If You Can't Say Something Nice...

If You Can't Say Something Nice...
Say Something Vague

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Have you ever eaten something that you've eaten a million times before but this time it's different--it's tastier, more pleasurable, sweeter, etc.? I had that experience with lemon yogurt today. And when I asked this very question aloud in my office, I was mocked. People with no imagination, that's what it is!

I think it has something to do with the increased fat content of this yogurt. I usually get nonfat (which, in case you've been living under a rock for the last 30 years or something and have missed the whole fitness craze thing, is generally food producer code for "no flavor").

Last night I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, (yeah, yeah, I'm hawkin' 'em. They're good! If a bit on the pricey side.) Anyway, they only had lemon yogurt in low fat and not nonfat. So I got that. And today I was able to treat my taste buds to the tantalizingly 1% milkfat version of lemon yogurt. Lovely.

|| Stephanie 3:37 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Aw man! I just got busted for falling asleep in a meeting today. That's never good....Apparently I insulted the VP of Sales & Marketing because I was nodding off during his motivational team speech.

Like I'm the first person that's ever happened to!!

|| Stephanie 3:08 PM

My cat, Max, was doing the cutest thing in the entire world last night--he was attacking his mirror reflection. For something like 10 minutes. It was adorable!

My closet in my bedroom is sliding glass mirrored doors. Max finally got up the courage to approach that 'other' cat--generally he would just run and hide when he saw the other cat. Last night, though, he actually launched himself at the mirror. He was on his hind legs, batting at his twin. It was so cute. He was jumping, rolling around, reaching for that cat. Man, did he want to beat up that cat.

Finally he found the junction where the two sliding doors meet. In his brilliant cat wisdom, he realized that the other cat must be hiding behind this connector. From that point on he was batting constantly at where the two doors met, trying to edge his paw behind the one door to hit the other cat.

Whenever Max would look like he was slowing down or losing interest, either Jason or I would pretend to be a cat meowing or growling, and he would turn with wide eyes and stare directly into his reflection, before once again going after the other cat. I wish I could explain the moment when he stood on his hind legs with both front paws extended, rocking back and forth like some kind of boxer looking for the other guy's weak spots. It surpasses human definition, but was just too much. We were rolling with laughter. :)

|| Stephanie 1:52 PM

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Boy do I wish I could find more information about this on the web, but apparently some Anglican priests have developed an Episcopal Card Deck, likened to the Most Wanted Card Deck of 'evil-doers'. And my rector, Ed Bacon, is on it! Along with bad, bad people like Desmond Tutu. Heh.

In a brief summary, here's why. The Anglican church (Episcopal, in America) is divided over the issue of homosexuality. More liberal groups (like my church) believe that all love is sacred, and that a monogamous same-sex union is valid and deserves to be recognized. Many conservative groups disagree. A lot. Liberal groups are lobbying for the blessing of same-sex unions, in the belief that we are all equal in God's eyes and entitled to the same rights to publicly proclaim that love and commitment. Conservative groups strongly disagree, and have threatened to split over the issue.

To add to the issue, in June the diocese of New Hampshire elected the Reverend V. Gene Robinson to be the next bishop. Trouble is, Rev. Robinson is openly gay. He lives in a committed, monogamous relationship with another man. The conservative Episcopalians are up in arms, to say the least.

Right now Episcopals from around the country are gathered in Minnesota for General Convention, where they vote on bishop nominations and issues in the church. These two issues are set up to be the factors that will divide the church. On Thursday of last week, 24 Episcopal priests got together and drafted an open letter condemning the liberal desire to condone same-sex unions, let alone perform them in the church. These priests have a number of very unsavory words to say about homosexuality, and its biblical implications. I am no theologian; I won't make declarations about things that I know nothing about. But I will say, that I personally find it extremely hard to believe that a loving God such as ours would be exlusive about love. The point of blessing the unions is to publicly declare that the relationship is a blessing from God, and should bless God.

