Friday, December 30, 2005

Winding down

Went to the Desert Museum with Dad and Curt yesterday. It was a beautiful day--high 60s. Most of the animals were out--saw like 10 javelinas all napping together. That was pretty cute. One of the otters was showing off his marvelous swimming skills. We saw an Ocelot--Curt's fave and some other sun-soaking animals. We took pics while there--promise to post those soon. I hope to do that over the weekend once we are back in Berkeley.
After the Desert Museum we stopped by the Tucson Citizen for Dad to check on something. Then back to the house.
Curt and I then headed to my Aunt Gen and Uncle Lee's house (Alison and Emily, too). We had a yummy dinner and great conversation. I always laugh a lot when I am with that bunch. We had a good time. Thanks for the good eats and good conversation guys! When we got home it was 11:30 I couldn't believe we had stayed there so late. Time flies when you are having fun.
I am doing some laundry and starting to get the suitcase packed up. We are heading over to my Mom's later. Dad and Hilda took off this morning for San Francisco. So we are staying at Mom's tonight. It will be much easier to leave from there (since we have Mom's car and she is taking us to the airport). Our flight is at 6:30 a.m. Ugh! But we had a direct flight from SFO to Tucson and back. And it is not easy to find direct flights to Tucson.
I think we are just gonna lay low at my mom's today. Curt has to help my grandma with her DVD player and I have to hit the horrid mall to get my engagement ring cleaned. I have to do that twice a year to maintain the warranty. And Dec. is one of the months--just my luck. So later I will go to Park Place for the cleaning. And I just might stop at a Clinique counter and stock up. Malls are a little scarce where we live. Not that I would go very often anyway.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Arizona updates

Monday night we had dinner at El Minuto Cafe with Dad and Hilda. I had menduo and flat enchiladas. Yum, the menudo was excellent.
(Right now there is some car horn that keeps going off and it is REALLY annoying.)
Tuesday we had breakfast at the Arizona Inn with Mom, Fred, Francine and Frank. It was a beautiful and warm day. We sat out by the pool. It was a good time and good eats.
After breakfast we headed up to Phoenix. We got to Erica and Casey's about 2 and just hung out. About 7 we headed to Sauce for dinner. We had a good crowd show up: Erica and Casey (of course); Jen and Dave; Deb and adorable little Jacob (and Elmo); Mary; and Robert and Leah. It was good to see the old gang. Once we were hanging out it was like I hadn't been gone for 9 months.
After that we headed to George and Dragon with Erica and Casey and Robert and Leah. Around 1030 my cell phone rang. Jodie wanted to see if we were still around. So The Republic gang showed up soon after that: Casey; Kelly and Fernando; Jodie; Jean Clare; Penny; and Ryan. Curt was really happy to see Ryan--since they worked together in online. So we had a good showing. It was great to see everyone.
Thanks to all of our friends who showed up for dinner and/or drinks. It was great to see all of you.
We came back to Tucson about 2 p.m. We just hung out for a few hours. Then we went to my mom's and Fred's for dinner. We had steak, veggies, potatoes, etc. Good food. We took a break from Mexican food--which I could eat every day. But Mom and I thought we should give the guys a break. Afterward we finally opened our Christmas presents. We got some moola, cool things from South America (Mom and Fred were in South America last month); gift cards (Michaels & Starbucks), etc. We came home about 9. We borrowed some movies from my Mom to watch on Curt's laptop (which I am typing on now). (Dad and Hilda have one TV--and it was in their room. It was originally in ours. It was missing. I thought maybe Dad and Hilda had been robbed. HA!) So Curt and I started watching a movie and I zonked out pretty quick. I was pretty tired. I slept well last night--and I really haven't been lately.
This morning we met my cousin Mark at The Grill for breakfast. We had a good time chatting and hanging out with him. When he asked for a reminder of where The Grill was I told him it was next to the wig store. And when we got there I saw the name: Wig-O-Rama. Hee hee. I can't believe that place is still in business.
Now we are back at my dad's place waiting for my dad to come back from work and we will be off to the Desert Museum.

Monday, December 26, 2005


So today has been an easy day. We planned to go to the Desert Museum but my dad has this cold that made him feel pretty miserable today. Curt and I headed to 4th Ave. for lunch. We walked over there--about a 15 min. walk from my dad's house. We went to Bison Witches for lunch and they were CLOSED! Dang! And I was looking forward to a Bloody Mary. So we kept walking and ate at some place called Bumsteds. I know I had been there before--not sure if it had the same name then. I saw D. Shayne play solo. I went with Kate. Awwww, the memories.
After lunch we did a little more walking--up to University and then back. I was very proud of myself for all my walking. Though I think my hips are gonna be sore later. And it is a good thing Curt gave me a short-sleeve Cal Berkeley shirt for Christmas--cuz I didn't bring anything short sleeve with me. It was nice out--probably high 70s.
Tonight we are planning on going out to dinner with Dad and Hilda and then maybe a movie. They saw "Family Stone" last night and said it was really bad. We may see "Syriana" tonight. Looks really good!
Tomorrow morning we are having breakfast with my mom, Fred, Francince (she is like my second mother) and her husband Frank. We will be dining by the pool at the Arizona Inn. Then after that we will head to Phx to visit friends.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

