November 2009

Ann had always intended to bake and decorate Christmas cookies one year, so she decided this year was the year. By the time I got there after work, she’d already had the sugar cookie dough done and in the oven, and was working on the gingerbread dough.

[Here’s a side story about how dependent I am on cell phones now. My cell died shortly after I arrived at work this morning, so I had to IM Ann to make plans this evening instead of doing our usual texting, then I had to leave messages on two friends’ social networking sites to let them know that my phone had died after they’d texted me, I wasn’t ignoring them. I’d planned to call the roofer to inquire as to what ceiling damage they’re willing to cover on some leaks that occurred at my rented-out home after they’d repaired the roof, but I couldn’t because their number is solely stored in my cell phone. And before I left work, I IMed Ann again to let her know I was on my way, and that I would have to arrive at her doorstep unannounced except for the doorbell (like in the old days!), whereas I’d normally text to say I was walking up to her building and she’d be at the door. At Ann’s, I had to borrow her cell phone to call Mr. W to let him know where I was and how to reach me if need be. As we were waiting for the cookies to cool, I volunteered to drive out to El Pollo Loco to pick up dinner. In the car, I attempted to put the address of the restaurant in the navigation system, but the nav wouldn’t pick it up. Instead of calling Ann, I had to walk back to her apartment, up the two flights of stairs, and ask her for directions. Then I walked back down to the car and was off. As soon as I walked into El Pollo Loco, I realized I’d forgotten to ask Ann what two sides she wanted with her meal, so I had to guess. When I returned, Ann said she’d realized it after I left, too, but of course she couldn’t call me to tell me that. Sheesh!]

During the cookie-decorating part of our evening, we struggled with getting the meringue icing to cooperate with what we wanted it to do. The sprinkles weren’t behaving in the way we thought they would, either. In a moment of silence as we worked in intense concentration, Ann noted that this is the quietest we’ve ever been while hanging out with each other. I don’t think it was quiet again after that, especially as I started sharing my creations’ backgrounds with her. She laughed at me for having a story around each of my cookies. It’s an only-child thing, I always had stories about everything, giving inanimate objects identities, when I was little and had no one else to play with. So here they are…


Top left: This cookie came out of the cutter bigger than the other gingerbread people, so I explained the extra girth by giving him an open mouth (cuz he likes to eat) and a beer belly.
Top middle: This is angry evil gingerbread man. He’s carrying a long sword cuz he wants to kill somebody. And probably eat him. I have a picture of my friend Josh that looks like this mean gingerbread man.

Can you spot Josh? Hint: He looks like Evil Mr. Gingerbread Man.
Back to the Gingerbread Peeps. Top right: Miss Pageant Lady. She has a French manicure and French pedicure.
Bottom left: Art deco Gingerbread Person of Nondescript Gender.
Bottom leftish-middleish: Gingerbread Slut. She’s wearing too much makeup, had a collagen lip injection, is wearing a dress, high heels, AND a pearl necklace. *sideglance*
Bottom rightish-middleish: Wifebeater-clad Gingerbread Man. I could say he’s a caroler holding a songbook, but I’d be lying. The truth is he is one of my first cookies, before I knew what I was doing. Mr. W ate Wifebeater Gingerbread Man first.
Bottom right: Mr. Uncooperative Gingerbread Man. This is my 2nd attempt and he’s sympathizing with me about how difficult it is to work with this gooey frosting. He and I simultaneously went “Nyah.”


Self-explanatory. They’re Christmas trees — or for those of you who resent Christian symbolism infused into our holidays, these are pine tree air fresheners that harken back to those stinky cardboard cutouts dangling from the rearview mirrors of various cigarette-sucking taxicab drivers.

