Friday, June 30, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Vendor - "Wow, the remodeled mens room looks GREAT, don't you think?"

Receptionist - "I'm gonna have to take your word for it on that."

There is a well-known superstition among many cultures that when a camera takes a picture of you, it steals a piece of your soul!
That is ridiculous. Think about it! If it were true, then frequently-photographed people such as Paris Hilton, George W. Bush, Jessica Simpson, etc. would have practically no --

-BJ Novak

Dear Diary,
I should be working on my paper for psych class. It still lacks a conclusion. To my life story. That actually sounds rather ominous.

So this four day weekend fell into my lap at the last moment. I'm not sure what to do with it yet. I don't want to deal with crowds. And of course money is still crazytight because of the whole car thing.
I'm thinking Mexico. It's not a holiday down there, and you couldn't ask for a cheaper place. Maybe put on our own firework display instead of watching one.

I've been more honest lately, and boy does it feel good. We had to read a book for class and post our thoughts on how it had affected us. I thought it was the stupidest book ever written, and sat there for two hours trying to think of something I could say other than, "Duh."

Finally, I just decided to tell a polite version of the truth and compared the book to when your grandmother is patting the back of your hand and telling you why it's important to keep your head warm. "You nod, agree and eat a cookie."
It felt good to be honest.


Life is good.
Soon I'll be out of the office and kissing this man.

That's just a big dose of happy, every single time.
I wanna doodle his name all over your pages, Diary.

Ok. I'm gonna go write a conclusion to my paper now.
I've decided it ends happily.

Another Actual Conversation
Valancy Jane - *hands over two cans of beer and her ID* "Hi. Just these, please."

Scary Looking Cashier - "You know, a woman never impresses ME unless she's buying a real ale."

*long pause*

Valancy Jane - "Well, I guess I'll have to find SOMEway of going on with my life."

Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Facts of Life
Fact - It's a gorgeous day.

Fact - My boss informed me that he needs me to take a four day weekend. Paid.

Fact - Tomorrow is payday.

Fact - Tonight is pizza and beer with my favorite people.

Fact - I have the most kissable boyfriend in the world.

Fact - I am wearing Christmas socks. On purpose.

Fact - Life is kind to me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Bunny Once Told Me "Have A Policy For Everything."
First of all, I love my readers. I wanna print out my comments and fan mail and roll around on them naked.
You people are beautiful.
That's my policy on that.

Second, lets go over my "Don't Make Me Pull This Walkabout Over" policies on comments. See, you all have a voice here, and a share in the writing. Your input on these rules is also appreciated.

Manners take precedence over free speech here.

Think of my blog as you would my living room. If you wouldn't say it to my face, don't bother saying it here. I rarely delete comments, but I have no qualms about it when I do.

God is watching you, and so is my stat counter. I know who you are, where you are, what link you came from, what you read, and how long you stay. Nobody is anonymous.

Say whatever you like about me, honestly, nothing feeds my ego more than when people think I'm important enough to criticize. But this is not a forum to trash anyone else. *pointed look* So if you've got something unkind to say about someone I know and love, it's deleted and forgotten. Period. End of story. Moving on.

I don't have the time, rabid immaturity or remote inclination to fight with anyone on the internet. My condolences if you do.

Copy and paste me all you like, but link me or I'll tell The Internet on you. We're tight, yo.

If you know me in real life, and also read my blog, but have never commented or mentioned that fact, that's creepy. You're free to do it, of course, but what purpose could you have that isn't creepy? (This does not apply to lurkers I don't know in person. I love you, lurkers. You're welcome here. *blows kisses*)

Ok. So that's it.

Another Actual Conversation
Mini Mart Cashier - "Need any oil this morning?"

Valancy Jane - "Yesterday it was cookies. You should stick with that special. It was much more tempting."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Mini Mart Cashier - "Want some cookies this morning?"

Valancy Jane - "YES. But no."

So Then I Said .........
............. "If I found out I had six months left to live? I wouldn't do much differently, but I'd write more thank you notes."

Happiness Is .......
......... when your boyfriend packs you a delicious lunch to take to work.

......... when your boyfriend also packs in the lunch a note which says, "I love you."

Sushi and Paint is FUN.
Especially when you eat a piece of sushi with your fingers, then realized there was still paint on those fingers and a little while later Lola's fish come out of the fish tank and ask you to dance the tango. You know.

So last night we did the primer coat on Lola's guest room while Nick whipped together a stunning set of pantry shelves for her kitchen (I'm becoming convinced that there is nothing my sexy boyfriend can't do.)