The long and the short of it is that these 24 bishops have named the "worst-of-the-worst" in the Episcopal church for encouraging and supporting gay rights. And my rector made the cut. If you are interested in reading more about the church, its beliefs or goals, you can go here.

I respect the fact that not everyone will agree with me. In fact, many people will not. I respect your right to believe what you do, and ask only that you respect what I believe, as well.

|| Stephanie 1:35 PM

Monday, July 28, 2003

Okay. I confess. I did it. I killed Art E. Faxe, the famous archaeologist. That was on Saturday afternoon. Well, in truth I spent the day with some friends playing How To Host a Murder (loads of fun, if you're not familiar with them). I followed the murder with a nice trip to Mimi's Cafe for dinner, and saw The Pirates of the Caribbean at Downtown Disney. (Oh how I love that scoundrel, Johnny Depp--in the movie he wears more make-up than Tammy Faye Baker and he's a drunk womanizer. But hey! he's Johnny Depp!) Anyway, what a fun movie. Johnny Depp as comic relief. The drunk, clumsy, pirate captain. And not the love interest. My Johnny's growing up!

Sunday was equally busy, with a trip down the Gold Line after church to Chinatown. We walked from there to Olvera Street. Had flautas verdes at El Paseo. Mmmmmmmm. Walked around Olvera Street for a bit, and bought a pretty summer dress. Very flowy. Then we went to take the Gold Line back to Pasadena. And spent an hour and a half in line. I now have a lovely--and painful--sunburn to show for my efforts. I think that the county may not have been totally prepared for the vast quantities of people that wanted to ride the rails for free this weekend. Apparently you could wait well over 2 hours at Union Station to get back on the train. That doesn't count the actual commute time. Despite the sardine-like feelings, though, I will say that they built a nice transit system, and I'm very excited at the opportunities it presents.

Just think, I can drive to the Sierra Madre Villa Station from Anaheim when I want to go to Pasadena, and never have to deal with the nightmarish Pasadena parking situation again. Yippee! I can drive to Downey and take the train down to Olvera Street whenever I want. I'm very excited about this. I swear, that if I wasn't meant to be a Victorian, I was definitely meant to be Mexican.

The only thing that bothered me about the Gold Line was the stretch that goes through Highland Park. It's not fenced off from the sidewalks, and all the way down the street they've posted 'No Parking' signs. This is bad because a) I'm really afraid that someone will be killed or seriously wounded by the train there because they stumbled onto the tracks--probably a child, as I saw a small one standing in the middle of the street waving at the train as it passed; and b) what about the inconvenience for the people living there? They can't park anywhere on that street now.

At any rate, a weekend well spent. And, boy, am I tired!

|| Stephanie 2:28 PM

Friday, July 25, 2003

Boy! Am I glad I moved from Monrovia when I did!

Apparently they're now entrenched in a bloody civil war and widespread cholera epidemic. Geesh! Who woulda guessed it? I worry about all my friends that still work there. It's chaos.

Apparently the mayor, Charles Taylor, won't step down unless 'his friend' Dubya sends in peacekeepers. Doesn't sound like there's much peace to keep! I know that they say Californians are crazy, but really now, this is getting ridiculous!

What's that you say? It's a different Monrovia? Oh! Never mind then....

|| Stephanie 12:11 PM

Thursday, July 24, 2003

We are a society in decline. Marginalization, racism, murder, rape...and now this.

Apparently in Nevada, for a paltry $10k men can actually, literally hunt women. Men use guns loaded with paint ball pellets to hunt naked prostitutes across the open Nevada range. The company, "Hunting for Bambi", allows hunters to hunt and shoot their prey, commencing with 'mounting' her on the wall (gee, subtle, aren't they?) and a photo of the hunter, his manhood...er, I mean...gun, and the 'dead' prostitute.

Can we get any more degrading? Truly, like men and women haven't had a contentious enough battle over respect and equality of rights, now we're going to equate women with animals? (Especially when we know full well that men are the animals!--Oops, did I say that out loud?).

