Sunday, March 16, 2014

happy spring!

Other than remembering to prune and feed my roses back in January, I've totally neglected my gardens the last few months and as a result, all my herbs and many of my potted plants died :( 

So today I got up bright and early (for a Sunday) at 8:30 and spent four hours pruning, re-planting and laying down mulch to pretty-up my backyard. Yay! I cleaned up the rose garden (where the kumquats have begun to fall), planted a bunch of annuals and updated my herb and pepper garden with things I will actually use for cooking. Now all that's left to do is clean the patio furniture and the grill (ick!).

My first fully blooming rose bush of the season!
Rosemary for seasoning (and keeping mosquitos away), Basil for pizza and Cilantro for guacamole :)
Jalepenos for guac and a Bell Pepper because I'm
curious to see if it will actually grow to size...
Oh, and a lavender plant because I don't have enough
bees in the front yard swarming around my giant
lavender plant there :p
Spearmint for mojitos :)



My shelves of impatiens that were wiped out
when someone got too busy to go out and
water them this winter. Oops
New gerber daisies (my faves!) and geraniums
galore because they are hearty (ie: can survive
a week when I forget to water them)





Monday, March 10, 2014

gal pals rock

I went to an event with my dear gal pal Cwennen on Saturday night at her church (yes I went to a church) in celebration of International Women's Day. Her's is not a normal church like I - the ex-Catholic - grew up being forced to go to. They had a rock band playing and people singing rock/pop songs for the first 15 or so minutes of the event, which whatever remnants of a Catholic still exist inside me had a hard time comprehending. But the overall theme of the evening was "amigas" aka girlfriends, and their girl power. And that's something I could get on board with. 

Our "parting gift" was the "suitable for framing" card below, which I loved so much I had to share. I'm lucky to have Cwennen and many other amigas in my life that fit this bill :)


Sunday, March 2, 2014

random thoughts during the 2014 oscars

Who knew Lupita Nyongo’s brother was in Kid-n-Play?

Ellen just said what everyone has been thinking about Lisa Minnelli for years by calling her a man (aka a drag queen). Burn.

And now it's time for the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars to win his Oscar.

Will be hard to beat Jared Leto for best speech of the night. Love to his mom, dreamers and victims of AIDS and injustice.

American Hustle did not win Best Costume. That was honestly the best shot they had unless there is a major acting category upset. Some woman wearing a sequined Hawaiian mumu won for Best Costume... for The Great Gatsby. Oh she's married to Baz Luhrmann. That explains it. Oh she's the woman who showed up in the American Express gold card dress long ago. She's old now.

Thank god Bad Grandpa did not win for Hair and Makeup. I'm now 2 for 3 in the Oscar pool.

I guess Harrison Ford isn't presenting Best Picture like he normally does...

Matthew McConaughey deserves the Oscar just for making it thru that award presentation with Kim Novak.

Kind of ironic that Kim Novak and her frozen face were chosen to present the Best Animated Short and Feature awards.

Visual Effects goes to Gravity… as it should.

Shorts, documentaries... the hit or miss categories in the Oscar pool. Entertainment Weekly you've failed me.

Darlene Love is singing really loud, which the Academy producers obviously weren’t prepared for. There goes their Sound Mixing Emmy. And does the Academy have clearance for that song?

Yay Italy wins… as it should... just because it's Italy.

It won't win Best Picture, but Nebraska wins in my book as best surprise film of the year. I had no expectations going in and loved it. Sweet, loving family drama that in many ways reminds me of the men on my dad’s side of the family.

Brad intros U2, who's performing acoustically... Highlight of the show thus far. And they get a standing ovation. Too bad they won't win.

Ellen just broke twitter. I can't retweet the celeb group shot.

Best Supporting Actress. Great category. June Squibb was awesome. JLaw was hilariously over the top. Julia held her own with Meryl. Too bad they can't all win. But Lupita Nyongo’s performance was too heartbreaking. The soap scene stole the film.

Thank you Brad Pitt from saving poor Lupita from that drag queen Liza Minnelli.

Okay. The pizza bit looked like it was going to bomb, but was actually pretty funny. I hope Harrison Ford made Calista eat part of his piece. And the owner of Big Mama and Papa's pizza just started crying tears of joy.

Great callout to Harold Ramis from Bill Murray during his and Amy Adams' presenting bit. Nice to get him into the broadcast in the event they weren’t able to edit him into the “In Memorium” in time.

Train wreck approaching. Here comes the Wizard of Oz/Judy Garland tribute. Don't let Liza talk. Don't let Liza talk. Oh good. Pink is going to sing instead. Phew. Actual entertainment.

Great dress on Jennifer Garner! Sassy fringe flapper dress. Love!

Great ad for the Pepsi mini cans with famous movie lines. "Show me the mini!"

Ellen's celeb selfie just broke the Twitter record and passed one million retweets*. That makes me one in a million :) (And shout out to Lupita's brother from Kid-n-Play for being more visible in the photo that three of the people who actually won Oscars this year!)





Harold Ramis made it into the “In Memoriam.” “Slates for Sarah” sort of did (after the fact).

I knew Bette Milder would be singing the sad Beaches song during the “In Memorium” the moment they announced her as a performer. See, I could produce the Oscars :p

The bubble people Oscars at the back of the stage are starting to freak me out. They look like the casts for the people stacked in the pod holding bay in The Matrix.

Hey John Travolta, her name is Idina Menzel. Ass.

"Let It Go" wins best original song, which Bono called on The Tonight Show two weeks ago. Robert Lopez is now an EGOT winner thanks to a Disney movie and....The Book of Mormon. And U2 is NOT an Oscar winner.... yet.

And the Let It Go winners’ speech is the most entertaining of the night...all rhyming. But Jared's is still the most heartwarming, followed closely by Lupita's.

Alfonso Cuaron is Best Director. Duh. Gravity was amazing. So was Sandra Bullock, but she won't win because of that crappy Woody Allen movie. (No offense to Cate Blanchett.)

Best Actress goes to Cate Blanchett. Yeah. Whatever.

Alright, alright, alright. And Matthew McConaughey is rewarded for putting up with Kim Novack. And playing a devastatingly heartbreaking role in Dallas Buyers Club. Whoever thought the stoner in Dazed & Confused and Ed TV would win a Best Actor Oscar? I can believe the lawyer in A Time to Kill one day would though.

Really like the graphics for Best Picture nominees.

And 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Brad Pitt is now an Oscar winner too. Take THAT George Clooney and Matt Damon!

The end. 3 hours and 30 minutes exactly.

The only real surprise of the night was that American Hustle was totally shut out. Oh well. Yay for Gravity!

P.S. I won the Oscar party pool with 20 correct. Yay me!

PPS: By an hour after the show ended, Ellen's celeb selfie has ready 2.1 million retweets... a 7-digit number that Twitter designers apparently never thought about how to display (see screengrab above). So that one tweet has actually broken Twitter in two different ways tonight.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

random (biased) thoughts on saturday morning olympic pucks

It's 8:30am PT and I'm currently on a social media blackout as I watch the USA vs. Russia hockey game on Tivo. The second period just started and there is no score. But I have some thoughts thus far that I will add to this before I hit "publish." (Warning: this post will be heavily weighted towards comments about LA Kings players in this game -- there are three: USA's Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown, Russia's Slava Voynov.)

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First off, during the intermission, they showed highlights of the Slovenia vs. Slovakia game that probably no one outside of Slovenia and Slovakia watched today. But Slovenia, who is competing in their first Olympic hockey tournament, won. It was their first Olympic win.

We care about this because the one NHL star on Team Slovenia is LA King Anze Kopitar, whose dad is the team's coach. Kopi scored one of Slovenia's three goals today.

Yesterday I was complaining on Twitter about how Kings Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty are all of the sudden goal scoring machines in their Team Canada uniforms, and it would be nice if they'd score some goals in their Kings uniforms.

Kopi has been the Kings' only goal scoring machine of late. So to him I just say: Yay Kopi! That goal was a beauty!

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Now back to USA vs. Russia.
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As the first period was going on, I thought, if this goes well for Team USA, all of the world will now know the awesomeness of my former Baby Goalie. (That is my pre-Stanley Cup Championship nickname for LA Kings/Team USA starting goaltender Jonathan Quick, who, until he grew a beard during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, looked like he was 12.) Since he is now the "former" Baby Goalie, we will refer to him by his real nickname now, "Quickie."
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Still no score. Russia is on their second powerplay. USA defensemen and the goal posts are really helping Quickie on this one. Phil Kessel just took a shot to the hand. Ouch. He's off to the dressing room. Uh oh. 

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I may have just jinxed Quickie. Oh look... that ass Putin is here watching the Russians score their first goal. Blech. 0-1 Russia. But Kessel is back from the dressing room. That's good. His sister is playing for the Team USA women, by the way.

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The commentators just said, "Jonathan Quick has been huge for Team USA." Yes, yes he has. That's because he's very used to playing for a team that can't score goals. 

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Wow. A Russian just leveled Dustin Brown. Is that what they call karma? :-P 

The NBCSN commentators that annoy me* say that was a bad, selfish penalty since Brown was nowhere near (like 2 zones away from) the puck. Agreed. But it's now time for a Team USA power play. Come on guys!

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Team USA scores!! 1-1 Uh oh... off Cam Fowler's skate. But he didn't kick it in. The goal is good! Whoo-hoo!

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End of the 2nd. Still tied 1-1. Shots - USA 23, Russia 21. 

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Now into the 3rd period. Uh oh. Brownie apparently broke the rules. He doesn't agree but the refs don't care. Another power play for Russia.

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Thank god NHL fans aren't obsessed with these annoying horns. I would shoot myself. 

------------

Quickie makes a big save and now we're back to even strength.

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Is it just me, or does it sound like the crowd is chanting "Go Kings Go?" If so, then I will believe in my mind that the chant is for Quick and Brown, not Voynov (although in reality, it's the reverse.) 

------------

Team USA on the power play. Please score a goal! Please score a goal!  (If Jeff Carter was on Team USA in his Team Canada jersey I bet they'd score a goal....)

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Whoo-hoo!! Joe Pavelski scores on a beauty of a pass from Patrick Kane. Team USA leads 2-1! I normally hate Patrick Kane, but not this week.

10 minutes to go. Quickie be a wall. Quickie be a wall....

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Argh! Brown gets another penalty. Knee on knee hit. You really must stop doing that Dustin. Oy.

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AHHH! Russia scores. Quickie was looking around the wrong side of the giant Russian screening him. And we're tied again. I can't take this. 7:16 to go. (BAD Brownie!!)

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They're chanting "Go Kings Go" again ;) 

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Russia just scored again. Argh. Right over Quick's shoulder, after he'd just made an amazing save too. Wait... the ref is reviewing. Was it deflected with a high stick? NO GOAL!!!! Ahhh! But on NBCSN's replay it didn't actually hit that stick. Wow. That should have been a goal. Putin is gonna be pissed. OH, wait. The in-goal camera is showing the net was slightly off its peg. In international play, that means no goal. In the NHL, that goal would've counted. 

(It also counts in the NHL if the puck goes out of play into the net above the glass and no official sees it, and then bounces back in and off the goaltender's back into the net... just in case you were wondering. No, I'm not bitter.) 

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Russia takes a penalty with 1:32 left. Still tied 2-2. Wow. Wow. Wow. Both USA goals have been on the power play. Could this be Miracle on Ice, Part 2? (No because this USA team is not that outmatched, but it still adds some drama.)

------------

And we go to Overtime. AHHHH! I do believe our remaining power play time carries over with these international rules, though right? Oh NBCSN commentator dudes who annoy me, please confirm... Yes, 29 seconds of power play carries over. Come on guys! Score a goal (And by guys, I mean the American ones. It would be awesomesauce if it ended up being the Dustin Brown one.)

------------

Power play is over. Now back to 4-4 for OT. "Go Kings Go!" These Russian fans are so nice to Quick and Brown.

------------

Patrick Kane just had a breakaway and missed. Argh.

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I think we are going to a shoot out. (No jinxes since we're currently in USA's defensive zone with 6.2 seconds left.) Yes. We're going to a shoot out. Quickie BE A WALL. I'm serious this time. In international play, you can use the same 3 shooters over and over. Interesting... I guess that means Dustin Brown won't be getting a chance here.

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TJ Oshie is up first for Team USA. Scores! That was the slowest shoot out approach I've ever seen.

Now Malkin for Team Russia. DENIED by Quick!

James Van Riemsdyk for USA. Denied. USA still up 1-0.

Pavel Datsyuk for Russia. DENIED by Quick! USA still leads 1-0. 

Joe Pavelski next for Team USA. Score and we win. No pressure. Denied. 

Alright Quickie. No pressure. Be a wall. Kovalchuk next for Russia. He scores. Ahhh. Tied 1-1.

Now Russia gets to go first. Kovalchuk again. Denied.

Oshie for Team USA. If he scores, we win. Denied.

Datsyuk up for Russia. Scores. ARGH. Russia 2-1. 

Last shot for USA if we don't score. Oshie again. Scores! Thank god. 2-2. Knocked the water bottle off.

Kovalchuk again. Scores. Russia 3-1.

Oshie again. This poor guy. Scores! 3-3. 

Datsyuk for Russia. Denied! Ahh! Good Quickie. Good Quickie.

Come on Oshie!! Denied. Ahhhh! This is making me nauseous. 

Kovalechuk. Denied by Quick!

Oshie again. Round 8. SCORES!!! Team USA WINS 3-2!!! AHHHH!!! That was AWESOME!!!!  (Take THAT Putin!) 

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Now I have to go read 11 hours of my Twitter feed. Bye!

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* This is mostly because they are not Bob Miller and Jim Fox, and include Jeremy Roenick. No real offense to Doc Emrick. You're pretty good. You're just not Bob Miller. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

i hate valentine's day

And no, it's not because I'm single.

It's because February 14th is the day my Uncle Wesley died. It is also two days before my birthday. "He died on Valentine's Day, two days before my 20th birthday," is the way the memory plays in my head. So there's no way I can forget... which I would like to. The circumstances of his illness and death destroyed my paternal family. And there is a commercialized holiday about love every year to remind me of the death of someone I loved, which is sad enough without layering years of lies and family drama on top.

I was thinking about that today as I was getting my nails done. All the technicians were talking giddily about their plans after work. And all I could think was how I hate this day. And how every year, instead of getting easier, it seems to hit me harder... especially since I turned 35. That was the year I was officially a year older than Uncle Wes ever got to be. And every year is another...

Then something freaky happened. Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" came over the sound system.

They say signs are all around us... you just have to listen. And it was everything I could do to not start bawling in the middle of the nail salon when I heard that. Some might call it random coincidence, as it's a love song, playing on Valentine's Day. But that is a song from the one CD I took from Uncle Wes' music collection after he died.

Was that his way of saying he's still around? Is he looking out for me? Was he purposely distracting me from my growing desire to smack the giddy nail girls so I wouldn't end up in jail on my birthday weekend?

I don't know. And I probably never will ... at least in this lifetime. But I did immediately start composing sentences about "signs" in my head as I sat there, which morphed into the beginning of this as I drove, and I couldn't get home fast enough to write it down. I haven't written in a few weeks. I wrote a lot when I found out he was sick, and on the day he died I wrote a poem called "Peace" that just kind of came to me.

Maybe, as I'm thinking and typing now, that was his message. As I am again finding myself at a career crossroads, and at the start of the weekend each year when I am usually at my most introspective, maybe that was his way of telling me what I should do... and that I should do it for me.

Or maybe I'm just really tired and losing my mind.

Either way, I feel better now. Tired, but better.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

your "big game" sunday "to do" list

There's only one thing on the list. And for those of you (like me) who could care less about football, it's really easy.

1. Click this iTunes link and download U2's new song "Invisible" for FREE in the next 24 hours. 

Bank of America will then give $1 for every download to The Global Fund to fight AIDS.

That's it. You're done... except for then enjoying the musical genius of Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry.

As someone who lost someone I love to this awful disease 22 years ago, I thank you!


Saturday, February 1, 2014