Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sleepless In Las Vegas

It happens about once a week. I go to bed between 10 and 11 at night and fall right to sleep only to wake between 2 and 3 and then toss and turn until 5 or 6 in the morning. It isn't too bad if the next day isn't a workday but it is still annoying. When the next day is a workday, I'm exhausted. At least, in that case, I'm so exhausted I can be pretty sure of a good night's sleep that day.

My bed is a comfy, pillowtop Queen that I bought about five years ago. My pillow is a new acquisition from Bed, Bath and Beyond that has the perfect amount of squishiness for me. I don't drink caffeine after noon and, though I do like to have a glass or two of wine with my dinner, I don't drink to excess. I really have no idea what keeps me from a good night's sleep other than, perhaps, an over active mind. Here's a sample of my thought processes while trying to get to sleep (bracketed words are said out loud):

"Oh no, not again. I need some sleep tonight. Try to think about nothing. Or something boring. Mom used to tell me to think pretty thoughts. She would suggest thinking about soft, purring kittens, maybe that will work. Which is kind of funny because Mom never really liked cats much, she was more of a dog person. But maybe she thought kittens would make me sleep. I wonder where Diva is, she probably jumped out of the bed when I woke up, she hates it when I move around. [Hey, Diva, come on back, I'll lie still.] I'm not going to look at the clock. I bet it's after 4 by now. I need to get some sleep. There's so much to do tomorrow. I have to finish my self evaluation and also follow up with Daddy's case manager. I sure hope he gets out of the hospital tomorrow. And I better make sure to go to Costco before they close. I hope we get let out of work early. Before all the NYE traffic starts. I wonder if I'll be able to see the fireworks from the house since they aren't shooting them off from the rooftop this year. I can't believe this year is gone already. It's 2009. Mom died over 10 years ago. And Zodiac has been gone a year now. I hope Diva lives to be an old cat. When she's gone I wonder if I should just not have an animal. I could travel more easily. But the house sure would be lonely. Maybe by then I'll live in a retirement community. That would be nice. No house maintenance responsibility. Like getting the house painted. It sure needs it. And getting the leaves cleaned up out of the yard. I need to find a new lawn maintenance guy soon. I suck at being a home owner. Maybe this weekend I'll hit it big on the slots and invest in the megabucks. I think it is almost 16 million. Wouldn't that be nice? Especially since my 403B is tanking. Things better turn around or I'll never get to retire. If I was retired I wouldn't care if I could sleep right now. I'd read a book until I fell asleep and then take a nap in the middle of the day if I got tired. I need to go to the library and get some books. And take back the Reichs book. I think it's overdue. I should have renewed it online. I wish they hadn't closed the GV library. I wonder where my new branch is. I'll google it before we leave work. Now I'm hungry. Geez, it's 5. I might as well just get up. Okay, close your eyes Susan and count to 100. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, [No, Diva I'm not getting up yet, lie back down]. Where was I? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, might as well turn up the heat and then lie here till the house is warm and then take a shower........... hmmm must have fallen asleep finally. Ok, time to get moving. [Ok Diva, breakfast for kitties]

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Vacation with Deb

Deb arrived the day after Christmas to spend the weekend. We don't exchange gifts but, rather, typically we go out for a nice dinner and then go to a Las Vegas show or spend a day at the spa. This time we ate more and didn't do the show/spa thing. Instead we spent our entertainment money on penny slots. Our first excursion was a dismal failure and we ran out of our money pretty fast. Sunday we tried again and we recouped most of our money. Plus we got to play the penny slot bonus games a lot.

Our dining included dinner at Diego, brunch at Terra Verde and dinner at Osaka. It was all good.

At Diego, we had a Diablo Shrimp Enchilada that was excellent and just spicy enough. We also had fresh guacamole made at our table. It was good but not spicy enough - which was easily fixed with any of the three salsas served with our chips. The guacamole (don't look John) had cilantro onions and sun dried tomatoes. I wasn't sure I was going to like sun dried tomatoes in the guac but it was surprisingly good. The dessert flan was also delicious especially since the restaurant comped it. After reading the reviews on this restaurant, I've concluded the service and the food is inconsistent but the night we were there both were great.

Our brunch at Terra Verde included lobster omelets with a Mimosa for Deb and a Bloody Mary for me. All was paid for with my Green Valley points. It was quite good but both Deb and I agree this won't become a regular place for us and I'm not exactly sure why because the food is well prepared and the service is good. It must be the ambiance. Or maybe that I think the food is a little over priced even though it is good.

At Osaka, we had teppanyaki and so the meal included entertainment. Our chef was very nice and funny and managed to toss knives and light fires without injuring us. The shrimp and scallops, fried rice and veggies were excellent. We had some green tea ice cream for dessert (included in the meal price) and were stuffed. We even got 10% off because Deb printed a coupon from their website.

During the weekend we also watched The Women and Mamma Mia. I wouldn't recommend either one though I liked the cast in both. You might get Mamma Mia just to watch poor Pierce Bronson trying to sing. It was sad and dismal but amusing. Meryl Streep did a decent job singing and I do like her but think she was the wrong choice for this movie.