But seriously, where do we draw the line? It's always touchy when you talk about legislating morality, but at what cost freedom? There is just something so completely unforgivable about glorifying some men's penchant or deep-rooted desire to hurt or kill women. I'm really not painting men with a broad brush, here--I realize that many men (most men, I hope and pray), will find this deplorable and repellent. However, there is no denying that there are men out there that revel in hurting women (while I believe that there are women who get their kicks hurting men, as well, I would wager that that's a smaller minority). I know that Nevada is sort of considered the playground for the conscious-less and depraved, but c'mon!

|| Stephanie 3:43 PM

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Hee hee. Look at this. And this. Funny. :)

|| Stephanie 1:19 PM

Nada, zip, zero down, okay, I'm with you.

Bagel, Richard, Snoopy??? Are these really phrases for $0 down?

I think that car sales guy on the radio is making these words up as he goes along!

|| Stephanie 10:46 AM

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I went to the neatest wedding this past weekend. It was so beautiful. My friend Elizabeth and her boyfriend (now husband) Simon were married in Cambria. If you haven't been there, you should definitely go. It's GORGEOUS.

It was a small wedding, but it went off so beautifully. I was in tearful raptures, and not a little envious! The ceremony took place at Leffingwell Landing, a small bluff overlooking the ocean in San Simeon State Park. (If you look in the background of the image, Leffingwell Landing is the small outcropping where you can see the waves coming in). It was a somewhat informal affair, with maybe 15 or 20 chairs set out, but most of the guests stood to watch. Simon and Elizabeth were framed by the ocean--breathtaking, I must say.

One of the special things they did to make the wedding ceremony their own was a twist on the unity candle. See, Simon is English. Just moved here from the U.K. about a month ago following a very long distance courtship with Elizabeth. Because they are both beach babies, he brought a container of sand from his hometown, and she brought one from hers (Cambria), and they poured them together into a beautiful crystal jar that they will seal and display prominently in their home. Say it with me, folks, Aaaaah!

Following the ceremony we drove down Main Street (yes, Main Street!) to the rec center, where the reception was taking place. They had a couple of cool little twists on some standard reception things. For instance, when you walked in the door to sign the guest book, they took a Polaroid photo of you to put in a 'reception book'. They also had the best reception food I've ever had. Mmmm. The food was either Indian or Indian-inspired because that is their favorite genre.

Time for a little history/politics/food lesson: The menu choices are not surprising if you consider the Imperialist English tradition of adopting the cuisine of countries they 'subdued' or 'liberated'. Subsequently, apparently every street in London is populated with a number of curry shops and Indian restaurants. Yes, I know, I sound like the freakin' Food Network!

At any rate, they had little samosas, chicken on sticks (like satay, but with Indian spices), and tandoori shrimp for appetizers. For dinner we had basmati rice with lentils, grilled vegetables, chicken and beef grilled in Indian spices, and na'an with three different dipping sauces. De-lish!

And, lest I forget, quite possibly the best 'best man speech' I've ever heard. (They're British, you know, so the embarrassing stories--while maintaining a PG-13 rating--did manage to discuss pubs, vast quantities of beer, falling into canals, drunken streaking episodes, et al.

After that it was boogeying with the Brits to '80s pop hits. And a friend of a friend was trying so hard to impress the cute best man who was staying for a couple of weeks on holiday, that she ended up spending the night praying to the porcelain gods (much to my friend, her keeper's, great dismay)--too many cigarettes, too many glasses of champagne/wine/any other alcoholic beverage she could get her little underage hands on.

All in all, I'd say it was the best wedding I've been to yet. People really enjoyed themselves, the love between the bride and groom was the most obvious I'd ever seen, their families are absolutely mad for each other and those people are all breeding like rabbits--I swear, Elizabeth will surprise me if she manages to make it a year without becoming pregnant; I'm afraid it's contagious in their family. (Her older sister just had a baby a couple of weeks ago--a baby conceived on her honeymoon!) There must have been four babies (new babies!) and many more toddlers running around the place.

