Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas '06 (Y1/M8/D24)

E and I decided it was time for a little R&R so we cashed in a hotel gift certificate his parents gave him for his last birthday. But not just any hotel. Oh no. The Ritz Carlton! We took Sid to spend the night with some of her doggy pals and headed out to Marina Del Rey to checked in and wind down. We each got massages and then met back in the room for some professional-grade napping. It was just going to be a little nap but that bed was seriously like sleeping in a cloud. Seriously, it would've been like prying me out of velcro sheets while I was wearing velcro pajamas.

Next, we walked over to Cafe Del Rey for some appetizers and sangria. They had a fabulous Autumn Spice Sangria which was essentially mulled wine with asian pears and fuji apples served over ice. I wished I'd had the recipe for the latke party. It was amazing! Afterwards, we mozied back to the Ritz for (you guessed it!) more naps.

We decided it was best to have dinner at the hotel as it would be one of the few places open on Christmas Eve that wasn't already booked to the gills. We soon found out why it wasn't booked to the gills: dinner for two at the Ritz Carlton on Christmas Eve is: $289. That does not include alcohol. Yeah. I was pretty stunned too. I mean, first off, they should've told me it was prix fix (they failed to mention that we detail). I knew it wouldn't be cheap, but still. We went back to our room to fade the sticker shock from dinner with the bottle of Veuve Cliqout that I bought to celebrate our move back on May 5 (but that we were too tired to drink after all that moving). Good thing Champagne doesn't go bad and good thing I remembered to pack it because I wasn't in the mood to fork over any more cash to our friends at the Ritz.

So there we were sipping Champagne back in our room and it hits us: the hot tub is open twenty-four hours! Brilliant! Except for the fact that while we remembered swim suits, we did not remember to pack hot-tub appropriate shoes. It was a little awkward when E & I (looking a bit like flashers in our complimentary robes and tennis shoes) joined the other hotel guests in the elevator but it was that or no hot tub so whatchya gonna do?

All in all, it was a very relaxing holiday and we're hoping to do it again next year. Well, I think we'll probably make dinner reservations elsewhere ... but other than that.

Latke Palooza! (Y1/M8/D17)

E and I threw a little coming out party for our favorite hound, El Sid. Anyhoodle, we figured we'd have a little latke party and introduce El Sid to all our friends. Though often confused for potato pancakes, latkes are actually much crispier and thinner. I tried a new recipe from Sunset magazine for herbed latkes this year and I must say I was rather pleased with the results. They were delicious with sour cream and caviar.

Sid handled all the commotion fairly well, but luckily for us two ingenious (and beloved) guests brought Sid the cutest dog cookies ever from The Wagging Tail in Santa Monica. Whenever she got a bit worked up we brought her back down to Earth with one of those tastey morsels. Did I mention that they were The Cutest Dog Cookies Ever? Because they were. Cookies shaped like stars of David and dreidels and the best ever: a dog wearing a yamulke. And made from only dog-friendly ingredients. Fabulous! Of course, there's kind of a light blue stain on the carpet which is suspiciously similar to the blue "frosting" on the cookies ... but it's a small price to pay (and likely to come out with a little Resolve).

I was so impressed with the dog cookies, that I did some digging around on the Internets and learned that The Wagging Tail also sells... are you sitting down? They sell dog beer. Calm down! Before you post about how wrong it is to get your dog drunk and how carbonation will make their stomaches explode -- it's non-alcoholic and non-carbonated. It's also beef flavored. AND, I am not buying it. I am just saying... dog beer. Who'd o' thunk? Eh? Besides, Sid's more of a Savingon Blanc girl. Heh.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Boo Bruins. (Y1/M8/D13)

So today I discovered that UCLA, my beloved alma mater, failed to adequately protect my name, social security number, and additional sensitive financial information. Which means that I have the pleasure of getting Experian to add a fraud alert to my account. I'm sure this will be one non-stop thrill ride.

If you attended UCLA during the early nineties (Hi!) you may want to call this number to see if your name was in the compromised database: (877) 533-8082.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Random Product Endorsement

Wow. I love me some Italian Christmas Donkey. Go on. Check it out. You know you want to.

It's always two to one at Casa Pacifica (Y1/M8/D11)

The temperatures dipped to a chilly 71 degrees last night so I figured we should definitely seize the opportunity to use the fireplace. E complained that it wasn't cold enough but Sid didn't seem to mind one bit. Me and Sid thus had majority vote (two out of three) and so there was fire. Of course, I can pretty much always swing Sid's vote and get a majority.

Sid say: "Happy Holidays!"

Sid: the hound who stole X-mas (Y1/M8/D10)

We got the tree up! But I don't think any major department store is going to come knocking on my door for holiday decorating advice. Turns out I am missing the gene most women have that tells them where the ornaments should go exactly. Sure, I'm not as bad as E; he'll put two of the exact same ornament side-by-side on the same branch. And then when he's in the kitchen getting another cup of hot cocoa, I have to secretly (and swiftly!) rearrange everything he put on. But I have to admit, my re-arranging is only marginally better.

Anyhoodle, once the whole thing was fully assembled, El Sid went behind the tree and chewed clean through the electrical cord (fortunately, it wasn't plugged in to the wall socket). She got away with this by slowly inching her way behind the tree with a chew toy (as a diversion, of course). We thought she was simply chewing the hell out that toy and generally minding her own business. Yeah. Not so much. She was making a meal out of the wiring.

