Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Go, Breakin' My Heart

It's been just two weeks since my sweet Diva died so suddenly. I'm still not used to coming home to an empty house. And the nights are tough when she doesn't come running to perform nightly ablutions. Several people have suggested that I get myself another kitten (or two) to help heal and to fill my house with kitty joy. But, at least for the next few years, I'm not going to do that.

I told Diva a few months back that she would be my last kitty. Partly because she has really been my favorite. I've loved my other cats but Diva was somehow special. Maybe because she really was mine from day one. Debra was at college when we got her and, even though Debra picked her out, Diva bonded with me. She loved Debra and Debra loved her but Diva and I were the ones who lived together. 95% of the time, Diva and I were on our own.

Another reason is that I realize not having a pet will provide some new freedom. I no longer have to think about who will take care of my pet when I go out of town. For the first time in many years, I am not responsible for any other living being. I don't have to change the litter, check for water or make a run to the store for cat food. No vet bills and no worrying when I'm out of town. I've been hesitant to go away for more than five days at a time; when Diva was well I worried about her being left at the house alone and when she got sick I worried about leaving her at the vet. Now, I can take off at the drop of a hat and not come home until I'm ready.

The last reason is that I just can't contemplate having another animal die on me. I've cried every day for the past two weeks and, though I know it gets better, I'm not ready to have my heart broken again.

So for now, it's just me and the dust bunnies. Unless, of course, one of you comes to visit.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

R.I.P. Diva

We got Diva in 2001 shortly after our cat, Blue died.  I had decided that I wouldn't get a new cat but my other cat,  Zodiac, had other ideas.  He cried every day and night and was so lonely.  When Debra came home for Spring Break, we went and got Diva from our friend Sandra.

Diva was a tiny kitten and didn't grow to be a big cat.  She weighed about 7 pounds most of her life. I don't know if she was a diva because we named her that or if we just got it spot on when we met her.  She tolerated the other cat in the house but made sure he knew who was boss.  When Debra bought her cat here to stay while she was out of the country, Diva made poor Jasper live in the bedroom.

When Zodiac died, I knew it wouldn't be a good idea to bring home a new kitten so it's been me and Diva for the past several years.  She greeted me each night when I got home, sat with me as I worked on the computer or watched TV and she slept with me every night.  In the summer, she might leave in the middle of the night and sleep out in the living room until early morning but in the winter she snuggled down under the covers to keep warm.  She would remind me about 6 in the morning that is was time for breakfast but, if I didn't get up, she'd curl up again until I got up.

From the time she was a tiny kitten, she would rush into my bedroom as soon as I turned out the light to go to sleep.   She would snuggle up into my neck and lick my ear if I didn't cover it.  I got in the habit of putting my hand over my ear, palm up, and so she'd lick my fingers for a bit and then curl up to sleep.  I'm not sure if she was kissing me or washing me but I know I'm going to miss it.

Diva developed diabetes last December and had been on insulin since then.  I had to start boarding her when I went out of town because she needed two shots a day.  She hated being at the vet and would chastise me severely when I picked her up.  For days after a vet trip, she'd follow me around the house as if worried I'd leave again.  This weekend, when I took her in before a four day trip,  the doctor thought she detected a heart murmur and ordered some tests.  She called me the next day and said it looked like Diva's kidneys were failing and told me they were starting treatment.  That apparently initiated more heart problems and the vet called this morning to tell me Diva was failing.  I got an early plane home and got to the vet's soon enough to spend about 3 hours holding and talking to Diva.  I hope she knew I was there. She obviously had trouble breathing and keeping her alive would have been too stressful for her.  After talking it over with the vet, I decided to let her go.,

Rest in peace, Diva.  You were the best kitty anyone could have.  You brought a lot of love to my life.

DIVA BUNYAN 2001-2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Name For My Cup

Up until recently, I've had two basic Starbucks orders.  In the summer (starting late May in LV) I order a Quad Expresso in a Venti cup with extra ice.  NO WATER!  Then I add about an inch of 2% milk and sprinkle 1 pack of raw sugar over the top.  I like the crunchy sugar bites.  In mid September, or so, I switch back to my basic Grande Americano with room.  I add a little 2% milk.  No sugar. 

Recently, my Americano has been unfullfiling; it tastes weak to me.  So a few weeks ago, I asked if I could just get a Quad Espresso in a Grande cup with about 1 1/2 inch of hot water.  Perfect!  I know I could ask for a Venti Americano with an extra shot and room but then they add too much water.  And I think it costs more than my custom drink.