Deb left yesterday and now my house is quiet and sad. Diva and I miss her.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Day After Christmas

Now my holidays can really begin. Deb will come home to visit today. We're planning to eat, gamble our pennies and see some movies. Plus she'll get time to visit with friends. I'm always happy to spend time with my girl.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Not Your Dad's Wagon

Seat belts, cup holders, digital tracking system and MP3 player. The radio flyer has come a long way.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Harried Weekend

My weekend started with a call from my stepmother that my father fell and broke his hip. He was transported to a the hospital and then moved to another hospital farther away where the doctor authorized by his HMO has hospital privileges. During the transfer, they neglected to bring his x-rays with him and so he had to be x-rayed again. Which meant he had to be moved around again - with a broken hip! I often think that our health plans are designed with the convenience of the medical personnel and insurance companies rather than the needs of the patient. But I digress.

The rest of my weekend has involved figuring out what is going on with my dad and how we're going to handle getting my stepmother some transportation. She does not drive. I'm hopeful that tomorrow when hospital offices open again, I'll be able to find some help for her. The office the hospital operator transferred me to, when I explained my dilemma, is not open on weekends. It would seem to me that hospital services should be available 24/7 because people can't arrange to need the services only between 8-5 on weekdays. I also discovered that,when Dad wants to phone his wife from his hospital room, he incurs toll charges. It would also seem to me that phone calls are so cheap these days, hospitals would have low per minute charges. But what do I know? In the meantime, I've made sure he has a phone card, that the hospital knows I have authority to receive information about his condition and that my daughter will make a trek to L.A. to check on him.

Because I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of free time and also because I'm a procrastinator, I had to quickly mail a few gifts out. I'm not a good gift giver in the first place and so this year I'm even more pathetic. And forget about cards! I'm happy Debra and I have altered our Christmas traditions so that we go out and have a nice meal and then go to a show or spend some time together at the spa. Easy, breezy. And fun too.

Now that I have the dad situation as much under control as possible from 300 miles away, I think I'll try and get some other chores out of the way and then I'll curl up with a good book. And then I'll feel less harried.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Snow

Looking from my porch toward my neighbor's house.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let It Snow

It doesn't happen often so when it does, it makes the front page of our paper.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Treats For Me

Cheese: when I visited on Thanksgiving weekend, BFD introduced me to Saint Andre cheese which is all buttery goodness with a flavor reminiscent of brie. This weekend I found some at Whole Foods and treated myself to a chunk. Let it sit out until it is easy to spread and then serve it with bland crackers to make sure you get the flavor of the cheese.

Lush: This is one of my favorite stores for shower gels and moisturizers. I discovered the store when I was in Canada and have shopped at the San Francisco and Santa Monica locations. This week, my daughter called to tell me she had been at the San Francisco outlet and learned there is now a Las Vegas store. I went there this weekend and treated myself. With the promotional gifts, I brought home a great collection. But I'll be going back soon. I'm so excited Lush is here.

Salmon: While I was at Whole Foods finding yummy cheese, I picked up some Asian BBQ Salmon which is tender, flaky, and seasoned to perfection. At $20 a lb it is an indulgence. One of these day's I'll learn to make it for myself and save a fortune.

Chocolate: At Trader Joe's this weekend, I bought a tin of dark chocolate wedges. 70% Belgium cacao with ancho and chipotle chiles plus some Korintji cinnamon. Nice heat with bitter chocolate. Delicious.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Follow The Money

Forbes Magazine published a list of billionaire bloggers. According to the blurb: found 13 billionaires out of the 1,125 on our list who are true bloggers. We didn't count occasional "guest bloggers," such as George Soros' onetime contribution to The Huffington Post but looked at those who blog regularly, for work or for pleasure

I'm listing a few from the slideshow. I'm not sure Forbes was thorough in their investigation. One choice wasn't a current link. The first entry on their list had only a single entry which was more than two months old. Other choices were more what I'd classify as websites, not personal blogs. These are the few selections that I consider real blogs:
Alleged insider trader Mark Cuban
Financier Carl Icahn
Hotel heir John Willard "Bill" Marriott
Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar
Oilman T. Boone Pickens

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Memory Trick

After our Thanksgiving feast we had about a pound of BBQ Salmon left. Deb wasn't going to eat it and so I took it home with me. I packed it in ice and put it in my cooler and headed home. I was making an overnight stop at BFD's and when I brought the salmon in, I said, "Help me remember this in the morning." She said, "That's easy, just put your car keys in the refrigerator with the salmon." She told me she uses this trick with anything she needs to remember - just puts her keys with whatever it is.

Sure enough, the next morning the salmon came home with me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, John!

I sent a birthday greeting to a list my brother and I are on and one of the participants sent this link in response. I love it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm A Winner

This week I won two things! First over at verbatim I won a coupon for a free bottle of Clorox 2 Stain Fighter and Color Booster I think Clorox wins the longest product name. I didn't have to do anything to win, just post a comment.

Then over at PurpAnd, I won a calendar of Purp. Purp is the cutest kitty ever (except for Diva..and Jasper). To win that one I guessed Andy's weight. I haven't ever met Andy in person but he gave lots of clues so it wasn't hard. It was appropriate that I should win because I suggested that he make a PurpAnd calendar with all the photos from his blog.

So maybe this is my lucky month and I'll win the sewing machine too!