And that's a fake tree with a thousand pre-wired lights. You can't just switch the lights if they go out. You pretty much have to just toss the whole tree, lock, stock and barrel. So it was off to the hardware store for wire-strippers and electrical tape and I'm happy to say I did a bang up job getting the lights to work again. And here's a tip for you: make sure you get the green electrical tape to camouflage the repair. The red will really draw unwanted attention.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vamos a la Playa, Sid! (Y1/M8/D9)

So E & I took El Sid to the beach this weekend again. And, apparently, we have to buy beach-front property. Yeah. But, I mean, just look at that photo. Have you ever seen such a happy dog? Have you?!

I don't know where we are going to come up with the ten-million dollar down payment. But clearly, we have no choice in the matter. We can't deprive our dog of the pure joy that sand and sea bring her.

We bought that ball at Trancas Market because we got all the way to Malibu and realized that we failed to bring any dog toys. But, as it turns out, we didn't need to bring any dog toys because the beach comes fully equipped with dog toys and they are called: sea gulls. Also, she loves to chase sand pipers. And bits of sea weed. And dig for sand crabs. In fact, no aspect of the shore is lost on Ole Sid.

But, seriously, could you look at this fuzzy face and say no? (Click on image to experience maximum cuteness).

Monday, December 04, 2006


A lot has happened since we last visited with our heroine (yeah, that'd be me for those of you keeping score at home). First, my alma mater pulled off the biggest upset in the recent history of college football. USC was favored by two touchdowns (if you don't know football, trust me, that aint good) and we hadn't beaten SC in like seven years. It was a nail biter until the last 90 seconds and totally made my season ticket purchase worthwhile. Go Bruins!

Second, I settled that lawsuit with my "friend" so now I don't have to go to trial. I feel like I won because I paid what is known as nuisance value. Basically, you figure out what the time you are spending in trial is actually worth and then you pay something less than that. Is it wrong for me to send an IM to her with nothing more than that emoticon that rolls around on its back laughing? I suppose that would be wrong. Very wrong. But fun! And yet wrong.

My car is still sporting damage from accident. Absolutely no work has been performed. Guy who hit me is just pulling witnesses out of the woodwork. Seriously. There was one woman at the accident. And now there is a man who swears he saw everything. Amazing, no? I will, obviously, be screwed on this.

The Feds have not yet raised the interest rate so housing prices are sitting still so that means no yard for El Sid just yet. Sid sad. Woe is Sid.

Well, I guess that sums things up a bit here on the farm. Until next time...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Woe is Me (Y1/M7/D29)

The "Woe Is Me" Entry

I'm having a spot of misfortune right now and I just need to vent. Here it is:

(1) I got major food poisoning on Thanksgiving 3,000 miles from my own bathroom;
(2) thus, had to travel on Monday instead of Sunday and fall behind another day in work;
(3) traveled 15 hours on Monday;
(4) beloved family member had major surgery on Monday (very scary);
(5) got a traffic ticket this morning for turning 5 minutes before 9:00 a.m.;
(6) got a letter from IRS saying they think I underpaid my 2004 taxes;
(7) am being sued next week for a quarter of a million dollars by my "friend;"
(8) some dude hit my car last week and there is a coverage issue because he was driving Somebody Else's car and Somebody Else won't return the insurance company's calls;
(9) my car has been in shop for 2 weeks already and no work has been done;
(10) my payroll check was not signed by MY EMPLOYER so it got rejected and the bank just deducted the entire amount from my checking account and started drawing off my savings account and charging me a fee every time and they notified me of this by U.S. Mail while I was out of state for ten days;
(11) in response, threatened to Take My Banking Elsewhere! and bank didn't care and then I realized I would only be inconveniencing myself so I stayed put; AND
(12) Since November 18, have been at home for a total of 11 hours and I am getting on another plane in three hours then will come home for two days then leave town again for one week.

I am so tired. I just want to close my eyes and when I open them I want to be in a bathtub in Maui with a glass of champagne and an island breeze. But instead I have to go to some conference on current developments in securities law, executive compensation, M&A and employment law. I'm sure that'll be just as good.

On the upside, while I was out of town, El Sid learned to pee outside. God bless her fuzzy little heart.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving - Leg 2 (Y1/M7/D25)

Greetings from the Garden State and E's childhood bedroom which is exactly the same as it was in 1987. No kidding.

E and I are at his parents house in beatiful Maplewood, NJ, to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Each fall, here in the States, we are bombarded with festive outdoor scenes depicting the First Thanksgiving. But you know what? It never dawned on me before that renderings of the First Thanksgiving are always outside. And do you know why they ate outside? It could be because there were just too many people. But I think it's because they had no electricity. And when you think about it, electricity makes Thanksgiving a whole lot better. I know, because this year E & I nearly had a very authentic Thanksgiving.

About half an hour before the thirty-plus guests arrived at E's parents' house, the power just went out. Not everybody's power, mind you, just ours. Turns out a tree rubbed through the main power line just before in connected to E's parents house and... with the rain and all... it just shorted out. So there we all sat gathered 'round the front picture window as the police arrived (three cars). The fire department arrived (one full-size truck, and one emergency services vehicle). We watched as they set up flares to close off the streets (the very streets upon which our thirty-plus guests were scheduled to drive up any minute). We watched as they tied bright yellow caution tape around said tree, one telephone pole, and one street sign, forming a big yellow triangular Zone of Danger.

Gradually, the sun set and the neighbors came out to talk to the firemen and we pleaded with the police to open the streets up so our guests could get through. Thankfully, the police decided that the Zone of Danger was no longer very dangerous so they opened the streets back up.