We also painted each other a bit.

But eventually we got it done and went to 7-11 to do ballet on the tile floors, because we are, as Lola says, "ballet-ers."

Monday, June 26, 2006
So Then I Said .......
........... "What are the odds you're free tonight? Sushi and painting Lola's guest room? There might also be a tricycle involved. Seriously."

My Pets Are Totally Cuter Than Yours, Part 2

As the last two pictures suggest, while her love for Nick hasn't abated, it turns out she hasn't turned her back on me completely, and totally snuggled with me when I fell asleep on the couch.

Another Actual IM Conversation
Colsy says:
i never though i would love eating eel so much

Valancy Jane says:
*eats animal crackers*
I never thought I'd enjoy eating giraffe so much.

A Picture Of Lola With A Pink Gun ........
......... is worth a thousand words. I just couldn't say it any better than this picture.

Happiness is ......
......... when near the end of a long hot bike ride, when you're waiting at an intersection, and you're looking at a house you like but can't afford, and maybe you're frowning a bit, because a lady in red Ford Focus next to you calls out, "Smile!" and you turn and can't help but smile at her, and she says "Think happy thoughts!" and then the light turns green and she shouts "Lets race!" and you pretend to try, and as you fall back laughing, Nick flies past you and actually almost catches her, and by the time you catch back up at the next light, you ARE both smiling and thinking happy thoughts.

So Then I Said .......
........."Oh no. I'm spending a sunday afternoon sitting on the couch, drinking a beer and watching South Park. And I'm enjoying it. When did I become a MAN?"

Friday, June 23, 2006
Things To Do This Summer
Take lemons and make lemonade, the old-fashioned, inefficient, messy way.

Get tan lines on my feet.

Get rid of all my other tan lines.

Spend a night on the beach.

Make that corkboard that Nick suggested, with leftover wine bottle corks.

Take the train up to northern California for Bug's wedding.

Make sense of my craft desk.

Spend a night counting stars in the desert.

Take Nick to La Bufadora, Mexico for fish tacos.

Hike Iron Mountain early in the morning.

Slow dance to the windchimes on my porch on a hot summer evening.

Eat a whole box of popsicles in one afternoon.

Find a place to pick my own strawberries.

Buy more old silk scarves.

Actually use some of my freakin' vacation time.

Happy Birthday Lola!

We love you!

Valancy Jane, Chad, Lamar, Oscar, Oliver, Nicholas, Penny, Kathy, Screaming Mexican Lady, Silvia, the Couple, the Spy, the kids outside, the police, that Someone you met in Greece, Johan, and 'Audrey.'

P.S. We'll all be at your party tonight, in a sense.

Random Skills
I can totally fake sleep. Great for eavesdropping, or for when it's you're a kid and it's 2am and you're still up reading and you hear your insomniac mother coming. Of if you know someone is gonna ask you to do something you don't wanna do. (Hints - Slow your breath, relax your mouth and don't flicker your eyesballs under your lids.)

I am the best knot untangler ever. Necklaces are the most fun.

So. How about you guys? What are your random skills?

Thursday, June 22, 2006
I'm Merely A Footnote In The REAL Love Story Around Here.

Since his arrival, Dulce has completely forgotten my existence. All the love in her little heart swayed to him, and she spends her days cuddling up to him and giving me dirty looks if I come too close.

It's all so Freudian it's adorable.

Fun With Psych Class
So you know that paper I'm writing for Psych class? The one that's the story of my life?

Bunny pointed out that this isn't legal or medical information here, I'm under no obligation to write the true story, or even the same story from draft to draft.



No, no. I'll be good.

I'm Taking Suggestions For Autobiography Titles

So far we have -

  • Coffee and Mayhem, Upon My Return
  • Fun with Spark Plugs
  • Liquor and HairDye
  • Forwarding Address

Any other suggestions?

Happiness is ......
.............. cereal and wine for dinner, getting ALL the laundry done, watching several episodes of The Venture Bros, a sloppy ponytail, a hot summer night, and snuggling.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
You Know What's FUN?
Going to the bike races at the San Diego Velodrome with Nick, Lola, Dillon and Aurora is FUN.

Cheering for names we made up off the top of our heads is FUN. "Go Lamar! Go Chad!"

Cheering for our own names is FUN. "Go Lola! You're kicking Dillon's ass!"

Acting like we haven't noticed Nick taking pictures is FUN.