My Quad Espresso, with tax, is $2.78.  Yes, I know I could make it at home for a fraction of  the cost.  That is, after I buy a $900 espresso machine.  I figure I'll let Starbucks do the work.   At twice a week, it would take me almost 3 years to pay off the machine.  Besides, I'd have to do the work.  And the cleanup.

The point is, I know the price of my drink.  When they ring it up and tell me it is $3.55, I tell them "No, it is $2.78."  So, this morning, when my barista told me I owed $2.11.  I told him, "No, it is $2.78."  He looked at me funny and then punched a couple keys on the cash register and came up with $2.11.  I told him he was under charging me.  At that point, my coffee buddy, Brian, elbowed me and told me to shut up.  I said, "No, they are under charging me and that is wrong.  It's karma."   The barista looked to his manager who came over and punched a few keys.  Again, the register said $2.11 and she looked at me and indicated that's what I should pay.  I agreed.  Brian was happy because he was copying my order and he paid $2.11 also.

We went over to  the pick up spot.  A little bit later, another barista called out a quad espresso.  I went to pick it up and she looked at me and said, "No Susan, this is not yours."  She knows me.  We waited a bit and then Brian's order came.  I told her the other one  must be mine and she looked at the cup again and read off, "Quad Espresso with 1 1/2 inch water?"  I said, "yes".  And she turned the cup around and told me it didn't have my name on it.  I took the cup anyway.

And, from now on, when anyone at Starbucks asks if I have a name for my cup, I am going to tell them it is "KARMA."

P.S. It was Brian who figured out that the casher thought I was saying that my name is KARMA.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Semi Homemade

Sandra Lee has nothing on me.

Tonight, with the help of Trader Joe's, I made fettuccine with mushrooms  I brought a package of sliced crimini mushrooms, a package of frozen TJ's fettuccine and mushrooms, a bottle of Santa Barbara Landing Chardonnay and a package of frozen peas.

I sauteed about 1/2 of the mushrooms in  2 tablespoons of olive oil. Per Julia's instructions, I gave those mushrooms plenty of room and I lightly salted them. When they had caramelized nicely, I poured in 3/4 cup of the wine (deglazing) and then let that reduce until almost no liquid was left.  I tossed in the package of TJ's fettuccine and 1/2 C of peas. I stirred occasionally while the frozen food thawed.  Then I tossed in another 1/2 C of the wine and let it simmer until the sauce thickened.  You might ask why I add mushrooms to fettuccine that already has mushrooms.  The answer is that TJ's doesn't add enough mushrooms and my mushrooms that are all caramelized and sauteed in wine, taste better.  But the TJ package has a nice mushroomy sauce.

I ate about 1/3 of the results for dinner, along with a glass of the chilled wine.  The rest is now in the fridge for tomorrow.

Easy, breezy, cooking, girl.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Extra Neat

Those of you who have had occasion to see my office or my house would probably not categorize me as extra neat.but that is definitely my position on toothpaste.  I hate toothpaste tubes that get all twisted when people squeeze them in the middle.  They also get gunky around the opening and they don't sit neatly on the counter.  I tried Mentadent Toothpaste with its special push up container and that satisfied me for awhile.  But, sometimes, one side shot out more toothpaste than the other (whitening and minty blue) and other times the openings got clogged and I had to battle with the container. I tried some other squeeze bottles but they had to stand upside down or it was hard to get the toothpaste out in the morning.  Invariable, they would fall down and I'd struggle with them. The also got gunky around the openings.

But  I've found the Neat Squeeze and  I'm a happy brusher.  The bottle stands nicely on my counter and it just takes a single squeeze to get toothpaste.   And the opening is never gunky!  My search is over.

Now I can concentrate on my search for the perfect deodorant.  It has to be clear so it doesn't leave white marks when I pull clothes on over my head.  It can not have any fragrance.  Not baby power, ocean fresh, spring rain or forest breeze.  It can't be spray or roll on because I hate flapping my arms like a chicken to dry them off before I finish dressing.  I've found a few glide ons that work but I'm not in love with them.  So I'll continue searching.

Didn't know I was so picky did you?.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hobo Already?

Already with the gap between posts!

I really was being a hobo, just hanging down by the beach in San Diego.  We had a great, wonderful time, Deb and I and her friend Char.  I truly hated having to come back.  If my pretty Diva could have stay with us, it would have been the perfect life.

Now I'm back home, back and work.  The good part is Diva is back too and SO happy to be home.  She follows me everywhere and has to sit by me.  She also talks a lot, I think telling me all the indignities at the vet where she stayed.  I know they are very kind to her but Diva thinks it is horrible.