In no time, we had a house full of people (mostly crowded around the front window looking around anxiously for the electric company truck) and not nearly enough candles to light up the whole house. Just as we began to accept that we were having the first Thanksgiving Unplugged since Mr. Edison introduced the light bulb, the electric company truck arrives. I'm not sure, but it looked to me like the electrician just climbed up there and wrapped duct tape around the wire, then flipped a switch on the transformer. It didn't seem like the kind of repair that was... well... safe. Nevertheless, the power came on and we all gave thanks.

So all was well until the next morning, when we all woke up sick with what was either food poisoning or the flu. (Because apparently the power outtage wasn't enough to make this a Thanksgiving to remember!) But you know, it's still nice to be together for the holidays; I'd rather be here without power for a few hours and sick as a dog for a day or two, then miss Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays Y'all!

(And if you have some free time, maybe you want to read up about the electrical innovations Mr. Edison developed right here in The Garden State).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving - Leg 1 (Y1/M7/D21)

Ahoy from Boston! We are visiting my brother on the way to New Jersey. It's cold here (40's) but sunny. I brilliantly packed one tennis shoe (where IS the other?) so I picked up a cute pair of black converse to fill in. We had dinner at this supercrazyfantastic restaurant last night. It's called Figs (a Todd English restaurant). We had asparagus frites and calamari to start. Then a big pizza that was half steak, tiny delicate onion rings, arugala and mustard aioli (amazing!) and half shrimp with an arrabiata sauce. We washed it all down with a tasty pitcher of sangria.

Today we are off for a road trip up the New England coast and we leave for The Garden State tomorrow.

We call to check on El Sid nearly constantly (she's just fine, apparently). Last night I dreamed I was back home and trying to pick her up. Erm... obsessive much? Okay, I gotta run. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Car Accident (Y1/M7/D17)

I had a car accident. I know you are dying for all the details and here they are:

I was the first car in the northbound left turn lane (Car #1). There was a car in the southbound left turn lane (Car #2). Another car was heading southbound in the thru lane (Car #3).

Car #3 decides that he doesn't really want to go thru, he wants to go left, so he gets in the southbound left turn lane behind Car #2. (Seriously, if you are going to read this whole thing, you should probably use your coffee cup for Car 1, your mouse for Car 2, and your stapler for Car 3 in the desktop re-enactment. Spoiler: Bad things happen to Car 3). Anyhoodle...

I proceed to turn left because it's all clear. Just then, Car 3 decides he wants to go thru after all. So he looks in his rear view mirror, sees some southbound traffic, and decides to dart out in front of the southbound thru traffic and into the intersection. Which is exactly where my car was at the time. Of course, because he was looking in the rear view mirror, he saw my GIGANTIC EFFING SUV way too late and crashed into my rear passenger door.

His car was pretty much totalled and his airbags went off and everything. My rear passenger door needs to be replaced but I hardly felt the impact. This is where it gets good.

Car #4 was directly behind me in the northbound left turn lane just prior to the accident. For whatever reason, the woman driving Car #4 hates the very oxygen I breathe. I have no idea why. But anyway, she pulls over, she points a finger at me and screams (screams!) "It's all your fault I saw everything!"

I say to her: "How could you have seen if the intersection was clear when you were directly behind me?"

"I saw everything and so did the other two people in my car!"

To which I respond: "Did you see him [points at offending driver] pull into the left turn lane then drive over the solid white line and dash into the intersection?"

She (still screaming): "That doesn't matter! You were turning left and the left-turn person is ALWAYS wrong! I used to work for an attorney!"

I refrain from telling her that I am, in fact, an attorney myself because I divine that this will make her hate me even more deeply. Instead, I say: "It's up to the insurance companies."

Then she gets her card and gives it to the offending driver (who is fumbling around so much that I start to suspect he has no insurance) and refuses to give me her contact information BECAUSE I AM AT FAULT AND SHE KNOWS IT!

Turns out he didn't have insurance ... BUT it wasn't his car and the car owner had insurance. Whew.

But you know what the real problem here is? He is going to lie. He is going to say he was just driving along minding his own business and I lurched out in front of him. And the witness obviously pull her bizarro Jerry-Springer routine: "THAT WOMAN IS AT FAULT! I SAW EVERYTHING!" My only hope is that Crazy Screamer Lady will recall that she and I discussed the fact that he pulled in and out of the left turn lane.

Tune in next time for pictures of El Sid frolicking at the beach.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sid's Trip to the Dog Park (Y1/M7/D5)

So it turns out E and I are stereotypical new parents (and by "parents" I, of course, mean "people with a puppy"). E is prone to whipping out his cell phone (at poker nights, no less) and passing it around so people can admire the latest photos he has snapped of El Sid. And while I like to mock him for this, I have to admit that part of me actually thinks people want to see these photos; people need to see the amazing cute fuzziness that is El Sid! Dammit.

Well, today we got our first reality check. You know, that moment when you realize that your pup is not actually the first pup ever and is also (possibly) not totally enthralling to everybody else. We learned this hard lesson when we took our dear sweet pup to the leash-free dog park for the first time.

In preparation for this monumental outing, we decided to outfit the SUV with a doggy safety restraining barrier thingamabob so she could travel in safety and comfort. Seventy dollars (and a wee dispute over the Proper Installation Method) later, we have the barrier in place and El Sid is loaded into the truck. El Sid promptly lays down and goes to sleep. Which makes us question whether we needed the restraint at all. I ask E if the mere sight of the barrier discouraged her from struggling to get to the front. He is uncertain. Together, we ponder whether we could have created some sort of illusion of a barrier (that cost less than $70 and was considerably easier to install) and gotten the same result. We decide that despite Sid's suddenly Ghandi-like demeanor, the barrier was a definite necessity (in part because I don't know what I did with the receipt).