Pestering a rider for his name while he's lining up for a race, and cheering for him the rest of the evening so loudly that he's not entirely sure he likes it, that's FUN. "Go Johan!!!!"

Friends are FUN.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Ask Miss VJ
Dear Miss VJ,

I have some confessions to make that I know only you would understand.
I love listening to Christina Aguilera. And I don't just listen to her: I also firmly believe that she works hard on her music and dance routines a la Tina Turner or Madonna.
I've also started listening to some Lindsay Lohan, Mandy Moore, and Kelly Clarkson.
The other day I even caught myself grooving down to.... No, I don't think I can even admit that to you.

Please tell me how to live with these music choices of mine?

~Also a Musicals Lover

*opens a large liquor cabinet*

*the soft clink of ice falling into a crystal glass is heard*

*pours a deep maroon liquid from an engraved decanter*

*sips delicately and sighs*

Dear Musicals Lover,

Music never hurt anyone, and life is too short for pointless shame.
Rock on.

Miss VJ

P.S. This is Boones Sangria. I love it. Don't tell.



Next question please.

Monday, June 19, 2006
Random Images That Make Me Happy
Ye Olde Bike Shop, with coffee, wifi, comfy chairs and vintage bikes. I think Nick wants to live there.
My fat and happy fish. The pleco on the bottom left is Vinny, the orange one on the left is Luigi, the white one on the top is Bianca, the orange one on the bottom is Jochiam and the white one on the right is Wallis.

I think Maximus likes having another MAN around the house.

That's my favorite corner of the couch.

He's so edible when he laughs.

My beautiful bike, Catalina.

Last night's dinner, in progress.

I think it's time.

For a long time now, we've enjoyed Lenny the Tagboard. Yes, I know that's what gave my page pop-ups, but I've kept him because where else in the world can you see a conversation between GBB, Brad Pitt and a Giant Lobster?

He's been the puppet show of our insanity.

And despite suspicion, I am not all of those characters. I'm very much a spectator in Lenny's little show.

But lately Lenny has been clogged up with spam. I think it's time to set him free. In a large yacht with all his character friends.

And so we stand at the dock and wave 'bon voyage' to Lenny the Tagboard.


So Yeah, She Actually DID Get Me, Her Little Pretty.
So the lovely and sweet mother of one of my kidlets got me tickets last minute for CYT's production of Wizard of Oz.

In fact, after mentioning her name at the ticket window, they gave us FRONT ROW tickets.
And when you're short like me, that's great news.

One of the sound guys saw fit to set a large speaker right in front of Nick and I.
But what it blocked of the view, it overcompensated for in sound.

Oh, the noise. Oh, the pain.

Covering my ears made it bearable, but the thing about being in the front row is that the actors can SEE you. And the ones in the front of the stage, most likely to see you, are the young ones who are least likely to understand why you are covering your ears and most likely to take it personally and bite back tears.

The Wicked Witch, at that volume, sounded like a tiny nutmeg grater on my eardrum. And I can't even talk about the Lollipop Guild. *twitch*

At intermission, we moved over away from the speakers and enjoyed the rest of the play immensely. Jesse was a FABULOUS Mayor of the Munchkins, talent for cool funny voices really runs in that family. And my little Catie did twirled and flipped across the stage as one of the Ozettes, and was her usual adorable self.

And at the end, I got to return some of the deafness, cheering so loudly for my kidlets.

Another Actual Conversation


VJ - "I feel like if I press the crosswalk button less than three times, they won't think I really mean it."

Nick - "You know, after you press it a certain number of times, it stops beeping."

VJ - "Like, 'ok, we get it, people wanna cross, now stop pushing it'?"


Nick - "I guess this one doesn't shut off."

VJ - *grin* "Guess not."


So Then I Said ........
........... "Please excuse the slightly inappropriate scratching. A spider got fresh with me last night, and I wasn't awake to slap him."

Thursday, June 15, 2006
Guaranteed To Make You Puke, Or Your Money Back.
Apparently I was really settling with my previous relationships. I really had no idea at the time. Love is one of the few things I've always been quite practical about, perhaps even cynical. I attribute my happiness in relationships to what I now see were my REALLY low expectations.

And then there was Nick.
I'm so spoiled on that boy.

Nick really knows how to LOVE. I've never known anyone with so much love to give. And it's poured over my head every single day. It's in every touch, every word, every glance. It's the first thing I hear in the morning, and the last thing I hear at night. It takes my breath away and I don't understand how I got so lucky.