Here’s the forest from a slightly different angle. All right, there are SOME stories.
Top left: It snowed on this tree, landed on the edges of the branches, and then a holiday fairy came by and made the snow all sparkly and pretty.
Top middle: This tree was decorated by paintball splatters.
Top right: Daisy-like flowers grew on this tree! It’s a miracle!
Bottom left: This is a Christmas tree trimmed with Christmas ornaments. Some gingerbread peeps did it.
Bottom middle: This is the “after” of the first cookie, after some more snow.
Bottom right: Hannukah meets Christmas in plaid!


It’s not that I’m being politically incorrect or sexist by calling them snowmen instead of snowpeeps; it’s that I did not make any snowchicks. I mean, they’re all wearing top hats! I don’t think women should be in top hats unless they’re tapdancing or pulling bunnies out of them. I couldn’t think of much to do with these little guys so they’re uncreative, but look how happy they are to be that way! Mr. W wanted to know why the top right snowman (the one in galoshes) is pigeon-toed, and the answer is, because he’s shy.


These stockings need to be hung on the chimneys with care, or they’d crumple or melt and wouldn’t be able to double as Santa treats.
Top left: This stocking is where I learned that the round candy sprinkles ruin the most carefully-made designs. This sock holds both an asterisk AND a pound sign. But can you tell after I added the sprinkles? Sadly, no.
Top right: A tribute to the Boston Red Sox. It was easier to do the patches red instead of the entire cookie. That’s WAY too much frosting to eat.
Bottom left: A Christmas-colored sock!
Bottom right: This mitten doubles as a dog’s pawprint! For those mutts who like to wear mits.
Right: Dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made you out of dough…

Now you can appreciate what I attempted to do with Sock #1.


Mr. W’s daughter just came home as I was typing this, and walked into the kitchen cooing, “How cuuuute!” Mr. W made me go over and tell her the stories for all these little cookies. The problem with having stories about your creations is that now your creations have life and character, and eating them feels like murdering my children. I guess I’ll have to leave it up to Mr. W and Daughter to let these cookies fulfill their purpose in their tummies.

Ann was nice enough to include me in her plans for deckin the halls last nite. She pulled her Christmas tree out of storage and set it up in the corner of her apartment.

It was a very Ann tree; the theme colors were coordinated with her living room in Tiffany blue bows, bronze cloth ribbon, and of course, bling.

Even Ann’s puppy Max was decorated.

We decorated her tree while sipping on Christmas spirit in a mug — hot chocolate made pepperminty by using a candy cane as a stirrer, laced with Bailey’s. Two mugs in, we were in a great mood, chatting it up hypothesizing on how Max’s chew was made…

…cuz nothing brings out the jollies of the holiday mood like the scent of a small dog chewing on bull penis. We figured out that the bull erection was cut into four or five vertical cross-sections and then braided together. It lasts significantly longer than rawhide, dries up fast, and Max is obsessed with it. It kept him busy for hours as he ran around with it, settled down and chewed at the end, poked me in the butt with it, rolled it over my leg while playing with it, and at one point I found myself with it grasped firmly in my hand holding it like a baby bottle to Max to assist him in his gnawing. Ann equated this last activity to my jerking a bull off. Interestingly, after I came home, Dodo sniffed intensely at my bull-penis-holding-hand and then licked his chops. This happened twice. I briefly considered getting Dodo a wedge of bull penis for Christmas, but I don’t see him gnawing on something that hard for long. (I’ll accept your applause for my reference to a pussy, “bull penis,” “hard,” and “long” in one sentence, and thank you for not telling my parents about this blog.)

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos — I was using my cameraphone and couldn’t get the white balance right.

When James and I visited Jordan in Florida in March, we went to Orlando’s Universal Studios, and had dinner at Margaritaville at Universal CityWalk. The restaurant took a photo of the three of us and sold it to us, mounted in keychains, as souvenirs. This is the photo:

James apparently has the keychain just laying around where any small child could get a hold of it, because he sent me this email the other day:
~ * ~
My niece was over today…
She picked up the keychain from MargaritaVille and the following conversation ensued…

Her: “Who are these two girls?”
Me: “Those are my friends.”
Her: “Where did you take this picture?”
Me: “Disney World.”
Her: “You went there with them to Florida?”
Me: “Yes.”
Her: “Who is that one?” (Points to you)
Me: “That’s Cindy.”
Her: “And whose that one?” (Points to Jordan)
Me: “That’s Jordan.”
Her: “Oh….”