While driving over to the dog park we begin saying things to each other like: "Don't you think she'll be the cutest dog there?" "She'll probably draw a small crowd." And we also begin to fantasize about how tired she is bound to get from frolicking with so many other dogs -- how batshit happy she is bound to be at the site of dozens of dogs running and playing. "She'll sleep like a rock tonight!" we say. And we are positively giddy over the idea of Sid passing out cold so we can watch a bit of TV or have a glass of wine without constantly saying: "Sid! Please don't eat that! Sid! No!" and "Honey, can you get that from her? Honey, can you just... hold her for a second so I can get that away from her? Is that my bra? How did she get one of my bras?" Because this is how we spend endless volumes of time each evening.

So we park the truck and unload her and get her off the leash and she just sort of... stands there. "Well," we think, "she's just overwhelmed by all this newness." So we walk her over to a group of dogs and kind of encourage her. Nothing. No dogs will even look at her. She will not approach them much either. Even the other dog owners scarcely look in her direction. Can it be that we have an ordinary dog? Can other people really be blind to all this beauty?

Just then a Husky comes over and tackles her. He seems vicious. She whimpers. We are beside ourselves with horror! Who owns this vicious creature?! WHO?! Is there no security here?! Are we powerless to stop this reign of terror?! And before we can even collect our thoughts the Husky has moved on like it never happened. Even El Sid appears to not care at all that this transpired. We are relieved.

Still, we're a little shaken. We encourage her across the park for a drink of water. We look in the communal water bowl and it seems... well... dirty. El Sid looks in the bowl and looks at us kind of like she's trying to say: "Ee-yew. It's dirty." Just then an Irish Setter comes over and literally gets in the bowl. First he sits in it. Then takes his rump out and leans the front half of his body in it. Then he shakes and repeats. I think he is bathing in the water bowl. I wonder if I smell like wet dog now that my left leg is covered in shaken-off dog-bowl water. I decide to run the hose and flush out the communal bowl and El Sid wisely drinks directly from the hose. I take it as a sign that El Sid is more highly evolved than the Setter.

After about 15 minutes more of just roaming about aimlessly, during which time Sid never once broke into a run or played with another dog, we decide it is time to go back home. Sid seems totally fine with that. Back home, we all settled in for a long enchanting evening of saying: "Sid! Don't eat that! Sid, come here! Sid, drop that right now!"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Random Product Endorsement

Behold the Kong! Sure this toy looks simple (and it is) but Sid thinks it's supercrazyfantastic. They come in a variety of shapes and some have ropes and whatnot. Sid has the size "C" red Kong. You can see that they have a big hole on one end and a small hole on the other. You can fill the cavity with a variety of things and you can also string it up to give your dog something to jump and try to pull down. Personally, I don't want Sid learning that jumping and grabbing things is fun, so we don't do that.

There's a few things Sid appears to particularly love about the Kong. First, she loves the cheez-whiz like peanut butter filling ("Kong Stuff'n Paste") you can put in there. It takes her a good half hour to get it all out (which happens to be the amount of time I need to mop down the kitchen floor without her barking at the mop). She also loves to try and liberate (then devour) the liver-snap biscuits that you can stuff in there. Today, E is taking her to the vet to get her last round of shots (praise the lord! she can finally play with other dogs!). So to keep her occupied in the crate for the car ride over, I filled the Kong with her kibble, then sealed off the big hole with peanut butter and froze it. The frozen peanut butter keeps the kibble in the Kong and it also takes a lot longer for her to eat.

Finally, the Kong is a totally fun toy even without any treats in it. It's rather bouncy but in a highly unpredictable manner (unlike a tennis ball that tends to follow a linear trajectory). Sid is baffled by the bouncing pattern and will play with the bouncing Kong much longer than a tennis ball. So there you have it. It really is the "World's Best Dog Toy."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkins! (Y1/M6/D31)

These are two of the three pumpkins that E and I carved this year. He did the traditional on the left, I did the "pupkin" on the right. (PUPkin! See what I did there?) Anyhboodle, there was a third pumpkin on which I thought I'd drive the point home by carving: "ARF!" But I kept getting confused about which parts were to be cut away and which parts were supposed to be left solid. (What do ya want for freehand? Sheesh.) El Sid clearly did not approve of the ARF pumpkin, as shown below.

Ultimately, all that pupkinny goodness wore out good ole Sid:

Sweet dreams, Y'all.

LED Halloween Decorations (Y1/M6/D30)

Hey! Learn to make your own LED Lego Halloween decorations at Evil Mad Scientist. So awesome!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sid Ate the Curtains (Y1/M6/DS26)

Sorry it's been so quiet on the blog lately but between work, the puppy, and everything else, it's been crazy busy for us.

So El Sid has been really difficult lately. She has gone from a sweet fluffy 14 pound bundle of puppyness to 30 pounds of chewing fury. Yeah. She doubled in size in about three weeks. Anyhoodle, it appears that she is in the doggy equivalent of The Terrible Twos. Accordingly, we have taken to repeatedly reminding her that: (1) we are not her real parents, we adopted her; and (2) we kept the receipt. Of course, this seems to have virtually no effect upon her. Por exemplar, last night she tore down the curtains on the French doors in the kitchen.

I might have been more upset if E hadn't upstaged her. Allow me to illustrate with a brief recitation of the day's events.

