Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thirty Posts in Thirty Days

When I took on the Namblopomo challenge of making 30 posts in thirty days, I really didn't take much time to consider the obligation. Mrs. G from Derfwad Manor talked about signing up, and I signed up myself on impulse I read her post. Once the commitment was made, I wondered what had just happened. Here I am, sick, busy, and without much of a life, and whoppee! I'm going to type my heart out daily? For 30 days? Without a break? I thought I must be insane.

What was I going to talk about? Would I have to resort, as some other blogs do, to single pictures with a caption to fill in space? Would I fail?

Well, in my world, failure is not an option. And so I started typing. I discovered that blogspot would allow me to schedule posts out for days in advance, so when I talked about something that was not timely in nature, there was no imperative to post immediately. When I had a topic scheduled and something else came up which I thought you'd find more interesting, I was able to bump things around. And though many of my posts were centered around series of photos, I found that I had enough to say to make them - I hope - interesting.

It's been an unusual month. I've been affected badly twice by receiving my Cimzia injections, yet I tried not to spend a lot of time here griping about them. I had Vennie in town for almost a week, and during our adventures about town, I snapped picture after picture with the specific intent of using them here. (Vennie is an exceptionally good sport.) I talked about Eric and dogs and cooking, and lack thereof. I never really experienced any kind of writers block. I met the challenge I set out for myself, and it has been a good experience.

Namblopomo has a purpose, however, and one above and beyond personal satisfaction. It is designed with the idea of fuller participation, and increasing one's own following of readers. I really did not explore this aspect of the program much, fearful that I wouldn't be able to meet their challenge, and "go down in flames, publicly, in front of a whole lot of strangers." That was probably a mistake. Because even though I follow the number of hits my blog gets, and as I have posted regularly, I can tell that you-all are coming by more often, to the best of my knowledge there was not an influx of new readers.

That, of course, is what it is. Neither good nor bad as I really have written this blog to this point only to amuse myself, and again, was not sure why I signed up for a challenge I wasn't certain I could keep in the first place anyway. But now that I have, I wonder if I should go back for more, and participate another month. Actually interact with the other bloggers there, and gain not only their readership, but their reader's following too. Because that's how it works. Blog followings develop via 'word of mouth.'

I'm not ready to make the commitment again in December. I have things in my life that I need to address and catch up on. I've spent the last 24 hours in bed, and am only now emerging because there are things - like procuring food - that cannot be put off any longer. I additionally have other activities I'd like to pursue which have fallen by the wayside, and not posting quite as often will help my accomplishments in those other areas. Living as I do, I have very limited reserves of energy and they must be spent wisely.

All the same, posting daily has been a wonderful experience, and one that I hesitate to give up all together. I am going to post this month as often as physically possible, and plan to sign up for another commitment soon. It really felt good to make a plan, small as it was, and follow through on it successfully.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 30.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Images of Thanksgiving

I arrived, Mom in tow, up at Eric's home around 4PM for Thanksgiving dinner. I felt bad about not participating in the preparation, but with the Cimzia shot the day before, it just wasn't possible. We had talked about this last Saturday night and Eric was fine with the concept. In fact, Eric was fabulous at single-execution of Thanksgiving too!

The turkey was perfect...

...and the table, set up in the living room by the fire, was beautiful! Gabby and Miles are responsible for the Thanksgiving decorations on the mantle.

Miles was funny. We discussed who was and was not "gross." He officially declared me "not gross." However, he continued, there was one thing I did that was totally gross. Kiss his Dad. That prompted me to kiss his Dad, to his standard response. "Ewwwww!"

Eric poured wine for the grown-ups; Gabby really wanted to taste it. Eric wisely told her that she could try one and only one sip. I give you Gabby's first encounter with alcohol.

I give you Gabby's response to her first encounter with alcohol. I don't think she liked it.

This was only the tip of the response. She also scrubbed her mouth out with a paper towel! :)

There's somewhat of a tradition when I get together with Eric's smaller children. I start taking digital pictures, and Gabby wants to take over. I love digital. Without film images to protect, it's an easy decision to hand the camera off and let her snap away!

The two Mothers and I waiting for dinner to be ready.

Ethan waiting for dinner to be ready. Unlike the rest of us, he is not crazy about Thanksgiving fare. He ate pizza. And was thankful that Eric provided it.

Oh yeah, Garrett prefers pizza too!