What fun! And it got my boyfriend talking about beach weddings and what kind of reception I would want, so it had all kinds of good side effects. :)

|| Stephanie 3:06 PM

Friday, July 18, 2003

Well, I've finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (sigh)

Now I'm in mourning. No new Harry Potter adventures for at LEAST another year; more likely 2 or more. I read fast anyway, but I was SO into this book and finding out more and more information, that I flew through it and finished all 870 pgs. in less than two weeks. Stupid job. If I didn't have to work I would've finished in a couple of days.

J.K. Rowling just continues to impress me. Each book could pretty much stand on its own (although this one was the first one where I felt that I would have been very, very confused if I hadn't read the others), and yet the story in its totality is overwhelmingly brilliant. Little things that you take for granted in the first couple of books are revealed to be of supreme importance as you go along.

I will say, though, that for a super-genius wizard, it amazes me that he couldn't guess the big secret Dumbledore was going to tell him right off the bat. I figured it out before him! A lowly muggle.

Now what?? I've already told Jason that Harry is replacing him in my affections, and he'd better watch out for when Daniel Radcliffe is of legal age; I might just run off with Harry Potter!

|| Stephanie 2:37 PM

Thursday, July 17, 2003

I think it's safe to say that we all have a relative or two that we don't readily admit a blood connection with. In my case, that would be my mom's sister. Let's call her M.

M was dating this loser guy. He was unemployed and completely mooching off of her. He was the kind of guy who has beer for breakfast. Who thinks that the purpose of a woman is to cook and clean and service him, and if they have to work, too, that's okay, but he better still get all his meals on time. I'm not even sure he had a full set of teeth.

Anyway, when M kicked him out of her house for being, well, him, he called the police and told them she was an unfit mother. On Christmas Eve. So she had to go through this whole nightmare with the police before she could have her kids with her for Christmas Eve night/Santa.

You would think that this would be a good reason to rid yourself of a louse like this forever. But not M. Oh, no.
She married him. Naturally. And for seriously the single greatest reason I have ever heard of: his dental insurance (at least that means he got a job). She then told my mom how much fun being married was, even apart from the dental benefits.

On Saturday, however, my mom received a call from the dashing groom--he's leaving M. After something like 2 months marriage! I wonder if she'll get shared custody of the dental coverage.

The best part is, there's a whole city full of people like this in Central California called Bakersfield. It is sort of like our own colony of strange family members--we ship them off there and don't mention them again if we can help it. It's like a tribe in some foreign country where it is totally acceptable to wear flip-flops to funerals (which my mom's cousin did); where it's not unusual to marry a guy and then later marry his brother; where a double-wide trailer is a sign of true prosperity; and fried chicken is a gourmet meal. Where do I come from, really???

|| Stephanie 11:30 AM

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

P Diddy

Notorious B.I.G.

Snoop Dog



Dr. Dre

50 Cent

Justin Timberlake?!?!

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things is not the same.


|| Stephanie 12:25 PM

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

To piggyback on Amanda's most recent blog about WMDs (click here to read what she wrote), when Bush was in L.A. at his $2,000/plate fundraising dinner, there was a man in the crowd of protestors holding a giant placard proclaiming WMD: W's Mass Deception. Hehehe...I likey!

So, I just had this deeply profound thought. If Bush and the other conservatives believe that we should privatize social reform issues, why don't they encourage their rich cronies to dedicate some of their OBSCENE amounts of cash to funding those causes? I mean, let's think about it: if they don't believe that the government should pay for those concerns, but they are so darn compassionate (as they absolutely LURRRVE to tell us), isn't it a natural conclusion that they would then be willing and able to divert the money that they would have spent on a $2,000/plate dinner of tough beef or dry chicken with wilted vegetables toward children's rights, or welfare, or some other bleeding-heart cause?