At the end of the work day I get an email from E advising me that El Sid is not, in fact, a fan of the kitchen curtains and, because she cannot actually speak English, she has chosen to express her distaste for the curtains in a more physical way. I leave work a wee bit depressed over El Sid's regression and transgression both. To cheer myself up I decided to stop at Target (we needed milk anyway). As I roam past the window treatments aisle I remember that I have A Very Bad Dog and call E to see if I should get new curtains.

He informs me that he does not know whether the curtains are torn because when he found them on the floor he threw them straight into the washer. I press further and ask if he thinks they might be ruined, he informs that he does not think they are. "Well, right," I tell myself, "if they were obviously in bad shape he wouldn't bother washing them so at worst maybe there's a puncture mark or two." I forego purchasing replacements. When I get home and walk into the kitchen I find the French doors as naked as the day they were installed and the neighbors waving at us from the street below apparently amused by the new fishbowl aesthetic of our kitchen.

"Where are the curtains?" I inquire.
"I told you on the phone! They're in the washer." replies E.
"That was an hour ago. They should be done." I explain.
"I didn't turn it on." says he.
"What? Why not?"
"I didn't know what setting."
"Why didn't you just ask me when I called from Target?"
... silence...

I start the washer. When it finishes I remove the curtains to find... can you guess? Shredded curtains. How does he not notice they are shredeed before throwing them in the wash? He does not know. If the washer was not on when I phoned from Target, why couldn't he just open it up and check to see if they curtains were in fact shredded? He does not know!

So, you can see why I have precious little free time these days to update blogs and such.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

DAY 166

This is my $35 Halloween costume. Uh, yeah, E picked it out (recall that E is a huge Superman fan). The problem with ready-made costumes is that they look crappy straight out of the bag and require some modifications. The most glaring problem with this costume is that I don't have Superhair (and everybody knows that Supergirl has Superhair). And I wasn't about to pay $500 for hair extentions so I decided to make my own. (Shuddup. I like Halloween.) Anyway it only cost me about $20 and took about half an hour of my time. On the left is my "before" and on the right is my "after."

It's not a perfect match but it's a lot better than those Halloween wigs and it was pretty easy. In case you want to make your own, here's what you need to buy:

(1) a butterfly clip fake ponytail that matches your hair color
(2) four to six hair extention barrettes
(3) scissors
(4) a needle and thread.

First, you need to break the plastic butterfly clip to get the fake hair off. It will be in a fishnet weft when you get it off and you will need to cut this weft into small sections.

This photo shows the fishnet weft separated from the butterfly clip (and after I cut out the first section).

This photo shows the cutaway section. Note that you want to cut as close to where the seams form an "x" and not just in the middle of straight bar. Some strands will inevitably be lost, but ultimately it's not noticable.

The extention clips have little holes in them. Secure your thread to the clip by threading it through the holes and tying off.

Next, push the needle through the weft and stitch the hair right onto the clip. It's as simple as sewing a button on fabric.

This is what a single extention looks like (clip side down). To wear them, simply part your hair from the top of your ear, around the back of your head, to the top of your other ear. Then secure the hair above the part to the top of your head with a clip.

The extention barrettes look like little combs. You simply open the clip (by pressing in the middle), then slide the comb into your hair just below the part and then close the clip be pressing on the outter edges. Clip all four to six of your extentions in this fashion, starting just behind one ear and working your way around to the other. Once they are all in place, let down your own hair and style. Note that you cannot use a curling iron or hot rollers on synthetic hair -- it will melt.

Happy Halloween! And tune in next time to learn how to make Supergirl's boots.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

DAY 148

[Kate walks in door, sits on couch exhausted, and scratches Sid on belly. Sid dozes off. The following transpires.]

E: Did you see the notice?

Kate: What notice?

E: There was an armed robbery last night.

Kate: WHAT?! What notice?

E: It just said that two guys robbed somebody in front of an apartment around 10 last night. They had a gun. Another guy drove a get-away car.

Kate: Ohmygod. On our own block? Who was the notice from?

E: I dunno.

Kate: Was there a police logo? Was it from the HOA?

E: Uhhh... I dunno.

Kate: Lemme see the notice.

E: Just go look at it yourself. It's by the mailbox.

[Kate tromps out to mailbox and, seeing nothing, tromps back.]

Kate: There's nothing there. What did it say exactly?

E: I dunno. Just that.

Kate: You can't remember anything else?

E: Nope.

Kate: ....

Kate: Sometimes I want to stab you in the eyes.

Sid: Arf!

Kate: I didn't mean I'd literally stab him in the eyes, Sid.

Sid (relieved): Zzzzzzz.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DAY 147

Alas another entire month has passed since I last reviewed my 101 in 1001. I am happy to report that once again I have stuff to check off.

11. Get a dog.

September 27, 2006 best dog in the universe acquired.

15. Find a new fabulous perfume.

September 3, 2006 Kai perfume oil delivered by very nice post man. Fabulous.

37. Take care of that effing Santa Monica City litigation or just admit defeat.

September 29, 2006 defeat admitted. (Not exactly how I imagined this item would get checked off, but there you have it).

81. Throw or attend a bonfire on the beach.

September 23, 2006 attended bon fire at Dockweiler State Beach. Note to Self: bonfires do not have exact addresses and thus they can require miles of trekking up and down the beach searching for bonfire that is NOT thrown by total strangers. As such, travel light.

Monday, October 02, 2006

DAY 146

This is Sid's favorite chew toy. I know it's her favorite because she hasn't peed on it.