It's like going on vacation and having them ask you to stay forever, free of charge.

It's like winning the lotto and when they send you the check, they round up to the nearest million.

It's like every day is a holiday. With fireworks and good food.

Don't get me wrong, it's not as if we haven't had a fight or two. (Somebody doesn't really belong to you until you've withstood the first fight.) But it's amazing how fighting the same way, and fighting for the same thing, (understanding, not 'winning') takes the sting out of it all.

When Nick said in the middle of an arguement, "I don't want you to ever feel like there is something you can't say to me" I swear I almost proposed, right in the middle of the arguement.

Nick and I are such a perfect fit it's almost enough to make a girl believe in fate and all that crap. But I don't care if it's fate or coincidence or insanely good luck. Whatever. I'll take it.

I didn't know love could be like this.
I didn't know I could love like this.
I didn't know it could be so easy.
I didn't know it didn't have to be scary.
I didn't know I could be so sure.
I didn't know it would take so little from me.
I didn't know anyone could understand me so well.
I didn't know I could be this close to someone.

I didn't know the touch of someone's hand could be felt so deep.

I never knew earth could feel so much like heaven.

Another Actual Conversation
My Homie in Marketing - "Happy UnBirthday to you. You got the flyer about the cake for everyone this afternoon, right?"

Receptionist - "Yep. Say, 'My Homie'? Do I get cake on ALL of my UnBirthdays? 'Cause I have a lot of them."

My Homie in Marketing - "About 364 of them?"

Receptionist - "358, actually."

My Homie in Marketing - *looks confused*

Receptionist - "I have a lot of birthdays too."

"I don't actually work here. No, really. But I see why you'd think that. Sorry."
I have this chronic need to share information with complete strangers. As far as I'm concerned, if you hold up two boxes of tea in the grocery store and compare the labels, you are BEGGING for my imput.

I don't understand why I have this compulsion.

I once spent half an hour showing a woman in a pet store everything she'd need for the beta she was considering buying. When she asked me to ring her up, I was actually surprised. When I told her I didn't work there, she went from thinking I was a very helpful employee, to looking at me with suspicion.

Kids are great. Kids will totally listen. At the zoo, I can assemble a group of kids faster than you can explain the difference between african and indian elephants.

When people express surprise that I'm not actually a zoo tour guide, I say, "Yeah. I know. I don't understand how I'm not a zoo tour guide either."

Another Actual Email Conversation
Lou emailed -

First it was gumchewing, and now this.
VJ, I dyed my hair purple.
the end.

VJ emailed -

I hope you're not kidding. Like, I SERIOUSLY hope you're not kidding.
Please, PLEASE don't be kidding.

I guess she wasn't kidding. SWEET.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Nick - "Duck!"

VJ - "Huh?"

Nick - "Duck!"

VJ - "Why?"

Nick - "No. There's a duck. Over there."

VJ - "Oh! Duck!"

Happiness is .........
............. Nick unicycling in the living room.

Conversation Enders.
I started pondering this because of my creepy/weird/nosy apartment manager, but I think we all need to have a few of these up our sleeves for when you just really want to NOT talk to someone.

  • Do the 'gotta pee' dance.
  • Pretending that whatever you are carrying is heavier than it is.
  • Cutting them off and asking "Why do you keep calling me 'Sarah'? My name is Erica." Then walk away like you're offended.
  • Wearing a small whiteboard hung around your neck that reads, "Since the accident, I am deaf."
  • Say, "My irritable bowels are acting up again."
  • Say, "Sorry, but the kidnappers said they would call me at 6:00pm on the dot and you KNOW how attachted I am to my grandmother."
  • Point to nothing on the ground and say, "Sorry to cut you off, but this ant keeps LOOKING at me like something's wrong." Walk away still staring at the ground, addressing questions to the non-existant ant. "What's the matter, boy? Is the queen alright?"
  • Close your eyes and rub your temples like you have a headache, then eventually let your hand fall, then begin to lightly snore.
  • Respond to everything they say with an arm slug and a laugh. "You are such a kidder! Come on, do another impersonation!"
  • Keep scratching your crotch like it's painful, then use the same hand to touch their forearm and ask, "Do you have any vasoline? ........ No? ........... Ok, I've gotta run then."
  • Carry a (well-rinsed) motor oil bottle full of apple juice. Sip from it. Start to weave from side to side. Excuse yourself and crawl away.
  • Say, "Do you smell smoke? You check that way and I'll check this way." Wander off distractedly sniffing the air.