… She runs off only to come back sometime later, and picks up the photo again.

Her: “That’s Cindy.” (Points to you).
Her: “That’s Joan.” (Points to Jordan).
Me: “No, that’s Jordan!”
Her: “oh, Jordan!”

… She thinks for a moment.

Her: “Did you sleep with them?”
Me: … paused for a moment, realizing this question is coming from a 5 year old. “No, I didnt.”
Her: “Then where did you sleep? Did you sleep across the room from them?
Me: “Well I guess thats true at Jordan’s house.”
Her: “What about Cindy, what about her house?”
Me: “Her house is here, so she stayed with Jordan too.”
Her: “oh….”

… she thinks for a moment.

Her: “Are they mother and daughter?”
Me: “What?? No!”
Her: “Really? It could be true.”
Me: “What makes you think that? Which one do you think is which?”
Her: “Well the daughter here (points to you) and mother here (points to Jordan).”
Me: “But look one is asian and one is white!”
Her: “You never know…”


She is too funny.

See ya,
~ * ~
There’s another reason this is funny. When Jordan came to California for my wedding last August, she treated me to a manicure and pedicure. As the Vietnamese ladies worked on us (we were side-by-side), they chatted and found out I was getting married and that Jordan is visiting for that purpose. So they asked whether Jordan is my mother. It was an absurd question, first because of the racial difference, then because of the LACK of significant age difference. I guess they could’ve assumed she was my future mother-in-law. Nevertheless, Jordan walked away totally offended and complained about it for days.

Reason #3 why this is funny: since Jordan’s been too busy with her life to read blogs, this post will be up for a LONG time before she even realizes it, and so far she has no idea that the above had even occurred. Heh heh! (That’s what you get for being an absentee blogger, Jordan!)

This was fun…I received a forwarded text message from Jordan earlier that reads:

FWD: PLAY ALONG: you see me in a police car, what would u think I got arrested for? Answer me, then fwd and see how many crimes you get accused of!

Neato! I quickly responded to Jordan “trespassing. i.e. getting on some private property to take photos.” Like Tiger Woods’ house, which she always makes sure to point out when giving neighborhood tours to her visiting friends. Haha! I then forwarded the text to a bunch of my friends to see what kind of crimes I’d be accused of. Here are the responses:

Jordan: “indecent proposals!!” (note that she doesn’t just think I’m caught on my first proposal, but that I’d make more than one and then get caught. I texted back, “Like I’d offer someone money to have sex with me?” She responded, “yeah like Dwaine…to make an awesome blasian! hmmm is that an offense though?” Jordan and her hopes for an awesome blasian nephew…)
Gym Trainee: “Assault on police” (really? I’m that violent toward authority figures?)
Gamer Bro’s daughter Jenni: “Protesting for a cause” (I can see that.)
Christi (Flip Flop Girl): “Something mischievous like trespassing. You were playing kick the can at midnight on Halloween in a cemetery. To get in, u and Dwaine and other friends scaled a 16ft cement wall with spiked iron grating on top.” (1. Wow, detailed; 2. I’ve actually done something like that, except it was a regular weekend night and it was CalTech; 3. Dwaine’s popular among my girlfriends.)
Childhood friend Sandy: “If you’re sitting next to officer then not arrested at all. If in the back..hmmm you probably just needed a lift bc something happened to ur car….They’re giving you a hand is all. Really can’t see you arrested for anything.” (I texted back, “You know me the best!” She replied, “Of course. 🙂 known you 27 years..”)
Vanessa (Kitty Kat): “Jay says murder, i say u have been falsely id’d.” (I’m not sure what to think about Jay‘s response considering he’s a 911 operator. Maybe he thinks I’m one of those secretly violent types, like Gym Trainee does. I agree with Vanessa. haha)
Bat: “Prostitution?” (Why the question mark?)
Dardy: “indecent exposure” (I wonder which part he imagines I’d be indecently exposing.)
Claudio: “Negligence. Something bad happened in the courtroom while u were [online]!” (=O!! Altho that’s pretty realistic…)
Mr. W: “You’d only be arrested for a crime if you were following after your husband against your will.” (So true. I’ve been yelled at for being where I wasn’t supposed to be, cuz hubby thought it’d be cool to trespass to see what’s off-limits or what cool photos he could get from within where he isn’t allowed to be. I just refuse to follow him anymore.)
Flat Coke & Flies: “Jaywalking.” (Mr. W was with me at lunch when I received her text, and he said, “Again, you’d only be jaywalking cuz you were following me against your will.” What’s so unfair about this is he’ll probably be let off and I’d be the one to actually get arrested.)
Mark (cousin): “I would think you got arrested for arguing with a police officer about some random law. Can you even get arrested for that?” (I bet he got this from the fact that I’m one of very very few people who contested a ticket when Los Angeles is in financial crisis and won.)

Have I still not blogged about my 2-week road trip with my in-laws? Holy cow, I’ve gotta buckle down when I’m at home and start loading up some photos.
Speaking of road trip and behind, one peculiarity I’ve noticed as we drove from the eastern states back to the western states, is that disposable toilet seat covers are not available in the public restrooms of many other states. What’s up with that?! I’ve been scared about the highly resistent bacteria strains MRSA thanks to two of my friends in the medical profession, nurse Jordan and pharmacist Vicky, and in both conversations MRSA came up in the context of pee dribblings on public toilet seats. You men don’t know how lucky you are that you can stand a foot away and just aim and shoot.

Yesterday morning (Veteran’s Day holiday), I saw on email that Michelle had posted a link to me on the social networking site we’re both members of. Along with this link is a message:

Lets quit our jobs and do this wow

I trusted Michelle and was interested, so I clicked the link. It led to a Twitter page that had another link, which I then clicked on. What followed is a “weight loss blog” purportedly written by a married mother who gained weight and found no way to lose it until she discovered two particular products that worked miraculously for her when used together. Separate links are posted for each of the two products, both of which are pills. This was not written like a weight loss blog, more like a 1-post advertisement. A loooong advertisement.

I was hoping that Michelle wasn’t falling for this crap, so I messaged her back. I wrote that it is very evident to me that the “blog” is fake. The whole thing is an advertising page written by the products’ advertisers. The writing itself is too organized commercially speaking for a layperson to have composed it, and they threw in some dumbing-down to make it seem more like some average girl wrote it (“I don’t know all the medical words and stuff, I just know it worked,” etc). If she’s educated enough to compose an ad like that with bullets and strategic point outlines, she wouldn’t have made the “dumbing down” remarks and some word choices that she made. Even the comments on the post seem fake, like more advertising with others’ fake “testimonials,” which I deduced from the type of spelling errors juxtaposed with the lack of common spelling/syntax problems (telling me the former spelling errors were “planted” in an attempt to, again, seem like an average person’s real testimonial) and overly commercialized enthusiasm. These “comments” also served as the convenient conveyance of FAQs, such as how long delivery takes, whether men can use the products, whether older people can use the products, etc. And what’s more ridiculous, the before/after photo at the end of this diet site, supposedly of this girl giving the testimonial, is one that I recognized from a late-nite infomerical that advertises an under-clothing bodysuit which slims down fat rolls immediately to fit you better in smaller clothing sizes. Both photos are taken deliberately in the same location with the same clothes and the same hairdo to show that this was immediately before and after using the bodysuit. It is not meant to be a photo of a girl before taking diet pills and 2 months later showing weight loss.