House training is slow going. Don't get me wrong, she's a very smart dog. In four short days she's learned: (1) her name; (2) sit!; and (3) lay down. Not too shabby for a few days' work. But she still pees on the carpet whenever she thinks she can get away with it. I know what you're thinking: "well, only let her on the carpet AFTER she's peed." Yeah. We did that. She'll pee within one minute of peeing, if she feels so inspired. We've gone through... I dunno... a gallon of Nature's Miracle pet-stain-and-odor remover. I've also steam cleaned the entire carpet for good measure. I'm sure I'll do it again before the week is out.

She also hates her crate. I've heard people say that at some point in the crate-training phase their dog just starts loving the crate. "It's like her own little den ... blah blah blah," they say. Not Sid. She does not like the crate. She will eventually settle down and go to sleep but I can see that the crate will not be a permanent addition to the master suite. I honestly think she'd prefer to sleep alone in the kitchen. E insists that we continue with the crate.

On the upside, we had a visit from the plumber today and he informed us that (in his professional opinion) our puppy is incredibly well behaved. Woohoo! We've got one person fooled, Sid.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Random Product Endorsement

A while back I recommended a Febreeze product that smelled so great... I recant. That one fades fast. However, the eucalyptus & mint Method aroma pod is subtle, pretty, and long lasting. It's also available at Target. So there you have it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

DAY 143

Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girl, gather 'round and take a gander at the one and only El Sid:

Yup. That's or newest roommate. What's that? You want to see more photos of the world's cutest puppy? Well, okay. If you insist...

E is convinced that she likes me better. Don't tell him I keep a pocket full of freeze-dried liver treats on me at all times. It'll be our little secret (yours, mine and Sid's).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

DAY 13something

E and I went to see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl last night. One word describes the show: Supercrazyfantastic. The Strokes opened for them and Stevie Nicks performed a few songs with them as well (including Stop Dragging My Heart Around and Insiders). That might be one of the best things about seeing shows in L.A., the surprise celebrity guest appearances are over-the-top good.

Go out and buy yourself some classic American Rock. I highly recommend the She's The One soundtrack. Not so great a movie, but really great album. And if you ever get the chance to see Tom: run, don't walk.

Friday, September 22, 2006

DAY 137

Behold the fried Twinkie in all it's gooey glory. It's a thing of beauty, n'cest pas? If you've never had one, let me tell you it's the better than the best doughnut you've ever had. E and I enjoyed this one at the L.A. County Fair. The Fair, by the way, exceeded my expectations. True, all I expected was a fried twinkie or two... but the Fair was simply huge.

This was the view from the sky tram. It cost about $4 per person, per direction. A small price to pay for the opportunity to drop bits of popcorn on people below. Okay, we didn't do that but I really wanted to. This weekend is the last weekend so if you've been meaning to go, get out there!

Monday, September 18, 2006

DAY 133

After seeing Hollywoodland and reading Hollywood Kryptonite, there was only one thing left to do: go see George Reeves' house. So that's what we did today.

George Reeves was killed in the bedroom of the house his lover, Toni Mannix, bought for him. The picture on the left shows the upstairs bedroom window (which the murder likely used to escape). That house is located at 1579 Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills -- not too far from E's and my favorite Sunday morning bagel place so we headed over there right after breakfast. This might seem a bit morbid (because it is) but E and I accidentally had our first date at a crime scene so now it's kind of a thing for us. We actually started our first date at a bar called Firefly but it filled up quickly on a Friday night so I suggested a little Italian place near my new apartment in Studio City: Vitello's. So we go over to Vitello's and we keep thinking the name is so familiar... when it hits us that Robert Blake killed his wife there (allegedly). How romantic! Right? Well, it was definitely an ice breaker. But I digress. Back to Reeves.

Having finished the the book, I am pretty sure Toni Mannix had George killed. E concurs. She's the only one with motivation. Think about it: she's in her late 50's, her looks are gone, she's in an unhappy marriage, her whole life has been Reeves for the last decade and he ditches her for a pretty young actress. She starts making hang up phone calls to his house. She kidnaps his dog (and apparently killed it). The brake fluid was drained from his car (causing a significant accident). And then when he announces he's marrying said actress (Leonore Lemmon) and is about to jet off for an extended honeymoon, boom! He kills himself? With a house full of people? I don't think so. I think Toni (who had lots of mob ties through her ruffian husband, Eddie Mannix) made a call to have a hit. After all, at 4:30 in the morning (when the police were calling in the crime) Toni was calling a friend to say that George had been killed. How could she possibly know that? It's a clear case of: "If I can't have him nobody can." And that Leonore woman will look like the murderess and spend the rest of her days in prison. Only that Leonore woman said it was a suicide. Ooops. That really messed things up.

This particular theory accounts for the extra bullet holes in the bedroom floor. The hit man comes in, he fires at the ground to make it look like a struggle, then he shoots George in the head. Leonore goes upstairs, sees George murdered. Knows she will be the prime suspect and spends the next 45 minutes (that's how long it took her to call the police) covering up the extra bullet hole with an area rug and getting her story together with the other occupants of the house. If she'd done the deed herself the other house guests would surely have turned her in at some point. If it were a suicide, there wouldn't have been extra bullet holes in the floor and a rug covering them up. There probably wouldn't have been a bullet casing under George's body either. And maybe, just maybe, George wouldn't have been planning a honeymoon if all he wanted was to die. And why didn't Leonore just say somebody else must've been in the house? Because she was afraid Toni would kill her too. And what does a scared girl do? Flee across the country. Which is exactly what Leonore did. She ran. And she stuck to her story.