I've settled back into my routine and promise to post more often.  I know you are just waiting to hear my observations on life.  :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zen and the Art of Surfing

I've been watching surfers from my balcony at the beach for the last few days and I've decided that surfers fit into several categories.

There are the surfers who seem to sit out there the whole time just waiting for the perfect wave.  Wave after wave passes them by.  Unless it's the perfect wave, these surfers are not even going to try to catch it. So, they sit and wait while the hours go by and then they come out of the water and go home, hoping that tomorrow will bring the ultimate wave.

Then there are the surfers who appear to be trying to catch a wave but never do.  They've got the wet suit and the board but they never really surf. They paddle furiously and appear to just miss catching a ride. If a wave begins to catch the board, they pull back and let it pass or lose their balance and fall off.

And there are the surfers who grab every, single wave without thinking whether it's a good wave or not. They have some good rides and they also wipe out a lot. They are having fun and every wave is a welcome friend.

Some surfers just seem to sense when the wave is right.  They let the weak waves pass and wait for the right moment.  These surfers start paddling as soon as they sense their wave swelling.  They know they might never find the perfect wave but they make the best of what the ocean brings them.  They seem to catch every wave they target.  Some rides are short and some are long and they enjoy them all.

And then there are the non surfers who sit up on the balcony, drinking wine and philosophizing about the surfers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Which Sue and Debra Have a Grand Adventure

We're having so much fun, it's hard to find time to post. 

Monday was the Dave Matthews concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  We drove up early and met BFD at the parking lot near the bowl and had a pic-a-nic under a tree nearby. We had wine, sushi, crackers with brie and humus, and orzo salad  We chatted with Debbie until the gates were open.  The parking people even gave BFD a refund when she left - thanks parking guy.

The concert was awesome in our center box seats.  We bought some wine and enjoyed the late afternoon in the shade of the hills while we waited for Dave.  Did you know there isn't a moat at the Bowl anymore?  In 1964,  I saw girls try to get through that moat to the stage to touch The Beatles.  In 1967, I saw Jimi Hendrix jump into that moat and sing.  Now there are chairs where the moat should be.  Bye moat.

Before we saw Dave we saw Raphael Saadiq, very old school, James Brown style of music. That got everyone rev'd up for Dave and then we pretty much rocked the rest of the night. The weather was great, the music was even greater and, of course the company was fantastic. You can see the set list and you can pretend you were there with us. Thanks Dave.

Thank goodness our car was parked at the top of the stack in the stacked parking so we could just hop in and drive.  Good thing too since L.A. decided to shut down the I-5 about an hour out of town and so we had to detour and got a tiny bit confused.  Debra's phone with the nice lady who gives directions had run out of power so that was not an option. Luckily my Blackberry has Google maps and so we were able to get back on track.  Thanks Google.  No thanks to L.A. road planners.  Next time use those road signs, please.

Yesterday we were pretty darn lazy.  We sat around drinking coffee and watching the ocean until we left to scavenge for food.  We went to Whole Foods and a great Japanese store, Mitsuwa, for staples and for yummy lunches.  When we got home we (by we, I mean Debra) made delicious sushi rolls.  Crab and tobiko and salmon and tobiko, both dressed up with radish sprouts, cucumber and avocado.  Then some tobiko and quail egg for dessert.  We have plenty left over for more today.  Thanks Deb.  Thanks Mitsuwa.

Last night we had dinner at Old Town and the Old Town Mexican Cafe.  Little did we know it was Taco Tuesday.  $2 Marguaritas and tacos. For appetizer we had Queso with onions and peppers and the great hand made corn tortillas the place is famous for.  I ordered 2 fish tacos and Deb had 1 fish and 1 carnitas.  It was way too much food so we packed it up to go.  It will be lunch or snacks another day.  We stopped at the Old Town ice cream store on the way home to pick up salt water taffy.  Yum.  Thanks Old Town.

We will continue our adventure today.  I'm predicting a lot of beach time.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Customer Service Matters

Debra and I headed out the door to breakfast early this morning, thinking we'd eat here .  We arrived right at opening time and the only person present was wiping down tables and arranging chairs.  Deb asked if the restaurant was open and was told it would open in about 5 minutes.  We continued walking and went down to the promenade.  I remembered the little corner place by the pier, Kono's Cafe, that I'd eaten at before, so we continued down in that direction..  They were open and there was a quick moving line. We ordered two breakfast burritos and coffee. My burrito had eggs, cheese, bacon and potatoes.  Deb's was the same with green chiles.  The burritos were huge!  And delicious too.  We sat out on the deck watching the waves, drinking our coffee and trying to make a dent in the burritos.  We each only able to eat half of the yummy goodness and so we wrapped the rest up to take home.

As Deb pointed out, the guy at the first place should have said "I'm just setting up but come on in and I'll get you some coffee."  Then we would have eaten at his place instead of Kono's.  Now, as it is, we're planning another visit to the corner cafe again soon because the home fried potatoes with onions and cheese looked fabulous and we want to try them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Girl

Twenty-nine years ago today, August 19, 1981, I was twenty-nine years old and, at 1:21am, I met an amazing person. She gazed at me with her big, blue eyes and I said, "Hi, Debra, I'm your mommy." Since that moment, she has brought me joy, laughter, happiness and love. She is smart and funny, kind and generous. She was a peaceful baby, a curious toddler, a bright young girl and a talented teen. She’s finished college, worked in the ‘real’ world and is now about to be “Dr. Deb”, the second in our family to earn a PhD.

Don't get me wrong, we've had our moments; times when I've yelled at her, times when she's yelled at me and times when we've just yelled at each other. We've pouted and nagged and picked at one another. But, even at our worst moments, neither of us has doubted that we're family and we love each other. And, most of our moments have been good moments. We've shared a lifetime of happy experiences and created precious memories with each other, family, friends and pets.

Of course, I love her deeply and always will. But, better still, I really, really like her. If she weren't my daughter, I'd still want her as my friend. She is a good person. She's grown up to be independent, self-sufficient, intelligent, honest, kind, thoughtful, talented, creative, and generous. I could go on but you get the picture. She's the best thing in my life and I love being her mom.

Happy Birthday, my little B. These 29 years have flown by and I know the next 29 will be filled with even more love and joy.  Love, Mom.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Well, Hello, Bloggie

I know I said I quit this blog but I was channeling Brett Favre and didn't really mean it.  So I gave my template a face lift, changed out my photo, deleted some bad links (and some hobo bloggers) and relaunched I'm Just Saying.  I like the new blogger tools and templates a lot so you may see some other changes around here. And I'm done with my Favre impersonation so I don't plan to quit after a few lame appearances.

I also registered my blog with NetworkedBlogs on Facebook so go over to the bottom right and follow me so I'm not hanging out alone down there.

I have to go work now but I'll be back tomorrow.  I promise.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Prop Ate

Last week, Federal Judge George Hamm struck down California's voter-approved Prop Ate ban on pork products, handing a temporary victory to pork rights advocates in a legal battle that will surely end up at the Supreme Court.

Hamm gave opponents of pork until the end of the business day on Aug. 18 to get a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether stores should start selling pork. Anti pork lawyers filed a request asking the 9th Circuit to intervene and block the sale of pork on an emergency basis late Thursday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bye, Bye, Bloggie

I think I'm officially done with this blog. On one hand, it seems sad, but, on the other hand, seeing that I haven't posted anything in two months, it must be time. Facebook has become my way of communicating with the world. Of course, on Facebook you have to be my 'friend' to see what I'm posting. If you aren't my 'friend' and you do want to know what's happening in my life just send a request.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Probably Think This Post Is About You

It's been a long time since I posted. I have been pondering what to do about my blog. I get my social fix from Facebook these days. And while I realize Facebook isn't very bloggy, I just haven't found much inspiration for posts. That is until today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

She Sells Shiso Down By The Seashore

Last weekend I was introduced to the Shiso leaf. We had make-your-own tuna spring rolls. A great sushi grade tuna salad that we rolled into spring rolls using rice paper. We added rice noodles, avocado and Shiso leaves. A little bit goes a long way. The web info compares it to mint and basil though the taste has a distinct flavor that is not either mint or basil. Tonight, when I was having my traditional Wednesday night sushi, I realized that my spicy tuna appetizer was garnished with Shiso leaves. I've always ignored the leaves as decoration but tonight I added small bites to my tuna and it made the already yummy dish even yummier. Now I'm on a mission to use shiso at home. I think tuna salad for sure. Tomato soup. Pasta dishes. Shiso, here I come.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Have Fun, Our Motto Is Have Fun

8 Alpha friends from all over the country
7 Trips to the airport
6 Tons of snack food
5 Visits to the slots
4 Games of Cranium
3 Tickets to Bette
2 Cars filled
1 Cell phone left behind