And of course, there is the Fake Phone Call.

I am GREAT at the Fake Phone Call.

I actually ENJOY the Fake Phone Call

While with some people, any fake phone call will do, some less tactful people require a really important sounding phone call.

  • ".......... so wait. The rash spread that much just since last night? ............. And the specialist won't move your appointment up? ............... Did your regular doctor send over the photos? ............ Wow................... *raises eyebrows* Well, if it helps, but I'd ask your doctor about that ................... Yeah, I really don't know if you're supposed to rub that kind of thing on your skin ............."
  • "............... Yeah ............. Yeah ................. Two lines is positive ............. So how are you going to tell him? ............... You think that's best? ................. No, you're right ................. I understand ................. Oh honey ............. Do you want me to come over? ..........."
  • ".......... Yes, I understand, officer ............. I'm afraid he does know a lot about explosives, sir ......... Which bank is it? .............. And he wants to talk to me? ........... Well, I'll TRY to talk him out it, sir ..........."
  • "............ Aunt Lucy, why does my caller id say you're calling from the sheriff's office? .......... WHAT? ................ Oh ................ No, I had no idea throwing scones at a dog was considered assault either .......... Don't worry, Aunt Lucy, we'll get you out ........... HOW MUCH? ........... Wow ........... No, don't worry about it, I'll be there right after I stop at the ATM ............ No, I won't tell Aunt Carla about this, I promise .......... I know .......... I'm on my way ............"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Another Actual Coversation
Favorite Salesguy - "....... oh, it's crazy around here."

Receptionist - "Just do what I'm doing, make yourself a cup of blueberry tea."

Favorite Salesguy - "I was thinking more along the lines of liquor in my coffee."

Receptionist - "Ooooooooooo, I like that idea better. *ponders* And I could prolly totally get away with that, couldn't I?"

Favorite Salesguy - "Oh sure. When I worked at (other large computer company), people did that all the time and everyone just thought it was creamer."

Receptionist - "Yeah, and if normal office people could get away with it, think about me, how isolated my desk is, and ........... well ............ frankly, my personality."

Favorite Salesguy - "Thats so true. No one would notice anything different. 'No, she's always like that.'"

Naming Kittens Is What VJs Do Best.
These are Ikey's new kiddens. We've named them, from left, Dudley (when placed on the keyboard, he typed that out, kinda), Maya (a hindi name meaning 'divine creative force' because Ike says she's a more an act of god than a cat) and Lukey (a variation on Loki, a norse god of mischief).

Monday, June 12, 2006
Another Actual IM Conversation
Valancy Jane: Which reminds me, I have to submit an outline today.

ZezZee: Outline on what?

Valancy Jane: The story of my life. I'm not actually kidding.

ZezZee: And its due TODAY?

Valancy Jane: I need a title.

ZezZee: beautiful, brilliant and modest

Valancy Jane: *grins* And while many things come to mind, none of them sound particularly acedemic.
Plus, I can't spell, it would appear.

ZezZee: I r a koleg stoodent

Valancy Jane: *giggle*
*seriously tempted*

ZezZee: Just steal one from Lord of the Rings. thats what I do. Like where Bilbo has like 8 crossed out titles for his book. I will even look them up for you if you want. see what a good person I am

Valancy Jane: *laughs* Yes, you are.
"Story of my Life, as Outlined in my Drugstore Reciets."

ZezZee: hee-hee

Valancy Jane: *tempted*
Actually, I should just call it "Tempted" and make the teacher wonder what that means. It IS a psych class after all.

Another Actual Conversation
Admin - "Oh, who is that in the picture on your desktop?"

Receptionist - "My brother and his wife."

Admin - "On their wedding day?"

Receptionist - *pretends to blush* "Uh, no. They always dress that way. The family's been meaning to say something, but we're not sure what, and nobody wants to be the one to do it. Plus she just REALLY likes that veil."

Admin - *not sure what to say*

Receptionist - "I was kidding."

Stuff That's Totally Underrated.
  • Nick's cooking. Had I known what a good cook he was, I would have asked him to move here a long time ago.
  • Drive - in movies. And Tom Hank's acting. (We saw the Da Vinci Code. We also saw X-Men 3, but I'm trying hard to forget about that.)
  • Naps. Also, my new feather pillows.
  • Blueberry tea.
  • Taking a walk at twilight.
  • Taking a walk at twilight when the sky is exactly the color of blueberry tea, with blueberry tea in one hand and Nick's hand in the other.