Here's a nifty map to celebrity crime scenes, if you're interested in visiting some.

photo source

Friday, September 15, 2006

DAY 130

Huzzah! The crazies are back in town! This week the designers learn that Vincent and Laura will be allowed to come back and compete again. The looks on their faces were priceless and this was easily my favorite episode of the season. The challenge? Design completely in black and white. The twist? No fabric scraps. They had to use every bit.

Here's Laura's (winning) dress. I guess I can't complain that Laura failed to use any color at all given the challnege. Still, one word describes her creation this week: "Meh." The hormones are obviously taking their toll on old Laura but, to her credit, she still managed to muster the strength to bitch slap Angela one more time. Hearing Laura say what thousands of viewers must have been thinking warmed the cockles of my shrivelled black raisin heart and won me over to Team Laura, if only for a fleeting moment. And I was impressed with her for following the rules and using ALL her fabric and in a sensible manner (she created that matching clutch).

This is the dress got Kayne auf'd. THIS?! I mean, come on. He's done so much worse. I actually like this one (from the front, anyway). The back was a goodish idea but ended up looking a bit like the underside of a trampeline... you know? How they have to lace the tarp all tight?

This is fabulous. Michael totally should've won this week. I loved the detail on the belt. And, as duly noted by the judges, the model is styled flawlessly. Let's not forget that styling was supposed to be an integral part of this challenge.

I think Catherine Malandrino said it best: "No. No. No. No."

And the styling? Please. She looks like a girl I knew in 7th grade who would get dropped off for school in a reasonable outfit but then immediately dash to the girl's room where she would change into some hooker outfit she had stowed in her backpack. The same girl who would sit in the back of chemistry class and light a match to melt the tip of her eyeliner pencil and then proceed to apply hot melted black grease to her already raccon-like eyes. And we all know what happened to her.

I like Uli's dress. I totally agree with Our Own Ninagarcia that the sleeves should be shorter. And the necklace was awful. BUT, at least she didn't just stuff her fabric scraps into a purse like Angela did. More on that below.

Where have we seen this dress before? It looks so familiar somehow. OH! I remember! It'is Angela's Audrey Hepburn dress. Only with a shrug that you would positively kill for (if you were going to an Anne Rice convention). The thing that really made me lunge at the television though was when Angela revealed where all her extra fabric went. Thankfully Heidi called her out on it or I would've had to quit my job to free up time for writing lengthy letters to the producers.

And finally, I present to you a Vincent Libretti orignal. When the model walked down the runway, E looked over at me and said: "You know, it's not bad!" Which is when I realized that E totally misses the early 80's when women were Simply Irresistable. Seriously.

Special thanks to The Project Rungay Boys for the runway screen caps hyperlinked in this post.

Monday, September 11, 2006

DAY 128

Five years ago today my clock radio went off and NPR told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. "Wow, what are the odds of that?" I thought. I hit "SNOOZE" and rolled back over. The radio came on again seven minutes later and I hit "OFF" so fast I didn't hear a thing the announcer was saying. Shower. Dress. Car. NPR back on.

As I got onto the 163 South from Hillcrest to downtown San Diego, I heard the announcer say that the building was totally collapsing. Collapsing? How could a building that BIG be collapsing? From a plane? As I pulled up to work my confusion grew.

There were about a dozen big black SUV's with tinted windows lined up ass-to-nose in front of the building. There were soldiers in front of the door. Soldiers? What the hell could that mean? It was only my second month on the job at the United States District Court in the Southern District of California but I knew this wasn't routine. I wondered if there was a bomb threat or something. I made no connection whatsoever to the news story.
I just didn't get that there was a connection between a building in New York collapsing and my office. I couldn't even fathom the concept of being a target.

I showed my ID, I went through security and when I got to my desk I started to realize I was one of maybe three federal employees in the building. And that's when I really started to get scared. Pretty soon the chief judge closed the court and I was released for the day, possibly the week.

I didn't know where to go. It was a beautiful sunny day. On a whim, I drove over the Pacific on a bridge to Coronado Island. Which is when I realized I was driving towards a Navy base and probably the hottest target on the West Coast. And I panicked for a minute. I was sitting on a bridge over the Pacific Ocean headed toward a military target and I can't turn around for a mile and... Are we at war? Finally realizing how clueless I was, I went straight back home and like everybody else glued myself to the television and called everyone I know and love as the rest of the day's horror unfolded.

I called my parents first. My mother told me that my brother was scheduled for a Boston to Los Angeles flight that morning. He had just cancelled at the last minute; some change at work. I was stunned and deeply wounded and relieved and grateful all at once. The news coverage seemed endlessly the same but I didn't dare watch anything else. The images grew more and more brutal, more and more intimate, and I kept searching for faces of people I might know. I remembered a recent meet-and-greet event the bar held where I met some attorneys from Sidley Austin. Wasn't Sidley Austin in the World Trade Center? Oh God. It's definitely in the World Trade Center. The list of people I knew grew and grew.

In the following months I would be trained to identify "suspicious packages" in the judge's mail. I was issued a face mask and a box of rubber gloves for handling such packages and underwent training for opening and disposing of packages which may or may not contain anthrax. The bomb sniffing dogs actually started coming into chambers for pass throughs.

The news started featuring lessons on sealing off your windows and doors with duct tape and plastic. There was a run on duct tape at the local markets. People lined up for blocks to buy bottled water. Everybody chatted over lunch about their emergency kits that they were keeping in their cars, in their homes. And then, we were told: Don't be afraid. Keep on living, keep the economy strong, keep being American. And so I did what I was told. And each passing day put more distance between tragedy and my current reality.