It just seemed to me like the site was written to appeal to an audience of not-too-smart, too-lazy-to-exercise-and-diet-properly, low-income gullible women trying to regain their youth while not taking responsibility for losing control of their weight to begin with, looking for an easy magic pill shortcut while being unwilling to research and invest time in actual health-inducing activities/changes. And I wrote exactly that in response to her posting.

Mr. W’s eyes bulged when I told him all this over breakfast. “That’s harsh,” he said. “What if she really believes in this stuff? What if SHE’S advertising for this stuff?” So then I checked and felt a little bad when I realized she’d posted the same link on a bunch of other people’s networking pages, altho with different comments, like “Does this look like a job you can do?”; “A great Sunday business read.” I didn’t understand how this to her meant a business project, so maybe she WAS interested in selling the pills. Hmm.

This morning, I heard back from Michelle, but her answer was nothing of what I’d expected. “OMG, I really didn’t post that! I haven’t been on [the site] for days! I really don’t know what happened!” She soon discovered that the link, along with a similar message, had been posted on the sites of ALL her networked friends, including her own site. I told her to change her password immediately, which she did, but maybe it’s not an active person hacking her account as much as a stupid cookie or psycho embedded program, which kills even more credibility for that “diet blog.” Michelle had to send an email to all her friends to apologize for the link posting and to say it really wasn’t from her even tho it was sent from her networking account, and then she went to ALL of our pages and manually deleted all these messages and links. Whew! What a lot of work! How ANNOYING. And, illegal?

You could say that the fact that I’ve now posted the same link on my public access blog here is free advertising for the site and hence gives these jerks exactly what they want, but I’m hoping that people would look to research a little before falling for that crap, and then find and read this post. It worked for the post I wrote about the psychic scams I got in the mail.

The judge, waving the most current issue of The New Yorker, just told me about an author that everyone had worshipped some time ago. Impressed by the popularity of this writer, the judge had picked up one of her books and found it unreadable. He gave up partway through, unable to understand how anyone could voluntarily process that crap. It seems that this issue of The New Yorker contains a review of this same author’s writing, and the critic “just tore her apart.” My judge said to me, eyes sparkling, “He wrote that ‘the novel’s dialogue is never even accidentally plausible.’ ” He laughed as I gasped and laughed. And I thought, “That’s a good one, who can I use that on?” And THEN I thought, “Uh-oh…”

As a general rule, it’s easier to prevent than to repair, right? It’s much more economical in the sense of time, money, stress, etc. to prevent a problem than to have to fix a situation that’s already occurred. Why, then, do we as a species put so little thought into prevention? We could eradicate HIV. We could dramatically reduce car collisions. We could save ourselves years of heartache. I’m more aware of prophylactic measures and make more effort than your average Joe to keep myself from being in a situation I’d regret later, but average Joes roll their eyes at me. I look back at my life, and have I really missed out on anything by being the way I am? I honestly don’t think so. I don’t get a high from dangling from the edge of destruction and being able to come back to tell about it. It makes no sense to me — why gamble with something that has no gratification? It bugs me to watch people close to me take risk after risk just because they’re impatient or can’t see anything beyond a potential miniscule reward. I constantly picture one of those old-fashioned scales in my head like the one that Lady Justice carries: on the left is arriving at the destination 30 seconds sooner; on the right is traffic ticket, traffic school, further delay as the cop issues the citation for the crazy illegal manuever just pulled, or maybe a collision with expensive repair bills and/or injuries. It’s a no-brainer to me, but apparently, only to me. I quit drinking sodas 3 years ago and aside from the occasional splash of lemon-lime in a mixed drink I may order, haven’t looked back and have saved myself 3 years (and counting) of chemicals, dehydration, sugar, empty calories, fat cells.