Quite the satisfied bunch, don't you think? We are as stuffed here as Thanksgiving Turkeys.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 29.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gonna Be a Hot Night, Baby, Tonight!

Back on November 15th, I posted about my poor kitchen oven. It was dead. It warmed nothing, but the smell of gas was pervasive. I called Sears to schedule a repair appointment, but later realized that they were due to come out on the last afternoon of Vennie's visit. No way was I giving up any time with Vennie, so I called to reschedule.

This time, they couldn't come out for weeks. And weeks. And weeks. Maybe it was the holidays. Maybe they lost some personnel. Maybe they were just being uncooperative because I had to reschedule the appointment. But it seemed that it was going to be a long time before I had an oven again. I made the appointment anyway. I'm very resourceful in the kitchen and figured that since the stove top still worked, I could make due.

But then I was talking to Adele Sunday night, and mentioned my dilema. If I could have seen her face, I suppose she would have been looking at me cross eyed. "Why are you going to Sears?" she asked. "They charge twice as much and give you half as much service. I have an excellent repair company." And she e-mailed me contact information for AM PM Appliance Repair in Sherman Oaks.

OMG! I woke up Monday morning and gave them a call. "Would you like us out this afternoon or tomorrow?" they asked. Huh? I had a hard time comprehending their question.

"How about we come out today between 3pm and 7pm?" I was estatic, as you can imagine. It had been a long time since I'd been able to bake anything.

Well, less than an hour later, I got another call for them. "Uh oh," I thought, but as it turns out, they had a repair man right in my neighborhood. Could they come over within the next hour?

"I feel like I hit the lottery!" I responded. "Of course you can come!!!!!!!" And so I locked up the doggies and waited.

About 30 minutes later, Lee - as his name tag said - was in my condo, checking the oven out. He pronounced it an issue of the electric starter not working, and yes he had the part in his truck. He ran out, got it, and 45 minutes later, I was in business.

Dinner on Monday night was Mustard Salmon, roasted brussels sprouts, and a baked potato. All made in the oven. I have a lot of baking time to make up for.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 28.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holiday Traditions

Most people maintain family traditions that go back for generations. But Eric's family structure has been evolving drastically for the past couple of years and little is established for him anymore. My own traditions are changing in synch with his, of course. And it's comforting to know that one tradition in his family continues while he - with my help - is able to out manuver his kids.

That would be the tradition of the Christmas Gifts.

In years past, his kids have been relentless in searching their home for the gifts, and without fail discover what they are receiving well before Christmas. In fact, this job last year was not difficult. Eric hid the gifts in the garage, and Gabby located them almost immediately.

That's all changing this year. Gabby has already announced her intent to find her gifts now and Miles agreed that he would help with the search. The thing is, however, Gabby will not find them. Instead of locating them in his garage, Eric has stored them in my newly cleared hall closet.

Happy hunting kids! :)

* * * * *

Did you know that song 'Turkey In the Straw' actually has words? Who knew?

* * * * *

Cosmos has been at his keyboard again. The Dalmatian had not felt like corresponding for quite a while, but then his good friend Michelle started sending him messages. He is inherently polite, so he responded. The communication ultimately led to a message from her today that was directed at the three of us:

Happy Turkey or tofurky day to you, Cosmos and sunny and all of your wonderful family.
xo Michele

Well, Cosmos was a little confused as to what, exactly, Tofurky is, so he asked me. As I explained, he bristled. "Dogs are not in favor of non-meat products," he muttered under his breath for no one in particular to hear. But he put his best paw forward when responding to his holiday greeting.

Dear Michelle:

Tofurky? You're kidding me, right?

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night!

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 27.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mother's Shopping Day

Yesterday it was car shopping for Mom. We had narrowed the choices down to Honda and Toyota before taking her out, specifically either the Honda Accord or Civic, the Toyota Camary or Corolla.

Our sales person at Honda was a very nice man named Reuben. Not only was he personable, but he was smart enough to know, when I introduced Mom as his client, to talk directly to her instead of me or Eric. Not only was that appropriate, and not only did it make Mom feel good, but it made just the right impression on me. No matter how this whole thing shakes out, I will remember him, refer others to him, and when the time comes, seek him out for my own purchase.