Cell Phone Instructions
You know how when you call a friend's cell phone and it goes to voicemail and after your friends recorded message there is that woman telling you how to leave a message?

Seriously, can we do away with that now?
I mean, I think we've got it.
Does anyone not know how to leave a voicemail in this day and age?

I don't propose to put that nice woman in the recording out of work, however. See, we might have the leaving voicemail part down pat, but there is plenty more instructions most of us could use.
So I say it's time to ditch that recording, and include a new one, Lesson Two - SHOULD You Leave A Message.

"If you are calling to leave a guilt trip or unsolicited advice, please press the 'end call' button. If you are calling for the third or more time in a row today, please hang up and assume the person you are calling is now aware that the ball is in their court. If there is any doubt in your mind that that person you are calling might not like you, be as brief as possible and don't roll out the sound of their first name. Rambling is only appreciated from cute, endearing people that the caller LIKES. Thank you, and have a pleasant day."

Any other suggestions?

Friday, June 09, 2006
Exactly Four Weeks Ago ......
.......... I did the smartest thing I've ever done.

I drove to the airport and picked up Nick.

Everyday since I've gotten richer in kisses, happiness, giggles, support, cuddles and love.

So Then I Said .....
......... "No, I'm not eating Cheetos for breakfast. I'm eating Cheetos WITH breakfast. That totally makes it not as bad. Shut up."

What I Wanted To Say Was ........
......... "Ok, mister. You came in here for an interview, but you didn't bother to remember or write down the name of the person you're supposed to interview with, and to cover your mistake you try to give ME attitude about why can't I 'just go find out', like I'm gonna get up and got ask 175 people in the building if they happened to be doing interviews today? Let me save you some time. You won't get the job. When I tell who ever it is you're interviewing with (and make no mistake, I WILL tell them, they like to know this kinda stuff) that you couldn't even bother to make note of their name, they'll toss your resume. And if you leave now, you can prolly catch The Price Is Right, ok?"

Am I mean?

Another Actual IM Conversation
Valancy Jane says:
Incidently, I'm having a bit of identity crisis. Here's the thing. I saw Paris Hilton's music video. And ...........
......... well .................
........... it's ................
............. not the worst thing I've ever seen.

Colsy says:

Valancy Jane says:
I mean, it's crap, but not as crappy as half the stuff on the radio.

Colsy says:
don't feel bad

Valancy Jane says:
And .............

Colsy says:
i think i had mtv on last night

Valancy Jane says:
.............. *cringes* ............

Colsy says:
i walked into the bedroom and started shaking my hiney,

Valancy Jane says:
.......... I found myself HUMMING it a minute ago.

Colsy says:
glenn was like: 'No. It's Paris Hilton."
i was in shock

Valancy Jane says:
You understand.

Colsy says:
so, don't feel bad

Valancy Jane says:
The world has turned over.

Colsy says:
this is true

Valancy Jane says:
I don't know which way is up now.
Everything has changed.

Colsy says:
ask mau

Thursday, June 08, 2006
Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by history. Of course, I was also a bookworm, fascinated by fiction, and in my childish mind, history and fiction were much the same. They were both a world I could only access via my imagination, and both had an author's slant on whatever you were supposed to learn from the tales they told.

I knew that history really happened and all, blah, blah, blah, and that somehow this distinction was important, but it's hard to see it as any different from a novel when you can only research it in books that looked like novels, or see it through a museum case with glass as thick as my tv screen.

I became disillusioned with history in much the way kids often become disillusioned with Santa Claus.
I didn't like the cheesy tours, the ridiculous gift shops, and the tour guide who could be seen smoking in the cab of his pickup truck on break while still in costume.
Like Santa, history was a nice idea that got pushed into absurdity by adults insistance that it was all so real.

San Diego is a strange place, in it's attitude toward history. The lesson always begins with the arrival of Spanish explorers/missionaries. Natives are vaugely mentioned, and then instantly fade out of the picture and are only minimally mentioned with perhaps a field trip to a reservation which is now dominated by a casino. "One of the many hardships the early settlers faced was the possibility of the natives uprising...." and "yeah, once upon a time there were Indians here. Let's make cheesy crafts in the style of their art" was pretty much the extent of what we learned. In all fairness, we didn't learn much more about the later history either.

I was actually an adult before I learned the name of the main tribe of Indians in our area.
Again, in all fairness, I was an adult before I learned pretty much any of the local history I happen to know.

Then came a day, straight out of a cheesy Disney movie, that change forever the way I felt about history.

I was about 11, and I happened to be tagging along on a camping trip my dad was taking with a friend, out to a friend's cabin in the desert. It was nice there, no one ever bothered me and I could drink root beer and read to my hearts content in a shady hammock, or go for a walk and count rabbits and snakes.

On one such walk, I went along a wash, which is a seasonal stream. There was no water then, and it made a pretty good trail. The softer sand meant I could find more animal tracks, and with nothing but sameness all around, it was simply a direction to go.

I paused by a grouping of large rocks, and saw something that made me pause. On a long flat rock, that looked rather like the front porch on this house-sized pile of boulders, was a bowl shaped indentation. I'd seen something like it in a museum, behind glass, in a obviously fake rock, and a mannequin posed over it awkwardly, supposedly grinding something.

I pulled myself up on the rock and sat down in front of the indentation. From this perch I could feel a bit of a breeze on my sweaty skin, and there was a pleasant view of the desert.
I had the eeriest feeling that by sitting there, I'd settled into some past indian woman's skin, thinking, "This is a good spot to grind my corn."

And then I saw in the indentation, a small piece of pottery. Just a broken shard, I'd certainly seen more interesting examples in museums, but they were behind glass and this was very quickly in my hands, my fingers tracing it's broken edges. I didn't need a tour guide or a sign to point out to me that the inconsistant nature of the painted line meant it was real. This was valuable because it DIDN'T have a price tag on it.

I looked down to the ground and saw another piece of a different color. I bounced down and picked it up, then began gingerly stepping around looking for more. I found more, including one piece who's broken edge matched the first piece.

When I got back to the cabin, I showed my treasure to my father's friend. "Oh, yeah. You find those from time to time. There were Indians around here back then. Not anymore. They didn't leave much besides the sort of thing you found."

I didn't care how many other's had been found, nobody have found THIS one, and velvet roped it off. This time, it had been ME, not somebody in a book, who had heard Santa's sleigh, or walked into a wardrobe.

And ever since I've wanted that feeling again, to put my hands on something that's been around for hundreds of years, and FEEL and HEAR the people that have touched it before me.
I've never felt a high like that before or after.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Quote of the Day

"Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blinder, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. Yes is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."

-Stephan Colbert

Offsite Pets.
One of the great dissappointments of my adult life was learning that you can't keep lobsters as pets. I always wanted a big tank like you see in resturants.
Turns out those lobsters are doomed one way or another, because they don't eat in captivity, so if they aren't eaten, they die after a month or so anyway.

This broke my little heart, because I've always dreamed of keeping a lobster or two at home.

Recently I learned that you can, however, keep crawfish in tanks.

They're cute, like mini lobsters.

So I don't know what all I'll need, and I won't go catch any until I'm sure I've got a set up that will support them, but in the meantime, I have offsite pets.

See, when I was a kid, I wanted any and every animal I saw. And while my mother was pretty lenient about letting me have most of them, sometimes she would pacify me by saying, "Yes, you can have the bear/wombat/goat, but it still has to live here in the national park/zoo/neighbor's yard."
It was actually a pretty good tactic.

There is a river here in San Diego. I used the term 'river' loosely because it's really nothing more than a creek, but it's classified on our maps as the Sweetwater River. I guess it's all relative.

I used to ride my horse out by this river as a kid, and it's still one of my favorite places to take a hike. Years ago I came across a spot where it appeared that someone was trying to build a rock bridge/dam, and I put a few rocks in myself to help it out. Since I'm no expert, it gets a bit washed out in between visits, so everytime since, I like to rebuild and repair this little rock bridge, and I suspect I'm not the only one doing this.

This little bridge/dam makes a great spot for crawfish, or crawdads as they are also know in this part of the world.

Last weekend when Nick and I visited this spot, I decided to adopt this little pool and it's crawfish as my offsite pets.

Monday, June 05, 2006
Happiness is ......
.......... taking a hike with Nick.

............ feeling so virtuous about said hike that we didn't feel guilty for spending the rest of the day watching 28 episodes of The Office. Yes, in a row.

............ eating Nick's favorite salad, which you all must try, it's spinach, red wine vinegar, olive oil and strawberries.

............ playing hide and seek with the kiddens.
............. eating leftover salad that Nick thoughtfully packed for my lunch, and knowing that I am really/truly loved by the love of my life.

Friday, June 02, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Customer Service Gal - "So, you ready for the weekend?"

Receptionist - "Oh yeah. I'm ALWAYS ready for a weekend. Even if a weekend should catch me unawares, I would be ready. If it traded spots with Weds, I would roll with the new order smoothly. If it jumped out at me from around a corner and yelled 'BOO!' I wouldn't even blink. If it hunted me down in the wilderness, I would not be caught unprepared. If it woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me it had arrived on a red-eye flight, I would have towels laid out for it. If it rear-ended me on my drive home, I'd have my insurance info and camera ready. If it wore an elaborate disguise and pranked me on national television, I would recognize it. So, yeah. I'm ready for the weekend."

More Than ......
the flamingo drink stirrer in my coffee
Dulce loves petting
spicy chicken
instant messenger
coming home at the end of the day
talking walks
pizza and cold beer
Green Eyes, by Coldplay
grocery shopping
my new feather pillows
holding hands
red wine
summer trip plans
back massages
feeding the fish
my strange VHS collection
spontaneous kisses in the kitchen
my pretty red bike
the library
our star
our tree
our rafter

Nick, I love all these things more because of you.
But I love you more than all these things.

Ask Miss VJ
Dear Miss VJ,

I'm mildly worried that I'm a little bit too confident. Not very worried, but it's a fleeting thought, and I thought I might ask you about it because you appear to be incredibly astute, advice-wise. Plus I love the primping you often do as you answer your column. (And that pink boa. Adorable.)

Whereas when I was younger, I was insecure for the most part (teenage years, what can I tell you), it would seem that I've gone so far over to the other side that I am almost not insecure about anything. Thing is, I'm told all the time that I'm just too confident. I'm a little bit baffled, because I didn't realize it was quite THAT obvious. It's actually gotten to the point that certain friends of mine suspect that I have zero insecurities, which is of course not true, although I will admit that none of my insecurities are related to body image, which is rare.

Any ideas or tips as to what sort of reply I could give to the next person who accuses me of being "just too darn confident"?

- A Girl who Believes that Confidence is the Key to Success in Life

*tries to scowl but her forhead is suspiciously smooth*

*only manages to wrinkle her nose*

*gives up*

Dear Miss Confidence,

Ok, so the only problem is people offering unsolicited judgement on something they're most likely jealous of?
'Cause if you'd crossed over into arrogance, you wouldn't (a) writing to Miss VJ or (b) even listening to them in the first place.

Miss VJ is a fan of making people really HEAR themselves.
So look confused and say, "Why is that a problem? Do you think I'm not actually all that great, or did false modesty suddenly stop being annoying and become a virtue?"
Odds are they won't want to align themselves with either arguement (at least not to your face) and will most likely shut up.
If not, make use of that imfamous confidence by laughing in their face and saying, "Tell you what, when I actually have a problem, I'll come to you for advice FIRST."

Miss VJ

*smiles with her whole face, using her scalp muscles to lift her eyebrows*


*puts cucumbers over her eyes*

Next question, please.

Thursday, June 01, 2006
No Tagbacks, I'm Told.
BakeTown tagged me to list six weird things about myself.
'Cause I haven't done that enough on this blog.

Well, here's more.

1. The first sip of soda always makes me hiccup once. Hiccup, not burp, and just once.

2. I have a spot on the back of my head about the size of a pencil eraser, that grows what I can only describe as knappy hair, in the middle of all my super straight hair.

3. I want to be buried with all my stuffed animals. Seriously. Shut up.

4. I like to plan trips in great detail, just for the fun of planning, then when trip begins, toss the plans mostly out the window. Therefore, I manage to drive both planner-type-people and non-planner-type-people absolutely crazy.

5. I actually like spinach more than chocolate.

6. I never see a sprinkler on a lawn without wanting to run through it.

Another Actual Conversation
Receptionist - "We got another award?"

My Homie in Marketing - *opening award case* "Yeah. Guy in Finance won it for Best Package."

Receptionist - "I'm sorry, what?"

My Homie in Marketing - "Best Package."

Receptionist - "Could you repeat that one more time?"

My Homie in Marketing - "Best Package. Best Quarter Review Package, as the small print says, but look here. 'Best Package'."

*long pause*

Receptionist - "I ..................... I don't really trust myself to say anything right now."

My Homie in Marketing - "I understand. *places award prominantly in award case* Lets just not talk for awhile."

Note - The award features a leaping leopard. I don't know exactly why this makes it funnier, but it does. It totally does.