Why do I hear laughter ringing out?

|| Stephanie 4:52 PM

Monday, July 14, 2003

I currently look like the world's clumsiest heroin addict.

Last Thursday I had to have blood drawn for my glucose test. If you're not familiar with the process, you must fast for 12 hours beforehand, go in, have your blood drawn and then drink this orange solution (that tastes exactly like orange soda) within five minutes. Then you get to sit and wait for an hour. Then they draw blood again. And then--you guessed it, one hour later--they draw it again.

The woman in there drew my blood the first time, and then covered it with a cotton ball and tape. When I went in for the second one, I was turned over to some guy (who apparently NOBODY in the lab knew--cause for concern?!?!?!--uh...yeah!). So he did the second draw, but for some reason did it from the middle of my forearm instead of the crook of my arm where I've always had them done before. Strange, I thought, but he works in the lab, he MUST know what he's doing. Right? WRONG!

I was wearing long sleeves, so I pulled my sleeve back down over my left arm and went out to the waiting room to re-immerse myself in Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix.

When my second hour was up, I went in for my final blood letting. The guy drew from my right arm that time, and as soon as the needle was removed, he started pressing down really hard on the spot with a cotton ball. I heard him mutter something about "bursting" and "blood escaping".

Now, I don't know about you, but neither of those phrases inspires confidence in me--particularly when they come from someone with a very sharp instrument that has been used to puncture my skin. I asked him what was going on, and he moved the cotton ball for a second to show me this very large blue spot that was developing where he'd drawn the blood. Naturally, I began to panic. I mean, copious amounts of blood oozing out of your veins is generally not a good sign.

He told me I would be fine, but that I needed to press down really hard with the cotton on the spot to keep it from spreading (I suppose this encourages clotting). Suddenly I remembered my left arm and rolled up the sleeve, ripping off the cotton covering the first drawing site. Sure enough I had two lovely spots developing there too. My forearm looked like one giant blue vein.

Throughout the day the spots progressed to a nice purplish shade and they are BIG. On my left arm I have two bruises that almost touch one another--the first is 3" long and 1" wide, the second is about 1-1/2" long and 1" wide. On my right I have another 1-1/2" long and 1" wide bruise (these are estimates, of course, seeing as how the two smaller ones are roundish, and the larger is almost oval). On Friday morning I woke up, and the parts of my arms that were bruised looked like meat. They were this hideous shade of red, like fresh beef in the market. It was sickening, truly.

Finally they have begun to fade to a mottled purple and red. But they remain oh-so-visible. People keep staring at my arms everywhere I go. I would wear long sleeves, but it's too stinking hot out (just ask Jenny). One of the women at work, Dee, and I were talking about what they looked like, and we decided that I looked like a really pathetic druggie. If only I were waifish. People might actually believe that story.

I think that he was some guy who walked in off the street with a lab coat and they gave him some needles with which to torment unsuspecting patients. Dee thinks that he's actually a vampire, and I'm never going to see the results of those tests. Maybe it's a combination of the two.

|| Stephanie 6:06 PM

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

This brochure I saw this weekend caught my eye, as it boldly proclaims

This Vacation, Do Something Different...Overthrow a Tyrant!

I barely have to read on to know that I'm on-board! Actually, it's pretty cool because it's on Riley's Farm, a farm/orchard/hotel in Oak Glen, CA where they recreate an eighteenth century American village and scenes from events leading up to the American Revolution. They have costumed people re-enacting daily life in Colonial America. I thought I'd have to go to Williamsburg to see something like this, but apparently not. :)

I'm very excited. I'm SO doing this some weekend!

|| Stephanie 4:05 PM

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

So I'm once again a proud Saturn person. This time, however, I'm an owner, not a lessee! Yes, folks, for the first time ever my credit rating is good enough that I qualified not only to purchase a car, but to purchase at 0% for five years. I was shocked. Floored. Flumoxed.