And, before I knew it, five years had passed in what feels like the blink of an eye. And isn't that how all tragedy is? If you can just find the strength to keep on keeping on, you will surpass it. It's inevitable. You won't forget it, and you won't be exactly the same, but you will surpass it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

DAY 127

Oops. I bought another Diane Von Furstenberg dress. This time I went directly to the source. It's charcoal cashmere so I guess I won't be wearing it until the temperature drops some. I must say, the sales girls at DVF are not exactly... umm... how do the French say it? Courteous to customers? But they do know how to wrap the dresses just right -- it's a little trickier then you might think to get the fit just so. I also picked up a cute kimono-style top and a copy of Diane's book: A Signature Life

I haven't fully adjusted to the price of retail career wear... but I haven't bought decent work clothes since law school (can you say "End-of-Season Sale at Ann Taylor"? I knew you could!) so I figure it's time. I mean, there comes a point in your career where people cease to be amused by your fabulous finds from the sales bins at Express.

So, I call my friend Erin from law school to sing the praises of the DVF store and she totally took the wind out of my sails! She says: "Oh that's great! Good work! And guess what? When I was in China I had that Marc Jacobs jacket I just bought remade in suede and two more in cordoroy... what's that? Oh, I think the suede one cost about $40 and the cordoroy was maybe $30?" Gah. She's always one step ahead. I mean, she went to effing Shenghai and had clothes custom made for her for like 10% of the cost! I'm totally putting "trip to Shenghai" I my next 101 in 1001 list. She also mentioned that she got a pedicure in Beijing and they painted little goldfish on her toenails. How cute is that? Goldfish!

Apparently the phone call resulted in some really good shopping kharma because on the way back to my car I found an adorable pair of open-toe navy-blue leather with dark-wood platform heels for (are you sitting down?) $19.99. I know, I know. It's not possible! They were marked down from $120 (so it's not like we're talking Prada but they are darn cute). They'll look fabulous with a dark denim pencil skirt and Brooks Brother's blouse. If I get off the couch today, I'll try to post a photo.

DAY 125

E and I went to see Hollywoodland today; it's the story of the original Superman, George Reeves. Reeves' story is fascinating and tragic. He despised the Superman role, thinking it was beneath him and longing to be another Clark Gable. Despite winning performances by Adrian Brody as P.I. Simo hired to investigate Reeves' death, Ben Affleck as Reeves, and Diane Lane (love her!) as Toni Mannix, the film is really unstastisfying. The film presents three alternate theories for Reeves' untimely demise and suggests that Simo finally writes it off as a suicide -- but I realy think there should have been more of a commitment to a single theory. They also waste scads of time on Simo's home life. Who cares about Simo's home life? Not I. I would've preferred more time on Reeves' lover Leonore Lemmon's history (I kept suspecting that Lindsey Lohane is a reincarnation of her, and not just because of the initials) or on the intricacies of Reeves' affair with Mannix.

So much was left unresolved by the film that I actually read Hollywood Kryptonite (a copy of which E conveniently had lying around) when I got home. It's a quick read but really a fascinating tale. In fact, I highly recommend that you read the book first and then, if you really want to see it played out, go ahead and rent Hollywoodland when it comes out on DVD. I honestly have developed a whole new appreciation for Superman and the man who personified him. If only George could've taken to his role like Shatner took to Kirk. It's heartbreaking. If you like noir, you'll like this story. Check it out.

DAY 122

Wow. I've really fallen behind. I blame the out-of-town visitors we had at work all week. Whew. They were time consuming. But enough about them! Let's talk runway people:

You know how I feel about Old Laura, but still I have to point out that she is designing in *yawn* black and white. And I get where she was trying to go with that collar -- but OY! did she miss or what? I mean, this dress is what Herman Munster conjurs up for his French Maid Fantasy. Next!

When Michael had this dress on the form it started out pretty; I love the color. He was too ambitious with the hand rouching -- but I still like the idea. And folding those falsies back into the neck line really made a big difference. Unfortunately, like Laura, Michael missed this week. Next!

It's certainly not the worst thing he's done. Yes, it's upholstery. Yes, it's ill-fitting. Yes, it would look better if the model put it on backwards. But it's simply not laugh out loud funny. Next!

Yeah, it's to much brocade baroque whatnot going on in the bodice... but that fabric in the skirt is gorgeous. I also loved the asymetrical lace-up corsette back on this. It was very sexy. C'mon, he's got talent. He just likes sparkles a wee bit more than the rest of us. Next...

I love Uli's dress. I totally understand the criticism about her narrow range, but I disagree. I think that she has a very distinct voice and you see it in all her designs; much like the venerable Diane Von F. Uli has mad skillz and this was an exceptionally difficult challenge. There's no denying that she's the only desinger who truly achieved it. This is the challenge that Robert Best would've knocked out of the park; it's a pity he had to do the recycle challenge but didn't get a swipe at this.

Jeffrey, like Uli, let us hear his voice in this design. I wouldn't buy this dress, I wouldn't wear this dress, but I like it very much. I could easily see it on Gwen Stefani. But the plaid and the cotton really remind me of this Diane Von Furstenberg runway dress from her Fall '06 collection that I absolutely would wear:

It's not an evening gown, but it's lovely, classic, and a more wearable plaid. I wouldn't mind seeing a plaid challenge on Project Runway; I'd love to see each of the remaining designers take on it.