. The little house that was finally beginning to feel like my personal retreat had become a place of fear. I didn't want to leave. What if someone came in again, only this time they hurt my babies? I didn't want to stay. What if they came back and came in again anyway? I mean, we did everything RIGHT. Locked the doors, left lights on, left the dogs IN the house, and they still came in anyway. Courtesy of a brick and broken glass. How could we ever be safe again?

But slowly I am walking away from that fear. I mean, first of all it's silly. The laptop and the broken window are already replaced. Hell, I am typing on the new one now. I've never really been upset about either of them, to tell the truth. What tore me up was the thought that my baby Princess might be stolen or hurt. For 15 minutes that night I don't know if my heart was even beating. And that's what has haunted me for the last 10 days. Coming home to no puppies or hurt puppies.

In my rational brain, I'm pretty sure that the dogs scared the righteous f*ck out of the idiots who broke in, since they closed the door to keep them away. And maybe they were too scared to come back. But the irrational side wonders if maybe they'd like to finish the job, and would come back with something that would keep the dogs away. Permanently.

But every day that we are safe I feel a bit better. Mostly I feel stupid for being scared. I mean, we're fine, the dogs are fine, and really, if I am so afraid to lose things, I shouldn't have things, right?

The alarm progress is helping too. I mean, I won't feel 100% better until it's fully installed and working all the time. But knowing that that will be happening soon makes me feel more secure.

How f*cking sad is it that we have to put an alarm on our house? Not because we care about the shit we own, but because we want to keep our babies safe. And they're not even human babies.

I've been through this before, but it didn't bother me as much. Probably because we know who broke into our house, knew it before the cops even arrived to take the report. Maybe that's why I am so scared. I have a terrible fear of the unknown.

Lessons learned:
My dogs are my babies, plain and simple, and I need them BOTH to go on.
The little asswipes can have my laptop. I guess it wasn't so important after all.
I need to stop being so hard on myself. It's the rest of the world that sucks ass.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:58 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

May 24, 2008

365 Days and 30 minutes ago....

We walked into our house for the first time as its owners. It was kind of a surreal moment, to say the least. It was a Thursday afternoon, and we had no idea when the title would be recorded, so we gave the previous owners until 5pm to leave.

Of course, they took advantage of that, and the fact that it was memorial day weekend to to have the power and water shut off on us, pettily hoping that that they could screw us over and force us to be uncomfortable until the next Tuesday.

Happily, however, Pasadena Water and Power are AWESOME and everything was back on by Noon, Friday.

It's been a crazy year. Somehow we've managed to rip out two wall heaters, install a ceiling fan, a chandelier, change two more light fixtures, fix another ceiling fan, install a brand new bathroom sink, run a water line to the refrigerator, cap off a number of useless pipes, completely replace the plumbing for the shower and the kitchen sink, and install a dishwasher. Oh, and hang lights on the pergola, rip out three trees, hack away a number of bushes, and plant two rose bushes, azaleas, calla lilies, carnations, lilacs, hydrangea, and two summers' worth of garden.

Not to mention replacing a broken window and installing an alarm system. And bringing home a new puppy.

Wow. That's a hell of a lot more than I realized.

This weekend's project? Why plastering the holes from the plumbing job and repainting the bathroom, of course. And hanging our Anniversary present to ourselves:

Cardinals singing in a magnolia tree above a creek. And it will look fabulous above our bed, so who cares if it's a mass-produced IKEA painting? It makes me happy.

More pictures on Flickr as soon as I have a moment to download from the camera, probably late tomorrow!

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:38 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 29, 2008

Like a duck to water

I've always been a big fan of turtles. More the idea of turtle than real turtles, mind you, but the symbolism of the turtle means a lot to me: wisdom, strength, balance. The notion that the turtle holds the whole world on its shell speaks to me. That's the way I feel a lot.

But there's a new animal on my mind lately. The duck. Like a duck swimming in a pond, it's all about what's on top of the water. The duck makes it look easy, right? Above the surface it's all a graceful glide. Under the water is a different story. The damn duck is paddling for all its worth.

This image occurs to me twice a week as I "jog" in the deep water of the therapy pool. My head and shoulders glide above the water, but below the surface my arms and legs are churning away. And the better I do this, the more still I look above the surface of the water.

We've also talked a lot about the duck in choir. Brahms' Requiem is a bitch, even for professionals. And we're a small group that doesn't rehearse nearly as much as a big group does. And a lot of people are overwhelmed. But like the Duck, we smile and pretend everything is under control. And the performance is wonderful.

It's amazing how well that works. If I smile and tell you I'm ok, you assume it's the truth and you don't look for my rapidly paddling legs under the surface.... If you tell me you're doing well, I don't look for the balls you're juggling in the hand that's behind your back.

So this week, I meditate on the duck. See the duck, be the duck. Glide along, make it across the pond. That's all I need to do between now and next Monday.


Posted by caltechgirl at 08:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heaven is a funnier place tonight

Rest in peace, Harvey Korman.

Harvey Korman, an Emmy-winning comedic actor best known for playing the self-described "luminous second banana" for a decade on television's "The Carol Burnett Show" and for starring in such Mel Brooks films as "Blazing Saddles," has died. He was 81.

Korman, who had undergone several major operations, died Thursday at UCLA Medical Center of complications from an abdominal aortic aneurysm that ruptured four months ago...

...With a knack for physical humor and oddball accents, Korman was a master sketch comic who did his best-known work on Burnett's variety show beginning in 1967 in an ensemble that included Tim Conway.

"It's a 45-year friendship," Conway said. "It was a great ride; we worked together probably 30 years, plus the Burnett show, which was about as good as it gets."

Brooks called Korman "a major, major talent, and he could have very easily have done Shakespearean drama. That's how gifted and talented Harvey was. . . I loved working with him."

Conway said Korman had "a complete understanding of comedy and comedy timing."
Not surprisingly, Hedley Lamarr is probably my favorite character in Blazing Saddles, which probably my favorite movie of all time.

A classic moment from Blazing Saddles, and one of the funniest lines in the movie:

"I want Rustlers, Cutthroats, Murderers, Bounty Hunters, Desperados, Mugs, Pugs, Thugs, Nitwits, Halfwits, Dimwits, Vipers, Snipers, Con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, Muggers, Buggerers, Bushwackers, Hornswogglers, Horse thieves, Bull dykes, Train robbers, Bank robbers, Asskickers, Shitkickers, and METHODISTS!"

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack