Dad stuff

May. 31st, 2015 08:19 pm
stgulik: default icon (benita)
My dad called from West Virginia just to say hello. Remember, this is the guy who watched most of the Harry Potter movies with us last summer. He might back come out to see us in August. "Unless California is still in a drought," he joked.

"That's right. They won't let you in unless you bring your water with you," I informed him.

That got us on the topic of drought management. He told me he'd heard of a company that skims the sod completely off your yard and replaces it with sand, gravel and drought-tolerant plants. Doesn't that sound great? I've admired other people's yards, but the thought of all those hours, sod-busting, hauling away and planting, makes my old bones ache.

Not sure I could afford someone to do it, though. I know! I'll have Dad get us started. He's 77 and in far better shape than I am.

Just came back to this blog entry, and it occurs to me that, as far as you people are concerned, I don't display the daughterly worry for my out-of-state father as I do for my near-to-me mother. The fact is, I have a lengthy list of silly worries when it comes to my dad--just as lengthy as the worry list I keep on Mom. Different but lengthy. One time, I hadn't heard from him in a long time, and I couldn't get hold of  him for the life of me, and I don't remember what the circumstances were, but I became convinced that his then-wife had actually done something heinous to him. So I called his town and asked the police to do a drive-by on him. Yes, really! I'm not proud.

Anyway, he called me about an hour later. "You had a cop come and check on me?" I apologized profusely. He said, "What were you thinking? I could have been baking meth or something!" And it was all okay. That's my dad.


May. 30th, 2015 10:42 am
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As May draws to a close, I look at my calendar on the sidebar and see that I *very nearly* achieved the goal of posting Something Every Day. I'm pleased. From now on, my goal is to post on LJ at least twice a week. It's entertaining, and now I can see by the number of comments which types of things the flist responds to most, and I can explore those some more. Being a nearly-empty-nester, I need new hobbies.

Speaking of hobbies, here's where I am on that Chinese (Japanese?) (Asian) tile piece.Read more... )
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My aunt and uncle, my cousin and a bunch of her kids are all flying out to see us next month. The closer we get to their visit, the more I'm looking forward to it. I haven't seen my cousin in ... well, it has to have been over 22 years, since she has a 22-year-old son. Time flies.

Plans are coming slowly coming together.Read more ... )

Craft time

May. 27th, 2015 06:33 am
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Last winter, I bought this art piece at a thrift store. It consists of decorated tiles set in plywood with gold fabric glued down. I think the fabric is silk--it sure tears like silk. There is a plain frame, which I have removed for now. The whole thing looks like it used to hang in a Chinese restaurant.

Read more... )
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We have lived in this county over twenty years, yet up until today, we have never been to the fair! I think it's because we had always saved our time and energy for the bigger 'n' better state fair, which runs in August. But today we decided on the spur of the moment to see what our county puts together. (Sorry no pictures! My current cell phone is a flip model circa 2006, and the camera is such a potato, I could carve better photographs out of marble.)

Top Seven Moments of the County Fair

7. Chinese acrobats
6. Pick-pocket goats at the 4-H exhibition
5. Bored white cows with little bored white calves. And just who's watching whom, human?
4. The fact that all the kiddie finger paint art entries got Second Place.
3. Beautiful, heavenly weather
2. Duck races!
1. Little kids at the duck races
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I forgot to do SED yesterday!

We went to an outdoor wedding, which was lovely, but there was no shade. This is California, people! Between April and October, we just do not subject people to mandatory attendance where there is no shade. After we congratulated the bride and groom and dropped off our present, we departed and went somewhere to rehydrate.

Actually, we went to the restaurant where our daughter works part-time. We made sure to be seated in her section, which we hadn't done before. She was excited to see us! We snuck peeks at the baseball game on our phones while we ate, then tipped her lavishly and went home.

This morning, everyone's still asleep. I think I'll get dressed and start on a garage project. The dogs can join me and get underfoot hang out.
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The votes are in, and the majority has spoken: I will see both movies, because hey, twice the singing. Though I do need to use this ticket before the thing leaves the theatres, so I'll see them in reverse order. It doesn't look like like a complicated plot line. I think I'll survive.

Though with this latest development, I may be otherwise engaged for a long time:

That's right, girls! Everyone's favorite Tiger-Beat, Pepsodent-smile, blow-dried, teen-mystery series from the 70s is now on Netflix!

All Memorial Day barbeques, baseball games and parades are hereby CANCELLED. Return to your homes!


Just look at him. All my girlfriends were Team Shaun, but he was a skinny little stick. I only ever had eyes for Parker. 
stgulik: default icon (Mentor)
Today we found out our office is getting a brand-new director. Our current boss, who has been Acting Director, will either be bumped down to Assistant Director, or bumped further down to Lowly Analyst, like the rest of us. He is Mr. Depressed right now, though he's trying not to show it. Meanwhile, the rest of us have been googling the crap out of the new director, hoping to glean insight into what her priorities might be when she comes aboard.

All this by way of saying, today was somewhat fraught. Still, I'm really looking forward to a new direction. Will she improve the place, polish it up, return it to its former glory? Will she take the place apart and sell it on Craigslist? I've been there eight years and frankly, either way works for me. I'm good.

At the drug store, I earned one free ticket to see Pitch Perfect 2. Do you think I ought to see the first Pitch Perfect, or would I understand the sequel without seeing the original?

Take the survey below!

We want to hear from YOU )


May. 20th, 2015 06:24 am
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This picture keeps appearing on my Facebook feed. For those of you on mobile, it's a little picture of a person (man?) with long black hair, wearing a dark-colored suit with cuffs, holding hands over eyes. The caption says, "You deserve to be happy." It's an ad for inexpensive therapy.

Let's leave aside the disturbing fact that Facebook's algorithm has diagnosed me as needing inexpensive therapy. Whenever I spot this ad out of the corner of my eye, it reminds me of young Severus Snape. Well, no, the hair's too good. It reminds me of a cosplaying young Severus Snape. And who deserves to be happy more than Severus Snape?

So if you feel like it, in the comments, write a 100-word drabble about Severus Snape in therapy. Bonus points if he doesn't exactly want to be there.
stgulik: default icon (benita)
Tonight I get to show you how I usually marinate tofu ahead of cooking stir-fry. Most chefs on TV, you know, use Limoges bowls and cut-glass eyedroppers when they marinate tofu. Now for something completely different.

Read more... )

Ready for anything!
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This soup was featured on my HMO's nutrition blog. It's super fast and easy. We tried it last week and gave it two thumbs up.

Normally, I equate bean soup with penetence food; something you eat to try to make up for a long recreational calorie binge. Now I wonder if my problem was that I just don't spice the soups enough to make them tasty.

I've never used so much fresh sage in one dish before. It gave the soup a green-peppery taste. In fact, I skipped adding any more pepper.

My "one large onion" yielded probably one cup's worth, chopped. Next time I'll reduce the recipe to1/2 c-3/4 c and see if I like the blend better.

The recipe )
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Saw my mother yesterday. Normally, I wouldn't put myself through the 3-hour round trip two times in a month, but when I spoke to her on Mother's Day, I suffered a paroxysm of guilt and promised a belated visit.

Oh, well, it was necessary and we got a lot done. I took her to Home Depot to buy potted herbs for her garden. We parked in the handicapped slot and put up her brand-new placard to prove we belonged there. Next to our space, someone had left one of the store scooters. My 76-year-old mother has never ridden a scooter before! I knew she was in for a treat. So I helped her into the seat, showed her how to go forward and backward, and off she went. She loved it, I can tell, though part of her still considers such devices giving in. It did my heart good to watch her all carefree, toodling down the aisles, and not have to worry she might fall using her normal walker.

I worry about her more than she worries about herself. Some worries are legitimate, like ones for her health and safety. I arranged to have a helper come in three hours a day, and I keep an eye out for other useful things to do.

Many worries are not things I need to take on. For instance, one bedroom in her house is where my brother and his son lived for a while when they moved back to town. People, please understand, they basically lived like squatters in that bedroom together--mattresses on the floor, food wrappers everywhere, dirty underwear, cigarette packs, comic books, video games ... After they moved out, we even discovered dried snot on the walls. (Pray it was done by the younger of them, but who the hell knows.) Groom and I took the mattresses to the dump and washed out the room as best we could, but the walls are still a little ... streaky. I want to paint them, but Mom has had enough of that whole chapter of her life, and she forbids me to bring it up. Again, I don't need to take this on because the look of one remote wall doesn't directly affect her health or safety. But I keep a little inventory of low-level worries at the back of my mind, ready to trot out at odd moments.

It should be a lovely Sunday, back in my own little house. I'll watch some baseball this morning while getting laundry done. And I promised the dogs an extra-long walk!
stgulik: default icon (benita)
Drabble title: The Sly Puss
Author: stgulik
Cross-posted at [ profile] grangersnape100 for this week's challenge, "Lost Cat."
Word count: 100 x 2
Rating: G
Characters: Severus Snape, Hermione Granger, Argus Filch, ???


Read more... )
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My daughter and her friends made coffee cups for their mothers. Yesterday I received my belated Mother's Day gift! My camera absolutely can't do it justice, but here:
Read more... )
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There's a particular zen parable I read once, but now I can't find it again. I'll write it out for you as best I can.

Two Buddhist priests were visiting together over cups of tea. They had not seen one another for many years. The first priest was wealthy because he had made a name for himself among the nobility. By contrast, the second priest had lived a very modest life in a nearby community.

The first priest was dismayed by his old friend's impoverished situation, and sought to advise him. "You don't have to be so poor and so skinny," he said. "If you would only learn to curry favor with the governor, you would not have to make do with lentils."

The second priest simply shook his head and smiled. "If you would only learn to make do with lentils," he replied, "you would not have to curry favor with the governor."
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Still trying to dig out a recipe I did not, strictly speaking, get from another LJ flist member.

In the meantime, I'll share a short parody from 2004, which I'm sure was around the time of the very first Nigerian bank scam emails.

Oh, go on! )
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Missed yesterday's SED post on accident, because I was dragged by Groom to an end-of-year dinner for his music colleagues, and we had a big fight about nothing (Groom and me, not the colleagues) right outside the hall, and then I tried to eat all-vegetarian fare at the buffet when really I wanted to grab that greasy bucket of fn KFC out of someone's hands and glom onto all the delicious white breast meat, but I was good and ate lentil salad and beans and the last of some cheese-based dish and tried to stuff myself, which is not easy with lentils! try it some time! and then I slid out of my chair and went to the loo when the group started singing some dumb thing to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, then Groom and I semi-made up on the ride home, or rather agreed not to fight about whatever it was anymore, and I was exhausted when we got home so I went right to bed.

Tonight I will make up the lapse with a second post, probably a recipe, NOT lentil salad!
stgulik: default icon (benita)
For Mother's Day, my little family went out for Vietnamese at one of my daughter's favorite restaurants. When you're related to me, there'll be no elbowing through the crush of noisy families at Olive Garden, thank you. Too many restaurants on God's green earth for that particular torture. The place was called "Pho Hoc." The wait staff all wore t-shirts that took full advantage of puns on Pho. One kid's said "Pho King," another's said "What the Pho?" Now we know why my daughter got such a kick out of the place.

I ordered something called double mushroom tofu, which was really good, and a green tea milk drink, which is obviously an acquired taste. Groom, the only meat-eater amongst us, enjoyed pork, as well as an avocado milkshake, which sounded like unfortunate typo but actually worked.

Called my own mother and had a nice chat, and I promised to go see her next weekend. This year I have this whole mental list of the big and little projects to be done around her place. Next weekend is the car--we recently learned she hasn't had taken it out of the garage for over six months. (Well, we said "How long has it been? Six months??" and she shrugged noncommitally, so it might well have been longer.) It seems her IHSS helper squires her about. Lovely. The car will need a battery jump, fluid and brake inspection, tire massages, and I don't know what all. We'll see. This is how we adult kids say thank you to our mothers, you know: we educate them about ethnic food and run checkups on their cars.

Finally watched Season 3 of Sherlock tonight. So many in-jokes and gifs are now explained! Now I know the reason for this t-shirt.

Hey, we secured a vacation cabin today! And the crowd goes wild!
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Still looking for a suitable cabin at Tahoe for July. My SIL and I tend to really work well together in time-sensitive situations like this. We've each taken on a handful of realtors' websites. We email each other a list of three with the favorite indicated. The other one writes back and says "Yes, bid on xxx" or "No, pass on xxx because..." and we keep going. She has a bid in on a nifty one, but if she doesn't get it, we'll go to our collective second choice and keep going. This time of year, the Tahoe vacation house bidding war is a furious business! Next year, we'll start earlier. We only got caught flat-footed at this late date because our usual cabin is being sold.

In other news, look who is living in NorCal now: My boyfriend, Hunter Pence! He is rehabilitating after a broken arm, and playing third in the lineup with the Sacramento River Cats, which is the Giants' AAA ball team. He's amazing. I would have linked to a picture where he doesn't have such crazy eyes, but crazy eyes is part of his charm, and I find it's best to be upfront about it.
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There's nothing like watching a scrappy Cairn terrier and a bad-tempered chihuahua going ten rounds when you're trying to watch baseball in peace.

They're loud, they growl constantly, and they take turns jumping on each other and bumping each other into the furniture.

Terrier: ::pushes the other dog with mighty force into the coffee table::

Chihuahua: ::growls ferociously, pushes back again the terrier, into ... my feet


Dogs: ::ignore human in tandem::

If I can figure out how, we'll go to video some time this month.


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