So I was thinking this morning, why human nature doesn’t just do the easy thing, foresee the plausible outcomes of a decision and make the smarter one. It’s not much more effort than the other thing, and often it’s less effort! A stitch in time saves nine, right? I think our brains are just not designed to be affected enough by negative possibilities. The possibility of a car accident doesn’t spur us to not speed or run yellow lights; the potential of something being messed up that we’d have to repair later doesn’t keep us from NOT messing that thing up. But the panic induced from having to repair something broken drives us to action. It just seems so very backwards and unnecessary, that we have to be goaded by negativity and not encouraged by peace and tranquility.

Oh well…people robbing banks cuz all they see is the next 10 minutes of being in possession of wealth — as opposed to the 10 minutes after THAT of police chase, jail, humiliation and disappointment of their family, etc — is what gives me job security, I suppose.

(All photos and videos courtesy of Claudio’s camera; rest mouse pointer over photos for captions.)

Mr. W and I celebrated the coming of November by enjoying our nice SoCal kayaking weather with Dwaine and Claudio.

I hadn’t seen Claudio in YEARS (10+, I’d say), and only recently reconnected with him through an online networking site. I’d always liked Claudio, but didn’t know him very well. He was just “Dwaine’s buddy Claudio.” The last time we saw each other was over a few games of paintball, so obviously nobody was sitting around having in-depth conversations. Over the years of hearing Dwaine’s me-and-Claudio stories, I felt like I’d somehow kept in vicarious contact with Claudio, so it was really fun to “hang out” with him online, cracking jokes and instigating gym challenges, until we could finally meet up in person. That brings us to Sunday, November 1.

The guys came over to our house, changed into swim gear, and we were off to the Lake. Claudio and I had planned to jog the mile there, and since Dwaine was excluded from the planning process, he didn’t have veto power. I heard he was a good sport and simply packed the proper gear for jogging and swimming. This was Dwaine’s second time kayaking, and he’d improved immensely from his first time.

So confident was he in his new kayaking abilities, that he had to balls to do this:

If you had watched the video carefully, though, you’d have seen that when I started rowing toward him or splashing at him, Dwaine’s panic kept him from being able to paddle away effectively. He knew it, too, cuz you can hear his helpless laughing and cussing as he paddled, and eventually pleaded with me with sweet words that fell on deaf ears. Claudio took advantage of this later on to attack Dwaine after Dwaine doused Claudio with so much water on a back row that Claudio’s black shirt took on a whole new sheen.

I quickly rowed away from them to avoid becoming collateral damage, until I realized that something else was possibly collateral damage. “Wait, who has the camera?” I called. Dwaine and Claudio froze, and Claudio produced a dripping black package. Soon Claudio realized his camera wouldn’t shut down or retract its lens properly. That camera casualty has become a joke between us on that networking site, but luckily Claudio was able to extract these photos and videos from it when he got home.

We had a lot of fun, and I was ready for the mile walk back. But I noticed in my peripheral vision that the three men with me were bouncing up and down slightly. I looked up, and they looked like they were making very small jogging-type motions with their legs. Tiny little steps. “We’re RUNNING back?!” I sputtered.
“You set the pace,” Claudio offered. Damn it. So we jogged back, and since I hadn’t gone to the gym consistently in the past month, I tapped all my energy reserves to make it to the front door without stopping. Dwaine and Claudio had enough wind to end the last bit of the uphill in a sprint race. Argh. At least I had Mr. W to keep me company as I sucked Dwaine and Claudio’s dust. Or maybe it wasn’t that Mr. W was being nice, he was using me as an excuse to not compete with these youngsters whose shoes apparently had springs installed in the soles.

After arriving home, we sat in the backyard, had a couple of drinks (water for Dwaine and me; Coronas for Mr. W and Claudio), then set off for dinner at Chipotle.

“Did you guys shower before going in there?” Jordan had asked.
“Of course not, then we wouldn’t smell as athletic,” I’d answered. The day was a lot of fun regardless of how we smelled to everyone else.