Be as it may, Mom decided to test drive the Civic at the Honda dealership. After we were done, after the Sales Manager came over to greet us, and after business cards were exchanged, Ruben wished us a very Happy Thanksgiving. Mom laughed and asked him if he could guess which one of us was doing the cooking. The right answer is Eric. I am getting my next Cimzia shot today and likely will not feel up to participating in any meaningful way.

Well Reuben was very surprised at that, and exclaimed as much. Replied Eric: "Yes. I am practicing on the turkey. Then I'm coming back for you." Eric, by the way, is the closer.

Fortunately, Reuben has a sense of humor and laughed as much as the rest of us. But he has also been forewarned.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 26.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jingle Bells

Oy. The "season" has begun.

Forget the holidays per se. I'm talking about the season in which Cosmos's television plays "Dogs Barking Jingle Bells." It was on for the first time this year, this very morning.

Needless to say, Cosmos feels compelled to join the chorus. Oy.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 25.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey 24/7

It's that time of year again. Thanksgiving. The holiday that I hate worse than any other holiday on this earth. It really doesn't matter for the purposes of this post why I hate Thanksgiving so much; just that I do.

On the other hand, I am a minority of one in this respect in my household. 100% of the dogs surveyed really enjoy it. Specifically, they really like turkey and stuffing. Mashed potatoes not so much, and they have a real aversion to anything more vegetably than that. Although Cosmos does enjoy pies. Not the whole pie, mind you. He specifically focuses in on the crust.

TV viewing is skewed in my home this time of year, dictated by the dog. As any of my readers who have been around for a while know, Cosmos really enjoys standing in front of his "magic window," reacting and even commenting on what appears on the screen. And what programming do you think he enjoys the most this week before turkey day? The Food Network, of course! Their programming? Turkey, 24/7.

In years past, Cosmos has been transfixed by the pre-holiday activity on his screen, just as he is by any action going on in his kitchen. He's even been known to sniff, and then lick his TV screen on occasion. And I have to agree, those turkeys on television look pretty good.

Sadly for Cozie, we are doing Thanksgiving at Eric's home this year. However, I have already explained my Thanksgiving tradition to Eric, and he seems agreeable. That is, a ziplock bag hidden in my purse, specifically for the stealing of turkey for the dogs.

It may be a late Thanskgiving in our home for the boys, but they're always grateful for this particular treat.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 24.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Exit-stential Reality

Once upon a long long time ago, at least as far back as November 7Th, an Exit sign fell upon Dana's head. And that was bad.

But Dana was fine and lived to tell the tale, and that was good.

Sherry promised that the sign would be fixed, and all would be as it was before at Slimmons, but last Tuesday, it was if a light bulb went off in my head. I looked at the former sign which had not been fixed and I "knew" it would never be the same again. But that was OK, because Dana was free to dance in and out of the studio, and in and out of the lobby as the mood struck her and with nary a worry.

But then, this morning, I walked into Slimmons and an amazing sight I did behold. That of an electrician on his ladder in the doorway to the studio, and what would he be doing? He was mounting a new exit sign into place!

Of course I was fearful for Dana. It had already been proven that she had a target on her head, and knowing that the new sign lurked above, I felt like I was awaiting her Exit-cution. But she came to class and danced as if nothing had ever happened. None of the traumatic history she had experienced with the Slimmons ceiling mattered. And she wasn't struck down from above.

I questioned her about it after class. How can it be that she who had proven to be in moral danger was not afraid? Dana laughed.

"I've faced down more terrible things than this," she stated with a gleam in her eye. "I've taught exercise classes, I've run marathons, and I work in the finance industry. I've gone to Washington with Richard, I've gone to Mexico with my friends, and I'm neither going to confirm nor deny the rumor that I drank the water while I was there. I even survived my mother flashing my "before" picture at my 40Th birthday party. Do you think a little ol' sign from above can frighten me? Au contrair!"

And just to prove her point Dana then stood under the electrician's ladder.

I've heard rumors that she is now looking to buy the biggest umbrella you ever saw and plans to open it up indoors. I hope that if she does it at Slimmons, she lets me know in advance so my camera will be ready. And I suppose that if Slimmons is the chosen 'indoor' location, she will open it up under the sign to be sure it can't drop directly on her head again.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 23.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vennie's AdVenture, Day 7 - The End

It's a sure bet that 100% of the dogs surveyed were against Vennie going home today.

