Monday, December 29, 2008

The Books of 2008

Last year I almost got close to the goal of reading one book per week (I think I got 51, but then found something else I had read, but didn’t add it, so I might have actually made my goal). This year, with all the insanity, I aspired for the same goal, but I don’t feel like I’ve made it. But here is what I have managed to read this past year. There is no order to the list; it’s as I grab them and type them in!

1) No Longer Stranger – Rachel Ann Nunes

2) Surprise Packages – Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, and Carroll Hofeling Morris

3) Stolen Innocence – Elissa Wall

4) Lemon Meringue Pie Muder – Joanne Fluke

5) Chicken Soup for the Latter-Day Saint Soul – Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Sherm and Peg Fugal

6) Priceless Moments – Carol Lynn Pearson

7) As Always, Dave – Jack Weyland

8) The Runaway Mother – Carol Lynn Pearson

9) Reunion – Allyson Braithwaite Condie

10) The 6th Target – James Patterson

11) On A Whim – Lisa McKendrick

12) Blueberry Muffin Murder – Joanne Fluke

13) Strawberry Shortcake Murder – Joanne Fluke

14) B Is For Burglar – Sue Grafton

15) Summer of Truth – Carol Lynn Pearson

16) I Just Got a Letter From Allyson Pringle – Anya Bateman

17) Forrest Gump – Winston Groom

18) Goodbye, I Love You – Carol Lynn Pearson

19) Jenny McCarthy – Life Laughs

20) Marley and Me – John Grogan

21) Twilight – Stephenie Meyer

22) Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder – Joanne Fluke

23) By Morning Light – Rachel Ann Nunes

24) Toss the Guilt and Catch the Joy – Merrilee Boyack

25) 4th of July – James Patterson

26) The 5th Horseman – James Patterson

27) Murder By Numbers – Kaye Morgan

28) Fudge Cupcake Murder – Joanne Fluke

29) Sugar Cookie Murder – Joanne Fluke

30) Transformers – Alan Dean Foster

31) Along Came A Spider – James Patterson

32) Sheep’s Clothing – Josi Kilpack

33) Delicious Conversation – Jennifer Stewart Griffith

34) Cherry Cheesecake Murder – Joanne Fluke

35) Peach Cobbler Murder – Joanne Fluke

36) A Is For Alibi – Sue Grafton

37) 3rd Degree – James Patterson

38) Her Good Name – Josi Kilpack

39) Step On A Crack – James Patterson

40) Key Lime Pie Murder – Joanne Fluke

41) A Tisket A Tasket a Fancy Stolen Casket – Fran Rizer

42) The Quickie – James Patterson

43) The Mistress’s Daughter – AM Homes

44) One Lost Boy – David Beagley

45) Sinister Sudoku – Kaye Morgan

46) Foul Play – Janet Evanovich

47) Taking Chances – Shannon Guymon

48) Here’s the Story – Maureen McCormick

49) Multiple Blessings – Jon and Kate Gosselin and Beth Carson

So, not too shabby. I still have two days left, and I’ve got three books that I’ve been working on, so who knows if I’ll pull it off this year. If I get 50, though, I think I’ll be ecstatic!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


There's a lot going on in my small world, and surprisingly, I'm doing well with it all.

I'm not one who actually ENJOYS change for the most part. I lived in the same house until I was (almost) 23, and then moved around 4 times in almost 5 years. I moved to student housing in Colorado January 2004, then to married student housing November 2004. We moved back to California New Years January 2006 and into our apartment July 2007. Now, here it is before Thanksgiving of 2008, and we find ourselves moving again.

This time, it's to our first home.

I wanted to pick up Chris on Sunday to go to the lake in Newark. I thought he would enjoy it; it's infested with some of the UGLIEST ducks you will ever see (They look like dalmatian-geese but with iridescent spots) and oodles of dogs to be friendly with, even if the other dogs don't want to be friendly. On the way down to my folks' house to pick him up, I noticed the usual OPEN HOUSE signs that litter the main streets of Newark. I had to follow one of them, and although it took us a while, we found the house on the corner, a little three-bedroom house with the walk-in closet, the huge bathtub, and large yard that I wanted in a house, and more. The original owners took awesome care of the house, and there are NO repairs needed at all! The only downside of the house is that, to put Chris in the garage, I would have to pull him into the glass door by the kitchen and put him in the garage through the house (all of 5 feet). And there's no AC for the chin-children, but as we are approaching Christmas, I can put it in later on if needed.

The price is high and we haven't heard from the broker, so that was a bit discouraging, but then the realtor let us know that, because the family hadn't received the offer they wanted, they were willing to rent the home to someone who would stay with it for at least a year for the same rent that we pay at our apartment.

Needless to say, we've been salivating over that house since. The paperwork is already filled out to rent and the realtor and family both know that we would love to work out a rent-to-own deal as well. It's just a matter of time now.

On top of which, Jeff is still jobless. Not by choice; the offers are coming through after the fourth or fifth interview. The only downer is that the interviews are so far between, that he's getting discouraged. At least the house looks clean though.

Logically speaking we will be out of the apartment by Christmas, so no more poolside views or walking distance to the gym we never used. Although I still have copies of the pool keys, so I can go swim if I want to, but the yard in the back is large enough to have our own pool.

I'm surprised by how easily I am accepting this new phase in my life. Between the new job, the new house, and everything else, I'm actually fine with it all.

More thoughts to come...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bits, Pieces and the like

I swear I tend to do most of my blogging when my coworkers are away, instead of at home. That's what happens when your ish-ness is all together before Friday rolls around!

So I am by myself here in the office. Coworker A is on a trip (work-related, but I don't see how a 3-hour car drive can take an entire weekend, and have her miss three days of work for it!) and Coworker B doesn't work Fridays, but will be in with me tomorrow for a study visit.

Today I'm wearing my Harry Potter shirt, in honor of Halloween. On the front it says "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." (For those who aren't insane Potter fanatics, it's what you say to get the Marauder's Map, a map that tells where EVERYONE is, to work). On the back it says "Mischief Managed" (How you close the map). Everyone so far has gotten a chuckle, so I may go with holiday-and-event-themed T-shirts. And why not? I had a T-shirt for the JDRF walks, for when I had to participate in them, and now this. I swear, Tuesday, I'm coming in with my "Vote For Pedro" shirt!

Speaking of politics, I cannot WAIT until this is all over. Between having to hear about the presidential candidates at nausea for the past, what, two and a half YEARS and then the Prop. 8 nonsense, I am so done!

Proposition 8, for those not in the know, is to create an amendment in the California Constitution to keep marriages between a man and a woman. Now, don't get me wrong; I am totally all-pro-gay. Some of my best friends were/are gay. I have nothing against the lifestyle and find this particular cohort to be some of the most accepting people on the planet. However, I have a lot going against me.

Being a Latter-Day Saint, we are taught that marriage is between a man and a woman and that one of our divine callings is to marry and have children so that His spirits can be on this earth. Sex out of marriage, regardless of who is engaging, is a sin and that homosexuality is a bigger sin since it involves same-gender attraction.

Although the church leaders and the prophet have said that we as Saints should do all that we can to support this constitutional amendment, basically saying we ought to vote for the amendment to happen. But I have found a lot of struggles with it.

For one, I know many LDS people (especially in my ward) who have just gone off of the deep end. They've gone door to door soliciting people for votes. They've donated lots of money to the cause. They've sent forwards saying that by not voting for this legislation, kindergarteners will be exposed to homosexual teachings and that 5-year olds will be taught about homosexuality (this despite the superintendent of schools saying that is simply not true). The worst was when, during fast and testimony meeting, the majority of my ward bore their testimony of Prop. 8. Fast and Testimony meetings are meant to show your thankfulness to Heavenly Father and his Son for all that They have done for you, not to talk about the latest efforts in a political agenda.

At first I thought I was alone with this. On message boards and at church I am/was considered an outcast because I refused to ignore and cast aside those living this lifestyle. In a stake conference (when a bunch of wards, or congregations, meet in one super-meeting of sorts) a regular church member went to the pulpit and said that we should cast aside our friends and family who do not live a lifestyle like our own. WHAT???? That's horrible!!! I mean, my family consists of wonderful, helpful, productive members of society but, according to this man, I have to shun my oldest sister because she doesn't want to get married, or my brother and older sister because they drink. Although he's quitting, my dad's a smoker of 50+years and both he and my mom drink coffee. So I need to shun them? I think he's GREATLY mistaken!

But I digress... back to Prop. 8

So I feel like a leper. I understand what the church is TRYING to say, and I feel like I ought to vote for 8, but something's missing. I feel for these people and their agency.

But appparently I'm not alone.

I was at the church bookstore one day during lunch and the clerk and I got into a lengthy discussion. I was purchasing books by Carol Lynn Peterson, a great LDS author who has a first-person perspective of the "gay lifestyle". She met her husband after his mission at BYU, and they had four children together. I believe she was carrying baby #4 when her husband came out of the closet for good (he had struggled with homosexual tendencies) and they stayed close friends until his death in the late 80s from AIDS. I had bought her memoirs of this time period (Goodbye, I Love You) as well as the Setting The Record Straight book on Homosexuality, and so naturally Prop 8 came up. She told me about a dear family friend who was like an older brother to her and how much she loved having him and his partner in her life as well as her (now ex) husband's. She had the same feelings that I did: That she would vote Yes because the Prophet and the brethren said to, but that she did not feel like going door-to-door to condemn homosexuality was something she could personally do. I was surprised. There's someone ELSE with the same struggle! In a way, I felt validated in my feelings (after all, if someone else is having them...) and it helped clarify some things for me.

In all honesty, I still am not sure I'll vote at all for this. I've been trying to come to terms as to WHY to vote for it, and when I tell myself to just say yes, that still small voice keeps telling me "You need to look into it more before you say yes. Keep looking." So there's still a small piece of the puzzle missing.

Well, I've spent more time on this than I care to admit. I am going back to "work" now. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween and be sure to save me the peanut butter cups

Monday, October 20, 2008

Slightly Fed Up...

... With insensitive, stupid people.

So, I admit, I'm not the easiest person to get along with at times, but this past weekend was too much for my little system.

For the most part, in a friendship (or any relationship, really) I don't always call/email/text at random because I am afraid to be a bother to people. I don't like calling at an inappropriate time, and try to avoid this. However, this last weekend was too much.

I realize, friends, that sometimes I get to be difficult to catch. It's the result of having to work 50+ hours a week in addition to take care of critters, husband, and house, but if it is something that you truly need me for, I try to be the first one to help out. However, this last weekend, I have been blown off by so many, I'm ready to go back to the middle of Colorado and camp out by NORAD.

It wouldn't be such a blow to my ego, except this happened ALL WEEKEND from MANY different people, people I considered family or friends. Oddly enough, my own family members have been the more "there" for me this weekend, which isn't something they often do for a wide variety of reasons.

So, this is a notice to all: I'm done. It's fine if you still want to be friends, but I'm going completely hands off now. I hate this one-sided friendship thing, where I'll drop a line, make a comment, etc and get ignored. I feel like a stalker, and I know I'm not.

So now I am accepting applications for new friends. Doesn't take much in terms of time or commitment. I just need someone to throw ideas at on occassion, and I am willing to reciprocate however I can. Just let me know if you have an interest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

So we made it home from Las Vegas in one piece (although we did come home REALLY late) and life is crazy to say the least.

I didn't get to sleep until late (like, 3 AM!) and woke up around 7-ish because I had to return the car. I stuck around long enough to finish some paperwork, listen to The Pseudo-boss of me complain and bicker, and get my time card squared away. I get a day off this week though, and I'm hoping for Friday!

Also, we came home to work-related nonsense, and not just my own. Jeff's supervisors are suspending him temporarily for something that has NOTHING TO DO with him. Others stole from the store and because he is an AGM (Assistant General Manager) he was written up and suspended. They'll let him know their "decision" on Thursday. Mine is to jump ship. I mean, he's had to deal with the nonsense of work for about a year now, and it's insane that they're blaming him for something he didn't have anything to do with.

But enough of that... on to the happiness.

We're actually considering moving to Vegas after this weekend. The houses out there were GORGEOUS and much for affordable than anything we can find in California. It's totally something we want to consider, if not now, in the future.

The work stuff went well too. We only worked about half of the day on Saturday (The walk was cut short due to the cold weather), and on Sunday I got to do home visits with a local phlebotomist. We had about 30 people screened, which is a lot, and made the trip well worth it, work-wise.

In terms of fun, we had TONS! Jeff seemed to really love the Coca Cola and the M&M store. We came home with loads of toys and candies and souvenirs.

We didn't just shop like crazy, though. We also went to go see Cirque du Soleil: Love. That's the one with the Beatles music. It was so awesome! It was kind of hard to pay attention to the "plot" but the music and acrobatics were wonderful.

I've got oodles of photos to post (once I figure this thing out) and I'll have to share them with the cyber-verse.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good: I depart from Vegas in less than 48 hours! I'm way excited, and super happy that I'm starting to feel much better. No fever anymore, still some coughing and hacking (enough to disturb my coworkers; thank goodness for Purell!) and a little fatigue, but I'm generally lazy anyway. I can't wait! I want to go to the M&M store, the Coke store, the Vegas temple... the works!

The Bad: My trip to Bakersfield was cancelled. I keep telling everyone I was "about halfway down". The truth of the matter was that I had overslept and instead of leaving at 8 like we intended, I WOKE UP at 8! We didn't end up leaving until after 9, and by 9:15 I got the call saying it was cancelled because the worker whom I was meeting down there forgot the consent forms (can't draw blood without permission, huh?). So I basically got to rent an '08 Jetta on Saturday for free. It worked out because I got to "watch" conference, go to the church bookstore, and drive the car around on The University's dime. It worked out, too, because I was still pretty hacky and cough-y (Are those even words?)

The Ugly: I didn't really get to watch Conference too much. Unfortunately, we slept through most of it, although we did catch the majority of the first session. Thank goodness for DVRs! Now we'll just have to set aside some time to WATCH them!

Well back to work...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mmmmm.... CAKE!!

Yes, that's what I've got going on at my desk right now. I went and got hospital chocolate cake and milk, and am just pigging out at my desk. My life's so hard, huh?

I didn't really get a lunch so I'm taking the break to write a bit on the blog. I'm actually impressed with how much I've kept up with this thing. Let's see how long it lasts.

Yesterday was a clinic day, and I have to say it was a kind of touching clinic day. Without breaking confidentiality (or HIPAA for that matter) I visited with an out-of-town family. While their preschool-aged daughter did have Type 1, she also was having these horrible tremors. It broke my heart because when I first saw her on the bed, she was about the size of a toddler, not a school-aged child! She was also shaking so much, but as soon as I walked in, she stood up on her bed and held her arms out to me. I got closer and she was hugging and kissing me the whole time I talked to her folks about the studies we were doing.

I was amazed. Here was this little child with all sorts of problems, but she was happy as a clam, just needing a little hug and kiss. I had to keep my distance, as I'm getting over a cold, but she totally made my afternoon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

So, admittedly, I am a bit of a naturalist/environmentalist. I mean, I recycle like a mad woman. I try to be economical when it comes to water and electricity. Most of the light bulbs in our house are energy savers. I use the sleep timer when I go to sleep. I want to get a Prius when my Civic goes PPPHHTT! (Which may be a while; we got 16 years, 6-digits and 5 states out of the Camaro. The Civic is over 4 years old with 65K on the odometer. So far it's covered 8 states, though). If you're still unsure about my intentions, look at the small zoo that's claimed my apartment, which currently consists of 9 homicidal tetras, 4 squawky birds, 9 wacky furballs (also known as chinchillas) and Chris, who doesn't live with us, but I hear about his antics usually 2 times a day. The latest is his spitting his medications in a pile in the corner of the backyard after chewing them out of their treats.

So I try to be environmental. I even take the bus to Stanford, enduring an hour-long bus ride over the 25-30 minute land-speed record I usually perform behind the wheel. I actually used to love public transportation. I took the bus when I went to Ohlone (didn't get my license until I was almost 21, a police explorer, and basically had to before I went on a ride-along) and then, for the year and a half I went to SFSU (and the 6 weeks of UC Berkeley) I took BART, a joke of a subway system (let's be honest).

I was more than eager to take the Stanford bus. For one, the drop-off was 2 miles from my apartment (and a mile and a half from my folks' place) so someone could easily drop me off. The buses, usually for the elite businessfolks as wel as the Stanford class, is a significant step up from the usual AC Transit monstrosities I was accustomed to (padded seats, tinted windows and WiFi... very California!). I think the most appealing aspect was the money savings, between the $5 for the gas, $4 for the toll, and $11 for the parking (a permit is almost $700, and that's for just the ACADEMIC year, not the ENTIRE)

But, alas, the love affair is gone.

Why, you may ask? It's simply put, I can't stand my busmates. At all.

For one thing, they stink. Not just like BO, but like old moldy food and musk. I'm half tempted to think they simply cannot afford soap, but the way I see it, if you can go to work in Nordstrom's finest with your Jimmy Choo's and your Coach purse, then you can pay the buck for a bar of Ivory!

The other dilemma is the people are totally inconsiderate. I mean, I can understand a more "big boned" person taking up two seats, but I get tired of those who are on first that have to either sit on the crack of the seat (more common than you'd think despite the discomfort) or throw all of their junk on the seats so no one will sit next to them. Yah, when half of the bus is standing, I would say it's time to move your stuff, sweetheart.

It isn't entirely bad, though. I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude about it all. For one, even though (because of the smells) I get a little queasy, I do not get nauseated from reading. Today I finished about 40 pages of my mystery novel before we hit the Palo Alto city limit, and I only stopped because of the musky woman next to me.

Also, when I'm that exhausted, it's just NOT a good idea for me to be behind the wheel. I hardly pay attention when I'm awake sometimes; I can only imagine how fun I'd be on 4 hours of sleep in traffic.

OK Enough about me. Back to the calm and quiet of work. At least calm and quiet today; I'm the only one here (Coworker LEFT is out of the country; Coworker RIGHT has the day off).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

While at work...

Yes, I blogged at work. There isn't too much to do right now but I'm trying.

This month is going to be an insane one for me. Lots of traveling and diabetes walks.

Next weekend I will be running down to Bakersfield for a Saturday day camp. I might have to stay overnight Friday; it depends on what time I have to be there in the morning.

The following weekend, I will be heading to Las Vegas (woo hoo!) I plan on leaving Thursday, October 9th from Stanford and driving through to Vegas. Friday, so far, has nothing, but this may change because we are trying to schedule visits in-home for me to do draws. Then, depending on what we end up getting, I may get to stay one more night.

The following weekend, I am supposed to go with my team to Sunnyvale for the local walk. It's a huge deal and apparently the entire department will be in attendance. And I get a cool t-shirt :-)

So the next few weekends I'm going to be AWOL. On the plus side, to balance it out, I will get a few days off during the week. And the occassional Sunday. And I might be able to continue with my temple-hopping, if I can get in Vegas and Fresno during my travels *GRIN*

There's more to say but I'll have to add it later when I have pictures and time to actually chat.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just a brief announcement

I just wanted to check this out... Since I hardly keep a journal and I LIVE at the computer (for work, school, and a great deal of my "life") I figured I'd try one of these bad boys out. Everyone else I know has one. Why not me, darn it??