And I got the pretty red one. Hee hee. Her name is Ruby. She has all kinds of neat features including a VTi engine--automatic, but you can't feel any shifting, it's so smooth! ("VTi variable transmission is an innovative technology which eliminates the step-gears of traditional automatics, so there's never a need to shift. The result: genuinely seamless acceleration.") She also has electric power steering ("Electronic sensors and computer controls measure and react to driving conditions and adjust steering assistance to help the ION operate smoothly over various roads and evasive maneuvers. This innovative steering system also contributes to increased fuel efficiency") and a sealed transmission that isn't opened till 100k miles. So the engine area is so tiny! And the battery's in the back so the car can be jumped from either end, if need be. I'm so excited I'm obnoxious.

So I'll ask you the same question I've been asking anybody who will listen to me, "Wanna see my new car?!?!"

|| Stephanie 10:50 AM

Thursday, July 03, 2003

So I work with this lady who I fear is trapped in the '80s. It's very sad. She's got to be in her 50s and she probably weighs about 12 pounds. Every single day she wears jeans--very, very, very tight, like painted-on jeans. And to my great dismay she pairs these jeans with high heels (I'm talking stiletto, here) and a T-shirt. Tight, naturally. She also wears enough make-up to put a Mary Kay rep to shame. Bright blue liquid eyeliner and about half a pound of powder blush. With her poufy hair and heavy-handed make-up application, I worry that she's highly combustible. I'm certainly not going to stand next to her when she's smoking a cigarette--which she does, of course.

I'm a bad person. I really don't want to be judgmental, but c'mon! Really, folks, it's 2003! Put down the blue eyeliner! Drop the sequined top! Freeze! No more teasing of your hair! I may be going to hell in a Hummer (shout out, Amanda), but at least I'll be among friends. Yeah, I'm talking about you.

My bronchonia has subsided for the most part, but now I may be diabetic. Gee, my life is a never-ending parade of misfortune, isn't it? I got a call from my doctor's office that they want me to do a TWO HOUR glucose test to check my blood sugar levels. Oh goody. It would serve me right, I guess, seeing as how I have so many sweet teeth--a whole mouth full of them, in fact.

I get a new car on Saturday. Yippee! As Jenny says, I belong to the cult of Saturn and I will be trading in one Saturn for another. I currently have the LS1, but I'm going to get the sporty new quad coupe. In red. Hee hee. So unlike me.

I seriously thought about getting another kind of car, despite my great love for all things Saturn, but they totally swayed me back this week. I have been having trouble setting up a time to get an oil change because all of the dealers in OC close at 5:30. Then they told me about the mobile service. Available only in OC. A guy came to my work and did my oil change and it goes into my computer record since he's employed by Saturn of Santa Ana. !!! And I've been having all of these headaches about turning in my lease, but when I called Saturn they told me they would take care of everything when I come in on Saturday. Including having some cars on hand to meet the requirements I'm looking for (they asked me what model, color, features, etc. I was looking for). You just can't beat their service! Yes, I know, I'm a geek. Tell me something I don't know.

|| Stephanie 11:30 AM

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

So I know that I'm a whiny baby, but I'm pretty sure that when God was distributing bodies I was given a used one. Everything is falling apart at a rate completely inconsistent with my age.

This whole moving thing is absolutely killing me. Of course, the fact that it is NEVER ENDING probably doesn't help. I hurt my neck/shoulder while moving on Saturday, I hurt my back last night scrubbing the floor of my old apartment, my knees are both shot, my feet are swollen from all the standing/walking/carrying, my fingers are so sore and swollen that they hurt to bend. And the stupid move still isn't over!!

Every day I go to the old apartment and think that it'll be done in no time and then realize that: what I thought was 4 or 5 boxes is actually more like 9 or 10; there's not enough room in the car for my stuff AND all the stuff that I want to donate; it's flippin' hot in the Valley; and the floors are just plain gross with all of the foot traffic from moving everything around. When will it end?!?!


|| Stephanie 10:31 AM