They did not care about her stories of her own cats or Madison or even her Mother. They would prefer that she stay.
But neither they nor I could convince her that leaving was a bad idea, so after a late breakfast and a visit with Eric, we headed off to Longs Drug Store in pursuit of a travel rain bonnet and to complete a super-secret mission that nobody can know about. We did not find the bonnet, but instead we found this:

Bald Guyz head products. Moisure Gel. Deep cleanser and conditioner. Sunscreen. And head wipes. Now I don't want to sound naive, but wouldn't standard soap and sunscreen work just fine where there is no hair involved?

Lunch at California Pizza Kitchen,

And off to the Flyaway Bus we went.

Bye bye Vennie. Come back soon.

This afternoon, I resumed my normal life. Sigh.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 22.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vennie's AdVenture, Day 6

Poor Vennie was exhausted this morning. As Richard would say, "I've worn her out and broken her..."

Ah! Back to life.

Wherever we go, whatever we do, we'll always go through it together!

At the Getty Villa. Don't jump, Vennie! There's a staircase down to the entrance.

Hmmmm.... is there maybe a little lack-of-trust issue going on here?

And Vennie does it again! There's no question that she attracts the opposite sex. And with each day that passes, she's getting them younger, more attractive, and subservient. Now, if only they were naked...

Did somebody say naked?Vennie's smokin'! And in lieu of a cigarette, she leans on a pillar of salt.

And then goes for a cool bath.

Two women with braided hair.

And Vennie, once again, is kissing frogs in search of her perfect prince.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 21.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vennie's AdVenture, Day 5 - Reposted

Good Morning! Vennie & Laura woke up with a hankerin' for Smoked Salmon, so we went to Western Bagel for a Lox & Bagel breakfast.
Eric joined us there. It's official. Eric & Vennie are dating. Eric & I are planning to go on Jerry Springer together. The theme of the show? My boyfriend is dating everyone I know!

Vennie vs. the Red Line. Did she get sucked into the subway tube?

Boarding the train...

and away we go!

Vennie arrives at Union Station, the location where all unions begin.

A short walk later, and we're at Olvera Street. This is the first street in the city of Los Angeles.
Score! Vennie makes her first purchase of the day! "So many pretty things, so little time!" she says.
Vennie make herself at home in the Avila House. The Avila's were not home. Of course, that was to be expected since they built the house and started living there in 1818.
"Do not touch the cactus." Vennie did not touch the cactus. But she held onto the sign for dear life.
Says Vennie: "If one man is good, two is better!" She seems to have a date at every stop we make.

Reading the good "book."
Did she or didn't she? Only her hairdresser (and Laura) knows for sure.
Grand Central Market.
Half the Fab 4 at the Ramen place. Beth and Claudia, where are you?
Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 20.

I Know... Regarding Vennie's AdVenture Day 5

I know. For some of you, the post is there. For others - including me, it's not.

I'm receiving some commentary about it, so I know that it can be accessed although how I cannot figure out.

As I understand it, if you access it through your own blog (as in if you are a follower), you can get to it. If you go directly into my blog via the internet, it's not there.

I'm hoping that blogspot can find the issue and fix it. If not, I will re-post it in a day or so as Vennie's Adventure Day 5.1.

Sorry about the issue.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 20.

Vennie's AdVenture, Day 5

Good Morning! Both Vennie & I woke up with a hankerin' for Smoked Salmon, so off to
Western Bagel we went for a Bagel & Lox Breakfast.

We were joined by Eric, who Vennie is now officially dating. Eric & I have a goal. We are going to be on the Jerry Springer Show. Reason? Eric is dating everyone I know!
Vennie vs. the Red Line. Will she, or won't she be sucked into the tube?

Boarding the train...

and going along for the ride!

Vennie in Union Station. Where everyone is required to make some kind of union.

About to do Olvera Street.

SCORE! First official purchase of the day is made. Says Vennie: "So many pretty things, so little time!"

In the family room of the Avila House. Vennie just walked in and made herself at home. The Avila's were not in. Since they originally moved in back in 1818, we were not surprised.

"Please do not touch the cactus." Vennie did not touch the cactus. But she held on to the sign for dear life!

Until she met her latest boyfriends! I think she likes the one to her left just a little better. Says Vennie: "If one is good, two is better."

"I think this is known as a "book end."
Did she, or didn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

Grand Central Market.

Missing half the Fab 4. Beth and Claudia, where are you?

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 20.


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