So we are in Tucson having a great time. We arrived late Friday night. At one point our flight was pushed back 2 hours later than our original departure time. I guess there was fog. But we ended up leaving only about 45 minutes late--as opposed to the 2 hours.
So yesterday (Christmas Eve) we hung around my Dad's and Hilda's in the morning. About 2 we went to my Mom's. We hung out there for a few then my mom, Fred, Curt and I headed to my grandma's. We had drinks and snacks at her place. After that Mom and Fred headed to church and us heathens went to visit my friend Shelly and her 10-year-old twin daughters, Hope and Jade. After that we headed to my Great Aunt Alice's for a Mexican feast--where we met up with Mom and Fred. Then off to my stepsister's (Tracy) place for another feast. After that we had to hit the 24-hour Walgreens to get me some tights--I forgot to pack a pair and the skirt I wore Christmas day called for tights. We were gonna open presents with Mom and Fred Christmas Eve night after Tracy and Brian's. But it was midnight and we all were so tired. So Curt and I headed back to my dad's and Hilda's. I slept horribly and have been tired all day. But I have been a trooper. (It is almost 11 p.m. Arizona time, and I am wiped out.)
So Christmas morning I finally get out of bed about 7:45. There was no way I was gonna fall back asleep--even though I was super tired.
So the four of us opened gifts. I got a Target gift card, a fleece pullover, gift certificate for TWO massages, some warm wear for the Bay Area, etc. I got some good loot.
After that we had breakfast. I demanded tamales as that is our family tradition--eat Red Chili Tamales on Christmas morning.
Then we got cleaned up and Curt and I headed to my mom's for her annual family party. I had bought a black sweater to wear for Christmas--to go along with my black boots, black tights, black skirt and burgundy disco scoa. (Pics to come later.) I know the outfit sounds very festive, eh? And the high today was supposed to be 82--not sure what it actually was. And I never got too hot with my sweater and scoa. Anyway, we saw cousins, grandma, aunts, uncles, step-sibling, etc. We had a good Mexican feast again. My cousin Daniel played some Christmas music on his guitar. He is really good. We had a good time. Then we headed back to my dad's for the other side of the family get-together. Apparently we missed my grandpa by a few minutes. He doesn't like to drive at night--so he left before Curt and I made it back! So we hung out with cousins, aunts, uncle, brother, etc. Everyone left about 7. We made plans with my cousin Alison to hit the Buffet. She just turned 21 in October. So Curt and I met her and her friend for drinks. That place is still great. We had a few drinks, some hot dogs and rattlesnakc eggs--which were just spicy peanuts--yum! We didn't stay too late. I am sooo tired, the smoke was really bothering my eyes. But it was fun to be there. And to show Alison the joint.
I think tomorrow we are off to the Desert Museum.

Friday, December 23, 2005

FDA Approval

So on Tuesday Onyx received FDA approval for a cancer drug for Kidney Cancer. This is a huge deal--first, it is the first FDA approval for my company and second, this is the first new drug for Kidney Cancer in about 10 years.
People were running around like crazy--lots of phone calls and teleconferences. Then we had a champagne celebration. It feels really good to work at a place that is doing good things for people.
If you want to read about it go here.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Holidays!

So, Curt and I are flying out tomorrow for sunny Arizona. It is supposed to be in the high 70s while we are there. Much different from the weather here. Cold and rainy and gray. Bleh!
We return home on the 31st. So not sure how much blogging I will be doing. I could make a guest appearance.
Anyway, I still owe a blog about the rest of our Missouri trip. Yes, sad, I know. We were there a month ago and I haven't finished writing about it. And I want to show you all pics. Many of them taken by our 5-year-old nephew. The one of the bowl of peanuts is brilliant.

Anyway, Enjoy Hoops and Yoyo wishing you and Merry Christmas and all that good stuff:

Holiday Smiles
Merry, Merry Christmas
Jingly Christmas

Monday, December 19, 2005

Holiday Eating Tips

I got this in an e-mail. Enjoy!

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Friday, December 16, 2005

Weird things

So our apartment building is small--4 apartments. We live upstairs and share a stairway with the other upstairs apartment. Well, this morning I open the front door to leave and I hear this really strange noise--it sounded like a herd of people running. These stairs are pretty steep--so I am thinking that our neighbor is falling, but I am not sure. It freaked me out so I closed the door and then I get a whiff of the wacky tobacky. Our neighbor smokes it like it's going out of style. I look out our front window to see if someone is rolling out of the stairwell. I see nothing. And I never hear anyone cry out in pain. I am scared that I am gonna find someone at the bottom with broken bones and I am gonna have to call 911. I open the door and look out and nothing! The only thing I notice is the Welcome Mat at the bottom of the stairs is askew.
So I walk to the car still wondering what the H is going on. I am driving out of the driveway and I see a woman across the street walking a PIG!
I really start to wonder if I am going nuts.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Games have been picked

So the drawing was today for the World Cup game dates and opponents:

The United States opens against the Czech Republic on June 12 at Gelsenkirchen. The Americans play Italy on June 17 at Kaiserslautern and finish the first round against Ghana on June 22 at Nuremberg.

Sounds like I will be going to the first game with Curt. Then Curt and our friend Martin will go to the second game. So we have a week in Germany. The third game will go to Martin and one other person.
Then the second week we will be in Paris. Oooh, can't wait. I know Curt is trying to figure out a way to sneak in a visit to Amsterdam.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Happy Holidays!

So I hate to admit this, but I kinda agree with Bush. But this is on a very minor issue that has gotten out of hand. Who cares that the White House "Holiday" card doesn't say Merry Christmas. There are some Evangelical Christians who are upset that the card doesn't mention Christmas. Some were so upset they threw the card away. Gimme a break!
Aren't there more important things to be upset about?
Plus shouldn't we embrace all religions? When Curt and I send out cards we use Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings. We have friends who are Jewish and we want to include them with our cards. Plus I am just more comfortable not using the "Merry Christmas." I have no problem with people who do. This is just my preference.
On CNN this morning someone was talking about how Christmas is about Christ. This is true. (Many celebrate it as a time to be with family and friends, too.) This isn't a slap to the true meaning of Christmas by not including that wording in a holiday card.
I am scared of this quote from a guy who is OK with "Christ"mas being left off the card:
"I think it's more important to put Christ back into our war planning than into our Christmas cards," said the council's general secretary, the Rev. Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tiffany & Co.

Yesterday in the mail I received my first (and probably last) blue Tiffany box. I was very excited. Onyx's CEO sent out beautiful crystal bowls to the employees as a holiday gift.

Let's just say the dried up ham we had in the years past from The Republic just doesn't compare. Gannett used to give out gift certificates to grocery stores. But no more. (When I worked at The Republic uppermanagement had to be reminded more than once that dinner should be purchased for those working on the holiday. My first Christmas there they totally forgot about us and there was NOTHING. And of course pretty much everything is closed--so if you didn't bring food in with you you were SOL.)

And on Friday we are having our Company Holiday Party. Guaranteed to have good food and drinks. It will be at the Claremont Resort & Spa.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What does Love mean?

I got this in an e-mail. This is a great read. Enjoy!

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4- to 8-year-olds, "What does love mean?"

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are stil l friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." (what an image)
Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it . But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.
The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.
The winner was a 4-year-old whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,
"Nothing, I just helped him cry."

How Christian is this?

How can people call themselves Christian and do things like this? So Hypocritical. Makes me so angry. Hey people! It's Liberal like Christ, ya know! Not judgmental and hypocritical like Christ. Jesus would never act this way!

Christian Group Boycotts Bank Focus on Family pulls accounts from Wells Fargo after bank contributed to gay rights group.

Can you believe this quote??? (Referring to the Gay Games):

"With this many people, we expect an increase in the bar scene, and we expect a lot of anonymous sexual encounters," said Randy Sharp, the association's director of special projects.

This story makes me so angry. What is wrong with these people?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'm (NOT) Singing in the Rain

Curt probably isn't either.
Sometime last night it started pouring. And it was pouring this morning. Curt had to walk to the BART station in the rain.
It is just ugly and nasty out there. And it makes the day seem so long because everytime you think it is later in the day it isn't! "Oh, it's almost time to go home." And you look at the clock and it's only 2!

On the positive side I went to Toys R Us last night to buy toys for Onyx's toy drive. We had a food drive last month. And it was a competition. One side of the floor vs. the other. Well, my side has WAY fewer people. So we collected money--got $375. We bought a bunch of food and won the competition! Woo-hoo! We had money left over so we used that to buy toys. I got a good amount. I had about a 100 bucks to spend. It may seem like a lot--but toys are expensive and I had to work hard to stay within our budget. Another woman took $30 to take her two boys to the Dollar Store and have them pick stuff out. Go to the experts--they know what is cool!
(And I am sure some of you are shocked that I dared to venture into a retail store after Thanksgiving. But I left work a little early--so the crowds were minimal at the store.)